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Re: Debaters as judges
On 6 Dec 1995, Carson Brackney wrote:
> I don't like the idea of using debaters as judges. My only experience with
> such a system was when I took a Southwestern team to the CA swing a few years
> ago. Nothing horrible happened to them because of it (they would've dropped
> that outround regardless of who was judging), but I have a few concerns with
> the idea.
> 1. The wrong debaters end up judging?
> If I am going to have active debaters judge my teams, I would want the best
> active debaters around in the round. Unfortunately, if you use
> student-involved panels in outrounds, it means that you are using students who
> are NOT in outrounds to judge. In other words, teams that couldn't make it
> out of prelims (or early outs) are judging. Sort of creepy.
While I agree that a successful debater is usually a good indicator of
being an intelligent critic, it is not a requirement. There are many
exceptions to the argument. Additionally, as one can see with the MPJ
debate, our existing pool of critics does not satisfy our expectations.
I believe the loss in credibility someone would receive from issuing an
unintelligent decision would be serious enough to filter through the
potential critics. There could be requirements within tournement rules (such
as you must have broken at one of these tournements A,B,C, or D.)
> 2. How do debaters get coached? >
> One of the first things most coaches do before their teams starts an outround
> is to discuss the panel with the debaters. How does a coach advise her or his
> students to approach a particular panel if they have no idea how one of the
> judges perceives debate? For those of you who believe in less active
> coaching, how do debaters determine on their own how to approach an utter
> unknown as a judge?
The easiest solution for this concern is to require that potential
critics must submit a judging sheet outlining their perspective on
debate. Additionally, it would be easier to coach, because everyone
knows what positions they understand the best.
> 3. Too close for objectivity?
> A week ago, people were in favor of having newbie judges watch rounds until
> they felt comfortable/confident to judge. Now others are expecting a
> non-breaking/advancing debater to do this all of the sudden. The irony.
> Meanwhile, people want to insure "fair" judging at all turns. Now, some
> advocate putting people who still have very direct contact and sometimes
> personal stakes into elim rounds. More irony.
> I am not saying that all active debaters would be corrupt. I am also not
> claiming that receipt of a diploma (or in sadder cases the end of eligibility)
> give someone the magic power of objectivity in all cases. I do, however,
> think that there is a greater likelihood of non-round motivated decisions
> among active debaters.
Well I have a couple ideas. One would be to break divisions, i.e. have
senior drops judge junior out rounds. The other idea is just the
argument that all critics have some link to the activity, or else there
would not be much incentive to judge. This concern, however, is shared
by me. I think that there is potential for abuse, however, I also think
that the loss in credibility would be enough to prevent most cases of
> --There are a few other reasons I can think of, but I'll let this fly as the
> starter set and see what others think. It is an interesting idea, but I don't
> think it is a good one.
> Carson Brackney
> Asst Dir of Speech & Debate
> Wichita State U
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