[eDebate] Judging in the dark

Stefan Bauschard stefan.bauschard
Wed Sep 23 21:00:46 CDT 2009

This is in no way an objection to paperless...

The neg gets the 1AC right before the debate starts...they are ordinarily
asked not to read ahead...but they can read along...the judge sits and
listens -- the best he or she can...maybe yells "clearer" now and then...the
neg doesn't much care about "clearer" because they are just reading...and
maybe quickly changing the small sized font to get more context...

Then the 1NC goes...ditto...they get it all...and are reading along...they
get that long CP text that spikes every 2AC answer and has a crafty
net-benefit..of course, the CP is read really fast and the judge tries to
sit there and figure out what it does while the Aff is reading every word
and integrating cards into their speech.doc.. c-x ensues with everyone but
the judge having read the full text of (just about) everything....

It seems to me that it is nearly impossible for the judge to be as clued-in
to what all the arguments in the debate are/process them as fast since they
are only getting the info orally and others are getting to read it as it

I thought this was always somewhat of a problem..debaters reading cards & CP
texts during the debate...with the judge trying to figure it out after..or
at least getting more clued in later when reading the evidence after the
debate rather than during...but with the participants getting real-time
access to at least all evidence-based things during the debate and the judge
not getting it until after it just seems that  the debate is always going to
proceed wit the participants having a much greater understanding of what is
going on than what the judge can provide by looking at it after the debate.

What do people think of debaters also giving the judge a copy of the speech
before they start? It would clue the judge in a lot faster.  Is it
unreasonable for a judge to ask for this?  I still think judges should just
flow and not read along during the speech since obviously the content of the
speech probably won't exactly match the anticipated speech doc, but as a
judge I'd love to be able to quickly read the CP while it was being
discussed in the c-x, maybe glance at the link cards when the link was being
discussed, maybe look at an un-underlined part of a card when someone tries
to argue that it says the opposite of the underlined part, and maybe scan
through some of the cards during prep time....

I don't think I'm alone in saying that when judging a debate I like to
understand the arguments as much as possible when the debate
progresses...paperless seems to create more judge darkness relative to the
debaters in terms of understanding those arguments...immediately sharing the
doc would reduce the darkness....and it would probably speed-up post-round
decision-making since I'd have a "full" understanding of the arguments
during the debate and would have all the ev I needed to look at immediately
available at the end of the debate.

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