Barkley Forum for High Schools
2016 — GA/US
Pelham Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've debated CX for four years at Chamblee High School and four years at the University of Georgia. I will try to intervene as little as possible in debate rounds, so be clear and frame the debate. Don't be rude or offensive - I usually give pretty high speaks but this is one way to to hurt them. I have judged ZERO debates on the immigration topic so I likely have not heard your aff/DA/acronym before. I usually read along with the speech doc, so I will handle clarity/clipping issues.
FW - I think that debate is a game in which the affirmative defends hypothetical enactment of a policy and the other side argues that the policy is bad. I enjoy listening to kritikal affs and think they can be valuable, but I also think they engender a worse model of debate that is unfair to the negative. That being said, I will vote based on what happened in the round. I think you're in a much better position on framework if your aff is at least in the direction of the topic and you answer DAs.
Case/DA - I love these throwdowns. I will vote on presumption if there is no risk of the case, just as I am comfortable assigning zero risk of a link. Relevant impact differentials and turns case analysis are persuasive to me, especially in close debates. I also love a good impact turn debate. No one goes for dedev, heg bad, or china war good anymore... :(
Topicality - It's always a voting issue and outweighs theory unless told otherwise. I think this is an underutilized argument in debate - don't let affs get away with murder via small reforms. Providing a good view of the topic under your interpretation and defending that view is very persuasive, but I am also sympathetic to aff arguments about interp predictability. Lack of effective impact work is why I find myself voting aff on reasonability.
Counterplan - I can be persuaded that most counterplans are legitimate, but winning process or international fiat theory will be an uphill battle for the negative. I will not kick the counterplan for you under unless I'm told that's an option. Unlike some judges nowadays, I can be persuaded that conditionality is bad. Please slow down when you're spreading your theory block.
Kritik - I'm comfortable with some of the K literature that is read often in debate, specifically cap and afropess stuff. However, don't assume I know your specific Baudrillard evidence. Contextualized link analysis and turns case args often persuade me to vote negative. The framework debate is also very important for setting metrics for winning the round. I think a lot of negative teams get away with no solvency explanation on the alternative - aff teams need to press them on what the alternative looks like in practice/why that's relveant. Theory arguments against alternatives are underutilized in my opinion.
Will update again for Northwestern -with a longer paradigm
I think the game is best when students are comfortable and presenting arguments at a high level. I will try my best to adjudicate the debate in front of me. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. I'm decently versed in anti-blackness literature. So if that is your thing, awesome. I'm excited to hear your particular work. Just know because of my background I have a high threshold for that argument set. If it's not, that's ok but just know I expect arguments to have a certain level of depth to them and won't just vote on arguments that I don't understand.
2. I haven't judge alot on this topic. So different topic phrasings have to be parsed out for me.
3. I'm all about the link and impact game
4. Not a fan of the overly confrontational approach
5. Slow down on analytics
6. I'm very expressive judging debates so pay attention to the non-verbals
7. FW is cool with me - has to be impacted well.
8. DA/CPs are cool if explained well.
9. Will vote on condo - not a fan of conditional planks
Hope this helps.
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I was a Policy debater at Samford / GTA at Wake Forest, now an assistant coach at Mountain Brook. I’ve increasingly moved into judging PF and LD, which I enjoy the most when they don’t imitate Policy.
I’m open to most arguments in each event - feel free to read your theory, critiques, counterplans, etc., as long as they’re clearly developed and impacted. Debate is up to the debaters; I'm not here to impose my preferences on the round.
• Speed is fine as long as you’re clear. Pay attention to nonverbals; you’ll know if I can’t understand you.
• Bad arguments still need answers, but dropped args are not auto-winners – you still need to extend warrants and explain why they matter.
• If prep time isn’t running, all activity by all debaters should stop.
• Debate should be fun - be nice to each other. Don’t be rude or talk over your partner.
• I’m pretty strongly opposed to paraphrasing evidence - I’d prefer that debaters directly read their cards, which should be readily available for opponents to see. That said, I won’t just go rogue and vote on it - it’s still up to debaters to give convincing reasons why that’s either a voting issue or a reason to reject the paraphrased evidence. Like everything else, it’s up for debate.
• Please exchange your speech docs, either through an email chain or flash drive. Efficiency matters, and I’d rather not sit through endless prep timeouts for viewing cards.
• Extend warrants, not just taglines. It’s better to collapse down to 1-2 well-developed arguments than to breeze through 10 blippy ones.
• Anything in the Final Focus should be in the Summary – stay focused on your key args.
• Too few teams debate about evidence/qualifications – that’s a good way to boost speaks and set your sources apart.
• I think LD is too often a rush to imitate Policy, which results in some messy debates. Don’t change your style because of my background – if you’re not comfortable (or well-practiced) spreading 5 off-case args, then that’s not advisable.
• If your value criterion takes 2+ minutes to read, please link the substance of your case back to it. This seems to be the most under-developed part of most LD rounds.
• Theory is fine when clearly explained and consistently extended, but I’m not a fan of debaters throwing out a ton of quick voters in search of a cheap shot. Things like RVIs or “consequentialism spec” are tough enough to win in the first place, so you should be prepared to commit sufficient time if you want theory to be an option.
[Quick note: I've been out of practice in judging Policy for a bit, so don't take for granted my knowledge of topic jargon or ability to catch every arg at top-speed - I've definitely become a curmudgeon about clarity.]
• I generally think limited condo (2 positions) is okay, but I've become a bit wary on multiple contradictory positions.
• Theory means reject the arg most of the time (besides condo).
• I often find “Perm- do the CP” persuasive against consult, process, or certainty-based CPs. I don’t love CPs that result in the entire aff, but I’ll vote on them if I have to.
• Neg- tell me how I should evaluate the CP and disad. Think judge kick is true? Say it. It’s probably much better for you if I’m not left to decide this on my own.
• K affs that are at least somewhat linked to the resolutional controversy will fare the best in front of me. That doesn't mean that you always need a plan text, but it does mean that I most enjoy affirmatives that defend something in the direction of the topic.
• For Ks in general: the more specific, the better - nuanced link debates will go much farther than 100 different ways to say "state bad".
• Framework args on the aff are usually just reasons to let the aff weigh their impacts.
• Caselists, plz.
• No preference toward reasonability or competing interps - just go in depth instead of repeating phrases like "race to the bottom" and moving on.
All post-structuralists are liberals.
Prep stops when I receive the email or have the usb in my hand.
The only thing I care about is clarity and clipping. If you skip a highlighted/underlined word I cannot vote for you.
If I am judging your round.
Then your traditional decision making calculus on how clear to be which looks something like: "Judges wait for the other team to call out clipping, but the other team is disincentivized from doing so by loss of speaker points and rep. This paradigm means I should push the envelope as much as possible in terms of clarity, because at worst I just lose a few speaker points" should be fully discarded.
Instead your decision making calculus should be: "This judge is not afraid to drop for clipping, pays close attention to it, and never waits for the other team to make the accusation. I cannot push the envelope on clarity, because I will auto lose the round and get my speaker points nuked if I skip a single word"
My intention is to be transparent in order to allow you a proper risk vs. reward analysis on clarity decisions in round.
Associate Director of Debate — Woodward Academy (2010-present)
Director of Debate — Marquette University High School (2006-2010)
Assistant Debate Coach — Marquette, Appleton East, Nicolet, etc. (2000-2006)
Last Updated 12/11/2019
Twitter version: Debate like an adult. Show me the evidence. Attend to the details. Don't dodge; clash. Great research and informed comparisons win debates.
My promise: I will pay close attention to every debate, carefully and completely scrutinize every argument, and provide honest feedback so that students are continuously challenged to improve as debaters.
Perspective: During the 2010s (my second full decade of judging/coaching debate), I coached and/or judged at 189 tournaments and taught slightly more than 16 months of summer debate institutes. I don't judge as many rounds as I used to, but I still enjoy it and I still coach as actively as ever.
Pre-round: Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to the email chain. Respect your opponents by sending the same documents to the email chain that you use to deliver your speeches. If you create separate versions of your speech documents (typically by deleting headings and analytical arguments) before sharing them, I will assume that you do not respect your opponents. I like debaters that respect their opponents.
1. I care most about clarity, clash, and argument comparison.
I will be more impressed by students that demonstrate topic knowledge, line-by-line organization skills (supported by careful flowing), and intelligent cross-examinations than by those that rely on superfast speaking, obfuscation, jargon, backfile recycling, and/or tricks. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I'm still not bored by strong fundamental skills and execution of basic, core-of-the-topic arguments.
To impress me, invite clash and show off what you have learned this season. I will want to vote for the team that (a) is more prepared and more knowledgeable about the assigned topic and that (b) better invites clash and provides their opponents with a productive opportunity for an in-depth debate.
Aff cases that lack solvency advocates and claim multiple contrived advantages do not invite a productive debate. Neither do whipsaw/scattershot 1NCs chock-full of incomplete, contradictory, and contrived off-case positions. Debates are best when the aff reads a plan with a high-quality solvency advocate and one or two well-supported advantages and the neg responds with a limited number of complete, consistent, and well-supported positions (including, usually, thorough case answers).
I would unapologetically prefer not to judge debates between students that do not want to invite a productive, clash-heavy debate.
2. I'm a critic of argument, not a blank slate.
My most important "judge preference" is that I value debating: "a direct and sustained confrontation of rival positions through the dialectic of assertion, critique, response and counter-critique" (Gutting 2013). I make decisions based on "the essential quality of debate: upon the strength of arguments" (Balthrop 1989).
Philosophically, I value "debate as argument-judgment" more than "debate as information production" (Cram 2012). That means that I want to hear debates between students that are invested in debating scholarly arguments based on rigorous preparation, expert evidence, deep content knowledge, and strategic thinking. While I will do my best to maintain fidelity to the debate that has taken place when forming my decision, I am more comfortable than most judges with evaluating and scrutinizing students' arguments. I care much more about evidence and argument quality and am far less tolerant of trickery and obfuscation than the median judge. This has two primary implications for students seeking to adapt to my judging:
a. What a card "says" is not as important as what a card proves. When deciding debates, I spend more time on questions like "what argument does this expert make and is the argument right?" than on questions like "what words has this debate team highlighted in this card and have these words been dropped by the other team?." As a critic of argument, I place "greater emphasis upon evaluating quality of argument" and assume "an active role in the debate process on the basis of [my] expertise, or knowledge of practices and standards within the community." Because I emphasize "the giving of reasons as the essential quality of argument, evidence which provides those reasons in support of claims will inevitably receive greater credibility than a number of pieces of evidence, each presenting only the conclusion of someone's reasoning process. It is, in crudest terms, a preference for quality of evidence over quantity" (Balthrop 1989).
b. The burden of proof precedes the burden of rejoinder. As presented, the risk of many advantages and disadvantages is zero because of missing internal links or a lack of grounding for important claims. "I know this argument doesn't make sense, but they dropped it!" will not convince me; reasons will.
When I disagree with other judges about the outcome of a debate, my most common criticism of their decision is that it gives too much credit to bad arguments or arguments that don't make sense. Their most common criticism of my decision is that it is "too interventionist" and that while they agree with my assessment of the arguments/evidence, they think that something else that happened in the debate (often a "technical concession") should be more determinative. I respect many judges that disagree with me in these situations; I'm glad there are both "tech-leaning" and "truth-leaning" judges in our activity. In the vast majority of debates, we come to the same conclusion. But at the margins, this is the major point of disagreement between us — it's much more important than any particular argument or theory preference.
3. I am most persuaded by arguments about the assigned topic.
One of the primary reasons I continue to love coaching debate is that "being a coach is to be enrolled in a continuing graduate course in public policy" (Fleissner 1995). Learning about a new topic area each year enriches my life in profound ways. After 20 years in "The Academy of Debate" (Fleissner 1995), I have developed a deep and enduring belief in the importance of public policy. It matters. This has two practical implications for how I tend to judge debates:
a. Kritiks that demonstrate concern for good policymaking can be very persuasive, but kritiks that ignore the topic or disavow policy analysis entirely will be tough to win. My self-perception is that I am much more receptive to well-developed kritiks than many "policy" judges, but I am as unpersuaded (if not more so) by kritiks that rely on tricks, obfuscation, and conditionality as I am by those styles of policy arguments.
b. I almost always find kritiks of topicality unpersuasive. An unlimited topic would not facilitate the in-depth clash over core-of-the-topic arguments that I most value about debate. The combination of "topical version of the aff" and "argue this kritik on the neg" is difficult to defeat when coupled with a fairness or topic education impact. Topical kritik affirmatives are much more likely to persuade me than kritiks of topicality.
4. I have greatly enjoyed judging debates on the arms sales topic.
I expected this would be a good topic: it's an interesting subject area with strong aff and neg ground, and it's timely enough to remain dynamic without the core arguments being constantly upended by the Trump administration's erraticism. This has indeed been the case; the quality of the debates I've judged has been generally excellent, and this is by far my favorite of the Trump era topics.
I don't think the initial opinions I shared about the topic at the end of the summer have changed all that much — you can still review those at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVR8MFNxr94. After the first semester, there are my major topic-specific opinions that might influence your debating:
a. I know a lot about the topic. It is a good controversy, and you should debate it. You don't need tricks, at least not when debating the major cases (you can go for T against the other cases — see below). As long as you keep your materials reasonably up-to-date, I think the core advantages and disadvantages are both quite strong. Have those debates. I will enjoy them, and you will get some well-informed feedback out of it.
b. Topicality "substantially reduce" is a winnable negative option in many circumstances. I think the negative's 2.7% (or even 1%) interpretations of substantially are persuasive against specific country and weapons cases (even though they're "arbitrary"). The Pearson interpretation is less persuasive, but I have voted for it; the smaller the case, the more persuadable I feel. Topicality arguments against large/major cases — Saudi Arabia/UAE, Taiwan, Human Rights/Thrall, Militarism (whole resolution-style), etc. — will be very tough for the negative. I'll listen, but I'd much rather hear a DA/CP/case debate.
c. I'm very bad for the neg on "circumvention," at least against major cases. "Trump will give the weapons away for free outside of DCS/FMS to circumvent the plan" would only make sense in very limited circumstances; general descriptive evidence that "security assistance includes many programs that export weapons" isn't (nearly) enough. More fundamentally, it will be hard to ever persuade me that inherency disproves solvency; this contradicts my most basic understanding of fiat and its role in argumentation. If the negative wants to convince me that endorsing policy proposals that have no chance of being implemented is bad, they should make that argument explicitly — I think I disagree with it, but it's something I think about a lot and feel very persuadable about. Most circumvention arguments don't come close to meeting this burden.
d. I'm extremely bad for "war good" impact turns. This includes "war with Iran good," "war with China good," etc. It also includes what the current cohort of debaters calls "Spark," but which older folks would understand as a hodgepodge of (very bad and often internally inconsistent) Spark, Wipeout, Nuclear Malthus, and De-Dev arguments. Debaters who specialize in these arguments should avoid me. If our paths cross, your best chance is to explicitly defend misanthropy or nihilism rather than rely on silly x-risk extremism framings; you have a better chance of convincing me "humans are awful" or "nothing matters" than "nearly all humans should die so other humans can live #bostrom."
e. There are two major problems with the most common plan-contingent/process counterplans on the topic (in addition to more general gripes with those genres of counterplan). First, delivery is part of Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales. Counterplans that claim to compete by ending "deliveries" but not "sales" do not make sense to me. Second, the way "durable" fiat and condition counterplans are typically understood doesn't contextualize well to this topic. Condition (leverage) counterplans make the most sense when the neg argues that they allow the U.S. to maintain sales while getting a concession from the purchasing country by threatening to end the sales. Because this still requires the neg to (separately) beat the case, it is not nearly as "strategic" if the goal is to avoid clash. The attempts I have seen by neg teams to remedy this "problem" by crafting counterplans that also end sales but claim a procedural net-benefit have not been persuasive. It will be hard to convince me that these counterplans are competitive or that these net-benefits outweigh even the smallest risk of a solvency deficit.
Balthrop 1989 = V. William Balthrop, "The Debate Judge as 'Critic of Argument'," Advanced Debate: Readings in Theory Practice & Teaching (Third Edition).
Cram 2012 = http://cedadebate.org/CAD/index.php/CAD/article/view/295/259
Gutting 2013 = http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/a-great-debate/
Fleissner 1995 = https://the3nr.com/2010/05/20/chain-reaction-the-1995-barkley-forum-coaches-luncheon-keynote-speech/
Name: Eric Beane
Affiliation: Langham Creek High School
*Current for the 2020-21 Season*
Policy Debate Paradigm
I debated for the University of Houston from 2012-2016. I've coached at Katy-Taylor HS from 2011 - 2016 and now I am the Director of Debate at Langham Creek High School. I mostly went for the K. I judge a lot of clash of the civs & strange debates. Have fun
Critical Affirmatives – I think your aff should be related to the topic; we have one for a reason and I think there is value in doing research and debating on the terms that were set by the topic committee. Your aff doesn’t need to fiat the passage of a plan or have a text, but it must generally affirm the resolution. I think having a text that you will defend helps you out plenty. Framework is definitely a viable strategy in front of me.
Disadvantages – DA + CP or case in the 2NR is not what I went for or coached primarily in my years of competition. Specific turns case analysis that is contextualized to the affirmative (not blanket, heg solves for war, vote neg analysis) will always be rewarded with high speaker points. Comparative analysis between time frame, magnitude and probability makes my decisions all the easier. I love to judge a good debate regardless of the argument.
Counterplans – I think that PICs can be an interesting avenue for debate, especially if they have a nuanced or critical net benefit. PICs bad etc. are not reasons to reject the team but just to reject the argument. I also generally err neg on these questions, but it isn’t impossible to win that argument in front of me. Condo debates are fair game – you’ll need to invest a substantial portion of the 1AR and 2AR on this question though.
Kritiks - I enjoy a good K debate. When I competed in college I mostly debated critical disability studies and its intersections. I've also read variations of Nietzsche, Psychoanalysis and Marxism throughout my debate career.
"Method Debate" - Many debates are unnecessarily complicated because of this phrase. If you are reading an argument that necessitates a change in how a permutation works (or doesn't), then naturally you should set up and explain a new model of competition. Likewise, the affirmative ought to defend their model of competition.
Vagueness - Strangely enough, we begin the debate with two very different positions, but as the debate goes on the explanation of these positions change, and it all becomes oddly amorphous - whether it be the aff or neg. I feel like "Vagueness" arguments can be tactfully deployed and make a lot of sense in those debates (in the absence of it).
We all need to be able to understand what the alternative is, what it does in relation to the affirmative and how does it resolve the link+impact you have read. I have no shame in not voting for something that I can't explain back to you.
Case Debate – I think that even when reading a 1-off K strategy, case debate can and should be perused. I think this is probably the most undervalued aspect of debate. I can be persuaded to vote on 0% risk of the aff or specific advantages. Likewise, I can be convinced there is 0 risk of a DA being triggered.
Topicality - I'm down to listen to a good T debate. Having a topical version of the aff with an explanation behind it goes a long way in painting the broader picture of debate that you want to create with your interpretation. Likewise being able to produce a reasonable case list is also a great addition to your strategy that I value.
"Strange" Arguments / Backfile Checks - I love it when debate becomes fun. Sometimes we need a break from the monotony of nuclear armageddon. The so-called classics like wipeout, the pic, etc. I think are a viable strategy. I've read guerrilla communication arguments in the past and think it provides some intrigue in policy debate.
Accessibility - My goal as an educator and judge is to provide the largest and most accessible space of deliberation possible. If there are any access issues that I can assist with, please let me know (privately or in public - whatever you are comfortable with). I struggle with anxiety and understand if you need to take a "time out" or breather before or after a big speech.
Evidence - When you mark cards I usually also write down where they are marked on my flow –also, before CX starts, you need to show your opponents where you marked the cards you read. If you are starting an email chain - prep ends as soon as you open your email to send the document. I would like to be on your email chain too - email@example.com
High Speaks? - The best way to get high speaks in front of me is in-depth comparative analysis. Whether this be on a theory debate or a disad/case debate, in depth comparative analysis between author qualification, warrants and impact comparison will always be rewarded with higher speaker points. The more you contextualize your arguments, the better. If you are negative, don't take prep for the 1NR unless you're cleaning up a 2NC disaster. I'm impressed with stand-up 1ARs, but don't rock the boat if you can't swim. If you have read this far in my ramblings on debate then good on you - If you say "wowzas" in the debate I will reward you with +.1 speaker points.
Any other questions, please ask in person or email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Short-pre-round version: Former Director of Debate and Policy/CX debate coach at Calhoun High School (Georgia). Former NDT debater, college assistant coach. After my re-entry into the activity in 2002, I worked to learn the K, and my paradigm is still evolving. So far, I have been willing to listen to anything. I tend to reward debaters with clash and explanation, and teams that are clever and willing to take risks. I am taking another break from debate starting Fall 2019 and will not be as familiar with the topic or trendy arguments, so please slow down and explain.
Longer, working on prefs, version: Lived the debate life in high school (Southern California) and then college (Univ of Redlands). Started at the bottom but thanks to a great college coach (Southworth), some outstanding partners, and a supportive community, I had some success as a senior (won Kentucky RR, Wake, a few others, and a top 5 bid to NDT). Taught summers at Golden West, Wake, Georgetown, and Emory workshops. I researched for several debate handbooks (something we used to do), and assisted at high schools including Calhoun, Damien, GBN and Holt HS (Alabama). After leaving U of R in 1980, I assistant coached some outstanding high school teams, Samford University, and Calhoun. Co-authored the debate theory article with my friend Dr. Walter Ulrich, "Bad Theory as a Voting Issue" in 1982. Went to law school at Bama after that, and put debate away completely until my children were of age to start debating in Georgia's middle school league in 2002. That led to coaching the high school team, and since 2005 I have been the director of debate at Calhoun (small public school in rural Georgia with great debate and speech history - about an hour north of Atlanta). Was fortunate to bring in Ed Williams to head coach for a couple of years, and have also had some outstanding assistants (Jadon Marianetti, Jim Schultz, Kristen Lowe, Natalie Bennie, Judy Butler, and '16-17 Lenny Brahin, also sister Lynn [former NDT debater for Louisville, also now an attorney].)
Clarity: I may throw in the occasional warning of "clear" to debaters, but after two or three "clears", I will put down my pen and look annoyed until I can comprehend the argument. If you think from visual clues that I am not getting the argument, I probably am not.
I coached for many years on the national and regional (Georgia) circuit. I have a team of very dedicated and intense policy debaters. I have historically written a lot of our arguments, but the team and assistants are doing most all of that this year. Just point this out so you understand that just because my team runs an argument doesn't mean that I like it, or that I completely understand it. Coaching is a purely volunteer position, and my two part-time/full-time jobs are as the Judge of the Gordon County Juvenile (child abuse and neglect, deliquency cases) and as a private attorney representing plainitiffs in personal injury and victim's rights cases. I am usually accompanied at tournaments by my spouse, Carol, who is sort of team Mom, travel agent and organizer of all things.
Likes/dislikes: I judge debate because I love debate and the community and the education it provides. I try to be extremely objective, and believe I have the reputation of voting for teams because I think they won, never because of rep or outside (or inside the round) influences. In fact, I tend to react badly if I believe a team or coach is trying to exert undue influence. Post-round I will give my critique, and will answer respectful and honest questions from the debaters. I expect a team I drop (and their coaches) to be unhappy, but no matter what, please be nice to your opponents, your partner, your coaches, and your judge.
My email: Beardenlaw@aol.com.
Maggie Berthiaume Woodward Academy
Current Coach — Woodward Academy (2011-present)
Former Coach — Lexington High School (2006-2008), Chattahoochee High School (2008-2011)
College Debater — Dartmouth College (2001-2005)
High School Debater — Blake (1997-2001)
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org for email chains, please.
1. Please be nice. If you don't want to be kind to others (the other team, your partner, me, the novice flowing the debate in the back of the room), please don’t prefer me.
2. I'm a high school teacher and believe that debates should be something I could enthusiastically show to my younger students, their parents, or my principal. What does that mean? If your high school teachers would find your presentation inappropriate, I am likely to as well.
3. Please be clear. I will call "clear" if I can't understand you, but debate is primarily a communication activity. Do your best to connect on meaningful arguments.
4. Conduct your own CX as much as possible. CX is an important time for judge impression formation, and if one partner does all asking and answering for the team, it is very difficult to evaluate both debaters. Certainly the partner not involved in CX can get involved in an emergency, but that should be brief and rare if both debaters want good points.
5. If you like to be trolly with your speech docs (read on paper to prevent sharing, remove analyticals, etc.), please don't. See "speech documents" below for a longer justification and explanation.
6. I’ve coached and judged for a long time now, and the reason I keep doing it is that I think debate is valuable. Students who demonstrate that they appreciate the opportunity to debate and are passionate and excited about the issues they are discussing are a joy to watch — they give judges a reason to listen even when we’re sick or tired or judging the 5th debate of the day on the 4th weekend that month. Be that student!
What does a good debate look like?
Everyone wants to judge “good debates.” To me, that means two excellently-prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues related to the policy presented by the affirmative. The best debates allow four students to demonstrate that they have researched a topic and know a lot about it — they are debates over issues that experts in the field would understand and appreciate. The worst debates involve obfuscation and tangents. Good debates usually come down to a small number of issues that are well-explained by both sides. The best final rebuttals have clearly explained ballot and a response to the best reason to vote for the opposing team.
I have not decided to implement the Shunta Jordan "no more than 5 off" rule, but I understand why she has it, and I agree with the sentiment. I'm not establishing a specific number, but I would like to encourage negative teams to read fully developed positions in the 1NC (with internal links and solvency advocates as needed). (Here's what she says: "There is no world where the Negative needs to read more than 5 off case arguments. SO if you say 6+, I'm only flowing 5 and you get to choose which you want me to flow.") If you're thinking "nbd, we'll just read the other four DAs on the case," I think you're missing the point. :)
Do you read evidence?
Yes, in nearly every debate. I will certainly read evidence that is contested by both sides to resolve who is correct in their characterizations. The more you explain your evidence, the more likely I am to read it. For me, the team that tells the better story that seems to incorporate both sets of evidence will almost always win. This means that instead of reading yet another card, you should take the time to explain why the context of the evidence means that your position is better than that of the other team. This is particularly true in close uniqueness and case debates.
Do I have to be topical?
Yes. Affirmatives are certainly welcome to defend the resolution in interesting and creative ways, but that defense should be tied to a topical plan to ensure that both sides have the opportunity to prepare for a topic that is announced in advance. Affirmatives certainly do not need to “role play” or “pretend to be the USFG” to suggest that the USFG should change a policy, however.
I enjoy topicality debates more than the average judge as long as they are detailed and well-researched. Examples of this include “intelligence gathering” on Surveillance, “health care” on Social Services, and “economic engagement” on Latin America. Debaters who do a good job of describing what debates would look like under their interpretation (aff or neg) are likely to win. I've judged several "substantial" debates this year that I've greatly enjoyed.
Can I read [X ridiculous counterplan]?
If you have a solvency advocate, by all means. If not, consider a little longer. See: “what does as good debate look like?” above. Affs should not be afraid to go for theory against contrived counterplans that lack a solvency advocate. On the flip side, if the aff is reading non-intrinsic advantages, the "logical" counterplan or one that uses aff solvency evidence for the CP is much appreciated.
What about my generic critique?
Topic or plan specific critiques are absolutely an important component of “excellently prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues.” Critiques that can be read in every debate, regardless of the topic or affirmative plan, are usually not.
Given that the aff usually has specific solvency evidence, I think the neg needs to win that the aff makes things worse (not just “doesn’t solve” or “is a mask for X”). Neg – Please spend the time to make specific links to the aff — the best links are often not more evidence but examples from the 1AC or aff evidence.
What about offense/defense?
I do believe there is absolute defense and vote for it often.
Do you take prep for emailing/flashing?
Once the doc is saved, your prep time ends.
I have some questions about speech documents...
One speech document per speech (before the speech). Any additional cards added to the end of the speech should be sent out as soon as feasible.
Teams that remove analytical arguments like permutation texts, counter-interpretations, etc. from their speech documents before sending to the other team should be aware that they are also removing them from the version I will read at the end of the debate — this means that I will be unable to verify the wording of their arguments and will have to rely on the short-hand version on my flow. This rarely if ever benefits the team making those arguments.
Speech documents should be provided to the other team as the speech begins. The only exception to this is a team who debates entirely off paper. Teams should not use paper to circumvent norms of argument-sharing.
I will not consider any evidence that did not include a tag in the document provided to the other team.
John Block: email@example.com please add me to email chain, thanks
Missouri state State ‘12
Last Updated: September 2020
I am currently completing my final year of medical school so I have been out of the judging game to some extent so be aware that acronyms/the latest K lit I may not be up to date with. That being said I assist LRCH and judge practice debates/listen to practices. I believe that my job is to be a reactionary presence in the room. I do have my own opinions which I’ll get to in a bit but I should be receptive to basically anything you are doing. Being nice goes a long way. Make my job easy. If you can write my ballot for me in the 2NR/2AR I would be happy for you to do so. Even if statements are phenomenal, no one will win 100% of the arguments, recognize and embrace that.
Digital debate will be an adjustment to all. I have watched some debates but they were conducted over Zoom so I will be new to this software interface so please be patient if and when glitches arise.
You don’t need evidence for an argument, although it helps.
Specifics: T/Framework-I am not exclusively a policymaker. I’m just a person evaluating a discussion of ideas. That being said I went for Framework quite regularly in college and have voted on it multiple times. Be interactive with the other side, don’t just read blocks at each other. TVA’s are important and so are aff visions of the topic that are navigable to the negative team.
Theory: bad theory arguments are just that, bad. If you want to go for theory great but I am pretty easily swayed by reject the argument not the team. If you want to read consult/conditions style arguments I can get on board pretty easily. If you want to read multiple CPs without solvency advocates to simply skew the 2AC’s time I’m less on your side.
Case Debates-crucial to a good round. You can make my threshold to vote negative significantly lower if you have good case args, these don’t have to be supported by evidence but again it helps. Ev analysis has gotten somewhat lost in my opinion over the years. Read the text/read who this person is, discuss why one piece of evidence should be prioritized (does it assume the other team’s ev? Is it newer? Is it better analysis etc?)
DA’s-PTX is fun, elections is an exciting time to be reading it. Otherwise topic DA’s are great too. Don’t forget to have specific links to the aff and a good internal link. Similarly, don’t forget to identify flaws in the internal link chain or why your aff is different than what the link evidence assumes/why it would be perceived differently.
CP’s: having a solvency advocate is good but not necessary. I read a lot of hyperspecific CP’s in my day but also think a lot of it can become esoteric. If you have a great counterplan to read go for it, if you have a generic CP, go for it. Delay is questionable from a theory level but I’ll certainly listen to it.
K’s-Guide me through the K and what it means for the hypothetical world of the aff vs the hypothetical world of the alternative. Explain what specifically the aff does, specifically what the 1AC said or the assumptions that went into it. I may not be hip to the latest high theory K’s but I hear of some of them by proximity to debate even if I haven’t sat in the back of rounds in recent times.
K Affs: Most of what I wrote in the K area applies here. I think I am slightly K leaning as far as my threshold for voting on T or F/W so keep that in mind. What is the ballot and why does it matter for whatever the aff is. I am a bigger fan of embracing the K side of the aff and not as crazy about “soft-left” affs as I have been in the past.
CX-don’t just use it for prep. A good CX can end a debate round early on. This may be difficult with virtual debate and people just trying to talk over each other.
Cheating: If I suspect it I will report it. I will often read along and will likely do this even more because hearing specifics of spreading may be more difficult virtually.
Associate Director of Debate @ KU
Last Updated: Pre-GSU 2016
Quick pre-round notes:
I would prefer speech docs while I judge. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The affirmative should read and defend a topical example of the resolution and the negative should negate the affirmative's example.
I reward teams that demonstrate a robust knowledge of the topic and literature concerning the topic.
1. The word "interpretation" matters more to me than some. You must counterdefine words, or you will likely lose. You must meet your theory interpretation, or you will likely lose.
2. The words "voting issue" matter more to me than some. I am not searching for cheap shots, nor do I especially enjoy theory debates. However, I feel that I would be intervening if I applied "reject the argument not the team" to arguments that debaters did not explicitly apply the impact takeout to. That said, proliferation of empty voting issues will not only hurt your speaker points, but can be grouped and pretty easily disposed of by opponents.
3. "Turns the case" matters more to me than some. Is it offense? Does the link to the advantage/fiat outweigh or prevent turning the case? Does it mean the aff doesn't solve? Questions that should be answered by the 1ar.
I believe that debaters work hard, and I will work hard for them. The more debaters can show they have worked hard: good case debates, specific strategies, etc. the more likely it is I will reward debaters with speaker points and higher effort. In the same vain, debaters who make clear that they don’t work outside of debates won’t receive high speaker points.
Topicality – It is a voting issue and not a reverse voting issue. I have not yet been persuaded by arguments in favor of reasonability; however, the reason for this usually lies with the fact that affirmatives fail to question the conventional wisdom that limits are good.
Kritiks – It will be difficult to convince me that I should completely disregard my conceptions of rationality, pragmatism and my aversion to unnecessary death. As a general rule, I think of Kritiks like a counterplan with net-benefits. The more aff specific the better.
Counterplans – I am up in the air about textual vs. functional competition – they both have their time and place, and are probably not universal rules. The cross-ex answer “for your DAs but not your counterplans” has always made negative sense to me. I understand that there are MANDATES of the plan and EFFECTS of the plan; I find this distinction more understandable than the usual c-x answer.
Rundown of general thoughts about counterplans:
Conditionality – it's feeling like a little bit much at the moment
PICs – Good, especially if they PIC out of a part of the plan
Consult/Condition – Up in the air and context specific. Solvency advocates, aff stances, etc. can change my feelings.
Delay – Aff leaning, but might be more competitive based on the structure of the affirmative, or a cross-ex answer. For example, if the affirmative has an advantage that takes the position the advantage can only be solved if it happens before "X" date, then the counterplan to do it after that date seems competitive.
Word PICs – Aff leaning
Alternate non-USFG actors – Aff leaning
Be respectful of your opponent, partner and judge. All types of discrimination are prohibited. Don’t clip cards, don’t cut cards out of context, etc. Don't misclose.
Finally, our community relies on host tournaments with classroom space - don't steal, defame or destroy it.
Any questions, ask.
I debated for St. Mark's and briefly for Georgetown. The last year I debated was 2014, and I have generally judged around once a year since then. I'm posting this for the 2020 MBA tournament.
Thanks to the wisdom of the tabroom, I rarely judge debates that are close enough that the result is a function of my idiosyncratic views about anything. The only time I've thought my subjective beliefs actually changed the outcome related to whether judging should optimize for rewarding "true" arguments or the technical presentation of the arguments in the debate (i.e., tech vs. truth). Debate serves many purposes to different people, but its primary academic value is to teach analytical thinking by forcing students to figure out how best to organize and communicate their own arguments and to pick apart stupid ideas systematically. If I cannot articulate the logic and evidence behind an argument, I will not consider it as a key factor in my decision-making. But if it is somewhat coherent and the other team has not adequately explained why it is dumb, my role is to focus on the effectiveness of the argumentation rather than the substantive veracity of the claims.
I have not yet judged any debates on the arms sales topic, but am extremely familiar with the underlying subject matter. If you show that you have worked hard to research and understand the policy issues involved, you will receive really good speaker points. If you make the debate about theory or topicality (barring egregious violations, most of which will probably be affs that are not substantial or lazy counterplans that are basically just the aff), you will not.
If you're not going to be cordial and polite, do not expect exceptional speaks. The "best" debater is a reflection of skill, execution, and decorum.
(be kind or go home)
and yes, I would like to be on the email chain katecarroll4[at]gmail[dot]com
TOC 2019 PF:
showing up to rounds when they are supposed to start, or late without good reason is disrespectful to your competitors, your judges, and the tournament hosts. if a team shows up late, or exactly when the round is supposed to start, they will automatically forfeit the flip.
Refer to Christian Vasquez’s Paradigm for the PF translation of my philosophy.
• I will flow, clarity is important, and arguments must be impacted.
• Paraphrasing in front of me is not a good idea.
• Winning a defensive argument does not mean that you win the debate. I consider a turn that is not impacted as a defensive argument.
• Offense to me means impacts, you can interpret that as consequences.
• Terminal impacts do not need to be held to the threshold of nuclear war, but they also need to be more than "econ decline is bad." Your impact explanation should (at the bare minimum) look something like this: "econ decline is bad because XYZ happens"
This debate is about the resolution/topic: being a good/bad idea. This debate is not about the hypothetical implementation of any plan. there is no such thing as "fiat" in PF because there is no plan.
"Strike me if you're not going to read cards. These are cards. If I have to ask for a card at the end of the round and what you show me isn't close to that, I'm just not considering it for the round. I'll just evaluate my flow as if it wasn't there.
Telling me that you've summarized this part and that part of a 40 page PDF is ridiculous. More than half the time the article isn't about the actual debate topic and you're just hoping no one calls you out for it. Paraphrasing in public forum is out of control and it's really become intellectually dishonest.
Here's even a link to Verbatim, a macro template that works with Microsoft Word so that card cutting is really easy."
Policy: JV/Novice Specific:
I try to be more of a teacher than a judge. I believe that it's part of my role to make sure that you're using best practices, and that both teams have an idea of what is going on in the round.
if you show me your flows and they're good, I could give you extra speaker points.
that being said:
you must have a full debate with all 4 constructive speeches and all 4 rebuttals. you have to try.
I'm willing to be flexible, if you need something ask. If you're confused about the structure or how to do things, or need tech help let me know.
general policy things:
- Clarity is important and will be reflected in speaks. I will not hesitate to yell clear if I am having trouble understanding you.
- Be on time! start the debate on time! if you're late absent a compelling reason it will negatively impact your speaks.
- I'll listen to anything, but in the spirit of best judging practices it’s good to know that I am not the best judge for niche kritiks
- in order to win the debate you must win the line by line
- Be nice to each other, will be reflected in speaks if you're a jerk to your partner/opponent
- Pet peeve-when sides call the advantages/off case different things. don't do that
- Tech over truth
- If your overview is longer than 1 min it's no longer an overview, it's just a waste of your time. put the link overview on the link debate, the uniqueness overview w/the uniqueness debate, etc.
- You must impact dropped args/args in general
- Generally think t is not a question of solvency, I am easily convinced that limits are good.
- Reading wipeout, Schopenhauer, death good, time cube, and/or death cult in front of me is a waste of your time.
- Conditionality is meh, the argument for 3 being bad is a lot more compelling than 2 ill default to in round abuse. but will likely not be compelled to vote on two is abusive.
- You must extend an interpretation and violation or CI if you're going for T!!!!!!!!!
- I'd prefer email chains to flashing 1) faster, 2) no worries about viruses and 3) less prep thievery
- I believe that card clipping is a reason to reject the team, but you must have coherent evidence (audio/video recording). If I catch you I will call you out and you will lose the debate (If the other team doesn't notice or calls you out). The team card clipping will get zero speaks. If you choose to stake the debate on this violation I will evaluate the evidence and if there is substantial evidence the team that card clips will lose the debate. Substantial evidence is an audio recording.
do your thing, do it well and I'll vote for you.
I would rather you not read a plan text than read a meaningless plan text. Either be policy or don't be policy, the in-between sacrifices a lot of offense.
If you are a debater that reads non-traditional arguments know a few things:
1. you still have to win the line by line to win the debate, regardless if it is on FW or the aff.
2. you must answer all relevant theory arguments
3. "help" me flow, frame things from an impact/link/etc. perspective.
if you have any questions for me, ask.
I will still vote for you if you win the debate. (absent any sorts of cheating/card clipping)
my favorite topic in hs was the transportation topic
I lost to one off t-its once as a sophomore
favorite color is green
University of Minnesota 18
email me if there's any other questions katecarroll4[at]gmail[dot]com
IF PREP IS NOT RUNNING YOU SHOULD NOT BE MUTED. IF PREP IS NOT RUNNING YOUR CAMERA SHOULD BE ON. IF THE SPEECH HAS NOT STARTED YOU SHOULD NOT BE SCROLLING THROUGH THE DOCUMENT.
YOU CAN OBVIOUSLY MUTE YOURSELF TO PREP, THAT IS A-OKAY! MUTE YOUR CAMERA FOR ALL I CARE, WHAT I CARE ABOUT IS TIMES WHEN THERE IS DOWNTIME AND NO TIMER IS RUNNING.
THIS IS FOR PEOPLE WHO STOP PREP AND THEN TAKE A MINUTE TO SEND THE EMAIL, STOP PREP AND THEN MUTE THEIR CAMERA AND MIC, AND THOSE WHO BLANTANTLY STEAL PREP TIME. IF PREP TIME IS NOT RUNNING AND YOU ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND I WILL ASSUME YOU ARE STEALING PREP.
TL;DR: DON'T STEAL PREP, DON'T BE SUS.
YOU HAVE AN EQUAL PREP TIME TO SOLVE TECH ISSUES. IF YOU DO NOT FIX TECH ISSUES IN THE ALLOTTED TIME, I WILL START YOUR ACTUAL PREP TIMER, IF YOU USE UP ALL YOUR PREP TIME I WILL START YOUR SPEECH TIME.
CLARITY IS NOW MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER. SPEAK CLEARLY. SPEAK AT A RATE OF SPEED THAT ALLOWS YOU TO MAINTAIN CLARITY.
Give an order, speak clearly, do not exceed the speed at which you can speak, do not whisper, do not interrupt your partner excessively, give warrants, talk about evidence, time yourself, use all your speech time, go in order, only go for one thing in the 2NR, make a tonal distinction between cards and tags, tell me when you go from one sheet of paper to another sheet of paper, go for dropped arguments and extend dropped arguments don't just say "they dropped ______."
You do you. I'm okay with any style of debate.
I will vote for any argument that is explained, warranted, and impacted.
If you are reading policy arguments explain them a bit more, I did critical debate for 6 years.
Clarity is important.
Clipping will result in a loss & lowest possible points.
If policy team vs policy team the one who does more explanation and judge instruction wins.
If clash, do what you do. Don't shy away from Cap K/FW; if it works run it. More than willing to vote on FW if it is won. Same goes for Aff vs K, if you win it I will vote for it.
If K team vs K team the one who does more explanation and judge instruction wins.
EMAIL CHAIN: email@example.com
Montgomery Bell Academy
University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks
Jordan (UT) 96-98
College of Eastern Utah 99
Cal St Fullerton 01-04
Points will generally stay between 27.5 and 29.9. It generally takes between a 28.6 and 28.7 to clear. I assign points with that in mind. Teams that average 28.65 or higher in a debate means that I thought your points were elimination round-level debates. While it's not an exact science, 28.8-28.9 mean you had a good chance advancing the elimination rounds, 29+ indicates excellence reserved for quarters+. I'm not stingy with these kinds of points and they have nothing to do with past successes. It has everything to do with your performance in THIS debate.
1. Jumping is no longer considered prep.
2. Please do your best to reserve restroom breaks before the opposing team's speeches and not right before your own.
3. Try to treat each other with mutual respect.
4. Cards MUST be marked during the speech. Please say "Mark the card" and please have you OR your partner physically mark the cards in the speech. It is not possible to remember where you've marked your cards after the speech. Saying "mark the card" is the only way to let your judge and competitors know that you are not intending to represent that you've read the entirety of the card. Physically marking the card in the speech is necessary to maintain an accurate account of what you did or didn't read.
My 20 years in the community has led me to have formulated some opinions about how the activity should be run. I'm not sharing these with you because I think this is the way you have to debate, but because you may get some insight about how to win and earn better speaker points in front of me.
1) Conceded claims without warrants - A conceded argument is only given as much weight as the warrant that supports it. You still must have a warrant to support your claim...even if the argument has been conceded. If no warrant has been provided, then it wasn't ever an argument to begin with. For theory arguments to rise to the level of an actual "argument", they have to be properly warranted. If your conditionality argument takes less than 5 seconds to read, it's probably not an argument. "Condo -strat skew, voter....I hope they drop it" very well might be dropped, and not voted on. Politics theory arguments and Permutations fall into this same category. A perm must describe how it resolves the link to the net benefit to be an argument. You can't win on "perm: do the cp" without a reason it resolves the aff and should be theoretically allowed. "Vote NO" and "Fiat solves the link" need to have warrants also. If you are the victim of a theory arg like this, vote no, or intrinsicness, or whatever short thought, do not give up on this argument. You should be honest about not having flowed the argument because of its absurd brevity. You should also make arguments about how the development of those arguments in the 1ar are all new and should be rejected and your new answers be allowed. Affirmatives should make complete theory args in front of me, and negatives shouldn't be afraid to point out that the argument lacked a credible warrant.
2) Voting issues are reasons to reject the argument. (Other than conditionality)
3) Don't make affirmative statements in CX to start your response to a CX question you disagree with. For example, if one is asked "Is your plan a bad idea?' You shouldn't start your response with "sure" or "right", and then go on to disagree with the question. If you need a filler word or phrase, find one that doesn't posit an affirming response.
4) Debate stays in the round -- Debate is a game of testing ideas and their counterparts. Those ideas presented inside of the debate will be the sole factor used in determining the winning team. Things said or done outside of this debate round will not be considered when determining a winning team.
Topicality vs Conventional Affs: I default to competing interpretations on topicality, but can be persuaded by reasonability. Jurisdiction means nothing to me because I see jurisdiction being shaped by the questions of predictability, limits, and fairness. Topicality is a voting issue.
Topicality vs Critical Affs: I generally think that policy debate is a good thing and that a team should both have a plan and defend it. Given that, I have no problem voting for "no plan" advocacies or "fiat-less" plans. I will be looking for you to win that your impact turns to topicality/framework outweigh the loss of education/fairness that would be given in a "fiated" plan debate. I generally think affirmative teams struggle with answering the argument that they could advocate the majority of their aff while defending a topical plan. I also think that teams who stress they are a pre-requisite to topical action have a more difficult time with topical version type arguments, then teams do who impact turn standards. If you win that the state is irredeemable at every level, you are much more likely to get me to vote against FW. The K aff teams who have had success in front of me have been very good at generating a reasonable list of arguments that negative teams could run against them in order to mitigate the fairness impact of the T/FW argument. This makes the impact turns of a stricter limit much more persuasive to me.
I'm also in the fairness camp as a terminal impact, as opposed to an emphasis on portable skills. I think you can win that T comes before substantive issues.
