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Nelsonwins94

Is speed killing debate?

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1. The theme of this thread rests on an assumption that speed cannot be improved.

 

2. The theme of this thread rests on the assumption that a slower debater cannot beat a faster debater.

 

3. The theme of this thread rests on the assumption that losers quit.

 

 

Only number three is correct in my opinion.

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even if the poster of this thread convinced 100% of humanity that speed is killing debate: Where do we draw the line and how do we enforce it?

 

oh god you're right!

 

Why didn't we think of that!?!?!!?

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Even if the poster of this thread convinced 100% of humanity that speed is killing debate: where do we draw the line and how do we enforce it?
Judging paradigms that at least neutralize the benefits of speed if not reverse them.

 

1. Remove the mindset that a dropped argument = round won. This reduces the spread strategy that fosters increased speed.

 

2. Judges admitting that the debaters need to adapt to them, not the other way around. Just because the kids want to talk to fast doesn't mean the judge should strain to understand what is being said.

 

3. Eliminate reading evidence after the round. If you didn't catch it and understand it while it was said, why give them more "speech time" by reading it later. If it was uninteligable to the judge, then it isn't on the flow and shouldn't be considered for the decision.

 

Speed debate is a result of judges putting up with it and even encouraging it. Change the judges and you change the rate of delivery.

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An article about fast talking/speed debate just came out in The Chronicle of Higher Education where a lively discussion has begun. Sharing it here because it relates to this and I thought you might find it interesting.

 

http://chronicle.com/article/Fast-Talk-Debate-in-an/128138/?key=QD51c1JiMiJIYXw2MW1CYz1SPSZpMxogYHJKPn4pblxSEQ==

 

This looks like a cross between "Debate Team" and "Resolved." I'm not sure I see the purpose of making it, as "Resolved" covered the issues of speed-debate pretty well.

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Judging paradigms that at least neutralize the benefits of speed if not reverse them.

 

1. Remove the mindset that a dropped argument = round won. This reduces the spread strategy that fosters increased speed.

 

2. Judges admitting that the debaters need to adapt to them, not the other way around. Just because the kids want to talk to fast doesn't mean the judge should strain to understand what is being said.

 

3. Eliminate reading evidence after the round. If you didn't catch it and understand it while it was said, why give them more "speech time" by reading it later. If it was uninteligable to the judge, then it isn't on the flow and shouldn't be considered for the decision.

 

Speed debate is a result of judges putting up with it and even encouraging it. Change the judges and you change the rate of delivery.

 

 

If number one became the dominant paradigm then debaters wouldn't have to clash...Thats FUCKED up, do you WANT policy debaters practicing talking to trees? both giving soliloquies from scarface and ace ventura for the entire round?

 

If number two isn't true for YOU as a judge, you're FUCKED up. You're the judge obviously they gotta adapt to you, because you decide who wins when the rounds over.

 

Number three is up to the judge, and if enforced your way would not reduce speed anyway. I want debaters to take on dense shit so I'm willing to read the ev they went for after round

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If number one became the dominant paradigm then debaters wouldn't have to clash...Thats FUCKED up, do you WANT policy debaters practicing talking to trees? both giving soliloquies from scarface and ace ventura for the entire round?

If number two isn't true for YOU as a judge, you're FUCKED up. You're the judge obviously they gotta adapt to you, because you decide who wins when the rounds over.

Number three is up to the judge, and if enforced your way would not reduce speed anyway. I want debaters to take on dense shit so I'm willing to read the ev they went for after round

 

 

I would disagree with your response to number one, because I believe that you are mis-interpreting Corporate DB8er's assertion. I believe that he is advocating a paradigm where some arguments don't count as an auto-lose if dropped. Specifically, incomplete arguments need not be responded to. If a Neg presents a DA without Uniqueness, and it isn't a linear DA, then the Affirmative really shouldn't have to respond to it, because it isn't complete. It's like an Aff not presenting any Harms; they haven't upheld their prima facie burden, and so they haven't made a legitimate argument.

This matters in a speed context where a Neg presents 5 DA's, each missing some key part (UQ, link, internal, impact, whatever). It would be impossible to group them, and pointing out the problems with each one may be difficult, especially for a 1AR going against a speed team. Basically, he's arguing that speed is dumb when paired with current judging paradigms because it encourages teams to regurgitate an obscene number of bad arguments, because the other team will have to point out why each one is dumb to avoid 'dropping' one of them.

There are certainly instances where dropped arguments should result in a loss (at least on that argument), but Corporate DB8er was simply pointing out that there are some arguments which should not automatically count as a loss if dropped.

