Mihir Rai ParadigmLast changed 3/7 12:54P PDT
FYO - Greenhill LD Debate (2017-2019)
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For ease, I have underlined areas of a debate that you might have questions about.
I largely agree with this blurb from Miles’s paradigm and think it accurately describes my general philosophy:
Ideal debates clearly resolve whether the benefits of a topical change to the status quo outweigh its costs. “Ideal” means I recognize (and will judge fairly to the best of my ability) some debates will fall outside of this, whether they are about topicality or counterplan competition. “Clearly resolve” means debaters have made evaluating the debate easy, with impact calculus, judge instruction, and evidence comparison. “Topical change” means affirmatives should read plans that are examples of the resolution. Hopefully the rest is self-explanatory.
I’ve had enough exposure to national circuit debates to competently evaluate most arguments that you would most likely read. As a debater, I primarily read policy arguments and some Ks (primarily pessimism and I didn’t really read anything that would be considered “high theory"). All arguments should have a claim, warrant, and impact. I’m best at evaluating hard policy debates and am still developing a taste for K vs framework debate (I’ve had the least exposure to these debates both as a judge and debater). Obviously, I have biases towards certain arguments which I will now identify below to help you identify what you should and should not do in rounds I am judging you.
Theory should be a way to check abuse and not create abuse – I think theory is probably the most controversial issue in LD debate, hence the emphasis on it. While I understand that theory and topicality are both strategic tools used in the game of debate, not all theory shells are made equal. It will be harder for you to win debates with theory shells that rely on creating artificial limits or constraints on the topic (ex: spec shells against whole res affs). If you choose to read a topicality shell that relies on some artificial limit, it’s important to win some form of in-round abuse otherwise I think a 2AR can win with a strong push on reasonability and an artificial limits bad argument. Specifically, on Nebel, I don’t really get why the Nebel 2NR that only extends pragmatics is ever a winning argument. If the 2NR is not clearly winning a grammar argument for Nebel, I am receptive to a 2AR that includes SOME reasonable definition or grammatical argument combined with functionally any pragmatics argument. If you're going to read bad theory shells, know the threshold for responses is so low. I’ll still evaluate the shell, and if you're winning it, I will obviously vote you up. But the sillier the shell, the more receptive I am to minimal responses. This is by no means a free pass to read frivolous theory, but a heads up if you choose to read theory. Analytic theory shells should not be full speed – I guarantee you I will not get half of the things you say
The affirmative decides the ground of the debate, so the negative should get every argument to test the aff – I don’t think there are too many things the negative can’t do in a debate, but I tend to think that more than 5 to 6 off is unnecessary and just means you either run out of time to develop case arguments or have underdeveloped off case. This also makes me more receptive to 1AR theory arguments that I normally wouldn’t really check in with. I don’t think there’s an advantage you gain from saying the CP is condo or dispo, so just say its condo and have the debate (unless you have some killer dispo condition which I highly doubt). If you have the wrong interp in the document, you must clearly flag it as incorrect, otherwise I’ll hold you to whatever interp is in the document.
Conceded arguments don’t excuse extensions and effective application – I’ve seen this more recently in debates with policy arguments vs Ks. Even if your theory is conceded, you still need to explain why it doesn’t apply to the CP or DA that the negative has specific analysis for. This is where I tend to be more truth > tech because even if I know the argument the other person has made isn’t fully responsive to your theory, I’m going to buy an extended argument over the work I would have to do to connect the truth level of your theory to the other person’s arguments.
Evidence ethics and clipping – Rodrigo and Bennett’s paradigms delves into this extensively and I agree with most of it. I’ve pasted a short section of the relevant section but if this is something that you think will become relevant in the round, I would read their paradigms.
If a debater says that a piece of evidence is miscut in round and their opponent clarifies that they are making an "evidence ethics challenge" (and the former person confirms that they want to make a challenge), the debate ends. I will read all of the relevant stuff and then make a decision. Whoever is correct on the evidence ethics challenge wins the debate. The loser will get the lowest speaks I can give. In lieu of an evidence ethics challenge, I am also ok with asking your opponent to just strike the cards from the doc/cross them off the flow in cx and have the rest of the debate but calling a challenge if they refuse to do so (this is noble but not required). You could also make arguments about why misquoting is bad, but I'm compelled by a response that basically says "call an ethics challenge or don't make the argument; we'll stake the debate on it." Indeed, I think that if you make an evidence ethics argument, you should be willing to stake the debate on it. If you don't stake the round on it, you'll still win (if they committed the evidence ethics violation), but your speaks will be worse than they otherwise would have been. Clipping is cheating! If I am reading along and notice that someone is clipping, I'll vote against them and give them the lowest speaks that I can give. I will not stop the debate unless a challenge is made, but if I notice clipping, I will vote on it regardless of whether a challenge is made. For clipping challenges, I'll follow the same procedure that I follow with evidence ethics (above). NDCA guidelines state that 5 words is clipping which is the standard I will use.
Speaks – Reading an argument that I don’t like as much won’t impact your speaks, but it will hold you to a higher standard on execution.
30 - Your debate will most likely be one of the best I’ve seen. Execution was flawless and strategy was unique.
29.5 and Up – You're one of the top debaters at the tournament and debated as one of the top debaters at the tournament.
29 and Up – Above average debate and minor errors. I expect you’ll be in elims
28.5 and Up – Mediocre debate where you made some flaws but found a way to get the W
28 and Up – This round was fairly disappointing, had several mistakes, and missed opportunities to win
Below 28 – There are several issues with this round that made it hard to watch
Below 27 – You have engaged in some problematic practice that should not appear in another debate (either offensive or cheating)