doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Niche knowledge coming into play

Written by Mike

I have loved the DDL’s concept from the start. I quickly dismissed some concerns that people had with sending new debaters to the DDL because it was deemed to be a competition between the best people of each society. Sure enough, this was the initial thought behind it, but more and more societies have become comfortable with sending new debaters to the DDL. I just love this. Also at this edition of the DDL in Nijmegen (the fourth one of this academic year already and the twelfth one overall), I met with debaters who were not necessarily veterans but who certainly proved their worth. Let me tell you more about this clash of (young and old) titans.

It started with a train journey to the far Nijmegen. I had to leave in the middle of class to catch a train at 15:50 so that I could also have some dinner after arriving in Nijmegen. Luckily, I don’t mind traveling that much as long as I have something to do. Well, there was a problem with some code in the class of that day that I had to look at and I had a book with me, so all was good. If all was lost, I could always do some casefiling (apparently good debaters do that or something like that). For example, one can find out that Putin and Maduro have been good friends. Apparently, they have been secretly playing in an 80s Soviet band together, with Putin taking on the glamorous lead vocals and Maduro bouncing up and down behind the keyboard. You can read all about it in this very reliable source:

Now, on to the DDL. Very quickly for those of you that are unfamiliar with the concept, the DDL pits eight debating societies (namely Bonaparte, Cicero, Delft, EDS, GDS, LDU, Trivium, and UDS) in the Netherlands against each other in 16 debating rounds spread over eight evenings. These eight evenings are each hosted by the eight societies. Simple arithmetic then shows that each evening consists of two debating rounds. At the end of the season, the society with the most points claims the cup for the year and can call themselves the best society of the Netherlands for a year.

This edition, Chronos (the debating society from Eindhoven) replaced GDS due to GDS, unfortunately, has been unable to send teams this season and it seemed fair to then allow Chronos as a replacement. Currently, the Debatbond is looking into the possibility to let Chronos enter the DDL in lieu of GDS permanently. Despite this being very sad for our friends from Kalliope, it did mean that we could meet with two members of Chronos: Leon and Inaki. Coincidentally, I actually met up with them at the train station after already having met up with Noémie and Alex from Cicero, my other lovely society. It turns out that Inaki is actually from Gran Canaria, one of my favourite holiday destinations. Anyway, let us talk about the actual debating that took place this evening.

It turns out that my casefiling actually paid off, since the first motion actually concerned Venezuela. Honestly, this was pure coincidence since I genuinely wrote the introduction of this article during the travel towards Nijmegen and it kind of made me laugh. The motion read:
This house supports Western military aid to Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela.
Now, I am a mess on IR motions but this one actually went well. Me and my team partner Roel were Closing Opposition versus Cicero (Noémie and Alex) in OG, Trivi

um (Mara and Thomas) in OO, and UDS (Daan and Harmen) in CG. All kinds of different aspects were considered by the debaters. Of course, as one would, even China and Russia were brought into the debate. CG discussed how building enclaves would be part of the plan as well and how that can provide security for people in Venezuela. We tried to do something else. We explained how the people in Venezuela genuinely have an anti-Western thought process due to the prevalence of Hugo Chavèz in the past and his spiritual successor in Maduro, which consequently allowed us to explain how tensions grew and what other nasty effects are of interfering (actively) in Venezuela. In the end, we took a first, with Cicero taking a second, UDS taking a third, and Trivium taking the fourth place.
Quickly after this, we needed to assemble in the announcement room again for thesecond round was about to start. Luckily, Trivium (the hosting society) anticipated well that people would be exhausted and, as such, they made sure that there were snacks and drinks for us all to enjoy in the tiny break and during the debate. The motion for the second round read:

This house, as the LGBTQIA+ community, regrets the “born this way” narrative.

