Presentation Voices Invitational
2019 — San Jose, CA/US
LD RR Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Kamiak (all teams)
performance/id pol k - 1
structural k - 1
theory - 2
larp/policy - 2
(LD) phil - 3
(LD) trix - 4
I debated for Kamiak HS in Mukilteo, WA and briefly debated for Wake Forest. I started debate in middle school, and throughout my career, I have earned 17 total TOC bids, qualifying in both LD (3 times) and Policy (1 time) and most recently cleared to quarterfinals of GSU in 2019 (my only college tourney). I have experience in both policy and LD debate on both the local and national circuit. I primarily read kritikal arguments, but trust and believe I can follow you and have experience in policy, phil, and theory stuff.
THIS PARADIGM IS WRITTEN FOR POLICY BUT MOST THINGS IN HERE APPLY TO LD TOO. LD SPECIFIC THINGS ARE NOTED AS SUCH.
yes put me on the chain (email@example.com)
Pronouns: black/black or they/them
[Voices Update] - In round robins speaks matter more, so I will give actual speaks. None of the extras apply, but the minuses certainly do.
Speaks are wack and arbitrary and I don't think they are a good tiebreaker. I wish tournaments would use opp wins as the first tiebreaker instead and I will die on that hill. With that being said, I'm a bit of a speaks fairy unless you do something blatantly offensive in which case speaks will go down down down down down faster than Jay Sean can sing it. And, if you don't get that reference then strike me ;)
+2 speaks if you bring me iced coffee w/ sugar and lots of cream because judging is wayyyy more tiring than competing
+1 speaker point for 2 well executed West Wing references throughout the debate - tell me what they were after your speech so I can keep track or in case I miss it.
+.5 speaker points if youre in LD and you say "we meet" just because I think its wack that some judges care enough to take away speaks, and as someone who did both events it really annoyed me.
-1 speaker point if you misgender your opponent and they don't call it out. Repeated violations especially if its called out will lead to larger "punishments" or whatever.
-5 speaker points for saying "I'm not racist but..." or any variation.
tech > truth, but tech without some truth is rarely enough
(LD only) good tricks debate makes judging easy bad tricks debate makes judging hell // [post camp update] and I will not vote on shoes theory or any other theoretical violation about your opponents clothing and/or appearance (identity args exempt). Arguments like shoes theory and etc. are antithetical to the purpose of this activity and I guarantee you will not like your speaks or the decision should you try to read them in front of me.
if you're gonna larp (straight up policy) please for the love of God weigh impacts
A dropped argument is a dropped argument, but it's up to you to tell me the implications of it.
sass and shade are fun...apparently people think I'm a rude debater, but who cares. If sassy/"rude"/shade is your thing then feel free to do you when I'm in the back.
tl;dr - do you. I like to think I'm pretty tab and can evaluate any type of debate. Tech and the flow are probably more important to me than others who debated like I did in HS. I'm a pretty simple judge so if you weigh your impacts and tell a story in the 2nr/2ar you'll be fine.
TOPIC KNOWLEDGE: 7.5/10 - I've judged a fair amount this season but haven't been coaching as much so don't expect me to know what solvency advocates are shit or what the gold standard definition for reform is.
*Current LD topic - 6/10 - something about drones right?
we love that. If this is your thing then go for it, but if it isn't please don't make me sit through 2 hours of a bad k debate. I don't think that the negative (for most Ks) needs to win an alternative if they can prove that the aff sucks or that their structural analysis of the world is both preferable and incompatible with the 1ac. Also, chances are I understand and am familiar with your buzz words, but that doesn't mean you should rely on them to win the round. If I can't explain to the other team why their aff, performance, or implicit assumptions in the 1AC/resolution are problematic then it will almost always be an aff ballot. For the aff, I never understood why debaters don't go for the impact turn strat against certain K's. Obviously, I don't condone teams standing up and saying things like racism/sexism/etc. good, but going for cap good, fem IR bad, etc. is fine. Lastly, sometimes I feel as if 2as get so focused on answering the K that they forget to win that their aff is in some way a good departure from the status quo, which is to say please extend your offense in the 2ar.
For K aff teams, if you are losing my ballot to cap you are probably doing a lot of things wrong. I think most fwk/cap teams I've seen and most of those rounds I've been in has been underdeveloped on the cap side. The 2ac, if done correctly, should pretty much shut down the cap route. There's should be almost no way the 2n knows more about your theory and it's interactions with cap than the 2a does, which should make those debates pretty easy for you to get my ballot. Framework on the other hand...I feel like k aff teams need to do a significantly better job defending a model of debate, winning debate is bad, winning the aff is a prior question to the resolution, or etc. I tend to vote for framework in clash rounds (not because I enjoy or ideologically agree with it), but because the ^ things are often not executed well. Framework teams, please make sure the arguments the 2nr goes for are somewhere in the block and not just the same tired canned 2nr that somebody stole from Hemanth. Carded TVAs with proper extensions are pretty damning for the aff and your good research/engagement will likely be rewarded (either with speaks or the ballot). I think procedural fairness is an impact, and it will be somewhat of a hard sell to convince me otherwise absent the aff team putting in some work; this doesn't mean I won't vote on structural fairness ow or impact turns, but rather that you actually need to warrant, explain and extend those arguments. I'd much rather see a framework 2nr on limits/truth testing/procedural fairness than skills and policy education, but hey that's just me. I also think that framework teams need to engage in case significantly better than what most teams currently do. Tbh probably slightly better for policy teams in k aff v. fwk rounds and slightly better for k teams in policy aff v. k rounds.
k v. k rounds
I got u...win your theory of power, framing and relevant offense.
policy(LD - LARP):
weigh weigh weigh weigh! I think more than any other stylistic approach to debate, policy teams NEED to do more comparative weighing. You will likely be unhappy with my decision if I can't point to specific points on my flow to weigh between your competing nuke war/extinction/etc. scenarios. I love watching policy teams who have nuanced, fun and creative impact scenarios. Some personal preferences for policy rounds are below -
Judge kick/choice is just not a thing. I'm still baffled how teams win arguments on this; it always seemed like lazy debating to me, and you are probably better off investing that time on other parts of the flow. Obviously if its conceded I won't hack against it, but I can't promise it won't be reflected in your speaks. I think strategic 2nrs will know when to go for the CP and when to kick it and defend the squo, so I'm not inclined to do that work for you.
Live by the flow, die by the flow...I think I'm a pretty well-informed person when it comes to politics/IR, but I probably won't know enough to fill in the gaps of actual nuanced scenario analysis which means you need to weigh and make the arguments you want to hear in the RFD.
I'd much rather watch an engaging 3 off policy strat then sit through watching some poor 1nr try to kick 12 of the 14 off read.
T: I fucking love T. Go for it in front of me. Go for it often in front of me. Go for it well in front of me. Biggest mistakes I see teams going for T in front of me do if forget to extend internal links to their impacts and that's the tea (pun intended). If youre a "K team" and you beat a policy team on T let's just say you'll like your speaks. I think one of the reasons I find framework ideologically ridiculous is because I've seen some really non-T policy affs and I always get indignant - like the conditions aff on this topic or the Saudi aff on last years J/F LD topic.
(LD Only) Phil:
Usually pretty simple debates imho, but make sure you respond to your opponents fw justifications as well as extend your own. After judging almost nothing but phill working at NSD all summer, I feel like these rounds are nearly impossible to resolve absent actual responses/weighing. Also, I'd much rather watch a substantive framework debate between Kant and Hobbes than see someone use Hobbes to trigger linguistic skep and have to watch a six minute 2nr on it.
down for anything - weigh standards and win an abuse story. Here are some defaults (obv up for debate) See my note at the top about certain types of LD friv theory. I should clarify that my threshold in theory is slightly higher in policy than in LD and I'm not as open to friv theory in policy. I think policy is a more educational activity, and I don't want to see it go down a similar path vis-a-vis theory.
Text over spirit
meta theory = theory
theory = K
drop the arg
fairness = edu; both a voter
Updated for Northwestern: It occurs to me I haven't touched this thing in awhile. They often feel quite self-aggrandizing, so I'm hoping to keep this short and informative.
For college debates, please add
For HS, please add
Ks & Framework: I like clash. I think debate is special because of the depth of debate it allows. That means if your K aff is only for you, I'm not. If your K aff defends topic DAs and has a cool spin on the topic though, I'm your guy. I don't believe that heg good isn't offense, and people should feel comfortable going for impact turns against the K in front of me, because it's cleaner than T a lot of the time. Fairness is an impact, but it's way worse than skills.
Theory: the primary concern is the predictability of the interp. In order for it to be predictable, it needs to be based in a logical interpretation of the resolution. This precludes the vast majority of theory arguments. People seem to be souring on conditionality --- I am not one of those people. I've yet to hear an objection to it not solved by writing and reading higher quality arguments.
