The Milo Cup at Millard North
2018 — Omaha, NE/US
Public Forum Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I have 3 years of experience competing in Public Forum debate in high school. I mainly want to see comparative weighing of arguments and evidence, especially in the final two speeches. I would prefer to see analysis driven debate rather than evidence dumps. Speed isn't really an issue as long as you speak clearly. If you have any questions for me please feel free to ask before the round.
Revised April 11, 2018
The Blake School (Minneapolis, MN), where I teach communication and coach Public Forum, World Schools, Policy, and Congressional Debate. I also coach the USA Development Team and Team USA in World Schools Debate.
I debated policy in high school and college and began coaching in the early 1980s. In addition to the events listed above, I have coached and judged Lincoln Douglas, Extemp, Oratory, Rhetorical Criticism/Great Speeches, Informative, Discussion, and (and to a lesser extent) Interp events, at variety of schools in IL, NY, NC, MN, MI, ME, and CA.
Fundamentally, I believe that PF provides debaters with opportunities to engage and debate key issues of the day before experienced debate and community judges. It is useful and important to understand and adapt to a judge’s preferences. So, for me:
--The crux of PF is good solid argumentation delivered well. Solid arguments are those that relate to the resolution, are well organized, well warranted, and supported with quality evidence that is explained.
--Good analytical arguments are useful but not normally sufficient. If you make an argument, you bear the responsibility of supporting, explaining, and weighing the argument.
--I flow. But, clarity is your responsibility and is key to a good debate.
--Evidence is critical to building good arguments and that includes warrants. Use academically rigorous and journalistic sources to support your arguments. Offering a laundry list of 5-10 names with few warrants or methodology is not persuasive.
--Proper citation is essential. That does not mean “University X” says. A university did not do the study or write the article. Someone did. Source name and date is required for oral source citation. Providing qualifications orally can definitely enhance the clarity and persuasiveness of your argument. The complete written citation (including source name, date, source, title, access date, url, quals, and page numbers) must be provided when asked in the round.
--Exchange of evidence is mandatory when requested. There is not infinite prep time to find evidence. If it takes you more than a minute to find a card when asked, or all you can provide is a 50 page pdf, then I will disregard it.
--Paraphrasing is not as persuasive as reading cards and using the evidence appropriately to develop and deepen your arguments.
--If you have misconstrued evidence, your entire argument can be disregarded.
--Evaluate your own and your opponents’ evidence as part of your comparative analysis.
--Extending arguments goes beyond authors and tag lines. Extend and develop the arguments.
--Narrative is key. Debate is inherently persuasive. Connect the arguments and tell a story.
--It is in the best interest of the second speaking team for the rebuttalist to rebuild their case. If the 2nd speaking team does not do that, they likely yield the strategic advantage to the 1st speaking team.
--Avoid Grand becoming yelling match, which is not useful to anyone.
--Clash is critical. It is vital to weigh your arguments, which is best to begin before the final focus. Write the ballot in the final focus.
Delivery and Decorum
--PF, and all debate, is inherently a communication activity. Speed is fine, but clarity is absolutely necessary. If you unclear or blippy, you do so at your own peril.
--Be smart. Be assertive. Be engaging. But, do not be a bully.
--Racist, xenophobic, sexist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and other oppressive discourses or examples have no place in debate.
Finally, have fun and enjoy the opportunity for engagement on important questions of the day.
Worlds is an exciting debate format that is different from other US debate and speech formats. It is important for you to understand and adapt to the different assumptions and styles of Worlds. Content (the interpretation of the motion [definitions, model, stance], arguments, analysis, and examples), Style (verbal and nonverbal presentation elements), and Strategy (organization, decision making, engagement, and time allocation) all factor in to the decision and should be seen as critical and interrelated areas. Some things to consider:
--As Aristotle noted, we are influenced by both logos and pathos appeals, which you should develop through both examples and analysis. Thus, narratives are critical. Not just a story to “put a face on the motion,” but an overall narrative for your side of the debate.
--Motions are, in most cases, internationally, globally focused and your examples and analysis should reflect that.
--Have multiple, varied, and international examples that are used not only in the first speeches, but are also developed further and added in the second and third speeches to be more persuasive.
--Racist, xenophobic, sexist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and other oppressive discourses or examples have no place in debate.
--POIs can be statements or questions and are a key element of engagement during the debate. Questioners should be strategic in what to pose and when. Speakers should purposefully choose to take POIs and smartly respond to them. Typically, speakers will take 1-2 questions per constructive speech, but that is the speaker’s strategic choice.
--Importantly, carry things down the bench. Answer the arguments of the other side. Rebuild and develop your arguments. Engage in comparative analysis.
--Third speeches should focus the debate around clash points or key questions or key issues. Narrow the debate and offer comparative analysis.
--Reply speeches should not include new arguments. But, the speech should build on the third speech (especially in the opp block), identify key voting issues, and explain why your side has won the debate.
Be smart. Be articulate. Be persuasive. Take the opportunity to get to know other teams and debaters.
Policy and LD
I judge mostly PF and World Schools. But, I have continued to judge a smattering of Policy and LD rounds over the last few years. Now that you may be concerned, let me be specific.
Overall, I believe that rounds should be judged based upon the arguments presented.
--Clarity is paramount. Obviously, my pen time is slower than it was, but I do flow well. Roadmaps are good. Sign posting and differentiating arguments is necessary. Watch me. Listen. You will be able to tell if you are going too fast or are unclear. Reasonably clear speed is ok, but clarity is key. For most of my career, I was a college professor of communication; now I teach communication in high school. I strongly believe that debaters should be able to communicate well.
--Do what you do best: policy based or critical affs are fine. But, remember, I do not hear a lot of policy or LD rounds, so explain and be clear. Having said that, my area of research as a comm professor was primarily from a feminist critical rhetorical perspective. In any case, you bear the responsibility to explain and weigh arguments, assumptions, methodology, etc. without a lot of unexplained theory/jargon.
--Please do not get mired in debate theory. Topicality, for example, was around when I debated. But, for other, new or unique theory arguments, do not assume that I have current knowledge of the assumptions or standards of the theory positions. It is your responsibility to explain, apply, and weigh in theory debates. On Framework, please engage the substance of the aff. I strongly prefer you engage the methodology and arguments of the aff, rather than default to framework arguments to avoid that discussion.
--Racist, xenophobic, sexist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and other oppressive discourses or examples have no place in debate.
--Last, and importantly, weigh your arguments. It is your job to put the round together for me. Tell a good story, which means incorporating the evidence and arguments into a narrative. And, weigh the issues. If you do not, at least one team will be unhappy with the results if I must intervene.
Finally, I believe that Policy and LD debate is significantly about critical thinking and engagement. Better debaters are those who engage arguments, partners, opponents, and judges critically and civilly. Be polite, smart, and even assertive, but don’t be impolite or a bully. And, have fun since debate should be fun.
Nebraska College of Law '24
University of Nebraska-Lincoln '20 (BA in History and Political Science)
4 year debater on NE circuit, this is my 6th year judging
I am not a fan of speed.
Don't be rude. Being assertive is one thing, but being a jerk will hurt your speaker points
I don't write down author names, so don't just refer to your "Johnson" card
Signpost after constructive
Pleeeease have your cards/evidence readily available
***Debate needs be a safe and accessible environment, give trigger warnings. Do not commodify/weaponize sensitive subjects for the sake of winning, I will not weigh those arguments in your favor.
