The Digital Speech and Debate Initiative seeks to promote best practices for online speech and debate competitions to maximize the accessibility, effectiveness, and ease of those events.To that end, the DSDI, in collaboration with the high school and college speech and debate communities, will develop and make available guidance for tournament directors, coaches, and participants. DSDI best practices are driven by the following underlying core tenets:
1. Physical in-person speech and debate tournaments are indispensable and provide unique value that cannot be fully replicated online. However, when infeasible, digital tournaments are preferable to halting competition altogether. After in-person tournaments resume, online tournaments may serve as a compliment, but not a replacement for, in-person events.
2. Tournament directors should adapt their tournament procedures to accommodate differences between in-person and digital debate. As detailed in the DSDI Best Practices Manual, there are many steps that tournaments can take to improve the tournament experience for all involved. In addition, competitors, coaches, and observers have additional responsibilities when competing in online venues. It is incumbent upon our community to spread knowledge about how tournaments operate to all of its members to ensure successful tournaments.
3. The values central to speech and debate—accessibility, expression, competition, integrity, enjoyment, and rigor—must continue to be upheld, regardless of venue. Over time, with continued practice and learning, our hope is that online tournaments will continue to improve in each of these areas, producing an exceptional experience for all involved.
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