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debater46

4 Speaker State Is A Joke

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Let it go. There is no reason to demean what others have done.

Not to defend an anonymous poster, but I don't think this was an attack at those who were successful. I think it was an attack at the format. Perhaps I'm wrong. The fact it was brought up as a challenge, suggests there is come debate to it. I question the sanity of anyone who questions the accomplishments of those who competed at 4 speak. I do think there is a debate about the format. If the students can keep the accomplishments of peers separate from the format of the tournament, this could be an interesting thread to read. I'm guessing it won't be.
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Having competed at some of the "better" tournaments in the state this year(DCI, and various bid tournaments), AND the 4 speaker tournament, I could agree and disagree on this topic. I think the idea of the tournament is a good one. Having 42 judges decide the fate of your team is probably more "fair" than the amount of judges who decide your fate in the 2 speaker pool. Also, having a neg team and an aff team allows coaches to have specific and different strategies for different situations. Probably far more so than the 2 speaker format. That being said, I do have a big problem with the tournament. NOT TO DEMEAN THE WORK THE HOST SCHOOL PUT INTO THE TOURNAMENT, OR THE JUDGES THAT WERE RECRUITED, but I would propose a few changes. As previously mentioned, Connor and I competed at DCI, and various other bid tournaments. At these tournaments, we had fairly decent success, and finished 4-3 and 15th place at DCI. With pretty decent results year round, we expected nothing different at state. When we got there, the field was largely inexperienced "lay judges", with very few college judges. At the tournament meant to expose the "best the state has to offer", we should probably have the best judges the state has to offer. I know this was discussed on the NFL thread, and this will probably get the same responses. But if we had a pool of experienced judges, much like the 2 speak pool did, I believe results could be different. I would argue that until a system is set up to ensure all the best judges are available, we will always have teams complaining about lay judges, and we'll always have the problems i've mentioned. I don't think 4 speaker state is a joke, but I do think the attention given to it is lacking compared to 2 speak, and there could definetly be some changes.

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Not to defend an anonymous poster, but I don't think this was an attack at those who were successful. I think it was an attack at the format. Perhaps I'm wrong. The fact it was brought up as a challenge, suggests there is come debate to it. I question the sanity of anyone who questions the accomplishments of those who competed at 4 speak. I do think there is a debate about the format. If the students can keep the accomplishments of peers separate from the format of the tournament, this could be an interesting thread to read. I'm guessing it won't be.

 

I understood that. I wanted those posting to remember it.

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Having competed at some of the "better" tournaments in the state this year(DCI, and various bid tournaments), AND the 4 speaker tournament, I could agree and disagree on this topic. I think the idea of the tournament is a good one. Having 42 judges decide the fate of your team is probably more "fair" than the amount of judges who decide your fate in the 2 speaker pool. Also, having a neg team and an aff team allows coaches to have specific and different strategies for different situations. Probably far more so than the 2 speaker format. That being said, I do have a big problem with the tournament. NOT TO DEMEAN THE WORK THE HOST SCHOOL PUT INTO THE TOURNAMENT, OR THE JUDGES THAT WERE RECRUITED, but I would propose a few changes. As previously mentioned, Connor and I competed at DCI, and various other bid tournaments. At these tournaments, we had fairly decent success, and finished 4-3 and 15th place at DCI. With pretty decent results year round, we expected nothing different at state. When we got there, the field was largely inexperienced "lay judges", with very few college judges. At the tournament meant to expose the "best the state has to offer", we should probably have the best judges the state has to offer. I know this was discussed on the NFL thread, and this will probably get the same responses. But if we had a pool of experienced judges, much like the 2 speak pool did, I believe results could be different. I would argue that until a system is set up to ensure all the best judges are available, we will always have teams complaining about lay judges, and we'll always have the problems i've mentioned. I don't think 4 speaker state is a joke, but I do think the attention given to it is lacking compared to 2 speak, and there could definetly be some changes.

Understood. With 2 speak and 4 speak going on at the same time, there is a HUGE need for judges. Frankly the population of human beings that you would like to be your judge is not as big as you think it is and the number of rounds going on at once is greater than that population. Sure, there are things that can be done, but I'm not sure we want to do them. We can reduce the number of rounds debated. Personnally, I'm not a fan of lowering participation. We can increase the population of people who you would like to judge you. We try, but college kids are not always as available as we'd like and college graduates tend to have jobs and lives in which they can't spend 2 hours in a high school class room at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. So, what can be done?