An infoslide accompanied this motion to explain what this narrative entails and what possible alternatives would be. The draw was quite similar, with only Cicero and Chronos swapping rooms. We were Opening Opposition versus Trivium in OG, UDS in CG (once again), and Chronos in CO. We tried to run a case about acceptance and coming out, after sketching what the LGBTQIA+ community should care for most, being (in our eyes) those people that feel least safe around their identity and who need the help of the community most. As you might know, conversion therapy is sadly rampant as a mechanism to try to make people step away from their sexuality. As horrible as this is, we believed this to increase under proposition’s side. At the end of the debate, the call was that we took a first, Chronos took a second, UDS took a third, and Trivium took a fourth. That means that the ranking of the DDL is now as follows:

1) LDU (31 points)
2) Cicero (25 points)
3) UDS (22 points)
4) Bonaparte (12 points)
5) Delft (12 points)
6) EDS (9 points)
7) Chronos (6 points)
8) Trivium (5 points)
9) GDS (0 points)

That was the end of the evening. I loved coming to Nijmegen and seeing some familiar but also new faces. I would recommend everyone to attend at least one DDL meeting, be it as a judge, speaker, or supporter! I vividly remember Bonaparte bringing supporters last year that even made up songs and yells to support their team. That is what I call dedication. I hope that you will be able to attend the next DDL, which will be on March 18 in the beautiful city of Rotterdam!

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Breaking judges fairly – the case for using judge tests as a metric

By Victor Domen

Tabbing is easier than ever. Tabbycat has all sorts of build-in features that allow for efficient and fair judge allocations and breaks based on the imported data. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion we currently do not use Tabbycat to its full potential. In this short article I will make the case we should use standardised tests to assess judges and create a more fair and equal judge break.


The Problem

The decision of which teams will break is pretty objective. They get scored based on their team results and only in case of a draw does speaker score come into play. That in turn is based on a standardised scale. There are still humans involved and making decisions, but a lot of subjectivity has been removed. Nobody really complains about this. We roughly know what a 75 is, what a 70 is and what an 80 is.

The odd thing is, that we do not use similar standardised scales when it comes to judging. Judge feedback forms are increasingly used in the Netherlands, but do not always use standardised scaling to assess the qualit

y of judging. Moreover, not all CA-teams use judge feedback consistently in determining the judge break. Or, at least, that process is currently not standardised and far from transparent. Therefore, it is pretty hard to call a judge break in any way objective and therefore subject to all sorts of biases. The implication is obvious, the best judges do not always break, whereas traditionally good, or liked, judges tend to do so more easily.

Considering that breaks should be based on merit, we should find a way to make judge breaks more objective. Just like with team breaks, judge breaks should be based on numbers.



The Solution

In a nutshell: standardised testing combined with standardised feedback sc

ores. Before the tournament judges must make test. This test gives their initial score/rank in the tab. A standardised scale, much like with speake

r scores, will be the basis of this test. Judges with higher scores have greater priority to break and chair. If a judges has scored below a certain threshold do not have the ability to vote on a call. This is a process currently done ‘randomly’ be the CA team. That is to say they will give judges scores based on their previous experiences with these judges. Similar problems to those already outlined exist.

During the tournament, these initial scores can of course be altered. This happens with the standardised feedback forms, released by the Debatbond at the beginning of this academic year. Simply put, judges are ranked on a scale from 1-10 and thus receive an average judge score. At the end of the tournament the judges with the highest score break. Tabbycat has built in systems for this exact purpose. It can keep track of submitted and unsubmitted feedback and change a judge’s score based o

n the feedback received.

For this to work as much feedback needs to be submitted as possible. It will be up to the tournament staff to determine how this is encouraged/enforced. One possibility is to deny breaks to those who do not submit feedback. Another is to wait with proceeding to the next round until all feedback is submitted. Each has their own positives and negatives.

This system makes it clear which judges should chair and are more capable and takes performance during the tournament into account. An experienced judge who does well during the tournament will start as a chair and will remain as chair. Novice judges whose skills grow throughout the tournament can also be noticed and rewarded. This system quantifies judging skill in a similar vein as is done to debating skill making the entire process more objective. Of course this does not eliminate subjectivity, but does minimize it’s influence to a greater degree than the way one decides judge breaks.

It will take some time to develop the standardised scale that lies at the heart of this issue. I’ve heard that Maastricht Novice used a judge test. In my opinion the test used there should be the basis of the standardised scale, but your opinion may vary.


Tabbycat should be used in every tournament, because it speeds up the process, negates human error and is easy to use. With some more effort it can eliminate one of the biggest problems plaguing debating tournaments. More objectivity is always good and thus a standardised judge test should be developed and more importance should be given to judge scores when determining the break.

