New York City Invitational Debate and Speech Tournament
2020 — NSDA Campus, NY/US
Policy Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Email chains and questions: evanalexis[at]gmail.com
About Me - He/Him Gunn High School '20 WUSTL '25. Debating college policy @ WashU. Mostly judge policy, have experience coaching and judging LD.
General - Tech > Truth. Do your thing.
K vs. Policy Affs - Yes. Overviews should be kept to what you really need. Aff perms should be explained past the tagline. I default to judge kicking the alt.
K Affs - Go for it. Voted every possible way on T. On the neg, case is underrated and can be your 2NR. Presumption is underrated. There may or may not be perms in a method debate.
T - Big fan. You need a caselist. Reasonability is a question of the counterinterp, not the AFF. I default to competing interps.
DA - Both 0 risk and 100% risk exist.
CP - Nothing's off the table until the aff reads theory. Condo is probably good. I default to judge kick.
Case - Underdebated. Case turns are viable 2NR options.
Theory - I will vote on disclosure, ASPEC, etc. Need warrants to win reject the team the aff.
Speaks - Average around 28.3 for varsity policy. Good debate around 28.7. Below 28 there should be something specific for you to reevaluate.
Misc. - Please insert textual perms. Justify inserting rehighlightings. I don't want a card doc unless I ask for one, I'll read every card in the round and value high-quality evidence. If you have any questions about my paradigm, feel free to ask before the round. If you still have questions after a debate, email me.
school affiliation: acorn community high school (Brooklyn NY), NYUDL (new york urban debate league), stuyversant high school (New york, NY)
years debating: 4 years of high school, starting college debate
in a debate round i have done everything from cp and politics to performance
my first highschool topic was aid to south Africa, last one was reduce military (if that matters)
I will vote on whatever arguments win, this means I may vote on anything, it could come down to Counterplan-Disad, Procedurals, Kritiks, Affs with no plan text, to even performance. tell me what your argument is and what the ballot signifies (if it has a meaning)...i.e. policy maker etc...(...)
speaker points: be persuasive and make it interesting thin line between funny and ass hole at times may it be in cross-x or your speech you decide *background music* ...analysis/argumentation (don't lie about reading a hole card if u didn't,don't just read cards and tag~line extend ~_~ ) i will call for evidence if needed and i will hit you wit the world famous "cum on son" lol
impact your arguments (duhh)
Topicality: i like a good t debate, their fun and at times educational, make sure you impact it, and give a correct abuse story...
counter plans: have a good net benefit prove how they solve the case
dis ads: you can run them i vote for anything and am familiar with most scenarios
k: i was a k db8er for the better half of my db8 career so i'm pretty familiar with most k~lit u will read unless its like some deep
nietzsche, zizek, lacan type ish but i get it...and if you explain it give a good story and show alternative solvency i will vote for it...it is also fine if you kick the alt and go for it as a case turn just debate it out...
preformance: i did this too...explain what the round comes down to...i.e. role of the judge/ballot/db8ers...and if their is a form of spill over what this is and means in real world and debate world... block framework lol...and show me why your/this performance is key...may it be a movement or just you expressing your self...i like methodology db8s so if it comes down to the aff and neg being both performance teams be clear on the framework for the round and how your methodology is better and how the other may recreate these forms of oppression you may be speaking about...may it be the deletion of identity or whiteness etc...same things apply if your running a counter~advocacy against a performance team...(*whispers* solvency)...k vs performance rounds same as methodology prove the link and as for the alt prove the solvency... framework vs performance rounds i had a lot of these, boring but fun to see the way they play out depending on interp, vio, impacts and stuff...
framework: any kind is fine...same justification as Topicality...depending on how your spinning framework within a round... *yells* education =)
short & sweet
#swag...have fun...do you...debate =)
Add me to the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
American University '24
I did policy debate at Oak Hill School for 3 years
- I am understanding when it comes to tech issues - let me know if you're experiencing problems and we will stop the debate to figure it out
- I have not participated in debate since March and have not judged this topic yet
- Debate is a game.
- Tech > truth
- Not a good judge for Ks that aren't identity Ks
- Clarity & Efficiency over speed
- line by line is great
- Evidence quality is very important to me (but spin matters more)
- Comparing evidence will get you higher speaks + higher chance of me voting for you
- Theory is a reason to reject the argument (except condo)
- Treat your partner and opponents with respect (especially if you're a privileged debater)
- Impact turns are good but do not read spark or death good in front of me
- No racist, homophobic, transphobic, or sexist comments, I will automatically drop you.
- A dropped argument only matters if you tell me why
- Perms need explanations
- Assume I know nothing about your lit base
Hi y’all I’m currently a Junior at Tulane, I debated for Bronx Science in High School.
I'm fairly open to all arguments. During my debate career I underwent the fairly common evolution from plan based affirmatives to gradually more kritkal affirmatives.
I’d like to say I have no bias but that’s always bull so here goes:
A.Theory-I love theory arguments but it’s a hard battle to convince me that fairness is on its own an impact and you’ll do much better if you win the Education debate. I'm also always down for a creative theory debate.
B. Spreading-I’m fine with spreading but please don’t spread analytics too quickly-I’ll yell clear as often as you need but more than once and it hurts your speaker points.
C. K’s-I really dont care as long as its not problematic (I'm not super well versed in the criminal justice topics so please explain your theory of power clearly)
D. Tech v. Truth-unless it’s an argument about in round violence i’ll generally follow the flow to the best of my ability but I also tend to take the path of least resistance so do your best to write my ballot for me.
E. Put me on the email chain Ebasch@tulane.edu
Summary: Have fun! Don’t be abusive or problematic, and explain things clearly.
I attended and debated for Rutgers University-Newark (c/o 2021). I’ve ran both policy and K affs.
Influences In Debate
David Asafu – Adjae (he actually got me interested in college policy, but don’t tell him this), and of course, the debate coaching staff @ RU-N: Willie Johnson, Carlos Astacio, Devane Murphy, Christopher Kozak and Elijah Smith.
Yes, I wish to be on the email chain!
Given that I will be judging here and there on the college circuit this year, I will be making periodic updates to my paradigm. Please bear with me.
COLLEGE POLICY: As an undergrad who worked on many research teams performing microeconometric analysis on different economic sectors of the US, I have a pretty good understanding of this whole antitrust spiel at a technical level - even more so now that I am doing a lot of market design simulation work in grad school.
GENERAL: If you are spreading and it’s not clear, I will yell clear. If I have to do that too many times in a round, it sucks to be you buddy because I will just stop flowing and evaluate the debate based on what I can remember. Zoom through your cards, but when doing analytics and line by line, take it back a bit. After all, I can only evaluate what I catch on my flow. UPDATE FOR ONLINE DEBATES: GO ABOUT 70% OF YOUR NORMAL SPEED. IF YOU ARE NOT CLEAR EVEN AT 70%, DON'T SPREAD.
In general, I like K’s (particularly those surrounding Afro-Pess and Queer Theory). However, I like to see them executed in at least a decent manner. Therefore, if you know these are not your forte, do not read them just because I am judging. One recent pet peeve of mine is people just asserting links without having them contextualized to the aff and well explained. Please don't be that person. You will see me looking at both you and my flow with a confused face trying to figure out what's happening. Additionally, do not tell me that perms cannot happen in a method v. method debate without a warrant.
I live for performance debates.
I like to be entertained, and I like to laugh. Hence, if you can do either, it will be reflected in your speaker points. However, if you can’t do this, fear not. You obviously will get the running average provided you do the work for the running average. While I am a flow centric judge, be it known that debate is just as much about delivery as it is about content.
The bare minimum for a link chain for a DA is insufficient 99% of the time for me. I need a story with a good scenario for how the link causes the impact. Describe to me how everything happens. Please extrapolate! Give your arguments depth! It would behoove you to employ some impact calculus and comparison here.
