National Speech and Debate Season Opener
2017 — Lexington, KY/US
Public Forum Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
If you're being judged by me you're in trouble, I retired from debate in 2018. Good luck!
I have judged a few PF tournaments in last 4 years. I prefer traditional styled debates at an average speed. The debate should involve polished presentation skills, good contrast in the arguments, and an emphasis on evidence. I value a good balance between presentation and content. Also, be respectful to your opponents and your partner!
I have three years of judging experience and have been very active in the speech and debate circuit this year. If I am judging you in public forum, please don't speak very quickly- I won't get everything you say if you spread. I am a flow judge and use it when making decisions in PF. Please don't speak over your opponents in crossfire in a rude or unreasonable way. When asking a question, please give your opponent an opportunity to answer.
During the debate, you should make your main arguments clear, and make it clear what you want me to vote off of. Weigh in summary and final focus, and if you want something to be a voting issue, put it in both summary and final focus. I am a fan of clear and smart frameworks.
Thank you and good luck! Enjoy the tournament.
*firstname.lastname@example.org for speech doc*
I debated for 4 years at Poly Prep and was relatively successful on the national circuit.
I now coach PF for Edgemont Jr/Sr HS in New York.
You know how you debate in front of a classic PF flow judge? Do that. (Weighing, Summary and final focus extensions, signposting, warrants etc.)
That said there are a few weird things about me.
0. I mostly decide debates on the link level. Links generate offense without impacts, impacts generate no offense without links. Teams that tell a compelling link story and clearly access their impact are incredibly likely to win my ballot. Extend an impact without a sufficient link at your own peril.
1. Don't run plans or advocacies unless you prove a large enough probability of the plan occuring to not make it not a plan but an advantage. (Read the Advocacies/Plans/Fiat section below).
2. Theory is important and cool, but only run it if it is justified.
3. Second summary has an obligation to extend defense, first summary does not.
4. I am not tab. My threshold for responses goes down the more extravagant an argument is. This can include incredibly dumb totally ridiculous impacts, link chains that make my head spin, or arguments that are straight up offensive.
5. I HATE THE TERM OFF TIME-ROADMAP. Saying that term lowers your speaks by .5 for every time you say it, just give the roadmap.
6. You should probably read dates. I don't think it justifies drop the debater but I think it justifies drop the arg/card.
7. I don't like independent offense in rebuttal, especially 2nd rebuttal. Case Turns/Prereqs/Weighing/Terminal Defense are fine, but new contention style offense is some real cheese. Speak faster and read it as a new contention in case as opposed to waiting until rebuttal to dump it on an unsuspecting opponent.
- Don’t extend through ink. If a team has made responses whether offensive or defensive they must be addressed if you want to go for the argument. NB: you should respond to ALL offensive responses put on your case regardless if you want to go for the argument.
- Collapse. Evaluating a hundred different arguments at the end of the round is frustrating and annoying, please boil it down to 1-4 points.
- Speech cohesion. All your speeches should resemble the others. I should be able to reasonably expect what is coming in the next speech from the previous speech. This is incredibly important especially in summary and final focus. It is so important in fact that I will not evaluate things that are not said in both the summary and final focus.
- Weighing. This is the key to my ballot. Tell me what arguments matter the most and why they do. If one team does this and the other team doesn’t 99/100 times I will vote for the team that did. The best teams will give me an overarching weighing mechanism and will tell me why their weighing mechanism is better than their opponents. NB: The earlier in the round this appears the better off you will be.
- Warrants. An argument without a warrant will not be evaluated. Even if a professor from MIT conducts the best study ever, you need to be able to explain logically why that study is true, without just reverting to “Because Dr. Blah Blah Blah said so.”
- Analysis vs. Evidence. Your speeches should have a reasonable balance of both evidence and analysis. Great logic is just as important as great evidence. Don’t just spew evidence or weak analysis at me and expect me to buy it. Tell me why the evidence applies and why your logic takes out an argument.
- Framework. I will default to a utilitarian calculus unless told to do otherwise. Please be prepared to warrant why the other framework should be used within the round.
- Turns. If you want me to vote off of a turn, I should hear about it in both the summary and final focus. I will not extend a turn as a reason to vote for you. (Unextended turns still count as ink, just not offense)
- Speed. Any speed you speak at should be fine as long as you are clear. Don't speak faster than this rebuttal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg83oD0s3NU&feature=youtu.be&t=1253
- Advocacies/Plans/Fiat. I grant teams the weakest fiat you can imagine. The aff is allowed to say that the action done in the resolution is passed through congress or whatever governing body we are discussing. That is it. This means that you cannot fiat out of political conditions (i.e. CUTGO, elite influence, etc.) or say that the resolution means we will increase infrastructure spending by building 20th century community learning facilities in the middle of Utah. If you want to access plans and still win my ballot, you must prove a rock solid probability of the advocacy occurring in the real world.. (Note the following is just a guideline, other forms of proving the following are ok as long as they actually successfully prove what they say will occur.) In an ideal world that means 3 things. First, you prove that there is a growing need for such action (i.e. If you want to run that we should build infrastructure in the form of low-income housing, you need to prove that we actually need more houses.). Second, you prove that the plan is politically likely (Bipartisan support doesn't mean anything, I want a bill on the house floor). Finally, you need to prove some sort of historical precedent for your action. If you are missing the first burden and it's pointed out, I will not by the argument on face. A lack in either of the latter 2 can be made up by strengthening the other. Of course, you can get around ALL of this by not reading any advocacies and just talking about things that are fundamentally inherent to the resolution.
- Squirrley Arguments. To a point being squirrely is ok, often times very good. I will never drop an argument on face but as an argument gets more extravagant my threshold for responses goes down. i.e. if on reparations you read an argument that reparations commodify the suffering of African Americans, you are a-ok. If you read an argument that says that The USFG should not take any action regarding African Americans because the people in the USFG are all secretly lizard people, the other team needs to do very little work for me to not evaluate it. A simple "WTF is this contention?" might suffice in rebuttal. NB: You will be able to tell if I think an argument is stupid.
- Defense Extensions. Some defense needs to be extended in both summary and final focus, such as a rebuttal overview that takes out an entire case. Pieces of defense such as uniqueness responses that are never responded to in summary may be extended from rebuttal to final focus to take out an argument that your opponents are collapsing on. NB: I am less likely to buy a terminally defensive extension from rebuttal to final focus if you are speaking second because I believe that it is the first speaker's job to do that in second summary and your opponent does not have an extra speech to address it.
- Signposting/Roadmaps. Signposting is necessary, roadmaps are nice. Just tell me what issues you are going to go over and when.
- Theory. Theory is the best way to check abuse in debate and is necessary to make sure unfair strategies are not tolerated. As a result of this I am a huge fan of theory in PF rounds but am not a fan of in using it as a way to just garner a cheap win off of a less experienced opponent. To avoid this, make sure there is a crystal clear violation that is explicitly checked for. It does not need to be presented as the classic "A is the interpretation, B is the violation, etc." but it does need to be clearly labeled as a shell. If theory is read in a round and there is a clear violation, it is where I will vote.
I give speaker points on both how fluid and convincing you are and how well you do on the flow. I will only give 30s to debaters that do both effectively. If you get below a 26 you probably did something unethical or offensive.
I may call for evidence in a few situations.
- One team tells me to.
- I can not make a decision within the round without evaluating a piece of evidence.
- I notice there is an inconsistency in how the evidence is used throughout the course of the debate and it is relevant to my decision. i.e. A piece of evidence changes from a card that identifies a problem to a magical catch-all solvency card.
- I have good reason to believe you miscut a card.
I encourage teams to ask questions about my RFD after the round and for teams to come and find me after the round is over for extra feedback. As long as you are courteous and respectful I will be happy to discuss the round with you.
I was a high school policy debater back when Ronald Reagan was president. Since 2013, in my "spare time," I have coached public forum. (My day job is working as a law professor.)
Speed doesn't bother me one way or another, but you do need to be clear. I want you to explain to me not just why you win an argument but why the argument wins the round. I'm open to basically any sort of argument, so long as it's not racist, sexist, etc. I try to listen hard to what your evidence actually says; smart analysis of evidence counts for a lot to me, and conclusory evidence doesn't count for much; paraphrased evidence typically counts for even less. Establishing the analytic links in your arguments also matters a lot to me. And weighing is super-important, as early as possible.
I prefer for the second rebuttal to spend some time responding to the first rebuttal and not merely responding to the opponent's case. In particular, if the first rebuttal reads any turns on your case, I will expect the speaker giving the second rebuttal to respond to those turns. If the second rebuttal speaker does not respond to turns, I will consider them dropped. And I don't need the summary speech to extend defense that has not been responded to. I will count defensive arguments for whatever they are worth if they are dropped.
Likes: Depth of analysis, engagement with the other side's strongest arguments.
Dislikes: Cases that are just strings of blippy half-cards, numbers thrown around without context. Don't hammer on particular numbers without telling me what precisely those numbers mean and how they specifically link to your or your opponents' advocacy. (Please don't read impact cards that say things like a two standard-deviation decrease in democracy leads to a three percent rise in infant mortality. What does that even mean?)
I've noticed that a couple of my preferences differ from those of many other judges I've encountered on the national circuit, and you should probably know that. First, and probably of greatest significance, I am far more skeptical of quantitative impacts than are many national-circuit judges. You should expect me to discount any large number that appears in an impact card unless you present evidence of each link that is logically necessary to the occurrence of that impact. That doesn't mean I won't vote on quantitative impacts -- I vote on them all the time -- but when weighing them I am unlikely to take large numbers in impact cards at face value. Correlatively, I am far more open to voting on qualitative arguments than are many national-circuit judges. But do actually make an argument; don't just give me some conclusory tag. Second, I am more open to theory arguments than are many national-circuit PF judges. But you have to actually make the argument. Don't just tell me your opponents are doing something unfair; explain why it violates something that should be a norm of debate and why the proper remedy is to drop them, disregard an argument they're making, or whatever.
Experience: 4 years of high school Forensics (as for which events specifically, that's for me to know and you to find out later). I now compete on the collegiate level for the University of Kentucky Speech and Debate Team.
Judging Experience: Since 2012 for Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, and Parliamentary.
I have some personal preferences that extend to every form of debate. Firstly, please be courteous. Forensics is a fun, academic activity that allows people to communicate in the most persuasive manner possible. Being rude or purposefully distracting while your opponent is speaking will severely impact your speaking points. Secondly, please stand when speaking or being questioned. It makes it easier on everyone. Additionally, I flow every round, so please be clear with your tags. The neater my flow is the more clearly I can follow your arguments. Finally, have fun!
