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Non-Competitive Discussion For Problems In The Debate Community

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What does everybody think about how policy debate looks as it is now? Are you satisfied with what it represents? Do you wish parts of it changed? If so, what parts? How do you think we can make debate better and more accessible? What is a good way to promote discussion about how to make the debate community more inclusive?

 

I think that debate has evolved in a negative way. I do think there are positive aspects, but when certain people are excluded from the activity, it makes it problematic to enjoy the traditional affirmation of how things work. I wish that there were more inclusive resolutions that didn't exclude bodies based on their appearance and/or life. Certain resolutions ignore the way in which oppression is projected into them. I do not know how we can have a meaningful discussion without looking at the underpinnings of how the debate community works and how the topic functions. I do think that in contest round competition, these discussions are still meaningful. It challenges our normative views. It includes previously excluded narratives. I think both of these forums can be forms for change, but excluding discussion in a competitive framewerk does not change what happens under these competitive framewerks.

 

I hereby declare this thread an open forum for discussion about ways in which the topic, as well as the debate community, is exclusive. Anybody is welcome to participate in this discussion.

 

-DJ

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This isn't the in round as much.....but more time need to be spent on:

1. critical thinking

2. argument/logic

3. the actual process of coaching (this would work better if people actually knew what excellent debating looked like and could express it succinctly.....unfortunately like writing.....for some reason this seems kind of elusive to those who practice the activity--or at least broadcasting it to a large audience outside debate camps).

 

I also wish their was a fairly standard library (video preferably, but audio or text would work too) to acquaint novices, coaches, debates, and judges with core processes & arguments.

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Women's participation is the biggest and easiest to improve issue, in my opinion. Increasing women's participation faces no logistical challenges like increasing poor participation; it only faces issues about perception and culture. In my opinion those kind of things will be easier to solve, at the very least they'll be easier to solve for starving college kids like me.

 

I think there are probably two main things that hurt women's participation in debate.

 

The first is that women aren't attracted as much to debate (does anyone have data on overall novice recruitment in terms of gender? note though that this would also effect women's retention...) and I don't see much of a way to change that. I think that girls, generally, care more and are more aware of and suffer harsher consequences from the system of social status that runs rampant across many high schools of the nation. I also think that debate itself is widely percieved as more of a boys activity. I don't see a realistic way to improve the social status of debate or to change these perceptions surrounding it in the overall culture, so I don't think there's a lot that can be done on this front. That's unfortunate, because I think this is the biggest cause of the lack of women participation. Anyone with ideas how to make debate popular should definitely speak up.

 

The second is that women who are attracted to debate are driven off from it. This is probably just due to a cyclical causal chain, mostly, wherein girls are more likely to quit because they're less likely to have friends or people they can trust involved in debate because girls are less likely to be in debate because of factors one and two. This model assumes that girls are more likely to make friends with other girls than with guys, but I think that's accurate.

 

I suggest that coaches share their techniques for getting their debaters to respect each other and to make friends with each other and to encourage women's participation. We should find the coaches who manage to attract and maintain a relatively high percentage of girl debaters and ask these coaches for advice and for their understanding of the problem and for what else they think should be done on an overall level.

 

I don't really know a lot about this. I'm just saying saying whatever I can think of. I definitely need help from other people here, so please add your input and your take on the problem. Also, I don't have any clout with anyone anywhere so if coaches are going to start sharing advice about how to get girls in debate then someone else will need to be the one who convinces them. If someone here could commit to sending an email around or to talking with people at tournaments about this, that would be great.

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I don't necessarily agree that policy debate is fundamentally damaged. I do believe that many debaters and coaches have gotten it wrong. There are three converging dissonances within debate: 1) a strong undercurrent of nepotistic groupthink 2) an overemphasis on strategy as opposed to argument and 3) the 'offense/defense' paradigm. Each of the three alone is is a storm, but united they are frankenstorm wreaking havoc and mayhem over the landscape.

