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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:33 pm 
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In the last thread, everything kind of spun off-topic with people arguing about the legitimacy of 50 States counterplans based on how arguable they are and aff/neg difference and competition and whatnot (most of which I understood and gained insight from), but I was left without a sense of any identified limitation on counterplans themselves (only ways the affirmative can argue that they SHOULD be limited). If the negative team can stand up in their 1NC and completely derail the Aff plan by saying, "We, the Negative team, mandate world peace and perfect communistic sharing of wealth with no bureaucratic interference," then why is it worth building a case as an affirmative? If no negative team can lose, because negative teams can mandate perfection and peace with little or no regard to the resolution, what value is there in debate?

I recognize that this kind of thing rarely if ever comes up in the NCFCA and Stoa leagues, but it is important to understand limitations and how we should debate ethically.

What limitations should we impose on counterplans, as debaters/coaches/judges?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:00 am 
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1. As a debater on the negative, I have one absolute rule: the counterplan must be competitive and be sensible.

2. As a debater on the affirmative, I would put as many limitations on counterplans as I can logically make to exclude the negative argumentation.

3. As a judge, although I recognize that occasionally I might intervene regardless of neg argumentation (based on their ridiculous counterplan), I can't predict where I would do so. Coming into the round, I would put no limitations on counterplans.

4. As a coach, I would tell my debaters to follow situations 1-2.

Strictly speaking, I'm confused about your question of "what limitations should WE place on counterplans." If you're looking for theory blocks that apply to specific types of counterplans, people can probably give you those. If you're looking for a generic, all-encompassing framework, you're not going to find that, because opinions vary from debater to debater and situations change from round to round.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:47 am 
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:P

I hate CP threads.

For me, I don't care about the topicality of CPs in any way, nor do I care about the exclusivity of CPs. I have to agree with Anthony on his first point, but not on the second.

As aff I would never run T theory on a CP and usually not exclusivity theory. If it's blatantly not competitive, I would argue competition and plan plus theory. I try to stick away from blatantly saying "we perm this."

As a neg, here are my standards:

1. No multi-actor fiat

2. No objective of fiat fiat

3. Within normal policy parameters (i.e. this rules out "we mandate world peace," or "we mandate all harms to stop being harms")

And above all, a CP should be competitive with the purpose being to show why the aff's plan is bad one given other real-world options.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:56 am 
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Anthony has it about right. If you're looking for an all-encompassing standard, however, here's basically what I believe:

Theoretically, the only thing inherently required of counterplans is that they are competitive. Everything else flows from there (although opinions about the particulars - such as parametrics - vary greatly.)

Practically, there are clearly some abusive counterplans. You kind of have to deal with them on a case-by-case basis - you know one when you see one, and the final arbiter is ultimately subjective. (A lot of hypothetical scenarios in debate work this way.) Basically, however, it comes down to whether the CP is realistic. Fiat world peace? Not realistic. Fiat the state of Washington to release audit data? Totally reasonable.

EDIT: Ninja'd.
Drew wrote:
1. No multi-actor fiat
Why this? If you subdivide a bit, the Federal Government is multiple actors too (three branches, with thousands of employees.) The potential for abuse seems to have very little to do with how many actors you use: you can have abusive plans with only one actor ("North Korea will unilaterally disarm") just as well as abusive plans with multiple actors.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:09 am 
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I'll revise to say that multi-actor fiat is alright as long as it is fair, appropriate, and somewhat tied to the real world.

I'm struggling to provide actual standards here, but something like "each nation apart of the WTO will place economic sanctions on Russia for the purpose of making a statement about human rights," seems abusive to me. You can effectively argue that the WTO is one body and that the nations apart of it often DO make sanctions, but it still seems abusive.

There was some specific example that I had a problem with last year, but I can't seem to remember it right now.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:00 am 
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Sharkfin wrote:
Strictly speaking, I'm confused about your question of "what limitations should WE place on counterplans." If you're looking for theory blocks that apply to specific types of counterplans, people can probably give you those. If you're looking for a generic, all-encompassing framework, you're not going to find that, because opinions vary from debater to debater and situations change from round to round.


I meant in an ethical sense. What seems reasonable and what seems unreasonable? What will you do when running a counterplan and what will you NOT do? In general, this is a subjective question, not an objective one, but I know there's an objective truth behind all of it. There will be a point when you're using an abusive strategy simply to win the round, no matter whether or not it's mean. Where do you draw the line? Where do you think the line should be drawn? Will you argue for your point?

Specific anti-CP strategy is all well and good, too, and I appreciate everyone chiming in about that (really, it helps), but I was looking at a more ethical angle.

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Oh well. College student at Liberty University now. Not debating. But still hanging around.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:13 am 
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If you want to be truly ethical and ignore any inclination of debate theory (at least in the sense of "debate theory says CPs should be x") then you would only run topical CPs that are entirely competitive.

Here's why:

Aff evalutes which plan to pass based off of harms, advantages, defensibility, and advocacy. In short, they aim to make a smart decision for which plan to pick.

Neg evaluates the situation of harms, advantages, DAs, and advocacy and sees that there is a better alternative to the aff plan that they COULD HAVE picked.

So neg says "Judge, aff proposes to you that their plan was the best plan available to them within their boundaries. We say that there is a better policy and here's why [. . .] And guess what? It's topical! They could have chosen it, but didn't."

That round would force the negative to prove (ignoring theory arguments) WHY they chose their plan instead of the other one when they could have chosen either.

I hope that makes sense.

I had a judge vote against a CP at this last tournament because he thought it was fair to have it topical specifically for those reasons and the CP was non-topical.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:58 am 
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Same answer as other thread: it's a TERRIBLE argument and you can beat it!

They are not violating principles of Jesus (morals) or harming you as a person (ethics). Please use brains, not labels.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:43 am 
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ImagoDei wrote:
Sharkfin wrote:
Strictly speaking, I'm confused about your question of "what limitations should WE place on counterplans." If you're looking for theory blocks that apply to specific types of counterplans, people can probably give you those. If you're looking for a generic, all-encompassing framework, you're not going to find that, because opinions vary from debater to debater and situations change from round to round.


I meant in an ethical sense. What seems reasonable and what seems unreasonable? What will you do when running a counterplan and what will you NOT do? In general, this is a subjective question, not an objective one, but I know there's an objective truth behind all of it. There will be a point when you're using an abusive strategy simply to win the round, no matter whether or not it's mean. Where do you draw the line? Where do you think the line should be drawn? Will you argue for your point?

Specific anti-CP strategy is all well and good, too, and I appreciate everyone chiming in about that (really, it helps), but I was looking at a more ethical angle.

To be sure, I want to ensure that I do not gain a reputation as an unethical debater. I do not run CPs that could be seen as abusive, not simply because of this desire for a clean reputation, but because I know I run the risk of losing. I would be gambling on the aff's inability to argue rather than on my skill. I'm gambling that they won't be able to articulate, say, why fiating utopia is a bad idea. I don't run non-competitive counterplans because I would be gambling on their inability to tell the judge why competition matters. If I cannot persuasively defend the theory, I don't run the counterplan. That's what I won't do.

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