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Varsity Four Person  

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  1. 1. Is Varsity Four Person Legit?

    • Yes
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    • No
      41


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I am a third year, junior, high school debater from Appleton East High School in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I was hoping to look for some insight on other debater's local circuits as well as share some thoughts about mine.  Although there are many problems within the WDCA (Wisconsin Debate Coaches Association), I feel it necessary to attack the issue from the bottom-up, beginning with Novice "Debate," if it should even be called it.

 

  1. I feel it may be similar for most other novice circuits, but 95% of the novice debates judged within Wisconsin are done by completely Lay Judges which sometimes are your soccer mom volunteering for a weekend and voting for one team because she liked their tie more. This alone is obviously an issue that encourages poor debate skills. 
  2. Throughout the entirety of the season, the novice division is limited to reading three plan texts. Most of the time, these aren't even anywhere near the best affirmatives out there. My novice year (space topic), the affirmatives were ASATs, Space Debris, and Moon Col.  This year it is lifting the entire Cuban Embargo, Border Security with Mexico, and Venezuela Oil.  Now yes these affirmatives are sometimes good, but they are THE ONLY AFFIRMATIVES that are allowed to be read.
  3. The infamous "No Kritiks or Counterplans Rule" is in effect for the WDCA for the entirety of the novice season.  However this year, there has been an exception made.  After November 1st the novices were allowed to read one specific counterplan.  Not one counterplan per round, but one counterplan per round, and that counterplan will be predetermined by the WDCA and that is the only counterplan that can be run.  The counterplan that was chosen was the Democracy Conditions CP, which has some major issues to it substantively, let alone the fact that it is 1) a conditions counterplan, 2) it must be run UNCONDITIONALLY.  This means there is no use in reading a disadvantage, or even case defense.  If a novice was going to read this counterplan, it would make the most sense for them to simply read the counterplan in the 1NC and sit down.  I personally have coached our novices to not read the counterplan, but have given them sufficient material to defeat it.
  4. As I mentioned earlier, the November 1st Date.  This not only is a date in which the first counterplan to ever be read in a novice debate in Wisconsin was allowed, but is also a date in which any innovative argument can be read.  Every year at the beginning of the season, all novices in WI are provided with the same evidence. These arguments are the only arguments that can be read up until Nov. 1.  This includes only 2 DAs, the 3 Affs, and 2 T violations and obviously some case negs. 
  5. Of course spreading would be a ridiculous thing to ever allow in a novice debate. 

There are not only problems within novice debate, but many that resonate throughout the varsity level as well.

 

  1. Judging: My very first round in WI this year (We had already attended 2 Nat Circuit Tournaments) I had a judge that had never seen a policy debate round in her entire life. Many ballots are casted just as political moves, not relevant to the debaters' activity in the round, somewhat similar to the NDT circuit point inflation scandal, but obviously as just a local circuit WI is on a much smaller scale.  Above all, tab rooms fail to put qualified judges in the correct places; for 2 years there was a judge who was only judging PF until he was needed to replace a policy round.  It turned out that the replacement judge debated NDT in college and was by far more qualified than the judge we were supposed to have.
  2. I sat in a room last weekend waiting for 20 minutes for a judge's decision with the other team, only to find out he didn't give oral disclosure.  It was pretty upsetting and in fact is a major issue that occurs probably half the rounds i debate in WI. A judge can only write so much on a ballot, and oral disclosure I believe is a key part to bettering a debater's skills as they are able to receive interactive feedback on their performance. 
  3. The damned Stock Issues Paradigm just resonates throughout maybe a quarter of the state?
  4. I can not even tell you how many times I've had arguments along the lines of "Speed Reading Bad" read against me, either in the form of straight-up theory, or a kritik.  The fact that I'm able to read faster because I practice and care about debate to prepare myself to debate on the national circuit (we attend roughly 4 circuit tournaments a year) doesn't mean I should be rejected from WI debate, amirite?
  5. IF YOU ARE GOING TO READ ANYTHING READ THIS:  â€‹I do not know if this ridiculous idea exists anywhere else, but I am very curious to find out, it is the concept of what is called "'Varsity' Four Person Debate" Extra Quotes within "Varsity" because I refuse to glorify it along with what I believe is real debate. In a four person team, there are two teams of two people.  One of those teams goes aff every round, and another is neg every round.  Those two teams records are added together for their 4 person team score. These are two individual teams that at the end of the day function as one. I hope you understand my explanation of  "'Varsity' Four Person Debate," if you do not please don't be afraid to ask me to reexplain it.  Personally, I believe this form of debate is illegitimate and here's why.
  • ​It obviously kills switch side debate.  A switch side debate format is good because it encourages debaters to detach themselves from the emotional ramifications of any given argument presented as they will most likely have to debate for it, and against it.  Example: Through the first four tournaments of the season all but 3 of my 2NRs was free trade bad, however that did not stop me from reading a big ol' free trade advantage on the aff. Detaching oneself from arguments within the debate space allows debaters to learn both sides of the argument so that they can better their position to form their personal advocacy on the topic outside of round.
  • It leads to lack expansion education on the negative. I understand that there are many many affirmatives to be run, however, there are many many arguments that arguably link to every affirmative, policy or kritikal (i.e. poltics disads, condition counterplans, neoliberalism K, psychoanalysis K).  This being said, one team being negative every round means they can read the same arguments, every round.  In fact, many four person teams do. Whereas, even if switch side teams do this on the negative, they still see many other arguments while they are on the affirmative themselves. Learning about more things is obviously good, because it encourages teams to learn in depth about more arguments.  Not just one, because with time constraints within debate especially, there is only so far in depth that one person can go educationally. 

