Aidan Williams ParadigmLast changed 5/12 1:53P CDT
I'm a 7th year debater at Walter Payton College Prep. I did 3 years of middle school debate, and I have continued that career into my high school life. While I have fallen down the dark path that is kritikal debate, I like to think of myself as fairly flex. I flatter myself in thinking that I can judge most rounds, whether the focus is policy or critical theory, but this is irrelevant, because I am a person who believes that all debaters should do what they do best. I will never vote for an argument that is not sufficiently explained or impacted- even though I have a wealth of topic knowledge, do not assume that I will do any work for you. It is your responsibility as debaters to explain your positions to me in an articulate and reasonable fashion. Here's the breakdown:
When it comes down to disads, my first step is to look for all the pieces. I will not vote on a disad that is lacking uniqueness, link, impact, or coherent internal link structure. I often find debaters over-zealous when it comes to impact calculus, but very weak in regards to internal link explanation. Impact calc has its place, but alone it will not win you the round.
Of the numerous disad options every debater has, I tend to favor specific scenarios and links- don't expect me to vote on a disad that is not tailored to the aff read in that round beyond "U.S. education funding tanks the economy." This is the issue I take in regards to most politics disads- I don't buy that all education funding triggers the links to your midterms elections disad.
A kritik is like music to my ears when done well. Like a disad, I expect every part to be well warranted and explained: link(s), framework, alternative, impact, and internal links. If you're going to kick out of the alternative in the 2nr, you had better be doing an incredible job on the framework and link flows.
In terms of specific content, I tend to be selective in my preferences. While I am capable of adjudicating any kritik, I have preferences. Identity Ks, the Cap K, Security K, topic specific Ks like Pan and Vukovich- I enjoy all of these and am willing to judge them in context. However, with Ks such as Baudrillard, Bataille, D&G, and other postmodernist ideologues, my enjoyment ebbs and you might find me mildly irritated. This doesn't mean you can't read these Ks in front of me, it just means that you have to incorporate a robust explanation that might otherwise not be required.
In terms of links, I feel much the same as with disads- the more specific the link, the more likely I am to vote for the K. Links of omission are not links, and if you go for them in the 2nr, I will vote on the permutation. Same applies to "masking links" and other window dressed links of omission.
In general, my threshold for voting on topicality is fairly high. I think that there are numerous checks to ground loss in any debate- pre-round prep, wikis, core topic affs- if you want me to vote on topicality you have to provide me with an example of actual in-round abuse. Also required is a list of topical affs, specific responses to the counter-interpretation, and a reasonable interpretation. Squirrelly interpretations are just as bad as squirrelly affs.
I enjoy counterplans- I think that there are numerous political alternatives to most plans that resolve the advantages better than the aff itself. However, I also believe that counterplans should have solvency advocates, which is a necessary check to preventing "cheaty" counterplans such as consult counterplans and word pics. If you want to go for these, go ahead, but you have to be ready for counterplan theory.
Most of what I said about T applies to theory. You must prove in round abuse! My threshold for voting on theory is very high unless the abuse in question has caused irreparable damage to the debate. If your reason to reject on counterplan theory is that "x justifies permutation," I am more likely to vote for you than if your reason to reject is to disqualify the opposing team.
On the side of the affirmative, much of my kritiks section applies to this, with one main addition- I believe that all k affs need a solvency advocate specific to the resolution. It is not enough to have resolution-grounded uniqueness- this way under limits the topic and makes stasis impossible. Being a slightly k-leaning debater, I give a little bit more weight to "conventionally discouraged" arguments such as the permutation on framework, but you have to do an exceptional explanation job if you want to go for them in the 2ar.
On the side of the negative, I think that there are numerous strategies that you can employ to win rounds. Framework is a given, but I also enjoy less conventional arguments such as the University K and word pics. Because of the cheaty nature of k affs, it is almost impossible for the affirmative to read counterplan theory, which gives the negative a massive (and often under-utilsed) advantage.
Post-rounding is a pet peeve: I love it when people ask me questions, but when it verges on harassment, that's where I draw the line.
Overall, what I look for in debates is for young, intelligent minds to do what they do best and push the envelope through complex and interpretive analysis of political issues- if you do this, you are on the road to success.