Jean Ward Invitational
2018 — Portland, OR/US
Policy Judge Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I was a high school and college policy debater in the 1980's. I have taught policy debate for 21 years both in California and Oregon. I have coached several policy teams to nationals. I love this form of debate.
I am a real world policy maker judge, who is somewhat traditional. I look to see who advocates for most viable and beneficial policy. I am a recovering stock issues judge.
What Makes Me Smile
I like to see an organized flow, with lots of analysis connecting evidence to claims. I also like to see a fun spirited debate, where debaters are polite to one another and are in this activity to learn, not just to win.
I can flow a fast debate, but prefer communication over speed. I find that most policy debaters who spew, can't really handle the speed they are attempting and therefore lose their judge and opponents, ultimately rendering this communication event moot. However, if you must race through your arguments, at least be slow and clear on the tags.
I do not like Kritiks. I will listen to them and weigh them against other arguments on the flow, but overall am not a big fan. If you run a K, make sure to fully explain your philosophical position and don't run positions that will bite your K.
I will vote on T if not used as a time suck. "If you run it, go for it, don't kick out of 4 T's in your last rebuttal."
Tag Team CX
I don't mind tag team cx; however, I award speaker points based on your ability to ask and answer questions, so if one partner is "tooling" another, then one of you will suffer point wise. I like to see that both partners are knowledgable about the topic and debate theory and get disgruntled when one partner will not allow the other partner a chance to answer any questions.
What? Really? No!
I don't count flash time as prep time, unless it becomes ridiculous.
I debated in policy and parliamentary debate at the high school and college level and have been helping coach for the past two years. For policy debate, I competed for two years in high school and one year in college. For parliamentary debate, I competed in one year in high school and four years in college.
I will vote on any kind of argument as long as you justify why it matters.
I am fine with speed but prefer you slow down on arguments with short warrants (ie topicality and theory).
I do not time the exchange of evidence as long as you are obviously not prepping. I will not hesitate to start the timer if you are using that time to prep.
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current: OES (Oregon Episcopal School) 7 years
- Cornell assistant coach
- UW debater
- Interlake debater (long time ago)
1. Open to any argument.
2. Debate is a game. You get to set the rules, except for speech times, speech order, and prep time.
3. Tech > truth. I am deeply suspicious of truth claims in debate. I endeavor to be flow centric in my judging.
4. Don't steal prep.
5. Debate is a scholarly activity. Sharp use of excellent ev is compelling to me.
6. If I seem grumpy, it just means I'm engaged and interested.
Comments on specific lines of argument:
The general rule is that T is great, subject to the exceptions below in the "Substantive arguments" section. Innovative interps or well carded args on T are refreshing.
Theory other than T
I vote for and against theory args.
- Condo / dispo: make no assumptions about the number of neg positions a team gets. Default to dispo (its ok to kick). Need justification for condo (its ok to contradict). Willing to change these defaults.
- Framework / T USFG: sure, but you will be more successful if you also engage substantively with the aff even if you don't ultimately go for those args in the 2NR.
- ASPEC, OSPEC, etc: if they are meaningful arguments, no problem voting for them.
- Novel or resurrected theory: explain it, win it, and the ballot is yours.
Straight forward. A couple of pet peeves:
- "Perm do both" is not an argument. Perms need an explanation of how they function and why they disprove competition.
- "Perms are severance and VI" is not an argument. As a default, perms are a test of competition and not an advocacy, barring an actual shift by the aff.
Mild preference for Ks grounded in the topic or with meaningful links to the aff. Links of omission are usually not persuasive.
Since I have been increasingly judging LD as well as continuing to judge Policy, I thought I should briefly discuss my LD paradigm. Please include me on Email chains. My Email is email@example.com
MY LD PARADIGM:
As I frequently tell LD debaters, "My paradigm as an LD judge is that I'm a Policy judge." Ha, ha! OK, but, really, please do read the Policy paradigm below as well as this LD paradigm. Since all LD topics have some policy aspect to them, I remain interested in that, but I also enjoy a good V/C debate, which is essential to LD - if you don't want to have that discussion, you might as well do a Policy debate performance case, since Policy doesn't use values/criteria either.