I am fine with any type of argumentation you want to use
- but just an FYI, I am not super familiar with progressive PF
2nd speaking teams don't have to rebuild in rebuttal, but it probably would be advantageous to do so
I care the most about your warrants, so explain your links as clearly as possible. I hate seeing huge impacts with poor explanations as to why they happen
- so, please! don't ask me to extend your argument from a tagline
I rarely call for cards at the end of the round, flesh them out for me!
If the round is a total wash, I will presume neg
Most importantly: have fun and be respectful!
I'm a sophomore political science student at UNL. I debated in public forum since I started high high school at Millard North and Lincoln East and graduated in 2017. I appreciate well-thought out impact calculus and civility in rounds and and prefer public forum debate to be an analysis-driven activity rather than a series of mindless "card dumps". I of course do want to see outside evidence used and used well in rounds. However, I'm of the opinion that in public forum is beginning to become hypertechnical and increasingly esoteric, which I believe violates the unique role PF serves in the debate community. This in my eyes is to be a form of debate that could be performed in front of high school kids and parents and academics and understood well by all three. It doesn't have to be "dumbed down" and you don't need to debate "lay": PF should just be devoid of the hypertechnical and meta-debate-centric aspects of LD and CX debate that often make them unintelligible to the general population. "Debate about debate" seldom has a home in PF and cases constructed around elaborate framework is often fruitless. Try to stick as much as possible to an actual debate about the topic. I like to see:
-Strong and well-thought-put analyses of evidence
-Asking the right questions in cross-ex
-Clear road mapping/sign posting
-Argumentative focus on the resolution
-Civility and courtesy displayed to your opponents
-A narrowing focus from summary to final focus
-Sufficient attempt to rebuild in second summary
-Arguments with clear and plausible claim-warrant-impact chain (you can say "the impact is x". It's not a bad thing to be explicit)
-Strong engagement with your opponents' arguments
It may not impact how I vote in a round, but I don't like to see:
-Messy speech structure and execution, especially when I cannot understand you
-Speeches given so fast or so quietly I cannot understand them
-----^These two are so important. If I cannot understand you I can't vote on the arguments you're making. If I am sitting intently listening to you and still cannot get your arguments on the flow it is your fault.
-Not carrying arguments through speeches
-Rudeness. Good general rule is if you have to consider whether something is rude to do in a round it probably is. Decorum is king.
-Gratuitous requests for evidence. Just be considerate the time constraints of our tournaments and whether what you're requesting is actually pertinent.
-Gratuitous use of technical babble. If you need to use a technical debate term to serve a point you're making by all means do so. But the number of times you use say "cross-apply" or "internal warrant" will not make you arguments more cogent and it will not make me more likely to vote for you.
If you don't have time to read all of this, just skim the bold points, and you'll be golden!
Hello! I'm Pranita, and I'm a PF judge. I was not a debater before but did judge regularly for a couple years, so I do have experience with PF. However, pretend like I am more or less a lay judge and don't get too technical with things like links/impacts/warrants, etc. I haven't judged for a couple of years, so also be patient with me being unsure on any new rules and timing changes. Speaking of timing, please keep time on your own as well, especially for prep, so we have some insurance in case I happen to track something wrong.
The things I look for are clearly organized rebuttals, and heavy weighing on the voters. For the rebuttals, make sure I know exactly what on the opponents' case you're responding to. If things get too muddled, I won't be able to catch it and pull through to the summary. Keep in mind: if you don't respond to something on the opponent's case in rebuttal, and start a counterargument in 2nd summary, I will not flow it through. If you drop a point in rebuttal and bring it up in 1st summary, it'll be up to my discretion whether or not I carry it forward, and will be generally grumpy about it if I do. Just get all your responses in the rebuttal, even if you just say one line about it. Anything you don't respond to, I will consider dropped. For the voters in final focus, weigh heavily and clearly! Remind me of the main happenings through the round that lead you to your claim that the voter should be flowed your way. I decide who wins solely on who takes more voters, unless there is a tie.
Crossfire: I like a civilized and polite crossfire section. Remember to look at the judge while speaking, not each other. Make sure to mention anything from cross that you want counted toward your argument again in your speech. I will not take into account points from crossfire that you don't bring up again. I am fine with you showing each other evidence after crossfire so that you can maximize your crossfire time.
Speaking etiquette: Please be humble and courteous. I have little tolerance for condescension/cockiness, and will start docking speaker points if it happens more than once. The point of debate is to masterfully craft a winning argument, not to play mind games on your opponents with an emotionally-driven confidence smackdown. Have genuine respect for your opponents, and you shouldn't have any trouble with this. :) Remember, the moment the round is over, your opponents actually turn into your allies. We have something to learn from everyone, and the moment we forget this, we actually end up losing because we've stopped growing.
I am extremely excited to be judging again and look forward to seeing everyone; good luck and have fun!
PF: I did public forum for 3 years in high school and was the 2nd speaker. I expect all teams speaking 2nd to defend in the rebuttal or will consider the points dropped. I am generally okay with speed, as long as you don't mumble. Negative teams cannot run counter plans or they will be dropped. More of a line by line then a summative flow. An argument should be brought up in every speech if it is to be weighed at the end of the round. A new argument must be brought up early in first summary or any speeches before that. Anytime after that, the value and credibility to me weakens.
LD: I am new to LD, but not new to debate. I am okay with speed as long as you enunciate, I will either say "Clear" or "Louder" if you do not speak well enough for me to hear. I can Judge well explained arguments, but will need you to do the work for me on framework and which to prefer. Don't just say prefer your criteria, give me a justification for why your framework/value should be weighed over the other teams. For me, you do not win the round if you win the framework, but i use the framework that i think wins, to evaluate the remaining arguments in the round. Since my history is with PF, where counter-plans are not used, I recommend staying to the value debate, but you are not going to automatically lose if you run a CP.
* I am in tab much more often than I'm behind a round at this point. As such, I may be rusty on some more specific lingo/ trends(read as: don't just label an argument a RVI and expect me to accept it on face, explain why it's important)
* I have a disability that has varying levels of impact depending on the day; when it's flaring up, I might have trouble flowing spreading, or processing information at that speed. If you don't want to exclude me from the round, it'd be helpful to check in with me before the round starts. I'm also super happy to talk about it if you have more specific questions :)
Arguments- I'm very open to whatever style of argument you want to make in round, so long as you do it well. Don't just dump cards, actually offer in round analysis and engage with your opponent's arguments. If something is important to the round, I expect you to spend time on it. Regardless of the style, I need to see some sort of weighing mechanism in round- that could come from an observation or impact calc (or whatever else) so long as I have some sort of idea what I should be valuing. Absent of that, I'll default to generic util weighing. I prefer cut cards over paraphrasing, but will listen to either.
Speed- I prefer a moderate, not ludicrous, pace. If you want to go absurdly fast, that's fine, but understand I'll miss some details. I think it's really important for speed to be justified by content- so, if you're talking fast enough that you have to reiterate the same underview three times because you're out of content, I'd rather you slow down. At any speed, I really value clarity. It's also good to know that some days I physically won't be able to flow super quickly, so it wouldn't hurt to double check with me about speed before round.
Round Structure- First and foremost, I expect the second rebuttal to address both sides of the flow. So, make sure, in front of me, you're allocating your time in a way such that you're able to address everything important, as dropped arguments are essentially conceded.
