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Whose fault: The debater or the judge?

debatability
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3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I was slightly conflicted as to where this post ought to belong, but I decided on the DDO forum because while it may not directly have to do with online debate, the concept is certianly applicable.

My motivation for making this thread comes from my experience at a recent tournament. I attended my national qualifier tournament last weekend feeling pretty confident that I would make it to nationals. I was sorely dissappointed after being eliminated for losing two rounds that I genuinely thought I won. The teams that qualified were all teams I had beat before, so my whole situation was pretty sh1tty. I haven't seen any of my ballots yet, so I'm not sure why I lost those rounds - I will certianly get a better feel for the quality of the judging as well as where I went wrong once I get to see them.

The entire experience has got me thinking about judging. There is no objective criteria that judges conform to when making their decisions, meaning that debates which (in the debaters opinion) should have been won, aren't necessarily always going to be wins. So, when a debater loses a debate they felt they won, who should the debater blame? Themselves or the judge?
Below I have listed a few scenarios which fit with the above discription. I'd like to hear thoughts on who the debater would be justified in blaming in such a scenario.

1. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up due to subject matter not discussed in the round. (in short, the judge making arguments that team B didn't make and voting them up because of it)

2. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up solely due to their stellar performance in crossfire; the RFD contains no analysis of what happened during the rest of the round.

3. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up based on an argument they made during final speech.

4. Team A loses to Team B due to Team A's subpar speaking.

5. Team A loses to Team B because the judge did an inadiquate job of weighing impacts and understanding what happened during the round.

6. Team A loses to Team B because team A had too much evidence for the judge to comprehend.

Yes, these are all real scenarios I have encountered in PFD. Which scenarios are the judges fault and which scenarios are the debaters fault?

Also, I few questions directed at formal debaters:

Firstly, how do you feel about speaker points?
I've always hated the system of calculating speaker points (though I guess it would be impossible to change) because some judges always give high speaker points and some judges always give low speaker points - it becomes more about how lucky a debater gets (pertaining to who judges them) as opposed to how good of a speaker they are.

Secondly, how do you feel about lay judges? Is it ever worth writing a seperate case meant specifically for lay judges?

I'm looking forward to hearing peoples thoughts!!
bsh1
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3/11/2015 12:49:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:

The entire experience has got me thinking about judging. There is no objective criteria that judges conform to when making their decisions, meaning that debates which (in the debaters opinion) should have been won, aren't necessarily always going to be wins. So, when a debater loses a debate they felt they won, who should the debater blame? Themselves or the judge?

I don't think there is any way to say, even on a generic level. A lot of times, it is the judges. Other times, it's the debaters.

1. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up due to subject matter not discussed in the round. (in short, the judge making arguments that team B didn't make and voting them up because of it)

100% the judges fault. That is crappy judging.

2. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up solely due to their stellar performance in crossfire; the RFD contains no analysis of what happened during the rest of the round.

Tougher call. Sometimes, a CX or CF can be so devastating for a case, that really is where the debate is won, so not much else needs to be analyzed. That being said, I would tend to err on the side of judge error here.

3. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up based on an argument they made during final speech.

If the argument was new, which seems like that's what you're getting at, yes...absolutely the judge's fault.

4. Team A loses to Team B due to Team A's subpar speaking.

This is a toughie. If the judges gives their presences and they say persuasion matters more than technical debate, then it isn't the judge's fault that you failed to adapt to their style, even if a judge should not vote exclusively on speaking ability. I would say that cases like this are more likely debater error than judge error. If the judge did not give preferences, and you're not going policy speed (since there is usually a presumption against that in LD and PF anyway), then it is the judge's fault.

5. Team A loses to Team B because the judge did an inadiquate job of weighing impacts and understanding what happened during the round.

That's a loaded question. Isn't all weighing inherently an opinion? What you think is inadequate is not what everyone will think is inadequate. Ultimately, the judge has to render a decision, and saying that it's their fault for not getting the impact calc right just seems like an excuse to blame RFDs you don't like (not that this pertains to you specifically, just generally speaking.)

6. Team A loses to Team B because team A had too much evidence for the judge to comprehend.

Dumb judge. Judge's fault.

Also, I few questions directed at formal debaters:

Firstly, how do you feel about speaker points?

I am usually pretty stingy. I gave out one 28 in 21 rounds of debate I've judged this year. My average is around 25.

If you show up, even if you totally suck, you've got 20 pts. If you are pretty bad but try, it's a 21. If you're bad, it's a 22. If you're lower middle, it's 23-24. If you're middle, it's 24-26. If you're upper middle, it's 26-27. If you're good, it's 28. If you're great, it's 29. If I am singing hallelujah, it's 30.

I've always hated the system of calculating speaker points (though I guess it would be impossible to change) because some judges always give high speaker points and some judges always give low speaker points - it becomes more about how lucky a debater gets (pertaining to who judges them) as opposed to how good of a speaker they are.

IDK...I think they tend to cluster around certain averages. I think judges should be told, though, what a score for a perfectly average performance would be, to give them a benchmark.

Secondly, how do you feel about lay judges? Is it ever worth writing a seperate case meant specifically for lay judges?

Lay judges belong in PF and speech. They can GTFO from LD. Now, "lay" and "parent" are different, IMO.

A lay judge is someone with minimal or no experience. A parent judge can have experience, even if they never debated themselves.
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Zaradi
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3/11/2015 12:58:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Before I even start this, I want to make a note that most losses that we debaters blame on external factors could've actually been remedied by a better performance on our part. Let me explain, while answering the OP.

At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:

1. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up due to subject matter not discussed in the round. (in short, the judge making arguments that team B didn't make and voting them up because of it)

This is one of the few times that a better performance really woulnd't have changed anything since it would be impossible to predict what the judge would make up. It's entirely the judge's fault here.

2. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up solely due to their stellar performance in crossfire; the RFD contains no analysis of what happened during the rest of the round.

