Some judges expect debaters to extend texts for theory interps, plans and counter-plans, and there are debaters who extend those same texts as a matter of principle. This practice wastes time and is unnecessary. Everything done in a debate round should be done with the intention of winning it; if extending these items are inessential to winning the judge’s ballot, then there’s no need for it.
Judges can make a coherent RFD without an extended text. In a topicality debate, the judges can vote on the standards debate and comparison between voters. In a framework debate, the judges can vote on which comprehensive ethical theory is preferable. In a policy-style debate, the judges look to the merits of the plan. Whether these specific texts are extended is irrelevant to deciding those debates.
Often times if something is uncontested in a round, it has weight if extended. However, that doesn’t seem to apply when an interp text is extended. If you go for a “conceded” text, what advantage would that actually give you? If you extend the text but lose the standards on theory or the advantages to the plan, you lose.
A possible response is that the text helps clarify the debate, but a careful judge has it flowed the first time. There’s no need to rehash what’s been said unless it adds some detail or strategic value. Consider a 2AR going for NIBs bad: “They say ‘I meet because I can turn the case’; however, I can’t turn it because “skep affirms” is impossible on this topic.” There is no lack of clarity here if all participants and judges heard the 1AR. Debaters don’t have to re-read an entire card to ensure clarity when defending their evidence, so why should they have to re-extend the text of their position? This also responds to the notion that a judge isn’t “tab” enough if they vote on an argument with an incomplete extension. The line where we draw what counts for an extension is already arbitrary, so we might as well move that line to where it makes the most sense. If there’s enough to understand the argument (e.g. the justification for the criterion is extended but not the criterion itself), there’s no need to say any more.
In a theory or T debate, whether you think that the spirit, or implied meaning, of an interp is more important than its literal text or vice versa has no bearing on whether precise extensions are needed. If the “spirit” view is right, the exact text of an interpretation does not matter as much as the reasons to prefer. If the “text” view is right, the only time you should need to extend the text is if the debate centers on the interpretation wording itself.
Similarly in a framework debate, the text of the criterion is only relevant when there is a dispute about what matters according to that ethical framework. In these cases, it’s likely that the debater is running an arbitrarily narrow criterion text to exclude offense, and that should be pointed out. That said, in most cases, a precise extension is unnecessary. If the criterion is “maximizing utility,” no one should be confused about that by the 1AR.
Extensions for plan and counterplan texts might be the most unnecessary of all. The judge knows what the plan is if it’s the entire aff case – there’s no need to remind everyone. Especially in a time-crunched 1AR, there is no need for the aff to extend every part of a dropped plan. A general extension of an advantage to the plan should do.
Debaters and judges should reconsider their views on extensions. To debaters: don’t waste valuable speech time. To judges: don’t hold debaters to an unreasonable standard for clarity. Less time extending means more time debating.