Golden Gate Invitational
2017 — Berkeley, CA/US
Open Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I do not wish to impose my views on the activity through my ballot. What I mean by this is that I think you certainly ought to debate in front of me in a fashion consistent with what you're best at--and allow me to adapt to you. I fundamentally believe that nearly all aspects of debate are negotiable, and certainly a multitude of different kinds of strategies can be fun to watch and fun to do. I believe those who insist on debate conforming to their view of the activity are narcissistic and don't get the point. I also think that the notion of the inevitability of intervention does not remove the responsibility to evaluate issues in a fair and honest fashion--in fact it strengthens this obligation. I will do my best to make decisions which are not informed by my predispositions but rather a serious evaluation of the issues as they were debated. My burden of striving for non-intervention will not prevent me from passing judgment. This ought not be confused. I will make a decision based on judgments I make (clearly) but I will not be dishonest about the objective flow of the debate in order to cater to my own debate ideals. I am a debate nihilist (you might say), I begin with the assumption that what you can do in debate is only limited by your imaginative capacity to justify your argumentative choices. There is no strategy that I didn't try as a debater--who would I be to tell you that you can't do the same?
Despite my strong belief that our predispositions should have no effect on the outcome of our judging, I must admit that I obviously do have predispositions about this activity. I've spent enough time doing it, and even more time thinking about it, that I am not a clean slate. I'll put my slate away for the sake of fair deliberation, but here's a glimpse of what my slate looks like.
Topicality: Unless argued persuasively otherwise, I default to assuming that topicality is both a voting issue and an issue of competing interpretations. I went for topicality a fair amount in debate. I truly believe that affirmatives who make a good faith effort to support the topic (even if for a very abstract or nuanced reason) are the most strategic. Even some of the most strategic critical affirmatives I've ever seen affirmed the topic. I suppose a good general rule is that if you're not trying to be topical, you should have a good reason why. I have never heard a definition of reasonability in my entire life that made more sense to me than competing interpretations (doesn't mean I'm not open to the possibility). I believe that the specificity of the standards and how effectively they are compared (T debates are impact debates like everything else) is often the decider.
Counterplans: I tend to assume that counterplans are a very useful strategy available to the negative. I am not predisposed against conditional counterplans, and frankly I'm also not predisposed against multiple conditional counterplans. Surprisingly perhaps, I also am not strongly against counterplans which don't compete textually (particularly if they are authentically within the scope of the topic). The reason I think textual competition is usually a good limit is precisely because most counterplans which textual competition limits out are those which detract from topic education. If yours doesn't and you can justify your counterplan you're fine. If you say there's a textually competitive version of the counterplan I will know if you're lying (just so you know). It's really all about what you can justify. The quality of your solvency evidence is generally a great indicator of how smart your counterplan is.
The kritik: We shouldn't be afraid to have kritik debates because they serve as a way of making sure that our assumptions can be justified. That being said, our assumptions can be justified, and I appreciate people who do in fact engage critical teams and make an effort to defend the perspectives which inform their arguments. A few uphill battles critical debaters might find with me are that I often think critical framework arguments do not particularly limit the affirmative very much. For example, the reason it doesn't make sense to me to say that representational debating is object fiat or utopian fiat is that disads and cases are also representational. There is no part of debate that isn't already a performance, and there is no part of debate that isn't already representational. It's about the desirability of those representations. Another roadblock critical debaters might find with me is that I have no problem signing off on topicality or evaluating the framework debate against the kritik. I did this plenty against kritik teams, and I'm not opposed to framework if you cannot justify the way your kritik is framed. If they're responsible for their representations why aren't you? I don't like the fact that kritik debaters uniquely have to have a sheet of paper justifying the existence of their argument right out of the gates, but if you cannot win that your argument should exist I think you should find a different argument. I also am a sucker for sophisticated and clever permutation arguments. Perhaps this is why I think the best kritiks are topic specific and turn the case.
Theory: I think theory serves a vital role in regulating debate trends, like a filter. Sometimes a strategy is a winning one precisely because it's not crafted in a fashion that is fair. Sometimes a strategy is antithetical to education to a degree that merits its total exclusion. Again, these questions are answered best through a framework of competing interpretations where sophisticated impact calculus happens at the level of the standards debate. If you can justify it, you can do it. Theory debates are one of the best tests of whether or not you can justify your given strategy. For this reason, I take it seriously and think it should be evaluated first. I will not evaluate it first only in the circumstance where you lose the priority debate (which sometimes happens). My default assumption is that fairness and education are both good, and keep the activity alive. This does not, however, remove the obligation to demonstrate why something is theoretically objectionable to a degree that merits the ballot. I also tend to fall further on the potential abuse side of the spectrum than the real abuse side. Just because you don't perform abuse (in the sense of how much of their strategy has in-round utility) does not automatically mean the way your strategy is positioned is suddenly educational or fair.
Disads: A well argued disad can be a beautiful thing. If you can't outweigh the case, read a counterplan that pairs well with your disad. If you want, read two. You could also surprise me and debate the case effectively (I will appreciate this). I do not dislike politics disads, but those which do not have any real link specificity annoy me a bit. Sometimes the politics disad is the right choice, sometimes it's not. Depends on the topic. The greater the specificity and applicability the happier I'll be. I love a well crafted topic disad. If your disad authentically turns the case, then I'll probably be inclined to thinking it's a good disad. Be prepared to debate all levels of disad uniqueness (not just top level) including link uniqueness, internal link uniqueness, and impact uniqueness.
Things that annoy me:
1) Process disads. If your disad relies on the process of the plan passing, rather than the outcome of the plan, I will not like your disad. If you say things like "the plan will be horse-traded for x" or "the plan will move x off the docket" I will be utterly dissatisfied with your lazy and bankrupt disad. To be clear, it is the job of the aff to identify how absurd your disad is. I will not hesitate to vote for shitty process disads if the aff fails to correctly answer them, but it'll make me feel bad about myself and the state of debate.
2) Theory debates which begin in the PMR. Sometimes really egregious things happen in the block. In this case, I may very well vote for theory which begins in the PMR. Example: the negative splits the block. However, I am more often than not wildly uncomfortable with theory debates in which the negative has no opportunity to contest your argument. The best example I can think of here is that the MOC should take a question. My intuition is that you get the last word, and so you should have the upper hand in dealing with these situations without putting me in an awkward position. This is one of my least favorite debate arguments.
3) Spec arguments or T arguments which have no resolutional basis. If your spec argument has no basis in the topic, or requires the aff to be extra-topical in order to meet your interpretation, I will think it's a bad argument. E-spec is a good example of such an argument. This is especially egregious in instances in which T arguments have no basis in the topic since T is supposed to be explicitly premised on the language of the topic.
4) Floating pics. Alternatives should not include anything resembling the plan. They should especially not literally include the plan text. If they do, and you do not win the debate on perm: do the alternative with appropriate theory arguments about how nonsense it is for the alt to include the plan I will be pretty pissed. The negative should have to make alt solvency arguments in order to demonstrate why the alt solves the aff, and the aff should be entitled to argue that the aff is a disad to the alt. If the alternative does not enable this debate to occur, it's more than likely theoretically bankrupt. I would hope that the aff would identify this.
5) Incorrect permutation strategies. For every silly nonsense counterplan which shouldn't exist, there is a solid permutation text which makes such counterplan look pretty silly. I really appreciate it when the aff correctly identifies the appropriate permutation, and conversely, I really don't like it when the aff fails to problematize bad counterplans with the appropriate permutation.
6) Failure to offer impact comparison. Clearly I have no desire to intervene. It is up to you to ensure that the debate is resolvable in a way that doesn't require me to compare things myself. I will always decide debates based on what occurs in your own words. I will not put the pieces together for you. I will not assume your position to be a priority if you fail to demonstrate this for me. Impact calculus is the centerpiece of how you can accomplish this.
7) Failure to identify things which are theoretically bankrupt. What bothers me the most about asinine strategies is when I'm put in a position to have to endorse them with my ballot, and I absolutely will if you fail to allow me to do otherwise. It is your responsibility to filter out irresponsible debate trends with sound objections to them. Take your responsibility seriously so that I don't have to make decisions which I know endorse things which are not good for the activity.
Summary observations: I suppose my views on the ideal strategy are almost always informed by the topic. The best K's turn the case and are topic specific, and the same can be said for the best disads. The best counterplans have very quality solvency evidence and a sensible net benefit.The best critical affs affirm the topic and discuss issues pertinent to the topic literature. There's always a good strategic option for a given topic, and it's up to you to find it. I will not be a hindrance to that process. Whatever you think is situationally best given the strengths of yourself and your opponent should be what you go with. I'll adapt to you. You'll probably debate better when you do what you're best at. Almost all debate is fun, it should be a question of what's the most situationally strategic option.
One last thing: I am a very expressive judge. 9 times out of 10 you will know what I think of your argument. I will shake my head at you if you say something really absurd, and I will nod for arguments that I agree with. I can't really control this very well (I've tried). On very very rare occasions I will verbally declare an argument to be silly during the debate. Do not take me too seriously. I vote for silly arguments when I would be intervening otherwise, and not all smart arguments are round winners. If it's very difficult for you to deal with non-verbal reactions to your arguments or this is very distracting for you, don't pref me. I literally could not possibly be less interested where I end up on your pref sheet.
Update: If you love to run theory in LD, you probably should strike me.
I've never particularly liked theory, but over the last couple years theory in LD has turned into a profoundly uneducational whine-off that devolves into students running baseless accusations of "abuse". Especially in a time where debaters are starting to call out real life abuse they may face from the debate community, it's becoming harder and harder for me to stomach rewarding "their definition is abusive because now I have to run theory and that's a time skew" (which is self-fulfilling) type theory arguments with a ballot. I firmly believe that the discourse we use in rounds can shape our worldviews and community norms. "Abuse", a term that should carry significance, is subconsciously rendered meaningless because it's flippantly tossed around to win a ballot. It develops connotations of self-serving technicalities that I firmly believe seep into how we view people speaking out about real abuse.
(It occurred to me that some debaters may want to borrow the above paragraph, so if you do, please keep the cutting I've bolded to avoid accidentally misrepresenting the argument.)
Short version: I’m a flow judge down with most K’s, spreading, CPs (condo or uncondo) narratives, performance, and projects. If you bite into your own K, you're screwed. For the love of coffee, SIGNPOST. Don’t run bad science. I love IR and current events. I hate Eurocentric perspectives. Theory debate is meh at the best of times when it’s done well and downright painful when it’s done poorly or unnecessarily. I really don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on RVI’s. Topicality: ¯\_(ãƒ„)_/¯ . Weigh impacts. I will listen to whatever you have to say as long as it is well supported, do not just assume certain things are good or bad. Case debate is fun. Framework debate is interesting, whoever wins framework controls how I will view the round and usually gets my ballot. I’m incredibly non-interventionist (unless someone’s winning the “the judge should be a critical intellectual” arg, then be prepared for what intellect you have unleashed.) and rarely vote on presumption, unless something egregious happens in round. Don’t be a jackass - at this point, and especially given how misogynistic debatespace can be, if you're excessively rude to your opponent I am not going to reward that type of behavior with a ballot if it's an otherwise close round. Like, it's not that hard to not be a jerk, it usually saves you time.
Last thing - lots of teams have been running Indigenous something or other in front of me. I guess they inherently assume this is good judge adaptation. It frequently is not. If you are planning on doing this, please scroll down to the bottom and read my opinions on this instead of telling me how to think about my own identity.
(Also, I like a lot of different things. I'm super nerdy. Please don't feel constrained in the breadth of arguments you can run in front of me; there's more to me than my race. *cries single tear*)
^you’ll probably be fine with just that, the rest is provided for kicks and giggles.
Launching the Logorrhea
Use your head! Analysis: I want to see critical engagement with the literature. Don’t just say that something is true or desirable because some author said so. Explain what you are arguing in your own words, tell me why it matters and why it is important to be heard in this round. Blippy arguments aren’t going to have much punch. When you extend, restate the analysis; I dislike extending points for the sake of just having stuff on the flow, tell me why it’s important in the round.
Disads: I want a clear link/internal link story. This is often lacking in politics disads, which are interesting when done well and awful when they’re like “voting for this bill drains the president’s political capital”. Be specific and intrinsic. Impact calc is important as is reminding me why I should be weighing all this under your framework. I’m not tied to Probability >Magnitude or Manitude>Probability – you convince me which one I should prioritize. Timeframe can be a good tie-breaker for this.
Theory: See update at the top. If you run it, please make sure it's warranted. I have voted on it and will if it isn't responded to, but it’s not exactly my favorite type of debate. Clarify what you mean by “reasonability” and why you are being more reasonable.
Non-topical Affs: Go for it. Extra-topical plans: If you’re all debating the resolution straight up, being extra-T isn’t very fair.
Let's be clear on the need for speed: I can handle pretty fast spread, just make sure to enunciate. I will yell clear if needed, but after 2 or 3 "clears" you will start losing speaks if you don’t listen. Please don’t spread out teams that can’t spread; it’s mean and I will be mean back to you on the ballot.
