Why we need more knives

Datum: 5. April 2017
Kategorie: [:de]International[:en]international[:], Jurieren, Mittwochs-Feature

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Amerikanisches Englisch verfügbar.

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6 Kommentare zu “Why we need more knives”

  1. Simon V. (Wuppertal) sagt:

    Very interesting matter – but at first I have only one question:
    Why do you think is urgent and what experiences do you have to support your cases? You gave us only on example and not a very intuitive one. I would really like to know, if it’s really that impossible for judges to react on squirrels.
    At this time, I cannot really figure out, where’s the real problem and why judges won’t buy unreasonable knives but buy a case you oddly described unprecisely as ‘impossible to win because of some stupid part in their policy’.

    The honorable gentleman might give us some detail.

    1. Lennart Lokstein sagt:

      First of all: The cases above are treating international BPS rules – there is no need to wait for a concrete example to discuss problematic rules. Would you wait for a stupid law to first be applied and destroy someone’s life before you change it? Probably not.

      Second of all: This actually does happen all the time. One example might be the WUDC-ESL-final, where Tel Aviv is able to reject Leiden by saying something like “Yes, we like you’d talk about your reasonable case, but OG’s policy is what you are stuck with. That’s the rules and you lose, sorry.”

      And yes, you might argue that judges are able to just ignore the rules in the SQ anyways. But that’s not what they’re supposed to do and if they have to do this in order to judge in a fair way, perhaps it is time to change the rules in the first place. Until then, to prevent arbitrary adjudication, everyone should stick with those rules.

  2. Barbara (HH) sagt:

    I generally agree on the analysis, but I’d point out that the matter may be a little more complicated than adding a provision to the rules that second half teams may “knife, correct and redefine stupid parts of opening’s work and also get that counted as an extension”. 🙂 Especially for Closing Gov knives must be an absolutely last resort that may only be used for extreme cases of Opening Half creating an utterly non-debatable Debate or similar cases.

    However, in principle this approach has been well tested in BPS tournaments at least in the German Debate Circuit. It has been in the rules for the German Championships since at least 2014 and 2016, which also are the default rules in other tournaments, barring active deviation by CAs. For the 2016 Championship, we had long discussions about this issue ( http://www.achteminute.de/20160406/kommentare-kommentiert-der-ddm-leitfaden-2016/ ) and voted unanimously against too strict knive-rules within the CA-Team.

    1. Barbara (HH) sagt:

      To clarify: Despite agreeing with your analysed need for legitimate knives by CG in extreme cases, it’s very hard to put this rule into writing. Knives by CO are a little different and are mostly explicitly legitimate – as long as their need is explained validly – according to the present German BPS Championship Manual.

      Hence I doubt that adding an explicit rule for CG would constitute a major improvement to the SQ, where judges are of course held to judge fairly on unfair behavior by the teams (esp. in Opening Half) which contradict the rules. To abide by rules that were set for totally (!) different (normal) situations is an unfairness and at least in the German context – but to my knowledge also in international contexts – not asked of judges.

      The example you present and similar cases present extreme and singular cases which are very difficult to regulate on a fair basis. No rule book, no matter how extensive it is, can cover each and every single one of such cases. So it wouldn’t really be a huge difference, whether you just have that general adjudication rule to respect aspects of fairness in extreme cases or add another general rule allowing CG to knife “when this is absolutely necessary for reasons of fairness”. Actually, I think the latter would just cause more confusion and lead to worse results. 🙂

    2. Lennart Lokstein sagt:

      This problem actually already is fixed under current BPS application in the German circuit, it’s something that only appears internationally. That’s why I’m also quite convinced that allowing those knives would be no problem there (it’s already tested and works).

      Another point that I think you are speaking about is that some CAs in the German circuit allow CO to generally build cases that contradict OO, but not CG. This, I believe, should never be done in any way that distinguishes between closing teams. Something either is legitimately damaging the front team, or not, but allowing this only for CO because “CG is in a coalition and the opposition is not” in my opinion is nothing justifying different rules in a sport competition. Or am I missing any justification for that? (To international readers: This part is probably only making sense to German BPS debaters, just ignore it.)

    3. Barbara (HH) sagt:

      Allowing CG to contradict OG and (in the most extreme case) set up a new debate can have tremendous impacts upon how to judge the entire debate. CG kniving OG can lead to very messy debates and can make it virtually impossible to find a good ranking because there are too many contradicting metrics within the debate and interaction can become highly difficult to judge. That’s the primary reason that knives by CG constitute a major problem.

      CO, on the other hand, can bring valid arguments against OG and its proposition that aren’t necessarily in line with the approach of OO without messing up the entire debate. CO “kniving” OO by violating Opp consistency is mostly a problem of fairness in relation to OG that may be confronted by entirely new sets of arguments and premises that they can’t properly interact with. Hence this problem must be one of the primary considerations in judging whether a new line of argument opened up by CO is one that OO carelessly or even maliciously omitted, but one that OG should have prepared for. The consequences for the entire debate, however, are much lower.

      Since the consequences of the knives differ, the only reason not to treat them differently would be a principled argument of fairness that makes it a necessity to treat all the teams exactly equally. While this argument is of course 100% true when it comes to judging the quality of the team’s arguments, it is at the very least doubtful whether this principle can sensibly be applied to defining the team’s role and their associated obligations and restrictions within the debate. Saying that the closing teams must be regulated by exactly the same rules, omits that the positions of the teams aren’t inherently equal by the structure of the debate. They both have their special difficulties and adavantages, as well as their respective roles to fulfil (which of course holds true to OG and OO as well).

      In direct comparison, for example, CG usually has the slight advantage to CO that CG is able to interact tremendously well within the debate, since they are the only team that may directly rebuttal both opposing teams. CG can thus wield huge influence on how the debate goes and make itself very relevant (once the speakers are experienced enough to actually grab this opportunity and bear the burden of this double-rebuttal). CG also has the advantage that OG must spend time on constructing the problem of the debate and the proposion, thus often prohibiting them from bringing as many arguments as OO usually can. Thus there may be – of course not always but in principle – more material left for CG than for CO.
      Considering these structural advantages of CG, I find nothing wrong with granting CO a little more wiggle room in how they respond to the proposition – provided they justify why their different approach is necessary in order to judge their relevance within the debate based on what they actually said -, especially considering the vastly different consequences for the debate as a whole.

      This reasoning is – to the best of my knowledge – the reason, why it’s not just “some CAs within the German circuit” that allow CO to build cases that contradict OO, but actually the majority of them and why this has been in the official German BPS Manual since at least 2014 🙂

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