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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:32 pm 
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mountain dude wrote:
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. ;)

I'm all ears for hearing an argument about how a rule shouldn't exist, but it should be in the context of a whether or not it is a helpful rule. The punishment and enforcement of the rule is another matter entirely.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:19 pm 
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I had been somewhat sloppy in my responses, missing posts etc. I was on vacation and had only a smartphone to use and HSD and smartphones don't mix very well. My apologies.

Hammy wrote:
@Jonathan: I am not referring to what happened with your bracket pool or the fruit incident when I am speaking of enforcement of rules. I do feel that NCFCA is incorrect in what they did in these cases, but I would contend that these are isolated incidents. Is it terrible that it happened? Yes. Is it indicative of large problems in NCFCA? No.


So, can we add rescinding the #BracketGate decision to the list of changes to email to NCFCA?

Hammy wrote:
mountain dude wrote:
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. ;)

I'm all ears for hearing an argument about how a rule shouldn't exist, but it should be in the context of a whether or not it is a helpful rule. The punishment and enforcement of the rule is another matter entirely.


I have a longish list of rules I would take out...but I'd rather keep to the punishment/enforcement aspect of things because that's what frustrates me the most. I'm sticking to this for minor rule violations: Punishment is appropriate for cheating, but cheating is twofold: an unfair advantage AND the intention to gain it (it is rather easy to look at a violation and tell whether it's intentional or inadvertent). If you're warned by the tournament staff to change something before the next round, tournament, etc., and you don't change it, then you either have amnesia or you willfully didn't change it, in which case you deserved to be dropped. For more major rule violations, see my previous post.

Sharkfin wrote:
In extemp, the judges would never know.

In apol and impromptu, the uninitiated wouldn't know that it's unusual to have someone take half prep/select only one topic. The initiated would know that it's for minor rule violations, and thus that it's nothing to worry about. Instead of informing the judges, there could be a tournament staff in the room for the initial topic selection/for the first half of the prep time.

Re: if doesn't rectify: I'm not sure "aggressive punishment" is really ever appropriate for minor rule violations like forgetting to label electronics. I would support increasing the punishment for each successive infraction, but I think the larger context (that is, the significance of the rule) should always be considered.


Why punish the violation when you can rectify it fairly without punishment? I think you should always be given a warning first before you're punished for not labelling a computer.

I had a brain wave. For minor rule violations, like labelling your extemp computer or a citation or something like that, I think you should be required to show that you've corrected the error before you make it through script submission/check-in etc. at the next tournament. That way it's easy to verify and easy for them to make the change.

Another idea I had is that for the first tournament every year, the competitors should be required to read through the rules for their events (say, while their script is being checked) before they can get through check-in.

Here's the deal-yo. NCFCA is not God, they are not your parent, and they are not your teacher either. NCFCA is a facility for competition. We learn things from competition with the other competitors, not from the almighty infallible league. Rules are to keep the playing field fair, but disqualifying a good speech for a small, inadvertent error is unfair, not fair. I'm gonna pull out an old quote here.

Hammy wrote:
I believe that you're missing something here. While part of the reasoning behind punishing people for rule violations is to keep the playing field fair, the majority of the reasoning revolves around learning to follow the rules. This is something that a lot of homeschoolers lack, an ability to follow the rules consistently. Generally there is so much more leniency in the homeschool world than in the public school world. Deadlines, submission content, etc. can easily be shoved aside or overlooked. NCFCA is a representation of the real world when it comes to rules. It stresses that we need to learn to follow the rules, and if we can't learn to do this, then we're punished accordingly.


Maybe there's a place for homeschoolers to learn more about rules, but it's not NCFCA. NCFCA is a competition which should be judged on the merit of the speech, not on the virtue of the speakers. I agree with you that NCFCA is a representation of the real world which stresses rules to the letter. I do not agree that this is a good thing. So, here are the two purposes of their enforcement of the rules:

1) Keep the playing field fair-the method of their enforcement perpetuates UNfairness, not fairness because they're disqualifying perfectly good speeches.
2) Teach kids about rules-NCFCA is not God, your teacher, or your parent. They're a competitive league which is there to teach you about public speaking, not how to follow rules.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:28 pm 
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mountain dude wrote:
So, can we add rescinding the #BracketGate decision to the list of changes to email to NCFCA?

Let me clarify, I don't disagree with the decision itself. I feel that bracket pools should not be allowed in NCFCA, but I feel that the punishment (forcing the donation to charity and the double chaperone) is highly irregular.

mountain dude wrote:
Why punish the violation when you can rectify it fairly without punishment?

