Bennett Eckert ParadigmLast changed 10/11 7:24A UTC
Updated for St. Mark's 2019.
I coach Greenhill, and I'm conflicted from Harrison.
 I think that the most recent "Nebel T" article is really good. I'll judge debates about this argument like any other debate, but it seems like a lot of people have come to think that "Nebel T" is preposterous or can easily be brushed off in the 1AR, and I do not think that either of those things are true.
 I am not doing a lot of topic research for SepOct 2019, so you should not expect me to know acronyms/history of the topic/things like that. Err on the side of over-explaining arguments that are deep in the topic literature.
Things to know
 I saw a lot of miscut evidence last year. I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. This year, if I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.
I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:
it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.
text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),
the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,
the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut] [also, I think that highlighting only part of a word is the same as bracketing - if you highlight only part of a word, then the word you read is not what the author wrote],
the cite lists the wrong author or article title (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).
If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.
If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)
If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will make an effort to contact your coach/the adult with you at the tournament and let them know before I announce the decision.
I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.
Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.
 If a debater says that a piece of evidence is miscut in round and their opponent clarifies that they are making an "evidence ethics challenge" (and the former person confirms that they want to make a challenge), the debate ends. I will read all of the relevant stuff and then make a decision. Whoever is correct on the evidence ethics challenge wins the debate. The loser will get the lowest speaks I can give.
In lieu of an evidence ethics challenge, I am also ok with asking your opponent to just strike the cards from the doc/cross them off the flow in cx and have the rest of the debate but calling a challenge if they refuse to do so (this is noble but not required). You could also make arguments about why misquoting is bad, but I'm compelled by a response that basically says "call an ethics challenge or don't make the argument; we'll stake the debate on it." Indeed, I think that if you make an evidence ethics argument, you should be willing to stake the debate on it. If you don't stake the round on it, you'll still win (if they committed the evidence ethics violation), but your speaks will be worse than they otherwise would have been.
 I do not flow author names.
 I have no interest in judging debates about bad theory arguments. They are bad, boring, and pointless. If you make an exceptionally terrible theory argument, I just won't vote on it. This doesn't apply to many arguments. For example, arguments that are fair game are CP theory, plans good/bad, some spec args, AFC good/bad, etc. This is only meant to exclude really awful arguments like "neg may only make 2 arguments," "must spec CP status in speech," "must read an explicit standard text," "must contest the aff framework," and "must spec what you meant when you said 'competing interps.'" Good theory debates are awesome and fun to judge and strategic theory is fine, but theory debates about arguments this bad are honestly just not worth my time.
 I value explanation a lot. I've found that I vote aff in a lot of debates in which the neg goes for a ton of arguments, each of which could be a winning 2NR but end up getting very under-explained. I have also voted for a lot of debaters whose evidence is not amazing but who give very good explanations/spin for that evidence. The best debaters I've seen collapse in rebuttals, give overviews, and weigh.
 I am unlikely to be convinced that something categorically outweighs something else (e.g. .01% risk of extinction outweighs, fairness outweighs everything no matter what, etc.). Your weighing arguments should be contextual/comparative.
 I have difficulty piecing together debates in which the 2NR reads a very long overview but doesn’t mention how arguments in the overview interact with 1AR arguments. To avoid me having difficulty, you should either do most of your work on the line-by-line or flag which parts of the overview answer which aff arguments.
 I often read a lot of cards after debates. When I look at cards after the debate, I am generally looking for a few things. [a] Does the card say what the tag says? How explicitly does it do so? Is the card specific to the claim being made in the tag? [b] Does the argument in the card match the explanation/extension of the card? [c] Is the argument in the card good?
 I really enjoy good T, policy-style, theory, and K v. policy aff debates. I’ve found that I normally do not like “philosophy”/ framework debates because they tend to involve bad mis-explanations of moral theories, cards cut out of context, and general trickery/tomfoolery. Paraphrasing Travis Fife: If you actually read moral/political philosophy and apply it to debate in a way that’s true to the literature, I might be a great judge for you. If you use moral theory as an excuse for engaging in trickery/obfuscation and making implausible normative claims, I am a very bad judge for you (and you should stop doing that).
