National Debate Coaches Association National Championship
2018 — Marist School, GA/US
Lincoln Douglas Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I expect the debate to be conducted as though it were a classroom setting. As such inappropriate behavior, specifically cursing, will not be tolerated. If you choose to curse during the debate expect dramatically lower speaker points. Further, if the behavior of one of the teams crosses the line into what I deem to be inappropriate or highly objectionable behavior I will stop the debate and award a loss to the offending team. Examples of this behavior include but are not limited to highly sexual or sexualized performances, abusive behavior or threats of violences.
The execution of the argument is almost as important as the quality of the evidence supporting the argument. A really good disad with good cards that is poorly explained and poorly extended is not compelling to me. Conversely a well explained argument with evidence of poor quality is also unlikely to impress me.
Critiques: If your K is not mainstream you will need to explain it to me. Probably most importantly though, the affirmative can make a wide range of critical arguments in front of me but will be way better off if they have a plan or defend a policy alternative. I have a very strong neg leaning on the question of whether the aff should have a plan or should have to defend something. Finally, arguments like “debate is bad and should be destroyed" will likely not be compelling to me.
Topicality/Theory: I am slightly less prone than other judges to vote on topicality. Although I do take a fairly strict view of the topic and am willing to enforce that view when teams do a good job of arguing topicality I often find topicality arguments that are not based on expert/technical definitions of key terms of art in the resolution to fairly hard for the negative to win. I probably err slightly neg. on most theory issues, though I have voted aff. on things like PIC’s bad, etc. so I am not terribly biased. Arguments like “abbreviating USFG is too vague” or “You misspelled enforcement and that’s a VI” are non-starters. Don’t waste your time. Theory arguments are generally too underdeveloped for my tastes so if that is a key part of your strategy invest some time.
Evidence: Quality is extremely important and seems to be declining. I have noticed a disturbing trend towards people reading short cards with little or no explanation in them or that are underlined such that they are barely sentence fragments. I will not give you credit for unread portions of evidence.
Cross examination: is very important. Cross-ex should be more than I need this card and what is your third answer to X. A good cross-ex will dramatically increase your points, a bad one will hurt them. Everyone in the debate should be courteous.
My policy philosophy mostly applies here - my background is almost entirely in policy debate though I have been coaching LD more and more. But it is hard for me to separate my years of policy debate experience from the way I judge LD debates.
Having said that here are some things that specifically apply to my LD judging. First, I am strongly opposed to the disturbing trend of every debate becoming a theory debate. I do believe that there is a time and a place for theory debates and that this is an important check on abusive arguments, but in most instances the theory debates I have seen are about inane or non-abusive practices that almost certainly do not rise to the level of being voting issues in my opinion. I think many LD debaters would benefit from learning to explain "reject the argument not the debater" a little better or why even if their opponent wins a theory argument it may not be a voting issue. Having said that I try very hard not impose my views on the debate round and have voted for theory arguments several times that I thought were not especially good.
Second, I think that many debates about values/value criteria are very difficult to sort out. Be clear about why justice is more important than util or whatever your value is. Likewise debates about values should never turn into theory debates.
Third, the trend of frontloading theory pre-empts into the AC is terrible. It is very, very unlikely that I will vote on poorly explained, blippy theory pre-empts. Your time would be better spent reading cards about the topic.
The only thing I will add here is that I strongly oppose the practice of paraphrasing evidence. I will not look through an entire article to find out if your paraphrasing accurately reflects the article. If you cannot point to a specific line or paragraph in the article I will disregard your paraphrasing entirely. If I am your judge I would strongly suggest reading only direct quotations in your speeches.
San Jose, CA
Policy philosophy below, LD additions at the bottom
Do your best to flow and not just read the speech document. I will be flowing and will hold you responsible for things your opponent says, not their document alone.
Most of you need to slow down. Either: 1) you are not really gaining time because you are gasping/stumbling/repeating yourself/mumbling/interjecting meaningless phrases like "in a world in which we win" and "we will always win that" in an effort to go fast, or 2) you are speaking in a monotone that makes cards sound like a meaningless buzz. I give higher points to debaters who have natural sounding voices and breathing patterns + have speeches that are dense in substance/efficient. If you can do those things while speaking quickly, great!
Also, be professional. No swearing, no rudeness, no harassing speech etc.
It is a speech—it should be 3 minutes long (no “I’ll take prep for an extra question”). Also, stand up, face me, and ask questions. Intervene in a partner’s CX if you have to but with the same caution you would have if interrupting your partner during any other speech.
My argument preferences are below but they rarely matter all that much. I have voted for consult, non-plan affs, ASPEC etc. Ultimately, I will be flow oriented so just do your best.
I will vote on T if the interpretation is well developed and predictable (not arbitrarily designed to exclude the aff). Do what you need to but your 1NC will be more impressive if it is free of throw-aways. I do not think that the aff should have to specify more than what the resolution demands.
Neg on the K: I do not mind them. You are better off if the K turns the case or has a clear DA to the case than if there is some decision rule argument like “no value to life.” Pulling links from the 1AC, or giving an example of how the K is the cause of the harms, or explaining how it would turn the aff in real world terms also helps. Try to adapt the K to the aff. I have found myself voting for Ks that link to the action of the plan more often than other types.
Aff versus the K: I have seen a handful of teams massively invest in framework and lose because they drop so much else or forget to impact framework very well. Theory can be OK/needed against Ks that are all framework themselves but DAs to the alternative and solvency arguments are usually stronger.
Affs running the K: You ought to have a topical plan.
Multiple, especially multiple and contradictory, conditional positions are maybe a problem. Counterplans that result in doing the entirety of the plan are very vulnerable to theory.
Qualifications are a big deal if you bring up the issue. Positions written entirely by quacks (wipeout comes to mind) can be beaten without counter-evidence if the debaters make smart analytics. Warrants also matter so make comparisons.
Card clipping is serious cheating and I will intervene and vote against you if I am sure that you were clipping. Also, saying "mark that card" without physically marking it is not OK.
Set up an email chain before I get there and we will waste less time.
Most of my policy philosophy applies to LD as well, but here are a few notes:
1) Theory arguments need to be well warranted and not just used to avoid debate about the topic. On a related note, it will be hard to convince me that T is an RVI.
2) I'm interested in the practical impacts of any philosophical discussion. "How would X worldview help or hurt actual people?", is more useful than a technical trick.
3) Disclosure is good! When people hide, I wonder if their evidence or arguments are just so terrible that they cannot stand scrutiny? Or, is there something wrong with how the evidence is cut? Would your opponents discover ethical issues? It is especially weird when people will not even share speech docs during a round. I at least hope that folks who don't disclose politely refuse to use the wiki to their own advantage, since they seem to have a principle against it for themselves?
I am a head coach at Newark Science and have coached there for years. I teach LD during the summer at the Global Debate Symposium. I formerly taught LD at University of North Texas and I previously taught at Stanford's Summer Debate Institute.
The Affirmative must present an inherent problem with the way things are right now. Their advocacy must reasonably solve that problem. The advantages of doing the advocacy must outweigh the disadvantages of following the advocacy. You don't have to have a USFG plan, but you must advocate for something.
This paradigm is for both policy and LD debate. I'm also fine with LD structured with a general framing and arguments that link back to that framing. Though in LD, resolutions are now generally structured so that the Affirmative advocates for something that is different from the status quo.
Be clear. Be very clear. If you are spreading politics or something that is easy to understand, then just be clear. I can understand very clear debaters at high speeds when what they are saying is easy to understand. Start off slower so I get used to your voice and I'll be fine.
Do not spread dense philosophy. When going quickly with philosophy, super clear tags are especially important. If I have a hard time understanding it at conversational speeds I will not understand it at high speeds. (Don't spread Kant or Foucault.)
Slow down for analytics. If you are comparing or making analytical arguments that I need to understand, slow down for it.
I want to hear the warrants in the evidence. Be clear when reading evidence. I don't read cards after the round if I don't understand them during the round.
Make it make sense. I'll vote on it if it is reasonable. Please tell me how it functions and how I should evaluate it. The most important thing about theory for me is to make it make sense. I am not into frivolous theory. If you like running frivolous theory, I am not the best judge for you.
Don't take it out of context. I do ask for cites. Cites should be readily available. Don't cut evidence in an unclear or sloppy manner. Cut evidence ethically. If I read evidence and its been misrepresented, it is highly likely that team will lose.
For LD, please not more than 3 offs. Time constraints make LD rounds with more than three offs incomprehensible to me. Policy has twice as much time and three more speeches to develop arguments. I like debates that advance ideas. The interaction of both side's evidence and arguments should lead to a coherent story.
30 I learned something from the experience. I really enjoyed the thoughtful debate. I was moved. I give out 30's. It's not an impossible standard. I just consider it an extremely high, but achievable, standard of excellence. I haven't given out at least two years.
For policy Debate (And LD, because I judge them the same way).
Same as for LD. Make sense. Big picture is important. I can't understand spreading dense philosophy. Don't assume I am already familiar with what you are saying. Explain things to me. Starting in 2013 our LDers have been highly influenced by the growing similarity between policy and LD. We tested the similarity of the activities in 2014 - 2015 by having two of our LDers be the first two students in the history of the Tournament of Champions to qualify in policy and LD in the same year. They did this by only attending three policy tournaments (The Old Scranton Tournament and Emory) on the Oceans topic running Reparations and USFG funding of The Association of Black Scuba Divers.
We are also in the process of building our policy program. Our teams tend to debate the resolution with non-util impacts or engages in methods debates. Don't assume that I am familiar with the specifics of a lit base. Please break things down to me. I need to hear and understand warrants. Make it simple for me. The more simple the story, the more likely that I'll understand it.
I won't outright reject anything unless it is blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic.
Important: Don't curse in front of me. If the curse is an essential part of the textual evidence, I am more lenient. But that would be the exception.
Byron R. Arthur
Holy Cross School
Judging Since September 1983
Debate Events Judged : All of Them
Debate Events Coached: All of Them
I have worn a number of professional hats through the years and they all influence how I see the debate. First, I am an attorney. This means that I insist upon evidence and its integrity. Under no circumstances do I tolerate debaters who play fast and loose with interpretation of evidence. Second, I am a teacher which means I seek to maximize education for all of us who are involved in the debate. Please join me in that effort when you are debating in front of me.
Public Forum (Updated for Harvard Workshop July 2020)
I encourage you to read the LD section of this paradigm from the section on Points through the end. That information pertains to you as well.
During practice rounds I have had debaters ask me if I am ok with speed. Please see my comments below but I will add this to the mix: Why? Given the format of this event, I have seen debaters strain to make a plethora of arguments in the first two speeches that they never mention again due to time constraints. I would rather you seek a depth of arguments rather than breadth.
I can tell you that if I don't hear it in the Summary, I am not paying any attention to it in the Final Focus.
Do not assume that because I am a lab leader that I am going to supply analysis for your arguments. Explain what you say and tell me its implications. This is not an exercise in how much I know but what you can convince me to be true
Topicality – I am happy to vote on T if it is argued well. You should know that I tend to interpret T very broadly so in some instances you might want to choose something else if your violation is one that is based upon a fairly strict interpretation. Not a huge RVI fellow. I tend not to ignore all else in the round in order to give the AFF a win for meeting one of its burdens.
Types of Arguments – There are no arguments that I reject out of hand. While I was in high school when LD was created, I am not opposed to all of the ways in which it has evolved. Counterplans are not only acceptable but encouraged as long as they are meeting all of the traditional burdens such as competition and net benefits. I would say the same for the disadvantage and its burdens.
I am very fine with the K debate as well. But at the end of the day, there must be a link for me to consider. I love debates about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other opportunities for debaters to engage in discourse about issues that are important. Yet, I also believe that individuals spend time crafting topics for a reason and call me old-fashioned but I still like those discussions. Most topics allow us to have the best of both worlds but at times they do not. Learn to recognize the difference if I am in the back of the room.
Theory is a means to an end and those who love the idea of theory as its own thing should definitely strike me.
Speed – There was a time when I would walk out of a room very impressed with the debater who was incredibly fast and offered a cornucopia of arguments. That was about 30 years ago. Now I am impressed with the debater who does more with less and values depth of discussion and argument.
Points- My range for points is generally between 26.5 -29.9. 26.5 is reserved for those who are incomprehensible, disengaged, non-responsive, or simply missing the boat. 29.9 is reserved for the debater who demonstrates a mastery of argument, communicates nuances, has the ability to analyze arguments and make meaningful comparisons, has on-point evidence, and has outstanding communication skills. THOSE WHO ARE RUDE TO OPPONENTS OR USE PROFANITY WILL RECEIVE A 20. IF YOU ARE UNEASY WITH THIS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER STRIKING ME.
I am very sensitive to the way that we treat each other in this activity. I take allegations of bullying and intimidation very seriously. As an adult in the room, I will immediately deal with these issues and protect the rights of all individuals involved. If you feel that there is an issue when you are debating in front of me, know that we will proceed in the following manner:
1. Please raise the issue when you are aware of it. I will then allow both debaters to go and find their respective coaches/adult chaperone before we proceed. I will not engage students on issues of this magnitude without their adult advocates present.
2. I will listen to both sides of the discussion to determine whether or not we can proceed with the debate or if it should be brought to the tournament director for further resolution.
I competed in LD at University High School in Newark New Jersey, I was nationally competitive for three years.. I also compete in policy debate for Rutgers University.
Presumption: I think it highly unfair for me to presume to any side when debaters have NO control over which side they are going to be debating. So I don't have any bias toward Aff or Neg.
Speed: I don't generally have an issue with speed, however I do have a problem with monotone speed, unclear speed. I will yell clear if I can't understand you, but it will only be maybe once or twice, if you don't become clear by then, my ability to properly evaluate the arguments may possibly become impaired. Also, your speaks probably won't be awesome if I have to keep yelling clear.
-I would like you to significantly slow down when reading tags/card names so I can have a properly structured flow, but while reading the card you are welcome to go at top CLEAR speed(a few caveats to be explained later)
-When making analytical arguments, please be clear, because it's difficult for me to follow analytics when they are weirdly phrased and also being spread.
-I don't like speed for the sake of being fast, I prefer when speed is used as a catalyst for an awesome case or a multilayered rebuttal with really nuanced responses on case.
Evidence: Despite what happened in the round, I may call for the cites for cards read in round, I'll specify which specific cites I would like to see. I do this for two reasons: to ensure that there was no miscutting of evidence, and because I believe in disclosure and am from the school of thought that everybody in the round should have access to all evidence read in the round. I don't appreciate a denial to share citations, if citations are not readily available, I may choose to disregard all evidence with missing citations(especially evidence which was contested in the debate).
Cross Examination: I don't know how much I can stress it...CROSS EX IS BINDING! I don't care if you present arguments for why it shouldn't be binding or why lying in CX is ok, or any arguments with the implication which allows dishonesty in CX, there is NO theory to be ran to change my mind. Nevertheless, I don't flow CX, so its up to the debaters to refresh my memory of any inconsistencies between speeches and CX answers. On the other hand, CX can be the BEST or the WORST part of a debate, depending on how it plays out. A funny yet not disrespectful CX will score big when I'm deciding on how to assign speaks, while a rude and boring CX will negatively influence how I assign speaks. Clarification questions during prep is fine, but I'm not cool with trying to tear down an argument during prep, if it was that important, it should have been in the formal CX, rather than during prep. Don't be afraid to refuse to answer a non-clarification question during your opponents prep time.
Critical/Weird Arguments: I love well explained critical positions. With the caveat that these critical arguments are logically explained and aren't insanely convoluted. I have no issue voting for the argument. But if I can't understand it, I won't vote on it. Also, I am a fan of interesting debate, so if you have a neat performance to run in front of me, I would love to hear it!
Theory: I don't presume to competing interpretations or reasonability. The justification for either one needs to be made in round. I don't like greedy theory debates, which means that I generally view theory as a reason to reject the argument rather than the debater. YES, this means you must provide reasons in or after the implications section of your shell, for why this specific violation is a reason for me to use my ballot against the other debater. I'm not persuaded by generic 12 point blocks for why fairness isn't a voter, I prefer nuanced argumentation for why fairness may not be a voter. RVIs have to be justified but I'm willing to vote on them if the situation presents itself, but its up to you to prove why you defensively beating theory is enough for me to vote for you.
Prestandard: I don't like having preconceived beliefs before judging a round, but this is just one of those things that I need to reinforce. I WILL NOT vote on multiple apriori blips, and winning a single apriori is an uphill battle, a serious commitment to advocacy is necessary(you devote a serious amount of time to the apriori position.)
Speaks: I average about a 27, I doubt I'll go lower than 25(unless you do something which merits lower than a 25) because I personally know how disappointing the 4-2/5-2 screw can be, nevertheless I am more than willing to go up or down, depending on the performance in that particular round. The reason I average around a 27 is not because I generally don't give nice speaks, its because the majority of tournaments, I'll judge only a few rounds that deserve more than a 28. It's not difficult at all to get good speaks from me. I reserve 30's for debaters who successfully execute the following: speak really well, good word economy, good coverage/time allocation, takes risks when it comes to strategy, weighs really well, provides AWESOME evidence comparison, and adapts well to the things happening in the round. I really enjoy seeing new strategies, or risky strategies, I.E. I am a fan of the straight refutation 1N, attempting something risky like this and pulling it off, gives you a higher chance of getting a 30. Another way to get high speaks is to be a smart debater as well as funny without being mean or making any kind of jokes at the expense of your opponent(this will lose you speaks)
Delivery: I need evidence comparison! It makes me really happy when debaters do great evidence comparison. Also, I would appreciate for you to give status updates as the rebuttals progress, as well as giving me implications for each extension. When extending arguments which rely on cards, in order for it to be a fully structured extension it must contain: The claim/tag of the card, author/card name, warrant from the card, and the implications of that extension (what does it do for you in the round).
Miscellaneous: You are more than welcome to sit or stand, I don't mind people reading from laptops or being paperless as long as it doesn't delay the round. Also, I don't care if you are formally dressed, jeans and a tshirt will get you the same speaks that a shirt and a tie will. :) I also believe its impossible for me to divorce my judging from my beliefs, but I'll do my best to attempt to fairly adjudicate the debate.
P.S. I don't like performative contradictions...(just felt like I should throw that out there)
I haven't judged much LD and I cannot judge spreading. I need to understand the argument to vote on it, and I want to clearly see your defense. Also, I do not like theory - at all.
I am an experienced English teacher. I focus on rhetoric and overall persuasive appeal. I do not think spreading is the best plan of attack. I appreciate when debaters adapt to their competitor and the judge with focus on pace, information, and explanation.
I need to feel passion in your argument. Prioritize defense.
Truth over tech.
CX is binding.
PF is about public appeal; present yourself accordingly.
I’m currently a junior at Liberty University and debated in high school at University High School (Jersey Urban Debate League). This is approximately my 7th year in debate and as such I have engaged in both 'traditional' and now 'performance' style debate. Ultimately, I have come to conclusion that debate is a game but this game also has real life effects on the people who choose to participate in it. Therefore, BE NICE, HAVE FUN, and DO YOU!!!