One note to teams that are neg against an aff that lacks stable advocacy: Make sure you adapt your framework arguments to fit the aff. Don't read..." you must have a plan" if they have a plan. If a team has a plan but doesn't defend fiat, and base your ground arguments on that violation.
Counterplans and Disads: The more specific to the aff, the better. There are few things better than a well-researched PIC that just blind sites a team. Objectively, I think counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy are not legitimate. However, I still coach teams to run these arguments, and I can still evaluate a theory debate about these different counterplans as objectively as possible. Again, the more specific the evidence is to the aff, the more legitimate it will appear.
The K: I was a k debater and a philosophy major in college and you are welcome to run a criticism in front of me. I prefer criticisms that are specific to the resolution. If your K links don't discuss arms sales this year, then it's unlikely to be very persuasive to me. I think that impact comparisons usually become the most important part of a kritik, and the excessive link list becomes the least of a team’s problems heading into the 2nr. You need to win that either a) you turn the case and have an external impact or b) you solve the case and have an external impact. Root cause arguments are good, but rarely address the timeframe issue of case impacts. If you are going to win your magnitude comparisons, then you better do a lot to mitigate the case impacts. I also find most framework arguments associated with a K near pointless. Most of them are impacted by the K proper and therefore depend on you winning the K in order to win the framework argument. Before devoting any more time to framework beyond getting your K evaluated, you should ask yourself and clearly state to me, what happens if you win your theory argument. You should craft your "role of the ballot" argument based on the answer to that question. I am willing to listen to sequencing arguments that EXPLAIN why discourse, epistemology, ontology, ect. come first.
Conclusion: I love debate...good luck if I'm judging you and please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.
In an effort to promote disclosure at the high school level, any team that practices near-universal "open source" will be awarded .2 extra per debater if you bring that to my attention prior to the RFD.
Current head coach at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
Policy Debater for 4 years in HS (Sandburg)
4 years of Policy in college (Augustana 1 year, NIU 3 years)
8 years assisting a team with Lincoln-Douglas and PF.
5th year as head coach
When it comes to LD, I am definitely more traditional even though I've spent a lot of time in policy. I don't believe there should be plans or disads. I think the idea of LD becoming 1 person policy is unfortunate. LD should be about negating or affirming the res, not plan creation. You should have a value and value criterion that is used to evaluate the round. I have judged LD often on the local circuit in IL. If you are a more progressive LD debater, you likely don't want me in the back of the room.
I'm ok with most things in PF except plans/disads/etc. This is not policy.
IF YOU LISTEN TO NOTHING ELSE, PLEASE ENSURE THERE IS A CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN CARDS AND TAGS
I'm not going to fight to understand what your're saying. If you are unclear you will likely lose. I also feel like I shouldn't have to follow along on a speech doc to hear what your saying. Fast is fine, but it should be flowable without reading the docs. Otherwise....what's the point in reading it at all.
I am an advocate of resolution specific debate. We have a yearly resolution for a reason. I don't believe running arguments that stay the same year after year is educational. 2015 example: Your affirmative should have some connection to domestic surveillance.
Topicality – I like T. I think the problem with it is that not enough explanation occurs of the actual abuse the Neg faces and debaters fly through it so fast that it is impossible to catch each argument. I feel like there should be some legit abuse or at the very least major pot. abuse.
Theory - ugh. I know debate can't live without it so I'll say this.....I'm pretty lenient with multiple conditional arguments that aren't extremely ridiculous. I also find theory debates boring. Topic debate good.
Kritiks -- Most of the common K's are fine by me. I am not well read in K literature. I will not pretend to understand your K. If you fail to explain it well enough for me and at the end of the debate I don't understand it, I will not vote for it. I will likely tell you it's because I don't understand. I will not feel bad about it.
1. BE CLEAR. If you are fast but not clear, I am not flowing. You can go as fast as your mouth and lungs will let you, but if you are not clear it will most likely be detrimental to you. I will say clear twice. If you don't adjust I will probably stop flowing.
1A. Make sure there is a clear distinction between tags and cards
Be a good person.
Please do not spread analytics as if they are cards in rebuttals.
My brain and my hands cannot keep up, I will miss warrants here and there, and I won't apologize for being human. I will only read cards and my flow after speeches, your analytics are the speech portion of this activity. Online debate makes persuasion difficult but I would like you to slow down and try a little if you can.
I graduated from the Comm Masters Program at Wake Forest where I coached for two years (2015-2017). I coached Whitney Young Magnet (2010-2014) and Walter Payton College Prep (2014-2018). I am not currently coaching and spent the last couple years working as a pastry chef. I’ve been furloughed and am enjoying this opportunity to judge the online era of debate. I have a good base knowledge of the topic, but I might need some clarity on more niche references to argument trends, particularly T if you want to talk about other team's affs as examples of good or bad education.
“Who did the better debating” will always be the last question I ask myself before hitting the Submit button unless there is an extremely pressing reason not to. This also means I'm hesitant to vote for a team that wins one argument but loses the rest, “cheap shots” have to be well-impacted.
I judged quite frequently when I coached and am well-versed in most areas and styles of debate. I tended to coach "high theory" teams (whatever that means), but I think in order to be good at debate you have to engage and understand what other people are saying. If someone described me as a "technical" judge, I would be pleased. Judges who say "Plan or GTFO" or the reverse are doing everyone a disservice.
I am more dispassionate than dogmatic when it comes to substance -- I try to reward quality, up to date research related to the topic, and to respect the work of debaters and coaches by giving my best effort to give a well-explained decision. At the same time, I'm very willing to vote on presumption if the other side has not given me a coherent, justifiable reason to vote for them. The most direct and creative impact turns from any ideological standpoint make for fun debates. Heg and cap good args are fine enough, but I need these positions to be contextualized within current political events and trends, not only theory and impacts. By the final rebuttals I tend to flow straight down and line them up the best I can, but I prioritize typing the content as much as I can during the speech.
Obligatory Framework vs. Plan-less aff section:
Ballot framing matters in the final rebuttals. Much like a Topicality debate, there needs to be a portion of each rebuttal where you frame something like "competing models of debate/FIAT good" vs. "evaluate the aff first/traditional policy debate bad." It is really hard to evaluate abstract policy debate impacts vs. specific aff impacts without this guidance. The ballot should always be the internal link to your terminal impact in a debate about debate - contextualize it.
If I hear a K aff and am left wondering "...to do what?" I'm happy to vote neg, but you have to outdebate the aff and should probably go to case in the 2nr if the impact turns implicate YOUR framework impacts (what a novel idea). I generally think affs should consider a role for the negative, but if neg can't win any offense on why traditional policy debate is good, that's on you. For me, debate itself is not automatically assumed to be a terminal impact, so I am better for ground impacts than fairness impacts, but if you do a good job with impact framing and think fairness is more strategic, whatever (don't change your preferred style of fw debating if this sentence scares you). The negative should generally be able to competitively say the opposite of the resolution as a response to the aff, but I'm fine with different styles of affirmatives.
K affs underestimate the value of “defense” and debate framing to win framework debates for the sake of impact turns (but don't change your preferred style of aff fw debating if this sentence scares you). I am willing to evaluate all styles of argument, and I welcome alternative interpretations of the resolution with justification. Varun Reddy told me to research for pockets of critical literature within the topic, and it’s more a question of innovative and warranted argument packaging for why your aff impacts matter and should be debated. Framework has had the benefit of years of argument refinement, while K affs require a more tailored strategy in their approach to both debate, theoretical construction, and impact calculus. It’s tough but rewarding. Original research and independent reading is a must. Have at it.
The other kind of Framework (impact calculus/methodology stuff):
I think of it as the portion of the debate where we establish what BETTER means when I vote for who did the better debating. Framework debates tend to be very muddled from all sides of the ideological coin. Why do your arguments make debate better, why your arguments make people better on a micropolitical level (day to day life), and why your arguments have better explanatory and predictive impacts at the macropolitical level (or why should we not care about the macro). From there, I can be persuaded more clearly by the specifics of each side's impacts.
Few people "love" topicality debates, but I'm generally not mad about a 2NR on T if you've made it as painless as possible for me to parse out clear violations and impacts. Competing interps tends to make sense, but at the same time, if the aff can justifiably find a place for their affirmative through a creative 'we meet' which mitigates the negative's impacts, you might be in business.
I understand that going for counterplan theory requires a lot of chutzpah, but I am curmudgeonly enough to join in a well-warranted rebuke of some of the crazy 1NCs negatives can get away with. However, if you can win on substance, do that.
Make bold choices in the final rebuttals. Force my hand to vote on the argument you win on.
The words "I voted on the perm" only come out of my mouth if the 2AR spends a good amount of time on it. Either really win the perm, or win the aff. It's not fair to the 2NR if you make the perm blippy throughout the debate and I just happen to think they're not mutually exclusive. I need to know the function of the perm, how it solves the links, and if there is a net benefit to the perm. Not just that - hey - you could do both, next arg. I frequently find if I think an aff has won the perm, they've probably won the aff anyways. If you want me to center my decision on the perm, you have to center the perm in your speeches. K aff vs. K: I am skeptical of perms in methods debates unless the aff is really really similar or you have an interesting explanation.
Time your speech, your partner's speech, the other team, and prep. If suddenly it seems like you have given a 12 minute 2AC, I will become even grumpier than usual and dock everyone's speaks .1
I hope this helps you write my ballot!
Tabula Rasa judge:
- If the presented Plan is in a Stock Issues format, then I will vote as a stock-issues judge once Kritiks and Topicality are won.
- If a Comparative Advantage Plan is run, then I will shift to a policymaker framework and weigh Advantages against DAs (see the note on DAs below), once Kritiks and Topicality are won.
- If a Kritikal Aff is run, then all bets are off. Run framework and tell me why I should be voting for you.
Kritiks are a priori to Topicality, which in turn is a priori to the Plan.
I enjoy spreading, but I dislike fast mumbling. If you’re not a proficient spreader, slow down. Reducing speed for tags, cites, and underviews helps your case immensely.
Theory won’t win a debate on its own. Claiming in-round abuse or that your argument is better for education requires justification and strong links.
I love Kritiks, but they must be strongly linked to the Plan. Otherwise, Kritiks are non-unique DAs.
Tell me the story of the Kritik. I want to hear persuasion and thought behind these arguments. A well-done K will make my weekend.
It can be tough to weigh DAs against a Stock Issues case. If a Stock Issues case is given by AFF, I would appreciate NEG providing only DAs that diminish/turn the stock issues of the Plan.
Please, no politics DAs unless you can prove that the loss of political capital extends past enactment of the plan. I am a strong believer in Fiat.
Things that make my heart go pitter-pat:
- Confident, assured underviews
- Focusing on the claims above the evidence
- Teams that stay on the offense and show clear strategy
- TOPICALITY (as long as it is a well-structured T debate that is strongly linked to the Plan)
Things that make me cringe in my seat:
- Evidence battles
- Any kind of murky ethics (mis-claiming dropped contentions, falsely stating rules, overusing flash time for prep, etc.)
- Having to vote on a weakly supported, but crucial, argument that wasn't answered.
Bishop Guertin High School
I am open to all different styles of debate and forms of argument. I am most excited to hear whatever you think you think is your best strategy as dictated by the particular terms of the debate at hand, rather than what you might think I would like hear. Judge adaptation is certainly important in considering strategy, but only to a certain extent. It is certainly not the most important and especially not more than the quality of the argument and your ability to execute it. That said, I'm interested in all of the major topics debate touches on including politics, logic, history, and philosophy and believe that any argument, regardless of how we understand its style or form as a community, bears significance for each of them. A team that moves beyond arbitrary distinctions such as that between politics/policy and philosophy and considers its argument in all of its dimensions will almost always be in a better position to articulate its advantages, assess its consequences, and consider its interaction with the opposing team's arguments. Taking this "meta" perspective will be helpful and hopefully necessary for winning any debate.
An argument is a claim, warrant, and impact/consequence. Attention to all three levels is necessary.
I think the aff should bear a meaningful, affirmative relation to the resolution, but the terms of that relation are open for debate, i.e. questions of whether or not that relation must be the affirmation of an a hypothetical implimentation of an example of the resolution are open and necessitate a debate if necessary. Don't take this for more than it is; the terms of the aff's relation to the resolution are always open to debate and this fact is what produces even the most standard topicality debates. The value of any particular debate ultimately depends on the execution of specific arguments rather than how we presumptively categorize general styles and forms as a community. Attention to distinctions between education and fairness impacts along with form and content distinctions is necessary for topicality debates; providing an interpretation for what constitutes an argument along with an interpretation of the direction of presumption and the necessary terms of affirmirmation and negation can also be helpful i.e. what is the role of the aff?, what must the aff do to fulfill that role? towards which side should the judge presume?
Please try to maintain the best possible standards of evidence and pay attention to methodology. The flip side of this is, however, that you have to deploy and utilize your evidence effectively; I prefer to evaluate the debate based on the arguments and explanations of evidence in the round rather than reading the evidence itself. Simply inserting evidence at the beginning of the debate is not enough to merit evaluation at the debate's conclusion; I tend to think that reading and evaluating evidence that wasn't explained or used effectively in the debate is beyond my role as the judge.
Lastly, perhaps the most important part of having a holistic view is maintaining perspective on the debate. Debate is a game, but contrary to the commonly assumed implication on this overraught phrase, it nonetheless bears all the entaglements and belongings of culture and social interaction. When it comes down to it, most people would say the point of debate is even to produce a unique way of navigating these cultural entaglements and social belongings. As such, how you interact with your opponents and the debate culture is significant and necessitates respect and acceptance.
I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have.
College Prep ‘14
Woodward 2018 Note: Really excited to judge the budding minds of debate's future! Please make sure that you speak clearly (even if you sacrifice some speed). You really need evidence about your counterplan in relation to the aff. Its super boring listening to a generic CP/DA with no nuance or specific link/solvency analysis.
I do want to be on the email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
Very few rounds on the Education topic - watch your acronyms/assumed topic knowledge, this is ESPECIALLY TRUE in T debates when its difficult to assess what is "core ground"
Re: Trump -- Durable fiat does not include things your solvency cards say but aren't in your plan text. Understand the executive branch and its power. CX should lay out what is within the scope of the plan and what is up for Trump/his cabinet to decide. I do NOT want to vote on a Trump good politics DA. Don't make me.
1. Be smart, engaging, and nice. Debate in a way that makes you and your coaches proud. Respect your opponents and your partner. Be aware of the gendered and racial implications of the way you speak to/interact with your opponents and partner. Trust that I know what I'm doing, and I'll give you the same courtesy.
2. Flex is good
No insurmountable policy or K bias. I went for T and read a no plan aff at my last tournament. Its good to be a games player, but if one side has an affective argument, or reasons why their argument implicates debate itself those are usually things the other side must at least acknowledge. That being said I am highly literate in 'conservative' policy debate (7+ years of big DA and case debates under my belt) and think those debates are super fun.
AFFS WITHOUT PLANS: You need to have a good explanation (in cx) of - why is this being presented in debate? what is the role of the judge? the negative?
3. Explanation wins debates
Whether it’s the link turn to politics, the K alt, or counterplan solvency, the team with better depth and argument analysis usually wins.
4. Evidence isn’t the end-all be-all
Indicts are great and so is comparison, what I really mean is that true analytics are slayer.
5. I take my task very seriously and will work hard to make the right decision. Even after 4 years of judging high school I'm still learning about myself as a judge, but I am determined to continue to work hard because I respect your time and effort in debates. You and your coaches should be conscious of the way you interact with all judges, but especially (younger) women, queer, and POC judges in post-round interactions.
Finally -- have fun and talk to me if you're interested in Emory debate!
Reka (Ree-kah) Fink (she/her)
Put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Past: Policy debater at the University of North Texas and Edina High School, assistant debate coach at the Blake School
Generally: To win a flow, tell me why your impacts should come first - this applies to critical and policy strats, as well as procedurals. I enjoy watching a good discussion of the topic (topicality was one of my favorite arguments as a debater). I think debate is a game, and any theoretical questions should center on who makes the game better, more accessible, more fair, etc. I have a high threshold on theory.
Critical Arguments: Not my area of expertise, but I have general knowledge about most critical positions. If you explain your advocacy well and in a way that makes sense I’ll vote for you. I don’t believe teams should always have to defend a policy option but if you’re persuasive I will vote for framework.
In-Round Conduct: Please be courteous to everyone in the round, including your partner. Humor is appreciated and may be rewarded with higher points. Clarity is always preferred over speed. Flashing does not count as prep, although I reserve the right to change this if need be.
Other details: I like evidence comparison, a good case hit, and strategic choices that pressure the other team. I will not on things like racism good, sexism good, etc. and I hate watching wipeout debates.
The #1 tip I can give you is that debate is about comparisons - no matter what you're going for, explain why I prefer your stuff even if they win their stuff
1. Cliff Notes
- Not familiar with the topic
- No preference for the number of issues in a debate.
- An argument isn't dropped just bc there's no ink next to it
- Having to choose from non-specific strategies, I prefer politics/case d, a topic t arg, or a topic kritik to process counterplans and kritiks about death and omissions in the 1ac
- I'm going to try to find any way not to vote on cheap shots, so if you're going for "Neg fiat or perms are a voting issue" close all doors
- K frameworks that change the decision from yes/no policy can be won, but even if you win "the role of the ballot is to form ethical subjectivity" you still need to win why the Aff's subjectivity is bad, which sometimes requires beating the case
- Counterplan competition - I generally think of it as textual / functional competition - CPs that contain all of the words in the plan are usually cheating
- The only relevant question for T is the most predictable interpretation
- Neither "uniqueness controls the link" nor "link controls uniqueness" mean anything - they're both uncertain estimates of the future
- I probably won't vote on reasonability
- I like jokes, but I also like taking speaker points from people who make unfunny jokes at other people that make them feel bad
- An argument has both an explanation of its validity (warrant) and of how it alters the way I think about the rest of the debate (impact)
- Critiques - both teams should debate the alternative - even if it's a critical pedagogy or something, explain how that solves both your and the other team's impacts
(Note: these are my gut leanings - I'm not emotionally attached to these and could be convinced to vote the other way)
- The Affirmative should defend a topical plan
- That does not mean the Neg gets a free pass - you should still defend why a more limited topic is more important than their offense
- Still do impact calculus - it's even more important here - why is having a limited topic more important than the existence of a general antagonism outside of the debate
- Fairness/predictability is an impact because debate is a competitive activity centered around argument
- Connect your offense to the ballot - if debate is dead and the ballot is structurally exclusionary then I need to understand why an Aff ballot would then resolve that
- I probably won't think it's a reverse voting issue
- Critiques of the topic are not a reason "being topical" is bad
- Critiques of debate as "Truth forming" are not a reason argument is bad
- You don't need a "Topical Version" of the Aff - just that your model of debate preserves their form of education / subjectivity / whatever
3. Speaker points
- Basic scale – 29.2-29.5: one of the top 3 speakers at the tournament; 28.8-29.1: top 10 speakers at the tournament; 28.4-28.7: very good, expect to break; 27.9-28.3: pretty good, shows some competence, but lacking technical skills in other areas; 27.5-27.8: below average, lacking technical ability in more areas than not; 27.0-27.4: poor, doesn’t fully participate in the debate or exhibits one or two moments of comprehension; 26.9 and below: you were offensive – it doesn’t mean you are a bad person, but something you did was deeply unsettling or hurt someone else in the round
Copied and Pasted from my judge philosophy wiki page.
Director of Debate at Pace Academy
15 years judging and coaching high school debate. First at Damien High School then at Greenhill. Generally only judge a handful of college rounds a year.
Zero rounds on the current college topic in 2020.
Coached at the University of Wyoming 2004-2005.
I have decided to incentivize reading strategies that involve talking about the specifics of the affirmative case. Too many high school teams find a terrible agent or process cp and use politics as a crutch. Too many high school teams pull out their old, generic, k's and read them regardless of the aff. As an incentive to get away from this practice I will give any 2N that goes for a case-only strategy an extra point. If this means someone who would have earned a 29 ends up with a 30, then so be it. I would rather encourage a proliferation of higher speaker points, then a proliferation of bad, generic arguments. If you have to ask what a case strategy involves, then you probably aren't going to read one. I'm not talking about reading some case defense and going for a disad, or a counterplan that solves most of the aff. I'm talking about making a majority of the debate a case debate -- and that case debate continuing into the 2NR.
You'll notice "specificity good" throughout my philosophy. I will give higher points to those teams that engage in more specific strategies, then those that go for more generic ones. This doesnt mean that I hate the k -- on the contrary, I wouldn't mind hearing a debate on a k, but it needs to be ABOUT THE AFF. The genero security k doesnt apply to the South Korean Prostitutes aff, the Cap k doesnt apply to the South Korea Off-Shore Balancing aff - and you arent likely to convince me otherwise. But if you have an argument ABOUT the affirmative --especially a specific k that has yet to be read, then you will be rewarded if I am judging you.
I have judged high-level college and high school debates for the last 14 years. That should answer a few questions that you are thinking about asking: yes, speed is fine, no, lack of clarity is not. Yes, reading the k is ok, no, reading a bunch of junk that doesn't apply to the topic, and failing to explain why it does is not.
The single most important piece of information I can give you about me as a judge is that I cut a lot of cards -- you should ALWAYS appeal to my interest in the literature and to protect the integrity of that literature. Specific is ALWAYS better than generic, and smart strategies that are well researched should ALWAYS win out over generic, lazy arguments. Even if you dont win debates where you execute specifics, you will be rewarded.
Although my tendencies in general are much more to the right than the rest of the community, I have voted on the k many times since I started judging, and am generally willing to listen to whatever argument the debaters want to make. Having said that, there are a few caveats:
1. I don't read a lot of critical literature; so using a lot of terms or references that only someone who reads a lot of critical literature would understand isn’t going to get you very far. If I don’t understand your arguments, chances are pretty good you aren’t going to win the debate, no matter how persuasive you sound. This goes for the aff too explain your argument, don’t assume I know what you are talking about.
2. You are much better off reading critical arguments on the negative then on the affirmative. I tend to believe that the affirmative has to defend a position that is at least somewhat predictable, and relates to the topic in a way that makes sense. If they don’t, I am very sympathetic to topicality and framework-type arguments. This doesn’t mean you can’t win a debate with a non-traditional affirmative in front of me, but it does mean that it is going to be much harder, and that you are going to have to take topicality and framework arguments seriously. To me, predictability and fairness are more important than stretching the boundaries of debate, and the topic. If your affirmative defends a predictable interpretation of the topic, you are welcome to read any critical arguments you want to defend that interpretation, with the above stipulations.
3. I would much rather watch a disad/counterplan/case debate than some other alternative.
In general, I love a good politics debate - but - specific counterplans and case arguments are THE BEST strategies. I like to hear new innovative disads, but I have read enough of the literature on this year’s topic that I would be able to follow any deep debate on any of the big generic disads as well.
As far as theory goes, I probably defer negative a bit more in theory debates than affirmative. That probably has to do with the fact that I like very well thought-out negative strategies that utilize PICS and specific disads and case arguments. As such, I would much rather see an affirmative team impact turn the net benefits to a counterplan then to go for theory (although I realize this is not always possible). I really believe that the boundaries of the topic are formed in T debates at the beginning of the year, therefore I am much less willing to vote on a topicality argument against one of the mainstream affirmatives later on in the year than I am at the first few tournaments. I’m not going to outline all of the affs that I think are mainstream, but chances are pretty good if there are more than a few teams across the country reading the affirmative, I’m probably going to err aff in a close T debate.
One last thing, if you really want to get high points in front of me, a deep warming debate is the way to go. I would be willing to wager that I have dug further into the warming literature than just about anybody in the country, and I love to hear warming debates. I realize by this point most teams have very specific strategies to most of the affirmatives on the topic, but if you are wondering what advantage to read, or whether or not to delve into the warming debate on the negative, it would be very rewarding to do so in front of me -- at the very least you will get some feedback that will help you in future debates.
Ok, I lied, one more thing. Ultimately I believe that debate is a game. I believe that debaters should have fun while debating. I realize that certain debates get heated, however do your best not to be mean to your partner, and to the other team. There are very few things I hate more than judging a debate where the teams are jerks to each other. Finally, although I understand the strategic value to impact turning the alternative to kritiks and disads (and would encourage it in most instances), there are a few arguments I am unwilling to listen to those include: sexism good, racism good, genocide good, and rape good. If you are considering reading one of those arguments, don’t. You are just going to piss me off.
First things first - this year is incredibly challenging for all of us. I absolutely hate that you can’t experience the thrill of the season opener like I was fortunate to experience. No one ever feels ready for the season opener and no matter how you do at this tournament or at future tournaments, be kind to yourselves! It took dozens of universities like two years to begin the transition to paperless debate when I was a junior in college. You have had to adapt to remote debate in a fraction of the time with *gestures broadly* all of this happening. Take some time to decompress and do something nice for yourself. Eat and sleep well. The number of people at my current job that care about my record at the season opener in 2010 is zero. My mom doesn’t even care and she loves me a lot. Just find happiness and be a good person.
==Boring Biographical Stuff==
If your coaches don’t know me and you want boring biographical stuff: I debated at Emory from 2007 to 2011. I made the octas of the NDT. After that, I briefly coached at Emory before taking a job at Pace Academy, where I coached two NDCA champions. I have been out of debate since 2016 when I changed careers. I am now a social worker and I have worked with individuals facing the death penalty and I now work with restaurant workers who are facing homelessness due to unexpected medical or personal crises.
==Season Opener/Online Debate Relevant Stuff==
You should know that I haven’t even judged a practice debate on Zoom yet. I tend to be pretty expressive when I judge but because, presumably, I’ll be on mute during your speech, I will gesture if you need to be more clear or slow down. I will chime in during CX if I didn’t understand something that both teams seem to get (e.g. acronyms). It is my plan to flow on paper.
==How I Evaluate Framework And Other Impacts==
I wrote several versions of this and cannot seem to be as concise as I wish I could be, so I apologize in advance but I hope it at least helps you understand the experiences that shaped how I relate to debate.
In some ways, I have become quite a bit softer since I debated. My experiences working with people who are facing or experiencing homelessness and who have experienced life changing trauma has undoubtedly shaped how I evaluate impact and role of the ballot claims. In other ways, I was always skeptical of arguments that suggested debate was a site for social change and that belief has, unfortunately, hardened in the last decade. It has made me really quite sad to see the number of my contemporaries and former students who went into corporate litigation, big tech, finance, etc. while being aware of the incredible amount of injustice in the world.
I am also skeptical of arguments that center themselves on individual trauma or are based around intra-debate arguments. I believe that the competitive incentive corrupts our ability to actually process trauma in a productive way. I want to be the kind of human being and social worker who is a resource you can speak with so if you are actually struggling in debate, please know that you are not alone and you should feel that you can reach out to me.
I view debate strictly as a game. It has incredible educational benefits (I wish it had more psychosocial benefits), but no individual round changes anything. It's funny thinking about that argument now. Would my client who is facing homelessness care that I voted in a particular way to affirm a certain principal? Absolutely not. This doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a policymaker! Many policies are “good” because they are based on a calculation that doesn’t include the marginalized. Other times, I could decide that something may be “bad policy” but ethically the right thing to do. I guess all of this is to say that I think "policymaking" and "utilitarianism" is often grouped together and too many judges, when I debated, were fairly unwilling to vote on an ethical basis (and also accepted a certain kind of evidence).
I have yet to see a topic that doesn’t offer many ways to critique how that policy has been formulated to exclude groups of people. As such, I am still skeptical of any claims of the topic as a metaphor. I am dismissive of the argument that “we’ve been running this for a while so you should be prepared”.
I think the “direction of the link” people took things to an extreme when I debated and were nearly unwilling to evaluate uniqueness claims. I never understood this and I hope that the caricature I have in my head is just that.
I loved impact turns when I debated. That absolutely hasn’t changed.
I do not like to vote on counterplans that are not grounded in the literature. I nearly refuse to vote on the states CP (I know that’s not relevant this year), and I am a heavy lift on process CPs. If you have something that mentions the plan and was predictable when researching it (not just predictable because debate has tolerated it for years) then that’s different.
Under no circumstances will I kick the counterplan for the negative team. One of the great things about debate is being forced to make strategic decisions in a limited time. Who am I to rob you of that opportunity?
==Other Things of Varying Importance==
1. Debate is not a card submission activity. Extending a card is not a substitute for talking about it.
2. You are more likely to win on a well reasoned analytic than saying “DA not intrinsic,” even if the latter is dropped. It does not constitute a full argument.
3. Not everything needs evidence, we’re all human and watch the news/are aware of things going on. Most things benefit from evidence, however.
4. Please don’t quote parts of this at me. I don’t like that.
5. I watched a lot of debaters be rude to hotel staff and servers. It’s weird what stands out in our memories. If things return to how they used to be, and I really hope they do, please know that the person who serves your food or drinks at a tournament could be one sinus infection away from not being able to pay their rent. Be kind to them and tip them well.
6. Similarly, you should be nice to each other. That was always true before, it’s even more true via Zoom. Let your opponent ask the question and let your opponent answer the question. You know, basic stuff.
7. If you have dogs or cats at the location that you are debating from, I absolutely want to see them during down time. If you don't have pets, I will be equally happy if you share something else with us!
If you have any questions whatsoever, you should feel free to reach out to me at kirkgibson1 at gmail.
College Preparatory School
A few quick things:
- I was both a 2A and a 2N in high school. While I read mostly policy affs, I went for the kritik often on the neg, so I’m pretty flexible with argument choices.
- I will work hard to be as objective as possible and evaluate tech over truth unless told otherwise.
- Specificity and effort are rewarded in my book. If it’s clear you’ve done the research and have extensive knowledge of the topic, I will boost your points accordingly.
- Framing the debate is key – the 2NR and 2AR should aim to write my ballot.
- I’d prefer you read enough of your evidence to make a complete argument, so if you’re going to highlight two lines of a card and call it an internal link then it’s probably not worth reading at all. Evidence = claim and warrant (same goes for arguments).
- Please be clear - if you aren’t, I’ll yell it a few times but eventually I will give up. I’m a pretty expressive person so look up every now and then - if I’m obviously frustrated, you should change something.
- Debate is fun – act like it! Be nice and have a good sense of humor.
- Feel free to ask me questions before the debate if I haven’t covered something or you’d like clarification.
Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves your computer. If your computer crashes, we’ll stop prep.
Topicality: Topicality needs to be substantively developed for me to vote on it. Please do not be incomprehensibly fast on T in the 2AC, because I will sympathize with the negative if there are missed arguments. Remember to impact your interpretation.
Theory: Theory must be well developed and impacted, like topicality. I am more sympathetic to some theory arguments than others. I never went for conditionality as a 2A and I have a high threshold for this argument – I will vote on it if you win it, but winning it requires substantial time investment in both the 1AR and the 2AR. Other theoretical objections such as international fiat, 50 state fiat, conditions/consult/process theory, etc. are much more persuasive to me.
Case: I really like a good case debate. The 2AC and 1AR need to be clear and warranted on case. I’d prefer if the negative collapsed an extensive case debate from the block into a few winnable arguments in the 2NR instead of going for everything.
Counterplans: I’m a huge fan of a case specific counterplan (especially PICs), so the more specific you get, the better your points/chances will be. Conversely, I’m not a huge fan of process/delay (and consult if it’s hypergeneric) counterplans because I don’t think they’re competitive. I will be persuaded by perm do the CP and theory arguments by the aff. That being said, I was definitely guilty of going for the commission CP and others like it in high school – it’s certainly winnable in front of me, but I’d rather see you go for something more specific.
Disadvantages: I am a strong believer in credible defense. If the aff can point out logical problems with the disad, I will reduce the risk substantially (even if it’s not a carded argument). There can be zero risk of a disad. Clear articulation of the link in the context of the aff is essential. I think that carded arguments about how the disad turns/solves the case are persuasive.
Kritiks: I went for security a lot in high school and I understand it pretty well (same with most other IR-based K’s). Anything beyond that is going to take a high level of explanation and work to get my ballot.
Framework is important and underutilized on both sides - if you can really just lay down a beating on the other team on the framework debate, it will get you so far on every other part of the flow.
For the aff – defend your 1AC! Know who your authors are. Have cards that defend the studies of your authors and the method they used. Know what method they used! Create evaluative mechanisms for how I should evaluate evidence in the policymaking sphere (i.e. default to empirics and studies) and then explain why your evidence meets those mechanisms. I definitely prefer an impact turn debate to a permutation debate, but do what you gotta do.
For the neg - link debate is very important, and contextualizing it within the context of the aff is even more crucial. Question the scholarship of their authors and press them on internal links and logical take-outs in cross-ex – I think the best way to get mileage on the K is to have credible defense against the aff because it proves their epistemology is fundamentally bankrupt.
Critical Affs: Please be very clear about what the role of the ballot is and how I should evaluate the debate. Also, I’m inclined to agree with Brian Manuel that you must defend something, even if you’re not defending the topic. Your position must be debatable. While I will vote on framework, I prefer a case turn debate, a PIC, or a K. Understandably, a specific strategy is not always possible when debating an aff that doesn’t defend the topic, and framework may sometimes be your best option.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School
PV Peninsula High School
There was a time when I was really invested in the activity (I did policy) and this paradigm was longer and more nuanced, but those days are pretty far gone. I think the best debates happen when people are both passionate and informed about the arguments they read. The worst debates I’ve ever judged happen when neither side really wants to be there, and I honestly consider those a waste of my time.
I’m a chemistry major and read a LOT of science-related material in my spare time. If you like making arguments that depend on science or data, I expect you to have done the proper background research. If you’re debating against said arguments, disqualifying a source is everything (i.e. “this study doesn’t take into account X”, “that’s not how global warming models are made”, “that’s not how drugs work”, “here’s an article that takes into account Y and concluded the other way”, etc.)
Quality research is as valuable as quality debating
There is such a thing as absolute defense, and “any risk” logic is nonsense. Additionally, I’m skeptical of “shifting qualitative risk,” as I call it. “War is likely” doesn’t magically become “war is inevitable” just because it was dropped.
I lean slightly left-of-center on the economy, slightly right-of-center on trade, and fairly liberal on everything else.
I flow on paper.
While I do love coffee, if you see me with a cup of it in the round, please start slow.
I think affirmatives should actually do things. This is not the same as reading a plan text, though I used to read mostly "traditional" or "soft-left" affs, and I still really like those.
My favorite anime is Bungou Stray Dogs. I highly recommend it. Watch season 2, episodes 1-4 before season 1. Quality references are appreciated.
Case and topic-specific DA debates are cool.
I’m always down for a good theory or T debate. I hate frivolous T/theory arguments (and so should you).
I will not vote for the "ctrl+F language K." I will vote on the “what the fuck, you should never say that again” language K.
"If your strategy involves skep, permissibility, or some logical syllogism that relies upon analytic philosophy showing that the other side can't be proven, you probably don't want me as your judge" –Scott Wheeler
RVIs are an uphill battle. RVIs on T are like mountain climbing. If you don’t know how hard mountain climbing is, I can tell you a cool story about my biochem professor.
Someone told me I should have a line here about flashing, which makes me sad. I will dock 2 points if you intentionally don't provide a copy of your evidence to the other team prior to your speech.
Kant = :(
Just to give some context about my debate history: I debated for four years in high school with Dallas Jesuit. I went to Emory, but did not debate while I was there. While in college, I did occasional work for Jesuit and coached/judged at some national tournaments. After graduating, I spent two years coaching and judging at Jesuit before going to law school. I'm currently in my second year and have limited judging experience on this topic (several rounds at the Texas state tournament in March 2019).
Framing is good - explain why your links supersede the link-turns, why the solvency deficit on the counterplan means you win on disad mitigation, etc. Tell me how you want different parts of the flow (and different pages of the debate) to interact.
I get annoyed by bad highlighting - that is, highlighting that reduces sentences into fragments and phrases that don't coherently fit together. If your opponent reads a card that is severely under-highlighted, and tries to extend warrants that weren't actually in the highlighting, point that out - I'll be receptive.
My speaker point range is usually 28-29 - I find myself going above that more often than I do going below that. If you want good speaks: line-by-line, clash, and be fast but clear (and smart, but that should go without saying).
I like to be included on email chains. I don't scroll/read through the docs during speeches, unless I get worried about clipping cards.
Slow down. No, really. Slow. Down. Conditionality is probably good – multiple conditional worlds that contradict each other are probably less of a good thing. Most other theory arguments are probably a reason to reject the argument and not the team (yes, even if those blippy theory arguments are conceded) - maybe you can convince me otherwise. You should be talking about the impacts to your theoretical objection (or counter-interpretation) just as you would for any other argument.
When schools break a truly new Aff, they should not have to disclose anything about the substance of that Aff to the Negative before the round. I think that is a powerful incentive for people to innovate. It will be almost impossible for you to convince me otherwise. An Aff that is new to a particular pairing but that has been previously broken by another team from the same school is not "new."
At the end of the year, against Affs that have been run for awhile, Neg teams might need to focus more on why the particular Aff's un-topical-ness is bad (not necessarily in-round abuse, but a reason their Aff, and not necessarily what they justify, makes it harder for you to debate). Links and impacts should be discussed just as they would any other argument. I do not think that the limits debate is necessarily the most important standard. I default to competing interpretations (unless a compelling argument against that default can be won), so it is important that you talk about what other debates (not just your own) would look like under your interpretation (my earlier caveat about end-of-the-year debates changes this a bit). Evidence on topicality can be very useful and strategic, but is by no means necessary.
PICs and agent counterplans are usually okay – agent counterplans that play fast-and-loose with excessive amounts of fiat may be less okay. States counterplans are probably okay, especially if you have a solvency advocate.
I’m not the biggest fan of process counterplans, unless those counterplans come with evidence/a solvency advocate (preferably specific to the Aff). That said, a solvency advocate isn't a death knell to the Aff - if you think their process counterplan is bad for debate, tell me why.
All of the above is debatable. I'll vote for a counterplan I don't like if the Aff doesn't win.
As far as framework goes, Aff’s probably get to weigh the action of the plan. Links and impacts should be discussed (and labeled as such) just as they would for any other arguments. It’s probably important that the link is specific to the Aff – even better if you have multiple links specific to the Aff. It’s also probably important that your alternative solves the Aff harms, or at least makes some attempt to. The Negative should bring up and defend what they think the role-of-the-ballot should be.
Thoughts on "non-traditional"/"performance" Affs: Here's my starting point: I think plan texts are probably good, and that the Aff should probably engage (at least some of) the specifics of the topic/resolution. That said, I’m sympathetic to the need to have discussions in the debate space that don't necessary follow those criteria. But I’m also sympathetic to the Neg’s need to, frankly, have something predictable to debate against. Debate isn't just a platform for advocacy, and it isn't just a game - it's a little bit of both combined to make something else entirely. I think that Negatives going for framework or topicality against these types of Affirmatives can get a lot of mileage out of arguing either that there is a "topical" version of the Aff, or that switch-side debate solves. That said, I don't want this to dissuade you from running these Affs in front of me - but if your access point is something other than a plan text, and the pref sheet doesn't prevent me from judging you, I want you to know my usual leanings and still be able to win. I'll judge what gets debated in-round - if you win that your type of advocacy is needed (that your education is uniquely good and uniquely a product of what you're doing in the debate round) and not all that bad, you'll win the round (especially if the Neg isn't doing a good job contesting those points). Tell me why the topical version of the plan doesn't do the trick, tell me why the discussions the Neg wants us to have aren't important/useful, read some great literature that backs up your point of view, etc. Teach me something new - I'm here to learn, too.
Wayzata (MN) '15
Emory University '19
Things that might be important:
Against no-plan affs: I generally think that defending the hypothetical implementation of a policy action is good. Fairness is definitely the truest arg, and if you can find a topical version of the aff, you basically won my ballot. That being said, I can also be easily persuaded to vote against framework, as I have been on both sides of the debate and can respect different types of arguments. Framework against a "high theory aff" is particularly persuasive, whereas framework against an identity aff is not.
Against plan affs: I'm a 2A and I've been frustrated the most by losing to T, especially because my aff is my baby and being told it's "not topical" after months of reading it is always a heartbreaking experience. Negative teams will have a hard time going for T in front of me unless you can specifically point out the violation and how that effects limits/ground and what that means for the topic/debate.
I view the K more as a DA - explain the impact and how it interacts/turns the aff. Do that and you're good.
I find the perm persuasive if the K doesn't actually provide an opportunity cost to the aff. Reading a bunch of links on the perm debate can make sense if they're well-applied and explained, but I'd rather you explain why the perm itself is nonsensical (why the K and the aff are mutually exclusive).
High theory K's are less likely to make sense to me, as I'm not familiar with the lit - don't say "not our baudrillard" because it's probably your baudrillard.
Case - please do it - should be around 4 minutes of the 1NC and a large focus of the block
Politics/DA's - This is a good and bad thing - I'm pretty well-informed on what's going on with 'tix every weekend, so if you're bs-ing I'll be able to tell and your speaks will be punished. It's better to go for what you want, rather than to overadapt and become a politics debate just because I'm in the back.
Jokes are well appreciated (puns, or jokes about Kate Gehling) - add a cat gif to the email chain and <3 <3 <3.
I have judged a lot of debates. I view myself as a reasonable judge. I have judged every type of debate and find myself capable in any instance. I hate when people cry wolf with the word "conceded."
I've been judging debates for a long time. I prefer listening to debates wherein each team presents and executes a well-researched strategy for winning. The ideological flavor of your arguments matters less to me than how you establish clash with your opponents’ arguments. I am open to most anything, understanding that sometimes “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” to win the debate.
At the end of the debate, I vote for the team that defends the superior course of action. My ballot constitutes an endorsement of one course relative to another. To win the debate, the affirmative must prove their course is preferable when compared to the status quo or negative alternatives. That being said, I interpret broadly exactly what constitutes a plan/course of action. An alternative is proven a superior course of action when it is net beneficial compared to the entirety of the plan combined with part or parts of the alternative. Simply solving better than the affirmative is not enough: the alternative must force choice. Likewise, claiming a larger advantage than the affirmative is not enough to prove the alternative competitive. A legitimate permutation is defined as the entirety of the "plan" combined with parts or parts of the alternative. Mere avoidance of potential or "unknown" disadvantages, or a link of omission, is insufficient: the negative must read win a link and impact in order to evaluate the relative merits of the plan and the alternative. The 2AC saying something akin to "Perm - do the plan and all noncompetitive parts of the counterplan/alternative" is merely a template for generating permutation ideas, rather than a permutation in and of itself. It's your job to resolve the link, not mine.
I believe there is an inherent value to the topic/resolution, as the topic serves as the jumping off point for the year's discussion. The words of the topic should be examined as a whole. Ultimately, fairness and ground issues determine how strict an interpretation of the topic that I am willing to endorse. The most limiting interpretation of a topic rarely is the best interpretation of a topic for the purposes of our game. The topic is what it is: merely because the negative wishes the topic to be smaller (or the affirmative wishes it bigger, or worded a different way) does not mean that it should be so. An affirmative has to be at its most topical the first time it is run.
I don’t care about any of your SPEC arguments. The affirmative must use the agent specified in the topic wording; subsets are okay. Neither you nor your partner is the United States federal government. The affirmative is stuck with defending the resolutional statement, however I tend to give the affirmative significant leeway as to how they choose to define/defend it. The affirmative is unlikely to persuade me criticisms of advocacy of USFG action should be dismissed as irrelevant to an evaluation of policy efficacy. I believe that switch-side debating is good.
All theory arguments should be contextualized in terms of the topic and the resultant array of affirmative and negative strategies. Reciprocity is a big deal for me, i.e., more negative flex allows for more aff room to maneuver and vice versa). Conditional, topical, and plan inclusive alternatives are presumptively legitimate. A negative strategy reliant on a process counterplan, consultation counterplan, or a vague alternative produces an environment in which in which I am willing to allow greater maneuverability in terms of what I view as legitimate permutations for the affirmative. I’ve long been skeptical of the efficacy of fifty state uniform fiat. Not acting, i.e., the status quo, always remains an option.
Debate itself is up for interrogation within the confines of the round.
I tend to provide a lot of feedback while judging, verbal and otherwise. If you are not clear, I will not attempt to reconstruct what you said. I tend to privilege the cards identified in the last two rebuttals as establishing the critical nexus points of the debate and will read further for clarification and understanding when I feel it necessary. Reading qualifications for your evidence will be rewarded with more speaker points. Reading longer, more warranted evidence will be rewarded with significantly more consideration in the decision process. Clipping cards is cheating and cardclippers should lose.
I value clash and line-by-line debating. Rarely do I find the massive global last rebuttal overview appealing. Having your opponent's speech document doesn't alleviate the need for you to pay attention to what's actually been said in the debate. Flow and, for god's sake, learn how to efficiently save/jump/email/share your speech document. I generally don't follow the speech doc in real time.
"New affs bad" is dumb; don't waste your time or mine. When debating a new aff, the negative gets maximum flexibility.
I believe that both basic civil rights law as well as basic ethics requires that debaters and judges conduct themselves in rounds in a manner that protects the rights of all participants to an environment free of racial/sexual hostility or harassment.
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart
NDT 2021 note:
I just read the resolution for the first time a few days ago. I will put in as much work as I can when judging a debate, but I have no topic knowledge at all.
Some education topic specific thoughts:
1. I'm ambivalent about the states counterplan. I could easily see myself voting against it on theory, but I think there's a debate to be had and I could also easily see myself voting for it as well. I'm a lot more likely to vote against it the further it gets away from topic literature or a respectable solvency advocate, and a lot less likely to vote against it if the evidence defending it is of high quality.
2. I think critiques are decent on this topic largely because I see critiques as competing strategies for social change, and I think there's pretty good education-topic literature that supports criticism from this perspective and *defends alternatives*. If you can't go for a critique without making it a critique of fiat or saying the word Baudrillard, then I'm unlikely to be the judge for you. But if you research critiques of education policy and defend an alternative method, then I'm very likely to be receptive. My view of critiques depends heavily upon evidence quality, and there were several that were turned out at camps this year that I think were pretty good. How specific is your argument to education reform? If it's about the topic and you have an alternative, you're probably good to go. If it's about cybernetics, you're probably not.
3. While I would like to see a good federalism DA, I have yet to hear one that I did not start at 0% risk and I don't think the 2ac even requires evidence to answer it. It seems pretty bad on this topic, despite being one of the core objections to federal education policy. I don't think this DA is even runnable in the 1nc; at least not the versions I've heard.