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On the flip side, I heard that some fast talkers had trouble slowing down, talking too quickly in nondebate contexts, and experiencing insomnia and eating or drinking problems.

I'm like 95% sure this is false. Has anyone seen this?

 

Also, speed hurts women participation is an incredibly stupid argument. Even if it doesn't appeal to image conscious women, the same applies to men. Women aren't inherently better for debate, and

 

The article makes it sound like every reason that speed is good is just a debate urban legend. That's pretty annoying.

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A person can give a 1AR at a conversational speed if they are strategic in the points they address, employ brevity, and know the args. I've done it and I've seen it done. The advantage speed gives anyone is blown out of proportion. Intelligence, prepwork, clean line-by-lines, and quick thinking will win out over speed any day.

 

Luminite: A d/A without uniqueness should be answered

"This D/A doesn't have uniqueness, next flow" If they read link and impact, this sentence said as slow as possible still took less time than the cards they read.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that speed isn't a problem. But its only a problem for debaters who think you can just yell high pitched wails and win rounds(usually first or second years). Speed is one piece of improvement, many think it is everything, these people won't win tournaments: problem solved.

 

If some arsehole wanders in to a debate round(that article) and is offended by how fast we talk, he can go fuck himself. He has not been initiated in to the community and its idiosyncrasies. He would not understand that this game's rules are performed anew in every round and to "solve spreading" is a ridiculous and impossible idea.

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Relevant:

 

sports.png

 

If debate is dying, the primary cause is probably general lack of interest in world events, politics and the policy making process. In addition, the avenues through which people can satisfy whatever interests they may have in those things are far greater now than ever before. Succinctly: we are living in the stupid ages, and those of us who aren't stupid have a multiplicity of options with which to celebrate our non-stupidity.

 

Also, bad arguments are worse than speed. Most of the debaters I judge that can read at high rates effectively make good arguments. Not to say that slow debate creates bad argument (though I do see a lot of slow teams make incredibly silly argumentative and strategic choices [probably more than their quicker counterparts]) so much as to say that truly successful debaters learn how to make good arguments, then start to go fast.

 

Also,

ITT: Everyone assumes spreading is done in the hopes than a meaningless argument will be dropped and turned into something bigger. Couldn't possibly have anything to do with increasing depth of argument and quality of argument.

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If debate is dying, the primary cause is probably general lack of interest in world events, politics and the policy making process.

That might make more sense if PF and LD were also experiencing the declines in participation that CX has seen over the past decade. But they're not. Students are still interested in debating world events and the like, but fewer and fewer are interested in doing those things in the Policy Debate format. That tells me that there is something in the CX rules, norms, and/or community that is turning would-be policy debaters and coaches away from the activity and toward the other available debate events.

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That might make more sense if PF and LD were also experiencing the declines in participation that CX has seen over the past decade. But they're not. Students are still interested in debating world events and the like, but fewer and fewer are interested in doing those things in the Policy Debate format. That tells me that there is something in the CX rules, norms, and/or community that is turning would-be policy debaters and coaches away from the activity and toward the other available debate events.

 

1) The necessary time investment to be successful in either of those two events is significantly less than the time you have to invest in Policy debate. As someone who competed in both PF and LD in high school, I'm fairly comfortable asserting that you just don't have to work as hard to be successful in those events. Kids in high school are lazy. I know, I've been one. There's something attractive about something that offers maximum, immediate success with relatively little preparation, research and work.

 

2) Policy debate is significantly more complex and requires a deeper understanding of strategy than either of those events. This is no accident. Policy rounds are twice as long as either LD or PF. You're guaranteed to spend more time interrogating warrants, making responses, and doing analysis. Because you spend the whole year researching and debating a topic, you will always be deeper in the literature than either of those two events and, as a result, will often find yourself debating more esoteric branches of the topic literature. Similarly, there is no theory to PF and, while people have alleged that there's theory in LD, I'm skeptical of that claim.

 

3) Coaching PF and LD is significantly easier than coaching Policy. It requires fewer resources, less time commitment and less research. Spending time every day to update uniqueness and find out what experts in the field are saying in a constantly evolving discourse is much more involved than finding this month's news clippings and ordering some briefs from Squirrel Killers.

 

4) Those forms of debate are more accessible. Even slow Policy debates are more challenging to watch than most PF and LD debates. People whose only guess about what debate might be is that it's like the shitshow they see on cable TV will instantly recognize a Public Forum debate. LD is certainly more complicated than PF, but you're often talking about broad concepts and societal values that people often identify with. Impact calculus, which is perhaps the most important and difficult component of Policy is basically nonexistent.

