Niles Township Invitational
2018 — Skokie, IL/US
Open Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I am a national circuit policy debate judge.
DONT RUN ENACT EXCLUDES courts in front of me. It’s wrong and absurd. What would a topic excluding the Supreme Court look like on criminal justice topic. The resolution says USFG. Supreme Court part of USFG.
put me on the Email chain. Silvermdc1@gmail.com
IN MOST ROunds I’m not reading every card on the doc because it’s a communicative activity. I’ve learned that often some peoples explanation of their evidence doesn’t line up with what the text says. In a situation where I’m on a panel where the other judges are reading the cards I too will as well.
while you’re speaking I prefer you turn your camera on. Understand if you don’t have bandwidth to support it.
I evaluate disease based/ pandemic based impacts much more seriously now due to ongoing effects of COVID 19. I still believe that debate is a game, educational one however I want to fully acknowledge the serious situation of where we are in our country with policing. I’m sure we can have debates while being tactful and understanding for some folks the issue can be personal.
I'll shake your hand if it's like your last round of high school debate and I so happen to judge it. It's weird to me when a kid tries to shake my hand after a round though. I did it when I was debating and didn't realize how odd it was. Oops.
It's likely that I'll laugh some don't take it personally I laugh all the time and I'm not making fun of you. I'm a human being and have lots of beliefs and feelings about debate but I'm persuadable. I don't flow Cross X obviously but sometimes questions and or answers end up impacting my perception of the round.
Arguments that I like hearing
I love the politics disadvantage, I like strategic counterplans. relevant case arguments, specfic d/as to plans.
Non-traditional AFFs or teams.
I'll listen to K affs or teams that don't affirm the resolution. Honestly though it's not my cup of tea. Over the years debate has been changing and I guess I've changed in some ways with it.
NEW Counterplans in the 2NC I'm not cool with unless the 2AC reads an add on.
I evaluate how well you answered your opponents arguments, ETHOs, persuasiveness, Humor, STRATEGIC DECISIONS. There are times when one team is clearly more dominant or one student is a superior speaker. That's GREAT!! I'm not going to reward you with speaker points for walloping a weaker team. You're not going to be penalized either but it's clear when you have a challenge and when you just get an easy draw in round.
IF I HAVE NEVER MET YOU BEFORE DON'T EMAIL ME ASKING FOR EVIDENCE FROM ROUNDS I JUDGED
ARGUMENTs I'd rather not hear.
Arguments I find offensive and refuse to flow
If we're talking about paradigm I view debate as a game. It's an educational game but a game still. I think most rules are debateable. I think speech times are consistent and not a breakable rule, ad-hominem attacks are not acceptable.
Even if your're not friends with your debate partner treat them respect and please no bickering with them.
I'd prefer if people do an e-mail stream instead of flashing or other methods of sharing evidence.
I'll listen to your criticism. Few things. I think there needs to be a coherent link story with the affirmative, words or scholarship the affirtmative said in cross-x. Your K will not be a viable strategy in front of me without a link story. It's a very tough hill to win a K in front of me without an Alternative. Debaters have done it before but it's been less than 5 times.
- Explain and analyze what the alternative does.
- Who does it
How does a world compare post alternative to pre-alternative?
- Should interpt various words in the resolution
- Have clear brightline about why your view of debate is best for education
Address proper forums for critical arguments people make
- Have voting issues that explain why your vision of debate is desirable.
- I prioritize role of the ballot issues.
- I'll entertain it I guess, I'm probaly not the most recceptive though. Explain how you want me to fairly evaluate these concerns. Also consider what type of ground you're leaving your opponent without making them go for reprehensible args like: Patriarchy Good or racism good.
- Need to have a solvency advocate
- A text
Can be topical in my mind
- Net benefit or D/A to prefer CP to aff
Needs to be some breathing room between Counterplan and plan. PICS are fine however I don't think it's legit to jack someone elses aff and making a minute difference there isn't lit for.
A reason the permutation can't work besides theory arguments.
DON'T JUST READ THEORY BLOCKS AGAINST Each other. Respond in a line by line fashion to opponents theory args. Dropped arguments are conceded arguments obviously. In a close debate don't assume because you have a blippy quick theory argument it's neccessarily going to win you a debate in front of me if you didn't invest much time in it.
1. Engage with opponents evidence and arguments.
2. Make contextual differences.
3. Humor is fine but don't try to be funny if you're not.
4. Clarity is preferred over speed. Not telling you to go slow but if I can't coherently understand what you're saying we have a problem. Like if you're unclear or slurr a bunch of words while you're spreading.
5. HAVE FUN! Getting trophies and winning tournaments is cool but I'm more concerned what kind of person you're in the process of becoming. Winning isn't everything.
Don't trivialize T. Burden is on the affirmative to prove they are topical. I'll listen to reasonablity or competing Interpretations framework. I don't believe in one more than other and can be persuaded either way. Standards by which to evaluate and voting issues are nice things to have in addition to an Interpretation.
Arguments I like on T that I find have been lost to the wayside.
Reasons to prefer source of dictionary, information about changing language norms and meaning, the usage of the word in soceity currently.
Grammar analysis pertaining to the resolution.
Framers Intent/ Resolution planning arguments
Voting issues you think someone who thinks debate is an educational game would like to hear.
Link Story that is specific to AFFIRMATIVE.
Impacts that would make a worse world than aff.
Author qualifications matter to me, Sources of your evidence matter to me. How well you're able to explain your claims matter to me. Evidentiary comparison to your opponents authors are saying.
General stylistics things
Some kind of labelling for arguments like numbers or letters before the tags is preferrable. If you have questions feel free to e-mail me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Debated Maine East H.S. 2009 -2012, Coach/Judge 2012 -
Debate is an educational game where everything in debate is debatable i.e. should I prefer tech over truth, do I need a plan text. Be nice to each other, try your best and have fun. Prefer debates were debaters are challenged to think in new ways. Do not be deterred from going for any argument because of what you read here. I’m open to listening to and voting for any argument even debates about what debate should be i.e. k of debate. Just because I stated that I will listen to / vote on / prefer something does not mean that it is an automatic win. If I do not understand something I will not vote on it.
Has been said in many different ways by many different individuals: debating / coaching for a school without many resources and understanding the experiences of similar schools competing against schools who are well resourced, I tend to be sympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debate. I will default to a policy maker but am open to other ways of deciding the ballot. I will go off the flow and will try not to intervene, however I might default to my opinions below (which are not concrete).
I will vote for the least complex way to sign the ballot. Explaining your arguments / ideas and keeping the debate organized by road mapping, sign posting, and line by line are key and will help your speaker points. Other things that are key and help to explain / frame the debate are: overviews with impact clac, turns case/da arguments, framing of arguments and the debate, impacting out arguments, and in-depth analysis of arguments. Likewise, overall analysis and framing of evidence / arguments / warrants / qualifications / the round, is key. “Even if” statements will help with speaker points and to frame an argument. Do not assume that I know an argument, author, or specific terms. Analytics, defensive arguments (even without your own evidence) are able to reduce any argument/evidence to zero risk or close to it. If I do not understand a part of the argument or it is not explained/major gaps in your logic I will be less likely to vote on it, even if it is dropped. Explain to me why you should win the round and what this means for both you and your opponent’s arguments. Speed is ok but need to clear. Do not sacrifice clarity for speed. Emailing speeches does not count as prep time as long as it is reasonable and send it all in one doc. Have cites available after the round. I will vote down teams/dock speaker points for rudeness, racist, sexism, unethical, offensive and unacceptable arguments / behavior.
Look at / debate / answer the actual warrants (or lack thereof) in the cards not what the card is tagged as. Comparing evidence / qualifications with explanations as to whose is better helps me to evaluate an argument (even just reading evidence and pointing out its inconsistency is great (will help your speaker points)) and is something that I find is missing in a lot of debates. If their evidence is bad point it out. I will read evidence if call for or if I believe there is an issue with it.
Cross x – Tag Team is fine if both teams are ok with it. Overtaking your partner’s cross-x might result in lower speaker points. Be sure to carry cross-x into the rest of the debate. If you indicted a piece of evidence or proved that an argument does not work, say so in your speech.
Theory – Just like any other argument dropping theory is not an auto-win. If a part of the theory is not explained well enough or the other team points out that it is not explained or missing, I will be less inclined to vote for it. Will vote on all types of theory, but need to explain the theory, in-round abuse (why what they did was bad), voters, fairness, education, impacts and why I should either reject the argument or the other team. Do not just re-read your blocks. The more specific the theory is to the argument / abuse / voters / round, the better.
Topicality – Overviews help. Tend to lean affirmative (Neg has the burden) unless there is a clear: violation / definition, bright line between topical and untopical, impacts for allowing the affirmative and others like it to be topical and in-round / potential (prefer in-round) abuse. Will default to competing interpretations. Explanation on all parts of the flow are key i.e. definition, bright line, topical version of the affirmative, case lists, reasons to reject the team (in-round and potential abuse), standards, ground, limits, voters, fairness, education, and impacts. Reasonability, clash / lit checks, race to bottom, etc. are able to reduce the chance of voting on topically. Will vote on aspec / other spec arguments however, need to show abuse in-round.
Speaker points – My range is 27.8- 28.5, this does not mean that I will not go above a 28.5. The road to better speaker points is in this philosophy i.e. know your arguments, be clear, do line by line, point out inconsistency in arguments and evidence, extend / explain / compare warrants and or qualifications (or lack thereof), road map, sign post, impact clac, frame the debate and the other things that are listed in the various sections.
Plan text / Counterplan text – Should be written down. Check how they are written. Will vote on plan flaws and counterplans that change the plan text with a net benefit.
Affirmative – Two things are key: good overviews with impact clac and in-depth case analysis.
Counterplan – Use overviews. Make sure that there is a clear net benefit and/or solvency deficit.
Disads/advantages – Good overviews with turns case /da along with impact analysis/clac where opponent’s impacts/arguments are considered. Disad links should be clear and specific to the case. All types of turns (link, impact and straight) are also a good idea.
K–Explain. Have a general idea on the basic k, not a k hack, but will vote on them (including k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be). The k needs to be specifically explained not just in terms of what the idea of the k is, but what is the framework, link (the more specific and clearer the better), impact and alterative (not only what the alterative does but how its solves the k and plan’s impact (i.e. root cause) and what does the world of the alterative looks like). A good overview of the k and framework helps a lot. The affirmative should always question the alterative.
K affirmatives and framework - Will vote on k affirmative and k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be. Needs to be a clear role of the ballot and clear reason why your version of debate is better. Totally fine with looking at images, listening to music, narratives, stories and other things. Debates are more interesting when: the neg does not just read framework / k but engages with the affirmative and the affirmative k the negative positions through the lens of the affirmative. Framework and disads to framework have to be explained, show how your interpretation of debate solve or root causes the other side’s impacts, impacted out fairness and education, have analysis to show which style of debate is the best and show why the affirmative or argument should be or not be in debate.
Name: Conor Cameron
Current Affiliation: Solorio
If your affirmative strategy does not entail the defense of a topical plan OR if your primary negative strategy is not a reason to reject the affirmative's plan, then you should strike me.
Debate Experience: I debated for GBS in the early 2000s. I have since started a debate program in one of the lower conferences in the Chicago UDL. I am not intimately familiar with recent developments of the National Circuit. My first relevant exposure to the topic will be Round 1 of the first tournament of the year.
Summary – I am a policy-oriented judge. I’m a fan of neither performative debate nor the kritik. I do not mind speed, but clarity is key. You can tell if I can flow you by watching me. Failing a case specific strategy, my ideal negative strategy is a good topic generic: “Every topical affirmative must do [x]. [x] links to our topic-specific DA and/or generates competition for our topic-specific CP.” After that, I like classic debate disadvantages (politics, hegemony, e.g.) and counterplans (including Consult). I think it is difficult to beat most well-constructed affirmatives without a counterplan of some sort.
Disadvantages – I will not assign zero OR 100% weight to an advantage OR a disadvantage. Do your updates, but I tend to evaluate the direction of the link. While I try to keep it out of my decision, I am not oblivious to the ridiculousness of your scenario. I am more likely to spot ridiculousness in areas with which I am familiar. (I majored in economics)
Topicality – Affirmatives are topical until proven otherwise. That burden of proof is emphatically high. In order to win topicality, you need to compare what debating on this topic looks like under your interpretation vs the affirmative’s interpretation. It is insufficient to merely assert that the topic would be smaller under your interpretation. You need to talk about why the collection of affirmatives, disadvantages, and counterplans available under your interpretation would make for significantly better debate than the analogous collection available under the affirmative’s interpretation.
I give affirmatives a lot of leeway in characterizing the plan. In cross examination, the affirmative has the right to not take a stance on certain questions, e.g., whether Congress passes the plan. If a negative runs the XO CP, the affirmative has a right to say “Perm do the CP; that is how our plan passes; moving on.” I give the affirmative more leeway the less useful the counterplan is.
Counterplans – Are theoretically legitimate until proven otherwise. This burden of proof is also emphatically high. In debating counterplan theory, both sides need an interpretation of what a negative can and cannot do. An affirmative must prove that the negative’s interpretation significantly decreases the quality of the resulting debate. I like PICs, agent counterplans, consultation counterplans, etc.
Kritiks – Any acceptable framework should allow the affirmative to weigh the advantages of the plan against the implication of the kritik. Winning that “failure to solve the root cause means you do not solve” is a solvency question. I am unlikely to think that an affirmative has zero solvency in such case. I think affirmatives let negatives get away with a lot in terms of kritik links and alternatives. I am persuaded by “all other instances” permutations, because I think negatives very often do not have an explanation for why the plan in particular is key.
I do my best to avoid pulling the trigger on cheap shots, but if you failed to respond to a dumb argument, it makes you look disorganized and hurts your ethos.
Style – Keeping these notes in mind make you look more organized and “with it,” which will improve your speaker points. – Flowing and line by line are good. Referencing your opponents’ arguments in order and by number are good. Paperless debate is not an excuse to not flow. ALSO: Many theory debates in particular are super fast and super clear. Teams appear to be having a really good debate with each other. But they fail to realize that the only reason they can follow along is because they have immediate access to their opponent’s blocks / speech documents. The judge does not. We are in effect excluded from the conversation. If you want us to evaluate the argument, you need to make sure that we are flowing. It is your responsibility to make sure that your judge understands you. It is not your judge’s responsibility to call for all of your evidence OR try to recreate the entire debate from the fragments that did make it onto the page. Debate is, at its core, a communicative undertaking.
Finally, I do not give away free time, even for flashing. I keep a running clock: I stop a constructive after 8 minutes, cross examination after 11minutes, and just subtract out the 11 when you give me an order for the next speech. I start speech time after the order is given.
Experience- This will be my third year coaching at Northview High School. Before moving to Georgia, I coached for 7 years at Marquette High in Milwaukee, WI and I debated there for four years.
Yes, add me to the email chain. My email is email@example.com
*As I have gained more coaching and judging experience, I find that I highly value teams who respect their opponents who might not have the same experience as them. This includes watching how you come across in CX, prep time, and your general comportment towards your opponent. In some local circuits, circuit-style policy debate is dwindling and we all have a responsibility to be respectful of the experience of everyone involved in policy debate.*
*Clarity in online debates- I do not flow off the document that you send me. This means that you must take extra precautions to be clear in online debates. I haven't found a good way to communicate with debaters that they are too unclear to flow, because it's difficult to demonstrate frustration over video calls and the alternative is interrupting the call. I will say clear once or twice. Please keep an eye on your clarity.*
LD Folks at the Blue Key RR, please read the addendum at the end of my paradigm.
Big picture “ideologies”
-I believe that rounds often lack comparative claims about the relative quality of arguments and how this impacts the interactions of arguments. Put another way, impact calculus does not only pertain to weighing the magnitude, timeframe and probability of impacts against each other but also pertains to comparing the way in which defensive arguments, claims about qualifications, evidence quality or other similar arguments impact how I should evaluate certain arguments within the round. When debating, always ask the question "Why?", such as "If I win this argument, WHY is this important?", "If I lose this argument WHY does this matter?". If you start thinking in these terms and can explain each level of this analysis to me, then you will get closer to winning the round. In general, the more often this happens and the earlier this happens it will be easier for me to understand where you are going with certain arguments. This type of analysis definitely warrants higher speaker points from me and it helps you as a debater eliminate my predispositions from the debate.
-For me to vote on a single argument, it must have a claim, warrant, impact, and impact comparison. This also applies to how I judge DA an CP debates.
A DA is not a full DA until a uniqueness, link, internal link and impact argument is presented. Too many teams are getting away with 2 card DA shells in the 1NC and then reading uniqueness walls in the block. I will generally allow for new 1AR answers.
Similarly, CP's should have a solvency advocate read in the 1NC. I'll be flexible on allowing 1AR arguments in a world where the aff makes an argument about the lack of a solvency advocate.
- Yes, terminal defense exists, however, I do not think that teams take enough advantage of this kind of argument in front of me. I will not always evaluate the round through a lens of offense-defense, but you still need to make arguments as to why I shouldn’t by at least explaining why your argument functions as termainal defense. Again this plays into evidence questions and the relative impacts of arguments claims made above.
With those three main paradigmatic questions out of the way, here are my thoughts on particular arguments. This list is by no means exhaustive and if you have any questions about specifics, feel free to ask. Again, these are just predispositions that I would like to eliminate as much as possible while judging but I cannot shy away from the fact that they exist and will impact the way I think about rounds.
Case- Debates are won or lost in the case debate. By this, I mean that proving whether or not the aff successfully accesses all, some or none of the case advantages has implications on every flow of the debate and should be a fundamental question of most 2NRs and 2ARs. I think that blocks that are heavy in case defense or impact turns are incredibly advantageous for the neg because they enable you to win any CP (by proving the case defense as a response to the solvency deficit), K (see below) or DA (pretty obvious). I think that most affs can be divided into two categories: affs with a lot of impacts but poor internal links and affs with very solid internal links but questionable impacts. Acknowledging in which of these two categories the aff you are debating falls should shape how you approach the case debate. I find myself growing increasingly disappointed by negative teams that do not test weak affirmatives. I miss judging impact turn debate, but don't think that spark or wipeout are persuasive arguments.
DA- I most often evaluate the DA through a lens of probability. Your job as the aff team when debating a DA is to use your defensive arguments to question the probability of the internal links to the aff. Likewise, the neg should use turns case arguments as a reason why your DA calls into question the probability of the aff's internal link. I think that an interesting argument that is often not taken advantage of by the neg is DA is the prerequisite for the aff argument.
CP- While, when it is a focus of the debate, I tend to err affirmative on questions of counterplan competiton, I have grown to be more persuaded by a well-executed counterplan strategy even if the counterplan is a process counterplan. The best counterplans have a solvency advocate who is, at least, specific to the topic, and, best, specific to the affirmative. I do not default to judge kicking the counterplan and will be easily persuaded by an affirmative argument about why I should not default to that kind of in-round conditionality.
K- I think that the best critiques are critiques that directly engage the action of the affirmative, however, criticisms or the representations of the aff are also fair. Most rounds on the K are won in front of me when the 2N explains how the K turns the case or is somehow a prerequisite for the aff. I do find permutations persuasive when this sort of analysis is lacking, however. I also find that I will give higher speaker points to the team that explains links to specific lines in their opponents' evidence or to the logic within cross-x answers etc.
I will say that I think the strategy of going for the K with case defense is an argument combination that is not utilized enough. I think that case defense allows you to provide substantive ways in which I can call into question the assumptions of the aff. I think that it is very difficult in high school debate for an aff team to come back from a block that consists of the K and case defense exclusively. By case debate, I do not just mean your generic K links put on the case page. Sure, there's some advantages to this strategy, but making smart arguments that disprove the thesis of their aff is always a good idea. K teams so frequently let policy affs get away with some really poor evidence quality and weak internal links. Please help the community and deter policy teams from reading one bad internal link to their heg aff against your [INSERT THEORY HERE] K. (NOTE: This is not me encouraging you to exclusively debate like this in front of me, I just think that it is an under used strategy).
More familiar bodies of literature: Queerness, security, Lacan, capitalism, anthro
Somewhat familiar: settler colonialism, afropessimism, cybernetics
Less familiar: Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze
K affs- After having judged an increasing amount of debates between plan-less affs and framework, I have started to realize that my thoughts on this question are changing.
1.) Topicality is winning more debates in front of me- While I think that it is possible for teams to win debates vs. plan-less affirmatives without reading topicality, my thoughts on T as an effective strategy against these affs have changed to the point where I think this is a strategic position.
2.) The form vs. content distinction is persuasive- Teams that make arguments that distinguish between the content of the affirmative and the form of policy debate are generally persuasive to me. I think that the evolution in TVA and negative state action arguments have persuaded me that the content of the affirmative can be accessed through "topical" action. This, of course, does not mean that there isn't room for discussion here. Aff teams should be specific when making these arguments.
3.) Case in T debates- Regardless of the side you're on in one of these debates, I think that a lot of the debate comes down to whether or not the aff can access the affirmative and if this gives them offense on the T debate. I have been persuaded by "aff comes first" arguments in the past, particularly when the case is conceded. Negatives need to have arguments (preferably specific ones) about why the aff can't access their offense.
4.) I do think there are situations in which it is a fair expectation that the negative should have a specific answer to the affirmative that does not rely on a generic T, cap or disad shell. In particular, I tend to be persuaded by arguments about the predictability of “debate about debate” being a round for which the negative should have been prepared.
For reference, here is what I used to say about K affs (circa 2016-17):
I want to start out this section of my paradigm by saying that I have not judged many debates in which the affirmative has not read a plan text. I have openly coached teams that do not read plan texts and am open to the idea, however, I am not an experienced judge in this area of the debate. This means that if you are a team that does not defend resolutional action or does not read a plan text you must be clear as to how your advocacy statement or performative impact rectifies the impacts isolated in the 1AC.
I think that strong negative offense against these positions stems from kritiks or disads to the performative action/mechanism of the affirmative. In other words, I think the best answers to these affirmatives directly answer the thesis of the affirmative. I do not think that framework/T debates are the best answers to these arguments. Again, if framework is your response, that's fine but you will need to be making portable skills arguments that are contextualized to lack of access in debate, otherization in the debate space etc., to win my ballot in framework debates.
T- While I used to say that T is not necessarily my strong suit, I think that this has changed in the last year particularly given the lack of affirmative creativity on the arms sales topic. I think that portable skills are the best impact teams can make when they are engaged in T or theory debates. Comparative impact calculus and a discussion of how each team accesses their impacts will be important in winning my ballot in T debates. I find it incredibly problematic when there are multiple T interpretations in the round, especially when there are multiple definitions of the same word. However, as mentioned above, I think that an affirmative team can persuasively make arguments about why aff creativity outweighs predictability, particularly on this topic.
Theory- I debated on a team that engaged in a lot of theory debates in high school. There were multiple tournaments where most of our debates boiled down to theory questions, so I would like to think that I am a good judge for theory debates. I think that teams forget that theory debates are structured like a disadvantage. Again, comparative impact calculus is important to win my ballots in these debates. I will say that I tend to err aff on most theory questions. For example, I think that it is probably problematic for there to be more than one conditional advocacy in a round (and that it is equally problematic for your counter interpretation to be dispositionality) and I think that counterplans that compete off of certainty are bad for education and unfair to the aff. Again, portable skills are the most important to me in terms of my predispositions so you will need to do work in round to explain your arguments in this context.
Individuals who have most influenced my thoughts about debate/who's decision making calculus was (at least at one point) similar to mine: Tyler Thur (former partner), Ben Schultz (former coach).
Speaker point range on CJR (for post-round reference):
Average- 28.2 (though teams I've judged that have cleared at circuit tournaments average ~28.7)
I recommend that you go to the bathroom and fill your water bottles before the debate rather than before a speech.
Notes for the Blue Key RR/Other LD Judging Obligations
Biggest shift for me in judging LD debates is the following: No tricks or intuitively false arguments. I'll vote on dropped arguments, but those arguments need a claim, data, warrant and an impact for me to vote on them. If I can't explain the argument back to you and the implications of that argument on the rest of the debate, I'm not voting for you.
I guess this wasn't clear enough the first time around- I don't flow off the document and your walls of framework and theory analytics are really hard to flow when you don't put any breaks in between them.
Similarly, phil debates are always difficult for me to analyze. I tend to think affirmative's should defend implementation particularly when the resolution specifies an actor. Outside of my general desire to see some debates about implementation, I don't have any kind of background in the phil literature bases and so will have a harder time picturing the implications of you winning specific arguments. If you want me to understand how your argumets interact, you will have to do a lot of explanation.
Theory debates- Yes, I said that I enjoy theory debates in my paradigm above and that is largely still true, but CX theory debates are a lot less technical than LD debates. I also think there are a lot of silly theory arguments in LD and I tend to have a higher threshold for those sorts of arguments. I also don't have much of a reference for norm setting in LD or what the norms actually are. Take that into account if you choose to go for theory and probably don't because I won't award you with high enough speaks for your liking.
K debates- Yes, I enjoy K debates but I tend to think that their LD variant is very shallow. You need to do more specific work in linking to the affirmative and developing the implications of your theory of power claims. While I enjoy good LD debates on the K, I always feel like I have to do a lot of work to justify a ballot in either direction. This is magnified
Thoughts from the arms sales topic that I don't expect anyone to even see:
Judging debates on the arms sales topic is most difficult for me when the negative strategy relies on winning an internal link or link turn to affirmative strategies in order to win an off-case position. Absent specific link or comparative sequencing analysis, I find it difficult to evaluate the distinctions between the China War advantage and the Deterrence DA, for example. I believe these debates are most successful at the highest level, but teams that are slower or might not have the strongest strategic vision often fail to win these negative strategies.
Debate Experience:I am a former CDL debater; previously, I was on the Kelly High school debate team in the south side of chicago.
Usual ROB: I usually will flow whatever is presented in front of me in regards to the framework debate.
