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MSHSAA State 2008

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Is there a serious anti-St. Louis bias at state?

 

Only 8 people / teams from St. Louis were in finals out of 104 positions. That's ridiculous, and certainly under-representative of the amount of St. Louis kids who qualified. I find it hard to believe that St. Louis is that much worse than the rest of the state.

 

You qualified 4 in each event, right (except for policy I think...and maybe more). That's hardly a huge amount compared to the other geographical regions of the state. KC usually gets eight in each event, Springfield gets four (plus the rest of the districts count towards "SWMO").

 

I hardly doubt there's a St. Louis bias at state. But as CEDA Regional Critic of the Louie Petite would explain, it doesn't make sense why St. Louis gets to compete at the Missouri State Speech/Debate Championships since the state sold St. Louis to hell in 1984.

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My thoughts about State:

 

1. I never had a good round at state.

2. I never had a good panel at state.

3. I made it to finals last year, and I believe that success has no correlation to how good of a debater I was.

 

Few reasons for this:

 

1. Every affirmative won in outrounds last year.

2. Two very good teams (Central and Greenwood) lost in quarters last year (that Hassan and I then did not have to hit).

3. In outrounds last year I had 9 judges. There is only one of those 9 that I would ever want to judge me (eapen).

 

I assume what happened at State this year is probably around what I experienced during my debate career. Thats not to say that good teams can't win State (Adam and Kelsey), or do well (George and Michael), I'd just have a hard time assuming that because someone won state that they are the best team in Missouri.

 

amen.

 

sophomore year at state: 8-0 in prelims, 2nd seed.

 

junior year at state: 4-4 in prelims.

 

its just the way things go. congrats to the winners.

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Ok, I think Towson is a little better than the teams in Missouri you're talking about...just an observation. And, the judging at CEDA is diametrically opposite from Missouri judging.

 

Congrats to Kevin and Bonnie for having a sweet run!

Oh ok thanks because I thought that CEDA was judged by missouri coaches, my bad Zain. I don't mean that Towson is a bad team I just mean that is unexpected and thus causes people to scratch their heads when it happens and I'm pretty sure that is exactly what my post said. Don't treat me like I'm the high school version of yourself, I know what's up.

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Oh ok thanks because I thought that CEDA was judged by missouri coaches, my bad Zain. I don't mean that Towson is a bad team I just mean that is unexpected and thus causes people to scratch their heads when it happens and I'm pretty sure that is exactly what my post said. Don't treat me like I'm the high school version of yourself, I know what's up.

 

Wow, take it easy man...no need to get personal. My post was simply intended to defend the credit that Towson deserves, in light of all the edebate controversy that has happened. A lot of people get caught up in the paradigmatic bs and tend to say hurtful things which is problematic in an activity which is intended for personal expression and I like the Towson debaters...so yea.

 

Sorry if it came out as me being condescending. That was not my intent.

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This is kind of ridiculous on all fronts because there have been zero changes to the format of the state tournament in a long time, and there are just as, if not more important, changes to be made to it then the quality of the judging pool.

 

First, the tournament should be power-matched. My senior year we debated a 6-0 team in the 4th debate. There is no reason why this should happen, especially in a world in which each of the last three years a 5-3 team has cleared. Also, it unfairly protects teams seeds that are 6-0 and might debate an 0-6 in the last debate. It completely messes up the bracket, and is unfair to anyone who is out on the bubble, or has a low seed in outrounds.

 

Second, if you are going to put two judges in a debate, clear all the winning records. There is no reason to run a tournament that degrades the quality of the pool by making two judges judge each debate if there ballots do not end up counting anyways. Why is the second judge necessary if winning a majority of those judges ballots means that I don't clear?

 

Third, the rounds should be randomly paired, and judges randomly assignment by a computer. We should probably ensure the fairness of the tournament based on a random assignment by a computer system. Breaks should also be based off of speaker points, not speaker ranks (although this should not be a problem because you will clear all winning records).

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This is kind of ridiculous on all fronts because there have been zero changes to the format of the state tournament in a long time, and there are just as, if not more important, changes to be made to it then the quality of the judging pool.

 

First, the tournament should be power-matched. My senior year we debated a 6-0 team in the 4th debate. There is no reason why this should happen, especially in a world in which each of the last three years a 5-3 team has cleared. Also, it unfairly protects teams seeds that are 6-0 and might debate an 0-6 in the last debate. It completely messes up the bracket, and is unfair to anyone who is out on the bubble, or has a low seed in outrounds.

