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Why must policy be different? And to claim that it is more educational to be that way is to say that all the other events are less educational, which most coaches I hope would disagree with.

 

I think everyone who has experience in more than one type of debate will agree that policy debate is far more educational than any other type of speech or debate available to high schoolers or college students. It is literally a never-ending research project where one has to present and articulately argue for and against different arguments in thousands of times greater depth than any other activity. Both the breadth and the depth of education policy debate offers exceed any other speech or debate activity thousandfold (with the possible exception of LD, largely because LD has come to be a 1 v 1 version of policy debate). The reason policy debate is losing people is because it is so difficult and time consuming. Public forum attracts kids because its an easy alternative that doesn't require the research, practice, or even debating time that policy requires. You will likely say this is just a personal bias because of my experience in policy debate, but i know of a few policy debaters who have done public forum and its simply not a even a close comparison. At one school, novices in policy debate who switched to public forum made it to semi-finals of the TOC in public forum that year.

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Mr. Volen - You're still not making an argument for why judges shouldn't even be allowed to choose to read evidence. Prohibitions on any judging style should be abandoned... you said yourself you support the value of adaptation and think that a person with no policy experience in twenty years would be a fine judge (your fiancée I believe). Why not allow a judge who wants to reward good evidence at the same level of her flow? Other than the fact that you disagree with it, how is this any different from disallowing your wife?

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B. They didn’t leave because it was “hard”. They left because in their opinion is ridiculous and anti-educational. That they would be better off educationally doing some other activity than debate because it doesn’t prepare them for anything but college debate, and then nothing at all. These were driven, intelligent, successful students who evaluated an extreme version of debate and determined what was in their best interest was to have nothing to do with it. And they are in the majority.

 

I don't think this is true whatsoever, most of the individuals I've coached, debated alongside, and debated against who've left policy due to speed have done so because they found themselves unable to compete and unable to do the required work. That's just anecdotal though. The people who thought speed was ridiculous didn't even do cx to begin with, and usually weren't very good at their chosen debate disciplines.

 

Additionally, your claim that "they would be better off educationally doing some other activity than debate because it doesn’t prepare them for anything but college debate, and then nothing at all" is absurd. One of the only aspects of high school that prepared me for college proper (not college debate, I don't debate anymore) was policy debate, specifically circuit-style policy debate. Although I debated in Missouri where "traditional" style predominated, I found this style extremely boring and associated with arbitrary, ill-informed judging. Those individuals who "survive" this "extreme" type of debate are oftentimes the hardest working, toughest, most intellectually capable debaters out there, because yes, speed is hard.

 

And by the way, I did adapt at tournaments like NFLs, because I liked to win. But those slow rounds in front of inexperienced judges were simultaneously soporific and torturous, like having a root canal in slow motion.

Edited by IrnScrabbleChf52

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I just have a few thoughts -

 

And I don’t hear extempers asking judges to read evidence after the round or orators handing over a written copy of their speech so the judge can really understand what they are saying.

 

To be blunt, that's because policy is straight-up better than those events. I've seen and participated in high-level speech events in addition to my time in national circuit policy, and let me tell you, it is NOT that hard to be highly competitive in speech events. If you read the news when you're bored and have a high-school level grasp of basic political science, you can tear up the extemp ranks, and if you know how to write at all and have your english teachers edit your work, you can put together a killer oratory in a few hours' work (and then it's just a question of memorization). Policy deserves better treatment because it's not an event that you can just waltz into and tear it up in your first year of competition, but something that takes years of practice and intense research (which equals massive amounts of education in the process). Circuit-style policy maximizes educational benefit, and so policy debaters have the right to demand that rules be changed, especially when it's for lifting an element of tournament intervention (the ban on reading ev). It speaks volumes that you would use the progressive nature of policy as something to be ignored, stating a preference for events like oratory that are completely stagnant and unchanging.

 

oh, and don't even get me started on PF. the event is much like the real world in that having a flashy smile counts for much more than logic and (especially) truth - but should that be the skill we cultivate in an academic forum? I sure hope not.

 

B. They didn’t leave because it was “hard”. They left because in their opinion is ridiculous and anti-educational. That they would be better off educationally doing some other activity than debate because it doesn’t prepare them for anything but college debate, and then nothing at all. These were driven, intelligent, successful students who evaluated an extreme version of debate and determined what was in their best interest was to have nothing to do with it. And they are in the majority.

 

I have never seen an intelligent, hard-working, and competitive individual quit circuit-style policy because they think it's anti-educational. If smart kids quit, it's probably because they don't have the time, which sucks, but hey, if they have something more important, that's not debate's fault. Generally, kids quitting because of speed are just people who aren't willing to invest the hours researching (a.k.a. learning) because they'd rather play video games or something. The claim that circuit style debate teaches no skills applicable outside of the activity demonstrates your lack of personal experience with the activity; I flew through my first year of college with ease because I had already picked up the research and critical thinking skills necessary to produce research papers and write essays from high school (and now college) debate. I also came into college with a firm understanding of many important authors in academia - from different IR scholars to literary theorists. "traditional" policy debate can't access nearly this level of research because you don't have time to read nearly as much evidence (not to mention the tunnel vision about what constitutes a "legitimate argument").