I have found in my time debating that there are a few things that debaters are looking for when they read judging philosophies (including myself) so I’ll get straight to the point:
K's: I’m fine with them and have run them for quite some time in my career. However, this does not mean run a K in front of me for the fun of it - rather it means that I expect you to be able to explain your link story and the way the alternative functions. I find that most teams just make the assumption that the Aff doesn’t get a perm because "it’s a methodology debate". That’s not an argument, give me warrants as to why this is true if this is the argument you are going to for. K Aff's are fine often times debaters lose sight of the strategic benefits of the Aff, So a simple advice I can give is DONT FORGET YOUR AFF!!
DA's: In general I like strong impact analysis and good link story. Make logical argument and be able to weigh the impact story against the Aff.
CP’s: I am open all types of CP’s you just have to prove the competitiveness of said CP and make sure it has a net benefit.
FW: Again….Debate is a game but this game has real life implications on those who choose to engage in it. I think FW can be strategic against some Aff’s but don’t use it as a reason to not engage the Aff. Win your interpretation and weigh your impacts. Aff’s: don’t blow off FW answer it and engage it or tell me why you are not engaging in it.
Theory: Not a big fan of it, but make sure you slow down as to ensure I get all the arguments you are making. But do you!
Cross X: I think this is the best part of debate and LOVE it. Don’t waste those 3 min, they serve a great purpose. I am ALWAYS paying attention to CX and may even flow it.
*** Please remember that I am not as familiar with the high school topic so don’t assume I know all the jargon ***
Last but not least, watch me!(take hints from the visual cues that I am sending)
Email Chain: email@example.com
I debated LD for 3 years for Harvard-Westlake School (2014-17) - 13 career bids, Dukes and Bailey 17', won some tournaments/broke at the TOC. I loved debate because of the variety. I could be a fan of any argument you want to read, provided it 1) is explained in a way I can understand and 2) has an explicit reason why that means you should win. I like when debaters appreciate the space they've been given and use it to do what they like. This means engage in the resolution and your speaking time however you want whether that means dense ethical philosophy, debate theory, or critical debate. Just do what you find meaningful even if that just means doing what gives you the best chance to win. My biggest preference in terms of what you run is that you make good arguments, which you understand and execute well. I hated judges that say "I won't vote on X because I disagree with/don't like it" so I try not to be one, but I reserve the right to hold debaters to a reasonable standard of quality argumentation.
You must share your speech docs with your opponent. Flashing, emailing, pocketbox, whatever method of sharing you prefer as long as it's more effective than looking over your shoulder.
I think disclosure is very good for debate - this is not to say you cannot beat disclosure theory in front of me - it just means you will have a very hard time.
Prep ends when the flash drive leaves the computer/the email is sent
- Here is the procedure i will follow if a student drops off a call, or I drop off a call: students are expected to maintain local recordings of their speeches - if they drop off, they should complete the speech and immediately email their recording upon completing it. I will not allow students to restart speeches / attempt to figure out how much time they had left, particularly in elimination rounds.
- If someone drops off a call, please do not steal prep time.
- It will make the round easier for all of us if you figure out a way to be able to see both me and your opponent on screen - non-verbal communication is really helpful for e-debate working at its best, and if we both nod at "everyone ready," you need to be able to see that, not just be waiting on us to un-mute ourselves and speak up! if you do not hear from me or see me indicate I am ready in some form, you should not assume i am ready. one thing i think this means is that "is anyone not ready" is no longer the right question to ask - "is everyone ready" is gonna be key to ensure no one misses anything.
- Slow down. i think online you should be going at 70% or so of the speed you would go in person. if you do not slow down and technical difficulties mean i miss arguments, i will not be very sympathetic to the post round - I have had a lot of kids not be able to hear me bc of the way zoom handles microphones - i am sorry if you do not hear me say "slow", but i cannot emphasize enough the need for you to slow down.
- You should have an email chain - if you are flight b, the chain should be set up before you hop on the call if possible.
I like good K debate a lot. An NR containing a well explained, and well impacted K that doesn't forget about the case is a good thing. An NR containing a K you've never read the lit for is hair pullingly frustrating. Ask yourself if you can explain your position without the use of buzzwords, if the answer is no, you risk being in the latter category.
I'm not generally a huge fan of the 4 minute K overview followed by line by line constituted primarily by "that was in the overview". Take time to clearly explain and implicate the links/impacts/framing arguments and contextualize them to the aff.
I believe people should be able to do whatever they want with their affirmative, and I will by no means auto vote you down for not being topical. That said, T/Framework was my favorite argument in high school, and I will be hard pressed to vote aff absent a robust defense against it - whether that comes in the form of impact turns, a counter-interp, or something else is up to you. I find myself voting aff during these debates more often than not for two reasons - 1. The NR on framework is more whining about how hard the aff was to prep than it is clear impact comparison 2. The NR doesn't engage the 1ar arguments properly - the 2nr should both deal with the warrant AND implication of these arguments because too often I have on my flow "this doesn't make any sense" without an explanation of why or why that matters.
I think these can be some of the best debates around. I would love you if you did good evidence comparison and comparison of links to the impact rather than doing superficial weighing of impacts. I've read DA's, CP's, and Plans (basically every aff round), so I like to think I know most of the lingo and the function. The straight turn and impact turn are both deeply underutilized arguments in LD. I'm sick of judging 1ARs that are 80% defense against the DA.
I'm not a fan of plans bad theory arguments. I think you should either read a T shell or a more nuanced reason why their type of plan text is bad.
Your interp needs evidence, standards and voting issues. A good T debate is one of my favorite debates and should involve a deep comparison of the world of debate each interp justifies, not just competing 6-points of the limits standard. Textuality as a voter just barely meets the standard for coherent argument, i'll vote on it, but it will be defeated easily in front of me. RVIs on T are not a thing.
I'm not a fan of frivolous theory, i'll vote on it, but there is a low bar to answering it. If you're struggling to figure out whether a certain shell is too frivolous for me to give the benefit of the doubt, don't read it. I am extremely persuaded by infinite regress/arbitrariness arguments against the vast majority of spec shells.
I am far and away the least versed in this part of LD. I'm not unwilling to vote on anything you choose to read, just understand that if it's more complicated than the simple end of ripstein or util, you will need to explain it to me like I'm a distracted 5 year old. You should know that I generally speaking am a firm believer that comparative worlds is the best interpretation for debate, as a result, I will likely not love your burdens aff/whatever postdating related trend is popular.
I will vote for these arguments if I absolutely have to, but I greatly dislike them. Chances are if you're winning in front of me on a blippy theory spike or an apriori it's because the rest of the debate was literally impossible to evaluate and you will not be happy with your speaks because of it.
I coach for Harvard Westlake in Los Angeles, judge very regularly, and have competed/coached a diversity of circuits in California and Texas. You should feel comfortable debating whatever style best suits you.
Hard and Fast Rules:
Flashing counts as prep if you are assembling the document. If everything is in one doc and you are just saving then that is not prep.
You must either flash or email your opponent your docs.
Evasiveness of any kind before round is highly frowned upon. My expectation is that debaters are honest with one another in all their dealings.
In general, I really enjoy judging debate. If you have a well thought out and interesting take on the topic/debate, I will be happy. If you use strategies that reflect a shallow understanding of the arguments you're running that avoid clash i will be less happy.
Here are 8 things i'd like for you to know:
1.I keep a good flow. I will hold you to what you say. I do not mind justifying my decisions after the debate by reading back to you what i have on my flow.
2. I will read your evidence and compare it to your explanation in round. Putting powerful spin on your ev is good and highly encouraged. Falsely representing what your evidence says is not. Similarly, having good ev but explaining it poorly will also hurt you.
3. I like philosophical debates. I majored in philosophy. I read ethics, philosophy of mind, political theory in my free time. But i have found that i do not like "phil debaters" because debaters who identify as such seem much more inclined to try to obscure clash and rely on spikes/tricks. If you debate philosophy straight up and have read primary source material to enhance your explanations, I might be the best judge for you. If you intend to read a million analytics and use trickery, i would be a terrible judge for you.
4. On K's, I start from the perspective of "why are the aff and alt different?" This means i focus my decision on 1. links application to the aff and how they turn case or gut aff solvency. 2. does the alt solve the k or the case?
i tend to think the AFF gets to "weigh" the case in the sense that the plan is some what relevant. I think framework arguments best indict how i evaluate the plan and impact calc more broadly. I think the aff commonly drops a lot of 1NC f/w arguments, but negs rarely capitalize on these drops in persuasive ways.
5. I research the topic a lot. I like debates about the topic grounded in a robust academic/theoretical/philosophical/critical perspective.
6. I think debate is both a game and contains an important educational aspect. I do not lean either way of "must defend the topic" but i tend to believe the topic has a role to be played in the community and shouldn't be totally ignored. How that belief plays out in a given round is much more hard to say. I think my record is about 50/50 on non-T AFF's vs topicality.
7. I like CX. You can't use it as prep.
8. I don't think i've voted in an RVI in like over 2 years. I would consider myself a hard press.
For the email chain and any contact you need - firstname.lastname@example.org
I flow debater's speech performances and not docs, but may read evidence after speeches.
I graduated from Liberty University in the spring of 2011 after debating for 5 years. Before that I debated 1 year of LD in high school. Since then I worked as a debate coach for Timothy Christian High School in New Jersey for 6 years, traveling nationally on both the high school and college circuit. Currently I am the Associate Director of Poly Prep.
I view debate as a forum to critically test and challenge approaches to change the world for the better. I prefer in depth debate with developed material that you look like you have a grasp of. I will always work hard to evaluate correctly and with little intervention, especially if you are putting in hard work debating.
Learning debate from within the Liberty tradition I began by running conventional policy arguments with a proclivity to go for whatever K was in the round. However, during my final 3 years my partner and I did not defend the resolution and our 1nc looked very similar to our 1ac. Personally, I’m a believer and coach for advocating liberatory and conscious debate practices. However, there will certainly be a gap at times between my personal preferences and practices and what I vote on. I’m not going to judge from a biased perspective against policy arguments, and although tabula rasa is impossible I will try to evaluate the arguments presented with limited interference.
Ultimately, do not let any of this sway you from debating how you prefer. Doing what you think you are the best educator on will probably be your greatest option. If any of this is unclear or you have questions that I have not address below please feel free to ask me before a round. Have fun, debate confidently, and be genuine.
Last updated 1/10/2020
PAPERLESS and prep time (LD and Policy specific):
Prep time ends approximately when the speech doc is saved and you remove the jump drive. An overall goal (for both paperless and traditional teams) is to be prepared to begin your speech when you say end prep.
Speaking mostly to HIGH SCHOOL students:
Everyone involved in the round should be able to have access to any read piece of evidence once it has been presented. This means that if you are reading off of a computer you are responsible for providing your opponents with either a jump of what you are going to read or a physical copy before you start your speech. We shouldn’t be unreasonably fearful of people ‘stealing’ ‘our’ evidence, as source information should always be provided, and also because it’s certainly not really ‘ours’. You may, however, respectfully require your opponents to delete anything you provided them with during the round.
SPEAKING STYLES and speaker points:
I’m certainly open to (for lack of a better word) alternative and non-traditional approaches to your speech time. Passion, ethos, and emphasis are things that are usually underutilized by most speaking styles and debaters, and should be present in both constructives and rebuttals. After all, debate is at its core a communication activity. Cross-ex is a great time to exhibit this as well as advance your arguments. I may call clear once if it is an issue, however it is your responsibility to be an effective communicator during your speech. Being a jerk, unnecessarily rude, offensive, stealing prep, and not being helpful to the other team during cx or prep time are all things that will negatively effect your speaker points outside of the quality and delivery of your arguments.
HIGH SCHOOL LD SPECIFIC:
Yes, I am fine with speed, but that does not give you an excuse to be unclear. I may call clear once if it is an issue, however it is your responsibility to be an effective communicator during your speech.
I have experience to evaluate theory, but certainly prefer substantive theory (topicality, NIBs, parameterizing are all examples) as opposed to frivolous theory. You should probably slow down when reading your shells if you want me to be able to write down the nuances of your argument. Due to my background in college policy there may be a few preconceptions that I have that you should be aware of. Theory is not automatically an RVI, and I probably take a little more convincing on the flow than most judges in this area. You need to explain to me why a violation has resulted in abuse that warrants either voting down the other team or rejecting a specific argument. Simply claiming one to be true is not enough work here. When answering theory, showing how the abuse can be solved by rejecting a particular argument can make the violation go away.
Conceded and dropped arguments are considered true on my flow, unless they are morally repugnant or blatantly false. An example of the latter is even if your opponent drops a theory shell, if the team clearly does not link to the violation your accusation does not make that true. Conceded arguments must still be extended, warranted, and argued, but you should focus more on their implications.
Please read the paperless / prep time and the speaking style / speaker points sections of my philosophy located above.
PUBLIC FORUM SPECIFIC:
A quick overview statement: It seem that circuit PF is going through a growing period where it is solidifying some norms and practices. As a result of this, I will default to the understanding of the debaters in the round. I am also open to different interpretations as long as they are defended.
Concerning defense in summary: As indicated above, this is something that I am going to let the debaters determine / debate for themselves. However, if at any point the defense has been front-lined / responded to (either in 2nd rebuttal or 1st summary), then these arguments need to be answered and the defense needs to be extended for it to be available in final focus.
The rest of my philosophy is not specific towards ld or policy, high school or college, and it may do you benefit to read it as well, especially if some of your arguments tend to look like policy arguments.
FRAMEWORK (when run by the neg):
I think that negatives have the ability to and should engage with affirmatives that don’t defend a normative implementation of a plan. Even if the aff doesn’t defend the resolution there are still many substantive things that they will defend that provide ample ground. Although this ground might not be as predictable as your interpretation on FW calls for, it is still predictable enough to meet the threshold that you should be prepared for it.
Having said that, I think I’m one of those few sick individuals that will actually enjoy listening to framework debates as long as they are well developed on both sides. Granted, I will most likely be a harder sell than most, but I don’t think this should dissuade you from going for it if you think it is your best option. You will need to make inroads to the aff’s arguments by articulating ways traditional debate solves for their impacts. If you lose the impact turn to politics you will not win FW debates. You need to make arguments to the effect of traditional policy debate being key to a better form of politics and articulate net benefits to your interpretation from this. I think that the type of education we foster in debate far outweighs the preservation of the game in the strictest sense. That is to say that fairness claims alone are not the way to persuade me on FW. You should instead use claims of fairness to hedge against the impacts from the aff.
However, the main substance of FW debates (for both sides) should be about the competing benefits to the type of education and scholarship different traditions lead to.
For affirmatives concerning framework strategies, your greatest offense will be specific to your particular argument. I will be more easily persuaded if your aff is connected to the topic. I don’t appreciate aff’s that are written that hide their purpose or are exclusively constructed to impact turn FW. While I prefer some kind of relationship to the topic, I don’t think it is necessary. However, you do lose the ability to make an important strategic argument that other plan-less aff’s should employ, which is that your aff is important to topic education. More developed, this argument should be that your aff is necessary to topic education and that without it the debate ground that is left leads to bad forms of scholarship. That is to say that you aff is essentially topical. This argument is both inherently offensive and also provides the ability to make defensive claims against the neg’s offense.
This is the type of debate that I am most familiar with and have the largest literature base with (I was a philosophy major). However, messy and poor K debates are probably the worst. The key to winning this kind of debate is making the general link and alternative cards as specific as possible to the aff. I am not saying that the key is reading the most specific evidence (although this would be nice, however most of our authors here don’t write in the context of every affirmative), but that you need to find ways to apply the generic concepts to the specifics of the aff. Without this it is easier to be persuaded by the perm.
Teams are responsible for the discourse and performances in which then engage in given the context of the world we are situated in as well as the argument style the team engages in.
Aff’s have a wide range of arguments they can deploy, and are probably best sticking with the ones they are most comfortable with while doing a good job showing how they relate to the critique.
Concerning the perm, it is usually not enough work to simply show how the two different advocacies could work together. At this point it becomes easy to vote on the alternative as a purer form of advocacy without the risk of links. Aff’s should articulate net benefits to the perm to hedge against residual links and different DA’s to the perm itself. Case should be one of these net benefits, but aff’s need to watch out for indicts to foundational assumptions (concerning methodology, epistemology, ontology etc.) behind your impact claims.
Concerning framework: when was the last time a relatively moderate judge decided that the neg shouldn’t be able to run their K? The answer is probably a long time ago. The majority of these debates are compromised in the 1ar by allowing the K given that the aff gets to weigh their impacts after a lot of wasted time by both teams. I can hardly think of a situation where I would be persuaded to only evaluate the plan verses the status quo or a competitive policy option that excluded the alternative. However, I can envision certain ways that this debate goes down that convinces me to discount the impacts of the aff. In general, however, most of debate is illusory (somewhat unfortunately) and these framework questions are about what type of education is more important. If you chose to run framework with you aff you should keep these things in mind concerning your interpretation for debate.
PERFORMANCE or project verses a similar style:
These debates are some of the most important and essential ones for our community, particularly as more and more teams are participating in this form of advocacy. We need to debate and judge in light of this fact. These are also some of the most difficult debates to have. There are several reasons for this, one of the most poignant being the personal nature of these debates combined with the close relationships that most people amongst this insular community have with one another. We need to realize the value in these opportunities and the importance of preserving the pureness of our goals for the debate community. That might mean in some situations that conceding and having a conversation might be the best use of a particular debate space, and in others debating between different competing methodologies is a correct rout to go. In either case we need to realize and cherish common goals. In light of this it isn’t a bad thing to agree with large portions of your opponent’s speeches or even advocacy. Instead of reproducing the gaming paradigm of traditional debate, where competition is valued over advocacy and winning over ethics, we should instead choose to celebrate the areas of alignment we find. Conceding every round where this happens, however, is not a good idea either. This would send a message to the debate community that debate dies under this framework. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a possible time and place for it though.
When both teams largely agree on certain foundational framework questions efficacious debate can still happen. While making distinctions between advocacies and methodologies is essential for this kind of a debate, you should probably not manipulate and create links that are artificial. Distinctions that are made out of an in depth knowledge of the issues are far more beneficial and consistent. Traditional debate might look at these kinds of rounds as two ships passing in the night, but I think there can be a different metaphor – one where the teams are two ships starting at the recognition that the resolution and the debate community is flawed and that the round can be decided upon which team provides a better methodology and performance to get their ship further in the direction of what we should be as a community and culturally aware individuals.
I am undecided as to whether the aff should be allowed a perm and this should probably be debated out. However, I think that the aff should always have the ability to point out when a negative advocacy is the same as theirs.
THEORY / T:
Any bias I have towards theory will probably result in placing a burden on the team that reads the violation to prove that it should result in a voting issue. However, I don’t like shady stuff done only to be obnoxiously strategic. Don’t do it.
One thing that I definitely do not like is when teams read multiple conditional strategies that contradict each other. This will usually call into question the solvency of the critique if the aff takes advantage of this.
