Reagan February Student Congress
2019 — Milwaukee, WI/US
Peter Feider Paradigm
Justin Flynn Paradigm
I have ten years of debate experience and will buy any argument, as long as it is well structured. I am known to be a very progressive judge, but I do love a good traditional debate as well. Most importantly have fun in a round!
Framework: Please tell me how the framework contextualizes your offense / defense in relation to the ballot and/or the round. I require framework to also contextualize how your opponents arguments are implicated by your Framework arguments.
Argument Resolution: I reward debaters who clearly articulate and provide reasons why their warrants, impacts, sources are stronger in this round – Impact calc and voters are great ways to do this. Debaters who provide well warranted arguments on the flow that are developed early and throughout the debate get both high speaks from me and my ballot.
Theory: I vote on well developed procedurals, I do not vote on blipped shells that blow up later in the debate so have voters and standards don’t just give me an interp and violation - this isn't to say don't run T in front of me but rather that you need to provide me a well developed justification for why to prefer your side. Focus on impacts through a education/fairness filter will be the easiest way to my ballot on this issue. I do hate it when teams use theory as a time suck.
K debate: I have read and actively coach a lot of critical debate but you should not however assume I know the literature base you will be pulling from, feel free to ask prior to the start of the round about my familiarity. The more specific your argument is to the round or issue at hand then the easier route you will have to my ballot. I usually am not a fan of Perm because it can make the debate muddy. I do love conditionality debate.
Disadvantages: Disads are my favorite off case argument. I evaluate Disads first on the risk of intrinsic link to the AFF before questions of uniqueness and the way this implicates the affirmative, this isn't to say questions of uniqueness don't implicate the link but questions of link comes first and then are determined to be strengthened / weakened by the uniqueness. - Work done on the impact level to have strong warrants as well as good weighing are an easy way to my ballot.
Counter Plan: My second favorite off case argument to see. Make sure they are mutually exclusive and AFF can’t perm. Also I hate Perm debate usually on CP because it is either an easy win or waste of my time. I think overall Cp play well with Disads and are a easy way for NEG to win my ballot.
Speed: I am perfectly fine with speed usually I will only yell clear once and it is because you are not speaking clearly.
Flashing: Add me to the email chain, my RFD will be better if you do.
Paula Jones Paradigm
Enjoy the debate! Have fun! Be the best competitor you can be!
Please remember that one of the primary goals for competitive debate is engaging in civil discourse. As a judge, the first criteria I evaluate is civility. Debaters who demonstrate courtesy, good will, and generosity of spirit to opponents perform more effectively.
Please place as much importance on your delivery as you do your casing. Pay heed to your speed. Your rate can make or break the round. Most debaters speak too quickly especially at the beginning of a speech. Modulate your pace. If I do not catch your framework due to your speed you may lose the round since I cannot adequately weigh your case against your opponent’s. Pace impacts clarity of expression and clarity of thought. Please do not speed read or try to pack more material into your case by speaking quickly. Instead, employ superior organization and summary skills.
Vary your pace and consider the importance of vocal variety for persuasive purpose. Remember you are writing your case for fluidity and delivering your case to an audience requires equal emphasis upon vocality.
Focus on clarity of speech. The two most common causes for garbled speech are poor sentence phrasing and poor enunciation. Phrasing pertains to reading -- mark your case with speech cues if it helps with clarity. Enunciation refers to habits of speech. Judging your case requires me to understand what you are trying to say -- enunciate well and your message will be more clear. Enunciation helps with fluidity. If you make a mistake while speaking, move on quickly.
Eye contact: Making eye contact with your audience while you are speaking and reading requires practice. Many judges will note “increase eye contact” on a debate ballot -- a good rule of thumb here is to look at your audience (at minimum) half of the time you are speaking. E.g. During a 6 minute constructive, you should look at the audience for no less than 3 minutes throughout the duration of the speech.
The highest speaker points will always go to the most poised speakers. Present yourself with confidence (even if you feel nervous).
Please be mindful of the debate format in which you are competing. If you are a Lincoln-Douglas competitor your primary goal is to engage in the realm of ideas, not policy. If the resolution leans heavily toward a policy topic, the best debaters will devise a case which is philosophical and reflective. When judging an LD round, I’m listening for original thinking, insightful analysis, logical reasoning, and summary skills.