Summary: I'm primarily a k debater My favourite ks are security or anything language based. Of course a clear link must be articulated in order for me to vote for any negative strategy. I'm also a fan of satire arguments, so show me what you got.
Da: No i don't believe in 100% type arguments; if they were 100% they would have already happened. With that in mind, I will most likely vote for the team that gives me the better link and or link story/ No-link. We live in an ambiguous world, so as long as you prove that it is possible ill give you leverage
T: Topicality/ theory debates are probably one of the most important things that I will be most strict on. For me education and critical thinking are the biggest impacts in round. On T, IF there is a clear violation of the resolution within the plan text, as long as you extend the standards I'll probably vote for you.
k:Depending on the k, if im judging you always go for the k. Enough said. Although if i would vote for the k or not is depended on your framework. Doing good line by line on framework is essential for my vote here.
cp: Counterplans to me are usually a waste of time. But again answer all theory debates/ flows and prove some solvency and ill have no problem voting for you
Speaks: Speaks for me isn't on how fast you can go because that's Bs. You need to be organized, articulative,and convincing. Do all these and i have no problem giving high speaks. But keep in mind, you can be all organized/articulative all you want, i have no problem giving a low point win.
prep: Tell me your taking prep, ill time, we are all happy. If i fail to take time, we are all human we all forget, then ill go with whatever time is given to me first. No I'm not one of those, "take prep for flashing" judges. I've had those and im not gonna be it. Take too long though and we will negotiate.
Remember to me debates a game. Above all else its about education and critical thinking.
Pronouns are she/her
Director of Debate at GBS since 2019, assistant coach for a year before that
My job mostly involves teaching (novice debate + varsity policy + English/Social Studies), admin work, and coaching novices. I'm not particularly involved in the research components of debate anymore.
Former coach at USC/UNLV/UNT/Notre Dame High School
-requires you to work extra hard to form connections with the judge
-means you have to do some preplanning - try to be in a quiet place with a headset. I know this isn't possible for everyone.
*My teams do everything - some are hard right policy teams and some are ... not that. I tend to think that debaters debate best when they find their own brand of debate and let their personality shine through. Whatever your brand of weird is. If I can coach both Michael Scott and Griffin Jacob’s, it is unlikely that your style of debate will phase me.
*Style: Don’t be a jerk for the sake of it, but you shouldn’t feel pressure to be sugary sweet if you’re not - expectations of civility, politeness, etc tend to fall on non cis dudes and BIPOC disproportionately. Therefore a little attitude is fine with me. It’s a competition.
*I've deleted most of my philosophy because I found this year that the rounds where I was most confused about what on Earth teams were doing were the ones were people were trying to over adapt. Please don't do this. I find I'm much better at adapting to teams than teams are at adapting to me (no offense.) Here are just the absolute most important things.
*Won't judge kick for you automatically. You can make the arg that I should judge kick for you; it just won't be my predisposition to do so automatically.
*Clarity is very important to me. So is pen time.
*I often end up flowing straight down as an inevitable consequence of sloppy line by line. Email me for flows/written feedback if you'd like either.
*Zero risk is a thing. Love me some smart defensive arguments against silly arguments.
*I tend to decide quickly and give my best rfds when that’s the case. Don’t be offended - it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good debate.
*If you're making new args late in the debate you're likely to have to justify them to me. That doesn't mean don't do it, it just means defend your actions.
* No touching.
*Clipping = zero points and a hot L. Clarity to the point of non-comprehension that causes a clipping challenge constitutes clipping.
*Please stop trying to classify me as a "K person" or a "policy person." This divide is exceptionally harmful to the community. Spoiler alert, you'll be a better debater if you're flex. I grew up in policy land but also debated in college on the left coast so when people try to classify me they're usually wrong. I get bored easily so I enjoy judging a wide range of debates. I like the topic and think taking action in the 1AC is important... I like even more when judges let the debaters do the debating and try to decide the round as objectively as possible. The times when my background and preferences come into play are only when the debaters don't resolve issues for me and I have no choice but to insert my own opinion.
I welcome any questions you might have and really quite enjoy talking about judging practices. Feel free to email me anytime.
Northside College Prep ’14
Connecticut College ’18
Yes add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: I debated for four years at Northside Prep but haven’t been too involved in the activity since I graduated. I judged at a few tournaments while I was in college but this will be the first year that I’ll be judging more consistently/at more tournaments for what that's worth.
Topicality: I enjoy judging topicality debates when they are in-depth and nuanced. I tend to default to competing interpretations but can be persuaded otherwise. If the interpretation is something "silly," then the aff should be able to beat it without help via me giving the neg’s interpretation less weight. I don’t have very much knowledge going into this topic so be careful of this if you decide to go for T.
Theory: I generally default to reject the argument not the team for most theory arguments unless you work to convince me otherwise. Condo is usually good but is an argument where I can definitely be convinced to reject the team. Make sure you're clear, I flow on paper. A few well thought out and articulated arguments will go much farther than a bunch of blippy arguments that are not well explained.
Kritiks: Some things that are important to win a kritik in front of me include having a clear and concise explanation of what the alternative is, mitigating the risk of the aff, and contextualizing link arguments to the aff. I will consider myself a policymaker until you tell me otherwise. I find that most role of the ballot arguments are self-serving and arbitrary and really are just a way of saying that a certain impact should come first. I don't pretend to read philosophy in my spare time so you absolutely must be able to distill those long boring kritik cards that you read at hyper speed to an explanation I can understand. If I don't understand what you're saying, I won't vote on it.
Disads: I like them a lot. Comparative impact calc and turns case arguments are always appreciated. Make sure you have a clear link to the affirmative. It is possible to win no risk of a disad but you have to work hard for it. Not really persuaded by politics theory arguments.
Counterplans: I like them a lot too. I like smart, specific counterplans. In most cases you’ll need a specific solvency advocate for your counterplan or it’ll be an uphill battle trying to get me to vote for it. Counterplans that result in the plan are probably not legitimate.
- Tech over truth (in almost all cases)
- Tag team cross-x is fine as long as it’s not excessive.
- Don't let your kritik overviews / theory blocks become a blur.
- Asking a team what cards were or were not read in a speech doc is either cross-x time or prep time.
- I won’t kick the K or the counterplan unless the 2NR explicitly tells me.
- Be respectful to your partner and opponents. If you aren't, your speaker points will reflect it.
- Insert this re-highlighting: I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate.
Last updated 1-10-22
Policy Paradigm (LD at bottom)
Former co-head coach at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin
--Yes, I want to be on the email chain. Blerickson95@gmail.com
--Overall, I am not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed, and I vote for the team that quite literally makes the most sense to me. I am not afraid to take the easy way out if I am given warranted reasons why I should. The harder you make it for me, the more work you make me do, the less likely you are to get my ballot, and I think that makes sense and is fair.
--Your speaks will increase if you don't spend at ton of time at the beginning of cross ex asking what cards were and weren't read :) (I like flowing!)
--Maybe I am just old and grumpy but, do not wear your headphones in round, at any time, once the debate starts. Not in one ear only, not because "you'e just the 1N", not because you are the 2A and don't want to listen to the 1AC. I think it's rude, pompous, and just plain obnoxious. No debater in the world is too important to listen to a full debate. It is so disrespectful to the other team, the judge, and everyone who took time to be at that debate. Ugh. I hate it so much. Headphones on during a debate are an auto 27 or lower. That's all :) *Obviously this does not carry through for online debate!
Generally good for:
--Cheater counterplan debates
Not as good for:
--Any type of death good argument (I think death is bad, and we should try to avoid it)
--Any strategy that is largely based off of debate being inherently bad/irredeemable
Online debate things:
--I would prefer if the person speaking had their camera on, but I am obviously understanding if that cannot happen.
--I have a really cute puppy named Bean. If you ask about her I will be happy and maybe she'll make an appearance :)
--I keep my camera on for the debate but I turn it off during prep to go sit on my couch and hold my dog. So, please make sure, before you start your speech, I am back on the camera. If I am not and you start, that would be no good.
--I, for the most part, love this activity, and respect anyone who takes the time and effort to participate. This activity is rigorous, and good for you for even being here. I welcome questions before and after the round. I realize some people won't agree with my decision, and I welcome questions as to how I came to my conclusion. However, what I don't welcome, is blatant disrespect because you disagree with my decision. Slamming your things, muttering rude things under your breath, or screaming at me, won't make me email tab begging to change my ballot. In fact, it will make me really not like you.
--I flow on paper, so I need pen time. I understand and follow the debate better this way, but that also means I am not writing everything down verbatim, so if you have arguments you think are important, sit on them.
--I am very expressive. I have tried to have a better poker face, but I simply cannot do it. You should be able to tell if I am unhappy or not.
--Don't be racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. You will lose immediately and receive the lowest speaker points I am allowed to give u
--Prep ends when you’re done prepping and begin flashing/emailing (I can tell if you’re flashing/emailing or prepping, if I see you prepping off prep time, I’ll start your speech time)
--If you clip and it's recorded, you lose. It needs to be recorded.
--I will not evaluate things that happened outside of the debate.
No debates judged on this topic. Plz don't use acronyms without explaining them first.
--The role of the judge is to decide who did the best debating. The role of the ballot is to tell Tabroom who won.
--Fiat isn't real and that's fine.
--This is my area of less familiarity. Although I have fairly frequently found myself in the back of clash of civ debates, I am less familiar with critical arguments. IR K's such as cap, security, gender, etc. I do not have a problem understanding. I have a harder time understanding high theory, philosophy debates. Pleeease do not assume I have read your author. Do not let this dissuade you from reading your bread and butter K arguments in front of me, just know I need more explanation. I think in good debates this can even just be done in a cross ex.
--I need a reason why the aff is bad. I often find myself voting on the perm because I do not know why the aff is specifically bad for causes more bad things to happen. I am not saying this can't be done, it definitely can be done, and should be.
--I am not here to change how you debate, but it would be disingenuous for me to say my experiences in debate have not affected how I am used to and comfortable evaluating debates. That being said, I tend to think speech times are good, and an hour and a half of discussion is not as good. If we are going to throw speech times out the window, I need to know what the structure is for the remainder of the debate. I.e. when we are done, how I should evaluate arguments in this new format, etc. If there is no structure, I need to know why not having a structure for the debate is good. I do my very best to not intervene, and if the debate devolves into a discussion, the only time I will intervene is to say when time is up for the round. It would be GREAT if that was done for me by one of the teams. I try to talk in debate rounds *literally* as little as possible but I also do not want to make the tournament run behind.
--I have evaluated many framework debates, but I think I am about even voting for and against it. That being said, I think predictable limits are my point of most persuasion. But do what u do.
--I need to know what the aff does. I just do.
--I do not necessarily need you to defend hypothetical USfg action, but I really appreciate topic relevance.
Anything is legitimate until you prove to me that it’s not. If you drop these things, you lose*: Conditionality, ASPEC. Flow! Don't just follow the speech doc! Ask what reasons are to reject the team in cx!
*I think sometimes cross applications are sufficient. Or aff outweighs arguments for critical affs. It literally just depends how the debate shakes out, but I would just try to answer them explicitly the first time.
I think fairness can be an internal link or an impact depending on how you spin it. Tell me how you want me to view and evaluate fairness.
I have recently realized that I take a little more than the average person to vote on T. I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise. T isn’t an RVI. Slow down on T debates plz.
For me to vote on topicality, I need: a topical version of the aff (doesn't need to solve the aff, it just needs to show an alternate, topical version of the discussion), a list of topical aff's under your interpretation, a list of what you were deprived of in the debate because of the aff's untopicality OR a reason why I should vote on potential abuse.
I’m a big fan. Counterplans should be competitive and have a solvency advocate, in my perfect world. But hey, I am becoming more and more okay with counterplans that do not have a solvency advocate for some reason.
The more specific, the better. Sufficiency arguments are persuasive to me. I need to know HOW the counterplan solves every portion of the aff, don’t just assert that it does. Process, conditions, delay, consult, advantage etc. I’m fine with; like I said, anything is legitimate unless proved otherwise. I really like smart pics/word pics.
My mantra has always been, if you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'. Cheating counterplans can get the job done and if there is no theoretical objection to reject the argument, you may be in trouble. That being said, compelling reasons why that specific cheating counterplan is bad can sometimes convince me to reject the argument. Again, it's ~debatable~
*The only counterplan I think is silly and likely won't vote for is a PIC out of the ballot. Never got it, never will, likely will always think it's silly.
Aff: Solvency deficits need to be impacted. But WHY is the federal government key? Also, I would really like if permutations were more than just "Do both" at the end of the debate, but if the neg never presses you on what this means, I will likely give the aff a lot of leeway throughout the debate on what that means/how it functions. This is important--negative teams are deciding what the permutation is and how it functions for the aff and it is just destroying the aff. Tell me what your perm means and how it functions, if you let the neg do it for you I can bet it won't turn out well for you.
I am hearing a lot of "perm shields the link to the net benefit so it solves". WHY. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY. HOW. WHY AND HOW. I am begging you to give me some sort of permutation explanation.
That being said, “Protect the 2nr” is a persuasive phrase to me in situations that call for it. I will kick the counterplan for the negative, if it's conditional, unless I am given a reason not to by the aff.
A disadvantage has: uniqueness, a link, an internal link, and an impact. 2 card disads make me sad and I am immediately skeptical of them.
Disad-case debates are my favorite. What I was told as a novice still applies today: tell me the story of your disad. How does the link/internal link chain work to achieve the impact, etc. Disad overviews are important (cards in overviews are cool too); turns case arguments are basically necessary to my ballot. Tell me how your impact relates to the aff.
Engage the case! Do case debate!
I debated at two LD tournaments in high school: Nat quals and NFL (now NSDA?) nationals my junior year. I coached LD for 3 years before coming to Homestead. I have coached/judged very traditional, value-criterion LD debate, and I have also coached/judged progressive LD debate. I am truly fine with either. For more progressive LD debate, my policy paradigm applies. A couple caveats:
--T or theory is not an RVI. I realize the time skew in LD debate. T or theory is not an RVI. I will vote on theory, just not silly ones.
--Shorter speeches than in policy, so I think a bunch of short off-case positions are less preferable than less, more in-depth off-case positions. But do what u need to do.
--Cutting evidence from debate blogs? nah
--In-depth, educational debates about the topic? Yeah!!!
Have fun!! :)
BACKGROUND- I debated at duPont Manual H.S. (1987-91) and Augustana College (in the NDT) (1991-94). I have been an asst coach at several Chicago high schools: Whitney Young, Lane Tech, Juarez, and Hope. I have been coaching and judging in the Chicago Debate League since 1999.
I am open to any type of argument and style as long as you make compelling justifications for why I should vote for your team. I WILL NOT do the work for you. Make sure that you are extending your impacts at the end of the round and providing some type of comparative impact calculus that frames my ballot.
I appreciate creativity over predictability . I get tired of weighing Nuclear War and a Politics DA.
Overviews are appreciated . Let me know what is most important in the round. If I have a messy rd, I use overviews in rebuttals to help whittle it down. (i.e. "There are 3 reasons why you vote for us this rd...." )
Anything that happens before the rd ( i.e. disclosures) is irrelevant to the rd. I don't consider lack of disclosures "abusive".
ROADMAPS- Give good ones- Tell me the order of the arguments of your speech. Roadmaps are used to help people put their flows in order. Don't just say something like, "I'm just gonna do a general overview of everything." That's not a roadmap. Give the order: "Topicality, DA, then Solvency...".
TIMEKEEPING You are welcome to time your own speeches, but I like to keep prep time , just in case.
TAG TEAM CROSS-EX: I think it is important for novices and jv debaters to learn how to think on their feet and answer questions on their own, so I discourage tag teaming. I allow it, but it may cost you speaker points.
TOPICALITY is a voting issue. it is not a time skew . T is important because it's like a separate arena in the round. There are a lot of ways to argue that aren't necessarily dependent on cards. Debaters need more brain power and have to develop more arguments while in the rd. T is my favorite stock issue. I was a "Topicality Jock" when I debated. LOL.
SPEED is fine if I can understand you. I will let you know if I don't. Be sure the tag lines to your cards are clear, and feel free to spew as much as you want during the text of the cards. Do NOT SKIP ("CARD CLIPPING") the important parts of text while you read it. If you stop reading a card before getting to the tag implications, I won't count it in the round. [Example: If the tag line says "Nukes lead to extinction" and you only read the first sentence of the text: "Certain scientists discussed nuclear power today." . That is not completely read.]
KRITIKS are fine with me. Explain it as though I am hearing it for the first time. Don't skip certain parts of it because it may be a popular K. Feel free to go crazy, as long as the LINK is explained. ! P.S. Personal insults are not arguments. They really aren't.
Know your arguments and evidence ahead of time. I have seen too many rounds where a K is shoved into a debater's hands right before a round, and the debater knows nothing about the K. Evidence isn't the only thing you need to win the round. You need to be able to explain the arguments and implications. I usually consider an "alternative paradigm" observation BEFORE stock issues (like T). I would like to hear in the rd reasons why the paradigm comes first, though.
I can become impatient and start prep time if someone's computer glitches take too long.
DISADS- Please remember to extend all 3 parts of a DA throughout the Neg block and 2NR. I'm not kidding.
COUNTERPLANS - If you go for the CP in the 2NR you must win it to win the round. This means extending all parts of it and explaining the Net Benefit.
END OF ROUND- I don't talk a lot at the end of the round. I write everything on the ballot. I also don't like to read cards at the end of the round. Don't ask me to unless you believe they are being misinterpreted. I have a problem with Huffington Post cites. I may need to see the quals of the author. I also will not argue with anyone about my decision.
Yes, email chain. email@example.com
Debater--The University of Michigan '91-'95
Head Coach--Oak Park and River Forest HS '15-'20
Assistant Coach--New Trier Township High School '20-
--Old School Policy.
--Like the K on the Neg. Harder sell on the Aff
--Truth is slightly >Tech. But silence is concession.
--Quality of Evidence Counts. Massive disparities warrant intervention on my part.
--Not great with theory debates.
--Prefer arguments that originate from Truth and Research. The more you respect the value of research in your round, the happier I will be.
--I am a better judge if the round is about substance rather than procedure or ethos.
Advantage vs Disadvantage.
I will always give more credence to the team that has a more consistent narrative and better explains causality from A to B to C. I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read. Coherent and plausible stories with good evidence will always win out in my mind. You not understanding obvious political reality will cast a bit of a shadow over your credibility.
Not a big fan of Pre-Fiat DA's: Spending, Must Pass Legislation, Riders, etc. I will err Aff on theory unless the Neg has some really good evidence as to why not.
KNOW YOUR POLITICS!! Knowledge of the Legislative process is about the only decent thing that this DA teaches you. Teams that know how PC or Floor Time actually work will earn my ballot far more easily.
It is perfectly okay for Agents to be a part of the debate. No International Fiat and Object Fiat please. 50 State is iffy for me. Have a solvency advocate and I become flexible on all of this.
PICs-- all good.
Process Counterplans-- You had better have a solvency advocate and a good one and you had better prove why your "process" is somehow valuable and/or educational. Absent that, I will err aff on CP theory debates. The more generic the CP is, the more likely I will vote on Perm do the CP.
Some thoughts about CP theory debates--Largely okay with lots of conditional arguments. 4-5 condo is no big deal for me. Be advised that I don’t spend much, if any, time thinking about CP theory so I have no real baseline for how I feel about intrinsic perms or functional vs textual competitiveness or things of that ilk. That said, if you choose to have this debate you open yourself up to my whims. The best way to avoid this is to prove that the other team’s model is bad for debate and education.
I will judge kick automatically unless given a decent reason why not in the 1AR.
If you lean on high theory or K Affs, just do yourself a favor and put me low or strike me. If you can't do that...
I have voted for a lot of K-Affs and it is usually because the Aff effectively impact turned Framework and beat back a TVA. If you can do those things, you can get my ballot.
Topic relevance is important.
If your goal is to use the K-Aff as a means to teach an old white male who engages with both capitalism and the state for a living something valuable, then I am all ears. I love being taught things and you have done the Aff justice. If your goal is to make blanket statements about why certain people are good or bad or should be excluded from valuable discussions then I am not your judge. We are all flawed.
I do not like “debate is bad” arguments. I don't think that being a "small school" is a reason why I should vote for you.
Kritiks vs Policy Affs:
Truth be told, I vote Neg on Kritiks vs Policy Affs A LOT. I have even voted on Neg FW as Offense.
I am prone to voting Aff on Perms, so be advised College Debaters. But I also do not feel that an Alt is always necessary, especially with Reps K.
I am not up on the Lit AT ALL, so the polysyllabic word stews you so love to concoct are going to make my ears bleed.
I like reading cards after the debate and find myself understanding nuance better when I can. If you don’t then you leave me with only the bad handwriting on my flow to decipher what you said an hour later and that’s not good for anybody.
When I usually vote Neg its because the Aff has not done a sufficient job in engaging with core elements of the K, such as Ontology, Root Cause Claims, etc.
I am not a great evaluator of Framework debates and will usually err for the team that accesses Education Impacts the best.
Because it theoretically serves an external function that affects other rounds, I do give the Aff a fair amount of leeway when the arguments start to wander into a gray area. The requirement for Offense on the part of the Affirmative is something on which I place little value. Put another way, the Aff need only prove that they are within the predictable confines of research and present a plan that offers enough ground on which to run generic arguments. The Negative must prove that the Affirmative skews research burdens to a point in which the topic is unlimited to a point beyond 20-30 possible cases and/or renders the heart of the topic moot.
Plan Text in a Vacuum is a silly defense.
Limits and Fairness are not in and of themselves an impact. Take the impacts to the next level.
Things that make me happy:
Nuanced Case Debates. Obviously being prepared. Impact Turns. Link Turns. (not at the same time) Specific Links. Tricks and Traps. Debating evidence. Beating an argument in Cross Ex.
Things that make me unhappy:
Spark. OSPEC. Over highlighting. Hidden Theory Arguments. New Affs Bad. Poor disclosure ethics. Wipeout. Not using that awesome thing your partner said in CX in your speech. Trying to prove why debate makes people bad. Calling me “judge.” Turning debates into poetry slams or video games.
PUBLIC FORUM SUPPLEMENT:
I judge about 1 PF Round for every 50 Policy Rounds so bear with me here.
I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.
Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at things from a cost benefit perspective. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Impacts need to be tangible.
Evidence quality is very important.
I will vote on what is on the flow (yes, I flow) and keep my personal opinions of arguments in check as much as possible. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.
Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.
Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.
While I am not a fan of formal “Kritik” arguments in PF, I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. Racism and Sexism will not be tolerated. You can attack your opponents scholarship.
I reward debaters who think outside the box.
I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. Again, I am not a fan of the Kritik, but if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”
Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them. Often the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.
While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.
The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc.) then the Con gets some leeway.
I care about substance and not style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because your tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.
Relax. Have fun.
Minneapolis South/Occasional judging for Minnesota
My email is izakgm [at] gmail.com, add me to the email chain before the round, please and thank you.
Good debating overwhelms anything else on here. I've coached and judged teams of all styles. I will try my best to evaluate the round on your terms and not my own.
do whatever you gotta do for your internet quality. I'd like camera on but if you can't, you can't, and I won't hold it against you and you don't need to explain to me.
Some tweaks for the TOC based on things I've noticed judging this year.
How I judge - big picture > minutia.
I appreciate explicit impact comparison, judge instruction, and when the 2nr/2ar starts in a place that helps me resolve the rest of the debate. I don't mean "they dropped my role of the ballot!!!!!!". If you say "extinction outweighs" but don't tell me what it outweighs, I'll just assume you mean its important since you haven't made a comparative claim.
I'm flow centered, but not a fan of cheap shots or punishing small mistakes. I'm not a perfect flow. In fact I am certainly one of the worst flowers on the circuit and yet I use my flow to decide the round. If you want me to evaluate your argument its on you to make sure its on my flow. Late breaking and unforeseeable arguments may justify new responses. I do have 2n sympathyTM and will check the 2ar against arguments that weren't in the 1ar. 2nr line drawing or instruction remains helpful.
I think in terms of risks, including zero risk and presumption. Offense/defense works well a lot of the time, but I'm not a cultist. If internal links are missing and the other team points it out without reply, I'm not giving you 1% just for fun.
I think I used to be harder on the 1ar and 2nr. Now I give a bit more leeway if there was sufficient explanation earlier in the debate. I pay close attention to and often flow cross-x if its going somewhere.
I read less evidence than many judges at the end of the round. If your superior evidence quality is not explained, I might miss it. I will not reconstruct the round through the docs afterwards. I won't read along unless I suspect clipping. If you deliver the text of your evidence incomprehensibly fast I will not read the text of it later to figure out what you said. Again, the burden of communication is on you.
I love strategic concessions and rehighlightings. If you are right and you read it in the speech, I will prioritize your analysis. It makes sense to insert things like charts. If its "a stake the round on it" kind of issue, please do not insert a rehighlighting, I need you read it. If its just an FYI about a tertiary issue... go off I guess.
I'm pretty expressive and might intervene vocally to move you off a stale cx direction or motion to move on if you are repeating yourself in the speech. My resting face is rather stern, don't take it personally. I'm probably still vibing with you.
FW v K aff - Yes, I will vote either way. It comes down to links and impacts like any other debate and the best teams in these rounds have offense and defense.
Neg teams: I'll be honest, if you say debate is a game more than twice my eyes start to glaze over. Fairness can be an impact but it usually feels like a small one. By this I mean if the aff wins any impact at all it will be more important to me than fairness. If that's your approach you'll need to be playing great defense (lots of ways to do this) or really filtering out aff offense somehow. I say this and yet I think fairness/clash is by far the most strategic version of this argument. Y'all think I didn't notice you just ctrl-f'd your fairness blocks with clash? Ignoring the questions posed by the aff or repeatedly mischaracterizing the aff's claims will likely result in an aff ballot.
