Chris Paredes ParadigmLast changed 9/21 9:28A PDT
(Updated for Arms Sales Topic; see bottom of paradigm for LD)
E-Mail Chain: Add me (firstname.lastname@example.org), but I do not flow off speech docs so I do not need to be on the chain if there's some reason you would prefer to limit the distribution of your docs/ev. I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.
Experience: I have been coaching for Damien since 2017. I debated four years of policy in high school (Damien; 2001-2005). I did not debate in college (Amherst College, MA; 2005 - 2009) but I coached HS briefly after college (2009-2010) and judged sporadically during law school (Emory Law, GA; 2010 - 2013) for the Atlanta Urban Debate League. I would consider myself fluent in debate, but since I'm a dinosaur my judging preferences may not align with current "meta" trends of the community that have developed in the past decade.
Debate: I view debate as a game where the rules of the game are mostly made up in round by the debaters. With a very few exceptions (the length of speeches, the order of the speeches, which side the teams are on, etc.) I think everything is fair game for the teams to establish during the round. That means that I am open to voting for almost any argument so long as I have an idea of how it functions within the round and it is appropriately impacted. My default view of my role as judge is a hypothetical policy maker evaluating whether I should pass the plan based on a util framework, but I can be persuaded that a round should be judged based on a real world function for the ballot or on theoretical post-round effects of how I vote. CX is binding and I flow it.
Argumentative Weight: Technique trumps truth, but it is usually much easier to debate well when you are using true arguments. You simply are not going to be able to out-tech anyone on "GOP is the party of climate change." Being a good debater includes doing the research and preparation to come up with good arguments. That said, in-speech analysis goes a long way with me and I am very much more likely to side with the team that explains a warrant for their argument vs. the one that extends by tagline and/or author only. I will read cards as necessary, including explicit prompting, however when I start reading evidence I do so critically and will evaluate warrants for myself. Arguments are only as good as their warrants -- if a card does not have the necessary warrants underlined/highlighted then I will treat them as little more than analytics.
Topic Familiarity: I do not teach at a camp so beyond judging my exposure to the topic is limited to neg research done during the year. I have less familiarity with international topics than I do with domestic topics from an educational/professional perspective, but I understand high level international relation theory.
Argument Selection: You should run whatever you are most familiar and comfortable with. Almost all of my preferences on this paradigm can be overcome if you debate better than your opponents. However regardless of the style of debate you choose it is in your own interest to debate in a way where you do the work for me. Your goal in your final rebuttal is 1) establish what criterion the debate should be evaluated under and 2) demonstrate to me why you win under those criterion. I rarely give full weight to what I perceive as brand new arguments in either final rebuttal, but as a matter of practice the 2NR and 2AR should explicitly address newness of arguments. I do not believe it's necessary for 2NRs to say "No new args" for me to reject new 2AR arguments, but a good 2NR sets itself up as a filter through which I evaluate the 2AR.
If you still don't know how to pref. me, there is an extensive argument by argument breakdown below.
Debating T well is a question of engaging in responsive impact debate. You win my ballot if you are the team that best contextualizes how you provide the best internal links (ground, predictability, research burden, etc.) to terminal impacts (fairness and education). I appreciate a good T debate and I will reward teams with the ballot and with good speaker points for well thought-out interpretations (or counter-interps) with nuanced defenses.
I default to competing interpretations because it features a built-in weighing mechanism, but reasonability can be compelling to me if properly contextualized. I am generally receptive to arguments like "The aff interp only imposes a reasonable additional research burden of two more cases." I am generally not receptive to arguments like "They have case specific literature, proves we are reasonably predictable."
I feel that most debate topics are sufficiently aff-biased that preserving topicality as a viable negative strategy is important even against affs that are topical in a truth sense.
Fx/Xtra Topicality: Don't be afraid to go for Fx/Xtra with me in the back, but you should impact it. Especially when the T debate collapses to just a question of Fx/Xtra, there needs standards debate or an abuse story contextualized to the original interp.
Kritiks of Topicality / Topicality Silences Voices: I dislike this argument on principle because the resolution is one of the bare minimum rules of debate that I think I should enforce on the round. The resolution presumably exists for a reason. Moreover, the argument itself is just weak; there are lots of important and interesting problems in the world to discuss, so there is no unique impact to limiting the scope of discussion. Ultimately killing the neg's ability to check non-topical affs by kritiking topicality feels like a disingenuous way for the aff to re-orient the debate to their argumentative/topic preferences. However, as a rule, I punish incompetence over principle so I will vote on this if the negative mishandles it.
Framework / T-USFG
In line with my thoughts above on kritiks of topicality, I am very sympathetic to the negative on this argument. My predisposition is that affs avoid the resolution for competitive advantages rather than ideological devotion, and I do not believe there is educational value gained from the aff getting to avoid debating the topic.