4. I like the education topic quite a bit - I think the federal education reform literature is outstanding and I think affirmative teams should defend it. I'm aff-leaning towards my view of the topic as a whole - the literature is pretty heavily aff-biased and the quality of negative generics is much lower than in previous years. But that has two pretty important implications.
First, I'm pretty unsympathetic to aff claims along the lines of "this topic is terrible for the aff; we need an expansive topicality interpretation to be creative". Broad topics are the enemy of education. Broad topics mean the neg goes for garbage like consult. That's not what I want my students to get from debate.
Second, if you're reading an aff without solvency evidence or with internal links that you just made up by mistagging evidence - I'm probably going to think that you haven't met your burden of proof and I'm likely discount it entirely. I think that the risk of both advantages and disadvantages can be - and frequently is - zero. I don't think the judging philosophy that says there's always a small risk of something is very well thought out. Presumably, it would mean that if I carded my own judging philosophy, and flagrantly mistagged the cards to represent an education tradeoff DA, someone subscribing to the 'any risk' view would assign the DA some risk and vote neg on it if it was read as a net benefit to a CP that solved the whole case. While this example might seem absurd, it's not more absurd than some of the aff advantages that were broken at Greenhill this year. It's not more absurd than some politics DAs. Mistagged cards from this very paragraph would probably be of higher quality and represent the source material more accurately than some of the things that people have called advantages and disadvantages over the years.
I don't know why judges assume there's a risk of anything - the whole point of the burden of proof is that it's a BURDEN and the judge needs to be convinced that you're right - we don't just give you the benefit of the doubt. If the standard is merely "they presented some words verbally so there's a risk because the neg didn't have offense", then we've all really failed at our jobs. If you're going to win a risk of an advantage or disadvantage, the minimal burden is (1) it has to make sense, and (2) it must be supported with evidence reflects expertise, data or logic, and does not misrepresent the author.
Generally I try to evaluate arguments fairly and based upon the debaters' explanations of arguments, rather than injecting my own opinions. What follows are my opinions regarding several bad practices currently in debate, but just agreeing with me isn't sufficient to win a debate - you actually have to win the arguments relative to what your opponents said. There are some things I'll intervene about - death good, behavior meant to intimidate or harass your opponents, or any other practice that I think is negative for a high school student classroom setting - but just use some common sense.
Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:
Good debates require two prepared teams. Allowing the affirmative team to not advocate the resolution creates bad debates. There's a disconnect in a frighteningly large number of judging philosophies I've read where judges say their favorite debates are when the negative has a specific strategy against an affirmative, and yet they don't think the affirmative has to defend a plan. This does not seem very well thought out, and the consequence is that the quality of debates in the last few years has declined greatly as judges increasingly reward teams for not engaging the topic.
Fairness is the most important impact. Other judging philosophies that say it's just an internal link are poorly reasoned. In a competitive activity involving two teams, assuring fairness is one of the primary roles of the judge. The fundamental expectation is that judges evaluate the debate fairly; asking them to ignore fairness in that evaluation eliminates the condition that makes debate possible. If every debate came down to whoever the judge liked better, there would be no value to participating in this activity. The ballot doesn't do much other than create a win or a loss, but it can definitely remedy the harms of a fairness violation. The vast majority of other impacts in debate are by definition less important because they never depend upon the ballot to remedy the harm.
Fairness is also an internal link - but it's an internal link to establishing every other impact. Saying fairness is an internal link to other values is like saying nuclear war is an internal link to death impacts. A loss of fairness implies a significant, negative impact on the activity and judges that require a more formal elaboration of the impact are being pedantic.
Arguments along the lines of 'but policy debate is valueless' are a complete nonstarter in a voluntary activity, especially given the existence of multiple alternative forms of speech and debate. Policy debate is valuable to some people, even if you don't personally share those values. If your expectation is that you need a platform to talk about whatever personally matters to you rather than the assigned topic, I encourage you to try out a more effective form of speech activity, such as original oratory. Debate is probably not the right activity for you if the condition of your participation is that you need to avoid debating a prepared opponent.
The phrase "fiat double-bind" demonstrates a complete ignorance about the meaning of fiat, which, unfortunately, appears to be shared by some judges. Fiat is merely the statement that the government should do something, not that they would. The affirmative burden of proof in a debate is solely to demonstrate the government should take a topical action at a particular time. That the government would not actually take that action is not relevant to any judge's decision.
Framework arguments typically made by the negative for critiques are clash-avoidance devices, and therefore are counterproductive to education. There is no merit whatsoever in arguing that the affirmative does not get to weigh their plan. Critiques of representations can be relevant, but only in relation to evaluating the desirability of a policy action. Representations cannot be separated from the plan - the plan is also a part of the affirmative's representations. For example, the argument that apocalyptic representations of insecurity are used to justify militaristic solutions is asinine, given the plan includes a representation of a non-militaristic solution. The plan determines the context of representations included to justify it.
Thoughts about topicality:
Limited topics make for better topics. Enormous topics mean that it's much harder to be prepared, and that creates lower quality debates. The best debates are those that involve extensive topic research and preparation from both sides. Large topics undermine preparation and discourage cultivating expertise. Aff creativity and topic innovation are just appeals to avoid genuine debate.
Thoughts about evidence:
Evidence quality matters. A lot of evidence read by teams this year is underlined in such a way that it's out of context, and a lot of evidence is either badly mistagged or very unqualified. On the one hand, I want the other team to say this when it's true. On the other hand, if I'm genuinely shocked at how bad your evidence is, I will probably discount it.
James H. Herndon - FORMER Director of Debate - Barkley Forum @ Emory University
[prefer to be called Herndon - pronouns are he/him/his. Email is jamesherndon3]
I left the game because I wanted to spend more time with my family. Wow, did I get that #ThanksCovid My relationship with debate was not conducive to being the father, husband, and member of my community I wanted to be. But, virtual judging is easy enough. So, why not.
What else is different - I don’t do debate research anymore, I do a lot of economic/financial research now, I do a lot of tech/zoom/Webex presentations.
In my experience I find it easier to listen/follow along when I can see people’s faces (that’s not possible for everyone, so it’s not a judgement thing) but if it can be when speaking it may aid my comprehension.
everything from Jan 2019
If I am judging you and you are freaking out about it, believe there is no way I would ever vote for you, or are just generally making assumptions about my world view, then I ask you to keep in mind that the following list are things I think I think. I have been wrong more often than I have been right. I will do my best to evaluate the debate neutrally. I view myself as an adjudicator first, and do my best to neutrally evaluate the arguments as defended in front of me. I will vote for anything
Though, like all educators I have biases, those follow.
These statements are things I believe to be true about my judging. They aren't rules. But, it is better to disclose:
1. Debate is a game. I view all theory arguments through this lens.
2. If I don’t understand it at the end of the round then I am not going to vote on it.
3. The Aff should have to defend a plan or advocacy statement that they can defend is topical.
4. Topic related critical literature should be debated.
5. I will deduct speaker points for rudeness.
6. I will reward good cross-x with speaker points.
7.. I tend to evaluate the strength of the link in tandem with uniqueness – neither exists in a vacuum.
8. Counterplans always switch presumption to the aff.
9. I will NOT kick counterplans for the negative. The 2nr is allowed to present me with a reason to vote for them, that is where the debating ended. If the neg says to kick the cp and the aff doesn’t answer it I will kick it. Absent that, I am not kicking arguments for one team. This applies to all speeches.
10. Dropped doesn’t mean you win. Dropped means that the other team has conceded that the premise of that argument is true. Your job is to explain the significance of that premise for the rest of the debate. This applys to everything.
11. literature shapes the topic. and what you get to do with it.
14. Telling me how to interpret your evidence versus their evidence is what speaker points are made of.
15. There is value to life.
16. I am not qualified to evaluate people in the round for or about things that happen outside of the round. Intentions are important & I give people the benefit of the doubt too often for my own good.
17. I feel like fiating the states + federal government might be a step too far. I haven't heard a great debate on this, but since this is for my biases, thought I'd include it. That being said, state fiat is probably okay if there are solvency cards for what you are doing.
18. limited condo is good. the neg's job is to disprove the aff or win a competitive policy option. That being said, if the aff can prove that conditionality was used in a way that undermined the value or competitive fairness of the debate, it is a voting issue.
19. topicality is under-utilized against policy teams and over-utilized vs K teams.
20. future fiat illegit.
Hi. I debated at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook for 4 years, 1.5 in policy and 2.5 in LD. I was the LD coach at Loyola Blakefield HS in Baltimore for 3 years followed by being the debate coach for Chicagoland Jewish HS in Deerfield, IL, New Trier HS in Winnetka/Northfield, IL, Bronx Science, Beacon HS in Manhattan, and the director of debate at Mamaroneck HS in Mamaroneck, NY. I've also worked at multiple debate camps and have been a private coach for multiple debaters. Trust me, I've seen it all.
Last updated 2/5/21. Put in things about email chains
I'm fine being on email chains but I'm not posting my email publicly. Just ask before the round.
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. I do not discriminate, I'm find with speed (though sometimes my flowing can be bad), fine with theory, fine with kritiks, whatever you want to do. It's your round, have fun with it.
That being said I do have one very important caveat:
Extensions are key! Every extension needs to have the word extend/pull through the flow/or similar wording attached to it. Then it needs to have a warrant for what is being extended, finally the extension needs an impact back to the weighing calculus. If that is the value/value criterion mechanism then it needs to impact back to the VC that is being used for the round. If that is some other mechanism, it needs to be impacted to that weighing mechanism (theory means voters I guess). That weighing mechanism and the warrants for the mechanism should be extended (In a v/vc model the vc should be extended along with the argument). If these things are not done then the arguments will not be evaluated in the same depth and I might not give you credit, or as much credit, for an argument that you may have clearly won on the flow. I guess in simpler terms I have a high threshold for extensions. Also, when extending please extend along with the warrant please compare your arguments to other arguments. The best extensions are not just argument extensions but have comparative weighing along with the arguments.
Other things I've noticed about my preferences for debate: (This is just a list of things I like, none of these are necessary to win a round)
- I tend to prefer debaters who debated similarly to how I debated. What does this mean? I debated in an old school national circuit LD style. On the aff that meant a very broad criterion with mutually exclusive contentions that I tried to kick out of as much as possible (usually at the end of the 2AR, I had one contention and maybe framework). On the neg, it meant a short NC, no more than 2 minutes, with extensive analytical responses to the aff. While it might not help you win the round, debate has changed a lot, it will help your speaker points.
- I like a 2AR that isn't on the flow. What does this mean? The 2AR should be more of a story speech that merely references the flow. A lot of weighing/crystallizing or time on voting issues.
-I like even/if stories. They tend to make the round clearer and make my life easier.
-LD debaters need to stop saying "we" when referring to themselves. You are a singular human being and not one half of a partnership. If you say "we" while referring to yourself you will lose 0.1 speaker points. I will also interrupt your speeches to ask "who is we?" Be prepared.
-I'm a leftist politically. Property rights arguments and other capitalist arguments are not particularly persuasive to me and I don't like hearing them. That doesn't mean I won't vote on them, it just means if you have something else it's probably a good idea to run it.
-I presume coinflip. That means if I can't find any offense or way to vote I will flip a coin to decide the round. I have done this quite a few times and never want to do it again but I'm not afraid to do it and if I think your round warrants it, a coinflip will happen. (That said the only times I've done it has been in rounds where there have been on offense by either side so as long as offense exists I will not flip a coin).
-I like philosophy, I am a philosophy major. That said I'm not good at flowing it, especially when spread at the beginning of the speech. So if you do read philosophy slow down a little bit so that I can catch your arguments.
-Going off that last point, my major is in continental philosophy; which means I take classes on all those critical authors you've wanted to use in rounds. Kritiks are wonderful! If you know what are you talking about, please run them in front of me. Ks do not need an alt, though it is preferable. Make sure to understand the interactions between your position and the position of what your opponent is running. Also just because your opponent is running a K does not mean you lose the round.
- Please start the AC/NC with I affirm/I negate. It doesn't take away from your word economy and it gives me a second to "catch up" and get used to your spreading/debating voice so that I don't miss your first argument. You don't need to re-state the resolution though, that's unnecessary.
-Something most debaters forget is that as a judge I do not look to see what you are reading while you are reading it. Therefore, be more specific in signposting then off the Martin card 1..2..3 etc. Don't just say Martin, say what Martin said as well, because I might not have gotten the author name Martin but I got the argument s/he made. Also, be clear about where Martin is on the flow. If Martin is a contention 1 card, say that she is in contention 1.
- WEIGH! One of the things I'm almost always unsure of after a round is which argument to evaluate first. Do I look to the Disad, the spike, the contention 1? Most debate rounds involve multiple arguments that could "come first" and people telling me the order in which to evaluate arguments and which arguments are more important makes my life easier. It also means you'll be more likely to win because the argument that you're saying is most important/comes first is probably also the one that you're winning the most. WEIGH! Seriously WEIGH!
- Policy style arguments have started to come more and more into LD and people like running them in front of me. That's fine, I really like them. However, if you are running them you also take on policy-style burdens. For example, if you read a plan then you have to fulfill the 4 criteria of the HITS (if you don't know what that is, you shouldn't be running a plan. Also, considering the last person to lose on significance was Tom Durkin in the 1978 NDT, significance doesn't matter anymore). Most importantly, is that policy has a status quo whereas LD does not. That means that you need to orally give me the dates of evidence! If you're running a DA I need to know that the uniqueness is actually unique, if it's a plan that the inherency is actually inherent etc. Evidence without dates on it means that I won't give you credit for uniqueness or inherency claims that you need in the debate round. If your opponent points out that you didn't read those dates then I will give zero credit for any uniqueness/inherency claim and assume that your evidence is from 1784 and take away any offense that is based off of that plan/DA (I will also give said opponent at least a 29). So make sure to tell me those dates!
- I've recently read A LOT of social movement theory and have also been actively been involved in crafting strategy for a social movement. This has made me significantly more wary of most kritik alternatives. Kritik alts either make no sense, are not realistic, would never be adopted by wide ranging social movements, or are actively harmful to spreading social movements. It won't change how I vote, if the alt is won, but it does mean that common sense arguments against K alts will be considered more important.
- A priori/pre-standards arguments/other tricky-esque nibs. If you are losing everything else on the flow I need a reason to uniquely prefer your 3 sentences over the rest of the flow. If that does not happen I will find it very hard to vote for you over somebody else who is winning the rest of the round. Not that I won't evaluate the argument at all it will just be weighed against the rest of the round and if someone else is winning the rest of the round I will vote for the person winning the majority of the round. In simpler words if you go for an a priori, go for it hard. I'm not going to buy it simply because it is dropped.
- Metaethics. I used to have a long screed about metaethics here. It's been deleted (you can read it on the back edits if you're really interested) as I've decided that, while I agree still with what I said before, meta-ethics are being used a lot better by debaters so that it doesn't apply as much. I do think meta-ethics have a place in debate but they need to be used properly. Basically, meta-ethics cannot be used as a "magic wand" to get out of framework debate. You still need to provide an ethic to meet your meta-ethic. Just saying my meta-ethical util comes before your ethical deont haha! is not enough. Language might be indeterminate but that doesn't mean we default to util (or deont) unless it's justified.
Since everybody asks me about how I evaluate theory here it is:
I don't mind theory, I will vote on it and I will vote on it in cases where I think no actual abuse has occurred or even times where the argument itself is patently non-abusive. But before you rush to pull out your three theory shells, I really don't like voting on it. Moreover, of all the decisions where people have argued with me after the round, 2/3 of them are because of theory. My paradigm seems to be different than other judges so I would say run theory at your risk. Now of course you're asking why is my paradigm different? Simple because I don't default to a monolithic competing interpretations framework, you don't need a counter-interp/RVI/etc. to win theory (though it is helpful and in a case of offense vs. no offense I'm going to default to offense). I'm not as technical on theory as other judges, simply saying my argument is not abusive, drop the argument not the debater, or even talking about reasonability will probably be enough to convince me to not vote on theory. In other words, I default to reasonability, though will be persuaded otherwise. Also, in a round between two equal theory debaters or even a round where both debaters have competent theory blocks, theory turns into a crapshoot (which, by the way, is most theory rounds) so while I will do my best to sort through it that doesn't mean my decision won't be somewhat random.
Also, I guess most LD judges don't evaluate theory this way so I should point this out. If you only go for theory in the NR/2NR or 2AR then the affirmative/negative does not need a RVI to win the theory debate because the only offense at the end of the round is on theory which means that I am merely evaluating who did the better theory debating and not worrying about substance at all. The RVI only comes into play if there is a contestation of substance AND theory at the end of the debate.
On Non-T affs:
You ought pretend to be topical. Topicality means different things to different people and I think that the topic and what topicality means can change in debate and in different debates. However, the aff should claim that they are talking about the topic. How they make that claim or whether that claim is true can be (and should be!) contested in the round.
Feel free to come up to me at any tournament and ask me questions about anything, I can't guarantee you a great answer but I can guarantee that I will try to respond.
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. My main philosophy is it's your round not mine so do what you want. I think a lot of how I judge policy is probably transferred from LD so look there for good stuff. One caveat to that, if there is something that seems very specific to LD (like saying "we" for example) do not bring that into a policy context.
Obviously I have some caveats for that:
First and foremost is that LD is most of what I've debated and coached. Though policy kids have this outdated version of what LD is, there is now every argument in policy in LD also with extra stuff too! I am fine with speed etc. Don't worry about that. However, I did not go to camp, I did not do research on the resolution (whichever one it is) and don't know what is stock or what isn't. I know, more or less, what aff my team is running and generic stuff to be used on any topic. Your explanation barrier for me understanding topic specific arguments then is a little bit higher.
The other important take away is that social conventions of what you can and cannot do in LD and policy are slightly different. For example, RVIs in LD are not joke arguments but made in almost any theory round (though I don't like RVIs in policy). LD does not have the concept of overviews in the same way as policy and what is considered "line by line" is very different. I've been able to figure out most of these biases but occasionally I'll mess up. Just be aware.
I default to reasonability on T and theory issues.
I don't know why this has become a thing but apparently people don't say AND or NEXT after finishing cards in the 1AC or 1NC. You still need to do that so that I know when to flow.
Utilitarianism is moral philosophy that evaluates the morality of actions based on the consequences. This means that small scale/structural violence impacts are utilitarian because we care about the consequence of structural violence. Stop saying these arguments are not utilitarian or answering them as if they are not utilitarian. They are.
My name is Korey Johnson. I debated in college for Towson and won CEDA in 2014. Google me. Here is Adam Jackson's philosophy, which sums up my views of debate:
"I'll be blunt. I like certain kinds of debates. I like debates that center on the people in the room and how their arguments are tied to the ballot and the "real world".
That being said, there are some things that are really bad to do in front of me:
1. Topicality and Framework - Unless you're beating the living crap out of the other team, I will NOT vote for T or FWK.
2. Wonky shit - If you like stuff like Post-modern theory and expect me to "get it" out the gate, you are mistaken. Unless it is explained in a way that translates into the context of the debate, I will NOT vote for it.
3. Fairness and Ground impacts - If you're using these as the terminal impact to the aff/neg, don't expect me to cry because you don't get your PX Link.
This does not mean you can't run your "traditional" DA's, CP's or K's. I just need you to be explicit in the warrants and why they are important.
Other than that, I like just arguments that are well explained. I'm pretty open to whatever debaters are thinking about or feeling.
I will also mention that I am a former performance debater for Towson. If you are doing performance debate, PLEASE EXPLAIN THE ARGUMENTS. There's nothing I hate more than really shallow performance debates. You will not win simply because you "perform". Take time to explain the warrants of the args during the rebuttals.
I'm pretty simple when evaluating the debates at the end. I actively listen throughout the debate and don't try to "reconstruct" the debate at the end from the flow. I evaluate heavily off the impacts and will NOT do work for you at the end of the debate on impacts. The seminole thing I need during rebuttals is Impact Analysis. If there is no terminal impact to your strategy at the end of the debate...expect to lose.
CX is important and I flow CX. Speak wisely.
If I can not hear you, I will not flow it. Don't think I'm going to hear your Wilson 05 evidence if you're speaking too damn fast. I'm not a robot. Talk at a reasonable speed. It will affect your speaker points.
**Just a brief update for the high school community on the CJR topic:
ConCon is a non-starter in front of me!
T-enact against Court Affs is almost an equal non-starter!
**Updated pre-GSU 2019**
Yes I would like to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will listen to all arguments, but a couple of caveats:
-This doesn't mean I will understand every element of your argument.
-I have grown extremely irritated with clash debates…take that as you please.
-I am a firm believer that you must read some evidence in debate. If you differ, you might want to move me down the pref sheet.
I have been a long-term fan of the great Shannon Sharpe. Now that he is the co-host of Undisputed, he often serves up Hot Dubs and Hot Ls daily. Please see ways below in which you or your team might earn one of these Dubs or Ls:
To Earn a Hot L:
1. You stumble, fumble or go silent on a fundamental series of CX questions related to your Aff, primary Neg position or issues germane to the topic.
2. You are blatantly racist, homophobic, sexist or are in any other way discriminatory in the debate space.
3. You decide that theory, skepticism or RVIs are more important than substance (specifically for LD).
4. You clip or cross-read.
To Earn a Hot W:
1. Debate well!
2. Be nice!
3. Don’t do any of the things in the Hot L section!
Note to all: In high school debate, there is no world where the Negative needs to read more than 5 off case arguments. SO if you say 6+, I'm only flowing 5 and you get to choose which you want me to flow.
In college debate, I might allow 6 off case arguments :/
Good luck to all!
I do want to be on the email chains: kviveth[at]gmail.com and harvard.debate[at]gmail.com
Dropped arguments and spin can be true/good to an extent. I tend to look more holistically at the argument even if it was "dropped".
CX ends after three minutes. You can take more prep time to ask questions, but it won't be "on the record"
One debater speaks during each speech - I will not flow/listen to the 2A speaking during the 1AC.
I think some of the most meaningful things I've learned from my decade doing policy debate have come from debating, researching, and preparing arguments that are "not about the topic".
That being said, debate is a competitive activity and the resolution is the only non-arbitrary starting point from which to begin research and preparation. Especially now, if there were no equal prospect of victory and people were just showing up every weekend to talk about different things, there'd be some engagement, but the incentive to test other people's ideas with a level of rigor and tenacity that we value debate for just wouldn't exist.
The fact that there are a myriad of issues that may or may not be more important than the chosen resolution is certainly an important question we should be asking of ourselves and of the topic selection process, but the topic has already been chosen - that's when limits become important. Additionally, lots of the value in competitive debate comes from non-domain specific skills (research, critical thinking, 3rd & 4th level responses, logical consistency, etc.) which can be cultivated regardless of the content that we chose to debate about.
The plan is the focus of the debate and perms don't have to be topical.
If you have evidence that compares your CP to the plan, it's probably legitimate
I have a hard time seeing the neg winning on CPs that compete solely off of certainty and immediacy.
The "always a risk of the CP linking less than the plan" is silly.
You don't need solvency advocates especially for smart and intuitive advantage CPs and 2NC CPs out of addons.
I'll will kick CPs for the neg if the CP is conditional until told not to by the aff.
I'm generally aff leaning on questions of reasonability v competing interpretations. Rejecting an aff that does some core of the topic proposal that is totally debatable because the neg's interpretation is slightly better for the cult of limits turns debate into a war of attrition with zero educational benefit. I find the strict offense/defense paradigm to T very silly.
That being said, affs trying to shoehorn a cool idea into the topic will have a tougher time beating a reasonable T requirement
Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, not the team.
Theory arguments are generally a tougher rebuttal strategy than substance.
Conditionality - Neg teams are garbage at defending conditionality and the aff should capitalize.
Literature usually guides theory questions - if you have evidence that compares the CP to the plan it's probably legitimate
Don't conflate theory and competition.
States CPs - I'm persuaded by the aff theory argument that the states CP teaches a bad decision making model because the decision to prefer the states as an actor is not an opportunity cost to federal government action. I think most states CPs are bad for debate, but especially those that are uniform and abstracted from the lit about fed gov v. states.
Executive Action CP - Executive action CPs and even 'non-action' CPs are fine. The aff should be able to defend the necessity of a statutory/judicial restriction on executive authority.
Impact weighing is incredibly important and will win you the debate
Uniqueness matters for both sides - if you're con you DO have the burden to defend the squo. It is impossible to make a case for why something is "bad" without comparing it to something.
Maximize disclosure. Send your cards/speeches to your opponents BEFORE your speech starts.
Evan Katz (email@example.com)
UGA 2019 (didn't debate)
I graduated from Westminster with four years of high school debate experience and had a decent amount of success, but I've been out of debate for several years now, which has greatly changed my perspective on the activity. I have not kept up with high school debate, so don't automatically assume I know anything about the topic you're debating.
Run what you want and do what you're best at. Like everyone, I naturally have opinions about arguments, but as a judge I'm generally good at divorcing my own biases from the round. If you're winning on the flow, you'll probably win the debate. That being said, I am a poor judge for clash of civ debates because teams often fail to engage in clash, causing me to get cranky and default to my policy-oriented biases (I'm quite sympathetic to framework), so order your prefs accordingly.
As far as specific preferences are concerned, DA/case debates with good clash and impact calculus are probably my favorite type of debates to judge. I strongly believe the affirmative should read a topical plan and defend both its material implications and broad underlying assumptions. I dislike judging obscure high theory K's, hyper-generic process CP's that do the entirety of the aff, and affs that don't defend a plan, but I'll still vote for these arguments if you're winning. I'm unlikely to vote for silly procedurals and blippy theory arguments, so don't waste your time.
Alpharetta High School '12
Emory University '15
I debated four years at Alpharetta, qualifying to the TOC in my senior year, before debating for Emory University. Currently, I work in international localization for Netflix Originals, with a specific focus on anime content.
My top-line advice if you have me in the back of the room is do what you do best. These are general predispositions, not immutable laws of judging, and you're always best off advancing a strategy you know well.
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you OK with K's/Critical Affs/Planless Affs/Performance/Non-Traditional Affs?
I've run everything from super 'policy' affs with giant heg and econ advantages to 1ACs that consisted largely of a poem and leftist arguments. In high school and college, I went for stuff like Security, Badiou, Derrida, and had a good share of 1NCs that were 1-Off Kritik. If this is your jam, I'm a good judge for you.
When it comes to framework and framework-related arguments against these types of Affs/K's, your 2NR/2AR 'story' should focus on the educational implications of each side's approaches. I'm interested in the question of how to best make debate a powerful, educational, and useful activity for students. How does your position interact with those considerations?
Framework aside, I feel it's always preferable for teams to engage their opponent's K/Performance/Identity argument than go for an exclusion-driven approach. Not only is it more respectful of these methods in the activity, it's often more strategic.
Should I ever make Theory arguments an option in your rounds?
I'm probably more willing to vote on theory arguments than your average judge. That said, if you want to make "Conditionality Bad," "50 State Fiat Bad," or other theory arguments an option, you need to focus on what debate looks like under the other side's interpretation. What happens to prep, strategy, research, and why is it bad? Do the impact work, talk about what your vision of optimal debate looks like. These debates tend to be especially messy, so minimizing theory jargon is recommended.
Thoughts on the Politics DA?
Love them. My senior year was almost entirely me taking that week's Politics DA in the 1NR. My favorite 1NR's dig deep into the aff evidence, tear it apart, and make solid comparative analysis. For the aff, don't be shy about putting all your firepower against 1 or 2 serious logical holes in the DA (this goes for any, not just Politics/Elections). The internal linkage between a particular bill passing to a terminal impact is typically pretty flimsy, and Aff's that push that point will do well in front of me. Zero risk of the disad is an RFD I've given.
Anything else you really like?
Impact turns, advantage counterplans, highly-specific case debates.
Any strong opinions about Topicality?
I enjoy a good T debate. Reasonability is hard to win in front of me, but strong counter-interpretations are underrated.
At the end of the round, how do you usually go about making your decision?
When the round ends, I take a note of all the key questions to resolve, then work through them one-by-one. This means framing arguments ("prioritize X," "view the [X] through the lens of [Y]," "here are the 2 ways to vote [X]") are great ways to win my ballot. I also rarely call for cards unless a nexus question of evidence quality decides the round. To borrow from Ed Lee's paradigm, "while I am a huge fan of quality evidence, my decisions will privilege a debater’s assessment of an argument over my reading of a piece of evidence."
What can I do to get high speaks if you're my judge?
Have fun! Be nice. Utilize cross-x effectively. My favorite debaters were all fairly slow at spreading, yet extremely strong speakers. And hey, I work in the anime industry, so pandering with references never hurts.
Any pet peeves we should know about?
Two pet peeves. First, please, please, please email/flash speeches in a timely fashion. Second, there is no "flow clarification" segment in policy debate, i.e., if you're asking what cards a team read, that's part of CX. You should always be flowing, with the speech doc as a reference, but not as the source of truth. There's been an unfortunate trend away from strong flowing skills, please don't let needless mistakes happen to you.
"Don't forget. Believe in yourself. Not in the you who believes in me. Not the me who believes in you. Believe in the YOU who believes in yourself."
- Kamina, Gurren Lagann, Episode 8
I wish you the best of luck and hope my feedback will help for future rounds. I love the activity and the fantastically cool people in it. I’ll do whatever I can to support you and help you grow as a debater.
Some of my preferences are still unknown to myself. If background information helps, I've defended arguments from all ends of the spectrum - 'performance', critical theory, politics DAs, etc.
You do you. I'll do my best to evaluate your arguments.
Please do not debate like you don't want to be debating. Persuade me. Communicate with me. Care about what you are arguing about.
Clarity. Clarity is important. A round is immensibly more fun to judge if I can hear evidence and then listen to explanations of evidence. Greater the explanation, the better. Impact out your link arguments. Warrants. Empirics. Examples.
Don't just do evidence comparison, do evidence take out. I strongly dislike affs with weak internal link chains and neg teams tend to grant aff's solvency without reading and poking holes in aff evidence. Explain why their own evidence takes out solvency.
Yes, I do judge a lot of debates where affirmatives do not read a traditional plan text. I also have 2N sympathy vs these affs. These affs need to do something. 2Ns need to restructure how I view these sorts of debates. How does aff solvency change without fiat? How is presumption implicated? How does your alternative function? What do you need to win the debate and why? Answering these questions will put you in a much better position with these affirmatives. You need to have DAs to the aff. You have to establish competition. These DAs can come in a multitudinous amount of ways. This could be a topicality argument.
A few things irk me while judging high school k debate:
Do not make arbitrary role of the ballot claims in front of me. ROBs should not be about voting for something you did first before the other team. Just because a team does not say the words 'role of the ballot' does not mean they didn't answer it.
"They don't get perms, this is a method debate" is not an argument. I have no idea what that means. If arguments like this are explained, warranted and impacted out, I think that would be enjoyable. I have no default to perms in this sorts of debates.
Experience: Debated nationally at Pace Academy. First-Year student at Emory. 2A.
General: My ideal debater shows interest in the round, speaks clearly, treats opponents and partners respectfully, reads specific strategies, frames the debate as a whole and impacts individual arguments, and knows their evidence. I care much more about how you debate than which arguments you read. However, I am human, so I do have some biases, which I will explain in the following sections. I try to keep a good flow but expect you to clearly flag important arguments that you don't want to risk me missing.
Evidence: Your evidence can only hurt you. This means that I will only evaluate warrants and explanation you have given in a speech, not default to better evidence despite worse debating. On the other hand, if you make a claim that seems to require evidence to back it up, I will ignore your spin if your evidence quality is poor. I will only look at unhighlighted parts of evidence if the opponent brings it up.
DAs: I don't understand "link controls uniqueness" or vice versa. There can be zero risk of the DA (I am also more likely than most to vote neg on presumption). The politics DA is silly, though I will not hesitate to vote for it if the aff doesn't debate it well.
CPs: I weigh the CP against the status quo, not the aff. My default is that perms are a test of competition, but I can be convinced otherwise.
Ks (Neg): I don't think I am bad for the K, but I do hold neg explanation to a high standard. I generally default toward the neg getting to read their K but the aff getting to weigh the effects of the plan. However, the critique can definitely bring the aff's solvency and predictions into question. I think most reps and epistemology Ks are repackaged case defense. You can fix this by impacting your specific links. Explain why what the aff said/why their specific scholarship was bad. "The aff securitized China which causes endless violence" is insufficient. Affs should either impact turn the K or attack alt solvency.
Ks (Aff) and T-USFG: You should have some relation to the topic. The closer to a resolutional US policy action, the more likely I am to vote against T. The aff should demonstrate that it is predictable, generates good neg ground, and is incompatible with the "T version." Debated evenly by both sides, I am not super persuaded by fairness bad, productivity bad, or predictability bad. The aff's best bet is winning their education outweighs a marginal loss in fairness. The neg will have an easier time defending fairness and argument testing than decisionmaking or other skills impacts
T: I'm kinda weird about T. Personally, I think the only thing that matters is the predictability of each side's definition. If the aff has the more predictable definition or neither side has a predictable definition, the aff wins. Otherwise the neg wins. Reasonability only makes sense if it is a claim that the aff's definition is approximately as predictable as the neg's. Obviously, this is not the norm, so I am happy to judge a typical limits/ground/topic education T debate as well. Just know that I am easily persuaded by "predictability turn x impact" arguments.
General: Explain it well starting in earlier speeches. Slow down on your theory blocks.
Conditionality- I lean neg. I don't see much of a problem with conditionality or even multiple conditional options. I am much more likely to vote aff if the aff can explain and impact an in-round contradiction or strategy skew that made the debate illogical or severely harmed the aff's ability to garner offense.
Process/agent/international/states- I lean heavily aff.
PICs- I evaluate competition based on the plan text. I am more likely to change my mind if the neg convinces me that the aff's plan is unfairly vague, the aff is too shifty, or the aff's solvency advocate clearly advocates something distinct from the CP.
Intrinsicness- Easier for the aff to win on CPs than DAs. I'm generally sceptical of intrinsicness unless the neg reads a CP that competes artificially or a net benefit that doesn't link to the plan.
Random things I don't like:
Death good- I'll vote for it if you outdebate the other team, but I find their arguments very persuasive. This includes dedev.
Making debates personal- If you like to win by attacking your opponents' character or discussing their activities outside the round, you should not pref me.
Prompting partners/taking over their cross-ex- It's okay every now and then, but if it gets excessive I will hurt both of your speaks.
Saying "they conceded" when they didn't- Self-explanatory.
Try or die without aff solvency- You can definitely win this framing, but you need a coherent explanation of how the aff may solve. If you say "an asteroid is coming so you might as well vote aff," you are probably not in a great position to win.
Dan Lingel Jesuit College Prep—Dallas
email@example.com for email chain purposes
firstname.lastname@example.org for school contact
Updated for 2020-2021 topic
27 years of high school coaching/6 years of college coaching
I will either judge or help in the tabroom at over 20+ tournaments
****read here first*****
I still really love to judge and I enjoy judging quick clear confident comparative passionate advocates that use qualified and structured argument and evidence to prove their arguments. I expect you to respect the game and the people that are playing it in every moment we are interacting.
***I believe that framing/labeling arguments and paper flowing is crucial to success in debate and maybe life so I will start your speaker points absurdly high and work my way up if you acknowledge and represent these elements: label your arguments (even use numbers and structure) and can demonstrate that you flowed the entire debate and that you used your flow to give your speeches and in particular demonstrate that you used your flow to actually clash with the other teams arguments directly.
Some things that influence my decision making process
1. Debate is first and foremost a persuasive activity that asks both teams to advocate something. Defend an advocacy/method and defend it with evidence and compare your advocacy/method to the advocacy of the other team. I understand that there are many ways to advocate and support your advocacy so be sure that you can defend your choices. I do prefer that the topic is an access point for your advocacy.
2. The negative should always have the option of defending the status quo (in other words, I assume the existence of some conditionality) unless argued otherwise.
3. The net benefits to a counterplan must be a reason to reject the affirmative advocacy (plan, both the plan and counterplan together, and/or the perm) not just be an advantage to the counterplan.
4. I enjoy a good link narrative since it is a critical component of all arguments in the arsenal—everything starts with the link. I think the negative should mention the specifics of the affirmative plan in their link narratives. A good link narrative is a combination of evidence, analytical arguments, and narrative.
5. Be sure to assess the uniqueness of offensive arguments using the arguments in the debate and the status quo. This is an area that is often left for judge intervention and I will.
6. I am not the biggest fan of topicality debates unless the interpretation is grounded by clear evidence and provides a version of the topic that will produce the best debates—those interpretations definitely exist this year. Generally speaking, I can be persuaded by potential for abuse arguments on topicality as they relate to other standards because I think in round abuse can be manufactured by a strategic negative team.
7. I believe that the links to the plan, the impact narratives, the interaction between the alternative and the affirmative harm, and/or the role of the ballot should be discussed more in most kritik debates. The more case and topic specific your kritik the more I enjoy the debate.
8. There has been a proliferation of theory arguments and decision rules, which has diluted the value of each. The impact to theory is rarely debating beyond trite phrases and catch words. My default is to reject the argument not the team on theory issues unless it is argued otherwise.
9. Speaker points--If you are not preferring me you are using old data and old perceptions. It is easy to get me to give very high points. Here is the method to my madness on this so do not be deterred just adapt. I award speaker points based on the following: strategic and argumentative decision-making, the challenge presented by the context of the debate, technical proficiency, persuasive personal and argumentative style, your use of the cross examination periods, and the overall enjoyment level of your speeches and the debate. If you devalue the nature of the game or its players or choose not to engage in either asking or answering questions, your speaker points will be impacted. If you turn me into a mere information processor then your points will be impacted. If you choose artificially created efficiency claims instead of making complete and persuasive arguments that relate to an actual victory path then your points will be impacted.
10. I believe in the value of debate as the greatest pedagogical tool on the planet. Reaching the highest levels of debate requires mastery of arguments from many disciplines including communication, argumentation, politics, philosophy, economics, and sociology to name a just a few. The organizational, research, persuasion and critical thinking skills are sought by every would-be admission counselor and employer. Throw in the competitive part and you have one wicked game. I have spent over twenty five years playing it at every level and from every angle and I try to make myself a better player everyday and through every interaction I have. I think that you can learn from everyone in the activity how to play the debate game better. The world needs debate and advocates/policymakers more now than at any other point in history. I believe that the debates that we have now can and will influence real people and institutions now and in the future—empirically it has happened. I believe that this passion influences how I coach and judge debates.
Logistical Notes--I prefer an email chain with me included whenever possible. I feel that each team should have accurate and equal access to the evidence that is read in the debate. I have noticed several things that worry me in debates. People have stopped flowing and paying attention to the flow and line-by-line which is really impacting my decision making; people are exchanging more evidence than is actually being read without concern for the other team, people are under highlighting their evidence and "making cards" out of large amounts of text, and the amount of prep time taken exchanging the information is becoming excessive. I reserve the right to request a copy of all things exchanged as verification. If three cards or less are being read in the speech then I prefer that the exchange in evidence occur after the speech. I don't understand why people exchange paperless speeches that do not contain evidence.
Debated at Emory. Coached at Harvard and Northwestern. Currently @ Dartmouth.
Put me on your email thread, thanks: email@example.com
TL;DR: You will make arguments, I will write them down, I will compare them as prompted because that's what I believe judges owe students. My track record suggests it is also how I judge. If you can succinctly, eloquently, and accurately identify what the most critical questions in a debate are and then guide me through how I should resolve them, you'll win debates. Be attentive, prepared, and invested. I will do the same in return.
Other things to know about me:
- Judge instruction is the most valuable skill you have and the most important one for you to use. Good judge instruction establishes tenets for judging the situation at hand by declaring what criteria I should care about when making choices.
- More often than not you can understand how I feel about an argument by monitoring my reaction
- My hearing is in the B- to B+ range but it's definitely not an A. Let's aim for a 10% clarity increase.
Clash Debates *Updated in 2020
In my 3 years of judging college debates, both teams have had demonstrably equal chances of success. I care about my flow, following assumptions to their logical conclusions, internal link defense, and answering the arguments the other team is making not the caricature of the argument you assume they're making.
I try to keep my opinions out of my judging in all contexts. In this context, those opinions are as follows:
- People shouldn't have to refute the subjective experiences of others.
- Without explaining the causal pathway, an assertion that debate makes us good or bad at something is an incomplete argument.
- Novelty for the sake of itself is silly, but I put a high premium on innovation in FW debates.
- Being told you're wrong isn't the same thing as being told you're bad.
- The debate round is not the same thing as Debate. Endowing the debate round, the single facet of Debate that is engineered to produce dissensus and us-them thinking, with a preeminent role in achieving community good has never made any sense to me.
- Links should have impacts.
- I tend to measure the utility of theories by my understanding of the consequences of adoption. Debate's understanding of consequence is often too narrow. But if you can't explain the material implications of your thing... we will struggle.
- Solving problems is an invaluable skill, but identifying them is a rather cheap one. I find that this belief influences how I think about the K more than any other.
- I don't think conditionality is that bad... but if saying it is constitutes your cleanest path to victory then do that.
- I’m generally persuaded that if a prepared 2A could have anticipated the CP, the CP belongs in debate.
- A disad cannot be low risk unless you've substantively demonstrated that's the case with defensive arguments. Describing the nature of conjunctive risk bias is not that.
- People stopped doing good terminal impact calculus at some point? Don't love it. Please fix.
- Making courageous choices and knowing when to cut your losses is one of the hardest debate skills to master. I reward debaters who do it well.
Best of luck.
St. Mark's School of Texas
CXphilosophy = Years judging: 19 as a hs coach another 10 as a college coach
Rounds on this year’s high school topic: 30+
Rounds on this year’s college topic: 0
yes, please add me to the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org,
yes, please send out a card document at the conclusion of the debate. please make sure that the card document accurately represents the cards relevant in the debate i.e. make sure cards that were marked are marked in the document and that cards not read in the debate don't appear in it, etc.
Teachers teach, coaches coach, judges judge.1
Clarity is king.2
I view my role as a judge in the frame of least intervention.3
More and more I'm starting to think that it should all revolve around solvency advocates. While I've probably had some tendencies toward that approach for a few years now it's even more prominent now. If a team is willing to read a plan and they have a card that says their plan is EE or DE with China then we should thank our lucky stars that they are willing to talk about the topic and try to give them a good debate. (I know that's from way back on the china topic but it's still a good example) Having said that if they have a solvency advocate for their CP I think the neg should get a tremendous amount of leeway on theoretically legitimate questions. The test is "Is the cp solvency advocate at least as specific as the aff solvency advocate".
Framework: I'm over it. The aff gets to weigh their advantages (fiat) and the neg gets their K. The neg can't win fiat is an illusion but they can win it's a waste of time/bad idea to engage the state OR they can say "Our argument is that in the face of the aff Obama/Congress/Supreme Court/usfg should say 'no, we reject the securitization/racism/imperialism/capitalism/insert k lingo' of this idea the world would be better if we FILL IN WITH YOUR ALTERNATIVE". If you don't understand what I mean then feel free to ask questions about this.
If you say you are ready then say "Oh wait, I need another second." I will probably penalize you 15 seconds of prep. Don't say you are ready and ask me to stop prep time until you are ready.
Virtually everything else in this judging philosophy is about ways you can get better speaker points or some of my subjective biases I think you should be aware of. The reality is that most of my subjective preferences rarely matter in debates because the debates aren’t close enough to make it matter.
Want good speaker points? Impress me with arguments that prove you have done a substantial amount of research on the topic and that you can make smart arguments.5
New aff’s are intellectual terrorism – you ask for it you got it.6
Topicality is for the unresearched.7
Most theory debates are terrible.8
Evidence is a good thing. Read some cards, preferably some with warrants from people with expertise in the relevant area.9
Excessive arrogance is unacceptable.10
Take ownership of your arguments.11
Post round discussions are good.12
Notes on the use of computers in debate.13
Make complete arguments. "perm do both" and "voting issue fairness and education" are not complete arguments.
]1 While this may seem obvious it bears repeating. What I teach my students and what I coach my students, i.e. what I think about debate and how the game should be played, shouldn’t be relevant when I’m judging two teams that I don’t coach or teach.
2 I've decided that a part of my role as a judge is to ensure that all debaters speak clearly. It is unfair that some debaters are virtually incomprehensible forcing the other team to read over their shoulder or look at every card instead of just being able to flow. So I'm adding a deterrent to the unclear debater. I expect debaters to speak clearly at all times. That doesn't just mean the tags on your cards, it means all the words of your evidence, it means everything. When I say "clearer" what I'm saying is "you are so unclear I have virtually no idea what you are saying so please make a SIGNFICANT, MEANINGFUL change in your delivery". I don't mean make a .001 change. If I have to say clearer a second time you are well on the path to having a cranky judge.
3 As a judge I have two jobs 1) pick one winner in each debate 2) enforce time limits as set by the tournament. To some extent intervention may be inevitable, however, it is my job as a judge to pick a winner based on the arguments made in each debate. That includes being cognizant of my subjective biases and doing my best to keep those preferences from influencing my decision.
4 This should be self evident. See also, footnotes 10, 11 and 13.
5 If your strategy relies on your technical proficiency it probably won’t impress me. If your strategy relies on reading a host of confusing cards that you don’t really understand and you hope that the other team won’t understand them either then you probably won’t impress me. A 1ac with several advantages all with poor internal links probably won’t impress me. A 1nc with a clear coherent method of winning the debate based on good evidence probably will impress me. A 1ac with a solvency advocate and well evidenced advantages probably will impress me. I like it when the aff is kritikal and the neg beats them with a smart go farther left strategy.
6 If you really wanted to have an in depth educational debate you would have disclosed your plan and advantages and given the other team a chance to research it. Break a new aff and your chances of losing on T go up and your chances of winning that anything the neg did was an illegitimate voting issue go way down. Will I be really impressed if, in the face of a new aff, the neg provides a well researched coherent strategy? Yes. Will I understand if, in the face of a new aff, the 1NC is three conditaional cp’s and a K? Yes.
7 Limits usually wins topicality debates and that is unfortunate. Smart teams should make arguments not only about limits/ground but about the educational value of the topic envisioned by both sides. A narrow topic that excludes some of the core issues that would generate educational research probably isn’t as good as a broader topic that encourages students to research important issues.