Also, I do not appreciate spreading. I have seen spreading in literally every debate event I have judged and I am still not endeared to it. If you do spread, I will drop my pen, when you slow down, I will pick it back up, but I will only allow this to happen twice, the third time I drop my pen, I won’t pick it back up.
I will be as tabula rasa as possible*. However, what is most important to me is that the arguments are complex, well analyzed, and succinct.
Please be sure to have all the necessary parts. This means framework, realistic weighing mechanism, evidence with citations, tags, and definitions, just to name a few. Also, remember to impact and weigh every argument. Tell me why it matters and give me clear warrants. Additionally, be sure to interact with your opponent’s case. I would rather not have to judge a round with two cases just there, but not clashing .
*However, that doesn't mean I accept blatantly false statements. Ex. "Beyoncé is terrible." or "Global climate change doesn't exist."
For judging I am incredibly easy when it comes to judging. I like good debate that is clear and easy to follow. I'm not a huge fan of spreading. Especially in debate formats that it isn't meant for. I will pretty much flow anything in the round with in reason. If you stretch too radical then I'm not inclined to buy into your thoughts. I've been judging world schools the last 9 years so prefer to stick to the ideals of world schools. Definitions should be clean and easy to follow, nothing squirrely.
I know a lot of judges pontificate for 1000+ words and detail every element of their judging philosophy. I'm not one of those judges. For one thing, I have a life. For another, my philosophy when it comes to judging is actually pretty simple.
Debate is a competition about COMMUNICATION. It's an argument about ideas. That means that the arguments you make matter and the way you make them matters just as much. I'm a flow judge and will penalize debaters who drop points altogether. Extending an argument by reference or even within the context of clash doesn't take much time. Even if it just seems like you ran out of time, who am I to know whether you actually just have no good evidence to refute your opponent? At the end of the day, if both contestants make good arguments but one has points that they extend that were never addressed, those contentions flow in their direction and may determine the ballot. It's only fair.
But the way you make the argument is often overlooked but SO important. This is particularly true in L/D, which after all is an event steeped in the history of the Lincoln/Douglas debates of the mid-19th century and Public Forum, which traces its roots to Ted Turner's frustration with the deterioration of debate as a contest of communication. Can you imagine Abraham Lincoln spreading? Me neither. I respect your ability to spread, but the cacophony of words issuing from your mouth isn't communication, it's a gimmick, substituting quantity over quality. I can't award you wins on arguments if my flow can't keep up with your rate of speech. And if two debaters clash and each make good points, and I can't quite decide who won the argument of ideas, I'll use speaking ability and persuasiveness to break ties and award victories. I also reserve the right to award higher speaker points to the losing debater. After all, sometimes the better speaker has worse arguments.
I'm not a fan of theory debates. Disclosure Theory, in particular, seems like a very lame way to frame a debate and go for a win. I came for a debate on the merits pro/con on a matter of public policy. That's what this whole exercise is about. I am very likely to judge the round based on who makes the best arguments on that front. I've never considered a theory argument an RFD. It's not to say that I never will... it's just to say that I never have previously.
Professionally, I served for nearly five years as Secretary of the Senate for the State of Nevada and for three years as Director of the Kentucky Legislature. I see facilitating speech and debate as fundamental to the health of our democracy, which let's face it could use more cogent well-reasoned well-informed debates.
I missed my high school graduation in order to go to NSDA Nationals in my senior year of high school, over 25 years ago. Speech and Debate runs in my blood. I love being a part of this and hope you find as much fulfillment out of it as I do. Good luck.
tl;dr Debate is a contest of communications. Speak well, make good arguments, earn my ballot!
(Last Revision: 20200614 : Added Big Question Paradigm)
Big Question Paradigm directly below.
PF paradigm further below
0. HAVE FUN: Debate and speech can be many things, many of them are adrenaline packed, and most of them are very worthwhile. You should work hard and do your best. Sometimes you will lose when you deserved to win and sometimes you will win when you deserved to lose. That’s life. You cannot completely control whether you win or lose but you do have absolute control of whether you enjoy this activity. You should definitely make sure you are enjoying it.
1. COURTESY: I expect both debaters to maintain courtesy and etiquette throughout the round. In egregious cases, I will vote on it. In non egregious cases, speaker points will be lost. This is especially true for breaches of protocol related to harassment, intimidation, or prejudice, of any kind.
2. ELOCUTION: Speak clearly. Fast but understandable may lose speaker points for style if it is sloppy. Fast but not understandable has no hope to be persuasive. If I cannot hear and understand you it is YOUR problem not mine.
3. TABULA RASA: to an extent. I believe that you should debate your opponent not some unstated position in the back of some judge’s mind. I try to judge on what is present by teams in the round. Qualifications/Exceptions:
a. All is arguable. If you want to try a Hail-Mary arguing that I should adopt a position opposed to accepted norms like NSDA rules of speech, etc. I will entertain them, but you will need to convince me not only over your opponents objections but also convince me to contravene instruction given by tournament staff and/or NSDA rules - the is a high bar, Approach it with care.
b. Logic: I come well equipped with logic and rhetoric skills. I do not set those aside in a round. However, you may argue them according to exception a. but again, the bar is high.
c. Facts: In general, For the round in question, I will try to take facts as presented by both sides. I will try to set aside my own knowledge even to the extent to accepting non-factual evidence to which both sides have acceded in the round. For example, I once agreed with Pro that the UN treaty was ratified in 1978 not 1945 because both teams agreed to it in cross, even though I knew that was not the case. However there are limits. It may be tough for me to set aside extremely incorrect facts presented in the round such as “The sun sets in the east”
4. Things I like:
a. Clash: I really enjoy debates where teams speak to each others’ points and argue as to which apply and what evidence is more convincing. Debaters simply talking past each other and dropping their opponents arguments bore me.
b. Extension: I really appreciate debaters who resolve clash with synthesis in later speeches and give a rationale to the judge.
c. Analysis: I really enjoy a debater who can dismantle bad evidence or bad logic with good in-round analysis, even if that is without evidence. Particularly delicious is evidentiary indictment where a debater shows how the source quoted by the opponet also provided evidence to the contrary or maybe even gave an overall conclusion to the contrary.
5. Things to know about me:
a. These things shouldn’t matter. A judge should try NOT to be a part of the round. That said, some things are inevitable.
b. I am a Physicist. My Phd was in Theoretical Plasma Physics. If this interests you, find me between rounds. I’d be happy to help students with similar interests.
c. I was a high school debater “in the long ago” - two time NFL(now NSDA) district champion in policy debate.
d. I am the parent of a recent PF debater. My son started the program at his high-school and ended his high-school career with gold bids to the TOC.
e. See #0 - Have fun. HS speech and debate is one of the most real-world relevant preparations in which you can engage at the high-school level. Be proud of your effort, but most importantly, enjoy it.
TL;DR: (Last PF Rev. 20190119)
This applies to PF judging. If I am your Speech, LD, or Policy Judge - my apologies this paradigm doesn't help too much.
I am open to almost any argument if you can convince me.
I flow, But if you are too fast for me to get it on my flow - it’s your loss.
If you are over-summarizing (i.e. “blippy”) I will substitute my considerable outside knowledge since you do not give it to me in the round.
“You must be this high to ride this ride.” - just because you utter an arg. I will write it down, but it must meet minimum requirements for me to buy it and vote on it. If it doesn’t meet that (low) bar, you ill not win the argument even if your opponents drop it or never respond to it.
Things that can cost you the round and speaker points: (regardless of arguments)
- torturing evidence, (misconstrue, misunderstand, quote out of context, …)
Things that can cost you speaker points:
- Speaking faster than you think,
- spreading with poor arguments.
- filibustering in Cross
Things that can motivate me to seek the tournament director to ask for your disqualification from the tournament
- intentional evidence fabrication
- physical altercation of any kind
Finally - have fun and know that whatever I saw as a judge you are a winner for participating. As a former debater, I remember less about rounds that I won or loss but I *DO* remember how debate gave me a great boost in every perusal and professional endeavor. It can for you too.
Extra: So, if you got here then you either read paradigms for fun or you have extra time. The above is enough for you to know to debate before me. Below is additional background. You should not feel the need to read and know it but I am providing it for fairness. You may not know me and your opponents may. So the part below is a little of my background and prejudices so you can know too - for fairness
I am a former debater “from the long before”. 2 time state champ in TN in policy - before there was PF and when LD was new.
Hi. I coach both middle and high school PFD and Congressional Debate as a volunteer. I was a policy debater.
I am a policy analyst and an editor.
Clash, persuade, funnel. I don’t mind observations, but don’t give me a ten-pointer and apply it to every argument. I do flow. Be CLEAR. Please follow the flow in your speech and sign post for me. If I am flipping pages to find where you are, it is generally not good for you. Please give me a framework- it doesn't necessarily have to be in case, but make it known soon so your narrative throughout the round can fulfill it.
I do have some troubles with evidence in PFD. It is generally cut to be conclusionary. Know the author, know why they are a better source than your opponent's evidence, know WHY they said what they said AND PLEASE TELL ME. That can be the BEST argument in the round.
After having judged quite a few national circuit rounds, there have been a few teams that go too fast. They spit out a number of poor arguments and win because the other team can't cover them all and the dumpers cherry pick and pull. I get it all down, but I don't necessarily grok all the arguments...mostly because they are a skeleton of an argument. Honestly, this makes me sad. At that point, it is not about persuasion and argumentation. And the thing is, these rounds had 4 smart people in them. They could have made great arguments. They chose to overwhelm rather than outwit.
Summary speech is REALLY important. It is the chance to play chess- very strategic. In Final Focus, tell me why your voters win the day. Shore up your warrants and weigh those impacts. I do enjoy some panache and humor.
Finally, don't be a jerk a.k.a. a contemptibly obnoxious person. In cross, lay your cards down. Being evasive makes me unhappy. If your opponent keeps asking and you keep evading, I will not let you win the argument you are hiding for later.
You are amazing for getting up early on a weekend to throw words at me. :)
Judge: Don Currey
School Affiliation: Chagrin Falls High School (Ohio)
I have judged PF for 4 years. I am a parent judge and had no previous debate experience. I have had the privilege to judge well over 100 rounds at the local, state and national levels. My educational background is mechanical engineering and business administration and I work as an engineering manager. As an engineer, I tend to value substance over style.
My preferences during a debate round are as follows:
I don't mind a fast-paced speaking style. However, I do flow rounds and if I miss a key point while trying to keep up with a very fast speaker, it may hurt their team's final outcome.
I enjoy lively crossfire rounds as long as things don't get too out of hand.