A few closing comments: unsorted
-I'm kind of an ev hack. I try not to read cards unless instructed, but if you read great ev, you should be loud and clear about telling me to read it, and if it's as good as you say, then speaker points may be in order.
-Sometimes recutting the other team's card to answer their argument is better than reading one of your own. If you want me to read their card on your terms, include highlighting in another color so we're on the same page on what part you think goes the other way.
-Arguments I won't vote for
-X other debater is individually a bad person for something that didn't happen in the debate
-saying violence to other people in the debate is a good idea
-speech times are bad or anything that literally breaks the debate
-new affs bad
I judge this now, but I'm still getting used to it, so go easy on me. So far, my policy debate knowledge has carried me through most of these debates just fine, but as far as I can tell these are the things worth knowing about how I judge these debates.
-Theory doesn't become a good argument because speech times are messed up. Dispo is still a joke. Neg flex is still important. That doesn't mean counter plans automatically compete off certainty/immediacy, and it doesn't mean topicality doesn't matter. It does mean that hail-marry 2AR on 15 seconds of condo isn't gonna cut it tho.
-Judge instruction feels more important than ever for the aff in these debates because the speech times are wonky.
-I generally feel confident w/ critical literature, but not all of the stuff in Policy is in LD and visa-versa. So if you're talking about like, Kant, or some other funny LD stuff, go slow and gimme some time.
-This activity seems to have been more-or-less cannibalized by bad theory arguments and T cards written by coaches. I will be difficult to persuade on those issues.
-I don’t flow RVIs.
First, I strongly oppose the practice of paraphrasing evidence. If I am your judge I would strongly suggest reading only direct quotations in your speeches. My above stated opposition to the insertion of brackets is also relevant here. Words should never be inserted into or deleted from evidence.
Second, there is far too much untimed evidence exchange happening in debates. I will want all teams to set up an email chain to exchange cases in their entirety to forego the lost time of asking for specific pieces of evidence. You can add me to the email chain as well and that way after the debate I will not need to ask for evidence.
This is not negotiable if I'm your judge - you should not fear your opponents having your evidence. Under no circumstances will there be untimed exchange of evidence during the debate. Any exchange of evidence that is not part of the email chain will come out of the prep time of the team asking for the evidence. The only exception to this is if one team chooses not to participate in the email thread and the other team does then all time used for evidence exchanges will be taken from the prep time of the team who does NOT email their cases.
I will judge your debate by determining which arguments have been preserved to the final speeches and are adequately supported by evidence or persuasive explanation. Then I will compare your arguments, hopefully with instruction from you which frames the important issues and tells me how to make close calls.
Judge philosophies are a bit silly because it is the exceptionally rare case where an issue must be resolved with reference to the judge’s arbitrary preferences. Usually the debaters make their arguments, one side presents a more comprehensive approach to the important issues and frames the close calls, and then judge votes for that team. That being said, I include the following as my thoughts on issues which many teams seem to base their judge preference decisions on.
1. In an ideal world, the affirmative will read a plan that is topical. I do not feel the need to impose a hard rule here; the arguments against affirmative topicality are bad. A debate between equally competent teams should not produce the sentence: “I voted affirmative despite them being untopical.” I do not think debate would function if everyone disregarded the topic, and I think debate—a thing we all do—is good.
2. The arguments against negative conditionality are equally unpersuasive. Again, no hard rule. But I struggle to imagine an affirmative team that convincingly defends an arbitrary limit on the number of a certain type of argument that the negative may read after the 1NC has already occurred, and also that that limit requires the negative team lose the debate. If you think CPs are not “kickable,” then just say that.
3. Cross-examination answers should be binding on the team which made them. Possible exceptions include intricate clarifications of plan mechanism for the purposes of competition (which may not be suitable for on-the-spot Q&A) and promises about how the debate will unfold (e.g., whether a CP will be kicked or whether you will impact turn something if given the chance; I do not think debaters can reasonably rely on advance notice about their opponents’ strategy).
4. Initial constructives should be flowable. Rebuttals should be thoroughly understandable.
5. Speaker points are a composite of argument strategy (ultimately successful or not), clarity in speaking, cross-examination tactics, and organization.
6. I reserve the right to handle ethics challenges on an ad hoc basis to best facilitate the continuation of a fair debate. Sometimes this is impossible.
Background (updated 9/29/23)
General - I graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2018 with majors in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Math/Stats and a minor in Africana Studies. I am currently a student at the Tuck School of Business and in a combined MD-MBA program with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (class of 2025)
Competitive - 5 years of circuit policy (2009-2014) at Centennial High School (as a part of Capitol Debate, yes they used to do policy mainly believe it or not) being coached by Daryl Burch. 2014 TOC Champion in policy. I debated 4 years of American parliamentary (APDA) and British parliamentary (BP) at Johns Hopkins University (2014-2018).
Coaching - I have not been in any coaching capacity since the start of the 2020-2021 school year (med school will do that to you). I've judged 1 tournament a year for the past 3 years (2020-2023) and have not worked at a summer camp since 2014.
Philosophy (updated 9/29/23)
If there is a chain I want to be on it - firstname.lastname@example.org
I do NOT open speech docs until the debate ends, speaking clearly is key and if I can't understand you, I will just discount the arguments rather than opening the speech doc.
I have very little clue what the topic is, please assume I don't know common acronyms/terminology related to the topic.
In 90% of rounds, I submit my ballot within 3 minutes of the final speech ending. Here are the major implications:
- Clarity (in speaking, organization, and explanation) is my first priority. The main reason I've realized I submit my decisions quickly is not because the round is lopsided/underwhelming in quality, but because of the degree to which I value communication during the round. The team who communicated their story into my head while I am listening to their speech usually prevails over the team who may have had a warrant that I barely flowed while struggling to keep up with their communication. I will be actively deciding who is currently winning and exactly what I think the other team has to do to undermine that as the round goes on, thus leaving most questions answered in my head as the final speech ends. I concede that there is potential for error in my approach, but I figured that I would rather reward the more persuasive team rather than digging through and examining each and every technicality.
- My substantive preferences are very fluid. I have debated and judged almost every type of substantive arguments at the highest levels of high school competition so my real preference is to do what you think you do best. But as nobody is truly a blank slate, I have some explicit preferences and substantive decision-making quirks clarified below for both LD and policy.
- Cards are only read when their quality/warranting are explicitly contested. The corollary to this is that warranting explained during the speeches will always trump the existence of a card that may answer those warrants in my decision-making process.
- I put a heavier emphasis onto the final rebuttals in my decision-making process.
I am a STICKLER for timeliness during rounds
- Efficient and proactive conduct in evidence exchange and round preparation/conduct will be rewarded with speaker points.
- Flight 2 - I expect the first speech to be sent and ready to spoken, immediately after my RFD from flight 1 ends. I encourage/expect you to set up in the room as soon as the final speech ends (or even before in between speeches) and will not perceive the disturbance as rude.
- For LD especially - specifying which parts of speech docs your opponents did/didn't read requires prep time and is NOT a courtesy I am willing to allow during dead time. Please do not flow off the speech doc and flow the speech proper. However I will be sympathetic to clarifications after unclear speeches.
General Substantive Preferences (all formats)
- Impact comparison/explanation/tangibility is the first thing I sort through when making an RFD.
- Tech>truth - protection must be WARRANTED or probably won't be evaluated.
- If the best arguments are deployed on both sides, I lean neg (55-45) on whether a K aff gets a perm - the best arguments are usually nowhere close to being deployed.
- If you're going to go for the K, you better talk about the case and explain the implications for winning framework in the 2NR.
- I consider framework and the alternative to be 2 sides of the same coin. I think either can make up for a weakness in the other.
- Solvency advocates for CPs will make me neg leaning on theory/competition. If the solvency advocate is in the context of the aff, it will make it very hard to persuade me that the CP is theoretically illegitimate as I think the value of research/education incentivized by these kinds of CPs vastly outweigh any fairness concerns.
- For policy, very neg leaning on conditionality (up to 2), barely aff leaning on 50-state, international, and object fiat, really don't care about anything else.
LD specific preferences
- Please disclose immediately when requested if the pairing is out, EVEN if you are in flight 2. I think pre-round disclosure is educational and think the "30-minutes before the round" standard is arbitrary and silly. Getting me to vote on this is highly unlikely (more on this below) but I will happily reward/punish teams who point out this happened with speaker points (+0.2/-0.2 respectively).
- I am not a fan of theory/tricks/phil arguments. This is primarily due to the incomprehensible speed/clarity at which these arguments are usually deployed. I do not open the speech doc while flowing and will not refer to it to flow warrants I missed. I also find reasonability to be an extremely persuasive argument for most theory/tricks arguments (don't disclose cites, you wore shoes, etc). Arguments this does not apply to are theory arguments common in policy (conditionality bad, aff didn't disclose at ALL, 50-state fiat, PICs bad, international fiat, etc).
