Sam Franz ParadigmLast changed 10/12 3:39P EDT
University of Michigan '20
Traverse City Central '17
Affiliation: Walter Payton
I'm a student at the University of Michigan, and I debate with Harrison Hall there. I study history (of science) and German.
-I like specific, nuanced, and technical debates. I'll try to leave my argumentative predispositions and preferences out of judging.
-Truths are settled by the arguments made in a debate. I'll vote on anything, provided that it is substantiated. Everything is permitted. I'd prefer to see people answer what are thought to be bad arguments rather than telling me that they are bad.
-I judged debates at the Michigan debate camp this summer, so I have some familiarity with the high school topic. The only time where you may need to fill in some topic details is in T debates. By the way, I think I'm pretty good in T debates, provided the negative has a limiting interpretation that isn't an absolute mischaracterization of the topic literature. Teams that explain the virtues of a reasonably limited topic grounded in the literature will usually win in front of me. This usually means answering the question of limits in the abstract versus what one can reasonably expect based on popular literature about the topic.
-Judge direction is important. I often find myself confused by what debaters want me to do with arguments that are won after debates. This doesn't mean that you have to explain the obvious. What this means is that, for example, debates that involve complicated counterplans and disadvantages or complex internal link turns often require a great deal of judge intervention because it's not obvious what some claims mean given everything else that is happening in a debate. Teams should insert phrases like "even if" or "if we win X, that means we win Y" in their speeches if they view some issue differently than what someone could reasonably deduce from a set of claims.
-Strong, definitive, and specific contextualization of link arguments (for a disadvantage, critique, or whatever) will both boost speaker points and increase the persuasiveness of your argument. I especially enjoy watching teams read lines from evidence, quote the opposing team in their speech, etc. in order to give force to an argument. This is especially true in the case of K arguments that rely on links about discursive representations, epistemological assumptions, etc.
-I sometimes read cards during debates, and usually, I prefer a document after the debate so I can easily reference cards that are important in the last speeches. Evidence quality is important, and reading a couple strong pieces of evidence on a particular question can usually overcome a substantial difference in quantity of cards read, provided that teams debate about evidence equally.
-I don't think that I have a very strong slant in framework debates. I generally prefer judges who don't have strong ideological presumptions, so I'll try to keep mine out of the debate. I like framework debates when both sides pick a narrow set of offense that is explained well in relation to the other team's arguments. Pick and choose in the final speeches. Often, framework debates lack good impact calculus which makes it hard to decide without considerable intervention. I've read for framework this year, but it's also been read against me.
Teams reading K affs, in my experience, should defend either a model of debate that has benefits in terms of how debaters interact with and think about the world, or a set of arguments about why imposing a particular and limited interpretation of the resolution is bad. Teams that win framework debates in front of me often do both of these things. In order to do this persuasively, teams should explain why competition is an important component of their (new) model of debate. Obviously, I'm interested in people innovating here, so if you have something different to say, please do so!
Negative teams, I think, are best served by explicating the virtues of clash broadly. What kind of culture is produced by a community that debates about a limited topic for an entire year? What kind of people does this style of debate produce? Pairing this offense with smart defensive arguments about aff team's offense often makes procedural constraint an alluring option.
-I particularly enjoy argument innovation, so if you have something new to say or a new way of explaining something, I'll probably be interested and be willing to give higher points because of this.
-I agree with nearly everything in Kevin Hirn's judge philosophy, and his coaching has deeply influenced how I think about debate, so if you're looking for something specific, you may want to look there. Brad Bolman and Calum Matheson have also influenced me a great deal.