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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:37 am 
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thehomeschooler wrote:
Drew wrote:
Neg says, "The res ISN'T good unless you add something outside the res."

And if the neg was smart, they wouldn't run a CP with that. If you can seriously prove that the aff plan is no good, then there's no need for a PIC. You prove that by, as Daniel (Thomas) said, showing that it isn't better than the SQ. Where things get skrewey is when you compare the aff plan to your CP and ask for a neg vote, when in fact the aff plan is better than the SQ. That's the only case in which the CP would actually be of use (when the aff plan is better than the SQ but the CP is competitive and preferable); the problem is, you can't say "The res ISN'T good unless you add something outside the res."

Dangitt. Daniel beat me.


Meh. I agree with both of your from the principle level, but I don't care if CPs are topical.

As a whole though, I would much rather debate from a "good policy making" perspective than I would from a "good team policy arguing" perspective. I find the former to be rather conducive to the latter anyway.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:38 am 
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@Paradigm: When they say "rez," I think they're referring to the aff's adaptation of it (i.e., the plan).

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:47 am 
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thehomeschooler wrote:
@Paradigm: When they say "rez," I think they're referring to the aff's adaptation of it (i.e., the plan).


Oh, ok. Thanks. That clears things up. :)

The Affirmative plan is assumed to be harmful or not necessarily good because of NEG presumption. When NEG offers the PICP (or any CP/minor repair), presumption is lost, and the AFF now has the presumptive rights that NEG once had. Since NEG also agrees that a change ineeds to be made, then presumption goes AFF.

Drew wrote:
Meh. I agree with both of your from the principle level, but I don't care if CPs are topical.

As a whole though, I would much rather debate from a "good policy making" perspective than I would from a "good team policy arguing" perspective. I find the former to be rather conducive to the latter anyway.


^This. What is the inherent reason to vote against NEG if they offer a topical counterplan? They are still opposing the Affirmative team and fulfilling their burden. If that is proven, NEG should win. (this paragraph doesn't contradict my presumption argument as I am asking the question, "Should topical CP's produce an auto-AFF ballot?" No.)

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:19 am 
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Isaiah wrote:
A Meyers-Briggs would identify the approach to debate theory as XYZJ. Culturally this community is a super strong J (Judging) rather than P (Perceptive).
Oi. I have deep, deep skepticism against the MBTI, so I bristle at the analogy. Your point makes sense, though. And I freely admit that elegant theory is seductive. The whole Smith-Solt counterplan disposition is attractive for exactly that reason, even though my entire debate upbringing tells me you get better debates if the negative can't kick out a counterplan for any reason. Not only that, but it's been the people most stubbornly wedded to elegant theory that have resisted some really good, innovative arguments when they first appeared. But hey, different people see debate differently, which is why it's such good training for persuasive encounters later in life. MSD was warning, about two dozen posts back, against letting every judge decide it on her or his own whim, when in fact that is exactly what happens, regardless of what conclusions we draw on a discussion board about theory.

At any rate, there was one more intermediate stage of the history of topical counterplans that I haven't mentioned, although you'd think Stoa/NCFCA debaters would've stumbled across it a zillion times or more. Right at the point where negatives were bold enough to run them, but affirmatives were still trying to win the "topical counterplans are illegitimate" argument, we had a topic so broad that both the biggest affirmatives and their opposites were viable strategies: the 1988-89 Africa topic, "Resolved, that United States foreign policy toward one or more African nations should be changed." One of the most popular affirmatives on the topic was to abolish all United States sanctions against South Africa for apartheid. Pittsburgh, however, had written an affirmative at the start of the year that actually tightened those sanctions to make them work, so their go-to strategy against abolish sanctions was to counterplan by strengthening them.

