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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:11 am 
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OK, how Alternative Solutions work (or at least, how I've always run them): You hit a case. The aff's case solves problem X. However, there are several other plans or ideas that would solve X without all of the extra hassle that the aff's plan would have. However, you don't want to run a counterplan for whatever reason. Instead, you simply tell the judge that, even if they believe in the aff's harms, their plan isn't as effective as the other plans or ideas. Then you say that if the judge passes aff's plan, none of the other solutions can ever come about. That way, you can run a quasi-counterplan as well as all of the other stock issues.

What are everyone's thoughts? Have you run anything like this?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:15 am 
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I've heard a lot of people talk about this, but they usually call them implied counterplans.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:31 am 
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I really don't find this to be a strong form of argument because the neg just has to talk about what will happen under the affirmative ballot. Plan passed, or plan not passed. Unless CP is brought up, no ulterior options. :) (at least that's worked for me in the past) :D

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:54 am 
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I've heard that referred to as an "opportunity cost disadvantage". I like the reasoning and I think it's an interesting argument, since it draws on a basic economic principle (opportunity cost). Basically, whenever you make a decision, you need to evaluate each possible action relative to its opportunity cost. E.g. I have $5. I could buy a big cup of coffee at starbucks, which I would enjoy. However, in doing that I would be sacrificing the opportunity to spend that $5 elsewhere - maybe at subway, or by saving it. A rational economic actor will only make choices where the benefit from the choice is larger than the opportunity cost, and a rational actor will also never make a choice where the opportunity cost is greater than the benefit. If I would rather have a sub then it would be stupid to buy a coffee.

With that said, I don't think this works very well in debate for the reasons Hammy mentioned. In a debate, since the neg is advocating the SQ, you also have to factor in the probability that the opportunity cost would actually be realized, which is usually very small. So basically, it's like making a choice between a cup of coffee or nothing, since you assume that the probability that subway is an option is very low because you can't get a ride or something (I think this analogy is getting a little too drawn out, so I'll stop with it now :P).

One coach in our region likes these arguments, so we hit one once and beat it pretty easily with that logic.

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2010-11 | Freshman | Bardsley/King | IX | 13th at Regionals
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:27 am 
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Under standard counterplan theory, this is a counterplan. Opportunity cost is the whole reason counterplans are a reason to reject the plan - the counterplan is better, doing the plan prevents you from doing the counterplan, ergo the plan is a bad idea.

It doesn't matter whether the "opportunity cost" plan is likely to happen in the status quo, because we're arguing about what should be done. Neither team actually changes the real world - the counterplan is still what should happen regardless of whether it will happen.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:30 am 
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Masked Midnight wrote:
Anglophile wrote:
OK, how Alternative Solutions work (or at least, how I've always run them): You hit a case. The aff's case solves problem X. However, there are several other plans or ideas that would solve X without all of the extra hassle that the aff's plan would have. However, you don't want to run a counterplan for whatever reason. Instead, you simply tell the judge that, even if they believe in the aff's harms, their plan isn't as effective as the other plans or ideas. Then you say that if the judge passes aff's plan, none of the other solutions can ever come about. That way, you can run a quasi-counterplan as well as all of the other stock issues.

What are everyone's thoughts? Have you run anything like this?

Bush/Collins beat Julia and me in Regionals Quarters with this strategy. We used it to win Double-Octas at Nationals. It's a clever strategy and it has worked well for me in the past. If you know how to do it, go for it...but it probably will unnerve the AFF a bit.

I'll let Johnny explain it...he can do so much better than I. ;)

How did they beat you with that? 0_0 Another option is just to run all of those options as CPs. We were beat by 6 CPs in one round. :D

Also, what Will said. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:41 am 
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6 CP's?!?!?!?!?!?!

I rest my case for implied counterplans. They are much less time consuming. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:45 am 
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MSD wrote:
It doesn't matter whether the "opportunity cost" plan is likely to happen in the status quo, because we're arguing about what should be done. Neither team actually changes the real world - the counterplan is still what should happen regardless of whether it will happen.

This may be different from what we hit, but the "counterplan" in question was topical, and I'm pretty sure they phrased it as an opportunity cost DA in order to avoid defending parametrics - i.e. they said "we are supporting the SQ, and the reason why the SQ is better is because the affirmative's plan has a large opportunity cost." the problem I see with that is that if you are supporting the SQ, you are saying that we should do nothing - and if we do nothing, the opportunity will not be realized, so it doesn't constitute a reason to vote neg. On the other hand, if you are actually supporting an alternative, and saying that it should happen, then (assuming the alternative is topical) you're now agreeing with the affirmative that reform should happen.

