[eDebate] Judging in the dark

Pacedebate at aol.com Pacedebate
Thu Sep 24 10:51:53 CDT 2009

In a message dated 9/24/2009 1:24:49 A.M. Central Daylight Time,  
stefan.bauschard at gmail.com writes:

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 

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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