 I have voted for T/framework against K affs more often than I have voted against it. When I vote neg in T/FW debates, I normally vote on skills-type impacts and topic education impacts, and I almost never vote on "fairness is an intrinsic good." When I vote aff in these debates, I normally think that the aff has done something to mitigate the neg's impact (e.g. a counter-interpretation that solves, link/impact defense) and won a good-size piece of offense for their counter-interpretation. I think the aff in these debates needs to have a counter-interpretation and should prove that that counter-interpretation is better than the neg interpretation.
 I have a poor understanding of high theory. I will of course vote on it, but I won't vote on something that I cannot coherently explain, so the bar for explanation is pretty high. In general, you should not assume I am well-read on the literature you’re reading unless it’s contemporary analytic ethics. I have found that slowing down, collapsing, and giving examples all enhance my understanding of arguments made in rounds.
 I am very unlikely to vote on a "risk of offense" argument on theory. I'm inclined to think that the debater initiating theory has to generate a real/substantial advantage to their interpretation that I could describe without using the term "risk of offense".
 “Reasonability” means to me that the person answering theory need only meet a “reasonable” interpretation, rather than the optimal interpretation. “Reasonability” does not mean to me: “evaluate just whether our particular aff should be allowed,” “only demonstrated/in-round/whatever-you-call-it abuse matters,” or “we may ‘reasonably meet their interpretation.’”
I think that reasonability is most persuasive against theory arguments with a very small impact. The best arguments for reasonability argue that requiring debaters’ practices to meet a certain (reasonable) standard, rather than requiring them to meet the optimal standard, produces the best debates. Generic “competing interps is bad” arguments are not great args for reasonability.
 Please slow down on theory arguments, especially if you don't put them on their own pages. If you read theory args at the same speed that you read cards, I almost certainly won't get down everything that you want me to.
 I'm not interested in listening to call-outs of or jabs at other schools, debaters, coaches, etc. E.g. I don't want to hear "[School X] always does this!" or "Of course [Debater Y] is going for [argument]!" Lines like these do not help illustrate your argument at all, make the debate uncomfortable to judge, and are often just mean/uncalled for.
Things I Won't Vote On
Oppression good (if you concede that your position entails that oppression is good, then your position is that oppression is good)
Awful theory args
I will give speaks based on how well I think you should do at the tournament. I also give higher speaks to reward strategies and arguments that I think are good/enjoyable to listen to/generally fun.
Here's a rough scale of how I'll give speaks:
30 = you should win everything. I've given one 30 and one 29.9. I would have given a 30 to the person to whom I gave a 29.9 if they had put topicality in the 1NC.
29.5-29.9 = you should be in late elims
29-29.5 = you should clear
28.5-29 = you should be on the bubble
27.5-28.5 = average
26.5-27.5 = you made some important strategic errors/lacked a clear strategy
<26.5 = I found something about this debate very annoying
Just disclose, ok? If you don't meet some minimum threshold for disclosure (the Greenhill tournament disclosure policy requires what I consider the minimum acceptable disclosure) and your opponent reads disclosure theory, then you're going to lose.
The aff must tell the neg what aff they're going to read unless it's a new aff.
At the Greenhill RR/tournament I am going to adjudicate disputes about the disclosure policy exclusively on the basis of who I think is correct. Both debaters can say their piece/explain the situation but I will not decide these disputes "on the flow." To be clear, I'll still evaluate arguments like "must disclose full text/open source/etc." like other normal theory arguments. But I will decide disputes about the disclosure policy such as those about: lying about what the aff said, whether someone didn't disclose tags/cites/whatever, whether someone waited too long to disclose, etc. based on what I think about the disclosure policy. I will not listen to debates about whether the disclosure policy matters/how it's worded/whether your school doesn't have a wiki (you should have foreseen this problem)/how bad the wifi is/etc. If you have questions about how I interpret the disclosure policy, feel free to ask me whenever.
The wiki goes down during the Greenhill tournament. When it does, both debaters should make an effort to contact each other to disclose.
People that have influenced my views on debate