1AR Blocks

I have gotten some questions about 1AR blocks so I wanted to go through an example.

Let’s say you want to extend conditionality bad in the 1AR. I think if you dedicated about 1 minute to a theory argument like this you are in the optimum area where

-it is credible/you can go for it

-it won’t detract too much from the substance

-the 2NR will have a dilemma in how to allocate their time/can’t blow it off

In that one minute you are probably able to say between 200 and 250 words. In those words you need to accomplish the following

-explain your offense

-explain voting issue

-answer negative arguments

To do this effectively you need to be efficient, you need to allocate your words carefully to spend more words on important arguments/less words on less important arguments.

One of the keys to this balance is explaining just enough- enough so that you have explained the warrant and the 2AR can credibly go for it, and nothing more- no superfluous jokes/examples/repeating etc.

To illustrate, lets take the argument that conditionality mirrors the real world where people make multiple proposals/can stop advocating them.

Here is what a student of mine wrote in their 1AR block after a lecture on conditionality:

-Not real world- debate has time constraints and we talk fast

-no impact- competitive fairness outweighs real world mimicry

-real world political costs to flip flops- should be costs in debate

This is pretty good, efficient, gets the point across. It could be nit picked in a variety of ways but instead lets go through what is good here

1. Embedded clash- the first argument begins “not real world” clearly explaining what the set of arguments is referring to

2. Efficiency- pretty word efficient, no real repetition, some cuts could be made but light years ahead of the norm.

3. Arguments are separated out- this makes it easier to decide how many to make based on time allocation factors. Though you may only ever read 1, having 3+ arguments for each point will make sure you are prepared for when you have to push all in on theory in a tough debate.

Some other miscellaneous tips

-having good brief “tags” to your arguments makes them more flowable- one good thing about embedded clash is it basically forces you to do thiss

-your own speaking rate/clarity may dictate that 200 words is way more than possible -that just means you have to be more efficient and pick and chose better. Winning on theory doesn’t necessarily mean you win every single line by line argument, it means that you win enough so that the general direction is in your favor and you win why the arguments you are ahead on outweigh the ones you are behind on.

-Ideally, you should squeeze in some impact calc- focus on education and say why it outweighs fairness or vice versa. Why does aff ground o/w neg ground? What speeches were affected and why are those speeches important? These kind of issues are things judges often resolve first and then filter the rest of the debate through them.

So with all that said, if you would like to write a conditionality 1AR in 250 words or less and post it in the comments I will give feedback to those that look like they gave it the old college try/incorporated the above insights.

15 thoughts on “1AR Blocks

  1. Eggs

    1) Conditionality is bad – it limits our ability to extend offense in the rebuttals, skewing 2ac time. Reciprocity justifies aff conditionality, which kills predictability. Neg can run contradictory arguments that force us to debate against ourselves, and avoid the arguments we’re winning. It’s a voting issue.
    2) Weigh fairness before education – unfair practices discourage participation, the biggest impact on education. Condo also sets a precedent for generic args that trade off with topic specific education
    3) Counterinterp – neg gets one conditional cplan and the status quo aff gets plan and perm – it's reciprocal and solves time skew, prevents neg from going for doomed counterplan
    4) Aff bias checked by neg block, condo checks bias too far by skewing 2ac, and there’s a neg bias on counterplan theory
    5) Strat thinking nonunique the 1ar is hard, turn: our interp boosts 1nc strategy by making you research solid positions, and a combination of offense and defense is the best strat but condo precludes
    6) Negation theory justifies hypothesis testing and arg irresponsibility – reciprocity demands affirmation theory any change from SQuo is reason to vote aff
    7) Not all arguments are conditional you can’t kick a straight turned da like you can kick a straight turned conditional cplan

    1. Scott Phillips


      First, some of your (and others) offense doesn't make sense- for example "it limits our ability to extend offense in the rebuttals, skewing 2ac time"- its unclear why condo stops rebuttal offense, or how (if it did) that would effect the 2AC.
      Second, the voting issue part needs more explanation, this is always a crucial component of any theory argument you need to develop

      -why does 1 conditional option prevent contradictory positions?
      -instead of saying reciprocally the aff should get x, i would say conditionality is not reciprocal since most judges will not accept the aff kicking the plan

  2. anonymous

    Multiple conditional worlds are a voting issue – interp: negs should get one conditional advocacy.