I could give you more reasons, but there's the cliff notes on why I think Wisconsin Debate is ridiculous.  If you could please take the time to answer the poll regarding Varsity Four Person, it would make my day.  If you read this entire thing, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart and truly wish to hear more about debate in your parts of the country. I hope this forum can help better my and your understanding of debate across the nation.

Edited by KStumby
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I am a third year, junior, high school debater from Appleton East High School in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I was hoping to look for some insight on other debater's local circuits as well as share some thoughts about mine.  Although there are many problems within the WDCA (Wisconsin Debate Coaches Association), I feel it necessary to attack the issue from the bottom-up, beginning with Novice "Debate," if it should even be called it.

 

  1. I feel it may be similar for most other novice circuits, but 95% of the novice debates judged within Wisconsin are done by completely Lay Judges which sometimes are your soccer mom volunteering for a weekend and voting for one team because she liked their tie more. This alone is obviously an issue that encourages poor debate skills. 

Problem yes

  1. Throughout the entirety of the season, the novice division is limited to reading three plan texts. Most of the time, these aren't even anywhere near the best affirmatives out there. My novice year (space topic), the affirmatives were ASATs, Space Debris, and Moon Col.  This year it is lifting the entire Cuban Embargo, Border Security with Mexico, and Venezuela Oil.  Now yes these affirmatives are sometimes good, but they are THE ONLY AFFIRMATIVES that are allowed to be read.

Limiting novice cases is, in some cases a good idea. Much like debate camp, limiting the number of affirmatives means that debaters put much more effort into learning the FORM and its relation to CONTENT, which makes them learn faster. It ensures clash which is obviously better for education. Now 3 for the whole year is definitely problematic. I think the aff specificly isn't really important. I'm not worried that novices don't get the most bad ass affs, but they know whats being said and whats going on in every debate. It increases their comfort and gives them a reasonable scope of prep for their first few tournaments.

  1. The infamous "No Kritiks or Counterplans Rule" is in effect for the WDCA for the entirety of the novice season.  However this year, there has been an exception made.  After November 1st the novices were allowed to read one specific counterplan.  Not one counterplan per round, but one counterplan per round, and that counterplan will be predetermined by the WDCA and that is the only counterplan that can be run.  The counterplan that was chosen was the Democracy Conditions CP, which has some major issues to it substantively, let alone the fact that it is 1) a conditions counterplan, 2) it must be run UNCONDITIONALLY.  This means there is no use in reading a disadvantage, or even case defense.  If a novice was going to read this counterplan, it would make the most sense for them to simply read the counterplan in the 1NC and sit down.  I personally have coached our novices to not read the counterplan, but have given them sufficient material to defeat it.