Speak up! I award speaker points for content, strategy, and structure more than talking pretty.Let's all play nice. Watch your rhetoric; anything racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, abelist, or transphobic will nuke your speaks. My speaks are generally higher than 26. 27-27.5 is average-proficient, 28 is awesome, 29 is " I really wanted to give you 30, but there was (blank) tiny issue". 29.5-30 means the round was pure beauty in motion.
RVI's: Ok, for whatever reason, this is like cilantro for most people in the debate community; they either think they're the best, most clever thing ever or that they're a horrible abomination. I really, seriously, don't have a strong opinion either way, I think it is very much a case by case situation.
K's: Feel more than free to be creative and unique, just make sure it makes sense. What I mean is that you should thoroughly understand what you are running, stay consistent with your framework, be able to handle the obvious questions it will incur. Back it up with analysis and justify why this is significant. It is always really obvious when somebody is running a case that was just handed to them by a coach or more senior competitor. I’m decently familiar with critical literature/arguments regarding Anthropocentrism, Ecofem, Indigeneity/Settler Colonialism, and Racial Positionality. I know little bits and pieces of other areas (like Disability Politics or Queer Theory – and a bunch of random stuff written by Marxist doctors on healthcare and neoliberalism; I had a weird summer in 2016.) and am more than happy to listen to whatever you want to run, I just might not be terribly familiar with the lit so make sure to clearly explain the thesis. Please feel free to ask me before the round if you want a clarification on my knowledge base. Furthermore, if you are critiquing somebody's rhetoric within the round and tell me that the role of the judge is to be a critical intellectual, don't bite into that rhetoric. It will end badly for you.
There are a few specific K's that I have more strict criteria for.
Nietzsche: Please for the love of all that is good in the world, don't run a Nietzsche K in front of me unless you have actually read some Nietzsche. All the bastardized embrace suffering stuff I hear all the time is not Nietzsche.
Give Back the Land/Decolonization: This can either be done really well or really poorly. A lot of the time, running this is pretty much just commodifying the suffering and exploitation and genocide of hundreds of Peoples for the ballot in a round. Please don't be one of those teams or I will drop you. Read “Decolonization is not a Metaphor” if you disagree with this and then think about what I said again. If you are running this case without any cards from Native authors, that is a serious paternalistic problem. It's also hard when the "plans" proposed don't leave room for biracial Native Americans, especially considering we have the highest "out-marriage" rates of any ethnicity. I don't wanna hear any "Noble Savage" type garbage. If you argue that we need to increase Indigenous knowledge production and all the stuff happening to Natives is really bad and oppressive and stuff, but you don't have a goddamn plan for tangibly reducing harm to people like me, stop talking. Things like rates of substance abuse, suicide, domestic violence, poverty,and cultural erasure have affected my life and my family and friends. THIS IS NOT A GAME TO ME. These are not arguments for your academic curiosity. These are real things that affect real people. I do not have the luxury to play with these concepts in academic abstraction, and I won't tolerate you doing so. If you want to argue in-round solutions, they better actually be solutions. None of this "we need to imagine a different government" BS. We have been imagining for a long time. If you are running this case to help rhetorically overthrow colonialist power structures and are actually representing Native voices, then you belong on the other half of the equation are running this case for the right reasons.
Speed K's: Just have solid reasons for why your opponent spreading is abelist or exclusionary. If you have a disability that makes spreading either impossible for you to perform yourself or listen to/flow, if you have asked your opponent not to spread before the round, and your opponent still spreads, then yes absolutely run a speed K.
Quick thing on poetry- a lot of arguments I’ve heard against poetry being used in round are really classist and racist. I do not believe that poetry is only a tool of the elite and educated or that marginalized individuals who use it are traitor pawns of the ivory tower. Arguments that essentially boil down to “poetry is exclusionary because it’s bourgeoisie” are not going to work for me. Arguments that say poetry only embodies White ideals of beauty and that PoC poetry will inevitably be co-opted are viscerally offensive to me.
I won't drop you in the round if you run this, but I will drop the argument.
Narratives: Hell. Yes. I strongly believe narrative debate has an important role in asserting the voices of marginalized groups in academia. These are experiences and perspectives that the overwhelmingly wealthy white able cis/het male institutions of academia have isolated. Other authors publishing nuanced work on these topics can be rare, which is part of where narrartives come in to fill that gap. Narratives are NOT whining- narrative debate is a way for the debater to become a producer of knowledge. Talking about structural violence with first person language does not make these topics any less academic; somebody else does not need to study you for your problems to be worthy of being heard and debated.
That being said, if you are running a narrative – do NOT make sweeping assumptions about your opponents or judges, particularly in regards to things that nobody should have to feel forced to disclose about themselves to a room full of strangers, like mental health status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or a history of experiencing abuse/domestic violence. Your job is to attack power structures, and I have no tolerance for teams who invalidate their opponents' identities and their rights to display them how/when they choose to.
Please don't let the round turn into the Oppression Olympics. Don't let your args against narratives devolve into "actually, I am more oppressed than you because X " - narratives are to highlight structural violence, it's not personal. It is not about you, the debater running a narrative is an empiric to a larger argument that highlights particular systems of power. We shouldn't have to pretend like these systems don't apply to us in some way when we run cases, and at the end of the day, nobody is attacking YOU, they are indicting particular systems of power. Engage with the power structures in the round.
Each round is different, so these are just guidelines and if you have a question that this didn't answer, feel free to ask.
Good luck, have fun!
1/22 Updates at the bottom for Open/JV
The shortest description of my philosophy is: It’s your time; you do what you want.
Partner talk- see above although I only flow what the designated speaker says.
T, theory, C/P, DA, framework, etc.- See above.
I enjoy well run kritiks and critical affs and most likely will boost your speaker points if you go that route. I find it a little too easy to vote for the K perm, I would suggest you put your preempts in LOC. (This does not apply to counterplans)
I will also give you give you better speaker points if you pleasantly surprise me with an argument. You can win with your international relations DA but it’s unlikely to impress me.
Unless you tell me otherwise, all decisions will be based on in-round discourse with preference going to the better warrants and impacts and offense over defense. (But you can still win with only defensive arguments)
I generally do not protect against new arguments but very big, completely new arguments in the PMR might be protected against. This line is mainly so I don't end up stuck making annoying decisions in novice or JV rounds, if in doubt or in open, call the PoO.
I have been working on pushing my speaker point range up. I currently generally give points in the 27-28 range I am fine with speed. I am also open to speed bad arguments.
I need detailed roadmaps before each speech begins (except the PMC).
Updates 1/22/2020 for Open/JV only
My beliefs about presumption don't match the community norms. I have never voted on presumption but I'm willing to change that. If you want me to vote for you on presumption, please provide a warrant for why presumption is good and a warrant for why presumption flows in your direction.
updated: October 24, 2019
Experience: 2 years of parliamentary debate at Northwest Community College, and did 3 years of NPDA and NPTE debate at Washburn University. During this time, I was semi-competitive at both levels. Many of my thoughts and upbringing of debate comes from a multitude of people from the community college circuit and the national circuit. I would say my views on debate though have been largely shaped by Jeannie Hunt, Steven Doubledee, and Kevin O’Leary.
General: Debate to me is a multitude of things meaning that it is an open space for a diversity of arguments. It still to me though is largely a game that is shaped by the real world and lived experience. I am fine with you doing whatever you please, but I am not saying that I will understand it, I will do my best to evaluate all arguments as best as I can. Make the debate yours, have fun, and compete, that’s what I believe.
--Defense (I love terminal defense, to me it is very underutilized)
--Ask for copies of texts or repeat them (ROTB, interps, or anything I will need word for word please read slowly and repeat)
--Partner Communication is fine
In general, I do not have a preference in the style of the way you debate, do you, and I will evaluate the best I can.
Theory: This is one subset of arguments that I wished I delved more into when I debated. I will not say I am the best at understanding theory, but I do not mind a good procedural or a strategic use of theory. Deploy it as necessary or as an escape valve, it doesn’t matter to me. I think having impacted out voters is nice. Although, the standards debate to me is the crux of the shell, gotta win a substantive standard to get the impact/voter. I probably would mostly default to competing interps, as well, to me it just makes the most sense.
Case: I love case debate. Good terminal case defense and awesome turns, to me, is an underutilized strategy. Aff’s be able to defend the case, sometimes as MG’s we get too bogged down prepping for the off case positions, just be sure to be able to defend your case. I think LOC’s should get to case to at least mitigate each advantage, but I understand time constraints and time management.
Performance: To me all debate is a performance, right? Like the judge is basically the audience and evaluates two opposing speakers, seems like a performance, but I digress.
- You should have a role of the ballot/judge argument (probably in your framework interp).
- Explain how the opposing team ought to interact with your performance.
- Explain the importance of your specific performance within the context of the topic.
- Frame your impacts in a manner that is consistent with your performance
The K- I think a good criticism has framework, thesis, links, impacts, alt, and alternative solvency. The thesis allows the judge to be able to better understand the K itself, by giving a short synopsis of the K, the framework tells me how to evaluate it, is fiat illusory, should evaluate epistemology over ontology, etc. The links should be specific to the topic and grounded to the literature or if the aff is a critical aff then there should be good justifications for why you are rejecting the topic ( I will vote on framework). If the aff is a critical aff, if you are on the neg and don’t have good links to the aff and you prepped your k, and you are also going to read Framework, just make a decision and either go for framework or the K (I just think many instances framework contradicts criticsms so reading framework and a K seems to be contradictory to me unless they don’t contradict). The K should probably outweigh and turn the aff. I do not know all critical literature but the literature bases I do know are:
- Post Modernism
- Post Structuralism
- Critical Race Theory
Don’t let this constrain you though, I love to learn new things and don’t mind listening. I will try my best to evaluate your arguments
CP Theory: Read whatever theory related to Counterplans you want, if you win it you win it. If you lose it, you lose it.
- Always and only a test of competition
- Should explain how the Permutation resolves the links/offense of the DA/K.
- You don't ever need 8 permutations. Read one or two theoretically sound perms with net benefits.
- Sev/Intrinsic perms are probably not voting issues given they are merely tests of competitiveness.
Speak Points: I will probably range from 26-30. 30 would be excellent, 29 is almost excellent, and so forth.
My background: I debated for 5 years on the NPTE/NPDA circuit (2 years at the University of Texas at Tyler and 3 years at Washburn University). I competed in policy debate in high school for 4 years. I have my BA in Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I'm also in my first year of law school so I'm not as involved with coaching and judging this year as I was in the past.
Highlights: I think that debate is a game in which you should make use of all the tools that you can creatively deploy. I prefer debates that engage the topic and in an ideal situation utilize fiat to do so, but I will definitely listen to arguments that interpret the topic differently. I would prefer that you read advocacies unconditionally and I will vote on conditionality. I protect from new arguments in rebuttals, but if you feel the need then still call them if you must. Impact calculus is the most important thing to me as a judge. I want the rebuttal speeches to help me craft my ballot through the lenses of timeframe, probability, and magnitude (not necessarily in that order). Since I am in my first year of law school I am not as involved with the team. Please if this is a topic area tournament do not assume that I know everything about the topic.
Identity/Performance/Critical Arguments: I judge these arguments similarly to other criticisms. Therefore, I need a clear advocacy; it does not need to be an alternative, but make your advocacy clear (whether it be a poem, metaphor, alt, etc.). I need you to frame the debate for me through unique impacts you may garner from these type of arguments. I'm willing to listen to "role play as the state" framework strategies from the negative, but I think the biggest mistake neg teams make here is not answering the arguments on the aff proper and they end up being framed out. I do think that if you are rejecting the resolution then you need some sort of justification for doing so or a link to the resolution because I think this fosters creativity.
Flowing: Give me enough time to switch tabs on my laptop when you switch sheets. If I think you are too quiet, unclear, or fast I will let you know immediately. Speed is not really an issue, clarity is.
Texts and Interpretations: You can either provide me with a written copy of the text or slow down when you read the plan/cp/alt and repeat it. I think this is very important during theory debates and framework debates. I'll ask you to repeat it before the next speech/prep begins if I don't get it.
Procedurals/Theory/T: I enjoy a good T debate and I default to competing interpretations, but this does not mean that I won’t listen to other frameworks for evaluating T. I am not a fan of RVI’s. I understand the utility of these arguments, but they likely aren’t going to win my ballot. I do not need real in round abuse, but an abuse story needs to exist even if it is potential abuse. I need procedurals to have clearly articulated interpretations, violations, standards, and voters not just blips in the LOC of, “vote for us for fairness and education”. I view topicality similarly to a disad in that I view standards as being the internal links to the voters (impacts). I am not a huge fan of multiple new theory sheets in the MG. I have a low threshold for theory, eh I'm a T hack I guess.
Disads: I enjoy topic specific disads. As a side note, I have higher standards for voting on politics than most others because I ran the argument so often. I need specifics such as vote counts, whose whipping the votes, sponsors of the bill, procedural information regarding passage, etc.
CPs: I love counter-plans and I regret my under-utilization of them while I was a competitor. I am not prone to vote against any type of counter-plan. I prefer functional competition over textual competition because it is easier to weigh and more tangible to me.
Ks: I enjoy criticisms and I believe that they can offer a very unique and creative form of education to the debate space. If your criticism is complicated then I would like a thesis page or an explanation of what the alternative does. I really enjoy a good perm debate on the K and am not opposed listening to theory regarding the alternative/perms (floating PICs, severance, etc.).
