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USDEBATE  April 2014

USDEBATE April 2014

Subject:

Re: A couple proposals

From:

"James P.E. Hardy" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

USA Debating in the WUDC Format <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 8 Apr 2014 17:14:42 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (357 lines)

Hi James,

So it's clear, it's being looked at and discussed by the CA team and  
John Schultz of Purdue. We can't ever reply to things on the listserv  
effectively because the discussion moves so fast that it's impossible  
to get a cogent and unified answer out in time - and none of us want  
to speak on behalf of the team in case we disagree.

We will discuss and are discussing all concerns being raised on the  
listserv. We will have answers and policies to announce as soon as  
possible.

James

Quoting James Kilcup <[log in to unmask]>:

> Thanks for your insight on this Michael. I think there might be two
> takeaways for improving scratch policy:
>
> 1) A very public announcement should made describing what is and is not a
> legitimate scratch, and encouraging any and all to feel comfortable coming
> to the CA team in the event of a legitimate scratch. It should probably be
> made clear that a "history of animosity" does not include a debater's sense
> that the judge dislikes them or has capriciously penalized them in the
> past. Debaters should be told that claiming scratches short of these
> standards will be treated skeptically and that little can be done to save
> their immortal souls.
>
> 2) Two discretionary scratches should be made available without need for
> justification to deal with the situations Ruth identified (indeed, we could
> ask why stop at two, and there's no perfect answer here, but I think this
> would do quite a bit of good even if it doesn't cover every conceivable
> situation).
>
> Doing these two things would go a long way toward dealing with legitimate
> concerns of special treatment of socially ensconced debaters as well as
> providing an avenue to protect debaters from being evaluated by judges when
> it would be inappropriate or harmful.
>
> Thanks everyone for your input on these ideas. My hope was that they could
> marginally improve our activity. I hope the CA and tab team take a look at
> this thread and consider implementing these proposals at this year's USUDC!
>
> Best,
> James
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 10:28 AM, Michael Baer <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> Having just administered a process for scratches at Worlds, here's my
>> brief take:
>>
>> Our policy was essentially as follows:
>>
>> -Judges could scratch debaters they felt they could not, or would be
>> perceived as incapable of judging fairly (the logic being that judges have
>> nothing to gain competitively from scratching a team, so it makes sense to
>> err on the side of deferring to their scratches).
>>
>> -We announced during the general briefing that debaters could only ask for
>> non-institutional scratches in the case of serious interpersonal issues
>> (along the lines of romantic involvement or documented animosity).  We let
>> debaters know that, depending on the circumstances, we might have to ask
>> follow up questions or reach out to others involved or with knowledge to
>> confirm a scratch is warranted (though we would only do either with the
>> debater's permission).  We stressed how low it is to disingenuously seek
>> scratches.
>>
>> Here were the results and my assessment of what that means:
>>
>> -Very few people asked for scratches, and all that did provided honest
>> reasons that we were able to confirm (though there may have been one or two
>> instances where we still decided against granting a scratch).
>>
>> -The fact that very few people asked for scratches suggests that, either
>> our admonition about not doing so disingenuously worked, or people didn't
>> feel comfortable talking with us.  Probably it was a bit of both.
>>
>> -I think the best case for having a discretionary scratch or two is the
>> argument that victims of sexual assault (or comparably horrific behavior)
>> will be deterred from reporting the scratch if they have to justify it.  I
>> think that risk is enough to convince me that at least one scratch should
>> be discretionary.  Beyond that though, I fully support a policy where
>> individuals have to justify, so long as the CA is up to the ask of rooting
>> out illegitimate requests.  Here I wholeheartedly agree with Sam that, when
>> a debater has a legitimate reason to scratch more than the number of judges
>> the discretionary cap allows, there is no good reason I can see why that
>> debater should not be allowed to do so.  It is easy to imagine any number
>> of horrible reasons why this would be the case, and I genuinely cannot
>> imagine serving on an adj core and telling a person in good conscience "no,
>> sorry, you have to be judged by person X."
>>
>> -Bottom line: I think giving one or two discretionary scratches, but
>> permitting more if they are justified, strikes the best balance here.  At