I don’t think that I have a bias concerning reasonability or competing interpretations, but I will probably default to competing interpretations until the aff is shown to be reasonable and from there it is up for debate.
COUNTERPLANS / DA’s:
I am probably liberal concerning counter plan theory, and aside from the question over conditionality most other theory arguments are probably reasons to reject the cp. Aside from traditional theory answers, showing why a certain CP is justified given the specific aff is a good response.
PICS that are specific to the aff are great, however word pics should probably just be articulated as links to the K.
Uniqueness controls the link only if a particular side definitively wins it.
I generally evaluate from an offense / defense standpoint, but it doesn’t mean anything if the CP links less than the plan does to a DA if the CP still meets the threshold for triggering the link. In that world there isn’t greater offense to the CP.
If you seem like you are having fun and not making the round a terrible place to be, I will listen to pretty much any argument that isn't intentionally obnoxious or repugnant (death good, racial equity bad, etc.). I prefer lines of argument that don't rely on nuclear war or extinction, but if your case is strong, go for it.
Clash and analysis are key. Use your case to analyze and refute your opponent's arguments. Don't just toss out cards; explain WHY and HOW. If your logic/reasoning is sound, you don't need to extend every card to win. I prefer strategic condensing over shallow line by line rebuttal.
I thoroughly enjoy critical debate. It fits very well with the intent of LD and forces debaters to examine assumptions. Logic must be sound and you should make a concerted effort to use the conceptual framework of your K as the basis for your argumentation (i.e. don't read "We can't draw conceptual lines between people," and then respond to case with phrases like "those people"). I have a pretty high threshold for what is topical so be prepared to engage with your opponent's lit. I don't really enjoy rounds that devolve to T.
Make sure you weigh your impacts for me. I may have a different perspective so if you don't make the weighing explicit, you are leaving it up to my interpretation. This includes ROBs, etc.
I expect timers and flashing to work without much delay. Having issues more than once in a round will lose speaks.
My speaks start at 28 for circuit tournaments. I'll dock a varsity debater more often for nonsense or rudeness than a JV debater. Making me laugh is a good way to bump up your points a few tenths. Enunciation is also a bonus.
I studied linguistics. If you are going to talk about plurals and indefinite articles, please have read more of the article than just the card you are citing.
CX is important and clarifies for me how well you understand your own arguments. I will dock points for badgering novices. Kindness is never the wrong move.
**Virtual debate notes: WiFi strength is not universal. Audio lags make it CRUCIAL that you speak clearly and don't talk over each other.
I don't mind speed, as long as you are clear. I will only call "clear" twice in a varsity round. Taglines, authors, and card interp should be noticeably slower. It is up to the speaker to communicate their arguments and be aware of the audience's attention level. Language has a natural rythym. Using that to assist you will make you easier to understand than cutting all the linking words out of your cards.
**Virtual debate notes: if I can't follow your speed on a video chat, getting those extra two cards in doesn't matter. Strategy has to adapt to the medium.
I evaluate the full participation of the chamber, from docket maneuvers to quality and variety of questions. Successful legislators are those who drive the debate, present new/unique arguments, extend/refute/deepen previous arguments, choose sources carefully, and use parliamentary procedure appropriately. Debate on the merits/flaws of the specific legislation is given more weight than general issue arguments. Delivery style can enhance the persuasiveness of your analysis, but will not make up for canned speeches, poor supporting materials, or rehashed arguments.
POs are an essential part of the chamber. They set the mood, pace, and attitude of the chamber. It is a risk, and that is taken to account when I score. POs with a good pace and no major errors are very likely to be ranked.
Note on authorships/first pros: The price for establishing recency is that your speech must provide some background for the debate and at least one reason why this legislation in particular is/is not the answer.
The purpose of evidence in all forms of debate is to support your arguments with expert testimony, not to BE your arguments. I will only ask for cards if something sounds exceptionally wonky. Have some understanding of the bias of your sources (Are they all from conservative think tanks?, etc.). It is generally up to your opponent(s) to point out blatantly wrong evidence, but I will dock for egregious offenses.
EXPERIENCE: I'm the head coach at Harrison High School in New York; I was an assistant coach at Lexington from 1998-2004 (I debated there from 1994-1998), at Sacred Heart from 2004-2008, and at Scarsdale from 2007-2008. I'm not presently affiliated with these programs or their students.
If you're in high school, please just call me Hertzig.
Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com
CLARITY in both delivery and substance is the most important thing for me. If you're clearer than your opponent, I'll probably vote for you.
Ks (not high theory ones) & performance - 1 (just explain why you're non-T if you are)
Trad debate - 1
LARP or phil - 2-3 (don't love wild extinction scenarios or incomprehensible phil)
High theory Ks - 4
Theory - 4 (see below)
Tricks - strike
If, after the round, I don't feel that I can articulate what you wanted me to vote for, I'm probably not going to vote for it.
I will say "slow" and/or "clear," but if I have to call out those words more than twice in a speech, your speaks are going to suffer. I'm fine with debaters slowing or clearing their opponents if necessary. I think this is an important check on ableism in rounds.
I don't view theory the way I view other arguments on the flow. I will usually not vote for theory that's clearly unnecessary/frivolous, even if you're winning the line-by-line on it. I will vote for theory that is actually justified (as in, you can show that you couldn't have engaged without it).
I need to hear the claim, warrant, and impact in an extension. Don't just extend names and claims.
For in-person debate: I would prefer that you stand when speaking if you're physically able to (but if you aren't/have a reason you don't want to, I won't hold it against you).
Link to a standard, burden, or clear role of the ballot. Signpost. Give me voting issues or a decision calculus of some kind. WEIGH. And be nice.
To research more stuff about life career coaching then visit Life coach.
I am a first year debate coach for University High School in Newark, NJ. I am a high school English teacher and I don’t have a debate background, but I feel comfortable with pretty much any kind of argument.
That being said, by far the most important factor for me is clarity: Your argument must be clearly organized. You must clearly know your arguments. You must have clear road maps, transitions, and line by line arguments. You must clearly articulate your arguments and warrants. And you must speak clearly, even when spreading.
I love critical thought and challenging, engaging ideas, but I’m not a debate lifer…cut down on the jargon and make sure you are clear.
Hi. I debated at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook for 4 years, 1.5 in policy and 2.5 in LD. I was the LD coach at Loyola Blakefield HS in Baltimore for 3 years followed by being the debate coach for Chicagoland Jewish HS in Deerfield, IL, New Trier HS in Winnetka/Northfield, IL, Bronx Science, Beacon HS in Manhattan, and the director of debate at Mamaroneck HS in Mamaroneck, NY. I've also worked at multiple debate camps and have been a private coach for multiple debaters. Trust me, I've seen it all.
Last updated 2/5/21. Put in things about email chains
I'm fine being on email chains but I'm not posting my email publicly. Just ask before the round.
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. I do not discriminate, I'm find with speed (though sometimes my flowing can be bad), fine with theory, fine with kritiks, whatever you want to do. It's your round, have fun with it.
That being said I do have one very important caveat:
Extensions are key! Every extension needs to have the word extend/pull through the flow/or similar wording attached to it. Then it needs to have a warrant for what is being extended, finally the extension needs an impact back to the weighing calculus. If that is the value/value criterion mechanism then it needs to impact back to the VC that is being used for the round. If that is some other mechanism, it needs to be impacted to that weighing mechanism (theory means voters I guess). That weighing mechanism and the warrants for the mechanism should be extended (In a v/vc model the vc should be extended along with the argument). If these things are not done then the arguments will not be evaluated in the same depth and I might not give you credit, or as much credit, for an argument that you may have clearly won on the flow. I guess in simpler terms I have a high threshold for extensions. Also, when extending please extend along with the warrant please compare your arguments to other arguments. The best extensions are not just argument extensions but have comparative weighing along with the arguments.
Other things I've noticed about my preferences for debate: (This is just a list of things I like, none of these are necessary to win a round)
- I tend to prefer debaters who debated similarly to how I debated. What does this mean? I debated in an old school national circuit LD style. On the aff that meant a very broad criterion with mutually exclusive contentions that I tried to kick out of as much as possible (usually at the end of the 2AR, I had one contention and maybe framework). On the neg, it meant a short NC, no more than 2 minutes, with extensive analytical responses to the aff. While it might not help you win the round, debate has changed a lot, it will help your speaker points.
- I like a 2AR that isn't on the flow. What does this mean? The 2AR should be more of a story speech that merely references the flow. A lot of weighing/crystallizing or time on voting issues.
-I like even/if stories. They tend to make the round clearer and make my life easier.
-LD debaters need to stop saying "we" when referring to themselves. You are a singular human being and not one half of a partnership. If you say "we" while referring to yourself you will lose 0.1 speaker points. I will also interrupt your speeches to ask "who is we?" Be prepared.
-I'm a leftist politically. Property rights arguments and other capitalist arguments are not particularly persuasive to me and I don't like hearing them. That doesn't mean I won't vote on them, it just means if you have something else it's probably a good idea to run it.
-I presume coinflip. That means if I can't find any offense or way to vote I will flip a coin to decide the round. I have done this quite a few times and never want to do it again but I'm not afraid to do it and if I think your round warrants it, a coinflip will happen. (That said the only times I've done it has been in rounds where there have been on offense by either side so as long as offense exists I will not flip a coin).
-I like philosophy, I am a philosophy major. That said I'm not good at flowing it, especially when spread at the beginning of the speech. So if you do read philosophy slow down a little bit so that I can catch your arguments.
-Going off that last point, my major is in continental philosophy; which means I take classes on all those critical authors you've wanted to use in rounds. Kritiks are wonderful! If you know what are you talking about, please run them in front of me. Ks do not need an alt, though it is preferable. Make sure to understand the interactions between your position and the position of what your opponent is running. Also just because your opponent is running a K does not mean you lose the round.
- Please start the AC/NC with I affirm/I negate. It doesn't take away from your word economy and it gives me a second to "catch up" and get used to your spreading/debating voice so that I don't miss your first argument. You don't need to re-state the resolution though, that's unnecessary.
-Something most debaters forget is that as a judge I do not look to see what you are reading while you are reading it. Therefore, be more specific in signposting then off the Martin card 1..2..3 etc. Don't just say Martin, say what Martin said as well, because I might not have gotten the author name Martin but I got the argument s/he made. Also, be clear about where Martin is on the flow. If Martin is a contention 1 card, say that she is in contention 1.
- WEIGH! One of the things I'm almost always unsure of after a round is which argument to evaluate first. Do I look to the Disad, the spike, the contention 1? Most debate rounds involve multiple arguments that could "come first" and people telling me the order in which to evaluate arguments and which arguments are more important makes my life easier. It also means you'll be more likely to win because the argument that you're saying is most important/comes first is probably also the one that you're winning the most. WEIGH! Seriously WEIGH!
- Policy style arguments have started to come more and more into LD and people like running them in front of me. That's fine, I really like them. However, if you are running them you also take on policy-style burdens. For example, if you read a plan then you have to fulfill the 4 criteria of the HITS (if you don't know what that is, you shouldn't be running a plan. Also, considering the last person to lose on significance was Tom Durkin in the 1978 NDT, significance doesn't matter anymore). Most importantly, is that policy has a status quo whereas LD does not. That means that you need to orally give me the dates of evidence! If you're running a DA I need to know that the uniqueness is actually unique, if it's a plan that the inherency is actually inherent etc. Evidence without dates on it means that I won't give you credit for uniqueness or inherency claims that you need in the debate round. If your opponent points out that you didn't read those dates then I will give zero credit for any uniqueness/inherency claim and assume that your evidence is from 1784 and take away any offense that is based off of that plan/DA (I will also give said opponent at least a 29). So make sure to tell me those dates!
- I've recently read A LOT of social movement theory and have also been actively been involved in crafting strategy for a social movement. This has made me significantly more wary of most kritik alternatives. Kritik alts either make no sense, are not realistic, would never be adopted by wide ranging social movements, or are actively harmful to spreading social movements. It won't change how I vote, if the alt is won, but it does mean that common sense arguments against K alts will be considered more important.
- A priori/pre-standards arguments/other tricky-esque nibs. If you are losing everything else on the flow I need a reason to uniquely prefer your 3 sentences over the rest of the flow. If that does not happen I will find it very hard to vote for you over somebody else who is winning the rest of the round. Not that I won't evaluate the argument at all it will just be weighed against the rest of the round and if someone else is winning the rest of the round I will vote for the person winning the majority of the round. In simpler words if you go for an a priori, go for it hard. I'm not going to buy it simply because it is dropped.
- Metaethics. I used to have a long screed about metaethics here. It's been deleted (you can read it on the back edits if you're really interested) as I've decided that, while I agree still with what I said before, meta-ethics are being used a lot better by debaters so that it doesn't apply as much. I do think meta-ethics have a place in debate but they need to be used properly. Basically, meta-ethics cannot be used as a "magic wand" to get out of framework debate. You still need to provide an ethic to meet your meta-ethic. Just saying my meta-ethical util comes before your ethical deont haha! is not enough. Language might be indeterminate but that doesn't mean we default to util (or deont) unless it's justified.
Since everybody asks me about how I evaluate theory here it is:
I don't mind theory, I will vote on it and I will vote on it in cases where I think no actual abuse has occurred or even times where the argument itself is patently non-abusive. But before you rush to pull out your three theory shells, I really don't like voting on it. Moreover, of all the decisions where people have argued with me after the round, 2/3 of them are because of theory. My paradigm seems to be different than other judges so I would say run theory at your risk. Now of course you're asking why is my paradigm different? Simple because I don't default to a monolithic competing interpretations framework, you don't need a counter-interp/RVI/etc. to win theory (though it is helpful and in a case of offense vs. no offense I'm going to default to offense). I'm not as technical on theory as other judges, simply saying my argument is not abusive, drop the argument not the debater, or even talking about reasonability will probably be enough to convince me to not vote on theory. In other words, I default to reasonability, though will be persuaded otherwise. Also, in a round between two equal theory debaters or even a round where both debaters have competent theory blocks, theory turns into a crapshoot (which, by the way, is most theory rounds) so while I will do my best to sort through it that doesn't mean my decision won't be somewhat random.
Also, I guess most LD judges don't evaluate theory this way so I should point this out. If you only go for theory in the NR/2NR or 2AR then the affirmative/negative does not need a RVI to win the theory debate because the only offense at the end of the round is on theory which means that I am merely evaluating who did the better theory debating and not worrying about substance at all. The RVI only comes into play if there is a contestation of substance AND theory at the end of the debate.
On Non-T affs:
You ought pretend to be topical. Topicality means different things to different people and I think that the topic and what topicality means can change in debate and in different debates. However, the aff should claim that they are talking about the topic. How they make that claim or whether that claim is true can be (and should be!) contested in the round.
Feel free to come up to me at any tournament and ask me questions about anything, I can't guarantee you a great answer but I can guarantee that I will try to respond.
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. My main philosophy is it's your round not mine so do what you want. I think a lot of how I judge policy is probably transferred from LD so look there for good stuff. One caveat to that, if there is something that seems very specific to LD (like saying "we" for example) do not bring that into a policy context.
Obviously I have some caveats for that:
First and foremost is that LD is most of what I've debated and coached. Though policy kids have this outdated version of what LD is, there is now every argument in policy in LD also with extra stuff too! I am fine with speed etc. Don't worry about that. However, I did not go to camp, I did not do research on the resolution (whichever one it is) and don't know what is stock or what isn't. I know, more or less, what aff my team is running and generic stuff to be used on any topic. Your explanation barrier for me understanding topic specific arguments then is a little bit higher.
The other important take away is that social conventions of what you can and cannot do in LD and policy are slightly different. For example, RVIs in LD are not joke arguments but made in almost any theory round (though I don't like RVIs in policy). LD does not have the concept of overviews in the same way as policy and what is considered "line by line" is very different. I've been able to figure out most of these biases but occasionally I'll mess up. Just be aware.
I default to reasonability on T and theory issues.
I don't know why this has become a thing but apparently people don't say AND or NEXT after finishing cards in the 1AC or 1NC. You still need to do that so that I know when to flow.
Utilitarianism is moral philosophy that evaluates the morality of actions based on the consequences. This means that small scale/structural violence impacts are utilitarian because we care about the consequence of structural violence. Stop saying these arguments are not utilitarian or answering them as if they are not utilitarian. They are.
I debated national circuit LD at Starr's Mill High School '12 (GA) and did Policy at Vanderbilt University '16 (TN).
I think I am a standard national circuit LD judge. If you only have experience with local debate, this means that I'm fine with (and proactively prefer) spreading and non-traditional arguments. However, if doing so, I recommend using a email chain, for which my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
My general preference for debate argument types is Framework >= Plan-Focused/Util > Theory >> Kritiks.
I like philosophy debate a lot, especially analytical ethical philosophy. If you frequently read cards from Singer, Korsgaard, Mackie, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in general, I would probably really enjoy judging you.
- I enjoy cases that are balanced between framework and contention-level offense, e.g., the AC spending half its time justifying an ethical system (utilitarianism, Kant, Hobbes, virtue ethics, divine command, moral skepticism, etc.) and then the rest on offense under that framework.
- I'm extremely opposed to theoretically-justified frameworks/affirmative framework choice. I think these things kill philosophy education, which is the most useful part of debate. If you can't prove that util is objectively true, what's even the point of pretending it's true if we have no reason to believe it?
- I'm not a fan of vague standards like "structural violence" where practically anything commonly considered bad can be considered an impact. Winter and Leighton are the bane of my existence.
- Your impacts need to actually link to an ethical philosophy in the round. Explain to me why I should care about people dying, why human rights exist, and why racism is bad in the context of the round.
I can enjoy a Plan-focused or whole-resolution util debate just as much, however, and I've done Policy in the past.
- Weighing is wonderful, and probably the point where you will best be able to pick up high speaks.
- Things like author-specific indicts or methodological critiques of particular studies are fantastic. Tell me things like, "This study only has a sample size of n=24" or "The study's authors indicated the following problems with their own study."
- Impact turns are great. I can’t promise it’s always the best idea, but I’ll probably love it if the 1AR is four minutes of “global warming good” or "economic collapse prevents nuclear war."
- Counterplans are a very important neg tool, but I think some of the more abusive ones, like 50 States CP or Consult CP are difficult to defend in terms of making debate a good activity.
- In LD, I'd prefer you just read one unconditional CP.
- If the AC is super spiky, please number the spikes. This will make it a lot easier for me to flow. If you spout out single-sentence arguments for a full minute, I’ll be more inclined to vote on them if I can clearly tell where one ends and another begins.
- I like clearly articulated theory shells in normal Interpretation-Violations-Standards-Voters format. It makes it much easier to flow compared to paragraph theory.
- I would prefer if you shared pre-written shells in the email chain, even if they're only analytical.
- I default to competing interpretations but am receptive to reasonability if mentioned.
- I like RVIs and will often vote on them, especially for the aff. If you're the aff and you're not sure if you should go for 4 minutes of the RVI in the 1AR, my advice is probably yes.
