The Tradition Cypress Bay
2018 — Weston, FL/US
Shree Awsare Paradigm
1/13/20 - Included Short Version, LD and PF Addendum added below
Current School Affiliations: NoBro (2016-), Emory (2019-)
Previous School Affiliations: JMU (2011-2016), Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Fordham University (2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007).
HS Topic Knowledge: Slightly above average. Led lab at DDI & actively cut cards for NoBro.
College Topic Knowledge: Below Average. I occasionally cut K answers and that's the extent of research. I need the topic disambiguated - topicality and complex topic mechanism-based counterplans will need more pentime and clarification.
Email Chain: email@example.com
5 min version:
Line-by-Line x-------------------------------------- "Cloud Clash"/Overviews
Truth -------------------------------------------x-------- Tech
Insert Opponent Evidence-------------------------------------------x Read Evidence
Must Explain Cards ---------x------------------------------ Will Read Into Evidence
Judge Kick ----------------------x------------------------ Stuck w/ choice
Read Topical Affs ----------x----------------------------- Free for All
Counter-Interpret Words -x------------------------------------ CI: "Discussion of Topic"
Aff Defends Model of Debate -x-------------------------------- T Impact Turns/RVI only
Limits/Fairness ------x-------------------------------------------- Skills/Other
No Ks on Neg -----------------------------------------x--- Yes Ks on Neg
Arguments about 1AC x------------------------------------ Personal Attacks
Cheaty CPs Good ------------------------x-------------------------- Aff Always Wins Theory/PDCP
Always a Risk -------------------------x----------- Zero Risk/Presumption
2010 Speaker Points -----x------------------------------------- 2020 Speaker Points
No judge is tabula rasa, and I am no exception. My ideal debate involves two teams who read well-researched positions, engage in line-by-line refutation of their opponents’ arguments, and demonstrate strategic choice-making and vertical development of arguments. Not all debate is good debate. It is my firm belief that any model of debate (whatever the content) that disincentivizes any of the aforementioned qualities is an inferior product that is simultaneously less rigorous and less enjoyable. In the past, I have taken a more laissez-faire attitude towards judging rounds, but I’ve started to realize that I have been rewarding practices conducted by debaters on both sides of the artificial “traditional” and “critical” divide that are detrimental to the overall quality of debates – antics of which I was often guilty of pursuing as a competitor. As such, I will be making my biases transparent so that you can be more informed when you do your prefs. I’ve split this philosophy up into non-negotiables and preferences below.
(1) Only complete arguments will be evaluated. A complete argument consists of a claim, warrant, and data. This seems basic, but in the rush to construct 7+ off, scattershot 1NCs, some teams been encouraged to forward DA shells with poorly highlighted evidence without warrants, CP shells with just a text and no accompanying solvency cards, or cards tagged “extinction” (which is a word, not an argument) in hopes that they will get more words per minute out than the other team. You can miss me with that. Incomplete arguments will not be flowed, and in the event that an incomplete argument grows up to be a complete argument in a future speech, I will evaluate it as if you made the argument for the first time in that future speech, and I will give your opponents a new opportunity to respond with analytics and cards.
(2) You MUST be flowable. While I will try my best to keep up, I will feel zero remorse in the post-round if you tell me that I did not appropriately decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated about some vague "theory of power" in a 2NC overview. Not only should you limit your speed such that you maintain clarity at all times, but it would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbytes so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly instead of speaking in large paragraphs with run-on sentences.
(3) Topicality is a voting issue, and never a reverse voting issue. The affirmative must defend the whole resolution or an example of the resolution. Nothing about this requirement is “the logic of genocide,” “psychologically violent,” nor a “will to mastery” that can be analogized to violence in “Abu Ghraib” or “drone strikes.” Ultimately, debate is a voluntary activity that you have the choice to not partake in, and to the extent that you've chosen to participate, it is only valuable insofar as the negative has an opportunity to anticipate and clash with your claims. That being said, I believe that critical affirmative approaches to the topic that may stray from traditional plan texts have immense value, but only if they creatively affirm the resolution in some way rather than being a negative argument or atopical. Here are some thoughts if you have me in the back of a K Aff v T debate.
(A) 2ACs should counter-define or prove they meet the words in the resolution to prove that the 1AC as presented is an example of the resolution, or they will have an extremely uphill battle in the face of a competently extended fairness violation. I am not persuaded by vacuous CIs like “discussion of the topic,” “only our aff is topical,” and others that are unsubstantiated by evidence interpreting words in the topic statement. None of those CIs would be acceptable in any other T debate (imagine if a human rights conditions afff responded to T – Reduce = No Conditions with CI: discussion of the topic – L 27.5). That being said, I don’t think this forecloses critical approaches beyond traditional interpretations of fiat – I think there are plenty of ways to creatively define “USFG” as an agent outside the 3 branches in DC (see Burch’s Performative Revolutionary Fiat or “we demand” style affs) or “direct commercial sales” as exceeding AECA context that could posit a broader but more inclusive limit on the topic. 2ACs can also make criticisms of expert based definitions, suggesting alternate, non-traditional definitions that are grounded in lived experience or social location, and make the case for why their definitions should be preferred. But, no definition at all = no model of debate, which implies that there is no equitable role for the negative team to anticipate their opponents' arguments and critically engage their scholarship
(B) The "impact" debate should be focused on a particular set of limits – the negative should defend the benefits of narrowing deliberation over a topic, and the affirmative should point out the myopia of such a curriculum. I think there is a defensible case to be made that a curriculum where the affirmative is limited to the 3 branches as an agent or a narrow subset of what “direct commercial sales” means distorts the cross-disciplinary literature over arms sales and is exclusive of particular bodies of thought which may have an impact that outweighs the convenience of negative researchers, in the same way that a definition of DCS that limits out the CCL might arguably be contrived, uneducational, and have an impact. However, impact turns that suggest the reading of topicality itself is a violent form of conditioning or that the negative should not be able to anticipate and engage your argument are significantly less convincing and don't require much to be refuted.
(C) I am annoyed by negative arguments read on the affirmative side. Positions that are pessimistic about the possibility of improving the status quo are negative arguments… by definition... and are reasons to vote for the negative team. Turns out there is a vast body of defensible literature in your area of the library that is hopeful about the propensity for change. Please be willing to research and defend more than 1 "theory of power."
(D) I am more in the "limits/fairness" camp than the "skills" camp. The latter opens the neg up arguments about why we should prefer aff impact claims that exceed the intrinsic competitive nature of debate, permutation arguments to teach different skills to different people through different genres of argument, and arguments about how the neg's skills cannot be universalized to all and can be used for evil. This is not to say that "skills" style impacts are unwinnable in front of me, but it is certainly more uphill.
(4) There are 2 speakers on each team who have an equal amount of time to speak, and I will cast a ballot in favor of one winning team. I don’t really care about ins and outs or alternative use prep time, but there should NOT be debates where students are “kicked out” or otherwise don’t participate in an entire debate. Calling for a double win, intentionally interrupting an opponent’s speech, soliciting outside participation in a speech or cross-x, breaking time limits, playing board games, or devolving the debate into a 2 hour long discussion is a recipe for a quick L for the team that initiates it.
(5) I do not feel comfortable making decisions in contest rounds about the unconfirmable personal behavior or character of minors or coaching staffs that occur outside of debates. That said, arguments about things that are observable within the debate are fair game, and I have no tolerance for racism, etc - which I think is prolific in debate despite its pretense of liberalism.
(6) Attempts to negotiate speaker points with me within a contest round (eg, "please give me a 30 because x") will backfire. The last time someone tried to negotiate speaker points, they received a 24. Would not recommend.
(1) I am not staunchly offense/defense, as I believe in the existence of terminal defense and believe presumption can decide debates. Much of this depends on the quality of debating, but I can be compelled that negligible solvency to an affirmative case should be treated as zero, or that there is no internal link to a DA, or that a K aff doesn't meet its role of the ballot and should lose on presumption.