- I think the existence of a time skew biased in favor of the neg to be a persuasive argument in LD (take advantage of this in theory debates!!). Due to this, I find myself being more lenient to the 1AR/2AR in terms of tech (ie, not being super strict on dropped args, focusing more on the story than minute tech details). In high level debates, aff teams NEED to collapse in the 2AR to be able to win.
- Conditionality bad much more persuasive to me in LD comparatively to how I view it in policy. 2 or less in policy and 1 or less in LD are usually easily defensible to me.
- If you believe the other team is guilty of an ethics violation and I am notified, the debate will end there and I will determine if you are correct. If I notice an ethics violation, I will not stop the round but decide the round based on it after it ends if I believe it was sufficiently egregious. If there is an easy way for me to access speech docs, I will follow along at random moments during the debate.
- Card clipping/cross reading – Any form of misrepresenting the amount of evidence you have read is considered card clipping. It is your opponents’ burden to ask for a marked copy of your speech but it is yours to make sure that is ready IMMEDIATELY. This means if you forget to physically mark during a speech, you better have a crystal clear memory because you will lose if you mis-mark evidence. Audibly marking during a speech is acceptable as long as you explicitly say the words “mark it at ‘x’”. Intention does not matter. I understand if you were ignorant or didn’t mean to but you should have to take the loss to make sure you are MUCH MORE careful in future. Video or audio recordings are a necessity if you want to pose a challenge about card clipping. Anything that is 3 words or less (no more than twice a speech) I am willing to grant as a minor mistake and will drop the accusing team for being petty. Double highlighting is not card clipping, just make sure your opponents know which color you are reading, a simple clarification question can resolve this.
- Evidence fabrication – it is hard to prove this distinctively from evidence that cannot be accessed – if a team is caught fabricating (making it up) evidence they will lose.
Problematic not an ethics violation (these can be persuasive arguments to win my ballot)
- Evidence that cannot be accessed – this is necessary for teams to be able to successfully refute your research. If this is proved, I will ignore the evidence and treat arguments related to it as merely claims in my decisionmaking
- Out of context cards – this will seriously hurt your ethos and your opponents will probably definitively win their competing claim
- Misdisclosure – the only reason why this isn’t above is because there is almost no falsifiable method to prove that a disclosure wasn’t honest – this is probably the most serious of this category and can garner you major leeway in my decision making if you can successfully prove how it has impacted your ability to debate this round.
- If I catch you stealing prep (talking during dead time to your partner about the round, messing around on your computer, etc), I will dock half of your remaining prep time
Long ramble (this is the first draft of my judge policy I wrote when I was a young first year out that I just didn't want to delete because it's fun to keep. Only read this if you're bored or have too much time on your hands, a lot of it is probably outdated)
- The most influential aspect of determining how to pref a relatively new judge was seeing how they debated, talk to people who’ve judged/watched me (if they still remember)before to see what I rolled with in debates.
- I always enjoyed/found much more helpful the longer/thorough judge philosophies so be prepared to read a lot of my thoughts/rants that are coming
- Daryl Burch (coach) is the single biggest influential figure in my development as a debater. Srinidhi Muppalla (partner for 2 years) would probably come second. Go look at their philosophies.
- I was a 2A for 3 years and then a 2N for my senior year – I have read affirmatives all over the spectrum (complete performance, 10 impact policy affs, k affs that defended a plan) – and went for whatever on the neg (at one point my senior year, some team asked me past 2NR’s and I answered: T-economic engagement, give back the land K, black feminism K, asian counteradvocacy, warming good + geoenginnering CP, mexico politics DA, process CP, dedev, afropessimism K, warming good + politics DA, warming good + politics DA, framework)
Top Level Thoughts
- I see debate as an intellectual forum where individuals come to advocate for some course of action – the type of action desired is for the debaters to choose and discuss and for me to evaluate whether it’s a good or bad idea – note, this means you MUST defend SOMETHING (even if it’s nothing)
- Ethos is underrated – most judges know which why they will decide right after the round ends and spend the time after justifying and double checking his/her choice. Your persuasive appeal in every way you conduct yourself throughout the round is a massive factor in this. Know what you’re talking about, but more importantly, sound like you know what you’re talking about and show that you EXPECT to win.
- Speak clearly – if you can’t you should be doing a LOT of drills (trust me I was there too) – Judges who didn’t let me know they couldn’t understand me assuming that was my burden annoyed me to no end – I will be very explicit in letting you know if I can’t understand you – after the second time I call clear, I will not evaluate any cards/arguments I call clear on afterwards – I'll flow the next of your cards if I can understand them, this would be strategic as then the other team is responsible for answering them
- Speed = arguments I THINK the other team is responsible for answering – if it’s not on my flow then it’s not an argument so do your best to make sure it gets there
- I am awful at keeping a straight face while judging – use this to your advantage
- Set in stone – speech times, only one team will win – everything else is up for debate
- An argument is a claim and a warrant – dropped claims are NOT dropped arguments – dropped ARGUMENTS are true and you should avoid dropping ARGUMENTS – my understanding of rejoinder is that claims can sufficiently be answered by claims
- Conceding an opponent’s argument makes it the truest argument in the round – use this to your advantage
- I don’t protect the 2NR unless explicitly asked to – specific brightlines and warranted calls for protections (anytime) will be zealously adhered to
- Being aggressive = good. Being aggressive and wrong = bad. Being mean = worst. Debate should strive to be a safe space. There is a fine line between a politics of discomfort (which can be productive) and being violent toward another individual. This fine line is up to subjective determination by a “know it when I see it” test.
- I do believe that arguments about a debater’s actions/choices outside of the current round do have a place in some forms of debate. My biggest problem is that most of these arguments are non falsifiable and really impossible to prove. I think that it is important to be genuine but do know that debate is also a strategic game where strategy can conflict with genuine advocacy. Once again I’ll employ a subjective “know it when I see it test” and will update my thoughts on this issue as I judge more debates.
- I think all debaters should play an proactive role in doing their own prefs as soon as possible – it is quite the rewarding learning experience that helps you learn your judges
- Cards can undisputedly settle factual questions – analysis (including analysis about cards) settles everything else
- I will only call for a piece of evidence if there is an explicit cite referenced during the explanation of the argument – If I am asking questions like “Can you give me the piece of evidence you think says ‘x’,” then I am either doing annoyed or the debate is way too close for me not to double check.
- Debate's a technical game - do line by line and answer arguments - don't be surprised if I make decisions that seem debatable based upon technical concessions
- Assuming all positions are well prepared and executed close to as well as possible this would probably be my favorite to least favorite 2NR's - DA + case, DA + CP, advantage CP + DA, topic K, any strat with generic impact turns, any strat with politics, any strat with a process CP, generic K, topicality
- Cheap shots will only be voting issues if you give me no other option - what I mean about this is you better go HARD or go home, anything under 1 minute of explanation/warrants/asking for protection will probably be dismissed as a rule of thumb - cheap shots are not good arguments that were dropped, those don't apply to this section, but argument that are sufficiently stupid that they can only be won because they were dropped
- I'm super lenient on paperless rules - as long as you don't take forever and I don't catch you stealing prep you'll be fine - if your computer crashes mid speech just let me know
- I honestly feel like this section determines a lot about how people pref judges these days
- I will start off by saying that I am a firm believer in ideological reflexivity – people go a long way in trying to understand each other’s arguments and even embrace them instead of crying exclusion/trying to exclude.
