Both the way results are processed and the rules for doing so will be different at Sydney Worlds. We are currently developing a program for processing the results with Richard Edwards of Baylor University in the US, who has written a comprehensive program for American styles of debating called Tab Room. Worlds 2000 will be run by a new version of Tab Room, and will be fully automated, which should mean a much faster draw for our participants.
Because of the opportunities offered by a fully automated process, we have decided to rethink the rules by which the tab is operated.
At Sydney Worlds:
The draw will still be power-paired, so you will be debating teams on the same or a similar number of points.
The formation of debates within each pool of teams on the same number of team points will be random - so there will be no power-pairing of teams within pools based on speaker points.
Promotion from lower to higher pools will be random. That means that if there are, say, 7 teams on 12 points, the team that is promoted - to make a total of eight teams - will be randomly chosen from those teams on 11 points.
We can thereby process the draw without collecting speaker points, which will make it substantially faster. Speaker points will still be collected and used to separate teams in the ultimate break and to award Best Speaker prizes.
The computer will automatically adjust teams' speaking positions within each debate based on the previous rounds. This should mean that the distribution of speaking positions over the 9 rounds is as close to even as possible.
We believe that the randomisation of these processes, which were previously based on speaker points, will not punish teams unduly, and resolves ongoing debates about which of a number of alternating systems is fairer. In addition, at the top and bottom of the draw in particular, there should be more variety in the match-ups that are produced. You will also appreciate that our capacity to complete the draw without entering speaker points will greatly reduce the delay between debates.
The program will be available for free over the Internet.