Using an on-line entry system offers massive advantages; centralized
record keeping, keeps your email clean, gets all the names spelled correctly, keeps
all entries public and available for view at all times, makes the world safe for democracy,
and improves your sex life.
But, of course, any electronic system can fail. Servers
can crash, disks and drives can go bad, lightening can strike. Those
who remember the early days of the TRM can attest to how much progess we’ve made in
data stability. BUT, it IS important
that you take appropriate steps to make sure that if the worst happens you’ll have
the data backed up somewhere. I back
up the data files every week, so we’re relatively safe if our server crashes, but
you need to have plans in case YOUR server dies or other calamity strikes.
Keep in mind that even after you have disabled the ability of others
to enter the tournament on-line, YOU will still be able to enter data on-line as the
This page has 4 major sections: (a) data backup, which includes
how to manage your on-line data, (b) pref sheets (c) other functions, (d) entry
management (how to keep the size of your tournament where you want it), and (e) creating
registration sheets from the Access database.
A. DATA BACKUP STRATEGY
Here are my recommendations for making sure that there are no data
you list the tournament, come back to the site every couple of weeks to download the
data files. This won’t harm you even
and might save your butt. Save them both
on your hard drive and a floppy, zip, or CD.
two weeks before the tournament starts, visit more often and download every couple
days. At this point, try uploading it
into the TRPC or STA to make sure you’ll know how to do it when the tournament start
time comes (it’s easy, but you’ll want to know which buttons to push).
you’ve decided to have emails sent to you notifying you of all the entries and drops,
save them to a folder somewhere on your hard drive. In
a worst-case scenario, you can re-built the changes from this list.
At this point, if up to a day or so before your tournament starts
the server crashes and you can’t get the data, simply upload the most recent version
of the data files that you have to the TRPC or STA, print out all the emails that
you received after the download, and make the changes in the TRPC or STA. Your
data will be complete.
At this point, what you do will depend on whether you take pref
sheets on-line. If you don’t, I’d disable
on-line entry at least 24 hours before your tournament, download all the stuff and
load it into the TRPC or STA, and manage all your data from there on out on the STA
or TRPC. Be especially sure that you
review the tournament settings, since not all of the information you specify on the
website will necessarily upload the same on both programs (like the tie-breakers).
B. THE ON-LINE PREF
SYSTEM: A QUICK REVIEW
Prefs are not accepted on-line until you click the “Allow preference
entry” box on the Tournament Setup page. At
that time you will also indicate the required number A, B, C, judges, etc. expressed
either in a head count, judge units, or rounds judging. At
any time, you can disallow on-line pref entries by clicking the button. Before
you enable prefs, you should go to the Director's page and click the "init prefs"
button (this may take 10-15 minutes; DON'T PANIC). This will double-check and
make sure that there are records for every judge at the tournament.
IMPORTANT: Review your list of judges and make sure that none
are entered twice. This might happen if, for example, Ross Smith is judging
4 for Wake and has hired out 4 rounds to Emory. Both Wake and Emory might enter
him as a judge, and he will appear on the list twice. To fix this, you should
go to the entry screen, select Emory, make a note in the school comments field that
they have hired Ross for four rounds, and delete him as a judge for Emory. Go
to the Wake entry, put Ross down as 4 for Wake and 4 for hire, and put in his comments
column that he's hired out 4 rounds for Emory. If the entrants followed the
instructions on the page this would have happened automatically, but debaters are
hard to house train.
You can also disallow team and judge entries by clicking the “Toggle
Entry Allowed” button on the main tournament page. This
will “freeze” the judge pool and entry pool.
If you allow team and judge entries AFTER you have enabled on-line
pref entries, there is the danger that your judge pool can change, that is, some teams
or judges may be added AFTER some teams have already entered their preferences and
after you have set the required number of judges for each category.
