top of page
Light Bulb

CARD Disclosure

Debates are better when you're not operating in the dark...

Disclosure in CARD Debate

The CARD format is committed to the use of argument disclosure as a routine competitive practice. "Disclosure" refers to sharing information with your opponent regarding your arguments prior to the start of the debate. Please read on to learn more and participate in pre-tournament disclosure.

Complete your pre-tournament disclosure here.

View pre-tournament disclosure results here.

Why do we disclose our arguments in advance?

Debate is a game, but also a learning activity. While several formats of debate emphasize keeping specific arguments secret prior to a debate for a competitive advantage, we believe that debaters learn more (and learn more quickly) if they understand their opponent's arguments. Disclosure also has competitive benefits because it rewards efforts to engage opponent arguments at a deeper level.

Is disclosure required as a rule for participation?

Disclosure in debate is a public good and a norm; the more we uphold it, the better our debates are. Disclosure however is not a rule and the extent of a team's disclosure practices shouldn't be made the focus of a debate round. Directors and coaches are expected to ensure their students are participating in the disclosure process in good faith and a timely manner.

Affirmative versus Negative Disclosure

Affirmative Disclosure: Every team, regardless of experience level, should provide complete affirmative disclosure, including:

  • the specific plan they advocate, 

  • a description of the harms/advantages they argue, 

  • a description of their solvency arguments (why their plan is effective), and

  • a full list of library authors used.

Negative Disclosure: Negative disclosure is often more difficult to complete because your arguments likely vary from round to round. Use these guidelines:

  • Negative positions (disadvantages, counterplans, criticisms, etc) should be disclosed if prepared in advance and provide at least a description of the argument's pieces and full list of author's used.

  • If this is not your first tournament, you should disclose negative positions you read in the prior tournament.

Disclosure's Phases: Pre-tournament & Pre-Round

Pre-tournament Disclosure: The week prior to the competition you're attending, each 2-person team should submit a pre-tournament disclosure report by completing this form. The results of this form are viewable by all participants and are used to help facilitate your preparation throughout the tournament. View disclosure info here.

Pre-round Disclosure: Within the first 10 minutes of receiving your pairing, proceed to your room (whether online or in-person, whether affirmative or negative) to participate in pre-round disclosure. During this time:

  • Affirmative teams should disclose the basic details of their affirmative, or refer their opponent to the spreadsheet if that disclosure is accurate.

  • Negative teams should disclose their likely strategy based upon the topic area. Sometimes negatives need more time to decide, but an effort should be made to inform the affirmative what they should expect to hear.

  • Disclosure is a conversation! Feel free to ask questions to improve understanding and get to know people on a personal level. If you're confused, ask!

What if I receive inadequate or problematic disclosure?

Disclosure is often a messy process, particularly when you (or your opponents) are just learning debate or are uncertain about new norms. It is important to remember that disclosure is not a right or a rule. The best way to build good disclosure practices is to make sure you and your teammates are holding yourselves accountable. That said, problems do emerge.

Most often, problems are due to a lack of familiarity or experience. However, the best course of action is to bring the issue to your coach's attention. If competitors are not appearing for pre-round disclosure within the first 10 minutes, refuse to participate in disclosure, or act without integrity (such as falsely disclosing), coaches need to be aware to resolve the problem.

bottom of page