Imran Makani ParadigmLast changed 3/2 2:21P CDT
Background: Current coach at Von Steuben HS (Chicago), formerly with Whitney Young HS (Chicago) and University of Illinois
Tournaments Judged on Immigration Topic: CDSI, Niles, GBX JV Opener, New Trier, CDL T1 (Blue & Maroon), UMich, CDL T2 (Blue), Glenbrooks, Dowling, CDL T3 (RCC)
Number of Years Judging/Coaching: 14
-Please include me on the e-mail chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
-You can go as fast as you like and argue what you like.
-I'll give you an extra 0.3 speaker points if you put cites for most of the evidence you read on the wiki and show me you did after the round. *Do this before I submit my ballot.* Open sourcing is up to you.
-I love giving detailed feedback and strategy suggestions to the teams I judge--but, I'm usually too sleep-deprived at tournaments to be articulate and thorough in person. If you email me questions, though, I promise I'll respond thoughtfully. I've seen and thought a lot about clash of civ debates and "death is not an impact" critiques, so I might be helpful if you're getting frustrated by those debates.
1. I believe debate is almost all spin, so please don't get so bogged down in the line-by-line that you never explain what the big picture for my decision looks like.
2. Arguments aren't just claims; they need some reasonable warrant and a tie to an impact that merits priority. Dropped claims, therefore, do not necessarily equal wins to me.
This is where I'm more controversial:
3. I read along with your speech doc. I do this to better referee for clipping as well as to get a snapshot of the context of your evidence. For the most part, I won't intervene to trash your evidence, but I will usually know which cards lack relevance to the claims they're being used to support. When making my decision, I'll give more weight to warranted analytics than power-tagged or misinterpreted cards.
4. I flow cross-ex questions and answers. This helps me decide kritiks and many other arguments that carry a lot of spin or are very dependent on characterization during the round.
5. I read more theory than news and lean radical left politically. I work for UDLs to make debate more accessible and inclusive, and I'm passionate about that. Two consequences:
a. I'm probably more pliable than is average to teams who challenge conventional norms and heuristics in the activity, especially if they give good reasons for why it helps make the activity more accessible and/or meaningful to kids who otherwise get excluded from national circuit debate.
b. I'm also more willing than average to take K literature seriously and consider it my burden to figure out a basic understanding of it to evaluate the round, rather than demand that debaters explain the literature to me as if I was a five year old. I understand the value in students developing these explanations, but usually consider the demand for them unreasonable in an activity where we are largely relying on shared knowledge, judge expertise, evaluative heuristics and jargon to evaluate a broad scope of material at a high level within a very abbreviated, competitive format. If you are facing literature you don't understand, you should show me in your speeches that you are trying to read and characterize it. Then explain why I shouldn't do work to understand their lit any better than you've understood it (e.g. explain why that would hurt rather than help fairness and education for the competitors).
Me: I do tournament operations and grant writing for "Chicago Debates" (the Chicago UDL). I majored in philosophy. I have two years of high school debate experience (at Whitney Young) and one year of college (at DePaul). My high school didn't travel but my partner and I did win the City Championship and cleared at Maine East and Evanston. We ran a policy/K hybrid aff and went for plan flaws and other procedural arguments often on the neg.
The bulk of my training to judge comes from my many years coaching, teaching and judging debate. I've coached several TOC qualifiers from Whitney Young, including: Kevin Hirn and Misael Gonzales; John Vitzileos and Jeron Dastrup; Marcel Roman and Hanna Nasser; and Christian Palacios and Kat Sears.
Line-by-line: I've gotten more lax on wanting you to do "they say/we say" in recent years. As long as your speech seems to be engaging all the key points of your opponent's last speech, I'll make the appropriate connections for you.
Evaluation: I'm big picture. I try to determine through the round what's converging as the highest priority objective for voting, then try to decide that issue with the truth claims on the line-by-line. I want you to think the same way and articulate this convergence for me. Process the debate and consolidate the one or two issues that are the gateway between your highest-priority impact and your opponent's. Your final speech should include the phrase "The gateway issue in this debate is..." to get a wedge into my RFD.
I flow to build up my understanding of your claims and reason to vote, not to "punish" a side for dropped arguments. Whether dropped arguments warrant a loss depends on how you tie them into the highest priority objective that converges in the debate.
