The Dowling Catholic Paradigm
2019 — West Des Moines, IA/US
Policy Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
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. email@example.com
New Trier class of 2019, UChicago class of 2023 (not debating)
Updated after New Trier 2022
It's been four years since I debated and my involvement since has been limited to judging a couple of tournaments a year. If I judge you, I can commit to paying close attention, flowing to the best of my ability, and putting in a good deal of effort to make an informed decision that I can explain well and provide quality feedback to the debaters. That being said, my topic knowledge is basically zero and my skills at judging highly fast, complex, technical debates have atrophied quite a bit since I graduated high school.
I like when debaters show off the depth and breadth of knowledge they've gained from researching the topic and being curious about the world. I think the best debaters keep the debate simple and understandable on a big-picture level, crafting a coherent story for why their side should win.
I am an extremely bad judge for K affs and Ks on the neg. This is not due to a lack of interest in the literature itself, but more that I often have a hard time understanding how the K interacts with the aff and how it results in a neg ballot (basically I completely agree with the K section of Tyler Thur's paradigm).
For policy/procedural arguments I would say I'm fine for either side. I'm probably decently more likely to vote aff in a T debate than the average judge though.
Clarity is very important to me, mostly because my hearing's absolutely atrocious. I will definitely dock speaker points if a debater's unclear, so please speak clearly.
I read a lot of evidence during and after the round.
I will not vote on troll arguments like ASPEC, death good, floating PIKs, etc (you get the idea) under any circumstances.
I give speaker points on a scale of roughly 28.2-29.2.
Negative points for being rude/offensive, cheating, and math jokes.
POLICY PARADIGM FOR DAVID BASLER (Updated for 2019-20 season)
FORMER POLICY DEBATE COACH AT WEST DES MOINES VALLEY (IOWA)
A QUICK SUMMARY (if you are accessing this on your iPhone as the round is starting):
Speed is OK.
T, theory, Ks and K Affs OK
I do not require you to take prep time for sharing/sending speech docs.
Be kind to your opponents, your partner and the judge.
I will not be on Facebook during c/x.
"Clearly, some philosophies aren't for all people. And that's my new philosophy!" - Sally Brown, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, 2012
I BE ME. I have recently left coaching after having been a high school policy debate coach for the last eight years, mostly at West Des Moines Valley (2010-2015, 2016-2019) and also at Dowling Catholic (2015-16). I typically judge between 70-100 policy rounds a year. The last couple of years were unusual in that I did not judge as many rounds and did not judge at all at Glenbrooks, Harvard, Blake, etc. I try and stay familiar with the arguments run by top regional and national teams and with the content being put out by the top policy debate camps. Some good teams even pref me.
I was a successful CEDA debater in college, but I did have a wicked mullet so that could explain the success.
U BE U. What kind of arguments do I like? I enjoyed watching Michael Jordan the basketball player more than Michael Jordan the baseball player. I want to see you do what you do best. My preferences in regard to certain arguments should not matter. I try to come into each round with no position on what the voting issues should be, although I do still believe in negative presumption. I also believe you can still rock in America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB3kQZJ2aLw
F/WORK. When it comes to framework, I will listen to arguments in support of any position, but if neither team wins the framework debate I will default to the question on the ballot- "I believe the better debating was done by ..." I will reject framework in favor of a K aff when the affirmative team gives me the more persuasive reasons why having a plan text, defending the state, etc. is bad. I will vote against a K aff on framework when the negative team gives me the more persuasive reasons why not having a plan text, not defending the state, etc. is bad. I will vote for teams that do not have a plan text and I will also vote against them.
MAKE ME LAUGH, GET GOOD SPEAKS. I really enjoy creative arguments. I appreciate humor. I respect debaters who can speak both quickly and clearly. I used to love doing c/x and I still love hearing a good c/x. I like debaters with cool nicknames like "Q" or "DanBan." I also like the words "kitchenette" and "flume."
POLICY TEAMS. Heg good. Heg bad. The government reads your email, so they know how you really feel, but I am cool with whatever. Because I am kind of a political junkie I love a good politics disad but that doesn't mean your link chain can stink.
WHAT ABOUT THE K? Bring it. Some of my absolute favorite debates I have judged have been K debates. However, reading dense philosophical texts at 350 words per minute is not helpful to comprehension. You know what else is almost always not helpful to comprehension? Super long taglines that are impossible to flow and lengthy overviews. Do it on the line-by-line. I would say I have heard just about everything but I am most familiar with economic theory, identity arguments, and Ks of consumption, technology and consumerism. I am less familiar with psychoanalysis but will always vote for stuff I think is persuasive (which means you just need to make me understand it). I am not a teacher (I am a lawyer) so I am only "in the literature" as a former debate coach whose teams sometimes gravitated toward and read Ks and Affs with no plan text.
As I try not to intervene as a judge, I am not going to give you the benefit of everything I know about a particular philosopher, legal argument, theory argument or a particular policy option. You always need to explain your arguments.
PERFORMANCE/"PROJECT"/NON-TRADITIONAL TEAMS. Sure. It is your community. I like the idea that you get to write the rules. Dance, sing or drum like there is nobody watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItZyaOlrb7E
"I wanna go fast."- Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, 2006
SPEED. If you are clear, I will be able to flow you. However, though speaking quickly has become a community norm in policy debate, debate is still fundamentally about the quality of your oral advocacy and communication. I think it is my job as a judge to say who was winning when time expired. This means I will rarely call for cards unless there is a disagreement over what the card says or I don't know how else to decide the debate. As Big from Gonzaga says in his paradigm- "Making a decision after re-reading read evidence in a debate distances judges from the performance of the speech and increases the likelihood of interpretive hubris. I don’t think either of those things are desirable characteristics of a decision."
THEORY. I am sometimes fine with multiple conditional arguments, 50 state fiat, etc. I am sometimes not fine with it. Win offense to win your theory argument. Recall that it is harder for me to flow 8 points of theory than two pieces of tagged evidence and please slow down.Strategic use of theory is smart because it almost always takes more time to answer the argument than it does to make it, however, this also means I am going to cut the other team some slack in making their answers and evidence of actual in-round abuse is the easiest way to get me to vote on theory.
PREP. I do not require a team to use prep time to send their speech to the other team. Don't steal prep time while the other team is sending you their arguments. Also, if you still need to re-order all of your papers when you get up to the podium, you are still prepping.
"Gretchen, I'm sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhea at Barnes & Nobles." - Karen Smith, Mean Girls, 2004
MEAN PEOPLE SUCK. Even though I believe the sarcastic slow-clap to be an underutilized method of cross-ex, I expect you to be respectful and courteous to your opponents, your partner and to the judge. I can assure you that the best advocates out in the real world (whether they are trial attorneys, lobbyists, politicians, activists, writers, Comedy Central talk show hosts, etc.) understand the difference between vigorous disagreement in a debate forum and mutual respect and even admiration outside of that forum. I believe in a debate round we should all strive to disagree agreeably, and as soon as the round is over the disagreement should end. This is especially true given the divisive nature of modern day political rhetoric and/or many people's strong feelings about Taylor Swift.
It should also go without saying (but if it wasn't an issue I wouldn't be saying it) but you should not be touching or throwing things at anyone in the debate room. Always be mindful of the diversity of life experiences that debaters bring with them into the debate space and this includes, but is not limited to, an increased sensitivity to violence or violent imagery.
TECH OR TRUTH? If something is totally counter-intuitive and empirically false, telling me that (you have to speak the words) is probably enough to defeat an argument. However, I also like it when people take counter-intuitive positions and explain why they are true, even if our first instinct is to reject them. But yeah...try not to drop shtuff.
WELL DONE, YOUNG PADAWAN. I have nothing but respect for people who choose to use their free time developing their critical thinking skills and engaging in an academic exercise like debate. It will serve you well in life, whatever you choose to do, and this is why I place such a high value on the activity. I promise you I will do my best to be fair, constructive, encouraging and engaged. Hopefully that is all you would want from a judge. That and, during the winter, copious amounts of facial hair.
Online Debate Note *IF YOU THINK YOU CAN GO FULL SPEED IN AN ONLINE DEBATE I AM NOT THE JUDGE FOR YOU*
Sam Basler (Policy Coach @ Iowa City High/Iowa City West High)
West Des Moines Valley class of ‘15
Gonzaga class of '19 (2x NDT Qualifier)
Coached at Valley - 3 years
I'm currently getting my masters in Sports and Recreation Management from the University of Iowa
2N Then a 2A then a 2N
Last Updated: 9/22/2019
This is a living breathing document
Tl;dr – You do you, and I will vote for the team that wins.
As I judge I have come to realize I agree with my father (David Basler) more and more ... some of this is stolen from his paradigm.
Speed is ok.
T, theory and Ks ok
Be kind to your opponents, your partner and the judge.
I will not be on Facebook during c/x.
I do not follow along with the email chain ... keep that in mind when reading important texts and theory
When you are done with prep you should be ready to speak. Too much stopping prep, thinking about args, and then starting prep again is occurring.
Cites are getting sketchier and sketchier and I don't like it.
Example of a bad cite:
Spanos 11 (www.kdebate.com/spanos.html)
Example of a good cite:
Astley 87 (Rick, Singer/Songwriter, "Never Gonna Give You Up", Whenever You Need Somebody, 1987, RCA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ, Accessed 9/22/19)
I think this section is necessary because no judge is truly “tabula rasa” Basically everything on here is my personal views on debate and the way I look at it. This is your activity and you make the rules … so you should have the debate you want to have.
I debated for West Des Moines Valley for 5 Years and then I debated at Gonzaga for four years. I have probably seen or heard whatever you could possibly imagine debated at least once.
The Criticism (Don’t worry I put it first so you didn’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom)
Go for it! Good K debate is something that can be really enjoyable to watch and they can be really strategic if done right. You get credit for the arguments you make no more no less. Interpreting f/w debates on the K flow gets kind of tricky because a lot of times it becomes a wash with neither team really making it an offensive reason to vote for them (which is a real shame because chances are if you win framework you will win the debate). Use f/w to … I don’t know… frame the debate! If the 1AC didn’t defend their reps and you think I should vote them down tell me why I should. A well done f/w debate can totally shift the outcome of the K flow. That being said I have a high threshold for excluding all K’s from debate, as I personally believe the 1AC should be able to defend their reps/method. A K has three parts that in order for the neg to win all need to be in the 2NR -- some Ks dont need alts to win -- . (You may have the most kickass link card to heg but that’s irrelevant in a world where you don’t win an impact.)
Perms - the aff gets them (test of competition).
4 min O/V’s are not necessary and !!!! I won’t flow them !!!! … JUST DO IT ON THE LINE BY LINE. (Seriously ... don't test me)
Reading dense philosophical texts at 350 words per minute is not helpful to comprehension. As I try not to intervene as a judge, I am not going to give you the benefit of everything I know about a particular philosopher, theory argument or a particular policy option. You need to explain your arguments.
Topicality debates can be great … if you don’t just read your pre-written blocks. I feel like 90% of topicality debates happen at top speed with the judge arbitrarily deciding whether or not the aff is topical. Read less 2 word definitions and standards and expand your arguments, and you will be surprised at the results.
Condo good/bad at high speed is also not fun for the judge. However, when I do vote on theory, in round abuse is usually why.
Condo – one or two is probably fine but I can be convinced otherwise ... the more you read the more abusive it gets
Dispo – probably condo
Severance/Intrinsic Perms – win why its good or bad
Process CP’s – Ehh ... the more specific the better and more legit
PIC’s/PIK’s – YES PLEASE … if and only if they are specific to the aff
Neg Fiat - why do we all just assume the neg gets fiat?
CPs should probably have a solvency advocate
I will vote for aff’s that don’t read plan texts …. I will also vote against them on framework. I view framework debates pretty much identically with how I view T debates.
When it comes to framework, I will listen to arguments in support of any position, but if neither team wins the framework debate I will default to the question on the ballot- "I believe the better debating was done by ..." Framework against K affs is usually just a topicality argument (or what I call "topiKality"). I will vote against a K aff if you win offensive reasons as to why the aff is bad.
If I need a “new sheet for the overview” – chances are I will be angry and you will see your speaks go down … seriously do it on the line by line.
You should probably talk about the topic … but how you do that Music? Poetry? Anther method? I’m all ears!
Sure. It is your community. I like the idea that you get to write the rules. Dance, sing or drum like there is nobody watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItZyaOlrb7E
The more aff specific the better. Two words really shape the DA flow … IMPACT CALCULUS. If you win the aff is worse that the status quo I will vote negative. Truth > Tech (for the most part) Spin > evidence. Turns case/da analysis should be your best friend.
Pretty self-explanatory ... they need a net benefit. Make sure they are competitive. I won't kick them for you unless you tell me specifically to do that.
See note in theory about solvency advocates.
YES PLEASE! – Case debate is the most underutilized/underappreciated silver bullet in debate. A good case debate is far more valuable than any other argument in debate. I’d rather you read more cards on case than read 7 off.
Heg good. Heg bad. Hackers read your email, so they know how you really feel, but I am cool with whatever.
Charisma> monotonous reading
Jokes/Puns can really help speaker points (but please make sure they are good)
Good cross-ex can improve speaker points and even end debates.
Bad cross-ex can put me to sleep.
Two of the best tips for anyone who debates:
1) Don’t double breathe
2) Slow down to go faster
Q: Can I use the bathroom? Can I get a drink?
Other things I have stolen from my Dad -
If you are clear, I will be able to flow you. However, though speaking quickly has become a community norm in policy debate, debate is still fundamentally about the quality of your advocacy and communication. I think it is my job as a judge to say who was winning on my flow when time expired. I don't want your speech document and if your delivery is unclear that means I will won't have your argument on my flow. This also means I will rarely call for cards unless there is a disagreement over what the card says or I don't know how else to decide the debate.
"I wanna go fast."- Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, 2006
I do not require a team to use prep time to flash their speech to the other team. Don't steal prep time while the other team is flashing you their arguments. Also, if you still need to re-order all of your papers when you get up to the podium, you are still prepping.
MEAN PEOPLE SUCK.
Even though I believe the sarcastic slow-clap to be an underutilized method of cross-ex, I expect you to be respectful and courteous to your opponents, your partner and to the judge. I can assure you that the best advocates out in the real world (whether they are trial attorneys, lobbyists, politicians, activists, writers, Comedy Central talk show hosts, etc.) understand the difference between vigorous disagreement in a debate forum and mutual respect and even admiration outside of that forum. I believe in a debate round we should all strive to disagree agreeably, and as soon as the round is over the disagreement should end.
"Gretchen, I'm sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhea at Barnes & Nobles." - Karen Smith, Mean Girls, 2004
TECH OR TRUTH?
If something is totally counter-intuitive and empirically false, telling me that (you have to speak the words) is probably enough to defeat an argument. However, I also like it when people take counter-intuitive positions and explain why they are true, even if our first instinct is to reject them. But yeah...try not to drop shtuff.
WELL DONE, YOUNG PADAWAN.
I have nothing but respect for young people who choose to use their free time developing their critical thinking skills and engaging in an academic exercise like debate. It will serve you well in life, whatever you choose to do, and this is why I place such a high value on the activity. I promise you I will do my best to be fair, constructive, encouraging and engaged.
Director of Speech and Debate, Kent Denver
Please include me in email chains; my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do what you do best, and I will try to leave my predispositions at the door. I have voted for and against every kind of argument. How you debate matters more than what you debate.
I care most about your ability to successfully communicate and defend your arguments by flowing, doing line-by-line, speaking clearly, and thoroughly explaining your arguments throughout the debate. The best tip I can give you is to go for less distinct issues as the debate develops and to focus on explaining and comparing your best points to your opponent’s arguments more.
Argument resolution is the most important part of debating. Making choices, explaining what issues are most important, identifying what to do with drops, answering “so what” questions, making “even if” statements, and comparing arguments (links, impacts, solvency, etc) are all examples of the kinds of judge instruction that winning rebuttals should focus on.
I value the research skills that debate fosters. I want students to demonstrate their topic knowledge and to utilize their specific research. I think a lot of teams get away with reading poor evidence. Please make evidence comparison (data, warrants, source, or recency) a significant part of the debate. Evidence that is highlighted in complete and coherent sentences is much more persuasive than evidence that is not.
I do not follow along with the speech document and will tell you clear if I can’t understand you. I am more likely to read evidence that is discussed and explained during the debate and will use the debater's explanation to guide my reading. I am unlikely to read evidence that I didn't understand when it was initially presented, or to give much credit to warrants that only become clear to me after examining the evidence.
The affirmative should present an advocacy that is grounded in topical policy and critical literature. The negative should clash with ideas that the affirmative has committed to defending. I am most impressed by teams that demonstrate command of their arguments, who read arguments with strong specific links to the topic, and who come prepared to debate their opponent’s case. I am less impressed with teams that avoid clash by using extreme conditionality, plan vagueness, generic positions without topic nuance, and reading incomplete arguments that lack clear links or solvency advocates.
Debated: Norman High School (2005- 2009), University of Oklahoma (2009-2014)
Coached: University of Texas at San Antonio (2014-2015)
Caddo Magnet High School (2014-2015)
Baylor University (2015-2017)
University of Iowa (2017-2022
Assistant Director of Debate at James Madison University Aug. 2022-present
Updates- Feb 2023
Think of my paradigm as a set of suggestions for packaging or a request for extra explanation on certain arguments.
Despite the trend of judges unabashedly declaring themselves bad for certain arguments or predetermining the absolute win condition for arguments, I depart from this and will evaluate the debate in front of me.
Judge instruction, judge instruction, judge instruction!
Sometimes when we are deep in a literature base, we auto apply a certain lens to view the debate, but that lens is not automatic for the judge. Don’t assume that I will fill things in for you or presume that I automatically default to a certain impact framing, do that work!
Argument framing is your friend.
“If I win this, then this.”
Even if we lose ontology, here is why we can still win.” This is important for both debating the K and going for the K.
Zoom debate things:
Don’t start until you see my face, I will always have my camera on when you’re speaking!
Clarity over speed, please- listening to debates over zoom is difficult, start out more slowly and then pick up pace, but don’t sacrifice clarify for speed.
Ethics violations-Calling an ethics violation is a flag on the play and the debate stops. Please, please do not call an ethics violation unless you want to stop the debate.
Top level thoughts: I am not too biased against any particular argument, it's your round so do what you do, but do it well.
I did however primarily read kritiks, but I have also done strictly policy debate in my career, so I have been exposed to a wide variety of arguments and I am not someone who will always vote for the k or for FW. I like to think that I am a favorable judge for either.
I judge the debate in front of me and avoid judge intervention as much as possible. In this sense, I am more guided by tech because I don't think you can determine the truth of any debate within the time constraints. HOWEVER, I think you can use the truth to make more persuasive arguments- for example, you can have one really good argument supported by evidence that you're making compelling bc of its truthiness that could be more convincing or compelling than 3 cards that are meh.
I judge a good number of T v. K aff debates and am comfortable doing so.
Sometimes these debates are overly scripted and people just blow through their blocks at top speed, so I think it's important to take moments to provide moments of emphasis and major framing arguments. Do not go for everything in the 2NR, there is not enough time to fully develop your argument and answer theirs. Clearly identify what impact you are going for.
Internal link turns by the negative help to mitigate the impact turn arguments. Example- debating about AI is key to create AI that does not re-create racial bias. TVA can help here as well!
The definitions components of these debates are underutilized- for example, if the aff has a counter interp of AI, have that debate. Why is their interp bad and exacerbate the limits or ground issues? I feel like this this gives you stronger inroads to your impact arguments and provides defense to the aff's impact turns.
K aff's- It is way less compelling to go for impact turns without going for the aff and how they resolve the impact turns. You cannot just win that framework is bad. It is more strategic for the aff to defend a particular model of debate, not just a K of current debate.
Updated- It’s important to find balance between theoretical explanations, debate-ification of arguments, and judge instruction. More specifically- if you have a complex theory that you need to win to win the debate, you HAVE to spend time here. Err towards more simple explanation as opposed to overly convoluted.
Think about word efficiency and judge instruction for those theoretical arguments.
Although, I am familiar with some kritiks, I do not pretend to be an expert on all. There are still many kritiks that I have trouble understanding. That being said, I think that case specific links are the best. Generic links are not as compelling especially if you are flagging certain cards for me to call for at the end of the round. It seems that many times debaters don't take the time to really explain what the alternative is like, whether it solves part of the aff, is purely rejection, etc. If for some reason the alternative isn't extended or explained in the 2nr, I won't just apply it as a case turn for you. An impact level debate is also still important even if the K excludes the evaluation of specific impacts. It is really helpful to articulate how the K turns the case as well. On a framing level, do not just assume that I will believe that the truth claims of the affirmative are false, there needs to be in-depth analysis for why I should dismiss parts of the aff preferably with evidence to back it up.
The 2NR should CLEARLY identify if they are going for the alternative. If you are not, you need to be explicit about why you don't need the alt to win the debate. This means clear framework and impact framing arguments + turns case arguments. You need to explain why the links are sufficient turns case arguments for me to vote negative on presumption.
CPs- I really like counterplans especially if they are specific to the aff, which shows that you have done your research. Although PIKs are annoying to deal with if you are aff, I enjoy a witty PIK. However, make it clear that it is a PIK and explain why it solves the aff better or sufficiently. Explain sufficiency framing in the context of the debate you're having, don't just blurt out "view the cp through the lens of sufficiency"--that's not a complete argument.
Generic cps with generic solvency cards aren't really going to do it for me. However, if the evidence is good then I am more likely to believe you when you claim aff solvency. There needs to be a good articulation for why the aff links to the net benefit and good answers to cp solvency deficits, assuming there are any. Permutation debate needs to be hashed out on both sides, with Da/net benefits to the permutations made clear.
DAs- I find it pretty easy to follow DAs. However, if you go for it I am most likely going to be reading ev after the round, so it better be good. If your link cards are generic and outdated and the aff is better in that department, then you need to have a good reason why your evidence is more qualified, etc.
Make the story of the DA AND your scenario clear, DAs are great but some teams tend to go for a terminal impact without explanation of the scenario or the internal link args. Comparative analysis is important so I know how to evaluate the evidence that I am reading. Tell me why the link o/w the link turn etc. Impact analysis is very important, timeframe, probability, magnitude, etc., so I can know why the Da impacts are more important than the affs impacts. A good articulation of why the Da turns each advantage is extremely helpful because the 2ar will most likely be going for those impacts in the 2ar.
Theory- I generally err neg on theory unless there is a really good debate over it. Your generic blocks aren't going to be very compelling. If you articulate why condo causes a double turn, etc. specific to the round is a better way to go with it. I think that arguments such as vague alternatives especially when an alternative morphs during the round are good. However, minor theory concerns such as multiple perms bad aren't as legitimate in my opinion.
Other notes: If you are unclear, I can't flow you and I don't get the evidence as you read it, so clarity over speed is always preferable.
Don't be rude, your points will suffer. There is a difference between being aggressive and being a jerk.
Impact calc please, don't make me call for everyones impacts and force me to evaluate it myself. I don't want to do the work for you.
The last two rebuttals should be writing my ballot, tell me how I vote and why. Don't get too bogged down to give a big picture evaluation.
Accomplish something in your cross-x time, keep me interested, have an agenda during your cx and use the answers you get in cx and incorporate them into your speeches. Cx is wasted if you pick apart the DA but don't talk about it in your speech.
add me to the email chain- email@example.com
Judge instruction for how I should evaluate / prioritize arguments matters a lot. I am completely willing to suspend all logic and evaluate the round based on the flow. Truth is unimportant for me. I will flow cross x.
I decide rounds rather quickly, and I think about the debate less than the average judge. That is not out of a lack of care. The more time I spend mulling over the debate the greater the risk I will unconsciously insert my own interventions as I get further away from the debate itself. I do my best to minimize this. That means it is on the debaters to explain how different arguments interact, since I am less willing to try and parse that together in the post round. Also why I think judge instruction for how to prioritize arguments matters more for me than a lot of judges.
I am unlikely to decide a debate solely on what occurred outside of the round.
I don’t like to decide debates on my own opinions of evidence quality. Telling me to read a card after the round is not an argument, you are instead asking me to arbitrarily insert my own opinion and vote on it, which I do not like to do but will if both teams force it. If your card is better and you should win the argument because of it, then explain why that is the case and what you hope I would conclude from reading the card.
Insert generic statement about how while all judges have their predisposition, I try my best to limit it when making decisions. I probably would rather not be judging a debate in the first place, so while I have my preferences it doesn't end up bothering me what you run, and a couple stronger preferences are noted further below.
I know that is not particularly reassuring if you end up with me as an unfamiliar judge in the back as most try and make the same claim. So things that may illuminate my potential biases - I read exclusively policy argument for four years at the University of Iowa and throughout high school. I currently am a graduate assistant coach at the University of Iowa, and primarily coach a K team (though to be fair, most of my utility comes from helping to answer policy affs). People at Iowa have told me I tend to think about debates in a very quantitative manner, so whatever that means. I am currently getting my MPH degree in Biostatistics. Two people who have influenced how I think about both debate and in general are Ethan Museand Ellis Chen. My baseline emotion is something close to boredom. My astrological sun sign is a capricorn. My ssn includes a 3.
Argument specific preferences
For framework rounds, I tend to prefer aff arguments that impact turn fairness, clash, etc. more than arguments centered around ethical subject formation. For the neg, fairness and limits are better than advocacy skills type arguments.
For CPs, I default to judge kick unless successfully instructed to otherwise. Sufficiency framing tends to not make that much sense to me, but you do you. I'm pretty lenient with what the negative is allowed to fiat.
My knowledge of the courts / judiciary branch is unusually terrible. Err towards overexplaining those things to me if the nuances matter.
If your 1nc is close to 9 off policy arguments and one half highlighted singular K card, and that K becomes the majority of the block, I feel much sympathy for the 1ar.
Notes for High School Debaters Only (hopefully)
- noticing this a lot with high school debaters lately, asking "did you read x card" DOES count as cross x time. I will be very annoyed if / when I realize that you were not running the timer for the minute you spent asking clarification questions about what cards your opponent read. If you are asking clarification questions about what the other team said and are not running either the prep or cx timer while doing so, I will dock 0.2 speaks from both members of the same team.
- A marked doc is shows all the cards that you marked, meaning stopped reading part way through. It shows where the cards were marked. A marked doc is NOT for removing cards that you didn't read. Too many teams are asking for marked docs when the opponent didn't mark any cards, just skipped some.
- An ethics violation is a reason to stop the round, clipping, miscutting cards, etc. The next time one of you make an ethics violation I will decide right then. There is no debating it out. If you want to debate it out, it's not an ethics violation and do not call it such. This is not trendy. Only make it if you are truly sure that your opponent did something unethical in regards to evidence (cuts in middle of paragraph, strawman, etc). I am very hesitant to vote down a high school student because they read a card that was missing an author qualification that probably some sophomore on their team cut.
I am a lay judge.
I am unfamiliar with the intricacies of policy debate and am only judging so that my school can attend the tournament. I will not be able to vote on issues I do not understand, whether they are critical or not. I will not be able to keep up with speed. I am just a teacher, so treat me like it.
if you are not able to adapt to a lay judge situation, you should probably strike me, because I could very easily make an incorrect flow judgement.
New Trier '16
-My topic experience = low
-Me on my way to judge a policy debate: ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ
-Me on my way to judge a K debate: ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ
-I don't care whether or not you read a plan
-Pls no Death Good or adjacent edgy impact turns, they are the only args I won't evaluate
-If you aren't clear I will nuke your points
-I won't kick the CP for the neg unless instructed otherwise
-If you need anything else clarified for your pref sheet, no you don't
-If you need anything clarified before a round, don't hesitate to ask
4 years NDT, 4 years NFA-LD, 4 years HS, coach HS CX too
Been in debate activity for around 8 years.
yes email chain, firstname.lastname@example.org
If I look disinterested, I promise I am not. That's just my resting face.
Speed is fine - please be clear
Tech over Truth always - the debaters make the argument, not what my preconceived notions of what is truthful/real arguments are.
1. I am a D3 competitor (read: K district) and at the NDT 8/8 rounds were K rounds. I read a K aff with my partner last year and went for FW/cap the other half of the time. I am a clash judge and vote for K affs as much as I vote for FW versus them.
2. k affs justify why your model of debate is good impact turns to T are fine
3. 2nrs need a TVA (unless the aff just shouldn't exist under your model which is rare but can happen)
4. condo is good but fine voting that its bad
5. judge kick is probably bad, but if neg says its good and aff doesn't reply I'll judge kick
6. I go for impact turn 2NRs/1ARs a significant portion of my rounds
7. win that your reps are good affs
8. I think perms are a little bit underrated - they probably overcome the link and shield any residual risk.
9. Judging more and more I realize how awesome impact calc is in 2NR/2AR - I definitely think about debate in offense/defense paradigm and often vote for whoever's impact is bigger and accesses the other teams
CPs need a net benefit in order to win. The role of the neg is to disprove the aff, not just provide another alternative that also fixes the aff. "Solving better" isn't a net benefit. I have voted aff on CP solves 100% of the aff but 0% of net benefit.
PICs are good vs K affs. Pretty strong neg lean on this. It rewards good research.
Don't read death good in front of me.
I have come around a lot on T. I think that affs get away with too much in terms of being resolution-adjacent.
Competing interps > reasonability
Ground is probably the biggest impact in T debates IMO, I think specific links to affs is the largest internal link to good debates.
I think that community norms is very unpersuasive to me. I do not really care what the rest of the community thinks about T, I'm judging the round, not the community lol
PTIAV is silly but gotta have a good answer to it.
Affs need to just have a large defense of "no ground loss" and "aff flex/innovation outweighs"
Likely the best way to win T in front of me regardless of side is to just impact out whatever you think is your strongest standard, and make it outweigh your opponents. I spend less time thinking about the specific definition of words and more time about what the models of debate look like (though if debaters tell me to evaluate interps in a specific way I will definitely spend time on it).
Just call me Sam, or Cade. I don't really love being called Judge.
