Zack Vrana ParadigmLast changed 1/14 9:57A CDT
- Strike me if you're a relatively inexperienced "circuit" debater who is trying to debate in a "circuit" style: i.e. spreading for its own sake, running theory because you haven't researched enough case material, etc. Pref me highly if you are not such a debater or if you come from a traditional circuit and expect to be debating a value and value criterion (by no means am I saying you must have those things). Pref me in the middle if you are an experienced debater who truly understands when using certain strategies is important and you're not just reading me what a coach/teammate told you to run.
- On spread--I can flow spread just fine; however, I don't like spread when it is used as a barrier for discourse. If you and your opponent are comfortable with spread (defined as 250 wpm or above) then go for it. Speak loudly and clearly and I'll be fine. If not, if your opponent can't flow spread, please do not spread. If your opponent can't respond to your arguments simply because you're speaking too fast then it is your fault, not hers. You won't lose the round for it but your speaker points will suffer.
- On arguments--run whatever you think is most effective. However, know that I don't really like Topicality as a response. I have judged an awful lot of debate and can count on two fingers how many arguments have truly been nontopical. Usually, T is run against arguments that debaters don't otherwise know how to respond to and I don't like that. You are welcome to tell me a nontopical argument is nontopical but please also engage the substance of the argument.
- On evidence--I believe this to be a community of integrity. There are individuals who will do shoddy things and we should discourage that but there are others who call falsification without proof as a strategy. Both are bad. THE MOMENT I HEAR "FALSIFICATION" THE ROUND STOPS. I evaluate the evidence and award a loss to the debater/team that was wrong. If you're calling clipping, calling falsification, etc, prove it. The burden of proof I'll use is not a steep one but it needs to show misrepresentation. I'm not encouraging falsification nor am I discouraging calling it; however, those are tall accusations and it is your burden to prove it.
- I'm a big backpack rap fan--work in a Watsky, Macklemore, Wax, or Dumbfoundead reference and I'll smile and be happy with you and might give you an extra speaker point.
The rest of this paradigm is a verbose discussion of my thoughts on the activity to which I've dedicated much of my life for the past eight years.
Assistant Coach of Forensics and Debate at Brookfield East High School. Previously coached at Whitefish Bay High School. Competed in Wisconsin and nationally in Congressional Debate and in Public Forum debate with Brookfield East (class of ’12). I have a bachelor's degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, majoring in Political Science (concentration in public policy/political economy) and Economics (analysis in international trade, econometrics, and public finance/policy evaluation) with a minor in Spanish. I'm a nerd for the studies and empirical research. In real life, I run a restaurant and small investment firm with differentiated subsidiaries.
I judge almost every weekend from September through March and am well versed on the topic literature as I research and cut cards with my team. I coach PF and LD as well as Congressional Debate (and IE’s in the spring) so I read lots and lots of evidence.
I'm extremely progressive on this topic. I feel that the debate is ultimately decided in the metaphysical realm and there are generally few empirics you can run strongly on the topic. Give me something to chew on here, more than usual. I think a lot of the debate is going to be framework and theory. I will accept Anti-values, Standards, et cetera, instead of a traditional V/VC structure. You can advocate a standard-less debate as well as long as you give me good theory to back it up.
I will only vote on a definition if it goes dropped and really does redefine the debate in a way that I can only vote for one side. That being said, if you present me a really shady definition that defines it so that the Aff/Neg has no chance of winning the round and your opponent provides a legitimate and fair definition in response I, as a judge, am always going to favor the definition that provides equality to the grounds of both sides. This shouldn’t have to be said but I will always prefer a term of art definition to Webster’s even if the dictionary is the only card presented. I am a word nerd; please don't BS me in the definitions debate.
I generally don't like verbose discussions of framer's intent with resolutions. I'm intimately familiar with how these resolutions are actually written--don't try to run ridiculous things on these grounds.
Types of Arguments:
I will accept any type of argumentation you throw at me as long as it's well argued with warrants and impacts. You can kritik the resolution; read me poetry that helps me better understand the plight of the needy; K the opponents case or his language; run a narrative alternative; run a priori reasons to negate; or tell me my ballot is a tool and I should vote for you for some obscure yet well argued reason. I personally believe that good argument is good argument—if you give me reasons why it should be the voting issue in the round I will vote on it. That said, if you provide an argument that requires me to accept something completely non sequitur with reality, I will reject it. In other words, if you tell me I should affirm because there are only 49 states and that is a prime number, I won't vote on it because, well, there aren't and it’s not. Otherwise, I don't intervene.
I can follow complex philosophy pretty easily but you shouldn’t assume anything and take shortcuts here, as I’m nowhere near as proficient as I’d like to be. I love philosophy; I’ve read a lot on many subjects and can follow along with sound analysis; however, it's bad form to assume that your opponent will be familiar with your concepts. Debaters should generally subscribe to the ELI5 method. That is to say, if you can’t explain your argument to a five year old, you don’t fully understand the concepts yourself. I will vote on theory but please explain why voting on theory should trump case evaluation.
