Henry Curtis ParadigmLast changed 3/12 10:47P EDT
--This is my first major edit to my paradigm in, like, two years, so ask me questions before the round if there's anything here that doesn't make sense or I forgot.--
I debated four years of policy and one year of LD in high school from 2003 to 2008. I've been coaching LD since I graduated and I've been with Lexington for the past 5ish years. I'm also working on a PhD in philosophy (this doesn't mean what you think it means, see below).
General info/Speaker points stuff
--Run whatever you want to run as long as it isn't actively offensive. If you want a K debate, have a K debate. If you're looking for a values or stock debate, that's cool too. The space is yours, do what you want with it. There's stuff that I'm probably less good at judging than other people, but I won't drop you for running a specific type of argument unless, again, it's actively offensive.
--I'm 100% team tech over truth. A dropped argument is a true argument. That being said (and this applies generally as well), the dumber an argument is, the lower my threshold for a response is. So, while most arguments require actual, thought out responses, if you respond to "must concede after the AC" by just saying "no I don't", that'll count. So, don't drop stuff, but don't waste time on really bad arguments. If an argument is given without a warrant, it doesn't need as developed of a response.
--On that subject, warrants are cool too. I hate vague extensions, they bother me and that'll reflect in your speaker points. If you're extending a card, a theory shell, anything really, give me the warrant behind the card. What does the [evidence/shell/value/whatever] say, why is it right, and what does that have to do with my ballot? Better extensions and better storytelling mean better speaker points. Blippy extensions with no explanation require less to respond to because, as above, blippy extensions are bad arguments.
--I'm not the best at flowing. This matters less in a world of speech docs, but for stuff like detailed underviews (like cramming drop the debater, RVI, reasonability, and random evaluate theory after the 1AR spike into the same subpoint) or longer theory shells, slow down. No, seriously, slow down. I won't get all of the details, and then when you're posting me after the round about how I could have missed underview A, subpoint 3, as extended with random other thing on a totally different flow as defense somewhere else, I'll just say I didn't get it on the flow and we'll both be mad.
--I don't like doing work for debaters. Embedded clash is a nicer way of saying judge intervention. Don't make me do it. Offense weighing and comparison is probably the most important thing for me (and key to good speaker points). Don't just say why your stuff is good, say why your stuff is better/more important to my ballot than their stuff.
--Last thing for speaker points, the most important factor for me is strategy. If you make strategic arguments and there isn't anywhere where I think you should have done something different, then you'll get very high speaker points. Strategy is number one for me, but that gets weighed against not being a jerk in round, being funny, and being a good speaker. If you do everything perfectly but you're not a clear speaker, then you won't get a 30, but you'll still get above a 29.5. I'll say clear or slow if I need to, but if I say it a couple of times, then you should know what'll happen to your speaks. If I say clear, don't do that thing where you're clear for a couple of seconds and then just go back to how you were speaking before. Also, general rule of thumb, be loud. I don't hear stuff very well, so the louder you are the better. Don't scream at me, but you get the point.
--Email chains are cool, include me on them: firstname.lastname@example.org
--At least 80% of my neg ballots when I debated policy were on T. Love me a good T debate.
--General stuff: I default to competing interpretations, no RVI, drop the debater unless told otherwise. Also, general pet peeve, if you're going to tell me drop the argument and it isn't blatantly clear what argument I'm dropping, then tell me what argument I'd be dropping.
--RVIs need a little bit of work for me. You need to convince me why you get RVIs in the first place (RVIs are much more convincing against multiple shells or 7 off strats) and then actively identify what constitutes an RVI and why.
--1AR theory is fine-ish, but when a round turns into shell versus shell, it usually breaks down into incomprehensible nonsense and then I get sad and then I trash your speaker points. If it gets to this point, what makes me happy is offense comparison. This is usually easier if we're weighing between fairness and education voters, but if it's fairness v. fairness, then be super specific about why your opponent is being worse for fairness than you are. Compare offense, don't just extend yours. Alternatively, go meta and tell me why aff or neg theory comes first. Either way, don't ignore the other side of the flow, because then I have to do weighing for you and nobody likes that.