You do you and I will evaluate to the best of my ability! Any questions feel free to ask pre-round!
You don't need to ask for x amount of prep, just take "running prep" unless you specifically want me to stop you when that time ends.
Last speech should start out with "you should vote aff in order to prevent structural violence which comes first in the round" or something like that. Write my ballot for me.
I find it very hard to vote on something that I don't understand, so while impacts matter a lot I need to understand the story of how we reach the impact
Add me to the email chain.
A former debater. I'm fine with pretty much all arguments as long as they are well extended throughout, though I do prefer more policy-focused arguments. Heavily prefer tech over truth. I mostly flow on my laptop.
Views on each Args:
As long as the violation is well-argued and the standards are well extended, I will likely go for it.
No real preferences for anything. As long as the evidence and reasoning are fine and the NB is well done, I will vote for it.
Most Ks are fine. If it is high theory, perhaps explain it more thoroughly. Not that into the literature. I would prefer a solid, well-explained Alternative but I could still vote for you if you conceded it properly.
Not my personal strongest suit but as long as the reasoning is clear, I will follow along
Most theory args are fine as long as you can prove in round abuse or potential in round abuse. On condo, I am flexible to go for or against three conditional arguments.
As long as there is some professionalism in the round and respect from both sides, the round should go fine. Do your best or something. Don't meme. I'm just making this look longer than it actually needs to be. Have a good tournament or whatever.
Chicago '05; Minnesota Law '14
For e-mail chains (which you should always use to accelerate evidence sharing): email@example.com
2022-23 rounds (as of 4/23): 169
Aff winning percentage: .527
("David" or "Mr. Coates" to you. I'll know you haven't bothered to read my paradigm if you call me "judge," which isn't my name).
I will not vote on disclosure theory. I will consider RVIs on disclosure theory based solely on the fact that you introduced it in the first place.
I will not vote on claims predicated on your opponents' rate of delivery and will probably nuke your speaker points if all you can come up with is "fast debate is bad" in response to faster opponents. Explain why their arguments are wrong, but don't waste my time complaining about how you didn't have enough time to answer bad arguments because...oh, wait, you wasted two minutes of a constructive griping about how you didn't like your opponents' speed.
I will not vote on frivolous "arguments" criticizing your opponent's sartorial choices (think "shoe theory" or "formal clothes theory" or "skirt length," which still comes up sometimes), and I will likely catapult your points into the sun for wasting my time and insulting your opponents with such nonsense.
You will probably receive a lecture if you highlight down your evidence to such an extent that it no longer contains grammatical sentences.
Allegations of ethical violations I determine not to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt will result in an automatic loss with the minimum allowable speaker points for the team introducing them.
Allegations of rule violations not supported by the plain text of a rule will make me seriously consider awarding you a loss with no speaker points.
I will actively intervene against new arguments in the last speech of the round, no matter what the debate format. New arguments in the 2AR are the work of the devil and I will not reward you for saving your best arguments for a speech after which they can't be answered. I will entertain claims that new arguments in the 2AR are automatic voting issues for the negative or that they justify a verbal 3NR. Turnabout is fair play.
I will not entertain claims that your opponents should not be allowed to answer your arguments because of personal circumstances beyond their control. Personally abusive language about, or directed at, your opponents will have me looking for reasons to vote against you.
I'm okay with slow-walking you through how my decision process works or how I think you can improve your strategic decision making or get better speaker points, but I've no interest, at this point in my career, in relitigating a round I've already decided you've lost. "What would be a better way to make this argument?" will get me actively trying to help you. "Why didn't you vote on this (vague claim)?" will just make me annoyed.
I have been an active coach, primarily of policy debate (though I'm now doing active work only on the LD side), since the 2000-01 season (the year of the privacy topic). Across divisions and events, I generally judge between 100 and 120 rounds a year.
My overall approach to debate is extremely substance dominant. I don't really care what substantive arguments you make as long as you clash with your opponents and fulfill your burdens vis-à-vis the resolution. I will not import my own understanding of argumentative substance to bail you out when you're confronting bad substance--if the content of your opponents' arguments is fundamentally false, they should be especially easy for you to answer without any help from me. (Contrary to what some debaters have mistakenly believed in the past, this does not mean that I want to listen to you run wipeout or spark--I'd actually rather hear you throw down on inherency or defend "the value is justice and the criterion is justice"--but merely that I think that debaters who can't think their way through incredibly stupid arguments are ineffective advocates who don't deserve to win).
My general default (and the box I've consistently checked on paradigm forms) is that of a fairly conventional policymaker. Absent other guidance from the teams involved, I will weigh the substantive advantages and disadvantages of a topical plan against those of the status quo or a competitive counterplan. I'm amenable to alternative evaluative frameworks but generally require these to be developed with more depth and clarity than most telegraphic "role of the ballot" claims usually provide.
THOUGHTS APPLICABLE TO ALL DEBATE FORMATS
That said, I do have certain predispositions and opinions about debate practice that may affect how you choose to execute your preferred strategy:
1. I am skeptical to the point of fairly overt hostility toward most non-resolutional theory claims emanating from either side. Aff-initiated debates about counterplan and kritik theory are usually vague, devoid of clash, and nearly impossible to flow. Neg-initiated "framework" "arguments" usually rest on claims that are either unwarranted or totally implicit. I understand that the affirmative should defend a topical plan, but what I don't understand after "A. Our interpretation is that the aff must run a topical plan; B. Standards" is why the aff's plan isn't topical. My voting on either sort of "argument" has historically been quite rare. It's always better for the neg to run T than "framework," and it's usually better for the aff to use theory claims to justify their own creatively abusive practices ("conditional negative fiat justifies intrinsicness permutations, so here are ten intrinsicness permutations") than to "argue" that they're independent voting issues.
1a. That said, I can be merciless toward negatives who choose to advance contradictory conditional "advocacies" in the 1NC should the affirmative choose to call them out. The modern-day tendency to advance a kritik with a categorical link claim together with one or more counterplans which link to the kritik is not one which meets with my approval. There was a time when deliberately double-turning yourself in the 1NC amounted to an automatic loss, but the re-advent of what my late friend Ross Smith would have characterized as "unlimited, illogical conditionality" has unfortunately put an end to this and caused negative win percentages to swell--not because negatives are doing anything intelligent, but because affirmatives aren't calling them out on it. I'll put it this way--I have awarded someone a 30 for going for "contradictory conditional 'advocacies' are illegitimate" in the 2AR.
2. Offensive arguments should have offensive links and impacts. "The 1AC didn't talk about something we think is important, therefore it doesn't solve the root cause of every problem in the world" wouldn't be considered a reason to vote negative if it were presented on the solvency flow, where it belongs, and I fail to understand why you should get extra credit for wasting time developing your partial case defense with less clarity and specificity than an arch-traditional stock issue debater would have. Generic "state bad" links on a negative state action topic are just as bad as straightforward "links" of omission in this respect.
3. Kritik arguments should NOT depend on my importing special understandings of common terms from your authors, with whose viewpoints I am invariably unfamiliar or in disagreement. For example, the OED defines "problematic" as "presenting a problem or difficulty," so while you may think you're presenting round-winning impact analysis when you say "the affirmative is problematic," all I hear is a non-unique observation about how the aff, like everything else in life, involves difficulties of some kind.I am not hostile to critical debates--some of the best debates I've heard involved K on K violence, as it were--but I don't think it's my job to backfill terms of art for you, and I don't think it's fair to your opponents for me to base my decision in these rounds on my understanding of arguments which have been inadequately explained.
3a. I guess we're doing this now...most of the critical literature with which I'm most familiar involves pretty radical anti-statism. You might start by reading "No Treason" and then proceeding to authors like Hayek, Hazlitt, Mises, and Rothbard. I know these are arguments a lot of my colleagues really don't like, but they're internally consistent, so they have that advantage.
3a(1). Section six of "No Treason," the one with which you should really start, is available at the following link: https://oll-resources.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/oll3/store/titles/2194/Spooner_1485_Bk.pdf so get off your cans and read it already. It will greatly help you answer arguments based on, inter alia, "the social contract."
3a(2). If you genuinely think that something at the tournament is making you unsafe, you may talk to me about it and I will see if there is a solution. Far be it from me to try to make you unable to compete.
4. The following solely self-referential "defenses" of your deliberate choice to run an aggressively non-topical affirmative are singularly unpersuasive:
a. "Topicality excludes our aff and that's bad because it excludes our aff." This is not an argument. This is just a definition of "topicality." I won't cross-apply your case and then fill in argumentative gaps for you.
b. "There is no topical version of our aff." This is not an answer. This is a performative concession of the violation.
c. "The topic forces us to defend the state and the state is racist/sexist/imperialist/settler colonial/oppressive toward 'bodies in the debate space.'" I'm quite sure that most of your authors would advocate, at least in the interim, in favor of increased international cooperation in "topically designated areas" at a time when a novel pandemic has made us dependent for the past two and a half years of "two weeks to flatten the curve" on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity in the virtual "debate space" and of which biotechnology offers promising ways out.
d. "Killing debate is good." Leaving aside the incredible "intellectual" arrogance of this statement, what are you doing here if you believe this to be true? You could overtly "kill debate" more effectively were you to withhold your "contributions" and depress participation numbers, which would have the added benefit of sparing us from having to listen to you.
e. "This is just a wrong forum argument." And? There is, in fact, a FORUM expressly designed to allow you to subject your audience to one-sided speeches about any topic under the sun you "feel" important without having to worry about either making an argument or engaging with an opponent. Last I checked, that FORUM was called "oratory." Try it next time.
f. "The topic selection process is unfair/disenfranchises 'bodies in the debate space.'" In what universe is it more fair for you to get to impose a debate topic on your opponents without consulting them in advance than for you to abide by the results of a topic selection process to which all students were invited to contribute and in which all students were invited to vote?
g. "Fairness is bad." Don't tempt me to vote against you for no reason to show you why fairness is, in fact, good.
5. Many of you are genuinely bad at organizing your speeches. Fix that problem by keeping the following in mind:
a. Off-case flows should be clearly labeled the first time they're introduced. It's needlessly difficult to keep track of what you're trying to do when you expect me to invent names for your arguments for you. I know that some hipster kid "at" some "online debate institute" taught you that it was "cool" to introduce arguments in the 1N with nothing more than "next off" to confuse your opponents, but remember that you're also confusing your audience when you do that, and I, unlike your opponents, have the power to deduct speaker points for poor organization if "next off--Biden disadvantage" is too hard for you to spit out. I'm serious about this.
b. Transitions between individual arguments should be audible. It's not that difficult to throw a "next" in there and it keeps you from sounding like this: "...wreck their economies and set the stage for an era of international confrontation that would make the Cold War look like Woodstock extinction Mead 92 what if the global economy stagnates...." The latter, because it fails to distinguish between the preceding card and subsequent tag, is impossible to flow, and it's not my job to look at your speech document to impose organization with which you couldn't be bothered.
c. Your arguments should line up with those of your opponents. "Embedded clash" flows extremely poorly for me. I will not automatically pluck warrants out of your four-minute-long scripted kritik overview and then apply them for you, nor will I try to figure out what, exactly, a fragment like "yes, link" followed by a minute of unintelligible, undifferentiated boilerplate is supposed to answer.
6. I don't mind speed as long as it's clear and purposeful:
a. Many of you don't project your voices enough to compensate for the poor acoustics of the rooms where debates often take place. I'll help you out by yelling "clearer" or "louder" at you no more than twice if I can't make out what you're saying, but after that you're on your own.
b. There are only two legitimate reasons for speed: Presenting more arguments and presenting more argumentative development. Fast delivery should not be used as a crutch for inefficiency. If you're using speed merely to "signpost" by repeating vast swaths of your opponents' speeches or to read repetitive cards tagged "more evidence," I reserve the right to consider persuasive delivery in how I assign points, meaning that you will suffer deductions you otherwise would not have had you merely trimmed the fat and maintained your maximum sustainable rate.
7: I have a notoriously low tolerance for profanity and will not hesitate to severely dock your points for language I couldn't justify to the host school's teachers, parents, or administrators, any of whom might actually overhear you. When in doubt, keep it clean. Don't jeopardize the activity's image any further by failing to control your language when you have ample alternative fora for profane forms of self-expression.
8: For crying out loud, it is not too hard to respect your opponents' preferred pronouns (and "they" is always okay in policy debate because it's presumed that your opponents agree about their arguments), but I will start vocally correcting you if you start engaging in behavior I've determined is meant to be offensive in this context. You don't have to do that to gain some sort of perceived competitive advantage and being that intentionally alienating doesn't gain you any friends.
9. I guess that younger judges engage in more paradigmatic speaker point disclosure than I have in the past, so here are my thoughts:Historically, the arithmetic mean of my speaker points any given season has averaged out to about 27.9. I think that you merit a 27 if you've successfully used all of your speech time without committing round-losing tactical errors, and your points can move up from there by making gutsy strategic decisions, reading creative arguments, and using your best public speaking skills. Of course, your points can decline for, inter alia, wasting time, insulting your opponents, or using offensive language. I've "awarded" a loss-15 for a false allegation of an ethics violation and a loss-18 for a constructive full of seriously inappropriate invective. Don't make me go there...tackle the arguments in front of you head-on and without fear or favor and I can at least guarantee you that I'll evaluate the content you've presented fairly.
NOTES FOR LINCOLN-DOUGLAS!
PREF SHORTCUT: stock ≈ policy > K > framework > Tricks > Theory
I have historically spent much more time judging policy than LD and my specific topic knowledge is generally restricted to arguments I've helped my LD debaters prepare. In the context of most contemporary LD topics, which mostly encourage recycling arguments which have been floating around in policy debate for decades, this shouldn't affect you very much. With more traditionally phrased LD resolutions ("A just society ought to value X over Y"), this might direct your strategy more toward straight impact comparison than traditional V/C debating.
Also, my specific preferences about how _substantive_ argumentation should be conducted are far less set in stone than they would be in a policy debate. I've voted for everything from traditional value/criterion ACs to policy-style ACs with plan texts to fairly outright critical approaches...and, ab initio, I'm fine with more or less any substantive attempt by the negative to engage whatever form the AC takes, subject to the warnings about what constitutes a link outlined above. (Not talking about something is not a link). Engage your opponent's advocacy and engage the topic and you should be okay.
N.B.: All of the above comments apply only to _substantive_ argumentation. See the section on "theory" in in the overview above if you want to understand what I think about those "arguments," and square it. If winning that something your opponent said is "abusive" is a major part of your strategy, you're going to have to make some adjustments if you want to win in front of me. I can't guarantee that I'll fully understand the basis for your theory claims, and I tend to find theory responses with any degree of articulation more persuasive than the claim that your opponent should lose because of some arguably questionable practice, especially if whatever your opponent said was otherwise substantively responsive. I also tend to find "self-help checks abuse" responses issue-dispositive more often than not. That is to say, if there is something you could have done to prevent the impact to the alleged "abuse," and you failed to do it, any resulting "time skew," "strat skew," or adverse impact on your education is your own fault, and I don't think you should be rewarded with a ballot for helping to create the very condition you're complaining about.
I have voted on theory "arguments" unrelated to topicality in Lincoln-Douglas debates precisely zero times. Do you really think you're going to be the first to persuade me to pull the trigger?
Addendum: To quote my colleague Anthony Berryhill, with whom I paneled the final round of the Isidore Newman Round Robin: " "Tricks debate" isn't debate. Deliberate attempts to hide arguments, mislead your opponent, be unethical, lie...etc. to screw your opponent will be received very poorly. If you need tricks and lying to win, either "git' good" (as the gamers say) or prefer a different judge." I say: I would rather hear you go all-in on spark or counterintuitive internal link turns than be subjected to grandstanding about how your opponent "dropped" some "tricky" half-sentence theory or burden spike. If you think top-loading these sorts of "tricks" in lieu of properly developing substance in the first constructive is a good idea, you will be sorely disappointed with your speaker points and you will probably receive a helpful refresher on how I absolutely will not tolerate aggressive post-rounding. Everyone's value to life increases when you fill the room with your intelligence instead of filling it with your trickery.
AND SPECIFIC NOTES FOR PUBLIC FORUM
NB: After the latest timing disaster, in which a public forum round which was supposed to take 40 minutes took over two hours and wasted the valuable time of the panel, I am seriously considering imposing penalties on teams who make "off-time" requests for evidence or needless requests for original articles or who can't locate a piece of evidence requested by their opponents during crossfire. This type of behavior--which completely disregards the timing norms found in every other debate format--is going to kill this activity because no member of the "public" who has other places to be is interested in judging an event where this type of temporal elongation of rounds takes place.
NB: I actually don't know what "we outweigh on scope" is supposed to mean. I've had drilled into my head that there are four elements to impact calculus: timeframe, probability, magnitude, and hierarchy of values. I'd rather hear developed magnitude comparison (is it worse to cause a lot of damage to very few people or very little damage to a lot of people? This comes up most often in debates about agricultural subsidies of all things) than to hear offsetting, poorly warranted claims about "scope."
NB: In addition to my reflections about improper citation practices infra, I think that evidence should have proper tags. It's really difficult to flow you, or even to follow the travel of your constructive, when you have a bunch of two-sentence cards bleeding into each other without any transitions other than "Larry '21," "Jones '21," and "Anderson '21."
NB: The regrettable PF habit of not using explicit taglines for your evidence severely impedes the travel of your speeches. I really would rather hear tag-cite-text than whatever you're doing. Thus: "Further, economic decline causes nuclear war. Mead '92" rather than "Mead '92 furthers...".
1. You should remember that, notwithstanding its pretensions to being for the "public," this is a debate event. Allowing it to degenerate into talking past each other with dueling oratories past the first pro and first con makes it more like a speech event than I would like, and practically forces me to inject my own thoughts on the merits of substantive arguments into my evaluative process. I can't guarantee that you'll like the results of that, so:
2. Ideally, the second pro/second con/summary stage of the debate will be devoted to engaging in substantive clash (per the activity guidelines, whether on the line-by-line or through introduction of competing principles, which one can envision as being somewhat similar to value clash in a traditional LD round if one wants an analogy) and the final foci will be devoted to resolving the substantive clash.
3. Please review the sections on "theory" in the policy and LD philosophies above. I'm not interested in listening to rule-lawyering about how fast your opponents are/whether or not it's "fair"/whether or not it's "public" for them to phrase an argument a certain way. I'm doubly unenthused about listening to theory "debates" where the team advancing the theory claim doesn't understand the basis for it.* These "debates" are painful enough to listen to in policy and LD, but they're even worse to suffer through in PF because there's less speech time during which to resolve them. Unless there's a written rule prohibiting them (e.g., actually advocating specific plan/counterplan texts), I presume that all arguments are theoretically legitimate, and you will be fighting an uphill battle you won't like trying to persuade me otherwise. You're better off sticking to substance (or, better yet, using your opposition's supposedly dubious stance to justify meting out some "abuse" of your own) than getting into a theoretical "debate" you simply won't have enough time to win, especially given my strong presumption against this style of "argumentation."
*I've heard this misunderstanding multiple times from PF debaters who should have known better: "The resolution isn't justified because some policy in the status quo will solve the 'pro' harms" is not, in fact, a counterplan. It's an inherency argument. There is no rule saying the "con" can't redeploy policy stock issues in an appropriately "public" fashion and I know with absolute metaphysical certitude that many of the initial framers of the public forum rules are big fans of this general school of argumentation.
4. If it's in the final focus, it should have been in the summary. I will patrol the second focus for new arguments. If it's in the summary and you want me to consider it in my decision, you'd better mention it in the final focus. It is definitely not my job to draw lines back to arguments for you. Your defense on the case flow is not "sticky," as some of my PF colleagues put it, as far as I'm concerned.
5. While I pay attention to crossfire, I don't flow it. It's not intended to be a period for initiating arguments, so if you want me to consider something that happened in crossfire in my decision, you have to mention it in your side's first subsequent speech.
6. You should cite authors by name. "Harvard," as an institution, doesn't conduct studies of issues that aren't solely internal Harvard matters, so you sound awful when you attribute your study about biometric recognition technology to "Harvard." "According to Professor Crawford of Harvard" (yes, she's a professor at Harvard Law School who's recognized as an expert on this particular issue) doesn't take much longer to say than "according to Harvard," and has the considerable advantage of accuracy.
7. You all need to improve your time management skills and stop proliferating dead time if you'd like rounds to end at a civilized hour.
a. The extent to which PF debaters talk over the buzzer is unfortunate. When the speech time stops, that means that you stop speaking. "Finishing [your] sentence" does not mean going 45 seconds over time, which happens a lot. I will not flow anything you say after my timer goes off.
b. You people really need to streamline your "off-time" evidence exchanges. These are getting ridiculous and seem mostly like excuses for stealing prep time. I recently had to sit through a pre-crossfire set of requests for evidence which lasted for seven minutes. This is simply unacceptable. If you have your laptops with you, why not borrow a round-acceleration tactic from your sister formats and e-mail your speech documents to one another? Even doing this immediately after a speech would be much more efficient than the awkward fumbling around in which you usually engage.
c. This means that you should card evidence properly and not force your opponents to dig around a 25-page document for the section you've just summarized during unnecessary dead time. Your sister debate formats have had the "directly quoting sources" thing nailed dead to rights for decades. Why can't you do the same? Minimally, you should be able to produce the sections of articles you're purporting to summarize immediately when asked.
d. You don't need to negotiate who gets to question first in crossfire. I shouldn't have to waste precious seconds listening to you ask your opponents' permission to ask a question. It's simple to understand that the first-speaking team should always ask, and the second-speaking team always answer, the first question...and after that, you may dialogue.
e. If you're going to insist on giving an "off-time road map," it should take you no more than five seconds and be repeated no more than zero times. This is PF...do you seriously believe we can't keep track of TWO flows?
Was sich überhaupt sagen lässt, lässt sich klar sagen; und wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber muss man schweigen.
18th year in debate. Currently the Director of Debate at SF Roosevelt from South Dakota. Debated 4 years in high school doing traditional LD. Since then I have coached circuit and conservative policy and public forum debate.
Big things - quickly
-Novice: if you aren't prepared for any of the below then don't worry! Just do your thing and welcome to the most educational activity on the planet! Also no matter how unprepared you feel, I didn't know the rebuttal even existed in my first debate! Is this activity hard? Yes. But doing hard things will make everything else in your life easy. All the nerves, preparation, late nights, and beat downs against people whose ACT score blew mine out of the water prepared me for a life where everything was much easier. Stick with it and you'll thank me later! Half of college freshman drop out in their first year, but debaters finish college over 95% of the time - that is no accident!
-Warrants win. Turns win. Weighing wins. Offense wins. Yes I flow.
-Big believer in collapsing in the 2nd rebuttal and 1st summary. Do not go for everything! Your first two speeches add up to 8 minutes and your last speech is 2. How do you expect to go for 8 minutes of argumentation in 2 minutes without sacrificing some serious quality?! Many have tried - all have failed.
-Evidence should be accurately applied throughout the entire debate. It is very annoying when you read 8 minutes of evidence and then never talk about it again. I could have been hanging out with my dogs.
-Quoted evidence is more credible than paraphrased evidence by quite a bit. Paraphrased evidence is more credible than analytics, but only by a little bit.
-I believe the activity is approaching the point where it should be the norm to send all the evidence you read over to your opponent, before your speech, rather than doing this inefficient 1 card at a time nonsense. Whatever you do, please be efficient and it won't be considered prep time.
-If you are at a TOC bid tournament and don't disclose on the wiki then you should consider me a solid 50/50 on voting for disclosure theory.
Small things - rant style
This event should be accessible to all--meaning please keep your rate of delivery in check. No... that does not mean you have to be painfully slow. In fact, you can go fast enough where a typical person would think to themselves "that person is speaking fast." That person, however, should not think to themselves "I can not understand them." 98% of PF debaters are within my expectation here--the 2% should know who you are. Both teams have the right to request their opponent to slow down if they are struggling to keep up. Debate should be for everyone and not just those who can afford debate camp and those who speak English as their first language. If both teams love fast debate, and everyone agrees to it, then let's go all out speed because I enjoy fast debate too (just give me a heads up).
Crossfire is less important to me than most--if something important happens, get it on the flow in your next speech. Grand crossfire is not an opportunity to bring in arguments you didn't get to in the summary. If it wasn't in the summary and the final focus, I probably won't vote on it. Yes, you should frontline in the 2nd rebuttal.
Public Forum time structures are probably not suitable for debating Kritiks with alternatives. However, debating ethics directly related to the topic and arguing it outweighs/should come first is good with me. If you're going the Kritikal route, you should have some fire links to the topic (my threshold is higher on that). Despite having extremely admirable goals and intentions, non-topical K's make this event less accessible and empirically do not make this space more inclusive - otherwise policy numbers would be thriving.
No plan texts or counterplan texts please (Note: a counterplan text is not saying 'another solution is better than the solution being presented by the resolution' -- that's just an argument and you should answer it...)
High threshold on theory. Despite being tech over truth 95+% of the time, I have limited tech expectations on theory since I don't want to punish students who couldn't afford debate camp to learn the technical aspects of theory. If something truly unfair happened in the debate, then go for it by arguing 1) we should have this norm and 2) you violated that norm. To beat theory argue it 1) shouldn't be a norm or 2) you didn't violate the rule or 3) we should have a different norm instead of the one you provided. If you argue theory every debate, I'm not the judge for you. It is a check on unfair debate practices, not a strategy to catch your opponent off guard. I believe I have voted on theory 2 times in the hundreds of rounds I've judged--I have yet to vote on theory in PF.
-Link turns need to win a non-unique to be considered offense. You can win a debate with me by going for just this
-Post-dating is good, but you need a warrant for why the date difference matters
-Going for everything is a bad idea. In a typical debate, 2nd rebuttal and 1st summary should start the collapsing process. I agree with the coaches who call 'making choices' the most important skill in debate.
-I am a judge who sees most arguments in gray - not black and white. I struggle with most decisions and not because I didn't understand your arguments.
Finally, debate can be stressful--if you find yourself in an important debate with me as a judge, it might be a good idea to watch the following video. I may be stressed as well and watching it during prep time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZZkZPcxp_I
Questions? Just ask!
He/him. I debated HS policy for Edina, MN 2016-2019. I'm mostly experienced in policy debate, though I've judged some LD as well.
Currently a math student at UMN.
Put me on the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rounds on the 2020-21 policy topic: 0. Be careful!
A big part of what I like about debate is that (ostensibly), the facts are decided wholly by the round, and nothing else. Tech>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>truth. There are precious few exceptions to this (racism good is not an argument, if you say a slur you lose). If you can't win that you should be allowed to wear shoes, you should take off your shoes.
The facts that can be decided by the round include what the round is about, what the round means, and how the things happening in the round affect other things.
I'm not the fastest flower on the planet (probably actually pretty slow if we're being honest)- slow down a bit more than usual on your eight paragraph theory shell/K overview.
I D E O L O G Y/The K:
Expect very basic familiarity with your lit, and not much more. Make your links specific. Framework can go either way, on both sides, in any context.
I read and went for the cap K, a lot. Other Ks happened, but it was mostly cap. (hint: I actually think capitalism is bad, but I vote on arguments I don't think are true with shocking regularity.)
In framework debates, I tend to find weighing terminal impacts in the round difficult. Make it easier for me if you want to win.
The ballot can almost assuredly do things other than decide who wins one specific round: that's the whole point of having a "competing models of debate" debate. Not an unwinnable argument, but why bother trying?
Theory and T:
If it’s impacted out and extended substantively (and you won the flow), I’m willing to vote on pretty much any theory arg.
In particular, you should !!!go for dropped theory in front of me!!!. Doesn't have to be the whole second rebuttal, but I love debaters who make my life easy, and there's nothing easier than a dropped voter (with an actual warrant that gets read and then extended). If you're confident enough to cede most of your speech time after going for dropped theory, more power (and speaks) to you. Also maybe the 5% chance you instantly lose because you weren't flowing well enough. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Condo’s good in 99% of rounds, but affs also don’t really do a lot of work convincing me it’s bad. I will not begrudge you reading a 15-second condo shell in your 2AC, because I understand its strategic value. It’d be nice if you had an interp.
I love love love T. I hate a lot of T debates. Clash with your opponent’s arguments here! It'll be fun, I promise.
[small rant you can probably ignore] I find a lot of (good) T debates come down to somewhat semantic we meet arguments about the interpretation of words in one team's interpretation. A good team will make this debate explicit, explicitly outline what their sub-interpretation is, and what standards it impacts to. This debate often starts relatively late in the round, and I think it'd be helpful to adopt more LD-style norms in terms of writing interps: I'd like to see more teams defining more words or clarifying phrases that aren't directly related to their violation, because they may become indirectly related to their violation in a way that decides a round. [end rant]
A Thing I Want to Say About People Debating Ethics Stuff in Policy:
Repeating the tag of your Bostrom card in every speech is not a good way to debate extinction first. The same is true for your structural violence/probability first card. Extend warrants and (please please please) actually make some arguments about your opponent's evidence. People are so bad at this in policy and it makes me very sad :(
I think tricks are hilarious, and would love to vote on them. I won't hack for them, probably.
I know more about moral philosophy than the average policy debate person, but that is really not saying much. Phil debate is interesting to me, but I'm not experienced in it. Take that as you will.
Debated 4 years at Dowling HS in Des Moines, Iowa (09-12, Energy, Poverty, Military, Space)
Debated at KU (13-15, Energy, War Powers, Legalization)
Previously Coached: Ast. Coach Shawnee Mission Northwest, Lansing High School.
Currently Coaching: Ast. Coach Washburn Rural High School
UPDATE 10/1: CX is closed and lasts three minutes after constructives. I won't listen to questions or answers outside of those three minutes or made by people that aren't designated for that CX. I think it's a bummer that a lot of CXs get taken over by one person on each team. It doesn't give me the opportunity to evaluate debaters or for debaters to grow in areas where they might struggle. I'm going to start using my rounds to curb that.
