University of Houston Cougar Classic
2017 — Houston, TX/US
Public Forum Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Past Experience: Four years of PF and Extemp at Clements High School, competed at the State and National levels
Currently attending UT Austin (Class of 2019)
I was more of a traditional PF debater, so I'm not as well-versed or receptive to progressive arguments, so avoid abusive arguments and complicated theory. That being said, I'm fine with most arguments as long as you provide clear and reliable evidence, explanations, and impacts. Just remember this is PF, not LD or CX. I will vote strictly on the flow, so be sure to signpost and make your arguments/extensions very clear. Provide me with a weighing mechanism and some parameters as to how I should evaluate the round. If you impact your arguments but don't tell me how to evaluate them or why they matter more than your opponents arguments, it's hard to make a cohesive case for your side. Line-by-line attacks are super helpful and encouraged. As for speaking, a little speed is fine, but absolutely no spreading. Annunciation and clarity are really important, as it's hard to evaluate your side if I can't understand what you're saying.
My foremost concern is confident communication of intent and argument. Speaking fast will not earn you any extra points if you sacrifice quality and/or understandibility. Expand your arguments as much as possible so very little is open for interpretation. While I admire creativity, if the claim or argument is too outlandish in an effort to simply impress rather than argue, this will only affect you negatively. Otherwise, may the best debater win.
Debated 4 years at Stratford High School (Houston)
Competing for University of Houston in Policy
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I heard from someone once, can't remember their name: "You have a 30 until you start speaking," and I believe that to be the case. In all seriousness though I'll likely start at a 28.5 and go up and down from there. Sometimes I won't start at the 28.5 and whoever finishes speaking first I will try and rank them and rank the other person based off of that. It depends on the round. But I will try and stay within the 28-29 range if at all possible.
I did LD for most of high school and I feel like I'm one of the few that likes the direction that it is taking. But with that in mind I feel like I have to say this before anything else: IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND YOUR ARGUMENTS, DON'T JUST READ THEM. That is a huge pet peeve of mine, if you can't explain what your argument is saying in CX or you read a Counter-Plan and can't tell your opponent if it's conditional or not, these are instances where you shouldn't be reading these arguments. Pretty self-explanatory but it happens all too often. I'll try and go through all the concerns one may have, starting from what is asked the most.
I am totally fine with it, if you aren't clear or loud enough I won't be worried to say either of them. However I won't say them a total of more than twice, after that I'll drop speaks. I'm pretty good with understanding you even if you aren't the most clear but that doesn't mean that I won't have issues. On that same point, I don't think being fast for the sake of being fast is worth it. If your opponent isn't comfortable with it, don't do it just to get an advantage. Debate is an educational activity, if both sides are fine with it, speed will be fine with me. If it makes it completely one sided then I don't necessarily think anyone will be learning things from the round.
Legitimate abuse is needed for me to vote on theory. Don't just read shells because you think you can get away with it and opponents can't answer. As I said, debate is about education. While theory can sometimes be educational, more often then not theory really just seems to be a time suck. The next question normally asked about theory is what do I default to? I tell everyone that asks me this that there really isn't a default. Both are good things for debate but be sure to implicate why I should prefer one or the others. One line in theory shell that says: "prefer competing interpretations" then moves on doesn't give me a reason why I should buy it. You're just saying the words. Give me a theoretical reason WHY I should buy competing interpretations or reasonability. Both have reasons why they're good, I've heard them tons of why. But debate about those reasons. Theory should be debated well and if it isn't implicated why do I vote? What role does theory play? How should I evaluate it? All of these questions should be answered. I'm a bit more lenient on Topicality shells as opposed to any theory violations, but there still has to be actual abuse. All of the above still applies.
I'm fine with you reading them but I'm not super versed in the lit. I have a basic understanding of most but don't expect me to know the tiny distinctions between the arguments that you're reading. I feel that a lot of the time the alt needs to be pointed out much more which doesn't happen all too often. Try and be sure to explain this and contextualize it, weighing it against the world of the Aff. If I don't get how the alt works by the end of the round, then it's very doubtful that I'll vote on your K. Impact analysis is still important and you have to engage arguments made by the aff. Just saying K outweighs or making generic claims isn't enough. Do work just like any other argument.