(2) Line-By-Line > OV/Implicit Clash. My favorite debaters number arguments and reference those numbers as they debate, regardless of whether they are debating a DA, T, K or CP – but a “they say” approach that follows the arguments in the order that they are presented is also acceptable. Implicit clash would be okay if people flowed more carefully and answered arguments in the order that they were presented - oftentimes it is not. 1+ minute overviews frustrate me and said frustration will be taken out on your speaker points.
(3) Judge Instruction in DA/CP Debates = Key. Does UQ frame the link debate, or do the links frame a close UQ debate and why? Does the DA turns the case or the other way around, and why? Does the internal net benefit to a process CP outweigh the impact of a CP solvency deficit? None of these questions should be left up to me.
(4) I enjoy T and Theory Debates more than most, but you will need to slow down for your analytics and adequately impact your arguments. If you want to read new 2NC CPs to avoid impact turns, generic process CPs, etc, I'm all ears if you are proficient at debating theory and won't take it out on your speaker points.
(5) Plan (Aff) v K Debates Thoughts. These appear to be the majority of debates that I watch. For teams reading the K: My familiarity with your literature base will be above average, and I won't need long explanations of terminology to demystify concepts. I am more interested in you establishing specific links to the affirmative and concrete impacts that turn or outweigh it.
For teams debating against the K: I am more interested in arguments (analytics and cards) that substantively engage the K while having a robust defense of the case. The K's "greatest hits" are useful but at some point, you are going to have to answer their "K turns the case" and other tricks they may have by using your aff. I do not necessarily need carded evidence to overcome their characterizations, smart analytics are often enough to respond to contrived uniqueness, link, or case turn arguments. Debaters on the policy end of the spectrum that I've judged tend to say I evaluate K debates like a "checklist."
(6) I have little familiarity with economics. I understand economics at high speed even less. The last time I studied economics was AP Macro in high school, and I didn't do so well in that class. If you are committing to a strategy centered on business confidence, the economics of oil prices, etc, it would help if you slowed down and added more details about how the economy works than you might have otherwise - you probably don't want me to make guesses by reconstructing the debate from your evidence.
(7) New Affs Bad/Must Be Disclosed is not a compelling argument - I have never voted on this argument sans 1 or 2 times it was conceded by the affirmative team in 3 consecutive speeches. I think there is arguably a case to be made that new affs might justify leniency for negative conditionality or that new K affs prove debate is controlled more by competitive incentives than subject formation, but I am not as sold as some of my colleagues that new affs justify shenanigans across the board (I have no idea why a new affirmative makes process counterplans more competitive or theoretically legitimate, for example).
LD Paradigm: I am a policy critic who views the current iteration of this activity as the intellectually lazy version of policy. I respect the potential of LD as an valuable event but don't believe that potential is being reached. Some LD debates I've watched have featured impressive debaters that make complete arguments, flow, and respond to their opponents. Others deal with interesting moral inquiries from a literature base that isn’t present in policy debates which I think are productive. However, more often than not what counts as debate these days (especially "tricks debate") is disease inducing. If you would like to receive speaker points higher than a 28, you will need to do the following:
1 - Flowing and Line by line refutation is mandatory. Visibly not doing either will start you at a very generous 26. Trying to do "cloud clash" or just haphazardly reading your coach's blocks as "overviews" will get you somewhere between a 27.5-27.9.
2 - Arguments must be complete - a claim, warrant, and data. My threshold for "tricks" is high - your dropped "indexical" or "monism" or "aff never wins" theory argument will not receive my ballot or speaker points higher than 28 if you did not explain it in enough depth for me to understand it and for me to be able to explain to your opponent why they lost. That said, if you make a complete argument that is "tricky" and it is unanswered, I would not hesitate to vote for it. I was a philosophy major at an analytic philosophy focused department so these arguments aren't necessarily lost on me - that said, the versions of these arguments made in LD are often painfully bad.
3 - Both plan focused debates and K debates are fine. Theoretical objections to either are fine as well. I am open to thinking that a policy making paradigm is ill suited in LD despite policy being my primary activity, and that the nature of theoretical objections (conditionality, etc) may have different weight considering the way time limits in LD are construed.
4 - You need to extend arguments made in previous speech in their complete form. You can't just flag "they dropped the DA" and move on - you need to extend the relevant pieces of the DA for it to be evaluated.
5 - Using the terms "pre-fiat," "post-fiat," or "LARP" automatically starts you at a 28 or lower. No one roleplays, no one shows up in wigs and a gavel to roleplay as politicians. Pre-fiat and post-fiat is a vocabulary that died 2 decades ago. It's 2020. Please leave it in the past, or you will get speaker points from the past.
6 - Reading is essential. If you are reading Wilderson and can't answer the question "what the phrase 'political ontology' mean" or are reading Kant and can't answer the question "what is the categorical imperative" it's time to pack your bags and hit the books. Embarassing CXes will receive embarassing speaker points.
7 - Personal attacks are not a winning strategy in front of me. "I know what you did last summer" "I know what you wrote on the wiki in December" "In X debate Y opponent said Z mean things to me" or worse "I know what your coaches did last summer" is neither confirmable nor a reason why your opponent did not do the better debating in this particular round. Instead, make K links to the arguments made in THIS debate to receive better speaker points and even a W.
PF Paradigm: I think there is merit to a style of debate that adapts to a less technical audience, and there is a version of this activity that is meaningful. That said, I am not a blank slate - as a policy critic, I have strong, negative feelings about some of the pedagogical choices made in the "flay" version of this activity. While there are exceptions, there seems to be an extremely low standard for responding to arguments in the order that they were presented, and an even lower standard for evidence quality (bordering on academic dishonesty). For you to receive speaker points higher than a 28, all of the following will be required:
(1) Do not paraphrase evidence. I expect that you include the full paragraph to include the context that your author is speaking in. If you paraphrase evidence, I will evaluate your excerpt with the same force as an analytic or opinion asserted by a debater.
(2) Extensions of argument labels or claims without warrants will not be evaluated as arguments. If no one manages to make a complete argument, I will intervene when making a decision. You will not like that.
(3) I expect the second rebuttal to respond to every argument in the first rebuttal. I will not be extending arguments from your grand crossfire (or crossfires in general). I steadfastly believe it is the second team's obligation to address both sides of the flow in the second rebuttal. A second team that neglects to attack both the opposing case and rebuild against the prior rebuttal will have a very low chance of winning my ballot because they have conceded large swaths of argument. A team that ignores this bit of adaptation should expect to see speaker points that reflect a performance that I see as half-complete.
Brett Bricker Paradigm
Associate Director of Debate @ KU
Last Updated: Pre-GSU 2016
Quick pre-round notes:
I would prefer speech docs while I judge. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The affirmative should read and defend a topical example of the resolution and the negative should negate the affirmative's example.
I reward teams that demonstrate a robust knowledge of the topic and literature concerning the topic.
1. The word "interpretation" matters more to me than some. You must counterdefine words, or you will likely lose. You must meet your theory interpretation, or you will likely lose.
2. The words "voting issue" matter more to me than some. I am not searching for cheap shots, nor do I especially enjoy theory debates. However, I feel that I would be intervening if I applied "reject the argument not the team" to arguments that debaters did not explicitly apply the impact takeout to. That said, proliferation of empty voting issues will not only hurt your speaker points, but can be grouped and pretty easily disposed of by opponents.
3. "Turns the case" matters more to me than some. Is it offense? Does the link to the advantage/fiat outweigh or prevent turning the case? Does it mean the aff doesn't solve? Questions that should be answered by the 1ar.
I believe that debaters work hard, and I will work hard for them. The more debaters can show they have worked hard: good case debates, specific strategies, etc. the more likely it is I will reward debaters with speaker points and higher effort. In the same vain, debaters who make clear that they don’t work outside of debates won’t receive high speaker points.
Topicality – It is a voting issue and not a reverse voting issue. I have not yet been persuaded by arguments in favor of reasonability; however, the reason for this usually lies with the fact that affirmatives fail to question the conventional wisdom that limits are good.
Kritiks – It will be difficult to convince me that I should completely disregard my conceptions of rationality, pragmatism and my aversion to unnecessary death. As a general rule, I think of Kritiks like a counterplan with net-benefits. The more aff specific the better.