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Goodbye Cape Town

By Linsey Keur

Over the Christmas Holidays, the World Universities Debating Championships took place in Cape Town, South Africa. The results have already been posted on facebook and the tournament ended over a week ago, but nevertheless there are my experiences as a participant of WUDC.

This WUDC took, as said, place in Cape Town. This definitely had some benefits for the tournament, one of them being the relaxed venue and accommodation. All participants stayed at the campus of the Univerisity of Cape Town, which had a lot of green scenery to relax in, as well as an amazing view from the main debate venue over the city. With all the surrounding beauty, it almost was a shame to go inside and debate. The actual rounds of debating started on the 29th of December. People definitely were nervous before the first round was announced, but nevertheless all Dutch people were in for judging and participating in some good debates. The results of the inrounds were mixed, with teams sometimes doing better than expected and sometimes doing worse.

After 9 rounds of debating, all teams and judges definitely had some chances of break night, so on new years eve, we were in for a nervewrecking evening. Luckily there was free Yakka to help us get rid of the nerves, and the break was already announced around 23.00. Eventually, David and Marike broke open and Daan and Linsey broke as judges. A great result for the Dutch Delegation. After a day for recovery on New Years’ day, the outrounds started on January 2nd. David and Marike got through a Partial Double Octo, but unfortunately got kicked out in the Octo finales. Gigi and her partner Tommy from Oxford made it through the Octo’s but got kicked out in Quarters. This meant that there were no Dutch teams participating anymore when it came to the last day of the tournament.

Finals’ day took place in CTICC, a big conference centre in Cape Town. From the high way it already showed that WUDC would take place there and everyone was all dressed up and excited for the finals. Now up until the open final, the whole tournament ran smoothly in the eyes of many particpants, but right before the open final was about to start African participants entered the stage while singing and dancing. They declared that they were done with structural racism in debating and were not going to leave the room until they had gotten apologies from different teams within the organisation. In this article I do not want to go into the discussion these actions caused, or my opinion about this, but I will describe how the event ended because of this.

When the protest was going on, other participants were led into the dinner hall, where we got food as soon as it became clear that the finale was not going to start soon. In the meanwhile, the protesters were negotiating with the organisation about resolving the issue at hand. This took a couple of hours and a lot of stories and gossip surrounding the event spread. Eventually, the organising committee and tab team apologized to the protesters and the protest ended. During the protest however, the open final, judged by Daan (!), had already taken place.

Given the situation the organisation also felt it was not the best idea to hold a closing ceremony, which meant that everyone just went there own way. Most of the Dutch participants went into the city center to drink cocktails and recover from the evening. Eventually, after midnight, the results of all finals and speaker scores were posted on Facebook. We found out that Gigi had become best ESL-speaker in the world, an amazing achievement! And just as impressive was Marike becoming 7th best speaker in the ESL category. The results of the tournament therefore were great, but to me, the ending in this way felt quite surreal. Nevertheless, we can look back at a good tournament with great results and great achievements from all teams and judges.

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Nederland levert beste spreker op Wereldkampioenschap Debatteren

De afgelopen dagen vond het WK Debatteren voor studenten plaats. Het WK debatteren is één van de grootste jaarlijkse studentenevenementen ter wereld, waaraan ruim 400 teams meedoen van universiteiten uit meer dan 90 landen. Dit jaar vond het WK plaats in Kaapstad, in Zuid-Afrika. Nederland was vertegenwoordigd door twee teams (Leiden: Marike Breed en David Metz; Amsterdam: Zeno Glastra van Loon en Lana Moss) en drie juryleden (Linsey Keur, Daan Welling en Fabienne Ellemeet). Daarnaast deed de Nederlandse Gigi Gil mee namens Oxford University.

De Nederlanders hebben het uitstekend gedaan. Leiden is als derde Nederlandse team ooit gebroken in de Open categorie en standde pas in de 1/8 finales. Daan en Linsey mochten beide verschillende finales jureren. Tot slot werd Gigi Gil uitgeroepen tot beste spreker met Engels als tweede taal! Een fantastische prestatie! De Debatbond is trots op de deelnemers, die het Nederlandse wedstrijddebat uitstekend hebben vertegenwoordigd.

