[eDebate] It happens in the West too

LACC Forensics forensics
Sun Oct 14 13:36:02 CDT 2007


As someone who has been dealing with this issue for some time now, I wish I
could say that such disclosure by judges would make a difference, but it
simply does not.

I always disclose my predispositions in my judging philosophy. What
difference does it make? The only difference is that I don't get preferred.
I have only rarely seen teams changed their in-round argumentative strategy
based on such disclosure. Why should judges bother to disclose their
preferences when those preferences are going to be ignored anyway? The only
value it provides is that the debaters are rude and obnoxious to the judge
throughout the debate instead of waiting for the post-round analysis to tell
the judge that he/she doesn't know what she/he is doing and should be banned
from the activity.

If teams were willing to change their strategies and adjust to judges
preferences as was the approach 20 years ago, these pleas for disclosure
might hold more weight.

Ken Sherwood
LACC Debate


>Wanted to add my two cents. It would be beneficial to all, and it is only fair,
>for judges to disclose these predispositions.
>We attented our first tourney at UNLV last weekend. A number of my teams
>elected (against my advice) to run a case that is essentially a criticism of
>the current style and form of debate itself. I was flabergasted by the number
>of ballots I read that basically said "I, the judge, know from my own
>experience that the current form of debate is wonderful." These comments were,
>of course, accompanied by losses, low points, and not a single comment on
>whether or not the other team actually made any such argument. When I checked
>judge philosophies, I did not see any fair warning of such a reaction. To those
>judges, and you know who you are, SHAME ON YOU.
>I think it is good for people to say "I hate K's" then at least you know in
>advance. For example, I state in my philosophy that the alt of "thinking
>differently" is very questionable to me.
>It would be great if all judges were open to all arguments, but given that this
>is impossible, I would urge all critics to re-check your philosophies and make
>sure you have included any and all predispositions.
>Paul Leader 




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