Bronx Science Wins The Inaugural 3NR Spirit of Disclosure Award

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.

Honorable Mentions

Also receiving votes—but not in the top five—were Brophy Prep (Michael Maerowitz & Zane Waxman) and New Trier (Dylan Carpenter & Ira Slomski-Pritz).

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!

24 thoughts on “Bronx Science Wins The Inaugural 3NR Spirit of Disclosure Award

  1. Kevin Hirn

    Congrats to Bronx on winning the award – obviously very well deserved. Full-text citations was a very classy move, and they have a really nicely organized wiki.

    I do have a question though: exactly how was our wiki unusable? We had everything pretty clearly organized by case area, all tags were bolded and seperated clearly from the cites and card text parts (which was an original criterion in the award that I think gave our wiki a bit of an advantage). Moreover, all citations were full. And, most importantly, it was very structured by different area of 2AC, then divided into Case Neg, DA, K, T, and CP subdivisions (which had about as much internal subdivision as St. Mark's wiki). New Trier and Bronx emulated our structure. I'm not just trying to whine or moan; it's obviously not a big deal. But I am curious how our wiki could have been better?

  2. Interested User

    Congrats to the Bronx and all the teams that received an honorable mention.

    I am curious how a small school would go about contending for the award. It seemed to me that every team nominated was either from a private school or at least a prestigious school.

    I also noticed that every team nominated had several different arguments on their wiki. Is that a factor in how a wikipage would be judged? IE: If a page has full cites, but the team doesn't have the capacity to put out several strategies. Does that hurt their ability to have a successful page?

  3. Bill Batterman Post author

    @Kevin Hirn
    I ranked you and Misael third (behind Bronx and Loyola Blakefield), so I obviously didn't have the same issues with your organizational structure as Scott (didn't rank in the top five) or Roy (5th) did. I'm not sure what an ideal structure would be; deciding what to include under specific round headings vs. generic headings is difficult. In any case, I'll let Scott and Roy explain why they voted the way they did with regard to WY.

    @Interested User
    Loyola Blakefield strikes me as a "small school" and they were ranked very highly (I had them 2nd). And really, I don't think Bronx is much of a "big school"—Zack and Andrew did the vast majority of their research with the rest being done by the other debaters on their squad and their part-time coaches. The same is true of Whitney Young and (I think) Kinkaid and St. Mark's. None of these teams are very reliant on coach-generated evidence, which I assume is the biggest metric for determining whether a given program is a "big school" or a "small school".

    These programs all are *national* programs in that they attend national circuit tournaments, and I do think that's important in terms of this award. But as far as I know, there aren't any primarily regional or local programs that have embraced this level of disclosure. If they do, I don't see why they couldn't be considered for the Award.

    As far as teams with fewer arguments go, I'm not sure how important that is because I don't think we've seen a test case. Westlake, for example, went for only a few negative arguments this year but I could envision a very comprehensive wiki that includes all of their 1NC and 2NC link cards, alternative cards, impact cards, etc. and complete round-by-round disclosure of their framework arguments, satellite critique arguments, etc. That would certainly qualify them (or a team like them) for consideration.

    This is the first time anyone has done this, so it's a work in progress. I think all three of us took it seriously and did our best to fairly recognize the teams whose disclosure practices we most want others to emulate. If in the process of doing so we privilege teams that prepare and present a more diverse collection of arguments, I can live with that… but I'm not sure (yet) if that's really true because we just haven't been presented with a "test case".

  4. Scott Phillips Post author

    The point of the wiki is to help other squads, if you don't have a lot of arguments, you aren't being as helpful.

    I voted based on year long performance, and while your wiki was quite good at the end KH, you all even admit on your page that earlier it was very repetitive/cluttered.

  5. Kevin Hirn

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-9236">
    Scott Phillips :
    I voted based on year long performance, and while your wiki was quite good at the end KH, you all even admit on your page that earlier it was very repetitive/cluttered.

    I guess that's fair; how was it any less cluttered than Kinkaid's is now? It was the exact same organizational structure; aff stuff, in no particular order other than chronological based on tournament, neg stuff in no paticular order other than chronological based on tournament. Then we spend like five hours in February revamping it, which was the same style New Trier and Bronx then adapted. Also, to annoyingly nitpick even more, if it's a year-long thing, why vote for Loyola Blakefield over us? We were probably the most disclosed team for the first half of the year, even if it was a bit more cluttered.

  6. Misael Gonzalez

    I am honest when I say Bronx without a doubt deserves the first place mark. Taking that much time to place full text cards up in a very organized manner was AWESOME. It also helped when I needed politics links quickly before a rounds at the NAUDL tournament. = D

    Now I will get a little more aggressive than Kevin did.

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-9236">
    Scott Phillips :
    I voted based on year long performance, and while your wiki was quite good at the end KH, you all even admit on your page that earlier it was very repetitive/cluttered.

    I was the one who said my aff section was repetitive on the page, then immediately fixed it 2 months before the TOC. It seems like recognizing that there was a problem then quickly fixing it well before major tournaments in March and May is something that teams should realize is a good thing. I don't care too much that I lost a competition, I am just putting some of your judgments into question.

  7. Scott Phillips Post author

    Are you 2 for real? I found your wiki page to be extremely annoying to look at/find things on throughout the year. You have cites that are 9k words in length, had a million repetitive cards, also you certainly did not invent organization on the wiki and a cursory look at Kinkaid/St marks shows that they did not steal organizational style from you.

    Get over it.

