A debate mom emailed us this week…
“In a recent meet, the 1NR only used one piece of evidence, and then told me what the voters were, recapping the round. It sounded like a 2NR to me. I felt like I heard two 2NRs. Shouldn’t the 1NR be still building arguments, or reconstructing the ones attacked by the 2AC? I thought a rebuttal was rebuilding what has been attacked. I know the 2NR should be clear on the voters, but I think the 1NR still has more work to do. What are your thoughts?”
Isaiah: We’ve experimented a lot with what to do when in rebuttals this semester while debating at PHC. Yellis and I tried voters in the 1NR and 1AR several times. Our conclusion was that it is advantageous to the affirmative for a flow to be very narrow and voters all the way up in the 1AR really help to put things back on affirmative ground and scale down negative arguments. However, we found that voters in the 1NR basically did the affirmative’s tough job in the 1AR for them. By boiling down ALL negative argumentation, 1NR voters basically eliminate the advantage of the negative block and give the 1AR a very easy group of arguments to respond to. Thus, the 1NR should be focused on still keeping negative argumentation as broad as possible.
Mrs. A: I would much rather hear a 1NR rebut the 2AC and thus, not drop any of the arguments made by the affirmative. I like a 2NC to really hit the affirmative case with DAs and really be on the offensive and set up the final arguments. The 1NR is the one who has to finish up with the 2AC arguments and extend the 1NC arguments. The 2NC would then recap the major negative positions (hopefully the winning ones), extend with evidence if necessary, and give voters. Why have two rebuttals if they are both exactly the same? That is just bad strategy plus it sounds rushed, looks like the negative has nothing further to say, and gives a bad impression to the judge.
Conclusion: When negative, use the 1NR to rebuild the arguments made in the 1NC and refute the 2AC. Use the 2NR to boil down the argumentation. When affirmative, try to bring the round down to the voters as soon as possible in order to keep the negative team on the defensive.