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Cape Town, here we come! A preview to the 2019 WUDC

Right after Christmas, most people are getting some rest from the busy days, enjoying the left-overs and preparing for New Years’ Eve. However, a small group of Dutch Debaters will fly to South-Africa to compete in or judge the 2019 Cape Town World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC). This years’ delegation consists of Lana and Zeno on behalf of Bonaparte, Marike and David on behalf of Leiden en Daan (Welling), Fabienne and Linsey as judges. On top of that, Gigi will compete with Tommy Peto on behalf of Oxford. This article will take a quick look at the tournament and the chances of the teams.

First of all, let’s look into what is new this WUDC. Every year, during the Christmas break at WUDC debaters from all around the world, compete for the title ‘World Debating Champion’. However, this year some things have changed to make the competition fairer because there was a general idea within the Debating Community that there were some biases that needed to be resolved. This means that there from this year onwards is a policy that says that for larger delegations with at least 3 teams, ⅓ of this delegation should identify as female or non-cis males. Secondly, team codes will be implemented to make sure it is no longer easily visible from what societies people are and therefore it is less likely that biases against or in favour of certain societies occur.

During the tournament, there will be 9 inrounds in which everyone competes and then the best teams will advance to the outrounds. Making these outrounds, is something a lot of debaters dream about, so will there be a chance the Dutch teams will make the outrounds? Definitely!

First of all, if we look at Marike and David, we see an experienced team that is feared by many in the Dutch Debating Community, because if you debate against them you will have to do your very best to stand a chance to beat them. Both David and Marike have already become the best speaker at tournaments during this season and they won multiple tournaments. On top of that, in the past two years, they both managed to make the outrounds in the European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC) once. This shows that their track record is very promising and they can definitely do very well during WUDC, maybe there even is an open break in their future.

Lana and Zeno are also a team that has quite some experience, as they have been debating together for quite a long time now. When they just started debating together they made a lot of novice and pro-am finals and managed to take home the price quite regularly. Now the time that they were novices is long gone, but they still manage to make outrounds at tournaments on a quite regular base. For example, they recently were in the final of the Tilbury House Open in Cologne this autumn. We should therefore definitely keep an eye on this team for the break to the outrounds.

Lastly, the half-Dutch team from Oxford, Gigi and Tommy. They are probably the most established team with a Dutch influence. Gigi already made an ESL final of Tallinn EUDC in 2017 and Tommy was already the second best speaker at Dutch WUDC in 2017. They are also doing very well together in a team, winning the Birmingham IV only 2 weeks ago. Their other achievements are so many that listing them is impossible, but this definitely raises the question; will half of the new World Champions be Dutch?

With 3 judges that all have plenty of judge breaks, we are also looking forward to them judging some great debates and maybe even getting a chance of judging some outrounds as well.

All in all, this WUDC has a lot of potential for great success for all the Dutchies attending and we are very much looking forward to the tournament. Updates will be given through the Seventwenty Facebook page and some larger articles will be written on the website as well.

Best of luck of all competitors!

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Let’s get this Party Started: Debating Lustrums

This year, three debating societies are celebrating their lustrums. For those unfamiliar, lustrums are five-year periods which allow a company, organization or in our case, a society to celebrate its birthdays. TU Delft Debating Club is celebrating its very first lustrum, Leiden Debating Union its third and as the oldest society of the Netherlands, Erasmus Debating Society is very excited to celebrate its sixth. Naturally, such big celebrations call for huge parties, from dinners, to galas, to lectures, to party weekends; societies are determined to celebrate in style.


Delft’s founding occurred on November 13, 2013 and it was on this date this year that the group got together at Wijnhaven. Wijnhaven holds a special place in the heart of the society, as it is there they head out for drinks every Thursday. Other plans include celebrating with other societies in a more formal manner, including a black-tie party since, as society’s president Cian Jansen says, “debating is best when there’s other societies involved.” The Club also has plenty of reasons to celebrate. Cian also notes that “In a couple short years, we grew from struggling to have a BP debate every week to having an amazing community of people that are present almost every week.” They are also lining up fantastic achievements at debating tournaments, from winning the Pro-Am final at Erasmus Rotterdam Open, to speaking in open finals at Roosevelt Open as well as having members CA and break at tournaments.


