Sara Sanchez ParadigmLast changed 10/7 2:45P CDT
Name Sara Sanchez
School Strikes: Glenbrook South, Lexington
Last Edited: 10/7/2019, Edited for New Trier 2019
General Overview: I default to the least interventionist way to evaluate the round possible. I’ve pretty much voted on anything that you can think of, and likely some things that you can’t. I have not been historically inclined to accept/reject any arguments on-face. That said, the following is true:
Impact calculus and comparison is your friend. I cannot stress this enough. I'm routinely surprised by the number of quality rounds I judge where each team is weighing their impacts but no one is weighing their impacts vis a vis the other team. It is not enough to explain your scenario for solving/avoiding war, explain to me why that matters in the context of the other team's genocide impact.
I would like you to be driving questions of impact calculus and framing. I prefer to be reading your evidence through the lens you have set up in round. You should be telling me what your evidence says and why it matters. This means I probably give a little more weight to spin than some judges, you should be calling out bad evidence that is being mischaracterized if you want me to read it. Obviously, I have (and will) read evidence on questions that have not adequately been fleshed out in round when it’s necessary, but now you are held accountable for my understanding of the card, which may, or may not, have been on the flow. So please, weigh those issues for me, and we’ll all be happy.
Clarity & Organization: This section used to be a note about speed. It was a gentle request that you keep in mind that reading 3 word theory arguments at the same rate as the cards you are reading was obviously silly and difficult to flow. I am now substantially more concerned with clarity in general. I can understand a pretty rapid rate of delivery. I want to hear the words you say. All of them. That includes the words in your cards and the sub-points of your theory block. I think we as a community have let clarity get away from us. I was recently pleasantly surprised by a few debaters who were both incredibly fast and crystal clear at all points in their speeches. I was also saddened that they stood out as anomalous in contrast to many of the debate rounds that I judge. In addition to the clarity with which you deliver your speeches I believe this also is a component of organization in the round. It is functionally impossible to follow your arguments and apply them correctly when all of the debaters in the room abandon the structure of the flow/line-by-line. Embedded clash is fine. Flat out ignoring the order/structure of arguments and answers is not. While my speaker points have always reflected things like clarity & organization I am going to use them more heavily in this regard in an effort to encourage good practices among the debaters in my rounds. If you are not clear, I will ask you to be clear once, if you are not clear after that, your partner should probably keep an eye on me to make sure I look like I’m following you, because if it’s not on my flow, it’s not in the round. If I cannot understand large swaths of your speeches and/or you are jumping all over the flow with no attempt to answer arguments in the order they were made, your points will be low (think less than 27.5 range). If, on the other hand, I can understand almost every word of your speech, and you consistently following the line-by-line structure of the round, your points will be high (think 29-29.5 range) to ensure you have a better chance at clearing if points become an issue. If you have questions about this, please ask before the round.
Clipping: I am disturbed that the number of clipping incidents seems to be on the rise and that there appears to be some confusion as to what constitutes clipping. Card clipping, is failing to read sections of the card without marking audibly during the speech and on the speech doc (or on paper, if you are not paperless). It can be definitively determined by recording the speech and playing it back with the speech doc. It is an ethical violation and if proven will result in zero speaker points for the debater(s) who have clipped cards and the loss. If an accusation occurs I will stop the round, ask for proof, and make a determination about the accusation at that point in the round. That decision will determine who wins the round. I will also make a point to talk to your coach after the round to explain what I believe happened and why. I reserve the right to adjust the policy according to circumstances (i.e. accidental clipping in a novice round is different than clipping in a senior varsity debate).
Please be nice to each other and have fun. I’ve yet to have someone upset me to the point where it has lost them the round, but I will not hesitate to punish people for being rude via speaker points. Debate is a wonderful activity, that I care about a lot, and we don’t all give up our weekends, nights, and a decent portion of our social lives to be verbally abused or to witness said abuse. That said, competitive spirit is fine, flat out rudeness is not. If you need clarification on where the line is, feel free to ask.
Speaker points Apparently I needed to bump these to align with point inflation, so I have. Points probably start at a 27.5-28. Anything over 29.5 is rare, it's been years since I gave a 30. If you get below a 25 it's probably because you did something offensive/unethical in the round, and I'll likely tell you about it before I turn in my ballot.