Counterplans – I am up in the air about textual vs. functional competition – they both have their time and place, and are probably not universal rules. The cross-ex answer “for your DAs but not your counterplans” has always made negative sense to me. I understand that there are MANDATES of the plan and EFFECTS of the plan; I find this distinction more understandable than the usual c-x answer.
Rundown of general thoughts about counterplans:
Conditionality – it's feeling like a little bit much at the moment
PICs – Good, especially if they PIC out of a part of the plan
Consult/Condition – Up in the air and context specific. Solvency advocates, aff stances, etc. can change my feelings.
Delay – Aff leaning, but might be more competitive based on the structure of the affirmative, or a cross-ex answer. For example, if the affirmative has an advantage that takes the position the advantage can only be solved if it happens before "X" date, then the counterplan to do it after that date seems competitive.
Word PICs – Aff leaning
Alternate non-USFG actors – Aff leaning
Be respectful of your opponent, partner and judge. All types of discrimination are prohibited. Don’t clip cards, don’t cut cards out of context, etc. Don't misclose.
Finally, our community relies on host tournaments with classroom space - don't steal, defame or destroy it.
Any questions, ask.
Kegan Ferguson Paradigm
Put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Assistant Director of Debate at North Broward Prep.
Debated in Indiana/at Indiana University, and went to the NDT in '15/'16. Fifth year judging.
DA's: I prefer smart, clear policy debate over stringing together awful disadvantages. One of my least favorite things in debate is a DA that has entirely misconstrued evidence, no real internal links, and a nonsense impact card. I would much rather people stick to politics or well-researched DA's instead of trying to go shoddy but tricky (looking at you, Miller DA)
CP's: Delay CP's are bad, UQ CP's are meh, Conditions CP's are meh, Consult CP's are mediocre, Specific PICS are great. Go for theory against abusive stuff, but the threshold is higher for aff's outside of the core on arms sales.
Topicality: Nebulous 'it's the heart of the topic' claims do not make you topical. I default to competing interps and think that reasonability generally requires the aff to extend a counterinterp that is reasonable.
K's: Topic specifics are my fav, and always will be. Alt solvency is more important than most rounds treat it. Same goes for internal link turns to the aff. Policy aff's should focus on impact turns and alt answers instead of the perm (unless the aff is written to go for a perm)
Framework: Fairness can be an a-priori impact if you win it is one. I find it persuasive when fairness is also clearly explained as an internal link turn to aff impacts. Debate is an offense-defense activity and clearly explaining your offense matters a lot. FW is more of a question about whose interp cultivates education and good debates than it is a question of rules.
Theory: I don't particularly enjoy theory debates. I will vote on Condo bad if you win it/it's dropped, but I find most neg answers persuasive. Though the higher the number of conditional positions the more there's a debate to be had. Squo is not an option unless you say so. I won't kick the CP for you unless an argument is made for why I should.
Ethics: Don't be hateful or use bigoted language. Don't clip. Don't intentionally steal prep.
I don't need to be there for the flip. I don't care what side of the room you sit on.
All rules are negotiable aside from speech times. Feel free to go for K's or theory arguments, but I have a high standard for quality here. Disclosure = slight speaker point bump
If you take minutes to bring up a card that was called for I will tank your speaks.
Impact calc is most important. Warrants always beat taglines. I prefer hearing smart arguments over a large quantity of them.
2nd rebuttal should answer the 1st. First summary should extend defense, especially given the 3 minute change. Arguments in final need to be in the summary. Argument spin I could clearly see coming is not new.
Keep your evidence in cut card form, and don't just hand me an article if I call for evidence after the round. I will discount it. Don't misrepresent things and then get caught when I read evidence after the round - that's a quick way to a low speaks L.
29.6 -30: I think you are debating like a Top 5 debater at a national tournament.
29.3 – 29.5: I think you are debating like a Quarter-finalist at a national tournament
28.8 – 29.2: I think you are debating like a doubles or bubble team.
28.5 – 28.7: Debating like you should be .500
28 – 28.4: Debating on a very average level
27-27.9: lots of room for improvement
Below 27: You have used some hateful language, been excessively rude, or given up mid speech
Jeremy Hammond Paradigm
I have judged a lot of debates. I view myself as a reasonable judge. I have judged every type of debate and find myself capable in any instance. I hate when people cry wolf with the word "conceded."
David Heidt Paradigm
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart
NDT 2019 notes:
I have no rounds on the topic and have not done topic research, so please keep that in mind.
Some education topic specific thoughts:
1. I'm ambivalent about the states counterplan. I could easily see myself voting against it on theory, but I think there's a debate to be had and I could also easily see myself voting for it as well. I'm a lot more likely to vote against it the further it gets away from topic literature or a respectable solvency advocate, and a lot less likely to vote against it if the evidence defending it is of high quality.
2. I think critiques are decent on this topic largely because I see critiques as competing strategies for social change, and I think there's pretty good education-topic literature that supports criticism from this perspective and *defends alternatives*. If you can't go for a critique without making it a critique of fiat or saying the word Baudrillard, then I'm unlikely to be the judge for you. But if you research critiques of education policy and defend an alternative method, then I'm very likely to be receptive. My view of critiques depends heavily upon evidence quality, and there were several that were turned out at camps this year that I think were pretty good. How specific is your argument to education reform? If it's about the topic and you have an alternative, you're probably good to go. If it's about cybernetics, you're probably not.
3. While I would like to see a good federalism DA, I have yet to hear one that I did not start at 0% risk and I don't think the 2ac even requires evidence to answer it. It seems pretty bad on this topic, despite being one of the core objections to federal education policy. I don't think this DA is even runnable in the 1nc; at least not the versions I've heard.
4. I like the education topic quite a bit - I think the federal education reform literature is outstanding and I think affirmative teams should defend it. I'm aff-leaning towards my view of the topic as a whole - the literature is pretty heavily aff-biased and the quality of negative generics is much lower than in previous years. But that has two pretty important implications.
First, I'm pretty unsympathetic to aff claims along the lines of "this topic is terrible for the aff; we need an expansive topicality interpretation to be creative". Broad topics are the enemy of education. Broad topics mean the neg goes for garbage like consult. That's not what I want my students to get from debate.
Second, if you're reading an aff without solvency evidence or with internal links that you just made up by mistagging evidence - I'm probably going to think that you haven't met your burden of proof and I'm likely discount it entirely. I think that the risk of both advantages and disadvantages can be - and frequently is - zero. I don't think the judging philosophy that says there's always a small risk of something is very well thought out. Presumably, it would mean that if I carded my own judging philosophy, and flagrantly mistagged the cards to represent an education tradeoff DA, someone subscribing to the 'any risk' view would assign the DA some risk and vote neg on it if it was read as a net benefit to a CP that solved the whole case. While this example might seem absurd, it's not more absurd than some of the aff advantages that were broken at Greenhill this year. It's not more absurd than some politics DAs. Mistagged cards from this very paragraph would probably be of higher quality and represent the source material more accurately than some of the things that people have called advantages and disadvantages over the years.
I don't know why judges assume there's a risk of anything - the whole point of the burden of proof is that it's a BURDEN and the judge needs to be convinced that you're right - we don't just give you the benefit of the doubt. If the standard is merely "they presented some words verbally so there's a risk because the neg didn't have offense", then we've all really failed at our jobs. If you're going to win a risk of an advantage or disadvantage, the minimal burden is (1) it has to make sense, and (2) it must be supported with evidence reflects expertise, data or logic, and does not misrepresent the author.
Generally I try to evaluate arguments fairly and based upon the debaters' explanations of arguments, rather than injecting my own opinions. What follows are my opinions regarding several bad practices currently in debate, but just agreeing with me isn't sufficient to win a debate - you actually have to win the arguments relative to what your opponents said. There are some things I'll intervene about - death good, behavior meant to intimidate or harass your opponents, or any other practice that I think is negative for a high school student classroom setting - but just use some common sense.
Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:
Good debates require two prepared teams. Allowing the affirmative team to not advocate the resolution creates bad debates. There's a disconnect in a frighteningly large number of judging philosophies I've read where judges say their favorite debates are when the negative has a specific strategy against an affirmative, and yet they don't think the affirmative has to defend a plan. This does not seem very well thought out, and the consequence is that the quality of debates in the last few years has declined greatly as judges increasingly reward teams for not engaging the topic.
Fairness is the most important impact. Other judging philosophies that say it's just an internal link are poorly reasoned. In a competitive activity involving two teams, assuring fairness is one of the primary roles of the judge. The fundamental expectation is that judges evaluate the debate fairly; asking them to ignore fairness in that evaluation eliminates the condition that makes debate possible. If every debate came down to whoever the judge liked better, there would be no value to participating in this activity. The ballot doesn't do much other than create a win or a loss, but it can definitely remedy the harms of a fairness violation. The vast majority of other impacts in debate are by definition less important because they never depend upon the ballot to remedy the harm.
Fairness is also an internal link - but it's an internal link to establishing every other impact. Saying fairness is an internal link to other values is like saying nuclear war is an internal link to death impacts. A loss of fairness implies a significant, negative impact on the activity and judges that require a more formal elaboration of the impact are being pedantic.
Arguments along the lines of 'but policy debate is valueless' are a complete nonstarter in a voluntary activity, especially given the existence of multiple alternative forms of speech and debate. Policy debate is valuable to some people, even if you don't personally share those values. If your expectation is that you need a platform to talk about whatever personally matters to you rather than the assigned topic, I encourage you to try out a more effective form of speech activity, such as original oratory. Debate is probably not the right activity for you if the condition of your participation is that you need to avoid debating a prepared opponent.
The phrase "fiat double-bind" demonstrates a complete ignorance about the meaning of fiat, which, unfortunately, appears to be shared by some judges. Fiat is merely the statement that the government should do something, not that they would. The affirmative burden of proof in a debate is solely to demonstrate the government should take a topical action at a particular time. That the government would not actually take that action is not relevant to any judge's decision.
Framework arguments typically made by the negative for critiques are clash-avoidance devices, and therefore are counterproductive to education. There is no merit whatsoever in arguing that the affirmative does not get to weigh their plan. Critiques of representations can be relevant, but only in relation to evaluating the desirability of a policy action. Representations cannot be separated from the plan - the plan is also a part of the affirmative's representations. For example, the argument that apocalyptic representations of insecurity are used to justify militaristic solutions is asinine, given the plan includes a representation of a non-militaristic solution. The plan determines the context of representations included to justify it.
Thoughts about topicality:
Limited topics make for better topics. Enormous topics mean that it's much harder to be prepared, and that creates lower quality debates. The best debates are those that involve extensive topic research and preparation from both sides. Large topics undermine preparation and discourage cultivating expertise. Aff creativity and topic innovation are just appeals to avoid genuine debate.
Thoughts about evidence:
Evidence quality matters. A lot of evidence read by teams this year is underlined in such a way that it's out of context, and a lot of evidence is either badly mistagged or very unqualified. On the one hand, I want the other team to say this when it's true. On the other hand, if I'm genuinely shocked at how bad your evidence is, I will probably discount it.
Robert Holmes Paradigm
Flow and respond to what the other team says.
I don't have the speech doc open so do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking.
If I don't understand something, I will not vote on it even if it is conceded.
I am getting tired of multiple conditional cp's. Seriously, it is getting out of hand. The neg gets 1 conditional cp or Kritik.
Kevin Kuswa Paradigm
Updated 2019. Coaching at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Nothing massive has changed except I give slightly higher points across the board to match inflation. Keep in mind, I am still pleased to hear qualification debates and deep examples win rounds. I know you all work hard so I will too. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. Email: kevindkuswa at gmail dot com.
Updated 2017. Currently coaching for Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Been judging a lot on the China topic, enjoying it. Could emphasize just about everything in the comments below, but wanted to especially highlight my thirst for good evidence qualification debates...
_____________________________ (previous paradigm)
Summary: Quality over quantity, be specific, use examples, debate about evidence.
I think debate is an incredibly special and valuable activity despite being deeply flawed and even dangerous in some ways. If you are interested in more conversations about debate or a certain decision (you could also use this to add me to an email chain for the round if there is one), contact me at kevindkuswa at gmail dot com. It is a privilege to be judging you—I know it takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment to participate in debate. At a minimum you are here and devoting your weekend to the activity—you add in travel time, research, practice and all the other aspects of preparation and you really are expressing some dedication.
So, the first issue is filling out your preference sheets. I’m usually more preferred by the kritikal or non-traditional crowd, but I would encourage other teams to think about giving me a try. I work hard to be as fair as possible in every debate, I strive to vote on well-explained arguments as articulated in the round, and my ballots have been quite balanced in close rounds on indicative ideological issues. I’m not affiliated with a particular debate team right now and may be able to judge at the NDT, so give me a try early on and then go from there.
The second issue is at the tournament—you have me as a judge and are looking for some suggestions that might help in the round. In addition to a list of things I’m about to give you, it’s good that you are taking the time to read this statement. We are about to spend over an hour talking to and with each other—you might as well try to get some insight from a document that has been written for this purpose.
1. Have some energy, care about the debate. This goes without saying for most, but enthusiasm is contagious and we’ve all put in some work to get to the debate. Most of you will probably speak as fast as you possibly can and spend a majority of your time reading things from a computer screen (which is fine—that can be done efficiently and even beautifully), but it is also possible to make equally or more compelling arguments in other ways in a five or ten minute speech (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQVq5mugw_Y).
2. Examples win debates. Well-developed examples are necessary to make the abstract concrete, they show an understanding of the issues in the round, and they tend to control our understandings of how particular changes will play out. Good examples take many forms and might include all sorts of elements (paraphrasing, citing, narrating, quantifying, conditioning, countering, embedding, extending, etc.), but the best examples are easily applicable, supported by references and other experiences, and used to frame specific portions of the debate. I’m not sure this will be very helpful because it’s so broad, but at the very least you should be able to answer the question, “What are your examples?” For example, refer to Carville’s commencement speech to Tulane graduates in 2008…he offers the example of Abe Lincoln to make the point that “failure is the oxygen of success” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMiSKPpyvMk.
3. Argument comparison wins debate. Get in there and compare evidence—debate the non-highlighted portion of cards (or the cryptic nature of their highlighting). Debate the warrants and compare them in terms of application, rationale, depth, etc. The trinity of impact, plausibility, and verge analysis doesn’t hurt, especially if those variables are weighed against one another. It’s nice to hear good explanations that follow phrases like “Even if…,” “On balance…,” or “In the context of…” I know that evidence comparison is being done at an extremely high level, but I also fear that one of the effects of paperless debate might be a tilt toward competing speech documents that feature less direct evidence comparison. Prove me wrong.
4. Debates about the relative validity of sources win rounds. Where is the evidence on both sides coming from and why are those sources better or worse? Qualification debates can make a big difference, especially because these arguments are surprisingly rare. It’s also shocking that more evidence is not used to indict other sources and effectively remove an entire card (or even argument) from consideration. The more good qualification arguments you can make, the better. Until this kind of argument is more common, I am thirsty enough for source comparisons (in many ways, this is what debate is about—evidence comparison), that I’ll add a few decimal points when it happens. I do not know exactly where my points are relative to other judges, but I would say I am along a spectrum where 27.4 is pretty good but not far from average, 27.7 is good and really contributing to the debate, 28 is very good and above average, 28.5 is outstanding and belongs in elims, and 29.1 or above is excellent for that division—could contend for one of the best speeches at the tournament.
5. All debates can still be won in 2AR. For all the speakers, that’s a corollary of the “Be gritty” mantra. Persevere, take risks and defend your choices
(https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit). The ballot is not based on record at previous tournaments, gpa, school ranking, or number of coaches.
6. Do not be afraid to go for a little more than usual in the 2NR—it might even help you avoid being repetitive. It is certainly possible to be too greedy, leaving a bloated strategy that can’t stand up to a good 2AR, but I usually think this speech leaves too much on the table.