Novices fuck up case debates, let alone conditional advocacies. Obviously introducing these arguments over time would be good. I think the WDCA is too strict and definitely under-educates novices in critical debate which is extremely detrimental IMO. Now again, the substance issue might be problematic, but FORM > CONTENT in novice debate. The whole conditionality thing makes sense, but they should probably start fazing that out further into the season. Multiple conditional worlds increases in complexity exponentially, not rigidly. "This means there is no use in reading a disadvantage, or even case defense" Doesn't make sense... You need a net benefit to the counter-plan and a solvency deficit to the aff. You are doing a disservice in not teaching them the counterplan.

  1. As I mentioned earlier, the November 1st Date.  This not only is a date in which the first counterplan to ever be read in a novice debate in Wisconsin was allowed, but is also a date in which any innovative argument can be read.  Every year at the beginning of the season, all novices in WI are provided with the same evidence. These arguments are the only arguments that can be read up until Nov. 1.  This includes only 2 DAs, the 3 Affs, and 2 T violations and obviously some case negs. 
  2. Of course spreading would be a ridiculous thing to ever allow in a novice debate. 

This, again, can be a good thing. I think they limit it too much, although the idea makes sense.

 

There are not only problems within novice debate, but many that resonate throughout the varsity level as well.

 

  1. Judging: My very first round in WI this year (We had already attended 2 Nat Circuit Tournaments) I had a judge that had never seen a policy debate round in her entire life. Many ballots are casted just as political moves, not relevant to the debaters' activity in the round, somewhat similar to the NDT circuit point inflation scandal, but obviously as just a local circuit WI is on a much smaller scale.  Above all, tab rooms fail to put qualified judges in the correct places; for 2 years there was a judge who was only judging PF until he was needed to replace a policy round.  It turned out that the replacement judge debated NDT in college and was by far more qualified than the judge we were supposed to have.

I know this feel

  1. I sat in a room last weekend waiting for 20 minutes for a judge's decision with the other team, only to find out he didn't give oral disclosure.  It was pretty upsetting and in fact is a major issue that occurs probably half the rounds i debate in WI. A judge can only write so much on a ballot, and oral disclosure I believe is a key part to bettering a debater's skills as they are able to receive interactive feedback on their performance. 

Yes, yes, yes.

  1. The damned Stock Issues Paradigm just resonates throughout maybe a quarter of the state?

Also know that feel.

  1. I can not even tell you how many times I've had arguments along the lines of "Speed Reading Bad" read against me, either in the form of straight-up theory, or a kritik.  The fact that I'm able to read faster because I practice and care about debate to prepare myself to debate on the national circuit (we attend roughly 4 circuit tournaments a year) doesn't mean I should be rejected from WI debate, amirite?

While I don't think you should debate worst against bad teams, I think spreading is just fucked up in local/lay debate if:

1. the other team is lay/young, in which there is no way you can lose, and the judge actually knows whats going on. Atleast do they the service of letting them understand what you are saying. There is no reason why you shouldn't talk at a reasonable "lay" pace, other than to be a douche. I'm not going to lie, I've done this to teams, and let me tell you seeing their faces made me feel like shit afterwards.

2. the judge is lay

  1. IF YOU ARE GOING TO READ ANYTHING READ THIS:  â€‹I do not know if this ridiculous idea exists anywhere else, but I am very curious to find out, it is the concept of what is called "'Varsity' Four Person Debate" Extra Quotes within "Varsity" because I refuse to glorify it along with what I believe is real debate. In a four person team, there are two teams of two people.  One of those teams goes aff every round, and another is neg every round.  Those two teams records are added together for their 4 person team score. These are two individual teams that at the end of the day function as one. I hope you understand my explanation of  "'Varsity' Four Person Debate," if you do not please don't be afraid to ask me to reexplain it.  Personally, I believe this form of debate is illegitimate and here's why.
  • ​It obviously kills switch side debate.  A switch side debate format is good because it encourages debaters to detach themselves from the emotional ramifications of any given argument presented as they will most likely have to debate for it, and against it.  Example: Through the first four tournaments of the season all but 3 of my 2NRs was free trade bad, however that did not stop me from reading a big ol' free trade advantage on the aff. Detaching oneself from arguments within the debate space allows debaters to learn both sides of the argument so that they can better their position to form their personal advocacy on the topic outside of round.
  • It leads to lack expansion education on the negative. I understand that there are many many affirmatives to be run, however, there are many many arguments that arguably link to every affirmative, policy or kritikal (i.e. poltics disads, condition counterplans, neoliberalism K, psychoanalysis K).  This being said, one team being negative every round means they can read the same arguments, every round.  In fact, many four person teams do. Whereas, even if switch side teams do this on the negative, they still see many other arguments while they are on the affirmative themselves. Learning about more things is obviously good, because it encourages teams to learn in depth about more arguments.  Not just one, because with time constraints within debate especially, there is only so far in depth that one person can go educationally. 