Do whatever you need to win rounds. I have arguments that I like / don't like, but I'd rather see you do whatever you do best, than do what I like badly. Have fun. I love this activity, and I hope that everyone in it does as well. Don't be unnecessarily rude, I get that some rudeness happens, but you don't want me to not like you. Last top level note. If you lose my ballot, it's your fault as a debater for not convincing me that you won. Both teams walk into the room with an equal chance to win, and if you disagree with my decision, it's because you didn't do enough to take the debate out of my hands.
Carrot and Stick
Carrot - every correctly identified dropped argument will be rewarded with .1 speaks (max .5 boost)
Stick - every incorrectly identified dropped argument will be punished with -.2 speaks (no max, do not do this)
DAs - please. Impact calc/ turns case stuff great, and I've seen plenty of debates (read *bad debates) where that analysis is dropped by the 1ar. Make sure to answer these args if you're aff.
Impact turns - love these debates. I'll even go so far as to reward these debates with an extra .2 speaker points. By impact turns I mean heg bag to answer heg good, not wipeout. Wipeout will not be rewarded. It will make me sad.
CPs - I ran a lot of the CPs that get a bad rep like consult. I see these as strategically beneficial. I also see them as unfair. The aff will not beat a consult/ condition CP without a perm and/or theory. That's not to say that by extending those the aff autowins, but it's likely the only way to win. I lean neg on most questions of CP competition and legitimacy, but that doesn't mean you can't win things like aff doesn't need to be immediate and unconditional, or that something like international actors are illegit.
Theory - Almost always a reason to reject the arg, not the team. Obviously conditionality is the exception to that rule.
T - Default competing interps. Will vote on potential abuse. Topical version of the aff is good and case lists are must haves. "X" o.w. T args are silly to me.
Ks - dropping k tricks will lose you the debate. I'm fine with Ks, do what you want to. Make sure that what you're running is relevant for that round. If you only run security every round, if you hit a structural violence aff, your security K will not compel me. Make sure to challenge the alternative on the aff. Make sure to have a defense of your epistemology/ontology/reps or that these things aren't important, losing this will usually result in you losing the round.
K affs - a fiat'd aff with critical advantages is obviously fine. A plan text you don't defend: less fine, but still viable. Forget the topic affs are a hard sell in front of me. It can happen, but odds are you're going to want someone else higher up on your sheet. I believe debate is good, not perfect, but getting better. I don't think the debate round is the best place to resolve the issues in the community.
I don't really have a set system. Obviously the carrot and stick above apply. It's mostly based on how well you did technically, with modifications for style and presentation. If you do something that upsets me (you're unnecessarily rude, offensive, do something shady), your points will reflect that.
UPDATED FOR NEW TRIER 2020
Edina High School, MN
Rounds on Topic: Around 20
Debate Experience: 16 Years
Coaching Experience: 10 Years
Judging Experience: 12 years
Masculine or gender neutral pronouns.
Chain? Yes. email@example.com
STUFF FOR DIGITAL DEBATE
Overall I have found these to run smoothly for the most part. Everyone has to be willing to have the speech time stop and possibly give part of/the whole speech over depending on the level of lag or crash. Most tournaments have some tech time built in so don't worry if you drop the call- just patiently sign back in and we can figure it out as a room how to approach finishing your speech. If I can't hear you I will SAY SOMETHING as well as PUT IT IN THE CHAT.
The good news- I do flow and will probably have a very good idea of where I lost my ability to understand you. My internet has been pretty consistent but not perfect- hopefully I won't have many problems on my end but if I do drop out or lag badly PUT SOMETHING IN THE CHAT because I may not be able to hear it. This is also an important reason to pay attention to my video- if my head stops moving completely and I don't blink it probably means my signal cut.
Stylistically some changes are definitely necessary- in particular slowing down and being clear, especially on extremely dense blocks of analytics or wordy tags (some people are recommending a percentage of speed or something- it's really more you want to seek max clarity). Additionally, cross-x is tough when people talk over each other, and tag team cross-x is possible but more difficult. Sadly we may have to revert to some politeness norms of "Excuse me" etc to get our question/answer in and trust me, trying to orient towards a cross-x where I can actually hear what people are explaining makes the debate better for all.
OLD MEAT AND POTATOES PARADIGM- MICHIGAN 2019
I think the value of debate is in its incredible ability to help people learn not only about the world around them but also about themselves. Debate is not only what happens in the debate round, but also all of the attendant things that surround and go into the debates and the performance of the debaters: their work, their thoughts about their arguments, their partnerships, their coaches, personal relationships, stress of school, family life, upbringing, privilege, ethnic or racial identity, orientation etc etc etc. I mention this first and foremost because you should definitely understand that I connect to you in the difficulty of this activity and can appreciate that sometimes debate is so overly stressful, you might make a mistake, might say something wrong, or might be off your game. I will take into account the relative difficulty of the tournament and your place in it in my evaluation of speaks and the round.
Debate judges are not robots or argument calculators: we have feelings just like you. I do not believe that debate is merely a technostrategic forum for the comparison of cold and static policy ideals. Please know that I think beliefs like this are not only harmful, but seriously make me question people's actual grasp of what this activity is and can mean for people. The benefits of debate have been guarded by wealth, race, and heteronormative gender elitism for decades (and I am no exception to this rule- white masculine pronoun using individual here from a relatively privileged background) but I would like to think I can entertain the notion that we can use the space to examine some of the ideas that we have about the world around us and that actually effect us as people rather than pretending that the only importance of a debate is whether or not a policy would be successful. If we can't examine those questions in debate, I am of the opinion that debate can't really change. And it is, and it will, but it's slow and a long road and a hard fight. It's easy to lose hope.
Lest you turn away in anger because you want to just plain read a DA- that's awesome! I still very much enjoy and am compelled by what some call "traditional debate" and judge all sorts of rounds on the national circuit. I like politics DAs, cleverly researched case negatives, and impact turns. All arguments should strive to emphasize evidence quality and internal warrants, and comparison of these are one of the key ways to a ballot and good speaks for me.
I am generally a bit affirmative leaning on theory as many times process based counterplans stretch the definition of what could be called a solvency advocate and actively seek obscure terms on which to condition the plan. I do love PICs however, and think that they can lead to some of the most interesting debating. If it's going to be a theory debate, please slow down a bit- I want to be able to actually flow the reasons I should vote for you. Generally I find I am compelled to vote for the team that not only best explains their impact but also how it relates to the other impacts in the round, whether policy or critical.
I judge a lot of clash of civilization debates as well- just a note for these: a creatively explained TVA is much better than a generic text with little explanation of how it actually "solves the affirmative." I would like you to actually make an effort to interact with the warrants of the affirmative.
Please feel free to ask any questions you have. I'll do my best to accommodate your debating in any way I can. This activity is for the debaters and not the judges, and I will strive to make sure my decision reflects that philosophy. Have fun and good luck!
Head Coach - Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, KS
Email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
First thing is first, if anything in this paradigm isn't clear enough, feel free to ask me before the round, I'd be more than happy to clarify.
NATO topic updates:
Plan vagueness is becoming a problem that is increasingly important on a topic with such poor negative ground. If you want good points, you should be ready to describe what your plan does in cx. If you want great points, you should also let some other things compete with said plan. The negative can win in front of me on a resolutionally based vagueness argument.
If your plan says "one or more of the following" I am more than willing to vote neg on a T argument with an aff conditionality argument.
If you are negative and read T - Article 5, you have not read a definition and thus have not introduced a full topicality argument into the round. Until a definition of NATO is read, I will not vote for the argument even if dropped, because you have not met the burden of proof that NATO is Article 5.
10 minutes of prep is a lot. Debate rounds are very long, especially if I have to keep judging some of them online. At a tournament with 10 minutes of prep, I will boost speaker points by +.1 each if you agree to use 8 minutes of prep, and +.3 each if the teams use 5 minutes of prep.
Tl;dr - I judge quite a bit, about 100 rounds last year, and am generally pretty familiar with the topic from coaching and working at camps. As a competitor I gravitated toward plan oriented affs and CP/DA strategies on the neg and have coached teams who debate similarly, but I am open to you debating however you would like to. I have literature deficiencies in some areas that make me less knowledgeable of certain strategies. I am also a teacher who believes in debate as an educational activity, so I am generally open to listening to you debate in whatever fashion you're the most comfortable.
If you would like to know more specifics, they are below.
Topicality: I feel like topicality is usually a question of competing interpretations, but just like anything else in debate, you can persuade me otherwise. I tend to think that debaters are not great at explaining the terminal impact that they have on T flows, and particularly, how offensive arguments interact with one another. I have seen a lot of 2ARs recently where the aff doesn't extend a terminal impact to their counter interp. I pretty much always vote neg in these situations. All too often the neg will go for a limits DA and the aff will say precision, but no one will discuss which one has more value in creating a stable model for debate. Reasonability alone is not an argument that makes sense to me, absent an offensive argument. Good is good enough is nonsense - if you are close to beating a DA, I'm still going to vote neg on the DA outweighs. If you want to utilize a reasonability argument more persuasively, I would suggest that you frame it almost like sufficiency on the counterplan and have an offensive reason that inclusion of the aff is good. As far as spec debates, I usually find them quite dull. I am very unlikely to vote on a hidden specification argument.
T USfg: I find that T USfg debates to me are usually an issue of fairness. If the neg ultimately tries to win a topic education vs education of the aff argument, they will likely lose. It is probably better to either win that fairness is an independent impact that outweighs education, or win that clash allows you to solve the aff's education offense. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. K affs can gain a lot of leeway with me by being in the direction of the resolution and defending at least some links in the realm of topic literature. I am not a very good judge for affs that have no resolutional basis. If you want to win an affirmative with little to no educational basis, I think the best way to win my ballot is to impact turn topicality/predictability/fairness, and not really defend a counterinterp that is designed to solve any limits. I think that many negative teams defending T against a planless aff are not very ready to defend that debate is good, so challenging this premise is often an easy path to victory in front of me. Regardless, I also think that the aff has a better chance by focusing most of their time on impact turning framework and then using the directionality of the aff toward the topic in order to win some defense against the negs framework claims.
Theory: Most theory debates are people reading blocks back and forth and are totally useless and a recipe for low points. I usually default to rejecting the argument and not the team. Conditionality is an exception to that rule, and one that is pretty winnable in front of me. If you do not mention the topic that I am adjudicating a debate on, and how the division of ground affects the importance of conditionality on that topic, I am likely to assume that you are just reading a backfile and your points will reflect that.
Kritiks: I tend to judge more rounds that are policy v policy or policy v K. That doesn't mean I don't vote on the K, it simply means that I tend to not be as deep in the literature on these debates, and your arguments might require a bit more explanation. The most persuasive version of kritiks in front of me right now either make a large push for an alternative that resolves either some of the aff impacts or a larger impact than the aff, or go for a very large framework push that I should not weigh the aff. I think that good K teams are able to contextualize their argument with the world of the affirmative. If the neg is going to try and go for just framework and a link/ethics argument, I think it is important that they focus a substantial amount of time on the framework debate, and try and have an interpretation of framework that is not completely arbitrary. If you are able to win framework and a unique link then you're probably good without an alt. If you are going to go for an alternative, it is probably important that you explain to me how the alternative functions and how the alt resolves the links to the K and probably portions of the affirmative, otherwise you will be susceptible to losing on the aff outweighs. Be descriptive of how the alt functions. I am intrigued by the idea of philosophical/ideological competition or competing imaginaries or whatever you want to call it. I think that it is likely a model for competition that would make being negative pretty broken, but I also think that aff teams are not very good at debating why this model for competition is bad, and thus it is pretty winnable for the neg to me that they compete in that way and they can fiat their alt with no aff perms.
Disads/Counterplans/Case: These are the types of debate I am most familiar with. I think the case debate is under utilized, and that the education topic in 2017-2018 was the beginning of the end of case debate. I wish that more teams would focus on the internal links to the aff advantages instead of just reading impact defense and hoping that a CP solves with a small risk of a bad DA. I think delay counterplans are cheating. Process CPs might be necessary on some topics, and the negative can convince me that they are competitive, but the aff can also convince me that they are not.
Things I like: Evidence comparison. Debaters who don't read off their computer for the whole debate. Well thought out strategies. Debaters who are funny/having fun. Warranted arguments/smart analytics. Rebuttals that paint a clear picture of what an aff/neg ballot means.
Things I dislike: Bluetooth speakers, must define all terms, running arguments you don't really understand, death good, topicality = genocide, general rudeness, stealing prep time, and clipping cards.
Disclaimer: I love the activity of debate, and think that it is a place where all types of debate styles/debaters should be welcome. If you are excessively rude to the other team (laughing during speeches, being disrespectful in cross-x, etc) I will let you know. If the behavior continues, there is a strong chance that I will vote against you on principle.
I debated for four years at Eisenhower high school. I am now an assistant there and have been for three years. I debated 2012-2016. When I was debating my style depended based on the judge, so I've gone for everything from T to Ks. On the affirmative I mostly ran a K aff that had a plan text.
You can put me on the email chain if you're setting one up: email@example.com
I prefer medium to moderate speed and any slower. Not rapid. Please and thank you :)
I'm fine with most arguments. Here are some specifics.
T- I don't think that the aff has to be untopical to lose T. I think that if the neg has a reasonable interp and is better on the flow (and goes for T for 5 minutes in the 2nr) then, the aff can still be topical and lose on T. AKA please read T every round.
FW vs a K Aff - Will defer aff most of the time. If the neg says "policy good" read me a policy DA or CP against the aff to access any education impacts derived from policy debate.
I debated at Missouri State for three years and had moderate success. I am now a graduate student studying communication.
I slightly prefer policy arguments more than critical ones. I want to refrain from intervening in the debate as much as possible. Extinction is probably bad. I think debate is good and has had a positive impact on my life. Both teams worked hard and deserve to be respected.
-Aff needs a clear internal link to the impact. Teams often focus too much time on impacts and not enough on the link story, this is where you should start.
-I like impact turns that don't deviate from norms of morality.
-Condo is good.
-Fairness is not an impact within itself but could be an internal link to something.
-Kritiks are interesting. Explain your stuff.
-Weighing impacts, evidence comparison, strategic decisions, and judge instruction can go a long way.
-Any argument that disproportionately targets minority populations will result in an automatic loss, conclusion of the debate, and a reporting to tabroom as well as your coaches.
Policy Paradigm (LD at bottom)
Currently head coach of Whitefish Bay High School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin since September 2022
Graduated HS in 2014, policy debater from 2010-2014 (2N/1A) with some national circuit outround/bid round experience.
Assistant coached LD and Policy at:
Central Valley HS (Spokane, WA 2014-2016)
Capitol HS (Boise, ID 2016-2017)
Former co-head coach at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin (2017-2020)
--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.
--For the love, please time yourselves.
--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:
--Heavy K debates
--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 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.
Very few 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!! :)
I debated Policy for two years at Millard South.
I mostly judge Policy with increasing amounts of LD.
I am an assistant Policy coach for Millard South.
Pronouns: He/ Him or They/Them
Email Chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm open to listen and to vote for almost any argument as long as it is argued well. I also need to be told why your argument matters if it's not a traditional policy arguments. I'm fine with arguments that talk about large impacts or those that effect our debate community, but again i have to be told why it matters. Clash is very important because it means both teams are thinking critically and it makes my job easier when it comes time to vote. I will not time speeches or prep time, mostly because I forget to start the timer and then look like a fool. Also don't be afraid to ask questions either before or after round. I probably will not catch your authors names so saying extend XYZ '15 card doesn't tell me much. Extend your cards but give me a brief analysis so I can flow it correctly.
Coming from Policy i'm fine with speed but make sure you are clear else risk having arguments be dropped if I cant understand what is being said.
Value / Criterion
This is the toughest part for me judging LD as it's not something I thought about in Policy. I need to be told why your value or criterion is better or why your opponents is worse, just re-reading what your criterion is won't help anyone. If you can argue that your contentions can fit with your opponents criterion even better.
Contention / Impact
I'll definitely look at impact analysis as the heaviest factor when deciding on how to vote, I want probability, magnitude, and time frame. I also want a clear story on how we get from the resolution to your impacts with well defined internal links.
Theory arguments can be fun but they have to be specific to what is occurring in round. If i just hear a rehashing of the blocks and not an explanation of what happened in the round and why it matters im not likely to vote on it.
I think PIC's can be fun and creative. I enjoy kritiks but you better do a good job explaining how the alt functions. If it's a "high theory" argument there better be a lot of work done, don't expect me to be an expert on your author. Even though I am open to most arguments if you read "genocide good" , "oppression not real" et cetera I might vote you down then and there.
Debate for me were some of the best times I had and it should be for you too. Have fun, learn something new, and be respectful.
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.
--Quality of Evidence Counts. Massive disparities warrant intervention on my part.
--Not great with theory debates.
--I value Research and Strategic Thinking (both in round and prep) as paramount impacts when evaluating procedural impacts.
--Utter disdain for trolly Theory args, Death Good, Wipeout and Spark. Respect the game, win classy.
Advantage vs Disadvantage
More often than not, I tend to gravitate towards the team that wins probability. The more coherent and plausible the internal link chain is, the better.
I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read.
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.
I love nuanced defense and case turns. Conversely, I love link and impact turns. Please run lots of them.
I am largely okay with a fair amount of condo. i.e. 4-5 not a big deal for me. I will become sympathetic to Aff Theory ONLY if the Neg starts kicking straight turned arguments. On the other hand, if you go for Condo Bad and can't answer Strat Skew Inevitable, Idea Testing Good and Hard Debate is Good Debate then don't go for Condo Bad. I have voted Aff on Conditionality Theory, but rarely.
1. I have grown weary of vague plan writing. To that end, I tend think that the Neg need only win that the CP is functionally competitive. The Plan is about advocacy and cannot be a moving target.
2. Perm do the CP? Intrinsic Perms? I am flexible to Neg if they have a solvency advocate or the Aff is new. Otherwise, I lean Aff.
PIC’s and Agent CP’s are part of our game. I err Neg on theory. Ditto 50 State Fiat.
No object Fiat, please. Or International Fiat on a Domestic Topic.
International Fiat is a gray area for me. The Neg needs a good Interp that excludes abusive versions.
Solvency advocates and New Affs make me lean Neg on theory.
I will judge kick automatically unless given a decent reason why not in the 1AR.
If you lean on K Affs, just do yourself a favor and put me low or strike me. I am not unsympathetic to your argument per se, I just vote on Framework 60-70% of the time and it rarely has anything to do with your Aff.
That said, if you can effectively impact turn Framework, beat back a TVA and Switch Side Debate, you can get my ballot.
Topic relevance is important.
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 am prone to voting Aff on Perms, so be advised College Debaters. I have no take on "philosophical competition" but it does seem like a thing.
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. In very few instances have I found it defensible.
Limits and Fairness are not in and of themselves an impact. Take it to the next level.
Why I vote Aff a lot:
--Bad/Incoherent link mechanics on DA’s
--Perm do the CP
--CP Solvency Deficits
--Framework/Scholarship is defensible
--T can be won defensively
Why I vote Neg a lot:
--Condo is lame
--Weakness of aff internal links/solvency
--Offense that turns the case
--You actually had a strategy
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.
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.
C.E. Byrd HS class of 2014, Debated at Baylor University 2014-2016, University of Iowa 2017-2019
Currently coaching Glenbrook South and the University of Iowa
Have also coached: Caddo Magnet (LA), Hendrickson (TX), Midway (TX), Little Rock Central (AR)
email chain - yes - email@example.com
For online debates I judge with my camera on during everything besides prep. If my camera is off, don't start your speech/please confirm that I'm there. I do not care if you debate with your camera on or off, you don't need to let me know if there's a reason you don't want/can't have your camera on.
Please keep track of your own speech/prep/cx/tech time. If you want me to keep time also that's fine, but you need to ask me because I never do it on my own. Please don't start prepping and then look up and say "did anyone start a timer?" You should start the timer, it's your prep! This has become terrible in online debate.
Treat each other with respect. You don’t have to be best friends with your opponents, you can show you vehemently disagree with their arguments while maintaining a level of mutual respect as competitors.
Clarity > Speed
Having Email Chain set up before round is supposed to start > being late sending the 1ac
Reading arguments you are best at going for > Reading arguments that you think will "like"
2NR that makes strategic decisions > 2NR that goes for everything
Using CX to ask a diversity of questions > asking the same question over and over
Starting last rebuttal out by explaining why your position outweighs and turns theirs > random overview
Simple well impacted arguments > trying to use as much complex jargon as you can
Having a reason your thing is competitive > no perms in a method debate
Framework 2NR that uses their impact to turn different parts of the aff > framework 2nr that doesn't engage the case
Deciding the debate based on arguments made in round > deciding a debate about things outside the debate for which I was not present
Taking two lines from Khalid Shareef's paradigm that I profoundly agree with:
"1.Clarity of thought is paramount. I often find myself voting for teams that can make complex arguments sound like common sense.
2. Good evidence is secondary to what a debater does with it. I really appreciate evidence interrogation in speeches and cross-examination. I don't like reading cards after the debate, please put the important spin and quotations of the card "on the flow."
K on K debates when done well are the best debates to watch. When done poorly, easily the worst debates to have to watch. Take that however you will.
Being creative with topical versions of the aff and read-it-On-the-neg arguments on framework will get you a lot further in the debate than saying “you could read your K and defend a plan text”. That requires actually applying these things to the aff.
When answering framework, having a clear counter interpretation will help me filter your offense and defense. Not saying you have to redefine words in the resolution, but having an argument about what debate should look like is important.
Re: Inserting evidence/Rehighlightings: It's my personal belief that you should probably have to read the card not just insert it, but like everything else I think it's up for debate. If you object to someone inserting evidence rather than reading it, you have to have impacts/reasons why it's bad. If you want to defend that it's good that's fine, you just have to debate out that it's a good practice.
2018 Update: (Immigration): Saying an argument is conceded is not the same thing as extending a full argument. Additionally, asserting that arguments have been conceded when that is not the case is not persuasive. It shows that you either aren’t flowing or that you’re just missing arguments that your opponent is making.
Go slower when reading really long counter-plan texts if you want me to get it
I know most of the people who read these aren't looking to learn every thought I have about debate, most of you are reading this quickly before a debate or while doing prefs, so I'll keep this short.
Thesis: Say whatever you want in front of me. I think debate should be about the debaters. Don't debate differently in front of me, just do what you're best at. Of course I have biases that influence the way I evaluate debates, everyone does. But when judging, I will attempt to be objective and evaluate the round based on the arguments presented by both sides. Read a politics DA, an aff without a plan, topicality/framework, a large structural criticism, I don't care. If you debate it well, I will evaluate it as such. If you debate it poorly, I will evaluate it as such.
That said, here are some things I think:
Theory: I like most people would rather hear a debate about substance in most instances but also think theory is underutilized and that people aren't often great at answering it or going for it. I don't want to hear frivolous theory arguments but am fine with listening to things like condo, 50 state fiat, etc. I don't default one way or another, if you are going for theory you obviously have to impact out why it's a reason to reject the team.
Clipping: If sufficient proof is presented to me that someone is intentionally clipping in a debate I will promptly vote against the offender and the lowest points the tournament permits.
Speed: it's good unless argued otherwise. Be clear. I would like to hear the warrants in your evidence as they're presented. I'm not saying I need to be able to repeat you word for word, but if all I hear is a tag and cite and can't decipher the internals of a piece of evidence, I'll say clear. I will say clear up to three times to any given debater. If the problem persists I will just simply not be able to understand your arguments, and you will probably lose and not have very good speaker points. This activity is based on persuasion, and it's hard for me to be persuaded if I can't figure out what you're saying.
Benjamin Hamburger 10/2022
Sure, you can add me to an email chain. benjamin dot hamburger at gmail. So you know, I probably will NOT follow along on your speech doc, though.
For Wisconsin legal purposes, you should consider me tabula rasa. don't make me talk about it too much though because there's no such thing as that.
Information about me:
*I have judged and coached in what would be considered "national-circuit" style Midwestern high school debate since about 1998 as a card-cutting coach, as the primary policy coach, as a head coach, and now as a head coach at Central High School in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I am also a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the History Department. I am now getting old in debate terms--42 at the time of writing--which means I have old ideas and am grumpy about certain things.
*A Debate History:
1993-1998 Policy debater at Hastings High School, Hastings, NE
1998-1999 Judge/minor card cutter, Hastings Senior High School
1999-2005 Assistant Coach for Policy Debate at Fremont High School, Fremont, NE
2005-2007 Director of Forensics, Iowa City High School, Iowa City, IA
2007-2016 Assistant Varsity Coach, Cedar Rapids Washington High School, Cedar Rapids, IA
2016-Present Director of Debate, La Crosse Central High School, La Crosse, WI
*Academic Info that Might Be Relevant:
B.A. in Political Science (emphases in international relations and political theory) and History, a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education and History from the University of Iowa.
Argument choice issues:
*Choose your arguments. I try to avoid evaluating rounds based on what I like to hear. Even if I don’t like your argument, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it, etc. My self-estimation is that I am fairly even on the K vs. Policy question. I believe that both are very interesting and useful styles of debate. Most of the time framework debates aren’t particularly productive, the aff will win that they get to weigh the case, the neg will win that they get some form of an alternative, etc. (hint: if you are serious about winning framework, don’t waste your time on the rest of the debate—prove that you’re serious about it and go for it.)
*One of the areas I am slightly old school. Left to my own devices, I am more likely than many judges to evaluate the risk of a disad as zero if there is a step which has been substantially defeated. I do not particularly prefer offense-defense paradigms, it is my feeling that it is necessary to win your arguments to get a DA. Similarly, I think you need to win a link to generate offense, so without justification I do not default to a uniqueness-focused decision-making process. In spite of these warnings, a justified argument can change those decision-making processes. Generally, though, a good politics debate with developed turns-case analysis is a thing of beauty. Quality of evidence comparison/warrants will always beat number of cards.
*I have increasingly found myself somewhat lost in fast debates about security policy which include multiple interacting internal links--not because I am incapable of understanding them, but because I am not as familiar with these arguments as you all are. On occasion debaters need to slow down and explain some arguments.
*My favorite negative strategies are about criticisms that isolate and condemn social injustice or reveal power relations and debate epistemology smartly. I have no problem with generic criticisms like security and the cap k, but to win them or to get decent points requires specific discussion of the 1ac—isolating the links and their implications for evaluating the aff is what makes it awesome. Affs lose lots of K debates largely because they pile up cards rather than planning what the 2ar endgame looks like. Often affs are better served defending their own assumptions than reading argument-specific cards that are not part of a specific strategy. To wit, affs regularly go for permutations or no link arguments when they claim an advantage which impact turns the k while conceding a utopian alternative. Because I am a sucker for well-developed analysis about epistemology/ontology, I don't think as a rule the 2nr needs to go for external case defense, at least if you can give examples of how aff authors have specific problems or biases. Wisconsin teams have proven to think that mindless tech can win you a permutation, this is not generally true--most neg args against one permutation work against all of them.
*I consider myself generally well-read on critical arguments, but that reading maybe stopped being so robust in like 2007 or 2008, and so I'm not as up-to-date on the more recent turns in that literature. I can observe some additional relevant tendencies: I often find myself frustrated in rounds that involve a lot of psychoanalytic arguments (I get the cap bad part of Zizek. That may be about it). I dislike the Nietzsche alternative viscerally. In each of these cases, if this is your only game, I am probably not a good judge for you. I will also explicitly note some critical arguments with which I am well acquainted: I’m fairly well read in Foucault, Heidegger, lots of feminisms, critical international relations business, cap bad, etc. Lots of experience now with Afro-pessimism, Orientalism, at least some entré into queer theory args. I still need someone to convince me that Bataille and Baudrilliard are more smart than confusing.
*I’m probably a decent judge for a T debate. Most of the theoretical issues are up in the air—competing interpretations vs. abuse as a standard, etc. If you concede a competing interpretations arg, though, be aware that you’ll need offense on your interp.
*I can enjoy a good theory debate, but if you actually want to win it you probably need to convince me early on in a debate that you are going to do something other than just read your block at full speed. i have a natural dislike towards theory debates that i see as unnecessary. I'm not the ideal judge if you *plan* on going for theory a lot, but again, i try to evaluate those debates fairly. I will note that I do not have a neg side bias when it comes to counterplan debates--be it issues of conditionality, fiat, or competition issues. Some people see that fact in and of itself as an aff side bias on those theoretical issues, but what it means is that i am more than willing to vote aff because a counterplan is cheating, if you win that debate.
*I have found that I am getting older and more dinosaur-like on counterplan theory: I think I have an aff bias on these issues: multiple counterplans, consult counterplans, and conditionality.
*Non-traditional affs: it seems that I am going to judge my share of clash-of-civs rounds, which is fine. I generally think that negative teams do not work hard enough to generate smart arguments against non-traditional affs, so I start with a slight lean against framework arguments, but a sophisticated execution of those debates are often successful. I will also say that aff teams that make efforts to meet some standard of topicality also will find me more forgiving than teams that do not; I think negs do deserve some degree of a starting point.
*I believe my job as a critic is to evaluate a debate as it occurred, rather than retroactively applying my standards of what debate should look like to your round. I try as hard as I can to stay to this standard, but some intervention is inevitable. Read below in the “self-observed biases” section. I try to remain agnostic about the various frameworks for evaluating debates, so that means that if there is a difference in the round as to how I should evaluate it, you should propose your framework explicitly and defend it. My presumption is that debate should be an educational activity, and it would be hard to shake me of that idea, as I am an educator by trade. However, I am open to debates about what kinds of education debate should bring, and how it does so.
*My decisions are nearly always decided by a close review of the 1AR, 2NR, and 2AR, with references to the negative block as necessary. I am not, however, a perfect flow, and you should be aware of that and flag important arguments as such. I believe a part of persuasion is correct emphasis.
