Monthly Archives: December 2011

Reader Q-Speech Doc Ethics

I recieved the following email from a reader on a subject I feel strongly about so I wanted to post the answer here.


At a debate at the Glenbrooks a team got angry with me for having several, maybe 6 or so, cards in the 2AC speech document that I didn’t read, and to be fair it was at least 1 per block. The way I usually organize blocks is with debate synergy headers, and I just transfer the whole block over to the speech doc. Do you think this is a problem/if it is, what do you think is a good solution?


Another similar problem is that teams will like, answer an add on that was in a 2AC speech doc that I didn’t get to… is this something that needs to be addressed in CX/after 2AC should I tell them/just explain that in the 1AR. Seems a bit awkward when teams spend a minute of reading asteroids defense against a non-existent add on.”


Answer to 1- The other team should flow. Period. They should know what you read, this isn’t an issue just with paperless debate. When debating on paper people would bring up more than they got to or just read 1 card of a page with multiple cards etc. It’s the other teams responsibility to pay attention. Usually when I say something like this someone will say “but the other team could add a million things to the speech doc to confuse us/waste our time”. True, but someone debating off paper could bring a million extra sheets up to confuse you as well. They dont because it makes finding what they DO want to read harder. And if you have a good flow you can sift through things pretty quickly. If it’s really a problem start of CX by saying “mark what you read” and get a new speech doc. This should take under a minute. Judges have a problem with this when debaters want time like this to not come from cx/prep but instead to be “free” time, and rightly so. This should come from the team who didn’t give the speeches prep since they are the ones who need clarification. “But now they are wasting our prep…” Flow. You can win 99% of your debates by preparing in advance and flowing well WITHOUT ever reading the other teams evidence so quit complaining.


As for part 2 I think there are really 2 answers. From a strict “fairness” perspective I don’t think you are under any obligation to assist the other team when they make a mistake. Again, flow. But there is also the “don’t be a douche” standard, and from that perspective you saying “didn’t read that” would certainly help your debate karma. So chosing between the 2 is a personal choice, and I would probably decide based on the other team- if they were bad at debate or nice I would tell them. If it was a competitive round and they were jerks I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.


Consulting the Judge


This arises out of a few things, one of which is a post I made earlier about judges speaking up during debates. Another is this college thread about judges following along with evidence in a round.


If we take the premise of both threads to be true- judges can follow along with evidence during the debate, and can speak up during the debate, would rounds be better if debaters could interact with judges during them(after all, judges do now have the right to choose)?

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