Melinda Berman ParadigmLast changed 12/8 10:49P CDT
Email me with questions and put me on the email chain: melindaberman88-at-gmail.com
UCLA '21 (Not debating, and a STEM major)
TL;DR: You do you, I have my ideas about debate but don't let those stop you from running what you want to, but I do have a slight bias to prefer more critical debates. Explanation and good evidence comparison is key to being successful in front of me. LINE BY LINE IS KEY. One word tags like "Extinction" aren't an argument in front of me. Save those cards for someone else. I try as much as possible to vote based on what's on my flow, but if left to my own devices because of a lack of framing from the later rebuttals, you're probably not going to be happy. FLOW. I have called people out after rounds and even docked some speaker points because they didn't flow and then didn't know what arguments were answered and weren't. Don't test my patience on this- it's limited at best.
Topic specific: I keep up with the news about immigration and am aware of the biggest and most public proposals but I really know nothing about the topic. If your aff is super jargon-y explain it to me and don't just shout acronyms at me. I won't understand your aff and you probably won't be happy with the result. I've done no work on the topic and don't really coach anymore so.
Speed is fine if you are clear, if you aren't clear and I miss something it is not my fault. If you need to go slower in order to be clearer, I will respect that more than if you can read 10 off and case and I can't understand any words you say. I will say clear once before starting to dock points.
I'll be more inclined to vote for you if you have a great CP/DA combo that's amazing rather than a barely there or poorly explained K. If your coach just gave you a complex K twenty minutes before the round and you shout tagline extensions at me for the last 10 minutes of your speeches, I will NOT be happy. Explanation is everything for me, and I can tell if you are just shouting buzzwords for your last rebuttal- and that isn't going to fly.
Specific things (Most of this is policy specifics with an LD section at the end):
Thoughts: I think debate has shifted to a place that overemphasizes doing whatever it takes to get a ballot. I have definitely fallen into that trap at times during my career, but I like it when the rounds I judge that both teams enjoy what they're doing and have fun. Try to win, but don't be super serious and only think about winning. I hate A/OSPEC and refuse to vote on it.
Ground Rules: If you are blatantly racist, sexist, ableist, etc. I will stop the round and vote you down. Debate is an activity to include everyone and have a good time, WITHOUT offending others for the sake of winning and advancing arguments. I do make some facial expressions, they're pretty telling as to what I'm thinking.
Affs: I'm good with any and all affs. Don't need to have a topic link, but I can be persuaded otherwise. I have read everything from a middle of the road policy aff to a far left, not really topical aff, so I'm really open for any type of aff as long as you explain.
T: I have gone for T a lot and see the value of it in certain debates. I will vote for it if you go for, but you must spend AT LEAST 5 mins of the block on it for it to be a viable option, mere extensions aren't enough.
CPs: They're not my favorite, but if you run it and I think it competes and works, I'll vote for it. I have no predisposition on any type of theory. I like CPs that really test the aff and see if there is a better, viable option rather than some generic actor CP that you can read against any aff.
Ks: My favorite. I went for fem frequently and towards the end when I transitioned to LD, I read much more far left, postmodern lit. I'll listen to any K. I'm not extremely well versed in the all of the literature (unlike some of my former teammates), so please explain them if they are less common or very dense. I tend to default neg on framework, meaning I am (the judge is) a critical intellectual, but I can be persuaded otherwise. Don't just shout buzzwords in the rebuttals, explain them and contextualize them in terms of the debate if you want to pick up my ballot. I'm less and less a fan of 5-7 minute overviews. If you want to give one, go for it, but I would also like to see specified clash to the aff arguments on the K, if you don't have some sort of answer on the aff in the 2NR and the 2AR is substantially about case, you're going to have a hard time winning my ballot.
DAs: Same as counterplans, not my favorite, but if it's your thing, run them. PLEASE explain these in the context of the aff, and have an aff specific link, not just a topic link. If it's a really good, contextualized DA to the aff, I'd love that debate, but general ones are meh at best and not fun.
Theory: I have run it and went for it, but I really don't like it or voting for it. I think it has a place in debate IF there is extreme abuse in the round.
Tech over truth: I really have no idea where I fall on this. I think both are highly important to debate. I think this should be left up to the debaters to decide what matters in the round, if not, I'm not sure where I default, probably somewhere more on the tech side of things.
LD: I debated in three national circuit LD tournaments with varying degrees of success. I exclusively ran far left and policy-esque Ks, on both the aff and the neg, so it has shaped my view of LD. Most of the framing and top level things from my policy paradigm apply so don’t forget those. I don’t think how you evaluate a round changes based on the style, just what you are evaluating. If you want me to change the way I evaluate the round, you need make it clear why your evaluation method is better than my default (who did the better debating) or the other team's evaluation method. I don't mind a more traditional round, but I greatly dislike theory overkill. DON'T have half of the AC time be theory violations and the like, I ABHOR those debates and you will be hard pressed to earn my ballot or get good speaker points. One or two theory violations are okay if the aff/neg really link to them but don't just throw a bunch of theory around and hope one sticks because the other team dropped it- odds are if you are doing it fast and kinda shady I might miss it too. I won't vote for RVIs, I think there are plenty of ways to win on the aff without having to use RVIs. Debate substance not about the rules of debate. I think making policy-esque arguments is an interesting phenomenon in LD and if you do it the above rules for policy apply. Spreading is 100% fine. I have not read ANYTHING on this topic except for some news stories so please, explain the AC. Explain your mechanisms, all of the things under the education topic specific category apply here.
All that being said, have fun, run what you love and enjoy your time in debate.
If you have any more questions, ask me before the round starts and I'll be happy to answer it.
Joe Biden memes and funny jokes about my former teammates are good ways to get extra speaker points or make me happy.