    A) 2AC strat skew outweighs neg flex – two counterplans restrict our ability to read addons that both CPs don’t solve for – one option solves their offense. (insert specific abuse story)

    B) Pre-round conditionality solves their education, and neg flex, and best policy option arguments – prior to the debate, both sides are incentivized to research as much as possible about the aff and the neg can assess their counterplan options and pick the best ONE conditional world for the debate.

    C) Dispo solves their offense – allows for neg flex while preserving a way for the 2AC to generate offense that sticks.

    D) Depth is better than breadth – ensures clash, warranted arguments, impact analysis over a few issues rather than spotty extensions. This teaches us the argumentation skills that debate uniquely fosters.

    E) Impact must be vote aff – rejecting the argument makes it de facto conditional.

    1. Scott Phillips

      Im not sure I get A, seems to (at best) be a reason 2 cp's is bad, not a reason conditionality is bad (2 uncconditional cp planks would create the same effect- you dont' read add ons that aren't offense)
      -see above for comment on CI- you get one
      -pre round- this needs to be combined with impact calc on why research o/w strategy/ground
      -"c"- you are in CI overkill here- you said only one, dispo, and pre round- you need to focus more on responding to their ground offense
      -D- depth vs breadth is a classic unresolvable issue in terms of education, its easier to explain the harm done to affirmative strategy by neg argument breadth/conditionality
      -e- explain why the abuse warrants a ballot- basically conditionality effects the way you debate other issues so the debate has been skewed on all pages

  3. anon

    Conditionality is a voter:
    1. Fairness
    Structurally skews our strategy
    a) Argument prediction—we don't know what the 2NR will be
    b) Stable offense—we can't read add-ons the counterplan solves or disads to the counterplan

    2. Education—conditionality encourages shotgun strategies, hurting education depth. That outweighs breadth—time contstraints mean we can't have a meaningful understanding about anything unless we focus on it.

    And, dispo solves their offense—preserves diverse 1NCs but gives the aff strategic choice.
    This must be a voter—the damage was done in the 2AC and the ballot sets a precedent.

  4. Sigalos

    I just use this for an overview:

    1. Scott Phillips


      Not really sure what that means, but the "withhold offense" style of argument I think is a weak one- no matter what is in the 1NC or whether or not their are conditional options you are going to chose to read some things and not others based on strategy. I think the crucial aspect to highlight about conditionality is that the negative can use it to turn what were your best arguments in one instance, against you.

      Aff- end coin
      neg- total pull out
      aff- credibility disad
      neg- we kick cp, aff links to cred disad

      Now obviously the aff is not forced to read disads they could possibly link to, but oftentimes the best arguments against cp's that go further than the plan (setting aside the issue of competition which is obviously non existent in this hypothetical) are disads that the aff also links to but just much less.

      How does condo make link turns or add onns impossible? Again you need some nuance here.

  5. Alexander Addington

    A2: Neg Flex
    We straight turned neg flex – not reciprocal, creates blippy bad debate and time skew

    A2: Best Policy Option
    Doesn’t increase critical thinking or find the best policy option, neg will always kick the counterplan if put in a tough position
    Debate is a game, not a search for truth

    A2: Increases Strategic Thinking/Improves time allocation
    Doesn’t increase strategic thinking/time allocation – it just reduces debate to who can read faster

    A2: Breadth > Depth
    Breadth worse than Depth – we never learn about the possible mechanisms in a fully flushed out debate. The extent of clash gets reduced to a 2AC frontline
    Conditionality –justs spread out the aff, not increase education