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I've always thought the concept of 4 speaker was really cool because of how it emphasized teamwork on a squad. It really makes you feel like part of a team when you aren't just winning rounds as a partnership. Still, I think that only going aff/neg the entire tournament, while specialized, is a bit dull. The only thing cooler thank 4 speaker in my opinion would be a team of four people who competed in one debate round each taking a speech. Obviously this would be impractical and lead to less overall speech time for individuals but it wold at least be very fun.

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Having competed at some of the "better" tournaments in the state this year(DCI, and various bid tournaments), AND the 4 speaker tournament, I could agree and disagree on this topic. I think the idea of the tournament is a good one. Having 42 judges decide the fate of your team is probably more "fair" than the amount of judges who decide your fate in the 2 speaker pool. Also, having a neg team and an aff team allows coaches to have specific and different strategies for different situations. Probably far more so than the 2 speaker format. That being said, I do have a big problem with the tournament. NOT TO DEMEAN THE WORK THE HOST SCHOOL PUT INTO THE TOURNAMENT, OR THE JUDGES THAT WERE RECRUITED, but I would propose a few changes. As previously mentioned, Connor and I competed at DCI, and various other bid tournaments. At these tournaments, we had fairly decent success, and finished 4-3 and 15th place at DCI. With pretty decent results year round, we expected nothing different at state. When we got there, the field was largely inexperienced "lay judges", with very few college judges. At the tournament meant to expose the "best the state has to offer", we should probably have the best judges the state has to offer. I know this was discussed on the NFL thread, and this will probably get the same responses. But if we had a pool of experienced judges, much like the 2 speak pool did, I believe results could be different. I would argue that until a system is set up to ensure all the best judges are available, we will always have teams complaining about lay judges, and we'll always have the problems i've mentioned. I don't think 4 speaker state is a joke, but I do think the attention given to it is lacking compared to 2 speak, and there could definetly be some changes.

 

The problem I have with 4 speaker is the idea that it is supposed to "expose the best the state has to offer." It's good for what it is, and everyone who went to it did very well, and should be proud of their accomplishment, but the fact is, BVW BS, SME CH, Manhattan PW, WaRu KS, Topeka AZ, SME MT, SMS MO, BVN JP, etc, etc, were all in 2 speaker. Suggesting that flow judges should be taken from the more competitive side and inserted into 4 speaker seems outlandish to me, as does the idea that 4 speaker is held in the same regard as 2 speaker. Again, this is not a knock to SMW, Free State, or BVW who all did well in the given field.

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I've always thought the concept of 4 speaker was really cool because of how it emphasized teamwork on a squad. It really makes you feel like part of a team when you aren't just winning rounds as a partnership. Still, I think that only going aff/neg the entire tournament, while specialized, is a bit dull. The only thing cooler thank 4 speaker in my opinion would be a team of four people who competed in one debate round each taking a speech. Obviously this would be impractical and lead to less overall speech time for individuals but it wold at least be very fun.

\

 

That would be awful for the 1ac and 1nc (especially the 1ac), and a ton of pressure on the 2nr and 2ar (now 3 other people are depending on you, not just 1)

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\

 

That would be awful for the 1ac and 1nc (especially the 1ac), and a ton of pressure on the 2nr and 2ar (now 3 other people are depending on you, not just 1)

 

Hold on there kiddo! That's why I said it was impractical

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Hold on there kiddo! That's why I said it was impractical

 

It would allow people to compete at what they are best at, you could change the format so there was no prep, or CROSS FIRE, the fastest people or the worst could be the 1ac, 1nc and the more clutch could be later in the round... idk could be sick

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The way I look at it, 4-Speaker Debate is kind of like the Junior Varsity Division at State. This doesn't take away from the teams who did well in the 4-Speaker Division, it just was against far lesser competition than the 2-Speaker Division. Looking back on the 2nd half of that sentence, it does take away from those who did well in 4-Speaker. Congrats anyways SMW and BVSW