28.1-28.7 Good, but probably will miss on points or go 3-3
28.8-29.2 Good, chance to go 4-2 and clear low
29.2-29.5 I believe you should get a top 20 speaker award at this tournament
29.5-29.8 You were one of the most exceptional speakers I've heard in years, and should be in the top 5 speakers of this tournament.
What’s above is more important than what is below, as I will default to the round that is given me, however I’ll include a couple of notes on specific positions. The below list is not exhaustive, if you have specific questions, ask.
Topicality/Theory: I’m more than open to these debates, I have no problem pulling the trigger on them. I tend to evaluate these debates in a framework of competing interpretations. You should have an interpretation in these debates, and you should be able to articulate reasons (with examples, evidence, and comparative impacts) that your interpretation is preferable to the other team's. You should be explaining why your arguments matter and what the world of your interpretation looks like (case lists, argument ground). You should not assume that the 3-word blippy jargon we all use now is an argument, because I don't tend to think it is one. If you've done the above things, and you want to go for theory or T, you're probably fine. That said...
Counterplans: I personally tend to error negative on a lot of theoretical CP objections when these aren't adequately debated in round (dispo, PICs, condo, etc.) I'm probably more sympathetic to objections to consult counterplans, or procedural counterplans like delay, sunsets, etc. I love specific counterplans and adore specific PICs, so you have a bit more of an uphill battle on the PICs bad debate. That doesn't mean I won't evaluate PICs/Dispo/Condo bad args, feel free to make/go for them, see the interpretations note above. I am more likely to vote on nuanced theory arguments than generic ones. For example, conditional, consult, counterplans bad is more persuassive than just conditionality bad.
Condo - couple of extra notes: I think that having more than one K and one CP in the round is pushing the limit on conditionality. You would still need to do work here to earn my ballot, but it's definitely viable. I also tend to think that uniform 50 state fiat counterplans that counterplan out of all solvency deficits are not good for debate. The reason for this is that I tend to like solvency advocates for counterplans and there isn't one for those types of CPs. These are both cases where, if sufficient analysis was done, I'd be okay rejecting the team. For the record, I have not voted on either of these yet, because no one has made these args in a compelling enough way, but the potential exits.
The K: I don’t have a problem with it generally. I’ll entertain various frameworks and interpretations of debate, but this isn't where I spend most of my research time. I’m also reticent to vote on “framework” in terms of "there should be no Ks in debate ever." I don't think this line of argumentation is necessary or desirable—it seems to me people should just be able to answer the arguments that are leveled against their case. I tend to believe both sides should get to weigh their impacts. I find framework debates generally lack a decent amount of clash, which is incredibly frustrating for me to adjudicate. Framework debates that center on the question of accurate methodology, bias and substantive education are by far more persuasive.
If you’re running a K in front of me on the negative, specific links and a solid articulation of what the alternative does will help you. Let me know what the world looks like post-plan and why that is different post-alt. Similarly if you're running a K aff, you should explain to me how your action truly shifts mindsets, what the role of the ballot is, etc.
The above noted, I find myself focusing more on policy literature than critical literature these days. My undergrad and graduate work is in political science and international relations, not political theory/philosophy. I tend to be much more familiar with some K authors than others. I've read a decent amount of Foucault, I've read almost nothing Lacanian. In addition to Foucault I am substantially more familiar with Ks centered around IR theory, non-psychoanalytic capitalism and questions of gender and identity. I am less to not at all familiar with psychoanalysis, Nietzsche and Heidegger. I personally lean towards believing realism inevitable type arguments and that floating PIKs are bad (reason to reject the alt). While I do everything possible to objectively evaluate the round that happened, this is probably why I’ve noticed a very slight tilt towards the policy side of things in these rounds.
Affs that don't have topical advocacies: I have spent a lot of time thinking about this. I feel as though I've been asked to objectively and neutrally evaluate a set of arguments where the people proffering those arguments in no way practice the same neutrality has always created a lot of tension for how I evaluate these arguments. To that end I offer my full disclosure of my connections to, and beliefs about, this activity. If you would like to attempt to change those biases, you are welcome to try, but the bar for such debates will be high, because I am not neutral on this.