A creative, thoughtful V/C really gets my attention, especially if you relate everything in your case/your opponent's case/V/C back to it. In that sense, LD requires far more mental and organizational aerobics and acrobatics than Policy does. You need to deal with your case, your opponent's case, ensure your V/C are upheld and demonstrate either that they are superior to your opponent's V/C or that your case meets both your and your opponent's V/C. I am fine with plans and with counterplans, but if you're going to run a CP, make sure you understand how to do so. I am fine with theory debates as long as you relate them back to some actual argument. I am more interested in arguments dealing with the topic than dealing with the theory of debate.
MY POLICY PARADIGM:
I like Policy debate because there's a structure of sorts and because I believe that if we recognize something is a problem, we need to resolve it, which requires a solution. For me, that means stock issues and some kind of resolution of the harms the Aff delineates. You can rarely, if ever, go wrong, by arguing appropriate stock issues. For me, the three primary stock issues are solvency, which is key to evaluating the effectiveness of a policy; inherency, which few teams understand or argue effectively, but, which real, live, adult policy makers use every day to determine responses to problems, and, presumption, which is a default policy-maker position and to which few people today appeal. I like a good T debate, but, not on cases when virtually any rational person would agree that a case is topical. I am far more likely to buy that a case is “reasonably” topical than I am to agreeing that it must meet some arcane Neg definition of a term like “it” or “is.” That’s simply abusive and I will cheerfully agree w/the Aff that calls foul on this. Also, this absurd argument that everyone should disclose their case before the round begins will gain no traction with me. One of the benefits of debate is learning how to respond quickly and effectively to new ideas and information on your feet. If you’re not prepared to debate the topic, stay home. There are other reasons to reject most Affs that involve arguments on actual issues, so use those issues instead of whining that you’ve never heard this case before.
I also like cases that are at least minimally topical. For example, if the topic calls for the USFG to substantially increase security cooperation with NATO in the areas of cyber security, AI or biotechnology, the case should be at least dimly related to finding some way to do so. I’m generally not a fan of K affs but sadly (for me) I will listen to anything and judge it as neutrally as possible.
I am also a policy judge; after over 25 years as a Foreign Service Officer in the United States Department of State, I know what a coherent policy looks like and how, in the real world, policies are developed and implemented. Cases that don't offer a real policy with at least some nebulous solution to the problem, i.e. cases that offer some ephemeral philosophy that a judge is supposed to implement through "in-round solvency ballot-signing" are relatively unattractive to me. That doesn't mean I won't vote for them, but only when the Neg won't make the most minimal effort to argue the case in context of stock issues or policy-making. Sadly, some Negs don't do this. If only they realized how easy it would be to get my ballot by doing so!
But, after having said that, I also look at who won which issues: who won the most important stock issues and which policy solved the problem more effectively with the fewest disadvantages and made the better sense, so, ultimately, it's about persuasion as well. I will vote for cases I don't like and don't think are topical or inherent, for example, if the Neg either fails to respond effectively or simply can't win the argument. I will not make your arguments for you or infer what you meant to say. I like CPs, but, as an elderly person who has been doing this since 1968, I think they should be untopical. If not, then, we have two affirmatives arguing for the resolution and presumption shifts to the Aff. Also, having a net benefit that is more than just avoiding some stock DA is a plus. That's because if you lose the DA, then, whoosh! Your NB is gone, too. Feel free to run a NB w/in the CP and a DA outside of it.
If you want to run a K, feel free to do so, but, since most of them are non-unique, have no link to the Aff, no threshold and don't provide, in most instances, a viable policy option to the Aff, it's pretty easy for the Aff to beat a K. I have voted for Ks before, but, generally, only when the Aff failed to win the argument. The more you link the K directly to the case and the more explanatory your alt is, the more persuasive your K will be. Also, and this is particularly for K Affs, please don’t take the tack that because you got up and read a speech or performed in front of me that I am legally, morally and ethically required to vote for you.
THINGS THAT LESSEN YOUR CHANCES OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND AN L3 BALLOT: Really long, long, long taglines, especially ones that contain large amounts of philo/psychobabble gobbledegook. If your tag line is longer than the piece of evidence you cite, that’s a problem. Debaters who don't pause between taglines and the evidence. Stock DAs with no unique link to the current Aff being debated. Poor refutation organization - if you don't tell me where you're going, it's hard to follow you and you significantly decrease your chances of me putting the argument where YOU want it. Please understand that I flow arguments, not authors. When you extend an author whose name I have not flowed, I don’t know where to put the extension. Anyway, you’re not extending evidence as much as you’re extending an ARGUMENT. When you extend your argument, tell me which specific contention, advantage, argument or subpoint you’re refuting. Line by line is good! I really, really HATE debates that become primarily about the theory of how we're debating the issue than about the issue itself.