7. Beginning in the 1AR, brand new arguments should only be in reference to new arguments in the previous speech. Admittedly this is a fuzzy line and it is up to the teams to point out brand new arguments as well as the implications. The reason I’ve decided to include a point on this is because in some cases a 2AR has been so new that I have had to serve as the filter. That is rare and involves more than just a new example or a new paraphrasing (and more than a new response to a new argument in the 2NR).
8. Very good arguments can be made without evidence being introduced in card form, but I do like good cards that are as specific and warranted as possible. Use the evidence you do introduce and do as much direct quoting of key words and phrases to enhance your evidence comparison and the validity of your argument overall.
9. CX matters. This probably deserves its own philosophy, but it is worth repeating that CX is a very important time for exposing flaws in arguments, for setting yourself up for the rebuttals, for going over strengths and weaknesses in arguments, and for generating direct clash. I do not have numbers for this or a clear definition of what it means to “win CX,” but I get the sense that the team that “wins” the four questioning periods often wins the debate.
10. I lean toward “reciprocity” arguments over “punish them because…” arguments. This is a very loose observation and there are many exceptions, but my sympathies connect more to arguments about how certain theoretical moves made by your opponent open up more avenues for you (remember to spell out what those avenues look like and how they benefit you). If there are places to make arguments about how you have been disadvantaged or harmed by your opponent’s positions (and there certainly are), those discussions are most compelling when contextualized, linked to larger issues in the debate, and fully justified.
Overall, enjoy yourself—remember to learn things when you can and that competition is usually better as a means than as an ends.
And, finally, the third big issue is post-round. Usually I will not call for many cards—it will help your cause to point out which cards are most significant in the rebuttals (and explain why). I will try to provide a few suggestions for future rounds if there is enough time. Feel free to ask questions as well. In terms of a long-term request, I have two favors to ask. First, give back to the activity when you can. Judging high school debates and helping local programs is the way the community sustains itself and grows—every little bit helps. Whether you realize it or not, you are a very qualified judge for all the debate events at high school tournaments. Second, consider going into teaching. If you enjoy debate at all, then bringing some of the skills of advocacy, the passion of thinking hard about issues, or the ability to apply strategy to argumentation, might make teaching a great calling for you and for your future students (https://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_emdin_teach_teachers_how_to_create_magic note: debaters are definitely part of academia, but represent a group than can engage in Emdin’s terms). There are lots of good paths to pursue, but teaching is one where debaters excel and often find fulfilling. Best of luck along the ways.
Raul Larsen Paradigm
Email chains are a tangible improvement to debate. RLarsen at desidancenetwork dot org. You can read my entire paradigm for bolded passages, as you would a card. Pronouns are he/him/”Judge”. Flow paper is always appreciated and often needed; Affirmative should have speech doc ready to be emailed by round start time. Flight 2 should enter the room at Flight 2 start time.
(Long Version is for procrastinating non-debate work)
(Pre-round Prep/Deadline Preffing):
Debate is a group of people engaging in performances. The nature of those debate performances (including my role as a judge) is settled by the competitors in the round with arguments. My default as a policy judge is to believe that those performances regard policymaking and that plans (/counterplans/alts/advocacies) create worlds with real impacts I should calculate via fiat as the plan is executed. As an LD judge, I think the round is about pursuing philosophical reasons to affirm or negate the resolution, and impacting through the lens of the criterial structure. Any successful movement away from the default paradigm typically entails explaining why I, the judge, should interpret your speech time differently. Most people succeed in shifting my defaults, and would consider me a “tabula rasa” judge. Nearly all of my LD rounds look like solo Policy these days. I’m expressive while judging, and you should take advantage of that, and look for cues.
Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next. More at the top of the long version below.
Negatives are currently going for too much in the 2NR, while dropping case. Affirmatives are currently spending too much time extending case while dropping world of the perm articulations.
Perms: I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there (more below).
Tricks: If you go for this, impact the tricks out, as you would a dropped card. Slow down for the key line(s) in rebuttal speeches. Eye contact makes this strategy sustainable. Yes, Tricks rounds have '19-'20 ballots from me. No, it should not be your first move.
Topical Version of the Aff (TVA): Gotta read them, gotta answer them. Most of the rounds I vote for T are from a dropped interp or dropped TVA
Independent Voters: explain to me why the voter stands apart from the flow and comes first. Debaters are not consistently executing this successfully in front of me, so consider my threshold higher than average
No Risk: I do vote on no risk of the aff/plan doesn't solve. Terminal defense is still a thing
If you expect me to evaluate charts/graphics in your speech doc, give me time during the speech to read any graphics. It will otherwise only be a tie-breaker in evidence analysis
Uplayering: layers of debate often interact with each other; that they exist in separate worlds is not very compelling. Sequencing why I should analyze argument implications before others is the best way to win the layers debate.
While I recognize there's no obligation to share your analytics, the practice serves a good pedagogical benefit for those who process information in different ways. I will begin awarding +.3 speaker points for those speeches including all/nearly all analytics in the speech doc AND that are organized in a coherent manner.
Updated 12/17 Average Speaker Points '19 - '20 Season: 28.828
115 rounds judged for the season ('19-'20) going into College Prep, mixed LD and Policy
(good luck, get snacks)
I recognize that this is no longer a viable read between rounds. Because I continue to receive positive feedback for its detail, it will be kept up, but I do not have any expectation that you will memorize this for my rounds. Bold text is likely worth its time, though.
Long Version (Procrastinating Other Work/Season Preffing):
Role of the Ballot:
Framework debaters: if you think the debate space should be predictable and fair, you should articulate what education/fairness/pick-your-voter means to the activity and why the ballot of this particular round matters.
K debaters: if you think rhetoric and its shaping matters more than the policy impacts of the 1AC, you should articulate your world of the alt/advocacy/pick-your-impact in a way that allows me to sign the ballot for you.
Performance debaters: if you think the debate space is for social movements/resistance/pick-your-story, you should explain why your performance relates to the ballot and is something I should vote for. Ideal performance cases explain topic links or provide reasons they actively choose not to be topical.
Everybody else: you get the idea. Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next.
The world is unfair. Fairness is still probably a good thing. We get education from winning, and from losing. Some topics are poorly written and ground issues might not be the fault of your opponent. For debaters pursuing excellence, traditional voters aren’t the end of the conversation. Argument context can be everything. Tech speak, fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact.
“Two ships passing in the night” is something we hear in approximately 143% of RFDs, and it’s almost always the most efficient way to sad faces, frustration, and post rounding. RESOLVE this by finding points of clash, demonstrating that your claims engage with the claims of your opponent in a way that is beneficial for you. Clash shows that you are aware that your opponent has ground, and your following that with an explanation of why that ground couldn’t possibly earn my ballot is very persuasive. A round without clash is a round left to the judge, and you don’t want to leave any argument, big or small, up to the discretion of the judge.
The preventable argument issue that most often shows up on my ballot is how the permutation functions. I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. For example, I think it’s very easy to imagine a world where two separate policy actions are taken. I think it’s very hard to imagine a world in which Civil Society is ended and the 1AC still solves its harms through implementation. The former gets preference for the permutation making sense. The latter gets preference for exclusivity making sense. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there.
I flow on paper, because as a wise teacher (Paul Johnson) once (/often) told me: “Paper doesn’t crash.” This means I will NOT:
Flow your overview verbatim
Flow your underview verbatim
Flow your tags verbatim
But I WILL:
Follow the speech doc for author name spelling
Have no issues jumping around sheets as long as you signpost as you go
Still always appreciate another run through the order (if you don’t have the order, or you change it up, that’s O.K. Again, just sign post clearly)
Write in multiple colors (for individual speakers and notes)
Typically respond to body language/speech patterns and give you cues to what should be happening more or what should be happening less (furrowed brow + no writing usually means bad news bears. No writing, in general, means bad news bears)
I will keep the speech doc open on my computer, because it seems like a good idea to live the round as closely to the competitors’ experience as possible. However, it is YOUR job as a debater to COMMUNICATE to me the most important parts of your speech. 9 times out of 10 this means:
SLOW DOWN to emphasize big picture ideas that you use to contextualize multiple parts of the round. Let me know that you know it’s important. That level of awareness is persuasive.