Save the friv theory, bring on those spicy framework and T debates. Please be well structured on the flow if you are going this route. Additionally, be warned, fairness is not a voter 98% of the times in my book. It is an internal link to something. Note however, though I am all for T and framework debates, I also like to see aff engagement. Obviously these are all on a case by case basis. T USFG is not spicy. I will vote on it, but it is not spicy.
For CPs, if they're abusive, they are. As long as they are competitive and have net benefits, we're good.
On theory, at a certain point in the debate, I get tired of hearing you read your coach's coach's block extensions. Could we please replace that with some impact weighing?
Do not assume I know anything when judging you. I am literally in the room to take notes and tell who I think is the winner based on who gives the better articulation as to why their option is better. Therefore, if you assume I know something, and I don’t … kinda sucks to be you buddy.
I’m all for new things! Debating is all about contesting competing ideas and strategies.
I feel as though it should be needless to say, but: do not run any bigoted arguments. However, I’m well aware that I can’t stop you. Just please be prepared to pick up a zero in your speaking points, and depending on how egregious your bigotry is, I just might drop you. Literally!
Another thing: please do not run anthropocentrism in front of me. It’s something I hated as a debater, and it is definitely something I hate as a judge. Should you choose to be risky, please be prepared for the consequences. (Update: voted on it once - purely a flow decision)
For My LD'ers
It is often times difficult to evaluate between esoteric philosophies. I often find that people don't do enough work to establish any metric of evaluation for these kinds of debates. Consequently, I am weary for pulling the trigger for one side as opposed to the other. If you think you can, then by all means, read it!
Yale Update: Tricks are for kids.You might be one, but I am not.
I'm gonna have to pass on the RVIs too. I've never seen a more annoying line of argumentation.
In general, give me judge instructions.
On average, tech > truth --- however, I throw this principle out when people start doing or saying bigoted things.
Add me to the email chain - email@example.com
Water topic update
I have very little topic knowledge. This has two implications for you
1. Obscure/schematic T arguments might not be the best strategy. If that is the 2nr, however, try to be crystal clear about everything.
2. Obscure/schematic CP competition arguments might not be the best strategy. If that is the 2nr, however, try to be crystal clear about everything.
I'm perfectly willing to vote for either of these things, and I'll do my best to evaluate these arguments, but know that the chances of me misunderstanding something are a bit higher than you might like.
Four most important things
Clarity >> speed
I am a bad judge for the K, I am a good judge for framework. Pref me as such or suffer the consequences.
I will eagerly vote on explicit judge instruction in the 2AC/block that's extended in the rebuttals (I will also boost speaks)
I think evidence comparison is the most important skill in debate, and a few smart pieces of evidence comparison can often decide a close debate for me
The aff gets to weigh the plan absent major concessions on framework
I will not vote on things that have happened outside of the debate I am judging, nor will I vote on personal attacks towards one of the debaters
The neg can read any CP they want and do whatever they want with it. I will likely only vote on theory if it is dropped or substantially mishandled
I have no moral or ethical issue with Russia war good/Spark flavors of impact turns, and I will evaluate them like any other argument -- I think there is value in learning how to explain why absurd arguments are absurd
You can (and are encouraged to) insert re-highlightings
28.7 is average for the pool barring some tournament rule about speaks
Email me with questions
The more you make it like policy debate, the better
That means spread, read a lot of off, read case turns, etc.
I dislike theory in Policy, and those feelings are magnified when it comes to LD theory
Debated at: College Prep, Wake Forest
Coaching at: George Mason (College Policy), Glenbrook South (HS Policy), & Harker (HS LD & PF)
Coached at: Bronx Science (Policy), College Prep (Policy & PF), Eagle (Policy), Minneapolis South (Policy)
2023 Summer Camps Taught/Judged Debates at: RKS
Accolades: Gonzaga 2022 Champion, ADA Championship 2023 Winner, CEDA 2023 Co-Champion, NDT 2021 Double Octa-finalist, NDT 2022 Octa-finalist, NDT 2023 Quarter finalist
Please add me to the email chain - ask me for my email before the debate begins please
If you are debating at your last tournament and/or I am judging you at one of your last tournaments please let me know - making it through debate is a huge accomplishment and deserves all the speaker points in the world.
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If you read nothing else:
1. I'll make my decision on the flow and will vote on dropped arguments I don't believe. Tech determines what is true given there is a warrant and impact.
2. I like warrants, framing issues, impact calculus, judge instruction, organized flows, and high quality solvency advocates.
3. I do not have the ability to adjudicate disputes about anything outside of the debate nor personal attacks against your opponent.
4. Have fun, but also have respect for everyone in the room. Be cognizant of the space you take up and how you choose to do so.
5. The "easy way out," when executed, is S tier strategy because it means you were able to create, negotiate, and implement win conditions in your favor. I like bold decision-making, and I respect strategic vision.
6. Despite any preferences or hot takes described in this paradigm, I will vote for any argument*** regardless of my personal thoughts on debate
7.I make quick decisions because I consider the debate as I judge, and I have a hard time sitting still for a long time. Do not take it personally or as a sign that there was poor debating
***except for RVI's, LD nonsense, & violent ideologies / ad homs
Other Relevant Info:
- I genuinely have zero preference for how you choose to debate and/or what the debate ought be, given you're not a jerk about it.
- I'm happy to answer any questions in person//via email - please do not reach out to me via any other medium. I will not respond to you.
- More often than not, I find myself protecting the 2nr from new 2ar arguments that are unjustified and/or not traceable to the 1ar. If something's new in your last rebuttal, justify it or hide it.
- I will probably be following along with you while you're reading evidence. With that said, I have no problem deciding my ballot on clipping if seemingly egregious and/or intentional.
- You can assume I'm familiar with the topic and your arguments, but I am always a fan of clarifying both acronyms and abbreviations.
- Evidence is what the debaters interpret it ought be, as long as they can justify & legitimate the warrants, claims, and expertise introduced into the debate.
- FORFEITS / SICKNESS / ETC: My immediate reaction in all but extreme instances is to contact tabroom. However, I understand situations arise and different administrations operate under different policies. Thus, I want to be clear and transparent about my course of action and personal protocols. If a team decides to debate, despite extenuating circumstances, I will NOT penalize any speaker points nor will I take it upon myself to undermine the energy and efforts demonstrated by debaters. I will adjudicate the debate as normal and attempt, as always, to give advice and thoughts on the debate after I submit my ballot. If a debater has to be a maverick and fly solo, I will contact tabroom and adjudicate the debate as normal. I will not penalize the solo debater nor the debater who is missing for whatever reason. The missing debater will be assigned average points. I am incredibly flexible and believe in debate being accessible - let me know what you need for the round to be a safe space.
Framework: I will vote on any framework impact, but I should also clarify that the words "fairness" and "education" alone are not impacts - they require explanations and impact calculus for me to evaluate them as such. The best TVAs are carded; re-highlighting 1AC evidence is especially good. Winning a role for the ballot/judge only wins you the debate if you explain to me how & why that is the case. I think it would be wise for the 2NR to respond to the case or at least make an argument as to why you do not need to. I am sympathetic to a 2AR extending their case impacts as net benefits to their model of debate, but that requires a clear internal link explanation as to how they only apply to your interp. Impact calculus is still a thing in Framework debates, which means more than "procedural fairness comes first" or "they dropped the aff so we outweigh," A.K.A. tell me why the model you're advocating for is best for and beyond debate. I don't care what impact(s) either side goes for, and I have zero opinion on what the best AFF strategy vs framework entails. I will vote on whatever, but I really dislike listening to you read your coaches' old blocks with zero innovation or attempt at sounding like yourself.
