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#1 Dr. Fox On Socks

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 11:49 PM

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

Don't worry about asking questions that you think may be simple or silly; this is the internet, we don't know who you are unless you tell us and the whole reason this forum exists is to help debaters learn from people who are willing to help. We were all novices once...
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#2 Aaron100

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 04:50 PM

What is Parli Debate?
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#3 topspeaker70

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 08:39 PM

What is Parli Debate?


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

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

Specifically, in response to your question, Parli Debate is

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

2. Public Bor'em Debate;

3. Ineffable twaddle;

4. Sound and fury signifying nothing;

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

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

7. The WWF of forensics;

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

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

10. Out of order at this time.



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

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

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

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



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

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

Too much.
Too little.
Too late.
And, yes, I can be an ass.
Too soon.
Too often.

Sorry.

Edited by topspeaker70, 16 February 2009 - 11:23 AM.

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#4 Dr. Fox On Socks

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 09:08 PM

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

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 09:49 PM

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


Check out

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Typical speaking order and times:

First Affirmative (a.k.a. "Prime Minister?") - 7 minutes
First Negative (a.k.a "Leader of the Opposition?") - 8 minutes
Second Affirmative (a.k.a ???) - 8 minutes
Second Negative (ditto) - 7 minutes
Negative Rebuttal - 4 minutes
Affirmative Rebittal - 3 minutes.

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

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

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

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

Edited by topspeaker70, 16 February 2009 - 11:11 AM.

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#6 debater08

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 09:17 AM

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

I tend to agree with Dr. Miller but parli definitely has its abilities. You have to think more on your feet, not rely on evidence but logic, and not rely on debate jargon. being a policy debater for life I still am not in love with parli but it has definitely improved my overall debating skills in the areas of critical thinking, logical arguments, and judge adaptability
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#7 topspeaker70

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 10:44 AM

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

I thank the Chair, and yield back the balance of my time.
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Michael H. Miller, J.D. (JURIS DOCTOR)
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#8 debater08

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 09:40 AM

Dr. Miller are you judging this weekend at the parli marathon??
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#9 topspeaker70

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:18 AM

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


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

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 07:27 PM

This is true for some of college parli

but not all

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

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

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

This is more consistent with the international style, used by great britain and other places. it's often known as oxford-style debate, and i'm pretty sure no one from oxford spreads
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#11 topspeaker70

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 05:34 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited by topspeaker70, 22 February 2009 - 05:45 AM.

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#12 J3ffr0

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 12:39 PM

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

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 03:36 PM

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


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

i wonder what a dude like miller would be like in real life.
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#14 Aaron100

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:17 PM

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

I do policy and extemp and ive done LD so i know how to debate value, policy.. but what other topic types are their coressponding events for?
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#15 Aaron100

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:27 PM

id be at A&M College Station

any advice for the south texas area... thanks
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#16 Belcher

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 11:39 PM

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

Edited by Pete Wentz, 02 May 2009 - 11:44 PM.

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#17 debater08

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 10:39 AM

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

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

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

Edited by debater08, 04 June 2009 - 11:27 AM.

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#18 topspeaker70

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 10:43 AM

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


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

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:14 AM

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

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


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


#20 Wonder

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 04:40 PM

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

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

It's pretty cool.
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