Herndon, Virginia, USA 20172 [email protected]

MYDT Rules of the Road

Structure of the Debate 1/2 

  • Speakers 1+2 → 5 minutes uninterrupted time
  • Speaker 3 → 4 minutes uninterrupted time
  • Judge will call you when they are ready

Your time begins when you start speaking

  • You will be offered 2 minutes prep time. If you choose to accept, you will be granted that time, and if you deny, you will begin after the judge calls you at his/her discretion.
  • At 1 minute remaining the judge will signal
  Structure of the Debate 2/2
  • Points of Information (POIs) are optional but recommended and may take place during the middle three minutes of the 1st prop, 2nd prop, 1st opp and 2nd opp speeches
  • No POIs are allowed during the 3rd prop and 3rd opp speeches
  • A member of the team not currently on the stand signals they have a POI
  • The speaker on the stand accepts or rejects the POI
  • If the POI is accepted, the opposing speaker states the POI
  • The speaker on the stand should then succinctly respond to the POI 
  • There is no limit on how many POIs may be proposed (so long as they take place during the allowed POI time) but it is at the discretion of the speaker on the stand as to how many POIs they choose to take.

1st Speaker Role – 5 Minutes

  • Sets the Definition (Prop only)
    • Clearly define the topic 

  • Present rebuttal for the previous speaker’s arguments (Opp only)

  • Provides Team Stance 

    • The direction/strategy of the team’s case

  • Presents Split “Road Map” 

    • State arguments of 1st and 2nd speaker

    • Lay out the road map for the judge

  • Develop Argument 

    • Analyze and elaborate – give evidence

    • A R E (The driving age should be raised to 18 because it is safer – younger drivers have a higher of getting into a car accident – 30% of car accidents in the US are by teens)

2nd Speaker Role – 5 Minutes

  • Rebut the previous speaker’s arguments and defend your own case 

  • Presents own arguments (different from 1st speaker) 

  • Develop your Argument 

    • Analyze and elaborate 

    • A R E (The driving age should be raised to 18 because it is safer – younger drivers have a higher of getting into a car accident – 30% of car accidents in the US are by teens)

  • Maintain structure and cohesion with 1st speaker 


Points of Information

  • POIs may take place anytime during the middle 3 minutes of the 1st prop, 2nd prop, 1st opp, and 2nd opp speeches.
  • POIs can be accepted or rejected by the speaker
      • Acceptance/rejection should be based on where the speaker currently is in their speech. E.g. if they are in the middle of making a point they should reject the POI.
      • If they have made the point and are not at a critical part in their speech they should accept it. 
      • The key is to avoid appearing scared or weak without compromising your time to speak and you must show that you are in control and not the POI people. 
      • Ideally POIs should be taken for each point to show that you are open to see what they have to say to your point and show that you are ready to take them on. Usually 2-3 points are good to take. 4 is Ok if needed. 5 is excessive.
  • A person giving the POI should make it no more than 10-15 seconds and should be a single statement directed to the speaker ideally to poke a weakness or point out a flaw. You aren’t going to win the debate on a single POI.
      • Good POI: “Just so you know, the study you are talking about is conducted by a very biased corporation”
      • Bad POI: “Don’t you agree that you actually agree with our points and not yours”
  • To request a POI you can raise your hand, unmute and say “Point of Information”
  • If you are neither called upon, nor told to sit down, you may unmute again and say,”POI” or “Point of Information”, “On that point” or the like, again.


3rd Speaker Role – 4 Minutes OPP 

  • Summarizes the debate, define the CLASHES and MAIN ISSUE of the debate 
    • Do not just reiterate –  the judge is taking notes too
    • Show how you won each argument – your points still stand
    • Show how your points were superior, and the Prop points were insufficient in proving the topic 
    • Point out anything that the Proposition missed

3rd Speaker Role – 4 Minutes Prop

  • Very tough job – 4 minutes to do whole debate

Refute 2nd opposition (no one has refuted yet in a speech) – make sure none of the Oppositions point are left standing

  • Last opportunity to persuade your main points to be the adjudicator and focus on the key issues of the debate 
  • Cannot Bring New Matter/New Argument 
    • You will lose points in logic and relevance for bringing up new points
    • All new points will be disregarded 
  • Prove why you won the debate

Scoring, Wins and Losses

  • Each debater will be individually scored for each debate based on 4 categories, on a scale from 1-5. 