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I rarely chime in on this anymore, but in lieu of the situation I figured that I would. First and foremost, I don't think that 4-speaker is anywhere near the JV division that goblin speaks of. That's an asinine characterization of the competition. There were several teams that competed in the division who had not only qualified to DCI, but even received speaker awards and winning records. Further, I believe that 4-speaker is a great tournament format since it shows a team's overall ability to not only have more than one good set of debaters, but also shows that those teams have the capabilities to produce winning arguments on both the affirmative and the negative. However, there is a need for some changes. As it has been brought up, the judging pool in 4-speaker was sub-par, and I believe, slightly un-educational in some regards. The purpose of this activity is to provide an educational atmosphere where students can form arguments in a vacuum like space, and learn to defend those positions using their intellectual "mights", and the teams that have the more logical arguments should be the ones who win. Yet, as I witnessed this past weekend, this simply is not occurring. When students are losing debates because the judges indicate that they do not like the individuals clothes or they have a personal detachment from their position, it encourages an abhorrent level of judge intervention. It also moves debate away from the focus on logical consistencies to the area of "speaking pretty" and "looking sharp". Last I checked, both of those aspects were upheld in Forensics, their rightful place (Yes, I did just make a wrong forum argument). I suppose this can also be a general criticism of the way that these judges are utilized throughout the year, but I believe that in the context of the state tournament, where the best teams in the entire state are competing, it warrants a higher level of judging capacities.

Fortunately, having coached debate in three separate states, I've witnessed several ways which schools have come together to deal with these problems. One way, is that there be a minimum number of rounds judged required for state judges. This doesn't mean that they would have to judge 20 rounds or some astronomical number, rather, they should have judged around 5. This would display that these individuals are not new to the activity which would prevent some of the more ridiculous lay judge conundrums. The second solution could be instituting an 30 minute or hour long session where judges who have not judged before would go and learn about debate. This would introduce them to the format of the activity while at the same time stressing the need to focus on substantive issues, not on clothing or speaking abilities. Another solution could be a two part one. The first would be decreasing the judges required from 4-speaker by having just one judge rather than 3. The second stipulation is that that judge would have to be deemed qualified whether it be number of years debated or some other method that would determine that they are an adequate judge. This would also solve the problem of getting a panel with one really good judge, and then two lay judges, where the outcome of the round is determined almost by a coin flip. The final, more simple solution, could be changing the paradigm sheets that judges are given. These sheet are probably the most annoying portion of the state tournament because they almost never speak to what a judges real views are. I think the easy way to fix this is to have judges write out a judge philosophy, just like every other national circuit tournament requires of their judges. This would allow coaches to do their job and give advise to their kids as to which judges they should go for, and which arguments to focus on. The clear problem with this one is how to deal with the lay judges who would not have a judging philosophy. Although a radical step, I believe that either requiring judges to put forth a synopsis of their political views, or even filling out a survey detailing some important tenets of their political philosophy would go miles further than the "do you think generic DA's are good" system that we have now.

Once again, I don't mean to demean the activity that 4-speaker has become, but this tournament really made my transition from the national circuit back to Kansas much more difficult this past weekend primarily because of the excuse of judging.

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I rarely chime in on this anymore, but in lieu of the situation I figured that I would. First and foremost, I don't think that 4-speaker is anywhere near the JV division that goblin speaks of. That's an asinine characterization of the competition. There were several teams that competed in the division who had not only qualified to DCI, but even received speaker awards and winning records. Further, I believe that 4-speaker is a great tournament format since it shows a team's overall ability to not only have more than one good set of debaters, but also shows that those teams have the capabilities to produce winning arguments on both the affirmative and the negative. However, there is a need for some changes. As it has been brought up, the judging pool in 4-speaker was sub-par, and I believe, slightly un-educational in some regards. The purpose of this activity is to provide an educational atmosphere where students can form arguments in a vacuum like space, and learn to defend those positions using their intellectual "mights", and the teams that have the more logical arguments should be the ones who win. Yet, as I witnessed this past weekend, this simply is not occurring. When students are losing debates because the judges indicate that they do not like the individuals clothes or they have a personal detachment from their position, it encourages an abhorrent level of judge intervention. It also moves debate away from the focus on logical consistencies to the area of "speaking pretty" and "looking sharp". Last I checked, both of those aspects were upheld in Forensics, their rightful place (Yes, I did just make a wrong forum argument). I suppose this can also be a general criticism of the way that these judges are utilized throughout the year, but I believe that in the context of the state tournament, where the best teams in the entire state are competing, it warrants a higher level of judging capacities.