TELL A STORY of the debate round. Are you winning? (the answer is almost always “yes”) Why are you winning? What are your winning arguments? Why do they demolish your opponent’s arguments into a thousand pieces of rubble that couldn’t win a ballot if you were unable to deliver any additional arguments?
WEIGH IMPACTS. Time frame/magnitude/probability. These are all great words that win debate rounds. There are other great words that also win rounds.
PRIORITIZE (TRIAGE) arguments. You don’t need to win all the arguments to win the debate. If you go for all the arguments, you will often lose a debate you could have won.
I’m still hearing this debated occasionally, but cross ex is binding. I flow it/take notes.
Flex Prep is alive and well in my rounds. You have an opportunity to ask further questions, but not a clear obligation to answer them. I also think it’s pretty fair that prep time can be used to just… prep.
If you ask me to call for evidence, you probably didn’t do a sufficient job presenting your cards during the round.
Rhetorical questions seem very clever as they’re conceived, but are rarely persuasive. Your opponent will not provide a damning answer, and your time would have been better spent working to make positive claims.
I tend to like policy arguments and performance more than philosophy-heavy kritiks because Ks often lose their grounding to the real world (and, it follows, the ballot). Policy arguments are claiming the real world is happening in the speeches of the round, and performance debate has had to justify its own existence for as long as it has existed, which makes it more practiced at role of the ballot. If you love your K and you think it’s the winning move, go for it! Just make sure to still find clash. Related: “reject” alts almost always feel like they’re missing something. Almost like a team without a quarterback, a musical without leads, a stage without performers.
Good links >>> more links
Good evidence >>>>> more evidence
Many definition interpretations are bad. Good definitions win [T] rounds.
Many framework card interpretations are bad. Every debater is better off reading the cards in the entirety at some point during their infinite prep, in order to better understand author intent.
My threshold for accepting politics disads as persuasive feels higher than the community average. I think it’s because probability is underrated in most politics disads.
Anything I believe is open to negotiation within the context of debate, but general truths have a much lower standard of proof (i.e. Debater 1 says “we are currently in Mexico.” Debater 2 counters “Pero estamos en Estados Unidos.” I consider the truth contest over at this point). The more specialized the knowledge, the higher the standard of proof.
Technical parts of the flow (T & Theory come to mind) can be really fast. I mentioned above that I’m writing by hand. You are always better off with -50% the number of arguments with +50% presentation and explanation to the remaining claims. Yes, I have your speech doc. No, I’m not doing your job for you. Communicate the arguments to me.
Debaters are made better by knowing how arguments evolve. There’s a reason a permutation is a “test of competition” (see: plan plus). Knowing the roots and growth of arguments will make you better at clash will make you better at debate will make you better at winning real, actual ballots.
My default is always to give an RFD, and to start that RFD with my decision. This will typically be followed by the winning argument(s). Ideally, the RFD should look suspiciously like the final rebuttal speech of the winning team.
I apologize for this paradigm becoming unreasonable in length.
Advice I give frequently enough to consume space on this infinitely long page that is now my paradigm:
Ships passing in the night/Clash wins rounds (see above)
Thanksgiving standard: if you can't explain why this argument is important to your Grandma during Thanksgiving dinner conversation, you probably need to keep reading the literature until you can contextualize to the real world. There's also a really good chance it won't win you the round.
At least try to live the advocacy you endorse. If you think coalition-building is the move, you shouldn’t be exclusionary without clear justification, and possibly not even then. The debate space is better for inclusion efforts.
It’s always to your advantage to use cross ex/prep to understand opposing arguments. Don’t realize after a rebuttal speech that your strategy was based on an incomplete understanding of your opponent(s) and their case.
It’s almost always worth your time to take a small amount of prep to sit back, breathe, and consider how you’re going to explain this round to your coach, debate-knowledgeable legal guardian, or friend-who-doesn’t-like-debate-but-supports-you-in-your-endeavors-because-they’re-a-good-friend. It’s an exercise that will tell you what’s important and help clear the clutter of speed, terminology, and tech.
This is also a good test for seeing if you can explain all the arguments using small words. I think the fanciest words I use in this paradigm are “verbatim” and “temporal proximity”. If you can’t explain your arguments in a simple, efficient manner, you need to keep reading.
It’s also almost always worth your time to take a moment, a sip of water, and a breath to collect yourself before a speech. Do this without excess and every judge you compete in front of will appreciate the generated composure and confidence in your ensuing speech.
Don’t start that speech with a million words a minute. Build to it. Double plus ungood habit if you forgot to check that everyone was ready for you to begin speaking.
I have never, not even once, in a decade+ of debate, heard a judge complain that author names were spoken too slowly.
Don’t take 5 minutes to flash a speech or to sort together a speech doc after you’re “done” prepping.
Your speech and prep time is yours to do with as you wish. Play music, talk loudly, play spades.
Opponent prep time is theirs to do with as they wish. That means you don’t get to play music intrusively (read: use headphones), talk intrusively, play spades intrusively, you get where this is going. This is one of the areas I think speaker points is very much at judge discretion.
If it’s not a speech and it’s not cross ex and neither team is running prep, you should not be prepping. Stealing prep is another area that I think leaves speaker points very much to judge discretion.
Don’t set sound alarms to the time you keep for your opponent’s speeches. Nobody ever, ever wants to hear the timer of the opponent go off before the speaker’s. I will keep time in 99% of debates, and if you’re wrong and cutting into their speech time, you’re losing speaker points.
I’m almost always down to give notes between rounds/after tournaments/via email on your performance in debate. Temporal proximity works in your favor (read: my memory has never been A1).
There are few things I love in this good life more than hearing a constructive speech that takes a new interpretation of an old idea and expands how I see the world. Writing your own arguments makes the time you invest in debate more worthwhile.
Spend some time teaching debate to others. Most things worth learning are worth teaching, and the act of teaching will give you an excellent perspective to arguments that have staying power in the community.
Lincoln-Douglas Debaters: A priori arguments can win rounds, but I’d rather see a debate where you win on substance than on a single line that your opponent dropped/misunderstood. If you’re going for a dropped analytic, impact it out in the 2R, as you would any other dropped card.
I feel like the rounds that end up being primarily the criterial debate typically indicate that the debaters could have done more to apply their arguments to the lens of their opponent’s criterion.
This space is for you. We don’t hold debate tournaments so that judges can sign ballots. You don’t spend hours/years preparing arguments and developing this skill because you just really want Tab Staffers to have something to do on the weekends. Mountains of money aren’t shifted so that we can enjoy the sweet, sweet pizza at the lunch hour. We’re here so that you can debate. Performance is about communicated intent, and debate is no exception. You can take anything out of that experience, but articulating your purpose walking into the round, even if only to yourself, will make you more persuasive.
Closing note: I typically think dialogue is the best way to educate, and that my role (at a bare minimum) is to educate the competitors following the round, through the lens of my decision and its reasoning. I will typically write a short Tabroom ballot and give as extensive a verbal RFD as scheduling permits/the students have asked all the questions they desire. The short version of this paradigm caused me physical pain, so that should indicate my willingness to engage in decision-making/pedagogical practices.
4 years high school LD/Extemp/PF
3 years college policy/parli/public
Coaching/teaching debate since 2009-ish
Writing Arguments by Allegory since 2013
Rashard Leonard Paradigm
firstname.lastname@example.org for email chains
4 years of policy debate in college, first two years mainly focused on policy, last two years leaning more K-heavy
Debate is an educational game. As the judge, I am responsible for evaluating the arguments of this game as you present them to me. This activity is centered around you, the debaters. Do you, run the arguments that you usually run and I will judge them accordingly.
Aff: Open to judging all types of affs, policy and K. Aff should be topical (affirming a change within the topic, not necessarily USFG). Be sure that you make clear to me why the aff is important and why your plan will give the best results. If you kick an advantage explain to me why.
DA: I like them. I think they’re the easiest way to win debates, especially if it turns the case. Make sure you have a clear link to the aff and I clear impact that will be triggered by the plan.
