[eDebate] Why MPJ is NOT Educational

Andrew Michael-Don Casey acasey3
Sun Oct 14 21:05:22 CDT 2007

Hello all,

Scott i have one or two concerns. know before you start reading that I 
was not debating prior to MPJ. I hear "horror"stories but in alot of 
ways am slightly ignorant to a genuine comparison between our two 
systems. I did debate in high school and remember aspects of randomized 
judging with no strikes (which i understand is still different than the 
systems offered in terms of strikes) and they were indeed awful 
sometimes. that being said, here goes.

--first, you said"people use MPJ to avoid judges who are qualified and 
they use MPJ to create a false economy for speaker points"

I dont think this is necessarily true. I will say there are two reasons 
i pref judges the way i do 1.) i like people to judge me who will give 
me educational feedback on arguments i like. 2.) I like judges who i 
feel will give me an equal shot at my arguments winning.

some may say im more interested in winning than education. there is 
probably some truth to this statement, i dont like losing, i never 
will. i do like winning, i never wont. But, I do like to talk and hear 
feedback on arguments that are important to me. Native Americans 
issues, Nietzschean, deleuzian, and psychoanalysis based issues are 
incredibly important me. I write my upper level papers on Native 
American issues and i am writing my graduation paper on my affirmative 
about william connolly's ethos of pluralism, as im sure many other 
debaters write about arguments they run. My education in school is 
intimately tied to these issues as well.

MPJ is not a way that i avoid judges that are qualified rather that i 
affirm judges i believe to be more qualified than others. I use it also 
as a method to have people who do not feel like they are pedagogically 
useful to my arguments the clearance to not be placed in the awkward 
position of judging them. Some people do not want to hear me talk about 
the state of native americana (too many to strike even), but there are 
a lot of people that give extremely educational feedback on my 
arguments (much more than in a given round where i am forced to just 
attempt to persuade that my arguments are legitimate).

--next, you said "Some judges really care whether they get preffed and 
they modify their judging style to fit in. It is a interesting form of 
whoring going on within the debate judging community. The pandering has 
now shifted. Now the judges pander to the students, rather than the 
other way around. "

I just dont think this is true and i think this argument really 
misrepresents the vast whole of the judging community. I dont think 
that some of the proclaimed "policy hacks" of the world dramatically 
alter their judging stance to fit in far leftist criticisms. Im sure 
that they do open their minds to hearing the debates in alot of 
instances but i doubt their entire judging perspective is changed 
because UCO CK wants them to judge a different way (although i would 
clearly welcome any pandering to me). Judges work extremely hard to 
stay up to date with argument changes and developments because debate 
changes and thus their research bases change. Judges also predominantly 
get to control what arguments become valid in multiple ways (the old 
vote on T early in the year to send a signal for the rest of the year 
applies here). Very few judges say "fuck it, ill do what i want and if 
they dont like how i view debate, well fuck em, strike me", atleast not 
very few who get preffed. Perhaps this means MPJ is a way of saying 
that some judges arent working hard enough at being a better judge (as 
Russell would put it). This would then mean to me that absent MPJ there 
is little reason for judges to improve on judging. There are obviously 
exceptions to every rule, i believe bill shanahan is one of the hardest 
working if not the hardest working critics i have ever had judge me. to 
say he is routinely given an A+ by most squads is probably a stretch 
but he definitely works extremely hard at being fair to arguments. For 
the most part though i believe this rule can apply for MPJ.

--finally, you say "Yeah, I see the real educational value of MPJ. We 
learn how to game the system to avoid working for some judges ballots 
(Mike calls that pandering) and to coercively-persuade judges to adopt 
the majority views on what speaker points ought to be. "

This is more or less false as well. To say that i dont work hard for 
the ballot of a JT (who we pref highly) is ludicrous. To say we dont 
work hard for a Jon Sharp (who we pref highly) is ludicrous. MPJ does 
not make debaters lazy. To say that debate today is not actual debate 
(not that you are saying that scott, this is a complaint i have heard 
in addition to yours) is just too presumptuous for my tastes. Multiple 
examples can be put in place for this (i.e. to say harvard AM and Emory 
HW getting a mutual 1 and thus having a lazy debate is probably without 
warrant). I have a 30 hour a week job, a very busy homelife, a really 
involved school schedule, and am attempting to be successful at debate. 
MPJ just makes it more likely that i can do these things, manage my 
arguments better and still have a chance at competing in a very 
technologically diverse world than the world prior to MPJ. Earlier in 
the year you had a lot of very vivid complaints about the topic and its 
effect on young debaters. your teams so far have had competitve 
success. I would really question how much success is possible for alot 
of schools such as your own in a world absent mutual preference 

in terms of your example about how your debater deserved a 10 and a 
thorough lecture post round and how base 25 is too high. I really would 
question how educational it is to give novices and JV debaters 20's and 
21's , and i really question how well we can keep novices in the 
activity by universally placating them with such low speaker points as 
you have requested. some people are assholes an deserve a 17 some 
rounds. for the most part they aren't though. perhaps this is an 
expression that some pandering is not bad, carrot better than stick eh? 
i dunno, just food for thought i guess.

-Andrew Casey
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