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nonflow and speed
Tuna: thank you for asking. some thoughts below.
Bear: fuck off.
sometimes i don't flow rounds.
it is NOT meant as disrespect for the debaters involved. i have not
flowed in the semis of Heart, had others flow for me in the finals of
the Saluki, and so on. i have certainly never told anyone that their
debating is somehow "unworthy" of flowing. if anyone is uncomfortable
with me not flowing, they should tell me so and i will flow.
it is not laziness or not trying hard. i find that i am forced to
listen, think, and evaluate more carefully without a flow. if anyone
is unhappy with the amount of effort i put into evaluating a debate,
please let me know and i will try even harder. i don't typically take
"the easy way out" and i believe that very few folks consider me a "rep"
it is not that my flow is somehow "inadequate." when i flow i flow
tags, cites, and ev bodies. i think most folks find that my flow is
Steve Mancuso used to tell a cool story. when he was debating for
Princeton High School back in the late 70's, Ohio was hot stuff on the
national circuit, and there were several national circuit tournaments in
Ohio. a well-known critic in Ohio was the coach from Toledo Saint
Francis High, Esther Kalmbach (sp?). Ms. Kalmbach was a little old lady
and she didn't flow debate rounds. Mancuso said that some of his
favorite rounds were when Ms. Kalmbach would judge him against teams
from far away. they would "adapt" by condescending, slowing way down,
running simple cheesy arguments. he and his partner would go.
invariably, the victims would be congratulating themselves on an easy
win until Ms. Kalmbach began her rfd. it was invariably detailed, wise,
and largely non-interventionist.
well, when i don't flow rounds, it is because i think that i can do it
and render an excellent decision nonetheless. my experiences have been
pretty good so far. no claim to or illusion about superhuman abilities.
i AM proud of my judging ability, but i want to experiment with an
obvious alternative modality for critique.
as Aaron mentions, Darren Hicks did it first, and i was intrigued by
some of what he said about the experience: i wanted to give it a shot.
it started by having someone else flow for me while i just listened.
Darren was right: it was pretty cool - it CHANGES the way one hears and
understands rounds. i am now fairly comfortable judging this way.
now, for those who have worries about the process, some of MY
speed isn't an issue except insofar as it increases complexity.
it doesn't require a great memory except insofar as rounds come down to
whether or not arguments are new in rebuttals. it does require a good
listener: i am that.
most good rounds will be collapsed in rebuttals to only a few issues,
and that is controlled by understanding the arguments made on those
issues. those rounds that aren't collapsed usually mean that there are
only a few significant arguments on each issue and that's pretty
straightforward as well.
even when rounds are complex, as long as that complexity is
evidence-based, there is still no problem. i read ev whether or not i
the rounds that have been especially difficult are of two types:
a) the round does hinge on whether or not an argument was new in
rebuttals, while there are LOTS of claims being made on each issue.
i don't think i've mis-stepped here once: at least no one has
pointed-out that i've voted on new arguments.
b) the round is complex and the issues are not evidence-based. this was
the case in the semis of Heart last year. Michigan State and Emory
debated Schlag: Kate and Elizabeth went at it in the 2Rs on the issue.
there were LOTS of arguments, the central issues were analytic rather
than evidenced, and there was a lot of interaction between answers. i
sat on a 2-1 voting for Emory. i am comfortable with my decision, but i
HATED making it: i spent 20 minutes being lost in the logic before
being able to work through it. i disagreed with Ernie and Becky on a
couple of issues and it had nothing to do with the flow or its absence.
these sorts of rounds put a premium on having a good flow, and i had
none. anyway, it seems to me that only practice will get me the skills
to handle these suckers.
so, i know, this isn't much to report yet, but i'm working on it.
in the spirit of Esther Kalmbach,
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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