 

in summary: other events are freaking easy. we should facilitate circuit style policy because it's actually difficult - and it facilitates education on a scale unmatched by easy events.

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In fact, I personally believe judges who refuse to vote for "The K" or "Topical CPs" are more of a "threat" to the activity than judges who read cards.

 

I assume then you would also agree that the judges who refuse to vote for teams who run stock issues/case debate would be equal threats to the activity, yes?

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I assume then you would also agree that the judges who refuse to vote for teams who run stock issues/case debate would be equal threats to the activity, yes?

 

no one refuses to vote on case debate, it's just that those teams tend to be worse.

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Well, I certainly don't disagree with the fact that refusal to vote for a well argued inherency argument is interventionist. But you do realize, of course, that such a belief actually puts you and I in a very small minority in the world of circuit-style debate, right?

 

I support the reading of evidence in the event of ethical violations. I view ethical behavior during competition to be the paramount consideration to preserve competitive equity among teams. In fact, I support the right of the judge to unilaterally dismiss a team for unethical behavior with or without challenge from their opponents. Might be a little extreme, but I have reached that threshold after seeing evidence, time and time again, be unethically underlined such that the meaning of evidence changes significantly. I have zero tolerance for academic dishonesty.

 

As for the interventionist behavior on reading evidence, would you not agree that reading evidence and deciding a round based on the judge's understanding of the evidence, as opposed to what was argued in the debate, is interventionist as well?

 

The problem I find with your instant replay example is that you aren't having 'playback' of the exact same events. You're reading and comprehending on your own what evidence means, and in many situations, try and fit it to what either team said. I cant possibly count the number of times I have seen a team say "judge. look at the warrants of the ____ card. the warrants are awesome. we win the ____. next!" Talk about a failure to articulate one's arguments. And judges routinely look at the evidence to figure out what the warrants say! Debate is not merely about reading evidence and pointing to it as a victory - one must also hash out the key points which make or break an argument. God forbid the day come when we ask debaters to actually justify their arguments and their relevance to the round. :rolleyes:

 

My point is simple, is it not bad form to say "okay. you didnt articulate your argument at all (not talking communication issues). but since we cant figure this out, let's read the evidence and figure out whose argument is better." Is that not bad form?

 

I agree a rule is not necessary, but I have seen rounds get horribly intervened by judges reading evidence... and as a strict non-interventionist, I am against anything that can even bring about situations where intervention is possible. Its impossible to eliminate all intervention, but its not impossible to eliminate sources of intervention which are within the control of the judge.

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I would like if you listened to this discussion starting at 35:00 min about

 

http://debatevideoblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/discussion-policy-debate-unger-and.html

 

I find myself agreeing strongly with Parcher and Rollins. I would never call for evidence that I couldn't understand, but if I either conclude that failing to understand the card was my fault, or that i forgot something, I will call for the card. I do NOT feel that I judge in a way that putszero value on how the debate actually took place, I also do NOT feel I could make a decision if you handed me a flow, or a brief, and I didn't see the debate.

 

This is where I compare it more to instant replay. Some judges reconstruct debates, sure, and I don't think many feel thats constructive or fair to the students. But for the majority of judges, calling for evidence serves to remember an evolution of the debate we forgot, missed on our fault, or was "too close to call" by just listening. I respect your position to not do it, teams should adapt to a judge who won't read cards just like they should adapt to a judge who will call for lots of cards.

 

I respect your position as well, and I can certainly see the merits of which you speak. Being able to recall exactly what happened would be a nice addition to the judge's abilities to deliberate the round - but in the that event, I'd much rather have video playback than reading of evidence. I certainly tell debaters that I am not an evidence reader so they can adapt accordingly.

 

My question then becomes, how do you 'forget' something? Isn't it on your flow? If its not on your flow were you telling yourself that you would remember it and thus dont need to write it down? Or perhaps because the debaters were too quick or unclear at that particular juncture and you were unable to write it down? I dont presume to know how you or anyone else flows, but I do my best to write down the tag, author, date and notes about the evidence being read. If I find myself having a hard time writing down key points, I tell debaters to slow down.

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I think everyone who has experience in more than one type of debate will agree that policy debate is far more educational than any other type of speech or debate available to high schoolers or college students.
I’m doing my very best to be respectful and polite. You are very arrogant to think everyone who has experienced policy automatically prefers policy. I coach all of the events and am very proud to say I have a Policy, LD, and Duo entry at NFL. In Kansas, the deck is even stacked for us to prefer policy since for the Fall semester that is all we are allowed to do. Yes, I’m a policy coach first, but to say that policy is far more educational than the other events is to say that we waste our time in the Spring, that I’m doing a disservice to every student that we make do multiple events, and that coaches that coach the IE’s are less valuable (much less any other activity at the school such as theater, art, science Olympiad, etc).

 

1st, you are wrong. Policy debate is very educational, but not more than speaking with minimal preparation on a series of different current events or interpreting and performing a dramatic or humorous piece of literature to transport and communicate the audience.

