Jason Russell ParadigmLast changed 11/6 6:33A CDT
School: Wichita State University
Years Judging: 20
College Rounds 2017: 40, High School Rounds: 50
Have the email chain set up starting around 5 mins before the debate. The prep time doesn't end until you've sent the email, not when you start compiling documents or attaching them. Part of preparing for paperless debate is having a time efficient method for document dissemination. That should start at home, in practices.
New new new content:
I strongly support policy debate. Most K affs that are just policy debate bad do not appeal to me much. If you believe that there ought to be some changes to policy debate, they ought to be specific, strongly supported, and feature a well articulated alternative model of debate. Absent any of these, you'll struggle to win. If your aff does not support the implementation of the topic as a policy, you'll almost assuredly lose. If your K on the neg fails to articulate an alternative or defend the SQ, you'll almost assuredly lose. I will vote for K's, but your window is much narrower than it would be with a friendlier audience. I will not lower my expectations nor will I apologize for it.
I still think most Aff framework args are bad. The cheatingest thing about Ks is the alt so win that they need one and theirs is unfair. I'm pretty much always going to weigh the Aff impact but that doesn't mean an ethics arg won't precede it necessarily if well articulated and won. Aff framework is probably a waste of your time & potentially a liability.
Method doesn't make anything compete and just saying that is adequate for me. This arg is nonsense. If the alt can't be desirably combined with the Aff, then it competes. And only then.
I strongly prefer to hear debates about the policies involved in the topic, although the approach to implementing and rebutting those policies may vary widely.
Generally, most kritiks are mumbo-jumbo. The links are stale and weak, the alt is contrived and probably contradictory to many of the links, in addition to being wholly ineffective, and the analytic lens is generally far less insightful than they purport to be. If the K aff doesn't do anything, I will vote on presumption without hesitation. A great number of K's make psychologically untenable claims that can be defeated easily with limited to no evidence. Often, the team debating a K would be well served to read fewer generic K cards and make some strong arguments from the perspective of logic that suggest that the thing they're suggesting folks should just do isn't as easily done as they make it out to be (embracing insecurity, fugitivity, abandoning hope, etc).
Indignant complaints about how it's rude to disagree with people will not be accepted as arguments.
The room a debate occurs in is shared by the opposing teams and the judge. Do not monopolize the room by loudly playing music, taking up all of the space with your materials and coaches, or generally behaving in such a way that both teams can't adequately prepare for a debate in a reasonable manner. I will give you points that are akin to clipping or other cheating practices if you do so.
New content 2015-2016
Between UMKC and UNLV I decided to raise my points a bit. Nothing radical, but probably a .2 increase on the top end. I'm still giving points below the mean as often as ever, but my high end points will more accurately reflect trends for the top 20 speakers at a major. I do this reluctantly as I don't like point inflation, but I also don't want to disadvantage quality speakers that would like me to judge them by holding them to a different expectation than the rest of the pack. I find it very troubling how often 29.6 and above points are handed out. People should stop that.
Don't ever ask me for speaker points. Those are mine and mine alone. I mean, I guess you can ask, but I won't do what you're asking me. I will give you the points you deserve.
Decision-making and diversification are figuring highly into my points. So, good argument choices throughout -- recognition of your strengths, their weaknesses, time allocation, block division, 1AR elaboration, etc -- will be rewarded and bad choices will be deducted. Diversification can be horizontal or vertical. In other words, you can still be a one-off K team and have excellent points provided that your block is interrogating the case, developing a variety of well-explained link arguments, engaging in good epistemological attacks on the aff ev, and explaining your impacts. Lazy polemic will not be as highly evaluated as in-depth attacks involving clash throughout. In other words, "state bad" is not my jam unless it's some very well-developed, context-specific state bad arg. I can imagine one, but haven't seen one.
A great many things are not T. I'd encourage you to go for it. I like evidence-based T debates. What should be considered military presence is highly debatable and many affs do not meet a reasonable interpretation of military presence. Even fewer are significant reductions in said military presence.
The "aff didnt do enough" K isn't doing much for me. If this is your best option, I'd recommend T instead. Perms solve it and it's not offense.
K debaters that can't debate the case enough to prove that the aff doesn't simply reduce military presence but somehow reinforces it or some other bad process in trying to do so are having a really hard time winning with me. You need links. "You touched the gov't" isn't getting the job done. If this is your best strat, I am not the judge for you.