This is on the judge, since not only should crossfire be just at the very back of people's minds when making their decision, if at all, but it shouldn't dominate their entire RFD. But this could also have been remedied by the debater by a) performing better in crossfire, or b) making their speeches more impactful as to not be outweighed by a crossfire.

3. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up based on an argument they made during final speech.

4. Team A loses to Team B due to Team A's subpar speaking.

No one to blame but yourself here. Speak better.

5. Team A loses to Team B because the judge did an inadiquate job of weighing impacts and understanding what happened during the round.

No one to blame but yourself again. You have to be able to cater to the judge and, if you're unable to use something watered down enough for him to be able to easily understand it, you have to be able to walk him through all the logical steps your case makes and justify every single one of him. You have to hold his hand to earn his vote. It's not his fault if you don't do it.

6. Team A loses to Team B because team A had too much evidence for the judge to comprehend.

This is just catering to the judge again, althouhg I've never even heard of this being a thing.

Yes, these are all real scenarios I have encountered in PFD.

That would explain 6....

Which scenarios are the judges fault and which scenarios are the debaters fault?

Also, I few questions directed at formal debaters:

I'll answer these later.
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BlackVoid
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3/11/2015 1:17:49 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
You're right that there's no objective template for how to judge irl debate (that I'm aware of). So I'll just give my personal opinion.

At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:

1. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up due to subject matter not discussed in the round. (in short, the judge making arguments that team B didn't make and voting them up because of it)

Obviously, this is a problem with the judge. I shouldn't have to justify this one, we all know all the reasons why this isn't justified.

2. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up solely due to their stellar performance in crossfire; the RFD contains no analysis of what happened during the rest of the round.

It depends on what you mean by "stellar performance". If they did a great job setting the opponent up in crossfire and capitalized on those setups in their speech (for instance, Pro got the opponent to concede to a moral framework that Con was going to run) then that could be a justifiable reason to vote them up. But if they never used anything that happened in Crossfire in their speech, then thats a problem because speeches then become pointless.

3. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up based on an argument they made during final speech.

Depends. I don't know everything about PF, but I'm assuming their final speech is supposed to be summarization only and shouldnt have new arguments or rebuttals. However, if Con did an impact calculus in their final, that could be an "argument" (if you consider it one) the judge could vote on if it was legit.

On DDO, Con's final speech can't have new arguments, but can have new refutations (unless it was specified that the final round is only for summary). For instance:

Pro R2: argument in favor of DP
Con R2: refutation of this argument
Pro R3: defense of this argument
Con R3: refutation of this defense
Pro R4: defense of this refutation
Con r4: refutation of that defense

End of debate.

In a standard 4-round debate where R4 isn't limited to summary only, con can finish his last speech with a refutation of what Pro said in their R4. So, despite it being unrespondable, I would consider voting on that argument if I thought that every other argument made on that point in each of the other rounds was a strong refutation and didn't miss any part of the argument its refuting/defending. However, since I'm guessing PF final speech is crystallization/summary only, they probably shouldn't vote on a new argument or refutation given.

4. Team A loses to Team B due to Team A's subpar speaking.

I don't know if they have this in PF, but in LD, there's a box you check if you gave the win to the person who got less speaks. This directly implies that speaking alone doesn't decide the debate. If it did, then whoever got higher speaks would automatically win.

That said, I'd make an exception if the speaking was extremely poor and I couldn't understand any of it whatsoever. But "subpar", meh. If it was a really close debate, I'd give it to the better speaker. But if the one who spoke worse clearly did better on the flow, they get the W.

5. Team A loses to Team B because the judge did an inadiquate job of weighing impacts and understanding what happened during the round.

Depends. Is there a clear, sizeable difference between the impacts that someone who's done debate could easily identify? If one side argues nuke war and the other argues slightly higher crime rates, and both those impacts were equal on probability, then the judge should be at fault if they didnt vote for nuke war.

If its not so obvious, such as: Pro wins democracy is good and affirming upholds democracy, and neg wins that affirming costs billions of dollars, then its up to the debaters to explain which is more important. If they don't, I can understand the judge going either way.


6. Team A loses to Team B because team A had too much evidence for the judge to comprehend.

I can actually relate to this because I've judged a couple debates where one side read several studies in a row and went through them so quickly that I couldnt keep up writing them on the flow, and ended up missing some of her sources entirely. Fortunately, I was able to vote them up for other reasons, but if the debate came down to those pieces of evidence, I can't tell you what I would have done. Blue's opinion on that should be helpful.
bluesteel
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3/11/2015 2:11:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:
I was slightly conflicted as to where this post ought to belong, but I decided on the DDO forum because while it may not directly have to do with online debate, the concept is certianly applicable.

My motivation for making this thread comes from my experience at a recent tournament. I attended my national qualifier tournament last weekend feeling pretty confident that I would make it to nationals. I was sorely dissappointed after being eliminated for losing two rounds that I genuinely thought I won.

Sorry you went two and out... That really sucks.

The teams that qualified were all teams I had beat before, so my whole situation was pretty sh1tty. I haven't seen any of my ballots yet, so I'm not sure why I lost those rounds - I will certianly get a better feel for the quality of the judging as well as where I went wrong once I get to see them.

The entire experience has got me thinking about judging. There is no objective criteria that judges conform to when making their decisions, meaning that debates which (in the debaters opinion) should have been won, aren't necessarily always going to be wins. So, when a debater loses a debate they felt they won, who should the debater blame? Themselves or the judge?

Always better to blame yourself. Otherwise, you stop treating losses as a learning experience. You shouldn't be satisfied until you think of at least one thing you could have done better in that round, hopefully informed somewhat by the ballot.

Below I have listed a few scenarios which fit with the above discription. I'd like to hear thoughts on who the debater would be justified in blaming in such a scenario.

1. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up due to subject matter not discussed in the round. (in short, the judge making arguments that team B didn't make and voting them up because of it)

Depending on the argument, this is the only scenario you listed where it's okay to blame the judge. But is it? If the judge raises an objection to your case that is super common sense, you should have answered that objection in your case. Your case just wasn't believable without answering that objection. You should be able to anticipate times when you're argument sounds counter-intuitive and you need to answer the main reason that it is counter-intuitive.

If the judge brings up some whacky argument you couldn't have predicted, then sure, blame the judge. There are just some really bad judges. But most judges take judging seriously and are really look to vote up the better team.


2. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up solely due to their stellar performance in crossfire; the RFD contains no analysis of what happened during the rest of the round.

Lesson: get better at crossfire. Seriously it is 9 minutes of a 35 minute debate. It's almost 1/3 of the event. I had my teams practice crossfire and final focus more than anything else. Those are the two most important aspects of the event in my mind because they are the ones that most set you apart. And given the shortened speech times, you need to be able to make addition points in crossfire. But in a manner that asks leading questions, not where you just rant.

I consistently got comments from judges and other coaches asking me how my kids were so good at crossfire. Because we practiced it a lot. And thought up questions and responses to common questions. It matters. If your ballot says the other team owned you in crossfire, that means you lost a lot of credibility in the judges mind and crossfire was an easy tie-breaker. I can't imagine why you would ever blame that on the judge. PF was originally called "Crossfire Debate." It was sponsored by Ted Turner, who started the show Crossfire. Unlike policy where cross-ex is a bit of an afterthought, crossfire in central to this event. And even in policy, I practiced cross-ex literally as much as general speaking skills because it's so important in lay debate (even though in policy it's only like 1/9 of the event.


3. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up based on an argument they made during final speech.

Like a brand new argument I presume? Otherwise this one makes no sense. Still a lesson here. If you know there is a good response to your argument, but it just wasn't made yet, you need to preempt new arguments and briefly explain that it was dropped, which means conceded, and they can't answer it in the last speech.

Also, why was your win so raiser thin that you got beat by one additional response in the final focus. If you owned them, it wouldn't have made a difference. Your final focus probably wasn't compelling enough. Or you should have forced them to make that response earlier, like in crossfire. There's a ton of lessons you can learn from this. Are you really just going to blame the judge and keep losing to teams that make new arguments in the last speech?


4. Team A loses to Team B due to Team A's subpar speaking.

Lesson: get better at speaking. It's important. Seriously. I'm a non-lay judge, and for *really* bad speakers, I find myself zoning out. I can't even listen. And you're in a mostly lay event. You have no excuse for not practicing your speaking skills. Do extemp. Do speaking drills. I also worked a lot with my kids on speaking skills (e.g. louder, slower, more pauses, eye contact, less hand fidgeting, etc.). It matters. It's a shitty reason for a judge to vote, but even when they don't admit it, judges are still considering it. In a way you're lucky you got a judge who was honest enough to admit it was all about speaking skills. As a coach, I would have loved to have my kids get a ballot like that. I could say: see!! You guys need to take your speaking drills more seriously. I know you hate them and think it doesn't matter, but it does.


5. Team A loses to Team B because the judge did an inadiquate job of weighing impacts and understanding what happened during the round.

No way. That's bull. You did a bad job in the summary and final focus of making clear what the most important issues were. You can't force the judge to do all the work and be mad when they did it wrong. Lay judges don't even think in terms of impacts and weighing. I've mentioned final focus strategy to you a few times in the lead-up to this tournament. I was willing to discuss it, but you were more worried about your case. Cases don't matter. I hear amazing cases sometimes, and find it really easy to vote the team down because the summary and final focus were not able to properly extend stuff or weigh stuff or express the same arguments as well as they are laid out in the case.


6. Team A loses to Team B because team A had too much evidence for the judge to comprehend.

Lesson: use less evidence. Or extend the important evidence better. I've told you that you have a problem with this so many times. You use too many long quotes in your case. The only cards that matter are the ones you repeat three times (in the case or rebuttal, and then again in summary, and then again in final focus). Rule of 3. Lay judges don't remember anything unless you repeat it 3 times. And if the quote you use is too jargon-y in the first place, they'll never even get what the evidence said originally. I really think that "you just threw too much at me" is a very valid criticism. I'd say it even as a non-lay judge. You read too many redundant statistics and I had no idea which was important by the final focus. Whereas your opponent stuck with one stat and told me why it was the most important in the debate. Your job as a debater is to synthesize information for me as the judge -- not to throw the kitchen sink at me and hope I pick out the best cards from the chaff.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bsh1
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3/11/2015 2:16:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 2:11:41 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:
I was slightly conflicted as to where this post ought to belong, but I decided on the DDO forum because while it may not directly have to do with online debate, the concept is certianly applicable.

My motivation for making this thread comes from my experience at a recent tournament. I attended my national qualifier tournament last weekend feeling pretty confident that I would make it to nationals. I was sorely dissappointed after being eliminated for losing two rounds that I genuinely thought I won.

Sorry you went two and out... That really sucks.

That happened to me the first time I did districts. I was a sophomore, and my CFL league never saw theory and stuff like that. At NFL districts though, I hit a fem K and a theory argument about education in the debate space. That was a brutal day, and I was totally ill-equipped to deal with those arguments.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bluesteel
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3/11/2015 2:19:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:

Also, Nat Quals is panels of 3 right, by NFL rules. I generally find Nat Quals to be highly accurate in terms of who won, even though it is lay judges. The really whacky decisions tend to be by single judge panels and get evened out with panels of 3. The whole wisdom of crowds effect. Of all the tournaments to blame the judges, I don't think Nat Quals is a good one.

Firstly, how do you feel about speaker points?

At Nat Quals, speaker points are entirely irrelevant... It's double elim. For state quals, they are only a tie-breaker generally (win-loss record is considered first, then ballot count, then speaks). At invitationals, same thing.