I pay very close attention during cross-examination for strategic maneuvering that will allow a competitor to control the direction or trajectory of the debate. Examples of how the skillful debater strategically uses cross-x time:
1. Systematically dismantle an opponent’s case
2. Achieve concessions bearing on critical assumptions (either to undermine or to bolster)
3. Establish or dissolve critical link chains
4. Develop a line of inquiry that shapes the round
Matters to consider when communicating your case:
If you and your opponent craft similar frameworks (e.g, the same value or value criterion), please do not tell me “it is a wash.” Weighing frameworks is never a wash. Framework components do not cancel each other out. Argue your position with analysis and reasoning in order to identify the reasons why your framework is preferable to your opponent’s V/VC. The skilled debater explains throughout every phase of the debate and in a myriad of ways: how their own value criterion relates to their own value and how this framework connects to the resolution. In the same way, the skilled debater will dissect and dismantle an opponent’s framework.
If your value is morality, tell me what kind of morality and why it is the most suitable choice in the context of the resolution. Please don’t use circular reasoning - “because morality means my value criterion is good” or pretense such as “I choose morality because it encompasses all other values.” Not all values are reflected in unspecified morality nor even in any well defined moral system. Morals and values can correlate, but there are neither contingencies nor causal necessities between them until they are specified. By the same token, simply reverting to the notion that the word “ought” in the resolution implies a moral imperative suggests that the debater has not spent much time researching the resolution in order to understand its assumptions and implications.
Your value reveals how deeply you’ve pondered the resolution. Your value focuses on what you believe the goal of the resolution means (or what it should be). The value in an LD framework represents what is most germane or of highest importance to the resolution. An excellent debater asks questions of the resolution in order to locate its philosophical core. When I evaluate a case framework, I am looking for depth suggestive of a debater who is wrestling with the ideas embedded within the resolution.
Your value criterion relates specifically to the resolution, so the more specific your VC the easier it will be for you frame the round in your favor. A vague concept will be more difficult to defend than a very specific or pointed phrase which delves deep into the core issues underlying the resolution. Please give a definition for a concept VC or a rationale for a VC phrase (i.e please explicitly link your VC to the resolution).
I will favor the debater who accurately summarizes evidence, evaluates it, contextualizes it, and most importantly, provides analyses that are both cogent and eloquent. Please take care that you do not mistake your evidence for your own original analysis. Be very careful of how you cut cards so the bulk of your case consists of your own reasoning and your own thoughts about the resolution rather than reading through your sources (reiterating someone else’s ideas). In other words, be mindful of conflating your evidence with your reasoning. A helpful tip for developing your case and presenting it: think in outline terms so you are constantly summarizing your evidence, your case, your opponent’s case, and your refutations.
Do outline your voting issues, but be wary of getting mired in the minutiae of technicalities that reduce the round to a “gotcha” game. Do not assume that the judge flows in the same way a competitor does. Be mindful of simplistic, but common errors like an unanswered point is equivalent to conceding that point. Technically speaking, in an LD debate round, it is not. If your opponent drops an argument, it is an opportunity for you to expound upon your own position with respect to that point. Not every argument can be answered during the round. The best debaters will strategically choose which arguments are the most important ones to address. While clash is important, maximizing meaningful clash lucidly, concisely, and succinctly will likely win the debate.
On counterplans and kritiks: These are strategies devised for policy debate and not as conducive for LD so they should be carefully crafted. That being said, I welcome a creative take on the resolution in the form of a counterplan or kritik. Bear in mind that I must be able to weigh the round with compatible parameters so if you do run a counterplan or kritik you must clearly define how the round is to be framed so your opponent may adequately respond to your case and I have enough criteria for evaluation. Counterplans must contain an explicit values structure and kritiks must apply a primary line of argumentation originating in critical theory or cultural criticism.
Economic arguments: All too often economic arguments take some form of: “X is too expensive because it costs Y.” This really isn’t an argument until you contextualize it in macroeconomic or microeconomic terms or quantify it meaningfully. If your economic argument follows this pattern, upgrade it. Bear in mind that in the 21st century, the global world product totals nearly $130 trillion in international dollars. An economic argument of quality should demonstrate some notion of economic theory to justify it rather than simply assuming economics itself is neutral. Be aware that modern economic theory originated in 18th century moral philosophy. For varsity debaters, all economic arguments should be purposeful and grounded in theoretical or philosophical principles.
Varsity debaters: I am looking for sophisticated casing that elevates the discourse during the round. Present a narrative with unified argumentation. Some ideas to help you move toward varsity level casing: a crystallizing introduction should immediately precede your framework — a pertinent quote or some other attention-grabbing device that prepares your audience for your main idea regarding the resolution. Your contentions should be closely related and embedded with conflict inherent in the resolution to provide quality clash. Construct arguments that function with unity between your framework and the resolution. Clearly establish your warrants — the “whys” behind your claims. If you are still running morality/util frameworks in the varsity division and you’re piecing together evidence by cutting cards, incorporate philosophical texts in your research. The expectation for varsity casing is a more polished narrative. Meaningful clash should primarily address logical construction, underlying assumptions, and philosophical enquiry that illuminate the ideas embedded in the resolution (even if the resolution is more suitable for policy debate).