The second society celebrating its Lustrum is Leiden. Femke de Wijs, Leiden’s internal officer, says that she is excited for the Lustrum as it gives its members an opportunity to get together to “celebrate the fact that LDU is still providing us the chance to debate.” And what fantastic plans they have for the upcoming year for both their members and other debaters. To foster a more student environment, they are organizing multiple socials over the next year which will culminate with a super-secret party-weekend in April. Last month, the group visited Delft, went to an arcade and organized a pumpkin carving contest, all of which have been a huge success. That is not to say that fun activities will not detract from debating achievements – Leiden is lining up tournament wins left, right and center.


Lastly, EDS is celebrating thirty years of existence in May. Annemarijn Tamminga, the society’s president, says that it’s a big milestone and she is enthusiastic for the opportunity this brings to get together with other societies. This is also a big opportunity to also reflect on the fact that debating has been active for thirty years in the Netherlands, and look at what we have been able to do as the community. EDS has a lot of plans for its members and the debating community. They plan on organizing a dinner and a gala. Along with those, there are plans for an evening with lectures, and its members can look forward to a special edition of the society’s annual members weekend.


On the personal aspects, all board members are tremendously excited to be able to share their board experience with this milestone celebration. “It’s a big responsibility” says Annemarijn, but she’s looking forward to it. Femke also shares Annemarijn’s enthusiasm, by saying that she’s looking forward to getting to experience the year with new members (who are almost all new to Leiden) and do what they all love to do: debate.


Another amazing aspect of being on the lustrum board, Cian reflects, is the fact that they “still have a lot of people who were very important to the founding and early years of the club quite actively involved, which allows us to actually have them present for the celebrations.”


Whether you are a new or an old(er) debater, I hope everyone is excited for what is to come in the upcoming months! The Lustrum is the perfect opportunity for members and non-members to get together, and celebrate the achievements of the societies.

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A Reflection: Promoting Debating

An influx of new debaters is crucial for the debating community in the Netherlands to thrive. As we have seen a general decline in participation of debating tournaments, as well as many debating societies indicating they are increasingly struggling to find new members, the Debatbond focused on how to get new members in the last board day. In addition, quite some societies autonomously organized sharing groups, so that best practises could be copied. A good opportunity for 720 to reflect on what societies have changed in their promotion plans this year and how successful they were.

In writing this article, I reached out to a couple of societies in the Netherlands to ask them about their introduction period. What stroke me in the responses I received was their general positivity. Most, if not all, societies were quite optimistic about the new member base and satisfied with their efforts in promoting. For instance, Bonaparte achieved an above-average member growth of over 20 new members this year. EDS was also quite content with their growth and the general interest in their societies, with both introductory workshops being attended by roughly 70 people.

Moreover, societies felt they put a lot of time in their promotion efforts. Cicero mentioned how their chair missed most of his lectures in the first three weeks because he was so busy with spreading the debating message, whereas Leiden also felt they spent ‘a lot of their time’ on promotion in the first weeks of their board year.

So far, an optimistic view on the new influx in Dutch debating arises. However, when looking at the participant numbers for the tournaments so far, one might question, at least, the participation of the new members in debating tournaments. Roosevelt Open, UCU Open, Trivium and Cicero all struggled with attracting the kind of numbers they did in the past. Striking was furthermore that UCU Open had to implement a Pro-Am final instead of a novice final due to the lack of novice teams. Given that tournament participation is quite a good proxy for society participation, I think it is important to be wary of these trends.

This brings me to the larger point of this article. The importance of introduction weeks for societies and Dutch debating in general is rather unquestioned I think. And although I am glad to here the success stories of societies, I think it is also important to be critical of what societies do well and what they can improve on. To start off positive, I think one of the best examples of a positive change made by a society this year is the change to being more inclusive and accommodating to international students by Bonaparte. They consciously reached out more to international students and tailored (part of) their message accordingly. As a result, Bonaparte was able to attract a far larger number of international students than last year.

Another positive marketing example is the society positioning of EDS, that specifically highlight themselves as one of the few societies in Rotterdam where English is the first language. By effectively comparing themselves to other societies, they cater clearly to a specific set of needs by a rather large student group in Rotterdam – and quite effectively so indeed.

Lastly, I think many societies did think carefully about some of the comparative advantages of debating societies, in the sense that many indicate to highlight the benefits of debating on personal development, developing skills that are relevant in the workplace and within academia, etc.

