Axver (axver) wrote,

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With regards to last night's debating travesty.

I have decided I am going to write an account of my problems with the adjudication decision and the debate as a whole last night. This shall be the definitive and final copy. I really don't like having to explain this one.

Firstly, let me say I am NOT a sore loser. I've lost debates before and been perfectly cool with it, and under normal circumstances, I will only get spiteful about a loss when New Zealand loses to Australia in the rugby union. In this situation, however, I feel cheated, angry, disappointed, rorted, and ripped off. I'm still fuming over it somewhat.

Allow me to set the scene for you first. We turned up, and on the sign for our debate, they gave the name of the more prestigious school we beat last week rather than us. I think it was Lauren (though I'm honestly not sure) who joked that they had pre-printed the signs, and now the ultra-cynical part of my mind is desiring to suspect that's true. I'm not quite that cynical yet, though. So anyway, we are a team from a relatively new school on the Gold Coast up against a school older than 125 years with campuses in each capital city (or something of a similar order) and has prestige right up the wazoo. What's more, the competition tends to be biased towards the inner Brisbane schools. It didn't look good from the start.

The topic was 'that the patriarchy is dead'. For the affirmative to win, they have to prove that the patriarchy is TOTALLY dead and not alive in ANY way. For us to win, we just have to prove there is a vague hint of life left in it. We clearly had the far easier side.

Now, allow me to go speaker-by-speaker.

First affirmative: The guy mumbled, slurred, and droned on and on. If you want an example of poor speaking manner, he was it. He went WAY over the time limit, I didn't even catch all of what he said, and he didn't properly define the topic, set his tean's case up, or do anything as he should've. Needless to say, I was very unimpressed.
Points: 72

First negative: Lauren was brilliant. From the start she asserted what both teams are required to do, and I remember at one point before the three-minute mark, I thought to myself "there we go, we've won." We'd already proven our case. She spoke clearly and precisely, made everything clear, and did a wonderful job.
Points: 71 - Uh, WHAT? There is NO WAY, NONE WHATSOEVER that the first affirmative was even close to being as good as her, let alone better. This really frustrates me because he was so poor and Lauren was so good.

Second affirmative: I have never seen a speaker speak so fast. There's a difference between hitting everyone with the force of a bomb and blowing the audience away (as I'm said to do) and simply firing away indiscriminately at whatever target catches your eye. He should have been pulled up in a big way for that and some other stuff I will mention later.
Points: 72

Second negative: Christie was awesome last week, and she was even better this week. She spoke clearly, at an appropriate pace, and did her job just as she should've. I was feeling very confident by this point because we were so clearly ahead of the opposition.
Points: 72 - Again, WHAT? I cannot comprehend how the adjudicator could say she was equal with the second affirmative when she was significantly better in all aspects.

Third affirmative: He was probably their best speaker, though I don't think he did much outstanding at all and accepted too few points of information. My biggest issue with his speaking is that he got pissed off at a few points, though worse was to come. His structure was good, but not great.
Points: 74

Third negative: Yours truly. You know how I say I have only ever made two debating speeches I actually like and am proud of? Make that three. If I may say so myself, I think I did a brilliant job. I structured my speech perfectly. For my last debate in high school, I finally nailed the format and presented it wonderfully. I have never done such a clear, signposted, well set-out speech in the three or four years I've been debating. What's more, I was the ONLY speaker who stuck within the time limit. That was probably my best speech ever.
Points: 74 - Somehow I think I deserve a little more for having a better format and speaking manner than the other fellow.

But here comes the really bad stuff.