Basically, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Either you run a counterplan or you don't. I don't really see the validity of an in-between, pseudo-counterplan where you're not actually advocating a reform but are implicitly claiming the benefits of said reform nonetheless.

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2010-11 | Freshman | Bardsley/King | IX | 13th at Regionals
2011-12 | Sophomore | Dovel/King | IX | Q'd to Nationals
2012-13 | Junior | Dovel/King | IX | 17th at Nationals
2013-14 | Senior | Dovel/King | IX | 5th at Nationals

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:43 am 
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Masked Midnight wrote:
Quote:
How did they beat you with that? 0_0

Basically because the judges thought we were abusive by not fulfilling out burden under the resolution, and that any option for reforming the IPCC would better than its overall termination. We did split 2-1 though.

We never claimed you were abusive, and neither did the judges so far as I remembered. We were simply claiming that reform was superior to abolishment. We gave several examples of reform, we had a really legit advocacy press, and talked about the justifications for having an international panel, if it was fixed. :)

We actually won quite a few rounds with this beautiful strategy.

I don't have the time right this minute, but I'll write up my explanation of it's theoretical justification and practical utility in the next day or two :)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:47 am 
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kingwill wrote:
This may be different from what we hit, but the "counterplan" in question was topical, and I'm pretty sure they phrased it as an opportunity cost DA in order to avoid defending parametrics - i.e. they said "we are supporting the SQ, and the reason why the SQ is better is because the affirmative's plan has a large opportunity cost." the problem I see with that is that if you are supporting the SQ, you are saying that we should do nothing - and if we do nothing, the opportunity will not be realized, so it doesn't constitute a reason to vote neg. On the other hand, if you are actually supporting an alternative, and saying that it should happen, then (assuming the alternative is topical) you're now agreeing with the affirmative that reform should happen.
Yeah, in that case it doesn't make sense, because opportunity cost arguments don't support the status quo - they support, well, the opportunity cost, whatever that is. In this case the opportunity cost still upholds the resolution, so it's basically a topical CP.

(Actually, it is a topical CP - the logic of the argument works exactly the same way whether you call it a CP or an "opportunity cost DA." So it makes sense that your response sounds pretty much exactly like how you'd respond to a topical CP.)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:08 pm 
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Masked Midnight wrote:
Quote:
We never claimed you were abusive, and neither did the judges so far as I remembered. We were simply claiming that reform was superior to abolishment. We gave several examples of reform, we had a really legit advocacy press, and talked about the justifications for having an international panel, if it was fixed. :)
Oh no, you guys were great! I thought one of the judges mentioned that, but I don't want to dig up the ballot and find out. ;)

And yes, the strategy really is beautiful. We won a few rounds with it too.

It isn't actually a good strategy at all. We've beaten many times simply by impacting that the alternative sounds great, but at the end of the day the judge can vote negative or affirmative. Pass our plan or pass nothing. These potential other solutions are irrelevant in the debate round.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:54 pm 
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I may not be understanding this strategy completely, but the way I see it, the negative is essentially challenging the affirmative's standard for when we should make decisions. The affirmative (like Hammy) would say that we should make a decision whenever there is a comparative advantage - i.e. if we would be better off than before. The negative would say that we should only make a decision when the benefits of that decision outweigh the opportunity cost - i.e. if we are not sacrificing a better alternative by making the decision. This is obviously a higher standard, but I think it's defensible.

To use the example of IPCC, both teams would agree that in the SQ, reform is unlikely. The affirmative would thus argue that we should abolish it, since not having it would be better than having it in its flawed state. The negative would argue that this is not a rational decision, because it sacrifices a better alternative. They don't necessarily have to say that the alternative would naturally come about in the SQ or advocate any particular reform, since what they're saying is that if we're making decision rationally, we don't make a decision that sacrifices better alternatives.