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I haven't ever seen anyone describe 2 as a problem. Can you explain?

 

Let me put it in football terms. Think of debate fundamentals as blocking, tackling, etc. Think of strategy as a Boise State offense full of trickery and deceit. You don't become a better debater by trying to score 6 points on every down and though you might win from time to time, you sure as heck won't win a national championship. You need to be sharp in all aspects of your game. Just ask the Redskins... who are 7th in scoring... with a 3-5 record.... or last year's Carolina Panthers

 

There are two aspects of competitive debate - argument and strategy. Teams (and coaches) are so focused on their strategies of trying to outmaneuver and one-up their opponent that they end up churning out pages and pages of garbage as evidence, arguments that lack a coherent message, and actual honest to god clash is a long forgotten concept. Debaters are missing real fundamentals of developing arguments. Now please understand, I am not saying that fundamentals are more important than strategy. Learning strategy well has its tangible rewards in the round and in future endeavors - but its equally important to learn the other half of debate too.

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I agree that evidence quality is low but I still don't know why you believe that a focus on strategy is the cause.

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I agree that evidence quality is low but I still don't know why you believe that a focus on strategy is the cause.

 

Because the circuit doesn't reward teams who use their stronger fundamentals. If you counter another team's poor evidence with far superior evidence, that doesn't mean anything anymore because the circuit has drifted towards using a completely intellectually bankrupt offense/defense paradigm. Take an example:

 

Aff: High speed rail will solve global warming

Neg: Here are 14 ways in which a.) your evidence is awful b.) impx of global warming wont ever happen and c.) even if it did, HSR can't stop it

Aff: We concede all your arguments, risk of GW still exists, vote aff.

 

... and in almost 100% of cases... circuit judges vote aff.

 

Does that make ANY sense to you? It demonstrates precisely why debate has shifted to strategy to accommodate offense/defense - because being technically sound doesn't get you anything other than style points.

 

Its not just poor evidence - its colossal incompetence in stringing together sequences of events to make an argument. You have unrelated pieces of evidence being strung together to make disads. You have cards in 1ac which clearly disagree with one another. The whole idea of having "good evidence" to back one's claims has gone the way of the dodo.

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Let me put it in football terms. Think of debate fundamentals as blocking, tackling, etc. Think of strategy as a Boise State offense full of trickery and deceit. You don't become a better debater by trying to score 6 points on every down and though you might win from time to time, you sure as heck won't win a national championship. You need to be sharp in all aspects of your game. Just ask the Redskins... who are 7th in scoring... with a 3-5 record.... or last year's Carolina Panthers

 

There are two aspects of competitive debate - argument and strategy. Teams (and coaches) are so focused on their strategies of trying to outmaneuver and one-up their opponent that they end up churning out pages and pages of garbage as evidence, arguments that lack a coherent message, and actual honest to god clash is a long forgotten concept. Debaters are missing real fundamentals of developing arguments. Now please understand, I am not saying that fundamentals are more important than strategy. Learning strategy well has its tangible rewards in the round and in future endeavors - but its equally important to learn the other half of debate too.

 

