National Speech and Debate Season Opener
2018 — Lexington, KY/US
Policy Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Email: email@example.com (yes I want to be on the chain). Feel free to email me with questions.
Top Level Stuff:
I will not hesitate to call you on card clipping/stealing prep. I don’t need the other team to call you out to vote you down on it. Clearly signpost. I’ll look at the doc if I’m totally lost, but if I have to read along to follow your speech, that’s a problem.
There is no reason not to send out docs or show highlighting of cards you are reading. If you do this you will get a 26.0 — no exceptions.
Tech over truth in general. That being said, my view on the truth of the situation will be a reason I find things more persuasive. If I know a bill has already passed, it doesn't take much to convince me in face of your evidence.
POST-JUDGING NOVICE EDIT: Yes I allow tag team, but don't be too reliant on your partner. Yes I want a roadmap, no you don't have to ask me if I want a roadmap. Please time yourself. No, you cannot start over after starting a speech.
Disclosure: Personally, I think you should post full-text of the 1AC, even if poetry. At a bare minimum, there must be a place where I can theoretically see the whole text. In the case of cites, that means I have the links to see the articles or places to access the cards beforehand. Poetry or narratives must be accessible in some way, either through online availability or being able to ask for the whole text through email. I won't do anything about it if the other team doesn't bring it up, but I am persuaded by disclosure theory.
I am not persuaded by "if you had any questions, you should've asked us," in the absence of them being able to see what they should have questions about.
I don't think new policy affs are a voting issue (because they revolve around the topic), but I think there is an argument for new non-topical affirmatives being a voting issue (because they could be about anything).
Preemption/Changing the Aff:
It's never bad. Not persuaded by links to this or PICs out of this.
Now onto the arguments —
On T, I tend to vote for the vision of the topic that makes the most sense to me (which requires that the teams give me a clear picture of what the topic looks like under their interpretation). I like a good well thought out T debate, but you must have an abuse story that makes sense and doesn't rely on absurd examples. Ground, fairness, and education are all fine, but make it specific.
If this is a non-traditional debate, neg needs a TVA and a reason why their impacts outweigh or come first. Aff needs to do framing of their impact scenarios and why their vision of the topic doesn’t make it impossible to be negative.
Concessionary ground is a fine argument, and the aff needs to answer this beyond saying that they "could've read afro-pess and settlerism." That isn't responsive. The best aff response to this for me is that partial, rather than total, disagreement is best, and that total disagreement (such as DAs) are a negative form of debate (causes dogmatism, bad for education, etc.)
I don't like "fun" as an impact because I think that at best it's an internal link to other impacts and not a very persuasive one at that. I think that there are much better versions of this argument premised on the impact of having to research tons of K affs or bad clash.
EDIT: I have been voting on switch side debate a lot, mostly because people functionally drop it. I find this especially persuasive when your reason to vote aff is "we can spread our message/inject it into debate." If you can reasonably inject it on the neg, I am much more inclined to tell you to go do that. This complicates most aff offense, so I think it's imperative that you have an explicit response along the lines of a criticism of switch side debate (like Spanos or something) or a change in the way that reading it on the neg would complicate your message.
I don't like metaphors about T. I don't think that it is genocide or the settler state. Make arguments about why it is bad specifically that relies on actual implications of their arguments for what it would do to debate, not just what the USFG did previously in the context of your aff.
I love a good status quo debate, however, think they frequently lack relative impact framing. I tend to vote for the teams that explain what they’re going to win and why that matters. Turns case is a bigger deal in debates than it often should be, but if it’s not answered it oftentimes determines my decision.
I don’t judge kick by default, but I will if you make that argument. If both the aff and CP link to the DA sufficiently to trigger the net-benefit, I vote aff. I think of solvency as a sliding scale by default, you will have to prove to me why I shouldn't.
Sufficiency framing is my default until you tell me otherwise, but I'll be more generous about what counts as "sufficient" if you explain why it doesn't need to solve very much.
For specific thoughts, I'll separate these into categories:
Non-uniform is obviously fine, uniform is debatably fine, and multilevel (State and Fed simultaneously) is not fine. Adding on planks (other than the plan) such as funding or removal of balanced budget amendments makes me less inclined to vote that the CP is legitimate.
They’re good. I like these a lot, but make sure you’re explaining why your specific mechanism solves (I think this is often lacking when the other team doesn’t make a lot of specific solvency deficits). Aff teams should make sure to push back against sufficiency framing.
QPQ and Unconditional CPs:
Probably fine, but that's debatable. The closer the solvency advocate is to describing the aff, the harder it is to go for theory. I tend to lean towards the aff on perm do the CP on the QPQ CP (less change), but neg on perm do the CP for the unconditional CP.
Probably not fine, but I’ll hear both sides out. Make sure it’s not too contrived. The more “out there” and not related to the topic the mechanism is, the less likely I am to decide it’s legit.
International or Delay CPs:
Not a huge fan of international or delay CPs, but you can try to make your case. Debatability outweighs education as a general rule, but I’m not set in stone if one side is making better arguments.
I'm fine with most critical literature, just be clear about what the link is to the affirmative. I'm likely to vote on the permutation if you don't explain beyond jargon. Perms are the argument I like the most, negs should make sure to explain why the perm is mutually exclusive (beyond just “it’s a method debate”). Don't try to go for it as a DA, it almost never gets my ballot.
I tend to lean towards that fiat is good even if not "real," but as with most things it's up for debate.
I dislike "gotcha!" tricks, but if explained well enough I can get on board (ie. say more than the words "serial policy failure").
I’ll also separate these into categories:
High Theory (Baudrillard, Nietzsche, etc.):
These are okay, but don’t get to jargon-y. Explain what happens post-aff if your explanatory theory of the world is true. It’s hard to win my ballot on just a case turn, so make sure you have an alt.
Identity (Wilderson, Settlerism, etc.):
This is a fine debate. Obviously, it comes down to a few critical issues related to ontology and explanatory theories of structures. I think the best versions of these debates acknowledge the extraneous examples and explain why their theory is still true. Perms are probably the hardest to win with this kind of K, so I would primarily focus elsewhere (go for that their ontology is wrong, which means the aff is a DA).
Policy-ish (Security/Neolib kinds of Ks):
Make sure you explain why it’s more productive to change structures in the way you describe before doing the aff. I find these Ks to be more persuasive when run more like impact turns (serial policy failure inev and aff bad, alt solves), rather than as high theory (at least v policy affs). Perm is a persuasive argument here, so make sure you’re playing defense to it.
Condo is fine if 2 and under and never outweighs T. I won't vote on ASPEC (or any other spec arg). Vagueness is fine, but you have to prove abuse (I think it can be a good reason to reject perms though). Intrinsicness is almost never persuasive (use this as case defense instead).
Tldr; I'll vote on almost anything, but make it specific.
Args About Debate:
Spreading is good (although I am open to suggestions for making it more accessible). I leave proposed bargains (such as less speech time due to disability or other impairment) up to the debaters.
If you ask the other team to go slower and don't slow down yourself you will get very bad speaks (unless the other team agrees to this).
Debate is very good and I am very unpersuaded by arguments to the contrary (why are you here if this is true?).
If you want to speak in another language, that is fine, but make sure I know what you are trying to say (yes this has been an issue).
G-lang and other language Ks require a reason why the debate should be forfeited and could not have continued even with a sincere apology.
A Note I Never Thought I Would Have to Add:
I will not stand by while you do something that can hurt yourself in debate (including, but not limited to, setting things on fire and self-harm). You will lose the round and receive a 0 (yes this has happened).
Ways to Boost Your Speaker Points:
1. Tell jokes about Tripp Haskins, Jason Sigalos, or anyone currently on Emory or Woodward debate. However, PLEASE do not do this if you don't usually do comedy/don't know how to incorporate it into debate. If you tell a joke badly, it'll probably hurt you.
2. Be clear and concise, I prefer quality of arg over quantity. If you’re right on an argument, make sure that I know it rather than trying to marginally convince me of a lot of arguments.
3. Make sure language matches up both with your partner and the other team. It becomes very confusing very quickly if both sides have their own names for each argument (excluding flows).
HS Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
College Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current School Affiliations: DOF @ NoBro (2016-), Assistant Coach @ Northwestern (2023-)
Previous School Affiliations: Harvard (2022-2023), Emory (2019-2022), James Madison University (2011-2016), Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007)
I am less interested in the genre of argument chosen and more interested in its technical execution + quality of ev, with caveats.
- Debate is best when students reference and respond to arguments in the order in which they were presented.
- I will try my best to flow the debate. Easy-to-transcribe soundbytes, emphasis in sentences, and pen time is a must. I cannot flow debaters who shotgun 3 word arguments at top speed nor those who speak in delirious, winding paragraphs.
- I evaluate arguments, not character assassinations. Ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Screenshots are not ev. I have neither the authority nor resources to launch an investigation about outside behavior, coach indiscretions, and pref sheets. Debate like you are grown.
- No double wins, devolution to another game, or soliciting audience participation. First to initiate receives a L and very low speaks.
- Escalating CX unnecessarily, heckling opponents, zoom insults, etc = cringe.
- Cheating, harassment, slurs are a L, 0 speaks, and gets your coaches involved. Same for ethics violations without evidence.
- Asking for a 30 = auto 26.
- Reading cards > Not reading cards. A smart analytic can beat a bad card, but no cards anywhere lowers chances of victory.
- No evidence insertions. Debate is an oral activity.
- My speaker points are lower than the community average. I reserve 29+ to speakers I thought were exceptional. You can improve your points by debating your opponents rather than reading scripts, preparing effective cross-examinations, and reading cards that don't break my verbatim.
- "Judge kick" is not my default, and must be explicitly claimed. It can also be contested by your opponents.
- I am unsure why "new affirmative" means "blank check" for the negative. I have never understood a warrant for why it suddenly makes artificially competitive counterplans legitimate, and don't agree with the community consensus that it automatically justifies deranged conditionality. If the new affirmative is topical, it implies that the negative should have been able to anticipate it and prepare strategies. That said, the affirmative usually folds and lets the negative go bananas, so - more power to them.
- I am more amenable to negative terrorism (2NC CPs, logical CP planks without solvency advocates, word PICs, etc) than most if executed well. I do not necessarily think "counterplans must be textually and functionally competitive" is a truism. That said, I was a 2A, and am amenable to affirmative objections. I enjoy theory debates more than most, but it has been a minute since anyone has been good at debating it.
- Objections about the legitimacy of counterplans that do all of the plan are better explained through competition than theory.
- Critiques aren't counterplans. Links aren't meant to be "unique" or "to the plan" because they aren't "DAs." Private actor fiat of "movements" or "mindsets" makes it easier for the affirmative to win on the perm. Links must be paired with impacts that outweigh, turn, or bracket the case.
- Fairness is an impact for T USFG if explained right, and limits is the most persuasive internal link. Evidence-based debate seems unworkable if there’s significant asymmetries in anticipation. Affirmatives can win without a traditional plan; critiquing neg definitions and providing counter-definitions that establish a model for both sides to engage improve their win rate. “CI - discussion of topic,” “default to us,” “debate bad” and its corollary of naming debaters who used their skills for evil, and poor analogies that T is akin to drone strikes are dissuasive.
Highland Park (MN) '12-'16.
AFFs must read a plan. NEG teams must either say the plan does something bad or is not topical.
I'm pretty bad for T against policy AFFs unless it's egregious. T is not automatically offense/defense. Terminal defense can beat T.
Yes judge kick.
Presumption goes to the side that advocates less change.
No “inserting” anything, you have to read it.
Conditionality is fine, within reason.
The best debates have lots of case debating, lots of author indicts, lots of re-highlighting the other team’s evidence, and lots of evidence comparison.
I like teams who care about the activity, cut a lot of cards, and know things about the world. If you show me that's you, you will do well. Conversely, acting like you don’t care or don’t want to be here is cringe and a good way to make me not care about what you’re saying.
george mason '22
wake forest '24
put me on the email chain: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
As a debater, I exclusively read critical arguments. I am currently in grad school studying rhetoric. I prefer to see you debate whatever style you are most comfortable with. Debate is a persuasive activity so persuade me.
Things I like: offense, clash, contextualization, presence in debates, argument innovation, strategic vision, and flowable speeches.
Things I dislike: patronization, shallow interaction with opponent's arguments, poorly highlighted evidence, unclear speaking, and wasted cx's.
How I judge:
-I flow straight down, on paper. I will not line up concessions for you and appreciate pen time.
-I flow cx's and read evidence. I will not intervene in a misreading or misremembering of cx unless it is disputed in the debate.
-I default to judge instruction. Tell me what frames my decision and why. Otherwise, I will be forced to resort to my own dispositions, which may not align with how you wanted me to see the debate.
- I debated for Niles West in high school and West Georgia in college. Went to the TOC and NDT if that’s the kind of thing that matters to you.
- BA in Philosophy.
- Currently coaching at Niles West.
- Yes, I want to be on the email chain: email@example.com
Top level things:
- If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is.
- If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
- Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low.
- I’m extremely hesitant to vote on arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.
- Absolutely no ties and the first team that asks for one will lose my ballot.
- Soliciting any outside assistance during a round will lose my ballot.
- Lack of clarity. Clarity > speed 100% of the time.
- The 1AC not being sent out by the time the debate is supposed to start.
- Email-sending related failures.
- Dead time.
- Stealing prep.
- Answering arguments in an order other than the one presented by the other team.
- Asserting things are dropped when they aren't.
- Asking the other team to send you a marked doc when they marked 1-3 cards.
- Marking almost every card in the doc.
- Disappearing after the round.
- Quoting my paradigm in your speeches.
- If you are caught clipping you will receive a loss and the lowest possible points.
- If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted the lowest possible points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted the lowest possible points.
- If you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me.
- Yes, I’m fine with tag-team cx. But dominating your partner’s cx will result in lower points for both of you.
- Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions, and I will run the timer accordingly.
- If you fail to ask the status of the off, I will be less inclined to vote for condo.
- If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.
Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate:
- I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting.
- I’m fine with plan or planless affirmatives. However, I believe all affirmatives should advocate for/defend something. What that something entails is up for debate, but I’m hesitant to vote for affirmatives that defend absolutely nothing.
- I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise.
- The most important thing for me in T debates is an in-depth explanation of the types of affs your interp would include/exclude and the impact that the inclusion/exclusion would have on debate.
- 5 second ASPEC shells/the like have become nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.
- For me counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.
- If you're reading a DA that isn't just a case turn, it should go on its own sheet. Failure to do so is super annoying because people end up extending/answering arguments on flows in different orders.
- The more specific the link the better. Even if your cards aren’t that specific, applying your evidence to the specifics of the affirmative through nuanced analysis is always preferable to a generic link extension.
- ‘You link you lose’ strategies are not my favorite. I’m willing to vote on them if the other team fails to respond properly, but I’m very sympathetic to aff arguments about it being a bad model for debate.
- I find many framework debates end up being two ships passing in the night. Line by line answers to the other team's framework standards goes a long way in helping win framework in front of me.
- Almost all theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, condo is usually the only exception.
- Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options).
- Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?
- I find impacts about debatability, clash, and iterative testing to be very persuasive.
- I am not really persuaded by fairness impacts, but will vote on it if mishandled.
- I am not really persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.
- I am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.
- I think when teams are aff against T-USfg in front of me, offense that explains why I should prefer your interp is more persuasive than just impact turns.
- I don't think debate is roleplaying.
The paradigm is split up into things you might want to know before the tournament when doing prefs, and things you might want to know before a round.
Email address for chains and debate-related contact is firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Accommodations - I have difficulties with processing auditory information and verbalizing my decisions. I would appreciate some level of accommodation, primarily that y'all go clearer and slower, especially on tags, and signposting/labeling of arguments in the rebuttal speeches. Clear signals of when you are moving on from an argument are also welcome - I flow on my laptop, and often end up flowing upwards of 2/3rds of what you say verbatim pretty much straight down with some attempts at matching up arguments on the flow, but I need some help/signalling from debaters as per when one argument ends and another begins. Please email me at the address above regarding questions about decisions not asked during RFDs or further lines of clarification.
2) Framework - I am not often persuaded by framework/T-USFG negative arguments, so I'm not a safe bet in those rounds. When I do judge those rounds, I am more persuaded by arguments focusing on potential material educational benefits of debate than fairness (fairness is not an impact, as I do not understand why debate is an intrinsic good), but it's still a pretty uphill battle.
3) Experience - did LD in high school, four years of policy in college, and this is my fifth year of coaching and judging as a graduate student assistant. I largely read critical arguments and have judged mostly k-on-k debates and clash rounds, with a few policy rounds thrown in. I was a 2A, and the critical affirmatives I wrote were largely high theory shenanigans related to race, war, and imperialism.
4) Orientation to judging - I consider judging to be a job - I'm in the pool because it's related to obligations tied to my employment. I respect debaters time, effort, and scholarship and try to give feedback that will help refine argumentation and scholarship. Further, I don't have any strong identification as an educator, a blank slate, or a rational policy/decision-maker. This means that, especially in critical rounds, I would appreciate some instruction regarding how I should be viewing/judging the arguments in the debate, but otherwise I'll just default to what's in the next bullet point. I enjoy learning while judging, so new ways to see things or just some fun facts are always appreciated speaker points-wise.
5) How I judge - I see my role in debate as the person that has to be persuaded to press either the affirmative or negative button on tabroom based on what happens in the round. The affirmative should probably make a claim to doing something good, and the negative should say that whatever the aff did is either a) bad or b) doesn't do anything good. I start my decisions with framework/framing arguments - who's told me what the function of the debate should be and how to judge who has done that function better. I then evaluate either a) what's up with the aff in the 2AR based on what can be mobilized from the 1AR - how is it being extended, does it still do stuff, etc. and/or b) what core issue(s) of the debate the 2NR has identified/hinges on.
I often have some idea of b) going in to the 2AR, which entails I generally have some sense of what the aff would need to address to win (i.e. prove their advocacy is still good and 'solves' in some way), which leads to some quick decisions on my part - if my decision takes a while, either I'm trying to figure out how to word my decision properly and/or I'm very confused about what's happening/missed something. I care a lot about good warranting in the last speeches for arguments you're going for, and of course clear judge instruction and weighing. I'm not the most technical judge, but I do care that important arguments are answered although I would like the function of whatever dropped argument is being extended to be explained. You're better off going for a few well explained arguments rather than trying to cover everything.
For this next part, these are largely preferences/tendencies in how I view things based off of my experience with judging, and are subject to change/what happens in rounds.
Before a round:
1) Evidence quality vs analytic argumentation - I like good evidence, and I do not mind when debaters apply evidence in creative contexts, but evidence that you read is not by itself an argument. I often read evidence while it's being read in a speech, in cross-x, or during prep time because of my difficulties with processing auditory information. I don't think you need a card for everything, and also value good extrapolation of warrants, analysis and comparison of authors and citations, and applications of evidence.
I appreciate historical and contemporary examples (and metaphors/analogies), especially when it comes from your evidence, but I also need those examples to be well explained - an example is not in and of itself a warrant, but they're pretty essential for me to understand your argument and find what you're saying persuasive. Examples help concretize your warrants and make your argument something I can understand better - it's okay to kind of treat me like somebody who doesn't easily understand what people are saying, especially when they say it very quickly. Jargon's fine but we might not agree on the meaning of stuff so explain what you actually mean when you can.
2) Presumption - it's real, and if I don't think the 2AR sufficiently defends that the aff is good in some way the chance I end up voting negative at least a bit - also, it's not often that presumption is the best 2NR, it should be paired with some offense. I probably am amenable to presumption arguments because I think case debate is important. You don't have to put stuff directly on case flow, but aff's get away with so many things they shouldn't especially when it comes to how well their internal links are supported by the evidence, and it pains me to watch 2Ns miss some of that stuff.
I start my decisions (in my head) with the question of presumption/what the aff does, so keep that in mind. I tend to let negative alternatives get away with murder (although please don't call random alt related arguments a floating PIC it's really confusing for me) it despite having been a 2A, so watch out for that and point out when they don't haven't extended warrants. I can be persuaded that presumption flips affirmative, but that might just be because I don't entirely understand that phrase.
3) Framework (not T-USFG but for policy aff v k or k v k rounds) - I don't care as much about fairness, but I do think that both policy and critical teams should be forwarding arguments about how debate and arguments works and how I should be judging them. Debate theory arguments supported by actual theoretical arguments (be they critical or not) are valuable. For policy affs, I think of framework as a question of you telling me why talking about a plan might actually lead to the impact being addressed. For the negative, you can do some real damage here - tell me why the aff can't resolve what it's talking about, and what you're doing differently. I'm cool with whatever epistemology/ontology/affect/performance/ethics stuff you want to talk about.
I do think that people can make good arguments for how and why debate 'does things,' because it's a weird community full of some weird repetitions, but it's a question of how you explain that (and if you think debate doesn't 'do anything' you really gotta tell me what that means). Questions of 'spill over' and 'the ballot' are often red herrings for more substantive analysis of how the relationship between debaters, debates, policy debate as a format/medium of speech, the debate community, academic institutions, and 'the real world' works, so less debate jargon and more explanation helps.
4) Links and Perms - I really appreciate a good link argument with a quotation from the affirmative, an example, and an impact. You don't need a card for your links, as good analysis applied to specific parts of the aff will do the trick, but cards can help a ton. I appreciate depth of a link rather than several link arguments.
I don't often care for most 'no perms' debate theory arguments (like method v method means no perms bc advocacy can shift kind of arguments), and in those cases I would be more persuaded by no perms arguments grounded in theories of performance and speech (taken broadly) applied to debate. I'd prefer that the neg wins a substantive link as a DA or some degree of mutual exclusivity/trade-off. It helps me understand the difference between the aff and the neg better when DAs to the perm that are not just link arguments are applied to how the aff has explained the permutation. "Do both" is rarely enough in the 2AC, and by the 1AR I would like to know how the perm works more in depth - framework arguments about debate help here.
5) Overviews - I prefer short overviews that give me a primer on what to expect for the rest of the 9 minutes on the line-by-line + identification/flagging of important arguments (like links, tricks, and turns case stuff), but if you gotta do the long overview go for it, they are fine but a bit difficult to flow - it would be appreciated if you made the lines between the different chunks of argument you're making more clear if that's the case. It's easier for me to flow when debaters slow and then speed up; otherwise I fail to catch certain key warrants. It's also fine if you don't care too much about the flow and do whatever.
6) Theory - both policy and critical arguments rely on theoretical premises, and I'd appreciate when folks are ready to make them explicit. Theory should be a building block in a broader argument, so the arguments you make don't have to use evidence from authors that are 100% theoretically consistent with each other, but you should still be somewhat prepared to defend the political implications, associations, and (mis)uses of the theoretical dispositions your evidence is tied to. Big contradictions between authors and lit bases, however, do matter. I'm sympathetic to arguments about how theory functions in academia/academic community for better or for worse, but it's not necessarily only tied to that context.
Winning big theory thesis claims does not always mean that you win the debate (unless such claims go uncontested, and even then I need a brief explanation for why that matters). Theory is significant as a way of explaining how stuff works and how to engage in stuff, but an advocacy can be good (and a link valid) even if you 'lose' parts of the theory debate. I see theory and praxis as intertwined but sometimes it's worth making the distinction to explain warrants, so focusing on highlighting both (or explaining how they might be one and the same) helps me out when I am making my decisions.
Buddy Lets Talk
Being a Judge is a real power trip for me.
Also don't mind my facial expressions or head movements, if I shake my head don't think that I disagree with what you are saying, It's probably me trying to stay focus. Same with me nodding my head like yeah.
Rule #1: Be respectful to your opponent a little sass here and there is fun but don’t harass/insult your opponent. This is a competitive environment, not a hostile one. Disrespectful behavior will be frowned upon.
Rule #2: Be Clear. I am fine with speed but I need you to speak clearly so I can flow your arguments. Be especially clear on the name of your authors. If I can’t understand what you are saying I will yell CLEAR, if I missed the author’s name I will yell AUTHOR. I will only yell 3 times so be wary.
Rule #3: Debate is a journey and a journey is helped by signpost and roadmaps. Could you imagine trying to find this building without any signpost or roadmaps, it would be chaos.
Rule #4: Explain your arguments to me as if I accidentally stumbled into your round on my way to flag football. In other words do your best to make sure I understnd the arguments your making and then do better just to be safe. But that doesn't mean you should repeat yourself because I will be annoyed and then frown.
Speaker points are scaled to whatever division you're competing in. So what I rank high in novice will be around average in JV and below average in Varsity
Everyone starts at 28
30 – Play of the Game
29 – Hay that’s pretty good, I think you deserve to break
28 - You did a good job but there is room for improvement
27 – It was hard to understand what you were saying, spend some time practicing. OR you were disrespectful to your opponent.
26 – You were disrespectful AND I thought you were a bad speaker.
25 - I will tell you at the end of the round why I am giving you this, in all probability I won’t give anyone a 25.
If you are doing an email chain I would like to be added
make sure all your arguments have clearly articulated links, internal links, and impacts and by the rebuttal speeches, I would like impact analysis.
When you extend authors be sure to extend what the warrants to the cards are not just the taglines since I probably won't remember what was highlighted in the cards.
Evaluation: I default to a util calculus when looking at the round unless you give me another way to evaluate the round, you know ROB or a framing contention. (these args should be impacted as well) And I will probably look to the framing debate first unless it's lame and then I'll go back to util.
I've been in my share of T debates and I will probably err to the AFF on these unless the aff doesn't do a lot of work on it or messes it up. But if you go for T in the 2NR you have to give me a whole story about why your interp is good, how the aff harms debate, and what the aff could have done.
Theory: I'll just copy what my coach wrote.
Besides conditionality, theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. One or two conditional options is probably good for negative flexibility, any more is pushing it a little. Granted, conditionality theory is all debatable. The rest of theory you will have about 1% risk of convincing me they are voting issues.
CP: Ya I'm down for that make sure you clearly explain what your CP does in the 2NC.
DAs: Oh YA I'm really down for that. When your debating against a DA offense is a pretty good thing to have, but I will believe in 100% no link args and defensive args against internal links. DAs can have try or die args but I will be weighing the probability of the DA between the probability of whatever the aff went for to which I will take extended defensive args into account.
Ks - I mostly did K debate in college so I am good with any type of K. Make sure to explain why the alt is preferable to the plan and why I should weigh the K first.
Walk me through it, I'll find it more persuasive you can explain the K yourself rather than reading new cards on it.
K Affs: your aff must do something, have an advocacy and some solvency, and it would be nice if you engaged the topic in some way. Walk me through your args, be clear on them. The rest I will just put what my coach wrote
I vote on who wins the argument so framework v. critical aff that engages the topic is still an option for the negative. There is nothing worse than figuring out what the affirmative does in the 1AR-2AR.
Individual survival strategies are not predictable or necessarily debatable in my opinion (i.e. "This 1AC is good for the affirmative team, but not necessarily a method that is generalizable).
REMEMBER – Have fun.
You need Framing – tell me what I should be looking for in the round, and I will always look this debate first before I evaluate anything else
For most LD debaters that means a Value and a Criterion
For those that read Ks, skateboard and eat Go-Gurt that means a Roll of the Ballot
For those that read plans – tell me why util is good
And for those special people that read plans that solve structural violence why is that the most important issue
If you don’t give me some kind of framing or don’t have a debate about what framing I should prefer, you are in an uphill battle and probably won't win.
On the contention level:
Have some clash – address the warrants or impacts to the each argument
It will only help you if you give me reasons to prefer your evidence over your opponents.
You should also take some time to give a brief overview of your arguments, preferably at the beginning of each speech.
I have a very high threshold for theory
Don’t debate theory unless there is actual abuse going on in the debate, you need to give me a full story how what they are doing is harmful to debate.
I have never seen a good definition debate and I don’t expect to see one.
Don’t initiate a theory debate unless you are 100% confident that it is something you can win the round off of.
If you claim that your opponents evidence was miscut/tampered with, give me proof and I will look at it the evidence in question.
And that’s all folks, feel free to ask me questions before or after the round.
Experience: Debated policy in HS and college; however, that was 20 years ago. Last judged 10 years ago, so I am admittedly rusty.
Structure: Give me a sign post; appreciate well-thought out arguments and analysis of how your side wins while acknowledging strengths of the other side; looking for you to walk me through why you win notwithstanding your opponents’ arguments; give me a thoughtful impact comparison
Style: I need to understand you – speed is fine but not at the expense of clarity and comprehension; toward that end, I am flow-centric judge so tell me where you are at all times; I will not credit cards or claims that are not read clearly; if your opponent is mischaracterizing or clipping evidence, point it out
Plan: Give me a concrete plan and explain the links/solvency; this equally applies to any counter plan; conversely, Ks (which I am not up to date on) must link to the plan
Topicality: Will entertain voting on topicality and enjoy creative (but fair) arguments from either side, but have a default toward an expansive reading; rote recitation of topicality arguments merely to spread are seen for what they are.
Cross-Examination: Will reward at the margins an effective, thoughtful and civil cross-examination
Sources: These matter; tell me why your sources are better, more qualified, and/or more relevant. Likewise, point out to me which cards are most significant in the rebuttals and explain why.
Director of Debate at Alpharetta High School where I also teach AP US Government & Politics (2013- present)
Former grad assistant at Vanderbilt (2012-2013)
Debated at Emory (2007-2011).
