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 Post subject: Neg Weighing Mechanism
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:22 pm 
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Can the Negative present a weighing mechanism/standard even if the Affirmative does not?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:54 am 
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Yep.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:23 am 
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Voice of Reason wrote:
Yep.


Well that was simple. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:47 am 
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The real question is how strategic would that be? Because AFF will just come back and say Net Benefits.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:40 am 
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I guess… depending on their level of experience. How do you defend against that?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:56 am 
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Am I the only person who generally distastes the weighing mechanism of Net Benefits? I mean, yes, you do have to provide an advantage as Aff, but it has to be a significant advantage. To me they have to be significant net benefits. The resolution calls for a significant reform after all. Most times when I hear Net Benefits cases they seem to be quantitative cases (ie. we save $20 million, vote for us!).

If you bring forth a legitimate weighing mechanism you should be able to impact and defend it well enough (for instance, Aff could pass a law that is blatantly unconsititutional yet saves $3 trillion. You could pose constitutionality as a weighing mechanism and, even though $3 trillion is a more quantitative value, you could make a good go of it).

Standards and weighing mechanisms aren't "ohh, once Aff says it we have to go with it!" You can present your own counter-standard so long as you give a reason why your standard or mechanism is superior to Aff's.

I think judges would generally see through a phony Affirmative counter-standard (one that they didn't bring up in the 1AC). Most of the time if I'm Aff and Neg proposes a standard I take them up on it and try to steal their own ground.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:56 am 
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I am of the opinion that net benefits is not a real weighing mechanism or "criterion" at all. It's a built-in assumption to every round of TP debate ever that the Aff case's advantages should outweigh any possible disadvantages. You're literally proving nothing by just running "net benefits" as your criterion, because that's Aff's basic job. Even in a comp-ad case you need to prove your case is better than the SQuo.

A real weighing mechanism hones in on a specific aspect of net benefits - i.e., "human life" or "national security" - whichever side better protects xyz criterion should deserve your ballot. This way gives a definite, approachable goal and lends itself very well to impacting all arguments directly back to the criterion.

/JMO and worth exactly what I charge for it

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:18 am 
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Voice of Reason wrote:
Am I the only person who generally distastes the weighing mechanism of Net Benefits?

No, in fact Mrs. Nasser teaches that criteria are a required part of an aff case.

Quote:
I mean, yes, you do have to provide an advantage as Aff, but it has to be a significant advantage. To me they have to be significant net benefits. The resolution calls for a significant reform after all.

You're implicitly accepting FX T by saying that we should consider the impacts of the affirmative case when considering topicality. Moreover, this standard leads to some undesirable effects. Let's say the neg wins a ton of mitigating arguments on a systemic overhaul of the federal court system (a really big case--say "direct election of all federal judges") but wins no disads. Are you really going to argue that the case isn't a significant reform and that the judge should vote neg?

As long as it leaves us better off, why not pass the plan? I suggest that there's no reason why a case must have "significant net benefit" as long as it has a net benefit.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:19 pm 
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Sharkfin wrote:
FX T


What does that stand for? I know the T stands for Topicality, but what does the rest of it mean?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:46 pm 
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sons_of_thunder wrote:
Sharkfin wrote:
FX T


What does that stand for? I know the T stands for Topicality, but what does the rest of it mean?

Effects topicality. Basically, it's the idea that something is (or isn't) topical by measuring the effects of the plan.

For instance, in years where we're debating foreign policy, oftentimes the resolution will be phrased something like "the US should change policy towards X country." People will run cases that affect X country but aren't necessarily policies directed at that country.

FX T is typically considered illegitimate-- that is, if your case is only topical by considering its effects, then it shouldn't be topical. Voice of Reason appears to be using a similar argument-- that is, we should decide what is topical based on its effects. This is bad because then the neg would have to research reforms of the federal court system AND anything that might affect the federal court system.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:34 pm 
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Sharkfin wrote:
FX T is typically considered illegitimate-- that is, if your case is only topical by considering its effects, then it shouldn't be topical. Voice of Reason appears to be using a similar argument-- that is, we should decide what is topical based on its effects. This is bad because then the neg would have to research reforms of the federal court system AND anything that might affect the federal court system.

