Guest Post: #TFC15 by the Numbers

This post comes courtesy of @badnetworker: David Masad (@badnetworker) is a graduate student who studies computational analysis and modeling of international relations. He should really be working on his dissertation right now.

Throughout TFC15, I had a drone* circling overhead, watching the competition happening below — or at least the part of the competition using the #TFC15 hashtag. Of course, many tweets that propelled the challengers to victory weren’t necessarily tagged with #TFC15, and so went uncollected.

* Amazon EC2 server

TFC Drone fantasy vs reality:

drone 1 drone 2

Total Activity

Overall, #TFC15 generated about 16,000 tweets. There were already about 500 tweets from the weeks before I started bulk collection, and some of the tweets in there actually came from other people using the same hashtag (hi, @TheFreshCutt fans!).

Here’s the heartbeat of TFC, total tweet per hour. Grey shaded areas are competition days, starting at 6AM EDT and going until midnight when the polls closed:

chart 1

That spike early on was the draft; after each round of competition, there’s another spike when the results are announced. It also looks like within each day, there’s a rhythm of morning and evening activity, with a fall-off in the middle of the day. Hopefully that’ll reassure everyone’s bosses that we weren’t just doing TFC all day.

Looking at the Network

2,113 different Twitter accounts showed up in my dataset, mostly ones that used #TFC15 themselves, though a few that were replied to with the hashtag.

After some detailed network analysis…

…here’s what the network of interactions looked like:

chart 2

To answer @charlie_simpson’s inevitable question, there aren’t any clear meaningful communities that emerge from out-of-the-box methods. There’s probably some more detailed analysis needed for that.

Scoring the Participants

There are a few different metrics for ranking TFC15 participants: I looked at total #TFC15 tweets, number of other participants interacted with (degree, in network terms), and eigenvector centrality (an estimation of ‘importance’). Here are the top 10 for each:

Total #TFC15 Tweets Degree Eigenvector Centrality
ElCidBarett pptsapper caidid
pptsapper johnsonr texasinafrica
Lesley_Warner LibyaLiberty badnetworker
SharlynEgger Lesley_Warner HayesBrown
johnsonr ElCidBarett CombatCavScout
smsaideman RadioFreeTom laurenist
13F2PL7 SharlynEgger johnsonr
elliebartels CombatCavScout draperha
RadioFreeTom smsaideman ZeddRebel
NatSecTweet elliebartels Tmgneff

The two co-winners, Lesley Warner and Rebecca Johnson, are high up on all metrics but not at the very top. This helps confirm that their victory is on the basis of quality tweeting, not determined by any simple-to-estimate stat. TFC sabermetrics probably has a ways to go. And in terms of eigenvector centrality, the measure of importance, @caidid is at the very top.

Sometimes it’s not a bad thing when quantitative analysis confirms things we already knew.

I’ve still got all 16,000 tweets worth of data, and I’m hoping to to do more detailed analysis with it in the future. If you have any ideas or questions, you know where to find me.  

A #TFC15 Champion for Everyone

The original field for #TFC15 had 32 men and 32 women. Then I gave everyone a chance to opt out. Some men opted out, but a lot more women did, and I found myself wondering if this came down to women in this still-very-male-dominated field feeling the need to work twice as hard to prove themselves at work, leaving no time for something as frivolous as TwitterFightClub.

After this series of rejections by women who didn’t have the time or weren’t interested, I was starting to worry women wouldn’t be represented in this year’s tournament – turns out I did not need to be concerned. We may have started with a tournament more than 2/3 men, but by the Sweet 16, we were at 50/50 and by the final, we had TFC’s first ever all female championship round.

Here is what our judges had to say about the final contest.

@AthertonKD

To make sure I didn’t miss anything, I storified everything Lesley Warner and Rebecca Johnson tweeted on Wednesday, up until my arbitrary deadline of 10:35ish. The storify is here, and it is well over 800 tweets long. That’s only counting tweets directly from either combatant or retweeted by the finalists. Let it never be said that we were not entertained.

To get to this point, they each bested five others, and a field of 62 non-finalists relaxes as the tourney went on. Twitter Fight Club is as much a feat of endurance as it is anything else. Having six different days worth of better, funnier, more insightful and original content than six other people is no mean feat. I commend them both for their stamina, and clear commitment to showing off the best of what national security twitter has to offer.

So! On to the match. I tweeted out my voting metric and preferences at 8:21 EDT:

Before that, Lesley Warner already reached out with a video of fireworks filmed by a drone. It kicked off an early lead in well-targeted pandering that Warner wouldn’t lose all day. (Johnson’s drone pandering later in the day did…not go well)
Both Warner and Johnson discussed their work, which is honestly my favorite part of TFC. There’s a ton of people doing interesting things on the edges of national security, and it’s fascinating to see what depths of knowledge people store. Before 9am, we had parallel discussion on militias disarming in Sudan and DEA decade-long programs of domestic surveillance.
I could do the play-by-play for the entire day, but 800 tweets. So I’ll move on to highlights. Johnson discussed the standing of drone pilots in the Air Force. Through dint of weird wordings, Warner scored an endorsement from her rival. There were calls of friendship, because, in the words of Glenn Greenwald, national security experts form a “mutually admiring little clique.” (Unrelatedly, Glenn Greenwald lost his semifinal match to Andrew Exum in the inaugural Twitter Fight Club). Greenwald’s words are harsh, but there’s nothing wrong with a mutually admiring little clique, so long as it is okay getting less and less little and less and less cliquely.
In the middle of the day, Johnson offered some thoughts on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which were fascinating and illuminated a historical personage I’d never before encountered. There were misplaced panders – a Texas flag print is great for @TexasInAfrica’s vote, but it also means I include a line about the Battle of Glorieta Pass (spoiler: confederate Texas lost, America won) in this ballot. There were Death Rays. I love Death Rays. We had intros to twitter etiquette. I feel Johnson’s rules are good broadly for life, but Warner’s 3rd rule covers those and her first two highlight what makes twitter valuable and worthwhile.
In the end, though, there’s exactly one move that sealed the victory. Warner brought backBattle Rap. Battle Rap is an essential part of Twitter Fight Club.
 
Verdict: @Lesley_Warner for TFC15

(#ff them both though, c’mon.)

@HayesBrown

This is going to be exciting for both you and me, Twitter Fight Club Fans. Because I write this, I have no idea who I’m going to vote for in this, the Championship round.

This is basically how I felt the whole day yesterday

I’ve known and followed both of our fierce female fighters for years now and am intensely familiar with both of their bodies of work. But let’s put all that aside and examine just how they did yesterday — the biggest day of their lives.

(Sidebar: Lesley has only ever lost in TFC to eventual champions. I’ve now only lost in TFC to eventual championship contenders after Rebecca bounced me in the Elite Eight. Both are super tough and I’m glad it’s them having to duke it out)

So both Lesley and Rebecca came out swinging hard in the morning, though not necessarily at each other. Watching these two work was a tale of two different campaigns — both in the political and the military sense.

@lesley_warner is very much the retail politician. She gladhands. She presses digital flesh. She attempts to make a personal connection with everyone who offers their support.

And she definitely knows her stuff. Like she pointed out, I’ve cited her multiple times in the pieces that I’ve written on African military dynamics.

Warner’s #TeamAfrica has also continued to be a force, offering support from Twitter’s Africanist and human rights communities.

And she continued to do what she does best, tweeting out an insane array of stories of interest and analysis, all while engaging the judges — and everyone else — on literally anything that came to mind.

@johnsonr on the other hand is very much a fighter who builds large alliances. She’s a bit more zoomed out than Lesley, taking a bigger picture approach. Her #TeamWarDogs has developed into a mighty machine after coming into being this year, and definitely did a lot of scrapping and campaigning on her behalf.

She also honed in on her area of expertise, in this case military ethics, offering up a lengthy analysis of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Also? Bacon.

And late in the game, she offered up a super-tempting bribe in the form of baked goods.

But then Lesley though appealed directly to my love of ridiculous love of reality competition shows and the clichés they produce.

There was actually little back and forth between the two that I saw. But Lesley did put out some pretty incredible shade here that was worth notice.

It was an insanely well fought day, but in the end, I’m going to have to give my vote to Lesley Warner.

(And huge thanks, as ever, to @caidid for putting this together!)

@LibyaLiberty

It was a heady #TeamAfrica vs #TeamWarDogs competition, and I thoroughly regret agreeing to judge. Initially, I had hoped to make up for my semi-final no-show and subsequent forfeit by convincing the other judges to form a militia and take over Twitter Fight Club, to declare me the only real and true TFC Caliphette. However, it turned out that Twitter bylaws prohibit the formation of such bodies, and I had to fulfill the obligations of judging as initially promised.

Here’s my recap:I’m splitting my vote. Is that a cop out? I don’t care if it is. Both these ladies did a stellar job, and I would feel equally content seeing either receive the TFC trophy.

From 1-10

@johnsonr

  • knowledge base: 10
  • quality of argumentation: 10
  • innovative thinking: 10
  • humor: 9
  • snark: 9
  • facility with quips: 10
  • charisma: 10

@Lesley_Warner

  • knowledge base: 10
  • quality of argumentation: 10
  • innovative thinking: 10
  • humor: 9
  • snark: 9
  • facility with quips: 10
  • charisma: 10

First off, let’s start with her bio: “Critical thinking is a professional responsibility”. That is tattoo worthy, so big points there.@johnsonr

Coming in at a close second to critical thinking is soup. I love soup and enjoy all soup-related news. And she said “It’s always soup weather” which is also an undeniable truth that deserves more merit.

99%?! WE ARE SOULMATES.

I spend a lot of time reading about current events on Twitter, but then there are moments when you need to become a real student and learn about the past. This is the first time I’ve read about theologian and Nazi opponent Bonhoeffer. And her comments on the interplay of morality and religion in this person’s role in WWII was a great way to reflect her profession as an ethics professor without sounding preachy or academic. You can read the thread from here:

Also, she gets the weirdness of Twitter.

I also really appreciated Judges Cliff Notes:

It’s a nice way of summarizing a bunch of tweets that are themselves a summary of other ideas. Hey, we need all the help we can get. We are a sound bite generation.