>> the very least it should give people more confidence that CA teams will be
>> empowered to be skeptical of sketchy-sounding scratch requests.
>>
>> -The danger of this approach is that teams will use the discretionary
>> scratches for exactly the wrong reasons: judges they do not agree with, but
>> against whom they could not lodge a legitimate complaint.  In particular,
>> there may be certain judges who a large portion of the competition has been
>> told to scratch, and that may create pairing difficulties.
>>
>> All of this is to say: whatever policy the CA team decides on, it should
>> always be the case that a legitimate reason for a scratch results in a
>> scratch.
>>
>> -Michael
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 10:05 AM, Samuel Ward-Packard <
>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>> I obviously can't speak to your experience, but mine is that teams are
>>> not hesitant to ask for scratches from me when they have a good reason even
>>> if they've never met me. More publicity of that policy seems sensible.
>>>
>>> But I'm still confused about how a cap would work. In a case where
>>> someone legitimately has two personal conflicts with judges at a tournament
>>> and has slept with two others, what it he or she supposed to do? None of
>>> those judges are fair judges, and having them on a panel could dramatically
>>> impact the tournament's fairness.
>>>
>>> On the other hand, the harms of not having a cap, if they exist at all,
>>> are incredibly marginal. Most tournaments have lots of bad judges at them,
>>> and at best all a competitor will be able to do by gaming the status quo is
>>> scratch one or two more of them than other competitors. The effects of this
>>> will probably be incredibly marginal at the point where judges are assigned
>>> numbered scores and the scratched judge is usually replaced by another
>>> judge with the same rank.
>>>
>>> On fishiness: like, if somebody doesn't have a good reason other than "I
>>> don't like this person," that would be an inadequate justification. There's
>>> certainly no perfect way to do this, but I'm very skeptical of the idea
>>> that debaters frequently tell extensive lies to CA teams.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 12:33 PM, James Kilcup  
>>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>
>>>> Hello all,
>>>> Thanks for the discussion so far.
>>>>
>>>> On proposal 1
>>>> Tuna: What do you think of eliminating school identification? Would it
>>>> present logistical problems for you?
>>>>
>>>> On proposal 2
>>>> David: I don't have a bright line to solve all bright lines in mind, and
>>>> I share your concern (b/c of my institutional promiscuity as a  
>>>> debater, I'm
>>>> clashed from a good number of the American programs at USUDC). I think
>>>> whatever the answer to this is, though, can be explained to judges at the
>>>> judge briefing and we can expect judges to self-report. I also  
>>>> think we can
>>>> ask judges to self-report any additional teams they would struggle to
>>>> adjudicate impartially (former teammates at a new institution, former
>>>> students from a high school coaching gig, etc.)
>>>>
>>>> Sam: My goal with proposal 2 isn't getting rid of scratches, but rather
>>>> making the scratch process fair and transparent. Right now, in my
>>>> experience, it is largely those who know the CA teams personally who feel
>>>> most comfortable asking for scratches. That's a competitive advantage that
>>>> shouldn't exist, and we should do something to eliminate it. That solution
>>>> could be making very loud announcements at the debater briefing about how
>>>> everyone is welcome to talk to the CA team at any time about  
>>>> scratches, but
>>>> I think the easiest way to standardize the process, limit abuse, and still
>>>> allow for scratches is to cap the total number.
>>>>
>>>> Logistically, it's really hard (and as Ruth points out, frequently
>>>> harmful and inappropriate) for CA teams to serve as a check here. I don't
>>>> know what constitutes "fishy" for you, but I'd like to hear more about the
>>>> standard you use to reach verdicts of fishiness and what you do once you
>>>> reach the fishy threshold.
>>>>
>>>> An added benefit of capping the total number of scratches is it
>>>> disincentives being a rude person, which I'm sure we can all appreciate.
>>>>
>>>> -James
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 8:17 AM, Iberri-Shea, Gina M Professor USAF USAFA
>>>> USAFA/DFENG <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> I believe in the "other format" I participate in, the norm is not to
>>>>> judge anyone who was on the team while you coached it, or who  
>>>>> you competed
>>>>> on a team with.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> *From:* USA Debating in the WUDC Format  
>>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] *On
>>>>> Behalf Of *D Register
>>>>> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 08, 2014 6:35 AM
>>>>> *To:* [log in to unmask]
>>>>> *Subject:* Re: A couple proposals
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> This is interesting.  It's a little more work on the front end to mark
