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Parli: FAQ / Help Me / Novice Center

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This is the Parliamentary Debate Help Me and Novice Center rolled into one thread. If you have a simple question that you think can be answered with one or two posts, then ask it here, otherwise make a new thread for it (such as "Parli: What is Parli?") and if the question can help other people, it will be linked to in this thread.

 

Don't worry about asking questions that you think may be simple or silly; this is the internet, we don't know who you are unless you tell us and the whole reason this forum exists is to help debaters learn from people who are willing to help. We were all novices once...

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What is Parli Debate?

 

IMHO, and in general response to the question (based, in part, upon three years of judging it at the college level and genuinely wanting it to succeed)...

 

Parli Debate is a truly well-intentioned concept, which, in theory, seems to make a great deal of sense; but, in practice, IT SUCKS.

 

Specifically, in response to your question, Parli Debate is

 

1. Jane Fonda's revenge - Sarah Palin Debate ;) ;

 

2. Public Bor'em Debate;

 

3. Ineffable twaddle;

 

4. Sound and fury signifying nothing;

 

5. The Oakland of Argumentation (there's no there, there);

 

6. A lifestyle in which cotton candy and/or Near Beer and/or soft porn and/or Kareoke are considered to be monumental achievements;

 

7. The WWF of forensics;

 

8. The debate equivalent of the Pet Rock and/or verbal disco (performed, in most cases, by "white" people);

 

9. The oratorical training that made John Kerry the charismatic public speaker he is today (it's true - you can look it up); and finally, Mr. Chairman... Mr. Chairman...

 

10. Out of order at this time.

 

 

 

My Reasoning: Whatever is "wrong" with Policy Debate (the spread/spew, incoherent technobabble, self-indulgent elitism and sobbery, etc.) is just as "bad" - if not worse - in Parli Debate. All this rhetoric about Parli Debate as a "communication event" will not withstand serious scrutiny.

 

Conversely, Parli Debate offers none of the good things inherent to Policy Debate: academic research, developing cross-examination (critical thinking) skills, and developing composition skills, just to name three.

 

But please - don't take my word for it - go to a Parli Debate Tournament yourself, and form your own impressions.

 

I suspect that, if you do, more than one of you might wish to write a highly-credible persuasive speech about eliminating public funding for Parli Debate - the facts are all there. You might even want to use the metaphor of "The Emperor's New Clothes."

 

 

 

In closing, it should go without saying that I'd like to thank everyone for reading this post... This is a major fun Board, and you were all really, really GREAT, you know? And - oh yeah - I'd also like to thank the Moderator for giving so much of his/her time to administer this Board and all. That's totally awesome, too. And, most of all (and before I forget), I'd like to thank those of you who have opposing views, because... well... it's only in a free country like this - in the crucible (if you will) of this marketplace of ideas - we can get together - as adversaries but still colleagues, and share our concerns, and genuinely communicate about all of the really, really important things in life. I'm mean, despite this being the 21st century (as you know), you just can't do that in some other countries, like the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, or Red China. So... even though we might have (putting it mildly) differing "opinions" (so to speak), at least we can interface here, like a posse of Cyberspace Cowboys and Chatroom Cowgals (as it were), and just really... you know... GET IT ON! IF you know what I mean.

In other words...

 

Now - read this entire post backwards - with a pen clenched between your teeth - and wearing imaginary graduation robes and powdered wig on your head. Then, if I remember pro-speed literature (as posted on this Board) correctly, at least Parli Debate will have accomplished something.

 

Too much.

Too little.

Too late.

And, yes, I can be an ass.

Too soon.

Too often.

 

Sorry.

Edited by topspeaker70
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Well, thanks for that affirmation, Dr. Miller. But would you care to explain what parli is? I've never seen one done and I imagine that's what the question is related to: how is it done, who are the speakers, times, format, burdens, etc...

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Well, thanks for that affirmation, Dr. Miller. But would you care to explain what parli is? I've never seen one done and I imagine that's what the question is related to: how is it done, who are the speakers, times, format, burdens, etc...