However, I will vote aff if I think the aff debates better. For an aff to beat framework arguments in front of me, they need to articulate and defend specific and compelling reasons why they cannot and do not embed their personal advocacy into a topical policy and why resolutional debate is bad. I am not very keen on "The USFG/system sucks" as a justification for that -- I default to believing that this is probably an indication that your plan action is fundamentally flawed rather than the political system is bad.
For the neg, given that the affs in these debates almost always sit on education, you have the burden of proving either that fairness outweighs or that resolutional debate has better access to education or accesses a better type of education. I believe the negative is on the truth side of both of those arguments, but contextualization and specificity is important in this debate. I give great weight to arguments for why plan-based debate is a better internal link to positive real world change out of debate compared to personal advocacy: debate provides valuable portable skills, advocacy for a case is excellent training for advocacy of actual real world policies, etc.
Generally speaking I have much less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than other judges due to being raised in a different era of debate. That being said, I have rarely see theory deployed convincingly as most debaters have an inclination to use it as a mutual time sink even when it should be the clear default strat. If you're not putting in the time and work to make it a viable choice in your last speech, it probably isn't going to persuade me.
My default view on various theory, all of which can be overcome by better debating, are as follows: Condo is good but should have limitations. PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are good, but are much better with solvency advocates that demonstrate real world competition and the lack of specific solvency evidence indicates a likelihood of a solvency deficit. Consult and Floating PIKs are bad. The level of cheating/utopianism of a CP/alt justifies equivalent levels of cheating with perms. Reject the arg not the team is overcome with instances of real abuse. Disclosure of previously run arguments is good. Breaking new shouldn't require disclosure. I don't care about what has happened previously outside the room/round, but I could be convinced care about real world impacts attached to the ballot (i.e. setting precedents).
I value nuance a lot more than many other judges because I think that debate's largest educational impact is training students in real world advocacy. Learning processes is important and the aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy to their case. Consequently I will absolutely pull the trigger on vagueness, plan flaws, or spec arguments as long as there is a coherent story about why the aff is bad for debate and a good answer to why cross doesn't check. A 1AC plan text that does not specify does not give the aff default access to all theoretical implementations of the plan. Meanwhile the neg has an equal burden to defend the coherence of a counter-advocacy or the model of debate implied by their negative strategy. I will reject a counterplan for a structural defect or because the aff has effectively convinced me that the neg is debating in a way that is not just strategic but also fundamentally unfair.
A special note on condo, I come from a time where condo was much less accepted. Part of that is because of an implicit understanding that the negative's entitlement to multiple worlds doesn't include severance of discourse/rhetoric pursuant to that world. It's one thing to test the aff from multiple perspectives, it's another to say you can run your Fear of Death K with a reps link along with a Hege Impact to your Politics DA and still access alt solvency just because you kicked out the DA. This is especially hypocritical if you claim there's no external impact to the ballot besides a rejection of a mindset. (That's not to say I think this is an automatic winning argument, I simply find it most logical to assume the negative is responsible for their discourse as much as the Aff is unless explicitly explained otherwise.)
TL;DR: If you actually are legitimately interested in philosophy and critical academic scholarship, have studied the literature seriously, and have a good contextualized argument for why that lens of that scholarship is relevant to the debate round, then I am a good judge for you. If you want to be lazy and avoid doing specific research so you can brute force a ballot against a team that knows K lit less than you, then I am a bad judge for you.
I enjoy critical literature, however I tend to dislike critical rounds because I question the pedagogical value of the scholarship in debate and, more importantly, the vast majority of teams are very bad at making critical arguments. Quintessential bad K debate is defined by shifting the debate to repetition of some generic talking points. The kritik is an academic argument, therefore having good familiarity with the literature is essential to debating the K well. It's poor scholarship for you to argue the other team should be rejected when you yourself do not truly understand the internal logic of argument and the necessary warrants because someone else cut the file for you. I find that the K evidence (on both sides) are the most likely to be power-tagged and under-highlighted (which is saying something given the ever descending bar for politics update cards).
A good kritik should be able to clash with the affirmative head-on. Give a good contextualized link with solid argumentation for why the alternative is a superior option to the plan under your model of debate. I do not have any biases or predispositions about what my ballot does or should do, but if you do not explain your alt and/or how my ballot interacts with the alt (or lack thereof) you will find that I have an extremely low threshold for treating the K as a non-unique disad. If the alt is some actual action which solves back for the implications of the kritik, in the fiat world or the real world, the solvency process of the alt should be explained. Alts like "Reject the aff" and "Vote neg" are fine as long as you actually give me a reason to do that besides saying that it's try or die because the aff links. Floating PIKs are generally bad. Links of omission are generally bad.
With all of that ranting aside said, if you are confident then by all means go critical. I have a high level of academic familiarity with basic critical lit, but only debate-level familiarity with higher level theory (Deleuze, Baudrilliard, etc.) However you should not rely on my familiarity with your argument and evidence; the onus is still on you to explain your argument to me because I will not make it coherent for myself. Even if I understand the lit, the kritik must be presented in an comprehensible fashion in round. Additionally, the quality of your literature does not matter if the kritik is functionally deficient as a call for the ballot.