 

Second, if you are going to put two judges in a debate, clear all the winning records. There is no reason to run a tournament that degrades the quality of the pool by making two judges judge each debate if there ballots do not end up counting anyways. Why is the second judge necessary if winning a majority of those judges ballots means that I don't clear?

 

Third, the rounds should be randomly paired, and judges randomly assignment by a computer. We should probably ensure the fairness of the tournament based on a random assignment by a computer system. Breaks should also be based off of speaker points, not speaker ranks (although this should not be a problem because you will clear all winning records).

 

You are KILLING Missouri debate!

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Moderators have the ability to check IPs, so if confirmation is desired we could just ask.

 

For all we know, he's monitoring the discussion and just being ornery.

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Mark, if you need me to check an IP for sake of ridicule, let me know and I'll be happy to.

 

Also, I LOVE being able to read all the deleted posts in this thread.

 

Also also, Katie - I was talking about Ramsey/partner.

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Mark, if you need me to check an IP for sake of ridicule, let me know and I'll be happy to.

 

Also, I LOVE being able to read all the deleted posts in this thread.

 

Also also, Katie - I was talking about Ramsey/partner.

 

He and I both. If you could check the IPs of Blue Orange and VANSANDT, that'd be sweet.

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Just to give y'all a different perspective, here's some of the coaches' thinking that has led to these rules in the first place (stuff like this always comes up at the biannual rules meetings coaches are required to attend)...

First, the tournament should be power-matched. My senior year we debated a 6-0 team in the 4th debate. There is no reason why this should happen, especially in a world in which each of the last three years a 5-3 team has cleared. Also, it unfairly protects teams seeds that are 6-0 and might debate an 0-6 in the last debate. It completely messes up the bracket, and is unfair to anyone who is out on the bubble, or has a low seed in outrounds.
This cuts both ways, of course. Who had the better tournament: a 5-3 team which lost 0-2 against another 5-1 in the 4th round, or a team that was 3-3 and beat another 3-3 in the 4th round? Power-matching will only magnify the importance of tie-breakers that we all agree are less than ideal. Power-matching does not solve inequities in schedule quality, it simply replaces those inequities with other, different ones which are equally problematic...
Second, if you are going to put two judges in a debate, clear all the winning records. There is no reason to run a tournament that degrades the quality of the pool by making two judges judge each debate if there ballots do not end up counting anyways. Why is the second judge necessary if winning a majority of those judges ballots means that I don't clear?
If things are still operating the way they did when I was there, 32 teams participate at state. Advancing one quarter of those teams increases the odds that the teams clearing are the best of the best; advancing anywhere from one-third to one-half of the field decreases those odds, and to some extent moots the importance of the prelims...

 

As for the two-judge thing: Three-judge panels in prelims would be ideal, but the size of the pool won't allow it. We went away from one-judge prelims (at District AND State) to cut down on the "random bullet" problem. I don't disagree that going 5-3 looks like a good result, but if there were only single-judge rounds that 5-3 team could actually be anywhere from 4-0 good to 1-3 not-so-much. In general, coaches don't feel like 5-3 is as reliable an indicator of quality as 6-2, 7-1, or 8-0 are, and I agree with them...

Third, the rounds should be randomly paired, and judges randomly assignment by a computer. We should probably ensure the fairness of the tournament based on a random assignment by a computer system.
This seems to contradict your earlier interest in power-matching. Which do you prefer?
Breaks should also be based off of speaker points, not speaker ranks (although this should not be a problem because you will clear all winning records).
This is a VERY old and contentious issue. My own view is that tie-break order should be as follows:
  1. Strength-of-schedule (I've defended that priority many times on this website)
  2. Head-to-head competition (if the two teams met)
  3. Speaker ranks
  4. Speaker points
  5. Coin flip

In my own opinion, speaker ranks and speaker points are both very suspect as tie-breakers, but if they must be used speaker ranks are slightly less subject to error than are speaker points...