Now, think about how this plays out: the affirmative gets rid of all sanctions, while the negative counterplans to make the sanctions stronger and more effective than before. The affirmative says "The counterplan is a change in foreign policy toward an African nation, so it's topical, so it's not legitimate." The negative, with some pretty understandable indignation, says "Come ON!! You're banning all sanctions, and you're claiming that it's unfair to debate us on a counterplan that says increase sanctions? What do you want to be held responsible for defending? What can we expect that you're prepared to argue? How whiny is it possible for you to get, if we answer your plan by counterplanning to do the exact opposite and you claim that the counterplan is unfair? For Heaven's sake, grow a set and debate us!" They, and other teams, went on an unbroken streak of not just winning the theory debate, but thrashing it into a bloody pulp. And from that, they gained the boldness to start saying "Look, if our counterplan competes with the plan, then it proves the plan is a bad idea. If they chose the plan and can't defend it, then they should lose, same as if they lost to us on any other issue." And judges, with their resistance eroded by the "opposite of the plan" counterplans, went along, and a new consensus formed.

And that's when the argument first swayed me. I've voted for topical counterplans for at least twenty years, and it hasn't caused any theoretical unraveling that I'm aware of. If the counterplan proves the plan's a bad idea, then the affirmative needs to hit the library. A handful of times over the years I've decided a topical counterplan was illegitimate when the affirmative executed the argument well and the negative wasn't careful or wasn't experienced. But most affirmatives in college debate honestly don't waste 2AC time starting the argument, because for that judging pool it's virtually unwinnable unless your opponent mishandles it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:31 am 
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Everyone seems to be using the following logic:

Q: Why should topical counterplans be fine?
A: Because they're legitimate arguments in real life (aka Congress, which is basically what everyone is thinking of)

This entire argument hinges on the idea that debate should be like Congress. But debate is not, in fact, like Congress. As I argued earlier, the resolution (and hence debate) is more like a meeting of party leaders to decide whether they need to put forward an immigration bill.

Thus, when you defend topical counterplans:
  • You are NOT defending the idea that topical CPs are legitimate in Congress. (Nobody disagrees on that.)
  • You ARE defending the idea that debate should be like Congress, rather than a should-we-reform-this meeting.

An honest question. Why is Congressional debate inherently superior to should-we-reform-this debate?

Isaiah wrote:
MSD wrote:
This is a valid viewpoint, but I don't think it's necessary, and it introduces a lot of complexity and unpredictability.
Here's where I really think you're misled. There is literally zero complexity in the following:

AFF: Pull troops out of Japan.
NEG: Only if you leave a nuclear monitoring party.
I think you're misunderstanding my point. I don't think the argument is complex; I think the theory implications are complex. Suppose you reject the resolution as the framework of debate:

AFF: Pull troops out of Japan.
NEG: Abolish all nukes.
AFF: ...what? How does that prove we shouldn't pull out of Japan?
NEG: It doesn't. It's just a better idea. Vote for us.
AFF: But you can't do that.
NEG: Says who?
AFF: It doesn't disprove the resolution... oh wait... nevermind...

We obvious have to have some basis for theory. If the NCFCA or Stoa boards wanted to reform the resolution to read:

>>>> "The Affirmative must present a plan from the category of (something). The Affirmative wins if they can prove that this plan would be better than the status quo, and the Negative wins if they cannot."

...then this might work, because that's a specific, official statement that you can base theory off of. But any such statement is currently unofficial, so it can't provide "right answers", only "alternate ideas to fight over in-round."

Again, we get back to what the ideal structure of debate is.

Isaiah wrote:
MSD, I think it's a litttllee ignorant to say "evolved" out of this interpretation if...
I'm just paraphrasing Dr. Srader's view. I was referring to this post.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:15 am 
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The example Dr. Srader gives is very good, and is one of the more compelling reasons I've seen for allowing topical CPs. I'm still not entirely sure if topical CPs work in general in policy, I think there's good arguments on both sides, but I'm very unlikely to vote a CP down on topicality if its doing the opposite of the plan. (and I definitely think topical CPs are good in parli debate, its a lot easier to win that they're good for debate in the context of changing, narrow resolutions)

