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December 4, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

The case for open and fair disclosure in policy debate

In line with what Mason talks about above. I don’t see disclosure as sacrificing the art of surprise all that much.
Second, finding out really isn’t an issue either.

What it doesn’t tell:
1. specific cards and authors
2. what you will do in the block
3. the nuance or spin you will put on evidence (distinctions, prioritizations, nuances, etc….). This is what really wins debate rounds.
4. cross-examination questions
5. case arguments on the neg & add on advantages on the affirmative
6. impact analysis
7. evidence comparison
Thats were most of the real strategy and real thinking goes down.

Things change so much in the 2ac and the block….that providing the 1AC plan text and advantages or the 1NC or what you’ve gone for is such a minimal. However, it does mean that debaters don’t waste time on the 80% of the things the debate won’t be about.

Also, if debaters want to be good enough to debate in college, good enough to goto nationals, or to go to the TOC–it just makes sense to prepare yourself–because on the circuit those are the norms. That applies on two levels 1) better debates now….mean better debates over your career (rather than the art of surprise) 2) more prepared for upper end when you arrive.

Debate is clash. Clash thrives on minimal reveal so that a true battle can go down. Debate is not about cower….its not about fear….its not about running from debate. You don’t really learn anything in those types of exchanges.

And if debate is about excellence. Excellence now….and in the future–

Plus, the lack of reveal is probably going to encourage the other team to:
1. run a backfile check
2. run a process counterplan
3. run a generic critique
All of which they have lots of blocks for.

As such, it is generally a lose-lose proposition. You often have to take hits now… enjoy the fruits of your labor. True improvement requires short term loses for long term gains–in debate and life.

See also this link.


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