Summary / Final Focus
My view is that teams should extend arguments into summary speeches if they want them to be considered in my final decision. I think it's important for a final focus speaker to concentrate on key arguments. They should tell me why they won the round and why their opponent did not. However, I don't discount an argument if it is not mentioned in final focus. Finally, I will ignore new arguments that is introduced after summary speeches.
Plans and Kritiks
If a team presents a plan as an argument, I will count that against them. Kritiks are acceptable, although I've found them to be generally confusing. While I won't automatically vote against it, a kritik is very difficult to judge.
Evidence vs. Logic
While I believe that arguments and rebuttals should be supported with valid, relevant and substantive pieces of evidence, I tend to vote for teams who present their arguments logically and demonstrate that they understand the topic.
- State your framework clearly
- Substantiate your contention with impact
- Cross-fire and rebuttals is where I watch very closely. I want to hear the teams trying to challenge and effectively defend.
- Final Focus should be relevant to what happened during the debate
PFD coach, 5 yrs.
Weigh well and give me effective and concrete impact calculus. Ultimately I like a good clear collapse in the FF. Don't try to go for everything.
I can appreciate passion and humor, but please do not be rude. This will result in lower speaker points.
Second rebuttal should of course respond to first rebuttal.
Evidence does not argue for itself. This is true in case and throughout the round. Citing a card in rebuttal without explaining the link, or however you use using it for a refutation, is not adequate. Memorizing cards is not true argumentation.
I really appreciate well organized speeches.
Now that we've got longer summaries, be sure yours does good offense and defense. You have time. Summary should not be a second rebuttal though...if you don't give me offense there, I can't carry any more for you throughout the round.
CONGRESS PARADIGM IS BELOW THIS PF Paradigm
ALMOST EVERY ROUND I HAVE JUDGED IN THE LAST 8 YEARS WOULD HAVE BENEFITTED FROM 50% FEWER ARGUMENTS, AND 100% MORE ANALYSIS OF THOSE 50% FEWER ARGUMENTS. A Narrative, a Story carries so much more persuasively through a round than the summary speaker saying "we are going for Contention 2".
I am NOT a fan of speed, nor speed/spread. Please don't make me think I'm in a Policy Round!
I don't need "Off-time roadmaps", I just want to know where you are starting.
Claim/warrant/evidence/impact is NOT a debate cliche; It is an Argumentative necessity! A label and a blip card is not a developed argument!
Unless NUCLEAR WINTER OR NUCLEAR EXTINCTION HAS ALREADY OCCURED, DON'T BOTHER TO IMPACT OUT TO IT.
SAVE K'S FOR POLICY ROUNDS; RUN THEORY AT YOUR OWN RISK- I start from ma place that it is fake and abusive in PF and you are just trying for a cheap win against an unprepared team. I come to judge debates about the topic of the moment.
YOU MIGHT be able to convince me of your sincerity if you can show me that you run it in every round and are President of the local "Advocacy for that Cause" Club.
Don't just tell me that you win an argument, show me WHY you win it and what significance that has in the round.
Please NARROW the debate and WEIGH arguments in Summary and Final Focus. If you want the argument in Final Focus, be sure it was in the summary.
There is a difference between "passionate advocacy" and anger. Audio tape some of your rounds and decide if you are doing one or the other when someone says you are "aggressive".
NSDA evidence rules require authors' last name and THE DATE (minimum) so you must AT LEAST do that if you want me to accept the evidence as "legally presented". If one team notes that the other has not supplied dates, it will then become an actual issue in the round. Speaker points are at stake.
In close rounds I want to be persuaded and I may just LISTEN to both Final Focus speeches, checking off things that are extended on my flow.
I am NOT impressed by smugness, smiling sympathetically at the "stupidity" of your opponent's argument, vigorous head shaking in support of your partner's argument or opposition to your opponents'. Speaker points are DEFINITELY in play here!
1: The first thing I am looking for in every speech is ORGANIZATION AND CLARITY. 2. The second thing I am looking for is CLASH; references to other speakers & their arguments
3. The third thing I am looking for is ADVOCACY, supported by EVIDENCE
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A SPEAKING EVENT, NOT A READING EVENT! I WILL NOT GIVE EVEN A "BRILLIANT" SPEECH A "6" IF IT IS READ OFF A PREPARED SHEET/TUCKED INTO THE PAD OR WRITTEN ON THE PAD ITSELF; AND, FOR CERTAIN IF IT IS READ OFF OF A COMPUTER OR TABLET.
I value a good story and humor, but Clarity and Clash are most important.
Questioning and answering factors into overall placement in the Session.
Yes, I will evaluate and include the PO, but it is NOT an automatic advancement to the next level; that has gotten a bit silly.
I have been judging Speech and Debate for over ten years.
As far as speed goes with regard to debate- spread at your own risk. If I can understand you, there is no problem. If I can't understand what you are saying, it makes no difference how good your argument was. I have to be able to hear and understand what you are saying to win.
I'm not nit-picky when it comes to the intricate details. It's very simple- whichever team makes the better argument and defends it better will win. Present an articulate, well researched, well reasoned argument and you'll be fine.
the quickest way to lose a debate with me is to be flippant, dismissive, or disrespectful of the other team.
*Time your own speeches*
Oakwood High School
State finalist in policy debate. I also help coach and judge for high school public forum and policy.
Tech vs. Truth:
I am pretty much tech over truth, so the flow is what matters most in the round. This has a limit to it. If an argument is completely irrelevant to the debate and has a voting issue, I will not vote on it. In the end, I will pretty much evaluate the debate how you tell me to. Dropped arguments, important to my decision, are true arguments.
I will call for evidence (if needed) after the round. Please show me the cut evidence with citation.
Speed is fine by me. If you spread, be clear.
I am pretty much okay with you running anything you want.
I will listen and pay attention to it. Do not go out of your way to be rude, I understand debate is very competitive, but remember it is just that, a competition.
Gonna keep this short cuz I thought all judges with super long paradigms were very extra [when you are trying to persuade someone in real life, you don't get a two page doc of preferences].
-study Math + Computer Science at Stanford
-did Public Forum in high school on both the local (Georgia) and national circuit [NSDA Nationals and the TOCs]
-I've also done a bit of APDA/BP in college.
-Don't go TOO Fast.
-Don't mis-cut or BS evidence -- I will likely call for cards each round.
-Please weigh -- it'll make my job easier. This is *key* to getting higher speaks AND winning rounds.
-I prefer solid analysis over rote card dumping [no need to have 5 responses to every warrant].
-I like intense cross-fires! Forces me to listen.
I am an assistant coach at The Potomac School, and previously was the Director of Forensics at Des Moines Roosevelt. If you have any questions about Public Forum, Extemp, Congress, or Interp events, come chat! Otherwise you can feel free to email me at: email@example.com for any questions about events, the activity, or rounds I've judged.
I'm a flow judge that wants to be told how to feel. Ultimately, Public Forum is supposed to be persuasive--a 'winning' flow is not inherently persuasive. My speaker points are generally reflective of how easy I think you make my decisions.
Things to Remember…
0. The Debate Space: R E L A X. Have some fun. Breathe a little. Sit where you want, talk in the direction you want, live your BEST lives in my rounds. I'm not here to tell you what that looks like!
1. Framework: Cost/benefit unless otherwise determined.
2. Extensions: Links and impacts NEED to be in summary to be evaluated in final focus. Please don't just extend through ink--make an attempt to tell me why your arguments are comparatively more important than whatever they're saying.
3. Evidence: If you're bad at paraphrasing and do it anyway, that's a reasonable voter. See section on theory. Tell me what your evidence says and then explain its role in the round. I also prefer authors AND dates. I will not call for evidence unless suggested to in round.
4. Cross: If it's not in a speech it's not on my flow. HOWEVER: I want to pay attention to cross. Give me something to pay attention to. Just because I'm not flowing cross doesn't make it irrelevant--it's up to you to do something with the time.
5. Narrative: Narrow the 2nd half of the round down with how your case presents a cohesive story and 1-2 key answers on your opponents’ case. I like comparative analysis.
6. Theory: If an abuse happens, theory shells are an effective check. I think my role as an educator is to listen to the arguments as presented and make an evaluation based on what is argued.
Disclosure is good for debate. I think paraphrasing is good for public forum, but my opinion doesn't determine how I evaluate the paraphrasing shell. This is just to suggest that no one should feel intimidated by a paraphrasing shell in a round I am judging--make substantive responses in the line-by-line and it's ultimately just another argument I evaluate tabula rasa.
7. Critical positions: I'll evaluate Ks, but if you are speaking for someone else I need a good reason not to cap your speaks at 28.5.
8. Tech >< Truth: Make the arguments you want to make. If they aren't supported with SOME evidence my threshold for evaluating answers to them is, however, low.
9. Sign Post/Road Maps: Please.
**Do NOT give me blippy/underdeveloped extensions/arguments. I don’t know authors of evidence so go beyond that when talking about your evidence/arguments in round. I am not a calculator. Your win is still determined by your ability to persuade me on the importance of the arguments you are winning not just the sheer number of arguments you are winning. This is a communication event so do that with some humor and panache.**
- 3 years national circuit PF at American Heritage-Plantation in Florida (2013-2016)
- 2 years policy debate at FSU (2016-2018)
- 2 years coaching PF for Capitol Debate (2017-current)
- Do anything you want to do in terms of argumentation. It is not my job as a judge in a debate community to exclude certain forms of argumentation. There are certain arguments I will heavily discourage: Ks read just to confuse your opponent and get an easy win, theory read to confuse your opponent, anything that is racist, classist, transphobic, xenophobic, sexist, ableist, etc. I will not immediately drop you for trying to confuse your opponent, I might for the latter half. The threshold for trying to confuse your opponents will be if you refuse to answer crossfire questions or give answers that everyone knows aren't legit.
- The most frequently asked questions I get are "can you handle speed?" and "how do you feel about defense in first summary/does the second speaking team need to cover responses in rebuttal?" To the first, if you are spreading to make this event in accessible to your opponents, I will give you no higher than a 20 in speaks. I am fine with spreading, but if either your opponents or I clear you, I expect you to slow down. If your opponents need to clear you 3 or more times, I expect you send them a speech doc (if you had not already done that). To the second, I do not care. It is probably strategic to have defense in first summary/ respond to first rebuttal in second rebuttal, but if you do not do that, I'm not going to say it has magically become a dropped argument.
- K's are cool, theory is cool. You need to know what you are talking about if you read these. You should be able to explain it to your opponents. If you are doing performance stuff give me a reason why. You should be prepared for the "we are doing PF, if you want to do performance why not go back to policy" debate.
