6 things you must assert for a productive casebuilding

Being rude in casebuilding is a skill you have to be comfortable with. Here are 6 ways to do it healthily.

Casebuilding is already a chaotic process on its own, and most people would think extra fries is a better topping than extra fights.

But fighting is sometimes necessary, and in fact can be healthy. Now, the sometimes here will probably make you think of a question. When? When is it necessary to fight in casebuilding?

There are 6 things in casebuilding that I think frequently need a lot of disagreeable behavior. These were also the things that turned a group of extremely competent individuals that performed worse as a team into an unstoppable team.

Set your direction

Your casebuilding needs clear goals. You should write down or mentally set a to-do list of things you need to prove. I think a lot of people already know this, but only few make the effort to communicate it.

So what you need to do is to set those goals at the start, and reset them when you think the casebuilding gets unstructured.

And remember to be specific with your asks. Don’t just say, “help, I don’t know what the extension is”, or “what are we going to do?”, or “help me with the first argument”.

Say things like:

  • “I want everyone to complete the model”.
  • “I think we should talk about the argument titles and directions before we start elaborating Argument 1”.
  • “We should talk about how we define the motion, each of us has a different interpretation right now and we need to agree on one to be consistent”.
  • “We can’t just be trying to write as many things as possible. We need to make sure what our strategy is. Do we want to prove likelihood or importance more?”

These are great initiatives to take. It starts with you constantly looking at people’s directions in the casebuilding and seeing if they’re productive or unproductive.

Not only does it boost productivity in the casebuilding, but also it builds consistency as everyone knows where they should be going.

Delegate tasks

A lot of successful Worlds teams are incredibly efficient, and there’s a reason for that. They rarely have everyone working on one thing at the same time.

It’s simple – for BP, if each person does a different thing, you can accomplish 2x more work. For AP, it’s 3x more work. For WSDC, it’s 5x more work. That’s why teams are stronger than individuals.

Actually, don’t quote me on the times of work you can get done. But you get the idea. Delegating tasks could look like these examples:

  • “Since we’ve agreed on the setup and model, let’s have you work on argument 1 and I’ll work on argument 2”.
  • “Okay, there’s a lot of disagreement here, you two discuss that, I’m going to work on the weighing”.
  • “Our positive case is still missing. We need to be more comparative. Can someone pause their task and work on this first?”
  • “Hey, since you’re done with your extension, can you help add structural reasons for this part of my argument?”

As long as you don’t forget to eventually regroup and make sure everyone’s points align, this will do wonders in your casebuilding.

Diverge, converge, diverge, converge, again and again.

Track completion of tasks

This relates to setting your direction and delegating tasks, because it essentially tracks those things!

Bring them back to the surface by saying things like:

  • “Are our structural reasons for the first argument good enough now?”
  • “I’m done elaborating my argument, can someone check it? Or does anyone need help?”
  • “So are you working on the characterisation for the second argument? Or are we not using the characterisation?”
  • “There was a really good idea on framing our third argument, do we have that written down?”

This ensures you don’t miss anything in the discussion, and also clears up space to think about other things when you complete a task.

Talking not too much and not too little

Usually, when everyone’s talking, nobody’s writing. So ideas get discussed, but they get lost in the noise. What ends up happening is, they don’t get highlighted in the debate, or you completely forget them.

There are also frequent cases where a question takes too long to resolve. It might be an important question, but there are other important things too, so you might want to postpone it.

If you notice there’s too much noise, make the move and say “kindly shut up”.

In a nicer way, of course. But you typically won’t need every single part of your argument discussed. Just have the title and strategy, then elaborate on your own, and discuss the details later if necessary.

On the other hand, talking too little can also be bad. Don’t let the casebuilding be dead quiet. It should be quiet when you’re elaborating, but you should know where you’re going, and you should know your team’s going to move forward in that same direction. What’s your path to victory? Do you have any contradictory ideas as a team?

Celebrate good ideas

Make casebuilding fun and be happy about getting good ideas or making improvements! Whether you’re a chaotic or lawful type, it should still be an emotionally rewarding team activity.

This is particularly important for competitive teams. Sometimes, your fear of loss or impostor syndrome will tell you lies, like “it’s just an okay idea”, “there’s probably better ideas out there”, “we’re definitely still missing something here”, etc.

When you find those epiphanies, celebrate! The effects of this behavior extends beyond casebuilding. This boosts confidence for the whole team in the debate and ensures good points are emphasised throughout.


This is probably the most important advice I can give you in this article. Teams that know how to edit know the way to the judge’s heart.

Are your notes too messy? No problem, you can just clean it up. But what if your teammate’s notes are too messy?

Most people think it’ll be fine when they deliver their speech. Or that there’s probably a valid reason their teammate organised it that way and that you shouldn’t bother. Or, like the running theme in this article, they just don’t want to be rude.

If you think some points can be simplified, rearranged, or even removed? Communicate.

Do NOT be complacent. All the small improvements you make will add up.

If editing doesn’t come at the cost of incomplete burdens or arguments, go ahead and edit as much as possible. If your team is done with the case, edit. If your team is not done with the case but you’re done with your part, and now you’re free, edit the case.

Wait, but what should you edit? Well, keep in mind: the most dangerous speeches are the easiest to digest. And also click the link to learn more, of course. It’s a magical skill that can’t be described sufficiently in this article.

What this means for you

This article is most relevant for people who have established case driving roles in casebuilding, but everyone should occasionally do one of the disagreeable behaviors above. When you can optimise, just optimise.

And the most important thing to note is that it’s not rude to do these things. If you think it would be rude, communicate the reason you interrupted the flow of the casebuilding. Be constructive in your language. Good debaters would understand, and in fact appreciate your initiative.

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