  8. TO

    Just a random thing that I liked about Kevin and Misael's wiki-for teams that read multiple affs, or have read multiple affs, its useful to just put on the wiki what aff you read at a given tournament or in a given round. There is nothing more annoying than doing a case negative only to realize that that team is no longer reading that affirmative. This is especially annoying when a team has "1AC Prisons-Greenhill" and then the 1AC for the new aff like "1AC-TANF-Blake". If that is all that is on the wiki, it would appear, due to sequencing, that the aff they have been reading in January if one is preparing for the Harvard tournament is the one they read at Blake. This is also applicable to teams that read a lot of interchangable advtantages.

  9. Interested User

    @Scott Phillips

    What's the point of schools who don't have a lot of strats disclosing at all? Or at the very least doesn't that mean schools who travel to more national tournaments are always going to win this award?

    I'm not trying to sound pessimistic to the wiki because i fully believe in disclosure – I'm just trying to figure out the rational for the award. And/or spark thoughts or changes that might make it better / more inclusive

  10. Scott Phillips Post author

    Interested,

    It has nothing to do with travel, you could go to only local tournaments and if you disclosed a lot win. The rational for the award is to encourage disclosure by rewarding the team who discloses the most/best. It has nothing to do with "inclusion".

  11. Interested User

    Scott,

    Isn't the point to make the wiki more inclusive – have more teams disclosing?

    And how can a team disclose the most if they read only a few arguments each year? and / or how are they ever going to beat teams that have 10 different arguments to read in one round?

    Competition aside, I think disclosing is a great thing. I'm glad that Bronx discloses their full cards and I'm glad that a wiki even exists because it makes preparing for a tournament much easier. The school that I attend fully endorses disclosure and attempts pursued people in our area to disclose. I just sit on the side of the table where our school didn't have the capacity to turn out multiple arguments. From that position it seems like trying to "outwiki" kinkaid or Bronx is impossible. Thus the point of the original post was to attempt to figure out how much quantity of arguments was important.

  12. gulakov

    @Interested User
    I see your point, but your standard requires taking arguments disclosed as a percentage of a team's total arguments. Verifying the latter is as impossible as verifying Russian nuclear cuts. Scott can't go through each team's tubs at each tournament. Status quo uses the best standard available. Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good.

    There's also the argument that if you just read the Cap K each round, you don't deserve to win any awards anyways.

  13. Interested User

    @gulakov

    That might be true, in fact, most likely it is true. But i figured it was a point that should be brought up. If for nothing, at least we had this conversation and realized that the status quo is the best option 🙁 …

  14. Whit

    This disclosure discussion brings up something that has bothered me for a while. Obviously, it is good if teams self manage their wiki and disclose info, but the alternative to teams not participating is not a lack of info. The wiki is a public site. If I do the leg work to get another team's cites and post them to the wiki, I have done a service for the community. This good Samaritan style of cite gathering is more common on the college level, but I think it would be good if people who dedicated time to managing non-cooperative team's wikis were recognized.

    Also, the wiki has some kind of disclaimer about opting out of the wiki. Opting out is b.s. Like I said before. It's a public site. If someone wants to post cites they gathered from you under your team name, that's their prerogative. You can chose not to actively contribute, but you shouldn't be able to hinder others from gathering info about your arguments.

  15. Misael Gonzalez

    Sorry to shift the subject, but I apologize for getting a little touchy earlier with Scotty. That has never really been my style and still isn't. Just couldn't let my partner do it by himself though.

    Now back on the subject currently being discussed. Whit brings up a nice note.

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-9250">
    Whit :
    This good Samaritan style of cite gathering is more common on the college level, but I think it would be good if people who dedicated time to managing non-cooperative team’s wikis were recognized.

    While, Bronx wasn't one of the non-cooperative teams Whit is referring to. This definitely does bring Francisco Bencosme to mind. While I am sure Andrew and Zack invested tons of time on their page. I know he took a lot of time as well helping them put up the full text of cards and organizing. It is a great help to have others put up arguments especially when tournament prep sometimes can distract someone from responding to cite requests as quickly as they would like.

  16. Tyrone

    One thing that I would like to figure out is what is the value of a wiki page for teams that do not have the quantity of resources as bigger schools? Many teams put their 1AC up for fear of retribution of not having a wiki, and some put their normal 1NC's up as well. Is it worth it to disclose to the point where it puts teams at a competitive disadvantage because teams are prepped out for their aff / neg strat but there isn't enough time to account for each team doing so? Should teams be ridiculed for not having a wiki page in cases like this?

  17. Patrick McCleary

    @Tyrone

    We're certainly a smaller school without a lot of the resources as major schools, and we still decided to post everything to the wiki. I think the reason why is because it creates better debates all around when both teams are as prepared as possible. It proves who's doing the better debating instead of who was able to do the most work.

    I also think that no matter what techy CP/DA strat a team breaks against your aff, there are always answers that you can make, and the same holds true even if a team has a block to your neg strat. It incentivizes more research and better strategizing to have things posted on the wiki. If a small school uses the wiki to make strats to other teams affs, it's only logical for everyone else to hold that school to those same expectations.

  18. Don

    This is a suggestion- I think their should be a forum where people can vote for who they thought had good wikis and we can compare the 3NRs choices to everyone elses.

  19. Anonymous

    Speaking of surveys, what ever happened to the data from the NDCA debater survey?

  20. Anonymous

    Sorry Im kind of off topic, but i wasn't really sure where to ask. Wasn't this originally supposed to be released in a post toc podcast? Additionally my iTunes seems that all of your episodes are unplayable, did some formatting change happen, or is computer just being stupid.
    Thanks

Comments are closed.