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World Debating News

20 January 2011

World Debating Rankings 2011

Here are the World University Debating Rankings for 2011 based on the results of the latest World University Debating Championships held in Botswana.

Rank Team Country Total


1 Sydney (Australia) 506

2 Oxford Union (England) 458

3 Yale (US) 394

4 Cambridge Union (England) 372

5 Monash (Australia) 358

6 Queensland (Australia) 358

7 University of Toronto (Hart House) (Canada) 295

8 Alberta (Canada) 291

9 Australian National University (ANU) (Australia) 287

10 Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines) 268

11 Alaska (US) 266

12 Melbourne (Australia) 264

13 Colgate (US) 264

14 New South Wales Uni of (UNSW) (Australia) 257

15 St Andrews (Scotland) 256

16 Queens (Canada) 245

17 Princeton (US) 241

18 National University of Singapore (NUS) (Singapore) 236

19 Nanyang (NTU) (Singapore) 233

20 University College Dublin Lit & Hist (UCD L&H) (Ireland) 233

21 University College Dublin Law (UCD Law) (Ireland) 224

22 McGill (Canada) 223

23 Hong Kong University (HKU) (Hong Kong) 222

24 International Islamic Uni Malaysia (IIUM) (Malaysia) 212

25 University College Cork Philosophical (UCC Phil) (Ireland) 210

26 Harvard (US) 210

27 London School of Economics (LSE) (England) 206

28 La Verne (US) 204

29 Duke (US) 203

30 Stanford (US) 197

31 Victoria Wellington (New Zealand) 190

32 Bates College (US) 187

33 Macquarie (Australia) 186

34 Trinity College Dublin Historical (TCD Hist) (Ireland) 183

35 Claremont (US) 179

36 Trinity College Dublin Philosophical (TCD Phil) (Ireland) 179

37 NUI, Galway Lit & Deb (NUIG L&D) (Ireland) 171

38 National Law School of India (NLSIU) (India) 171

39 Vermont (US) 169

40 MARA, Uni Teknologi (Malaysia) 168

41 Hebrew (Israel) 166

42 Singapore Management University (SMU) (Singapore) 164

43 Swarthmore (US) 163

44 University College Cork Law Society (UCC Law) (Ireland) 158

45 Multimedia University Malaysia (MMU Voices) (Malaysia) 158

46 Cornell (US) 156

47 Durham (England) 156

48 British Columbia, University of (UBC) (Canada) 155

49 Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) (Hong Kong) 150

50 Brandeis (US) 149

51 De La Salle University - Manila (DLSU) (Philippines) 148

52 Universitas Indonesia (UI) (Indonesia) 143

53 Glasgow University Union (GUU) (Scotland) 136

54 Zagreb University (Croatia) 134

55 Manchester (England) 129

56 Amherst (US) 127

57 Auckland (New Zealand) 127

58 Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) (Canada) 120

59 Lahore (LUMS) (Pakistan) 119

60 Portland (US) 119

61 Mahidol (Thailand) 118

62 Bristol (England) 117

63 UWI "Cave Hill" Barbados (West Indies) 116

64 Royal Holloway (England) 115

65 University of Dhaka, Institute of Business Admin (DU - IBA) (Bangladesh) 114

66 Ljubljana (Slovenia) 111

67 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (US) 111

68 International Christian University (ICU) (Japan) 107

69 Ewha Womans University (EDiS) (South Korea) 105

70 California State University (CSU) (US) 104

71 Fordham (US) 103

72 Witswatersrand (South Africa) 103

73 Nottingham (England) 103

74 Carleton (Canada) 101

75 Keio (Japan) 101

76 Middle Temple (England) 99

77 Rhodes (South Africa) 99

78 Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) (US) 99

79 Chulalongkorn (Thailand) 97

80 Jamaica, University of Technology (West Indies) 96

81 Loyola Marymount (US) 94

82 Macau, University of (Macau) 93

83 UWI "Mona" Jamacia (West Indies) 92

84 Helsinki (Finland) 92

85 Hong Kong UST (Hong Kong) 91

86 Cardiff (Wales) 91

87 University of Tokyo (Japan) 89

88 Brown (US) 88

89 Amsterdam (Bonaparte) (Netherlands) 88