Negative state action undermines a lot of "we shouldn't have to debate as the gov't" args, absent more detailed elaboration by the aff team reading a non-topical or non-plan aff. I can personally entertain some reasons why this arg might still be true, but teams have yet to advance args that are not facile extensions of the standard "gov't bad" arg in explaining this for me. "Decrease military" and "gov't bad" are in the same direction on face. You'll need to do more to prove that they are not.
Thumpers are a thing, UQ CP's aside. I can't even begin to understand people who don't believe they are. I'm not saying they're a universal problem for every politics DA, but there are times where they are a problem for a lot of popular politics DA's.
New content 2014-2015
1) K-related info
I am not sure if I’ve voted aff against framework this year (could be once or twice I’m forgetting about). A lot of things can explain this (lop-sided matches, conceptual mistakes, drops, I’m dumb), but teams with non-topical affs should probably know this.
I think most people’s framework args are soft and easy to beat if the aff actually interrogates them, but few do except saying “it’s anti-black” or “it links to Baudrillard/other French guy”. Do the work of K’ing something; your K is not a yellow card: “Penalty: anti-black!”. Develop content.
If you haven’t thought about the existential question “If the laws you are against are anti-black/otherwise rude, what should be done about them?”, you will have a hard time winning w me. As far as I know, getting rid of laws requires state action. If you are doing something else to get rid of or otherwise address those laws, I’m gonna need to hear some details. Unflinching paradigmatic analysis is a buzzword requiring further elaboration.
The strongest part of anti-K framework args is their “topical version of the aff/do it on the neg” cooptation args. The weakest part is the overall impact. If they win the cooptation args, they don’t need to win much of an impact, though. Food for thought.
Most K’s need an alt. If they don’t, be prepared to put some time into explaining why not.
Neg K’s are worse at permutations than ever. The “it’s a method” arg school of thought doesn’t make much sense to me without further elaboration. Some methods compete; others do not. You still need a link that’s not solved by including your alt (or some part of it) with the aff.
Aff’s typically lose K’s by not questioning a sweeping claim at the center of the K that takes out their case. A perm won’t help you much against that. Don’t fool around and forget to answer the central contention of the K. These claims are almost always an overreach; they’re not as absolute as they’re purported to be.
A lot of performances seem to be disconnected from the subsequent content. That’s not bad esoterically I guess, but it’s unstrategic because then the time you spend performing isn’t helping you win the debate.
I’m pretty much over role of the ballot. It’s just an impact framing arg. You still have to win that it’s a comparably preferable impact to whatever you’re debating.
K’s that go after the entire aff – their evidence, their harms, their plan, their solvency, their worldview – have a strong chance of winning even with a weak alt. They simply need to find a way to prove that an un-interrogated adoption of the plan would be worse than doing nothing or very little. That’s harder than just wishing away the SQ through magic, but debate is hard and that’s why it’s awesome.
K affs should defend changing the laws they criticize, but K the remainder of what the neg says is required to be complete legalization. Or read some cards on T. Or both. If your aff is nothing about the topic, or is anti-topical, you’ll want to be prepared to have a more comprehensive impact turn strategy for framework. This is a much tougher road.
2) CX-related info
Answer questions in CX. Seriously. Don’t repeat the question at them. Don’t ignore them and do something else. I’m going to start docking points for wasting people’s CX time. Mark my word. I will intervene once and after that I’m just going to start making notations to knock off some points.
Don’t extend the CX unless you absolutely have to. Usually you’re doing it for something useless and wasting your prep time. Also, feel free to deny your opponents a CX extension. Just say “no” if they ask to take prep to ask another question. It’s your prep time too.
3) Presentation info
I hate your pre-written overviews. No one can flow those. Your overview would be far better if tailored to the particular circumstances of the debate and delivered as if you were trying to reply to your opponents.
Prep time runs until your flashdrive leaves your computer or the email is sent. Start the chain/prepare the jump prior to the debate and deliver it a couple of minutes prior to the start of the debate. Feel free to tell people not to open it until it’s time and I’m sure that they won’t. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DEBATE STARTS TO BEGIN PUTTING THINGS ON YOUR DRIVE OR I WILL START YOUR PREP TIME WHEN THE ROUND IS SCHEDULED TO START. Also, don’t wait until the debate is scheduled to start to pee.
