scott varda Paradigm
Updated for 2017
impact calc. impact calc. impact calc. and yes on email chain. firstname.lastname@example.org
TL/DR version: I'm from D3, I don't care how you debate. make it good.
speaker points: I am an argument critic. Points received from me reflect ONLY the debating done in front of me and are neither punished, nor rewarded, by particular ideology, style, or approach to debate. Argument selection, persuasion, clarity, wit, approach to opponents, specificity of examples, and explanation of argumentative import are just some of things that go into my speaker point scale.
I am generally open to ANY argument. I prefer well argued debates, humor, and an ability to think without your blocks. I think the activity revolves around the debaters, so do what you do best. In other words, don’t “over adapt” to me, do your thing. I prefer specific to generic in almost every context. What follows should be considered only a snapshot of some thoughts I have on relevant issues. These are not set in stone, and I’ve voted for just about every type of argument there is. I can't emphasize this enough: win it in the round and even my strong views (whatever those even are) can be defeated.
I generally believe an affirmative’s relationship with the resolution should require more than passing reference to it--but how that is actualized in debates is entirely up to the debaters to decide. At a minimum, a reinterpretation of the resolutional wording seems in order, or a critique of the negative’s interpretation of debate, or an explanation about why your performance is germane to the topic, or about how your role of the ballot is predictable or good for debate in some way. BUT, all of that is on the neg to make it happen. My ONLY care about who wins the debate is for the team making better arguments--broadly conceived.
K v. K debates: My decisions generally turn on the following questions: How does your theory of power and/or discourse relate to the other teams? How have you (re)theorized presumption? Why is your Role of the Ballot/Judge good? What do legitimate permutations entail? How do I determine the best methodology? How have your research practices impacted the claims you are advancing.
Evidence: I am open to any claim that is supported by at least a warrant and some measure of evidence. I conceive of evidence broadly--a well qualified academic, an industry expert, a citizen-activist, the discursive representations of a social location, a song, a poem, a speech, a visual image are all legitimate possibilities. This does not mean all evidence is equal and it is on the debaters to demonstrate/explain (early rather than later) why I should prefer some evidence over others.
Framework. Here are some key questions you might want to answer: ***education vs. fairness***; predictable ground vs. creativity; Is framework a guise for (insert what the aff says is bad)?; why is voting for or against this team in this round key; what is my role as a judge; what is the brightline to legitimate aff vs. what's the harm of allowing one more aff in; what is the impact to any of this? Also, framework should be extended like topicality in the 2NR if it is a reason to vote against the aff by itself. Also, "they didn't read a plan," "they didn't defend their plan," "their plan is not topical," "their advocacy is not germane to the resolution" and "they are shady and keep changing their answers" are all distinct arguments. They might be related, but they should not be conflated.
Debates general: does your truth claim beat their techne/flow claims, and vice versa? who is winning the inevitability claims? reasonable historical examples are very persuasive to me, massively overclaimed historical similarities are not only unpresuasive, but will likely cause me to make a very ugly face. root causes should be well impacted, specific scenarios need more adequate probability and timeframe assessments.
Topicality should be about competing interpretations and should have all relevant warrants and impacts extended in each relevant speech. It is generally an evidence intensive debate which should consider the overall literature in existence—conversely, evidence poor interpretations which get inadequately answered can become winners. Reasonability doesn't mean, "come on, Judge! we're kinda close." Also, why is the neg interp good for debate and/or how does the aff interp result in worse education on the topic?
Procedural arguments are approached presuming the team raising the objection is incorrect. In other words, my theory threshold is moderate to high, but by no means unapproachable. This means I think the negative gets lots of leeway but that the affirmative should be more aggressive with marginally legitimate permutations. Cheap shots should be considered “no shots” in front of me, but if you’re getting crushed, whaddyagonnado? Requiring specification of the plan is a legitimate argument INFREQUENTLY. It’s usually a complete waste of time. Here’s the test, is the shell a minute long, and are you going to read 3 cards in the block on the argument? Cool. Alternatively, is this argument intended to establish competition to your CP or alternative? If not, it is likely a difficult to win position.
Critical arguments (aff or neg) should include a notion of the current realities of the world—it can’t just be wished away. And, my preference for specific argumentation is especially true here—aff or neg. I prefer critical arguments which engage explicit choices by the opposition. Links of omission are almost always less persuasive than links of commission, but I can be sold that the act of omitting was a de facto commission. Do the aff without the reps seems legitimate to me if it is explicitly flagged as such in the 1NC. Shady 2NC alt's legit lots of 1AR leeway. What does the alt do? How does it function in the world? Why isn't there an explicit text for it? 1ARs should treat new 2NC explanations of the alt as if they were opportunities for new-ish answers.
Disads and Advantages. There is such a thing as zero risk, though I’ve rarely seen it. Much more likely is that I will assign some notion of risk to the link which may not be high enough to cause the terminal impact (e.g. the aff upsets country X a bit, but probably not enough to cause relations to tank). Similarly, the plan may be necessary, but not sufficient, to accrue the advantages. Impact assessment should be more than simply “it’s faster than the aff, it outweighs, and is more likely.”
Counterplans. They are good. Run them. Condo: Debate it. Judge kick: If the aff ignores this argument, you can mention as late as the 2NR, but I really am not a fan and want the negative to begin the debate over the legitimacy of this in the block. I think policy PICs need to be plan based, but a series of cards explaining what normal means is, and how the CP is distinct can be enough. Alternatively, a well done c-x admission can be enough. I think critical PICs need to explicitly engage the the competition question early in the debate. Condition and consult CPs should be held to higher evidence standards than negs often provide, but that is the affs job to check, not mine.
Debating on the side of truth is almost always easier than going for the lie, and will be rewarded with higher points (consider this my, “yes I’ll vote for the Gregorian Calendar, Wipeout, or fiat doublebind, but you ain’t getting a 29.5” claim). Having said that, tech can beat truth in front of me.
I have no problem reading cards for forty minutes after a debate, but your speaker points will almost always be higher if I don’t have to read many cards.
"Clock management." I am inclined to give a speech time out under the reasonable conditions if requested (asthma attack, coughing fit, speaking stand collapses, etc).
Cheating sucks. don't be a cheater. misdisclosure before debates. clipping. hidden cards. loading 40 extra cards into speech docs. these are things that should not be in debates.