Extemporaneous Speaking: Who Should File?

Extemporaneous Speaking should be a team effort.  For any one tub there will be numerous sources used, enough paper to burst, and an organizational system to be followed.  Regardless of how user-friendly a team has devised their Extemporaneous tubs, maintenance of files is ongoing and always tedious.  And most teams use more than one tub, so the task multiples.  Therefore, someone will always have to play caretaker for the Extemp tubs.  But why should the job be distributed to only a select group?

Some argue that filing is a novice's job--they can learn the organization system and "pay dues."  Others suggest that only varsity file as novice are "inexperienced" and might misplace items.  If either of these are you team's methods, and they work, by all means utilize them!  However, there are some benefits of having EVERYONE in Extemporaneous Speaking filing away and making the tubs useful at rounds.

  1. Training. Pairing a novice with a varsity member for filing is an excellent way to train a novice about the team's Extemp tub filing system.  This way of training helps cut down on misfiling by throwing a novice into work with little guidance; this way there are always experienced watchdogs and teachers.
  2. Awareness. By all Extempers being active in filing everyone knows precisely what is available for use in a tub and where it it located.  This complete knowledge cuts down on research time used during prep, which means more time can be spent on practicing and polishing the piece. 
  3. Division of labor. The more people filing equates to more people capable of researching articles to add to the tub.  With more people researching, that means less hours for all are spent researching.  Less time spent filing results in more time available to practice.  And practice, of course, leads to better ranks.  Further, with more eyes looking for tub material the extensiveness of sources grows--this could reflect in a tub that has everything you'll ever need, making you well prepared. 
  4. Organization. Assuming you only let varsity or novice file, for whatever rational, there may be issues with overall organization at the start of the season.  At the start there will be people who do not know the system 100% touching files.  This will result in misfiling at some point.  Once a file is out of place that can ruin the whole system if it is allowed to avalanche.  By everyone being together the chances of the organization's integrity slipping will be minimal or at least limited.
  5. Bonding. If everyone does the same level of work odds of animosity growing are slim (when work is monitored).  Also, filing allows Extemporaneous speakers time to bond and grow together as a unit while doing a shared activity.  Extempers that learn respect for another, or even become friends, will work better together and function as a tight team at tournaments.

Whichever Extemporaneous filing system your team has created, the main objective is to have workable, well-stocked, and well-organized tubs that allow for maximum use.  In the end, if the following objective is met than clearly your technique works.  Polish it, but a mass overhaul is not necessary.  If, however, your team is in need of a revamp, consider using your full resources and get everyone in Extemp involved.  Of course, with more Extempers comes greater responsibility towards retaining accuracy and quality (more cooks making the soup, right?) so establishing an organizational hierarchy of checks and balances could be in order.