Nov 5, 2006

National Forensic League rule changes for 2006-2007

Normally my eyes gloss over when I'm sent an NFL packet, but this year's rule changes might make a measurable difference in the quality of specific events. Let's run down the list.

Lincoln Douglas Debate
1. The Council has approved new LD debate event and judging descriptions, ostensibly to clear up contentious issues about the nature of the event. The biggest, and likely most grating, change: no kritiks. At least, that's how I read this passage:
The debaters are equally obligated to focus the debate on the central uestions of the resolution, not whether the resolution is worthy of debate. Because the affirmative must uphold the resolution, the negative must also argue the resolution as presented.
Obviously, this rule change affects only those tournaments that operate under NFL rules--but that's a conservative shift for LD, a bold move to keep it from becoming quasi-policy.

2. For LD and Policy, the NFL wants to make judging paradigm forms available online. If anything, this might make the inanest of questions--"What's your paradigm?"--superfluous.

Student Congress
1. It's still going to be called "Student Congress."

2. No plagiarized legislation. Sorry, lame-os.

3. In a district qualifier, if you don't make at least one speech, you don't vote in the final election (and no points for you). Finally, a way to get the log bumps involved.

4. Cross-examination--one minute of questioning after a three-minute speech--will be a factor in scoring.

Policy Debate
In a 5-3-1 vote, the Council decided to allow a one-year trial where laptop computers may be used within Policy Debate rounds, with District competitions to have the option. There are provisions forbidding the use of wireless networks, but really--are judges going to have to check in between every speech to make sure no one's cheating? I hope and pray computers never become a fixture in Lincoln-Douglas.

Individual Events
1. I wasn't aware that some competitors have been changing the gender of characters in interpretive events, but apparently they have, and it's now verboten. "In all interpretation events, the gender stated by the author must be honored. However, a female may play a male role and a male may play a female role," preserving Shakespearian tradition.

2. All interpretation events have a "grace period" rule.


TeacherRefPoet said...

I like the changes in all three events that I coached (and, you know, maybe someday later on, depending...).

I don't think Policy is worth the gunpowder it would take to blow it to hell, but I'm still concerned about the laptop rule. I guess it's good that students can now tote even more arguments that nobody gives a rat's heiney about without danger of breaking their arms falling down the stairs with their files (this actually happened at my school before I took over and grandfathered policy out). But the bad news is that rich schools now have an even more intense advantage over the poor--exacerbating what I see as the blackest eye our activity has.

Nacho said...

They shouldn't have changed the LD rules to no kritiks, there's no fun in that.