Ben Hanson ParadigmLast changed 9/14 5:44P EDT
I did PF for 4 years at duPont Manual in Louisville, Kentucky. Since graduating I’ve competed primarily in NFA-LD, impromptu and extemp at Western Kentucky University. Lately, I've been helping the Potomac School with coaching and judging.
Yes, add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org. But, if you haven’t ever used https://www.speechdrop.net you should check it out because it’s a lot easier for file sharing in round. Especially for the upcoming online tournaments, my preference would be to create a speechdrop room rather than an email chain.
I do my best to conflict any school/team that I've worked with before in tabroom. If there appears to be an issue with my conflicts before the round, please mention it before it's too late to fix.
TLDR: Do what you’re most comfortable doing, and I’ll do my best to evaluate it well. Will vote on the flow in 100% of situations where you do not blatantly misrepresent your evidence. Feel free to ask questions before the round.
- Tech > Truth when applicable but certain arguments have lower thresholds than others in terms of what’s required as a response.
- In each team’s last speech, it’s be helpful if you gave me a brief overview that frames my ballot and how to filter arguments in the round. Tell me which flows to look at first and why, otherwise I’ll pick whichever one I’m vibing with the most.
- Go as fast as you want, I promise I can keep up with you. That being said, I will call clear as many times as I need to if I can’t understand you. If I find myself excessively calling clear, I will dock speaks. Place extra emphases on enunciating author names clearly so I catch them on my flow.
- Publication dates matter, please have them (I’m looking at you, PF kids). If a publication doesn’t have a date, give me a date of access instead.
- No preference if you introduce evidence as “Hanson ‘20” or “Ben Hanson of Western Kentucky University in 2020.” However I expect author quals to be readily available if requested.
- Please feel free to go into the room, set up, and flip (if necessary) before I get to the round. I usually don’t run behind at tournaments, but in the event that I do I’d prefer to not hold the tournament up any longer than I already have.
- I flow on excel so don’t be caught off guard if I don’t look up from my computer much throughout the round. Also I don’t follow CX super closely so make sure to flag important concessions on the flow during your speech.
- I do my best to catch every author name on my flow, and unpopular opinion but I prefer if evidence is referred to by author names rather than tags for the purpose of my flow.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about my RFD after the round. I like to think of myself as a good judge, but at the end of the day I’m not afraid to admit that I miss things from time to time. I’ll do my best to defend my decision to you if there’s any concerns you have. - Death is probably bad and there’s a pretty high threshold to convince me otherwise.
- Second rebuttal has to respond to all offense, even though I’d prefer if they’d cover defense on their case in addition to turns. If it’s not in the summary, it shouldn’t be in the final focus.
- I like signposting. I haven't seen a lot of GREAT signposting in speeches this year. As such, many of my flows have become messy because teams aren't telling me where to write down arguments. In attempt to remedy this, I've decided to begin flowing PF like you'd expect someone to flow policy/LD. I'm going to begin keeping every contention on its own sheet (don't worry about the environmental impact of this, it'll still be in excel). What this means for you, if I'm judging you, is that I need you to clearly tell me when you're switching contentions (or flows) AND what sheets to make cross applications on or I'll most likely miss your arguments and they might not make it into my RFD. Also, when giving your offtime roadmap, don't just say "our case then theirs" or vice versa, tell me the order you'll be addressing the contentions in your speech. That allows me to order my sheets correctly, and will most likely benefit you in the round.
- Extra speaks for:
a) reading real cards instead of paraphrasing AND an email chain in the round (yes, both).
b) Full disclosure and a well organized wiki (show me after the round).
- Speed is fine. Speech docs preferred if you’re going to > 250 WPM (especially for online TOC). I don’t like speed as a weapon of exclusion, but I don’t find speed to necessarily be exclusionary in nature. If you have questions, ask before the round.
- Theory/K friendly. Attempt at your own risk - poorly executed tech arguments/under-explained postmodern kritiks of the world are less persuasive to me than solid, policy arguments that rely on hypothetical fiat. See the policy section of my paradigm for more specific notes.