If you spend a minute and a half in CX trying to answer if your CP is conditional or not, you probably shouldn't be running it. With that being said, I'm fine with them as long as you understand how it functions in regards to the aff. You don't have to read a competition section that's longer than whatever your net benefit is, but it should be competitive in some form or another. Overall I'm fine with them, but most of these are arguments that I like, so I will hold you to a high standard and your ethos will tank with me if you do them badly.
A lot of what I said above applies here but I'm not going to hold you to as high of standards on things like theory. How it's evolved in the two are completely different, and they can be debated as such. The biggest thing for me is that you have to read case arguments in the 1NC, starting case in the block isn't fair, and especially as a 2A I feel very strongly about this. The main thing however I think I have to say here that wouldn't have been addressed above is that I will buy pretty much any argument. Obviously there are thresholds with blatantly offensive arguments (racism good is really the only one that comes to mind) but for most anything I can be persuaded. Debate well and you'll do fine.
I don't really know what paradigm questions you'd have for this, but the biggest one I can think of is big picture v line-by-line. And I'd prefer line-by-line for sure. That's really the only thing. Make the debate interesting educational and all will be good.
I competed in LD for 3 years on the TFA, TOC, and NFL circuits at the The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas and graduated in 2015. I now coach Kinkaid and attend Rice University.
I’m comfortable/familiar with whatever style of debate you prefer, whether that’s more traditional or more circuit-y.
Short version: Read well developed, not offensive, resolutionally grounded arguments and weigh your offense/provide me a clear ballot story, and I will most likely vote for you. I’m open to most arguments; given you explain to me how they operate in the round.
Speed is fine, but I’ve never been awesome at flowing so don’t start out at top speed. On a scale from 1-10, 1 being the slowest and 10 the fastest, I’d rate myself a 6…I’d appreciate some time to adjust to your speaking style before you speed up. Please slow down for important parts of your case---spikes, plans, counterplans, interps (any advocacy texts really) as well as author names/tags.
Theory/topicality: I default to reasonability and drop the argument, and am very inclined to give aff RVIs, but if you win reasons why I should believe otherwise, that’s fine too. You probably have to be topical. Theory/T have never been my favorite part of this activity and hold these arguments to a certain high standard. That doesn’t mean I will blatantly ignore a dropped argument, but your speaks will reflect it if you choose to read frivolous theory or muck up the debate with a ton of spikes. I do not like paragraph theory. Like I said, reading these type of arguments will not result in an auto loss, but the debate might be an uphill battle for you. If you want to have a nuanced, fast theory debate, I am not the judge for you. This all being said, I think theory has its place in debate and if you read a well-warranted, creative theory shell when there is real abuse happening in round, I will gladly evaluate it. Theory as a strategic layer in the debate is a legitimate choice and you should not be discouraged from utilizing it. At the end of the round, WEIGH WEIGH WEIGH. If neither debater is weighing offense under their interp you can bet that I’m going to intervene and that intervention will be going to SUBSTANCE instead. I WILL NOT ARBITRARILY ADJUDICATE THE THEORY DEBATE---if you want me to buy your interp COMPARATIVE WEIGHING IS KEY.
Policy Arguments: I love a good util debate and believe these are the debates I am best at evaluating. That being said, don’t pull out your half assed policy backfiles because you think I’ll vote for your underdeveloped counterplan---do what you feel most comfortable/best doing and I will reward you for that. Plans, CPs, disads are mostly what I read as a debater and are all great given they have all of their necessary parts. WEIGHING EVIDENCE/IMPACTS IS SO IMPORTANT IN THESE DEBATES, DO IT. I really like unique justifications for policymaking/unique policy style arguments in general.
Critical Arguments: I think critical arguments/debates can be really fun to judge given you actually know what you’re talking about and I know what you’re talking about. I haven’t read much of the common critical literature, but am perfectly willing to vote on anything you read as long as you take the time to clearly explain your argument. I will not vote on Ks that are missing necessary components (framework, alternatives, etc). Don’t be shifty about whether your offense functions pre or post fiat. If your opponent can’t discern how the K functions, chances are I can’t either. I don’t have any predispositions to certain types of Ks and open to any argument as long as you have a specific link to the aff. I don’t like generic Ks or Ks of the resolution, but will vote on any argument that is won in the round.