One minus point for this photo of a dog throwing up in the middle of a selfie.

So overall – a simply perfect blend of foreign policy, race issues, garage door repair, copious digs at her opponent, a critical element, endless dog pics (which I have no personal connection to but I love that she does and revels in it) and last but not least, delicious food. I’d love to enjoy one of these with her some day.

@Lesley_Warner

Let’s look at her bio:

“Africa Pol-Mil analyst working on US mil security cooperation, PhD candidate@warstudies, Term Member @CFR_org & unapologetic chocolate addict. Views my own.”

I like the Africa part, because as we all know it’s one of the best countries out there. I’m #TeamAfrica as a default position.

Then… right off the bat I was faced with a threatening hostage situation:

I felt personally responsible for the life of that cat, a negotiation strategy that is very common in my part of the world, so I immediately called together the village elders to discuss our options.

She then followed a tweet about the Kardashians with a tweet about Al Shabab, which strangely works.

She tweeted copiously at the judges:

Which was dismissed as needless pandering by her opponent. But it seems like TFC is a pandering kinda place, so it fits right in. It’s not like we’re getting that level of personal attention offline, otherwise why would we be here?

It’s a stressful day, no doubt, and at some point the competitors were getting a little tired, and appeared less keen on going for the jugular. So as any good pseudo pacifist would do, I tried to chum the waters a bit.

I think it worked.

She tweeted far less than her opponent it seemed, but did touch on more of the topics in Africa (best country ever!) that I find personally interesting.

@texasinafrica

It used to be all about the snark. And the cheap shots, the insulting someone’s fitness for polite society, the questioning of parentage, and the exchange of extremely personal insults involving rivalries dating back to mid-90s college debate tournaments. There was bribery, real bribery.

Those were the glory days of TFC. This year, not so much. I saw more subtweets about people supposedly being mean to one another than actual twitter fights. People complained about the use of pseudonyms on the internet. And there was not a single case of someone going to the trouble to ship cupcakes to a judge to win.

Maybe it’s because we had so much new blood in the tournament this year. That’s a good thing; otherwise TFC would get stale. But there are many more players who don’t know one another in real life now, and that seems to be making everyone more…careful.

It was the most polite TFC in memory. And I was mostly bored.

Anyway, the finals presented me with a particularly difficult choice: Texas (@johnsonr) or Africa (@Lesley_Warner). Due to all members of #TeamSeay shaming the family by failing to make it to the finals, I also had to judge in @DaveedGR’s place since he can’t judge a matchup with one of his team members in it.

Lucky me.

Seay 1

Both tweeted about interesting things today and throughout the tournament, so there’s not much to differentiate them there. Both had lots of endorsements, which might be relevant if I cared about endorsements.

So I have to decide on the basis of loyalties. Specifically, my own.

On the one hand, @johnsonr is a Texan. Normally, that would be enough to win my undying loyalty forever. I mean, we’re a tribe and we have to stick together in this life and the next. Also, she’s a Longhorn fan.

Seay 2

And she understands why this is the most offensive ad ever to appear on Twitter.

On the other, @Lesley_Warner is a fellow Africanist, and one of a fairly small group of other women who spend ungodly amounts of time in uncomfortable places for the sake of building knowledge about security issues on the continent. We’ve had bad Nigerian Indian food together, and she has a kindof frightening way of randomly being on the same metro car as me when I’m in D.C.

She also once saved me from a truly unfortunate Abuja hotel situation.

Really.

Then again, @johnsonr tweeted way too many animal picks for my taste. I’m super-allergic to dogs, so the #TeamWarDogs bit didn’t do it for me.

Meanwhile, @Lesley_Warner told everyone the name of that hotel in Abuja, which lowers the likelihood that a room will be free the next time I need one. She also tweeted…a lot. A whole lot.

And then there’s my biggest complaint: neither contestant arranged to have cupcakes delivered to my office today. Granted, there’s not a cupcake delivery service within 100 miles of my office, but THAT’S NO EXCUSE to someone who once arranged to have Star of David cupcakes delivered to #TFC13 judge @dandrezner at a hotel during the ISA.

Seay 3

Texas. Africa. Two great women between whom I can’t possibly decide. Voters taking TFC way too seriously. What’s a reluctant judge to do?

I’m with @charlie_simpson. I vote anarchy and as such, my vote goes to Caitlin.

The Results

@Lesley_Warner 25% public vote; 62.5% judges’ vote (2.5 votes) = 43.75% of the total vote

@johnsonr 75% public vote; 12.5% judges’ vote (.5 votes) = 43.75% of the total vote

There was not even a hundredth of a percentage point to differentiate the contestants, so in a fitting ending to a contest between popular-vote machine @johnsonr and judges’ darling @Lesley_Warner, these two worthy women are hereby named co-champions of TwitterFightClub 2015! Congratulations to both of you. Bobblegängers all around!

#TFC15: The Final Round

Whatever the outcome of today’s match, we’ve made history this year: this is the first ever all-female TFC final. @Lesley_Warner and @johnsonr are well-matched opponents, both friendly and engaging, willing to discuss their areas of expertise with all who come inquiring, with deep knowledge of those areas. Both are funny and snarky without resorting to meanness. We should be in for a treat today.

Judging this match is a panel of illustrious competitors from this year and years past:

  • @AthertonKD, #TFC14 finalist
  • @HayesBrown, #TFC15 Elite Eight
  • @LibyaLiberty, #TFC15 Final Four
  • @texasinafrica, #TFC13 Champion

Judges and voters alike are encouraged to look at metrics such as: knowledge base; quality of argumentation; innovative thinking; humor, snark, facility with quips, and charisma; and responsiveness to followers. Contestants’ full bodies of work on Twitter are fair game, and everyone is encouraged to make their decisions in their own way. Judges’ votes will count for half, the public poll will make up the other half of the contestants’ scores.

The poll will be open until midnight EDT tonight, Wednesday April 8. Results will be up by around noon on Thursday April 9! Both contestants have survived a punishing schedule of twitterfighting over the last three weeks, but only one will win the bobblegänger. Who will it be?

#TFC15: Final Four Results

We may have new arguments, new memes, new gifs, new finalists each year, but some things remain the same – like @charlie_simpson casting her vote(s) wherever she feels they belong, regardless of whether the people in question are actually competing. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, the overall results. (You’ll see each competitor’s name with the percentage of the popular vote they secured followed by the number of judges’ votes).

Results

Gartenstein-Ross (1) @Lesley_Warner 42% 3 votes vs. Saideman (11) @CombatCavScout 58%

The (1) seed’s strength with the judges holds and she edges out popular favorite @CombatCavScout to go to the final. Will Lesley fall to the TFC champion for the third year in a row, this time in the final round, or will she take the crown herself at last?

Seay (6) @johnsonr 43% 3 votes vs. Atherton (2) @LibyaLiberty 57%

We missed you, Hend! After a dominant rookie run, all the way to the Final Four, @LibyaLiberty ran into some travel woes on Final Four day.

Her loyal following still gave her the public vote, but the judges decided for her very worthy opponent @johnsonr.

The finals will run tomorrow Wednesday, April 8. We’re sorry to lose @CombatCavScout and @LibyaLiberty from the competition but hope that they will continue the TFC tradition of judging those who have just ousted them in the final, and we look forward to having these rookies of the year back next year!

Judges’ Ballots

@anniesperson

Alright, alright, alright

I don’t even know what the point of that was. I’m tired and sober.

ANYWAYS. Let’s get to it.

@libyaliberty

She had this to say early in the morning:

And I kindof assumed that this is where she was:

And all day I was thinking “get that magic carpet girlfriend! get the lamp!”

But I guess this kindof happened?

In all seriousness, I hope everything is ok and I was sorely disappointed to not see a wonderful competition between Hend and Professor Johnson. @LibyaLiberty is a great follow and her tweets about the human condition, about being human, about sorrow and life and living and survival are among the most profound.

At the same time, Harry Potter got stuck in a cave once or twice and he slayed the basilisk and @LibyaLiberty didn’t. 15 points from Gryffindor.

@johnsonr

So I think her morning went something like this?

Then she lost her car

10 points to Slytherin for that.

And then she won the Tri-Wizard Tournament with this RT about… DRAGONS

And then she tweeted this, demonstrating extreme versatility like someone else we all know (hi)

10 points to Gryffindor.

In all seriousness, I got to do research for Professor Johnson and she has such a great twitter feed on everything from ethics to dogs to dating to dogs to ethics and twitter is better for her presence.

@combatcavscout

He opened the day with this:

And I’ll admit I was like “whoa!” because that happened once when I spent a weekend with strangers from the internet who happened to be the Scout family.

Ali: So I’m going to fly in tomorrow night, is that cool?
CavScout, Dude I’ve never met: Totally.

But then enter @Laurenist and like I tweeted, BE STILL MY HEART.

She even offered to get a tattoo of my likeness or compared me to Abe Lincoln, or both!

10 points to Dumbledore.

And then she was like “HERE ARE BACON AND EGGS FOR YOU!” and I was hungry

10 points from Hufflepuff

Point is this:

CavScout is someone I’ve had a lot of good conversations with and who has tended to be awake at weird hours when I am, so we’ve had good conversation about real stuff and his family is lovely too.

But here’s the problem:
Exhibit A-

Anyone can and should be anti-vegetable and pro-canine. Ineffective pandering, 10 points from those stuck up Ravenclaws.

Exhibit B-

You know how someone else felt about haters?!

50 points from Gryffindor for a missed opportunity to use a TSwizzle Shake it Off reference.

@Lesley_Warner
I just went to find a relevant tweet but found this instead:

10 points from Hufflepuff and some sort of abuse toward the house elves for this. Come on now.

Lesley’s pandering and straight-up engagement is tops. I’ve worked with her on issues specific to S. Sudan before and managed to utilize her expertise for work today as well when she answered my question on Kenya

But also @charlie_simpson makes a good point here

15 points from Hermione’s closet.

Point is this: Lesley is another person I have met several times IN REAL LIFE and she’s got good advice about all the things and we’ve had some “things just got real” conversations about being women in NatSec and she’s just awesome.

