Derek Holliday Paradigm

Last changed 11/10 5:43P PDT

Taken from the judge philosophies wiki:

Some background info: I judge for Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, WA), where I competed in LD for 4 years (2008-2012). I competed around the national circuit (Berkeley, VBT, St. Marks, Valley, Blake, etc) and on the WA circuit (UPS, Federal Way, Whitman, State Tournament, etc), earning a TOC bid my senior year. I have a BA in Political Science and Philosophy with a double minor in Poverty, Justice, & Human Capabilities and Politics, Law, & Social Thought from Rice University. You can now find me pursuing a PhD in Political Science at UCLA after working in DC for a bit. Now, this isn't meant to be an elevator pitch of my resume. Rather, this is a roundabout way of saying that I am very familiar with the topics and literature you will be referencing in round and I have enough experience in debate to judge more competently than a random parent. I feel like knowing my background tends to calm the nerves of some of the newer faces to debate, since I'm getting to the point where I'm a pretty old soul in the community.

Long story short, I will try to be as objective as possible and vote wherever you tell me to vote. I believe it is your job to tell me how to adjudicate the round, and if I’m forced to figure that out all by my lonesome, things won't be very fun for anyone. If you had to compare me to any judge on the circuit, I would probably be closest to Jeff Gans (formerly from Bainbridge, Mercer Island, and Eastside Catholic). Some of what follows below will make me sound old and grumpy, but is simply meant to give you a good idea of whether I am someone you can debate effectively in front of given the many individual quirks of judges on the circuit.

2017/2018 addendum: I'm a bit rusty right now, since I've been working full time with no real debate connections. While this does not mean I'm not as good of a judge as I was right out of high school (I would probably say I'm more qualified now), it does mean that I won't be hip with all the new argument trends that have been happening this year, so if something funky like running two conditional 1ACs has become the thing that all the cool kids do, don't be surprised when I look a little lost (though I will do my best to acclimate). Also, I cannot stress enough the fact that I would greatly prefer that you build up to your top speed. I am 100% okay with speed, my ears just need some acclimating. 

Specific Things…

Speed/Clarity- I prefer a faster round to a slower one, but that doesn’t mean go fast for the sake of going fast. I’ve been away from the circuit for a little bit for college/work, but I’m still around a 7.5 out of 10 as far as speed thresholds go, and will certainly be back to form after one or two quicker rounds. Do not start at max speed, build up to it. Slow down for author names and tags. Do not blaze through a blip storm, I will miss one of the blips. Actually, just don’t blip storm. I will yell clear as many times as I need to, but after the second time you should probably start to think about changing something. Do not rely on me calling for a card after the round as a crutch for unclear speed. I only call for cards to confirm that which I think I already know or to adjudicate a matter of contention about what the card contains, not learn what I didn't hear. This means that a) I will not call for cards I didn't hear, b) I will not vote on arguments that I didn't hear, and c) if I call for a card and find that it is substantially different from what I heard, I will not vote on it. This doesn't mean that I will punish you for a lapse in hearing that I have. I am well aware of the speed I am capable of flowing at, and if I miss something because of my own mistake, that's on me and I will fix it. Finally, There has been a trend recently of nobody actually flowing since everyone just has each others' cases already. That's chill, I'm all for disclosure and such, but I don't think that justifies reading at a speed that isn't reasonable.

Theory- As far as competing interps vs reasonability goes, you should tell me what to do in that regard, but without any in round metric provided, I will probably default to competing interps. That doesn’t mean you should immediately engage in frivolous theory debates, though, I would much rather evaluate substance. At the same time I will not shy away from adjudicating a theory debate if it comes to that. Be slow with the interp, breath between your standards and separate points. Because shells have become so condensed and efficient and speeds so fast, I often find myself struggling to flow theory moreso than other arguments, so this may be a place where I'm slower than most upper-echelon judges. I will not just dismiss an RVI, but it needs to be warranted and give me some actual reason to vote for you. In general with theory you should be telling me what my ballot should be doing, I don’t want to have to intervene, and if I have to, a win on theory probably isn’t likely. If you are extemping your theory shell (probably not a great idea to begin with), at least write down your interp and violation. If you opponent asks you what they were during cx and you say "I don't know," I will delete the argument.

