††††† by Chris Gorman

Know Your Judge:The first thing to know about points of order in parliamentary debate is whether or not your critic wants to hear them.There are some critics who insist that they will flow a new argument across unless the opposing team calls them on it in a rebuttal.On the other hand, there are many judges who get annoyed at points of order because they believe that can decipher infractions of the rules themselves.This is particularly true in judging panels, where rulings will take a while if they happen at all.Therefore, it is extremely important to know how your critic feels about them if at all possible.


When to Call A Point of Order:If you think your judge is cool with points of order, then feel free to use them.Make sure that you only call points of order when you are dead sure youíre right.Unless you are absolutely sure that youíve just caught them breaking the rules red-handed, then youíre playing a risky card.Often even judges who are okay with points of order are annoyed by frivolous calls.It can make you look annoying, or worse defensive.Therefore, if the point of order is even debatable then donít call it unless you are sure you need it.Most of the time the judge will catch rule infractions, or the infraction will have no effect on the debate anyway.


If a Point of Order is Called On You:The first thing you do is ask the judge to stop time.This makes you seem in control, and it looks as if youíre experienced in the way these things work.After the calling team voices their complaint, politely ask the judge if you can respond.Then, explain exactly why you think that you stayed within the rules.If, as it most likely will be, it has to do with a dropped argument, then state the specific tagline that your argument is an extension of.Remember, new examples are always welcome, so just call whatever youíre saying an example and tuck it under a tagline.Wait and see if the judge rules, say thank you, and then continue after the judge restarts time.