Roy raised a lot of questions in his post TOC reflections post that I think deserve some discussion. The ones I didn’t address were generally dumb.
Many of the toc elim panels had younger judges and or judges who had judged less on the topic (we were extremely happy with our panel all 3 hs coaches). I’m not one to judge other people’s preferences but it seemed interesting at how that happened. These judges are obviously preferred highly by people (not making a value judgment here) but is it because they know and have been judged by these people or because in order to fill spots in their pref sheets they needed to move people up.
I think Roy has put together quite a few issues here that need to be separated out.
First – Young judges. I think there are quite a few reasons young judges get preffed a lot more at the TOC, some of the most important being
-profile- people generally assume they have a better grasp on how these people think (based on how they debate) then they do on coaches who they are quite a few years removed from
-neg terrorism – most people assume (prob correctly) that if winning on the negative requires a 1NC filled with multiple conditional PICS and a K that younger judges are a better target audience. That they have to be aff seems not to factor in as much.
-Ageism- its obviously a fact that younger judges are more chic than the dinosaurs, no rational expectation required.
Issue 2- judges who aren’t familiar with the topic
I don’t really think this is much of an issue- how many of the elim debates were actually about/required topic knowledge? Personally I would rather have a good judge than a knowledgeable judge.
Issue 3- Judges available on elim day
This, as I see it, is the biggest problem in college and high school. The pool of judges available for elims is much smaller that need be in order to give all the teams highly preferred judges in their elim debates. Travel is often a limiting factor, but even accounting for that there are always lots of judges around it seems who could be put in the pool. Some kind of incentive system could be used to make more judges available.
4.) We need to consider a strong and enforced version of the NDT “Lupo” rule.
No, we don’t. Lets set aside for a second that this kind of rule is totally impossible to monitor, unenforceable, and in general unworkable.
Lets look through a bunch of different situations and how the quotae would play out. In order
1. Small team- 2 debaters, 1 coach who fulfills the whole commitment. Perhaps they get a little better judging due to quota
2. Same as above, only coach hires out commitment so they can cut cards/scout. Under quota they now have to judge 3, almost cutting their work time in half. Disaster.
3. Small team again, this time they have 2 coaches who are splitting the commitment. Under quota 1 of them judges an extra debate, no major change either way.
So for small schools the quota is negligible or very bad. Moving on to large schools, which is primarily who this quota is designed to effect. So say large school A called shmoodward has 1 team but brings a staff of 5 people (why they are a large school is apparently based on number of coaches or historical success…). Under the quota their judges are in for 15 rounds when their commitment is 5.
The problem with the quota is it tries to take from people a ton of free labor. Why will schools pay to bring people to the TOC if they will be giving away their labor to the commons?
If you really want more judges in the pool for more debates you need to raise the commitment per team, not use a quota. Forcing people to prepare for and allocate the rounds in advance means the market will take care of things. Schools will either have to hire more rounds or bring more people to judge and put in the pool.
Now the obvious objection to this approach is “bad judges will be in for more debates, while good judges will still be in for 1/0”. This is a fair objection. But the problem isn’t unique to upping the commitment, the problem is that teams are able to provide non preferred judges in the first place. This is why you never have this sort of problem at the St Marks tournament (and why in general Mahoney should run every tournament)- because the issue of quality judging is made a priority by the tournament and is therefore taken care of.
If the issue is “we don’t like that people are brought to the TOC who don’t judge” then by all means -quota. If the issue is “we want more highly preferred judges judging a lot of debates” then quota is dumb.
The elim debates seemed to be really close, or at least there were a lot of split decisions. 5 out of 8 octos were 2-1s, 3 out of 4 quarters debates, one semis, and the finals
It’s always kind of puzzled me that the TOC hasn’t moved to larger elim panels in the vein of the NDT. Obviously if judging is already tight moving to larger panels will be a disaster. But with so many 2-1 decisions there has to be a lot of disgruntled students wishing for larger panels.
Some rambling to the effect of elims were neg biased.
Is anyone shocked by this? This has to have been the worst topic for the aff in quite some time. Add to that its apparently ok to read 4 cp’s and a K in the 1NC. Anyone who planned to flip aff one elim day should get their head examined. This makes Westminster’s run even more amazing.
What happened to the courts as an aff mechanism?
The fact that so many people were impact turning nonsense like independent judiciary during the year meant that anyone wanting to switch to the court had to do a crapload of work to get ready for it effectively nullifying any advantage they gained. Add to that the politics disad blew, which moots another traditional advantage of the court.