Chris Paredes ParadigmLast changed 4/14 12:53A PDT
(Updated for TOC; see bottom of paradigm for LD)
E-Mail Chain: Add me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.
Experience: I consider myself fluent in debate, but my debate philosophy is reflective of the fact that I debated in the 00s and may not align with current "meta" trends of the community. I debated four years of policy for Damien ('05), but did not debate in college (Amherst '09). I coached during my gap year and continued to judge during law school (Emory 13L) for the Atlanta Urban Debate League, and returned to coaching for Damien in 2017.
Debate: I view debate as a game. The rules of the game (the length of speeches, the order of the speeches, which side the teams are on, clipping, etc.) are set by the tournament left to me (and other judges) to enforce. Comparatively, the standards of the game are mostly made up in round by the debaters. I am open to voting for almost any argument or style so long as I have an idea of how it functions within the round and it is appropriately impacted. Persuading me to favor your view/interpretation of debate is accomplished by convincing me that it is the method that promotes better debate (either more fair or more pedagogical) comparative to your opponent's method. CX is binding and I flow it.
Evidence and Argumentative Weight: Tech over truth, but it is always easier to debate well by using true arguments and good cards. In-speech analysis goes a long way with me; I am much more likely to side with the team that explains a warrant 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 analytics. You are much better off with a few good well-highlighted cards than multiple bad and/or under-highlighted cards. Well explained logical analytics, especially if developed in CX, can beat bad/under-highlighted cards.
Topic Familiarity: It is the end of the year and I have judged around 60 rounds. I think I have a decent grasp of the topic. Generally speaking, I have less familiarity with international topics than I do with domestic topics from an educational/professional perspective, but I understand the IR arguments relevant to this topic.
Argument Selection: Run whatever you are most familiar and comfortable with. I believe it is better for debate that judges reward good debating over ideological preferences, and I try my best to hold myself to this standard. I am aware of my biases and strive to correct them and remain neutral. Almost all of my personal preferences can be overcome if you debate better than your opponents, and I have voted for numerous arguments that I would rather not exist in debate. Regardless of the style of debate you choose, your goal should be 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.
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, 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 believe that many resolutions are sufficiently aff-biased that preserving topicality as a viable negative strategy is important even against affs that are topical in a truth sense. I feel that this topic is sufficiently large that T-Subs is one of the few filters available and I will pull the trigger on it, especially when breaking new.
Fx/Xtra Topicality: Don't be afraid to go for Fx/Xtra with me in the back, but you need to independently impact them or connect them as internal links to your original violation and standards.
Kritiks of Topicality / Topicality Silences Voices: I dislike this argument on principle because the resolution should be one of the bare minimum rules of debate that I think I should enforce on the round. I also think the impact to limiting the scope of debate is terminally non-unique (there are always more important and interesting problems in the world to discuss than can be done in a single round) so 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
My ideological predispositions lean negative. As an educator, I do not believe there is pedagogical value to a model of debate where the aff gets to avoid debating the resolution. I also believe that most planless affs avoid the resolution for competitive advantages (there is nothing wrong with this given that debate is a game, it just isn't a convincing reason to prefer the aff's model of debate). However, I strive for neutrality and I try my hardest to vote for whoever defended their model of debate 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 advocacy into a topical policy as well as why resolutional debate is a bad model for the activity. "The USFG/system sucks" is not a good reason for that -- I default to believing that you need to do more/better research vs. concluding that systems are bad. As the arbitrator in a competition, I default to treating procedural fairness as an impact; an aff team must make a positive case for why education outweighs or why I should prefer substantive fairness.
For the neg, you have the burden of proving either that fairness outweighs the aff's education or that resolutional debate has better access to education (or 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. On the issue of fairness, you should not only articulate specific ground loss but impact out the ground loss. For example, rather than just saying that the use of non-USFG actors makes it impossible to research, argue that research is the internal link to both clash and a case debate which means fairness is key to both in-round and issue education. As someone who works in civil rights law, I generally believe in the potential for reform through laws and systems and that they ameliorate a great deal of harm for the must vulnerable. Therefore 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: debate provides valuable portable skills, advocacy for a case is excellent training for advocacy of actual real world policies, etc.
My default view on various theory (all of which can be overcome by better debating) are as follows:
- Debate is primarily a research and strategic activity therefore lit justifies almost everything.
- Condo is good but it should probably have limitations, especially regarding perf cons and skew.
- PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are legitimate, but must prove competition (this also means that the aff should give a testable answer for APEC)
- Consult CPs and Floating PIKs are bad.
- A specific solvency advocate generally proves competitiveness and non-abuse while the lack of specific solvency evidence indicates either the likelihood of a solvency deficit or a lack of competition.
- The level of cheating/utopianism of a CP/alt justifies equivalent levels of cheating with perms.
- The aff is not entitled to all theoretical implementations of the plan just because they do not specify.