Please add me to the email chain: email@example.com
Most of the below notes are just some general predispositions/ thoughts. I firmly believe that debaters should control the debate space and will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me, regardless of if you adapt to these preferences or not.
I flow on paper and definitely need pen time; I've tried to flow on the computer and it just doesn't work for me.
Counterplans- I like a good counterplan debate. I generally think conditionality is good, and is more justified against new affirmatives. PICs, Process CPs, Uniqueness CPs, Multiplank CPs, Advantage CPs etc. are all fine. On consult counterplans, and other counterplans that are not textually and functionally competitive, I tend to lean aff on CP theory. All CPs are better with a solvency advocate. If the negative reads a CP, presumption shifts affirmative, and the negative needs to be winning a decent risk of the net benefit for me to vote negative. I am probably not the greatest person for counterplan competition debates.
Disads- The more specific, the better. Yes, you can read your generic DAs but I love when teams have specific politix scenarios or other specific DAs that show careful research and tournament prep. If there are a lot of links being read on a DA, I tend to default to the team that is controlling uniqueness.
Topicality- I find T debates sometimes difficult to evaluate because they sometimes seem to require a substantial amount of judge intervention. A tool that I think is really under utilized in T debates is the caselist/ discussion of what affs are/ are not allowed under your interpretation. Try hard to close the loop for me at the end of the 2nr/ 2ar about why your vision of the topic is preferable. Be sure to really discuss the impacts of your standards in a T debate.
Framework- Framework is a complicated question for me. On a truth level, I think people should read a plan text, and I exclusively read plan texts when I was a debater. However, I'll vote for whoever wins the debate, whether you read a topical plan text or not, and frequently vote for teams that don't read a plan text; in fact, my voting record is better for teams reading planless affirmatives than it is for teams going for FW. However, I also think this is because teams that don't defend a plan are typically much better at defending their advocacy than neg teams are at going for FW. I tend to think affs should at least be in the direction of the topic; I'm fairly sympathetic to the "you explode limits 2nr" if your aff is about something else. Put another way, if your aff is not at least somewhat related to the topic area it's going to be harder to get my ballot. I do think fairness is a terminal impact because I don't know what an alternative way to evaluate the debate would be but I can be persuaded otherwise.
Kritiks- I am more familiar with more common Ks such as security or cap than I am with high theory arguments like Baudrillard. You can still read less common or high theory Ks in front of me, but you should probably explain them more. I tend to think the alternative is one of the weakest parts of the Kritik and that most negative teams do not do enough work explaining how the Kritik functions.
Misc-If both teams agree that topicality will not be read in the debate, and that is communicated to me prior to the start of the round, any mutually agreed previous year's topic is on the table. I will also bump speaks +0.5 for choosing this option as long as an effort is made by both teams. I am unlikely to vote on disclose your prefs, wipeout, spark, or anything else I would consider morally repugnant. I also don't think debate should be a question of who is a good person. While I think you should make good decisions out of round, I am not in the camp of "I will vote against you for bad decisions you made out of round" or allegations made in round about out of round behavior. But, I have voted against teams or substantially lowered speaks for making the round a hostile learning environment and think it is my job as a judge and educator to make the round a safe space.
I am strongly in the camp of tech over truth.
Current Director of Speech and Debate at NSU University School in Davie, FL.
Former Director of Forensics and Full time policy debate coach at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, FL (7 years).
General: First judging philosophies are silly. Read whatever arguments you would like to read that you think are best appropriate for that round. I will not wholesale discount or credit arguments at face value. I think people should be nice to each other. I believe in tech over truth within reason, a shitty argument is a shitty argument regardless if it's conceded but, if an argument is dropped it's probably true and my threshold for extension/impact calc is much lower. I will also add .5 to your speaker points (guidelines below) if you engage in GOOD LBL Debate that include numbers in the 2AC. I miss organization. I prefer to have the least amount of judge intervention this means saying things like "extend" are necessary for me. Most importantly I believe the debate round isn't about me it's about the debaters. You do you and you'll be fine (mostly).
Pet Peeves that may result in lower speaker points
1) Longer than 20 second overviews on ANYTHING ever.
2) Claiming you'll go LBL and then failing miserably
3) Responding to a CX question with "we don't take a stance on that"
4) Being generally rude/mean to others. Making people feel unsafe, forcing disclosure of identities etc.
5) I'll do X debate here. This is inefficient but more importantly it normally means you're answering arguments that are in fact not on that place on the flow.
Framework Debates: I don't think you need to defend a plan or the state but I do think you need to defend your interpretation of debate if pressed. Fairness/Predictability are probably good impacts but I can be persuaded otherwise. I think "fair for whom?" Is also an appropriate question when asked in a persuasive manner. I find when I do end up voting on FW it's entirely frustrating if all of the arguments from one side are in a long narrative overview and the other is extending specific arguments on a flow. I am not inclined to take arguments from one piece of a flow and apply them elsewhere without being told.
Planless Debates: I think these debates can be awesome and really enjoyable to watch, however I think you need to defend your interpretation of debate. If that means you don't have to talk about the resolution then tell me why. If that means you don't have to have a plan text that's fine just explain/defend yourself. I sometimes find Framework arguments responsive, and reasons to reject the affirmative it quite honestly just depends on the debate round.
Topicality: I think a lot of the affirmatives on this year's topic are not topical. I'll default to competing interpretations if not told otherwise. I find arguments that Fairness/predictability are good and pretty persuasive. Topicality is never a reverse voting issue, but some K's of T might be persuasive. I think if you go for T in the 2NR you need to extend your Interp, Violation & Impacts clearly.
K's: IF you read high theory stuff (Baudrillard mainly) I might not be the judge for you and/or you need further explanation. Psychoanalysis is bunk science is a believable arg for me. And Presumption is never a winning strategy. Something like Hostage taking really shouldn't be read in front of me, I find myself thinking "who cares" I think rejection is enough of an alternative almost all of the time. Reading FW against K's I don't really ever think is a round winning argument. I'm most likely going to default that the aff gets !!s and the K gets to exist.
CPs/DAs: I don't see these debates very often, but few things. I don't think counter-plans need to be textually competitive. I think if you don't have offense on the disad I'm not likely to vote aff, I don't think terminal defense is almost ever a thing. And I am not willing to judge kick arguments. I AM NOT AN ECONOMIST do not assume I understand anything about the economy at all. It's for everyone's benefit I promise.
Speaker points ... I've done a lot of thinking about this and have decided that my speaker points did not reflect the current inflation and probably unfairly punish teams from breaking when speaker points matter. I will try to follow to the following guidelines:
medicore (you probably aren't breaking): 28.3-28.8,
I'm almost impressed. Perhaps you'll break": 28.8-29.3
I'm impressed, you even were organized and did LBL: 29.4-29.7
Best speech I've ever seen. 29.8-30
E-mail me if you have any questions and include me on email chains please :) firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLIC FORUM TOC PHILOSOPHY 2019
1) I primarily judge policy so most of my reasoning etc will default to policy norms instead of PF norms.
2) BE NICE!!! This includes using offensive/racist/sexist/rhetoric. If this is done you will receive 20 speaker points.
3) I think the 2nd rebuttal needs to answer the speech that has preceded it, and extend theirs.
4) I judge/evaluate arguments as they are presented on the flow. Arguments should be answered in the order they are presented.
5) You should flash speeches or use email chains. Prep is continuously running once speeches end.
6) Terminalize your impacts. There are 3 ways and only 3 ways to evaluate impacts: magnitude, timeframe and probability. Nothing else. Use those. Anything else (like scope) will result in a loss of speaker points.
7) You must read dates. I highly recommend you do not paraphrase evidence. I will evaluate paraphrased evidence as analytics not as real evidence.
8) Disclosure is your friend. You must disclose before the debate to myself/and the other team. Doing so will result in higher speaks. If someone discloses and either a) you do not and they read disclosure theory OR b) you LIE about what you've disclosed, I consider this a TKO. This means if disclosure theory is read in the round then it is basically over. Not disclosing or lying is indefensible.
9) You can only extend things in a subsequent speech if it was in the previous speech. This means defense in summaries, impacts in all speeches, evidence extended etc.
10) Defense does not win debate rounds, you need to extend/evaluate/weigh OFFENSE. A failure to do so will result in a mental coin flip on my part because it's impossible to evaluate competing/unwarranted defensive claims.
Debated 4 years at Milton High School (2A/1N)
Debated 3 years at Georgia State University (2N/1A)
Add me to the email chain: my email is email@example.com
For pre-round reading: Do what you want - it's your debate, and I'm here to listen to you. I have not judged policy debate since 2019.
The rest of this paradigm is a collection of my pre-existing beliefs/thoughts about specific issues circa 2019. I kept it in with minimal edits because I still agree with it, but I (try to) evaluate each debate based on how the debaters frame/explain arguments, so everything below is debateable.
1. Debate is a game. Consequently, I tend to think that fairness is more important than education etc. However, in order to really weigh the importance of fairness, you have to prove the value of the game, so it's useful to think of fairness as more of an internal link than an impact.
2. I believe that I should evaluate logical opportunity costs to the aff. This means that I'm more likely to be persuaded that neg advocacies that don't use the topic actor don't necessarily disprove the aff (see the section on Agent CPs).
3. I don't like offense/defense. I would much rather vote for a 2AR that clearly explains why a contrived DA doesn't make sense than a 2AR that goes for an equally contrived link/impact turn. I am willing to vote on 0% risk of the case or a DA, but it will require work on your part to explain it to me.
I like DA/case debates, especially when the neg is investing time and analysis on specific case defense arguments. I read politics throughout high school, so I'll be familiar with it, but I think that it's probably not the best option in most cases. I would rather hear a more case-specific DA that clashes more with the aff.
I generally really like counterplans, but my opinions vary with different types of CPs, so I'll just give my opinions on the different types:
-- Agent CPs: I think the majority of the debate community probably disagrees with me on this, but I tend to think the Agent CPs don't disprove the aff because they don't prove a logical opportunity cost to the topic actor (the USFG). This is not to say that you couldn't win Agent CPs good in front of me, but you will have to prove an interpretation of my role as the judge as someone who has the power to decide between the USFG taking an action and some other actor (States, Other countries, etc).
-- Advantage CPs: I really like these counterplans because I think that they're good at testing contrived aff internal links. I'd say the A+ strategy would be to find advantage CPs in 1AC evidence because it makes for a more compelling CP solvency story.
-- PICs: I love a good PIC debate*. However, the most common way neg teams botch these debates is by either 1.) not properly clarifying exactly what the aff defends in 1AC cross-x, or 2.) not properly writing their CP texts. You can win different theoretical interpretations of what competition means, but it would be best if you could write your CP text so that it is both textually and functionally competitive.
PICs are also a good way to leverage smaller topic DAs, which I like.
*You're unlikely to win that a Word PIC is competitive in front of me.
-- Process CPs: I think that CPs that compete based off of the certainty or immediacy of the plan are generally sketchy but not unwinnable in front of me - I'm more likely to believe that the CP is justified if you have solvency advocate evidence in the context of the aff.
I'll vote on it if it's well explained and impacted out. The only thing I'll add here is that I tend to think that 1-2 conditional advocacies are defensible, but beyond that I'm more likely to go aff on condo bad.
Kritiks should disprove the affirmative. I think that kritiks tend to fail at this for two reasons: they either don't have an internal link from the aff to their impacts, or they don't present a logical opportunity cost to the aff.
- Internal links: In my experience, the link story of most Ks goes something like plan = capitalism, and then capitalism -> extinction, but it doesn't make the direct connection between the aff and the impacts to the K. I think this vulnerability opens up the K to stronger perm arguments because the aff can more easily prove that the plan is good even if the rest of the status quo is bad.
- Opportunity costs: you can refer to my thoughts on agent CPs here because the same basic logic applies. If the plan advocates an action by the USFG, and the neg advocates a grassroots movement against capitalism, I'm unlikely to think the alt disproves the affirmative/is a logically relevant consideration.
This is where framework debates come in. I think that framework can be used to prove competition for alts that do something about epistemology/ontology/etc. because it proves why the alt's approach is distinct in a way that's important enough for me to consider competitive. However, you're unlikely to win on just FW arguments: the 2NR that just says "epistemology first" and then "the aff's epistemology is capitalist/imperialist/etc." doesn't strike me as a compelling neg ballot because the epistemology arguments are really just defensive indicts to the aff.
- Side note: I tend to think that the neg should have to prove that the alt solves the impacts to the K. This is an important part of the debate that the aff should press on.
Thoughts on specific Ks -
-- Topic Ks - these are my favorite Ks, and most likely the ones that will clash best with the affirmative. However, they're also the Ks that I'm least likely to be familiar with, so they might require extra explanation.
-- Standard Ks (Security K/Cap K/Fem IR/etc.) - I'll be most familiar with these Ks, but they're often very generic and need to be explained in the context of the aff.
-- Identity Ks (Race/Gender/Sexuality/Disability/etc) - Links should be clearly explained and specific to the aff. I'm not very persuaded by links of omission or link arguments that are tied solely to state-based advocacy.
-- Language Ks - if the other team uses slurs, is outwardly rude towards someone's identity, or otherwise tries to invalidate someone's identity, I'm 100% willing to vote on these arguments. However, I think that some language Ks are more persuasive than others, so I would only suggest going for this argument if the language is particularly egregious.
Topicality (vs traditional affs)
I like topicality debates. That being said, I think that your T argument becomes exponentially more persuasive when you can develop a topical caselist or, better yet, a topical version of the aff. The reverse is also true: if the neg can't provide a vision of what their interpretation looks like, I'm more likely to be persuaded by aff characterizations of the neg interp being overlimiting.
I default to reasonability. This means that, absent an alternative framing for the T debate, I'll vote aff if the affirmative is able to win sufficient defense to the negative's interpretation, even in the absence of substantial affirmative offense.
Topicality (vs non-traditional affs)
As I said above, I believe that debate is a game. Therefore, I'll probably find arguments about procedural fairness more persuasive than arguments about changing real-world policy etc. However, the neg also have to prove the value of the game, so that requires the neg to make some claims to educational/skill-based benefits to debate.
Because I think that debate is a game, I also tend to think that rules/limits are good; this means I'd be more persuaded by an aff counterinterpretation that sets a different limit on the topic than an aff argument that we shouldn't have any limits to begin with.
I'm not inclined to think that topicality is a form of violence, but that's mostly because I don't think it's ever been adequately explained to me. I could see myself voting on this argument, but it would require a lot of explanation on the part of the aff.
K vs K aff debates
I'll admit that I have almost no experience with these kind of debates. The depth of my knowledge on this subject does not extend past the phrase "no perms in a method debate", which is a statement I don't understand. In a debate like this, both sides will have to do a lot of explanation of how the aff/alt/perm function and how they relate to each other.
update: toc 23'
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debaters ought to determine the procedural limits and educational value of each topic by defending their interpretations in the round. I ought to vote for the team that does the best job of that in the debate.
I mostly care about warranting arguments and engaging with opponent's through analysis and impact comparison. The team that does the better job justifying my vote at the end of the debate will win.
Debaters should not do any of the following:
Ignore reasonable things like showing up on time and maintaining speech times and speaking order.
Disregard reasonable personal request of their opponents. If you don’t wish to comply with opponent requests, you ought to have a good reason why.
Say or do racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist things.
Read pessimism args from identities they don't identify as.
WARRANTS & EXPLANATIONS over blippiness.
Education > Fairness
Breadth = Depth ---> both are important please make warrants here.
K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.
Reasonable disclosure practices should be followed.
Analytic > Low quality evidence
Disclosing before the round is a reasonable thing to do. That being said, I give aff the benefit of the doubt on a lot of other theory, and come in with a slight bias against theory arguments in LD.
To adjust for this bias neg teams can read theory that actually has the potential to improve debates or read shells that will have clear and significant violations. Running theory as an exploit of tech judges makes debates less enjoyable for me and I am inclined to vote AFF at the smallest of responses. Affirmative teams should feel comfortable reading fewer spikes and more substance.
Neg teams ought to engage with plan free or non-topical affirmatives. Affirmative teams should advocate for some departure from the status quo within the context of the topic. The more an aff is steeped in topic literature, the less likely I am to vote against it as a procedural issues, so strong topic links are crucial. I generally think education is a more important element of debate than fairness and that an inability to prepare against an argument doesn't inherently mean that argument is unfair.
I default to reasonability because I think it incentivizes innovative research by the aff and expands the limits of the topic in a good way.
I'm good with multiple worlds but think perf cons make for less enjoyable debates and I am inclined to vote against 1NC's that read cap and the econ da in the same speech.
If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.
PIC’s are generally good because they force the affirmative to more deeply examine their advocacy, I want them to be excluding something substantial and to have a solvency advocate of some kind.
Neg definitely gets to be conditional. Limited conditionality is the most reasonable interp.
I like topic DA's, and find most politics and econ based internal links implausible. But, I won't vote against them on face, I let your opponent make those arguments.
Neg walks in with presumption. Neg teams should still make presumption analysis in the round though.
*If I haven't mentioned it here, ask me. It has been a minute since I've judged.
Yes email chain: email@example.com
AFF on T
NEG on conditionality, but even I have my limit (more than 3, no evidence for a bunch of them, combining them later in the debate, amending and adding 2NC cps). NEGs are less good at defending their egregiousness in my recent experience.
I will kick the CP if I think it is worse than the status quo. A neg team doesn't have to say "judge kick" and the AFF isn't going to convince me I shouldn't do this.
I reject the argument and not the team for most every other theoretical objection to a CP.
Will vote on K's. Will care about if the plan is a good idea even if the AFF can't physially make it happen.
Don't have to read a plan, but merely saying the res is bad and dropping stuff will lead to L's.
I am not in the market to award AFF vagueness or poor explanations of cases until the 2AR
Evidence quality outweighs evidence quantity.
First, and most importantly, I am a Black man. I competed in policy for three years in high school at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School; I did an additional year at the University of Kentucky. I am now on the coaching staff at Little Rock Central High School. I have a bachelor's and a master's in Communication Studies and a master's in Secondary Education. I said that not to sound pompous but so that you will understand that my lack of exposure to an argument will not preclude me from evaluating it; I know how to analyze argumentation. I have represented Arkansas at the Debate Topic Selection for the past few years (I authored the Middle East paper in 2018 and the Criminal Justice paper in 2019) and that has altered how I view both the topic process and debates, in a good way. I think this makes me a more informed, balanced judge. Summer '22 I chaired the Wording Committee for NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection; do with this information what you want.
Include me on all email chains, at firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail.com,please and thank you
I find that many teams are rude and obnoxious in round and don’t see the need to treat their opponents with dignity. I find this mode of thinking offensive and disrespectful to the activity as a whole
I consider myself an open slate person but that doesn’t mean that you can pull the most obscure argument from your backfiles and run it in front of me. Debate is an intellectual game. Because of this I find it offensive when debaters run arguments just run them.
I don’t mind speed and consider myself an exceptional flower. That being said, I think that it helps us judges when debaters slow down on important things like plan/CP texts, perms, theory arguments, and anything else that will require me to get what you said verbatim. I flow on a computer so I need typing time. Your speed will always outpace my ability to type; please be conscious of this.
Intentionally saying anything remotely racist, ableist, transphobic, etc will get you an auto loss in front of me. If that means you need to strike me then do us both a favor and strike me. That being said, I’m sure most people would prefer to win straight up and not because a person was rhetorically problematic, in round.
Update for Online Debate
Asking "is anyone not ready" before an online speech an excise in futility; if someone's computer is glitching they have no way of telling you they aren’t ready. Wait for verbal/nonverbal confirmation that all individuals are ready before beginning your speech, please. If my camera is off, I am not ready for your speech. Online debate makes speed a problem for all of us. Anything above 75% of your top speed ensures I will miss something; govern yourselves accordingly.
Please make sure I can see your face/mouth when you are speaking if at all possible. I would really prefer that you kept your camera on. I understand how invasive of an ask this is. If you CANNOT for reasons (tech, personal reasons, etc.) I am completely ok with going on with the camera off. Debate is inherently an exclusive activity, if the camera on is a problem I would rather not even broach the issue.
I would strongly suggest recording your own speeches in case someone's internet cuts out. When this issue arises, a local recording is a life saver. Do not record other people's speeches without their consent; that is a quick way to earn a one-way trip to L town sponsored by my ballot.
Lastly, if the round is scheduled to start at 2, don’t show up to the room asking for my email at 1:58. Be in the room by tech time (it’s there for a reason) so that you can take care of everything in preparation for the round. 2 o’clock start time means the 1ac is being read at 2, not the email chain being set up at 2. Timeliness, or lack thereof, is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. Too often debaters are too cavalier with time. Two things to keep in mind: 1) it shortens my decision time and 2) it’s a quick way to short yourself on speaks (I’m real get-off-my-lawn about this).
My previous paradigm had a thorough explanation of how I evaluate most arguments. For the sake of prefs and pre round prep I have decided to amend it. When I debated, I was mostly a T/CP/DA debater. That being said, I am open to just about any form of argumentation you want to make. If it is a high theory argument don’t take for granted that I understand most of the terminology your author(s) use.
I will prioritize my ballot around what the 2NR/2AR highlights as the key issues in the debate. I try to start with the last two speeches and work my way back through the debate evaluating the arguments that the debaters are making. I don’t have to personally agree with an argument to vote for it.
Yes I coach primarily K teams but I have voted for T/framework quite often; win the argument and you have won my ballot. Too often debaters read a lot of blocks and don’t do enough engaging in these kinds of debates. The “Role of the Ballot” needs to be explicit and there needs to be a discussion of how your ROB is accessible by both teams. If you want to skirt the issue of accessibility then you need to articulate why the impact(s) of the aff outweigh whatever arguments the neg is going for.
I am less and less persuaded by fairness arguments; I think fairness is more of an internal link to a more concrete impact (e.g., truth testing, argument refinement). Affs should be able to articulate what the role of the negative is under their model. If the aff is in the direction of the topic, I tend to give them some leeway in responding to a lot of the neg claims. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. The aff should spend time on impact turning framework while simultaneously using their aff to short circuit some of the impact claims advanced by the neg.
When aff teams lose my ballot in these debates it’s often because they neglect to articulate why the claims they make in the 1ac implicate/inform the neg’s interp and impacts here. A lot of times they go for a poorly explained, barely extended impact turn without doing the necessary work of using the aff to implicate the neg’s standards.
When neg teams lose my ballot in these debates it’s often because they don’t engage the aff. Often times, I find myself having a low bar for presumption when the aff is poorly explained (both in speeches and CX) yet neg teams rarely use this to their advantage. A good framework-centered 2NR versus most k affs involves some type of engagement on case (solvency deficit, presumption, case turn, etc.) and your framework claims; I think too often the neg gives the aff full risk of their aff and solvency which gives them more weight on impact turns than they should have. If you don’t answer the aff AT ALL in the 2NR I will have a hard time voting for you; 2AR’s would be smart to point this out and leverage this on the impact debate.
If you want toread a kritik of debate,I have no problems with that. While, in a vacuum, I think debate is an intrinsic good, we too often forget we exist in a bubble. We must be introspective (as an activity) about the part(s) we like and the part(s) we don't like; if that starts with this prelim round or elim debate then so be it. As structured, debate is super exclusionary if we don't allow internal criticism, we risk extinction in such a fragile world.
If you don't read a "plan" then all the neg has to do is win a link to the resolution. For instance, if you read an aff that's 6 minutes of “whole rez” but you don't defend a specific action then the neg just needs to win a link based on the resolution OR your impact scenario(s). If you don't like it then write better affs that FORCE the neg to get more creative on the link debate.
If theory is your go-to strategy, on either side, please strike me. I am sick and tired debaters refusing to engage substance and only read frivolous theory arguments you barely understand. If you spend your time in the 1AR going for theory don’t you dare fix your lips to go for substance over theory and expect my ballot in the 2AR. LD, in its current state, is violent, racist, and upholds white supremacy; if you disagree do us both a favor and strike me (see above). Always expecting people to open source disclose is what is driving a lot of non-white people from the activity. I spend most of my time judging policy so an LD round that mimics a policy debate is what I would prefer to hear.
I’m sick of debaters not flowing then thinking they can ask what was read “before” CX starts. Once you start asking questions, THAT IS CX TIME. I have gotten to the point that I WILL DOCK YOUR SPEAKS if you do this; I keep an exceptional flow and you should as well. If you go over time, I will stop you and your opponent will not be required to answer questions. You are eating into decision time but not only that it shows a blatant lack of respect for the "rules" of activity. If this happens and you go for some kind of "fairness good" claim I'm not voting for it; enjoy your Hot L (shoutout to Chris Randall and Shunta Jordan). Lastly, most of these philosophers y’all love quoting were violently racist to minorities. If you want me (a black man) to pick you up while you defend a racist you be better be very compelling and leave no room for misunderstandings.
I came into this activity as a fierce competitor, at this juncture in my life I’m in it solely for the education of the debaters involved; I am less concerned with who I am judging and more concerned with the content of what I debate. I am an educator and a lover of learning things; what I say is how I view debate and not a roadmap to my ballot. Don’t manipulate what you are best at to fit into my paradigm of viewing debate. Do what you do best and I will do what I do best in evaluating the debate.
Background: I debated for four years for Newburgh Free Academy. I was a policy and LD debate. I primarily did policy for my first two years and LD in my last two years, both circuit style debate. This is my fifth year coaching/judging for the Lexington Debate. I was both a critical and traditional debater so feel free to run whatever you like. Speed is 100% fine with me just be clear.I am currently a graduate student in New York City getting my Master's in Biological Sciences, with the intentions of attending Medical School next fall. I have been judging debate since 2014 in both Policy and LD.
My Theory on Theory:
In the past, I have viewed theory pretty negatively. I'm not the biggest fan of it, but I will vote on it if you keep these things in mind:
1. If you say that you should have access to an RVI, tell me what constitutes an RVI. I generally do not accept "I meets" as a reason to access an RVI, but feel free to change my mind.
2. If the opposing debater is giving me a bunch of "I meets," annihilating the standards, or doing anything else to take out a significant part of the argument, I am not going to penalize them for simply not having a counter interp.
3. I have had tons of rounds in which debater N has a theoretical objection to the 1AC. Debater A then responds with a counter interp in the 1AR. By then end of the round, I have offense that links to both interps, and no reason to prefer one shell/standard over the other. Do not leave me in this position. Find ways to layer the theory debate and explain how standards interact.
4. No new 2AR theory.
5. Tell me why your theoretical objection comes before another
Kritiks: The Kritik is by far my favorite position in Policy and LD debate. Know what you are talking about. The explanation of the K needs to be done outside of of the author: for example, if you are running D&G, don't drop the term rhizomatic expansion and think that I know what that means. Explain it. Nothing gets me upset than a K team that drops terms and does not explain how those terms interact with the argument. I hate boring and generic links, do you work! Make sure to have a link scenario. The alternative, I feel is the most important mechanism of the K. Explain to me why the alternative is the most important part of the K and why this is the only way to accomplish the plan/case/WHATEVER.
Disadvantages: I don’t mind a few DAs here and there just don’t over kill it! Please if you are going to run politics don’t make it ridiculous and make sure your internal link is new and not something from four years ago.
Counterplans: Counterplans are counterplans I’ll vote on it if it’s there.
Truth vs. Tech--I will evaluate arguments based on the flow and will do very little work to imagine some "embedded clash" that isn't there. But at the end of the debate I will decide each argument by asking who I feel won it based solely on the arguments presented in the round.
Strat: Establish your position/advocacy. Link. Impact. Weigh extensively. Tell me why I should vote for you. If you do not tell me what to do with a given point "x", I will not vote off it unless there is literally nothing else for me to vote off of. Do not assume that I will auto extend drops, or that I will impact/link/weigh cross applications for you. It's your job to tell me why you win, explain it to me like you would explain it to your parents! Act like I don’t know (even though I do) *this will also result in better speaker points*. If something is important to my ballot, please tell me so, and spend time on it don’t glance over it. * I am 100% okay with any kind of case. Do what you like this is your show!
8th place in US Extemp my first time at NSDA Nationals.
Part-time coach at the University of Kentucky, formerly debated at UK (graduated in 2020)
add me to the email chain: genevieveelise1028 at gmail dot com
I am not as actively involved in debate as I used to be. I will judge a fair amount, but don't spend a lot of time outside of tournaments doing topic research, so my level of familiarity is shaped by the debates I judge and/or what my debaters need from me during a tournament. That being said, I'm actively involved in public policy related spheres (primarily international relations) and am a quick read, so most of the time I'll get what you're saying as long as you don't assume I know a bunch of stuff about how prior debates on the topic have played out.
I like for debate to be fun and will generally enjoy judging in debates where it is clear you are having a good time and doing what you're passionate about. Don't be afraid to let your personality show in how you debate - being funny or spicy in the CX are often times I enjoy the debate the most. I was a very committed debater who understands the amount of time and dedication it takes to do this activity seriously, so I will work very hard to make sure that I am evaluating your debate in a way that respects the hard work that you have put into the activity, and the time and energy you are using to be present at each tournament.
Disad and case is awesome, more case analysis that is smart will be rewarded in points. I think smart and specific counterplans are cool. The more specific and in grounded in the literature your CP is, the less likely I am to care about theory. However, counterplans that just fiat that something bad doesn't happen, or counterplans that are generally questionable on premise, I sometimes find annoying and frustrating to judge.