- Post-fiat Kritiks are fine. I'm not very receptive to pre-fiat Kritiks. If you aren't sure about the distinction, think about whether your alternative negates the resolution. For example, if the resolution is "The US gov should do [x]", and your alternative is "The US gov should not do [x]" or "The US gov should instead do [y]", that's fine. If your alternative is only "People around the world should..." or "The judge should..." or "The debate community should...," I'm probably not going to enjoy it. If the alt doesn't even have an actor and is just to "reject the aff," that's even worse.
- Although I’m generally well-versed with the basic ones like Cap/Security/Fem K, my understanding of the more esoteric ones falls off. Although I will try to evaluate the round as fairly as possible, I haven’t spent much time reading 1970s Continentals, and you can’t assume that I’ll have intimate knowledge of their arguments ahead of time.
- I lean towards the Role of the Ballot being just whoever proves the resolution true or false (offense-defense is also acceptable).
- Fairness definitely matters. Education might matter to some degree. I am very loathe to consider anything else as an independent voter. If your argument is nothing more than "Util justifies slavery, so auto-drop them," I am not likely to be agreeable.
- If your NRs often include the claim, "It's not a link of omission; it's a link of commission," I am probably not the judge for you.
- I'm fine with flex prep (asking questions during prep time) if you want it. I think it's a good norm for debate.
- I do not care if you sit or stand.
Read the Plan-focused/Util and Kritiks sections of the LD paradigm, but you can ignore most of the rest. Due to my LD background, I am much more willing to vote on philosophical positions. If you want to go for "Don't do the plan because objective morality doesn't exist" or "Pass the plan because that's most in line with Aristotle's notion of virtue," I'm totally fine with that.
- I still prefer clearly articulated Interpretation-Violation-Standards-Voters theory shells, even in Policy.
- I'm more willing to accept conditional CPs in Policy, although it gets really sketchy with conditional K's, especially if there's performative contradictions.
- I'm probably more willing than most Policy judges to consider analytics. I don't think you need a card for every argument you make, and oftentimes just having a warranted argument is sufficient.
Public Forum Paradigm
I understand that Public Forum has different end goals than LD or Policy. I will try to evaluate it through the following in contrast to LD or Policy:
- I will not require explicit ethical frameworks. If something sounds bad, like "It kills people" or "It hurts the economy" or "It is unfair," I'll try to evaluate that in some gestalt manner. You can probably expect a little bit of judge intervention might be necessary in the case of mutually exclusive impact frameworks and lack of weighing.
- I will generally keep in mind who is "speaking better." Although this will not change my vote in most cases, if the round is really close I might use that as the determiner.
- If I ask for a card and you can't find it, especially if it has a statistic, I will drop 1 speaker point for poor evidence norms.
I have debated for three years at Georgia State and did a mixture of debate in high school. Now I’m a graduate coach at Wake Forest
I want to be on the email chain; use email@example.com
Slow down when reading your tag and author, or I won't be able to catch it.
If GSU debate has taught me anything, it's to be extremely open minded to a variety of arguments. If you want to run death good, afropessimism, deterrence das, no period plan flaw, K affs, traditional affs, feminist killjoy etc, go for it. Just be sure to explain why you should win with this argument. ROB will be who debated the best unless I'm given another ROB with reason to perfer it. I'm against judge fill in but will vote down oppressive/offensive language/arguments especially if the other team points it out.
Do whatever you're best at, stay topical (or be ready to explain why topicality doesn't matter), be organized, and extend your case and why it outweighs throughout. I tend to err aff on framework if they have and defend a plan text, but you have to lock in if you decide to do that, otherwise I'll be persuaded to neg's abuse claims.
I love a good k with a clear link and impact. Your alts have to be clearly explained. I'll buy links of omission but the neg has to defend why the aff can't simply perm. Negs really have to take time in the block to explain why the aff can't perm and why it's net better to do the alt alone. Affs have to explain why they can perm and why the perm is net better than aff alone or why the alt can't solve the case. Don't drop theory args, or I will have to vote the other way.
I’m good with das but there has to be work done on how it links to the aff, or I will agree with the aff on no link args. If you have a solid Nonunique arg and extend it and I will vote on that. Solid impact calc will seal the deal for me, but if the aff successfully turns the DA or explains why the case outweighs the DA, I will vote on that as well. Long story short the more clash on the DA the better.
Love a creative CP, but it needs to solve/have a net benefit (DA or a K) along with stealing aff ground; otherwise I will agree with aff's perm and theory args. Aff needs to clearly explain why CP can't solve case, beat the net benefit, and articulate why the perm is best. Don't drop theory or you lose my ballot.
I will vote neg on a T arg if you convince me the violation is clear, the aff's counter interpretation is unreasonable, and the impact is big. I will vote aff if they convince me that their aff is reasonable, counter interpretation is better or equal to the negs, and a benefit to their definition, but aff can chuck topicality and still win if they articulate why being topical doesn't matter or is worse for debate. If the aff locks in and says they're T however, they cannot shift or it's an auto win for the neg.
I lean aff in most cases unless the neg provides me with a clear violation, story, and impact. 2acs have to clearly explain why the aff is fair and/or better. Tech is important when arguing FW but explanation is key when you arguing framework. Truth always better than tech.
cross ex is binding, answer the questions honestly, don't ask why the aff should win during 1ac cross ex or generic questions like that.
**Just a brief update for the high school community on the CJR topic:
ConCon is a non-starter in front of me!
T-enact against Court Affs is almost an equal non-starter!
**Updated pre-GSU 2019**
Yes I would like to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will listen to all arguments, but a couple of caveats:
-This doesn't mean I will understand every element of your argument.
-I have grown extremely irritated with clash debates…take that as you please.
-I am a firm believer that you must read some evidence in debate. If you differ, you might want to move me down the pref sheet.
I have been a long-term fan of the great Shannon Sharpe. Now that he is the co-host of Undisputed, he often serves up Hot Dubs and Hot Ls daily. Please see ways below in which you or your team might earn one of these Dubs or Ls:
To Earn a Hot L:
1. You stumble, fumble or go silent on a fundamental series of CX questions related to your Aff, primary Neg position or issues germane to the topic.
2. You are blatantly racist, homophobic, sexist or are in any other way discriminatory in the debate space.
3. You decide that theory, skepticism or RVIs are more important than substance (specifically for LD).
4. You clip or cross-read.
To Earn a Hot W:
1. Debate well!
2. Be nice!
3. Don’t do any of the things in the Hot L section!
Note to all: In high school debate, there is no world where the Negative needs to read more than 5 off case arguments. SO if you say 6+, I'm only flowing 5 and you get to choose which you want me to flow.
In college debate, I might allow 6 off case arguments :/
Good luck to all!
Sheryl Kaczmarek Lexington High School -- SherylKaz@gmail.com
I expect debaters to treat one another, their judges and any observers, with respect, and I also expect all audience members to treat every participant in a round with respect. If you plan to accuse your opponent(s) of being intellectually dishonest or of cheating, please be prepared to stake the round on that claim. Accusations of that sort are NOT JUST ARGUMENTS, they are round ending claims for me, one way or the other, so don't make the accusation in a speech if you don't want me to judge the round based on that argument alone, either for or against the person making the claim. I believe debate is an oral and aural experience, which means that while I want to be included on the email chain, I will NOT be reading along with you, and I will not give you credit for arguments I cannot hear/understand if you do not change your speaking after I shout clearer or louder for the second time. I take the flow very seriously and I probably judge as much as anyone my age, across the disciplines, but I still need everyone to explain their arguments because I may not "know" all of the nuances for every topic in every event, and I should not judge on what I know anyhow. There is an exception: I will NOT vote for arguments that are racist, sexist or in any other way biased against a group based on gender identity, religion or any other characteristic and I will NOT vote for suicide/self harm alternatives. None of those are things I can endorse as a long time high school teacher and decent human.
The Resolution -- I would prefer that debaters actually address the resolution, but I do vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often. That is because it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.
Framework -- I often find that these debates get really messy really fast. Debaters tend to make too many arguments and tend not to answer the arguments of the opposition very clearly. I would prefer more direct clash, and fewer arguments overall. While I don't think framework arguments are as interesting as many other types of arguments in a debate, I will vote for the team which best promotes their vision of debate through their framework arguments, or at least look at the rest of the arguments in the round through that lens.
Links -- You should have them, for both Disads and Kritiks. I would really like to know what the affirmative has done to cause the impacts referenced in a Disad, and I think there has to be something the affirmative does (or thinks) which triggers a Kritik. I don't care how big the impact/implication is if the affirmative does not cause it in the first place.
Solvency -- I expect actual solvency advocates for both plans and counterplans. If you are going to have multi-plank plans or counterplans, make sure you have solvency advocates for those combinations of actions, and even if you are advocating a single action, I still expect some source that suggests this action as a solution for the problems you have identified with the SQ, or with the Affirmative (which is why your counterplan is better).
Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly really annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part of the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy. I will try to follow you, but there is no guarantee I will succeed.
Old/Traditional Arguments -- I have been judging long enough that I have a full range of experiences with inherency, case specific disads, theoretical arguments against politics disads and many other arguments from policy debate's past, and I also understand the stock issues and traditional policy-making. If you want to really confuse your opponents, and amuse me, you'll kick it old school rather than going post-modern.
The Resolution -- The thing that originally attracted me about LD (as opposed to policy) was that debaters actually addressed the whole resolution. These days, that happens far less often in LD than it used to. I do like hearing the resolution debated, but I also vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often in LD. That is because I believe it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.
Framework -- I think LDers are better at framework debates than policy debaters, as a general rule, but I have noticed a trend to lazy framework debates in LD in recent years. How often should debaters recycle Winter and Leighton, for example, before looking for something new? If you want to stake the round on the framework you can, or you can allow it to be the lens through which I will look at the rest of the arguments in the round.
Policy Arguments in LD -- I understand all of the policy arguments that have migrated to LD quite well, and I remember when many of them were first developed in Policy. The biggest mistake LDers make with policy arguments -- Counterplans, Perm Theory, Topicality, Disads, Solvency, etc. -- is making the assumption that your particular interpretation of any of those arguments is the same as mine. Don't do that! If you don't explain something, I have no choice but to default to my understanding of that thing. For example, if you say, "Perm do Both," with no other words, I will interpret that to mean, "let's see if it is possible to do the Aff Plan and the Neg Counterplan at the same time, and if it is, the Counterplan goes away." If you mean something different, you need to tell me. That is true for all judges, but especially true for someone with over 40 years of policy experience. I try to keep what I think out of the round, but absent your thoughts, I have to use my own.
Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly really annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part if the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy. I will try to follow you, but there is no guarantee I will succeed.
Traditional Arguments -- I would still be pleased to listen to cases with a Value Premise and a Criterion. I almost certainly prefer traditional arguments to new arguments that I cannot understand at full debate speed.
Theory -- Theory arguments are not magical, and theory arguments which are not fully explained, as they are being presented, are unlikely to be persuasive for me, particularly if presented in a paragraph, since there is no way of knowing which ones I won't notice or write down, and no one can write down all of the arguments in a densely packed theory paragraph. I also don't like theory arguments that are crafted for one particular debate. If it is not an argument that can be used in multiple debates (like topicality, conditionality, etc) then it probably ought not be run in front of me. New 1AR theory is risky, in my opinion, because the NR typically has more than enough time to answer it, and I don't especially like disclosure theory arguments because I am not in a position to judge what was done or said before a round, and because I am not at all sure I ought to be voting on things that happened before official speech or CX time begins. All of that being said, I have voted on theory, even new 1AR theory, and disclosure theory, if a debater WINS the argument, but it does not make me smile.
The Resolution -- PF still debates the resolution, which is one of the things I really like about the activity. Please make sure you do debate the resolution when debating in front of me. It would be best if the Final Focus on each side attempted to guide me to either endorse or reject the resolution.
Framework -- This is beginning to be a thing in PF in some places. I am perfectly willing to consider a lens through which I can look at the arguments in the debate, but given the time limits, please keep your framework simple and focused, should you decide to use one.
Policy or LD Behaviors/Arguments in PF -- I personally believe each form of debate ought to be its own thing. I do not want you to talk quickly in PF, just because I also judge LD and Policy, and I really don't want to see theory arguments, plans, counterplans or kritiks in PF. I will definitely flow, and will judge the debate based on the flow, but I want PF to be PF. That being said, I will not automatically vote against a team that brings Policy/LD arguments/stylistic approaches into PF. It is still a debate and the opposition needs to answer the arguments that are presented in order to win my ballot, even if they are arguments I don't want to see in PF.
Paraphrasing -- I really wish the NSDA had decided to kill paraphrasing in PF. When someone paraphrases inaccurately, I have a huge problem with it. I expect debaters to be able to immediately access the text of the cards they have paraphrased -- there should not need to be an off time search for the article, or for the exact place in the article where they drew their paraphrasing from. Taking a 150 page article and making a claim from it is not paraphrasing unless you can point to the exact place your statement is based upon.
Evidence -- If you are using evidence, I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is unacceptable. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part you card you read needs to say extinction will happen. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
Theory -- This has begun to be a thing in PF in some places, especially with respect to disclosure theory, and I am not a fan. As previously noted, I want PF to be PF. While I do think that PFers can be too secretive (for example, getting excited because people are watching their debates -- debates are educational and should be open to observers) I don't think that PFers ought to be expending their very limited time in rounds talking about whether they ought to have disclosed their case to their opponents before the round. Like everything else I would prefer not be true, I can see myself voting on theory in PF because I do vote based on the flow, but how about debating the case in front of you, instead of inventing new arguments you don't really have time to discuss? I would like that, and happy judges give better speaker points.
St. Mark's School of Texas
CXphilosophy = Years judging: 19 as a hs coach another 10 as a college coach
Rounds on this year’s high school topic: 30+
Rounds on this year’s college topic: 0
yes, please add me to the email chain email@example.com,
yes, please send out a card document at the conclusion of the debate. please make sure that the card document accurately represents the cards relevant in the debate i.e. make sure cards that were marked are marked in the document and that cards not read in the debate don't appear in it, etc.
Teachers teach, coaches coach, judges judge.1
Clarity is king.2
I view my role as a judge in the frame of least intervention.3
More and more I'm starting to think that it should all revolve around solvency advocates. While I've probably had some tendencies toward that approach for a few years now it's even more prominent now. If a team is willing to read a plan and they have a card that says their plan is EE or DE with China then we should thank our lucky stars that they are willing to talk about the topic and try to give them a good debate. (I know that's from way back on the china topic but it's still a good example) Having said that if they have a solvency advocate for their CP I think the neg should get a tremendous amount of leeway on theoretically legitimate questions. The test is "Is the cp solvency advocate at least as specific as the aff solvency advocate".
Framework: I'm over it. The aff gets to weigh their advantages (fiat) and the neg gets their K. The neg can't win fiat is an illusion but they can win it's a waste of time/bad idea to engage the state OR they can say "Our argument is that in the face of the aff Obama/Congress/Supreme Court/usfg should say 'no, we reject the securitization/racism/imperialism/capitalism/insert k lingo' of this idea the world would be better if we FILL IN WITH YOUR ALTERNATIVE". If you don't understand what I mean then feel free to ask questions about this.
If you say you are ready then say "Oh wait, I need another second." I will probably penalize you 15 seconds of prep. Don't say you are ready and ask me to stop prep time until you are ready.
Virtually everything else in this judging philosophy is about ways you can get better speaker points or some of my subjective biases I think you should be aware of. The reality is that most of my subjective preferences rarely matter in debates because the debates aren’t close enough to make it matter.
Want good speaker points? Impress me with arguments that prove you have done a substantial amount of research on the topic and that you can make smart arguments.5
New aff’s are intellectual terrorism – you ask for it you got it.6
Topicality is for the unresearched.7
Most theory debates are terrible.8
Evidence is a good thing. Read some cards, preferably some with warrants from people with expertise in the relevant area.9
Excessive arrogance is unacceptable.10
Take ownership of your arguments.11
Post round discussions are good.12
Notes on the use of computers in debate.13
Make complete arguments. "perm do both" and "voting issue fairness and education" are not complete arguments.
]1 While this may seem obvious it bears repeating. What I teach my students and what I coach my students, i.e. what I think about debate and how the game should be played, shouldn’t be relevant when I’m judging two teams that I don’t coach or teach.
2 I've decided that a part of my role as a judge is to ensure that all debaters speak clearly. It is unfair that some debaters are virtually incomprehensible forcing the other team to read over their shoulder or look at every card instead of just being able to flow. So I'm adding a deterrent to the unclear debater. I expect debaters to speak clearly at all times. That doesn't just mean the tags on your cards, it means all the words of your evidence, it means everything. When I say "clearer" what I'm saying is "you are so unclear I have virtually no idea what you are saying so please make a SIGNFICANT, MEANINGFUL change in your delivery". I don't mean make a .001 change. If I have to say clearer a second time you are well on the path to having a cranky judge.
3 As a judge I have two jobs 1) pick one winner in each debate 2) enforce time limits as set by the tournament. To some extent intervention may be inevitable, however, it is my job as a judge to pick a winner based on the arguments made in each debate. That includes being cognizant of my subjective biases and doing my best to keep those preferences from influencing my decision.
4 This should be self evident. See also, footnotes 10, 11 and 13.
5 If your strategy relies on your technical proficiency it probably won’t impress me. If your strategy relies on reading a host of confusing cards that you don’t really understand and you hope that the other team won’t understand them either then you probably won’t impress me. A 1ac with several advantages all with poor internal links probably won’t impress me. A 1nc with a clear coherent method of winning the debate based on good evidence probably will impress me. A 1ac with a solvency advocate and well evidenced advantages probably will impress me. I like it when the aff is kritikal and the neg beats them with a smart go farther left strategy.
6 If you really wanted to have an in depth educational debate you would have disclosed your plan and advantages and given the other team a chance to research it. Break a new aff and your chances of losing on T go up and your chances of winning that anything the neg did was an illegitimate voting issue go way down. Will I be really impressed if, in the face of a new aff, the neg provides a well researched coherent strategy? Yes. Will I understand if, in the face of a new aff, the 1NC is three conditaional cp’s and a K? Yes.
7 Limits usually wins topicality debates and that is unfortunate. Smart teams should make arguments not only about limits/ground but about the educational value of the topic envisioned by both sides. A narrow topic that excludes some of the core issues that would generate educational research probably isn’t as good as a broader topic that encourages students to research important issues.
8 I generally find theory debates to be the bastion of the weak. Your amazingly good ASPEC debate usually sounds like a 27 to me. Think of it this way…every time you say something besides topicality is a voting issue count on losing half a speaker point. Again, this will not affect who wins debates only speaker points. However, I can be persuaded that illegitimate counterplans have so skewed the playing field that reject the argument not the team is insufficient and they must be voting issues. There are probably a host of counterplans that fall within this category. Three that leap to mind are consult, delay, and states. Two exceptions to this rule to help the negative: If your counterplan is unconditional it will be pretty hard for the aff to convince me it has unfairly skewed the debate. Second, have a true solvency advocate for your counterplan. Just a hint, a card that says states have acted uniformly and another card that says the states have poverty programs doesn’t cut it. You need a card that is as specific as the aff solvency advocate. Of course, if the aff solvency advocate doesn’t really match up to the plan it will probably be difficult for the aff to convince me that the counterplan should be rejected for lack of an advocate.