I don't expect line by line argumentation in summary and final focus. Instead, the round should be narrowed down to the main points. This is where I expect a lot of weighing and analysis, not just 50 author names back to back.
Other things- I am a fan of content warnings before round if you're running anything dealing with something sensitive. I am not a fan of hateful or discriminatory things being said in round, and will hesitate (heavily) to vote on anything racist/sexist/ableist. Additionally, problematic things (like racism/sexism/ableism, misgendering your opponent, anything that makes the space hostile to your opponent) will be reflected in your speaker points.
Standards/ Framework- I don't have strong feelings any one way about V/Cr vs Single Standard and/or RoB etc. I initially learned LD through a pretty traditional framing, so I tend to track that way myself, but, I'm open to whatever you want to do if you explain in. If you're running some philosophy that's out there or uncommon, it would benefit you to explain it clearly.
Theory- I'm down, but it actually needs to be theory (read as: "Speed is unfair/ exclusionary" isn't an argument I'll evaluate; Interp, violation standard, voter framing is)
Ks- See above, I'll happily hear out a k with structure that actually functions within a round. YOU HAVE TO OFFER A LINK or there's no way for me to evaluate the K
A Priori/ Prima facie/ probably other things- justify why it matters and I'll hear it out.
**As a general interpretation, I view theory/ks/ a priori arguments etc as arguments. They aren't some sort of magical trap card that automatically win you the round. They are arguments that need to be interacted with and extended like anything else. Reading an ableism K in the NC and then leaving it there isn't going to win me over. Your opponent answering an identity K with arguments doesn't make them inherently bad, they're interacting with an argument you put out
Solvency- I don't inherently think solvency is important in LD. This doesn't mean that I won't hear out solvency arguments, but you need to justify why I should care about solvency for it to be a voting issue for me. "The aff doesn't offer any solvency" on its own isn't enough for me to vote on.
**I really don't judge policy all that often. If I'm behind your round, things were likely pretty desperate from a tab or judge hire perspective. Despite that, I will do my best to adjudicate the round- you'll probably just need to slow down a bit on taglines and important analysis for me.
I have judged a few PF tournaments in the past years but my technical knowledge of debate is limited.
I always look for good communication, professionalism in the debate and body language that shows confidence and conviction. I will write down what I believe is important but don't expect me to write down every single thing on the flow. I also expect the debaters to maintain time.
I will also look for how each debater responds to questions and answers. I prefer professional, decent debate, rather than someone rolling the other person by aggressive interruptions. I believe debate should be vigorous but debaters should show decorum and respect when countering.
Comparative analysis is key, do strong weighing between the two worlds and explain why your world is better than theirs and why I should vote for you. Explain and extend and make sure that you EMPHASIZE what you really want me to hear. Again, slow down and be clear.
Since the rounds have limited time, if the debaters get hung up on a point going back and forth for too long, that distracts from the overall debate. I look favorably on the debater that can make their point, and at the appropriate time move on to another strong point of their argument.
I did some debate in high school in public forum, but most of my experience was done in 2018-2019 in judging varsity PF. As long as you extend warrants and expound on your evidence, I can follow. Don’t just read me a card and leave it there without explanation. Bringing up new evidence in summary is also a poor choice. Be purposeful in your organization.
I don’t mind a bit of speed, but speak clearly. If you’re outright rude or defensive to opponents or me, you’re getting docked.
I favor clear links over “big name” sources. Signposting is appreciated.
Feel free to ask me any questions before or after the round.
Rebuttal: You should spend some time defending your case if you are giving the second rebuttal.
For my general paradigm, I consider myself tab. There are no arguments I do and don’t like. I will judge the arguments presented in the round and I don’t want to impose my own beliefs or arguments into the round. You have to tell my why the arguments made in the round matter. If you fail to give me a way in which to evaluate the round, I will default to a policy maker. Being a policy maker, I am looking for the negative team to run disadvantages, counter plans, kritiks, and anything else. As a policy maker, I am looking for you to terminalize your impacts. Why specifically is nuclear war bad? Does it kill millions of people? Just saying dehumanization or nuclear war is bad isn’t an impact. I will gladly listen to counter plans, theory arguments and Kritiks. My only advice on the k is to tell me what the role of the ballot is. Why is my ballot key to your alt?
I will vote on T when there is proven abuse. I need to see in-round abuse for me to pull the trigger. I think T is a legitimate tool for a negative team, but I strongly urge the team that goes all in for T to make sure they can prove in-round abuse. If the aff is just failing to make arguments on the T, I will vote for it, but my preference is for in-round abuse to be occurring.
I am not a fan of LD 1AC spikes. I honestly don't think that the Aff gets to remove ground from the negative. I don't think these arguments are legitimate. Let the neg make claims and then argue against them. I will tell you now, that I WILL NOT vote on them. I see them as a waste of time for you to run and they are highly abusive. I also rarely vote on RVIs. If you plan on trying to run spikes in the 1AC, I am not the judge for you. I will give the Neg a lot of access to simple arguments to knock down your spikes.
I think it is important that you are an ethical and nice person in the debate. It is ok for the round to get heated, but I don't see the need to be rude to your opponent. This will result in a hit to your speaker points.
I don't have a problem with speed, but make sure that you are clearly telling me your tags. Slow down on the tag if you can. Be clear in your transitions. I like next or and to let me know you are moving from the end of a card to another tagline. The same thing applies to your plan text or alt. Slow down for the plan text/alt or repeat it for me.
1. Second speaking team cover both sides of the flow in rebuttal
2. Extend warrants as well as impacts
3. Be at least decently nice in cx
Experience: I debated for Millard North for 4 years
Received BA from SUNY at Albany; JD from University of Miami Law School.
I have been judging public forum debate rounds in the south Florida area for several years. My son has been debating on national and local circuit for 4 years now, so I have a good understanding of debate.
I have a basic understanding of public forum debate structure and will do my best to take notes and weigh arguments.
I appreciate clear, moderately paced speakers and well organized arguments.
I value creativity and responsiveness.
Professionalism is really important to me.
I will only call for evidence if it seems to be very important in a round and if I need further clarification on it.
Regarding speaker points, I am pretty generous. The lowest speaker points I've ever given in 4 years of judging is a 26. However, I don't give 30's often.
If you make me laugh in a debate round I will be more inclined to listen.
Hey everyone, this is Ben from SPA AK. You are about to be judged by my dad, so please do me a favor and show him a quality round that exemplifies the best characteristics of what debate can be.
In terms of preferences. let me say first and foremost that he is a parent judge. If you read nothing else in this paradigm, know that.
*despite this, he has been enlightened to the brilliance of the PROtention and reluctantly agreed to accept them.
How He Will Evaluate Rounds
While he has no formal experience with debate, he is an extraordinarily bright person. He will evaluate the round based off who wins the warrant debate with clear, focused analysis. Will he listen to weighing? Absolutely. Will he like if you read off a gajillion cards? Almost certainly not. Boil the debate down to a few logical arguments, how you're winning them, and why that means you should win the round. If you are smarter and win the arguments cleanly, you're good. If you yell "EXTEND KONSTAN 16 THAT"S TERMINAL DEFENSE ON THEIR CASE," you've clearly ignored this paradigm and probably deserve the L you're about to receive.
He is a computer science professor at the University of Minnesota. This means he'll have intimate knowledge of any technology argument you try to run or statistical analysis you try to make (ex arguments about sample sizes). He's also just a generally knowledgeable person, so he'll know more about capital gains taxes and investment than your average tech judge.
