APDA Style v. NPDA Style


Hey all,

Here comes the east coast invasion…

I’m an APDA debater from Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Stumbled on your forum here while bored at work and decided to start the uber-thread.

The main difference I see between APDA and NPDA is that of case writing. On APDA, almost all tournament have loose links or no links at all. Cases are decided by the Gov team and really can be about almost anything, with the usual caveats (no SQ, no spec knowledge, etc.). However, on NPDA. it seems that most all tournaments stick to tight or straight links, and a lot of them seem to revolve around government policy.

So, one man’s thoughts on the arguments for both:

APDA style -

  1. Topic variety. I think this is pretty important, and perhaps the biggest advantage for APDA. Last weekend, I debated on the following: the partition of India/Pakistan in 1948, whether home schooled children should be be subject to state standards, the article in the Nat’l Security Act from last Sept regarding unilateral strikes, giving legally retarded people the death penalty, and welfare for legal immigrants. And that was a policy heavy weekend. One of my all-time favorite cases is a thought experiment: if you could inject people with knowledge, as in the Matrix, should that replace the collegiate education system in this country? Awesome rounds have resulted. Not possible on NPDA.
  2. Opp Choice. I think this presents perhaps the truest test of debating skills. For those who may be unfamiliar with this, this is where the government proposes a case and then offers the Opp the choice of sides. This calls for a case debatable on both sides - no slithery tight cases, because the opp could put the gov on the lose side. A couple of tournaments on APDA have mandated Opp Choice, and I think the idea is fantastic.
  3. Ability to debate broad issues. When one gets bogged down in policy questions, and limited topics in general, it prevents the debate of the big questions. Has the social contract been beneficial? What are the responsibilities of a liberal democracy to other nations? Can a pre-emptive strike ever be justified? Such cases are not the most common, but those rounds tend to be the most engrossing.

NPDA Style:

  1. Reduction of Gov advantage. When the Gov has to write cases on the fly, it prevents them from creating cases with trap opps in attempts to guarantee victory. Moreover, a tight link gives the opp the chance to prep itself at least philosophically, if not for a specific case (I think straight links are silly because they provide massive Opp advantage).
  2. Elimination of stupid cases. Everyone on APDA has hit retarded cases because of the freedom provided. The question of whether I’d rather be chunky or smooth peanut butter is something I have no desire to discuss in a debate round.

You all can feel free to chime in with more NPDA love - I’m obviously not the best advocate for a style that I’ve only done three times in my career.

I honestly think both systems can produce great debate. The tight link tournaments I’ve competed in have given my Gov rounds a unique edge that other tournaments don’t have. On the other hand, I shudder to think of a world that never sees time-space and opp-choice cases. Freeing the mind to debate ANYTHING has its distinct advantages.

Thoughts and comments more than welcome.

Chris Migliaccio
Haverford Parliamentary Debate Society

A side question: I had a NPDA judge at Penn this year, and he told me that often, 30s are allowed on NPDA. That seemed odd to me, as APDA has always held the 30, and often the 29, off the scale as levels that basically cannot be reached. Same for scores below 22, at least in normal circumstances. So, what is the judging scale at a NPDA tournament?


Welcome! :slight_smile:

I’ll let someone else write a long response, cause I need a nap but I think topic variety of the kind you give examples of is exactly the same in NPDA. Most tournaments have some pretty vague resolutions so it’s not Iraq and tax cuts all the time. I’m sure anyone still competing (I don’t) could produce a list of “last weekend I debated…” similar to yours. No on the peanut butter stuff though.

The opp choice thing is interesting though. Thanks for your post.

ETA: the normal points scale is maybe 22-30, with most Open scores being in the 25-29 range. 30s happen, maybe more than they should.



A Carleton debater told me about opp choice, which I thought was an interesting development. I suppose it is a response to the very tight kinds of cases APDA seems to prefer.