Aff teams: I'm open to whatever approach you want to take. I'm personally more interested in strategies built around a counter interpretation even if its not an intuitive (or predictable) one, will vote for impact turns alone and in many cases that is more strategic. Just FYI, I do not know what the symbolic economy is, so if you are the first one to explain it to me then kudos. I think I just learned what a psychoanalytic drive is last month but I still might not understand it. If the TVA is something I'm thinking about during my decision time, even if you dropped it, then you've written or explained your aff poorly If your model doesn't explain a role for negation, or your aff is so uncontroversial that it doesn't hold up to a basic inherency push, I can see myself voting neg easily.
Ks on the neg - Love these debates. Explanation is vital on both sides. Aff teams that explain their internal links and solvency have the most success against ks in front of me. Aff framework arguments that exclude kritiks entirely will be a tough sell. If the alt is cheating, you can point that out tho ;) I've yet to hear a persuasive explanation for judge choice - I will only vote on benefits of your plan that you explain. Neg teams do well with strong links that implicate the case. You don't always need an alt in the 2nr, but you might be better off defending an imperfect alt instead of just the squo, especially if the 2ar is on to you. Perms are a valuable tool but 90% of aff wins would be on case outweighs whether the perm was present or not.
Policy stuff - Yes. I like internal link and solvency presses. Impact defense can make sense, but "x doesn't cause extinction" might not get your there if the other team has a nuanced impact comparison. I have a loose attachment to the "link first" camp until you tell me otherwise. My time in Minnesota has left me with a love for impact turns, don't care how dumb it seems. If you can't beat stupid... I don't know what to tell you.
I struggled with Judge Kick for a while. I've come around. I still enjoy strategic and narrow 2nrs (i.e. not making me do this). If you explicitly (saying "squo is always an option" in 1nc cx counts) flag this as an option by the end of the block I'm game. I am open to affs that ask me to stick the 2nr to the cp.
Things it might be helpful to know about me/carrots+sticks/hot takes inspired by OTT
- I'd love to be a judge that fully resolved framing first before substance. Unfortunately the quality of debating here is often such that I have to resolve some substance to figure out what to do.
- i understand why no one does this but if the aff team took a stance on something (like an actual explanation of how they solve not solely hedging against agent cps) and the neg fiats through a solvency deficit based in literature and the aff went for theory I might be more likely to vote aff than most. This obviously goes out the window if the aff says the phrase "for the purpose of counterplan competition" at any point in cx.
- If your wiki is sparse your points are capped at 28.6 - its JV behavior, you get JV points.
- If you can't answer basic CX questions about a position you are asking for an L 27. If you think the round is over and you stop your rebuttal VERY early because you have already won (invoke a TKO correctly), the baseline for your points is 29.4.
- I'm lukewarm for plan text in a vacuum. "Only non-arbitrary" blah blah blzh both teams should just debate about what the aff does. I will require some extra convincing before the 2ar and will heavily protect the 2nr here.
- truly random defaults that have come up more than once in rounds that I want on the record: perms are tests of competition so I will jettison them if they would hurt the aff. you can implicitly answer a "ballot pic" by trying to win the round. you can implicitly answer a lot of stuff really I'm not the most strict at lining things up, but if I don't get it that's on you.
If you still have questions, please feel free to email or ask me before the round!
Old CJR thoughts archive
- learning about the criminal justice system is nice. If you teach me something about the topic (yes critical knowledge is part of the topic get over yourself) over the course of the debate, boost to your points. If your aff is about cyberattacks strike me, I simply don't care. If your aff is about cyberattacks and you debate the internal link level well enough to convince me that you were actually talking about criminal justice reform,
- i have some professional experience working on police reform. I live in Minneapolis and South high is blocks from where the 3rd precinct burned. My personal belief is ACAB. I feel familiar with many of the practical arguments for and against abolition, so I have a high threshold for link debating. aff teams, feel free to go for "abolition bad" instead of the perm...
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put me on the email chain if that's still a thing! And if you have any questions, I'd be happy to clarify/answer them!
I don't have any real opinions re: debate controversies, so I'll evaluate the debate as you instruct me to. That being said, even conceded claims require warrants/explanations.
My sense is that I'm more open than many judges to claims that aren't necessarily backed up by "carded evidence" read in the debate, but that can be fact-checked on Google and/or make obvious sense. I think you should be rewarded for reading for pleasure and to become an informed person, rather than just focusing on cutting cards.
More important to me than whether you read a plan text is whether you provide a clear path forward/propose a change to be made, and explain how that change would resolve/lessen the harms you've outlined. That being said, I'm an accounting major and my favorite candidate in the 2020 primary is Mayor Pete, so make of that what you will about my politics/openness to radicalism...
I will give the other team a lot of leeway in their responses if I can't comprehend your argument/couldn't explain it back to you (if I can't understand when I have nothing I have to do or think about other than your argument, how can I expect your opponents to get it while they also have to put together speech docs and come up with a coherent response, all while watching the clock to make sure they don't use too much prep time?). I'll make clear facial expressions to show you if I'm not "getting it" so you can adjust your explanation accordingly.
My background: I was always nervous being judged in high school by people I'd never heard of, so if it helps, I debated for 4 years at Niles West and on and off freshman-junior year of college at Wake (more off than on, honestly). I was in the top 5 speakers at the TOC my senior year, but never attended a major tournament later in the year than October in college. Go into the debate comfortable that I can keep up with whatever happens technically, but that it's been quite a while since I've thought much about debate, so my understandings may be "outdated" or out of line with what have since become norms. Because I do not currently debate or do research, my knowledge of the topic (acronyms, community norms about the best t-interp, etc) is limited. You should assume I know no more than any educated person who reads the news.
Consider me a lay judge. If you spread as fast as you possible you can expect me to miss warrants, claims, or fully grasp the point of your argument. My apologies to the professionals.
I expect serious impact calculus and clear explanation of what you think the voting issues are, and will not do the heavy lifting for you in deciding if your argument is more valid or important than the opposing teams (see above point about being a lay judge...).
Kritiks - theoretically fine, but in practice, even four full speeches on your k will not be sufficient for me to fully understand the argument on the level you want and expect. However, if you feel able to explain to a troglodyte non-expert a little of the jargon and buzzword filled monstrosities of many K tags, go for it.
Speaker points - Be able to explain things in your own words without just regurgitating tags. Make good strategic decisions. Speak persuasively in rebuttals. Do well in CX both asking and answering. Do not be hyper-aggressive. Do be funny, if possible.
I highly value clash (refutations), new arguments, and strong evidence and/or logical analytics from first principles. While speaking ability is important, Congress is firstly a debate event and only second a speech event - both are needed to be holistically successful.
I also suggest any experienced debater incorporate impact calculus, especially in later speeches.
Community Debate Coach Von Stueben High School
************************************NO PLAN, NO WIN**************************************
As you can infer from the debates listed below and other rounds from Speechwire, my limited experience at this point is best for traditional policy debates and not heavy theory (K's). If you are a pure K debate team, and all you like to do is run K's on both sides of debate, you need to strike me as a judge if you can. I have evaluated some K heavy debates, and I did a poor job evaluating them. While I appreciate and see the value of K's, I am not that good at judging them at this point, I continue to work on them, yet I still have the belief that the AFF must be defending the Resolution.
I did not debate as a student, and this is my third year as an assistant coach in a urban high school policy debate program in Chicago. My son is a high school debaterYou are now probably not surprised that I am inclined (not rigidly) to believe that US hegemony and economic growth are good, and that death is bad.
I enjoy Topicality clashes, especially competing interpretations and I favor predictable limits over ground.
In-round Logistical Preferences
Spreading, if I can’t understand what you are saying, how do you expect me to flow? My preference is hybrid, spreading where you need to but slowing down for the points you want to emphasize. If I need you to slow down or better articulate your speech, I will let you know by saying "clear."
If you are sharing evidence electronically, do me the favor and make sure its in the order of your speech, especially if you are spreading.
I appreciate detailed road maps, sign posting, and expect the teams to run the debate (keeping track of time).
If I have to correct any unsportsmanlike behavior, you have already been penalized a 1/2 point and are one the way to losing another 1/2 point. After the 2NR, the Neg team should just flow the 2AR, there is one speech left in the round, so be polite and don't talk, put away your things, etc.
I am a huge fan of debate, I really respect your hard work, and will do my best for you.
Debated for 4 years at New Trier High School.
I believe in tech over truth.
I will vote on any argument (claim, warrant, implication) provided that it is better explained than your opponent's argument.
I am a flow-oriented judge; I weigh the risk of solvency versus the risk of impacts in the context of the round's framework.
Please be friendly to your opponents. Have fun!
T - caselists are nice; standards comparison is important
K - buzzwords need explanation; cards don't act as substitutes for explanation either; Affs should go for the permutation more often (if it makes sense)
CP - I like them; I think if the Aff wins that it is plan-plus it is game over for the Neg
DA - it's important to read good cards
Theory - contextualize the violation to real-world/realistic examples; not hypothetical violations of fairness
Framework - affirmatives should read a plan/advocacy statement. affirmatives that don't read a hypothetical plan of action must have a clear method and solvency.
Welcome to the wonderful world of debate! I debated three years for Kelly high school (2006-09) in Chicago. My world revolved around debate, I competed almost every weekend and attended debate camp. I did not debate in college but coached and judged here and there. I got a B.A. in International Studies and Chican@/Latin@ studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Go BADGERS! (I love talking about my university). After college I continued coaching in Chicago. I currently work for the Chicago Debate League.
I believe debate should be fun and a space where high school debaters have a platform to discuss the ideas of the resolution.
I usually vote based off an offense/defense paradigm.
Impact Calculus are always a win in my book!
I welcome all arguments and styles of debate if impacted, well explained and not ignorant and/or discriminatory in nature.
I like fun engaging and dynamic debates. I know, I know everyone could be so competitive during rounds but make sure you don't sacrifice the persuasiveness, confidence and passion that will make me want to vote for you.
I am NOT a fan of tag team cross-x I like evaluating everyone equally. In addition, be respectful of everyone. I know CX could get heated don't be a jerk.
I like overviews that give me a clear picture of what the debate comes down to. Why your arguments outweigh that of your opponents.
I try my best to keep my personal feeling and bias outside of the debate so it is best if you are making the arguments of what my reasons to vote for you are.
email@example.com if you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me.
I love good clean road maps, sign posting, line-by-line and an emphasis on tags. Make this your debate round.
Good luck in your debate careers!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org --- of course I want to be on the chain
Program Manager and Debate Coach, University of Michigan
Debate Coach, Whitney Young High School (2010-20), Caddo Magnet (2020-21), Walter Payton (2018, 2021-)
Last updated: September, 2021 (topic specific thoughts on antitrust/water are in topicality)
Philosophy: I attempt to judge rounds with the minimum amount of intervention required to answer the question, "Who has done the better debating?", using whatever rubrics for evaluating that question that debaters set up.
I work in debate full-time, so I attend a billion tournaments and judge a ton of debates, lead a seven week lab every summer, talk about debate virtually every day, and research fairly extensively. As a result, I'm familiar with the policy and critical literature bases on both the college antitrust topic and the HS water topic.
I’ve coached my teams to deploy a diverse array of argument types and styles. Currently, I coach teams that primarily read policy arguments. But I was also the primary argument coach for Michigan KM from 2014-16. I’ve coached many successful teams in both high school and college that primarily read arguments influenced by "high theory", postmodernist thought, and/or critical race literature. I'm always excited to see debaters deploy new or innovative strategies across the argumentative spectrum.
Impact turns have a special place in my heart. There are few venues in academia or life where you will be as encouraged to challenge conventional wisdom as you are in policy debate, so please take this rare opportunity to persuasively defend the most counter-intuitive positions conceivable. I enjoy judging debaters with a sense of humor, and I hope to reward teams who make their debates fun and exciting (through engaging personalities and argument selection).
My philosophy is very long. I make no apology for it. In fact, I wish most philosophies were longer and more substantive, and I still believe mine to be insufficiently comprehensive. Frequently, judges espouse a series of predictable platitudes, but I have no idea why they believe whatever it is they've said (which can frequently leave me confused, frustrated, and little closer to understanding how debaters could better persuade them). I attempt to counter this practice with detailed disclosure of the various predispositions, biases, and judgment canons that may be outcome-determinative for how I decide your debate. Maybe you don't want to know all of those, but nobody's making you read this paradigm. Having the option to know as many of those as possible for any given judge seems preferable to having only the options of surprise and speculation.
What follows is a series of thoughts that mediate my process for making decisions, both in general and in specific contexts likely to emerge in debates. I've tried to be as honest as possible, and I frequently update my philosophy to reflect perceived trends in my judging. That being said, self-disclosure is inevitably incomplete or misleading; if you're curious about whether or not I'd be good for you, feel free to look at my voting record or email me a specific question (reach me via email, although you may want to try in person because I'm not the greatest with quick responses).
0) Online debate
Online debate is a depressing travesty, although it's plainly much better than the alternative of no debate at all. I miss tournaments intensely and can't wait until this era is over and we can attend tournaments in-person once again. Do your best not to remind us constantly of what we're missing: please keep your camera on throughout the whole debate unless you have a pressing and genuine technical reason not to. I don't have meaningful preferences beyond that. Feel free to record me---IMO all debates should be public and free to record by all parties, especially in college.
1) Tech v. Truth
I attempt to be an extremely "technical" judge, although I am not sure that everyone means what everyone else means when they describe debating or judging as "technical." Here's what I mean by that: outside of card text, I attempt to flow every argument that every speaker expresses in a speech. Even in extremely quick debates, I generally achieve this goal or come close to it. In some cases, like when very fast debaters debate at max speed in a final rebuttal, it may be virtually impossible for me to to organize all of the words said by the rebuttalist into the argumentative structure they were intending. But overall I feel very confident in my flow: I will take Casey Harrigan up on his flowing gauntlet/challenge any day (he might be able to take me if we were both restricted to paper, but on our computers, it's a wrap).
In addition, being "technical" means that I line up arguments on my flow, and expect debaters to, in general, organize their speeches by answering the other team's arguments in the order they were presented. All other things being equal, I will prioritize an argument presented such that it maximizes clear and direct engagement with its counter-argument over an argument that floats in space unmoored to an adversarial argument structure.
I do have one caveat that pertains to what I'll term "standalone" voting issues. I'm not likely to decide an entire debate based on standalone issues explained or extended in five seconds or less. For example, If you have a standard on conditionality that asserts "also, men with curly unkempt hair are underrepresented in debate, vote neg to incentivize our participation," and the 1ar drops it, you're not going to win the debate on that argument (although you will win my sympathies, fellow comb dissident). I'm willing to vote on basically anything that's well-developed, but if your strategy relies on tricking the other team into dropping random nonsense unrelated to the rest of the debate entirely, I'm not really about that. This caveat only pertains to standalone arguments that are dropped once: if you've dropped a standalone voting issue presented as such in two speeches, you've lost all my sympathies to your claim to a ballot.
In most debates, so many arguments are made that obvious cross-applications ensure precious few allegedly "dropped" arguments really are accurately described as such. Dropped arguments most frequently win debates in the form of little subpoints making granular distinctions on important arguments that both final rebuttals exert time and energy trying to win. Further murkiness emerges when one realizes that all thresholds for what constitutes a "warrant" (and subsequently an "argument") are somewhat arbitrary and interventionist. Hence the mantra: Dropped arguments are true, but they're only as true as the dropped argument. "Argument" means claim, warrant, and implication. "Severance is a voting issue" lacks a warrant. "Severance is a voting issue - neg ground" also arguably lacks a warrant, since it hasn't been explained how or why severance destroys negative ground or why neg ground is worth caring about.
That might sound interventionist, but consider: we would clearly assess the statement "Severance is a voting issue -- purple sideways" as a claim lacking a warrant. So why does "severence is a voting issue - neg ground" constitute a warranted claim? Some people would say that the former is valid but not sound while the latter is neither valid nor sound, but both fail a formal test of validity. In my assessment, any distinction is somewhat interventionist. In the interest of minimizing intervention, here is what that means for your debating: If the 1ar drops a blippy theory argument and the 2nr explains it further, the 2nr is likely making new arguments... which then justifies 2ar answers to those arguments. In general, justify why you get to say what you're saying, and you'll probably be in good shape. By the 2nr or 2ar, I would much rather that you acknowledge previously dropped arguments and suggest reasonable workaround solutions than continue to pretend they don't exist or lie about previous answers.
Arguments aren't presumptively offensive or too stupid to require an answer. Genocide good, OSPEC, rocks are people, etc. are all terribly stupid, but if you can't explain why they're wrong, you don't deserve to win. If an argument is really stupid or really bad, don't complain about how wrong they are. After all, if the argument's as bad as you say it is, it should be easy. And if you can't deconstruct a stupid argument, either 1) the argument may not be as stupid as you say it is, or 2) it may be worthwhile for you to develop a more efficient and effective way of responding to that argument.
If both sides seem to assume that an impact is desirable/undesirable, and frame their rebuttals exclusively toward avoiding/causing that impact, I will work under that assumption. If a team read a 1AC saying that they had several ways their plan caused extinction, and the 1NC responded with solvency defense and alternative ways the plan prevented extincton, I would vote neg if I thought the plan was more likely to avoid extinction than cause it.
I'll read and evaluate Team A's rehighlightings of evidence "inserted" into the debate if Team B doesn't object to it, but when debated evenly this practice seems indefensible. An important part of debate is choosing how to use your valuable speech time, which entails selecting which pieces of your opponent's ev most clearly bolster your position(s).
2) General Philosophical Disposition
It is somewhat easy to persuade me that life is good, suffering is bad, and we should care about the consequences of our political strategies and advocacies. I would prefer that arguments to the contrary be grounded in specific articulations of alternative models of decision-making, not generalities, rhetoric, or metaphor. It's hard to convince me that extinction = nbd, and arguments like "the hypothetical consequences of your advocacy matter, and they would likely produce more suffering than our advocacy" are far more persuasive than "take a leap of faith" or "roll the dice" or "burn it down", because I can at least know what I'd be aligning myself with and why.
Important clarification: pragmatism is not synonymous with policymaking. On the contrary, one may argue that there is a more pragmatic way to frame judge decision-making in debates than traditional policymaking paradigms. Perhaps assessing debates about the outcome of hypothetical policies is useless, or worse, dangerous. Regardless of how you debate or what you debate about, you should be willing and able to mount a strong defense of why you're doing those things (which perhaps requires some thought about the overall purpose of this activity).
The brilliance and joy of policy debate is most found in its intellectual freedom. What makes it so unlike other venues in academia is that, in theory, debaters are free to argue for unpopular, overlooked, or scorned positions and ill-considered points of view. Conversely, they will be required to defend EVERY component of your argument, even ones that would be taken for granted in most other settings. Just so there's no confusion here: all arguments are on the table for me. Any line drawn on argumentative content is obviously arbitrary and is likely unpredictable, especially for judges whose philosophies aren't as long as mine! But more importantly, drawing that line does profound disservice to debaters by instructing them not to bother thinking about how to defend a position. If you can't defend the desirability of avoiding your advantage's extinction impact against a wipeout or "death good" position, why are you trying to persuade me to vote for a policy to save the human race? Groupthink and collective prejudices against creative ideas or disruptive thoughts are an ubiquitous feature of human societies, but that makes it all the more important to encourage free speech and free thought in one of the few institutions where overcoming those biases is possible.
3) Topicality and Specification
Overall, I'm a decent judge for the neg, provided that they have solid evidence supporting their interpretation.
Limits are probably desirable in the abstract, but if your interpretation is composed of contrived stupidity, it will be hard to convince me that affs should have predicted it. Conversely, affs that are debating solid topicality evidence without well-researched evidence of their own are gonna have a bad time. Naturally, of these issues are up for debate, but I think it's relatively easy to win that research/literature guides preparation, and the chips frequently fall into place for the team accessing that argument.
Competing interpretations is potentially less subjective and arbitrary than a reasonability standard, although reasonability isn't as meaningless as many believe. Reasonability seems to be modeled after the "reasonable doubt" burden required to prove guilt in a criminal case (as opposed to the "preponderence of evidence" standard used in civil cases, which seems similar to competing interps as a model). Reasonability basically is the same as saying "to win the debate, the neg needs to win an 80% risk of their DA instead of a 50% risk." The percentages are arbitrary, but what makes determining that a disad's risk is higher or lower than the risk of an aff advantage (i.e. the model used to decide the majority of debates) any less arbitrary or subjective? It's all ballpark estimation determined by how persuaded judges were by competing presentations of analysis and evidence. With reasonability-style arguments, aff teams can certainly win that they don't need to meet the best of all possible interpretations of the topic, and instead that they should win if their plan meets an interpretation capable of providing a sufficient baseline of neg ground/research parity/quality debate. Describing what threshold of desirability their interpretation should meet, and then describing why that threshold is a better model for deciding topicality debates, is typically necessary to make this argument persuasive.
Answering "plan text in a vacuum" requires presenting an alternative standard by which to interpret the meaning and scope of the words in the plan. Such seems so self-evident that it seems banal to include it in a paradigm, but I have seen many debates this year in which teams did not grasp this fact. If the neg doesn't establish some method for determining what the plan means, voting against "the plan text in a vacuum defines the words in the plan" is indistinguishable from voting for "the eighty-third unhighlighted word in the fifth 1ac preempt defines the words in the plan." I do think setting some limiting standard is potentially quite defensible, especially in debates where large swaths of the 1ac would be completely irrelevent if the aff's plan were to meet the neg's interp. For example: if an aff with a court advantage and a USFG agent says their plan meets "enact = Congress only", the neg could say "interpret the words USFG in the plan to include the Courts when context dictates it---even if 'USFG' doesn't always mean "Courts," you should assume it does for debates in which one or more contentions/advantages are both impertinent and insoluable absent a plan that advocates judicial action." But you will likely need to be both explicit and reasonable about the standard you use if you are to successfully counter charges of infinite regress/arbitrariness.
Topicality on water: There aren't very many good limiting devices on this topic. Obviously the states CP is an excellent functional limit; "protection requires regulation" is useful as well, at least insofar as it establishes competition for counterplans that avoid regulations (e.g. incentives). Beyond that, the neg is in a rough spot.
I am more open to "US water resources include oceans" than most judges; see the compiled evidence set I released in the Michigan camp file MPAs Aff 2 (should be available via openevidence). After you read that and the sum total of all neg cards released/read thus far, the reasoning for why I believe this should be self-evident. Ironically, I don't think there are very many good oceans affs (this isn't a development topic, it's a protection topic). This further hinders the neg from persuasively going for the this T argument, but if you want to really exploit this belief, you'll find writing a strategic aff is tougher than you may imagine.
Topicality on antitrust: Was adding 'core' to this topic a mistake? I can see either side of this playing out at Northwestern: while affs that haven't thought about the variants of the 'core' or 'antitrust' pics are setting themselves up for failure, I think the aff has such an expansive range of options that they should be fine. There aren't a ton of generic T threats on this topic. There are some iterations of subsets that seem viable, if not truly threatening, and there there is a meaningful debate on whether or not the aff can fiat court action. The latter is an important question that both evidence and normative desirability will play a role in determining. Beyond that, I don't think there's much of a limit on this topic.
4) Risk Assessment
In front of me, teams would be well-served to explain their impact scenarios less in terms of brinks, and more in terms of probabilistic truth claims. When pressed with robust case defense, "Our aff is the only potential solution to a US-China war that's coming in a few months, which is the only scenario for a nuclear war that causes extinction" is far less winnable than "our aff meaningfully improves the East Asian security environment through building trust between the two great military powers in the region, which statistically decreases the propensity for inevitable miscalculations or standoffs to escalate to armed conflict." It may not be as fun, but that framing can allow you to generate persuasive solvency deficits that aren't grounded in empty rhetoric and cliche, or to persuasively defeat typical alt cause arguments, etc. Given that you decrease the initial "risk" (i.e. probability times magnitude) of your impact with this framing, this approach obviously requires winning substantial defense against whatever DA the neg goes for, but when most DA's have outlandishly silly brink arguments themselves, this shouldn't be too taxing.
There are times where investing lots of time in impact calculus is worthwhile (for example, if winning your impact means that none of the aff's impact claims reach extinction, or that any of the actors in the aff's miscalc/brinkmanship scenarios will be deterred from escalating a crisis to nuclear use). Most of the time, however, teams waste precious minutes of their final rebuttal on mediocre impact calculus. The cult of "turns case" has much to do with this. It's worth remembering that accessing an extinction impact is far more important than whether or not your extinction impact happens three months faster than theirs (particularly when both sides' warrant for their timeframe claim is baseless conjecture and ad hoc assertion), and that, in most cases, you need to win the substance of your DA/advantage to win that it turns the case.
Incidentally, phrasing arguments more moderately and conditionally is helpful for every argument genre: "all predictions fail" is not persuasive; "some specific type of prediction relying on their model of IR forecasting has little to no practical utility" can be. The only person who's VTL is killed when I hear someone say "there is no value to life in the world of the plan" is mine.
At least for me, try-or-die is often bizarrely intuitive based on argument selection (i.e. if the neg spots the aff that "extinction is inevitable if the judge votes neg, even if it's questionable whether or not the aff solves it", rationalizing an aff ballot becomes rather alluring and shockingly persuasive). You should combat this innate intuition by ensuring that you either have impact defense of some sort (anything from DA solves the case to a counterplan/alt solves the case argument to status quo checks resolve the terminal impact to actual impact defense can work) or by investing time in arguing against try-or-die decision-making.
Counterplan theory is a lost art. Affirmatives let negative teams get away with murder. And it's getting worse and worse every year. Investing time in theory is daunting... it requires answering lots of blippy arguments with substance and depth and speaking clearly, and probably more slowly than you're used to. But, if you invest time, effort, and thought in a well-grounded theoretical objection, I'll be a receptive critic.
