[eDebate] Solution to the Policy v. K Gordian Knot

Gary Larson Gary.N.Larson
Sat Oct 13 10:08:45 CDT 2007

Scott offers an intriguing idea and since he?s not the first to mention it, it deserves some discussion.  Scott suggests that the solution for policy-oriented teams would be to write the kind of arguments that Andy Ellis would find appealing if they didn?t have the luxury of preffing him out.  Now I presume from this that Scott would equally oppose the use of strikes since they could just as effectively be used by the same team to not have to adapt to the judge.
During my career I?ve been blamed for being the architect of genuinely random judging (back in early CEDA days when the transition was being made from backroom arbitrarily-managed ?tabroom preference?).  I?ve also been blamed for ever more sophisticated MPJ algorithms that Scott and others argue permit teams (presumably elitist policy-oriented teams) from needing to embrace diverse perspectives by shielding them from judges they don?t want.
But doesn?t this argument cut both ways?  If the numerical majority of teams and critics at any given time are not embracing diverse argument types and styles, doesn?t random judging rather stifle creativity and diversity of argument types by forcing teams that want to explore alternatives to adapt to their more numerous ?traditionalist? judges.  Quite apart from the more basic questions of whose responsibility it is to adapt to whom and whether debaters should have any input into whether the judges in the round are sympathetic or antagonistic to their strategies, in practical terms MPJ probably protects diverse perspectives rather than stifles them.
For every traditionalist team that would have to confront the prospect of writing arguments that Andy would like, there would be many more rounds where the teams that would like to explore the boundaries or new approaches to argumentation would be faced with even more hostility than they face at present.
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