It seems like crafty one-upsmanship is shut down in the upper echelons of circuit debating, where the teams they are debating have a good grasp of fundamentals as well as a hold on how arguments strategically interact on the flow. If a lower seed tried to one-up someone on E-Prime in a bid round, they are probably going to get clowned by the higher seed. But, in the middle and lower echelons, I am inclined to agree with Ankur; as a younger debater, I fell prey to an over-emphasis on debate strategy over what you call "fundamentals" and the art of persuasion in general. If I had to take a guess, this probably reflects the growth of most debaters of my generation (and perhaps in other generations as well). The difference in how successful you are correlates to how quickly you're able to get past that setback. I did not have coaching in high school, and most of my "debate education" came from reading cross-x.com posts (I know, the horror), so I was fascinated by the shiny objects like "Deleuze" and "Ashtar" and "normativity" the community had to offer me. This isn't to discredit K debating or even debating with cheapshots (I am guilty as charged), but the sequence in which you learn how to debate (fundamentals, then the crazy, transgressive shit) is important. Thus, it took me until I started debating in college and being exposed to the opinions of a multitude of more experienced coaches to figure out the importance of fundamentals and even recognize basic shit like ethos and pathos. I think that "circuit debaters" and their coaches are beginning to correct for this (for example, Seth had a great lecture on Ethos, debating against Rep teams, and other similar discussions at the Georgetown Debate Institute) but it certainly is a difficult task to correct for. I also think that big programs are correct this problem with young debaters within a year or two, but it's especially tough for small, coach-less programs that are mostly self-taught or simply mimic the bad competition around them. I mean, the audience we're dealing with are impressionable high school kids who like to do what's cool and hip. Stock issues are boring, Irony looks fun and trolly.

 

I'll also add that middle to lower tier teams are also god awful at flowing, more so than before. The current norms of paperless debating have exacerbated this issue by encouraging debaters to debate off their speech document (ignoring analytics, theory), which leaves many judges frustrated because of their failure to clash .

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While some of you have good point, i think there are more harmful effects happening within the community right now. Just like @Qkz said, women participation is not very high in debate. Now i do not have any specific reasons for this, but it is just a true statement. And i think these forms of exclusion ought to be intolerable. I also think that minorities and women are and continue to be under-represented in debate, and this reflects in the way that we shun talking about personal experience and our sole focus on enacting government policy. I do not know who will argue against me and say there is equal minority participation in politics, because that my friend, isnt true.

 

What I am saying is that the way people say personal experience inside the round is not okay is exclusive in and of itself. Now i do not believe in the idea that "policy debate" is solely for policy. Because people get hurt by policies everyday. But if somebody wants to talk about that, all hell breaks loose.

 

"THEY TAKE AWAY FAIRNESS AND EDUCATION ALL ACROSS THE LAND. WE SHOULDN'T BE DEBATING THESE RANDOM NARRATIVES. IT IS TOTALLY UNPREDICTABLE. YOU SHOULD VOTE THEM DOWN JUHHDGE. DABAIT JUST ISNT THE PLACE FOR THIS CRAP."

 

Things like the above happen all the time when these kind of debates happen. We exclude people for being open, which just isn't okay. Multiple people are excluded because personal experience and certain "kritikal" forms of debate are looked down upon by a large amount of the community.

 

I mean it isn't uncommon to hear people complain about hitting people that run "out-of-the-ordinary" arguments.

 

"DERP. WE ARE HITTING [insert team who runs "out-of-the-ordinary" arguments]. GET OUT FRAMEWORK. WE GOTTA SHOW THEM THAT THIS IS NOT THE PLACE FOR THESE KINDS OF DISCUSSIONS. DERP"

 

Now i do not think that things have to be so cruel. This may be an overdramatization but whenever someone hits one of these "out-of-the-ordinary" teams 9/10 teams just tell them to stfu and gtfo.

 

My question is why do we push people away?

 

Why are people punished for sharing their experience?

 

Why is debate not the place?

 

I think that allowing these "out-of-the-ordinary" debates to happen is good. Personal experience is a good thing to show our future-policymakers. And why we shun people for being open is just something i do not understand.

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I don't really understand why people seem to have such hatred for framework. Framework is an argument as much as anything else and rarely does anyone actually believe that Ks literally should never be debated and that all K teams should be excluded from the activity. For instance, I read framework but do I read so that I don't have to engage in the criticism? No, I read it so that at the end of the debate I might be able to leverage my case impact more against the impacts of the criticism. The reason why people never perceive framework as being negative is because teams fail to reach the "compromise" level of the debate. You start with an unreasonable demand so that you may eventually reach a middle ground.

