I am going to be changing my tune on judge obligations, at least a little bit. Previously I was wedded to the idea that limiting obligations resulted in lessening the overall pref value of a tournament. I think I managed to demonstrate this mathematically, but I learned since then that it doesn’t matter. Even if the lessening is pretty clear, in a word, nobody seems to care about it. What some people do care about is limiting their rounds and spreading their obligation and scouting. Also there is the issue of Backwoods High School for the Children of the Mentally Inert running 6 teams over three days, with different inexperienced parent judges each day. BHSCMI, by splitting the obligation at a tournament that theoretically doesn’t split obligations, but where the software does allow splitting, pretty much soaks up everybody’s strikes. I mean, they’ll have 6 judges, all prime targets for striking. And they’re just one school. The math doesn't work.
From this, to me, the conclusion is clear. If you want to give the users what they want, giving them, in certain situations, partial obligations makes sense. It doesn’t make sense at relatively small events with a limited pool, for a variety of self-evident reasons, but at a big event with a biggish field of a hundred or more, and the resulting pool of judges, it does make sense. I’m thinking here of Rather Large Bronx, for one. Then I’m thinking Princeton. We’ve used the Tiggers a few times now for introducing new practices, and it’s gone well. They make a good test clinic. Their attendees are a mix of veterans and noobs, the former of which won’t be a problem and the latter of which, well, we’ll see. At a tournament like Ridge, though, where we get pretty creative making sure the prefs are decent, any limitation of those prefs, like per-student obligations, would be seriously and noticeably harmful to the teams. Plus aside from the potential attendance of BHSCMI, there’s no real call for it.
Anyhow, I’m going to rewrite my documentation on this at some point in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.