Shree Awsare Paradigm
Last Updated-- Aug 2017.
Current School Affiliations: NoBro (2016-), JMU (2011-).
Previous School Affiliations: Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Fordham University (2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007)
Topic Familiarity: Low for college, above average for high school. I have done ZERO research on health care and have little to no idea what the common affirmative or negative arguments are. I also have 0 knowledge of basic economics so a serious depth of explanation will be needed (treat me like a 5 year old in dense economics debates or I will 100% lose what you are saying at top speed). For HS, I worked at the Dartmouth Debate Institute, the Digital Debate Camp, and cut some files for high school, and regularly judge, so I have done a decent amount of research about Education Policy.
Quick Version: Coached a wide variety of teams, am open to different styles of debate. Tend to be preffed for clash debates or K v K debates. You will be more successful if you stick to your strengths--over-adaptation of 1ACs and neg strats don't have a great track record with me, it's better to defend the wall or what you are confident in instead of running from debate.
The existence of speech time limits, the assumption that you will not interrupt an opponent's speech intentionally, and the fact that I (and not you) will be signing a ballot that decides a winner and loser is non-negotiable. The debate should not devolve into an hour long "discussion"-- I don't want to watch a Public Forum style grand crossfire (trust me, I already watch plenty of those). If any of those things come into question, you can expect the team to challenge those things first to get a L and some interesting speaker points at the end of the debate. If you disagree, strike me.
General Outlook on Debate
- Do what you're good at. My job as a coach is to be flexible and encourage the diverse argumentative interests of my students, and I find my judging to be informed by a similar perspective. As a result, I don't have huge distaste towards particular genres of arguments (like PICs, T, Politics DAs, Ks, etc). I am not a blank canvas, but the idiosyncrasies I display as a judge will have more to do with how you execute your position rather than argument choice.
- Tech > Truth, but with limits. Arguments like "counterinterp: only our case is topical," OSPEC, word PICs, wipeout, and the lizard people are not doing your speaker points any favors, but I am firmly on the boat that if you can't beat a bad argument, you don't deserve to win. However, there is a distinction between bad and offensive (eg: "racism good"), which I will not tolerate.
Additionally, a complete argument requires a claim, warrant, and impact... a series of claims without support is not sufficient for a ballot.
- In-Round Persuasion is essential. Ev quality becomes important in close debates but is a secondary concern to explanation and ev comparison by debaters. A well-warranted and well-impacted analytic can beat a poorly warranted series of carded claims.
- Terminal Defense/presumption can decide debates. I can be compelled that there is 0% risk of solvency to an affirmative case, or that there is no internal link to a DA, or that a K aff doesn't meet its role of the ballot and should lose on presumption. "There's a 1% chance that we're good for the world" is not a sufficient justification unless you provide a reason for why the opposing team's defensive argument is false or simply mitigates your claim rather than taking it out terminally.
- I will strongly resist "judge-kicking" a CP or a K alt. The neg can explicitly make a framing argument justifying this practice, but there is a strong likelihood that if the aff answers it to a barely adequate capacity, I won't be compelled to "judge-kick" a world the neg has chosen to defend as an option in the 2NR.
Topicality. I enjoy these debates. You should provide a robust, comparative perspective of your vision of how the topic and/or debates should function. This requires an explicit list of what specific cases and/or practices your interpretation permits/disallows and impacting why this is beneficial for the activity. I default to competing interpretations absent a different way of adjudication.
T vs Critical Affs. I judge these a lot. Several thoughts:
(1) I prefer affs that have SOME relationship to the topic, but that relationship is debatable.
(2) Nuance Good. Outlandish claims like "T is the logic of genocide," or on the other hand, "all teams will quit because K teams are off topic" are unpersuasive. Smart teams will make impact arguments that are specific to the limits that are being set--either to defend the benefits of narrowing deliberation over a topic or to point out the myopia of such a curriculum.
(3) For teams defending the wall: Procedural Fairness/Competitive Equity impacts are more persuasive to me than "decisionmaking key to end existential threats like global warming." Competitive Equity can be a terminal impact rather than just an internal link, but it needs to be framed and warranted as such.
(4) Uniqueness arguments matter. Inevitability and access claims (and their relationship to the T version of the aff) seem to be where I begin decisions, so take care to develop or debunk them.
(5) Novice Specific--Not a fan of planless affs in the novice division, given that your opponents are likely beginners that are still struggling to navigate the basics of debate. It won't affect W/L, but know that my displeasure will reflect significantly in your speaker points (as in, 26-27 land). If you think you've mastered the fundamentals of debate enough to transgress its norms, do yourself and your opponents a favor and challenge yourself in a more advanced division. K Affs with plans, on the other hand, I have no issue with.
Theory. I feel that I am more likely than other judges to pull the trigger on theory if the aff does a good job on it. Similar to T debates, the best theory debates requires a robust interp and an explicit list of specific practices (that happened in this particular debate or otherwise) that your interpretation permits or disallows and why this is beneficial for the activity. I will default to "reject the arg, not the team" unless given a reason otherwise. I've voted on cheapshots, but these require fulfilling a minimal standard of execution (a fully warranted and impacted explanation of your cheapshot, and closing the doors on any cross-applications the aff can make from other flows). Stylistically speaking, slowing down in these debates will help me put more ink on your side of the flow--otherwise I may miss a standard that you find important. Additionally, a specific interpretation and 3 warranted arguments regarding why a practice in debate is bad is significantly stronger than a blippy, generic re-hashing of a 10-point block.