 

2nd, the more extreme policy debate becomes, the less educational it is

 

3rd, the students who do a variety of events get more out of forensics than the ones who just do policy for 4 years. I’ve had a host of students that have qualified to nationals in different events each year (including policy).

 

4th, it is that very arrogance that turns many highly intelligent, motivated students away from policy debate. Not everyone wants to associate with what is perceived as a bunch of jerks who think they are better than everyone. That very elitism contributes to the decline of the “most educational” event. How educational can an event be if no one does it?

 

5th, as numbers dwindle, the educational value decreases because of a loss of diverse thought. As more students advocate for the round to work a very specific way, they shut out any other style or thought process, and this lack of exposure makes them less in touch with the very people they will have to work with in the future.

 

6th, when business leaders are asked what is the most important quality for their work force, it is the ability to work with others. The increased arrogance and elitism further drives its participants away from the very concepts of a diverse workforce and inclusion of everyone. This is anti-educational.

 

7th, I never really bought into the “project” cases, but this kind of elitism makes me start believing them.

 

8th, Until you are a national champion in DI, HI, Duo, Extemp, etc, you have zero room to say that your event is better than theirs.

 

It is literally a never-ending research project where one has to present and articulately argue for and against different arguments in thousands of times greater depth than any other activity. Both the breadth and the depth of education policy debate offers exceed any other speech or debate activity thousandfold (with the possible exception of LD, largely because LD has come to be a 1 v 1 version of policy debate).
1. Not that educational if you don’t know the proper use of the word “literally”. It is not never-ending. There is a season. 2. Is it really that deep? I agree that policy debate has more response time than any event than Student Congress (which in theory could go much more deep on an issue), but is it really that much more deep than what a student does when researching their original oration? And as far as breath, policy does one topic while PFD does one a month, LD does one every two months, and heck extemp does several in a single tournament. Policy has a nice mix, but other events have more depth and breath.
The reason policy debate is losing people is because it is so difficult and time consuming…. You will likely say this is just a personal bias because of my experience in policy debate, but i know of a few policy debaters who have done public forum and its simply not a even a close comparison. At one school, novices in policy debate who switched to public forum made it to semi-finals of the TOC in public forum that year.
Policy is difficult and time consuming. And for that I would not apologize. However to assume that everyone who quits or does other events is just lazy or undriven is further arrogance that will continue to drive the numbers down till such a small number of people are interested that no school will fund it. You have to know what the problem is to solve it. To assume there is no problem or to write off everyone who would have been interested but no longer is as just lazy is to stick your head in the sand.

 

Mr. Volen - You're still not making an argument for why judges shouldn't even be allowed to choose to read evidence. Prohibitions on any judging style should be abandoned... you said yourself you support the value of adaptation and think that a person with no policy experience in twenty years would be a fine judge (your fiancée I believe). Why not allow a judge who wants to reward good evidence at the same level of her flow? Other than the fact that you disagree with it, how is this any different from disallowing your wife?
READING EVIDENCE IS NOT A JUDGING STYLE!!! It is a violation of the very principles of high school policy debate. That is why it should not be allowed. You should also not be able to convince the judge by giving a 3NR. It is not a judging style to say, “well, I just really think the kids need more responses than 2 rebuttals” or “I just really think the negative should get the last speech”. That is not adapting. That is not a paradigm. That is breaking the fundamentals of the activity.

 

I understand that on the circuit judges regularly ask for evidence and it is a norm. I am arguing that is not a style, that it shouldn’t be happening on the circuit either. However, they don’t have rules against it, so even though I think it is wrong, I roll with it when we are at circuit tournaments. NCFL is not a circuit tournament, so I’m glad they have a rule against a practice that I find wrong.

I don't think this is true whatsoever, most of the individuals I've coached, debated alongside, and debated against who've left policy due to speed have done so because they found themselves unable to compete and unable to do the required work. That's just anecdotal though. The people who thought speed was ridiculous didn't even do cx to begin with, and usually weren't very good at their chosen debate disciplines.
Well, my anecdotal evidence runs contrary to yours. I have had successful kids quit the activity because they saw the activity as becoming meaningless. They were able to do the required work, but thought being able to talk in such a way that only .05% of the population can understand you was dumb and actually anti-educational to the things they want to do in life. Some of these students went on to Ivy League schools. They did policy debate till it became irrelevant to success in life and moved on.

 

Additionally, your claim that "they would be better off educationally doing some other activity than debate because it doesn’t prepare them for anything but college debate, and then nothing at all" is absurd. One of the only aspects of high school that prepared me for college proper (not college debate, I don't debate anymore) was policy debate, specifically circuit-style policy debate. Although I debated in Missouri where "traditional" style predominated, I found this style extremely boring and associated with arbitrary, ill-informed judging. Those individuals who "survive" this "extreme" type of debate are oftentimes the hardest working, toughest, most intellectually capable debaters out there, because yes, speed is hard.
1. More kids find it boring to do circuit than to do traditional. The numbers speak for themselves.