8 I generally find theory debates to be the bastion of the weak. Your amazingly good ASPEC debate usually sounds like a 27 to me. Think of it this way…every time you say something besides topicality is a voting issue count on losing half a speaker point. Again, this will not affect who wins debates only speaker points. However, I can be persuaded that illegitimate counterplans have so skewed the playing field that reject the argument not the team is insufficient and they must be voting issues. There are probably a host of counterplans that fall within this category. Three that leap to mind are consult, delay, and states. Two exceptions to this rule to help the negative: If your counterplan is unconditional it will be pretty hard for the aff to convince me it has unfairly skewed the debate. Second, have a true solvency advocate for your counterplan. Just a hint, a card that says states have acted uniformly and another card that says the states have poverty programs doesn’t cut it. You need a card that is as specific as the aff solvency advocate. Of course, if the aff solvency advocate doesn’t really match up to the plan it will probably be difficult for the aff to convince me that the counterplan should be rejected for lack of an advocate.
It would help make theory/topicality debates better if you SLOW DOWN so I can flow your arguments. It’s not necessarily a clarity issue it’s just that it’s very difficult for judges to flow short analytical arguments as fast as you can spit them out.
“Voting issue – fairness and education” usually gets flowed as VI F@E and I presume that means it’s a voting issue if they go for whatever argument you have identified as a VI. If you expect it to be a voting issue if they don’t go for it then you need to give some type of warrant as to why the debate has been skewed by them merely making the argument.
9 One good card is better than three short bad ones. Qualifications should matter but debaters rarely take the time to explain what constitutes qualified evidence and what doesn’t. In front of me that would be time worth spending.
10 Confidence is good. It’s better when it’s backed up with smart arguments and good evidence. If you disrespect your opponents because of some inflated sense of your own importance be prepared for low speaker points.
11 If it sounds like you read the same argument every debate, your coach wrote all your blocks, and you have no idea how your arguments interact with your opponent’s arguments then your speaker points aren’t going to be very good. My argument preferences are way less important than your ability to explain arguments. When in doubt about what arguments to go for choose arguments you understand, you can answer cx questions about, and arguments you will be able explain in rebuttals.
12 If you have questions about the decision please ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. However, don’t become the debater who always whines about every decision as if they have never lost a debate. Word gets around.
13 I don’t penalize your time to jump/email material to your opponents but I’m a stickler for stolen prep so if I think you are abusing the privilege be prepared to be called out on it. You get ten minutes of “crash” time per debate. If you computer crashes and you need to restart I won’t penalize your prep time. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and if you can’t get your computer ready in 10 minutes you are going to have to start anyway. Most other issues related to this are covered under #4.
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
a few virtual debate things:
-i've found it significantly harder to hear -- audio is less intelligible than in person -- go a little slower and/or make sure you're really clearly enunciating
-MAKE SURE you get a thumbs up or a yes that I'm ready before you start seriously i don't know how to make this more clear. every tournament ppl keep starting without confirming i'm ready. "is anybody not ready?" is not a question that works in virtual debate.
-prep stops when you've attached the document to the email just be reasonable. it shouldn't take you more than 10 seconds from after you've said stop prep to have pressing send on the email
-i'm so proud of everyone debating right now for your drive, determination, and resilience
My pronouns are they/them and my last name is pronounced "MACK-oo."
I have judged close to a million rounds on the 20-21 college/high school topics.
debate history: -HS GBN (2x TOC elims, RRs) - College Texas (2x NDT elims, RRs) -Colleges coached: WSU, UCO, Emory, NU -HSs coached: bronx science, edgemont, GBS, westwood, damien -taught at many camps every summer over the last 10 years -currently work full time at the Chicago Debate League + judge/direct lots of tournaments
Even though I read as arguments and studied critical literature about race, gender, colonialism, and sexuality in college, my HS background was exclusively "policy," and I continue to do research and coach in both areas.
In the post round, if you'd like to seek advice or challenge components of my thinking or note your disagreement or try to get my ballot in the future or try to understand my decision, I would love to discuss my decision with you! If you are into post-rounding as some weird ego thing where you need to demonstrate that you couldn't possibly have lost a debate by berating the judge, then you should not pref me.
My argument preference is whatever you're passionate about and really know in depth.
I take a while/my time to decide debates, so time-wasting during a debate is truly to your detriment.
After the 2XR, please send me a judge doc with the (marked version) of ONLY the cards you extended.
Things I am really interested in:
--lots of evidence comparison!! this often shifts my decisions
--framing arguments and judge instruction
--even if arguments -- recognizing where you might be losing
--beginning the 2XR with what you want the RFD to be
--in depth explanations -- more warrants, less tag lines
--strategic concessions + cross applications
--thoughtful and consistent analytics
--attentive line by line
--(hate to have to say this) 2NRs that take advantage of 1AR dropped arguments. It will hurt your speaker points a little if there's a clear path to victory that you ignore entirely
Things I am not interested in:
--long overviews - LINE BY LINE is where those overview arguments fit my friends. i promise you can find a spot if u look
--being rude to your partner
--scholarship/behavior that is morally reprehensible
--"if you vote X you'll have to look me in the eye and explain..., etc." type of inefficient judge strong-arming
--multiple paragraph tags
--mumble spreading on the text of cards
--things that happened outside of the round
--highlighting into sentence fragments
When cx time is over, both teams need to stop talking unless someone wants to take prep.
Make sure you time yourselves, because I WILL forget at some point
Pointing out that something was conceded is not the same as extending that argument. Author names or claims without warrants are not arguments. I think I have a higher standard than most for this. A conceded assertion is still not an argument. Yes ofc, your burden of explanation is substantially reduced, but there's gotta be something.
Things I am interested in:
--the solvency mechanism of the aff, whatever solvency means in the context of the affirmative
--clash impacts in the context of skills gained from debate
--whether the aff is contestable
--a good ol' topical version of the aff that addresses impact turns
--impact framing arguments
--line by line refutation
--well developed impact turns to the neg's interpretation/TVA that don't apply to a counter interpretation
--counter interpretations that address some of the neg's clash/limits arguments
--slowing down when reading consecutive paragraphs of text you have typed for 2nr/2ar
Things I am less interested in:
--affs that are descriptive but not prescriptive -- it's easy to say something is bad, even in a very theoretically dense, educational, interesting way. the more difficult question is determining the best method (not picky about what this is) for addressing or approaching the problem described
--clash/fairness as an impact in and of itself -- it's an internal link to an impact (in my default view, though I end up voting for it more frequently than i would've thought bc people don't answer it)
--long, pre-written "overviews" where you address none of the line by line (both sides are very bad about doing this)
(As an aside, if the aff says they'll defend they link to DA(s), I would always strongly prefer the neg take them up on a substantive debate. That's not to say the neg shouldn't go for framework if that's their heart's desire, only that I find a substantive debate more interesting.)
Whatever is fine. Do what you want, but make sure you can defend it. I truly have no strong feelings/beliefs about conditionality either way, other than it'll be tough to win 1 is bad. But, I decide that like I decide all things: based on the arguments actually presented in the theory debate.
Exception to that -- perms are just no link arguments to the opportunity cost of the CP, so I will probably never vote that dropped perm theory arguments are a reason to reject the team.
See plea for evidence and impact comparison above. When I get a stack of cards at the end of the debate, it's going to be annoying for both of us that I now just have to render judgment on each of them with no guidance.
Please make more smart, warranted analytics about why the DA is nonsense. A lot of DAs don't pass the test of being a complete argument if the full text of the cards are read and you just take a second to actually think about it.
I expect a high degree of technical proficiency in these debates.
Neg needs SPECIFICITY in your explanation of the aff. Highly specific cards to the aff are not necessary, though helpful, to make specific links, alt solves, turns case, root cause arguments etc. Reference the aff's 1ac ev maybe. Use historical examples maybe. Make logical arguments maybe. All important things. What is the impact to the link in the context of turning the aff? The more contextual your explanation of every facet of the k is to the aff, the more likely you will win that part of the debate and the higher your speaker points will be.
Against policy affs, you will likely win a link, so focus your attentions on defeating the impact turns/case outweighs arguments from the jump. Opposite for k affs -- less focus on impact, instead focus on in depth contextual explanations of the link and how it turns the aff, the alt solves aff impact better, DAs to the perm that aren't just links to the aff, etc.
I almost always find the framework debate to be a huge waste of everyone's time. Both sides get to weigh their stuff. Please just spend this time clashing over the substance of the debate. This is my perhaps most biased opinion, in that it's the only place I consider intervening -- I will almost always err towards allowing both teams to access their substance, even if one team isn't doing very well on the fw debate. If I'm the only judge, feel free to spend very little time here.
Finally, almost every argument in the overview should/could be on the line by line.
Sure. Not really the debate I want to be deciding because folks rarely do comparative impact calc. Debates about reasonability are usually so shallow as to be meaningless. I have judged (too) many rounds on the topic, though many of those debates did not contain topic specific arguments.
Let me save you time:
You: "What did you think about [x argument/author name]"???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Me: "I didn't think about it that much because you didn't tell me to/you didn't speak about it enough or in a way that made it relevant to my decision making process."
I do try to be thorough. Debaters have worked hard to get here, so it's my obligation to work hard to assess the debate.
This is the best cx I've ever seen and a very important video to me:
**standard operating procedure: 1) yes, if you are using an e-mail chain for speech docs, I would like to be on it: firstname.lastname@example.org. The degree to which I look at them varies wildly depending on the round; I will often check a couple of cards for my own comprehension (because y'all need to slow down) during prep or sometimes during a heated cross-ex, but equally often I don't look at them at all. 2) After the debate, please compile all evidence that *you believe* to be relevant to the decision and e-mail them to me. I will sort through to decide which ones I need to read. A card is relevant if it was read and extended on an issue that was debated in the final rebuttals.
updated pre-Shirley, 2013
Background: I debated for four years at Emory, completed my M.A. in Communication and coached at Wake Forest, and am now in my 2nd year of the Ph.D. program at Georgia.
global thoughts: I take judging very seriously and try very hard to evaluate only the arguments in a given debate, in isolation from my own beliefs. I'm not sure that I'm always successful. I'm not sure that the reverse is true either. In the limited number of "clash" debates that I've judged, my decisions have been based on the arguments and not on predispositions based on my training, how I debated, or how my teams debate.
speaker points: I will use the following scale, which (while obviously arbitrary to some degree) I think is pretty consistent with how I've assigned points in the past and what I believe to represent the role of speaker points in debate. I have never assigned points based on whether I think a team "should clear" or "deserves a speaker award" because I don't judge the rest of the field in order to make that determination, I judge this particular debate. EDIT: I think the scale published for the Shirley is very close to what I was thinking here.
Below 27.5: The speaker has demonstrated a lack of basic communication.
27.5-27.9: The speaker demonstrates basic debate competency and argumentation skills. Some areas need substantial improvement.
28.0-28.4: The speaker demonstrates basic argumentation skills and a good grasp on the issues of importance in the debate. Usually shows 1-2 moments of strong strategic insight or macro-level debate vision, but not consistently.
28.5-28.9: Very solid argumentative skills, grasps the important issues in the debate, demonstrates consistent strategic insight.
29-29.5: Remarkable argumentative skills, understands and synthesizes the key issues in the debate, outstanding use of cross-ex and/or humor.
29.6-29.9: The speaker stands out as exceptionally skilled in all of the above areas.
Critical arguments: My familiarity is greater than it used to be but by no means exhaustive. I think that the "checklist" probably matters on both sides.
Topicality: I believe in "competing interpretations" with the caveat that I think if the aff can win sufficient defense and a fair vision of the topic (whether or not it is couched in an explicit C/I of every word), they can still win. In other words: the neg should win not only a big link, but also a big impact.
CP’s: Yes. The status quo is always a logical option, which means the CP can still go away after the round. (Edit: I am willing to stick the negative with the CP if the aff articulates, and the neg fails to overcome, a reason why.) Presumption is toward less change from the status quo.
DA’s: Big fan. At the moment, I probably find myself slightly more in the “link first” camp, but uniqueness is certainly still important. There CAN be zero risk of an argument, but it is rare. More often, the risk is reduced to something negligible that fails to outweigh the other team's offense (edit: this last sentence probably belongs in the all-time "most obvious statements" Judge Philosophy Hall of Fame).
Theory: RANT is the default. Probably neg-leaning on most issues, but I do think that we as a community may be letting the situation get a little out of control in terms of the numbers and certain types of CP’s. I think literature should guide what we find to be legitimate to the extent that that is both possible and beneficial.
Good for speaker points: Strategic use of cross-examination, evidence of hard work, jokes about Kirk Gibson (edit: these must be funny)
Bad for speaker points: Rudeness, lack of clarity, egregious facial hair.
Director of Policy Debate @ Stanford University; Director of Debate @ Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School
(High School Constraints - Edgemont)
(College Constraints - Stanford, Harvard, and a crew of exceptionally talented college debaters I've had the pleasure to coach)
2020-2021 Update: Christmas Edition
Misunderstanding Tech over Truth: Those three words hurt my soul because they've become to only symbolize that a dropped argument is a true argument in most circles; however, it should symbolize that well-done technical debate overcomes the truthful nature of any argument. I want to see you technically execute an argument you've spent time learning and understanding and I'm willing to listen to any argument that shows me this was done. This is significantly different from "I will listen to anything."
Research->Knowledge->Execution: That's the order! I love when students do a lot of column A to make column C easy.
Clarity Trumps: Speed is irrelevant to me. I've been doing debate for a quarter-century and I've judged people at various speeds. The most important part of the debate is clearly communicating ideas to an audience. I speak very fast, so I realize it's inevitable; however, if you're not understood then nothing you do matters. Remember, what you think you said is not always what the other person hears you say.
Policy Debate: What happened to strategies? The trend is to read 3-4 counterplans in the 1nc, rather than debating the case. Fewer off-case positions, with more time invested in debating the case, is usually a more successful strategy to create pressure on 2a's helping you win more ballots.
2020-2021 PF Update: December 21, 2020
I want to see the best version of you debating! As you can tell my opinions on PF have changed dramatically in the past six seasons; however, I still enjoy judging debates when you're trying your best!!
Theory: I'm totally uninterested in PF theory. It's underdeveloped, not well explained, and has no foundational basis in the activity.
Evidence: If the tournament doesn't adhere to a specific set of evidence rules, I will default to NSDA evidence rules. Paraphrasing is allowed unless otherwise prohibited, but must follow the rules.
I will no longer ask for cases or cards before the debate. I do expect that if a piece of evidence or a card doc is requested that it can be produced in a timely manner. To expedite this process, I will allow the other team to prep during the transfer time for a card doc to be sent to the other team unless it's specifically prohibited by the tournament.
Wiki: I don't look at it. My personal preference is that teams would disclose if the other team asks but I am not policing these conversations. I personally believe that understanding the arguments you are debating (if they've been read before) produces better debate; however, am uninterested in listening to a debate about disclosure being good or bad unless something unethical was done during the disclosure process.
2017-2018 PF TOC Update: April 23rd, 2018
As you can see I used to have a very strong leaning towards how evidence needs to be presented during a debate. I've backtracked pretty substantially on this point. Therefore, I won't ask for your case ahead of time. However, I do still prefer evidence that is directly quoted and cited according to the rules of the tournament we are at. I do not like paraphrasing and will only accept paraphrasing as a logical argument to be made in the round and will not credit you for reading a qualified author.
I know a lot about debate, arguments, and the topics you are debating. I have an extremely competitive set of students that are constantly talking about the topic, I tutor students around the world in PF, and I generally like to be educated on the things that students will debate in front of me.
Beyond what I've said above, I'll give you an additional piece of advice: If you would strike Stefan Bauschard or Amisha Mehta than you'd probably want to strike me. I tend to fall somewhere in between where they are at in their philosophies.
Last but not least, I don't intend to steal your cards...we have more than we can use...however if it means you'll throw me up on a Reddit post that can get over 100+ responses then maybe I'll have to start doing it!
**Disregard the section about asking me to conflict you if you feel uncomfortable debating in front of me since I've judged minimally and don't have any experience judging any of the teams in the field more than once therefore, it doesn't apply to you**
2016-2017 Season Update: September 11, 2016
HS Public Forum Update: This is my first year really becoming involved in Public Forum Debate. I have a lot of strong opinions as far as the activity goes. However, my strongest opinion centers on the way that evidence is used, mis-cited, paraphrased, and taken out of context during debates. Therefore, I will start by requiring that each student give me a a copy of their Pro/Con case prior to their speech and also provide me a copy of all qualified sources they'll cite throughout the debate prior to their introduction. I will proactively fact check all of your citations and quotations, as I feel it is needed. Furthermore, I'd strongly prefer that evidence be directly quoted from the original text or not presented at all. I feel that those are the only two presentable forms of argumentation in debate. I will not accept paraphrased evidence. If it is presented in a debate I will not give it any weight at all. Instead I will always defer to the team who presented evidence directly quoted from the original citation. I also believe that a debater who references no evidence at all, but rather just makes up arguments based on the knowledge they've gained from reading, is more acceptable than paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing to me is a shortcut for those debaters who are too lazy to directly quote a piece of text because they feel it is either too long or too cumbersome to include in their case. To me this is laziness and will not be rewarded.
Beyond that the debate is open for the debaters to interpret. I'd like if debaters focused on internal links, weighing impacts, and instructing me on how to write my ballot during the summary and final focus. Too many debaters allow the judge to make up their mind and intervene with their own personal inclinations without giving them any guidance on how to evaluate competing issues. Work Hard and I'll reward you. Be Lazy and it won't work out for you.
NDT/CEDA Update: I'm getting older and I'm spending increasingly more hours on debate (directing, coaching, and tabulating at the HS and College level) than I used to. I really love the activity of debate, and the argumentative creativity being developed, but I'm slowly starting to grow hatred toward many of the attitudes people are adopting toward one another, which in turn results in me hating the activity a little more each day. I believe the foundational element of this activity is a mutual respect amongst competitors and judges. Without this foundational element the activity is doomed for the future.
As a result, I don't want to be a part of a debate unless the four debaters in the room really want me to be there and feel I will benefit them by judging their debate. I feel debate should be an inclusive environment and each student in the debate should feel comfortable debating in front of the judge assigned to them.
I also don’t want people to think this has to do with anyone set of arguments being run. I really enjoy academic debates centered on discussions of the topic and/or resolution. However, I don’t prefer disregarding or disrespectful attitudes toward one another. This includes judges toward students, students toward judges, students toward observers, observers toward students, and most importantly students toward students.
As I grow older my tolerance for listening to disparaging, disregarding, and disrespectful comments amongst participants has completely eroded. I'm not going to tolerate it anymore. I got way better things to do with my time than listen to someone talk down to me when I've not done the same to them. I treat everyone with respect and I demand the same in return. I think sometimes debaters, in the heat of competition, forget that even if a judge knows less about their lived/personal experience or hasn’t read as much of their literature as they have; that the judges, for the most part, understand how argumentation operates and how debates are evaluated. Too many debaters want to rely on the pref sheet and using it to get judges who will automatically check in, which is antithetical to debate education. Judges should and do vote for the "worse" or "less true" arguments in rounds when they were debated better. Debate is a performative/communicative activity. Its not about who wrote the best constructives only. Its about how teams clash throughout the debate.
Therefore, as a result I will allow any person or team to ask me to conflict them if they feel uncomfortable debating in front of me or feel that the current system of judge placement requires them to prefer me since I'm a better fit than the other judge(s). I won't ask you any questions and won't even respond to the request beyond replying "request honored". Upon receiving the request I will go into my tabroom.com account and make sure I conflict you from future events. I feel this way you'll have a better chance at reducing the size of the judge pool and you'll get to remove a judge that you don't feel comfortable debating in front of which will narrow the number of judges available to you and might allow you to get more preferable judges. My email is email@example.com. Please direct all conflict requests to this email.
2014-2015 Season Update: September 2, 2014 (The gift that keeps on giving!!)
The following are not for the faint of heart!
Some days you just can't get ready in the morning without being bothered.Then you just need to be cheered up and it fails or someone threatens to eat your phone.
However, when it's all said and done you can at least sleep having sweet dreams.
**On a more serious note. Dylan Quigley raised a point on the College Policy Debate facebook group about what "competition" means when people are judging debates. Therefore, I'll go with this answer "Because this is an emerging debate with no clear consensus, I would encourage judges to let the debaters hash out a theory of competition instead of trying to create one for them. I think in an era were students are taking their power to mold the "world of debate" they debate in it is especially important for us judges to *listen* to their arguments and learn from their theories. No shade towards the original post, I just think it's worthwhile to emphasis the relationship between "new debate" (whatevs that is) and student's ability to create theories of debate on their own instead of choosing a theory that's imposed on them." However, in the absence of these debates happening in the round I will default to a traditional interpretation of "competition." This interpretation says the neg must proves their alternative method/advocacy is better than the affirmative method/advocacy or combination of the affirmatives method/advocacy and all or part of the negatives method/advocacy. Also in these situations I'll default to a general theory of opportunity cost which includes the negatives burden of proving the affirmative undesirable.
2013-2014 Season Update: December 25, 2013 (Yes, it's Christmas...so here are your presents!!)
If you love debate as much as Sukhi loves these cups, please let it show!!
If you can mimic this stunt, you'll thoroughly impress me and be well rewarded: Sukhi Dance
And you thought you had a sick blog!!
Also why cut cards when you can have sick Uke skills like these and these!!
To only be shown up by a 2 year old killing it to Adele
Finally, we need to rock out of 2013 with the Stanford version of the Harlem Shake by Suzuki and KJaggz
2012-2013 Season Update: August 22, 2012
Instead of forcing you to read long diatribes (see below) about my feelings on arguments and debate practices. I will instead generate a list of things I believe about debate and their current practices. You can read this list and I believe you'll be able to adequately figure out where to place me on your preference sheet. If you'd like to read more about my feelings on debate, then continue below the fold! Have a great season.
1. TKO is still in play, and will always be that way!
2. You must win a link to a DA - if you don't talk about it I'm willing to assign it zero risk. Uniqueness doesn't mean there is a risk of a link.
2a. "Issue Specific Uniqueness" IS NOT a utopian answer to all affirmative arguments.
3. You must defend something on the aff - by doing so it also implies you should be able to defend your epistemological assumptions underlying that advocacy.
4. T is about reasonability not competing interpretations. This doesn't mean every affirmative is reasonably topical.
5. Debate should be hard; its what makes it fun and keeps us interested.
6. Research is good - its rewarding, makes you smarter, and improves your arguments.
7. "Steal the entire affirmative" strategies are bad. However, affirmative teams are even worse at calling teams out on it. This mean they are still very much in play. Therefore, affirmatives should learn how to defeat them, instead of just believing they'll somehow go away.
8. There are other parts to an argument other than the impact. You should try talking about them, I heard they're pretty cool.
9. Your affirmative should have advantages that are intrinsic to the mechanism you choose to defend with the aff. Refer to #6, it helps solve this dilemma.
10. Have fun and smile! The debaters, judges, and coaches in this activity are your life long friends and colleagues. We are all rooting you on to succeed. We all love the activity or we wouldn't be here. If you don't like something, don't hate the player, hate the game!
Clipping/Cross-reading/Mis-marking: I hear that this is coming back. To prosecute cheating, the accusing team needs hard evidence. A time trial is not hard evidence. A recording of the speech must be presented. I will stop the debate, listen to the recording, and compare it to the evidence read. If cheating occurred, the offending debater and their partner will receive zero speaker points and a loss. I'd also encourage them to quit. I consider this offense to be more serious than fabricating evidence. It is an honor system that strikes at the very core of what we do here.
Additional caveat that was discussed with me at a previous tournament - I believe that the status quo is always a logical option for the negative unless it is explicitly stated and agreed to in CX or its won in a speech.
Newly Updated Philosophy - November 18, 2011
So after talking to Tim Aldrete at USC, he convinced me that I needed more carrots and less sticks in my philosophy. Therefore, I have a small carrot for those debaters who wish to invoke it. Its called a T.K.O (Technical Knockout). This basically means that at any point of the debate you believe you've solidly already won the debate, beyond a reasonable doubt, (dropped T argument, double turn, strategic miscue that is irreparable by the other team) you can invoke a TKO and immediately end the debate. If a team chooses this path and succeeds, I will give them 30 speaker points each and an immediate win. If the team chooses to invoke this but its unclear you've TKO'd the other team or in fact choose wrong, you obviously will lose and your points will be severely effected. Who dares to take the challenge?
Past Updated Philosophy - September 9, 2010
I am currently the Assistant Coach @ Lakeland/Panas High School, College Prep School, and Harvard Debate. I’m also involved with Research & Marketing for Planet Debate. This topic will be my 14th in competitive debate and 10th as a full time coach. Debate is my full time job and I love this activity pretty much more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I enjoy the competition, the knowledge gained, and the people I’ve come to be friends with and likewise I really enjoy people who have the same passion I have for this activity.
I last posted an update to my judge philosophy a number of years ago and think it is finally time I revisit it and make some changes.
First, I’ll be the first to admit that I probably haven’t been the best judge the last few years and I think a majority of that has come from pure exhaustion. I’ve been traveling upwards of 20+ weekends a year and am constantly working when I am home. I don’t get much time to re-charge my batteries before I’m off to another tournament. Then while at tournaments I’m usually putting in extremely late nights cutting cards and preparing my teams, which trades off with being adequately awake and tuned in. This year I’ve lessened my travel schedule and plan to be much better rested for debates than I was in previous years.
Second, since my earlier days of coaching/judging my ideology about debate has changed somewhat. This new ideology will tend to complement hard working teams and disadvantage lazy teams who try and get by with the same generics being ran every debate. Don’t let this frighten you, but rather encourage you to become more involved in developing positions and arguments. When this happens I’m overly delighted and reward you with higher speaker points and more than likely a victory.
Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010
I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.
My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.
Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:
Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:
My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.
I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.
In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments don’t generally “jive” with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.
Value proof higher than rejoinder:
I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.
My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.
A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.
Incomprehensible value systems:
One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.
I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.
Pine Crest School Class of 2014
Northwestern University Class of 2018
I debated at Pine Crest and Northwestern. I am a student of the game and love argument innovation and the activity in general. I am thinking about debate an insane amount of time, especially during school, and hope that my dedication to the activity will be shown through my attentiveness in round. There are a few caveats if I am judging you discussed below but if you have any questions that aren’t answered there are a couple of steps you can take:
1. Look at other judging philosophies. The judges that I believe I am most similar to are: Jeremy Hammond (http://judgephilosophies.wikispaces.com/Hammond%2C+Jeremy), Will Repko (http://judgephilosophies.wikispaces.com/Repko%2C+Will) and Garrett Abelkop (http://judgephilosophies.wikispaces.com/Abelkop%2C+Garrett). One of my favorite judges is jon sharp (http://judgephilosophies.wikispaces.com/sharp%2C+jon) though, so I’m not just influenced by MSU.
2. Ask me if you still can’t find anything. The question “what are your preferences” is annoying so be specific.
I believe that the purpose of the judge is to not only decide debates but to also decide what curriculum should be debated. Arguments such as timecube, dada and ashtar have little to no educational benefit. These can be adequately answered by saying “this is nonsensical and hasn’t disproven the aff” and moving on.
Absent the arguments above, there are a few things below that you should read if you are debating in front of me. I do think that tech is *very* important, but connections are as well. The point of a debate is to convince the judge to vote for you. The way that ethos are developed are by making connections with the judge. These are extremely good for speaker points as well.
At the same time, I default to tech over truth. If you win an argument/one is dropped even if it isn't the best then I will vote for you.
Clarity is more important than speed. Speed is measured in the number of arguments that the judge has on their flow, not how many words per minute you can speak.
When judging at round robins/tournaments with no prefs I will try to judge with as few predispositions as possible.
Judges usually give the 2AR too much leeway.
I lean more towards cards and believe that solid evidence and a good work ethic are two of the most important aspects in a successful debater.
A team that is caught cheating will be given zero speaker points and a loss. It is important for the other team to have a recording of the cheating team to decide the debate on this.
Prep time ends when the jump drive exits the computer of the debater giving the speech. I will be keeping track of prep but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t as well, keeping in mind that what I say goes. Not flowing is a terrible side effect of paperless and can be punished at my discretion.
I ran them. I will listen to them. I will vote for them. I find these debates to be very interesting, but I hate when they become very personal/polemical to the point of putting everyone in the debate (including me) in an extraordinarily awkward or angry situation. If your argument is not based around identity I do think that you have an uphill battle on framework. This being said, I do enjoy affirmatives that defend topical action centered around a kritik. One example of this is the Cuban Hospitality aff.
I am a big fan of a good politics debate as well as any in depth disad debate. I find it hard, if not impossible, for the affirmative to defeat a disadvantage without a source of offense.
Impact calculus is very important when deciding any debate, and the more that you can get away from the traditional A. Magnitude, B. Probability, C. Timeframe model is better but only if you maintain the integrity of the arguments.
Counterplans mitigate the risk of affirmative advantages against the disadvantage, and the 2NR should frame the debate in this way. I have found that without a solvency deficit to a counterplan the negative wins an astounding percentage of the time.
There is a debate as to what types of counterplans are acceptable in a debate, as well as what counterplans can fiat. I generally believe counterplans such as consult, conditions, recommendations, plan contingent counterplans or counterplans that compete off of certainty and immediacy are both abusive and not competitive. A counterplan should be both textually and functionally competitive, but this is up for debate and I can be persuaded otherwise. Competition is defined as both better than the plan and better than a combination of the plan and all or part of the counterplan.
I believe that I am a much better judge for kritiks on the negative as opposed to the affirmative. Avoid falling into a debate about random buzzwords at all costs and engage the aff. I understand the technicalities of the kritik debate and am perfectly fine with the negative reading and going for kritiks such as Security, Lacan/Psychoanalysis, Cap (as well as most Zizek), Heidegger, Cuomo, Kappeler, Pan, Chaloupka, Spanos/Imperialism, Foucault/Biopower and Luke.
If you are not reading one of these kritiks know that I have read (a pretty decent amount of) K literature but do need clarifications if your argument is complex or different. Different kritiks that fall under this category are D&G (I do understand the argument, but am not in touch with the finer points of the debate), Hardt and Negri, Badiou, Baudrillard (I find this utterly not understandable, and, as one of my coaches said “if you think you understand it then you don’t understand Baudrillard), Zupanic, Bataille etc.
When debating either kritiks that I am familiar with or ones that I am not you should make the debate as specific as possible; I find that kritik debates often devolve into vague representations links or generic topic debates and would appreciate it if you can show how the affirmative specifically is an example of ___.
Ideologically, I do think the affirmative should get to weigh their aff, but am tech-oriented on the framework debate. Floating Pik’s are abusive. I do not understand why the negative can sever their reps from a DA but the aff can’t from their advantages.
Judge choice is an interesting argument but in a hypothetical instance that the affirmative reads 3 advantages, the negative k’s 2 and the aff says judge choice the negative should still weigh the comparative disadvantages of the 2 advantages vs. the advantage of the other 1.
One conditional advocacy is usually not abusive. I think that ideological conditionality (1 CP and 1 K) is the best form. I can be persuaded that conditionality is bad for debate, especially if the negative reads more than 3 conditional advocacies. I feel that 3 conditional advocacies is playing with fire for the neg.
Reject the argument not the team applies to every theory argument except conditionality. Dropping subpoint 3- no neg fiat on the conditionality debate, or other similar cheap shot theory arguments are not a voting issue and I will give leniency to new answers.
The framework for evaluating topicality debates is an area where I lean towards competing interpretations. Affirmatives that are core of the topic often under-utilize precision combined with reasonability. I do not enjoy spec arguments.
Jesuit College Prep
Please use firstname.lastname@example.org for speech docs. I do want to be in the email chain.
However, I don't check that email a lot while not at tournaments - so if you need to reach me not at a tournament, feel free to email me at email@example.com
Jesuit is not open source - and if you think our cards are good, you should enjoy the experience of reading the good research. While I know that there are many people who disagree with me, I think that reading other people's cards disincentivizes hard work and cultivates unethical academic practices. And, for the record, there's no small school arg here - in fact large schools benefit more from this model (where you read other people's cards without recutting them) because they have more access to more open source docs in debates. I will disregard Jesuit evidence read by another team whether that's an argument made or not. Doesn't mean I will auto-vote against you but not going to vote on cards we cut that you use.
I DO NOT mean that you can't take cites and recut the evidence - in fact getting cites from someone and recutting the evidence is good. BUT, if for example School A debate School B in round 4, then School A uses ev read by B against another B team, that's unethical. TEAM'S SPEECH DOCUMENTS ARE NOT OPEN EVIDENCE FILES. Know the difference. If there is a Jesuit cite you can't access because of a lack of access to resources, please email me and I will provide a full text of the article or book - I pinky swear.
For those of you who think that this is inconsistent with soliciting speech docs, with a rare exception, our solicitation of speech docs fills in intel that those who don't update their wiki ever or only after a tournament is complete. While I would prefer to just rely on the wiki, that's not a reliable source of information for a lot of teams. It should be reliable, however, if you are debating a Jesuit team - and if you find a lack of information on a Jesuit team's page, please feel free to let me know. The above perspective on the open source stems from a view that people should do their own work - and open source incentivizes ppl just stealing cards from speech docs versus developing their own research skills.
Topicality is about competing interpretations for me, unless you tell me otherwise. Negatives should explain what allowing the affirmative in the topic would allow— ie what other affirmatives would be allowed and what specific ground or arguments you have lost out on. Affirmatives should, in addition to making counter-interpretations, explain why those counter-interpretations are good for the topic.
Case lists are underutilized in these debates – both about what they exclude and realistically justify on both sides of the topic. Topical version of the aff is an important but not a must have – especially if you are partially trying to say that they are SOOOO bad I shouldn’t want them to be a part of the topic.
Counter plans are good -- but I think that Affs underutilize solvency advocate based arguments. If you are going to have a CP with a ton of different elements, neg should be able to support that with solvency evidence that supports the whole CP not just the elements. If you are neg, you should still do these mutliplank cps if you like but the aff can win a solvency deficit if you don’t have someone to advocate all of it together. Asserting a not accurate way the government works to make a claim about neg CP also should be contested by the aff - and so should dates of the evidence being used to justify the CP. Specific counterplans that reflect you did some work in research the aff = good for the neg. Process counterplans less good b/c they usually show that you didn’t do the research on the aff.
Also enjoy a good disad debate—used to include politics. But alas, Trump has ruined many things for me - including this. GOP unwavering support for Trump has also ruined this for me. Maybe new Biden administration can help this argument and the world. I do think it is possible to win zero risk of the politics DA. I do think that affs should make a bigger deal about how that zero risk of the DA means that any risk of a solvency deficit on the CP means should vote Aff. But alas, you probably won't, then I will have to default to my engrained any risk of the DA if the CP solves mostly wins a debate.
For other DAs, much like my previous discussion of topicality and the kritik, explain the link specific to the affirmative – you can and should have multiple link args in the block that help build your story about why the aff triggers the DA. Assess how the impact of the DA relates to the case impact. Overviews should be specific to the aff not a reiteration of magnitude probability and time frame - as this results in awkward comparisons especially on this topic. Offense is a good thing but defensive versus a disad may be enough to win. In other words, any risk of a DA does not mean you win on the Negative (unless perhaps it’s a CP net benefit)—there is room for Affirmatives to make uniqueness, no link, and impact arguments that erode the DA so significantly the Negative doesn’t win much a risk versus the Aff. Good case debates with solvency or impact turns make for appealing and compelling debates. Negatives can win on case turns alone if the impacts are developed in the block.
Contrary to what some of you might think, I really do enjoy a good kritik debate. Jesuit teams have basically run only Ks on this topic. The Negative should, through evidence and link narratives, explain how more ‘generic’ evidence and the K applies to the Aff. For example, explain why the aff’s use of the state is bad; don’t just assert they are the state therefore they must be bad. The other place to be sure to spend some time is explaining the role of the ballot and/or the role of the alternative. I think that topic specific K much better than your hodgepodge throw some authors together ks. Also not a huge fan of death is inevitable so we should give up now or alternatives that incorporate “suicide” as an alternative. Both sides when initiating framework arguments need to think through what they are getting out of the framework arguments – don’t just go for it bc someone told you novice year you should. If it's strategic say concede their framework, we just do their thing better, you should.
Performance/non-instrumental use of the rez
While I am compelled by arguments about the need to redress exclusion in the debate community, Negatives should challenge, and the Aff should defend, the importance of the ballot in redressing those exclusions. If the neg can explain why the same education and same exploration of privilege can occur without the ballot, I am very persuaded by those arguments. However, in these debates I have judged, I have almost always voted for the team advocating non-instrumental use of the topic because this ballot piece often goes unchallenged. I think that if you are aff and running an advocacy statement, you should have some reason why that is better than a plan on the ready -- assuming the neg challenges this. In these debates it seems that negatives often forget that even if they are only going for framework, they will still need to have a reason why the aff ROB or method is bad. Otherwise, the aff will make some arguments (as they should) that their method is offense against traditional understandings of debate/T/framework. I do think that the performance should be tied to the resolution when you are aff - or at least that's my default.
Theory – Aff/Neg
If there is a legit reason why what the other team has done has eroded your ability to win by creating a not reciprocal or not level playing field, then initiate the arguments. I understand the strategic value creating a time trade off might get you. However, you should think about whether or not you have some compelling args before going for the arg all out or in the 2nr/2ar. Multiple contradictory framework type args are an underutilized arg when there are k alts and cps in the debate---especially if any or all are conditional. Be concrete about what they are doing and what the justify in order to make “impact” arguments.
New aff theory - I don't have anything else in my philosophy like this (that just say no to an argument) but "new aff disclosure theory" arguments are silly to me. Aff Innovation = good, and incentivizing innovation by giving a strategic leg up to affs by getting to break a new aff = good. I've got more warrants if you want to chat about it - I know some of you feel very strongly about this - but it doesn't make sense to me. You should not probably spend the time to read your shell even if its supershort. Affs should say "competitive innovation = good". And that'd probably be enough.
Certainly, new affs mean that the neg get to make a bunch of args - and that I probably am more sympathetic on issues like no solv advocate, multiple cp, condo, etc - but yeah, no, new affs = good not bad.
Stylistic Issues (Speed, Quantity)
Clarity is important and so are warranted arguments and cards – say what you would like but be clear about it. If you have many argument but you have highlighted down the evidence to 3-5 words, you have also not made a warranted argument. Also, “extinction” is not a tag. Some highlighting practices have become so egregious that I think you're actually highlighting a different argument than the author is actually making.
Speaker Point Scale
Decent debate = 28 + ; more than decent gets more points. You can gain more points by having proper line by line, clash, good evidence with warrants, good impact comparison. You can lose points by not doing those aforementioned things AND if you are snarky, condescending, etc.
Productive cross-examinations add to speaker points and help to set up arguments---needlessly answering or asking your partners cx questions subtract from speaker points. Did I mention flowing is a good thing?
The line by line is important as is the evidence you read, explain and reference by name in the debate. Line by line is the only way to clash and avoid “two ships passing in the night” debates. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.
I do tend to read evidence on important issues – so the quality of your evidence does matter as does how much you actually read of it. I am persuaded by teams that call out other teams based on their evidence quality, author quals, lack of highlighting (meaning they read little of the evidence). You should flow – you can’t do anything else I’ve outlined without flowing – and like, actually flow, not copy the speech doc..
Debate Coach - University of Michigan, Niles West High School
Institute Instructor - Michigan Debate Institutes
Michigan State University '13
Brookfield Central High School '09
I would like to be on the email chain - my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few top level things:
- If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is. There is zero room for discussion about that. This also includes forwarding the argument that death is good because suffering exists. I will not vote on it.
- If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
- Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low. I don't think this makes me a truth over tech judge but I am not willing to assume all "truths" are equally and neutrally "truthful." This is also true of the credibility of your authors.
- I'm a very expressive judge. Look up at me every once in a while, you will probably be able to tell how I feel about your arguments.
- I don't think that arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates are at all relevant to my decision and I will not evaluate them. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.
Online debate: I have a lot of experience with it. I helped develop and run the online Michigan Debate Institute this summer, I have helped run two online tournaments and I have judged MANY online debates. I probably can help you troubleshoot many of the issues you will experience. I will call clear if you are unclear and I will be annoyed if you are talking over one another in cross-x but otherwise I have probably seen whatever problem you're experiencing and am happy to be patient. I will start tech time when you start having computer issues (that includes inability to send email!). My camera will always be on during the debate unless I have stepped away from my computer during prep or while deciding so you should always assume that if my camera is off, I am not there. I added this note because I've had people start speeches without me there.
Ethics: I decided to put this at the top because it's something that is very important to me. Ethics challenges are something I take very seriously and so I want to make myself perfectly clear. If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points.
*NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me.
Cross-x: Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions. If you don't start the timer before you start asking those questions, I will take whatever time I estimate you took to ask questions before the timer was started out of your prep. If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.
Translated evidence: I am extremely skeptical of evidence translated by a debater or coach with a vested interest in that evidence being used in a debate. Lots of words or phrases have multiple meanings or potential translations and debaters/coaches have an incentive to choose the ones that make the most debate-friendly argument even if that's a stretch of what is in the original text. It is also completely impossible to verify if words or text was left out, if it is a strawperson, if it is cut out of context, etc. I won't immediately reject it on my own but I would say that I am very amenable to arguments that I should.
Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate: I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting. This can also be accomplished by reading those lines in cross-x and then referencing them in a speech.
Affirmatives should have a solvency advocate. What that looks like is up for debate. I think debates that stray too far from what a reasonable person would constitute an advocacy for a policy change distort the literature base in ways that make it impossible for the negative to respond to the aff. This is compounded by excruciatingly vague plan texts that enable the aff to "no link" out of what are obvious disads to the affirmative. If your style of debate is built around manipulating and bastardizing literature to create affs that say and defend nothing, I'm probably not the judge for you. I think this vision of debate disincentivizes in-depth negative research. If you refuse to specify what your aff does, I am probably not the judge for you. If you think that saying "a thing is bad" constitutes an aff without saying what your aff does about it, I am a bad judge for you.
Topicality: I enjoy judging topicality debates when they are in-depth and nuanced. Limits are an an important question but not the only important question - your limit should be tied to a particular piece of neg ground or a particular type of aff that would be excluded. I often find myself to be more aff leaning than neg leaning in T debates because I am often persuaded by the argument that negative interpretations are arbitrary or not based in predictable literature.
5 second ASPEC shells/the like that are not a complete argument are mostly nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.
Counterplans: For me counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.
Over time I have gone from being somewhere in the middle on the question of "does the neg need a solvency advocate for the cp?" and I have found myself very strongly on the side of "yes." A lot of the debates I've judged over the past few years have had the scope of what the neg should get to assert with no evidentiary support go from semi-reasonable to impossible distortions of the literature and REALITY in ways that the aff could never reasonably answer. I DO think what constitutes a solvency advocate for the neg is affected by whether or not the aff has a solvency advocate. For affirmatives that do not have one, my threshold for what I expect the neg to have is much much lower.
I think that CPs should have to be policy actions. I think this is most fair and reciprocal with what the affirmative does. I think that fiating indefinite personal decisions or actions/non-actions by policymakers that are not enshrined in policy is an unfair abuse of fiat that I do not think the negative should get access to. For example: the CP to have Trump decide not to withdraw from NAFTA is not legitimate, while the CP to have Trump announce that a policy that he will not withdraw from NAFTA would be. The CP that has the US declare it will not go to war with China would be theoretically legitimate but the CP to have Trump personally decide not to go to war with China would not be.
Disads: I am not very sympathetic to politics theory arguments (except in the case of things like rider disads, which I might ban from debate if I got the choice to ban one argument and think are certainly illegitimate misinterpretations of fiat) and am unlikely to ever vote on them unless they're dropped and even then would be hard pressed. I'm incredibly knowledgeable about politics and enjoy it a lot when debated well but really dislike seeing it debated poorly. Politics DAs under Trump are 99% garbage.
Conditionality: Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options). Conditionality is the ONLY argument I think is a reason to reject the team, every other argument I think is a reason to reject the argument alone. Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?
Kritiks: I consider myself a policymaker unless you tell me otherwise, the implication of that being that if you want me to consider my ballot as something other than advocating a hypothetical policy that would be enacted, you need to explain to me what it is and why that is better than the framework the affirmative is providing. I generally am not persuaded by framework arguments that mean I should completely discount the fiated implications of the affirmative but am often persuaded that I should evaluate the links/impacts to the K against the impact of the aff.
I've gotten simultaneously more versed in critical literature and much worse for the kritik as a judge over the last few years. I think that often times teams who read exclusively critical arguments get away with asserting things as true with no evidence or explanation and judges treat it as a complete argument or incontrovertible truth. I'm not one of those judges.
Your K should ideally:
- Be a reason why the aff is bad, not just why the status quo is bad. Specific links are good. Links of omission are not a reason to vote neg.
- Defend an alternative. I tend to have pretty high standards for alternative solvency. Convince me that the world of the alternative would be better than the world of the plan or that the alternative solvency is less important than something unethical about the plan.
- Not just be a framework argument.
Yes the aff gets a perm, no it doesn't need a net benefit.
Fiat double bind = thumbs down frowny face
Affs without a plan: I generally go into debates believing that the aff should defend a hypothetical policy enacted by the United States federal government. I think debate is a research game and I struggle with the idea that the ballot can do anything to remedy the impacts that many of these affs describe.
I certainly don't consider myself immovable on that question and my decision is likely to be governed by what happens in any given debate; that being said, I don't like when judges pretend to be fully open to any argument in order to hide their true thoughts and feelings about them and so I would prefer to be honest that these are my predispositions about debate, which, while not determinate of how I judge debates, certainly informs and affects it.
I would describe myself as a VERY good judge for T-USFG against affs that do not read a plan. I find impacts about debatability, clash, iterative testing and fairness to be very persuasive. I think fairness is an impact in and of itself. I am not very persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.
I generally am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.
I think when teams are aff against T-USFG in front of me, counter-defining words + offense that explains why I should prefer your interp is more persuasive than just impact turns.
I don't think debate is roleplaying.
I am uncomfortable making decisions in debates where people have posited that their survival hinges on my ballot.
IMPACT CALC WINS DEBATE ROUNDS!
Civil rights/LGBTQ+ rights attorney during the week, debate coach by weekend. I know things about CJR, particularly about CJR and the queer community. Feel free to chat.
Coaching/judging CX for about 10 years now. Tech over truth, insofar as it minimizes my own intervention. But that's not an excuse to throw out a bunch of poorly developed/bad quality args.
In general, it's your debate, not mine. You can choose to follow my preferences on here if you want to, but never limit your ability to debate based on my personal preferences.
I find that case debate is frequently underdeveloped on the high school level. Like, I get you love your K, but you should probably cross apply all that to the S flow please? At the end of the round, I'm basically going to ask myself if the aff is a good idea. As the neg, don't make it harder than it needs to be- tell me why it isn't. As Aff, give me good impact calc and explain why the plan is a good idea, as opposed to just answering off case.
