As many of you know for several years I have published a World Rankings on this website. This version of the rankings took the points earned at the past five years of 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. It was, justifiably, criticized as not being comprehensive enough to be called a “World Ranking”. Last year I promised to consult with various people and look at revising the ranking methodology. This work has been ongoing for several months. And today I'm in a position to unveil the new rankings which includes results from over 40 different competitions. I hope this number will increase over time.
The new top ten are
The new top ten are
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The full new rankings can be found at http://rankings.idebate.org/
You will notice from that address and site that the rankings are now being done in partnership with IDEA . IDEA have come on board to give me access to technology and resources that I could not hope to avail of by myself. In the coming months this entire blog will be migrating to a www.idebate.org. More on that in the future but let me reassure people that this is a very positive development and that I will retain full editorial control of the site and it's content. If I, or any of the contributors to this blog, wish to criticize IDEA then that will still happen. IDEA are simply providing me with a quality of platform and a team of contributors and IT experts that a generic site like blogger could never do. There is a lot more to come and be announced about this over the coming weeks. For now lets talk about the new rankings.
As well as being over a wider range of tournaments one thing you will notice is that they will change frequently throughout the year. As the latest version of a ranking tournament and its new tab become available then the ranking will be updated. The final and largest ranking tournament will be the World Universities Debating Championships held over new years. This will allow us to publish an end of year world ranking and therefore announce that the top ranked team for 2011 is X in a very similar way to the previous rankings.
We have tried our best to make sure the information is as accurate as possible in terms of matching team names with the correct University. Sometimes that was not possible in particular where humorous names were used. If you can correct these or any other errors please e-mail email@example.com. Our plan is to gather all the corrections plus any additional new tabs and post another update in mid December. That way hopefully we can do one big update at that point rather than a stream of smaller updates after each e-mail. Ongoing we plan to publish updates within a couple of days of each ranking tournament.
Selecting the tournaments:
This is a ranking of universities who take part in parliamentary debating around the world. Parliamentary style debating was chosen because it is the most widespread general style across the world. There are other debate formats, particularly in North America, but these are often too different from parliamentary debating (e.g. individual public speaking) to be included in the rankings. However that is not to say that these are in any way of less value to parliamentary debating. If a way can be found to include these then we are very happy to do so.
We believe the list of tournaments we have included is a reasonable start to publish a set of rankings with a fair geographical spread. We have taken tournaments where the tabs are freely published on the internet. There are tournaments we would have liked to include but could not either because the full tabs could not be found or none were published. 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 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).
If a tournament has not happened in the past 12 months and is not scheduled to happen within a reasonable time (i.e. a week or two) after the 12 months have passed then that tournament will drop off the rankings.
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.
How points were calculated:
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)
Only pre-break results were used. This means every team taking part has a chance of earning points on the same basis as all other teams. We considered giving extra points for the overall win, making the final etc but these would only expand the gap between the breaking teams and those who missed the break. The top teams are already getting more points by being at the top of the tab.
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.
We realize that people will argue that this system rewards the larger societies who have the money to send more teams and more speakers to different tournaments. Well unfortunately that is what happens. Altering the results to in some way punish these larger societies would mean the rankings no longer reflect reality. We measure what happened not what people wish happened.
End of year 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.
Missing tournaments and names:
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. To do this we checked other tabs, looked at facebook, googled the names etc. However there are a number of “Hybrid/Unknown” teams that were not identifiable. We welcome, and in fact encourage, 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.