2. I don’t think debating circuit style made you hard working, tough, or intellectually capable. You were already those things, so debate, especially that style, appealed to you.

3. I think speed can be a good thing. I think those highly intellectual, hard rounds are very educational and very competitive. I don’t think that every round has to be that way. When that style dominates, bad things happen (decreased participation, anti-educational experiences).

 

And by the way, I did adapt at tournaments like NFLs, because I liked to win. But those slow rounds in front of inexperienced judges were simultaneously soporific and torturous, like having a root canal in slow motion.
Sorry that adapting is painful for you. I find that adapting is that greatest skill I got out of policy debate and use it every day in the real world. If talking to the general public is painful for you, I would suggest always having some asprin with you when you start your career.

And when I left high school, I thought the same way. I felt like if I won on the flow I should have always won the round and that lay people were something to be avoided. I’ve learned that I was naïve and the things that I didn’t like about policy debate were some of the most important.

 

To be blunt, that's because policy is straight-up better than those events. I've seen and participated in high-level speech events in addition to my time in national circuit policy, and let me tell you, it is NOT that hard to be highly competitive in speech events. If you read the news when you're bored and have a high-school level grasp of basic political science, you can tear up the extemp ranks, and if you know how to write at all and have your english teachers edit your work, you can put together a killer oratory in a few hours' work (and then it's just a question of memorization). Policy deserves better treatment because it's not an event that you can just waltz into and tear it up in your first year of competition, but something that takes years of practice and intense research (which equals massive amounts of education in the process). Circuit-style policy maximizes educational benefit, and so policy debaters have the right to demand that rules be changed, especially when it's for lifting an element of tournament intervention (the ban on reading ev). It speaks volumes that you would use the progressive nature of policy as something to be ignored, stating a preference for events like oratory that are completely stagnant and unchanging.
You crack me up!! At least you are not apologetic about your arrogance. So in your mind, the NFL should get rid of every event but policy, because the rest are a waste of time (they could be doing policy after all). When did you win nationals in extemp and oration? You “tore it up” so I’m assuming that means that being a champion was easy and beneath you. I bet your HI was hilarious too!!

 

I think policy should be progressive. I think making it elitist to the point that so few people are interested is regressive. I don’t think everyone needs to be a stock issue judge, but I also think there are many anti-educational aspects of changing policy debate to meet the needs of the few. I’ve been pretty clear that being an extremist is anti-educational and that circuit style only policy debate does not “maximize educational benefit” but instead narrows it and becomes a game of intellectual masturbation.

 

How about this, lets truly make policy debate progressive. Lets get rid of speech times. After all, it is anti-educational to have time limits on what a kid can say. It would also raise the level of competition. And having to be there in person limits competition and education because not everyone can afford to be there. So lets all just turn in written briefs for the best arguments and whoever wins on paper wins the round. That would be progressive. Judges wouldn’t just be reading the evidence after the round, they would be reading it during the round, which is more educational, right? And since it is the evidence that matters, not what the kids say, lets just have the authors who wrote the books submit their arguments (which have the killer warrants in them). That is the next step, right? An activity in which kids find cool books and submit them and whoever submits the book with the best arguments on paper wins.

 

Or, we could just do high school debate…

 

oh, and don't even get me started on PF. the event is much like the real world in that having a flashy smile counts for much more than logic and (especially) truth - but should that be the skill we cultivate in an academic forum? I sure hope not. [\quote]Please, please, get started on PF. After all it is the event that is killing your event. It is the event that is much more accessible to the public. It is the event that administrators think they are getting when the provide the budget for “debate”.

 

You are right, and event that is much more like the real world must be bad. I’d hate to prepare students for their lives outside of debate. After all academics are about avoiding the real world, not preparing for it. It is much more beneficial to society and the individual to have them talk about and hypothesize about the real world than be a part of it and embrace it. I apologize for my sarcasm. I don’t mean to be hurtful, just illustrate that the real world is more important than playing an academic game.

 

I have never seen an intelligent, hard-working, and competitive individual quit circuit-style policy because they think it's anti-educational. If smart kids quit, it's probably because they don't have the time, which sucks, but hey, if they have something more important, that's not debate's fault. Generally, kids quitting because of speed are just people who aren't willing to invest the hours researching (a.k.a. learning) because they'd rather play video games or something. The claim that circuit style debate teaches no skills applicable outside of the activity demonstrates your lack of personal experience with the activity; I flew through my first year of college with ease because I had already picked up the research and critical thinking skills necessary to produce research papers and write essays from high school (and now college) debate. I also came into college with a firm understanding of many important authors in academia - from different IR scholars to literary theorists. "traditional" policy debate can't access nearly this level of research because you don't have time to read nearly as much evidence (not to mention the tunnel vision about what constitutes a "legitimate argument").

in summary: other events are freaking easy. we should facilitate circuit style policy because it's actually difficult - and it facilitates education on a scale unmatched by easy events.

You are still cracking me up!! You must have been awesome at HI!!

 

I think I’ve really covered the problem with extreme arrogance. I’ve also pointed out that you probably would have had an easy time in college because of the factors that made you drawn to circuit style debate. Not to say circuit style debate didn’t help, but you would have been successful anyway.

