Gig Harbor Invitational
2019 — Gig Harbor, WA/US
Jeanne Blair Paradigm
Brian Coyle Paradigm
Nathan Edgar Paradigm
Scott Hess Paradigm
Nick Julian Paradigm
Tabula Rasa: If you don't say it, I don't flow it. Framework arguments do not automatically get flowed on my ballots as a priori unless you outline them as such and explain why they are a priori voters. Additionally, I will not do work for you on the ballot, meaning that if I find an argument you have made convincing but you do not reiterate it or bring it up as a voter I can't vote on it. Finally and most importantly: clarity is key. If I can't understand you, I can't vote for you. If I say "clear" or "slow" you MUST abide or lose the round. I ask that you show your opponents the same courtesy.
Kinda goes without saying, but overt/explicit bigotry of any kind (classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) will automatically forfeit my ballot.
Josiah King Paradigm
Chandra Le Paradigm
George Means Paradigm
Piper Ragland Paradigm
Paul Sealey Paradigm
Background: I competed for a couple years with no particular accolades. I judge Congress a lot. If you see me as a judge in a debate event other than Congress, consider me a smart lay judge with little to no understanding of conventions of your event.
Frankly, Congress is not as complicated as other debate events. You only get three minutes, and there aren't a ton of different ways to argue compared to other debate events. That said, this is how I will judge you in Congress:
-Content matters a lot to me. Lots of judges say they don't like rehash, but I really mean it. If you are the 5th speaker you should probably reference what other speakers are saying. If you are the 15th speaker, please don't pretend your points are new. Flow the round, weigh the values of both sides and argue why the values of your side are the most important of the round. If you have evidence that suggests that your side should win a value that the other side has tried to claim, explain why your side should get that claim over the other, rather than just stating that you do and expecting that to be undisputed. If your speech would work as an authorship and you are not the author, you're not debating. You're giving a 3-minute oratory. If you don't understand how to do that, go watch any PF round and you'll probably see a higher amount of debating than I see in Congress.
-How good of a speaker you are will matter. I probably value your speaking ability less than most Congress judges in Washington, but it still will play a factor in how high you score and rank. Even though we are (supposedly) debating legislation, you're doing it in the form of a persuasive speech, and so all speech conventions apply here.
-Ask good questions. It's by far the easiest way to recognize who is paying attention and understands what's going on in the room. Any question that will be really obviously answered with either a yes or no answer is probably not contributing much to the debate. Ask lots of why questions, especially when speakers should be answering them in their speeches and failed to do so.
-Don't just read off a piece of paper. At least try to make eye contact. I understand why novices do this. I don't understand why open competitors do. It doesn't really feel like you're paying attention if your "contribution" to the round is reading a prepared statement. If speaking from bullet points makes you stutter or lose your train of thought a lot, practice your speeches until it doesn't. I would rather you be a little less polished but be more adaptive and open to your chamber, as long as I can still understand what you're arguing.
-Don't try to be too smart. I see lots of debaters try to be smarter than everyone with their "unique" points that have minimal impacts and/or don't make any sense at all. There's plenty of room for imagination in Congress, especially considering how interesting flaws in legislation can be, but run your point by someone smarter than you before you give it in round.
-Don't be a jerk. I'm a pretty informal judge because that's who I am as a person. I think there's value in making your participation in this event reflect who you are and what you believe. But don't be so loose that you insult people, make racist/sexist/ableist/homophobic/transphobic/any kind of hateful or derogatory comments. I do believe there is room for debate to be fun and also to not be insulting. Don't attack people, attack arguments.
Meykia Smith Paradigm
Daniel Swanson Paradigm
Tiffany Wilhelm Paradigm
I'm primarily a flow judge. I value argumentation and weighing those arguments during crystalization in rebuttals. While I generally do not have an issue with speed, don't go there if you can't do it with clarity. It may be the best argument you've given in your life, but if I don't get it on my flow, it doesn't matter. I'm generally regarded as pretty expressive so look up every once in a while. Finally, I want you to write the ballot for me in the final rebuttals; give clear voting issues and tell me why you win each point.