The best theory interpretations are clear, elegant, and minimally arbitrary. Here are some examples of args that I would not anticipate many contemporary 2N's defeating:
--counterplans should be policies. Perhaps executive orders, perhaps guidence memos, perhaps lower court decisions, perhaps Congressional resolutions. But this would exclude such travesties as "The Executive Branch should always take international law into account when making their decisions. Such is closer to a counterplan that says "The Executive Branch should make good decisions forever" than it is to a useful policy recommendation.
--counterplans should not be able to fiat both the federal government and additional actors outside of the federal government. It's utopian enough to fiat that Courts, the President, and Congress all act in concert in perpetuity on a given subject. It's absurd to fiat additional actors as well.
There are other theoretical objections that I might take more seriously than other judges, although I recognize them as arguments on which reasonable minds may disagree. For example, I am somewhat partial to the argument that solvency advocates for counterplans should have a level of specificity that matches the aff. I feel like that standard would reward aff specificity and incentivize debates that reflect the literature base, while punishing affs that are contrived nonsense by making them debate contrived process nonsense. This certainly seems debateable, and in truth if I had to pick a side, I'd probably go neg, but it seems like a relatively even debate (and it's at minimum a better argument than many of the contrived and desperate solvency deficits that flailing affs teams extend against counterplans).
Competition debates are a particularly lost art. I'm not a great judge for counterplans that compete off of certainty or immediacy based on "should"/"resolved" definitions. I'm somewhat easily persuaded that these interpretations lower the bar for how difficult it is to win a negative ballot to an undesirable degree. That being said, affs lose these debates all the time by failing to counter-define words or dropping stupid tricks, so make sure you invest the time you need in these debates to win them.
"CPs should be textually and functionally competitive" seems to me like a logical and defensible standard. Some don't realize that if CPs must be both functionally and textually competitive, permutations may be either. I like the "textual/functional" model of competition BECAUSE it incentives creative counterplan and permutation construction, and because it requires careful text-writing.
Offense-defense is intuitive to me, and so teams should always be advised to have offense even if their defense is very strong. If the aff says that the counterplan links to the net benefit but doesn't advance a solvency deficit or disadvantage to the CP, and the neg argues that the counterplan at least links less, I am not very likely to vote affirmative absent strong affirmative framing on this question (often the judge is left to their own devices on this question, or only given instruction in the 2AR, which is admittedly better than never but still often too late). At the end of the day I must reconcile these opposing claims, and if it's closely contested and at least somewhat logical, it's very difficult to win 100% of an argument. Even if I think the aff is generally correct, in a world where I have literally any iota of doubt surrounding the aff position or am even remotely persuaded by the the negative's position, why would I remotely risk triggering the net benefit for the aff instead of just opting for the guaranteed safe choice of the counterplan?
Offense, in this context, can come in multiple flavors: you can argue that the affirmative or perm is less likely to link to the net benefit than the counterplan, for example. You can also argue that the risk of a net benefit below a certain threshold is indistinguishable from statistical noise, and that the judge should reject to affirm a difference between the two options because it would encourage undesirable research practices and general decision-making. Perhaps you can advance an analytic solvency deficit somewhat supported by one logical conjecture, and if you are generally winning the argument, have the risk of the impact to that outweigh the unique risk of aff triggering the DA relative to the counterplan. But absent any offensive argument of any sort, the aff is facing an uphill battle. I have voted on "CP links to politics before" but generally that only happens if there is a severe flaw in negative execution (i.e. the neg drops it), a significant skill discrepancy between teams, or a truly ill-conceived counterplan.
I'm a somewhat easy sell on conditionality good (at least 1 CP / 1 K is defensible), but I've probably voted aff slightly more frequently than not in conditionality debates. That's partly because of selection bias (affs go for it when they're winning it), but mainly because neg teams have gotten very sloppy in their defenses of conditionality, particularly in the 2NR. That being said, I've been growing more and more amenable to "conditionality bad" arguments over time.
However, large advantage counterplans with multiple planks, all of which can be kicked, are fairly difficult to defend. Negative teams can fiat as many policies as it takes to solve whatever problems the aff has sought to tackle. It is unreasonable to the point of stupidity to expect the aff to contrive solvency deficits: the plan would literally have to be the only idea in the history of thought capable of solving a given problem. Every additional proposal introduced in the 1nc (in order to increase the chance of solving) can only be discouraged through the potential cost of a disad being read against it. In the old days, this is why counterplan files were hundreds of pages long and had answers to a wide variety of disads. But if you can kick the plank, what incentive does the aff have to even bother researching if the CP is a good idea? If they read a 2AC add-on, the neg gets as many no-risk 2NC counterplans to add to the fray as well (of course, they can also add unrelated 2nc counterplans for fun and profit). If you think you can defend the merit of that strategy vs. a "1 condo cp / 1 condo k" interp, your creative acumen may be too advanced for interscholastic debate; consider more challenging puzzles in emerging fields, as they urgently need your input.
I don't think I'm "biased" against infinite conditionality; if you think you have the answers and technical acuity to defend infinite conditionality against the above argumentation, I'd happily vote for you.
I don't default to the status quo unless you explicitly flag it at some point during the debate (the cross-x or the 2nc is sufficient if the aff never contests it). I don't know why affs ask this question every cross-x and then never make a theory argument about it. It only hurts you, because it lets the neg get away with something they otherwise wouldn't have.
All that said, I don't have terribly strong convictions about any of these issues, and any theoretical predisposition is easily overcame by outdebating another team on the subject at hand.
Most theoretical objections to (and much sanctimonious indignation toward) the politics disadvantage have never made sense to me. Fiat is a convention about what it should be appropriate to assume for the sake of discussion, but there's no "logical" or "true" interpretation of what fiat descriptively means. It would be ludicrously unrealistic for basically any 1ac plan to pass immediately, with no prior discussion, in the contemporary political world. Any form of argument in which we imagine the consequences of passage is a fictive constraint on process argumentation. As a result, any normative justification for including the political process within the contours of permissible argument is a rational justification for a model of fiat that involves the politics DA (and a DA to a model of fiat that doesn't). Political salience is the reason most good ideas don't become policy, and it seems illogical for the negative to be robbed of this ground. The politics DA, then, represents the most pressing political cost caused by doing the plan in the contemporary political environment, which seems like a very reasonable for affs to have to defend against.
Obviously many politics DAs are contrived nonsense (especially during political periods during which there is no clear, top-level presidential priority). However, the reason that these DAs are bad isn't because they're theoretically illegitimate, and politics theory's blippiness and general underdevelopment further aggravate me (see the tech vs truth section).
Finally, re: intrinsicness, I don't understand why the judge should be the USFG. I typically assume the judge is just me, deciding which policy/proposal is the most desirable. I don't have control over the federal government, and no single entity does or ever will (barring that rights malthus transition). Maybe I'm missing something. If you think I am, feel free to try and be the first to show me the light...
7) Framework/Non-Traditional Affs
Despite some of the arguments I've read and coached, I'm sympathetic to the framework argument and fairness concerns. I don't think that topicality arguments are presumptively violent, and I think it's generally rather reasonable (and often strategic) to question the aff's relationship to the resolution. Although framework is often the best option, I would generally prefer to see a substantive strategy if one's available. This is simply because I have literally judged hundreds of framework debates and it has gotten mildly repetitive, to say the least (just scroll down if you think that I'm being remotely hyperbolic).
My voting record on framework is relatively even. In nearly every debate, I voted for the team I assessed as demonstrating superior technical debating in the final rebuttals, and that will continue in the future.
I typically think winning unique offense, in the rare scenario where a team invests substantial time in poking defensive holes in the other team's standards, is difficult for both sides in a framework debate. I think affs should think more about their answers to "switch side solves your offense" and "sufficient neg engagement key to meaningfully test the aff", while neg's should generally work harder to prepare persuasive and consistent impact explanations. The argument that "other policy debates solve your offense" can generally push back against skills claims, and the argument that "wiki/disclosure/contestable advocacy in the 1ac provides some degree of predictability/debateability" can often push back against "vote neg on presumption because truth-testing- we literally couldn't negate it" but for some reason in many debates neg's completely blow off these arguments.
I'm typically more persuaded by affirmative teams that answer framework by saying that the skills/methods inculcated by the 1ac produce more effective/ethical interactions with institutions than by teams that argue "all institutions are bad."
Fairness is not necessarily an impact; it certainly may implicate the education that the aff produces, but calling fairness "procedural" doesn't bestow upon it some mystical external impact without additional explanation (i.e. without an actual explanation attached to that). Fairness is an abstract value. Like most values, it is difficult to explain beyond a certain point, and it can't be proven or disproven. It's hard to answer the question "why is fairness good?" for the same reason it's hard to answer the question "why is justice good?" It is pretty easy to demonstate why you should presume in favor of fairness in a debate context, given that everyone relies on essential fairness expectations in order to participate in the activity (for example, teams expect that I flow and give their arguments a fair hearing rather than voting against them because I don't like their choice in clothes). But as soon as neg teams start introducing additional standards to their framework argument that raise education concerns, they have said that the choice of framework has both fairness and education implications, and if it could change our educational experience, could the choice of framework change our social or intellectual experience in debate in other ways as well? Maybe not (I certainly think it's easy to win that an individual round's decision certainly couldn't be expected to) but if you said your FW is key to education it's easy to see how those kinds of questions come into play and now can potentially militate against fairness concerns.
I think it's perfectly reasonable to question the desirability of the activity: we should all ideally be self-reflexive and be able to articulate why it is we participate in the activities on which we choose to dedicate our time. After all, I think nearly everybody in the world does utterly indefensible things from time to time, and many people (billions of them, probably) make completely indefensible decisions all the time. The reason why these arguments can be unpersuasive is typically because saying that debate is bad may just link to the team saying "debate bad" because they're, you know, debating, and no credible solvency mechanism for altering the activity has been presented.
I know I just explained a rationale for potentially restricting your framework impacts to fairness concerns. But still it's nice and often more fulfilling from a judge's perspective to hear a defense of debate rather than a droll recitation of "who knows why debate's good but we're both here... so like... it must be." If that means "procedural fairness" is de-emphasized in favor of an explanation for why the particular fairness norms established by your topicality interpretation are crucial to a particular vision of the activity and a defense of that vision's benefits, that would be a positive development.
If you're looking for an external impact, there are two impacts to framework that I have consistently found more persuasive than most attempts to articulate one for fairness/skills/deliberation, but they're not unassailable: "switch-side debate good" (forcing people to defend things they don't believe is the only vehicle for truly shattering dogmatic ideological predispositions and fostering a skeptical worldview capable of ensuring that its participants, over time, develop more ethical and effective ideas than they otherwise would) and "agonism" (making debaters defend stuff that the other side is prepared to attack rewards debaters for pursuing clash; running from engagement by lecturing the neg and judge on a random topic of your choosing is a cowardly flight from battle; instead, the affirmative team with a strong will to power should actively strive to beat the best, most well-prepared negative teams from the biggest schools on their terms, which in turn provides the ultimate triumph; the life-affirming worldview facilitated by this disposition is ultimately necessary for personal fulfillment, and also provides a more effective strategy with which to confront the inevitable hardships of life).
Many aff "impact turns" to topicality are often rendered incoherent when met with gentle pushback. It's difficult to say "predictability bad" if you have a model of debate that makes debate more predictable from the perspective of the affirmative team. Exclusion and judgment are inevitable structural components of any debate activity that I can conceive of: any DA excludes affs that link to it and don't have an advantage that outweighs it. The act of reading that DA can be understood as judging the debaters who proposed that aff as too dull to think of a better idea. Both teams are bound to say the other is wrong and only one can win. Many aff teams may protest that their impact turns are much more sophisticated than this, and are more specific to some element of the topicality/FW structure that wouldn't apply to other types of debate arguments. Whatever explanation you have for why that above sentence true should be emphasized throughout the debate if you want your impact turns or DA's to T to be persuasive. In other words, set up your explanation of impact turns/disads to T in a way that makes clear why they are specific to something about T and wouldn't apply to basic structural requirements of debate from the outset of the debate.
I'm a fairly good judge for the capitalism kritik against K affs. Among my most prized possessions are signed copies of Jodi Dean books that I received as a gift from my debaters. Capitalism is persuasive for two reasons, both of which can be defeated, and both of which can be applied to other kritiks. First, having solutions (even ones that seem impractical or radical) entails position-taking, with clear political objectives and blueprints, and I often find myself more persuaded by a presentation of macro-political problems when coupled with corresponding presentation of macro-political solutions. Communism, or another alternative to capitalism, frequently ends up being the only solution of that type in the room. Second, analytic salience: The materialist and class interest theories often relatively more explanatory power for oppression than any other individual factor because they entail a robust and logically consistent analysis of the incentives behind various actors committing various actions over time. I'm certainly not unwinnable for the aff in these debates, particularly if they strongly press the alt's feasibility and explain what they are able to solve in the context of the neg's turns case arguments, and I obviously will try my hardest to avoid letting any predisposition overwhelm my assessment of the debating.
8) Kritiks (vs policy affs)
I'm okay for 'old-school' kritik's (security/cap/etc), but I'm also okay for the aff. When I vote for kritiks, most of my RFD's look like one of the following:
1) The neg has won that the implementation of the plan is undesirable relative to the status quo;
2) The neg has explicitly argued (and won) that the framework of the debate should be something other than "weigh the plan vs squo/alt" and won within that framework.
If you don't do either of those things while going for a kritik, I am likely to be persuaded by traditional aff presses (case outweighs, try-or-die, perm double-bind, alt fails etc). Further, despite sympathies for and familiarity with much poststructural thought, I'm nevertheless quite easily persuaded to use utilitarian cost-benefit analysis to make difficult decisions, and I have usually found alternative methods of making decisions lacking and counter-intuitive by comparison.
Kritik alternatives typically make no sense. They often have no way to meaningfully compete with the plan, frequently because of a scale problem. Either they are comparing what one person/a small group should do to what the government should do, or what massive and sweeping international movements should do vs what a government should do. Both comparisons seem like futile exercises for reasons I hope are glaringly obvious.
There are theory arguments that affs could introduce against alternatives that exploit common design flaws in critical arguments. "Vague alts" is not really one of them (ironically because the argument itself is too vague). Some examples: "Alternatives should have texts; otherwise the alternative could shift into an unpredictable series of actions throughout the debate we can't develop reasonable responses against." "Alternatives should have actors; otherwise there is no difference between this and fiating 'everyone should be really nice to each other'." Permutations are easy to justify: the plan would have to be the best idea in the history of thought if all the neg had to do was think of something better.
Most kritik frameworks presented to respond to plan focus are not really even frameworks, but a series of vague assertions that the 2N is hoping that the judge will interpret in a way that's favorable for them (because they certainly don't know exactly what they're arguing for). Many judges continually interpret these confusing framework debates by settling on some middle-ground compromise that neither team actually presented. I prefer to choose between options that debaters actually present.
My ideal critical arguments would negate the aff. For example, against a heg aff, I could be persuaded by security K alts that advocate for a strategy of unilateral miltary withdrawal. Perhaps the permutation severs rhetoric and argumentation in the 1ac that, while not in the plan text, is both central enough to their advocacy and important enough (from a pedagogical perspective) that we should have the opportunity to focus the debate around the geopolitical position taken by the 1ac. The only implication to to a "framework" argument like this would be that, assuming the neg wins a link to something beyond the plan text, the judge should reject, on severence grounds, permutations against alts that actually make radical proposals. In the old days, this was called philosophical competition. How else could we have genuine debates about how to change society or grand strategy? There are good aff defenses of the plan focus model from a fairness and education perspective with which to respond to this, but this very much seems like a debate worth having.
All this might sound pretty harsh for neg's, but affs should be warned that I think I'm more willing than most judges to abandon policymaking paradigms based on technical debating. If the negative successfully presents and defends an alternative model of decisionmaking, I will decide the debate from within it. The ballot is clay; mold it for me and I'll do whatever you win I should.
9) Kritiks (vs K affs)
Seriously, I don't have strong presuppositions about what "new debate" is supposed to look like. For the most part, I'm happy to see any strategy that's well researched or well thought-out. Try something new! Even if it doesn't work out, it may lead to something that can radically innovate debate.
Most permutation/framework debates are really asking the question: "Is the part of the aff that the neg disagreed with important enough to decide an entire debate about?" (this is true in CP competition debates too, for what it's worth). Much of the substantive debating elsewhere subsequently determines the outcome of these sub-debates far more than debaters seem to assume.
Role of the ballot/judge claims are obviously somewhat self-serving, but in debates in which they're well-explained (or repeatedly dropped), they can be useful guidelines for crafting a reasonable decision (especially when the ballot theorizes a reasonable way for both teams to win if they successfully defend core thesis positions).
Yes, I am one of those people who reads critical theory for fun, although I also read about domestic politics, theoretical and applied IR, and economics for fun. Yes, I am a huge nerd, but who's the nerd that that just read the end of a far-too-long judge philosophy in preparation for a debate tournament? Thought so.
10) Addendum: Random Thoughts from Random Topics
In the spirit of Bill Batterman, I thought to myself: How could I make this philosophy even longer and less useable than it already was? So instead of deleting topic-relevent material from previous years that no longer really fit into the above sections, I decided to archive all of that at the bottom of the paradigm if I still agreed with what I said. Bad takes were thrown into the memory hole.
ESR debates on the executive powers topic: I think the best theory arguments against ESR are probably just solvency advocate arguments. Seems like a tough sell to tell the neg there’s no executive CP at all. I've heard varied definitions of “object fiat” over the years: fiating an actor that's a direct object/recipient of the plan/resolution; fiating an enduring negative action (i.e. The President should not use designated trade authority, The US should not retaliate to terrorist attacks with nukes etc); fiating an actor whose behavior is affected by a 1ac internal link chain. But none of these definitions seem particularly clear nor any of these objections particularly persuasive.
States CP on the education and health insurance topics: States-and-politics debates are not the most meaningful reflection of the topic literature, especially given that the nature of 50 state fiat distorts the arguments of most state action advocates, and they can be stale (although honestly anything that isn't a K debate will not feel stale to me these days). But I'm sympathetic to the neg on these questions, especially if they have good solvency evidence. There are a slew of policy analysts that have recommended as-uniform-as-possible state action in the wake of federal dysfunction. With a Trump administration and a Republican Congress, is the prospect of uniform state action on an education or healthcare policy really that much more unrealistic than a massive liberal policy? There are literally dozens of uniform policies that have been independently adopted by all or nearly all states. I'm open to counter-arguments, but they should all be as contextualized to the specific evidence and counter-interpretation presented by the negative as they would be in a topicality debate (the same goes for the neg in terms of answering aff theory pushes). It's hard to defend a states CP without meaningful evidentiary support against general aff predictability pushes, but if the evidence is there, it doesn't seem to unreasonable to require affs to debate it. Additionally, there does seem to be a persuasive case for the limiting condition that a "federal-key warrant" places on affirmatives.
Topicality on executive power: This topic is so strangely worded and verbose that it is difficult to win almost any topicality argument against strong affirmative answers, as powerful as the limits case may be. ESR makes being aff hard enough that I’m not sure how necessary the negative needs assistance in limiting down the scope of viable affs, but I suppose we shall see as the year moves forward. I’m certainly open to voting on topicality violations that are supported by quality evidence. “Restrictions in the area of” = all of that area (despite the fact that two of the areas have “all or nearly all” in their wordings, which would seem to imply the other three are NOT “all or nearly all”) does not seem to meet that standard.
Topicality on immigration: This is one of the best topics for neg teams trying to go for topicality in a long time... maybe since alternative energy in 2008-9. “Legal immigration” clearly means LPR – affs will have a tough time winning otherwise against competent negative teams. I can’t get over my feeling that the “Passel and Fix” / “Murphy 91” “humanitarian” violations that exclude refugee, asylums, etc, are somewhat arbitrary, but the evidence is extremely good for the negative (probably slightly better than it is for the affirmative, but it’s close), and the limits case for excluding these affs is extremely persuasive. Affs debating this argument in front of me should make their case that legal immigration includes asylum, refugees, etc by reading similarly high-quality evidence that says as much.
Topicality on arms sales: T - subs is persuasive if your argument is that "substantially" has to mean something, and the most reasonable assessment of what it should mean is the lowest contextual bound that either team can discover and use as a bulwark for guiding their preparation. If the aff can't produce a reasonably well-sourced card that says substantially = X amount of arms sales that their plan can feasibly meet, I think neg teams can win that it's more arbitrary to assume that substantially is in the topic for literally no reason than it is to assume the lowest plausible reading of what substantially could mean (especially given that every definition of substantially as a higher quantity would lead one to agree that substantially is at least as large as that lowest reading). If the aff can, however, produce this card, it will take a 2N's most stalwart defense of any one particular interpretation to push back against the most basic and intuitive accusations of arbitrariness/goalpost-shifting.
T - reduce seems conceptually fraught in almost every iteration. Every Saudi aff conditions its cessation of arms sales on the continued existence of Saudi Arabia. If the Saudi military was so inept that the Houthis suddenly not only won the war against Saleh but actually captured Saudi Arabia and annexed it as part of a new Houthi Empire, the plan would not prevent the US from selling all sorts of exciting PGMs to Saudi Arabia's new Houthi overlords. Other than hard capping the overall quantity of arms sales and saying every aff that doesn't do that isn't topical, (which incidentally is not in any plausible reading a clearly forwarded interpretation of the topic in that poorly-written Pearson chapter), it's not clear to me what the distinction is between affs that condition and affs that don't are for the purposes of T - Reduce
Topicality on CJR: T - enact is persuasive. The ev is close, but in an evenly debated and closely contested round where both sides read all of the evidence I've seen this year, I'd be worried if I were aff. The debateability case is strong for the neg, given how unlimited the topic is, but there's a case to be made that courts affs aren't so bad and that ESR/politics is a strong enough generic to counter both agents.
Other T arguments are, generally speaking, uphill battles. Unless a plan text is extremely poorly written, most "T-Criminal" arguments are likely solvency takeouts, though depending on advantage construction they may be extremely strong and relevant solvency takeouts. Most (well, all) subsets arguments, regardless of which word they define, have no real answer to "we make some new rule apply throughout the entire area, e.g. all police are prohibitied from enforcing XYZ criminal law." Admittedly, there are better and worse variations for all of these violations. For example, Title 18 is a decent way to set up "T - criminal justice excludes civil / decrim" types of interpretations, despite the fact it's surprisingly easy for affs to win they meet it. And of course, aff teams often screw these up answering bad and mediocre T args in ways that make them completely viable. But none of these would be my preferred strategy, unless of course you're deploying new cards or improved arguments at the TOC. If that's the case, nicely done! If you think your evidence is objectively better than the aff cards, and that you can win the plan clearly violates a cogent interpretation, topicality is always a reasonable option in front of me.
Topicality on space cooperation: Topicality is making a big comeback in college policy debates this year. Kiinda overdue. But also kinda surprising because the T evidence isn't that high quality relative to its outsized presence in 2NRs, but hey, we all make choices.
STM T debates have been underwhelming in my assessment. T - No ADR... well at least is a valid argument consisting of a clear interp and a clear violation. It goes downhill from there. It's by no means unwinnable, but not a great bet in an evenly matched ebate. But you can't even say that for most of the other STM interps I've seen so far. Interps that are like "STM are these 9 things" are not only silly, they frequently have no clear way of clearly excluding their hypothesized limits explosion... or the plan. And I get it - STM affs are the worst (and we're only at the tip of the iceberg for zany STM aff prolif). Because STM proposals are confusing, different advocates use the terms in wildly different ways, the proposals are all in the direction of uniqueness and are difficult to distinguish from similar policy structures presently in place, and the area lacks comprehensive neg ground outside of "screw those satellites, let em crash," STM affs producing annoying debates (which is why so many teams read STM). But find better and clearer T interps if you want to turn those complaints about topical affs into topicality arguments that exclude those affs. And I encourage you to do so quickly, as I will be the first to shamelessly steal them for my teams.
Ironically, the area of the topic that produces what seem to me the best debates (in terms of varied, high-quality, and evenly-matched argumentation) probably has the single highest-quality T angle for the neg to deploy against it. And that T angle just so happens to exclude nearly every arms control aff actually being ran. In my assessment, both the interp that "arms control = quantitative limit" and the interp that "arms control = militaries just like chilling with each other, hanging out, doing some casual TCBMs" are plausible readings of the resolution. The best aff predictability argument is clearly that arms control definitions established before the space age have some obvious difficulties remaining relevant in space. But it seems plausible that that's a reason the resolution should have been written differently, not that it should be read in an alternate way. That being said, the limits case seems weaker than usual for the neg (though not terrible) and in terms of defending an interp likely to result in high-quality debates, the aff has a better set of ground arguments at their disposal than usual.
Trump-era politics DAs: Most political capital DAs are self-evidently nonsense in the Trump era. We no longer have a president that expends or exerts political capital as described by any of the canonical sources that theorized that term. Affs should be better at laundry listing thumpers and examples that empirically prove Trump's ability to shamelessly lie about whatever the aff does or why he supports the aff and have a conservative media environment that tirelessly promotes that lie as the new truth, but it's not hard to argue this point well. Sometimes, when there's an agenda (even if that agenda is just impeachment), focus links can be persuasive. I actually like the internal agency politics DA's more than others do, because they do seem to better analyze the present political situation. Our political agenda at the national level does seem driven at least as much by personality-driven palace intrigue as anything else; if we're going to assess the political consequences of our proposed policies, that seems as good a proxy for what's likely to happen as anything else.
Hi. I debated at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook for 4 years, 1.5 in policy and 2.5 in LD. I was the LD coach at Loyola Blakefield HS in Baltimore for 3 years followed by being the debate coach for Chicagoland Jewish HS in Deerfield, IL, New Trier HS in Winnetka/Northfield, IL, Bronx Science, Beacon HS in Manhattan, the director of debate at Mamaroneck HS in Mamaroneck, NY and currently the director of debate at South Shore International College Prep in Chicago. I've also worked at multiple debate camps and have been a private coach for multiple debaters. Trust me, I've seen it all.
