When Nobody Wants to Speak

A lack of speakers (one one side or both) is A Thing That Happens at every tournament. There is well-established procedure for this situation, but for some reason, people don’t seem to know it. So let’s review.

Before you continue, you should open or download the current Congress Manual (18.10.1) and review §§ 5(b), 6(d), 8(a), and 9(e)(5).

There are only two situations involving a lack of speakers. The first is when there a B/R with no author that nobody wants to sponsor. The second is literally every other speech that no one wants to give.

Continue reading “When Nobody Wants to Speak”

A Request

It’s been a very rough couple of weeks for this country and for the world. For that reason, I ask the following:

STUDENTS: As you prepare your legislation for the November tournament, please think VERY CAREFULLY before drafting legislation addressing potentially inflammatory topics. Do more research than usual and consider both sides. (BTW, if most or all of the arguments on one side of a B/R are objectively deplorable, I’m likely to reject the B/R as frivolous.)

COACHES: PLEASE READ your students’ legislation to ensure it is suitable for debate. If it isn’t, don’t submit it. Do not make the Congress Coordinator play the heavy.

Why Is This Happening?

I approved 12 items for the October tournament and rejected 7. The most common problem was failure to use the template as directed.

To reiterate:

If you turn in legislation made with some other league’s template, you’re doing it wrong.

If you turn in legislation written with an outdated FGCCFL template, you’re doing it wrong.

If you turn in legislation that resembles the template but didn’t start with the approved template document, you’re doing it wrong.

Josh Schneider, Sept. 14, 2018

What’s a Stale Topic?

I rejected several items for the September tournament because they were stale. To avoid having this problem at subsequent tournaments, I thought I’d explain what makes a topic stale.

Simply put, a topic is stale if it has been presented so many times over a sustained period that reasonably competent teams will have substantial research files on those topics, complete with prefabricated contentions or even whole speeches. Topics like these result in debate that tends to play out the same way each time and is of little or no educational value.

What are these stale topics? Well, the Palm Beach CFL has a list of them—because these topics are banned in that league:

  • Legalize Prostitution (this one’s banned here, too)
  • Legalize Marijuana
  • Legalize Euthanasia
Continue reading “What’s a Stale Topic?”

The Template is NOT Optional

I’ve received far too many bills and resolutions that were not written using an approved legislation template. Those are generally being returned with instructions to rewrite and resubmit. But just in case it wasn’t clear:

If you turn in legislation made with some other league’s template, you’re doing it wrong.

If you turn in legislation written with an outdated FGCCFL template, you’re doing it wrong.

If you turn in legislation that resembles the template but didn’t start with the approved template document, you’re doing it wrong.

These templates were developed to allow students to focus on the content of their legislation rather than the formatting and to allow me to assemble the docket quickly and efficiently. They are meant to be opened, filled in (the highlighted guide text indicates what goes where and provides some tips on wording), and saved as the finished legislation. And their use is required by FGCCFL rules. Full stop.

TIP: Saving in Word Format

We require legislation to be submitted in Microsoft Word format. This is because we need to be able to edit the legislation before publication (thus, no PDF) and because we use a script to automate assembly of the docket that was designed to work with Word documents. (Additionally, Word is available not just for PCs and Macs, but for Linux boxes, Chromebooks, and tablets through Office Online and assorted apps.)

For whatever reason, you may not have Word. In the past, that might have been a problem, but now you can edit our templates in any modern word processor of your choice, including Google Docs. However, you still have to save the finished product in Microsoft Word (.docx) format. To do this, look in the following places on your word processor:

  1. Check the File menu for an ExportDownload As, or Save As command with a Word format option.
  2. If there isn’t a Save As with a Word option, try it anyway. There may be a choice of file formats in the save dialog box.
  3. In Pages for iCloud, click the wrench icon, then click Download a Copy; Word will be one of the format options in the dialog box that appears.
  4. If all else fails, transfer your work to Google Docs, and use File > Download as > Microsoft Word (.docx). Then consider using Google Docs instead of whatever you were using, because it’s amazing.

Good luck and happy drafting!