You should think about how the music you’re playing affects others’ ability to hear you. A lot of times, music playing during your speech if not accompanying some performative component is a distraction from or direct hindrance to understanding speech content.
Loud music before the debate is irritating. I’d be glad to lend you some headphones.
Don’t act offended because someone is debating you. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Disagreeing with you is not akin to disrespecting you. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Consider how you’re tagging evidence. No one can flow your paragraph of mumbo-jumbo that precedes your French philosophy. Tags ought to communicate your interpretation of evidence to the judge, to demonstrate the way the evidence will be used. Tags are not story-time. If your tag is mega-long and uses a lot of high theory, plan to slow down so people can flow it.
I will 100% discount evidence from weirdos. Astrologers talking about global warming or conspiracy theory websites will require deep defenses to stand up to someone merely asserting that they’re not qualified. Honestly, it’s probably not worth your time to defend them. A couple more pointed jokes will likely beat those too. The Internet has caused you all to cut some scandalously bad ev.
4) DA-related info
Politics UQ answers are so bad. Don’t expect me to interpret “Opposition exists” as “won’t pass” if the neg questions it. Everything in Washington has opposition. That doesn’t mean it won’t pass if they have evidence saying it will. You need to have some conclusive ev.
I’m never voting on logical policymaker or a perm to a DA unless it’s dropped. Maybe not even then.
Their new DA, whatever it is, probably has a terrible link.
I would sacrifice a close family member to judge a good economic DA.
5) CP-related info
I still believe in limited counterplan competition. I believe counterplans should be textually and functionally competitive, not one or the other. I still rarely see this arg pursued against CP’s that clearly violate it.
I’m defaulting to judge kick CP’s that are deemed non-competitive unless I’m told not to do so. That means if you’re aff, your answers to the net benefit cannot be all premised around the CP, but must also take into account the SQ.
Nothing can flip presumption to the aff. Presumption is 100% neg. Change is scary.
Don’t forget to review the basic plan vs. CP competition on a technical CP. This is probably your best perm answer (or perm arg if you’re aff). A lot of teams presume we know more about what the original plan was than we do.
6) Case-related info
Actually debating the case is good. Impact D is not actually debating the case. It’s a fair accompaniment to, but is not a substitute for, debating the harm and solvency. Solvency is where it’s at.
Aff plans are too vague. Many would be circumvented as a result of the loopholes the wording of these plans allows. I love this stuff.
My points are probably marginally higher than 2 years ago, but not substantially. I would guess I use a 28.5 as average now over a 28.3. 29’s are not common and you won’t get one unless you’re actually really good. I won’t give you one for being a senior, or for showing improvement or effort, or for being snarky and mean. I will give you one (or one plus some more) if you’re very good, technical, complete, display vision and clarity, handle the CX, perform the CX, and read and analyze evidence well. Excessive reading will not get the job done. Excessive slow rambling will not get the job done. Comprehensively replying to your opponents’ arguments is a must for a 29+. If you’re dropping key content, you’re a 28.9 at best. Organization is important. It doesn’t have to be line-by-line (although I have a slight preference for it, historically), but it had better have a logic that makes sense and flows well.
I’m sure whatever is already in here is also fine and true. I dunno. I’m not re-reading it. END NEW CONTENT 2015
New addendums: I've adjusted my speaker point scale quite a bit in recent years. I think it's much higher than it used to be when people are good and maybe a little lower when people are bad. The additional variability allowed by the 1/10's system has given me more room to provide finer evaluations.
I assert myself into the CX more than I used to. Blame Dallas. I always thought it was cool when he did that. I typically do this just to protect people from your rambling incoherent responses to questions.
NEW, NEW Addendums:
Cheating of all kinds in debate is deserving of the deepest penalty we can level. I will vote against you and give you zero speaker points if you clip cards. I will not debate with you about clarity or unclarity. I will ask you directly what portions of a card were read and, if your response doesn't match the recorded evidence, I will level the punishment. I don't require the argument to be made in the debate. I will not necessarily be recording every debate, but I will record many. Any accusation of clipping will require recorded evidence to be prosecuted.
I think most people already knew how I felt about this. I did want to clarify in case you're a cheater and want to stop preffing me bc you cheat.
