Chris Coovert ParadigmLast changed 3/13 9:41P PDT
Coach, Gig Harbor HS, Gig Harbor WA
Coached LD: 21 years
Coached CX: 17: years
Competed in LD: 4 years
Competed in NPDA: 2 years
Rounds judged 2016-17, LD: 10, CX: 1, PF 1
LD Paradigm: I have been competing in, judging and coaching Lincoln Douglas debate for over twenty years. I have seen a lot of changes, some good, some not so good. This is what you should know.
I will evaluate the round based on the framework provided by the debaters. The affirmative needs to establish a framework (usually a value and criterion) and then show why, based on the framework, the resolution is true. The negative should either show why the resolution is not true under that framework or provide a competing framework which negates. My stock paradigm is what most people now call truth testing: the aff's burden is to prove the resolution true and the negatives is to prove it false. I will default to this absent another paradigm being established in the round. If both debaters agree that I should evaluate as a policymaker, I am able to do that and will. If you both put me in some other mode, that is reasonable as well. If there is an argument, however, between truth testing and another way of looking at the round the higher burden of proof will be on the debater attempting the shift away from truth testing.
As far as specific arguments go.
1. I find topicality arguments generally do not apply in Lincoln Douglas debate. If the affirmative is not dealing with the resolution, then they are not meeting their burden to prove the resolution true. This is the issue, not artificial education or abuse standards. I have voted on T in the past, but I think there are more logical ways to approach these arguments if the aff is affirming the entire resolution. In a round where the affirmative runs a plan, T becomes more relevant.
2. I find the vast majority of theory arguments to be very poorly run bastardizations of policy theory that do not really apply to LD. I especially hate AFC, and must/must not run plans, or arguments of this nature.
3. I have a strong, strong, bias against debaters using theory shells as their main offensive weapon in rounds when the other debater is running stock, predictable cases. I am open to theory arguments against abusive positions, but I want you to debate the resolution, not how we should debate.
4. You need to keep sight of the big picture. Impact individual arguments back to framework.
Finally, I am a flow judge. I will vote on the arguments. That said, I prefer to see debaters keep speeds reasonable, especially in the constructives. You don’t have to be conversational, but I want to be able to make out individual words and get what you are saying. It is especially important to slow down a little bit when reading lists of framework or theory arguments that are not followed by cards. I will tell you if you are unclear. Please adjust your speed accordingly. I will not keep repeating myself and will eventually just stop flowing.
I have not judged very much CX lately, but I still do coach it and judge it occasionally. I used to consider myself a policy maker, but I am probably open enough to critical arguments that this is not completely accurate anymore. At the same time, I am not Tab. I don't think any judge truly is. I do enter the room with some knowledge of the world and I have a bias toward arguments that are true and backed by logic.
1. I will evaluate the round by comparing impacts unless you convince me to do otherwise.
2. I am very open to K's that provide real alternatives and but much less likely to vote on a K that provides no real alt.
3. If you make post-modern K arguments at warp speed and don't explain them to me, do not expect me to do the work for you.
4. I tend to vote on abuse stories on T more than competing interpretations.
5. I really hate theory debates. Please try to avoid them unless the other team leaves you no choice.
6. The way to win my ballot is to employ a logical, coherent strategy and provide solid comparison of your position to your opponents.
I am able to flow fairly quickly, but I don't judge enough to keep up with the fastest teams. If I tell you to be clear or slow down please listen.