Matt Coleman ParadigmLast changed 10/13 1:15P UTC
Updated for the Legalization Topic 9/11/14
I do want on the e-mail chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debate Experience: Wichita State graduate 2009. We read a middle of the road straight up affirmative and won more debates on arguments like imperialsim good than should have been possible. However, on the negative roughly half of my 2NRs were a K (with the other half being some combination of T, politics/case etc.) so I believe firmly in argumentative flexibility and am comfortable voting for or against almost all arguments.
Judging Experience: 5-8 tournaments each year since graduating.
Most importantly: I do not work with a team currently so I have not done any topic research, my only involvement is judging a handful of tournaments each year. It would be in your best interest to not assume I have the intricacies of your PIC or T argument down and take some time explaining the basis of your arguments. If the first time I figure out what your CP does or what your violation is on T is after you give me the text after the debate, my motivation to vote for you is going to be pretty low. I am currently a practicing attorney so I may have some insight on the topic from that perspective, but I'll try to minimize what impact that has on my decisions outside of possibly some suggestions after the debate on how to make it more accurately reflect how the legal process works.
Ways to kill your speaker points/irritate me
1. Cheating - I mean this substantively not argumentatively. This can include stealing prep time, clipping cards, lying about disclosure etc. If people are jumping cards or waiting to get the flash drive and you are furiously typing away on your computer it's pretty obvious you are stealing prep and I will call you out on it.
2. Being unecessarily uptight/angry about everything. There's no need to treat every round like it's the finals of the NDT, try having some fun once in awhile I promise your points from me and others will go up as a result. I take debate seriously and enjoying being a part of debate, but you can be very competitive and still generally pleasant to be around at the same time. I have no problem if people want to make fun of an argument, but it's one thing to attack the quality of an argument and another entirely to attack the person reading those arguments.
3. Not letting the other person talk in cross-x. It irritates me greatly when one person answers and asks every single question on one team.
4. A lack of line-by-line debate. If your only reference to the previous speeches is some vague reference to "the link debate" you are going to be irritated with my decision. I'm only willing to put in the same amount of work that you are. This is not to say that I can't be persuaded to have a more holistic view of the debate, but if I can't tell what arguments you are answering I am certainly going to be sympathetic if the other team can't either. Also people over use the phrase "dropped/conceded" to the point that I'm not sure they mean anything anymore, I'm paying attention to the debate if something is conceded then certainly call the other team out, if they spent 2 minutes answering it skip the part of your block that says "they've conceded: . It just makes me feel that you aren't putting the same work that I am in paying attention to what is occurring in the debate.
5. If your speech/cx answers sound like a biblography. Having evidence and citations is important, but if all you can do is list a laundry list of citations without any explanation or application and then expect me to wade through it all in the end, well we're probably not going to get along. I do not tend to read many cards after a debate if any. I pretty quickly figure out where the important arguments (debaters that identify and highlight important arguments themselves and resolve those debates for me are going to be very far ahead) and then I will turn to arguments and evidentiary issues that are contested.
Ways to impress me
1. Having strategic vision among the different arguments in the debate. Nothing is better than having a debater realize that an answer on one sheet of paper is a double turn with a team's answer on another and be able to capitalize on it, bold moves like that are often rewarded with good points and wins if done correctly.
2. Using your cross-x well. Few people use this time well, but for me it's some of the most valuable speech time and it can make a big difference in the outcome of debates if used effectively.
3. Having a working knowledge of history. It's amazing to me how many arguments are just patently untrue that could be disproven with even a basic understanding of history, I think those are good arguments and often more powerful than the 10 word overhighlighted uniqueness card you were going to read instead.
I enjoy a well crafted and strategic T argument. My biggest problem with these debates is the over emphasis on the limits/reasonability debate occuring in the abstract, usually at the expense of spending enough time talking about the particulars of the aff/neg interps their support in the literature, and how the particular interp interacts with the limits/reasonability debate. T cards rival politics uniqueness cards as the worst ones read in debate, and more time should be spent by both teams in pointing this out.
I think this topic provides an interesting opportunity for discussion with the absence of the federal government in the topic as far as what the Aff can and should be allowed to defend. I'm curious how both Affs and Negs will choose to adapt to this change.
Topicality - K Affs
I think you have to have a defense of the resolution, the manner in which that is done is up to the particular debate. Unfortunately I've been forced to vote on T = genocide more times than I'd like to admit, but Neg's refuse to answer it, no matter how terrible of an argument it is (and they don't get much worse). Critical Affs are likely to do the best in front of me the stronger their tie is to the resolution. The argument there is "no topical version of our aff" has always seemed to me to be a reason to vote Neg, not Aff. Stop making that argument, doing so is just an indication you haven't read or don't care what I put in here and it will be reflected in your points.
I don't ususally get more than one or two opportunities per year to judge debates centered around issues of race/sex/identity but try to be as open as I can to these types of debates when they do occur. I still would prefer these arguments have at least some tie to the resolution as I think this particular topic does allow for good discussion of a lot of these issues. I have generally found myself voting Aff in these types of debates, as the Negative either usually ignores the substance of the Aff argument or fails to explain adequately why both procedurally and substantively the way the Aff has chosen to approach the topic is bad. Debates about alternate ways in which these issues might be approached in terms of what Negatives should get to say against them compared to what the Aff should be forced to defend seem most relevant to me, and one that I find interesting to think about and will try hard to make an informed decision about.
I like this style of debate a lot. However, one thing I don't like is that I find myself increasingly voting on made up CPs that for some unknown reason link slightly less to politics, simply because Aff teams refuse to challenge this claim. To sum up, don't be afraid to make smart analytical arguments against all arguments in the debate it can only help you. I am among those that do believe in no risk either of an aff advantage or neg disad, but offense is always nice to have.
Affs also seem to give up too easily on theory arguments against certain process CPs (condition/consult etc.) and on the issue of the limits of conditionality (it does exist somewhere, but I can be persuaded that the number of neg CPs allowed can be high/low depending on the debate). In general though I do tend to lean neg on most theory issues and if you want to win those arguments in front of me 1) slow down and be comprehnsible 2) talk about how the particulars of the neg strategy affected you. For example conditionality might be good, but if it is a conditional international agent cp mixed with 2 or 3 other conditional arguments a more coherent discussion about how the strategy of the 1nc in general unduly harmed the Aff might be more effective than 3 or 4 separate theory arguments.
I judge these debates a lot, particularly the clash of civilization debates (the result of judging exclusively in D3). Negative teams would do well to make their argument as particularized to the Aff as possible and explain their impact, and by impact I mean more than a vague use of the word "ethics" or "ontology" in terms of the Aff and how it would implicate the aff advantages. If you give a 2NC on a K and haven't discussed the Aff specifically you have put yourself in a bad position in the debate, apply your arguments to the Aff, or I'm going to be very hesitant to want to vote for you.
Additionally while I vote for it pretty often exploring the critical literature that isn't "the Cap K" would be pleasantly appreciated. I can only judge Gabe's old cap backfiles so many times before I get bored with it, and I'd say 3/4 of the debates I judge it seems to pop up. Be creative. Affs would be smart not to concede big picture issues like "no truth claims to the aff" or "ontology first." I vote for the K a lot and a large percentage of those debates are because people concede big picture issues. Also keep in mind that if you like impact turning the K I may be the judge for you.