It would help make theory/topicality debates better if you SLOW DOWN so I can flow your arguments. It’s not necessarily a clarity issue it’s just that it’s very difficult for judges to flow short analytical arguments as fast as you can spit them out.
“Voting issue – fairness and education” usually gets flowed as VI F@E and I presume that means it’s a voting issue if they go for whatever argument you have identified as a VI. If you expect it to be a voting issue if they don’t go for it then you need to give some type of warrant as to why the debate has been skewed by them merely making the argument.
9 One good card is better than three short bad ones. Qualifications should matter but debaters rarely take the time to explain what constitutes qualified evidence and what doesn’t. In front of me that would be time worth spending.
10 Confidence is good. It’s better when it’s backed up with smart arguments and good evidence. If you disrespect your opponents because of some inflated sense of your own importance be prepared for low speaker points.
11 If it sounds like you read the same argument every debate, your coach wrote all your blocks, and you have no idea how your arguments interact with your opponent’s arguments then your speaker points aren’t going to be very good. My argument preferences are way less important than your ability to explain arguments. When in doubt about what arguments to go for choose arguments you understand, you can answer cx questions about, and arguments you will be able explain in rebuttals.
12 If you have questions about the decision please ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. However, don’t become the debater who always whines about every decision as if they have never lost a debate. Word gets around.
13 I don’t penalize your time to jump/email material to your opponents but I’m a stickler for stolen prep so if I think you are abusing the privilege be prepared to be called out on it. You get ten minutes of “crash” time per debate. If you computer crashes and you need to restart I won’t penalize your prep time. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and if you can’t get your computer ready in 10 minutes you are going to have to start anyway. Most other issues related to this are covered under #4.
For Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Did some policy & some LD @ Harker, some policy @ Berkeley & now also doing some coaching for Harker.
Arguments To Read/Not Read: I personally mostly K and LARP stuff, but I'm not ideologically opposed to any other style and I try to stay as tab as possible. My understanding of Phil/tricks is lower so you'll probably need to do more explaining. The only arguments I won't vote for are those that are blatantly abhorrent, unethically read (i.e.: clipped, misdisclosed, etc), or that lack a claim/impact/warrant.
Other Potentially Relevant Things:
• I tend to lean more towards how people explain/execute arguments and less towards what the original evidence says unless the other debater makes are argument about it or both teams are equally unclear because if you can't explain your evidence, I'm not going to do the work for you
• I presume NEG unless told otherwise and assume impacts are filtered by magnitude*probability if no one makes any framing arguments
• Generally very down for weird/memey arguments but on god if you choose to pull a bunch of conflicting pomo ev into a doc just so you can spend the round yelling vague buzzwords without making any attempt to say anything specific about the 1AC I will tank your speaks
Strath Haven High School (PA) - 2014 to 2016
Emory University - 2016 to 2020
Please add me to the email chain!
If you're judged by me, here are the most important things for you to know:
1. I prefer affs that defend a topical plan. If they do not, I find framework arguments about fairness and limits very compelling. If you choose to not defend a plan, you have to play at least some defense on fairness/limits to make any education arguments compelling.
2. Offense/defense strongly shapes how I think about individual debates. I am very unwilling to vote on presumption.
3. Please assemble a document of every card extended in the final rebuttal and send it to me as soon as possible when the debate is done. How I evaluate your explanation is shaped by how much quality evidence you have. I think I care about evidence quantity much more than most judges. Reading 5 cards on something in the 1AR is much more likely to get you back into the debate than explaining why you think its wrong.
4. Tech is important, but so is developing robust positions throughout the debate. If you go for something that the other team has hardly covered or dropped, but you have barely spent any time developing it, I can't guarantee I'll vote on it.
5. Strong neg bias on condo. Generally cool with 2NC counterplans, modifying/kicking planks, etc. I do think that neg teams need to say judge kick in the 2NR for me to consider it. I don't find most other counterplan theory arguments very compelling. You're much better off winning competition arguments than saying that a whole category of counterplan doesn't belong in the debate.
6. Critiques need to engage the case. I generally don't find role of the ballot/FW debating very important for either teams in these debates. I'd much rather see aff specific link debating. I’m probably better for PIKs than most, but I have a decently high threshold for explaining how the alt results in the plan. Please be specific.
7. I'm not very good at evaluating T debates against policy affs. Go for it at your own risk.
8. I love politics DAs.
9. Debate is fun! I understand everyone cares a lot about wins and losses, but I appreciate debaters who remember that they're functionally just playing a game with their friends on the weekend. I'll enjoy judging you if you enjoy being in the debate!
Alliance topic thoughts:
- I think I care less about revisionism debates than most debaters. Revisionism is usually one of the last things I think about when making my decision, so if you're going for deterrence you're much better off focusing on the link debate. There are a lot of scenarios where I vote neg on deterrence without them reading a card that says Russia/China are revisionist.
- I've been underwhelmed by the case debating on this topic. If the aff has an advantage that says Russia/China is scared by X part of the alliance which causes probing / modernization / miscalc, the neg needs cards that say Russia/China is not scared by the alliance, or that they're not probing or modernizing now.
I debated policy for 6 years so debates that look closest to policy debates are what I probably want to see. I want to see debates about substance. Plans and counterplans are great, critiques too. I love the politics DA. Please do impact calc--at least the top 30 seconds of the final rebuttals should be devoted to it.
I care about evidence. I'd rather see you read more cards to build your arguments (throughout every speech except the 2AR) than rely on spin.
I'm meh for theory. From my understanding there is generally a lower threshold for theory args in LD than in policy, so if your are making impassioned appeals to fairness I probably do not feel as cheated as you do.
In K debates--do link debating. I care more about that than framework/role of the ballot args. The strength of the link affects how I view every other arg in the debate.
Values stuff--I generally lean towards util/consequentalism when thinking about debates.
This is the LD paradigm. Do a Ctrl+F search for “Policy Paradigm” or “PF Paradigm” if you’re looking for those. They’re toward the bottom.
I debated LD in high school and policy in college. I coach LD, so I'll be familiar with the resolution.
If there's an email chain, please add me to it. My email is: email@example.com
Summary for Prefs
I've judged 500+ LD rounds from novice locals to TOC finals. I don't much care whether your approach to the topic is deeply philosophical, policy-oriented, or traditional. I do care that you debate the topic. Frivolous theory or kritiks which shift the debate to some other proposition are inadvisable.
Topicality is good. There's not too many other theory arguments I find plausible.
Most counterplan theory is bad and would be better resolved by a "Perm do the counterplan" challenge to competition. Agent "counterplans" are never competitive opportunity costs.
I don’t have strong opinions on most of the nuances of disclosure theory, but I do appreciate good disclosure practices. If you think your wiki exemplifies exceptional disclosure norms (open source, round reports, and cites), point it out before the round starts, and you might get +.1-.2 speaker points.
If the strategic value of your argument hinges almost entirely on your opponent missing it, misunderstanding it, or mis-allocating time to it, I would rather not hear it. I am quite willing to give an RFD of “I didn’t flow that,” “I didn’t understand that,” or “I don’t think these words in this order constitute a complete and warranted argument.” I tend not to have the speech document open during the speech, so blitz through spikes at your own risk.
I don’t know what the precise threshold for a “spike” or “trick” is supposed to be and so am generally skeptical of theory arguments claiming to indict them. I think I already naturally judge in a way that makes abuse of such tactics unstrategic, so you shouldn’t worry about needing to police your opponent’s use of them.
The above notwithstanding, I have no particular objection to voting for arguments with patently false conclusions. I’ve signed ballots for warming good, wipeout, moral skepticism, Pascal’s wager, and even agenda politics. What is important is that you have a well-developed and well-warranted defense of your claims. Be aware that presumption still lies with the debater on the side of common sense. I do not think tabula rasa judging requires I enter the round agnostic about whether the earth is round, the sky is blue, etc.
Warrant quality matters. Here is a non-exhaustive list of common claims I would not say I have heard a coherent warrant for: permissibility affirms, conditional logic, aff does not get perms, pretty much anything using the word “indexicals.”
The neg’s burden is to negate the topic, not whatever word, claim, assumption, or framework argument you feel like.
Calling something your opponent did a “voting issue” does not make it a voting issue.
The texts of most alternatives are too vague to vote for. It is not the opponent's burden to spend their cross-ex clarifying your advocacy for you.
I am pretty well-read in analytic philosophy.
I am not well-read in continental philosophy or identity literature, but read what you want as long as you can explain it and its relevance to the topic.
You cannot “theoretically justify” specific factual claims that you would like to pretend are true. If you want to argue that it would be educational to make believe util is true rather than actually making arguments for util being true, then you are welcome to make believe that I voted for you. Most “Roles of the Ballot” are just theoretically justified frameworks in disguise.
LD paradigm ends here.
Yes I want to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary for Prefs
I qualified to the NDT a few times at GSU. I now actively coach and judge LD. I have judged 1 tournament on the CJS topic this year.
The affirmative should defend a topical USFG policy. The negative should prove that the status quo or a competitive USFG policy is preferable to the affirmative. I'll vote for arguments outside of those parameters if you win them, but I highly doubt I'm a good judge for them.
I don't think there's any numerical limit on the number of advocacies the neg can introduce, but I do have a strong distaste for underdeveloped arguments, so only include as many counterplans as you can make a full and complete argument for in the 1NC.
I don't understand why people think agents other than the resolutional actor could ever be the subject of a counterplan. That's just not an opportunity cost to the plan.
Neg leaning on cheaty counterplan theory. Aff leaning on cheaty counterplan competition.
A lot of advantages/DAs are super contrived, and it’s easy to convince me that impacts short of extinction should matter more.
I do find existential risk literature interesting, but I dislike the lazy strategy of reading a card that passingly references nuke war/terrorism/warming and tagging it as "extinction."
Straight turns are great turns.
Topics DAs >>>> Politics. I have judged 0 of these so far this year and that makes me sad.
Topicality is important. It matters a lot to me that both sides have a fair chance to win the round. You should defend the topic that your opponents prepared to debate.
I have voted aff in these debates when the neg is behind on the flow, and most of the time that seems to mean losing to a "we meet" because they couldn't clearly articulate their interpretation of the topic and how the aff violated it.
Very aff leaning on framework. Your burden is to prove that the plan is a bad idea, not that some assumption your opponent made is. If you want to leverage kritikal literature to support some course of action by the USFG, that's A-OK.
K alts: I will not vote for an argument I did not understand in the 1NC. I will not vote for an argument you spend half of cross-ex dodging questions about. These are general rules that apply to all arguments, but debaters seem to mistakenly believe kritik alternatives get a pass.
9 November 2018 Update (Peach State Classic @ Carrollton):
While my background is primarily in LD/Policy, I do not have a general expectation that you conform to LD/Policy norms. I do however prefer directly quoted evidence over paraphrasing.
I have zero tolerance for evidence fabrication. If I ask to see a source you have cited, and you cannot produce it or have not accurately represented it, you will lose the round with low speaker points.
I am one of the most naturally neutral individuals I know. I will NOT favor a side because I SHOULD. I will favor a side because you convinced me to... hence the purpose of effective argumentation. Don't assume -- just explain.
Be understood. Be clear. If I don't flow it... IT NEVER HAPPENED. Remember this during warrants / impacts / extensions. I rarely call for cards, so if I need to hear it, make sure you set the scene for optimal results.
Debating about debate is fun and engaging -- if it makes sense. Silly theories are just silly, but go back to my section on presumption - I will favor a side because you convinced me to... hence the purpose of effective argumentation. If you convince me that the theory is valid, then it is for the round. I will not assume how it functions or the reasonability of it. Prove that it does or doesn't. A good K with clear explinations, links and impacts are refreshing to me. Neg must explain why aff can't perm the day away -- why is the alt superior? Aff, why is the perm better than the alt and case solo? This is where speed choices are important.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself: Do you understand the card? Does it link to the argumentation presented? Is it topical to the context you're using it in? Do the warrants exist in the text? Is it qualified? Is it dated? ....is clipping truly worth it?
T's, DA's, CPs
Policy was my niche back in the day. That being said -- I'll buy it if its clear, all conditions are met, it makes sense, and if it actually does something / proves a point. I will follow the flow, and the flow alone. Keep it clean!
Finally... most importantly... tell me WHY I should be voting for you. Yes. I want voters. Explain why a drop is catastrophic. Tell me why case outweighs. You know what happens when you assume... don't assume that I'm rolling with you. Explain why I should be.
Spkr Point Breakdown
30 Likely to take the tournament
29.5 Contender to the crown
29 Excited to see how deep you go!
28.5 Highly likely to clear
28 Clearing is possible
27.5 On the bubble, keep pushing
27 Congrats on earning entry into the tournament!!
Online debate update
-i will have camera on or off if debaters prefer-feel free to express your preference
-I am using a desktop computer (for tabroom/to see your doc, I'm flowing on paper) without a webcam and using Zoom etc on a tablet sitting next to me. This means I'm rarely looking "at" the camera
-my headset is wireless, I may get up and move around during CX/prep but I can hear even if I'm not on camera
My general philosophy is tech/line by line focused- I try to intervene as little as possible in terms of rejecting arguments/interpreting evidence. As long as an argument has a claim/warrant I can explain to your opponent in the RFD I will vote for it. If only one side tries to resolve an issue I will defer to that argument even if it seems illogical/wrong to me- i.e. if you drop "warming outweighs-timeframe" and have no competing impact calc its GG even though that arg is terrible. 90% of the time I'm being postrounded it is because a debater wanted me to intervene in some way on their behalf either because that's the trend/what some people do or because they personally thought an argument was bad.
Rounds Judged on the topic- a lot
My Ideal affirmative- 2 well constructed advantages
My Ideal 1NC- 5 off and case
Cliffs Notes-Top 10 Things you should know
1. I vote on arguments commonly considered "bad" frequently because a team mishandles them, it is my belief belief that most bad arguments can be defeated by making a thumbs down motion, so if you fail to meet that minimum threshold I will be qualmless voting against you. The overarching principle of my judging is "least intervention"-Much like Harrison Ford in Ender's Game under no circumstances will I help you with bad arguments, I believe in self help.
2. I vote on kritiks a lot because the team answering them reads a lot of bad generic answers instead of making analytic arguments based on the specific arguments they have made in that debate. To clarify this sentence - what I mean is an analytic based on your 1AC- ie "tradable permits empirically don't cause commodification and extinction since we already have them for SO2". In general I think most debaters have no idea what they are saying when reading a K and that affirmatives SHOULD win about 80-90% of the debates in which the negative goes for one.
3. No plan affs- 100% of the time when I vote against you on framework its because the other team won theory was a trump card over issues like education/K impacts and you didn't advance theory offense for your interpretation. I end up voting for no plan args frequently because the neg collapses/has no idea what to do.
4. Theory needs to come back with a vengeance
A. Entirely plan inclusive counterplans- I have never heard a theory argument to defend them that passes the minimum threshold explained above. That being said, winning a solvency deficit against them is basically impossible.
B. More than 2 conditional counterplans is just you being a chazzer
C. K frameworks/roles of the ballot that stack the deck absurdly are worse than entirely plan inclusive counterplans
D. Reject argument not team produces terrible debates with very bad strategies. Voting on theory doesn't fix this, but it improves it substantially.
5. I believe you have a choice
A. Clearly articulate your ground/say as much in CX
B. Because your position is vague you are susceptible to a reduced credibility modifier that taints many of your arguments. Plan vagueness affects plan solvency, alternative vagueness affects.... etc.
6. IMO there are, in fact, risks of things. Debaters should be aware of this and make arguments about how I should resolve risk. The plan may be popular with 5 people and unpopular with 6, should I place more emphasis on the number of people or maybe are those 5 more important? Very few link cards establish such a clear threshold that you can say with certainty (when contested) yes definite link. (this point is largely irrelevant now as the tides of history have turned and no risk people have been successfully marginalized)
7. I will always defer to debater argument resolution if one side does it and the other doesn't-no matter how bad or illogical I think the argument is. This is to me, the most important part of debate.
8. I try really hard to flow well. Teams who willfully ignore line by line/structure - I will not do work for you to figure things out if the other team does line by line barring some argument why I should.
9. I often call for lots of evidence after a debate, most of the time this is just out of curiosity. When making my decision evidence is only a factor when it is a point of contest or someone has made an argument for why it should be a part of the decision. I am not a judge who reads every card from both sides and makes a decision based on the evidence.
10. Evidence quality in debate is in terminal decline. If you have good evidence and you make an issue of it in the debate (talk about quals, or recency for uniqueness) you will most likely crush.
Making a decision:
Everything is debatable but speech times: The role of the ballot, whether evidence or analytic arguments are more important, is it acceptable for the other team to read off their computers, who gets presumption and why etc. If neither team makes an argument on the issue, the following are my defaults:
1. Evidence and analytic arguments are treated equally- I will look at the total sum of explanation offered for an argument, from any form. So if a well explained analytical will beat a poorly written piece of evidence. If one teams reads qualifications and the other doesn't, the team who read quals will receive a slight bump in the level of quality I assess to their explanation (assuming all other factors are equal). Treating them as equal until told otherwise is my way of encouraging debate.
2. Presumption, in the case of a tie or too close to call resolution of an argument, goes to the team advocating the least change. I would use presumption in the instance where each team had an advocacy and an offensive argument, and each team dropped a terminal defense argument to their own offense such that the net risk in either direction of presented offense was exactly zero. In that instance the "hidden disad" of change makes sense as a decision making tool. In no other circumstance I can think of would I use presumption unless explicitly instructed by the debaters.
3. If an argument is unresolveable (or tough to resolve) I will use a "needs" test- the burden of explanation will be assessed to the team who NEEDS the argument to win. So for example
-on a CP permutation, if the neg would win the debate without the permutation, then the aff needs it to win- so the burden of explanation is on them
-for CP solvency, if the neg would lose if the CP did not solve the case, then the neg needs to win solvency- so the burden of explanation is on them
4. Concession= truth. If you drop epistemology comes first/is a side constraint, then it is. You can drop that framing issue and still win as long as you beat the link (that your epistemology is flawed), but you will not be allowed new answers to the impact. I use a reasonable person standard- if I was unaware that the 1NC presented a epistemology first argument (based on what was said in the 1NC, not my prior knowledge of the negative team), then if the aff says "they didn't say this, therefore our answers aren't new" I would allow it. But remember, everything is debatable. If the 2NR comes back and asserts it was clearly stated when they said XYZ, the aff has to disprove that.