 

And sadly, you may have never seen kids quit because of circuit style, but I have. And I’ve had problems recruiting them in the first place because they saw it. I take kids to circuit style tournaments because I do see value in it, but I do not believe that it is the end all be all.

 

And if you differ with me, fine. Do the elitist circuit. That is fine. We’ll roll up and see you from time to time. Just don’t expect the entire world to change to your arrogant ways. Leave NCFL alone. Just because it doesn’t meet your needs, doesn’t mean it doesn’t meet other’s needs. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to “save” policy debate from those who have good intentions, but are too near sighted to see the big picture.

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@IrnScrabbleChf52 @ConsultJapan Et Al...

 

I agree with about half of what Mr. Volen said above.

 

I'm not sure why argument that policy debate is harder is held up against lincoln-douglas.

--Harder doesn't mean more educational.

--Harder is also a fundamental barrier to entry to most students and schools who don't have the necessary institutional support.

 

Increasingly many of the benefits associated with policy debate are passing into lincoln douglas.

 

The question of value of policy debate also doesn't assume the time tradeoffs it requires vs. lincoln douglas. In other words, the typical successful LDer has a much larger chance to engage in multiple activities while maintaining balance in their lives (with an increase ability to cultivate diverse skill sets like acting, multi-media, art, etc.) Admittedly this tradeoffs are arguably higher in college where the opportunities are theoretically larger because 1) its closer to the work world (including internships) 2) activities are more subsidized by the school organization due to larger budgets.

 

Educational value = education product / time

On this scale LD and policy become much more similar in value--except LD has less associated theory to wade through.

 

LD Value = 75 / 7 hours per week = 10.714 units of value per hour invested

Policy Value = 100 / 20 hours per week = 5 units of value per hour invested

Edited by nathan_debate
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[ Policy debate is very educational, but not more than ... interpreting and performing a dramatic or humorous piece of literature to transport and communicate the audience.[/color]

 

lolz

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LD Value = 75 / 7 hours per week = 10.714 units of value per hour invested

Policy Value = 100 / 20 hours per week = 5 units of value per hour invested

 

Some of your posts are informative. Other times you seem to just make random stuff up out of nowhere.

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Volen,

 

I think you should just stop at this point. While I think some people on this thread have been very patient, you have lost yours. Although its a natural response to be reactionary when your viewpoint is being assaulted, no one is really throwing around language like 'you're arrogant' other than you.

 

I am all for the old-style of policy debate. Hell, if it were up to me, case defense analytics should be able to win as often as not. Talk about old school... But quite frankly, you're talking nonsense now. Nothing you said recently even merits my response, largely because what you have said is void of insight.

 

There is one thing you need to realize, and realize quickly - debate is not a communication-focused activity. Its an argument-focused activity.

 

In poetry, very little weight is given to the piece selected as compared to the manner in which it was delivered. Why? Because its a communication-focused event. This is why we place events like this under the banner speech.

 

Debate in all three of its forms, however, remains an argument-focused event. The rounds are deliberated primarily on the basis for which competitor(s) delivered the strongest arguments for their position - it is not deliberated on the basis of which competitor's(s') arguments were delivered the strongest. The delivery is merely embroidery. Sure, there are high and low quality deliveries in debate; but communication is only important enough to serve as a vehicle for delivering arguments. (Side note: Incidentally, this is precisely what Jeff talks about when he discusses bad judges. In debate, bad judges are the ones who ignore the arguments and vote for the team that spoke the prettiest. You wouldn't want a debate judge evaluating a poetry reading on the basis of which poem s/he liked the best would you?)

To analogize, no one cares that the US postal service drives up in a little white buggy instead of a sleek red ferrari; but people care when their mail isnt delivered on time. Debate is about the product, not means of delivery. The only care we have about delivery is that the post office has some sort of functioning transportation so that they can delivery the mail to us in a timely fashion.

 

If the judge can listen and comprehend the competitors, then the competitors in debate have successfully communicated their arguments. It really doesn't get any simpler than that. If you can accept this, that's the start to arriving at some middle ground. You will begin to see the value in other comments once you recognize the primary difference between speech and debate.

 

===================================================================================================

1. You will then realize that debate offers what is nearly a completely different educational value than speech and comparing the two is comparing apples and oranges.

2. Speaking quickly has no real world value; but neither does learning how to pick a poetry piece for competition. But critically evaluating positions quickly has value (a product of speed) and learning how to change delivery and presentation based on the poem selected has value too.

3. Policy debate is incredibly educational, especially when its done with such a diverse array of arguments and styles. No one is saying people should abandon stock issues (even though many probably secretly agree with that :rolleyes: ). I personally advocate a very, very conservative style of debate, but some of the paradigms I have personally created or advocated are very extreme in their nature despite the fact that they generally support my conservative view on debate. An evolution of thought is not only warranted, its desired, and doing so requires people who are willing to push the envelope. Extremism in debate is not anti-education; its the epitome of education.

Edited by Ankur

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Debate in all three of its forms, however, remains an argument-focused event
.