 

On that note I think it's ridiculous that there are judges who are predisposed to voting down the K just because they dislike the argument. But, biased judges are nothing new to the activity and I do believe there's a whole other sub forum for "Complaining"

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Female participation isn't terribly high, but I don't necessarily agree that there are many systemic barriers to female participation in debate. I am not aware of a prejudice towards women in debate. Encouraging women to participate is important, but correcting the behavior of the community to better reflect the values debate professes to teach to students is a far more productive use of sociopolitical debate-capital, is it not? Or simply, perm - do both?

 

 

 

Zach,

Let me rephrase your last sentence and give you a moment to digest. You said:

 

On that note I think it's ridiculous that there are judges who are predisposed to voting down the K just because they dislike the argument. But' date=' biased judges are nothing new to the activity and I do believe there's a whole other sub forum for "Complaining"[/quote']

 

To which I respond:

On that note I think it's ridiculous that there are judges who are predisposed to voting down inherency just because they dislike the argument.

 

It works both ways. I find it incredibly hypocritical of circuit judges who profess to be 'the best judges' yet openly mock, belittle, and hold extreme prejudice for strategies with which they disagree. Again, I blame a lot of this on the increasing prevalence of the offense/defense paradigm. There is no world in which a lack of inherency, on the level of warrants, would ever merit a negative ballot under the offense/defense paradigm - but that is absolutely nonsensical.

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Zach,

Let me rephrase your last sentence and give you a moment to digest. You said:

 

To which I respond:

On that note I think it's ridiculous that there are judges who are predisposed to voting down inherency just because they dislike the argument.

 

It works both ways. I find it incredibly hypocritical of circuit judges who profess to be 'the best judges' yet openly mock, belittle, and hold extreme prejudice for strategies with which they disagree. Again, I blame a lot of this on the increasing prevalence of the offense/defense paradigm. There is no world in which a lack of inherency, on the level of warrants, would ever merit a negative ballot under the offense/defense paradigm - but that is absolutely nonsensical.

I definitely agree with you but if judges are predisposed to vote in an offense/defense paradigm, how can you blame debaters for adopting that behavior to help win rounds? How would you recommend we institute some form of community shift in the way we evaluate debates?

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I definitely agree with you but if judges are predisposed to vote in an offense/defense paradigm, how can you blame debaters for adopting that behavior to help win rounds? How would you recommend we institute some form of community shift in the way we evaluate debates?

 

Judges will move away from it if they are given a reason to move away from it. If debaters don't argue offense/defense, they would be intervening horribly in order to impose such a view if unstated during pre-round disclosure of the paradigm. If it is disclosed, then you're kinda stuck with the bad apples you've got. But that still doesn't mean you need to argue offense/defense to win within the offense/defense paradigm.

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I totally agree that being too focused on winning hurts us as debaters - why run 3 off and win on clash when you can run 12 and win on a dropped argument?

But I also don't think that'll change. High school debate is a competition, and competitions are almost always more about winning than learning.

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I agree that evidence quality is low but I still don't know why you believe that a focus on strategy is the cause.

 

I like Ankur's explanation, but I have a few examples of this "Problem #2: Strategy over Fundamentals"

 

I say many debates involving a Space Debris DA. For those of you unfamiliar, it went:

 

U: Space Junk Low Now

L: Plan Launches -- creates more junk

IL: Excess space junk creates cascade effect--destroys all satellites and whatever the Aff is sending into space (assuming the plan sends up something that orbits earth rather than go into deep space)

I: No satellites = Econ Collapse, Nuc War, Extinction

 

 

I saw lots of debaters thinking "Ok, time to prep 2AC frontlines against debris" and went ahead and read NonUq in the round

 

Without ever thinking that NonUq-ing this DA destroys any hope of Aff solvency.

 

Students know that they can answer DAs in the following ways:

Non UQ

No Link

Link Turn

No Impact

Impact Turn

No Brink

(Don't double turn)

 

 

But less and less, they're not taught to really sit an analyze what the right set of responses is. The strategy, more often than not, is to throw all of this at the wall and see what the Neg mishandles.