In conclusion, I really tried to make today all about me, and was thrilled to see the competitors being part of my caption contests, answering a range of important questions (cowboys or aliens, etc.) and also sharing bits about their alter egos:

Only one person Dmd me about an act of kindness for the day and so it turns out kindness actually isn’t all around us.

Also here is a picture of Annie:

Ali wins the House Cup.

Also, votes for #TFC15 Finalists, for no particular reason are:

@johnsonr
@lesley_warner

Also @laurenist and Annie.

In conclusion to my conclusion:

#WINNING

@charlie_simpson

I have to say: pretty weak pandering this round, eh?

No one offered cupcakes – or bourbon. No basketball trolling; no baseball trolling. No Han Solo. No campaign by a deposed twitter-fighter to be re-instated. And no solution for automated geo-location for event data.

So this year I decided to do something new. I’m going to judge the actual competitors.

@combatcavscout vs @lesley_warner

How awesome would it have been for Lesley Anne Warner to spend the the day tweeting as Lesley Ann Warren?? That would have been some world class, grade-A pandering. I would have died happy. Wait, you don’t know who that is? She’s Ms Scarlett from Clue!

(She’s also the mom in the Janie’s Got a Gun Aerosmith video, but I digress.)

Meanwhile, The Hate Machine continued his servicey rantings. I don’t think he tweeted at me at any point today. I have no idea who he is.

But as a woman, known for years online as Charlie, I support his campaign for principled pseudonymity.

@LibyaLiberty vs @johnsonr

On the one hand, @LibyaLiberty hasn’t tweeted since Tue AM (EDT). I’m worried about her.

On the other hand @johnsonr admitted to being bad at math and liking vegetables. And being from Texas. Then again I think she sits at my old desk at Quantico, and manages to provide delightfully insightful Twitter feed while dealing with NMCI. So I’m torn.

But after carefully considering all the evidence, my votes in the #TFC15 Final Four go to:

@CAIDID

Twitter Fight Club is theater of the absurd. A lark, never to be taken seriously. It’s maddening and inane – whimsical and fun.

Anarchic TFC is the best TFC. And Caitlin is the best of all of us. So Caitlin gets both of my votes.

(Like Caitlin, Pedro is also the best – see kids, that’s how you pander!)

Until next year…

@intelwire

I have not been a fan of judge-pandering in the past, but in the past, I didn’t have ISIS: The State of Terror, co-written with the great Jessica Stern, to promote. Obviously the public service of spreading the word on how to defeat ISIS in two weeks with three easy steps had to take priority over my humble preferences. So in the early going, I informed the participants succinctly of what I expected of them.

Berger 1

So on to the judging:

@Lesley_Warner vs. @CombatCavScout

Decision: @Lesley_Warner

Lesley Anne Warner was in it to win it, striking early with the following:

Berger 2

Obviously some liberties were taken with this image, but damn, well played.

@CombatCavScout, aka The Hate Machine, fought back, well, hatefully.

Berger 3

I admired the integrity of this response, and I look forward to voting for @CombatCavScout in Twitter Integrity Club. Unfortunately, this self-inflicted wound was just begging for the thunderous wrath of judgeship, and I felt that my own integrity could only be preserved by handing the win to @Lesley_Warner.

Her Godzilla gif didn’t hurt either.

@johnsonr vs. @LibyaLiberty

Decision: @johnsonr

You can always count on Charles Cameron to succinctly and wisely cut to the heart of a matter, and he nailed it regarding this contest, as always.

Berger 4

Right on all counts. Both @johnsonr and @LibyaLiberty are beloved Twitter fixtures who provide a constant source of entertainment and/or depressing observations about the way the world is generally going to hell.

Going into this, I will admit I was partial toward @LibyaLiberty, partly because I had encouraged her to compete in this godawful, life-sucking contest, and I felt a little bad about that. She also struck early on book-related pandering.

Berger 5

Unfortunately, she was quite early, as I noted in my response.

Berger 6

Wherein we get down to a bit of a rub. @johnsonr’s book pandering was fine, if somewhat less enthusiastic than this, and she required prompting from a third party to make with the Godzilla gifs, a damaging lapse. But she did do her pandering on the day of the competition, whereas @LibyaLiberty was a virtual no-show, out “in the middle of Arabian nowhere” and out of Internet range, although she got in a very good gif early.

Now knowing @LibyaLiberty as I do (i.e., over the Internet), I am guessing she was probably out on some kind of noble, hifalutin, civilization-saving venture instead of Twitter fighting. I mean, really, what the hell. Can’t wait a day?

For pandering within the judging period and deferring her civic duty to make the world a better place, @johnsonr takes it. Sorry Hend!

@robertcaruso

​Before I present my ballot, I’d like to say a few words about diversity and inclusion. In the immortal words of Professor Cara Jones, this year like every year TFC​ ​has “hella smart ladies kicking ass and taking names.” Serving as a TFC Judge since its inception (as a joke taken way, way too far) in the spring of 2011, I can say with authority this year is the most inclusive and representative TFC to date. This is particularly true in the way women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT were represented across the board. It should not be lost on anyone that three of the final four are women, a testament to our inclusive nature ​here at Twitter Fight Club.​ This, not the past, is what the foreign policy​ and political​ landscape looks like. I would advise all future contenders to get with the ​program, climb out of the Stone Ages, and embrace the rich diversity of modern ​times​​​. ​I will reiterate what leadership already put out: t​here is no place in this contest for anyone​, of any color, creed, or gender,​ who would discriminate against women, LGBT, or minorities​.​ We apologize for the selection of one such individual this year for the bracket, and it won’t happen again. ​More friendly competition, less hate. ​

With that important piece said, onwards to the ballot!

The content of all four contestants is, to say the least, stellar. All ​are ​​a permanent fixture on various twitter lists. I looked at all four competitors’ tweets from 1 MAR to today, and considered both feeds in terms of the criteria set out in the rules.

​​(6) @johnsonr (2) @LibyaLiberty

Humor, snark and facility with quips (as always, I’ll be using a scale of 1 to 10)

@johnsonr — 10 out of 10.

@libyaliberty — ​9​ out of 10.

ADVANTAGE: @johnsonr

Charisma & overall awesomeness:

@johnsonr — 10 out of 10.

@libyaliberty — 10 out of 10.

TIE

@johnsonr — ​10​ out of 10.

@libyaliberty — ​9​ out of 10.

ADVANTAGE: @johnsonr

Rejects any conspiracy theories involving drones?

@johnsonr — 10 out of 10.

@libyaliberty — ​5​ out of 10.

ADVANTAGE: @johnsonr

CHOICE: @johnsonr

(1) @Lesley_Warner (11) @combatcavscout

Humor, snark and facility with quips

@Lesley_Warner — 10 out of 10

@combatcavscout — 10 out of 10

TIE

Charisma & overall awesomeness:

@Lesley_Warner — 10 out of 10

@combatcavscout — 10 out of 10

TIE

@Lesley_Warner — 10 out of 10

@combatcavscout — 10 out of 10

TIE

Rejects any conspiracy theories involving drones?

@Lesley_Warner — 10 out of 10

@combatcavscout — 9 out of 10

ADVANTAGE: @Lesley_Warner

CHOICE: @Lesley_Warner

In the end, I’ll have to go for @johnsonr and @Lesley_Warner.

Congratulations to everyone who participated this year, and ​I​ hope to see you all back to compete next year!​ ​

#TFC15: The Final Four

You guys, it’s been an unbelievable competition, and we have an unbelievable Final Four made up of two accomplished TFC veterans and two outstanding rookies. All share certain traits as competitors: a strong sense of humor, yes, and a quick hand with occasion-specific memes and responses, but they also share an ability to combine these things with sincerity, strong content representative of what they bring to Twitter on a regular basis, strong engagement with the community, and an ability to gracefully walk the slim line between effective judge-pandering and shameless sucking up.

By the end of the day, two of these competitors will be on their way to the championship round, retirement from TFC, prizes, glory, and future brackets in their names. The other two will move on to judge their conquerors in the final round, and will join the rest of the now-fallen Sweet-16ers in plotting their return for next year’s competition.

The last (1) seed left in the competition, judges’ darling @Lesley_Warner’s is a three-year veteran of TFC. In #TFC13, she lost in the Elite Eight to eventual champ @texasinafrica, and in #TFC14, she lost in the Sweet 16 to eventual champ @DaveedGR. That’s right: she has yet to lose a round in TFC to anyone other than a champion. She represents the Gartenstein-Ross Bracket.

Facing off against her, representing the Saideman bracket, is newcomer @combatcavscout. A rookie who came into the competition with a vote-happy followship, judges have also been impressed with his mix of good content and snarky humor, the twin pillars of TFC competition.

On the other side, representing the Seay bracket, the more experienced competitor is @johnsonr. Having played into the second round in #TFC13 (and having had to miss #TFC14), this is the deepest she’s gone in the competition. She’s managed an impressive mobilization of forces with her #wardogs following, and has been popular with the judges for her consistency and engagement.

Squaring off against @johnsonr is rookie @LibyaLiberty, a first-timer who has rallied more votes in the public polls than any other competitor this year. Her dominance with the public and a strong showing with the judges has made her a twitterfighter to be reckoned with despite a time zone disadvantage.

Faced with the unenviable task of judging these contests is a panel of four illustrious judges:

  • @anniesperson – last year’s rookie of the year, Ali entered #TFC14 as a (16) seed and made it all the way to the Final Four. She was unfortunately unable to compete this year, but has generously agreed to help us decide who will be competing for the bobblegänger.
  • @charlie_simpson – Another #TFC14 semi-finalist who had to pass on this year’s contest, @charlie_simpson is also an experienced judge – who likes to bring a bit of entropy to the proceedings. If she’s not pleased with the competitors she’s given, she’s been known on more than one occasion to mark her ballot for someone else entirely.
  • @intelwire – A veteran of numerous TFCs, and perpetual high seed based on his invaluable Twitter presence, @intelwire couldn’t compete this year as his book’s release coincided with the competition.
  • @robertcaruso – Longtime behind-the-scenes TFC consultant, @robertcaruso is a longstanding Final Four judge who has helped to decide the finalists the last several years running.