T- I have a very high standard on T, and in general, I'm not going to vote on potential abuse. You need to do more work than that. The standards debate is important and needs to be fleshed out well. Default to reasonability.
Theory- Make it interesting. Super generic theory is lame, and it makes me very sad, especially when you use it to avoid poignant and interesting debate. I really hate rounds that are just people reading blocks at each other instead of actually engaging. That being said, I really appreciate nuanced pre-fiat args, so go for it- tell me all about how fiat is illusory. Tell me all about how policy debate is inherently elitist and how valuing procedural fairness is a bad idea. Or tell me it's a key prereq to structural fairness. Or not. Engage and have critical thought.
Condo is fine, PICS are fine.
I love good K debate. However, you need to truly know and understand your K and articulate it well. Even if I know your cards, I'm not going to interpret them or argue them for you- that's your job. Good anlysis always prefer over bad cards. I'll appreciate it if you do a nice job with the alt debate- make me understand the post alt world and flesh out alt solvency. Perf con matters on a reps focused K.
Framework debates are sometimes really frustrating to judge. Chances are, they're going to get to read their K. I'd much rather you spend the time of K proper and impact framing. If the framework debate is what really matters, engage in it with critical thought and clash.
K affs are fine, with some notes. If there's absolutely no potential for clash or when the K aff is just making for really lazy aff debaters, that's sad to me. I think that topic education is important, and I hate when either Aff debaters or neg debaters use the K as a way to bypass properly engaging with the topic lit.
Speed is fine as long as you're clear. I'll tell you if you aren't. I appreciate it if you slow down on your tags, especially super long ones. For the love of all that is holy, if you spread those Lacan tags at me, we will not be friends.
Underviews make everyone sad, me included.
If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc., you will absolutely pay for it in your speaks, and we're gonna have a post-round chat.
A good analytic is always better than a bad card, especially in K debate.
At the end of the day, debate is a game. Have fun and learn stuff.
Nick D Nave
2017 Crowns United Boo!
I am a coach and teacher at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. I have been involved with debate on the local, regional, and national circuit as a competitor, judge, and coach for more years than I care to put in print.
Non-traditional Debate Warning: If you are looking for a judge that is into non-plan, non-topical K affs, poetry, or other interp affs, I am definitely not the best (or even second best) judge for you. I love a good POI, Oratory, and DI, but I love them in those event categories.
Speed: Once upon a time, I kept a fairly fast and thorough flow. I think that I still keep a good flow, but perhaps not as fast. I am older now (it happens to us all), and my hands hurt a bit more, so I find that I need a little time to warm up to the pace. Another issue concerning speed is that debaters, more often than not, think they are clearer than they actually are. Paperless debate has made this worse. I'll usually try give one "clearer" or "louder" warning per speaker, but after that, either you or your partner had better be paying attention to my facial expressions and whether I’m flowing. I have a terrible poker face, so it will be pretty obvious. If I don’t flow the argument or card text then that argument or card text it is not in the round and I am definitely not going to ask about it. I am inclined to be more impressed with a debater who is clear, efficient, and persuasive who speaks slightly slower than a debater who feels the need to show me their mad spreading skills. In terms of speed and T, theory, and k’s: SLOW DOWN - slow way down (see notes on kritiks). Please read my comments at the end of this page concerning the ever growing negative aspects of paperless debate.
The Role of the Affirmative: I expect the affirmative to advocate the resolution through TOPICAL PLAN action. Yes, the aff must have a plan and it must be clearly stated in the AC. If you want to run a critical aff stating that the resolution is racist, ablest, ageist, or anything else that suggests an unwillingness to affirm the resolution at hand, as written, then I am not going to be a good judge for you. I am possibly willing to listen to a critical aff that advocates the resolution. (Please see my notes on kritiks later). Performance/Project teams will probably find it a challenge to meet my view of the affirmative's role.
Topicality: It’s a voter. I like a good T debate that involves actual evidence and a description of why the aff does not meet the interpretation. The standards debate should include a viable limits argument. Why is the affirmative's interpretation of limits bad for debate? If you are going for ground, make sure you impact why it's a big deal to you in the round, and/or even for debate as a whole. Negative teams who plan to go for topicality should be prepared to go “all in." At best, you could weigh “T” and one other position. You’re unlikely to get much ground or be terribly persuasive if T is one of 3 or 4 positions in the 2NR (And really, why have four positions remaining in the 2NR?). Impact analysis on T is just as important as it is on any other position. Don’t bother to kritik T with me in the room. T is not racist. Do not run RVI’s on T. It is worth noting that a T debate needs to be a bit slower due to its needed explanation, but it does not need to be handled as slowly as a kritik.
Counterplans: Preferably, counterplans are non-topical, which creates a clearer division of ground. Counterplans also need to be clearly competitive. A CP that is basically just steals the plan is probably not competitive and is just stealing ground, but the idea of PICs can be debated in round. Conditional CP’s are probably a bad thing, but the debate as to why must be specific. A clear net benefit is better for competiveness. If going for the CP in the 2NR, the negative does not automatically get the assumption of the Status Quo as the alternative in place of the CP as a voting issue. This choice must be explained in the 2NR. The aff should definitely argue whether the neg can operate in multiple worlds, or must treat the CP as their new advocacy. Note: I find most severance perms abusive. When I have voted on such a perm, it has usually been because the neg mishandled the flow and allowed the aff to get away with it. The neg needs to note that it is the affirmative’s job to advocate their plan, in its entirety, through the 2AR. It is one thing for the Aff to kick an advantage, but it's an entirely different thing to sever part or all of the plan. Affirmatives should not argue that the "neg does not get any fiat." That's ridiculously limiting.
Disadvantages: I’m old school policy, so I like disads. Disads should have a comparable risk to the net benefits of the AC and/or serve as a net benefit to the CP. There should be a significant link debate (offense/defense) and a clear impact calculus. I hate it when teams wait until the 2NR/2AR to finally weigh the impacts. Reading more cards is not weighing an impact; it’s just reading more cards. An impact calculus requires clear analysis. I will put as much effort into weighing the disad risk as a decision calculus as you spend trying to persuade me that the argument is worth the vote.
Kritiks: Despite Newman having a new director that is well known for his love of the K, I have not grown to love kritiks. This is definitely true in terms of non-topical K affs and neg kritiks that probably have little to do with the actual plan. Some teams have become overly reliant upon them (running the same position every single year) and use them to avoid having to debate the topic or debate policies they don’t like. I find that most kritiks have ambiguous implications at best and the alternative (if there is one) is often not an alternative at all. I have found myself voting for some of these arguments, despite my not even understanding the position, because the other team failed to explain clearly why the argument has little bearing in the round or fails to point out the shortcomings of the alt. You should also be aware that I most likely have not read the critical literature you are referencing and citing. I have a rudimentary understanding of philosophy. I was not a philosophy major. I do not plan to go back to graduate school to study philosophy. If you plan to run any critical positions in my presence, you must do the following:
1) Slow Down. Really. Slow. Down. I mean conversational speed slow down
2) Explain your position clearly – no blippy tag lines or argument extensions
3) Have a specific link
4) Have a clear alternative – something more tangible than “being part of the ___ mindset," “avoiding the evils of capitalism,” or "do nothing." Huh??
Despite my personal disposition on the kritiks, the opposing team will still need to say more than “The K is bringing down policy and should go away.”
Performance/Project Debates: I’m still a cost-benefits analysis policy judge at heart. I have not changed my mind on the position that performance/project positions leave little ground for the opposing team. I have no idea how to weigh your performance against the other team’s position (performance or traditional) for the purposes of winning a debate.
Cross Ex: CX is important for fleshing out a strategy and provide clarification of arguments; I generally think that answers in cross ex are binding. I actually listen to cross ex, often take notes and even find it interesting. I also find it not that interesting on many occasions. Tag team CX is okay, but avoid taking it over. Not being able to handle your cross ex will result in lower speaker points. Taking over a partner’s CX will also result in lower speaks. CX starts when the speaker is finished. If you need 30 seconds to “set up” then that will come out of prep.
Role of the Ballot: My ballot determines who wins the round. That is all. If you win, you are (perhaps) one round closer to clearing. If you lose, you are (perhaps) one round closer to not clearing. My ballot does not send a message to the debate community; it is not a teaching tool; it is not an endorsement of a particular action or philosophy.
Theory: Save theory debates for when they really need needed and warranted. Too many debaters are running theory as their “go to” argument. Debating theory as a "default" argument every round cheapens the arguments and makes judges less likely to take them seriously. Do not run any theory arguments against Topicality (see above).
Paperless Debate: Speaking style has simply become worse with paperless debate. Card reading has become choppy, debaters have problems toggling back and forth on the computer, debaters are taking liberties with prep while flashing or emailing speech docs, and instead of flowing the arguments as they are being presented, debaters are back-flowing from flashed material that may or may not have actually made it into the speech. Some judges have resorted to reading the email chain. These are all poor debate practices. Teams are saving paper and tons of money when flying, but debates have become sloppy.
Prep Time: Your prep ends when you have finished loading the flash drive and hand it off to the opposing team. If an email chain is set up, your prep ends when you hit “send.” This means that you are standing up to speak. If you start conversing with your partner, I will continue to run prep and I will probably dock your speaks for stealing prep.
Flowing: Do it. Follow the flow, not the “flashed” cards. Do not mess up my flow!!
Label Arguments: “First off, A-uniqueness” is not a label for my flow. Label each off case – every single one of them. When you move to the case debate, be clear as to where you are and when you are moving on to another advantage, etc. This is also true for the 1A; the AC needs to be crystal clear.
Reading Cards Post Round: I rarely do so. To get me to read a card requires a specific request during your speech and an explanation as to why and what I am looking for exactly. If I am part of the email chain, this does not mean I am automatically going to read cards. If I call for a card without you requesting it or go to the email chain without direction then something was so unclear that I felt I had no choice. This presents an opportunity to intervene, which I do not like doing if I can avoid it.
Card Clipping: It’s cheating. Don’t do it. If an accusation is brought up in the round, I will take it seriously (even stop the round if necessary). If you bring it up as an accusation, you need to be darn certain you are correct. Be clear where you stop reading a card if you do not finish. "Stop card" is probably not clear enough.
As we say in New Orleans, “Be Nice or Leave”. It is fine to be competitive, but have fun. You are competitors in the round, but you should be friends outside of the round. Being a jerk in the round will not lead to friendships and it will definitely hurt your speaker points.
Last affiliated with: Wake Forest University, North Carolina (2014 - 2016.)
Previously Associated with: Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School, New York (2009 - 2014)
email: email@example.com (enter it into the email chain)
The work I put in is nothing compared to the work you have done preparing for this debate. But I can tell you that I will work hard in trying to make you feel like your time here is not wasted. That your work is being recognized the way that you wish it to be. Despite any doubts you may have of your own talent, to know that your love for this activity is meaningful. That is my promise to you.
At a glance:
-Speaks (novice&jv will vary)- I was told the last time I judged that, "times have changed," and the speaker points I gave were too little. Therefore, I have maintained my standards, but scaled the points to accurately reflect the current trends. I hope you will enjoy.
Line-by-line is necessary to break 27.0
Correct debate execution without appearance of deliberate strategic choices nets you 27.5 - 28.0
Deliberate strategic choices 28.0 - 29.0
Impressive execution and strategic choices 29.0 - 30.0
Missing decency - will not break 26.0
-Opinion on the current meta: teams are running towards affs that defend less and less, and teams are running towards reading framework against those affs. This meta is fine but stale. Words of advice for both sides;
IF you are "framework": I'd rather watch a debate where teams hold the AFF to reading affs within the scope of the topic by running an interpretation of what areas of literature the topic should cover to promote the best depth of knowledge and debate skills about said topic. Then explain why the AFF has not met that interpretation of the topic. Note here that topic =/= usfg.
IF you are "non-traditional debate": You'll have a higher success rate if your aff has links to the topic. Your aff doesn't need to be USFG but it has to do something. That something can be flexible. But as I like saying, "however far of a stretch you think it is, you have to close that distance before you can start on other flows."
Debate is a game. It has an established meta. Both sides believes they are correct while the other side is wrong. I'm of the opinion that it's not a game of proving who's right, but effectively translating your ideas and communicating them to me so that I can write a ballot with your name on it. (i.e: policy debate is not an exercise in writing a thesis paper, it is an exercise in translating from your language to mine.) Translation of ideas often times are more successful the more languages you speak - this is to say, having many different ways to say the one thing will find you more success among many different judges through many different rounds. I am no different here. Speak my language and the barrier to explanation will be lower. Speak a foreign language to me and the barrier will be higher.
Speed is good. I akin it to dribbling in basketball/tech-skill in videogames, a barrier of entry that allows for a wider range of volatility, providing an avenue for potential creativity (if you're not fast) or defeating shortcomings through sheer dedication (if you wanna be fast).
Evidence is good. Claims with warrants is an absolute deal breaker. Tech that is true > tech believably true > truth without tech > tech without truth > truth.
(And here is a personal bias: I like a good cross ex moment like any other judge. But where I differ is that if you can be honestly kind during cross ex while still getting the answers you need to get, you'll get a lot higher points from me compared to other judges.)
For novice/jv: If your coach/senpai gave you blocks to read, read them before the debate to figure out what that block is saying, and then re-write the block in your own words. I understand that this cannot be done 100% of the time, but it can be done more often than not. If it becomes apparent that you are reading blocks in the rebuttals without thinking about the arguments and how they interact, I won't just lower your speaks, I will most likely not give that argument much more weight on the flow. I've certainly given novice/jv teams the W when they have lost on the flow, but they understand all the arguments they made and how it interacts with the opponents' arguments. We're aiming for long term growth, not short term Ws in novice/jv.
I'm an all around low-maintenance judge. But here are some things to keep in mind behavior-wise:
- Please clean up after yourselves. We're most likely having a debate in a public space (some school) or a rented space (some hotel). It would be nice if you are courteous of your surroundings.
- I'll smile and give facial feedback (I am human after all) while you are debating. Look at these and adjust accordingly and you will have more success.
- You can easily hurt my feelings by: not appearing to listen to my reason for decision, appearing to degrade others for wanting to debate, insulting people I hold close to me. Most of the time if this happens before the round, you'll probably lose since I'll look for every reason to vote against you :')
- In case this becomes important, I live under a different rock than you do. I don't really know anything about your "pop-culture" so your references will most likely fly over my head. Sorry ^^
For those people who think that getting some background on the judge's history tells them more about how they judge debates, I've listed out some important historical details about me:
I've done pretty much all sorts of things in every facet of Debate. I've read a plan text that had ten words to a plan text that read like a novella. I've read a plan without a plan text. I've read a policy big stick aff. I've read a small squirrely aff designed to beat T-substantial but was not substantial. I've read an identity aff. I've read all sorts of negative arguments from consult to pic-ing out of individual debaters, to reading poems about purple kush. I've read everything from Mills to Baudrillard to Rodriguez to Wilderson to Kagan. I've read DisAds that didn't have uniqueness but were 'linear' to the DisAd formerly known as "the Obama DA."
I haven't done all of those things with tremendous success, but I've done all of it at a national-circuit level. Which is something that not everyone can say.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that in front of me, you can be whomever you want to be. You don't have to be yourself if you don't want to. You can be the best politics debater (and by that virtue you can be the worst politics debater and instead go for something else), you can do a mean line by line, you can drop the overview and go for truth, or you can go for conditionality bad for however many minutes your rebuttal is. Whatever floats your PIK.
I used to really like debate. Now it's an old memory of mine. If you're really passionate about debate, don't be afraid to let it show. Hold onto that flame and enjoy it while it lasts.
Best of luck.
From the beginning, I think debaters need to understand that I was never a policy debater myself. I took over a successful team at Caddo when they needed faculty support, and the debaters and alums taught me the activity. Over the next fifteen years I learned enough to teach it to novices and intermediates. I judged actively for about fifteen years, but since bringing a new coach to our school two years ago, I have not been in many rounds. If you want someone who is going to understand clipped references to acronyms or core camp affs that you think everyone already knows on this arms control topic, I am not that guy. You are going to have to break things down and explain. I am a flow judge, but kind of rusty.
Now, Caddo has been known as a fairly critical team over the last decade, and I have learned to appreciate those arguments a good bit. As someone who teaches sociology, psychology, and philosophy at my high school, I am sympathetic to many identity arguments, critiques of epistemology, etc. However, I am not going to be down with a lot of jargon-filled blocks on framework—you must explain why I should weigh your project or method against fairness arguments of the policy world. I like the kind of literature discussed in critical rounds, but I have voted for policy affs outweighing a critique in different debates, especially where the aff won the framework and the neg did not.
That being said, I am very comfortable listening to case, disad, counterplan rounds. I think topicality sets important rules of the game & so if you plan to flout those rules, you better have a compelling reason. I certainly value the kind of knowledge and skills that policy debaters learn through the activity.
Ethos matters. We all know how important cross-ex is to establishing a confident position, but don’t be rude. If you can have a really competitive round and still treat your opponent—and your partner!—with respect, then that goes a long way with me on speaker points.
Email chain—yes. firstname.lastname@example.org
I am not a proficient enough typist to flow on the laptop, but if you signpost your arguments well enough, I should be able to flow a debate at speed. Being able to read the evidence during the speech certainly helps me though.
Do what you do best in front of me, give full explanations of why I should vote for you, and you will be ok. Make blippy arguments that claim you won because of something that was barely in the debate and dropped by the other team—then no matter how pissed you act when “post-rounding” me at the end, you will still have lost.
This is a great activity. Have fun with it & don’t take yourself too seriously, then we all win.
TL;DR: Do your thing as long as you do it well.
I debated for Homewood Flossmoor in High School for three years.
I debated for Illinois State University for two years
I debated for the University of Texas at Dallas for three years.
I have a more than decent grasp of debate in general. I judge a good amount of tournaments a year so I have an okay understanding of the topic but don't assume I know every detail and nuance of it. Needless to say you should probably explain your arguments regardless.
I will evaluate all arguments. I think like most judges I like to believe that I evaluate debate from an unbiased position...but like all judges I do have some predispositions
If you tell me to star, double star, flag, or read a card and it's trash I dock speaker points 10 out of 10 times.
I don't like to read a lot of evidence at the end of debates, but I definitely reward good cards.
Framework: I judge a ton of these debates. To be honest I couldn't care less about either sides arguments so play ball. These debates are almost always decided by impact calculus, and whether or not the negative is able to absorb some of the affirmative's offense, whether through topical version of the aff, switch side debate, etc..
You should just debate this however you wish, but if you want to know some of my personal feelings about these debates........
- The aff almost always gets to weigh the aff against Framework.
- The aff doesn't get to perm interps, framework should be about what competing models of debate look like. That being said if you allow the aff to finesse you in this fashion, you're probably going to lose.
- Fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact, but with sufficient work it can be an impact, this is work missing from the vast majority of framework debates. It's probably not the best impact against teams making identity based arguments, against all other teams it should make an appearance.
- Substantive framework impacts such as cede the political, agonism, deliberation, etc are generally more persuasive especially against identity based arguments
- T versions of the aff are like perms, why not make several of them?
Counterplans: I think counterplans are a fundamental part of debate. Well thought out specific counterplan are one of the strongest debate tools that you can use. If you're gonna run a counterplan make sure you can theoretically justify it. If counterplans that compete off resolved, should, etc are at the top of your box, it will not be warmly received, but rarely do affirmative's invest enough in the theory debate on these counterplans for that to deter you.
DAs: DAs are also a core debate argument. I am a big fan of politics DA. Specific DAs are always a plus. Contrived DAs are contrived for a reason...and I'll leave it at that.
Kritiks: I have a pretty good grasp of a lot of the popular Kritiks, but that isn't an excuse for a lack of explanation when reading your argument. I refuse to do that work for you regardless of my previous knowledge. That being said, I'm down otherwise. I think that the framework debates on these are stale and usually worthless. The aff should get to weigh the aff, the neg obviously get their kritik, can we start from here or make these debates more innovative.
Case: You should read it. Lots of it. Its good, makes for good debates, and is generally underutilized.
Topicality: I enjoy good T debates......not like T substantial. Unfortunately T debates are normally really messy, so the team to really put the debate into perspective and be very clear on how the two worlds interact first generally wins. If you're looking for a judge willing to pull the trigger on T, I'm probably a good judge for you.
Theory: In accordance to popular belief I like theory. I enjoy good theory debates. I honestly believe affirmative teams let the negative get away with a ton of bullshit, and shouldn't be afraid to not only run theory but to go for it and go for it hard. And to a lesser extent the negative in respect to the affirmative. I honestly believe debaters respond to a win-loss record paradigm so I believe the ballot can be used to punish them. That being said I am by no means an aff theory hack, but if you're going to do something abusive on the neg you should take the time to cover your ass on theory. Also I think everything about topicality above applies.
Things that are good and you should probably have/do
Flagging important issues in debate
Good/Strong CX questions and answers
Things I kinda believe
Tech over Truth
Smart Analytics can beat evidence
Uniqueness probably decides the direction of the link
Uniqueness can overwhelm the link
New 1AR arguments are probably inevitable and good to some extent
Prep time stops once you save the speech to your flashdrive
Debate is a game.
Global Warming is real.
Tabroom.com is mostly my fault. Therefore I'm out of the active coaching game, but occasionally will stick myself on a pref sheet as a free strike so I can judge in an emergency.
My history in the activity includes competing in parliamentary debate and extemp, coaching and judging a lot of extemp, PF, LD and some other IEs, policy and congress along the way. I've coached both champs and people who are lucky to win rounds, and respect both. I coached at Milton Academy, Newton South HS and Lexington HS in that order.
All: Racist, ableist, sexist, trans- or homophobic, or other directly exclusionary language and conduct is an auto-loss. Debate the debates, not the debater. I will apply my own standards/judgment, it's the only way I can enforce it.
Policy & LD: I'm not active but do regularly watch debates. I'm OK with your speed but not topic specific jargon. Be slower for tags and author names. If you're losing me I'll say clear a couple times, but eventually will give up flowing and you won't like what happens next. I won't lean on the docs to catch up and have zero shame in saying "I didn't get it so I didn't vote for it." If I don't understand it until the 2N/2AR I consider it new in the 2.
LD: I did a lot of LD in the late 90s until the mid 2000s, then mostly stopped, then started again at Lex and coached them for about eight years. So I'm comfy with both older-school framework debates and the LARP/policy arguments my kids mostly ran.
My threshold on theory tends to be high; dumb theory debates are part of why I stopped coaching LD. I wrote an article that people still card about how theory should be relegated to actual norm creation instead of tactical wins -- though if you card me as an attempt to flatter instead of actually understanding the point, I will probably be cross.
I also dislike debates about out of round conduct or issues. I can't judge based on anything that I did not see, such as disclosure theory, pre-round shenanigans, or "he said last debate that he'd do X and he didn't." I also will take a dim view towards post-rounding that crosses from questions into a 3AR/3NR and will adjust points to reflect that.
Don't tell me that the tab room won't let me do that. I can always do that.
K: I am sympathetic to K debate and its aims, and will frequently vote for it if it makes sense in the round, but Ks get no more gimme wins from me than any other argument. If it doesn't link or I don't get the impact or the alt sounds like we're supposed to stop all the world's troubles by singing campfire songs you'll probably lose.
I take a dim view on the type of K or identity debates that demand disclosure of identity from anyone in the room. I'm part of the LGBTQ spectrum, and when I was competing, I could not disclose that without risk to myself. I therefore flinch reflexively if you seem to demand to know anyone's place on various identity spectrums as the price of winning a debate. A place in debate should not be at the cost of their privacy.
That said, if you put your own identity in the round you therefore risk your identity being debated. Don't try to run a K and then call no tag-backs if someone tries to answer your stuff with your stuff.
Policy: I have less background in your activity than I do in LD. So I know the general outlines fine, as the events have converged, but I'm definitely going to need you to slow down just a titch especially if you're running the type of policy args that haven't crossed as much into LD, like T debates or specific theory/condo stuff. I'm very much not a fan of the politics debate and will have a very low threshold on no-link args, since I tend to believe politics almost never links anyway.
Also see the K section under LD.
PF: I mostly enjoy PF rounds and coached it as my only debate event for about 4 years at Newton South. I don't sneer at it like a lot of coaches from the LD/Policyverse might. However, there are a few things I really dislike that proliferate in PF.
1) Evidence shenanigans between speeches. Have your evidence ready for your opponent to read/review immediately. Your partner can create a doc while you speak, for crying out loud. If you fumble around with it and can't get your act together, you'll see your speaks dropping.
2) Evidence shenanigans during speeches. Look, PF speeches are short. I get it. But ultimately the decisions as to whether you're abusing evidence are mine to make and I will make them. Don't fabricate, make up, or infer things your evidence doesn't say because I will read and check anything that sounds suspicious to me, or your opponents call out. This includes PF Math™: taking numbers out of your ev and combining them in ways the author did not. I read a lot of news so the likelihood I know when you're making it up is rather high.
3) Good God most crossfires, especially the free-for-all at the end, make me want to stab my ears out. Here's where I import prejudices from LD and policy more than anything: cross is about setting up arguments and confirming things, not trying to corner and AHA! your opponents or sneaking in a third contention. Set up arguments, don't make them. If you try to extend something out of cross, that's not going to go well for you. If you are an obnoxious talking-show nitwit, that's REALLY not going to go well for you.
4) If you're playing the game of "Look How Circuit I Can Be Mr Policy/LD Judge!" and your opponent has zero idea of what's going on, I'm not impressed. Debate is engagement, and giving your opponent no chance to engage by design is pretty much an auto-loss in my book. That does not mean you should shy away from creative arguments. It means you must explain them so that everyone in the room can be expected to understand and engage with them as long as they're trying to.
Glenbrook South High School ‘13
Updated: December 2017
Education Topic: Not at all as familiar with the topic as I have been with the past few. Have judged zero debates on this topic.
Debated for four years at GBS and coached for four as well during college. Don't really do any debate stuff anymore.
Debate is a game that is a tremendous learning opportunity for a variety of professional careers and I have experienced first-hand the real world benefits of the activity. I appreciate how it allows you to test a variety of ideas and strategies that you normally wouldn't be able to.
Please resolve issues at the end of debates with not only impact calc, but the implication of you being ahead/winning arguments in the broader context of the debate.
Debaters work hard and I feel I should do the same as a judge.
An arg is a claim+impact+warrant.
"You can't beat an argument by simply pointing out that an argument should be ignored. If you cannot logically deconstruct a 'dumb' argument, what does that make you?" - Ben Wolch. At the bare minimum, present a reason why.
1% risk doesn't make sense. Mitigating the risk of something sufficiently enough will make its risk inconsequential.
Try or die only makes sense if the trying somewhat resolves the dying.
I have a a strong emphasis on clarity and efficiency – generally, debates center around a few key arguments but the last rebuttals include a lot of irrelevant substance filling arguments instead of a focus on the core issues.
Pieces of evidence are only useful as support for an argument. Make sure each piece of evidence you read is carefully selected to serve an explicit purpose. Analytics suffice in the absence of evidence as long there is a logical warrant proving the claim true.
The content and source of an argument are relevant, in so far, as the argument that you are making.
My favorite part about debate is research. Take that for what you will.
Truth versus tech is sort of arbitrary. It's not new if it is true.
“I enjoy debaters doing what they do well. If you’re funny, be funny. If you are smart, be smart. Cordial debates are generally more enjoyable. Context matters. If two aggressive teams have a heated rivalry then it’s going to produce an aggressive debate---I get that. Unnecessary aggression/rudeness/etc will result in lower points.” – Jordan Blumenthal
Impact turn + Advantage CP/Case is my favorite strategy.
There is a strategic utility to certain critiques (more commonly known as kritiks) when executed in a fashion that makes it a relevant consideration of the affirmative.
after my time in the activity and experience in the real world, my parting words of wisdom is that the single most important thing I took away from the activity is to maximize your fun. 5 years from now - you are going to tell the stories where you had the most fun.
For questions related to anything, email me:
all arguments are fine. judge intervention is bad.
Online debate update
-i will have camera on or off if debaters prefer-feel free to express your preference
-I am using a desktop computer (for tabroom/to see your doc, I'm flowing on paper) without a webcam and using Zoom etc on a tablet sitting next to me. This means I'm rarely looking "at" the camera
-my headset is wireless, I may get up and move around during CX/prep but I can hear even if I'm not on camera
My general philosophy is tech/line by line focused- I try to intervene as little as possible in terms of rejecting arguments/interpreting evidence. As long as an argument has a claim/warrant I can explain to your opponent in the RFD I will vote for it. If only one side tries to resolve an issue I will defer to that argument even if it seems illogical/wrong to me- i.e. if you drop "warming outweighs-timeframe" and have no competing impact calc its GG even though that arg is terrible. 90% of the time I'm being postrounded it is because a debater wanted me to intervene in some way on their behalf either because that's the trend/what some people do or because they personally thought an argument was bad.
Rounds Judged on the topic- a lot
My Ideal affirmative- 2 well constructed advantages
My Ideal 1NC- 5 off and case
Cliffs Notes-Top 10 Things you should know
1. I vote on arguments commonly considered "bad" frequently because a team mishandles them, it is my belief belief that most bad arguments can be defeated by making a thumbs down motion, so if you fail to meet that minimum threshold I will be qualmless voting against you. The overarching principle of my judging is "least intervention"-Much like Harrison Ford in Ender's Game under no circumstances will I help you with bad arguments, I believe in self help.
2. I vote on kritiks a lot because the team answering them reads a lot of bad generic answers instead of making analytic arguments based on the specific arguments they have made in that debate. To clarify this sentence - what I mean is an analytic based on your 1AC- ie "tradable permits empirically don't cause commodification and extinction since we already have them for SO2". In general I think most debaters have no idea what they are saying when reading a K and that affirmatives SHOULD win about 80-90% of the debates in which the negative goes for one.
3. No plan affs- 100% of the time when I vote against you on framework its because the other team won theory was a trump card over issues like education/K impacts and you didn't advance theory offense for your interpretation. I end up voting for no plan args frequently because the neg collapses/has no idea what to do.
4. Theory needs to come back with a vengeance
A. Entirely plan inclusive counterplans- I have never heard a theory argument to defend them that passes the minimum threshold explained above. That being said, winning a solvency deficit against them is basically impossible.
B. More than 2 conditional counterplans is just you being a chazzer
C. K frameworks/roles of the ballot that stack the deck absurdly are worse than entirely plan inclusive counterplans
D. Reject argument not team produces terrible debates with very bad strategies. Voting on theory doesn't fix this, but it improves it substantially.
5. I believe you have a choice
A. Clearly articulate your ground/say as much in CX
B. Because your position is vague you are susceptible to a reduced credibility modifier that taints many of your arguments. Plan vagueness affects plan solvency, alternative vagueness affects.... etc.
6. IMO there are, in fact, risks of things. Debaters should be aware of this and make arguments about how I should resolve risk. The plan may be popular with 5 people and unpopular with 6, should I place more emphasis on the number of people or maybe are those 5 more important? Very few link cards establish such a clear threshold that you can say with certainty (when contested) yes definite link. (this point is largely irrelevant now as the tides of history have turned and no risk people have been successfully marginalized)
7. I will always defer to debater argument resolution if one side does it and the other doesn't-no matter how bad or illogical I think the argument is. This is to me, the most important part of debate.
8. I try really hard to flow well. Teams who willfully ignore line by line/structure - I will not do work for you to figure things out if the other team does line by line barring some argument why I should.
9. I often call for lots of evidence after a debate, most of the time this is just out of curiosity. When making my decision evidence is only a factor when it is a point of contest or someone has made an argument for why it should be a part of the decision. I am not a judge who reads every card from both sides and makes a decision based on the evidence.
10. Evidence quality in debate is in terminal decline. If you have good evidence and you make an issue of it in the debate (talk about quals, or recency for uniqueness) you will most likely crush.
Making a decision:
Everything is debatable but speech times: The role of the ballot, whether evidence or analytic arguments are more important, is it acceptable for the other team to read off their computers, who gets presumption and why etc. If neither team makes an argument on the issue, the following are my defaults:
1. Evidence and analytic arguments are treated equally- I will look at the total sum of explanation offered for an argument, from any form. So if a well explained analytical will beat a poorly written piece of evidence. If one teams reads qualifications and the other doesn't, the team who read quals will receive a slight bump in the level of quality I assess to their explanation (assuming all other factors are equal). Treating them as equal until told otherwise is my way of encouraging debate.
2. Presumption, in the case of a tie or too close to call resolution of an argument, goes to the team advocating the least change. I would use presumption in the instance where each team had an advocacy and an offensive argument, and each team dropped a terminal defense argument to their own offense such that the net risk in either direction of presented offense was exactly zero. In that instance the "hidden disad" of change makes sense as a decision making tool. In no other circumstance I can think of would I use presumption unless explicitly instructed by the debaters.
3. If an argument is unresolveable (or tough to resolve) I will use a "needs" test- the burden of explanation will be assessed to the team who NEEDS the argument to win. So for example
-on a CP permutation, if the neg would win the debate without the permutation, then the aff needs it to win- so the burden of explanation is on them
-for CP solvency, if the neg would lose if the CP did not solve the case, then the neg needs to win solvency- so the burden of explanation is on them
4. Concession= truth. If you drop epistemology comes first/is a side constraint, then it is. You can drop that framing issue and still win as long as you beat the link (that your epistemology is flawed), but you will not be allowed new answers to the impact. I use a reasonable person standard- if I was unaware that the 1NC presented a epistemology first argument (based on what was said in the 1NC, not my prior knowledge of the negative team), then if the aff says "they didn't say this, therefore our answers aren't new" I would allow it. But remember, everything is debatable. If the 2NR comes back and asserts it was clearly stated when they said XYZ, the aff has to disprove that.
5. The threshold for how good a response to an argument has to be is directly related to the quality of the initial argument. Saying "RANT" is sufficient to beat a lot of voting issues. If the other team answers RANT in their 2NC sever perms are a VI block, and thats all you say, you will be in trouble. Similarly, many counterplans (consult, recommendation, delay, lopez) are easily defeated by theory arguments but almost impossible to beat on substance. A well rounded debater should avoid trying to ice skate uphill.
6. I spend a lot of time on debate. Other than eating and playing video games, basically all of my time is spent cutting cards, coaching, writing and reading about debate. A lot of judges say "I'm not a very good flow". I'm a very good flow, I may even go as far as to say probably one of the best. All that being said, it is very possible that you could say a string of words, or utter a quote from an article I have written that fully conveys your argument to me, but would leave a less experienced/judge with a life with no idea what you were saying/what your argument was. I try to temper this fact by using a "reasonable person" standard for what makes a complete argument. I feel this is essential because otherwise any student who was in my lab, had emailed me a question, or had just read a lot of the 3NR would have an absurdly unfair advantage vs a similarly skilled student. So if I made a joke in lab about saying "purple monkey dishwasher" and that meaning "we do the whole plan minus the reps", so you say that in a debate and expect me to vote on it, I won't. Unless you are debating someone else from the lab who had equal access to that information. Similarly, even if I flowed an argument/got the jist of what you were saying, but feel that the other team is being reasonable when they say your argument was poorly explained/did not constitute an argument I will be open to that and you need to respond.
1. I like fast debate. That being said, some people give fast debate a bad name. You can be fast only after you are clear and efficient. I should be able to understand every word you say, not just the tags. If you are stammering (or displaying other verbal missteps) excessively you are going faster than you are capable of going imo.
2. Points are determined by how well you perform your function, which depends on what speeches you give. A 1AC should be perfectly smooth because you can practice it as much as you want. A 2NC assembled on the fly vs a new case can be excused a few missteps on the other hand. I think auto giving the 1N low points because they could be replaced by a robot in most debates is a bit unfair- a blazing fast 1NC and devastating 1NR can be game changing. That being said, rarely do people perform up to that level.
3. Points are assessed relative to the field in which you are competing. The same speech can be a 29 at a local, but a 27.5 at St Marks.
What is your threshold for T?
The threshold is established by the other teams answers- if they make good defensive arguments and argue reasonability well than my threshold will be high. If they don't it will be very low.
What are you favorite kinds of debate?
Ones in which there are clash, since that is not really a thing anymore its usually impact turn debates- heg bad, de-dev, CO2 ag and warming good- loved to go for these when I debated and love to see them debated now. CO2 ag is the upper limit of stupid I think is acceptable.
Did you run kritiks when you debated?
Not as much as Bricker would want you to believe. My senior year in HS and my senior year in college I went for K's about 30% of the time, in the other years of my debate less than 5%.
Did you ever read a critical aff?
By today's standards no- I always had a plan, though sometimes the advantages were not nuke war.
You bash the politics disad a lot, will you still vote for it?
Yes, almost always because the affirmative never does anything of the things that highlight the problem with politics.
Are you OK with speed?
Yes, if anything I dislike slow debate. However this is a double edged sword- if you do fast debate terribly I will punish you for it.
Is Fem IR beatable?
What race do you play in SC2?
Usually random, but if I pick -zerg.
If you were in Game of Thrones, which house would you belong to?
A note on jumping:
I want to see good debates. I'm not interested in charging you 10 seconds of prep to jump your speeches. If, however, you show total technical incompetence at jumping/severely delay the round your speaks will suffer. A good jump is like a good road map- its not hard, so get it over with quickly.
Standards for sharing should be reciprocal, and as such are established by the team willing to do the least. If Team A doesnt jump speeches as a policy that is fine by me, but then Team B is under no obligation to let Team A see any of their evidence. If Team A doesn't jump analytics, Team B doesn't have to etc.
A note on quality:
I generally believe that there are certain "norms" in debate- don't steal prep time, don't clip cards etc. These norms are not rules, and as such as a judge I don't think its my job to enforce them. In fact, I think it SHOULD be the burden of a good team to be on top of is the other team stealing prep, are they clipping cards etc. Encouraging students to take responsibility for this is the best model imo. However, there are debates where there is a huge mismatch in terms of the quality of the teams involved. I no longer think it reasonable to expect novices entered in their first varsity tournament to check to see if the Baker Award winning team they are debating is stealing prep. I also don't really care to argue with you about whether or not you are stealing prep. So my solution is that for all things that could be considered a violation of good sportsmanship I will severely jack your points if it is a debate where I subjectively decide the other team should not be responsible for checking you.SO
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx in the finals of the TOC vs another excellent team I would expect the other team to catch you
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx during a preset vs a vastly inferior team I will severely dock your speaker points
Experience: Currently debating at the University of Pittsburgh, debated for four years at New Trier High School.
Decision Making Procedure:
- I do not want to call for evidence.
-I spend time after the debate lining up arguments (usually from 1AR – 2NR – 2AR) to begin making the decision - I tend think of debate in terms of modules/smaller debates within an arguement that have relative importance and intersections with other smaller debates. If you think I should not use this method of evaluation you should provide detailed judging instructions to assist me in my decision making process that better suits your interests.
- I will try to make my proclivities as little a part of the debate as I can. I have an okay flow and I will attempt to decide primarily from that resource. I will rely more on the way that I interpreted your description and application of evidence during speeches and cx than reading evidence.
-I will be flowing on a laptop. Moving to laptop will result in a more transcript like flow and allow for me to focus on the language you used to forward your argument when evaluating the argument post-round.
-I strongly prefer email chain over flashing. Please include me in the chain email@example.com. I will be flowing (as should you), not reading your doc as you speak. I will open docs for CX questions that pertain to an interpretation of a specific piece of evidence and I will use the docs as necessary to evaluate evidence after the round.
- Don’t expect me to have a background in what you are discussing. This applies to any argument you read.
- Arguments should have at least a warrant for their claims.
- I’m a fairly expressive judge. If I’m confused, not impressed, or digging it you will likely be able to tell.
-I think debate should be a communication activity.
- I notice that I give more speaker points early in the tournament rather than later.
- I think this is the best part of debate.
- I will flow cross-x. Arguments clarified in cross-x should be consistently held throughout debate.
- Moments of cross-x often can makes an impact on the frame of an argument and are usually the first thing I recall when assessing speaker points.
-Not an RVI. Not genocide. ASPEC et al are likely a stretch and expect that I will find flippant 2AC arguments compelling in these instances.
-I am a good judge for consultation or condition counterplans. Conditionality bad isn't an uphill battle.
-A competitive alternative likely will not include the passage of plan.
-Affs that don't read a defense of USFG action or defend liberal policy making are probably predictable, questionably topical. I would like to hear affirmatives that show interest in the topic.
Speaker Point Distribution
-My points are decided based on the round in front of me and decided in the context of the division and my arbitrary perception of the field at the particular tournament.
-Don't expect a 29.2 or above no matter how good you were- there is usually a fair amount of improving to be done.
-Don't expect below a 27.5 from me unless you *acted* in a way that I found repugnant. You will not recieve lower than 27.5 points because I found an *argument*an that you made repugnant.
-Fabricating evidence is inexcusable.
-Clipping cards is unquestionably inexcusable. Challenges of card clipping will result in stopping the debate and if material evidence is provided that proves beyond a reasonable doubt in my mind that card clipping (NOT slurring of words or moments of lack of clarity) the offending team will recieve a loss and the offending speaker will recieve 0 speaker points. However, if I conclude that the speaker is not guilty of clipping cards the challenging team will recieve a loss and both challenging speakers will recieve 0 speaker points.
My kids keep making fun of me for my paradigm being too long so I decided to make a shorter updated version, but I'll leave the old stuff on the bottom for posterity. All the stuff I say in the old essay is still true unless it contradicts something written up here. Updated 12/22/2019. (Update 2: Apparently even in my short version I’m super verbose so I’ll give you a super cliff notes as well).
-Put me on the email chain but I flow off your speech.
-Warrants are super important, and I won’t vote on arguments without them.
-More impact comparison, no matter what kind of debate you do.
-Everything is fine, and I’m a lot better judge for neg FW than I used to be.
-Go for theory and T more.
-Don’t be shifty or mean.
-Zero risk is possible and defense can be terminal, but it often isn’t.
Paradigm, Short(er) Edition:
-Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Put me on the email chain please, though I won't read along outside of curiosity etc. reasons. I flow based on the words I hear, not what's in your document. This means clarity is of utmost importance. I'll say clear up to three times, but if I don't hear an argument the onus is on you. My hearing is also apparently not as good as it once was so this is crucial. It also means if you want me to flow a rehighlighting, you have to actually read the important stuff.
-I'll vote on anything (with the exceptions of racism good, etc.) as long as it's warranted and impacted out. However, arguments do consist of a claim, a warrant, and an impact. If your argument doesn't contain a warrant I won't vote on it and I'll give the other team pretty much infinite leeway on answering it in later speeches. My threshold for blippiness is going up and, from recent panel results, is probably higher than your average judge's. When in doubt, explain.
-While I think I've developed a reputation as a K judge and coach, I'm definitely getting more middle of the road the more I judge, and I think my record in recent framework rounds is near 50-50 or even slightly favoring the team reading framework. I find fairness is usually least persuasive when gone for as an impact of its own, and most persuasive as an internal link to other impacts. The arguments I find most compelling when going for neg framework have to do with the educational value of beginning with the USFG as a starting point or of switching sides as pedagogy. Impact comparison is paramount in these debates and I usually vote for the team who does the most of it.
-Because it bears repeating, impact comparison is paramount. I find one of the most common post-round comments I give to be "there could have been more impact work," whether it's a T debate, FW debate, or DA/case. I would always err on the side of more.
-I love tricky and creative arguments but if your strategy relies on shiftiness and deceit I'm probably not the judge for you. This means if your cxes consist of a lot of "we don't have to answer that" or other forms of question dodging I will be greatly displeased. A good rule of thumb to follow: if truthfully answering questions about your argument hurts you strategically, you probably just shouldn't make that argument.
-I find it funny when judges say "I have a general predisposition against violence" or stuff like that then go on to vote on heg good in half their rounds. I too am predisposed against violence but if your argument includes advocating for violent revolution or whatever to me that's no different (and probably more morally defensible) than advocating for US empire. It's almost like certain forms of violence are naturalized and camouflaged to maintain the supremacy of whiteness and the global liberal order... That said I'll vote on heg good too and will try my best to counteract my personal bias against such.
-Affs should be reading and going for way more theory and negs should be going for way more T (at least in front of me). I find teams these days are getting away with the most ridiculously abusive counterplans and affs because everyone's too scared to go for theory against them.
-Most of all, have fun! Debate as an educational space is great and important but I'd rather have enjoyable debates bereft of educational value than educational debates that everyone hates. You only have 4-8 years on average to enjoy this strange and wonderful activity, and I want everyone to make the most of it and not just look back on their debate careers with ressentiment.
Quick LD cheat sheet for Apple Valley:
-I judge/coach policy mainly but judge a couple LD tournaments a year, and have judged multiple bid rounds, RRs, etc. in LD
-Anything goes: tricks, Ks, value/criterion, LARP, whatever. As a former philosophy major, I'm pretty familiar with all major moral theories that get used in phil debates and I judge a lot of K debates in policy so I shouldn't have a problem with whatever you read
-Depth>breadth in terms of argument development. I'm more likely to vote on well-developed arguments that are answered than dropped blips, although I will vote on the dropped blips occasionally as well.
-The one thing I ask is that you SLOW DOWN ON THEORY, maybe by about 20-30%. Any other argument you're fine going full-speed but my tiny policy brain can't flow LD theory at 300 wpm so if you want me to flow your arguments, slow down a bit.
-I'm not gonna disclose speaks, sorry. I get this is seemingly a norm in circuit LD so maybe I just need to adjust the way I think about this but it makes me fairly uncomfortable do so.
What do I need to know?
I'm the varsity policy coach for West Des Moines Valley for my 3rd (non-consecutive) year now, and in the past I debated for Des Moines Roosevelt and the University of Iowa. I just graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Philosophy and Gender Studies. Over my first two years of coaching I ended up judging 70 or so rounds a year, mostly at bid-level tournaments.
Do what you want, within the reasonable guidelines of not being racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and so on. I believe that debate is an activity for the debaters, and while I consider my role as judge to be that of an educator, the educational model I follow is one which is substantially less horizontal than traditional ones, in that I think my job as judge is to learn from you, as well as hopefully encourage and strengthen your competitive abilities.
There aren't any arguments outside of the parameters established earlier that I either won't or haven't voted on, and I'm down to hear whatever you enjoy most and are best at. What I find most disappointing while judging is when I see competitors who seem actively disengaged from the round for whatever reason, and as such I think I should facilitate enjoyment of the round by encouraging you to read and do whatever makes you happy.
