Hannie Shaft Southwestern College
2020 — Chula Vista, CA/US
Policy Judge Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Very Tech over Truth. Not a K hack, but a true Flex debater and judge that keeps a meticulous flow and hates having to insert things into the debate.
Evidence matters, but your explanation matters more. Great cards that are explained terribly won't get maximal weight.
Write my ballot for me in the rebuttals. The more work I have to do on the debaters' behalf, the less happy I will be.
Policy v Policy Debates ---
Topicality - I default to competing interpretations, but I can be persuaded that reasonability is the lens through which I should view competing interpretations especially in situations where definitions are arbitrary and clearly contrived to exclude the affirmative. Impact framing still matters in these debates. Seriously, don't expect me to fill in the gaps for you. You need to tell me what I should prioritize and why when I'm choosing how to interpret the words in the resolution. For example, why is a predictable limit better than a smaller but arbitrary limit? Why are contextual definitions with an intent to define and exclude good? Why does overlimiting outweigh underlimiting or vice versa? Ideally one team will explain these things for me so I can vote as non interventionist of a way as possible. Remember that T is about envisioning what debates about the topic look like under each team's respective interp.
Theory - Most theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. For it to be something I'll vote for the 1AR or 2AC has to spend time developing the argument. If a 5 second blip becomes massive in the following speech I will likely leen neg. Conditionality is something that gives me pause, but I realize that being negative can be hard especially when you don't spend a lot of time researching or going for ks.
Disads - I'll obviously read cards in these debates, but I want to hear evidence comparison from the debaters. Impact framing matters a lot in these debates. Does the Disad turn the case prior to the case solving or turning the DA? Is the other team's impact defense less qualified or applicable to your impact? Does the link control the direction of the uniqueness? Break this down for me, and don't put me in a position where I have to reconstruct everything to make a decision.
Case Debates and Circumvention - The art of robustly contesting the case has gone wayside especially with two topics that allowed and incentivized the neg to rely on one generic that solved everything (ESR and States). If I see a great case debate I will be thrilled. Things like circumvention are RESOLVED BY DURABLE FIAT, unless you read an argument that calls into question the legitimacy of fiat (i.e. a K). Otherwise, I am inclined to believe that Trump hates every aff so you need durable fiat to be aff.
CP Debates - Process counterplans are annoying, but negative teams that out tech and out debate the aff about its theoretical legitimacy will still win my ballot. In the end I generally believe that clever counterplans that establish another avenue to solving the aff, while establishing clear competition, are in great spots. Remember to give me some clear impact framing. Aff teams explain what your solvency deficit is and what that means depending on how high of a risk of the da the neg is winning. Neg, give me some clear judge direction do. I.E. CP resolves most of the aff but there is a low risk of the da what does this mean?
K vs K Debates and Clash of Civs---
Ks vs Ks - These are very fun debates to watch when done well. Oftentimes an excellent critique against a K aff has a link story based off of either the aff's theorization of violence or their strategy for resistance within the given debate space. Links are obviously important to establish competition, but those are only a small piece of the puzzle. If you have an alternative that mechanizes some form of material resistance to solve the affirmative, I need you to explain how it is distinct from the affirmative and how the links prove the perm would destroy the alt's ability to solve. Likewise, if your alternative is an analytic for theorizing or understanding oppression, I need to understand how it is distinct and precluded by the aff's theorization of oppression. Should you say that the alternative is simply to refuse the aff or some sort of a tactical maneuver that says I reject the aff on the basis of its complacency in X violence give me a framing device for which impacts I prioritize and why. Am I an ethical researcher? Am I prioritizing the best strategy to resist x? Am I an un ethical decision maker? What does it mean if I am any of those things given the imapcts and tactics presented to me in the round? I need to understand what I am voting for. Usually the role of debate and the ballot are pretty important in these debates. I do read a LOT OF THEORY and these debates excite me when teams do their research and deploy something I haven't seen yet.
Side Note: Presumption is a very under utilized argument in these debates, especially when the aff tries to defend as little as possible in order to avoid links. Neg teams, what is the relationship between the aff's method/tactic/theoretical approach and resolving an impact or resisting some sort of violence? Is there a reason I should believe that this relationship is minimal?
Plan vs K - I have been on both sides of these debates. I usually find that the affirmatives who are ready to justify why their 1ac s education is useful for some larger or material purpose is in a good spot. If you think that it is an unfair burden for you to have to justify why talking about your aff is good you should strike me. This honestly is a skill that most teams who were excellent at debating the k thrived at. Debate the k and have a good articulation of what impacts should be prioritized and why. Contest alt solvency or the negative s framework.
K vs Plan - Having a link to the plan is always sweet and preferred. My coaching background influenced me to make ks as specific to the aff as possible. That said, I realize that k debates now a days can be interesting even when the links are sweeping and super meta. These debates are still interesting, and I have gone for this genre of arguments. Remember to be clear about what your framework argument is and what metric for impacts I should use in why. You need to neutralize the aff s offense in some way or I will easily check out on risk of the aff outweighs the k. Sometimes k teams find innovative pics or alt solvency arguments.
Framework Debates for the neg- Framework debates get very stale after a while (mostly because I judge these debates a lot), but every now and then something interesting can happen. I feel like there is a way for either side to get my ballot in these rounds. Teams that go for fairness need to win some kind of argument about debate being a game or they need to neutralize the aff s offense through a tva or switch sides debate argument. Classic defenses of debate as a place for democratic deliberation are fine too, but you need to be ready to interact with the aff s impact turns to how society works. I expect you clash with the aff s offense.
Framework Debates for Planless Affs - Go the route of impact turning t if you want but i need to be able to understand what my ballot does and what voting aff does or disrupts. Sometimes these debates can be hard to win for the aff if the neg does a great job of contesting aff solvency. Other ways of engaging t could be providing a different model of debate or metric for competition that helps accomplish some end. Example, maybe the rez is a spring board for x project. Overall explain what impacts matter and why.
Morally Suspect Impact Turns - I've read a planless set col aff against the ICBMS DA and lost, so I know that it sucks to lose to these. That said, I m still tech over truth. I will feel bad if i ever have to vote on these, but if you lost you lost. In a nut shell, if you are that team that impact turns the k go right a head. I will expect the affirmative to defend the moral high ground, but if they fail to do so they will lose the debate. Morally suspect impact turns are repulsive in truth, but the aff needs to understand what components of them are problematic and explain why. I am never going to check out on X thing is immoral and anti _____ so vote for us. Surface level explanation is not something I am a fan of in clash of civs debates from either side. The best clash of civs debates where the k team beats the impact turn usually involves some kind of nuanced explanation about why the neg s metric for weighing impacts is premised on something problematic and therefore reproductive of something violent. I will expect some sort of role for evaluating impacts or some kind of metric. What does this look like? Maybe the negs impact turns are premised on some sort of consequentalist or humanist ethics and those metrics for prioritizing impacts are rooted in things that are bad. IDK explain these things to me in a way that makes sense. Overall these strategies shouldn't work against teams that are on top of their game.
Performance Arguments; If reading performative arguments is your thing, feel free to do that. Just note that I will still flow the debate and expect clear articulation of what my ballot should mean and what impacts should matter and why. I have dabbled in these arguments a decent amount of times, but there are still traits to these arguments I have yet to learn about. I will flow the debate, and the team that clashes with the other team s arguments the best is probably the one that is most likely to get my ballot.
1. Reading analytics like they are cards. If I don't get it on my flow, you don't get it in the debate. Enough said ...
2. Expecting me to fill in the gaps for a K that I happen to know. Heads up, I will NEVER EVER insert a reading of a theory or book into the debate for you. Judges who do this really annoy me. For example, saying the "native is abject" is nothing more then a buzzword until you unpack that. If I have no idea what I am voting for I probably will not vote for it.
2. Saying an argument is dropped or conceded when it clearly isn't. I have a good flow, so no matter how many times you say it is dropped I will know the truth.
3. Reading Andrea Smith (I have massive issues with this author, and I believe she is an unethical person.) That said, I won't dock points or vote you down automatically if you read the card without knowing about her history. However, I will let you know why you should not read Andrea Smith Cards after the debate.
Last Notes are tips that can help you get great speaker points in front of me
1. Keep the flow organized. If the k overview is 30 seconds and the rest is line by line I will be quite impressed. K debaters, don't worry if u can't do this because most people don't.
2. Clarity over speed
3. Tech over truth
4. Line by line is a good thing in my opinion, but I understand that great debates can happen without it. Regardless, I am going to be very meticulous about holding everyone to my flow. The 2AR can never become the 4AC- if those arguments were not in earlier speeches I strike them from my flow.
5. I like innovation more than anything when I watch debates. Be creative, don't just rehash the same framework blocks or pessimism cards everyone else uses. If you use the same ev find a creative way to deploy it.
6. Be nice if the other team is clearly new to debate or outmatched.
7. Debate T as if you really believe in what you are saying. This takes the boredom out of clash of civs debates for me. On another small note, you can't say debate is nothing more then a game and then also say its educational and influential at a political level. That doesn't make sense. Pick one or the other.
8. Have very clear impact framing and write my ballot for me. I hate it when I judge people, and they seem to think I'll magically fill in the gap.
9. Make eye contact with me at key moments.
10. Close doors in the final speech!
Here are some things I m firmly against
1. Physically assaulting or touching the debater
2. Grabbing the other team's computers or flows
3. Grabbing my computer or flow
if you have a relationship to disability let me know and I will make any and all necessary measures to ensure the space is accessible for you. I myself have type one diabetes, and I have had to inform judges of specific needs I had. If telling me in person makes you uncomfortable feel free to do it via email, proxy, or private message.
Boring Background Stuff - My bio is not that important, so it's at the bottom. I debated at UNLV for four years. My career highlights include breaking at the NDT twice once as a pure k debater who read planless settler colonialism affs and various critiques on the neg; the other while reading hard right affs and cps, das, ks, topicality, and presumption on the negative. The people who have influenced the way I think about debate the most are Roman Kezios, Tyler Snelling, Darrion, Matt Gomez, Nick Lepp, Nate Wong, Tom Gliniecki, Jake Thompson, and Chris Thiele. I most commonly judge k v k and clash of civs debates, but I can judge policy debates effectively as well. My senior year gave me plenty of exposure to these at a high level. So rest assured my flowing skills are sharp enough to keep up with the speed and precision of a pure policy style debate.
