Don't Call It A Comeback: The 3NR Podcast Makes Its Ali-Like Return To The Ring

After technical difficulties spoiled the 10th episode of The 3NR Podcast—one that we felt was our best effort to date and which will therefore be remembered forever as a lost masterpiece—we knew we needed to bring our “A” games to satisfy the voracious appetites of our loyal listeners. The result is perhaps the longest podcast in human history, clocking in at two hours, 19 minutes, and 58 seconds and chock full of debate-related content.

The episode—officially the tenth, since our previous attempt was never released to the public—features a wide-ranging discussion of topics including:

  • The Spirit of Disclosure Award: Should analytical arguments be disclosed? What level of disclosure should be expected? What makes for an effective wiki page? Woodward PP: worst wiki page in the country?
  • Flowing: A lost art?
  • Should The 3NR create other awards recognizing effective research, innovative strategies, etc.?
  • Speaker Points: Are they too high? Were the debaters “back in the day” better than those of today? Is Roy a hopeless curmudgeon or does he have a point? Should we transition to a 100-point or 30/.1 scale?
  • Why do 2N/1A’s receive higher points than 1N/2A’s? Should they?
  • Low Point Wins: Should they be banned? Scott says yes. Is he right, or are there situations where low point wins make sense?
  • Double Losses: Should they be allowed? Scott says yes—we discuss this idea and some alternatives.
  • Pairing Criteria: Is the current system (high-low within brackets using high-low adjusted points) effective? Should opponent wins be used to pair debates? Should high-high rounds be more common? Should side constraints be ignored for undefeated teams when pairing the last prelim?
  • The Politics Disad: sweet or not so sweet? Should the aff be losing debates to the politics disad? Should negs be relying on it to construct their post-season strategies?
  • “The DA Turns The Case”: the last refuge of scoundrels? What can the aff do to protect themselves from “the low risk DA turns the case, I voted neg” decisions?
  • Conditionality Gone Wild: is each plank of a multi-plank counterplan conditional? Is it okay to kick independent planks? Whose burden is it to establish the meaning of “conditionality” (or, more generally, the disposition of the counterplan)?
  • “A2:” or “AT:” (or “They Say:”) as a label for blocks: which one is best? (Yes, we actually got into an argument about this.)

And several other things that listeners probably don’t care about but might still find entertaining, like openness in Public Forum and the disturbing content of most Dramatic Interpretation pieces.

As always, you can download this episode directly or access it through iTunes.

15 thoughts on “Don't Call It A Comeback: The 3NR Podcast Makes Its Ali-Like Return To The Ring

  1. John Haggerty

    With regards to the 1N/2A getting lower points, what do people think about this scale for speaks-
    speaker points should be evaluated by what more a debater could have done in a debate. A nice fast 1NC followed by competent 1NC CX followed by a 1NR that took condo and well-covered the politics DA could not have done anything more in that debate. Why should they be punished by inherent structural barriers to their ability to give a "fantastic" speech?

    Also, I think this is kinda circular
    A large amount of teams who are at the top have one partner who is fairly stronger than their partner, because the 2N/1A is often times considered the "harder" SP, the better debaters gravitate towards the 2N. It is not like there are an even scatter of who is generally considered the best debaters between 2N's ande 2As 50-50, so this isn't a very fair comparison. The reason 2N's are disproprtionately represented is because if you have amazing debater x and soph y, x will be the 2N. It is true that really good 2A's do get lower points than their 2N's though.

  2. Roy Levkovitz Post author

    If you want a points scale, I'm not sure why the plight of the 1n ist the cause. Judges should be willing to evaluate the quality of that speech understanding their partner might not go for what they take..

    Your circular part is confusing. Yes some debaters gravitate to the 2N, the reason some of the 2Ns are getting higher speaks this year compared to last yr and other years is that the 2NS are either older or more experienced or both. Scott's point of having a strong 2a is true, if its easier to be neg, you need to have a good 2a. Being a 2a is brutal and alot of hard work if you do it well

  3. Tom Tom

    Scott – how do you reconcile double losses with what you've often defended as the role of the ballot – to determine who did the better debating?

    The only logical answer I can see to this is that both teams were so bad that nobody did the better debating and it is literally a tie in awfulness, but this seems a little ridiculous and like a cop-out; even in local novice rounds I've judged there's always been some way to make a decision while at least minimizing intervention.

    To have a round so bad that there is absolutely no room for differentiation whatsoever of any kind between the two teams seems equally as like as having a round between two teams so amazing that there is no room for differentiation at all. But in that situation a double loss would make absolutely no sense.

    This also seems to run counter to what's been advanced in a few of the hypotheticals regarding ways to refrain from intervening, even when the debaters do little to nothing to establish any kind of framing for the round.

    While I still think double losses would be cool and probably funny when handled skillfully, the idea would probably be strengthened if it were combined with some conception of how the ballot should function.

    Also, A2 is clearly the superior choice.

  4. Layne Kirshon

    Also, Hodgepodge, the pt of the Dloss is to be able to circumvent the whole concept of the ballot and just say why r u in the activity? if there were double losses roy would have quit a long time ago to the benefit of everyone

  5. Roy Levkovitz Post author

    I'd respond to that comment more thoroughly but I don't want to pay "Lips" service to Kirshon. You did manage to confirm our point in the podcast though

  6. David Mullins

    I love these things, but do you all think it is possible to adopt a more strategic focus? Out of twelve topics discussed, only four of them (flowing, condo, politics da turns the case) are actually relevant to the act of debating. Previous podcasts, like the Cap K one were awesome because I felt like I got better listening to them.

    This is a minor point though: I still listened to and enjoyed the whole thing, even though AT clearly avoids the cringe-inducing onomatopoeia most effectively.

  7. Roy Levkovitz Post author

    @David Mullins
    Proving Bill's points are too high and he's a homer. This is a Critique without an alt. Other then the cap k do you have a topic you'd like discussed? Is there an issue we've gone over that should be re-hashed or further delved into?

  8. Layne Kirshon

    ya honestly listening to roy whine about stuff is way better.

    I think ellis sums up why the podcast is awesome very effectively:

    ellis: that podcast is like…
    bill: interesting idea with a hint of geekiness
    scott: why arent people computers like me, idiot
    roy: everyone sucks
    scott: you suck

  9. Scott Phillips Post author

    A few people have now pointed out that in the past I have given out low point wins.

    Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in. I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done these things. And while I have always tried to be a private person, there are some things I want to say. My real apology will not come in the form of words; it will come from my behavior over time. I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you down, and I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down personally and professionally. My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business partners. To everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors and most importantly, the young students we reach, our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow- millions of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues. But still, I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them. was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity. I once heard, and I believe it's true, it's not what you achieve in life that matters; it's what you overcome. Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.

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