The web site will handle this situation in the following ways:
teams are added, it will create a new, blank pref sheet for them based on the extant
teams are deleted, all pref info they have entered will be deleted for that team.
a judge is deleted, they will automatically stop appearing on the pref entry page. If
anyone has entered pref information for that judge, it will be deleted.
a judge is added, that judge will appear on the pref entry page automatically (assuming
the judge is eligible to hear open division), but if teams have already entered their
pref ranking before the judge is entered, they will obviously not have ranked the
The consequence to adding and dropping judges after some teams
have entered their pref rankings is that your judge pool will be more difficult to
manage during the tournament, especially if highly ranked judges appear on the pref
sheet but don’t show up to judge. There
is also the danger that teams will be exposed to different pref sheets. Both
of these consequences are undesirable.
Here are some scheduling options to deal with this situation, ranked
from most tournament-friendly to most competitor-friendly.
honor prefs until later in the tournament: Like
in the old-school Northwestern days, you get a strike sheet released day one and the
prefs go into effect round 5. The only
difference with the on-line system is that the prefs would be entered on-line.
pref entry before registration, take adds and drops at registration, and create a
supplemental pref sheet to be released during the early rounds of the tournament. The
supplemental sheet would have to be entered manually, and might require a certain
number of preferred judges in addition to free strikes.
pref entry before the tournament, but require that everyone check back to the site
for a specified window after registration. For
example, encourage all to enter their prefs early, take adds and drops at registration,
enter those changes on-line, require everyone to check back to the page for 2 hours
after registration closes, and run the presets after the window expires.
allow on-line entry until AFTER registration. You
might, for example, have registration between
, allow prefs on-line from 10-midnight, and then do the presets at
Note that for options 2-4, it will be a good idea to have either
a hard-copy of the prefs or a connected computer that will allow you to call up prefs
at registration. That will allow you
tell whether a team has entered a pref sheet already and whether it is accurate. If
you have a connected computer, it will also let you know instantly whether an add
or drop affects a team’s pref sheet (a drop of a conflicted judge, for example, does
All right, for the recommendations: The thing to keep in mind is
that if you are using prefs on-line, there is a definite advantage to managing the
info on-line for as long as possible. The
WORST thing that can happen is that you download teams at one time and then download
the prefs later after some team and judge adds and drops have happened. Nothing
will match. Here’s how you can avoid
until 24 hours before the tournament, follow the recommendations above. 24
hours before your tournament starts, disable on-line team and judge entry. At
this point, anyone who needs to make a change will contact you by email or phone. You
should make a download at this point, but don’t load it to the TRPC or STA. YOU
SHOULD MANAGE ALL THE CHANGES ON-LINE, THROUGH THE WEBSITE.
hours before the tournament, ENABLE the pref entries. Don’t
allow the judge pref entries earlier than you cut off team entries, or the judge pool
will change. Encourage everyone to enter
their prefs on-line.
registration so that it will end by
. Undoubtedly, some judge adds and drops
will occur. Enter all the adds and drops
may want to have a computer in the room that entrants can use to enter the pref sheets
in if they don’t have computers of their own. You
might also want to negotiate internet access with the hotel, so that entrants could
use a computer in the lobby to enter the prefs. If
these aren’t viable, you might want paper copies of the pref sheets available at registration. You
can take these pref sheets and enter them on-line at registration.
registration is over, go back on-line and re-enter the required number of A, B, C,
etc., judges to account for the adds and drops of the intervening 24 hours.
everyone at registration they should check back at the website an hour after registration
, for example) to make the final changes and to make sure that they have the right
number of judges.
that hour expires, download the team, judge, and pref files, and load all of them
into the computer. From that point on,
manage all your information in the TRPC or STA.
with all tournaments, some teams might not have the right number of judges in the
right categories. You might want to track
them down and make them fix their pref sheets.