- I default to whatever debaters tell me to default to. If you are in a util v structural violence framing debate, you better have reasons to defend your side. I do not default "util is trutil" unless it is won as an argument.
- Sound logic is better than crappy cards.
- The TKO is in play. If you know, you know.
- Speaker points will be reflection of your skill and my scale will remain consistent to reflect that. The average is between a 28.2-28.5. If you are an average debater, or your performance is average in round, that is what you should expect. Do not expect a 30 from me unless the tournament does not do halves.
Or you can ask me before the round.
I am a parent judge, and I have judged for more than 3 years on the national circuit.
- Speak clearly at a conversational pace
- Have logical and well-explained arguments
- Avoid debate jargon
- Signpost clearly
- No Ks, Theory, etc.
- Be professional and civil
- Cross: I may not take notes but I pay attention
Speak clearly and make your points clear. Since I can't ask clarifying questions, I won't give credit if I don't understand the logics of the argument.
I prefer clear, concise, easy to follow debates. Make it clear why I should vote for you. Avoid dropping arguments. Stay respectful to your competitor. I have been judging since 2008 but still prefer to be thought of as a lay judge and treated as such. Help me, help you.
Hi, this is Tianliang’s son.
My dad is your standard lay judge. Don’t assume he knows a lot about the topic.
English is also not his first language, so I recommend you speak slowly and explain things clearly - he really likes listening to politicians talk and audiobooks as well. He isn’t too politically knowledgeable but he knows a lot of stuff about famous people because he listens to so many audiobooks. If you try to act knowledgeable and hnderstanding of the topic, he will be inclined to vote for you.
Most of all, he likes respectful and nice debaters. Do this, and it will help your speaker points a lot.
Updated for 2020-21
If you have questions about anything here, just ask!
-I don't have a preference between early/mid/late round speeches - just give the best speech. I evaluate each speech for the role it needs to serve in the round. So, if you're sitting on a neg and we go to a 2-minute recess because you're insistent on doing a crystallization speech and no one else has a neg, I'll be annoyed. If you're able to show me multiple types of speeches throughout the session (especially if I'm the parli), that's great.
-I hate one-sided debate - it isn't debate. I don't have a set rule "if you speak on the same side as the previous person I'll mark you down x # of ranks," but it definitely has a negative impact on the final ranks. If you speak on the same side as the previous person, it is very, very unlikely (albeit not impossible) I will rank you in the top 3. This is even more true for a crystallization speech.
-Expectations for authorship/sponsorship/1st aff: problem/solution; identify a framework/burden/scope to evaluate debate; have a central narrative
-Expectations for mid-round speech: Refute; have a central narrative
-Expectations for late speech: Refute & boil the debate down to a main issue or 2; have a central narrative
-Have a clear, specific, and offensive thesis coming out of the introduction.
-Have clear warrants; if they stem from the legislation directly, even better. Particularly in mid/late speeches, weighing/clash is super important.
-Clear, humanized impacts are key.
-I'm not going to open the legislation packet - it's your job to bring it to life for me. If I know a detail of the leg from coaching my own students but you don't mention it, it won't help you - I'll be as tabula rasa as possible with the docket.
-No rehash. It's possible to extend something from your own side with new warrants/impacts, but new data is just rehash.
-Neg speeches can't say the leg is bad because it doesn't do something unless that thing is mutually exclusive with the action of the legislation; if the leg is that we should all eat more bananas and your neg is no we should eat more apples, unless you can prove that we can't eat apples AND bananas the point doesn't work. I also don't love points about complacency - they generally feel stock to me (unless you're talking about a social issue when the issue attention cycle is a legitimate concern). Both of these types of points (do x not y; complacency) feel like avoidance of engaging with the actual legislation - neg speeches must demonstrate the inherent harm(s) of passing.
-No stock intros/conclusions - if it could work for any piece of legislation, it's too vague. I like an attention-grabbing intro of some kind and when the conclusion ties a bow with the opening.
-I don't have a preference for being in the simulation or avoiding it. If you start talking about your constituents and your office in D.C., I will likely roll my eyes. On the other hand, talking about your current high school Bio class doesn't work either.
-Stay involved throughout the entire session. If you give an A+ speech but ask zero questions, you'll get ranked below an A- speech and strong, well-spaced questions.
-I will rank you as the PO if you're a strong PO (fast & efficient, knowledgeable about RR, clear command of chamber). Being the PO is neither a guarantee of a rank nor of a drop for me - if you do an A job as the PO, it'll be ranked the same as if you did an A job as a speaker.
-I don't flow cross; if you want me to evaluate something out of cross, you need to mention it in a later speech.
-If you want me to evaluate something from FF, it also needs to appear in the summary.
-Make sure to identify moments of clash. Don't let the two ships just pass in the night; tell me where the boats crash and why yours stays afloat.
-Make sure to weigh arguments. Tell me what the key points of the debate are so that I don't have to determine them myself.
-I won't make a decision based on politeness, but being excessively rude/abrasive in cross annoys me and will negatively impact your speaker points.
-Unless there's true abuse in the round, I won't vote on theory.
-I haven't judged circuit PF since Stanford 2019, so you're better off avoiding "progressive" PF stuff. Treat me as more flay.
hi i am a parent judge. i will try to do my best to take notes and flow but spreading and talking abnormally fast will make that hard for me. arguments that make sense to me are going to be evaluated with more weight than arguments that have a lot of evidence for them. for the market rate housing topic : i dont really know anything about this topic but will try to read up on it before i get to the tournament. even so, please try to do your best to explain all the terms and warrant your points please.
As always enjoy what your doing and have fun debating !
My paradigm boils down to four points:
1. Please provide me with a framework/weighing mechanism for the round.
2. Do not spread. I will put my pen down if you're going too quickly for me to understand.
3. Tag your points and subpoints––as a judge, I like to be able to strike through these points as the other team tackles them, or else to draw them through several speeches. That way, it's very clear who won and who lost, and little is left up to my own biases/personal paradigm.
4. Be nice to each other :)
Current Coach -- Marist School (2011-present)
Lab Leader -- National Debate Forum (2015-present), Emory University (2016), Dartmouth College (2014-2015), University of Georgia (2012-2015)
Former Coach -- Fayette County (2006-2011), Wheeler (2008-2009)
Former Debater -- Fayette County (2002-2006)
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for email chains, please (no google doc sharing and no locked google docs)
Last Updated -- 2/12/2012 for the 2022 Postseason (no major updates, just being more specific on items)
I am a high school teacher who believes in the power that speech and debate provides students. There is not another activity that provides the benefits that this activity does. I am involved in topic wording with the NSDA and argument development and strategy discussion with Marist, so you can expect I am coming into the room as an informed participant about the topic. As your judge, it is my job to give you the best experience possible in that round. I will work as hard in giving you that experience as I expect you are working to win the debate. I think online debate is amazing and would not be bothered if we never returned to in-person competitions again. For online debate to work, everyone should have their cameras on and be cordial with other understanding that there can be technical issues in a round.
What does a good debate look like?
In my opinion, a good debate features two well-researched teams who clash around a central thesis of the topic. Teams can demonstrate this through a variety of ways in a debate such as the use of evidence, smart questioning in cross examination and strategical thinking through the use of casing and rebuttals. In good debates, each speech answers the one that precedes it (with the second constructive being the exception in public forum). Good debates are fun for all those involved including the judge(s).
The best debates are typically smaller in nature as they can resolve key parts of the debate. The proliferation of large constructives have hindered many second halves as they decrease the amount of time students can interact with specific parts of arguments and even worse leaving judges to sort things out themselves and increasing intervention.
What role does theory play in good debates?
I've always said I prefer substance over theory. That being said, I do know theory has its place in debate rounds and I do have strong opinions on many violations. I will do my best to evaluate theory as pragmatically as possible by weighing the offense under each interpretation. For a crash course in my beliefs of theory - disclosure is good, open source is an unnecessary standard for high school public forum teams until a minimum standard of disclosure is established, paraphrasing is bad, round reports is frivolous, content warnings for graphic representations is required, content warnings over non-graphic representations is debatable.
All of this being said, I don't view myself as an autostrike for teams that don't disclose or paraphrase. However, I've judged enough this year to tell you if you are one of those teams and happen to debate someone with thoughts similar to mine, you should be prepared with answers.
How do "progressive" arguments work in good debates?
Like I said above, arguments work best when they are in the context of the critical thesis of the topic. Thus, if you are reading the same cards in your framing contention from the Septober topic that have zero connections to the current topic, I think you are starting a up-hill battle for yourselves. I have not been entirely persuaded with the "pre-fiat" implications I have seen this year - if those pre-fiat implications were contextualized with topic literature, that would be different.
My major gripe with progressive debates this year has been a lack of clash. Saying "structural violence comes first" doesn't automatically mean it does or that you win. These are debatable arguments, please debate them. I am also finding that sometimes the lack of clash isn't a problem of unprepared debaters, but rather there isn't enough time to resolve major issues in the literature. At a minimum, your evidence that is making progressive type claims in the debate should never be paraphrased and should be well warranted. I have found myself struggling to flow framing contentions that include four completely different arguments that should take 1.5 minutes to read that PF debaters are reading in 20-30 seconds (Read: your crisis politics cards should be more than one line).
How should evidence exchange work?
Evidence exchange in public forum is broken. At the beginning of COVID, I found myself thinking cases sent after the speech in order to protect flowing. However, my view on this has shifted. A lot of debates I found myself judging last season had evidence delays after case. At this point, constructives should be sent immediately prior to speeches. (If you paraphrase, you should send your narrative version with the cut cards in order). At this stage in the game, I don't think rebuttal evidence should be emailed before but I imagine that view will shift with time as well. When you send evidence to the email chain, I prefer a cut card with a proper citation and highlighting to indicate what was read. Cards with no formatting or just links are as a good as analytics.
For what its worth, whenever I return to in-person tournaments, I do expect email chains to continue.
What effects speaker points?
I am trying to increase my baseline for points as I've found I'm typically below average. Instead of starting at a 28, I will try to start at a 28.5 for debaters and move accordingly. Argument selection, strategy choices and smart crossfires are the best way to earn more points with me. You're probably not going to get a 30 but have a good debate with smart strategy choices, and you should get a 29+.
This only applies to tournaments that use a 0.1 metric -- tournaments that are using half points are bad.
It is known that Public Forum Debate was designed to appeal to common people, as such most of your judges will be “lay” judges, meaning that they have no formal debate experience. I fall into this category. I did not debate in high school or college; but, I do often find myself debating with my two sons. I am judging Public Forum Debate in order to support my boys' passion for this event. In offering my time, I'm hoping more parents will offer their time in order to support their schools as more schools attempt to create a Speech and Debate program.
