Vince Woolums ParadigmLast changed 10/23 3:15P CDT
Add me to the email chain:
I debated for Iowa City High 1989-1993 on the prisons, space, and homelessness topics then graduated early. I won lots of rounds and speaker awards. I didn't debate in college because life happened otherwise. I hold BA degrees in English and Political Science with a lot of incomplete Master's level work. I work a full time project management job in the aerospace industry, enjoy bicycling and spending time with my six year old son. Since 2009 I've been the Director of Debate at Iowa City High and enjoy coaching both casual and highly competitive teams. I am very familiar with the arms sales topic.
Not using the President's* given name in any form will slightly increase your speaks.
Policymaker by default. I vote on well constructed, true arguments presented in a technically proficient manner. I'm not the best judge for you if you're an advocacy, narrative, performance, or project team.
Before the Round - VCX:
I'm primarily a policymaker, but I also think stock issues are important. It's my deeply held belief that policy debate requires a plan text and that Affirmative teams should employ the USFG through its subsidiary agencies as actors, as directed by the resolution. My preferences are case debate, counterplan/disad debate, solvency mechanism debate, core K debates.
There is a place for every argument and story, but I'm not convinced that the following belong in policy debate: narratives, performance, personal advocacy, and/or projects. I'm open minded, and don't disinclude the aforementioned out of hand, but if it helps assist in your selection of judge strikes then I don't think I'm very well qualified to judge these debates.
I'm fine with core kritiks, including but not limited to cap/neolib, colonialism, gender, and security, but stray into the margins of philosophy, psychology, semiotics, sociology, etc in front of me at your peril.
I demand in-round decorum. Rudeness and ad hominem fallacy will NOT be tolerated. Debaters who militarize their identity to the point of excluding others will not do well in front of me.
I suppose I'm at odds with the community in that I favor of 'truth over tech', as you will need to win the technical side of debates with truthful arguments to gain my ballot. I can't in good faith hang a ballot on evidence that may be several years old and is no longer a factual representation of the status quo, which is particularly important on this years topic.
You should ask me for clarifications of this entire judge philosophy AND ask any other questions before the round. Absent your questions, I will assume that you have read and understood this philosophy. For example, if you have to ask me "do you take prep for flashing speeches" anytime after the start of the 1AC, well, just don't do that. If you ask me during 1AC CX "hey do you allow tag team CX" then expect your points to suffer. Always ask questions before the round begins. Always. This includes specific questions about my voting threshold etc for any particular arguments you wish to deploy that aren't discussed below.
I prefer you ask and answer your own questions. I require politeness during cross ex. Cross-ex isn't Crossfire. I flow CX and consider your answers to be binding in all forms. CX is the most important and underrated speech in policy debate.
K's and Framework:
We are participants in policy debate; hence, policy debate briefs -- similar to those that are written to assist theoretical policymakers in making critical policy decisions for the United States federal government -- provide the stasis point for our arguments, which requires scenario analyses geared toward solving real world problems and not simply rejecting or refusing to engage the topic.
That said, I'm fine with kritik debates as long as you articulate the finer points of your argument -- like alternative solvency -- in a way that makes sense without relying on debate jargon. For example, if you stand up in a 1NC and read an IR Fem shell but can't answer any questions about it in cross-ex, then I will not be impressed. If you are taking a theoretical or philosophical/critical approach to the topic, then I find it more engaging when you explain your position in clear, non-debate terms. It demonstrates a level of understanding about the criticism that extends well beyond the debate space, and I support that as an educational endeavor.
Similarly, with framework debates, highlight the advantages or disadvantages to competing methodologies in a clear concise way (no cloud/overview clash, use actual line-by-line) and it becomes a lot easier to vote on framework and/or separately evaluate aff and neg impacts. I'm better with discourse, ethical scholar, reps, and that kind of framework and less okay with meta, ontological, or psych frameworks, the latter mostly outside my studies.
Regurgitating debate jargon on complex academic topics that are (sometimes merely at best) tangential to substantive policy debates does not demonstrate to me that you grasp the underlying issues; instead, it tells me you primarily want to win debates and have selected an esoteric critical and/or theoretical position that other debaters aren't as familiar with in order to do so.
I've seen some fantastic, well organized T debates, and ones that make my head hurt. Go for T, I will vote on it, but keep the refutation and line-by-line clean. I don't have a clear default to competing interpretations or reasonability, so be persuasive. Explain why you meet, or why you're losing ground and exploding limits. I am not persuaded by arguments that disqualify T as a voter or attempt to impact turn T. It's a STOCK ISSUE and always a voter.
Yes please!, but be invested in them. They need solvency advocates that compete with and test the Aff's solvency mechanism. Perms, likewise, test the competitive structures of the counterplan and are therefore legitimate. I'm not persuaded by severance theory because the Aff doesn't garner offense from the perm. Instead of reading severance, spend time actually addressing the competition between the plan and counterplan. Finally, I don't default to any theoretical objections either aff or neg on counterplans, but cheaty counterplans do exist. For example, is your process counterplan part of normal means? If so, then perm probably solves. Is States counterplan bad? Probably not, because devolution of powers is a thing. Have country x do the plan? Tricky ... there are a lot of countries and likely an unfair burden to the Aff to prepare for all of them. Etc, see below.