LAMDL 2017 to present (cx) (Stern 2017-19, Bravo 2020-present)
Northwood HS 2017 to 2018 (cx)
Southwestern College 2014 to 2019 (CX)
San Marino HS 2018 to 2020 (CX/LD)
Mission Vista HS 2019 to 2020 (CX/LD/PF/Parli/whatever else)
Torrey Pines HS 2020 to present (LD)
YBHS 2020 to present (LD)
Boise Senior High School (LD)
I do have a hearing problem in my right ear. If I've never heard you b4 or it's the first round of the day. PLEASE go about 80% of your normal spread for about 20 seconds so I can get acclimated to your voice. If you don't, I'm going to miss a good chunk of your first minute or so. I know people pref partly through speaker points. My default starts at 28.5 and goes up from there. If i think you get to an elim round, you'll prob get 29.0+
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Performances and K Affs: I like em. I'd prefer you have a topic link but I've voted for teams before that were blatantly not topical. Adhering to the thesis of your k aff and/or performance is important. Please don't run a Fem aff and then proceed to misgender someone in the round. It can get infuriating at times. I'd like an explanation of the theory of power of the aff coming into the 2ac that has sufficient contextualizing to whatever k the neg is reading. Just extending your aff can be okay but more contextualization so the turns/alt debate can be cleaner is always preferred. Just because you run a K aff doesn't mean I'll vote for you though. I find pomo k affs to be harder to evaluate compared to others but if fleshed out during the round, I'll vote for it. Run your poem. Run your narrative. Run your music. Run your 15 card k aff dump. Whatever. just make sure it makes sense and I'll try my best to evaluate it as I would other positions
Framework T: Def run it. My personal preference runs more on the line that the aff must be able to defend their model of debate. If they decide excluding portions of the resolution within their position is a good thing, but can't defend that, they probably don't deserve the ballot. I lean more on epis impx and see procedural fairness as an internal link to something else but I'll default to whatever the debaters tell me and only intervene in that regard if no one wins the argument.
Having a case list of negs you can run and cannot run and why they're good or bad is convincing. Having a story around aff limits and why they matter in the context of the debate and your impacts matter. buzz words and blocks won't be enough. really explain it to me so I have a clear area I can circle on my flow (well put ** on my excel sheet) that I can pull the trigger on. FYI. TVA without a clear plantext with advantages and a solvency story is not sufficient to win that argument. Referencing other schools' affs also prob won't help you since I could care less about what most affs are and i'm not going to do extra research during rfd time to look up at the wiki. If it's important enough to reference, you can tell me how the tva functions to solve/allow for good ground for both sides of the debate. shrug.
Topicality: Go for it. I err on competing interps and have voted for wonky T's and aff's answers to t. Reasonability with really good warrants can also convince but i'd rather not vote on if it I can help it. Your interps need to be carded. I'm done with aff debaters who have counter interps that are not backed up by data. If you read that and the neg doesn't concede the we meet, you'll prob never get the ballot. As a side not for ld, please slow a bit down when ur on this flow as most debates centered on T are very light on cards and heavy on spreading and flowing analytics for minutes on end can be difficult. I'm not looking at the doc so if I miss a blippy arg that you go for? ooops.
Kritiks: I think K's are a good thing. I think running kritiques as a way to educate not only yourself but those around you is a good thing. Spend time during cx or the block (2nr in ld) to really develop a well articulated link story. Too many times the 1nc will just read generic link cards and never really give me portions of the aff that fit into those links and why they bite the theory of power. That's bad. If I can't see how the aff links, 0 chance will I vote on a K. If you're going 1 off K, please add framework. I'm okay with not evaluating the aff if they lead to a bad for debating. In that regard I think affs underutilized the potential spin they can use in order to have access to all portions of the aff.
Floating piks are probably bad. vague alts that shift between one speech and the next are probably bad. call it out please.
Perms are good. Running the K conditionally with a ROB is probably bad esp if you kick out of the K and there's a random link turn or perm argument coming out of the aff...
CP: I like counterplans. I err neg on condo theory to a degree unless the amount of conditional advocacies gets to the point the aff is forced to double turn themselves in order to answer all those off cases. I can be convinced to vote aff easily once the abuse occurs. But if the advocacies are fine with each other, then you're gtg. If no abuse and debate comes down to condo, I can pull the trigger for the aff, they just need to win the tech. I dislike multiplank cps but ld has been heavily leaning towards billions of planks so whatever. Run your abusive counterplans. adv cps are good. pics are generally good. private actor cps and the like are probably bad.
If you drop the perm. You'll probably lose. There's no excuse. don't drop it.
Prefer the Disad/NB be on another flow as it keeps my flows a little cleaner and allows the neg to be able to pivot out of the cp and go for the disad vs the case.
I don't believe in judge kicking a position.
DA: Use it. the more the merrier. can't be conditional if you run 6 disads, right? keep your story on how the disad turns and out weighs case and you're good. problem for me on voting for disads has usually been the impact calc debate. some debates just get messy and I don't know how the impacts of the disad vs the aff work. At that point I'm sorta lost and will have to spend time being grumpy to try to clear the picture up as much as I can. I love good UQ debates. links and internal link debates, impact turns (to a degree). This is an election year so I know everyone will be running the presidential elections disad as well as some senate elections disads. That's fine. Just please keep your internal link chain concise. If the internal links are dubious at best to get to a terminal impact, my threshold for the aff answering it will likely be low.
Case debate: Go for a dropped case turn. So many debates could be resolved very quickly if the Neg would only look at the conceded case turns and solvency deficits and just go for it. In that same sense. Defend your case. If the neg undercovers case, what does that mean as a whole for the debate? If you solve the impx coming out of the 1nc... it should do so some interesting things in relation to other positions, right? ?
Online Debate: I have amazing hardware now for online debate. That doesn't mean everyone does though. If possible please don't go as fast as humanly possible because debate platforms are still limited on how clear communications can be. Coupled that with being in a panel with observers, it's even more important to think about access for the community and competitors/judges.
If the speech cuts out due to internet issues, depending on the length, I will either have you restart from that spot you cut off or will ask what you said (if less than 5-10 seconds). I trust that the people I'm judging will not do ethically questionable actions because of the online format. My tech is good enough that unless you're internet suddenly cuts off, I will be able to keep track through most of it and if I find out you're lying to me or the competitor about what you said, a 25/L will be in the future. I put my trust in the debaters I judge. Don't abuse it.
For LD debaters:
hi. don't read spark. the end.
I encountered something at voices last year. I hit my physical threshold on being able to fully flow a round. Enunciate your claims and slow down a bit so I can actually flow it. When half the constructive is literally just analytics and you're 300+ wpm... that's lit unflowable and I'm not going to the docs to resolve that. If you lose because it's not on my flow? Shrug. Don't care.
FW: You all need to slow down here. I'm not familiar enough with your specific event to just flow it effortlessly.
Jasmine Stidham "You have the power to stop Nebel t in this activity" Mission accepted.
no nebel. the 1ar just needs to be nebel is bad vote aff. and we are done.
yes 1ar theory. no rvis.
Aff's are capped at 29.5 if they include underview theory about why they get rvis and 1ar stuff. I repeat. You get 1ar theory (just not friv), no rvis.
I prefer a substantive debate with 3-4 off to something like 13 off. I'll flow you regardless but I reserve the right roast you.
Paradoxes aren't super persuasive in front of me.
The only reason Scott Brown can throw a mint green Tady #45 surface iron further than me is because I have a shoulder injury.
Tricks are not a viable strat in front of me. I don't care if you stick it in a K aff. Not voting for it.
Theory is good if it isn't a blippy mess. Just saying a team is "condo" and they should lose without an interp, and why condo is problematic will not get you a ballot.
Lastly, please be nice to each other. LD is such a short event that to there's really no point to get toxic from 2 cx's. If the round gets toxic. Whoever initiated the toxicity will not be able to receive anything higher than a 27.5.
-Last Updated on 1/1/2020
Online Debate: SLOW DOWN - SLOW DOWN - SLOW DOWN
TLDR: I vote for K affs and I also vote for topicality against K affs.
Please add me to your email chain: email@example.com
Please do not contact me for other schools' speech doc. Contact them directly. I have been contacted multiple times by different people asking me to share other team's speech doc. Why don't you contact them directly?
Novices: I am the strong proponent of the novice packet. Do what you will with this information.
Who am I?
I was the Director of Debate at California State University, Fresno from Fall 2016 to the summer of 2020. I now coach the Fresno City College debate team. I started as a tradition policy debater and made the transition into K debate. I have respect for both camps and whatever is in between. I tell you what I tell all my students, only run arguments that you fully understand and can explain to the judge. I also believe that debaters should have a basic understanding of policy debate before venturing off into the critical realm but that is a decision you should hash out with your coaches. I understand the implications of that statement and I am willing to defend it if you want me to do so. There is not any particular argument that I will not vote for. However, it is your responsibility to persuade me.
Speech Time and Evidence Transfer:
Your prep time stops when you pull the memory stick out, send the email, or drop the document into Speechdrop. If you forget a card, your prep time will run until you give the other team the evidence. Stealing time will lead to severe reduction in speaker points. Speech time is non-negotiable (No 10 min constructions or extra rebuttal speech).
I am very sensitive to the quality of your cards. Things are getting out of hand with power tagging and out of context evidence. Section XVII. EVIDENCE POLICY of CEDA's constitution indicates:
-B. Competitors shall be prohibited from using fabricated or distorted evidence.
------1. "Evidence" is defined as material which is represented as published fact or opinion testimony and offered in support of a debater's claim.
------2. "Fabricated" evidence refers to the citing of a fact or opinion that is either from a source that is found to be non-existent or not contained in the original source of the material in question.