- But yes, if you win the tech battle I will vote for framework
- Flipping neg greatly hurts your ability to go for ANY arguments based upon procedural fairness
- Real world examples from the debate community go a long way in proving points in these types of debates – use them to your advantage
- I think debate is most educational when it is about the topic – however I think there are multiple ways to defend the topic
- Arguments about procedural fairness are the most strategic/true in my opinion – however impacting them with just fairness is unpersuasive and you should couch your impacts upon the education (or lack of) from debates with little clash
- It is worth noting that I have stopped running procedural based framework arguments by the end of my senior year – however this was mainly due to the fact that I was very bad at going for framework and instead found much more strategic to engage affirmatives on the substance of their arguments (because I had a genius coach who was very good at thinking of ways to do that)
- If an aff defends a plan I will be EXTREMELY unpersuaded by framework arguments that say the aff can only garner advantages off the instrumental affirmation of the plan
- If you know me at all you should know that I am completely fine with these
- CX makes or breaks these debates – yes I do believe that you can garner links/DA’s off of things you say and the way you defend your advocacy even if your evidence says something else
- Always and forever I will prefer that you substantive engage your opponent’s advocacy, you’ll get higher points and the debate will be more educational, fun, and rewarding – however I do understand when there are cases you need to run framework and shiftiness in the way an advocacy is defended can be persuasive to me
- Watch out for contradictions – not only can it make a persuasive theory/substantive argument but I find it devastating when the aff team can concede portions of neg arguments they don’t link to and use it as offense for the other neg arguments
- The permutation is a tricky subject in these debates – I do believe that if the best arguments are made by both sides the negative will probably win that the aff team should not be able to garner a permutation – arguments couched upon opportunity cost and neg ground are the neg pushes I find most persuasive – however the aff arguments I always found persuasive are the substantive benefits that a strategy involving the permutation can accomplish
- Aff teams should have a clear non-arbitrary role of the ballot – these questions can go a long way in framing the debate for both sides
- Evidence can come in many forms whether it be music, personal narratives, poetry, academics, etc – all of it is equally as legit on face so you should not disregard it
- I need to be able to understand your argument – I always had a weakness for understanding high theory based arguments so if that is your mojo just know how to defend it clearly – most rounds you will know your argument the best so you’ll sound good and I’ll know it better than the other team so you should still be fine with running these and picking up my ballot
- Alternative styles of debate is not an excuse for actually debating, do line-by-line, have organized speeches, and answer arguments, I am very flow oriented when judging any type of debate, even if the general thesis of your argument may be superior and all-encompassing, YOU need to be the one to draw connections and explain why the other team's technicalities don't matter
- Add ons are HELLA underrate - PLEASE utilize them
- 2AC’s and 1AR’s get away with blippy arguments, punish them in the block for them
- K affs with a plan in my opinion were some of the most strategic and fun affs to utilize
- If the neg has an internal link takeout but didn’t answer the terminal impact, that does NOT mean you dropped an impact, logical internal link takeouts can single handidly undermine advantages even without evidence
- Make sure your advantages are reverse casual, many affirmatives fail at this and negative teams should expoit that
- Super specific internal links that get to weird places were always intriguing and show you are a good researcher, they make me happy
- Contrary to popular belief, I only went for the K v. a traditional policy aff three times my senior year. I lost 1/3 of those rounds but never lost a round when the 2NR involved a CP/DA/impact turn. Take that how you will
- Explaining a tangible external impact (not only just turns case args, although those are also necessary) is key to winning on the neg, most teams don't do this
- As a debater I’ve always had trouble conceptualizing high theory criticisms, maybe I’m just illiterate but I will have trouble voting for something I can’t explain in my own words
- Don't drop the aff, 90% of K 2NR's that don't directly disprove the aff in some way will probably lose.
- Permutations are pretty strategic, phrase perms as link defense to some of the more totalizing k impacts and defend the speaking of the aff and you should be fine
- Framework and the alt are usually 2 sides of the same coin, please please impact what winning framework means
- I am most familiar with kritiks based in critical race theory, mainstream k’s (neolib, security, cap, etc.) I can also easily understand
- Death good is not a strategic (or true) K in my opinion at all, however there is a BIG difference between death good and fear of death bad
- Probably more a fan of competing interpretations
- Reasonability is a reason why the aff could win without offense – It means that the aff is topical to the point that topicality debates should not be preferred over the substantive debate and education that could’ve been had by debating the aff
- Big fan of reject the argument not the team
- I think the T-it's debate on the topic this year is very interesting and could go both ways based on evidence/execution on both sides
- more persuaded by T-miiltary means structures not actions
- effects T is underrated on this topic - try and directly increase exploration/development not some regulation or be prepared to defend that regulation as exploration/development
- I’m on team link determines the direction of uniqueness
- Politics theory arguments are meh in front of me, I personally never went for them, I just found substantive arguments more strategic
- Short contrived DA’s are strategic but ONLY because aff teams don’t call them out for their bad internal links and only read terminal impact defense to them – fix that and they should go away
- I always loved good impact turn debates, warming good, de-dev, anything
- Turns case arguments are awesome – use them to your advantage and don’t drop them
- Big fan of advantage CP’s – plank them all you want (but kicking planks is probably abusive because every permutation of the diff planks are now another conditional option)
- Solvency advocates go a long way in helping you with theory – I firmly believe that they are good for debate
- I’m an agnostic on the theory of CP’s that compete off of immediacy and certainty
- Agnostic about almost every theory question, more persuaded by the aff on 50 state fiat, international fiat, and object fiat
- Interpretations are good – you should always have one (even if its self serving)
- In my last 3 years of debate, I have NEVER been on a team that went for conditionality for 5 minutes in the 2AR, 2 or less conditional options will be an uphill battle for the aff
Points are based on two things: content and style. Content is simple, the more your argumentation helps you win a ballot, the better your points. Content includes things like warrant explanation, strategic execution, and strategic vision. Style is as important if not moreso than content. These are all the intangible parts of your debating that garner my respect. This would include organization (very very very VERY important), presence, clarity in delivery, and respect for the activity and your opponents. I also have a horrible sense of humor, by that I mean anything that isn't violently offensive is ok under my book and I'll probably find it funny (this includes awful jokes and bad puns) - take advantage of that
I will shamelessly admit that I was that debater who obsessed over points because I liked to calculate things/wanted to know where in the bracket I was. Ask me afterwards and I’d probably tell you what I gave you
Random bonus like things that would boost your points –
- Successful and badass risks (impact turn an aff for 8 minutes, kicking the case, all-in’s on strategic blunders, etc)
- Making fun of my friends (It has to be funny)
- Make fun of Simon Park or Gabe (It doesn't have to be funny)
- Memes, pokemon references, mainstream anime references, etc
- Leftover speech/prep time (although if you deliver poorly that shows false arrogance which will hurt you more)
Email chains are a tangible improvement to debate. RLarsen at desidancenetwork dot org. You can read my entire paradigm for bolded passages, as you would a card. Pronouns are he/him/”Judge”. The affirmative should have speech doc ready to be emailed by round start time. Please keep a local copy of speech recordings. In the event of a 30-second tech blip, recordings will be reviewed; no speeches will be redone, barring tournament policy. Debaters have the right to reserve CX start until receipt of marked speech doc.
(Long Version is for procrastinating non-debate work)
(Pre-round Prep/Deadline Preffing): If you're a student doing your own prefs, you're best off reading the next two paragraphs and skimming my voting record. If you're a coach, you likely already know where to pref me.
Debate is a group of people engaging in performances. The nature of those debate performances (including my role as a judge) is settled by the competitors in the round with arguments. My default as a policy judge is to believe that those performances regard policymaking and that plans (/counterplans/alts/advocacies) create worlds with real impacts I should calculate via fiat as the plan is executed. As an LD judge, I think the round is about pursuing philosophical reasons to affirm or negate the resolution, and impacting through the lens of the criterial structure. Any successful movement away from the default paradigm typically entails explaining why I, the judge, should interpret your speech time differently. Most people succeed in shifting my defaults, and would consider me a “tabula rasa” judge. Nearly all of my LD rounds look like solo Policy these days. I’m expressive while judging, and you should take advantage of that, and look for cues. It is my belief that students are owed an explanation of the decision and that the judge is accountable to their evaluation of the round.
Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next. I listen to about 20 rounds/week, so my strong preference is for good argumentation, not specific strategies. More at the top of the long version below.Strategy Notes:
Negatives are currently going for too much in the 2NR, while dropping case. Affirmatives are currently spending too much time extending case while dropping world of the perm articulations.
Perms: I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there (more below).
Tricks: If you go for this, impact the tricks out, as you would a dropped card. Slow down for the key line(s) in rebuttal speeches. Eye contact makes this strategy sustainable. Yes, Tricks rounds have '19-'20 ballots from me. No, they should not be your first move.
Disclosure the Argument is great! Drop the debater on disclosure is unimpressive. Read it as an implication to round offense, or you're better off spending time on basically any other sheet.
Topical Version of the Aff (TVA): Gotta read them, gotta answer them. Most of the rounds I vote for T are from a dropped interp or dropped TVA
RVIs =/= Impact Turns: My patience for abusive theory underviews is fading. Quickly
Independent Voters: explain to me why the voter stands apart from the flow and comes first. Debaters are not consistently executing this successfully in front of me, so consider my threshold higher than average
No Risk: I do vote on no risk of the aff/plan doesn't solve. Terminal defense is still a thing
If you expect me to evaluate charts/graphics in your speech doc, give me time during the speech to read any graphics. It will otherwise only be a tie-breaker in evidence analysis
Uplayering: layers of debate often interact with each other; that they exist in separate worlds is not very compelling. Sequencing why I should analyze argument implications before others is the best way to win the layers debate.Previous Season Notes:
While I recognize there's no obligation to share your analytics, the practice serves a good pedagogical benefit for those who process information in different ways. This is even more relevant for online debate. I will begin awarding +.3 speaker points for those speeches including all/nearly all analytics in the speech doc AND that are organized in a coherent manner.