    A2: Real World
    Not real world—policy makers can’t propose competing pieces of legislation and a senator never unrolls a list of 30 bills they might advocate that day
    Debate is a game – fairness more important than real world

    A2: Time and Strat Skew Inevitable
    Time and Strat skew not inevitable – even fast teams will have trouble– impacts can be minimized if neg can’t kick
    Its linear – 2AC has to spend a larger proportion of time answering a counterplan than the neg has to kick it

    A2: Perms Check/Reciprocal
    Perms don’t check– one net benefit means competition for all counterplans
    Perms just a test of competition – justifies Intrinsicness

    A2: All positions conditional/Like a DA
    Not all positions conditional – we can stick them with a DA by straight turning it. Aff cant turn Topicality – means the game is rigged in negs favor.

    1. Scott Phillips

      There is no real connection (probably objectively, but definitely as explained here)between blippy or bad debate and conditionality, the 1NC could be 2 off- each a 4 minute developed conditional cp. Spend more time focusing on quality offense
      -BPO- neg kicking the CP would be them finding the BPO- I think what you need to say here is that the time skew created by condo weakens the aff defense of the plan, artificially making the CP look like a better PO
      -again, i don't see why condo reduces debate to who is faster- i think its easier to say "we will always try and be strategic" or "if abuse spurs strategy, we should be allowed to kick the plan " etc
      -you can probably reduce a lot of these down with a well worded overview as there is some repetition on critical thinking/depth

  6. MGM

    Condo is bad –
    Counter-interp – 1 dispo CP solves neg flex, they can read the same CP.
    It’s better for 2AC strategic thinking. Condo kills it by making our offense meaningless if they kick it.
    Dispo gives us the option to straight turn. Promotes logical thinking and encourages innovative aff turns, which are key to education.
    Also, kills in-depth debates, they’ll kick it if we answer it well, prevents good topic knowledge. Kills fairness – need stable ground to answer

    Answers to Condo Good
    ( ) [Perms Check] – Perms just test competition
    ( ) [Aff bias] – Neg bias – 13 minute block, pick topic of debate, get diversity of arguments. Infinite prep inevitable
    ( ) [Real world: Congressman] – Condo encourages you to revert to the squo. You should debate a policy option
    ( ) [Hard 2AC is good] – Their ability to kick the CP makes strategic thinking irrelevant. Dispo encourages logic best
    ( ) [Breadth o/w depth] – Depth outweighs – we can only debate the topic once, read the news to learn breadth. Policymakers need in-depth knowledge
    ( ) [Better research] – Dispo solves research better – neg will learn all potential costs if we can straight turn
    ( ) [BPO] – They go for what’s undercovered, not the best policy
    ( ) [No different than any other argument] – we can stick you with DAs, not with condo CPs
    ( ) [2NR checks] – 2NR is irrelevant – still screws up 2AC

    1. Scottyp4313nr

      The ov is a bit repetitive re: when /why they will kick it and dispo being better

      "perms are a test" needs a warrant explaining why since they are tests, they do not cehck

      negs pick the topic of the debate?

      i dont understand your rw answer

      breadth o/w- this is a good line, you have several short arguments that the 2A could fill in some explanation for

  7. Dan

    Conditionality –

    It kills in-depth education by incentivizing tons of 1NC positions instead of in-depth research. That influences pre-round decisions which outweigh because it’s where we get topic knowledge.

    Bad advocacy skills – kicking out of positions teaches us to be squirrely, not prepared.

    Education and advocacy outweigh fairness – fairness arbitrary and nobody will quit – education is a lasting benefit.

    Dispo solves their offense – allows for multiple positions and is better for 2AC critical thinking by focusing on argument interaction.

    Neg flex sucks – they get to read 50 counterplans, which makes it impossible to be aff.

    [Concede time skews inevitable – means neg flex now.]

    1. Scottyp4313nr

      why does the number of 1nc positions relate to depth of research? This is the crucial i/l to your offense- you should explain more and diversify

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