Speaker Points: I don’t think I have any specific way I give points, but my main concern is courtesy and respect to your opponent, judge, and the debate space. If you’re a decent person, that shouldn’t be an issue. After that, I will reward strategic choices made in round, WEIGHING, and humor/perceptual dominance. A WELL EXECUTED CX WILL GO A LONG WAY HERE; it was one of my favorite parts of a debate round. I usually start at about a 28.5, but it’s not hard to move up from there. Literally any weighing will probably jump you up to a 29. You will get anAUTOMATIC 25 if you read any morally repugnant arguments. If you have to ask me what that means, you probably shouldn’t pref me. Also, your speaks will be negatively affected if you create a hostile space for me or other debaters, but especially for less-experienced or clearly new debaters.
Other stuff/tricks: I’m not a fan of “tricks” in debate, whether that’s in the forms of spikes, skep, permissibility, presumption, whatever else you kids have come up with. If you choose to go this route, don’t expect me to vote for you because “they dropped spike number 5 under subpoint a so you vote aff.” Arguments consist of a claim, a warrant, and an impact. If you give me those three things, you shouldn’t have any problems. You probably shouldn’t leverage these kind of arguments against, say, a structural violence framework in front of me.
Most importantly, be kind and have fun! Debate should be a fun activity. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com or ask me before the round.
I was a debater at Stephen F. Austin High School for four years. I qualified to state in PF in my junior and senior years and coached a number of other kids to state qualify. In my senior year, I won multiple tournaments in Houston and broke at the TFA state tournamnet.
My philosophy is simple: make the extensions, do the work for me, and the round is yours. I like solid cases and rebuttals, but you won't win arguments unless you're extending and revisiting what's important. I definitely value evidence, but logic is key to winning the debate. If evidence makes no sense to me, I won't evaluate it in the round. Moral of the story: make sure everything makes sense.
I am a very flow-heavy judge and ultimately, rounds will come down to the argumentation itself. However, I don't think you should be running overly progressive arguments in an overly progressive style. At the end of the day, I'm down to vote for anything. Just don't use PF timings to debate policy.
On speaking, I'm very pragmatic. Everyone has different styles, so I'll evaluate the effectiveness of your style of communication. Attitude, politeness, and overall demeanor will definitely reflect in your speaker points if you really screw up. Win the round, but do it with class and dignity.
About Me: Ishaan Kurji
High School: Clements High School
Experience: PF for 4 years, State Qualifier
General: I'll vote on what arguments are followed across the flow throughout the round. Don't forget to address something in the rebuttal and bring it back up in the final focus. I won't flow it. Make sure to use impact calculus and weigh your arguments against your opponent's. Establish parameters and let me know how I'm supposed to judge the round. Don't use any abusive framework. Try to clash with your opponent's arguments, and tell me why yours are better.
Speed: Speaking in PF should generally be moderately slow, but speaking a little fast is okay as long as you're clear. BE CONFIDENT.
Clements (TX) '15 | Georgia Tech '19
4 years in PF;
I really encourage original/non-stock arguments, as long as they are reasonably linked and warranted; framework in my eyes will be as important as the debaters make it. I was a traditional debater with minimal exposure to progressive debate, so I strongly discourage running anything really progressive.
- Don't spread
- Signpost and go line by line; remember to make extensions, and give big picture in the final focus
- Do the weighing for me
- Be sarcastic and sassy without being an asshole
Austin High School '16; UTD '20
I competed public forum debate for all 4 years of high school. In my senior year, I got to deep out rounds and championed numerous invitationals, quallified fot TFA my junior and senior years, and broke at TFA senior year
Flow - I flow basically everything. Make your own extensions, don't make me do them for you. Stress the warrants in your arguments, I don't care how many flashy numbers you have if you don't provide the proper justification for them. Weigh your arguments - tell me which arguments matter more/come first and why.THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR FRAMEWORKS.
