Michael Shelton ParadigmLast changed 4/21 12:21P CDT
Email chain: email@example.com
Who Am I: I debated four years at Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville, KS, did not debate in college, and have been an assistant coach at Lawrence Free State High School in Lawrence, KS since 2013. I have a Master's degree in International Relations.
General Approach: Tell me what I should be voting on and why. If you want me to evaluate the round differently than they do, then you need to win a reason why your framework or paradigm is the one that I should use. If no one does that, then I'll default to a policymaker paradigm. I don't view offense and defense as an either/or proposition, but if you do then I prefer offense.
Standard Operating Procedure: (How I will evaluate the round unless one of the teams wins that I should do something different) The affirmative has a non-severable duty to advocate something resolutional, and that advocacy must be clear and stable. The goal of the negative is to prove that the affirmative's advocacy is undesirable, worse than a competitive alternative, or theoretically invalid. I default to evaluating all non-theory arguments on a single plane, am much more willing to reject an argument than a team, and will almost always treat dropped arguments as true.
Mechanics: (I'm not going to decide the round on these things by themselves, but they undeniably affect my ability to evaluate it)
- Signposting - Please do this as much as possible. I'm not just talking about giving a roadmap at the start of each speech or which piece of paper you're talking about during the speech, but where on the line-by-line you are and what you're doing (i.e. if you read a turn, call it a turn).
- Overviews - These are helpful for establishing your story on that argument, but generally tend to go on too long for me and seem to have become a substitute for specific line-by-line work, clash, and warrant extension. I view these other items as more productive/valuable ways to spend your time.
- Delivery - I care way more about clarity than speed; I have yet to hear anybody who I thought was clear enough and too fast. I'll say "clear" if you ask me to, but ultimately the burden is on you. Slowing down and enunciating for tags and analytics makes it more likely that I'll get everything.
- Cross Examination - Be polite. Make your point or get an answer, then move on. Don't use cross-ex to make arguments.
- Prep Time - I don't think prep should stop until the flash drive comes out of your computer or the email is sent, but I won't take it upon myself to police prep as long as both teams are reasonable.
Argumentation: (I'll probably be fine with whatever you want to do, and you shouldn't feel the need to fundamentally change your strategy for me. These are preferences, not rules.)
- CPs/DAs - I prefer specific solvency and link cards (I'm sure you do, too), but generics are fine provided you do the work.
- Framework - I prefer that framework gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
- Kritiks - I prefer that there is an alternative, and that it has a text. "Reject the Aff." isn't an alternative, it's what I do if I agree with the alternative. I don't get real excited about links of omission, so some narrative work will help you here.
- Performance - I prefer that you identify the function of the ballot as clearly and as early as possible.
- Procedurals - I prefer that they be structured and that you identify how the round was affected or altered by what the other team did or didn't do.
- Theory - I prefer that theory gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
- Topicality - I prefer that teams articulate how/why their interpretation is better for debate from a holistic perspective. TVAs and/or case lists are good. My least favorite way to start an RFD is, "So, I think the Aff. is topical, but also you're losing topicality."
Miscellaneous: (These things matter enough that I made a specific section for them, and will definitely be on my mind during the round.)
- Anybody can read cards, good analysis and strategic decision-making are harder to do and frequently more valuable.
- Individual pages on the flow do not exist in a vacuum, and what is happening on one almost certainly affects what is happening on another.
- Comparative impact calculus. Again, comparative impact calculus.
- You may not actually be winning every argument in the round; acknowledging this in your analysis and telling me why you win anyway is a good thing.
- Winning an argument is not the same thing as winning the round on an argument. If you want to win the round on an argument you've won or are winning, take the time to win the round on it.
- The 2NR and 2AR are for making choices, you only have to win the round once.
- I will read along during speeches and will likely double back to look at cards again, but I don't like being asked to read evidence and decide for myself. If they're reading problematic evidence, yours is substantively better, etc., then do that work in the debate.
Zen: (Just my thoughts, they don't necessarily mean anything except that I thought them.)
- Debate is a speaking game, where teams must construct logically sound, valid arguments to defend, while challenging the same effort from their opponents.
- It's better to be more right than the other team than more clever.
- A round is just a collection of individual decisions. If you make the right decisions more often than not, then you'll win more times than you lose.
I'll be happy to answer any questions.