[eDebate] Judging in the dark

stefan.bauschard stefan.bauschard
Thu Sep 24 11:06:12 CDT 2009

I'm saying some things:

1) In the status quo (paper status quo) it is hard to (fully) understand the
cards plan/CP texts as presented in the debate. Yes, you can obviously get
the basic jist, but if people could fully understand the evidence
then debaters (who usually sit closer to each other than the judge sits to
either team) would not be so concerned about how to immediately access the
other teams evidence -- even before the speech is over.  I don't think I'm
the only one who has observed that more and more teams just read through the
cards after other team finishes instead of even trying to *listen* to the
other team's evidence as it is presented.

And, at the very least, the debaters in the debate have a greater
understanding of all of the arguments *as the debate progresses* than the
judge because they have the opportunity to both read and listen as the
debate progresses.

2) This debater/judge gap is likey to get magnified as the debaters just
jump/share the speeches with each other.
3) Unlike in the past where it was not practical to have an additional copy
available for the judge to see as the debate goes on, it is now incredibly

4) Yes, an alternative is "CLEARER," but for the alternative to allow the
judge to understand the arguments as they progress as well as the debaters
in the debate who can now even more easily read all of the evidence as the
debate progresses, they will have to slow down *considerably* in most
instances.  If they did, this would arguably even eliminate the need for
figuring out how judges should handle the swapping of the speech docs in the
debates because the debaters wouldn't need immediate access to the evidence
in most instances.  There doesn't seem to be any dissent from the basic
contention that debaters should be able to get the other teams evidence in
(almost) real time, so I'm not sure why the person who adjudicates the
debate should not see it in (almost) real time.

5) I'm not saying judges HAVE to do this.  But if you are a judge who reads
every single card relevant to the decision at the end of the debate, I'm not
sure why you wouldn't want to read it during the debate.

6) RE: Stannard's "debater's wouldn't be able to spin" -- yeah, it would be
harder to spin because everyone could "understand" what your evidence says.
The fact that you can so easily spin it now means it isn't being presented
in a (fully) comprehensible form.

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 8:47 AM, David Glass <gacggc at gmail.com> wrote:

> It just seems that what your'e really saying is that the debate is
> really becoming
> a written activity not an oral activity, and the limits as to what
> material is entered
> into the debate is how much can be read during speech time... but the way
> the
> information is actually understood and processed is via reading - and
> paperless
> definitely accentuates this and flips the balance to the round being more
> about
> written-word processing.
> On Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 10:00 PM, Stefan Bauschard
> <stefan.bauschard at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 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
> > goes...
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>  > _______________________________________________
> > eDebate mailing list
> > eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
> > http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate
> >

Stefan Bauschard

President & Co-Founder, PlanetDebate.com
Debate Coach, Harvard Debate
Director of Debate, Lakeland Schools
Director of Development & Operations, NFL National Tournament 2011

(c) 781-775-0433
(fx) 617-588-0283
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