While political preferences shouldn't affect a judge's decision, we all know they do. If you know me, my dad's politics are fairly close to mine (where do you think I got them). If you don't, he's an academic liberal. He'll be accepting of any social argument that's well-warranted and justified. Fiscally, he's not going to vote for you because you said "trickle down economics don't work" a million times. He's liberal, but he thinks with his head, and if an Aff team shows that tax cuts lead to economic growth, he'll vote on that. His politics really won't affect the round too much, just know that he'll be receptive to most inequality/racism/climate change issues but spamming liberal catchphrases isn't going to get you anywhere.
He can almost certainly handle whatever speed you would use for an average to average plus flow judge, just don't spread and you're fine.
On the drive to Millard we're gonna have a quick lesson on debate so he'll be good with basic things (link, impact, turn, extend, etc), but anything beyond that is probably a no.
Update** he's looking pretty good on lingo post-lesson, but don't go too too far.
Be cordial. Sexism/racism/any other ism will not be tolerated as it excludes others from the debate space. Outside of that, this is debate. It's meant to be a fun activity. Feel free to be relaxed, utilize humor, maybe even a pun or two. My dad likes jokes (where do you think I got my delightful, humorous charm?).
Average 27-29. If he is blown away by your poise, presentation, and general brilliance you could get a 30. Won't drop below a 27 unless you're completely incoherent, offensive, or other special circumstances.
No formal judging experience, though, as he implored me to tell you, he did take a debate class in high school (think Jurassic era) and lost in an in-class debate to Stuyvesant's #1 policy team in a very close round. He also hears me whine about debate a lot, so he's subject to significant second-hand smoke, so to speak.
I'm a fourth year judge. Speed is acceptable. Make sure that you flow through, or I won't consider it. If you make an assertion, mostly likely I'm going to need some evidence that that is true unless you can find a logic that would make your analysis true.
I'm going to take the evidence that the Congress or the executive wants to do something on very flimsy basis unless you can show support that it is mostly likely going to pass through both branches.
hi! i'm cale, and i'm the director at westlake in austin
be kind, accommodating, and read cool arguments. I'll vote for anything you win & extend, but I'll give good speaks if you make the round a pleasant, safe, & interesting place for everyone to be :)
go as fast as you want, just be clear and slow down for tags & analytics. while i'll always do my best to evaluate all styles, i have a strong preference for clear, technical lbl debate. signpost, number responses, and explicitly group to get the highest speaks possible.
feel free to end speech early if you think rd is clear. no need for long 2n/2ar if we can all be done a lil sooner
Non-Cap K: 3
Phil: 5 (strike)
Policy: cp/da rounds are my comfort zone & fav to judge. won't judge kick by default. i think the neg gets condo and pics, and am probably more open to cheaty counterplans than most. always happy to vote otherwise, will just hold the line on the 2ar blowing up blips when the abuse isn't extreme and/or the 1ar shell is like 5 seconds. also not a huge fan of well developed perms being sacrificed for 2 second paragraph ivis on cps. 0 risk exists: answer responses if you want me to vote on something. cool w/ spark, wipeout, etc. do you and read fun stuff :)
Theory: don't have strong enough convictions on any paradigm issues for defaults, do whatever. cool w/ friv if not excessively blippy: i also recommend just centralizing paradigm issues on one page in debates with more than 4 off. would prefer to not eval stuff that happened out of rd (0 tolerance for arguments about your opponent's appearance). good for all T args too. i only miss things in these debates when stuff is blazed thru like it's cut cards: please send on-doc shells and be clear.
K: cool judging it, just less experienced & only have a basic understanding of most lit bases (except cap, studied & read a lot of the authors). cool w/ K affs & anything non-T, just make it clear what you're defending. in general, i struggle most in K rounds where the 2n is a long overview w/ implicit clash: make sure you're resolving the lbl. i think ppl can also afford to go for T more than they do, and i think K debaters should go for impact turns on T more often than they do.
Tricks: i've been getting preffed into a lot of these debates for some reason, idk. i'm not going to intervene against you, i'm probably good for truth testing and have a basic understanding of generic a prioris, presumption/permissibility stuff, skep triggers, and hijaks. this doesn't mean i understand what any paradoxes are saying, or that i'm any good at evaluating these debates. if you decide to pref me into these anyway, please make sure your doc and collapse strat are super clear.
Phil: should be ok with basic Kant stuff but probably not going to know what's going on w/ anything beyond that. prob need 80% speed max. just not a friend of phil, i'm not smart enough for it.
cool with anything. frontline in 2nd rebuttal and extend defense the speech after it was answered.
pf-norms i don't like:
- 'framework' or 'pre-fiat' arguments that are just reasons why your impact is important and not comparative. teams will use these as a substitute to good, comparative weighing.
- 'probability weighing' that is just a new or vague defensive response, ex. 'nuke war is improbable' is not weighing it's a response w/ no warrant. probability comparison happens when you read & answer defense.
- there's a lot of time-wasting w/ speech docs & 'preflowing'. plz show up to round 'preflowed' and send full docs for case/rebuttal instead of calling for a million cards individually. speaks go down the longer it takes you to do this stuff.
Angela is a parent judge with a handful of tournaments of experience. She takes some notes, but is ultimately a lay judge. Be courteous and do not neglect presentation when considering what arguments and content you aim to present. She has judged somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 rounds over the past two seasons.
This isn't a paradigm, but it might be important for you to know that I appreciate:
- direct "clash" (engaging with your opponent's argument directly and representing their argument accurately)
- politeness during cross ex (argue the ideas without being rude)
- clearly representing your arguments without relying on me reviewing evidence (I'm not likely to ask to see your evidence, so make sure I understand your evidence as you present it)
- analysis over repetition (arguments that analyze an opponent's position and explain why it is flawed or inferior to your position are better than just repeating your original argument again)
-Topicality: I understand progressive arguments are the norm. However, I am a firm believer that we debate a topic for a reason. No one should walk in the round without looking at the topic and just win off a K that is not directly related to the topic. Education value is maximized when people actually research and debate the topic. All tools are at your disposal as long as it's on topic per NSDA website for the tournament.
-Speed: I can handle speed up to 200 words per minutes. Hopefully that will improve over time. You can't sacrifice clarity for speed, either, before you lose me.
-Argumentation: A clean link chain is highly appreciated. Solid warrants will also help a lot.
-Organization: Sign post is very helpful.
If you want to talk science, make sure you get the facts right. I am an engineer by training and I am very quick to spot mistakes in scientific claims. Even though I would not use it against you unless your opponent catches it, you may get an earful from me about it in RFD.
I assign seats based on who is AFF and who is NEG, so flip before you unpack.
- I like to describe myself as a flay judge, but I try my best not to intervene. Sometimes I hear ridiculous arguments (usually "scientific" arguments), and I will tell you while I disclose why they are bad. That said, I will always evaluate the round based on what is said in the round, and my own opinions/knowledge won't make an impact on the decision.
- Be clear on your link chain; during the summary and final focus, you need to explain the logical reason behind your argument.
- Speed threshold: if you go above 200 words per minute I'll start missing details on my flow
- Evidence: I only call evidence if asked; it's up to you to tell me when evidence is bad.
- Jargon: Public Forum is meant to be judged by anyone off the street, so don't use jargon.
- Progressive Argumentation: Don't read it. Topicality is essential. The side deviates from topicality first loses.