- If your opponent calls for your evidence, I expect you to be able to find it in 45 seconds or less. If it takes you longer than 45 seconds to find a card I'm striking it from my flow and I'm not evaluating it. I’m also not a big fan of teams handing each other full PDFs instead of cut cards. Citations and quotes in context should be readily available if another team asks to see that evidence. If you don't have cut cards, I'll probably dock your speaks, and I’m open to voting on (and have voted on) theory arguments related to paraphrasing
I never did policy in high school, nor have I coached it in college; but, I still don’t think you shouldn’t strike me on face. In terms of argumentation, I think I would have no problem keeping up with an average HS policy round. I don’t know the topic well though, so keep that in mind. My biggest challenge as a judge is not knowing the event super well (what each speaker needs to do in the block, which speeches it’s ok to read new cards in, etc.) so make sure to point those sorts of things out in your speech if you think they’re important in deciding my ballot. Here’s my thoughts on various positions:
DA: Majority of my collapses in college debate. Very big fan of the politics DA. Econ DAs are cool but I’m an Econ major so if you explain the economy improperly I’ll probably be a little upset and dock a speak or two. Well executed topic DAs are always encouraged, but I don’t know the topic well so you might have to do a little more explaining on sheets you want me to vote on in the 2NR. The federalism DA is a slept on strategy, I’ll leave it at that.
CP: As long as it sufficiently resolves the majority of the affirmative’s offense and has a net benefit, I’ll vote on it. Condo is more than likely good for debate, and I personally believe the neg is entitled to one PIC + as many ADV CPs as the aff has advantages out of the 1AC (2 ADVs = 3 CPs, etc). I’ll vote on condo if it’s all the 2AR goes for, but substance is probably the better strat if that’s an option. Any CP theory besides condo is probably a reason to reject the argument not the team, but I probably could be persuaded otherwise.
Impact Turns: Dump the tub in front of me. Super willing to vote on dedev, spark or ice age if well executed. I’ve never given a 30, but I think I might be willing to finally give one out if the neg read nothing but impact turns in the 1NC and wins the flow.
T: Probably more likely than your average judge to pull the trigger on T. I default to fairness outweighs educations, and competing interps unless one team wins otherwise, so affs should have solid answers to limits and ground arguments. Your 1NC shell has to make sense - it must have clear standards and voters otherwise I’m skeptical of it getting blown up in the block. Don’t split the 2NR if you want me to vote on T - doing so is a high risk, low reward gamble.
Theory: I default to competing interps and drop the argument, but can evaluate differently if that’s how the debate plays out. Frivolous theory is bad for debate, please don’t waste our time on this in front of me. RVIs don’t make sense and I’m 99% sure I won’t vote on an RVI so I would avoid spending a lot of time on that in any of your speeches.
K: I have a lot less experience reading/evaluating these arguments than traditional policy arguments. I would say I have a very elementary understanding of the following authors/arguments: Culp, Marxist Materialism, Security, Set Col, Baudrillard, D&G. I’m certainly open to listening to anything outside of that scope, but make sure to make your argument super clear so I know what to vote on. Slow down in your overviews and tell me a story, don’t flash me a huge block of text and expect me to read the whole thing for myself during prep because I won’t. Teams that read poorly explained or vague Ks should probably strike me, you probably won’t get my ballot on these arguments and speaks will probably reflect my distaste for how these debates typically play out. Contextualizing the alternative is crucial to getting my ballot - I can’t vote for the K if I don’t understand what my ballot endorses.
K Affs - You have to be topical, but what constitutes a topical affirmative is up for debate. I’m probably a bigger fan of framework than your average judge, but I wouldn’t quite consider myself entirely a framework hack. Limits and ground are the most important standard arguments in my mind, and I really like TVAs vs affs that kritik the topic. As the neg, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and read something besides cap and framework. I’ve read topic DAs against non-T affs plenty of times, and would have no problem with you doing the same.
- See the policy section for my notes on specific arguments.
- My condo notes from policy don’t apply to high school LD. College LD has a 6 minute 1AR, and I already think that’s too short of a speech so I couldn’t imagine only having 4 minutes. I default to the negative is entitled to ONE conditional CP unless I’m convinced otherwise. I’m very open to voting on condo if the 1NC has 2+ advocacies in it.
- Less tab than your average circuit LD judge when it comes to theory. Don’t read dumb theory arguments in front of me please.
- I’m not familiar with skep, and from what I’ve heard about the argument I don’t really want to become familiar with it. If this is your go-to strategy, you should probably strike me.