Straight-up Strategies. My favorite straight-up strategies involve PICs (real ones... not Word PICs) or Advantage CPs (that compete either through a topic DA or impact turn of 1 advantage). Politics, artificially competitive CPs, etc are fine (I understand their utility, especially on a topic that's so sad for DAs like education), and you should obviously go for what you are good at and winning instead of making assumptions about whether or not I would like/dislike a strategy.
Judge Instruction is vital. Does UQ frame the link debate, or do the links frame a close UQ debate and why? Does the DA turns the case or the other way around, and why? None of these questions should be left up to me.
K and Non-Traditional Strategies. As a coach, I've worked with a large variety of teams vs K arguments--some defended a big heg advantage, others go for structural violence affs with a plan, and some religiously refuse to read plans. As a judge, I understand the utility of K arguments in the strategic arsenal but I don't enjoy them so much that I hack for them without a basic standard of explanation and refutation.
For teams reading the K: I will be impressed if you command significant knowledge about the theory at hand and are able to apply them to the case through examples from popular culture or empirical/historical situations. On the other hand, if you fail to explain basic theoretical ideas within the scope of the K or fail to engage particular points of contention presented by the affirmative, I will be unimpressed. I often find that K teams have a tendency to over-cover the link and perm debate, to the detriment of hashing out comparative impact claims and explaining how the alt functions to resolve said impacts.
I would strongly prefer you to be organized and debate the line-by-line-- 1+ minute overviews frustrate me.
For teams debating against the K: I am more interested in arguments (analytics and cards) that substantively engage the K while having a robust defense of the case. The K's "greatest hits" are useful but at some point, you are going to have to answer their "K turns the case" and other tricks they may have by using your aff. I do not necessarily need carded evidence to overcome their characterizations, smart analytics are often enough to respond to contrived link or case turn arguments. I think the cleanest path for substantive victory vs the K is to weigh an advantage that outweighs and can't be solved by the alternative, and then win that their "impact filter" arguments (serial policy failure, RC, "your ev can't be trusted," UQ claims, etc) are fallacious in the context of the advantage you've isolated. Debaters on the policy end of the spectrum that I've judged tend to say I evaluate K debates like a "checklist."
Perms in K on K Debates: Absent a debate unfolding, my weak default is that if a K aff presents a clear method/solvency mech, the neg's K argument should present an opportunity cost to the method, rhetoric, and/or intellectual justification for the aff and should have link arguments aside from "omission." I can be compelled that the most extreme version of "no plan no perm" isn't great (testing the commensurability of different methods have value for activism and other venues, no perms incentivizes negs to run towards silly plan plus advocacies to one-up the other team instead of having productive clash). If the aff does not have a clear outlining of method/doesn't parametricize, then I am persuaded substantially more by "no plan no perm." Again, these are weak defaults that can be overturned during the debate by whoever did the better debating.
Largely subjective, but I will generally stick to what's outlined below in the open division. Things that may influence speaker points include (but are not limited to): clarity, stealing prep, being excessively mean, humor, the strength of your CX
< 25: You really got on my nerves and you deserve an equally obnoxious number on the 0-25 part of the scale
25: You showed up but didn't really make an argument past the 1AC/1NC, and didn't ever acknowledge the fact that there were opponents making arguments in your speech
26: You showed up and made some claims (mostly without warrants) that seldom clashed with your opponents
27: You made a variety of claims in the debate (some backed up with warrants) but had a variety of severe strategic mishaps and/or failed to impact your claims
28: You made a variety of claims in the debate (most of them backed up with warrants), but you were occasionally playing with fire and had questionable strategic maneuvers
28.5: You are solid. Your claims are backed up with warrants and you have a strategic vision that you are attempting to accomplish.
29+: You've done everything needed for a 28.5, but you sounded really, really good while you were doing it. This probably includes: you had excellent ethos/pathos, you were incredibly clear, you had great cross-xes, you were hilarious, and/or your strategic vision was executed nearly flawlessly.
30: Life changed.
HS Public Forum Philosophy
Shamelessly stolen and modified from Brian Manuel:
This is my first year really becoming involved in Public Forum Debate, although I've judged a few PF elim and bid rounds in the last 2-3 years. I have a lot of strong opinions as far as the activity goes. However, my strongest opinion centers on the way that evidence is used, mis-cited, paraphrased, and taken out of context during debates. I'd strongly prefer that evidence be directly quoted from the original text or not presented at all. I feel that those are the only two presentable forms of argumentation in debate. If paraphrasing is presented in a debate, my displeasure will be expressed in your speaker points. I will always defer to the team who presented evidence directly quoted from the original citation. I also believe that a debater who references no evidence at all, but rather just makes up arguments based on the knowledge they've gained from reading, is more acceptable than paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing to me is a shortcut for those debaters who are too lazy to directly quote a piece of text because they feel it is either too long or too cumbersome to include in their case. To me this is laziness and will not be rewarded.
Beyond that the debate is open for the debaters to interpret. I'd like if debaters focused on internal links, weighing impacts, and instructing me on how to write my ballot during the summary and final focus. The line by line is important and I will not appreciate you going rogue. Too many debaters allow the judge to make up their mind and intervene with their own personal inclinations without giving them any guidance on how to evaluate competing issues. Work hard and I'll reward you. Be lazy and it won't work out for you.