- Weighing: if you don't weigh, I'll weigh for you and pick what I like.
If you have any questions, just ask me before the round.
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)
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.
Debating Experience: I was a Public Forum debater at Millard North High School for 3 years. I've debated on the Nebraska local circuit for those three years. I got into the National Circuit my junior year, getting two bids and attending the Tournament of Champions that year. My senior year had me at several nat circuit and Nebraska tournaments. In college, I debate for the University of Arizona in NPDA style.
I will need cases and rebuttal cards to be provided to me for accessibility reasons. Please be able to do this in round by emailing me at email@example.com or dropping it in the file share area in the online debate space.
Speed: Don't spread. Go at a moderate pace.
Argumentation: I'll follow most lines of argumentation. I'm okay with somewhat blippy arguments. However, if your arguments rely on obscene or offensive grounds, I'll either dock you several speaker points or outright drop you, depending on the severity. I am a pretty expressive person, so you'll be able to tell whether I am convinced by an argument or not. Explain everything thoroughly. Make sure I don't have anything to be subjective about by explaining exactly why I have to vote for you. I most likely won't have read up on the topic so this is very important.
Intervention: I will try my best not to intervene, but if an argument isn't explained enough, I may be forced to intervene. One thing I will intervene is on framework. The other team can fully drop the framework and I may not weigh the framework if I don't buy it. Thus, you must make sure that your framework is explained in depth and show how it links into your case.
Evidence: I'll most likely call some piece of evidence at the end of the round, so make sure you have it. When I do call evidence and see that it's not correct or something is wrong with it, I won't hold that against you unless the other team calls it in terms of the voters. Speaks will suffer however.
Rebuttal: 2nd team needs to rebuild within their rebuttal.
Summary: Don't give me a complete line by line. You need to start funnelling your arguments down and boiling them down to the essentials. Don't give new arguments unless you are responding to a new argument made in a previous speech. You may introduce new evidence but it should be very important for it to be considered.
Final Focus: Same as summary but funnel it down even more. No new arguments or evidence.
Cross-ex: Don't make it into a yelling contest. Try to keep questions concise unless absolutely necessary. If your opponent asks for a question and you're trying to make a multi-part question, let them ask their question first and get back to it later.
Post-rounding: I'm open to questions after the round, pretty much about anything. However, you shouldn't try to convince me about the debate and try to sway my decision. I'll anyways have sent the ballot out before then.
Feel free to ask me questions about anything before round!
Respect and decorum. Don't talk over your opponent, don't talk/pack up while they're speaking. Cross isn't for arguing.
I was a first speaker in Public Forum from 2014-2017 and competed Nebraska Circuit/Nat Circuit.
I expect the second team to defend in their Rebuttal.
Don't speed read.
Don't run counter plans for me.
Don't personally attack your opponents in hopes of gaining clout.
Please weigh the arguments in the round, especially in Summary/FF.
I highly recommend providing voters for me because my decision is 100% based off of whatever you give to me in the round.
Try to have fun.
I'm a lay judge. I've been around Public Forum enough to know what's going on, but I've never personally competed. Just a few things:
· I will flow throughout the round.
· If you deem an argument to be important, make sure to extend it through your summary and final focus. If something is in the summary and not the final focus, or vice versa, I’m not going to be weighing it in the round.
o Make sure to weigh in the summary/final focus, if you don’t weigh then it’s up to me to make my own conclusions, and you probably don’t want that.
· Given that I’m a lay judge, please stay away from excessive speed when you’re speaking. I can handle some speed, but if I can’t understand what you’re saying, it’s not being flowed.
o On that note, please articulate what you’re saying if you are going to speak quickly.
·Please make sure to explain your arguments, don’t just card dump or throw taglines at me and expect me to understand every piece of the argument.
·Be nice during crossfire. You can control crossfire and be aggressive, just don’t be rude.
o So again, on that note, don’t speak over each other during grand cross either.
· If a piece of evidence becomes the pinnacle of the debate and is something that will determine who I pick up/drop, I will call for it.
·My criteria for speaker points goes as such:
o Speak clearly and fluently, articulate your points and be persuasive.
o Provide critical analysis and weighing.
o Be courteous, you won’t win the round by being a major ass.
“This forum, like all public forums, is a waste of time”
- Ron Swanson (JK, I just love Ron.)
- Read good evidence and make sure I can understand the card citation. Its not real if I can't hear where its from.
- Defense is overvalued
- Weighing, indights and offense are undervalued
Things I enjoy seeing in round:
- Turns > Link debates
- Empirics and quantifiable impacts.
- Lots of evidence
- Risky/Off-the-wall arguments… as long as they still make sense.
- Well-weighed arguments extended through the Final Focus, even if that means you’re kicking out of others. Write my ballot for me. Some of the best teams I’ve seen lose and/or drop every argument but one, and still win the round.
- Use Cross well. Make it constructive. Being funny and/or sassy never hurts, either.
- Flashing evidence or being able to hand over evidence speedily.
- Give me clear voters. Tell me why I should vote for you in your Summary/FF.
Things I DO NOT like:
- Improperly citing evidence.
- People that lie in the 2nd FF
- Off-time roadmaps. The only time to give one is if I need a new piece of flow-paper because you’re going off-case, or if you’re doing something otherwise out of the ordinary.
- Miscutting/manipulating evidence
- When you say an author and I can't understand. Don't be like..."Blah, 17 says..."
- Using rhetoric claims about discrimination and abuse or anything. Be careful about making blatant statements about these topics that could across as offensive.
- I pretty much hate framework. Most PF teams provide a framework and then really don't work within it or it becomes a framework debate. I DO NOT, REALLY DON'T, LIKE SERIOUSLY HATE a 45 min debate on framework and the case does not adhere to the framework you present. Yes...you all run C/B Analysis for 99% of everything and most of you don't understand anything about economics or actually present a valid C/B Analysis then just don't waste our time. Let's just agree that the flow is king and you need to prove stuff. Lets just agree there is one framework..Impact Calc...I will weigh who has the better impacts. Enough said.
Don’t do these things in front of me.
Speed: I like speed up to like 325 wpm. If you go really really slowly I might get bored and start drawing pictures of butterflies and flowers on my flow, so speed is prob in your best interest. Slow down on tags and authors if you’re really fast.
Other technical things:
- I’ll only evaluate things that are in both Summary and FF.
- I don’t flow crossex, but you should refer to things that happened in cross in your next speech. I don't care how you do it or even if you do it. Please don't try to be sneaky and assume you can stare at me during cross and think you can get another speech in. Naw, I'm good and don't care what you have to say. I will probably be on my phone, computer or watching Netflix or something.
I coach PF.
I life PF.
I work with NSDA in PF.
PF is good.
In Public Forum I expect well-explained links into arguments and detailed analysis. It isn't enough to slap down a card and tell me that the evidence is newer/weighted more--explain why your evidence is better or better applied. Quality of contentions is better than quantity; I'd rather have you do a few things well than have many points with shallow reasoning and analysis. Speed is not a problem as long as you are very clear, but if it even gets close to spreading or if you have poor enunciation you will be in trouble. Maintain round decorum at all times; this includes giving trigger warnings where appropriate and providing alternative arguments if someone asks you not to use a triggering argument. Also, some judges like snappy or passive-aggressive CX, but I am not one of those judges. You don't get points for being a jerk. Be genuinely kind while remaining firm and you will get better speaker points from me.