T: T is an evidentiary argument, which means that definitions and qualifications matter. Caselists and impacted out comparisons of both models of debate are important. Impact calc determines not only speaker points but also the direction I lean post debate. Ground is not an impact - it's an internal link. Explain why the ground you lost was important and why those arguments are valuable to your model of debate. Reasonability is best explained as aff predictability. "Aff ground outweighs" is an underutilized argument that I tend to find very persuasive. To go for reasonability, you need a "we meet."
K Affs: You do you. Plans are never necessary for my ballot. I think the "what do you do" question is silly & often misses the boat, but I also have no problem voting on presumption if there isn't an impact with some sort of solvency claim in the 2ar.
CP: Clearly explain and identify the net benefit and how you solve the aff // what parts of the aff you solve in both the block and 2nr. I'll vote on theory if well executed and/or completely dropped. Slow down when explaining counterplan tricks. Probably good to have a solvency advocate, but I won't be mad if you don't. I'll auto judge kick unless instructed not to. I'm a fan of flagging sufficiency framing and other framing issues in both the block and 2nr -- judge instruction is the quickest way to my ballot.
K: I think overviews should at the very least consist of impact calculus and a general thesis claim of your theory of the world/power/etc and how it applies to the affirmative writ large. If your strategy is less reliant upon winning the line by line, I'm your judge as long as you have a reason why your theory of the world and the arguments you have won mean that the arguments you not answering are not true//are wrong and/or do not matter in terms of the debate and ballot. Links should all have impacts and be pointing out specific instances in the 1ac/2ac/cross-ex/AFF. I default to thinking the perm is a question of methods unless directed otherwise. Overly generic 2ACs should lose more than they do. The most compelling 2nr is one with impact calculus, clear links with impacts, and an explanation as to how the alt solves the links (or a reason why the links take out aff solvency if you choose to kick the alt).
DA: Carded links to the aff and warranted impact calculus are must haves. One great card well explained and extended is better than 6 meh ones. In depth turns case analysis is extremely persuasive -- not only the aff's impacts but also internal links // solvency claims. Politics is a real disad, even if quirky. There is no such thing as zero percent risk of a disad, but I am also not one to apply a specific numerical value to the risk of any argument since I think all impact calculus has to be relative to the AFF-- I primarily default to impact calculus and turns case analysis in close debates to determine whether or not the disad is substantial enough to reward a negative ballot.
Case: Generic impact defense without specificity is not and never will be strategic. In depth case debate is underutilized and underrated. Case debate should include extending 1nc cards with warrants beyond a tagline, evidence comparison, why i should care if you win this argument, and reading more cards. Again, I'll happily vote on presumption in any and all debates.
Theory: I really don't care if conditionality is truthfully good or bad, so go for theory if it makes the most strategic sense. I will vote on cheap shots as long as they are executed correctly. Yes, I think some counterplans/ks are cheaty, but it's not my job to prove they are. If you're not going for 50 States fiat is cheating, I'm assuming you've won the rest of the counterplan flow. Speaker points will not be sapped if you choose to go for theory in the 2nr/2ar given you've made the correct strategic decision.
-I do not find arguments about calling in Tabroom to adjudicate disputes helpful nor fruitful as a response to link arguments or performative disads unless there is a tournament-specific or tournament-participation level issue raised.
-Evidence qualifications matter to me. What kinds of qualifications is up to you and determined by the type of evidence presented. Citations ought be thoughtfully constructed.
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Most of my thoughts in regards to policy debate apply here. However, I will clarify a few issues unique to LD.
RECENT UPDATE: I WILL NOT EVALUATE INDEXICALS, PHIL, TRICKS, NOR SILLY ARGUMENTS DESIGNED TO AVOID DEBATING YOUR OPPONENT. I BELIEVE IN CLASH AND WOULD PREFER TO WATCH A DEBATE WHERE DEBATERS ARE NOT AFRAID TO DISAGREE WITH THEIR OPPONENTS, INSTEAD OF SPAMMING LOW QUALITY ARGUMENTS THAT BARELY COUNT AS AN ARG TO BEGIN WITH.
Criterion: I understand criterion to not only be a question of how I evaluate impacts and solvency but also how I evaluate the aff vs the negative in terms of theories of the world/power/etc. This has a few implications: a) You should make specific arguments applying your criterion to your case and opponent's case in explaining why I should prefer yours. b) I like specific indicts to criterions outside of whether or not it can explain your scenarios. Tell me why it's a bad model for debate and/or why the theory itself is bankrupt//unethical//wrong. c) Tell me why you still win even if you lose the framing debate. Criterions don't determine a debate but rather direct how I evaluate the content of the cases -- judge instruction and "even if" statements are your friend.
Trickshots/Theory: I truly dislike one sentence reasons to reject the team that seem and are arbitrary in nature. However, if mishandled by your opponent and/or conceded, I have no problem making any and all decisions based off theory and/or cheapshots given it's there's an impact and warrants extended in the rebuttals.
Form Questions: Before you ask me, yes by all means I can keep up with you and don't mind at all if you want to spread or go fast. All I ask is that you're clear and if making mostly analytical arguments are leaving me some pen time to write down what you're saying. I believe in affirmative disclosure, but won't base my decision or speaker points on it unless that is an argument leveraged by the negative. Final rebuttals should have "voters" but also line by line and/or contestation of your opponent's points in the prior speech. I'm down for whatever argument you want to read and will also not be mad if you prefer to do more traditional LD in front of me.
Above points in LD and Policy most likely apply to my thoughts here.
Form Questions: in all speeches you are responsible for responding to your opponent. Thus, I think the first rebuttal // summary // final focus should both extend their arguments and answer their opponents. As the second rebuttal // summary // final focus does the same. I do not think counterplans or kritiks are cheating. Evidentiary standards in PF truly make me sad - if you plan on not sharing the evidence you read until asked and/or will only send links/citations to your piece of evidence instead of the full card, please do not include me on the email chain. I would rather not be a recipient of links to random studies and internet sources that do not tell me explicitly what you read and didn't read. I will not vote you down for being "speedy," but please give me a second or two of pen time between arguments to be able to keep up with you.
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tldr: you do you ... except please note that I do not like RVI's and would prefer to not vote on them.
I do not have topic knowledge this year. Proceed accordingly.
You have < 10 seconds before the round:
a.) Tech > “truth” or ideological predispositions – although some level of judge intervention is inevitable, I will do my best to ensure that if you win the flow, you win the debate
b.) I will vote for both framework and k affs (see subpoint a)
c.) Rebuttals should frame why you win the debate (bolded because fewer and fewer teams seem to be doing this)
d.) In terms of qualifications, I did the whole TOC/speaker awards/late elims thing and I qualled to the NDT as a Harvard first-year, but I am a second year out – make of all of that what you will
e.) I love subpoints
Email Chain: yes
You have time:
As I debater, I am most frustrated by decisions in which I feel the judge voted in a way that doesn’t reflect the reality of the debate they judged. This could be because:
a.) The judge voted based on predetermined personal beliefs
b.) The judge heavily and somewhat arbitrarily intervened for one side
c.) The judge read all of the evidence at the end of the debate and reconstructed what could have happened, but didn’t
d.) The judge gave weight to new 1AR/2NR/2AR arguments
e.) The judge did other “work” for the debaters, making cross-applications or other analysis that the debaters themselves did not make in the debate
As a judge, I will attempt to NOT do these things, and to base my decision as much on the flow as I can.
Yes, I have biases. For example, I will generally assume that death and suffering are bad unless told otherwise. However, I will insist that debaters create clear metrics for evaluating impacts. My favorite thought experiment for this is the following:
If the 1AC presents all the ways their plan or advocacy CAUSES extinction, and the negative team makes purely “defensive” arguments about how the aff doesn’t cause extinction, and the aff wins in the 2AR that they do cause extinction, I will vote aff: Both teams implicitly agreed that extinction is a good we should try to reach. Obviously speaker points in this debate would be quite low, and I’d be frustrated with the decision, but I will do my best to work within the evaluative system the debaters have either explicitly or implicitly created.
