Last changed on
Thu March 2, 2023 at 4:24 PM EDT
Debate coach at Bergen Debate Club for almost 10 years. Feel free to ask me debate-related questions at the end of the round--I always enjoy chatting about the topic, arguments, theory, and philosophy before moving on to the next round.
For new debaters: Have fun and try your best! I have an endless amount of patience for new debaters. Welcome to the world of debate!
Everything will be based on flow, so everything that is said is binding--you are responsible for all extensions including cross comments.
The following are not listed in order of importance, so please consider each element with equal merit.
- Add me to email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
- I will follow NSDA rules and time you for 1 minute for each card you need to find and then use your prep time for the remainder of time it takes you to send the card. The round is easier when you start the round with a shared Google Doc or email chain to streamline the card-sharing process.
- Signposting: Non-optional! This always adds to the clarity of any debate. Please don't just say "On my first contention"... full signposting includes what that first contention is. (I mention this because debaters usually begin signposting effectively and either forget/forgo/become lazier as the round moves forward and stop signposting clearly).
- Turns: Please extend your warrants (this does not mean to just re-read your cards)--contextualize your response. Additional reasoning/warranting never hurt anyone.
- Frontlines: Essential starting from 2nd rebuttal! Remember that everything holds in the flow. If you don't frontline, their response(s) against your speech holds until the end of the round.
- Defense: Likewise with weighing, please implicate your defense.
- Weigh as early as possible in the 2nd rebuttal/summary after any necessary frontlines and be explicit in voters during FF. Weigh as effectively as possible (in a clear manner) within the allotted time.
- Comparative weighing is essential. If you want me to vote for an argument it has to be extended from Summary to FF. Please comparatively weigh AND implicate your arguments so that I don't have to do it in my head for you.
- Convince me that the arguments you're winning are most important, not just that you're winning the "most" arguments.
- Please metaweigh!
- Merely because you've won a framework, does not mean that you've won the round--ensure that you outline/complete weighing during the Sum & FF.
- *Well-warranted argumentation is good, but analytical and nuanced argumentation of well-warranted arguments is even better.
- (Un)fortunately, as a long-time debate coach, I am a tech over truth judge (even if I know the topic/argument/evidence)--meaning that how well something is debated determines how much truth value I place upon it.
- If there is a loss of professionalism from either side, I will ensure to give 25s & a loss to the individual(s).
- Turning on questions is expected, but if any individual during any CF refuses to answer a single question (in a clear manner), I will consider it to be poor handling of the CF. Depending on the severity/consistency, this may result in lower speaks.
1) I will always disclose (unless the tournament rules prevent me from doing so). My RFDs tend to go through everything on the flow, but due to time constraints of presenting RFDs, I will go through them relatively quickly so that we can all move on to the next round--so, I tend to speak somewhat quickly. If at any point you are unclear about something I've said, please ask before I let you go. I try my best to be constructive, so I hope that you listen to the feedback rather than waiting for a win/loss (If you just want to hear win/loss then lmk and I can do that to save everyone time!) If we have time and it's not too late in the day, feel free to post-round me by asking questions.
2) Theories/Progressive arguments are fun but do not make them your end-all-be-all. You still have to be clearly topical, btw. If the opposition responds with reasonability args/inability to engage statements--I respect it and understand it as a once novice debater.
Everything will be based on the flow. (Would be much appreciated if you add me to the email chain at the start to supplement this element). Additionally, a clear analysis of your arguments will be pivotal to winning.
I've studied philosophy so feel free to present the technical stuff, theories, and Ks, but if you do so, it would be helpful if you took a brief moment to review the parts of the arguments that you wish to ensure I focus on in my flow. Theories of justice, moral philosophy (mainly regarding forgiveness), and contractualism are what I'm primarily comfortable with, in the absence of additional analysis. Regardless, feel free to run what you desire, so long as you adhere to the reviewing element mentioned prior.
Keep the following in mind:
- Critical Theory arguments need to genuinely add something to the round, not be an excuse to avoid topicality. I focus on topicality when discussing theory. I will most likely skew the debate in favor of whoever presents a case to which more components can prove to be topical. This is especially true for link chains — I need to see a link from the case and Ks to the topic.
- K debate is great when it serves to challenge existing power structures and/or address the marginalization of groups. Remember: if you are going to run theory, don't just read theory cards to confuse your opponent.
- Please don't make your whole case just by reading cards. Rereading your cards does not equate to analysis when asked to elaborate on a piece of evidence during a cross.
- If you are going to abbreviate anything, please state what you are abbreviating initially before just using the abbreviation to avoid unnecessary remarks between debaters.