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

Gary Larson Gary.N.Larson
Sat Oct 13 12:59:42 CDT 2007

I'm not sure that edebate is the forum but I'd like us to have a rigorous discussion of the Zomp's underlying premise regarding the "real problems of MPJ."  

Can we get a concise "bill of particulars" to determine which are testable which aren't and which are correctable and which aren't?

I also want those who would reject MPJ to be really clear on the alternative.  

>>> "Zompetti, Joseph Perry" <jpzompe at ilstu.edu> 10/13/2007 11:30 AM >>>
Hmmm, don't think I agree with Gary here.  Argument diversity and creativity pre-dates MPJ.  There may be more in-depth arg diversity within a judging genre with MPJ, but my guess is that overarching arg diversity occurs with non-MPJ debate as well.
But this seems like a red herring to me (not that it is Gary's fault; he's just responding to Scott).  Argument diversity is probably a worthwhile goal, but shouldn't be our focus.  Many have expressed the real problems of MPJ long before me, namely that it pigeon-holes certain debate styles, discourages judge adaptation, and rewards selective persuasion techniques.  Proponents fall back-on thealue of competitive success.  ,
I guess it depends on what is most important to you - educating our students/debaters or securing as many wins as possible.  
I, for one, would like to strive for both, but that it is very difficult with MPJ.  


From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com on behalf of Gary Larson
Sent: Sat 10/13/2007 10:08 AM
To: edebate at ndtceda.com 
Subject: [eDebate] Solution to the Policy v. K Gordian Knot

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.



More information about the Mailman mailing list