Melissa Mistretta Paradigm
I started in the activity in 2003 as a debater and haven't left. Please note that over the past couple of years, I've judge a lot less, and have spent much more time in the tabroom. As such, my ability to handle unintelligible speed has probably diminished.
Etiquette: Debate is a fun activity; if you don’t enjoy it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t make it miserable for others. Be polite, answer cx questions (tag team is ok, just don’t take over your partner’s cx time). Extremely offensive language will probably be reflected in lower speaker points (unless of course, it’s an actual argument). Most importantly, have fun!!
Pet Peeves: Don't steal prep time, it's unfair and it causes the whole tournament to run slower. For paperless teams, prep time ends when you remove the flash drive from your computer to hand to your opponents.
Speed: Speed is fine IF you’re clear. Slower is better when it comes to T, theory, and framework. Don’t sacrifice good analysis and argumentation for speed. I’ll shout “clear” if I can’t understand you, but I won’t do that more than two or three times. While I will call for important cards at the end of the round, I won’t call for so many that I’m reading everything you read on the position you go for at the end of the round.
Do what you’re comfortable with doing. I will listen to what you say, flow it (unless you tell me not to), and vote for it; but there are certain types of debate that I’m much more comfortable with adjudicating.
Topicality: T is about competing interpretations. Provide a sound interpretation, a clear violation, and impact it. T exists to establish fair ground. It’s ok to take a different perspective and/or use a different style of argument, but I believe that you should have to affirm the resolution to provide some predictable neg ground. I believe switch-side debate is good. While I’m open to the argument, it will take some work to convince me that T is genocidal and/or shouldn’t come first when evaluating the round.
CP/DAs: I love good CP/DA rounds. Make sure your DAs have good uniqueness, links, internal links, and impacts. Weigh the impacts against the aff impacts! Magnitude, probability, timeframe: they’re all good things to analyze. What are the solvency deficits or DAs to the CP?
Kritiks: I’m open to listening to kritiks, but keep in mind that I don’t spend the little free time I have reading Zizek, Derrida, etc. Clearly explain the link and implications. Have a well-articulated alternative. Reject the aff is not usually a good alternative. Articulate how the aff can’t solve or how the K solves the aff better if that’s what you’re going for. What are the disadvantages to the perm? A lot of analysis and good explanation will go much farther than reading a few extra cards.
Performance: If you are going to perform, have a framework that allows for fair debate. Make an argument. Respond to your opponents’ arguments (yes, you may have to respond to a DA; you don’t have to read cards, but you do have to answer it). This is not the type of debate I’m most comfortable judging, but I will listen to you. I just may be easily convinced that you aren’t topical and/or don’t provide a fair framework for debate. If you do those things, go for it!
Theory: Conditionality is fine, however running multiple contradictory conditional positions is probably abusive. Don't just read blocks. Draw distinctions, have a clear interpretation. Show in round abuse, or explain why potential abuse should be a voting issue. Impact analysis is important.