Do I have thoughts about the way arguments should be deployed? Yes, and I will delineate them below, but they can almost always be reversed by good debating. What do I mean by good debating? Line-by-line, warranted analysis that clashes with the other team’s analysis, strategic use of evidence, organizational clarity, and impact and ballot framing are the most important things to me.
Framework and K Affs:
This is where all of the stuff I said about tech > truth and voting on the flow comes in – whoever does the best line-by-line and impact/ballot framing will win the debate. I debated and judge in the northeast. I would estimate that maybe 75% of my neg debates in high school were k aff v. framework rounds, so I like to think that I am familiar with how these debates go down, and I enjoy them.
If you are going for framework:
a.) Go for whatever impact you like going for – procedural fairness, clash, switch-side debate, et cetera. I disliked it when judges “liked T” but “didn’t believe” that fairness or clash was an impact. Tell me what I should think are impacts and why, and I’ll listen.
b.) Answer case or at the very least explain why you don’t have to answer case.
c.) Close doors in the 2NR. You know the 2AR will expand on case or a disad – try to cut that off.
d.) Line by line. Please. Messy and late-breaking clash rounds favor the aff.
e.) The TVA is your friend. The combination of the argument that deficits to the TVA are negative ground and the argument that reading stuff on the neg is good is very persuasive to me.
f.) Don’t be afraid to extend stuff on case in the 2NR, particularly presumption level claims that question their advocacy’s ability to solve stuff.
If you are going for a k aff:
a.) Please defend something. I love it when k affs defend some form of material action, but please advocate for something.
b.) A couple smart, powerful disads > laundry list of similar, poorly explained/differentiated disads to T
c.) Compare models of debate – what does your model of debate do? Why does it resolve the harms you say their model creates, and why does it limit their offense?
d.) Line by line, especially in the 1AR, is so important – don’t force your 2A to make new arguments
e.) Impact framing
f.) If you do cool non-traditional stuff, bring it back up after the 1AC. I am always a little disappointed when the 1AC includes some song or performance but it disappears immediately.
I LOVE the politics disad. As such if you extend it well, I will be happy, and if you extend it poorly, I will be sad. Extending a politics disad well means reading a ton of uniqueness cards and subpointing multiple answers to every 2AC argument. If this is done in the 1NR, and extended in the 2NR, speaks will be bueno.
Topic or process disads are also cool. Impact calc and turns case arguments are the move, especially link turns case arguments.
I don't have fixed ideological positions on the more nitty-gritty stuff -- it's up to the debaters to prove whether uniqueness controls the direction of the link, or vice versa, for instance.
EXPLAIN WHAT IT DOES! I don’t have a ton of experience judging on this topic; I won’t immediately know the agency or mechanism you are talking about.
Multi-actor fiat, delay, conditions, and some + process and consult = sketch; international fiat on an international topic I will probably be okay with if you have the evidence. Solvency advocates can basically make any counterplan legitimate to me, but I will listen to any theory debate, and the 2A in me may or may not pop out. Not to feed a fed horse, but all of these leanings can be reversed by good (read: clear) theory debating.
I probably won't judgekick unless I am explicitly instructed to.
EXPLAIN YOUR INTERP! I don’t have the topic knowledge to know if there is “consensus” about what certain terms in the resolution mean.
I may be more willing to listen to reasonability than other judges.
Most of my aff debates in high school were soft left aff versus the k. I like it when there are links to the plan, not to the status quo. I also like turns case analysis and when the alt does stuff.
Please don't assume that I am wholly unfamiliar with all k stuff because I ran mostly policy affs. I am pretty familiar with a lot of the anti-blackness and cap literature and I am very up for those throw-downs.
I have a medium level understanding of a lot of the other literature, but unless it's something super new or Frankensteined together, I will probably be able to follow you.
***PLEASE DO CASE DEBATING*** This is something that frustrates me ENDLESSLY. K teams -- you know that extinction outweighs is one of the most powerful answers policy affs will leverage. The solution to this is NOT to add subpoint W to your "Util Bad" block. The reason the aff gets extinction outweighs is because you aren't MOCKING their scenarios. Policy aff internal links are SO contrived, especially on domestic reform topics. Impact scenarios rarely assume COVID or a Biden administration, and they're written by think tanks funded by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The aff won't win on extinction outweighs if you EVISCERATE their extinction scenario. I think a block that was 8 minutes of the K and 5 minutes of ridiculing whatever nonsense the aff solves would be a killer. I know I am shouting into the void here, that case debating is a long lost art, but hopefully somebody reading this will invest some time on the case page.
Do I have any judging quirks?
a.) I find myself reading evidence after the round more and more. This is bad -- I hate being interventionist. That being said, I think a logical analytic still carries as much weight as a card.
b.) I have some but not a lot of topic knowledge. Please err on the side of explanation.
c.) Most of my debates in high school were against k teams, but I went to Michigan and helped at the Dartmouth debate camp. I like to think that means I have some amount of both policy and critical experience.
d.) I was a 2A for most of high school but I 2Ned or double two-ed for a few years. That means I may lean aff on theory surrounding questionable counterplans but I lean negative when it comes to holding a high bar for the 2AR.
e.) I am passionate about climate change. If you like going for warming good, I am the wrong judge for you. I will look for any way to vote for the other team and your speaks will suffer. I honestly have no idea why the debate community continues to treat this as a legitimate argument. (If this seems at odds with my tech>truth beliefs, I agree that I am not being wholly consistent, but the notion of breeding apathy among youth about climate change is frankly abhorrent to me. Just as tech over truth does not extend to arguments like racism is good, climate change is something I feel obligated to hold the line on.)
f.) I care a lot about the participation of women, especially WOC, in debate. I will be extremely sensitive to the way people who are not cis white men are treated in the debate space.
g.) I want to help debaters who don't receive a lot of formal coaching. I remember feeling intimidated and isolated in high school debate rounds when the other team had 3+ professional coaches in the room while my partner and I sat alone, desperately trying to figure out what we could do. A lot of my coaching in high school came from incredibly kind strangers in the debate community who were willing to help (take pity on) a panicked kid who didn't have the cards to answer a disad. If you ever have questions, whether they're about my decision or just arguments in general, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or find me in the hallway, and I will do my best to help you out.
i.) I love, love, love topic education arguments, whether they're on framework/T or when you are aff going against a K or when you are going for a k and making arguments about what topic education SHOULD look like. As a policy 2A I loved making arguments about the way grassroots organizing can amalgamate careful policy research with novel or radical forms of praxis and pedagogy. Teams that do this will make me happy.
j.) References to Magi Ortiz, Debayan Sen, Rayhan Ahmed, Sydney Young, Samar Ahmad, or Ishan Bhatt = +0.2 speaks; references to any Lex debater / Lexington debate in general, including Sheryl Kaczmarek = +0.1 speaks
If either of my cats are present during the round and a debater compliments them, makes a reference to them in any way, or shows me their pet(s): +0.2 speaks
-line by line
-splitting the block (if you don't know what this means, ask!)
-picking up on dropped arguments
-referencing Debayan Sen, Magi Ortiz, or Rayhan Ahmed (if you don't know who these scrubs are, no worries)
-frame my ballot (why do I vote for you? what impacts does voting for you ameliorate, and why do those impacts matter/matter more than the other team's impacts?)
