[eDebate] Judging Consult CP's

Andrew D. Barnes barnesad
Thu Oct 4 11:14:22 CDT 2007

Thanks for the post Aaron. I agree that the market place of ideas is 
less than a fair arbiter when it comes to assessing fairness of 
particular arguments. I don't believe that most judges think that 
Consult counterplans are legitimate, or that nontopical affirmatives are 
fair. However, the continued existence of these arguments are not only 
predicated on the fact that debaters engaged in "cheating" are more 
capable of theoretically defending these strategies but also that 
mutually preferred judging assures that teams can find judges who are 
lenient/flexible when it comes to assessing fairness. Would the 
abolishment of mutually preferred judging solve the problem of 
"cheating"? Maybe in its most extreme forms but this email is neither a 
call to reinvestigate or rescind mpj rather, to demonstrate the 
importance of judges establishing and adhereing to a system of 
punishment and rewards when it comes to speaker points. That type of 
clarity in my opinion has been missing for sometime and I do believe 
that judges collectively can dictate to a large extent which arguments 
are run at tournaments throughout the year. Negative teams running 
consult counterplans would surely have to adopt new strategies if they 
knew that there were only a handful of judges at a tournament who would 
find that strategy compelling as they are unlikely even under mpj to get 
all of those judges in the back of the room. The ADA is evidence of the 
ability to dictate argumentative strategies based on collectively 
recognized norms of fairness by the judging pool. And while the ADA has 
transitioned to be nearly identical to every other debate organization 
the collective will of the judging pool is a force that all debaters 
must deal with. I don't know whether others will publicly sign on to 
your campaign to eradicate consult counterplans from debate but I surely 
will. I have rewritten my judge philosophy to specifically deal with 
aspec and consult counterplans in terms of assigning speaker points. It 
is posted below. Finally, I will say that it would require a new and 
brilliant line of argumentation to convince me that consult counterplans 
are legitimate however, I do think there is serious discussion to be had 
on the extent to which judges should enforce fairness and assess 
deductions in speaker points based on argument choice. I am open to that 
debate. Unfortunately I won't be at Kentucky but I look forward to the 
discussion and I will see people at the Shirley.

- Andrew

Andrew Barnes
Assistant Director of Debate
James Madison University
Judging: Year 5

As I get older some things stay the same, and other things don?t. I feel 
that over the last few years my thinking on several issues has developed 
and changed substantially enough to warrant re-writing my judge philosophy.

In general, I think theory is about debating what communal practices 
effect are on the fairness of competition and ability as judges and 
students to learn and develop new skills as a result of our 
participation in this activity. So, have an interpretation for debate, 
demonstrate why that interpretation is best for fair competition and if 
necessary discuss the benefits of this interpretation in terms of 
critical thinking, ability to compare policy, breadth or depth of 
education, etc. Much like any other judge, there is a direct 
relationship between your speed and translation of theory arguments to 
my flow so you would be wise to slow down a bit. Finally, I still think 
that topicality is a voting issue, that constructive engagement means 
quid pro quo (I was convinced of this interpretation at the topic 
meeting) and I still strongly dislike specification arguments. These 
arguments are usually an unnecessary waste of time because the 
affirmative will typically create the distinctions necessary to make it 
possible for you to run your competing policy option with strategic 
questioning during the cross examination. And for that reason, you 
should know that CX is binding and that I flow CX. I want to state 
publicly that I agree 100% with Aaron Hardy when he argues that*:

Aspec is stupid. It?s not a reason to vote neg and the ground loss is
ground we?re better off without. Don?t expect higher than a 27 if aspec is
in the 2NR. Half a point will be deducted from both negative speakers for
introducing it in the 1NC.

I will therefore adopt the same assessment of speaker points. Last year 
I also noted that:

It seems very rare that a debate occurs anymore where there is not 
either a counterplan or some sort of critical alternative that attempts 
to solve the case. I find this to be disappointing because often times, 
affirmatives have tremendous weaknesses or just seem like really bad 
ideas and therefore would not be difficult to win on the negative if the 
negative took a bit of time to do some specific research.

I find this to be especially true this year, even with Afghanistan 
cases. The plethora of evidence for any United States policy in the 
middle east demonstrates that there is no reason for the negative to not 
clash with the affirmative by challenging some part of the case. It is 
beneficial for all negative teams in terms of impact assessment whether 
they are ?critical? or ?policy?. Teams that engage in detailed case 
debates will receive higher speaker points than those teams that chose 
to adopt the generic agent counterplan, artificial net benefit approach. 
While I have probably made it clear that I find the latter to be boring 
I do vote for them all the time. And for what it?s worth, it doesn?t 
seem like a risky strategy given that affirmative teams rarely seem able 
to adequately debate the theoretical legitimacy of different 
counterplans. This is especially true with Consultation counterplans but 
here I?m much more willing to be interventionist because again I find 
myself in total agreement with Aaron Hardy. He states:

I especially hate consultation counterplans. Why the aff doesn?t go for
?consultation CP?s bad? more often is beyond me. If the negative advances
any consultation counterplan in the 1NC, neither negative debater will
receive more than 26 speaker points. For each speech the negative doesn?t
kick the CP, I will deduct another half point from each speaker.

So again, I will adopt the same assessment of speaker points. Other than 
that, I don?t have a predisposition one way or the other towards 
criticisms and disadvantages and I feel like I adjudicate these debates 
well. Performance is entirely different type of argumentation that I am 
not familiar with nor do I have a lot of experience judging those types 
of debates so, you?ll probably want to think twice before putting me in 
the back of the room.

Finally, be nice and respect not just your opponents but their arguments 
as well.

- Andrew

* Hardy, A. Judging Consult CP?s, October 4, 2007

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