CP: I love a good CP-DA combo and it can be devastating if properly used. PICs are welcome as well but they need to have a clear difference between the aff.
Condo: I think condo is good but too much can be abusive. 3 conditional worlds is my absolute limit anything more better have some kickass Condo good blocks.
Theory: Please don’t make me vote on theory. Theory args are fine within the debate space but I’d rather not have my decision based on a generic theory arg that you read in the block. However, if it does come down to that please frame the how I should evaluate the debate and why the other their methods are harmful.
T: Always a voting issue. Block needs do good impact work on why the plan is bad for debate. T has real world impacts so use that to your advantage. Neg also needs to give a Topical Version of the Aff.
FW: I generally lean aff on most framework debates. You will not win if your main arg is “the aff makes debate too hard”. As long as the aff affirms a change in the direction of the topic then I think it’s good debate. Good FW teams should show me how their approach to the topic makes debate impossible, that will get me on your side and willing to vote for you.
K: Run it, but don’t half ass it. In the block you should be able to point to evidence they read in the 1AC/2AC to prove a clear link and show that they use the same methodology that will trigger all of your impacts. Don’t rely on all the big words that your cards use. Instead paint a clear picture of how your K operates and what the alt does to make a better world. Real world examples of the alt will help you.
Misc: Please be respectful to all debaters within the space. We sacrifice our weekends, while barely getting any sleep, to come and compete. Don’t be rude or mean.
Have fun, jokes are welcome in-round. Well executed jokes get a bump in speaks.
I’d rather not hear profanity but if you use do it should be impactful.
Speed is fine as long as you’re clear. If I am unable to understand you I will yell “CLEAR” during your speech.
CX is binding and I will flow it.
Any other questions please feel free to ask me.
Daniel Lewis Paradigm
For Policy Debate:
I started my debate career probably long before your parents met, much less before you were born. I was a Prosecuting Attorney under Janet Reno and still practice occasionally when I'm not teaching or at debate tournaments. I prefer and my expertise is in policy round argumentation but I can be convinced to vote for critical argumentation when done correctly. Barring tournament rules, Flash time is not prep. Email speech docs. Points are between 28-30, barring bizzarro argumentation, presentation or decorum (This does not include personal narratives or performance arguments with a purpose - they are fine). If you speak (debate) worse than the other debaters in a Round, you will get lower points. Quick and clear is OK. Unclear is not. I will let you know at least once - then it's up to you. I will read evidence in a close debate when I think it is at issue because cards exceedingly often don't prove what they are being offered to prove. You have to point it out unless I think the claim is outlandish.
See the above. I was a policy debater. So LD theory which deviates from policy may be lost on me. You've been warned. Critiks and CPs are ok. So are theory args against them. Standard frameworks which stifle all critical debate won't fly. Tell me why your framework should be applied in this debate.
Gabriel Morbeck Paradigm
Strath Haven High School (PA) - 2014 to 2016
Emory University - 2016 to present
Some things about how I judge rounds:
1. I have no ideological preferences that are strong enough for you to drastically change your style in front of me. I'm much more policy than K nowadays, but that reflects my current debate research interests more than deeply held beliefs about debate.
2. I think that debate is a game. I think it can have incredible transformative potential, but at the end of the day my ballot just signifies a winner and a loser.
3. Tech > truth.
4. I will follow along your speech doc. Since I usually have an idea of who is winning the debate through the final rebuttal, I will just look back at my flow to write a ballot and not read all of the evidence again. So if there's evidence that I definitely need to read, tell me in the final rebuttal!
Some argumentative things that I think:
T/Framework: it's a viable option against affs that don't explicitly defend the topic. However, I'm open to alternate interpretations of what the topic should be. For the neg, I'm more persuaded by claims about procedural fairness and topical versions of the aff than state/topic education claims. Aff teams should tell me how the 1AC's interpretation of the topic/the 1AC itself produces unique education that the neg's version of the topic cannot account for.
I wish aff teams wouldn't jump to impact turning fairness / education most of the time. I'd rather hear why you have a predictable connection to the topic and examining the topic from [x] angle is good.
In both policy T debates and T-USFG/FW debates, I want to hear specifics about what each team's vision of the topic looks like. Specific lists about affs / mechanisms allowed and neg ground are very important.
Counterplans: I lean aff on counterplan competition, neg on counterplan legitimacy. These debates are usually decided by the quality of the CP solvency advocate and its specificity to the aff.
Counterplans don't need to have advocates if they're logical. 2NC counterplans and re-clarifications are definitely legitimate.
Conditionality: it makes debate way more fun, so I'm very open to negative flexibility. I'll still vote on condo, but I also won't flinch if the neg reads 4 counterplans. I'm fine with judge kick, you just need to say it in the 2NR.
Disads: yes. turns case arguments are extremely important to me. Link is usually more important than uniqueness. I love to see politics debates.
Critiques: should engage the case, either through reading case defense or indicting the epistemology of the aff's claims. If they don't, the aff will almost certainly win. I think that role of the ballot arguments should be portable, and ultimately aren't as important for me in deciding the debates as the impacts of specific link arguments and turns case analysis.
Some random things:
Don't be rude or overly aggressive in CX.
Disclosure is good. I will give a modest boost in speaker points for teams that are consistently open source.
I love debate. If you display that you love debate and work hard at it, I'll reward you with good speaks.
I want to see debates about substance. Plans and counterplans are great, critiques too. I love the politics DA. Please do impact calc--at least the top 30 seconds of the final rebuttals should be devoted to it.
I care about evidence. I'd rather see you read more cards to build your arguments (throughout every speech except the 2AR) than rely on spin.
I'm meh for theory. From my understanding there is generally a lower threshold for theory args in LD than in policy, so if your are making impassioned appeals to fairness I probably do not feel as cheated as you do.
In K debates--do link debating. I care more about that than framework/role of the ballot args. The strength of the link affects how I view every other arg in the debate.
RVIs, values shit = big no.
Not enough PF debaters focus on impact calc. Spend at least 30 seconds at the top of the final focus doing it. Don't just describe your impact, explain why it outweighs and how it interacts with their offense.
Condense--you probably don't have time to go for more than one impact/contention.
I like PF debates to break sooner rather than later. Start answering your opponents args and reading new evidence as early as possible in the debate.
New offense in rebuttals is fine if it's a turn of the other team's args. Cards in both summaries are fine.
Do an off-time roadmap before your speech.
Don't really care about theory--other 'new' PF styles, like Ks and plans, I guess I am fine for.
Try to present evidence as clearly as possible. Reading policy-format cards will make me happy, fumbling around PDFs will not.
Dana Randall Paradigm
My name is Dana Randall (email@example.com) and I am the Director of Debate at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I have been an active member of the policy debate community since 1996.
As a competitor and coach of policy teams at regional and national levels I feel comfortable assessing debates that are quick and complex.
I have instructed novice, jv, and varsity teams who've enjoyed tremendous success. I credit that success to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with some of the brightest and most dedicated students in the activity. Witnessing their steadfast commitment inspires me to take my judging responsibilities very seriously. I will strive to keep a meticulous flow and render my decision based on what transpires in the debate round as opposed to my personal predispositions.
I will ask to be included on the speech thread. I do this to prevent teams from debating students that succumb to pressure of competition by representing that they have read words in a speech document which they have not audibly read. Debate is a very difficult activity without compelling students debating to also follow along with every word read by their opponent.
I believe that fairness is a terminal impact – that is why I flow both teams, listen to both teams, enforce reciprocal time limits, have teams affirm or negate the resolution based on the pairing provided by the tournament and I have no idea what an alternative metric for reaching a conclusion as to which team did the better debating.
Abby Schirmer Paradigm
Pace Academy, Atlanta GA (2019-Present)
Marist, Atlanta, GA (2015-2019)
Stratford Academy, Macon GA (2008-2015)
Michigan State University (2004-2008)
Please use email chains. Please add me- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short version- You need to read and defend a plan in front of me. I value clarity (in both a strategic and vocal sense) and strategy. A good strategic aff or neg strat will always win out over something haphazardly put together. Impact your arguments, impact them against your opponents arguments (This is just as true with a critical strategy as it is with a DA, CP, Case Strategy). I like to read evidence during the debate. I usually make decisions pretty quickly. Typically I can see the nexus question of the debate clearly by the 2nr/2ar and when (if) its resolved, its resolved. Don't take it personally.
