Tanzil Chowdhury Paradigm

Last changed 1/6 11:15A MST

Update 1.6.2020:

Seeing as how we're in a new decade, I'll take this as an opportunity to update my paradigm. I think I've come to the conclusion that much of what's written below is not particularly useful to debaters, so I'm going to try to simplify here -- the "old" paradigm is still about 90% true, but what's up here should overrule anything down there if there's a direct tension.

Functional Tidbits: Prep time ends when the email is sent out or the flash drive leaves the computer, unless you are a novice, in which case please just do your best to be speedy with your technology. I will not disclose until your wiki is updated. My speaker point baseline is 28.7, which means that if you are somewhere between 3-3 and 4-2 and sounding pretty alright that's the sort of score you'll get. I won't look at your speech doc/cards during your speech, and will not look at them at all unless i am a) explicitly asked to and/or b) feel as though I cannot make my decision without looking at them because some unresolved question about the evidence remains at the end of the debate. I generally flow straight down an excel sheet on my computer and do the work of lining things up as I make the decision, unless something is very clearly flagged (which I do appreciate). I make decisions quite quickly in many situations, though this usually is not a signal that the debate was not close -- it's more that I am constantly evaluating the quality of arguments at every point in the debate, and usually things clear up re; argument quality well before the 2NR/2AR. Please do take notes as I give my RFD, there's not really a point in my spending time to explain my decision and give feedback if you won't write it down. I love to hear questions from the debaters afterwards. Send speech docs and questions to tanzil.chowdhury98@gmail.com

Actual Paradigm: I don't think that I believe anything that is radically different from any other competent policy debate judge out there, so for the most part I'm good for you on most any strategy or style of argumentation -- everything except that which is outright offensive is equally valid in a vacuum. There are a few specific places where my opinion may differ from others, so I'll try to outline those for you below.

a) I have a very hard time voting for fairness as an intrinsic impact on Framework. Winning that debate is a game does not automatically make you win that fairness is an intrinsic good; "debate is a game" is a descriptive claim that very well may be true, but framework is a debate about competing models, meaning that the prescriptive claim "debate ought not be a game" will almost always beat that. Given that every (competent) 2AC to framework will say that, you're better off just defending why your model of debate is a good thing if you're the negative, usually meaning that it is a more educational model.

b) The thing I appreciate most during the rounds I judge is the ability for teams to make clear decisions and then communicate those decisions to me. It shows me that you have the ability to understand the debate as more than just a series of disconnected arguments and that you have considered the strategy of what you are saying before you say it. As such, I am very much against the concept of the judge-kick. This is usually a big problem during Kritik debates; I will never kick the alt "for you", and in a situation where the alternative is not explicitly kicked, I will evaluate the debate as Aff v. Alt. This means that even if you win a significant risk of a link and impact, I will still likely vote for the affirmative in the absence of an alternative which can resolve that link. The reasoning behind this is debate 101: the alternative exists to provide uniqueness for the link, and I cannot vote for a non-unique DA. To be clear, I'm totally for you kicking the alt and establishing the uniqueness in some other way, if you think that is the best strategic move.

c) For K debaters, being "wrong about the theory" is offense, assuming there's at least a bit of impact work done on the consequence of being wrong about the theory. What this means is that in debates where there is a high-level theoretical basis for your opponent's arguments (i.e. for certain flavors of afropessimism, "anti-blackness is ontological"), you ought draw clear lines of comparison between your theoretical disagreement with that claim (i.e., your analysis of anti-blackness concludes that it is not-ontological and is instead [insert position here]).

d) Ethos and Pathos matter in my decisionmaking, the former generally moreso than the latter, though not by much. I'm a big believer in the idea that the way you choose and execute your arguments at every point in the debate is constitutive of your "ethos" as debaters. To be clear, I don't mean this in the sense of a personal judgment of the debaters, but rather in the sense that your ethos and ethic(s) are inherently intertwined. It shouldn't be a controversial statement that judging is done based on the way the debaters formulate ethics, so obviously one's ethos must then also play a role in the decision.



the tldr: i'm fine with pretty much anything, debate(d) a mix of k and policy in hs and college, won't do work for you, don't do anything explicitly racist/sexist/etc. or ill ruin your speaks/drop you. For Varsity, prep ends with the email is sent or the flash drive leaves the computer. For Novices, I won't count it as prep, but PLEASE learn how to use your computers so we don't run into nonsense. other than that, im an open book in the open-est sense. objectivity doesn't exist, so don't underestimate the power of making me want to vote for you using non-logos appeals. don't be boring if you don't have to be.