The polls are open until midnight tonight, Monday April 6. The results will be posted by about noon tomorrow.

#TFC15: Elite Eight Results

Thank you once again to all of the competitors for a fantastic contest, and to the judges for buckling down to the unenviable task of judging that contest. Today’s winners will compete in Monday’s Final Four for a place in the final.

You will see each competitor’s name, with the percentage of the popular vote they received, and the number of judges’ votes. The judges ballots follow.

Full results

Gartenstein-Ross Bracket Final

(1) @Lesley_Warner 44% 3 votes vs. (7) @drfarls 56% 1 vote

The underdog had a small edge in the popular vote, but it wasn’t enough to overcome @Lesley_Warner’s advantage with the judges, and the (1) seed is moving on to the Final Four.

Atherton Bracket Final

(1) @laurenist 30% 2 votes vs. (2) @LibyaLiberty 70% 2 votes

These two split the judges (AND ALL OF OUR HEARTS) evenly, but rookie-of-the-year frontrunner @LibyaLiberty takes it on the strength of yet another dominant showing in the popular vote. Her contests have been the most active in public voting in every round, to her advantage every time.

Seay Bracket Final

(1) @HayesBrown 40% 2 votes vs. (6) @johnsonr 60% 2 votes

Another agonizing decision, and this time it’s the ethics professor with the upset, taking this one on the strength of her edge in the popular vote.

Saideman Bracket Final

(9) @hannahgais 39% 2 votes vs. (11) @combatcavscout 61% 2 votes

Yet another split judging panel puts this one in the public’s hands as well, and the (11) seed goes on to face the last (1) seed standing @Lesley_Warner in the Final Four.

Judges Ballots

@RBStalin’s Ballot: All Four Brackets

WARNER VS FARLEY

Tweetsticuffarians, my contributions to this round of judgment start not with a bang, but a whimper. In this matchup we have Lesley Warner versus Doctor Robert Farley. While I can assure you the metrics by which I have judged this contest are absurdly complex, only the decisive one is worth discussing. I’ve followed Farley for years and am very familiar with his work, on and off Twitter. Lesley I have comparitively less familiarity with, though I approve at a similar level. I have come to render judgment, and judgment I render:

Doctor Farley’s avatar is from a South Park character creator, shit so old I once made one for my then-wife, who I haven’t seen since Bush was in office.

South-Farley

Christ dude. Don’t you have kids to teach? How do you even get through to them like this?

No contest. My vote this round goes to @Lesley_Warner

JENKINS VS LIBYALIBERTY

Full disclosure: prior to this week I had not been following @LibyaLiberty. I have been impressed with what I’ve seen so far and will continue to follow her, small sample size though I’ve seen. Jenkins and I go back years however, and I can assure you of one undeniable fact: she is the worst person on this website. Observe:

– Used to be a vegetarian. -50 points.
– As a consequence of this, tended to steer tweetups to Science Club, where they serve neither meat nor appropriately strong drinks. -300 points.
– As a consequence of attending one of these, I became tangentially involved in the biggest Twitter-centric scandal in the Natsec community of the first half of 2011 BY FAR. -130 points.
– Tweets a lot about issues related to veteran care, like I need to be brought down by that shit. -25 points.
– Once referred to Kurdistan as “Northern Iraq” or something when she worked at her last non-profit. -70 points.
– Is, last I checked, no longer a vegetarian, contributing to the morally questionable and environmentally disastrous demand for mass-produced meat. -75 points.
– For all I know is a vegetarian again. -100 points.

Meanwhile, @LibyaLiberty tweets about important things and is a really good follow, exemplifying the best part of Twitter Fight Club: exposure to great tweeters in the general natsecosphere you have somehow missed.* Therefore my vote goes to @Laurenist, because like I said she is really quite a bad person and will probably have me kneecapped otherwise.

*People don’t retweet enough.

BROWN VS JOHNSON

A few years ago I visited Indiana for the first time to attend the wedding of one of my closest friends who, through no fault of his own, was born there.

Big-Gay-Cup

This is the lovely home where I slept-off the bachelor party. As you can see, the influence of Big Gay was already insidious, we just weren’t looking for the signs.

The groom – Flarpo, we’ll call him – was my mate through military service. His adpoted brother…Bamf Stabby, was also in the service. Venturing forth with Flarpo’s friends, our itinerary was visiting some of the several bars in Indiana. Now, Flarpo is not a large man. Suffice it to say he wrestled in high school. Bamf Stabby was tall and lean. Collectively we resembled a typical diversity-through-varying-sillhouettes superhero team.

The evening was mostly uneventful, until we encountered beligerents while en route between alcohol depots. It is unknown why hostilities escalated, but I can assure you that I calmly assessed the situation in a position from which I could represent a credible threat of force without inciting further escalation.

Suddenly Bamf Stabby stepped forward and made clear his position: “I am a United States Marine and I will fucking kill you!”

At this point we were informed by local residents that law enforcement was on the way, and we retrograded to the nearest bar.

Now, one of the contestants in this matchup teaches ethics for the USMC. I respect academia but it’s hard to know where to place this job in terms of difficulty, as it seems to me to be a question of how often it is appropriate to – as above – promise an opponent outsize destruction as reprisal for minor injuries. Depending on what extreme of the USMC spectrum you teach from, it can be either an unbelievably straightforward job (it is always appropriate), or the hardest uphill climb since Belleau Wood (it is sometimes not appropriate).

Belleau-Wood

Her opponent is Hayes Brown, a nerd. I’ve followed Hayes since he was a fuckin’ UN nerd with a blog, through when he was a fuckin’ UN nerd with a blog at Think Progress, to now, when he is a fuckin’ UN nerd who works at Buzzfeed, where his job is to make people click links on the internet – possibly an even easier job than convincing Marines it’s OK to be comically aggressive.

Complicating matters, this contest bears an obvious resemblance to the 2008 Democratic primary: one contestant represents an insular group of amoral, machivallian thugs; the other is an academic.

Fundamentally, both provide excellent content on Twitter dot com. But for me, the contest comes into focus when I consider one key difference. During the entire time I have followed Professor Johnson, she has been doing this important work with the Marines. Mr. Brown, on the other hand, has seen a meteoric rise over the years. Years during which I have read some of his work. Even retweeted him. You could say…I made Hayes Brown. And I haven’t gotten my piece of the action. Am I about to cut Hayes down at this, the most important moment of his career to date? Before I cash in my chips?

I think not. My vote goes to @HayesBrown. BBHMM.

GAIS VS CAVSCOUT

You know, it would be nice to have an easy match to close this out with but no, both of these have to be really good twitterers, even though admittedly I did not follow them until it was time to judge this contest (I’ve been aware of both for a long time, but I’ve been really miserly with natsec follows as thinking too much about the subject sometimes leads to my-forehead-shaped holes in the drywall, so I’ve diversified with a lot of FUNNY and CUTE and WEIRD).

I don’t believe in splitting votes. That is the coward’s way. So I will settle this based on two crucial metrics.

1) AVATARS:

Deadpool is PLAYED OUT. Poodles are a RIDICULOUS BREED. Poodles with lasers are ALMOST COOL. Point Gais.

2) PANDERING:

Cavscout fully participated today and did some fuckin’ great tweeting while maintaining his dignity. Gais also did some great tweeting, and pandered like a MOTHERFUCKER. Point Gais.

My vote goes to @hannahgais. But you should be following BOTH of them. You should be following ALL EIGHT of these contestants. If you don’t already, do it NOW. Otherwise I will find out and I WILL find you. Probably I WON’T find you. In fact in all likelihood I WON’T EVEN KNOW. Basically you’re only HURTING YOURSELF. And that is OK with me.

Gartenstein-Ross and Atherton Brackets

@dohoBOB

(1) @Lesley_Warner

Lesley was great today and very engaging right off the bat. She discussed topics that interested the judges while maintaining her usual feed. She also pandered until the final hour. Hurts a little, because I’d really like to see @drfarls win and finally eliminate the USAF.

(2) @LibyaLiberty

Cashing in for the underdog on this because the choice is too damn hard. I would be glad to see either advance. Outstanding representation from women this year.

@KedarPavgi

Gartenstein Ross Final: @Lesley_Warner
Atherton Final: @LibyaLiberty

Explanations:

Gartenstein Ross Final
 
I really like the work both @drfarls and @Lesley_Warner are doing, and both of their feeds are thoroughly interesting for people interesting in security stuff. That being said, I felt like @Lesley_Warner just put more effort into the competition. I’ll give @drfarls credit, he did send a note at the very end, but it couldn’t match the work that @Lesley_Warner had put in all day. I mean, she had everything from a high quality pander panda  to a series of charts (even though they were pie, ugh).

Atherton Final

Good god, I really, really wish I didn’t have to pick here. For future #TFC competitors, save @LibyaLiberty and @Laurenist’s tweets from April 2, 2015,  they put on a real clinic today and y’all could learn a ton from both of them. I hope my explanation gives some justice to this decision. I’ll start with @laurenist:
@laurenist began with the most subtle of panders, but quite effective…this tweet:

I don’t know where she got that mug from, but damn that was a great use of it.

Her GIF and animal game was incredibly strong (see here, here, and here)
This tweet was also amazing:
 And her back and forth with @LibyaLiberty was something to behold. Very polite, very cordial, and a sign that two masters were at work.
@libyaliberty began very strong as well, with this great picture:
 Then she had a whole series of tweets about an incredible sand storm taking place near her house. This was followed by some great commentary on the Iran Nuclear Deal,

https://twitter.com/LibyaLiberty/status/583690024928944128What honestly sealed my decision was this tweet right here, which had me laughing to tears: 

https://twitter.com/LibyaLiberty/status/583698073215344640

 I really wish the best to both of them, and I regret not being able to simultaneously vote for two amazing competitors.

@SharlynEgger

@laurenist vs @LibyaLiberty

Vote: @laurenist

Argh! The worst matchup! I love both their feeds and this was a really difficult choice. They are amazing in different ways with various informative and always good snark at the ready. Both interacted with me, each other and the followers and it was fun to watch!