 

I don't think this denies tournament administrators the ability to change the rules to reflect a more nuanced understanding of what debate is or what it should be. (I guess its fine and just for both debate teams and the judge to mutually/collectively/democratically determine to alter this model in specific rounds) Mr. Volen seems to make an argument that a renewed focus provides: speech + argument. Arguably, he could have included an argument about diminishing returns at the extremes of the current model as well.

 

And last time I checked, that was the real old school (aka Aristotle style old school: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos) :)

 

An evolution of thought is not only warranted, its desired, and doing so requires people who are willing to push the envelope. Extremism in debate is not anti-education; its the epitome of education.

 

I think innovation favors an entirely new way of evaluating debate--a re-orientation--which corresponds to the educational needs of students--(why debate? for what ends?) one which will serve in the classroom and the boardroom.

Edited by nathan_debate

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I'm trying to figure out what the possible warrant is that learning to talk fast is bad. Volen keeps referring to this, but there's no explanation for why this is true. I would posit this: Talking slow is a-ok. Talking fast is fine too. A lot of people can do both. I would refer you to some of the videos from last year's NFL where plenty of circuit teams spoke at a conversational pace. Or to the final round of the 2008 CEDA nationals. Or finals of the 2009 NDT. Both of those rounds ended in rebuttals at conversational speed.

 

Senor Volen is making all kinds of warrantless assertions out of undying certainty that he is correct. That his one type of poilicy debate is the only good type of policy debate. This is absurd, and at least as stupid as asserting that the things that happen on the circuit are the only way things should be done. I've never complained about judging a slow/communication style (so long as it was good, and the debaters said smart things) debate round. I think there's incredible value to it. I also think there's value to circuit style debate for all the reasons listed above. There's value to all of it, so quit being a tool.

 

Also, I'll bite on your suggestion that you don't say something else isn't educational until you're a national champion.

 

I'm something like three preferential votes away from being a national champion in congress, and, by the judge vote, I was the national champion in the 2008 house at NFL. That event=less educational than policy debate.

Edited by BenR

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J Wright:

 

Some of your posts are informative. Other times you seem to just make random stuff up out of nowhere.

 

I realize the numbers aren't particularly exact. However, it does provide a rough estimation of an explanation of why LD has equal or more value than policy. Its illustrative--not conclusive.

 

Admittedly, it assumes the person uses their other time effectively.

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This is an annual discussion. It proves several points:

 

1) No segment of the debate community has cornered the market on arrogance, self-importance, provincialism, shortsightedness, or unpleasantness.

 

2) Energy spent on this sort of sectarian squabbling is energy wasted; better allocated to actual teaching or studying or play.

 

3) Policy debate at NCFL is superbly administered and Durkin et al. are as cheerful and responsive as they can possibly be, but the fundamental NCFL parameters are not changing in any foreseeable future. Go with eyes open, adapt as best you can, and enjoy; or don't.

 

I think I've been on all sides of this issue at different times. Years ago I used to take my policy teams every year. We won the tournament once and were in semis two other times; but expense and student dissatisfaction caused me to remove it from the schedule (we continued to attend in LD and speech).

This year I helped coach the top seeded team (they went to semis) -- one of the few teams at NCFL that were also at TOC, an "adaptable" team. In three prelims I judged fast teams running counterintuitive arguments against slower, traditional teams; they won my ballots (and the ballots of at least one other person on the panel) each round because the traditional team couldn't make coherent answers. I judged other rounds where fast teams blew off case debates, and lost my ballot. In out rounds this year I saw national circuit teams adapt superbly. In other words, I heard bad slow teams and good slow teams and bad fast teams and good fast teams.

 

With apologies to Henry James, the house of forensics has many windows (and rooms). Choose your events, choose your tournaments, go forth; speak and debate and coach and judge. Don't do events you don't like. Don't go to tournaments you don't like. If you're forced to go somewhere you don't like, that's life; deal. Enjoy. Smile. And stop complaining!!!

 

Les Phillips

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Ankur, I absolutely agree that I need to stop. I believe I have completely failed in my original intent, which was to advocte that NCFL rules be left alone because they facilitate a better middle ground.

 

Arrogance: offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride. I think I chose that word carefully and appropriately before. To claim that one person's activity is more important than everyone else's seems to fit the definition. If anyone was offended, my apologies, but it still seems to fit.

 

Actually, selection is part of the judging criteria listed on the ballot for NFL for many of the IE events. Topic selection is critical in oration and staying on topic is a key evaluator in extemp. Content matters in all the forensic events, not just debate.

 

I 100% disagree that debate is not a communication-focused event. I firmly believe it is both an argument-focused activity and a communication-focused activity. I also believe extemp is both as well as oration, they just have different forms. There is a reason that colleges will give students speech credit if they did debate in high school.

 

I agree that we have common ground in that if the judge can listen and comprehend, then there was successful communication. I believe speed debate can be good and educationally beneficial.

