From APDAWeb Wiki
Revision as of 03:25, 28 August 2013 by Jangel (Talk | contribs) (1 revision)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Abusive Example

An extreme and extremely damaging example that only relates tangentially to the other sides case.

All the way up

When you are undefeated after a considerable number of rounds.


Changes to the Articles and By-Laws of APDA.


The APDA listserv.

Articles of Incorporation

The rules and By-laws under which APDA operates.


A debater who is believed to be significantly weaker than his partner. The stronger partner must “carry” this person, often outspeaking the baggage by a large margin. This term is generally applied as a compliment to the carrier, who is often able to win rounds/tournaments/-OTY awards despite the hindrance of debating with baggage. See also “To Carry” and “Luggage.”


The sheet used to award the decision and speaker points during a given round.

To Bitch

To beat a particular opponent/tournament three consecutive times. This is normally used in the context of bitching an opponent, but one can bitch a tournament as well. One can also double-bitch or tripple bitch. See also To Own.


See Marker.

Boutique Opp

An opp to a case that is not the real reason that one should not adopt the case but whose analysis is so unique and creative that it is often more impressive than the “real opp.” Often LOs are busy making the obvious opps that MOs are free to come up with impressive non-obvious boutique opps.


The grouping of teams with a common record, i.e. all the 3-0 teams or all of the 4-1 teams, etc.


The teams advancing to elimination rounds.

Bubble round

A round in which the winning team advances to the quarterfinals and the losing team does not. Typically, a 3-1 round is a bubble round because the team that wins (4-1) breaks, or at least has a chance. See also: Four-one No-break.


To make it to a bubble round.

Campus judge

A non-debating judge who has often never seen a debate round before. These judges tend to pop up in the down brackets at large tournaments, as well as the majority of rounds in certain small tournaments. Characteristics of campus judges include an immediately identifiable deer-in-the-headlights look, confusion with the speaking times, questions during speeches, and a tendency to fall asleep. To win rounds with campus judges, you must speak slowly and present very simple examples, while totally mischaracterizing the other team’s arguments. Lying about the rules and/or accusing the other team of rules violations is an effective, though possibly unethical, strategy.

To Carry

The term used when one partner significantly outspeaks/outperforms the partner (who is generally thought to be much worse - see “Luggage” or “Baggage”) Usually used in conjunction with success, such as “She carried her novice all the way to finals.” Can also be used as a noun to refer to the weekend’s performance. For example, “That was the biggest carry of the weekend. She outspoke her partner by 8 points.”


The debate position presented by the Government team.

Categorical Imperative

Important catch-phrase of Kantian philosophy, often used highly effectively (if not always for any strongly apparent reason) by David Feldon (Hopkins ‘97) to win rounds.

The Clash

The APDA newsletter, ideally published multiple times per semester.


To render an initially open-seeming case tight (or tautological) either through the belated introduction of crucial information or subtle reframing of the case. Used as a noun, the collapse is the point in the round when this occurs, often in PMR.

Collapsing Tautology

Although technically a particular kind of case, such as one hinging on the crude “You’re You” argument, was often used to describe any case designed intentionally to collapse in PMR. When designed intelligently (i.e. not a “You’re You”-type case), often hinges on subtle definitions of the terms of the case which might go unchallenged by the opp as givens, or common sense. Because the collapsing elements in this instance could be easily have been challenged, it is difficult to call “tight” (especially since the collapse will not become apparent until PMR). Created most effectively in recent history by Jonathan Cohen of Hopkins (’98), usually to clinch difficult in-rounds.

Cut Loose

Usually, each member of a debate partnership will seek to bolster (or, at worst, simply gloss over) even highly questionable arguments made by the other. If, however, a debater’s partner has made a truly indefensible point, or one that undermines other arguments crucial to the position the team has taken in the round, the debater may opt to “cut him/her loose” and explicitly repudiate the argument.


A past APDA debater who returns to judge a tournament. Short for “Dinosaur”. In use since the early 80’s.