@MSD: You don't need a resolution centered debate to win that argument. Perm that counterplan isn't a reason to reject, and you win. A counterplan represents an opportunity cost to the plan. If it doesn't actually have an opportunity cost (you can do it after doing plan) counterplan must be better than both plan and perm.
I think you're trying to say that the resolution is the only basis of theory, and in NCFCA/Stoa people often debate like it is, but in most other leagues the basis of theory is what creates the most equitable, educational debate. Thus, you have a lot of arguments saying that the other team's argument would justify also allowing something which would lead to very high win rates for one side, and thus the argument should be rejected.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:22 am 
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ZaR wrote:
You don't need a resolution centered debate to win that argument. Perm that counterplan isn't a reason to reject, and you win.
Yes, but perm theory is based on the idea that the Negative has to negate something, be it the resolution or the Aff plan. We have to have some reason for this. You're implicitly operating under an alternate framework - probably plan-vs-SQ - but you're still operating under a framework.

You have to have a framework, and an official framework (which, right now, is the resolution) is inherently superior to multiple clashing, unofficial frameworks. That's what I meant by needing to have some basis...

ZaR wrote:
I think you're trying to say that the resolution is the only basis of theory, and in NCFCA/Stoa people often debate like it is, but in most other leagues the basis of theory is what creates the most equitable, educational debate.
...and this is what I meant by complexity. That's kind of like abolishing all laws, and just appointing a lot of moderately-intelligent judges to decide everything on a case-by-case basis. It works - sort of - but it's better to have an actual "right answer".

Dr. Srader is correct that this already happens to a degree, but that doesn't mean we should ignore the resolution any more than judge variability means we should ignore laws.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Wow, MSD's post was absolutely brilliant. That's pretty much what I've thought - just that I'm not as articulate. :)

@DrSrader, I appreciate your point. I think it's actually very legitimate because at least the CP is mutually exclusive. But here's my question...if indeed TIGHTENING sanctions is better, then the AFF plan is NOT better than the status quo. In other words, the NEG could just run a DA.

Also, couldn't the NEG argue that tightening is the best, status quo is in the middle, and AFF plan is worst? So they can say to judge: "Advocates say tightening is best, the AFF does opposite. Why not stick with status quo?" In other words, why should the NEG make things so complicated for themselves?

I'm open to running topical CPs. I've just never had the situation in which I've felt the need to use a CP period. Through 4 years of debate, I've never run a CP and never lost to one. I think maybe your point about judges is valid - NCFCA/STOA judges aren't as used to CPs as college ones are. But isn't the goal of debate/communication to cater to the judge/audience? If I knew my judge was fine with topical CPs, I'd run one if I felt there was a need to. If I knew my judge was a liberal, I wouldn't run with articles from Heritage alone. I'd throw in some NACDL, ACLU, and emphasize the bi-partisan support. With a homeschool mom, I might name-drop the fact that Sen. Rand Paul supports the plan. I've always been taught to cater to the judge.

And the way I see it, judges in the NCFCA as a rule don't like CPs.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:06 pm 
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MSD wrote:
This entire argument hinges on the idea that debate should be like Congress. But debate is not, in fact, like Congress.

It is not necessary to use the congressional emulation notion to defend topical CP's. Here is roughly how my argument would fly.

Framework - Debate exists to teach and facilitate the exchange of Ideas. In the real world, ideas become actions. People use ideas to get things done. Thus, an exchange of ideas should be an effort to evaluate problems and weigh alternative actions.

Standard - Real World. Theories exist to explain reality. Thus, when a theory contradicts reality, no matter how sexy that theory is, it should be rejected.

Violation - Artificial limit. The AFF's sexy theory about topical counter plans doesn't square with reality. For example, let's suppose the CEO of Cobol Engineering assembles a board meeting to discuss a new foreign investment plan. Jon Chi proposes an alternative to the CEO's policy. In reply the CEO wails, "That's not fair! We're discussing foreign investment, so you have no right to propose a alternative policy which changes our foreign investment." That kind of argument is silly in a business environment. Why should it be accepted in the debate environment?

Impact - NEG's CP is a legitimate alternative to AFF's plan.

