[eDebate] 8 prelim model

Scott Phillips scottyp431
Thu Oct 15 12:10:17 CDT 2009

Basic outline: 8 preliminary rounds. 5 rounds take place on Saturday. Rounds
1-4 are preset and released by 5pm the Friday beforehand. Round 5 is high
high and paired off of only rounds 1-3, the pairing for round 5 would be
released during round 4.

Some basic assumptions of my model
1. There are not enough high high debates at tournaments. More high high
debates would
-produce more of the top level head to head matches that determine bid
sheets and drive innovation by forcing teams to bust strategies and research
new ones
-give on the cusp teams a bit of breathing room - if you speak poorly some
high high rounds give you a reprieve from a constant beat down- the current
system is too one sided
-eliminate some of the damage that having a large number of presets has on
borderline teams by reducing the likelihood of getting jacked by having to
debate a few top level teams in the presets and then win several break
rounds in a row that are high low in your bracket.
2. Debaters are given way to much pre round prep- everyone goes for the same
crap anyway- the health care disad and cap K are highlighted already, you
don't need an hour to get ready for them. Also releasing pairings earlier
allows debaters to take advantage of the post round dead time waiting for a
decision to prep more for later debates.
3. More prelims are better- people get more practice, who should clear
becomes "clearer" etc.
4. Opponent wins should be more important in deciding who clears than
speaker points- there I said it. The speaker point system is broken. This is
a team activity.  Especially with more high high debates which I have
already conclusively proven is a moral obligation.
5. Judges need to run a tighter ship- stop prep stealing and time wasting,
enforce start times etc. Debaters waste time because they are allowed too.
If the choice is between losing a debate or punishing teams who are too lazy
and stupid to be efficient it is ridiculous to take away a debate. A strict
schedule creates incentives for efficiency by rewarding teams who are well
organized and work hard.

How long does a round take? 92 minutes. Assume at least 10 minutes for
screwing around brings us to 102. If each round is given 2:15 that is 135
minutes, leaving over 1/2 an hour for making a decision. You could even add
another 15 minutes on there and that would only lengthen the day by an hour.
This would mean the schedule would/could look like (I have added an extra 10
minutes for travel time, and extra time for lunch and dinner, discussed

Round 1: 7:45
Round 2: 10:10
Round 3: 1:15
Round 4: 3:40
Round 5: 6:45

This gets everyone out around 9.

Day 2:
Round 6: 8:00
Round 7: 10:30
Round 8: 2:30
Doubles: 6:00

Round 6 and 7 should be paired off round 5 and have one high low and one
high high. The pairing should be released at 6am. Since you get out at
roughly 9, you should be able to eat and get to sleep by 10 or 11 giving you
7-8 hours of sleep if you decide to get up at 6 and start prepping. If you
want to sleep in you can obviously get more sleep but this is a pretty good
amount to get considering you would get 2 hours to prep for rounds 6 and 7.
Round 8 is obviously important, so there is a lot of extra prep built in for
this. If a strict decision time is enforced all the round 7 ballots should
be in by 12:45. Giving people 1/2 hour for lunch that means they will still
get about an hour to prep for potential break rounds.

Finally- opp wins should be more important than speaker points in
determining who clears. The main objection to pairing more rounds ahead of
time is "we'll get screwed". Using opponent wins helps take the bite out of
this argument and opposition to high high rounds. It also allows time to
figure out the 100 point scale while only speaker awards are affected.

Some of this may seem pretty radical/unworkable but a fundamental assumption
is that time is wasted because there are no incentives to not waste it. A
strict schedule forces debaters to chose between focusing on competitive
gain or other aspects of debate like socializing etc true, but this is
already a trade off in many other ways.

Top ways time is wasted at tournaments now that would be pressured to reform
by judges and debaters
1. Cleaning up- people don't do it until after the decision, throw evidence
all over the room during debates so they are later unable to find it etc.
2. Moving- teams mosey around chit chatting
3. Water/bathroom breaks- you're an adult- get a bottle and learn to hold it
4. Being out of the room during decision making

Teams who want more prep time can eliminate all of these things to get it.

Answers to obvious objections

Long decision making/oral critiques are good

It shouldn't take that long to figure out most of these prelims. A wise old
sage once told me that most debates are hard to decide because the debaters
didn't do their job, not because the debates were very good and close. Some
judges take a ton of time and vote neg, some take a ton of time and vote
aff, some take a ton of time, realize they can't sit out since there is only
1 judge and then flip a coin. Point being- just like debaters do speed
drills, some judges should work on figuring things out faster.

Each debate should be power matched individually/blah blah blah
The value of having more debates outweighs any risk of a negative from
pairing 6 and 7 together. The warrant for pairing them together being bad is
it will affect clearing- which at its core relies on the idea that more
debates are good. Everyone gets a round 8 in this model so its as if you all
cleared and this was CEDA. This is also a random element- it will not affect
anyone disproportionately where as going to 7 or 6 prelims is a regressive
policy- it hurts those at the bottom the most.

Days are long/this will take too long etc
If MBA and CFL's can make an even more radical version of this schedule
work, I'm sure the minds that run college tournaments will be able to handle

Blah blah blah other objection
I wrote way more about this but most have probably stopped reading already
so I will leave it here, but will clarify/respond to objections if the need
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