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Just to give y'all a different perspective, here's some of the coaches' thinking that has led to these rules in the first place (stuff like this always comes up at the biannual rules meetings coaches are required to attend)...This cuts both ways, of course. Who had the better tournament: a 5-3 team which lost 0-2 against another 5-1 in the 4th round, or a team that was 3-3 and beat another 3-3 in the 4th round? Power-matching will only magnify the importance of tie-breakers that we all agree are less than ideal. Power-matching does not solve inequities in schedule quality, it simply replaces those inequities with other, different ones which are equally problematic...If things are still operating the way they did when I was there, 32 teams participate at state. Advancing one quarter of those teams increases the odds that the teams clearing are the best of the best; advancing anywhere from one-third to one-half of the field decreases those odds, and to some extent moots the importance of the prelims...

 

As for the two-judge thing: Three-judge panels in prelims would be ideal, but the size of the pool won't allow it. We went away from one-judge prelims (at District AND State) to cut down on the "random bullet" problem. I don't disagree that going 5-3 looks like a good result, but if there were only single-judge rounds that 5-3 team could actually be anywhere from 4-0 good to 1-3 not-so-much. In general, coaches don't feel like 5-3 is as reliable an indicator of quality as 6-2, 7-1, or 8-0 are, and I agree with them...This seems to contradict your earlier interest in power-matching. Which do you prefer?This is a VERY old and contentious issue. My own view is that tie-break order should be as follows:

  1. Strength-of-schedule (I've defended that priority many times on this website)
  2. Head-to-head competition (if the two teams met)
  3. Speaker ranks
  4. Speaker points
  5. Coin flip

In my own opinion, speaker ranks and speaker points are both very suspect as tie-breakers, but if they must be used speaker ranks are slightly less subject to error than are speaker points...

 

This year there were only 21 teams at state for clarification.

And as for the judging pool...MAKE IT BIGGER.

There is a reason that coaches have discussed and argued that we should move the state tournament to an area such as KC or Springfield, both these areas have a surplus of good college debaters that would be more than willing to judge a few state rounds - where they're almost guaranteed some decent rounds - while getting paid. MU doesn't have a debate program any more so almost all of our "paid judges" were law students, or former debaters that debated one maybe two years in high school. The recruitment for paid judges consisted of a small chain of emails to a few students - not much publication of the event to attract former debaters. Although i agree that good debaters should be those who can adapt to a flow or a lay it makes rounds a lot more muddled and difficult to adapt to when you have a Coach from a school like Parkview who knows fully what they're doing, and a law student who has NO clue what you're doing. I just read ballots today and it seemed as if the judges weren't even in the same room. You could win a lay judge who says you speak pretty while losing a flow judge due to a half assed DA debate. Or you could win a flow judge with a nuclear war impact scenerio clearly won on a DA while losing the law student who writes "you shouldn't be aggressive."

Missouri needs to join the rest of the nation in producing good debaters and good competition by allowing for that with experienced critics who can help formulate those skilled debates.

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This year there were only 21 teams at state for clarification.
Interesting. Only 21 teams from 8 District qualifiers? Ouch...
And as for the judging pool...MAKE IT BIGGER.
Easier said than done. It isn't the venue that is the problem. Moving the tournament wouldn't make it any easier (if you doubt this, just look at the issues that arise at NFL District Tournaments in those cities once rounds are mandated to have three judges). The real problem is that the event has moved far enough away from being accessible to educated lay-persons (even in Missouri) that it is tough to find folks who are willing to subject themselves to it. It doesn't help that some coaches (and MANY debaters) have chased away judges with their comments/behavior at State...

 

On the issue of divergence between expert and non-expert decision-making, it has been shown again and again that the non-experts tend to agree with the experts a huge preponderance of the time (although their RFDs tend to read very differently, obviously). Beyond that, I have never understood why debaters who are not shocked when a 3-judge panel of experts splits 2-1 get so exercised when a two-judge panel does the same thing...

Missouri needs to join the rest of the nation in producing good debaters and good competition
Due respect, but Missouri has been producing good debaters and offering vigorous competition for a long, long time...

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Just to give y'all a different perspective, here's some of the coaches' thinking that has led to these rules in the first place (stuff like this always comes up at the biannual rules meetings coaches are required to attend)...

 

And a lot of these people are the same ones that think we should ban critiques and counterplans, or create separate divisions of debate for traditional and contemporary debate that seeks to create artificial divides in an already stretched community that seeks to eliminate advanced forms of debate from existing within the state. Just from the perspective who has experienced debate tournaments from the most conservative in missouri to the most liberal on the national circuit.