I like basically all styles of debate roughly equally. I think my points reveal a pretty well balanced rewarding of excellence on all sides of the ball. I think "topical version of the aff" and "knowledge is racially subjective" are just about equally difficult to beat. I think my points are often highest for "degree of difficulty" wins -- taking on tough issues eloquently and with style. A large component of my points are subjective -- I don't just give points to teams for "winning"; I also give points based on aesthetics. No rubric is going to alter that, at Wake or anywhere else. I think fast, technical debate can be pretty when combined with, say, humor, insight, intellect, and reason as much as I think performance style debate can be detail oriented when combined with penetrating analysis of the other teams arguments using the lens of their perspective on the world. These styles are, in my opinion, not fundamentally distinct, but different in emphasis.
My points roughly lie in the norms of the Wake judging rubric (I may give slightly more 28.5's and slightly fewer 28.9's than they're suggesting, but, whatever). I wouldn't expect my points to either change much because of the rubric or vary much from it. I'm not going to pay real close attention to it as the numbers seem to indicate I'm basically on par at the moment. One thing to note: your best speech and THE best speech are two very different things. You might think you gave the best possible speech you could and I would still not rate that speech as a 29.9 or 30. It's not just possible, but entirely likely, that you are not capable of giving a perfect speech. That's ok. No one is perfect.
Depth is almost always better than breadth, but I do expect people to answer arguments. I won't ever answer them for you. I don't care in what order you answer them or how clearly you signpost your answers or whatever (i.e. line-by-line as defined traditionally is not that crucial), but if you never answer an argument and expect me to intuit the answer for you, you're not likely to succeed.
I judge a lot. I'm kinda grumpy, but it's not just you. I'll be expressive in debates, a lot of it will be negative; don't cry. I just don't like watching you be bad. Other parts where you're good I'll like a lot (hopefully).
Big picture issues: Debate is for the debaters. I won't tell you what to do and what not to do. I have voted for some terrible arguments. Almost every debate involves some argument I hate. I often vote for arguments I loathe. Don't spend your time trying to decide which arguments I like. You play to win the game. Where this contradicts with something I've said below, you do your thing.
Topicality: Is ok. You need an interp. It needs an impact. The aff needs a reason to prefer their interp, or to meet the negative's interp. I believe aff's deserve predictability as much as the negative does. More aff's should say that. T can be outweighed by substantive arguments against the interp, like that it causes biopower, the state, zphc, derrida, la-dee-da, etc. In the instance that the aff attempts to "outweigh T", the neg should further elaborate on the substantive impacts of their standards. They should also probably say T isn't like the holocaust.
Framework: Is ok. I believe any argument can be introduced and won in a debate, but I'm often convinced that the harm to doing so outweighs the benefits. These debates are often tied up in issues I've discussed in reference to T. See above. Aff's especially should IMPACT their framework arguments. If the K has a link, I'm probably not going to be persuaded that they're trying to play football with a baseball bat (wrong forum) and patently exclude their argument. I may however decide that the neg has lost their alt and that doing so means the margin of the link is outweighed by the affs advantages. However, it is also possible that the K just takes-out the aff solvency and harm claims and turns the case, in which case the neg would win. Many framework debates are, as a result, stupid.
Other theory: PICs, Dispo, Condi, ASPEC, CESPEC, alt text, multi actor, conditional CPs, international CPs, etc. are all ok. So are objections to them. They're like T to me: theoretical disads to the other team's conception of debate. Most of them, however, do not rise to the level of VI. Typically, I believe that they prove that the argument should not be considered, not that the team running the argument should lose. In most debates, these argument are asserted to be a VI and countered by an equally assertive response that they are not. In those instances, I agree, they aren't. Basically, explain the voter if you want to win on 'em. I won't punish your points for consulting because I'm not a douche.
DA's and CP's: If the CP solves 100% of the case, I typically believe that there is a risk of a link to the net benefit. I have been, on occassion, convinced otherwise, but these instances are few and far between. I do not think presumption flips aff in any instance. I can't imagine how it could. I'd need to hear an amazing argument in favor of doing so. Link turns need UQ. If the disad sounds too good to be true, it probably is. "Their evidence is from liars" could count as a zero risk argument for me if articulated well. I tend to believe that the SQ is always an option for the neg unless it is explicitly foregone in the CX or a speech. Plan-plus counterplans are abusive and many CP's are plan-plus. Textual competition is good and many CP's are not textually competitive. Again, these are predilections, not hard and fast rules. I've been persuaded against my beliefs in virtually every debate I've ever judged.
