[eDebate] On 7 Round Tournaments

Abers catspathat
Wed Oct 28 17:48:43 CDT 2009

I think there are some strong arguments against limiting judging time that
makes a 6 round tournament desirable -- essentially, judges need time to get
their stuff together and debaters need time to absorb all the information
the judge has to dish-out.

I have a sense that there are parts of our community that either think a
judges decision is a small concern (an attitude of 'after they've cast the
ballot, who care's') or think that debaters think a judges decision is a
small concern (which in some instances, with some debaters, is a fair
argument), but honestly the majority of things I take out of debate rounds
comes from the judge.
While it's really easy to say 'well the judges should just make decisions
faster, we're here for the students,' in my experience, if the judge has not
had time to adequately prepare, study the flow, possibly read evidence,
possibly even write out their decision that they were planning to just say
to the debaters, then the entire debate can be ruined. I really cannot think
of a thing worse than you're judge, saying after an extremely competitive
round, "you might have won if i'd had more time to fully think through the
round." This happened in at least two of my rounds last year at the
northwestern tournament.

But in addition to avoiding snafu's like that, long decisions that involve
teams asking multiple questions of the judge are awesome.
1.) learn better stuff about the topic -- I've found the post round
invaluable in gaining new ideas and perspectives about arguments i'm
running. This may be a bit obvious, but judges are in unique positions to
help argument developments since not only have they just heard you're entire
argument but chances are (because they're from a different school, different
debate circle, whatever) they have a perspective to offer that can at least
help you debate the argument better in front of that critic, if not improve
the argument over all.
2.) learn better stuff in general -- as anyone who's ever had a judge like
Calum or Pointer explain some extremely difficult acedemic concept like
string theory or a particular authors view on macro biology, judges (as
frequent products of debate themselves) are smart. Taking the time to allow
them to teach us, seems also smart.
3.) helps prefs -- hearing what a judge thinks about specific instances of T
or theory, along with evidence comparison or risk analysis is invaluable
when designing a successful pref sheet. Yes you could also get this
information off debateresults or by asking the judge outside of rounds,
however, again in my experience, none of those have been as reliable as
hearing what the judge has to say after the round.

I also generally find eight round tournaments exhausting.

Abe - GU
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