Dino Prom

A tournament at which a large number of Dinos are present, often because past some critical mass, Dinos who might not otherwise have attended are enticed to judge in order to see old friends, producing a feedback effect.


A round in which both teams have already lost at least one round at a given tournament.


Another word for a team’s pairing. A team’s draw refers to the team they are set to debate.

Drop (a)

To have the judge vote against one in a round, as in “We dropped last round” or “The judge dropped us.” This is rarely because a debater actually presented the worse arguments or was less compelling. Rather, judges are generally incompetent and unable to understand the key points of rounds. Compare to Lose.

Drop (b)

To not address an argument, as in “He dropped my nuclear war analysis. Since nuclear war is bad, I win the round”.

Dropped hard

When a judge drops a team and gives them particularly low speaker points.


See MO Dump

Executive Board

The elected board of officers that serve a one year term: President, Vice-President of Operations, Vice-President of Finance, and three Members-at-Large.


To win a round in PMR by making arguments that are not new enough to qualify as illegal new arguments, but still appear completely different from anything else that has come up in the round.

Floor vote

The “house vote,” during a final round, in which the audience votes for the team that it thinks won.


The sheet of notes used to follow the points of a debate round or the interplay between arguments in a round.

Four-one No-break (also: Non-breaking 4-1)

To go 4-1 but not reach outrounds because of insufficient speaking points. The lamentable fate of many teams, especially in larger tournaments.

Free Seed

The seed each school receives for free at a given tournament, allowing them to hit an unseeded team in the first round of the tournament. A free seed to Nationals means that a debater can compete at Nationals without having to qualify. Each school may send one free seed to Nationals.

Full Seed

A team where both debaters have reached a final round at a sanctioned tournament.


General Assembly, where the debaters wait for pairings, tournament announcements, and gather between rounds.

Grace Period

The period of time beyond the allotted time for a given speech in which courtesy is extended to the speaker to finish his or her remarks (usually 30 seconds, though occasionally 5 to 10 minutes, such as when phil_larochelle|Phil Larochelle was speaking).


A team in which only one of the two competitors is seeded.

High/low in the bracket

Description of a team’s position in a bracket, as determined by its speaker points relative to other teams in the bracket.


Competing or debating against another team.


A fake award, randomly attributed at the end of the year, to the debater who has slept with the most debaters on APDA. Ho- of the the Year. Unclear if this tradition was begun by the same group who began SPCOTY (Small Penis Complex of the Year).


A debater with large number of “connections” in The Web.


A team consisting of two debaters from different schools.


APDA has Incorporation Status, pursuant to New York law, as of February 11, 2000.


A debate team with only one debater. Ironman teams may not enter tournaments, but sometimes debaters drop out and a debater must continue debating alone. Most tournaments do not allow an Ironman to win.


Judges’ assembly, where the judges congregate between rounds to lament the sad state of debate today. At some tournaments, the same as GA.

Jack in the Box Opp

An opposition in which the LO gives tag lines to arguments without adequate explanation. The MO then references “what the LO said” and suddenly - POP - the arguments are fully explained but can’t really be called new in PMR. A strategy used by stronger MOs who can feed the weaker LO the tags. See also “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

Judging Director

The individual in charge of assigning judges to rounds at a given tournament.

The Juice

Beth O’Connor Yale ‘03 and Adam Jed Yale ‘03. So named because they debated as “yale_oj|Yale OJ”.


An opponent who consistently is effective in defeating a debater. Often this is not because they are a better debater so much as their style, luck, or dynamic works in beating the debater.


As a verb, it means to disclose a decision or debate record to debaters. As a noun, it refers to information that was given from judges or tab to debaters about the results of the tournament.

Loose Link

An irrelevant sentences for you to link your case to.


Debaters rarely lose rounds. They may *drop* a round (see: Drop), but is generally because of pure judging incompetence. Martin Louis Roth (Harvard ‘04) set the distinction of going undefeated his entire career, though needless to say he was screwed a couple of times by highly questionable decisions.