With that said, here are my thoughts and presuppositions about specific arguments. All of them can be changed and I will always prefer arguments made within the debate to my thoughts outside of that round, but these are my "defaults" that I will revert to absent arguments to the contrary:
Top Level Stuff:
- Tech over truth but tech is guided by and generally adheres to the "truth," whatever that may be. In other words, I'll evaluate the round based off the flow and the arguments made in round, but determining which argument wins in a technical debate is something which is limited by, or at least shaped by, the truth of those arguments. "Global warming causes extinction" and "Global warming prevents an ice age, which causes extinction" are both viable arguments in a debate round, but the former is going to be easier to win because it is more in line with reality.
- On that note, dropped arguments are true arguments but an argument consists of a claim, a warrant, and an implication (impact). If you say that your opponent dropped X arg so you win the debate, that may be true, but you still need to explain why X arg wins you the debate. One of the things that is most frequently missing from high school policy rounds is the impacting of conceded arguments, and this often presents major difficulties to my ability to evaluate the debate, especially in messy rounds where both teams drop arguments all over the flow. If you want an easy way to win (and get good speaker points) make sure you are explaining not only that your opponent has dropped your arguments, but also what it means that they have dropped your arguments. All of the above is of course true in the case of contested arguments as well, but I find the implication debate appears a lot more naturally in those circumstances.
- Do as much as you can get away with. Again, everything here is just my personal bias or default, and just because I say I don't like or disagree with an argument doesn't mean you shouldn't make it or read it.
- "Zero risk" is certainly possible but often unlikely. What I mean by this is that if the neg says "The plan leads to an increase in hair loss, and warming causes extinction" and the aff says "No link--no warranted reason the aff leads to hair loss and no internal link between hair loss and warming," I'm not going to decide that since the aff only made defensive arguments that there's "only a risk" of the DA occurring. Smart defensive arguments (including and sometimes especially analytics) can take out entire disads and advantages, but if they're not terminal I am going to be more susceptible to "only a risk" logic.
- I love a good impact turn debate (who doesn't?) and find they're often the most strategic option given that your opponents' evidence about their aff or DA or whatever is often (and probably even should be) better than your cards to answer it.
- Impact comparison is obviously crucial but it seems a lot of debaters forget the comparison part of the phrase. If your overview is just "our impact is big, fast, and probable" you've done the first step, now explain why your impact is bigger, faster, and more probable. Even more astute debaters will attempt to evaluate which of those metrics they are most likely to be winning, and then make arguments as to why I should prefer that one; e.g. "magnitude before timeframe" and so on.
- Most politics theory arguments are, in fact, garbage, but I will happily assign zero risk to the disad if they're conceded. Just because it's a bad argument doesn't mean you shouldn't have to answer it (which is a metric that is, in general, true for how I evaluate debates).
- My personal bias is that most process counterplans, consult, and so on, are generally cheating because they are A. usually marginally competitive at best and B. steal a lot of aff ground. If you're aff you should almost certainly be reading theory against these arguments, and if you're neg you should be prepared to defend them. All that said, I think "cheating" counterplans are usually a great strategic choice because they steal aff ground and because most aff teams aren't prepared to extend theory in the face of your 15-point 1NR block, so if you have them, it's probably wise to read them. Again, do as much as you can get away with.
- I generally really like PICs on the other hand, with the obvious caveat that the more well-researched and specific to the aff they are the better.
- The common thread between these two presuppositions is that I generally believe the best counterplans are those with a specific solvency advocate that distinguishes them from the aff. What the bar for this solvency advocate is is a matter of debate, but the more contextualized to the aff your cp is the less likely you are to lose it to theory.
- I'll judge kick for you, but only if you tell me to and the aff doesn't tell me you can't. The "logical policymaker" in me thinks the squo should always be an option, but the "debate is a game" person tells me this is bad for the aff, so just make an argument why I should/shouldn't do so if the aff ends up being worse than the CP
- The link debate is probably the most important here since you'll usually be winning that your thing is *~bad~* and the debate will usually come down to whether the aff actually does that thing or not and thus gets access to a perm. That said, if you're reading a big stick policy aff you should probably just bite the bullet and go for the impact turn if there's no chance you can win a link turn.
- In KvK debates I don't really find myself having a default when it comes down to whether "method debates" mean the aff gets a perm or not. I guess I don't really see why the fact that we're talking about methods means that those methods don't have to be competitive, but if we're not viewing the aff as a test of the resolution's truth value maybe that changes. Either way, simply asserting that "method debates means no perms" probably isn't sufficient and I like when these debates get in depth
- Similarly, the zaniness of your perm arguments should probably be proportional to the zaniness of the 1AC&1NC, and the same for perm answers. Creative perms that are based in your literature have often been effective in front of me, and the neg should rely on similar creativeness in answering them. In other words, why limit yourself to "perm do both" when you could tell me the perm is a radical cooption of their method which makes you the true symbolic terrorists, or something?
"K Affs"/"New Debate"/FW
- The teams I coach mostly read critical arguments, affs without plan texts, and stuff like that, I went to college to study gender theory and philosophy, and a large portion of the rounds I've judged in the past have been K rounds, so I think I've (deservedly) cultivated a bit of a prior reputation as a K hack. However, I've noticed in more recent times that perhaps I'm swinging a bit back toward the middle of the road in these debates, or at least that at the end of rounds I often find myself asking: "why didn't this team go for framework?" because the kritikal team has mishandled or neglected parts of that debate, yet the opposing team ends up going for something else. I have voted on framework in the past, I expect I will continue to do so in the future, and if it is the best option for you in any given debate you should choose it.
- I think the biggest shift in my thinking here is that over time I have stopped subconsciously viewing my vote of any given individual debate as implying that I have somehow committed some ideological boon/transgression, and instead believe that the most educational approach to facilitating debates as a judge involves me allowing debaters to challenge any and all aspects of their opponents arguments. While I believe each debate round is important as a unique pedagogical moment, I am somewhat less convinced that the results of that debate will change the world or even the (horrible and oppressive) structures of debate, and thus I believe that if a team is not capable of beating framework or topicality on its own merits, I shouldn't vote for them just because it helps the movement or is supposed to improve debate, because it probably won't.
- If you are the "K team" in this debate, you should make sure you answer args like "it's about the best model of debate/competing interps" if you're just going for arguments that boil down to "our aff is good." If it's "not what you do but what you justify," you need to ensure that you have either an adequate description of what you justify and why it's good, or an answer to the above argument.
- I'm finding myself (slightly) more compelled by "do it on the neg" style arguments against affs that just say the resolution is bad. If you are reading such an aff you probably want a defense of why you being even forced to defend the resolution in a pedagogical space is bad, not just reasons the resolution as a question is bad.
- TVAs are good and important but often not the game-ender FW teams think they are. If the aff says "state bad" then you give a big list of state actions, this still does not (on its own) mean that the state is good, and thus doesn't necessarily disprove any part of the aff's claim. If you impact out how exactly that TVA solves, preferably even with evidence, you're in a much better place. Basically, you need to actually have a warranted reason the TVA solves, not just the phrase "we have a topical version of the aff!!!"
Other random things:
My "role of the ballot" is to, as the cliche goes, determine who did the better debating, but that doesn't mean there can't be other "RoBs" within the debate. Generally I interpret these as frameworks or criteria for evaluating the different arguments and impacts within the round, so a phrase like "the role of the ballot is to vote for the team who best performatively and methodologically challenges queerphobia" would mean, to me, basically, that I evaluate arguments according to whichever team best meets such a criteria, not that my ballot serves some literal other purpose than choosing the best debater. However, this does mean that if you answer such an RoB with the phrase "the role of the ballot is to choose the team who does the better debating" I'm not sure you're being responsive to what that phrase is actually saying.
Any number of conditional options is allowed as long as you can justify you get that many, and any number of conditional options is not allowed as long you can win the opponent doesn't get that many. I don't think there's any magic number above which condo suddenly does or doesn't become okay, and as with everything I think this is a debate best left to the debaters. Despite my reputation I actually really enjoy big debates with lots of different arguments and you should always look to get away with as much as the other team will let you in any given debate.
Excessive rudeness is obviously never appreciated. I know debate can get heated sometimes and that's fine but if you get to the point of insulting the other team, your partner, etc. Jokes are always good as long as they aren't at the expense of other people, and so you should always be careful about accidentally hurting someone.
Call me Max, or judge if you absolutely feel uncomfortable with that (though being referred to as judge makes me feel weird), and put me on the email chain if you remember (my email is email@example.com).
As I've alluded to a couple times earlier, I believe that one of the reasons why debate is such an amazing activity (and it truly can be!) is because of the relatively non-horizontal nature of it compared to other educational activities, and I really want to facilitate that environment. Obviously as the person holding the sheet of paper or connected to the tabroom ballot I have a certain degree of power, but again, debate is for you (the debaters). So, as I keep reiterating, do what makes you most happy and comfortable within the debate space. Me asking anything otherwise would just be an attempt to stroke my ego as a judge and reassert my power within the room. I'm not going to stop you from doing anything as long as it does not hurt other people (which words can most certainly do, as we should all know) or cause me to be responsible for activities which would violate my contract as a coach. Read "trolly" arguments if you so desire, sit or stand to speak, go to the bathroom or get a drink of water when you need to, chat with people as long as it isn't disrupting or delaying the debate, or "dance with a chair if that's what the muse tells you to do." Do what you enjoy and I will enjoy it too.
Glenbrook North- he/him
Oceans aren't topical. Obvi.gov/limits/wehadtwotopicsonthisalready.htm
"Can you send a marked copy" is a reasonable pre-cx request. "Marked copy" means any cards they started reading but didn't finish should be marked. "Marked copy" doesn't mean the team sends a version of the doc that omits cards they skipped entirely. I know what you're trying to do and I'm not fooled by it.
Kritik stuff: I am not a good judge in these debates. I'm not up on the literature and frequently find myself confused, and when I'm confused about something that has happened, I latch on to the things that make the most sense to me, which is generally not the kritik. My RFDs in these debates are generally pretty bad because I find myself just reiterating some version of "I just didn't understand this" which both you and I will find frustrating. Reps bad requires specific link work as to why their specific rhetoric has a specific bad consequence. Alts require solvency. I'm very good for T-USFG.
Flow and respond to what the other team says. Tech over truth, tech over offense. I am willing to assign zero risk to a DA even if the CP solves the aff or zero risk to the aff even if there's no risk of the DA.
For online debate especially, you really need to slow down and prioritize clarity. I will not vote on arguments I don't have down and understand. Voting on what you said requires understanding both the actual words and the substance of the arguments you are making. Do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking. Sign-post. Number your arguments. Be clear when you are transitioning between cards and sheets. Give me time to switch sheets. Be explicit about what you're answering.
Other things that may differ from what you consider norms:
Poor in-round time management really annoys me. I stop flowing when the timer goes off and that's where the card is marked. Every time you restart prep, you're taking at least 10 seconds. I start timing CX once you start asking any questions. If you steal prep, I'll take a punitive amount of prep time from you. If you read one or two extra cards, sending it after the speech is fine. If it becomes excessive, I'll also take a punitive amount of prep time from you.
Everything needs to be in one speech doc. Getting everything together in one speech doc is prep. I stop prep when you've sent the doc.
There's no situation in which I'll vote for death is good.
No inserting anything into the debate besides like charts or graphics (things that can't be read aloud). If you won't take the time to say it, I won't take the time to read it. This includes rehighlightings, perm texts, etc.
I generally flow cross-x but won't guarantee I'll pay attention to questions after cross-x time is up.
Put me on the email chain -- advait.ramanan (at) gmail (dot) com
You do you and I'll do my best to keep up.
Please don't insert evidence. Read it in a speech or CX.
T/Framework vs. Planless Affs -- Generally lean neg. The best neg teams, in my opinion, invest in no linking the aff's offense via framing arguments (do it on the neg, read it and lose, T affs can access X lit base.)
Ks vs. Policy Affs -- The aff gets to weigh the plan, barring major technical concession. Plan good/bad is most predictable and weighing links vs. the case tends to solve the neg's O.
T vs. Plans -- All about predictability and evidence comparison. Limited topics are great, but who cares if they're arbitrary.
Theory -- Condo's generally good, but judge kick is silly. I lean aff on most other theory arguments; consult/conditions/delay are all generally not gonna fly. I'm persuaded by the argument that non-USFG actor CPs aren't opp costs to the aff. Topic CPs are great; If a 2A can predict the CP, I'm inclined to think it's legitimate. Predictability stems from the lit, not from community norms.
My name is Dana Randall (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I am the Director of Debate at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I have been an active member of the policy debate community since 1996.
As a competitor and coach of policy teams at regional and national levels I feel comfortable assessing debates that are quick and complex.
I have instructed novice, jv, and varsity teams who've enjoyed tremendous success. I credit that success to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with some of the brightest and most dedicated students in the activity. Witnessing their steadfast commitment inspires me to take my judging responsibilities very seriously. I will strive to keep a meticulous flow and render my decision based on what transpires in the debate round as opposed to my personal predispositions.
I will ask to be included on the speech thread. I do this to prevent teams from debating students that succumb to pressure of competition by representing that they have read words in a speech document which they have not audibly read. Debate is a very difficult activity without compelling students debating to also follow along with every word read by their opponent.
I believe that fairness is a terminal impact – that is why I flow both teams, listen to both teams, enforce reciprocal time limits, have teams affirm or negate the resolution based on the pairing provided by the tournament and I have no idea what an alternative metric for reaching a conclusion as to which team did the better debating.
Rowland Hall ’15
Emory University ’19
**updated January 2019** I'm largely unfamiliar with this topic which means I need more of an explanation for terms and acronyms.
Quick version- I debated for four years in high school and I debate in college at Emory. I have a large background in different positions. In high school I was very policy, in college I have killjoy/fem rage on the neg and on the aff sometimes. I have a large background in K literature. I'll try really hard to put aside and pre-concieved notions and just judge the debate. I put T/K stuff on top since I think that's where most people go first. Also, I like clash debates and really can go either way depending on the arguments made so if you envision yourself in some of those, I'd be a good judge.
I like an aggressive debater, but don't speak over people. Don't be rude. I take issues of sexual assault, gender, and racism in debate very seriously. I am someone that you can speak to about it, in and out of round, and who will punish people in a round for making light of or perpetuating any of those things.
Framework (T usfg)- I think sometimes it's strategic, and we definitely read it against Aff's we think are particularly hard to get a link to. I actually love a good framework debate on both sides. Be techy, innovative and thoughtful. I think that fairness is an impact if properly explained, and I think limits are good and it is possible for the usfg to do good things. It will be hard to convince me that every single action the usfg takes is bad, but I am very sympathetic, especially now, to descriptions of why non traditional policy movements are better equipped than the president for making social change. I think that the arguments about why it might be unethical to defend the resolution because of Trump are compelling but should be explained thoroughly. You need to answer things like social death on the framework page to win the general premise that usfg form of debate is good, so watch out for that. The best sort of arguments for the affirmative are about why the form of debate is exclusionary, why traditional rules are exclusive to certain populations.
K aff’s- I think it's probably best to be "somehow" related to the topic. I think that it's easiest to win the framework debate when you explain why your non-traditional affirmative provides an important understanding of the topic that policies can't access. I have read an aff sometimes with very little relationship to the topic and understand why it's compelling and important to sometimes do. Explain to me what I am voting for, why it is important, and especially explain to me why the traditional model of debate doesn't leave space for your theory/performance. I am open to debates about the debate space in general, about problems with people and attitudes in debate, and kritiks of the mode and type of debate we do.
K’s- I like the K. Like I said above, I've done a lot of identity/performance stuff this year. That being said, that doesn't mean that I automatically vote for it. You have to contextualize the k to the aff. If you are going to read a usfg link or "link of omission" I think that it's important to show why the absence of what you are talking about in the 1AC implicates their policy. I don’t need a massive impact overview to know why imperialism is bad, most everything in your 4 min overview can be applied to the flow. Be organized. The worst part about a 1 off debate is that it is so messy and frustrating for everyone involved. If you need to split the k up in the block that's cool, just be clear about it. You need to talk about case if you want to win. For the aff, utilize your impacts. It’s going to be pretty hard to convince me that the aff can’t weigh their impacts at all, so weigh them. Extinction is still a pretty big deal to me, so the neg needs to describe why I should assign something like extinction less weight in comparison to structural violence claims. Permutations are important but explain them. When you know you are hitting a K team, tailor your 1AC to them. You aren’t going to need your heg impact. Focus on systemic ones that might solve the impacts of the k. Defend your method.
DA’s- Impact calc is obviously important. There is zero risk of a link or impact. I've done a lot of work on the politics DA in the past but I'm really not going to appreciate a Trump good DA-- please don't read that in front of me. On the aff, I’m a fan of a robust 2AC with link turns or impact turns. Think about it strategically. I will reward a well thought out politics 2ac with good speaker points.
CP’s- I think most of them are legitimate. Read what you like. As a 2a I liked reading a few add ons and a lot of theory in the 2ac.
Topicality- I'm not a great judge for topicality. I don't like arbitrarily limiting the topic. I understand that sometimes it’s what you’ve got to do. I default to reasonability usually.
Theory- it's fine. Slow down please if you want me to vote for you. condo probably good.
email@example.com if you have questions and please put me on the email chain.
EMAIL CHAIN IS PREFERRED: firstname.lastname@example.org
Experience- Cathedral Prep Debate 2003-2007
Coaching Experience- Cathedral Prep Debate 2008-2011 (left to pursue Law School.)
Currently: Corporate Counsel for an international shipping/logistics company.
I like good debate and vote for good debaters. If your approach and what I say below are different I still encourage you to do what you do best.
Non-Conventional Affirmatives- See above statement. The better team wins these debates 10/10 times.
Topicality- a well-argued T debate is always fun to judge. I default to competing interpretations and evaluate it on an offense/defense paradigm, however that is only my default and am easily persuaded to evaluate the debate otherwise as long as you win why I should. That being said, even though I default offense/defense I differ from many judges in that I do not believe in the "there is only a risk they don't meet" jargon. I believe that meeting any interpretation is a yes/no question, and if the negative is not compelling enough for me to believe the affirmative doesn't meet I see no reason to reject the affirmative. From the negative I find arguments for context, grammar, and predictability FAR more compelling than limits and ground, and from the affirmative I often am most persuaded by affirmative ground, innovation/creativity, and critical thinking arguments. T is 99% likely a voting issue, but again I can always be persuaded otherwise.
Counterplan – Counterplans are good. Conditionality is good. Probably should have a solvency advocate with your Counterplan but not a deal breaker. Important thing to understand about me in the back of the room, in a world where the 2nr goes for a Counterplan, I will not evaluate the status quo as well unless told to by the negative.
Theory is a voter, pending a good example of in round abuse.
Disadvantages – Big fan of disads, love hearing a good politics debate. Turns the case and outweighs the case arguments are always a plus. I do not think that offense is a must on disads. I don't know exactly why some judges in the debate community believe that no offense on a DA= a neg win, because I think that the majority of DAs in debate are quite contrived, at least in comparison to the aff, thus defensive presses on internal links and impact uniqueness are especially compelling to me. That being said, I always think offense helps the cause a great deal and it is strongly recommended you focus a bit of time on establishing offense against DAs. I find turns the case arguments as well as timeframe arguments compelling tie-breakers, and vice-versa for the aff.
Kritiks-I'm more familiar with: psychoanalysis, security, gender, queer theory, imperialism/post-colonialism, capitalism, race/racism. Make sure you read and comprehend the literature you're deploying. Realism, Jarvis, and Owen don't answer every kritik.
Performance- If you have a reasonable relation to the topic go for it.
Note about paperless debating--I prefer an email chain with me included whenever possible. I feel that each team should have accurate and equal access to the evidence that is read in the debate. I have noticed several things that worry me in paperless debates. People have stopped flowing and paying attention to the flow and line-by-line which is really impacting my decision making; people are exchanging more evidence than is actually being read without concern for the other team, people are underhighlighting their evidence and "making cards" out of large amounts of text, and the amount of preptime taken exchanging the information is becoming excessive. For me, prep time is running until the flash drive is given to the other team and then it stops and becomes judge time. I reserve the right to request a copy of all things exchanged as verification. If three cards or less are being read in the speech then I prefer that the exchange in evidence occur after the speech. I don't understand why people exchange paperless speeches that do not contain evidence.
Updated Pre-Emory 1/9/2020
Email chain please: email@example.com
Professor and Assistant Director of Debate at Trinity University, Coach at St. Mark's School of Texas
I view my role as judge to be an argument critic and educator above everything else. As part of that, you should be mindful that a healthy attitude towards competition and the pursuit of kindness and respect are important.
Biases are inevitable but I have been in the activity for +10 years and heard, voted, and coached on virtually every argument. I genuinely do as much as possible to suspend my preconceived beliefs and default to explanation/comparison.
Quality > quantity – 1NC’s with a high volume of bad arguments will have a hard ceiling on speaker points & I will generously allow new 1AR arguments.
Speed is the number of winnable arguments you can communicate to your judge. I will usually say “clear” twice before I stop flowing your speech. If you can't flow or comprehend your partner that's a problem. If you don't sign-post I am likely to give-up on flowing your speech.
I try to flow CX so please make reference. CX is about LISTENING and responding – let your opponent finish their answer/question, acknowledge it, and then move to the next point. Be polite if you have to interrupt.
Everyone should give two speeches. I’ll only flow the assigned person during speeches.
Framework --- I’ve voted on all kinds of different impact arguments. Debate has wide-ranging value to folks and I think you should be willing to defend why it’s important to you in any given situation. Defense can be very compelling: Neg teams should win an overarching theory of how their model absorbs/turns the 1ac’s offense with explanations of switch-side or TVA examples that interface well with the aff. The TVA should be a proof of concept, not a CP. Aff teams should win a counter-interp/alternative model of what debate looks like OR terminal offense to the neg’s model of debate. Above everything, you should think strategically and react instead of just reading some dusty, generic blocks.
I'll try to be as tab as possible, but that means you need to be giving me a reason why I'm voting on any given argument or framework. If I'm not getting enough of a reason, I'll have to do some level of judge intervention, so all I ask is that you make it easy on me.
I debated in Oregon for 4 years doing policy, I've done parlimentary debate (competed at the ToC as well), and even a brief stint in Congress.
Speed is fine with me, but make sure you're very clear on your taglines because if I can't flow your argument, you might as well have not made it.
In the end, I believe the debate is your learning ground and I'm just there to decided who did a better job of playing the game and then providing feedback.
I read a good number of Ks or at least the lit for them, so I probably have some idea of what you're talking about, but please still explain it for me as if I don't know what your talking about. If I can't understand what your K is, I'm left to interpret it however I understand it, which may not be correct.
If you're going to read any politics disad(s), assume I know nothing about the current state of politics and break it down for me.
If you're going to read some sort of framework, please explain to me why the framework should be preferred (or if your opponents say nothing about it, I'll assume that's the framework we're debating).
In terms of theory arguments, I'm willing to vote any way on these, but I have a relatively low threshold for answers to straight condo bad, but I am much more inclined to hear a good logical-limited conditionality argument. If you're using theory as some sort of time skew or strat skew, I'm fine with that, but if you get called on it, I'm willing to hear an argument against it.
Finally, I've never seen an RVI read, but this is something I would probably be unlike to vote on, but given extreme levels of abuse, I suppose I could be persuaded.
Name Sara Sanchez
School Strikes: Glenbrook South, Lexington
Last Edited: 10/7/2019, Edited for New Trier 2019
General Overview: I default to the least interventionist way to evaluate the round possible. I’ve pretty much voted on anything that you can think of, and likely some things that you can’t. I have not been historically inclined to accept/reject any arguments on-face. That said, the following is true:
Impact calculus and comparison is your friend. I cannot stress this enough. I'm routinely surprised by the number of quality rounds I judge where each team is weighing their impacts but no one is weighing their impacts vis a vis the other team. It is not enough to explain your scenario for solving/avoiding war, explain to me why that matters in the context of the other team's genocide impact.
I would like you to be driving questions of impact calculus and framing. I prefer to be reading your evidence through the lens you have set up in round. You should be telling me what your evidence says and why it matters. This means I probably give a little more weight to spin than some judges, you should be calling out bad evidence that is being mischaracterized if you want me to read it. Obviously, I have (and will) read evidence on questions that have not adequately been fleshed out in round when it’s necessary, but now you are held accountable for my understanding of the card, which may, or may not, have been on the flow. So please, weigh those issues for me, and we’ll all be happy.
Clarity & Organization: This section used to be a note about speed. It was a gentle request that you keep in mind that reading 3 word theory arguments at the same rate as the cards you are reading was obviously silly and difficult to flow. I am now substantially more concerned with clarity in general. I can understand a pretty rapid rate of delivery. I want to hear the words you say. All of them. That includes the words in your cards and the sub-points of your theory block. I think we as a community have let clarity get away from us. I was recently pleasantly surprised by a few debaters who were both incredibly fast and crystal clear at all points in their speeches. I was also saddened that they stood out as anomalous in contrast to many of the debate rounds that I judge. In addition to the clarity with which you deliver your speeches I believe this also is a component of organization in the round. It is functionally impossible to follow your arguments and apply them correctly when all of the debaters in the room abandon the structure of the flow/line-by-line. Embedded clash is fine. Flat out ignoring the order/structure of arguments and answers is not. While my speaker points have always reflected things like clarity & organization I am going to use them more heavily in this regard in an effort to encourage good practices among the debaters in my rounds. If you are not clear, I will ask you to be clear once, if you are not clear after that, your partner should probably keep an eye on me to make sure I look like I’m following you, because if it’s not on my flow, it’s not in the round. If I cannot understand large swaths of your speeches and/or you are jumping all over the flow with no attempt to answer arguments in the order they were made, your points will be low (think less than 27.5 range). If, on the other hand, I can understand almost every word of your speech, and you consistently following the line-by-line structure of the round, your points will be high (think 29-29.5 range) to ensure you have a better chance at clearing if points become an issue. If you have questions about this, please ask before the round.
Clipping: I am disturbed that the number of clipping incidents seems to be on the rise and that there appears to be some confusion as to what constitutes clipping. Card clipping, is failing to read sections of the card without marking audibly during the speech and on the speech doc (or on paper, if you are not paperless). It can be definitively determined by recording the speech and playing it back with the speech doc. It is an ethical violation and if proven will result in zero speaker points for the debater(s) who have clipped cards and the loss. If an accusation occurs I will stop the round, ask for proof, and make a determination about the accusation at that point in the round. That decision will determine who wins the round. I will also make a point to talk to your coach after the round to explain what I believe happened and why. I reserve the right to adjust the policy according to circumstances (i.e. accidental clipping in a novice round is different than clipping in a senior varsity debate).
Please be nice to each other and have fun. I’ve yet to have someone upset me to the point where it has lost them the round, but I will not hesitate to punish people for being rude via speaker points. Debate is a wonderful activity, that I care about a lot, and we don’t all give up our weekends, nights, and a decent portion of our social lives to be verbally abused or to witness said abuse. That said, competitive spirit is fine, flat out rudeness is not. If you need clarification on where the line is, feel free to ask.
Speaker points Apparently I needed to bump these to align with point inflation, so I have. Points probably start at a 27.5-28. Anything over 29.5 is rare, it's been years since I gave a 30. If you get below a 25 it's probably because you did something offensive/unethical in the round, and I'll likely tell you about it before I turn in my ballot.
28.1-28.7 Good, but probably will miss on points or go 3-3
28.8-29.2 Good, chance to go 4-2 and clear low
29.2-29.5 I believe you should get a top 20 speaker award at this tournament
29.5-29.8 You were one of the most exceptional speakers I've heard in years, and should be in the top 5 speakers of this tournament.
What’s above is more important than what is below, as I will default to the round that is given me, however I’ll include a couple of notes on specific positions. The below list is not exhaustive, if you have specific questions, ask.
Topicality/Theory: I’m more than open to these debates, I have no problem pulling the trigger on them. I tend to evaluate these debates in a framework of competing interpretations. You should have an interpretation in these debates, and you should be able to articulate reasons (with examples, evidence, and comparative impacts) that your interpretation is preferable to the other team's. You should be explaining why your arguments matter and what the world of your interpretation looks like (case lists, argument ground). You should not assume that the 3-word blippy jargon we all use now is an argument, because I don't tend to think it is one. If you've done the above things, and you want to go for theory or T, you're probably fine. That said...
Counterplans: I personally tend to error negative on a lot of theoretical CP objections when these aren't adequately debated in round (dispo, PICs, condo, etc.) I'm probably more sympathetic to objections to consult counterplans, or procedural counterplans like delay, sunsets, etc. I love specific counterplans and adore specific PICs, so you have a bit more of an uphill battle on the PICs bad debate. That doesn't mean I won't evaluate PICs/Dispo/Condo bad args, feel free to make/go for them, see the interpretations note above. I am more likely to vote on nuanced theory arguments than generic ones. For example, conditional, consult, counterplans bad is more persuassive than just conditionality bad.
Condo - couple of extra notes: I think that having more than one K and one CP in the round is pushing the limit on conditionality. You would still need to do work here to earn my ballot, but it's definitely viable. I also tend to think that uniform 50 state fiat counterplans that counterplan out of all solvency deficits are not good for debate. The reason for this is that I tend to like solvency advocates for counterplans and there isn't one for those types of CPs. These are both cases where, if sufficient analysis was done, I'd be okay rejecting the team. For the record, I have not voted on either of these yet, because no one has made these args in a compelling enough way, but the potential exits.
The K: I don’t have a problem with it generally. I’ll entertain various frameworks and interpretations of debate, but this isn't where I spend most of my research time. I’m also reticent to vote on “framework” in terms of "there should be no Ks in debate ever." I don't think this line of argumentation is necessary or desirable—it seems to me people should just be able to answer the arguments that are leveled against their case. I tend to believe both sides should get to weigh their impacts. I find framework debates generally lack a decent amount of clash, which is incredibly frustrating for me to adjudicate. Framework debates that center on the question of accurate methodology, bias and substantive education are by far more persuasive.
If you’re running a K in front of me on the negative, specific links and a solid articulation of what the alternative does will help you. Let me know what the world looks like post-plan and why that is different post-alt. Similarly if you're running a K aff, you should explain to me how your action truly shifts mindsets, what the role of the ballot is, etc.
The above noted, I find myself focusing more on policy literature than critical literature these days. My undergrad and graduate work is in political science and international relations, not political theory/philosophy. I tend to be much more familiar with some K authors than others. I've read a decent amount of Foucault, I've read almost nothing Lacanian. In addition to Foucault I am substantially more familiar with Ks centered around IR theory, non-psychoanalytic capitalism and questions of gender and identity. I am less to not at all familiar with psychoanalysis, Nietzsche and Heidegger. I personally lean towards believing realism inevitable type arguments and that floating PIKs are bad (reason to reject the alt). While I do everything possible to objectively evaluate the round that happened, this is probably why I’ve noticed a very slight tilt towards the policy side of things in these rounds.
Affs that don't have topical advocacies: I have spent a lot of time thinking about this. I feel as though I've been asked to objectively and neutrally evaluate a set of arguments where the people proffering those arguments in no way practice the same neutrality has always created a lot of tension for how I evaluate these arguments. To that end I offer my full disclosure of my connections to, and beliefs about, this activity. If you would like to attempt to change those biases, you are welcome to try, but the bar for such debates will be high, because I am not neutral on this.
I came back to debate 15 years ago after a brief hiatus working in politics and public policy because I firmly believe there is no stronger or more effective pedagogical tool. I have routinely been impressed by the skills and information this co-curricular activity provides for the participants that practice it. I chose a career in debate at the time because I think that teaching young people how to debate a topic while switching sides and researching policy and philosophy is one of the best things our educational system has to offer. I worked hard for my debaters, in class, after school, on weekends, and during summers because I believe this game, even with its imperfections, is good. It will be difficult for you to get my ballot if your goal for the round is to convince me that 15 years of my life and countless hours of work has been a mistake. I also see problems in this activity in terms of equity and access. There are good reasons my work after directing large debate programs focused on education policy, equity, and now urban debate. If your arguments are criticisms of debate you should take all of that into consideration when trying to win my ballot.
Surveillance Topic Addendum: I currently work for NAUDL, I run our national tournament, write curriculum for our coaches and work on our file set each year. I judge substantially fewer rounds than I used to and have fewer conversations with friends about the direction of the topic. You should assume I'm familiar with debate arguments but you should not assume I'm super up to date on the latest Arms Control acronyms or fanciness. This means a little explanation on what the NSDOQPC* is will probably be necessary if you'd like me to understand your aff/da/etc.
*(The NSDOQPC, to the best of my knowledge, is not a real thing. It's merely an example of the type of insane acronyms/topic specific jargon that gets routinely bantered about on most topics)
Additionally, while I haven't had a chance to test this yet, I'm reasonably certain my tolerance for the truly inane has lowered substantially. I now spend my days working on debate in a more education focused environment that is centered on building many strong programs rather than the TOC arms race. I also spend a bunch of my spare time working in politics and on policy and advocacy campaigns that have real world implications. I'm not entirely sure what the implication of this are for you, but if it's the pre-round and you have two strategies to choose from, one of which is asinine and one of which is more substantive, I'd bet that the more substantive one is going to work out a lot better for you.
Finally, it's been a few months since I've flowed a top speed round. I'm pretty sure I'm still fine there, but if you could keep that in mind, and ease into your top speed in speeches, it would be appreciated.
If you have a question I haven't answered here, feel free to ask.
Good luck. :)
LD Specific Business
Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of how I evaluate substance, impacts, etc. However, since I have judged more LD rounds recently it was time for me to clear some of this stuff up.
I spent most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I did teach 2 LD classes a year for 7 years and judge a large number of practice debates in class. I tried to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.
Theory: The way theory is debated in LD makes my head hurt. A Lot. It is rarely impacted, often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win (teeny area of the topic, frameworks and definitions that cross the border from strategic to definitionally impossible to debate, etc) it is NOT every single round. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.
Speed: I am fine with speed. I am not fine with paragraph after paragraph of a prioris/theory/continental philosophy read at a top speed with zero regard for clarity whatsoever. I will say clear if you are engaging in the practice above, and I will stop flowing if you don't alter your delivery to a rate I can understand after that. I will only vote on what is on my flow. I may call for evidence after the round, however, I will not call for your theory blocks because I didn't understand them. Slow down, be clear, and enunciate on that stuff for the love of all that is holy, or you will have very little chance of winning my ballot. Also see the clarity note at the top of this post. It will apply to LD as well.
Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.
Prep Time: 2 Notes. First, I like Cross-Examination. A Lot. I pay attention to it and think it is strategically valuable. You should use CX time. If you would like to ask more questions beyond CX in prep, that's cool. But please make use of CX. Second, Prep time is the time you use to prep, that includes actions like giving your opponent your case or whatnot if you haven't done this in a timely manner. There are no alternate time outs or whatever. If you are reading a case off a laptop, you need to make that case available to your opponent before you start speaking OR immediately thereafter. There will not be a non-prep-time time out while you all figure this out. That time will come from one of your prep times. In other words, if the culprit is the aff, who has not made a computerized case available to their opponent in a timely manner, then the AFF loses prep time while they get it ready for the neg, and vice versa.
Good luck, and have fun.
Competed: University of Minnesota
Coach (Present): Emporia State University; College Prep
Coached (Past): Augsburg College; Highland Park Senior High (MN)
Although my primary background is in policy, I am familiar with the procedures of public forum and spent a season of my high school career competing in the format. Below are my answers to the suggested PF philosophy questions provided by the TOC.
Please share your opinions or beliefs about how the following play into a debate round: Speed of Delivery: Speed is fine so long as clarify doesn't suffer.
Format of Summary Speeches (line by line? big picture?):Both effective line by line and big picture storytelling are important to my ballot.
Role of the Final Focus: Providing a rubric/judge instruction for my ballot
Topicality: Generally these debates are done poorly, it's important to have a comparative metric for evaluating interpretations and a robust discussion of the various impacts to the violation. I do not view topicality in a purely "jurisdictional" way - offense/defense is important.
Plans: Not needed but not automatically disallowed.
Kritiks: Sure although just like any argument, it must be explained, applied, and impacted thoroughly.
Flowing/note-taking: I will flow the entirety of the debate.
Do you value argument over style? Style over argument? Argument and style equally? Quality and depth of argument is the primary thing I will evaluate, but style is not unimportant by any means.
If a team plans to win the debate on an argument, in your opinion does that argument have to be extended in the rebuttal or summary speeches? Yes.
"I view my role in the debate not as arbiter of truth, but critic of argument, as such I attempt to divorce myself from relative "truth" values of arguments." - Chris Loghry
I like to see debaters deploying arguments that motivate and interest them.
I don’t call for many cards. This does not mean evidence quality does not matter, or that I don’t call cards often. What it does mean is: the debaters make the arguments, not the cards. I will not view them as placeholders for warranted explanation. Not every argument requires a card to answer.
Framing matters: provide me a macro-level filter through which to view the micro-components of the debate. The debates I find myself most frustrated with are the ones in which the 2NR and the 2AR have respectively delivered me 2NC #2 and 2AC #2 and left me to sort through the pieces. Rebuttalists that present a clear story while closing the right doors will be rewarded.
The more explicit you are with me in terms of my ballot, the better. This mostly goes for presumption and judge conditionality, but also for competing Frameworks/Role of the Ballots. If debaters are not explicit, there becomes no objective standard for me to use as a reference for when and where I infer these arguments.
Have a plan for Cross-X.
Things I like to see in cross-x: Asking precise, critical questions. Giving succinct, impactful answers. Writing down all concessions for utilization in the next speech.
Things I hate to see in cross-x: Ad-homs. Open-ended softballs. Questions that blatantly indicate a lack of flowing. Refusal to answer reasonable questions. Repetition of questions to avoid giving answers. Poorly-timed invocations of false ethos. 4-person shouting matches.
If you are reading critical literature, whether on the Affirmative or Negative, please explain and utilize your method. Make the links turn the case. Have a robust explanation of the alternative. Strive for internal, philosophical consistency. Your authors have particular theories of subjectivity, violence, etc., and I want to thear them; just remember that they all can and SHOULD be ACTIVELY applied broadly to frame many portions of the technical debate.
A speech doc is not a flow substitute.
Debate matters just as much to your opponents as it does to you, even if for different reasons. Be mindful of this and respect your competitors.
Marist, Atlanta, GA (2015-2019, 2020-Present)
Pace Academy, Atlanta GA (2019-2020)
Stratford Academy, Macon GA (2008-2015)
Michigan State University (2004-2008)
Please use email chains. Please add me- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short version- You need to read and defend a plan in front of me. I value clarity (in both a strategic and vocal sense) and strategy. A good strategic aff or neg strat will always win out over something haphazardly put together. Impact your arguments, impact them against your opponents arguments (This is just as true with a critical strategy as it is with a DA, CP, Case Strategy). I like to read evidence during the debate. I usually make decisions pretty quickly. Typically I can see the nexus question of the debate clearly by the 2nr/2ar and when (if) its resolved, its resolved. Don't take it personally.
Case Debate- I like specific case debate. Shows you put in the hard work it takes to research and defeat the aff. I will reward hard work if there is solid Internal link debating. I think case specific disads are also pretty good if well thought out and executed. I like impact turn debates. Cleanly executed ones will usually result in a neg ballot -- messy debates, however, will not.
Disads- Defense and offense should be present, especially in a link turn/impact turn debate. You will only win an impact turn debate if you first have defense against their original disad impacts. I'm willing to vote on defense (at least assign a relatively low probability to a DA in the presence of compelling aff defense). Defense wins championships. Impact calc is important. I think this is a debate that should start early (2ac) and shouldn't end until the debate is over. I don't think the U necessarily controls the direction of the link, but can be persuaded it does if told and explained why that true.
K's- Im better for the K now than i have been in years past. That being said, Im better for security/international relations/neolib based ks than i am for race, gender, psycho, baudrillard etc . I tend to find specific Ks (ie specific to the aff's mechanism/advantages etc) the most appealing. If you're going for a K-- 1) please don't expect me to know weird or specific ultra critical jargon... b/c i probably wont. 2) Cheat- I vote on K tricks all the time (aff don't make me do this). 3) Make the link debate as specific as possible and pull examples straight from the aff's evidence and the debate in general 4) I totally geek out for well explained historical examples that prove your link/impact args. I think getting to weigh the aff is a god given right. Role of the ballot should be a question that gets debated out. What does the ballot mean with in your framework. These debates should NOT be happening in the 2NR/2AR-- they should start as early as possible. I think debates about competing methods are fine. I think floating pics are also fine (unless told otherwise). I think epistemology debates are interesting. K debates need some discussion of an impact-- i do not know what it means to say..."the ZERO POINT OF THE Holocaust." I think having an external impact is also good - turning the case alone, or making their impacts inevitable isn't enough. There also needs to be some articulation of what the alternative does... voting neg doesn't mean that your links go away. I will vote on the perm if its articulated well and if its a reason why plan plus alt would overcome any of the link questions. Link defense needs to accompany these debates.
K affs are fine- you have to have a plan. You should defend that plan. Affs who don't will prob lose to framework. A alot.... and with that we come to:
If not defending a plan is your thing, I'm not your judge. I think topical plans are good. I think the aff needs to read a topical plan and defend the action of that topical plan. I don't think using the USFG is an endorsement of its racist, sexist, homophobic or ablest ways. I think affs who debate this way tend to leave zero ground for the negative to engage which defeats the entire point of the activity. I am persuaded by T/Framework in these scenarios. I also think if you've made the good faith effort to engage, then you should be rewarded. These arguments make a little more sense on the negative but I am not compelled by arguments that claim: "you didn't talk about it, so you should lose."
CPs- Defending the SQ is a bold strat. Multiple conditional (or dispo/uncondish) CPs are also fine. Condo is probably good, but i can be persuaded otherwise. Consult away- its arbitrary to hate them in light of the fact that everything else is fine. I lean neg on CP theory. Aff's make sure you perm the CP (and all its planks). Im willing to judge kick the CP for you. If i determine that the CP is not competitive, or that its a worse option - the CP will go away and you'll be left with whatever is left (NBs or Solvency turns etc). This is only true if the AFF says nothing to the contrary. (ie. The aff has to tell me NOT to kick the CP - and win that issue in the debate). I WILL NOT VOTE ON NO NEG FIAT. That argument makes me mad. Of course the neg gets fiat. Don't be absurd.
T- I default to offense/defense type framework, but can be persuaded otherwise. Impact your reasons why I should vote neg. You need to have unique offense on T. K's of T are stupid. I think the aff has to run a topical aff, and K-ing that logic is ridiculous. T isn't racist. RVIs are never ever compelling.... ever.
Theory- I tend to lean neg on theory. Condo- Good. More than two then the aff might have a case to make as to why its bad - i've voted aff on Condo, I've voted neg on condo. Its a debate to be had. Any other theory argument I think is categorically a reason to reject the argument and not the team. I can't figure out a reason why if the aff wins international fiat is bad that means the neg loses - i just think that means the CP goes away.
Remember!!! All of this is just a guide for how you chose your args in round. I will vote on most args if they are argued well and have some sort of an impact. Evidence comparison is also good in my book-- its not done enough and i think its one of the most valuable ways to create an ethos of control with in the debate. Perception is everything, especially if you control the spin of the debate. I will read evidence if i need to-- don't volunteer it and don't give me more than i ask for. I love fun debates, i like people who are nice, i like people who are funny... i will reward you with good points if you are both. Be nice to your partner and your opponents. No need to be a jerk for no reason
SLOWER & CLEARER, PLEASE!!!
I think debate is what the debaters make it. But, please...
SLOWER & CLEARER!!!
8 years of CX experience. Debated for 4 years at Chandler High School and previously coached for them (Chandler CS) and Milton High School (Milton HH & Milton FM). I used to be a 2N but I have experience being a 2A as well. Grilled cheese enthusiast.
Last Updated: Westminster 2017
- Anything that's argued and debated well goes
- Don't try to talk faster than you're thinking - clarity is key if you're speaking fast
- Clearly outline why you win the ballot in the 2NR/2AR. Judge intervention isn't fun/cool
- Actual warrant extensions > quick blips
- Tech > Truth
- Comfortable with non-traditional/performance stuff as long as it's within the bounds of sanity (whatever that means)
- Flashing isn't prep; don't steal prep
These vary from round to round because of subjectivity but I'm relatively lenient compared to most judges. 30.0 is rare (only once).
28.2 - 28.6 = Average
28.7 - 29.1 = Above average/good speaker
29.2 - 29.5 = Good enough for elims
29.6 - 29.9 = Late elims
Rather than taking away points for poor debating, I much more often reward them for nifty tricks/good strategy. That being said:
- Aggressiveness =/= rudeness. Make a point but be respectful in the process. We're all part of the same community.
- I'll pay attention to CX and strategic ones will be awarded.
- Numbering arguments (starting from the 2AC) will be rewarded with an extra 0.2 points. It will help you organize your flows and naturally increase the clarity/organization of your speeches.
- Clash is crucial for high speaks and wins.
- Jokes/humor in speeches are encouraged but please don't spend your entire speech making puns. On that note, jokes about the Seattle Seahawks = +0.1. Also, jokes about Chandler High or Milton High debate squads = +0.2.
Case --- I highly value research and think well made case negs are the most damaging. Make sure case arguments are frictional with your off case impacts or CP solvency. No, neg flex, while tolerable, is not the only or best answer to contradictions across flows. Compared to most judges, I am more willing to vote on just case if it's well debated and there's some solid offense.
Counterplans --- I think case-specific PICs are strategic. I'm not a big fan of consult CPs (or anything with an artificial net benefit) or CPs that compete solely on a solvency differential. It's not that they're bad, but really, they're bad. 2NR needs to have good solvency mechanism articulation and comparative analysis between the CP/aff.
Disads --- The more specific, the better. Disads are wonderful if they're specific. I very much enjoy and hope to hear good link articulation in context of the aff. I think disad-specific case arguments are incredibly beneficial at framing and winning a debate. I've warmed up to the politics disad quite a bit recently. I'm somewhat skeptical of the link debate on politics, but that's likely a side effect of not seeing it done well recently. My preference on politics links are also a personal belief that doesn't have a bearing on my decision - if you think you can do a good/winning job with it, roll with it.