Fortunately, having coached debate in three separate states, I've witnessed several ways which schools have come together to deal with these problems. One way, is that there be a minimum number of rounds judged required for state judges. This doesn't mean that they would have to judge 20 rounds or some astronomical number, rather, they should have judged around 5. This would display that these individuals are not new to the activity which would prevent some of the more ridiculous lay judge conundrums. The second solution could be instituting an 30 minute or hour long session where judges who have not judged before would go and learn about debate. This would introduce them to the format of the activity while at the same time stressing the need to focus on substantive issues, not on clothing or speaking abilities. Another solution could be a two part one. The first would be decreasing the judges required from 4-speaker by having just one judge rather than 3. The second stipulation is that that judge would have to be deemed qualified whether it be number of years debated or some other method that would determine that they are an adequate judge. This would also solve the problem of getting a panel with one really good judge, and then two lay judges, where the outcome of the round is determined almost by a coin flip. The final, more simple solution, could be changing the paradigm sheets that judges are given. These sheet are probably the most annoying portion of the state tournament because they almost never speak to what a judges real views are. I think the easy way to fix this is to have judges write out a judge philosophy, just like every other national circuit tournament requires of their judges. This would allow coaches to do their job and give advise to their kids as to which judges they should go for, and which arguments to focus on. The clear problem with this one is how to deal with the lay judges who would not have a judging philosophy. Although a radical step, I believe that either requiring judges to put forth a synopsis of their political views, or even filling out a survey detailing some important tenets of their political philosophy would go miles further than the "do you think generic DA's are good" system that we have now.

Once again, I don't mean to demean the activity that 4-speaker has become, but this tournament really made my transition from the national circuit back to Kansas much more difficult this past weekend primarily because of the excuse of judging.

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There seems to be a lot of confusion about the way 4-speaker judging works. A few clarifications...

 

1. Two-thirds of every single panel is brought by you, the schools. Those two judges each qualifying team brought judged every round in the opposite classification. As has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, every coach may have different valid ways of determining that a judge is a qualified critic. I think you'll find that as a coaching community as a whole, most would reject your claim that "speaking pretty and looking sharp" (i.e., communication and professionalism) are not useful skills to be assessed in debate.

 

2. The other one-third of each panel is provided by the host school. For instance, this year, each round, we had 16 judges recruited from our community. These judges had varied levels of experience; some were former high school debaters, and others were frequent judges. As with our invitational, we had many "college judges" signed up to judge, but then lost over 50% of that portion of the pool the week of the tournament as those college kids dropped like flies. In talking to other coaches, I know this is not a problem unique to us; when we try to get judges that some of you consider "more qualified," those judges cancel extremely late, at a much higher rate than the rest of our pool. At the end of the day every room needs judges.

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I participated in 4A 4-Speaker debate at the State tournament, and my school (De Soto) got 4th. I believe that the format is a legitimate one, and has many merits; being Affirmative and Negative require different skill sets (and research burdens), and it's nice to be able to focus on just one in the hopes of becoming very good in that area. However, I would agree that this weekend's tournament was indeed a joke.

Many people have commented on the judging pool, but I would like to offer some personal examples; keep in mind that I was being judged by 1-2-3A community members.

One judge voted for me because she liked my suit (but I need to brush my hair); that was it.

In one round with 1 flow and 2 lay, the flow ballots said that he cried "tears of joy" at my partner's T response in the 2AC. However, we lost that round: one judge said that his "eyes glazed over" and that he stopped paying attention... during my1AC.

Our Neg team lost a round 0-3, and every single ballot included comments about why they were "dropping all of their arguments" in the block (i.e. splitting it as they had been taught to).

After seeing the ballots from our first two rounds, our coach pulled both teams aside and told us, quite literally, that we need to talk to the judges like they're stupid, because they were. We made a conscious effort to do that in the next round, and won because of it.

Speaking well is certainly a skill, and debaters should possess it, but it should not have such a large place in Policy debate. My partner and I were forced to consciously reduce our level of debating because the judges' paradigms indicated that they emphasized debating skill when they were obviously unable to identify it.

Personally, I feel that participation should be restricted. I qualified to State during my first year of debating, and I can guarantee that I had no idea what I was doing, and we went 1-4; I had no business being at the State tournament that year. Missouri has a system similar to the National qualification process, where you qualify based on your success at certain district tournaments. Perhaps basing State attendance off of one tournament (which could be unworkable for scheduling reasons) is not the best idea, but at least their State tournament is of an appropriate caliber and the number of competing teams is low enough to allow for rooms to be filled with judges that are at least competent.

