Background: 4 years of NFA-LD for Western Kentucky University (one-person policy). 2 years of PF & 2 years of policy at Oakwood High School. Coached various teams and worked at summer debate camps.
Policy Debate Paradigm
1. I don't like RVIs. I can't imagine ever voting on one.
2. I don't like procedural arguments other than T. I will vote on one if it is dropped, but if there's ink on it, it seems unlikely (but, not impossible) for you to win on such an argument. For example, I saw a vagueness argument where a team had carded reasons why a team must defend an actor and agent when passing drone policy. The implication was presumption heavy. I think this argument had much more merit than a generic vagueness back file.
3. I don't like semantics-based T arguments. For example, curtail does not mean remove. I think your T arguments should have implications for your debatability of the topic.
4. I don't love theory in general. I see the strategic value of layering up, but I think it's often domeless. Troll theory and tricks are a non-starter for me.
5. I like disclosure. You should disclose your Aff and Neg on the Wiki. I will probably dock your speaker points unless you have a reason you don't disclose (i.e., a novice who's never heard of the wiki or solely running identity-based arguments that you will share with anyone via email but are uncomfortable with posting to your name online). I will vote on disclosure theory.
6. Speed is usually ONLY a voter in JV and novice. In those divisions, you are trying to get a feel for debate, not moot your opponent's ability to learn. Otherwise, in varsity it's only a voting issue if you have a disability you've shared with your opponent or another legitimate reason.
General Thoughts on Judging:
I have outlined my biases, I typically try to judge on the flow. But, if you make a ridiculous claim, your opponent can likely debunk it even without evidence (i.e., if someone says that Canada is not part of North America).
Flowing/Speed: I do not flow while reading the speech document. I flow through listening to you debate. I might open it during cross-x or prep if I am interested in reading your evidence. While I am comfortable with any speed (especially on card text), clarity on tags and analytics can only help you improve my flow. I will give verbal indications if I cannot understand you.
Evidence: I like good evidence from a quality source. I will not factor evidence into my decision unless I
1. Am told to by the other team.
2. I cannot decide the debate otherwise.
It might not be purposeful, but it will be hard for me, even if in-round evaluation is not made, to evaluate a econ impact defense card from the NYT in 2007 over a 2022 econ impact card from an economics professor conducting quantitative analysis.
Defense Evaluation: I think defense is rarely terminal, but it can be. For example, if you're reading a politics DA about passing a bill that's already been passed, terminal defense is proving the bill passed.
Thoughts on Arguments:
You should mostly do what you like best. I try to evaluate based on the flow.
Aff: engage with the topic.
That does not mean you must endorse the topic, just that you should be topic-relevant. I'm likely implicitly biased against critical affs, particularly those that don't seem to have much of an impact (i.e., I think some obscure phil Aff is less persuasive than an identity-based Aff). I have no ideological opposition to critical Affs, however, I do often internally question their predictability (suggesting, predictability is a persuasive neg argument).
In general, I like big-stick Affs that have quality-evidence.
Case Debate: I love it. Do it more. Teams undervalue case debate.
DAs. I love them. I am often skeptical of politics DAs, but I'll evaluate them fairly.
CPs. I love them. I like pics, condo CPs, etc. Delay and Consult are probably cheating, especially delay. In this case, read theory to test the validity of the CPs.
Ks. I like them. But, they should be clearly explained and topic relevant. I mainly read topic Ks, the basics like cap, and Baudrillard (I know, I'm the worst).
T. Great. Test if the Aff is T. I think carded violations are significantly more persuasive than analytic violations. But, I understand if you're hitting an obscure, new Aff, you won't have a carded violation.
Theory. Meh in general. But, if you can implicate it, then I suppose it makes sense. I prefer drop the argument. For example, if you prove a perm is severance, they shouldn't be allowed to go for that perm, they shouldn't just lose the debate.
One condo bad is a non-starter.
However, I do understand that theory is sometimes the best out and can be impacted well to the debatability of the round. For example, if your opponent reads 27 analytical condo CPs, it might be a good idea to read some theory argument (though, you can probably easily defeat 27 unwarranted CPs). I won't even flow horrible, meme theory arguments. You can ask me my opinion on the theory argument before the round if you are unsure (for example, multi-condo bad is something I'll flow; dress code theory is not).
Overall, I'm probably best in this order:
1. Policy stuff.
2. K stuff.
But, good luck and have fun! Let me know if you have additional questions.
I evaluate progressive LD the same as policy. However, I will try to be more open to theory because I know that time constraints make LD more difficult. Feel free to ask me questions about this before the round. I still don't like meme theory.
I'm okay with any speed. But, I've noticed LD debaters tend to maintain the same speed on tags, analytics, and card text. Please slow down or get louder on tags and analytics so I can differentiate them. On theory shells please slow down a bit so I can write down each internal-link since I will not backflow.
I guess I just vote on the flow. I prefer line-by-lines to condensed voting issues. It's easier for me to evaluate. I'm more willing to entertain non-traditionally structured arguments (i.e., asserting and implicating someone is not topical vs the standard carded interp, violation, standards, voters).
Traditional vs Progressive Rounds:
I find this difficult to determine a clear stance on. I understand the judges who think progressive LDers should adapt to traditional debaters, but I also think it's weird to tell people not to debate their best. I think progressive debaters should flash documents and slow down significantly on tags and analytics, but go full speed on card text. I think you should be kind and not belligerent when the traditional debater is asking questions. I will boost your speaker points if you adapt a little bit, but I won't dock them if you run progressive arguments. Just be kind, I was a freshman in policy debate and it's tough facing opponents who understand policy debate. You probably don't need to pull out your critical Aff when facing a novice who's only done traditional debate (I think it's fair to though if you're ONLY reading this critical Aff in every round i.e., certain anti-Blackness debaters dedicated to educating the community on structural racism).
You should debate this round knowing I have the most experience judging and debating policy. I will evaluate the round on the flow. You can read what you'd like.
A couple thoughts:
- You should flash documents. I will dock your speaks if you don't. If you decide not to (which I dislike as a norm), you get 30 seconds to find a card before it's prep time.
- I like disclosure. I understand the wiki is new, but you should inform your opponents before the round what you are reading. I'll boost your speaks if you do this in front of me.
- I like full cards. I think paraphrasing is a good skill, but full cards are the most true to the source.
- I think you should have all cards available, formatted correctly, and cited properly. I have no desire to read through your pdf.