This is hilarious! Agree 100%. Thank you so much for sharing this. 

I could give you more reasons, but there's the cliff notes on why I think Wisconsin Debate is ridiculous.  If you could please take the time to answer the poll regarding Varsity Four Person, it would make my day.  If you read this entire thing, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart and truly wish to hear more about debate in your parts of the country. I hope this forum can help better my and your understanding of debate across the nation.

 

<3 you too

Edited by jacobstime
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Novices fuck up case debates, let alone conditional advocacies. Obviously introducing these arguments over time would be good. I think the WDCA is too strict and definitely under-educates novices in critical debate which is extremely detrimental IMO. Now again, the substance issue might be problematic, but FORM > CONTENT in novice debate. The whole conditionality thing makes sense, but they should probably start fazing that out further into the season. Multiple conditional worlds increases in complexity exponentially, not rigidly. "This means there is no use in reading a disadvantage, or even case defense" Doesn't make sense... You need a net benefit to the counter-plan and a solvency deficit to the aff. You are doing a disservice in not teaching them the counterplan.

Just gonna address this --

 

I think that what he's trying to say is that a conditions cp usually relies on an internal net benefit and doesn't usually have any external net benefits. Knowing this, it is pointless to read an uncondo advocacy like this with case or external disads (which are probably not net benefits) because you have to go for the CP

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Just gonna address this --

 

I think that what he's trying to say is that a conditions cp usually relies on an internal net benefit and doesn't usually have any external net benefits. Knowing this, it is pointless to read an uncondo advocacy like this with case or external disads (which are probably not net benefits) because you have to go for the CP

Okay yeah you're right...

 

 

but..... politics

 

Also generic advantage internal link defense, impact defense, etc. still apply

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Just gonna address this --

 

I think that what he's trying to say is that a conditions cp usually relies on an internal net benefit and doesn't usually have any external net benefits. Knowing this, it is pointless to read an uncondo advocacy like this with case or external disads (which are probably not net benefits) because you have to go for the CP

 

I'd still have them read case defense to hedge back against any possible solvency deficits 

 

And hey, even condition CPs have tricks. Run politics with a "Unconditional engagement with Venezuela angers Republicans" link

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To more or less repeat Jacobstime, i believe limiting case areas in Novice and excluding Ks/counterplans can be beneficial.  Novices have a hard enough time learning to debate straight up stock-issue--- and Ks and counterplans bring a whole lot of theory baggage that takes way to long to get a handle on.  That one T card that everyone uses for limits good kinda makes the good point that when you don't have a good grasp on debate a large number of cases can leave you flustered (I knew when i first when advanced i panicked upon hitting an aff i had no case answers to.)  I like what Washington did last year (allowing no CP but states--- China CP would be a good thing to do this year) and that way giving novices a limited leeway into advanced.  I also like the idea of novice tournaments allowing more and more material as the year goes on, (I'd not actually thought of that besides reading your post)

 

On all your stuff about judging, that sucks, its seen here in Idaho to a lesser degree.

 

And wtf to the four-person teams.  The only thing i can even think of as comparably weird is that there are some teams where one speaker gives the first and last speech and the other gives the middle two.

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To all of those commenting on the novice portion:

 

I do believe some novice limits are good for all the aforementioned reasons and for helping to foster fundamentals before varsity trickery.

 

However, I am a firm believer in the concept of overlimiting and the negative impacts it has upon debate and I believe the rules of the WDCA do just that. Allowing close to zero innovation whatsoever as debaters are confined to a strict set of predetermined cards for much of the season.

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However, I am a firm believer in the concept of overlimiting and the negative impacts it has upon debate and I believe the rules of the WDCA do just that. Allowing close to zero innovation whatsoever as debaters are confined to a strict set of predetermined cards for much of the season.

Speaking of, is there a limit on argument research? Are novices allowed to cut new impact scenarios, or just uniqueness updates? Or does the WDCA release those cards for the debaters, too? Research can be daunting, but I wouldn't see any harm in letting them cut, say, politics updates... The only thing is that you wouldn't want coaches & varsity debaters to do all the work for them. That may be inevitable, though.