90 Babes-Bolyai University Law Society (UBB/BBU) (Romania) 87

91 Leiden (Netherlands) 86

92 George Washington (GWU) (US) 83

93 New York University (NYU) (US) 82

94 Inner Temple (England) 82

95 Birmingham (England) 82

96 Hong Kong Polytechnic (HKPU) (Hong Kong) 80

97 Haifa (Israel) 80

98 Sydney, University of Technology (UTS) (Australia) 80

99 Chung Ang University (South Korea) 79

100 Calgary (Canada) 79

101 Belgrade (Serbia) 77

102 Boston (US) 76

103 Pacific, University of (Huawei) (US) 74

104 Seikei (Japan) 74

105 Middle East Technical University (METU) (Turkey) 72

106 Western Ontario (Canada) 71

107 Tel Aviv (TAU) (Israel) 71

108 St John's (US) 70

109 Assumption University (Thailand) 70

110 Zagreb University Law Society (Croatia) 69

111 Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) (US) 69

112 Western Australia (UWA) (Australia) 68

113 York University (Canada) 68

114 Dalhousie (Canada) 67

115 Stuttgart (Germany) 66

116 Dublin City University (DCU) (Ireland) 63

117 Sciences Po Paris (France) 62

118 Koc (Turkey) 62

119 Higher School of Economics Moscow (HSE) (Russia) 62

120 University of Sciences Malaysia (Sains) (Malaysia) 62

121 King's College London (KCL) (England) 61

122 DAE (South Korea) 60

123 Weill Cornell Medical College - Qatar (Qatar) 59

124 Korea University (South Korea) 59

125 Botswana, University of (Botswana) 58

126 University of Limerick Debating Union (UL DebU) (Ireland) 58

127 Seattle (US) 57

128 Kyung Hee (South Korea) 57

129 Kansai Gaidai Univ (KGU) (Japan) 57

130 SFS Qatar (Qatar) 55

131 Split (Croatia) 54

132 North South Dhaka (NSU) (Bangladesh) 53

133 University of Pennsylvania (US) 52

134 RRIS Hertzlia (Israel) 52

135 Pretoria (South Africa) 51

136 Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universit├Ąt Greifswald (Germany) 51

137 Ottawa (EDS) (Canada) 51

138 Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (Qatar) 50

139 Malaya (Malaysia) 50

140 Tokyo Foreign (TUFS) (Japan) 50

141 Western Washington University (WWU) (US) 50

142 AUDAS Universidad Central de Venezuela UCV (Venezuela) 49

143 Moscow State University of Law (Russia) 49

144 Interdisciplinart Center Herzliya (IDC) (Israel) 49

145 Tsuda (Japan) 49

146 University of London Union (ULU) (England) 48

147 Stockholm School of Economica in Riga (SSE) (Latvia) 48

148 Cape Town (South Africa) 47

149 Yokohama City (YCU) (Japan) 47

150 Dilman, University of the Philippines (Philippines) 46

151 Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO) (Russia) 45

152 Vassar College (US) 45

153 Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) (Hong Kong) 45

154 Hanyang University (South Korea) 45

155 Yonsei University (South Korea) 45

156 Brac University (Bangladesh) 44

157 Waterloo (Canada) 43

158 Newcastle (England) 43

159 Sophia University (Japan) 42

160 Griffith University (Australia) 42

161 Oklahoma (US) 42

162 Queen Mary London (England) 42

163 Grove City College (US) 41

164 Berlin (Germany) 41

165 Aberdeen (Scotland) 41

166 Galatasaray (Turkey) 41

167 Deree (Greece) 41

168 Saskatchewan (Canada) 41

169 Aberystwyth (Wales) 40

170 Uni College London (England) 40

171 Manila, Uni Philippines (Philippines) 40

172 Colombo (Sri Lanka) 40

173 King´s Inn (Ireland) 39

174 Institut Teknologi Bandung (Indonesia) 39

175 Lesotho, National University of (NUL) (Lesotho) 39

176 Beijing FSU (China) 38

177 Northwestern University (US) 38

178 Temasek Polytechnic (Singapore) 38

179 Manitoba (Canada) 37

180 Bina Nusantara University (Indonesia) 35

181 Islamic University of Technology (Bangladesh) 35

182 Rijeka (Croatia) 35

183 Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University (KNTSU) (Ukraine) 35