A term for a partner who is generally believed to be significantly weaker. The stronger partner must “carry” this person, often outspeaking the luggage by a large margin. This term is generally applied as a compliment to the carrier, who is often able to win rounds/tournaments/-OTY awards despite the hindrance of debating with luggage. See also “To Carry” and “Baggage.”


An entry or finish used in computing OTY results.


Debate about the nature of debate. Cases about tightness, snugness, and spec knowlege will often involve copious amounts of this. Fortunately, the vast, vast exception rather than the rule.

MO Dump

A large number of strong new arguments saved for the MO speech. Because it increases the burden on the PMR, sometimes used as a justification by the PM to ask for a longer grace period.


An exceptionally good speech or round may be described as one in which “the monolith descends,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to old judging sheets admonishing judges that speaker points of 29 or 30 should not be awarded unless the alien monolith from the film 2001 has appeared to give a speech.

Nationals Qual

An earned right to compete at the National Championship, acquired by reaching the final round at an APDA-sanctioned tournament or participating in elimination rounds at World or Northams.

Natural Dump

An MO Dump which occurs not as a result of any strategic calculation, but because the LO is the weaker member of a pair (see: Baggage), leaving the MO to introduce the strongest arguments. (This is still an MO Dump, but the qualifier “Natural” is a nice way to feel like it’s somehow legitimate).

"The North"

Classically used to describe schools on the circuit located north of New York City. In times of regional conflict, derided by members of “The South” as nepotistic favor-traders who couldn’t throw a good party to save their lives, and think they’re good debaters just because they go to some so-called “Ivy League” university. See also: “The South”


The Novice of the Year Award, received by the novice debater with the highest point totals over six markers.


The designation given to either a first year debater or a debater with less than three APDA tournaments and no APDA Nationals experience.

One Down

The teams that have lost one round so far in a given tournament.


The elimination rounds involving the break teams.

Outside Trustees

The two elected ex-officio members of the APDA board, drawn from outside the competing APDA community.

To Own

To beat a particular debater five times consecutively. See also To Bitch.


The list of teams that will compete against each other in a given round. The teams are most often listed in the following order: Government team, Opposition Team, Judge’s Name, Room # (hence the immortal cry “Gov, Opp, Judge, Room”).


Winning a round.


Point of Information.

Political Will

A type of argument which tries to defeat a policy proposal by saying that the legislature would never vote for it. This type of argument is often used by opp teams who can’t think of anything else to say, but may also be used to muddy the waters and confuse the judge. This usually leads to two unpleasant outcomes; either the government team will argue that the government might, in fact, do it, leading to an assertion-fest totally irrelevant to the main topic of debate; or the government team will state that it is not their burden to prove a plan realistic, leading to essentially unresolvable meta-debate. The government sometimes tries to save themselves by caveating out whether the policy proposal is realistic in PMC, which helps a little, but a sufficiently aggressive opp can pronounce this caveat unfair and ignore it. Typically, however, wide latitude is given gov to defend politically unrealistic scenarios. An elegant (if slightly sneaky) way to exploit this latitude involves gov reimportation of the very political pressure their case must fiat away. (e.g.: Gov argues that if all children are required to attend public schools, parents who would otherwise have sent their children to private schools will instead bring to bear political pressure for improvements in the public schools. But those same parents have been assumed not to employ such pressure to prevent case from coming about.)

Pop Goes the Weasel Opp

See “Jack in the Box.”


Notifying the directors of tournament prior to the day of the tournament of how many teams plan to attend; also known as pre-reg.

Point Fairy

If a judge is generous in awarding speaker points, she is called a point fairy. See also Point Nazi.

Point Nazi

If a judge is reluctant to give out high points, she is called a point nazi. See also Point Fairy.


A team that is placed in a bracket of teams with a higher record when the higher bracket has an odd number of teams.


See Nationals Qualification.


Notification of the tournament staff, on Friday afternoon, of the teams and debaters that have actually arrived.


The sentence or phrase, provided by the tournament director, that Government teams must use to begin a round.


The Reason for Decision, the justification for a judge’s decision in a given round.

