[eDebate] First round rankings--thoughts

David Cram Helwich cramhelwich
Wed May 20 14:43:04 CDT 2009

'Send' and 'save now' buttons are right next to each other. This is a draft
of a post about first round ranking philosophies that I was hoping to have
finished by next week. Folks are welcome to read this fragment, but should
recognize that it is a partial first draft, and set their flames


On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 2:40 PM, David Cram Helwich
<cramhelwich at gmail.com>wrote:

> I was 'taught' a ranking heuristic by Gordon Mitchell when I was taking
> classes at Pitt--he had me do his data compilation (back in the old days
> before the Bruschke site--do we thank Jon enough) and propose preliminary
> rankings based upon my analysis of the data. Gordon then analyzed the data
> himself, turned in his rankings, and talked with me about differences
> between his rankings and mine. I have also benefitted from (often informal)
> exchanges about first round rankings with many people, including Ross, Ed
> Lee, Dr. Dave, Will, Ermo, and many others over the years.
> First, a quick overview of the system I use in determining rankings:
> a) I am not wedded to math/numbers, per se. Quantitative analysis is a tool
> that helps inform, but does not determine, what is ultimately a
> _qualitative_ judgement about the body of work of a pool of teams over a
> debate season. I seriously doubt that any rankers 'let the math speak' and
> just enter their results accordingly.
> b) I first try to 'sort' the teams into roughly-defined tiers. These tiers
> are used in determining a teams +/- and avg +/-. I ordinally rank the
> applicants in three categories: elim depth (based on a point system that
> provides increasing returns for advancing futher into a tournament), winning
> percentage against the applicant pool, and winning percentage against
> non-applicants. I then sum the orginal ranks in the three categories. In my
> experience, one generally sees fairly clear 'breaks' based upon these rank
> totals. For example, this year
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