K's: Alt, alt alt. The aff usually loses because the neg lies about their alt and the aff almost always wins if they beat the alt. Realism is real is unhelpful. I rarely know why this argument links. See comments on framework above. The aff typically gets to weigh their impacts regardless of the fabricated nature of fiat. The instance that the aff loses the case because of the K is typically associated with some indict of a. the evidence b. the impact claim itself or c. the solvency. In those instances, winning that you get to weigh the aff is not helpful; you still have to defend it. Good link and impact illustration is always helpful. Why does the K access the aff harm? Why does the alt solve the case? I often leave K debates wondering these things and it'd be helpful to have these questions answered and asked by the debaters.
Performance: Is ok. I don't love it; I can't lie. A good topical performance used as evidence to support a policy conclusion can successfully defeat a lot of the substantive arguments against a case, but performance for performances sake, the non-topical, obfuscatory variety, does nothing to impress me. I'll vote on it. I'll consider the merits of the argument. I may even find parts of it witty and funny. But if you think I'm a member of your project because I worked at OU, you're probably wrong. P.S. don't run your bad version of the Churchill K or nihilism because you think it will get me on your side. It won't. Run what you're good at and do it well.
CX: Is good. I love a grilling CX. You should have an agenda and follow it. Ask a lot of questions. Set things up. Don't badger the witness and don't bore me. CX has a lot to do with the points I give. I will probably be on the Internet and reading and stuff during CX, but, trust me, I'm listening. It matters greatly that you do well here.
Speed and flowing: I judge a lot of debates. I've judged people way faster than you and I get it down when it is clear. I often ask for clarity and the debaters go right back to being incomprehensible. I'm not asking anymore. You'll be clear or you'll get bad points. Seperate your cards, cites, and tags with good vocal inflection or I won't understand you and I won't try anymore. You don't need to be as fast as most of you try to read. Many of you would be more efficient at 75-80% speed. Theory debates are notoriously too brief and too quick. I'll just ignore you if you do this. If you want to win a theory arg, slow down so I can flow it.
Evidence: I don't read a lot of evidence after debates. I don't usually need to. Asking me to read some evidence doesn't mean I will. I think evidence is a tool, not a weapon, and blanket extension of cards without talking about their contents doesn't make an argument. Use evidence to support arguments, not to make them. That said, unevidenced, but well reasoned arguments are good. I'm for it! I don't think only cards can be evidence; a good story, poem, allegory, song, dance, whatever, could be evidence too. Of course, cards can beat non-traditional evidence also.
Overviews: Honestly, I'm pretty tired of them. Most of them are a waste of your time. Typically they are some long unnecessary diatribe about components of the disad ignored by the aff that I already understand. If you have an overview, it ought to be functional and make an argument rather than just "explain the thesis" of the argument or preview why you are so awesome and the other team so dumb. Worthless overviews are a negative speaker point in my mind. More line-by-line, more cards, more content.
Prep time: Don't steal prep. Once the timer stops, everyone must stop filing, writing, typing, etc. until the speech begins. Don't cheat. That said, don't be annoying and take hours to give the order. When you stop the prep time, you'd better know where you're going.
Clipping/Cross-reading/Mis-marking: I hear that this is coming back. To prosecute cheating, the accusing team needs hard evidence. A time trial is not hard evidence. A recording of the speech must be presented. I will stop the debate, listen to the recording, and compare it to the evidence read. If cheating occurred, the offending debater and their partner will receive zero speaker points and a loss. I'd also encourage them to quit. I consider this offense to be more serious than fabricating evidence. It is an honor system that strikes at the very core of what we do here.
Sexist/Racist behavior: Is not ok. Under any circumstances. Ever. The line is often unclear, but don't do anything that could hurt someone else in debate. Diversity is the heart of the activity, it is only just now getting better, and we don't want to turn back the clock to the good ole bad ole days. I'd prefer evidence not use sexist language in their evidence too, but that's not the type of behavior I'm talking about here. I'm talking about debater-directed verbal or behavioral evidence of prejudice. I've never actually seen a debate where it happened, but if it did I'd want to do more than give the team a loss and zero points. I have anger management issues.
Humor: Is good. But if you aren't funny, don't press it. Be yourself. If you're just some debate machine, do that and do it well. Good natured humor can get you good points though. Oh, and making fun of me, my colleagues, my debaters, and my friends are all welcome. If you've got a good burn, bring it. Jokes about the quality of the other team's arguments can be persuasive evidence.