LINCOLN - DOUGLAS
I judge components of LD in a hierarchy of burdens each debater has to fill:
1) FRAMEWORK - Value first, criterion second. I need to know the "what" of importance as related to the resolution before you tell me "how" that importance will be met in your criterion, and ultimately your case. If either side drops framework, it makes the round very difficult for them to win.
2) AFF CASE, BURDEN OF PROOF - The affirmative is the side advocating change. They therefore establish the arena that everyone plays in. They need to show how their perspective on the case represents the value the best and how that value substantiates a deviation from status quo. I need to see legitimate, topical blocks that fortify framework. Dropped aff arguments are devastating.
3) NEG CASE, BURDEN OF REJOINDER - The negative case has the responsibility to refute proof when aff has met their burden. Silence is consent. The negative cannot simply ignore or blatantly dismiss affirmative arguments, logical substantiated claims and warrants are a must for me to determine an aff point or subpoint has been refuted.
The side that best upholds framework, and also has the strongest and aggregate amount of legitimate arguments standing at the end of the round gets my ballot......
Unless a K argument is thrown down. Then ignore everything above this. The K rules over everything and it must be addressed before any of the normal LD stuff matters. Be careful, friends.
I will evaluate Public Forum as if I am a jury of 12 and you all are the lawyers. Pro is the Prosecution and Con is the Defense. What is on trial is the status quo in relation to the topic at hand. Pro/Aff in any debate round (with the exception of BQ) advocates for a change. Pro accuses the Con side of creating a risk with complacency in our current condition. Pro must present that change implied in the resolution has lower risk and higher benefits, and do so in effective qualitative ways, as opposed to a quantitative approach in policy debate.
The time is shortened for a reason folks.
Now, unlike a courtroom, Pro does not necessarily have to prove their side "beyond a reasonable doubt" but instead, "on balance" - which basically means I have to find 51% or more favor to their side. I will look for the Con team to punch holes in this effort and basically convince me that either A) change is not necessary or B) the change the Pro side advocates is bad.
My ballot goes to the side that presents the least risk, and a better future outcome than what their opponents call for.