@LibyaLiberty’s snark game was on point, virtually destroying the coverage of the Iran talks and nearly killing me with the RTs of “Telfies” – Iranians taking photos of themselves next to POTUS on live TV. The Iran Talks songs were excellent as well. I totally laughed at this

I expected her to give all she has and she did! It was great fun reading all the tweets, and non-snarky content on Libya, Iran, Yemen was also very interesting.

But despite the large gap between them in number of followers, Lauren wasn’t about to go down so easily, taking out the heavy GIF artillery – bonus points for the Jedi cats, this exchange was great:

When I asked for aerospace related pandering, she delivered. Had me laughing out loud in my be like an idiot at 11 PM

This tweet was probably the one that sealed my decision, as it also elicited a laugh

In terms of content, Lauren delivered all day as well with some great informative tweets which were relevant to my interests, notably articles on wounded vets in other countries, and tweets on the civ-mil divide; or that crazy news on Ebola quarantine soldiers being denied separation pay.
Bonus point for the Bonne soirée tweet.

In the end it was really hard because I really love both feeds, they are vastly different but two wonderful, smart women and I would encourage you to follow both immediately if you do not! But my final vote goes to @laurenist.

—————————————————————————-

@drfarls vs @Lesley_Warner

Vote: @drfarls

I must start by saying that before TFC15, I did not know either tweeps and I am incredibly glad I follow them now! They’re both amazing so please follow.

The choice was REALLY tough. Both contestants had amazingly interesting content and RTs throughout the day. Lesley’s acknowledged the judges early, and her amazing Twitterfight series of tweets and photos of camembert almost won me over. I learned a lot on her feed on news from various countries.

That said, Robert’s continuous informative tweets on aerospace & military appealed to my engineer side… I can’t resist a good tweet about choppers. And then he started #TFC15 by livetweeting the Princess Bride with the snarkiest comments, and honestly how could I resist? INCONCEIVABLE.

I was really undecided until I stumbled upon these two tweets:

I hope Lesley can forgive me, but in any case I am really glad I follow her now. My vote goes to @drfarls.

Seay and Saideman Brackets

@BA_Friedman

@HayesBrown versus @johnsonr

I was not happy to be judging this contest. I’ve met both contestants and they are great people. I actually thought about recusing myself because Dr. Johnson is a personal mentor. But then I became mad with power, letting the omnipotence of Twitter Fight Club judging take over. Until Caitlin told me I had to do my homework. Additionally, these fighters are tested by now. There’s no cop out like one didn’t engage with the judges or didn’t use .gifs to use as judging criteria.

Hayes may be a number one seed but he had a steep hill to climb with me. Dr. Johnson works for the Marine Corps doing the thankless and Sisyphean job of making us think. And she’s a mentor. And #WarDogs. And Hayes is from Michigan while I”m from Ohio home of the NCAA National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes of The Ohio State University of which I’m an alumni. Hayes needed to bring it today.

And did he ever. The early morning direct contact fight demonstrated his well known wit and .gif abilities. I loved the Kerry/Zarif fanfic. I almost can’t ding Hayes on anything, even his answer to my contestant question, which was well thought out and reasonable even if I’d go with Elsa. (She sacrificed her childhood for the good of the kingdom while Ana wouldn’t STFU about building snowmen, and demonstrated discipline by not shotgunning Ana with icicles through the door.)

Both opponents made mistakes though. Hayes pissed off @texasinafrica which everyone on twitter should know by now that I won’t allow. And Dr. Johnson’s response to my Ana/Elsa question was that she doesn’t care about fictional nonsense. Not a phrase us fiction writers like.

But the aforementioned morning battle demonstrated something else, too. Dr. Johnson’s wit was just as biting and she came out swinging. Just like her branch of service, she overcame her underdog status with aggression, adroit maneuver, and excellent PR. On any other day or against most other opponents Hayes would have taken this one, but the Doctor is in.

Winner: @johnsonr

@hannahgais versus @combatcavscout

This was also a tough contest to judge but in a different way. While Hayes and Dr. Johnson were lobbing artillery at each other, these two were having nice conversations. Which is nice. Obviously, @combatcavscout is a cavalry scout which is an Army thing. I’m not sure what they do but I think they go out and figure out where the enemy is so the main line units can go somewhere else. We don’t have any need for that in the Marines. Still, I was determined not to hold his branch of service against him which he made very difficult by reminding me that the Army takes four day weekends for all holidays and pretty much whenever they feel like it and we only get three day weekends when it’s mandated higher authority. It sucks you had to stay late before your FOUR DAYS OFF, cav.

Unfortunately for Hannah I just started following her today. I’ve been following Cav and is lovely wife for years. But Hannah did well TODAY. Neither contestant answered my question but Hannah did attempt to engage me late in the contest. What put her over the top though was her livetweeting reactions of the US/Iran nuclear deal in .gifs. Always a crowd pleaser. I”m going to go with another underdog and vote @hannahgais.

My question, if anyone missed it, was: Who would make a better Division Commander, Ana or Elsa, with the caveat that Elsa cannot use her ice powers because they are not authorized by the UCMJ. This is an important question that I think we as a Twitter NatSec Community should discuss further.

@draperha

Let me start from the top and give a huge round of applause and appreciative smooches to @caidid, whose hard work and dedication has kept #TFC on its feet for several years now. It’s annual review season at the State Department, and if I were your rater, I’d recommend you for immediate promotion based on your sustained high standards of performance and mastery of your portfolio, but you’re wise enough not to have enmeshed yourself in the Fed system. So with that, let’s move on to the judging!

Can you see me judging? I’m judging y’all so hard.

First up is the Seay bracket, (1) @HayesBrown vs. (6) @johnsonr.

Both competitors got off to a fine start in pandering and quickly transitioned into good-natured sniping at each other, including questioning @Hayesbrown’s adulthood and @johnsonr’s possible sociopathic tendencies. They quickly returned to form, with @Hayesbrown focusing on the Iranian nuclear announcement in the afternoon and @johnsonr focusing on her so-called “day job” as a professor – highlighting good MA defenses and advertising jobs at a new training center. Sort of a panderfail on her part, though, by only offering jobs for which I’m not academically qualified.

@Hayesbrown doubted himself in the beginning

but tweets like this

show that he is still at the top of his game after several rounds of #TFC15. (Plus, bonus points for any reference to The Fifth Element, an underrated masterpiece of cinema and philosophical importance.)

I deeply enjoyed @johnsonr’s ruminations on books and the nature of what keeps us grounded in our values

especially given the tendency in DC for people to define themselves based on their job/careers. I say this with full recognition that I am one of Those People, and it’s a good reminder to all of us to make space for personal reading that isn’t immediately tied to terrorism, factionalism, and national security.

In the end, I’m going to have to give it to @johnsonr: @hayesbrown brings the snark like no other, and I admit that yesterday was a shitty day for a journalist to try to focus on anything other than work, but @johnsonr displayed the depth of knowledge and reflection that pushed it over the edge for me.

Next, we have the Saideman bracket, with (9) @hannahgais vs. (11) @combatcavscout.

After a slow start from both of them, @hannahgais’ pandering

was much appreciated, as I happen to love both duck and beer (and I intend to consume both tonight, as a matter of fact!). I saw only a limited effort from @combatcavscout to pander to judges. Hmm.

Both of these competitors had appropriately horrified/snarky responses to this

question, posed by a fellow judge. @hannahgais really showed her prowess with GIFs, especially the responses to the Iranian nuclear talks pressers. I’m still laughing at this one:

I have to concur with my fellow judge @rbstalin when he bemoaned the civil discussion between these two.

They engaged throughout the day on PTSD and its effects on family members, a topic near and dear to my heart, but @combatcavscout carried the day with his discussion of it. Moreover, he ended the day with a discussion of AQAP, Yemen, and prison breaks sealed the deal. As much as I loved the laser poodle of doom’s on-point snark, I’ll hand this one to @combatcavscout.

Thanks again, everyone, and I look forward to the opportunity to crush you next year! In a friendly manner, of course.

@lkatzenberg

Seay and Saideman Brackets

Today @johnsonr, @HayesBrown, @CombatCavScout, and @Hannahgais were all a joy to judge. I laugh, I cried, I spontaneously spit food onto my computer screen. Here were some of my favorite moments:


– —

I’m not going to go into the reasoning behind my votes because all of the contestants kicked ass and should be proud. I do not want anyone to feel like he or she did not do a good enough job.

My votes go to @HayesBrown and @CombatCavScout.

#TFC15: The Elite Eight

For the Elite Eight, we have two panels of four judges, each judging two brackets. Results for all four brackets will be posted tomorrow Friday, April 3 at around noon EDT.

The polls are open until midnight EDT tonight Thursday, April 2. If you want to follow all of the TwitterFightClub action, we are using the hashtag #TFC15.

Judges and voters alike are encouraged to look at metrics such as: knowledge base; quality of argumentation; innovative thinking; humor, snark, facility with quips, and charisma; and responsiveness to followers. Contestants’ full bodies of work on Twitter are fair game, and everyone is encouraged to make their decisions in their own way.

Judging Panel: Gartenstein-Ross and Atherton Brackets

  • @dohoBOB
  • @KedarPavgi
  • @RBStalin
  • @SharlynEgger

Judging Panel: Seay and Saideman Brackets

  • @BA_Friedman
  • @draperha
  • @lkatzenberg
  • @RBStalin

 

#TFC15: Sweet 16 Results

To the results! (You will see each competitor’s name, with the percentage of the popular vote they received, and the number of judges’ votes). Winners move on to the Elite Eight, which will be running Thursday, April 2.

Gartenstein-Ross Bracket Results

(1) @Lesley_Warner 47% 3 votes vs. (12) @pptsapper 53% 1 vote

The judges tip this incredibly close and hard-fought battle in favor of accomplished TFC veteran @Lesley_Warner.

(6) @maximumplum 38% vs. (7) @drfarls 62% 4 votes

Congratulations, @drfarls! We got you a #TFC15 Sweet 16 victory for your birthday! Don’t overdo it on the celebrating tonight: you’ve got an Elite Eight date with @Lesley_Warner tomorrow!