>>>>> all the institutional conflicts for (the full version of) proposal 1, but
>>>>> it's certainly doable.  I completely agree with eliminating internal
>>>>> rankings.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Proposal 2 is also a great idea, but it raises another question for me.
>>>>>  Where do institutional conflicts stop/start?  For example, I don't judge
>>>>> Vermont.  I've been out of Burlington for almost 2 years, but I  
>>>>> still know
>>>>> (worked with in some capacity) some folks on the team.  I conflict myself
>>>>> against all Vermont teams at tournaments because it seems like the right
>>>>> thing to do.  I'm not eager to judge UVM this weekend, but I am  
>>>>> curious how
>>>>> other people perceive the norm.   When would it be reasonable for me to
>>>>> judge Vermont again.  When is it acceptable for former coaches/faculty
>>>>> members to judge an institution where they previously worked?  It seems
>>>>> ridiculous to say that Sam Nelson or John Meany shouldn't judge UVM since
>>>>> they used to work there, so where is the cutoff?  Also, for  
>>>>> students...  Is
>>>>> (or when is) it acceptable for *alums* of a program to judge that
>>>>> program?  etc.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> David
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 3:52 AM, James Kilcup <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> Hello Debate Community,
>>>>>
>>>>> I have a couple of modest proposals that I think would help improve the
>>>>> quality and equity of our judging at the upcoming USUDC. I  
>>>>> thought I would
>>>>> see if the proposals gain support among our community and perhaps our
>>>>> Adg-Core could implement them.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> 1) Stop using university name and internal ranking to identify teams
>>>>> (i.e. Loyola A, Brown C, Cape Cod B, etc.) In place of this traditional
>>>>> practice, we could use any number of signifiers (Mary Nugent has proposed
>>>>> to me a random word generator, which I think sounds nifty and  
>>>>> fun!). At the
>>>>> very least, we should stop using the internal rankings of the  
>>>>> schools. This
>>>>> information undoubtedly colors the judge's impressions of the arguments
>>>>> made in the round, and that detracts from what should be the exclusive
>>>>> focus of judging: evaluating the relative quality of the  
>>>>> arguments made in
>>>>> the round.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> 2) Stop allowing people to personally lobby for judge scratches. We
>>>>> could either eliminate any scratches outside of institutional  
>>>>> conflicts or
>>>>> we could afford each team some number of scratches (say 3). The problem
>>>>> with determining scratches on a case-by-case basis is that the  
>>>>> adjudication
>>>>> core is too busy to follow up on any alleged reason for a scratch, so
>>>>> they're usually just stuck saying yes or no based on a gut call. The
>>>>> case-by-case basis also significantly advantages people who are friends
>>>>> with the adjudication core because they feel comfortable bringing forward
>>>>> their concerns. Insulating yourself from judges whom you perceive to be
>>>>> disinclined to vote for you is a major advantage. If we allow it  
>>>>> at all, it
>>>>> should be standardized and transparent.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I consider these proposals to be low-hanging fruit, in the sense that
>>>>> they would be neither terribly difficult to implement, nor  
>>>>> radically change
>>>>> our activity. I do think, however, that if implemented, these  
>>>>> reforms would
>>>>> improve both the reality and perception of judging and judge  
>>>>> allocation at
>>>>> the USUDC.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> What do y'all think?
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Once I figure out how to do it, I'll put up a poll of some sort to
>>>>> collect your views of these proposals.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> See you soon!
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>>>>
>>>>> James Kilcup
>>>>>
>>>>> Visiting Assistant Professor
>>>>>
>>>>> Assistant Director of Debate
>>>>>
>>>>> Communication Studies Dept.
>>>>>
>>>>> *Loyola Marymount University*
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Mobile #: (503) 857-7266
>>>>>
>>>>> Office #: (310) 338-7742
>>>>>
>>>>> Office Location: Foley 313
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> James Kilcup
>>>>
>>>> Visiting Assistant Professor
>>>> Assistant Director of Debate
>>>> Communication Studies Dept.
>>>> *Loyola Marymount University*
>>>>
>>>> Mobile #: (503) 857-7266
>>>> Office #: (310) 338-7742
>>>> Office Location: Foley 313
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>
>
> --
> James Kilcup
>
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Assistant Director of Debate
> Communication Studies Dept.
> *Loyola Marymount University*
>
> Mobile #: (503) 857-7266
> Office #: (310) 338-7742
> Office Location: Foley 313

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