Structure: The speaker’s speech is organized in a clear, logical way and easy to follow. The speaker effectively synthesizes their speech effortless with previous speeches and effectively integrates opponents arguments into their speech. 

Logic & Relevance: Demonstrates a thorough grounding in the topic and fully understands the complexities and nuances involved. Delivers arguments back with solid reasoning and thorough evidence. Always answers the question “how does this relate back to the topic”  

Delivery: Clear mastery of rhetorical devices like humor, pausing for emphasis, and vocal inflection to add depth and character to speech. Speaks passionately and convincingly. 




Prop 1 Only

Definition and Stance: The 1st proposition speaker clearly sets the stage for the debate. Defines the topic, narrowing the scope of the debate where applicable, outlines the basis on which the judges should determine the winner of the debate, provides the team’s overall stance and strategic approach to topic, clearly states what arguments will be made by 1st and 2nd Speakers.  

All speakers except Prop 1

Refutation and Clash: Effectively clashes with opponent and responds to all opposing points. Questions the underlying assumptions, strategies and relevance to topic. Demonstrates ability to improvise and quickly responds to opposing points. Effectively uses POIs to weaken opponent’s position. Responds to POIs effectively without compromising team’s position. 

Scoring, Wins and Losses

The scores mentioned will determine who advances -NOT WINS AND LOSSES

  • It is possible to win all the debates in the preliminary round, and NOT advance to the semifinals
  • It is possible to lose in the preliminary rounds and advance to the semifinals
  • The team that scores higher points in a round may not be the team that won the argument/debate. 



Virtual Event Rules:


A. Timing

* A maximum of 2 minutes will be allowed in between rounds (interstitial time). If the judge decides to proceed before 2 minutes elapse, then the debate will proceed at the judge’s discretion. The judge will announce when the next speaker may begin after the interstitial time has ended.

* The speech times will remain at 5 minutes for the 1st and 2nd speakers and 4 minutes for the 3rd speakers.

* TIMING SUMMARY: (a) speech: up to 5 or 4 minutes (including POIs); (b) interstitial time (between the conclusion of the last speech and the start of the next speech): up to 2 minutes.

* CAVEAT: The judge of each debate is the ultimate arbiter of time.

NOTE: At the end of the hour allotted for each debate, all breakout rooms will automatically close, and everyone will be routed back to the main room.


B. Communication during the debate

* The chat box will be disabled

* You are allowed to communicate ONLY with your team members during the debate to share points using methods other than zoom such as text message, IM, phone call etc.

       * Outside communication with a family member, friend, or even coach is prohibited while the debate is in progress

* No help – by means of text, audio etc – is allowed to be given to a debater by anyone while they are speaking.

       * No surfing the web during a debate. 


C. Impromptu Debates

* Teams will be given 20 minutes of prep time following the announcement of the debate topic.

* Predetermined prop/opp sides will be announced for each team when the topic is announced. Each team will be assigned one prop and one opp side for the two impromptu debates.

* Impromptu topics (preliminary rounds 2 and 4) will be announced in the main room. Once the topic is announced, debaters must discuss the topic using their alternative devices (e.g. 3-way call) (cf. “Communication”, above). They can turn off audio and video during the 20 minute prep time but they should not leave the Zoom meeting. Debaters will be assigned to their breakout rooms during the 20 minute prep time.

* Teams may consult any source during the prep time, including Internet, coaches, and parents. However, as mentioned previously, under no circumstances should debaters receive instruction from coaches, parents, or anyone else while the debate is in session. During a speech, a speaker cannot receive help from anyone, including a teammate (cf. “Communication,” above).