Kritiks/Non-Traditional Affs --- Hype. I'm fairly well-versed with critical literature and read a decent amount while I debated. Throughout my career, I leaned left three out of four years reading soft left and hi-theory affs. I think there is a lot of strategic and educational value to reading these arguments and they can have tremendous impact both in debate and in larger communities if executed correctly. I think a bigger and bigger problem with kritiks is that they're being read more often but not explained with the level of detail they ought to be. Many rounds tend to have close to no explanation of what a post-alternative/post-affirmative world looks like or what the alternative/aff actually does, which puts me in a pickle (I like pickles too) in terms of understanding what I am voting for. I frame Ks through the framework debate but the aff should be able to weigh their justifications - I won't kick the alt for you and I really hope there's an explanation of how the alt resolves the impacts to the K. Dropping swanky/famous last names =/= giving an explanation of ideology/methodology. Please don't just read overviews or pre-written arguments for the full speech, be creative and clash in the context of the debate. While my voting record historically leans left, I have a relatively high threshold for solvency explanations and round-specific articulation.
T/FW --- Sure! I'll evaluate it just as fairly as I would any other argument. I think these debates can be very educationally and strategically valuable but have to be executed correctly (which rarely happens). The biggest problem with teams reading T/Framework is that it isn't impacted well in the context of the aff and I end up being confused as to why I should vote for the argument/why one model of debate is better/whether education or fairness comes first/what education matters/what abuse has taken place (e.g. "we lose links to the spending DA" isn't a substantial enough reason to vote neg). Historically, my voting record is not in favor of FW but that doesn't mean you won't pick up my ballot if you read it.
Theory --- It's aight. In addition to utilizing it as a voting issue, I like teams that couple their theory with other arguments to justify/extrapolate key arguments to give them the edge on contested issues. I have a high threshold on using theory as a reason to vote aff/neg; give me a compelling reason (more than just a blip) why I should reject the team. In most cases, it's just a reason to reject an argument or not a team but if you do enough work on it, you most definitely may be able to convince me otherwise. Please please please make sure you give some example of abuse, i.e. specific models of debate/in-round, or have solid proof for your violation and have a logical impact in conjunction with that.
If you can't find the answer to something here, default to Adam Symond's wiki. He was one of the best lab leaders I had and my philosophy aligns with his for the most part.
If you have any questions before/after the round and still don't know the answer, shoot me an email: email@example.com.
- 11 Years Policy Debate
- Weber State and University of West Georgia
- Coach at Juan Diego Catholic High
Good evidence is secondary to what a debater does with it. I really appreciate evidence of interrogation in speeches and cross-examination.
I often vote for the team that can make complex arguments sound like common sense. Clarity of thought is paramount
If there is an “easy” way to vote, that's warranted, I’m likely to take it.
I appreciate technical execution and direct refutation over implied argumentation.
The earlier in debate that teams collapse down to lower quantities of positions and/or arguments, the more likely I am to latch on to what is going on and make a decent decision.
Identifying what I have to resolve behooves you. Debates are won or lost on a few primary debatable questions. If you are the first to identify and answer those questions thoroughly, you will be ahead in my mind.
Director of Debate @ GDS (the actual GDS, not the camp, not the affinity group, not the cultural phenomenon...well, maybe the cultural phenomenon...)
(Relevant) Background: Debated in HS (program doesn't exist any more) and college (Emory); coached at Emory, West GA, USC, New Trier, Kentucky, and GDS; taught around 75 labs (including, but not limited to the Kentucky Fellows, SNFI Swing Lab, Berkeley Mentors, Antilab, and the forthcoming Quantum Lab). This is what i do - i teach, coach, and judge debate(s). This is both good and bad for you.
This is Good for You: One could say that i have been around, as it were. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i got you. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i won't freak out.
This is Bad for You: This ain't my first rodeo. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i have seen it done better and worse. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i probably remember the last time that somebody did it in a debate.
Are You For Real? Yah, mostly...i just don't think judging philosophies are all that helpful - any judge that is doing their job is going to suspend disbelief to as great an extent as possible and receive the debate in as much good faith as they can muster...but almost nobody is upfront enough about what that extent looks like.
Well, that's not especially helpful right now. OK, you make a strong point, imaginary interlocutor. Here are a few things that may actually help:
1 - Flow the Debate - I flow the debate. On paper. To a fault. If you do not take this into account, no matter how or what you debate, things are going to go badly for you. Connecting arguments - what used to be called the line-by-line - is essential unless you want me to put the debate together myself out of a giant pile of micro-arguments. You Do Not Want This. "Embedded clash" is an adorable concept and even can be occasionally helpful WHEN YOU ARE MANAGING THE REST OF THE FLOW WITH PRECISION. There is no such thing as "cloud clash."
2 - Do What You are Going to Do - My job isn't to police your argument choices, per se; rather, it is to evaluate the debate. If debaters could only make arguments that i agreed with, there would not be much reason to have these rounds.
3 - If you are mean to your opponents, it is going to cause me to have sympathy/empathy for them. This is not an ideological position so much as an organic reaction on my part.
4 - "K teams," "identity teams," and non-traditional/performance teams pref me more than policy teams - Make of that what you will.
5 - Stop calling certain strategic choices "cheating" - This is one of the few things that just sends my blood pressure through the roof...i know you like to be edgy and i respect your desire to represent yourself as having no ethical commitments, but this is one of the worst developments in the way people talk and think about debate since the advent of paperlessness (which is essentially The Fall in my debate cosmology). Reading an AFF with no plan is not cheating; reading five conditional CPs in the 2NC is not cheating; consult NATO is not cheating. Clipping cards is cheating; fabricating evidence is cheating, consulting your coach in the middle of the debate is cheating. An accusation of an ethics violation (i.e., cheating) means that the debate stops and the team that is correct about the accusation wins the debate while the team that is wrong loses and gets zeroes. This is not negotiable. Ethics violations are not debate arguments, they do not take the form of an off-case or a new page and they are not comparable to anything else in the debate.
Also - just ask.
Edited most recently in March 2018. I debated in high school at Greenhill School (2006) in Texas and debated in college at Michigan State (2010). I have been helping coach Greenhill since my graduation. A fair number of the assumptions that one would draw about me being affiliated with those institutions are probably true. In a given year, I will probably judge 60+ HS policy debates, ~5 HS LD debates, and under 5 college policy debates. There are a couple special notes at the bottom for the latter two groups.
Case Debates – Case debate is underutilized, there are few things that I am more impressed with than beating a team on their own aff. Although, too many teams gloss over the fact that there needs to be uniqueness for neg case turns.
Disads – Defensive arguments are important, and I am willing to assign zero risk of a disad if the affirmative has damning defensive arguments even if the affirmative lacks any offensive arguments. Negatives who rely on there always being a risk of a link will leave me unimpressed. That being said though, I often think that many times a lack of offense does result in a moderate probability of the disad.
CPs – I lean negative on most CP theory issues (more on theory below), although I’m not a fan of the consult cp. I also lean negative on legitimacy of the states CP. This does not mean that affs cannot win theory debates in front of me. Additionally I think some of the arguments that affs make as to why some counterplans are bad, tend to be much better when used as a reason why the permutation is legitimate. Negs should be sure to weigh what happens when there is a solvency deficit to the cp when making their impact calculus arguments. Conversely, affs need to have an impact to their solvency deficits.
Kritiks – Teams must articulate an impact to what happens if they win their framework arguments. I don’t think the negative must have an alternative but I find it hard for the neg to establish uniqueness for their links without one. Affirmatives need to find ways to leverage their aff against the implications of the kritik as well as making sure that they are still able to access their offense if they lose their framework arguments. Negs must also discuss why the aff in particular makes the squo worse. I’m certainly not well versed in much kritik literature so avoiding buzzwords and jargon can help my understanding. If you want me to vote on a kritik, it would benefit you to debate it very much like a CP/DA: turns the case, solves the case, xyz comes first, etc.
Topicality – I tend to view T debates in an offense/defense framework. Its all about competing interpretations, whomever creates the best world for debate should win, issues of abuse are not necessary but can be helpful. That being said, I’m also not a fan of the cult of limits, just going for your interpretation is more limiting will most likely lose to a broader interpretation that is more educational. Also, your K aff's impact turn of T does not amuse me – topicality is a voting issue.
Theory – I lean neg on most theory questions but this is not to be taken to mean that I like to hear your XYZ-Spec argument, your points will go down. Conditionality, or multiple conditional counterplans are both fine. The caveat to this is that I'm not sure if I'm a fan of conditional counterplans with half a dozen planks each independently conditional (ie 2nr could be planks 1-6, or 1-3, or 1&3, etc.). This doesn’t mean I won’t vote aff on theory though, whomever can make their trivial distinctions seem most important will probably win.
Non-traditional affs – I’ve debated at Greenhill and Michigan State, if that doesn’t provide some hint, I’ll break it down some more. The Aff should probably be topical, probably have a plan, and probably also have to defend the effects stemming from the hypothetical enactment of said plan - I've yet to be convinced by a reason as to why any of these things are bad.
General Notes: All of this being said – I will evaluate the arguments made in the round even if they are contrary to my beliefs, this is a guide of what I think and how I will default with a lack of argumentation. Evidence comparisons are important, Impact comparisons as well. There needs to be a decision calculus set up in the final rebuttals – i.e. you can still win the round even after admitting a solvency deficit to your CP. I do like being on the email chain of documents but will NEVER be reading the speech doc during the speech – you need to be clear. I’m only going to flow what the person who should be speaking says, if your partner yells out an argument during your speech, you have not made it.
College debate note: I will judge at one college tournament roughly every four years, this being said, please, please, please, assume I have next to ZERO topic knowledge (careful with acronyms too). I judge a ton of debates, just none on your topic.
Lincoln-Douglas debate notes: Well, you’ve read all of this which means two things: 1. I’m probably judging you. 2. Something has gone terribly awry for both of us. If possible, I’d basically prefer your LD debate to be policy-esque, I can obviously follow whatever but still have no idea what a criterion is. For some reason when I say this, people seem to think theory args are a good idea....most LD theory args seem to be asinine standards that the other team needs to follow…I will not vote on this, and will probably lower your speaker points. Also, if you intend to win due to a theory argument, you need a reason to reject the team – otherwise the obvious remedy is rejecting the argument.
Hello - I debated for Emory for four years and just graduated. I have some biases but will try to not let them affect me during the debate. I also don't read speech docs during the round unless a certain card becomes a huge deal in c/x. Below is my speaker point scale - I will try to reference this to avoid inconsistent point distribution throughout the year/at any given tournament.
Below 27.5: The speaker has demonstrated a lack of basic communication.
27.5-27.9: The speaker demonstrates basic debate competency and argumentation skills. Some areas need substantial improvement.
28.0-28.4: The speaker demonstrates basic argumentation skills and a good grasp on the issues of importance in the debate. Usually shows 1-2 moments of strong strategic insight or macro-level debate vision, but not consistently.
28.5-28.9: Very solid argumentative skills, grasps the important issues in the debate, demonstrates consistent strategic insight.
29-29.5: Remarkable argumentative skills, understands and synthesizes the key issues in the debate, outstanding use of cross-ex and/or humor.
29.6-29.9: The speaker stands out as exceptionally skilled in all of the above areas.
I think vagueness is going to be an interesting argument on this topic - I would encourage teams to specify as much as their solvency advocate does to encourage good debates and interesting neg strategies
Counterplans: I think CPs must be both functionally and textually competitive. I think process, consult, and agent counterplans are bad for debate/not competitive
Disadvantages: The link controls the direction of the disadvantage. If the disad turns and outweighs the case, but has no link, I won’t vote for it. Absolute defense is possible. All of this equally applies for aff advantages
Critiques: Alts are important and not just a K prior question. Negatives should explain what the alternative does and what it means to vote for the critique. I can be persuaded to vote for any critique, as long as I understand it
I think that debate is a game that should revolve around a topical plan/action. I am persuaded more by topicality arguments rather than framework arguments. Topicality is more along the lines of you have to defend the resolution/debating about the resolution is a good thing. Fairness is an impact in and of itself-but the negative still has to explain why
Presumption goes to less change, not necessarily the negative.
I am very willing to grant absolute defense, especially if I feel an argument is silly.
Smart analytics = good. You don’t need evidence to make an argument.
Evidence v. Debating—if an argument is conceded and explained (or if one team is out-debating another), I won’t look to evidence. If arguments are well contested (at the margins), evidence is very important to me. Better evidence > more evidence. Evidence > spin.
Please email me your speech documents. I have judged over a 1000 HS and College Debates over the last 18 years. I am a lawyer and lectured this past summer on this year's HS topic at Institutes for the NY UDL and the DC UDL Coaches Workshop and at Summer Institutes at the University of Michigan, Gonzaga, Georgetown and Harvard.
If you run a K, and actually have an ALT that can be proven to SOLVE a problem - - - any problem - - - it would be the first one I have heard that does solve a problem in 18 years of judging debates and then you might get my ballot, but probably not depending on how well the AFF does. If you are AFF and have a Plan that SOLVES a problem without creating more or larger problems - - - you might well get my ballot, depending on how well you debate during the round.
I listen to arguments, favor clash to determine who does the better job of debating, and no matter the chosen framing or style of either or both teams, I judge the debate based on what is said during the DEBATE by the Debaters.
I began high school judging in 1973.
I started judging college debate in 1976.
Between 1977 and 2002, I took a vacation from debate to practice law and raise a family.
Since 2002, I have judged between 40 and 80 Rounds a year in High School and had brief stints judging college and professional debate while "coaching" for the University of Redlands, my alma mater, in, I believe, 2010.
You can debate your own stuff, but I am not a theory fan.
I believe I have voted NEG on topicality four times in 18 years, twice in non-traditional AFF debates and once at the Kentucky RR when I thought the AFF made a mistake and I also thought the NEG made them pay, although a very competent and distinguished judge who was also judging the same round felt differently. So, even in the one traditional debate round where I voted NEG on T, I was probably wrong. I believe in AFF creativity, reasonability which guarantees predictability.
BUT (and and this is a CAPITAL BUT) I like/strongly prefer substantive debates ABOUT the topic area, so long as the Plan is a reasonable illustration of the Resolution.
People who listen and answer arguments well get great speaker points. People who are nice and friendly and not jerks also like their speaker points.
I have had teams run K's and all kinds, types and nature of CP's. The PERM Debate really makes a difference in a K and CP Round. I am not the most philosophically literate humyn being on the planet, so please explain your esoteric K and your even more esoteric K responses.
Cross-Examination is IMPORTANT, so please ask questions, get answers and ask more questions. When responding, please listen to the question that is asked and ANSWER it. No need to fight or argue. Ask questions, Get Answers, move on.
For the clash of civilization people who want to know more about my feelings and leanings, perhaps the best information I can give you is that I listened to a recording of the final round of the 2013 NDT and would have voted for Northwestern had I been judging. The framework debate in my mind flowed Negative.
I enjoy DISADS and case debates. I am particularly fond of hidden Case Turns that become huge Disads.
I know how hard you work and will attempt to work just as hard to get things right.
Coach at Alpharetta High School 2006-Present
Coach at Chattahoochee High School 1999-2005
Did not debate in High School or College.
Updated 6/2/2020 to add a section on identity arguments.
General thoughts- I expect debaters to recognize debate as a civil, enjoyable, and educational activity. Anything that debaters do to take away from this in the round could be penalized with lower speaker points. I tend to prefer debates that more accurately take into account the types of considerations that would play into real policymakers' decision making. On all arguments, I prefer more specifics and less generics in terms of argument choice and link arguments.
The resolution has an educational purpose. I prefer debates that take this into account and find ways to interact with the topic in a reasonable way. Everything in this philosophy represents my observations and preferences, but I can be convinced otherwise in the round and will judge the arguments made in the round. I will vote on most arguments, but I am going to be very unlikely to vote on arguments that I consider morally repugnant (spark, wipeout, malthus, cancer good, etc). You should avoid these arguments in front of me.
Identity arguments- After some reflection, I realize that my traditional preferences have the effect of silencing important discussions and shielding myself from important discussions. The methods and messages of these rounds can provide important skills for questioning norms in society and helping all of us improve in how we interact with society and promote justice. For that reason, I am going to work hard to be far more open to these arguments and their educational benefits. There are two caveats to this that I want you to be aware of. First, I am not prima facie rejecting framework arguments. I will still be willing to vote on framework if I think the other side is winning that their model of debate is overall better. Second, I have not read the amount of literature on this topic that most of you have and I have not traditionally judged these rounds. This means that you should not assume that I know all of the terms of art used in this literature or the acronyms. Please understand that you will need to assist in my in-round education.
K- I have not traditionally been a big fan of kritiks. This does not mean that I will not vote for kritiks, and I have become much more receptive to them over the years. However, this does mean a couple of things for the debaters. First, I do not judge as many critical rounds as other judges. This means that I am less likely to be familiar with the literature, and the debaters need to do a little more work explaining the argument. Second, I may have a little higher threshold on certain arguments. I tend to think that teams do not do a good enough job of explaining how their alternatives solve their kritiks or answering the perms. Generally, I leave too many rounds feeling like neither team had a real discussion or understanding of how the alternative functions in the round or in the real world. I also tend towards a policy framework and allowing the aff to weigh their advantages against the K. However, I will look to the flow to determine these questions. Finally, I do feel that my post-round advice is less useful and educational in K rounds in comparison to other rounds.
T- I generally enjoy good T debates. Be sure to really impact your standards on the T debate. Also, do not confuse most limiting with fair limits. Finally, be sure to explain which standards you think I as the judge should default to and impact your standards.
Theory-I am willing to pull the trigger on theory arguments as a reason to reject the argument. However, outside of conditionality, I rarely vote on theory as a reason to reject the team. If you are going for a theory arg as a reason to reject the team, make sure that you are impacting the argument with reasons that I should reject the team. Too many debaters argue to reject the team without any impact beyond the argument being unfair. Instead, you need to win that it either changed the round in an unacceptable way or allowing it changes all future rounds/research in some unacceptable way. I will also tend to look at theory as a question of competing interpretations.I feel that too many teams only argue why their interpretation is good and fail to argue why the other team’s interpretation is bad.Also, be sure to impact your arguments. I tend towards thinking that topic specific education is often the most important impact in a theory debate.I am unlikely to do that work for you. Given my preference for topic specific education, I do have some bias against generic counterplans such as states and international actor counterplans that I do not think would be considered as options by real policymakers. Finally, I do think that the use of multiple, contradictory neg advocacies has gotten out of hand in a way that makes the round less educational. I generally believe that the neg should be able to run 1 conditional CP and 1 conditional K. I will also treat the CP and the K as operating on different levels in terms of competition. Beyond that, I think that extra conditional and contradictory advocacies put too much of a burden on the aff and limit a more educational discussion on the merits of the arguments.
Disads- I generally tend towards evaluating uniqueness as the most important part of the disad debate. If there are a number of links and link turns read on a disad debate, I will generally default towards the team that is controlling uniqueness. I also tend towards an offense defense paradigm when considering disads as net benefits to counterplans. I think that the politics disad is a very educational part of debate that is my favorite argument to both coach and judge. I will have a very high threshold for voting on politics theory. Finally, teams should make sure that they give impact analysis that accounts for the strong possibility that the risk of the disad has been mitigated and tells me how to evaluate that mitigation in the context of the impacts in round.
Counterplans-I enjoy a good counterplan debate. However, I tend to give the aff a little more leeway against artificially competitive counterplans, such as consult counterplans. I also feel that a number of aff teams need to do more work on impacting their solvency deficits against counterplans. While I think that many popular counterplans (especially states) are uniquely bad for debate, I have not seen teams willing to invest the time into theory to help defeat these counterplans.
Calling for cards- I prefer to read as few cards post round as possible.I think that it is up to the debaters to give clear analysis of why to prefer one card over another and to bring up the key warrants in their speeches.
High School ***elijahjdsmith AT gmail.com
College*** Rundebate AT gmail.com
Parli/World Schools, PF, Policy, LD can all be excellent formats when debated excellently. If I am judging you in a non-evidentiary form of debate, I don’t have any preferences for what you should do.
You should record a local copy of all of your speeches. If I or you drop the call, I am not going to ask you to regive a speech. Keep going and send the file so I can listen to it using "tech time". It will be a small audio file so even if you're having connectivity issues the file will send quickly. This is especially true in elims. There are no do-overs in elims.
Outside of this, I plan to be pretty reasonable about tech and environmental issues.
My General Thoughts on Debate
The role of the affirmative is to affirm and the role of the negative is to negate the affirmative in an intellectually rigorous manner. However, I would personally like to hear the affirmative say we should do something. I would prefer to hear about an actor outside of the folks reading the 1AC (Nonprofits, governments, the debate community as a whole, etc) do something but that is not a requirement. You can fiat things or you can say we should not fiat things.
I think it is nice when people offer trigger warnings for some content but I find that most of the time they are used when people probably don’t need them and are not used when they probably could be.
Please don’t say racist, sexist, ableist things or things that otherwise participate in -isms . Sometimes debate is an opportunity to learn but if you continue that behavior after someone has informed you it becomes a larger issue. For example, I judged an elim debate where someone was misgendered one time which was followed up with an apology and everyone in the debate moved on. The debater was then misgendered 5 or 6 more times in the next speech. Please don’t do things like this.
If there was an accessibility, disclosure, or other request made before the debate that you plan to bring up in the debate please inform me before the debate. I would like to evaluate the debate with this information ahead of time. More personal issues/things that someone did last year are difficult for me to understand as relevant to my ballot.
I will evaluate debates on the line by line and will read evidence after most debates. I give a lot of weight to what the evidence says. I decide debates by figuring out 1. framing issue 2. offense 3. good defense 4. if the evidence is as good as you say it is 5. deciding which world /side would result in a better outcome.
These thoughts are fairly general yet firmly how I think about debate.
LD, Policy, and PF thoughts are below.
If your opponent didn’t read 2/3 cards in the doc it is not their responsibility to send you an entirely new document. It holds up the debate and gives judges less decision time. If your opponent marked more than one card that they did not finish they have a responsibility to send out an updated document so everyone has a record for the debate.
None of the resolutions say the USFG should. If you are going to make an argument that depends on this link argument you have to make sure the affirmative has defended that the USFG should do something or you have to win that the resolution is the stasis point for the negative to debate and not the aff.
The 1ar has to read cards. In a 4/5 off debate you won’t cover if you only read 1 card and some analytics. All things being equal, the aff is likely going to lose this debate.
I am predisposed to believe that disclosure of cites/using the wiki is good. The wiki doesn’t hurt small schools. It helps them. Prior to having a wiki only “big schools” had the ability to get intel and only shared it with “big schools” that had intel to trade. Disclosure also creates better debates. I do not believe that a team should be forced to open source. I believe open source has made debate worse and students have become less likely to do their own research.
I don’t like silly theory arguments. Condo is not always bad. In an LD debate going beyond 4 off/2 condo options makes me willing to believe that it can be.
See policy for policy-arguments in LD
The following are predispositions, not hard rules. If you don’t want me to evaluate the debate this way, tell me not to.
I don’t coach many teams who debate under the Stock issues. I don’t know as much about the topic as you. If you hail very topic-specific acronyms at me (The CCP will trigger MAD if we get rid of BMDs and kill the NPT) I reserve the right to be confused.
Affirmatives- Debate the case. Impact turn it. Internal link turn it. Read all the defense you have. But you have to answer it. Policy or K. I am still a bit upset about an unfinished game of Mahjong from a debate where the affirmative and negative team played during the reading of the 1AC. I thought that was cool. I’m probably down with whatever your business is. The less your argument is related to a traditional debate the less I will understand why you need a ballot. But I don’t particularly think anyone “needs” a ballot.
Topicality/FW- The affirmative, K or policy, should have to beat topicality and I will vote on it. I have realized that my beliefs about T in K debates are outdated and not applicable to the developments of policy debate in 2020. Reasonability is prob true. Even if you both read an interp, if the aff interp is reasonable I default to the affirmative even if the neg interp is slightly better. In K debates I am still not as persuaded by fairness claims as I am by education claims, but I have and will consider fairness to possibly be more important than the 1ac. However, my threshold for aff answers/impact turns to fairness is still lower when compared to my desire to have an educational activity. You should know that I don't believe argument phrases ( 77th/78th level testing, Clash, moral hazard) are arguments.
Counterplans- I like counterplans. My threshold for allowing cheating counterplans is higher than most people’s. However, the more the counterplan cheats the more explanation I require so I can explain to the aff why the counterplan is different from the aff. If I can’t easily distinguish the two, I will vote aff. People should read theory against these things. They’re cheating.
Disads- The Link is more important than UQ. Everyone has a uniqueness block but they never spend the same amount of time on the link. You can’t just assert that the disad turns the case. If I’m not sure what part of the case you are turning I will just evaluate the aff impact vs the da impact.
K/Performance- The easiest way to lose this debate is just to read your blocks. You need to explain why each card you are reading is answering the claims made in the 1NC. The 2NC should not be a 3-minute overview. The 2NC link explanation should not be a rant. It needs to be structured. The 2nr link explanation can not be " I did this work in the 2NC". I would advise you to do some of it again in a reasonably condensed fashion and to make choices. I understand that you are time-crunched. But I also don't let the affirmative revive an impact from the 1ac in the 2ar. The negative can't have its neg flex cake and eat it too. You should debate if cap, humanism, etc are good or bad. These are valuable debates.
If you already know what evidence you are going to read in the debate/speech you have to send a document via email chain or provide the evidence on a google document that is shared with your opponents before the debate. Those cards have to be provided before the speech begins.
You don’t get unlimited prep time to ask for cards before prep time is used. A PF debate can’t take as long as a policy debate. You have 30 seconds to request and there are then 30 seconds to provide the evidence. If you can’t provide it within 30 seconds your prep will run until you do.
The Final Focus should actually be focused. You have to implicate your argument against every other argument in the debate. You can’t do that if you go for 3 or 4 different arguments.
The Blake School (Minneapolis, MN) I am the director of debate where I teach communication and coach Public Forum and World Schools. I also coach the USA Development Team and Team USA in World Schools Debate.
Some aspects that are critical for me
1) Be nice and respectful. Try to not talk over people. Share time in crossfire periods. Words matter, think about what you say about other people. Attack their arguments and not the people you debate.
2) Arguments must be extended in each speech. This idea of "sticky defense" and not answering arguments in the second rebuttal doesn't understand how debate works. A debater can only make strategic choices about their speech if they base it on what was said in the speech previous to them.
3) Read evidence. I don't accept paraphrasing -- this is an oral activity. If you are quoting an authority, then quote the authority. A debater should not have to play "wack a mole" to find the evidence you are using poorly. Read a tag and then quote the card, that allows your opponent to figure out if you are accurately quoting the author or over-claiming the evidence.
4) Have your evidence ready. If an opponent asks for a piece of evidence you should be able to produce it in about 60 seconds. At two minutes or so, I'm going to just say the evidence doesn't count in the round because you can't produce it. If I say the card doesn't count then the card doesn't count in the round. If you say you can't produce the card then you risk losing. That is called fabrication to cite evidence and then not be able to produce it. If I ask for a card after the round and you can't produce it, again you risk losing the round. Good evidence practices are critical if this format is to rely on citing authorities.
5) I tend to be a policymaker. If there is no offense against trying a new policy then I suggest we try the new policy as it can't hurt to try. Offense is important for both sides.
6) Use voting issues format in summary and final focus. Learn that this allows a clear story and weighing. A voting issue format includes links, impacts, and weighing and provides clarity to just "our case/their case". You are still doing the voting issues on "their flow" or "our flow".
7) Lead with labels/arguments and NOT authors. Number your arguments. For example, 1) Turn UBI increases wage negotiation -- Jones in 2019 states "quote"
8) Racist, xenophobic, sexist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and other oppressive discourses or examples have no place in debate.
Enjoy the debate and learn from this activity, it is a great one.
firstname.lastname@example.org -- please put me on the email chain
PhD student @ Stanford, in Modern Thought and Literature
Emory '19 (did not debate; judged on the GA circuit for 4 years)
Bishop Guertin '15 (debated on the national circuit, went to the TOC, etc. etc.)
***UPDATE for Berkeley 2020: This will be my first tournament on the topic. Please do not assume any familiarity with the topic or especially with any topic-specific acronyms. You can spread, but clarity is paramount as always — clarity over speed any day, but today more than ever!***
My favorite judges in high school were jon sharp, Calum Matheson, and Jarrod Atchinson.
In general, you should not change what you do because you have me in the back of the room. As a debater, I tended to be pretty flexible, alternating frequently between "critical" and "policy" positions. This is your space to argue, not mine, so I will vote for the arguments on the flow that yield the path of least intervention. Pure objectivity being impossible, I nonetheless do my best to keep my subjective argumentative preferences out of the picture. That said, I'm not quite a blank slate; for instance, I won't be persuaded by racism/sexism/etc. good, or by any unapologetically discriminatory positions or practices.
I’m pretty well versed in K lit – I study theory at a graduate level, so I should have some degree of familiarity with whatever you choose to read. I'm an especially good judge for any brand of poststructuralism, including those concerned with questions of identity. Obviously, this doesn't mean that you can rely on buzzwords to get out of explaining your argument; it does mean, too, that I'll know if you have no idea what you're talking about. You should have at least a working knowledge of the position you are asking me to vote for, which requires you to do at least some cursory background reading and thinking. Then, bring your knowledge of critical theory to bear on the particulars of the aff, balancing overarching framing questions with specific link and impact analysis.
I'm not convinced that the aff must defend governmental action. Which is only to say that I will not enter the room with any dogmatic biases against plan-less affirmatives. That said, I probably enjoy a good framework debate more than most, and find myself voting for framework as often as I vote against it. Still, I don't think it should be your only strategy against all K affs; I will be more persuaded if you at least make an effort to substantively engage the aff. Of course, particularly obscure affs or those lacking a consistent advocacy will tend to be harder to defend against framework than core, topic-specific K affs.
***UPDATE September 2018: As I've judged more debates, I've become increasingly wary of framework as a default negative strategy against K affs. In my experience, framework very often becomes a lazy cop-out, even an excuse to avoid debating the substance of the aff. I can still be convinced that this is not always the case, and I will continue to evaluate framework debates technically, but it is on framework debaters to prove the value of their strategy.***
I think I tend to prioritize evidence quality less than most judges. Not that good cards aren't important – they're the pillars of your argument – but they can't replace good analysis. Depending on your argumentative genre of choice, it may be better to establish your position through evidence-reading or through your own explanation in the constructives; but in most cases, I'd rather you invest more time in nuanced and specific applications of your argument than read another card. In the final rebuttals, you absolutely shouldn't rely on your cards to do the work for you – extensions should be much more substantive than simple author name-drops. If you can't explain your author's argument, as well as its implications for the debate, I won't explain it for you.
Clear! I'll take clarity over speed any day. You should be comprehensible enough that I can understand the text of your cards. I will not call for cards after the debate if I was unable to understand them when you read them; I only read evidence for the sake of refreshing my memory.
Chill out. While antagonism is inevitable in this competitive forum and may even enhance debates in limited doses, I maintain that debaters too often take aggression to unhealthy extremes. Outside of a small number of "critical" strategies that benefit performatively from hostility, there is no reason to deliberately be an asshole to the other team, or – especially – to your partner (!!seriously!! if I can hear you yelling at your partner during prep time, you're doing something wrong). Jokes can also help ease the tension.
Speaks – Points vary by tournament (i.e. I'll give higher points at Samford than at the NDCA). Generally speaking, I'm a bit of a point fairy. Methods for improving your speaks include innovative, specific strategies and clear logical organization. Humor is the icing on the cake.
30 – Among the best speakers I’ve ever heard: you should be top speaker and win the tournament. A+
29.5-29.9 – Outstanding: expect to be one of the top 5 speakers – you should be able to make it to late elims. A
29-29.4 – Very impressive: a noteworthy performance with quite little room for improvement; you deserve to be among the top 20 speakers. A-
28.6-28.9 – High average: you are in or near the top of your division; with any luck – and, more surely, with just a little more practice – you should be able to break. B/B+
28-28.5 – Average: you're doing well, but still need to iron out some remaining issues with your clarity of speech or of argument. B-
27.5-27.9 – Low average: you have potential, but displayed: a) notable problems with both speaking and argument development, or b) more serious problems in one of the two areas. C/C+
27-27.4 – Below average: your performance was passable, but suffered from critical issues of both style and content. C-
26.5-26.9 – Needs improvement: you spoke poorly, made major strategic mistakes, and likely dropped some important arguments. D
26-26.4 – Needs major improvement: you failed to answer a majority of your opponent’s arguments and made some manner of unforgivable mistake. D-
0-25 – You did something offensive. F
Clipping will result in an immediate loss and the lowest speaks allowed by the tournament. I will follow along with the speech doc and record the debate; if I catch you clipping, I will stop the round you even if your opponent doesn’t call you on it.
This is not, in fact, your CX.
*** Update March 2019: YES TKO PLEASE TKO! Far too many debates drag on painfully long after they (should) have technically ended. For this reason, I am following B. Manuel's paradigm and urging you to invoke "total knock-out" mode if the other team makes an utterly irredeemable mistake – e.g., double turn, dropped T or a K, etc. Of course, you must stake the round on this; if you can pull it off (i.e., if you can satisfactorily extend the dropped/devastating argument while covering all your bases, e.g., answering condo if going for a dropped K...), then you will win the round after your speech and receive 30s. If you are unsuccessful, you lose and get a hard cap of 27.5. ***
For TOC 2021: I have only judged one debate on this topic, at Greenhill, so I am a free strike. FREE STRIKE.
I am relatively unfamiliar with the details of the files and cards, so if I do judge you, don't assume I know things that are obvious to people who have judged more.
Director of Debate at Westminster, former lawyer, college debater before that -- but slow it down some if you want your arguments to make it to my flow, which is usually on paper.
It is unlikely that I can flow the tiny details of your pre-written blocks.
I definitely do not know the details of your politics DA or answers - please understand that I am evaluating your DA and answers based on what you say about it in the round.
I don't know the nuances of any T arguments, but I am a former lawyer so I understand some from background knowledge.
Don't assume, and explain well.
Put me on the email chain at email@example.com
1) Make your speeches flowable. I will not be able to flow (and likely will not catch) all the details if you are reading pre-written blocks at top speed with no breaks or changes in inflection. If you're going to read blocks, try to at least pretend you're not reading blocks by having breaks between arguments, emphasizing tags, slowing it down a little on analytics, etc. You are also a lot more likely to hold my attention to details and help me not miss stuff that way. I will reward your speaker points if you do a good job of this.
You would be shocked at how many "good" judges think the same thing about block-reading and the above advice, and how little some judges are flowing, or even catching, of what you think you said.
2) I disagree with approaches that make the personal identity of the debaters in the round relevant to the decision in the debate, especially for high-school-aged students, and I am also not a good judge for these debates because I often do not understand what the judge is being asked to vote for. This does not mean you can't read K arguments or arguments about race or identity, in fact there are many K arguments that I think are true and make a lot of sense, I just don't think a teacher should in the position of ratifying or rejecting the personal identity or experiences of a teenager.
3) "Death good" is a reason to reject the team, and I may auto-vote that way even if the opponent doesn't make the argument.
4) There needs to be a fair stasis point in order to have good debates. Debate is good.
5) Theory: You are really taking your chances if you rely on a sketchy CP that requires winning a lot of theory, because I do not spend a lot of time outside of debate rounds thinking about theory. I can't tell you which way I will come down on a particular theory issue because it usually depends on what is said -- and what I flow -- in that particular round. This applies to T debates and other theory debates too.
6) If it is pretty close between the CP and the aff (or even if it isn't close), you need to give some really clear comparative explanations about why I should choose one over the other -- which you should do for any judge but make sure you do it when I'm judging.
7) I really dislike high theory and post-modernism in debate.
8) Reading cards to decide the debate: For many years I tried to judge without looking at the speech documents during the speeches, but I have recently concluded that is unrealistic because there is an entire additional level of the debate that is happening between the debaters in the speech documents. I don't think it should be that way, but I understand why it is happening. However, if the claims made about a card or set of cards are uncontested by the opponent, I am likely to assume when deciding the debate that the cards say what their reader claimed they say rather than reading both sides' cards or any of the cards.
9) I am not at all deep in the files and evidence especially for most neg arguments, so I am really judging the debate based on what you say and what your cards say as you present them in the round.
9) Links and impact calculus are really, really important, especially in the last rebuttals. However, I think lengthy pre-written overviews are not as good as 2NR/2AR (and prior) explanations based on what actually happened in the particular debate.
Yes, include me on the doc chain – firstname.lastname@example.org
No, I am not ok with you just putting the card in the text of the email
Idk if the aff has to read a plan. I would obviously prefer it, but I also would prefer if I were in for zero rounds, so…
Quick note: (2020 Spring Semester)
I have judged very few rounds on this topic due to illness. Please pretend I am someone with not a lot of topic knowledge.
The longer version:
-I’ve never judged a planless debate where the neg has not gone for framework.
-I generally went for framework against planless affirmatives when I debated, and therefore am a bit deeper on the neg side of things.
-I don’t think topicality, or adhering to a resolution, is analogous to rape, slavery, or other atrocities.
-I don’t think that not being topical will cause everyone to quit, lose all ability to navigate existential crisis, or other tedious internal link chains.
-I would really prefer if people had reasonable arguments on topicality for why or why they don’t need to read a plan, rather than explaining to me their existential impact to voting aff or neg.
-I find myself persuaded that the case can not outweigh topicality. Arguments from the case can be used to impact turn topicality, but that is distinct from “case outweighs limits” in my mind.
-if you choose to pref me, that’s on you. Blow me up and I might blow back.
Neg K v plans:
-Generally, the alt won’t solve
-Generally, the alt doing the plan is a reason to reject the alt/team
-Generally, contradictions justify severance
-Generally, the neg is allowed to read Ks
K v K debate:
Wow, you might be the first to be judged by me in this situation. Congrats! Also sorry! I have no clue what if I’m supposed to judge differently, but I tend to find myself thinking of things in terms of causality, so if that’s not your jam you gotta tell me not to think in that way.
K stuff in general:
-My degree is in math. While y’all were reading a lot of background lit, I was doing abstract algebra. You might have to break it down a bit.
-I am more persuaded by identity or constructivism than post modernism.
-I do not recommend reading Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.
-Tell me if I can (or can’t!) kick it for you. I may or may not remember to if you don’t. I may or may not feel like you are allowed to if you don’t.
-Reading definitions of should means the perm or theory are in tough shape. Its not unwinnable, but I was a 2A…
-Links to the net benefit is usually a sliding scale. But sometimes links have a certain threshold where it doesn’t matter which links less. Please consider this nuance when debating.
-TBH – y’all blaze through theory blocks with no clarity and then get confused when I have no standards written down. These debates are bad. Be more clear. Speak at a flowable pace. Maybe make your own arguments. Idk.
-It is debatable whether an argument is a reason to reject the argument or team. Except conditionality…that makes no sense.
-Yes, there can be zero DA. No, it’s not as common as you think.
-answer turns case!!!
-There is a lot uncovered here… at least I finally updated it from 2012 ¯\_(ãƒ„)_/¯
El Cerrito ‘15
For the HS China topic: I am not well-versed in the topic lit for this year. That means you should limit the acronyms/explain topic-specific arguments that you think would be unclear otherwise.
Short version: Do what you’re good at.
Longer version: I debated for a small high school and had pretty extensive national circuit experience, ending my career at the TOC. I am not debating in college.
My coaches in high school were Josh Martin, Sunny Advani, and Rohit Rajan—their wikis, although different, are pretty good representations of my thoughts about debate.
I was a 2A in high school and if it matters, we went for politics and counterplans against most policy affs. Around 70% of our 2NRs against K affs were framework, with the other 30% being Marx.
That being said, I don’t have any strong dispositions towards critical vs policy debate. It just means it’s your responsibility to explain your aff with no plan/kritik instead of assuming I understand it and am ready to pull the trigger. I’m pretty familiar with the more common K lit but you’re fighting an uphill battle if you’re planning on going for high theory in front of me.
If you choose to read framework, I am infinitely more persuaded by substantive framework (state engagement good/dialogue/etc.) rather than listening to your 6 minute fairness overview.
My favorite debates to judge involve case-specific counterplans and disads. Impact turns are great but if you’re gonna do it, don't half-ass it--this means devoting the majority of your speech time to the impact turn.
I’m not afraid to dock your speaks if you’re being rude or offensive. Most importantly, debate should be fun—why do it otherwise?
If you have any specific questions, either ask me before the round or email me at: email@example.com
Current Affiliation = Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Debates Judged on this topic: about 40 Rounds (UMich Debate Institute)
Prior Experience: Debated policy in HS at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, CA (1992-1995); Debated NDT/CEDA in college at USC (1995-1999); Assistant debate coach at Cal State Northridge 2003-2005; Assistant debate coach at Glenbrook South HS Spring of 2005; Director of Debate at Glenbrook North HS 2005-2009; Director of Debate at Notre Dame HS Fall of 2009-Present.
My defaults go into effect when left to my own devices. I will go against most of these defaults if a team technically persuades me to do so in any given debate.
If you start taking excessive time to flash your document, I will start instituting that "Prep time ends when the speaker's flash drive is removed from her/his computer."
I am familiar with the topic (4 weeks of teaching at Michigan at Classic and involved in argument coaching at Notre Dame).
Delivery rate should be governed by your clarity; WARRANTS in the evidence should be clear, not just the tagline.
Clarity is significantly assisted by organization - I flow as technically as possible and try to follow the 1NC structure on-case and 2AC structure off-case through the 1AR. 2NR and the 2AR should have some leeway to restructure the debate in important places to highlight their offense. However, line-by-line should be followed where re-structuring is not necessary.
Ideal 2AR Structure
Offense placed at the top (tell me how I should be framing the debate in the context of what you are winning), then move through the debate in a logical order.
2NR's Make Choices
Good 2NR strategies may be one of the following: (1) Functionally and/or textually competitive counterplan with an internal or external net benefit, (2) K with a good turns case/root cause arguments that are specific to each advantage, (3) Disadvantage with turns case arguments and any necessary case defense, (4) Topicality (make sure to cover any theory arguments that are offense for aff). My least favorite debates to resolve are large impact turn debates, not because I hate impact turns, but because I think that students lose sight of how to resolve and weigh the multiple impact scenarios that get interjected into the debate. Resolving these debates starts with a big picture impact comparison.
Reference evidence by warrant first and then add "That's [Author]." Warrant and author references are especially important on cards that you want me to read at the end of the debate. Also, evidence should reflect the arguments that you are making in the debate. I understand that resolving a debate requires spin, but that spin should be based in the facts presented in your evidence.
I have been getting copies of speech documents for many debates lately so I can read cards during prep time, etc. However, note that I will pay attention to what is said in the debate as much as possible - I would much rather resolve the debate on what the debaters say, not based on my assessment of the evidence.
Safer to go for offense, and then make an "even if" statement explaining offense as a 100% defensive takeout. I will vote on well-resolved defense against CP, DA's and case. This is especially true against process CP's (e.g., going for a well-resolved permutation doesn't require you to prove a net benefit to the permutation since these CP's are very difficult to get a solvency deficit to) and DA's with contrived internal link scenarios. Winning 100% defense does require clear evidence comparison to resolve.
I like a well-developed topicality debate. This should include cards to resolve important distinctions. Topical version of the aff and reasonable case lists are persuasive. Reasonability is persuasive when the affirmative has a TRUE "we meet" argument; it seems unnecessary to require the affirmative to have a counter-interpretation when they clearly meet the negative interpretation. Also, discussing standards with impacts as DA's to the counter-interpretation is very useful - definition is the uniqueness, violation is the link, standard is an internal link and education or fairness is the impact.
Word PIC's, process, consult, and condition CP's are all ok. I have voted on theory against these CP's in the past because the teams that argued they were illegit were more technically saavy and made good education arguments about the nature of these CP's. The argument that they destroy topic-specific education is persuasive if you can prove why that is true. Separately, the starting point for answers to the permutation are the distinction(s) between the CP and plan. The starting point for answers to a solvency deficit are the similarities between the warrants of the aff advantage internal links and the CP solvency cards. Counterplans do not have to be both functionally and textually competitive, but it is better if you can make an argument as to why it is both.
All parts of the DA are important, meaning neither uniqueness nor links are more important than each other (unless otherwise effectively argued). I will vote on conceded or very well-resolved defense against a DA.
Good K debate should have applied links to the affirmative's or negative's language, assumptions, or methodology. This should include specific references to an opponent's cards. The 2NC/1NR should make sure to address all affirmative impacts through defense and/or turns. I think that making 1-2 carded externally impacted K's in the 2NC/1NR is the business of a good 2NC/1NR on the K. Make sure to capitalize on any of these external impacts in the 2NR if they are dropped in the 1AR. A team can go for the case turn arguments absent the alternative. Affirmative protection against a team going for case turns absent the alternative is to make inevitability (non-unique) claims.
Framework is applied in many ways now and the aff should think through why they are reading parts of their framework before reading it in the 2AC, i.e., is it an independent theoretical voting issue to reject the Alternative or the team based on fairness or education? or is it a defensive indite of focusing on language, representations, methodology, etc.?. Framework impacts should be framed explicitly in the 1AR and 2AR. I am partial to believing that representations and language inform the outcome of policymaking unless given well-warranted cards to respond to those claims (this assumes that negative is reading good cards to say rep's or language inform policymaking).
Neg framework is particularly persuasive against an affirmative that has an advocacy statement they don't stick to or an aff that doesn't follow the resolution at all. It is difficult for 2N's to have a coherent strategy against these affirmatives and so I am sympathetic to a framework argument that includes a topicality argument and warranted reasons to reject the team for fairness or education. If a K aff has a topical plan, then I think that framework only makes sense as a defensive indite their methodology; however, I think that putting these cards on-case is more effective than putting them on a framework page. Framework is a somewhat necessary tool given the proliferation of affirmatives that are tangentially related to the topic or not topical at all. I can be persuaded that non-topical affs should not get permutations - a couple primary reasons: (1) reciprocity - if aff doesn't have to be topical, then CP's/K's shouldn't need to be competitive and (2) Lack of predictability makes competition impossible and neg needs to be able to test the methodology of the aff.
I prefer substance, but I do understand the need for theory given I am open to voting on Word PIC's, consult, and condition CP's. If going for theory make sure to impact arguments in an organized manner. There are only two voting issues/impacts: fairness and education. All other arguments are merely internal links to these impacts - please explain how and why you control the best internal links to either of these impacts. If necessary, also explain why fairness outweighs education or vice-versa. If there are a host of defensive arguments that neutralize the fairness or education lost, please highlight these as side constraints on the the violation, then move to your offense.