Topicality (vs aff with a plan)
I think a limited topic is good and care immensely about the comparison of one version of the topic to another when it comes to T. If you cannot explain coherently what the difference between the two topics are, I am much less likely to care about your very abstract appeals to the notion of limits or ground.
I think this is one place where my caution above about how much I am involved in debate should apply --- you may think "this T arg never wins, the community doesn't agree with this, etc" and I am pretty firmly out of the loop on that, so I honestly won't know one way or the other.
K (vs aff with a plan)
I judge K's as I would any other argument - I think they need to have a clearly explained link, internal link, impact, and alternative. Being more specific about the topic is far better than some random backfile check about Baudrillard. You should explain your arguments clearly vs using buzz words because I will be much more likely to understand what you are trying to communicate.
The specificity of the link and explanation of the link and how it coheres with your broader theory about the world and interacts with the consequences of the plan are all things that strongly influence how much I am persuaded by the K. I find myself less often voting for the K in debates where the neg relies on a strong framework/prioritize rhetorical/discursive links path but would not preclude this entirely because the aff is often time pressured and poorly equipped to debate about framework and fiat.
I have found myself voting both ways in framework debates, but am usually persuaded by the benefits of clash, procedural fairness, etc. The more specific the aff is to the topic & good aff cards are things that most often lead to an aff ballot in these debates. The negative making a strong, coherent push that includes arguments that appeal to clash while providing defense that proves the topic is compatible with the affs theory are things that most often lead to a neg ballot in these debates.
I think specific strategies against these affs are interesting and good (whether that be a da/k/pic) and will reward this specific research with speaker points. I generally think if something is in the 1AC I am likely to believe there is a link to your argument, and am very persuaded by strategies that utilize the cx to pin down specificities of the 1ac advocacy and then predicate the strategy off of that. If the aff is unwilling to speak specifically about the strategy of the advocacy, I generally tend to be more persuaded by framework.
I generally am not persuaded by strategies that rely on the idea that we should destroy debate, or that extinction is good.
I appreciate the accessibility benefits of online debate but do think it suffers from some quality deficit. If my camera is off during prep time, I have probably walked away for a number of reasons. I'll generally try to pop my camera back on when I get back to signal I have returned, and will also usually keep a headphone in to maintain awareness of when you stop prep. Just give me a sec to turn on my camera and get settled before you launch into an order or the speech. I do have a finnicky webcam, so if I am still in the zoom but my camera suddenly went off during a speech, I'm probably just there and haven't realized my camera is off yet....this is a wip that I'm trying to fix before the NDT.
I tend to lean towards conditionality being good, but would be persuaded otherwise in particularly egregious incidents.
I like when lots of quality evidence is read, and will often read your evidence (and if evidence is referenced in a cx, will usually try to find what you are referencing while it's being discussed). That being said, evidence is best paired with strong judge instruction in the rebuttals. There are instances when evidence is good enough to speak for itself, but in a debate where both sides read decent ev on an issue, I will often find myself voting for the team who tells me how and why their arguments matter more.
After hosting a bunch of tournaments in my time at UK, I am sympathetic to the pleas of tournament hosts and tabrooms. Please be on time, keep things efficient in debates, and clean up behind yourselves.
My facial expressions are likely unrelated to the things you are saying. In particular, I may come across low-energy. This doesn't mean that I am unhappy with the debate (although if I find your debating upbeat, engaging, and high-energy I will probably be a bit more likely to mirror that). Tournaments are a long-haul, I judge a lot of debates at each tournament (often every debate), and there seems to be increasingly little time afforded to restorative things like sleep or eating, so don't worry too much if I'm coming across a little sleepy.
Top Level - Only judge every once and a while now, debated for George Mason University.
I would like to be on the email chain - gerrit.hansen96 AT gmail.com
Go to the bottom for non-policy formats
What to read before the round, if you are interested.
This paradigm is too long - I like K debate, but also policy debate. I am not as experienced in the latter, and will likely over-compensate by reading cards if I get confused or lost. I will do my best to judge your debate fairly.
I am neither the best - nor the worst, hopefully - flow in the game. I have great auditory processing, handwriting not so much. I would encourage a lil pen time for important args.
If the other team brings up an accessibility issue about some portion of your speech, the impetus is on you to fix the problem. I am somewhat open to discussion of what is reasonable (or fair) but please don't make me punish you for being a jerk.
Exclusionary language - including misgendering anyone, racism, ableism, sexism, etc is a voting issue. Almost guaranteed your speaks suffer at least. I will usually leave it to the team that has been harmed to make an argument about it, because I don't want to decide for you when your debate should end.
(Please Read) A few choice E-Debate best practices I have come across:
Please have someone listen to you speak at full speed before we get going if this is the first round of the day. Some of y'all are using rather nice technology and still having rather bad audio quality because you don't bother to set it up right.
Record prep time in the zoom chat - I find it really hard to keep timers at the best of times, and this is not the best of times. Will make exceptions for novices, but otherwise you are big kids. Please time yourself so we don't end up in awkward situations.
Post the order in the zoom chat ((especially when someone is afk) credit to Wichita BM for this one)
Webcam is not mandatory, but consider that it is both harder to pay attention to your speech, and to understand you when I can't see you.
We will negotiate what happens if someone's tech glitches out in the middle of the speech before the 1ac. Please be upfront about the tech problems you have. Telling me you almost got it 13 times while trying to fight with your internet connection is much more frustrating when you haven't communicated effectively.
Do not start interrupting people. As annoying as it is when people talk over others to ask another pointless question in real life, it's even more annoying over zoom. Treat each other with respect, like you would a classmate. Some people seem to be taking the computer screen as a reason they can be even more rude. Don't do this.
Topicality - I think this argument has many valuable uses in debate. Use it how you will. Evidence comparison and caselists are a MUST in these debates. Tell me what your vision of the topic looks like.
Reasonability, as a phrase, is not an argument. I'm open to any and all arguments about how T debates should be viewed, but the onus is on you to create a model for what judging debates in that way ought to look like. Default to competing interps.
Theory - Slow if you plan to go for it. High speed blocks are unpersuasive and are optically a cheap-shot. Potential abuse is probably not an impact I care about that much.
CP's - They can be cool, they can be contrived and silly. PIC's should be specific rather then general. Sympathetic with 2As on some counter-plan theory. Slow down on your CP text if you want me to catch its nuances. Word PIC's are usually silly.
DA - They're cool. The more creative the better. Politics is good. 1 good and well compared impact scenario is worth 3 with loose comparison or impact calculus.
K's - This is the style of debate I personally chose to do. I have a fairly extensive literature base, and am probably more then willing to listen to your stuff. If you argue your position well and prove that you have an understanding of your literature base I will probably want to vote for you. If you're good at what you do, do it.
Links are better when they are specific to the aff - I'm down for spin, but a generic state link or a security K with no impact defense is unlikely to make me want to vote for you
Line by line is important to me, and I have yet to hear a way to evaluate debates in a reasonably fair fashion except some version of the offense/defense paradigm. If you don't want me to flow or want to change the format of the debate, I support you in your efforts but I'm also probably not the judge for you
Debates about debate (The section is a bit of a tangent for K teams) - I grow increasingly tired of the "standard moves" in these debates. I feel many ballot commodification/currency arguments are very reductionist and very much resemble whiny debaters screaming about fiat being illusory. I will obviously vote on them, but I would say I have a higher threshold than most. I care a little bit less about what the ballot does for the aff/neg, and more about what strategies, tactics, methods, alternative world views etc my ballot ought to endorse.
K Aff's/Framework- This is a debate. Defending debate norms is cool, saying "Debate bad" is cool. Being creative on both sides is more likely to get me on your side.
Topical Versions of the Aff are a good way to mitigate offense against framework. Explain to me why it solves their impact turns, not why it is similar to the aff
The Affirmative is much more likely to win if they have a counter interpretation - I find it hard to evaluate defensive "rez already exploded" or "rez poorly written" arguments without one. Rez +1 is not an argument
Arguments about jurisdiction and authority are not good ones, so long as they are answered.
Fairness is an impact. I have the inclination that debates should be fair. That being said, I don't particularly care about procedural fairness in my heart of hearts, and it's rather easy to convince me that a host of things might outweigh the need for debates to be fair.
Speaker Points: I used to have a convoluted scale of sorts here. To be honest, as I judge more often, I usually give pretty high speaker points. I think I tend to presume the best of debaters, and I often find it hard to judge their relative qualities against other debaters I have seen in a bad light. That being said, I have found that I punish very vindictively if you use exclusionary language or are a jerk.
I mainly participated in and judge policy. I will be upfront and say that while I am familiar with the rules and some of the norms of non-policy formats, but it is probably not as second nature to me as it is to you. I would not say that I judge more then 6 tournaments in either LD or PF a year, and speech is even more uncommon. These are some helpful thoughts:
PLEASE CLASH. Compare impacts. Compare frameworks. Acknowledge that your opponent made arguments, and tell me why I should care about your arguments more.
"Progressive" debate styles are cool. Theory is way too common in LD, but I don't plan to be the activist judge that stops it.
There is not a single thing that will matter to me LESS then if you stand up whenl you speak, where you speak from, etc. Accommodate yourself in the room, and I will choose my place in relation to that. It is strange how common this question is in public forum.
I'm pretty good at flowing, and the flow is how I will decide the debate. Logic over persuasion. Good policy over good personality. Tech over truth.
"Off-time" Roadmaps are helpful
Don't spread if you can't be clear. PLEASE.
Sheryl Kaczmarek Lexington High School -- SherylKaz@gmail.com
I expect debaters to treat one another, their judges and any observers, 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 round ending claims for me, one way or the other. 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, especially if you do not change your speaking after I shout clearer or louder, even in the virtual world. I take the flow very seriously and prior to the pandemic judged a lot, across the disciplines, but I still need ALL debaters to explain their arguments because I don't "know" the tiniest details for every topic in every event. I have not judged much during the pandemic so please start a little slower and work up to your top speed and please articulate. I am pretty open-minded about arguments, but 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 messy fast. Debaters make too many arguments and fail to answer the arguments of the opposition directly. I would prefer more clash, and fewer arguments overall. While I don't think framework arguments are as interesting as some other arguments in debate, I will vote for the team that best promotes their vision of debate, or look at the rest of the arguments in the round through that lens.
Links -- 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 Status Quo, or with the Affirmative.
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 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 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 after 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 a complicated argument to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy.
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 really want to confuse your opponents, and amuse me, you'll kick it old school as opposed to going post-modern.
The Resolution -- The thing that originally attracted me to LD was that debaters actually addressed the whole resolution. These days, that happens far less often in LD than it used to. I 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.
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.
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 no choice but 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 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 understand enough to write it down, I won't vote for it. If you don't think you have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you should try a different strategy.
Traditional Arguments -- I would still be pleased to listen to cases with a Value Premise and a Criterion. I probably prefer traditional arguments to new arguments that are not explained.
Theory -- Theory arguments are not magical, and theory arguments which are not fully explained, as they are being presented, are unlikely to be persuasive, particularly if presented in a paragraph, or a three word blips, since there is no way of knowing which ones I won't hear or write down, and no one can write down all of the arguments when each only merits a tiny handful of words. I also don't like theory arguments that are crafted for one particular debate, or theory arguments that lack even a tangential link to debate or the current topic. 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, because the NR typically has more than enough time to answer it. I dislike disclosure theory arguments because I can't know what was done or said before a round, and because I don't think I ought to be voting on things that happened before the AC begins. All of that being said, I will vote on theory, even new 1AR theory, or disclosure theory, if a debater WINS that argument, but it does not make me smile.
The Resolution -- PF mostly 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 that is not paraphrasing -- that is summarizing (and not allowed). You must be able to point to the exact place your argument is based upon, within seconds of being asked to do so, or I am unlikely to consider the evidence in my decision.
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 (Policy and LD both started that way), I don't think 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 were not true, I can see myself voting on theory in PF because I do vote based on the flow, but I'd prefer you debate the case in front of you, instead of inventing new arguments you don't really have time to discuss.
Director of Debate at The University of Michigan
General Judging Paradigm- I think debate is an educational game. Someone once told me
that there are three types of judges: big truth, middle truth, and little truth judges. I would
definitely fall into the latter category. I don’t think a two hour debate round is a search for
the truth, but rather a time period for debaters to persuade judges with the help of
evidence and analytical arguments. I have many personal biases and preferences, but I try
to compartmentalize them and allow the debate to be decided by the debaters. I abhor
judge intervention, but do realize it becomes inevitable when debaters fail to adequately
resolve the debate. I am a very technical and flow-oriented judge. I will not evaluate
arguments that were in the 2AR and 2AC, but not the 1AR. This is also true for
arguments that were in the 2NR and 1NC, but not in the negative block.
Counterplans/Theory- I would consider myself liberal on theory, especially regarding
plan-inclusive counterplans. Usually, the negative block will make ten arguments
theoretically defending their counterplan and the 1AR will only answer eight of them- the
2NR will extend the two arguments that were dropped, etc. and that’s usually good
enough for me. I have often voted on conditionality because the Aff. was technically
superior. If you’re Aff. and going for theory, make sure to answer each and every
negative argument. I am troubled by the recent emergence of theory and procedural
debates focusing on offense and defense. I don’t necessarily think the negative has to win
an offensive reason why their counterplan is theoretically legitimate- they just have to
win that their counterplan is legitimate. For the Aff., I believe that permutations must
include all of the plan and all or part of the counterplan. I think the do the counterplan
permutation is silly and don’t think it’s justified because the negative is conditional, etc. I
do realize this permutation wins rounds because it’s short and Neg. teams sometimes fail
to answer it. On the issue of presumption, a counterplan must provide a reason to reject
the Aff. Finally, I think it’s illegitimate when the Aff. refuses to commit to their agent for
the explicit purpose of ducking counterplans, especially when they read solvency
evidence that advocates a particular agent. This strategy relies on defending the theory of
textual competition, which I think is a bad way of determining whether counterplans
Topicality- When I debated, I commonly ran Affirmatives that were on the fringe of what
was considered topical. This was probably the reason I was not a great topicality judge
for the negative my first few years of judging college debate. Beginning this year, I have
noticed myself voting negative on topicality with greater frequency. In the abstract, I
would prefer a more limited topic as opposed to one where hundreds of cases could be
considered topical. That being said, I think topicality often seems like a strategy of
desperation for the negative, so if it’s not, make sure the violation is well developed in
the negative block. I resolve topicality debates in a very technical manner. Often it
seems like the best Affirmative answers are not made until the 2AR, which is probably
too late for me to consider them.
Kritiks- If I got to choose my ideal debate to judge, it would probably involve a politics
or other disadvantage and a case or counterplan debate. But, I do realize that debaters get
to run whatever arguments they want and strategy plays a large role in argument
selection. I have probably voted for a kritik about a half of dozen times this year. I never
ran kritiks when I debated and I do not read any philosophy in my free time. Kritik
rhetoric often involves long words, so please reduce your rate of speed slightly so I can
understand what you are saying. Kritiks as net-benefits to counterplans or alternatives
that have little or no solvency deficit are especially difficult for Affirmatives to handle.
Evidence Reading- I read a lot of evidence, unless I think the debate was so clear that it’s
not necessary. I won’t look at the un-underlined parts of cards- only what was read into
the round. I am pretty liberal about evidence and arguments in the 1AR. If a one card
argument in the 1NC gets extended and ten more pieces of evidence are read by the
negative block, the 1AR obviously gets to read cards. I think the quality of evidence is
important and feel that evidence that can only be found on the web is usually not credible
because it is not permanent nor subject to peer review. I wish there would be more time
spent in debates on the competing quality of evidence.
Cheap Shots/Voting Issues- These are usually bad arguments, but receive attention
because they are commonly dropped. For me to vote on these arguments, they must be
clearly articulated and have a competent warrant behind them. Just because the phrase
voting issue was made in the 1AR, not answered by the 2NR, and extended by the 2AR
doesn’t make it so. There has to be an articulated link/reason it’s a voting issue for it to
Pet Peeves- Inefficiency, being asked to flow overviews on separate pieces of paper, 2NRs that go for too much, etc.
Seasonal voting record:
I was a policy debater in high school (Glenbrook North) and college (Georgetown) in the 1980s, which means I debated in an era where debaters didn't get to pick judges who they knew agreed with their arguments before the round started.
I have been on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues for the last decade and I have been actively coaching and judging these past four seasons.
I'm a strict tabula rasa judge. Yes, I have my own viewpoints, but I leave them in the hallway and I have voted for and against every type of argument. I'm fine with well-articulated speed. Take CX and the obligation to be polite seriously, because not doing so will affect your points, but please make sure to have fun. Also, please include me on the email chain and include analytics.
Did policy at George Mason
Years judging PF: 2
Years competing in PF: 2
Speed opinions - I can keep up with your speed, but it's PF so no spreading. If you're going too fast your opponent can read over your shoulder as you speak.
Summaries - Pair down to key points of offense and defense, impact calc, clear internal link explanation
Final focus - Should reflect the summary, but contextualized to opponents summaries and grand cross
Extending args - extending key args into the summary is necessary for it to make it in the final focus, otherwise it won't be weighed
T - be it, it's PF
Plans - no plans in PF, CPs are sketchy and I'm inclined to vote on args that say it harms debatability
Ks - willing to vote on them in PF, but you're gonna have to do a lot of work to justify it (which is hard given the structure of PF)
Flowing - i'll flow, so there's that
Offense doesn't have to be extended in the rebuttal but does have to be in the summary
Second speaking teams have the same burden as first speaking in rebuttals
I'll vote for args raised in cx if they make it into speeches
Did PF in high school, do policy at George Mason now. My email is email@example.com, add me if there's an email chain. If you have any questions don't hesitate to email me.
- You do you. If it's argued well, I'm willing to vote on it. That being said, I'll list my thoughts on certain arguments below.
- Don't be a dick
- Slow down on tags
- Don't sacrifice clarity for speed. If I can't understand you it isn't on my flow and won't get voted on
- Tech over truth
- Claims with no warrants aren't arguments
- I don't take prep for emailing/flashing, but don't steal it
- Confidence is good
- Good analytics beat bad cards
Ks - I'm not familiar with most K philosophies. However, if you can explain what it is, how the aff links, and what the alt is I'm fine with it. Because I don't know your lit (especially for high theory teams), tone down the jargon and be clear.
Case/DAs - I like em. Can be convinced there's no risk. Have a clear story and do impact calc. A lot of these debates come down to DA outweighs case, so be sure to explain how. Politics DAs are a thing.
Theory - Impact it out. Tell me what the abuse was, why they should be voted down, and have a thorough explanation of how this debate was worse/less educational/unfair because of it.
CPs - Things get sketchy after 2 condo worlds. If that's what you're running, make sure you've got a good reason. Explain why they can't perm. Have a clear net benefit. I won't judge kick a CP. I judge PICs on an individual basis. State CPs are a thing.
T - Default to competing interps. Explain the world of the your interp vs the world of theirs, tell me why yours is good and theirs is bad. If your aff has little relevance to the topic, you better be ready to defend it. I don't know the current high school topic or what the consensus on reasonability is, so probably not the best judge for T.
K affs - I tend to think that affs should relate to the resolution, but I can be convinced otherwise. Tell me what you're doing and why it's better than talking about the topic, and I'm willing to vote on it.
Be organized in your speeches and do line by line. Confidence is good. If you're funny I'll bump your speaks. I default to util, so unless you give me an alternative ROB then that's how I'm evaluating the round
Important speaker point information
Give me proof that you called Ben Biggs big daddy biggs in round and you will get a 30
Draw me a good picture of James Harden and you probably get a 30
Put me on the email chain - lovemesomepolicydb8 [[gmail]]
High School debate – None
College debate – University of Richmond
Coaching – Miami Beach High School
Bronx High School of Science
New York University/New York Coalition
University of Richmond
The most important thing you should know about me is that when I finished my undergrad college degree I was done with school. Grad school/academia wasn’t for me. I took a jobs in sales (take note those few of you who still associate debate with persuasion), and spent years working for a Survey Research company before taking over the day to day operations of my own company (chemical manufacturing). This shapes my debate outlook.
1. I strive to be a judge that minimizes my beliefs to the greatest extent possible, and votes on the flow. I often vote on things I don’t believe are true but because they are dropped I’ll vote. I will do my best to flow everything and base my decision solely by what was said in the round. You want me to be a policymaker judging USFG action – cool, you want me to be an individual judging a performance – ok, I don’t care per se. I’ve voted for all styles of debate over the years, and I’ve also worked with teams that have run the spectrum of arguments. When I was a debater I didn’t like it when some judges refused to listen and vote on certain arguments (whether it be K or policy because both sides do it) and I don’t want to be grouped like that. End of the day whatever your argument is, I’m going to do my best to understand, treat you with respect, and we’ll see how it goes.
I prefer direct line by line debate above all else. By that I mean – they say/my response straight down the flow. If you are a debater who doesn’t flow to the point that you don’t respond to your opponent’s arguments because you didn’t record what they were then you may have problems winning my ballot consistently.
I view debate like a tennis match. The aff has to get the ball over the net by making an argument, then the neg has to return serve. They may return that ball at over 100mph (offensive strategies with turns and grand impacts of high magnitude) or they may go soft return (defensive arguments). Either/both could trip up the other team. You don’t need offense necessary to win my ballot (but it doesn’t hurt either).
I consider topic education my highest core value. The more topic specific cards (as opposed to backfiles) you read in a round the better all-round you’re going to be.
Providing details and drawing distinctions is always better than being vague and unclear about what you do. My threshold to vote on vagueness is way lower than my o-spec threshold.
Quality of evidence should guide your strategy. Quality always beats quantity. That said I think debaters self-censor in that if they don’t have a card they refuse to make the argument believing analytics to be of lower value then having a card. While that may be true, there are also rounds where the literature needed to properly rebut may not exist. In these cases direct analytics can often be better than generic cards that don’t apply.
If your only response to your opponent’s analytics is “you didn’t read a card”, you may be on weaker ground than you think.
The enthusiasm you display in selling your arguments can be important. A little pathos can yield positive returns.
I can vote against your opponent instead of for you. Sometimes attacking your opponent’s arguments instead of advancing your arguments can capture my ballot. Example, the neg may read a K that I don’t find very persuasive, but the aff ans turn out to be worse. Other times that strategy fails, and you need to advance a positive reason to vote for you.
I pay attention to CX and have seen teams that have won and lost rounds based on CX but that’s becoming much rarer. Any gains made in CX should be referenced in subsequent speeches.
You can try to speak as fast as you want. If you believe you are best served going as fast as you can, and not slowing down when it counts I can reflect that in your speaker points. If I don’t have an arg on my flow that’s probably not good for you. I don’t read the speech docs as you go, it’s still a communicative activity to me.
The specific arguments
If you are Aff: the only burden I will hold you to is that I will check every answer in the 2ar to make sure it has a 2ac/1ar basis. Arguments introduced in the 2ac, dropped in the 1ar, and revived in the 2ar will not count. Beyond that I’m pretty open. Do what you want on the aff. That said over the years I found myself drawn more toward the policy end of things. Affs that are willing to defend a plan or solution to the harms they identify are preferable to affs that are 9 minutes of harms only. I’m usually far more interested in the 3 aff speeches after the 1ac then the 1ac itself. Affs often lose my ballot because they concede too many negative arguments. If you don’t answer each part of an off case argument, you’re handing the ballot to the neg. Oftentimes 2ac extensions of case resolve solely around explaining your 1ac cards, the only thing I care about though is responding the 1nc cards.
If you are neg: anything goes, it’s up to the aff to stop your strategy. If you are looking for a strategy that gives you the best odds in front of me, it would be a plan inclusive CP with a topic specific net benefit. That said no one likes a nitpicker, whatever part of the aff you take objection to should have an impact.
Disads – I’d much prefer you read link/internal link/or even impact uniqueness instead of extra impact scenarios. Developing one or two impacts is preferable than 5-6, and to be honest you lose a little cred in my mind the more extinction scenarios you introduce.
CPs – I default to the lit to decide CP legitimacy. Generally speaking I can see why consult, condition, QPQ, states etc could be unsound, but the quality of the solvency ev can go a long way. Must confess the question of when the neg can kick the CP is not very interesting to me.
Case debate – I was brought up to believe if you don’t have 20+ cards on case you’re in a hole.
Topicality – votes on it. The more specific your violations the better.
Theory – I don’t believe there is a single theory argument, not even conditionality, that justifies rejecting the team over the argument. If you want to win the debate on theory, justifying why I should ignore everything else to vote here is a priori and that discussion should begin early in the debate. That said I would categorize going for theory in front of me as akin to a Hail Mary pass. I find theory debate to be a set of self-serving claims with no proof to support anything. I’m looking to vote on substantive things first and foremost.
Traditional Ks – philosophy plays a very minor role in my life. I likely haven’t read your lit directly, nor would I ever outside of debate support many of the alternatives I come across. Specific links are vital. My voting record on backfile Ks has become very low. I have no why K teams think they can read old evidence (sometimes 20-30 years old) and I’m supposed to think it’s still relevant.
New School debate/identity politics – my voting record for these types of arguments is much higher than when you are neg vs aff. If you are aff I’m often very unclear where the burden of proof line lies. Set up a threshold for pulling the trigger on an aff ballot because leaving me to my own devices may not work out in your favor. Also when I wrote above that sometimes I can vote against your opponent instead of for you, out debating your opponents on framework/I got a better root cause K than you can be a winning strat. All that said as someone who was around at the very beginning of this movement and knowing the justifications that started it, I’m a little disappointed New School debate has taken to speed reading a bunch of cards that don’t always apply.
Framework – I end here because it’s become such a large part of so many debates and I personally think it’s often a real dumb argument. Debate groupthink. If you think speed reading is the way to go in front of me you’re wrong. Depth beats breadth always. If you don’t do line by line on framework, I’ll vote for the aff that doesn’t defend the USFG. I would love for framework to evolve. IMO it’s the same arg now that it was 15 years ago and I find that very stale. You greatly underlimit yourself when your violation solely revolves around the USFG, there are plenty of other reasonable standards you could apply to teams that don’t defend the rez. Identify the voters early because I find many framework arguments to be nothing more than time kill.
Any other questions/clarifications please ask.
Please include me in your email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I coach at Chantilly High School in Chantilly, VA. If you believe that my judgment came to be questionable, please let me know and I am more than happy to discuss the ballot with you. Please communicate with me a ton in and out of your round. But most importantly, have fun!
Comprehensibility is the litmus test for speaker points and evaluating arguments. I will dramatically improve your speaker points if you speak passionately and are clear enough that I can hear every word you say (including cards). If I can’t understand you or the evidence you are reading, I will drastically dock your speaker points and will be extremely unlikely to call for or evaluate evidence. The primary criterion for deciding speaker points will be clarity, enunciation, passion, volume, ethos, etc. Higher technical skills will help your speaker points, but the baseline / great majority of your points will be determined not by debate tech but by your actual speaking. A few notes on this:
1. I won’t call clear. If you’re unclear (especially through constructive speeches), or not loud enough, I won’t intervene and warn you, just like I wouldn't intervene and warn you that you are spending time on a bad argument. Am I flowing? You're clear.
2. Proximity. Number one point people ignore at their own risk: orient where you sit and speak from in the room towards me. Proximity is an important part of ensuring you can effectively communicate. You need to be aware of the acoustics of the room and the ability of your words to physically reach me.
3. Effective communication. Clarity is much more important than speed, but it is also just the beginning of effective communication. Effectively communicating means speaking passionately and persuasively; speaking to the judge and not at your laptop or flow. It means emphasizing the warrants in your evidence while you are reading it. Most debaters do not do their evidence justice. You should not expect me to read your evidence after the round and realize it’s awesome. You should make sure I know it’s awesome while you read it. Effective communication is not just about speaker points. Most debaters over-estimate the number of ideas they believe they communicate to the judge. Debaters who concentrate on persuading the judge, not just entering arguments into the record, will control the narrative of the round and win my ballot far more often than those who don’t.
I look forward to judging your debates,
Quick 2022 update--CX is important, use it fully. Examples make a big difference, but you have to compare your examples to theirs and show why yours are better. Quality of evidence matters--debate the strengths of your evidence vs. theirs. Finally, all the comments in a majority of paradigms about tech vs. truth are somewhat absurd. Tech can determine truth and vice-versa: they are not opposed or mutually exclusive and they can be each others' best tools. Want to emphasize your tech? Great--defend it. Want to emphasize your truths? Great--but compare them. Most of all, get into it! We are here for a bit of time together, let's make the most of it.
Updated 2020...just a small note: have fun and make the most of it! Being enthusiastic goes a long way.
Updated 2019. Coaching at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Nothing massive has changed except I give slightly higher points across the board to match inflation. Keep in mind, I am still pleased to hear qualification debates and deep examples win rounds. I know you all work hard so I will too. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. Email: kevindkuswa at gmail dot com.
Updated 2017. Currently coaching for Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Been judging a lot on the China topic, enjoying it. Could emphasize just about everything in the comments below, but wanted to especially highlight my thirst for good evidence qualification debates...
_____________________________ (previous paradigm)
Summary: Quality over quantity, be specific, use examples, debate about evidence.