To clarify, I wasn't saying that we determine Topicality based upon the impacts/effects of the case, I was simply saying that (in the role of a judge) I wouldn't be tempted to vote for a case if the advantages were not something I valued (yes, saving money has value if you can impact it, but generally debaters don't do a good job of that). Much of this is a personal quirk that I would have as a judge as opposed to a set-in-stone rule or method. Neg teams would also have to run good arguments along with this (which would be a greater endeavor than simply running FX T), so the burden would still be on Neg, but I think it's a doable strategy.
If the Affirmative team agrees that it can't provide a significant net benefit, then I think it is tacitly agreeing that there isn't a pressing need or desire for change. I also think that debate rounds are for the purpose of fixing real-world actual problems or resolving pressing needs, and I think that spending time on pointless, meritless, or insignificant cases squanders some of the educational value of debate.
I agree that FX T is an illegitimate strategy.

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 12:06 am 
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sons_of_thunder wrote:
Can the Negative present a weighing mechanism/standard even if the Affirmative does not?

Yes, and good negatives usually do.
I don't know how much you know about weighing mechanisms, so click this underlined section for an introduction and explanation of weighing mechanisms. :)
("Framework" is a synonymous term for any type of WM.)

Negs should propose weighing mechanisms designed to minimize Aff's offense (usually advantages (kritikal aff's are unheard of in NCFCA/Stoa, so most argument weighing (the purpose of weighing mechanisms) focuses on policy impacts)) and maximize their offense (usually disadvantages (but sometimes kritiks; again, rare in homeschool leagues)). An example of this would be our affirmative which has a goal/value of justice, and a criterion of accuracy. This means that we believe justice to be the most important ideal when determining our actions in the context of this round. The criterion of accuracy means that we believe the best way to uphold/execute/implement justice is through improving accuracy. Therefore, we've defined what actions (and impacts) we're going to say are most important: those that increase the accuracy of the courts. (This then allows us to say to any arguments that don't impact to accuracy, "Those are less important than our arguments because justice is most important, the way to achieve that is accuracy, and our plan upholds that better than neg does. Therefore, our impacts are more important and you should vote for us in spite of neg's arguments because we outweigh.")

Neg can respond to this framework in one of three ways:
  1. They can accept both the goal and the criterion, and say that these are best met under a neg ballot (referred to as turning the wm/fw). Under this, neg would impact their arguments (usually turns/DAs) to the fw and make aff defend why they better fulfill the fw. (Ex: Under our affirmative, negs could argue that our plan reduces the accuracy of our courts, and thus undermines our fw.)
  2. They can agree with the value but propose a different criteria to meet it. This frequently happens when one side's arguments impact to logistics and another's impact to something more philosophical (e.g. fair trials for every single person v. efficiency). This is useful when aff proposes a highly idealistic or highly pragmatic plan.
  3. They can reject both and propose their own fw. This is usually done when the aff's goal is poorly chosen; good affirmatives don't usually pick bad goals. (e.g. Aff picking something like efficiency, which is neither a value nor very easily claimed to be the most important thing in the court system.
In both 2 & 3, both sides should have reasons that their value and criterion are more important than their opponents'. (e.g. justice is best because that's the purpose of the courts; accuracy is best because that's how justice is best determined; efficiency is best because it means the most justice is dispensed to the people, etc.) When you use a weighing mechanism, you should be using it to compare impacts and tell the judge what is more important. If you win framework, you should win the debate.

NerdRipper7 wrote:
The real question is how strategic would that be? Because AFF will just come back and say Net Benefits.