I’m going to borrow a bit about alternatives directly from Lauren Knoth’s philosophy as it describes my feelings regarding complicated alternatives perfectly.
“***Important*** I need to have a clear explanation of what the alternative does, and what the post-alt world looks like. Stringing together post-modern terms and calling it an alternative is not enough for me if I have no idea what the heck that means. I prefer to know exactly what action is advocated by the alternative, and what the world looks like after passage of the alternative. I think this is also necessary to establish stable solvency/alternative ground for the opposing team to argue against and overall provides for a better debate. Good theory is nothing without a good mechanism with which to implement it, and I'm tired of this being overlooked.”
Perms: I really enjoy perm debates. I think that the text of the perm is critical and must be clear in the debate. Slow down, read them twice, and/or give me a copy of the text. You don’t have to read the entire plan text in K debates and instead it is sufficient to say, “do the plan and x”. My definition of a legitimate perm would be that they are all of the plan and all or parts of the CP/Alt. I think that perms serve as tests of competition.
I record nearly all of the parliamentary debates that I judge on my MacBook. During the debate, you will see me creating position/answer markers so that I can easily recall any portion of the debate during my decision. I have developed a basic system to govern the conditions under which I will review the recording— (1) if I think I have missed something (my fault) I will note the time in the recording on my flow, (2) if there is a question about exact language raised by the debaters in the round, (3) if there is a Point of Order about new arguments in rebuttals, (4) I will review the exact language of any CP/Alt Text/ Theory Interp. Outside of those circumstances, I typically will not review recordings. This new process has had a couple of important impacts on judging. I don’t miss arguments. I will take as much time to review the debate afterwards if I believe that I’ve maybe missed something. It has made my decisions clearer because I can hold debaters accountable to exact language. It does, however, mean that I am less likely to give PMR’s credit for new explanations of arguments that weren’t in the MG. It also means that I’m more likely to give PMR’s flexibility in answering arguments that weren’t “clear” until the MOC. I don’t provide the recording to anyone (not even my own team). Within reason, I am happy to play back to you any relevant portions that I have used to make my decision.
If you have questions about this process, please ask. I encourage my colleagues to adopt this practice as well. It is remarkable how it has changed my process. If your team chooses to prefer (or, in the case of the NPDA, not strike) me, there are a couple of promises that I will make to you:I understand that the debaters invest a tremendous amount of time and energy into preparing for a national tournament. I believe that judging any round, especially national tournament rounds, deserves a special level of attention and commitment. I try not to make snap decisions at nationals and it bothers me when I see other people do it. I know that my nationals decisions take longer than I will typically take making a similar decision during the rest of the year. If you spend 4 years doing something, I can at least spend a few extra moments thinking it over before I potentially end that for you.
I flow on paper. I find that I am more connected to the debate and can deliver more complete RFDs if I am physically writing down arguments rather than typing. When I watch my colleagues multi- tasking while judging debates, I am self-conscious that I used to do the same thing. You will have my complete attention. I can also guarantee you that my sleep schedule at tournaments will not hinder my ability to give you my full attention. I have made a substantial commitment to wellness and, if I am being honest, I have seen/felt significant improvements in my life and my ability to do my job at debate tournaments. Once again, you will have my complete attention.
Finally, I can tell you that I have come to a point that I am unwilling to categorically reject any argument. I have voted for negative teams with a 1NC strategy of a K, CP, DA, and case arguments (who collapse to an MO strategy of the criticism only) more times this year than I ever thought I would. Smart debaters win debates with a variety of strategies—I don’t think that I should limit your strategy choices. The debate isn’t about me. If we can’t embrace different styles of argument, this activity gets very annoying very quickly.
If I get to judge you, there are a couple of promises that I want you your team to make to me: Please slow down when you read plan texts, theory interpretations or perm texts unless you are going to take the time to write out a copy and provide it to me. Please do not get upset if I misunderstand something that you read quickly (an alt, for example) if you didn’t give me a copy. I will review exact text language on my recording, if necessary.
Please do your best to engage the other team. I like watching critique debates, for example, in which the affirmative team engages the criticism in a meaningful way rather than reading common framework or theory objections. Please make all of your interpretations on theory as clear as you possibly can. This isn’t exactly the same as asking you to read it slowly—for example, a PICS Bad debate should have a clear interpretation of what a “PIC” is to you. I have generally come to understand what most members of the community mean by “textual" versus "functional” competition—but, again, this is a theory debate that you need to explain clearly.
Finally, please do not assume that any of your judges are flowing/comprehending every single word that you’re saying at top speed. As long as I have been involved in this activity, the most successful debaters have recognized that there is an element of persuasion that will never go away. I think that the quickness/complexity of many of the debaters have far surpassed a sizeable chunk of the judging pool. I often listen to my colleagues delivering decisions and (in my opinion) many struggle or are unwilling to admit that portions of the debate were unwarranted, unclear, and difficult to understand. I have often observed an undue burden to make sense of 2-3 second blips placed on critics by debaters—this activity doesn’t work unless you help me to understand what is important. I have the perspective to acknowledge that if a critic doesn’t vote for one of my teams, that there is something that we could have done better to win that ballot. I would simply ask that you dial back your rate of delivery slightly. Understand that there are times that slowing down makes sense to put all of the arguments in context. The most successful teams already do this, so I don’t imagine that this is a very difficult request.
Other notes: I flow the LOR on a separate sheet of paper. My speaker point range is 27-30. I don’t give out many 30’s, but I am happy to give quite a few 29’s. I will protect you from new arguments (or overly abusive clarifications of arguments) in the rebuttals. At a typical tournament, I will be involved in all aspects of prep with my team. Regardless of what I would disclose, for me, clarity is your best bet. I generally advise my teams to assume that your judges don’t know what you’re talking about until you tell them. I generally try to remove my previously existing understanding from the debate as much as possible.
TL, DR: I want to make the best decision that I can, given the arguments in the debate. If I’m going to end your NPTE, I will do so thoughtfully and with my full attention—that’s a promise. Make the debate about you, not me. I love this activity and all of the people in it. I make a conscious effort to approach decisions (especially at nationals) with respect for the activity and the people in the debate.
CEDA late 80's early 90's.
Slow and smart beats fast and stupid.
I prefer you embrace the topic.
HEG & Politics debates are fun.
All CPs are fun...even Delay and Consult.
Topic specific K debates are fun.
Impacts = time frame/probability/magnitude.
Topicality viewed through competing interpretations.
Theory-Do what you can justify.
Be polite to each other.
Debate is a game.
I prefer an evidence email firstname.lastname@example.org
My views about debate have changed fairly radically since the end of the 2019/2020 season. I will give a detailed explanation of these changes here, but if you want a TLDR dos and don'ts list, I’ll put that at the end of my philosophy as well.
Accessibility note: I suffer from carpal tunnel. This means that on a good day, flowing high speed rounds involves minor but mostly not distracting discomfort. On a bad day, this means flowing high speed rounds is exceptionally painful to the point that the pain absolutely acts as a distraction from the round and significantly slows my flowing speed. If I am having a bad day, I will let you know before the round and I seriously and sincerely ask that you consider accessibility concerns and slow down in that round or if you are cleared by me. I will not vote on arguments I could not get on my flow as a result of debater disregard for accessibility.
Overview: My position for years has been that NPDA debate should be a technical exercise in which the content of an argument is largely insignificant. I have generally been of the opinion that the role of a judge is to bracket out their own views and preferences and to vote based on the technical execution of a strategy regardless of the pedagogical or ethical validity of said strategy. I no longer believe this, and I am adapting my judging paradigm accordingly.
I believe that NPDA debate is a unique format that has many benefits which cannot be derived from other forms of debate, and I believe the preservation of NPDA as an event should be a central goal for all participants in the activity. NPDA provides scholarship opportunities, travel opportunities, and intensive pedagogical development that many students might not otherwise have access to. Debate is not just a hobby we participate in on the weekends, it is a gateway into academia, politics, and a longstanding community.
My concern is that I believe the proliferation of certain pedagogically vacuous trends within NPDA constitute an existential threat to the continued existence of the event, and I feel personally that being a responsible judge with a commitment to the activity and community means no longer facilitating the spread of these trends. My philosophy has changed in order to account for this shifting understanding of what it means to be a good judge.
Theory: Theory has become my main site of concern in terms of proliferation of vacuous strategies. I vote on theory a lot, based on my judging record, and that will probably not change, but there are certain theoretical arguments I am fundamentally opposed to and will not vote on.
I will not under any circumstance vote for NIBs (Necessary but Insufficient Burdens) read by affirmative teams.
I will not vote on specification arguments which demands specification for anything other than funding, enforcement, and actor.
I will not vote on theory positions with a violation derived from the formal behavior of competitors in the round (as opposed to violations derived from the argument choice of competitors). What I mean by this is theory such as “The affirmative must read their plan within X amount of time” or “The negative must take at least X questions during flex” or “The affirmative must pass us a copy of their plan text”
I will not vote on disclosure theory or any theory with a violation which occurs outside of round.
You should not include more than 2 new theory sheets (defined as independent interpretations and violations) in any constructive speech.
Theory should indeed be about establishing ideal debate norms through a competing interpretations framework as opposed to being about correcting in round abuse, but there is a limit to the scope of what we can consider legitimate norm setting. I will still be evaluating theory under that paradigm, but parli has clearly passed this threshold to the point that particularly inane instances of theoretical debate has become particularly harmful to the pedagogical value of the activity.
I believe that critical debate is highly valuable and when well executed can offer some of the most interesting rounds in debate. My stance here remains largely unchanged. This is the type of debate I have judged the most of, and it is the literature base I am most familiar with.
It is, however, important to me that your criticism makes sense. I won't vote on a criticism that I fundamentally cannot understand, and even if you win the formal and technical components of a criticism, if I cannot explain in non-technical terms to the other team why your criticism wins, I’m not going to be comfortable voting for this. Basically this means that your criticism should have a core thesis summarizing the central components of your argument. This also means that your links should be contextualized to the other team in such a way that it is clear how their rhetoric, ontology, epistemology, etc in particular reproduces the impacts that you isolate.
I think that it is best for the affirmative to be topical unless the topic is flawed to such a degree that the affirmative is at a thorough disadvantage. That said, I am not so strongly committed to this that I am unwilling to vote for non-topical affirmatives. If you want to read non-topical affirmatives in front of me, you should have a clear reason why you ought to be exempted from upholding the topic.
There are no forms of counterplans that I have an a priori opposition to beyond delay counterplans (which you should not read in front of any judge). I believe that conditionality is important for the negative flexibility and encourages more dynamic negative strategies. That said, I do not believe that an unlimited amount of conditional advocacies is a tenable norm for debate. As such, teams should not read more than two conditional advocacies in front of me. To make this concrete, you may read 2 counterplans/alternatives as a part of your LOC, but I believe the MO should always still have the option to kick both and defend the status quo.
Tech VS Truth:
I previously held that only the technical dimensions of debate mattered, and I was fairly antagonistic towards arguments in round that truth ought to be weighed over and against technical debate. I no longer hold this position to be true.
Technical debate can be utilized as a way of beating down teams in a manner which reproduces various forms of social violence and marginalization. For example, I have seen and voted for utterly vacuous critiques that were read as a means of dodging a grounded discussion of anti-black violence in debate purely on the basis that these criticisms won on small technical concessions and extensions despite offering no read pedagogical value to the debate round.
I’m not going to be auto-dropping all arguments I see as vacuous, because that would be utterly subjective and unpredictable in a way that is not fair to competitors, but I am significantly more open to tech vs truth arguments that claim that the use of technical debate can be an instance of violence in round, and I am much more willing to consider claims that flow centric debate ought to be de-emphasized, either in a specific round or as a broader norm.
Summation: I think this has hit on the major changes to my judging philosophy and the bright lines that I have drawn and am willing to enforce. I know these bright lines will make me a worse judge in the eyes of many competitors, but I also believe many competitors have a short sighted view regarding the future of NPDA and that some level of paternalism from those of us who are committed to ensuring the future survival of this activity is necessary.
TLDR Dos and Dont’s
Don’t read NIBs
Don’t read spec besides A, F, or E spec
Don’t read disclosure or out of round abuse theory
Don’t read theory about the conduct of debaters as opposed to their arguments
Don’t read more that two conditional advocacies in the LOC
Don’t read more than two theory sheets in any constructive speech
Do make arguments about why truth ought to be weighed over tech if technical debate is being used as a form of violence
Do slow down if I ask, it's a disability thing. I will not vote on arguments I could not get on my flow as a result of debater disregard for accessibility.
Do include a clear thesis in your criticisms and make your links contextual
tldr; I'm open to pretty much whatever, and would much rather you debate how you want than have you try to adapt to my preferences! A lot of my paradigm is pretty technical/jargon-heavy, so please feel free to ask me any questions you have before the round.