184 Bucharest (Romania) 35

185 Johns Hopkins (US) 34

186 Osaka (Japan) 34

187 City University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) 33

188 Tokai University (Japan) 33

189 Malacca University (MU) (Malaysia) 32

190 Swinburne University of Technology (Sarawak Campus) (Malaysia) 32

191 IU Bremen (IUB) (Germany) 32

192 Lincolns Inn (England) 31

193 Chicago (US) 31

194 Williams College (US) 30

195 Warwick (England) 29

196 CNA - Qatar (Qatar) 29

197 Columbia (US) 29

198 Tilbury (Germany) 29

199 Stellenbosch (South Africa) 28

200 Rochester (US) 28

201 Erasmus (Netherlands) 28

202 Wesleyan University (US) 28

203 Asia Pacific Uni College of Tech & Innovation (UCTI) (Malaysia) 27

204 Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) (Germany) 27

205 San Beda (Philippines) 27

206 Bonn (Germany) 27

207 Waseda (Japan) 26

208 BFSU (Romania) 26

209 Moscow State Technical University Bauman (MSTU) (Russia) 26

210 Santo Thomas (Philippines) 26

211 Macau Polytechnic Institute (Macau) 25

212 University of Namabia (Namabia) 25

213 Hitotsubashi University (Japan) 25

214 Bilkent (Turkey) 25

215 National University of Juridical Sciences (India) 25

216 Incheon (South Korea) 25

217 Potsdam, University of (Germany) 24

218 Texas A&M Qatar (Qatar) 23

219 Marianopolis (US) 23

220 Southern Illinois (US) 23

221 Guelph (Canada) 23

222 Louisiana (US) 23

223 Bogazici University (BOUN) (Turkey) 22

224 Bar Ilan University (BIU) (Israel) 22

225 St Gallen (Switzerland) 22

226 University of Vienna, Wirtschafts, Wien (Austria) 22

227 Tianjin University (China) 21

228 University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) 21

229 Indonesia Dikti (Indonesia) 20

230 Canterbury (New Zealand) 20

231 Central Missouri (US) 20

232 Khon Kaen University (KKU) (Thailand) 20

233 Saint Benilde (Philippines) 20

234 Thammasat (Thailand) 20

235 Yogyakarta State University (Indonesia) 19

236 Tokyo Women's Christian University (Japan) 19

237 University of Calabar (Nigeria) 18

238 Makrere University (Uganda) 18

239 School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) London (England) 18

240 Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUC) (Peru) 18

241 University Tun Hussein Malaysia (UTHM) (Malaysia) 17

242 IU Indonesia (Indonesia) 17

243 Limkokwing University of Creative Technology LKW (Malaysia) 16

244 University of Athens (Greece) 16

245 Tallinn (Estonia) 16

246 Yokohama Nat (Japan) 16

247 HSG (Germany) 15

248 Lyceum of the Philippines University (LyP) (Philippines) 15

249 Occidental (US) 15

250 Gutenberg University (Germany) 14

251 Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay IITBDSM (India) 14

252 Free State, University of the (South Africa) 14

253 Edinburgh (Scotland) 14

254 Imperial College London (England) 14

255 Tartu (Estonia) 14

256 Vilnius (Lithuania) 14

257 William & Mary (US) 14

258 Lethbridge (Canada) 14

259 McMaster (Canada) 14

260 Bath (England) 13

261 Binus University (Indonesia) 13

262 RESID Cameroon (Cameroon) 13

263 Gujarat National Law University (India) 13

264 KDU College PJ Campus (Malaysia) 13

265 Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany) 13

266 Dawson College (Canada) 13

267 Qatar University (Qatar) 13

268 York UK (England) 13

269 Montana (US) 13

270 Diponegoro University (Indonesia) 12

271 Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan) 12

272 Groningen (Netherlands) 12

273 National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Ukraine) 12

274 University of Kitakyushu (Japan) 12

275 Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (South Korea) 12

276 Lewis & Clark (US) 12

277 Minnesota (US) 12

278 National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) (Australia) 12

279 Society for Associated Inter-Tertiary Debaters (SAID) (Singapore) 12

280 Tsinghua (China) 12

281 Bengurion University (Israel) 11

282 Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia) 11

283 The College of New Jersey (US) 11

284 Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) (Bangladesh) 11

285 Beihang (China) 11

286 Mapua Institute of Technology (Philippines) 11

287 Universidad Del Pacifico (Peru) 11

288 Zagreb School of Economy and Management (SEM) (Croatia) 11

289 Muenster (Germany) 11

290 Smith (US) 11

291 Fudan University Shanghai (China) 11

292 KUiTTHO (Malaysia) 11

293 Kyoto (Japan) 11

294 Peking (China) 10

295 Putra Malaysia (Malaysia) 10

296 US Air Force University (US) 10

297 Griffith College (Ireland) 10

298 Hacettepe University (Turkey) 10

299 Khmelnytskyi University of Management and Law (KhUML) (Ukraine) 10

300 Franklin & Marshall (US) 10

301 Oporto (Portugal) 10

302 Willamette (US) 10

303 Wuhan (China) 10

304 Botho College (Botswana) 9

305 Nanjing Normal University NNU (China) 9

306 Atma Jaya (Indonesia) 9

307 FAST National Uni of Computer & Emerging Sci (NUCES) (Pakistan) 9

308 Iraq Debate (Iraq) 9

309 UST Beijing (China) 9

310 Central Europe University (CEU) (Hungary) 9

311 Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) (China) 9

312 AMHK (Hong Kong) 9

313 Aoyama Gakuin University (Japan) 9

314 Nara Women's University (Japan) 9

315 UTM Mara Terengganu (Malaysia) 9

316 Foreign Affairs University (China) (China) 9

317 Ocean University of China (China) 9

318 South-Central University for Nationalities (US) 9

319 University of Pune - Fergusson (India) 8

320 Ahmad Dahlan University (Indonesia) 8

321 Padjadjaran University (UNPAD) (Indonesia) 8

322 Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages (Taiwan) 8

323 Dhaka University (Bangladesh) 7

324 University of Bengkulu (Indonesia) 7

325 Tokyo Metropolitan University TMU (Japan) 7

326 Winnipeg (Canada) 6

327 National University of Rwanda (Rwanda) 5


 
The details of points earned year by year can be found here


A few of things to note:
The rankings are by institution not college. (e.g. UCD L&H and UCD Law are separate). If you enter separately then you get ranked separately.