 

Of course, as has been said before, at the highest levels of circuit debate, this isn't an issue, but it's the case for MANY 3-3 and 2-4 teams-- these mid-level circuit teams.

 

 

 

Tl;DR:

 

 

The point i'm making is that there is an emphasis on outmaneuvering your opponent, BANKING ON THE NOTION THAT THEY WILL MAKE A MISTAKE, and then capitalizing on that mistake. That will only take you so far.

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Without ever thinking that NonUq-ing this DA destroys any hope of Aff solvency.

 

I laughed at this trickery. Thanks.

 

I would go even further and say that your example shows what's wrong with thinking about issues primarily in terms of the standard categories used in DA debates.

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Blaize: I agree that it wouldn't be a problem if we didn't have the offense/ defense paradigm. Very rarely do I see teams attacking the alt to a k or a k aff. And when people do end up wrecking the alt, most teams will kick the alt and run the K as a disad. In which case, that becomes unfair because ks can be spun to turn every impact. People miss out on the alt debate, so they have to go to impact debates, in which, it becomes extremely unfair to the aff team. Also link debates are pretty shoddy too. No one actually questions the validity of some statements and overlook the fact that a lot of ks don't link.

 

TL;DR: A lot of teams don't know how to effectively run or answer ks

 

My problem with policy debate is too much conditionality. I feel like it hurts us as advocates of a certain argument when we go right around and state another argument. I must admit- I do have multiple conditional worlds (1 K, 1cp, 3 NB das, case). But it always kills me a little to do my 2NC where I advocate deconstruction of political structures then advocate a different action by the same political structure.I feel like it kills our ethos and hurts us as advocates outside of debate. People have gotten away with it, because theory is usually debated very poorly (I.E. read your "condo bad" block in the 2ac and forget about it for the rest of the debate),

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My problem with policy debate is too much conditionality. I feel like it hurts us as advocates of a certain argument when we go right around and state another argument. I must admit- I do have multiple conditional worlds (1 K, 1cp, 3 NB das, case). But it always kills me a little to do my 2NC where I advocate deconstruction of political structures then advocate a different action by the same political structure.I feel like it kills our ethos and hurts us as advocates outside of debate. People have gotten away with it, because theory is usually debated very poorly (I.E. read your "condo bad" block in the 2ac and forget about it for the rest of the debate),

 

The way I've always been able to hand conditionality is by thinking about it in layers. So the first layer I think of is criticism of overarching structure the aff works within. For example: The affs use of the State is bad. Then i move on to policy issues: The affs use of the federal government is undesirable compared to private actors. So it ends up like, Even if the State is bad, the counter plan is a preferable way to work within the state compared to the aff.

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I think the opposite of the strategy/fundamentals problem can sometimes be true for some "elite" judges. That is, judges will evaluate evidence based solely on quality rather than on how it is argued in a round. It may sometimes be justified for a judge to spend hours reading evidence after a round, but when one team gives a tag-line extension of a card without explaining warrants, that evidence should not be weighed equally against the opponent's well-explained warrants, even if the first team has higher quality evidence.

 

For example, I was once in a round with DHeidt as the judge, reading a terrorism advantage. The other team read a piece of evidence with a tag of "terrorism won't happen", or something like that. This piece of evidence was extended throughout the debate, but the warrant was never explained. Even though the neg never explained why the 2AC and 1AR's arguments didn't answer this specific piece of evidence (they read like 6 cards that all had similarly generic tags), we still lost the advantage because DHeidt saw that warrant after the round (again, the argument was not mentioned at any point in the round).