Last updated 11/20/21. Updated my debate history.
I'm fine being on email chains but I'm not posting my email publicly. Just ask before the round.
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. I do not discriminate, I'm find with speed (though sometimes my flowing can be bad), fine with theory, fine with kritiks, whatever you want to do. It's your round, have fun with it.
That being said I do have one very important caveat:
Extensions are key! Every extension needs to have the word extend/pull through the flow/or similar wording attached to it. Then it needs to have a warrant for what is being extended, finally the extension needs an impact back to the weighing calculus. If that is the value/value criterion mechanism then it needs to impact back to the VC that is being used for the round. If that is some other mechanism, it needs to be impacted to that weighing mechanism (theory means voters I guess). That weighing mechanism and the warrants for the mechanism should be extended (In a v/vc model the vc should be extended along with the argument). If these things are not done then the arguments will not be evaluated in the same depth and I might not give you credit, or as much credit, for an argument that you may have clearly won on the flow. I guess in simpler terms I have a high threshold for extensions. Also, when extending please extend along with the warrant please compare your arguments to other arguments. The best extensions are not just argument extensions but have comparative weighing along with the arguments.
Other things I've noticed about my preferences for debate: (This is just a list of things I like, none of these are necessary to win a round)
- I tend to prefer debaters who debated similarly to how I debated. What does this mean? I debated in an old school national circuit LD style. On the aff that meant a very broad criterion with mutually exclusive contentions that I tried to kick out of as much as possible (usually at the end of the 2AR, I had one contention and maybe framework). On the neg, it meant a short NC, no more than 2 minutes, with extensive analytical responses to the aff. While it might not help you win the round, debate has changed a lot, it will help your speaker points.
- I like a 2AR that isn't on the flow. What does this mean? The 2AR should be more of a story speech that merely references the flow. A lot of weighing/crystallizing or time on voting issues.
-I like even/if stories. They tend to make the round clearer and make my life easier.
-LD debaters need to stop saying "we" when referring to themselves. You are a singular human being and not one half of a partnership. If you say "we" while referring to yourself you will lose 0.1 speaker points. I will also interrupt your speeches to ask "who is we?" Be prepared.
-I'm a leftist politically. Property rights arguments and other capitalist arguments are not particularly persuasive to me and I don't like hearing them. That doesn't mean I won't vote on them, it just means if you have something else it's probably a good idea to run it.
-I presume coinflip. That means if I can't find any offense or way to vote I will flip a coin to decide the round. I have done this quite a few times and never want to do it again but I'm not afraid to do it and if I think your round warrants it, a coinflip will happen. (That said the only times I've done it has been in rounds where there have been on offense by either side so as long as offense exists I will not flip a coin).
-I like philosophy, I am a philosophy major. That said I'm not good at flowing it, especially when spread at the beginning of the speech. So if you do read philosophy slow down a little bit so that I can catch your arguments.
-Going off that last point, my major is in continental philosophy; which means I take classes on all those critical authors you've wanted to use in rounds. Kritiks are wonderful! If you know what are you talking about, please run them in front of me. Ks do not need an alt, though it is preferable. Make sure to understand the interactions between your position and the position of what your opponent is running. Also just because your opponent is running a K does not mean you lose the round.
- Please start the AC/NC with I affirm/I negate. It doesn't take away from your word economy and it gives me a second to "catch up" and get used to your spreading/debating voice so that I don't miss your first argument. You don't need to re-state the resolution though, that's unnecessary.
-Something most debaters forget is that as a judge I do not look to see what you are reading while you are reading it. Therefore, be more specific in signposting then off the Martin card 1..2..3 etc. Don't just say Martin, say what Martin said as well, because I might not have gotten the author name Martin but I got the argument s/he made. Also, be clear about where Martin is on the flow. If Martin is a contention 1 card, say that she is in contention 1.
- WEIGH! One of the things I'm almost always unsure of after a round is which argument to evaluate first. Do I look to the Disad, the spike, the contention 1? Most debate rounds involve multiple arguments that could "come first" and people telling me the order in which to evaluate arguments and which arguments are more important makes my life easier. It also means you'll be more likely to win because the argument that you're saying is most important/comes first is probably also the one that you're winning the most. WEIGH! Seriously WEIGH!
- Policy style arguments have started to come more and more into LD and people like running them in front of me. That's fine, I really like them. However, if you are running them you also take on policy-style burdens. For example, if you read a plan then you have to fulfill the 4 criteria of the HITS (if you don't know what that is, you shouldn't be running a plan. Also, considering the last person to lose on significance was Tom Durkin in the 1978 NDT, significance doesn't matter anymore). Most importantly, is that policy has a status quo whereas LD does not. That means that you need to orally give me the dates of evidence! If you're running a DA I need to know that the uniqueness is actually unique, if it's a plan that the inherency is actually inherent etc. Evidence without dates on it means that I won't give you credit for uniqueness or inherency claims that you need in the debate round. If your opponent points out that you didn't read those dates then I will give zero credit for any uniqueness/inherency claim and assume that your evidence is from 1784 and take away any offense that is based off of that plan/DA (I will also give said opponent at least a 29). So make sure to tell me those dates!
- I've recently read A LOT of social movement theory and have also been actively been involved in crafting strategy for a social movement. This has made me significantly more wary of most kritik alternatives. Kritik alts either make no sense, are not realistic, would never be adopted by wide ranging social movements, or are actively harmful to spreading social movements. It won't change how I vote, if the alt is won, but it does mean that common sense arguments against K alts will be considered more important.
- A priori/pre-standards arguments/other tricky-esque nibs. If you are losing everything else on the flow I need a reason to uniquely prefer your 3 sentences over the rest of the flow. If that does not happen I will find it very hard to vote for you over somebody else who is winning the rest of the round. Not that I won't evaluate the argument at all it will just be weighed against the rest of the round and if someone else is winning the rest of the round I will vote for the person winning the majority of the round. In simpler words if you go for an a priori, go for it hard. I'm not going to buy it simply because it is dropped.
- Metaethics. I used to have a long screed about metaethics here. It's been deleted (you can read it on the back edits if you're really interested) as I've decided that, while I agree still with what I said before, meta-ethics are being used a lot better by debaters so that it doesn't apply as much. I do think meta-ethics have a place in debate but they need to be used properly. Basically, meta-ethics cannot be used as a "magic wand" to get out of framework debate. You still need to provide an ethic to meet your meta-ethic. Just saying my meta-ethical util comes before your ethical deont haha! is not enough. Language might be indeterminate but that doesn't mean we default to util (or deont) unless it's justified.
Since everybody asks me about how I evaluate theory here it is:
I don't mind theory, I will vote on it and I will vote on it in cases where I think no actual abuse has occurred or even times where the argument itself is patently non-abusive. But before you rush to pull out your three theory shells, I really don't like voting on it. Moreover, of all the decisions where people have argued with me after the round, 2/3 of them are because of theory. My paradigm seems to be different than other judges so I would say run theory at your risk. Now of course you're asking why is my paradigm different? Simple because I don't default to a monolithic competing interpretations framework, you don't need a counter-interp/RVI/etc. to win theory (though it is helpful and in a case of offense vs. no offense I'm going to default to offense). I'm not as technical on theory as other judges, simply saying my argument is not abusive, drop the argument not the debater, or even talking about reasonability will probably be enough to convince me to not vote on theory. In other words, I default to reasonability, though will be persuaded otherwise. Also, in a round between two equal theory debaters or even a round where both debaters have competent theory blocks, theory turns into a crapshoot (which, by the way, is most theory rounds) so while I will do my best to sort through it that doesn't mean my decision won't be somewhat random.
Also, I guess most LD judges don't evaluate theory this way so I should point this out. If you only go for theory in the NR/2NR or 2AR then the affirmative/negative does not need a RVI to win the theory debate because the only offense at the end of the round is on theory which means that I am merely evaluating who did the better theory debating and not worrying about substance at all. The RVI only comes into play if there is a contestation of substance AND theory at the end of the debate.
On Non-T affs:
You ought pretend to be topical. Topicality means different things to different people and I think that the topic and what topicality means can change in debate and in different debates. However, the aff should claim that they are talking about the topic. How they make that claim or whether that claim is true can be (and should be!) contested in the round.
Feel free to come up to me at any tournament and ask me questions about anything, I can't guarantee you a great answer but I can guarantee that I will try to respond.
I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. My main philosophy is it's your round not mine so do what you want. I think a lot of how I judge policy is probably transferred from LD so look there for good stuff. One caveat to that, if there is something that seems very specific to LD (like saying "we" for example) do not bring that into a policy context.
Obviously I have some caveats for that:
First and foremost is that LD is most of what I've debated and coached. Though policy kids have this outdated version of what LD is, there is now every argument in policy in LD also with extra stuff too! I am fine with speed etc. Don't worry about that. However, I did not go to camp, I did not do research on the resolution (whichever one it is) and don't know what is stock or what isn't. I know, more or less, what aff my team is running and generic stuff to be used on any topic. Your explanation barrier for me understanding topic specific arguments then is a little bit higher.
The other important take away is that social conventions of what you can and cannot do in LD and policy are slightly different. For example, RVIs in LD are not joke arguments but made in almost any theory round (though I don't like RVIs in policy). LD does not have the concept of overviews in the same way as policy and what is considered "line by line" is very different. I've been able to figure out most of these biases but occasionally I'll mess up. Just be aware.
I default to reasonability on T and theory issues.
I don't know why this has become a thing but apparently people don't say AND or NEXT after finishing cards in the 1AC or 1NC. You still need to do that so that I know when to flow.
Utilitarianism is moral philosophy that evaluates the morality of actions based on the consequences. This means that small scale/structural violence impacts are utilitarian because we care about the consequence of structural violence. Stop saying these arguments are not utilitarian or answering them as if they are not utilitarian. They are.
I'm a former coach who can be persuaded to vote on most anything but for some general guidelines:
T - reasonability can be persuasive and I default to competing interpretations, impact your standards and tell me why they matter.
K - I enjoy many and am familiar with a lot of them; please stay away from K jargon and have a clear impact; alternative framing the debate is important so why should "x" come first?
CP/Disads - enjoy them but have a clear net benefit. They should be competitive with the Aff; I tend to default Neg on the condo debate
Case - I like case. Impact and case turns are great.
Clarity is very important. I'm getting older (44 years old) and can still follow fast talkers ðŸ˜† but not if it isn't coherent.
1. Conflicts [as of 10/04/2020]
- No Univ of Chicago Lab
- No Iowa City
2. Short Version
- tech over truth
- strong analytics/analysis can beat carded evidence
- prioritize your impacts
- have fun!
3. Pandemic Social Distancing Related Technology Notes
- Please slow down 5-10%. Emphasize your warrants. Without a microphone stem, your quality fluctuates. Keep in mind that I still flow on paper.
- Please get explicit visual or audio confirmation from everyone in the debate before beginning your speech. I may use a thumbs up to indicate I am ready.
- If my camera is off, unless I explicitly have told you otherwise, assume I'm not at the computer.
- If the current speaker has significant tech problems, I'll try to interrupt your speech and mark the last argument and timestamp.
4. Some Detail
I've been meaning to do this for a while, but have not really had the time. My hope is that I end up judging better debates as a result of this updated philosophy. I am now changing to a more linear philosophy, it is my hope that you read this in its entirety before choosing where to place me on the pref sheet. I debated for four years at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the south Chicago suburbs from 2007-2011. During that time I debated, Sub-Saharan Africa, Alternative Energy, Social services and substantial reductions in Military presence.
Nearing a decade ago, during would would have been the h.s. space topic. I started at the University of Northern Iowa, Where I debated NDT/CEDA Middle East/North Africa while judging a few debate rounds across the midwest. After my freshman year I transferred to the University of Iowa, where I started coaching at Iowa City High School. This year, I will continue to coach the City High Debate team.
Framing, Issue choice and impact calculus are in my opinion the most important aspects of argumentation, and you should make sure they are components in your speeches. Late rebuttals that lack this analysis are severely.
I preference tech over truth. Your in round performance is far more important to me, as it is what I hear. I greatly attempt to preference the speaking portion of the debate. Increasingly, I've found that my reading evidence is not necessarily an aspect of close debates, but rather results from poor argument explanation and clarification. The majority of 'close rounds' that I've judged fall into the category of closeness by lack of explanation. In some limited instances, I may call for evidence in order to satisfy my intellectual fascination with the activity. Anything other than that--which I will usually express during the RFD--probably falls upon inadequate explanation and should be treated as such.
I feel my role as a judge is split evenly between policymaker and 'referee' in that when called to resolve an issue of fairness. I will prioritize that first. Addressing inequities in side balance, ability to prepare and generate offense is something may at times find slightly more important than substance. In short, I consider myself a good judge for theory, THAT BEING SAID, rarely do I find theory debates resolved in a manner that satisfies my liking - I feel theoretical arguments should be challenged tantamount to their substance based counterparts. Simply reading the block isn't enough. Though I was a 2A[≈ High power LED current, peak 2.7 A] in high school I have since found myself sliding towards the negative on theoretical questions. I can be convinced, however, to limit the scope of negative offense quite easily, so long as the arguments are well explained and adjudicated.
I consider reasonability better than competing interpretations, with the caveat that I will vote on the best interpretation presented. But topicality questions shouldn't be a major concern if the team has answered.
I have a long and complicated relationship with the K. I have a level of familiarity with the mainstream literature, so go ahead and read Capitalism or Neolib. Less familiar arguments will require more depth/better explanation.
Last update: 2/11/2020
-TLDR: do what you do best, and if you do it well, I’ll try my best to be fair, receptive, and interested
-Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
-I try not to read evidence if I can help it, which means I won’t open your speech docs until the end of the round, and I’ll only do so if needed. I won't follow you in the speech doc, so if you're gonna blaze through your theory block, you might want to reconsider.
-I try to keep a straight face during speeches. If I'm being expressive, then something horrible/funny/important/etc. just happened.
-Please be kind to each other
-My last name is pronounced “coach-man,” but you can refer to me as Gordon. Whatever you do, PLEASE do not call me "judge."
-My debate experience: I debated for four years at New Trier High School (2009-2013) and for two years at Whitman College (2013-2015) while the team existed during my tenure. I’m a former 2N/1A. I’ve been involved in coaching and judging since I graduated high school. I'm a lawyer in my day job.
-Affiliations: New Trier High School, Whitman College, University of Wisconsin, Homestead High School
-Co-founder of the Never Spark Society with Tim Freehan
-I mostly debated policy arguments and soft-left K arguments. I fully understand how these arguments are bad and boring in their own way, so simply because I debated these arguments in the past does not mean that I think they’re the best, most interesting, or correct arguments. I’m open enough to recognize there are multiple ways of debating and engaging with the resolution, both from my time as a debater and later as a judge and coach.
-Disclaimer: What is included in this paradigm is meant to help you decide where to put me on your pref sheets, strike from your strike card, or adjust your strategy before the round. Most of this paradigm includes my predispositions and (unless otherwise noted) NOT my closely-held beliefs that are firm and unshakable.
-Please be kind to each other and don’t be racist, sexist, ableist, or any other variation of rude/intentionally horrible.
-To the extent required, this is a communicative activity that encompasses speech. As a result, I will only flow what you say in your speech (open CX is fine). Unless provided a performative reason, I am not a fan of multiple people participating in a speech or playing a video/audio clip.
-Debate is a game, and I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy it as a game. However, I understand that debate is more than that for some people (it’s how they afford their education, it’s their job, it’s their community, etc.). I try to comport myself such that everyone can have the experience in this activity that is enjoyable. Simply because I have enjoyed debate in one way does not mean that other debaters need to conform to my experience.
-There are obvious formalities in a round that exist no matter what. These include: one team must win, speaker points must be awarded, etc.
GENERAL DEBATE PREDISPOSITIONS:
-Tech over truth in the abstract and to a point. Generally, the more “true” your claim is, the less tech you need to win it (and vice-versa). The same goes for how big of a claim you’re making. The bigger the claim, the more work that’s needed. It’s gonna take more than a one-liner to win a claim that a mindset shift occurs post-economic collapse. Arguments are claims with warrants. One-line conclusory statements aren’t gonna cut it if you don’t provide a warrant.
-Things I likely won’t vote for: I would recommend that you use your common sense here. If your argument is overtly and/or intentionally racist/sexist/homophobic/etc., then you might want to reconsider. Not only do I not want to be in those rounds, but I don’t think the team you’re opposing wants those arguments in the round, either. As a co-founder of the Never Spark Society, this might tip you off to some types of arguments I don't enjoy...
PREDISPOSITIONS REGARDING SPECIFIC AREAS OF DEBATE:
-My thoughts regarding "non-topical" affs are probably what most people want to know up-front. I never read these affs when I debated and would spend a large amount of time planning how to debate these affs, but as a judge, I don’t really harbor any animus towards these affs. I don’t think that my thoughts here should be dispositive one way or another in these rounds. If you win your argument and explain why that means you win the round, then you should win. Despite my following thoughts on topicality versus policy affs, I'm SIGNIFICANTLY less persuaded by procedural arguments on framework than by method-based arguments on framework. In other words, I'm less likely to vote on "fairness" than an argument about how we should engage with the state or try to produce change.
-Topicality (versus policy affs) is about competing interpretations of the topic. This also means that potential abuse is a sufficient reason to vote neg on T. I would extend T into the block in a majority of my rounds and think I have a relatively lower threshold for voting on T against policy affs than most judges.
-I tend to lean neg on most theory and default to rejecting the argument unless provided a reason to reject the team. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a winnable argument, and there are certainly theory arguments that are stronger than others (conditionality is significantly more viable than no neg fiat, for instance). Regardless, this shouldn’t deter you from using these arguments on the aff. As a former 2N I do have a proclivity to protect the 2NR, so be absolutely certain that your 2AR will be an extrapolation of 1AR arguments if this is your ultimate strategy.
-Most CPs are fine, with a few exceptions. Consult CPs, for instance, are probably bad. I'm fine with CPs that have internal net-benefits to generate competition. I can be persuaded by perm do the CP args on the aff.
-Is the politics DA a thing? Eh, probably not (RIP). Will I vote for it anyway? Absolutely.
-Regarding Ks, I would read soft-left Ks with a general policy strategy and go for them on occasion. I’m by no means an expert in any specific K literature. I’m not very familiar with a ton of high-theory or postmodern arguments, so your burden to explain them is relevant. The more “out there” K you plan to read, the more explanation you’ll need. I should be familiar with your argument at a basic level regardless of what you read, but it is unlikely that I understand the nuances of your specific argument unless you can explain them to me. If you’re curious if you should read your K this round or how much work you should put into your explanation/overview, I would recommend reading it with more explanation rather than less. If you can adequately explain why you should win as a result of the K, then you should win.
-I’m a huge proponent of impact turns, which unfortunately aren’t as utilized as I’d like. However, I’m not a fan of some impact turns like spark (lol), wipeout, etc.
Kevin Le -- Lay Judge
OTHER STUFF: TSMDebateKL@gmail.com --> ALWAYS include me on the email chain
Note: I have not debated nor researched the current high-school topic, keep this in mind when you're explaining and contextualizing your arguments. I have not judged since I last debated, please slow down. I will not catch everything and then it's on y'all. I am ESPECIALLY unfamiliar with the virtual debate so please be patient with me.
-- I HATE it when teams don't flash analytics. Debate shouldn't be about outspreading the opponent and hoping that they drop something, you should be able to out-debate them even when they have all your arguments and it also helps me out to flow when you're going 100000000 mph during your speech.
-- Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex. Also, if you're referring to me, call me Kevin.
-- I do not count flashing time (or general tech screw-ups) as prep time and quite frankly I am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.
-- If you are running more than 6 off-case positions, you need to rethink your strategy. Run it at your own discretion, but know that I will be more likely to evaluate in-round abuse (on theory debates) as legitimate and a reason as you why your model of debate is bad.
-- 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. If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, as with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it. I'm alright at flowing but may miss tricks/theory if you don't make them especially clear. 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 Kritiks. I'm a 5/10 for speed and maybe even a 6 if I'm fully awake.
-- I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my semi-conscious (and probably apathetic) state, perceive is going on. -- I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking espn.com on my laptop, throwing something at you, etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument.
-- I will not hesitate to vote against teams and award zero points for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, threats of violence, racist or sexist slurs, etc.
-- You can't clip cards. This is non-negotiable. If I catch it, I'll happily ring you up and spend the next hour of my life shopping for clothes. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. The burden of proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction.
DISADVANTAGES AND ADVANTAGES: Intellectual storytelling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments. Not a big fan of politics DAs.
TOPICALITY: I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the NEG's burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be a voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually, this is a pretty deep hole for the AFF. to dig out of. For example, if the AFF. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote AFF. As with most issues, in-depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3-word tag lines.
COUNTERPLANS: Case-specific CP's are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CP's to solve the AFF and use AFF solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the AFF on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The AFF has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.
KRITIKS: Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than below mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history, and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further, I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing both a dose of the real world. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation, I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique DA in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the AFF. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyper speed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case, am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five-syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.
PERFORMANCE-BASED ARGUMENTS AND KRITIK AFFIRMATIVES: No topical plan that starts with "The United States federal government should..."? No win. This is non-negotiable. If your AFF does not contain a topical plan and the negative raises even a minimal 'framework'-style objection, I will vote negative. Especially on a topic where the AFF can critique some vestige of US protection of water resources policy and then read a plan to ban that thing, it is a LOW requirement that the affirmative finds a topical way to make its desired argument.
Todd Le— Policy
updated 1/12/22 (for WSDT)
School Affiliation: Homestead High School (lol rip)
Position: stressed med student
If you have questions about an RFD feel free to e-mail at: todd241 (at) gmail (dot) com - put me on the chain btw
I know prefs suck so I'ma try to make this as painless as possible. Am I qualified to judge your debate? Probably not - I've forgotten everything about debate and can only fill my head with concepts related to medicine (i.e more explanation the better because my familiarity with this topic is low)
Do my argument ideas align with yours? I don't think that really matters but my time away from the activity has me leaning towards familiarity which is heavily policy leaning compared to K leaning. That said, if you are a K team that doesn't mean my ballot is automatically signed, but it does mean you will have to explain concepts to me like I'm 5. I'll vote on whatever - I just need to know what I'm voting for and the ROB to be evident. Overviews? - pls. Impact Calc? FFS please do.
If you have questions about specific arguments ask me before round - no guarantee my answers will be helpful though
New Section for LD:
I am new to LD and a lot of my debate opinions are derived from policy debate - most of the items below should still apply. Good with speed, Theory, Ks, plan, etc. Feel free to ask specific questions.
Overview Tech > truth (I think - I don't remember what this means anymore)
Counterplans I have no idea what CPs look like on this topic but general things: PICs are fine, theory is a reason to reject the arg not the team, judge kick is fine, isolated net bens in 2NR is v good, severance perms are rarely reason to reject the team.
Disadvantages/Advantages Line by line is key, overview when necessary, impact calc is one of the only objective ways for me to weigh a round so if all is lost gimme some impact calc to work with pls and thank you. Affirmatives kicking the aff and going for turns on disads is one of the most chad things to do and will be looked upon favorably.
Topicality & Theory I've never seen a good theory 2NR/2AR that I like, or one that I thought was well done. I'm fine with most theory arguments but make sure you tell me how to use it i.e justification to reject the team or reject the arg. I'm fine with theory being run in the 1AR/block if it's justified.
Kritiks The only thing worst than bad debate is bad K debate. The K is a unique tool that can be used effectively, but 2NCs of 5 min overviews and 3 mins of line by line referring to the overview is boring to listen to. Clean line by line on the K is good. Isolate the -ology debate (epis/onto/etc.) for me since it's been a while since I've seen these args.
Last Updated: 11/13/2020
About Me: My name is Patricia Leon, alum and former assistant debate coach for Maine East high school. I debated in high school, received my B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Northeastern Illinois University, and am now a first year M.S. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
General summary of my judging:
-I prefer big picture over small technical issues. I can't stress this enough: framing (top level especially) is super important to me and provides more concrete reasons for me to vote for you. This is especially important for me in rebuttals. Key questions you should ask yourself and explain to win me over: What arguments are you winning? How does this help you win the debate? What does this mean for your opponent's arguments(that is, why should I prefer them less and why are their arguments insufficient)? Please also try to slow down a bit in rebuttals so I can flow these crucial moments properly.
-I generally believe that debate is an educational activity and should be valued as such. Recently I have been finding myself less and less likely to view fairness as an impact as a result. If you are going for arguments that frame fairness as a prior question, please try to have a coherent explanation as to why this is net better role for my ballot and why this subsumes their educational/indicts to your educational model claims. Going for other impacts would also be a good move if FW is truly your only option.
-I enjoy all kinds of arguments, but for more complex ones I will need more explanation before I can feel comfortable voting for you. I am familiar with the topic, so I know the common terms and court cases. If you are running an uncommon aff, just don't act like I automatically understand your specific terms and acronyms.
-I am actively trying my best to understand your arguments and strategy, and to accurately determine who won the round. By the end of the round, you should have really made it clear to me why I should vote for you. If I am still left confused once the round ends, it will be harder to do so.
-Evidence comparison. Please do this! This year's topic in particular I have seen a flood of evidence from debaters, yet no explanation or clash regarding the evidence. Absent comparison, I'm left to make these decisions myself, which can end up hurting you in the end. See a flaw in their evidence? Point it out, and explain why your evidence is better.
Cross-x: Cross-x should be where you poke holes in the other team's arguments, not for asking pointless questions because you are forced to. If you are the one asking the questions in cross-x, you should have taken at least 3 minutes before the speech ends to prepare your questions. Being prepared in cross-x will not only clarify issues in the round you did not understand, but will(or should) signal to me, the judge, where you are going with your strategy.
