Rachel Watson ParadigmLast changed 4/16 5:10P CDT
Pronouns: Ask, if you're curious. Otherwise call me judge or Rachel or Watson. Ask for others' pronouns in-round or default to they/them. I personally default to they/them until I'm told otherwise.
I've been coaching and competing in LD and policy since 2008. I started in middle school. In college, I debated at Central Oklahoma from 2015-16, and if you're thinking about that program or Wake Forest, ask me about why I left. I've been involved in the activity for eleven years now. I just completed my master's at Penn and I coach at Holy Ghost Prep.
If you have an email chain add me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to email me about other stuff too, if you feel unsafe in round, if you want to know more about my paradigm, ask about arguments, get a better understanding of the RFD, etc.
TOC UPDATE: Don't usually judge PF, but PFers the 'how to win my ballot' list applies to every kind of debate. If you run policy-style args, look to my info on policy.
Respect your partner and your opponents. Respect every judge, too, even if you've decided you don't need that ballot to win the panel.
Brief guide to getting my ballot (big new stuff as of 2/26, if you have 1 minute before round read the bolded on this list):
Also warning for policy kids, I've judged a lone policy round this year so don't expect me to know topic literature. Be as technical as you want but know I don't know this year's acronyms/initialisms.
1. Be kind. Show empathy. Everyone in round is human, we are not debate robots, and it’s alright to bring your personality with you into the room.
2. Read arguments and debate in a style that you enjoy. I like judging good rounds, and your round is almost always better if you like your argument and know it well. I have voted for poetry, and I have voted for politics DA.
3. Have a claim, warrant, and impact for every argument. I know 1ARs are hard, but you can be fast and efficient without being blippy. Blippy is bad.
4. Clash. Engagement with the other side's arguments and ideas is the one thing that makes this not a speech event. Clash is good.
5. Weigh all the impacts. Compare the impacts on the different sheets of paper and tell me why even if the other team’s argument is 100% true, I should still vote for you. Do this even if you and your opponent have completely different styles (i.e. trad v progressive LD, kritikal or policy based args, etc.). Don’t make me weigh things for you, chances are you won’t like the result.
6. Focus on offense and framing (meaning how I should weigh or evaluate the round, or the debate's BIG question). In my head, there’s almost always a chance that the plan/alt/CP will solve. Terminal defense might be useful, and you probably can win that in front of me, but I’m much more comfortable voting for offense than defense or muddy techy stuff somewhere deep in the line-by-line.
All the below was written with policy in mind, but it applies to progressive LD as well.
Run what you know and what you're prepped for. I will vote for almost anything.
Topicality and Theory:
I’m plenty happy to vote on topicality and theory arguments if debaters are willing to go all in and can defend that one model of debate or of the topic provides more education/learning opportunities. However, if the negative provides an overly exclusionary interpretation on Framework, they are going to have to work a lot harder to convince me that an exclusionary based model of debate is good.
AC UNDERVIEWS/THEORY (LD): Saying you get to have an RVI is not the same thing as having one... If you want one you have to tell me what the threshold is for making something an RVI and why that means I should vote on it, don't just say you get to have one. Sorry policy kids but you don't get an RVI, esp not on T.
I generally prefer negative strategies that don’t contain a performative contradiction, like reading counterplans that link to a K of the aff. Other than that, please try to make it clear in round the ways in which your Kritik or counterplan function differently from the affirmative. Counterplans need competition and a net benefit, and k debaters should be prepared for impact framing arguments, especially in a round with a policy team. From the aff, be prepared to explain how a perm functions to achieve the net benefit/not link to the Kritik.
My K experience has mostly been with identity arguments; I know critical race theory- including afropess and set col best. I read and keep up with indigenous scholarship because I am Potawatomi (Citizen band). Yes, I am also white. Yes, one can be both. Yes, I have a tribal membership card. Yes, I hate authenticity testing. This means I'm probably more willing to listen to speaking for others/commodification/etc. claims about why non-indigenous folks reading set col is bad than other judges might be. That Evans 15 card is probably also true of indigenous lit, sure, but Evans was very specifically speaking about afropessimism and white afropessimists.
Baudrillard, Foucault, Delueze aren't my strong suit so develop good, clear, consistent explanations about your K/alt so my ballot can be clean.
I’m happy to answer debater's questions on specific issues/arguments prior to the round. I will also respond to emails after the fact if you have questions about my decisions.