0. Testing, testing

1. Collect data

2. Format data

3. Install Tournaman

4. Set up new tournament

5. Import and finetune data

6. Draw round

7. Print ballots and create slides

8. Enter results

9. Repeat steps 6–8

10. Publish results

 

Troubleshooting

Material

A pragmatic beginners' guide to tabbing

by Manuel J. Adams, last updated in May 2014

This guide covers all stages of the tabbing process, using Tournaman Tabbing Software. It works as described below for any tournament of up to, say, 60 teams. Don't begin tabbing beyond.

0. Testing, testing

The golden rule, particularly for beginners, is testing. Most problems arise from unexpected lack of certain software or weird system settings. So, do a dry run on the exact computer you want to use for the non-drill situation with all the steps listed below using the actual tournament data or plausible fake data (e.g., as provided below in the material section). Tournaman has a "Randomise" button in its result entry menu, allowing for swift testing of several rounds without much finger work.

If you run into any problem that neither this page nor the official Tournaman manual can help you with, ask the BP tabbing community for help.

1. Collect data

The registration officer needs to either send you the list of speakers and judges a day or so before the tournament and let you know about any little change up until the draw of round 1 or send you a flawlessly formatted list right before the draw. Thus, you need to decide whether to trust the officer in terms of change reporting or in terms of formatting. Generally, I recommend the former if you can't get the officer to collect the date in a spreadsheet on Google Drive - visible to and format-controlled by you.

2. Format data

Turn the data you have received into a clean spreadsheet, eliminating misplaced spaces, etc. These are then the necessary columns for the team tab:

team speaker 1 speaker 2 institution
Team names indicating the institution behind the teams are generally a good thing. What is allowed is determined by the character and the rules of the tournament, but also a bit by your taste. People like seeing their names spelt correctly. Sometimes you may be able to help with that. Make sure one and the same institution is always spelt exactly the same way, in the team tab as well as in the speaker tab. If you don't, judges might get to judge their club mates.

And for judges:

judge institution 1 institution 2 ranking
The names go here. Usually, a judge has only one institution they should not clash with. Bear in mind what it says under "institution" in the table above. If you prefer, you can pre-rank the judges here. Just enter a natural number between 0 (inactive) and 9 (top chair). Alternatively you do it later in TM.

There are a few more columns you can use (see TM's sample sheet). But most of the times the ones above will suffice.

3. Install Tournaman

Go to the TM download page and find the latest version. This training is based on TM 2.0.8. of 2011. Install.

Note that TM comes with a manual, which unlike this guide covers all functions of the software.

4. Set up new tournament

Create an empty folder at a safe place on your hard drive as your tournament folder. If this place is, for instance, your Dropbox folder and given a working internet connection, you will have a live backup of all TM data in the cloud. That means, if your tabbing computer explodes, the tournament can go on.

Open TM. Click File >> New. Enter the tournament name as file name and save the "trm" file in your empty, designated folder. As the window popping up tells you, you have created several files.

Have a look in the tournament folder. The only file that is now in there and that you are recommended to touch is "round presentation template.ppt". Open it and edit the slide master, as the header of the slide template tells you to. You can also edit "generic ballot.rtf", but that is a bit risky. Test thoroughly if you do.

Back to TM. The next window popping up after confirming is "Tournament settings". Enter tournament name and add venues. You can go back to this window via Edit >> "Venues+Settings".

As Tab Master you should have some basic knowledge of the venues. Are there relatively unpleasant ones that should be the first to be cut if not all are needed? Are there smaller ones where you should not place the biggest panels of judges? Are there ones not accessible for wheelchairs (if relevant)? In the venue menu you can mark any venue as "special needs venue". But things must get unusually complicated for you to need this option.

Set the number of teams that will break and the number of preliminary rounds in the bottom half of TM's main window ("Break parameters").

Venues: check! Now for teams and judges.