I think debate is an incredibly special and valuable activity despite being deeply flawed and even dangerous in some ways. If you are interested in more conversations about debate or a certain decision (you could also use this to add me to an email chain for the round if there is one), contact me at kevindkuswa at gmail dot com. It is a privilege to be judging you—I know it takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment to participate in debate. At a minimum you are here and devoting your weekend to the activity—you add in travel time, research, practice and all the other aspects of preparation and you really are expressing some dedication.
So, the first issue is filling out your preference sheets. I’m usually more preferred by the kritikal or non-traditional crowd, but I would encourage other teams to think about giving me a try. I work hard to be as fair as possible in every debate, I strive to vote on well-explained arguments as articulated in the round, and my ballots have been quite balanced in close rounds on indicative ideological issues. I’m not affiliated with a particular debate team right now and may be able to judge at the NDT, so give me a try early on and then go from there.
The second issue is at the tournament—you have me as a judge and are looking for some suggestions that might help in the round. In addition to a list of things I’m about to give you, it’s good that you are taking the time to read this statement. We are about to spend over an hour talking to and with each other—you might as well try to get some insight from a document that has been written for this purpose.
1. Have some energy, care about the debate. This goes without saying for most, but enthusiasm is contagious and we’ve all put in some work to get to the debate. Most of you will probably speak as fast as you possibly can and spend a majority of your time reading things from a computer screen (which is fine—that can be done efficiently and even beautifully), but it is also possible to make equally or more compelling arguments in other ways in a five or ten minute speech (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQVq5mugw_Y).
2. Examples win debates. Well-developed examples are necessary to make the abstract concrete, they show an understanding of the issues in the round, and they tend to control our understandings of how particular changes will play out. Good examples take many forms and might include all sorts of elements (paraphrasing, citing, narrating, quantifying, conditioning, countering, embedding, extending, etc.), but the best examples are easily applicable, supported by references and other experiences, and used to frame specific portions of the debate. I’m not sure this will be very helpful because it’s so broad, but at the very least you should be able to answer the question, “What are your examples?” For example, refer to Carville’s commencement speech to Tulane graduates in 2008…he offers the example of Abe Lincoln to make the point that “failure is the oxygen of success” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMiSKPpyvMk.
3. Argument comparison wins debate. Get in there and compare evidence—debate the non-highlighted portion of cards (or the cryptic nature of their highlighting). Debate the warrants and compare them in terms of application, rationale, depth, etc. The trinity of impact, plausibility, and verge analysis doesn’t hurt, especially if those variables are weighed against one another. It’s nice to hear good explanations that follow phrases like “Even if…,” “On balance…,” or “In the context of…” I know that evidence comparison is being done at an extremely high level, but I also fear that one of the effects of paperless debate might be a tilt toward competing speech documents that feature less direct evidence comparison. Prove me wrong.
4. Debates about the relative validity of sources win rounds. Where is the evidence on both sides coming from and why are those sources better or worse? Qualification debates can make a big difference, especially because these arguments are surprisingly rare. It’s also shocking that more evidence is not used to indict other sources and effectively remove an entire card (or even argument) from consideration. The more good qualification arguments you can make, the better. Until this kind of argument is more common, I am thirsty enough for source comparisons (in many ways, this is what debate is about—evidence comparison), that I’ll add a few decimal points when it happens. I do not know exactly where my points are relative to other judges, but I would say I am along a spectrum where 27.4 is pretty good but not far from average, 27.7 is good and really contributing to the debate, 28 is very good and above average, 28.5 is outstanding and belongs in elims, and 29.1 or above is excellent for that division—could contend for one of the best speeches at the tournament.
5. All debates can still be won in 2AR. For all the speakers, that’s a corollary of the “Be gritty” mantra. Persevere, take risks and defend your choices
(https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit). The ballot is not based on record at previous tournaments, gpa, school ranking, or number of coaches.
6. Do not be afraid to go for a little more than usual in the 2NR—it might even help you avoid being repetitive. It is certainly possible to be too greedy, leaving a bloated strategy that can’t stand up to a good 2AR, but I usually think this speech leaves too much on the table.
7. Beginning in the 1AR, brand new arguments should only be in reference to new arguments in the previous speech. Admittedly this is a fuzzy line and it is up to the teams to point out brand new arguments as well as the implications. The reason I’ve decided to include a point on this is because in some cases a 2AR has been so new that I have had to serve as the filter. That is rare and involves more than just a new example or a new paraphrasing (and more than a new response to a new argument in the 2NR).
8. Very good arguments can be made without evidence being introduced in card form, but I do like good cards that are as specific and warranted as possible. Use the evidence you do introduce and do as much direct quoting of key words and phrases to enhance your evidence comparison and the validity of your argument overall.
9. CX matters. This probably deserves its own philosophy, but it is worth repeating that CX is a very important time for exposing flaws in arguments, for setting yourself up for the rebuttals, for going over strengths and weaknesses in arguments, and for generating direct clash. I do not have numbers for this or a clear definition of what it means to “win CX,” but I get the sense that the team that “wins” the four questioning periods often wins the debate.
10. I lean toward “reciprocity” arguments over “punish them because…” arguments. This is a very loose observation and there are many exceptions, but my sympathies connect more to arguments about how certain theoretical moves made by your opponent open up more avenues for you (remember to spell out what those avenues look like and how they benefit you). If there are places to make arguments about how you have been disadvantaged or harmed by your opponent’s positions (and there certainly are), those discussions are most compelling when contextualized, linked to larger issues in the debate, and fully justified.
Overall, enjoy yourself—remember to learn things when you can and that competition is usually better as a means than as an ends.
And, finally, the third big issue is post-round. Usually I will not call for many cards—it will help your cause to point out which cards are most significant in the rebuttals (and explain why). I will try to provide a few suggestions for future rounds if there is enough time. Feel free to ask questions as well. In terms of a long-term request, I have two favors to ask. First, give back to the activity when you can. Judging high school debates and helping local programs is the way the community sustains itself and grows—every little bit helps. Whether you realize it or not, you are a very qualified judge for all the debate events at high school tournaments. Second, consider going into teaching. If you enjoy debate at all, then bringing some of the skills of advocacy, the passion of thinking hard about issues, or the ability to apply strategy to argumentation, might make teaching a great calling for you and for your future students (https://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_emdin_teach_teachers_how_to_create_magic note: debaters are definitely part of academia, but represent a group than can engage in Emdin’s terms). There are lots of good paths to pursue, but teaching is one where debaters excel and often find fulfilling. Best of luck along the ways.
Email chains are a tangible improvement to debate. RLarsen at desidancenetwork dot org. You can read my entire paradigm for bolded passages, as you would a card. Pronouns are he/him/”Judge”. The affirmative should have speech doc ready to be emailed by round start time. Please keep a local copy of speech recordings. In the event of a 30-second tech blip, recordings will be reviewed; no speeches will be redone, barring tournament policy. Debaters have the right to reserve CX start until receipt of marked speech doc.
(Long Version is for procrastinating non-debate work)
(Pre-round Prep/Deadline Preffing): If you're a student doing your own prefs, you're best off reading the next two paragraphs and skimming my voting record. If you're a coach, you likely already know where to pref me.
Debate is a group of people engaging in performances. The nature of those debate performances (including my role as a judge) is settled by the competitors in the round with arguments. My default as a policy judge is to believe that those performances regard policymaking and that plans (/counterplans/alts/advocacies) create worlds with real impacts I should calculate via fiat as the plan is executed. As an LD judge, I think the round is about pursuing philosophical reasons to affirm or negate the resolution, and impacting through the lens of the criterial structure. Any successful movement away from the default paradigm typically entails explaining why I, the judge, should interpret your speech time differently. Most people succeed in shifting my defaults, and would consider me a “tabula rasa” judge. Nearly all of my LD rounds look like solo Policy these days. I’m expressive while judging, and you should take advantage of that, and look for cues. It is my belief that students are owed an explanation of the decision and that the judge is accountable to their evaluation of the round.
Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next. I listen to about 20 rounds/week, so my strong preference is for good argumentation, not specific strategies. More at the top of the long version below.Strategy Notes:
Negatives are currently going for too much in the 2NR, while dropping case. Affirmatives are currently spending too much time extending case while dropping world of the perm articulations.
Perms: I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there (more below).
Tricks: If you go for this, impact the tricks out, as you would a dropped card. Slow down for the key line(s) in rebuttal speeches. Eye contact makes this strategy sustainable. Yes, Tricks rounds have '19-'20 ballots from me. No, they should not be your first move.
Disclosure the Argument is great! Drop the debater on disclosure is unimpressive. Read it as an implication to round offense, or you're better off spending time on basically any other sheet.
Topical Version of the Aff (TVA): Gotta read them, gotta answer them. Most of the rounds I vote for T are from a dropped interp or dropped TVA
RVIs =/= Impact Turns: My patience for abusive theory underviews is fading. Quickly
Independent Voters: explain to me why the voter stands apart from the flow and comes first. Debaters are not consistently executing this successfully in front of me, so consider my threshold higher than average
No Risk: I do vote on no risk of the aff/plan doesn't solve. Terminal defense is still a thing
If you expect me to evaluate charts/graphics in your speech doc, give me time during the speech to read any graphics. It will otherwise only be a tie-breaker in evidence analysis
Uplayering: layers of debate often interact with each other; that they exist in separate worlds is not very compelling. Sequencing why I should analyze argument implications before others is the best way to win the layers debate.Previous Season Notes:
While I recognize there's no obligation to share your analytics, the practice serves a good pedagogical benefit for those who process information in different ways. This is even more relevant for online debate. I will begin awarding +.3 speaker points for those speeches including all/nearly all analytics in the speech doc AND that are organized in a coherent manner.
2019-2020 Aff Speaks: 28.801 Neg Speaks: 28.809; Aff Ballots 114 Neg Ballots: 108
222 rounds judged for the '19-'20 season, mixed LD and Policy
Coached students to qualification for 2020 TOC in LD and Policy
(good luck, get snacks)
I recognize that this is no longer a viable read between rounds. Because I continue to receive positive feedback for its detail, it will be kept up, but I do not have any expectation that you will memorize this for my rounds. Bold text is likely worth its time, though.
Long Version (Procrastinating Other Work/Season Preffing):
Role of the Ballot:
Framework debaters: if you think the debate space should be predictable and fair, you should articulate what education/fairness/pick-your-voter means to the activity and why the ballot of this particular round matters.
K debaters: if you think rhetoric and its shaping matters more than the policy impacts of the 1AC, you should articulate your world of the alt/advocacy/pick-your-impact in a way that allows me to sign the ballot for you.
Performance debaters: if you think the debate space is for social movements/resistance/pick-your-story, you should explain why your performance relates to the ballot and is something I should vote for. Ideal performance cases explain topic links or provide reasons they actively choose not to be topical.
Everybody else: you get the idea. Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next.
The world is unfair. Fairness is still probably a good thing. We get education from winning, and from losing. Some topics are poorly written and ground issues might not be the fault of your opponent. For debaters pursuing excellence, traditional voters aren’t the end of the conversation. Argument context can be everything. Tech speak, fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact.
“Two ships passing in the night” is something we hear in approximately 143% of RFDs, and it’s almost always the most efficient way to sad faces, frustration, and post rounding. RESOLVE this by finding points of clash, demonstrating that your claims engage with the claims of your opponent in a way that is beneficial for you. Clash shows that you are aware that your opponent has ground, and your following that with an explanation of why that ground couldn’t possibly earn my ballot is very persuasive. A round without clash is a round left to the judge, and you don’t want to leave any argument, big or small, up to the discretion of the judge.
The preventable argument issue that most often shows up on my ballot is how the permutation functions. I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. For example, I think it’s very easy to imagine a world where two separate policy actions are taken. I think it’s very hard to imagine a world in which Civil Society is ended and the 1AC still solves its harms through implementation. The former gets preference for the permutation making sense. The latter gets preference for exclusivity making sense. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there.
I flow on paper, because as a wise teacher (Paul Johnson) once (/often) told me: “Paper doesn’t crash.” This means I will NOT:
Flow your overview verbatim
Flow your underview verbatim
Flow your tags verbatim
But I WILL:
Follow the speech doc for author name spelling
Have no issues jumping around sheets as long as you signpost as you go
Still always appreciate another run through the order (if you don’t have the order, or you change it up, that’s O.K. Again, just sign post clearly)
Write in multiple colors (for individual speakers and notes)
Typically respond to body language/speech patterns and give you cues to what should be happening more or what should be happening less (furrowed brow + no writing usually means bad news bears. No writing, in general, means bad news bears)
I will keep the speech doc open on my computer, because it seems like a good idea to live the round as closely to the competitors’ experience as possible. However, it is YOUR job as a debater to COMMUNICATE to me the most important parts of your speech. 9 times out of 10 this means:
SLOW DOWN to emphasize big picture ideas that you use to contextualize multiple parts of the round. Let me know that you know it’s important. That level of awareness is persuasive.
TELL A STORY of the debate round. Are you winning? (the answer is almost always “yes”) Why are you winning? What are your winning arguments? Why do they demolish your opponent’s arguments into a thousand pieces of rubble that couldn’t win a ballot if you were unable to deliver any additional arguments?
WEIGH IMPACTS. Time frame/magnitude/probability. These are all great words that win debate rounds. There are other great words that also win rounds.
PRIORITIZE (TRIAGE) arguments. You don’t need to win all the arguments to win the debate. If you go for all the arguments, you will often lose a debate you could have won.
New Affs Bad may be persuasive, but not to me. Breaking new affs is the divine right of the affirmative.
I’m still hearing this debated occasionally, but cross ex is binding. I flow it/take notes.
Flex Prep is alive and well in my rounds. You have an opportunity to ask further questions, but not a clear obligation to answer them. I also think it’s pretty fair that prep time can be used to just… prep.
If you ask me to call for evidence, you probably didn’t do a sufficient job presenting your cards during the round.
Rhetorical questions seem very clever as they’re conceived, but are rarely persuasive. Your opponent will not provide a damning answer, and your time would have been better spent working to make positive claims.
I tend to like policy arguments and performance more than philosophy-heavy kritiks because Ks often lose their grounding to the real world (and, it follows, the ballot). Policy arguments are claiming the real world is happening in the speeches of the round, and performance debate has had to justify its own existence for as long as it has existed, which makes it more practiced at role of the ballot. If you love your K and you think it’s the winning move, go for it! Just make sure to still find clash. Related: “reject” alts almost always feel like they’re missing something. Almost like a team without a quarterback, a musical without leads, a stage without performers.
Good links >>> more links
Good evidence >>>>> more evidence
Many definition interpretations are bad. Good definitions win [T] rounds.
Many framework card interpretations are bad. Every debater is better off reading the cards in the entirety at some point during their infinite prep, in order to better understand author intent.
My threshold for accepting politics disads as persuasive feels higher than the community average. I think it’s because probability is underrated in most politics disads.
Anything I believe is open to negotiation within the context of debate, but general truths have a much lower standard of proof (i.e. Debater 1 says “we are currently in Mexico.” Debater 2 counters “Pero estamos en Estados Unidos.” I consider the truth contest over at this point). The more specialized the knowledge, the higher the standard of proof.
Technical parts of the flow (T & Theory come to mind) can be really fast. I mentioned above that I’m writing by hand. You are always better off with -50% the number of arguments with +50% presentation and explanation to the remaining claims. Yes, I have your speech doc. No, I’m not doing your job for you. Communicate the arguments to me.
Debaters are made better by knowing how arguments evolve. There’s a reason a permutation is a “test of competition” (see: plan plus). Knowing the roots and growth of arguments will make you better at clash will make you better at debate will make you better at winning real, actual ballots.
My default is always to give an RFD, and to start that RFD with my decision. This will typically be followed by the winning argument(s). Ideally, the RFD should look suspiciously like the final rebuttal speech of the winning team.
I apologize for this paradigm becoming unreasonable in length.
Advice I give frequently enough to consume space on this infinitely long page that is now my paradigm:
Ships passing in the night/Clash wins rounds (see above)
Thanksgiving standard: if you can't explain why this argument is important to your Grandma during Thanksgiving dinner conversation, you probably need to keep reading the literature until you can contextualize to the real world. There's also a really good chance it won't win you the round.
At least try to live the advocacy you endorse. If you think coalition-building is the move, you shouldn’t be exclusionary without clear justification, and possibly not even then. The debate space is better for inclusion efforts.
It’s always to your advantage to use cross ex/prep to understand opposing arguments. Don’t realize after a rebuttal speech that your strategy was based on an incomplete understanding of your opponent(s) and their case.
It’s almost always worth your time to take a small amount of prep to sit back, breathe, and consider how you’re going to explain this round to your coach, debate-knowledgeable legal guardian, or friend-who-doesn’t-like-debate-but-supports-you-in-your-endeavors-because-they’re-a-good-friend. It’s an exercise that will tell you what’s important and help clear the clutter of speed, terminology, and tech.
This is also a good test for seeing if you can explain all the arguments using small words. I think the fanciest words I use in this paradigm are “verbatim” and “temporal proximity”. If you can’t explain your arguments in a simple, efficient manner, you need to keep reading.
It’s also almost always worth your time to take a moment, a sip of water, and a breath to collect yourself before a speech. Do this without excess and every judge you compete in front of will appreciate the generated composure and confidence in your ensuing speech.
Don’t start that speech with a million words a minute. Build to it. Double plus ungood habit if you forgot to check that everyone was ready for you to begin speaking.
I have never, not even once, in a decade+ of debate, heard a judge complain that author names were spoken too slowly.
Don’t take 5 minutes to flash a speech or to sort together a speech doc after you’re “done” prepping.
Your speech and prep time is yours to do with as you wish. Play music, talk loudly, play spades.
Opponent prep time is theirs to do with as they wish. That means you don’t get to play music intrusively (read: use headphones), talk intrusively, play spades intrusively, you get where this is going. This is one of the areas I think speaker points is very much at judge discretion.
If it’s not a speech and it’s not cross ex and neither team is running prep, you should not be prepping. Stealing prep is another area that I think leaves speaker points very much to judge discretion.
Don’t set sound alarms to the time you keep for your opponent’s speeches. Nobody ever, ever wants to hear the timer of the opponent go off before the speaker’s. I will keep time in 99% of debates, and if you’re wrong and cutting into their speech time, you’re losing speaker points.
I’m almost always down to give notes between rounds/after tournaments/via email on your performance in debate. Temporal proximity works in your favor (read: my memory has never been A1).
There are few things I love in this good life more than hearing a constructive speech that takes a new interpretation of an old idea and expands how I see the world. Writing your own arguments makes the time you invest in debate more worthwhile.
Spend some time teaching debate to others. Most things worth learning are worth teaching, and the act of teaching will give you an excellent perspective to arguments that have staying power in the community.
Lincoln-Douglas Debaters: A priori arguments can win rounds, but I’d rather see a debate where you win on substance than on a single line that your opponent dropped/misunderstood. If you’re going for a dropped analytic, impact it out in the 2R, as you would any other dropped card.
I feel like the rounds that end up being primarily the criterial debate typically indicate that the debaters could have done more to apply their arguments to the lens of their opponent’s criterion.
This space is for you. We don’t hold debate tournaments so that judges can sign ballots. You don’t spend hours/years preparing arguments and developing this skill because you just really want Tab Staffers to have something to do on the weekends. Mountains of money aren’t shifted so that we can enjoy the sweet, sweet pizza at the lunch hour. We’re here so that you can debate. Performance is about communicated intent, and debate is no exception. You can take anything out of that experience, but articulating your purpose walking into the round, even if only to yourself, will make you more persuasive.
Closing note: I typically think dialogue is the best way to educate, and that my role (at a bare minimum) is to educate the competitors following the round, through the lens of my decision and its reasoning. I will typically write a short Tabroom ballot and give as extensive a verbal RFD as scheduling permits/the students have asked all the questions they desire. The short version of this paradigm caused me physical pain, so that should indicate my willingness to engage in decision-making/pedagogical practices.
4 years high school LD/Extemp/PF
3 years college policy/parli/public
Coaching/teaching debate since 2009-ish
Writing Arguments by Allegory since 2013
Berkeley Prep Assistant Coach - 2017 - Present
10+ years experience in national circuit policy @ Damien HS, Baylor University and other institutions
I have an appreciation for framework debates, especially when the internal link work is thorough and done on the top of your kritik/topicality violation before it is applied to pivotal questions on the flow that you resolve through comparative arguments. On framework, I personally gravitate towards arguments concerning the strategic, critical, or pedagogical utility of the activity - I am readily persuaded to vote for an interpretation of the activity's purpose, role, or import in almost any direction [any position I encounter that I find untenable and/or unwinnable will be promptly included in the updates below]
I have almost no rigid expectations with regard to the K. I spent a great deal of my time competing reading Security, Queer Theory, and Psychoanalysis arguments. The bodies of literature that I am most familiar with in terms of critical thought are rhetorical theory (emphasizing materialism) and semiotics. I have studied and debated the work of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, to that extent I would say I have an operative understanding and relative familiarity with a number of concepts that both thinkers are concerned with.
I think that by virtue of evaluating a topicality flow I almost have to view interpretations in terms of competition. I can't really explain reasonability to myself in any persuasive way, if that changes there will surely be an update about it - this is also not to say nobody could convince me to vote for reasonability, only that I will not default in that direction without prompt.
Theory debates can be great - I reward strategic decisions that embed an explanation of the argument's contingent and applied importance to the activity when going for a theory argument on a counterplan.
I believe that permutations often prompt crucial methodological and theoretical reflection in debate - structurally competitive arguments are usually generative of the most sound strategic and methodological prescriptions.
Judging for Berkeley Prep - Meadows 2020
I have judged enough framework debates at this point in the topic to feel prompted to clarify my approach to judging framework v. K aff rounds. I believe that there are strong warrants and supporting arguments justifying procedural fairness but that these arguments still need to be explicitly drawn out in debates and applied as internal link or impact claims attached to an interpretation or defense of debate as a model, activity, or whatever else you want to articulate debate as. In the plainest terms, I'm saying that internal link chains need to be fully explained, weighed, and resolved to decisively win a framework debate. The flipside of this disposition applies to kritikal affs as well. It needs to be clear how your K Aff interacts with models and methods for structuring debate. It is generally insufficient to just say "the aff impacts are a reason to vote for us on framework" - the internal links of the aff need to be situated and applied to the debate space to justify Role of the Ballot or Role of the Judge arguments if you believe that your theory or critique should implicate how I evaluate or weigh arguments on the framework flow or any other portion of the debate.
As with my evaluation of all other arguments, on framework a dropped claim is insufficient to warrant my ballot on its own. Conceded arguments need to be weighed by you, the debater. Tell me what the implications of a dropped argument are, how it filters or conditions other aspects of the flow, and make it a reason for decision.
Judging for Damien Debate - Berkeley (CA) 2016
In judging I am necessarily making comparisons. Making this process easier by developing or controlling the structure of comparisons and distinctions on my flow is the best advice I could give to anyone trying to make me vote for an argument.
I don't feel like it is really possible to fully prevent myself from intervening in a decision if neither team is resolving questions about how I should be evaluating or weighing arguments. I believe this can be decisively important in the following contexts: The impact level of framework debates, The impact level of any debate really, The method debate in a K v K round, The link debate... The list goes on. But, identifying particular points of clash and then seeing how they are resolved is almost always my approach to determining how I will vote, so doing that work explicitly in the round will almost always benefit you.
If you have any questions about my experience, argumentative preferences, or RFD's feel free to ask me at any time in person or via email.
Founding Board Member, WUDL (Washington Urban Debate League), 2013-current; former travel policy debate coach at Thomas Jefferson (VA), 2014-19. Debated nationally in HS and at Harvard (1990 NDT champion and Copeland Award winner) before starting a foreign policy career, including a stint in the State Department, earning a Ph.D., and have run the Washington Quarterly journal (you've probably cut or read a bunch of foreign policy cards from it) since 1998 as my full-time job.
I judged about 50+ rounds a year (now maybe 20 in WUDL), but don't teach at summer camps so better to explain topic args early in a year. In the spirit of David Letterman and Zbigniew Brzezinski (and ask a coach if you don't know who they are), here's a top 10 list of things you should know about me, or about what I believe makes you a better debater with me, as your judge:
10. I don't read speech docs along with you while you are speaking (except to check clipping); I use them as reference docs.
If I don't understand you, and it's not on my flow, it didn't happen. This is a speaking activity. Speed is fine, and I'll say "clear" if you're not.
9. Better debaters structure their speech (use #s) and label each new piece of paper (including 1AC advs) before starting to read tags/cites.
Ever listen to Obama speak? It's structured. Structuring your speech conveys the important points and controls the judges' flow (don't use "and" as that word is used in cards ALL the time). The best debaters explain arguments to the judge; they don't obscure arguments to hide them from the other team. Points will reflect that.
8. I generally prefer Affs to have plans as examples of the resolution.
I am indebted to the activity for opening my eyes over the years to the depths of racial tensions and frustration in this country, particularly among today's students, and constantly learn about them from coaches and students running these arguments well. All that said, I do intuitively believe the resolution divides ground and is vital for the long-term viability of this activity (aka I will vote on framework, but neg has to do more than say "you know old school policy debate is valuable...you did it").
7. Portable skills (including switch-side benefits) are real, and will pay off over 1-2 generations when you are trained and in charge.
What you do in this room can help train you to improve government (from inside or outside) even if it takes patience (think a generation). I am an example of that and know literally dozens of others. The argument that nothing happens because the aff doesn't actually get adopted overlooks the activity's educational value and generally feeds the stereotype that this generation demands instant gratification and can't think over the horizon. It's a process; so is progress.
I also intuitively believe teams shouldn't get the right to run an argument on both sides of the topic. The best way to challenge and sharpen your beliefs is to have to argue against them.
6. I'm not a good postmodernist/high theory judge (this includes psychoanalysis).
5. I am more likely to vote on conditionality if there are strategic contradictions.
4. Top debaters use source quals to compare evidence.
Debaters make arguments and use cards--cards don't make arguments themselves. Cards effectively serve as expert testimony, when the author knows more about the subject than you, so use the author's quals as a means of weighing competing evidence.
3. Permutations should be combinations of the whole plan and part or all of the CP or alt to test whether the CP or K is a reason to reject the Aff (aka competitive).
I've found permutation theory often painfully poorly debated with the neg block often relying on trying to outspread the 1ar not to go for perms in HS. Perms are not inherently illegitimate moving targets. Conversely, don't assume I know what "permute: do the CP" means; I find debaters rarely do. MAKE SURE THE TEXT OF A PERM IS CLEAR (careful when reading a bunch at top speed and text should be written in your speech doc for reference and is binding).
POTENTIAL UNCOMMON VIEW: I believe affs have the right to claim to adopt permutations as the option the judge is voting for (the neg introduced the CP/alt into the debate so it's not a moving target) to solve a DA and can offset the moral hazard that "you can't straight turn a CP so why not run one/more", but this must be set up in the 1ar and preferably 2ac.
Finally, I will resort to judge-kicking the CP or K if nobody tells me what to do, but somebody (before the 2ar) should.
2. Good Ks have good alts
At its core, policy debate is about training your generation to make a better world. That means plans and alts are the key to progress. I prefer not to hear generic Ks with either nihilistic (burn it down, refusal, reject the Aff) or utopian (Ivory Tower) alts. But show me a K with an alt that might make a difference? Particularly with a link to the Aff (plan specifically or as example of resolution) rather than the world? NOW we’re talkin’ ...
1. The most important thing: I try to be as tabula rasa as possible.
If you win a debate on the flow, I will vote for it. Seriously. All the above are leanings, absent what debaters in the room tell me to do or what I tend to do in evenly-matched, closely contested debates. But you should do what you do best, and I will vote for the team that debates the round best. You are not here to entertain me, I am here to evaluate and, when I can, teach you.
I save this for last (#1) because it supersedes all the others.
PROCEDURAL NOTE: If you're not using an e-mail chain, prep time ends when your flash drive LEAVES your computer (or if you are on an email chain, when you save the doc) -- before that, you are compiling your speech doc and that's your prep time. I tend to get impatient if there's too much dead/failed tech time in debates.
This is a working philosophy, which I'll update periodically, so please feel free to ask me any questions and if I hear the same one/s a couple times, I'll be happy to update this.
I came back because I believe policy debate was invaluable in my education, loved the competition, learned from and started a career based on the research I did and heard (and still do learn from it and you to this day), and want to create opportunities for others to benefit from competing in policy debate. I owe my career to this activity, and other members of my family have benefited from it in many ways too. I'll do my best to make each round fun and worthwhile.
Compete, make each other better, and have fun. There's no better intellectual game. Enjoy...Let's do this...
I am currently a graduate assistant/assistant coach at the University of Georgia and with the Asian Debate League. This is my 14th year in policy debate.
I use he/him pronouns.
Last updated: 3/16/2022
Please put me on the email chain & make me an ev doc at the end of the debate. NJL1994@gmail.com.
Set up and send out the 1AC 10 minutes before the debate begins. Please avoid downtime during debates. If you do both of these things without me needing to say anything (send out the 1AC 10 minutes early + avoid downtime) you'll get higher speaker points.
If I'm judging you online, please slow down a bit and emphasize clarity more than normal.
