The behind the scenes of HOEDT: What does Laura do?
I’ve been to the Heart of Europe for 5 consecutive years. In that time, I’ve been in the Chief Adjudicator’s Panel for 3 years, whilst I have concluded two terms in the Motions Committee and the Tabulation Team. To a lot of individuals outside of debating those just sound like random titles with little clue as to their responsibilities whereas even a vast number of participants often wonder what we do, therefore I’ll try to explain the going-ons of those roles.
PS. The specifics described below apply to HOEDT and might not apply to other tournaments.
This is the most time-consuming five-person team as it commences its work 6-8 months prior to the start of the tournament, and the work changes depending on when it is.
Outline of some specific tasks in a chronological order:
I. Coming up with impromptu motions, this is usually done by first having a large brainstorming from everyone on each of the set themes;
II. After everyone has come up with some motions for each category, we give each other feedback and provide ideas on how to improve them or point out how they might not be suitable for this tournament;
III. The final stage is awarding points to our most suitable motions and finalising the ones with the most votes;
IV. Whilst doing the motions, we make videos to post on HOEDT’s social media to explain why the debaters should join us this year;
V. A day before and during the tournament we have what I like to call ‘check-ins’ where we bring forth any arising issues and deal with them as they come;
VI. Each of us is responsible for (co)hosting a training on day 0;
VII. During the tournament we crisis manage (more on that below) to run a tight ship;
VIII. After the tournament we deal with feedback and come up with ideas on how to do things better next year.
This is probably the most intense of the three teams during the tournament as it can get hectic rather quickly. We get our own tab room to keep the ballots safe and to handle incoming issues swiftly, that’s why you’ll see us running around the venue when ballots are handed in to make sure everything is in order. We work alongside the CAP to make sure the adjudicators are doing alright.
But mostly the two of us deal with allocating judges to the debates as well as placing the teams against each other. We do power pairings, solve conflicts, and input data. Then the data needs to be double checked so that we are certain the speaker and team rankings are in line with the ballots. Furthermore, we sometimes organise search parties for missing adjudicators and consequently sometimes need to step in to judge.
Some myths about the Tab:
I. No, we are not responsible for handing out the ballot folders to the debaters;
II. No, we are not at fault every time the schedule is not adhered to;
III. No, asking when something will be sorted will not help us in sorting it quicker;
IV. Yes, we do comment on your handwriting, so please make it legible.
This is a three person team which consists of the CA and two members nominated by the Organisers. We are in charge of putting together 3 prepared motions: two for the preliminary rounds, as well as the Grand Final motions. All of them need to be finalised in advance, which poses a need for a significant amount of foresight to pick topics which are not going to considerably evolve between when the motions are released till when they will be debated. We often start with throwing around topics for the 2 preliminary motions before we move on to the phrasing of them. The one consistency we adhere to each year is keeping the Grand Final topic Europe-centric
But really …
In my opinion it comes down to crisis management. This is a broad term which encompasses a variety of tasks. Being a crisis manager is being entrusted that you can handle issues as they arise, whether it’s a matter you can sort out by memorising the rules and procedures, to stepping in to adjudicate, to dealing with complaints, to debriefing individuals, to fulfilling other people’s tasks – it’s all things that you are expected to handle. That’s why when you see me sometimes looking sombre, that’s what I’m doing.
Do you want to join the CAP?
Whilst I’ve outlined the responsibilities of the above teams, we all do more than just the basics. Or let me rephrase it, we should all do more than the basics as the need for proactive and adaptable team members is great. Whilst they are all volunteer roles, in order to provide the participants with a good tournament we all need to fulfil our duties, but to give them a great one, we need to do a bit more than just the job description. Therefore if you think you can do the little bit extra in the CAP, then please email the Head Organiser Jakub Kadlec (firstname.lastname@example.org) to express an interest for HOEDT’19.
The article was written by Laura Krawczyk.