 

I'd refer you to the xkcd comic I posted previously. You can take numbers and build narratives, but when you ignore all the alt causes, you just look silly. All four of these things are reasons why kids might be drawn towards PF or LD instead of Policy, and they can help explain coaching and budgeting decisions (particularly now when most state budgets are in such dire straits). Community norms are built by consensus. We only got to where we are because the best debate minds worked for years to influence and improve the activity. You may not personally like what comes of this synthesis, but that doesn't mean it's killing the event. There will always be a niche for this sort of thing.

 

The event is fine. If one group of students gets what they deem to be the best value out of PF and LD, then a distinctly different group of students is getting the best value for them out of Policy as it exists.

 

Also, I'll still maintain that most of the kids who read real fast are just better at debate than most of those who don't. There are obvious exceptions (believe me, I know), but you can't deny that the quality of debate has improved significantly over the years.

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1) The necessary time investment to be successful in either of those two events is significantly less than the time you have to invest in Policy debate. As someone who competed in both PF and LD in high school, I'm fairly comfortable asserting that you just don't have to work as hard to be successful in those events. Kids in high school are lazy. I know, I've been one. There's something attractive about something that offers maximum, immediate success with relatively little preparation, research and work.

I also competed in Policy (2 yrs), PF (2 yrs), and a small bit of LD, so I'm fairly comfortable asserting that the top competitors in all three events work their asses off. It's true that most PF and LD debaters don't spend their summers at camp and those events have less-demanding research burdens, but that doesn't mean they don't work in the off-season or don't prepare as much as policy debaters do. Now, there will always be lazy debaters, in all of the events, but they tend to lose against more-prepared competition. I will concede that it is tougher to be lazy and mediocre in CX than LD or PF (that is, lazy CXers are beat much more soundly and regularly than lazy LD or PFers), but unless mediocrity is your goal, then that's going to be a demographic that learns to do more work.

 

But even if we assume that CX has a substantially larger workload, all around, than LD or PF, I don't see that as necessarily a good thing. High school students are busy; many do more than one extra curricular activity, or have a job, or care for younger siblings, or just want to have free time with their friends, and so on. An increasing number of students are not lazy, they are in fact quite busy with multiple activities and responsibilities. Just because they choose not to spend inordinate amounts of time on CX (which would have large opportunity costs for most would-be participants) doesn't mean they lack interest in world events, politics and the policy making process. It just means that they would rather do things in addition to debate, which is much tougher to do with CX than PF or LD.

 

2) Policy debate is significantly more complex and requires a deeper understanding of strategy than either of those events. This is no accident. Policy rounds are twice as long as either LD or PF. You're guaranteed to spend more time interrogating warrants, making responses, and doing analysis. Because you spend the whole year researching and debating a topic, you will always be deeper in the literature than either of those two events and, as a result, will often find yourself debating more esoteric branches of the topic literature. Similarly, there is no theory to PF and, while people have alleged that there's theory in LD, I'm skeptical of that claim.

There are theory arguments in both LD and PF, though they are less-common than CX and not usually labelled "theory" in the round. But you're right, CX goes much, much farther down the rabbit hole than LD or PF. But again, that's not necessarily a good thing. If you want to get a masters' degree in Eastern European feminist philosophy from 1951-58 or do a job that requires significant amounts of complex logical analysis, then CX is perfect practice. But if you'd rather be a journalist or TV pundit, I think PF would be much better training. CX's depth of analysis could also be called "overthinking" and I cannot count the number of times we or our opponents would lose sight of the forest for the trees in CX rounds. (Of course, the judges often would too, so the debate would become entirely about the trees.) Not everyone likes hyper-analysis and there is nothing intrinsically good about it.

 

3) Coaching PF and LD is significantly easier than coaching Policy. It requires fewer resources, less time commitment and less research. Spending time every day to update uniqueness and find out what experts in the field are saying in a constantly evolving discourse is much more involved than finding this month's news clippings and ordering some briefs from Squirrel Killers.

All true. All are advantages of PF/LD for many coaches who already have full-time teaching responsibilities, typically aren't paid much (if anything) for coaching, and often have to coach other events too. If a school has the resources and desire to fully support a policy program, then more power to them, but that is a small (and shrinking) number of schools. CX's time- and resource-intensiveness is a big reason it is declining (though not the sole reason).