If teams that do very well outside of your tournament have to purposefully debate at a lower level so that the judges will have at least some idea of what is going on, you're doing it wrong. Save that for Forensics events, and allow the debaters to actually debate.

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Please Note: I don't wish to detract from the accomplishments of any of the teams that attended 4-Speaker. Many solid teams attended the tournament and competed admirably.

 

That being said, I feel that eliminating the 4-Speaker tournament would be beneficial to all of us. First, we would save time and money by not having to hold the 4-Speaker Regional tournaments (or the actual 4-Speaker State tournament itself). Second, it would make hosting State a bit less of a logistical nightmare, eliminating the confusion that stems from having multiple places to turn in/pick up ballots, as well as multiple systems for ballot pickup/delivery. Third, we would need far fewer judges, especially considering there was a panel in all (or nearly all) 4-Speaker rounds this year. Finally, having two separate state championships for the same activity simply doesn't make sense. If I'm not mistaken, we're the only activity or sport in Kansas where such a thing occurs.

 

I honestly don't understand the justification for holding the tournament in the first place. Perhaps KSHSAA just forgot to get rid of it after the inception of 2-Speaker...

 

I've always thought the concept of 4 speaker was really cool because of how it emphasized teamwork on a squad. It really makes you feel like part of a team when you aren't just winning rounds as a partnership.

 

I disagree. I competed at Regionals last year, and I didn't feel much teamwork being emphasized. Basically, you do your best in your rounds and pray the other team from your school wins their rounds as well. There's no more of a teamwork element than there is at any other tournament that follows the 2-Speaker format; there are still only four debaters and a judge in each round.

 

But if we had a pool of experienced judges, much like the 2 speak pool did, I believe results could be different.

 

The "results could [have] be[en] different" if you hadn't run a Zombie K sixth round...

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Please Note: I don't wish to detract from the accomplishments of any of the teams that attended 4-Speaker. Many solid teams attended the tournament and competed admirably.

 

That being said, I feel that eliminating the 4-Speaker tournament would be beneficial to all of us. First, we would save time and money by not having to hold the 4-Speaker Regional tournaments (or the actual 4-Speaker State tournament itself). Second, it would make hosting State a bit less of a logistical nightmare, eliminating the confusion that stems from having multiple places to turn in/pick up ballots, as well as multiple systems for ballot pickup/delivery. Third, we would need far fewer judges, especially considering there was a panel in all (or nearly all) 4-Speaker rounds this year. Finally, having two separate state championships for the same activity simply doesn't make sense. If I'm not mistaken, we're the only activity or sport in Kansas where such a thing occurs.

 

I honestly don't understand the justification for holding the tournament in the first place. Perhaps KSHSAA just forgot to get rid of it after the inception of 2-Speaker...

 

I've always thought the concept of 4 speaker was really cool because of how it emphasized teamwork on a squad. It really makes you feel like part of a team when you aren't just winning rounds as a partnership.

 

I disagree. I competed at Regionals last year, and I didn't feel much teamwork being emphasized. Basically, you do your best in your rounds and pray the other team from your school wins their rounds as well. There's no more of a teamwork element than there is at any other tournament that follows the 2-Speaker format; there are still only four debaters and a judge in each round.

 

But if we had a pool of experienced judges, much like the 2 speak pool did, I believe results could be different.

 

The "results could [have] be[en] different" if you hadn't run a Zombie K sixth round...

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Please Note: I don't wish to detract from the accomplishments of any of the teams that attended 4-Speaker. Many solid teams attended the tournament and competed admirably.

 

That being said, I feel that eliminating the 4-Speaker tournament would be beneficial to all of us. First, we would save time and money by not having to hold the 4-Speaker Regional tournaments (or the actual 4-Speaker State tournament itself). Second, it would make hosting State a bit less of a logistical nightmare, eliminating the confusion that stems from having multiple places to turn in/pick up ballots, as well as multiple systems for ballot pickup/delivery. Third, we would need far fewer judges, especially considering there was a panel in all (or nearly all) 4-Speaker rounds this year. Finally, having two separate state championships for the same activity simply doesn't make sense. If I'm not mistaken, we're the only activity or sport in Kansas where such a thing occurs.

 

I honestly don't understand the justification for holding the tournament in the first place. Perhaps KSHSAA just forgot to get rid of it after the inception of 2-Speaker...

