Vic Debsoc

Guide to Easters Debates

Easters style debates are famed for being quick and a lot of fun.

In an Easters debate there are two teams – the traditional affirmative and negative. Each side has two speakers each. An official has two moots that are concealed from the debaters, and a stopwatch to watch over the preparation period.

  1. A coin is tossed. Whoever wins the coin toss is allowed to choose either:
    • Topic – the team is shown the two moots privately, and has one minute to decide which they would like to debate.
    • Side – the other team is shown the two moots, and has one minute to decide which they would like.
  2. The topic is then announced to the other team. Whichever team chose the topic then has to wait for one minute while the other team chooses which side they would like to debate – either affirming (and therefore speaking first) or negating the topic.
  3. Each team has 5 minutes to prepare the topic and their side of it to speak on. After three minutes the first affirmative speaker is called upon to begin the debate.

Speeches in Easters style are 4-6 minutes in length. There is one bell given at 4 minutes and two given at 6 minutes to signal these times.
The speaking order is the normal one – the first affirmative speaker starts, then the first negative, followed by the 2nd aff and then the 2nd neg.

Each team is given a 2-3 minute Leader’s reply. One bell will be given at 2 minutes and two bells at 3. These replies must be given by the first speaker of each team. As is traditional in all styles with Leader’s replies, the negative reply is first (directly following the 2nd neg speech) and the affirmative reply therefore ends the debate.

Easter’s style debates are awarded on a rough 50/50 division of matter and manner points. Matter refers to persuasive argumentation brought out in a debate, and manner refers to the way that it is presented by the speakers. An affirmative team should attempt to prove their case, or that a model which they established would prove effective. A negative team should try to attack that case using rebuttal and substantive counter-arguments.