Monthly Archives: January 2010

Last of the Flo-hicans: the death of tabula rasa judging-Part 2- about the cult of evidence

I don’t know that analytics have ever been particularly prominent in the time that I’ve been involved in debate, but they have definitely moved from the endangered species act to extinct. One of the reasons for this is that many judges don’t seem to be giving weight to reasonable analytics- like say sever perms are a vi…

Just kidding. But this is related to Part 1 about judge intervention because I believe that many judges are inserting themselves into the debate and making the argument “evidence trumps analytics” when that argument is not made by the team on the side of the card. The most common instances I see of this are things like:

-generic K link card vs specific K no link analytic, same with alt solvency

-generic CP solvency card (like states) vs specific analytic no solvency arg

-disad internal link card vs internal link press

So, the thesis of this post is: if you are a tabula rasa judge (which you should be) you should not give particular weight to an argument simply because it is carded in the absence of an argument made by the team that you do so.

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Best Card 3- Reps Focus Bad-updated

Neg reads reps K (generic), you need to answer it- blah blah blah.

In answering this, think about what the neg argument is- what are they trying to accomplish by making the debate about reps? Obviously the negative is trying to exclude certain parts of the aff so that they can’t win them as offense (like reasons the plan is good for instance) so in choosing the best card you want a card that will help you stop them from doing that. Arguments off the top of my head that the neg uses to do this are things like

-reps limit our consideration of alternatives

-reps highlight underlying thought structures that impact our ability to decide if the plan is desireable

-flawed reps make the plan unnecessary since there is no need for action

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Posting Comments with Links


So the spam filter basically flags any comment with a link in it apparently- so those of you who have suggested google search engines for instance it thinks you are spammers- so be patient, apparently I have to mark the comment as not spam, and them come back and approve it again for it to show up.

The Case For Judges Providing Written Comments On Their Ballots

Contention One: Inherency

In the status quo, the vast majority of high school policy debate judges (at least those at “national circuit” tournaments) do not provide written comments on their ballots. A very small subset of judges—approximately ten percent based on an unscientific assessment of the publicly-posted ballots from the St. Mark’s and Blake tournaments—provide any written content at all. Of that subset, an even smaller group of judges provides “substantial” written commentary (defined as more than a short, one or two sentence reason for decision). Some tournaments have responded to this norm by eliminating ballots entirely—The Glenbrooks, for example, only provides small judge cards that are not copied or scanned for the competitors.

Thus The Plan:

High school policy debate judges should provide written comments on their ballots. This commentary should supplement—not replace—post-round oral disclosure and discussion of the debate.

Contention Two: The Advantage

The plan is superior to the status quo for all three relevant constituencies: debaters, coaches, and judges.

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