I think that NPDA is probably more varied in topic than it seems. I have seen cases on most of the topics you mention above as well as some amazing cases about philosophy – specifically aesthetics – and written on the fly too… very impressive (anyone else recall NPDA 2001 1/4s Lang and Giersdorf vs Wyo – )…

APDA also seems to lose something with the loss of topicality… (goodness, can’t believe I actually wrote that sentence…)-- with pre-written cases, the debaters don’t need to develop the skills of structuring arguments on the fly to fully support the resolution and its nuances.

Here in Minnesota we seem to have a few APDA/NDPA teams, and their cases at NPDA tournaments are not nearly as well organized and well-presented as I’d like to see… their content is excellent, but their speech structure is not. I think that is because of the reliance on pre-written cases, when they have to write one in 15 minutes of prep, it is difficult for them to achieve.

Patty Steck

ps… “NPDA” is pronounced like “nap-da”, not “nipp-da” as many APDA debaters would say, :smiley:


Thanks for the insightful comments, Patty.

In regards to topic variety, I really can’t speak too much on what “most” NPDA resolutions are like… I’d hunch it depends on region and such. No time space, though, right, or do some tournaments allow that?

As far as structuring speeches on the fly, I think a lot of APDA debaters do that fairly well in tight link tournaments. I personally write most of my cases in about fifteen minutes anyway, so it doesn’t bother me much. :slight_smile:

I think, though, that the lack of ability to really put a case together and structure it is a negative for NPDA. A lot of people will run cases in practice rounds before they run them in real rounds, and this allows people to see if cases are structurally tight, or too open. I’ve run cases in tight link tournaments that proved to be pretty snug, without the intention being as such.

Chris Migliaccio

Another side question: Noticed on another thread a mention of LOs producing two arguments on average. True?

On APDA, the standard tends to be three, in addition to beginning to build Opp Philosophy. We’ve had long debates with Canadians about how much the LO (or MO, for them, as he gives the first Opp constructive there) should have to produce… they tend to say one or two points and responses, whereas we insist on putting the burden on the LO and whining about MO dumps.


As to case construction in NPDA…

At least at the two NPDA programs I’ve coached, we do practice rounds in which students practice preparing cases. They generally learn a basic array of case structures and then practice putting content into the form. NPDA students will sometimes/often try out new case idea in practice rounds, then run a similar case in competition.

It seems to me that if cases are pre-written, then ‘tight link’ tournaments become more difficult… especially if those cases are written by a senior team member and passed around.

As for NPDA LOs… if by ‘arguments’ you mean off-case disadvantages, then the average is about two or so… but these are usually on top of top of case arguments (link to resolution, criterial debates and definitional debates) as well as case-side arguments and case-side turns. The first speaker is generally expected to establish the opp’s positions, although the MO can/should/nearly must provide some unique argumentation –

So, it sort of depends on what you call an ‘argument’-- I’ll save my philosopher’s rant about how each speech is actually one big argument (or should be) for another time and place…:cool:

Patty Steck


Small tidbit: I actually enjoyed the resolutions and cases that I had heard of in NPDA more than APDA. Yes, I liked the occasional wierd case but the policy shift— well, I kind of miss it. To be honest, I really miss hearing practice rounds with, well, the stock issues.

That is, believe it or not, I personally miss SHITS.



Mr. Migliaccio,

You left out a huge APDA advantage: [B]meaningful value debate[/B]

It is increasingly harder to find it on the NPDA circuit (especially here in District 1), where a great many teams seem myopically preoccupied with policy cases and the uber-criteria of “CBA” (whatever [I]that[/I] means).

No fiat, no problem.



I’m not sure you can claim that D1 is typical, although they do seem to dominate… I think that you can run meaninful debates, if you choose to do so… we started doing more value cases at Crighton a couple of years ago and had a decent amount of success because many of the debate judges recalled them from their competitive days and enjoyed the rounds. Also, you can challenge CBA in many ways on opp and replace the crit on the basis that CBA is not an objective standard.