Classic Battle Defaults
These are attempts to resolve places where I felt like I had to make random decisions in the past and had wished I put something in my judge philosophy to give debaters a fair warning. So here is my fair warning on my defaults and what it takes to overcome those defaults:
(1) Theory v. Topcality - Topcality comes before theory unless the 1AR makes arguments explaining why theory is first and the 2NR doesn't adequately respond and then the 2AR extends and elaborates on why theory is first sufficiently enough to win those arguments.
(2) Do I evaluate the aff v. the squo when the 2NR went for a CP? - No unless EXPLICITLY framed as a possibility in the 2NR. If the 2NR decides to extend the CP as an advocacy (in other words, they are not just extending some part of the CP as a case takeout, etc.), then I evaluate the aff versus the CP. What does this mean? If the aff wins a permutation, then the CP is rejected and the negative loses. I will not use the perm debate as a gateway argument to evaluating the aff vs. the DA. If the 2NR is going for two separate advocacies, then the two separate framings should be EXPLICIT, e.g., possible 2NR framing, "If we win the CP, then you weigh the risk of the net benefit versus the risk of the solvency deficit and, if they win the permutation, you should then just reject the CP and weigh the risk of the DA separately versus the affirmative" (this scenario assumes that the negative declared the CP conditional).
(3) Are Floating PIK's legitimate? No unless the 1AR drops it. If the 1AR drops it, then it is open season on the affirmative. The 2NC/1NR must make the floating PIC explicit with one of the following phrases to give the 1AR a fair chance: "Alternative does not reject the plan," "Plan action doesn't necessitate . Also, 2NC/1NR must distinguish their floating PIK from the permutation; otherwise, affirmatives you should use any floating PIK analysis as a outright concession that the "permutation do both" or "permutation plan plus non-mutually exclusive parts" is TRUE.
(4) Will I vote on theory cheap shots? Yes, but I feel guilty voting for them. HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A REVERSE VOTING ISSUE EVEN IF IT WAS DROPPED.
Who is a Good Debater
Anna Dimitrijevic, Alex Pappas, Pablo Gannon, Stephanie Spies, Kathy Bowen, Edmund Zagorin, Matt Fisher, Dan Shalmon, Scott Phillips, Tristan Morales, Michael Klinger, Greta Stahl, George Kouros. There are many others - but this is a good list.
Your Opponents, Your Teammates, Your Coaches, Your Activity.
Extra Notes CP/Perm/Alt Texts
The texts of permutations, counterplans, and alternatives should be clear. I always go back and check the texts of these items if there is a question of a solvency deficit or competition. However, I do feel it is the burden of the opposing team to bring up such an argument for me to vote on it - i.e., unless it is a completely random round, the opposing team needs to make the argument that the text of the CP means there is a significant solvency deficit with the case, or the affirmative is overstating/misconstruing the solvency of a permutation because the text only dictates X, not Y, etc. I will decide that the aff does not get permutations in a debate where the affirmative is not topical.
I try to follow the flow the best I can - I do double check if 2AR is making arguments that are tied to the 1AR arguments. I think that 2AR's get significant leeway to weigh and frame their impacts once the 2NR has chosen what to go for; however, this does not mean totally new arguments to case arguments, etc. that were presented before the 2NR.
Frame claim in comparison to other team's response, extend important warrants, cite author for evidence, impact argument to ballot - all of these parts are necessary to resolve an argument fully. Since debate is a game of time management, this means going for fewer arguments with more thorough analysis is better than extending myriad of arguments with little analysis.
Complete disrespect toward anyone who is nice; no one ever has enough “credibility” in this community to justify such actions. If there is a disrespectful dynamic in a debate, I ALWAYS applaud (give higher speaker points to) the first person to step down and realize they are being a jerk. Such growth and self-awareness should rewarded.
Fear to Engage Bad
Win or lose, you are ultimately competing to have the best debate possible. Act like it and do not be afraid to engage in the tough debates. You obviously should make strategic choices, but do not runaway from in-depth arguments because you think another team will be better than you on that argument. Work harder and beat them on the argument on which she/he is supposedly an expert. Taking chances to win debates good.
And, as Lord Dark Helmet says, “evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb.”
Name Wayne Tang School - Northside College Prep, Preclusions- Maine East, IL
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years. I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and am sometimes placed (for whatever reason) in upper end rounds at national tournaments. However, I am not a professional teacher/debate coach, I am a patent attorney in my real (non-debate) life and thus do not learn anything about the topic (other than institutes are overpriced) over the summer. I like to think I make up for that by being a quick study, being forced to look at the files produced by my teams, and through coaching and judging past topics, knowing many recycled arguments.
DISADS AND ADVANTAGES
Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.
I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the negative burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually this is a pretty deep hole for the aff. to dig out of. For example, if the aff. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote aff. As with most issues, in depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3 word tag lines.
Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further (sorry to my past assistants who have chosen this as their academic career), I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing both a dose of the real world (I was an engineer in undergrad, I guess I have been brainwashed in techno-strategic discourse/liking solutions that actually accomplish something) and a fundamentals of clear writing course. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the aff. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyperspeed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.
PERFORMANCE BASED ARGUMENTS
Also not a fan, but I have voted on these arguments in the past. I am generally not highly preferred by teams that run such arguments, so I don't see enough of these types of debates to be an expert. However, I judge a number of Chicago Debate League tournaments where teams run these arguments and also for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and thus have some background in such arguments from these rounds. I will try to evaluate the arguments in such rounds and will not hesitate to vote against framework arguments if the team advocating non-traditional debate wins sufficient warrants why I should reject the policy/topic framework. However, if a team engages the non-traditional positions, the team advocating such positions need to answer any such arguments in order to win. In other words, I will evaluate these debates like I try to evaluate any other issues, I will see what arguments clash and evaluate that clash, rewarding a team that can frame issues, compare and explain impacts. I have spent 20 plus years coaching a relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, so I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates. On the other hand I have also spent 20 plus years involved in non-debate activities and am not entirely convinced that the strategies urged by non-traditional debates work. Take both points for whatever you think they are worth in such debates.
Case specific CPs are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CPs to solve the Aff and use Aff solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the Aff on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The aff has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.
POINTS – In varsity debate, I believe you have to minimally be able to clash with the other teams arguments, if you can’t do this, you won’t get over a 27.3. Anything between 28.6 and 29 means you are probably among the top 5% of debaters I have seen. I will check my points periodically against tournament averages and have adjusted upward in the past to stay within community norms. Unfortunately for you, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me. Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen and Stephanie Spies didn’t get 30s from me (and they were among my favorites of all time), so don’t feel bad if you don’t either.
I dislike evaluating theory debates but if you make me I will do it and complain a lot about it later. No real predispositions on theory other than I would prefer to avoid dealing with it.
Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex.
I do not count flashing time (or general tech screw ups) as prep time and quite frankly am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.
Speed is fine (this is of course a danger sign because no one would admit that they can’t handle speed). If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, as with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it.
I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my semi-conscious (and probably apathetic) state, perceive is going on.
I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking espn.com on my laptop, throwing something at you, etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument. I will, and have, voted on many arguments I think are squarely in the realm of idiocy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), death good (more than I would like to admit), Sun-Ra, world government, etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter).
I will not hesitate to vote against teams and award zero points for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, threats of violence, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have only been faced with such issues twice in my 25 + years of judging.
2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).
It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.
I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.
After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.
I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.
When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.
Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).
I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.
Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.
I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).
- Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.
You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.
By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.
I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.
Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).
Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.
For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.
The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).
If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.
“We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.
For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.
Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.
Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.
I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.
Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.
From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.
A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.
I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.
Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.
Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).
Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.
I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.
Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.
Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.
I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.
For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.
Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.
Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.
Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.
Performance (the other critique):
Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.
However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.
If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.
*Updated September 2020*
I debated for four years at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Go Packers/Brewers/Bucks! In college, I debated for four years at Michigan State University, earning three first round bids and a semifinals appearance at the NDT.
Currently, I work on the non-debate side of Michigan State, doing education data analysis, program evaluation, and professional development. On the side, I help out OPRF, and this summer, I taught at the Wyoming Forensics Institute. That said, debate is no longer my day-to-day job. Given that, I'm not a content expert on this topic like some of your other judges might be.
More generally, any given debate can get in-depth quickly, so you should be careful with acronyms/intricacies if you think that your strategy is really innovative or requires a deep understanding of your specific mechanism. Teams sometimes get so deep in the weeds researching their business that they forget to provide basic explanation for the argument's context/history/background. Instead, they jump into the most advanced part of the topic. If something is creative, that's an issue because it's likely the judge's first time hearing it.
Everyone says it and almost no one means it, but I think that you should debate what you care about/what interests you/what you're good at doing. In other words, put me in the "big-tent" camp. All of the stuff below is too long and shouldn't impact your debating (maybe besides the meta issues section). It really is just my thoughts (vs a standard), and is only included to offer insight into how I see debate.
META ISSUES/ABBREVIATED PHILOSOPHY/STRIKE CARD ESSENTIAL
1. Assuming equal debating, I'm *really* bad for the K on the neg/as planless aff. I find my self constantly struggling with questions in decision-time like: Does the neg ACTUALLY have a link to the plan's MECHANISM or even their SPECIFIC representations? What is the alternative? How does that advocacy change the extremely sweeping and entrenched problems identified in the 1NC/2NC impact evidence? If it's so effective, why doesn't it overcome the links to the plan? If the alt is just about scholarship/ethics/some -ology, how does that compare to material suffering outlined by the 1AC? In the end, when I vote negative on it/for planless affs, it's generally because the losing team dropped a techy ballot like ethics first, serial policy failure or we're a PIK. I normally don't like footnoting philosophies, but I love what Cody Crunkilton has to say when he comments that "I won't hold it against you if you like Ks, and am not going to feel like my time was wasted or you are destroying debate or anything - I am just genuinely very confused about how kritiks answer the aff" and that "it is possible to convince me otherwise, but the amount of work you will have to do will be so high that nineteen out of twenty times you would be better off doing something else."
2. College debate made me more oriented to tech than truth. In my experience as a debater and judge, ignorance of tech resulted in a callous dismissal of arguments as “bad” and increased judge intervention to determine what is “correct” instead of what was debated in-round and executed more effectively. That said, truth is a huge bonus, and being on the right side makes your task of being technically proficient easier because you can let logic/evidence speak a little for you.
3. Despite my inclinations to tech, I still care a lot about evidence quality (namely because it demonstrates hard work and provides some insight into the relative truth of arguments). This idea has a couple of implications: a strong analytical argument can defeat bad evidence, one good card is better than 5 meh ones, and part of my role in judging is comparing evidence *when it's contested/debated*
4. Every round could use more calculus and comparisons. The most obvious example of this thesis is with impact calc, but I think there are a laundry list of other examples like considering relative risk, quality of evidence, and author qualifications. As a format, any of these comparisons should have a reason why your argument is preferable, a reason why that frame is important, and a reason why your opponents’ argument is poor/viewed in a poor lens. In the context of impact calc, this framework means saying that your impact outweighs on timeframe, that timeframe is important, and that while your opponent’s impact might have a large magnitude, I should ignore that frame of decision-making. Engaging your opponents’ arguments on a deeper level and resolving debates is the easiest way to get good points. Beyond that, making a decision is functionally comparing each teams’ stance/evidence quality/technical ability on a few nexus questions, so if you’re doing this work for me you will probably like my decision a lot more than if I’m left to sort through a pile of cards.
5. I hold debaters to a high standard for making an argument. Any claim should be supported with a warrant, evidence and impact on my decision. Use early speeches to get ahead on important questions. For instance, I won’t dismiss something like “Perm do Both,” but I think the argument would be bolstered by a reason why the perm is preferable in the 2AC (i.e. how it interacts with the net-benefits) instead of saving those arguments for the 1AR/2AR. By the way, you should consider this point my way out in post-rounds where you're like "but I said X...It was right here!" For me, if something is important enough to win/lose a debate, you should spend a significant amount of time there, connect and make sure your claim is *completely* and *thoughtfully* warranted.
6. All debates have technical mistakes, but not all technical mistakes are equal or irreversible. Given those assumptions, the best rebuttals recognize flaws and make “even if” statements/explain why losing an argument does not mean they lose the debate. I think debaters fold too often on mistakes. Just because you dropped a theory argument doesn’t mean you cannot cross-apply an argument from another theory argument, politics or T to win.
7. I think offense-defense is a poor way to view debates as it can be an overly rigid while most issues are relative. Consequently I’m a decent judge for “terminal” defense and reasonability. Likewise, I’m not the best judge for arguments like CP Yes/No links to politics.
8. Favorite Critics (Not 100% match in ideology, ask if interested): Leah Moczulski, Eric Morris, Will Mosley-Jensen, David Cram Helwich, Jonathan Paul, and David Heidt. They all work hard judging debates, care about their role as educators, and offer detailed feedback every round. That's what I will try to do in the round.
9. Things people don't do enough:
a) Start with the title for their 1NC offcase positions (i.e. first off TPP)
b) Give links labels (i.e our "docket crowdout link" or "our bipart link"
c) Explain what their plan actually does - For instance (in college), how does the plan restrict executive authority? Who does it? What is the mechanism? What, specifically, is covered? I've decided that if the aff is vague to an egregious extent, I'll be super easy on the negative with DA links, CP competition, and T. Aff vagueness is also a link to circumvention and explains why fiat doesn't solve definitional non-compliance.
d) Call out new arguments - I don't have sympathy if you *wish* you said no impact in the 2AC. There are times that I wish it existed, but there isn't and can't be a 3AC. I will say that for mostly pragmatic reasons, I'm not to the point of reviewing every new 1AR argument. I'll protect the 2NR for the 2AR, but you have to do the work before that.
10. Random (likely to change) college topic thoughts:
a) ESR (when written with extra planks to create aff-specific internal restraints, spur public perception, and fiat out of practice-bad advantages) is an absolute monster. It would be really tough to get me on ESR theory in an equally-debated round, I think most affirmative evidence says that the aff's mechanism is good (not that it is necessary or that executive-action would not be sufficient), and I think most aff perception arguments about Trump tweeting/flip-flopping/lacking credibility take out the affirmative. I'm hoping that teams skip ahead to the part of the War Powers topic where affs had a practice AND authority advantage (even if it's imperfect against the squo) instead of just a bunch of arguments why tariffs/treaty exit/surveillance/etc are bad.
b) The negative state action part of this topic will likely make it very difficult to win K links (sans legalism/Rana-type stuff). As always, negative specificity matters. In the end, you have to explain why the affirmative's particular action/scholarship/reps are problematic
c) The "Trumper" is both overrated and underrated. In terms of it applied to solvency/open non-compliance, expect that the aff will get leeway with durable fiat/implementation is robust. Given that approach, it's a non-starter. In terms of it applied to advantages, I would be worried. If you read climate/free trade/relations, you just need some specific twist OR great evidence that Trump will backdown.
d) Be careful your UQ CP doesn't overwhelm the link to your DA. Sometimes the neg goes a bit too far.
e) There doesn't seem to be a very good topic DA. Trump's bad, spillover links lose to thumpers (or just no spillover), and Yoo and friends are still war criminals. Given that, I imagine I'll be better for signal/politics/midterms-based DAs than prez powers, etc.
Planless affirmatives – The affirmative would ideally have a plan that defends action by the United States federal government (Least important). The affirmative should have a direct tie to the topic. In the context of the college resolution, this means you would have a defense of restricting executive authority on one of the topic areas (Pretty important). The affirmative MUST defend the implementation of said "plan" - whatever it is (MOST important). While I will NOT immediately vote negative on T or “Framework” as a procedural issue, if you don’t defend instrumental implementation of a topical plan *rooted in the resolutional question*, you will be in a tough spot. I’m especially good for T/Framework if the affirmative dodges case turns and debates over the question if presidential restrictions are good or bad. In particular, I am persuaded by arguments about why these affirmatives are unpredictable, under-limit the topic, and create a bad heuristic for problem solving (though procedural > political offense especially given Trump). Short version is that you can do you and there is always a chance I’ll vote for you, but I’m probably not an ordinal one for teams that don’t want to engage the resolutional question.
I do want to say that at tournaments with relaxed prefs, I will do my absolute best to keep an open mind about these assumptions. That shouldn't be read as "Thur says he's open to our planless aff - let's move him up to push down 'policy' people." It should be read as if I come up at one of these tournaments, you might as well do what you're most comfortable with/what you've practiced the most instead of over-adapting.
Critiques—Honestly, just read the first point in the "meta issues" section. I understand neolib/deterrence/security pretty well because they were a big part of my major. If you want to push against my confusion on the K (as a concept), you need to have specific links to the plan’s actions, authors, or representations. Again, trying to be honest, if you're itching to say Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze, death good, etc., I'm not your guy. On framework, the affirmative will almost surely be able to weigh their 1AC (unless they totally airball), and I'm pretty hesitant to place reps/scholarship/epistemology before material reality. One other thing - substitute out buzzwords and tags for explanation. Merely saying "libidinal economy" or "structural antagonism" without some evidence and explanation isn't a win condition.
In terms of being affirmative against these arguments, I think that too often teams lose sight of the easy ballots and/or tricks. The 1AR and 2AR need to “un-checklist” those arguments. In terms of disproving the critique, I think I’m pretty good for alternative fails/case outweighs or the permutation with a defense of pragmatism or reformism. Of those 2 - I'm best for your alt does nothing...we have an aff...
Case- I’m a huge fan. With that, I think that it’s very helpful for the neg (obviously?). I believe that no matter what argument you plan to go for, (excluding T/theory) case should be in some part of the 2nr. In the context of the critique, you can use case arguments to prove that the threats of the 1AC are flawed or constructed, that there are alternative causes to the affirmative that only the alternative solves, or that the impacts of the affirmative are miniscule and the K outweighs. For CPs, even if you lose a solvency deficit, you can still win because the net benefit outweighs the defended affirmative. Going for case defense to the advantage that you think the CP solves the least forces me to drop you twice as I have to decide the CP doesn’t solve AND that the case impact outweighs your net-benefit. That seems like a pretty good spot to be in.
CP- My favorite ones are specific to the 1AC with case turns as net benefits. Aside from that, I think that I am more inclined than most to vote aff on the perm when there is a trivial/mitigated net benefit vs. a smallish solvency deficit, but in the end I would hope you would tell me what to value first. I had a big section written up on theory, and I decided it's too round-dependent to list out. I still think that more than 2 conditional positions is SUPER risky, functional > textual competition, competition is dictated by mandates and not outcomes (i.e. CPs that are designed to spur follow-on are very strategic), judge kick is good, consult/condition/delay/threaten generally suck, and interpretations matter A LOT.
Topicality- I default to reasonability, but I can be convinced that Competing Interpretations is a decent model. The negative does not need actual abuse, but they do need to win why their potential abuse is likely as opposed to just theoretical. That is, I'll be less persuaded by a 25-item case list than a really good explanation of a few devastating new affirmatives they allow. If I were to pick only one standard to go for, it would be predictable limits. They shape all pre-round research that guides in-round clash and ensure that debates are dialogues instead of monologues. Finally, as a framing point, I generally think bigger topics = better.
They're totally broken. I'll try to follow the below scale based on where points were at GSU.
29.3 to 29.6 – Speaker Award - 1 to 10
29.1 to 29.2 – Speaker Award - 11 to 25
28.8 to 29 – Should break/Have a chance
28.5 to 28.7 – Outside change at breaking to .500
28.1 to 28.4 – Not breaking, sub-.500
27 to 28 – Keep working
Below 26 – Something said/done warranting a post-round conversation with coaches
After a decade, I’ve now finally decided to update my philosophy. I’ve found that nothing I could say about each of the main argument categories would be particularly relevant because of one simple fact - my ultimate preference is to evaluate the round in whatever way you tell me to. I’m not saying you can call me a “tabula rasa” judge, if people even use that phrase anymore…I’m saying that my goal is to intervene as little as possible in the debate.
-I find myself evaluating every argument in a debate as a disad. This is obvious for actual disadvantages, counterplans, etc but for me, it's also true of theory, framework, and topicality. Did you read framework against a critical race aff? Then you likely have a predictability disad and a fairness disad against the aff’s framing of how debate should be. Did the neg read a conditional CP, K alternative, and insist the SQ is an option? You probably have ground and fairness disads to the CP/K. In those instances, you HAVE to make an impact argument that makes sense. Exclude the aff, reject the CP, reject the team…whatever. I will compare those impacts to the impacts the other side has (flexibility, education, etc.). It’d be a lot better if you did the comparison for me. If you don't, I will read into everything and make a decision for myself.
-Otherwise, debate like you want to debate. I no longer find myself voting against framework all of the time or voting for the K vs policy affs that are going for framework against the alt. I probably have voted the opposite way more often in the last year.
-Lastly, I flow but I also want to be on the email chain (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'm actually trying to model what you are supposed to be doing...flowing the speech and looking at the evidence the team is reading once I've written down what they said ALOUD. If you do this, guaranteed 28.9 or better (which is high for me). If you actually flow AND you are funny and/or efficient at line-by-line and/or making a ton of smart arguments while covering everything, guaranteed 29.5 or better (which is outrageous for me).
------------------------------Online Debate Update------------------------------
My computer setup is way better in my house than on the road. I have incredibly fast internet and multiple screens. But it's not enough to be able to flow full speed debates over Zoom without issues. Please keep that in mind. A few things will help, if you so choose - send out your full speech doc, not just your cards so I can follow along (I'm still going to flow what you say out loud but will cut you a bit of slack in the form of looking at your speech doc to fill in holes) and slow down on theory and analytics (I'm flowing on computer and not paper at home which is both faster in some respects and slower in others).
-Director of Debate at Little Rock Central High School
-Yes, email chain and sure, questions: email@example.com
Do what you do and do it well. I will vote for who wins. Over-adaptation is probably not a great idea with me in the back (I can smell your soft-left add-ons a mile away). Be clear, be concise, be economical. I coach primarily K teams, so it is immaterial to me whether or not you read a plan.
I care about quality of evidence. I would much rather hear you read a few well-warranted cards than a wave of under-highlighted evidence. Same goes for redundant evidence; if you need six cards that “prove” your claim with the same words interchanged in the tag, your claim is probably pretty weak. Evidence does not (alone) a (winning) argument make. I like to be on email chains.
Neg teams lose when they don’t demonstrate how their arguments interact with the 1AC. Winning that the affirmative is “flawed” or “problematic” does not guarantee a neg ballot. In my mind, there are two ways to win the k versus a policy aff: either win that the effects of the plan make the world significantly worse OR win framework and go for epistemology/ontology links. Know when framework is important and when it’s not. Give analysis as to how your links implicate the world of the aff. This is where case mitigation and offense on why voting affirmative is undesirable is helpful. These debates are significantly lacking in impact calculus. Also - the alt needs to solve the links, not the aff - but if it does, great! If you win framework, this burden is lessened. Don’t spread through link explanations. I am seeing more debates where teams kick the alt and go for the links as disads to the aff. This is fine, but be wary of this strategy when the alt is what provides uniqueness to the link debate.
Conversely, affs typically lose these debates when there is little press on what the alternative does and little analysis of perm functions. However, some teams focus on the alt too much and leave much to be desired on the link debate (especially important for soft-left affs). Not sure why teams reading HSI are making perms on the cap k. Defend your reps. Your framework shell should also include a robust defense of policymaking, not just procedural fairness. The 1AR should actually answer the block’s framework answers. More impact turning rather than defensive, no-link arguments.
Also, running to the middle will not save you. Some Ks are going to get a link no matter what, and tacking on a structural impact to your otherwise straight policy aff will likely only supercharge the link. So. Read the aff you'd read in front of anybody in front of me. You're probably better at that version anyway.
K Affs vs. FW
For affs: I’m good for these although I do think that oftentimes the method is very poorly explained. Neg teams should really press on this and even consider going for presumption. Side note: I absolutely do not think that critical affs should have to win that the ballot is key for their method. Against framework, I most frequently vote aff when the aff wins impact turns that outweigh the neg’s impacts and have a counter-interp that resolves the majority of their offense. I can still vote for you if you don’t have a counter-interp in the 2AR but only if the impact work is exceptional. I prefer affs that argue that the skills and methods produced under their model inculcate more ethical subjectivities than the negative’s. The best aff teams I’ve seen are good at contextualizing their arguments, framing, and justifying why their model and not their aff is uniquely good. I am most frequently preffed for K v K debates. Judge instruction is extremely important here as these debates can become muddled extremely quickly. I would rather evaluate those rounds based on whose method is most relevant to the debate rather than k tricks.
For neg teams: I like to see framework deployed as debate methodologies that are normatively good versus debate methodologies that are undesirable and should be rejected. Framework debates should center on the impact of certain methodologies on the debate space. “Your argument doesn’t belong in debate” is not the same thing as “your argument is hindered by forum” or “your argument makes it functionally impossible to be negative.” (fun fact: I read a lot of judges' paradigms/preferences..."debate is a game" does not = debate is a good game, and participation in that "game" does not = can't say the game is bad). I prefer more deliberation & skills-based framework arguments rather than procedural fairness, but I will vote on either as long as you have warrants and comparative impact analysis. If going for skills & research impacts, the internal link debate is most important. TVAs are great as defense against the aff’s impact turns. They do not have to solve the aff but should address its central controversy.
I feel similarly about theory debates in that they should focus on good/undesirable pedagogical practices. Arguments that explain the role of the ballot should not be self-serving and completely inaccessible by a particular team.
Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. T debates are won and lost on the standards level. If the affirmative wins that their interpretation solves the impact of topicality, then I see no reason to vote negative. Thorough T debates are about more than fairness. The idea that you have no game on an aff in this era is just not as persuasive as the idea that the aff’s interpretation negatively impacts future debates.
No real issues here. Specific links to case obviously preferred to generic arguments. Give me good impact analysis. As a debater, counterplans weren’t really my jam. As a judge, I can’t say that I get to vote on CPs often because they are typically kicked or are not competitive enough to survive an affirmative team well-versed in permutations. A CP should be something to which I can give thoughtful consideration. Don’t blow through a really complicated (or long) CP text. Likewise, if the permutation(s) is intricate, slow down. Pretty sure you want me to get these arguments down as you read them, not as I reconstruct them in cross. I vote for theory as much as I don’t vote for theory. No real theoretical dispositions.
1. I’m not going to bump your speaks for thanking me and taking forever to start the round because you’re asking “opponent ready? judge ready? partner ready? observers ready?” for the first 20 minutes.
2. If you do not take notes during my RFD, I will leave.
3. Don’t clip. Why do debaters in Arkansas clip so much? Answer: Because I don’t judge very much in Arkansas.
4. Keep your own time.
I coached high school policy debate for 12 years, National Service through Legal Immigration. I've been around debate, first as a debater and then as a coach, since 02. I sat out Legal Immigration and Arms Sales, but I am back for the Criminal Justice Reform topic. Debate is not my full-time job – I work in higher education as a program/product manager – but I expect to actively judge and participate in topic research during the season.
Yes email chain: jvoss1223 AT gmail DOT com. I don't read along during the debate, I just like it so that I can ensure nobody's clipping cards and also so that I can begin my decision-making process immediately after the debate ends. This is important for how you debate -- using the speech doc instead of your flow as a guide is to your detriment.
-- I hear that the quantity of 1NC positions is up and the quantity is down. This seems to be to the negative's detriment. Burden of proof is a precondition of the requirement that the affirmative answer the argument, and less ev/fewer highlighted words in the name of more offcase positions seems to make it less likely that the neg will fulfill the aforementioned burden of proof.
-- I am generally bad for broad-strokes “framing” arguments that ask the judge to presume that the risk of <> is especially low. Indicts of mini-max risk assessment make sense in the abstract, but it is the affirmative’s responsibility to apply these broad theories to whatever objections the negative has advanced. “The aff said each link exponentially reduces the probability of the DA, and the DA has links, so you lose” is a weak ballot and one that I am unexcited to write.
-- You should speak more slowly. You will debate better. I will understand your argument better. Judges who understand your argument with more clarity than your opponent's argument are likely to side with you. If I can't understand your argument -- either due to your lack of clarity or your argument's lack of coherence -- I will not vote for it. This is especially true in an era of online debating.
-- I am generally better for a narrow solution that tackles an instance of oppression than an undefined/murky solution that aims to move the needle further than the pragmatic alternative. I suspect this may be relevant this year in debates where both sides are working to solve similar things because those debates usually boil down to the viability of the plan vs the alt.
-- I am often way less interested in "impact defense" than "link defense." This is equally true of my thoughts toward negative disadvantages and affirmative advantages. For example, if the aff wins with certainty that they stop a US-China war, I'm highly unlikely to vote neg and place my faith in our ability to the big red telephone at the White House to dampen the conflict. Similarly, if the neg wins that your plan absolutely crashes the economy by disrupting the market or causing some agenda item to fail, I will mostly be unconcerned that there are some other historical explanations for great power wars than "resource scarcity." The higher up the link "chain" you can indict your opponent's argument, the better.
-- Don't clip cards. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. Burden of proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction.
-- Yes judge kick unless one team explicitly makes an argument that convinces me to conceive differently of presumption. Speaking of, presumption is "least amount of change" no matter what. This could mean that presumption *still* lies with the neg even if the aff wins the status quo is no longer something the judge can endorse (but only if the CP is less change than the plan).
-- Fairly liberal with the appropriate scope of negative fiat as it relates to counterplans. Fairly aff-leaning regarding counterplan competition, at least in theory -- but evidence matters more than general pleas to protect affirmative competitive equity. I could be convinced otherwise, but my default has always been that the neg advocate must be as good as whatever the aff is working with. This could mean that an “advocate-less” counterplan that presses an internal link is fair game if the aff is unable to prove that they…uh…have an internal link.
-- T-USFG: Debate is no longer my full-time job, so I think I have a little less skin in the game on this issue. I also suspect the Trump presidency and the associated exposure of explicit racism within the United States may have made me a better judge for affirmatives that do not instrumentally defend the topic/federal government action. I'm not sure how much better, though, and I'm probably at best a risky bet for affirmatives hoping to beat a solid 2NR on T-USFG. If you do have me in this type of debate:
**Won't vote on any sort of argument that amounts to, "debate is bad, so we will concede their argument that we destroy debate/make people quit/exclude X population of student, that's good."
**Affirmatives would be well served to prioritize the link between defending a particular state action and broader observations about the flaws of the state.
**Procedural fairness is most important. The ballot can rectify fairness violations much more effectively than it can change anything else, and I am interested in endorsing a vision of debate that is procedurally fair. This is both the single strongest internal link to every other thing debate can do for a studeny and a standalone impact. I am worse for the “portable skills” impacts about information processing, decision-making, etc.
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Rowland Hall St. Marks
IMPORTANT CHANGES: After 5 years of judging a wide range of debate styles, I think I've come to the conclusion that I just can't connect with or enjoy the current iteration of HS high theory debate. Being able to act as an educator is an important reason for why I judge, and I don't think I can offer that in your Baudrilliard debates anymore.
This will be my sixth year with the program at Rowland Hall, and 10th year of debate overall.
I love debate and want students to love it as well.
Do what you want, and do it well. ---
Kritiks: Despite the revision above, you absolutely should still be reading the K in front of me. I am fine with the K. I like the K as it functions in a greater neg strategy (ie, I'd rather judge a 5 off round that includes a K than a 1 off K round). However, I went 1-off fem K in highschool for many rounds, so I am genuinely pretty accepting on this issue. Given that I don't spend a great deal of my time working through K literature, I think it's important that you explain these to me, but that's basically what a good K debater should expect to do anyway.
Disads: I cut politics every week. I love both sides of the politics debate and can benefit you as a judge on how to execute these debates well.
Counterplans: Counterplans of all shapes and sizes are a critical place to form a strategy and I enjoy these debates. Theory is to be argued and I can't think of any predisposition.
Topicality: I think that debaters who can execute "technical" args well are enjoyable enough to watch and judge, and I think I can probably benefit as a judge to any technical debater. I think that any violation, on face, has validity and there are no affs that are so "obviously" topical that they cannot be beaten on T.
Kritikal affs: I am not ideologically opposed to K affs at all and even enjoy these debates, although I primarily work on and with policy affs so I would say explanation is still key.
Framework: I find that good framework debaters know how to make the flow accessible to the judge. I think that there are a number of compelling claims and debates to be had on framework, and they can be just as strongly argued as anything else (including your kritik or kritikal aff).
A few firm rules:
-Speech times are 9 minutes for constructives, 6 minutes for rebuttals, and 3 minutes for CX. Prep is determined by tournament invite. Each debater should give one constructive and one rebuttal, with only one debater giving each speech.
-Note on CX: you get 3 minutes of CX time. If you ask the other team clarification questions during prep (“Did you read this card?” “Can you confirm your CP text?” etc), it would be pretty rude of them not to answer, but I will not flow this/treat it as argument-development time like CX.
-I will use my ballot to decide the debate in front of me. Debaters can advance various criteria for how I should evaluate that debate, but I can’t render a decision on the basis of something that did not occur in the debate I have been watching.
-Be transparent about your evidence. The other team should receive the same speech documents that I do. That doesn’t mean you are obligated to include analytical arguments – people should also flow! Also, mark stuff during the speech, you probably aren’t going to remember each word you stopped at once the speech is over.
A few argument leanings:
-I am pretty convinced that competitive debate requires a point of stasis. That doesn’t mean I think there is only one way to read/interpret the resolution, but it does mean that I am most persuaded by affs that relate themselves to the resolution in a way that they can argue provides predictable points of contestation for the neg. In short, Predictability/Argument Testing Good > Policymaking Good.
-I like plan/CP texts with some specificity. If your plan text is just a re-printing of the resolution, it will probably annoy me. If a team is vague about their advocacy, I am more likely to give the other team leeway in interpreting how it would play out through evidence.
-I am more sympathetic than average to aff theoretical objections (conditionality and multi-actor fiat stand out). If theory debates reflect well thought-out visions of debate rather than regurgitation of stock phrases, then I actually enjoy them.
-I can be persuaded that theory arguments are a reason to reject the team, and not simply the argument, if persuasive reasons are given. However, my default position is always to reject the argument (conditionality is an exception; rejecting the argument would make it conditional, so teams are encouraged to explain an alternative remedy), unless a developed warrant is made to the contrary.
A couple general reflections on my judging:
-I think I care more about evidence than I did a few years ago. Debate requires skill in framing arguments and making comparisons, but also in finding good evidence to support your claims. Obviously I prefer to watch debaters do good evidence comparison, but it’s often hard to fully interrogate every piece of evidence in the debate. If a team has invested good effort in evidence comparison, I will try to extend their skepticism in a limited fashion as I read other evidence after the debate.
-I give the best points to debaters who have a good big-picture strategic vision of the debate and how the relevant arguments interact. If debaters invest their time in the right places and explain their strategic decision-making, I am more likely to view the debate the way they would like.
Updated: December 2017
*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.*
I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL.
Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.
*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.
*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.
*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.
*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.
*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.
*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.
Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.
I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.
*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.
*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate.
*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."
*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot.
1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption.
2. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate.
3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."
1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.
2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.
1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to "win" uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.
2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches). Note: this doesn't apply to riders or horsetrading or other disads that assume voting aff means voting for something beyond the aff plan. Then it's winnable.
1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.
2. I think I'm less technical than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.
3. If it's a critique of "fiat" and not the aff, read something else. If it's not clear from #1, I'm looking at the link first. Please--link work not framework. K debating is case debating.
1. I'm *slightly* better for the aff now that aff teams are generally impact-turning the neg's model of debate. I almost always voted neg when they instead went for talking about their aff is important and thought their counter-interp somehow solved anything. Of course, there's now only like 3-4 schools that take me and don't read a plan. So I'm spared the debates where it's done particularly poorly.
2. A lot of things can be impacts to T, but fairness is probably best.
3. It would be nice if people read K affs with plans more, but I guess there's always LD. Honestly debating politics and util isn't that hard--bad disads are easier to criticize than fairness and truth.
Versus the K:
1. If it's a team's generic K against K teams, the aff is in pretty great shape here unless they forget to perm. I've yet to see a K aff that wasn't also a critique of cap, etc. If it's an on-point critique of the aff, then that's a beautiful thing only made beautiful because it's so rare. If the neg concedes everything the aff says and argues their methodology is better and no perms, they can probably predict how that's going to go. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.
Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.
2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp. The reasonability debate does seem slightly more important on CJR given that the neg's interp often doesn't solve for much. But the aff is still better off developing offense in the 1AR.
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.
2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.
3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.
4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.
LD Specific Business:
I am primarily a policy coach with very little LD experience. Have a little patience with me when it comes to LD specific jargon or arguments. It would behoove you to do a little more explanation than you would give to a seasoned adjudicator in the back of the room. I will most likely judge LD rounds in the same way I judge policy rounds. Hopefully my policy philosophy below will give you some insight into how I view debate. I have little tolerance and a high threshold for voting on unwarranted theory arguments. I'm not likely to care that they dropped your 'g' subpoint, if it wasn't very good. RVI's aren't a thing, and I won't vote on them.
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You should debate line by line. I continue to grow frustrated with teams that do not flow. If I suspect you are not flowing (I visibly see you not doing it; you answer arguments that were not made in the previous speech but were in the speech doc; you answer arguments in speech doc order instead of speech order), you will receive no higher than a 28. This includes teams that like to "group" the 2ac into sections and just read blocks in the 2NC/1NR. Also, read cards. I don't want to hear a block with no cards.
Debate the round in a manner that you would like and defend it. I consistently vote for arguments that I don’t agree with and positions that I don’t necessarily think are good for debate. I have some pretty deeply held beliefs about debate, but I’m not so conceited that I think I have it all figured out. I still try to be as objective as possible in deciding rounds. All that being said, the following can be used to determine what I will most likely be persuaded by in close calls:
If I had my druthers, every 2nr would be a counterplan/disad or disad/case.
In the battle between truth and tech, I think I fall slightly on side of truth. That doesn’t mean that you can go around dropping arguments and then point out some fatal flaw in their logic in the 2AR. It does mean that some arguments are so poor as to necessitate only one response, and, as long as we are on the same page about what that argument is, it is ok if the explanation of that argument is shallow for most of the debate. True arguments aren’t always supported by evidence, but it certainly helps.
I think research is the most important aspect of debate. I make an effort to reward teams that work hard and do quality research on the topic, and arguments about preserving and improving topic specific education carry a lot of weight with me. However, it is not enough to read a wreck of good cards and tell me to read them. Teams that have actually worked hard tend to not only read quality evidence, but also execute and explain the arguments in the evidence well. I think there is an under-highlighting epidemic in debates, but I am willing to give debaters who know their evidence well enough to reference unhighlighted portions in the debate some leeway when comparing evidence after the round.
I think the affirmative should have a plan. I think the plan should be topical. I think topicality is a voting issue. I think teams that make a choice to not be topical are actively attempting to exclude the negative team from the debate (not the other way around). If you are not going to read a plan or be topical, you are more likely to persuade me that what you are doing is ‘ok’ if you at least attempt to relate to or talk about the topic. Being a close parallel (advocating something that would result in something similar to the resolution) is much better than being tangentially related or directly opposed to the resolution. I don’t think negative teams go for framework enough. Fairness is an impact, not a internal link. Procedural fairness is a thing and the only real impact to framework. If you go for "policy debate is key to skills and education," you are likely to lose. Winning that procedural fairness outweighs is not a given. You still need to defend against the other team's skills, education and exclusion argument.
I don’t think making a permutation is ever a reason to reject the affirmative. I don’t believe the affirmative should be allowed to sever any part of the plan, but I believe the affirmative is only responsible for the mandates of the plan. Other extraneous questions, like immediacy and certainty, can be assumed only in the absence of a counterplan that manipulates the answers to those questions. I think there are limited instances when intrinsicness perms can be justified. This usually happens when the perm is technically intrinsic, but is in the same spirit as an action the CP takes This obviously has implications for whether or not I feel some counterplans are ultimately competitive.
Because I think topic literature should drive debates (see above), I feel that both plans and counterplans should have solvency advocates. There is some gray area about what constitutes a solvency advocate, but I don’t think it is an arbitrary issue. Two cards about some obscure aspect of the plan that might not be the most desirable does not a pic make. Also, it doesn’t sit well with me when negative teams manipulate the unlimited power of negative fiat to get around literature based arguments against their counterplan (i.e. – there is a healthy debate about federal uniformity vs state innovation that you should engage if you are reading the states cp). Because I see this action as comparable to an affirmative intrinsicness answer, I am more likely to give the affirmative leeway on those arguments if the negative has a counterplan that fiats out of the best responses.
My personal belief is probably slightly affirmative on many theory questions, but I don’t think I have voted affirmative on a (non-dropped) theory argument in years. Most affirmatives are awful at debating theory. Conditionality is conditionality is conditionality. If you have won that conditionality is good, there is no need make some arbitrary interpretation that what you did in the 1NC is the upper limit of what should be allowed. On a related note, I think affirmatives that make interpretations like ‘one conditional cp is ok’ have not staked out a very strategic position in the debate and have instead ceded their best offense. Appeals to reciprocity make a lot sense to me. ‘Argument, not team’ makes sense for most theory arguments that are unrelated to the disposition of a counterplan or kritik, but I can be persuaded that time investment required for an affirmative team to win theory necessitates that it be a voting issue.
Critical teams that make arguments that are grounded in and specific to the topic are more successful in front of me than those that do not. It is even better if your arguments are highly specific to the affirmative in question. I enjoy it when you paint a picture for me with stories about why the plans harms wouldn’t actually happen or why the plan wouldn’t solve. I like to see critical teams make link arguments based on claims or evidence read by the affirmative. These link arguments don’t always have to be made with evidence. I think alternative solvency is usually the weakest aspect of the kritik. Affirmatives would be well served to spend cross-x and speech time addressing this issue. ‘Our authors have degrees/work at a think tank’ is not a response to an epistemological indict of your affirmative. Intelligent, well-articulated analytic arguments are often the most persuasive answers to a kritik.
Name: Lisa Willoughby
Current Affiliation: Henry W. Grady High School
Conflicts: AUDL teams
Debate Experience: 1 year debating High School 1978-79, Coaching High School 1984-present
How many rounds have you judged in 2012-13: 50, 2013-2014: 45, 2015-2016: 25, 2016-17 15, 2017-2018: 30, 2018-19: 30, 2019-20-10
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I still view my self as a policy maker unless the debaters specify a different role for my ballot. I love impact comparison between disadvantages and advantages, what Rich Edwards used to call Desirability. I don’t mind the politics disad, but I am open to Kritiks of Politics.
I like Counterplans, especially case specific counterplans. I certainly think that some counterplans are arguably illegitimate; for example, I think that some international counterplans are utopian, and arguably claim advantages beyond the reciprocal scope of the affirmative, and are, therefore, unfair. I think that negatives should offer a solvency advocate for all aspects of their counterplan, and that multi-plank cps are problematic. I think that there are several reasons why consultation counterplans, and the States CP could be unfair. I will not vote unilaterally on any of these theoretical objections; the debaters need to demonstrate for me why a particular counterplan would be unfair.
I have a minor in Philosophy, and love good Kritik debate. Sadly, I have seen a lot of bad Kritik debate. I think that K debaters need to have a strong understanding of the K authors that they embrace. I really want to understand the alternative or the role of my ballot. I have no problem with a K Aff, but am certainly willing to vote on Framework/T against a case that does not have at least a clear advocacy statement that I can understand. I am persuadable on "AFF must be USFG."
I like Topicality, Theory and Framework arguments when they are merited. I want to see fair division of ground or discourse that allows both teams a chance to prepare and be ready to engage the arguments.
I prefer substance to theory; go for the theoretical objections when the abuse is real.
As for style, I love good line-by-line debate. I adore evidence comparison, and argument comparison. I am fairly comfortable with speed, but I like clarity. I have discovered that as I get older, I am very comfortable asking the students to "clear." I enjoy humor; I prefer entertaining cross-examinations to belligerent CX. Warrant your claims with evidence or reasoning.
Ultimately, I demand civility: any rhetoric, language, performance or interactions that demean, dehumanize or trivialize fellow debaters, their arguments or judges would be problematic, and I believe, a voting issue.
An occasional interruption of a partner’s speech or deferring to a more expert partner to answer a CX question is not a problem in my view. Generally only one debater at a time should be speaking. Interruptions of partner speeches or CX that makes one partner merely a ventriloquist for the other are extremely problematic.
Clipping cards is cheating. Quoting authors or evidence out of context, or distorting the original meaning of a text or narrative is both intellectually bankrupt and unfair.
There is no such thing as one ideal form or type of debate. I love the clash of ideas and argumentation. That said, I prefer discourse that is educational, and substantive. I want to walk away from a round, as I often do, feeling reassured that the policy makers, educators, and citizens of the future will seek to do a reasonable and ethical job of running the world.
For Lincoln Douglas debates:
I am "old school" and feel most comfortable in a Value/Criterion Framework, but it is your debate to frame. Because I judge policy frequently, I am comfortable with speed but generally find it is needless. Clarity is paramount. Because of the limited time, I find that I typically err AFF on theoretical objections much more than I would in a policy round.
I believe that any argument that an AFF wants to weigh in the 2AR needs to be in the 1AR. I will vote against new 2AR arguments.
I believe that NEG has an obligation to clash with the AFF. For this reason, a counterplan would only be justified in a round when the AFF argues for a plan; otherwise a counterplan is an argument for the AFF. The NEG must force a decision, and for that reason, I am not fond of what used to be called a 'balance neg.'
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Assistant Coach at University School of Nashville since 2014.
I generally prefer affirmatives that do something bold and transformative over ones that do something small and technical. On the negative, I most enjoy the kritik and case debate.
Defend a hypothetical project that goes beyond the 1AC
- Affirmatives should defend a project that is independent of the recitation of the 1AC.
- This means voting affirmative should engage some project that exceeds the simple validation of the 1AC's theoretical positions or performative mood.
- Ideally, this is a material project that is specifically outlined and allows for its consequences to be posed as a question.
- This ensures that the negative team can generate (unique) offense through a characterization of how the affirmative project would be hypothetically implemented.
Rarely go for theory
- Nothing is a voter except conditionality.
- Within reason, conditionality is only a voter in rounds with full (plan+advantages/cites) affirmative disclosure.
- I will not vote on conditionality if there are 3 or fewer positions. I may still be unlikely at 4 positions unless the positions are redundant (ie same types of Ks/CPs or solving the same net benefits).
- I have a distaste for multi-plank CPs when # of planks >> sum of aff advantages+add-ons. This strikes me as cynical and needlessly complex. I would consider rejecting the CP if the aff checks out ideologically.