1) Aff should be using a FW to narrow the impacts in the round, because NB allows neg much more ground, since they aren't constrained to topical action. 2) Neg will point out why their wm is more relevant and important to the topic. Net Benefits doesn't compare impacts, and assumes that all impacts are equally important; they aren't.
Click to see what cross-x under this res would look like and why neg would win framework. :D
CX 1
aff = A, neg = N
N: What's the purpose of the court system?
A: To uphold the laws.
N: You'd agree that the reason those laws are made is to uphold justice?
A: Well, they also preserve social order.
  1. N: Is it the affirmative position that unjust outcomes are acceptable if social order is maintained?
    if aff says yes: Neg DESTROYS them in the next speech by pointing out that this is a terrible position for human rights/value, and arguing that normatively justice is more important. (90% chance that the Third Reich makes an appearance as a characterization of the aff team's mindset.)
    if aff says no: N: So justice IS more important than social order? (if aff continues to be obstinate, neg can make them look like contrarian idiots for 3 minutes)
    if aff says something about there needing to be a balance: N: So what metric does aff propose to measure this balance, and where within that metric is the tipping point for deciding that we have too much of one and not enough of another?
  2. N: You would agree with me that social order is important because it produces more just outcomes?
    A: No blah blah blah.
    N: So social order without justice is normatively good?
    A: Well, it's not good but it's reality.
    1. N: So we shouldn't try to achieve justice at all?
    2. N: So if the Nazis had won and instituted a new, effective social order, that would be ok?
    N: Is there anything more important than justice in our court system?
    1. A: Well, you have to look at the bigger picture and see what's impacted outside of just the court system.
      N: So, to be clear, it's the affirmative contention that in reforming the courts, there are more important purposes than executing justice?
      A: Well, we can't just hyperfocus on one ideal to the exclusion of others.
      N: Why, because that might produce unjust outcomes in other areas?

This can also be done with a criteria:

CX 2
N: Is it your contention that there is a better way to ensure justice is done in our courts than
[list][*]by ensuring accurate decisions?
[*]by ensuring the laws are representative of the people?
[*]by ensuring that every defendant can receive a fair and speedy trial?
etc.

Neg will dominate in CX and win framework. Aff should ALWAYS have a better framework than net-benefits, unless they're running a plan like an FTA. Even then, providing favorable metrics to measure economic growth would be much better, to negate some short term job-loss arguments.


Voice of Reason wrote:
If the Affirmative team agrees that it can't provide a significant net benefit, then I think it is tacitly agreeing that there isn't a pressing need or desire for change. I also think that debate rounds are for the purpose of fixing real-world actual problems or resolving pressing needs, and I think that spending time on pointless, meritless, or insignificant cases squanders some of the educational value of debate.
I agree that FX T is an illegitimate strategy.

So you're basically saying that sig-T is an argument you're amenable towards, and that's nice - I agree. But the underlined portion above is logically incorrect - this is a total non-sequitur and assumes that need for change in the courts as a whole is linked to aff's specific advantages (which it isn't), assumes that aff is holding a position that most affs don't, and also assumes a lot about the way that significance and "net benefit" are defined. This is exactly why weighing mechanisms are necessary for good debates. :)

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:15 pm 
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Wow, thank you!

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 5:13 am 
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IMO, net benefits (not excluding significance) *should* be the criterion of every TP round. More specific criteria can be helpful to provide some thematic unity to your advantages. Seen this way you aren't actually negating net benefits, this is just telling the judge where the net benefits are found. If your negative position is thematic in nature (as opposed to mainly point by point refutation and a list of DA's) then I can see it might be helpful to run a neg criterion even if the aff doesn't have one. Though I might recommend just saying it's the theme of the "neg position" or philosophy - the real strength of a criteria is not in formatting it up all officially but in how well you tie everything else back into it.

And if you do run a criterion, aff or neg, please don't do the cheesy thing where you skip all refutation and say "well their DA makes it sound like our case is pretty bad, but it isn't related to our criterion of xyz, so you should just ignore it". I've lost debate rounds to that argument :x I got to where I would just always run a counter-criterion of net-benefits and say I didn't disagree with the importance of their criterion, just clarified that the issues where also in a broader context. And then move on with debate as usual.