 

Here's the problem, the Kansas 4 speaker state championship predates the NFL, TOC, CFL or any other form of policy debate tournament. We are not going to get rid of something that has existed for 101 years just because some kids don't like it or think that it's stupid. It is woven into the tradition of Kansas debate.

 

AT: Two separate championships for the same activity.

 

In track there are relays, and there are individual races of the same distance. 4 speaker is a team award, just as relays are.

 

AT: It makes running tournaments "too hard"

 

There are 19 years worth of state tournaments that show that this is empirically denied. Also, what was it that John F. Kennedy said about going to the moon? Something like: "Not because it's easy, but because it is haahd"

 

AT: The best kids are at the other tournament

 

Fair enough, but this isn't always and hasn't always been the case. 2 Speaker state is an individual award and 4 speaker is a team award. Also classification divisions make this somewhat inevitable anyway. This in large part, is what makes DCI so great.

 

My offense:

 

1. Gives more opportunities for kids to participate in the state tournament. Don't get me wrong - I'm not for participation medals, but 2 speaker and 4 speaker are fundamentally different and success at one or the other requires different strategy and preparation techniques.

 

2. Gives more schools the opportunity to win state trophies. This is crucial for some to maintain and drum up administrative support.

 

3. No one is forcing anyone to participate. There are a few coaches (who I greatly respect) who choose not to participate at all, there are some that don't make a true effort to be competitive... This is fine, no one is forcing them. Some coaches like it, I can recall a time when a lot of coaches viewed it as the true state champion.

 

4. Switch side debate is the root cause of all evil; Zero point of the holocaust etc. Just kidding.

 

5. Tradition matters, see above. You might say: "yeah but stuff evolves and changes, basketball got rid of peach baskets". Fair, but again you have no offense. In order to unseat something so firmly embedded in tradition and history you'd better have some damn good reasons.

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I posted some thoughts, not that I have a vested interest on the topic as I will no longer debate at the tournament. Also I should premise by saying that our school was happy with results at both tournaments, so I am not incentivized to write in favor of either tournament:

 

To clear things up, I think we could call 4-speaker a “team†event if it actually involved 4 participants in a given debate. As it is now, it’s much more like a sweepstakes event consisting of an affirmative and negative team. For that reason, the I don’t see why we don’t just eliminate 4-speaker and instead offer a sweepstakes award in 2speaker. It captures all the benefits of a 4speaker system (and actually solves “teamwork†better because 4 teams are involved) while avoiding the disadvantages of holding a separate tournament.

 

1. There’s no “teamwork†element that truly goes on. A given round still hinges on a 2 person team, who (as stated above) tries their best to win while crossing their fingers that their other team does as well. This is more an out-dated justification for keeping 4speaker that I don’t think actually plays out when in practice. There’s not really a new spirit of teamwork that goes on..

 

2. When you host a separate tournament, you inevitably have to divide the judges. And in fact, this should be considered offense to dstarfan’s argument that “42 judges determining the fate of your team is more ‘fair.’†Dstarfan goes on to complain about the judges recruited. I think we could agree that on the question of judging at the state debate championship the quality of judges is more important than quantity. In the proposed system of eliminating 4speaker, you’re able to potentially remove or significantly decrease the community pool, and put your best judges in a pool that consists of the 4 best teams from every school. Once in outrounds, you get panels anyways, and since you only need a decent 4-2 to break, I don’t think the 42 judges vs. 18 judges is very strong.

 

3. It divides the competition without justification. I’m not going to argue that the better teams are in one or the other (last year the top speaker at nationals was in 4speaker, while this year the team that broke the DCI bid record was in 2speaker), but the fact that division is possible probably means the true champion isn’t awarded. I will use my own school friends as an example because I have talked to them about it and have permission using them as an example. For example, at the end of the day, Manhattan Pei/Wefald, who were arguably the best team in the state, walked away from 6A state with a 3rd place trophy. Similarly, the Blue Valley West 4speaker team walked away with the same 6A 3rd place trophy (this included our negative team who showed up on Thursday without a box as well as our alternates who didn’t even compete at state).

 

I can’t speak for all schools, but it seems as though many schools are sending their better teams in 2speaker. Only going off DCI bids as an objective measuring tool, Blue Valley West, Manhattan, and Topeka (who all had teams qualify for 4speaker) sent their teams with more bids to 2speaker, whereas Shawnee Mission West collectively had more bids in 4speaker. Look, I have no intention of devaluing anyone’s accomplishments at state – I am only presenting something that I see as a flaw. But back at my point, I’ll use random variables, but this sets up a situation where School 1’s A/B/C team is hitting School 2 3 and 4’s C/D/E team for the state championship… doesn’t seem fair.