Background: i debated @ chandler high (go wolves) for four years and currently debate at arizona state (the university rated number #1 in innovation by the US News World Report, ahead of Stanford and MIT, forks up!). I've pretty much always been a 1A/2N, was a 2A/1N for a while, and now I have no clue what I am. Around 60% of the affs I read in high school were non-topical K affs (though never anything that was high theory), and the rest were a mix of middle-of-the-road and straight up policy affs. In high school I usually took T, DA's, CP's etc. in the 2NC and usually gave my partner the K, but that's the opposite of what I did in college as a 2N. Against K affs i was the guy that always went for Framework x Cap, and against policy affs i went like 7-off. Basically, just a lot of proof that im fine with everything. Currently (un)interested in Alain Badiou, nanomaterials (am I just writing this to convince myself that I enjoy my major? you decide), and why my daily commute is so goddamn alienating.

Speaker Points: I start at a 28.3 (3-3 quality if that helps) and I go up and down from there. I'll never go below a 27 unless you do something that's either breaking rules, being ridiculously mean, being an asshole to me (please don't post-round me, i'll tell on you).

DA's: Anything goes, not much to say here. Probably won't vote for a DA by itself (i did this once and it was a bad idea) unless you have some real good turns case arguments.

CP's: I read a PIC in high school that replaced "USFG" with "United States politicians, bureaucrats, and military personnel". I'm okay with anything.

K's: I like K's, as long as you can justify why you're reading it -- though I suppose that should be the case with every argument. Link explanation is TANTAMOUNT. If it's clear to me that your link is the same generic link you read against everything, and you dont do any contextual explanation work, I'm gonna have a hard time voting for you. My biggest pet peeve about K debates though (and about a few other judges in particular) is that I WILL NOT DROP THE ALT FOR YOU. If you get to the 2NR and you want to go for the K as a case turn, please explicitly kick out of the alt. If you do not, I weigh the round as Alt v. Aff, and if you do like 10 seconds of alt explanation at the bottom of the 2NR, well, you lose. The 2NR is all about decisions, so please make a decision with how you want the K to look at the end of the debate, and make that decision clear to me. My personal thoughts on the K are outlined well here by the Mustachio'd Menace himself. Do yourself a favor and read it.

T: T's cool. T in my mind is the same as any other argument just with different terminology, meaning that the violation is just a link and the standards are just impacts. Slow down on uncarded things/tags though, just so I can keep my flow clear.

Framework: "When I walked into my first debate practice, they didn't hand me a rule book" - LaToya Green. Debate does not inherently have any rules, so theoretical framework is just an argument trying to convince me as a judge to adopt a rule for the debate round. If you don't do a good job telling why debate should be constrained to whatever definition you want me to constrain it to, I will default to the interpretation that debate has no rules and the aff will stand. Know the difference between theoretical framework arguments and substantive ones (theoretical being things like fairness, decisionmaking, simulation good, policy education good and substantive being policy debate good for x movement of the aff, institutional engagement k2 solving aff etc), and clearly delineate them so your framework arguments as a whole are cohesive. All that being said, if the aff doesn't make sense to me, my threshold for voting on framework goes way down, but probably don't count on that as a way to win framework. Personally, I prefer the substantive framework args, especially if you do some tricky stuff with cross-apps to case or with TVA's/CP's. I'll listen to most anything, though. In most recent debates I've been in where framework has featured, it seems like most teams really think that "debate is a game" is enough explanation for why fairness is an intrinsic impact; it very clearly is not. Even if you win that debate is a game, you have not necessarily won that debate should be a game, and because framework is a question of what debates should look like, well, you lose. It could just be that poor quality of debating, but I can't remember the last time I voted for fairness as an intrinsic impact -- you can try to buck that trend, of course, but it's probably more strategic forget fairness and talk about other impacts to framework OR that fairness is the internal link to something else.