5. The threshold for how good a response to an argument has to be is directly related to the quality of the initial argument. Saying "RANT" is sufficient to beat a lot of voting issues. If the other team answers RANT in their 2NC sever perms are a VI block, and thats all you say, you will be in trouble. Similarly, many counterplans (consult, recommendation, delay, lopez) are easily defeated by theory arguments but almost impossible to beat on substance. A well rounded debater should avoid trying to ice skate uphill.
6. I spend a lot of time on debate. Other than eating and playing video games, basically all of my time is spent cutting cards, coaching, writing and reading about debate. A lot of judges say "I'm not a very good flow". I'm a very good flow, I may even go as far as to say probably one of the best. All that being said, it is very possible that you could say a string of words, or utter a quote from an article I have written that fully conveys your argument to me, but would leave a less experienced/judge with a life with no idea what you were saying/what your argument was. I try to temper this fact by using a "reasonable person" standard for what makes a complete argument. I feel this is essential because otherwise any student who was in my lab, had emailed me a question, or had just read a lot of the 3NR would have an absurdly unfair advantage vs a similarly skilled student. So if I made a joke in lab about saying "purple monkey dishwasher" and that meaning "we do the whole plan minus the reps", so you say that in a debate and expect me to vote on it, I won't. Unless you are debating someone else from the lab who had equal access to that information. Similarly, even if I flowed an argument/got the jist of what you were saying, but feel that the other team is being reasonable when they say your argument was poorly explained/did not constitute an argument I will be open to that and you need to respond.
1. I like fast debate. That being said, some people give fast debate a bad name. You can be fast only after you are clear and efficient. I should be able to understand every word you say, not just the tags. If you are stammering (or displaying other verbal missteps) excessively you are going faster than you are capable of going imo.
2. Points are determined by how well you perform your function, which depends on what speeches you give. A 1AC should be perfectly smooth because you can practice it as much as you want. A 2NC assembled on the fly vs a new case can be excused a few missteps on the other hand. I think auto giving the 1N low points because they could be replaced by a robot in most debates is a bit unfair- a blazing fast 1NC and devastating 1NR can be game changing. That being said, rarely do people perform up to that level.
3. Points are assessed relative to the field in which you are competing. The same speech can be a 29 at a local, but a 27.5 at St Marks.
What is your threshold for T?
The threshold is established by the other teams answers- if they make good defensive arguments and argue reasonability well than my threshold will be high. If they don't it will be very low.
What are you favorite kinds of debate?
Ones in which there are clash, since that is not really a thing anymore its usually impact turn debates- heg bad, de-dev, CO2 ag and warming good- loved to go for these when I debated and love to see them debated now. CO2 ag is the upper limit of stupid I think is acceptable.
Did you run kritiks when you debated?
Not as much as Bricker would want you to believe. My senior year in HS and my senior year in college I went for K's about 30% of the time, in the other years of my debate less than 5%.
Did you ever read a critical aff?
By today's standards no- I always had a plan, though sometimes the advantages were not nuke war.
You bash the politics disad a lot, will you still vote for it?
Yes, almost always because the affirmative never does anything of the things that highlight the problem with politics.
Are you OK with speed?
Yes, if anything I dislike slow debate. However this is a double edged sword- if you do fast debate terribly I will punish you for it.
Is Fem IR beatable?
What race do you play in SC2?
Usually random, but if I pick -zerg.
If you were in Game of Thrones, which house would you belong to?
A note on jumping:
I want to see good debates. I'm not interested in charging you 10 seconds of prep to jump your speeches. If, however, you show total technical incompetence at jumping/severely delay the round your speaks will suffer. A good jump is like a good road map- its not hard, so get it over with quickly.
Standards for sharing should be reciprocal, and as such are established by the team willing to do the least. If Team A doesnt jump speeches as a policy that is fine by me, but then Team B is under no obligation to let Team A see any of their evidence. If Team A doesn't jump analytics, Team B doesn't have to etc.
A note on quality:
I generally believe that there are certain "norms" in debate- don't steal prep time, don't clip cards etc. These norms are not rules, and as such as a judge I don't think its my job to enforce them. In fact, I think it SHOULD be the burden of a good team to be on top of is the other team stealing prep, are they clipping cards etc. Encouraging students to take responsibility for this is the best model imo. However, there are debates where there is a huge mismatch in terms of the quality of the teams involved. I no longer think it reasonable to expect novices entered in their first varsity tournament to check to see if the Baker Award winning team they are debating is stealing prep. I also don't really care to argue with you about whether or not you are stealing prep. So my solution is that for all things that could be considered a violation of good sportsmanship I will severely jack your points if it is a debate where I subjectively decide the other team should not be responsible for checking you.SO
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx in the finals of the TOC vs another excellent team I would expect the other team to catch you
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx during a preset vs a vastly inferior team I will severely dock your speaker points
Harrison High School '17
Georgetown University '20 (2N/1A)
I debated for four years in LD for Harrison High School and three years in Policy for Georgetown University, clearing twice at the TOC and once at the NDT.
I am affiliated with the DebateDrills Club Team. Should you have any questions or concerns, please look through the below links or email email@example.com
1) Roster and Conflict Policy: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BJ9lWr2hMGtyNVsi4JlQ4fL9YZ084EYLQejwpGoZFCU/edit?usp=sharing
2) Code of Conduct and Relevant Team Policies:
3) Harassment/Bullying Complaint Form: https://forms.gle/c4npvCuawT9Kgv9n7
Debate is hard, and everyone puts a lot of time in - I promise to reciprocally put effort into judging your debate and, to the best of my ability, bracket my predispositions. While I'll do my best to evaluate just the round at hand, nobody's perfect, and the rest illustrates biases that may influence things at the margins.
The only hard and fast rule is that I will not vote on any argument that makes the debate about individuals, or requires me to cast aspersions about an individual debater. Nor will I evaluate arguments about anything that took place outside of the round (judge preferences, past argumentative choices, disputes pre-round, or anything I cannot immediately verify), with the exception of disclosure theory. This is set in stone, and I will not evaluate arguments to the contrary. I recognize this line is not always super clear, so I'll make it very apparent if arguments approach this threshold (either by telling you to skip it in a prelim or visibly not flowing it if on a panel).
Feel free to ask or shoot me an email if you have specific questions.
Flows the doc ----------------------------------------X--It's on you to be comprehensible
Spin > Cards --------------------X----------------------Cards > Spin
Poker face----------------------------------------X--You'll know my thoughts on everything
Not ideological in clash debates -X------------------------------------------No plan no ballot
Pomo/high theory expert ---------------------------------------X---Whatever the opposite of that is
Fairness/clash/research impacts on T --------X----------------------------------Delib k2 solve warming/Movements
Counter-defining and offense/defense on T ---------X---------------------------------Impact turning everything
2NR needs TVA to win------------------------------------X-----Overrated/unnecessary most of the time
K links to the plan ------------------------------X--------------Unnecessary if you win framework
Extinction outweighs/impact turn vs K -------------X------------------------------Perm/no link
Conditionality bad -----------------------------------X----------Infinite and good
1NCs that proliferate incomplete arguments--------------------------------------X--Aff gets new answers
Bad for process/"cheating" CPs --------------------------------------X------Being neg's hard
"We're topical but don't defend implementation"------------------------------------------X-Makes literally 0 sense
Theory debates hinge on ideology -----------------------------------------X---Execution is everything
Aff-leaning on T vs Policy Affs --------------------X----------------------Neg-leaning on T vs Policy Affs
Politics in 2017 --X-----------------------------------------Politics in 2020
Intrinsicness bad ---------------------------------X-----------Better for it than most
Logical internal link presses/recutting their ev ----X--------------------------------------Impact D to everything
"Insert this reHLing" -----------------------------------------X--Gotta read it
Bathroom breaks and small talk -----------------------------------------X-Decision time is short
Having to read an essay with my thoughts on debate ------------------------------------X--Short judge philosophies
--Please have a local copy of your speech recorded. I've now judged several debates where technical issues have come up, and this is the best way to avoid those problems.
--Please go a little slower than you are accustomed to - flowing speed (even when clear) is harder online. Go 70-80% and I'll probably be fine.
--LD-Specific: All things equal, I'm probably best for a policy v. policy debate or a policy v. K debate. Theory debates are enjoyable provided they don't involve absurdities - any theory found in policy (spec, condo, non-condo CP theory args, etc.) are fine, and most other stuff is within limits - if you aren't sure, just ask. Despite doing policy in college, I am familiar with and comfortable judging ethical framework debates (I did a lot of this in HS), but find debaters are not comparative enough in prioritizing framework warrants; please do this. Tricks debate is inadvisable.
--Outside of debate, I spend a lot of time thinking about and researching issues related to international security (especially counterspace capabilities, nuclear strategy, and great-power competition). I love judging debates that are super deep on any aspect of international security; evincing strong knowledge about contemporary security issues or IR theory will likely help speaks.
I debated for Harker from 2014-2017. I mostly read policy arguments. I care a lot about evidence quality. Arguments do not begin at 100% truth. I haven't judged in a while, so for Apple Valley, especially the earlier rounds, please read a little slower.
I don't like preclusion-based arguments. By this I mean arguments that say "x is the root cause of y" or "x argument/framework comes before y framework". These arguments are impact calculus, albeit usually pretty good impact calculus, and do not mean none of the links to y matter. This means I am strongly in favor of epistemic modesty. This does not mean I'm not open to framework debates. It does mean I think a stategy that concedes all of the other side's offense and just answers the framework or impact is very bad.
If your opponent points out or I find out you didn't disclose (absent outstanding circumstances), I will vote against you. I've recently judged a lot of edge cases here recently, and if you think you fall in one of these edge cases, your best bet is to pseudo disclose to your opponent through messenger/email or whatever as soon as possible.
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org - add me to the email chain.
Debate for me first and foremost is an educational tool for the epistemological, social, and political growth of students. With that said, I believe to quote someone very close to me I believe that it is "educational malpractice" for adults and students connected to this activity to not read.
T/ and framework are the same thing for me I will listen AND CAN BE PERSUADED TO VOTE FOR IT I believe that affirmative teams should be at the very least tangentially connected to the topic and should be able to rigorously show that connection.
Also, very very important! Affirmatives have to do something to change the squo in the world in debate etc. If by the end of the debate the affirmative cannot demonstrate what it does and what the offense of the aff is T/Framework becomes even more persuasive. Framework with a TVA that actually gets to the impacts of the aff and leverages reasons why state actions can better resolve the issues highlighted in the affirmative is very winnable in front of me.
DA'S- Have a clear uniqueness story and flesh out the impact clearly
CP's- Must be clearly competitive with the aff and must have a clear solvency story, for the aff the permutation is your friend but you must be able to isolate a net-benefit
K- I am familiar with most of the k literature
CP'S, AND K'S- I am willing to listen and vote on all of these arguments feel free to run any of them do what you are good at
In the spirit of Shannon Sharpe on the sports show "Undisputed" and in the spirit of Director of Debate at both Stanford and Edgemont Brian Manuel theory of the TKO I want to say there are a few ways with me that can ensure that you get a hot dub (win), or a hot l (a loss).
First let me explain how to get a Hot L:
So first of all saying anything blatantly racist things ex. (none of these are exaggerations and have occurred in real life) "black people should go to jail, black death/racism has no impact, etc" anything like this will get you a HOT L
THE SAME IS TRUE FOR QUESTIONS RELATED TO GENDER, LGBTQ ISSUES ETC. ALSO WHITE PEOPLE AND WHITENESS IS NOT THE SAME THING
Next way to get a HOT L is if your argumentation dies early in the debate like during the cx following your first speech ex. I judged an LD debate this year where following the 1nc the cx from the affirmative went as follows " AFF: you have read just two off NEG: YES AFF: OK onto your Disad your own evidence seems to indicate multiple other polices that should have triggered your impact so your disad seems to then have zero uniqueness do you agree with this assessment? Neg: yes Aff: OK onto your cp ALL of the procedures that the cp would put into place are happening in the squo so your cp is the squo NEG RESPONDS: YES In a case like this or something similar this would seem to be a HOT L I have isolated an extreme case in order to illustrate what I mean
Last way to the HOT L is if you have no knowledge of a key concept to your argument let me give a few examples
I judged a debate where a team read an aff about food stamps and you have no idea what an EBT card this can equal a HOT L, in a debate about the intersection between Islamaphobia and Anti-Blackness not knowing who Louis Farrakhan is, etc etc
I believe this gives a good clear idea of who I am as judge happy debating
I'm down - but don't assume I'll vote neg just because you go for it. Have debated on both sides throughout my career.
Procedural fairness can be a thing if explained well.
I'm more familiar with traditional Ks (Neolib, Security, the works), identity-based Ks, and other structuralism Ks. But everyone should be explaining things anyways.
Love em more.
Don't have preferences on theory. Slow down a little from your top speed, especially if you think it will matter at the end of the round.
I'll judge kick if you say it in cross-ex or the 2NR.
I debated for four years at Dougherty Valley High School, and competed in LD for three years. I mostly competed in circuit LD and earned a bid to the TOC in my senior year. I currently attend the University of Pittsburgh and am double-majoring in philosophy and communication.
You can do whatever and I’ll vote on what you tell me to vote on. That being said, I prefer to see kritiks and/or theory, as that was the majority of what I read in high school. I often enjoy a good straight-up policy aff, but if your strategy is going hard for a generic DA/CP you probably want someone else to judge you.
Go as fast as you want, but PLEASE be clear. I’m probably not going to yell clear at you. Just be clear. Pls.
Also, this should be obvious, but when you tell me the order before your speech I expect you to follow it. Additionally, if you’re about to deviate from the speech doc and extemp some arguments, TELL ME. I hate it when debaters jump from the speech doc to random arguments off the top of their head and back again without warning. Keep it organized and let me know where you are and where you’re going. Again, this is pretty basic but it seems like a lot of debaters are doing this now.
THEORY, T, AND FRAMEWORK
As a general perspective to all theory arguments (including topicality and framework), I tend to think of these debates as competing models for debate (this can also occasionally be a valuable way to frame kritik vs theory debates). A good overview comparing the use of one interpretation over the other as a way to evaluate debates is important. Tell me the story of the theory debate; how does theory shape the debate space and why is your advocacy the best way to interpret and perceive debate?
Go for it, whether or not there’s legitimate abuse. I think good theory debates are educational, and I really appreciate debaters who take the time to really flesh out their theory arguments. I generally prefer one or two well-constructed theory shells to a lot of short, blippy ones. That said, theory spikes in the AC are fine. One minute of offense and five minutes of theory spikes is a legit strategy, if that’s your thing.
I default to competing-interpretations, but I can be persuaded otherwise. I’m happy to vote on an RVI if you win RVIs good.
My one caveat to theory is that I don’t like it when debaters genuinely read a shell that’s like: “my opponent read such a complex argument, and because I don’t get it I should win.” I’ll still vote on this if you win it, but seriously, debate is about a clash of arguments. Reading a theory shell that avoids the point of debate itself will not make me happy.
When you’re going to read topicality (and I mean topicality in the sense that you are actually contesting what an operative word or phrase in the resolution means, not framework or a theory shell about the round itself), I find that the best T debates are about linguistics. That is, you should be debating why the word or phrase means something specific in the context of the topic. Language is a fascinating thing, and the way language is understood is what I feel T debates should be about. Evaluating T debates is a lot less interesting when I have to listen to you spread a bunch of blips. Technical skill is important, but I think it shouldn’t come at the expense of a serious and deep discussion about what the words of the resolution actually mean. Topicality challenges the meaning of words, so that should be your focus. In other words, I think your interpretation and justification for it should be as important as the rest of the T debate.
I love kritiks. Read any kritik you want. The most important thing is being able to intelligently and clearly explain the kritik and its implications (and substantively leverage it against what your opponent is reading, especially theory). It’s obvious when debaters are reading a k they understand, and I urge you to have at least a basic understanding of what you’re reading. If you can give detailed and educational answers to cx questions about your k, that’s a good sign. If you’re just repeating tags, that’s a bad sign. I find that kritikal debate is the most educational and interesting type of debate, and the best k rounds are ones that genuinely inspire thoughtfulness and challenge mindsets. Good explanations, articulations of the alternative, and overviews about the specific worldview that the kritik advocates are crucial.
Also (and this is more of a personal view than a paradigmatic stance), postmodern philosophers buried in your backfiles are not the only source of good kritikal literature out there. Read more. Cut your own cards. Honestly, even Plato is easily just as kritikal as any of the authors debaters are reading now. If you take the time to actually read and learn about authors outside of the usual k authors you could create some seriously valuable and educational positions, and I think that is what the activity of debate should be about. That’s just my opinion though.
K VERSUS THEORY
I default to evaluating k before theory, but I can be persuaded otherwise. That being said, I think it is crucially important to really clash and evaluate the fairness first claims against the kritikal role of the ballot. It usually isn’t enough to spread a blip about not being able to evaluate the truth of the kritik without fairness. I find that most of the good kritikal debaters take time to explain and flesh out their role of the ballot and leverage the specifics of their position against the fairness claims on theory. If you want to win theory first, you must be doing work on this debate. Don’t just read a few cards with blippy explanations. Take some time to compare the implications and meanings of those cards against the worldview of the kritik.
Please don’t assume this means that I’m always going to vote for k before theory, or that as a theory debater you’ll have to do significantly more work than your kritikal opponent. I have voted for theory over a kritik plenty of times. I just want to see debaters who are committed to explaining the framing of the debate in a way that is substantial and meaningful.
Don’t steal prep. Flex prep is fine (honestly, why wouldn’t it be?). Compiling the speech doc and emailing/flashing does not count as prep. That being said, it shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to compile and email.
Be respectful. Creativity and humor will earn you higher speaks. The average number of speaker points I gave last year was 28.48. I was a bit of a point fairy last year though, so I’ve tried to rein it in a little.
Please ask me questions before the round. If you’re confused about anything, I am happy to explain it. Specific questions are usually a lot easier for me to give good answers to and are a lot more helpful to you. Asking if I vote for X argument or how to get higher speaks is fine, but those things tend to be highly dependent on what actually happens in the specific round.
Please include me on your email chain for the round. I much prefer email chains to flashing. It’s much faster and a lot easier to include me.
Experience- I have been involved with L/D debate since 1985 as a former L/D debater, judge, and coach. I have been involved with Policy debate since 1998. I have coached Public Forum debate since it began in 2002.
I would identify myself as a traditional L/D judge. Both sides have the burden to present and weigh the values as well as the central arguments as they emerge during the course of the round. I try to never allow my personal views on the topic to enter into my decision, and, because I won't intervene, the arguments that I evaluate are the ones brought into the round - I won't make assumptions as to what I "think" you mean.
While for the most part I am a "tabula rasa" judge, I do have a few things that I dislike and will bias me against you during the course of the round either as it relates to speaker points or an actual decision. Here they are:
1) I believe that proper decorum during the round is a must. Do not be rude or insulting to your opponent.
2) Both sides must tell me why to vote "for" them as opposed to simply why I should vote "against" their opponent. This applies mainly to the negative side.
3) I am not a big fan of speed. You are more than welcome to go as fast as you want, but if it is not on my flow, then it was not stated, so speed at your own risk.