Top level things:
I think about debate in terms of risk (does the risk of the advantage being true outweigh the risk of the disad being true?). I am willing to vote on presumption, particularly when people say really ridiculous stuff.
I like nuance and for you to sound smart. If you sound like you've done research and you know what's going on, I'm likely to give you great points. Having nuances and explaining your distinctions is the easiest way to get my ballot.
Judge direction is a lost art. If you win the argument that you're advancing, why should it matter? What does this mean for the debate? What does it mean for your arguments or the other team's arguments? This is the number one easiest way to win my (and really anyone's) ballot in a debate. Direct your judges to think a certain way, because if you don't, your judges are likely to go rogue and decide things that make sense to them but not to you. So impact your arguments and tell me what to do with them. I think it's way more valuable to do that than include one more tiny argument.
Decorum is very important to me. If your strategy is to belittle, upset, talk down to, yell at, escalate, curse at, or otherwise be rude or mean to your opponents, then you can expect me to give you terrible speaker points. I also reserve the right to end the debate early if I find the behavior particularly atrocious or potentially threatening to anyone in the room. You certainly don't have to be best friends with your opponents, but I do expect a sense of cordiality when engaging your opponents and their arguments.
"The existence of speech time limits, the assumption that you will not interrupt an opponent's speech intentionally, and the fact that I (and not you) will be signing a ballot that decides a winner and loser is non-negotiable." (taken verbatim from Shree Awsare).
I am incredibly uncomfortable adjudicating things that did not occur in the debate I am watching. Please do not ask me to judge based on something that didn’t happen in the round. I am likely to ignore you.
High school debaters in particular: I have consistently noticed over the past few years of judging that I vote for the team whose arguments I understand. If I cannot connect the dots, I'm not going to vote for you. This goes equally for kritikal and policy debaters. Most of my decisions in high school debates come down to this, and I will tell you that your argument makes no sense in my RFD.
How I decide debates:
First: who solves what?-- does the aff solve its impacts, and (assuming it's in the 2NR) does the negative's competitive advocacy solve its own impacts and/or the aff? In framework debates, this means the first questions I resolve are "does the aff solve itself?" and "does the TVA solve the aff sufficiently?"
Second: Who’s impact is bigger? This is the most important question in the debate. Do impact calculus.
Third: Whatever you have told me matters. Because I have started with solvency & impact calculus questions, everything else is always filtered along those lines (including framework/role of the ballot/role of the judge).
Other misc things:
1. A dropped argument is a true argument but it needs to be a complete argument to begin with or I will likely allow people new answers. For example, this epidemic with high schoolers reading aspec on the bottom of T flows to hide it: if it’s so quick I didn’t catch it in the 1NC, the 1AR gets all the new args they want. Additionally, an argument is not just a claim and a warrant, but a claim, warrant, and reasoning. In other words, your warrant needs to be connected to your claim in order for it to be an argument.
2. I am very flowcentric. Do not ask me to not flow, because I won't listen. Please do line-by-line. If you don't, I'll be frustrated and less likely to buy new extrapolations of arguments. Your speaker points will definitely drop if you don't do line-by-line. I do not like overviews ("overviews are evil"-- one of my labbies; "flowing is good for your health" -- another one of my labbies).
3. Show me that you care. Show me that you know things, that you've done research on this topic, that you want to win, and that debate matters to you. I love this activity and if you also love it I want to know that.
4. Judge kicking makes sense to me but I frequently forget about it, so if you want me to judge kick something you should tell me so in the block/2NR.
5. Cards and highlighting: Teams should get to insert rehighlightings of the other team's cards, but obviously should have to read cards if they're new/haven't been introduced into the debate yet. Two offshoots of this-- 1. You should insert rehighlightings of other team's cards if they suck 2. You should read cards that don't suck.
Please highlight your ev so it reads as complete sentences. This does not mean that I need you to highlight complete sentences, but if you are brick highlighting, I want to be able to read highlighted portions of your ev as complete sentences—it flows better to me. IE don't skip the letter "a" or the words "in" or "the". Just a random pet peeve.
If you do not have a complete citation or at least a full paragraph from your evidence I will not evaluate what you've said as evidence. Cherrypicked quotes with no context are not evidence.
I tend to not read a lot of cards after the debate unless things are highly technical or I think the debaters aren’t explaining things well. That being said, I’ll likely read at least some cards. Please put together a card doc for me.
6. Debaters parroting their partners: I usually just flow what the partner said. That, obviously, only exists within reason (you don’t get to give a third speech in a debate, but you can interrupt your partner to say something and I will flow it).
7. New 2AR args are bad for debate. I consciously hold the line against them as much as I can. I as a 2N feel as if I got a few decisions where a judge voted aff on an arg that didn't exist until the 2AR and it's the most frustrating. You can expect me to try to trace lines between args in earlier & later speeches. However, if I think the argument they're making is the true argument or a logical extrapolation of something said in the 1AR, I'm more likely to buy it. 2As-- this means if you're gonna do some 2A magic and cheat, you should trick me into thinking that you're not cheating.
Disads: I’m better for the smart DAs than the silly ones, but I understand the value of bad DAs and will vote for them. I will likely reward you with higher speaker points if I think I understand your story really well and/or you have some cool/unique spin on it. I am fine with logical take outs to DAs that don’t require cards (especially if there’s some logic missing internally in the DA). Don’t just read new cards in the block or 1AR, explain your args (although also read new cards obviously).
Theory, CPs, and K Alternatives: I put these pieces together because my thoughts on these three args blend together.
Competition is determined off the plantext, not off cross-x. PICs & PIKs are only competitive if they PIC/PIK out of something in the plantext. I do not believe that you get to PIC/PIK out of a justification or non-plantext based word. The only way I will ever be convinced otherwise is if the aff allows you to do so.
Condo: It’s good. I can be persuaded otherwise, but all things equal I’m very neg leaning here. “They should get one less CP” is an arbitrary interp and makes no sense. "Performative Contradictions" is a term of art that has been bastardized to no end by debate. You're either saying the neg has double turned themselves or you're saying conditionality is bad; in my mind, perf con is not even worthy of being written on my flow.
Particular Theory: I’m way better for this than most judges. States theory, international fiat, consult/condition, vague alts, utopian alts, etc—I have gone for all of these and actively coach my debaters to do the same. My predisposition is to reject the arg not the team, but I can be persuaded to reject the team on non-condo theory args (you should introduce the arg as reject the team in the 2AC if you want this to be an option).
Theory can be a reason you get to make a cheating perm.
Counterplans/alternatives that use aff evidence as solvency advocates are awesome.
If the CP/alt links less I think it makes sense that I prefer it, but make that arg yourself because I won’t make it for you.
Case: I love love love case debate. You should make logical extrapolations that take out the internal link chains and make me question how the advantage makes sense. The block should read more cards but feel free to make logical case take outs without cards. I don't think you should have to go for impact defense to beat advantages-- uniqueness and internal link take outs are almost always the easier place to attack advantages. I tend to prefer a well-developed take out to the death by a thousand cuts strategy.
Affs-- 2NR that don't do well-developed case debate are generally overwhelmed by your "try or die"/"case outweighs"/"1% chance of solvency" args.
Topicality: This is only ever a question of the plantext in a vacuum and defining words in the resolution. Topicality is only ever a voter, not a reverse voter. I’m not great for silly/arbitrary T interps (I am very persuaded by the arg that these interps are arbitrary).
Kritiks: I like Ks that care about people and things. I'm optimistic to a fault. I certainly believe that things are still terrible for billions of beings, but it's hard to convince me that everything in the world is so absolutely screwed.
Your long overview is actively bad for debate and you will not change my mind.
Make your K interact with the affirmative. I want your links to be about the result of the aff as opposed to just the reading of the aff. Thus, for example, fiat bad links are pretty easily beaten in front of me, but reasons why x policy should not occur are much more persuasive. Don't just explain your theory of how power works, explain how the aff is bad according to your theory of power.
I think that I am worse for structuralist style kritiks than I used to be for two reasons: 1) I feel more so that I want you to be responding to the action of the aff than I used to 2) I generally study poststructuralism and queer theory. I read a lot of Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler.
Grad school has taught me that theory is way more complex than I used to think it was. I will get annoyed if I know that you’re deploying the theory wrong. I'm not good for things like "death good," "meaning doesn't mean anything," or "language is meaningless" because I don't think those are questions even worth asking.
I have read some literature about antiblackness academically (taking a class about it now!) and have read a bit more from a debate standpoint. I would not call myself an expert by any means in this literature, but I do understand some of it better than I used to. I am still unwilling to fill in those blanks for you if you are lacking them (ex-- just saying the words "yes antiblackness ontological, natal alienation proves" is not an argument in my mind).
99.99% of the time I will entirely ignore your framework/role of the ballot args when you're going for the K against a topical aff. I do not know how to decide debates unless I'm weighing the merits of the aff against the merits of the K. You are better off just saying "yes the aff can weigh the plan, we'll just beat it" in front of me. This also means that the role of the ballot/judge is only ever to vote for whoever did the better debating in every round I judge. I am seriously SO very close to just saying that I won't even flow the framework/role of the ballot args in this debates.
“Perms are a negative argument” and “method v method debate means no perms” are both not arguments. Despite judging for however long I have, I still do not know what a "method v method debate" even is or why it's different than every other debate. I will not write these words on my flow.
I also do not find the "voting for us gives us more wins/sends us to elims" as a solvency mech persuasive or that "X thing done in the debate is policing/surveillance/violence" (other than actual/physical policing/surveillance/violence) to be persuasive.
Ultimately, I evaluate K debates just like I evaluate policy debates. Technical line by line is key. Explain your args well. Put the debate together. Don't ignore the other side.
2NRs on the K that include case debate (with some level of internal link/impact defense; not just your security K cards on case) are substantially more persuasive to me.
Framework debates: you should also read my section on Ks (right above this one) as well.
Framework is a strategy and it makes a lot of sense as a strategy. Just like every other strategy, you should try to tailor it to be as specific to the aff as you possibly can. For example, how does this particular aff make it impossible for you to debate? What does it mean for how debate looks writ-large? What's the valuable topic education we could have had from a topical discussion of this aff in particular? Same basic idea goes for when you’re answering generic aff args—the generic “state always bad” arg is pretty easily beaten by nuanced neg responses in front of me. The more specific you are, the more likely I am to vote for you on framework and the more likely I am to give you good speaks.
Stop reading huge overviews. They’re bad for debate. Your points will suffer. Do line by line. Be a good debater and stop being lazy. The amount of times I have written something like "do line by line" in this paradigm should really tell you something about how I think about debate.
I do not find truth testing/"ignore the aff's args because they're not T" very persuasive. I think it's circular & requires judge intervention.
I do, however, think that fairness/limits/ground is an impact and that it is, oftentimes, the most important standard in a T debate.
T and/or framework is not genocide, nor is it ever rape, nor is it real literal violence against you or anyone else.
I’m a sucker for a good TVA. Teams seem to want to just laundry list potential TVAs and then say "idk, maybe these things let them discuss their theory". I believe that strategy is very easily beaten by a K team having some nuanced response. It makes way more sense to me if the TVA is set up almost like a CP-- it should solve a majority or all of the aff. If you set it up like that and then add the sufficiency framing/"flaws are neg ground" style args I'm WAY more likely to buy what you have to say (this goes along with the whole "I like nuance and specificity and you to sound like you're debating the merits of the aff" motif that I've had throughout my paradigm-- it applies to all debaters).
I oftentimes wonder how non-topical affs solve themselves. The negative should exploit this because I do feel comfortable voting neg on presumption. However, I won’t ever intervene to vote on presumption. That’s an argument that the debaters need to make.
Non-topical affs should have nuance & do line by line as well. Answer the neg’s args, frame the debate, and tell me why your aff in particular could not have been topical. The same basic idea applies here as it does everywhere else: the more generic you are, the more likely I am to vote against you.
Cross-ex: I am becoming increasingly bored and frustrated with watching how this tends to go down. Unless I am judging a novice debate, questions like "did you read X card" or "where did you mark Y card" are officially counting as parts of cross-x. I tend to start the timer for cross-ex pretty quickly after speeches end (obviously take a sec to get water if you need to) so pay attention to that. I'm really not much of a stickler about many things in debate, but given that people have started to take 2+ minutes to ask where cards were marked/which cards were read, I feel more justified counting that as cross-x time.
I pay attention & listen to CX but I do not flow it. Have a presence in CX & make an impact. I am listening.
Speaker points-- I do my best to moderate these based on the tournament I'm at and what division I'm in. That being said, I won’t lie—I am not a point fairy (seriously why do teams need a 28.9 to clear these days?).
I will grant extra speaker points to people who number their arguments and correctly/aptly follow the numbering that has been established in the debate.
Paraphrasing from Shree Awsare-- I will not give you a 30.
29.7-- Top speaker
29-29.5-- You really impressed me and I expect you to be deep in the tournament
28.9-- I think you deserve to clear
28.3-- Not terrible but not super impressive
I will award the lowest possible points for people who violate the basic human dignities that people should be afforded while debating (e.g., non-black people don't say the N word).
I've also been known to give 20s to people who don't make arguments. I will not be giving you a 30; nobody gives a perfect speech.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me before the debate begins, or send me an email. I also do seriously invite conversation about the debate after it occurs-- post-rounds are oftentimes the most valuable instantiation of feedback, the best way to get better at debate, and important for improving intellectually. I know that post-rounds sometimes get heated, and I think we all get defensive sometimes when we're being pressed on things we've said (or think we've said) so I will likely consciously try to take deep breaths and relax if I feel myself getting heated during these times. This also means that I may take a second to respond to your questions because I am thinking. I also might take slightly awkward pauses between words-- that's not because I don't think your question is important, I'm just trying to choose my words carefully so I can correctly convey my thoughts. I only post this here because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being attacked or anything for asking questions, and I apologize in advance if anything I say sounds like that.
Ethics Challenge Addendum:
I would strongly discourage ethics challenges in all but the most extreme instances. I don't want to adjudicate them, you don't want to be the team who makes the challenge, etc. If you notice something is wrong, please contact coaches and/or debaters and try to fix the problem rather than making it a challenge.
An ethics challenge is not a no-risk option for me. That is, when an ethics challenge is issued, the debate ends. I will clarify that the team issuing the challenge has issued one and then end the debate and adjudicate the challenge. I will either decide to vote for the team who issued the challenge or the team who the challenge was issued toward then and there. The debate will not continue for me under any circumstances.
An ethics challenge may be issued along one of three lines: either you have accused the other team of clipping cards, of misciting evidence, or of misrepresenting evidence. Nothing else will be considered an ethics challenge for me.
Clipping cards is defined as claiming to have read more or less of the evidence than one actually has. Please note that I do not follow along with evidence as the debate is occurring. Missing a single word/a few words is not enough. I will decide what constitutes enough of the card to be considered clipping.
Misciting evidence is understood as providing the incorrect author and/or date as well as missing the first author, source of publication, and date (at least the year). Please note that putting something like "the New York Times" instead of "Nate Silver" is acceptable for an authorship. Source of publication can be broad (article title, URL, book title). If the article is easily accessible, then it is acceptable. Again, I will determine what constitutes an incomplete or miscited citation if this becomes a relevant question.
I do not consider missing credentials to be unethical but I do consider those pieces of evidence to be incredibly weak.
Misrepresenting evidence is understood as inserting evidence which is missing lines or paragraphs within the parts of the initial article/book being read. So, for example, if you want to read the first and third paragraph from an article, you must leave the second paragraph in the evidence you read in the debate. This means that, for me, ellipses to indicate that parts of the card are missing or stating something like “pages 4-5 omitted” is unethical. Cards need to be full paragraphs.
Providing a single quote from a book or an article is not a card. As such, I will not consider it as you having introduced evidence and it is not unethical for me. However, not providing full paragraph pieces of evidence means your argument is substantially weaker for me (because, again, then you have not read evidence).
I will either decide to vote for the team who issued the challenge or the team who the challenge was issued toward. The debate will not continue for me under any circumstances. Please note that I will take this seriously; an ethics challenge is not something to be debated out in a round.
The speaker points I will give are as follows: 28.6 for the 2nd speaker of the team I vote for, 28.5 for the 1st speaker of the team I vote for, 28.4 for the 2nd speaker of the team I do not vote for, 28.3 for the 1st speaker of the team I do not vote for. My assumption in the event of an ethics violation is that you made an honest mistake and that you were not intentionally cheating. I do not understand ethics challenges to be the equivalent of academic dishonesty or worthy of any punishment besides my ballot being cast in that particular debate (I do not hold these challenges against you in future rounds nor do I believe that you should be in trouble with your debate coaches or schools).
Please note that what I have written here is designed for varsity debate only; that is, when judging novice and JV debates, I will be more lenient and talk through what's going on with the students and, depending on the situation, allow the debate to continue.
These are thoughts that are still evolving for me as I talk with more people. Please bear with me as I continue to think this out. (Also note that this caveat goes along well with the first statement in this section: I would prefer you not introduce an ethics violation unless it is a serious issue in that particular debate).
Please also note that these rules do not apply to my standards for threatening violence against another debater (physical or otherwise) or hurling slurs at your opponent. I will immediately end the round and give the lowest speaker points that Tab will allow me to in that situation.
Phoenix Military Academy 16
University of Kentucky 20
I measure a debate based off of how well you interact with one another. Clash is important and if you’re not engaging you’re opponent you’re not debating. The more evidence comparison the better.
You should do your best to frame the debate round for me. Tell me how I should sign my ballot.
I don’t take time for flashing, and yes, put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Except consult and process CPs. These counterplans are infinitely regressive to the point where you can just say "Consult my neighbor then do the plan." If you want to go for one of these CPs you have to have pretty great cards saying why your specific process is detrimental to the success or failure of the aff. I will vote on it but very rarely.
The weirder they get the more explanation you’re going to have to give. I am accustomed to the more mainstream identity and anti-state Ks such as: Eco-fem, Neolib, Anthro, and Wilderson.
I will not kick an alt and use it as a DA toward the case. If you want to win on a K you have to win why the alternative is a better option than the aff.
I will most likely always grant you a link, but you have to properly contextualize it the aff.
Clash is important, and I’m docking your speaks if half of the 2NC is an overview.
Aff Ks are cool. You need to show me how your aff interacts with the neg as well.
If it follows the rez: cool
If it doesn't defend anything: cool
If it does defend things: cool
If it doesn’t follow the rez: You need explain why your model of debate is a better than the resolution. In other words, why should I evaluate your form of the debate? You also need a reason as to why it can’t be done under the resolution.
Usually not convincing
You have to go all in for me to vote on it, but keep in mind 17 DA’s are as shitty as 3 CPs/Ks
Clipping will be dealt with accordingly
Any hurtful comments referring to (but not limited to) gender, sexuality, or race is not going to be tolerated.
My name is Stephani not judge.
My pronouns are she/her.
Puns are highly encouraged. Here's my favorite: Why did the bicycle fall over? Because it was too tired! Hah Also Ill boost your speaker points if you reference My Hero Academia as I am currently obsessed with it.
If you have any questions or want more feedback about a round shoot me an email!
Ian Lowery (also goes by "Izzy" and/or "Bishop"),
Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason University (2022 - Present).
Former Policy Debater at George Mason University (2014 - 2018).
Former Assistant Coach for James Madison University (2020 - 2022).
Top Level: I believe that my role as the judge is to absorb the information provided within the round and decide who wins based on the debater's ability to explain and defend their positions. Do whatever you were going to do before you saw my name on the pairing. Treat the following as proclivities that may make my decision easier or increase your speaker points.
I mostly ran kritical arguments during my time as a debater. In my earlier years I did traditional policy but most of my relevant experience is with the K.
Tech over Truth - I believe in voting on the flow, and unless I am more than 95% sure that a statement or argument is universally false, it can be debated and proven true on the flow. Beyond that, I will still try to be unbiased in my evaluation the argument, but you're rolling the dice.
I will evaluate arguments which suggest that I should not flow or not decide the round based on traditional policy argumentation standards - but their needs to be a clearly articulated net benefit to doing that (better pedagogy, more accessibility, etc.) - and I need to be given an alternative method of evaluating the truth-value of competing arguments. Otherwise, I don't see how I won't just end up voting on the flow anyway or flipping a coin to decide who wins.
Conduct - Don't be a jerk. It's alright to be aggressive, but have a point behind it. At it's core, I think debate is a game, so everyone should have fun.
Time - I don't keep track of time well in my personal life or in debates. Please don't rely on me for that. Keep track of your own and your opponent's time.
E-mail Chain - Yeah, put me on it: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
Director of Forensics and Debate
Put me on the email chain @ email@example.com
speed is fine (but online lag is a thing)
tech over truth
I typically get preferred for more policy-oriented debate. I gravitated to more plan focused affirmatives and t/cp/da debate. I would consider myself overall to be a more technically driven and line by line organized debater. My ideal round would be a policy affirmative with a plan text and three-seven off. Take that as you wish though.
I've judged a variety of traditional and progressive debates. I prefer more progressive debate but Arkansas is more traditional in nature. I prefer to evaluate policy affirmatives with about three off in LD. Refer to my specific preferences below about progressive arguments. In regards to traditional debates, it's important to clearly articulate framework.
weighing.... weighing.... weighing.
I like rebuttals to have clear line by line with numbered responses. 2nd rebuttal should frontline responses in rebuttal. Summary should extend terminal defense and offense OR really anything that you want in final focus. Final focus should have substantial weighing and a clear way for me to write my ballot. It's important to have legitimate evidence... don't paraphrase evidence and completely skew the evidence.
Here are my specific preferences on specific arguments if you have more than 5 mins to read this paradigm...
I enjoy a well articulated t debate. In fact, a good t debate is my favorite type of debate to judge. Both sides need to have a clear interpretation. Make sure it’s clearly impacted out. Be clear to how you want me to evaluate and consider arguments like the tva, switch side debate, procedural fairness, limits, etc.
This was my fav strat in high school. I’m a big fan of case-specific disadvantages but also absolutely love judging politics debates- be sure to have up to date uniqueness evidence in these debates though. It’s critical that the disad have some form of weighing by either the affirmative or negative in the context of the affirmative. Counterplans need to be functionally or textually competitive and also should have a net benefit. Slow down for CP texts and permutations- y’all be racing thru six technical perms in 10 seconds. Affirmative teams need to utilize the permutation more in order to test the competition of the counterplan. I don’t have any bias against any specific type of counterplans like consult or delay, but also I’m just waiting for that theory debate to happen.
I believe that case debate is under-covered in many debates by both teams. I love watching a case debate with turns and defense instead of the aff being untouched for the entire debate until last ditch move by the 2AR. The affirmative needs to continue to weigh the aff against the negative strat. Don't assume the 1AC will be carried across for you throughout the round. You need to be doing that work on the o/v and the line by line. It confuses me when the negative strat is a CP and then there are no arguments on the case; that guarantees aff 100% chance of solvency which makes the negative take the path of most resistance to prove the CP solves best.
I’m not as familiar with this form of argumentation or literature, but I’ll vote for the k. From my observations, I think teams end up just reading their prewritten blocks instead of directly engaging with the k specific to the affirmative. Be sure you understand what you are reading and not just reading a backfile or an argument that you don’t understand. The negative needs to be sure to explain what the alt actually is and more importantly how the alt engages with the affirmative. Similar to disads, the neg block/nr should expand on the link level of the debate and then condense down to the link they are winning in the 2NR for policy. I am seeing more and more teams, taking the strategy of kicking the alt and cross-applying the links as disads on the case flow. It's important to be aware though that for some kritiks that simply kicking the alt eliminates the uniqueness level of the link debate since they are simply implications from the status quo. That’s a cool strategy, which is also why affirmative teams need to be sure to not just focus on the alternative vs. the aff but also respond to all parts of the K. I think most aff teams that read a plan should have clear framework against the K in order to weigh this aff against the alt. Like I’ve said I judge more K rounds than I expected, but if you are reading a specific authors that isn’t super well known in the community, but sure to do a little more work in the o/v.
I’ll vote for whatever theory; I don’t usually intervene much in theory debates but I do think it’s important to flesh out clear impacts instead of reading short blips in order to get a ballot. Saying “pics bad” and then moving on without any articulation of in round/post fiat impacts isn’t going to give you much leverage on the impact level. You can c/a a lot of the analysis above on T to this section. It’s important that you have a clear interp/counter interp- that you meet- on a theory debate.
I was a policy debater in the 1990s (debated for MBA in high school; University of Kentucky in college). I got back into the activity three years ago. I am a policy-oriented judge. I am fine with speed but you do need to be comprehensible. I won't re-read cards that weren't comprehensible when read in the debate. I am not including a long discussion in this paradigm of "this is my opinion on the following 8 issues" because that shouldn't be relevant to your debate ... with one exception- I am skeptical of non-topical /non-advocacy Affs so a good framework presentation will usually get my ballot in that situation.
My name is William Melton. I have judged policy debate for three years on the local and National Circuit. I am a Professional Engineer and an adjunct professor at several community colleges. I understand most arguments and prefer traditional policy debate. Please read the exceptions because I rarely vote for certain types of arguments.
I prefer debaters who are authentic in their arguments, are polite to each other, and have good form. I make my decisions based on the quality of the arguments. This means that I prefer that you prove to me why you should win the debate round. If you spread unintelligibly, I can not vote for unintelligible arguments.
Traditional AFF: I prefer this form of debating. Please extend your arguments effectively through the debate round and it will be a good round.
K aff: I do not prefer this type of debate, I do not find many of these arguments persuasive or well developed. If you use this type of argument you must persuade me and impact your argument. Be clear why you want me to vote for you. Just uttering the words “role of the ballot” is not sufficient---why should the role of the ballot be what you have suggested it to be? Affs should also argue why the aff is sufficiently debatable (negs should argue to the contrary), not merely why the aff is important to discuss.
T---T is a question of should the aff be topical. If you aren't reading cards on T, then you're doing it wrong. I will vote on it if you do a good job on it, do not expect me to vote on T, if it's clear that you are using topicality to waste time, you lose on T. If you run T, make sure you also have a topical version of the affirmative.
Theory: Convince me. I will vote to reject an argument over a team. If this argument is not made, I'll defer to the other team's interpretation on what I should do with the suspect arg (ie, reject the team).
CP/DA's: I like counter plans and clear disad debates and will be persuaded by convincing arguments. Just make sure that it is competitive with the Affirmative and that you do prove to me why I should vote on it. This also applies to the affirmative team, persuade me as to why your affirmative is better.
K: I will vote on K if it is clearly explained. I prefer to be convinced by the team running the K. Any kritik you read must be persuasive, not just power tagging. I encourage underviews for the cards and overviews in the block to straighten out the debate. Any argument on a kritik that is not explained will not be preferred over a well explained argument, as policy is not tagline debate. Make sure that you do impact calculus so that I can know whether to prefer the impacts of the aff or the K first. Explain the framework and why your K's impacts come before the Affs. Also, make sure that the Alternative and Links are explained throughout the debate round, this makes the round flow smoother. I do not vote for vague alternatives, arguments should be flushed out and explained. I believe in a debate that is based on an intellectual level, not one of the "you're bad"/"Truth isn't real" debates. This does not mean that I won't vote for high level arguments, but I prefer more the well explained thoughtful intellectual discussions.
Make sure to include me on the email chain: Wmelton@portofsandiego.org. Any arguments you make need to be on the email chain, including analytics. Otherwise, those arguments will not be considered.
Roberto Montero, Bronx Science ’16, Binghamton ’20. I debated 4 years in high school and broke at the ToC if that means anything to you.
There are two types of arguments in debate (and their inverses): smart arguments and good arguments. Some arguments happen to be both but most of the time they are neither (thus either a bad argument or a not-so-intelligent argument). A smart argument is well-researched, nuanced, and interesting. Good arguments are strategic and effective at winning debates. For example, the politics disad is a ‘good argument’ in that it wins a lot of debates and can be executed and deployed to perfection in the correct hands. That doesn’t make it a smart argument because every novice can tell you that it doesn’t reflect real politics outside of a basic uniqueness claim (which half the time is cut out of context because news articles aren’t written as conclusive as cards are purported to be). A smart argument isn’t always good however. If you have a critique that you’ve put a grad thesis amount of work into, it might make some interesting observations about the world/aff but may not be the most strategic.
Understanding the distinction between these two types of arguments is a recipe for combining them and developing the most well rounded arguments and a higher quality of debates. However, it isn’t my job to sit behind my laptop and mock the quality of your arguments, rather it is up to you as debaters to develop and articulate your arguments as such. When judging I do my best to let debaters do the debating so regardless of what my opinions/thoughts on your arguments are, as long as they are warranted, impacted and clearly extended throughout the speeches. This is also important for understanding how I judge debates—framing your rebuttals with important technical concessions on the line by line is valuable in making my decision easier and not make me sift through dropped arguments on both sides.
The biggest problem in most debates starts with that whole line by line thing. Teddy Albiniak taught me that one of the ways that high schoolers develop bad habits is through imitating prominent college debaters. The thing that bothers me the most is the reliance on 7/8 minute overviews. While this may be something that works for some very talented college debaters, generally it shouldn’t be a tactic employed by most. There is a place for an overview, and it serves a valuable and strategic function but there is such a thing as excessive. This is one of the biggest tradeoffs with engaging in the line by line in general which is pretty important.