Affs should not be afraid of going for straight impact turns behind a robust framework press. I'm more willing than most judges to consider the merit in challenging kritik ideology head on rather than labeling your discourse as a link. I won't necessarily vote for you, but I think it is a sign that debate ideology is becoming too one-sided when the only viable strategy against the K is link turns instead of impact turns.
The only relevant thing to know about my decision structure on DAs is that I don't think the aff needs offense to beat a disad -- that is to say, I'm more prone than most judges to assess minimal ("zero") risk based on defense. This is especially true when bad evidence is pointed out as bad. I can be convinced by analysis that there is always a risk of a DA in spite of a lost argument, but in the absence of that analysis I do not really care about how strong your link is if you straight up lost the no impact.
On the other side, I will absolutely vote SQ over plan if you can win the DA impacts are bigger, that the DA impacts turn case, or that in a world where both the DA and the aff impacts are inevitable that the SQ is even slightly better (less deaths, longer timeframe to extinction, etc.)
I think that research is a core part of debate as an activity, and good counterplan strategy goes hand-in-hand with that. I think the fact that counterplans are more straight forward than kritiks allows for more room for technical debate and fertile plan specific clash, which favors the better team because that is where you can leverage your skills as a debater.
The risk of the net benefit you must win is inversely proportional to how good your counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and carry a much higher threshhold burden on the net benefit, but PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research. Agent and process counterplans are also better when you can present a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan.
Superior solvency for aff impacts can be a sufficient net benefit for me to vote on the CP (either because of a conceded aff-only case take-out or turn, or because the CP solves better) so long as there's a reason to reject the perm.
I do not judge kick by default, but 2NRs can easily convince me to do it.
Speaker Points: I try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely if it's available. In the event that there is no scale my baseline is 27.5 and I distribute speaks as if I was grading debaters on a bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile and 25 being the 1st percentile. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since on a bell curve very few people are actually average but rather they are distributed around the average. Theoretically speaking teams that need high speaks to break should be speaking above average by definition. Points are rewarded for entertaining, organized, strategic, and clever speeches. I also listen closely to CX and include CX performance in speaks assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. Thanos jokes on a Malthus flow. You will get bonus speaker points as the aff if you demonstrate intricate knowledge of your case and put forth a compelling defense of your aff as a workable theoretical policy that achieves a minimally greater level of good than the negative's world. You will get bonus speaker points as the neg if your strategy demonstrates that you researched the plan thoroughly and understand the case better than the aff or that you understand why it does not belong in policy debate (i.e. hyper-specific counterplans or nuanced procedural objections).
Delivery: Your speed should be limited by clarity. You should be clear enough that I can flow without needing your speech doc. Additionally realize that even if I can hear and understand you, no one can flow a successive stream of quick analytics. Don't be afraid to lose time sign-posting the line-by-line; you will likely make it up in efficiency (besides your arguments won't mean much if I don't know where to flow them).
Organization: I believe good line-by-line is a fundamental of good debate that is becoming increasingly rare and is the number one way most debaters can improve. Proper sign-posting, or establishing/following a numbered 2AC line by line structure, is the bare minimum to get over a 28.5. Embedded clash soup is average.
Cross-X, Prep, and Tech: Tag-team CX is fine but it's part of your speaker point rating to give and answer most of your own cross. I think that finishing the final question in the first few seconds of prep is fine. Simple clarification and non-substantive questions during prep is also fine. I don't charge prep for tech time, but tech should be limited to emailing docs or flashing. When you end prep, you should be ready to distribute.
Accommodations: Feel free to ask for accommodations before or during round or email me ahead of time.
My school does not participate in LD and I do not hire myself out for LD, but I have found myself judging more of these rounds due to tournament request/need. As I understand it, the LD meta is approaching the era of policy that I actually debated in. Combined with the fact that the meta generally drifts down from policy, I am probably competent enough to listen to most anything you want to run. Given my policy background I have some preferences that will probably be harder for you to overcome with me in the back than with an actual LD judge. Notably, RVIs are a non-starter with me and plan based debate is better than value criterion debate (which is precisely why LD has ended up becoming plan-based over the last twenty years)
Coming from policy I have a few thoughts about how time works in the LD format that might be atypical. I think time constraints in LD mean that I have to give the aff a lot more leeway than I would give in policy. I am also a lot more receptive to arguments about why condo is bad in LD than I would be in policy. On a more substantive level I also think that the "outspread then kick" neg strategy is fundamentally weaker in LD than it is in policy. While the strategic goal of attaining a time trade-off is the same, the limitation on the number of speeches means that the neg must frontline more depth to the offcase earlier in order to develop the basic level of argumentative coherence necessary for something to be a reason to reject the aff. Therefore you're probably better off limiting the number of offcase regardless of condo theory.