In February, we announced the creation of The 3NR Spirit of Disclosure Award to recognize the team that best represents the spirit of disclosure throughout the season. In announcing this Award, we established five criteria: completeness of information, organization of information, consistency of disclosure, responsiveness to requests, and post-season disclosure practices. Our goal was for this Award to become a coveted honor that would motivate students and teams to improve their disclosure practices for the benefit of the entire community. After just a few months, we are confident that this has indeed been the case and have plans to continue (and perhaps expand) this Award in the future.
After careful review of The National Debate Coaches’ Association National Argument List wiki that took into account the stated criteria, the writers of The 3NR have submitted their ballots and the votes have been tabulated. Each ballot included an ordinal ranking of five teams and the results were then compiled by assigning a point value to each placement (5 points for a #1 ranking, 4 points for a #2 ranking, 3 points for a #3 ranking, 2 points for a #4 ranking, and 1 point for a #5 ranking). The authors were free to name any team on their ballot; there was no list of finalists from which to choose and there was no set criteria that must be followed.
Despite the open-ended nature of the voting system, the results were very consistent across all three ballots. In total, seven teams appeared on at least one ballot and three teams appeared on all three. The top five teams (as well as two honorable mentions) are listed below the fold along with an explanation of their placement. In parentheses, each team’s rankings on the individual judges’ ballots is also provided (in the order of Bill, Scott, and Roy).
Congratulations to all of the teams that received votes.
5. Whitney Young — Misael Gonzalez & Kevin Hirn (3rd, NR, 5th)
One of the early frontrunners, Whitney Young fell in the rankings because of the perception that their page lacked effective organization and useable structure. A second-semester overhaul of their affirmative disclosure certainly helped, but one voter left them off his ballot entirely because of concerns about usability. Despite their fifth-place finish, Misael and Kevin were certainly instrumental in establishing a pro-disclosure trend among top national circuit teams and their completeness is something in which they should take a great deal of pride.
4. St. Mark’s — Rishee Batra & Alex Miles (5th, 2nd, NR)
While St. Mark’s provided less information than Whitney Young, they placed one spot higher on the list in large part because of the quality of their organizational structure. By effectively but modestly using sub-headings to separate their arguments in a logical way, Rishee and Alex avoided the “information overload” problem that plagued some of the other candidates for the Award. The quality of their disclosure during the TOC was also a strong point in their favor: their new arguments were posted quickly and completely, an example that others should certainly seek to emulate.
3. Loyola Blakefield — Patrick McCleary & Thomas Pacheco (2nd, 5th, 3rd)
One of only three teams to be ranked on all three ballots, Loyola Blakefield emerged as something of a dark horse during the latter part of the season. As the top team on a “small school” squad, Patrick and Tom demonstrated an impressive commitment to thorough and open disclosure that disproved the myth that such programs are hurt by a culture of information sharing. Despite posting all of their 2AC blocks and everything they read on the negative, they managed to become the first team from their school to qualify for the TOC. The quality of their organization and the completeness of their information—especially during the post-season tournaments—set Loyola Blakefield apart from almost everyone else in the country.
2. Kinkaid — Nikhil Bontha & Layne Kirshon (4th, 3rd, 2nd)
With one more point than Loyola Blakefield, The Kinkaid School earns the second spot on our list. While the structure of their page was a bit worse than some of the other candidates, the thoroughness of the information they disclosed and the timeliness with which they disclosed it earned Nikhil and Layne a spot on all three ballots. Like St. Mark’s and Loyola Blakefield, Kinkaid also earned points for continuing their strong disclosure practices during the post-season tournaments.
1. Bronx Science — Zack Elias & Andrew Markoff (1st, 1st, 1st)
While the judges disagreed about the rest of the top five, they were unanimous in their choice of the team that tops the list. Bronx Science was one of the first teams to provide comprehensive disclosure on their wiki page, something that put them securely in the conversation for the Award. But their decision later in the year to provide the full text of every card they read in a debate set them apart from every other candidate and secured the top spot on our list.
By every measure, Bronx Science’s disclosure has been superb. Their pages—they needed two to accommodate all of the information they have provided—are well-organized (and were dramatically improved based on feedback received from The 3NR), the depth and breadth of their disclosure is unparalleled, and they have consistently added information in a timely fashion (including at the NDCA and TOC).
Zack and Andrew have provided a model that we hope teams will adopt in the future. As the first team (high school or college) to disclose the full text of their evidence, they have taken the important first step in demonstrating the feasibility and desirability of full text disclosure as a community norm. One of the top few teams in the country, Bronx Science decisively demonstrated that full and open information sharing does not tradeoff with a team’s competitive interests.
The 3NR is proud to present Zack Elias and Andrew Markoff of the Bronx High School of Science with the inaugural Spirit of Disclosure Award. Congratulations!