9) As a double check, you might want to download everything into the computer
and print out the received judge pref sheets from the TRPC or STA just prior
to registration. As teams register, give them their completed prefs to
review for accuracy. This will serve as a double-check that things are working
C. OTHER ISSUES
C. OTHER ISSUES
How to do entries manually: As the director, you may receive emails or
entries from people who don't use the on-line system. Obviously, things
work best (and on-line prefs will ONLY work) if all the data is entered
on-line. Entering on-line as the director is easy. Go to the
calendar page, find the line for your tournament, and click "enter" under the
"click to enter" column. The page will automatically detect that you are
the director, and a drop-down list will appear with all schools at the
top. Select the school you want to enter, and click the "load school
entry." You can now perform the entry as if you were the director for
the school. If names you need don't appear on the drop-down lists, click
on the link labelled "Click here if the desired name doesn't appear and you
need to enter a new name in the central database"
FROM THIS SCREEN (the TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR'S page)
D. ENTRY MANAGEMENT
There are basically 4 ways you can restrict your entries. First, you can set
an upper limit on the total number of teams in the tournament, and take everyone on
a first-come, first-served basis. Second, you can set a maximum number of teams
per school. Third, you can set a maximum number of teams per school per division
(for example, any school can bring 15 teams to the tournament, but only 5 per division).
Fourth, you can allow entry only by pre-authorization. All these numbers are
set on the tournament setup page.
Here are some common options:
For all options you can set up a WAITLIST. The waitlist function will ONLY work
for people who try to enter after the tournament maximum is exceeded; it will not
allow you to enter via the waitlist if you are exceeding the maximum number of teams
per school or division. If you select the automatic waitlist function, the computer
will automatically add the next team in line if a team drops. For example, if
your tournament can handle 100 teams and you have 10 teams on the waitlist, if one
of the 100 teams drops the computer will take the team off the list of 10 that was
on the waitlist first and add them to the tournament. You and the added team
will be notified by email when this happens. If you do not select the automatic
option, you can add and drop teams from the waitlist manually; the link to this page
is on the director's page.
There is a danger to using the automatic option. If a team who is entered wants
to change their team names and selects the "delete" rather than the "edit" option,
the computer will automatically fill their spot with the top team on the waitlist.
There is a message that will appear warning entrants against doing this, but the hit
rate on following on-screen instructions is well short of 100%. You can
correct this by either (a) telling the team that accidentally hit delete that they're
out of luck, or (b) telling the team that was added that they really weren't added,
and both convsersations are going to be unpleasant. Also, there's not an easy
way to re-add a team to the waitlist -- they'll get pushed back to the end.
I would recommend using the automatic waitlist ONLY if you are sure that the entrants
are sophisticated computer users and will follow directions; otherwise, using the
manual option is probably your best bet.
If you use the manual waitlist option, a team will not be able to add and will only
be able to add themselves to the waitlist if any other team is on the waitlist, EVEN
IF current entries are under the total tournament capacity. For example, if
the tournament can have 60 teams, and there are only 58 entries because there were
2 drops, but there are 6 teams on the waitlist, a team wanting to add will go to the
end of the waitlist instead of in spot 59. You can add the teams from the waitlist
manually in any order you want.
These are some suggestions, you have total flexibility to alter or change entry restrictions
or methods within the confines of the setup page.
E. CREATING REGISTRATION SHEETS FROM THE ACCESS DATABASE
you are running a tournament that only allows debate or only allows IE entries, you
can just print registration sheets from the TRPC or TRIEPC. If you offer both,
however, you can print registration sheets from the Access database which will show
all debate and IE competitor and judge entries, and also download the debate and IE
files separately for upload into the TRPC and TRIEPC.
get registration sheets, download the access database from the download page (this
won’t work until there is at least one entry). Make
sure your computer has Microsoft Access on it, and click on the database to open it. If
you get a security warning, click on “open.” On
the left-hand part of the screen will be a list of “objects.” Click
on “reports.” There will be a list of
possible reports; click on the top one, “Debate and IE entries.” When
the report appears, go under “File” and select “Print,” and the result will be registration
sheets that list all competitors and judges in both debate and IEs.
Back to Director's Page