Kritikal debate: I enjoy K arguments a lot. I have decent knowledge of generics(cap, security), Feminism kritiks(K's of western/white fem), Queer Theory (Edelman, Halberstam, Puar), and general understanding kritiks relating Race, Ableism, etc. BUT- I have found that when debaters go for arguments under the spheres of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and existentialism (think Nietzsche, Deleuze, Bataille, Baudrillard, etc.), their speeches are filled with incoherent arguments. If these are your preferred K stuff, then I am not the best judge for y'all. If you wish to go for these arguments in front of me, PLEASE go in depth on explanation and go beyond unnecessary jargon.
Buzz words or excessive jargon are annoying and should not be used in place of actually explaining your argument. So please- explain your argument concisely and precisely. This makes it significantly easier for all of us to be on the same page and avoid confusing cross-x.
Policy debate: Be sure to have proper overviews that explain them more clearly to me. For affs- the 1ac tags should be coherent enough to help me understand your aff. I find it more compelling when counterplans/disad's are specific to the affirmative and are explained in depth.
Impact defense is certainly necessary for case, but internal link turns also make for great case arguments. Impact turns are interesting, but usually have low-quality evidence/warrants (don't go for those terrible warming good cards in front of a scientist...).
Framework vs K aff's: I'd rather the neg engage with the substance of the affirmative, but big picture framing, impacting out arguments, and overall in depth explanations from either side will help me the most in any of these scenarios.
Topicality: I have a high standard for this. You absolutely need standards or reasons to prefer your interpretation. Focusing on even one standard like limits or ground could help you out. Affirmatives should focus on impacting their offense. If your argument has multiple interpretations, be sure to make clear what you are going for (all or some of the interpretations). Re-reading your 2AC block will not help you get my ballot.
Theory: Topicality comes before condo. 50 state uniform fiat, multiplank are probably good. 1 or 2 condo is fine, 3 condo is probably pushing it, 4+ is bad.
Any other questions: just ask me in round!
If you ever want to email me any questions or resources (I'm a college student so I have access to various sites and articles that you may not), send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org !
for the email chain: email@example.com
Debated two years at Northwestern and four at GBN.
Fine for any argument besides obviously abhorrent stuff. Probably don't know anything about the topic so tread lightly with acronyms. As long as you're having fun and being respectful and kind to your opponents, everything else will be fine.
Niles North ‘18
Debated in high school for four years at Niles North. I qualified to the TOC twice (2017,18). Did not work at a camp or judge debates on the topic yet so be careful with acronyms. I will try to be as open-minded as possible and I am willing to vote on any argument granted that it is impacted out and explained. Below are some specifics.
Link probably controls the direction of uniqueness.
Politics- have a CP with it because your disad probably sucks. This is very situational so do not be discouraged into reading it especially if its coherent.
Turns case is really important.
Link turns case is awesome.
8 minute 2NC on case and a 1NR on the disad will get you some extra speaker points.
CPs that compete off of the word “should” etc. are not competitive and if the aff answers all definitions and does coherent line by line on theory you will not win.
Advantage CPs and PICs are great.
Will kick the CP unless told not to (if the CP is conditional).
Condo is probably good.
Default is towards competing interpretations, but reasonability is actually really persuasive to me. You must explain the impact to limits, ground, precision, etc. for it to be a persuasive reason to reject their interpretation (likewise with overlimiting and other aff arguments). Impact comparison is good.
Case lists are super important for your interp and theirs. Explain the vision of your topic and what affs exist/what are the core affs.
Please dont go for T if you dont have to. I would much rather watch a debate about the topic. You should really only go for it if the aff is blatantly untopical or you just didnt do a case neg and its your last resort. Its much more fun to watch debates where you go for a PIC, Advantage CP, Aff specific DA, and even politics than a generic T argument.
Please dont put everything in the 2nc overview.
You need to win some substantive link to the aff, their reps, or some assumption intrinsic to the aff. These don't necessarily need to be carded, but should have some logical or contextual explanation of the link. Using lines of the other team's ev is good.
You must either win a mutually exclusive alternative that resolves the harms of the kritik, or framework that obviates that consideration entirely (which is REALLY hard to do). Weighing the aff is probably good.
Perm double bind is good if contextualized.
Not good for pomo.
Generally, I care about the flow. If I cannot understand your theory of power, the world, etc. I cannot vote on it. Sort of familiar with the Cap K. Very familiar with framework. Historically, in high school, I was a "policy" team, however, I am not closed off to hearing well thought out/researched planless affs.
I think the most successful 2nrs in front of me would be well thought out topical versions of the aff combined with a clash or topic education impact. The most successful 2ars in front of me involve both careful explanation of why the TVA does not solve and an impact turn to being forced to talk about the resolution, or an impact turn to the impact that the 2nr is going for.
I have not judged many clash debates so if your strategy doesn't follow the examples I listed, don't worry, do whatever you want.
Dropped arguments=true arguments.
An argument is a claim with reason(s) that claim is true, i.e. "perm do both" with no explanation is not an argument, that is just words.
Tech>Truth in most cases.
Good cards> a lot of cards.
Clarity matters a lot. Slow/efficent debating is better and more fun to watch.
Be yourself. If you're funny, be funny. If you're serious, be serious.
Yes, email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Me: Former debater at Whitney Young HS. Coaching and judging policy on national circuit for over ten years. Feel free to send questions after the round.
Reads no cards-----------------------------X------Reads all the cards
States CP good-----------------------X-----------States CP bad
Politics DA is a thing----------------------X-------Politics DA not a thing
Always VTL-------------------------X--------------Sometimes NVTL
UQ matters most----------------------X----------Link matters most
Fairness is a thing------------------------------X-No, but competition is a thing
Resting grumpy face---X--------------------------Grumpy face is your fault
Longer ev--------X---------------------------------More ev
"Insert this rehighlighting"----------------------X-I only read what you read
Fiat solves circumvention-----X-------------------LOL trump messes w/ ur aff
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
a few virtual debate things:
-i've found it significantly harder to hear -- audio is less intelligible than in person -- go a little slower and/or make sure you're really clearly enunciating
-MAKE SURE you get a thumbs up or a yes that I'm ready before you start seriously i don't know how to make this more clear. every tournament ppl keep starting without confirming i'm ready. "is anybody not ready?" is not a question that works in virtual debate.
-prep stops when you've attached the document to the email just be reasonable. it shouldn't take you more than 10 seconds from after you've said stop prep to have pressing send on the email
-i'm so proud of everyone debating right now for your drive, determination, and resilience
My pronouns are they/them and my last name is pronounced "MACK-oo."
I have judged close to a million rounds on the 20-21 college/high school topics.
debate history: -HS GBN (2x TOC elims, RRs) - College Texas (2x NDT elims, RRs) -Colleges coached: WSU, UCO, Emory, NU -HSs coached: bronx science, edgemont, GBS, westwood, damien -taught at many camps every summer over the last 10 years -currently work full time at the Chicago Debate League + judge/direct lots of tournaments
Even though I read as arguments and studied critical literature about race, gender, colonialism, and sexuality in college, my HS background was exclusively "policy," and I continue to do research and coach in both areas.
In the post round, if you'd like to seek advice or challenge components of my thinking or note your disagreement or try to get my ballot in the future or try to understand my decision, I would love to discuss my decision with you! If you are into post-rounding as some weird ego thing where you need to demonstrate that you couldn't possibly have lost a debate by berating the judge, then you should not pref me.
My argument preference is whatever you're passionate about and really know in depth.
I take a while/my time to decide debates, so time-wasting during a debate is truly to your detriment.
After the 2XR, please send me a judge doc with the (marked version) of ONLY the cards you extended.
Things I am really interested in:
--lots of evidence comparison!! this often shifts my decisions
--framing arguments and judge instruction
--even if arguments -- recognizing where you might be losing
--beginning the 2XR with what you want the RFD to be
--in depth explanations -- more warrants, less tag lines
--strategic concessions + cross applications
--thoughtful and consistent analytics
--attentive line by line
--(hate to have to say this) 2NRs that take advantage of 1AR dropped arguments. It will hurt your speaker points a little if there's a clear path to victory that you ignore entirely
Things I am not interested in:
--long overviews - LINE BY LINE is where those overview arguments fit my friends. i promise you can find a spot if u look
--being rude to your partner
--scholarship/behavior that is morally reprehensible
--"if you vote X you'll have to look me in the eye and explain..., etc." type of inefficient judge strong-arming
--multiple paragraph tags
--mumble spreading on the text of cards
--things that happened outside of the round
--highlighting into sentence fragments
When cx time is over, both teams need to stop talking unless someone wants to take prep.
Make sure you time yourselves, because I WILL forget at some point
Pointing out that something was conceded is not the same as extending that argument. Author names or claims without warrants are not arguments. I think I have a higher standard than most for this. A conceded assertion is still not an argument. Yes ofc, your burden of explanation is substantially reduced, but there's gotta be something.
Things I am interested in:
--the solvency mechanism of the aff, whatever solvency means in the context of the affirmative
--clash impacts in the context of skills gained from debate
--whether the aff is contestable
--a good ol' topical version of the aff that addresses impact turns
--impact framing arguments
--line by line refutation
--well developed impact turns to the neg's interpretation/TVA that don't apply to a counter interpretation
--counter interpretations that address some of the neg's clash/limits arguments
--slowing down when reading consecutive paragraphs of text you have typed for 2nr/2ar
Things I am less interested in:
--affs that are descriptive but not prescriptive -- it's easy to say something is bad, even in a very theoretically dense, educational, interesting way. the more difficult question is determining the best method (not picky about what this is) for addressing or approaching the problem described
--clash/fairness as an impact in and of itself -- it's an internal link to an impact (in my default view, though I end up voting for it more frequently than i would've thought bc people don't answer it)
--long, pre-written "overviews" where you address none of the line by line (both sides are very bad about doing this)
(As an aside, if the aff says they'll defend they link to DA(s), I would always strongly prefer the neg take them up on a substantive debate. That's not to say the neg shouldn't go for framework if that's their heart's desire, only that I find a substantive debate more interesting.)
Whatever is fine. Do what you want, but make sure you can defend it. I truly have no strong feelings/beliefs about conditionality either way, other than it'll be tough to win 1 is bad. But, I decide that like I decide all things: based on the arguments actually presented in the theory debate.
Exception to that -- perms are just no link arguments to the opportunity cost of the CP, so I will probably never vote that dropped perm theory arguments are a reason to reject the team.
See plea for evidence and impact comparison above. When I get a stack of cards at the end of the debate, it's going to be annoying for both of us that I now just have to render judgment on each of them with no guidance.
Please make more smart, warranted analytics about why the DA is nonsense. A lot of DAs don't pass the test of being a complete argument if the full text of the cards are read and you just take a second to actually think about it.
I expect a high degree of technical proficiency in these debates.
Neg needs SPECIFICITY in your explanation of the aff. Highly specific cards to the aff are not necessary, though helpful, to make specific links, alt solves, turns case, root cause arguments etc. Reference the aff's 1ac ev maybe. Use historical examples maybe. Make logical arguments maybe. All important things. What is the impact to the link in the context of turning the aff? The more contextual your explanation of every facet of the k is to the aff, the more likely you will win that part of the debate and the higher your speaker points will be.
Against policy affs, you will likely win a link, so focus your attentions on defeating the impact turns/case outweighs arguments from the jump. Opposite for k affs -- less focus on impact, instead focus on in depth contextual explanations of the link and how it turns the aff, the alt solves aff impact better, DAs to the perm that aren't just links to the aff, etc.
I almost always find the framework debate to be a huge waste of everyone's time. Both sides get to weigh their stuff. Please just spend this time clashing over the substance of the debate. This is my perhaps most biased opinion, in that it's the only place I consider intervening -- I will almost always err towards allowing both teams to access their substance, even if one team isn't doing very well on the fw debate. If I'm the only judge, feel free to spend very little time here.
Finally, almost every argument in the overview should/could be on the line by line.
Sure. Not really the debate I want to be deciding because folks rarely do comparative impact calc. Debates about reasonability are usually so shallow as to be meaningless. I have judged (too) many rounds on the topic, though many of those debates did not contain topic specific arguments.
Let me save you time:
You: "What did you think about [x argument/author name]"???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Me: "I didn't think about it that much because you didn't tell me to/you didn't speak about it enough or in a way that made it relevant to my decision making process."
I do try to be thorough. Debaters have worked hard to get here, so it's my obligation to work hard to assess the debate.
This is the best cx I've ever seen and a very important video to me:
Debate Coach - University of Michigan, Niles West High School
Institute Instructor - Michigan Debate Institutes
Michigan State University '13
Brookfield Central High School '09
I would like to be on the email chain - my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few 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. This also includes forwarding the argument that death is good because suffering exists. I will not vote on it.
- 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 don't think this makes me a truth over tech judge but I am not willing to assume all "truths" are equally and neutrally "truthful." This is also true of the credibility of your authors.
- I'm a very expressive judge. Look up at me every once in a while, you will probably be able to tell how I feel about your arguments.
- I don't think that arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates are at all relevant to my decision and I will not evaluate them. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.
Topic specific notes:
Antitrust topic: probably even worse for T-Per Se than I am for the vast majority of silly/arbitrary T arguments out there. I haven't seen any particularly compelling T args on this topic in general because the resolution is word salad that makes it pretty easy to answer for the aff. Generally think regs CPs should be more specific than just "do the plan minus saying the word antitrust but do the exact same thing as the plan otherwise" and am pretty likely to think it either doesn't compete or links to the NB. Love big specific case and DA debates on this topic (including link turns to the aff) - would much rather see those than process CPs or the cap K but I understand the utility/necessity of the latter. I am extremely knowledgeable about the extraterritoriality part of the topic, about average for most core topic affs, poor for patents.
Water topic: I've been much less involved in high school debate this year than in any year previous. I would say that my knowledge of this topic is practically nonexistent. I ran the administrative part of the camp this summer so I did not teach lab, didn't judge any debates, etc. I have judged only a handful of debates on the topic so far and the work I have done this year for HS has been not very topic-specific. As such, you should assume I know basically nothing about the topic and have literally no knowledge of common arguments or community norms.
Online debate: I have a lot of experience with it. I helped develop and run the online Michigan Debate Institute the past two summers, I have helped run a multitude of online tournaments and I have judged MANY online debates. I probably can help you troubleshoot many of the issues you will experience. I will call clear if you are unclear and I will be annoyed if you are talking over one another in cross-x but otherwise I have probably seen whatever problem you're experiencing and am happy to be patient. I will start tech time when you start having computer issues (that includes inability to send email!). My camera will always be on during the debate unless I have stepped away from my computer during prep or while deciding so you should always assume that if my camera is off, I am not there. I added this note because I've had people start speeches without me there.
Ethics: 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 zero speaker points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points.
*NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me.
Cross-x: Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions. If you don't start the timer before you start asking those questions, I will take whatever time I estimate you took to ask questions before the timer was started out of your prep. 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.
Translated evidence: I am extremely skeptical of evidence translated by a debater or coach with a vested interest in that evidence being used in a debate. Lots of words or phrases have multiple meanings or potential translations and debaters/coaches have an incentive to choose the ones that make the most debate-friendly argument even if that's a stretch of what is in the original text. It is also completely impossible to verify if words or text was left out, if it is a strawperson, if it is cut out of context, etc. I won't immediately reject it on my own but I would say that I am very amenable to arguments that I should.
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. This can also be accomplished by reading those lines in cross-x and then referencing them in a speech or just telling me about the issues with their card(s) in your speech.
Affirmatives should have a solvency advocate. What that looks like is up for debate. I think debates that stray too far from what a reasonable person would constitute an advocacy for a policy change distort the literature base in ways that make it impossible for the negative to respond to the aff. This is compounded by excruciatingly vague plan texts that enable the aff to "no link" out of what are obvious disads to the affirmative. If your style of debate is built around manipulating and bastardizing literature to create affs that say and defend nothing, I'm probably not the judge for you. I think this vision of debate disincentivizes in-depth negative research. If you refuse to specify what your aff does, I am probably not the judge for you. If you think that saying "a thing is bad" constitutes an aff without saying what your aff does about it, I am a bad judge for you.
Topicality: I enjoy judging topicality debates when they are in-depth and nuanced. Limits are an an important question but not the only important question - your limit should be tied to a particular piece of neg ground or a particular type of aff that would be excluded. I often find myself to be more aff leaning than neg leaning in T debates because I am often persuaded by the argument that negative interpretations are arbitrary or not based in predictable literature.
5 second ASPEC shells/the like that are not a complete argument are mostly 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.
Counterplans: 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.
Over time I have gone from being somewhere in the middle on the question of "does the neg need a solvency advocate for the cp?" and I have found myself very strongly on the side of "yes." A lot of the debates I've judged over the past few years have had the scope of what the neg should get to assert with no evidentiary support go from semi-reasonable to impossible distortions of the literature and REALITY in ways that the aff could never reasonably answer. I DO think what constitutes a solvency advocate for the neg is affected by whether or not the aff has a solvency advocate. For affirmatives that do not have one, my threshold for what I expect the neg to have is much much lower.
I think that CPs should have to be policy actions. I think this is most fair and reciprocal with what the affirmative does. I think that fiating indefinite personal decisions or actions/non-actions by policymakers that are not enshrined in policy is an unfair abuse of fiat that I do not think the negative should get access to. For example: the CP to have Trump decide not to withdraw from NAFTA is not legitimate, while the CP to have Trump announce that a policy that he will not withdraw from NAFTA would be. The CP that has the US declare it will not go to war with China would be theoretically legitimate but the CP to have Trump personally decide not to go to war with China would not be.
Disads: I am not very sympathetic to politics theory arguments (except in the case of things like rider disads, which I might ban from debate if I got the choice to ban one argument and think are certainly illegitimate misinterpretations of fiat) and am unlikely to ever vote on them unless they're dropped and even then would be hard pressed. I'm incredibly knowledgeable about politics and enjoy it a lot when debated well but really dislike seeing it debated poorly.
Conditionality: 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). Conditionality is the ONLY argument I think is a reason to reject the team, every other argument I think is a reason to reject the argument alone. 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?
Kritiks: I consider myself a policymaker unless you tell me otherwise, the implication of that being that if you want me to consider my ballot as something other than advocating a hypothetical policy that would be enacted, you need to explain to me what it is and why that is better than the framework the affirmative is providing. I generally am not persuaded by framework arguments that mean I should completely discount the fiated implications of the affirmative but am often persuaded that I should evaluate the links/impacts to the K against the impact of the aff.
I've gotten simultaneously more versed in critical literature and much worse for the kritik as a judge over the last few years. I think that often times teams who read exclusively critical arguments get away with asserting things as true with no evidence or explanation and judges treat it as a complete argument or incontrovertible truth. I'm not one of those judges.
Your K should ideally be a reason why the aff is bad, not just why the status quo is bad. Specific links are good. Links of omission are not a reason to vote neg. I'd prefer to see a debate about an alt, not just a framework arg, but it isn't a strong preference.
Yes the aff gets a perm, no it doesn't need a net benefit.
Fiat double bind = thumbs down frowny face
Affs without a plan: I generally go into debates believing that the aff should defend a hypothetical policy enacted by the United States federal government. I think debate is a research game and I struggle with the idea that the ballot can do anything to remedy the impacts that many of these affs describe.
I certainly don't consider myself immovable on that question and my decision is likely to be governed by what happens in any given debate; that being said, I don't like when judges pretend to be fully open to any argument in order to hide their true thoughts and feelings about them and so I would prefer to be honest that these are my predispositions about debate, which, while not determinate of how I judge debates, certainly informs and affects it.
I would describe myself as a VERY good judge for T-USFG against affs that do not read a plan. I find impacts about debatability, clash, iterative testing and fairness to be very persuasive. I think fairness is an impact in and of itself. I am not very 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 generally 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, counter-defining words + offense that explains why I should prefer your interp is more persuasive than just impact turns.
I don't think debate is roleplaying.
I am uncomfortable making decisions in debates where people have posited that their survival hinges on my ballot.
Brad Meloche (my last name rhymes with "Josh" not "brioche") https://www.nameshouts.com/names/all-languages/pronounce-brad-meloche
Past Affiliations: Niles West High School, Wayne State University, Seaholm High School, Birmingham Covington School, the School of Hard Knocks, the School of Rock, a school of fish
Email: email@example.com (I ALWAYS want to be on the email chain. please do email chains instead of sharing in the zoom chat/NSDA classroom)
The short version -
Tech > truth. A dropped argument is assumed to be contingently true. "Tech" is obviously not completely divorced from "truth" but you have to actually make the true argument for it to matter. In general, if your argument has a claim, warrant, and implication then I am willing to vote for it, but there are some arguments that are pretty obviously morally repugnant and I am not going to entertain them. They might have a claim, warrant, and implication, but they have zero (maybe negative?) persuasive value and nothing is going to change that. I'm not going to create an exhaustive list, but any form of "oppression good" and many forms of "death good" fall into this category.
Non-traditional – I believe debate is a game. It might be MORE than a game to some folks, but it is still a game. Claims to the contrary are unlikely to gain traction with me. Approaches to answering T/FW that rely on implicit or explicit "killing debate good" arguments are nonstarters.
1) I'm not a very good judge for arguments, aff or neg, that involve saying that an argument is your "survival strategy". I don't want the pressure of being the referee for deciding how you should live your life.
2) The aff saying "USFG should" doesn't equate to roleplaying as the USFG
3) I am really not interested in playing (or watching you play) cards, a board game, etc. as an alternative to competitive speaking. Just being honest.
Kritiks – If a K does not engage with the substance of the aff it is not a reason to vote negative. A lot of times these debates end and I am left thinking "so what?" and then I vote aff because the plan solves something and the alt doesn't. Good k debaters make their argument topic and aff-specific. I would really prefer I don't waste any of my limited time on this planet thinking about baudrillard/bataille/other high theory nonsense that has nothing to do with anything.
Unless told specifically otherwise I assume that life is preferable to death. The onus is on you to prove that a world with no value to life/social death is worse than being biologically dead.
I am skeptical of the pedagogical value of frameworks/roles of the ballot/roles of the judge that don’t allow the affirmative to weigh the benefits of hypothetical enactment of the plan against the K.
I tend to give the aff A LOT of leeway in answering floating PIKs, especially when they are introduced as "the alt is compatible with politics" and then become "you dropped the floating PIK to do your aff without your card's allusion to the Godfather" (I thought this was a funny joke until I judged a team that PIKed out of a two word reference to Star Wars. h/t to GBS GS.). In my experience, these debates work out much better for the negative when they are transparent about what the alternative is and just justify their alternative doing part of the plan from the get go.
Theory – theory arguments that aren't some variation of “conditionality bad” are rarely reasons to reject the team. These arguments pretty much have to be dropped and clearly flagged in the speech as reasons to vote against the other team for me to consider voting on them. That being said, I don't understand why teams don't press harder against obviously abusive CPs/alternatives (uniform 50 state fiat, consult cps, utopian alts, floating piks). Theory might not be a reason to reject the team, but it's not a tough sell to win that these arguments shouldn't be allowed. If the 2NR advocates a K or CP I will not default to comparing the plan to the status quo absent an argument telling me to. New affs bad is definitely not a reason to reject the team and is also not a justification for the neg to get unlimited conditionality (something I've been hearing people say).
Topicality/Procedurals – By default, I view topicality through the lens of competing interpretations, but I could certainly be persuaded to do something else. Specification arguments that are not based in the resolution or that don't have strong literature proving their relevance are rarely a reason to vote neg. It is very unlikely that I could be persuaded that theory outweighs topicality. Policy teams don’t get a pass on T just because K teams choose not to be topical. Plan texts should be somewhat well thought out. If the aff tries to play grammar magic and accidentally makes their plan text "not a thing" I'm not going to lose any sleep after voting on presumption/very low solvency.
Points - ...are completely arbitrary and entirely contextual to the tournament, division, round, etc. I am more likely to reward good performance with high points than punish poor performance with below average points. Things that influence my points: 30% strategy, 60% execution, 10% style. Being rude to your partner or the other team is a good way to persuade me to explore the deepest depths of my point range.
Cheating - I won't initiate clipping/ethics challenges, mostly because I don't usually follow along with speech docs. If you decide to initiate one, you have to stake the round on it. Unless the tournament publishes specific rules on what kind of points I should award in this situation, I will assign the lowest speaks possible to the loser of the ethics challenge and ask the tournament to assign points to the winner based on their average speaks.
I won't evaluate evidence that is "inserted" but not actually read as part of my decision.
Northwestern University '21
Glenbrook North High School '17
I would like to be included on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as flashing of documents.
I debated policy for 4 years at Glenbrook North, qualifying to the TOC twice. I have done no research on the high school topic and have been out of the activity for 5 years so you should assume I have zero background knowledge of the acronyms the debate community uses for common topic words; and thus you would benefit from more explanation of what exactly the aff does and how.
Tech determines what is true. If something is conceded on the flow the other team has failed to test the argument and on my flow it is true. Untrue arguments are easy to beat and rightfully should be blown off. Saying "they dropped X" doesn't cut it as an extension, there needs to be an argument and a warrant for it to be substantive.
Death and suffering are bad and we should strive to prevent it. Arguments for the contrary are entirely unpersuasive to me.
I am not a great judge for affirmatives without a plan.
As for going for the k on the neg, my biggest piece of advice is to go for unique offense. Your links to k things should be a predicative statement that doing the plan will cause something bad to happen. Links that aren't about the plan need to be resolved by the alt but not resolved by the perm.
Do what you do best and try to impress me with your understanding of the material, execution of the strategy, or stylistic ability and I will do my best to adjudicate.
I believe a debate is an educational opportunity and therefore should be taken seriously. Come into your round prepared and ready to give it your best. I ask for you to be respectful to one another, including your partners. I can be persuaded to vote on any argument as long as you are organized and consistent. I don't mind your speed as long as you are very clear on your tags and important details you want me to consider most important.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me before the round.
Please use the following email for chains: EGMORENO1@CPS.EDU
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
K teams pref me 1!!!!! I am more than capable of making the right decisions when it comes to Policy V Policy debates.