-show me your flows after the round (+.1 speaks)
-asking questions!! email me ( email@example.com ) with any questions about my decision/debate in general
-extending claims without warrants + impacts
-bullying your partner or the other team
-block repetition (see above)
-switching flows without telling me when you are switching (signposting)
-reading arguments/blocks you don't understand
Put me on the chain
Darcell Brown He/Him
Head Coach at University High School Academy (Detroit UDL/MI)
Former Debater at Wayne State University (NDT 2020)
-- Top Level --
I don't care what you do. Just read your best arguments and give an impact that I can vote on. I'm like 60/40 tech over truth. I default to my flow but can be persuaded by pathos/performance in the debate to weigh my decision. I'll vote on presumption if persuaded the aff doesn't solve anything. I heavily prefer clarity over speed but can keep up with a fast pace as long as you're still coherent. I'll vote on theory args but am not the person you want for 2NR/2AR theory throwdowns. I vote on clipping but if you call it out and are wrong, you lose.
-- Aff Stuff --
- On the policy end of the spectrum, I don't have too many comments for the aff besides the generic ones. Have an internal links to your impacts and if you're gonna go util v vtl/deontology stuff then go all in or go home. On the Kritikal side, I'm down for whatever and will vote on rejections of the topic if there's an impacted reason as to why engagement in the context of the resolution is bad as well as Kritkal interps of the topic. Be clear about what your argument is early on. It serves better to be straight forward with your claims with me instead of using a ton of jargon.
-- Neg Stuff --
- I'm fine with you reading whatever on the neg however you need to engage the aff. More specifically, against K Affs if the aff is engaging the topic, I'm more in favor of voting aff if your only answer is T/FW and Cap. FW has to have a TVA otherwise I default aff. Fairness needs to have an impact. There needs to be a reason why rules are good, not just "there are rules so vote neg". Any other questions you can ask me before the round.
Updated August 2023
For in person tournaments:
Please wear a mask at all times, including during speeches. I don't want covid.
If you're looking to do college debate feel free to reach out and ask about Iowa debate with the email I have above! I'd love to answer any questions!
I do exclusively K debate, currently at the University of Iowa. I've mostly run trans studies, queer theory, and antiblackness. Yes I can still judge a policy debate. Poorly executed framework/K debates from either side are not fun to watch (notes below on how you can persuade me). Top level instruction is important.
Obviously my job as your judge is to evaluate the round as fairly as possible. However, every judge has their biases, so I'll do my best to explain mine here:
4 years of debate at Northside (Chicago/CDL), 2016-2020. I debated on China, Education, Immigration, and Arms Sales. Currently in my fourth year debating at Iowa - I've debated on Alliances, Antitrust, Personhood and Nukes. I was a lab leader during Summer of 2023 for Fiscal Redistribution so I have a decent understanding of the topic.
Most of my higher-level experience has been with K debate, so that's what I'm most familiar/comfortable with. I've had the most experience with trans studies, queer theory, and antiblackness but I have a basic enough handle on almost anything else you can name. Maybe a little less familiar with obscure pomo theory but I get the basics. Obviously if what you're running is super out there, make sure that you are able to thoroughly explain your theory of power and specific links to the aff (which honestly applies to anything you're running).
Top-level stuff: Although I have thoughts about different arguments in debate, please go for whatever you feel comfortable running. Adaptation can be important, but over adapting and going for something you aren't familiar or comfortable with can often hinder you more than help. It's my job to evaluate the round fairly.
Also I personally think that more than 5ish off is unnecessary and uneducational. I'll probably still flow all of them but be willing to give the aff more slack when it comes to new 1AR extrapolations if the neg is running an obscene number of arguments. This is especially true if you read half-arguments in the 1NC that are blown up in the block - think one card K's that barely have a link/impact/alt.
I'm somewhere in between being 'big picture' and being 'techy'/flow centric, but as a judge will put large emphasis on the former. Telling me how to think about/evaluate arguments and what my role is as a judge will get you far.
Asking for a marked doc means that cards were marked, not that they didn't get to every card in the doc. If you want to ask which cards were read, you need to run cross-x or prep.
Usually I'm not looking at docs when flowing speeches and I flow on paper (this is probably different if it is an online debate because I find it somewhat harder to flow over zoom). I do take notes during cross-x, and think it is often a really important part of debates - referencing significant moments from cross-x is a good practice.
T (not FW/USFG): I tend to find judging these debates quite boring in most instances, but if you think it'll be a strong argument please go for it. If you are talking about super specific acronyms make sure you clarify things that might not be obvious. Also make sure you're still doing impact comparison - it is hard to evaluate a T debate when both sides are extending their own impacts without interaction with the other teams arguments.
CPs/Theory: I actually kind of like a good, cheaty, cleverly crafted counterplan with a good net benefit. Condo is probably good up to a certain point, process CPs are fine as long as there's a net ben.
Random thought that doesn't matter but it's called a "counterplan" not a "CP" this annoys me for no reason lol
K's: Pretty much covered this above, but yeah I like Ks. I think the best ways to beat a K are some combination of framework, a perm, and alt takeouts. As much as I like the K, I'm very willing to vote you down if you don't properly extend links to the aff, alt solvency (unless you've got a reason why you don't need an alt), etc. I generally think that teams that try to read bad preempts affs when they hit "k teams" are hurting themselves more than helping. It's much easier to win going for the big stick impacts youre used to if that's what you do.
F/W v. K Aff: I personally tend to believe that debate should be a space where debaters have the opportunity to performatively explore how different forms of knowledge production and political engagement shape the way they occupy space, which is something that can take many forms. This doesn't mean that I won't vote on framework (especially if the team running the K aff isn't properly answering it), however, it does mean that you should be engaging with the affirmative and giving reasons why debate is better off with a traditional way of engaging the resolution. I think that clash-based impacts to framework are better than education-based impacts to framework because it makes it easier to weigh your standards against the aff. A TVA can be powerful, but you should probably have some sort of solvency advocate that ties the TVA to the ability to engage with knowledge/the debate space in a similar way to the affirmative. i.e. I'm much more likely to vote for a carded TVA than a two-second blip or suggestion of a potential topical aff. That doesn't just mean "the TVA does something vaguely good for X group!", especially if the aff is directly addressing the way that knowledge/discourse shape those policies in the first place.
A general note on K aff's too: I love it when teams do performative things. I've done all kinds of stuff in my aff's, and honestly I think an aff that has less ev but is more performatively interesting is much better than a wall of cards.
K v. K: You do you. I've had many of these debates myself, so I enjoy judging them. Being a 2A for the majority of my time debating, I tend to think that the aff does get a perm, but you could (and should) try to persuade me otherwise.
Ethics Challenges: Since this seems to be happening way more frequently now for some reason, a few notes on what an ethics violation is and what it means:
An ethics challenge refers to something like a miscut piece of evidence, and amounts to stopping the debate. If it is called an ethics violation, the round stops - it is not debated out (unless tab decides otherwise, but if it is up to my discretion I will stop the debate).
Ethics violations are sometimes a necessity in situations of bankrupt research practices, but in my opinion is not a "strategy" for you to be prepped to go for if you think you are losing a debate. Posing such a challenge will result in me contacting tab about appropriate measures - whether that means me making the decision or the tab director depends on the tournament and circumstances. Some examples of ethics violations are internal omissions of evidence, straw mans, etc.
I understand that often times (especially in high school debate) citational or miscutting errors are not intentional or done with malice, and so please note I will not hold it against you personally if such a violation occurs. In the event of this situation, I will award a 28.6/28.5 to the team who wins and a 28.4/28.3 to the team who loses.
Speaks: I try to start at a 28 and add or deduct points from there based on nuance, clarity, etc. I'd say on average my points generally range from 28.6 - 29.2 for teams in the middle to upper range of the tournament.
Good luck, and have fun!
Experience-This will be my fifth year coaching at Northview High School. Before moving to Georgia, I coached for 7 years at Marquette High in Milwaukee, WI and I debated there for four years.
