Announcing The 3NR Spirit of Disclosure Award

After the conclusion of the Tournament of Champions in May, The 3NR will be selecting one high school policy debate team to receive the first annual Spirit of Disclosure Award. Voted on by the writers of The 3NR, this award will recognize the team that best represents the spirit of disclosure throughout the season.

The Spirit of Disclosure Award will be based entirely upon public disclosure of argument outlines and evidence citations on The National Debate Coaches’ Association Wiki. Selection criteria include:

  • Completeness of information: does the team’s wiki page have full outlines of affirmative and negative arguments? Does it include complete outlines with full citations and first-and-last words for all evidence? Does it include outlines of each case the team has read on the affirmative as well as major 2AC arguments (add-ons, answers to generic positions, etc.)? Does it include outlines of generic negative positions as well as specific negative strategies against particular cases? The quality and quantity of a team’s disclosure will be the most important criterion that the voters consider.

  • Organization of information: is the team’s wiki page organized so that information can be accessed effectively? While more disclosure is always better than less disclosure, a poorly-organized wiki page can make navigating information about a team’s arguments difficult if not impossible. Proper use of “Contents” headers and sub-headers, bold/underline formatting, and spacing are all important aspects of a well-organized wiki page.

  • Consistency of disclosure: does the team consistently disclose their (new) arguments in a timely fashion? In addition to completeness and organization, it is important that information be shared in time for other teams to utilize it in their preparation. Teams that wait until right before their next tournament to disclose the arguments they read at their last tournament do not uphold the spirit of disclosure that this award seeks to recognize.

  • Responsiveness to requests: does the team respond to requests for outlines and citations in a reasonable timeframe? Do promises to “post it on the wiki when we get home” never seem to be fulfilled (at least not without several follow-up emails)? While the voters may not have direct experience with every team, we will do our best to survey the community and gauge the reputations of the teams we are considering for the award.

  • Post-season disclosure practices: does the team post information about new arguments it has read at the NDCA Championship and the TOC in a timely fashion? Is the outline of the new affirmative they broke in round two still MIA after round seven? Equally important, does the team “hoard” information about other teams’ arguments to gain a competitive advantage or do they post outlines and citations they have collected on the wiki?

A list of finalists for the award will be posted on the site in the weeks following the TOC. The winner will receive a trophy/plaque and public recognition on The 3NR. Teams do not need to be nominated in order to be considered but suggestions for teams that we should consider are welcome (either in the comments or via email). Special thanks to Arnav Kejriwal of The Greenhill School for suggesting this idea several months ago. Good luck and go update your wiki pages!

29 thoughts on “Announcing The 3NR Spirit of Disclosure Award

  1. Rick

    Whitney Young

    If they don't win it would be an injustice comparable to a career ending injury for Prince Fielder.

  2. TimAlderete

    While Kinkaid's disclosure is massive and impressive, there are 33,000 words in their disclosure. Whitney Young has 55,000 words in theirs. St Marks has 46,000 words in theirs. Bronx has 19,000. Our own disclosure is a paltry 9,000 words – if the purpose of this award is to shame people into disclosing more, it is working Exactly as planned, so, I approve and feel shame.

  3. Scott Phillips Post author

    Actually Tim the whole reason I got into debate was to make you feel shame, so this is the culmination of all my hopes and dreams.

    I will say word count might not be the best standard for a few reasons
    -some teams have 50 plan texts they read once
    -some teams include a lot more in the quals part of the tag, or article titles etc
    -some teamns include more words
    etc. etc.

    I would def. vote more based on organizational quality which I think is the most important tie breaker between teams with a lot up there. I would also say to eliminate filler like old politics args etc

  4. Kush Patel

    I think the usefulness/quality of cites needs to be a factor in this decision. I don't think anyone is interested in a military tradeoff disad or a T violation that was put out at camp.

  5. Scott Phillips Post author

    One other thing- I think looking at things after the TOC is prob. a poor picture. I have been paying relatively close attention all year and will base my judgement on that- a team that just adds a ton of stuff after their year is over is not as helpful. I can't speak for the other esteemed judges (or for roy) but I think it should be a year long thing.

  6. Bill Batterman Post author

    @Scott Phillips

    Agreed. The post-TOC cutoff is intended to inspire teams to continue good disclosure practices through the NDCA and TOC tournaments. I will vote based on "body of work throughout the year", too, but if a team's disclosure at NDCA/TOC is terrible that will hurt them.