I came from a high school parli background, but most of my relevant experience is from the last 7 years with the Parli at Berkeley NPDA team. I competed on-and-off for 3 years before exclusively coaching for the last few years, leading the team to 6 national championships as a student-run program. As a debater I was probably most comfortable with the kritikal debate, but I’ve had a good amount of exposure to most everything in my time coaching the team; I've become a huge fan of theory in particular in the last few years. A lot of my understanding of debate has come from working with the Cal Parli team, so I tend to err more flow-centric in my round evaluations; that being said, I really appreciate innovative/novel arguments, and did a good amount of performance-based debating as a competitor. I’m generally open to just about any argument, as long as there’s good clash.
- In-round framing and explanation of arguments are pretty important for me. While I will vote for blippier/less developed arguments if they’re won, I definitely have a higher threshold for winning arguments if I feel that they weren’t sufficiently understandable in first reading, and will be more open to new-ish responses in rebuttals as necessary. Also worth noting, I tend to have a lower threshold for accepting framing arguments in the PMR.
The LOR’s a tricky speech. For complicated rounds, I enjoy it as a way to break down the layers of the debate and explain any win conditions for the negative. I don’t need arguments to be made in the LOR to vote on them, however, so I generally think preemption of the PMR is a safer bet. I've grown pretty used to flowing the LOR on one sheet, but if you strongly prefer to go line-by-line I’d rather have you do that than throw off your speech for the sake of adapting.
I have no preferences on conditionality. Perfectly fine with however many conditional advocacies, but also more than happy to vote on condo bad if it’s read well.
Please read advocacy/interp texts slowly/twice. Written texts are always nice.
I will do my best to protect against new arguments in the rebuttals, but it’s always better to call the POO just to be safe.
I’m open to alternate/less-flow-centric methods of evaluating the round, but I have a very hard time understanding what these alternate methods can be. So, please just try to be as clear as possible if you ask me to evaluate the round in some distinct way. To clarify, please give me a clear explanation of how I determine whether to vote aff/neg at the end of the round, and in what ways your alternative paradigm differs from or augments traditional flow-centric models.
- I evaluate shadow-extensions as new arguments. What this means for me is that any arguments that a team wants to win on/leverage in either the PMR or LOR must be extended in the MG/MO to be considered. I'll grant offense to and vote on positions that are blanket extended ("extend the impacts, the advantage is conceded", etc.), but if you want to cross-apply or otherwise leverage a specific argument against other arguments in the round, I do need an explicit extension of that argument.
I think the framework debate is often one of the most undeveloped parts of the K debate, and love seeing interesting/well-developed/tricksy frameworks. I understand the framework debate as a question of the best pedagogical model for debate; ie: what type of debate generates the best education/portable skills/proximal benefits, and how can I use my ballot to incentivize this ideal model of debate?
This means that I'm probably more favorable for frame-out strategies than most other judges, because I think of different frameworks as establishing competing rulesets for how I evaluate the round, each of which establishes a distinct layer in the debate that filters offense in its own unique way. For example, framework that tells me I should evaluate post-fiat implications of policy actions vs a framework that tells me I should evaluate the best epistemic model seem to establish two very different worlds/layers in the round; one in which I evaluate the aff and neg advocacies as policy actions and engage in policy simulation, and one in which I evaluate these advocacies as either explicit or implicit defenses of specific ways of producing knowledge. I don't think the aff plan being able to solve extinction as a post-fiat implication of the plan is something that can be leveraged under an epistemology framework that tells me post-fiat policy discussions are useless and uneducational, unless the aff rearticulates why the epistemic approach of the aff's plan (the type of knowledge production the plan implicitly endorses) is able to incentivize methods of problem-solving that would on their own resolve extinction.
- As much as I'm down to vote on frameouts and sequencing claims, please do the work implicating out how a specific sequencing/framing claim affects my evaluation of the round and which offense it does or does not filter out. I’m not very likely to vote on a dropped sequencing claim or independent voter argument if there isn’t interaction done with the rest of the arguments in the round; ie, why does this sequencing claim take out the other specific layers that have been initiated in the round.
I'm very open to voting on presumption, although very rarely will I grant terminal defense from just case arguments alone (no links, impact defense, etc.). I'm much more likely to evaluate presumption claims for arguments that definitionally deny the potential to garner offense (skep triggers, for example). I default to presumption flowing negative unless a counter-advocacy is gone for in the block, in which case I'll err aff. But please just make the arguments either way, I would much rather the debaters decide this for me.
I generally feel very comfortable evaluating the theory debate, and am more than happy to vote on procedurals/topicality/framework/etc. I’m perfectly fine with frivolous theory. Please just make sure to provide a clear/stable interp text.
- I don't think of theory as a check against abuse in the traditional sense. I'm open to arguments that I should only vote on proven/articulated abuse, or that theory should only be used to check actively unfair/uneducational practices. However, I default to evaluating theory as a question of the best model of debate for maximizing fairness and education, which I evaluate through an offense/defense model the same way I would compare a plan and counterplan/SQO. Absent arguments otherwise, I evaluate interpretations as a model of debate defended in all hypothetical rounds, rather than as a way to callout a rule violation within one specific debate.
I will vote on paragraph theory (theory arguments read as an independent voting issue without an explicit interpretation), but need these arguments to be well developed with a clear impact, link story (why does the other team trigger this procedural impact), and justification for why dropping the team solves this impact. Absent a clear drop the debater implication on paragraph theory, I'll generally err towards it being drop the argument.
I default to competing interpretations and drop the team on theory, absent other arguments. Competing interpretations for me means that I evaluate the theory layer through a risk of offense model, and I will evaluate potential abuse. I don’t think this necessarily means the other team needs to provide a counter-interpretation (unless in-round argumentation tells me they do), although I think it definitely makes adjudication easier to provide one.
I have a hard time evaluating reasonability without a brightline. I don’t know how I should interpret what makes an argument reasonable or not absent a specific explanation of what that should mean without being interventionist, and so absent a brightline I’ll usually just end up evaluating through competing interpretations regardless.
I don't mind voting on RVIs, so long as they're warranted and have an actual impact that is weighed against/compared with the other theory impacts in the round. Similar to my position on IVIs: I'm fine with voting for them, but I don't think the tag "voting issue" actually accomplishes anything in terms of impact sequencing or comparison; tell me why this procedural impact uplayers other procedural arguments like the initial theory being read, and why dropping the team is key to resolve the impact of the RVI.
Uniqueness determines the direction of the link (absent explanation otherwise), so please make sure you’re reading uniqueness in the right direction. Basically: I'm unlikely to vote on linear advantages/disadvantages even if you're winning a link, unless it's literally the only offense left in the round or it's explicitly weighed against other offense in the round, so do the work to explain to me why your worldview (whether it's an advocacy or the SQO) is able to resolve or at least sidestep the impact you're going for in a way that creates a significant comparative differential between the aff and neg worldviews.
I have a pretty high threshold for terminal defense, and will more often than not assume there’s at least some risk of offense, so don’t rely on just reading defensive arguments.
Perfectly fine with generic advantages/disads, and I’m generally a fan of the politics DA. That being said, specific and substantial case debates are great as well.
I default to fiat being durable.
Please give me specific texts.
Fine with cheater CPs, but also more than happy to vote on CP theory.
I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.
I default to functional or net benefits frameworks for evaluating competition. I generally won’t evaluate competition via textuality absent arguments in the round telling me why I should.
I really enjoy the K debate, and this was probably where I had the most fun as a debater. I have a pretty good understanding of most foundational critical literature, especially postmodern theory (particularly Foucault/Deleuze&Guatarri/Derrida). Some debates that I have particularly familiarity with: queer theory, orientalism, anthro/deep eco/ooo, buddhism/daoism, kritikal approaches to spatiality and temporality, structural vs micropolitical analysis, semiotics. That being said, please make the thesis-level of your criticism as clear as possible; I'm open to voting on anything, and am very willing to do the work to understand your position if you provide explanation in-round.
I’m perfectly happy to vote on kritikal affirmatives, but I will also gladly vote on framework-t. On that note, I’m also happy to vote on impact turns to fairness/education, but will probably default to evaluating the fairness level first absent other argumentation. I find myself voting for skews eval implications of fairness a lot in particular, so long as you do good sequencing work.
Same with CPs, I default to perms being a test of competition and not an advocacy. I’m also fine with severance perms, but am also open to theoretical arguments against them; just make them in-round, and be sure to provide a clear voter/impact.
I default to evaluating the link debate via strength of link, but please do the comparative analysis for me. Open to other evaluative methods, just be clear in-round.
I have a decent understanding of performance theory and am happy to vote on performance arguments, but I need a good explanation of how I should evaluate performative elements of the round in comparison to other arguments on the flow.
Regarding identity/narrative based arguments, I think they can be very important in debate, and they’ve been very significant/valuable to people on the Cal Parli team who have run them in the past. That being said, I also understand that they can be difficult and oftentimes triggering for people in-round, and I have a very hard time resolving this. I’ll usually defer to viewing debate as a competitive activity and will do my best to evaluate these arguments within the context of the framing arguments made in the round, so please just do your best to make the evaluative method for the round as clear as possible, to justify your specific performance/engagement on the line-by-line of the round, and to explain to me your position's specific relationship to the ballot.
Other random thoughts:
- I pretty strongly disagree with most paradigmatic approaches that frame the judge's role as one of preserving particular norms/outlining best practices for how debate ought to occur, and I don't think it's up to the judge to paternalistically interfere in how a round ought to be evaluated. This is in part because I don't trust judges to be the arbiters of which arguments are or are not pedagogically valuable, given the extensive structural biases in this activity; and the tendency of coaches and judges to abuse their positions of power in order to deny student agency. I also think that debaters ought to be able to decide the purpose of this activity for themselves-while I think debate is important as a place to develop revolutionary praxis/build critical thinking skills/research public policy, I also think it's important to leave space for debaters to approach debate as a game and an escape from structural harms they experience outside of the activity. Flow-centric models seem to allow for debaters to resolve this on their own, by outlining for me what the function of debate ought to be on the flow, and how that should shape how I assign my ballot (more thoughts on this at the top of the "Framework" section in my paradigm).
What the above implicates out to is: I try to keep my evaluation of the round as flow-centric as possible. This means that I’ll try to limit my involvement in the round as much as possible, and I’ll pick up the "worse argument" if it’s won on the flow. That being said, I recognize that there’s a certain degree of intervention that’s inevitable in at least some portion of rounds, and in those cases my aim is to be able to find the least interventionist justification within the round for my decision. For me, this means prioritizing (roughly in this order): conceded arguments (so long as the argument has at least an analytic justification and has been explained in terms of how it implicates my evaluation of the round), arguments with warranted/substantive analysis, arguments with in-round weighing/framing, arguments with implicit clash/framing, and, worst case, the arguments I can better understand the interactions of.
June 4th 2020 NFA-LD Update:
I'm mostly new to NFA-LD LD so feel free to ask me questions. I competed for a year as a freshman (moon energy topic), mainly on the Northern California circuit, although I wasn't particularly competitive. I don't have a ton of familiarity with the current topic, besides the last week or so of research. Most of the paradigm below applies, but here's some specific thoughts that could apply to NFA-LD.
I don't think I know the format well enough to know which paradigmatic questions to outline here explicitly. As a general rule of thumb, please just be explicit about how you want me to evaluate the round, and give me reasons to prefer that mechanism (ie whether I should read cards or only evaluate extensions as made in-round, what the implication of a stock issues framework should be, whether/how much to flow cross-ex, etc.). I have very few preferences myself, so long as the round burdens are made explicit for me.
- All of the above being said, I'll probably err towards reading speech docs (Zoom is difficult, and this keeps my flow a lot cleaner), I will evaluate CX analysis although I may not flow it, and I'll only hold the line on stock issues framing if explicitly requested. If you want to know how I default on any other issues, please just ask! Also, no particular issues with speed, although I may tank speaks if you spread out an opponent unnecessarily.
- I don't have as much experience flowing with cards; I have been practicing, and don't think this should be much of an issue, but maybe something to be aware of. Clearer signposting between cards might not be a bad call if you want to play it safe.
- I'm a very big fan of procedural and kritikal debate in NPDA, and don't see that changing for NFALD, so feel free to run whatever in front of me. Fine with evaluating non-topical affs, but also very comfortable voting on T, especially with a good fairness collapse.
If you find yourself here, it probably means that i'll be judging an upcoming round of yours -- so here is some information about me!
I debated for 4 years on the national circuit, cleared 3 times at the NPTE, and took 4th overall at the 2014 NPTE. I was also Cal's NPDA/NPTE coach during the 2015 season.
My involvement with debate ended in 2015 and I have not kept up with the activity. Consequently, I am not up to speed on the latest debate meta. I'll figure that out as I go.
From a content perspective, feel free to run whatever you want! Policy debate, K debate, theory debate, and any other type of "non traditional" debate are all fine with me. If a theory debate does happen, please take time to explain your arguments. This type of argumentation tends to be more tricky.
From a speed perspective, go as fast as you want! Just be courteous to the other team in the room. From my own experience, speed past a certain threshold is not generally effective. I'm much more persuaded by a single well developed argument cross applied to a blip storm, because I can understand the logic behind that well developed argument.
Please tell me why you are winning the round! Writing my RFD for me and explaining the interaction of arguments during the round will go far towards earning my ballot!
Finally and most importantly, have fun!
