Ashton Smith ParadigmLast changed 10/28 6:53P EDT
Ashton Smith, second year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan
I debated four years in High School at Maine East in Park Ridge, IL on the national circuit and I currently debate for the University of Michigan. As a debater, most of my experience has been reading "policy"-oriented arguments. My senior year of high school, I advanced to octofinals of the Tournament of Champions. I’ve spent lots of my time in high school reading "kritikal" literature, but less experienced in its application to debate.
I know minimal things about this high school topic but I did work at the University of Michigan debate camp as a lab leader for MNDI.
-- I'm a technical, flow-oriented judge who will attempt to adjudicate the debate with as minimal intervention as possible on my part. Dropped arguments are (usually) true arguments. I appreciate tricky concessions that interact with other parts of the debate.
-- I think case-focused debates are the most interesting debates. I love impact turns and I think in-depth case analysis can substantially help negative strategies and affirmative wins against off case positions.
-- Put me in the email chain: email@example.com
I consider myself a good judge for T. I really enjoy technical, well-defended interpretations of the topic. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I’m persuaded by reasonability as an alternative to offense/defense evaluation of topicality debates. I do not immediately view any interpretation with a limits standard as the best interpretation for any topic.
Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.
Counterplans are good and strategic. Read them. Debate them. I do have some issues with some PICs, Process CPs and other questionably justifiable positions.
I really enjoy well-articulated kritiks that directly interact with the affirmative. I enjoy kritiks most when they’re read against kritikal affirmatives. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. If you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.
Honestly, probably best not to pref me if this is your style. I’ve spent the majority of negative debates against K affs going for T/Framework. I also personally believe that debate is a game. Therefore, there’s a greater chance that I’ll vote for framework in these debate because I evaluate questions of topicality prior to aff solvency. It is possible to beat T/FW in front of me if you have a well-articulated reason why debate isn't just a game or have in-round offense that's separate from "the 1AC was good". Other ways to beat framework in front of me include 1) Why I should focus on the affirmative first, even though it’s not within the resolution 2) Why discussions about the impact you probably don’t solve is more important than the education we get in debate. I think counter-interpretations can be VERY strategic by kritikal affirmatives to beat framework. USE THEM.
I’ve developed a liking for theoretical arguments over the years. I’m least persuaded by “conditionality bad” if there are 3 or less conditional positions. When evaluating counterplan, I’m most persuaded by theory when there is not a solvency advocate for the counterplan. I believe that the existence of literature on a topic is important for affirmative preparation.
I also believe that Plan-inclusive Kritiks are probably bad but it’s not an immediate Affirmative ballot. I’ll evaluate both PIKs bad debates and framework on whatever happens in a specific debate.