2019-2020 Aff Speaks: 28.801 Neg Speaks: 28.809; Aff Ballots 114 Neg Ballots: 108
222 rounds judged for the '19-'20 season, mixed LD and Policy
Coached students to qualification for 2020 TOC in LD and Policy
(good luck, get snacks)
I recognize that this is no longer a viable read between rounds. Because I continue to receive positive feedback for its detail, it will be kept up, but I do not have any expectation that you will memorize this for my rounds. Bold text is likely worth its time, though.
Long Version (Procrastinating Other Work/Season Preffing):
Role of the Ballot:
Framework debaters: if you think the debate space should be predictable and fair, you should articulate what education/fairness/pick-your-voter means to the activity and why the ballot of this particular round matters.
K debaters: if you think rhetoric and its shaping matters more than the policy impacts of the 1AC, you should articulate your world of the alt/advocacy/pick-your-impact in a way that allows me to sign the ballot for you.
Performance debaters: if you think the debate space is for social movements/resistance/pick-your-story, you should explain why your performance relates to the ballot and is something I should vote for. Ideal performance cases explain topic links or provide reasons they actively choose not to be topical.
Everybody else: you get the idea. Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next.
The world is unfair. Fairness is still probably a good thing. We get education from winning, and from losing. Some topics are poorly written and ground issues might not be the fault of your opponent. For debaters pursuing excellence, traditional voters aren’t the end of the conversation. Argument context can be everything. Tech speak, fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact.
“Two ships passing in the night” is something we hear in approximately 143% of RFDs, and it’s almost always the most efficient way to sad faces, frustration, and post rounding. RESOLVE this by finding points of clash, demonstrating that your claims engage with the claims of your opponent in a way that is beneficial for you. Clash shows that you are aware that your opponent has ground, and your following that with an explanation of why that ground couldn’t possibly earn my ballot is very persuasive. A round without clash is a round left to the judge, and you don’t want to leave any argument, big or small, up to the discretion of the judge.
The preventable argument issue that most often shows up on my ballot is how the permutation functions. I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. For example, I think it’s very easy to imagine a world where two separate policy actions are taken. I think it’s very hard to imagine a world in which Civil Society is ended and the 1AC still solves its harms through implementation. The former gets preference for the permutation making sense. The latter gets preference for exclusivity making sense. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there.
I flow on paper, because as a wise teacher (Paul Johnson) once (/often) told me: “Paper doesn’t crash.” This means I will NOT:
Flow your overview verbatim
Flow your underview verbatim
Flow your tags verbatim
But I WILL:
Follow the speech doc for author name spelling
Have no issues jumping around sheets as long as you signpost as you go
Still always appreciate another run through the order (if you don’t have the order, or you change it up, that’s O.K. Again, just sign post clearly)
Write in multiple colors (for individual speakers and notes)
Typically respond to body language/speech patterns and give you cues to what should be happening more or what should be happening less (furrowed brow + no writing usually means bad news bears. No writing, in general, means bad news bears)
I will keep the speech doc open on my computer, because it seems like a good idea to live the round as closely to the competitors’ experience as possible. However, it is YOUR job as a debater to COMMUNICATE to me the most important parts of your speech. 9 times out of 10 this means:
SLOW DOWN to emphasize big picture ideas that you use to contextualize multiple parts of the round. Let me know that you know it’s important. That level of awareness is persuasive.
TELL A STORY of the debate round. Are you winning? (the answer is almost always “yes”) Why are you winning? What are your winning arguments? Why do they demolish your opponent’s arguments into a thousand pieces of rubble that couldn’t win a ballot if you were unable to deliver any additional arguments?
WEIGH IMPACTS. Time frame/magnitude/probability. These are all great words that win debate rounds. There are other great words that also win rounds.
PRIORITIZE (TRIAGE) arguments. You don’t need to win all the arguments to win the debate. If you go for all the arguments, you will often lose a debate you could have won.
New Affs Bad may be persuasive, but not to me. Breaking new affs is the divine right of the affirmative.
I’m still hearing this debated occasionally, but cross ex is binding. I flow it/take notes.
Flex Prep is alive and well in my rounds. You have an opportunity to ask further questions, but not a clear obligation to answer them. I also think it’s pretty fair that prep time can be used to just… prep.
If you ask me to call for evidence, you probably didn’t do a sufficient job presenting your cards during the round.
Rhetorical questions seem very clever as they’re conceived, but are rarely persuasive. Your opponent will not provide a damning answer, and your time would have been better spent working to make positive claims.
I tend to like policy arguments and performance more than philosophy-heavy kritiks because Ks often lose their grounding to the real world (and, it follows, the ballot). Policy arguments are claiming the real world is happening in the speeches of the round, and performance debate has had to justify its own existence for as long as it has existed, which makes it more practiced at role of the ballot. If you love your K and you think it’s the winning move, go for it! Just make sure to still find clash. Related: “reject” alts almost always feel like they’re missing something. Almost like a team without a quarterback, a musical without leads, a stage without performers.
Good links >>> more links
Good evidence >>>>> more evidence
Many definition interpretations are bad. Good definitions win [T] rounds.
Many framework card interpretations are bad. Every debater is better off reading the cards in the entirety at some point during their infinite prep, in order to better understand author intent.
My threshold for accepting politics disads as persuasive feels higher than the community average. I think it’s because probability is underrated in most politics disads.
Anything I believe is open to negotiation within the context of debate, but general truths have a much lower standard of proof (i.e. Debater 1 says “we are currently in Mexico.” Debater 2 counters “Pero estamos en Estados Unidos.” I consider the truth contest over at this point). The more specialized the knowledge, the higher the standard of proof.
Technical parts of the flow (T & Theory come to mind) can be really fast. I mentioned above that I’m writing by hand. You are always better off with -50% the number of arguments with +50% presentation and explanation to the remaining claims. Yes, I have your speech doc. No, I’m not doing your job for you. Communicate the arguments to me.
Debaters are made better by knowing how arguments evolve. There’s a reason a permutation is a “test of competition” (see: plan plus). Knowing the roots and growth of arguments will make you better at clash will make you better at debate will make you better at winning real, actual ballots.
My default is always to give an RFD, and to start that RFD with my decision. This will typically be followed by the winning argument(s). Ideally, the RFD should look suspiciously like the final rebuttal speech of the winning team.
I apologize for this paradigm becoming unreasonable in length.
Advice I give frequently enough to consume space on this infinitely long page that is now my paradigm:
Ships passing in the night/Clash wins rounds (see above)
Thanksgiving standard: if you can't explain why this argument is important to your Grandma during Thanksgiving dinner conversation, you probably need to keep reading the literature until you can contextualize to the real world. There's also a really good chance it won't win you the round.
At least try to live the advocacy you endorse. If you think coalition-building is the move, you shouldn’t be exclusionary without clear justification, and possibly not even then. The debate space is better for inclusion efforts.
It’s always to your advantage to use cross ex/prep to understand opposing arguments. Don’t realize after a rebuttal speech that your strategy was based on an incomplete understanding of your opponent(s) and their case.
It’s almost always worth your time to take a small amount of prep to sit back, breathe, and consider how you’re going to explain this round to your coach, debate-knowledgeable legal guardian, or friend-who-doesn’t-like-debate-but-supports-you-in-your-endeavors-because-they’re-a-good-friend. It’s an exercise that will tell you what’s important and help clear the clutter of speed, terminology, and tech.
This is also a good test for seeing if you can explain all the arguments using small words. I think the fanciest words I use in this paradigm are “verbatim” and “temporal proximity”. If you can’t explain your arguments in a simple, efficient manner, you need to keep reading.
It’s also almost always worth your time to take a moment, a sip of water, and a breath to collect yourself before a speech. Do this without excess and every judge you compete in front of will appreciate the generated composure and confidence in your ensuing speech.
Don’t start that speech with a million words a minute. Build to it. Double plus ungood habit if you forgot to check that everyone was ready for you to begin speaking.
I have never, not even once, in a decade+ of debate, heard a judge complain that author names were spoken too slowly.
Don’t take 5 minutes to flash a speech or to sort together a speech doc after you’re “done” prepping.
Your speech and prep time is yours to do with as you wish. Play music, talk loudly, play spades.
Opponent prep time is theirs to do with as they wish. That means you don’t get to play music intrusively (read: use headphones), talk intrusively, play spades intrusively, you get where this is going. This is one of the areas I think speaker points is very much at judge discretion.
If it’s not a speech and it’s not cross ex and neither team is running prep, you should not be prepping. Stealing prep is another area that I think leaves speaker points very much to judge discretion.
Don’t set sound alarms to the time you keep for your opponent’s speeches. Nobody ever, ever wants to hear the timer of the opponent go off before the speaker’s. I will keep time in 99% of debates, and if you’re wrong and cutting into their speech time, you’re losing speaker points.
I’m almost always down to give notes between rounds/after tournaments/via email on your performance in debate. Temporal proximity works in your favor (read: my memory has never been A1).
There are few things I love in this good life more than hearing a constructive speech that takes a new interpretation of an old idea and expands how I see the world. Writing your own arguments makes the time you invest in debate more worthwhile.
