[eDebate] 87 Average?

JP Lacy lacyjp
Thu Oct 8 23:09:27 CDT 2009

[Quick summary -- Judges should figure out the "community scale" & use 
it unless a tournament publishes other guidelines.]

I'm not a numbers person at all. I'm also struggling like everyone else 
with the 100 point scale. My point assignment at GSU & Kentucky was 
basically lousy.

My old scale:

You cheated: 0
Rude: 26
Below average = 27.5
Average = 28
Clearing = 28.5
Getting a top 10 speaker award = 29
Getting a very high speaker award = 29.5

I know, this scale is not optimal. Its inflated compared to most judges, 
but I don't like being a spoiler.

Just for fun, I translated my old scale into a 100 point scale. I used 
division to do it.

Translation of my old scale using math:

Below average = 92
Average = 93
Clearing = 95
Getting a top 10 speaker award = 97
Getting a very high speaker award = 98

Ugh!! That scale is just as bad as the old broken 5 point scale (27.5-29.5)

We all know the old scale isn't very good: The important distinctions 
(The ones between teams clearing & not, and the ones between the top 
speakers) are basically statistical "noise."

So, the 100 point scale is better.

I'm a fan of following the judging pool when it comes to points. I don't 
think its fair to do otherwise. That does not mean "if you got good 
points before, you get them from me." That does mean if your debating in 
the round I judge you is "top ten" quality, you get "top ten" points.

I eyeballed the Kentucky results & came up with the following scale, 
which seems to reflect where the community is going:

Below average = 83 (Depends.) Debaters are above average students. Below 
average competitors don't need a point value to learn how much worse 
than mediocre they were, unless they were rude or cheated.
Average = 85
Clearing (barely)= 87
Clearing high in your not undefeated bracket = 90
Getting a top twenty speaker award = 92
Getting a top ten speaker award = 93
Getting a top five speaker award = 94
Top Speaker = 96

I won't say "this is the proper scale." I won't say it fixes all the 
problems with the old 30 point scale. I will say that after 2 
tournaments, it is the one in use. Out of fairness, I'll stick to it & 
adjust it according to how others use it if tournaments don't publish 

I'm completely in favor of tournaments setting ground rules for the use 
of the scale: It makes results more meaningful.

If a tournament publishes guidelines, I'll follow them. Bucking the 
instructions at a tournament just messes up the results.

-- JP

Brian DeLong wrote:
> Clearly the results from Kentucky show a large discrepancy between  
> pockets of judges in how they are interpreting the 100 point scale.   
> Some people are on this 87=average boat, while others place average at  
> around 78-80ish.  I'm no numbers game, nor an expert on the history of  
> point distribution etc. but I do think more discussion on this scale  
> should occur.
> Reaching consensus is clearly impossible.  People are still going to  
> fight the good fight against point inflation.
> I would suggest that  tournament providers include in their invites an  
> interpretation of the scale to help bridge this present gap.  You will  
> have judges that fight this interpretation and that's fine, but for  
> the rest of us who just want to make sure points are allocated fairly  
> to the debaters it would be a great help to at least find a point of  
> unity somewhere.  Without some point of consistent measurement to work  
> off of we're going to continue to see some fairly decent judges being  
> reduced on the pref sheets.  A counterargument to this is that maybe  
> these anti-point inflation crusaders  aren't that great of judges to  
> begin with in the first place.  Fair enough.  But for those of us who  
> wish to stay in the realm of preferable judge, whether we are good or  
> not, some baseline is needed.
> Maybe it would be wise for us to vote on scales of measurement to set  
> a norm for this community.  We have the ability to set up an informal  
> or formal voting system.  This method would at least take the  
> responsibility off a tournament host from arbitrarily choosing a  
> baseline scale.
> With that said, I am on board with voting for a point system that  
> looks like this:
> 30-29.6 = 100-96
> 29.5-29.0=95-90
> 28.9-28.5=85-89
> 28.4-28=79-84
> 27.9-27=78-72
> 26.9-26.0=71-60
> Thoughts?
> To respond to number's games observations, As Ross Smith once claimed,  
> the most recent scientific data indicates that we naturally cluster  
> numbers to help us simplify complex information.  5 and 10 clustering  
> is only inevitable.
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