Since I come to these rounds as a parent and not a coach, I will only disclose the reasons for my decisions on the ballot and not at the end of the rounds. Based on the tournament rules and what round of the tournament we are in, I am open to disclosing who won/loss the round.
Other important information -
I believe it is your job to write my ballot. So signpost please. Provide me with a clear way to evaluate the debate.
I favor quality over quantity. Logical reasoning, maturity of thought, and effectiveness of communication are of primary consideration. Evidence, examples, and analogies are to be used for the purpose of illustration.
When deciding the round, I try to have the following question answered - "If I had no prior beliefs about this resolution, would the round as a whole have made me more likely to believe the resolution was true or not true?"
I appreciate funny and creative taglines.
The Round - Defense is sticky. Use Summary and Final Focus to inform me which arguments are the most important and why they mean you win. I do not need a line-by-line recap of the debate. If this paragraph, doesn't make sense to you, don't worry about it. If on the other hand you do understand my points, than don't waste your time in round trying to convince me where or when your opponent dropped an argument or failed to extend.
Speaker Points - my speaker points are based on how you did compared to past debate rounds that I have judged. So some judge might have given you 29s and 30s for a given tournament but you might have just received a 27 from me. Don't read that as an indication that I didn't think you did a good job; but, instead just assume I've seen better speakers in the past.
Evidence - Don't lie about evidence. I view evidence for purposes of illustration (see prior comments). The quality of evidence is hard to judge. If it takes you more than a minute to find a card after it's called for I'm simply going to strike it. You should have quick access to your evidence.
Crossfire - do not turn this into a brawl. It is not necessary to raise your voices. I will be in the same seat throughout the round. So if I could hear you clearly prior to crossfire, assume I can hear you clearly during crossfire.
Speed - I do not like "spreading". If I am unable to flow your round, that onus is on you and not me. You should ask yourself, "Do you feel lucky?" If the answer to that question is yes, than go for it. I might be able to understand your spread.
Be witty and you will be rewarded. Be mean and you will be punished. Be respectful to your opponent.
I leave you with this one final quote from the famed anime philosopher Naruto Uzumaki - "I like ramen. I hate the three minutes you have to wait while the water boils. And my dream is to one day become a Hokage."
Very lay judge, speak slow and have fun.
I am a parent judge, but I have been judging the National Circuit PF for five years and judged 600+ rounds (including TOC semifinals). I am scientist so if you are making science arguments please make sure you understand the science..
How to win my ballot
- Speak clearly
- Extend arguments- not cards
- Focus the debate to what you are winning
- Keep theory reserved for actual abuse
- Keep Ks in policy
- Keep aliens and zombies for bad movies and out of debate
- Summary in line with final focus
- Be polite
- Have your evidence ready (you have 1 minute)
How to get good speaks
- Make good arguments
- Make good choices
- Don't yell
- Don't argue with me
- Arguing with me after the round- I GIVE SPEAKS AFTER I GIVE MY RFD FOR THIS REASON
I debated at Columbus High (GA) and competed on the PF national circuit for two-ish years with some success.
General: I was a very technical debater for public forum and believe that when done well, technical debates are the most interesting to watch/judge. While I appreciate good line by line debating, I understand that not all schools have the resources to teach line by line debating so please do not force yourself to be technical or “flow” because I am judging. A good voter based summary/final focus can be just as effective as line by line if you’re clear and make smart analysis.
Speed: I was on the faster end of national circuit debate, but it has been a while since I have actually debated. If you're comfortable going fast, do it but do not sacrifice clarity. Don't spread either, but I can understand relatively quick speeds. Speed is in no way a requirement. In general, the faster you speak, the less I will be able to flow. However, I do consider myself to have a pretty good speed threshold. If you want to know how fast I can handle, you can request in round that I say “clear” if you begin going to fast for me. Also, I will say “clear” if I cannot understand you twice, the third time I will just stop flowing. *If you are going fast to a point where flowing becomes difficult your opponent reserves full rights to ask for a speech doc to prevent them from missing arguments*
Rebuttal: I don’t need frontlining in either rebuttal but it could be strategic - I leave that decision to you. I want to see case cross applications, at least some generated offense, and terminalized defense. Overviews are not required but can be useful - be strategic here. I will listen to extended disads in rebuttal, but the threshold for responding to these goes down (especially if you read one as the second speaking team). Also, evidence comparison goes a long way here. Reasons to prefer evidence will make my job and yours a lot easier.
Summary: You don’t have to weigh for me here, but doing so will really help for multiple reasons (i.e. making sure I know weighing is occurring, better speaker points, etc.). Extensions need warrants, and all offense is required to be in summary. I believe in sticky defense for first summary. Being a first speaker, my biggest pet peeve is extending through ink — you need to frontline any offense you go for or I defer to their defense and don't evaluate the offense (turns become defense if not extended as offense and weighed and frontlined). If both teams extend through ink, my decision will be less standardized and you don’t want that. Second speaking teams need to extend defense in second summary for me to evaluate it better in final focus. I try to number responses if rebuttals are clear - if that makes front lining easier, feel free to use the number of the responses. I need an impact extension at the very least for me to consider it in final focus.
Final Focus: You MUST weigh here for me to vote for you. If neither team weighs, I again defer to a less standardized decision process that you want to avoid. If one team gives bad weighing, I prefer that over no weighing. The better your analysis, the more likely I am to vote for you. However, weighing an impact without a link doesn’t work for me - you need to win the link to the impact to weigh it. I need extensions in summary; I think final focuses are summaries with less front lining and more weighing.
Theory: I think most theory arguments are just reasons to drop the argument, not the debater so unless you give reasons to drop the debater, I won’t. I am also not well acquainted with most theory arguments, but I understand the general mechanisms and know at least basic jargon. Make sure I can understand the argument if you want me to vote for it. That said, I am not in any way biased against theory if run well and understandably.
Topicality: This is very important to me. I don’t want to vote for not topical arguments. That said, saying an argument is not topical is not enough - give me reasons why.
K: I am not super good at Ks in the traditional policy and LD sense. If your argument is understandable and well-defended, I have no problem voting for them. Just make them have impacts and good strategies.
Arguments: I am a fan of unique/fun arguments and love to see them. Have a good time in your debates, I'll listen to any argument that is not offensive (i.e. racist, homophobic, or sexist). So if you decide to say cannibalism will prevent human extinction, I will listen.
Evidence: I do not want to be an interventionist judge. That means I will not call for evidence and use it to make a decision, unless a team tells me to. If there is general disagreement on evidence, but I am not told explicitly to read it, I will either defer it to the team that better defends their interp of the evidence or not evaluate it (if neither team defends their interp well). I might ask to see it after making a decision just to give both teams a better understanding of how one judge perceives the evidence, and I might call evidence after making a decision that I don’t believe is true. BUT, if no one calls out a team on evidence, I will not drop the other team for it. If a team calls out another for blatantly lying or misrepresenting evidence (i.e. not reading a “not” in an important line), I will look at the evidence after round. The team that is wrong about the evidence (accusers or defendants) will immediately be dropped and given 25s for speaker points.
30- You were perfect
29.5+- Great strategy, fantastic strategic decisions, great weighing
29+- Good Strategy, probably made some good responses, solid weighing
28.5+- Decent Strategy, making good arguments, okay weighing
28.0- Some strategy, arguments were made, no weighing
27.0- Lack of Strategy, conceded some parts of case, no weighing
26.0- no strategic decisions, conceded major parts of case, no weighing
Under 25 is reserved for doing something offensive, being mean, unethical evidence, or not using full speech times.
Background: Debated at Woodward Academy for 4 years - currently debate at Kentucky.
I am not familiar with the China topic, so any arguments that rely on super topic-knowledge contingent things should be argued parallel to a more informative tone. If you think that your affirmative or you argument in general relies on some topic knowledge, you should explicit say "This requires a bit of topic-knowledge so I'll make it clear..." and then inform me of the content.
Meta-level things: I view debate more holistically than separated between "traditional" and critical styles. Tell me why you should win. Resolving arguments and answering key, framing questions that you have set up in the final rebuttal will get you far in close debates (and good speaks). Be nice to your opponents. OMFG BE NICE TO YOUR OPPONENTS. If you really love this activity, so long as they are nice to you and have good spirit, you should show the utmost respect to who you are debating no matter how good or bad you think they are.
I love love love good argument structure. An argument, at bare minimum, is: a claim, a warrant, and evidence (and cards aren't the only form of evidence).
A good debater provides all three of those. A great debater provides a claim, warrant(s), evidence, and an impact/implication of the argument. The moments where you implicate your argument and exlain why it matters/how it applies to another area of the debate are the moments that gets the judge's attention. An outstanding debater provies a claim, warrant(s), evidence, an impact, and argument resolution. That skill is what puts you ahead in really close debates against good teams. Oftentimes, the implication of the argument is what provides you a gateway to resolving arguments.
CP's - great when used strategically. PICs are great. Process CPs meh.
DA's - love them. Be smart -- know when their advantage turns your DA more than your DA turns your advantage and vice-versa. Know when the link turn outweighs the link and vice-versa. Impact calculus should always take into account the other team's internal links -- it should be a holistic comparison of their overall position, not just the terminal impacts.
Politics -- eh. Im a 2A that hates the politics DA (compared to the 2A's the love it bc they have to give a 1NR). Its probably not intrinsic and you know it. Fiat might solve the link? Even if it doesn't, most times the link isn't good because of thumpers and other structural things. The aff can gain a lot of ethos by showing that they have not only prepared a good strategy but prepared devasting CX questions to embarras the negative out of the gate on some of these things. That's really biased in favor of the aff, but fuck the neg honestly. Idgaf.
Don't get me wrong, I'll vote on the politics DA, I just think in most cases its a silly argument. If the negative thinks that they, specifically, have good evidence, they should be aggressive about that.
Kritiks - i like good kritik debating because its when debaters (who again, are good at it) show a lot of passion. If you are neg, it would help you in front of me to have some aspect of your link that is related to the effects of the plan. It isn't that other aspects of the 1AC aren't things we should talk about, its just that then the perm becomes really persusaive. 2NC overviews should not be more than half of the speech, its simply not necessary. I appreciate organized K debating and line by line. There is almost always somewhere more appropriate on the line by line to put your rants. I am prepared to seperate the debate (with individual sheets of flow paper) into FW, the link debate, and the perm, because I know those debates can get big, therefore it is really nice if the neg explicitly mentions where those debates are happening in the final rebuttal. Remember when I said line by line was appreciated? Just kidding, it's necessary.