When judging PF I look for teamwork and collaboration -- how argumentation is extended between the two speakers and how well they complement each other. As in LD, I’m looking for excellent organization and critical analysis that addresses the resolutional “pith.” PF teams, please consider the LD issues noted above concerning technical minutiae, original thinking, sophisticated casing, and argumentation that is both sound and valid. I’m looking for original analysis and reasoning through the issues inherent in the resolution. One of my primary concerns in PF is crossfire. Please demonstrate the highest courtesy during crossfire. The team that can establish civil discourse during this phase of the debate will likely be favored in the event of a tie. Maintaining civility during crossfire will help the debater(s) control how the debate is framed for the judge.
As in LD, thinking in outline terms so you are constantly summarizing your evidence, your case, your opponent’s case, and your refutations is essential for PF competition. Develop a few significant arguments with scholarly evidence rather than a large number of arguments so you can effectively utilize the limited time in a PF round. Varsity PF debaters — I look for seamless Interaction between team members, the ability to crystallize key points, and to concisely summarize the logical components of an argument.
If I am your judge, please feel free to ask for clarification regarding the matters previously addressed.
Head Coach, Speech & Debate
Golda Meir School
Sue Mitchell-Thompson Paradigm
Brittany Newman Paradigm
I'm a Pf coach and have been judging PF for years. I have also judged quite a bit of LD.
I flow (except crossfires) but I'm not going to get down every source tag. If you feel a source is important or you want to argue your opponents source please make sure I know what the source said in case (or blocks). Id prefer you to refer to what the evidence said than just card tags.
Speed-don't go too fast. It isn't so much an issue of me not being able to follow you, it's more the fact that this is a public speaking and communication competition and not a race. At no point in the real world (outside of auctions I suppose) will being the person who speaks the fastest get you anywhere. Since I am not going to judge the round based on simply a tally of who had the most arguments, it's not really worth your time squeezing in that extra contention/argument.
Please, please, please impact weigh for me. You don't want your judge to have to decide what's most important, tell them why your impacts are most important.
Roadmaps- don't do them. They are not useful in pf and rarely tell me anything. Just signpost in your speech. As long as you're organized, I should be able to follow you. If you're not organized, a roadmap wouldn't help me anyway.
Be nice to each other, don't constantly cut each other off in cx, you will see it effect your speaker points if you do.
Default framework is harms outweigh benefits for all PF. Just because you have a framework and your opponents don't doesn't mean you win automatically. If they fully respond to your framework or lay out their own, even in rebuttal, I'm fine with that.
Benjamin Sauer Paradigm
Background: In college I debated on the national circuit for parliamentary debate. I formerly coached collegiate parliamentary and policy debate. I currently serve as the Ronald Reagan College Prep head coach, I was an assistant coach for Solorio Academy High School for the past few years, I sit on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Urban Debate League, and I am the President-Elect of the Wisconsin Debate Coaches' Association.
E-Mail Chain: Yes. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Note: asking me if I want to be on the e-mail chain is usually a sign that you didn't read my paradigm before the round. It is right here at the top...)
Quick Philosophy: I strongly favor a policy making philosophy. Ideally the AFF should advocate a policy topical to the resolution, and the NEG should explain why I should reject the specific policy case made by AFF.
- Speak clearly. If I can't understand you, I can't flow you.
- Do not argue a tagline. Argue the logic and evidence.
- Maintain clash. Line by line is good.
- Identify voting issues.
- Take advantage of the cross examination to force concessions and formulate your arguments.
- Do not be rude. Be witty. (Wit = speaker point bumps)
- Have fun.
- Planless Aff: If the AFF isn't affirming any specific plan, advocacy or course of action, then the status quo doesn't change, and NEG wins on presumption regardless of what else the AFF says.
- Tech v Truth: I will prefer tech to truth. Like all judges I attempt to avoid intervention, and a dropped argument is a true argument.
- Links: I do not think enough scrutiny is usually given to link arguments or link chains. I am a big fan of strategies that attack internal links or the link of a disadvantage/K/etc.
- Advantages and Disadvantages: You need to perform an impact calculus. Significance arguments should have fleshed out impact assessments with relative risk analysis supported by evidence. Politics DAs are great.