1. They were ARGUING. They were not debating, they were ARGUING. I didn't feel like I was having an intellectual debate about facts and evidence; I felt like I was having a schoolyard argument with three arrogant pricks who didn't even sound like the brightest crayons in the box.
2. They could NOT do points of information. A point of information can only be asked between the 1 and 7 minute marks, it must be short - less than fifteen seconds - and it must be in the form of a question. Well, they asked points of information AFTER the bell was rung for the seventh minute, they waffled, and sometimes they didn't even ask questions at all. I have never seen points of information done so poorly, not even on the first night the rule was used. During my speech, I actually interrupted the second affirmative to inform him of the rule that it has to be less than fifteen seconds and requested he ask a question rather than make a statement - AND HE STILL REPLIED TO ME WITH A STATEMENT! When I turned to the audience and said something to the effect of "that's still a statement, but I'll reply to it anyway," I heard him say something to his team mates. I don't know what it was, but he did not sound impressed. Clearly, he didn't like being informed of the rules by someone from a lowly Gold Coast school!
3. They badgered with the points of information. The rule definitely needs to be modified somehow to guard against badgering the speaker. They leapt up like it was an argument, and they just kept on doing it. They went overboard in a big way. I don't know how the others felt - if they're reading this, they can comment and say what they felt - but personally, it was extreme and annoying. I guess they can't really be penalised for that, but it shows that limitations need to be placed upon the rule to stop it being used excessively and being twisted to turn a debate into a yelling match.
4. They went ridiculously overtime. The time limit is eight minutes and the adjudicators are to put their pens down and not mark after 8:30. That is a strictly enforced rule, and if you go over, you will suffer deducted marks. I was the only person who stayed within the 8:30, and comparatively, Lauren and Christie went over less than their counterparts. I do not see why the affirmative did not suffer the consequences and why they got equal or better marks than we did.
5. This is a really big one. They were derogatory and rude in their speeches, and they actually PERSONALLY INSULTED both Christie and Lauren (the second speaker was particularly bad). If you insult the opposition, you've basically lost the debate for your team. I remember in one debate, I said the opposition's case was a joke, and I nearly got pulled up for that - it was borderline and in a really close debate like last night's, it could have swung things. So to blatantly insult the opposition ... they should have lost just for that. It was rude and completely unnecessary.
6. They WERE NOT CONVINCING. We proved the patriarchy is alive at SOME level. The topic is that the patriarchy IS dead, not WILL BE dead, and we conclusively proved that it is still alive at an executive business level. They even acknowledged it! The victory is meant to go to the team that is most convincing and has proven its point. That team was us. Our arguments ran rings around theirs, and everyone I've spoken to believes we were the more convincing team.
7. What's more, THEY CONCEDED THE DEBATE! In a point of information I accepted, the third affirmative actually asked me how I expected them to prove the patriarchy was dead at all levels! WE WON WITH THAT. He basically handed the debate to us on a platter. Surely the adjudicator had tuned out at that point.

The adjudicator was inept, insipid, and incapable. He was obviously young and inexperienced, I am sure he was really biased, and any reasonable analysis of the debate would tell you we won by about ten bloody points! (Five is considered a flogging and winning by six is unheard of. Winning by seven last week was amazing.) There is no way that debate was so close, and no way they could have won by a single point. We had them beaten at all levels. I also found it a bit dodgy how the adjudicator sat on the opposition's side of the room - they're meant to sit in the dead centre - and there should ALWAYS be two adjudicators at such a high level of debating. This guy simply did not have a clue. He needs to go back to adjudicating grade eight and revise the rules.

I am seriously contemplating lodging an official complaint.

I'm truly pissed we won't be in next week's debate. I would've handled this slightly better if that weren't a short-prep debate. I adore those and I've only been able to do one this year. This makes me sad. Bah, the injustice! I am going to apply to compete in house debating despite the rules that say otherwise simply so I can get my short-prep fix for the year. If I'm not successful (and even if I am), I welcome all challengers to a short-prep debate, preferably one sanctioned by the school.

That felt good to get out.

Briefly, in other news;

- I'm quite pleased with myself. The grade nine business class were holding some stalls in the quad today, so I really scored myself some bargains thanks to being in the right place at the right time. My "I'll take [a sausage in] a crust! Seventy cents!" was one of those 'you had to be there' moments.
- If anyone knows how to successfully waste inordinate amounts of time, it is I.
- For SOR, I am going to argue that Yahweh and Allah are similar deities but not the same. This should be a really fun one to write.
- How I end up behind on some things so quickly truly baffles me. I guess I'm just too lazy. I find it amusing that even with that fact, people still put in major efforts to equal or better my marks. While I kick back and relax, they slave away, trying to ensure a place above me. Fine, go ahead, see if I care. I'm not the one who's wasted my life. If you get satisfaction from making yourself look better than everyone else, then good luck to you. Just don't come preaching to me about humility. I already know I have none and you can't talk anyway. (By the way, for the record, that wasn't directed at anyone in particular so don't get any ideas.)
- To add to that, there's a difference between striving to achieve your best and simply entering into competition with other people to beat their results. (Again, not directed at anyone so don't make any wild assumptions.)
- Last Night On Earth by U2 deserves your respect. What a song, especially live!

That's it for now. I'm feeling remarkably exhausted and I don't know why.

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