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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:08 am 
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It's not the first time I've gotten knocked on my CX. Judges don't like that I try a little too hard to get answers by cutting off rambling. Granted, I need to work on not pushing in CX. I know that I have patterns I need to break. But there's another pattern. People aren't answering questions. I have had several debates this year where my opponent repeated nearly every question I asked before attempting to answer.
Repeating a confusing question is one thing. Repeating every question is another. It's a stall tactic, and it's what I'd call bad sportsmanship.
Let's make an effort, as individual debaters, to choose to answer directly with real answers. Let's value the debate over the round.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:21 pm 
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Interesting point. I haven't really considered my stance on this issue before.

But I think I agree with you. :) Feigning confusion is deceptive, and therefore probably unsportsmanlike. I haven't really noticed it happening here in R9 but I'll make a mental note to keep myself from doing it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:29 pm 
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As a former LDer and coach, I'll play devil's advocate here.

There's nothing wrong with trying to confound your opponent's CX. I've had my debaters (and myself) ask opponents to rephrase really long complicated questions (either in the hopes they will have to spend time rephrasing it or just abandon it altogether) and wait a moment or two before answering most questions (2 second pause for every question, average CX of 10 questions is 20 seconds of just dead air time in a three minute space).

I think this can be a good thing. It can force a debater to operate more strategically and form questions in the most precise, strategic manner as to avoid these pitfalls. In addition it also probably incentivizes good flowing since you cannot rely on your CX alone.

That being said, repetition of every question is obnoxious and I would never teach someone do to it because it makes you look obnoxious or slow to the judge.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:09 pm 
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IrishMex Rebel wrote:
As a former LDer and coach, I'll play devil's advocate here.

There's nothing wrong with trying to confound your opponent's CX. I've had my debaters (and myself) ask opponents to rephrase really long complicated questions (either in the hopes they will have to spend time rephrasing it or just abandon it altogether) and wait a moment or two before answering most questions (2 second pause for every question, average CX of 10 questions is 20 seconds of just dead air time in a three minute space).

I think this can be a good thing. It can force a debater to operate more strategically and form questions in the most precise, strategic manner as to avoid these pitfalls. In addition it also probably incentivizes good flowing since you cannot rely on your CX alone.

That being said, repetition of every question is obnoxious and I would never teach someone do to it because it makes you look obnoxious or slow to the judge.


I've never thought of waiting a couple seconds before answering a question, but that sounds like a good idea. I don't like to waste my opponent's time on purpose, but I think a brief pause would seem more polite, like you're waiting to be sure your opponent has finished asking the question.
Of course, asking your opponent to rephrase a confusing question is no problem, given that the question is actually confusing! My concern is when people act like every question is confusing, rather than give an admission to a good question.

Thank you for your thoughts! I'll keep these things in mind as I work to improve my own CX.

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"The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately. . . modern education produces no effect whatsoever." ~ Lady Bracknell The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:19 pm 
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Honestly, I think that repeating every single question looks bad to a judge. So even though you're losing time to ask questions, you're opponent is most likely damaging his image with the judge. However, some judges might like that. In general though, I think people can see through it as a stall tactic. But, I agree. It is frustrating when you're asking questions and someone does that.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:38 pm 
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I don't know, in our region I've never really encountered this that much for me to identify it as a tactic debaters have used.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:58 pm 
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Ok, maybe not the ONLY homeschooler.
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If you truly want to confound the opposing team, answer their questions intelligently. Does this mean you always say what they want you to say? Of course not, but if you have a reliable case that you believe in, you should have an answer to every question. Stalling or feigning ignorance is annoying, underhanded, and only undermines your ethos from the viewer's perspective. In addition, oftentimes the judge can tell where the cross-examiner is going with a line of questions, and it makes sense that if you can anticipate what answer the other team is looking for and how they will use it against you, the judge can most likely intuit this as well.

The worst option in this scenario is to stall or refuse to answer, because it becomes clear to the judge that the answer will hurt your case and, in the case that the judge doesn't realize this, you are only taking advantage of the poor judging that is prevalent in the NCFCA. Your best option, if you believe in your case (affirmative or negative), is to answer confidently in a way that anticipates and spikes the way your opponent plans to use your response. This is the most satisfying, effective, professional and impressive way to deal with a difficult cross-examination question.

If you aren't sure how the other team will use the response they're trying to get, answer confidently in a way exposes you as little as possible but is not evasive. If you are affirmative and you know where the negative team is going with a line of questioning and you have no good response, then 1) be honest in-round or drop the argument if possible and 2) change your case or prepare a response afterwards for future rounds. If you are negative and you see that the line of questioning is going to decimate your argument, 1) improve your argument quickly if possible and respond in a confident manner (being slightly evasive is understandable if you're in a pinch and accidentally made a poor argument, but don't deliberately make slow responses or feign ignorance--just state your argument in a way that sounds less dumb than the other team is making it out to be), 2) drop the argument immediately in your next speech and focus on a more valuable argument, and 3) either improve the argument post-round or eliminate it from future strategies.

Whether you're affirmative or negative, stalling and feigning ignorance is only a largely ineffective attempt to justify sloppy preparation and argumentation, and it is anything but productive, constructive or professional.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:11 pm 
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Ok, maybe not the ONLY homeschooler.
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An additional note: people often buy into the misconception that when you give a cross-examination you are in charge and have the advantage, whereas when you are being cross-examined you are on the defense and want the experience to be as short and unproductive as possible. This couldn't be further from the truth. If you have made a strong case and believe in your argument, you want your opponent's cross-examination to be as long and productive as possible--because if you are besting them with every response, using the opportunity to bolster your case, you are the one who is in control. I personally hated it when opponents ended their cross-examinations early because they had nothing to say. Even if your opponent makes some good points and sets up a few strong arguments for their next speech, you look good and earn the judge's respect and trust by sticking to your guns--and you look even better if you can come back in your rebuttal and effectively address their points.

The only time it makes sense to consider stalling or feigning ignorance is if you have made a terrible argument and you realize it. If this is the case, you should accept the consequences for your mistake and try to salvage the round as best as possible by dropping the argument or making it more nuanced--stalling does nothing good for your image or the round, and in the rare case that the judge doesn't dock you for it you have only gotten away with underhandedly screwing the other team.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:30 pm 
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It's actually deceptively simple to get around that problem. Make yourself open and clear. Build up a case that you know to be true so that you can answer with nothing but the straight forward truth. You don't have to refute everything in C-X and it builds up your Ethos when you can give honest and straight forward answers regarding your case.

Also, when you are administering C-X, don't ask your questions to make points. The speaker will (most of the time) see where you're going and get all cagey which doesn't really do much to help either of you. Rather ask strategic questions that aren't condemning in of themselves and save the follow up blow for your next speech. If the judge sees you do this then it will add to your credibility immensely.

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