Misa Stekl ParadigmLast changed 3/17 9:33A EDT
Emory '19 (not debating; 4th year judging)
Bishop Guertin '15 (national circuit; went to the TOC)
firstname.lastname@example.org -- please put me on the email chain
My favorite judges in high school were jon sharp, Calum Matheson, and Jarrod Atchinson.
In general, you should not change what you do because you have me in the back of the room. As a debater, I tended to be pretty flexible, alternating frequently between "critical" and "policy" positions. This is your space to argue, not mine, so I will vote for the arguments on the flow that yield the path of least intervention. Pure objectivity being impossible, I nonetheless do my best to keep my subjective argumentative preferences out of the picture. That said, I'm not quite a blank slate; for instance, I won't be persuaded by racism/sexism/etc. good, or by any unapologetically discriminatory positions or practices.
I’m pretty well versed in K lit – I'm a Philosophy and Comparative Literature double major, so I should have some degree of familiarity with whatever you choose to read. I'm an especially good judge for any brand of poststructuralism, including those concerned with questions of identity. Obviously, this doesn't mean that you can rely on buzzwords to get out of explaining your argument; it does mean, too, that I'll know if you have no idea what you're talking about. You should have at least a working knowledge of the position you are asking me to vote for, which requires you to do at least some cursory background reading and thinking. Then, bring your knowledge of critical theory to bear on the particulars of the aff, balancing overarching framing questions with specific link and impact analysis.
I'm not convinced that the aff must defend governmental action. Which is only to say that I will not enter the room with any dogmatic biases against plan-less affirmatives. That said, I probably enjoy a good framework debate more than most, and find myself voting for framework as often as I vote against it. Still, I don't think it should be your only strategy against all K affs; I will be more persuaded if you at least make an effort to substantively engage the aff. Of course, particularly obscure affs or those lacking a consistent advocacy will tend to be harder to defend against framework than core, topic-specific K affs.
***UPDATE September 2018: As I've judged more debates, I've become increasingly wary of framework as a default negative strategy against K affs. In my experience, framework very often becomes a lazy cop-out, even an excuse to avoid debating the substance of the aff. I can still be convinced that this is not always the case, and I will continue to evaluate framework debates technically, but it is on framework debaters to prove the value of their strategy.***
I think I tend to prioritize evidence quality less than most judges. Not that good cards aren't important – they're the pillars of your argument – but they can't replace good analysis. Depending on your argumentative genre of choice, it may be better to establish your position through evidence-reading or through your own explanation in the constructives; but in most cases, I'd rather you invest more time in nuanced and specific applications of your argument than read another card. In the final rebuttals, you absolutely shouldn't rely on your cards to do the work for you – extensions should be much more substantive than simple author name-drops. If you can't explain your author's argument, as well as its implications for the debate, I won't explain it for you.
Clear! I'll take clarity over speed any day. You should be comprehensible enough that I can understand the text of your cards. I will not call for cards after the debate if I was unable to understand them when you read them; I only read evidence for the sake of refreshing my memory.
Chill out. While antagonism is inevitable in this competitive forum and may even enhance debates in limited doses, I maintain that debaters too often take aggression to unhealthy extremes. Outside of a small number of "critical" strategies that benefit performatively from hostility, there is no reason to deliberately be an asshole to the other team, or – especially – to your partner (!!seriously!! if I can hear you yelling at your partner during prep time, you're doing something wrong). Jokes can also help ease the tension.
Speaks – Points vary by tournament (i.e. I'll give higher points at Samford than at the NDCA). Generally speaking, I'm a bit of a point fairy. Methods for improving your speaks include innovative, specific strategies and clear logical organization. Humor is the icing on the cake.
30 – Among the best speakers I’ve ever heard: you should be top speaker and win the tournament. A+
29.5-29.9 – Outstanding: expect to be one of the top 5 speakers – you should be able to make it to late elims. A
29-29.4 – Very impressive: a noteworthy performance with quite little room for improvement; you deserve to be among the top 20 speakers. A-
28.6-28.9 – High average: you are in or near the top of your division; with any luck – and, more surely, with just a little more practice – you should be able to break. B/B+
28-28.5 – Average: you're doing well, but still need to iron out some remaining issues with your clarity of speech or of argument. B-
27.5-27.9 – Low average: you have potential, but displayed: a) notable problems with both speaking and argument development, or b) more serious problems in one of the two areas. C/C+
27-27.4 – Below average: your performance was passable, but suffered from critical issues of both style and content. C-
26.5-26.9 – Needs improvement: you spoke poorly, made major strategic mistakes, and likely dropped some important arguments. D
26-26.4 – Needs major improvement: you failed to answer a majority of your opponent’s arguments and made some manner of unforgivable mistake. D-
0-25 – You did something offensive. F
Clipping will result in an immediate loss and the lowest speaks allowed by the tournament. I will follow along with the speech doc and record the debate; if I catch you clipping, I will stop the round you even if your opponent doesn’t call you on it.
This is not, in fact, your CX.
** Update March 2019: YES TKO PLEASE TKO! Far too many debates drag on painfully long after they (should) have technically ended. For this reason, I am following B. Manuel's paradigm and urging you to invoke "total knock-out" mode if the other team makes an utterly irredeemable mistake – e.g., double turn, dropped T or a K, etc. Of course, you must stake the round on this; if you can pull it off (i.e., if you can satisfactorily extend the dropped/devastating argument while covering all your bases, e.g., answering condo if going for a dropped K...), then you will win the round after your speech and receive 30s. If you are unsuccessful, you lose and get a hard cap of 27.5. **