I've always hated the system of calculating speaker points (though I guess it would be impossible to change) because some judges always give high speaker points and some judges always give low speaker points - it becomes more about how lucky a debater gets (pertaining to who judges them) as opposed to how good of a speaker they are.

That's silly. The tournament drops your highest and lowest scores. Judges are pretty consistent about scoring really good speakers as near perfect and really terrible speakers with low scores. If you're getting wide variance in your scores, you need to improve your speaking.


Secondly, how do you feel about lay judges? Is it ever worth writing a seperate case meant specifically for lay judges?

PF = lay judges. How is your case *not* being written for lay judges? Every case I've ever helped write for PF has been written specifically for lay judges. We never cater to flow judges in PF, except maybe at TOC where you can get a single panel flow judge, and then I tell my kids to be strict about dropped arguments and impact calculus, but the rest of the debate is still the same. Still lay. Heavy emphasis on explaining stuff. No blippy, tag-liney responses or extensions. Summary and final focus are still pretty heavy on rhetoric. They're not just an attempt to extend every argument made in the debate.

In policy, we absolutely had two cases: one circuit, one lay. But that's policy. I know LDers who have won nationals that just use one case the whole time at nationals, even though there is a mix. And PF is full lay. I don't even understand your question honestly. You should have a mommy-judge in mind *at all times* when you're thinking about how you want to write your case, how you want to do your rebuttals, what questions you want to ask in crossfire, and how you want to frame the debate in the summary and final focus.


I'm looking forward to hearing peoples thoughts!!
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
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3/11/2015 2:27:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 2:16:41 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/11/2015 2:11:41 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:
I was slightly conflicted as to where this post ought to belong, but I decided on the DDO forum because while it may not directly have to do with online debate, the concept is certianly applicable.

My motivation for making this thread comes from my experience at a recent tournament. I attended my national qualifier tournament last weekend feeling pretty confident that I would make it to nationals. I was sorely dissappointed after being eliminated for losing two rounds that I genuinely thought I won.

Sorry you went two and out... That really sucks.

That happened to me the first time I did districts. I was a sophomore, and my CFL league never saw theory and stuff like that. At NFL districts though, I hit a fem K and a theory argument about education in the debate space. That was a brutal day, and I was totally ill-equipped to deal with those arguments.

Your league does hired judges? Mine is/was full lay. Theory doesn't fly, in policy or LD. If someone runs a T shell, you just say, "we don't know what this 'abuse' stuff is. We never punched our opponents or anything...." We'd just make a joke of it, even though *we* knew exactly what they were talking about. But the judges didn't, so there was no point even responding the way we would in a circuit round.

I went 2-2 the first time I went to Nat Quals. It still felt like I did horribly. It doesn't really matter though if you take each loss as a lesson. But once you start having contempt for your judges, you've forever lost. Then you become one of those policy circuit teams who are going to run your circuit arguments no matter what, and then just scoff when the lay judges vote you down. Debate is about *adapting* to the judge; not running whatever you feel like, and then b!tching about the decision afterwards.

I've never attended a single tournament as a coach where I didn't have 1-3 students afterwards who blamed their judge. And only TWICE did I ever agree with them that it was just a bad judge (both times the judge voted on their own personal argument that was a completely unpredictable one that had nothing to do with anything the opponent said). But EVERY OTHER TIME, I'd read the ballot and be able to tell immediately what they did wrong. Granted, I watched those kids in practice so I knew their weaknesses usually going into the tournament. And the ballot was usually getting at one of those weaknesses, even though they didn't want to see it.

I had that argument with kids so many times.... You needed to have done this in the round. Noooo, bluesteel, I mean we agree we could have done that better in that round, BUT the judge was just really bad. Look it says right here.... No, it says that because you didn't do X and Y... But blueeesteeeel, we should have still won even though we didn't do X and Y because we did Z. Um yeah, it doesn't matter. X and Y are important, and it's perfectly legit for a judge to vote against you for not doing X and Y. Work harder on X and Y next time... Butttt.... No buts. You can't blame your judge. If you want to win, you need to learn to debate in a way so even this judge would vote for you.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bsh1
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3/11/2015 2:43:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 2:27:54 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 2:16:41 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/11/2015 2:11:41 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:
I was slightly conflicted as to where this post ought to belong, but I decided on the DDO forum because while it may not directly have to do with online debate, the concept is certianly applicable.

My motivation for making this thread comes from my experience at a recent tournament. I attended my national qualifier tournament last weekend feeling pretty confident that I would make it to nationals. I was sorely dissappointed after being eliminated for losing two rounds that I genuinely thought I won.

Sorry you went two and out... That really sucks.

That happened to me the first time I did districts. I was a sophomore, and my CFL league never saw theory and stuff like that. At NFL districts though, I hit a fem K and a theory argument about education in the debate space. That was a brutal day, and I was totally ill-equipped to deal with those arguments.

Your league does hired judges? Mine is/was full lay. Theory doesn't fly, in policy or LD. If someone runs a T shell, you just say, "we don't know what this 'abuse' stuff is. We never punched our opponents or anything...." We'd just make a joke of it, even though *we* knew exactly what they were talking about. But the judges didn't, so there was no point even responding the way we would in a circuit round.

Ours is mostly parents who have been judging for awhile (in LD), ex-policy debaters (policy), and lay judges (everywhere else.) Our policy rounds are super wierd...and, unfortunately, I am perpetually drafted to judge policy...

I mean, that was only the second year our team ever existed, and I made nationals in CFLs even after I dropped out after 2 rounds at NFL Quals. I never attended an NFL nationals, actually (3 years of CatNats, though). But, only like 4 kids would ever attend in any one event, and it was the least well attended, biggest joke of a tournament. I just struggled to adapt my sophomore and junior years, and I was unable to attend my senior year.

