[eDebate] Judging Consult CP's

Aaron Hardy spoon_22
Thu Oct 4 14:58:32 CDT 2007

I?m encouraged that I?ve received a fair amount of feedback so quickly.  
Thanks to all that took the time out of pre-Kentucky prep.  Answering every 
email line by line would be time-consuming, but here?s my attempt to quickly 
consolidate.  Several people backchanneled me rather than post to edebate ? 
I won?t repost their answers or names here, but I will try and deal with 
their comments in a general way.

1)  ?Consult CP?s are just like stupid critiques and performance arguments.? 
(Multiple Backchannels)

I?m not a fan of those arguments either?but I?m not ready to start throwing 
around 25?s to every argument I dislike.  I?m not on some ideological 
crusade to impose all of my views on every debate ? I just want to know if 
there?s *anything* we can collectively do as a judging and coaching pool to 
push us in a more positive and educational direction.  I also think that 
while I wouldn?t shed a tear if I never judged another debate on a 
hyper-generic backfile K, that those arguments are somewhat less egregious.  
They?re stupid ? but less structurally unfair than the consultation CP.

2)  ?Sometimes consult makes sense/you have to consider the views of other 
countries? (Scott and others)

This reasoning is logically defunct.  Just because the U.S. should ?consider 
the views of others? doesn?t mean that there?s literature defending 
literally giving another country a veto over U.S. policy.  Even if that 
evidence exists in SOME context, it never, ever, exists in the context of 
the PLAN.  ?Unilateralism vs Multilateralism? is entirely distinct from 
letting Japan dictate U.S. policy on Iran.

There?s another obvious problem with this.  Disadvantages alone ensure these 
issues get discussed, but in a fair way.  If Japan cares whether we do Opium 
Licensing in Afghanistan, then the neg should be able to run the US-Japan 
relations DA and say that failure to consult them angers them.  That is NOT 
a justification for why the negative gets the right to run a CP which does 
the entirety of the affirmative.  The whole premise of the consult CP is 
that everyone gets that the relations DA alone is incredibly stupid ? 
precisely because Japan doesn?t really care about the plan.  Ergo, there?s 
no literature on it, and it makes for terrible debates.

3)  ?Prejudging arguments means debaters don?t learn? (Paul and Russell)

Andrew already dealt with this ? this argument would mean we should 
encourage a return to hypo-testing and counterwarrants so that debaters can 
learn to beat bad arguments.  The idea that we should consciously choose to 
let debate be stupider than it could be solely to teach people to beat 
things makes little sense to me.

Even if they?re not run, it doesn?t mean debaters won?t learn about them ? I 
think I still have a responsibility as a coach to teach my students about 
what counterwarrants are, even though the odds of my team debating them are 

Even if the debaters do learn something valuable through this process, I 
think there?s still an inherent tradeoff.  Perhaps there is some value in my 
students researching Consult Turkey answers two days before Gonzaga ? but I 
think it?s hard to say they wouldn?t have been better off cutting more cards 
about Iran.

4)  ?Debaters should be able to beat them? (Scott and Paul)

This sets the bar way too high for the aff.  Yes, these arguments are 
beatable ? but that doesn?t make them fair, and it certainly doesn?t make 
them educational, especially in terms of pre-tournament prep.  Going for 
theory is a hard call in ANY debate.  I can?t even remember the last 2AR I 
saw entirely on theory, precisely because most debaters know it?s a losing 
strategy.  It?s just not how the modern judge pool judges.  ?Arg not team? 
is a mantra, ?This CP isn?t so bad? is a gut-check response, and ?neg flex? 
is basically a cult.  Beating them substantively is even more ridiculous ? 
the logical ground for the aff is that every country in the world hates the 
aff, or that the US should have poor relations with all those countries.  
The aff shouldn?t have to do that.  It?s just more ridiculous when the neg 
gets the right to Consult Bhutan with nothing but a card that passingly uses 
the word consult.  I could say more here ? but I think it?s apparent that 
neg teams get that they unfair to the aff ? it?s the whole reason they run 

5)  ?Judges should hold consult to the same standard? (Paul)

They should, but the bottom line is that they don?t.  What qualifies as 
?evidence? on these questions is laughable.  I challenge anyone to publicly 
post a piece of consultation solvency evidence that is actually about 
BINDING consultation over U.S. policy on any plan on this topic.  The word 
?genuine? being used in a different context than it means in debate doesn?t 
cut it.  Again ? even if someone comes up with this magic card, it seems 
like a good justification for a really good relations DA.  Not a shortcut 

6)  ?Punishing is stupid? (Scott)

I think others have also responded to this.  I don?t think it?s stupid if 
you value the educational content of debates.  When the focus is EXCLUSIVELY 
on ?what can I use to administer a beat-down,? then I think we?re abdicating 
a larger responsibility as coaches, judges, and educators.

Rewarding people who beat these arguments are not a deterrent to running 
them ? which means it would be a complete failure at limiting out those 
debates in the first place.  Punishing people for losing to it is even worse 
? it would incentivize people to run it, on the hope that they?d win AND 
tank someone elses points.

7)  ?Consultation can be ?tight?? (Scott)

I cut the Koizumi DA too ? I wish that I?d been cutting something else or 
something that was actually about the aff.  There was a direct tradeoff.  
Finding cards on Koizumi?s political capital and looking for reasons why 
Japanese tractor companies would oppose our ag aff was not an educational or 
productive use of my time.  It certainly wasn?t about the topic I was 
ostensibly supposed to be debating.

You then make my argument for me ? Consult teams rely on the same bad blocks 
every year.  While that might create a few very isolated worlds where the 
aff can find something new, the simple fact is that there?s usually NOT a DA 
like Koizumi to cut.  I challenge you to publicly post a piece of evidence 
that actually says the words ?Egypt w/50 veto w/50 Israel? in the context of 
ANY plan being read on the topic.  There are no serious suggestions that we 
should conduct U.S. foreign policy in that manner.

8)  ?1 piece of paper is nonsense? (Scott)

Case specific DA?s and PIC?s are qualitatively different, regardless of how 
they?re flowed ? they encourage an assessment of argument interaction and 
topic-specific clash.  Consult encourages the negative to ignore the aff in 
its entirety, both before and during the tournament.

9)  ?Experiments are bad? (Scott)

Instead, we should fail to innovate, adapt, and push the community forward?  
Seriously?    I welcome judges being willing to try things with an open mind 
and evaluate successes and failures.  That?s the literal opposite of the 
judge you describe from NFL who never got out of the 60s.  His precise 
problem was that he wasn?t willing to ?experiment? with running a CP or 
listening to T.

The rest of what you say is largely my argument ? I try to the greatest 
degree possible to limit my intervention in debates.  The one time I?ve been 
forced to adjudicate consult after I instituted my policy, I still voted for 
it.  Precisely because it was a ?technical? win.  That?s the whole point of 
questioning the value of using speaker points as an educative tool ? that 
negative?s have zero incentive in the status quo to do anything other than 
continue with business as usual ? ignoring the topic and picking up just 
enough easy wins to never bother with another strategy.

10)  ?Just vote against it? (Greg Thomas)

I?m very uncomfortable with this ? I definitely toyed with the idea of just 
publicly saying I wouldn?t vote on these argument ? but I think that would 
be irresponsible of me as a judge.  It?s just not my place to sacrifice a 
drive towards (imperfect) objectivity just because I?m grumpy.  To me, 
speaker points are a middle ground between doing nothing and stepping 
outside of my role.

Like I said at the get-go, I?m not convinced that it?s the best strategy for 
change ? but I?m still not convinced it?s worse than nothing.


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