K-affs - it helps to have a plan. It provides a predictable stasis for clash and it eliminates the (perhaps) burden of having 1-off FW debates. If you don't have a plan, at least have a stable mechanism/advocacy that you will defend throughout the round. If you are high theory, make the basis of your argument clear - I'm not super well-versed on complicated political philosophies yet - it is something I am still incorporating into my growth as a debater.
Topicality - I will try to do a little studying of the topic so I can know what's up, but generally my topic knowledge (at this moment) is not up to par for ticky-tacky T debates. But for the argument in and of itself, Limits has always been pretty persusaive to me. I think that the aff should be aggressive on made up interpretations of the topic - debaters that show expansive knowledge of the legal scholasrship and what these major articles are actually saying will be rewarded. A lot of the times we vote on what we want the topic to be not what is acutaly is - if the topic is naturally big and the neg is trying to artificially make it smaller with their interp, in that instance, idgaf about your limits DA.
Theory - i think that the negative should get at least 2 conditional advocacies. LISTEN - if they read more than two, the aff can go for condo bad in front of me, BUT, you have to show that you have thought through your standards and the 2AR should crystalize their offense. I think I lean affirmative on 50 state fiat?
I'm a first year out extemper from southwest Ohio with relatively significant success at local, national circuit, and national tournaments. I know a decent amount about geopolitics and current events, so I would consider myself a truth over tech judge; arguments need to make sense and be reasonable.
Warrant and explain your arguments well, especially if you're running something that's not stock or is generally unintiuitive. I vote off of my flow, so make sure to be tagging and signposting arguments and cards. Extend offense through summary and final focus if you want me to vote off of it and do your best to weigh for me so I won't be forced to intervene. Of course, please respect the decision that I come to at the end of the round. Make sure to have fun!
Debate Experience: TOC Champion PF 2010, 4th at British Parli University National Championships 2014, Oxford Debate Union competitive debater 2015-2016 (won best floor speech), LGBTQIA+ Officer at the Oxford Debate Union.
NSDA PF Topic Committee Member/Writer: If you have any ideas, topic areas, or resolutions in mind for next season please send them to my email below. We on the NSDA PF Topic Committee will be finalizing our topics for the season over the next five months with tentative topics released mid-June.
Coaching Experience: Director of Debate at Fairmont Prep 2018-Current, 13 years of coaching, instructor at 14 debate camps, Senior Instructor and PF Curriculum Director at the Institute for Speech and Debate, La Altamont Lane 2018 TOC, Capitol 2016-2018, GW 2010-2015. British Parli coach and lecturer for universities including DU, Oxford, and others.
Education: Masters from Oxford University '16 - Law & Religion - Dissertation on the history of the First Amendment - Religion and Philosophy at DU '14. Other research areas include Buddhism, comparative religion, sociology of religion, conlaw, First Amendment law, free speech, freedom of expression, art law, media law, & SCOTUS history. AP Macroeconomics Teacher
2023 Winter Data Update: Importing my Tabroom data I've judged 651 rounds since 2014 with a 53% Pro and 47% Con vote balance. There may be a slight subconscious Aff bias it seems. My guess is that I may subconsciously give more weight to changing the status quo as that's the core motivator of debate but no statistically meaningful issues present.
Right-to-work law debate comments for UNLV/Stanford/California Round Robin/Berkeley
For the Cal Round Robin: I am not going to disclose to respect Lexy and the tournament's spirit. Also lowkey how many tournies have experts judge finals? I would prefer topic specific debates/topic specific k's. We should be testing who deserves to debate in front of the experts in my opinion.
I've judged about 20 rounds now on the topic. If y'all just go for an econ link or econ impact debate please be careful. These debates can be total soupy number messes. Wages go up/no they go down. Econ goes up/now they go down. Inequality goes up/no it goes down. Pensions go up/no they go down. Start thinking about evidence comparison because both warrants can sound true. Or prereqs. Or short term or long term analysis. I've already judged several rounds on this topic where I have two pieces of evidence that say the opposite economic conclusions and no one tells me why their evidence or warranting is better.
For example, on Neg you run profit and patent decreases from unions decrease innovation by 20%. Aff runs increased wages increase motivation and thus productivity and new ideas increasing innovation by 24%. This is introducing clash but you don't implicate either side or resolve the clash. Why is one warrant better than another? Is one piece of evidence net innovation? Are there different types of innovations? In different sectors? Is one piece of evidence a meta study or more recent? If more recent why does that matter? Does your study have better methodology? You need to resolve these questions otherwise I make the choice on how to resolve the clash which is not what you want. These choices increase judge intervention. Even if I am an AP Macro Econ teacher as well don't make me do the work to decide.
Lastly chill on the global impacts. I know you want those nice terminal impacts but the resolution is not US right to work laws do more harm than good which lets you link in outside the US. The resolution is In the US, right to work laws do more harm than good. Grammar forecloses your high mag/scope weighing outside the US. I like the wishful thinking but just debate domestic impacts for once I believe in you and you should believe in yourself. You're going to do great without global recession and global war. :)
PF Paradigm 2022-23 Season:
I consider myself tech>truth but I have been approaching a closer equilibrium between the two lately due to the poor state of evidence ethics, power tagging, clipping, and more. Further, I know stakes can be high in a bubble, bid, or important round but let's still come out of the debate feeling as if it was a positive experience. Life is too short for needless suffering. Please be kind, compassionate, and cordial.
- What I want to see: I'm empathetic to major technical errors in my ballots. In a perfect world I vote for the team who does best on tech and secondarily on truth. I tend to resolve clash most easily when you give explicit reasons why either a) your evidence is comparatively better but also when you tell me why b) your warranting is comparatively better. Obviously doing both compounds your chances at winning my ballot. I have recently become more sensitive to poor extensions in the back half. Please have UQ where necessary, links, internals links, and impacts. Weighing introduced earlier the better. Weighing is your means to minimize intervention.
- Weighing Unlike Things: I need to know how to weigh two comparatively unlike things. If you are weighing some economic impact against a non-economic impact like democracy how do I defer to one over the other? Scope, magnitude, probability etc. I strongly prefer impact debates on the probability/reasonability of impacts over their magnitude and scope. Obviously try to frame impacts using all available tools but it's less likely I will defer to nuclear war, try or die, etc on the risk of magnitude. Probability over magnitude debates unless I'm given well warranted, carded, and convincing framework analysis to prefer the latter.
- Weighing Like Things: Please have warrants and engage comparatively between yourself and your opponent. Obviously methodological and evidentiary comparison is nice too as I mentioned earlier. I love crossfires or speech time where we discuss the warrants behind our cards and why that's another reason to prefer your arg over your opponent.
- Don't be a DocBot: I love that you're prepared and have enumerated overviews, blocks, and frontlines. I love heavy evidence and dense debates with a lot of moving parts. But if it sounds like you're just reading a doc without specific or explicit implications to your opponent's contention you are not contributing anything meaningful to the round. Tell me why your responses interact. If they are reading an arg about the environment and just read an A2 Environment Non-Unique without explaining why your evidence or warranting is better then this debate will suffer.
- I'm comfortable if you want to take the debate down kritical, theoretical, and/or pre-fiat based roads. I think framework debates be them pre or post fiat are awesome. Voted on many K's before too. Here be dragons. I will say though, over time I've become increasingly tired of opportunistic, poor quality, and unfleshed out theory in PF. But in the coup of the century I have been converted that disclosure theory and para theory is a viable path to the ballot if you win your interp. I still believe theory is used as an easy way to avoid substantive debates but you do you. I will always prefer a round sans disclosure theory but can no longer for intellectual consistency stop you from running it. Still highly suspicious of paraphrasing theory as your "full-text" cards are super power clipped and disclosure solves back but you do you. TL;DR: I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. I am more skeptical of paraphrasing theory than disclosure theory. Lastly, if you look back at the last 32 rounds or so I've judged with theory as the primary voter I've probably only voted for the team who introduced theory in the round 7 of 32 rounds. Meaning I vote for theory 22% of the time when it's the voter. Take that as you will. All variables being equal I would prefer post-fiat stock topic specific rounds but in principle remain as tabula rasa as I can.
- What needs to be frontlined in second rebuttal? Turns. Not defense unless you have time. If you want offense in the final focus then extend it through the summary.
- Defense is not sticky between rebuttal and final focus. Aka if defense is not in summary you can't extend it in final focus. I've flipped on this recently. I've found the debate is hurt by the removal of the defense debate in summary and second final focus can extend whatever random defense it wants or whatever random frontlines to defense. This gives the second speaking teams a disproportionate advantage and makes the debate needlessly more messy.
- DA's in general or second rebuttal? You mean the borderline new contentions you are trying to introduce in the round that are tentatively linked at BEST to the existing arguments in the round order to time skew/spread your opponents thin? Don't push it too much.
- I will pull cards on two conditions. First, if it becomes a key card in the round and the other team questions the validity of the cut, paraphrasing, or explanation of the card in the round. Second, if the other team never discusses the merits of their opponents card the only time I will ever intervene and call for that evidence is if a reasonable person would know it's facially a lie.
- Calling for your opponent's cards. It should not take more than 1 minute to find case cards. Do preflows before the round. Smh y'all.
- If you spread that's fine. Just be prepared to adjust if I need to clear or provide speech docs to your opponents to allow for accessibility and accommodation.
- My favorite question in cx is: Why? For example, "No I get that's what your evidence says but why?"
- My favorite phrase in debate is: "Prefer our warrant or evidence" or "comparing our warrants you prefer ours because..."
- Germs are scary. I don't like to shake hands. It's not you! It's me! [Before covid times this was prophetic].
- I don't like to time because it slows my flow in fast rounds but please flag overtime responses or raise your phone. Don't interrupt.
Ramblings on Theory
Let me explain why I am writing this. This isn't because I'm right and you're wrong. I'm not trying to convince you. Nor should you cite this formally in round to win said round. Rather, a lot of you care so much about debate and theory in particular gets pretty personal fairly quickly that I want to explain why my hesitancy isn't personal to you either. I am not opposing theory as someone who is opposed to change in Public Forum.
