Steve and others,

I agree that the briefing makes no claim to be an absolute set of 
rules.  My worry is that it will be interpreted as such, especially in 
particular cases: "the whip did not address 3 questions."  I think rules 
should be few and should be procedural-- time limits, procedures for 
POI, etc.

The statement that it does not offer "exhaustive instructions" may not 
be of much help.  I read that statement to mean that the briefing does 
not "exhaust" the infinite number of guidelines that might be written, 
not that there are particular cases in which these guidelines should be 
set aside. 

In reference to the counterplan in particular.  I'm pretty sure I don't 
agree that a counterplan is good only in "rare circumstances" as the 
briefing and this clarification suggests.  This particular example is 
not so important as to stress what I hope is my main point: rules and 
guidelines should be about the procedures of debate, not about the kinds 
or substance of the arguments that debaters make.



Stephen Boyle wrote:
> John, Steve et al
> There seem to be a few specific issues at play here
> 1. Is this something that judges and debaters are expected to follow. 
> I'm sorry if there was any lack of clarity, but I would refer you back 
> to the beginning of the briefing.
>     Good debating is persuasive speech of the sort that would persuade
>     a normal, well-informed citizen of the merits of a particular
>     position. It arises out of a synthesis of reasoned argumentation,
>     sound structure, and appealing style. _*There is no single way to
>     debate well, nor can any briefing offer exhaustive instructions as
>     to how to debate well in every conceivable circumstance.*_ The
>     guidelines below are an attempt to sketch, broadly, a number of
>     important principles that should help you deliver the best
>     possible speeches.
> As such, the briefing should be taken as guidelines, particularly for 
> people starting out. John is right that it will mainly provide help to 
> novices. I disagree that it would be ''cold comfort'' for novices to 
> have a frame of reference that reflects normal practice on the 
> debating circuit. In terms of freeing people to think and create 
> arguments for themselves, I think it would be giving a great deal more 
> weight to how people view the briefing to argue that it will radically 
> alter their approach to debating having read it. Instead I think for 
> people looking for extra guidance it will prove a useful tool, while 
> it acknowledges, as noted above, that it is not a guide to every 
> circumstance, nor could it ever conceivably be so.
> 2. On the specific issue of counter-plans. John is correct that there 
> can be effective counter-plans. For the specific reasons mentioned in 
> the briefing (that you can gain the benefit of the argumentation of a 
> counter-plan by introducing it as an 'even-if' argument rather than 
> having to nail your colours to a plan) it's normally not the most 
> effective way of arguing. For circumstances where it is, I would 
> suggest that 'nearly always bad' also carries the clear implication of 
> 'in rare circumstances good'.
> 3. Counter-props in speech one. A counter-prop is different to an 
> explanation that an alternative might solve better, it is the 
> commitment of a team to that position above all possible alternatives. 
> Therefore it falls under the pre-existing obligations to consistency 
> established under the worlds rules. It is unjust for a first 
> proposition to not have the possibility of refuting an entirely new 
> and exclusive way of viewing the debate.
> 4. Judging: As noted in the judge briefing itself, the judging test, 
> and as will be emphasised at the tournament itself,* judging should be 
> holistic. *I would imagine that on this point, John, that we will be 
> in total agreement. I think it is useful for speakers to have a frame 
> of reference that they can choose to apply as they learn, should they 
> wish to do so. That should not for a moment be seen as saying that no 
> other strategies are valid. Again, it was my feeling that the 
> beginning of the document established that very clearly, but I will 
> re-iterate is so that there is no ambiguity.
> Regards,
> Stephen Boyle
> CA USU 2011
> On 29 March 2011 10:39, Stephen Llano <[log in to unmask] 
> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>     Finally John has written an email that I could not agree with more.
>     Let's stop worrying about silly "rules" and teach our students
>     what really matters - persuasion and argumentation that is in
>     resonance with the current scholarship on these ideas. Persuasion
>     and argumentation are always situational, audience-adapted, and of
>     the moment (Gr: Kairos).
>     Llano
>     _____
>     Stephen Llano, Ph.D.
>     Director of Debate
>     Assistant Professor
>     Department of Rhetoric, Communication & Theater
>     St. John’s University
>     Queens, NY
>     718-990-5606
>     718-990-2435 (fax)
>     callto://stevellano -- Skype Me!
>     "Knit the brows, and a strategem comes to mind." - Lo Kuan-chung,
>     Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
>     "Poetry is a rival government always in opposition to its cruder
>     replicas." - William Carlos Williams
>     "Chaos is the score upon which reality is written." - Henry Miller
>     ________________________________________
>     From: USA Debating in the WUDC Format [[log in to unmask]
>     <mailto:[log in to unmask]>] On Behalf Of Meany, John
>     [[log in to unmask]
>     <mailto:[log in to unmask]>]
>     Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 2:34 AM
>     To: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>     Subject: Re: USU Nationals 2011 in Brief
>     Are debaters and judges expected to follow this briefing? The WUDC
>     rules are fairly open-ended, allowing debaters to select best
>     practices and innovate strategies and tactics. In this way,
>     debaters may develop diverse and exceptional presentation and