They are calculated by adding up the total team points scored by an institution at the World Debating Championships (e.g. if Limerick A score 15 and Limerick B score 14 the total for that institution is 29 for the year). This score is totalled for each of the last 5 years. The only exception is where an institution has hosted Worlds (e.g. Cork, Koc, UCD etc) within the last 5 years then their score from 6 years ago is added as they cannot compete in the year when they host.

If your team doesn't appear on the list it is because they didn't attend Worlds in the last 5 years.  I have considered adding other regional tournaments but there isn't a large enough BP format tournament in each region and it would skew the rankings for those regions who do have a major BP championship (e.g. Euros).
Where teams tied on the same total then the more recent results were weighted higher. (e.g. if two teams were tied on 10 points but one earned them in Botswana and the other in Koc then the team from Botswana ranks higher).

The score of every team counts. There have been complaints that the 8 teams Sydney sent to Vancouver pushes them up ahead of other teams. But the reality is they did send 8 teams. Worlds Council and the Org Comm allowed them send 8 teams. The rankings reflect what did happen not what people wish had happened.

The only exception is Yeditepe from the rankings. They were bottom of the list but it's not really to fair to them as they only debated 2 rounds at Cork before one speaker became seriously ill and they had to withdraw. 2 rounds really isn't enough for a ranking given some other teams are being measured from 45 rounds (9 rounds x 5 years). I think onw Worlds (i.e. 9 rounds) should be the minimum to earn a ranking.
There are various arguments about how I should calculate these. There have been requests to calculate these by average per team. To just take the result from the top team per institution. To include other tournaments. etc. I have looked at these and in each case the arguments are valid. However for me this method of ranking rewards every point a team gets. Statistical manipulation don't determine where the institution is ranked, the institution's speakers do. I think ranking by the total goes some way to recognising and rewarding the overall organisation of a society over a number of years rather than just the skill of one or two individuals. A college may not have a team good enough to break but they are organised well enough to send more teams to Worlds. The best institutions tend to do both and they are at the top of the rankings.

The rankings are unofficial and are just something I have published on this site for a number of years. There is talk of moving to an officially Worlds Council sanctioned ranking system. I welcome that and will work with council on this.

Please let me know if you spot any errors in the rankings.

34 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:54 p.m.

    I'm a stat geek myself, and a touch on the obsessive side, so I can understand the compulsion to put together data like this.

    That having been duly noted... the list is, and always has been, pointless and stupid. It doesn't reflect the institutions that are in reality the strongest (except the top 1-2 maybe), and is meaningless as a measurement of anything really. It's like many other complex "super stats" used in sports, made retrospectively to try and measure something artificially. Literally the only thing these numbers tells us is how well universities tick boxes in Colm's arbitrary measurement scheme.

    It's nice for him to play with I guess, one hobby is as good as the next, but some people (like WUPID) actually seem to take these stats seriously, which is beyond absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous1:23 p.m.

    However it does seem quite accurate in the broad swathes of comparing say the top 5 to 20-24. It is fairly clear that the top 5 unis have a pretty big advantage in terms of the average quality of the teams they send and depth of talent at the university. But does it allow you to say that Atteneo (10) is better than Alaska (11)? No.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Anonymous 1:23. Indeed it may be that in a head to head one off debate Alaska would beat Ateneo. And then the next round Ateneo may beat Alaska. The rankings don't really measure the chances of one team beating the teams immediately above or below them. However as you say at a broad level it is likely that both Ateneo and Alaska ranked 10th and 11th would be expected to be in contention to break and that is how it turns out in recent years. You would also expect them to beat teams ranked 50th and 51st in the majority of debates but to struggle against teams ranked 1st and 2nd again in the majority of debates. But on their day with the right motion and position the teams in 110th and 111th position could well beat Alaska and Ateneo. The rankings only act as a record of past performance not future performance.

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  5. Anonymous 12:54. Every year I get these sort of "pointless and stupid" comments which are purely disruptive and bitter and make no real attempt to contribute to the discussion. I take it your college dropped a few places because they didn't do well at Worlds recently. As you clearly think you can do better then I look forward to seeing your rankings and comparing them to these

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  6. Anonymous4:17 p.m.

    Thanks for publishing these rankings, Colm. I don't know why people get so upset - you explain the theory behind your methodology very clearly.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous8:22 p.m.

    Is there a ranking for University of Hawaii? We have only attended Koc and Botswana.