------3. "Distorted" evidence refers to the misrepresentation of the actual or implied content of factual or opinion evidence. Misrepresentations may include, but are not limited to, the following:
------------a. Quoting out of context: selecting text from an article in such a way that the claim made with the selected text is clearly inconsistent with the author's position as that position is manifest in the article, book, or other source from which the quotation is drawn, when that material is taken as a whole.
------------b. Internally omitting words from a quotation or adding words to a quotation in such a way that the meaning evident in the resulting modified quotation deviates substantially in quality, quantity, probability or degree of force from the author's position as manifest in the quotation in question prior to modification.
------------c. Internally omitting words from a quotation or adding words to a quotation without indicating, either on the written form of the quotation or orally when the quotation is delivered to an opponent or judge, that such a deletion or addition has been.
------4. Fabricated and distorted evidence are so defined without reference to whether or not the debater using it was the person responsible for originally misrepresenting it.
-C. Competitors shall allow their judges and opponents to examine the evidence on request, and provide on request sufficient documentation on the source of the evidence which would allow another person to locate the quotation in its original form.
-D. Adjudication Procedures for by-law XVII
Any challenge over tagline and content of the card is important to me. Make sure you know what your cards say and tag them properly.
This section used to say "I am comfortable with speed but if you have your 1AR analytical arguments pre-written and you are machine-gunning them at me, be sure that I will miss a couple on my flow and if it is not on my flow, I cannot make a decision on it. I will yell "CLEAR" if you are not."
But I had to change it. I don't feel comfortable with some of your speeds anymore. My ears do not process too high or too low pitch of voices. I will tell you to be "clear" or "louder". No matter who you are and what you are saying, I reserve the right to ask you to be more clear. Slow down ESPECIALLY on analytical arguments. Analytical arguments are very important so If you want me to put them on the flow, please slow down.
I enjoy topicality debates because I have some legal background as a litigation consultatnt. I argue (and defend) that at least half of the arguments in the legal field are topicality arguments.
How do I evaluate topicality you ask? As an Aff, you should be able to solidify a relationship to the topic or tell me why what you are talking about is so important that you felt the topic should be ignored. For me, the most important components of topicality are education and fairness in that order. OR why topicality is bad.
I put a very high value on this flow because it is about the activity itself. Framework tells me how I should be looking at the debate. Part of wining the framework flow is how you win through your lens. Absent the explanation of how you win, I probably vote against you because I think you don't know how you are winning and if you don't know why you should win through the lens you are advocating for then you have no business running framework.
Love them. I think most negative arguments are modified DAs. You can run a DA on anything that advocates for an alternative (i.e., Case, CP, and K). Explain the scenario of the DA to me. You also need to win that the DA outweighs the Plan or the Alt (or part of it).
Counter Plan is a way of solving one or more of the affirmative's advantages AND offering a Net benefit. The perm must be dealt with adequately.
Like them and will vote for them. My threshold of acceptance for your explanation is higher because I think Ks do not have argumentative breath so they need to satisfy the depth. That depth requires a lot of work. So do the work for me because I will not do it for you. Make sure you link to the case. If you are have a link of omission, then you probably should have a root-cause claim or some other sort of explanation.
You need to solidify and explain your links. Impact analysis is important to me.
It is YOUR responsibility to persuade me and not my responsibility to understand your argument. Unnecessary yelling and fighting in the round will lead to severely reduced speaker points unless it is your argument that yelling and fighting is good (In that case it would not be unnecessary).
I think respect for the judge's RFD is very important. I see the debate in a particular way and judge it based on that view. If you do not like that lens then you probably should have done a better job of telling me what lens I should use and why that is a good lens (See Framework above). You do not have to pref me if you do not think I am capable of judging your debates, but if you do, respect my RFD. Do not make any sort of assumptions about my judging style. I do not vote for a particular style of debate, a particular school, or a particular team. I vote for the team that does a better job of arguing. I do not care if you are a first round or a novice debater, if you make the better argument you are going to win my ballot. If you do not respect my opinion as a judge then you should probably put me at the bottom of your pref sheet (strike me).
Role of the ballots that are self serving are bad. I think role of the ballot is always to indicate who has done the better debating. I rarely find role of the ballots persuasive.
Send docs to: tuggdb (at) gmail (dot) com
East Los Angeles College 2009 - 2011
California State University, Fullerton 2011 - 2013
Assistant Debate Coach: Fresno 2013 - 2016
Assistant Debate Coach: Fullerton 2016 - Present
Assistant Director of Forensics @ CSU - Fullerton: 2019 - Present
// Fall 2020 // COVID EDITION
Call of Duty Warzone tbh.
Offense offense offense.
your debate. your choice.
audio quality matters. read the zoom room.
// Fall 2019 //
World of Warcraft (CLASSIC)
// Spring 2019//
like and subscribe
- team comp matters (2/2/2, 3/3)
- stay on the payload!
- definitely need a shield
- dps flex
Affiliations - Past & Present:
Currently coaching for CSU Fullerton.
Previously coached for Hebron, Fullerton Union, Southwestern College, Capitol Debate, Juan Diego, SDSU, The Meadows School, and some other mercenary stops along the way.
Previously debated at UNLV and Green Valley High School.
LD UPDATE - 12/1/2020
If you're going to read a bunch of theory at me at a high rate speed, then I ain't the judge for you. I probably won't be able to flow it. Even if I can flow it, I'm probably not sympathetic to it. Also, if you're reading some dense philosophy at me that isn't critical literature, I probably do not know what you're talking about and you will have to explain it to me. I won't vote for you if I cannot explain your argument back to you in an RFD.
IMPORTANT UPDATE - 9/4/2020
I'm not sure I can be any clearer about this, but PLEASE go slower in front of me. Y'all don't have studio mics. I don't have studio speakers/headphones. I have auditory processing issues. This is not the same as being in the same room as each other. If you are super quick, then you should be going at about 80% of your top speed.
Does this mean you might have to read less in the 1NC? YES
Does this mean that 2As might have to make less/better answers? YES
Does this mean you need to slow down on prewritten extensions and analytics? YES
I want to fully grasp EVERYTHING in the debate and not just get the gist of things.
If you do not want to adapt to this, then you have prefs and strikes. I suggest you use them accordingly ...
1. Didn't work at a camp, so I'm still getting up to speed on the topics.
2. I don't want to hear any Death Good arguments. It's a very easy way to make me very unhappy. You *might* get the ballot, but you will not like your speaks.
3. I'm not a big fan of the procedural fairness variety of framework. It's an uphill battle with me.
4. Slowing down a tick in front of me is always a good strategy. First, I believe that debate is a communication activity and I enjoy debates where people use the skills of persuasion to try and get my ballot. Second, I can't keep up with theory shells or blippy card wars - was never the fastest of flows and this still holds true. I'll try my hardest, but it was always possible to outspread me as a debater and it's still true as a judge. I value clarity, especially in online debate. Slowdown on theory and analytics.
5. Speech docs: I want to be included on any email chains. I will use my flow to determine the decision, which can be different from speech docs, especially if you aren't clear and give me enough pen time.
6. All of you are smarter than me, so please be easy on me. I'll work hard to be a good judge, but I won't promise I will get everything that is happening in the round.
7. I'm an only-parent of two young children in the middle of a pandemic. Always a chance that something happens where I have to take a few minutes of judge prep. I'll work hard to minimize these instances, but cannot promise they will not happen.
If you still think it's good to have me in the back of the room after you know this, then continue reading and see if you still feel that way when you're done.
Meat/Mock Meat & Potatoes:
Topicality: It is up to the debaters to determine how I evaluate topicality. I tend to default to reasonability. Slow down a tick on T or you will make me sad. I cannot keep up with you reading your 2NC/1NR blocks at full speed.
Counterplans: The more specific the better, but I’m game for whatever. Consult CPs are fine. Delay is fine. I do not like counterplans with a lot of planks that the negative can jettison at will. Such counterplans will leave me sympathetic to affirmative theory arguments.
Counterplan Theory: Sketchy counterplans should lose to theory. However, theory violations should be well developed and it is up to the affirmative to prove why I should reject the team and not the argument. It's no secret that I am not the quickest flow, so slow down for me on theory debates.
Theory: I think negatives are getting away with too much. People can run multiple contradictory counterplans/advocacies all they want in front of me and I will not automatically vote them down for it. However; I am sympathetic to well articulated theory arguments as to why it is cheating, as well as sympathetic to affirmatives that use negative shenanigans to justify affirmative shenanigans. Play dirty pool at your own risk in front of me…aff or neg. I do not like cheap shot theory. I try to not vote for cheap shot theory arguments, even if they are dropped. However, I will use cheap shot theory arguments as a way out of difficult rounds in which both teams were making my job painful. I try not to let cheap shots determine the outcome of rounds that are well debated on both sides. I reward good smart debate. No New AFFs is not a good arg in front of me. Pref Sheet Disclosure is not a good arg in front of me.
Disads: The more specific the better. I prefer 1 or 2 good uniqueness cards to 10 bad uniqueness cards. I prefer 1 or 2 good warrants to 10 bad uniqueness cards.
Criticisms: The more specific the better. You probably know more about your specific criticism than I do. However, debate is not about who knows the most about a topic; it is about how much you can teach me within the time limits of the round. If I cannot explain your position back to you at the end of the debate, then I cannot vote for it.
Framework: Sure. You can go that route, but please slow down. I prefer substance to theory. I don't find the T stuff or procedural fairness stuff that persuasive.
Performance/Nontraditional/Critical AFFs: I’m cool with it. I don't find your argument persuasive that these AFFs shouldn't get perms. If I can't explain your AFF back to you then it will be really hard for me to vote for you. I have no problem voting NEG on presumption if I don't know what you do or can be persuaded that you do nothing.
Case: I wish my people debated it more. I honestly think that a well developed case attack (offense and a heck of a lot of good defense) with a disad or a critique are much more effective than multiple disads/critiques/counterplans. Case debate is good and underrated.
I’m open to any kind of argument you have as long as it is intelligent, arguably true, and not problematic.
One thing that everyone should know is that I naturally give a lot of nonverbal (sometimes verbal) feedback, even in the middle of rounds. If I think your argument is really smart then you will probably see me smiling and nodding. If I think your argument is not smart or just wrong, my face will look contorted and I will be shaking it in a different direction. If this happens…do not freak out. Use it to your advantage that you know which arguments I like and do not like.