I debated a lot (CEDA, NDT), and have coached and judged even more (CEDA, NDT, NPDA, NPTE, Worlds). I teach courses in argument theory, diversity, and civil dialogue, and I am heavily involved in community service. While my debate background comes primarily from a “policy” paradigm, I have no problem with either good “critical” debates or “persuasive communication”, and am willing to listen to any framework a team feels is justifiably appropriate for the debate.
I think that debate is simultaneously a challenging educational exercise, a competitive game of strategy, and a wonderfully odd and unique community – all of which work together to make it fun. I think debaters, judges, and coaches, should actively try to actually enjoy the activity. Debate should be both fun and congenial. Finally, while a written ballot is informative, I feel that post-round oral critiques are one of the most valuable educational tools we as coaches and judges have to offer, and I will always be willing to disclose and discuss my decisions, even if that may involve walking and talking in order to help the tournament staff expedite an efficient schedule for all of us.
I am hearing impaired. No joke – I wear hearing aids in both ears, and am largely deaf without them. I think most would agree that I keep a pretty good flow, but I can only write down what I understand. I work as hard as just about any of your critics to understand and assess your arguments, and I appreciate it when you help me out a little. Unfortunately, a good deal of my hearing loss is in the range of the human voice – go figure. As such, clarity and a somewhat orderly structure are particularly important for me. For some, a notch or two up on the volume scale doesn’t hurt, either. However, please note that vocal projection is not the same as shouting-- which often just causes an echo effect, making it even harder for me to hear. Also, excessive chatter and knocking for your partner can make it difficult for me to hear the speaker. I really want to hear you, and I can only assume that you want to be heard as well. Thanks for working with me a little on this one.
Approach of the critic to decision-making (for example, adherence to the trichotomy, stock-issues, policymaker, tabula rasa, etc.)
Although I don't see absolute objectivity as easily attainable, I do try to let the debaters themselves determine what is and is not best for the debate process. Debaters should clarify what framework/criteria they are utilizing, and how things should be evaluated (a weighing mechanism or decision calculus). I see my role as a theoretically “neutral observer” evaluating and comparing the validity of your arguments according to their probability, significance, magnitude, etc. I very much like to hear warrants behind your claims, as too many debates in parli are based on unsubstantiated assertions. As such, while a “dropped argument” has considerable weight, it will be evaluated within the context of the overall debate and is not necessarily an automatic “round-winner”.
Relative importance of presentation/communication skills to the critic in decision-making
As noted, clarity and structure are very important to me. It should be clear to me where you are and what argument you are answering or extending. Bear in mind that what you address as “their next argument” may not necessarily be the same thing I identify as “their next argument”. I see the flow as a “map” of the debate round, and you provide the content for that map. I like my maps to make sense.
That said, good content still weighs more heavily to me than slick presentation. Have something good to say, rather than simply being good at saying things.
Additionally, 1) although I think most people speak better when standing, that’s your choice; 2) I won’t flow the things your partner says during your speech time; 3) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time.
Relative importance of on-case argumentation to the critic in decision-making
I find that good case debate is a very effective strategy. It usually provides the most direct and relevant clash. Unfortunately, it is rarely practiced. I can understand that at times counterplans and kritiks make a case debate irrelevant or even unhelpful. Nevertheless, I can't tell you the number of times I have seen an Opposition team get themselves in trouble because they failed to make some rather simple and intuitive arguments on the case.
Openness to critical/performative styles of debating
See above. No problem, as long as it is well executed – which really makes it no different than traditional "net-benefits" or "stock issues" debates. To me, no particular style of debating is inherently “bad”. I’d much rather hear “good” critical/performative debate than “bad” traditional/policy debate, and vice versa.
While I try to keep an open mind here, I must admit I’m not particularly fond of heavy theory debates. I think most debaters would be surprised by just how much less interesting they are as a judge than as a competitor. I realize they have their place and will vote on them if validated. However, screaming “abuse” or “unfair” is insufficient for me. I’m far more concerned about educational integrity, stable advocacy and an equitable division of ground. Just because a team doesn’t like their ground doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have any. Likewise, my threshold for “reverse voters” is also on the somewhat higher end – I will vote on them, but not without some consideration. Basically, I greatly prefer substantive debates over procedural ones. They seem to be both more educational and interesting.
While I have no problem with them, I tend not to follow much of the traditional stylizations or formal elements of parliamentary practice: 1) I will likely just “take into consideration” points of order that identify “new” arguments in rebuttals, but you are more than welcome to make them if you feel they are warranted; 3) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesn’t mean I don’t like you or dig your arguments; 4) You don’t need to do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand or raise your hand; 5) I don’t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech; you know the order, go ahead and speak; 6) I will include “thank yous” in speech time, but I do appreciate a clear, concise and non-timed roadmap beforehand.
I lean toward thinking that “splitting the block”, while perhaps theoretically defensible, is somewhat problematic in an activity with only two rebuttals and often only makes a round more messy.
2017 Parli Update: lol I did Parli at Cal. Policy, K's, performances, speed, etc it's all good.
I debated circuit LD for Mountain View High School, graduating in 2013. I am conflicted with Mountain View and Los Altos High School.
The following is a pretty concise, hastily put-together version of my paradigm, so if you have any questions at all, I encourage you to ask me questions prior to your round.
First and foremost, please debate how you are comfortable debating. A good debate is a good debate, whether it’s theory, larp or on the standards level. I do not aim to impose my debate views on you.
Speed is fine, but I was never the best flower, so PLEASE slow down on tag lines and card names. Reading tags at conversational speed will make me love you. I will yell “clear” or “slow” if needed.
I default to truth-testing, but will evaluate the debate with what ever paradigm is won. I don’t mind a deviation from the value criteria model of evaluating arguments, but I need some sort of link to the ballot (whether it be an a priori, K, theory or something else.)
For theory, I default to competing interpretations. If you run reasonability, please give me a threshold on what is reasonable. I will vote on frivolous theory and understand its strategic value, but if you can win without it, I'd prefer if you did so.
In general, I am open to most kinds of arguments, so long as they have a claim, warrant and impact. I debated the standards a lot in high school, so if you want to run metaethics/epistemology/ontology/etc arguments, I'm probably a good judge for that.
I try to gage speaker points on how much each debater contributed to creating a debate that I actually want to watch. If I'm cringing because you don't understand your case or are making key drops, you probably won't get high speaks. Taking risks and making clever responses will get you high speaker points. Also being nice kind of works too.
Short version: please run whatever you want I believe the activity is about you which means your argument selection should not be limited to my preferences. It is your job to explain your arguments and compare the warrants for me as that debate in general comes down to comparison. I want you to explain how arguments interact with each other and why that means you win. I don’t think you will ever win every argument in the round so collapsing is great strategy in front of me. Impact calculus and prioritization are important to how I vote on your arguments.
I believe debate in it of it’s self is a game. However, I think that certain debates can impact the way we view the community, ourselves, and the world. I believe those debates are important to be had, I do not believe this is the wrong forum for any argument you would want to run as long as you can justify it.
Be nice to each other a debate isn’t worth losing friendships over or creating bad blood.
I am a speaker-points fairy. My speaker point range is between 27-30. In most competitive debate rounds I give around a 28 and up.
I tend to default to a policy maker/ net benefits paradigm unless you tell me otherwise. I really enjoy the framework debate I think that it is important as parli continues to trend towards theory and critical arguments. I will in some instances vote on framework if you tell me that’s where I should vote and Its clear that you are winning the framework debate.
I like the critical / performance debate. I think it makes for some interesting clash and the ability to interrogate the implications/ methodology of the resolution beyond executing a plan. I am ok with aff/ neg critical arguments and I do not think you have to be topical as long as you can justify why you shouldn’t have to uphold the res. I think interactions between arguments are the most important in the critical debate you should be able to explain how your criticism interacts with the other teams case and why that matters. I think you can win a criticism without winning the alt if you go for how it impact turns the aff. I am not familiar with every theorist or theory I have a general understanding of most of the “popular” critical arguments in parli but please be clear about the nuances of your theory and why that’s important.
DA’s I like clear links and impact scenarios please explain how you get to your impacts don’t just give me tags that don’t really draw the line from point a to point b.
Theory I like theory, I don’t think teams go for it enough especially when certain theory arguments are often overlooked on the flow. Although, I would caution you to develop your theory arguments I find at times they are underdeveloped or under explained.
Topicality is an argument I vote on. I do not vote on potential abuse. I find that teams don’t go for T enough in front of me.
CP’s I don’t care if your counter plan is topical. I do care if it is competitive. I think you should identify the status of your cp I have a bias towards conditionality being good, but I will vote on theory arguments as to why condo is bad.
As an addendum I will be flowing on paper instead of my laptop. This means: you will have my undivided attention and I will be able to more clearly explain how things went down in the round. This also means I will not be as fast when it comes to writing down the arguments. Please slow down for your tag lines and articulate clearly.
Please call points of order, I do not protect.
Overall, You do you. This is your time not mine.
I am a fairly straight-up critic. I view debate as a game, not a community, a training ground for a particular cause, or a place to air my own grievances. Don't worry about appealing to what you think my ideology is. I vote on the stupidest shit all the time, so just do what you think is strategic. That being said, tell me it is and why and I'll view it that way for the round. Tell me where to vote, win it, I'll vote on it. It's basically that simple.
- The K. I vote for it a lot because I don't particularly see my ballot as my own personal moral imprimatur. I enjoy good framework debate, most of it is relatively bad. Alt debate is better. While I am familiar with a lot general kritiks, please do not assume I care about your lit even 1/200th as much as you, so dropping a lot of references I should get will not work very well as an empiric or analytic for me.
Please be relevant. I don't mind a generic cap k for some godawful debate about the minutiae of financial regulation or something. But try to make it slightly connected to the topic beyond, "You reify the state by using the USFG as an actor. Next off, 8 minutes of state bad."
-Theory: Don't mind it. Pet peeve: counter interps should be actually counter to something. "The aff should be held to the resolution" is neither counter nor an interp.
-DAs. I'm a huge fan of good uniqueness debates. Bad uniqueness debates (oh here's 5 reasons why the econ is up, naw dawg here's 6 reasons why its down. 6> 5 duh.) make me sad. Personally how I decide on this will go a long way in how I decide the direction of the DA and its likelihood since it is a debate on what world the plan takes part in to begin with.
Major points: Internal link/impact defense. Does not happen enough. It sucks how much each sides just spots wild internal link scenarios with nothing filled in at all.
Counter plans/perm debate.
Competition is good. Personally, I prefer net benefits competition as I think it's the most educational. Mutual exclusivity is usually just a form of NB competition though I am open to arguments as to why it is not.
Impact Calc: If no one tells me how to judge impact debates then I revert to magnitude and probability. So if you just tell me your impact is bigger and they tell me that theirs is more probable, I will probably revert to the bigger magnitude impact (especially if its extinction vs. someone feels bad about themselves).
Give me reasons why prob > mag or vice versa. I do enjoy good defense debate on the probability level. Time frame isn't brought up enough. I'm also a big fan of the "Big mag impacts bad v. Big mag impacts good" debate. But if it doesn't happen, unfortunately, I'm a hack for the mag x prob (extinction x .000001 still pretty big risk) impact calc. Not totally against "key to value to life" args if they are decent internal links into what gives human life value. But baseless claims of, "And now there's no value to life!" claims are pretty easily beaten in front of me.
>Speed: Don't care one way or another. I will clear you if I can't understand. I can hang, though slightly less than when I was competing since my ego isn't in the round anymore. If your advocacy is long as hell please repeat it.
>Points of order: Call them. I can't guarantee me catching them cheating every time. So unless you want me letting it slide and someone throws a tantrum, call it. But if you're some senior team on the national circuit pummeling some freshman babies from a CC and you really feel the need to call 18 points of order this poor child's PMR, you should feel bad.
>Side note: Don't freak out if you get a 27 in speaker points. That's good from me. I've seen like, maybe 2-3, truly 30 point speeches in my life so idk why everyone expects it so much.
>Speaking personally due to my own history, I do not care for excessive shouting/cursing. I also really do not care for debate being made personal against the individual debaters. I will not vote on an argument that demands I adjudicate the intent of someone in the round (i.e the argument is wrong vs "the aff is lying"). Additionally for the record as this weirdly becomes an issue in debate lately, I am a white Hispanic. I find other white-passing individuals using similar stories to pull a functional Elizabeth Warren to answer identity oriented arguments extremely cringeworthy. Cringe = speaker points hit.
I don't vote on IVIs. Claims of "time suck" are just absurd, please do not run this.
I don't vote on procedurals or kritiks based on speed. The barest of defense on this will be seen as terminal by me.
I will not, under any circumstances, vote for advocacy that explicitly calls for categorical eliminationist violence against people, based on their membership in a particular group. I should not have to write this but it seems I do.
>For PSCFA circuit: I don't vote on "this should be a fact round." Don't be ridiculous. I don't care if they drop it I will literally not vote for it, it's my one thing I'm just not going to do. Do not cry about it because you didn't read this section.
-I am on a cop on the rules, sorry. This is due to the fact that the NFA authorizes tournament directors to levy fines on schools for judges not following the rules and that is a risk that I am not willing to take. I am very open to arguments based on what the rules actually say, which is often quite broad or vague (whatever "conversational" or "pleasant" or "area of further study" means).