 

4) Those forms of debate are more accessible. Even slow Policy debates are more challenging to watch than most PF and LD debates. People whose only guess about what debate might be is that it's like the shitshow they see on cable TV will instantly recognize a Public Forum debate. LD is certainly more complicated than PF, but you're often talking about broad concepts and societal values that people often identify with. Impact calculus, which is perhaps the most important and difficult component of Policy is basically nonexistent.

Yet again, you're highlighting the disadvantages of CX. CX's steep learning curve turns novices away, I've seen it personally and I've commented on it for a while. You could take someone who doesn't know how to swim and throw them in the deep end of a pool; with luck, they won't drown, but it won't be a pleasant experience and it's far less likely that they'll aspire to be a champion swimmer than if you start them off in the shallow end.

 

CX's inaccessibility means that novices generally have no idea what's going on (so they suffer demoralizing losses and they're usually not sure why they lost, neither of which is a fun feeling). It also means that new judges generally have no idea what's going on (so they make decisions neither team likes, which angers the teams, and the judge asks to be assigned to different events in the future). And outsiders (like parents) who try to watch rounds have no idea what's going on (so they don't know if their kid is actually gaining useful skills/knowledge in the activity). As it stands, CX is doing a very good job of repelling a large percentage of would-be participants.

 

Community norms are built by consensus. We only got to where we are because the best debate minds worked for years to influence and improve the activity.

These sentences are contradictory. Community-wide consensus is about as far from egghead-directed policymaking as you can get. That's not to say that they won't sometimes arrive at the same result, but there was no meeting of the best debate minds who said "speed is the way to go". No, the norms arose organically over time, but that doesn't mean they are all good or desirable. Speed came about because some debaters sought to gain an advantage by getting a few extra words into the allotted time, and judges didn't stop them. Then, in typical arms-race fashion, everyone started getting progressively faster and faster. There's no good communicative reason for speaking quickly other than to try to make so many arguments that your opponent can't handle all of them. But now, CX rounds are so fast that many new students are intimidated, not intrigued, even if they are interested in the topic matter.

 

The same is true of critiques, complex theory arguments, and many other of CX's idiosyncrasies. It wasn't some high-status meeting of the minds that created them, it was just a few people who started running it and won some rounds. There are many more ideas that are tried (in all of the events) which fail at the outset and don't become norms (timecube?).

 

You may not personally like what comes of this synthesis, but that doesn't mean it's killing the event. There will always be a niche for this sort of thing.

It's not that I like or dislike the norms that I'm criticizing here, but I think many in the CX community don't realize what the event looks like from an outsider's perspective. Over the past decade, CX has seen a massive decline in participation. Some areas have more support than others, so the decline has been more gradual, but (for example) CX is very close to dead in the whole state of Ohio. There are still a handful of schools with teams, but they have to travel out-of-state or far within the state most weekends if they want to compete.

 

The event is fine. If one group of students gets what they deem to be the best value out of PF and LD, then a distinctly different group of students is getting the best value for them out of Policy as it exists.
No matter how much history and convention/norms CX carries with it, there will be a constant cycle of seniors graduating out of competition forever. So CX needs lots of new blood every year, else it will continue to decline and die. So no, there won't "always be a niche for this sort of thing" if it is inaccessible to new participants or if it is so resource-intensive that coaches do not want to introduce new members to the event. If the CX community would rather continue shrinking into irrelevance--and then nonexistence--instead of revising its norms and attitudes to make the event more accessible, then there's not much that can be done to save the event; CX will die.

 

You may not like debating in such a way that a high school Freshman can understand you, but if that Freshman cannot understand you, he or she will never aspire to be you...

 

 

tl;dr

 

Don't blame CX's decline on youths' apathy for politics. There's plenty of interest in the subject matter. The primary problems are in CX's norms and conventions. The community should work to change them if it wants the event to survive.

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That might make more sense if PF and LD were also experiencing the declines in participation that CX has seen over the past decade. But they're not. Students are still interested in debating world events and the like, but fewer and fewer are interested in doing those things in the Policy Debate format. That tells me that there is something in the CX rules, norms, and/or community that is turning would-be policy debaters and coaches away from the activity and toward the other available debate events.

 

The policy debate community is full of megalomaniacal virgins (of every age)?

 

If your debate team is shrinking: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG! Its your fault.

 

Other people's teams are growing and minority participation is growing within those teams.

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There are good debaters and bad debaters out there. I've seen amazing debaters who can win A LOT of debates by making amazing, strategic arguments, and they don't know how to spread. I've also seen debaters that commit massive Performative Contradictions on themselves, and they spread at 400+ Words Per Minute.