Gartenstein-Ross Bracket: Judges’ Ballots

@DrJJoyner

(1) @Lesley_Warner vs. (12) @pptsapper

@pptsapper began the contest with some decided advantages. First, he’s an Army officer. Once upon a time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, so was I. Second, his handle is Angry Staff Officer. I like my staff officers angry. If they’re not angry, they don’t understand the problem frame.

@Lesley_Warner, by contrast, is a lowly grad student whose only military tie is “working on US mil security cooperation.” That’s the military mission least liked by the military. It’s like a slap in the face.

Once the fight commenced, however, they adopted different styles. @Lesley_Warner fought a conventional fight, employing overwhelming firepower in an attempt to shock and awe the judges with a massive number of tweets. @pptsapper, perhaps scarred by the wars his generation of Army officers have fought, chose to mount an insurgency figuring, hey, insurgents must be hard to beat since we can’t seem to do it.

@Lesley_Warner tried to woo the judges with music videos. Alas, she apparently mistook being in the Gartenstein-Ross bracket for being in a bracket judged by Gartenstein-Ross. There was all manner of rap and Latin “music.” Nary a fiddle nor a steel guitar were to be heard. Nor even any electric guitar. It’s as if she’s never seen the Chapelle Show. There were also various tweets about “food,” none of which appeared to have 1)come off an open flame, 2) come out of a pizza oven, or 3) been chili. I mean, what the hell? There was, however, a relatively amusing if overlong video about the excesses of PowerPoint.

@pptsapper tweeted much less and without any obvious strategy. While this is a testament to his scrupulous following of the National Security Strategy, it is not necessarily a winning ploy in #TFC15. Or, you know, IRL wars. And, like the PME curriculum, there was way too much an emphasis on the US Civil War.

Still, he almost saved the day with a strong morning discussion with yours truly on the bureaucratic reasons for the Army’s lack of a strategy vice the Marine Corps’ near-obsessive focus on its institutional core. Alas, he squandered the advantage by an insurgent’s typical disregard for the rules of war. As the fight got toward its desperate final stages, he deployed his proxies to engage in a fight so dirty that @RadioFreeTom admonished one of said proxies for being “a dick.” You know how far you’ve got to push the envelope for that to happen? 

Winner: @Lesley_Warner

(6) @maximumplum vs. (7) @drfarls

@drfarls began with the distinct advantage of having been one of my regular reads for quite some time now whereas I was unaware of @maximumplum’s feed before the outset of the contest. 
 
@drfarls is a fellow political scientist whereas @maximumplum is a pseudonymous account with zero biographical detail and the handle “Flair Bear.” I gather from the content of the feed that she is a she and worked at some time in the not-all-that-distant past as an intern at a UK think tank of some sort which was, shockingly, male dominated. I mean, what are the odds?
@drfarls mostly did his normal twitter routine, a winning mix of natsec link-sharing and Air Force bashing. His limited #TFC15 direct engagement was largely lame, a series of plausibly amusing bear references. It was more than enough, however, since @maximumplum was out of the fight most of the day complaining of a headache. Her tweet stream was basically a mix of pleas to vote for her anyway.
Winner: @drfarls

@NaheedMustafa

@Lesley_Warner vs. @pptsapper

This bout was intense right away. The attention I got from both competitors and their boosters was at times overwhelming. I felt like a judge at a beauty pageant where everyone smiles really hard and tries to show their best manners. I was going to include breadth of tweeting as one of my criterion but I’ve noticed since the Days of Yore when TFC first started and I was a competitor, tweeps are more specialized in their tweeting so let’s drop breadth and go for depth. I also looked at engagement with others and overall gif/meme-usage.

So, @Lesley_Warner tweeted interesting and diverse links on a variety of African countries. I found her links on the Nigerian election quite helpful. Her gif/meme game was not only on point but the snark level was pretty high. I’d say on my totally fictitious snark-o-metre she was at least 6.2 out of a possible 8.3. She had massive engagement with a variety of tweeps (I still say tweeps) and she didn’t stop. She was clearly playing to win.

Problem is I could say pretty much the same things about @pptsapper (not the Africa part but he had his own set of interesting links and posts). So, dilemma. These two were pretty evenly matched so I had to look for something else.

TFC is all in good fun, of course, but it is ultimately about the best nat sec tweep out there. Just looking at that part of it, @Lesley_Warner is a clear choice.

Winner: @Lesley_Warner

@MaximumPlum vs. @dfarls

@MaximumPlum was felled by a migraine not too long into the match. Nonetheless, her gif/meme game was strong and she tweeted a series of points about how to boost the participation of women in IR (+1000 points for not doing that infernal numbered tweets thing). There were a couple of attempts at pandering which always helps.

@dfarls’ gif/meme game was weak but, boy, did he bring the breadth. He tweeted about a wide variety of topics from the UK election to India to Yemen to something about social media and protestors. There were also a couple of sublime subtweets so A+ on that.

While the two competitors were well matched in some ways, @dfarls takes it when it comes to depth and breadth of tweeting.

Winner: @dfarls

@PTSDInfo

(1) @Lesley_Warner vs. (12) @pptsapper

Theme Song: “The Cup Song” from Pitch Perfect

Tutorial Link – Learn how to do the Cups song:

Winner:  @pptsapper

By a landslide. First to notice I was judging this bracket, @pptsapper brought the heat with a series of questions about PTSD which led to a great discussion and was timed perfectly as the lead in to the Tomah VA Congressional Hearing.

1 Screenshot 2015-03-30 11.42.17

While his Civil War discourse lacked any mention of the pivotal role of the Dad in Little Women, he followed up with a fantastic analysis of how Anna Kendricks’ “Cups” song in “Pitch Perfect” was really an analysis of US engagement in Afghanistan. BAM.

2 Screenshot 2015-03-30 11.57.29

His friends and family pitched in to “help,” often bringing some much appreciated humor as well as a fair share of inappropriate, insulting and just plain stupid jokes.

3 Screenshot 2015-03-30 08.11.39

Leslie’s early comment regarding @PPtsapper assembling a pro-team proved to be prescient as a late in the day fumble by one of the @pptsapper team looked to endanger his chances.

On the one hand, she did ask what judges were interested in and posted some beautiful photos (always a win for @ptsdinfo). But she lost me with her mental health jibe.

4 Screenshot 2015-03-30 12.09.55

People sometimes tell me personal things but more often than not, they talk to me about policy implications. A huge policy implication of not talking is that people don’t get the help they need. So your “that’s a bit, er, personal for us right now.” while cute was a little off base.

That’s the thing about Twitter, it’s really difficult to assess tone. I could make an equally good argument that the aforementioned Animal House references were particularly poorly timed and offensive. Bottom line, I would like to have seen some more engagement and less “vote for me.” Leslie, I know you are a winner in life, and has some super supporters. Thanks for making today a great round to watch.

(6) @maximumplum vs. (7) @drfarls

Theme Song: “When Words Fail” from Shrek the Musical

Winner:  @drfarls

Kinda quiet over here today.

@maximumplum I’m sorry you had a migraine and I know from our recent TV spot on “The Doctors” anxiety feeds migraine which feeds anxiety. So I hope you come back next year/round feeling better.

5 Screenshot 2015-03-30 12.32.47

<steps on soap box, family groans loudly>  Nevertheless, Twitter and social media in general are a social contract just like any other human interaction. If I take all day to follow, read, analyze your [redacted] tweets and you don’t follow me, I feel diminished. As a judge, I’m already just a bystander to the people who are doing all the heavy lifting. So I am much more likely to notice and be offended by any sign of disrespect.

While not a lot to engage with here @drfaris did what he could with bear themed natsec tweets.

6 Screenshot 2015-03-30 08.10.21

He gets the win for hanging in there and providing his usual high quality content all day.

Bon Chance all in the next round.

@RadioFreeTom

Nothing makes for a day of bilious post-elimination judging like throwing rotten fruit from the cheap seats, so here’s my declaration on today’s #TFC15.

(1) @Lesley_Warner vs (12) @pptsapper

This one was agonizing. Warner’s a top seed for a reason. She’s smart, understated but funny, and times some nice strikes with content. But the Sapper fought the American Way of War: quantity, alliances, and can-do elbow grease. The man didn’t just acknowledge the judges, he introduced us to his *staff*. (Dan Kaszeta as his Chemical Officer? Okay.) This is someone building a community on Twitter.

If I’d had to call it at midday, I might have gone for the Sapper, not least because Warner nearly lost me with a naked appeal to elitism, which I normally love, but which grated on me here:

Still, Warner’s clearly playing the long game, and there was some excellent pandering to the judges. Worse, the Sapper began the inexplicable Anna Kendrick GIFs, and that nearly ended his dreams of upsetting Warner right there. By late afternoon, it was Warner’s to lose.

And then Sapper brought back a social network, and that’s what Twitter is all about. A great recovery, but he’s weak on content, and sooner or later Civil War memes aren’t enough to go all the way to the Final Four and victory. A great fight, but edge to Warner.

(6) @maximumplum vs. (7) @drfarls

The Plum had a good run. But bear memes can only take you so far, and she ran out of gas. Rob Farley was a bit understated this round, but getting his kids in on the act was a war-winner right here:

If it’s any consolation, Farley had this before Plum was struck with a migraine. Winner: @drfarls

Atherton Bracket: Results

(1) @laurenist 57% 3 votes vs. (5) @BA_Friedman 43% 1 vote

Another strong performance from the (1) seed who dispatches a strong opponent with relative ease.

(6) @draperha 33% 1.5 votes vs. (2) @LibyaLiberty 67% 2.5 votes

In an entertaining bunny fight between these two closely-matched friends

@LibyaLiberty narrowly edges @draperha with the judges, but gets a massive late bump in the public polls due to…divine intervention?

She advances to the bracket final against the (1) seed.