- Speed: Keep your speed reasonable. While I can handle a speedy round, I think teams who slow down perform better - they understand their round better, and I understand the arguments better. Clarity in the round matters. Make sure you articulate and enunciate your words. Speaking exceptionally quickly to try to read more cards or have more, and less developed arguments, isn't effective (and will hurt your speaks). I will let you know if I have a problem keeping up with (or understanding) you, and I'll give two warnings before I stop flowing. I will not use your cards to fill in what I miss because you are going too quickly (or if I stop flowing because I warned you twice).
If you are doing more than 7 off case arguments, you're not giving enough attention or time to all of the arguments, and you're likely relying on speed. I would far rather have fewer arguments with a deeper dive into the issues than more arguments and cursory explanations with an attempt to win simply by having the other team drop an argument that hasn't been developed much at all. I will weigh how well developed and impacted an argument is that the other team dropped when 8+ off-case are run.
- Cross Examination: I flow CX. Cross examination is an extremely important and undervalued tool in current policy debate. I recommend flowing those developments into your speeches. Do not be elusive in response to questions. A simple "I don't know" is an acceptable response if you do not know the answer. I do not prefer tag teaming on CX for varsity or open rounds. I award higher speaker points for individuals who do not rely on verbal assistance from a partner in asking or answering questions or making speeches.
- Topicality: I will vote on topicality, but my threshold for topicality is rather high. Topicality arguments that are well developed and given time during the 1NC/2NC are more likely to be successful, and the NEG should explain either how the AFF violated a reasonable and fair framework or why NEG's interpretation is better (I enjoy debates about what the proper meaning of a word should be and how that impacts the plan or the debate). If you are going to argue topicality and the AFF asks what a topical plan would look like under your framework for topicality, you need to be able to give an answer. If you cannot provide an example of topicality under your own framework, you have a problem, and your argument is very unlikely to persuade.
- Performance or Meta-Debate: I am not your judge, and you should strike me. My threshold for theory / topicality arguments against performance debate is low.
- Counterplans: I am a huge fan of counterplans, and I strongly look to functional competition. I enjoy a well run process counterplan. Process does matter in the real world and has real policy implications. I am not a fan of consult counterplans, but I have and will grudgingly vote for them.
- Theory: I am fine with theory arguments and debates. For conditionality, I am fine with multiple CPs and kritiks, but keep your conditionality within reasonable constraints (i.e. six or more worlds is not very reasonable). I default to reject the argument not the team for theory arguments. If I am to reject the team, not the argument, have a very good explanation as to why.
- Kritiks: I am not opposed to a K, but I am only well versed in K literature that is based in law and economics. For almost any other K you're going to need to SLOW DOWN, explain your buzzwords / jargon and explain the concepts. If you don't explain the buzzword / jargon, I'm not searching your cards for what a term means.
I strongly dislike K taglines that are paragraphs. That is not a tagline - it's a mini-speech.
The K needs to link to the specific policy case made and engage with the substance of the Aff's plan. If there is no link to the specific policy or no engagement with the substance of the plan, then there is no reason for me to vote for the K. A successful K will (1) link to the specific policy being argued; and (2) have an alt that (A) is a conditional policy option; (B) competes with the Aff's plan; and (C) you have explained how it functions in the real world. If, at the end of the debate, I am left thinking "So what?" I am going to vote for the Aff. The Aff actually solves for something, and the K does not.
For a K-Aff, the alt in the K-Aff needs to meet the same standards as the alt for any other K - the alt still needs to be topical, create change and solve for some harm.
- Off-Limits Arguments: No argument is out of bounds or off-limits in the debate round. Your team can make any argument it wants. If a team thinks an argument is objectionable or morally wrong, then the burden is on that team to explain why and why I should not vote for it. Merely claiming that something is offensive, immoral or "-ist" isn't enough. Why is it immoral or "-ist"? Why is it unfair or wrong? If your team can't explain why, I won't intervene to do the work for you. Run whatever argument(s) you want.
Note: The above should not be interpreted as carte blanche to engage in ad hominem attacks or other personal attacks in the round. You must be respectful to each other.
- Court or Legal Plans/Arguments: I am the general counsel of a multinational company. I really enjoy listening to plans/counterplans/etc that involve the courts or a legal strategy. That said, I will know if you do not understand how the judicial branch functions, and I will know if your plan/CP actually functions or solves the way that you claim. I will not intervene to vote on these issues if the other team does not call you on it, but my threshold for them to call you on these issues is low.
Doris Sexton Paradigm
I began coaching debate as the assistant coach at West Bend East in the fall of 1971. I think it was 1973 when I became the head coach. I’ve been a member of NFL/NSDA since 1964 and currently hold a quad diamond. I’m a retired Speech and English teacher with 45+ years of debate and forensic coaching experience.