- First, I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. My grad school research and longstanding work outside of debate has tracked how queer, civil rights advocates, religious minorities, and political dissidents have been extensively censored over time through structural means. The suppression and elimination of critical race theory and BLM from schools and universities is an extension of this. I have found it very difficult to be tabula rasa on this issue. TW/anonymous opt outs are welcome if you so wish to include them, that is your prerogative, but like I said the lack of one is not a debate I can be fair on. Let me be clear. I do not dismiss that "triggers" are real. I do not deny your lived experience on face nor claim all of you are, or even a a significant number of you, are acting in bad faith. This is always about balancing tests. My entire academic research for over 8 years was about how structural oppressors abuse these frameworks of "sin," "harm," "other," to squash dissidents, silence suffragettes, hose civil rights marchers, and imprison queer people because of the "present danger they presented in their conduct or speech." I also understand that some folks in the literature circles claim there is a double bind. You are opting out of trigger warning debates but you aren't letting me opt out of debates I don't want to have either. First, I will never not listen to or engage in this debate. My discouragement above is rooted in my deep fear that I will let you down because I can't be as fair as I would be on another issue. I tell students all the time tabula rasa is a myth. I still think that. It's a goal we strive for to minimize intervention because we will never eliminate it. Second, I welcome teams to still offer tw and will not penalize you for doing so. Third, discussions on SV, intersectionality, and civil rights are always about trade offs. Maybe times will change but historically more oppression, suppression, and suffering has come from the abuse of the your "speech does me harm" principle than it benefits good faith social justice champions who want to create a safe space and a better place. If you want to discuss this empirical question (because dang there are so many sources and this is an appeal to my authority) I would love to chat about it.
Next, let me explain some specific reasons why I am resistant to TW theory in debate using terms we use in the literature. There is a longstanding historical, philosophical, and queer/critical theory concern on gatekeeper shift. If we begin drawing more and more abstract lines in terms of what content causes enough or certain "harm" that power can and will be co-opted and abused by the equally more powerful. Imagine if you had control over what speech was permitted versus your polar opposite actor in values. Now imagine they, via structural means, could begin to control that power for themselves only. In the last 250 years of the US alone I can prove more instances than not where this gatekeeping power was abused by government and powerful actors alike. I am told since this has changed in the last twenty years with societal movements so should we. I don't think we have changed that significantly. Just this year MAUS, a comic about the Holocaust, was banned in a municipality in Jan 22. Toni Morrison was banned from more than a dozen school districts in 2021 alone. PEN, which is a free press and speech org, tracked more than 125 bills, policies, or resolutions alone this year that banned queer, black, feminist, material be them books, films, or even topics in classrooms, libraries, and universities. Even in some of the bills passed and proposed the language being used is under the guise of causing "discomfort." "Sexuality" and discussions of certain civil rights topics is stricken from lesson plans all together under these frameworks. These trends now and then are alarming.
I also understand this could be minimizing the trauma you relive when a specific topic or graphic description is read in round. I again do not deny your experience on face ever. I just cannot comfortably see that framework co-opted and abused to suppress the mechanisms or values of equality and equity. So are you, Gabe, saying because the other actors steal a tool and abuse that tool it shouldn't be used for our shared common goals? Yes, if the powerful abuse that tool and it does more harm to the arc of history as it bends towards justice than I am going to oppose it. This can be a Heckler's Veto, Assassin's Veto, Poisoning The Well, whatever you want to call it. Even in debate I have seen screenshots of actual men discussing how they would always pick the opt out because they don't want to "debate girls on women issues in front of a girl judge." This is of course likely an incredibly small group but I am tired of seeing queer, feminist, or critical race theory based arguments being punted because of common terms or non-graphic descriptions. Those debates can be so enriching to the community and their absence means we are structurally disadvantaged with real world consequences that I think outweigh the impacts usually levied against this arg. I will defend this line for the powerless and will do so until I die.
All of these above claims are neither syllogisms or encyclopedias of events. I am fallible and so are those arguments. Hence let us debate this but just know my thoughts.
Like in my disclaimer on the other theory shell none of these arguments are truisms just my inner and honest thoughts to help you make strategic decisions in the round.
Northside College Prep '16 - University of Kentucky '20
I like being on e-mail chains! firstname.lastname@example.org
I will always reward smart teams that can effectively and efficiently communicate their arguments to me. Engaging with your opponent, having a well-thought out strategy, and demonstrating that you’re doing consistent, hard work is what this activity is about. Please be respectful to both your partner and your opponents and give it your best!
I like them a lot. There is such a thing as zero risk of a disad and there can be no link. Do impact calculus, have a clear link to the affirmative. Quality evidence is appreciated, though it's not the only thing! Being able to communicate what your ev says and why your ev matters is key!
Conditionality is good.
I am okay for critical strategies. However, I didn’t debate these so make sure to explain your authors to me. Affirmatives that do little engagement with the critique alternative are likely to lose. Critiques that do little engagement with the affirmative itself are likely to lose. Explain your links in the context of the AFF and your AFF in the context of the alternative. The perm is not always the best strategy and that is okay.
I am willing to vote either way on framework. I should be able to tell that you know and understand what the affirmative is if you are reading it. Framework is best when it engages with the methodology of the AFF and questions the state’s role in activism. I like topic education arguments.
*Last updated 11/7/19*
Schools Attended: Boca '16, FSU '20
Teams Coaching/Coached: Capitol, Boca
Competitive History: 4 years of PF in high school, 2 years of JV policy and 2 years of NPDA and Civic Debate in college
Public Forum Paradigm:
TL;DR: You do you.
1) Tech > Truth. If you have strong warrants and links and can argue well, I'll vote off of anything. Dropped arguments are presumed true arguments. I'm open to anything as long as you do your job to construct the argument properly.
2) The first speaking team in the round needs to make sure that all offense that you want me to vote on must be in the summary and final focus. Defense in the rebuttal does not need to be extended, I will buy it as long as your opponents don't respond and it is extended in the final focus. The second speaking team needs to respond to turns in rebuttal and extend all offense and defense you want me to vote on in BOTH the summary and the final focus.
3) If you start weighing arguments in rebuttal or summary it will make your arguments a lot more convincing. Easiest way to my ballot is to warrant your weighing and tell me why your arguments are the most important and why they mean you win the round.
4) I don't vote on anything that wasn't brought up in final focus.
Frameworks need clear warrants and reasons to prefer. Make sure to contextualize how the framework functions with the rest of the arguments in the round.
I will listen to any theory arguments as long as a real abuse is present. Don't just use theory as a cheap way to win, give me strong warrants and label the shell clearly and it will be a voter if the violation is clear. Also, if you're going to ask me to reject the team you better give me a really good reason.
If you are running theory, such as disclosure theory, and you want it to be a voter, you need to bring it up for a fair amount of time.
I was primarily a K debater when I competed in policy in college, so I am familiar with how they function in round. However, I don't know all the different K lit out there so make sure you can clearly explain and contextualize.
Offense v. Defense:
I find myself voting for a risk of offense more often than I vote on defense. If you have really strong terminal impact defense or link defense, I can still be persuaded to vote neg on presumption.
I hate being in a position where I have to do work to vote for a team. Tell me why your argument is better/more important than your opponents and why that means I should vote for you. Strength of link and/or impact calc is encouraged and appreciated.
I will only call for cards if it is necessary for me to resolve a point of clash or when a team tells me to.
- If I find you offensive/rude I will drop your speaks relative to the severity of the offense.
- I take everything into consideration when giving speaks.
- The easier you make my decision, the more likely you are to get high speaks.
- I'm fine with speed, but if you're going to spread send out speech docs.
- Keep your own time.
- I will disclose if the tournament allows me, and feel free to ask me any questions after my RFD.
- I only vote off of things brought up in speeches.
Bottom line: Debate is supposed to be fun! Run what you want just run it well.
If you have any questions email me at email@example.com or ask me before the round.
Round Preference: Public Forum should be respected as Public Forum. Do not run a complicated Policy or Parliamentary round simulating a lawyer-judge scenario when you should be running a simple round simulating a lawyer-jury scenario.
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.
I currently am on my second year GA'ing for WKU's debate team. I also am on my 3rd year of working for Ridge high school, now as the director of debate working with LD, PF, and Parli. In high school i did pf for 4 years at duPont Manual and attended the UK Toc my senior year. In college i competed at Western Kentucky in LD debate, as a two time PKD national champion, and the 2019 NFA national champion.
I like speed! I think fast debates advance the bounds of possible argumentation within the debate space. Although, I do think people should avoid spreading if it is going to propogate structrual disadvantages or your opponents have asked you not to & would hear out speed bad in those instances. Additionally, I do need pen time. I think there should be pauses between arguments delivered at max speed and without them I may miss something
I like debate to be focused on topical advocacy. This means I prefer when debaters do research related to the topic at hand and my ballot in some way affirms. This doesn't mean I am not willing to vote for resistance strategies on the AFF/Neg but that I like to see research connected to the topic within those strategies. Not purely generic arguments. This also applies to theory. While I like T debates. I am fairly unpersuaded by theory argument completly seperated from the topic-- although I have voted for them before.
I am a flow judge but not fully tab. I dont think the role of the judge is to vote for unwarranted arguments. This means 1 sentence analytics (especially spikes or 'tricks') have little value to me and even if conceded are unlikely to be voted on. However, if evidence is conceded I am almost 100% going to vote on it. Basically, ev = fully tab. Blips = not fully tab.
When I did NFA i ran primarily policy arguments, so as a judge I am best evaluating policy arguments. However, this doesnt mean I don't want people to run K's if thats your thing-- you just need to 'tuck me in' more in those debates or I may make a mistake.
As a judge I feel like the most important thing to me is that your reading arguments that are well researched and you can easily explain neuonced details of the arguments. This means reading arguments that you dont understand well with me in the back is not a good decision-- I wont want to vote for it. Also please cut new evidence, evidence quality is very important to me.
GO FAST!! I love spreading. I think debate is a highly competitive activity build upon using skills and tactics to overwhelm your opponent and make them lose.
Generally I would say, I'm cool with just about any argument if the round isn't close. But when rounds are close and competitive there are a few important things to note
For Theory-- I default to competing interps. I want theory positons to have direct in round implications as they relate to the affirmatives plan-text. This means I really hate 'trolley' theory. for example high school LD rounds about robot theory would be a non-starter for me; or if you read 'go to the beach thoery' i will stop flowing the position and you just wasted your time. Essentially I think T, Spec args, or CP theory-- but don't like random interps that aren't clearly derived from debate norms.
For the K-- I'm pretty comfortable with evaluating the K, however if its a more obscure K then i would prefer you to go slower during the collapse or contextualize it so i know what im voting for. I'm really into philosophy from a person level, especially Marxism and psychoanalysis-- so the odds are fairly high I'm relatively familiar with the literature. However, this doesn't mean I'm the most informed about kritique tricks and strategies you may carry out with your specific K (since I didn't read the K in many rounds), so just be sure not to assume too much from me from a knowledge standpoint.