There is also room for improvement of course. Perhaps most importantly, I think that societies should be more critical about their marketing strategy and tactics. Formal evaluations of marketing efforts are not as thoroughly and often done by societies as one might hope. Many boards indicate they largely copied the marketing strategy that was followed in previous years, perhaps tweaking little things here and there. Although this is not necessarily a problem, it is easy to not innovate enough and improve the marketing strategy.

Furthermore, societies do not always have a clear idea of who they want to reach. Whereas some target international students specifically, others focus on particular sets of students (such as philosophy, economics or politics), or just on first-year students in general. I think that being aware of who you want to reach is vital in understanding how to convince them. Of course, societies shouldn’t just focus on one group (such as international students), but their ways of reaching out to these groups can be different in order to achieve more success.

When starting a Facebook campaign, you need to have a clear idea about who to target and why the campaign is effective. Many boards, my own board included two years ago, start Facebook campaigns, or similar marketing tactics, merely because it seems hip and new. Carefully thinking about which channels are effective is an important continuation of identifying the target market.

Lastly, my last observation is that many boards intensify their marketing efforts on the beginning of the year, but don’t specifically continue working on marketing throughout the year. I think that having a marketing plan that goes beyond the introduction period will force boards to be consistent in their messaging and increase chances of attracting members throughout the year.

Improving marketing is important for societies, and I think it is particularly a topic on which we can learn a lot from each other. The increasing exchange of best practises at Board Days or via Facebook is very useful for that very reason and I hope this will continue. For any other input or questions on marketing efforts, the Debatbond is of course very much willing to help you with any queries you might have!

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Debater Story: Anna in Prague

The expectations I had for my very first international debating tournament were low. I just hoped I would have a nice time and that I would win at least one debate. I wasn’t expecting to see much of the town or to find new friends. I went to Prague Debate Spring with 14 other students from team Netherlands Young and I had an amazing time.

I never flew before, so when I met up with my team at Schiphol airport, I was very nervous about the flight. For some reason, I’m not nervous about the debates anymore. I immediately found support within the team. They made weird jokes which weren’t funny at all, but they still made me laugh. After a long wait and a short flight, we arrived in Prague. For a girl who hasn’t visited more countries than France, Belgium, and Germany, Prague was an impressive city. The city has these amazing streets that almost give you this Paris vibe. The buildings are old and have this beautiful historical look.

On Friday, the debates began. It was weird and awesome at the same time to debate against a country like China. It wasn’t necessarily a different debate from one I would have with another Dutch team, but it was the whole experience around the debate that was different. After every debate, you talk to each other about where you come from, what your school is like and so on. I’m not used to talking to people who live in a city which has more inhabitants than the Netherlands. A team that I really liked was South Africa. The positive energy that they spread throughout the whole competition was so amazing and lovely.

As I heard from other debaters, my expectations for the food shouldn’t be too high. They were right. The food wasn’t bad, just wasn’t meant for me. Luckily, Prague was filled with cheap supermarkets which had a lot of great food. As for where we slept, it was better than I expected. Besides a broken shower, a lack of cups and a lack of good pillows, we all had a bed which was comfortable enough to sleep in. We stayed in a quieter area of Prague, so there wasn’t a lot of noise at night.

In the late nights with my team, unexpected bonds came. As we liked to call them, bonding nights, we talked about things that otherwise never would have been talked out. We laughed, cried, talked, but most important we supported each other. We talked about tensions and nerves. We discussed the other teams, Prague itself and our expectations of the other debates. We were able to have a cup of tea and at the same time discuss how nervous some were about the debates. That form of support is rare, but something that is so lovely when you find it.

We also bonded with the coaches. On Friday evening, I fell ill and I wasn’t able to sleep, but one of my coaches was able to give me the best help possible. They were the biggest help you could hope for. Talking with them about how you feel is very important and the solid support they gave was probably one of the most important things during the whole trip. The coaches and my team formed this kind of safety net for me and that gave me the power to keep going even on lesser moments.

A debating tournament makes you realize a lot about yourself. It increases the self-knowledge you have and the knowledge you have about others. It learns you even better than a national tournament how to deal with the stress, how to spend your prep time as efficient as you can and how you are able to calm each other down. It’s one big teambuilding assignment.