Don’t give up hope… at least fact cases aren’t expected of you out there…



also, i find it oddthat people will tolerate doing “what if” cases- of course, i dont mean i hate fiat, ha ha, but i dont like the idea of "lets debate the movie “the Matrix”. i dont know, it just seems too odd to let people run cases without the check of T to stop silly interps. i’m all about having fun in rounds, but i dont come to the tournaments to “have fun”. Its more about competition for me, and i dont want to debate soft vs chunky peanut butter. I think i might write up a block argueing judges should vote on “case lameness”, heh heh.


APDA uses the term “dino” to refer to anyone who is no longer competing in APDA; it’s used whenever reference is made to alums of APDA programs, too, and isn’t a derogatory phrase at all (nor does it really attach the connotation of old-fashioned and/or inferior).



Really? Well, I wouldn’t take what the Minnesotans say as representative of APDA, both because they’ve only been in it for a couple of years, and because most of APDA doesn’t use that word in that manner. I’m working off both my experience and two APDAers I just IM’d to check…



I’d sort of been waiting for a post like yours, Tutakai, because it allows me to dispell a whole bunch of myths for you guys. On we go…

“After having experienced exposure to APDA debate first-hand now, I must reject the notion that APDA is somehow uniquely diverse in topic discussions. Since APDA rules bar judges from voting on topicality, many APDA teams can just a couple cases and run those every round regardless of the resolution. The consequence is a decrease in topic diversity and a radical ground skew against the Opp (which does not have the opportunity to memorize the necessary evidence to counter the authority claims on the case).”

-Not true at all. While this is theoretically possible, APDA etiquette dictates that one never runs a case more than once at a tournament. Moreover, most teams don’t run a case more than a few times, because it gets incredibly dull. I have at least a couple of dozen cases in my files, and rotate them to keep things interesting. Do some of us have favorite cases we run fairly often? Sure. But the fact that APDA is a relatively small community, where everyone sees each other every weekend, prevents the over-use of cases, because people talk, and once everyone knows of a case, it’s pretty silly to run it again.

“Further, I was informed in no uncertain terms that APDA rules bar certain other types of argument, including any attempt to question Supreme Court precedents. As someone who used to routinely argue that certain Supreme Court decisions were just plain wrongly decided, I find it curious that APDA would choose to place outrageous decisions like Bowers v. Hardwick as above question.”

-Not sure who you heard that from, but that’s wrong. I saw a very good out-round regarding the school vouchers decision. Also, one of the straight-links at Penn this year, a tournament which had NPDA teams at it, was regarding the 1971 busing decision.

“Even more chilling is the rule that bars teams from running cases that the judge finds (after the fact) to be “APDA tight” – meaning that while it may be debatable formally, most college students in APDA would be presumed to be in agreement. Basically, the effect of the rule is to create a priveleged class of “politically correct” arguments which are PRESUMED to be so strong as to be beyond meaningful debate. The judge is, of course, empowered to determine which of their OWN prejudices are to be given that exalted status. Frankly, to me the notion that a debate community would explicitly endorse such notions of “groupthink” is repugnant. Further, this has competitive consequences as all a lazy Opp needs to do is appeal to the possibility that the judge personally agreed with the substance of the PMC and thereby claim a ballot without having to actually make any arguments at all.”

-No one actually runs such an Opp. APDA-tight is not a rule so much as a recognition that most judges will feel a certain way on basic issues (we can make such a judgment because we’re such a small community) and thus we’d rather not force people to worry about bias, especially in regards to lesser-trained judges. It prevents generic cases like “marijuana should be legalized” and stupid ones like “the Holocaust, on balance, was bad” from being run and forcing Opps to give the generic analysis that most of us believe is wrong anyway (telling someone who smokes pot regularly that it’s a gateway drug may not be the most convincing analysis). What exactly is APDA-tight is very limited, and I doubt most of us could come up with more than a handful besides the oft-cited marijuana case.