On the one hand, I prefer not voting on theory; however, if the abuse is egregious, or the claim particularly compelling, then I will vote on it. I have a high threshold for "abusiveness" claims. On the other hand, I can easily be persuaded that Condo is bad if, for example, a 1NC reads six+ off, of which three are conditional counterplans/kritiks, and then the 2N has the audacity to whine about a 'blippy 2AC'. I have, in fact, voted Aff on Condo! Otherwise, no memorable RFD's on theory. While the Aff carries the burden of winning their case, the Neg has a similar burden to shape the discussion. It's my opinion we learn more by digging deeper into a smaller set of arguments rather than learning very little about many.
Speech and Prep time:
Set up an email chain before the round.
I run a speech and prep timer.
Cross-ex starts when the speech stops, unless either team asks for prep before CX. Prep starts immediately following CX ends unless the next speaker indicates they're ready and a speech has been sent. Otherwise, I stop prep when you have sent the speech.
I'm going to get on a soapbox here. If you use Gmail, then be sure the "Undo Send" feature is off. Then, during the time we're all waiting for the speech to arrive - unless you are the speaker setting up a stand for your laptop, taking a drink of water, etc - everyone in the room should be DOING NOTHING. No looking at your flows/backflowing, no typing on the computer. No separating out your 'card doc' from speech doc. There is a terrible amount of mental prep time stolen between starting CX after getting flows together and waiting for emails, etc.
Further, I support tournaments moving forward with "decision time" because these small minutes of delay really drag a tournament. At any tournament with decision time, I will begin the round promptly at the start time regardless of whether a team is present or not.
Generally, I'm fine with speed. I flow on a laptop and type ~80wpm. I'm okay with most things speech-related provided I can audibly differentiate your tags, cards, cites, and analytic arguments. This is particularly true of overviews and 2NR/2AR (see below), but also of any complex argument like Theory or T. The speech act, for all our outside the round research and preparations, is the purpose of debate. Organizing your speech is vitally important to its persuasiveness.
As other paradigms I've recently read point out: 'cloud clash is not a thing' and 50% or more of your speech spent on an overview is just clumsy and unrefined. Do your work on the line-by-line answering the other team's arguments.
Furthermore, I come from a time in debate when people used numbering systems and "line by line" meant answering all the opponents arguments in order. If you use numbering systems, such as on 1NC case "1. No impact: ...", and the 2AC says "off 1NC 1", then I will be mightily impressed and your speaks will increase dramatically. It's so much easier to flow because the Synergy template auto numbers, which is a beautiful thing.
If I need you to speak more clearly, enunciate, slow down, or emphasize your tags, I will call out for it verbally in-round. You get one call out and after that your partner needs to be watching me to make sure I'm capturing what you want me to capture. It's up to you to crystallize your arguments in a meaningful, rhetorical way.
Lastly, judges aren't AI bots, so don't get mad at us when we don't flow every single word of your gale-force word salad overview. Yeah, I type fast, but if your Rate of Delivery is 300 and I'm at ~80wpm, do the math. Especially true if you aren't slowing down your tags and cites.
Now that you've read this far, in-round experiences account for more than my preconceived notions of debate as stated above, including K's, debate theory, framework, and the topic in general provided you make your case or arguments compelling and don't make me do any of the work on the flow for you.
All things considered, I will render a decision on any well-developed argument.
If you have questions about the RFD, please ask them politely.
you should definitely break and probably blew my mind somehow;
you did NOT exaggerate, powertag, under-highlight your evidence, including its warrants;
you made cogent link, internal link, and impact calculus arguments;
you properly refuted the nexus question(s) in the round;
you were really easy to flow, with great intonation, inflection, and cadence;
you focused on speaking coherently instead of technically;
you told a compelling story using well-honed rhetorical devices and true arguments, presented persuasively;
you were polite yet assertive in CX and during your speeches and answered/asked your own questions.
you did a pretty good job answering all the arguments, but you may have dropped some stuff;
you were too fast or too unintelligible, and didn't adapt to me flowing you;
you didn't do as good a job analyzing arguments as you could have;
you exaggerated your evidence beyond what the author intended, or beyond the warrants you read;
you didn't persuade me, you were snarky or needed your partner's help in CX, etc.
you did a poor job refuting arguments, or you dropped whole arguments;
you were unintelligible;
you didn't analyze the arguments or perform a cogent impact calculus;
you used ad hominem arguments or were aggressive either in your speech or CX;
you needed a lot of help answering/asking CX questions.
you did something I found egregiously offensive (racism, sexism, other bigotries);
you used fraudulent evidence;
you clipped cards;
you forfeit, or left the debate for any of your own personal reasons.
I really don't like when a team interferes with their opponents speech or prep by requesting evidence and/or asking for your flash drive back, or by whispering to your teammate so loudly I can't hear the speaker, or by throwing backpacks, laptop cords around, etc. If these are a problem, then your speaker points will assuredly suffer.
Good luck to all!