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World Debating Rankings methodology and notes:
Submitted by Colm Flynn on 14 September 2011
The previous version of the rankings took the points earned at the World Championships and totaled them up over a 5 year period to come up with a ranking. This meant only teams who attended the championships were ranked. In the new version of the rankings we have included results from 33 different competitions.
We believe the list of tournaments we have included is a reasonable start to publish a set of rankings with a fair geographical spread. There are tournaments we would have liked to include but could not either because the tabs could not be found. There are 2-3 tournaments in the UK and Ireland and even more across the North America each week. Many of these are very small competitions so to start we have looked to include the major 3-4 tournaments from all regions to get started. As we expand the ranking tournaments across all regions then more of these will come in. If you think your tournament should be included then send on the tab including the Full names of the college (e.g. an Irish person will know UL means University of Limerick but someone from outside Ireland reading the tab might have no idea what UL means).
Ideally we would like to have more than one tab from a region/country as that one tab would unfairly punish the host college who, often, does not enter their own competition. Where possible we tried to have at least two tabs (Cork and UCD, Oxford and Cambridge, Cusid Nats & Cusid BP, Malaysian Open & SMU) from a country/region so if you are sending in tabs please look through your inbox or hard disk and try to send more than one if you have them.
While we need and welcome input and clarifications on these rankings we are aware that we may fall victim to false information. If someone is tempted to edit results or create a false tournament to improve their rankings they should bear in mind that the results are also closely studied by many of their rivals looking for any inaccuracy.
We plan to start this slowly and work any kinks out of the system. It may be a number of weeks before we start to add additional tournaments to the rankings as we want to make sure the logic is sound and that the wider public are happy with it. Once we start to include additional competitions we will have a small committee to review the application to become a ranking tournament and make sure that we maintain a good global balance while we expand. More details on this will be published shortly.
To make it possible to calculate rankings across different formats (Worlds/BP, Austral-asians, North American etc) the way points have been earned has changed. Now instead of being based on the 3,2,1,0 system in each round the points are based on the final position on the tab. For example if a tournament has 107 participants and the tab ranks them from 1 to 107 then the top ranked team gets 107 points and the last team on the tab gets 1 point. Where teams have tied on the tab they have been given the same points. The points for each team from a particular institution are then added together to give an institutional score (e.g. Sydney A and Sydney B would be added to give a total for Sydney)
Where teams are on equal points then they have been ranked by average points per team. Where this is again equal the institutions have been given the same ranking.
As the World Championships are the largest event and happens at the end of a calendar year our plan is to be able to announce an overall ranking for a year at that point. The rankings may "roll" across two years as we update through the year but come 31st December all major championships will have been completed for that calendar year giving us an overall ranking for that year with the largest points earning event (worlds) at the end.
We looked at including the North American forensics results in the rankings but they are simply not comparable to competitive debating as the rest of the world knows it. No doubt people closer to it will disagree but if they want to explain it in a way that makes it possible to include it in the rankings then we would very much welcome that.
APDA Nationals and Irish Nationals (both Times and Mace) are major internationally recognised tournaments not included because they do not publish tabs (in the case of APDA by choice in the case of Ireland by the nature of the format) We have tried to compensate for this by finding the next major tournament in each area that does publish a tab.
There are some tournaments that are "open" events. This results in one off teams which are not linked to any particular university of college. Where possible we have identified these teams based on the speaker names and the college they are known to attend. However there are a number of “Hubrid/Unknown” teams that were not identifiable. We welcome any clarification on these.
There are a number of teams we could not identify but which we believe are not hybrid teams (based on the name and the nature of the competition). They are left as the code from the tab and often the country is blank. Unlike Hybrid teams they have been given a ranking because we believe they are colleges. If you can give clarify to any these teams please e-mail us with the full team name and country.
Schools teams were dropped where identifiable. This is a ranking of University/Third level debating.