P.S. I'm expecting neither Amodeum, MSD nor thehomeschooler to buy this argument. I'm posting this (I hope) for the benefit of the searchers.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Dr. Srader, interesting history there. My personal history on the issue is strikingly similar. Our 2003 topic was "The USFG should substantially change its policy towards Africa and/or the Middle-East" or something like that. It was the year I really learned to use Generic positions (and perfected the art of the implied CP, for exactly this reason).

People would sanction every country you can think of in Africa and the Middle East. Our case was Unilateral Free Trade b/c we believe in principles of competition. We also believe in engagement. So at first, as second year debaters, we just counterplanned lifting sanctions in these rounds... GREAT clash of idealogies, right? We got the topical CP bit. Discovered people kneejerk vote against that. So we started just running this argument: "Engage, don't Isolate" with all kinds of examples and stuff. We directly competed with their philosophy, in essence were running a CP, but had zero plan text... somehow everyone found this easier to understand and ended up debating us on the issue.

Since then I've taught homeschool debaters at my camps that they are going to lose 20-40% of topical CPs prima facie because of the judging pool, but they can often simply run the competing position as simply a position (which implies a course of action the opposite of the plan, and not the SQ) for much less risk of being voted out.

Quote:
Suppose you reject the resolution as the framework of debate:

AFF: Pull troops out of Japan.
NEG: Abolish all nukes.
AFF: ...what? How does that prove we shouldn't pull out of Japan?
NEG: It doesn't. It's just a better idea. Vote for us.
AFF: But you can't do that.
NEG: Says who?
AFF: It doesn't disprove the resolution... oh wait... nevermind...

We obvious have to have some basis for theory.


Classic repetition vs. refutation. I don't think a single person is justifying above scenario. Not only would every judge rightly vote aff in that circumstance, but whether you agree with topical counterplans or not (or perms or not), the counterplan fails the basic point of competitiveness. We aren't talking about that.

We're talking about COMPETITIVE counterplans (ones that function as a reason to reject the plan). Fundamentally different.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:53 pm 
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@Glasses: Your example is lacking. If you want to make a real-world example out of the rez, the CEO would assemble the board meeting to discuss whether or not their foreign investment plan should change at all. Chi's plan would be embraced and everyone would be happy--and the FOREIGN INVESTMENT PLAN would change.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:57 pm 
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thehomeschooler wrote:
@Glasses: Your example is lacking. If you want to make a real-world example out of the rez, the CEO would assemble the board meeting to discuss whether or not their foreign investment plan should change at all. Chi's plan would be embraced and everyone would be happy--and the FOREIGN INVESTMENT PLAN would change.

No, for this reason: the alternative is offered as PROOF/the REASON that one rejects the CEO's plan.

In Congress, business board meeting, and your family deciding where to eat lunch, one disproves a course of action WITH ANOTHER.

Congress: AFF: Withdraw from Japan
NEG: WHOA not without some big changes

Boardroom: AFF: Let's spend our excess $15M buying X company
NEG: Let's spend it on Y company

Hungry family: AFF: Let's go to Subway
NEG: Let's go to Pho Royal 2000

Every single one of these alternatives is offered as a reason to REJECT the other plan. Every single one is "topical". Yet, if the argument is successful, the AFF's proposal should be rejected. Status Quo must be abandoned in every one though...

What's even awesomer is to realize that you're always running a "counter" plan. When you advocate the Status Quo, you're advocating a course of action as an alternative that disproves the proposal.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:17 pm 
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Isaiah wrote:
thehomeschooler wrote:
@Glasses: Your example is lacking. If you want to make a real-world example out of the rez, the CEO would assemble the board meeting to discuss whether or not their foreign investment plan should change at all. Chi's plan would be embraced and everyone would be happy--and the FOREIGN INVESTMENT PLAN would change.

No, for this reason: the alternative is offered as PROOF/the REASON that one rejects the CEO's plan.

In Congress, business board meeting, and your family deciding where to eat lunch, one disproves a course of action WITH ANOTHER.

Congress: AFF: Withdraw from Japan
NEG: WHOA not without some big changes

Boardroom: AFF: Let's spend our excess $15M buying X company
NEG: Let's spend it on Y company

Hungry family: AFF: Let's go to Subway
NEG: Let's go to Pho Royal 2000

Every single one of these alternatives is offered as a reason to REJECT the other plan. Every single one is "topical". Yet, if the argument is successful, the AFF's proposal should be rejected. Status Quo must be abandoned in every one though...