 

This cuts both ways, of course. Who had the better tournament: a 5-3 team which lost 0-2 against another 5-1 in the 4th round, or a team that was 3-3 and beat another 3-3 in the 4th round? Power-matching will only magnify the importance of tie-breakers that we all agree are less than ideal. Power-matching does not solve inequities in schedule quality, it simply replaces those inequities with other, different ones which are equally problematic...If things are still operating the way they did when I was there, 32 teams participate at state. Advancing one quarter of those teams increases the odds that the teams clearing are the best of the best; advancing anywhere from one-third to one-half of the field decreases those odds, and to some extent moots the importance of the prelims...

 

First, clearing all winning records completely removes ALL inequities (except for pull ups caused by power-matching) regarding tie breakers because there would be no tie-breakers- if you were 5-3, you would clear period.

 

Second, not clearing winning records moots the importance of prelims because it completely devalues the importance of having a 2 two judge panel. If 5 judges are not enough to produce a winner, then why does it even matter if it is a one or two judge panel? It is just nonsensical.

 

Third, power-matching does solve scheduling inequities because a 3-3 does not have to debate a 6-0 in the fourth debate. It makes every round more important and fair. I have not seen the opposition ballot breakdowns, but I imagine that some have been pretty severe- I have seen some pretty ridiculously easy schedules at the state tournament.

 

As for the two-judge thing: Three-judge panels in prelims would be ideal, but the size of the pool won't allow it. We went away from one-judge prelims (at District AND State) to cut down on the "random bullet" problem. I don't disagree that going 5-3 looks like a good result, but if there were only single-judge rounds that 5-3 team could actually be anywhere from 4-0 good to 1-3 not-so-much. In general, coaches don't feel like 5-3 is as reliable an indicator of quality as 6-2, 7-1, or 8-0 are, and I agree with them...

 

Hire more judges.

 

This seems to contradict your earlier interest in power-matching. Which do you prefer?This is a VERY old and contentious issue.

 

It does not contradict anything. Rounds 1-2 should be randomly paired by a computer, and 3 and 4 via power matching. Judges should also be RANDOMLY assignment, which means coaches cannot control the style of debate by MANDATING that only ONE hired judge can be on a panel in prelims and outrounds. The manipulation of judging panels at the state tournament is absolutely ridiculous.

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Coupla things:

 

First, for Jeff, if you still have Mod Powers, Mr Maier or Sarah, there's a link in-quote to the post:

 

i wouln't say RVI in Southwest Missouri

 

Second,

 

Missouri needs to join the rest of the nation in producing good debaters and good competition by allowing for that with experienced critics who can help formulate those skilled debates.

 

Lauren, I think you're pretty far out of line here. Nick is the most glaring reason why this is incorrect, as are the successes of Tim, Adam, Sam and Hassan at nationals in policy a couple years back. There are certainly more examples of Missouri debaters doing very well at nationals, but these are quite applicable. Good critics can certainly play a major role in developing debate, but they aren't the linchpin to good debate.

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While its really great for my battered ego to hear all these nice things, I don't necessarily agree with your argument, Jacob.

 

I think its pretty much impossible to 'get good' at the kind of debate we value if you only participate in regular MO invitationals. I can't think of a single example of a team doing well that didn't go to camp, or atleast have involved and informed coaching staff.

 

People can rightly complain a lot about Missouri debate. But within Missouri there are some really excellent resources for improvement. MSDI and UMKC are pretty good examples. The majority of the lab leaders there are willing to share their e-mail addresses and IMs with eager kids. Heather, Ozzy, and Louie could tell you about all of the obnoxious and dumb questions I have pelted them with in the past.

 

The argument, at this point, seems to be asking whether Missouri can produce good debaters. But that isn't nearly specific enough. Missouri invitationals reward bad and unintelligent debating. Missouri camps and universities have some really great and helpful people that can do a lot for the state.

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Not to take anything away from what Nick and Evan accomplished last year at NFLs, but I think Nick would tell you that the panels he debated in front of some of the better teams (especially in early outrounds) were more indicative of slower, Missouri-style debate, then anything resembling what it means to be competitive on the national circuit.

 

Success at NFLs, although obviously better than success at state, falls victim to a lot of the same problems as the state tournament. The NFL tournament is run nearly the same in prelims (two judge panels, no power matching, random pairing), and judges are committed for so long that a lot of bad judges are judging deeper outrounds.

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