5. Import and finetune data

As round 1 often starts immediately after the tournament check-in has closed, you need to talk to the organizers how you stay perfectly up-to-date. Check-in needs to tell you which teams didn't show up, which speaker got replaced by whom, who is speaking instead of judging and vice versa and so on. It is easier to juggle names on a spreadsheet than in TM. Also, a reliable check-in can do this for you on a spreadsheet (again, Google Drive can be very helpful). Thus, import your spreadsheet data as late as possible into TM. Note, however, that there are a few things left to be done in TM that cannot be done before. Have a list of these things ready so you can be quick later.

Teams: Click "Edit teams" on the main window. Switch to your spreadsheet and select and copy the team data. Do not include the column headers you may have entered there for orientation. Back to TM, where you are in the "Edit teams" window, click "Import data" and import from clipboard. Check, confirm, check again. You can still change anything by clicking on the respective entry and editing below. Add three extra teams named "Swing Team <x>" or so, set as deactivated, so you can swing them in any time when needed.

Judges: Click "Edit adjudicators" on the main window; same import procedure as for teams. What you can do now (and which was not possible before) is the entry of team conflicts. Select the respective judge and pick from the drop-down menu the team this judge should not judge (because their best friend or worst foe is on that team, or whatever the reason). Note that judges are clashed from teams from their own institutions anyway. Time to finalize the judge ranking. Switch to the "Ranked overview" tab on the top and get the CAs.

The CAs need to finalize the judge ranking. Let them know about drop-outs and unexpectedly available judges. I recommend to think in five categories:
(1) Set the CAs at 9,
(2) have them determine a group of fixed chairs (judges to chair permanently, at least until rooms become irrelevant) and
(3) fill the rest of the chair slots with rotating chairs (judges that shall chair in every other round or so).
(4) Try to determine some particularly trustworthy wings (maybe to balance weaker chairs or to promote/break them later).
(5) Everyone else makes up the lowest category (be it because they are known to be bad judges or because they are unknown to everyone on the tab room).
TM allows you to have more categories. You can use them, for instance, to distinguish in that bottom category between judges that should be check-out by top judges, and others.

6. Draw round

With a carefully prepared judge ranking, things can be done very fast now. Click "Create/edit round" on the main window, pick the venues to be used, confirm.

In the upcoming window you see all debates, descending from the top room at the top. The numbers behind the team names are the points gained so far. If you applied strict WUDC rules in "Venues+Settings", you cannot move teams around but judges and venues. Venues are randomized so you don't have to worry about revealing anything by the order in which rooms appear in the presentation later on. Untick the box at the bottom in order to be able to move judges freely. If a judge is assigned to a room where they should not be, they will appear with red background colour.

Up until the last minute, even during roll-call at the announcement venue, you can keep editing here, for instance swinging in swing teams or removing absent judges (right-click in the respective field).

Enter the motion on the bottom. I recommend keeping motions in a spell-checked file so typos can be avoided and you don't have to type now under time pressure. Also, you can do without time-consuming arguing about wording at this point.

7. Print ballots and create slides

Ballots are being generated automatically (and renewed every time after altering the draw), slides are being created by clicking on the "Create round slides" button on the main window. Both are stored in a round folder within the tournament folder. Access is easy via the folder tab at the top of the main window.

You can either take another minute or two to print ballots in the tab room before the announcement (mainstream solution) or print during prep time. The advantage of the latter is that all changes made to the draw at the announcement venue will be accurately reflected on the ballots, which is not very important. The disadvantage is that chairs want their ballots right away to get out and have a smoke.

Inaccurate ballots can be corrected with a pen and these last-minute things don't even have to be entered into the draw in TM at all. Aiming at a correct documentation of the tournament they should, though. Note that during rounds (when people are debating) you can "Select other round" on the main window, go back in time and alter all past draws clicking "Create/edit round" >> "Edit existing debates". This updates the files in your tournament folder.

Ask the organizers well in advance to provide a printer (with plenty of ink and paper) and a projector. The printer is not essential, though. If there won't be one, aks the organizers to print empty ballots (like TM's generic ballot with all variables removed).

8. Enter results

As Tab Master you need to ensure that the tournament organizers are taking care of the logistics for ballots. When the schedule is tight, you need the ballots back in the tab room as soon as possible. When not, too.

