[eDebate] Me and judging - a few things

Charles Olney olneyce
Thu Feb 8 00:53:33 CST 2007

Been meaning to post about this for awhile.  A couple warnings/notices
while people are doing strike sheets for Northwestern:

First, I have found myself increasing annoyed by the cases that ban
abortion.  I'm not saying I'll refuse to vote on them, and I'll do my
best to be objective and everything but...I dunno...if that's your
aff, I'm not sure you want me in the back of the room.

Of course, since the neg strategy is probably just going to be T or
Nietzsche or the minimalism DA, I'm not sure that my dispositions will
matter much anyway.

But you've been warned.

Second, alternate use time.  I've been experimenting with it in the
debates I judge (when I remember to, at least), and will continue to
do so (provided both teams agree - I'm not going to try and force it
or anything).

I would encourage everyone to think about the advantages it offers,
and suggest that other judges join the movement.

- It offers more flexibility to the debaters.  It's their time, why
not trust them enough to apportion it out as they see fit?
- It offers the chance for quite a bit more CX.  Instead of
artificially limiting it to 3 minutes, the 1A can continue to ask
questions until the 2AC is ready.  Instead of forcing the 2N to rush
through 6 or 7 questions just to get clarifications out of the way, it
lets them pester the 1A at will.  But...
- It also reduces the amount of terrible and irrelevant CX.  When
people clearly have nothing to ask, but are just trying to burn time
for their partner, why force them to keep going?

"But people will just stop asking CX questions altogether"

Not true.  First of all, many debaters understand that CX is free
speech time and use it to their advantage.  They will, on balance, use
more CX time under alternate use.  Second, debaters who just use all
their time as prep time will probably be punished in their speaker
points (and wins and losses) and learn their lesson.

That said, there is no perfect amount of time to spend on CX.  In a
given debate, 6 minutes might be right.  In another, it could be 8.
In another, it could be 3.  If the debate calls for it, choosing not
to use much CX might be appropriate.  But, as a general rule, debaters
who give away the overwhelming percentage of their CX time will only
hurt themselves.

Moreover, the expanded opportunity to increase points (and win
debates) with strong CX skills ought to encourage debaters to
cultivate those skills.

If anyone doubts that CX helps win debates, watch some clips of Wes
Lotz or Naveen.

In general my experiences have been positive.  At least, I have
enjoyed the debates more and felt like they were better.  And I think
most of the debaters who chose to experiment enjoyed the flexibility,
though they may have just been humoring me.  I'd like to get a sense
of where people are on this.  Is this something that should be done
more?  Is it too much?  Should I keep doing this?  Will other judges
start doing it, too?


And I just can't help believing
Though believing sees me cursed
--Johnny Boy
"You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve"

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