 

Check out

 

http://www.net-benefits.net/

 

 

And, in Parli Debate, one can neither "affirm" nor "negate." One "Gov's" or "Opp's."

 

All kidding aside, there are no firm, direct answers to your questions. After almost two decades, the Rules are all over the place, and a number of different organizations have different procedures. In fact, there isn't even a consensus on what to call the two sides - Affirmative vs. Negative? Government vs. Opposition? Pro vs. Con?

 

Typically, a round of tournament Parli Debate works like this.

 

1. A previously undisclosed topic is "announced" - not published in writing - by some person yelling it at a large crowd of debaters huddled around him/her. (A substantial number of the debaters make mistakes in getting the topic taken down correctly, so that skews the subsequent debate from the get-go.) The topic may be a proposition of policy, a proposition of fact, a proposition of value, or -the true Joker in the deck - a metaphor. ("Pirates are better than Buccaneers") There is virtually nothing that Parli debaters agree upon, except one thing: more often than not, the topics are totally lame.

 

2. The (for want of a better term) Affirmative team has 20 minutes to prepare its case (and plan, if the topic is one of policy). Note: this is ten minutes less than the prep time for a stadard extemp speech. Guess what kind of in-depth thinking, analysis, and rhetoric it produces. The Negative is not provided with any kind of discovery and/or disclosure, and is obliged to speculate for twenty minutes regarding what the substance [sic] of the Affirmative case will be.

 

3. It used to be common practice for coaches to work with their teams in preparation. The trend now is to prohibit this, because coaching allegedly favors the dreaded "big schools." Some coaches are angrily pointing out that this prohibition, in many cases, precludes them from performing their professional obligations as stated in their employment contracts. (Stay tuned. There is a whiff of impending litigation in the air.)

 

4. During the subsequent debate, both the use of evidence and cross-examination are strictly prohibited. As one highly-intelligent Parli Debater I have been working with not only admits, but publically announces (as an inducement to potential Parli Debate recruits): "The name of the game is making up stuff and who's better at just plucking stuff out of your ass."

 

5. Typical speaking order and times:

 

First Affirmative (a.k.a. "Prime Minister?") - 7 minutes

First Negative (a.k.a "Leader of the Opposition?") - 8 minutes

Second Affirmative (a.k.a ???) - 8 minutes

Second Negative (ditto) - 7 minutes

Negative Rebuttal - 4 minutes

Affirmative Rebittal - 3 minutes.

 

6. Style: led by the "big schools," Parli debaters spread like the Empress Messalina on Methamphetamines. Members of the Parli Debate "In Crowd" have confided to me that Parli debaters are "trying to achieve tone." "Tone" is the same number of words-per-minute used by the better debaters at the NDT. And - my absolute favorite - debaters are encouraged, both between and during speeches - to rap/pound on their desks like agitated monkeys in affirmation and to boo - or shout "SHAME!"- when they disagree with a speaker.

 

It's a good thing that Winston Churchill is dead, because if he were alive, and he saw a standard American college tournament Parli debate round today, it would kill him. You betcha! ;)

 

Now can you see why I think you'd be better off sticking to Student Congress as a model for "real world" legislative debate?

 

Sorry for the rant, but I am just off of two weekends of being dragooned into judging this inane, mind-numbing drivel. In addition, I thought Aaron100's question was rhetorical. My bad.

Edited by topspeaker70
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my suggestion aaron is there is a parli tournament this weekend at Lonestar College - Kingwood. It is saturday and sunday and is a marathon tournament. You'd get to see a few rounds.

 

I tend to agree with Dr. Miller but parli definitely has its abilities. You have to think more on your feet, not rely on evidence but logic, and not rely on debate jargon. being a policy debater for life I still am not in love with parli but it has definitely improved my overall debating skills in the areas of critical thinking, logical arguments, and judge adaptability

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my suggestion aaron is there is a parli tournament this weekend at Lonestar College - Kingwood. It is saturday and sunday and is a marathon tournament. You'd get to see a few rounds.

