I would suggest changing the parameters of the event to punish minor rule violations - i.e. cutting prep time for the next round or reducing the number of topics that may be drawn for limited prep events. It affects the competitor in a tangible way without necessarily scuttling their chances at breaking/doing well.
That is certainly a solid idea and I wouldn't mind suggesting it to the NCFCA board. One note though, you would still agree that if the student doesn't rectify his violation then more aggressive punishment must be taken?
Hm. Interesting idea, don't know if I like it or not. It would seem that would create some judge bias against the competitor who's being penalized, for one. There are also easier solutions that are less severe and could work just as well.
I think a better solution would simply be to require the competitor to make the change for the next round (add a platform citation, remove the tune that's from an outside source in interp, put a sticker on your extemp computer), and if the competitor doesn't comply, drop him a few ranks. It makes the most sense and is the most simple. If it's something like, the guy has IO boards that are twice as big as they should be, or if the person has a 400-word intro that takes up half the speech, or their interp is 3/4 singing, or they're using profanity, then I can understand disqualifying them because those are violations which are central to the point of the speech category.
There also can be solutions to more major rule violations that don't require dropping the person to the bottom of the room. Say somebody is using internet in the extemp room. I'd give them a new topic strip, no extra prep time, and tell them that if they do it again they'll be DQ'd from extemp and they won't be allowed to use a computer at the next tournament. In that case it's clear that the person was trying to get an unfair advantage over the other competitors, so punishment is appropriate.
A rule shouldn't be enforced when the enforcement of the rule would be counterproductive to the goal of the rule itself.
That's a round-about way of saying that the rule isn't needed, it still has nothing to do with enforcement.
I think Brennan was actually right in that sometimes you see how pointless rules are by seeing them enforced. That's when, as you said Hammy, there'd be an argument that the rule isn't needed. I don't know if that's what he meant though.