Yes, add me to the email chain.My email firstname.lastname@example.org
*As I have gained more coaching and judging experience, I find that I highly value teams who respect their opponents who might not have the same experience as them. This includes watching how you come across in CX, prep time, and your general comportment towards your opponent. In some local circuits, circuit-style policy debate is dwindling and we all have a responsibility to be respectful of the experience of everyone trying to be involved in policy debate.*
I recommend that you go to the bathroom and fill your water bottles before the debate rather than before a speech.
LD Folks please read the addendum at the end of my paradigm.
Meta-Level Strike Sheet Concerns
1. Debates are rarely won or lost on technical concessions or truth claims alone. In other words, I think the “tech vs. truth” distinction is a little silly. Technical concessions make it more complicated to win a debate, but rarely do they make wins impossible. Keeping your arguments closer to “truer” forms of an argument make it easier to overcome technical concessions because your arguments are easier to identify, and they’re more explicitly supported by your evidence (or at least should be). That being said, using truth alone as a metric of which of y’all to pick up incentivizes my intervention at some degree.
2. Evidence quality matters a bunch to me- it’s evidence that you have spent time and effort on your positions, it’s a way to determine the relative truth level of your claims, and it helps overcome some of the time constraints of the activity in a way that allows you to raise the level of complexity of your position in a shorter amount of time. I will read your evidence throughout the debate, especially if it is on a position with which I’m less familiar. I won’t vote on evidence comparison claims unless it becomes a question of the debate raised by either team, but I will think about how your evidence could have been used more effectively by the end of the debate. I enjoy rewarding teams for evidence quality.
3. Every debate could benefit from more comparative work particularly in terms of the relative quality of arguments/the interactions between arguments by the end of the round. Teams should ask "Why?", such as "If I win this argument, WHY is this important?", "If I lose this argument WHY does this matter?". Strategically explaining the implications of winning or losing an argument is the difference between being a middle of the road team and a team advancing to elims.
4. Some expectations for what should be present in arguments that seem to have disappeared in the last few years-
-For me to vote on a single argument, it must have a claim, warrant, impact, and impact comparison.
-A DA is not a full DA until a uniqueness, link, internal link and impact argument is presented.Too many teams are getting away with 2 card DA shells in the 1NC and then reading uniqueness walls in the block. I will generally allow for new 1AR answers.
Similarly, CP's should have a solvency advocate read in the 1NC. I'll be flexible on allowing 1AR arguments in a world where the aff makes an argument about the lack of a solvency advocate.
-Yes, terminal defense exists, however, I do not think that teams take enough advantage of this kind of argument in front of me. I will not always evaluate the round through a lens of offense-defense, but you still need to make arguments as to why I shouldn’t by at least explaining why your argument functions as terminal defense. Again this plays into evidence questions and the relative impacts of arguments claims made above.
Case-Debates are won or lost in the case debate. By this, I mean that proving whether or not the aff successfully accesses all, some or none of the case advantages has implications on every flow of the debate and should be a fundamental question of most 2NRs and 2ARs. I think that blocks that are heavy in case defense or impact turns are incredibly advantageous for the neg because they enable you to win any CP (by proving the case defense as a response to the solvency deficit), K (see below) or DA (pretty obvious). I'm also more likely than others to write a presumption ballot or vote neg on inherency arguments. If the status quo solves your aff or you're not a big enough divergence, then you probably need to reconsider your approach to the topic.
Most affs can be divided into two categories: affs with a lot of impacts but poor internal links and affs with very solid internal links but questionable impacts. Acknowledging in which of these two categories the aff you are debating falls should shape how you approach the case debate. I find myself growing increasingly disappointed by negative teams that do not test weak affirmatives. Where's your internal link defense?? I also miss judging impact turn debates, but don't think that spark or wipeout are persuasive arguments. A high level de-dev debate or heg debate, on the other hand, love it.
DA-DAs are questions of probability. Your job as the aff team when debating a DA is to use your defensive arguments to question the probability of the internal links to the DA. Affirmative teams should take more advantage of terminal defense against disads. I'll probably also have a lower threshold for your theory arguments on the disad. Likewise, the neg should use turns case arguments as a reason why your DA calls into question the probability of the aff's internal links. Don't usually find "____ controls the direction of the link" arguments very persuasive. You need to warrant out that claim more if you're going to go for it. Make more rollback-style turns case arguments or more creative turns case arguments to lower the threshold for winning the debate on the disad alone.
CP-CP debates are about the relative weight of a solvency deficit versus the relative weight of the net benefit. The team that is more comparative when discussing the solvency level of these debates usually wins the debate. While, when it is a focus of the debate, I tend to err affirmative on questions of counterplan competiton, I have grown to be more persuaded by a well-executed counterplan strategy even if the counterplan is a process counterplan. The best counterplans have a solvency advocate who is, at least, specific to the topic, and, best, specific to the affirmative. I do not default to judge kicking the counterplan and will be easily persuaded by an affirmative argument about why I should not default to that kind of in-round conditionality. Not a huge fan of the NGA CP and I've voted three out of four times on intrinsic permutations against this counterplan so just be warned. Aff teams should take advantage of presumption arguments against the CP.
K-After y’all saw the school that I coach, I’m sure this is where you scrolled to first which is fair enough given how long it takes to fill out pref sheets. I will say, if you told me 10 years ago when I began coaching that I’d be coaching a team that primarily reads the K on the aff and on the neg, I probably would have found that absurd because that wasn’t my entry point into the activity so keep that in mind as you work with some of the thoughts below. That being said, I’ve now coached the K at a high level for the past two years which means that I have some semblance of a feeling for a good K debate. If the K is not something that you traditionally go for, you’re better off going for what you’re best at.
The best debates on the K are debates over the explanatory power of the negative’s theory of power relative to the affirmative’s specific example of liberalism, realism, etc. Put another way, the best K debaters are familiar enough with their theory of power AND the affirmative’s specific impact scenarios that they use their theory to explain the dangers of the aff. By the end of the 2NR I should have a very clear idea of what the affirmative does and how your theory explains why doing the affirmative won’t resolve the aff’s impacts or results in a bad thing. This does not necessarily mean that you need to have links to the affirmative’s mechanism (that’s probably a bit high of a research burden), but your link explanations need to be specific to the aff and should be bolstered by specific quotes from 1AC evidence or CX. The specificity of your link explanation should be sufficient to overcome questions of link-uniqueness or I’ll be comfortable voting on “your links only link to the status quo.”
On the flipside, aff teams need to explain why their contingency or specific example of policy action cannot be explained by the negative’s theory of power or that, even if some aspects can be, that the specificity of the aff’s claims justifies voting aff anyway because there’s some offense against the alternative or to the FW ballot. Affirmative teams that use the specificity of the affirmative to generate offense or push back against general link claims will win more debates than those that just default to generic “extinction is irreversible” ballots.
Case Page when going for the K- My biggest pet peeve with the current meta on the K is the role of the case page. Neither the affirmative nor the negative take enough advantage of this page to really stretch out their opponents on this question. For the negative, you need to be challenging the affirmative’s internal links with defense that can bolster some of your thesis level claims. Remember, you are trying to DISPROVE the affirmative’s contingent/specific policy which means that the more specificity you have the better off you will be. This means that just throwing your generic K links onto the case page probably isn’t the move. 9/10 the alternative doesn’t resolve them and you don’t have an explanation of how voting neg resolves the offense. K teams so frequently let policy affs get away with some really poor evidence quality and weak internal links. Please help the community and deter policy teams from reading one bad internal link to their heg aff against your [INSERT THEORY HERE] K. On that note, policy teams, why are you removing your best internal links when debating the K? Your generic framework cards are giving the neg more things to impact turn and your explanation of the internal link level of the aff is lowered when you do that. Read your normal aff against the K and just square up.