 

I tend to agree with Dr. Miller but parli definitely has its abilities. You have to think more on your feet, not rely on evidence but logic, and not rely on debate jargon. being a policy debater for life I still am not in love with parli but it has definitely improved my overall debating skills in the areas of critical thinking, logical arguments, and judge adaptability

 

The learned gentleman from the illustrious State of Texas is correct. I am pleased and proud to associate myself with his remarks.

 

Parli Debate does have value - especially as a classroom activity, and as an introduction to tournament debate competition for total debate virgins.

 

It also serves as a reality check for policy debaters who sometimes get addicted to 20-hour a day debate prep, and get lost in the 400+ WPM world of competing global nuclear war scenarios.

 

Perhaps Parli Debate could best be compared to flag football - it teaches many of basic skills without all of the heavy gear, physical fatigue, and risk of serious injury.

 

But to try to equate the educational value of Parli Debate with policy debate, or, worse still, to argue - as many do - that Parli Debate is a superior educational format to Policy Debate is just absurd.

 

I thank the Chair, and yield back the balance of my time.

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Dr. Miller are you judging this weekend at the parli marathon??

 

Nope. I'm in the tabroom at the Orange County (CA) Speech League Parliamentary Debate & Student Congress State Qualifying tournament.

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This is true for some of college parli

 

but not all

 

I am not a big parli buff, so I'm not going to go to great lengths to try to defend it (I frankly don't know enough)

 

but my understanding is that there are at least 2 different parli associations in the US, and that Miller's referring to just 1 of them, where people do spread and run analytic kritiks of gravity etc etc

 

i hear that there's another one, though, that remains more true to parli's original form; people debate persuasively, with logic, stylistically, etc etc

 

This is more consistent with the international style, used by great britain and other places. it's often known as oxford-style debate, and i'm pretty sure no one from oxford spreads

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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to partially administer - and thoroughly observe - a Parlimentary Debate tournament at the high school level. It attracted 27 teams from ten schools. Eight rounds were required before a victor emerged. The first round started at eight in the morning; the final round ended at approximately ten at night.

 

This tournament was just as positive - if not more so - than the college Parli Debate tournaments I have seen (and described) are negative.

 

The participants - debaters, parents, teachers (there were no coaches involved, because "coaching" isn't allowed), AND judges ALL had a very good time, and - most importantly - nobody got hurt.

 

The topic in the final round was Resolved: that the USFG should abolish the federal income tax.

 

The arguments made by both teams were superficial, simplistic, and - in some respects - silly*, but they reflected the genuine work product of four intelligent high school students composing - and opposing - a case and plan for themselves... without outside interference from adults.

 

Genuine "in-round analysis" of the conflicting arguments was done by all four debaters. All four debaters actually listened to each other, rather than shuffling through mountains of pre-prepared briefs.

 

And - most importantly - the final round drew an audience of about twenty people, ranging in age from approximately 15 to at least 60.

 

This style of Parli Debate seems perfect for introducing both high school novices and their parents to "debate" without intimidating them and/or turning them off.

 

I would encourage any school/teacher/group of students interested in starting a debate program and/or "debate club" to begin with Parliamentary Debate conducted according to CHHSA ("California High School Speech Association") rules.

 

And - in perhaps the greatest irony - I suggest that the NPDA and the APDA (the colllege organizations) would both greatly benefit from adopting the CHSSA rules.

 

*Which, come to think of it, is exactly how federal income tax policy is debated in "the real world."

Edited by topspeaker70

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Of course, what Dr. Miller neglects to mention is that the online parli community has universally derided him for his bizarre, nonsensical, antagonistic ramblings about what he thinks debate "should" be, so his ramblings here should be of no surprise.

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Of course, what Dr. Miller neglects to mention is that the online parli community has universally derided him for his bizarre, nonsensical, antagonistic ramblings about what he thinks debate "should" be, so his ramblings here should be of no surprise.

 

more than just the online parli community, but less than universally. some people find him amusing. theres a reason most people on cross-x don't really respond to miler, its just annoying.

 

i wonder what a dude like miller would be like in real life.

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Well ive decided to do Parli in college (year after next im a junior this year), mainly because of a lack of a policy team where im going, anyone have any advice as to what i should be prepared for..