--I'll vote for disclosure shells, but the dumb argument vs. strength of response weighing from before applies here. If there's straight up nothing on the wiki and they're from a school where you'd expect something to be there, then fine. But if it's a small school non-circuit debater and/or your interp is "must disclose all speech docs, past 2NR strategies, and what they've had for lunch the past five days", then a lesser response is required.
--Generally speaking, if there's an obvious win on substance and a more difficult win on T or theory and you go for T or theory, I consider that a less than strategic move and it'll reflect in your speaker points.
--I was a policy debater after all, so I'm pretty comfortable with this kind of debate.
--Impact calc is your best friend. Good impact calc means good speaker points and typically is a tiebreaker if I want to avoid intervening. If I have a better understanding of why your impacts matter more than your opponent's, then you're probably going to win.
--This is a general thing, but I'll highlight it here and elsewhere, but extensions should include storytelling for me. Don't just extend the cards from the disad, explain the warrants and tell me how they link together into the story of the disad. Better extensions, better speaker points.
--So remember how I said that me being a philosophy PhD doesn't mean what you think it means? I study bioethics and general normative theory and have had any knowledge/appreciation of continental philosophy beaten out of me over the last 5 years. So, I'm actually not the best at evaluating super dense Ks, high theory, that sort of stuff. That being said, you can totally run it if that's your thing. However, you're going to ahve to take extra time for storytelling. What's going on in the K, what does the aff/res do that is bad, why should I care, and what do you do to make it better/different? So, don't avoid running Ks if that's your A-strat. Do what you do best. Just be good at it and we're fine. If you've grabbed a K from a teammate that you haven't seen before and don't know how to properly extend and explain, it probably won't go well and you should consider doing something else (this applies generally).
--Framework v. framework debates are almost as bad as theory v. theory debates in terms of incomprehensibility. So, do active weighing work. Why does your framework matter more? If your framework precludes, why? If they say their framework precludes, why doesn't it. If both frameworks preclude each other and I have no in-round way to determine whose actually does, we're all going to be upset.
--Role of the ballot/role of the judge is probably the single most important layer of the flow. I mean, you have the power to tell me what my ballot does. Use it to your advantage. If you win that the only thing I should care about is whatever the role of the ballot says I should care about, that's kind of a big deal. Use it to your advantage. On the other side of the flow, you really should spend time here if you're responding to a K.
--Totally fine with performances, but, and this also applies generally, weighing pre versus post fiat offense and why the performance itself matters is pretty important. This is another area where the role of the ballot is your best friend.
--Like I said, I'm usually pretty good about ethics frameworks since that's kind of what I do for a living. That being said, debate phil is 99% of the time waaaaaaayyyyyyyy different from academic phil. This is especially the case for K authors like Foucault, but also for Kant, Mill, Rawls, etc. So, you'll have a little more leeway with explaining evidence for something like a Kant framework, but you still need to do actual extensions and explanations.
Other miscellaneous stuff
--Again, if this is your thing, this is your thing so do it, but I'm generally not a fan of tricks. Most tricks arguments fall into the camp of bad arguments I describe above where a response of "nuh-uh" is sufficient. Again, if this is what you do, then do it, just be super clear about where stuff is located, both when you're reading it and when you're responding to stuff in c/x. Nothing is more infuriating than shifty c/x responses. Saying stuff like "lol I don't know what an a priori is" when it's pretty clear you do is an easy way to get your speaks docked. Don't be that person.
--In that regard, unless you legitimately don't know what the person is asking about, don't say "I don't know what that means". If you've been to camp or the TOC or on the circuit at all, I assume you at least have some understanding of what terms like pre-fiat or spike mean. That's being shifty and wasting c/x time and it's annoying.
--Flex prep is fine. To a lesser extent, so it using c/x time as prep if you want. It isn't a good look, but c/x time is your time to ask questions and use it strategically. Asking questions is generally better than not. Also, both c/x and flex prep are binding.
That's all I can think of for now, I'll try to be better about updating this more regularly. Again, if something here isn't clear or if you want to know more, find me at the tournament and ask or ask me before the round starts.