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Speaking of, is there a limit on argument research? Are novices allowed to cut new impact scenarios, or just uniqueness updates? Or does the WDCA release those cards for the debaters, too? Research can be daunting, but I wouldn't see any harm in letting them cut, say, politics updates... The only thing is that you wouldn't want coaches & varsity debaters to do all the work for them. That may be inevitable, though.

 

 

Im also from Wisconsin, the novices are not allowed to read new impact scenarios, advantages, etc until the November break away. Sadly this usually doesnt happen because everything is given to them, so they see no benefit to doing this. the WDCA usually releases a politics update once a month. The novices that I have coached actually dont have any clue what uniqueness is because they dont actually realize how the DA functions they just take the shell from the packet and read it. Alot of the time what happens is the varsity debaters or coaches do the work for them. I only started to learn basic things like cutting updates because I got out of novice debate my freshman year and went to varsity debate in late October of my Freshman year. It was only then that I actually started cut cards and understand debate. The WDCA makes novice debate a very tricky thing.

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Okay yeah you're right...

 

 

but..... politics

 

Also generic advantage internal link defense, impact defense, etc. still apply

 

 

Problem is though that the WDCA doesnt include internal link D in the ev packets that the novices can use. Politics for the WDCA is very sketch to. Last year it worked because it was an elections DA. This year they choose to give the novices a immigration DA. Problem is there were two other politics DAs for the vast majority of the time while case restrictions were on (Syria, and Debt Ceiling), so the DA was virtually useless for them because a lack of quality updates.

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the novices are not allowed to read new impact scenarios, advantages, etc until the November break away.

Idk about everyone else but my novice year was when I learned to do decent research. I think i tried cutting like 5 different files and all of them were bad in some way but it didn't cost me as much because it was novice. Basically I feel like it is really important to let novice debaters experiment with and research different arguments they have come up with in preparation for varsity. IMO the in-round experience is only half of what debate has to offer.

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I feel it may be similar for most other novice circuits, but 95% of the novice debates judged within Wisconsin are done by completely Lay Judges which sometimes are your soccer mom volunteering for a weekend and voting for one team because she liked their tie more. This alone is obviously an issue that encourages poor debate skills. 

 

Our open circuit is pretty much 50% to 70% lay most of the time, so I don't think Wisconsin is the worst at least if that makes you feel a little better

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Idk about everyone else but my novice year was when I learned to do decent research. I think i tried cutting like 5 different files and all of them were bad in some way but it didn't cost me as much because it was novice. Basically I feel like it is really important to let novice debaters experiment with and research diffIerent arguments they have come up with in preparation for varsity. IMO the in-round experience is only half of what debate has to offer.

I agree completely. Which is a large reason why I detest Wisconsin novice case limits.

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Just wondering if whoever voted yes in the poll could legitimize four person debate for me? Mainly because everyone seems to be on the page that it is not, if you truly believe it is I would love to hear why you believe it is as legitimate as a switch side debate format.

Edited by KStumby

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Our open circuit is pretty much 50% to 70% lay most of the time, so I don't think Wisconsin is the worst at least if that makes you feel a little better

I feel for you bro. Probably 25-50% of our open division is lay. Hope you're able to adapt well!

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Idk about everyone else but my novice year was when I learned to do decent research. I think i tried cutting like 5 different files and all of them were bad in some way but it didn't cost me as much because it was novice. Basically I feel like it is really important to let novice debaters experiment with and research different arguments they have come up with in preparation for varsity. IMO the in-round experience is only half of what debate has to offer.

 

^This

 

My novice year, I got nothing from our varsity until near the end of the year. I DID use open evidence for a lot of stuff, but I ended up doing research about halfway through the year and it helped a lot. Of course none of the files I made were particularly good, but you have to start somewhere. Maybe if they allowed novices to run anything the second half of the year, that'd be good

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I am a third year, junior, high school debater from Appleton East High School in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I was hoping to look for some insight on other debater's local circuits as well as share some thoughts about mine.  Although there are many problems within the WDCA (Wisconsin Debate Coaches Association), I feel it necessary to attack the issue from the bottom-up, beginning with Novice "Debate," if it should even be called it.