 

I do policy and extemp and ive done LD so i know how to debate value, policy.. but what other topic types are their coressponding events for?

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I've never ran into anyone from around there in the nat circuit, so I'd probably expect a judging and competition pool comparable to a normal high school policy regional pool?

Edited by Pete Wentz

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Aaron: enjoy NE Texas judging. Keith is a good coach and they debate on a pretty good circuit for the most part. Don't listen to the Womack twins though... tell them i said hi though

 

pete: depends on the circuit. On the national parli circuit (NPTE) its alot like policy with most of the same arguments being run which means the judging pool is alot like national policy. However just NPDA is more like regional though

 

*for the random neg rep*: amazingly so do I... so thanks for neg repping me dumbass. Because i just left the region in which A&M debated in

Edited by debater08
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i wonder what a dude like miller would be like in real life.

 

Alas, we will never know. I never had a "real life." I'm "a debater."

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more than just the online parli community, but less than universally. some people find him amusing. theres a reason most people on cross-x don't really respond to miler, its just annoying.

 

i wonder what a dude like miller would be like in real life.

 

You're an idiot. Mike Miller is one of the best posters on this sight, hands down. I cracked up reading every word of all of his posts, especially the random "I'm going to give a thank you speech" in the middle of a ramble.

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I do parli, and I'm fairly successful, I guess.

 

I like it more than policy because it is not a socially destructive asshole machine. Also, I get to say things like "That's simply not true." without backing them up.

 

It's pretty cool.

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BP sucks... for those of you who enjoy policy but don't have the time in college NPTE style is the best way to go. Its still fast and very technical debate with all the same research (just not as intense), with the same theory arguments (although a few years behind policy) without having to have a card for everything you say. Its a great style of debate that I have grown fond of.

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i have been doing parli now for two years, and the major problem i see with parli is the lack of warrants that exist in this form of debate. its extremely hard to have an actual debate over a policy when you cant read evidence to prove something to be true, and usually when people give you those warrants they are usually really bad. the idea of "no prep time" also are really annoying, and i think this means parli isnt as educational. just having the 7 or 8 minutes of the speech before you to think of good arguments with good warrants isnt really enough time to think of multiple good arguments without cards.

 

i also think that if the round isnt policy based, and is fact based or value based it invites judge intervention. for example, a value type round usually makes a judge interject their own beliefs into their decision. if the judge prep-round believes utilitarianism, for example, is good then they are going to pref that side of the resolution.

 

overall, i personally prefer any type of evidence based debate.

Edited by Fox On Socks
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Check out

 

http://www.net-benefits.net/

 

 

And, in Parli Debate, one can neither "affirm" nor "negate." One "Gov's" or "Opp's."

 

All kidding aside, there are no firm, direct answers to your questions. After almost two decades, the Rules are all over the place, and a number of different organizations have different procedures. In fact, there isn't even a consensus on what to call the two sides - Affirmative vs. Negative? Government vs. Opposition? Pro vs. Con?

 

Typically, a round of tournament Parli Debate works like this.

 

1. A previously undisclosed topic is "announced" - not published in writing - by some person yelling it at a large crowd of debaters huddled around him/her. (A substantial number of the debaters make mistakes in getting the topic taken down correctly, so that skews the subsequent debate from the get-go.) The topic may be a proposition of policy, a proposition of fact, a proposition of value, or -the true Joker in the deck - a metaphor. ("Pirates are better than Buccaneers") There is virtually nothing that Parli debaters agree upon, except one thing: more often than not, the topics are totally lame.

 

2. The (for want of a better term) Affirmative team has 20 minutes to prepare its case (and plan, if the topic is one of policy). Note: this is ten minutes less than the prep time for a stadard extemp speech. Guess what kind of in-depth thinking, analysis, and rhetoric it produces. The Negative is not provided with any kind of discovery and/or disclosure, and is obliged to speculate for twenty minutes regarding what the substance [sic] of the Affirmative case will be.

 

3. It used to be common practice for coaches to work with their teams in preparation. The trend now is to prohibit this, because coaching allegedly favors the dreaded "big schools." Some coaches are angrily pointing out that this prohibition, in many cases, precludes them from performing their professional obligations as stated in their employment contracts. (Stay tuned. There is a whiff of impending litigation in the air.)