Speed - I am fine with speed, however, if you start reading an "above-pf" pace and are also unclear then I will dock speaks. I don't give out too many 30s at nat circuit tournaments unless I am very blown away by the performance. The more funny/sarcastic/chill you are in round (w/o going overboard or rude) the higher the speaks.
Argument types - I am open to almost everything. DA/CP/Plans are all fine as long as they are executed properly. Kritiks, in my personal opinon, don't belong in PF but I will evaluate them (reluctantly). On the other hand, if you read anything that even hints at theory, I will disregard it and tank your speaks. Theory debates have become, in my opinion, a plague to modern day debate and serves no purpose in the debate space. You can complain about abuse all you want, but that does not warrant dropping the debater. I'm always going to default to reasonability over competing interps, and the brightline is always going to be my gut check.
I want to clarify that my paradigm does not prevent teams from calling out abuse. Just do not read a shell and ask me to drop the debater (that's what will cause for tanked speaks and an annoyed me). My gut check will decide whether actual abuse is occuring or not, and at max, I will drop the argument.
Won't vote for any arguments that are discriminatory/racist/sexist/homophobic. Just entertain me and be nice. Have fun.
I was a NDT collegiate debater at the University of Houston in the late 70s-early 80s.
That means the debaters win or lose the round, not me; I simply declare who the winner was and ascertain speaker points.
In policy debate, arguments made in the constructives determine the outcome of the round because new arguments are not allowed after those arguments.
In PF, the only point in the debate where new arguments are not allowed is in the final focus segment, but it is up to the debaters to point that out; I am not going to do your job for you and assume you know what the rules are.
The only thing that matters in the rounds I judge are the arguments made in the round. I will not substitute my thoughts and arguments on your behalf, so it is up to the debaters to argue their points well and never assume I will do that on your behalf because I won't do your job for you.
I have never judged a round or been in a round (at any level) as a contestant where arguments made in the constructives/summaries win or lose the round. Rounds are won or lost in the rebuttal phases of a debate.
Daniel R Mitchell
Coach, Stratford High School
I weight magnitude and probability on an equal basis, dependent on topic.
Your clarity is critical, this isn't CX, speak concisely and articulate.
For LD: Any arguments are fine I vote off of who won on the flow. I learned debate through LD but I did Public Forum debate so while I understand and can evaluate all arguments fully I don't have any particular opinions on how the event should work. If you win, you win. If you lose, you lose.
For PF: Don't run theory this is Public Forum.
Background: I debated for Clements HS in Houston for 4 years, and now judge in the Austin circuit as a UT student.
General Debate Preferences: I don't flow CX, but if something important happens, bring it up in a speech if you want it to make it onto my flow. I like for the summary to focus on the important issues and not necessarily every argument you think you're winning. Also I like to see some kind of impact analysis or weighing done either in summary or FF. Humor is appreciated as well (doesn't play into my decision), but only go for it if you're actually funny because I'll call you out if I think you're trying too hard.
Speed: I haven't come across a PF debate that I haven't been able to flow yet, so you should be fine. That being said, I prefer to vote on arguments that are explained better/more elaborately, and speed sometimes makes people think they should just put a huge amount of blippy arguments on everything. I'm not as eager to vote for those arguments. I want to be persuaded just as much as I want to see you "technically" winning arguments.
Framework: I feel like PF isn't the place for it, cause there just isn't enough time to develop one. That being said, if you think you can have a proper framework debate I won't penalize you for it? Otherwise I default to cost-benefit analysis.
Speaks: If I think you should break, it'll be between 29-30. Otherwise I usually award based on speaking ability rather than strategy.
****Ask me before the round if you have any other questions!!<3<3
I was a debater at Stephen F. Austin High School for four years. I qualified to state in PF in my junior and senior years. In my senior year, I won multiple tournaments in Houston and broke at the TFA state tournament.
I will vote primarly on arguments that make sense and are mentioned in every speech. To make sense, an argument must be logical with a claim, warrant, and impacts. Everything you want to be a voter should be extended from constructive to FF. Don't say something in case then never mention it till FF because I will not vote off of it. All arguments should also be defended and no extensions should be made without responding to attacks on it. Ex: If your opponents make turns in the first rebuttal, make sure its responded to in your own rebuttal, otherwise I will consider it dropped. Signpost in speeches, especially if you're jumping around the flow. Weigh your arguments in the end and tell me why to vote.
