[eDebate] Judging in the dark

David Glass gacggc
Thu Sep 24 17:38:32 CDT 2009

The only real check on devolution here is to have the judges make sure
that they are going on what they heard and understood from the
debaters during the speeches, and that they use evidence reading
as a purely confirmatory exercise.

So the worst thing would be for debaters to give the judge a copy of their
speech as well before they start, as suggested by Stefan. The speaking
at that point would be completely irrelevant to the debate, except to
determine which portion of the written document is admissible.

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 2:42 PM, Sarah Spring <spring.sarah at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> Sarah
> 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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