    Thanks for publishing this. As a new program, we're looking for models not only of training, but also of organization, and these rankings provide a very useful index.

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  8. Anonymous10:58 p.m.

    Actually my old alumnus is now ranked much higher on the list, but a bold swing and a miss. Look, I keep stupid stats myself, I'm in no position to criticise it as a practise. But you're publishing this stuff like it has a meaning, and some people are actually treating it seriously, and given the numbers so clearly don't reflect reality, I find that to be unfortunate.

    I don't think it's a matter of "one debate they might lose, another they might win", so much as the numbers being flat out wrong. There are hundreds of examples, but let's just take a few. Ateneo for example is ranked in the top ten for the second straight year... yet they've broken one team in the last 5 year period. One. Yet Melbourne, ranked below them, has broken a team each year of the last 5 bar one (and performs much better than Ateneo at other IV's, in the last 10 years Melbourne has had 17 speakers in the top 10 at Australs to Ateneo's 5, over the last 5 years they've had 7 teams in the top 16/break, against 5 in the top 16 from Ateneo, and Melbourne's top team outranked them 4/5 times on the tab). There is no way a sensible person can look at the performance and strength of those two teams and say Ateneo is the stronger, yet your scheme does. Your system says Tokyo Uni, who have never broken in the main break, are stronger universities than places like Inner Temple, NYU, UTS. Your system says Victoria Wellington, who just won Australs and is one of the better institutions in the World, and is at least as strong an institution to Ateneo (probably better) is ranked 31. All of that, and alot more, is ridiculous.

    You want constructive advice on the system? Stop calling it the World Rankings would be my first advice, instead go with something like "Colm's ranking formula" (or CRF), because it sure as heck doesn't rank the best universities in the world. If you insist on keeping it along the parameters you do (and I'm getting that vibe), then increase the length to 10 years (5 years isn't a long time for Worlds), and give more reward to teams breaking, and top end team performance, and stop giving universities extra points for showing up more. Not every university will financially support teams coming every year en masse, but if such a uni wins Worlds then they sure as heck ought to be ranked higher than a university who just sends lots of middling teams consistently (Middle Temple, who won Worlds not long ago and who broke a few teams the last 5 years, ranks behind Keio, who has never even come close to breaking a team). There should be some kind of reward for winning worlds too. Give points for universities who have top 10 (or 20) speakers. Give extra points for making the Grand Final.

    When professional statisticians are talking about the greatest players ever in a sport, they only value longevity so much, they emphasise peak performance. The fact that someone played for a longer time than someone else is nice, but it does not make them a better player than someone else. A team of middling players with lots of longevity will not win you a title. A star often will. Your system doesn't measure who the best universities are, so how is it helpful as a world ranking?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous12:40 a.m.

    Just to be clear btw, I could have as easily said Harvard or LSE instead of Melbourne, but I think Melbourne provides a crystal clear example of the way the system is unhelpful on both counts.

    Firstly, if you could choose to have the results Melbourne had over the last 5 years, or the results Ateneo had, you'd take Melbourne's results every time. So they've had more ACTUAL success. But secondly they've shown that it's not an anomaly of worlds, because they compete in IV's outside of Worlds with Ateneo, and those results clearly favour Melbourne too, not just in terms of the top team from each, but the overall trend as well.

    So just what is the ranking telling us? It's not telling us who is a better debating institution, and it's not even telling us who has had more success at Worlds over the period it supposedly measures. Maybe it's just me, but a statistic that can't quantify either of those things strikes me as a pretty useless one. What the hell does it measure?

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  10. Anonymous6:35 a.m.

    These rankings are a joke and always have been. No one takes them seriously. Colm is just an old Dino who achieved nothing in his time as a debater but uses this site to suck a living from debating when the money should be better spent on actual debaters. We could do without him and his like.

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  11. Anonymous6:40 a.m.

    I don't know Colm, but I'd definitely say that's too harsh. Run of the mill debating obsession is a far more likely (and understandable) motive than the token money he gets from the website, and I think it provides a positive service, even if the rest of the criticism is fair.

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  12. Wow. OK. Fine. I've gone through this year after year and I really don't know why I bother any more. After 13 years running this site I'm still amazed how some people think it's their god given right to be abusive. Perhaps it comes with the territory with dealing with debaters. Over Worlds I was shocked at some of the personal abuse levelled at some of those appointed to be DCAs at Botswana and DLSU. I censored the worst of it before it reached the blog (and took an amount of personal abuse for doing so) but really it disturbs me to see how much anger and resentment there is out there towards people who give their time and effort to make the World Debating Championships work.
    To deal with some of the issues:

    Anon 8:22: I have combined “University of the Pacific” (Who competed in Cork) to “Huaweii” (Koc and Botswana). I thought they were the same. If they are different then I can split them. Can someone confirm these are separate institutions and I’ll make the change.