>     argumentation skills. But this briefing often instructs debaters
>     on what they can say and how they can say it. It seems to add a
>     whole set of ‘rules’ that do not appear in the WUDC rules. Here is
>     just one example, regarding argumentation from the opposition –
>     the counterproposal (just about all of it seems so wrong). The
>     briefing seems to indulge in a certain wistfulness regarding
>     counterplan concepts, circa 1955. But what is the point of
>     repeating those ideas unless one is planning to expose, discredit,
>     and update them?
>     How can one understand the claim that “It is nearly always a bad
>     tactical decision for opp to offer a counter-prop?” This question
>     from the briefing is accurate, to a point. Yes, of course, it is a
>     bad tactical decision to use a bad version of a counterproposal.
>     [Ed. note: Duh.] But what if one did not follow the briefing’s
>     guide to bad counterplanning? What if one had a more modern or
>     effective version of counterplanning? What about a version
>     developed and used in serious personal and policy argumentation
>     for millennia? How about a version applied to formal debating in
>     the 19th and early 20th centuries and re-invented for academic
>     debating some 40 years ago? How about a version used by all
>     debate’s participants in decision-making each day? How about the
>     version inevitably used by the author(s) of the briefing, a
>     version about which they are, quite obviously, unaware? How about
>     a version routinely used in public policy debates and current
>     events discussions on the very motions selected for tournament
>     competition? What if a sound version of counterplanning had, as
>     its foundation, the identical logic used in the construction of a
>     proposition policy model? If it is fine for the prop, would it
>     then be fine for the opp? What if it served the acceptable ends
>     identified for the opposition teams? What if it met the purpose of
>     engaging in rebuttal of the proposition’s arguments in precisely
>     the terms established by the proposition? What if it served the
>     purpose of positive matter and proved that the proposition model
>     was counterproductive? What if it could be successfully
>     implemented by talented debaters in academic contests?  (For
>     example, I regularly observe good public policy counterplans on
>     diverse motions at middle school tournaments in debate outreach
>     leagues sponsored by the Claremont Colleges Debate Union). Still a
>     bad tactical decision?
>     To add insult, the briefing also demands that the counterprop
>     argument be presented in the opening speech for opposition side.
>     [Ed. note: Huh?] No need for a history lesson here. The non
>     sequitur is alive and well. In fact, recently saw a clever
>     presentation by Richard Haass, CFR, on Libya intervention. He
>     waited until colleagues agreeing with his non-intervention
>     position had their say before introducing his counterplan. It came
>     late in the televised discussion, which added to its authority –
>     it carefully considered all previous argument positions from those
>     favoring and opposing intervention. A relevant and powerful policy
>     argument, focused precisely to the question, expressed in less
>     than 30 seconds. And this is the sort of thing that should be
>     out-of-bounds for intercollegiate debaters?
>     There is a more of this sort of grey goo in the briefing –
>     manufactured rules, objective tests, empty opines, and other
>     claims that suggest, if anything, limited meaningful debate
>     experience and/or imagination – and debaters must struggle through
>     it all to get to substantive matter. Some info in the briefing may
>     be helpful for the novice debater (formalism and rule-bound
>     approaches often provide comfort, too often cold comfort, for the
>     inexperienced) but so much of it seems to suggest that there is
>     ‘one right way’ to debate, rather than the many available elegant
>     and effective ways.
>     Can’t we just follow the WUDC rules and liberate debaters to make
>     their own choices about argumentative and stylistic strategies and
>     tactics? Why must judge and debater briefings so frequently tell
>     debaters what to say? Shouldn’t debaters have the opportunity to
>     investigate and analyze issues and attempt persuasive approaches
>     independently of previous debate practice, judge preferences, and
>     applied conventions? Some of the choices they make may not be as
>     good as those listed in the briefing but other decisions, and
>     certainly those regarding counterplanning, may be MUCH BETTER.
>     That is how debaters develop and apply CT and debate practice
>     improves.
>     Although this note addresses the briefing document, it is also
>     relevant to the general imposition of judge preferences and
>     conventional practices that may interfere with the development of
>     genuinely exceptional public speaking, argumentation, and
>     refutation skills. It is time to put a stake in the heart of so
>     many zombie debate practices, the manner/matter/structure undead –
>     the revolving techniques that have been buried, again and again,
>     only later to escape to haunt and torment the perplexed villagers
>     (they’re back! – the judge demand for an explicitly expressed
>     split at the beginning of a speech, the ‘3 questions’ tactic of
>     the whip speaker, etc. – popular high school extemporaneous
>     speaking practices, circa 1955, now available in 2 forms – sources
>     of cable television and online parody and, without a trace of
>     irony, recommendations for BP debaters).
>     Best regards,
>     John
>     John Meany
>     Director of Forensics
>     Claremont Colleges Debate Union
>     Claremont McKenna College
>     500 East Ninth Street
>     Claremont, CA 91711-6400
>     909.607.2667 TEL
>     909.621.8249 FAX
>     [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>