*It is fairly uncommon for me to read evidence after a debate--use the evidence yourself, refer to warrants, etc. If you think you have good evidence, you need to show it off. The "in" thing to say is that I reward a team for good research, but the most important part of good research is understanding why your evidence is good, and exercising your ability to explain and use the evidence. I do not plan to do evidence comparison for anyone.
*As regards "offense/defense" distinctions: I understand the importance of offense, but I do not discount the art of defensive argumentation. The fact that the other team does not have a turn does not mean you are winning. I have probably evaluated the risk of a disad or other impact as zero (or close enough to not matter) more than the average judge.
*I generally speaking will not seriously consider any independent issue that is not in your final rebuttal for at least 2 minutes--I do not reward a refusal to put all eggs in one basket. This is particularly true for theory arguments. If you feel that a theoretical issue is strong enough to justify a vote, plan to spend the better part of your final rebuttal on it, or don't expect my ballot on it.
In Round Decorum:
*Not much here--but I absolutely cannot stand when debaters talk audibly during an opponent's speech. Increasingly it is hard for me to follow what a fast speaker is saying anyhow--when you're talking too, I am liable to get angry at you.
*I think most of the time you will tend to get better speaker points if you stand up when you speak. Also, pay attention to where your opponent is and where you are when you cross-ex--it is a speech. Cross-ex's where all the debaters are sitting across the room from one another and staring at their computers is not a good persuasive strategy.
*I will also likely get grumpy at you about your paperless crap, especially when it makes a debate round last 20 minutes longer than it should. Don't worry about that too much. Unless it gets out of hand. If you don't know the difference, watch me, and you'll be able to tell.
wayzata '19 (4 years of policy, 10 career bids)
dartmouth '23 (debating!)
email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
- i'll try to default to the debating over my predispositions
- please be nice to your partner and the other team - reading arguments that you think are ~morally superior~ does not give you the right to be mean
- having a debate > having a discussion/anything that isn't debate
- big supporter of small schools & independent entries!! hmu for advice if you need it
- i tend to think affs should read a plan (but again, debating>my opinion)
- fairness can be an impact; i'm also super open to clash/topic education/dogmatism
- tva isn't always necessary if u explain why there isn't one
- the aff should try to defend a reasonable interpretation instead of impact turning t
- i'm also a fan of the cap k, but beyond that I'm not super familiar with other Ks of K affs
ks on the neg
- i have not read very much k lit
- the k needs to disagree with a fundamental component of the aff (i.e. the aff does not make sense without this worldview being true and that worldview is bad, OR the aff results in bad consequences)
- i believe debate is good. i find arguments indicting the activity unpersuasive. i would prefer if you didn't say fiat is illusory, preempts bad, research bad, etc.
topicality (v. policy affs)
- i really really enjoy t debates!
- will default to competing interpretations if equally debated
- predictability & precision are more important than limits for the sake of limits
- hiding 5 seconds of ASPEC in your t shell is annoying
- don't waste your time in the 1NC reading solvency advocate theory, new affs bad, or vagueness -- if it's really that vague, consider making a solvency argument?
- process counterplans are bad unless they're specific to the topic
- slightly prefer arguments about competition but i can also be persuaded by theory
- conditionality is usually good, but if you have nothing else to say then feel free to say its bad
- the aff should specify what normal means is in 1AC CX if asked (i.e. the agent & the mechanism), but this doesn't automatically guarantee counterplan competition because that's a question of how the aff could be done
- willing to listen to spark, death good, malthus, etc. as long as it isn't offensive and everyone else in the room is ok with it (don't take this as encouragement to go for those arguments - my point is that idc about content)
- equally down for big stick affs and soft left affs (would prefer if your framing contention had some aff-specific evidence though)
- people always say "case debate!!1!!!!1!" but i think i'm indifferent as long as you debate well; you could drop case in the 2nc if you were doing really well on the counterplan and i wouldn't even be mad
- a few well-explained warrants > an excessive quantity of blippy subpoints
- don't feel obligated to use all of your prep/speech time - if your opponent drops something or if you can win with a 3 minute final rebuttal, do it! promise it won't hurt your speaker points
feel free to email me or ask questions before the round if something in this paradigm isn't clear!
I cannot seem to get my paradigm to format properly on Tabroom, so the brief rundown if below, but here's the full break down for LD and Policy: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KwX4hdsnKCzHLYa5dMR_0IoJAkq4SKgy-N-Yud6o8iY/edit?usp=sharing
I don't care what you call me as long as you don't call me broke (jk, I am a teacher so you can also call me that ig)
Email chain: Yes, I do want to be on the email chain (saves time): learnthenouns[at]the-google-owned-one.
Bio (not sure anyone reads these but whatever): I have competed in or coached almost everything and I am currently the head coach at Lincoln East. I’ve spent over half my life in this activity (15 years coaching, 7 years competing). My goal is to be the best judge possible for every debater. As such, please read my feedback as me being invested in your success. Also, if you have any questions at all I would rather you ask them than be confused, so using post-round questions as a chance to clarify your confusion is encouraged (just don't be a jerk please).
Overview for all events
Debate is both educational and a game. I believe the education comes from ideas engaging with one another and students finding their voice. The "game" element functions as a test of your effectiveness in presenting and defending your personal beliefs and advocacies. Thus, I consider myself a games player as it is a necessary component of the educational experience.
A major exception: I will not listen to you promote any kind of advocacy that says oppression good or structural violence denial (ie claiming anti-white racism is real). They are an auto-ballot against you regardless of whether your opponent points it out or not.
I flow tags and internal warrants. I only flow author names if there’s nothing else to write down, so don't just rely on 'surname extensions' with zero warranting to get you through the round. I am more interested in the content of your arguments than the names of the person that you are citing.
On that note, I want the speech doc so that I can check evidence, but I will almost never flow from it during your speech.
Speed is fine in everything except congress. I watch NDT rounds for fun, so I can handle it. But I do expect clarity in all events. I will yell "clear" once or twice if you're mumbling, and after that I reduce speaks. Also, slow it down a bit when online, especially if you have a bad mic.
K debate (pomo or ID tix): 10 out of 10
Performance: 10 out of 10
LARP/plan-focus: 9 out of 10
Phil (aka trad): 7 out of 10
Tricks: 0 out of 10
These are just preferences though. I have and will vote for anything (even tricks, unfortunately, but my threshold is extremely high)
Speed (for context, conversational is like a 3 or 4 out of 10)
Speed in person: 9/10
Speed online: 6 or 7/10 (depends on mic quality)
How I resolve debates if you do not tell me otherwise:
**Note: this is all assuming that no other debate happens to establish specific burdens or about the importance of any particular level of the debate. In other words, I am willing to rearrange the order I evaluate things in if you win that I should.
-First, the role of the ballot, the role of the judge, and the burdens of each side are up for debate in front of me (and I actually enjoy hearing these debates). I tend to believe that these are a priori considerations (though that is up for debate as well) and thus are my first consideration when evaluating the round.
- Next, I will resolve any procedurals (i.e. topicality, theory shells, etc) that have been raised. I will typically give greater weight to in-depth, comparative analysis and well-developed arguments rather than tagline extensions/shells. If you're going to run one of these, it needs to actually be an argument, not just a sentence or two thrown in at the end of your case (again, no "tricks").
-Absent a ROTB/ROJ or procedural debate I look first to the value/crit/standard, so you should either A) clearly delineate a bright-line and reason to prefer your framework over your opponent's (not just the obnoxious 'mine comes first' debate please) or B) clearly show how your case/impacts/advocacy achieves your opponent's framework better (or both if you want to make me really happy….)
-After framework (or in the absence of a clear way to evaluate the FW) I finally look to impacts. Clear impact analysis and weighing will always get preference over blippy extensions (you might be sensing a theme here).
CS student @ Northwestern.
I was a 2A at New Trier High School for four years (Class of 2019) - was somewhat competitive during those years.
I don't know much about the topic - don't assume I know the in-and-outs of some topic-specific acronym, disadvantage, etc.
Otherwise, if you want to know more about me and my judging philosophy, check out Jack Altman's. His philosophy sums up my argument preferences and general likes/dislikes about debate.
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
Pronouns They/Them or She/Her
Northside CP Class of 2018
University of Michigan Class of 2021
Currently Grad School @ University College London, doing a dissertation on queer geopolitics
Assistant Coach at Niles North (2020-2022)
-> Now a Remote Coach (2022-)
If I am judging you it means it is online and I am judging you from the United Kingdom. If it is past 10 P.M. where I am (I'm 5 hours ahead of EST - do the math), I'd prefer it if you debate at a slower speed.
I've judged multiple hundreds of high school debates at this point, in literally every medium, so I don't give any care about what style of debate you prefer. Just make creative, unique, and captivating arguments and defend those arguments well.
I vote for framework quite a lot. It would be neat to do something creative with it and/or actually describe to me what your model of debate tangibly looks like outside of 'our model = fairness = inherent good'. Fairness to what end? What kind of scholarship does your model produce? What does it prioritize? What does it exclude? What community effect does it have? What skills do debaters gain that they can't gain elsewhere? Framework teams I've judged have hid behind these questions just to say "rules be rules, stop being unfair", which is only an argument if you win your ruleset has value in the first place.
It is also impossible to make me believe that debate does not shape individual subjectivity. It absolutely does. Anyone who genuinely believes otherwise needs to seriously look inwards on themselves and the rest of the community.
I also think debate is simultaneously a great activity and a very dangerous one as well - debate trains you to be a better reader/writer/researcher, it enables you to critically think about two sides of any argument, it allows students to make extremely valuable friendships, and its community can provide an insulated support system which can be an important safe haven for certain individuals. On the other side of things, I also believe and have witnessed the hypercompetitive nature of debate produce quite toxic and problematic personal characteristics in debaters as well, which has devastating mental health effects across the community. In framework debates, its both teams' job to convince me that your model of debate actively produces better/worse forms of these givens and/or other good/bad things outside of these givens. You can also try and convince me that some of these givens are more or less important than others, but you cannot convince me any of these givens are untrue.
Debate like people...please:
I think that debate is first and foremost a performative activity. I am increasingly frustrated by the ways in which online debate has produced a lot of ethos-less debate drones. Obviously I evaluate technical concessions and line by line, but the way in which I evaluate those speeches is filtered through the quality of your speech performance. What this means in a practical sense is, for example, if you're making an argument and sound like you have no idea if what you're saying is actually correct, or you are unable to hold the warrants up in cross-ex, I'm unlikely to vote for that argument, even if I could possibly justify it as a concession on the flow. Additionally, a convincing well-warranted analytic can beat pretty much any card, good and smart off-the-cuff rebuttals will usually beat out blocked out analytics.
Please read this:
Debate isn't life or death. Take breaks often, breathe, and relax. This activity can and will break you if you don't care for your mental health and wellbeing. If you're reading this doing prefs the night before the tournament or something, go do something nice for yourself that isn't debate.
Old Paradigm (use to determine your prefs at your own risk): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lL8SwemB064RuWAg6HB_aJzitSJaE8U7GDib6NxW2l0/edit?usp=sharing
Lane Tech - 2012 - 2013
Iowa City High - 2013 - 2016
University of Northern Iowa - 2016 - 2017
Emporia State 2018 - 2021
Berkeley Prep - 2021 -
-email chain -
-Recently retired k-leaning flex debater/resident performative stunt queen for Berkeley Prep Debate
-would much rather judge a really good policy v policy round than a poorly executed k round - BUT - would ultimately prefer to judge a k v k round where both sides have competing and creative strategies that they are both a) deeply invested in and b) have interesting interpretations of. Those are the rounds I always had the most fun in, but to be clear, I have also realized over the years that a policy v policy round has the potential for just as much, if not more and have no problem judging these debates.
-the team executing whatever argument they are most comfortable with at the highest level they can, will always in my eyes have an easier time getting my ballot/receiving higher speaks which means that the the speeches I want to see are those that you are enthused about giving and ultimately, I want you to be excited to be able to do whatever it is that you are best at.
-went for everything from big stick warming affs to f*** debate performance 1AC's, to Black/Native Studies like Warren, Wilderson, Moten, King, Gumbs and Hartman to Queer theory like Butler, Edelman and Trans-Rage to High theory like Nietzsche, Baudy and OOO as well as Procedurals like T/FW/A- and I-Spec, Disads/Case turns like to deterrence, politics and SPARK and of course, multiple different flavors of counterplans. so regardless of what it is you go for I'm down - just don't take this as an excuse to not use judge instruction/concise explanations that makes sense - even if I was a Nietzsche one - trick in high school that doesn't mean I'm going to do the nihilism work for you. All this is to say is that whoever you may be, you should feel comfortable that I have in some way or another had a certain level of experience with your literature base.
Due to recent events its been suggested to me that I add a layer to my philosophy I wasn't sure was necessary, but in an effort to help protect future debaters/debate rounds, as well as myself/fellow judges, here is what I will say -
While I do empathize with the competitive nature of this activity, it should go without saying that if there is violence of any kind, whether that be intentional or not, my role as an educator in this community is to intervene if that situation deems my involvement to be necessary and I want to make it very clear that I have no qualms in doing so. Its important to recognize when we have to put the game aside and understand as a community that we have a responsibility to learn from situations like those and to be better as we move forward. SO just for the sake of clarity, I do not have a desire to stop rounds, in fact - quite the opposite. However, my role as a judge (one that I would hope others embody when judging my own students) is one that adjudicates the round in the most equitable means possible AS WELL AS one that ensures the safety of, to the best of my capacity, each debate round and all of its participants/observers.
Also - Sometimes, and not always, but in the same fashion as countless other judges, I can, at times, be a very reactive/nonverbal judge. Understanding that those kinds of things are a) an inevitable part of this activity b) not always caused by something you did and c) can be incredibly critical in your in round-decision making is crucial and is a fundamental skill that I believe to be vastly important in succeeding within this activity. HOWEVER, that means that whether or not you choose to modify what you are doing based off how I am reacting is, at the end of the day, your decision and your decision alone - recognizing when to do so/when not to is a core facet of competing.
Strike me if you don't like it.
specific feels about certain things:
- have aff specific link explanations regardless of offcase position - that doesnt mean that every card has to be specific to the aff but your explanation of the link should be as specific to the 1AC as you can make possible - extra speaker points to those who can successfully pull lines
- hot take: after all this time in online debate, I will in fact "verbally interject if unable to hear" regardless of whether you make that clear to me before you begin your speech - so as a personal preference don't feel obligated to say that anymore. Id rather you just give me an order and start after getting some signal (verbal or visual) that we're all ready. as an incentive to help try and stop this practice, expect a lil boost in points.
- that being said, "as specific to the 1AC" means you could have a really good link to aff's mechanism. or you could have a great state link. or a link to their impacts. etc. it doesnt matter to me what the link is as long as it is well developed and made specific to what the 1AC is. I dont want to hear the same generic state link as much as the next person but if you make it creative and you use the aff than I dont see a problem.
- affirmatives could be about the topic, or they could not be, its up to you as long as whatever you choose to do you can defend and explain. If you're not about the topic and its a framework debate, I need to know what your model of debate is or why you shouldnt need to defend one etc. if youre reading a performance aff, the performance is just as important if not more than the evidence you are reading - so dont forget to extend the performance throughout the debate and use it to answer the other teams arguments.
- whether its one off or 8 please be aware of the contradictions you will be making in the 1NC and be prepared to defend them or have some sort of plan if called out.
- on that note theory debates are fine and could be fun. im not that opposed to voting on theory arguments of all varieties as long as you spend a sufficient amount of time in the rebuttals to warrant me voting on them. most of the time thats a substantial amount if not the entirety of one or more of your rebuttals.
- perm debates are weird and i dont feel great voting for "do both" without at least an explanation of how that works. "you dont get a perm in method debates" feels wrong mostly because like these are all made up debate things anyways and permutations are good ways to test the competitiveness of ks/cps/cas. that being said, if you have a good justification for why the aff shouldnt get one and they do an insufficient job of answering it, i will obviously vote on "no perms in method debates"
- dropped arguments are probably true arguments, but there are always ways to recover, however, not every argument made in a debate is an actual argument and being able to identify what is and isn't will boost your speaker points
how these are determined is inherently arbitrary across the board and let's not pretend I have some kind of rubric for you that perfectly outlines the difference between a 28.5 and a 28.6, or a 29.3 and a 29.4, or that my 29.3 will be the same as some other judges.
I do however think about speaks in terms of a competitive ladder, with sections that require certain innate skills which ended up being fairly consistent with other judges, if not slightly on the higher side of things. Hopefully, this section will more so help give you an idea of how you can improve your speeches for the next time you have me in the back.
-26s: these are few and far between, but if are to get one of these, we've probably already talked about what happened after the round. The key here is probably don't do whatever is that you did, and is most likely related to the stuff I talked about at the top.
-27s: If you're getting something in this range from me, it means you should be focusing on speaking drills (with an emphasis on clarity, and efficiency), as well as developing a deeper/fuller analysis of your arguments that picks apart the detailed warrants within the evidence you are reading.
-28s: Still need to be doing drills, but this time with more of an emphasis on affective delivery, finding a comfortable speed, and endurance. At this point, what I probably need to see more from you is effective decision making as well as judge instruction - in order to move into the 29 range, you should be writing my ballot for me with your final rebuttals in so far as using those speeches to narrow the debate down and effectively execute whatever route that may be by painting a picture of what has happened leading up to this moment
-29s: at this point, you're probably fairly clear and can effectively distinguish between pitches and tones as you go in order to emphasize relevant points. The only drills you should be doing here should be concerned with efficiency and breathing control, and if you are in the low 29's this is most likely a clarity issue and you should probably slow down a bit in order to avoid stumbling and bump your speaks up to high 29's. Higher 29's are most likely those who are making the correct decisions at most if not all stages of the debate, and successfully execute the final speeches in ways that prioritize judge instruction, and clearly lay the ballot out for me throughout the speech.
-30s: I actually don't have a problem giving these out, because I think my bar for a "perfect" speech can be subjective in so far as 30's for me can definitely make mistakes, but in the end you had a spectacular debate where you gave it everything you could and then some. I try not to give these out often though because of the risk it could possibly mess with your seeding/breaking, so if you do get one of these, thanks - I had a wonderful experience judging you.
-0.0 - 0.9 - this section is similar for every category in that it is dependent on things like argument extension and packaging, handling flows/the line by line, cross ex, link debating, etc. however, a team that is in the 29 range will have a higher bar to meet for those sort of minutia parts of your speech than those in the 28 or 27. That's because as you improve in delivery you should also be improving in execution, which means that in my eyes, a debater who may be in the 27 range the first time I see them, but is now speaking in the 28 range will have a higher bar than they did before in order to get into the high 28s.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
TL;DR just explain things well to me. Make sure things are explained clearly and cross-applied to the opponents arguments and I'll do my best to understand. After judging some national circuit debate rounds as well, I’ve realized I cannot keep up with the speed of the higher level national circuit so please aware of that and slow down. I may or may not tell you to slow down.
Speed: I think i'm ok with speed, thought after dowling i've realized not as good as i used to think. Overall somewhere around 7/10 on speed. that being said, if ur going to read a theory shell or something thats really blippy with lots of short claims,example FW, you're gonna need to slow down. If you go like many many really short blippy off, please go slow. Most other things im able to keep up well enough.
I used to be a CX debater for Millard North. I debated for 3 years as a identity/performance debater from 2013-2017 with one gap year. I coach on and off for the Millard North debate team as well.
Critical Arguments: I do have a bias towards critical arguments. While I do my best to not let this cloud my judgement it does happen. While I don't have a good understanding of many arguments here I do my best to have some kind of basis for most arguments. I do struggle more with postmodern literature so in terms of those just make sure everything is clear and explained well and avoid jargon if possible. It also helps if the argument has a material basis in the alternative. While theoretical alternatives are fine, if they don't have some kind of real world example then it's harder for me to vote for. tldr for critical stuff - i have an ok baseline about the mainstream args, just make sure u explain methods/alts/links etc etc well.
Critical Affs: I like critical affs, I ran one myself in HS. That being said, make sure you're doing the work against FW teams and other K teams to explain what offense exists and why I should vote aff and not just vote neg on SSD.
Plan text Affs: I did performance and identity args in HS so I am less familiar with nuances that come from classic plan text affs vs. x offcases as well as more technical arguments. Just make sure to explain arguments and analysis and I should be fine.
T/FW: I struggle to understand them unless there is clear abuse coming from the aff. I am starting to understand them better, however T and FW debates tend to be more blippy than not so just be sure to explain offense clearly. In terms of speed on the theory debates, be careful just spreading through ur entire theory shells and stuff in front of me cause i will probably miss a lot of the one liners that you end up spreading through especially if you end up not flashing the analytics
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 5 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 4/10 for speed and maybe even a 5 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.
-- 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 doing anything else. 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 (3/10) 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. 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 [INSERT TOPIC HERE] 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.
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 email@example.com !
-paradigm is essentially arranged from most to least useful to you so if you're reading and start feeling like it's no longer helpful for prefs or pre-debate adaptation you could probably stop bc it'll only get worse lol
-please put firstname.lastname@example.org on the chain
-I really like when debates start on time. If your 1ac is on the wiki I don't see any disadvantage to sending it out before start time so that you can start speaking at start time. You don't have to start reading the 1ac as soon as its sent. You could send it as soon as you get the pairing and then just start reading it at the start time. I get not sending if its a new aff.
-please send a doc with the ev you want me to read after the round
-I try hard not to intervene in any way(note abt this at the end)
-best t-usfg impact for me is fairness. It doesn't matter to me a bunch if debate is valuable for clash type reasons bc we are all here afterall. We are doing debate for some reason however varied those reasons may be.
-best aff way to beat a fairness impact in front of me would involve winning some kind of subjectivity change. If aff can win a solvency claim for any kind of impact like racism or war then the aff will probably end up winning. I just think it's really hard to win that solvency claim given how important competition is to debate.
-I will provide clarification abt an argument if asked during your own speech or anyone’s prep time, e.g. I will answer “did you flow conditionality bad?”
-i encourage you to challenge my decisions if you disagree. I'd rather hash it out and have someone's opinion change than mutual disagreement. I don't take it personally and I won't judge any future debate based on what has happened in a previous one.
-if never mentioned judge kick is okay(and this means judge kick of individual planks if the neg says they can kick planks)
-i will reject the argument and not the team unless the aff explicitly argues their non-conditionality thing is a voting issue before the 2ar
-i lean towards competing interps over reasonability
-i lean limits over precision
-competition over theory
-perms aren't advocacies but perm do the counterplan does demonstrate that the aff could be implemented in such a way that there is no net benefit
-perm double bind seems to make a lot of sense absent the neg winning framework, but if the neg wins framework it seems they can win by convincingly criticizing the aff
-i suspect I care about impact uniqueness more than most
-i try not to be visually reactive. i don't want to effect the decisions you all make
-any questions at all ask over email. I believe you should have the opportunity to know enough about me to strike me if you'd like
-I think a lot of speaker points/my general disposition in debates is driven by how interested I am in what's happening. I'm more interested when both teams are reading a lot of cards and there's a high rate of arguments being made. Bold choices are also fun like impact turning in latter constructives, 2nc counterplans, etc. You shouldn't do these things just bc you have me and I like chaos but if it serves some strategic purpose go for it. Like I'm better for ev that's less highlighted, lighter explanation, and higher breadth strategies than most.
What I'm trying to say here is I will try hard not to dismiss an argument because it clashes with my personal beliefs or because it's offensive or anything like that. I'm not going to vote against any kritik, any style of death good, or pretty much any argument at all just because it was read. I will intervene on some line by line issues if the debating forces me too. For example if there is a t debate where both sides are making internal link arguments about education but they don't directly clash then my hand is forced and I will have to intervene to decide which internal link is better. Similarly there are certain arguments that don't require responses not because they are ideologically bad but because they are logically incoherent however this is rare. I will not vote for an elections DA if the election has already happened and I won't vote on a DA to space elevators if it's been read against a CJR aff. This isn't because I'm offended or am truth over tech or something. This is because these DAs are simply not arguments that prove I should vote neg whereas most death good args or kritiks are. Like if every part of these DAs were true by virtue of concession the most they could prove is that space elevators cause extinction or that the aff would've shifted an election which can be true and all but I couldn't possibly explain to a team why it means they should lose.
Everything below has nothing to do with how I judge debate. I’ve had a lot of conversations with high school debaters and I think many could benefit from reading what’s below. It’s not THE TRUTH but it’s my thoughts and I think some people may be able to get something useful out of them. I don't think reading what's below will help you with prefs or anything though.
-I enjoyed most of my time debating. I stopped debating because I wasn’t enjoying it. There were still times when I did debate and I didn’t enjoy it. After all there’s more to life than a search for what brings the most enjoyment. People who climbed Mount Everest didn’t do it because it was fun. They did it because it was Everest. Still, debate is a lot less cool than Everest and that’s also worth remembering.
-I recently learned that me quitting was evidence that I lied about my commitment level to debate. Commitment levels can change overtime. It seems the best thing I could do for the team and myself was stop. This was informed by people I spoke to on and off the team that advised me this was true. I’ve been a lot happier since I’ve stopped and my former team has been incredibly successful. This seems like a win-win to me. I don’t think anyone should feel any obligation to stay in what is in all reality an extracurricular club that they don’t enjoy because at one point in their lives they enjoyed it and they told other people they enjoyed it.
-Any monetary rewards I received from competing in debate were far outweighed by the money I spent attending tournaments on food, transport, and registration costs. I never got scholarship money in high school or college or for attending camp but I do get paid to judge/coach debate. I didn’t do debate as a survival strategy. I did it because I thought it was fun and I liked being good at something. Maybe the benefit of the connections and skills I’ve acquired through debate made participation a financially good decision. It’s impossible to say.
-I don’t know all of the different factors that can make someone’s relationship to debate unhealthy. I don’t know what it means in any clear sense to have an unhealthy relationship to the activity. I do believe there are people that are in debate that have intense anxiety and depressive episodes related to their participation. I’m not subtweeting here. This is just a thing that happens in debate. This seems bad but I’m not a doctor and I’m not saying you should stop if this is the case for you but it’s worth thinking about what you get from debate.
-There are a lot of interesting people in debate. Not all of them want you to feel good or feel good themselves. Being a good debater doesn’t make someone an admirable person. I don’t think there’s a negative correlation either but debate is an activity that selects naturally disagreeable and competitive people. Debaters hang out with other debaters and often times will not have good friends outside of the activity. Good and bad debaters want to hangout with good debaters. Outside of debate people want to hangout with people who are fun to be around. Being good at something is not a sustainable strategy for building strong relationships with other people.
-I also don’t think being a good debater means you’re any smarter. There are a lot of smart people that do debate but I don’t think there’s any reason to idolize debaters who are competitively successful as being ultra intelligent. Being really good at debate will cause people to believe you’re really smart and it may cause you to believe you’re really smart but this isn’t the same thing as being really smart. The flip side of this is that if you aren’t good at debate, you shouldn’t stay up at night wondering if you’re good enough. You are good enough and you would’ve been even if you had never heard of debate in the first place.
-No one becomes famous from debate. There are some debaters with famous parents but that fame came from elsewhere. People in debate will know of other debaters. Almost no one outside debate will know of any debaters. Even less people care. There are also other non policy debate events like mock trial, model UN, parliamentary debate, and even LD. Policy debaters like to make fun of these events but its worth remembering that however little we know about these things, people outside of our activity know even less about policy debate. My point is that there are far better ways to chase clout than convincing college students and high school teachers to tell you that you won an argument with other high-schoolers.
-Debate is not a game about logic. It’s a game about convincing another person to vote for you. There are some people who are trying to treat it like there’s always a right and wrong decision but there’s not. Different people have different ways of coming to conclusions and there are infinite arguments to be had about who won a given debate. There are logical games that exist like chess where there cannot be arguments about who won. Debate is not one of these games.
-Debate is not the most useful thing you can do for college applications. It certainly helps but there are far better activities to leverage in a similar way to debate if getting into an elite college is your goal. Again, debate helps but I wouldn’t recommend committing to debate purely as a strategy for college applications especially given all of the aforementioned baggage.
-debate is not separate from the world. It is in the world. One thing abt the world is that people with more money have an advantage over people with less. There is a reason the same schools are consistently good at debate in both college and high school. There are other things in debate that probably matter that can’t be controlled by the people that are both helped and hurt by these factors: race, gender, sexuality, etc. Debate is not an escape from these imbalances. I think it should be. I don’t think these imbalances should exist in debate or the real world. I don’t think any decision anyone will ever make in any debate will change this.
-I don’t know if debate participation is decreasing or not. People tell me that it is. If debate can’t successfully make a case for its own existence and usefulness to high school students then I don’t really know what the point is. That doesn’t mean I like this trend. I would prefer if debate grew. I think debate is better when it is bigger and I like debate.
Yes, email chain: email@example.com
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
Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010
I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.
My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.
Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:
Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:
My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.
I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.
In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments aren't broadly compatible with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.
Value proof higher than rejoinder:
I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.
My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.
A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.
Incomprehensible value systems:
One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.
I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.
Kalen.firstname.lastname@example.org Put me on that email chain!
Policy Debate Coach at Iowa City Community School District since '18, Head Debate Coach at Liberty High since '20. I debated for one year at UIowa, and then was "a member of the team" bc I kept sending them PTX updates until I graduated with a degree in the politics DA (Journalism + Political Science.) Before college, I debated policy at Iowa City West for all 4 years of high school.
TLDR: I'll vote on anything you can make me understand. Tech and truth are both important, tech over truth unless instructed to do otherwise or if the tech is indisputably false. I often enjoy judging K affs but have been told I'm a bad judge for them. I'm intimately familiar with cap and politics, but I will vote on anything I can understand.
Scroll to the bottom if you're a PF or LD debater.
The type of debater I am: When I debated, I typically went for policy arguments (DA + CP, case turns, nonviable PTX DAs, etc.) and policy-ish Ks. (Cap, Agamben, some very shallow Foucault, etc.) As a judge, I'll vote on any argument I can understand. I often find framework against negative Ks uncompelling unless the neg drops it or you have some reason that the specific Kritik in question that round is bad for debate.