Feel free to run weird arguments but they should still be logical.
Speaking needs to be clear enough for me to flow properly. I don't do too well with speed. Feel free to stutter or go as fast as you want, but if I can't flow it, that will not help you. I'll give you a signal if I can't understand you.
Lastly, make the round interesting. I will be more inclined to buy an argument or give high speaks if I'm interested or entertained.
Clements '15, Stanford '19
Don't spread, but I'm open to moderate speeds, as long as I can understand you, but it'll translate in speaks. Please don't talk too slow; it gets boring. At the same time don't trip over your words by going to fast.
I enjoy hearing interesting, new arguments, but don't pull any of that nuclear weaponry BS in the round. Make logical claims and focus on the impact calculus of the debate. The side that proves the largest impact for pro/con will win the round. I only accept counter-arguments in the final focus/summary, but don't just repeat stuff that you/opponents say. I don't want to get bored. I will only use crossfire arguments if restated in speeches.
1. Signpost and go line by line; make clear extensions and reinforce their importance, and give big picture in the final focus with clear voters
2. Do the weighing for me, or else I'll weigh the round how I see fit
3. I appreciate sarcasm and attitude in round; this makes the round less bland and more enjoyable for me to judge. Obviously don't insult people but debate is boring if everyone is polite and nice constantly.
4 years of debate at Clements High School.
Qualified for State in Both LD and PF
Current: UT '19
I am open to all arguments as long as they are made well with logical or concrete evidence to back them up. Unique and complex arguments are welcome. Weighing is extremely important in the round. Impact your arguments. Framework is as important as the debaters make it in the round; if nothing is presented I will default Util. Voters are extremely important. Tell me where you are winning the round. If an argument is not atleast mentioned in the final speech I wont vote off it. In CX: Dont be rude, but be aggressive. Sarcasm and humor are fine and welcomed as long as it doesn't become rude.
I vote on the flow, but perceptual dominance is important.
Have fun. Make the round interesting.
Naveen Santhosh // Seven Lakes '16; TAMU '20 // Updated June 2020
I competed in public forum debate for all 4 years of high school.
I like clarity. Weigh pls. I shouldn't have to think too much after the round ends.
Does 2nd rebuttal have to respond to 1st? Yes pls.
I am okay with speed. Being nice and funny helps your scores.
If you read anything that even hints at theory, I will disregard it and tank your speaks. My paradigm does not prevent teams from calling out abuse. Just do not read a shell and ask me to drop the debater, you and I will both be sad.
If you misrepresent/miscut/misconstrue evidence: Not good.
Have fun! Good luck!
Clements High School '15, University of Houston '19
Conflicts: Clements High School
Background: I did LD for two years, PF for two years, and FX and Congress all throughout.
Speed: Don't speed.
Arguments: I'm fine with any argument as long as it's explained clearly and backed up well.
Biggest Pet Peeve: DO NOT FORCE ME TO MAKE EXTENSIONS FOR YOU. I will not vote off of new arguments made later in the round, so you better be making extensions in your first rebuttal and weighing throughout the round. I make it explicitly clear every round that the debaters should make it clear who's winning the round, and yet every time, someone will forget to extend and drop a great argument that could've helped them win, but that I can't vote off of because they dropped it. DO. NOT. DROP. ARGUMENTS. Extend, Extend, EXTEND.
CHS '15 TAMU '19
History: I did PF and DX for 4 years. I have judged many LD and other IE events as well. I was a pretty traditional PF-er, so if you run something that you'd see in LD or CX (CP, K, etc), explain it well.
Some things to note:
1. Not a huge speed person, but if you're going to attempt to spread in PF, ENUNCIATE.
2. Assume I know nothing-explain all the terms and abbreviations you're using in your speech
4. Give clear voters in the final speech
5. As much as I would like to, I cannot extend arguments for you, so if it's one of your major voters, make sure I can see you extending it across my flow.