Case Debate- I like specific case debate. Shows you put in the hard work it takes to research and defeat the aff. I will reward hard work if there is solid Internal link debating. I think case specific disads are also pretty good if well thought out and executed. I like impact turn debates. Cleanly executed ones will usually result in a neg ballot -- messy debates, however, will not.
Disads- Defense and offense should be present, especially in a link turn/impact turn debate. You will only win an impact turn debate if you first have defense against their original disad impacts. I'm willing to vote on defense (at least assign a relatively low probability to a DA in the presence of compelling aff defense). Defense wins championships. Impact calc is important. I think this is a debate that should start early (2ac) and shouldn't end until the debate is over. I don't think the U necessarily controls the direction of the link, but can be persuaded it does if told and explained why that true.
K's- Im better for the K now than i have been in years past. That being said, Im better for security/international relations/neolib based ks than i am for race, gender, psycho, baudrillard etc (that shit cray). I tend to find specific Ks (ie specific to the aff's mechanism/advantages etc) the most appealing. If you're going for a K-- 1) please don't expect me to know weird or specific ultra critical jargon... b/c i probably wont. 2) Cheat- I vote on K tricks all the time (aff don't make me do this). 3) Make the link debate as specific as possible and pull examples straight from the aff's evidence and the debate in general 4) I totally geek out for well explained historical examples that prove your link/impact args. I think getting to weigh the aff is a god given right. Role of the ballot should be a question that gets debated out. What does the ballot mean with in your framework. These debates should NOT be happening in the 2NR/2AR-- they should start as early as possible. I think debates about competing methods are fine. I think floating pics are also fine (unless told otherwise). I think epistemology debates are interesting. K debates need some discussion of an impact-- i do not know what it means to say..."the ZERO POINT OF THE Holocaust." I think having an external impact is also good - turning the case alone, or making their impacts inevitable isn't enough. There also needs to be some articulation of what the alternative does... voting neg doesn't mean that your links go away. I will vote on the perm if its articulated well and if its a reason why plan plus alt would overcome any of the link questions. Link defense needs to accompany these debates.
K affs are fine- you have to have a plan. You should defend that plan. Affs who don't will prob lose to framework. A alot.... and with that we come to:
If not defending a plan is your thing, I'm not your judge. I think topical plans are good. I think the aff needs to read a topical plan and defend the action of that topical plan. I don't think using the USFG is racist, sexist, homophobic or ablest. I think affs who debate this way tend to leave zero ground for the negative to engage which defeats the entire point of the activity. I am persuaded by T/Framework in these scenarios. I also think if you've made the good faith effort to engage, then you should be rewarded. These arguments make a little more sense on the negative but I am not compelled by arguments that claim: "you didn't talk about it, so you should lose."
CPs- Defending the SQ is a bold strat. I will listen (and most likely vote) on CPs done in either the 1NC or the 2NC. Multiple conditional (or dispo/uncondish) CPs are also fine. Condo is probably good, but i can be persuaded otherwise. Consult away- its arbitrary to hate them in light of the fact that everything else is fine. I lean neg on CP theory. Aff's make sure you perm the CP (and all its planks). Im willing to judge kick the CP for you. If i determine that the CP is not competitive, or that its a worse option - the CP will go away and you'll be left with whatever is left (NBs or Solvency turns etc). This is only true if the AFF says nothing to the contrary. (ie. The aff has to tell me NOT to kick the CP - and win that issue in the debate). I WILL NOT VOTE ON NO NEG FIAT. That argument makes me mad. Of course the neg gets fiat. Don't be absurd.
T- I usually view it in an offense/defense type framework but I'm also compelled by reasonability. I think competing interpretations are good but do think that some aff's are reasonably topical. Impact your reasons why I should vote neg. K's of T are stupid. I think the aff has to run a topical aff, and K-ing that logic is ridiculous. T isn't racist. RVIs are never ever compelling.... ever.
Theory- I tend to lean neg on theory. Condo- Probably Good. More than two then the aff might have a case to make as to why its bad - i've voted aff on Condo, I've voted neg on condo. Its a debate to be had. Any other theory argument I think is categorically a reason to reject the argument and not the team. I can't figure out a reason why if the aff wins international fiat is bad that means the neg loses - i just think that means the CP goes away.
Remember!!! All of this is just a guide for how you chose your args in round. I will vote on most args if they are argued well and have some sort of an impact. Evidence comparison is also good in my book-- its not done enough and i think its one of the most valuable ways to create an ethos of control with in the debate. Perception is everything, especially if you control the spin of the debate. I will read evidence if i need to-- don't volunteer it and don't give me more than i ask for. I love fun debates, i like people who are nice, i like people who are funny... i will reward you with good points if you are both. Be nice to your partner and your opponents. No need to be a jerk for no reason
Artem Sviridov Paradigm
I am currently a student debater with the University of Miami Varsity Parlimentary Debate team, I have also judged several policy high school tournaments for 4 years now.
I judge mostly based on what's on my flow, so good organization is key to winning with me.
Signposting is good, fully flushing out an argument before moving on is good, being all over the place is a sure way to me missing something. Tying several arguments together to a single theme is good and gives your team a strong team line upon which I can judge, but make that connection known, dont expect me to tie your loose ends for you, thats a sure way to an L.
Please make sure to flush out your arguments, if you dont give me a reason that an argument is true (whether by using facts or theory), I wont judge on it.
Misrepresenting your oppositions arguments may be good enough to win you the debate (if they dont call you out on it), but it sure wont win you any speaker points. While we are on the topic of misrepresenting, no card clipping, heavy penalties will apply.
Towards the end of your 2AR/2NR speech, make sure to close off the debate and tell me why you think you should win, tell me what you want me to vote on and why.
Although evidence is expected, dont hide solely behind it, give me reasoning as to why your position is better than your opposition. Debate is about more than just reading cards, its about applying your own critical thinking.
Topicality: Run topicality only if you have a case for it, remember that the burden lies with the negative to show why the affirmative definition is abusive, and it better be a good reason. Show me why the debate is worse off as a result of affirmative's definitions, dont just say that it is. Also be sure to provide your alternative interpretations, the best way to win a T argument is to show what the debate should have been vs what the affirmative made it out to be.
Counter-Plan: CP's are always fun, but remember to show that your plan is either mutually-exclusive or better than CP+ or else affirm gets it. Also make sure to show how your plan is different from the affirmative. Plan must be clear and concise. Conditionality is fine as long as you dont contradict yourself and give room to affirmative to debate it, anything else is abusive. More than 2 conditional args is abusive and will be judged down.
Kritik: Another very fun thing to judge, make sure to explain your K well. Dont just tell me that the paradigm that the affirmative accepted is bad, show me specifically how the plan worsens the outcome as a result of your kritik and its implications. Doing anything less will not win you the argument. Keep in mind that I am generally not a fan of heavy-theory rounds, any theory arguments presented must be grounded in real solvency.
2AR/2NR: NO NEW ARGUMENTATION IN THE LAST TWO SPEECHES. New argumentation wont be judged on and will heavily influence speaker points. The only exception to this is as rebuttal to new argumentation brought up in the previous speech, that said its a fine line, so tread carefully.
Cross-Ex: Open CX is fine, but will impact speaker points accordingly. When asking questions, allow the person to answer, avoid interruptions if possible.
Ethics: Dont clip cards, dont mis-represent evidence, dont use insults, be respectful to opponents/partners/judges/audience. Ethics violations will heavily influence speaker points.
Speaker Points: I will generally limit myself to 25-30 speaker points (although I reserve the right to go below that for serious ethics violations). Generally my points will fall somewhere along a standard distribution curve, so 26-28 on average. In general I will look at the following in no particular order: Technical proficiency, argumentation, clarity, engagement with opposition arguments, jokes/puns (we all like to laugh every once in a while).