Guide for Tournament Directors

I'm ready to set up Yaatly for my tournament. What do I do first?

The first thing you'll need to do is to create an event from your Organization's home page.

You'll need to choose to create either a Demo event or a Live event. The Demo event has all the same functionality but limits video time to only 10 minutes. Demo events are great for exploring Yaatly, familarizing your tournament staff with managing your event or getting your participants familiar with using Yaatly.

When you're ready to create your Live event, you'll next be asked to tell us the date, hours and expected capacity for your event:

Note that you can repeat this step for as many days as your event runs by selecting "Add another day to your event." This is particularly useful if you have a schedule that differs day-to-day or if you're expecting a different number of people each day (or both!).

The information you provide in this step helps us determine what it will cost to run your event on Yaatly. You pay for Yaatly just like you'd pay for renting a building for your face-to-face tournament: once you tell us how long you'll need access and how many you expect, we'll tell you the number of user-hour credits will be required to run your event. You can read more about our pricing here.

Once you're satisfied with your event set up, you'll be given the option to pay for your event. If you have sufficient credits in your account, you can merely click "Pay XXX Credits"

If you need to purchase more credits, you may do so under your Account, accessible from your Organization home page:

How do I manage my tournament?

After you've created your event, you'll be able to enter your Event's Lobby. As Tournament Director, you have a number of tools available to you from the lobby. You can find many of these tools by clicking the "Manage Event" button:

That button opens a menu with lots of options for controlling your event:

From the Manage Event menu, you can adjust event settings, make event-wide announcements, add users to be admins in your event, invite others to your event, edit the details of your event and add critical information--like the schedule and topics--to the left menu bar for all participants to see.

In the upper left corner, you'll find controls for Chat and Systems Check and you can view status of those attending your event by clicking on the "View Attendees" button.

How do I invite people to my tournament?

To invite others to your tournament, you simply share the Event Invitation Link available by clicking the "Manage Event" button and selecting the "Invite others to your event" menu.

The Event Invitation Link should be shared only with Organization Managers (i.e.: coaches, directors, club presidents, etc.), not Participants (i.e.; students, competitors, judges). Once Organization Managers should go to the link in their browser, and accept the invitation on behalf of their Organization. All members of their Organization will have access to that event via their Organization page.

What about inviting people who aren't affiliated with an organization competing in my tournament?

If you're planning to invite people who will participate in the tournament but who won't be affiliated with an organization (hired judges, college coaches attending to recruit HS debaters, etc.) you should create a unique, temporary organization for your specific event. You can do so from your homepage by selecting the "Create New Organization" option.

Give your temporary Organization an Event-specific name that indicates that it's temporary.

Then you can add unaffiliated participants to your temporary organization by inviting them to become members of the temporary organization.

Alternately, you can make your event public by toggling "Allow Anonymous Login" under the Event Management Menu. Read on for more information about Anonymous login.

But what if someone just wants to observe without setting up a Yaatly account?

Having observers at a tournament is always terrific--we're here to learn to speak in public, after all! But not all observers need or want to create a Yaatly account. If you'd like to allow observers to join anonymously, you can do so by activating permissions under the "Event Settings" menu.

When you enable Anonymous Login, anyone with the URL to your event (from your browser's URL bar) will be able to enter. Anonymous participants do not need the Event Invitation Link to join in the event; anyone may simply share the URL from their browser's URL bar.

Please keep in mind that enabling Anonymous Login is risky: you'll no longer have control over who may enter your event (as you do when participants are required to be members of an invited Organization to enter) or how many people may enter (and, therefore, use up your event's capacity).

Setting up your Tournament HQ

Your Tournament HQ is the communication center for your tournament. You can use this option to create rooms like "Information Desk," "Check-in" or "Judges' Lounge." To do so, simple select "Create Room" in the left sidebar:

The rooms used for your Tournament HQ can be accessed in another tab separate from Yaatly. Tournament Directors often use this feature to keep a room open at all times in which people can quickly find them (like a real-life tab room). To do so, simpily select the "Invite People" option in the room and copy/paste the URL into a new tab:

How do I create Competition Rooms?

By far the most important thing you need to do is to create competition rooms for your debates or speech rounds. Yaatly allows you to create competition rooms in a couple of different ways, depending on the type of room you want.

