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gamer9190

Dealing with Clarity

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While I doubt you would have any trouble getting hired to judge debate, given the usual shortage of judges, the idea that oral signals would be disruptive does strike me as a little foreign. In fact, they are so common that I would think that holding up a hand sign or a piece of paper would be more disruptive, besides being less effective. It also occurs to me that evolution has given me only two hands. That means that as long as I am attempting to flow, I have no hands available to hold up any hand signs or pieces of paper.

 

But, to each one's own, I suppose.

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Dan - I couldn't have said it better. And I'll go a step further; I think that diversity among the members of the judging pool is a good thing.

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Guest cjiron

I'm a debater in highschool, I have a question I assume most of you judge, What does it take a debater to get a 28, 28.5, 29 etc.? What kind of performance do you expect?

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I'm a debater in highschool, I have a question I assume most of you judge, What does it take a debater to get a 28, 28.5, 29 etc.? What kind of performance do you expect?

 

TO THE BOARD:

 

1. Is there any place/tournament in the country that still uses the old American Forensics Association ballot? It was the basis for the current 30-point scoring system, and it contained a grid listing six different criteria

upon which the debater could receive a score of 1 (poor) though 5 (superior).

 

Towards the end of the 1960's, primarily to allow more space for judge's comments (especially RFD - "reason for decision") the AFA-grid ballot began to be supplanted by the 30-point system without subcriteria. I think James Unger at Georgetown was the first to devise this kind of ballot, and Georgetown was the first tournament - at least to my recollection - to employ it a both the high school and college levels.

 

Unger used to tell each of the Summer Institutes where I taught (and similar language was on the ballot) that "Speaker points [are] analogous to grades given in school. Ergo, anything above 90% (27 points) would be considered an A, anything in the 80s% (24-26 points) would be a B, etc."

 

2. In respose to one of my posts on another thread, a debater wrote (wistfully, I thought) that his/her judges didn't write anything on the ballot. Is that commonplace or an aberration?

 

TO CJIRON:

 

1. It's been ages (even in geological terms) since I judged standard (Oregon-format) high school (as opposed to college) debate. However, when I did, whether the AFA ballot was being used or not, I instinctively awarded speaker points according to those criteria combined with the Unger grading-style paradigm. Just for reference, if memory serves, the AFA criteria were:

 

Analysis

Evidence

Reasoning

Refutation

Rebuttal

Delivery

 

I could get off on a riff on each criteria, how I interpret them, etc., but this is not the best forum for that. Please PM me for more details if you're interested.

 

2. Based upon the many videotaped debates I watched, and the rounds I've personally observed (but not judged), I don't really know for sure what I'd do today.

 

And let me be very clear on this: I feel more than competent to listen, to discuss, and to critique any debater and/or any argument. What I am ambivalent about is being "the decider" and/or even worse "the decider in chief" in a "gamesmanship" sense, within the context of a particular tournament. Frankly, in the some 75-100 "new style" HS debates I've seen in the last two years, no one debater has stood out to me as being all that much better - or much worse - than the others.

 

3. One exception (and this is predicated upon my assumption that he speaks/debates the same way he posts): Michael Yost of the University of Oklahoma - if he was "on his game" - would get a 30 from me.

 

4. Looking back on the years that I did judge HS debate (1967-1984), I was a "high-pointer." The speaker I thought was the best in the round would typically get 28-29 points, and the "worst" would almost never receive less than 24.

 

There were several debates during this time in which I gave 30's to all four debaters; and those 30's were well-deserved.

 

Bottom line: Much of the foregoing reflects that I'm kind of a "soft touch" on speaker points - I'm still that way in handing out grades in school, as well.

 

I hope this helps... somehow.

 

Add-On: http://museum.tv/debateweb/html/curriculum/debate/ballot.htm

 

This is the AFA ballot I was referring to. :)

Edited by topspeaker70

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1. Is there any place/tournament in the country that still uses the old American Forensics Association ballot? It was the basis for the current 30-point scoring system, and it contained a grid listing six different criteria

upon which the debater could receive a score of 1 (poor) though 5 (superior).

 

Our league tournaments in Orange County use something similar to the AFA ballot, and so does the tournament at CSU Long Beach. It has the grid with six categories (Analysis, Reasoning, Evidence, Organization, Refutation, Delivery) and judges are asked to check the boxes accordingly, though most of the time the numbers checked don't add up to the points awarded.

 

2. In respose to one of my posts on another thread, a debater wrote (wistfully, I thought) that his/her judges didn't write anything on the ballot. Is that commonplace or an aberration?

It probably depends on the area, like most things. At larger tournaments that support oral critiques after the round, it's more commonplace for judges to not write anything on the ballot. At the league tournaments my school attends it's often frowned upon to give after-round disclosure, so we'll end up reading through miles of chicken scratch after the tournament to figure out the justification for the ballot. Or, If it's a college debater from Fullerton, the ballot will often be full of drawings, and we'll just ask them what they thought about the round later.
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While I doubt you would have any trouble getting hired to judge debate, given the usual shortage of judges, the idea that oral signals would be disruptive does strike me as a little foreign. In fact, they are so common that I would think that holding up a hand sign or a piece of paper would be more disruptive, besides being less effective. It also occurs to me that evolution has given me only two hands. That means that as long as I am attempting to flow, I have no hands available to hold up any hand signs or pieces of paper.