-That being said, my threshold for terminal defense on alleged rules violations is extremely low in NFA-LD given that the cards are right there and there is nothing really being lost. Tbh I really don't know what conversational means either.
-I am fine with theory and Kritiks but naturally, I will listen to old school type arguments on why they do not indict whether or not the aff has fulfilled their stock issues burden or whether or not your particular kritik would be allowable by the rules.
La Costa Canyon '16
UCSB '20 (English and Philosophy)
I debated in LD for 4 years at La Costa Canyon High School (aka Leucadia Independent), and have judged 3-5 circuit tournaments per year since I've been in college.
1 - phil
2 - K
3 - tricks and larp
4 - theory/T
Debate in the style you feel most comfortable, however I prefer philosophy and high theory oriented rounds. I was a very positional debater and prefer grander framework debates to very technical ones. I can keep up with tech and speed, but at a certain point blazing through analytics in the 1ar will work against you.
I will vote for any argument that you can fully impact back to a ballot. Every round I will vote using the same mechanism. I will determine what the most viable framework/standard is and vote for whoever has more offense under that framework. If the debate lacks any discussion of framework I will decide based on what standard seems most relevant to the impacts each debater has gone for; this is usually some sort of consequentialism. Essentially, I default against epistemic modesty and evaluate the round according to whatever mechanisms for voting are presented. Of course, this means that if you win arguments for epistemic modesty I will adjudicate the round under that standard, but it will likely be messy.
Background: I competed in NPDA parli at Berkeley 2011-2015. I debated both policy and critical, but many of my original positions were race/gender criticisms and I leaned heavily critical towards the end of my career. I now work for the USFG - mostly on economic policy, but previously on health and immigration policy.
I have judged a few times per year on the national circuit for the past five years, but have not judged this year. If you are having me at Mile High 2021, the last tournament I judged was NPTE 2020, so I have not judged virtually before. Therefore, if you get me in the first few prelims, you may want to go slightly slower than usual. I have not been involved in topic prep at all, so keep that in mind.
Generally, you should do what you want to do (as long as you aren't a jerk) because this is your time and I'm not volunteering my weekend and/or taking time off work to watch people be miserable.
Open to answering questions - message me on Facebook, preferably before prep time begins.
Condo: I have no preference.
Ks: I'm more familiar with race/gender-based criticisms. I don't understand pomo or psychoanalysis well. Feel free whether to defend the topic or not - I read a lot of nontopical affs. But will also vote on framework.
Theory: I was not a good theory debater, and don't have very nuanced views on theory compared to where the circuit has moved. But I seem to vote on it a decent amount.
Speaks: Aside from all the usual, you will get higher speaks if 1) you are not unnecessarily an asshole, 2) you say true things, 3) you sound like you want to be there.
- I enjoy the performative aspect of debate (not limited to "performance" arguments, and not limited to grandstanding).
- I enjoy original, creative arguments.
- I think debate is a fun game and that different people get different things out of it. I tend to think that one of the things with the most significant lasting impact is how we interact with other people in the activity. Which is not everyone must be nice all the time, but I hope people can be compassionate in the context of a competitive environment, while not shying away from confronting hard things.
2020 Update: I am no longer actively involved in the activity, other than judging a few tournaments a year, so my threshold for speed is going to be lower than it has in the past as a result of being rusty at flowing. If you are particularly fast, I would recommend starting at about 75% speed.
Experience: 4 years policy debate at Tualatin High School, 4 years NPDA/NPTE experience at the University of Oregon. 3 years high school coaching experience at Thurston High School.
Quick in prep version: In general I am down with just about anything, however I would much rather hear a good disad than some only tag lines and a bad alternative kritik. Theory was my jam when I was debating, so if you want to read it go ahead, however, I’m not going to vote for you just because you read it, while my threshold is probably lower than most judges I like to pretend I’m not a hack .
Longer (probably unnecessary) version
My ideal debate is a strategic topical aff v some CPs and a DA or a topic K. That being said, I tend to be down with anything you want to read in front of me, I believe that it is my job to adapt to you and the arguments you want to read not your job to adapt to me. I am not going to tell you what to or not to read in front of me or reject your arguments on face. I tend to prefer more technical debates where you explain to me how all of the relevant arguments interact at the end of the round over just extending them and making me try to figure it out myself at the end. I want to be able to write my RFD at the end of the round by sticking as much as possible to the flow without having to insert my own analysis, this means I want you to write my RFD for me, tell me why I should vote a particular way at the end of the round.
Impact framing is a lost art, it’s not helpful to just inform me that both teams do, in fact, have impacts. I want to hear how I should evaluate those impacts against each other, ie. Do I care more about fairness or education on the theory flow, is timeframe or magnitude more important, can I even evaluate arguments rooted in some kind of epistemology?
More specific stuff:
Theory/ T : I read a lot of theory when I was debating so I am pretty much able to follow what is going on in complex theory debates, although I would prefer that you slow down a bit when spreading theory since it is more condensed and harder to flow. I evaluate theory just like any other argument, which means I am probably more likley to vote on it than most judges if you go for it correctly. In order to win theory in front of me you are going to need to impact it out and explain what it means for the round. (IE just because they dropped your Consult CP's are illegit argument doesn't mean you insta-win if you don't give me some reason why that theory argument results in a ballot, not just me dropping the CP). I find myself voting a lot this year on teams forgetting to read a counter interp. If I am judging in a competing interps paradigm, which is usually how these things shake out, and there is not either an interp or a counter-interp that you meet I will vote against you regardless of the rest of the flow, as there is not an interp for me to stick your offense to. I think that this is a pretty common way of evaluating theory but I feel it is worth flagging explicitly in my philosophy given that I find myself voting on this a lot.
Framework : Framework was my go-to when debating the K aff. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily shouldn’t or can’t read a K aff in front of me, just be aware than I’m not going to be one of those judges that just ignores the argument for some vague political reason.
K affs : I would prefer that if you are going to read an aff that isn’t topical that you have some good justification for doing so, I am not really interested in your “I read a cool book and here is my book report” project.
Ks : I am down with the K, however there are some recent trends in the kritik that I feel need some addressing here. First, Marx was my bread and butter and I am fairly deep in that literature, but outside of that and maybe Heidegger you should not assume that I am incredibly well read in your lit base. That doesn’t mean that you can’t read your K in front of me, it just means that you are going to need to do some more explaining. Second, there has been a tendency of K’s becoming just a list of tag lines, that then get extended as arguments later in the debate. If your K sounds like this I am probably going to give the other team a lot more leeway in reading new arguments when your K finally becomes something in the block.
CP/ DA : Ayyyyyyyyy
My name is Amanda, and I'm the DOF at Concordia University Irvine. It's been a while since I've judged at a tournament, so I'll just give a few highlights:
*Not a very big fan of these things they call NIBs, to be honest I simply don't understand how they work. Sorry:( I won't vote on them.
*Things that are rules of the game (Topicality, time limits, prep, etc) are A Priori. Everything else is up for debate.
*Since this is my first tournament in a while, and my first one really judging virtually, please slow if I say slow. I promise I'm not doing it to be annoying, but I can't evaluate things I can't write down.
I tend to prefer policy debate, and am sympathetic to trichotomy arguments that say policymaking includes the educational facets of value and fact debate. Value and fact debates are often lacking in the very basic structure of claim+data+warrant, and rarely use terminalized impacts. These shortcomings are much easier to logically rectify if policymaking is used. "should" is not necessary to test whether or not the resolution is true.
Theory comes first in debate, since it is a debate about the rules. I default to competing interpretations and am unlikely to vote for your counter interpretation if it has no counter standards for that reason. That being said, a we meet acts as terminal defense under competing interpretations, so that's a way to win as well. MOs should choose whether to go for topicality or the substance debate and collapse to one OR the other, not both. Likewise, PMRs should choose whether to collapse to MG theory arguments OR the substance debate, not both. I do not enjoy voting for RVIs and have a very low threshold for defense on these. I do not enjoy voting for spec args honestly can't remember doing so.
Kritiks should explain why they turn the AFF and have terminalized impacts. The framework should be utilized as offense to frame out the method of the AFF, and prioritize the impacts of the K. The Alt should explain why they solve for the AFF, and avoid the disadvantages of the link story. I prefer critiques that do not make essentialized claims without warrants about how the AFF's method in particular needs to be rejected. I prefer critical affirmatives be topical in their advocacy statement or policy option.
Disadvantages should explain why they turn the AFF and have terminalized impacts. Uniqueness claims should be descriptive of the status quo, with a predictive claim about what direction the status quo is heading. Politics disadvantages should have well-warranted link stories that explain why the plan uniquely causes losers/win, winners to lose, etc.
Counterplans should solve for at least one of the advantages of the AFF. Plan-inclusive counterplans are core negative ground, though perhaps less so on resolutions with 1 topical affirmative (resolutions that require the AFF to pass a bill, for example). I usually default to counterplans competing based on net benefits, and thus permutation arguments need to explain why the perm shields the link to the disadvantage(s).
Last Updated: October 26, 2017
I have not judged or coached debate since 2014. From 2012-14, I primarily judged parli (NPTE/NPDA) for UC Berkeley and worked with the team throughout the season. I graduated from UC Berkeley where I competed in parli from 2008-12. In high school, I debated policy for four years. I have limited experience judging high school.
- I did not have problems with speed, however, I have not judged in a long time. I will say "slow" if you are going too fast. I will say "clear" if I cannot understand you.
- I don't mind if you prompt your partner or if you tag team cx, but if you do either of these poorly it may affect your speaks.
- You can use your prep time however you like.
- I don't care if you use your cell phone as a timer. If you use it for any other purpose (texting, etc.) it will negatively affect your speaks. Airplane mode is always good.
- You may flow and read cards off your laptop. If you use it for any other purpose (facebook, etc.) it will negatively affect your speaks.
General Argument/Debate Preferences:
- I have no preference for which arguments you run or which strategy you choose.
- While you should tell me how to evaluate every argument you're going for by your final speech, if you do not tell me otherwise I will default to net-benefits on case and competing interpretations on T.
- If you choose to do a performance you must explain why it matters in the round/context of the debate and you must explain the role of the ballot. Every performance debate is different and I will not know how to evaluate your position if you do not tell me. Keep in mind that, without framework/explanation of how your argument functions, you have no offense in the traditional style of debate. I've been told debate has changed a lot in the last three years. I'm sorry if this sounds lame, but please accomodate me and feel free to ask questions before the round.
- Theory positions should have an interpretation. Don't just say that Conditionality is bad; give me the actual rule of the game. For example: the aff can only fiat the USFG, they fiat individual people, this is bad because...
- I do not enforce the trichotomy (the belief that certain topics are fact/value/policy). I believe the debaters should decide this question themselves in the round if necessary.
- I would like you to call points of order in both rebuttals if you feel it is necessary.
- I do not time roadmaps, but if you and the other team would like to I don't mind.
- Points of order should proceed like this: one team calls a point of order and gives a concise uninterrupted explanation of their objection. The other team gives a concise uninterrupted response. The judge decides if the point is or is not well taken. Ongoing argumentation or interrupting the other team will negatively affect your speaks.
- You do not have to stand up at any point in the debate, including points of information or points of order. Choosing to do so is, of course, ok as well.
- I do not enforce protected time. If you do not want to take their question that is totally fine, but if you would like to answer a question I don't think it's fair to enforce this arbitrary rule.
- You do not have to engage in the "parliamentary pageantry", including rounds of thank yous, but if you would like to that's ok. Just be respectful to everyone and you will not lose any speaker points.
- I have not researched this topic and therefore do not know anything outside of common knowledge. Acronyms can be very confusing if you don't know what they mean.
- I have been around debate enough to be familiar with LD style value-criterion debate, but please do not assume I know the nuances of the theory behind it.
- When you run a K or CP, explain to me how the arguments matter in lieu of the value-criteria. If you reject the value-criteria style of debate and choose an alternate framework, make sure to do some comparison with the aff framework and tell me how the arguments function. When there is heavy framework debate at the top and then no articulation on how the CPs and Ks function within those arguments the debate becomes very difficult to adjudicate.
- I have not researched this topic and therefore do not know anything outside of common knowledge. Acronyms can be very confusing if you don't know what they mean.
The allegory of the cornbread:
Debate is like a delicately constructed thanksgiving dinner. Often, if you take time to make sure you don’t serve anyone anything they’re allergic to, we can all grit it and bear it even if we really didn’t want to have marshmallows on our sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes and gravy are just as good as cranberry relish if you make it right. Remember, If you’ve been invited to a thanksgiving dinner you should show up unconditionally unless you have a damn good excuse or your grandma got hit by a reindeer because we’re here to eat around a point of commonality unless your great uncle happens to be super racist. Then don’t go to thanksgiving. I’ll eat anything as long as you’re willing to tell me what’s in it and how to cook it. Remember, you don’t prepare stuffing by making stuffing, that’s not a recipe that’s a tautology. I eat a lot, I’m good at eating, and I’d love to help you learn how to eat and cook too.