In the end, it’s important to remember that a debating tournament like Prague isn’t just to win all the debates. It’s about support, fun and learning new things. Prague gave me those things: the amazing support from my team members and my coaches, laughing, learning and exploring all day.

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Proposal: Central Equity Officer

For the upcoming General Assembly of the Nederlandse Debatbond, the Board proposes to introduce a new article 20 of the policy manual. During the General Assembly, the article will be voted on in Dutch, but for the sake of discussion, we have translated the article to English.


Proposal on Central Equity Officer

Realising that there are several issues within the Dutch debating community that could use a central equity officer.

Proposes a new article 20

20.1 A national Equity team exists.

20.2 The members of the equity team are appointed by the General Assembly after being nominated by the board. The members of the equity team are proposed for a period of one year. A member can not be appointed more than three times. Board members can not be part of the equity team. There are no more than three members of the equity team.

20.3 During the nomination a diversity in gender and debating society will be sought. There will also be sought for people with previous experience as an equity officer at their society or on debating tournaments.

20.4. The Equity team has four tasks:

– They write a (national) equity document specifying what equity is and in which ways they can help.

– They advise the board, the General Assembly, equity officers of debating societies and tournaments and the members of the Dutch debating community on matters regarding equity.

– They handle complaints from individual members of the Dutch debating community, when these members can not go to a different equity officer. For example because no equity officer was appointed for the occasion when the matter regarding the complaint happened, or because it is impossible to go to the appointed equity officer.

– They keep a so called ‘black list’ of people who, because of extremely serious transgression to that what is accepted within society, are no longer welcome on Dutch debating tournaments. This black list can be shared, when necessary, with Equity Teams of tournaments so these equity teams can make a decision as to whether these people should be banned from their tournaments. When a tournament does not have an equity officer, it can be shared with other parts of the organisation.

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Proposal: The Renewed Debatranglijst

For the upcoming General Assembly of the Nederlandse Debatbond, the Board proposes to introduce a new debating ranking list. However, to come up with a new policy that got support from our members, we would like you to inform us about your thoughts. 


We have deleted the old debatranglijst due to the new privacy law. We’re uncertain whether we should have a debatranglijst: leave your thoughts down below.

If we would have a debatranglijst, we want to have it start afresh every year and have your four best tournaments count. We wish to count your accomplishments based on a percentile, and we don’t let any tournaments weigh more heavily than others. Only certain tournaments are counted, tournaments with special selection-criteria or with themes are excluded.



For the last few years the debatbond tracked all Dutch debaters on a debatranglijst. A list of all debaters, giving points on how well they had done at different tournaments and ranking them accordingly. Last year the old debatranglijst had to be removed from our website because it was no longer GDPR compliant. Since a new list had to be started in the new debating year we felt it was the perfect time to discuss updating its rules. To do so a Brainstormcommittee was formed and we discussed whether a debatranglijst should exist, and, if it should exist, in what way. This document is a summary of that discussion. It includes recommendations and a new proposal for a debatranglijst, should the bondsraad want one.

  1. Should there be a debatranglijst?
  2. What’s allowed with the GDPR?
  3. How should the debatranglijst work?


Should there be a debatranglijst?

The brainstormcommittee isn’t certain whether there should be a debatranglijst. A debatranglijst can be fun, because people can compare themselves with other debaters, even when they aren’t regularly speaking at the same tournaments. It can also be a way to track your own progression over the years. However, the debatranglijst can also be used to cultivate toxic status-relationships and to keep them intact. Moreover, the debatranglijst can be used to look down on people within the debating community and some people feel less certain and good about themselves because of it. There’s already a lot of competition within the debating community and people are ranked after every weekend. It might be wise to keep that to the (necessary) minimum of tournament rankings. It remains to be seen how strongly the debatranglijst plays into this, especially because ranking debaters already happens in so many ways.

The brainstormcommittee advises to only have a debatranglijst if a large majority of the member-societies want it, and to permanently abolish the list if it would play too much of a role in the way debaters see and treat one another.


What’s allowed with the GDPR?

Roughly speaking (and in no way to be seen as legal advice): every tournament needs to ask permission to publish someone’s name online (via the TAB), when asking this permission the tournament could and should also ask whether we can use your name for the debatranglijst. On top of that, there should be (as there always was) a way to get yourself removed from the debatranglijst.