 

The problem here is two-fold. First, it discourages explanation of evidence because why waste the time when you can read two more cards instead? Second, it makes it more difficult for smaller teams with fewer resources to succeed. A team from Pace, Greenhill or GBN can rely on reading blocks that someone else wrote for them and cards that are really high quality, but were cut by their coaches. A team from a smaller school may have greater argumentation skills, but that doesn't matter when debate becomes a competition to see who's cards are the best.

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I feel the problem is two fold

 

1. Smaller districts are failing to progress and are still stuck in the No Kritik or CP era with no spread with bad judges

2. Larger districts/circuits are progressing too fast leading to discrepancies in judging and the technicalities of debate as atldb8r said.

 

In order for policy debate to regain its prominence in the debate community, it needs to find the middle ground between the two above. A middle ground would maintain debate's meaning of argumentation of warranting arguments, while also putting in the more fun aspects of current debate like Kritiks, spreading, CPs, K Affs, etc.

 

A continuation of the first scenario with lay districts would scare away the progressive style debaters, while the continuation of the second scenario will keep regular interested kids away from debate in the first place.

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Judges who respect the integrity of the debate between two teams should NEVER read evidence after the round unless the meaning of evidence is challenged in the round. Judges shouldn't read evidence for that specific reason you highlight - intended or not, a reading of evidence can introduce to the judge's understanding of the round extraneous information which did not exist during the debate.

 

Its funny that states like Pennsylvania which have had 'backwards' rules for judging, such as the forbidden practice of reading evidence after the round, actually got it right and these 'progressive' states (and their rockstar coaches) have actually been getting it horribly wrong... almost to the point of negligence.

 

I feel the problem is two fold

 

1. Smaller districts are failing to progress and are still stuck in the No Kritik or CP era with no spread with bad judges

2. Larger districts/circuits are progressing too fast leading to discrepancies in judging and the technicalities of debate as atldb8r said.

 

In order for policy debate to regain its prominence in the debate community' date=' it needs to find the middle ground between the two above. A middle ground would maintain debate's meaning of argumentation of warranting arguments, while also putting in the more fun aspects of current debate like Kritiks, spreading, CPs, K Affs, etc.

 

A continuation of the first scenario with lay districts would scare away the progressive style debaters, while the continuation of the second scenario will keep regular interested kids away from debate in the first place.[/quote']

 

See my comments on the woe of the TOC on this thread

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Judges who respect the integrity of the debate between two teams should NEVER read evidence after the round unless the meaning of evidence is challenged in the round. Judges shouldn't read evidence for that specific reason you highlight - intended or not, a reading of evidence can introduce to the judge's understanding of the round extraneous information which did not exist during the debate.

 

While I respect the intent of your position on this issue, I would differ a bit.

 

Your interpretation begs the question--actually both sides do of:

1) defining what a debate round is (texts read, what was said, or what was heard......or some muddled confusion of the three.)

I think no matter how you slice it every judge is taking some combination of the three as the defining characteristic of what a debate round is.

2) what judging it is

3) and what are fair practices are for judging or rather what the process of fair judging looks like (Note: mostly the former two above and less of the later group of questions in three).

 

First, the assumption that there is objectivity through the veil of what occurred a debate. And they aren't always in a position to know what caused that warp/bias (their part, the room acoustics, or the debaters lack of clarity).

 

Second, its probably helpful to figure out in what types of scenarios the evidence is called for and read.....and then what type of interpretive or judging lense a given judge might use to interpret the evidence.

 

Third, there are some issues that are literally unresolved by debaters. Judges are sometimes forced or significantly hog tied to make decisions on other criteria (ie actual evidence).

 

To me this practice is akin to the jury in a case looking over the evidence after a trial.

Note: they don't get to look over all the evidence--even if it was presented in the court room--the lawyers get to object about some of it.

None, the less they need the clarity the documents provide to provide the fairest decision.

 

Judging is subjective--judging without calling for evidence is subjective--judging while calling for evidence is subjective. Its just subjective in a different way.

 

I think Ankur's model is like a black box. If what is in the black box was read in the debate.....the judge should be able to read it....particularly if the round revolves around those issues.