PS: And why thanksgiving? Because you’re other options are Christmas featuring a man way too old to be doing that job asking if you’ve been naughty or nice at the hotel lobby, the Easter bunny which is just a man way older than you’d think he is in a suite offering kids his definitely-not-sketchy candy (who maybe aren’t really even old enough to be eating all that candy), or Labor Day where everyone realizes they can’t wear their hoods and be fashionable at the same time.
Background: Parli coach at WWU for one year. Competed in parli at Whitman for three years and one year independently (sco Sweets!). I have no idea if I am or if people perceive me as a K- or policy-oriented judge. I guess I read a lot of disads, topical K affs, disads, and always read, but never went for politics, but I strongly preferred being a double member because I gave no shits about what our strategy was and would defend whatever. So I have no strong preferences regarding argumentative content.
I’ve tried writing a philosophy four or five times this year, and every attempt has ended with one sentence rejecting the proposition of writing in a philosophy in the first place. The short version, and what you probably want to know, is that you can read whatever you want, and should give me a reason why you win and a reason why the other team loses. In the event that the reason you win is also the reason they lose, you should explain how it is so. What follows is not a syncretic philosophy but a disorganized and unenclosed series of thoughts on debate, some arbitrary biases and thresholds, and judging tendencies I’ve noticed in myself. It may or may not be helpful.
I find I feel much less certain about my decisions as a judge than I did about my predictions as a competitor and observer. Actually doing the work of making and justifying a decision almost always necessitates getting my hands dirty in some form or other. Most of my decisions require intervention to vote for any one team, either because certain core questions have not been resolved, or some resolved questions have not been contextualized to one another, or some combination of the two. Recognizing the frequent inevitability of dirty hands in decision-making, I try to stick to both a general principle and practice when judging. In principle, I try to have a justification for every decision I make. In practice, I find I try to limit my intervention to extrapolating from arguments made to resolve unanswered issues; if a certain team is winning a certain part of the flow; what does that mean for this part where no one is clearly ahead but where someone must be to decide the round? This is also means that an easy way to get ahead is doing that work for me--provide the summary and application of an argument in addition to making it.
In general I think framework either tells me how to prioritize impacts or understand solvency, and in particular how to situate solvency in relation to debate as a practice. Most framework arguments I see in-round seem to be made out of a precautious fear of leaving the something crucial open on the line-by-line, but with little understanding of the argument’s application to interpreting the rest of the round. At least, that’s what I felt like when I extended framework arguments for awhile. I don’t understand the argument that fiat is illusory. The advocacy actually being implemented has never been a reason to vote aff, as far as I can tell. The purpose of fiat is to force a “should” and not “will” debate. Framework arguments that dictate and defend a certain standard for the negative’s burden to argue that the advocacy “should not” happen are ideal. I’m open to arguments proposing a different understanding of solvency than what a policymaking framework supplies.
My only other observation about framework debates is that every interpretation seems to get slotted into some “critical non fiat –ology” slot or “policy fiat roleplaying” slot. This is a false binary but its frequent assumption means many non-competitive framework (and advocacies!) are set against each other as if they’re competitive. Policymaking and roleplaying are not the same thing; epistemology and ontology being distinct doesn’t mean they’re inherently competitive, for a couple examples.
This is also the major flaw of most non-topical K v. K debates I see—the advocacies are not competitive. They feel like I.E. speeches forced into the debate format when the content and structure of that content just don’t clash—I mean, it’s like the aff showing up and saying dogs are cool and the neg firing back that cats are cool. It’s just not quite debate as we’re used to, and demands reconceptualizing competition. This is also why I don’t think “no perms in a method debate” makes any sense but I agree with the object of that argument. The topic creates sides—you’re either for or against it. In rounds where each team is just going to propose distinct ways of apprehending the world, whatever that looks like, I see no reason to award noncompetitiveness to either team. (Oh, this should not be used as a justification for negative counterperms. How counterperms being leveraged against perms represents anything less than the death of debate is a mystery to me) I’m not saying don’t have nontopical KvK rounds, please do, just please also read offense against each other’s arguments (cats are cool and dogs are bad). In those rounds, your reason to win is not the same reason the other team loses, which is the case for advocacies which are opportunity costs to each other. For the record, I think critical literature is arguably the most important education debate offers. I just think debate is structured for competition oriented around policy advocacies and the ways that kritikal arguments tend to engage each other challenge that structure in ways we have yet to explore in parli (at least, writ large).
Don’t have anything in particular to say about this other than that I have a high threshold for evaluating anything other than plan text in a vacuum in determining interp violations. Everything else seems a solvency question to me, but make the arguments you want to and can defend.
I’ve noticed that I have a pretty high threshold on independent voters. I voted for an independent voter once when the block went for it. Arguments about discursive issues serve an important purpose. But for arguments read flippantly or as a gotcha or, more often, that lack any substantive impact, I always feel a little guilty voting there and jettisoning the rest of the debate, like feeling bad for picking one spoon over another when you’re a kid. I think a lot of judges want the simple way to vote but I don’t, as far as I can tell. They don’t necessarily have to be complicated, but I like thorough ways to vote, which do often involve a lot of nuance or at least word dancing (I believe debate is fundamentally competitive bullshitting, which I do not mean derisively in the slightest).
Hi! I’m Zach. I debated for 5 years of NPDA/NPTE parli (4 at Cedarville and 1 at SIU) and this is my 6th year coaching/judging. I've been coaching for McKendree since 2017. Here are some of my many thoughts about debate:
- I will flow the round and make a decision based on my flow. I will skip flowing your speech if you insist but I will not evaluate arguments that I don't flow.
- You won't get a 30 unless you give a perfect speech. My average is 28.1 with a standard deviation of 0.6. 27 is the floor unless you do something offensive.
- I've gone back and forth on this a few times and I've decided the best use of this space is just to tell you what I think I'm a good/bad judge for. Standard caveats apply, you should really just do what you do best, don't read something just because I listed it here, but this is what I've learned about myself to help you pref me. I also keep a Google doc with stats for every round I judge.
- Good judge for: topicality, big-stick affs, topic-specific disads, advantage counterplans, K affs that do the work on the flow, framework teams that do the work on the flow, Nietzsche, antiblackness arguments, conditionality, impact turns, pessimism based arguments, defense, creative interpretations of the topic, fast-paced debates, teams that stake out their ground and defend it
- Medium judge for: politics, process counterplans, soft left affs, Marx, Foucault, D&G/Bataille/most other Eurotrash, Buddhism (unfortunately), counterplan theory, novelty, teams that win by tricking the other team, probably anything else I didn't think to list above or below
- Bad judge for: K aff teams that think I'll autovote for them for ideological reasons, framework teams that think I'll autovote for them for ideological reasons, Lacan/psychoanalysis, Baudrillard, any argument that posits that rocks and/or animals are people, fact or value affs
- It will take a Herculean effort to make me vote for: spec, AFC, any other theory that makes me roll my eyes (e.g. must pass texts at X time), RVIs
- Will not vote for: negative kritiks that don't have a link to the aff, any theory if the other team wins a we meet, arguments about something that happened in another round/that I cannot verify
1. Sure debate is game. But who said that games don't matter?
2. You are always you. You can say your roleplaying, but how do you roleplay out of your own ethics or responsibilities? Is that even possible?
3. Black lives matter. Black debaters matter.
4. The world is--literally--on fire. Right now, perhaps even our games should matter.
-If I show preference for a genre of arguments, it’s not known to me. I wish for folks to read the arguments they find strategic/interesting and try not to worry about my feelings. This could mean, however, that non-topical approaches to debate are more good with me than you'd prefer. I’m not begging for framework in response to those positions, but I also feel like I will absolutely vote on framework if you win the position.
-I enjoy quick, technical debates over debates where public presentation is prioritized. I’m also open to being persuaded that quick, technical debates are bad/wrong/misguided for any number of reasons. I rarely find arguments suggesting speed is a tool of exclusion compelling, however, I also think speed as a means to avoid substantive engagement is weak in the paint.
-I like procedural arguments, in general. However, I like arguments with clear links and reasonable standards, so… too much theory, too fast… bums me out. I'm often disappointed when folks go for things like condo in the last speech (an out is an out, I'd just rather see other strats, all things being equal). I often think MG theory makes debates less good.
-Fast rounds are fun, but too fast rounds are a smidge miserable. I wish I could give a clear idea of what too fast means, but that’s tough. I feel like if it’d be difficult for you to flow your speech, you’re too fast. If it sounds like you’re reading cards, that’s too fast.
-Arguments that rely on subtle tricks and logic games are not necessarily intuitive, for me. I was bad at logic in college and would not describe myself as mathematically inclined. I feel more comfortable with arguments that demonstrate narrative cohesion and substantive engagement.
My background as a competitor involved a couple years reading primarily policy strategies and a couple years reading primarily old-white-man criticisms (Baudrillard, Marx, Lacan, etc). As a coach, my teams have dipped their toes into nearly every kind of argument. I love it all, when it is done well. I can hate it all, when it ain't.
I feel comfortable judging any “genre” of argument and have no real argument preference beyond the desire to see clash.
Debate is the most fun and the most educational when a variety of argumentative styles, people, knowledge bases, and strategies are given room to thrive. I feel lucky to have judged a vast array of different arguments in my judging career. One of my main goals as a judge is to allow teams to run the arguments they feel are most compelling in front of me. I’ve picked up teams reading structural indictments of debate about as many times as I’ve picked up teams reading policy affirmatives and defending incrementalism.
It is my goal to involve myself in the debate round as little as possible. I have no preference for any particular kind of argument and generally feel that almost every debate issue can be resolved in the round. I will vote for arguments with warrants. I will try my best to synthesize your arguments, but I also believe that to be a central skill of effective debaters.
I will vote for arguments I think are stupid 10 out of 10 times if they are won in the round.
I rely on my flow to decide the round. I attempt to flow performances and I do my best to write down what you’re saying as close to verbatim as my fingers allow me. If there is an expectation that I not decide the round based on the way I understand argument interaction on my flow, that should be stated explicitly and it would be a good idea to tell me how I am intended to evaluate the debate round.
Emphasize explanation early… don’t let your argument make sense for the first time in the LOR or PMR etc.
All constructive speeches should take a question if asked, and it’s strategic to ask questions (unless there is flex, then I'm agnostic on this question).
Theory interpretations and advocacy statements should be read slowly and read twice.
Points of Order should be called, but I will also do my best to protect new arguments… don’t be excessive with them though [I’ll be vague about what that means, but be an adult]
RVI’s have never been good arguments, read them at your own risk.
I cut my teeth on procedural arguments in college, and I am still a huge fan. To vote on a procedural, I need an interpretation explaining how the debate should be evaluated, a violation detailing specifically why the other team does not fit within that interpretation, standards that explain why the interpretation is good, and a voter that outlines why I should vote on the argument. PLEASE read your interpretation/definition slowly and probably repeat it. It is good to have an interpretation that makes some sense.
DAs and Advs. require uniqueness arguments that explain why the situation the affirmative causes is not happening in the status quo. Defensive arguments are useful, but they often serve to make offensive arguments more impactful or serve as risk mitigation, as opposed to terminal takeouts.
I ran politics in a majority of my negative rounds and I coach my teams to read the position as well. So, I will totally vote on politics every time it is won. That being said, I’m finding the position to be one my least favorite and least compelling these days. The obscene nature of congress make the position even more laughable than it was in the past [and it’s always been sketchy at best, without cards (and with?)]. Read the DA if you’re a politics team, but there are almost always better arguments out there.
Critique debates can be fun to watch, but only when the position is clear at the thesis level. If your shell argues that the K is a prior question or something like that, spend some meaningful time explaining why that’s the case instead of “shadow” extending an argument from the shell. I am familiar with a lot of the literature, but you should argue the position as if I am not. Critiques are totally dope, but only because they have the potential to advance compelling arguments… not because they are obtuse.
Framework debates (on the top of critique... i.e.: epistemology comes first) are a waste of time a vast majority of the time. I do not understand why teams spend any substantive amount of time on framework. The question of whether the affirmative methodology/epistemology/whatever vague term you want to use, is good or bad should be determined in the links and impacts of the criticism. I see almost no world where framework matters independent of the rest of the shell. So… the only K framework questions that tend to make sense to me are arguments about why it is a prior question. It makes sense that if the critique wins that the affirmative impacts are threat constructions that I’m not going to weigh the affirmative impacts against the position. That’s not a framework debate though, that’s a question determined by winning the thesis of the position.
Critical affirmatives can be cool, but they also put me in a weird position as a judge sometimes. If your affirmative is positioned to critique DAs, then I still want to see specific applications of those arguments to the DAs. I need to see how the DA demonstrates your argument to be true in some specific way. By that I mean, if the negative outright wins a DA, I would need to see why that would mean the affirmative shouldn’t lose early, often, and specifically. The same is true of any set/genre of negative positions.
Performance/Non-Topical Affirmatives/Alternative Approaches to Debate
I tend to not have super strong feelings in favor or in opposition to “performance” style arguments. Several of the teams I have coached have run non-traditional arguments and I have seen those be incredibly beneficial for the debaters and have a positive effect on education garnered from their rounds. I have also seen people really struggle with performance-style arguments on an interpersonal level, in both advocating their positions and responding to others doing so. I defer to the debaters to wade through the various issues related to alternative approaches to debate.