6. Don't be rude in cross fires or speeches
7. Have fun and learn from each round
Experience: 1 year NDT, 3 years NPDA, 3 years NFA-LD My basic philosophy is that the round belongs to the competitors, so I try to avoid intervention when at all possible. That said, it’s the role of the debaters to keep the round clean enough as to make a non-interventionist ballot possible. Preemptively, my general predilections are as follows: Flowing: I will. The ballot will reflect my understanding of that flow. Speed: It’s pretty much in the eye of the beholder. I find that “too fast” tends to coalesce at the nexus of my flowing ability and your capacity for maintaining clarity. If you keep an eye on me and don’t overestimate your personal speeding abilities, we’ll be fine. I will not intervene to drop somebody on the basis of speed alone, but if I can’t flow it an argument doesn’t get you much. I am, however, willing to listen to a well-impacted speed kritik, if that trips your trigger, and will vote on it if you win it and it carries the best impact in round. Kritiks: Just one more weapon in the arsenal. If you want it weighed pre-fiat then you need to articulate a rationale for doing so that goes beyond dubbing your non-unique DA a “kritik”. I am generally persuaded that kritiks can be conceptualized as appeals to micropolitical action, and am open to perm debate. I don’t feel an alternative is required, and I am dubious about the theoretical validity of floating PICs. Topicality: I don’t fall into the category of folks who think T is a voter just because you invoke it, but I have no problem voting on it. I have no problem with squirrelly and/or abusive case interpretations or topicality violations unless somebody puts a good reason on the flow for me to care. I like RVIs in principle, but find most instantiations of them (esp. “time suck”) uninspiring – If you have something creative and impactual to say, I’ll listen. Things that annoy me (don’t do these if you like good speaks): People who keep talking when there is a very apparent clean kill on the flow. Entirely defensive negative strategies. Un-impacted arguments. Whining about abuse without impacting the abuse. Failing to take advantage of an opportunity to abuse somebody. Blippy arguments. People who accept traditional interpretations of debate theory as gospel, especially when they cite it as such. 99% of specific knowledge arguments. Points of personal privilege. Uncreative heckling.
I'm a parent judge for Austin High School.
Most of my experience is in Public Forum, but I have debated CX, LD, Worlds. Please signpost. I mainly look at the impacts. I want to see clash. I DO flow CX. If your opponent concedes to definitions, observations, or arguements in the CX I will note that. If you opponent refuses to adequately defend a point I will note that. Speed is not a problem, but dont spread. Its PF.
I am a flow heavy judge but I look at the impacts of each point differently. If your opponent drops a point please tell me why that dropped point is so important.
Also if you can please bring an extra copy of your cases (Hard Copy or USB). This makes it easier for me to follow contentions and all the subpoints you may have.
TOPIC SPECIFIC: Topic simply comes down to which side can better respond to International Conflicts. The burden of proof is not entirely on the Aff side. Con must show how the US is better equiped to respond to International conflicts by not SIGNIFICANTLY increasing military spending and vice-versa.
Experience: Klein High Debate 2011-2015, graduate of Johns Hopkins University, BA in Public Health Studies
Speaking: Speaking quickly is fine, as long as you're clear.
Weighing: If two arguments/ pieces of evidence are directly in clash, you need to explain why I should weigh/value your evidence or argument over your opponent's.
Extensions: Make sure you extend dropped arguments through the final focus-- too many debaters extend arguments in the summary and forget about them in the final focus. Warrant your arguments as well. If there's not a reason to buy your argument, I won't.
Arguments: Impacting your arguments is key, as is weighing those impacts with your opponent's. I am willing to evaluate any argument I hear in the round.
Overall, weighing your arguments and extending them throughout the debate is the way to win my ballot. I vote strictly off the flow, so as long as you do what I mentioned above, you'll win my ballot.
I debate at the University of Houston and did debate in high school as well.
I have experience in both K and policy debates and don't have a preference on what is read in front of me. At the end of day I just care about well thought out arguments. I don't like doing work for debaters.
When judging LD if it comes down to a value and value-criterion debate I prefer to see weighing. Don't just say, "mine is better." Explain why and go in depth. I feel like there is a lot of laziness that occurs on debate in this aspect.
Speed is fine as long as it is clear.
In the end I just want to see a good debate with clash and weighing done.