“I have also been disturbed by the attitude directed against NPDA debaters. NPDA debaters are apparently labeled “dinos” with the implication that NPDA debate is old-fashioned and/or inferior due to its use of things like topicality and actual debate about burdens and standards.”

-Someone already dealt with this, but to reiterate, dinos are graduates. It’s a loving term.

“Sam, I personally saw no sign of meaningful value debate in APDA and I am not sure how it would be possible given the rule barring “APDA tight” cases. In short, as soon as you made a good value case, the Opp would be empowered by APDA rules to ask the judge to vote against your case because it was TOO STRONG.”

-There’s plenty of value debate on APDA. Again, what exactly is APDA-tight is miniscule. The big issues are up for discussion. The final at the Fordham tournament, between the two top teams in the league, was about whether abortion was justified for the average woman. Awesome round.

“Overall, there appears to be an odd double-bind. On policy cases, the ground is skewed badly towards the Gov by the lack of topicality as a check on Gov use of a very limited range of canned cases. On value cases, however, the ground is radically skewed to Opp because of the ability to get out of a strongly made value claim by claiming it is too strong. Basically, the Gov running a value case has to either lose because their case has a critical flaw or they may lose because their case does NOT have a flaw.”

-No good case has no flaws. If the case is flawless, if it is clearly true, then it would be tight, no?

“The real source of the problem is, of course, not intrinsic to the APDA format (which is the same as NPDA), but rather in the peculiar desire to instantiate a huge range of rules that attempt to micromanage judges. Indeed, this flaw may be forced upon APDA by the fact that they use active competitors as judges (with all the myriad problems that poses for intervention and politicking).”

-I’ll grant the problem of bias is present on APDA, but are you telling me that the coaches who judge on NPDA have no biases, in regards to politicking?

Also, as I talked about in an earlier post, it’s a benefit to have a judge who is accountable. No issues of coaches who believe that they know best.

APDA teams also can “scratch” judges they know are biased, and thus prevent them from judging them in in-rounds. This presents another check on judges not present on NPDA.

“All this being said, however, I have seen some excellent debaters come from APDA schools who are perfectly capable of competing and winning under NPDA rules. So my objections are to the APDA rule-set, not APDA debaters themselves. I think that since APDA is student-run, APDA debaters are probably more able to undertake a project to fix the problems in APDA than NPDA debaters are able to in regards to the different problems in NPDA.”

-Finally, an agreement, although I don’t think most of us believe we have a problem. If what you said was true, then yeah, we’d have issues, but most of your arguments are based on gross hyperbole. We run lots of different cases, and don’t run around yelling about APDA-tightness.

And another reply…
"also, i find it oddthat people will tolerate doing “what if” cases- of course, i dont mean i hate fiat, ha ha, but i dont like the idea of “lets debate the movie “the Matrix”. i dont know, it just seems too odd to let people run cases without the check of T to stop silly interps. i’m all about having fun in rounds, but i dont come to the tournaments to “have fun”. Its more about competition for me, and i dont want to debate soft vs chunky peanut butter.”

-None of us want to debate chunky v. creamy either. That’s why I listed it as an APDA flaw. However, hypotheticals can be quite the mental workout. If you cared about debating as an intellectualy activity in any way, I think they’re necessary. The Matrix case I talked about uses a hypothetical to get at the value of the education we’re receiving right now, and I think that’s pretty cool. I’ve often thought of running a case where a community was offered either democracy or the philosopher king - which should they take? Again, this gets at the value of democratic principles even if all needs could be fulfilled otherwise. It’s hard, if not impossible, to deal with such issues in the context of debates purely grounded in the here and now. Free your mind, and good things will come.

And as a side note: dude, if it’s all about competition, you’re missing so much of the fun. Relax and talk to those people around you, because they’re generally pretty cool and can be fun to hang out with. Think about it - rounds take up maybe 1/3 of the time actually spent at a tournament, so debate has to be about more than that.