Competition rooms are made accessible to tournament participants through "postings" in the lobby. Various competitive circuits call these different things (e.g.: pairings, schematics, the draw, etc.) but all of them contain the same vital information: who is competing in which rooms with which judges. Typically a posting contains all competitive match-ups for a particular time block.

Postings are created in Yaatly by uploading files containing all the data related to the match-ups in that time block. More information on the files you'll upload to create postings is addressed below in the sections on Creating Debate Postings and Creating IE (Speech) Postings below.

To begin creating postings and rooms, select "Create Postings & Rooms" in the lobby:

From there, you'll be asked to select whether you want to create debate or individual events (speech) competition rooms. Each of these options will be addressed separately below.

Debate Postings & Competition Rooms

You have a couple of options to create debate postings: you may either upload a file exported from one of the supported tabulation programs or you may create your own. Select the method you prefer in this menu:

If you opt to manually create your own debate postings, you'll use a spreadsheet program to generate an XLSX file. These files use simple column headers to provide Yaatly with the data needed to build a posting. You can create a posting for either a binary (2-team) debate format or a 4-team format. You may download a template file for debate here:

Binary debate formats include any format in which a single affirmative team faces a single negative team. For example, Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, Public Forum, Worlds Schools, Asian Parliamentary and Australs styles of debate are all binary formats. The 4-team room is appropriate for British Parliamentary or Worlds-style debate tournaments.

NB: you may combine multiple divisions of debate in a single file by creating a separate sheet in your spreadsheet program for each division. If, for example, I have both a Varsity and Novice division of debate that run in the same time block, I can create a single file that contains a sheet with my Varsity matchups and a sheet with my Novice matchups. You may also do this for multiple formats in the same time block, such as Policy, PF and LD. Finally, you may also combine 2-team and 4-team formats on separate sheets within the same file; Yaatly will automatically determine what kind of debate is on the posting as long as it's in the format described below. Whatever you name each individual sheet will appear on the posting.

For a binary debate, the spreadsheet has three columns arranged in this order: JUDGE, AFF, NEG. The JUDGE column should contain the names of all judges for that particular debate, whether that's one judge or multiple judges:

The BP spreadsheet is equally simple, with columns for the OG, OO, CG and CO teams, the CHAIR of the round and a column for each PANELIST judging. For BP postings, you may add additional columns for each adjudicator in a particular role; Yaatly expects there to be one CHAIR and multiple PANELISTS:

When complete, you should download your file in the XLSX format. When prompted, you'll select your file from your files menu to upload:

Once you confirm that the posting appears as you want, you'll see the posting appear in the lobby of your event. To enter a competition room, participants only need to find their team or individual name on the posting and select "enter room" to the right:

IE (Speech) Postings & Competition Rooms

You create postings and rooms for individual events in much the same way as debate events. First, choose "Create postings and rooms" then "Individual Events" for the type of rooms.

Like debate postings, IE postings are made from a spreadsheet file. These files may be downloaded from major tab programs or created manually. You should choose which type of file you'll upload:

You may create your own file using any spreadsheet program. The column headers (SECTION, JUDGE, COMPETITOR) tell Yaatly what to do with the information in the spreadsheet; you can add as many judges and competitors as you'd like to your spreadsheet.

If your time block includes a number of different events, simply create a separate sheet for each event you want included in your posting for that time block. Yaatly will use the name you give each sheet to create separate postings to display:

Files that contain data for IE postings must be downloaded in an XLSX format. Here's a template file for an IE/Speech posting:

Once you've confirmed the uploading of your file, you'll see the IE posting appear in the Lobby. From there you can switch between posting for each event and enter the competition rooms using the "Join" button on the bottom of each section.

Manual room creation: using "empty" postings

In addition to postings for our purpose-built competition rooms, you can also create postings to contain standard video conferencing rooms (much like a Zoom room). These are useful for events like Congress or for utility rooms like "Info Desk" or "Judges' Lounge."

To create these rooms, you first select "Create an empty posting:"

Then select the type of room you'd like to create. At present, both Congress and Generic rooms are the same; both use a standard video conferencing room very much like a Zoom room.