 

BenR, I'm saddened by the perception of my toolness. I thought I was being clear that I don't want a single style of debate, that I want an environment that is accepting of all styles. I may have been negative toward one style because my perception was that the advocates of that style were being dismissive of the needs of others, but I didn't think I was being a tool. I will stop that now. :-)

 

Bottom line, don't change NCFL.

 

BTW, it still makes me laugh out loud when people post that I didn't give warrants or made unsubstanciated claims. Seriously, my posts are ridiculously long because I do try to give the reasons for my arguments. It makes me laugh because I think of all the 2NR's and 2AR's that try to win rounds by claiming "They didn't say such and such, so I win", when I clearly have responses on my flow. Just because you don't have it on the flow doesn't mean it wasn't said. That is just funny stuff! Thank you so very much for finding ways to bring humor to my life, I truly appreciate it.

Edited by Corporate DB8er
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As someone who prefers fast debate, I will say that speed and other "progressive" elements of Policy do more than scare away the "lazy" or "stupid" potential debaters. They scare away coaches who could start successful Policy teams, but do not see the value vs. all the time and money it takes. These are coaches of huge squads and multiple national champions, and sometimes old Policy coaches.

 

Now, it isn't judges reading evidence that scares them away, but that stopped being the point a while back, I think.

 

The one thing that Volen has right is that all events are educational. Both he and Ankur have said that the educations are different. Saying anything beyond that, as to which one is better, is a value judgment, not a verifiable fact, and should be discussed as such if people want to keep that thread alive.

 

To recenter the issue - we all seem to agree that judges who read evidence in order to make arguments that the debaters did not or could not make is wrong. I read evidence in three cases:

 

1) when the debaters tell me that the round hinges on a single link card but differ in interpretation, and it is "too close to call" without having a chance to read the actual evidence slowly. I am trying to square which side was closer to the truth. Is that intervention? Probably! But not any more than leaning one way or another without being able to read the evidence; I am picking based on something not in the round, because the debaters were too close.

 

2) when both teams suck and make so few coherent arguments, that I am forced to intervene.

 

3) when a perm or theory debate or T debate centers on the exact plan/CP text. No matter how good my memory or ears, it helps to see the words written down on paper so I can be sure to process each one. This is usually just a yes/no decision: does it say what the 2NR/2AR claimed? I don't see that as intervention. Sure, it would be possible for the 2AR to very slowly read the text, but I probably want to see it anyway.

 

Mr. Volen, do you feel that these instances of reading evidence are bad for debate?

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I read evidence in three cases:

 

1) when the debaters tell me that the round hinges on a single link card but differ in interpretation, and it is "too close to call" without having a chance to read the actual evidence slowly. I am trying to square which side was closer to the truth. Is that intervention? Probably! But not any more than leaning one way or another without being able to read the evidence; I am picking based on something not in the round, because the debaters were too close

 

2) when both teams suck and make so few coherent arguments, that I am forced to intervene.

 

3) when a perm or theory debate or T debate centers on the exact plan/CP text. No matter how good my memory or ears, it helps to see the words written down on paper so I can be sure to process each one. This is usually just a yes/no decision: does it say what the 2NR/2AR claimed? I don't see that as intervention. Sure, it would be possible for the 2AR to very slowly read the text, but I probably want to see it anyway.

 

Mr. Volen, do you feel that these instances of reading evidence are bad for debate?

First let me say that I’m sure you are a fine judge. You say you prefer speed rounds, and reading evidence facilitates that. I understand and appreciate your desire to do what you feel is needed to be the best judge you can be.

 

I also welcome you to judge at NCFL. You may feel that the rules at NCFL make you a less fair judge, but I think you are still valuable even in the situation where you wouldn’t be allowed to look at evidence.

 

To answer your question, (and the only reason I’m posting is you specifically asked me to answer it), yes, I think reading evidence in these situations is bad for debate. It entrenches a mindset that debate is not about communication (which I think is bad for the activity) and gives incentive for behaviors that are bad for debate.

 

In your 1st example, I would say it is the job of the debaters to convince you which interpretation is better or closer to the truth. Upon reading the evidence, you may think they were wrong, where you were believing them in the round. I believe “the truth” is what is determined in the round, not something objective outside the round. No matter if you read evidence or not, true truth is never discovered (I won’t get into the ontology, so I’m sure someone will say that I’m making claims without warrants, so be it). No matter if you read evidence or not, the decision will always be subjective (that is why we have panels). Since it is subjective, it isn’t intervention to listen and be convinced. It is intervention to change your mind based on your interpretation of the written words of an author who wasn’t even debating instead of what the competitors did.

 

In your 2nd example, I laughed because I’ve been there. In those situations, why make bad debaters better by reading their evidence to make the decision? This situation actually highlights nicely why I think communication matters and why reading evidence is an incentive to debate poorly. Why does the competitor need to do a good job formulating arguments when you are just going to read the evidence and see what the author said? Like, I said, I’ve been there, and I would tell you to make your decision based on who sucked less than trying to determine what the round should have been if the authors were here to make the coherent arguments.