    Anon 10:58: I admit that the rankings don’t measure individual peak performance. That may be a flaw but personally I think the points system is the fairest because it only measures points from rounds that everyone can take part in. If I give credit for break rounds what about for ESL/EFL break rounds where native English speakers are barred from entry. If I give credit over a wider time period, 10 years, then I am likely to be rewarding performance of teams who have not set foot within their institution for 2-3 generations of debaters. But look if you can come up with a better rankings system compile it, post it , open it to discussion and I’ll be happy to accept it as better if it can be proven to be so.

    Anon 6:35: I don’t make a living out of this. It costs me money. Not much, only about €150-200 a year but certainly I don’t make a cent from the site never mind a living. There are some who do, and fair play to them they work hard for it, but I’m not one of them. I tested google adsense over the recent worlds but it made only a couple of dollars before someone did something to it that caused google to suspend my account for suspected fraud. The two big trips I’ve ever gotten were as DCA of Worlds (which cost me money because the tournament made such a loss) and DCA of WUPID which to be fair is the only thing I ever got that I felt I came out ahead after it but only in terms of the excellent care Yunus, Omar, Saiful and their people took of me. I certainly didn’t make a penny out of it. Other than that when I went to Worlds and other tournaments it’s been at my expense every time since I graduated 14 years ago. When I was at tournaments with Limerick as an adjudicator/coach it was not as a professional paid coach you now see with many teams. It was entirely at my personal expense. I was happy to do it because personally I felt my 4 years as a debater gave me a lot and I wanted to give something back. Right now I think the scales are more than balanced. I get some praise and thanks (the award from Worlds Council being the highlight) but really the abuse, criticism and jibes wear me down.

    You want me to just go away well you’re probably going to get your wish because I really do have better things to do.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous8:14 a.m.

    I appreciate the good work done on this website, and the singular smear above is inappropriate. I doubt I agree with you on much philosophically, but I certainly don't think much of the remarks made above. That said...

    Personally I don't feel any ranking system is a good idea, which is why I haven't proposed one. However if there is going to be one, I wish it would at least be useful. Your system does not make the right distinctions between teams, in that in values a university sending 5 teams and accumulating 60 points, over a university sending 3 teams and accumulating 59 points. That's absurd, and I gave a number of examples of the absurdity earlier. Likewise, look at Sydney B this year. Why on earth should Sydney B, who were a mile ahead on speaks and who made the Semi, be regarded as having an equally successful year to an institution who got 18 points and didn't break?

    I don't think I'm being mysterious about suggestions for change. Start having a more nuanced system which factors this kind of thing in. If there are occasional issues with sample size (a uni only sends 1 team every two years) then that can be factored in, just like Cricket and other sports require minimum thresholds to qualify for the list. You could either allocate additional points based on each cumulative achievement (how far they break, top 10-20 speakers, etc) for example. Think about factoring in speaks and tab position. Think about the average total points for the teams sent, not just a total that rewards people with warm bodies.

    As for ESL, that has nothing to do with this list, which is supposed to be for the world rankings overall, not an ESL list. What happens in the ESL break has no relevance to this ranking at all, because we have their overall performance, they're not in a separate comp or anything.

    If you seriously want suggestions and will actually implement them (or at least defend the reasoning for not doing it) then I'll make specific and tailored formulas, but otherwise I'm not wasting my time. The first thing should be awarding of additional points for benchmarks (eg, an extra 5 points per year per break team, and extra 7 points per quarter team, an extra 9 per Semi team, and extra 12 per GF team, an extra 15 for winning Worlds, etc).

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  14. Anonymous8:20 a.m.

    If you can't take a bit of fair criticism then why do you run this blog. No one forced you to do it. I may be wrong about you making a living from this but you have no published accounts on the site so we just have to take your word for it. If not for money then you run it for the ego boost it gives you. Give this blog back to council and just go.

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  15. Look I’m not doing this. I’ll just say that if anyone wants to create a new version of the rankings then e-mail it to me and I’ll make sure it gets a fair discussion and consideration by people who are looking at the ranking system. Other than that I’m not commenting any more.

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  16. Anonymous8:37 a.m.

    Obviously you can do as you see fit, but I'm pretty unimpressed with the inability to respond to specific problems with your system, and I don't think I'm alone. You can't even explain what your system is supposed to measure. It's extremely easy to see it fails to accurately gauge actual performance (a uni who sends 5 teams, gets 60 points, and doesn't break any teams, is ranked higher than a uni who sends 3 teams, gets 59 points, and has all 3 of those teams go to the Semi). So given your formula can't even measure actual performance, what exactly is it measuring?

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  17. Anonymous8:56 a.m.

    Some of the comments here are ridiculous. I personally have a number of concerns about the extent to which the rankings system reflects actual performance, but that's no reason for people to get so inappropriately personal.