 

Is the bad debater who perf-cons himself bad because he knows how to spread?

No. That's stupid. That's beyond stupid. There is no realm of intelligent thought in which this makes sense. THIS IS A POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC FALLACY.

 

Bad debaters are bad debaters. Good debaters are good debaters. Some spread, some don't, but spreading isn't the cause or the effect of being a good debater in any perceivable fashion. Spreading is simply having the same debate, just faster. If we slowed down the bad debaters who can spread, they would still suck. Except, they would suck in a slower speed.

 

Maybe speed intimidates novices, but debate doesn't need people who are intimidated. Debate needs people who see something challenging and see the possibility of being better than that.

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Maybe speed intimidates novices, but debate doesn't need people who are intimidated.

I believe this attitude is the principal cause of CX's loss of participation. It's one thing to not recognize the causes of the event's decline, it's another thing to not care that the event is declining...

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I believe this attitude is the principal cause of CX's loss of participation. It's one thing to not recognize the causes of the event's decline, it's another thing to not care that the event is declining...

 

The elitist attitude you mean? That has always been a feature of the activity for as long as a can remember. I think debate attracts elitists and arrogant know-it-alls by nature (not that I'm characterizing MetaSpread as being particularly representative of either).

 

The learning curve is certainly steep, but spreading is only one part of that. Elite teams are no faster now than they were when I was a high school debater in the early 90s. The amount of information with which one is expected to be familiar, however, is much larger. The theory debates are more complicated, and the philosophical background one must have to answer back critical positions effectively (much less run them) are a hard sell to even a bright 15 or 16 year old. Gone are the days when one could just rely on one's intelligence and a working knowledge of current events and still experience anything beyond modest success. A lot of coaches stopped teaching the event because they no longer fully understood it. Even those that continue, in many cases, are outsourcing the elite instruction to the summer debate institutes. That means your student body must have a certain socio-economic status in order to build a successful program (at least in the long term).

 

Similarly, it is problematic that in order to participate in the kinds of debates that actually teach you to become better, you have to travel. Travel is expensive and beyond the realm of possibility for most programs more than once or twice a year. When there were thriving local circuits (still true in small pockets of the country), this was less of a problem, but even back in the day, the private schools (who have the funds) typically only debated locally when they wished to qualify for NFL or a state tournament.

 

No money for travel? No money for camp? Your squad is probably not very competitive unless you just happen to have the right participants at the right moment. In the long term, however, this sort of thing usually translates into programs that die on the vine once the local debate god graduates or a cycle of fat and lean years (with more lean than fat). The schools that have solid programs year in and year out are almost overwhelmingly private schools or public schools with a very privileged student population.

 

My diagnosis for shrinking numbers:

 


  1.  
    [1]There's a lot to learn with no certainty of pay-off. This runs counter to a culture of instant gratification generally, but is particularly problematic when speaking of young people.
     
    [2]One must have access to money in order to learn what needs to be known. Whether this means camps (95% of the time) or just the ability to access high quality material (university libraries, JSTOR, Lexis/Nexis), one has to have the capital and the time to make this happen (difficult in populations where after-school and summer jobs are not a luxury, but a necessity). Years ago it was just the access to the camp evidence that was the issue; increasingly it's access to the camp instruction as well. While I applaud free available evidence and on-line camp lectures, the reality is that this is much less valuable than actually producing said evidence (under the tutelage of those with greater know-how) and the one-on-one instruction that cannot be outsourced on-line.
     
    [3]One must have money to travel. In an era of shrinking education budgets, justifying the expenditure becomes more and more difficult unless you're in an environment where money is not an issue. In the last twenty years, society in general has seen an increasing stratification into a small group of elite haves and a much larger body of have-nots. The debate activity just mirrors those larger trends. There's more than a little irony in watching two elite private schools debate about who best protects against the evils of capitalism when the participants are themselves very obvious beneficiaries of such a system.

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I believe this attitude is the principal cause of CX's loss of participation. It's one thing to not recognize the causes of the event's decline, it's another thing to not care that the event is declining...

You're taking it entirely out of context. What I'm saying isn't an elitist statement that only the best that there are should debate, but that only those who are committed should do it. Quality over quantity.

 

I'll take 1 TOC champ-level debater over a hundred novices who are intimidated by debate any day.

 

I don't think we should TRY to intimidate and make kids leave, but we shouldn't make debate "Kiddie-style" or sugarcoat it just so that people will start liking debate more.

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