 

  1. I feel it may be similar for most other novice circuits, but 95% of the novice debates judged within Wisconsin are done by completely Lay Judges which sometimes are your soccer mom volunteering for a weekend and voting for one team because she liked their tie more. This alone is obviously an issue that encourages poor debate skills. 
  2. Throughout the entirety of the season, the novice division is limited to reading three plan texts. Most of the time, these aren't even anywhere near the best affirmatives out there. My novice year (space topic), the affirmatives were ASATs, Space Debris, and Moon Col.  This year it is lifting the entire Cuban Embargo, Border Security with Mexico, and Venezuela Oil.  Now yes these affirmatives are sometimes good, but they are THE ONLY AFFIRMATIVES that are allowed to be read.
  3. The infamous "No Kritiks or Counterplans Rule" is in effect for the WDCA for the entirety of the novice season.  However this year, there has been an exception made.  After November 1st the novices were allowed to read one specific counterplan.  Not one counterplan per round, but one counterplan per round, and that counterplan will be predetermined by the WDCA and that is the only counterplan that can be run.  The counterplan that was chosen was the Democracy Conditions CP, which has some major issues to it substantively, let alone the fact that it is 1) a conditions counterplan, 2) it must be run UNCONDITIONALLY.  This means there is no use in reading a disadvantage, or even case defense.  If a novice was going to read this counterplan, it would make the most sense for them to simply read the counterplan in the 1NC and sit down.  I personally have coached our novices to not read the counterplan, but have given them sufficient material to defeat it.
  4. As I mentioned earlier, the November 1st Date.  This not only is a date in which the first counterplan to ever be read in a novice debate in Wisconsin was allowed, but is also a date in which any innovative argument can be read.  Every year at the beginning of the season, all novices in WI are provided with the same evidence. These arguments are the only arguments that can be read up until Nov. 1.  This includes only 2 DAs, the 3 Affs, and 2 T violations and obviously some case negs. 
  5. Of course spreading would be a ridiculous thing to ever allow in a novice debate. 

 

Fellow Wisconsin debater. This is my fourth year and each year our team has struggled with recruitment.

First, on the status of novice debate. 

 

The main problem with judging in the novice division is the consistency of the judging, both internally and transitioning from novice to varsity. My novices often receive conflicting advice from judges, leading to confusion as to the correct course of action. Additionally, when points of agreement do come about, they tend to contradict with the general varsity opinion (ie. only going for 1 thing in the 2NR), and I have to tell my novices advice for a whole year that you should throw out what these judges are telling you when you do varsity next year. 

 

As has been mentioned before, I strongly affirm the value of novice year in promoting form rather than content. As a debater who has attempted to train novices for three years, I've found the limits imposed upon the number of cases, kritiks, and counterplans extraordinarily beneficial in maintaining interest in policy debate. Policy debate already has a very steep learning curve. Easier forms of debate are very attractive to new debaters and siphon away large numbers of would-be policy debaters. Training the novices on fundamentals is already tough enough and raising the research burden by raising the number of potential cases, allowing research before nov 1st, and allowing any K's and CP's would be disadvantageous. Three affs I think normally works pretty well, although the committee that selects the allowed novice affirmatives should make better decisions, although this year it's not too bad. On a resolution that already has 3 topic countries, the WDCA is obligated to only allow 1 aff per country, which can be limiting, but on most resolutions I think three affs works well. 

 

The restriction on new research and advs/offcase positions until November 1st is beneficial, because it promotes clash rather than finding obscure arguments and it allows novices to learn the core of the topic well. It also doesnt provide an undue research burden in the critical early weeks of the season. After this period when all novices are allowed to cut new cards, create their own DAs and advs  while still being constrained by the 3 affs is very good. This incentivizes research after students have learned clash, enabling good debates.

 

The WDCA this year experimented with the no novice K's/CP's rule by allowing a single CP after the Nov 1st date. I think this should be expanded to one counterplan and one kritik. Learning the different types of arguments is crucial. Perhaps they could be phased in gradually (ie. CPs enabled post Nov 8th, K's enabled post Nov 15th), but thats speculative. I do think though that it should be limited to just one CP and just one K. Allowing more significantly balloons research burden and the difficulty of the activity while only gaining marginal benefits in learning form, which I believe to be the purpose of novice year. I do disagree with novices being forced to run arguments unconditionally. Learning theory is good, but I can't really think of an alternative right now. 