* Internet use during prep time for impromptu debates is permitted but not recommended, as there isn’t enough time to adequately research and understand key research in the time internet access is allowed. Instead take the time to gather your thoughts, confer with your teammates and ensure you address all relevant points and refutations (cf. “Communication”, above).


D. Zoom/Virtual Rules:

  • How to name:

    • When the main room:
      “Name, Team” (Tony Stark, The Avengers) 

    • When in the Breakout room:
      “Name, Speaking position” (Tony Stark, Prop 1)

  • Debaters must have their webcam on while speaking, as will the Judge

  • If you are not speaking, please remain muted. 

  • Prior to the debate, all cameras should be on

  • Everyone must stay in the Zoom meeting for the whole day. If someone leaves the meeting by mistake, they can rejoin by using the Zoom link and will be directed to where they want to go

  • Do not make faces and keep proper social etiquette. 

  • Debaters will sit when speaking and face the camera.

  • Virtual backgrounds that have any motion are prohibited Debaters will be dressed modestly the same way they would at an in-person tournament.

  • No chats will be permitted during a debate in the Zoom chat.

  • If a speaker from the opposing team would like to request a POI, they should do so by showing the “raised hand” emote and clearly speaking into the mic “POI”.. During a POI, both the main speaker and the speaker asking the POI should have their camera and microphones on.
  • Judges will use the Zoom “clap” feature 1 minute prior to stop time and will call time at stop time.


E. Logistics

* Device audio/video must be verified and cross-checked prior to tournament day. For example, the coaches or parents can check devices or the debaters can check each other’s devices (cf. “Internet Interruption”, below).

* Everyone must stay in the Zoom meeting for the whole day. If someone leaves the meeting by mistake, they can rejoin by using the Zoom link and will be directed to where they want to go (cf. “Impromptu Debates”, above).

* Name designation must be strictly observed (cf. “Zoom/Virtual Rules”, above).

* Debaters

– In the main room: Name + Team (e.g. “Sadia Siddiqui, MUNA 1”)

– In the breakout room: Name + Speaking Position (e.g. “Sadia Siddiqui, Prop 1”).

* Non-Debaters: Name + Function + Team you would like to accompany (if applicable) (e.g. “Abul Kalam, Judge”; “Sara Rahman, Coach, MUNA Team 3”; “Hosam Estwani, Spectator, ISB Team A”).

* No changes in team name or composition on tournament day.

* Each debater must login using a unique address that is not shared by others.

* Judges will decide prop/opp sides in the breakout rooms (except for the impromptu debates, cf. “Impromptu Debates”, above). 

* To improve bandwidth, limit internet usage by others in the home as much as possible (e.g. avoid streaming of video, gaming, etc. on other devices by others in the home).


F. Internet Interruption

* In the event that a speaker’s speech drops or becomes incomprehensible because e.g., the speaker’s device malfunctions or because of Wi-Fi/internet connection issues, the speaker should immediately call into the MYDT 2020 Zoom meeting and will be directed back to their debate to complete their speech. Call-in information will be made available in advance.

* In the event the speaker is unable to call into the Zoom meeting, or if it takes too long, they may take other measures such as calling a teammate who may put them on speakerphone to complete their speech and respond to POIs (if applicable).

* Please note that a teammate may not speak on behalf of the dropped speaker.

* The speaker will not get an extension in speaking time in case of interruption. E.g., if the Prop 1 speaker’s internet drops at minute 2 of their 5 minute speech, and it takes another minute to call in, they will only get another 2 minutes to complete their speech.

* The judges will determine their score based on what the speaker could communicate comprehensibly. E.g., in the above example, the Prop 1 speaker only got 3 minutes of speaking time, so the score will be determined based on those 3 minutes. Another example – if the speaker’s internet is choppy the whole 5 minutes, and the judge could only understand 2 minutes of the speech, the score will be determined based on those 2 minutes.

* To avoid such issues to the greatest extent possible, each debater should cross check their device audio/video prior to tournament day and minimize parallel internet usage within the home (cf. “Logistics”, above).