Framework debates (with the K on the neg) For better or worse, so much of contemporary K debate is resolved in the framework debate. The contemporary dependence on framework ballots means a couple of things:
1.) Both teams need to do more work here- treat this like a DA and a CP. Compare the relative strength of internal link claims and impact out the terminal impacts. Why does procedural fairness matter? What is the terminal impact to clash? How do we access your skills claims? What does/does not the ballot resolve? To what extent does the ballot resolve those things? The team that usually answers more of these questions usually wins these debates. K teams need to do more to push back against “ballot can solve procedural fairness” claims and aff teams need to do more than just “schools, family, culture, etc.” outweigh subject formation. Many of you all spend more time at debate tournaments or doing debate work than you do at school or doing schoolwork.
2.) I do think it’s possible for the aff to win education claims, but you need to do more comparative impact calculus. What does scenario planning do for subject formation that is more ethical than whatever the impact scenario is to the K? If you can’t explain your education claims at that level, just go for fairness and explain why the ballot can resolve it.
3.) Risk of the link- Explain what winning framework does for how much of a risk of a link that I need to justify a ballot either way. Usually, neg teams will want to say that winning framework means they get a very narrow risk of a link to outweigh. I don’t usually like defaulting to this but affirmative teams very rarely push back on this risk calculus in a world where they lose framework. If you don’t win that you can weigh the aff against the K, aff teams need to think about how they can use their scenarios as offense against the educational claims of the K. This can be done as answers to the link arguments as well, though you’ll probably need to win more pieces of defense elsewhere on the flow to make this viable.
Do I go for the alternative?
I don’t think that you need to go for the alternative if you have a solid enough framework push in the 2NR. However, few things to keep in mind here:
1.) I won’t judge kick the alternative for you unless you explicitly tell me to do it and include a theoretical justification for why that’s possible.
2.) The framework debate should include some arguments about how voting negative resolves the links- i.e. what is the kind of ethical subject position endorsed on the framework page that pushes us towards research projects that avoid the links to the critique? How does this position resolve those links?
3.) Depending on the alternative and the framework interpretation, some of your disads to the alternative will still link to the framework ballot. Smart teams will cross apply these arguments and explain why that complicates voting negative.
K affs (Generic)
Yes, I’m comfortable evaluating debates involving the K on the aff and think that I’ve reached a point where I’m pretty good for either side of this debate. Affirmative teams need to justify an affirmative ballot that beats presumption, especially if you’re defending status quo movements as examples of the aff’s method. Both teams benefit from clarifying early in the round whether or not the affirmative team spills up, whether or not in-round performances specific to this debate resolve any of the affirmative offense, and whatever the accumulation of ballots does or does not do for the aff. Affirmative teams that are not the Louisville project often get away with way too much by just reading a DSRB card and claiming their ballots function the same way. Aff teams should differentiate their ballot claims and negatives should make arguments about the aff’s homogenizing ballot claims. All that being said, like I discussed above, these debates are won and lost on the case page like any other debate. As the K becomes more normalized and standardized to a few specific schools of thought, I have a harder and harder time separating the case and framework pages on generic “we couldn’t truth test your arguments” because I think that shifts a bit too strongly to the negative. That said, I can be persuaded to separate the two if there’s decent time spent in the final rebuttals on this question.
Framework vs. the K Aff
Framework debates are best when both teams spend time comparing the realities of debate in the status quo and the idealized form of debate proposed in model v. model rounds. In that light, both teams need to be thinking about what proposing framework in a status quo where the K is probably going to stick around means for those teams that currently read the K and for those teams that prefer to directly engage the resolution. In a world where the affirmative defends the counter interpretation, the affirmative should have an explanation of what happens when team don’t read an affirmative that meets their model. Most of the counter interpretations are arbitrary or equivalent to “no counter interpretation”, but an interp being arbitrary is just defense that you can still outweigh depending on the offense you’re winning.
In impact turn debates, both teams need to be much clearer about the terminal impacts to their offense while providing an explanation as to why voting in either direction resolves them. After sitting in so many of these debates, I tend to think that the ballot doesn’t do much for either team but that means that teams who have a better explanation of what it means to win the ballot will usually pick up my decision. You can’t just assert that voting negative resolves procedural fairness without warranting that out just like you can’t assert that the aff resolves all forms of violence in debate through a single debate. Both teams need to grapple with how the competitive incentives for debate establish offense for either side. The competitive incentive to read the K is strong and might counteract some of the aff’s access to offense, but the competitive incentives towards framework also have their same issues. Neither sides hands are clean on that question and those that are willing to admit it are usually better off. I have a hard time setting aside clash as an external impact due to the fact that I’m just not sure what the terminal impact is. I like teams that go for clash and think that it usually is an important part of negative strategy vs. the K, but I think this strategy is best when the clash warrants are explained as internal link turns to the aff’s education claims. Some of this has to due with the competitive incentives arguments that I’ve explained above. Both teams need to do more work explaining whether or not fairness or education claims come first. It’s introductory-level impact analysis I find lacking in many of these debates.
Other things to think about-
1.) These debates are at their worst when either team is dependent on blocks. Framework teams should be particularly cautious about this because they’ve had less of these debates over the course of the season, however, K teams are just as bad at just reading their blocks through the 1AR. I will try to draw a clean line between the 1AR and the 2AR and will hold a pretty strict one in debates where the 1AR is just screaming through blocks. Live debating contextualized to this round far outweighs robots with pre-written everything.
2.) I have a hard time pulling the trigger on arguments with “quitting the activity” as a terminal impact. Any evidence on either side of this question is usually anecdotal and that’s not enough to justify a ballot in either direction. There are also a bunch of alternative causes to numbers decline like the lack of coaches, the increased technical rigor of high-level policy debate, budgets, the pandemic, etc. that I think thump most of these impacts for either side. More often than not, the people that are going to stick with debate are already here but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences to the kinds of harms to the activity/teams as teams on either side of the clash question learn to coexist.
K vs. K Debates (Overview)
I’ll be perfectly honest, unless this is a K vs. Cap debate, these are the debates that I’m least comfortable evaluating because I feel like they end up being some of the messiest and “gooiest” debates possible. That being said, I think that high level K vs. K debates can be some of the most interesting to evaluate if both teams have a clear understanding of the distinctions between their positions, are able to base their theoretical distinctions in specific, grounded examples that demonstrate potential tradeoffs between each position, and can demonstrate mutual exclusivity outside of the artificial boundary of “no permutations in a method debate.” At their best, these debates require teams to meet a high research burden which is something that I like to reward so if your strat is specific or you can explain it in a nuanced way, go for it. That said, I’m not the greatest for teams whose generic position in these debates are to read “post-truth”/pomo arguments against identity positions and I feel uncomfortable resolving competing ontology claims in debates around identity unless they are specific and grounded. I feel like most debates are too time constrained to meaningfully resolve these positions. Similarly, teams that read framework should be cautious about reading conditional critiques with ontology claims- i.e. conditional pessimism with framework. I’m persuaded by theoretical arguments about conditional ontology claims regarding social death and cross apps to framework in these debates.
I won’t default to “no perms in a methods debate”, though I am sympathetic to the theoretical arguments about why affs not grounded in the resolution are too shifty if they are allowed to defend the permutation. What gets me in these debates is that I think that the affirmative will make the “test of competition”-style permutation arguments anyway like “no link” or the aff is a disad/prereq to the alt regardless of whether or not there’s a permutation. I can’t just magically wave a theory wand here and make those kinds of distinctions go away. It lowers the burden way too much for the negative and creates shallow debates. Let’s have a fleshed out theory argument and you can persuade me otherwise. The aff still needs to win access to the permutation, but if you lose the theory argument still make the same kinds of arguments if you had the permutation. Just do the defensive work to thump the links.