Have you ever tried dealing with kids? We're thick-headed and arrogant as all get out. Just letting people off the hook and warning them often doesn't send a sufficient enough message. Look at the people who were dropped for not labeling their computers? We were warned several times, but we never actually corrected our mistakes. A punishment sticks in the mind of a student and incentivizes change. Even something smaller like cutting prep time or topic choices might do the trick, but simply giving a warning accomplishes very little.

Also, you're assuming a utopia of a league. A league in which there are no nefarious individuals and everyone is open to correction. This is simply not true. A lighter punishment would accomplish the relative best of both worlds. Not fully remove a student from competition but still give the powerful reminder through punishment that the student needs to reform.

mountain dude wrote:
I had a brain wave. For minor rule violations, like labelling your extemp computer or a citation or something like that, I think you should be required to show that you've corrected the error before you make it through script submission/check-in etc. at the next tournament. That way it's easy to verify and easy for them to make the change.

It would be impractical at best and would only (potentially) help a small pool of rule violations.

mountain dude wrote:
Another idea I had is that for the first tournament every year, the competitors should be required to read through the rules for their events (say, while their script is being checked) before they can get through check-in.

Debate clubs and parents will often remind us to check over the rules. The responsibility to read the rules still rests with us regardless of a rule forcing us to read the rules.

mountain dude wrote:
disqualifying a good speech for a small, inadvertent error is unfair, not fair.

This sounds like the argument that says that it would be unfair of God to throw us to Hell. Fairness =/= Mercy. Fairness = Justice. NCFCA has these clear rules in place. You violated the rules. NCFCA reserves the right to punish you. Nothing unfair about this in the least.

mountain dude wrote:
They're a competitive league which is there to teach you about public speaking, not how to follow rules.

We've gone over this before and I'll simply say this. If rules are not enforced then there are no rules. I know that you still feel that rules are needed, but you are arguing for a conflicting standard.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:06 pm 
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mountain dude wrote:
Why punish the violation when you can rectify it fairly without punishment? I think you should always be given a warning first before you're punished for not labelling a computer.

Oh, yes, definitely. Nobody should be punished for making minor mistakes that don't materially affect the competition unless the mistake is repeated - I was suggesting these remedies for repeat offenders.

Hammy wrote:
Have you ever tried dealing with kids? We're thick-headed and arrogant as all get out. Just letting people off the hook and warning them often doesn't send a sufficient enough message. Look at the people who were dropped for not labeling their computers? We were warned several times, but we never actually corrected our mistakes. A punishment sticks in the mind of a student and incentivizes change. Even something smaller like cutting prep time or topic choices might do the trick, but simply giving a warning accomplishes very little.

Also, you're assuming a utopia of a league. A league in which there are no nefarious individuals and everyone is open to correction. This is simply not true. A lighter punishment would accomplish the relative best of both worlds. Not fully remove a student from competition but still give the powerful reminder through punishment that the student needs to reform.

I think we should assume the best of NCFCA competitors. Not assume utopia - a utopia where everyone reforms the first time - but to assume that people generally will respect the rules. Because NCFCA's competitors truly are a different breed of people and indeed are of higher moral quality than most people. Sure, you have the occasional rebel, but on the whole the NCFCA is composed of (on average) the most rule-following people I have ever met.

I suggest that warnings, followed by minor forms of punishment for minor infractions are the best way to realize this mindset.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:59 pm 
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In other news, I found out at Nats that power matching has to go because it delays tournaments.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:23 pm 
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Timbalistea wrote:
In other news, I found out at Nats that power matching has to go because it delays tournaments.

Wait, what!!! Is that just at Nats or at all tournaments?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:31 pm 
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Timbalistea wrote:
In other news, I found out at Nats that power matching has to go because it delays tournaments.

...that can't be true. Powermatching is a necessary element of running debate tournaments. Otherwise it throws even more unpredictability and chaos into the mix, and the league would suffer.

Also, Stoa generally has bigger tournaments than NCFCA and still does power matching, so you guys really have no excuse.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:13 pm 
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Evan wrote:
Timbalistea wrote:
In other news, I found out at Nats that power matching has to go because it delays tournaments.

...that can't be true. Powermatching is a necessary element of running debate tournaments. Otherwise it throws even more unpredictability and chaos into the mix, and the league would suffer.

Also, Stoa generally has bigger tournaments than NCFCA and still does power matching, so you guys really have no excuse.

I'm pretty sure his comment was a sarcastic response to the logic that doing a certain suggestion posted here (I don't remember what the suggestion was) would delay tournaments so it shouldn't be done. Not an actual change that's happening. :P


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:35 pm 
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Sharkfin wrote:
Because NCFCA's competitors truly are a different breed of people and indeed are of higher moral quality than most people.