Here’s one thing that strikes me as a NPDA flaw, above all - because of the size of the league, and because of the team structure being much more rigid, it’s much less about community than APDA is. That’s a shame, I think - what keeps me coming back to APDA is not the just competition, but the people. I don’t intend to say that all of NPDA is a bunch of over-driven competition freaks who never talk to each other. But I also don’t sense the same bond that the frequent debaters on APDA feel toward one another.

And with that, this mammoth post comes to a close…


I’m afraid I don’t have the time to engage this debate right now, but I wanted to say that i really appreciate your input Chris. I think its really cool that you are willing to hop over on our side of the fence for a little while and chat about the differences in the styles of debate. I know I’ve learned quite a bit from your input, and I hope to learn more. I think that this kind of discourse is the best way to dispel rumors and enable us to better understand one another. I have never had the chance to attend an APDA tournament, but, especially after reading some of your thoughts on the subject I think it might be worth a try at some point. Thanks again, and I hope the discussion stays healthy and informative.



"The following is from the APDA rules and appears to indicate a level of self-censorship that I personally would find very objectionable:

“Certain cases may be considered “APDA tight.” That means that although some people argue for each side of the debate, the general characteristics of APDA as a community of college students make the opposition side too difficult to defend. Legalizing sodomy may be debatable, but a vast majority of APDA debaters would support that case, so the case could be considered tight.”

Thus, the “big issues” appear only to be open for debate IF the Opp and the judge both consider them to be something other than that which the “vast majority of APDA debaters would support”. Basically, to place off-limits a theoretically unbounded set of cases under the assumption that the “vast majority” of a group would all think the same way is both a recognition of a disturbing degree of “group-think” and a troubling endorsement of judge intervention.

Some of my other objections certainly may be local instances peculiar to the local APDA group (which itself appears to have some stark internal divisions on some issues, such as respectability of NPDA)."

-I don’t think the level of “group-think” here is disturbing. It’s a recognition of sometimes shared beliefs, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with recognizing that. Moreover, as I said, this isn’t an issue that is constantly debated. People run issue cases often without this worry.

"Well, unfortunately, your initial framing of the discussion in “APDA is better” terms was/is not helpful. I don’t believe that NPDA is free of problems, but I don’t think APDA is either. "

-Back up there. This discussion did not begin as APDA is better. I think there are clear benefits to NPDA’s style, as outlined in my first post. I’m not the best advocate of NPDA because I haven’t competed on NPDA, but I can recognize that you guys have some advantages.

“You reference “APDA etiquete” and other informal forms several times. My question is, how can unwritten rules be enforced without embracing judge intervention and/or recognizing that enforcement will be selective? Indeed, the issue of selective enforcement of rules and preferential treatment towards certain teams has been one of the more persistent rumors swirling around APDA.”

-It’s much easier to enforce unwritten rules because of the smallness of the community. If someone is running a case multiple times in a tournament, it’ll become clear because people talk to one another.

In regards to preferential treatment of teams, while there is always talk of “busted” tournaments, most of it is just that. We did however, in a discussion of adherence to time, note that most of the better debaters feel free to ignore time limits, and the problems that causes. APDA as a body is actually working towards solving that problem, as many tournaments have declared stricter enforcement of time will be the norm, and it seems to be working.

"Well, let me offer the explicit context in which it was used to let people judge for themselves. The context is a practice round on a case canned by the controller of the local APDA team. The case thesis is, “moving nuclear waste from Belgrade to Uzbekistan is bad”. I pressed for a comparison – bad compared to what? What do you propose to do differently? The response was:

“Jason’s just a dino – he doesn’t understand how it works in APDA. We don’t have to present a plan, we can just say that nuclear waste is bad.”