Public Forum in not Lincoln-Douglas. Framework is possible, but do not make it the centerpiece of your case. I judge on evidence and impacts, not abstract theories and possibilities. Also, observations that are on the cusp of abuse do not sit well with me; Debate must be debatable.
While identity politics are important and can inform a round, do not rely on them exclusively. Belonging to a particular group does not absolve the burden of your side in the round, nor does it give you an automatic advantage. Rely on your case and evidence; if an argument is offensive it is fine to point that out, but you must explain to me why that matters in the larger scheme of the round.
In Lincoln-Douglas I look for contentions that link well with the framework and a detailed analysis and explanation of the framework. I am more familiar with traditional value and criterion-based frameworks, but as long as you do a good job of explaining your case to me I can usually keep up. I do enjoy high theory or off-the-wall cases and kritiks, but only if you explain the reasoning clearly to me. If I can't understand the framework due to a lack of explanation, I will have to default to my own reasoning in the world of the round in order to judge. Also, while I believe Debate is an intellectual game, I can also believe that my ballot can have a role if you lay out a good reason for that clearly for me.
Please be very respectful of your opponent in round. Some people love to get snippy in CX or throw out little jabs, but I hate that. For better speaker points from me, be polite but firm. You don't get points for being a jerk.
Spreading is risky, as you must be very clear to make sure I can follow you; for reference, what would be considered "fast" for PF would be a comfortable pace for me. Anything faster I will still probably be able to catch most of it, but if you want to do well without risk, you will speak at a pace I can easily understand.
Updated for Blake RR 2019.
If you're reading this for the RR..
Go for it. Tech > truth. This is for fun. It's a RR. Yes I'll buy the arg.
I competed in more traditional LD debate in high school and in college dabbled in NPDA and NFA LD. For the first couple years out I worked with policy and LD and then finally found PF where you'll mostly see me these days (if they decide to throw me in the LD pool (which at Blake this weekend I am in as a backup plan)..we'll talk, yo. I'm not 0 competent, I swear).
TL;DR top 5 things
1.) Live. Love. Flow. the round will be flowed in such a way I could debate it.
2.) Weigh. Weigh. Then weigh again. I believe way too often mid level PF rounds boil down to impact x and impact y in a close round where it's not being impacted clear enough. In these you are forcing me to (at times) arbitrarily decide the winner
3.) Warrant debate.
4.) Cover your case in second rebuttal
5.) I need to hear winning arguments in both summary and FF
1.) I am fine with speed insofar that you are not doing it to simply exclude the opponent
2.) I am fine with jargon insofar that you are not doing it to simply exclude the opponent
3.) I believe 97% of the time debaters can be aggressive, but respectful. Feel free to go after all argumentation but don't make personal offensive attacks.
4.) If you weigh and link and warrant I will listen to any non-offensive argument
5.) I pay attention to crossfire but assume I'm not flowing it. Bring it up in the speech if there is something critical you want me to weigh
6.) Framework debate: Given my first exposure to debate was a framework heavy LD this is something I value. I default to Net Benefits and don't think I need anything else said about framework in a round. HOWEVER, if you win a framework that is clearly extended this is the ONLY way I will weigh the round.
8.) I'm putting this at the end because I hope it's given by now but evidence quality is REALLY REALLY important.
I am in the perpetual loop of believing A.) speaker points are grossly inflated in today's debate and B.) me trying to single handedly follow a system that coherently makes sense to me punishes good debaters for no reason. What this usually creates is me giving losing teams around a 27 and winning teams around a 28 to 28.5. Good debaters definitely will see 29+. I usually give 0-1 30s a year but a handful of 29.5-29.8
Given my background in LD and policy I'm more tolerant than most of this (theory/T/K). I believe there are critical problems and theory works as a great check against potential abuse in round. The catch: I need structure. My expectations, for example, if you choose to run theory would be the same of that in any other debate activity. I need A.) Interp B.) Violation C.) Standard(s) and D.) Voter. If these are not extended in every speech I'm not voting on it.
I am the head debate coach at James Madison Memorial HS (2002 - present)
I am the head debate coach at Madison West HS (2014 - present)
I was formerly an assistant at Appleton East (1999-2002)
I competed for 3 years (2 in LD) at Appleton East (1993-1996)
I am a plaintiff's employment/civil rights lawyer in real life. I coach (or coached, depending on the year) every event in both debate and IE, with most of my recent focus on PF, Congress, and Extemp. Politically I'm pretty close to what you'd presume about someone from Madison, WI.
Congress at the bottom.
Send me case/speech docs at the start please (firstname.lastname@example.org) email or sharing a google doc is fine, I don't much care if I don't have access to it after the round if you delink me or if you ask me to delete it from my inbox. I have a little trouble picking up finer details in rounds where connections are fuzzy and would rather not have to ask mid round to finish my flow.
(WDCA if a team is uncomfortable sharing up front that's fine, but any called evidence should then be shared).
If your ev is misleading as cut/paraphrased or is cited contrary to the body of the evidence, I get unhappy. If I notice a problem independently there is a chance I will intervene and ignore the ev, even without an argument by your opponent. My first role has to be an educator maintaining academic honesty standards. You could still pick up if there is a path to a ballot elsewhere. If your opponents call it out and it's meaningful I will entertain voting for a theory type argument that justifies a ballot.
I prefer a team that continues to tell a consistent story/advocacy through the round. I do not believe a first speaking team's rebuttal needs to do more than refute the opposition's case and deal with framework issues. The second speaking team ideally should start to rebuild in the rebuttal; I don't hold it to be mandatory but I find it much harder to vote for a team that doesn't absent an incredible summary. What is near mandatory is that if you are going to go for it in the Final Focus, it should probably be extended in the Summary. I will give cross-x enough weight that if your opponents open the door to bringing the argument back in the grand cross, I'll still consider it.
Rate wise going quick is fine but there should be discernible variations in rate and/or tone to still emphasize the important things. If you plan on referring to arguments by author be very sure the citations are clear and articulated well enough for me to get it on my flow.
I'm a fairly staunch proponent of paraphrasing. It's an academically more realistic exercise. It also means you need to have put in the work to understand the source (hopefully) and have to be organized enough to pull it up on demand and show what you've analyzed (or else). A really good quotation used in full (or close to it) is still a great device to use. In my experience as a coach I've run into more evidence ethics, by far, with carded evidence, especially when teams only have a card, or they've done horrible Frankenstein chop-jobs on the evidence, forcing it into the quotation a team wants rather than what the author said. Carded evidence also seems to encourage increases in speed of delivery to get around the fact that an author with no page limit's argument is trying to be crammed into 4 min of speech time. Unless its an accommodation for a debater, if you need to share speech docs before a speech, something's probably gone a bit wrong with the world.
On this vein, I've developed a fairly keen annoyance with judges who outright say "no paraphrasing." It's simply not something any team can reasonably adapt to in the context of a tournament. I'm not sure how much the teams of the judges or coaches taking this position would be pleased with me saying I don't listen to cards or I won't listen to a card unless it's read 100% in full (If you line down anything, I call it invalid). It's the #1 thing where I'm getting tempted to pull the trigger on a reciprocity paradigm.
Exchange of evidence is not optional if it is asked for. I will follow the direction of a tournament on the exchange timing, however, absent knowledge of a specific rule, I will not run prep for either side when a reasonable number of sources are requested. Debaters can prep during this time as you should be able to produce sources in a reasonable amount of time and "not prepping" is a bit of a fiction and/or breaks up the flow of the round.