My Speaker Points System:
I start you at 27, then give you more points for each of the following:
1. Sounding good (0-0.5 points). I want to understand what you're saying and feel engaged when you speak. Note that, even though I am usually following on the speech doc, I'll yell "clearer" if I can't understand you without the doc. If I have to do this a few times and your speech doesn't improve, I stop evaluating until it does.
2. Arguing and extending warrants, not tags (0-1.5 points). This is most important to me and applies even to your opponent's arguments. Figure out the warrant to their argument by reading the card for it, then answer them on that level instead of just denying the tag of their argument. Almost all of your arguments should be comparisons of the warrants, quals, and assumptions of your evidence against theirs. It's not good if you're taking little to no prep to read your opponent's evidence, and I can see it. Take your opponent's literature seriously and show me that you're thinking through a synthesis of the arguments on the board, rather than just repeating snippets of the tags you read in your first speech.
3. Demonstrating content knowledge (0-0.5). The cards you read should be just a sample of your research, background knowledge, and thinking about the arguments in the round. I want to hear your voice in the round (e.g. through your making historical analogies; developing and making new applications for your evidence; offering characterizations of your opponent's evidence and how I should weight it against yours, etc.).
4. Thoroughly refuting (0-0.5 point). Be proactive about keeping the 1nc-case and 2ac-offcase orders of arguments, and reference those even if your opponent is wavering on that order. If the debate itself is becoming unwieldy, with too much going on to address everything, then it's time to do some argument selection and simplify the debate. Embedded clash usually works for me since it's actually processing the debate at a high level.
6. To get the 30, show off your wit and/or intelligence in addition to doing the above. Make good jokes, fill your analytics with things most people don't know, etc. When I give you a 30, I'm acknowledging that beyond technical excellence, you have a highly developed personality as a whole in this activity and it is flourishing.
I try to adapt my evaluation to the kind of debate that the students I'm judging want to have. The more you tell me about how I should evaluate the round, the better I will be able to adapt. I'm fine with seeing debate as any kind of forum you want, as long as you give reasons for it.
Each argument requires three things to be taken seriously on my flow: a claim, a warrant, and an impact (I consider evidence/data a part of warrants). If something you said is dropped but lacks these components, I will not vote on it. Keep this in mind when you are banking your last speech on any dropped arguments: Have they been warranted and impacted? Better to do it late than never.
In some sense, I am truth over tech. I do see myself as constrained to being a scorekeeper in the round, but in addition to keeping track of what you say, I make the call on whether it rises to the level of an argument. If your claims aren't reasonably consistent with basic facts and assumptions I rely on for coherence, then regardless of what your opponent did or didn't say, they won't register as arguments to me. I think you have to exercise transpersonal rationality just to get your points across to the judge, let alone refute your opponent.
I understand the competitive nature of the game and act in earnest to not be interventionist, despite the above. To me, good judging requires critical self awareness while evaluating, not being a blank slate. I'm not going to endorse dogmatism or illogicism just because something has been dropped. I am very skeptical about tabula rasa philosophies of judging and think they are often implausible on their own terms.
You should cite historical and contemporary examples, attempt to use logic to show the invalidity of your opponents' claims, and defend the quality of your evidence. You should avoid arguing as if you have a monopoly on what's true in the round. Decide what the best reasons would be for reasonable people to believe your opponent, and explicitly deal with those reasons in the process of explaining why the ballot should ultimately go your way. I find this method of giving credit to your opponent to be much more effective than dealing with opposing arguments superficially for fear of making them too strong.
If you have time, go as far as to supplement the line-by-line by thinking about the best reasons why a reasonable judge would disagree with you, and explicitly deal with those reasons to clear any reservations on voting for you. That is what clean victories are all about.
Ultimately, I see the round as a place for you to show off what you've thought about and are an expert on, whether that's the politics of a region, global economics, philosophical contentions surrounding how and what we know, or the educational theory of debate. I prefer that you read longer cards rather than shorter cards, that you explain and analyze at least as much as you read and cite, that you answer the warrants of your opponents' arguments, and that you talk about your own evaluation of the debate in your speeches.
Before the round, ask me in private about how I would vote on a specific issue or situation if you don't want to disclose your strat to your opponent.
Politely ask if your opponent is prepping if you have suspicion, because I'm probably too lenient with them or not aware of it.
Don't hold back on questions about my decision, because it might help you at the rest of the tournament and/or give you a better sense of how to pref me.
Use my e-mail address (email@example.com) after the round so you can ask more questions, get cites, and so on if you need.