[eDebate] Judging in the dark

Sarah Spring spring.sarah
Thu Sep 24 13:42:25 CDT 2009

David and Stefan raise an interesting point - I think Stefan is  
clearly correct that we are largely judging in the dark. Maybe its  
just my personal lack of a perfect flow - but I often find myself in  
the same position of not knowing what the page-long counterplan does  
or how it competes - debaters largely forget to communicate this  
clearly to the judge (although in the best debates this might not be  
the case). The question becomes either should we push debaters to  
communicate the material more effectively or should we try to access  
the written material?

Secondly, does paperless make this worse or just highlight the  
problems? I think a discussion about flowing I've been having with my  
debaters also highlights this problem, a majority of the 2As on my  
team don't flow the block - they rather just read the cards that are  
read. While I find reading cards to be important - they aren't getting  
what is said exactly. Regardless of the validity of this practice -  
I've seen this symptom alot - debaters feel pressure to read all of  
the cards in the debate and judges just listen - this creates a unique  
imbalance in communication given that debaters have read all of the  
cards, the judges have only listened to the arguments and boom then  
the judges have to catch up and read a ton of cards at the end of the  
debate. 2 hour decisions are probably another symptom of this problem.

  But is it paperless that causes this or perhaps our obsession with  
evidence? I think its more likely that this problem has developed over  
the last few decades and paperless now can give us a way to remedy  
this imbalance - that is that the judge can now probably keep up with  
the evidence in the debate, if we so choose. But - do we want this?  
I'm not quite sure that I do. I agree that the oral communication of  
debate is probably valuable - how do we save it? Just some interesting  
and good questions that I'm not sure I have an answer to.


On Sep 24, 2009, at 7:47 AM, David Glass 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?
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