In your 3rd example, it sounds like this is a matter of comfort for you. It sounds like you are thinking you’ll make the wrong decision on the perm or theory unless you can actually see the words that are the root of the conflict. I totally empathize with your feeling that you need to get it right, but you are getting it right if you vote on your flow/memory. Again, I won’t get into the ontology or analytic philosophy, but what you comprehended in the round is what should matter. That is what exists in the world the debate creates, so to speak. If you didn’t comprehend that the plan text is what the aff said it was, then that isn’t what it was. That may sound mean, barbaric, or unfair, but it is the job of the team to convey to you ideas and concepts that you can comprehend to make the decision of who was “right”. And we have rules that say they get two constructive speeches that are 8 minutes and two rebuttal speeches that are 5 minutes to convey those ideas or share the language that shapes your decision. If in 26 minutes of speech time, you do or don’t feel that you have a firm grasp of what the plan or CP text really was then that is what you should work with to make your decision. It is unfair and promotes a specific style of debate for you to read the text on paper if the team didn’t do a good job of conveying that text during the 26 minutes they were allotted.

 

That being said, I firmly believe the decision you make without reading evidence is the best one you can make. If you feel that you could have made a better decision, then I blame the debaters for not doing their job. It is their responsibility, and I encourage you to hold them to that responsibility. I’m willing to bet that nothing I have said will change yours or anyone else’s mind, but you asked, so I answered.

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no one refuses to vote on case debate, it's just that those teams tend to be worse.

 

This assertion is quite repulsive and just not true. Since case debate requires more preparation and more research, it is more likely that those teams tend to be better. Teams like La Salle are solely case debaters - they don't read generics. Though these teams may be in lower numbers, it doesn't mean that they do tend to be worse.

 

Oh and besides, as much as I hate to admit it and as many times I go for these arguments, there are judges that dislike inherency arguments and just will not vote on them, at least without being interventionist and defaulting to a round's actual interpretation of inherency that isn't "the plan didn't happen." But that's another thread.

 

 

LD Value = 75 / 7 hours per week = 10.714 units of value per hour invested

Policy Value = 100 / 20 hours per week = 5 units of value per hour invested

 

This is not only trivial and blatantly crafted from nowhere, but it also serves no "illustrative" benefit. I have no idea what a "unit of value" is and most probably no one else does - it's an arbitrary description of education, and your formulaic representation is not only not grounded in mathematics, but also not in logic. And in no way does this prove or "represent" that LD is of equal or greater value than policy. You assume (1) they have the same arguments, (2) the rounds and structure is similar, (3) judging and analysis is similar, (4) time spent on one event produces the same benefit in the other benefit, (5) education product is a real concept and objectively described, among others.

 

 

As per the substance of this thread, I'd listen to Les and Jeff, but that's my opinion.

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I 100% disagree that debate is not a communication-focused event. I firmly believe it is both an argument-focused activity and a communication-focused activity. I also believe extemp is both as well as oration, they just have different forms. There is a reason that colleges will give students speech credit if they did debate in high school.

 

I agree that we have common ground in that if the judge can listen and comprehend, then there was successful communication. I believe speed debate can be good and educationally beneficial.

 

No. I said debate is primarily focused on the argument. How does one deliberate a debate? Not based on who spoke faster or slower or the eloquence of speaking. I have heard plenty of eloquent policy debaters who couldnt put an argument together if their life depended on it. Great speakers, terrible debaters. Even their speaker points sucked. Why? because if you go by the old check box model, all but one of the categories were about the argument and only one was about delivery. So is it then safe to say that debate is only 1/6 about communication? As long as debates are judged by the content of the arguments made in the round, it is and will continue to be an event dominated by the argument.

 

In contrast, regardless of the specific event, speech events are decided primarily on the basis of their communication abilities.

 

There is an ENORMOUS difference! Debate is not both communication and content focused. Its content focused. Communication has been and always will play second fiddle to content. Period. There really isnt much debate to be had about this.

 

You even agree that as long as the judge can listen and comprehend, debaters have communicated. You and I and everyone here, regardless of where we fall on the debate spectrum, will wholeheartedly agree that debaters must adapt to the abilities of the judge. If the judge says 'I cannot flow/understand well when debaters speak quickly', the debater who spreads justly gets what is coming. But judges who decide rounds on who spoke prettier have NO place in this activity - why? Because its argument/content-focused.

Edited by Ankur

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In your 2nd example, I laughed because I’ve been there. In those situations, why make bad debaters better by reading their evidence to make the decision? This situation actually highlights nicely why I think communication matters and why reading evidence is an incentive to debate poorly. Why does the competitor need to do a good job formulating arguments when you are just going to read the evidence and see what the author said?

 

I think this is at the core of why I disagree with most of what you've written in this thread. No policy debater wants to rely on solely what the author wrote - everyone wants to spin their evidence to support their argument as much as possible - however checks on this, like ensuring that the evidence you read had anything to do with the topic, is necessary to facilitate debates that are both fast and high-level. No policy debater stops trying when they have great evidence - circuit debates are rooted in evidence BUT communication and argumentative skill still matter in close, competitive debates. Which is why teams that win the TOC are consistently good throughout the year, not just good when they have better evidence than the other team.

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