[eDebate] Repeal the worker rule

matt stannard stannardmatt
Thu Apr 20 23:35:55 CDT 2006

I have nothing but respect for Steve Mancuso.  I think the cheap shots 
against him by a couple of people in this conversation were hurtful and 
unwarranted.  I have no doubt the intent of this rule was pure goodness.

The NDT committee should repeal the rule for several reasons:

1. It was passed in haste, circulated after district tournaments, and many 
of us never heard about it until after it passed.  That might be a problem 
with chairs, but it's a darn understandable problem given people's schedules 
and the fact that some chairs could not attend the NDT.

2. It actually hurts small squads.  Many squads rely on part time helpers 
who can often ONLY attend the NDT and maybe one or two other tournaments.  
Other squads rely on graduate students in tough programs who can only cut 
cards at tournaments.

3. In any event, the fact that different (including small, 
resource-challenged) squads will say it hurts/helps them only underscores 
the necessity of letting squads and directors decide for themselves what's 
best for their teams.

4. The proponent of this rule admits it won't make ANY difference in terms 
of wins and losses.  I have often gone on record as saying that resource 
disparities in this community make the game sometimes appear fixed.  But I 
have always hastily followed such comments with the caveat that regulations 
will not solve those kinds of disparities.  Massive resource redistribution 
might, but not rules like this.  If it won't make any difference, then 

5. One reason it won't make any difference is that most squads have at least 
some debaters, coaches, or alumni who can stay home from the NDT and cut 
evidence after receiving a quick phone call or IM from participants at the 
NDT.  Actually, I can get ten cards faster by calling someone at home than 
waiting for Pinto to come out of the debate he's judging AT the NDT and 
telling him we need those cards.

6. It's arbitrary. According to my interpretation of the rule (following 
Eber's questions), I can lexis a term, see a few articles, read them, and 
then tell Pinto or Crowe or Jamie or Will or somebody duly "authorized" to 
cut them.  I can tell them what to look for, etc.  I could even look over 
their shoulder and tell them exactly what to cut.  If I have a HUGE budget, 
I can hire a bunch of judges who can do the same thing--find articles for 
the debaters and authorized coaches to cut.  Might not be a huge advantage, 
but it's still an advantage, and remember, the proponent of the rule admits 
it doesn't solve anyway.

Many of these arguments are ones I would have made had this issue been 
brought to my attention with enough time to deliberate.  Others are ones I 
picked up from the many voices on edebate reacting to the rule.  I urge the 
committee, nay, beg them, to repeal this rule.  Personally I don't think we 
need any rules like this.  I think we need to LOWER THE COSTS OF ATTENDING 

Some pre-empts and clarification:

1. There were three coaches cutting cards for Wyoming at the NDT, not two.  
Still, our debaters do most of that, as they should--not because of some 
debatable educational model, but for obvious pragmatic reasons.  But I just 
wanted to add us to the list of squads who don't understand why we were on 
that list.

2. "But coaches shouldn't cut evidence at all."  I disagree.  I believe in a 
collaborative model of education-competition.  If the debaters aren't 
learning anything, chances are they'll lose a lot and if they're smart 
they'll start rejecting badly written coach's positions and writing more of 
their own (of course they could always buy it from one of the many fine 
evidence production services out there).  This issue isn't as cut and dried 
as "you are pathetic if you coach just because you like to research" 
--That's probably true, but research is one among many things I enjoy and 
it's a way I can LEARN FROM the debaters as well as occasionally teach them. 
  This might be a completely separate question but I wanted to address it 

3. "The NDT is a private organization, if you don't like the rule, then 
don't go to the NDT."  All due respect...nope.  We can also deal with it 
through deliberation, like we are now.  Plus, I got tired of hearing that I 
should move to France if I don't like the war in Iraq...ya know?

Anyway, this rule should be repealed for procedural and substantive reasons.


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