Frankly, that was what led me to stop trying to work with the local APDA team. If their idea of debate is that they need only say something is bad (without comparison) and use some idea of “APDA tradition” to shield their arguments from challenge, then its not a format that I care to work within. And, since the students are also the judges, I see nothing to indicate that such distorted views of debate would be correctable."

-This would be a bad APDA team. While they don’t have to present a plan, to say that something is just bad will not produce many good rounds. Saying “nuclear waste is bad” isn’t debatable, because, well, duh. A case of, “Nuclear waste ought not be moved from Belgrade to Uzbekistan” is debatable. Don’t worry about them, man, they’re idiots.

“This is a troubling attitude. Basically, all LO has to do is accuse a case of being “tight”. Then the MG must point out the flaws in the case or lose instantly. Then the MO can use the flaws pointed out by the MG to win anyway. That’s a no-win scenario for Gov. Indeed, I have seen this PRECISE method used by APDA crossover teams out of Missouri several years ago.”

-A few things. First of all, if an LO calls a case tight and it’s not tight, then they ought to, and usually do, face penalties. Moreover, the LO isn’t just allowed to say “tight” - they have to attempt to offer arguments in opposition.

Is there no ability to call a case tight on NPDA? So if the link was, “The government ought protect it’s citizens”, I could run “a just government ought try to prevent mass murder”, the Opp couldn’t declare that tight?

A flawless case makes for a dull round, because if the case is a tautology, there’s no discussion to be had. At the point which Gov can prep cases in advance, you get an even greater problem of being able to develop tight cases that create boring debate. The ability to determine if something is tight and to call someone on that encourages cases in which both sides are debatable.

“Of course not. I am, however, saying that active competitors are more likely to engage in “you vote for me and I will vote for you next time” kind of deal-making than coaches are. While some coaches are vested in a kind of “proxy competition”, even that is relatively less likely to become a problem than APDA judges who are in ACTUAL competition.”

-Perhaps. I still can’t say that I’ve encountered true biases in judges, but they do exist. All I know is that in HS, with coach/parent judges, I saw much greater bias towards particular teams than I have in college.

"Accountable? To whom and by what mechanism? And why do you assume that coaches do NOT know best (or at least know more than students)? The issue that students should sit in judgment on the judges has always been a curious claim to me. Why do you go to school if you already know it all?

There certainly are some crummy judges in NPDA, that I will grant you and I have a pile of ballots to provide some hilarious examples. But I see no reason to believe competitors (particularly novices) would be any better as judges. Further, competitors are vulnerable to types of social pressures that make it LESS likely they will judge each round fairly."

-Judges who have been judging for twenty years are much more likely to develop biases in regards to certain antiquated rules and their own sense of what’s right and wrong. Read your own forum and you’ll find a discussion of just this.

Moreover, judging a round shouldn’t be about “knowing” - the judge is supposed to be a blank slate. Debate is about communication, so it shouldn’t matter who your judge is, in that regard. Convincing novices and campus judges that your side is right has just as much value as convincing an experienced debater. The only issue that comes in is the point scale that inexperienced judges are given sometimes, which can be different from the one dinos are used to - we actually just talked about this, and the basic feeling is, just make people follow a scale. I also think this problem isn’t solved by coaches who come from different regions and backgrounds, who would also have differing point systems.

“See, here you just don’t know what you are talking about. While relatively few invitational tournaments use strikes, NPDA Nationals requires judge philosophies and provides 10-20% judge strikes. NPTE uses judge philosophies and a modified MPJ system. Further, at ANY tournament the judges are constrained from judging schools for whom they recently competed or coached.”

-Good to hear. We too prevent judges from judging someone from their school.

“Well, a couple of responses occur to me. First, I think there is a substantial community in NPDA, particularly in the areas where there are enough teams that they see each other frequently. I mean, where do you think this forum came from? They even tolerate us “dinos” without feeling it necessary to come up with a special term to label/discriminate with. Second, however, I think the “bond” in APDA among the “frequent” debaters may be a problem, not an advantage, insofar as it creates an “in-group” that tends strongly to favor each other with preferential judging and preferential access to tab rooms. I’ve heard this concern expressed by many APDA debaters over the years.”

