Update: Week Two

Image Description: Hiking trail next to the Potomac River. Bright green trees surround an asphalt walking path. A wooden railing sits on the left of the path.

Hello all! This week has moved both slower and faster than I imagined.

I wish I could have begun to share the site sooner but things still needed to come together. Building websites is really hard. From optimizing the SEO (I don't even know what SEO stands for, but I know how to do it), to adding alt text, to categorizing text types, to uploading media for link sharing, to a million other tiny little details, there has been much more to do than I thought. I have built a website before but never this thoroughly. I really want to get things right for 1AC.

The tournament is beginning to take shape. I will have a meeting soon with a director of forensics to ask about all the nitty gritty details. I also have been reading a ton on how to actually host a tournament. It is fascinating. So far, I have come up with some innovative new scoring strategies, a new kind of award that promotes community building, and begun the tournament invite.

The scoring strategy has to do with speech. Too often in round people size each other up and think about their rankings in terms of other people doing bad/good to contextualize how well they think they did for themself. That is why I think Performance Points should take priority. On a scale of one to ten, judges will assign points to a speaker based on their performance and the person with the highest cumulative amount wins. Theoretically, if three legends entered a round, they could all receive tens. Ties will be broken with the traditional comparative ranking system. I hope this system calms down the culture of sizing up everyone in the room and lets people focus on their own performance more.

Also, I want there to be a new kind of award: Good Citizen Awards. All students at the tournament will be allowed to submit a form to nominate another student from a different team for a good citizen award. People can nominate other people if they do something particularly thoughtful or say something particularly meaningful in the round. Both in round and out of round behavior can earn someone a Good Citizen Award. If someone nominates another person for the award, they will receive it. But, there will be one Honored Good Citizen who tabroom votes had a particularly meaningful interaction. Everyone is so competitive in this activity, I believe if we motivated kindness a little more, it too could flourish.

This tournament is another thing that has a million little details to think about. What events will there be? How many types of awards will there be? Who will run the tabroom? How do you even run a tabroom? How do I convince people to run tabroom with me? How will we implement accommodations? What will incident reporting look like? What will the sign up process look like? How many people will be allowed to enter before we exhaust the grant money? The list of questions goes on and on. But I am confident it will come together. We have the money to make it happen, and I have all the will in the world to get this event up and running.

Also, I have begun to put a master list of contacts at every state speech and debate organization I can find. So far, I have five states down. There is much work to be done in this department, but it is another thing I am confident just takes time. My goal is to have an email list all ready to go to send first contact in the next one to two weeks. I want to get more feedback on our form (which you can fill out here) first.

That is another thing. What do I even say to them to start the conversation? To be honest, it is a bit intimidating to approach these organizations. I do not want to say something accidentally disrespectful, but I also want to let them know that it is important they listen to us. Once I craft that email I am sure I will post it here.

It seems the more that gets done, the greater number of questions I have.

That is all for now folks, thank you for reading.


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