I will vote for framework as answer to these arguments if the other team “wins” the position. However, I also think most non-topical affirmatives are written with 5 minutes of impact turns to framework. Affirmatives must explicitly extend those kinds of arguments to answer framework (don't assume I understand how that's happening just by you extending the affirmative) and teams going for framework should not assume the "a priori" nature of theory means I reject the aff out-of-hand.
I tend to think arguments about the collapse of debate due to alternative approaches to debate, are frequently poorly warranted. Which doesn't mean those warrants don't exist... I just need them to be made explicitly. Debate can look like many things, and still be interesting/educational/productive, in my mind. However, I also believe compelling arguments about "topical versions of the affirmative" can be very compelling. If there is a way to read your criticism as a nuanced way to affirm the resolution, you've probably landed close to my ideal version of critically framed affirmatives. Affirmatives seeking to indict structural conditions of debate can also be very compelling, too. I hope to put my personal desires for a particular model/instantiation of debate to the side in any particular round I'm judging.
In general, the CP/DA debate is probably what I feel most comfortable judging accurately and I think CPs that solve the affirmative are very strategic. There are probably enough arguments on both sides to justify different interpretations of how permutation or CP theory in general should go down, that I don’t have strong opinions about many CP related issues.
I tend to think objections to conditionality are rooted in some very valid arguments, however I find myself concluding conditionality is probably more good than bad in my mind. That only means the conditionality debate is totally fair game and I probably have voted conditionality bad as many times as I have voted it is good.
Cheater CPs are cool with me, so feel free to deploy delay, conditions, consult, whatever. I tend to think the theory arguments read in answer to those positions are more persuasive than the answers when argued perfectly, but that in no way makes me more predisposed to reject any kind of CP strategy.
Hopefully this blurb only convinces you to read the arguments that you want to read...
This is my second-year coaching parli at WWU and my tenth year in the activity so I've probably seen a flavor of the arguments that you want to deploy. That being stated, I try to evaluate the round through the lens that you provide. If that means I adopt a normative utilitarian calculus then cool. Want me to not evaluate strictly from the flow? Awesome--just make sure that you provide an alternative weighing mechanism.
When I was debating I was a huge proponent of the classic TKO strategy but that shouldn’t deter you from running CPs, projects, or anything in front of me. While I do have theoretical dispositions against delay, object-fiat, and study CPs, that doesn’t mean that I will automatically drop a team for running those args. Though it is fair to say that I hold arguments that purposefully try to skew the other team out of the round to a higher level of skepticism. In other words, it’s not a good strategy to read 5 off that is littered with PoMo nonsense against a novice team when I’m sitting in the back. So be cool, have fun, and do what you think is best.
Some other random tidbits:
· Speaker points range from 25-30 with 25 needing major improvement, 27.5 being average, and 30 being perfect
· If you’re being excessively mean or violent then I won’t hesitate to vote you down: you are privileged enough to operate within this space but that doesn’t allow you to be an asshole.
· I’ll rule on a POO but often times they’re unnecessary; there is never a need to do it more than 3 times (I promise I’ll notice any new arguments) and they are often a non-sequitur to the heart of the debate.
· K v. K debates are BORING unless you can delineate between the competing methods
o You are allowed to perm in a methods debate unless there is a compelling argument for why you shouldn’t
o The Kritik should have a clear solvency mechanism and framework arguments should specifically lay out how the other team can engage with your arguments.
· Don’t run theory as a time suck
· For the love of all things sacred if you’re going for a procedural then only go for the procedural
o Demonstrated abuse is helpful but not required for my ballot on T
· If you’re clearly winning the debate then finish your speech and sit down—there’s no reason to beat a dead horse
· Clash of civilization debates are the way to my heart
· Obvi don’t expect me to fill in or favor your arguments just because they stem from an ideology that I also occupy
I debated throughout high school and then at Idaho State University for 5 years. I then coached at Idaho State University for 2 years, Weber for 1, and USC for 1. I've been out of the game this season, fair warning.
I am a firm believer that debate is for debaters. I've had my time to make others listen to whatever (and I mean absolutely whatever) I wanted to say, and it's my turn to listen to and evaluate your arguments, whatever they may be. While I'm sure I have my limitations, make me adapt to you instead of the other way around.
I try my damnedest to line up all the arguments on my flow. I am, however, open to alternate flowing styles. I really do prefer when debaters make specific reference of which argument(s) they are answering at a given time regardless of flowing style. I also flow the text of cards.
I prefer not to call for evidence (although I would like to be on your email chain... email@example.com). This means explain, explain, explain! Tell me what the card says; tell me why I should care and how I should apply it. That being said, I do not think that cards are always better than analytics.
Be prepared to defend all aspects of your argument.
Everything is open to (re)interpretation. For example, some questions that may be relevant to my ballot include: What is the purpose of debate? How does this affect the way that impacts are evaluated? These kinds of top-level framing issues are the most important to me.
This means things like framework and T (fun little-known fact: I've always found topicality in general super interesting--I love the nit-picky semantics of language) can be viable options against K affs. However, you are better off if you have a substantive response to the aff included as well.
I'm still kind of deciding how I feel about how competition functions in method debates. I think the most accurate depiction of what I think about it now is this (and it all obviously depends on what's happening in the debate/on the flow, but in general): I'll probably err that the affirmative on-face gets a permutation to determine if the methods are mutually exclusive, and so that means the best strategy for the negative in this world is to generate their links to the aff's method itself to prove that mutual exclusivity.
I'd really appreciate it if you could warn me in advance if there will be graphic descriptions of sexual violence.
Overview: In general, I am most comfortable in a policy making paradigm. A specific plan tends to offer the best focus for debate. However, I understand that not all resolutions are translatable into “policy” language. In those cases, the teams must clarify their frame, and how it should be evaluated. Criteria should be more carefully thought out than “net benefits” or “preponderance of evidence” as to what is to be weighed and should be identified along with how the weighing takes place. The opposition team should feel free to offer counter criteria.
Resolutionality/Topicality should be impacted by the opposition team with something other than “unfair” or “abusive.” There should be a good reason based in decision making integrity and advocacy that drives this argument rather than the opposition didn’t think of it or doesn’t want to talk about it. Must be in round abuse, not potential. Generally, cases that are hiding from the subject matter of the resolution are weak logically, and subject to critique for refusing to address important issues. Have substantive reason for voting on Res/T arguments, and in round vs. potential abuse. NOTE: I tend to NOT vote on T
Procedure: Please note that I likely will just “take into consideration” points of order that identify “new” arguments in rebuttals. I will penalize speaker points if the point is made and I feel it is inaccurate, or just a tactic to disrupt the speaker.
Points of information are obviously strategic both as interruption devices and as a means to elicit information. Debaters should make sure they are judicious in their use of them simply to interrupt. There is such a thing as a stupid question.
Style: I tend not to follow much of the traditional or formal elements of the activity that are stylizations of parliamentary practice: 1.) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time; 2.) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesn’t mean I don’t like you; 3.) Don’t do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand; 4.) I won’t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech of no more than whatever, you know the order, speak; 5.) I will include thank-you and road map time in speech time.
Delivery: Structure is important and should be verbally identified as you speak. It should be clear where you are refuting and extending arguments. Simply going down the flow is not good enough, you should still be identifying the argument you are addressing by something other than “next.” I will reward humor and positive attitude.
Argumentative Preferences: I try not to eliminate any arguments simply because of their “title,” i.e. like “kritik” or Counterplan. However, any argument, even disadvantages, can be run poorly and weakly applied. I try to focus on the content of the argument and its application instead of its title. Please weigh arguments against each other and be aware of the others teams arguments as well when weighing.
Aff “Projects”: Would prefer them to have links in the resolution and talk about the subject of the resolution even if just filtered through your project. I have deep doubts that the flaws of our activity will be solved by my ballot in a contest situation where the other team is automatically demonized and placed in binary opposition, your project should probably be presented at a business meeting to get any real outcome. But, if you run one I will try to evaluate based on both teams handling of framework.
This is an amendment to my posted judging philosophies, to which the content/style/preferences are all unmodified; this just serves as a “rider” to those documents
From this point forward, should any debater raise an issue in the debate that relates to the experience of personally being placed in a hostile environment or experiencing a harassing situation by participating in the activity, at the end of the round I am going to take that issue to the tournament director or ombudsperson for follow up. The intent is not to silence persons, or have them avoid talking about these things in rounds, but if harm has been done to you, I cannot leave it alone with the filling out of my ballot.
I feel obligated to take this position for several reasons:
1. It is a legal requirement. I face liability if I do not.
As per University Policy 1600.04:
“8. Employees Must Report Sexual Misconduct. Employees have a duty to promptly report to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity, Title IX Coordinator, known or suspected incidents of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct (except for those employees statutorily barred from sharing such information). Students and visitors are also encouraged to report this.”
2. This requirement extends to all places WWU is participating in activities related to University business.
“POL-U1600.04 PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO SEX DISCRIMINATION, INCLUDING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: This policy applies to all students, employees, agents, groups, third parties, individuals, and organizations that use University facilities and persons who participate in University programs and activities to the extent provided by law, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This policy applies to all Western locations (i.e., main campus, satellite locations, Lakewood); locations where Western activities are taking place (i.e., field trips, away sporting events); Western sponsored transportation (i.e., buses to off-campus events); and off-campus non Western sponsored events where the off-campus behavior creates a negative adverse impact back on campus.”
3. I am no longer personally accepting of harmful activities towards others others being part of the content and “contest” of debate. There is absolutely NO debate possible about the acceptability of such behaviors. I am no longer willing to let my ballot alone be a referendum on such behaviors.
I debated npda/npte parli for UC Berkeley from 2011 to 2015, where I graduated with a degree in computer science. I also debated three years of circuit LD in high school. Overall, I largely view debate as a game, and think that you should do what you think gives you the best chance to win it.
- I am fine with whatever level of speed you wish to debate at, but be sure to make sure the rest of the debaters in the room are as well.
- I will listen to any type of argument you like, as long as you are able to justify it. However, I’ll go into further detail in later sections as to my tendencies that might deviate from the average parli judge.
- I evaluate the round based on my flow. As of now I'm not sure what to do about arguments telling me this is bad. Perhaps the best case for you if you tell me this method of evaluation is problematic is that I will be slightly less picky about my flow, but don't count on it.
- My overall knowledge of the world is limited mostly to news headlines and debate experience. If you are reading an intricate scenario, just explain it carefully and you should be fine.
- My personally experience of debate was split fairly evenly between policy and critical.
- I do have a moderate preference that the affirmative defend the resolution (perhaps if you want to be critical, find a topical way to do so without fiat). That being said, good argumentation can certainly override this preference, and while I might like a good framework debate, I will not give credence to a bad one.
Case Debate / Disads:
- For both the aff and neg, the more specific your links are to the plan the better.
- Be sure to fully terminalize your impacts, I might feel uncomfortable doing that work for you. If the terminalized form of your opponent’s impacts are not obvious, I find pointing this out to be a strong way to outweigh them.
- I have little bias for or against condo, debate to your style here.
- If you want to run other “cheater” counterplans, I find that topic specific reasons those counterplans should be relevant are persuasive responses to theory.
- A personal favorite of mine, at least early in my career. I will appreciate nuanced and well thought out theory debate, but don’t think that I’ll give you credence on a bad shell or make internal links for you.
- I default to competing interpretations, and absent a clear definition of some alternative, I find it very difficult to evaluate theory under reasonability.
- Competing interpretations means you need to either win a we-meet or superior offense to a counter interpretation.
- I personally find fairness claims more compelling than education, but any arguments about the order of these two made it round will instantly override that.
- By default I will assume any 4 point shell is reject the team, and any paragraph theory (often seen as responses to cheater perms) is reject the arg, absent the team reading the shell specifying the opposite.
- RVIs will be a very uphill battle, if you really want to go here please read unique, maybe round specific arguments.
- I read and collapsed to Ks in the majority of my neg rounds. I believe I would be comfortable evaluating most Ks that could come up in parli.
- Specific warrants and examples from the real world, as opposed to making the same assertion that your author claims, will generally help put you further ahead both when reading and answering a K.
- A pet peeve of mine is when every alt solvency argument is just a perm pre-empt (you'd be suprised how often I've seen this). Please also warrant why your alt solves your K.
- I might be slightly less inclined to wave away the framework of a K than the average parli judge, especially if there are more specific arguments being made than the standard stuff where everyone’s impacts seem to end up getting compared on the same level. That being said, if all you plan to do is read the super generic K framework arguments, I’m perfectly fine if you just cut it out from the beginning and go for root cause. Side note, if you do this, be wary of timeframe on extinction impacts.
- I read a lot of pomo as a debater, so if you want to bite the bullet and make people to justify why intuitive things are real/bad, go ahead and do so.
- As I said earlier, I prefer that teams find a way to defend the topic.
- I find topic specific critical affirmatives or smart critical advantages to be very strategic.
- If you are answering framework, saying that the shell is a re-link to the K is not independently a logical takeout of the theory. Often these debates devolve and become a circular mess of each position denying that the other should exist. Find a way to make your approach to this problem more nuanced than your opponents'.
last updated: 1/3/2016