Non-T AFFs: I'm willing to listen to the debate, and in a round thats a crush I would consider myself a fair judge. However, I definitely lean toward prefering that AFFs are resolutional. I have no issue with non-T affs from an ideological standpoint, but I do really have an issue with non-resolutional arguments because of the sheer impossibility of predicting them. So while I'm not going to hack in these rounds, I do think as a competitor you want to prefer resolutionality when possible
My favorite rounds are a really good policy debate. DA + CP's are great for me. Contrary to the K, it's going to be almost impossible for you to loose me on policy tricks or strategy. I love it when people set NC's up to cleaverly get their opponent for example T to force DA links or other creative policy strategies (doing these things, or generally impressing me with the policy strat is a great way to boost speaks.)
------High School LD------
^Read above 1st^
This is only my first year coaching HS LD, so LD specific tricks (in progressive rounds) are a little risky for me. Essentially, if you wouldn't ever see it in a policy round (RVI's, Spikes, NIBs, friv. theory, actions theory style phil) then it might not be the best argument to run for me. But that isn't to say I would never vote for that stuff
-I don't like RVI's on T. I think the neg gets to test T at least once. However, on other theory args RVI's are cool.
-I don't like when the 1ar completely collapses to theory. This doesn't mean I won't vote for it. However, it isn't a good way to get high speaks
-I don't love disclosure debates. I think people get to break new affs. If people never disclose I will fairly evaluate the arg.
-Nothing truely frivilous please
-I don't like spikes/ one sentence theory args. Theory needs warrants too
-I am used to college LD where the AR is 6 minutes. As a result, I generally do think the aff has it a little worse-- do with that what you will
All phil debates aren't my favorite/ I am not the most familiar with them so tread lightly. However I will hear out the arg and totally try my best to evaluate it. I got a degree in phil so I am likely familiar with the authors, but not the specific debate applications/ tricks
------High School PF-----
Weighing is one of the most important things for me in PF because i find rounds often get muddled and lack an easy place to vote so i want to be told exactly what issues are the most important and where to vote. This means there needs to be a clear collapse in summery with that argument well impacted out in final focus.
Clash is also extremely important to me in PF. This means a few things. The second speaking team must cover the ink that was just put on their case in the first rebuttal as it makes the round easier to follow and fosters more clash if you choose not to and then the first summary makes extensions I'm not going to be very receptive to your new responses in second summary. Additionally please avoid only responding to taglines, if you don't give a warrant for your response, or concede their warrant the argument is functionally conceded.
Please give me a clear road map because I'm flowing and hate it especially in summaries when they don't make sense or aren't easy to flow due to lack of a road map. This doesn't mean you can't get creative in your order just have one and make it clear.
Beyond this I'm willing to vote on just about anything as long as it isn't blatantly offensive. I also really like when debaters try new things so step outside of the box, so especially in PF don't be afraid to try arguments that may not generally be the norm.
I do not believe in judging paradigms. I don’t feel that my opinions on debate or how a round should go should affect my decision. Any paradigm-like views I should or might have should be justified by debaters in the round like a framework. Any thoughts I as the judge have on the round should come from the round, not my opinions on debate.
4 years debating for Stuy, 4 years coaching for Poly Prep
i flow (unfortunately)
- slow, please
- i don't know how to evaluate k's, theory, etc. (if there is an egregious abuse, i'm down to have a discussion or bring it higher up)
- no patience for cards getting called every five seconds-- just do some warranting :)
pretend i'm lay and have fun. i believe in you.
(30s if you win w/o reading evidence)
Please add both emails to the chain.
I will not read the email chain unless I need it for evidence after round. It should not be a crutch for you to rely on. If I don’t catch it, the argument isn’t on my flow.
Co-Director, PFBC - 2022-Present
Assistant Debate Coach, The Blake School – 2014-Present
Assistant Debate Coach, Blaine High School – 2013-14
Strike me if you’re not going to read cards. These are cards. Here's even a link to Verbatim, a macro template that works with Microsoft Word so that card cutting is really easy.
I see debate as a research oriented activity with elements of persuasion and communication built in. The “logic” of a student’s argument should always start grounded in literature and research done by experts and any analysis done should stem from it. Otherwise, I’m just listening to teenagers make things up and that sounds like a waste of my time. I am not the judge for your rounds especially if you plan on reading through three word clips followed by an author name and no date.
The inability to produce a piece of evidence that you have introduced into the round ends the round in an L-25 for your team.
I expect that the second speaking team interacts in some fashion with the arguments made by the first rebuttal. I don’t need a perfect 2-2 split, but I should at least hear you respond to offensive arguments made in order to stay relevant in the round.
All defense needs to be extended in the following speech if you want me to consider it. The final focus cannot go for anything that wasn't included in the summary.
I don’t think that an argument needs a number next to it to necessarily matter in the round. In fact, I find arguments that are a string of “x number leads to y, y is equivocal to z points…” and the like to be unpersuasive. I do not know what inputs exists for this haphazardly thrown together equation nor do I think cross-applying studies in this fashion takes into account differences in how the research was conducted and on what groups.
I think observations/frameworks that provide actor obligations/requirements are interesting and underutilized. They provide me a neat set of rules for the round to be evaluated.
My speaker points average 27.7 these days if that’s important to you.
On theory, kritiks, and whatever else “progressive” argumentation you would like to read:
I default to a position of reasonability > competing interps.
RVIs are silly, you shouldn’t be able to score points for following rules. Paraphrasing is bad, and disclosure is good.
Good is good enough. On most theory questions in PF, the decision is a binary one. Is disclosure good, is paraphrasing bad, etc. are easy to decide. I’m not a fan of rather arbitrary differences post the initial question(open source vs first-three-last-three as an example).
Introduction of theory arguments should happen in the speech directly following the violation. Out of round violations should be introduced in constructives.
Frivolous theory such as shoes or whatever else people have made up at this point is a pretty quick intervention by me. Whatever you’re reading, you should fully believe that the norm makes debate rounds more educational, and fair.
Kritiks are fair game, give me specific links please. Discourse oriented alts I don’t find that compelling and are usually missing a pretty detailed framing debate to win.
Director of Speech & Debate at Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan. Founder and Director of the Institute for Speech and Debate (ISD). Formerly worked/coached at Hawken School, Charlotte Latin School, Delbarton School, The Harker School, Lake Highland Prep, Desert Vista High School, and a few others.
Updated for Online Debate
I coach in Taipei, Taiwan. Online tournaments are most often on US timezones - but we are still competing/judging. That means that when I'm judging you, it is the middle of the night here. I am doing the best I can to adjust my sleep schedule (and that of my students) - but I'm likely still going to be tired. Clarity is going to be vital. Complicated link stories, etc. are likely a quick way to lose my ballot. Be clear. Tell a compelling story. Don't overcomplicate the debate. That's the best way to win my ballot at 3am - and always really. But especially at 3am.
firstname.lastname@example.org is the best email for the evidence email chain.
You can ask me specific questions if you have them...but my paradigm is pretty simple - answer these three questions in the round - and answer them better than your opponent, and you're going to win my ballot:
1. Where am I voting?
2. How can I vote for you there?
3. Why am I voting there and not somewhere else?
I'm not going to do work for you. Don't try to go for everything. Make sure you weigh. Both sides are going to be winning some sort of argument - you're going to need to tell me why what you're winning is more important and enough to win my ballot.
If you are racist, homophobic, nativist, sexist, transphobic, or pretty much any version of "ist" in the round - I will drop you. There's no place for any of that in debate. Debate should be as safe of a space as possible. Competition inherently prevents debate from being a 100% safe space, but if you intentionally make debate unsafe for others, I will drop you. Period.
One suggestion I have for folks is to embrace the use of y'all. All too often, words like "guys" are used to refer to large groups of people that are quite diverse. Pay attention to pronouns (and enter yours on Tabroom!), and be mindful of the language you use, even in casual references.
I am very very very very unlikely to vote for theory. I don't think PF is the best place for it and unfortunately, I don't think it has been used in the best ways in PF so far. Also, I am skeptical of critical arguments. If they link to the resolution, fantastic - but I don't think pre-fiat is something that belongs in PF. If you plan on running arguments like that, it might be worth asking me more about my preferences first - or striking me.
Worlds style debating is an exciting debate format - that offers new challenges to debaters; not the least of which is working with a larger team.
Do : show team cohesion. Your three speakers will look that much more formidable if the themes and arguments brought up by your first speaker are built upon and recapitulated by your second and third speaker.
Do not : speak or gesture between yourselves during round such that it becomes a distraction
Do not : trot out a series of cards and expect me to make the logical links in the argument.
Do not (further) : make the primary justification of an argument simply because an "expert" in a "think tank" said so
Do : attack your opponent's model from the outset
Do (further): point out to me that the proposition has shifted their case, especially in light of your attacks
Do : refute your opponent's arguments by collapsing individual lines of argument into themes
Do not : deliver a line-by-line, point-by-point refutation - one, it shows insufficient synthesis and understanding of the round, and two, you will likely start spreading too much for my liking
Do: bring up a variety of examples to support your argument using a global perspective (I refer to name of this style of debate - worlds)
Do not : limit your viewpoints to American-centric examples or viewpoints
Do: offer POIs that are short and succint
Do not : continue standing, make faces, loudly sigh or otherwise disturb the round if you have been waved down
I debated PF all through high school, coached all through college, and am now coaching at Walt Whitman High School in Maryland. My role in the round is to interpret the world you aim to create, and to that end you should tell me explicitly what it is you are trying to do. I stick to the flow as well as I can.
common question answers:
1. Anything that needs to be on the ballot, needs to be in Final Focus, and anything in final needs to be in summary.
2. The first speaking team should be predicting the offense in first summary that needs to be responded to, and putting defense on it then. This ALSO means that the second speaking team has to frontline in the rebuttal. Any arguments/defense that are not in the First Summary are dropped, and any arguments that are not frontlined in the second rebuttal are dropped.
3. Summary to Final Focus consistency is key, especially in terms of the relevance of arguments, if something is going to be a huge deal, it should be so in both speeches. You're better off using your new 3 minute summary to make your link and impact extensions cleaner than you are packing it full of args.
4. I will call for cards that I think are important, and I will throw them out if they are bad or misrepresented, regardless of if they are challenged in the round. sometimes when two arguments are clashing with little to no analysis, this is the only way to settle it.
As a note, I am pretty hard on evidence, especially as sharing docs is becoming more popular. If you are making an argument, and the evidence is explicitly making a different argument, I won't be able to flow your arg.
Speed is fine, but spreading isn't. I'll evaluate critical arguments if they have a solid link, but they have to link to the topic y'all, so they basically have to be a critical disad.
I evaluate theory if it's needed, but I'm really skeptical of how often that is.
Feel free to ask for anything else you need to know.
You should pre-flow before the start time of the round, that will help your speaks!