 

On the varsity circuit...

 

I've never had a lay judge and I've never hit the speed K. Stocks isnt really a problem, because in our circuit it's basically just policymaker and none of the stocks judges are really too invested in that paradigm. A lot of the problems in our circuit I think revolve around policy four person.

 

A. Almost no tournaments offer novice switch side, meaning that in order for a single team to compete at a tournament they must bring all 4 members dedicated to attending. On a team that struggles with recruitment, this has been detrimental to getting novice teams out to compete. 3/4 members of the team are ready to go, but one person cannot, meaning that none can compete. This translates into broader problems with inexperience and recruitment. This also means that half of the teams become completely inexperienced with either aff/neg debating. 

 

B.  Because novice 4 person is the state norm, but VSS is the national norm, debaters are split going into varsity year. I would say approx half the policy teams in our circuit are in V4, while the other half are in VSS, resulting in low participation all around. The effective 'size' of our circuit could be doubled with the elimination of 4-person debate. 

 

C. Because interaction between VSS and V4 is limited, the two are radically different. I debated in a V4 tournament my sophmore year, and it was dominated by speaking/lay judges, combined with bizarre roadmapping/signposting and community norms. This is especially a problem when participation at tournaments is low and the divisions between VSS and V4 have to be collapsed. V4 and VSS teams competing against each other with a 50/50 chance of having a V4 or a VSS judge makes rounds essentially a dice-throw. Divisions were collapsed at the last tournament I competed at (I was neg) and the judge wrote this on the ballot: "Both advantages are turned. CP solves the entirety of the case. Perm doesn't work, but I vote aff because the CP is double solvency." The assistant coach of the aff team, 3 independent observers, and my team disagreed with the decision, but the judge was used to V4 and was effectively a lay judge for community norms.  

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"Mister TDebater" I do agree that novice limits are good as previously stated, however I also believe there is an overarching problem of lack of further phase in of arguments throughout the season, especially the kritik which IMO is only going to become more popular.

 

On that note as well, there are other major issues with the limits. Example, being forced to run immigration reform until November when the Syria deal and debt ceiling were both very much top of the docket over it.

 

Obviously, conflicting judge advice is always an issue and is an issue I remember from my novice year as well.

 

I actually hit speed bad theory this past weekend at a tournament where V4 and VSS were combined as well, even after delivery of a somewhat slow, IMO, 1AC.

 

I think maybe where I see the most lay judging is in instances where the V4 and VSS pools are collapsed.

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"Mister TDebater" I do agree that novice limits are good as previously stated, however I also believe there is an overarching problem of lack of further phase in of arguments throughout the season, especially the kritik which IMO is only going to become more popular.

 

On that note as well, there are other major issues with the limits. Example, being forced to run immigration reform until November when the Syria deal and debt ceiling were both very much top of the docket over it.

 

"KStumby" pretty much agree; but I think just picking the DAs better would solve the problems with the limits until Nov 1. I don't think politics DAs are good starter DAs for novices to learn.

Edited by MisterTDebater
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"KStumby" pretty much agree; but I think just picking the DAs better would solve the problems with the limits until Nov 1. I don't think politics DAs are good starter DAs for novices to learn.

I completely agree, as the internal link chain is too complex for many lay judges to even understand.

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On the varsity circuit...

 

I've never had a lay judge and I've never hit the speed K. Stocks isnt really a problem, because in our circuit it's basically just policymaker and none of the stocks judges are really too invested in that paradigm. A lot of the problems in our circuit I think revolve around policy four person.

 

A. Almost no tournaments offer novice switch side, meaning that in order for a single team to compete at a tournament they must bring all 4 members dedicated to attending. On a team that struggles with recruitment, this has been detrimental to getting novice teams out to compete. 3/4 members of the team are ready to go, but one person cannot, meaning that none can compete. This translates into broader problems with inexperience and recruitment. This also means that half of the teams become completely inexperienced with either aff/neg debating. 

 

B.  Because novice 4 person is the state norm, but VSS is the national norm, debaters are split going into varsity year. I would say approx half the policy teams in our circuit are in V4, while the other half are in VSS, resulting in low participation all around. The effective 'size' of our circuit could be doubled with the elimination of 4-person debate. 