Kritical/Avant-Garde Shenanigans- I really enjoy creative positions. As long as you tell me how to, I will vote on just about anything you put in front of me. I do have some experience with continental literature, but you still have to clearly explain to me how it works in round. I have seen Performances and Narratives run and won on before, and I am totally willing to vote on them as long as you tell me how. In general I would much rather have a creative round than Util vs Deon if all else is equal. One caveat is that my I view debate more as a game than as a forum for norm creation. This means that I am slightly more skeptical of my ballot creating change outside of the debate (and especially outside of debate as an activity in general). I will not dismiss these sorts of arguments on face, however, but be prepared to work a lot harder for my ballot if you go that route. 

Policy Positions- I would run plans, counterplans, DA’s, etc all the time. Feel free to run them in front of me, but if you don’t know what you are doing, don’t. The same goes as above: I think these positions tend to be more creative and fun, but that doesn’t mean I'm going to do the heavy lifting for you. Read your plan/cp texts at a conversational speed. Even if you aren't running a plan, I am more impressed by ACs that have a sort of advocacy text/is able to clearly define how it operates positionally. 

Speaks- I’ll probably average a 28. For me, speaks reflect the ingenuity and effectiveness of how the round was debated. You do not have to be a TOC-caliber debater to earn a 30 in front of me (that does not mean, however, that TOC-caliber debaters always get 30s from me). I will not go below a 26 unless you are offensive or make me want to leave the room during the debate.

Things that might make me different from other judges - 
General - my work involves a large amount of quantitative analysis regarding politics. As such, I am often more concerned about the methodology of the literature than the conclusion section that debaters tend to cut for politics cards. If you have a firm understanding of the model used to back up the findings you are citing, you will impress me a lot more. I was a debater too, I know that miscutting cards, simplifying positions, and taking shortcuts is how the activity has operated for a long time. However, if you take the time to understand what you are reading, it will reflect positively in your speaker points (at the very least). I am someone who has read much of what you will be citing, both in politics and in philosophy, so I can usually tell when you don't fully comprehend what you are reading. I won't punish you for that (since it is very rare for anybody to comprehend the intricacies of modern philosophy, political science, and public policy, and I don't pretend to understand it all myself), but you can impress me more by doing your research. I will also be very happy to point you in a direction that you may find helpful if you ask after rounds.

Gamesy Arguments - As I sorta mentioned earlier, I generally see debate as a game. This means that I am willing to vote on arguments like "should, not will, in the plan text" and the like as long as they are well-justified and strategically executed. For whatever reason, people seem to have decided that judges that vote on that sort of stuff will always vote on that stuff, which is silly. This has the implication that your half-sentence "a-priori" spike thingy at the beginning of your 1AC that you think is "strategic" will make me roll my eyes. Other things that make me roll my eyes: "Plans bad" as a theory interp (or, more generally, "<insert argument type here> bad" as a theory interp), nonsensical or mysterious arguments made in one speech that all the sudden become explained in the second speech, stuff like that.

In-Round Etiquette - You can come into round dressed in sweatpants if you want, I really don't care about your dress code. What I do care about is having all your mates in the back of the room as the peanut gallery or having your coach flash you a thumbs up when it's time to move on to another argument. It's rude and unfair to your opponent. Don't do the whole "act like the judge and I are mates" schtick as an intimidation tactic. As the NEG, don't gesticulate wildly or pull faces of shock and disbelief during the 2AR when you don't have another speech. These are really all things you should know already, but I find myself forced to put everything in my paradigm after round after round of it.

If this all makes me sound like a grumpy old man who thinks he knows better, I really do apologize. I think debate is an incredible activity that is genuinely useful to those who participate. I simply see this space as a place to put out all the potential biases or frustrations that could get in the way of your enjoyment of the activity. If I don't sound like the sort of guy that will let you have fun at a tournament, by all means please do strike me.


Lastly, I will not vote on an argument I know to be false. For example, if your victory is predicated on you winning an argument that Syrians actually voted for Assad at levels of 90% or that Donald Trump won the popular vote in 2016, I will laugh at you.

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask me before the round. I look forward to some fun debates!

Full Judging Record

Tournament Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result