- 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.
- ASPEC is checked by cross, but the neg can win by proving moving target or link spikes.
While I can be convinced to care about real world impacts attached to the ballot (i.e. setting precedents), I generally do not care about anything that has happened outside the room/round (and there is a good chance I might just not know any drama you want to refer to) unless it specifically rebuts an argument presented by one team.
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. I think the best iteration of debate is debate that teaches participants (including myself) something about the topic, including process minutiae. Consequently, I have much less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than most judges. Learning process is important and the aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy to their case. Consequently OSPEC is not a thing (unless a team is fiating something contradictory to their ev) and 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.
That being said, I have rarely see theory deployed convincingly as most debaters have an inclination to use it as a time sink. 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 unless it was flat conceded. Also if you are spreading through 20 points of theory at full speed, the reality is that I'm never going to flow all of it.
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 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 aff, then I am a good judge for you. If you want to be lazy and avoid doing specific case research so you can brute force ballots with links to the use of the state/fiat, then I am probably a bad judge for you.
I enjoy critical literature, however I tend to dislike critical rounds because the vast majority of teams are very bad at making critical arguments (or establishing why they are relevant to debate). The kritik is an academic argument, therefore having good familiarity with the literature is essential to debating the K well. It's poor form 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).
All that aside, I would much rather hear a good K than a bad politics disad. 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, even if I understand the lit, the kritik must be presented in an comprehensible fashion in round. I avoid intervention and I will not make a K coherent for myself. Additionally, the quality of your literature does not matter if the kritik is functionally deficient as a call for the ballot. My undergrad thesis was on ethics so you are well served by a developed defense of your decision-making process and why it is good.
The neg should clash with the affirmative head-on. A link is insufficient to win the K in front of me; a good contextualized link only proves relevance to the round, it is not a reason to reject the aff. You must offer me a reason to prefer the alt 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 must 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 just saying the aff links.
Links of omission are generally bad. Floating PIKs can be answered by just saying that floating PIKs are bad.
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 am also particularly receptive to arguments about pragmatism on the perm if you have empirical examples of progress through state reform.
I'm more prone than most judges to assess minimal ("zero") risk based on defense, 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 impact is if you straight up lost the link.
I think that research is a core part of debate as an activity, and good counterplan strategy goes hand-in-hand with that. The risk of the net benefit the neg must win is inversely proportional to how good the counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and solvency deficits so they carry a much higher threshhold burden on the net benefit. PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research and how debate equalizes aff side bias. Agent and process counterplans are similarly better when the neg can present a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan.
Because I do not think a 1AC plan text that fails to specify gives the aff default access to all theoretical implementations of the plan, I am generally super unfriendly to Perm Do the CP. I think it is a bad sign if the aff refuses to debate the details of their own case. Meanwhile the neg has an equally high 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.
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 if condo has been established.
I'm a sucker for sufficiency framing and DA as a tie-breaker against structural violence impacts; the aff needs a solvency deficit or well-developed arguments about why sufficiency framing itself means that the neg cannot capture the ethic of the affirmative's framing (and why that is important in the round).
Speaker Points: I feel speaker points are arbitrary and the only way to fix this is standardization. Consequently I will try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely. In the event that there is no tournament scale I distribute speaks as if I was grading performances on a bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile, 27.5 being as the median 50th percentile, and 25 being the 1st percentile. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since bell curves are distributed around an average rather than lumping everyone at average. Theoretically this means that teams seeking high speaks to break will be scoring above average by definition. The scale is standardized -- that means the majority of debaters at a national circuit tournament will be above average by default since the pool of nationwide debaters include many debaters who debate strictly local or lay-style.
Bonus Speaker Points: Points are rewarded for entertaining, organized, strategic, and clever speeches. I listen closely to CX and include CX performance in my assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. Thanos jokes on a Malthus flow. Good analysis is rewarded, including but not limited to: correctly extending warrants of your cards, indicting warrants of your opponents' cards, arguments about comparative weight of evidence, or deployment of impact framing. Good strategy and mastery of details is also rewarded. On the neg that means that your neg strategy demonstrates that you researched the plan thoroughly and have a specific CP or disad that demonstrates your understanding of why it is a bad idea or why it does not belong in policy debate (i.e. hyper-specific counterplans/disads or nuanced procedural objections to the plan text). On the aff that means demonstrating mastery of the details of your aff as an implemented policy (hyper-specific no links or link turns to politics or core topic generics).
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-posted line by line is the bare minimum to get over a 28.5. I dislike long overviews that just get cross applied everywhere.
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 answer to a final question during prep is fine but prep cannot be used as a no-limit cross time extension. Simple clarification and non-substantive questions during prep is fine. I don't charge prep for tech time, but tech is 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.
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 I probably will not vote on arguments centered on plan-based debate is bad (LD drifted to policy plans for a reason).
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 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 frontload 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.