Theory: Generally cool with theory. Condo's fun. You can probably keep the same reading speed while going through your standards, but being clear with a short pause and/or a loud "AND" when switching to the next standard makes it much easier for me to flow, and thus less likely I'll miss your arguments. Becoming increasingly fond of wiki/disclosure theory (still not my favorite thing in the world), and I'll be quick to vote if there's some hijinx going on with how you disclose before the round to try and give yourself a competitive advantage. RVI's are a no-go for me, pal; I get them in LD, but in Policy you have more than enough time to actually answer stuff that there's really nothing you're losing that you couldn't fix by just being a bit more efficient. Sorry.

Other: debate is meaningless in the end, so please don't take it too seriously and get too competitive. the only bad experiences i had in debate were when people thought they were superior for whatever reason and let it show; don't be that person. it's a place to learn and have fun with some cool people, so i try to maintain that in every round that im judging. have a good time, this is a rewarding activity regardless of if you win or not. for my sake and yours, try your best to not make the round boring. while I try my best to judge rounds in the way debaters expect me to (whatever that may mean), i thoroughly believe that the way judges decide are fundamentally random (i.e. I could have sat in shit earlier in the day and that changes the way I decide since im mad that I sat in shit). If your strength is the technical/traditional way of debating, all power to you, but don't underestimate your opponent's willingness to be experimental. logical appeals aren't the only way to convince someone something is true, and if your opponent does a better job convincing me to judge based on how i feel rather than how i evaluate things "objectively", don't be upset that I go in that direction. Conversely, if you're that type of debater, feel free to do some weird shit as long as you think it'll work (don't make me cringe lol); it's a high-risk/high-reward move that I encourage you to try out if you want something fresh. I've gotten in the habit of flowing each speech straight down since nobody does particularly clear line-by-line anymore, but I'll match things up on the flow when I'm deciding (idk how this changes how you give speeches, but do with this info what you will). I also do not have a good poker face and make a lot of odd faces while judging, sorry if that freaks you out but i can't particularly control it; read the faces at your own peril. For speaker points bonuses you can do one of two things: 1) Make a *good*, contextual reference to bob dylan and/or young thug, 2) make a *good* joke about one or more of the following people: izak dunn's mustache, manav sevak, nikpreet singh, jinnie xie, alyssa hoover, elyse kats, or rohit rajan. I don't write much on my ballots (unless it is an important round that I force myself to evaluate for longer than may be necessary, or a round that actually does warrant a longer, written-out RFD) but I give very thorough commentary after the round and I want you to ask me questions and write down the things that I say, or else there's really not a point to me or you being there.

For the other debates:

Having had to coach one lad in LD for the past year, I've developed some thoughts on the activity that may be relevant to you, if for some reason you have to deal with the perils of having me as a judge. For what it's worth, if both of the debaters have agreed to run the round as the mutated, gross, slug-like abomination you all refer to as "progressive" (it really means anything but! words mean things!) debate, then effectively everything in the above section applies to you. Everything in the "Other" section likely applies to your regardless of how you debate. If not, the following is what you should keep in mind: LD's value lies precisely in its form, and while that form may shift (I certainly am not some sort of reactionary that believes you ought to lose if you don't tell me your Value, your Value Criterion, and remember to say "Thus I affirm/negate" at the end of your speeches), we ought to understand why that form existed in the first place, and how such forms color the way we debate things. What this means for you LDers is that you should not shy away from the central question of your event: ethics. It is upon the question of ethics LD (and all debate, really) lies, and to act as if you don't have an ethic (you most certainly do), or to obscure your ethic (which you all seem to have a great penchant for doing), is to shy away from any of the value of this activity. And this is precisely why the form of LD has existed as such (it's my view that what we call "the K", or at least its central questions, has existed in LD since LD's inception), with defenses of the whole resolution, with the Values and Value Criterions, with every case beginning with a Framework etc. I know you may feel that it is strategic to treat this as a one-person policy debate, and it very well may be in many cases, but that is just because you decided to make the switch before truly getting a grasp on why the activity has been as it is for so long. Tell me, what is the value of reading the K as an "off-case" position when the traditional case-structure already has the in-built mechanisms for making the criticisms you want to make? Of course this is rhetorical, and the answer I believe to be true is that it is cowardice. Stop being cowards. Take a stand upon your ethics (even if they are the conventionally boring ethics of our Kants and our Humes and our Benthams, that purely English phenomenon himself [speaker point bonus if you know who called Bentham a purely english phenomenon]) and tell me why I as a judge should stand upon the same grounds you have chosen to stand on. And I bet (after a year of teching unsuspecting folks down on this very question when they did not expect it) that you will find competitive success in doing so.