4) I am not a big fan of "debate speak: Don't just say, cross-apply, drop, non-unique, or other phrases without telling me why it is important. This activity is supposed to teach you how to make convincing arguments in the real world and the phrase "cross-apply my card to my opponents dropped argument which is non-unique" - this means nothing. In other words, avoid being busy saying nothing.
Updated during Harvard Westlake 2019 because my previous paradigm was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.
TLDR because you could be reading a more interesting NYT article or somthng:
· I’m not a former debater.
· I’m not a current debater either, although I am often mistaken for one.
· I’ve been teaching high school English and coaching Speech and Debate at Quarry Lane for the past three years.
· Debate is a safe space. I won’t tolerate anyone that violates this. No exceptions.
· My former student Allen Abbott said it best: Debate is still problematic in many ways. If there is anything I can do to make the round more accessible, please let me know beforehand.
· Convince me why I should vote for you and you can win. It’s that simple.
· My email is email@example.com. Start an email chain.
· Extra kudos to those who wear Northwestern merch. Go Wildcats!
High School ***elijahjdsmith AT gmail.com
College*** Rundebate AT gmail.com
Parli/World Schools, PF, Policy, LD can all be excellent formats when debated excellently. If I am judging you in a non-evidentiary form of debate, I don’t have any preferences for what you should do.
You should record a local copy of all of your speeches. If I or you drop the call, I am not going to ask you to regive a speech. Keep going and send the file so I can listen to it using "tech time". It will be a small audio file so even if you're having connectivity issues the file will send quickly. This is especially true in elims. There are no do-overs in elims.
Outside of this, I plan to be pretty reasonable about tech and environmental issues.
My General Thoughts on Debate
The role of the affirmative is to affirm and the role of the negative is to negate the affirmative in an intellectually rigorous manner. However, I would personally like to hear the affirmative say we should do something. I would prefer to hear about an actor outside of the folks reading the 1AC (Nonprofits, governments, the debate community as a whole, etc) do something but that is not a requirement. You can fiat things or you can say we should not fiat things.
I think it is nice when people offer trigger warnings for some content but I find that most of the time they are used when people probably don’t need them and are not used when they probably could be.
Please don’t say racist, sexist, ableist things or things that otherwise participate in -isms . Sometimes debate is an opportunity to learn but if you continue that behavior after someone has informed you it becomes a larger issue. For example, I judged an elim debate where someone was misgendered one time which was followed up with an apology and everyone in the debate moved on. The debater was then misgendered 5 or 6 more times in the next speech. Please don’t do things like this.
If there was an accessibility, disclosure, or other request made before the debate that you plan to bring up in the debate please inform me before the debate. I would like to evaluate the debate with this information ahead of time. More personal issues/things that someone did last year are difficult for me to understand as relevant to my ballot.
I will evaluate debates on the line by line and will read evidence after most debates. I give a lot of weight to what the evidence says. I decide debates by figuring out 1. framing issue 2. offense 3. good defense 4. if the evidence is as good as you say it is 5. deciding which world /side would result in a better outcome.
These thoughts are fairly general yet firmly how I think about debate.
LD, Policy, and PF thoughts are below.
If your opponent didn’t read 2/3 cards in the doc it is not their responsibility to send you an entirely new document. It holds up the debate and gives judges less decision time. If your opponent marked more than one card that they did not finish they have a responsibility to send out an updated document so everyone has a record for the debate.
None of the resolutions say the USFG should. If you are going to make an argument that depends on this link argument you have to make sure the affirmative has defended that the USFG should do something or you have to win that the resolution is the stasis point for the negative to debate and not the aff.
The 1ar has to read cards. In a 4/5 off debate you won’t cover if you only read 1 card and some analytics. All things being equal, the aff is likely going to lose this debate.
I am predisposed to believe that disclosure of cites/using the wiki is good. The wiki doesn’t hurt small schools. It helps them. Prior to having a wiki only “big schools” had the ability to get intel and only shared it with “big schools” that had intel to trade. Disclosure also creates better debates. I do not believe that a team should be forced to open source. I believe open source has made debate worse and students have become less likely to do their own research.
I don’t like silly theory arguments. Condo is not always bad. In an LD debate going beyond 4 off/2 condo options makes me willing to believe that it can be.
See policy for policy-arguments in LD
The following are predispositions, not hard rules. If you don’t want me to evaluate the debate this way, tell me not to.
I don’t coach many teams who debate under the Stock issues. I don’t know as much about the topic as you. If you hail very topic-specific acronyms at me (The CCP will trigger MAD if we get rid of BMDs and kill the NPT) I reserve the right to be confused.
Affirmatives- Debate the case. Impact turn it. Internal link turn it. Read all the defense you have. But you have to answer it. Policy or K. I am still a bit upset about an unfinished game of Mahjong from a debate where the affirmative and negative team played during the reading of the 1AC. I thought that was cool. I’m probably down with whatever your business is. The less your argument is related to a traditional debate the less I will understand why you need a ballot. But I don’t particularly think anyone “needs” a ballot.
Topicality/FW- The affirmative, K or policy, should have to beat topicality and I will vote on it. I have realized that my beliefs about T in K debates are outdated and not applicable to the developments of policy debate in 2020. Reasonability is prob true. Even if you both read an interp, if the aff interp is reasonable I default to the affirmative even if the neg interp is slightly better. In K debates I am still not as persuaded by fairness claims as I am by education claims, but I have and will consider fairness to possibly be more important than the 1ac. However, my threshold for aff answers/impact turns to fairness is still lower when compared to my desire to have an educational activity. You should know that I don't believe argument phrases ( 77th/78th level testing, Clash, moral hazard) are arguments.
Counterplans- I like counterplans. My threshold for allowing cheating counterplans is higher than most people’s. However, the more the counterplan cheats the more explanation I require so I can explain to the aff why the counterplan is different from the aff. If I can’t easily distinguish the two, I will vote aff. People should read theory against these things. They’re cheating.
Disads- The Link is more important than UQ. Everyone has a uniqueness block but they never spend the same amount of time on the link. You can’t just assert that the disad turns the case. If I’m not sure what part of the case you are turning I will just evaluate the aff impact vs the da impact.
K/Performance- The easiest way to lose this debate is just to read your blocks. You need to explain why each card you are reading is answering the claims made in the 1NC. The 2NC should not be a 3-minute overview. The 2NC link explanation should not be a rant. It needs to be structured. The 2nr link explanation can not be " I did this work in the 2NC". I would advise you to do some of it again in a reasonably condensed fashion and to make choices. I understand that you are time-crunched. But I also don't let the affirmative revive an impact from the 1ac in the 2ar. The negative can't have its neg flex cake and eat it too. You should debate if cap, humanism, etc are good or bad. These are valuable debates.
If you already know what evidence you are going to read in the debate/speech you have to send a document via email chain or provide the evidence on a google document that is shared with your opponents before the debate. Those cards have to be provided before the speech begins.
You don’t get unlimited prep time to ask for cards before prep time is used. A PF debate can’t take as long as a policy debate. You have 30 seconds to request and there are then 30 seconds to provide the evidence. If you can’t provide it within 30 seconds your prep will run until you do.
The Final Focus should actually be focused. You have to implicate your argument against every other argument in the debate. You can’t do that if you go for 3 or 4 different arguments.
Email for speech docs: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure there’s parity in document access during the round.
My background: I did LD for 3 years. I was the director of debate at Hopkins for 4 years, coached at St. Thomas Academy & Visitation for 2 years, and am now the head coach at Apple Valley. I’ve worked at VBI since 2012 and I’m currently the director of instructional design and curriculum.
TLDR: Good debate involves well developed arguments and genuine interaction/clash with the other debater’s arguments. Quality >>>>>> quantity of arguments. Speed is ok. Yay Ks, yay policy, yay stock, eh phil, and theory/T as needed. Trying to avoid engagement/clash makes it more difficult for you to show that you’re the better debater. Parity in document access is important.
An important note for progressive debaters: if you’re debating someone that is a traditional debater or significantly less experienced than you then you should adjust what you do so that there can be an actual debate. Don’t read a non-topical Baudrillard AC at 450 wpm against a new novice. Don’t have your 1NC be skep and a PIC against a traditional debater who hasn't had the opportunity to learn about the mechanics of such arguments. Slow down and/or read arguments that your opponent can actually understand. Use your best judgement. If I think that you knowingly made choices that functionally preclude your opponent from engaging then I may murder your speaker points and/or drop you.
I care deeply about inclusion and accessibility within debate. I’m more than happy to vote against debaters who engage in practices that promote exclusion or inaccessibility, even if they’re winning on the flow. I also think that super tricky arguments/strategies designed primarily to avoid substantive engagement don’t offer great evidence of a debater doing the better debating and I might not vote for them even if they’re ahead on the flow. I’ll be a tab judge until you give me a good reason not to be.
I’m fine with speed and will yell clear or slow once or twice; after that it is up to you to pick up on non-verbal cues. I expect you to make serious alterations to your delivery if I’m forced to yell. I won’t vote on an argument, even if it is in the speech doc, if I didn’t flow it or understand when it was initially read in the round. I place a very high premium on quality argument development. I think that I’m a trashcan judge to have in the back of the room when the rebuttals are filled with hundreds of 1 sentence arguments (especially for T/Theory debates) without real clash, impact analysis, and framing.
I almost never vote on presumption/permissibility/skepticism since there’s usually a risk of offense. I default to comparative worlds and need some convincing to adopt truth testing.
One thing that makes me sad about circuit LD is how the same literature and positions get recycled so frequently without regards to how well the argument applies to the given topic. Explore and try something new!
Critical: I’m probably most familiar with critical debate. I dislike overly simplistic root cause debates that ignore the intricacies of how oppression operates. I’ll listen to non-topical and “in the direction of the topic” affs (let’s be honest, the model of debate that most of these affs operate under is no more limiting than non-topical ACs), but I’ll also listen to framework against them. A well-executed “there’s a topical version of the aff and this is what it looks like” is pretty persuasive to me. If your aff is super amorphous, designed to avoid substantive engagement, or a truism then you shouldn’t pref me super high. I loathe Ks that sandbag until the 2N, if I don’t know exactly how your link evidence applies specifically to the aff until the 2N then it is too late.
Policy: I love a good policy round, ‘nuff said. I’m inclined to think that core-to-the-topic-lit plan affs that parameterize the resolution are probably good, but I can be convinced otherwise. I dislike that so many policy style positions narrowly focus on extinction impacts and think that they crowd out positions that are much more reasonable & grounded in what anyone outside of a debate round would find persuasive. If we’re debating important environmental policy or nuclear weapons, then go for it pedal-to-the-metal. I’ll still vote on contrived extinction scenarios if they’re cleanly won and you’ve done a good job articulating the meaningful change in the probability of extinction.
Philosophy: I enjoy philosophy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m the best judge to have in the back of the room for a phil round. Phil debate often ends up being blippy, so I’m going to need to hear and understand the warrant for an argument to consider it in my evaluation. I’m not a giant fan of most of the lit that has become circuit LD philosophy canon, but I’ll vote on it if it is adequately explained and won. Modesty is a pretty cool argument.
Theory/Topicality: I think that theory & T are way too commonplace in circuit LD, but I also understand that they’re necessary tools given current norms and practices. If I think the theory interp or abuse story are BS then I’m going to gut check theory. If there’s an actual theory debate to be had then I’ll be as tab as possible. I default competing interpretations, don’t have a default for RVIs (the more abusive/bad/unnecessary the initial shell is the more receptive I am to RVI good arguments), and will err very heavily in favor of the debater that has weighing and/or has done interaction to determine who is winning the various arguments on the theory/T flow.
Speaker Points: The factors I focus on for determining speaker points are: strategic choices, execution, and how persuasive I found your argumentation. My normal range is 25-30, with 20-24 being reserved for rough or problematic debating. My speaker points are relative to the strength of the pool: 30 for champion level performance, ~28.5 for a performance worth of elims, and I aim for ~27.5 as an average performance.
Note: This is my Policy paradigm. For my LD paradigm, see the JudgePhilosophies Wikispaces.
Disclaimer: I am partially deaf in my left ear. While this has zero impact on my ability to flow in 99.9% of debates, exceptionally bad acoustics may force me to be closer than usual during speeches. In less exceptional circumstances, I may ask you to make minor adjustments (e.g. changing the angle of your laptop). I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.
Lincoln-Douglas: 3 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 4 Years of College Policy Debate, Georgia State University (Starting with the 2011-2012 Democracy Assistance Topic)
2015 NDT Qualifier (WOOT!)
Coached By: Joe Bellon, Nick Sciullo, Erik Mathis
Argument Style: I read primarily kritikal arguments my Freshman/ Sophomore year; I switched to primarily policy arguments my Junior/ Senior year.
Caselist Link (I was a 2N my Senior year): http://opencaselist14.paperlessdebate.com/Georgia+State/Stewart-Nails+Neg
Lincoln-Douglas Debate: 4 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 3 Years (Graduate Assistant At The University of Georgia)
Debate is a game; my strongest belief is that debaters should be able to play the game however they want to play it. I remain committed to Tabula Rasa judging, and have yet to see an argument (claim/ warrant) I would not pull the trigger on. The only exception to this is if I could not coherently explain to the other team the warrant for the argument I'm voting on. Unless told otherwise, I will flow the debate, and vote, based on the line-by-line, for whomever I thought won the debate.
What follows are my general thoughts about arguments, because for some reason that's what counts as a "judging paradigm" these days. Everything that follows WILL be overridden by arguments made in the debate.
Not my strongest point as a judge. That does not mean that you should not run theory if that's your thing/ there's actual abuse/ it's the most strategic way out of the round. The easiest thing you can do to win my ballot on theory is to slow down and give an overview that sets up a clear way for me to evaluate the line-by-line. I have no default conception of how theory functions, it could be an issue of competing interpretations, an issue of reasonability, an RVI, or a tool of the patriarchy. Frame it the way you want it evaluated.
***Warning***: My LD background, where theory is much more common, means that I probably have a much lower threshold for pulling the trigger than you're used to. Defaults such as X is never a reason to reject the team, RVIs Bad, and a general disregard of Spec arguments aren't hardwired into me like the vast majority of the judging pool.
Shenanigans/ Weird Stuff:
I'm fine with whatever you choose to do in a debate round. Given my debate career, I've probably put myself in Death Good/ Omega Point-land for the rest of my life.
Not a judge to reconstruct debates after the 2AR. Substantial deference will be given to in-debate spin. If that's not enough for my decision, then I'll start reading more into card quality/ warrants.
Computer Issues/ In-Round Issues:
I'm an understanding person. We'll stop the clock, resolve the issue/ wait an appropriate amount of time.
Read 'em. While I'm personally a big fan of process CPs/ PICs, I generally default to letting the literature determine CP competition/ legitimacy. If you have a kickass solvency advocate, then I will probably lean your way on most theoretical issues. On the other hand, as a former 2A, I sympathize with 2AC theory against CPs against which it is almost impossible to generate solvency deficits. 2ACs should not be afraid to bow up on CP theory in the 1AR.
Specific DAs/ links trump generic DAs/ links absent substantial Negative spin. Love DAs with odd impact scenarios/ nuanced link stories.
I functionally never read this as a debater, but my time coaching at UGA has brought me up to speed. Slow down/ clearly flag key points/ evidence distinctions in the 2NR/ 2AR.
Read it. Strategic tool that most 2Ns uderutilize. Rarely hear a nuanced argument for reasonability; the T violation seems to prove the 1AC is unreasonable...
I do not personally agree with the majority of Kritiks. However, after years of graduate school and debate, I've read large amount of Kritikal literature, and, if you run the K well, I'm a good judge for you. Increasingly irritated with 2ACs that fail to engage the nuance of the K they're answering (Cede the Political/ Perm: Double-Bind isn't enough to get you through a competently extended K debate). Similarly irritated with 2NCs that debate the K like a politics DA. Finally, 2ACs are too afraid to bow up on the K, especially with Impact Turns. I often end up voting Negative on the Kritik because the 2AC got sucked down the rabbit hole and didn't remind there was real-world outside of the philosophical interpretation offered by the K.
You're better off reading this as policymaking good/ pragmatism offense to prefer the plan versus the alternative than a reason to exclude the K entirely. Generally skeptical of 2ACs that claim the K isn't within my jurisdiction/ is super unfair.
Often end up voting Negative because the Affirmative strategically mishandles the FW of the K. Generally skeptical of K FW's that make the plan/ the real-world disappear entirely.
***Non-Traditional Preferences/ Clash of Civilization Debates***
Clash of Civilization Debates:
Enjoy these debates; I will probably judge alot of them. The worst thing you can do is overadapt. DEBATE HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEBATE. My favorite debate that I ever watched was UMW versus Oklahoma, where UMW read a giant Hegemony advantage versus Oklahoma's 1-off Wilderson. I've been on both sides of the clash debate, and I respect both sides. I will just as easily vote on Framework/ the Community PIC, as use my ballot to resist anti-blackness in debate.
Traditional ("Policy" Teams):
DO YOU. Traditional teams should not be afraid to double-down against K 1ACs,/ Big K 1NCs either via Framework or Impact Turns.
Framework (As "T"):
Never read this as a debater, but I've become more sympathetic to arguments about how the the resolution as a starting point is an important procedural constraint that can capture some of the pedagogical value of a Kritikal discussion. As a former 2N, I am sympathetic to limits arguments given the seemingly endless proliferation of K 1ACs with a dubious relationship to the topic. Explain how your interpretation is an opportunity cost of the 1ACs approach, and how you solve the 2ACs substantive offense (i.e. critical pedagogy/ our performance is important, etc.).
Non-Traditional ("Performance"/ "K" Teams):
As someone who spent a semester reading a narrative project about welcoming veterans into debate, I'm familiar with the way these arguments function, and I feel that they're an integral part of the game we call debate. However, that does not mean I will vote for you because you critiqued X-ism; what is your method, and how does it resolve the harms you have isolated? I am greatly frustrated by Kritik Teams that rely on obfuscation as a strategic tool---- even the Situationist International cared deeply about the political implications of their project.
The closer you are to the topic/ the clearer your Affirmative is in what it defends, the more I'm down with the Affirmative. While I generally think that alternative approaches to debate are important discussions to be had, if I can listen to the 1AC and have no idea what the Affirmative does, what it defends, or why it's a response to the Topic beyond nebulous claims of resisting X-ism, then you're in a bad spot. Explain how your Counter-Interp solves their theoretical offense, or why your permutation doesn't link to their limits/ ground standards.
Is important. I am generally confused by teams that claim to impact turn fairness/ education. Your arguments are better articulated as INL-turns (i.e. X-ism/ debate practice is structurally unfair). Debate at some level is a game, and you should explain how your version of the game allows for good discussion/ an equal playing field for all.
After being forced to decide an elimination debate on a card-clipping accusation during the 2015 Barkley Forum (Emory), I felt it necessary to establish clarity/ forewarning for how I will proceed if this unfortunate circumstance happens again. While I would obviously prefer to decide the debate on actual substantive questions, this is the one issue where I will intervene. In the event of an ethics accusation, I will do the following:
1) Stop the debate. I will give the accusing team a chance to withdraw the accusation or proceed. If the accusation stands, I will decide the debate on the validity of the accusation.