Atherton Bracket: Judges’ Ballots

@Allison_Good1

(6) @draperha vs. (2) @LibyaLiberty

I was excited to be a judge until I realized I had to pick the winner of this round. This was the best match-up so far of #TFC15, hands down. @LibyaLiberty impressed with her usual snarky #natsec observations and commentary:

She also secured the endorsement of past TFC bracket champion @azelin:

And then there was @drapherha, who knows that the way to my heart is kitten adoption stories and barbecue:

@draperha also has an interesting way of telling stories:

And did I mention that these two also support each other? Cue the warm fuzzies (literally and figuratively):

I’m splitting my vote for this one.

(1) @laurenist vs. (5) @BA_Friedman

This one, on the other hand was pretty easy. Neither contestant tried to pander to me specifically, but @laurenist knows her audience and posted plenty of food and cat-related material throughout the day while also tweeting interesting articles and #natsec insights. @BA_Friedman made some accolade-worthy #natsec references, but he also talked a lot about the marines and artillery. I prefer cats and donuts, so @laurenist wins.

@FOIAsaxa

Everyone in this bracket is awesome, so it was hard to pick. Nevertheless, I’ve made up my mind.

@laurenist vs. @BA_Friedman
This one was excruciatingly difficult if not only for the fact that I really, really wanted to give it to Brett. I love me some Artillery; he cofounded @MilWritersGuild, which is just full of really great people with sharp minds; he’s also a silkies man

and, compared to Lauren, he’s the underdog (seed-wise). Ultimately, though, I had to give it to Lauren. She won my favor because she seemed more active today, she engaged me in a delicious targeted subtweet in which she posted a throwback picture of an AUSA convention

past (at the bar, of course), and I really enjoyed the varied nature of her feed. Also, she’s whiskey

so COME ON. Clinched. Speaking of which, Brett—sorry to pass you over, but next time you’re in D.C., first round’s on me.

Final Vote: @laurenist

@draperha vs. @LibyaLiberty

Ah, the clash of the Libyan-connected titans. This one was a really tough call as well. Hannah was participating (impressively) while driving through Bumfuck Nowhere, U.S.A.

while Hend came out swinging with Islamic State puns

I’ve enjoyed both competitors’ feeds for some time, and today was no exception—they were both at their best today. Here’s where my love of the seed-wise underdog comes through. I really liked Hannah’s anecdotes. She dropped an A+ Simpsons reference that Hend was immediately able to grab on to (more effective than the most overt breed of pandering, to be honest). Plus, it’s on record that a vote for Hannah is also a vote for Hend

so it was easier to choose. Either way, I loved the sparring balanced out with ever-present camaraderie. Keep it up, you two.

Final Vote: @draperha

The last word: If you aren’t already following all four of these people, start now. You’ll thank me later.

@LadyPutz

(1) @laurenist vs. (5) @BA_Friedman

@Laurenist cooks her Brussels sprouts with bacon fat. @BA_Friedman did this. @BA_Friedman gives great safety advice. @Laurenist was channeling Captain Marvel. This match-up made me think “why oh why did I agree to judge?!?!” Full body of Twitter work is game so I went way back to the first tweets, seemed better than coin-flipping. @Laurenist‘s existentialism wins over@BA_Friedman‘s kabobs.

Vote: @Laurenist

(6) @draperha vs. (2) @LibyaLiberty 

These two are both extremely smart women filled with wit and wisdom, and so much Libya. @draperha’s story about Amb, Stevens, couscous and her shins was great. But@LibyaLiberty made a MICE-IS pun about her sharia-compliant hamsters that I can’t stop laughing about. Also @draperha insulted Kentucky. And I’m a very proud Kentucky grad.

Vote: @LibyaLiberty

@RyanJSuto

@laurenist

Promises promises…

Note that she used *will*: a future tense that isn’t conditional. @laurenist, DM me for my address.

@laurenist found an interesting .gif:

Now, I’m not a pet person. I generally don’t find animals cute or endearing. So this would usually not work. But I grew up with a husky. This is as close I come to having positive emotions toward such a thing. Well played.

Ignoring the other animal-related posts, @laurenist got back to my speed:

Observers of my last #TFC loss know that I’m a fan of Epic Meal Time, so bacon is good.

@laurenist was the first person to entertain my silly questions for contestants

AND, despite the wavering, this should be remembered:

Lastly, BOOM:

@BA_Friedman

Early in the day @BA_Friedman tried to perform some psy-ops, I think

Now I know this was a RT, but this is a cool pic:

I like that a sans serif was chosen for the typeface–it really gives a light, airy feel. The color was probably taken from the image itself, or closes matches some of the shades. I’d like to see it with a bit tighter kearning, but good stuff nonetheless.

@BA_Friedman went all-in on the ‘Murica, which I appreciate.

Although @laurenist as the first to entertain my silly question, @BA_Friedman provided an answer I liked more:

I like the hard G pronunciation of .gif. Neither is correct (the creator of the acronym has no authority to determine how it’s pronounced and because the G stands for graphics isn’t dispositive when you think about other acronyms), but I have my preference. Moreover, stating that America is an idea is legit. The Declaration speaks of no religion, language, ethnicity, or shared history, but only a philosophy.

Winner: @BA_Friedman

@LibyaLiberty

I appreciated the interactions early. Here’s a great response from @LibyaLiberty:

@LibyaLiberty also RTed this pretty humanizing clip:

…and then there was this one:

Noted:

Well played, @LibyaLiberty, well played indeed…

Most of her exchanges were about voting, but occasionally they got substantive:

@LibyaLiberty seemingly thought she was too cool to respond to my silly question or interact with me much.

@draperha

@draperha began with some nice greetings:

Though @draperha quickly fell back into long-form tweeting about herself:

And some more:

And some more:

I feel like this was OK for the first round as we’re all getting to know each other, but it’s the Sweet 16.

However, @draperha DID respond to my silly Twitter question:

Eastern North Carolina style (vinegar-based). Any meat.

Decision Points

Again, there are no bad contestants at this level. We’re talking splitting hairs here.

First, I must be mistaken… I thought this was Twitter FIGHT Club, not Twitter Love Fest. Here’s you #TLF15 winning exchange:

Here’s a runner-up:

Moving beyond that, @draperha definitely won in the interaction category regarding judges. I think @LibyaLiberty had better RTs, though. Neither got too heavy into Middle East politics or policy, really. I was expecting some more wonkishness.

The deciding factor, however, is that most of @draperha’s tweets were animal pics or a series of narrative stories about herself. I’m not a fan of either. Above the doorway to the Oracle at Delphi may read, “Know Thyself”, but about the doorway to the #TFC Champion’s lounge it reads, “Know Thy Judge”.

Winner: @LibyaLiberty

Seay Bracket: Results

(1) @HayesBrown 57% 3 votes vs. (13) @13F2PL7 43% 1 vote

@HayesBrown’s busy day at work didn’t hurt him in the competition as he seamlessly wove not-sohumblebrags about his work product into his day of twitterfighting to win over three of four judges and 57% of the public voters.

(6) @johnsonr 48% 4 votes vs. (2) @kohenari 52%

@kohenari gets a slight edge in the popular vote, but @johnsonr’s steady mix of humor, memes, and substantive engagement was too much to overcome. She wins over all four judges to advance to Thursday’s Elite Eight.

Seay Bracket: Judges’ Ballots

@elliebartels

(1) @HayesBrown vs. (13) @13F2PL7

@HayesBrown is a world class Twitter warrior, and he had some fine moments including his final salvo

featuring a picture I took in a MUN committee in 2009. However, by his own admission

he was tied up for most of the day at work. That produced some great articles

but not a great fight club appearance. In contrast @13F2PL7 started a bit slow, but engaged consistently throughout the day with high quality content ranging from red pandas

to war stories

to the role of the US military

For consistency and game day play, @13F2PL7 gets my vote.

WINNER: @13F2PL7

(6) @johnsonr vs. (2) @kohenari

While the hottest “fight” of the day is over soup

this was a closely fought match. Both contenders brought the #TFC15 audience into their work, @johnsonr solicited input on topics for upcoming classes on ethics

while @kohenari gave folk the opportunity to weigh in on his upcoming talk on the Holocaust

Ari shared his book on heroism while @johnsonr preformed herculean efforts to get me a paper I was looking for. But while @kohenari did offered more bribes in the form of my favorite red panda gif

and doughnuts, @johnsor was able to offer more substantive comments from how not to talk about military ethics

to the concept of moral injury

At the end of the day, I felt like I learned more from @johnsonr today, so she gets my vote.

WINNER: @johnsonr

@GrantRumley

Today was quite the day for Twitter-fighting. I put out a challenge this morning to my contestants: no puppy GIFs, no music videos, no gimmicks. I wanted to see who could introduce a unique perspective and defend it on Twitter. I wanted a genuine and polite exchange of ideas among the NatSec/FP community, and hooo boy did the contestants respond.
@HayesBrown vs. @13F2PL7
This was a tough one to judge. Those who know Hayes and myself know that we go back to our days at Michigan State. I wanted to be as impartial as possible, of course, so I paid extra attention to @13F2PL7’s timeline. I really enjoyed 13F’s (sorry, I’m not going to type that handle out again — where is your real name, bud?) stories from his time in the military (and just generally tweets like this), but he lost me at the fabricated emails thing. I just didn’t get it. Hayes, to his credit, successfully managed to respond to my challenge and edit/write a number of articles today, so in the end he won my vote.
Vote: @HayesBrown
@johnsonr vs. @kohenari
This was by far the hardest contest to judge today. On the one hand, Rebecca is one of the kindest people I know on Twitter (I remember her responding to my tweets back when I had roughly -17 followers). On the other hand, Ari is a Spartan (and ergo a freedom-loving American) and deals with a subject I work on (Israel-Palestine). Both give lectures I’d love to sit in on in person, and both responded to my challenge this morning. For those who missed it, check out Rebecca’s here and Ari’s here. In the end, I had to flip a coin, and it came up for Rebecca. Somewhere, Tom Izzo is shedding a gentle tear, then wiping it from his face and plotting his upset of Duke.
Vote: @Johnsonr 

@NadaBakos

(1) @HayesBrown vs. (13) @13F2PL7

I was taken in by Broken Handmic’s stories of Iraq and the Karkh prison, interesting read, all the things we like about twitter.  That is until Hayes Brown broke into the threat with a pithy comment:

I have to admit, that was a great redirection for Brown. His article titled ‘Meet the New President of Nigeria’ was the perfect interjection. And to top it off, Hayes gave us this regarding Yemen:

 @hayesbrown for the win
(6) @johnsonr vs. (2) @kohenari
Ms.Johnson missed a great opportunity to suck up to a judge (me).  She used a gif I used last year, without noticing I used it last year and attributing it to me:

Best GIF ever

 But Ms. Johnson has soup delivered, SOUP people! I love a fellow foodie.
Now Ari used Montana in a tweet – that is mega points.  AND he offered to buy me a donut….and the one in the photo looked amazing.  Alas, I didn’t get the donut.
This round goes to @johnsonr

@PTSDInfo

(1) @HayesBrown vs. (13) @13F2PL7

Winner: @HayesBrown

Points to @13F2PL7 for Iowa location, I really liked the false memos he deployed early in the day and appreciated his initiative in Vet related outreach. He has some good ideas in that regard. But his game just wasn’t strong enough to overcome the number one seed.