Long ago, I believed in case specific details. I still do. Call me old-fashioned. I won’t mind. I’ll consider it a compliment. I believe that the affirmative has a responsibility to present a prima facie case and a plan to correct the problem. I believe their case is strengthened when it’s supported by a number of experts, not just one lone voice used over and over.
I believe that the negative should attack those stock issues and plan. I have been known to vote on T. I expect the violation to be based on reasonable definitions -- probably not words like: "the", "a", "an" -- get the idea? The charge needs to be real, not an "it might" situation.
I do not believe that counterplans (I'll listen to them) should be topical or that every plan will lead to a nuclear war. If that were the case, we’d all be dead, not debating. I like the real world. DAs need to link to the case.
I believe that debaters ought to be polite to each other – well, at least civil. I don’t think debaters should be asking or answering questions during another’s cross exam period. If your partner needs help, work with him/her during the week.
I don’t believe that debaters need to talk so fast that no one could possible understand their words. Where’s the logic in that? Can you win arguments when people have no clue what you’ve said? I simply declare that those indistinguishable words were never spoken in the round and no mention of them will be found on my flow.
I like well sign-posted attacks and responses. I like clarity. I like analysis, not just card reading. It’s not my job to make your argument for you. And if your evidence could actually match the tag you read, that would be a tremendous asset to your side. I don’t like jargon. My world is a no “perm” world. Persuade me with your logical, substantiated attacks. The number of issues is not particularly relevant.
I’m a purist. I expect a clearly explained value from each debater. I expect clash on which value should have the higher priority or who better achieves the agreed upon value. I expect you to answer the question posed by the resolution rather than the question you want to answer.
Although this is theory debate, a few concrete examples will help me believe your position.
I have the same pet peeves here as in all other debate formats. Too fast means I didn’t catch the idea. That’s bad. Too little analysis means I can’t expect your opponent to respond to it. That’s equally bad –actually, that’s worse. I will listen to anything you want to include in your attack. I will not, however, make the attacks for you. Be specific.
At the end, I expect both debaters to flat out tell me why s/he wins the round. What are the voters?
If my comments sound cruel or unrealistic to you, please strike me in whatever way you can because you don’t want me as your judge. Oh, and, no I won’t hold up the next round with oral comments.
If I haven’t answered your questions/concerns, feel free to ask. I’ll share.
Pretty much the same as what I've already covered. I want clearly explained ideas with evidence. Just because you say it does not automatically make it true. I'm not listening for a plan (or counter-plan) to solve the resolution. I want to know which side gives me the better outcome.
Victor Trussell Paradigm
Speed – I haven’t been judging debate enough to keep up with my practice of listening to speed. I am sure after hearing a round or two I may be back to my coaching days. However, I would caution on the side of speaking slower than what you may be used to, so that I may ensure I follow the entirety of the debate. I understand the advantage of having multiple arguments on the flow. I would be more impressed with the way arguments are used within the round.
Arguments – All germane arguments are on the table.
Critical Arguments – When I listen to critical arguments I really appreciate if the tenets or the claims are threaded throughout the entire debate. This goes for both sides. Those who propose the critical argument should provide a general summation of the argument and then provide the important “pillars” of the idea. Those opposing the idea should consistently find time within their speeches to (re)iterate the “why” as to their winning their position.
Judge as Judicator – My intention is to try to remove all bias from my decision within the round. I try to maneuver in such a way that I examine what arguments were presented and how were the speakers “using” them to persuade me to either side. This means I try to create good flows. Clarity and an appropriate speed and volume are essential. As an educating activity FIRST, we must all work together to make the activity enjoyable for the simple fact of learning something new. Therefore, all EDUCATION voters will be a big thing for me in any theory debate. Furthermore, I would implore the speakers to use the founding principles of the movement of debate (i.e: extensions, cross-applications, direct clashes, etc.). I would even go so far as to ask that you blatantly use these words when you are performing the skill. This helps me “envision” the flow of the debate round with more clarity which will ensure a fairer decision.
Prep Time – I will keep my own time for the speeches and prep. My clock will be the primary clock referenced in round. Flashing a constructive will not be timed. Asking to see a specific card before your team’s speech will be timed when the piece of evidence is presented, or 30 seconds has elapsed. I do it this way to ensure fairness for both parties. If the opposition team is taking to long to find the card that was asked for after hearing it read, then they gave their opponents a free 30 seconds of prep time. Both teams are subject to this standard of accountability. This means cards should be called for at the top of the cross examination period by the questioner and the partner of the opposition should be searching for the request while cross-examination continues.