Debate is about *adapting* to the judge; not running whatever you feel like, and then b!tching about the decision afterwards.

Agreed, though, by the sound of it, I am more willing to blame the judges than you.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bluesteel
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3/11/2015 2:44:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:


Also, you should be asking general questions about what was different about this tournament than the last few. More lay judges? You're not good at lay; you need to improve. Did you practice less before the tournament? Strategize less about final focus? Do fewer crossfire drills? It's a perfect opportunity to figure out what you were doing before that was working or what problem areas you have and need to fix.

Losses are awesome. They are such a key data point about what you need to do to improve. And a great motivator.

I had kids who just didn't listen to me when I asked them to practice certain things. They thought drills were boring. And *some* of them kept winning anyway. Until they suffered an agonizing loss in a late round. And only then did they want to take practicing more seriously. Although one senior team came to me after going two and out at the state championships and watching later rounds and FINALLY said, "okay, I see now why we need blocks and more organized rebuttals. We just watched a team that was winging it, and it was disorganized and useless and impossible to follow."

The kids that did the best were the ones who were willing to practice a lot (and didn't drag their feet the entire time) and who took losses as a learning lesson, instead of just getting pissed at the judges.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
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3/11/2015 2:46:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 2:43:05 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/11/2015 2:27:54 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 2:16:41 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/11/2015 2:11:41 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:
I was slightly conflicted as to where this post ought to belong, but I decided on the DDO forum because while it may not directly have to do with online debate, the concept is certianly applicable.

My motivation for making this thread comes from my experience at a recent tournament. I attended my national qualifier tournament last weekend feeling pretty confident that I would make it to nationals. I was sorely dissappointed after being eliminated for losing two rounds that I genuinely thought I won.

Sorry you went two and out... That really sucks.

That happened to me the first time I did districts. I was a sophomore, and my CFL league never saw theory and stuff like that. At NFL districts though, I hit a fem K and a theory argument about education in the debate space. That was a brutal day, and I was totally ill-equipped to deal with those arguments.

Your league does hired judges? Mine is/was full lay. Theory doesn't fly, in policy or LD. If someone runs a T shell, you just say, "we don't know what this 'abuse' stuff is. We never punched our opponents or anything...." We'd just make a joke of it, even though *we* knew exactly what they were talking about. But the judges didn't, so there was no point even responding the way we would in a circuit round.

Ours is mostly parents who have been judging for awhile (in LD), ex-policy debaters (policy), and lay judges (everywhere else.) Our policy rounds are super wierd...and, unfortunately, I am perpetually drafted to judge policy...

I mean, that was only the second year our team ever existed, and I made nationals in CFLs even after I dropped out after 2 rounds at NFL Quals. I never attended an NFL nationals, actually (3 years of CatNats, though). But, only like 4 kids would ever attend in any one event, and it was the least well attended, biggest joke of a tournament. I just struggled to adapt my sophomore and junior years, and I was unable to attend my senior year.

Debate is about *adapting* to the judge; not running whatever you feel like, and then b!tching about the decision afterwards.

Agreed, though, by the sound of it, I am more willing to blame the judges than you.

Well, I had one of the best lay policy coaches in the country. It's easier to blame the judge when you only have circuit coaches and you don't even understand how to adapt. So you don't really understand why you lost; you're just like -- this stupid judge doesn't understand the only type of debate I was taught to do.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Zaradi
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3/11/2015 3:14:32 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
+1 to pretty much everything bluesteel has said in this thread.

inb4 i'm fanboying. 1. Totally irrelevant to the fact that he's just right, and 2. Only a little.
Want to debate? Pick a topic and hit me up! - http://www.debate.org...
bluesteel
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3/11/2015 3:30:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:14:32 AM, Zaradi wrote:
+1 to pretty much everything bluesteel has said in this thread.

inb4 i'm fanboying. 1. Totally irrelevant to the fact that he's just right, and 2. Only a little.

lol thanks....
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
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3/11/2015 3:43:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Liz, honestly, I've never even watched you debate. But I can guess what your problems are based on (1) what 90% of PFers do wrong, and (2) seeing your cases and watching you speak spontaneously in that election video thing.

(1) You don't really know what you're going to do in final focus. You don't practice extensions ahead of time. You let the round dictate your final focus, which usually means it's blippy and way too rebuttal-centric. 70% of a final focus should be case extensions (and only on two arguments). And you need your rhetoric to be somewhat pre-canned. In PF, you need buzz words and catchy phrases to be memorable because the speech times are just too short. And yeah, the biggest mistake I see in final focuses is doing rebuttal extensions mostly. It's not a rebuttal speech. You need to extend your offense. Supposedly your case reflects the reasons you think are the strongest rationales for affirming or negating. If you're not extending those strongest reasons, you're focusing way too much on defense.

(2) You talk too much like a debater. You write like a debater. You need to talk to people like you are chatting with a friend at the cafeteria table. It's true in so many fields. Why is Robert Reich so widely read. Because he writes like a NORMAL PERSON, instead of an economist. Same thing with Steven Levitt. These aren't some dry econ textbook. Why is Malcolm Gladwell so widely read. Because he writes like a NORMAL PERSON would talk. "Blink" doesn't sound like some dry psychology professor wrote it. It sounds like a very articulate friend is explaining really cool psychological studies to you over a beer at the bar. It's the same with debate. Write your cases like you would explain your case to a friend who doesn't do debate. Talk in rebuttal like you would just talk to a friend. Even flow judges prefer conversational speech styles to the blippy debater style. We like warrants, i.e. explaining things to us as if we didn't know anything about the topic. We like speeches that are pleasing to listen to.