 

4. During the subsequent debate, both the use of evidence and cross-examination are strictly prohibited. As one highly-intelligent Parli Debater I have been working with not only admits, but publically announces (as an inducement to potential Parli Debate recruits): "The name of the game is making up stuff and who's better at just plucking stuff out of your ass."

 

5. Typical speaking order and times:

 

First Affirmative (a.k.a. "Prime Minister?") - 7 minutes

First Negative (a.k.a "Leader of the Opposition?") - 8 minutes

Second Affirmative (a.k.a ???) - 8 minutes

Second Negative (ditto) - 7 minutes

Negative Rebuttal - 4 minutes

Affirmative Rebittal - 3 minutes.

 

6. Style: led by the "big schools," Parli debaters spread like the Empress Messalina on Methamphetamines. Members of the Parli Debate "In Crowd" have confided to me that Parli debaters are "trying to achieve tone." "Tone" is the same number of words-per-minute used by the better debaters at the NDT. And - my absolute favorite - debaters are encouraged, both between and during speeches - to rap/pound on their desks like agitated monkeys in affirmation and to boo - or shout "SHAME!"- when they disagree with a speaker.

 

It's a good thing that Winston Churchill is dead, because if he were alive, and he saw a standard American college tournament Parli debate round today, it would kill him. You betcha! ;)

 

Now can you see why I think you'd be better off sticking to Student Congress as a model for "real world" legislative debate?

 

Sorry for the rant, but I am just off of two weekends of being dragooned into judging this inane, mind-numbing drivel. In addition, I thought Aaron100's question was rhetorical. My bad.

 

Dr. Miller doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. Browsing net-bens occasionally and judging a total of one parli tournament does not make you an expert on the subject. Which isn't to say you have to be an expert to criticize parli, but at the very least, you should know what the fucking speaking times are -- they aren't what he claims they are in ANY parli organization :rolleyes:. Half the claims he makes in this thread (and in just about any thread where he's complaining about how debate is done) are, I don't know how else to fucking put it, completely untrue. I've seen the guy claim with a straight face that procedurals occupy a quarter to 50% of the time in parli debate. He's either got an axe to grind with the parli community or he's got a broom stuck up his ass and he's taking it out on the one target he thinks will be the easiest for him to gain traction with on cross-x.com. Parli has its downsides, and as a college parli debater now for 3 years I've got my own gripes with the activity and its norms, but it certainly isn't the farce Miller's diatribe makes it out to be.

 

For those of you who are considering the switch to parli in college, here's what you can expect, depending on where you compete:

 

1. A very diverse judging pool varying from judges that will vote on a T you didn't go for to judges that can flow as fast and is as well versed with theory as any policy judge. Quality goes up at tournaments with strikes and MPJ, but I mean really, it wouldn't kill you to learn how to adapt your delivery and strategy to more traditional judges.

 

2. A more relaxed research burden that encompasses a greater breadth of topics.

 

3. Depending on if you can attend enough tournaments with a national draw, parli is less cut-throat than policy, but still incredibly competitive. Getting into finals at a tournament like the NPTE is not an easy accomplishment and you'll have to make tradeoffs with other things you like to spend your time doing.

 

4. Analytical ability and quality of explanations make up for the lack of evidence. Yes people come up with some wacky warrants that are questionably true, but a better researched team will usually outweigh on the specificity and clarity of their warrants. I know that sounds vague, but if evidence in parli was really as haphazard as Miller claims, the activity would have long fallen apart by now because teams could always win on outrageous bluffing alone. Suffice it to say, there is a clear advantage to being the team that's done more work.

 

edit:

I would note that the criticism of parli that it lacks evidence is totally valid and that more focus on analysis doesn't make up for it entirely. I disagree that it is less educational if only because of the greater breadth of education -- there are major topic areas in contemporary politics that are ignored altogether by the policy community because there is no competitive benefit to learning it. On the other hand, I fail to see how it would hurt to make citing evidence the way it's cited in extemp a community norm.

Edited by mooted
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