Click "Enter results" at the bottom of the main window. Pick the room whose results are in, enter the numbers, going to the next field by hitting enter.

When a chair has drawn or written something on their ballot, which is not absolutely clear, summon them. Do so, too, when their speaker point sum seems incorrect and you see the slightest chance this is due to a speaker score ambiguity you may have missed.

Then there are substitutes. Sometimes entire teams get replaced by swing teams, sometimes only one speaker of a team arrives late. Thus, you can mark the whole team as a substitute or only individual speakers. Important: Enter rank and points as awarded anyway! Do not enter zero for substituted teams or speakers!

Usually a missing speaker gets substituted by their own team partner, which means that the partner speaks twice ("ironman"). Determine a policy with the CAs for this case. The ironman speaker can be awarded the higher or the lower mark they scored. Enter the respective mark in their point field and the other one in their team partner's, and mark that partner as substituted. On the tab, the substituted speaker will have zero points, whereas the mark entered for them appears nowhere. You just enter it so the numbers add up. Another question is whether the team gets the team points won by an ironman speaker. If not so, additionally mark the team as a whole as substituted.

9. Repeat steps 6–8

When you have entered all results and clicked OK, you can draw the next round. What changes during later rounds is the number of relevant rooms. A relevant room is a debate in which at least one team has a mathematical chance of breaking. You can see on the main window how many relevant rooms are left. This number is based on the number of break teams and preliminary rounds you have entered on the main window. In the draw window relevant rooms appear with light green background, irrelevant rooms in light red.

Different CAs have different policies regarding irrelevant rooms. Some will assign judges from the bottom of the judge ranking up. Others will want to see better chairs in these debates. It all depends on several factors, such are: Is there still feedback to be given? Is it a beginners-oriented tournament? Are there enough good judges for the relevant rooms?

10. Publish results

After entering the results for a round, you can view the current team and speaker tab in the respective round folder. If the tournament folder is in your Dropbox, you can do so even on your phone easily as the tab files are HTML files.

After the last round, you actually need that data. Copy and paste the tables into a spreadsheet, format them nicely and remove all swing teams and swing speakers. If a swing team has been competing in all rounds, you may want to keep it on the tab, though, particularly if the same speakers have been speaking in that team in all rounds. As for swing speakers, you can keep them on the tab as well but you should enter their real names and present in their respective lines of the table only the points that they have actually scored. That requires some carful note-keeping, though, for which you may not have the time.

Only after checking with the CAs publish the tab in way that it can be found easily by those who are looking for it but make sure that search engines cannot find the names in it. Google Drive is, again, a good solution. Upload the tab as PDF or spreadsheet, set privacy to "anyone who has the link" and spread the link.

 

Troubleshooting

Teams with identity issues: Obviously teams should know their names or find out during roll-call. But it may happen in a first round that team A take the place of team B and vice versa. If these teams actually get to debate like this (and are not thrown out by the chairs), solve this tabbing problem (after entering all results) by swapping the speaker names, not by swapping the team names. Go than back to entering results and bring the speakers points in order.

Teams with Saturday night issues: If it turns out, after drawing a round, that exactly four teams are missing (a Sunday morning problem), you probably want to draw anew with one room less instead of replacing so many teams with swing teams. You find, however, hat TM does not allow you to deactivate teams in "Edit teams" after a round has been drawn. Solution: Memorize all the finetuned panels you have created the night before (because after this they will be gone) and click Edit >> "Venues+Settings" and "Delete all rounds after this one" and, most importantly, tick "including this round's debates". You can now deactivate the missing teams and draw again without them. According to Murphy's Law, the missing teams will resurface the second you delete the draw. Therefore, make a copy of the tournament folder before you do, so you can continue as planned after all.

Material

This is a spreadsheet with fake reg data for training purposes.

This is an alternative ballot template I use. It looks better than the default one and I find the way the columns are organized easier to process. Just rename it "generic ballot.rtf" and replace the default one if you like.

This is an alternative presentation template I use. Name it "round presentation template.ppt" and replace the default template if you like.

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