*This last portion, like most of my paradigm, assumes a basic model of debate. This means that if you present an alternative model of debate and a different metric for evaluating arguments I will accept that. To quote Alain Badiou It’s only a principle, it’s not a programme. Debate isn’t standard and that is one of the things that makes it such an enjoyable and valuable activity, so take this with a grain of salt.
The second biggest problem is case debating. ~~Newsflash~~ most affs are bad. Not even most, definitely all of the affirmatives are bad. One of the best way to satisfy judges (and me) is by exploiting that on the case page. The threshold for smart 1nc case analytics is a little high but by the block some smart engagement with the warrants and internal links of the 1ac, especially at a basic, logical level, can only help you in the long run. This is particularly important for me as a judge because I can easily justify pulling the trigger on a presumption/0 risk of the aff type argument if mishandled by the affirmative and well-articulated/nuanced by the negative. This is not to say it’s impossible to be aff or that even that the standard is higher but that you should be prepared to defend the 1ac against larger level solvency questions.
We also need to talk about presumption. It is important, especially versus critical affirmatives. If your aff cannot answer the question of why the ballot is key or implicate it in any sense, you have abdicated my role as an adjudicator. All I can really do is enter a team that is victorious on a ballot, just saying that this is obvious does not mean the issue goes away. Perhaps this contradiction is too much to overcome in 8 minutes of a 1ac, and maybe is a problem with how we construct affirmatives but something persuasive needs to be said that doesn't amount to "You're right nothing we said or do matters but you should vote for us anyways" in 1ac cross-x.
Tl;dr please debate the case. Just do it. Like cigarettes and overviews it’s not cool just because the big kids do it.
As for specific arguments I don’t have much to say on all the ~nuances~ of agent counter plans or the intricacies of politics disad theory. I think the go through every issue thing is cliché and generally just a waste of time. If you have any specific questions about my thoughts on some random thing I’d be happy to answer it but I won’t bother to write down an arbitrary opinion on the 7th subpoint of some condo block from 2006. The only issue worth addressing (and what I’m almost confident is the only thing people look at) is framework.
The biggest problem with framework is that a lot of 2nr’s seem to forget to extend an impact. And when they do remember to extend an impact it turns out to just be a really bad impact. Although I’m willing to vote on a dropped fairness argument I’m still skeptical that the age old phrase ‘Debate is a game so fairness you broke the rules you lose’ meets the necessary threshold of an argument. If you plan on going for this impact in front of me make sure it is clearly articulated and not the same circular claim without a warrant.
What I think the so called ‘intrinsic’ value of debate is can be loosely understood as clash. The ability for two teams to debate the merits of competing positions seems valuable not only for education but is just plain fun. Not to say that clash is an impact in it of itself because at some level it’s fundamentally inevitable, but it’s a question of what that clash looks like. This should structure how you articulate a framework impact (or answer one for that matter) most likely to get my ballot. If framework is a question of competing models or visions of debate then you just have to prove comparatively that your model produces better debates, skills or education.
The second biggest problem with framework debates is that negative teams let affs get away with too much. If the 2ar gets to stand up and weigh the entirety of the 1ac versus framework it puts you way behind. The easiest way for an affirmative to defeat framework is to complicate and problematize the way they have constructed the world. This means if you win some truth claims about your aff and the way the world operates through your theory or interpretation then it nullifies a lot of their arguments. For example if you read an affirmative that says the global system of capitalism is bad and the 2nr doesn’t answer the case debate, then what do their skills matter if they can only reproduce a system of capital you have critiqued. This, like any good framework rebuttal, requires a lot of framing and contextualizing the line by line through these bigger picture questions.
The best way for negative teams to check back against this is to just reduce the risk of the aff. You can look back up to that whole portion about case debating, it applies to K affs as well. The other necessary piece is a topical version of the aff. Obviously not helpful against an anti-topical aff but in a majority of framework debates a persuasive and nuanced topical version of the aff goes a long way in resolving a lot of their offense. It still requires a larger impact in conjunction because at the end of the day it is still a defensive argument.
Tl;dr don’t waste time, make good arguments, do line by line, debate the case, extend a framework impact, don’t say talks about how.
I debated 2 years at Strath Haven High School (PA) and 4 years at the University of Rochester.
Add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a debater and a coach, I lived pretty exclusively on the policy side of things. I don't think I am a good judge at all for the critique, but this reflects my research interests and my familiarity in judging more than deeply-held beliefs about debate.
I evaluate the round probabilistically -- comparing the risk that each team accesses their impacts, regardless of whether it is a DA, K or T debate. Good defense is often as important as offense in my decisions, but there is very infrequently "zero risk".
I very rarely dealt with theory and (non-framework) topicality as a debater. I think there are very few situations where negatives would be better served by going for topicality instead of a DA/CP strategy in front of me, and vice versa few situations where you are better off going for theory/condo to answer that nasty counterplan instead of just making solvency deficits or putting offense against the net benefits.
Judge kick makes intuitive sense to me and I'm happy to do it for you, but you need to tell me to do it in the 2NR.
Evidence quality is very important to me. I like to read a lot of evidence as the debate is going on NOT because I like to needlessly intervene but because I think that it makes my decisions more informed. You should use this to your favor by (a) reading good evidence and (b) comparing evidence to impact how I view the evidence that has been read. This also means I am hesitant to vote on, for example, disad stories that are contrived and supported mainly by "spin." If you don't have a single card that describes all of your disad story, I'm probably not interested (though I have a bit of a soft spot for the old school PC-style Agenda DA).
This (hopefully) should only apply to high school debates, but I have a very low tolerance for non-substantive, "trolly" arguments in policy rounds---things like ASPEC, frivolous T arguments, one card or backfile critiques, or even very generic impact turns (e.g. spark). My threshold for affs answering these is incredibly low.
My background is in college and high school policy. I judge LD occasionally but am not familiar with the intricacies of circuit LD. If you read plans/DAs, I'll be a good judge for you. If you are a more traditional/old school LD debater, I'll be able to keep up. Otherwise, you probably don't want me judging your LD round.
I don't think I would ever vote on a theory argument in LD. Generic impact framing arguments (e.g. 'the util debate') don't matter much to me.
I'm not going to look at any analytics you email out. I'll only check the document to look at your evidence. If you are going so fast that I don't hear your analytic arguments with my own ears, then those args aren't going to be on my flow. Sorry. Speed is good, but you need to be comprehensible.
IMPACT CALC WINS DEBATE ROUNDS!
Civil rights/LGBTQ+ rights attorney during the week, debate coach by weekend.
Coaching/judging CX for about 15 years now. I do have an international relations background, but not up on all my NATO specific topic lit, so please explain your topic specific jargon.
Tech over truth, insofar as it minimizes my own intervention. But that's not an excuse to throw out a bunch of poorly developed/bad quality args.
In general, it's your debate, not mine. You can choose to follow my preferences on here if you want to, but never limit your ability to debate based on my personal preferences.
I find that case debate is frequently underdeveloped on the high school level. Like, I get you love your K, but you should probably cross apply all that to the S flow please? At the end of the round, I'm basically going to ask myself if the aff is a good idea. As the neg, don't make it harder than it needs to be- tell me why it isn't. As Aff, give me good impact calc and explain why the plan is a good idea, as opposed to just answering off case.
T- I have a very high standard on T, and in general, I'm not going to vote on potential abuse. You need to do more work than that. The standards debate is important and needs to be fleshed out well. Default to reasonability.
Theory- Make it interesting. Super generic theory is lame, and it makes me very sad, especially when you use it to avoid poignant and interesting debate. I really hate rounds that are just people reading blocks at each other instead of actually engaging. That being said, I really appreciate nuanced pre-fiat args, so go for it- tell me all about how fiat is illusory. Tell me all about how policy debate is inherently elitist and how valuing procedural fairness is a bad idea. Or tell me it's a key prereq to structural fairness. Or not. Engage and have critical thought.
Condo is fine, PICS are fine.
I love good K debate. However, you need to truly know and understand your K and articulate it well. Even if I know your cards, I'm not going to interpret them or argue them for you- that's your job. Good analysis always prefer over bad cards. I'll appreciate it if you do a nice job with the alt debate- make me understand the post alt world and flesh out alt solvency. Perf con matters on a reps focused K.
Framework debates are sometimes really frustrating to judge. Chances are, they're going to get to read their K. I'd much rather you spend the time of K proper and impact framing. If the framework debate is what really matters, engage in it with critical thought and clash.
K affs are fine, with some notes. If there's absolutely no potential for clash or when the K aff is just making for really lazy aff debaters, that's sad to me. I think that topic education is important, and I hate when either Aff debaters or neg debaters use the K as a way to bypass properly engaging with the topic lit.
Speed is fine as long as you're clear. I'll tell you if you aren't. I appreciate it if you slow down on your tags, especially super long ones. For the love of all that is holy, if you spread those Lacan tags at me, we will not be friends.
Underviews make everyone sad, me included.
If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc., you will absolutely pay for it in your speaks, and we're gonna have a post-round chat.
A good analytic is always better than a bad card, especially in K debate.
At the end of the day, debate is a game. Have fun and learn stuff.
Please add me to the email chain: email@example.com
Affiliations and History
Director of Debate at Westminster. Debated in college between 2008 and 2012. Actively coaching high school debate since 2008.
I am not the kind of judge who will read every card at the end of the debate. Claims that are highly contested, evidence that is flagged, and other important considerations will of course get my attention. Debaters should do the debating. Quality evidence is still important though. If the opposing team's cards are garbage, it is your responsibility to let that be known. Before reading my preferences about certain arguments, keep in mind that it is in your best interest to do what you do best. My thoughts on arguments are general predispositions and not necessarily absolute.
T – Topicality is important. The affirmative should have a relationship to the topic. How one goes about defending the topic is somewhat open to interpretation. However, my predisposition still leans towards the thought that engaging the topic is a good and productive end. I find myself in Framework debates being persuaded by the team that best articulates why their limit on the topic allows for a season's worth of debate with competitively equitable outcomes for both the aff and the neg.
Disads/Case Debate – While offense is necessary, defense is frequently undervalued. I am willing to assign 0% risk to something if a sufficient defensive argument is made.
Counterplans – Conditionality is generally fine. Functional competition seems more relevant than textual competition. If the affirmative is asked about the specific agent of their plan, they should answer the question. I increasingly think the affirmative allows the negative to get away with questionable uses of negative fiat. Actual solvency advocates and counterplan mechanisms that pass the rational policy option assumption matter to me.
Kritiks – I teach history and economics and I studied public policy and political economy during my doctoral education. This background inherently influences my filter for evaluating K debates. Nonetheless, I do think these are strategic arguments. I evaluate framework in these debates as a sequencing question regarding my resolution of impact claims. Effective permutation debating by the aff is an undervalued strategy.
Theory – A quality theory argument should have a developed warrant/impact. “Reject the argument, not the team” resolves most theory arguments except for conditionality. Clarity benefits both teams when engaging in the substance of theory debates.
(Scale - Adjective - Description)
29.6-30 - The Best - Everything you could ask for as a judge and more. (Top 5 speaker award)
29-29.5 - Very, Very good - Did everything you could expect as a judge very, very well. (Top 10 speaker award)
28.6-28.9 - Very Good - Did very well as a whole, couple moments of brilliance, but not brilliant throughout.
28.3-28.5 - Good - Better than average. Did most things well. Couple moments of brilliance combined with errors.
28-28.2 - OK - Basic skills, abilities, and expectations met. But, some errors along the way. Very little to separate themselves from others. Clearly prepared, just not clearly ahead of others.
Below 28 - OK, but major errors - Tried hard, but lack some basic skills or didn’t pay close enough attention.
- Director of Debate @ Wayne State University
- Program Director of the Detroit Urban Debate League
- BA- Wayne State University
- MA - Wake Forest University
- PHD - University of Pittsburgh
- email chains: wayneCXdocs@gmail.com
- I like debates with a lot of direct clash and impact calculus.
- I am very flow-oriented, and I often vote on based on "tech over truth." In other words, I like debates where teams debate LBL, and exploit the other team's errors and use technical concessions to get ahead strategically.
- I really dislike tag-teaming in CX, especially when the result is that one person dominates all the CXs.
- I don't usually read along in the speech docs during your speeches, because I like to stay true to the flow.
- I would appreciate if you sent me compiled card docs at the end of the round.
Default Voting Paradigm:
- If the aff is net beneficial to the status quo, I default to voting aff unless the negative wins another framework.
- If the neg wins a substantial risk of a DA, which has an external impact that outweighs and turns the case, the affirmative is probably going to lose my ballot. The 1AR can't drop "turns the case" arguments and expect the 2AR to get new answers.
- If the neg wins a substantial risk of the K, which has an external impact and turns the case, the negative still has to win an alternative or a framework argument (to take care of uniqueness), and beat back the perm.
- The perm which includes all the aff and all or part of the CP/Alt is a legitimate test of competition. If the neg proposes a framework to exclude perms, it has to be very well-justified, because I see the role of the neg is to win a DA to the aff as it was presented.
- Severance perms are not a reason to vote aff - if the aff is abandoning ship, this signals to me a neg ballot.
Topicality / Theory:
- I do not default to competing interpretations on framework or topicality. Winning that AFF could've started the round debating within a net-better "competing model" does not fulfill the role of the negative, which is to disprove the desirability of the aff.
- I think topicality is a question of in-round debatability. If you win that the aff was so unpredictable, vast, conditional and/or a moving target, and thus made it implausible for you to win the debate, then I will vote for T as a procedural issue. (A TVA or a net beneficial model is not a substitute for doing the work to prove their model is undebatable).
- Theory is also a question of in-round debatability. If you win that your opponent did something theoretically objectionable, that made it impossible for you to win this debate, I can see myself voting against your opponent. This includes excessive conditional worlds. I want to reiterate here that competing interpretations don't help in theory debates - procedurals are a yes/no question of in-round abuse.
Whitney Young ‘15
University of Kentucky ‘19
Cornell Law '23 and coaching UK
Add me to the email chain- Jacindarivas@gmail.com
My name is Jacinda (Juh-sin-duh) so call me that instead of judge.
I will reward smart teams that can effectively and efficiently communicate their arguments to me. Engaging with your opponent, having a well-thought out strategy, and demonstrating that you’re doing consistent, hard work is what this activity is about.
I'm pretty expressive when I'm judging so I would look up every once in a while to know how I feel about particular arguments.
First things first- Everyone is always so angry and doesn’t want to be in these debates. No one ENJOYS clash debates. Please be nicer. Substance wise, I really do believe that affs should have a tie to the topic and should be in the direction of the topic. I am not the judge for an aff that has a couple cards that say a theory and then pretend to say something about the topic. I also believe that debate is an inherently good activity so indicting the entirety of the activity we participate in is not great for me. I think this matters a lot for the way some teams answer framework so be cognizant of this. The only thing that my ballot decides is the winner.
Links should be causal, specific and about the plan. They NEED to be contextualized to what the aff actually did. I have too often judged debates where a team presents a theory of the world but have not explained what the aff has done to implicate that. Explanation is key. That applies to all Ks cause if you are just spitting jargon at me and the other team, you aren’t gonna have a good time. I am not persuaded by arguments that the aff just doesn’t get fiat.
Love them. Obviously better the more specific to the aff they are
I default to judge kick unless expressly informed not to
There can be zero risk of a DA
Conditionality is good.
You can insert a re-highlighting of a card- you shouldn’t have to waste time re-reading a card if they suck at research
Impact turn debates are some of my favorite
Ethics violations (ex. Clipping, a card being cut in the middle of the paragraph, etc.) should just have the debate staked on it. It is a bad form of education and should be rejected. No point in drawing it out.
Further questions- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Debate how you want. I'll judge too the best of my ability. I'm familiar with most any K argument (most familiar with Deluze, Queer Theory, Anti-blackness, Semiotics, Affect Theory) - I run them on the AFF and NEG. I cut quite a lot of politics updates for my teams and on occasion a tricky PIC. I think debate is not only a game but it also has many social implications. I coach for the Asian Debate League - I've coached for Blue Valley North, Debate Kansas-City, and Barstow. I currently debate for the University of Missouri-Kansas City where i'm a senior. Debate, have fun, and make sure i'm on the email chain "email@example.com"
Marist, Atlanta, GA (2015-2019, 2020-Present)
Pace Academy, Atlanta GA (2019-2020)
Stratford Academy, Macon GA (2008-2015)
Michigan State University (2004-2008)
Please use email chains. Please add me- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short version- You need to read and defend a plan in front of me. I value clarity (in both a strategic and vocal sense) and strategy. A good strategic aff or neg strat will always win out over something haphazardly put together. Impact your arguments, impact them against your opponents arguments (This is just as true with a critical strategy as it is with a DA, CP, Case Strategy). I like to read evidence during the debate. I usually make decisions pretty quickly. Typically I can see the nexus question of the debate clearly by the 2nr/2ar and when (if) its resolved, its resolved. Don't take it personally.
Case Debate- I like specific case debate. Shows you put in the hard work it takes to research and defeat the aff. I will reward hard work if there is solid Internal link debating. I think case specific disads are also pretty good if well thought out and executed. I like impact turn debates. Cleanly executed ones will usually result in a neg ballot -- messy debates, however, will not.
Disads- Defense and offense should be present, especially in a link turn/impact turn debate. You will only win an impact turn debate if you first have defense against their original disad impacts. I'm willing to vote on defense (at least assign a relatively low probability to a DA in the presence of compelling aff defense). Defense wins championships. Impact calc is important. I think this is a debate that should start early (2ac) and shouldn't end until the debate is over. I don't think the U necessarily controls the direction of the link, but can be persuaded it does if told and explained why that true.
K's- Im better for the K now than i have been in years past. That being said, Im better for security/international relations/neolib based ks than i am for race, gender, psycho, baudrillard etc . I tend to find specific Ks (ie specific to the aff's mechanism/advantages etc) the most appealing. If you're going for a K-- 1) please don't expect me to know weird or specific ultra critical jargon... b/c i probably wont. 2) Cheat- I vote on K tricks all the time (aff don't make me do this). 3) Make the link debate as specific as possible and pull examples straight from the aff's evidence and the debate in general 4) I totally geek out for well explained historical examples that prove your link/impact args. I think getting to weigh the aff is a god given right. Role of the ballot should be a question that gets debated out. What does the ballot mean with in your framework. These debates should NOT be happening in the 2NR/2AR-- they should start as early as possible. I think debates about competing methods are fine. I think floating pics are also fine (unless told otherwise). I think epistemology debates are interesting. K debates need some discussion of an impact-- i do not know what it means to say..."the ZERO POINT OF THE Holocaust." I think having an external impact is also good - turning the case alone, or making their impacts inevitable isn't enough. There also needs to be some articulation of what the alternative does... voting neg doesn't mean that your links go away. I will vote on the perm if its articulated well and if its a reason why plan plus alt would overcome any of the link questions. Link defense needs to accompany these debates.
K affs are fine- you have to have a plan. You should defend that plan. Affs who don't will prob lose to framework. A alot.... and with that we come to:
If not defending a plan is your thing, I'm not your judge. I think topical plans are good. I think the aff needs to read a topical plan and defend the action of that topical plan. I don't think using the USFG is an endorsement of its racist, sexist, homophobic or ableist ways. I think affs who debate this way tend to leave zero ground for the negative to engage which defeats the entire point of the activity. I am persuaded by T/Framework in these scenarios. I also think if you've made the good faith effort to engage, then you should be rewarded. These arguments make a little more sense on the negative but I am not compelled by arguments that claim: "you didn't talk about it, so you should lose."
CPs- Defending the SQ is a bold strat. Multiple conditional (or dispo/uncondish) CPs are also fine. Condo is probably good, but i can be persuaded otherwise. Consult away- its arbitrary to hate them in light of the fact that everything else is fine. I lean neg on CP theory. Aff's make sure you perm the CP (and all its planks). Im willing to judge kick the CP for you. If i determine that the CP is not competitive, or that its a worse option - the CP will go away and you'll be left with whatever is left (NBs or Solvency turns etc). This is only true if the AFF says nothing to the contrary. (ie. The aff has to tell me NOT to kick the CP - and win that issue in the debate). I WILL NOT VOTE ON NO NEG FIAT. That argument makes me mad. Of course the neg gets fiat. Don't be absurd.
T- I default to offense/defense type framework, but can be persuaded otherwise. Impact your reasons why I should vote neg. You need to have unique offense on T. K's of T are stupid. I think the aff has to run a topical aff, and K-ing that logic is ridiculous. T isn't racist. RVIs are never ever compelling.... ever.
Theory- I tend to lean neg on theory. Condo- Good. More than two then the aff might have a case to make as to why its bad - i've voted aff on Condo, I've voted neg on condo. Its a debate to be had. Any other theory argument I think is categorically a reason to reject the argument and not the team. I can't figure out a reason why if the aff wins international fiat is bad that means the neg loses - i just think that means the CP goes away.
Remember!!! All of this is just a guide for how you chose your args in round. I will vote on most args if they are argued well and have some sort of an impact. Evidence comparison is also good in my book-- its not done enough and i think its one of the most valuable ways to create an ethos of control with in the debate. Perception is everything, especially if you control the spin of the debate. I will read evidence if i need to-- don't volunteer it and don't give me more than i ask for. I love fun debates, i like people who are nice, i like people who are funny... i will reward you with good points if you are both. Be nice to your partner and your opponents. No need to be a jerk for no reason
-- You should speak more slowly. You will debate better. I will understand your argument better. Judges who understand your argument with more clarity than your opponent's argument are likely to side with you.
-- You can't clip cards. This too is non-negotiable. If I catch it, I'll happily ring you up and spend the next hour of my life reading Cracked. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. Burden of Proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction.
-- If I can't understand your argument -- either due to your lack of clarity or your argument's lack of coherence, I will not vote for it. The latter is often the downfall of most negative critiques.
-- One conditional advocacy + the squo is almost always safe. Two + the squo is usually safe. Any more and you're playing with fire.
-- I like to reward debaters who work hard, and I will work hard not to miss anything if I'm judging your debate. But I'm also a human being who is almost always tired because I have spent the last 12 years coaching debate...so if you seem like you don't care about the debate at hand, I am unlikely to try harder than you did.
- Anything else? Just ask....
Director of Debate @ GDS (the actual GDS, not the camp, not the affinity group, not the cultural phenomenon...well, maybe the cultural phenomenon...)
(Relevant) Background: Debated in HS (program doesn't exist any more) and college (Emory); coached at Emory, West GA, USC, New Trier, Kentucky, and GDS; taught around 75 labs (including, but not limited to the Kentucky Fellows, SNFI Swing Lab, Berkeley Mentors, Antilab, and the forthcoming Quantum Lab). This is what i do - i teach, coach, and judge debate(s). This is both good and bad for you.
This is Good for You: One could say that i have been around, as it were. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i got you. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i won't freak out.
This is Bad for You: This ain't my first rodeo. If you want to do something that people do in debates, i have seen it done better and worse. If you want to do something that people don't do in debates, i probably remember the last time that somebody did it in a debate.
Are You For Real? Yah, mostly...i just don't think judging philosophies are all that helpful - any judge that is doing their job is going to suspend disbelief to as great an extent as possible and receive the debate in as much good faith as they can muster...but almost nobody is upfront enough about what that extent looks like.
Well, that's not especially helpful right now. OK, you make a strong point, imaginary interlocutor. Here are a few things that may actually help:
1 - Flow the Debate - I flow the debate. On paper. To a fault. If you do not take this into account, no matter how or what you debate, things are going to go badly for you. Connecting arguments - what used to be called the line-by-line - is essential unless you want me to put the debate together myself out of a giant pile of micro-arguments. You Do Not Want This. "Embedded clash" is an adorable concept and even can be occasionally helpful WHEN YOU ARE MANAGING THE REST OF THE FLOW WITH PRECISION. There is no such thing as "cloud clash."
2 - Do What You are Going to Do - My job isn't to police your argument choices, per se; rather, it is to evaluate the debate. If debaters could only make arguments that i agreed with, there would not be much reason to have these rounds.
3 - If you are mean to your opponents, it is going to cause me to have sympathy/empathy for them. This is not an ideological position so much as an organic reaction on my part.
4 - "K teams," "identity teams," and non-traditional/performance teams pref me more than policy teams - Make of that what you will.
5 - Stop calling certain strategic choices "cheating" - This is one of the few things that just sends my blood pressure through the roof...i know you like to be edgy and i respect your desire to represent yourself as having no ethical commitments, but this is one of the worst developments in the way people talk and think about debate since the advent of paperlessness (which is essentially The Fall in my debate cosmology). Reading an AFF with no plan is not cheating; reading five conditional CPs in the 2NC is not cheating; consult NATO is not cheating. Clipping cards is cheating; fabricating evidence is cheating, consulting your coach in the middle of the debate is cheating. An accusation of an ethics violation (i.e., cheating) means that the debate stops and the team that is correct about the accusation wins the debate while the team that is wrong loses and gets zeroes. This is not negotiable. Ethics violations are not debate arguments, they do not take the form of an off-case or a new page and they are not comparable to anything else in the debate.
Also - just ask.
Please email me your speech documents. I have judged over a 1000 HS and College Debates over the last 18 years. I am a lawyer and lectured this past summer on this year's HS topic at Institutes for the NY UDL and the DC UDL Coaches Workshop and at Summer Institutes at the University of Michigan, Gonzaga, Georgetown and Harvard.
If you run a K, and actually have an ALT that can be proven to SOLVE a problem - - - any problem - - - it would be the first one I have heard that does solve a problem in 18 years of judging debates and then you might get my ballot, but probably not depending on how well the AFF does. If you are AFF and have a Plan that SOLVES a problem without creating more or larger problems - - - you might well get my ballot, depending on how well you debate during the round.
I listen to arguments, favor clash to determine who does the better job of debating, and no matter the chosen framing or style of either or both teams, I judge the debate based on what is said during the DEBATE by the Debaters.
I began high school judging in 1973.
I started judging college debate in 1976.
Between 1977 and 2002, I took a vacation from debate to practice law and raise a family.
Since 2002, I have judged between 40 and 80 Rounds a year in High School and had brief stints judging college and professional debate while "coaching" for the University of Redlands, my alma mater, in, I believe, 2010.
You can debate your own stuff, but I am not a theory fan.
I believe I have voted NEG on topicality four times in 18 years, twice in non-traditional AFF debates and once at the Kentucky RR when I thought the AFF made a mistake and I also thought the NEG made them pay, although a very competent and distinguished judge who was also judging the same round felt differently. So, even in the one traditional debate round where I voted NEG on T, I was probably wrong. I believe in AFF creativity, reasonability which guarantees predictability.
BUT (and and this is a CAPITAL BUT) I like/strongly prefer substantive debates ABOUT the topic area, so long as the Plan is a reasonable illustration of the Resolution.
People who listen and answer arguments well get great speaker points. People who are nice and friendly and not jerks also like their speaker points.
I have had teams run K's and all kinds, types and nature of CP's. The PERM Debate really makes a difference in a K and CP Round. I am not the most philosophically literate humyn being on the planet, so please explain your esoteric K and your even more esoteric K responses.
Cross-Examination is IMPORTANT, so please ask questions, get answers and ask more questions. When responding, please listen to the question that is asked and ANSWER it. No need to fight or argue. Ask questions, Get Answers, move on.
For the clash of civilization people who want to know more about my feelings and leanings, perhaps the best information I can give you is that I listened to a recording of the final round of the 2013 NDT and would have voted for Northwestern had I been judging. The framework debate in my mind flowed Negative.
I enjoy DISADS and case debates. I am particularly fond of hidden Case Turns that become huge Disads.
I know how hard you work and will attempt to work just as hard to get things right.
JD 2020 - Washington University School of Law
spring.sarah at gmail.com
Previously coached at: University of Houston Iowa, Miami (Ohio), Wake Forest.
The following paradigm is likely still applicable, but may be a bit out of date -- I've only judged very sporadically in law school.
Old version of my paradigm is here - along with judging history
As of the beginning of 2018 - I have judged (according to Debateresults + tabroom):
518 - College Debates (not counting intermittent high school judging)
I have voted AFF in 248 of those debates (48.8%)
I have voted NEG in 270 of those debates (52.1%)
First rule of judging - judging is subjective.
Second rule of judging - get over it.
Judge philosophies are in fact an attempt to compensate for this inevitably subjective activity. We try to minimize personal opinions, but in the end who you vote for is more than often related to how you feel and the style of the debaters as much as it is about any particular argument. You have to convince the judge (me) to vote for you. This is as subjective as really any other activity.
T - A paradox - I am a bad judge for T. I love T debates.
Competing interpretations doesn't make much sense to me because the aff can't win on T. Reasonability is largely good (I am not a good judge for trivial interpretations like "and/or means both") - see above re: subjectivity. Reasonability is also a good answer to most affirmative theory complaints.
Legal topics are ideal for T debates, given that the law is all about definition. I find these questions interesting, but in order to win on T with me as a judge, you typically need to have insightful argument and some decent evidence about the educational harm (and not just to negative ground) of the affirmative's interpretation. These arguments, of course, can take many forms, but be careful.
I think T is an important check against non-topical affs, you have to read a plan and defend the federal government and your plan, reading the resolutions does not seem to be enough. Switch-side debate is a good thing.