Spreading: is fine. But don't spread analytics, please, for the love of god. In virtual tourneys, consider slowing down a little, bc laptop microphones tend not to catch it all otherwise. Spreading is an impressive skill and you should do it when you read cards. HOWEVER, if you spread analytics, I'M GONNA MISS SOME. 300 WPM on analytical arguments is really pushing it. I know that some judges can flow that fast, but I am not one of them: my handwriting sucks and is capped at like, normal tagline pace. (This DOES NOT MEAN go slow in general. It just means that you should acknowledge that the concept of going too fast can sometimes exist in the context of analytics.)
Tag team CX: it's allowed but I lower your maximum speaker points to 29.9. Also, if you do it when you don't need to or if you do it very excessively (i.e., the 2A talking for over half of 1AC cx) I'll drop it further.
DAs: Yeah of course I'll vote on DAs, this isn't the '30s. Make sure you have a coherent story to tell, tho. I hold blippy DAs to the same standard as high theory Ks, in that if I don't understand them, I struggle to vote for them.
CPs: Yeah ofc you can and should read CPs, it's not the 60s. Perms are good, btw: only way to test negation theory. Don't say perms are severance unless you can explicitly outline for me which perm severed and how.
CP theory: I'm only voting on it if you actually invest speech time in it. I'm not going to vote on 3 seconds of "NO NEG FIAT, RECIPROCITY BAD, RESOLUTION KEY TO ADVOCACY PREP," in the 2AC. I'll admit that I personally think condo is generally good, but like, I try to remain neutral about it in my decisions.
Kritiks: pretty rad, whether they're read as part of a 12-off 1NC or a 1-off, no case strat. I want to be clear, though: I REALLY NEED to understand what you're saying to vote for you with confidence. I try to understand things that I can, but I lack the exposure and/or general vocabulary to understand a lot of high theory keywords and phrases. Please don't hesitate to use Layman's terms when I look confused, and I assure you, I will eventually look confused.
I usually find aff framework against Ks kind of uncompelling. I think Ks are probably fine for education, and the link lit base probably means they're fair. I don't want to vote aff on "kritiks bad for debate," it makes me feel indescribably upset to do so. (I'm still down to vote aff on like, condo tho. See the CP theory section.)
K affs: I find K affs very interesting, but I AM AN EMPIRICALLY BAD JUDGE FOR THEM. I hold affs to an allegedly higher-than-average threshold of explanation for why being topical wasn't an option, and why reading an actively untopical aff is better. I will not assume these arguments for you, they need to be spelled out clearly. Your 1AC should probably mention the resolution subject at some point.
I also want to re-emphasize the thing I said about kritiks here: if I don't understand the K aff, it's a lottttt harder for me to vote for you. If I look confused, that's a big red flag, and means I need more explanation about what the things you're saying mean because I'm not big brain enough to understand your vocabulary. I try to approach every round as objectively and neutrally as possible, but I need to understand what both teams are saying in order to maintain that neutrality, and tapping into a niche high theory literature base will often make that much harder for you to do. Props to you if you can adapt to this, but please understand that I may not comprehend 100% of what you're saying.
Topicality: Yeah, it's good stuff. Use it to hold affs accountable for jumping to the whacky end of the topic, or just to fill time you wanted to use on your politics DA that no longer links. "Literature base checks" + "we're a core of the topic" is a pretty compelling aff combo to me, but only when both of those things are like, true.
Want better speaks? Don't be blippy on T. If you choose extend it, do it in such a way that I won't feel like trash for voting on it later.
Policy affs: just because you're topical doesn't mean you're ethically justified. You should be ready to defend your methods/ethics/whatever just as much as you expect untopical K affs to. AT THE SAME TIME, just because an aff is topical doesn't always mean I'll spot the neg a K link: I do still expect y'all to win links to things.
Analytics: love these bad boys, when they're well-informed and like, based in fact.
- My friends know me as a Cap and Politics debater and they're not wrong. That doesn't mean I'll auto-vote on these arguments, but it does mean these are the flows on which you'll probably get the most in-depth feedback. (Again: don't assume I'll vote you up just for reading cap or politics.)
- I'm always impressed with good, clean line-by-line. I'll give you speaks for being clean on the flow.
- Debate is a functionally a game (not necessarily in the context of framework, just like, in the abstract) It's also a community, so you should be nice to eachother. I'll probably give you speaks for it, and I'll certainly take them away for being rude.
PF: PF is traditionally about being persuasive, whereas policy is about being right. If you can do both I'll be impressed and probably give you a 30. Otherwise, I feel like I have a more or less firm grasp on your activity.
LD: I have no idea how your activity works and at this point I'm too afraid to ask. Whoever successfully teaches me the activity will get an automatic 30. Please dumb your Ks down for me, I'm a policy hack. If you can't do that, you can always go for Cap.
Liberty University '04-'08
Policy Debate Coach @ Theodore Roosevelt High School `14-`18
contact me via email at chase.mccool at uconn dot edu
Hello debaters, coaches, or other judges interested in my judge philosophy. I feel that the debate round is a unique environment where almost any argument can be utilized so long as it is justifiable. I say "almost any" because some arguments are highly suspect like "racism good" or "torture good". What I mean by "justifiable" is that the argument made, to me, becomes more persuasive when coupled with good evidence. What follows are my preferences on theory, Topicality, CPs, Kritiks/Performance, and Style.
I do not consider my mind to be tabula-rasa (i.e., blank slate). To me, the most persuasive theory arguments contain a claim, some support, and an impact. Just saying "voting issue" does not make it so - I need to be convinced that voting for your interpretation is justifiable, which means that I can cogently explain to the opposing team why they were deficient and should lose the round.
See my comments on Theory. I like it when Neg can show that the Aff's interpretation is bad for debate. Like many other judges, I am annoyed by messy T debates. The side that clashes the most, organizes the T debate, and shows why their interpretation is better for debate will most likely win my ballot.
I am a huge fan of creative and competitive CPs. If Neg can give a couple of reasons why the CP solves better/faster than the Aff, I feel more comfortable finding that the net-benefit outweighs case. The perm is a test of competitiveness. I will not consider the perm a legitimate policy option unless there is some good evidence read to support it as such.
I think that Aff should have a written plan text, but does not necessarily have to advocate for the USFG. Aff, if you think that USFG is bad, be ready to defend the theory onslaught by the Neg. I prefer the policy making framework, but understand the value of the K and Performance debate. The key for me is justification. Make sure you clash with opposing and show why voting for you is net-beneficial for debate.
I do have some preferences regarding style that you should consider in order to obtain one or two extra speaker points from me: 1) Clarity outweighs speed - it's ok to spread your opponent, just make sure you pick the arguments you are winning and go for them in the rebuttals 2) I lean negative - I believe that Aff must thoroughly defend the plan. My standard is that it should be more probable than not that the plan is a good idea in order to vote Aff. 3) Civility and charm go further for me than pretension and hate. Being classy and focusing on the arguments and generally making everyone feel good during round are skills that are valuable and actually useful in the real world. 4) Have fun and enjoy this amazing sport! Energy can be communicated through your arguments and when it does, it makes me want to listen.
Debate Coach - University of Michigan
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 email@example.com.
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'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.
- The 1AC not being sent out by the time the debate is supposed to start
- Asking if I am ready or saying you'll start if there are no objections, etc. in in-person debates - we're all in the same room, you can tell if we're ready!
- Email-sending related failures
- Dead time
- Stealing prep
- Answering arguments in an order other than the one presented by the other team
- Asserting things are dropped when they aren't
- Asking the other team to send you a marked doc when they marked 1-3 cards
- Asking me if I need a card doc - I will ask you if I want you to start putting a card doc together.
- Disappearing after the round
Online debate: 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.
Organization: I would strongly prefer that if you're reading a DA that isn't just a case turn that it go on its own page - its super annoying because people end up extending/answering arguments on flows in different orders. Ditto to reading advantage CPs on case - put it on its own sheet, please!
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 making analytics about their card(s) in your speech and then providing a rehighlighting to explain it.
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'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.
Yes the aff gets a perm, no it doesn't need a net benefit.
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 will 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 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 don't think debate is roleplaying.
I am uncomfortable making decisions in debates where people have posited that their survival hinges on my ballot.
Run what you want to run. If you're from PF, I judge rounds with a lens of logic and risk evaluation. My paradigm applies to you more if you're from LD or Policy.
I'm okay with traditional and K debate. The ballot deciding journey is based on the argument map of the round -- which argument won here, canceled out there -- and which team has the better position after everything is added up.
**If you choose the strategy of an 8-off blitzkrieg: Most likely expect a word at the end of the round about how that is neither fun nor valuable**
I debated for 3 years at Millard West Highschool. I ran renewable energy affirmatives and my last year I ran a courts affirmative dealing with Terry vs Ohio, that had a K aff counterpart. I love science affirmatives and anything exciting.
I try to be a clean slate, whose only purpose is to understand the arguments made, compute how they interact, and evaluate the big picture of the round. Judge intervention is not ideal, but when it does happen it's because there are gaps in the flow that I have no choice but to fill in order to reach a decision.
I prefer substance over tech -- let that apply to 8 off debates, ultra speed reading, and theory. I will occasionally, on rare occasions, take the liberty to ignore an inconsequential tech if it upholds the integrity of debate substance. If you're serious about condo, it gets a new piece of paper.
Kritiks-- You have to sell your solvency in order to win. If you're claiming to solve for real world harms, you have to anchor your kritik and our debate round in the real world and tell me explicitly why your aff/k is beneficial enough to deserve the ballot.
Framework-- Too many framework debates never make it much further than the shell. Again, same as kritiks, you need to anchor the framework to the real world and talk about the round and why the framework is beneficial enough to deserve the ballot. The aff probably claims to do something in the real world, you need to do something in the real world that outweighs what they do.
T-- I default to reasonability, within reason. The purpose of topicality should ideally stick to making sure the aff is topical. Topicality's best foot forward is impacted out impacts.
DA, CP-- Fairly straight forward. Sell a story, paint a picture.
Case-- I tend to like when debaters give overviews of their case and consistently sell it throughout the round.
[Names of schools, years of graduation]
I debated for [number] years and made it to [a hotel ballroom nobody cares about].
Have fun always, try your best always. Like really I put it at the top for a reason. Don't insult your opponents. Don't be mean to your partner. The more you think you're better than them the more I'm gonna want you to be wrong.
Put me on the email chain please: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to try and come up with a good song for you to listen to as you read my paradigm like I do with every topic. It's kinda hard to hit all three areas of the topic at once, maybe try like this (although it's definitely not long enough). I feel like this might be the closest I can get since it involves like resurrection which I guess is like biotechnology.
(Disclaimer: I like to think I judged decently actively on arms sales and cjr (a combined 75 rounds if I'm counting correctly), but the only judging I did on water was a single season opener. On top of that, I've gotten a lot further into my computer science education since the last time I judged - I'm now officially an incoming software engineer - which I'm sure has radically altered the way I think about things, and probably mostly in ways I'm yet to realize. I wrote this paradigm like 3 years ago and it hasn't changed at all (beyond me removing cynical comments about the debate community that I'm no longer qualified to make 3 yrs out of debate), whereas I myself probably have changed somewhat.)
I know jack-squat about [topic], both in terms of the actual issue as well as how people have been debating it this year. So, I can’t wait for you to teach me! What I can assure you of though is that I’ll never go on facebook or anything during either speeches or cross-ex, and frankly that’s more than some judges can say.
Short version: Tech over truth. Long version: Remember that I am mortal. I would say evaluate my argument preferences under the assumption that those arguments have not been dropped/critically under-covered. Everybody says and understands that the judge votes for whoever best persuaded them, and that's true. But, I think what people often miss is that the judge isn't being persuaded in terms of which team they think is "right," but rather which team they think won the round.
Debaters have been telling me that the K has become more popular as judges and debaters have become more familiar with it. I have like, not judged enough at a high enough level to be part of that shift.
[Statements that amount to "Make good arguments"]
Getting the sense defense has become severely underrated.
I get annoyed when judge paradigms tell you to "act like you care," because I think what they're really saying is "act like you care about winning." In reality, all you should be caring about is just debate itself - and that's distinct. So, I'll tell you to care about debate. I'd maintain that policy debate is a very, uh...heuristic environment, and I stuck with it (kinda?) and am better off for it. But if you still don't care, just stop going to debate tournaments if you can. There's nothing wrong with not liking debate or not caring about it, and you don't owe it to anybody to participate if you really just don't wanna. But on a intra-tournament, round-to-round basis, not putting in full effort is probably bad.
Don't read suicide good. Don't read extinction good. Don't read warming good. Don't read racism good. Don't read sexism good. etc.
Boo to the Schlaang super seat and AntoniNO. I'm gonna suggest you don't read Baudrillard (I hope I spelled that incorrectly), both in front of me and in front of all your other judges.
Don't say "no neg fiat." If you read troll arguments like consult asgard or like time triangular pyramid I'll dock the 2N's speaks.
S e n d a n a l y t i c s.
I'm not calling them "planless affs" or "performance affs" or wutevr so that might already give you some indication.
The point of debate is to gain critical thinking skills by repeatedly practicing the comparative analysis of theoretical worlds (counting the squo as one) by framing facts and deductions as uniqueness, links, impacts, etc as a means of trying to understand the implication of those facts upon the imagined theoretical worlds. Critical thinking skills =/= the skill of criticizing things - that's just a coincidence in their spelling. Though, it also isn't at all as though those two concepts are just completely decoupled.
You can win without reading a plan, but you're going to have a rough time unless you have some reason why reading your aff and receiving a ballot improves the status quo. There are many ways to accomplish this and I really want you do at least one of them.
I'd say I find many of the framework arguments both neg and aff teams make to be pretty unconvincing and unoriginal. Neg teams, I'd love for you to think about why k affs would be hard to debate against even if they were predictable. Aff teams, I'd love to hear about why an inability to engage institutions irl means it's bad to debate [topic] in theory/as an educational exercise to practice critical thinking. I could write a million of those requests.
This is gonna sound silly, but I honestly don't find fairness or predictability to be that convincing, at least not in the way I often saw them deployed. Like personally, never once have I heard of a high school debater or coach putting in the time to cut a case neg to an aff unless they already knew for a fact that that aff was being read by a team they were particularly afraid of. Yet at the same time, I do not at all think "predictability" is pointless to talk about. For fairness, I guess I'll just say "fairness is an internal link". I encourage you to really think about what people can get out of debate and what things like fairness and predictability really look like and what their implications are.
*Run framework*. Otherwise, I will be sad and not like the round very much so like just please do. If you think running framework is unethical or wutevr please strike me. Lol I had to have at least one of those in here.
Get creative with your 1NCs. Think about what new opportunities unconventional affs might afford you, both in terms of positions and args within flows. If a center-left layperson wouldn't think it's "unethical" to read, I probably won't either.
I feel like a lot of times when aff teams say "debate isn't a game," they still treat it like it is one.
I'll definitely vote for some Ks, but if your link is only "you use the state" or "you use the [topic]” you're gonna have a tough time getting me to vote for the K.
I didn't even actually debate the [topic] topic I'm sorry I was just trying to look edgy.
But seriously, links are the most important part of K debates and DA debates alike because they, and they alone, are the root for any comparative analysis you can do. They are the only direct way for *you* to illustrate a distinction between the world you're advocating for and the world your opponents are advocating. All of your internal links and impacts are just arguments for why that discrepancy matters. (Okay yeah if they're running a CP differences between worlds are more obvious.)
Number one tip I would say - both to the aff and the neg - is just impact out your args. Never assume I know why you auto-win if you "win the ontology debate." Similarly, you need to explain, impact and probably persuade me of things like "fiat isn't real" and "social death." It is likely that your "tricks" are - in my eyes - actually just bad arguments. Don't get me wrong: a dropped arg is a dropped arg, but a prerequisite to something being a dropped arg is it *being an arg*.
Also just like generally about "dropped arguments" - an argument being dropped means that it is substantially easier to extend, not that you no longer have to extend it. If you wanna go for a "dropped argument" in front of me then you should make sure to mention that argument's claim and warrant (and, in rebuttals, its implications for how the round should be decided) in every speech from when you first read it until the debate ends.
I default to assuming that the K has to have an alt that solves impacts and is mutually exclusive with the aff. If the impacts the k solves aren't as important as the one the aff solves, I'll vote aff.
"Extinction already 'happens, happened, or will have had happened' for x ppl bc social death" is a hard sell for me, especially if you're trying to argue that it means nuclear war isn't bad.
Go to case. Like with *defense*.
Go to case. Seriously.
Have as many planks as you want. You can read new planks. You can probably amend existing planks, too.
Having a good solvency advocate (so like one from a source actually written in the context of [topic]) usually makes me think a counter-plan is more theoretically legit.
Love an intelligent counter-plan. I don't like process CPs but they definitely are a thing people read.
Theory and T
Honestly, refer to K aff section.
Probably won't win on T unless the aff really isn't T and there's some concrete, specific abuse. The abuse is less of an internal link to a fairness based-RoB and more just really strong evidence for why their model of debate is bad.
I'm much more likely to vote on theory and T when I'm convinced there was in-round abuse. I lean neg on condo but definitely do not think infinite condo is okay.
[Irrelevant opinions] (I mean to be fair that's like most of this paradigm but)
[Relevant opinions immediately made irrelevant by a barrage of qualifiers]
[Encouraging you to make jokes even though in reality that always plays out really awkwardly in round]
high school = Kansas 2012-2016 (Policy and LD)
undergrad = Emporia State 2016-2020 (Policy)
grad = Kansas State 2020-2022 (Policy Coach)
DO NOT RECORD MY VOICE OR IMAGE AND DO NOT TAKE PICTURES OF ME WITHOUT MY WRITTEN CONSENT. It's ridiculous this has to be said.
edited for the youth
---- Yes, put me on the email chain. Squiddoesdebate@gmail.com
---- Do a sound check before you start your speech. Simply ask if we can all hear you. I will not dock speaks because of audio issues, however, we will do everything we can to fix the audio issue before we proceed.
------------------- SEND YOUR ANALYTICS - if you want me to flow every word, it would behove you to send me every word you have typed. I am not the only one who uses typed analytics. Don't exclude folks from being able to fully participate just because you don't want to share your analytics.
--- the first thirty seconds of the last rebuttal for each side should be what they expect my RFD should be. I like being lazy and I love it when you not only tell me how I need to vote, but also provide deep explanation and extensive warrants for why the debate has ended in such a way to where I have no other choice to vote that way.
----My decision is most influenced by the last two rebuttals than any other speech. I actively flow the entire debate, but the majority of my attention when considering my decision comes down to a flow-based comparison of the last rebuttals. If you plan to bounce from one page to the next in the 2NR/2AR, then please do cross-applications and choose one page to stay on. That will help both of us.
I think debate should be an activity to have discussions. Sometimes these discussions are fun, sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they are obvious and clear, sometimes they are not. Sometimes that's the point. Regardless, have a discussion and I will listen to it.
I don't like to read evidence after debates. That being said, I will if I have to. If you can make the argument without the evidence, feel free to do so. If I yell "clear", don't trip, just articulate.
--- If I call for evidence or otherwise find myself needing to read evidence, it probably means you did not do a good enough job of explaining the argument and rather relied on author extensions. Please avoid this.
Your speaks start at a 30. Wherever they go from there are up to you. Things that I will drop speaks for include clearly not explaining/engaging the arguments in the round (without a justification for doing so), not explaining or answering CX questions, not articulating more after I clear you. Things that will improve your speaks include being fast, being efficient with your words, being clear while reading evidence, demonstrating comprehensive knowledge of your args by being off your blocks or schooling someone in cross-x, etc. If I significantly hurt your speaks, I will let you know why. Otherwise, you start at 30 and I've only had to go below 26 a handful of times.
----- my range is roughly 28.7-29.5 if you are curious for open and higher for Novice because I love novice debate
Prep time, cross-x, in-between-speeches chats, I'll be listening. All that means- be attentive to what's happening beyond the speeches. If you are making arguments during these times, be sure to make application arguments in the speech times. That's not just a judge preference, it's often devastating.
I like kritikal/performative debate. I did traditional/policy-styled debate. I prefer the previous but won't rule out the latter.
---- ^^ this is less true as I judge more and more high school debate but it is still true for college debate.
slow down when reading the theory / analytics / interps
don't assume I know everything, I know nothing in the grand scheme of things
don't be rude unless you're sure of it
Ask me more if you want to know. Email me. I am down to chat more about my decisions in email if you are willing.
- theory is wild. i don't know as much about it as you think I do
- tell me how to evaluate things, especially in the later speeches because new things are read in every speech and its wild and new to me. tell me what to do.
- I love the k's that are in this activity, keep that up.
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
If you are a novice, none of these things apply to you. please just do your best. Your speaks are solely dependent on you being kind and nice to everyone in the room.- I don't need to be on the email chain! You all amaze me every day!
(Policy, Public Forum, then LD)
I'm Subbi and I do Policy debate at the University of Iowa. GO HAWKS I debated for 3 years at Niles West.
First things first, make arguments you are comfortable and happy with. This is an activity that is inherently for the students participating in it. Read what you want to read and tell me why it matters and why I should vote on it. That being said please don't say racist/sexist/ableist language during a round. I'm just not gonna vote on racism good.
@Both Aff and Neg- Making fewer arguments that are extremely warranted is better than making more arguments that are not as warranted. I love common sense arguments and analytics. I don't think you need a card for every argument you make. If you make a persuasive analytic I'm all for that. I think debaters should be able and be encouraged to make arguments outside of cards. I prefer structural impacts over extinction-level impacts if you do make an extinction impact, have a really good internal link chain analysis.
@Policy Aff- Policy affs are really precise and garner GOOD SKILLS and I love them. I LOVE theory and I have a very low threshold for voting on it. I don't like really long case overviews. I will always weigh the affirmative unless told otherwise by the Neg. Winning against a one-off K in front of me requires you to at least win the Perm and a no link argument. I am very biased towards structural and ontological impacts like I don't think extinction outweighs everyday mundane violence, that being said have impact defense.
@Non-Traditional Affirmatives- Non-traditional affirmatives are really fun and give good EDUCATION and I love them. Non-Traditional Affs don't have to win that the Ballot is key in front of me, I will hold them to the same standard I hold the policy affs to, which is "you have to prove that the aff is a good idea. I need the aff to at least be reasonably within the bounds of the resolution.
@Policy Neg- Please don't read spark, death good, or PIC/KS.
@K Neg- If you're a one-off K team, please have a good explanation of your Links. You don't need to win an Alt in front of me to win the K, but you have to win impacts and framing, and why your theory means the aff can not solve or turns the case. Please have great answers to the permutation because I think most times the permutation is probably good, and I admit that I lean aff when it comes to permutations In one-off rounds.
@Negs Vs Non-Traditional Affs- If your ammo against non-traditional affs is two off cap and FW, lose the cap in front of me and just read external impacts that the aff can't solve but can be solved by core policy education. Case debates are really good against Non-traditional affs, Utilitarian framing is good, survival strategies are bad, No root cause. All of these are valid and good arguments to read. Don't drop the case ever. Don't let the aff weigh the entire aff against FW because they will almost always win. I like framework debates where the impact isn't fairness but education and skills. If you go for a Kritik against these Kinds of Affirmatives, I will have a high threshold for the aff being able to get a permutation, especially if they don't have an advocacy statement, but you must make this argument. Also, contextualize your Links to their theory/aff.
@cross ex- Look at me and don't laugh at your opponent's answer. Many people have done this with me in the back and it really hurts your ethos. Please be nice to each other, I have hella feelings and I don't wanna vote up a mean team.
- Please show up to rounds on time, ESP NOVICE, I will vote on disclosure theory so fast.
-Cx is a speech- Brian Rubaie 2k16
-I will never judge kick, ever.
-Don't steal prep.
-Have Fun :)
-I'm here to protect the 2NR.
-Will vote you down if you own Air Pods!!
-fam the wilder your alt, the higher the speaks lol.
- I have a low threshold for presumption if you are running a policy aff, I am not voting for presumption against a K aff.
Hey, I actually love and prefer judging PF. People in PF are a lot more polite and they always acknowledge me in the round and I like that.
PRO- Strongly prefer if pro always goes first in speeches and in the crossfire. I think to me a good pro is very persuasive and organized. I would prefer if you have two well-written and well-explained advantages rather than a bunch of shallow ones. I don't need you to extend everything in every speech but you should definitely have your points in the last two speeches if you want me to consider them.
CON- I think I am CON-leaning but that doesn't mean this is an easy ballot. You should offer good counterexamples, and directly answer their points in the last 3 speeches. I prefer that you have less defensive arguments and are more focused on proving the pro harmful.
Crossfire- You get a question, they get a question, then you get a follow-up. I hate hate hate when someone dominates the crossfire and doesn't allow for the other person to question, very rude. Will drop your speaks.
NOTES- I am fine with speed, I will reward politeness. Thank you for debating for me!
Hi so I have only judged a few rounds of LD, I think I have a good enough grasp on what is going on. I give a lot of leeway for the pro because they have a very short speech when answering a very long one. I prefer if this wasn't a debate about super old philosophers. That's right, I am NOT here for a Kant vs Locke debate. Most of these philosophers were super racist and if you want to talk philosophy there are philosophers today that you can reference.
Put me on the email chain please: email@example.com
Experience--I debated for BVSW for 4 years in high school. I have spent the last 6 years coaching at Blue Valley Southwest, Lansing High School, Washburn Rural, and occasionally on the college circuit for KU. I've spent 3 summers (2017-2019) working at the Jayhawk Debate Institute.
-unless otherwise argued, I default to judge kick is okay. If you want to get into specifics like cp planks, then I would prefer you make an argument about why judge kicking one part is okay.
-I will only do evidence comparison if explicitly told to in the debate. Please don't just say you're inserting a card. Read your ev and call for me to read it at the end of the round if you think the round should be decided based on it etc.
-Dropped arg is a true arg as long as the warrant is extended
-I believe that affs should be in the direction of the topic
-disclosure is good and you should do it
-Theory is alright. Not my favorite thing to vote on obviously but do what you gotta do. My one frustration with theory debates though is they are rarely impacted out enough by the end of the debate.
~More specific arguments~
-Whatever you decide to run, just apply it to the round you're in. I've been in too many debates recently where everyone is just throwing around buzz words but not applying it to the context of the round. This same point applies to the aff in the context of the perm debate (i.e. how does the perm function why is it a better option etc). I don't care what you read just contextualize it.
-I don't think that a link of omission is a link. My threshold is pretty high for this so if you do so feel compelled to go for this argument, just know you will need to dedicate a lot of time to it.
-I like to see a lot of work done on the alt debate in the block. I need to see clear arguments as to what the world of the alt looks like and why the alt solves better than the aff.
-I think fairness is more an internal link than it is an impact. (i.e. fairness is an internal link to topic education, clash, etc)
-In addition to framework there needs to be some sort of argument to indict the aff's methods. In rounds where this doesn't happen by the neg, I find the aff's argument to weigh the impacts more compelling. Read arguments as to why their theory is wrong.
-Limits are universally good.
-You should slow down
-T-USFG is more persuasive to me than a framework arg.
University of Kansas '23, Washburn Rural '19
Coaching for Greenhill (TX), the Asian Debate League (TW), and Shawnee Mission East (KS)
---Better for policy and AFF-specific Ks; not great for K AFFs, process counterplans, and technical T arguments
---Not the greatest flow, likes creativity, more likely to care about macro-issues than minor technical drops, avoid jargon/acronyms, will vote on args that promote sedition
---Fully-developed strategies that clash tend to perform better in front of me
---My debate beliefs are malleable. The opinions below might make me seem like a old person (true, though), but good debating can remedy my predispositions. Good ev helps too.
---Largely persuaded that:
(1) incomplete args in the 1NC justify new responses
(2) net benefits should be verbally stated in the 1NC
The justification for both of these will be below.
1---Respecting your opponents (CX, pronouns, don't mercilessly bludgeon less-experienced debaters), be ethical, etc.
2---Efficiency. In your speech, during prep, emailing, down-time. etc. If you don't need 10 minutes of prep for the 2NR/2AR, don't take it.
3---Taking debate seriously. Pay attention, flow, try. But also, have fun! We are all invested, so let's make our debates worthwhile. Ad-homs are bad and not arguments.
4---Research (evidence matters, but so could spin). Vertifical proliferation is better than horizontal proliferation of arguments. Also, likely won't vote for death good.
5---Ethos and Clarity. I am a bad judge for teams that just spit into their computer at 300 WPM at 65% clarity. Lowkey think that debaters that are slow (while being smart, technical, etc.) are *****chefs kiss***** I should hear every single word you say. Please enunciate and recognize that debate is also a communication activity instead of a block perfecting competition in the 2NR and 2AR. If you are a team that has rebuttals prescripted without any plans of contextualization (such as asserting things happened when they didn't), then please email me your 2NR/2AR blocks and I will just assign your speaker points during the 1AC and vote against you.
1---Lack of analysis. You should have framing arguments, judge instruction, contextualization, and argument development.
2---Debates that make me litigate things outside of the debate.
3---Vagueness. It should be clear what your AFF does, what the plan means, what the counterplan does, what your highlighting of evidence means, and what the tags of your cards are intended to communicate. I am likely more amenable to vagueness arguments than most-judges.
Topicality vs. Policy AFFs
T versus policy AFFs was one of my least favorite arguments. It isn't ideological, but I spent most of my debate career debating with 2Ns who were obsessed with it, so I just never really thought about it. I find most T debates dry but I understand the strategic necessity of them. I think my aversion stems from 1NCs that lack a violation and then debate becoming late-breaking.
To improve my VTL when going for T, internal link explanation is important. 2Ns have seemed to forget that there ought be a reasonable explanation about how we get from the violation to zero NEG ground ever. Both teams should have more debating about what the interp/counter-interp debates wouldlook like. Assertions of topic biases or quality of generics should be explained with warrants. I am not the ideal judge for a technical T argument.