That will create a blank posting in your lobby that you can fill with rooms. Just select "+ Create Room" from the options menu and give your room a name:

Downloading postings from Speechwire or (FTN)

You can download either Speech/IE or Debate postings directly from Speechwire or from FTN to upload into Yaatly


Speechwire's downloadable posting may be found in their Posting Center. Once there, select either "Export [DEBATE or SPEECH] rounds to Yaatly (XLSX):"

Then choose the events and rounds you'd like to export. Remember that for either debate or speech, you can select multiple events to appear as separate tabs in a single posting. Once you've selected the events to download, click "Export for Yaatly:"

You'll then be taken to a screen where you can right-click on the link to download the XLSX file. Rename the file as you wish, save it to your local device and you're ready to upload it into Yaatly! (FTN)

Downloading from FTN is also simple. Go to the Postings option in the Pair/Section menu, select the timeblock, events and details to display on your posting and click the "XLSX" button to download the file:

With the file now saved to your local drive, you can upload it directly into Yaatly.

Extemp Draw room

We're excited to introduce our extemp draw room. Built according to our guiding principle--to make your experience on Yaatly as much like a face-to-face tournament as possible--we hope you'll feel at home when you're preparing for your extemporaneous speaking events.

Draw rooms are run by a draw room manager who oversees release of topics to competitors using the tools built into the room. Anyone with administrative priviledges at an event can serve as a draw room manager. Tournament administrators activate the draw room in the Event Management panel found in the lobby of their event.

Enabling the draw room makes it visible to all participants in the lobby, right next to the Auditorium and their team's Lounge.

Draw room managers set up the room when they enter for the first time. You must have postings for the round containing your extemp event uploaded before you can set up the draw room. When the draw room manager first enters the draw room, they'll select which events will make use of the draw room. More than one event may be selected (if you're running Varsity/JV divisions or separate extemp events like US and International Extemp).

Selecting the events that will use the draw room automatically imports those postings into the room so they're visible in the draw room. If multiple events are selected, each event will have its own draw room accessible from the tabs at the top of the screen.

From within the draw room, the draw room manager will be able to set up draw times for each event by inputting the start of the draw time, the length of prep, the interval between speakers' drawing and the maximum number of speakers in any section. Draw and speak times for each speaker will be auto-generated and displayed for everyone in the draw room.

When it's time for the next speakers to draw, the manager posts questions in the lower left corner.

Draw room managers also have other tools available to them, like the option to add another event, the ability to turn their camera and mic on and off, the ability add another event and a live list of contestants in the room. Only managers have video capability in the draw room; competitors have audio capability only.

When it's time for the next draw, the manager may simply close the tab(s) for the event(s) that are complete. When all tabs are closed, the manager will be prompted to select from the next batch of postings to set up the next round's draw room.

Remember that you must have uploaded the postings for your extemp events before you can set up your draw room. This is true for initial set up and for each subsequent round for which you set up the draw room

What other controls do I have as Tournament Director?

From the lobby, you can access the Manage Event panel for your event.

That menu provides you with a host of controls that allow you to run your event. You can allow anonymous entry to your event, control who sees or accesses certain rooms, enable the Extemp Draw room, use a different video conference service for the Auditorium (just drop a link to your Zoom, Google Meet or other VC room in "Event Details"), make annoucements and much more!

Round-by-round Order of Operations

Here's a suggested order of the steps you should follow to run a debate round in Yaatly:

  1. Approximately 20 minutes before your round, close all rooms from the previous round.

  2. Toggle the "Hide Rooms" switch under "Event Settings" in the "Manage Event" menu to make the room list hidden.

  3. Build your rooms, either manually or by uploading the posting/pairings file from your tab program.

  4. Approximately 5 minutes before your round, toggle the "Hide Rooms" switch to make rooms visible.

  5. Send an Event Announcement (from the "Manage Event" menu) to alert participants that the posting/pairings for the upcoming round are available and to direct them to go to their rooms.

  6. (The remaining steps are for extemporaneous formats of debate that use a different topic each round) When you're ready to announce the topic for round, first post the topic text (and info slide, if you're using one) to "Topics" accessible under the "Event Management" menu. This will publish your topic to the "Topics" tab in the black, left menu bar.

  7. Send out an Event Announcement (from the "Event Management" menu) alerting participants that the topic is available in the "Topics" tab and indicating the time that the round should start.

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