I will also intervene in cross x if I think that a team is being particularly evasive on a point that needs to be clarified to conduct a good clean debate. I will also intervene in cross x if I think the environment is becoming hostile.
Finally, I am unabashedly human. I am open to the whims of fatigue, hunger, emotions and an overwhelming desire to do what I think is right, no matter how inconsistent and possibly misguided at the time. This is just a fair warning to any of you that will be inevitably upset if my decision seems to vary from this judging philosophy. I'm not a robot and sometimes my opinions about my role and this activity changes while judging a round. This is a fact. Deal with it :)
Debate is fun…at least it should be. Don’t be a jerk.
High school debate: Baltimore Urban Debate League
College debate: Univ of Louisville then Towson Univ
Grad work: Cal State Fullerton
Current: Director of Debate at Long Beach State (CSULB)
29.5-30: one of the best speakers I expect to see this year and has a high grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and Swag is on 100.
29.1 - 29.5: very good speaker has a middle grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.
29: quite good speaker; low range of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.
28.4 - 28.9: good speaker; may have some above average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.
28 - 28.3: solid speaker; needs some work; probably has average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.
27.1 - 27.5: okay speaker; needs significant work on the C.U.N.T.S acronym.
< 27: you have done something deeply problematic in this debate like clipping cards or violence.
I am willing to hear any arguments that are well explained and impacted and relate to how your strategy is going to produce scholarship or policy action. I will refer to an educator framework unless told otherwise..This means I will evaluate the round based on how you tell me you want it to be framed and I will offer comments on how you could make your argument better after the round. Comparison, Framing, OFFENSE is key for me.
I avoid the privileging of certain teams or styles over others because that makes debate more unfair, uneducational, and makes people not feel valued or wanted in this community.
I judge debates according to the systematic connection of arguments rather than solely line by line…BUT doesn’t mean if the other team drops turns or other arguments that I won’t evaluate that. They must be impacted and explained. PLEASE always point out reason why the opposing team is bad and have contextualized reasons for why they have created a bad impact. I DO vote on framework and theory arguments….I’ve been known to vote on Condo
Don’t try to adapt to how I used to debate if you genuinely don’t believe in doing so or just want to win a ballot. If you are doing a performance I will hold you to the level that it is practiced, you have a reason for doing so, and relates to the overall argument you are making…Don’t think “oh! I did a performance in front of Deven I win.” You are sadly mistaken if so.
Overall I would like to see a good debate where people are confident in their arguments and feel comfortable being themselves and arguing how they feel is best. I am not here to exclude you or make you fell worthless or that you are a "lazy" intellectual as some debaters may call others, but I do like to see you defend your side to the best of your ability
A few issues that should be clarified:
Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash is out of your computer. Any malfunctioning means your prep has begun again. If the opponent you are facing doesn't have a laptop you must have a viewing one or give up yours....do not be classist GOSH...
Framework and Theory: I love smart arguments in this area. I am not inclined to just vote on debate will be destroyed or traditional framework will lead to genocide unless explained very well and impacted. There must be a concrete connection to the impacts articulated on these and most be weighed. I will not vote on conditionality good alone…You better point out the contradictions in the 2AC/1AR. I am persuaded by the deliberation arguments and topical version of the Aff.
Performance: It must be linked to an argument that is able to defend the performance and be able to explain the overall impact on debate or the world itself. Please don’t do a performance to just do it…you MUST have a purpose and connect it to arguments. Plus debate is a place of politics and args about debate are not absent politics sometimes they are even a pre-req to “real” politics, but I can be persuaded otherwise. You must have a role of the ballot or framework to defend yourself or on the other side say why the role of the ballot is bad. I also think those critics who believe this style of debate is anti-intellectual or not political are oversimplifying the nuance of each team that does performance. Take your role as an educator and stop being an intellectual coward.
Topic/Resolution: I will vote on reasons why or why not to go by the topic...unlike some closed minded judges who are detached from the reality that the topics chosen may not allow for one to embrace their subjectivity or social location. This doesn’t mean I think talking about puppies and candy should win, for those who dumb down debate in their framework args in that way. You should have a concrete and material basis why you chose not to engage the topic and linked to some affirmation against racism/sexism/homophobia/classism/elitism/white supremacy and produces politics that are progressive.
High Theory K: i.e Hiediggar, Zizek, D&G, Butler, Arant, and their colleagues…this must be explained to me in a way that can make some material sense to me as in a clear link to what the aff has done or an explanation of the resolution…I feel that a lot of times teams that do these types of arguments assume a world of abstract that doesn’t relate fully to how to address the needs of the oppressed that isn’t a privileged one. However, I do enjoy Nietzsche args that are well explained and contextualized. Offense is key with running these args and answering them.
Disadvantages: I’m cool with them just be well explained and have a link/link wall that can paint the story…you can get away with a generic link with me if you run politics disads. Disads on case should be impacted and have a clear link to what the aff has done to create/perpetuate the disad. If you are a K team and you kick the alt that solves for the disads…that is problematic for me.
Counterplans: They have to solve at least part of the case and address some of the fundamental issues dealing with the aff’s advantages especially if it’s a performance or critical aff…I’m cool with perm theory with a voter attached.
Race/ Identity arguments: LOVE these especially from the black/Lantinx perspective, but this doesn’t mean you will win just because you run them like that. I like to see the linkage between what the aff does wrong or what the aff has perpetuated. I’m NOT likely to vote on a link of omission.
Case Args: Only go for case turns…they are the best and are offensive , however case defense may work. If you run a K or performance you need to have some interaction with the aff to say why it is bad.
I feel that a new tabbing website calls for a new judge philosophy. That, and my other one was about to start kindergarten, so...
Some things have changed, some things have stayed the same. Looking back on my old philosophy, I could tell that it was the scribbles of youth and over-exuberance. There were many foundations that I would have liked to shake with that little document, but it is a rare occurance that anything written changes anything acted. And such a poorly written little document at that!
Some things you should know about me: I'm a philosophy guy. I've done all of my formal academic training in philosophy and the history of philosophy, and debate plus a few classes on the side are all I have in communications studies training. I tend to think that fact-value and fact-theory distinctions are bogus in practice but conceptually useful. So, for example, against an "ontology comes first" argument, I would much rather hear a defense of your ontology rather than an argument about why ontological questioning should subside in the face of mass death. Despite all this, I am a believer in the incommensurability of theories (paradigms?), so make your comparisons relevant--I'm a big sucker for elegance on this front.
I'm not big on offense-defense, especially on debate theory arguments. Thus I'm not particularly happy when someone banks a debate on "any risk of a _____" impact calculi. I'll vote on we-meets, too. Even worse than this quirk in the way I evaluate the logos of your claims is the fact that I'll let the ethos and pathos of your speeches play into my decision. I will let myself be "persuaded" by arguments, and though this sounds unfair, I think it is better that I am up-front about it rather than in denial. As much as anyone tries to exclude them, these factors play a role in every decision.
I no longer default to flowing you in paragraphs in Word. I used to do this because I thought that it would help me see through the way that the line-by-line obfuscates larger narratives and commitments in the debate round. Not a lot of people do the line by line effectively anymore, and I feel that this obscures larger issues in a debate round in a more fundamental way (bad line by line outweighs dangers of line by line-centrism). So now I'm out to help you figure out how to make the line by line work for you.
I will time your prep until the flash drive is out of your computer.
I will not disclose my decision until you update your wiki.
Without getting into too many specifics, I think that this pretty much covers what might make me different from the majority image of a policy debate critic. I would much rather discuss concerns or questions you have about the way I'll evaluate debates with you in person, so please feel free to approach me or email me questions.
New Pet Peeve (10/14/2012)
2ac says various things about the alternative throughout their speech. In the block, you say "Now onto the Alternative debate" and just say a bunch of stuff about the alternative. "Embedding" clash is not an excuse to forego comparison between arguments, and not going to the line by line is not license to not talk about your opponent's arguments. If this is your style of debate, you'd better make sure you are EXTENDING arguments (i.e., comparing them, arguing for them, deploying and employing them) as opposed to REPEATING the constructive that happened before you spoke.
If you do this in front of me, I'm going to set a very high bar for your speaker points. If you do not actually embed clash, you will not receive more than 27 points from me.
Not all of you are ready to "do" embedded clash. In fact, you've got to be pretty good at making discriminations about the line by line before you can decide on what does and does not count as a responsible or responive argument--in a way, it's a prerequisite to doing competent embedded clash.
Point Inflation Adjustment (11/8/2013)
After reading a lot about speaker points this year, I realize that I am way behind the times regarding point inflation. When I was a debater, "competent and winning" was a fast way to get a 27.5, which wasn't bad (wasn't great, but wasn't bad either). If I were "competent and losing", I usually got a 27 or a 27.5. Speaker points describing incompetence lived around 27 and below.
My scale to date has pegged "competent and winning" at a 28. This, of course, is just a baseline--I've definitely given points higher than a 28 to all four debaters in a round. But, as long as you aren't vomiting on yourself during your speeches and are making good enough strategic decisions to win the debate, I'll give you a 28.
It seems like I need to bump my points about half a point overall considering 5-3 teams are averaging about a 28.5. I'm going to try and give "competent and winning" a 28.5 starting at Wake, if only to prevent teams from preffing me in all of my educational glory from being unfairly penalized by my miserly nature.
Point Inflation Update (11/12/2013)
Two edits: (1) For Wake, I'll use their speaker point scale. It already seems pretty close to my inflation adjustment. (2) After Wake, I'm going to try and give "competent and winning" a 28.3. Seems to capture what teams that are winning just over half of their debates are averaging in 2013. Also, I used to have to work hard for my 28.5's and am besieged on all sides by a burning and childish need to feel better than all of you.
Michael Eisenstadt, Ph.D.
