Robbie Spiers

  • Paradigm
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Paradigm Statement
Last changed 5 January 2022 12:32 PM EDT


I am 100% a tabs progressive judge. I debated for three years in high school on the Boise and Nat circuits, starting in PF, then LD, and finally Policy, graduating in 2018. I have experience from very lay debate all the way up to complex K's, so I am comfortable with everything. I am graduating from ISU in 2022 with a degree in Physics and Math, but I have also taken many classes in philosophy and ethics so I follow analytic and philosophical cases equally well. I am a tabs judge, so run whatever you are most comfortable with, but if you have been looking for an opportunity to use one of your new K's, go ahead and do so. My paradigm is laid out in the following manner: style preference (LD then CX), voting issues, then my familiarity with different philosophies/arguments.

Style Preference (Overall)

Evidence: You've got to have evidence to back up nearly everything you say. If you are simply deriving some sort of contradiction, it is completely alright to not present cards, but if you're introducing philosophy or statistics that aren't obvious to everyone in the room (e.g. you don't have to read the definition of deontology, everyone understands that one), you're going to need evidence or it won't appear on the flow.

Spreading: I am fine with speed and actually I prefer a faster round. In some extreme speed situations, and if it is fine with the tournament directors, then you can flash the cards to me as well. Otherwise, I will just say "clearer" if you are going too fast.

Tech and Truth: I hold tech slightly over I do truth in progressive rounds. For the most part, if you do a better job on the flow than your opponent, even if they make slightly better arguments, I will vote for you. However, if you are making awful 10 second arguments that your opponent has to spend 30 seconds debunking with actual evidence, it will work against you.

Final speeches: I know a lot of debaters who spend their entire final speech making a call to action, and giving a vision of the world of the aff versus the world of the neg. I don't particularly find this useful to the round, it is almost always a waste of a speech. Spend your final speech summing up the arguments themselves, the framework, and why I, as the judge, when I am going through the flow at the end of the round, should vote for your side. If you won on the disad, talk about why you won it, how the link-turn falls, etc. Painting a pleasant image of nuclear war will not help.

Style Preference (LD)

LD is all about ethics: determining what is morally right or morally wrong. I've taken multiple courses in college on ethical theory, so I prioritize framework over all else. That said, you DO NOT need to have a value and a value criterion, I am perfectly comfortable with you reading framework like, "The framework is to reduce structural violence" and then immediately start going into your contentions. Your case does, however, have to make coherent sense under the framework, since the entire resolution is predicated on the ethical dilemma.

Furthermore, I am quite comfortable with frameworks that explicitly state that there is no such thing as morality (e.g. Nietzsche, Blackburn, etc.). I think that these are the most under-utilized arguments in LD, and in my opinion, they are incredibly strong.

Style Preference (CX) Neg arguments

Topicality: Topicality is my least favorite neg argument (unless you are a novice of course). I will still vote on topicality, however if an aff is truly non-topical then I believe you have a better shot of reading theory than you do topicality. Read T if you feel like you have no other option, but don't just throw it in there to waste the Aff's time and then kick it later.

Theory: I am substantially more receptive to theory than I am to topicality. If they read 8 off, please run theory on them. Furthermore, I am susceptible to drop the debater theory, so if what they are running is particularly abusive, then I would be tempted to drop them if that is the solvency to your theory. I'm comfortable with most theory, just make sure to slow down for the violation.

Out of round K's: These are the simplest Kritiks, the ones that everybody knows (cap, biopower, hege, setcol, etc). I love these K's, and think they are perfectly justified in a debate round. Make sure that your alts are reasonable though, I usually won't buy a "drop the debater" alt for an out of round K. By all means, please run them.

In round K's: These are more complex Kritiks, they deal with the discourse generated inside the debate space itself. Critiquing the debate space, or the manner in which the debaters use this space, is also completely valid to me. If the opponents say something misogynistic, by all means, please run a Fem K. These should be built on in round solvency, and this is where a "drop the debater" alt is actually useful, and I might consider voting on. I've run many of these back in my debating days, and think they are very strong, but difficult to use effectively. By all means, please run them.

Disads: DA's are fine. Be creative and don't run something that is oversaturated, though.

Aff Arguments

K Affs: I love reading, writing, and hearing K affs. That said though, since I have heard so many K affs, I know very well when the aff is strong versus when it is just a bunch of large words designed to confuse the opponent and the judge into voting for you. If you're going to run a K aff, run it because it is a good argument, not because you want a flashy trick to try and confuse everyone in the round. Large, complex arguments are great, just make sure that they have some backing in actual philosophy.

Policymaker Affs: These are pretty straightforward from everything you learned in your first semester as a policy debater. Inherency is essential, make sure that your link chain is solid, and that your impacts are at least slightly believable.

Voting Issues

When I judge, I go directly down this line in order to make my decision:

1. Drop the debater arguments: If any drop the debater arguments or turns were issued, I will first go through these and determine if I buy them. I have a relatively high threshold for these.

2. Framework: I will choose the framework with the better arguments attached to it. If your framework is more convincing, I will then judge both cases under this framework. Remember, your opponent can still win even if your framework is stronger, if their case fits better than yours under the framework. In policy rounds where framework isn't issued or carried through on the flow, skip this step.

3. Dropped/Lost arguments: I will then decide which arguments were won, lost, or washed. This is where I decide if there was a successful link turn, if the link chain was broken, or a logical fallacy. I WILL NOT vote based on anything that wasn't explicitly stated in the constructives or rebuttals.

4. Impact Calculus: I determine the weight of the impacts UNDER THE CHOSEN FRAMEWORK. If the eventual framework was minimizing structural violence, then arguments that don't minimize structural violence will be struck off the flow here. If there is a clear winner by this point (which there usually is), then I will make my decision and sign the ballot.

5. Tech: I would say that 99.9% of the time, it should never get to this step. In the case that it somehow does, I will decide who wins by technical proficiency in debate, and who I believe to have the skills of the more competent debater.

Argument Familiarity

Since this paradigm is already monstrously long, I'll list the philosophies/Kritiks that I am most familiar with, so that you can have an idea of your argument's obscurity. These are mostly listed in order of how well I understand the arguments, but is by no means an exhaustive list.

Queer theory (positivity and negativity), Moral non-realism (non-cognitivism, quasi-realism, relativism, etc.), Disaster Porn, Nietzsche, Reproductive Futurism, Feminism, Anti-Capitalism, Biopower (Agamben and Foucault), More Baudrillard, Community Advocacy, Anthropocentrism, Trigger warning, Epistemology, Orthography, Diaspora, Surveillance, Afropessimism.

If you have any questions about my paradigm, please reach out to me through email:

Full Judging Record
Tournament Lv Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result
2022 Blacksnake NIETOC HS 2022-01-07 OPF R6 E HS H RB Pro Pro 3-0
2022 Blacksnake NIETOC HS 2022-01-07 OCX R5 Maryn Schutz R JT Neg
2022 Blacksnake NIETOC HS 2022-01-07 NCX R3 AE PE D WW Aff
2022 Blacksnake NIETOC HS 2022-01-07 NCX R2 AC AG D KS Neg
2022 Blacksnake NIETOC HS 2022-01-07 NCX R1 D KJ R FR Aff
The Debate In Idaho Invitational HS 2020-05-08 R4 Highland AS Stoneman Douglas PR Neg
The Debate In Idaho Invitational 2020-05-08 R2 Rock Springs MK Bowditch YR Neg
The Debate In Idaho Invitational HS 2020-05-08 R1 Highland MX Renaissance WL Aff