Spend some time teaching debate to others. Most things worth learning are worth teaching, and the act of teaching will give you an excellent perspective to arguments that have staying power in the community.
Lincoln-Douglas Debaters: A priori arguments can win rounds, but I’d rather see a debate where you win on substance than on a single line that your opponent dropped/misunderstood. If you’re going for a dropped analytic, impact it out in the 2R, as you would any other dropped card.
I feel like the rounds that end up being primarily the criterial debate typically indicate that the debaters could have done more to apply their arguments to the lens of their opponent’s criterion.
This space is for you. We don’t hold debate tournaments so that judges can sign ballots. You don’t spend hours/years preparing arguments and developing this skill because you just really want Tab Staffers to have something to do on the weekends. Mountains of money aren’t shifted so that we can enjoy the sweet, sweet pizza at the lunch hour. We’re here so that you can debate. Performance is about communicated intent, and debate is no exception. You can take anything out of that experience, but articulating your purpose walking into the round, even if only to yourself, will make you more persuasive.
Closing note: I typically think dialogue is the best way to educate, and that my role (at a bare minimum) is to educate the competitors following the round, through the lens of my decision and its reasoning. I will typically write a short Tabroom ballot and give as extensive a verbal RFD as scheduling permits/the students have asked all the questions they desire. The short version of this paradigm caused me physical pain, so that should indicate my willingness to engage in decision-making/pedagogical practices.
4 years high school LD/Extemp/PF
3 years college policy/parli/public
Coaching/teaching debate since 2009-ish
Writing Arguments by Allegory since 2013
2013-2017: Competed at Peninsula HS (CA)
I earned 21 bids to the TOC and was a finalist at the NDCA.
Yes I want to be on the email chain, add me: email@example.com
I am willing to judge, listen to, and vote for anything. Just explain it well. I am not a fan of strategies which are heavily reliant on blippy arguments and frequently find myself holding the bar for answers to poor uneveloped arguments extremely low.
Speed should not be an issue, but be clear.
Aff — Strategies that impact turn the Negative’s offense in combination with solid defense and/or a counter-interp (good)
Neg — Fairness, debate is a game (good)
skills (less good)
Topicality + Theory: More debating should be done over what debates look like under your model of the topic, less blippy debating at the standards level. Caselists are good and underutilized. I think some Condo is good. I think the Aff should be less scared to extend theory arguments against counterplans that are the most cheaty.
Kritiks: I find the link debate to be the most important here. Most times I vote aff it’s because I don’t know why the plan/Aff is inconsistent with your criticism. Strategies that are dependent on multiple non sequitur link arguments are unlikely to work in front of me.
I think that evidence comparison is extremely important and tends to heavily reward teams who do it more/earlier in the debate.
Hi! I'm Emmiee (they/them) - firstname.lastname@example.org is the email
I did 4 years of debate in HS (3 policy, 1 LD) and 3 years of college policy for UC Berkeley. In both I started off reading very LARP/policy arguments and then branched out into more soft left and K territory. The arguments I've spent most of my time reading are queer pessimism, psychoanalysis, and Russian set-col. I've been coaching Harker LD for 6 years now and have taught at ~10 LD/policy camp sessions.
I try to stay as tab and non-interventionist as possible. There is literally not a single argument I have not voted for. All of my decisions are purely based off of how the flow lines up and I don't care if you're going for an RVI on Nebel, a PoMo FrankenK, indexicals, a heg DA, "surrender to ____", the Hobbes NC, etc. If I stopped voting for downright horrible arguments that were won on the flow, I would quickly end up having to give out double losses.
It's not my job to "preserve the sanctity of the activity" or whatever, especially given all of the things I pulled in my own debate career; it's my job to vote for whoever won and then roast any arguments I didn't personally like in the RFD. There are only three arguments I don't want to see: those that are blatantly oppressive (___icm good, etc), those that are unethically read (clipped, text of article altered, etc), or those that lack a claim/impact/warrant.
Other Important Info:
• In general, I judge a lot of clash debates, bubbles, bid rounds, etc and I get that stress is high, different schools/regions/circuits have different norms and habits, everyone's tired, etc but please do your part to make the round as un-painful as possible. Assume good intent, don't be purposefully sketchy or mean, etc.
• I am 100% cool with post-rounding - if you think I forgot to flow something important, gave a nonsense RFD, didn't address something you think should have decided the debate, etc by all means grill me over it, as long as you're not actively rude to me or your opponent.
• Some rounds I take a super long time to decide and have a lot of comments - it's usually because I'm typing all the comments out on my flow for a while. If I take forever or dump feedback on you, it's not a bad thing - I probably just have a lot of random thoughts, especially if it's a K debate. If it's too fast, too much, it's the end of the day and you want to go to bed, you need to run to another round or prep, etc just let me know I 100% get it.
• Incoherently rapid-spread a million blippy analytics and lose - if you want me to flow your giant analytic wall via online debate without missing anything important, you are going to need at least 3 of the following:  doc was sent out with the analytics in it,  you are at least somewhat clear and aren't going the same speed you go reading a random line in a card,  there's intonation/volume changes when you go from arg to arg and/or on the important terms, or  the arguments are numbered/labelled/separated somehow and you more-or-less stick to the flow when you extend them instead of dropping them in a bunch of random places.
• Don't over-accommodate but don't be mean to traditional/novice debaters - if you're in the top 50% of the pool I will boost speaks if you slow down somewhat (especially on tags), are polite and don't clown on your opponent for not understanding something basic, generally try to be helpful and CX and try to help them understand your arguments if they're confused, etc. Likewise, will drop speaks if your strategy for the W is very blatantly just to spread out a newer kid with a bunch of arguments they've never heard of while being rude to them the whole time.
• I also tend to get progressively stupider as the tournament goes on and I'm sorry if you catch me on the end of day 2 and I'm a little spacey. Tournaments tend to aggravate disability-related things and I burn out especially fast. I can still make coherent decisions, but will just take a little longer and give less concise RFDs. If you're going to break a DA with a super convoluted and nuanced I/L chain or get into a super ticky-tacky phil throw down in R6, please adjust your degree of hand-holding accordingly.
• LARP: This is the style of debate that I mainly coach and am most comfortable with (along with Ks). I'll vote for your totally contrived politics DA and for "heg good outweighs the K/soft left AFF" if you win it on the flow.
Various other things of use:
- I default to presuming NEG, unless the NEG reads a counter-advocacy.
- I also tend to rely on how people explain their arguments and don't do a lot of card reading unless I'm forced to or someone asks me to do it.
- If you're AFF and the NR dropped the AFF so the 2AR is clearly going to be impact v. offcase weighing and then all about the DA or CP or whatever please give me at least 1 sentence about the 1AC scenario somewhere so I know how we got to a certain impact outweighing something else or what the PERM on the CP would look like. If the NC totally drops the AFF and you go for 100% SOL we O/W whatever whatever in the 2AR please give me a sentence in the 1AR about the AFF because it's weird to have it disappear and then reappear and very confusing.
- I'm agnostic on a lot of things that the LARP community seems to be split on and will let it slide or let debaters debate it out in round. If you insert rehighlightings and say in your NC something to the extent of "their ____ scenario is horribly cut - we've inserted the rehighlightings" so I know it's something you meant to insert and not something you didn't read due to time constraints and the other team says nothing, I'll evaluate it. If they read theory, I guess we're having a theory debate now. Same with judge kick - I'll do it if I'm asked to, won't do it if you don't or you do and your opponent wins that I shouldn't for some reason. Multiplank CPs where you kick out of planks, "haha PERM do the CP this is normal means" reveals in the 1AR, etc are all very much in the same camp - I'll roll with it if it's not contested, will evaluate contestation and potentially roll with it anyways otherwise.
• K: I'm generally very down for weird/memey arguments but on god if you choose to pull a bunch of conflicting pomo ev into a doc just so you can spend the round yelling vague buzzwords without making any attempt to say anything specific about the AFF I will tank your speaks. If you're not familiar with whatever you're reading so your arguments or cards you end up cutting aren't phenomenal that's fine. If your K is about the need to sideline the AFF/topic and instead center your performance, community, something else, etc that's that's fine. If you have a genuine defense of why you need to sound like the PoMo generator or remain very nebulous and vague that's fine. I truly don't care what it is you do, but please don't just try to win by being too incoherent/confusing for your opponent.
Other fun things:
• If someone's reading a K vs. you and you're confused, at least 50% of the time in my experience the argument is just incoherent and you should make the common sense "the alt obviously doesn't solve because ___"/"nothing about their K vaguely makes sense"/"___ isn't a link and the card isn't even about the topic or the tag it's something else entirely" argument that's in your head. I keep having to vote for Ks that I know are poorly executed because the other side psychs itself out.