While complaining repeatedly about his workload, Hayes managed to respond promptly to all questions I asked, including gamely agreeing to hit up his newly voted-off-the-island boss to interview the Elite 8 or Fab 4 (just seeing if you’re still paying attention) contestants. If Hayes can’t get the keyboard out of the holster, how about you @bjones?

As a known fan of explainers and photos, you’d think I appreciated Hayes for his day job but it was his ability to quickly distill ideas down to on point tweets that got my vote.

(6) @johnsonr vs. (2) @kohenari

Winner: @johnsonr

This bout reminded me a lot of @athertonkd vs @laurenist in TFC14. And again, I’m going to kick the puppy.

@kohenari got an early nod with his info about his book and clever guvy jokes. “Kant touch this” was a particular favorite. He kept up a steady stream of content throughout the day though I would have preferred to learn a little more about his specialty.

I met @johnsonr at the beginning of TFC14. She hasn’t disappointed since. We obviously share the same sense of humor and her repertoire of videos, photos and gifs demonstrated she took TFC15 seriously. Most importantly like a good professor should, while I took a lunch break, shared a panda video (driving 52 additional views today) and waxed poetic about my first job, she brought me back on topic by sharing content crucial to my current job. I enjoyed reading about her endeavors as she went through her day. I hope we can discuss moral injury further. We got lotsa Marines out here – come out and visit, bring @anniesperson

Saideman Bracket: Results

(9) @hannahgais 80% 4 votes vs. (13) @KedarPavgi 20%

@KedarPavgi seemed to be occupied for much of the day, and the poodle took full advantage, cruising to a victory and a spot in Thursday’s Elite Eight.

(11) @combatcavscout 55% 2 votes vs. (10) @SharlynEgger 45% 2 votes

The difference in this incredibly tough, evenly matched contest just might have been @SharlynEgger’s own boyfriend’s campaigning…for @combatcavscout. The (11) seed advances by a hair.

Saideman Bracket: Judges’ Ballots

@NaheedMustafa

@hannahgais vs. @kedarpavgi

There really wasn’t a contest on this one. @KedarPavgi showed up for a little bit early in the day and then just shut down after a handful of tweets. I’m assuming he was busy with his job (*eyeroll*) but I can only evaluate on the manifest content of the twitter feed.

Winner: @hannahgais

@combatcavscout vs. @SharlynEgger

@combatcavscout is also called The Hate Machine. I just had to say that. @combatcavscout tweeted about a variety of topics ranging from LGBTQ issues to an interesting and varied set of RTs. The gif/meme game was a bit sad but then we can’t be all things to all people.

@SharlynEgger had some good insights on the relation between the military and civilian sides of the aerospace industry. She also tweeted a bunch about decriminalizing prostitution (+1) and engaged in some sort of love triangle with her competitor and his SO (I think). That added a nice hint of drama to the overall proceedings.

It was a tough call but I always like an underdog and someone who’s trying to establish a place for herself in an industry filled with often aggressive, more established voices. @SharlynEgger pointed out she’s young and new to her line of work but, hey, all of us were that at one point. I’m going to give this one to @SharlynEgger.

@ryansradar

My votes: @hannahgais 

Poodle wins points for being the only one to respond to my #tfc15 task of sending me podcasts. Smart and funny commentary as well.

@KedarPavgi started out the day strong, and I’ve actually been following him throughout the competition but just didn’t engage them same way poodle did.

Second battle:

This battle was very close as both opponents took direct and indirect shots at one another. Both showed awesome support for LBGT so major ups to both of them for that
At the end of the day my vote is for @SharlynEgger for this meltdown:

@SciFirebird

@hannahgais vs @KedarPavgi
Points to @hannahgais, who had a lot of interesting content and discussions throughout the day. Seems as though @KedarPavgi had other things going on this competition day, and didn’t have a lot of time to spend on twitter.
@combatcavscout vs @SharlynEgger
Well, I cringed when I found out I was judging this contest because I knew it would be ferocious. Indeed it was, and I felt like I was in mortal danger throughout the day- danger of running out of popcorn for this entertaining exchange. If I could reflect the true reality, I’d say all of #TFC15 wins by these two competing, it was really outstanding. But that’s not how this thing works.
@SharlynEgger came roaring out of the gate and landed some solid blows against @combatcavscout in the history department in her quest to collect votes. She had informative and interesting things to say about avionics and international relations, and she had cat gifs and French peacock memes. The Youtube video of her savagely destroying a laptop that once stepped out of line was a home run. A truly formidable contest entry if I ever saw one. How would @combatcavscout fare against this?
Turns out @combatcavscout came out swinging too. He had some great rants on pertinent cultural issues, and they were full of cursing. I was especially amused by the term “dick-dancing” which is a new addition to my vocabulary. Follows up with openly talking about a trip to take care of himself and how it’s okay to get help- major points boost for getting the word out and normalizing mental maintenance. Fights back with cute kid and dog pics. Deadpool too, since that seems to be his thing. Finishes strong with more rants and cursing about recent legislation, and bows out right before midnight.
Guys, I was exhausted keeping up with this and I burned most of my data plan because it was entertaining as all hell. It was a very tough call, because I’d like to see them both advance, but I’m going to have to say this one ever-so-slightly sways to @combatcavscout. But you really need to be following both of these exquisite twitter personalities and see their interactions.
-end transmission

@scrivenlking

winner: @hannahgais vs. (13) @KedarPavgi = @hannahgais
Even though there wasn’t any content from @KedarPavgi, @hannahgais did a spectacular job of providing good informational content. I especially enjoyed her Twitter rant regarding Ayaan Hirisi Ali where she had very salient points. Hannah was normal self which is to say “As always, I enjoyed reading her tweets.”
winner:  @combatcavscout vs. (10) @SharlynEgger = @combatcavscout
Here’s the deal: if there was one competition, I was a bit unsure about judging it was this. This was one I wanted to be an active participant in. Punch for punch. Snark for snark. These two went at it. @SharlynEgger gave some pretty awesome snark and did extremely well with the deployment of memes. I was pleased to see that. That being said, @combatcavscout answered just about every tweet with a well-executed counter-snark. Folks, I knew this was over when Sharly’s own man gave @combatcavscout his vote. That being said, Sharly, blame your (ex)boyfriend.

#TFC15: The Sweet 16: Day Two

For the Sweet 16, we have panels of four judges for each of the four brackets, two of which are running today, two of which ran yesterday. The polls (at the bottom of this post) are open until midnight EDT tonight Tuesday, March 31. If you want to follow all of the TwitterFightClub action, we are using the hashtag #TFC15. Results for all four brackets will be posted tomorrow Wednesday, April 1 at around noon EDT.

Judges and voters alike are encouraged to look at metrics such as: knowledge base; quality of argumentation; innovative thinking; humor, snark, facility with quips, and charisma; and responsiveness to followers. Contestants’ full bodies of work on Twitter are fair game, and everyone is encouraged to make their decisions in their own way.

Thank you, as always, to the judges, who always put a lot of time, thought, and effort into their ballots. Bonus thanks to @NaheedMustafa and @PTSDInfo who are taking on two brackets each this round.

Seay Bracket Contestants

(1) @HayesBrown vs. (13) @13F2PL7

(6) @johnsonr vs. (2) @kohenari

Seay Bracket Judges

  • @elliebartels
  • @GrantRumley
  • @NadaBakos
  • @PTSDInfo

Saideman Bracket Contestants

(9) @hannahgais vs. (13) @KedarPavgi

(11) @combatcavscout vs. (10) @SharlynEgger

Saideman Bracket Judges

  • @NaheedMustafa
  • @ryansradar
  • @SciFirebird
  • @scrivenlking

Public Polls: Both Brackets

 

#TFC15: The Sweet 16: Day One

For the Sweet 16, we have panels of four judges for each of the four brackets, two of which are running today, two tomorrow. Results for all four brackets will be posted this Wednesday, April 1 at around noon EDT.

The polls (at the bottom of this post) are open until midnight EDT tonight Monday, March 30. If you want to follow all of the TwitterFightClub action, we are using the hashtag #TFC15.

Judges and voters alike are encouraged to look at metrics such as: knowledge base; quality of argumentation; innovative thinking; humor, snark, facility with quips, and charisma; and responsiveness to followers. Contestants’ full bodies of work on Twitter are fair game, and everyone is encouraged to make their decisions in their own way.

Thank you, as always, to the judges, who put a lot of time, thought, and effort into their ballots. Bonus thanks to @NaheedMustafa and @PTSDInfo who are taking on two brackets each this round.

Gartenstein-Ross Bracket Contestants

(1) @Lesley_Warner vs. (12) @pptsapper

(6) @maximumplum vs. (7) @drfarls

Gartenstein-Ross Bracket Judges

  • @DrJJoyner
  • @NaheedMustafa
  • @PTSDInfo
  • @RadioFreeTom

Atherton Bracket Contestants

(1) @laurenist vs. (5) @BA_Friedman

(6) @draperha vs. (2) @LibyaLiberty

Atherton Bracket Judges

  • @Allison_Good1
  • @FOIAsaxa
  • @LadyPutz
  • @RyanJSuto

Public Polls: Both Brackets