I guess you could use a weighing mechanism to explain why the impact of your advantages is more important than the impact of some DA's - though in this case you're still accepting net benefits, you're just using your criterion as a guide to weighting things on the scale. Unfortunately I haven't personally seen this done. I have seen people use them in an attempt to just skip impact calculus, and exclude DA's they apparently felt they couldn't refute.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 9:03 pm 
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Caleb wrote:
IMO, net benefits (not excluding significance) *should* be the criterion of every TP round. More specific criteria can be helpful to provide some thematic unity to your advantages. Seen this way you aren't actually negating net benefits, this is just telling the judge where the net benefits are found. If your negative position is thematic in nature (as opposed to mainly point by point refutation and a list of DA's) then I can see it might be helpful to run a neg criterion even if the aff doesn't have one. Though I might recommend just saying it's the theme of the "neg position" or philosophy - the real strength of a criteria is not in formatting it up all officially but in how well you tie everything else back into it.

And if you do run a criterion, aff or neg, please don't do the cheesy thing where you skip all refutation and say "well their DA makes it sound like our case is pretty bad, but it isn't related to our criterion of xyz, so you should just ignore it". I've lost debate rounds to that argument :x I got to where I would just always run a counter-criterion of net-benefits and say I didn't disagree with the importance of their criterion, just clarified that the issues where also in a broader context. And then move on with debate as usual.

I guess you could use a weighing mechanism to explain why the impact of your advantages is more important than the impact of some DA's - though in this case you're still accepting net benefits, you're just using your criterion as a guide to weighting things on the scale. Unfortunately I haven't personally seen this done. I have seen people use them in an attempt to just skip impact calculus, and exclude DA's they apparently felt they couldn't refute.

The purpose of a weighing mechanism is to explain why your impacts are more important; net benefits fails to do this.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 10:40 pm 
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^I think I'm agreeing with you there so long as you aren't interpreting the two to be mutually exclusive. Net benefits does fail to explain why your impacts are more important, it's just the prior claim that the side that does have the more important impacts should win. If we agree that this is the basic standard by which every single TP round should always be judged, then I can see your claim that there is little point in wasting time to run it as your own weighing mechanism*

Supposing, for example, that a team has a case meant to decrease innocent conviction. Their advantages follow that claim and they find the typical DA's the neg argue talk about inefficiency and delay. I could see that they could benefit from having a criterion of "Justice/protecting the innocent", so long as they take the time to explain why their impacts are categorically more important. In other words, this is just standard impact calculus still under the overall framework of net benefits; their criterion is just a shortcut to lump all their impacts together to make their impact calculus more organized and persuasive. So to answer the OP, yes you can run a criterion/weighing mechanism as negative even if the aff doesn't, just please do it the right way and don't deny the overall framework of net benefits.


*with the exception of times when your opponents' try to use a criterion to say that their impacts are the only ones that even count at all. I don't know how common this is in different regions in different eras, but I do know that I encountered this several times when I was debating. They weren't giving reasons why their impacts were more important, they were saying that since they had a criterion the judge should just ignore all issues not under that heading. In that case I think the neg should maintain that cases are overall judged by net benefits, hopefully persuading the judge not to just ignore all their DA's.

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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 5:21 pm 
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Thank you… this has been a very thought-provoking exchange… I never thought about it that way before. I suppose it's not really real-world to say that "everything that doesn't fall into this category doesn't count." You still have to consider all of the impacts, but you can say that some things should be considered with greater weight.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 4:31 am 
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Quote:
I suppose it's not really real-world to say that "everything that doesn't fall into this category doesn't count."
Yes that's exactly what I meant. Obamacare, for example, certainly did achieve the stated "criterion" (so-to-speak) of increasing the number of people with insurance. Actually I think this is a good example of someone trying to use their goal and how good it is to try and get people to gloss over other relevant issues.

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