• I vote for K AFFs and I vote for FWK all the time - it usually comes down to which side actually engages the other as opposed to reading generic prewritten overviewy dumps because that's the side that doesn't drop a bunch of things in the 1AR/NR/2AR. I'm down to vote for the "debate is a game and only a game ergo procedural fairness" flavor of FWK as well if you win it, but I very quickly start getting turned off if part of that strategy involves being a jerk to the other side.
• White debaters doing the Race War disclosure stuff confuses me. I'm not opposed to voting on it at all but I simply have no idea what this does so if it's going to be part of your strategy I need you to articulate the I/L link between that and whatever you claim it solves or allows you to do. Strategy-wise, "I'm not ____ but I get to read arguments about ____ group because ____" is a lot more intuitive to me than whatever is going on here.
• If you're going to go for "____ thing that wasn't on-face morally abhorrent is a V/I" I need to hear:  a warrant in both speeches and  some articulation of why this comes before whatever other framing arguments/layers exist in every speech this argument is made in - you can obviously have a lot more extrapolation on #2 when you go for it, but I find it hard to be persuaded by a 5 word argument that only really gets explained at the end of the debate
• Phil: I'm pretty familiar with the literature at this point even though this really wasn't my corner as a debater. A lot of the stuff immediately below applies - phil debates tend to devolve into each side proliferating a bunch of one-liners and then going for three of them without much weighing/etc and that makes it very hard to parse through. When one side says "nuclear bomb kills everyone so we can't enjoy life or discuss values ergo util" and the other side says "adding a circle to a circle doesn't make it more circular ergo kant" it is two ships passing in the night that hurt my brain. Please for the love of God tell me what the implication of you winning something on your end is for the phil debate writ large, why your stuff comes first, how it interacts with what's going on on the other side, etc. If you extend your 3 hot takes on the NC and do 0 actual interaction with the AC FWK or vice-versa you will either lose or have to sit for an hour while I stare at the flow and try to make it make sense.
• T/Theory: I will vote for it; I'll vote for the RVI on it. I don't think my personal opinions on how many condo is ok or semantics matter because it shouldn't factor into how I judge. In the absence of clear warranting from either side, I will obviously be more swayed by nebulous abuse or reasonability claims depending on the context of that specific round. The bullet point about incoherent rapid-spreading analytics definitely applies here - I can't vote for what I can't flow and a few good arguments go so much farther than proliferating random impacts and links that'll just get everyone confused all over the place. It's hard to yell "clear" over Zoom because it cuts out the other person's audio for a second so if you're blitzing through huge walls of text I'm probably going to miss arguments.
If you write the RFD for me in the debate that explains how impacts and layers stack up and weigh, you are overwhelmingly likely to have that be the actual RFD. If you end up neck deep in a super messy and dense theory/T debate and manage to stay organized, clear, and pretty line by line, you will get a 29.5 minimum. My biggest issue with these debates by far is the messiness and lack of weighing on both sides. It is really hard for me to evaluate debates when no one explains why they have the stronger I/L to education, why phil education outweighs topic education, why their NC theory should come before 1AR theory, whether T or theory comes first, etc.
Only other relevant things is that I presume T/Theory > K unless told otherwise and am not the best with grammar so I can flow your upward entailment test argument and vote for you off it, but I don't have more than a surface level understanding of it outside of its strategic value in debate.
• Trix: I've voted for lots of tricks debaters, but think that tricks objectively are all silly and false and have adjusted my threshold for responding to them to a comparable level. My bar for responding is "this is nonsense and you shouldn't vote on it because ___". If there's three hidden words in an analytic wall that are dropped, the threshold changes to the above along with "you should allow this response even though it's new because ____" in the next speech. I'm very sympathetic to newer LDers or policy cross overs losing over mishandling some silly spike they didn't know about and personally took a lot of Ls that way, but if you decide to sit the entire round without making a single argument about why "evaluate the round after the 1AC" is a horrible idea, you will lose to it.
All of the stuff in the T/Theory section about spreading through analytics, the fact that no one weighs or implicates anything, etc all applies.
Ryan Mills - Archbishop Mitty High School, CA
Competitor: Damien HS 1980-1984, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) 1984-1987
Coach: Loyola HS (Los Angeles) 1989-1994, Pinewood 1994-1995, College Prep 1995-2000, Archbishop Mitty 2016 - Present
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
[My] Framework - Or how do we achieve our best selves by doing this thing called 'debate'?
I approach debate as an educator so for me the primary reason we spend our nights and weekends together is our appreciation of the activity's ability to help us improve our critical thinking skills and articulate complex concepts in a logical and persuasive way. To that end
- Tell the story - the team who ends the debate with a coherent, compelling narrative is generally rewarded. Resolve, rather than merely extend, arguments in the 2nr/2ar.
- 'Debate the debate we're in.' Reading canned blocks, especially through rebuttals, means you're not clashing (or listening, or flowing) which also means I'm left to resolve the debate myself - no one's happy in that scenario.
- I'll be on the email chain, but I'm not reading along and won't fill in my flow from the speech doc what I don't hear comprehensibly. I prioritize flowing the card verbiage over the (very often overpowered) tag, so please don't do the slow tag line/incomprehensible high-speed card read routine. I flow, on paper, which is my detailed record of what transpires in the debate and is what I reference when rendering a decision. If it's not on my flow, it's not considered, so please make sure you tell me where your 2nr/2ar extension originates earlier on in the debate.
- Card clipping is cheating - loss and zeroes if caught.
- If the debate centers around whose evidence is better on a particular argument, best you do the evidence comparison work for me because...
- If you *do* ask me to read a piece of evidence, you are inviting my intervention in the debate regarding the 'quality' of the evidence (whether it actually says what you claim it says). Once you invite me (or any critic) into *your* space, you've lost control of how far that critic engages your invitation.
- Overtly racist, sexist, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ discourse, etc. results in a loss and zero points.
- I welcome a spirited discussion during the RFD, but sometimes we simply won't agree on the outcome. Most judges make decisions on 'meta' arguments governing the overall direction of the debate, not some claim buried in the quickly-spewed third-level subpoint in a block. Even if you come away from my RFD thinking I'm a complete idiot, the best way to approach any critic is to ask probing questions about how we arrived at our conclusions. That way next time you debate in front of me you have a beat on how I think and can craft your approach accordingly (or decide my view is just so antithetical to yours that you strike me, which is fine too). If you treat these exchanges as a training ground for successful future, much higher stakes exchanges you'll have both personally and professionally, you'll have absorbed the best of what this activity has to offer.
That's my framework. Now, a few words on how I default if you leave me to my own devices.
Overview - 'You do you' as long as you warrant it
I do my best to suspend my predilections: whether I love or hate a particular argument, I'll vote for you if you win it unless it's fundamentally reprehensible (genocide good, etc.).
Primary guidance: debate the debate we're in rather than read canned blocks written months ago in a land far far away from the round we're sitting in. Clash is paramount.
Default views on argument types
I prefer to understand what specific ground the negative is rightfully entitled to that the affirmative interpretation precludes access to. I care more about what you do than what you might allow. Conversely, I am also receptive to arguments around T as language policing resulting in the exclusion of marginalized voices, so don't be afraid to go for that either. I'm a former English teacher, so to me words matter in both directions.
Plans/Counterplans/Permutations: Words Matter!
Document the exact plan/counterplan/permutation(s) wording before engaging. If there is a real grammatical flaw in the text, don't be afraid to stake the debate on it, properly impacted (the 2003 ToC was decided on a plan flaw argument so it's a thing, at least to me).
Won't 'judge-kick.' It's up to the negative to make strategic decisions about advocacy in the 2NR.
No link means no link. Offense always helps, but I will easily vote on a well-executed no link/internal link/low risk of impact approach.
I lean toward probability over magnitude. Focus on uniqueness and the link/internal link whether on aff or neg. Debate solvency on case and do the work to weigh impact vs. aff advantage remaining in the rebuttals. Extend impacts in rebuttals and tell the comparative story (again resolve, don't just extend).
Accordingly on the neg, your time is better spent making the link bulletproof than reading impact extensions unless the aff is impact-turning the disad/k. If you want to win on framing/framework invest time there.
- Read extensively in the literature of the criticism you're advocating and compile your own positions. CX can be devastating with these arguments, so if you've read the literature you can tease out nuances that teams who take the lazy way out won't be able to account for.
- I'm receptive to specific link and impact assessment. Better to establish how this particular affirmative triggers a unique link to this specific criticism rather than rely on a generic indictment of a particular normative framework or 'you use the USFG' - i.e. a link to the status quo. Advocate an alternative and explain how you access it. 'Refuse' isn't a great option since that just puts the resister on a pedestal divorced from efforts to materially improve the lives of the marginalized, but I'll (reluctantly) vote on it if well defended.
- If your strategy is 'high theory' I'm not the best judge for you so please pref me accordingly. I strive to read enough critical literature to be conversant, but I have a day job so will not be PhD-level familiar with any critical argument. Please debate with this level of familiarity in mind or risk disappointment with the outcome.