Framework/Non-plan Topicality arguments -
Framework debates are not fun. I judge them a lot. I think that these debates have both gotten stale and also very detached from the actual arguments at hand. Both sides would do well to connect their arguments to the actual positions relevant to their debate. My previous statements about reasonability tend to apply in these questions as well. A small advantage to an very limiting interpretation is often not enough for me to justify a ballot.
My suggestion is to try to have a good interpretation that takes the middle ground, this will make me much more sympathetic and open to listening to your arguments. A violation is often overlooked by both sides, but is often where the crux of the decision lies - don't neglect this (or the "we meet").
I think in general most aff theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument not the team. That means theory is rarely rarely a voting issue for me.
I think conditionality is a good and necessary thing. Dispositionality is not a thing. I am open to kicking CPs on my own (without the encouragement of the negative) - I do indeed possess that power.
PICS (or whatever)
Not a reason to reject the team, only the position, in these cases if the CP goes away the aff would still win.
International agent fiat
In some cases, may be a legitimate test of the necessity of USFG action.
50 State Fiat
Consultation/Conditions Not a fan (but see above, reject the argument, not the team) Disads –
Politics DAs are my favorite.
I won’t vote on 1% risk.
Magnitude and probability are far more important than timeframe.
"DA turns the case" by itself is not a full argument.
Also "DA turns the case" is often wrong, the DA impact must complicate the aff's ability to solve or access the internal link to the impact, not just be the same impact. The aff should point this out.
Don't read a bunch of new impacts in the block unless you've got a real reason to do so. Most teams won't have a reason beyond, we didn't feel like answering their arguments.
I think debate should be more in depth debating of the specifics of an aff, I will reward hard work and understanding on the topic, which is often demonstrated in good case debating. The more specific your strategy is, the better.
Reading impact defense to all of their impacts does not count as a case debate (maybe necessary, but certainly not sufficient).
There are rules for debating the case - http://goo.gl/FliJY
The treaties topic was awesome because of case debates.
Most are good. I really like a smart advantage CP. Consult CPs and Condition CPs are cheating. How much cheating? It depends. See above on theory.
Critiques are often times strategic and I also think can be won very easily because the aff doesn’t attack the argument at its weaknesses. Weakness include, the alternative, the links to the aff (and not to the law, society, etc), other stuff. I often end up voting for Ks when the aff fails to contest these issues.
Framework arguments are usually underdeveloped on off-case Ks, this makes me not vote on these arguments.
Like any other argument, it has to be well explained. I also have an inherent distaste for generic backfile Ks (or consult CPs or Framework ....) that you have resurrected year after year because you were too lazy to do any work. I like debating new topics, don’t just cut one new Zizek book and consider your work done.
As a former academic, I think I know a bit about critical theory and so forth -as a rhetorician there are things I like by trade - critiques of rhetoric, language and discourse, well executed understandings of theory, that is to say criticism of actual instances of things that are objectionable. Things that I don't like (or understand very well) include vague psychoanalytic theory (ie Zizek) or rabbit-holes of very complicated post-structuralism - the event of the non-part or something.
I don’t like reading a lot of cards after the debate, although I know I will at times. I'll probably skim a lot of cards and read some carefully.
I will also probably be open to getting emailed your evidence during the debate, but won't really want to look at it until the end of the debate. Maybe during CX or prep to figure out something I missed. Maybe. I do think it is incumbent on the teams in the debate to communicate to the judge verbally, not via email.
If I have to reconstruct the debate I might not see it like you think it happened. The final speeches MUST do this for me.
I've taken to answering some questions in CX, particularly informative questions, especially if I think an answer might be confusing. How many perms? I'll answer. If you are just wrong about something, I might say something.
I'm very emotive during debates, you should look up and see if I'm scowling or nodding, this can be a clue (to what? I don't know, but to something).
Underviews are the worst thing ever.
I also think the 1NR should not be used to make new arguments. It is a rebuttal not a constructive.
I will punish with low speaker points for the following problems: lack of clarity, rudeness, or inappropriate language (these issues could also result in a loss).
I think clipping is bad, though I'm not sure what the threshold is to warrant a ballot. These questions stop the debate. If you are making an accusation of cheating, I will decide the debate on that question. You need to be fairly certain to make this kind of claim, so be ready to explain.
For TOC 2021: I have only judged one debate on this topic, at Greenhill, so I am a free strike. FREE STRIKE.
I am relatively unfamiliar with the details of the files and cards, so if I do judge you, don't assume I know things that are obvious to people who have judged more.
Director of Debate at Westminster, former lawyer, college debater before that -- but slow it down some if you want your arguments to make it to my flow, which is usually on paper.
It is unlikely that I can flow the tiny details of your pre-written blocks.
I definitely do not know the details of your politics DA or answers - please understand that I am evaluating your DA and answers based on what you say about it in the round.
I don't know the nuances of any T arguments, but I am a former lawyer so I understand some from background knowledge.
Don't assume, and explain well.
Put me on the email chain at email@example.com
1) Make your speeches flowable. I will not be able to flow (and likely will not catch) all the details if you are reading pre-written blocks at top speed with no breaks or changes in inflection. If you're going to read blocks, try to at least pretend you're not reading blocks by having breaks between arguments, emphasizing tags, slowing it down a little on analytics, etc. You are also a lot more likely to hold my attention to details and help me not miss stuff that way. I will reward your speaker points if you do a good job of this.
You would be shocked at how many "good" judges think the same thing about block-reading and the above advice, and how little some judges are flowing, or even catching, of what you think you said.
2) I disagree with approaches that make the personal identity of the debaters in the round relevant to the decision in the debate, especially for high-school-aged students, and I am also not a good judge for these debates because I often do not understand what the judge is being asked to vote for. This does not mean you can't read K arguments or arguments about race or identity, in fact there are many K arguments that I think are true and make a lot of sense, I just don't think a teacher should in the position of ratifying or rejecting the personal identity or experiences of a teenager.
3) "Death good" is a reason to reject the team, and I may auto-vote that way even if the opponent doesn't make the argument.
4) There needs to be a fair stasis point in order to have good debates. Debate is good.
5) Theory: You are really taking your chances if you rely on a sketchy CP that requires winning a lot of theory, because I do not spend a lot of time outside of debate rounds thinking about theory. I can't tell you which way I will come down on a particular theory issue because it usually depends on what is said -- and what I flow -- in that particular round. This applies to T debates and other theory debates too.
6) If it is pretty close between the CP and the aff (or even if it isn't close), you need to give some really clear comparative explanations about why I should choose one over the other -- which you should do for any judge but make sure you do it when I'm judging.
7) I really dislike high theory and post-modernism in debate.
8) Reading cards to decide the debate: For many years I tried to judge without looking at the speech documents during the speeches, but I have recently concluded that is unrealistic because there is an entire additional level of the debate that is happening between the debaters in the speech documents. I don't think it should be that way, but I understand why it is happening. However, if the claims made about a card or set of cards are uncontested by the opponent, I am likely to assume when deciding the debate that the cards say what their reader claimed they say rather than reading both sides' cards or any of the cards.
9) I am not at all deep in the files and evidence especially for most neg arguments, so I am really judging the debate based on what you say and what your cards say as you present them in the round.
9) Links and impact calculus are really, really important, especially in the last rebuttals. However, I think lengthy pre-written overviews are not as good as 2NR/2AR (and prior) explanations based on what actually happened in the particular debate.
If you are starting an email chain for the debate, I would like to be included on it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debate should be centered on the hypothetical world where the United States federal government takes action. I default to a utilitarian calculus and view arguments in an offense/defense paradigm.
Most topicality debates come down to limits. This means it would be in your best interest to explain the world of your interpretation—what AFFs are topical, what negative arguments are available, etc—and compare this with your opponent’s interpretation. Topicality debates become very messy very fast, which means it is extremely important to provide a clear reasoning for why I should vote for you at the top of the 2NR/2AR.
Conditionality is good. I default to rejecting the argument and not the team, unless told otherwise. Counterplans that result in plan action are questionably competitive. In a world where the 2NR goes for the counterplan, I will not evaluate the status quo unless told to by the negative. The norm is for theory debates to be shallow, which means you should slow down and provide specific examples of abuse if you want to make this a viable option in the rebuttals. The trend towards multi-plank counterplans has hurt clarity of what CPs do to solve the AFF. I think clarity in the 1NC on the counterplan text and a portion of the negative block on the utility of each plank would resolve this. I am also convinced the AFF should be allowed to answer some planks in the 1AR if the 1NC is unintelligible on the text.
I am willing to vote on a zero percent risk of a link. Vice versa, I am also willing to vote negative on presumption on case if you cannot defend your affirmative leads to more change than the status quo. Issue specific uniqueness is more important than a laundry list of thumpers. Rebuttals should include impact comparison, which decreases the amount of intervention that I need to do at the end of the debate.
I am not familiar with the literature, or terminology, for most criticisms. If reading a criticism is your main offensive argument on the negative, this means you’ll need to explain more clearly how your particular criticism implicates the affirmative’s impacts. For impact framing, this means explaining how the impacts of the criticism (whether it entails a VTL claim, epistemology, etc.) outweigh or come before the affirmative. The best debaters are able to draw links from affirmative evidence and use empirical examples to show how the affirmative is flawed. Role of the ballot/judge arguments are self-serving and unpersuasive.
In my eight years as a debater, I ran a policy affirmative and primarily went for framework against performance AFFs. The flow during performance debates usually gets destroyed at some point during the 2AC/block. Debaters should take the time to provide organizational cues [impact debate here, fairness debate here, accessibility debate here, etc.] in order to make your argument more persuasive. My lack of experience and knowledge with/on the literature base is important. I will not often place arguments for you across multiple flows, and have often not treated an argument as a global framing argument [unless explicitly told]. Impact framing and clear analysis help alleviate this barrier. At the end of the debate, I should know how the affirmative's advocacy operates, the impact I am voting for, and how that impact operates against the NEG.
I am not the fastest flow and rely heavily on short hand in order to catch up. I am better on debates I am more familiar with because my short hand is better. Either way, debaters should provide organizational cues (i.e. group the link debate, I’ll explain that here). Cues like that give me flow time to better understand the debate and understand your arguments in relation to the rest of the debate.
Prep time continues until the jump drive is out of the computer / the email has been sent to the email chain. This won't affect speaker points, however, it does prolong the round and eliminate time that I have to evaluate the round.
I am not a fan of insert our re-highlighting of the evidence. Either make the point in a CX and bring it up in a rebuttal or actually read the new re-highlighting to make your argument.
The debaters that get the best speaker points in front of me are the ones that write my ballot for me in the 2NR/2AR and shape in their speeches how I should evaluate arguments and evidence.
Depth > Breadth
Terrell Tayloradd me to doc chains: terrell taylor at gmail dot com. No punctuation, no space, no frills.
Debated at Mary Washington from 2007-2011
Debate is an intellectual activity where two positions are weighed against each other. A part of this is making clear what your position is (plan, cp, alt, advocacy, status quo etc.) and how it measures up against the other team’s position. Arguments consist of a claim (the point you want to make), warrant (a reason to believe it), and an impact (reason why it matters/way it functions within the debate). Evidence is useful when trying to provide warrants, but is ultimately not necessary for me to evaluate an argument. Debates get competitive and heated, but staying polite and friendly and remembering that the name of the game is fun at the end of the day makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Disads/Case and Advantages
These arguments should be stressed in terms of a coherent story of what the world looks like in terms of the status quo, affirmative plan or alternative option. These positions should be attacked from a variety points including the link and internal link chain, impact and uniqueness level. When it comes to link turning, my default thought is that uniqueness determines the direction; if you have an alternative understanding that is particular to a scenario, be sure to explain why it is that the direction of the link should be emphasized or what have you. Impacts should be compared not only in terms of timeframe, probability and magnitude, but in terms of how these issues interact in a world where both impact scenarios take places (the popular "even if.." phrase comes to mind here). Also, keep in mind that I have not kept up with the trends in disads and such within the topic, so explaining specifics, acronyms and otherwise is useful for me. I prefer hearing case specific scenarios as opposed to generic politics and similar positions. This does not mean I will not vote for it or will dock your speaker points, just a preference.
Counterplans and Counterplan Theory
Counterplans should be functionally competitive; textual competition doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me (see later section on theory). I think that perms can be advocated, but am more than willing to hear reasons why they shouldn’t be and why that is a bad way to frame debates. When it comes to agent counterplans, I tend to think that topic specific education should trump generic presidential powers or judicial independence debates. Consult and condition cps just make the logician inside my head painfully confused (not sure why a reason to talk to X country is also a reason why the plan is bad). International fiat is suspect to me, and I tend to think that limiting the discussion to US policy (including its international relevance) is a good thing.
All of this being said, I am open to voting for any of the above arguments. These are merely my general theoretical leanings, and I will certainly flow, listen to, and evaluate arguments from the other side.
I haven’t seen many debates on this topic, so if a debate comes down to T, don’t be surprised if you see me googling to find the resolution to check the words. In general I think Topicality is important for two reasons. One is the general reason that most people think it’s good, being that we need to be prepared/have set limits and parameters for debate. The second is that I think each year presents an opportunity to gain in depth education on an issue, even if it's not a policy perspective of that issue. I feel that competing interpretations is generally the default for T, but I am open to defenses of reasonability and in fact, think that there are cases where this is the best means of evaluation. Standards should be impacted in terms of education and fairness, and the debate should come down to the best internal links between the standards and these terminal values. If you are the type to critique T, your critique needs to come down to these terms (education and fairness). RVIs don’t make sense to me. If you want to take the challenge of trying to make one make sense, be my guest, but it’s an uphill battle.
As mentioned, I am not wedded to any particular frame or “rulebook” for debate. Part of the beauty of debate to me is that debaters get to be both the players and referee. As such, I enjoy theory and think that such discussions can be fruitful. The flipside to this is that most theory debates devolve into tagline debating, shallow and repetitive arguments, and a race to see who can spit their block the fastest. These debates are 1) hard to flow and 2) not really a test or display of your ability so much as a test of your team’s theory block writer. I reward argumentation that is clear, comprehensible and complete in terms of theory debates, and urge debaters to these opportunities seriously.
I’ve laid out most of my theoretical dispositions in the counterplan section. Conditionality to me is like siracha sauce: a little bit heats up the debate, too much ruins it. I don’t know why three or four counterplans or alternatives along with the status quo is key to negative flex or good debating (one is good, two is ok). Also, if you want to use a status other than conditional or unconditional, (like the imaginary “dispo”) you should be ready to explain what that means. Again, I think that it is okay to advocate permutations as positions in the debate.
In terms of alternate frameworks for the debate (i.e. anything other than policy making) I’m honest when I say I’m not extraordinarily experienced in these areas as I’d like to be. I’ve seen a decent few of these debates and think that they provide some nuance to an otherwise stale activity. That being said (and this is true for all theory positions) you should try and weigh the educational and competitive equity benefits of your position versus the other teams proposed framework the debate. I debated for a squad that saw framework as a strategic and straightforward approach to most alternative forms of debate, so those arguments make sense to me. On the other hand, especially when it comes to arguments concerning structural issues in society/debate, if argued well, and with relevance to the topic in some way, I am willing to listen and evaluate.
Critical arguments (Kritiks/K-affs)
Much of what I just said applies here as well. I had the most success/felt most comfortable debating with these types of arguments as a debater (I did, however, spend most of my career debating with “straight-up” affs and disads that claimed nuclear war advantages). I studied English and Philosophy in undergrad and am pursuing a MA in English with a focus on critical theory, so there’s a decent chance that my interests and background might lean more towards a topic oriented critique than a politics Da.
I will avoid following the trend of listing the genres of critiques and critical literature with which I am familiar with the belief that it shouldn't matter. Running critiques shouldn't be about maintaining a secret club of people who "get it" (which often in debates, is construed to be a club consisting of the critique friendly judge and the team running the argument, often excluding the other team for not being "savy"). In other words, Whether I've read a great deal of the authors in your critique or not, should not give you the green light to skimp on the explanation and analysis of the critique. These debates are often about making the connections between what the authors and literature are saying and the position of the other team, and hence put a great burden on the debater to elucidate those connections. A shared appreciation or research interest between a team and a judge does not absolve you of that burden, in my opinion.
I agree with many recent top tier collegiate debaters (Kevin Kallmyer, Gabe Murillo, etc.) that the difference between policy and critical arguments is overstated. An important piece of reading critical arguments with me in the back of the room is explaining what your arguments mean within the context of the aff/da. If you read a no value to life impact, what about the affs framing makes it so that the people involved see their lives differently; if the critiqued impact is a merely constructed threat, reveal to me the holes in the construction and explain how the construction came to be. Doing that level of analysis (with any argument, critical or policy) is crucial in terms of weighing and relating your arguments to the other teams, and engaging in a form of education that is actually worthwhile. This probably entails removing your hypergeneric topic link and replacing with analysis as to the links that are within the evidence (and therefore, the assumptions, rhetoric, methodology, so and so forth) of your opponents. In terms of vague alts and framework, I have mixed feelings. The utopian fiat involved in most alts is probably abusive, but there is something to be said for making the claim that these arguments are vital to thorough education. On the framework question, gateway issue is probably a poor way to go. I don’t understand why the fact that your K has an impact means that you get to suck up the entire debate on this one issue. Instead, a framing that opens the door to multiple ways of critiquing and evaluating arguments (both on the aff and the neg, or in other words, doesn’t hold the aff as a punching bag) is preferable.
I didn’t do a whole lot of handling with this genre of argument, but have debated semi-frequently and enjoy the critical aspects of these arguments. I think that there is a difference between the type of critical debater that reads a couple of disads along with a K and case args, and a team that reads a indictment of the topic or reads narratives for nine minutes. If you read a poem, sing, recite a story or anything of that nature, I will be more interested in observing your performance than trying to flow or dictate it on my flow (my reasoning for this is that, unlike a speech organized for the purpose of tracking argument development and responses, I don't think flowing a poem or song really generates an understanding of the performance). More importantly, framing should be a priority; give me a reason why I should look at the debate through a certain lens, and explain why given that framing you have done something either worth affirming your advocacy. I think that these types of debates, especially if related to the topic, can be fruitful and worthwhile. Performance affirmatives should try to find some in road to the topic. If your argument is pervasive and deep enough to talk about, I generally think it probably has a systemic implication for the resolution in some way, even if that doesn’t manifest as a topical plan or even agreeing with the resolution.
For teams going against performance strategies, Framework based arguments are options in front of me. A good way to frame this argument is in terms of what is the best method to produce debates that create the most useful form of education, as opposed to just reading it like a procedural argument. I do think it is important to engage the substantive portion of their arguments as well, (there are always multiple dimensions to arguments of these forms) even if it happens to be a critical objection to their performance or method. Many policy based strategies often want to avoid having to engage with the details involved, and in doing so often fail to rigorously challenge the arguments made in the debate.
Good luck, and have fun. I spent a great deal of my debate career stressing out and losing sleep, instead of experiencing the challenge and fun of the activity; Enjoy your time in the activity above everything else.
Debated 4 years at Weber State University (2013-2017)
Four time NDT Qualifier, 2017 NDT Octa-Finalist, 2015 CEDA Quater-Finalist
Currently a Graduate Assistant at James Madison University
I believe debate is for the debaters, I am happy to listen to whatever your argument is and will do my best to adapt to you so you don’t have to change the way you debate. I would much rather you do what you are comfortable with than read an argument just because you think it is something I would prefer to hear. I debated for 8 years and have read and coached all different kinds of arguments, so you should feel comfortable doing whatever you want in front of me. Everything else I’m going to say is just my preference about debate arguments and doesn’t mean that my mind can’t be changed. The last thing I'll say here is the most important thing for me in debates is that you defend your arguments. You can read almost anything in front of me as long as you can defend it. I decide the debates based off of what is on my flow, and nothing else.
Critical Affirmatives – I believe affirmatives should have a relation to the resolution, but I think there are many different interpretations as to what that can mean. To get my ballot with a non-traditional affirmative you must justify why your discussion/performance is a better one for us to have than talking about the resolution or why the resolution is bad. I am sympathetic to arguments that the negative needs to be able to engage the affirmative on some level, and I don't think that "they could read the cap K" is good ground. Counter interpretations are important on framework and will help me frame your impact turns. To win your impact turns to any argument I think the affirmative should have some mechanism to be able to solve them. Overall, I think it is important for any affirmative to actually solve for something, having a clear explanation starting from the 1AC of how you do that is important, and that explanation should stay consistent throughout the debate.
Framework – I think negative framework arguments against critical affirmatives are strategic and love to listen to thought out arguments about why the resolution is an important form of education. Fairness and ground are also impacts I will vote on and I perceive them as being important claims to win the theory of your argument. I am easily compelled that the negative loses ground when a non-topical affirmative is read, and having a list of what that ground is and why it is important is helpful when evaluating that debate. Even if you don't have cards about the affirmative it is important that you are framing your arguments and impacts in the context of the affirmative. If your FW 2NC has no mention of the affirmative that will be a problem for you. I view topical versions of the affirmative and switch side arguments as an important aspect to win this debate.
Kritiks – As I reached the end of my debate career this is the form of debate I mostly participated in which means I will have a basic understanding of your arguments. My research was more in structural critiques, especially feminism. I have dappled in many other areas of philosophy, but I wouldn’t assume that I know a lot about your Baudrillard K, so if that is your thing explanation is important. If you have an alternative, it is important for you to explain how the alternative functions and resolves your link arguments. I would prefer links specific to the affirmative over generic links. I am not a huge fan of links of omission. You will do better in front of me if you actually explain these arguments rather than reading your generic blocks full speed at me. In method v method debates I think you need to have a clear explanation of how you would like competition to function, the sentence "no permutations in a method debate" doesn't make sense and I think you need to have more warrants to why the permutation cannot function or wouldn't solve.
For affirmatives answering critiques, I believe that impact turns are highly useful in these debates and are generally underutilized by debaters. I don't think permutations need to have net benefits, but view them as just a test of competition. However just saying extend "perm do both" isn't an acceptable extension in the 1AR and 2AR, you should explain how it can shield the links. As for reading framework on the aff against a critique, it will be very hard for you to convince me that a negative team doesn’t get the critique at all, but you can easily win that you should be able to weigh the impacts of the 1AC.
Counterplans – Please slow down on the text of the CP, especially if it is extremely long. I am fine with anything as long as you can defend it and it has a clear net benefit. If I can't explain in my RFD how the counterplan solves majority of the affirmative or its net benefit then i'm probably not going to vote for it, so start the explanation in the block.
Disadvantages – I enjoy a good disad and case debate with lots of comparison and explanation. I would much rather that you explain your arguments instead of reading a bunch of cards and expecting me to fill in the holes by reading all of that evidence, because I probably won’t.
Topicality - I really don't have a strong opinion about what it is and isn't topical and think it is up to you to explain to me why a particular aff makes the topic worse or better. I tend to have a pretty low standard of what it means to be reasonably topical.
Theory - I generally think conditionality is good. Other than that I really don't care what you do just be able to defend your arguments.
Finally, as I becoming older and more grumpy I am getting increasingly annoyed about stealing prep and random down time in between speeches. That doesn't mean you aren't allowed to use the restroom, just be respectful of my time. I will reward time efficiency between speeches with better speakers points. Especially if you can send the email before prep time is over. These are my preferences
--If a speaker marks the speech document and the other team wants the marked document that should happen after CX during prep time. If the other team cannot wait until after CX then they can take prep time to get the cards
--If a speak reads a cards that were not in the speech document and needs to send them out the speaker will take prep time before CX to send out the necessary evidence.
--CX ends when the timer is over. Finish your sentence quickly or take prep time to continue CX
I would like to be on the email chain – email@example.com
Dartmouth, TAS, Interlake. He/him.
Add me: ant981228 at gmail dot com
College people, add: debatedocs at googlegroups dot com
Please include the tournament, round, and teams debating in the subject line of the email.
Key Things to Know
I will flow and vote based on the things you said. NEGs can say whatever but the more it says the plan is bad the better. Conditionality and judge kick are good. AFFs should be T and are likely to lose if they aren't. If you say death good you lose. If you ask for a 30 you will get a 25.
I STRONGLY prefer that all cameras be on whenever anyone in the debate is speaking, but I understand if internet or other considerations prevent this.
If my camera is off, assume I am away from my computer and don't start talking. If you start your speech while I am away from my computer you do not get to restart. That is on you.
Here is how to successfully adjust to the online setting:
1. Inflect more when you are talking.
2. Put your face in frame. Ideally, make it so you can see the judge.
3. Get a microphone, put it close to your face, talk into it, make sure there is an unobstructed line between it and your mouth.
4. Talk one at a time.
Tech determines truth unless it's death good. If you tell me to embrace death because life is bad I will vote against you even if you do not go for the argument. More broadly, all else being equal, I strongly prefer to solve problems without resorting to violence or force if possible.
Otherwise, unless my role as a judge is changed, I will attempt to make the least interventionary decision. This means:
1. I will identify the most important issues in the debate, decide them first based on the debating, then work outward.
2. What is conceded is absolutely true, but will only have the implications that you say it has. Unless something is explicitly said, conceded, and extended, or is an obvious and necessary corollary of something that is said, conceded, and extended, I will attempt to resolve it, rather than assuming it.
3. I will intervene if there is no non-interventionary decision.
4. I will attempt to minimize the scope of my intervention by simplifying the decision-making process. I would prefer to decide fewer issues. If an issue seems hard to resolve without intervening, I will prioritize evaluating ballots that don't require resolving that issue. Example: a DA is heavily and messily contested, and may be straight turned, but the case would outweigh the DA even if the DA was 100% NEG. I will likely not attempt to resolve the DA page. In complex debates, it would behoove you to instruct me on how I should do this, or instruct me not to do this if you would prefer that I resolve the debate a different way. You can also stop this from happening by debating in ways that don't require intervention to evaluate.
I am aware that this procedure can influence my assessment of substance. Given infinite decision time, I would not do this. However, decision times are shrinking. Post-round time is limited; minutes spent resolving complex or under-debated issues that are not outcome-determinative trade off with the quality of my assessment of issues that are. I believe this process net reduces error costs.
I have voted NEG 53% of the time.
I often vote quickly. This does not necessarily mean the debate was lopsided or bad; more likely, it is a sign that the teams clearly communicated the relationships between their arguments, allowing me to perform evaluations as the debate is happening. If I take a long time that means I was unable to do this, either because there was significant complexity in the debate or because communication was poor.
The following are my inclinations - if you don't like them you can change them.
The agenda DA is not a serious argument.
"Framing pages" where you say "DAs are bad" are bad.
CP'ing in offense is underrated.
If no one says anything I will assume I can judge kick. It is very hard to use theory to stop me from thinking about the status quo. Nothing but conditionality is a voting issue. Pretty NEG on most theory, except fiating out of your own straight turned offense.
Competition is usually more impactful than theory. Theory arguments that logically presume you have won a competition argument ("CPs that steal the AFF are a voting issue" assumes you have demonstrated that the CP has stolen the AFF, which is a competition argument. "CPs that are not functionally and textually competitive are a voting issue"... come on, what are we doing here) are a waste of time. Just win the competition argument.
Functional competition + explaining what your plan does + definitions + reasons to prefer your definitions >>>>> anything involving the concept of textual competition. Textual competition is mind poison that corrupts any competition model it touches.
If I can't explain what a CP does and how it accomplishes whatever the NEG says it does, I am unlikely to vote for it. You can avoid this by writing a meaningful CP text AND explaining it in the speech.
I like judging good T debates. I really don't like judging bad ones. What sets these apart is specific application of broad offense to interpretations and impact debating that is specific to internal links, grounded in a vivid vision for debates under your topic.
I do not think the intrinsic value of being "factually correct" about your T argument is very high.
Many parts of a T argument can be enhanced with cards - e.g. link to limits, claims of AFF/NEG bias in the literature, predictability via prodicts/indicts.
Argue by analogy and comparison to other AFFs, especially in CX.
Ks / Planless AFFs
OK for specific Ks on the NEG, bad for random backfile slop, bad for K AFFs, death good = L.
If your K is secretly a DA, refer to the DA section. If your K is not a DA then yes, you need framework and you need an alternative. Whatever issue your framework says should determine the round should be what your link, impact, and ALT are about.
I do not judge many debates involving nontraditional AFFs. The biggest hurdles to voting AFF for me are usually: 1) why can't the AFF be read on the NEG, 2) why is the AFF's offense inherent to resolutional debate or to voting NEG on framework instead of some avoidable examples, and 3) how do I reconcile the AFF's vision of debate or the topic with debate's inherently (even if not exclusively) competitive nature.
I am open to different understandings of what it means for things to compete if there is no plan. However, "no plan, no perms" is nonsense.
The only effect of my ballot is to decide the winner.
Strong strategy, being fun/engaging to watch, being smart, being classy, being clear = higher speaks.
Making wrong strategic choices, being underprepared or ignorant about substance, making CXs annoying/pointless, making bad arguments, being needlessly mean, being a mumbler... = lower speaks.
I do not view speaker points as divorced from substance.
My points are slightly below average.
Asking for a 30 will yield a 25.
Ethics and Conduct
If the tabroom tells me to do something, it is not up for debate. I will do that thing. The rest is what I will do if left to my own devices.