I came back to debate 15 years ago after a brief hiatus working in politics and public policy because I firmly believe there is no stronger or more effective pedagogical tool. I have routinely been impressed by the skills and information this co-curricular activity provides for the participants that practice it. I chose a career in debate at the time because I think that teaching young people how to debate a topic while switching sides and researching policy and philosophy is one of the best things our educational system has to offer. I worked hard for my debaters, in class, after school, on weekends, and during summers because I believe this game, even with its imperfections, is good. It will be difficult for you to get my ballot if your goal for the round is to convince me that 15 years of my life and countless hours of work has been a mistake. I also see problems in this activity in terms of equity and access. There are good reasons my work after directing large debate programs focused on education policy, equity, and now urban debate. If your arguments are criticisms of debate you should take all of that into consideration when trying to win my ballot.
Surveillance Topic Addendum: I currently work for NAUDL, I run our national tournament, write curriculum for our coaches and work on our file set each year. I judge substantially fewer rounds than I used to and have fewer conversations with friends about the direction of the topic. You should assume I'm familiar with debate arguments but you should not assume I'm super up to date on the latest Arms Control acronyms or fanciness. This means a little explanation on what the NSDOQPC* is will probably be necessary if you'd like me to understand your aff/da/etc.
*(The NSDOQPC, to the best of my knowledge, is not a real thing. It's merely an example of the type of insane acronyms/topic specific jargon that gets routinely bantered about on most topics)
Additionally, while I haven't had a chance to test this yet, I'm reasonably certain my tolerance for the truly inane has lowered substantially. I now spend my days working on debate in a more education focused environment that is centered on building many strong programs rather than the TOC arms race. I also spend a bunch of my spare time working in politics and on policy and advocacy campaigns that have real world implications. I'm not entirely sure what the implication of this are for you, but if it's the pre-round and you have two strategies to choose from, one of which is asinine and one of which is more substantive, I'd bet that the more substantive one is going to work out a lot better for you.
Finally, it's been a few months since I've flowed a top speed round. I'm pretty sure I'm still fine there, but if you could keep that in mind, and ease into your top speed in speeches, it would be appreciated.
If you have a question I haven't answered here, feel free to ask.
Good luck. :)
LD Specific Business
Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of how I evaluate substance, impacts, etc. However, since I have judged more LD rounds recently it was time for me to clear some of this stuff up.
I spent most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I did teach 2 LD classes a year for 7 years and judge a large number of practice debates in class. I tried to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.
Theory: The way theory is debated in LD makes my head hurt. A Lot. It is rarely impacted, often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win (teeny area of the topic, frameworks and definitions that cross the border from strategic to definitionally impossible to debate, etc) it is NOT every single round. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.
Speed: I am fine with speed. I am not fine with paragraph after paragraph of a prioris/theory/continental philosophy read at a top speed with zero regard for clarity whatsoever. I will say clear if you are engaging in the practice above, and I will stop flowing if you don't alter your delivery to a rate I can understand after that. I will only vote on what is on my flow. I may call for evidence after the round, however, I will not call for your theory blocks because I didn't understand them. Slow down, be clear, and enunciate on that stuff for the love of all that is holy, or you will have very little chance of winning my ballot. Also see the clarity note at the top of this post. It will apply to LD as well.
Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.
Prep Time: 2 Notes. First, I like Cross-Examination. A Lot. I pay attention to it and think it is strategically valuable. You should use CX time. If you would like to ask more questions beyond CX in prep, that's cool. But please make use of CX. Second, Prep time is the time you use to prep, that includes actions like giving your opponent your case or whatnot if you haven't done this in a timely manner. There are no alternate time outs or whatever. If you are reading a case off a laptop, you need to make that case available to your opponent before you start speaking OR immediately thereafter. There will not be a non-prep-time time out while you all figure this out. That time will come from one of your prep times. In other words, if the culprit is the aff, who has not made a computerized case available to their opponent in a timely manner, then the AFF loses prep time while they get it ready for the neg, and vice versa.
Good luck, and have fun.