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2010-11 | Freshman | Bardsley/King | IX | 13th at Regionals
2011-12 | Sophomore | Dovel/King | IX | Q'd to Nationals
2012-13 | Junior | Dovel/King | IX | 17th at Nationals
2013-14 | Senior | Dovel/King | IX | 5th at Nationals

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:37 pm 
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kingwill wrote:
I may not be understanding this strategy completely, but the way I see it, the negative is essentially challenging the affirmative's standard for when we should make decisions. The affirmative (like Hammy) would say that we should make a decision whenever there is a comparative advantage - i.e. if we would be better off than before. The negative would say that we should only make a decision when the benefits of that decision outweigh the opportunity cost - i.e. if we are not sacrificing a better alternative by making the decision.
Yes. But aren't these really the same thing? Remember that we're arguing about what should happen. That's an abstract world that's not limited by what's going to happen in the status quo, what options each team explicitly endorses, etc. The answer to the question "what should we do?" is always "the best possible option out of all the options available." If the plan has an overriding opportunity cost, it's not the best possible option, so it's not what we "should" do.

This is true even under the Aff's "comparative advantage" criterion. Remember, we're operating in an abstract world that includes all available options, so a "comparative advantage" means a comparative advantage over all of the alternatives, not just the status quo. The Aff in this case isn't arguing for a comparative advantage criterion, they're arguing that their plan should be considered in a vacuum where the only options are "our plan" and "the status quo". (some form of plancentrism??)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:19 pm 
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MSD wrote:
This is true even under the Aff's "comparative advantage" criterion. Remember, we're operating in an abstract world that includes all available options, so a "comparative advantage" means a comparative advantage over all of the alternatives, not just the status quo. The Aff in this case isn't arguing for a comparative advantage criterion, they're arguing that their plan should be considered in a vacuum where the only options are "our plan" and "the status quo". (some form of plancentrism??)

Except unless the neg runs a counter plan then they are supporting the status quo. They are saying that nothing should change. Not because there are other solutions (with exception of CP) but because the SQ should be kept.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:46 pm 
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Years ago, Burleson High School right outside Fort Worth had a couple of quite successful teams, and they would run counterplans that they labeled "non-resolutional policy alternative." If anyone tried to answer them like counterplans, they'd say "It's not a counterplan; it's a non-resolutional policy alternative." Some debaters had the moxie to make fun of that in CX, by chasing them around until they had to admit it was a counterplan, but some debaters didn't have the stick-to-it-iveness to grind that out of them. And they did say that calling it a non-resolutional policy alternative helped them with some judges who thought counterplans were radical departures from their beloved stock issues. They wouldn't vote on a counterplan, but they'd at least listen to a non-resolutional policy alternative.

We, of course, ridiculed it. We abbreviated it to NRPA, which we pronounced "nurpa," and we threatened to give them a purple nurpa if they pulled any of that nonsense with us.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:57 pm 
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Hammy wrote:
Except unless the neg runs a counter plan then they are supporting the status quo. They are saying that nothing should change. Not because there are other solutions (with exception of CP) but because the SQ should be kept.
The Negative negates the resolution. That can mean supporting the status quo, but it doesn't have to - they could run a counterplan, as you say.

But as I've been saying, it makes no difference whether you run an opportunity cost argument as a DA or a counterplan. It's the exact same argument either way. The debate is about the factual truth of the resolution; officially "supporting/advocating" or "not supporting/advocating" a proposal doesn't change the facts involved. Whether the Negative officially advocates the proposal as a CP has no impact on whether it proves the resolution factually wrong.

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COG 2016 generics-only sourcebook - NCFCA/Stoa (thread)
Factsmith research software - v1.4 currently available (thread)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:49 pm 
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MSD wrote:
But as I've been saying, it makes no difference whether you run an opportunity cost argument as a DA or a counterplan. It's the exact same argument either way. The debate is about the factual truth of the resolution; officially "supporting/advocating" or "not supporting/advocating" a proposal doesn't change the facts involved. Whether the Negative officially advocates the proposal as a CP has no impact on whether it proves the resolution factually wrong.

In theory yes. But not in the judges mind. ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:21 pm 
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Masked Midnight wrote:
Hammy wrote:
MSD wrote:
But as I've been saying, it makes no difference whether you run an opportunity cost argument as a DA or a counterplan. It's the exact same argument either way. The debate is about the factual truth of the resolution; officially "supporting/advocating" or "not supporting/advocating" a proposal doesn't change the facts involved. Whether the Negative officially advocates the proposal as a CP has no impact on whether it proves the resolution factually wrong.

In theory yes. But not in the judges mind. ;)

It's actually worked in quite a few judges minds. ;)


^This along with a reminder that it's your job to make it work that way in the judges' mind. All this theory is just common sense and logic applied to how debate should operate. I agree 100% with MSD, that's exactly how I explain the theory to my students, and it's won me plenty of rounds both running or negating a CP.

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