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Anthony :3

Debate Twitch Channel

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So you know what would be sick: Live Debates

You know what would be sicker: An audience for that debate

You know what would be the sickest: VODs of these debates and the ability to hold a tournament using Twitch and maybe Discord or TeamSpeak

Thoughts??

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Yeah this is a concept we hoped to have with the chat functionality we have on the site. This needs to reach a more critical mass however. I can see why people who currently use the discord server for debates see that as sufficient, but I think video adds a great component, especially with being able to see anyone who is judging a debate. I think an interesting thing is that tabroom has semi had this idea in mind insofar as giving instructions on how to use google hangout invite links as substitutes for room assignments in tournaments, but I think they're a long way from having that function built into the site given that they aren't even mobile-enabled yet.

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      - A camp that implies, heavily, that certain teams that were accepted to the NDT as second rounds were not competitively justified to be allowed.

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      The result has been the community losing teams year over year, with long-time stalwart programs either disappearing or going off to the ‘other side’ of parli debate. (See, most recently, Vanderbilt). Herein lies the real pain of the first camp I outlined: the limits placed on the number of third teams allowed in was designed to protect a broadly diverse mixture of competitive schools who felt like they were being locked out, the decline in participation means that those schools no longer exist, which means that they are now being excluded in what appears to be an act for exclusion’s sake while competitively inferior teams are being let in because _someone has to be let in_ to make the tournament happen.
       
       
      While I don’t think their pain should necessarily be prioritized over the joy of inclusion that the included second round teams have, I do think that this reveals an underlying question of how we should balance the elitist demand of the NDT** with declining participation and other concerns. In that regard, I propose the following solution as a framework to look at:
       
      -       As a premise I imagine keeping the NDT, but increasing the number of participating teams. The actual number can be fluid, but I think a pool of around 90 sounds perfectly workable.
       
      -       Then maintain the first round process for sixteen teams. Let as many teams who are voted in via the first round, even third or fourth teams from schools, into the NDT in the initial stage.
       
      -       At this point let every subscriber school nominate one team to the NDT. I’m inclined to put some barebones requirements on this team (a minimum number of rounds during the year, let each district nominate a ‘district’ tournament during the year and require these teams to have attended at least two of those tournaments, a winning record in Open, etc.), but nothing too strenuous. These teams should be allowed in if they clear those requirements.
       
      -       This should fill up a majority of the slots to the NDT. To fill out the rest I propose having a National Qualifying Tournament. A tournament held in February that is open to every school and is run like present day district tournaments, except open to every team in the country. (We can rotate the hosting duties of the NQT between the schools every year). Every school can bring as many teams as they’d like to the NQT, and the top qualifiers will be let into the NDT to fill out the numbers.
       
       
      Obviously, this is not a perfect system, but I think it allows a baseline of compromise between the exclusionary demands that underlie the NDT’s focus on elitism with the real need to open the NDT up to more schools and participants and break the hold of the national circuit on schools***.
       
       
      There are also problems with this system that may make particular parts of it unworkable. For instance, the intra-squad discussion of which team to nominate to the NDT will probably be heart-rending and divisive. I also know that some schools would absolutely opt to use their nomination for a ‘B’ team while choosing to send their ‘A’ team to the NQT, which is less than ideal. 
       
      But, this is a starting point and not a final product and I think that there are many things that recommend it over our current system which is fundamentally broken, and has been since the 70s. At a core level, if we want to preserve the activity we need to come up with a fix that allows more schools in, there isn’t another parallel debate league to merge with a-la CEDA  in the mid-90s, and if we don’t do something soon to fix the structural problems in the activity it might be too late to actually right the ship.
       
       
       Rob Glass is the Editor in Chief of Policydb8 and debate coach for the University of Houston, before this he has worked for schools like Binghamton University, the University of Rochester, and Stuyvesant High School. 
       
       
      * If we were to abolish the second round and simply give those bids to the districts, either as part of the district tournament or as a second round bid to be given out by them, I think we would be in a far better place.
       
      ** I will gladly flag here that the response of “elitism bad” is a fair one. Abolishing the NDT as a poisoned relic and embracing CEDA as the end of year championship is something that should absolutely be on the table for the community. 

      *** One of the great shames of this year is that the splitter movement that fled the Cali swings for the Miami Georgetown tournament weren't called out for the damage that that move did to community cohesion. The spirit of the PRL still haunts the activity and we are all worse for it. 

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