Oakland University - PhD Applied Mathematics (2017)
U of M - Dearborn - BSE Computer Engineering & Engineering Mathematics (2011)
I debated for Groves High School for two years, U of M - Dearborn for one year, and I debated for U of M - Ann Arbor for one year. I have been coaching at Groves High School since August 2007, where I am currently Co-Director of Debate.
Please include me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Top Level: Do whatever you want. My job is to evaluate the debate, not tell you what to read.
Speed: Speed is not a problem so long as you remain clear.
Topicality: I am willing to vote on T. I think that there should be substantial work done on the Interpretation vs Counter-Interpretation debate, with impacted standards or reasons to prefer your interpretation. There needs to be specific explanations of your standards and why they are better than the aff's or vice versa. Why does one standard give a better internal link to education or fairness than another, etc?
CPs: I am willing to listen to any type of CP and multiple counterplans in the same round. I also try to remain objective in terms of whether I think a certain cp is abusive or not - the legitimacy of a counterplan is up for debate and thus can vary from one round to the next.
Disads: Sure. There should be a clear link to the aff. Yes, there can be zero risk. The overviews should focus in on why your impacts outweigh and turn case. Let the story of the DA be revealed on the line-by-line.
Kritiks: I enjoy a good kritik debate. Having said that, you shouldn't run the K just because I am judging. If you decided to read the K, make sure that there is a clear link to the aff. This may include reading new link scenarios in the block. There should also be a clear explanation of the impact with specific impact analysis. For the alternative debate, this is where some time needs to be spent. What is the alt? Does it solve the aff? What does the world of the alternative look like? And finally, who does the alternative? What is my role as the judge? The neg should also isolate a clear f/w - why does methodology, ontology, reps, discourse, etc. come first?
Theory: I don't lean any particular way on the theory debate. For me, a theory debate must be more than just reading and re-reading one's blocks. There needs to be impacted reasons as to why I should vote one way or another. If there are dropped independent voters on the theory debate, I will definitely look there first. Finally, there should be an articulated reason why I should reject the team on theory, otherwise I default to just rejecting the argument.
Performance: I find myself judging more and more of these debates. I prefer if the performative affirmation or action is germane to the topic, but that is up for debate. I am certainly willing to listen to your arguments, and evaluate them fairly.
Paperless Debate: I try to give the paperless teams the benefit of the doubt should a computer issue occur. I do not take prep time for flashing, but don't use this as an excuse to steal prep.
Other general comments:
Line-by-line is extremely important in evaluating the rounds, especially on procedural flows.
Clipping cards is cheating! If caught, you will lose the round and get the lowest possible speaker points the tournament allows.
Finally, don't change what works for you. I am willing to hear and vote on any type of argument, so don't alter your winning strat to fit what you may think my philosophy is.
Niles West High School '14
University of Kentucky '18
Coach at Northwestern University
Put me on the chain email@example.com
I decide debates by re-organizing my flow around the issues prioritized in the 2nr and 2ar, going back on my flow to chart the progression of the argument, reading the relevant evidence, then resolving that mini-debate. Tell me what I should care about in the final speeches. Use the earlier speeches to set up your final rebuttals.
I try not to consider personal biases when judging policy or k debates. Debates hinge on link, impact, and solvency questions that have to be argued whether its plan/cp, perm/alt, fw/advocacy.
I believe the most important skill a debater should have is the ability to do good comparative analysis.
I'll read evidence during and after the debate. Evidence quality influences my perception of the argument's strength. Bad evidence means there's a lower bar for answering the argument and vice versa.
When trying to resolve questions about how the world works, I defer to expert evidence introduced in the debate. When trying to resolve questions about how the debate in front of me should work, I defer to the arguments of the debaters.
The debates I enjoy the most are the ones where students demonstrate that they are active participants in the thinking through and construction of their arguments. Don't be on auto-pilot. Show me you know what's going on.
Have an appropriate level of respect for opponents and arguments.
I would strongly prefer not to judge debates about why death is good that may force an ethical debate about whether life is worth living.
There is a place in debate for affirmatives that don't affirm the resolution. I will not vote for or against framework in these situations based on ideological preferences alone. I wish we had clearer rules for what we considered fair game in terms of links to negative offense/competitive advocacies against affs that don't affirm the resolution/read a plan text because I enjoy debates over specifics more than rehashed abstractions. But I am sympathetic to neg arguments about how the aff precluded those good debates from occuring, depending on what the aff defends in the 1ac.
I would prefer neg teams only go for topicality when the aff is very clearly attempting to skirt the core premises of the resolution. Going for silly T arguments against super core affirmatives is a waste of everyone's time.
I feel similarly about theory. It's hard for me to take theory arguments seriously when they're not in response to some seriously problematic practice. Debate is supposed to be hard. People are way too quick to claim something made debate 'impossible'.
When the neg is going for a kritik, I find the framework debating from both sides largely unnecessary. The easiest and most common way I end up resolving framework debates is to allow the aff to weigh their advantages and the neg to weigh their kritik. You'd be better served spending time on the link/impact/alt.
When judging process counterplans, I'm most interested in whether there are cards a) tying the counterplan to the resolution b) tying the net benefit to the plan. This is what usually pushes me aff or neg on theory and perm arguments.
I usually think the link is the most important part of an argument
firstname.lastname@example.org (please add me to the email chain and email me if you have questions). When you start speaking, I will be flowing. There's no need to ask if I'm ready. If I am out of the room, send the doc and I'll be there shortly.
Niles North High School 2011-2015. University of Iowa 2015-present.
Debate is a game. It can be more than a game, too. I think fun is an impact. I do recognize risk-taking and reward it accordingly. A 2NR with either a DA or impact turn and case gets higher speaker points from me because case debate has fallen off.
Impact calculus is the way to get my ballot. It doesn't matter what kind of impact you have - putting it in a conversation with the other team's impact is necessary. I haven't heard the terms "timeframe," "magnitude," or "probability" in rebuttals for a long time - do that and I will give you higher speaker points. Make sure your impact turns the other team's impact. Seriously, do some impact calc.
If the neg says "the status quo is always an option," I will kick the CP in the 2NR if I think it's worse than the SQ. Aff should explicitly start this debate in the 2AC/1AR.
I like some K's on the Neg. Most are obnoxious, though. A lot of people lose the K in front of me because they go for "tricks" without a real explanation or impact. Bold 2ARs that impact turn and go hard on Alt Fails are fun.
T (not framework) is hit or miss for me. I don't like sifting through legal jargon at the end of the round - it's your job to have a. impacts b. a caselist c. a TVA that is clearly different than the Aff.
Love DA's. Generally a 1% risk kind of judge, but that can change.
I judge a lot of "clash" debates. Try to be creative - these debates can be incredibly boring.
Still not sure which approach is better on the Aff - try to mitigate a lot of Neg defense and win a small risk of the Aff, or just impact turn everything. As of now, I like the former approach. Be reasonable, have some good defense of your Aff on this topic, and call the other team out for having silly impacts.
Neg just wins on better models of debate or fairness tricks. You can win without a TVA.
Earl Warren '17
Email: email@example.com [Add me to the chain]
I did LD and a little CX in High School and debated for a semester in college.
Assume I know absolutely nothing about the topic, the acronyms, or your philosopher (because I don't). I'm looking at you 2AC (1AR)
Do what YOU want and do it well. If something isn't clear here, ask before the round.
I'm a bit distant from the activity, you're better off using less jargon in front of me.
- Tech > Truth
- Prep time ends when the doc is *saved and ready to be sent.
- Please be clear, I'm not flowing off the doc.
- Ill vote on [pretty much] anything that's warranted and impacted [to my ballot]. Reading something because you think i'd like it is probably not the way to go but do you.
- Debate can be whatever you want it to be, as long as you don't make the space violent.
- Decision calculus is basically who has the most offense under the winning framework. If your strategy requires a different evaluative mechanism thats fine, just make that clear
- Absent framing I'll presume util=trutil
- I'll call for evidence judiciously
- Speed - Don't start at full speed and PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD slow down considerably on tags and analytics
- After 3 "CLEAR"s I've stopped flowing and if I miss any arguments thats your fault
- **Dense analytic philosophy and tricky debates aren't my strong suit, I'll listen to it but you should assume I have little to no knowledge in this area
- Evidence ethics violations or false accusations thereof will result in an L0
- Brackets are only valid for problematic language, given that the word or phrase you change is not omitted from the text.
- I see speaks as a tiebreaker for seeding and I evaluate it accordingly
- General criteria: should you clear? strategy? persona? good line by line? good overviews?
- Innovation is great - teach me something new and I'll up your speaks
- 29.6-30: You can win this tournament or be in late elims
- 29-29.5: Better than the majority of the pool
- 28-29: You'll probably clear
- 27-28: You'll probably not clear
- 26-27: Lots of room for improvement
- < 26: .........
Updated September 8th, 2018. Judged a bit in Indiana, but never on the national circuit so this paradigm is a work in progress.
If you're doing a lot of analytics, go slower than you normally would.
Debated policy for three years in high school. Tech over truth. Will vote for just about anything (K's, Non-Traditional Affs, Theory, T, etc.)
I try to have a good poker face. Might look like I'm menacingly glaring at you but I'm not.
The unabridged cut:
DAs/Advs/CPs: My wheelhouse when I debated. Love me some impact calc. Also totally open to criticism of traditional CBA (did it somewhat frequently when I debated).
T/Theory: Was not my wheelhouse when I debated. I sometimes have trouble flowing these debates because they generally rely on typed out analytics that are read like cards, so if you run it and want me to judge well try not to do this. I don't have a fully fleshed-out opinion on whether I prefer competing interps or reasonability.
Ks: Think floating PIKs are kind of sneaky/annoying but whatever, I'll vote for them if Aff drops it. If your alt is something like "deconstruct neoliberal pedagogy" hopefully I get a good explanation on what you mean by that. Somewhat familiar with K lit, explanations are always appreciated (especially if you're running D+G or Baudrillard or something).
Non-traditional affs: Full disclosure, so that you're aware of the ways I may be subconsciously biased: don't have a lot of experience with them, I think I went for framework every round I hit a non-traditional aff when I debated. Same comment about framework debates as with T/Theory debates: I often have difficulty flowing because these often rely on typed out analytics that are read like cards.
Pet peeves of mine (work in progress):
-when teams read typed-out analytics like they're reading the text of a card.
-when teams end speeches with "for these reasons and many more, I can only see a ______ ballot" (might just be an Indiana thing)
Feel free to ask before round if you have any specific questions.
Arjun Patel, Maine East Debate 2012-2016, TOC Octafinalist 2016, UChicago Alumni (Class of 2020), BA in Statistics, Lead Data Scientist at Speeko. Updated for 2020-2021!
Do not read death good in front of me or you will lose
Debated for Maine East High School (coached by Wayne Tang, Keith Barnstein, Ann Peter). Most of my ideations about debate have been shaped by who I've debated with (Ashton Smith) and who've I been coached by. I will approach arguments in a very "policy" mindset, so keep that in mind throughout this paradigm. It will be harder to win non-intuitive arguments (death good, etc) in front of me, but tech rules truth.Generally, if you are confused by anything here, check Ashton Smith's paradigm or Wayne Tang's to gain an insight into my debate atmosphere.
Affirmative General Comments:
Ran policy affs through most of my career, ran a soft left aff at the TOC and the good part of my senior year (genetic discrimination/racism impacts), check the wiki for 2015-2016. Generally, the smarter and more nuanced the aff, the more I'll enjoy it.
Disads are awesome, as long as you make sure you are making inroads to the case and are mitigating aff arguments. The more specific the arg, the more diverse the link debate, and the stronger the internal link to the impact, and everything will go fine.
Politics: I am very receptive to affirmative arguments on politics, especially link defense and uniqueness thumpers. It's a good disad only in the hands of the technical. Make sure you spell out the uniqueness debate.
Enough chips away at the disad, and it's entirely possible for the aff team to reduce risk of the DA to zero. Be careful. This also means that 1% risk framing isn't super convincing to me on face, and you need to do work to establish this.
Answer warrants in impact defense.
I am receptive to ethical objections to the DA, if they are relevant (eg last year, terror DA is racist, etc), as long as they are supported and impacted.
Good, nuanced ones are going to convince me very well. Make the net benefit clear, and dispatch of theoretical concerns, make the aff team's life hell. Aff: theory arguments and smart perms are incredibly persuasive, as well as smart solvency deficits. No solvency advocate is ALWAYS a bad time.
I'm not the best judge for this argument, even though my debate career might imply otherwise. I strongly suggest you go for another argument unless the aff is blatantly un topical or you are damn good at explaining T debate jargon free. Unless you have made it incredibly devastating for the affirmative, it will be tough for me to decide the debate on T, and I will lean affirmative.
If you do decide to do this, make the impacts clear. Assume I have no idea about the acronyms you will inevitably use on the T debate. Explain as much as possible.
I didn't go for framework much, but I am pretty receptive to the argument given clear clash and engagement with the affirmative arguments. Please impact why your framework is better, and why your interpretation solves offense from the aff side. Please engage with the case. Topical version of the affirmative is a strong defensive argument, which if dropped or substantially won, becomes a huge reason to vote for the team that proposed it.
In general, not really receptive to these arguments, but I will not refuse to listen to them and I will judge them to the best of my ability. I consider Plan Text solves the case and C/I solves the aff args the most damaging against these affirmatives, as well as ballot k type arguments made pertinent to the affirmative, so prepare accordingly.
I'm going to post something that my former debate partner put quite well here (Ashton Smith).
"Note: Coming from a school without tons of resources and recognizing the experiences of other relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates."
Lastly, if you debate your affirmative well, and dispatch with neg offense, you will win my ballot. If you use obtuse philosophical/(insert theory here) language, and not explain what is going on, chances are I will get lost and I'll vote for the other team. I'm not an expert in what you're running, please understand that and accommodate. Part of debate is effective communication and if you don't effectively communicate the thesis of your argument to me, you lose.
Don't use jargon the average person wouldn't understand. If you do, explain your terms explicitly.
I had an odd relationship with kritiks in my debate career. I have ran k arguments, ranging from security to Virillio to antiblackness a few times, however with any k debate I probably don't know what you are talking about. I will approach a kritik debate, in the absence of clear explanation from the negative, very much like a counterplan with a non-unique net benefit. Make it clear what your k is, why the affirmative UNIQUELY links, and what the impact is. Don't forget to include why your alternative solves risk of aff offense. BS K tricks are just that, BS k tricks...you can do better, and I'm not likely to vote on them. floating piks are silly and I won't vote on them. Probably weigh the aff.
Please don't expect me to understand the complicated jargon you will inevitably use (k stuff, legal terms, agency acronyms or bill titles). Make an effort too clearly, and concisely, explain the arguments you are presenting.
I despise when students (especially top tier senior teams) read 5+ off, especially in front of sophomores. Don't do this. You can win the debate without outspreading the opponent, and if you can't, you have bigger fish to fry... Having said that, as usual I will listen to the debate I just won't like it. If you are an aff team that destroys a neg team trying to outspread you, expect high speaker points.
The best debate possible is one with heavy discussion of case (such as case/author indicts, turns, arguments cut from the opposing sides evidence, impact turns, mechanism cps/mechanism das, and analytics).This is true even with planless affs and performance. If you can dismantle an affirmative with more analytics than cards in the 1nc, I'll be impressed.
Cross ex is a speech. I take notes on cross ex (meaning I write down what you state, in order to use this as clarifying or framing information for arguments you make make later) so make the most use of it. Get concessions, framing, clarification, or run traps. Point out flaws. Bonus if you can make their arguments look ridiculous, while still being classy.
Protip: I have a horrible poker face, so if I look distracted, or confused in the round, chances are that I am. Same for if I don't look those ways.
I'm a sucker for impact turns, so I appreciate a good impact turn adv cp strategy. (Consequently however, I will pay especially close attention to this debate. It isn't a get out of jail free card).
If you can trap the affirmative (or the negative) in making an argument detrimental to themselves (especially in CX), or if you concede arguments strategically to put yourself in a better position, speaker points will go up. Some of the best debate rounds happen when unseen connections are made between arguments, and used efficiently.
The more you engage the case, the more I will enjoy the debate and the better it will turn out for you.
Dropping Theory is almost always a game over, but this is diminished by how ridiculous the theory argument is. Condo is persuasive, so is any kind of theoretical objections to abusive counterplans (conditions, multi-actor fiat, no solvency advocate, pics bad etc). Just be sure you impact your argument when it's dropped, and it's good.
Don't do anything unethical (racist, sexist etc). I will not hesitate to drop you. If you think the other team has done something unethical and I don't look like I have noticed (again, I have a really bad poker face) make that clear, please.
updated for: Greenhill
- coach at the university of chicago laboratory schools
- i view the speech act as an act and an art. debate is foremost a communicative activity. i want to be compelled.
- i go back and forth on topicality/fw vs kritik/performance affs, which is supported by my voting record. i enjoy k v k or policy v k debates. however i see more policy v policy debates because we're in the north shore
- academic creativity & originality will be rewarded
- clarity matters. i flow by ear and on paper, including your cards' warrants and cites
- tag team cx is okay as long as its not dominating
- don't vape in my round, it makes me feel like an enabler
if you do not see me on camera then assume i am not there. please go a touch slower on analytics if you expect me to flow them well. if anyone's connection is shaky, please include analytics in what you send if possible.
coaching at uclab for several years. i've judged 3 water resources debates so far, and will probably have >50 rounds by the end of the season. i occasionally coach and judge PF and camp (harvard). former policy debater from maine east, (north shore, wayne tang gharana) with some college debating at iowa. i identify as subaltern, he/they pronouns are fine. my academic background is medicine. this means i haven't spent my summers deeply reading into the topic aside camp files. it also means you may be counseled on tobacco cessation.
**how to win my ballot**
*entertain me.* connect with me. teach me something. be creative. its impossible for me to be completely objective, but i try to be fair in the way i adjudicate the round.
as tim 'the man' alderete said, "all judges lie." with that in mind...
i get bored- which is why i reward creativity in research and argumentation by being more forgiving in articulation. if you cut something clever, you want me on your panel. i appreciate the speech as an act and an art. i prefer debates with good clash than 2 disparate topics. while i personally believe in debate pedagogy, i'll let you convince me it's elitist, marginalizing, broken, or racist. i wish i could adhere to a paradigmatic mantra like 'tech over truth.' but i've noticed that i lean towards truth in debates where both teams are reading lit from same branch of theory. my speaker point range is 27-30. Above 28.3 being what i think is 'satisfactory' for your division, 28.4 & above means I think you belong in elims. Do not abuse the 2nr.
Congrats! you're slowly sinking into a strange yet fascinating vortex called policy debate. it will change your life, hopefully for the better. focus on the line by line and impact analysis. if you're confused, ask instead of apologize. this year is about exploring. i'm here to judge and help :)
i think debaters should be able to defend why their departure from (Classic mode) Policy is preferable. i don't enter the round presuming plan texts as necessary for a topical discussion. i enjoy being swayed one way or the other debate to debate on k affs vs framework. overall, its an interesting direction students have taken Policy. i used to be a HUGE t & spec hack. nowadays, the they tend to get messy. so some flow organization is much appreciated: number your args, sign post through the line-by-line, slow down to give me a little pen time. i do not enter the round with an assumption of the necessity of plan texts. argument of T through analogy, metaphor, exclusion/inclusion is just as valid as a discussion of voters; i tend to vote on analysis with specificity and/or(?) creativity.
i enjoy performance, original poetry, rap, singing, moments of sovereignty, etc. i find most "high theory" and critical identity politics literature & debates enjoyable. i dont mind how you choose to organize k speeches/overviews so long as there is some way you organize thoughts on my flow. 'long k overviews' can be (though seldom are) beautiful. i appreciate a developed analysis. more specific the better, examples and analogies help a lot. i default to empiricism/historical analysis as competitive warranting unless you frame the debate otherwise. i understand that the time constraint of debate can prevent debaters from fully unpacking a kritik. if i am unfamiliar with the argument you are making, i will prioritize your explanation. i may also read your evidence and google-educate myself. this is a good thing and a bad thing, and i think its important you know that asterisk.
**spec, theory, and ethics challenges**
PLEASE DO NOT HIDE YOUR ASPEC VIOLATIONS. if the argument is important i prefer you invite the clash than evade it.
i have no way to fairly judge arguments that implicate your opponent's behavior before the round, unless i've witnessed it myself or you are able to provide objective evidence. debate is a competitive environment which means i take accusations with a degree of skepticism. i think the trend to turn debate into a kangaroo court, or use the ballot as a tool to ostracize members from the community speaks to the student/coach's tooling of authority at tournaments as well as the necessity for pain in their notion of justice. a really good podcast that speaks to this topic in detail is invisibilia: the callout.
on traditional theory args, whatever happened to presumption debates? i more often find theory compelling when contextualized to why there's a specific reason to object to the argument (e.g. why the way this specific perm operates is abusive/sets a bad precedent). i always prefer the clash to be developed earlier in the debate and more than vomiting blocks at each other. as someone who used to go for theory, i think there's an elegant way to trap someone. and it same stipulations apply- if you want me to vote for it, make sure i'm able to clearly hear and distinguish your subpoints.
i always enjoy creative or case specific PICs. i like to hear story-weaving in the overview. i do vote on theory - see above. i also enjoy an in depth case clash, case turn debate. i do not have a deep understanding on the procedural intricacies of our legal system and may internet-educate myself on your ev during your round
you can ask me about:
- medical school, medicine
- clinical research/trials
- biology, physiology, gross anatomy, & pathophysiology are courses i've taught
- nicotine/substance cessation
PoFo - (modified from Tim Freehan's poignant paradigm):
I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.
Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at debate as competitive research or full-contact social studies. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Framework, philosophical, moral arguments are great, though I need instruction in how you want me to evaluate that against tangible impacts.
Evidence quality is very important.
I will vote with what's on what is on the flow only. I enter the round tabula rasa, i try to check my personal opinions at the door as best as i can. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.
Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.
Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.
I am a fan of “Kritik” arguments in PF! I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. You can attack your opponents scholarship. Racism, sexism, heterocentrism, will not be tolerated between debaters. I have heard and will tolerate some amount of racism towards me and you can be assured I'll use it as a teaching moment.
I reward debaters who think outside the box.
I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. But if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”
Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them. Some of the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.
While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.
The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc.) then the Con gets some leeway.
I care about substance more than style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because your tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.
Relax. Have fun.
Glenbrook North- he/him
Oceans aren't topical. Obvi.gov/limits/wehadtwotopicsonthisalready.htm
"Can you send a marked copy" is a reasonable pre-cx request. "Marked copy" means any cards they started reading but didn't finish should be marked. "Marked copy" doesn't mean the team sends a version of the doc that omits cards they skipped entirely. I know what you're trying to do and I'm not fooled by it.
"Plan text in a vacuum" = we can read an untopical aff but just insert resolutional words that make no sense given what you're saying the aff does is super annoying, unpersuasive, and is bad for your speaker points
Kritik stuff: I am not a good judge in these debates. I'm not up on the literature and frequently find myself confused, and when I'm confused about something that has happened, I latch on to the things that make the most sense to me, which is generally not the kritik. My RFDs in these debates are generally pretty bad because I find myself just reiterating some version of "I just didn't understand this" which both you and I will find frustrating. Reps bad requires specific link work as to why their specific rhetoric has a specific bad consequence. Alts require solvency. I'm very good for T-USFG.
Flow and respond to what the other team says. Tech over truth, tech over offense. I am willing to assign zero risk to a DA even if the CP solves the aff or zero risk to the aff even if there's no risk of the DA.
For online debate especially, you really need to slow down and prioritize clarity. I will not vote on arguments I don't have down and understand. Voting on what you said requires understanding both the actual words and the substance of the arguments you are making. Do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking. Sign-post. Number your arguments. Be clear when you are transitioning between cards and sheets. Give me time to switch sheets. Be explicit about what you're answering.
Other things that may differ from what you consider norms:
Poor in-round time management really annoys me. I stop flowing when the timer goes off and that's where the card is marked. Every time you restart prep, you're taking at least 10 seconds. I start timing CX once you start asking any questions. If you steal prep, I'll take a punitive amount of prep time from you. If you read one or two extra cards, sending it after the speech is fine. If it becomes excessive, I'll also take a punitive amount of prep time from you.
Everything needs to be in one speech doc. Getting everything together in one speech doc is prep. I stop prep when you've sent the doc.
There's no situation in which I'll vote for death is good.
No inserting anything into the debate besides like charts or graphics (things that can't be read aloud). If you won't take the time to say it, I won't take the time to read it. This includes rehighlightings, perm texts, etc.
I generally flow cross-x but won't guarantee I'll pay attention to questions after cross-x time is up.
Niles West '14
I coach for Niles West debate and have for the past 6 years. I have coached and judged in every level from novice to elimination rounds in varsity divisions. I have also coached and judged on local, regional, and national circuits.
Yes, I would like to be sent speech docs but I will not be flowing off of them --- firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated for three years for Niles West and one year at Michigan State University on the legalization topic. My experience in debate is 50/50 policy and K.
I would like to emphasize that I am totally down for the K as much as I am totally down for a policy debate.
First and foremost: I do not allow my preconceived notions about certain types of arguments affect my decision-making. I view debate as an activity that develops critical thinking and advocacy skills, so do that in whatever way you think is best suited for your situation (granted that it is respectful and not offensive).
FYI: dropped arguments are not true arguments --- whoever makes the argument has the burden of proof.
T – love a good T debate. compare interpretations and evidence adequately. the impact level is the most important to me in T debates, and you should be comparing standards/impacts. don't forget the internal link debate. fairness is an impact in and of itself.
DAs – are essential to a good debate I think. impact calc and overviews are important. think we can all agree on that.