- Critical affs/planless affs/Performance: Fine, again just want to understand what I'm endorsing if you're asking for the ballot.
If you have questions about something I haven't covered, please ask before the debate starts.. The activity is meant to be educational, fun, and inclusive - if it's not, we should all be doing something else.
I debated at the University of Georgia from 2015-2019. I coached at Berkeley from 2019-2020. I am currently a 3L in law school.
Evidence quality matters a lot. Nuanced analysis matters even more. In good debates, I have to resolve a lot of small issues in a relatively short period of time. The more judge instruction you do, the better.
I really enjoy when a team demonstrates that they're thoroughly prepared and well researched. A team who spends 40 hours/week researching sounds very different than a team who was just handed a file.
Passion is great. There is nothing I like more than a 2AR given by someone who is genuinely upset that the Neg team decided to showed up. That said, if that's not you, a technically proficient beatdown makes me happy too.
Inserting a re-highlighting is fine if it serves as a visual aid to actual analysis. "Their card goes Neg, I promise. Inserting a re-highlighting, next" will get you nowhere.
I am quicker to conclude an advantage or DA is zero/very low risk than most.
I am a good judge for framework---meaning when debated well, I often find myself more persuaded by the Neg.
Fairness matters. I am very skeptical that debate solves huge impacts or results in major structural changes in society. If Aff, a well-developed and predictable (define words, please) counter-interpretation is a must.
I have never really understood what it means to give the Neg "X" topic DA. If I suspend disbelief and assume it links, it is hard to fathom how extinction outweighs interacts with an Aff that allegedly fiats nothing.
"No perms in a method debate" is incoherent.
I'd definitely rather hear a substantive 2NR, but I'm decent for the Neg.
Limited topics are great, but predictable limits are what really matter to me. Qualified evidence that intends to include or exclude certain Affs goes a long way.
If the Aff's interpretation is reasonable (i.e., I conclude it will not make debate meaningfully worse for the Neg), then I do not care that the Neg's interpretation is a little better.
As with topicality, I would certainly rather hear both teams debate substance. When equally debated (to the extent that can ever happen), here are my general dispositions:
Undecided---Condo, 50 State Fiat
It's Bad---Certainty/Immediacy CPs, International Fiat, Private Actor Fiat
I default to judge kick the CP, but this is not a strongly held belief.
It is going to be hard to convince me that the Aff shouldn't get to weigh the plan.
Affs should really figure out what the alternative is trying to do. If it is everything (or if it does the Aff), then a perm and/or a coherent theory argument usually works well. If it is nothing, then perhaps that could implicate any non-unique links.
Alt causes are not link arguments. Read links to the plan and weigh your impacts vs. the Aff.
I often vote for the K in one of two scenarios: (1) Aff team drops and/or mishandles major parts of the K, or (2) Neg wins that the K turns all of the Aff's impacts and/or outweighs the Aff.
Turns case is overrated and only really moves the needle in very close debates. Often, the relative risk of the DA v. the Aff is what matters.
An Apple News subscription and a general understanding of the American political system can sometimes be enough to reduce the risk of politics DAs to (almost) zero. That said, "the filibuster exists" won't beat out 5 good "will pass" cards.
Please put me on the chain -- firstname.lastname@example.org
I did policy debate at Washburn Rural High School (2013-17) and the University of Southern California (2017-21). I was always a 2N. I also previously coached LD at the Marlborough School (2018-21). I now work in an academic role in global health & infectious disease ecology. I judge for UDLs and some national circuit tournaments in Nashville/Atlanta/Kansas when convenient.
Update as of 2022
I am no longer actively involved in debate. If I'm judging you, please assume it is the first debate I've judged on the topic. I’ll pick up on basics of the topic pretty quick, but in-depth T debates and super niche CPs might be challenging. If this is your thing, go for it, but add context and explanation. Avoid acronyms.
Your burden is to make it make sense -- I am pretty neutral on whatever "it" is. Choose a strategy (early) and write the ballot for me. The earlier you do it, the better.
Don’t take any of this paradigm to be hard and fast rules! These are just my general thoughts and reflections on how I feel about debate.
Please go like 70% of your fastest speed if you're reading blocks in rebuttals. If you want it to show up in my decision, I need to be able to type it.
I'm more tech>truth in policy, but that may differ in other activities depending on the context (and framing of the debate). That said -- not a fan of arguments that only win if dropped. Don't just throw things at the wall to see what sticks. Thoughtful strategy and creative argumentation are the way to good speaker points.
Cards dumps as substitution for deeper analysis is bad. Use evidence for warrants, not claims. If your highlighting is just a repeat of the tag, you might as well not have read the card.
I will not vote for moral blackmail -- this applies to “vote for me or else I have to quit” and similar. If you have a concern like this, talk to your opponent/coaches/me outside of the round, but please do not make my ballot the arbiter of that decision (!!!)
Always 1%-----X---------------------------------0% Risk a Thing
Stone Faced------------------------X------------Reacts to your args
K vs Policy
Vote to affirm me------------------------------X Vote to affirm my argument
Link of omission-------------------------X-----Omit this argument
Not our Baudrillard-----------X-----------------Yes your Baudrillard
Ks don't have to link to the plan text (yes the aff overall), the aff gets to be weighed. Again, consequences matter to me.
K Affs v Framework debates usually come down to who wins what the purpose of debate is.
Nebel T--------------X-------------------------------Pragmatic Interps
Short Policy Debate-X------------------------------Different Type of Debate
I refuse to vote for theory that I subjectively believe to be frivolous regardless of the line by line, but speeches can alter my views on what is frivolous. Yes 1AR theory.
- Reading your blocks monotone at 100% speed
- "Do you disclose speaks"
- Bad/miscut/misrepresented evidence :(
- Tagging cards "extinction" and nothing else :(
- Asking for cards or combining speech docs and saying its not prep????
- Asking what cards were read when no cards were marked
- Google docs :(
One Last Thing
If there is something/someone that you feel unsafe around, I am more than happy to assist you in finding the resources necessary to remedy the problem, but I ask they do not become a central component in the debate. That's not to say your concerns are not welcome or invalid, but I'd rather pursue a solution rather than give you a ballot and move on with my day.
I don't really judge anymore. If you are a debater and want to see my paradigm for some reason, email me firstname dot lastname at gmail.
My name is Darius White and I debated at C.E. Byrd High School for 4 year and debate for the University of Oklahoma currently.
Speaker Points: I generally give fairly high speaks, and I understand that their is going to be some rudeness in the debate, but try not to over-do because that will be a speak-point decrease. Also stealing prep, and speaking CONSTANTLY during your partners speech will drop your speeches quite a bit, but I usually try to be generous with the speaks.
Cross-X: I defer c-x being binding (unless told otherwise but they need to be nuanced, not tag line extensions of theory shells) and tend to flow c-x
After-round evaluation of evidence: I will try as best as possible to not call for evidence unless you are highly reliant on one piece of evidence in your last speeches, and/or evidence is into question (i.e. if you call for me to look at a piece of evidence after round), but other than that I tend to try to judge the debate on the actually speeches given by the debaters.
Theory: I have a high threshold for theory arguments and hate when teams spray through your theory blocks; I usually default to reasonability and reject-the-arguments-not-the-team
unless you win the abuse story i.e. I don't think one conditional advocacy destroys aff ground so just try to be reasonable and very persuasive when going for theory.
Disads/CP's: Impact calculation is always a good idea, and even though I am more on the K side of debate, I am down to listen to a really technical CP/DA as a net-benefit debate, so don't be shy to run these arguments in front of me. But, I feel that the CP does need a net-benefit for me to vote for it, so if the 2NR is just CP with no net-benefits, I will have a hard time finding reasons why I should vote for the CP. Turns case arguments on the DA are always tight.
Impact Turns: I really enjoy these types of debates, and they are very persuasive in my opinion, so if you got any in your files, I am down to listen.
Kritiks: I hate when teams read a random K that they have no idea what it means or says, and that is always a pet peeve. Don't run a K in front that you are not comfortable going for, but if you are very well at going for a specific criticism then do your thing because I am more familiar with this side of the debate. I feel that the alternative portion of the K is very under utilized and would like to be a debate I would want to see, but if your thing is going to turns case, then do your thing.
Framework: This is the argument I least agree with but if will listen and flow if required.
Flashing: I don't count flashing as prep unless you are taking hella a lot of time in which I will inform you that I am about to start your prep time; PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, do not steal prep.
Random shit: I like jokes, and making me laugh usually gets you some where speak point wise. Using historical references is always a good idea and paints a better picture on the impact calc. Remember to jump your cards over before the speech, and if you read any new cards that aren't on the flash, flash them before c-x or before the next speech is about to start, this is not prep time.
If you have any other questions feel free to email me: email@example.com