(3) Cross-fire. You can own people in crossfire. I offered to show you over Hangouts. The offer still stands. You asked me what case I would run. It doesn't even matter. I could pretend I was *silent* for four minutes and still own you in crossfire just on flaws in YOUR case. It's about asking the right question initially. Asking the right follow-up questions. Knowing how to control the crossfire. Knowing when you've made your point to the judge and to move on. The biggest mistake I see are people who think they are cross-firing to get their opponent to concede. Your opponent is never going to say, "yup, you're right, I lose." But you can use the fact that they won't concede something obvious to make them look like an absolute idiot in front of the judge. Okay, sometimes you will just ask them a question that they have NO answer to and there is just an embarrassing silence. That's awesome. But usually, they do say something, you just have to know how to convey to the judge how stupid their response is if you really think about it. Once you absolutely own them in crossfire on an argument, your rebuttal doesn't even matter. The judge will remember that crossfire and is just not going to vote on that argument. It's just been so discredited.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
debatability
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3/11/2015 8:09:58 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 2:16:41 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/11/2015 2:11:41 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:
I was slightly conflicted as to where this post ought to belong, but I decided on the DDO forum because while it may not directly have to do with online debate, the concept is certianly applicable.

My motivation for making this thread comes from my experience at a recent tournament. I attended my national qualifier tournament last weekend feeling pretty confident that I would make it to nationals. I was sorely dissappointed after being eliminated for losing two rounds that I genuinely thought I won.

Sorry you went two and out... That really sucks.

That happened to me the first time I did districts. I was a sophomore, and my CFL league never saw theory and stuff like that. At NFL districts though, I hit a fem K and a theory argument about education in the debate space. That was a brutal day, and I was totally ill-equipped to deal with those arguments.

Yeah that happened to one of my teammates in LD and they were pretty good, but got really unlucky with who they hit.

I didn't actually go two and out. I'm like 5th or 4th alternate or something like that. I did pretty well, I just lost my 5th and 6th round.
I should have been more clear in the OP; the rounds that I did lose were losses that kind of pissed me off but I thankfully did well.

I'm glad I got through a few rounds because it gives me more experience in preperation for my state qualifier.
debatability
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3/11/2015 8:21:58 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 2:19:48 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 3/11/2015 12:28:18 AM, debatability wrote:

Also, Nat Quals is panels of 3 right, by NFL rules. I generally find Nat Quals to be highly accurate in terms of who won, even though it is lay judges. The really whacky decisions tend to be by single judge panels and get evened out with panels of 3. The whole wisdom of crowds effect. Of all the tournaments to blame the judges, I don't think Nat Quals is a good one.

Firstly, how do you feel about speaker points?

At Nat Quals, speaker points are entirely irrelevant... It's double elim. For state quals, they are only a tie-breaker generally (win-loss record is considered first, then ballot count, then speaks). At invitationals, same thing.

Yeah; I was one speaker point away from going to state my freshman year. I can't complain too much though because I did extremely well considering I was a novice.


I've always hated the system of calculating speaker points (though I guess it would be impossible to change) because some judges always give high speaker points and some judges always give low speaker points - it becomes more about how lucky a debater gets (pertaining to who judges them) as opposed to how good of a speaker they are.

That's silly. The tournament drops your highest and lowest scores. Judges are pretty consistent about scoring really good speakers as near perfect and really terrible speakers with low scores. If you're getting wide variance in your scores, you need to improve your speaking.

I get relatively consistant speaker points, but I had a discussion over speaker points with my teammate and some judges before a round the judges were talking about how they gave speaker points and some of the judges said they were very generous, whereas others were pretty stingy. I've never been bothered though, because like you said the highest and lowest score are dropped. I got a much wider variance in LD, but in PF i usually get around a 28 to a 29.



Secondly, how do you feel about lay judges? Is it ever worth writing a seperate case meant specifically for lay judges?

PF = lay judges. How is your case *not* being written for lay judges? Every case I've ever helped write for PF has been written specifically for lay judges. We never cater to flow judges in PF, except maybe at TOC where you can get a single panel flow judge, and then I tell my kids to be strict about dropped arguments and impact calculus, but the rest of the debate is still the same. Still lay. Heavy emphasis on explaining stuff. No blippy, tag-liney responses or extensions. Summary and final focus are still pretty heavy on rhetoric. They're not just an attempt to extend every argument made in the debate.

In policy, we absolutely had two cases: one circuit, one lay. But that's policy. I know LDers who have won nationals that just use one case the whole time at nationals, even though there is a mix. And PF is full lay. I don't even understand your question honestly. You should have a mommy-judge in mind *at all times* when you're thinking about how you want to write your case, how you want to do your rebuttals, what questions you want to ask in crossfire, and how you want to frame the debate in the summary and final focus.



That question was totally targeted towards LD and Policy more than PF.

I'm looking forward to hearing peoples thoughts!!
16kadams
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3/11/2015 8:26:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:43:40 AM, bluesteel wrote:
Liz, honestly, I've never even watched you debate. But I can guess what your problems are based on (1) what 90% of PFers do wrong, and (2) seeing your cases and watching you speak spontaneously in that election video thing.

(1) You don't really know what you're going to do in final focus. You don't practice extensions ahead of time. You let the round dictate your final focus, which usually means it's blippy and way too rebuttal-centric. 70% of a final focus should be case extensions (and only on two arguments). And you need your rhetoric to be somewhat pre-canned. In PF, you need buzz words and catchy phrases to be memorable because the speech times are just too short. And yeah, the biggest mistake I see in final focuses is doing rebuttal extensions mostly. It's not a rebuttal speech. You need to extend your offense. Supposedly your case reflects the reasons you think are the strongest rationales for affirming or negating. If you're not extending those strongest reasons, you're focusing way too much on defense.

(2) You talk too much like a debater. You write like a debater. You need to talk to people like you are chatting with a friend at the cafeteria table. It's true in so many fields. Why is Robert Reich so widely read. Because he writes like a NORMAL PERSON, instead of an economist. Same thing with Steven Levitt.