-Ha - we don’t just tolerate our dinos, we love them much. Also, I didn’t say there isn’t a community on NPDA, just that it doesn’t seem as close-knit - again, perception.

In regards to the frequent debater argument, I think the success of teams from Minnesota when they have competed in APDA shows that it’s not impossible for teams to do well without being part of the in-crowd. I do think that being on the circuit a lot can factor in in a judging director’s mind - they know who the better debaters are, and thus will make sure to give them an experienced judge first round. This gets mitigated after a round or two, because everyone in the up-brackets will get the experienced judges, regardless of who their friends are. Still, the fact that APDA at times feels like a social group almost as much as a debate circuit can create problems, but I accept them because I think the social aspect is highly positive. It doesn’t ruin my fun to find out that someone got their friend as a judge, even if it can be annoying. It’s not an every-weekend occurrence, but when it does happen, I roll with it.



Originally posted by CMigliaccio

And as a side note: dude, if it’s all about competition, you’re missing so much of the fun. Relax and talk to those people around you, because they’re generally pretty cool and can be fun to hang out with. Think about it - rounds take up maybe 1/3 of the time actually spent at a tournament, so debate has to be about more than that.

ok, this is some extreme lameness right here- just because i place a high level of value on competition doesn’t mean i dont talk to people and have fun- im pretty sure that the people on this forum who’ve seen me debate can say that i’m a pretty fun guy- but moreover, the idea that competition detracts from community is pretty silly too- there are some people who i absolutely hate debating because they just wont freakin clash, or who i want to run “case lameness” on, but who i can hang out with outside of rounds. that competition remains in the round, and i dont think my friendship or releations with other people has ANYTHING to do with competition. I guess what im saying is that i dont have to be “friendly” or whatever in round, and i dont like the idea of conflating my friendships with other competitors into my competition with them.


Originally posted by CMigliaccio

-This would be a bad APDA team. While they don’t have to present a plan, to say that something is just bad will not produce many good rounds. Saying “nuclear waste is bad” isn’t debatable, because, well, duh. A case of, “Nuclear waste ought not be moved from Belgrade to Uzbekistan” is debatable. Don’t worry about them, man, they’re idiots.
Chris [/B]

well, i always thought that nuclear waste can be debated as good- IE, gives us H3, lets us run our breeder reactors for free, can be refined to weapons- i think i could beat down “duh”.

Originally posted by CMigliaccio

Is there no ability to call a case tight on NPDA? So if the link was, “The government ought protect it’s citizens”, I could run “a just government ought try to prevent mass murder”, the Opp couldn’t declare that tight?
Chris [/B]

no, but they could argue a plethora of other issues like- ohhhh say governments are bad and shouldn’t exist? that paternalism is a bad aspect of gov? govs by nature are genocidal? idealogical state apparatus bad? in short, no such thing as a true or tight case.

Originally posted by CMigliaccio

A flawless case makes for a dull round, because if the case is a tautology, there’s no discussion to be had. At the point which Gov can prep cases in advance, you get an even greater problem of being able to develop tight cases that create boring debate. The ability to determine if something is tight and to call someone on that encourages cases in which both sides are debatable.
Chris [/B]

not true- better debates are had though better cases- i always ask judges a question when they say they dont like canning which is “So, should we make part of our case sort of shitty so you knew we came up with it on the spot?”


On judging…

I don’t think APDA’s system is inherently better than NPDA’s, as you seem to think I do. I think it solves for some problems I see in NPDA format, but also creates pthers that aren’t present in NPDA.

I do think the concept of a judge judging for twenty years and not developing biases is absurd. You denounce judges who are slaves to “cool” arguments, but honestly, league styles morph over time, and just because something was unacceptable at one time doesn’t mean it isn’t now.