For some reason, I find ground arguments more compelling than limits/precision. Not sure if this will affect my judging but I've always thought that limits arguments were hyperbolic. Big topics feel good as long as the NEG has robust strategies to counter them. When evenly debated, plan-text-in-a-vacuum is a tough sell for me.
The optimal 2NR is a DA and the case. Counterplans are for cowards. I'm not as big on the modern Politics DA as most of Kansas debaters but it's fine. Intrinsincness tests are stupid.
AFFs teams should have offense on the DA. NEG teams should try to have real "turns case" arguments outside of "nuke war is bad."
I'm mostly AFF-leaning on theory arguments. I'm not wedded to these beliefs but have some predispositions. Not a huge believer in conditionality. This is not a free invitation to go for condo in the 2AR, just merely an observation that in-depth debates are better.
My least favorite genre of argument as a debater was the process counterplan. Again, I understand its strategic utility and will judge the debate as neutrally as possible. I'd prefer a 2NR that is about why the AFF's bad. Competition debates are dry. Comparative evidence between the AFF and the counterplan's process that demonstrates functional competition could make me hate your counterplan a little less. I am also a less qualified judge for complex competition debates.
I am a good judge for presumption and giving a low weight to the AFF advantages. The 2AC and 1AR get away with murder on the case, so the NEG teams should use that to their advantage. This is an area where good debating will be rewarded with nice speaker points.
I enjoy soft left AFFs but framing contentions need to contain offense. ________________________________________________________________________________________
Ks vs. Policy AFFs
I'm better for Ks on the NEG. I will award specificity, especially backed with evidence. I will have a hard time voting on critiques that lack interactions with the scholarship and thesis of the 1AC. If the NEG reads a K impact turn to the AFF's advantage, that is likely the best strategy in front of me. Or, have a robust framework justification with turns case arguments. I seem to care a little bit more about performative contradictions/linking to your own K than some (not for theory reasons).
K AFF vs. T: USFG
I have voted both ways but am not a good judge for you. I am better than white-bro-card-cutting sweats but should still be taken below "clash judges." Explain what debates over the AFF interp would look like. I always thought framework debates were thought provoking and helped me think about debate. Explain what debates over the NEG interp/TVA would look like. I am open to voting for either fairness or education.
I am a believer in research about the topic, so the closer your AFF is to being about the topic, defending a theory of power, being a substantial shift from the status quo, and defending material action, the better. Any lit bases outside of bio power, colonialism, settler colonialism, capitalism, and IR need more explanation. ________________________________________________________________________________________
(1) Incomplete Arguments
I am mostly compelled that the 1AR should get whatever it wants in response to incomplete 1NCs. Debates are increasingly rewarding blippy 1NCs, causing debates that are worse to judge and I believe judges ought hold the line on what the debate community constitutes a complete argument. If a 1NC DA shell lacks uniqueness, then why should the 2AC be burdened to make link turn args as to how they reverse the deficiencies of the status quo. The logical conclusion of "you have to answer everything" would mean the AFF would have to read impact d to random floating impacts, which is absurd.
(2) Net Benefits
Whatever the net benefit of every advocacy is should be specified in the 1NC. This is low-cost for the NEG and would improve debates/AFF strategy. CX doesn't remedy this because NEG teams take forever to answer, which is unfair for the AFF because the 1A could be asking good, substantive questions. Instead, I have to listen to the 1N say "everything is a net benefit... wait... <>...then the 2N takes 15 seconds to decide and then lists net benefits to analytical con con, states, the one card security K, a card-less 15 plank advantage counterplan, and a process counterplan. This take might seem extreme, but I believe it is the least arbitrary and most efficient way to resolve net benefit shenanigans (a time limit feels weird). For most counterplans, they are only complete arguments if they have arguments about solvency AND competition in the 1NC. Counterplans that rely on DAs to beat the perm and complete, so it seems logical that the NEG should be responsible for this. Lastly, I want to award bold strategies. The clearer the net benefits are, the better AFFs will be at straight-turning and NEGs will read better DA + CP combinations.
People who have shaped the way I think about debate/inspire me include Cindy Burgett, Tim Ellis, Will Katz, Peg Wefald, Natalie Knez, Q Robinson, Jordan Foley, Brian Box, and the KU coaching staff (Rock Chalk!).
Policy Debate, 2003-2007
- Add me to the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Show me an amazing T debate!
- More policy oriented, but don't let that discourage you from running a K.
- If running a K, thoroughly explain links and alt.
- Any argument pretty much goes, if justified. (Ie: you can argue death is good. I'll consider/weigh the argument if justified.)
My kids keep making fun of me for my paradigm being too long so I decided to make a shorter updated version, but I'll leave the old stuff on the bottom for posterity. All the stuff I say in the old essay is still true unless it contradicts something written up here. Updated 12/22/2019. (Update 2: Apparently even in my short version I’m super verbose so I’ll give you a super cliff notes as well).
-Put me on the email chain but I flow off your speech.
-Warrants are super important, and I won’t vote on arguments without them.
-More impact comparison, no matter what kind of debate you do.
-Everything is fine, and I’m a lot better judge for neg FW than I used to be.
-Go for theory and T more.
-Don’t be shifty or mean.
-Zero risk is possible and defense can be terminal, but it often isn’t.
Paradigm, Short(er) Edition:
-Email is email@example.com. Put me on the email chain please, though I won't read along outside of curiosity etc. reasons. I flow based on the words I hear, not what's in your document. This means clarity is of utmost importance. I'll say clear up to three times, but if I don't hear an argument the onus is on you. My hearing is also apparently not as good as it once was so this is crucial. It also means if you want me to flow a rehighlighting, you have to actually read the important stuff.
-I'll vote on anything (with the exceptions of racism good, etc.) as long as it's warranted and impacted out. However, arguments do consist of a claim, a warrant, and an impact. If your argument doesn't contain a warrant I won't vote on it and I'll give the other team pretty much infinite leeway on answering it in later speeches. My threshold for blippiness is going up and, from recent panel results, is probably higher than your average judge's. When in doubt, explain.
-While I think I've developed a reputation as a K judge and coach, I'm definitely getting more middle of the road the more I judge, and I think my record in recent framework rounds is near 50-50 or even slightly favoring the team reading framework. I find fairness is usually least persuasive when gone for as an impact of its own, and most persuasive as an internal link to other impacts. The arguments I find most compelling when going for neg framework have to do with the educational value of beginning with the USFG as a starting point or of switching sides as pedagogy. Impact comparison is paramount in these debates and I usually vote for the team who does the most of it.
-Because it bears repeating, impact comparison is paramount. I find one of the most common post-round comments I give to be "there could have been more impact work," whether it's a T debate, FW debate, or DA/case. I would always err on the side of more.
-I love tricky and creative arguments but if your strategy relies on shiftiness and deceit I'm probably not the judge for you. This means if your cxes consist of a lot of "we don't have to answer that" or other forms of question dodging I will be greatly displeased. A good rule of thumb to follow: if truthfully answering questions about your argument hurts you strategically, you probably just shouldn't make that argument.
-I find it funny when judges say "I have a general predisposition against violence" or stuff like that then go on to vote on heg good in half their rounds. I too am predisposed against violence but if your argument includes advocating for violent revolution or whatever to me that's no different (and probably more morally defensible) than advocating for US empire. It's almost like certain forms of violence are naturalized and camouflaged to maintain the supremacy of whiteness and the global liberal order... That said I'll vote on heg good too and will try my best to counteract my personal bias against such.
-Affs should be reading and going for way more theory and negs should be going for way more T (at least in front of me). I find teams these days are getting away with the most ridiculously abusive counterplans and affs because everyone's too scared to go for theory against them.
-Most of all, have fun! Debate as an educational space is great and important but I'd rather have enjoyable debates bereft of educational value than educational debates that everyone hates. You only have 4-8 years on average to enjoy this strange and wonderful activity, and I want everyone to make the most of it and not just look back on their debate careers with ressentiment.
Quick LD cheat sheet for Apple Valley:
-I judge/coach policy mainly but judge a couple LD tournaments a year, and have judged multiple bid rounds, RRs, etc. in LD
-Anything goes: tricks, Ks, value/criterion, LARP, whatever. As a former philosophy major, I'm pretty familiar with all major moral theories that get used in phil debates and I judge a lot of K debates in policy so I shouldn't have a problem with whatever you read
-Depth>breadth in terms of argument development. I'm more likely to vote on well-developed arguments that are answered than dropped blips, although I will vote on the dropped blips occasionally as well.
-The one thing I ask is that you SLOW DOWN ON THEORY, maybe by about 20-30%. Any other argument you're fine going full-speed but my tiny policy brain can't flow LD theory at 300 wpm so if you want me to flow your arguments, slow down a bit.
-I'm not gonna disclose speaks, sorry. I get this is seemingly a norm in circuit LD so maybe I just need to adjust the way I think about this but it makes me fairly uncomfortable do so.
What do I need to know?
I'm the varsity policy coach for West Des Moines Valley for my 3rd (non-consecutive) year now, and in the past I debated for Des Moines Roosevelt and the University of Iowa. I just graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Philosophy and Gender Studies. Over my first two years of coaching I ended up judging 70 or so rounds a year, mostly at bid-level tournaments.
Do what you want, within the reasonable guidelines of not being racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and so on. I believe that debate is an activity for the debaters, and while I consider my role as judge to be that of an educator, the educational model I follow is one which is substantially less horizontal than traditional ones, in that I think my job as judge is to learn from you, as well as hopefully encourage and strengthen your competitive abilities.
There aren't any arguments outside of the parameters established earlier that I either won't or haven't voted on, and I'm down to hear whatever you enjoy most and are best at. What I find most disappointing while judging is when I see competitors who seem actively disengaged from the round for whatever reason, and as such I think I should facilitate enjoyment of the round by encouraging you to read and do whatever makes you happy.
With that said, here are my thoughts and presuppositions about specific arguments. All of them can be changed and I will always prefer arguments made within the debate to my thoughts outside of that round, but these are my "defaults" that I will revert to absent arguments to the contrary:
Top Level Stuff:
- Tech over truth but tech is guided by and generally adheres to the "truth," whatever that may be. In other words, I'll evaluate the round based off the flow and the arguments made in round, but determining which argument wins in a technical debate is something which is limited by, or at least shaped by, the truth of those arguments. "Global warming causes extinction" and "Global warming prevents an ice age, which causes extinction" are both viable arguments in a debate round, but the former is going to be easier to win because it is more in line with reality.
- On that note, dropped arguments are true arguments but an argument consists of a claim, a warrant, and an implication (impact). If you say that your opponent dropped X arg so you win the debate, that may be true, but you still need to explain why X arg wins you the debate. One of the things that is most frequently missing from high school policy rounds is the impacting of conceded arguments, and this often presents major difficulties to my ability to evaluate the debate, especially in messy rounds where both teams drop arguments all over the flow. If you want an easy way to win (and get good speaker points) make sure you are explaining not only that your opponent has dropped your arguments, but also what it means that they have dropped your arguments. All of the above is of course true in the case of contested arguments as well, but I find the implication debate appears a lot more naturally in those circumstances.
- Do as much as you can get away with. Again, everything here is just my personal bias or default, and just because I say I don't like or disagree with an argument doesn't mean you shouldn't make it or read it.
- "Zero risk" is certainly possible but often unlikely. What I mean by this is that if the neg says "The plan leads to an increase in hair loss, and warming causes extinction" and the aff says "No link--no warranted reason the aff leads to hair loss and no internal link between hair loss and warming," I'm not going to decide that since the aff only made defensive arguments that there's "only a risk" of the DA occurring. Smart defensive arguments (including and sometimes especially analytics) can take out entire disads and advantages, but if they're not terminal I am going to be more susceptible to "only a risk" logic.
- I love a good impact turn debate (who doesn't?) and find they're often the most strategic option given that your opponents' evidence about their aff or DA or whatever is often (and probably even should be) better than your cards to answer it.
- Impact comparison is obviously crucial but it seems a lot of debaters forget the comparison part of the phrase. If your overview is just "our impact is big, fast, and probable" you've done the first step, now explain why your impact is bigger, faster, and more probable. Even more astute debaters will attempt to evaluate which of those metrics they are most likely to be winning, and then make arguments as to why I should prefer that one; e.g. "magnitude before timeframe" and so on.
- Most politics theory arguments are, in fact, garbage, but I will happily assign zero risk to the disad if they're conceded. Just because it's a bad argument doesn't mean you shouldn't have to answer it (which is a metric that is, in general, true for how I evaluate debates).
- My personal bias is that most process counterplans, consult, and so on, are generally cheating because they are A. usually marginally competitive at best and B. steal a lot of aff ground. If you're aff you should almost certainly be reading theory against these arguments, and if you're neg you should be prepared to defend them. All that said, I think "cheating" counterplans are usually a great strategic choice because they steal aff ground and because most aff teams aren't prepared to extend theory in the face of your 15-point 1NR block, so if you have them, it's probably wise to read them. Again, do as much as you can get away with.
- I generally really like PICs on the other hand, with the obvious caveat that the more well-researched and specific to the aff they are the better.
- The common thread between these two presuppositions is that I generally believe the best counterplans are those with a specific solvency advocate that distinguishes them from the aff. What the bar for this solvency advocate is is a matter of debate, but the more contextualized to the aff your cp is the less likely you are to lose it to theory.
- I'll judge kick for you, but only if you tell me to and the aff doesn't tell me you can't. The "logical policymaker" in me thinks the squo should always be an option, but the "debate is a game" person tells me this is bad for the aff, so just make an argument why I should/shouldn't do so if the aff ends up being worse than the CP
- The link debate is probably the most important here since you'll usually be winning that your thing is *~bad~* and the debate will usually come down to whether the aff actually does that thing or not and thus gets access to a perm. That said, if you're reading a big stick policy aff you should probably just bite the bullet and go for the impact turn if there's no chance you can win a link turn.
- In KvK debates I don't really find myself having a default when it comes down to whether "method debates" mean the aff gets a perm or not. I guess I don't really see why the fact that we're talking about methods means that those methods don't have to be competitive, but if we're not viewing the aff as a test of the resolution's truth value maybe that changes. Either way, simply asserting that "method debates means no perms" probably isn't sufficient and I like when these debates get in depth
- Similarly, the zaniness of your perm arguments should probably be proportional to the zaniness of the 1AC&1NC, and the same for perm answers. Creative perms that are based in your literature have often been effective in front of me, and the neg should rely on similar creativeness in answering them. In other words, why limit yourself to "perm do both" when you could tell me the perm is a radical cooption of their method which makes you the true symbolic terrorists, or something?
"K Affs"/"New Debate"/FW
- The teams I coach mostly read critical arguments, affs without plan texts, and stuff like that, I went to college to study gender theory and philosophy, and a large portion of the rounds I've judged in the past have been K rounds, so I think I've (deservedly) cultivated a bit of a prior reputation as a K hack. However, I've noticed in more recent times that perhaps I'm swinging a bit back toward the middle of the road in these debates, or at least that at the end of rounds I often find myself asking: "why didn't this team go for framework?" because the kritikal team has mishandled or neglected parts of that debate, yet the opposing team ends up going for something else. I have voted on framework in the past, I expect I will continue to do so in the future, and if it is the best option for you in any given debate you should choose it.
- I think the biggest shift in my thinking here is that over time I have stopped subconsciously viewing my vote of any given individual debate as implying that I have somehow committed some ideological boon/transgression, and instead believe that the most educational approach to facilitating debates as a judge involves me allowing debaters to challenge any and all aspects of their opponents arguments. While I believe each debate round is important as a unique pedagogical moment, I am somewhat less convinced that the results of that debate will change the world or even the (horrible and oppressive) structures of debate, and thus I believe that if a team is not capable of beating framework or topicality on its own merits, I shouldn't vote for them just because it helps the movement or is supposed to improve debate, because it probably won't.
- If you are the "K team" in this debate, you should make sure you answer args like "it's about the best model of debate/competing interps" if you're just going for arguments that boil down to "our aff is good." If it's "not what you do but what you justify," you need to ensure that you have either an adequate description of what you justify and why it's good, or an answer to the above argument.
- I'm finding myself (slightly) more compelled by "do it on the neg" style arguments against affs that just say the resolution is bad. If you are reading such an aff you probably want a defense of why you being even forced to defend the resolution in a pedagogical space is bad, not just reasons the resolution as a question is bad.
- TVAs are good and important but often not the game-ender FW teams think they are. If the aff says "state bad" then you give a big list of state actions, this still does not (on its own) mean that the state is good, and thus doesn't necessarily disprove any part of the aff's claim. If you impact out how exactly that TVA solves, preferably even with evidence, you're in a much better place. Basically, you need to actually have a warranted reason the TVA solves, not just the phrase "we have a topical version of the aff!!!"
Other random things:
My "role of the ballot" is to, as the cliche goes, determine who did the better debating, but that doesn't mean there can't be other "RoBs" within the debate. Generally I interpret these as frameworks or criteria for evaluating the different arguments and impacts within the round, so a phrase like "the role of the ballot is to vote for the team who best performatively and methodologically challenges queerphobia" would mean, to me, basically, that I evaluate arguments according to whichever team best meets such a criteria, not that my ballot serves some literal other purpose than choosing the best debater. However, this does mean that if you answer such an RoB with the phrase "the role of the ballot is to choose the team who does the better debating" I'm not sure you're being responsive to what that phrase is actually saying.
Any number of conditional options is allowed as long as you can justify you get that many, and any number of conditional options is not allowed as long you can win the opponent doesn't get that many. I don't think there's any magic number above which condo suddenly does or doesn't become okay, and as with everything I think this is a debate best left to the debaters. Despite my reputation I actually really enjoy big debates with lots of different arguments and you should always look to get away with as much as the other team will let you in any given debate.
Excessive rudeness is obviously never appreciated. I know debate can get heated sometimes and that's fine but if you get to the point of insulting the other team, your partner, etc. Jokes are always good as long as they aren't at the expense of other people, and so you should always be careful about accidentally hurting someone.
Call me Max, or judge if you absolutely feel uncomfortable with that (though being referred to as judge makes me feel weird), and put me on the email chain if you remember (my email is firstname.lastname@example.org).
As I've alluded to a couple times earlier, I believe that one of the reasons why debate is such an amazing activity (and it truly can be!) is because of the relatively non-horizontal nature of it compared to other educational activities, and I really want to facilitate that environment. Obviously as the person holding the sheet of paper or connected to the tabroom ballot I have a certain degree of power, but again, debate is for you (the debaters). So, as I keep reiterating, do what makes you most happy and comfortable within the debate space. Me asking anything otherwise would just be an attempt to stroke my ego as a judge and reassert my power within the room. I'm not going to stop you from doing anything as long as it does not hurt other people (which words can most certainly do, as we should all know) or cause me to be responsible for activities which would violate my contract as a coach. Read "trolly" arguments if you so desire, sit or stand to speak, go to the bathroom or get a drink of water when you need to, chat with people as long as it isn't disrupting or delaying the debate, or "dance with a chair if that's what the muse tells you to do." Do what you enjoy and I will enjoy it too.
Northside College Prep '19 (debated surveillance through immigration, 2N)
Northwestern '23 (debated 2019-20 space topic, 2A)
Assistant coach @ Edgemont, 2019-20
Yes email chain --- email@example.com
Compile and send a doc of cards referenced in your side's final rebuttal as soon as possible after the 2NR/2AR
Novice: don't worry too much about anything below. Do your best and have fun.
AFF should read a plan. NEG should prove implementation of plan is a bad idea.
Tech > truth
Evidence quality > evidence quantity.
Util is true. Risk = magnitude x probability.
Will judge-kick a conditional CP unless told not to. 2AR is too late for the AFF to object for the first time.
Not a fan of theory cheap shots. "Reject the argument, not the team" is a sufficient response to theory that only applies to a CP being kicked.
Not a fan of CPs that compete for stupid reasons (e.g., "should," "resolved," etc.).
Only one debater gives each speech. I won't evaluate anything outside of the round or flow anything said after your speech time is up. You cannot argue for your speaks. Don't threaten people. My identity will not be a factor in my decision.
I don't think it's legitimate to read cards about debate written by people associated with debate (debaters/coaches), though the other team would obviously have to point this out. (Cards from debate alums about things outside of debate are obviously fine.) For that matter, even if they were legitimate, I can't imagine why reading a debater's/coach's card about debate would result in a stronger argument than if you just made the argument analytically.
If you care, I debated primarily on the national circuit and went to the TOC in high school.
Online debate note: If my camera is off, assume I'm AFK until I confirm that I'm present.
---Reading "war good" is no longer funny or original. Treat it like any other argument---read it if and only if you think it is the most likely path to victory. I'll vote for it if answered poorly, but I'll be annoyed if it's evident that your strategy is a joke (e.g., vs a new AFF = understandable, vs a core topic DA/AFF = infuriating).
---There is no such thing as asking questions "before cross-ex." Asking what cards someone read is CX.
---If you are just making things up about economics, I will probably know.
I would like to be on the email chain -- my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated for four years at Iowa City West High School. Then I debated 5 years at Iowa, qualifying to the NDT four times, and making late elimination rounds at several national tournaments.
I default to competing interps
Reasonability is supposed to be applied to interpretations, not the aff
You should probably go slower on T and Theory than other flows because the relative percentage of the words you're saying that I have to write down is higher
T's a useful tool for the negative that I think has been underused
I will default to evaluating the implementation of the plan vs the implementation of the alt -- this isn't to say that you can't convince me otherwise
I probably won't vote neg on your k's impacts if the alt doesn't solve them and you haven't convinced me that I should
K Affs --
Fairness is probably not an impact in it of itself, at least not one that would outweigh almost any common aff impact turns to framework
That being said, I'm much more persuaded to vote aff if it's made clear to me that there is valuable role for the negative team in their model of debate
Advantage counterplans are dope -- solvency advocates for them are cool -- if you dont have a solvency advocate for the counterplan it better very obviously solve the aff
I love PICs, especially ones that compete positionally as per Brett Bricker's Positional Competition: More Than Just a Plan Text, The National Journal of Speech & Debate, Vol. 2, Iss. 1, September 2013
Process CPs are winnable, but aff theory and competition args against them are persuasive
Condo's good -- 2 is fine, 3 probably okay, 4 maybe pushing it -- remember that demonstrating some tangible harm (or lack thereof) in the round from the specific positions read is always going to be more persuasive than abstract reasons conditionality could be bad or good
States CP --
Non-uniform fiat; most def fine
Uniform fiat; less fine -- probably not a reason to reject the team entirely though
idrk what to say here -- who doesn't love a good DA, if you have a good DA you should read it
dont be afraid to go for DA and case, especially if your DA has in-roads to complicating the affirmatives internal links or impacts and happens on a shorter timeframe
random other thing -- the 2NC is definitely a constructive (it's in the name) feel free to make new arguments -- 1ARs, feel free to punish the negative team for the new argument they made by impact or straight turning it, just telling me that the 2NC doesn't get to read a new argument isn't persuasive though
Policy Debate at Shawnee Mission West from 2009-2013 (social services, military presence, space, transportation)
Assistant Policy Coach/Judge for Des Moines Roosevelt 2014-2017
Judge for Dowling Catholic 2018-2022
Marketing/Communications at the NSDA 2018-2022
LD or PF
I judge policy debate 99.9% of the time. On the occasion that I'm in LD or PF, be fairly warned that I don't know your abbreviations or jargon, and I don't know your topic as well. Please explain your acronyms and any tech style arguments you're making. I want clear and specific impacts, and good analysis of your impacts vs. your opponent's.
To sum up my paradigm, I value good argumentation and clash. I default as a policymaker, so if you want me to vote on something different, you have to tell me. I can follow pretty much any speed with good signposting and clear tags, but you need to slow down on theory/T/analysis that is tougher to flow. I will answer any questions before the round, and I think you should ask me about things to make this a good experience for us both!
Please note, I have not judged any rounds on the NATO topic. I consider myself fairly knowledgable about the topic areas, but might need further explanation on acronyms or hyper-topic-specific information.
Disadvantages: I think DAs are great. I think they're some of the most real-world argumentation that happens in policy debate. I value great clash and specific link debate.
Counterplans: Go for it.
Kritiks: I have never been a K debater, and I consider my debate IQ on the K to be very low. If you decide to run a K anyway, and want to get my ballot, you need to drop the jargon and explain your argument extremely clearly. To be crystal clear: running a K in front of me is going to be tough. I have a high bar for clarity and understanding, and if I don't understand what is happening, it's going to be hard for me to vote for you.
If you've read all that and still want to run a K and win the round, you need to do a few things:
1. Explain clearly why passing the affirmative plan is bad.
2. Explain what action signing the ballot takes -- focus on solutions. What does the alternative do? What does it solve?
3. Drop the jargon/high theory args and talk to me like I've never heard of debate.
I have been on panels where teams decide to throw out my ballot because they love the K. I believe this is a poor strategic decision.
Topicality: Unless you give me a good reason otherwise, I won't evaluate potential abuse, so don't run T unless the aff is actually untopical.
Theory: If you're going to read theory args, go slow. I flow on paper and it's super hard to flow if you just rattle them off. I will likely just stop flowing. Like I said in the T description, I most likely won't evaluate potential abuse, so don't run theory unless it's actually unfair.
I believe students should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to tech issues at online tournaments. However, if I believe you are taking advantage to get extra prep time or cheat in another way, I will offer one warning before beginning to penalize the team.
I will not tolerate any forms of harassment in rounds that I am watching. If something you do constitutes harassment in my eyes, I will give you the lowest speaks possible and end the round.
My email is email@example.com. You can put me on the email chain if you want, but I won't be following along with your speech doc -- I'll only look at evidence if I need to call for it after the round.
My name is pronounced loo-CHI-uh. It's mad weird when debaters who don't know me use my name in rounds, but that's clearly not going to stop, so please at least pronounce it correctly. She/ they.
Email chains > speech drop. lucia.scott at barstowschool.org
27.9 cap on speaks if any of your docs are PDFs. Like, stop. Just stop.
Previous debating: K-State (2013-2016), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2009-2013)
Coaching: Barstow (2018-Present), Baylor (2017-2018), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2013-2017)
For everything I say I don't like in my paradigm, there's at least one round (probably more) where I've voted on that thing. At the end of the day, my goal is to intervene as little as possible. I'd rather see you do your thing and do it well. Might I be grumpy if I have to judge a 10 off debate with Deleuze, a Gregorian calendar procedural, an anarchy counterplan, and whatever that omnipotent AI that's going to kill us all is called? Yes. So grumpy. Will I vote on these arguments if you win the debate? Also yes. Will it affect your speaks? No. Grumpy adults shouldn't get to determine what debaters do.
I appreciate scrappy debate. If you like to use tricks to win, fine by me. If you think an argument is silly, it shouldn't be too hard to beat.
What I don't appreciate is cowardly debate. I don't love watching rounds where the core strat seems to be defending nothing. Debate is about arguments and controversy. Embrace it. It's awesome.
Tech over truth, but the less true an argument is, the less tech you need to beat it. This is particularly true of 1NC strats the just shove a bunch of garbage non-arguments in to try to freak out the 2A.
My threshold for explanation on un-answered arguments is incredibly low. I don't think the 2A should have to spend time explaining the internal links of an advantage that has one impact d card on it, or the 2N should have to spend time explaining a dropped alt. You do, however, need to tell me what the IMPLICATION of those dropped or mostly dropped arguments is in order for me to know how to evaluate them and how they interact with other flows.
Quality over quantity; what constitutes quality is, of course, up for debate.
Questions are not arguments. I see way too many 2NRs/2ARs that say, "What does the alt/aff even do?" instead of just explaining why it wouldn't do anything.
I read cards to make sure you aren't clipping, but what they actually say doesn't factor into my decision unless there's some contestation by the debaters about the content of the evidence. Don't let a team get away with reading garbage cards that don't say anything. I'm not going to make that argument for you.
I get grumpy about arbitrary interps of theoretical arguments (conditionality, ROB's, really anything). This means I do think "conditionality bad" is a better interp than "they get three conditional advocacies." Relax, I don't actually think conditionality is bad, but I also don't think there's really a difference between three vs four or four vs five or five vs six conditional advocacies.
With the exception of conditionality, I default to theoretical objections are reasons to reject the argument or reasons that justify you also doing some theoretically illegit thing, like "perm do the counterplan."
For topicality, you need impacts. You're saying this team should lose the debate. That's a pretty steep punishment. You need to win more than just a violation here. I feel like a lot of debate in high school has devolved to just "if you win the violation, you win" type of debating. Standards/reasons to prefer are a thing for a reason. What affs would be allowed under their interp that you shouldn't have to prepare for? What off case positions do you lose access to?
I think "lit checks abuse" solves 90% of policy-based limits arguments. Aff teams should also make more arguments about why whatever ground the neg loses isn't ground they should have had in the first place. I think big topics are better than small topics provided those big topics have good neg generics. Politics and the states counterplan are not good neg generics.
Reasonability, to me, means that the neg had a reasonable amount of predictable ground, not that the aff is "reasonably topical," whatever that means. I don't think that means the aff's counter interp has to be "reasonable."
My favorite part of debate. I can be persuaded to (and even like to) vote neg on presumption, but the work done needs to be specific. I'm more likely to assign a low or no risk of the aff if there's a compelling internal link debate than if the 1AR dropped the third impact D card that's non-specific and two lines long.
I also think a well-leveraged aff can do a lot on other sheets of paper, especially when comparative work with the neg's offense is done.
Big pet peeve of mine is treating the aff like it's just one big page if it isn't. E.g. the 1AC had an advantage and a solvency contention, but the 1N just says "case" in their roadmap. Where on case? If it doesn't matter, you're not doing very good case debate. Same thing with the 2AC order. Why did you make the 1AC more than one page if you're not going to treat the pages as separate???
Your 2AC and 1AR advantage overviews are probably a waste of time in front of me. Overviews should frame the debate, not just extend 1AC cards.