Extending arguments is important; however, telling me to "extend contention 2--it went cold conceded" is far less effective than summarizing the argument and presenting it as a round issue. Same goes with cards. "Extend the Coase analysis" is valid but less effective than explaining it to me again so I know why it's important.
I've developed a slight disdain for plans over time as they present an infinite research burden but will still vote on them.
People who say evidence doesn’t belong in LD are, for some reason, clinging to the archaic as a means to bring the activity towards where they think it should be rather than allowing it to grow organically. Use evidence if it's necessary for your argument. I’ll buy sound analysis over a shoddy card any day but you should back things up with research. My thoughts on this are developing over time as I watch more rounds. Really, I appreciate the debaters who make sound arguments that are based in analysis over those who rely on their evidence to analyze things--it shows a better understanding of the issues. However, reading me cards without analyzing them yourself is the equivalent of saying nothing. Signpost then analyze the evidence—tell me why I should care about what the author is saying—why does it impact the debate?
I’ve never had to ask for a card before but will if I have to. Don’t clip cards. This is a community of integrity—keep it that way. I generally won’t vote on cards; I vote on arguments. I don’t really care whether a Ph.D said it… if it’s sound, I’ll buy it and if it’s not, I won’t. To be clear, I expect more than regurgitation or carpet-bombing.
I need adequate citations. Name is usually enough if they’re not claiming anything weird but sometimes it’s best to hear a few words on the credentials too. If you’re citing an analysis of Rawls or Kant, name-drop the master so I know what’s going on, please.
I can flow pretty quickly and can handle “debate speed” but don’t want to hear much more. This is more a philosophical issue than anything else—I generally will pick up a spreader 50% of the time, as they tend not to make any more, or better, arguments than a non-spreader. Quality will always beat quantity. As this is a communication event, don’t forget that you have to communicate your arguments so that I may understand them. I'll yell at you if I can't hear/understand what you're saying, of course.
I like signposting; it enhances the debate. You have to tell me where things go on my flow if you expect me to write them down. If you’re giving an overview, tell me. If you’re starting with the second contention and then coming back to the first for some cockamamie reason, tell me.
As a general rule, if I’m looking back at you in a speech (not in CX) you’re likely not saying anything worth writing down. If you read me a canned 1AR that has nothing to do with the opponent’s case, I’ll read the posters in the room or count down the seconds on my timer until the time-wasting has completed. I like clash and debating, if you haven’t noticed.
I don’t care whether you sit, stand, or lay on the table when you debate. Do what makes you comfortable. If that means taking off your jacket because it’s hot—go for it. Take off the heels—I don’t care.
Be nice. I get that things get heated—I was a debater too. I get it. Not much more to say here. However, if you are disrespectful it will reflect in your speaker points. There’s a fine line between assertive and jerk. I’m liberal here but have seen many rounds get out of hand. As a general rule, treat others the way you want to be treated: respectfully.
Give them to me. If you don't, I will intervene strangely and vote in ways you won't like. Tell me how to vote. This is your round and not mine. You don't have to give them all at once, but if they aren't given I am left without a methodology to adjudicate things
Please weigh your impacts. If you tell me that I should vote aff for puppies, and I should vote neg for kitties, I'll be happy you've given me voters but lost on how I'm supposed to weigh them—link back through your criterion or make sure I understand there are real world impacts outside the resolution. If you're still reading this exceedingly long thing you are an excellent human and probably already know how to weigh impacts.
I used to be a stickler about them but have seen the trend of inflation coming. With their use as a common tiebreaker, I’ve become a sort of point fairy. However, there is a scale. I'm a big backpack rap fan--work in a Watsky, Macklemore, Wax, Dumbfoundead, et cetera, reference and I might have to give you an extra point or two.
30) Excellent, passionate and engaging performance. Not uncommon but hard to attain. Argumentatively speaking, not much else you could have done better. I’m impressed. Most likely on par with the best thing I’ll see in the tournament; you deserve a speaker award.
29) Sound arguments and leadership in the discussion. Not much to improve in the way of argumentation. I’m impressed. Much more common that 30’s. You've taken the time to read your judge's paradigm--bravo to you for doing what I try to get my kids to do--you'll do fine with points.
28) Great job with the argumentation. Good delivery and good leadership. You did all that was expected of an experienced debater.
27) Great job with the arguments but you likely lost the round because of something here. You did all that was expected of a good debater.
26) You could have done more with the argumentation. You likely dropped something or committed a logical fallacy or two. Competent delivery.
24) Argumentation was deficient in some way. Delivery was likely lacking in poise.
23) You’re likely out of your league and still learning. That’s still good though—learn from our mistakes. Few refutations made and delivery was lacking. Usually didn’t fully utilize time given
20) Equally as common as 30’s. I give these because they’re usually the lowest I’m allowed to go. Only given when there’s misconduct of some sort. I’ll note on the ballot what you did to irk me.