 

4. Regional qualifiers also pose a problem. Hypothetically speaking (I only use these teams because they were in our regional), let’s say the best 4speaker teams in the entire state are Blue Valley West, Blue Valley North, Blue Valley Northwest, Shawnee Mission West, and Shawnee Mission East. Of those 5, only 2 of them have the ability to go to state. This sets up a scenario where things only get easier AFTER the qualifier. If such a scenario were true (which isn’t all too impossible) that the 5 best teams are from the same regional, it almost always means that teams are guaranteed 1st or 2nd at state, especially when you’re competiting in a field of 8 teams..

 

 

@t-money, you jokingly make the Spanos reference about switch side debate, but I actually think that goes in our favor as the state championship should represent a team that debates well on both sides as opposed to justifying a team mastering giving the 2NR on the Zombie K.

 

tl;dr:

Why doesn’t a 2speaker state with a sweepstakes award solve all of the offense but avoid the disadvantages of 4speaker?

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tl;dr:

Why doesn’t a 2speaker state with a sweepstakes award solve all of the offense but avoid the disadvantages of 4speaker?

 

I honestly considered that this argument would come up and thought of throwing out some arguments to pre-empt it.... but there really aren't any good arguments against it that I can think of. Other than that some schools (particularly in the smaller divisions) might prefer the format of 4 speaker.

 

It's an excellent point.

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"When we got there, the field was largely inexperienced 'lay judges', with very few college judges."

 

So adapt. Shouldn't be difficult for any debaters good enough to qualify to state. Best teams are still going to win. A team who can't adapt has only themselves to blame.

 

edit: I read some more posts regarding uneducated judges, and I'm sorry that teams had to deal with this. I remember how frustrating it could be in high school to lose rounds because a judge made a mistake based on their ignorance of debate which was beyond my control. This is why I vowed to judge as much as possible and be the kind of judge I wished I had had in high school. I implore schools to keep in touch with their alumni and build the best juding pools they can when hosting a tournament - especially tournaments such as Regionals, State and NFL district qualifiers.

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I think it is very difficult to accept that subjective things can't be objective. Most of this discussion seems simply an attempt to advocate change by taking subjective ideas (ie best team, squad etc.) and using them as subjective. I applaud the community for thinking about how we operate and rationally talking about changes that look attractive.

 

I think that there are very good reasons to have both events. I understand that many would like to see 4 speaker eliminated. I personally like the format and enjoy it. The complaints offered here are also true for some athletic events KSHSAA hosts as well. I can accept that even in those years we are given the "harder" regional assignment.

 

Just for fun lets assume that only 30 of the debaters at state 4 speaker would qualify for 2 speaker (random objectiveness). That would create around 100 teams competing at 2 speaker state all debating 6 rounds with one judge. That still leaves a great deal of luck in the draw (seeding is a myth IMO) and the single judge assigned in each round to advance. I prefer a round robin with 3 judges in the room and a smaller number debating at state. If panels were feasable at 2 speaker I might feel differently but you all have had rounds where a different judge means a different decision.

 

Sweepstakes (IMO) simply favors large squads over smaller squads in a 2 speaker format. I would be more opposed to that because I believe it favors large squads over time. I would love to have a large squad but in Olathe the way the requirements are written our top students frequently have not one single elective in 4 years...I accept that. But I will never have 130 of the best kids. We will usually have 5 or so from each class in our core. That was about the size of our squad at the 4A school I used to coach.

 

One other argument I have heard offered is that 2 speaker is how we debate all year. I don't find that compelling. I understand it. It just doesn't motivate me at all.

 

You have DCI to determine a 2 speaker champion. Let state be something different too. Conformity and homogeneity are not always desireable to me (in the judge pool either). That seems like a recipe that will leave the state with a number of large squads and fewer schools in the activity.

 

I don't expect to change minds here. I would like to think that the debate world in Kansas is big enough for all of us. It doesn't bother me to be lumped in a group considered second class by the "elite". We will still show up no matter the format and support the activity. I applaud you all for taking ownership of it.

 

My coach had a plaque over his desk. It said "It is better to debate an issue without settling it than to settle an issue without debating it". I don't remember the author but to me it applies here.

 

Peace!

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