Jeffrey Kahn ParadigmLast changed 3/26 7:22A EDT
tl;dr - tech and speed good, but I'm not doing work for you. The resolution must be in the debate. Email chain: havenforensics (at) gmail - but I'm not reading along. I tab more than I judge, but I'm involved in research. Last update: 3/26/19
Head Coach of Strath Haven HS since 2012. We do all events.
Previously coach at Park View HS 2009-11, assistant coach at Pennsbury HS 2002-06 (and beyond)
Competitor at Pennsbury HS 1998-2002, primarily Policy
Update for TOC '19: it has been awhile since I've judged truly competitive, circuit Policy. I have let my young alumni judge an event dominated by young alumni. I will still enjoy a quality policy round, but my knowledge of contemporary tech is lacking. Note that I'm not going to backflow from your speech doc, and I'm flowing on paper, so you probably don't want to go your top speed.
1. The role of the ballot must be stable and predictable and lead to research-based clash. The aff must endorse a topical action by the government. For all of the flaws in the structure of debate and the debate community, this is the only way to have a productive debate. You cannot create a role of the ballot based on the thing you want to talk about if that thing is not part of the topic; you cannot create a role of the ballot where your opponent is forced to defend that racism is good or that racism does not exist; you cannot create a role of the ballot where the winner is determined by performance, not argumentation. And, to be fair to the aff, the neg cannot create a role of the ballot where aff loses because they talked about the topic and not about something else.
2. I am a policymaker at heart. I want to evaluate the cost/benefit of plan passage vs. status quo/CP/alt. Discourse certainly matters, but a) I'm biased on a framework question to using fiat or at least weighing the 1AC as an advocacy of a policy, and b) a discursive link had better be a real significant choice of the affirmative with real implications if that's all you are going for. "Using the word exploration is imperialist" isn't going to get very far with me. Links of omission are not links.
I can shift to other paradigms, however, I have never been able to get into abstract philosophy, especially at the speed of a policy round. I understand how critical arguments work and enjoy them when grounded in the topic/aff, and when the alternative would do something. Just as the plan must defend a change in the status quo, so must the alt - otherwise you've got a non-unique philosophical disad.
3. Fairness matters. I believe that the policymaking paradigm only makes sense in a world where each side has a fair chance at winning the debate, so I will happily look to procedural/T/theory arguments before resolving the substantive debate. I will not evaluate an RVI or that some moral/kritikal impact "outweighs" the T debate. I will listen to any other aff reason not to vote on T.
I like T and theory debates. The team that muddles those flows will incur my wrath in speaker points. Don't just read a block in response to a block, do some actual debating, OK? I definitely have a lower-than-average threshold to voting on a well-explained T argument since no one seems to like it anymore.
I like a quick, technical debate (due to my Policy background) - if I was starting debate today, I would be a PFer. Major difference from what I used to do is that in PF drops are not death because of the weird way speeches match up. But you should warrant and impact your claims throughout the debate so I don't have to! Speed is good when it gets us depth, not as much if it gets us breadth.
Rebuttal should be line-by-line on their case; responding to 1st Rebuttal is not required but is OK.
Summary is less LBL. I'll allow you to choose to follow the flow or create a new flow of voting issues; if you use contention numbers/titles, I can trace it back. It should be clear where you think the round will be decided in your favor.
Final Focus should tell me a story and refer to specific spots on the flow. I'll weigh what you say makes you win vs what they say makes them win - good idea to play some defense, but see above about drops.
With a Policy background, I will listen to framework, theory, and T arguments, though I really want a solid case debate. I do not believe counterplans or kritiks have a place in PF.
You win a lot of points with me calling out shady evidence, and conversely using good evidence. You lose a lot of points by being unable to produce the evidence you read quickly.
I don't care which side you sit on or when you stand, and I find the post-round judge handshake to be silly and unnecessary.
My LD experience is mostly local. Thus, I'm comfortable with traditional, value-centered LD and util/policy/solvency LD. If you are going traditional, value clash obviously determines the round, but don't assume I know your abstract philosophers. If you are going for a policy-lite debate, make sure you are still doing LD and not Policy. It's not like I'm going to be impressed because you read a nuclear war scenario, I'm still expecting some resolutional content to show up.
I do not have much experience with circuit LD. I know enough of it to know that a) I'd rather there not be a plan, but if you can justify the plan in a T debate (I like T debates) it is fine; b) absence of a plan means you are defending the resolution, not reading a K - that's just not my style; c) I don't mind a purposeful theory debate but really hate blippy, silly theory; and d) I do not know postmodern philosophy. My Policy background means the neg can read offcase arguments, but my traditional experience says you should still read your own case and not just disads.
Notes for any event
1. Clash, then resolve it. Clash is important. Don't structurally avoid clash. But you also have to resolve the issues of clash. The last rebuttals should provide all interpretation for me and write my ballot, with me left simply to choose which side is more persuasive or carries the key point. I want to make fair, predictable, and non-interventionist decisions, which requires you to do all my thinking for me. I don't want to read your evidence, I don't want to think about how to apply it, I don't want to interpret your warrants - I want you to do all of those things! The debate should be over when the debate ends.
2. Warrants are good. "I have a card" is not a persuasive argument; nor is a tag-line extension. The more warrants you provide, the fewer guesses I have to make, and the fewer arguments I have to connect for you, the more predictable my decision will be. I want to know what your evidence says and why it matters in the round. You do not, for example, get a risk of a link simply by saying it is a link. Warrantless arguments aren't worth a whole lot. Defensive arguments are good, especially when connected to impact calculus. I don't reject shaky evidence out of hand - but defense can win rounds.
3. Speed. Speed for argument depth is good, speed for speed's sake is bad. I hate voting on the dropped #14 or watching the 1AR get outspread with 8 blippy disads. Clarity is important. My threshold is that you should slow down on tags and theory so I can write it down, and so long as I can hear English words in the body of the card, you should be fine. I will yell if I can't understand you. If you don't get clearer, the arguments I can't hear will get less weight at the end of the round, if they make it on the flow at all. I'm not anti-speed, but I'm not reading the speech doc, I'm just flowing and listening.
4. Finally, I think debate is supposed to be both fun and educational. I am an educator and a coach; I'm happy to be at the tournament. But I also value sleep and my family, so make sure what you do in round is worth all the time we are putting into being there. Imagine that I brought some new novice debaters and my superintendent (she loves LD!) to watch the round with me. If you are bashing debate or advocating for suicide or other things I wouldn't want 9th graders new to my program to hear, you aren't going to have a happy judge. Don't take yourselves too seriously, but don't waste my time.
I am more than happy to elaborate on this paradigm or answer any questions in round.