Citations should include a date when presented if that date will be important to the framing of the issue/solution, though it's not a bad practice to include them anyhow. More important, sources should be by author name if they are academic, or publication if journalistic (with the exception of columnists hired for their expertise). This means "Harvard says" is probably incorrect because it's doubtful the institution has an official position on the policy, similarly an academic journal/law review publishes the work of academics who own their advocacy, not the journal. I will usually ask for sources if during the course of the round the claims appear to be presented inconsistently to me or something doesn't sound right, regardless of a challenge, and if the evidence is not presented accurately, act on it.
Speaker points. Factors lending to increased points: Speaking with inflection to emphasize important things, clear organization, c-x used to create ground and/or focus the clash in the round, and telling a very clear story (or under/over view) that adapts to the actual arguments made. Factors leading to decreased points: unclear speaking, prep time theft (if you say end prep, that doesn't mean end prep and do another 10 seconds), making statements/answering answers in c-x, straw-man-ing opponents arguments, claiming opponent drops when answers were made, and, the fastest way for points to plummet, incivility during c-x. Because speaker points are meaningless in out rounds, the only way I can think of addressing incivility is to simply stop flowing the offending team(s) for the rest of the round.
Finally, I flow as completely as I can, generally in enough detail that I could debate with it. However, I'm continually temped to follow a "judge a team as they are judging yours" versus a "judge a team as you would want yours judged" rule. Particularly at high-stakes tournaments, including the TOC, I've had my teams judged by a judge who makes little or no effort to flow. I can't imagine any team at one of those tournaments happy with that type of experience yet those judges still represent them. I think lay-sourced judges and the adaptation required is a good skill and check on the event, but a minimum training and expectation of norms should be communicated to them with an attempt to comply with them. To a certain degree this problem creates a competitive inequity - other teams face the extreme randomness imposed by a judge who does not track arguments as they are made and answered - yet that judge's team avoids it. I've yet to hit the right confluence of events where I'd actually adopt "untrained lay" as a paradigm, but it may happen sometime. [UPDATE: I've gotten to do a few no-real-flow lay judging rounds this year thanks to the increase in lay judges at online tournaments]. Bottom line, if you are bringing judges that are lay, you should probably be debating as if they are your audience.
The later in the cycle you speak, the more rebuttal your speech should include. Repeating the same points as a prior speaker is probably not your best use of time.
If you speak on a side, vote on that side if there wasn't an amendment. If you abstain, I should understand why you are abstaining (like a subsequent amendment contrary to your position).
I'm not opposed to hearing friendly questions in c-x as a way to advance your side's position if they are done smartly. If your compatriot handles it well, points to you both. If they fumble it, no harm to you and negative for them. C-x doesn't usually factor heavily into my rankings, often just being a tie breaker for people I see as roughly equal in their performance.
For the love of God, if it's not a scenario/morning hour/etc. where full participation on a single issue is expected, call to question already. With expanded questioning now standard, you don't need to speak on everything to stay on my mind. Late cycle speeches rarely offer something new and it's far more likely you will harm yourself with a late speech than help. If you are speaking on the same side in succession it's almost certain you will harm yourself, and opposing a motion to call to question to allow successive speeches on only one side will also reflect as a non-positive.
A good sponsorship speech, particularly one that clarifies vagueness and lays out solvency vs. vaguely talking about the general issue (because, yeah, we know climate change is bad, what about this bill helps fix it), is the easiest speech for me to score well. You have the power to frame the debate because you are establishing the legislative intent of the bill, sometimes in ways that actually move the debate away from people's initially prepped positions.
In a chamber where no one has wanted to sponsor or first negate a bill, especially given you all were able to set a docket, few things make me want to give a total round loss, than getting no speakers and someone moving for a prep-time recess. This happened in the TOC finals two years ago, on every bill. My top ranks went to the people who accepted the responsibility to the debate and their side to give those early speeches.
-I take notes on the outlines of cases, only writing word for word when wording is important
-Flow is taken into account, but isn’t necessarily the only deciding factor
-If you talk too fast, I may miss what you say. Talk at a decent pace so I can follow along.
-I expect the second rebuttal to address both sides of the debate
-I expect the summary to establish the main points in the round (big picture)
-If evidence requires a date to be valid, the date should be read aloud
-Decorum is a deciding factor (especially interruptions and insults)
-Staying on topic is preferred, but I’m not rigid on that. Off topic information is material that has little to no relation or impact with the debate topic.
I am a parent judge. English is not my first language but as long as you speak slow and explain your arguments to me I will understand. I have also tried to read up on this topic to make it easier on you guys but you should still try to explain each argument you make.
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.
please try to sign post clearly. i'll get everything written down, but attn difficulties make it difficult to evaluate a flow/round if there aren't clean flows of arguments.
Competitive Debate Participation: Millard North 2014-2017 (PF), University Nebraska-Lincoln 2017-2021 (NFA-LD, 1 v. 1 policy)
Coaching: Assistant Debate Coach, Lincoln High School 2017-2018. Assistant Debate Coach, Marian High School 2018-2021
Email: email@example.com (Will I give everyone 30's if we use speechdrop instead though? Idk, let's try it.)
My current view on debate has been the most influenced by the following people: Justin Kirk and Nadia Steck
Content warnings: If you are running something sensitive, you need to have a trigger warning. This means things such as suicide, human trafficking, domestic violence, etc. NEED to have a disclaimer before you say them. Furthermore, you NEED to have a back-up plan if reading it puts the safety of someone in the room in jeopardy. And, for both of our sakes, please don't use something sensitive solely as a means to win a round. Commodification of trauma isn't something that I will listen to.
I will vote on content warning procedurals.
Tech > Truth (what does that mean?)
I will always disclose first and will always give a detailed rfd. Not doing so is bad for education (@ other judges who don’t disclose or refuse to explain decisions).
Speed is a wonderful thing in all events unless it's used as an exclusionary tactic
You can probably tell if I’m buying an argument based on my facial expressions.
Judge intervention will only ever happen if the safety (physical/mental) of a student in the round is at jeopardy.
Presume/default neg in all circumstances UNLESS the alt/cp does more than the aff. Then presumption flips aff.
Flex prep is a-okay in all events.
I will call for evidence after round in 3 circumstances:
1. I have read the evidence beforehand in some context and believe that how you are construing it is wrong and unethical
2. The opposing team has asked me to
3. The round is decided on this evidence
Should be primarily based off of skill of debate, not eloquence of speaking.
While I believe speaks are arbitrary, I will generally determine speaks through this loose model:
28-29: You debated incredibly well. Strategic choices were made, and I have very little feedback for improvements.
27.5-28: Most frequently awarded speaks from me, baseline for my evaluation.
27: Arguments were poorly explained and require much more development throughout the round.
If you owe someone an apology at the end of the round, I may drop your speaks down to <26.
For public forum debate:
I've judged more LD lately due to a judge shortage in NE, and I do college policy, but I debated PF all throughout high school. Moral is: I'm probably one of the most techy and progressive judges that you can get in PF.
Observations: I will listen to anything. I LOVE strategic observations. I LOVE observations that narrow the topic based on grammar/interpretations of the resolution.
On the flow: Don't drop turns. Extend terminal offense. Ghost extensions of terminal defense from rebuttal--> final focus are the only extensions I allow to not be in summary. Other than that, if you want it weighed in final focus, have it in summary.
