Mark Skoglund ParadigmLast changed 12/21 11:03A CDT
Assistant Speech and Debate Coach for 11 years.
Please put me on the email chain: mark.skoglund AT gmail.com.
Overall: Tab, default policymaker and policy impact work is generally the most predictable path to my ballot. Tech over truth for the most part though there’s a line somewhere. I often take speech docs to check clipping but I try to not use speech docs for the decision unless there’s no other option. In general I am not a fan of embedded clash; do the work in the round.
Racist/sexist/transphobic/homophobic/ableist rhetoric will lose my ballot.
I will not vote on disclosure theory. I believe that enforcing disclosure with the ballot ends up favoring schools with resources against those without, rather than enforcing any sort of equal playing field. I also will not evaluate “which school has more resources” so I avoid voting on this argument entirely.
Speed: Fine with me, though I don’t judge as much as I used to so help me out on tags. Also if you speed through your theory block at the same rate as card text it’s not likely all going to end up on my flow.
Topicality: Default competing interps. I don’t think I have a particularly high threshold for T, though teams often do one of two things that are bad ideas:
1. Read a “precision bad” block against a “precision good” block and assume embedded clash.
2. Not focusing enough on which interp has better access to the standard and spending all the time on which standard is best.
Other Theory: I’m not likely to vote on blippy theory; do work if you want to win my ballot. Your strategy should not be to read 8 two-line theory arguments hoping the other team drops one.
Disads: I don't care if they're generic, but specific links assist in probability calculus.
Counterplans: If you’re not running a CP you’re probably making a strategic mistake with me. I lean Aff on delay CPs bad and to a lesser extent on consults bad, but I won’t do the work for you of course. I will not judge kick CPs unless clearly told to consider it by a team with justification, and the other team loses the debate re: the legitimacy of judge-kicking.
Kritiks: I’m fine with Ks, though you’ll be far more familiar with the lit base than I am, so help me out. In particular, if you’re going for the alt and I don’t understand what it is well enough, I can’t vote for it. “Reject the aff” is generally a weak alt unless it’s a discourse K or otherwise uniquely justified, but it wins often enough anyway.
Discourse/Reps Ks sidenote: I vote for discourse Ks fairly often when a team has said something exclusionary and do believe there is value in rejecting teams to correct that action in future. That said, there’s plenty of debate that can be had in this area.
Congressional Debate -
Experience: I have been coaching this event since 2007. My primary experience is with NSDA.
-Bigotry of any kind is not tolerated.
-Early foundational speeches can be just as important as later responsive speeches.
-When possible, direct clash is important. A late speech on legislation that does not cite/respond to anyone else is almost never very strong.
-When responding to/citing others, try to make it productive. An offhand mention just to prove you're following the debate is fine but doesdn't do much to advance the debate forward; work in a response or distinguish someone else's point.
-If you are retreading ground someone else covered, you should clearly distinguish your analysis. Simply repeating past claims indicates someone is either not tracking the debate or is not well-researched and is penalized.
-Crystallization speeches are good when done well but you need to be adding value, typically at the impact weighing/framework level.
-Extending questioning periods is almost never productive (certainly not as productive as the speech we may have been able to have) and if the same competitor is repeatedly making that motion, the ranks may reflect that.
-Being a good, professional, and organized presiding officer is rewarded.
-I believe it is critically important for judges to consider whether a criticism would apply equally regardless of gender. For one obvious example, women are often penalized for the same focused aggression that men are rewarded for. The primary way to combat this is judges being conscious of implicit bias, and I try to ensure that I am fairly applying criticism.