Aracelis Biel Paradigm
LD Debate Judge Paradigm. (Sometimes I judge PF, too.)
Updated for Jan/Feb 2013!
1. TYPES OF ARGS: I will listen to and consider any type of argument, no matter how unorthodox or unusual, so long as it:
a. Respects the format of LD (time limited one-on-one debate related to the bi-monthly topic.)
b. Is not intentionally rude, offensive, or without any easily recognizable redeeming educational/social value*.
If, however, the argument you make is:
a. Trivial, without rigor, or poorly thought through, and dealt with as such by your opponent;
b. Neither topical or LD-theoretical*;
c. Never justified via warrant/impact/link*...
I am not likely to vote off of it.
*Narratives may fit these categories. Please do not ever read a case that describes graphic crime in front of me. Medical stuff is totally fine. (Review: Domestic violence narrative? bad. Describing MDRTB? fine.)
I like very observant, insightful cases and refutation that presents not just an advocacy, but a carefully constructed world-view. I believe values/standards analysis are important, but I leave it up to the debaters to decide how they wish to handle them. I believe there must be something to which you link and impact back to, however, so that I can sign my ballot one way or the other. I will frequently comment on the quality of arguments made, both in-case and in-round, but I will only vote off material which is actively "in play" in the round. So:
2.STRAT: Establish your position/advocacy. Link. Impact. Weigh extensively. Tell me why I should vote for you. If you do not tell me what to do with a given point "x", I will not vote off it unless there is literally nothing else for me to vote off of. Do not assume that I will auto extend drops, or that I will impact/link/weigh cross applications for you. It's your job to tell me why you win. If something is important to my ballot, please tell me so, and spend time on it.
3. I have never-not-once-ever decided a round on PRESUMPTION, even though I came close once.There's always something better to vote on, even if it's skills. I do try to advance the better debater. 99.6% of the time that's also the winning debater.
4. SPEED is absolutely fine so long as you enunciate card author names. If you're unclear, I will pipe up and tell you so. I use "CLEAR!" as an all-purpose shout of existential angst, though, so it could mean you're stumbling, gasping, too high pitched, or mumbling. If I call clear, you should probably err on the side of repeating a sentence, as I don't/can't shout and flow at the same time. If I tell you you're too high pitched or squeaky, please don't take offense. I took two semesters of graduate speech pathology classes at Columbia. I am as equally annoyed by high pitched female voices as I am annoyed by high pitched male voices. Speaking too loudly at too high a pitch, especially if you're dehydrated, can permanently damage your vocal cords.
5. REGARDING THEORY: I gut check, but I have voted off theory a few times this year, and I am becoming more sympathetic towards well-structured theory. I think our community is slowly settling into a reasonable use of theory following two or three years of really cruddy shells and confusing rounds. The following represents my views on mediocre or bad theory:
98% of the time when people run theory, I find that there is no actual abuse. I dislike people who run theory counter-interps when they easily could have run an "I meet." To me, this constitutes THEORY BAITING. Baiting theory is an ocelot thing to do. Please just win on substance if you can meet the interp! I am sympathetic to "I meet." I am not very sympathetic to ground arguments, unless you explain to me why the only ground left to you is really, really ridiculous. I do think NIBS are for pens, not cases, but I will entertain multiple burdens that equally constrain both debaters. I will gut-check, but if you ask me to gut-check, I will also call cases and read everything super carefully. I am also a super cranky person when I have to read cases before signing a ballot, so invoke my own personal opinion at your own risk. I will accept and evaluate both "drop the debater/RVI" and "drop the argument" debates, but I prefer "drop the argument" and will default to that if you either don't give me a voter or forget to extend it. All that having been said, if you feel you HAVE to run theory against someone or something, go ahead and do it.
On the other hand, I love a good T debate and will happy listen to you guys bat definitions back and forth. Bad T debate is highly discouraged. If you don't know the difference, look up the structure of T shells online.
6. Other thoughts: I might be embroidering ("sewing") during your prep or cx. Ignore this. Busy hands = quiet mind. Try it sometime.
Please don't say, "Aracelis, I've read your paradigm, and you don't like to hear X," during a round. It creeps me out, it probably creeps your opponent out, and it's just... well, creepy.If you want to talk about my paradigm, do it before the round.
I love topic lit. I read large amounts of topic lit to help my team. If you lie about topic lit, I will know, and I'll be unhappy, even if it won't effect my vote. On the other hand, a deep command of topic lit is always impressive, so demonstrating technical mastery + deep understanding is the ideal way to earn yourself higher speaks.
7. Speaks: I don't hand out 30s often. Don't be offended. My typical range is 27.5-29.5. I will go lower for bad behavior. Solid rounds usually earn a 28 or 28.5 tie. Someone who is obviously better can expect a 29. At 29.5 and 30, you're showing me superior time allocation, amazing strategic organization, deep knowledge of the topic, and the sort of transcendent explanation of Truth that causes me to feel like your speech has contributed something to society. You should shoot for that goal, but not be disappointed if you fall short. Annoying, pathological, or just plain old weird vocal/inhalation habits will get you docked speaks unless I can detect that whatever you're doing is wholly involuntary (lisping, r/l/w issues, spasmodic dysphonia, post-infectious laryngitis...) I have a pretty good ear for the difference between voluntary/weird stuff you picked up at camp.
LAST BUT NEVER LEAST,
Please don't be an ocelot. The word "Ocelot" also has limited assonance with a word that describes mean people. In the literal sense, an Ocelot is a small predatory cat. In the metaphorical sense, an Ocelot is what you shouldn't be. Win without being small, predatory, and catty.
And, have fun and make friends. :D
I am currently the Director of Debate at Collegiate School, where I have now coached for three years. Evidently I'm doing something right, because the people at Big Lex awarded me the Michael Bacon Coaching Award this year (2013) Previously, I coached for half a season at Brooklyn Technical High School. I have also previously judged for Bronx High School of Science (but who hasn't?) and as an independently hired judge at various round-robins and tournaments. I taught at a camp for three summers: '04, '05, and '06, and I debated on Long Island/locally in the Northeast for three years: '00-01 to '02-'03.