What's even awesomer is to realize that you're always running a "counter" plan. When you advocate the Status Quo, you're advocating a course of action as an alternative that disproves the proposal.


Major pwnage points for Isaiah. Whichever hypothetical way you look at it (Congress, CEO board meeting, etc.), CP's are still valid options. In fact, they are theoretically used every debate round.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:32 pm 
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Isaiah wrote:
Classic repetition vs. refutation. I don't think a single person is justifying above scenario. Not only would every judge rightly vote aff in that circumstance, but whether you agree with topical counterplans or not (or perms or not), the counterplan fails the basic point of competitiveness. We aren't talking about that.
You misunderstand. My point is not that your philosophy leads to this result; my point is that the lack of a philosophy leads to this result. Therefore, we need to have a philosophy; we can't just say "whatever is good for debate."

This all ties into my main point that the debate is actually about differing philosophies, not whether it makes sense in the "real world":
Isaiah wrote:
Every single one of these alternatives is offered as a reason to REJECT the other plan. Every single one is "topical". Yet, if the argument is successful, the AFF's proposal should be rejected. Status Quo must be abandoned in every one though...
Mr Glasses wrote:
It is not necessary to use the congressional emulation notion to defend topical CP's . . . For example, let's suppose the CEO of Cobol Engineering assembles a board meeting to discuss a new foreign investment plan. Jon Chi proposes an alternative to the CEO's policy. In reply the CEO wails, "That's not fair! We're discussing foreign investment, so you have no right to propose a alternative policy which changes our foreign investment." That kind of argument is silly in a business environment. Why should it be accepted in the debate environment?
While these don't sound like Congressional debate, they are still the same type of debate. You still haven't answered the question:

Why is plan-vs-plan debate inherently superior to should-we-reform debate?

Now, perhaps plan-vs-plan debate is inherently superior to should-we-reform debate. That's a perfectly valid argument to make. But, right now, NOBODY IS MAKING IT. Please debate the actual issue instead of just going round and round in circles saying "it's real world!"

Preston hit the nail on the head:
thehomeschooler wrote:
@Glasses: Your example is lacking. If you want to make a real-world example out of the rez, the CEO would assemble the board meeting to discuss whether or not their foreign investment plan should change at all. Chi's plan would be embraced and everyone would be happy--and the FOREIGN INVESTMENT PLAN would change.
You can bring up all the "real-world" examples you like, but you still have to face the fact that not all "real-world" debate is plan-vs-plan debate. Why is your part of the real world better than the resolution's part of the real world?

(also, props for Cobol Engineering... LOL)

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:53 pm 
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MSD wrote:
Why is plan-vs-plan debate inherently superior to should-we-reform debate?

Now, perhaps plan-vs-plan debate is inherently superior to should-we-reform debate. That's a perfectly valid argument to make. But, right now, NOBODY IS MAKING IT. Please debate the actual issue instead of just going round and round in circles saying "it's real world!"


Props for MSD. Excellent questions, not-so-easy answers. Nobody is making the argument because there probably is no inherent reason why plan vs plan is better than should we reform. There are external reasons why plan vs. plan might be better in some circumstances, but in and of themselves, both forms of debate can lead to either interesting, informative, fun debates or boring, dry, and uninformative debates. It depends on the situation.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:04 pm 
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The awesome Gaskell asks:
MSD wrote:
While these don't sound like Congressional debate, they are still the same type of debate. You still haven't answered the question:

Why is plan-vs-plan debate inherently superior to should-we-reform debate?
Now, perhaps plan-vs-plan debate is inherently superior to should-we-reform debate. That's a perfectly valid argument to make. But, right now, NOBODY IS MAKING IT. Please debate the actual issue instead of just going round and round in circles saying "it's real world!"