2) Consult the Tabroom to determine any specific tournament policies/ procedures that apply to the situation and need to be followed.
3) Review available evidence to decide whether or not an ethics violation has taken place. In the event of a clipping accusation, a recording or video of the debate would be exceptionally helpful. I am a personal believer in a person being innocent until proven guilty. Unless there's definitive evidence proving otherwise, I will presume in favor of the accused debater.
4) Drop the Debater. If an ethics violation has taken place, I will drop the offending team, and award zero speaker points. If an ethics violation has not occurred, I will drop the team that originally made the accusation. The purpose of this is to prevent frivolous/ strategic accusations, given the very real-world, long-lasting impact such an accusation has on the team being accused.
5) Ethics Violations (Update): Credible, actual threats of violence against the actual people in the actual debate are unacceptable, as are acts of violence against others. I will drop you with zero speaker points if either of those occur. Litmus Test: There's a difference between wipeout/ global suicide alternatives (i.e. post-fiat arguments) and actually punching a debater in the face (i.e. real-world violence).
Hi! I debated for Cambridge Rindge and Latin in Massachusetts and graduated in 2017. Please add me to the email chain: email@example.com. I have fewer thoughts now that I'm not super involved, so here are just a couple important things:
- I don't flow off speech docs, yet also have relatively poor spreading comprehension -- please slow down a little bit overall, and slow down significantly below that for analytics
- I'll vote on anything with a warrant except for [awful thing] good; I was fairly "flex" as a debater
- Defaults: presume neg, fairness is a voter, competing interps, drop the arg, perms are a test of competition (btw, in my view this means they don't need net benefits)
- Prep ends when you're done assembling your speech doc, and I'll probably think you're cheating if you take more than my arbitrary standard for a reasonable amount of time to email/flash
- I am not (consciously) biased against K's or K affs - I just don't think I'm very good at evaluating them. If you run them, please explain using clear, concise sentences with small words, and be very explicit about framework, weighing, and how the alt/advocacy functions
- Affs should have a framework. If you don't read one, I'd be pretty receptive to a 1NC that reads any framework + args that you don't get to read a new framework in the 1AR
- I'm ok with tricks that are "tricky" in virtue of having clever justifications/implications; I do not like tricks that are tricky because they are hidden and short. Also, I will not vote on tricks that genuinely make no sense (as in I truly couldn't explain the warrant in an RFD), even if dropped. Bear in mind: the more blippy it is, the less likely it is to make sense.
- Random notes: I don't understand the need to distinguish permissibility from presumption. Permissibility is a subset of presumption. Also, I dislike truth testing vs. comparative worlds debates. Comparative worlds is just truth testing minus NIBs, so the real debate is just NIBs good/bad.
- Things that are a waste of your speech time: prewritten overviews, extending the text of interpretations/voters/paradigm issues, self-evident theory internal links, "here's how the round breaks down"'s that are really just repetitions of every argument in the debate
- Speaks bonuses: tech, being completely comprehensible, being friendly and having fun, giving me a debate I haven't heard before, having the smart answers to arguments rather than the obvious ones, sitting down early when you know you can
- Speaks penalties: ASKING FOR A 30 (-1 speaks), yelling, general hubris, being rude, not disclosing, inefficiency, not understanding/actively misunderstanding your own arguments, being exclusionary to novices
- Random things I dislike: waving your arms around in disbelief during your opponent's speech (I probably did this though don't @ me), using "we," referring to me by name during your speech
If you have questions about anything else, don't hesitate to ask!
I am a parent judge who has judged only traditional debate. While I can understand faster than a conversational pace, please do not spread. I will not vote for something I can't understand. Also, I much prefer if you debate topically, and will not vote on non topical affs. I do not like theory and am not likely to vote on it, and I will not vote on tricks or skepticism. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me before the round!
UPDATE FOR NOVEMBER 2019:
(Written by Joey Tarnowski)
So as of now, there's probably a little more argument flexibility to be had. Skep, most theory args (the more friv, the worse) and basically all kritiks are probably a no. Also you should prob keep spreading to a minimum (read: DON'T DO IT) but kinda fast is prob alright. Most non-cheaty cp's are probably okay, but pics and advantage CPs will just need a little explanation. Disads are fine, but the strat here should prob be more of a "turns case" strat than an extinction scenario. The more links in the link chain, the less likely it is you'll win on it. T on plans is probably fine, but you should prob default to a reasonability standard cause the stuff about frivolous theory applies here too. TLDR; most util strats are prob your best bet, but probability>magnitude should be what frames whatever you're running.
Director of Debate – Greenhill School
Updated – April 2019
Please put me on the email chain – firstname.lastname@example.org
New for the TOC 2019 – I am the Director of the Global Debate Symposium and for this summer I have hired Spencer Paul and Vishan Chaudhary from Harvard Westlake, and Ishan Bhatt from St. Andrews of the list of competitors that will be in the 2019 TOC competing in Lincoln Douglas.
Lincoln - Douglas Philosophy
I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people. That said, at some point, most of the adults have left the building as it relates to national circuit Lincoln Douglas debate. I find many of the things that are now commonplace, are antithetical to the things that I love about debate. In fact, many of these practices are not educational, but also make the activity unsustainable in any meaningful way to sell to administrators, parents, new coaches, or even a new generation of debaters.
I have taken some time to reflect on how I judge debates, and have revised my paradigm. It would behoove you to read it if I have the potential to judge you. If you do not like what you read, strike me.
Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. At this stage in my career, I have no interest in being the “most preferred” judge in the pool. In fact, what I see is that many in the Lincoln Douglas community (as opposed to policy debate); make preferences more based on personal relationships, than the relative experience/paradigmatic perspective of the critic. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. At this point, I am also not shy to share those thoughts and expectations. I see myself as a critic of argument if I had to pigeonhole myself with a paradigmatic label. Unlike many claim to be, I am not a blank slate. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene. I WILL do my best to be an objective evaluator of your argument but the idea that my social location is not a relevant consideration of how I view/decode arguments is just not true (nor do I personally think it is true for anyone).
Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.
1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the Lincoln Douglas I judge, clarity IS a problem. I judge high level policy debates quite a bit and while they are quiet fast, I don’t see clarity as much of an issue with the top teams. Please understand that unstructured paragraphs that are slurred together does not allow the pen time necessary to write things down in the detail you think it might. I reserve the right to yell “clearer” once or twice. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable.
2. I feel theory is debated far too much in Lincoln – Douglas, and is debated poorly. I am strongly opposed to that practice. My preference is NOT to hear a bad theory debate. I believe the negative does get some “flex”, that said it can’t be unlimited. The idea of reading a “counter shell” against a theory argument is one of the silliest practices I see in contemporary debate. Before the proliferation of theory in Lincoln Douglas I thought RVI’s were silly. They have a place in contemporary LD. I DO NOT think jettisoning the case and going all in on the RVI should be the A strategy in the 1ar. While I like competing interpretations, in the end, I feel even that view is filtered through my perspective of reason/what is reasonable/the best lens for debate. Some intervention is inevitable as we judge.
3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.
4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a duel function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well.
5. Words matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated.
6. I am not a fan of random; multiple sentence fragments that claim to “spike” out of all of the other teams arguments. At its foundation, debate should be about argument ENGAGEMENT, not evasion.
7. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex.
8. Although I know you have figured it out, Lincoln Douglas does not have a 2AC in the same way that policy does. 1AR’s that advance lots of offense on many negative positions will be rewarded with high points.
9. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:
A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.
B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.
C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc.
10. Many debaters have been instructed, or watched others run, “metaethics” with some success. My experience is that many debaters have a very superficial grasp of what this even means. Make sure to explain, and compare your position against the position of your opponent. A good rule of thumb is to assume you don’t win every argument and frame things in an even /if perspective.
11. I do not like skepticism as an argument. It would be in your best interest to not run it in front of me. While perhaps interesting in a philosophy class in college, training young advocates to feel that “morality doesn’t exist” etc. is educationally irresponsible.
12. I do not disclose speaker points. That seems silly to me.
13. Dropped arguments and the “auto-win” seems silly to me. Just because a debater drops a card doesn’t mean you win the debate. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument.
14. I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments.
15. Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.
Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.
Georgia State University (2004-2007) - English Major in Literary Studies; Speech Minor
Augusta University (2010-2011) - Masters in Arts in Teaching
Georgia State University (2015-2016) - Postbaccalaureate work in Philosophy
Revelant Career Experience:
English Teacher/Debate Coach (2011-2015) Grovetown High School
LD Debate Coach (2015-2018) Marist School
English Teacher/Debate Coach (2018-present) Northview High School
I expect PF to be PF. It should be lay debate. I'm not impressed by the use of debate jargon in rounds and jargon isn't sufficient for arguments. That being said, evidence matters. I expect responses to counterarguments that opponents make, not just leapfrogging them to reassert your initial claims. I don't flow crossfire, but that doesn't mean I'm not listening to it.
I haven't judge a lot of policy debates. I'm more comfortable with a little slower speed since I don't hear a lot of debates on the topic. I'm ok with most any time of argumentation, but I'm less likely to vote on theory arguments than K or Case arguments. Add me to your email chains.
I appreciate well warranted and strong arguments. Keep those fallacies out of my rounds.
If the negative fails to give me a warranted reason to weigh her value/value criterion above the one offered by the affirmative in the first negative speech, I will adopt the affirmative's FW. Likewise, if the negative offers a warranted reason that goes unaddressed in the AR1, I will adopt the negative FW.
I appreciate when debaters provide voters during the final speeches.
Debaters would probably describe me as leaning "traditional", but I am working to be more comfortable with progressive arguments. However, I'll vote, and have voted, on many types of arguments (Plans, Counterplans, Ks, Aff Ks, and theory if there is legitimate abuse). However, the more progressive the argument and the further away from the topic, the more in depth and slower your explanation needs to be. Don't make any assumptions about what I'm supposed to know.
Debates that don't do any weighing are hard to judge. Be clear about what you think should be on my ballot if you're winning the round.
If you feel it absolutely necessary to spread, I will do my best to keep up with the caveat that you are responsible for what I miss. I appreciate folks that value delivery. Take that as you will. If you're going to go fast, you can email me your case.
I try to disclose and answer questions if at all possible. At national circuit tournaments, I usually don't disclose flight A because of time. Feel free to shoot me an email after you leave the round, and I'll try to message you before Flight B is over with a disclosure. Feel free to follow up with any questions.
I'm not a fan of "gotcha" debate. The goal in crossfire shouldn't get your opponent to agree to some tricky idea and then make that the reason that you are winning debates. Crossfire isn't binding. Debaters have the right to clean-up a misstatement made in crossfire/cross ex in their speeches.
The expectation is that your cameras remain on for the entirety of the time you are speaking in the debate round. Please add me to the chain.
“That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” —Christopher Hitchens
”There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind.The second way is to be kind. The third way to be be kind.” —Mr. Rogers
Johns Creek HS '17
Email --> email@example.com
I'll vote on whatever you want but I do not like the K, at all.
If you ain't reading a plan you ain't winnin the ballot.
"First team to trivialize or deny the Holocaust loses." - Becca Steiner
More Info available on request.
Phish references = +.1 speaker points
I will listen to most arguments. I have problems with most theory arguments in LD. Topicality is like the death penalty so I proceed with care. I understand policy arguments and kritiks. I flow most of the time. If you have questions about what I think about your arguments you should ask.
I believe debaters should be civil to each other. I would prefer that high school students not use foul language in debates.
I am ok with performance debates. I do believe the teams should engage the topic. If a team chooses not to engage the topic, then I will give the other team leeway to deal with the lack of engagement.
Reverse voting issues do not make sense in most instances.
I am ok with counterplans and disadvantages.
I will vote for the team that makes the most sense at the end of the debate.
The winner in a Lincoln Douglas Debate round I judge is decided on argumentation. Did you systematically support your case and refute all aspects of your opponent's case? If both debaters can answer yes to this question, which is rare, - something always seems to be dropped or not enough attention given to a contention - then the round is decided on the quality of reasoning and evidence presented. Last in my consideration of a winner in a round is delivery. Primarily, the argument is the thing for me. Although, keep in mind, I am not a fan of extreme spreading in Lincoln Douglas debate. Additionally, if you are a Policy or Public Forum debater entering the LD world, be sure your case has a framework with a value and a criterion. LD is a values debate, philosophical in nature, so without this framework, your case is seriously flawed and you lose the round. Be sure to signpost, and in your final speech, express to me why/how you won the round (give voting issues).
I have never judged World Schools Debate, but I have taken the time to read up on it. Don't chase any squirrels, and keep my above prefs for LD in mind. If you do these things, you have a chance at a win with me.
La Costa Canyon/Leucadia Independent 2012-2016
Emory University 2016-2019
Yes, I want to be on your email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read into these
- an argument has a claim, warrant, and impact
- line by line is important
- try or die is a bad way to make decisions
- zero risk is possible
Do your thing. I prefer affs to have a tie to the topic in some way.
Sure. Impact comparison is important. I don't like late-breaking cross applications in these debates.
I do not read very much high theory/postmodernism literature.
Do good, specific link work, make smart turns case arguments, and use empirical examples to demonstrate your argument.
You are unlikely to convince me that the K should be rejected on face, or that the aff shouldn't get to weigh the implementation of their plan.
Love it. Please please please do impact comparison. Have a clearly articulated vision of what the topic would look like under both interpretations. Reasonability is best articulated as an argument for aff predictability.
You should assume I know little about the HS topic - that means your examples (eg what affirmatives the aff's interp would allow) need to be explained.
Cool. I like advantage counterplan debates.
Love to hear topic DAs, and I like impact turn debates.
- I don’t have a strong opinion about conditionality.
- The shorter your overviews, the better your speaks.
- Create as much spin as you can - control the way I look at issues and pieces of evidence.
- Death is bad.
- If a team asks to use prep to ask more cx questions, feel free to say no. And no, you can't use your cx as prep.
- Don't be an asshole.
Last updated for Heart of Texas
I am a grad assistant at UW and an LD coach at Harker. My background is mostly in LD with some PF and policy experience.
Email for the chain: lwzhou10 at gmail.com
I like disclosure, so I'm happy to forward docs from rounds I've judged if you email me for them.
Online Procedural Concerns
1. Follow tournament procedure regarding online competition best practices
2. Record your speeches locally. If you cut out and don't have a local backup, that's a you problem
3. Keep your camera on when you speak, I don't care if it's on otherwise. Only exception is if there are tech or internet issues- keeping the camera off for the entirety of the debate otherwise is a good way to lose speaker points
4. I'll keep my camera off for prep time, but I'll verbally indicate I'm ready before each speech and turn on the camera for your speeches. If you don't hear me say I'm ready and see my camera on, don't start
I've judged around 1000 LD and policy rounds from novice locals to (e)TOC elims. I am not particularly partial to a style in which you debate the topic, e.g. philosophical, kritikal, traditional, etc., but I do care that you debate the topic. Frivolous theory or kritiks that shift the question of the debate start a few steps behind for me.
Ideological stances that might influence prefs:
1. Fairness and logic are good- args to the contrary are self-defeating.
2. The aff should defend the topic; the neg should disprove the aff- I've voted against framework/for Ks a decent amount too but it's just a tougher route to take in front of me.
3. Some tricks are fine, most stretch the definition of what counts as an argument- anything that relies almost entirely on your opponent dropping it probably isn't even worth making in front of me.
4. I think Nebel T is true, but tech > truth. I have grown tired of adjudicating Nebel T rounds. I will give you extra speaks if you either (A) don't read Nebel T against a plan or (B) read 1 off Nebel T against a plan. If you think Nebel T is true, defend it. Short 1NC T shells are near impossible to judge because so much of the debate is late-breaking. I'd rather you went all in or just didn't read it in the first place.
5. Conditionality is probably bad in LD, but it's not that hard to defend condo good; most other counterplan issues are best resolved at the level of competition, not theory.
6. I'm inclined to think that everything other than conditionality and T should be a reason to reject the arg. Most other theoretical objections aren't particularly persuasive to me.
7. I'm generally against sandbagging both in the 1NC and 1AR. I would rather the 1NC read 1 less off case position in favor of more developed case analysis, impact calc, or fully complete arguments. I would rather the 1AR make 1 less theory argument in favor of actually explaining what the words "perm do both" mean. How much "new-ness" is allowed in the 2NR or 2AR is obviously contextual but the default is that it's determined by how new your opponent was.
8. Ev ethics are important- I'll default to the NSDA Evidence Guide.
9. I'd prefer not to read your cards- I'd rather you explain them to me.
None of these biases are locked in- in-round debating will be the ultimate determinant of an argument’s legitimacy. I'm not sure I have strong opinions about much else. Like most other judges, I like evidence quality, impact calculus, and strategic choices. Like most other judges, I dislike cheating, unclarity, and impropriety.
I debated for OU back in the day but you shouldn't read too much into that- I wasn't ever particularly good or invested when I was competing. I lean more towards the policy side than the K side and I'm probably going to be unfamiliar with a lot of the ins-and-outs of most kritiks, although I will do my best to fairly evaluate the debate as it happens.
1. I tend to think the role of the aff is to demonstrate that the benefits of a topical plan outweigh its costs and that the role of the neg is to demonstrate that the harms and/or opportunity costs of the aff's plan outweigh its benefits.
2. I find variations of "fairness bad" or "logic/reasoning bad," to be incredibly difficult to win given that I think those are fundamental presuppositions of debate itself. Similarly, I find procedural fairness impacts to be the best 2NRs on T/Framework.
3. Conditionality seems obviously good but I'm not opposed to a 2AR on condo. Most other theory arguments seem reasons to reject the argument, not the team. I lean towards reasonability. Most counterplan issues seem best resolved at the level of competition, not theory.
4. Warrant depth is good. Argument comparison is good. Both together- even better. The words "miscalc" and "entanglement" aren't complete warrants but most deterrence debates seem to be 90% buzzwords.
None of these biases are locked in- in-round debating will be the ultimate determinant of an argument’s legitimacy.
For HS, I know very little about the CJR topic. The states CP, despite seeming like a reasonable backstop on a tidal wave of affs that seem to be obviously true, is pretty difficult to win in front of me given I don't think agent CPs can be real opportunity costs. More open to voting on T-substantial than most probably are. Most Ks don't persuade me- most variations of kritiks that can summarized as "reform bad" need to demonstrate a compelling story for how the affirmative actually makes things worse.
LOCAL WYOMING DEBATES
1. Please time yourselves.
2. Yes, off-time roadmaps are good.
3. Offense (why you win) is superior to defense (why you don't lose). I'm much more interested in the former; don't spend so much time on the latter.
4. The criterion is not a voting issue. If you say it is, I'll make a big sad face.
1. Give judge instruction. Tell me how to evaluate the debate.
2. Do argument comparison.
3. Email chains are good.
4. Fast debate is good debate.