  7. Kevin Hirn

    @Kush Patel

    Strongly disagree.

    Although obviously copying and pasting camp files is a waste of everyone's time, I don't think the wiki should be regulated to only the best case negatives – new cards cut on topicality (which I do because I'm lazy and go for T) and generic DAs are incredibly helpful – they guide people who stalk the recent updates page on the wiki like I do to areas with resurging robust debate in the literature (like in October when a speech on the military Obama gave spared a ton of sweet guns v butter cards like the Mearsheimer article).

    Not to mention that any negative argument any team makes with regularity should be put on the wiki – really helps prepping against that specific team and helps give new ideas for positions to cut/new strategies to both expect and innovate off of. Also, not to mention that there is a threshold of quality evidence that people *generally* require before reading it that many camp files do not meet – even if their arguments are camp-based, picking the best ones and posting the best cards –> finding the best articles –> finding new articles –> pushing the direction of the topic in new ways.

    I don't necessarily think this makes word count the best criteria for who wins the award – you could theoretically just put 50 plan texts you have read once (for example, we have six plan texts for three affs.. perhaps that is inflating our word count). I don't even think this has any bearing on the award. But I think debate would be better if everyone tried to put all of their neg arguments on the wiki.

    As far as "usefulness" goes, that's an *incredibly* subjective label. Are "useful" files the ones that win the most rounds – in that case, whoever wins the TOC should auto-win the award, because their cards are the most useful. It's really hard to gauge the value of strategies against one another – and even if it's possible, I don't think that's really what the "spirit of disclosure" entails.

  8. Kush Patel

    @Kevin Hirn

    Kevin my point isn't that we should completely disregard teams who put up camp files, T-violations, etc. its more that a component of the decision that goes into this reward should take into account teams who put up arguments that are innovative, new, and strategic. The reason why is that it encourages the topic to grow and change away from the politics and states to more in-depth case specific strategies. Encouraging people to put up in-depth and well thought out strategies would not only mean that the quality of debate would increase, but it would also force other affirmative teams that are browsing the wiki to learn more about their aff (by cutting answers, etc.). Putting up camp files doesn't do the topic ANY good, because its just a regurgitation of information we already know. Which by extent may be a punishment to those teams that have just put up camp files, but that is fine in my books- we should be encouraging teams to do more research and push the limits on the topic.

    Again, my point wasn't that we should ban people from putting up their generic DA's, camp files, etc. which is what I feel you think I meant. Because I do think you are absolutely right that putting positions that you have gone for a lot on the wiki does make sense. I'm just not sure that it that should be a major determining factor. As for your "vetting argument" I think that debate is work and one should be able to vet their own cards instead of relying on others. That way they know the argument better. It's also not like any of these camp files are inaccessible, they are all posted on openev.

    And yes you are right, what constitutes usefulness is inevitably going to be subjective but I trust Mr. Batterman to do whats right. 🙂

  9. Andrew Markoff

    don't get why quality of strategy has anything to do with the "spirit" of disclosure.

    it seems fair to equally reward teams that go for generic kritiks or the states cp more than "case-specific strategies" (the states cp, in my opinion, is as good as these strategies in many instances anyway) as long as the LEVEL of disclosure is the same.

    the point of this contest seems to be encouraging people to be open about arguments and foster in-depth debate, not to force a particular type of debate (what kush refers to as moving the topic forward) on people who have other ways they choose to win

    maybe just because im lazy

  10. Ellis

    response time is also key
    im lazy and straight up ignore aff requests, but teams that get things up quickly and respond to requests deserve extra credit. this is harder to judge but a perfectly organized page with everything read doesn't matter if you needed it a week ago

  11. SP

    It seems this post has already resulted in a spurt of wikki adding which is good.


    It takes you 2 seconds to delete old politics. If every person who looks at your wiki spends 1 second looking at old/irrelevant Midterms U cites then you fixing it would save a ton of time (esp since some people compulsively check your wiki constantly….layne..) Esp when time before a round is short I think that would be quite helpful.

  12. Scott Phillips Post author

    I was just googling key words to a card from a college wiki and a full text version of the card was posted on a certain teams HS wiki. I can't speak for BB or coach L, but full text will def. score points with me.

  13. Robert

    I think Bronk EM deserves some sort of recognition for posting the text of almost all of their cards (even ones they paid for on L/N) from the negative side. This is especially helpful to small teams who are looking to run new args on the neg but can't afford the research costs of big teams.

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