Armands Revelins Paradigm
my email for email chains is email@example.com
Quick update 2018 - some years ago I drafted the rubric for speaker points that you see below. Since then I have monitored developments in the debate community on typical speaker point distribution across all judges/tournaments, as discussed online by people who keep track of such things. I don't really dwell on this data much, but I do try to be mindful of community tendencies. Also, I notice how my own debaters read judge philosophies in crunch-time right before a round, and realize debaters reading this want a tl:dr.
Therefore, note that I probably now give speaker points that inch higher than what I initially suggested. This means in most cases I'm giving 28 and above, for debaters who seem to be doing elim-level debate it's usually 28.5 and above, and for especially impressive debate it's 29 and above. I do still dip into the mid-to-high 27's in occasional instances where I want to make it clear that I think the particular speeches really could use some work. At the time of writing (Jan 2018) my average speaker points are about a 28.5.
*******Paradigm Edited 11/10/13, prior to Wake Forest 2013 *******
** Scroll past speaker point scale to get a shorter philosophy explanation **
Speaker point scale:
0 = the debater committed some sort of ethics violation during the round (e.g. clipping cards)
26 to 26.9 = one or both of the following things happened: a) the debater made some kind of major tactical mistake in the debate, such as a completely dropped off-case position, without any attempt to address how they might still win the debate even if that argument is charitably given the full weight that the opposing team prefers. (more leeway on this is given to novice debates) b) the debater was hostile or rude towards competitors in the debate such that opportunities for respectful discourse concerning different ideas devolved into a breakdown of communication. Debaters have different personalities and approaches and I encourage you to explore ways of comporting yourself that express these personalities and approaches (be proud, indignant, cunning, provocative, etc), but please at all times also communicate with each other as students from different schools who respect each other for taking the time to have a lengthy debate round, in whatever part of the U.S. where you may presently have journeyed for such an encounter.
27 to 27.4 = the debater's overall strategy made sense, but various parts of the debate could have used more depth when instead those parts were fairly 'paint by numbers' (e.g. addressing certain arguments with generic/block answers instead of dealing with them more specifically). Evidence comparisons were fairly sparse, but the basic story on a given sheet of flow paper was clear enough.
27.5 to 27.9 = the debater did a solid job of debating. A coherent strategy was executed well. For certain key issues, initial clash advanced into higher forms of assessment, including a charitable understanding of why your opponent's arguments might be good yet your argument is ultimately more important/relevant.
28 to 28.4 = the debater did a solid job of debating across all the flows that were alive in the round. The debater focused on what mattered, was able to swiftly discount what did not ('closing doors' along the way), and took initial clash on key points to highly advanced levels. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this advanced to early elimination debates (e.g. double octo's)
28.5 to 28.9 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but was also able to do this with incredible organization: the most important things were in rank order, the crucial arguments were made without repetition/with cogent word economy, and I felt that the debater's communication seemed to guide my flow along with me. If cards/evidence are in question, you're able to speak of the overall ideologies or motivations driving a certain scholarship/movement, thus "getting behind" the card, in some sense. If a point is made without evidence or without a traditional claim/warrant structure, the debater does so in way that requires translation/interpretation on my part, yet the manner in which I should translate/interpret is also elicited from me/taught to me over the course of the debate. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this could advance past early elimination debates.
29.0 to 29.4 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but approached a sort of fluency that amazed me. The debater not only did what they needed to in order to match or outclass their opponents, but I furthermore felt that the debater was connecting with me in such a way where your arguments trigger understanding almost as a gestalt phenomenological experience. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if you did well in any of your other debates, prelim or elim.
29.5 to 30 = If memory serves, I have rarely if ever given speaker points that inch this close to 30. This is because 30 is perfection, without any umms, ahhs, odd turns of phrase, instances where you just lost me or where, given a rebuttal redo, you yourself would probably have done that part of your speech differently. If you are this close to 30 then you have perfect command of your opponent's position, of whatever gap you have to bridge in order for things to 'click' with me, and you are able to talk about your research and core arguments in a way where you yourself are clearly ready to push the scholarship/performance that you draw upon to its next heights, if you are not doing so already.
Objectivity and consistency is an elusive ideal: the reality is that subjectivity and some variability is inevitable. I think a good judge should be attentive in debates and vigiliant with self-assessments, not solipsistically but in light of evolving encounters with others. One of the biggest lessons I got out of my philosophy work was the extent to which all humans are prone to habits of self-deception, on many levels.
***** Debate experience
- Debated policy 4 years in high school (won the TOC)
- Debated policy 4 years at University of Southern California (4-time NDT qualifier, elims in my senior year)
- I was away from debate while in graduate school for philosophy
- I have coached Policy and PF debate at two high schools (Notre Dame and Millburn)
- I have coached Policy debate at two universities (Binghamton and Cornell)
- I am currently Assistant Director of Forensics/head debate coach at Cornell University
***** Some views on certain arguments
Any kind of argument is fine by me: I wait to see how debaters respond to what happens in the round and try not to import any predispositions concerning the default way that I should evaluate things. There are various harms/impacts that can orient a given side’s concern, plus various meta/framing/sequencing arguments that grant, reorient, or block my access to consideration of those harms/impacts, depending on how these issues play out in a debate.
Various kinds of challenges to the resolution and norms of the community are fine by me.
Kritiks: I ran them often in high school/college. I studied philosophy in graduate school.
Counterplans can take various forms: bring it on. See below about having full cp/permutation text for the entire round (to check against ‘morphing advocacies’).
Topicality debates: if an affirmative is trying to present a topical example of the resolution being true, but the negative thinks the aff is not topical then it is the negative’s right to go ‘all in’ on such an argument.
I debated policy advantage/da/impact debates almost as often as kritiks. Any politics link and link turn debates need to be laid out pretty clearly for me - mind your jargon please. The same goes for impact scenarios: who, what, against what country, etc.
For any asserted advocacy or test of competition, the plan text, permutation, etc needs to be clearly articulated in the round and written down so that it can be evaluated. For any card that you want me to read in last rebuttals, you should be telling me what I will find when I read that card and why it matters for the debate. I won't sift through a series of cards if you have just mentioned them/rattled off the citations without making use of them.
***** final notes
I have an aversion towards 'cloud clash', i.e. rattling off 2-3 minutes of overview and then basically hoping that the judge plucks out whatever applies towards some later part of the debate. Line-by-line debate and the elegance of organization that it offers is in decline lately. This has a lot to do with recent norms and computer-debating. This is at the cost of clash and direct refutation, and can come across as being aloof/wanting the judge to do the work for you. So, overviews should be short and then get on with actually responding to individual arguments.
I prefer the email chain over jumping flash drives, when possible. One click of ‘send’ and there is no longer the agonizing wait of flash drive driver installation, throwing jump drives around, etc.
Please communicate with each other, instead of yelling at each other (see my speaker point scale above for the under 27 range).
At the end of any round, I will vote for one team over the other and indicate this with my written ballot. This will be the case for any debate round that I can presently imagine.
That is all I can think of. Feel free to ask me more questions in person.