So many times this. Levitt, Lott, Reich, Sowell, Friedman, Krugman: they all write like they're your friend, not a teacher.

These aren't some dry econ textbook. Why is Malcolm Gladwell so widely read. Because he writes like a NORMAL PERSON would talk. "Blink" doesn't sound like some dry psychology professor wrote it. It sounds like a very articulate friend is explaining really cool psychological studies to you over a beer at the bar. It's the same with debate. Write your cases like you would explain your case to a friend who doesn't do debate. Talk in rebuttal like you would just talk to a friend. Even flow judges prefer conversational speech styles to the blippy debater style. We like warrants, i.e. explaining things to us as if we didn't know anything about the topic. We like speeches that are pleasing to listen to.

(3) Cross-fire. You can own people in crossfire. I offered to show you over Hangouts. The offer still stands. You asked me what case I would run. It doesn't even matter. I could pretend I was *silent* for four minutes and still own you in crossfire just on flaws in YOUR case. It's about asking the right question initially. Asking the right follow-up questions. Knowing how to control the crossfire. Knowing when you've made your point to the judge and to move on. The biggest mistake I see are people who think they are cross-firing to get their opponent to concede. Your opponent is never going to say, "yup, you're right, I lose." But you can use the fact that they won't concede something obvious to make them look like an absolute idiot in front of the judge. Okay, sometimes you will just ask them a question that they have NO answer to and there is just an embarrassing silence. That's awesome. But usually, they do say something, you just have to know how to convey to the judge how stupid their response is if you really think about it. Once you absolutely own them in crossfire on an argument, your rebuttal doesn't even matter. The judge will remember that crossfire and is just not going to vote on that argument. It's just been so discredited.
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whiteflame
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3/11/2015 9:08:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The entire experience has got me thinking about judging. There is no objective criteria that judges conform to when making their decisions, meaning that debates which (in the debaters opinion) should have been won, aren't necessarily always going to be wins. So, when a debater loses a debate they felt they won, who should the debater blame? Themselves or the judge?

I don't think it makes a lot of sense to place blame in the moment. Oftentimes, I really have to go back and analyze the debate as a whole a day or two out to get a real feel for what happened, and if I'm still confused, then I generally blame the judge. It's happened more than a few times, unfortunately. Insight from other debaters who were watching or thought about the topic tends to help as well, at least in assessing your own fault.

1. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up due to subject matter not discussed in the round. (in short, the judge making arguments that team B didn't make and voting them up because of it)

Yeah, I hate judges that do this, and I've seen it a lot. There's no justification for doing this, as far as I'm concerned.

2. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up solely due to their stellar performance in crossfire; the RFD contains no analysis of what happened during the rest of the round.

Since I haven't had a lot of experience in debate styles that include crossfire, I am probably not the best source for this. I know that crossfire for me functions along similar lines to points of information, and I've heard judges give RFDs where they said that the questions/statements made by the other side in points of information were critical to the debate. Of course, if they were good, the judges had to note whether that information was used by the debaters in round as well, since a point of information is not an argument by itself.

Still, I see some merit in awarding points based on crossfire, at least speaker points. Not sure I could justify awarding the debate to the team that did best only in crossfire, and I'd have a distinct problem with ignoring the rest of the debate.

3. Team A loses to Team B due to a judge voting team B up based on an argument they made during final speech.

This one's trickier than it sounds. If it's a brand new argument made in the final round, then there's no doubt, it needs to be stricken. I know in Parli, they allow points of order to address these, but in other styles it's left to the judges. That makes for some difficulties, to be sure, if a judge just decides to go with it.

The issue is that sometimes it's not a brand new argument. Sometimes it's a new warrant or impact for an old argument. I always get hung up on these because it's new analysis, often responsive to criticisms from the other side, that suddenly makes an argument that was irrelevant going into the final round relevant. I generally have a problem with giving these too much weight, though I don't always discount them either.

4. Team A loses to Team B due to Team A's subpar speaking.

Depends how subpar. If Team A had the better case, but much of it was incomprehensible, then it justifies the decision. If it's anything less than that, the decision isn't justified.

5. Team A loses to Team B because the judge did an inadiquate job of weighing impacts and understanding what happened during the round.

I think the problem here is just explicit. If the judge did an inadequate job of anything, generally that's a problem. If they did that so pervasively as this, they are at great fault.

6. Team A loses to Team B because team A had too much evidence for the judge to comprehend.

Again, not as clear as it appears. If the basis is solely that Team A had too much information, that's not a good reason. If the basis is that Team A had so many sources that they just splattered them all over the round without substantial explanation or reasoning, then the judge can have a point. It's a pretty hard line, but it can become fuzzy depending on how it's phrased in the RFD.

Yes, these are all real scenarios I have encountered in PFD. Which scenarios are the judges fault and which scenarios are the debaters fault?

Also, I few questions directed at formal debaters:

Firstly, how do you feel about speaker points?

They seem like a reasonable thing to have, not that I'm commonly the top recipient in a round. I think it's necessary to have some means of determining the better speakers of the tournament, in dependent of how they do in their rounds.

I've always hated the system of calculating speaker points (though I guess it would be impossible to change) because some judges always give high speaker points and some judges always give low speaker points - it becomes more about how lucky a debater gets (pertaining to who judges them) as opposed to how good of a speaker they are.

Yeah, it's not very consistent, is it? All the same, some debaters manage to get pretty insane speaker points consistently. It's difficult to require that every follow the same standard for speaker points, especially since it's more subjective than picking a winning side. I know I've struggled with speaker points on more than one occasion between someone who was better organized and someone who was more eloquent. And some styles of debate don't even allow low point wins, so that's another issue. Generally, I just don't read too much into speaker points, it makes the process of determining what the judge was thinking all the more complicated. I tend to be conservative with my numbers when I'm judging, though I have given out a handful of 30's before.

Secondly, how do you feel about lay judges? Is it ever worth writing a seperate case meant specifically for lay judges?