I really don't understand this activity. I don't think it's possible for me to have any sort of stable, objective, or predictable method of judging PF because I'm not really sure if PF debate exists (I suppose I'll decide to explain what I mean by this as I'm writing the rest of this section, or maybe it will just become evident, though it likely does not mean what you think it means). To be fair, I don't think I have that for any form of debate really, but it's especially erratic when dealing with your lot. I suppose you should just do what you do, but I really have a low, low, LOW tolerance for inane stupidity, which is what I've had to deal with in the PF rounds I have had the displeasure of judging thus far (except one, which was surprisingly very good for a novice debate). If Policy and LD suffer from an over-reliance on the logical appeal, PF has the opposite problem where the logical appeal is so rarely used (and I know you all believe yourselves to be making such appeals, you just aren't actually doing so) that the debate is just nothing-speak for whatever ridiculously short amount of time (the only redeemable aspect of this activity) you all are allotted to torture me with. So, all I ask is that you speak of something, and when you speak of something, you are referring to something that is not totally positioned in a fantasy dreamt up in the empty space of your brain in that moment. As such, do not say things like: "Islamic Terrorism kills millions of people every day", or "THAT IS YOUR BURDEN TO ANSWER" when it is clearly not, or [insert overtly racist comment about Black people here that you, for some reason or another, do not believe to be racist]. Instead, make significant reference to the authors that supposedly (I write supposedly because more often than not, there is absolutely no care for evidence in this activity) provide the warrants and data for your arguments, and by reference I mean that in the direct, verbatim sense, because in all likelihood they know far more than you do about whatever it is you're talking about this month, and they can say it in a much better way than you can. There is a reason the other forms of debate are so reliant on the "card" (pieces of evidence cut as needed), and it is because they realized a long, long time ago that having vague name-drops and out-of-context quotes plopped into a poorly-written 10th grade English paper does not a good debate make. All forms of communication require a mutual intelligibility, some level of stable ground upon which those doing the communicating can stand upon and hurl their signs, and hopefully that which those signs signify, at one another in the hope of arriving at some new sign, which hopefully also signifies something that was previously not signified. And this is why I believe PF does not exist as the other debate forms do: I do not believe you all have such a ground. You all speak but the words are not meant to transcend themselves, they are words for the sake of words, and in this sense maybe it is best to call PF a form of collaborative literature rather than debate. Anyways, this is not a problem that cannot be fixed, and really the fix is quite easy: develop a common point to stand on (reference to evidence), and then draw out the consequences of such references. If you treat your "debates" like this, you stand the chance of having actual debates (and the chance to win my ballot, which is likely what you care about the most as you finish reading this unnecessarily long section about an activity I will probably a judge a total of 2 more times in the rest of my life, and I don't really blame you for wanting the ballot).

Congress: In the words of Rolling Stone's Greil Marcus, reviewing Bob Dylan's 1969 album Self-Portrait, "what is this shit?"

