Author Archive Mike Weltevrede

ByMike Weltevrede

Tab workshop: Interview with Tatjana Stanic

On October 24, 2020, the Nederlandse Debatbond organized a workshop in tabbing, held by Marthe Wijfjes. To date, Marthe has tabbed over 30 competitions. She has assisted all Dutch debating societies (except ESDA Chronos) at least once by tabbing their tournaments. Internationally, Marthe has been part of the tab team of Novi Sad EUDC 2018 and she has tabbed most major online competitions in mainland Europe.

One of the participants in the tab workshop was Tatjana Stanic. She was kind enough to sit down for an interview about her experiences with the tab workshop. When asked to describe herself, Tatjana said the following:

Tatjana usually struggles with answering the simple question “Where are you from?”. Namely, she was born in Serbia, spent her early childhood in Russia, moved back to Serbia, then moved to Hungary and all of this by the time she started high school. Unfortunately, in none of these places debating was part of the education system. It remained a thing she admired from far away. Her last move was to Maastricht to start an MSc at the business faculty. Thankfully, this city had a debate club: Rhetorica. She joined just over a year ago and is loving it.

Q: Why did you decide to join the tab workshop?
A: Tabbing has always been a mystery box to me. I have been curious about it but I never knew how it was done. So, I wanted to learn! Moreover, there are a limited number of tabbers in the Netherlands and, since we do not know for how long they are still on, I wanted to make sure that we at least have a tabber for our own tournament.

Q: I can imagine that there were many questions to be answered and many things to learn. What was the most valuable piece of knowledge that you picked up on?
A: Marthe explained the whole process of tabbing very clearly. She took us through it step-by-step as if it was a real tournament. This, combined with the interactiveness of the workshop, meant that I got a very clear idea of what generally has to be done and what tasks a tabber needs to take on. I realized that there is actually much more going on than I thought but now I know how everything connects to the specific items of organizing a tournament.

Q: What traits do you think a tabber should have and do you think that you have those?
A: A tabber should be able to be in control and perhaps even have a loud voice (or a military voice as a fellow member of Rhetorica calls it) to retain order in the tab room. One of the things that I will like about tabbing is actually the messiness of it; when all hell breaks loose and everyone starts screaming, a tabber should trust that they can fix it and have some sort of inner peace. I believe I can do that.

Q: As a result of this workshop, will you be tabbing some tournaments?
A: Definitely! Marthe offered to take us along at a future tournament that she is tabbing to really put the knowledge that we gained into practice. That seems really cool to me so I will definitely take her up on that offer!

Q: Thanks for the interview, Tatjana! Do you have any final remarks?
A: I think the workshop was well organized and thorough; it covered pretty much everything. I want to repeat that the opportunity to tab alongside Marthe at a tournament is a cool idea which will be very useful.

Were you unable to attend but are you still interested in watching the workshop? It will soon be up on our YouTube channel so make sure to keep an eye on that.

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ByMike Weltevrede

Artificial Intelligence in Debating (Part 2)

In the previous article, we discussed what artificial intelligence (AI) actually is. In short, AI is a method that uses input data to complete a certain task by imitating human thinking. In this article, I discuss applications of AI in the real world, such as deep fakes. Moreover, I will talk about black-box algorithms: why are they used and what are the developments around “explainable AI”?

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ByMike Weltevrede

Artificial Intelligence in Debating (Part 1)

One type of topic that is increasingly being set at many tournaments is artificial intelligence (AI). Due to AI being such a complex and novel topic (both in reality and in debating), lots of debaters don’t manage to go much beyond slippery slope arguments implying some type of malevolent impending doom and struggle to make nuanced arguments. Examples where AI is involved, include route-planning, Alexa/Siri, and spam filtering of your emails.

This article is meant to serve as the first of a two-part guide to debating AI, going through the basics of artificial intelligence, starting with machine learning (ML) and ending with deep learning (DL) this week. Next week, I will talk about examples of applications of AI, ML, and DL in the real world (and why they are used). Conclusively, Gigi Gil will put the knowledge to use in the context of debating by discussing a debate motion on artificial intelligence in the system of criminal law. Any additions or questions? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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ByMike Weltevrede

Board Day August 2020

On Saturday, August 15, the Nederlandse Debatbond once again organized the board day. This edition was a great success. With more than 20 participants, more than half of all board members were present and every association but one was represented. Due to the corona crisis, this edition of the board day was held online. On the board day, the new board members of the Dutch debating associations get to know each other and the Debatbond. There are also workshops specifically aimed at supporting the board members.

The day started with an opening speech by Tom Pouw, chairman of the Debatbond. After this, three workshops were given. The first was given by Jos Buijvoets (former general board member of the Debatbond and honorary member of the Tilburg Debating Society Cicero) and was about member recruitment and promotion. Jos explained, for example, how social media can be used to attract new and larger groups of members but he also talked about more traditional ways, such as lecture talks and the open houses.

After Jos’ workshop, a workshop was given by myself. I built on Jos’ workshop and talked about member retention and activation. Now that the board members know how to attract members through Jos’ workshop, I explained to them how to retain those members and how to make them more active. I did this by splitting members into different groups and explaining what each of them needs to stay with the association.

Finally, Tom Pouw gave a workshop on sponsoring and selling trainings. Unfortunately, many associations often do not think of sponsoring as one of the bigger points they will be working on even though it can be very useful. So Tom discussed this topic and emphasized that sponsorship is not free money: it is actually an exchange of services. To explain this clearly to boards, he went through a step-by-step plan that boards could start to take up sponsorship.

ByMike Weltevrede

Arguments: Brains versus beauty

In my opinion, the motion of the novice final of the Delft Open 2020 is one of the most interesting of the tournament. In this article, I will briefly outline an important characterization, after which I will present an argument for both sides of the debate. Have you come up with other arguments? Then leave them in the comments!

THW rather be an individual of average appearance and extreme intelligence, than of extreme beauty and average intelligence.

Novice final – Delft Open 2020
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ByMike Weltevrede

[Delft Open 2020] The first online tournament in the Netherlands!

The corona crisis hit everything, including the debate sport. Earlier this year, the Erasmus Rotterdam Open, the Kalliope Groningen Open, and the Benelux Debate Competition, among others, already fell at the virus’ hand. Where several (student) debating tournaments were held online internationally, this was not the case in the Netherlands. However, the TU Delft Debating Club did not give up: they simply held their debating tournament online!

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ByMike Weltevrede

[Online Schools Debate Tournament 2020] High school students cross the verbal swords online

In these times of corona it is difficult to practice our hobby: debating0. Student societies and the Dutch Schools Debating College sometimes hold online evenings and training sessions, but almost all tournaments have been cancelled. That is why the Nederlandse Debatbond organized an online debate tournament on May 10, especially for high school students.

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