Mon Oct 19 01:06:39 CDT 1998
From: Olson, David <olsond at WILLIAM.JEWELL.EDU>
To: EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
Date: Sunday, October 18, 1998 10:27 PM
>Yes, it's me again... I know, one day on the list and already cluttering up
>your mail, but I would like to get some feedback on Narratives. I run the
>narrative on the affirmative and expected for people to think it
>and that we were just trying to get out "real debating", but that is not
I have not heard your narrative case. Some narrative cases I have heard
neglect to discuss whether Amending Title VII will solve the problem. I'm
sure the kinds of narratives you are referring to are designed to
demonstrate solvency. You might point out that the whole POINT of the
narrative is to discourage such structured thinking. If that is the case,
why must the negative disagree with anything you have said? Where
does the forced clash idea come from? When listening to others'
narratives OUTSIDE of debate, I rarely think that disagreement is
the appropriate option.
Also, why should we prefer the kinds of narratives that the case
refers to over the kind of narrative which tells a story about the impact
that Amending Title VII will have? What do you envision the role of
the negative to be in a narrative round, as you would explain it?
I run the case and find the debates I have with it the most
>enjoyable I have ever had. I don't think that many of the teams we've hit
>had too much of a problem with the idea (probably cause they win most of
>time). My problem is how we lose some of the rounds. A lot of judges seem
>to be afraid to vote for us - They say things like, "yeah, that's a cool
>idea, but I found a little point on the flow so i vote Neg. Now, here's my
>interpretation of how to modify it so you can win."
I assume the judge is talking to you in the first sentence and the other
team in the second one? I sometimes hear this criticism of judges (myself
included) but I'm not sure what to do about it. When a team says "X", I
understand their argument to be "Y". If I understand their argument, why
should I exclude it because it wasn't developed or explained clearly
ENOUGH. And, more difficult to answer, how do I measure ENOUGH?
My flow is NOT a transcript - in some cases, I will be able to say "they
said exactly X, what it means is Y" but in others I may be left with merely
the general impression of "Y". A lot of the explanation that you get from
judges (about what this argument MEANS) is very valuable, especially
if the argument didn't mean much to you. And, I assure you, if the other
team and the judge understand their argument, but you do not, it is very
unlikely that you will win that argument. This is the nature of the
I'm not sure that suggesting that the judge is motivated to find a reason
to vote against your new idea is always incorrect. However, I do think
that most judges either TRY not to do this or TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
for doing it. There is probably a lot to be learned from figuring out the
difference between how you heard the argument and how a judge
understood it, if only to better predict that judge's reaction next time.
I'm not claiming that I
>am the master of the case, because I am still learning how to ddebate it
>every round I'm in. I'm also not just complaining because we lost a few.
>That's not why I run the case. But it's kind of frustrating when it seems
>the only reason you lose is because the judge is scared to vote for a new
>idea, or their interpretation doesn't match yours on how to introduce the
I appreciate that this is frustrating, but I also think it goes with the
Even in this community, many people are resistant to change until they
understand the change and are comfortable with its implications. I bet
you'll find people outside the activity that feel this way as well. I can't
imagine trying to count the numbers of rounds people lost defending the
following as 'new theories', even if I was only counting the times in which
the judge voted against them despite what must have seemed a clear
win in the debaters' minds:
1. Any version of any critique
2. Conditionality is OK
3. We can run disads even though this is CEDA
4. We can run counterplans even though this is CEDA
5. We can runs plans even though this is CEDA
6. Topicality is an RVI
7. We can kick out of case and still win by turning a disad
8. We can disprove the resolution with counter-warrants
9. The plan is only topical by effects
10. Speed kills
If you wish to use strategies that are not, by current community norms,
standards, then try not to be too disappointed if you don't win much. Also,
occasional win makes a much better story this way.
I know that running a case like this is hard to flow, and demands
>perhaps more than the usual judge intervention, but our speeches\narratives
>still have implication and reasons to vote and it seems like those are
>subject to discretion like any other part of the speech.
Anyways, if you
>have any comments on narratives in debate or have heard the case and have
>some feedback, I would like to hear it. Thanks for letting me vent.
>Dave (still having fun) Olson
>P.S. Anyone who has judged us I ask not to take offense - Every round I
>have been in there has been some ideas put forth that we have thought about
>and been able to incorporate in some way - I appreciate all the
>suggestions/support for a unconventional idea such as this, I just get a
>little frustrated when they get involved in the decision in the round.
>P.P.S. Narratives aren't a way to ditch speed - anyone who has hit us Neg
>knows we have decent speed (although clarity is another issue...)
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