email chain email@example.com
I've been competing and/or coaching in various speech and debate events since 2011. My primary experience is with policy (national circuit/toc, tfa, and regional/local traditional circuits) and parli (npda/npte). I judge almost every weekend, and I spend a lot of time in debate since it is essentially my full-time job, so I am relatively up-to-date on debate trends and norms, as well as discussions of the criminal justice topic. I typically judge ~50+ rounds a year.
I don’t have any predispositions regrading the content, structure, or style of your arguments. I will defer to evaluating the debate through an offense/defense paradigm absent a team winning an argument for me to evaluate it another way. Clear impact weighing in the rebuttals and evidence/warrant comparison are typically what I notice in teams I enjoy judging.
I attempt to be a ’technical’ judge in every round I watch. I try to keep a detailed flow, and use my flow to evaluate the round that happened. If the flow doesn’t decide a clear winner, I will then look to the quality of evidence/warrants provided. I tend to find I’m less interested in where an argument in presented than others. While clear line-by-line is always appreciated, some of my favorite debaters to watch were overview-heavy debaters who made and answered arguments in the debate while telling a persuasive story of the debate. I would rather you sound organized and clear than following a template throughout each flow.
I will most likely not vote on ‘independent voting issues’ unless it’s an egregious instance. This is separate from ethics concerns, like cheating, card clipping, etc. I am not persuaded by claims that I should evaluate the entirety of the debate based upon a single argument on my flow. Particular rhetorical abuses, such as racist, sexist, transphobic remarks are a different story, and I will hold those to much higher scrutiny than a claim that I should decide a whole debate because the 2ac read a severance perm.
Instead of framing debates through ‘body counts’, I am much more persuaded by framing as ‘who saves the most lives’, or who has the best advocacy for change. Sometimes debaters talk about claims of very real violence and problems for various communities with little regard to the real world implications of their political advocacies.
I tend to prefer specific plan texts over vague plan texts. I also like specific internal link claims and impact scenarios. Specific instances of war are more persuasive to me than ‘goat power war’ claims.
counterplans, disads, & case turns
I would prefer you read at least once piece of solvency evidence per plank in the 1nc. Obviously that’s not a hard rule, but I will hold CPs that read multiple planks with no evidence in the 1nc to much higher scrutiny than a sufficiently developed 1nc shell.
I tend to lean neg on most CP theories. Obviously, the debate is to be had, but I am generally more persuaded that the negative should get access to most CPs and conditional advocacies. Specific claims about instances in-round to generate offense in these debates is much more persuasive than generic standard debates. I am more willing to vote on reject the argument than reject the team.
I find I am more willing to judge-kick in the 2nr than most judges, but think this is still a debate that needs to be had. The 2nr must have a persuasive reason for me to judge kick, and the 2ar can still win that I ought not judge kick.
Uniqueness guides the direction of the link. I like robust development of each level of the debate for disads and case turns, while telling a clear story about the thesis of the disad. I decide the probability of your impact based on the link and internal link level of the debate, and find that often times 2nrs are lacking on this level of the disad flow.
I think the impact turn is a lost art and have a special place in my heart for them. The same is to be said for developed case turn debates.
To me, the best kritiks are the ones that clearly identify a theory of power or possesses some sort of a structural analysis. I am most persuaded by specific historical examples and a clear alternative that frames what my ballot does.
The link level of the debate tends to be the most important in my making my decision at the end of the round. I like developed link blocks, and think that the aff often times doesn’t adequately handle the link section of the debate.
In reformism v revolution debates, I prefer explanations that pinpoint why the conditions of the status quo are the way they are, and can best explain casualty for violence. This is where historical examples become especially important, and where warrant comparison becomes paramount.
I think permutations in the 2ar that attempt to prove the alt is not functionally competitive are not nearly as persuasive as arguments in the 2ar that the aff is in the direction of the alt. A heg aff probably cannot go for a perm against anti-blackness, but an aff that is a step towards the same telos of the alt can.
Affs will usually win that they can weigh their aff, but I am typically not persuaded by framework arguments that attempt to tell me not to evaluate the k. I think the same is also true for the negative. Instead, I think the framework portion of the debate should tell me what my ballot does and how I should frame my decision given the context of the round.
'clash of civilization' debates
I've been seeing a lot of these debates recently, so I figured it was worth adding a section with a bit more tailored to these debates.
In these debates, warrant comparison is paramount. Rebuttals that are just extending state good/bad or reformism good/bad arguments without doing any interaction with the flow is a common mistake I see in these debates. Ideally, your arguments for this level of debate also have terminalized and developed impacts as well. The best debaters in these debates typically are those who use their evidence/examples to implicate the specific warrants the other team is extending.
Links should be explained as disadvantages to the permutation with impacts developed and extended for them. I need the 2nr to be doing more work on the permutation than just extending the link level; this isn't to say you cannot or should not extend them as disads to the perm (I think you probably should), but simply saying the phrase isn't enough to prove mutual exclusivity. I appreciate a really well developed and implicated link wall.
I would much rather not have my ballot decided by the framework level debate. Engaging the substance is very much so appreciated in these debates. Obviously this doesn't influence any debates I watch, but I tend to believe that the aff should get access to their 1ac and the neg gets to weigh their impacts against it; fiat is illusory isn't reason enough for me to moot the 1ac, and just because it's a K doesn't mean your 1ac was necessarily mooted. but again, grain of salt, do you.
A lot of these rounds are decided on which team wins their theory of power or governance, and rebuttalists that are using historical and contextual examples are typically those who win these debates. The more specific the examples throughout the debate, the better spot you will probably be in to get my ballot.
Instead of telling me what your alt does, tell me how I can do your alt. I love references to other movements, specific actions I can take, and what the telos or the vision of your alternative is; I do not like you telling me in the abstract what the alterative means. Don't try to explain the words of the alt to me, tell me what the alt means with specific warrants for how the alt can resolve the links and/or the aff.
The 2ar needs to be finding ways to extend and terminalize offense that exists outside solving the aff. If your offense on the K only relies on your ability to solve your aff in the 2ar, it tends to not bode well for the aff. Reformism/state good offense that isn't just 'we solve the aff, the aff is a good idea', or terminalized impact turns or disadvantages to the alternatives can be really useful in close 'clash' debates.
If the 2ar is going for a permutation, I must know what the world of the permutation looks like with some explanation of the solvency mechanism for the perm and why the alt is not mutually exclusive.
Competing interpretations just tells me to evaluate offense vs defense, which is what I am most likely going to do. I think reasonability tells me that even if they win the their impact claims (the standards), they haven’t won the link debate (the interp debate) because we meet/are close enough to the interp. Because I view T debates this way, I like clear and developed standard debates that clear isolate impact claims.
Case lists, TVAs, examples of affs that would violate, etc. are all useful because they help me situate your interp within the topic. These are all terminal defense, so you won’t necessarily win a debate with them alone, but they are persuasive.
Interp comparison is really useful as well. Debating the quality of interps is a lost art and can generate offense in the standard level as well.
I don’t think that the aff has to win a specific counter interp in K aff v FW debates, but rather a counter model for debate. I like these debates that break down the skills gandered from each model of debate, and use them to generate offense. Arguments like fairness claims, or claims that framework is inherently violent aren’t persuasive to me. Standards about portable skills, research, advocacy, etc. that tell me the tangible benefits of your model serve best on either side because I think helps frame what sort of method my ballot is endorsing.