Usually not too happy with them. Lay judges tend to miss a lot of material, they don't understand the basic jargon, and a lot of the nuance of debate goes over their heads. A good lay judge is one that has been informed by the tournament director of all the things they need to look for in the debate, and has absorbed it well. A bad lay judge is... well basically anyone else. Lay judges tend to be more volatile and decide based on who they liked better rather than who actually won the debate. I've been bitten by them more than a few times.

It's worth being prepared to tone down the jargon and slow down for a lay judge. I think those are just generally good skills to have. It's not always going to be a big help, but it will ensure that they can follow you more easily. Doesn't require a separate case, but it may require stripping some pieces out before you start.

I'm looking forward to hearing peoples thoughts!!
Raisor
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3/11/2015 9:23:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
This is why you don't do PFD.

I'm partly joking, but seriously public forum isn't a debate event, it's a speaking event with arguments and reasoning like extemp. PF is about convincing lay audiences, which is a valuable skill but comes at the cost of high quality judges and close analysis of evidence and arguments. IMO there's no such thing as a bad PF judge because the whole purpose of the event is to put in a convincing speech performance, not to make better arguments
YYW
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3/11/2015 10:51:15 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 9:23:16 AM, Raisor wrote:
This is why you don't do PFD.

I'm partly joking, but seriously public forum isn't a debate event, it's a speaking event with arguments and reasoning like extemp. PF is about convincing lay audiences, which is a valuable skill but comes at the cost of high quality judges and close analysis of evidence and arguments. IMO there's no such thing as a bad PF judge because the whole purpose of the event is to put in a convincing speech performance, not to make better arguments

I don't know that I would agree with that. PF at local tournaments sucks because debaters can do crazy stuff and still win by bamboozling the judges, but at national qualifiers (just based on the way they work) even if the system is imperfect it's a really accurate gauge of who should advance and who should not.

It's not impossible to get a bad panel of three, but it's unlikely that you're going to have three really bad judges on your panel, and because of that, you're a lot more likely to get a fair outcome from a panel than from a single judge. I am highly reluctant to blame tournament judges, because it's been my general experience that most of them really do try to judge fairly and to the best of their ability and many do a good job of that.
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Khaos_Mage
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3/11/2015 10:53:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Since the purpose of debate is not to find the truth, but to win the judges favor, I'd have to say the fault is on the debater for not adjusting for their audience.

This obviously does not apply to grossly improper judging.
My work here is, finally, done.
Raisor
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3/11/2015 11:23:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 10:51:15 AM, YYW wrote:
At 3/11/2015 9:23:16 AM, Raisor wrote:
This is why you don't do PFD.

I'm partly joking, but seriously public forum isn't a debate event, it's a speaking event with arguments and reasoning like extemp. PF is about convincing lay audiences, which is a valuable skill but comes at the cost of high quality judges and close analysis of evidence and arguments. IMO there's no such thing as a bad PF judge because the whole purpose of the event is to put in a convincing speech performance, not to make better arguments

I don't know that I would agree with that. PF at local tournaments sucks because debaters can do crazy stuff and still win by bamboozling the judges, but at national qualifiers (just based on the way they work) even if the system is imperfect it's a really accurate gauge of who should advance and who should not.

It's not impossible to get a bad panel of three, but it's unlikely that you're going to have three really bad judges on your panel, and because of that, you're a lot more likely to get a fair outcome from a panel than from a single judge. I am highly reluctant to blame tournament judges, because it's been my general experience that most of them really do try to judge fairly and to the best of their ability and many do a good job of that.

Not sure if you replied to the wrong post....

I'm saying you can't blame judges for almost any of the things in op.
Daktoria
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3/11/2015 12:23:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 3:43:40 AM, bluesteel wrote:
Because he writes like a NORMAL PERSON, instead of an economist.

Normalcy is often the problem. :-\

If anything, normal people are often stupid, closed-minded, and stuck in their ways.

In fact, this is a classic criticism of capitalism. Capitalism supposedly conserves the status quo of social status in society by hiding behind folk community common sense in its definition of the properness behind property rights.

If you're judging right and wrong debate based on how "normal people" speak, you're part of the problem, not the solution.
Daktoria
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3/11/2015 12:25:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I mean isn't that the point of criticizing capitalism - to be openminded to the diversity of people's lifestyles instead of expecting people to just conform to normal relations of production according to how ancestors used to do things before?
Daktoria
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3/11/2015 12:31:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Another thing is people often say you need to debate to the environment, but that's a problem because environments themselves are subject to interpretation. Those who speak and act in an environment don't necessarily have the same visions in mind as to how an environment should carry on into the future. If you say we should debate to the environment, then you're basically making an appeal to tradition in the way of conserving the status quo of how people already speak (as well as how people speak influences the values and standards of how people interact).

I mean there comes a point in debate where, yes, the judge deserves to be blamed. It is not your responsibility to cater entirely to judges. Judges are supposed to be thoughtful in considering what's really going on... unless they're arrogant jerks who just expect to be sucked up to.
Daktoria
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3/11/2015 1:00:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Anyway, I'm just speaking from the perspective of a judge who hates when debaters try to win a debate by telling me what I want to hear. Debate the topic. Don't try to get in my head. One thing I really hate is when coaches try to "learn" who you are, and then teach their teams, "OK, this judge likes this, so we have to debate this way." No, don't do that. Just debate the topic.

On top of that, I'm very well familiar of how other judges will deliberately play favorites with those who debate the way they want, so yes, I'll counter-score in order to balance out that favoritism. For example, some judges find it charming when a debater makes jokes. I like jokes too, but jokes are a distraction. You'll actually get penalized from me if you do that, and if I believe another judge will give you bonus points for being funny, then I'll penalize you even more.

I just won't tell you that you got penalized to balance out another judge. I'll tell you something else that otherwise makes sense.