This is where "quality over quantity" and "the less true and argument is, the less tech you need to beat it" become really important. Affs can beat bad disads on defense if affs explain why that defense is more important than everything the neg is saying (same goes for the neg with bad aff advantages). In terms of impact calc, I think probability is generally the most important. Zero risk is a thing. I default to uniqueness determines the direction of the link.
On balance, I think counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive. A 2A who's good at theory can win process counterplans just go away with enough work. I think counterplans should have solvency advocates, especially if you've added seven planks just designed to fiat out of solvency deficits. I don't kick the counterplan unless the 2NR tells me to. I am willing to vote aff on zero risk of a net benefit even if the counterplan solves 100% of the aff.
I don't have any preferences as far as whatever lit base you like to read in debates. I'm not afraid of the big bad Baudrillard.
My threshold for a link here seems to be comparatively low. I think this "links must be to the plan text" argument people keep making is absolutely ridiculous. If you get to weigh the aff, I think the neg should get links to the advantages.
My threshold for the alt is relatively high. Examples are good. Structural analysis with examples is better. Under no circumstances should the aff let the neg get away with fiating the alt. That's absurd.
Framework strats are also viable in front of me, e.g. I will vote on "any risk the 1AC is a settler project means you vote neg" assuming you are, in fact, winning the framework debate. I can be persuaded not to weigh the aff, but you really have to commit to this strategy.
For the 2AC, stick to the things that are really important. Don't read things/ make arguments you'll never go for unless they're actually dropped. It's a waste of time you don't have.
Always ask about floating piks. It's usually only a floating pik if you don't ask about it.
Aff framework arguments that compare world-views (i.e. "extinction outweighs epistemology") are far more compelling than framework arguments about procedural fairness (i.e. "the K is cheating").
I think it's reasonable for K affs to say that all they have to do is prove their method is good; if the method is good, I should vote for the aff. I am generally not persuaded by "winning is key to our method" arguments. Probably means you've got a bad method. Similarly, not of fan of consciousness-raising arguments. I don't know why that means I should vote for you.
I think T violations that deal with substantive parts of the resolution are better than framework violations about the fg. I think affs should be making the argument that any education claims about the fg are non-unique; it's part of the topic every year. I think the neg should make arguments about why policy education on this specific topic is good.
Anything can be an impact if you tell me it's an impact and explain why it outweighs your opponent's impacts. I generally think, for the neg, fairness-based impacts provide the best external offense, and education-based impacts provide the best in-roads to the aff. Both the aff and the neg should be doing some comparative work about how education and fairness implicate one another.
On balance, I think impact turn strats are better than counter interp strats for the aff in these debates. I think ethics arguments are the best offense for the aff. Affs can also internal link turn the majority of the neg's standards if they spend the time doing it instead of extending a wreck of random disads that are all basically the same.
I think the TVA and switch side are the best defense to the aff's impacts. I conceptualize TVAs as counterplans (an alternate mechanism to solve the same impacts while avoiding the net benefit, e.g. under limiting). That means I hold a TVA to similar standards; I think it should have to solve all or most of the aff and that the TVA should have a solvency advocate. Half the TVAs I hear aren't topical; not enough aff teams make this argument.
New word Ks in the 2AR - okay, so this is tricky. I think if you do this, I think it needs to be the whole 2AR, and I think you should be held to an exceptionally high explanation standard. I think you should have to pre-empt the 3NR the neg doesn't get.
Arguments about micro-aggressions - Fine as long as you explain the implication for this debate/ perhaps the community as a whole. Tell me what you want me to do about it.
Arguments that compare conditionality to structural privilege - Fine as long as you warrant them. Just saying, "This is the logic of..." isn't enough; tell me why.
So clipping. If you have somehow misrepresented what you have read/ if there is not a way to tell from the speech doc what was read, you have clipped. I've had some recent judging experiences that are moving me toward clarity being a clipping issue. If I can't understand any of the words in your cards, and it seems like this is to get in more cards, that's probably clipping. If I catch clipping, I will make sure I'm sure (usually during prep time), and then stop the debate. If a debater accuses someone of clipping, the debate stops right then. If the challenger is correct, they win. If they are not correct, they lose. I don't really know what to do with speaks here, tbh. I will give the person who clipped a 0, but everyone else is probably going to get somewhere between a 28.5 and a 29.5.
I start at a 28.5 and move up or down from there. If I think you should clear, I'll give you at least a 29.
Put me on the chain: Dundermifflindebate@gmail.com
1 - Tech > truth but cards decide close debates. Both sides need cards to back up their advantage and DAs, but I will not read cards unless they are disputed and/or the content of them is relevant to my decision. I will be happy to vote on your analytical press against a DA or someone's case. The best takeouts to most DAs and even advantages won't have cards for them but you SHOULD make the argument and I will vote on it. However, if both sides are clashing on an issue in the debate I will read the cards and they will shape my decision.
2 - Macro-strategy is the best way to win my ballot. A lot of debates I watch have a lot of good line-by-line and clash going on, but neither side is thinking about how arguments interact and what they want the ballot to say. The more judge instruction and thinking about the debate you do the more likely you are to win my ballot.
3 - A note on how I evaluate debates - At the end of every debate, I make a T chart where I write down what "world" is being advocated by each team in the final rebuttal and the pros and cons of each "world." Keeping this in mind when doing final speech impact calculus and judge instruction could help you win a close debate. This also means that I care about 'try or die' a lot more than most. In K debates, the neg could probably get pretty far by explaining how their framework should alter how I approach the debate and my decision.
K's / Framework -
For framework, the way the neg wins the debate is winning a clear impact and a clear no link argument (Especially a well-crafted TVA). For the aff, the best way to win my ballot is likely an impact turn rather than a crafty counter-interp. The most important thing to do in these debates is to explain to me how your case interacts with T and the role of the ballot.
For neg Ks, I will vote on anything. Explain how your K turns/interacts with the case and you're golden. If you're going to spend a lot of time on framework, make it count!
Alt solvency is not that important to me. Yes, you read that right… Pretty persuaded by reject alts + framework. Aff just defend what you said or impact turn
LOVE advantage CPs. There is nothing better than a 10 plank CP to solve every internal link in the 1AC. This will earn the neg team extra speaker points.
Solvency advocates preferred but not necessary.
For the aff, defeating these CPs requires 1) winning your aff is key and 2) answering their planks.
For process CPs, I am pretty middle of the road. A well crafted process CP can be an admirable argument.
This means the aff can win my ballot by going for theory pretty easily.
I'm also pretty good for aff certainty deficits and am more than willing to largely diminish the risk of artificial net benefits if the aff makes smart arguments against it.
Good for them. I am unlikely to vote on zero risk of a DA. There is always some risk and I'm better for neg spin for most judges.
I'd say i'm 50-50 on policy T rounds. Extra speaker points for both sides if the T debate is good -- T rounds are HARD and I will be impressed if everyone debates well in one of these rounds.
NOTE** - I will only flow ASPEC if it is a separate off-case. If you put ASPEC under T or try to hide it any other way, I will not vote for it under any circumstances. Nothing will bring me more joy than voting you down if you go for a dropped hidden ASPEC argument :)
The best way to get my ballot is to debate your best and have fun! I don't have any super strong argumentative preferences.
Being nice to your partner and your opponent > trying to seem smart.
(Some of these may be complicated by online debate but) Extra speaker points if you:
- show me your flow after the debate (extra extra points if it looks good)
- make arguments in your speech off the flow (not in your typed blocks or cards)
- mention that you read this paradigm before the debate
- make a joke in your speech (extra if it's funny, negative if it makes fun of the other team)
Blue Valley Northwest '19
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I enjoy judging teams that are entertaining, work hard, cut lots of cards, and play the game the right way. Conversely, if your strategy depends on ad homs, paper trails, breaking rules, saying debate is bad, trolling, and/or identity politics, please strike me.
The less germane your argument is to the topic, the lower the burden for a response. Arguments that could have been read near identically on a previous topic should not be introduced in the debate. Generally speaking, this includes but is not limited to recycled "process" counterplans, nonsensical impact turns, non-resolutional procedurals, and any argument that could be classified as a "shenanigan."
I will not evaluate procedurals through a strict offense/defense lens; otherwise, these arguments become a no-cost option. Absent an egregious practice, my bar is relatively high for voting on T/theory. To be clear, this does not mean I am sympathetic to teams that stretch the bounds of T; most interpretations used to justify these affs are unreasonable and should lose given semi-competent negative debating. I say this to disincentivize teams from going for unpredictable, manufactured interpretations designed to arbitrarily exclude a set of clearly topical affs to avoid having to cut case negatives. The same applies to going for conditionality with the knowledge of an impending loss on substance due to a skill discrepancy. In short, don't go for T or theory unless you have to. If debated shallowly, I will judge kick at my own discretion.
I do not share the rest of the community's disdain for reading card documents. An overwhelming majority of the time spent working on debate is research. As such, the outcome of debates should be heavily influenced by a debater's research skills. As I mentioned above, if you do not spend thousands of hours cutting cards and constructing files, your level of competitive success should reflect that commitment.
I do not conduct risk calculus based on the "extinction" fetish, and instead assess debates based on the likelihood of the overall risk of internal link chains. Contrary to popular belief, I believe that the limited spread of a disease, the destruction of a specific ecosystem, and a conventional war can all be bad in their own right.
I am not one to be Jedi mind tricked. Words coming out of your mouth do not automatically constitute an argument, even if "dropped." If you were unflowable or do not explain explain your argument, I am not going to pretend like I could understand you. If you read a card that is word salad, says the opposite of what it's cut to say, or is completely irrelevant, I am not going to engage in the mental gymnastics necessary to insert the argument for you. You are not playing 4D chess when you Frankenstein together a series of unrelated garbage, you likely just do not know what is going.
Background: 4 years at Baylor University, 1-Time NDT Qualifier. Assistant Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, 2018-2022, Assistant Coach at Dowling Catholic High School, 2019-Present. Currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science and I work for the Legislative Services Agency in Iowa.
Yes I want to be on the email chain: Sheaffly@gmail.com. Also email me with questions about this paradigm.
Paradigms are difficult to write because there are so many potential audiences. From novice middle schoolers to varsity college debaters, I judge it all. As a result, I want everyone reading this paradigm to realize that it was written mostly in terms of varsity college debates. I think about debate a little differently in high school and a little differently when it comes to novice debates, but I hope this gives you a general idea of how to debate in front of me
== TL;DR ==
Do line-by-line. I do not flow straight down and I do not flow off the speech doc. I am a DA/CP/Case kind of judge. I am bad at understanding kritiks and I am biased towards the topic being good. Be nice.
== Top Level - Flowing ==
It has become clear to me after years of judging that most of my decisions center not around my biases about arguments (which I won’t pretend not to have), but rather around my ability to understand your argument. My ability to understand your argument is directly related to how clean my flow is. Thus, it is in your best interest to make my flow very clean. I used to think I was bad at flowing, but I've come to the conclusion that line-by-line and organized debate has become a lost art. Debaters who learn this art are much more likely to win in front of me.
You are NOT as clear on tags as you think you are. Getting every 4th word of a tag is okay only if every 4th word is the key nouns and verbs. This is never true. So slow down on your tags, I am NOT READING THEM.
I’m not gonna flow everything straight down and then reconstruct the debate afterwards. The 1NC sets the order of the debate on the case, the 2AC sets the order of the debate off case. Abide by that order. Otherwise, I will spend time trying to figure out where to put your argument rather than writing it down and that’s bad for you.
Another tip: Find ways to give me pen time. For example, do not read 4 perms in a row. It’s impossible for me to write down all of those words. Plus, it’s always first and you haven’t even given me time to flip my paper over. And then your next argument is always an analytic about how the CP doesn’t solve and then I can’t write that down either. So stop doing things like that.
== Top Level – Arguments ==
Basic stuff: I love creativity and learning from debate. Make it clear to me how much you know about the arguments you are making. I don’t think this means you have to have cut every card you read, but understanding not just the substance of your argument, but the tricks within them is important.
As I said above, the thing that will be a problem for me is not understanding your argument. Unfortunately, this probably impacts Kritik debaters more than policy debaters, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I am probably a little more truth > tech than most judges. I believe in technical debate, but I also believe that debate is a place where truth is important. I don't care how many cards you have that say something, if the other team asserts it is not true and they are correct, they win the point.
== Top Level - Community Norms ==
1) For online debate, prep time stops when you unmute yourself and say stop prep. A couple of reasons for this. a) I have no way of verifying when you actually stopped prep if you come out and say "we stopped 15 seconds ago" and b) neither do your opponents, which means that you are basically forcing them to steal prep. I don't like it so that's the rule.
2) Debate is a messed-up community already. Don't make it more so. Be nice to each other. Have fun in the debate while you are disagreeing. If you make it seem like you think the other team is stupid during the debate, it's gonna make me grumpy. I love debate and I love watching people do it, but I hate confrontation and I hate it when people get angry about debates that don't matter that much in the long term. Be nice. Please.
3) This is mostly for high schoolers, where I see this issue all the time: If you are going to send a document without your analytics in it, making the version of the doc without the analytics in it IS PREP TIME. You don't get 45 seconds to send the document. Y'all are GenZ, I know you can send an email faster than that. You get 15 seconds before I break in and ask what the deal is. You get 20 seconds before I start prep again.
== Specifics ==
...Which Defend the Topic - I enjoy creativity. This includes creative interpretations of topicality. You should also read my thoughts on DAs as they apply to how you construct your advantages. Clear story is good.
...Which Do Not Defend the Topic - I am likely not a great judge for you. I think I may have a reputation as someone who hates these arguments. That reputation is not unearned, I built it up for years. But over time I’ve come to become a lot more accepting of them. There are many of these affirmatives that I think provide valuable debate. The problem I have is that I cannot figure out an interpretation of debate that allows the valuable "K Affs," but limits out the affs that I think are generally created to confuse their way to a win rather than provide actual valuable propositions for debate. I will always think of framework as a debate about what you JUSTIFY, rather than what you DO, and every interpretation I have ever seen in these debates simply lets in too much of the uneducational debates without providing a clear basis for clash.
I realize this sounds like I have been totally brainwashed by framework, and perhaps I have. But I want to be honest about where I'm at. That said, I think the above makes clear that if you have a defensible INTERPRETATION, I am willing to listen to it. You should also look at the section under kritiks, because I think it describes the fact that I need the actual argument of the affirmative to be clear. This generally means that, if your tags are poems, I am not ideologically opposed to that proposition, but you better also have very clear explanation of why you read that poem.
Framework: See discussion above. Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Education > procedural fairness > any other impact. “Ks are bad” is a bad argument, “their interpretation makes debate worse and uneducational” is a winnable argument. Topical version of the aff goes a long way with me.
Topicality: Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Case lists. Why that case list is bad. Affirmatives, you should talk about your education. I love creative interps of the topic if you defend them. But for the love of god slow down.
Disads: Absolutely. Well constructed DAs are very fun to watch. However, see truth vs. tech above – I have a lower threshold for “zero risk of a [link, impact, internal link] etc.” I love Politics DAs, but they’re all lies. I am up-to-date on the news. If you are not, do not go for the politics DA using updates your coaches cut. You will say things that betray that you don’t know what you’re talking about and it will hurt your speaks. Creative impact calc (outside of just magnitude, timeframe, probability) is the best impact calc.
Counterplans: I'm tired of the negative getting away with murder. I am VERY willing to listen to theory debates about some of these crazy process CPs which compete off of a net benefit or immedicacy/certainty. Theory debates are fun for me but for the love of god slow down. Otherwise, yeah, CPs are fine.
Kritiks: Eh. You can see the discussion above about K affs. I used to be rigidly ideological about hating the K. I am now convinced that the K can make good points. But because I was so against them for so long, I don’t understand them. I still think some Kritiks (here I am thinking mostly of French/German dudes) are basically designed to confuse the other team into losing. Problem is, I can’t tell the difference between those Kritiks and other Kritiks, because all Kritiks confuse me.
Very basic Ks are fine. Realism is bad, heg is bad, capitalism is bad, I get. Get much beyond that and I get lost. It's not that I think you're wrong it's that I have always been uninterested so I never learned what you're talking about. I cannot emphasize enough how little I understand what you're talking about. If this is your thing and I am already your judge, conceptualize your K like a DA/CP strategy and explain it to me like I have never heard it before. Literally, in your 2NC say: "We believe that X is bad. We believe that they do X because of this argument they have made. We believe the alternative solves for X." I cannot stress enough how serious I am that that sentence should be the top of your 2NC and 2NR. I have had this sentence in my judge philosophy for 3 years and this has been the top of the 2NC once (in a JV debate!). I do not know how much clearer I can be. Again, I am not morally opposed to Kritiks (anymore), I just do not understand them and I will not vote for something I do not understand. I believe you need a good link. Yes, the world is terrible, but why is the aff terrible. You also need to make your tags not a paragraph long, I never learned how to flow tags that were that long.
I am a former policy and IX debater, so speed is not much of an issue for me. I don't have a particular attachment to the formalities of debate, so theory arguments that can't prove obvious abuse don't move me too much. I think arguments designed to evaluate a policy proposal or resolution are more meaningful than arguments designed to 'win the game', and following that all advice I give is more in the interest of promoting clearly reasoned analysis than in the interest of strictly winning rounds. I believe that the burden of identifying specious logic is on the debater answering an argument, so I will not discredit faulty logic of an argument unless it is identified, but I will discredit responses to an argument that are similarly specious. If there are any other particular questions about how I judge, please ask me at the beginning of the round. If y'all have any questions or concerns about any feedback I give after the round, please feel free to reach out to me to expand or clarify anything, particularly since I am aware that my criticisms often are or appear harsh or unreasonable and I am always interested in adapting my language and approach to best engage debaters without dismissing or embittering them.
Ay yo what up! I'm Niko and I'm finna be your judge!!!
Put me on the chain plz:email@example.com
Debated for 4 years at Washburn Rural High School (go blues) - mostly went for DAs, CPs, and T. Also read USFG plans.
Debated for 4 years at Emporia State University (STINGERS DOWN) - mostly went for anti-Blackness, semiotics, and T.
I'm probs flowing on paper, that I took from you, please chill on speed or at least check to see if I got your stuff. I like to vote off the flow and it would be unfortunate if I didn't get your args down.
I don't know everything but I like to think I know some things.
Don't be a jerk, please. Actions that are not cool with me include but are not limited to being rude in CX, clipping cards, anti-Blackness, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, etc. If you do these things you will probs lose.
Arg thoughts below -
Welp, I bet y'all are wondering about my views on args.
I've bolded what I think is important but you can read all of it if you want.
I will pull the trigger on reasonability if the impact on T is not extended well. But in general, I think these debates should be about competing interpretations. I think T should be similar to a DA with UQ, Link, I/L, and Impacts. If I think these parts of T aren't clear then...RIP. I am not the biggest fan of SPEC debates, but I will watch it.
I think this debate is like a T debate but nobody treats it like that. I think negative teams need a solid TVA that has inroads to access some of the affs offense. I’ll vote on switch-side, but I don’t know if it should be your primary offense. I’ve seen myself more concerned with limits than ground since nobody can articulate what ground is lost due to including the aff. I just need teams to tell me what debates look like under their model.
I think theory debates can be hella cool (if they are more than reading blocks). I most likely will reject the argument, unless it's just a blowout. I think Condo can be a good thing but can be convinced otherwise pretty easily. Also, I think PIC/PIKs are generally good if they are actually specific to the aff.
For me to vote on the K with 100% confidence, I need some explanation of what is happening. I do not know your tricks. I think you'll win my ballot easily if you can spin a link specific to the aff. Tell me why the other team dropping that link to the K is a reason to kick the alt. Oh yeah, I should know what the alt does if you think I'm finna vote on it. But is it legit to kick the alt? Fam you better have some sick FW args. Is performance cool? Yo, you do you as long as you tie the performance to some theory. What about that perm tho? I think it's a test of competition. But hey if it's messed up let me know! I bet, I don't even need an impact, right? Slow your boat fam, you better have an impact.
I'm cool with any disad. Process and conditions CP are pretty sketchy, especially if they don't have a solvency advocate. PICs are cool - but I could see why they are bad. Impact-turn debates are sick plz go for it fam. Case debates are super tight please do them.
Glenbrook South '19 | University of Michigan '23
I've been both a 2A and 2N. I judged and led a lab at the University of Michigan camp this summer, and have researched on the topic.
Be organized. Do line-by-line, impact calc, judge instruction, and evidence comparison. Do not just read evidence in the 2AC/2NC/1NR. Smart analytics can overcome bad evidence.
Inserting rehighlightings is okay as long as the rehighlightings are short and the implication is explained in the speeches.
For everything below, I can be convinced otherwise through good debating. Feel free to ask clarification questions pre-round!
I love good case debating. No, this does not just mean yes/no impact. Yes, this means debating the internal link to advantages (and disadvantages). Debates can easily be won or lost here, and internal link comparison in the final rebuttals is underutilized.
Case-specific DAs are preferable, but politics can be good with decent evidence and persuasive spin.
Rider DAs are not DAs.
Advantage CPs are preferable to Agent CPs/Process CPs. PDCP definitions (from both sides) should have specific standards/theoretical justifications.
Condo is (probably) good, kicking planks is (probably) good, and judge kick is the default unless debated otherwise.
2NC CPs are good against new affirmatives, but against non-new affirmatives, the 2NC should justify their new planks. The 1AR can convince me this is abusive (especially if the 2NC is adding new planks to get out of a straight-turned DA).
Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, not the team unless debated otherwise.
It is important for both sides to map out what topics look like under their interpretations, especially at the beginning of the season. What affirmatives are included? What negative argument are guaranteed? What does each interpretation exclude? Examples help frame the round!
Evidence quality matters much more in these rounds!
T vs K Affs
Debate is a game, and competition/winning drives our participation in debate. The strongest impacts to T are fairness and clash (iterative testing, testing etc). Negative teams have had success in front of me when they utilize clash to link turn affirmative offense.
Specific TVAs are good. You do not need evidence as long as you have a plan text and explain what debate rounds would look like under the TVAs.
I am most familiar with Anti-Blackness, Capitalism, and Settler Colonialism literature, and not as familiar with Baudrillard, Bataille etc.
Please do not give extremely long overviews. Root cause claims, impact comparisons at the top are smart and strategic, but the rest of the "overview" can be incorporated into the line-by-line later on the flow.
Impact out each link!
Niles North '19
add me on the email chain Matt.Sturt.firstname.lastname@example.org
TLDR: I like debate a lot. Speak clearly. Speaks probs 27.5-29.5 Be Coherent. Tech>Truth most of the time
you should do the following
DO LINE BY LINE
TIME YOUR OWN SPEECHES AND PREP (if you really need me to do this i will, but don't expect great speaks)
you should not
BE RUDE IN CROSS-ex
BE ABLEIST , SEXIST, RACIST, or anything along those lines (I do not shy away from stopping rounds or calling people out) you will be reported to your coach and you will (hopefully) face repercussions
STEAL PREP i will also call you out for this
BE A RUDE PERSON
I believe that debate is a game, but not just a game. There are extrinsic and intrinsic values to debate that come aside from winning. my thesis for deciding rounds is whether or not a policy is desirable, so things aside from that don't have a ton of pull on decision. if you do run an arg that you think is not like this, I am most likely not the judge for you. If you somehow get stuck with me, its not impossible to win these types of args, but if you can switch your strategy, i would if i were you.
Also i have done some (not a ton) of research On the CJR topic and niles is my first tourney of the year , so please explain every acronym and implication of your aff/neg strat, even if you think its a given. I reserve the right to not vote for an argument if I can't explain it to the other team after the round.
in order for me to vote on a t arg, I need to know what is bad about the aff specifically in terms of 'breaking debate'. whether it be education, fairness ( which im pretty sure is an !, but my mental jury is still out on that one) or any other possible ! on t args. I also dont know this topic super well rn, so please explain things to me so that i know what this arg even is and am able to vote for it
Aspec is a real arg, you should flow and catch it (even if its not on the doc), but i might doc your speaks if you go for it. This should NOT be your strat going in, but if you feel that passionate about it, put it on another flow
i hope in the age of virtual debating you have the heart to at least put it on the doc. Please don’t put me in the situation where I have to vote neg bc the affs computer lagged and missed your .2 second ASPEC shell
A big thing on this aspect of the debate is both the ! level, but also how one gets there. if you read a nuke war = extinction !, the amount i deem it probability of both a. happening and b. it killing absolutely everyone is intrinsically intertwined with the I/L debate. I care a lot about every part of the DA, so you better have a convincing story about your DA. Also just a side note almost every DA, in my opinion, is theoretically legit, only exception is rider (NOT Horsetrading, those are different @TimFreehan). This includes Ptx, but I do have a bs meter and if its egregiously false/lacking ev, my bar becomes much lower to vote on aff o/w with just ! analysis.
i think most things are probs a reason to reject the arg. conditionalitY is not this way obvi. my mind can change on this, but like if you're going for theory i probs know what they are doing is abusive.
Counter plans were the heart and soul of my novice/jv debate career, but fell to the side as I looked forward into debate. That being said, your generic process/agent/actor/topic counterplan will still need some explanation, as to why it is a. better b. mutually exclusive and c. not too cheaty. refer to what i said above about theory, but if you go for a cheaty counterplan, and you're losing the judge kick part of the debate (more on that later), then rejecting that arg is pretty important in your stake in the debate. With aff specific Counter plans, Im gonna need you to explicitly say what the fundamental differences are between yours proposal and the aff. Do the same things as above to avoid losing to the Perm, but I will put some faith that you either wrote it, or understand it enough to know how it interacts. Again if you dont understand it, good luck getting me to.
Advantage cps are great, PICs that steal all of the aff except a word or phrase are probs abusive, but prove to me why they aren't
Judge kick needs to be debated early and often in front of me. I default not to give it, so make sure you flag it if you would like me to consider it.
Kritiks on the neg are becoming more and more of topic norms and generics in hs debate, and i absolutely love it. that being said i am probs not the right judge for super jargony and nuancey Kritiks, as i havent read the lit and will have massive problems understanding why your alt is preferable to the aff. Generics (think cap and security) sit well with me and you'll have to explain less as i very much understand them, but if you read baudrillard or [insert philosopher here], Im probs not gonna get it, and wont vote for it. going back to the above, i need a reason the aff is bad, and why ts case proves the alt is good/better. I dont think debate should be about whos world is perfect, but rather who's is less bad. Also i will vote for fw tricks, but i need a real explanation on them, not 10 seconds in your 2nc.
also, personal preference, if you have a lengthy overview at the top of your 2nc/2nr, pleas tell me so i can be ready to flow. makes my life and your life easier so i can evaluate it and the direct response to it.
K AFFS/ FW
fun fact about me: i read and defended a planless aff for exactly 3 rounds during my highschool career and lost all three of those rounds, so please do not consider me an expert in the realm of planless/kritikal affirmatives. this does not mean, however, that i am against this style of debate. when debating I have gone for fw every time against a k aff except once, so I understand that offense against it the most. just being honest, i do think policy debate should be rooted in some form of policy or action, so i inherently lean towards frameworky type args, but I can and will vote for K affs, given that I understand them.
my judging record shows i am incresingly good for the k aff, but the above is still true.
i default to "ROB: team who does better debating"
if your strat as a non traditional aff is "C/i - the USFG = the people" im not the judge for you. You will lose this arg 99% of the time in front of me
K V K ROUNDS
i am not the judge for you, just being honest. i dont understand a lot of the args already with the k aff, throwing another one in makes the whole thing even messier and less understandable.
Overall, I am fairly policy oriented, but like the k when read/explained well
any questions be sure to email (it is at the top) me or ask me before the round - i am an open book and will tell you preferences that i have
Put me on the email chain (WayneTang@aol.com). (my debaters made me do this, I generally don't read evidence in round)
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years at Maine East (1992-2016) and now at Northside College Prep (2016 to present). I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and generally see a decent percentage of high level debates. 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 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.
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.
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 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). 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, for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and 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 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.
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 27.5. Anything between 28.8 and 29.2 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. I think that if you are in the middle my points are pretty consistent. Unfortunately for those who are consistently in the top 5% of many tournaments, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me (e.g., above a 29). Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen, Matt Fisher 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 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, like 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 paranoid delusional (and probably medicated) 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 lunacy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, Sun-Ra, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), world government etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter). I will not hesitate to vote against teams for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have had to do that less than double digits time in my 35+ years of judging.
Updated - 11/17/20
Background: I debated in high school at Minneapolis South and in college at the University of Minnesota '17. I've coached policy debate for 6 years, and am currently the Head Coach of Minneapolis South high school.
If you have any questions about my paradigm/rfd/comments, feel free to email me at: email@example.com & also use this to put me on email chains, please and thank you.
I will enforce the tournament rules (speech times/prep/winner and loser, etc.), but the content of the round as well as how I evaluate the content is up to the debaters. Judge instruction is important -- my role is to decide who did the better debating, what determines that is up to you.
Water Topic Thoughts:
All of this is as of Glenbrooks, and subject to change.
1) Extra points if your aff is a big change from the squo - but probably a higher chance of winning if it's not...
1) Thought T-Cessation was bad at Greenhill - still think it's bad, but haven't seen a good definition and there needs to be a limit to the topic so I'm persuadable on debateability o/w predictability (or anything else you can come up with for why your Neg T-interp sets a good limit)
1) Biz Con is a bad DA - sympathetic that there's not good core generics but I'm going to be rolling my eyes during your 2NR
2) Will appreciate creative Ptx DAs
1) Nothing really of note on this topic
2) I dislike adv cps with a ton of planks, and con con
1) Love 'em, do you
1) Judge kick the alt/cp, unless instructed otherwise
2) Condo is good, but there's a limit (i.e. kicking planks probably bad)
3) 2ar only gets args made in the 1ar, but gets to respond to 2nr spin
1) Sending a marked copy does not constitute prep, but requesting a doc where "unread cards are deleted" constitutes prep and will also lower your speaks...just flow the debate
Updated Feb 2017
Yes, I want to be on the email chain, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a team that has been judged by me in the past there aren’t many changes. This is mostly an update b/c I haven’t looked at this thing in like 7 years.