Rebuttal: It is preferred, but not required, for the second rebuttal to cover both sides. I used to card dump in my rebuttals, so I understand how it can get you ahead on the flow, though. I'm not strategically against it, but pedagogically I am.
Summaries: This is the MOST important speech in the round. This should set up the framing for the final focus, and should have all of the offense you want to go for in it. All previous opposing offense needs to be addressed in this speech (for example, if team a drops team b's turns in summary, strategic strat is for team b to sit on them in final focus. It's too late for team a to come back on that part of the flow.)
Final focus: The same framing should be given as was given in summary. But overviews or underviews are the best. I flow summaries and final focuses in columns next to each other. The final focus' main job is impact analysis. Explain to me why your impacts o/w because, as an owner of four dogs, if left to my own fruition, I could vote for 10 dog lives over nuclear war.
For Lincoln Douglas/CX Debate:
Inherency: I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY A VERY VALID ARGUMENT TO GO FOR. Ya got me, I am a stock issues judge (and competitor).
"status quo acts as a delay counterplan" = *chefs kiss*
Value/criterion: I will typically default util~ especially in muddied v/c debates.
PLEASE, for the love of all that is good and holy, COLLAPSE V/C DEBATES IF IT DOESN'T MATTER (if I have to see another util vs consequentialism debate ???? I might SCREAM)
Also, please explain how the substance of the ac or nc actually relates to your v/c, or better yet, how it could *also* relate to your opponents.
Theory: After being in the activity for a while I have come to the conclusion that proven abuse is a silly metric to win theory debate. I do not believe that in order to win theory you should have to skew yourself out of your own time.
I am unlikely to vote for RVI's on theory in regards to things like "the theory is just a time suck".
I find “Drop the argument, not the team” to be fairly persuasive for general theory arguments (excluding t).
I probably won't vote for condo bad when there's one conditional advocacy.
Topicality: (I will never vote on "they have to prove abuse") I default competing interpretations on t but will listen to reasonability arguments. I believe effects t/extra t can be independent voters with independent standards. I think a dropped violation will *almost* always win a t debate. But because t is try or die, consider the following:
1. If you win the "we meet", reasonability explanations are easier.
2. T is something the neg has to win, not that the aff has to prove opposite. What does that mean? I am not doing the work for the neg to find the aff untopical. Extend and EXPLAIN your standards. (utilize clash, don't just rely on blocks) Tell me why the neg's definition is better than the aff's. Tell me why things like competitive reciprocity is key to eduaction, etc. I know all of these things but will judge *only* based on your explanations.
3. T is just like any other debate. The interp is the claim. The violation is the warrant, the standards are the internal link to>>> the voters being the impacts. So, just like any other debate, I expect you to win on all parts of the flow *especially because topicality is try or die for the aff*.
5. HOWEVER, I will always prioritize being tech over truth. That means that *even if* I don't agree with one's sides strats, or find that they are bad at performing the t strat (or responding) if the opposite side drops something of importance (a violation, concedes a voter, or even a standard that is sat on as the key internal link) I am probably voting there. Concessions are the easiest way for me to pick a winner on T debates.
Tricks: Take like 15 seconds to crystallize it after you do it to make sure I got it, and if you don't do this, don't be mad at me if I don't catch on.
Kritiks: I am open to all kritiks, but I am not familiar with all of the literature. Don't expect me to know the argument off the top of my head, but expect me to flow it and (hopefully) understand it the way that you communicate it to me. Debate is inherently a communication activity, and k debaters can lose sight of this. If it helps you to understand my experience with k's better, when I compete, I always go for framework.
I say K aff's have a higher burden of proof for solvency/explanations than standard policy affs. But here I am, never having voted against a k aff.
Disclosure: Well first off, everyone should disclose. Debate is for education, not just the wins. But also, don't run the theory.
Da's: disads with specific links are probably for the best. I am all about the net bens to counterplans. I am open to any type of argument here.
Counterplans: "Yes. The more strategic, the better. Should be textually and functionally competitive. Texts should be written out fully and provided to the other team before cross examination begins. The negative should have a solvency card or net benefit to generate competition. PICs, conditional, topical counterplans, international fiat, states counterplans are all acceptable forms of counterplans." -Dr. Justin Kirk, the legend.
If you're still reading this, I applaud you. But also, if you can manage to make 3 puns in round, I'll give you a 30. Speaks are arbitrary anyway.
First, a little about me. I have been judging public forum debate for about 10 years (does that seem possible). I am pretty straightforward in terms of what I look for in judging a pf round. Do you clearly state what your contentions are? Are the contentions directly related to the question that is being debated (this sounds elemental but I can remember a number of times that teams tried to bring up arguments with no direct link to the resolution.) I am judging public forum (not policy) so you don't have to try and impress me with how fast you can talk. As a matter of fact, excessive speed will work against you on my ballot.
Do you provide good blocks to your opponent's contentions or did you ignore or drop them? Do you make good use of the time you have available or do you leave time "sitting on the table." I do not do the elaborate flows that some judges do. My theory is that the more time you spend writing the less time you spend listening.
All contentions must be backed by evidence. You should always be able to produce your evidence for your opponent or me if it is requested in a reasonable amount of time. Inability to locate evidence will lower your chance of winning the round. Falsifying or misstating evidence will lose you the round.
I listen VERY closely to cross fire rounds. This is really the only unscripted part of the debate and I have seen many a close debate that was won - or lost - due to crossfire.
Finally, be professional in how you handle your round and treat your opponent. Facial expressions while your opponent is debating, rolling of the eyes, arrogance, being condescending etc. do not sit well with me.
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
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.
My name is Jarred Williams. I graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in May of 2021, majoring in Political Science and minoring in English, and will be heading to law school in the Fall of 2023. I currently working as a commercial developer. I graduated from Lincoln Southwest High School in 2017 and competed in PF all 4 years of high school.
- use all of your allotted time in each speech
- quote your sources directly, and then provide a brief explanation of what it means and how it works under your argument(s).
- Use all of your prep time.
- cut off your opponents during crossfire.
- turn your summaries and final focuses into extended rebuttals. Rebuttals are used to address all points of clash in the round (effectively whittling down the round to the main points), summaries are used to "summarize" these main points of clash in the round and your argument and evidence you have to go along with those points, and the final focus is a brief persuasive type of speech used to explain to the judge why they'll be voting for you.
-- PF --
I would consider myself to be a "traditional" PF judge, if that helps. I flow everything, but you need to impact and explain. I expect the second speaker to respond to the rebuttal of the first speaker. I am good with speed and most other PF styles and tactics. Spreading is highly discouraged. I don't believe it's effective, good, or educational, and I may drop you on face. If you just read cards at me and don't impact them, don't expect me to weigh them. As well, if you only extend a card by saying "Johnson 18, war is bad, pull through" that puts it on the flow but doesn't give it a lot of weight.
I'm open and willing to hear most any argument as long as you can explain it well and back it up. I tend to give long winded RFDs, so if I get talking for a long time, don't hesitate to say something. Sometimes I forget how long I've been going on.
-- LD --
I don't judge LD often. I would probably be considered the more traditional in terms of LD, and my judging style will be similar to my PF judging. I will flow everything. The value seems(?) to be the most important things, so make sure you tie your arguments back to it. Ask me as many questions as you want/need to, I'm still learning LD. I will also not be insulted if you correct me on something or challenge me on something.
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!