[eDebate] Judging Consult CP's

Harris, Scott L sharris
Tue Oct 9 10:00:12 CDT 2007

All I know is that I have judged one debate in my life that would have received block 30's (I have given one 30 in 26 years judging college debates) and that was a debate entirely about consulting NATO in the semis at Kentucky in 1993 between Karem/Andrews of Harvard and Lovitt/Sklaver of Dartmouth.  It was the best debate I have ever seen and I remember it clearly to this very day.
I use points to evaluate content in every debate that I judge.  If the quality of your arguments/evidence is poor it effects your points (I still have the old ballots with boxes in my head).  Just like I grade a speech in class based on content and delivery I give speaker points based on content and delivery.  On the other hand I would never use speaker points as a form of enforced censorship for a predetermined set of good/bad arguments.  I have heard lots of arguments that I think are stupid be well developed and supported.  I still don't think politics disads have anything to do with how the real political system works but I don't punish teams for having a well developed politics disad.  I don't think striking Iran is a good idea but I would reward a team who read good cards and did a good job defending strikes good with good points.  I even heard Scotty Phillips make ASPEC into a well developed argument in a debate.  Anyone who can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear might deserve better points rather than worse.  There are some affs this year where I think consultation may be a good strategy (for example NATO probably ought be consulted on some changes in U.S. military posture in Afghanistan).  I am very opposed to blanket condemnation of arguments and the use of speaker points as an intimidation tactic to force people to not run those arguments.  One of the most important things that debate has taught me is the benefit of being open minded and listening to different types of positions.  That may mean I end up listening to some debates I don't enjoy but thats OK.  I would listen to the Dartmouth/Harvard debate on NATO over and over without any problem if I could.  

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