I don’t really have strong argumentative preferences. Do what you do best and I will give you my best attempt to understand what you are arguing. Complete arguments have a claim, warrant and impact (reason it matters in the debate). Incomplete arguments rarely make it into my decision.
I flow and I don’t really read speech doc until I need a specific piece of evidence at the end. I value line-by-line refutation and get irritated when arguments don’t line. Overview proliferation is annoying. Most of those args can just be made on the lbl. I also flow on paper so undeclared overviews destroy my flow.
Good impact analysis helps my decision. Spend a little time talking about timeframes and probabilities instead of just magnitude. Often times mag is a tie, so I need something to clarify the extinction v extinction debate, obviously.
I look mad all the time. I’m not actually mad. It has no bearing on how I feel about the debate or you as debaters. If I am mad at you, you will know it.
Links are links not Disads to XYZ. If you win a link that means the argument competes, it isn’t a DA to anything on its own.
Debaters should handle their own CXs. If they need help that is fine, but they should at least be given the chance to answer questions in their own CX.
You are 18-25 year olds, figure out how email works. Excessive time sending email will result in prep time restarting.
I find it kind of sad that debaters aren’t funny anymore. I reward humor with points. Obviously, you should consider audience and appropriateness but don’t take everything so seriously all the time.
I don’t really have anything substantive to say here. You can outweigh the aff with a good disad you don’t always have to have a counter-plan but you do have to win case defense. It also helps if you explain the warrants of the case defense in relation to the aff impact claims (instead of just reading cards and letting me sort it out). In DA outweighs the aff rounds, you must have internals between your DA and the case impacts OR some really good defense. You also need to spend a lot of time on internals and TF/Prob differentials.
I pretty much adjudicate K debates like I do disads, did you prove a link and does the impact outweigh. Also typically in K rounds I will ask myself at the end of the round if I can explain in plain English why I voted on this argument (to the losing team). In other words if you can’t explain a K in simple English it becomes more difficult (not impossible) for me to vote for you. Alternatives don’t have to solve the aff if they solve the K and it outweighs the aff.
Self-serving roles of the ballot are annoying. My ballot typically indicates who did the better debating. Sometimes that better debating means that you convinced your opponents that the ballot means something different, but for real that ballot doesn’t change just b/c you said so. Go ahead and play the game but like all other arguments you are going to have to win this. A simple assertion of a new role is not enough. If you want to change the role of the ballot you are going to have to have a rationale for why your role is good for debate/the round/has some justification that goes beyond “you want to win the round”.
It is a voter. I usually evaluate on competing interps. I can be persuaded by reasonability however I think that these args are deployed weakly these days. Reasonability is a value claim and as such you need to assert the value (i.e. we are reasonable) and then explain how to evaluate reasonableness (how do I recognize if something is reasonable). The aim of this should be to take the onus off of my moral system of what is reasonable/fair to me and put it more on an objective system for recognizing reasonability in relation to community norms. It helps if you have a vision for debate and can defend it and don’t just treat T/FW as an analytic disad.
I often struggle with theory debates because people blaze through them with no regard for pen time. If you want to win theory debate you have to have a clear link and impact and explain why the impact should merit the ballot. I won’t read your blocks, if I can’t understand it from the speech and my flow then it doesn’t count.
Please make sense of your arguments and ask for a ballot. I want to do the least work possible as a judge to determine an rfd.
10+ years as a judge. Debate is a game among other things. At this point, I'm pretty soulless and I don't know what more to say than that. The rounds that I enjoy the most are well organized and the debaters attempt to inform clear decisions on how the game should be won.
Fine with all kinds of debate and arguments
Updated 1/7/23 for clipping/ethics challenge policy (at bottom)
4 years in Kansas in high school, 4 years at Baylor University, now a grad student and coach at KU and Barstow.
Add me to the email chain please: email@example.com
Do what you do best, I will do my best to be unbiased when evaluating arguments. I tend to take a long time making decisions regardless of the round, so don't read into it.
Judge instruction/telling me how to write my ballot is really important, points will be higher and you'll be more likely to win if you put the pieces together in the 2NR/2AR, are honest about the parts of the debate you're winning and losing, actually make decisions about what to go for, etc.
As I continue to judge, I find myself prioritizing tech over truth more and more, exception being when arguments/debates are violent, unsafe, etc. This means that you might think an argument is totally nonsensical, nonresponsive, etc. and I might agree, but you have to make those arguments in a speech in order for me to consider them when making my decision. If you want me to evaluate the debate through a lens other than tech, you should say that and explain what that means/why that mode of evaluation is better.
If you're talking at the same time as someone else, ex. in CX or if prompting your partner, odds are I could not hear or understand what you were saying. This is especially true in the world of online debate.
I think you should probably have to read re-highlighted ev, not just insert it. Open to persuasion but debates where both teams are inserting re-highlightings without analysis or explanation are negative persuasive to me.
I am generally open to whatever arguments you want to run, with the obvious caveat being that arguments that are racist, transphobic, violent, etc are unacceptable and auto-losses. The other exception is wipeout. More critical arguments about death are fine, but I am not particularly willing to listen to or vote on suffering outweighs any potential for pleasure/we are primed to be afraid afraid of death but should die anyway.
I will read along with you in the doc while you are reading cards but I will not read along with the analytics you send, that's not a substitute for clarity or slowing down to give pen time. I also don't generally re-read a ton of evidence at the end of the debate unless told to, your analysis/explanation in round is much more important to me. If I'm in a position at the end of the debate where I have to put things together myself by sorting through a lot of evidence that received very little explanation, neither of us will probably be particularly happy with the decision.
Stealing a line from Ned's philosophy, "I haven’t heard an RFD that went along the lines of 'I really loved how you kept calling me by my first name...'" because this makes me super uncomfy if we don't really know each other.
Slow down, be clearer. Make sure you can hear judges/other people in the round so you don't miss people telling you to pause or repeat an order.
I will vote on it if you win it, but that probably means you need more than one sentence on it in the 2AC. Slow down on these debates. I lean condo being the only reason to reject the team.
Slow down some. Impact it out in the 2NR. Don't forget to explain what winning competing interps or reasonability actually means for you.
DAs and CPs
I don't do a lot of topic research, so it'll be helpful for both of us if you do a little more explanation on topic specific things like link stories/solvency mechanisms/etc.
Good analytics can definitely beat a crappy DA. Winning terminal defense/zero percent risk is possible.
Explain why winning framework matters for you and how you still win the debate even if you lose framework.
You don't necessarily need a material alt to win if you go for framework.
2ACs should explicitly answer each of the link arguments even if it's just by explaining that it's a link to the status quo, a block that can impact out a dropped link argument well is likely to get my ballot as long as they are somewhat ahead on the framework or impact framing debate.
Good. I do think it is possible to vote neg on presumption, so specific analysis about aff solvency or method is important. I find myself voting overwhelmingly aff in debates where the negative concedes the aff in the 2NR, so I strongly recommend extending your best 1 or 2 case arguments regardless of what else you're going for.
Neg: I think it's about models of debate, if you’re going for framework as a way to exclude entire critical lit bases/structural inequalities/content areas from debate then we are not going to get along.
Explain why fairness, clash, etc. is an impact and how your model accesses the aff's impacts. A well-developed TVA is great. These debates are pretty hard to win in front of me if you fully concede case.
Aff: Explain what debate looks like under your counter interp or counter model of debate or explain why you don't need a counter model. I am not a huge fan of the 2AC strategy of saying as many disads to framework as possible without explaining or warranting any of them out.
If I cannot follow along in the evidence as you're reading it due to clarity issues or I can see you're skipping words as I'm following along, I will clear you once. If you continue skipping words or clipping and the other team does not call it out, I will let the debate continue and give feedback for educational purposes but will drop the team clipping. If you're clipping and the other team does call it out and issues an ethics challenge or otherwise ends the debate, I will end the debate, drop the team clipping, and give feedback based on the debate thus far.
If there is an ethics challenge issued and the debate is stopped, the team who is correct (about the clipping, miscut evidence, citation problem, etc.) wins the debate. Arguments about evidence ethics can be made absent an ethics challenge and without stopping the debate; for example, when connected to a citational politics argument. However, if one team says to stop the round because something is an ethics challenge, the round will stop and the team who is correct about the issue will win.
As mentioned above, arguments that are racist, transphobic or queerphobic, sexist, or that otherwise make the debate violent or unsafe will result in a loss and, depending on the situation, stopping the debate.
Bloomington Jefferson HS ’17, U of MN ’21, current grad student in Communications/debate coach at UGA
Last updated: February '21
Please include me on email chains/contact me if you have questions: allegro.wang [at] gmail
Coached Wayzata '17-'18, coach at Minneapolis South since '18
I have experience in both policy and critical debate and have coached teams going for a wide range of arguments as well. Most of my HS experience consists of K debate, predominately queer theory, trans/gender studies, and args about whiteness. In college, this has expanded to include Baudrillard, set col, Dark Deleuze, etc. However, I've generally been more flex and policy leaning in college and will judge each round as objectively as possible. Doing what you do best is more likely to win you the debate than reading arguments you think I'll "enjoy" listening to.
Tech > truth
Ev quality > quantity
An unwarranted claim isn’t an argument
I did a bit of camp work this summer, so I have basic topic knowledge. Don't assume I know what your acronyms/etc. stand for.
Please don’t call me “judge,” call me by name
Slightly less dead on the inside than Buntin (though at this point, it's a very slim margin)
In terms of language in rounds, using problematic language (i.e. saying something racist, trans/homophobic, ableist, misgendering someone, etc.) will result in docked speaks.
Below are some random thoughts about specific arguments if it helps
Framework and K Affs
I don’t really have predispositions in a framework round – I’ve both read K affs and gone for framework. That being said, I generally find clash and fairness the most persuasive impacts to framework. TVAs and switch-side arguments can be useful for the neg, but I don't think they're necessary to win the debate.
I think case should be grappled with in some way in the 2nr, either by directly going to case or telling me why your impact on FW turns case.
Don’t really have a specific opinion on truth or arg-testing as impacts. I think at best this is generally a defensive filter for how I should evaluate the aff's offense, not a reason to vote on presumption.
I'm most compelled by critical affs that have a counter-interpretation and can describe how it resolves at least some of the negative's offense. The further the aff is from the resolution, the more compelling I find procedural arguments by the negative. That being said, I have voted on affs that only go for impact turns to framework.
I do think affs should talk, in some way, about the resolution. Otherwise, the aff needs strong justifications for why debating about the resolution at all is bad.
Ks and K Affs
Controlling the link debate is probably the easiest way to win for either side.
“No perms in a methods debate” – not super persuaded by the arg on face
If going for the perm, it's helpful if the aff contextualizes what the world of the perm looks like in comparison to the alt alone, and what the net benefit to the perm is. The opposite applies for the neg---explaining what the alt looks like and how it solves/interacts with the aff helps a lot.
I’m pretty neg leaning on theory unless there’s substantial in-round abuse
Condo is usually the only reason to reject the team (though, as I've debated and judged more, I've realized I still have a very high threshold to voting on condo--as in, must be functionally dropped. I think infinite conditionality is good and the aff has an uphill battle to win otherwise)
If going for theory, tell me what your interpretation looks like for debate and why that's good
If raising an in-round ethics violation, there should be a record of what the violation was (ex. if you think your opponent clipped, there should be a record of where they clipped).
I flow CX and will reward smart CX execution with higher speaks
I will not make decisions based on events that happened outside of the debate
I have familiarity with most lit bases, both in identity arguments and postmodernism/high theory, but you should still avoid being overly reliant on buzzwords and make sure to contextualize arguments/links. Don't assume I've read your lit in-depth.
Experience in K debate means I tend to have a higher threshold for explanation, especially on the link debate.
I don’t think the alt is necessary in the 2NR for the neg to win, but if you aren’t going for it, the links and impact/impact framing need to be well developed and contextualized.
If going for the perm, articulate what the world of the perm looks like in relation to the alt and why it’s preferable. The perm on the K often seems to be articulated like the perm on the CP – solely a question of competition, which is different from the method of the K and whether or not they're compatible.
I'm also definitely down to judge an aff that goes all on on deterrence, heg good, etc. to turn a K - it seems like teams are too willing to read an unfamiliar aff to try and avoid links, which often results in worse explanations. If you're more comfortable going for a hard-right impact on the aff, it will likely result in a better debate - don't over-adapt.
If possible, try to keep overviews short and stick to the line by line. If there's a long overview, let me know I need space for it.
I don’t have much topic knowledge for the HS topic – that’s probably good for the negative because it means I don’t have a predetermined vision for what the topic should be, but also means I don’t have much knowledge on the nuances of what affirmatives look like under particular definitions.
I lean towards competing interpretations as a framing to evaluating T - if the aff is going for reasonability, it helps to articulate what your vision of a “reasonable” resolution looks like and why it’s good for debate/sufficient to resolve the neg's offense.
*The next part on the impact to T is shamelessly stolen from Ezra Serrins because he sums up my thoughts so well*
"The resolutional wording defines affirmative ground. Topicality arguments that speak to a predictable and precise definition of the topic, and teams that win their definition is a more literature supported, predictable definition of the topic will have success with me judging. These arguments carry a burden of proof only that one definition is better than the other definition."
CPs should probably be both functionally and textually competitive. Pure textual/functional competition tends to be a slippery slope to bad counterplan debates. Not knowing a ton about the topic means I have less knowledge about specific mechanisms for CJR which might affect competition.
I default to judge kick (including individual planks) unless told otherwise.
In terms of CP theory specifically, I tend to err neg unless the neg has done something uniquely abusive in the debate. If you think theory is your best way to win in the debate, go for it.
I love a good topic DA and case debate
Card quality > quantity is especially relevant on DA/case debates. I also think rehighlighting opponent's evidence is underutilized in high school debate (inserting rehighlighted ev does not count---it needs to be read out loud at some point---CX counts)
Presumption/zero risk arguments exist, including through the use of smart and well-warranted analytics (i.e. disconnect between the opponent’s evidence, missing internal links on the DA/advantage, etc.)
Impact turn debates are one of my favorites to judge (since I go to Minnesota). That being said, arguments like “racism good” and “misogyny good” aren’t real arguments and will severely hurt your speaker points.
2023 update: I have not judged in a couple years, so going a bit slower is best for me as well as explaining any jargon relevant to the topic.
I do not need to be on the email chain if it's an LD round, I would like to be on the email chain if it's a policy round. I have no preferences on standing/sitting.
Background: I debated for four years of policy debate (Norfolk, NE), debated NFA-LD for the University of Nebraska (2 years), and previously the policy coach at Lincoln High (NE).
Affirmative: Do what you want, I am not fundamentally opposed to nontraditional affirmatives.
Negative: Run what you feel comfortable with. I think playing to your strengths makes for a better and more exciting round. I am a sucker for theory debates but ultimately want to see what debate you enjoy.
Kritiks: The only particular I have is that the alternative needs to be explained well. If I don't understand your alternative, I'm going to have a hard time voting off it.
General: I try my best to vote based off of what I hear in round. I have particular opinions about debate, but I will do my best to judge based off the round rather than my own preferences. I prefer analysis over card dumping. The more contextualized analysis is usually the more compelling to me. In general, I like it when you're genuine with your arguments. I want you to like them and I want to be able to like them. You spent a lot of time cutting these positions, do them justice.
One thing I particularly don't like (and will have a hard time voting on) are quick and dirty theory shots to win the round. An example might be an observation that says you, by definition, win the round or something. If that's what you want me to vote on, a clean extension is not sufficient. You need to invest time into arguments that you want me to vote on, these observations/theory points included. I will not vote on a theory pot-shot that you put a combined 45 seconds into. I need analysis as to why you want me to vote on that thing.
Email me if you have questions and please put me on the chain: dylan.willett8 at gmail dot com as well as firstname.lastname@example.org. I coach for the Asian Debate League. I debated for UMKC. In college, I mostly went for framework, topic DAs, and an assortment of topic critiques. As a coach I mostly have spent the last year working on random policy stuff, but have spent a lot of time working with critical approaches to the topic as well.
Be bold, read something new, it will be rewarded if you do it well. Analysis of evidence is important. I have found that over the past few years I have grown my appreciation for more of the policy side of research not in an ideological lean, but rather I am not starting from negative with process counterplans, I appreciate clever disadvantages, etc. If you have good cards, I am more willing to reward that research and if you do something new, I will definitely be happy.
I begin my decisions by attempting to identify what the most important arguments are, who won them, and how they implicate the rest of the debate. The more judge instruction, including dictating where I should begin my decision by showing me what is most important will help determine the lens of how I read the rest of the arguments
I find that I am really annoyed by how frequently teams are asking major flow clarifications like sending a new file that removes the evidence that was skipped. Please just flow, if there is an actual issue that warrants a question its obviously ok, but in most situations it comes across as not paying attention to the speeches which is a bit frustrating.
I like good, strategic cross-ex. If you pay attention and prepare for your cx, it pays dividens in points and ballots. Have a plan. Separate yourself and your arguments here!
I am a big fan of case debates that consist of a lot of offense – impact turns or link turns are always better than just pulling from an impact d file.
I think that I mostly lean negative on theory arguments – I would be really sad if I had to parse through a huge theory debate like condo, but am willing. I think I start from a predisposition that condo, PICs, etc are okay, and change based off the theory debate as it develops. I think theory is an important part of an affirmative strategy versus good, and especially cheaty, counterplans. I don't think education is a super persuasive argument in theory debates I have found. Way easier to go for some type of fairness argument and compare internal links versus going for some abstract notion about how conditionality benefits or hurts "advocacy skills".
In framework debates, the best teams spend a lot of their speeches on these flows answering the nuanced developments of their opponents. AFF or NEG teams that just say a different wording of their original offense in each speech are setting themselves up to lose. I am interested in hearing what debates would look like under each model. I like education arguments that are contextual to the topic and clever TVAs and impact turns are good ways to get my ballot while making the debate less stale. I find the framework teams that lose my ballot most are those that refuse to turn (on the link level or impact level, in appropriate manner) AFF offense. I find the K AFF teams that lose my ballot most are those that don't double down on their offense and explain how the NEGs impacts fit in your depiction of how debate operates.
Ks, DAs, CPs, T, FW, etc are all fine to read and impact turn – as long as I am judging a round where there is some attention to strategy and arguments are being developed, I will be happy. Definitely willing to vote on zero risk of a link.
Rosemount High School (MN)
Debate Experience: 4 years HS policy (1987-1991), 2 years CEDA (1991-1993)
Coaching/Judging Experience: 32 years judging, 18 of these actively coaching
St. Thomas Academy 1993-2001
Last update: 2022-11-19
Building on evidence highlighting argued below. If the highlighted portion of your evidence is word salad and/or changes the author's intent when read in isolation, I will stop the round and immediately vote on an ethical violation. This means a loss and minimum allowable points to the offending team. National circuit evidence standards are atrocious and need to be changed. This may be quixotic, but so be it.
Yes, email chain.
I have changed the email address I use for email chains. The old one will still work, but please use email@example.com going forward
New 2021-10-02: Your evidence highlighting should read in grammatically correct sentences when read in isolation. I will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis (generally, there should be a legitimate argumentative purpose for doing otherwise).
None of the older profile information below is out-of-date, feel free to refer to it for additional information.
I'm definitely an older coach but I like a lot of what K debate has brought to the community. I'm unique among the Rosemount coaching staff in that respect.
I most enjoy judging rounds where the aff and the neg have an underlying agreement on how the round should look. I prefer to judge either policy v policy debates or K v K debates.
* I prefer that the negative engage with the affirmative. The better the specificity of link arguments, the more likely the negative is to win their chosen arguments.
* I roughly think of my judging philosophy as "least intervention". My hope is to try to not do any work for debaters, but this is the ideal and rarely occurs in practice. So I generally look at what I would need to do to vote for either team and choose the outcome that requires the least work on my part. I do my best to not interject personal beliefs into the debate, but realize this isn't always possible.
* I don't like most process or actor CPs, but often vote for them. When neg CP lit says a topic should be left to the states, that lit never means "all 50 states act in concert" but instead usually means "states should be free to not do anything". Affs could do a lot with this, but never do.
* I despise politics DAs, but again find myself voting for them. In 30+ years of debating and judging these, I think I've heard one scenario that had any semblance of truth to it. I think negative over-simplification of the political process and the horse-race mentality engendered by these DAs has been bad for debate and bad for society as a whole. But again, I rarely see Affs making the arguments necessary to win these sort of claims.
* I have a debate-level knowledge of most Kritiks. My knowledge of the literature is about 20 years old at this point and I rarely cut cards for my teams. What this means if you're running a K (either aff or neg): assume that I'm a judge who is willing to listen to (and often vote for) what you say, but don't assume any specific knowledge. This is particularly important at the impact level. If I have a warranted and detailed explanation as to why your model of debate is essential,
* In debates between similarly skilled teams, Framework debates usually come down to "is the aff in the direction of the resolution?". If so, I usually vote aff. Otherwise, neg. If you're a policy team, you're probably better off going for even a Cap K in front of me than for Framework.
* Even in person, you're not as clear as you think you are. This is doubly so in online debates. Slow down a little and you'll likely be happier with my decision.
* It's come to my attention that some teams have shied away from going for theory because of what I've written below. If you believe your violation is true, go ahead and go for it. My preference is to decide debates on the issues, but if I can get good clash on a theory or T flow, that's OK too.
* Disclosure theory is exempt from the preceding bullet. If you can win the debate on disclosure theory, there are better arguments you can make that you can also win on.
* If you're a big school on the circuit where I'm judging you, running a "small schools DA" will likely see speaker points reduced.
* I don't like a 6+ off neg strategy. If you're obviously far more skilled than your opponents and still do this, speaker points will suffer. Regardless, I'm probably more likely to vote on condo bad or perf con than most judges (but see everything else I've written on theory)
* I love good topicality debates. I also love creative (but defensible) affirmative interpretations of the topic. I default to "good is good enough"/reasonability for the aff on topicality, but can be persuaded to vote for the competing interps model. Just saying "reasonability invites judge intervention" isn't enough though. Believe it or not, so does competing interps.
I actively coached from 1993 until 2001 before largely leaving the activity for a dozen years. I got back into coaching in 2013 and have been in the activity since then. My time away from the activity proved to profoundly affect the way I view debates.
I view debate as an educational activity and my primary responsibility as a judge as facilitating that education. It is important to note what this means and what it does not mean. What it does not mean is that I like arguments that impact in "voting issue for reasons of education." Leaving aside the irony of the lack of educational value in those sorts of arguments, I am not saying that I will vote for the "more educational" team, whatever that means. What I do mean is that the round can be a very educational environment and my position is to assist that as best as I can. Argumentatively, I am looking for well-reasoned logical arguments, preferentially with strong evidential support. Counterplans which are contingent on successful consultation of any sort are almost always lacking here. Almost all politics DAs that I've ever heard have this problem as well. You're going to have a much easier time if you run a DA, CP, or a K with a solid literature-based link story.
Theory and Analytics: In-round abuse is more persuasive than potential abuse. I have a large presumption against voting on theory, although I have voted on it. To win on theory, you'll probably need to spend substantial time in the last rebuttal and offer a persuasive story. SLOW DOWN when arguing theory. Give me a tag that I can get on my flow and then explain it. Five consecutive four word responses will likely get the first one or two responses flowed, and the rest missed. If it's not on my flow, I can't vote on it. The explanation is the most important part of the argument.
Topicality: Topicality stems from plan action. Placing the resolution in plan text or looking to solvency do not prove topicality. My default view is that if the affirmative interpretation provides an equitable division of ground and plan meets their interpretation, they will win the argument. Generally speaking, if the negative wins topicality, they win the debate. I have been persuaded to vote contrary to my default views in the past. The negative need not win that their interpretation is best for debate, but it helps.
Non-traditional Affirmatives: I don't insist that the affirmative run a plan but any planless aff better be prepared to explain how they engage the resolution. I'm much more willing to accept a non-traditional interpretation of the terms of the resolution than I am to accept an aff that completely ignores the resolution or runs counter to the direction of the resolution.
Evidence sharing/email chains: As of 2017, I have updated my philosophy on these. I would now like to get all speech docs that are shared. Please add me to any email chain using firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that I will not use the speech doc to help flow your speech.
One notable change for the worse over the last decade is the terrible practices that paperless debating has fostered. I approve of paperless debating in the abstract and in a good deal of its implementation, but teams have taken to receiving a speech doc before the speech as a crutch and flowing and line by line debate have suffered as a result. I'm not happy with the blatant prep time theft that pervades the activity, but I recognize that any gesture that I make will be futile. I will take action in particularly egregious cases by deducting from prep time (or speech time, if no prep remains).
Please ask before rounds for clarification.
Lincoln Douglas Philosophy:
I judge far more policy than LD, but I'm not a stranger to judging or coaching LD. I have no predispositions toward any particular style, so largely you should feel free to do what you're most comfortable with. I will not vote for a policy argument just because I'm predominantly a policy judge, although I will listen to them. Be sure to offer full explanations. LD time formats can be challenging, prioritize explanations over evidence. Anything above that isn't specific to policy will apply in LD as well. Your explanations are the most important part of the debate.
Updated 1/9/2019 to add LD
Pronouns: She/her/hers; pronounce my name correctly or not at all. Just "judge" is fine too if you have relevant questions/comments before/after round.
- I will not tolerate any discourteous behavior. Failing to respect your opponents and your partner is a sure way to lose speaker points, or worse.
- Run what you want, but be clear and err towards over-explaining, especially when it comes to niche Ks.
- Add me to the email chain! email@example.com
If time, here's the lengthy judge ramble that can be extremely useful to you if you adapt well:
I debated for four years, primarily as 1A/2N, at Roosevelt High School (SD). I no longer debate policy, as I attend uni in Singapore (Yale-NUS College '23). I have only judged two tournaments on this topic; I have debated and judged on the following topics: surveillance, China engagement, education, & immigration.
You can see the full list of arguments I've ran on the wiki, but if you're reading this 5 minutes before the round, you should know I am not well-versed in most kritiks or extremely technical conditional positions in general. Err on the side of over-explaining these arguments for me!
Speed: If you are clear, go for it. If you aren't, slow down. If I stop flowing for a long period of time, you are probably going too fast for me.
CX: Tag team is fine, but be respectful of the space you take up at all times. This means not dominating your partner or being rude to your opponent. Aggressive is fun, if you want to be! Note that aggressive ≠ mean.
Conditionality: Condo is always a strategy, but if poorly executed or evidently abusive, aff should punish neg - I won't do your work for you.
Case: Debate it. Everyone - debate it. The most ethos-y you can get in front of me is beating someone's case with their own evidence/arguments.
Theory: Please have voters, and try to get off your blocks and line by line your opponents if you want a theory ballot. I have a breadth over depth understanding of theory, so do not speed through your standards at max speed and expect me to flow you.
Topicality: I have not judged on the topic, so try not to assume I know your pet T by heart. In front of me, T is a great strategy and the best debates require you to get off your blocks and engage your opponent. Punish your opponent for dropped arguments! Kicking T can also be a great strategy. Time suck is not a voter. If you're neg reading multiple Ts and cross-applying standards, please read the standards on the first T.
DAs: Bread and butter. I prefer specific links, but generic links contextualized to the debate are just as good. Politics DAs are not the worst ever, nor are they the best ever. Impact calc saves lives (and ballots).
CPs: Fun! If specific to the aff, even better! Needs a net-benefit - internal or external is fine with me.
Ks on the neg: Fun! Must clash with the aff, must tell me how to weigh the affirmative impacts vs. whatever K says - if no one does this, I will default to weighing impacts. Kicking the alt is an uphill battle in front of me. F/W impact turns are fun; I ran security a bunch in hs.
Ks on the aff: This is certainly my weakest area of evaluation, and my bottom line is that K affs should be in the direction of the topic. Also, I'm not a big fan of performative contradictions so don't argue debate bad in front of me. Explain explain explain, please! For the affirmative: smart arguments are good arguments. Both sides need to bring clash to the round, just like in any other round.
Any other questions? Ask me before the round or email me beforehand.
If you've made it this far, note that I'll reward a good joke with +0.1 speaks! We all need a reminder that debate is meant to be a fun educational activity.
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.
Northwestern University '22 (do not debate here)
- no real preference between policy vs k arguments but k teams have a slightly higher bar to meet in terms of explaining their arguments given my policy background. with that being said, run what you want and i promise i will do my best to follow
- slow down on theory/t arguments
- tech over truth to an extent. truer arguments are inherently easier to win so keep that in mind throughout the round when making strategic decisions. also, a dropped argument is not a true argument until you sufficiently explain the impact of the dropped argument in the context of the flow/round. however, i will not let my personal thoughts about the world wholly influence my decision-making unless you run something dumb and objectively morally corrupt like death good or racism good
- perm do both, perm do the plan and non-mutually exclusive parts of alt, etc. are not persuasive arguments unless you explain exactly how those perms are implemented by both the usfg and the cp/k actor during the 2ac
- cp theory arguments should not be in the 2ac unless some really egregious in-round violation happened - odds are there are much more persuasive arguments you can make that actually engage with the substance of the cp
- i evaluate rounds very similarly to how kevin mcccaffery's paradigm describes his approach (specifically the stuff under the first two sub-headings) so i'd look there if you want more detail
- admittedly not the best at flowing so if you think of yourself as a fast spreader then you should probably slow down a little bit
- please be nice to each other and try to have fun !!
Contact Info- firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenbrook North, 18-23
Blue Valley Southwest, 10-18
–Slow down, care about clarity, and have speech docs in a usable format that both teams can use. Manage your own prep and start the debate on time.
–I do my best to not interfere with your argument choice. I just don’t know much about non-policy arguments. If debated equal, I err neg on the importance of being topical.
–I am not qualified to judge a debate based on things taking place outside of the round, such as personal relationships and/or prior experiences with a particular team.
–On a scale of evidence versus in round performance, I slightly learn towards the performance.