This means that using foreign tournaments becomes almost impossible, but using national tournaments would be fine, as long as this permission is given.


How should the debatranglijst work?

To answer this question we looked at four different aspects: How many tournaments should be counted in what timeframe, what tournaments should be included, how should accomplishments be weighed and should different tournament be weighed differently?



Our proposal is to have a cyclus of one year. This means that every year the debatranglijst starts afresh: a blank slate where everyone has the same amount of chance to do well as everyone else. At the end of the year a prize could be handed out to the winners. This would mean that more value can be given to the list, since inactive debaters no longer pollute the list with their presence, and the list becomes more accessibly to newer debaters. Every year the four best tournaments of every speaker are taken into consideration, which means that players aren’t obligated to compete in all competitions to get a better score, but also that inactive speakers won’t be ranked too highly on the list. If someone does not speak Dutch they can request the Debatbond board that their three best tournaments are counted, to make it easier for them to participate and do well on the list, without them having to participate at more than half the tournaments in their chosen language. They have to make such a request in the first three months of the year.


What tournaments should be included?

The bondsbestuur will make a list with all the tournaments that count that year. This list is open for everyone and all tournaments can apply. The Bondsbestuur will actively encourage tournaments to do so. The board makes this decision on the following criteria: the tournament must be held in AP, BP or in a different format that’s used around the world, such as Australs. The tournament must be open, so no selection-criteria exist in order to compete . This means that, amongst others, novice tournaments, schools tournaments, internal tournaments and the mace are excluded. Lastly, there should be no restrictions to the CA-team, so themed tournaments are also excluded. A first list for this year could be:

  • Roosevelt Open
  • UCU
  • DTU
  • Leiden Open
  • Rotterdam Open
  • Maastricht Open
  • Kalliope Debattournooi
  • NK Debatteren (Dutch nationals)
  • Cicero toernooi
  • Het Bonapartiaans Debattoernooi
  • Delft Open
  • Het Trivium Debattoernooi


How are accomplishments weighed?

Several different options exist here, we’ll outline four and argue for our preference.

  1. Accomplishments could be weighed based on the percentile of debaters in which a team landed. If a team became 10th of 20 teams: each speaker would get 50 points, because they landed in the 50th percentile. If this same team became 10th of 100 teams, they would receive 90 points. This system would be used for all teams that haven’t reached an out-round.
    1. For teams that have reached an out-round, their ranking would be based so the winning team is place don nr. 1 and the other finalists are a shared number 3, the semi-finalist are a shared 6.5th place (which might be rounded up), this can be applied to quarters and so on.
    2. Or, their rankings would be based on their accomplishments on the teamtab, making them 2nd to 4th. The semi-finalists are then also ranked on the based of their teamtab, for 5th -8th.
  2. Instead of team-rankings, we could also use speaker-rankings. That way individual speakers are marked for their individual accomplishments. We would still use the percentile system, but now on speakertab.
  3. A combination can also be used: speakers that haven’t reached out-rounds are based on speakerpoints, whereas speakers who did reach an outround are based on the system as outlined under 1.
  4. Lastly a compromise could be made, by combining speaker score and team score, taking both into consideration for the percentile.

The committee wishes to go for option 1, but has no preference for 1a or 1b in what way we’d count the outrounds. We believe that debating is a team sport and people should therefore mainly be marked on team-accomplishments. Even though we do see a compromise could be useful, we fear it would be highly unpractical to implement, and we would still value team-accomplishments more than speaker accomplishments.


Should different tournaments be weighed differently?

Because we propose a percentile-based system we do not feel the need to make a difference for different tournaments. We cannot easily or objective weigh the toughness of the competition at different tournaments and therefore the best thing is to look at how many other teams are participating. Importantly, we believe that Dutch nationals should be counted differently from other tournaments, since now it influences the debatranglijst way too much. We do see that someone who wins a tournament with 40 other teams doesn’t get more points than someone who wins a tournament with 20 other teams, but we feel that the outrounds are, in a way, equally tough, no matter how many other teams first competed. Moreover, we believe that the list should focus on the average debater, for whom the difference between a 12th place and a 15th place does matter a lot, which is taken into account really well, and for whom the different tournament size also matters a great deal.