Director of Forensics, California State University Long Beach
10th Year Judging College Debate | 15th Year Judging High School Debate
2014 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year | 2018 "Top Critic Award" at the Las Vegas Classic (UNLV) | 2019 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year
For questions of any kind, please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tournaments Judged This Season (2020-2021):
***I would like to be on the e-mail chain (email@example.com, not my Tabroom e-mail).***
I will not necessarily read along with your speeches, but I would like to have evidence in the case that particular cards are disputed in cross-x and/or to make reading them after the debate concludes quicker.
This judge philosophy is just that, a philosophy. I think I have become more ambivalent to what your argument is over the years and more concerned with how you argue it. My job is to evaluate the arguments made in a debate, your job is to tell me why and how I should vote for them. Therefore, I think the following information is more helpful for you than me telling you what arguments I "like." This is your debate and not mine. Every day is #GAMEDAY and I will work hard when judging your debate, the same way I appreciated those who worked hard to judge my own.
An important meta-theoretical note: I believe in a 'healthy diet' of persuasion. I perceive there to be a serious problem with communication in competitive debate. Debates are won by important communicative moments (see below). Whether they are fast, slow, passionate, or hilarious, they must happen. I believe Will Repko has called these "Moments of Connection." Reading into your computer screen with no emphasis or clarity would make having such a moment extraordinarily difficult.
Debate is a communicative activity. This means that to win an argument a) I have to understand it and b) I have to hear it clearly enough to know it was there. At the end of the round, if we have a disagreement about something, usually a failure to achieve those requirements will be my explanation. Reading directly into your computer during your speeches and/or making no attempt at eye contact drastically heightens the risk of a miscommunication.
I am deeply concerned about the trend of evidence quality in debate. Teams seem to frequently read evidence that either fails to make a warranted claim OR that is highlighted down into oblivion. I think that a team who reads fewer, better (read: warranted) cards and sets the bar high for their opponents has a much better chance of winning their nexus/framing arguments.
Debate is what you make it. For some, debate is a game of verbal chess that is designed to teach them about institutional policy-making. For others, it is a place to develop community and advocacy skills for the problems and issues they face on an everyday basis whether at school, within debate, or elsewhere. I believe that one of the best things about this activity is that it can accomplish so many different things for so many individuals and it serves a variety of purposes. I think either or any of these approaches teach us the transferable skills debate can offer. No matter the arguments presented in a debate, I will always recognize this and will always support you for what you do. Over the years I have found myself voting fairly evenly for and against "framework" arguments because I will evaluate the arguments made in the debate itself. My ballot will never be an endorsement of one form of debate over another, it will very simply represent who I thought did the better debating.
Framework. In 1984, Dr. David Zarefsky famously argued, "the person who can set the terms of the debate has the power to win it." Generally, the 2NR that goes for "Topicality + Case D to Aff Impact Turns" is more likely to win in front of me than the 2NR who only goes for "State Good/Inevitable," though that is typically suitable defense on the case when the affirmative criticizes governmental action. The negative wins in front of me going for this 2NR strategy most often when it includes some combination of the following 3 arguments:
1. An interpretation supported by definitional evidence (that is ideally contextual to the topic). I am uncertain why negative interpretations like "direction of the topic" circumvents affirmative offense. These softer interpretations typically hurt the negative's ability to win the limits DA without much payoff. I have found that negative teams have a more uphill battle in front of me when the only term in the resolution they have defined is "United States Federal Government."
2. A Topical Version of the Aff and/or Switch Side Debate argument - I think of "framework" as the intersection between Topicality and argument(s) about how I prioritize impacts, which impacts should be prioritized, and what the best strategy for dealing with those impacts is. So, having a "counterplan" that plays defense to and/or solves portions of the case (and/or the impact turns) can be a good way to beat the affirmative. I find myself voting affirmative in debates where the 2NR did not address the affirmative's substantive offense (so, you did not respond to internal links to impact turns, address impact priority arguments, etc.). I also think this sets the negative up to make arguments about potential neg ground as well as a switch-side debate argument.
3. An impact - I have voted on procedural and structural fairness, topic education, and argument advocacy/testing impacts. Ideally, the 2NR will be careful to identify why these impacts access/outweigh the affirmative's offense and/or solve it. I think that debate is generally more valuable for "argument testing" than "truth testing," since the vast majority of arguments made in a debate rely on assumptions that "the plan/aff happens" or "the alternative/framework resolves a link."
Conversely, the affirmative should point out and capitalize on the absence of these arguments.
Presumption: This is a legal term that I think folks are often confused about. Presumption means that the affirmative has not met their burden of proof (sufficient evidence for change) and that I should err negative and be skeptical of change. Although a 2NR should try to avoid finding themselves with no offense, I am increasingly compelled by arguments that an affirmative who has not chosen to defend a(n) change/outcome (note: this does not mean a plan) has not met their burden of proof. For instance, an affirmative that says "the State is always bad" but does not offer some alternative to it has not overcome the presumption that shifting away from "the State" would be inherently risky. Of course, a framework argument about what it means to vote affirmative, or whether the role of the debate is to advocate for/against change factors into how I think about these issues.
Flowing: is a dying art. Regardless of whether I am instructed to or not, I will record all of the arguments on a flow. You should flow too. Reading along with speech docs does not constitute flowing. I am frustrated by teams who spend an entire cross-x asking which cards were read and requesting a speech doc with fewer cards. In the days of paper debate (I am a dinosaur to the teens of 2020), you would not have such a luxury. There are clearly instances where this is not uncalled for, but the majority of cases appear to be flowing issues, and not "card dumps" from an opposing team.
Permutations: I am almost never persuaded by the argument that the affirmative does not get a permutation in a "method debate." Permutations are mathematical combinations and all methods are permutations of theories and methods that preceded it. I could [rather easily] be persuaded that if the affirmative has no stable advocacy or plan, then they should not get a permutation. That is a different case and has a different warrant (affirmative conditionality). "Perm do the aff" is not an argument, it is not a permutation and says nothing about how a counterplan or alternative competes with the aff. I have also found that teams seem to have difficulty in defending the theoretical legitimacy of permutations. Although I would have an astronomically high threshold for voting on an argument like "severance permutations are a voting issue," such arguments could be persuasive reasons to reject a permutation.
Risk: I find that I am mostly on the "1% risk" side of things when a team has [good] evidence to support a claim. However, I can also be easily persuaded there is a "0% risk" if a team has made too much of a logical leap between their evidence and their claim, especially if the opposing team has also indicted their opponent's evidence and compared it to their own. This is especially true of "Link->Internal Link" questions for advantages and disadvantages.
Tech and Truth: If all arguments were equal in a debate, I would err on the side of truth. However, that is rarely (and should not be) the case. When there is not a clear attempt by both teams to engage in line-by-line refutation, one team tends to miss important framing arguments their opponents are making that undercut the "impact" of their truth claims. This understanding is distinct from "they dropped an arg, judge, so it must be true," since that is not a warranted extension of an argument nor is it a comparison that tells me why the "dropped argument" (how do we know it was dropped if we aren't debating line-by-line and making these comparisons? Could an argument somewhere else or on an entirely different sheet answer it?) should affect the way I evaluate other portions of the debate.
Other important notes:
A) I will vote for the team who I found to do the better debating. This means if your framing argument is "your ballot is political because _______" and I vote for you, my ballot is NOT necessarily an endorsement of that politics. Rather, it means you won your impact prioritization and did the better debating, nothing more, nothing less.
B) I do not want to preside over accusations about what has or has not happened outside of the debate I am judging. In these situations, I will always defer to the arguments presented in a debate first and try to resolve the debate in that fashion, since I am often not witness to the events that are brought up about what may or may not have happened prior to a debate.
C) I am ambivalent about argument selection and theory and am willing to vote against my own convictions. E.G. I think the Delay CP is 100% cheating and unfair but I will not credit a 2AR on that position that does not defeat the negative's arguments about why the CP is good/legitimate or I think conditionality is generally good but would still vote that it is bad if the negative is unable to defend their 1NC strategy.
D) I am unwilling to "judge kick" a CP extended by the 2NR unless they have explicitly told me why I should. The affirmative should, of course, contest the claim that I can always revert to the status quo in the event that a counterplan is insufficient/unnecessary.
I'm currently the Assistant Director of Debate at UNLV. Yes, I'd like to be on the email chain: thomas.gliniecki at unlv.edu . Yes, I'll still make you compile a doc at the end of the round anyway.
I'm still not voting on "politics isn't intrinsic." I get it if you throw it out there out of force of habit, especially if I'm on a panel- but I will be happier if you don't. Negs, remember you don't need to waste your time answering it, though again, I'll get it if you do.
K/T in "non-traditional" debates- I think debate is at its best when there is a negotiated point of stasis that each side could predict, and when there is a legitimate opportunity for the negative to have a meaningful role in a contested debate. I generally think that if the aff did not defend a topical plan, that they've denied the negative a meaningful role, and have denied the necessary precondition for in-depth engagement.
Neg Ks against "policy" affs tend to propose that I consider one idea external to or somewhere within the 1AC to the exclusion of all else; I tend to think I shouldn't do that. A "K" with very well-articulated ties to the topic, the plan action, and the advantages might be persuasive to me, however, you will need to identify how your alt competes with the _plan_, how your links apply to the _plan_, and consider tying your alt to an alternative policy option. If that sounds too much like a “counterplan” and thus offends your sensibilities, we’re probably not on the same page.
The K has a very bad record in front of me, despite some valiant efforts. If you must do this, try to couch your argument as "mutually exclusive counterplan that solves inevitable extinction- try or die." The more it seems like a disad-counterplan strategy, the more likely I am to be receptive to your argument.
T in "policy" debates- While it's somewhat hard to forecast at the very beginning of a topic, I have historically been very good for the neg when they have high-quality evidence in support of a more restrictive interpretation of the topic. In these debates, I tend to have a lot of skepticism toward aff defense against limits explosion- for example, "functional limits" just seem like an invitation to a deluge of one-and-done affs with bad (but unpredictable and thus "good" for two hours) tricks vs. whatever generic is supposed to stop the aff from existing, and the lack of solvency advocate has never stopped anyone. This topic in particular strikes me as quite tough for the neg, so I may lack sympathy for some aff offensive args as well (e.g. overlimiting).