 

But, to each one's own, I suppose.

 

 

This issue is easily solved by having the debaters have their own timer, or use the judge/other team's timer while speaking.

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This issue is easily solved by having the debaters have their own timer, or use the judge/other team's timer while speaking.

 

I would suggest that the real issue may be the answer each reader has to this question:

 

Would there be anything inherently wrong with a debate format in which, during the round:

 

(a) the debaters debated - including having eye contact from time to time with the judge(s) and timekeeper; (B) the timekeeper kept time - giving the debaters accurate visual signals; and © the role of the

judge(s) was limited to listening to the arguments and evaluating them... privately and without distractions?

 

I know that such a format can exist. I've coached teams who competed in such rounds. I've judged such rounds. And I've competed in such rounds - as recently as 2004.

Edited by topspeaker70
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i was a novice last year, and there were a few things that made me go slower/try to get clearer.

 

First, the threat of speaker point deduction... uhh derrr

 

Second, the fact that if i wasn't clear enough, either the 2ac was gone, and there was no coming back, the 1nc was crap, meaning my partner would have to clear things up in the 2nc, or if the 2ar was bad... well there goes the round.

 

Third, judges who shouted clear. That helped. Sometimes my partner would look at the judge, and if they stopped flowing or if they made faces, he would poke me/say clear.

 

Fourth, during rebuttals, if you look up and the judge is confused and isn't flowing.... well...

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I was just anonymously red-repped - for nothing more than asking the question I posited in my Post #32 above - and with the single expository comment, "...".

 

Does this kind of comment make me angry? Let me respond with clarity; in the words of my friend and mentor, Harold Ickes, "You bet your ass it does!"

 

To me, the meaning of this "red-rep" technique, delivered in this craven and intellectually bankrupt manner, is, to coin a phrase, the very essence of clarity.

 

It is clear to me that there are some (I pray only a few) "debaters" today who believe that judges exist to serve them, and that only debaters are "worthy" to make the decisions as to how messages in debate are to be "delivered." There is nothing new in this. I met such "debaters" on the Texas HS forensics lunchmeat circuit in 1965-66.

 

It is also clear to me that, in such gutless arrogance and pernicious exclusivity, lie the seeds of disaster and social irrelevance for this activity.

 

And if anyone wishes to "debate" this issue of clarity in debate - or in any other mode of rhetoric and public address - in the clear, and not in the unlighted back alleys of the anonymous "rep system" - I am at his/her service. Clear enough?

Edited by topspeaker70
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I won my breakround at NCFL on a clarity arg. It was all analytical.

I wrote it during the 1NC.

 

I think it's an issue that can be frequently won, especially when it is noticeably annoying the heck out of the judge(s).

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I won my breakround at NCFL on a clarity arg. It was all analytical.

I wrote it during the 1NC.

 

I think it's an issue that can be frequently won, especially when it is noticeably annoying the heck out of the judge(s).

 

I also won a quarterfinal round on a clarity argument written in the 1NC. We thought since it was so high risk we wouldn't stand a chance, then on the 3-0 in our favor the judges showed us their mess of a flow after and we understood that it can be possible to win if the clarity issue is legit.

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A loud enough "CLEAR!" from the judge would do the trick.

 

The fact that it's interrupting my speech wouldn't matter because the judge wouldn't be understanding the args I'm spreading anyway. A visible signal probably wouldn't be as effective because (as posted above), the speaker would be too focused on reading the cards than notice that the judge is simulating self-gratification.

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I'm really not too worried about the potential of disrupting the speaker by yelling clear for a couple reasons

 

1- I usually tell debaters before the round that I'm down to go as fast as they want but if they aren't clear I'll let them know

 

2- Debaters today have by and large gotten use to much larger distractions while they speak.

a) the funny smelling debater from the other team that has an affinity for trying to read over your shoulder

 

B) the other team deconstructing the 9 tub tower sitting in the

corner so they can get to that file thats inevitably on the bottom

 

c) partners that think they know alot and so they pester you constantly to "move on"

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I'm going to post what I do to unclear speakers as a judge before reading the post, just to offer an unbiased response. I will yell "clear" twice. After that, I just don't flow what I don't understand. It's better punishment than docking speaks.

 

I should point out that this rarely occurs. I've been judging for a long time, and the vast majority of debaters are pretty easy for me to understand most of the time.

Edited by brorlob

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I'm a debater in highschool, I have a question I assume most of you judge, What does it take a debater to get a 28, 28.5, 29 etc.? What kind of performance do you expect?
I'll tell you how I do it:

A 28 is a solid performance where all the positions were flowed, reasonably organized and relevant to the round. Moreover, you had to be understandable and differentiate tags from cites from evidence. Anything higher requires some kind of "above and beyond" effort. Whether that's being able to make it through a 30 card 1ac with perfect clarity or successfully grouping all of aff's advantages as linking to your kritik doesn't matter. You just need to do something positive that most debaters wouldn't be able to do.30's (I give maybe 2-4 each year) are for inspired performances which include no strategic errors or missed opportunities. I judged at a TOC qualifier this weekend, and I didn't see anyone who deserved a 30 with the possible exception of one 2a in a qf round where speaks were moot. I will also dock speaks for being mean (not quippy, but cruel) to your partner or opponent. (not all judges do that)

 

Not that this is really relevant to the thread, but it's a reasonable question.

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