Evidence ethics (out of context? straw-person? lied about quals? cut in middle of paragraph?) should be debated out like any other theory argument. Alternative remedies short of an automatic loss could be more responsive or proportional to the harm: scratching the argument AND evidence, scratching only the evidence and treating the argument as if it is made analytically, assuming an author is absolutely unqualified, requiring the team to produce the full text of articles in question, requiring the violating team to establish a paper trail authenticating other important evidence and presuming other evidence to be fabricated, requiring a team to produce the full text of every article in the debate and presuming other evidence to be fabricated, reducing speaker points, informing the team's coaches after the fact. They MAY be a reason to reject the team, but I will not treat them as such by default.
Clipping - claiming you read words from evidence that you did not read - is different, and a voting issue. It is a form of dishonesty that irreparably distorts teams' speech times, which affects every other issue in the debate, and which opponents are uniquely poorly positioned to police. If you are inexperienced or appear to have clipped by mistake, I will be lenient. Otherwise, it is non-negotiable.
Thoughts on stopping the debate early:
1. This is an exceptional measure to be avoided if possible.
2. Once the debate stops because of an ethics challenge, my first step is to consult the tabroom and do whatever they say.
3. Unless expressly instructed otherwise by the tabroom, the debate will not resume once stopped. The winner and loser will be determined solely by the ethics challenge.
4. An accusing team can stop the debate at any time. They win if they are correct, present compelling evidence that they are correct, and I agree that the conduct justifies a penalty loss. The winner will receive 28.5 and 28.6. Losers who have personally committed an ethics violation receive the lowest points allowed. Losers who have not personally committed an ethics violation - either due to an unsuccessful accusation, or because the partner committed the violation - receive a 27 and 27.1.
5. An accused team can stop the debate, even if the accusing team does not wish to do so, if the accusation concerns the fundamental academic integrity of the accused. This is a very high bar.
6. An accusing team may ask me if I believe certain conduct justifies a penalty loss without stopping the debate. I will take judge prep to answer. This answer is not an invitation to negotiate and obviously doesn't bind the tabroom.
7. I will proactively end the debate for clipping. I will not do this for other evidence ethics or academic integrity issues.
8. Basically none of this applies to novice or JV, where I will resolve the dispute as quickly and narrowly as possible with the aim of maximizing the number of speeches that can happen.
Being racist, sexist, violent, etc. in a way that is immediately and obviously hazardous to someone in the debate = L and 0. My role as educator outweighs my role as any form of disciplinarian, so I will err on the side of letting stuff play out - i.e. if someone used gendered language and that gets brought up I will probably let the round happen and correct any ignorance after the fact. This ends when it begins to threaten the safety of round participants. You should give this line a wide berth.
After a decade, I’ve now finally decided to update my philosophy. I’ve found that nothing I could say about each of the main argument categories would be particularly relevant because of one simple fact - my ultimate preference is to evaluate the round in whatever way you tell me to. I’m not saying you can call me a “tabula rasa” judge, if people even use that phrase anymore…I’m saying that my goal is to intervene as little as possible in the debate.
-I find myself evaluating every argument in a debate as a disad. This is obvious for actual disadvantages, counterplans, etc but for me, it's also true of theory, framework, and topicality. Did you read framework against a critical race aff? Then you likely have a predictability disad and a fairness disad against the aff’s framing of how debate should be. Did the neg read a conditional CP, K alternative, and insist the SQ is an option? You probably have ground and fairness disads to the CP/K. In those instances, you HAVE to make an impact argument that makes sense. Exclude the aff, reject the CP, reject the team…whatever. I will compare those impacts to the impacts the other side has (flexibility, education, etc.). It’d be a lot better if you did the comparison for me. If you don't, I will read into everything and make a decision for myself.
-Otherwise, debate like you want to debate. I no longer find myself voting against framework all of the time or voting for the K vs policy affs that are going for framework against the alt. I probably have voted the opposite way more often in the last year.
-Lastly, I flow but I also want to be on the email chain (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'm actually trying to model what you are supposed to be doing...flowing the speech and looking at the evidence the team is reading once I've written down what they said ALOUD. If you do this, guaranteed 28.9 or better (which is high for me). If you actually flow AND you are funny and/or efficient at line-by-line and/or making a ton of smart arguments while covering everything, guaranteed 29.5 or better (which is outrageous for me).
------------------------------Online Debate Update------------------------------
My computer setup is way better in my house than on the road. I have incredibly fast internet and multiple screens. But it's not enough to be able to flow full speed debates over Zoom without issues. Please keep that in mind. A few things will help, if you so choose - send out your full speech doc, not just your cards so I can follow along (I'm still going to flow what you say out loud but will cut you a bit of slack in the form of looking at your speech doc to fill in holes) and slow down on theory and analytics (I'm flowing on computer and not paper at home which is both faster in some respects and slower in others).
-Director of Debate at Little Rock Central High School
-Yes, email chain and sure, questions. Please put BOTH of these on chains: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virtual Debate Updates:
I am almost always using two computers so I can watch you speak and flow/look at docs. I would prefer that you debate with your camera on so that I can watch you speak, but PLEASE do feel free to turn it off if doing so stabilizes your audio.
Do NOT start at top speed. You should start a little slower anyway to allow judges to get acclimated to your speaking style, but I think this is especially important in virtual debate.
Do I understand why you don't want to flash theory/overviews/analytics? Of course. Do you have to do it? No. Will I be mad at you if you don't? Of course not. Would it help me flow better in many virtual debates? YES.
Do what you do and do it well. I will vote for who wins. Over-adaptation is exhausting and I can smell your soft-left add-ons a mile away. My voting record is a pretty clear indication that I judge a wide variety of debates. Who/what I coach(ed) are generally good indications of what I am about. Update: I've found myself recently in some seven off rounds. I really hate to say I am bad for any kind of debate, but I am bad for these rounds. Late-breaking debates make me tired and grumpy, and I find myself having to do way too much work in these debates to resolve them. If seven off is your thing, and I am your judge, do what you do I guess, but know this is probably the only explicit "don't pref me" in this whole paradigm.
I care a lot about quality of evidence. I would much rather hear you read a few well-warranted cards than a wave of under-highlighted evidence. Same goes for redundant evidence; if you need six cards that “prove” your claim with the same words interchanged in the tag, your claim is probably pretty weak. Evidence does not (alone) a (winning) argument make.
I think I flow pretty throughly. I often flow in direct quotes. I do this for me, but I feel like it helps teams understand my decision as we talk after a round. I reward organized speakers and meaningful overviews. I am easily frustrated by a messy card doc.
I listen closely to cross-ex.
Neg teams lose when they don’t demonstrate how their arguments interact with the 1AC. Winning that the affirmative is “flawed” or “problematic” does not guarantee a neg ballot. In my mind, there are two ways to win the k versus a policy aff: either win that the effects of the plan make the world significantly worse OR win framework and go for epistemology/ontology links. Know when framework is important and when it’s not. Give analysis as to how your links implicate the world of the aff. This is where case mitigation and offense on why voting affirmative is undesirable is helpful. These debates are significantly lacking in impact calculus. Also - the alt needs to solve the links, not the aff - but if it does, great! If you win framework, this burden is lessened. Don’t spread through link explanations. I am seeing more debates where teams kick the alt and go for the links as disads to the aff. This is fine, but be wary of this strategy when the alt is what provides uniqueness to the link debate.
Conversely, affs typically lose these debates when there is little press on what the alternative does and little analysis of perm functions. However, some teams focus on the alt too much and leave much to be desired on the link debate (especially important for soft-left affs). Defend your reps. Your framework shell should also include a robust defense of policymaking, not just procedural fairness. The 1AR should actually answer the block’s framework answers. More impact turning rather than defensive, no-link arguments.
Also, running to the middle will not save you. Some Ks are going to get a link no matter what, and tacking on a structural impact to your otherwise straight policy aff will likely only supercharge the link. So. Read the aff you'd read in front of anybody in front of me. You're probably better at that version anyway.
K Affs vs. FW
For affs: I’m good for these although I do think that oftentimes the method is very poorly explained. Neg teams should really press on this and even consider going for presumption. Side note: I absolutely do not think that critical affs should have to win that the ballot is key for their method. Against framework, I most frequently vote aff when the aff wins impact turns that outweigh the neg’s impacts and have a counter-interp that resolves the majority of their offense. I can still vote for you if you don’t have a counter-interp in the 2AR but only if the impact work is exceptional. I prefer affs that argue that the skills and methods produced under their model inculcate more ethical subjectivities than the negative’s. The best aff teams I’ve seen are good at contextualizing their arguments, framing, and justifying why their model and not their aff is uniquely good. I am most frequently preffed for K v K debates. Judge instruction is extremely important I would rather evaluate those rounds based on whose method is most relevant to the debate rather than k tricks.
For neg teams: I like to see framework deployed as debate methodologies that are normatively good versus debate methodologies that are undesirable and should be rejected. Framework debates should center on the impact of certain methodologies on the debate space. “Your argument doesn’t belong in debate” is not the same thing as “your argument is hindered by forum” or “your argument makes it functionally impossible to be negative.” (fun fact: I read a lot of judges' paradigms/preferences..."debate is a game" does not = debate is a good game, and participation in that "game" does not = can't say the game is bad). I prefer more deliberation & skills-based framework arguments rather than procedural fairness, but I will vote on either as long as you have warrants and comparative impact analysis. If going for skills & research impacts, the internal link debate is most important. TVAs are great as defense against the aff’s impact turns. They do not have to solve the aff but should address its central controversy.
I feel similarly about theory debates in that they should focus on good/undesirable pedagogical practices. Arguments that explain the role of the ballot should not be self-serving and completely inaccessible by a particular team.
Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. T debates are won and lost on the standards level. If the affirmative wins that their interpretation solves the impact of topicality, then I see no reason to vote negative. Thorough T debates are about more than fairness. The idea that you have no game on an aff in this era is just not as persuasive as the idea that the aff’s interpretation negatively impacts future debates.
No real issues here. Specific links to case obviously preferred to generic arguments. Give me good impact analysis. As a debater, counterplans weren’t really my jam. As a judge, I can’t say that I get to vote on CPs often because they are typically kicked or are not competitive enough to survive an affirmative team well-versed in permutations. A CP should be something to which I can give thoughtful consideration. Don’t blow through a really complicated (or long) CP text. Likewise, if the permutation(s) is intricate, slow down. Pretty sure you want me to get these arguments down as you read them, not as I reconstruct them in cross. I vote for theory as much as I don’t vote for theory. No real theoretical dispositions.
1. I’m not going to bump your speaks for thanking me and taking forever to start the round because you’re asking “opponent ready? judge ready? partner ready? observers ready?” for the first 20 minutes.
2. If you do not take notes during my RFD, I will leave.
3. Don’t clip. Why do debaters in Arkansas clip so much? Answer: Because I don’t judge very much in Arkansas.
4. Keep your own time.
1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption.
2. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate.
3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."
1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.
2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.
1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to "win" uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.
2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches). Note: this doesn't apply to riders or horsetrading or other disads that assume voting aff means voting for something beyond the aff plan. Then it's winnable.
1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.
2. I think I'm less technical than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.
3. If it's a critique of "fiat" and not the aff, read something else. If it's not clear from #1, I'm looking at the link first. Please--link work not framework. K debating is case debating.
1. I'm *slightly* better for the aff now that aff teams are generally impact-turning the neg's model of debate. I almost always voted neg when they instead went for talking about their aff is important and thought their counter-interp somehow solved anything. Of course, there's now only like 3-4 schools that take me and don't read a plan. So I'm spared the debates where it's done particularly poorly.
2. A lot of things can be impacts to T, but fairness is probably best.
3. It would be nice if people read K affs with plans more, but I guess there's always LD. Honestly debating politics and util isn't that hard--bad disads are easier to criticize than fairness and truth.
Versus the K:
1. If it's a team's generic K against K teams, the aff is in pretty great shape here unless they forget to perm. I've yet to see a K aff that wasn't also a critique of cap, etc. If it's an on-point critique of the aff, then that's a beautiful thing only made beautiful because it's so rare. If the neg concedes everything the aff says and argues their methodology is better and no perms, they can probably predict how that's going to go. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.
Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.
2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp. The reasonability debate does seem slightly more important on CJR given that the neg's interp often doesn't solve for much. But the aff is still better off developing offense in the 1AR.
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.
2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.
3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.
4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.
Currently working with Alpharetta, previously worked with Chattahoochee. I debated throughout high school, then at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma, and am now a member of U of West Georgia debate.
I’m comfortable with all speeds and styles, especially those regarding the k – I’m most familiar with poststructural + positional criticisms, though you should do whatever it is you do best – you can just as easily win with a plan, theory, framework, etc. If you want to test a sneaky new framework strategy, I'll happily adjudicate your chess match; if you're all about the Death K, well, I've done my fair share of that stuff too. Give me your best args and write my ballot. I privilege tech over truth and frequently vote for arguments that contravene my personal beliefs. I judge k affs frequently but this only thickens my belief that they need some relation to the resolution, even if only neg-neg. I thus also believe that the neg, in turn, needs to prove why either A) the aff links to harder to the k than squo does, or B) why that distinction doesn't matter - i.e. how I can vote without presumption and/or L/UQ or why presumption still goes neg, does not exist, sucks, whatever. I am not, personally, keen on the notion that presumption can flip aff, but am willing to entertain the argument and have voted on it when used to exploit a neg weakness.
I flow on paper, if you care. I'll say clear twice and then stop flowing anything incomprehensible. If you begin a speech in unsettling fashion (e.g. giving an inaccurate roadmap or jumping the gun with 400+wpm), I'll act flustered and require a few effervescently dramatic seconds to get my affairs in order. If I'm otherwise not flowing or I'm on the wrong sheet, it's because either you've created a mental backlog of arguments that I'm flowing in retrospect or I'm repackaging your arguments to make them more palatable to my flow, or both.
Some things that frustrate me: excessive rudeness (toward opponents or judges), offensive strategies (racism inevitable/good, for instance), and clipping (zeroes + L = bad time for you). The advent of digital debate brings with it a new and widespread sense of suspicion, and though I will do my best to catch any and all forms of cheating, I ask that debaters remain vigilant for it as well. Also, and I can’t believe I need to write this, please don’t engage in acts of self-harm to win my ballot (you know who you are). Instead, please demonstrate mastery of persuasion, word economy, and 2nr/2ar prescience – teams that reverse-engineer strategies and execute them methodically speech-by-speech impress me the most – a searing cross-ex is, of course, welcome – entertaining and innovative teams will be rewarded with speaker points.
A few final notes: not a huge fan of process counterplans (but I’ll still vote for them), conditionality is pretty good (as is neg fiat), link uniqueness wins k rounds, and maybe, just maybe, go for presumption.
Email me if you have questions and please put me on the chain: dylan.willett8 at gmail dot com as well as email@example.com. I coach for the Asian Debate League. I debated for UMKC. In college, I mostly went for framework, topic DAs, and an assortment of topic critiques. As a coach I mostly have spent the last year working on random policy stuff, but have spent a lot of time working with critical approaches to the topic as well.
Be bold, read something new, it will be rewarded if you do it well. Analysis of evidence is important. I have found that over the past few years I have grown my appreciation for more of the policy side of research not in an ideological lean, but rather I am not starting from negative with process counterplans, I appreciate clever disadvantages, etc. If you have good cards, I am more willing to reward that research and if you do something new, I will definitely be happy.
I begin my decisions by attempting to identify what the most important arguments are, who won them, and how they implicate the rest of the debate. The more judge instruction, including dictating where I should begin my decision by showing me what is most important will help determine the lens of how I read the rest of the arguments
I find that I am really annoyed by how frequently teams are asking major flow clarifications like sending a new file that removes the evidence that was skipped. Please just flow, if there is an actual issue that warrants a question its obviously ok, but in most situations it comes across as not paying attention to the speeches which is a bit frustrating.
I like good, strategic cross-ex. If you pay attention and prepare for your cx, it pays dividens in points and ballots. Have a plan. Separate yourself and your arguments here!
I am a big fan of case debates that consist of a lot of offense – impact turns or link turns are always better than just pulling from an impact d file.
I think that I mostly lean negative on theory arguments – I would be really sad if I had to parse through a huge theory debate like condo, but am willing. I think I start from a predisposition that condo, PICs, etc are okay, and change based off the theory debate as it develops. I think theory is an important part of an affirmative strategy versus good, and especially cheaty, counterplans. I don't think education is a super persuasive argument in theory debates I have found. Way easier to go for some type of fairness argument and compare internal links versus going for some abstract notion about how conditionality benefits or hurts "advocacy skills".
In framework debates, the best teams spend a lot of their speeches on these flows answering the nuanced developments of their opponents. AFF or NEG teams that just say a different wording of their original offense in each speech are setting themselves up to lose. I am interested in hearing what debates would look like under each model. I like education arguments that are contextual to the topic and clever TVAs and impact turns are good ways to get my ballot while making the debate less stale. I find the framework teams that lose my ballot most are those that refuse to turn (on the link level or impact level, in appropriate manner) AFF offense. I find the K AFF teams that lose my ballot most are those that don't double down on their offense and explain how the NEGs impacts fit in your depiction of how debate operates.
Ks, DAs, CPs, T, FW, etc are all fine to read and impact turn – as long as I am judging a round where there is some attention to strategy and arguments are being developed, I will be happy. Definitely willing to vote on zero risk of a link.
My name is Marcus Williams and i'm a senior at the University of Kentucky.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org . You can email me with any questions you have. If you do email chains you can also add me to it before the round.
I really enjoy debate and I think it should be a fun activity that everyone should be comfortable doing. With that being said, I am open to all arguments that teams make. I have NOT done any debating or research on this years high school/middle school topic, but that doesn't mean I am clueless to how things work. It just means you need more explanation.
Do impact and framing work. I prefer specificity when it comes to link arguments. Generic link arguments can get it done with nuance, but I am lenient to aff no link arguments if they press your very general evidence.
Topicality should be treated as a disad, meaning that you should do similar impact calc. Violations should be aff specific. T debates can be kinda confusing if you are just repeating your arguments without answering the other teams, so make sure to do comparative work.
Generic counterplans are fine. Ensure you isolate all 1AC internal links early on and how you resolve them in advance.
I am persuaded by a lot of aff theory arguments however, I find I vote neg a lot more in theory debates because of a lack of impact comparison and technical drops. going for one liner theory arguments are fine if their dropped, but they have to be clearly communicated and substantiated with an impact.
let em rip
USN head coach 2012-present
MBA assistant coach 2000-2002
The stuff you are looking for:
email chain: bwilson at usn.org
K Aff: Defend a hypothetical project that goes beyond the 1AC.
Framework: My general assumption is that predictable limits lead to higher quality debates. Aff, how does your method/performance center on the resolutional question in a way that adds value to this year's topic education? Why does the value of your discussion/method outweigh the benefits of a predictable, topic-focused debate?
Topicality: I am agnostic when it comes to the source of your definitions. Just tell me why they are preferable for this debate. Aff reasonability defense must be coupled with an interpretation, and RTP that interpretation. I will be honest, when it's a T round against an aff that was cut at workshop and has been run all year, I have a gut-check lean to reasonability. Competing interps becomes more compelling when there is significant offense for the interpretation.
Theory: Other than condo, a theory win means I reject the argument unless you do work explaining otherwise. For condo debates, please have a clear interpretation and reasons to reject. I am more open to theory when it is about something particular to the round and is not read from pre-written blocks.
CP's: I prefer CP's that have a solvency advocate. I think a well articulated/warranted perm can beat most plan plus, process CP's.
Politics: I like it better on topics without other viable DAs, but I am fine for these debates.
DAs: I find "turns the case" analysis more compelling at the internal link level.
Cheating: If you are not reading every word you are claiming through underlining or highlighting, that is clipping. If it seems like a one time miscue I will yell something, and unless corrected, I'll disregard the evidence. If it is egregious/persistent, I will be forced to intervene with an L.
If the other team raises a dispute. I will do my best to adjudicate the claim and follow the above reasoning to render a penalty either to dismiss the evidence in question or reject the team. I think I have a fairly high threshold for rendering a decision on an ethics challenge.
RIP wiki paradigms, or how my paradigm started for years but is now showing its age:
I like it when debaters think about the probability of their scenarios and compare and connect the different scenarios in the round. If it is a policy v critical debate, the framing is important, but not in a prior question, ROB, or "only competing policy options" sense. The better team uses their arguments to access or outweigh the other side. I think there is always a means to weigh 1AC advantages against the k, to defend 1AC epistemology as a means to making those advantages more probable and specific. On the flip side, a thorough indictment of 1AC authors and assumptions will make it easier to weigh your alternative, ethics, case turn, etc. Explain the thesis of your k and tell me why it it is a reason to reject the affirmative.
Email: email@example.com Please include me on the email chain.
TL;DR: Choose your battles for the second rebuttals, don't just tell that you're winning everything. Tell me why the impacts that you're winning are more important than the impacts that they're winning. If going for theory args, you should spend at least 4 minutes on it. I flow by ear, not by speech doc so it behooves you to be clear.
General: I expect every debater to flow and to be nice to both opponents and partner. Cross-examinations should be civil and at a conversational volume.
I value clarity over speed and have a tendency not to evaluate arguments that are not sign posted. The clearest speaker will receive the highest speaker points, and I will let you know if you’re not being clear. If I can’t understand you, I can’t flow your arguments, and they probably won’t factor highly in my decision. I don’t care if you sent me the whole speech doc and said it word for word. Debate is a competition of communication and reasoning, you need to be clear. That is usually at the expense of speed, which means you also need to manage your speech time effectively.
I will be more impressed by students that demonstrate topic knowledge, line-by-line organization skills (supported by careful flowing), and intelligent cross-examinations than by those that rely on superfast speaking, obfuscation, jargon, backfile recycling, and/or tricks. This means that instead of reading yet another card, you should take the time to explain why the context of the evidence means that your position is better than that of the other team. This is particularly true in close uniqueness and case debates.
Time and CX: You should keep track of your own prep, speech, and CX times, as well as your opponents', if you deem it necessary. CX is not a shouting match. It’s not a game of interruption
a. Conduct your own CX as much as possible. CX is an important time for judge impression formation, and if one partner does all asking and answering for the team, it is very difficult to evaluate both debaters. Certainly the partner not involved in CX can get involved in an emergency, but that should be brief and rare if both debaters want high speaker points.
b. Aim to ask the question that the debater couldn't answer if that person had the whole 3 minutes.
c. I absolutely loathe when questions are basically “you said this but what about our card that says the opposite?” That’s setting up the debater to then spend 3 minutes telling me why I should prefer their evidence.
d. As the questioner, do NOT let them run away with your time. Ideally they won't because you're not asking questions like the one above. The way to shut them up is saying, “ok that’s fine. Moving on, [separate question]?”
DA/CP: No preferences/opinions
K Aff: I think affirmative teams should have a plan text. On the aff you must win a reason why FW is violent/bad and a reason why this round in particular is key. The reason why either side tends to lose is because they don't interact with the other sides' arguments: that means that k teams should adapt their blocks to answer the specific way the neg team is going for framework and neg teams should engage with the substance of the aff.
Ks on the Neg: Links should be specific to the aff. Even if your evidence is generic, good analysis and spin can still win you the round. If your links are just state bad or based on fiat, I will probably vote aff. SLOW DOWN ON THE K. Assume your judge hasn’t ever heard the K before and is trying to understand the reasoning that it indicts. I am especially inclined to vote for an identified and impacted performative contradiction.
Topicality: I don’t particularly enjoy T debates, but I will vote on them. I generally think that if the neg has specific blocks to answer the case, it’s probably topical. I’d prefer a debate on limits and grounds rather than “abuse” and “fairness.” I’d like to hear a debate on the literature and competing interpretations.
Other Theory (condo, alt vagueness, etc.): I generally dislike theory arguments. Either go for them (whole 2NR/2AR) or just don’t read them. That being said, I will hear them and vote them up if explained and impacted. If you can explain why something such an issue, I will vote on it. However, I am more likely to reject the argument not the team. You must tell me how I should evaluate the debate, meaning in which order I should evaluate theory and policy. I am not inclined to judge kick an argument unless the 2R tells me to (and poor answers).
Paradigm for Kentucky Opener (9/18)
I debated for four years at Stoneman Douglas (FL) and three years at the University of Kentucky where I received degrees in both Philosophy and Engineering. During my debate career, I primarily read kritikal positions in the vein of Baudrillard/Zizek/Badiou/anti-cap as well as some Nietzschean positions.
In terms of my preferences, I would consider myself a flex judge. The longer I have spent not competing in debate (~6 years), the more agnostic towards form and style of debate I have become. To that end, I am willing to vote for nearly any coherently explained and well supported framework that is advanced, however, remember that the use of vogue tech-y shorthand that I am not aware of may be to your detriment. In general, do your thing, and as long as it is well executed, you won't have a problem with me.
Some particular things I feel necessary to highlight:
- Don't steal prep time. I won't make you take prep time to flash documents, but don't abuse that inclination. If you're obviously (and it's always obvious) continuing to prep under the guise of flashing, then you're burning your credibility in my eyes.
- Rebuttal speeches should not just be restatements of constructives. Extensions should utilize embedded clash and advance your argument rather than remind me its still on the flow.
- Normally I'm not a fan of voting on topicality, particularly for popular affirmatives on the grounds that the Negative was unable to prepare/predict/respond to it fairly. That being said, I am more amenable to topicality arguments at a season opener, so keep both those things in mind.
- Theory based arguments have an important role in debate, and while I will vote for them, I would much prefer to vote on something substantive over a "gotcha," "you dropped this" generic theory argument.
- I would consider myself to have a fairly good pre-round understanding of many critical authors, but be careful to not lean too much on that.
- Evidence/Cards contain warrants, not mere assertion. Cards/Evidence that are highlighted too creatively will be given less credence than higher quality cards/evidence.
- Spreading is fine, but given that I judge 2-3 tournaments a year on average, clarity is more important than quantity.
Beyond that, I am more than happy to answer any other questions or concerns you might have about the way I tend to adjudicate rounds.
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High School: Wooster High School // College: Trinity University // Coach: MBA
Topicality vs Plans
I find well-executed T debates some of the most fun debates to judge. However, that requires a few things from the neg: a definition grounded in the resolutional wording and context; a clear explanation why your vision of the topic either shifts the state of current debating on the topic to a better place or prevents debate from slipping into a worse place; cards on the offensive portions of the debate. I would also caution neg teams stop making contradictory arguments on other theory portions (think: condo).
As for the aff in these debates—I’m open to whatever offense you want to go for, but you must do impact calculus.
Topicality vs Planless
I lean heavily neg in these debates. When I do vote neg, it is because the aff has not adequately described a link between their impacts, their solvency mechanism, and the ballot. Exclusion impacts need a solution that rests within your model of debate, and that is something you need to prove just as the neg needs to explain why the ballot remedies a loss of fairness or clash.
Neg teams: go for fairness. Skills, clash (alone), and education are more hassle than they’re worth.
I lean neg on broader theory questions. I don’t think many if any debaters understand functional/textual competition. Permutations are bad for the neg when you’re debating a team that writes them well, but I think that clarity in how the CP operates and what actions it specifically takes is necessary to explaining away perms. I find neg teams are short on explaining what the CP does. I like process CPs, but again, be smart on perms. I am not a fan of fiating in a DA.
If you’re taking a DA in the 1NR and have all that prep time, please use it to read through the 1AC and find solid, supported turns case arguments. If you do, your life and mine become much easier at the end of the debate.
Neg teams need to have a theory of how the world operates and defend it, use it to extrapolate links, etc. I find that when neg teams are asked a question of, “how do you know [the link] is true?” they usually stare blankly into the distance. I like kritik debates, but find myself being frustrated by a lack of link analysis and application to the aff. I am close to 50/50 on the framework portion of K neg vs aff, but I need good impact analysis as to why I should include more than the plan itself. Link debating for the K should operate more than to get you from aff-to-big impact, it should become solvency answers, reasons to reject the team, case turns, etc.
Aff teams need to defend the truths of the plan. Win framework, win the aff is a good and necessary action. Make sure to answer well-done link debate or you risk losing to small concessions that take out the truths you attempt to defend. I don’t think teams impact turn K’s enough (both thesis level impact turns as well as alternative/method turns). If you win the aff, I will look at you favorably.
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Assistant Coach at University School of Nashville since 2014.
I generally prefer affirmatives that do something bold and transformative over ones that do something small and technical. On the negative, I most enjoy the kritik and case debate.
Defend a hypothetical project that goes beyond the 1AC
- Affirmatives should defend a project that is independent of the recitation of the 1AC.
- This means voting affirmative should engage some project that exceeds the simple validation of the 1AC's theoretical positions or performative mood.
- Ideally, this is a material project that is specifically outlined and allows for its consequences to be posed as a question.
- This ensures that the negative team can generate (unique) offense through a characterization of how the affirmative project would be hypothetically implemented.
Rarely go for theory
- Nothing is a voter except conditionality.
- Within reason, conditionality is only a voter in rounds with full (plan+advantages/cites) affirmative disclosure.
- I will not vote on conditionality if there are 3 or fewer positions. I may still be unlikely at 4 positions unless the positions are redundant (ie same types of Ks/CPs or solving the same net benefits).
- I have a distaste for multi-plank CPs when # of planks >> sum of aff advantages+add-ons. This strikes me as cynical and needlessly complex. I would consider rejecting the CP if the aff checks out ideologically.