Full Judging Record

Tournament Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX Quarte Brooklyn Technical AW Whitney Young MM Aff Aff on a 2-1
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX Dbls Lexington BT Brooklyn Technical AW Neg Neg on a 3-0
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX R7 Nashua HS South ML Boston Latin NS Aff
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX R6 Boston Latin IG St. Andrew's Episcopal HJ Aff
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 JVCX R5 Desert Vista BH Stuyvesant LS Aff
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX R4 Lindale PH Whitney Young LG Aff
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX R3 Brooklyn Technical AW Stuyvesant CN Aff
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX R2 Desert Vista LW Liberal Arts and Science BC Aff
46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 2/13/2020 VCX R1 Phoenix Military TD St. Andrew's Episcopal JL Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/10/2020 VCX OF SLC West RG Bellarmine HM Neg Neg on a 3-0
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/10/2020 VCX Dubs SLC West RG Green Valley KM Aff Aff on a 3-0
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/10/2020 VCX R6 Green Valley SL Head Royce WR Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/10/2020 VCX R5 Lowell RY SLC West RG Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/10/2020 VCX R4 Meadows NY SLC West BK Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/10/2020 VCX R3 Bingham HL Green Valley KM Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/10/2020 VCX R1 KIPP SF RV College Prep RT Neg
SWSDASU Invitational 3/1/2019 VCX R4 Brophy AC Desert Vista BB Neg
SWSDASU Invitational 3/1/2019 VCX R3 Desert Vista WW Phoenix Country Day DC Aff
SWSDASU Invitational 3/1/2019 VCX R2 La Cueva FX Desert Vista LG Neg
SWSDASU Invitational 3/1/2019 VCX R1 Desert Vista BB Phoenix Country Day DC Aff
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/16/2019 VCX Quarte North Broward Prep MR Kent Denver JL Aff Aff on a 3-0
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/16/2019 VCX Triple Little Rock Central GL Mount Carmel Independent NR Aff Aff on a 3-0
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/16/2019 VCX R6 Barstow LM Jesuit CP FJ Aff
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/16/2019 VCX R5 Jesuit CP HM Harker LM Aff
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/16/2019 VCX R4 Jesuit CP AK Kamiak DS Neg
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/16/2019 VCX R3 Jesuit CP HT Mount Carmel Independent NR Neg
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/16/2019 VCX R2 Montgomery Bell BG Asian Debate League PT Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VCX Sems Green Valley WK Polytechnic DN Aff Aff on a 3-0
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VCX Octs Harker SB Green Valley LS Neg Neg on a 3-0
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VCX R6 Green Valley LS McQueen CL Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VCX R5 Polytechnic DN Green Valley WK Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 NCX R4 BASIS Chandler WW Coronado RA Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VCX R3 Albuquerque RJ Meadows HY Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VCX R2 San Marino TW Presentation GN Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VLD R1 Desert Vista SY Albuquerque AK Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VLD R1 Advanced Technologies Acad CH Brophy SA Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/4/2019 VCX R1 Juan Diego Catholic BR Polytechnic GM Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 NPF SF Green Valley BB BASIS Scottsdale RY Aff Neg on a 2-1
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VCX QF Salt Lake City West AB Bellarmine College Prep VR Aff Aff on a 3-0
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VCX OF Green Valley SW Desert Vista AG Aff Aff on a 2-1
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VCX 2x McQueen CR Polytechnic HW Aff Aff on a 2-1
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VCX R6 Desert Vista GL Green Valley SL Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VCX R4 San Marino WT La Cueva KN Aff
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 VCX R3 McQueen CR College Prep BS Neg
Arizona State HDSHC Invitational 1/5/2018 NPF R1 Brophy CP NS Desert Vista WG Neg
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/18/2017 VCX Triple St. Vincent De Paul HP Bellarmine RC Aff Aff on a 2-1
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/18/2017 VCX R6 BASIS Chandler BP Cherry Creek HR Neg
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/18/2017 VCX R5 Bellarmine VR St. Francis GL Aff
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/18/2017 VCX R4 Cypress Bay BK Northwood LL Neg
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/18/2017 VCX R3 Bingham GM Berkeley Prep SY Neg
Cal Invitational UC Berkeley 2/18/2017 VCX R2 Isidore Newman XZ Juan Diego Catholic MM Neg
Arizona St Hugh Downs School of Human Comm Invitational 1/5/2017 VCX Semis College Prep MW Brophy GS Neg Aff on a 2-1
Arizona St Hugh Downs School of Human Comm Invitational 1/5/2017 NPF Qrtrs Albuquerque RF Chaparral FC Aff Aff on a 3-0
Arizona St Hugh Downs School of Human Comm Invitational 1/5/2017 VCX Round Saratoga KN Jake Dean LN Neg
Arizona St Hugh Downs School of Human Comm Invitational 1/5/2017 VCX Round Presentation SA Desert Vista QG Neg
Arizona St Hugh Downs School of Human Comm Invitational 1/5/2017 VCX Round Saratoga VK Dougherty Valley SY Neg