CP competition- CPs that are just rewritings of the plan or compete on something that doesn't appear in the plan will have problems. This also applies if your CP competes on a word that could be interpreted multiple ways; you will need to decisively win that it should be interpreted a certain way to win a competition arg.
Conditionality- I think we're past the point of no return on ever getting back to only reading 1 or 2 conditional advocacies. While I feel a certain unease in admitting it, I don't think there are a lot of circumstances where the aff could convince me the neg should lose because they crossed some line the aff drew on this issue.
I think that if you want me to consider the status quo as an option after the debate when you're going for a CP, that needs to be explicitly spoken to during the debate. The best way to ensure I remember that is to say it's a thing in the 2NR.
Other CP Theory- I’m rejecting the arg and not the team. Outside of what I discussed above, I probably strongly lean neg on most other CP theory questions, though particularly egregious examples (multi-actor international fiat, and also the US, for instance) could change that calculus. "Both federal and state action" strikes me as egregious.
DAs/Advantages- The CP/DA or DA/case throwdowns are very much what I would like to see. Impact calculus by both sides is important, as is making arguments why your impacts interact with the other side’s. Strength of link and internal link tend to be very important in deciding how much risk a given position gets, so comparison of link probability is also a critical component of a successful rebuttal.
A lot of terminal impacts can get pretty stupid and could be refuted by well-deployed analytics, but internal links, in my experience, can be a lot stupider. When people tag something as “X is key to” something, the card will probably just say “X has a marginally relevant implication” on it. Evidence comparison is extremely important in how I’ll assign risks; I have a very high threshold for what I consider quality evidence, and teams should be very aggressive in identifying weak or unqualified evidence and refuting it analytically. Debate should be about hard work and finding the best research about the topic- if I get the sense that you’ve done that, you will be rewarded, and punished if I sense you haven’t.
Also, I will under literally no sequence of events vote for the argument that the politics disad “isn’t intrinsic.” Actually develop reasons why there’s no link, or why political capital doesn’t exist conceptually/why it’s not key rather than relying on theoretical constructions which offend me.
Other stuff- I think of cross-x as a speech; while I won’t necessarily flow it, it’s critical in framing how I will think of a position throughout the debate, and exposing flaws in evidence. Cross-x is also a pretty important part of how I will make speaker point decisions.
Be respectful, have fun, work hard- any questions, feel free to ask.
If you want my flow to be organized, keep your speeches organized.
I like fun stuff but I'll need the framework to go along with it--put another way, I'll vote for anything if you convince me that I should.
If you are pressed for time jump to the takeaways/bolded parts of each topic/section.
I have been involved with competitive policy debate in some fashion for the last 15 years. I competed through high school through college and I have coached middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students. I have experience judging in urban debate leagues as well as the national circuit.I'm currently the director of forensics at California State University - Northridge so I mostly judge intercollegiate debates. That means I am unlikely to know most of the acronyms, anecdotes, inside-baseball references about other levels of debate and you should probably explain them in MUCH more detail than you would for the average judge.
I used to think a 28 indicated a good speaker and a 27 indicated an average speaker. I am learning this may no longer be the case. The takeaway is…Rather than stick to some arbitrary standard for the sake of tradition I will adjust my scale to bring it in line with community norms.
The Role of the Ballot/Purpose of the Activity/Non-Traditional Teams
The first thing I want to say isn’t actually a part of my philosophy on judging debates as much as it is an observation about debates I have watched and judged. I can’t count the number of rounds I have watched where a debater says something akin to, “Debate is fundamentally X,” or “the role of the ballot is X.” This is not a criticism. These debaters are astute and clearly understand that defining the nature and purpose of the activity is an extremely useful (often essential)tool for winning debates. That said, in truth, debate is both everything and nothing and the role of the ballot is multiple. Asserting the "purpose of debate" or "the role of the ballot" is essentially a meaningless utterance in my opinion. Arguing in favor "a particular purpose of debate” or “a particular role of the ballot” in a given round requires reasons and support. Policy debate could be conceived as a training ground for concerned citizens to learn how to feel and think about particular policies that could be enacted by their government. Policy debate could also be conceived as a space students to voice their dissatisfaction with the actions or inactions of the governments that claim to represent them through various forms of performance. Excellent debaters understand policy debate is a cultural resource filled with potential and possibility. Rather than stubbornly clinging to dogmatic axioms, these debaters take a measured approach that recognizes the affordances and constraints contained within competing visions of "the purpose of debate" or the "role of the ballot” and debate the issue like they would any other.
The problem is assessing the affordances and constraints of different visions requires a sober assessment of what it is we do here. Most debaters are content to assert, “the most educational model of debate is X,” or the “most competitive model of debate is Y.” Both of these approaches miss the boat because they willfully ignore other aspects of the activity. Debates should probably be educational. What we learn and why is (like everything else) up for debate, but it’s hard to argue we shouldn’t be learning something from the activity. Fairness in a vacuum is a coin-flip and that’s hardly worth our time. On the other hand, probably isn’t a purely educational enterprise. Debate isn’t school. If it were students wouldn’t be so excited about doing debate work that they ignore their school work. The competitive aspects of the activity are important and can’t be ignored or disregarded lightly. How fair things have to be and which arguments teams are entitled to make are up for debate, but I think we need to respect some constraints lest we confuse all discourse for argument. The phrase “debate is a game/the content is irrelevant” probably won’t get you very far, but that’s because games are silly and unimportant by definition. But there are lots of contests that are very important were fairness is paramount (e.g. elections, academic publishing, trials). Rather than assert the same banal lines from recycled framework blocks, excellent debaters will try to draw analogies between policy debate and other activities that matter and where fairness is non-negotiable.
So the takeaway is … I generally think the topic exists for a reason and the aff has to tie their advocacy to the topic, although I am open to arguments to the contrary. I tend to think of things in terms of options and alternatives. So even if topicality is a necessarily flawed system that privileges some voices over others, I tend to ask myself what the alternative to reading topicality would be. Comparison of impacts, alternatives, options, is always preferable to blanket statements like “T = genocidal” or “non-traditional aff’s are impossible to research.”
Burden of Persuasion vs. Burden of Rejoinder
One of things that makes policy debate a fairly unique activity from a policy/legal perspective is our emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. If one competitor says something then the opponent needs to answer it, otherwise the judge treats the argument as gospel. Debaters might think their judges aren't as attentive to the flow as they would like, but ask any litigator if trial judges care in the least whether the other attorney answered their arguments effectively. Emphasizing the burden of rejoinder is a way of respecting the voice and arguments of the students who their valuable time competing in this activity. But like everything else in debate there are affordances as well as constraints in emphasizing the burden of rejoinder. Personally, I think our activity has placed so much emphasis on the burden of rejoinder that we have lost almost all emphasis on the burden of persuasion. I can’t count the number of rounds I have participated in (as a debater and as a judge) where the vast majority of the claims made in the debate were absolutely implausible. The average politics disad is so contrived that its laughable. Teams string together dozens of improbable internal link chains and treat them as if they were a cohesive whole. Truth be told, the probability of the average “big stick” advantage/disad is less than 1% and that’s just real talk. This practice is so ubiquitous because we place such a heavy emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. Fast teams read a disad that was never very probable to begin with and because the 2AC is not fast enough to poke holes in every layer of the disad the judge treats those internal links as conceded (and thus 100% probable). Somehow, through no work of their own the neg’s disad went from being a steaming pile of non-sense to a more or less perfectly reasonable description of reality. I don't think this norm serves our students very well. But it is so ingrained in the training of most debates and coaches (more so the coaches than the debaters actually) that it’s sustained by inertia.
The takeaway is… that when i judge, I try (imperfectly to be sure) to balance my expectations that students meet both the burden of rejoinder and the burden of persuasion. Does this require judge intervention? Perhaps, to some degree, but isn't that what it means to “allow ones self to be persuaded?” To be clear, I do not think it is my job to be the sole arbiter of whether a claim was true or false, probable or unlikely, significant or insignificant. I do think about these things constantly though and i think it is both impossible and undesirable for me to ignore those thoughts in the moment of decision. It would behoove anyone I judge to take this into account and actively argue in favor of a particular balance between the burdens or rejoinder and persuasion in a particular round.
Importance of Evidence/Cards
I once heard a judge tell another competitor, “a card no matter how bad will always beat an analytic no matter how good.” For the sake of civility I will refrain from using this person’s name, but I could not disagree more with this statement. Arguments are claims backed by reasons with support. The nature of appropriate support will depend on the nature of the reason and on the nature of the claim. To the extent that cards are valuable as forms of support in debate it’s because they lend the authority and credibility of an expert to an argument. But there are some arguments were technical expertise is irrelevant. One example might be the field of morality and ethics. If a debater makes a claim about the morality of assisted suicide backed by sound reasoning there is no a priori reason to prefer a card from an ethicist who argues the contrary. People reason in many different ways and arguments that might seem formally or technically valid might be perfectly reasonable in other settings. I generally prefer debates with a good amount of cards because they tend to correlate with research and that is something I think is valuable in and of itself. But all too often teams uses cards as a crutch to supplement the lack of sound reasoning.
The takeaway is … If you need to choose between fully explaining yourself and reading a card always choose the former.
KritiksI tend to think I am more friendly to critical arguments that most judges who debated around the same time I did but that might be wishful thinking on my part. My experience judging K teams suggests you are much more likely to convince me the AFF's methodology/epistemology is flawed by somehow relating your impacts to the logical consequence of the plan or aff method (e.g. "they solve their advantage, but it's actually a bad thing" or "they cant *really* solve their big impact + we *actually* solve a smaller impact" etc...) than you are by saying your impacts/framework is a-priori for some reason or another. I am very willing to listen to a-priori framework arguments (and vote on them more frequently than you might imagine) but the bolder the claim the more support you need.
The takeaway is … I would say I am more friendly to critical arguments than some judges, but that also means I require a higher level of explanation and depth for those arguments. For instance, it is not sufficient to argue that the aff’s reps/epistemology/ontology/whatever is bad and these questions come first. You have to tell me in what way the aff’s methodology is flawed and how exactly would this result in flawed thinking/policy/ect. Unlike disads, individual links to kritiks have to have impacts to be meaningful. In general, I think people read too many cards when running kritiks at the expense of doing a lot textual and comparative work.
