Mathew Petersen Paradigm
(1) How you win: My overall philosophy is pretty simple: You need to win an argument and a reason why that argument means that I should vote for you. While, virtually all arguments are on the table, I prefer them to be smart and well-reasoned. An assertion without a justification and explanation is not a winner, just because the other team has dropped it.
(2) Argument preferences: My answer is pretty simple: good ones. Although, I primarily debated policy arguments and the neolib DA, I will vote on almost any argument in any particular debate, as long as it is explained and compelling. I would much rather see you debate your best going for an argument you like and feel comfortable with than try to adapt to my argumentative proclivities.
(3) Framing is important: Tell me how you would like me to evaluate arguments. Make comparisons and distinctions. Framing the debate controls how I go about making my decision. The more you do it and the better you are at it, the better place you will be in. Engaging the other team’s arguments and guiding how I should evaluate them in comparison to yours makes my decision really easy. I would like to make my decision based solely on what was said in speeches, so the more you can incorporate the warrants and explanations into your speeches the easier it will be more me to vote for you.
(3) Debate is a speaking activity
(a) Speed and clarity – Speed is fine, mumbling is not. Clarity is your friend. I like to think that I am able to keep up with even the fastest debaters. But distinguishing between arguments and fully explaining them is a must if you expect me to keep a fair record of what happened in the debate. In addition, the body of you evidence matters. I expect to be able to hear what it says, otherwise the activity would just read a tag and turn in the body of the evidence later.
(b) Evidence – I will read your evidence, but you need to do more than simply reference that you HAVE evidence in the rebuttals. Don’t expect me to extract warrants from your cards that are not highlighted in rebuttals. If you think it’s important enough for me to base my decision off of it, then it should probably be in the speech. In addition, having evidence is not the end all be all. Having a clear line of reason that answers the other teams arguments can be sufficient, and often times it is more persuasive that just reading five cards back at the other team.
(4) Kritiks/arguments that don’t involve plans: most relevant things I have to say are covered in the sections above. Nevertheless, I will say that if you are making an argument that doesn’t involve or rely on a pure, reductive USFG-centric approach to fiat then it would be in your best interest to very clearly articulate what the role of the ballot is and why that should be the role of the ballot. What is my decision supposed to accomplish and what should I evaluate in making that decision.
(5) Speaker points: I will follow any guidelines that tournaments provide me. Beyond that, I will assign speaker points based on a holistic evaluation on how I think the debaters in the debate did. I don’t think that I can really mechanistically list all of the factors that I will use beyond this: if you sound good and do smart things in debates you will be rewarded.
(6) Presumption: I am willing to vote negative on presumption. I think the aff has to construct a strong case for a departure from the status quo. I don't think the aff can say that a counterplan's mechanism is normal means and then say it doesn't solve and still win the debate. Affirmatives that don't have an explanation for how we should depart from the status quo should be losing every debate on presumption.