But we are still children. You have to be careful when taking for granted the morality of teenagers, especially teenagers who are taught to use one of the deadliest weapons known to mankind, the tongue. It's a delicate balance as we can rationalize just about anything in our minds. Afterall, we are the mature ones of the high moral quality, right? How can we be wrong? We don't really need punishment, punishment just distracts from learning. We're here to learn about debate, we don't need to be punished, punishment has no place in learning. It does for others, but not for us. We're above the rod of correction because we need no correcting. We are of a high moral quality and all we'll ever need is a simple nudge in the right direction. We'll figure the rest out on our own.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:33 pm 
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Hammy wrote:
Sharkfin wrote:
Because NCFCA's competitors truly are a different breed of people and indeed are of higher moral quality than most people.

But we are still children. You have to be careful when taking for granted the morality of teenagers, especially teenagers who are taught to use one of the deadliest weapons known to mankind, the tongue. It's a delicate balance as we can rationalize just about anything in our minds. Afterall, we are the mature ones of the high moral quality, right? How can we be wrong? We don't really need punishment, punishment just distracts from learning. We're here to learn about debate, we don't need to be punished, punishment has no place in learning. It does for others, but not for us. We're above the rod of correction because we need no correcting. We are of a high moral quality and all we'll ever need is a simple nudge in the right direction. We'll figure the rest out on our own.


No mentally healthy parent would punish their child for accidentally knocking over a glass of milk. My parents would make me clean up the mess, not punish me, and if I didn't clean it up, they'll tell me again or incur consequences. In that respect ALONE, NCFCA should be like your parent-they should require you to fix your mistakes. They should not, without warning, punish you for them.

Hammy wrote:
Let me clarify, I don't disagree with the decision itself. I feel that bracket pools should not be allowed in NCFCA, but I feel that the punishment (forcing the donation to charity and the double chaperone) is highly irregular.


If we're dealing with issues of morality aside from competition I think NCFCA needs to take a backseat approach, because they have jurisdiction over the competitive arena, not over the lives of the students within it. It would be appropriate for a tournament official to have a discussion with the competitors' parents and maybe debate coaches about it and ask them to stop their kids from doing it in the future. It would not be appropriate for NCFCA to insert themselves into the punishment of the students. It wouldn't be any more appropriate for NCFCA to punish kids for playing Grand Theft Auto in the hangout room on a screen where everybody could see it. It would be okay for them to approach their parents and request-request that their kids stop playing it (and few parents would refuse that). Fair?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:08 am 
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mountain dude wrote:

Hammy wrote:
_TakenUsername_ wrote:
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. ;)


I chose my words carefully in hopes of making my statement as easy to understand as possible, but lets have another go.

If you establish goals in order to achieve a specific goal (say, to better competition), and the enforcement of that rule in a specific scenario would either result in you moving away from that goal or not moving you closer to the goal at all, then there is no reason punishment should be given.

In most cases, this would mean the rule itself shouldn't exist, but that's not always the case.

TL;DR: Spirit of the law > Letter of the law.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:53 pm 
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_TakenUsername_ wrote:
TL;DR: Spirit of the law > Letter of the law.

Ok, and do you have any suggestions for what rules NCFCA should apply this to?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:31 pm 
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Hammy wrote:
Ok, and do you have any suggestions for what rules NCFCA should apply this to?


I generally charge people when they commission me to write something over 50 pages long.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:45 pm 
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mountain dude wrote:
Hammy wrote:
Ok, and do you have any suggestions for what rules NCFCA should apply this to?


I generally charge people when they commission me to write something over 50 pages long.

That could be taken as you don't have any suggestions.

Do you have a few you could write out?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:58 pm 
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IO picture citations of non-copyrighted material-NCFCA shouldn't punish students for failing to cite material as an outside source when U.S. law would allow them to, in any publication, cite it as their own original material, or not cite it at all; that's how image credits work. Once it's in the public domain (like clipart) then any person is allowed to cite it as their own material.

Extemp Computer Labelling-NCFCA shouldn't punish students without warning for failing to label their computer. There's no point in verifying whose computer you're using if you're disqualified for using it whether it's yours or not. The penalty should be adjusted to penalize students a) after a warning has been given or b) if they acquire and use somebody else's computer by taking advantage of the lack of a label. This could also be remedied by providing a pad of sticky notes and a pen in the prep room.

I'm not going to list any more because I have a piano lesson to get to in 15 minutes. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:55 pm 
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mountain dude wrote:
IO picture citations of non-copyrighted material-NCFCA shouldn't punish students for failing to cite material as an outside source when U.S. law would allow them to, in any publication, cite it as their own original material, or not cite it at all; that's how image credits work. Once it's in the public domain (like clipart) then any person is allowed to cite it as their own material.