I have a relatively high threshold for theory arguments, but I am not one of those judges that thinks the neg teams gets to do whatever they want. You can win theory debates with me in the back, but it probably isn’t your best shot. As a general rule (though not universal) I think that if you didn’t have to do research for an argument, you don’t learn anything by running it.
I have VERY high threshold for negative theory arguments that are not called topicality. It doesn’t mean I wont vote on these arguments if the aff teams makes huge errors, but a person going for one of these argument would look so silly that it would be hard to give them anything about a 27.
I am an average judge to be honest. I do try to do my best but my biggest problem is that I do not really have a stable set of rules or frames for how I judge. Each round is different and I don't always see things in the same way from one round to the next.
Some of the more important things you should know about me as a judge are...
- I am not the fastest flow in the world so make sure you explain your arguments and provide me some idea of how you want me to prioritize your ideas
- I don't have a specific style of debate I prefer but I can probably say that I am a bit more capable contemplating ideas rather than calculating drops on a flow sheet
- I have so much respect for all the work that you all do to become good at this activity so whether you agree with my decision or not please know that I always challenge myself to be fair to you even if we see the debate differently
- I have been judging policy debates for over 17 years now from novice to the ndt
- Have fun and do you. I will try my best to give a decision that accurately reflects the debate I watched to the best of my ability
Tabula rasa judge. The rules of debate are debatable- prove it. If you’re going to spread make sure you are articulate and pronunciate well.
Yes, I want to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will not be following along on the speech doc, but I will be checking periodically to make sure extensions of cards are consistent with the actual evidence.
I debated for Fresno State for three years. I started off in traditional policy debate, but then made my way into K debate. I do not have a preference; I am just as likely to vote for T as I am to vote for a performance K. It all comes down to how persuasive your arguments are, and I evaluate that based on three criteria:
1) Your ability to explain the thesis of your argument. Even if I am familiar with the literature, it is still your responsibility to thoroughly explain your methodology. Relying on buzz words is bad for education and hurts your growth as a debater. I will never make extrapolations of arguments for you. If I’m left wondering what your policy/advocacy/alternative does by the end of the round, then you are at a severe disadvantage.
2) Your explanation of why the argument you are making matters, and why it should be presented in this space. Having a good idea/theory is awesome, but why do it here? Why should I care about the discussion of policies, identity, power structures etc. that you decided to forefront?
3) Your overall ethos and presentation. This last point is supplemental to the two more substantive points listed above, but it is still extremely important. Whether you speak quickly or at a conversational pace, you should make sure that your speeches are engaging.
1. Respect is mutual. I expect you to respect each other by not engaging in unnecessarily rude behavior. I understand that cross ex can get heated, but make sure you do not let this interfere with the fact that debate is an educational activity.
2. I will respect you by listening to you and devoting my attention to making a carefully thought out decision. When I am giving my RFD, it is your turn to reciprocate that respect by actively listening. I will not tolerate excessive post rounding and being rudely interrupted. Questions are highly encouraged but arguing with me will not change the outcome of the debate. If you are angry with my RFD, I recommend that you write down your concerns with the decision, talk with your coach, and if there is still an issue, take time to cool down before approaching me again to talk about the round.
1. Prep ends when you send the doc. If you send the wrong doc or it is missing cards, you are responsible for taking prep to send it to the other team.
2. Stealing prep will lead to a deduction in speaker points.
3. Clipping cards and misrepresenting evidence are very serious issues and threaten the integrity of the activity. I take these two issues very seriously.
1. I expect both teams to provide me with a way to frame the round. You do not get access to your arguments unless you win the framing question, or you prove that you are still ahead through the other team’s method of framing the round.
1. I think topicality arguments are very interesting. Make sure you give specific contextual examples of what ground was lost, as well as why that ground is uniquely valuable.
2. That being said, I think there are very valid justifications for not being topical. Do not assume that my preference for Ks as a debater will mean that you have a low threshold for proving that you do not need to be topical.
1. I enjoy current and relevant example of why engaging in the state is essential or unproductive.
2. If you are arguing policy making/political engagement good, you must prove that it is net better for everyone, regardless of their identity.
3. Saying, “The USFG is racist” or “policy making is rooted in patriarchy” is not a sufficient response to framework. It is not that I don’t agree with you, but you need to elaborate more on these phrases that get tossed around. Your arguments will be much more persuasive if you go beyond reading cards and pre-made answers and contextualize and elaborate on these claims.
1. Performance debate is great and very creative. However, you still need to explain what your method is and what you have accomplished at some point in the debate. It needs to be purposeful.
1. You need to clearly highlight the abuse in the round and make a convincing argument about why this creates a bad model for debate beyond this round.
I'm an old school ceda judge who takes a decent paper flow. I'm sort of the worst of both worlds: I like leftist literature, but I prefer policy debate. Either way I'm not going to intervene. I'll listen to anything. Not too up on the jargon, tho.
Politically I'm PSL but that doesn't necessarily mean you want to run a Cap Arg....might be dangerous
Since I know the lit so well.
I think I'm fair, but so do all judges. One recent angry post round was mad because they won the T line by line, but the K 1AC impact turned T.
Another time recently I judged a sloppy performance debate and voted on an underdeveloped "role of the judge" blip. I guess if I'm confused I look for crass drops and framing issues. If you make ME resolve it, you might be mad.
Yes, email chain: email@example.com
-2nd year judging
-Coaching at UNLV
-Debated at Michigan State
-I’ve judged zero rounds on this topic, don’t do HS research, and didn’t work at a camp. I’ve been around long enough to pick some things up but don’t assume I know the acronyms, meta, your topic DA, etc.
-Everybody needs to slow way down and focus on clarity, especially on theory and T.
Judging defaults / Top-level notes
-Tech > truth when it’s dropped, tech ≈ truth when it’s messy, truth > tech when it’s really close.
-An argument that is conceded is 100% true. This makes me good for try-or-die when it’s relevant.
-An argument that is not conceded is usually > 0%. This makes me bad for presumption in most cases.
-I’m open to alternative models of risk framing, but this is the default that I adopt when not guided by the debate.
-I will judge kick conditional counterplans and evaluate the squo unless the aff objects before the 2AR.
-Anything not specified in the plan is open to interpretation by either side.
-I will decide a debate on clipping if I’m sure that it’s happening, regardless of whether this is an issue in the debate.
-I won't decide a debate on events that happened outside of the round.
-I’m increasingly annoyed by arguments (mostly DAs) that strike me as absurd.
-Assuming relatively similar impacts, likelihood usually matters more to me than comparison.
-I’m pretty flexible when teams are responding to “dropped” arguments that constituted <5 seconds of the previous speech.
-Evidence quality influences argument quality. Arguments supported by truly terrible evidence require very little from the opposing team in response and vice versa.
-I tend to follow along with speech docs and read a lot of evidence after the debate, both for my own understanding and for resolving arguments.
-I will not evaluate unexplained re-highlightings. If you want it to matter for my decision, read it in the debate or verbally explain the implication of the highlighted sections.
-Generally very good for the neg on theory and pretty good for the aff on competition.
-The less your CP competes based off of a mandate of the plan the more annoyed I will be by it.
-Arg not team for anything but conditionality.
-2NC CPs out of straight turns feel gross and lazy to me.
-Contrived, silly DAs are sometimes necessary but are still contrived and silly. Aff teams frequently do a poor job of reducing the risk of these DAs with smart analytics.
-Zero link is much more likely than zero impact.
-The link is usually the most important part of the DA.
-Likelihood of your DA probably matters more than how much it turns the case.
T vs plans
-T vs core aff that’s obviously topical = annoying
-T vs highly questionable aff = slight lean neg
-T vs really out there = tough for the aff
T vs planless
-I will always try to mitigate the degree to which my beliefs influence outcomes, but I have certain default views about debate that make negative arguments for topicality persuasive to me. As such, I imagine that the bar for a planless aff to defeat T is higher in front of me than the average judge.
-T impacts based on fairness are more persuasive to me than impacts about portable skills or education.
-Aff teams are likely to find more success when pairing their critiques of the negative’s model with a detailed explanation of what aff/neg engagement and argumentation looks like under theirs.
-Much better when they specifically say the action of the plan is a bad idea.
-I tend to be good for the aff on alts. If I don’t understand what meaningful action the alt takes to resolve the K’s links/impacts or the aff’s advantages, I’m likely to vote aff in the absence of an argument about why alt solvency doesn’t matter.
-It’s generally pretty hard to convince me that the debate shouldn’t focus on whether the hypothetical implementation of the plan is a good idea, but winning this can make a lot of other concerns irrelevant.
-I'm much more familiar with policy stuff, so err on the side of over-explaining terminology and concepts.
-Giving a slight bump to the higher end as my tendency to max out at 29.1 seems behind the times.
I see debate as a space for knowledge production, where we can use our ideas about the world to transform the world or make it a better place. The debaters get to decide what the debate should be about, be that a plan text or a critical approach to the topic. There are various approaches to the resolution and I am open to listening to your particular approach. You should advocate an approach that engages/attempts to engage the resolution.
That in mind I will provide a disclaimer, do not say evil things for the sake of competition, that approach is not persuasive at all! By evil I mean saying that genocides are good/necessary or that rape is ok, this extreme is not one that will persuade me to vote for you.
NEG- If you are going to go for framework make sure that the rebuttals contextualize the framework debate to the affirmative. Specificity in these debates goes a long way because often times framework is a blanket extension of standards with no explanation as to how the 1AC in particular causes the impacts.
AFF- If you are answering framework make sure you address their interpretation or provide a counter interpretation for the debate. Alf's should attempt to address the resolution, but if you dismiss the resolution I expect there to be a defense of a non-topical approach.
Good Luck and Have Fun!
If you have any questions please feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
What up ya'll-- I'm Joel. Born and raised in Southern California. As circumstances would have it I found myself still in the debate community since I started back as a Junior in HS in 2005. I started with good ole' policy in HS and quickly transitioned into loving critiques and eventually being labeled an "identity politics" debater.