 

Looking at evidence after the round is a form of contextualization. Its a way of looking at the fairness and truth and education questions with a particular type of perspective. Its a process that if applied fairly--or with the intent of fairness is fair. Particularly when the alternative is not knowing or absence of knowledge or truth--being in the dark.

 

Generally, judges call for evidence in which one of five things occurred:

1. the round hung on the issue or the position hung on the issue (ie to provide clarity to what is a cloudy or murky issue in terms of judging).

2. they want to see the evidence to help in their explanation of the decision (ie to provide clarity)--or rather to help provide insight for their recommendations to debates (not the RFD proper).

3. the 2ar or 2nr flagged it as a big deal.--so their decisions might include said evidence--in order to contextualize what else is happening (ie to have both sides of the story before the post-round begins).

4. to get the cite or perform competitive intelligence

5. other. curiosity. (I honestly don't know what else falls under this reason or justification)

 

All of the above seem like legitimate practices. (Perhaps excluding number 5 because its obviously pretty vague--kind of a catch-all). Oh...and there are judges who do call for evidence who then let it color their decisions--but I think this is a small minority. Perhaps 5% of the judging pool--or perhaps 5% of rounds that were never really resolved by debaters in the first place.

 

I would add the speed and volume of debate means that this practice is also legitimate--as long as practiced within the realms of fairness. Expecting judges to be mimieograph machines or court stenographers for 6 debate rounds is perhaps beyond absurd. Speed and volume of evidence guarantees distortion.....and I would argue "unfair" distortion in the process......reading evidence serves to clear this up. Lets say you actually heard 50% of the card and you remember 50% of that. Making decisions in that context....without reading the evidence is impossible.

 

Did they read X or Y part of the Mead card VS did they ACTUALLY read X or Y part of the Khalilzhad evidence.

 

Ankurs definition might be "fair" but compared to what....and what might be the educational fallout. It begs the question of the opportunity cost.

 

Reading evidence is a means of resolving competing claims by both sides--made in the debate in terms of link, impact, or risk.

Reading evidence beats not knowing.

Reading evidence beats guessing.

Hearing is imperfect

Memory is imperfect.

Reading specific evidence (we'll call it tipping point evidence) helps provide clarity and truth in this fog of evidence and war and scribbles on the flow.

 

This is probably only 90% of what I wanted to say...but I hope it conveys my thoughts on the issue. Plus judges that manipulate that part of the process are prone to manipulate other processes. (i didn't hear that or thats not how I interpreted that). All text is subject to some degree of interpretation--a little big of wiggle room if you will. Ergo, there doesn't seem to be much difference in terms of fairness--except that reading evidence--and reading specific evidence by a specific and consistent criteria--is key to providing a beacon of light on the shadows , black boxes, and ice bergs........that the judge may have missed amidst the flurry or hail storm of evidence, arguments, and counter-claims. It provides a better fairness criteria than the 3 words they have half scribbled as the tag for the Mead evidence--which is often the alternative.

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nathan_debate I agree with most of what you're saying, but I think you underestimate the amount that judges unjustifiably call for evidence. When a card is extended with no warrant given, it's not an argument, it's just a claim. I think a big problem is when a judge says "give me all the cards you read on (x) in the debate", as happened in my round. One relatively clear brightline for evidence should be that you have to have the specific argument in one of the last 2 speeches. The judge can identify the argument by author/date (let me see the mueller 09 evidence) or the warrant (let me see the card that says bio-terror is logistically impossible). By forcing yourself to give specifics for the card you want, you prevent the lazy practice of just calling for everything and looking for a cheap shot.

 

I also don't like the jury analogy. A juror's job is not to vote for the lawyer who better presented the case, but to vote for the true side. They should have access to as much evidence as possible and should make arguments not brought up in the trial if the truth is at stake. A judge in a policy round should never do this.

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