Daniel Saunders ParadigmLast changed 6/17 4:07P UTC
I debated for four years at Andover Central high school, four years at Wichita State University (career was 2010-2018) and am an assistant coaching for Derby high school. As a debater, I have gone for K and policy arguments both. I spent my first and fourth years in college debating mostly policy stuff but my 2nd and 3rd year debating mostly K stuff. I believe it is important not to bring any arbitrary rules to judging a round and I am willing to evaluate the arguments as they are presented rather than according to some preconceived paradigm. With that said, I have a number of thoughts about debate that I default to and will do my best to lay out my potential biases.
General things - Talk as fast as you feel comfortable, I will say ‘clear’ if I can't understand you. The less clear you are, the more difficult it is for me to hear the warrants of your evidence which means I will give it less relative weight as the debate proceeds.
I really appreciate it when teams will front load their arguments by putting neat labels at the front of the explanation. Also, I'm really bad at catching author names so try to extend your evidence with some reference to the tag or warrants. Having a last name doesn't hurt but isn't really necessary. I am annoyed when a rebuttal sound more like a bibliography than a persuasive speech.
I try to review the minimal amount of evidence necessary to make my decision and won't give much credibility to warrants within evidence that weren't also extended in the rebuttals. The gist of what I'm saying here is I'm more interested in what you have to say than what your cards have say.
Charts have gotten really big recently which is good but if you think your evidence is awesome because it has a lot of charts, you should be prepared to explain what they mean and why they are good. Just having a chart in a card is not necessarily self-explanatory. Just like you have to explain your cards, you should have to explain your charts.
I believe the minimal threshold for the extension of an argument is a claim and warrant. I don't care if you think your opponent dropped something, a blip of the tagline doesn't count as extending it.
My body language isn't a reliable indicator of how I feel about your argument.
Prep time - Cross-ex is three minutes long. As soon as the timer goes off, you're entitled to stop answering the question. Please be cooperative and courteous in cross-ex. I absolutely hate it when it takes a whole minute to answer a simple question because someone is trying to show off how cool they are. If a team wants to take prep to ask more questions, the other team isn't obligated to answer those questions but can if they want to. I may stop listening after the prep time starts though.
Disadvantages and counterplans - There isn't really much to be said here. DAs and CPs are an essential component of negative strategy. Counterplan theory stuff is below.
I believe that if the negative wins a conditionality argument, I have the option of judge kicking a counterplan even if the negative doesn't make an argument. The status quo is always an option.
Framework vs Critical affs - my personal preference is that the affirmative team reads a topical plan.
I think policy teams that treat framework like T and go almost exclusively for procedural fairness are making a strategic mistake. Even if you are right that framework makes the game work, you also gotta tell me why playing that game is good. My preference is that you just have a defense of why policy debate is good because it produces some skills/subjectivities/education/etc which outweigh k offense.
However, if you have a very strong topical version of the aff, I tend to me more inclined to the purely procedural fairness version. In all other cases, you are advised to go for some type of education offense.
When executing a topical version of the aff, it is the negative's burden to show how it resolves the aff's offense rather than the aff's burden to show it doesn't. Just like when the neg introduces a counterplan, they have to show how the counterplan resolves each of the aff's advantages. The neg block is advised to have a fairly lengthy discussion of the TVA where they discuss what parts of the 1ac and 2ac they resolve and why. People act like its game-over unless the 1AR has 5 or 6 good responses. T version will probably solve some of the aff's offense but it is not a round-winner by itself. You should generally focus more on winning your education offense outweighs their business.
Theory/T - I hold the team being accused of a theory violation to a higher standard than your average judge. I feel like too often teams get away with extremely lazy or non-sensical defenses of conditionality or pics or whatever. Although reasonability versus competing interpretations is a debate you can and should have in front of me, I find myself more compelled by the competing interpretations side of things. Don't tell me about whether potential or actual abuse really occurred or not. It's not very persuasive. The better strategy is to tell me why your interpretation is better. The absolute most important argument in topicality debates is proving your intepret limits outs a certain kind of aff and those affs are bad or includes a certain kind of aff and those affs are good. Everything else are pretty trivial. The magnitude of abuse needed to justify a ballot for theory is relative and not absolute. Those thoughts apply to both topicality and counterplan theory. All that said, you have to be very thorough when going for a theory argument. Simply saying 'delay counterplans are cheating because time skew' is not enough.
Kritiks - framework - The most important move you can make in a K debate is have a clearly defined, well-defended framework argument that tells me what we are doing when we are debating. Are we comparing policy actions or are we comparing sociological theories of violence or are we comparing the effectiveness of political performances? If both teams win that their thing should be included (i.e. we should weigh plans and ontologies) it often results in impossible comparisons. How do I compare the benefits of a plan to the benefits of an ontology? Personally, I don't think that can be done. You should make sure your framework describes some role for the other teams stuff but a role that that allows for comparisons. Simply put, a neg framework argument that just says I should include ontology in my decision is useless. A neg framework that says I should exclude considerations of the plan in favor of exclusive ontological analysis is preferable. I have seen a lot of talented K debaters loss in front of me because they had an incoherent or non-existent framework argument. Don't let it happen to you.
Experience - In terms of literature, I am most familiar with Lacanian psychoanalysis, Marxism, & Deleuze but have passing knowledge of the basic arguments in most bodies of literature.
Perm - It is the aff's burden to explain why the perm solves the links rather than the neg burden to explain why it doesn't. I don't mean to say that the neg doesn't have to answer perms. You obviously should. But if the 2ac only says "perm do both" and the 1ar repeats the phase, I think of that as the same as a claim without a warrant. A better approach is to say "the perm solves link #1 [blah blah blah], the perm solves link #2," etc. Meanwhile, the neg is best served by explaining why their links are resilient to the perm rather than reading a list of generic perm DAs.