Ks and Framework – I love the K, I went for it a lot in high school. they are good for debate *if they answer the affirmative*. Please engage the affirmative. This entails making specific link arguments as well as thorough turns case analysis. I am probably familiar with your literature, however, I will not weigh your buzzwords more than logical aff arguments against your K. If you want my ballot, you need to first and foremost TALK ABOUT THE AFF. Read specific links to the aff’s representations and impacts, not just to the topic in general.
The link debate is crucial – and the aff should recognize if the neg is not doing an adequately specific job explaining their link story. Additionally, you need to make turns case arguments. I will not be compelled by a mere floating pik in the 2NR – that’s cheating. Give me analysis about why the aff reifies its own impacts. Absent this, I usually default to weighing the 1AC heavily against the K.
Relating to framework, I have a high threshold for interpretations that limit out critiques entirely. I would rather see debaters interact with the substance of the criticism than talk shallowly about fairness and predictability (especially if it is a common argument). A lot of the times, framework debates are lazy.
Planless affs: Totally down for them, especially on the criminal justice system reform topic. Perhaps they could be read on the neg, but that does not mean that they should not be read on the aff. This is good news if you are negative going for framework because switch side debate probably solves a lot of aff offense if there is a topical version of the aff. This is also good news for the aff because I can just as likely be persuaded that the reading of your aff in the debate space creates something unique (i.e., whatever you are solving for). A policy action, whether or not it's done by the federal government, should be a priority for the aff to defend. Please just do something that gives the negative a role in the debate. SLOW DOWN on taglines if they are paragraphs.
1. Clarity (important for online debate) - I've changed my stance on this since online debate became a thing. Still definitely say words. Sending analytics in speech doc and/or slowing down on analytics 1) helps me which is, in turn, good for you and 2) (at worst) facilitates clash because your opponents can also hear and know what you are saying, which is also good for everyone educationally!
Ideally I would not have to work too hard to hear what you are saying. I am bad at multitasking, so if I’m working too hard I’ll probably miss an argument or two. Please enunciate tag lines especially. If I can’t decipher your answer to an argument, I will consider it dropped.
2. Be respectful – yes, debate is a competitive activity, but it is also an academic thought exercise. I encourage assertiveness and confidence in round, but if you are rude, I will reduce your speaker points. Rudeness includes excessively cutting your opponent off or talking over them in cross-ex, excessively interrupting your partner's speech to prompt them, being unnecessarily snarky towards your opponents, etc. Please just be nice :)
3. Logic - a lot of times, debaters get wrapped up in the technicality of their debates. While tech is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of doing things like explaining your arguments, pointing out logical flaws in your opponents’ arguments, and telling me how I should evaluate a particular flow in the context of the whole debate. I tend to reward teams that provide consistent, clear, and smart meta-level framing issues – it makes my job 100 times easier, and it minimizes the extent to which I have to intervene to decide the debate. I will not do work for you on an argument even if I am familiar with it – I judge off of my flow exclusively.
4. DO NOT assume that I am following along on the speech doc as you are giving a speech, because I am probably not.
I debated for Glenbrook North in Policy and LD, did parli in college and coached parli at the college level for a year.
My email is email@example.com
Providing it's not offensive, I will vote for whatever is on the flow. I don't prefer any type of argument to another, that being said I prefer to see comparative argumentation and impact analysis. A dropped argument is true for the round.
Also, everyone is choosing to give up their weekends to participate in an activity that is competitive, but should also be fun. Be nice to one another.
firstname.lastname@example.org please add me to an email chain.
previous coaching: Niles West (2016-present), Walter Payton (2014-2016), Wayzata (2009-2013), Moorhead (2007-2009), University of Minnesota (2011-2015, plus various tournaments since), Concordia College (2006-2009).
I generally judge 75+ debates on the high school topic.
updated September 2019
I'm updating my philosophy not because of a meaningful change in how I evaluate debates, but because I think the process of how I decide debates is more important than how I feel about individual arguments.
I judge debates in the way they are presented to me. This means you control the substance of the debate, not me. As such, the team that will win is the team that is best able to explain why their arguments are better than their opponent's arguments.
I start deciding a debate by determining if I need to read evidence. I often read very few cards at the end of a debate. In many debates, the quality of evidence, its qualifications and even warrants or conclusions go uncontested. I'm not the judge to reconstruct the debate for you. Then, I assign "risk" to the positions forwarded in the last rebuttals. The type of "risk" is determined by the debate--anywhere from "does the DA outweigh the aff" to "do the representations lead to a unique impact" to "does the performance actively resist forms of oppression". Link and impact analysis is therefore extremely important. You probably won’t like the decision if I decide what is most important.
Most of my topic research revolves around critiques. I have also worked at a summer institute almost every year since 2005. Chances are I am familiar with your literature base, no matter which side of the library it's housed in. However, you still need to explain your arguments for me to consider voting for them.
If you want me to consider the status quo as an option, you should tell me in the 2NR: I will not default for you. Outside of conditionality, I default to rejecting the argument, not the team unless instructed otherwise.
Note on decision times: the longer it takes to finish the debate, the less time I have to adjudicate, so it is in your best interest to be efficient.
Speaker points are influenced by a variety of factors. While I do not have a specific formula for integrating all the variables, your points are reflected by (in no particular order): argument choice, clarity, execution, participation in the debate, respect for others, strategy, and time management. I tend to reward debaters for specific strategies, humor, personality and speeches free of disposable arguments.
My email is email@example.com
Add me to the chain please.
I debated for Northside College Prep in High School. I read soft left affs my freshman and sophomore years, big stick policy affs with tons of impacts my junior year, and critical affs my senior year. I have defended deleuze, lacan, schopenhauer, bataille, edelman, preciado, baudrillard, etc. I am well versed in afropessimism as well as critical responses to afropessimism.
I'll vote for a sneaky CP if you win competition.
I'll vote on kritiks if I understand why the argument is a reason to vote for you.
The bar for giving you weight on the kritik is lower if the alt is more action-based. The less your alt does the more you need to win FW.
I love a good advantage CP with an interesting scenario.
I love smart arguments and care very little about having cards if the args are logical. A shitty card doesn't beat a good analytic.
You do not need offense on T, you can win terminal defense.
Don't talk loudly during opponent speeches.
Don't leave time on the clock, you can always make more arguments. You lose .5 speaks for every 30 seconds you leave on the clock.
Don't be an asshole.
Flow, and respond to your opponents' arguments and you should be good.
Otherwise have a good time and don't take this so seriously that you:
a) cry when a round doesn't go your way
b) get overly angry and aggressive in CX
Name: Chris Stinson
Affiliation: Minneapolis South
I debated in High School for Rapid City Central in South Dakota in the late 90s
I debated in College for Concordia in Moorhead Minnesota in the early 2000s
I started coaching in college and have actively coached ever since
I judge more than 50 rounds on any given topic
What you need to know:
I’m trying to be fully present in debates. When I was younger I allowed myself to be distracted by how my teams were doing, social media, etc. I don't think that's fair for you so I'm doing my best to break my bad habits.
I will try to judge the round without inserting my personal biases. Again, I want to be fair and honor the work that you've put into the activity.
I’m trying to keep up with point inflation. I know a lot of coaches my age are trying to hold the line. I don't think that's fair to you. My scale is at the bottom.
I think that for most debates that should be enough. Of course, you’re not doing your prefs for the easy debates. Below are some additional things that you should know about me in close debates.
My (self reported) bias:
I'm very liberal in real life. I've made my living fighting, full time, for racial, economic, and queer justice. I identify as gay. Capitalism, racism, patriarchy (including hetero and cis patriarchy), agism, ablism, and christian hegemony form an interlocking system of oppression that benefits very few, the primary feature of which is it's ability to divide us against one another. Most people would describe me as a K judge.
I also believe the state can be reformed and that those reforms can be transformational. I had the great honor to work on campaigns to win the freedom to marry, combat bullying, and allow transgender high school students to participate in school activities as their full authentic selves. I cried tears of joy when those policies were implemented. The Paul Wellstone quote, "politics is not just about power and money games, politics can be about the improvement of people's lives, about lessening human suffering in our world and bringing about more peace and more justice," pretty much sums up why I do politics.
I'm the education lobbyist for a lefty labor union (SEIU) in Minnesota.
What you probably want to know:
Comparisons: I will give more weight to warrants that were in 2NR and 2AR than to warrants that I only read in evidence after the debate.
Theory: In my default framework I evaluate theory/framework first, followed by discourse followed by traditional policy making impacts. I'm not locked into this framework but "theory is a gateway issue" and "discourse shapes reality" seem true so that's where I start.
Evidence: I read less than I used to and a lot less than other judges but I still want to be on the email chain.
Prep: Don't steal it. Prep time ends when you save the speech doc. I also expect your partner to stop prepping. I have no interest in policing your bathroom behavior.
Perm Double Bind / Perm All Other Instances: I have not yet heard a debater explain these arguments in a way that is persuasive to me. "Do the Plan and the non competitive parts of the Alt" doesn't make sense to me as a test of competition, since it simply asserts that there are parts of the Alt that don't compete with the Plan. If you want me to evaluate the perms as an advocacy that I can vote for at the end of the debate I will need you to invest time describing the world of the perm.
Bad debates are always bad so do what you like, what you're good at, and have fun.
I'm happy to answer more specific questions. Just ask.
The scale I intend to use (lifted from jonahfeldman on the CEDA forums):
29.5 - 30: One of the greatest debate speeches I have ever seen
29 - 29.4: Should be one of the top 5 speakers at the tournament
28.7- 28.9: Should be one of the top 15 speakers, but not top 5.
28.4 - 28.6: Should be in the top 25 speakers. Should clear if 5-3 and elims start at octos.
28 - 28.3: Good, but needs improvement. Should not get a speaker award. Should clear if 5-3 and elims start at doubles
27.5 - 27.9: Some things that were good, but also some areas of major improvement needed.
27 - 27.4: Areas of major improvement needed
Below 27: Was offensive/rude/dangerous. Needs to be told after the round what they did that caused a large drop in speaker points.
Name Wayne Tang School - Northside College Prep, Preclusions- Maine East, IL
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years. I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and am sometimes placed (for whatever reason) in upper end rounds at national tournaments. However, I am not a professional teacher/debate coach, I am a patent attorney in my real (non-debate) life and thus do not learn anything about the topic (other than institutes are overpriced) over the summer. I like to think I make up for that by being a quick study, being forced to look at the files produced by my teams, and through coaching and judging past topics, knowing many recycled arguments.
DISADS AND ADVANTAGES
Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.
I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the negative burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually this is a pretty deep hole for the aff. to dig out of. For example, if the aff. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote aff. As with most issues, in depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3 word tag lines.
Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further (sorry to my past assistants who have chosen this as their academic career), I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing both a dose of the real world (I was an engineer in undergrad, I guess I have been brainwashed in techno-strategic discourse/liking solutions that actually accomplish something) and a fundamentals of clear writing course. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the aff. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyperspeed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.
PERFORMANCE BASED ARGUMENTS
Also not a fan, but I have voted on these arguments in the past. I am generally not highly preferred by teams that run such arguments, so I don't see enough of these types of debates to be an expert. However, I judge a number of Chicago Debate League tournaments where teams run these arguments and also for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and thus have some background in such arguments from these rounds. I will try to evaluate the arguments in such rounds and will not hesitate to vote against framework arguments if the team advocating non-traditional debate wins sufficient warrants why I should reject the policy/topic framework. However, if a team engages the non-traditional positions, the team advocating such positions need to answer any such arguments in order to win. In other words, I will evaluate these debates like I try to evaluate any other issues, I will see what arguments clash and evaluate that clash, rewarding a team that can frame issues, compare and explain impacts. I have spent 20 plus years coaching a relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, so I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates. On the other hand I have also spent 20 plus years involved in non-debate activities and am not entirely convinced that the strategies urged by non-traditional debates work. Take both points for whatever you think they are worth in such debates.
Case specific CPs are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CPs to solve the Aff and use Aff solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the Aff on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The aff has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.
POINTS – In varsity debate, I believe you have to minimally be able to clash with the other teams arguments, if you can’t do this, you won’t get over a 27.3. Anything between 28.6 and 29 means you are probably among the top 5% of debaters I have seen. I will check my points periodically against tournament averages and have adjusted upward in the past to stay within community norms. Unfortunately for you, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me. Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen and Stephanie Spies didn’t get 30s from me (and they were among my favorites of all time), so don’t feel bad if you don’t either.
I dislike evaluating theory debates but if you make me I will do it and complain a lot about it later. No real predispositions on theory other than I would prefer to avoid dealing with it.
Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex.
I do not count flashing time (or general tech screw ups) as prep time and quite frankly am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.
Speed is fine (this is of course a danger sign because no one would admit that they can’t handle speed). If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, as with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it.
I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my semi-conscious (and probably apathetic) state, perceive is going on.
I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking espn.com on my laptop, throwing something at you, etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument. I will, and have, voted on many arguments I think are squarely in the realm of idiocy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), death good (more than I would like to admit), Sun-Ra, world government, etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter).
I will not hesitate to vote against teams and award zero points for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, threats of violence, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have only been faced with such issues twice in my 25 + years of judging.
I had a much longer judging paradigm when it was on the old wiki but I will try to give you the highlights.
I was an active Director of Debate at GBS from 2003-2014. I would judge a significantly high number of rounds each year (both on the regional and national circuit). Since 2014, I have still been active in debate. I teach the Debate classes at South, teach at Institute, and watch practice debates. I don't judge many rounds at tournaments since I don't travel much. This year (2018-2019) has me judging debates more and travelling more. I would say that my technical flowing abilities are at about 80-90% of what they were when I was judging 100+ rounds a year. I am not actively involved in the literature base in regards to research.
What does that mean to you?
1 - I don't have many preconceived notions entering the debates about which team is having a more successful season or what arguments are the cool/hip thing. That can be good and bad for you. :)
2- I would consider myself a moderate right judge in regards to policy vs. K debates. Here is the thing - I am very liberal in my beliefs and academia, especially in regards to issues of identity. My Masters' thesis was a black women's criticism of mainstream feminist discourse. I will often understand and believe many K arguments in front of me. The question is whether the arguments presented in front of me provides an opportunity for deliberative dialogue between two opposing teams. Convince me of that in round (and many have), you will find me to be more left-leaning in regards to K arguments than people perceive.
3 - I love a good Politics debate that has super recent evidence and an interesting spin to a typical politics story.
4 - I believe coming into the debate that uniqueness drives the direction of the link.
5 - I default Negative coming in to many debates in regards to CP theory and competition issues.
6 - I have a high standard for both evidence and what makes for a complete argument.
Debate Experience: I spent my four years of high school debating for Eric Solorio Academy and three summers at Northwestern's debate institute.
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
My favorite type of debates to judge are policy debates and prefer policy over critical/performative debates. However, I can be persuaded to vote on any argument. I am fine with speed but make sure you are clear. Please be respectful to one another and have fun! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me before the round.
I prefer K debates. I feel that policy debates with a ton of off case are mostly exercises in strategy, which is fine if that's your thing, but I don't think it's necessarily good for education and political awareness. That being said, I am fully aware that K debates can, alas, turn into exercises in intellectual bombast. So, if you're running a K or K Aff, please avoid relying solely on philosophical jargon. I think the best debaters are the ones who combine their technical of knowledge of debate with common sense and some semblance of rhetorical skill.
I will listen to your T arguments, but unless the other team drops T or offers completely terrible answers I will probably not vote for T. I've judged several rounds in the past few years, where the stronger team ended up going for T and lost due to that decision. I might be more inclined to vote for T in instances where there is an aff that is particularly abusive, such as one that is extremely small in scope.
If you're running a CP, I strongly prefer that it have an external net benefit.
I like a nice, tight DA with a carefully explained link story. Sometimes Ptix DAs get a little wild, but as long as you can sell the story, I'm willing to go along with it as a convention of debate.
Finally, PICs are abusive.
Debate Coach, New Trier High School, Illinois
Formerly, Head Coach, Princeton High School, Ohio
Glenbrook North Alum, Miami University of Ohio Alum
Debate is about having fun - you should read arguments that you enjoy regardless of my past debate background or what arguments my students may or may not read.
Debate is about communication, response, and oral argumentation - if it wasn't in the debate or if it was not clear to me in a debate, it's not a thing. All arguments should have some level of engagement with what the opposing team is saying or they are just floating statements.
Debate should be a safe space - be respectful to your partner and opponents; if your "thought experiment" includes trivializing genocide, suicide, x identity, you should consider the impact that that argument might have on your opponents and anyone watching the debate. If this is egregious I will feel compelled to intervene.
Updated: December 2017
*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.*
I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL.
Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.
*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.
*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.
*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.
*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.
*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.
*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.
Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.
I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.
*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.
*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate.
*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."
*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot.
Debated 4 years of policy debate at Iowa City High school
Debated 3 years at the University of Iowa (BS Economics)
University of Chicago (Master of Public Policy)
I find debates the most interesting when debaters bring new things to the table or have a strong and innovative way to explain their argument. Someone who understands and can apply their links from the cap K or spending DA to the aff specificity is more rewarding than someone struggling to answer basic questions about a more topic-specific argument. With that in mind, if you have spent the time to construct a specific strat please please read it.
Before taking everything I say to heart, Tim Alderete told me something that changed my perspective on reading judge philosophies. He said something to the effect of “Judges ALWAYS lie. No one ever wants to say they are a bad judge or predisposed to certain arguments. It is your job as debaters to sift through that.” So if you want the truth don't ask me what I like ask people who know me.
1) I find that debate is a game and whoever plays it better wins. I really enjoy good line-by-line debate but what is often lost is for what ends are your arguments being made. Please have a framework for me to evaluate everyone's arguments. That should help prevent me from intervening arbitrarily.
2) Speed=amount of arguments clearly articulated per second. So make sure you articulate the argument and not just a claim. Moreover, if I can't understand you then I can't flow you and I can't evaluate what you said as an argument.
3) I think that a discussion of the resolution is important. That can be in many forms but the aff should include an advocacy that affirms the resolutional statement.
I want you to enjoy this activity so please ask me for help if you want it.
Debated for Walter Payton College Prep, 2014-2018
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Note: I have not debated nor researched the current high school topic - keep this in mind when you are explaining and contextualizing your arguments.
General Thoughts/Things You Should Probably Know:
2. Tech>Truth - In most cases. If you say something that is blatantly untrue or patently offensive, I probably won't vote on it. (However, if you can't defend that death is bad, you probably deserve to lose)
3. I was a policy 2a for the majority of my time in debate - this won't affect my decisions because I have no particular biases against critical arguments, but you should keep in mind that I may not have the background knowledge to understand specific arguments/tricks that are not thoroughly explained.
4. Cross ex is binding unless you tell me otherwise.
5. I honestly don't care what you read, just please do it well.
1. I think all affs need a solvency advocate that specifically mandates the action of the plan text. I'm not a stock issues hack so I'll still vote for affs that circumstantially solve their advantages, but expect to get crushed by neg teams who competently argue the solvency debate.
2. I have no particular biases toward or against big stick and soft left affirmatives.
3. I'm less likely to vote for affs that have convoluted internal link chains - I think this makes intuitive sense, but the more prerequisites something has to meet, the less likely it is to occur.
1. I think all competent affirmatives in this category need a "debate key" warrant - if you do not have one, I am very likely to be persuaded by framework teams that tell you to "go read a book" or "participate in a protest."
2. Performance is offense - if you read a poem or a narrative that's completely legit - just please do it well.
3. Evidence quality matters - I honestly don't understand why more neg teams don't contest this part of the debate - if you read these authors in the 1ac, you should be prepared to defend them.
4. Don't just drop jargon and expect me to understand it - please explain your claims and define important buzzwords - it would be unfortunate if I made the wrong decision because I misinterpreted your arguments.
5. Reading a K aff is probably cheating, but I don't think fairness in itself is a terminal impact unless you give me a reason to evaluate it as one.
6. Debate is obviously a game - however, I do not think that this is mutually exclusive with its potential as an activity which shapes our epistemology and subject formation.
1. All counterplans need solvency advocates - I might make exceptions against certain K affs, but this will be done on a case-by-case basis.
2. I lean aff on consult theory and textual vs functional competition - consult cps are probably abusive and bad for debate - functional competition is probably a better standard for debate because textual competition is arbitrary and rooted in semantics.
3. I'm fine with abusive process counterplans - I will probably be more sympathetic to the aff on theory in most of these rounds, but in the case of an undecided debate, i.e. when neither side has won their interpretation, I will comfortably default neg.
1. Good disads need aff-specific links - cards that describe the policy action of the plan are preferred, but I will also vote on generic links that have been contextualized to the affirmative.
2. I will evaluate a link turn without an extension of uniqueness as terminal impact defense for the affirmative - unless you tell me otherwise.
3. Politics fiat - I don't really flip either way on this issue, but neg teams should honestly just pin the timeframe and process of the plan's passage in 1ac cross ex to avoid having this debate.
4. I will not evaluate evidence quality unless I am told to do so - if neither side does explicit evidence comparison, I will default to warrants.
1. T violations are more convincing if the neg team can prove in-round abuse - I will still vote for potential abuse, but be prepared for an uphill battle.
2. I am very willing to pull the trigger on T unless the aff is clearly a core topic generic, or if the violation is artificially overlimiting - random definitions from obscure parts of the literature probably won't convince me.
3. Fairness in a vacuum is not an impact.
1. Ks should link more to the aff than the status quo - I will most likely not vote for a K that is not contextualized to the aff.
2. Epistemology alts are legit - however, you definitely need to win framework in order to garner alt solvency.
3. I don't have any particular biases in terms of the framework debate - if framework is a wash coming out of the 2ar, I will grant the aff the implementation of their case, and allow the neg to garner links based on epistemology/discourse.
4. I think Ks are the most strategic when their links are also case turns - if the links are not framed in this way, neg teams should probably engage with the aff on the case debate.
1. I have a high threshold for voting for conditionality - the neg should probably be allowed to have at least two conditional advocacies to garner substantive offense against the aff - however, if the neg reads 3+ conditional offs, I will have a much higher probability of voting aff on strat skew and perf con.
2. I will vote for "spec" violations and other arguments of that nature - I have an extremely high threshold for voting for these arguments, but I will attempt to fairly evaluate them.
3. Disclosure theory is a legit argument - I think open disclosure is key to having educational debates with substantive clash and effective discourse. (on a side note, if you don't disclose, you're probably a scumbag who deserves to lose)
4. RVIs are dumb - but they're so dumb that you probably deserve to lose if you can't properly answer them.
5. Counterplan-specific theory is discussed in the "CPs" section.
1. Uniqueness controls the direction of the link.
2. You can win terminal defense in debate.
3. 2 condo is fine, 3 condo is sketch.
4. I will vote neg on presumption - the aff has to win some offensive justification for whatever its plan, advocacy, performance, etc is. But please remind me if you're neg.
5. Tech over truth.
In my dream debate round I do not have to think as I make my decision because the winning team has clearly articulated voters that demonstrate why they have won. That being said, I try not come into the round with any preconceived notions of what impacts "matter." It's not enough to read your nuke war -> extinction argument because why should I presume that extinction, death, etc. are inherently bad? Thus, it is up to the you to frame the impacts and explain why I should weigh yours a certain way. I also tend to prefer impact analysis that doesn't just say probability 100% Time frame is now, but hashes out the links in relation to the round. It is not enough to prove that X is good or that X is bad, you must win X is better/worse than Y to secure my ballot.
I really enjoy the theory debate. Defining the paramaters of the round and what debate ought to look like is a fascinating exercise that requires lots of thinking about debate as a practice. Theory also gives you the freedom to develop fascinating, brand new arguments. That being said 2 really well reasoned arguments in your shell is better than ten blips. Also if you concede the Counter Interp, I'm pretty inclined to not vote for you on theory. Please explain why theory is a voter. Don't be afraid to impact out to the various frameworks or other flows these types of applications can really earn you speaks and strengthen theory.
TVA is probably important. I'm agnostic on framework permutations. Examples are super important on this flow. You're probably going to be doing better if you cleverly shape your interpretation to at least include some K affs. Portable skills are probably a hot mess. The question of whether or not debate is a game matters to me. If debate is a game, I will evaluate the round differently (ie fairness, limits, etc probably become more important to me), than if it isn't a game. I'm not really a fan of most of the cards by debate authors that say "debate should be X." It's much more interesting to look at what happens when we conceive of debate in a certain way. IE if we debate about policy action what happens? Does that allow us to become more effective activists? Does it challenge the lines of impossibility? Does it lead to better education? Then, I need impact calc. I need to see comparison on impacts and also compare your stories on framework. What happens in your world of debate versus theirs? Really, I think of the interpretation as a plan text about what the debate space should do and accordingly I want to see what happens when the debate space does your plan.
I think my previous paradigm discouraged teams from going for T. I can be persuaded either way on reasonability/competing interps.
I love the K as an argument and it has really shaped my reading and thinking through out my education. That being said, there are a lot of really generic Ks floating around and I am becoming increasingly inclined to punish teams on speaks that cannot explain the K in their own words and don't know their authors. That being said, it is still affs job to answer the K. Bringing in framework and/or theory is almost always a necessity.
I'm pretty open to most role's aff wants to set for themselves. Policy? Cool. Performance? Cool. Kritikal? Cool. Project? Cool. Of course, this role is still debatable and how different roles interact with topicality, disads, etc. is debatable as well.
I distribute them based on how many things you do that I've explicitly stated here, clarity, and strategy. I award speaker points on a range from 27 - 30. Overt racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-black, etc. behavior will drop your speaks substantially.
Contact Info- firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Coach, Glenbrook North
Blue Valley Southwest, 10-18
1. I'm working with novices this season, so take that into consideration in terms of what I know about the topic + the quality of debates I regularly see. If it's not the NDCA evidence packet for novices, I'm not familiar with your arg.
2. I give higher points to people that care about the quality of speech docs and the clarity in which your audience (other team, judge) receive them.
3. I give lower points to people who don't know when to slow down or those that still have not practiced how to speak/sound clearly on a Zoom call.
1. A debate should be centered around topical action.