    As a brief point: those of you complaining are (mostly) saying two things, often side-by-side:

    A) "go away Colm"
    B) "I don't like your ranking system, make another one"

    They're not mutually exclusive, but there's a clue as to why Colm is running this blog in the second of those two points. Colm's the only person, to my knowledge, who has been willing to put in this amount of effort. All of you could start your own blogs. All of you could start your own ranking systems. Instead, you're spending your time insulting someone who is giving up a large amount of his personal time to provide a resource to the debating community, and then demanding that he spend even more time making that resource more to *your* specific liking. Either do the work yourself, or treat Colm with *some* degree of gratitude, regardless of what you think of his ranking system.

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  18. Anonymous9:07 a.m.

    One person has gotten personal, and nobody has supported his remarks at all.

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  19. Anonymous10:47 a.m.

    I think people should thank Colm for his work not launch personal attacks on him. Have you even met him? Who do you think will do a better job?

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  20. This is insane.

    Colm, whilst I may not agree entirely with the way you do your rankings, I can see the value in them and I certainly appreciate the massive amount of hard work you put into them, and the blog as a whole, every single year. Please don't let one person ruin that.

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  21. A few things:

    The personal attacks are pretty shocking. Count me in as one of the people who really appreciates Colm running this blog (and others like him doing the same), and while I have a problem with these rankings, I don't think they're "pointless" and I certainly don't think Colm deserves abuse for putting them together.

    In terms of the problem I have (and please don't just respond, even mentally, with "go make your own list then" - if you wanna e-mail me on the raw data, cool, I'll add the one tweak that I think would make this list objectively better, but the fact that I don't have the time or committment to trawl through the tabs (admirable though your is) doesn't invalidate a suggestion or criticism.

    The criticism is simple - as was chatted about a bit above, I think an average institutional score would be a better measure. I agree that it's very debatable whether scoring for breaks, wins etc is better; another list ranking which unis do best in the out-rounds might be worthwhile, but I think incorporating that into this gets very messy very quickly. However, counting an institution's total points skews things massively - as pointed out, it means that universities who send loads of teams get a huge artifical boost.

    Your response to this seems to be that sending more teams indicates a better institution, and should be measured as such. I'd disagree with that for the simple grounds that having more money is linked to a whole series of different factors separate from 'quality of debating', which is what a list like this should measure. The fact that certain unis can afford to enter more teams (and I don't even mean Sydney-like excesses, I mean that some unis reach the standard team cap while others struggle to send even one team due to universities having different funding levels) skews things, and that difference isn't all about quality. Take your own uni, Limerick, as an example. I have no doubt that it has, broadly speaking, better debaters than many of the teams ranked above it. However, debating is quite underfunded in the college and in the past 5 years, to the best of my knowledge only 5 teams have been sent. Each of thsoe teams could have achieved maximum points, and a lesser university reaching the team cap and having each team score a fairly unimpressive 10 would be ranked higher. That's a flaw, and doesn't necessarily mean that uni #2 has more 'organisational skills' or whatever, it just means that their university gives more funding to debating clubs, a variable that's often totally uninfluenced by debating success.

    I'm not saying this because I'm bitter about where my institution ranks; we got a huge artificial bonus ourselves from UCD worlds where it was right down the road and so we could enter 5-6 teams instead of our standard 2. I'm also not trying to sit on the sidelines and 'have a go' or whaatever to make myself feel good - I like the idea of a rankings list, and I think it's amazing that you've put in the work to get the data to make one, I'm just always disappointed that the end result is so badly skewed towards richer institutions rather than better debaters. It may not make a material difference between, say, 1 & 50, but it definitely makes one between 40 & 50, and that's still important to me.

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  22. Anonymous10:25 a.m.

    Agreed, and as I noted above, you can always discount smaller sample sizes if you want to go that way (points per team average). Alternatively, just add points for benchmarks like breaking. I mean, a team that wins Worlds gets up to 4 extra wins, but right now those wins mean nothing, which is ridiculous (finals wins being harder to attain). The list simply fails it's intended purpose, and so needs to massively revise the criteria.

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  23. Anonymous11:44 a.m.

    Unless the list includes regular weekly tournaments it is useless. We cannot all afford to travel to Worlds. This rewards rich first world nations and is biased against developing nations. It would be very easy to put together a list of ranking tournaments and to gather the results from these. If Colm is not willing to do this then I suggest Worlds Council take back control of this blog and the ranking system and give it to a team of active debaters who are actually at these events. Colm has not bothered to attend Worlds in years and from what I hear he has not even been to an IV in the UK and Ireland in that time.

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  24. Anonymous11:05 p.m.

    Unfortunately that would be too subjective. For small IV's to be relevant at all is incredibly difficult to foresee being possible, because of the different level of quality involved. I think it potentially has some merit, but the tone I'm getting from you 11:44 makes me remember why it won't work... after all, winning EUDC or Australs is a hundred times more meaningful than winning some local IV in a developing Nation, but I can't see you or others ever agreeing to acknowledge that fact... no, better to just work on a way to improve the way it measures performance at worlds...