To which the awesome Srader replies:
Dr. Srader wrote:
No. Value topics are deliberately written to be generalizable, and policy topics are deliberately written to be completely and hopelessly meaningless as generalizations. That's true for the more narrow topics I'm used to, and it's infinitely more true for the broader topics that Stoa and NCFCA gravitate toward. "Resolved, that loving and being loved is the greatest experience in human existence" is a generalizable value topic. "Resolved, that you should get married" is completely meaningless and impossible to argue if you don't know who you're talking about marrying.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:16 pm 
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How does that answer the question? You can engage in both plan-vs-plan debate and should-we-reform debate about whether to get married:

Plan-vs-plan
AFF: Marry Miss Scarlett.
NEG: No, marry Cleopatra instead.

Should-we-reform
AFF: Marry Miss Scarlett.
NEG: She's nasty. Don't do that.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:36 pm 
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MSD wrote:
How does that answer the question? You can engage in both plan-vs-plan debate and should-we-reform debate about whether to get married:

Plan-vs-plan
AFF: Marry Miss Scarlett.
NEG: No, marry Cleopatra instead.

Should-we-reform
AFF: Marry Miss Scarlett.
NEG: She's nasty. Don't do that.

Isaiah McPeak wrote:
What's even awesomer is to realize that you're always running a "counter" plan. When you advocate the Status Quo, you're advocating a course of action as an alternative that disproves the proposal.

With this in mind, plan-v-plan looks like:
AFF: Marry Miss Scarlett.
NEG: No, marry Cleopatra instead...or...
NEG: She's nasty. Don't do that.

Mr Glasses wrote:
Framework - Debate exists to teach and facilitate the exchange of Ideas. In the real world, ideas become actions. People use ideas to get things done. Thus, an exchange of ideas should be an effort to evaluate problems and weigh alternative actions.

Plan-v-plan provides more possible idea clash combinations. Ergo, plan-v-plan better facilitates what debate's all about. Prefer plan-v-plan.

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Last edited by Mr Glasses on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Ok, maybe not the ONLY homeschooler.
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Isaiah wrote:
thehomeschooler wrote:
@Glasses: Your example is lacking. If you want to make a real-world example out of the rez, the CEO would assemble the board meeting to discuss whether or not their foreign investment plan should change at all. Chi's plan would be embraced and everyone would be happy--and the FOREIGN INVESTMENT PLAN would change.

No, for this reason: the alternative is offered as PROOF/the REASON that one rejects the CEO's plan.

You're not getting it: The scenario is wrong. If the CEO is an example of the rez, we aren't talking about one plan-- we're talking about a resolution. The company has proposed a resolution to change foreign investment, and the CEO's plan is just part of that resolution. Mr. Chi may not like the plan, but he agrees with the rez. Fail on his part.

::EDIT:: And of course you're running a CP when you go straight up against a case. Why not...keep it that way? You're CP-happy? Run your "SQ = better" strat as a CP.

Quote:
Props for MSD. Excellent questions, not-so-easy answers. Nobody is making the argument because there probably is no inherent reason why plan vs plan is better than should we reform. There are external reasons why plan vs. plan might be better in some circumstances, but in and of themselves, both forms of debate can lead to either interesting, informative, fun debates or boring, dry, and uninformative debates. It depends on the situation.

Exactly. Debate is pretty much the same with plan- or rez-centered debate. I've just always been rez-centrist for one reason: We have a friggin rez. That seems like a good reason to actually take the rez seriously, other than just saying "oh it's there for limits" when the wording clearly contradicts that notion.

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Last edited by thehomeschooler on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:43 pm 
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I know not this "leverage" of which you speak.
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thehomeschooler wrote:
You're not getting it: The scenario is wrong. If the CEO is an example of the rez, we aren't talking about one plan-- we're talking about a resolution. The company has proposed a resolution to change foreign investment, and the CEO's plan is just part of that resolution. Mr. Chi may not like the plan, but he agrees with the rez. Fail on his part.

"Who cares if Mr. Chi agrees with the idea that we should change our foreign investment strategy?" asked Mr. Charles. "We all agree on that. That is why this board meeting is taking place. It is the particulars of the change that will determine the fate of the corporation, not the fact that we all want change."

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