In terms of speed, less is more. I like to be persuaded and if I can't understand what you're saying, then, you're not very persuasive. COVID wrecked my hearing – I have tinnitus, so the louder you speak (especially if it’s an online tournament) the better.
Debate is the best game ever invented and we are all lucky to play it.
My name is Mat Marr and I am the Director of Forensics for Able2Shine and manager of the BASIS Fremont team.
Background: I debated policy in high school for three years including nationals. I qualified for nationals all four years in Foreign Extemp. I switched to LD my senior year and qualified for Tournament of Champions after a strong season on the national circuit. In college my partner and I broke at Parli nationals as freshmen. (Summary, I was decent at debate 20 years ago, but not the best, and I have some experience with all the styles but from judging and coaching in recent years and I am enjoying how debate is evolving.)
I try to be a pure flow judge. I don't flow CX.
Make sure you tell me where to record your arguments and use numbering, so I can track them. Be clear and direct in your refutations to your opponents arguments.
I have no strong biases for or against certain arguments (as a judge). That also means I do not assume impacts, such as topicality being a voter, unless argued in round. Tell me why your arguments are superior in reasoning and/or evidence.
I am fine with speed within reason but think its tactical value is limited.
Most importantly remember what a privilege it is to be able to spend our time debating and treat each other with respect. Thus, please be polite, inclusive and friendly and make the most of the opportunity to debate the important issues in a safe and supportive environment.
Good skill and have fun.
Specific event notes:
Parli- Please take a few questions in each constructive speech.
ToC Parli- I will not protect against new arguments in rebuttal if you choose not to use your point of order. I will vote for any well-argued position but generally enjoy topic specific policy debates.
Public Forum- Feel free to answer rebuttal as the second speech.
I am happy to discuss flows after rounds, find me and we can talk.
For email chains feel free to use my email : AshlandDebateTeam@gmail.com
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW EDIT: I have taken ~1 year off from debate and will be fresh to the topic as well, everything else below is still valid. Prior to the 2019/2020 school year though I was judging 50+ rounds a year w/ TOC & National qualifying teams on my squad.
I have competed and judged for a combined +14 years (averaging 40+ rounds a year) at the varsity-national circuit level.
If I debated in this current era I would be a framework debater. Tech > Truth, up until the point where I need to evaluate directly two objective claims (this happens less than you would think).
I have not read every piece of critical literature that you have read to write your arguments.
I will vote on 0% risk if there is dropped defense or even much better warranted argumentation, but I default to a 1% risk calculus most of the time.
I am OK with any level of speed. I think it is worth reminding most debaters that I am (oftentimes) not looking directly at your evidence as you read it which means that varying tone/speed on tags is necessary. Only be rude if you can back it up.
What I aim for:
I believe that the debaters frame the debate round. Any RoB or Framework lens will stand and will guide my ballot unless contested. I will default to a policy maker/utilitarian if no one tells me otherwise. Overall, I aim to leave my biases towards positions out of an objective evaluation of the arguments as they are flowed.
Debate is a game; create your own rules. However, ensure that they provide competitive fairness to both teams (I think fairness is intrinsic to debate/a competitive activity). I firmly believe that the K needs to provide a fair division of ground for the opposing team to argue - you need to explain what your alternative is doing well enough that I know what I am voting for, not simply that the plan is what I shouldn't.
If Framework wasn't applicable to a round I would be reading mostly a CP/DA combo. But that doesn't mean I won't hear your Kritik, just please make sure it follows the above two criteria (provides fairness, has an explainable alternative).
Things I like:
Make signing my ballot very clear and easy; take the easy way out. Creative topicality violations and well thought out theory debates. Uphold competitive equity. Don't use every second of your prep time if you are clearly ahead and don't need it. I believe some T debates can be resolved with only a bold "we meet (+ explanation)."
Stealing prep and not realizing it. If no one is taking prep in the room do not be typing on your computer, flash/email time is not a free-for-all. Telling me a team dropped an argument when they didn't. The sudden shift of teams seemingly not flowing arguments makes for very poor line-by-line and that makes for worse quality debates. Card clipping will get you in a lot of trouble on my ballots; have integrity. If you say "cut the card there" I will ask to see your evidence (if not already on an email chain) and I will expect you to mark your evidence accordingly. I actively monitor for card clipping if your behavior makes me suspicious and I will drop teams that do any degree of clipping.