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  25. Anonymous12:51 a.m.

    The way you could use local IV data would be the same way they standardise most test scores and other local performance. You scale it based on how the local area does at Worlds. Of course this will be disliked by "developing nations" too, so it's probably pointless to try.

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  26. Anonymous10:57 a.m.

    Actually I agree with Colm. The only competition that everyone in the world can enter is the first nine rounds of WUDC. Other than Oxford and Cambridge there are no local IVs of a high enough standard to be worth counting. Giving points for regionals is unfair on teams where there are no BP championships (North America, South America, Africa, Asia). If you give points for break rounds at WUDC then you just push the leading teams at the top of the list further away from the non breaking teams.

    People need to relax about this. The anger here is way over the top. I thank Colm for his work and wish him well. It is a pity others don't.

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  27. Anonymous12:18 p.m.

    Leaving aside the dubious remarks above, you agree that the current system is accurate and fair? Please.

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  28. What fools those who personalize the criticism of Colm's rankings are.

    He claims nothing of his rankings other than that they're his. Read all his caveats that follow the publishing of them. They're part of a service he provides, freely, to the community. Don't like it? Don't read it.

    Thanks, Colm, for the hard work of keeping this blog up and running. It is an essential part of our community and provides an invaluable contribution to the continued development of debating around the world. And don't for a moment believe that the bleatings of an idiot minority are representative of the attitudes of the many of us who benefit from your efforts.

    Steve Johnson
    University of Alaska

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  29. Anonymous4:41 a.m.

    Yawn. One person made a stupid personal remark, and nobody else has said anything supporting it. I appreciate the work Colm does, but that doesn't make him immune from criticism. The rankings he makes are not a useful or helpful way of ranking the best debating societies, or their performances.

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  30. Anonymous7:02 a.m.

    Sending more teams does to some extent imply a better institution, but in some cases it gives teams a ridiculously unfair advantage in this list (some examples were mentioned that I think were fairly good at illustrating this). I don't think it would be fair to call Random University X a better school because, say, they have two amazing debaters go to grad school there and finish on 27 points for four years in a row. They could very well be the only members of their club, so the "average" success of the teams they send to worlds isn't indicative of the strength of their club. I think we could all agree that a club with only two people, even if those two debaters are awesome, is not a "good" debating club.

    Still, I think it's better to inflate the success of clubs in marginal cases like these, than to inflate the strength of various other clubs which aren't that strong. Ateneo are good and all, but probably don't deserve to be in the top 10. The same is true of Alberta. Giving them the distinction of being in the top ten debating institutions in the entire world, is just irritating since even they would probably admit it's not true (again, this isn't to say that they're not good, just not top ten quality). That's my take on this. Like others I also think that any personal attacks against Colm for publishing his rankings are unwarranted.

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  31. OK We've had 5 days of open comment posting (it's the standard I have on the blog for all posts). Now moderation kicks in.

    In relation to the criticism of the way the rankings are calculated I have explained the logic behind them in the post but I welcome the comments and will certainly look at ways this can be improved for next year's rankings. I'll involve a number of other people in the discussion and will publish the results of the review well in advance of the next rankings so the wider population can have some input.

    Regarding the personal criticism I believe this is coming from one or two individuals. Possibly I was too dismissive of the orginal "pointless and stupid" comment or possibly it is from someone I have had a disagreement in the past. Whatever the reason I have already clarified some of the allegations about me making a living from this. In regard to the ownership of this blog well it is a personal initiative so it can't be taken back by council. However Council are looking to set up their own website and I will be helping them get that up and running (just as I did a number of years ago with the last site).

    OK. Now that post 5 days moderation has kicked in you will need submit your comment using a recognised account or e-mail address.

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  32. I think the rankings system is interesting -- Colm admits it's not perfect, but it's far better than having nothing. Even I wish my [ivy league] institution could fare better, but we don't have the funding to send a lot of teams to Worlds, which is really only why Yale ranks so high.
    That said, is there a good reason to not include various regional championships? Australs, Euros, NorthAms (or maybe APDA/CUSID nationals instead), perhaps? They're easy enough to keep track of, which this blog does anyway, and helps to eliminate the funding issues.

    But anyway, thanks for consistently providing such a great outlet, Colm!

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  33. As someone who also puts in a lot of effort and gets a lot of flack, I say, way to go Colm. You are doing a great job. Those who accomplish nothing are so often jealous of those who accomplish something. It is not a criticism of you as much as it is a pathetic cry from them.

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  34. Philippine delegations are superb especially the Ateneo, UP and De La Salle.

    One school from this country though should not bethere- UST or University of Santo Tomas. My friend told me that university is for the dumb. :)

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