Straight Link

A resolution that is the exact case statement to be defended by the Government team.


A request by a team or school not to be judged a specific person.


To be given protection first round against hitting another seeded team. Seeds come in three varieties: Full Seed, Half-Seed, and Free Seed. When there are more seeded than unseeded teams, Full and Half seeds are given priority.


To give a team or debater high speaker points.


To both win a tournament and earn first and second speaker awards. Most recently performed by Jonathan Bailey and Alex Just from Oxford at Stanford ‘05. Also performed by lina_bensman|Lina Bensman and justin_gelfand|Justin Gelfand at Middlebury ‘04, will_newman_and_brookes_brown|Will Newman and Brookes Brown at bowdoin_'04|Bowdoin '04, Hopkins’ Jon Bateman and Michael Mayernick at Bryn Mawr ‘03 and MIT’s Raj Krishnan and Phil Larochelle at Wellesley ‘02.


A case which has opposition arguments, but for which the government arguments are much stronger. Any comment by the opp that the case is unfair usually leads to enraged self-righteousness from the government team, listing potential opposition arguments. However, if the opp refuses to comment, the government team will often crystallize on “poor children who work in mines should have health insurance” and win the round. The solution to this problem is probably a certain measure of activist judging, but APDA is generally unclear on what that should entail.


The Speaker of the Year Award, received by the debater with the highest point totals over six markers.

"The South"

Classically used to describe schools on the circuit south of New York City. In times of regional tensions, derided by members of “The North” as alcoholic, drug abusing, frivolous debaters who are just bitter they’re not going to an Ivy League school. See also: “The North”


Receiving speaker points of a certain level; e.g., speaking high means to be getting high speaker points.


Another term referring to speaker points.

Specific ("Spec") Knowlege

Knowlege too arcane to expect a debater to know. An example would be a case arguing that the hulls of F-16s should be made out of carbon composite rather than aluminum alloy, or that plutonium is a preferable atomic bomb base to uranium. Numerous heated discussions have taken place over the years regarding how specific should specific knowlege be; few conclusions have been reached, though a general agreement is that debaters should be held to the “New York Times/ Economist” standard. What precisely *that* means is a source of yet more conflict.


The lone dissenting voter on an otherwise unanimous judging panel, or, used as a verb, to cast such a vote.

Straw Man

To present the other side’s arguments in a simplistic or otherwise incorrect manner. Often used in conjunction with the Abusive Example. A means by which many good teams win rounds.

Tab Director

The individual in charge of a tab room at a given tournament.

Tab Room

The location of the tournament epicenter, where results are recorded and pairings made.


To give extremely low speaker points.


Two people competing together at a tournament; or sometimes, all of the debaters from a given school. Tournaments only recognize two-person teams except for the rules about debating people from the same school.

Tight link

A resolution that the Government team must link thematically to its case.


The Team of the Year Award, received by the team with the highest point totals over five markers.

Tournament Director

The person who organizes and oversees a tournament.


A round at a given tournament between two undefeated teams.

Up Teams

Teams that have not yet lost a round.


The designation given to any debater of non-novice status.

Veil of Ignorance

A good fourth sub-point to your third constructive point. Appropriate for virtually any conceivable case you might run on APDA.

The Web

Also referred to as “Apdaweb,” it refers to the interconnectedness of romantic encounters on APDA. The name of the apda website is a reference to this longstanding tradition of incestuousness.


Another term for opp-choice. Dates back to either when a wellesley team in the mid-80s ran the first kind of this case or when they ran an all-opp-choice tournament. Term was in use as late as 1999.

You're You

An argument frequently used in Collapsing Tautologies that relies on the preferences of the specific actor about whom the case is constructed. While the justification for this is frequently “you have done this on previous occasions,” rather than any kind of principled, normative, or practical justification, this opp is often the only legitimate response to a psychological falsism (e.g. “You’re Hitler, don’t order the holocaust.”).


Debate technique where a debater spends a lot of time eloquently making a point and then immediately says something that contradicts that point. A known habit of Adam Zirkin, Brandeis ‘01.