A slight note: Public domain images could have easily been dropped their after having been stolen from a non-public domain source. But the real reason why this would be a silly change is that in just about every newspaper or magazine you'll always see photo credits somewhere within the material. It's gives credit where credit is due.

mountain dude wrote:
Extemp Computer Labelling-NCFCA shouldn't punish students without warning for failing to label their computer. There's no point in verifying whose computer you're using if you're disqualified for using it whether it's yours or not. The penalty should be adjusted to penalize students a) after a warning has been given or b) if they acquire and use somebody else's computer by taking advantage of the lack of a label. This could also be remedied by providing a pad of sticky notes and a pen in the prep room.

But you could still pick up another competitor's computer in the room itself. Labeling punishments serve as a deterrent to this. If they're caught under your version, they'll get a warning and no punishment for blatantly cheating and possibly sabotaging another student's computer. Whereas if you're caught working on a computer without a label, you'll be punished regardless which means that you can't get away with the offense.

Anything else?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:42 pm 
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mountain dude wrote:

Extemp Computer Labelling-NCFCA shouldn't punish students without warning for failing to label their computer. There's no point in verifying whose computer you're using if you're disqualified for using it whether it's yours or not. The penalty should be adjusted to penalize students a) after a warning has been given or b) if they acquire and use somebody else's computer by taking advantage of the lack of a label. This could also be remedied by providing a pad of sticky notes and a pen in the prep room.

I'm not going to list any more because I have a piano lesson to get to in 15 minutes. :)



I agree. That's why the have a warning; it's called the rules. It is laid out clearly that you have to label your computer. And you may say something like competitors don't read the rules, but that is an issue within itself. In college, my math teacher has very specific rules about hw(name, order, stapling). She has mentioned those rules at most once in class and very briefly, but they're in the syllabus(equivalent of extemp rules) so I know that if I break them I will be dropped to the bottom of the room(in this case get a zero).

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:26 am 
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Hammy wrote:
_TakenUsername_ wrote:
TL;DR: Spirit of the law > Letter of the law.

Ok, and do you have any suggestions for what rules NCFCA should apply this to?


I'm establishing a principle here, not making specific policy proposals. Applying that general principle to the implementation of NCFCA rules would be a change in and of itself.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:32 am 
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Ok, I'll make this simpler, rather than taking time to write every rule thing out. Here's my proposal:

NCFCA doesn't punish any first-time infraction of the rules unless it is either an infraction that is central to the entire speech (in which case the competitor would have to give a significantly different presentation to correct the error) or it gives the competitor an unfair advantage over the other competitors in the room, in which case the tournament officials will make a judgement on the degree of punishment (I'd suggest a rank penalty) based on the unfair advantage that the competitor gained over the other competitors, the most severe penalty being that the competitor is dropped to the very bottom of the room for every round that he was not in compliance with the rules.

What does this sacrifice? If you think that it's "fair" for a great presentation to be disqualified because the author made an error then your priorities are out of whack. Rules are not priority number 1. The merit of the speech is priority number 1, which is why that should always be considered before an unimportant rule infraction. Whether or not homeschoolers need to learn about rules, that is not the job of NCFCA. That is the job of God, parents, and teachers, which does not include NCFCA.

What does it improve? It saves a lot of perfectly good presentations with little errors in them where the league as it is would throw the baby out with the bathwater.

NCFCA Mission Statement wrote:
The mission of the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) is to promote excellence in communications through competitive opportunities where homeschool students develop the skills necessary to think critically and communicate effectively in order to address life issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God. In keeping with its Mission Statement, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) has developed a Philosophy and Vision Statements to guide league activities.


Nothing in there about teaching kids to follow rules; therefore it's not their job. I think this is honestly a club difference-some clubs go over the rules a lot and emphasize them to the students, some don't. If I had a college prof that gave me a zero for not stapling a paper I would audit that prof and give him a low rating.

tl;dr It's not NCFCA's job to teach us how to obey rules.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:20 pm 
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Question, do you object to people being in authority over you?

mountain dude wrote:
NCFCA doesn't punish any first-time infraction of the rules unless it is either an infraction that is central to the entire speech (in which case the competitor would have to give a significantly different presentation to correct the error) or it gives the competitor an unfair advantage over the other competitors in the room, in which case the tournament officials will make a judgement on the degree of punishment (I'd suggest a rank penalty) based on the unfair advantage that the competitor gained over the other competitors, the most severe penalty being that the competitor is dropped to the very bottom of the room for every round that he was not in compliance with the rules.

To be straight forward, this changes absolutely nothing. Regardless of whether or not I agree with rules, this is clearly a subjective standard that still relies on the judgement of tournament officials which is the standard that NCFCA currently operates off of. This is why if you want to highlight changes they have to be specific.

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