This does not mean that all change is good - but docking people for things that are part of the norm is a problem. Hence the need for a consistent judging policy, which I think a team’s debaters are more willing to buy into than judges from a bunch of different school. On APDA, while the scale is fairly standard, a school will develop it’s own attitude that keeps judging standardized (ex. some tournaments tend to be “low-points”, in that a 27 must be justified, as opposed to a 28 as is standard).

On tightness…
Matt: The Opp in the case provided could argue any number of things - keep it in Belgrade, move it somewhere else, bury it, whatever. You don’t have to give a direct opp to a case - there’s nothing wrong with a counter-case.

I also think you and I are disagreeing on definition when we talk about a flawless case. Good cases are good, and the points should be well thought out and clear and logical. That’s cool. But if there are no possible disagreements in the logic, at all, or if there’s nothing that can in any way trump that logic, then you’ve got a tight case, and a boring round.

Tutakai: I agree that Opp can in many cases succesfully circumvent tight cases, and thus the logic on APDA of forcing people to attempt to argue despite a tight call, because the case might not be tight (and, to cut off the likely counter - no, a team wouldn’t give bad arguments to show it’s tight, because then your speaks get tanked because your speech sucked, and if the case isn’t tight you’re really screwed).

On stupid cases…
Tutakai: I’m honestly surprisedthat the team you were talking about has had success on APDA. Maybe they’re a very good Opp team. :slight_smile: However, I can assure that most APDA cases are not like that.

On socialness…
Matt: Yeah, that was a little harsh. I don’t think competition is bad, just that it’s not everything. Your comment read to me like “debating is about winning”, which I find problematic.

Tutakai: Although I have many good friends on the circuit, I have no problem dropping them in rounds in which I judge them. Honestly, at our tournament, I prevent myself from judging my best friends, because yeah, it can be problematic, but good friends of mine I’ve dropped, and everyone I talk to has had to do the same.

A question, to clear some things up:
What are the limitations on accpetable cases on NPDA, outside of resolutionality?


right jason, i dont think its a tautology then- like, i agree with the idea of using asymetrical tactics to beat them then- like T or burdens args- just not saying “theres no ground for us! waaaaaahhhh!” and sitting down.


All I need to know about APDA I learned when I was a bored freshman, doing web searches because I was in my “soak up information about new thing I am learning about” stage of parli development.

I present to you:

The actual APDA rules

Let’s look at some excerpts, shall we? No commentary from me. I think these puppies speak for themselves.

“Sometimes the government team will propose a case that deals with specialized subject matter that makes the case un-debatable … Debates which require research may well be considered specific knowledge”

“The fact that MASH and Seinfeld had high TV ratings does not mean that everyone should be expected to know the details of the characters or anything about certain plot lines. The government can still make a good debate about specific knowledge by introducing the case and explaining the situation properly.”

“Debaters often do not argue as effectively about an issue they have talked about too much.”

“The most common type of link, a loose link means that the PM only has to make a passing connection to the resolution. The link cannot be a voting issue in the round”


“Do not try to dodge the meaning of the resolution by using obscure definitions of words. The term “United States” in the example resolution does not mean “United States of a Free Kurdistan.” It means “United States of America.””

“If a PM proposes a tight case, the LO must point this out during the LOC. Ordinarily, the LO would then propose an alternative version of the case statement which the opposition would be willing to oppose. If the Government team accepts this alternative, then the debate can be judged as if the alternative were the original case statement.”

“The Government team must disclose all the information. They may not try to win by concealing the truth.” <-- Oh, good.



oh my god. That just makes me want to travel to an APDA tournament next year and run only T and Kritiks. yeah… 8 minutes of T would be awesome there. thanks a ton Ian, you’ve helped me make the groudbreaking decision to include an APDA “T is Banned” tournament in my schedule.