I enjoy new ideas, concepts, and arguments. I am pretty open minded when it comes to what I think is "allowed" in a debate. That being said, judging is a tough job that I take seriously. To get my ballot just know these things about me.
If I had to pick, yes I prefer the K. I like high theory and I like quality over quantity. . Even though I am not well versed in many different lit bases I enjoy learning and making my decision based on your great explanations.
1. I enjoy the details as much as everyone else. Specificity wins debates. Avoid jargon heavy speeches; I don't think in jargon.
2. Some rounds I like technical debates, some rounds I enjoy embedded clash and a more abstract level of debating. Let's be real-- debate wants everyone to communicate in a low-context, low power distance approach-- that doesn't work for everyone. I've learned to navigate different cultural communicative approaches but sometimes this results in a different side of me coming out at the wrong time. I am not a machine or a robot... I feel things. I get persuaded. Sometimes I "read into" things because I grew up very high-context. Your ethos and control of the round/framing matters. I reward persuasion too, not just logic.
3. I think its your job to isolate game-winning or game-losing moments in your speeches and make those issues the paramount issues of the debate. In a world of paperless debate that means you should isolate warrants and sections of your evidence that demonstrate your truth and not make it my job to determine. Yes I will have the doc open but it doesn't mean you get credit for arguments without explaining them.
4. I enjoy theory but please signpost sections clearly; no one likes a messy theory debate and I certainly don't want to make sense of a splatter of answers against a splatter of answers. I like substantive reasons to vote on theory, proven abuse.
5. Judge Instruction in DA/CP Debates = Key. Tell me what you're winning and why. I like it when you do the thinking for me. What does winning the Uniqueness get you? How does that impact the debate? What is going on? Please do all the thinking for me.
I try not to be expressive in rounds however please know that I am very likely enjoying the debate.
email chain: email@example.com
In the end: Its all in the framing.
Add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Show me clear structure in your arguments. Signpost everything clearly and highlight your impacts. Tell me how to weigh the round and lay out clear voting issues in the 2NR/2AR, the final foci, and the PMR/LOR. Be inclusive. Make sure your opponent(s) are okay with your rate of speed, work to help them understand your arguments, and just don’t devolve into insults and bigotry. Bigotry will result in an automatic loss for the offender(s). Otherwise, please be competitive, intelligent, and considerate.
I’ve been active in the forensics community for 10 years now. I’ve been a competitor, a judge, and a coach, and have experience in PuFo and Parli at the high school level, and NPDA and CEDA at the college level. Outside of forensics, I have an MA in National Security Studies from CSUSB. My specialties are in WMD strategy and East Asian comparative politics.
To me, goal of the round is to synthesize and disseminate knowledge. This activity is meant to prepare you for higher academic discourse, and good academic contributions are original, intelligent, and comprehensible. Thus, my general expectation for competitors at all levels:
1. Show me that you’ve done YOUR OWN research into the topic. To be clear, I don’t expect you to have prepared for the debate all by yourselves. Of course we rely on our teammates, and sometimes victory briefs, to help write and research cases. However, there is a difference between using these means as tools, and relying on them completely. Good cases will demonstrate an excellent command over the topic area and contribute an original idea which synthesizes the research presented in the round. A lack of understanding of the topic, your research, or your entire case will make a loss very likely.
2. Show me that you are an excellent critical thinker. Do not just present me with 600 of other people’s research papers. Give me some original analysis. Respond well to your opponents’ arguments. I don’t expect you to have prepared for every possible contingency, but I think good debaters are clever enough to find ways around that issue. Evidence isn’t everything (even in Policy). If you provide me and your opponents with evidence with little to no analysis, you will very likely lose the round.
3. Show me that you can clearly, concisely, and coherently communicate a cohesive and complex idea. Gut-spreading a nuclear war-extinction impact at 500 wpm for a healthcare topic is none of these things. I will not flow arguments like this. Generally, the longer the link chain you need to prove an impact, the less likely I am to vote on it. Contrived and counter-intuitive impacts derived from pure theory communicated incomprehensibly do not good academics make. For the sake of making good arguments that can enlighten the uninformed while contributing intelligently to the discourse, please make clear and coherent arguments. Please present cases that cohere without long, convoluted, and/or purely theoretical link chains. In regards to speed, specifically, I will accept spread in some cases (please see “preferences”).
· Debate as a game. Debate is a game where the objective is to synthesize and disseminate knowledge in the round. I can't fact-check everything you say in the round, so I defer that duty to you. To synthesize knowledge there needs to be clash. I highly prioritize direct clash in my decision calculus because you don't create knowledge by merely claiming your position. By clash, I mean providing evidence and analysis which directly addresses your opponent's contentions. It means putting your opponent's case within the context of your own. What makes both sides mutually exclusive? Where are they mutually inclusive? How does your thesis surpass the opposing antithesis? To disseminate knowledge, I need to understand what you are trying to communicate. If you are going to spread, that's fine, just make sure that I can read your case. To this end I highly value structure. Arguments need to flow in a logical order, I should be able to intuit how links fit together, and impact calculus should be as transparent as possible.
· I like theory and straight-up debates equally. That being said, I still expect kritiks to be intelligent, original, and comprehensible. Carry your K all the way to the end of the debate; commit to it. Don't just read one sentence long blocks and call it a day. Show me you have an in depth understanding of the literature you are reading or I will drop the argument. Same goes for theory and topicality. Interpretation is always a prior question. That means that kritik, theory, and topicality take priority over case, and if you can successfully prove them for your side, I drop the opposing case and you win the debate. on the flip side, if you fail to prove your interp issue and you have no case coverage, then you will lose the debate.
· PICs are fine so long as NEG adequately shows how the counterplan isn't just a permutation of the AFF plan.
· I’m fine with speed ONLY so long as your opponent(s) are also good with speed. Keep in mind that I flow on paper, so it will be a little more difficult for me to flow the debate in its entirety if you spread.
· Signpost EVERYTHING. I want you to really walk me through the structure of your shells and contentions. This is less to show me that you understand the structure of arguments, and more to help me with my own flow. Really, anything you can do to make my evaluation of you easier is a big plus.
· I love stock issues. I’ve noticed that stock issues have fallen out of favor in a lot of high school leagues (in my league, anyway). Nonetheless, I think good cases really do need to address significance, harms, inherency, topicality, and solvency. I expect competitors to zero in on these issues if their opponents lack them in their case. I really like to vote on stock issue
· Tell me a link story. Don't just read blocks and assume I'll know how to put them together. Give original analysis and go through the process of establishing that the premise of your contention/advantage is true, then walk me through how your premise leads to a terminal impact. In other words, what are the external links that prove your premise true? What are the internal links that lead to a persuasive and significant impact? Please do terminalize your impacts and give me some clear and concise calculus with which to weigh your impacts.
· Tell me exactly how to weigh the round. I’ve seen weigh too many people drop their weighing mechanisms, not fully understand what a value criterion is, and straight-up not tell me why they should win the debate. Please do not be these debaters. Please understand your weighing mechanisms, values, etc. and give me a clear list of voting issues at the end of the debate.
· Hate and bigotry lead to an automatic loss. If you espouse hate speech, belittle your opponent period, or otherwise judge or attack them or anyone else for anything other than the quality of their arguments, I will drop the debater.
Updated philosophy as of March, 2019:
I'm judging more often and tabbing less these days, so I thought it was fair to have a little substance here. Anyway, this is how I judge:
(1) I have the speech doc open and I'm following along as you're reading cards
(2) I'm only ever listening to the speaker(s), I think it's really important not to be messing around with electronic media while judging.
(3) I'm constantly judging argument quality throughout the debate, so when the 2AR ends, 90% of the time I'm fairly certain who I am going to vote for. What time I spend looking over my flow and the evidence is used to think through the most likely questions from the losing team, to see if there's something that I might have missed.
(4) My general decision making process starts with impact calculus and impact comparison. If one side is decisively ahead here, this often controls my vote. 2NR and 2AR work here is vital.
(5) To decide key points of controversy in the debate, I identify each one from the final rebuttals, list them in the AFF or NEG column, then find the arguments from the responding team and line them up. Once I think the lists are complete, I choose which side persuaded me on each one.
(6) While I work hard to keep my (long list of) debate opinions out of debate in deference to the specific ways debaters make their arguments, I think it's only fair to list some of my abstract debate leanings so that you have more context/information:
--Everyone reading an aff related to the topic IS ideal for fairness, education, and research-based reasons, but simply listing off these buzzwords is not going to persuade me. And "related to the topic" is really case by case.
--On framework, education is more important than procedural claims - I regularly vote aff against framework bc the neg is overly fixated on "procedural fairness outweighs"
--Topical Versions of the Aff and Switch-Side debate arguments function like CPs that access AFF education and preserve fairness
--States CP is illegit bc it eliminates the literature-based debate over FG vs States
--CPs ought to be textually and functionally competitive
--Alts succeed by being deliberately vague and shifting later in the debate - especially "reject the aff" alts
--"Realism good" indicts virtually all affs on the Space Cooperation topic
--Both truth and techne matter
I enjoy debates with fiery clash, but I expect everyone to be respectful to one another. A debater's speaker point will be lowered if they are being disrespectful because this is an academic environment.
Spreading is fine, if it is done correctly. Please enunciate and project! Do not mumble your words quickly. This makes evaluating the debate easier because I do not need to decode the mumbling.
Please add me to the email chain if one is being used in the round.
Do not attempt to appease me. I do not want you to debate to me but rather persuade me to believe you. Stay true to your argument set and do what got you here. That being said, who cares what I personally believe, this is your activity. Below is my process for making a decision in a debate:
Who should I be when evaluating the debate?
What is the main question/issue of the debate?
Who best answered/addressed that question/issue? Note: The characteristics of best should be determined by you not me.
Are there reasons why an approach is dangerous or insufficient that overwhelms its positive potential.
Speaker Points: I give points based on how clear, efficient and engaging you are. What happened to debaters being able to be serious, funny, personable and entertaining simultaneously? You will be rewarded for quality speaking even if you do not win the debate.
Team email: email@example.com (preferred for speech docs in round)
Personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org