[eDebate] response to andy's "a contribution to t"

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Mon Jun 11 17:27:46 CDT 2007

Hello Gregg,

The problem i see with your framing is that the genie is out of the bottle
and that at least in college debate at tournaments with preferences you dont
face the penalty of losing nearly every round...probably between 10 and 30
per cent of the ndt field consisted of a/non/anti/theo/-topical teams. I
think by this point most of the people who are staying topical are doing so
not because  they fear losing on t, but because they find something (maybe
some of the things tim discusses) valuble about staying on topic even when
they could stray and be successful, and honestly diversity would probably
allow them to be more succesful because it would allow them to sandbag non t
compliant judges and then break something special in front of them...and
this does happen...the problem with the penalty framing is that a) it
creates more non t compliant judges (you may call the hippies) b)it doesnt
hold the threshold line you say needs to be held in order to keep people
near the topic.....BTW tennis rules are not immutable, even when the
computer makes the calls it makes questionable and inconsistent calls, the
scrutiny of replay really makes these sports analogies strained, because
just like in debate different judges see different things, granted there are
no tennis deciders  saying a clearly out ball is fair game, but there is a
hell of a lot of difference about one persons out or foot fault and
anothers, just like there is a whole lot of difference between what
different judges consider in...

On 6/11/07, gregg.hartney at jenksps.org <gregg.hartney at jenksps.org> wrote:
> My tennis serve illustration was not intended as evidence or
> warrant, but as an illustrative metaphor on the funtion of
> topicality, and on that level it works quite nicely. It
> enables us to talk about the process of deciding what IS
> "in" or "out" and how the "lines" of the servers court are
> concrete and consistent in tennis but are amorphorous and
> "debatable" in the debate activity.
> My real argument lay below the tennis metaphor; if
> topicality has no penalty for its violation, then only
> morons would be topical. By not straying near the "topical"
> portion of items that could be discussed, the Affirmative
> automatically and dramatically increases the odds that its
> increased prep time will leave them with the superior
> evidence, argumentation and strategy. Given the impetus to
> win, that's where most teams will go.
> Clearly teams or even entire schools might feel that there
> are superior resolutions possible, and if they really feel
> that way, there is nothing to prevent them for running
> examples of those resolutions every round on which they
> Affirm. Save the relatively minor penalty of losing most of
> those debates (a small price to pay if one truly does
> believe in the value of discussing other ideas), they are
> free to do so.
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