 

C. Because interaction between VSS and V4 is limited, the two are radically different. I debated in a V4 tournament my sophmore year, and it was dominated by speaking/lay judges, combined with bizarre roadmapping/signposting and community norms. This is especially a problem when participation at tournaments is low and the divisions between VSS and V4 have to be collapsed. V4 and VSS teams competing against each other with a 50/50 chance of having a V4 or a VSS judge makes rounds essentially a dice-throw. Divisions were collapsed at the last tournament I competed at (I was neg) and the judge wrote this on the ballot: "Both advantages are turned. CP solves the entirety of the case. Perm doesn't work, but I vote aff because the CP is double solvency." The assistant coach of the aff team, 3 independent observers, and my team disagreed with the decision, but the judge was used to V4 and was effectively a lay judge for community norms.  

I have had similar things like the lay judge decision affect me in the past I judge voted on a new in the two solvency deficit to the plan arg, that wasnt even in the 2nr and then didnt even disclose his decision on why he did that action or even explain on the ballot how he viewed the solvency defiict answers. The community norms are very different and when they are combined into one it creates havoc for everyone, v4 teams get very low speaks and vss teams get upset with the judging situations. It hurts everyone and only makes the community weaker. I could see how it is very hard for you guys to attract new debaters. 

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Our open circuit is pretty much 50% to 70% lay most of the time, so I don't think Wisconsin is the worst at least if that makes you feel a little better

Try 90% and up lay, we only had one flow judge for policy dbt in the ladt four tournaments

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Utah implemented similar novice limitations this year, and while I thought it was gonna suck, I think it's helped the novices by forcing them to clash way more than in previous years. That said, UT also has a broader range of DAs and CPs to start off with, and the restrictions are getting totally lifted in December. I think WDCA has the right idea, they're just too hardcore about it. 

Utah varsity debate is fairly similar too. There's a lot of extremely lay debate with 3-4 national circuit teams interspersed that actually make tournaments worthwhile, and the judging pool definitely reflects that.

I've never heard of that four person debate crap, though, that's jacked up.

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Wow, WI debate sounds like its gotten worse since I graduated (App East class '98). Admittedly, I only debated 2 tournaments of novice ever (1 was State), because I started in LD, and on a lark they decided that 4 Varsity LDers could probably win Novice Policy at State. (Close, I think we were 2nd, and only because there wasn't elimination rounds - 4 person policy is a weird weird thing). I don't remember any argument limits at all. Varsity just handed us a tub worth of files to copy for negative, and we ran like 2 Ts and 3 DAs in the 1NC - as long as we didn't kick our voices up an octave it wasn't 'speed', lol. Not running CPs or Ks was because we expected the judges to ignore them, so it wasn't worth the effort to use them.

 

I don't remember there being an actual VSS division in-state. And I debated Varsity Policy at some local and national tournaments. (Local was mostly 4-person (except for the mildly national tournament Appleton schools arranged to host that year, and it was all SS) and it was awful. Ask judge if they're okay with speed. 'yes'. Judge looks at me like I'm satan during my 2NC).

 

Sad to hear East is only going to 4 national tournaments a year. I remember doing more than that. Are you at least getting out to Wake Forest?

 

FWIW, some Novice limits are okay, but those sound draconian. I'm working with a Chicago UDL school at the moment, and they're a lot more liberal. Ks and CPs are still banned for the 1st half of the tournaments, which is good, but there's only Aff case limits at lower divisions (comprised of schools with young programs), and after the first tournament they can preview new cases (so the other schools can research them). The top division has no previewing at all, and its whatever you care to research. Now, I'm sure a lot of the successful schools utilize outside coaches (like myself) to assist with research and teaching. And I know I do a lot of research for my team. But then, the people who did all the real work cutting evidence at East when I was there were the people competing nationally in Policy, and we don't have that kind of varsity to rely on. (All my school's varsity were novice last year, and we don't have a budget for any traveling nor the school resources to let the kids stay late and work in teh school, so we don't have the super-dedicated students that suburban schools have).

 

I think the first thing you need to recommend is that the Coaches Association offer Judge Training every so often in different areas, and get some competent former varsity debaters to teach how to judge. The UDL requires judges to have gone through judges training - they don't come out as experts, but their decisions are at least rational and interpretable. (At least when they write them on the ballots... my request to Chicago UDL next year - teach judges to write a RFD on the ballot).

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