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November 27, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Why judges should be able to call for evidence after debate rounds

While I respect the intent of your position on this issue, I would differ a bit.

Your interpretation begs the question–actually both sides do of:
1) defining what a debate round is (texts read, what was said, or what was heard……or some muddled confusion of the 3.) I think no matter how you slice it every judge is taking some combination of 3 as the defining characteristic of what a debate round is.
2) what judging it is
3) and what are fair practices are for judging or rather what the process of fair judging looks like (Note: mostly the former two above and less of the later group of questions in three).

First, the assumption that there is objectivity through the veil of what occurred a debate. And they aren’t always in a position to know what caused that warp/bias (their part, the room acoustics, or the debaters lack of clarity).

Second, its probably helpful to figure out in what types of scenarios the evidence is called for and read…..and then what type of interpretive or judging lense a given judge might use to interpret the evidence.

Third, there are some issues that are literally unresolved by debaters. Judges are sometimes forced or significantly hog tied to make decisions on other criteria (ie actual evidence).

To me this practice is akin to the jury in a case looking over the evidence after a trial.
Note: they don’t get to look over all the evidence–even if it was presented in the court room–the lawyers get to object about some of it.
None, the less they need the clarity the documents provide to provide the fairest decision.

Judging is subjective–judging without calling for evidence is subjective–judging while calling for evidence is subjective. Its just subjective in a different way.

I think Ankur’s model is like a black box. If what is in the black box was read in the debate…..the judge should be able to read it….particularly if the round revolves around those issues.

Looking at evidence after the round is a form of contextualization. Its a way of looking at the fairness and truth and education questions with a particular type of perspective. Its a process that if applied fairly–or with the intent of fairness is fair. Particularly when the alternative is not knowing or absence of knowledge or truth–being in the dark.

Generally, judges call for evidence in which one of five things occurred:
1. the round hung on the issue or the position hung on the issue (ie to provide clarity to what is a cloudy or murky issue in terms of judging).
2. they want to see the evidence to help in their explanation of the decision (ie to provide clarity).
3. the 2ar or 2nr flagged it as a big deal.–so their decisions might include said evidence–in order to contextualize what else is happening (ie to have both sides of the story before the post-round begins).
4. to get the cite or perform competitive intelligence
5. other. curiosity. (I honestly don’t know what else falls under this reason or justification)

I would add the speed and volume of debate means that this practice is also legitimate–as long as practiced within the realms of fairness. Expecting judges to be mimieograph machines or court stenographers for 6 debate rounds is perhaps beyond absurd.

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  1. compassioninpolitics / Nov 27 2012 8:34 pm

    Here’s a slightly edited/updated version:

    While I respect the intent of your position on this issue, I would differ a bit.

    Your interpretation begs the question–actually both sides do of:
    1) defining what a debate round is (texts read, what was said, or what was heard……or some muddled confusion of the three.)
    I think no matter how you slice it every judge is taking some combination of the three as the defining characteristic of what a debate round is.
    2) what judging it is
    3) and what are fair practices are for judging or rather what the process of fair judging looks like (Note: mostly the former two above and less of the later group of questions in three).

    First, the assumption that there is objectivity through the veil of what occurred a debate. And they aren’t always in a position to know what caused that warp/bias (their part, the room acoustics, or the debaters lack of clarity).

    Second, its probably helpful to figure out in what types of scenarios the evidence is called for and read…..and then what type of interpretive or judging lense a given judge might use to interpret the evidence.

    Third, there are some issues that are literally unresolved by debaters. Judges are sometimes forced or significantly hog tied to make decisions on other criteria (ie actual evidence).

    To me this practice is akin to the jury in a case looking over the evidence after a trial.
    Note: they don’t get to look over all the evidence–even if it was presented in the court room–the lawyers get to object about some of it.
    None, the less they need the clarity the documents provide to provide the fairest decision.

    Judging is subjective–judging without calling for evidence is subjective–judging while calling for evidence is subjective. Its just subjective in a different way.

    I think Ankur’s model is like a black box. If what is in the black box was read in the debate…..the judge should be able to read it….particularly if the round revolves around those issues.

    Looking at evidence after the round is a form of contextualization. Its a way of looking at the fairness and truth and education questions with a particular type of perspective. Its a process that if applied fairly–or with the intent of fairness is fair. Particularly when the alternative is not knowing or absence of knowledge or truth–being in the dark.

    Generally, judges call for evidence in which one of five things occurred:
    1. the round hung on the issue or the position hung on the issue (ie to provide clarity to what is a cloudy or murky issue in terms of judging).
    2. they want to see the evidence to help in their explanation of the decision (ie to provide clarity)–or rather to help provide insight for their recommendations to debates (not the RFD proper).
    3. the 2ar or 2nr flagged it as a big deal.–so their decisions might include said evidence–in order to contextualize what else is happening (ie to have both sides of the story before the post-round begins).
    4. to get the cite or perform competitive intelligence
    5. other. curiosity. (I honestly don’t know what else falls under this reason or justification)

    All of the above seem like legitimate practices. (Perhaps excluding number 5 because its obviously pretty vague–kind of a catch-all). Oh…and there are judges who do call for evidence who then let it color their decisions–but I think this is a small minority. Perhaps 5% of the judging pool–or perhaps 5% of rounds that were never really resolved by debaters in the first place.

    I would add the speed and volume of debate means that this practice is also legitimate–as long as practiced within the realms of fairness. Expecting judges to be mimieograph machines or court stenographers for 6 debate rounds is perhaps beyond absurd. Speed and volume of evidence guarantees distortion…..and I would argue “unfair” distortion in the process……reading evidence serves to clear this up. Lets say you actually heard 50% of the card and you remember 50% of that. Making decisions in that context….without reading the evidence is impossible.

    Did they read X or Y part of the Mead card VS did they ACTUALLY read X or Y part of the Khalilzhad evidence.

    Ankurs definition might be “fair” but compared to what….and what might be the educational fallout. It begs the question of the opportunity cost.

    Reading evidence is a means of resolving competing claims by both sides–made in the debate in terms of link, impact, or risk.
    Reading evidence beats not knowing.
    Reading evidence beats guessing.
    Hearing is imperfect
    Memory is imperfect.
    Reading specific evidence (we’ll call it tipping point evidence) helps provide clarity and truth in this fog of evidence and war and scribbles on the flow.

    This is probably only 90% of what I wanted to say…but I hope it conveys my thoughts on the issue. Plus judges that manipulate that part of the process are prone to manipulate other processes. (i didn’t hear that or thats not how I interpreted that). All text is subject to some degree of interpretation–a little big of wiggle room if you will. Ergo, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in terms of fairness–except that reading evidence–and reading specific evidence by a specific and consistent criteria–is key to providing a beacon of light on the shadows , black boxes, and ice bergs……..that the judge may have missed amidst the flurry or hail storm of evidence, arguments, and counter-claims. It provides a better fairness criteria than the 3 words they have half scribbled as the tag for the Mead evidence–which is often the alternative.

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