MSDL State Debate Final

2023 — Acton Boxborough HS, MA/US

Judge instructions

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You have three jobs:

(1) Decide who won the round:

Judge based on *what you hear in the round*. As much as possible, set aside your opinions and outside knowledge so that neither team is debating *you* implicitly. Also - if a team does not respond to an opponent's argument, then they have *conceded* that argument. Note - During the round, please do not engage in substantive discussion of the arguments with the debaters - e.g., you may not ask them questions about their arguments. Only after you enter your ballot (see below) may you discuss the arguments.Do *not* disclose your decision after the round, even in elimination rounds with multi-judge panels.

(2) Award speaker points

Award each speaker in the round speaker points ranging from 26 to 30.

(2a) Public Forum - Award speaker points in half-point increments - e.g., 28 or 28.5.

(2b) Lincoln Douglas - Award points in tenth-point increments - e.g., 28.2 or 28.3.

Consult the scale on the right side of the ballot (scroll down a bit) for guidelines.

(3) Provide written feedback on the ballot

Please focus on why you voted for one team over the other. Which argument or arguments were most important? Why did you find the opponent's responses to those arguments uncompelling? Or - Perhaps both sides had good main points, but one side's arguments were more "weighty" than the other side's. Please be sure to provide*WRITTEN* feedbackon the ballot, even if you also provide oral comments after the round. That way, coaches can see what happened (and the kids won't forget what you said). YOU CAN GO BACK AND EDIT COMMENTS UNTIL THE END OF THE TOURNAMENT.

Note - the speech sequence and durations appear on the right side of the ballot - scroll down a bit.



(1) Do *not* disclose your decision after the round, even in elimination rounds with multi-judge panels. Do not deliver verbal comments that might reveal whom you voted for.

(2) Include one sentence at the top of your reason-for-decision declaring whom you voted for. The "reason-for-decision" is the text box in which you write comments for both entries in your round). For example, at the top of the text box, you might write, "I voted for Team Northville on the PRO". This sentence serves as a double check for your ballot entry. Please do so immediately after the round while the debate and debaters are fresh in your mind.



(1) Watch your texts AND emails when the next round is due out (see schedule - here).

(2) If you do not get a message saying you have a round, please be available in the judge lounge areas so that we can find you in case we need backup judges. We will have information on the location of the judge lounge areas by the day of the tournament.

(3) When you get an assignment, you will see a green I GOT MY BALLOT button at the top of your Tabroom screen (click on your username in the upper right to see if you have an assignment). Click the I GOT MY BALLOT button as soon as you see it! That way, *we* know that *you* know that you have a round assignment. When you click START, your ballot will appear.

(4) Please proceed to your room in a timely manner so that the round can start. Room monitors will check on each room to see if participants are missing.

(5-PF) FOR SIDES AND SPEAKING ORDER in PUBLIC FORUM - Tabroom conducts the coin flip over the internet and the debate teams select sides and speaking order without the judge's involvement. When you get to your room, (a) reload the Tabroom webpage displaying your ballot so that it displays updated information based on that virtual coin flip; and (b) verbally check with the debaters that the information on your ballot is consistent with their understanding. The ballot displays the team speaking first above the team speaking second, and toward the LEFT side of each team's listing, it specifies the side they will defend (PRO or CON).

(5-LD) FOR SIDES AND SPEAKING ORDER FOR LINCOLN DOUGLAS - The tab staff specifies who is AFF and NEG. AFF always speaks first. Just double check with the debaters that what you see on your ballot is what they think is going on.

(5-BQ) FOR SIDES AND SPEAKING ORDER FOR BIG QUESTIONS - The tab staff specifies who is AFF and NEG. AFF always speaks first. Just double check with the debaters that what you see on your ballot is what they think is going on.

(6)Before the round starts, make sure you know which team is which. We have two recommendations:

(6a) Ask the PRO / AFF to ALWAYS sit to your LEFT in front of you and the CON / NEG to always sit to your right. That will make intuitive sense because PRO / AFF always speaks first at this tournament. If the debaters have positioned themselves before you arrived in the room, feel free to ask them to switch places if necessary.

(6b) Before the round starts, verbally confirm the team designations. For example, "I have Keene Valley on my left speaking on the PRO, and Lake Placid sitting on my right, speaking on the CON".

(6c) Write the team designations at the top of your notes (flow) sheet. So - in the above example, you would write "Keene Valley - PRO" in the upper LEFT corner of your flow sheet, and "Lake Placid - CON" in the upper RIGHT corner of your flow sheet.

(6d) For Public Forum - Write down which debater is speaking first and second on each team so that you can properly award speaking points after the round.


(7) Enter your decision when the round concludes - BEFORE speaking to the debaters and BEFORE entering your written comments on the ballot (that's step 8). At this tournament IN PRELIMINARY ROUNDS (one judge - you!), do NOT disclose whom you voted for or make any comments that may suggest whom you voted for.

(7a) Select the winning team from the drop-down at the bottom of the ballot and by clicking on the radio button indicating their side of the resolution.

(7b) Enter points for each speaker (see guide at right on ballot).

(7c) If you award MORE points to the LOSING team (uncommon), check the LOW-POINT WIN box toward the right, below the ballot.

(7d) Click the SUBMIT button at the bottom, right corner of the ballot.

(7e) Remember to click the big, green CONFIRM button after checking that your entries are correct.

(8) Enter your written comments in the REASON FOR DECISION box and, if you have specific comments for either team, enter those comments in the other comment boxes. You may do so through the end of the tournament - although we suggest that you not wait too long because you may not remember details from the round.

*** Please do NOT leave the room before entering your decision and points.


(1) No speaker points

(2) Last judge to enter their decision on the panel , after clicking the green CONFIRM button, will SEE the panel's decision. Be watching for it, in case you are that final judge. If you are, read off the panel's decision (e.g., it was a 3-0 for the affirmative).

(3) Each judge on the panel must then, at a minimum, point to the team they voted for and say something like, "I voted for Lake Placid on the PRO". That way, we double check that nobody mixed up the teams.

(4) Each judge MAY offer verbal comments. Those comments should not extend beyond 60 seconds.