Cap vs. K- I get the strategic utility of these debates, but this debate is becoming pretty stale for me. Teams that go for state-good style capitalism arguments need to explain the process of organization, accountability measures, the kind of party leadership, etc. Aff teams should generate offense off of these questions. Teams that defend Dean should have to defend psychoanalysis answers. Teams that defend Escalante should have specific historical examples of dual power working or not in 1917 or in post-Bolshevik organization elsewhere. Aff teams should force Dean teams to defend psycho and force Escalante teams to defend historical examples of dual power. State crackdown arguments should be specific. I fear that state crackdown arguments will apply to both the alternative and the aff and the team that does a better job describing the comparative risk of crackdown ends up winning my argument. Either team should make more of a push about what it means to shift our research practices towards or away from communist organizing. There are so many debates where we have come to the conclusion that the arguments we make in debate don’t spill out or up and, yet, I find debates where we are talking about politically organizing communist parties are still stuck in some universe where we are doing the actual organizing in a debate round. Tell me what a step towards the party means for our research praxis or provide disads to shifting the resource praxis. All the thoughts on the permutation debate are above. I’m less likely to say no permutation in these debates because there is plenty of clash in the literature between, at least, anti-capitalism and postcapitalism that there can be a robust debate even if you don’t have specifics. That being said, the more you can make ground your theory in specific examples the better off you’ll be.
T-Sitting through a bunch of framework debates has made me a better judge for topicality than I used to be. Comparative impact calculus alongside the use of strategic defensive arguments will make it easier for me to vote in a particular direction. Certain interps have a stronger internal link to limits claims and certain affs have better arguments for overlimiting. Being specific about what kind of offense you access, how it comes first, and the relative strength of your internal links in these debates will make it more likely that you win my ballot. I’m not a huge fan of tickytacky topicality claims but, if there’s substantial contestation in the literature, these can be good debates.
Theory- I debated on a team that engaged in a lot of theory debates in high school. There were multiple tournaments where most of our debates boiled down to theory questions, so I would like to think that I am a good judge for theory debates. I think that teams forget that theory debates are structured like a disadvantage. Again, comparative impact calculus is important to win my ballots in these debates. I will say that I tend to err aff on most theory questions. For example, I think that it is probably problematic for there to be more than one conditional advocacy in a round (and that it is equally problematic for your counter interpretation to be dispositionality) and I think that counterplans that compete off of certainty are bad for education and unfair to the aff. The biggest killer in a theory debate is when you just read down your blocks and don’t make specific claims. Debate like your
Notes for the Blue Key RR/Other LD Judging Obligations
Biggest shift for me in judging LD debates is the following: No tricks or intuitively false arguments. I'll vote on dropped arguments, but those arguments need a claim, data, warrant and an impact for me to vote on them. If I can't explain the argument back to you and the implications of that argument on the rest of the debate, I'm not voting for you.
I guess this wasn't clear enough the first time around- I don't flow off the document and your walls of framework and theory analytics are really hard to flow when you don't put any breaks in between them.
Similarly, phil debates are always difficult for me to analyze. I tend to think affirmative's should defend implementation particularly when the resolution specifies an actor. Outside of my general desire to see some debates about implementation, I don't have any kind of background in the phil literature bases and so will have a harder time picturing the implications of you winning specific arguments. If you want me to understand how your argumets interact, you will have to do a lot of explanation.
Theory debates- Yes, I said that I enjoy theory debates in my paradigm above and that is largely still true, but CX theory debates are a lot less technical than LD debates. I also think there are a lot of silly theory arguments in LD and I tend to have a higher threshold for those sorts of arguments. I also don't have much of a reference for norm setting in LD or what the norms actually are. Take that into account if you choose to go for theory and probably don't because I won't award you with high enough speaks for your liking.
K debates- Yes, I enjoy K debates but I tend to think that their LD variant is very shallow. You need to do more specific work in linking to the affirmative and developing the implications of your theory of power claims. While I enjoy good LD debates on the K, I always feel like I have to do a lot of work to justify a ballot in either direction. This is magnified by the limited amount of time that you have to develop your positions.
Experience: I spent 4 years doing Policy Debate at Bronx Science and am currently a sophomore majoring in biology and sociology at Macaulay Honors College.
Email: email@example.com - please put me on the email chain :)
FOR POLICY - Updated for 2022:
Please tell me how to vote. Having been out of debate for 2 years, not telling me exactly how you want a round evaluated leaves everything up to my own previous experience and former knowledge which is not as decent as it used to be.
I am a tech over truth judge. Unless something is contested in round, I'll generally take it for truth. The only exception to this rule is if something blatantly offensive is said in round (this includes but is not limited to anything racist, sexist, homophobic, and ableist). In this case, I wouldn't give the offending team the win or high speaker points even if the argument goes cold conceded.
Usually I don't mind speed, but especially in online, I've noticed that it gets a little more difficult to hear so you can still be fast, just make sure you are still slowing down for tags and analytics.
Run whatever you want and know the best. I also usually prefer it when debates are kept small (so I'd prefer 1-3 off vs. 8 off) but if you're more comfortable with a bigger strategy, go ahead.
Explain everything (things like acronyms) - please don't assume I have prior topic knowledge.
All of the above from the Policy section applies wherever applicable.
I like performance and kritikal debate although traditional is fine too.
Assuming I don't know anything about the topic beforehand is a good idea.
I've never debated LD so I don't have a strong opinion about LD specific theory (for ex: RVIs) and I might not know what LD specific arguments/theory is or what the conventional way to evaluate such arguments are - if you explain what it is, I won't have a problem with it though!
Here is my email for the email chain:
Here is my short biography for you to know who I am:
Hi, my name is William. I finished a PhD in German at NYU. My focus was on literature, critical theory, and to some extent black studies.
As for debate experience, I used to debate for CUNY debate in college for 4 years, reading critical arguments in the Northeast. I won a handful of regional tournaments and broke at CEDA. I also coach for Brooklyn Technical High School (sometimes we sign up at Brooklyn Independent). I have been coaching there for 8 years and have had my debaters make it far in national tournaments as well as qualify for the TOC a bunch. Because I work with Brooklyn Tech (a UDL school), I am also connected to the NYCUDL.
Here is the start of my paradigm:
As everyone else says, rule of thumb: DO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT
Whether your go-to strat is to throw stuff at the wall and hope it sticks, a straight up disad/cp, or a one-off K; I will be more than happy to judge your round…
given that you:
1) Have a claim, warrant, and impact to every argument. It isn’t an argument absent these three elements, and I will have some trouble adjudicating what you’ve said.
2) Properly explain your positions—don’t make an assumption that I know you the abbreviations you use, the specific DA scenario you're going for (perhaps fill me in on the internal link chains), or the K jargon you're using. Help me out!
3) Have comparative analysis of evidence, arguments, and preformative styles between your own positions compared to those of the other team.
4) Frame things— tell me how I should prioritize impacts otherwise I will default to util (see section at the bottom)
5) Be Persuasive, it will go a long way to making me to sign my ballot your way if you can make the round enjoyable, touching, funny, etc – it will also help your speaks.
6) Write the ballot for me in your 2nr/2ar, tell me how you win. Take risks, and don’t go for everything. Prioritize your best offense and tell me why that offense is critical to evaluating the round—force me to evaluate the debate through a prism that has you winning
Also, some other things:
1) I will default to competing interpretations and util unless an alternative mechanisms of evaluating the round are introduced
2) I will default to rejecting the argument not the team unless you tell me otherwise
3) I will avoid looking at evidence unless there is a dispute over evidence in a round or a debater spins it as part of being persuasive
4) I am an open minded judge, and respect all “realms” of debate though my own experience debating and coaching revolves around mostly K debate.
I competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for four years in high school. In college I competed in policy debate for four years at the University of Richmond where I was a three-time participant at the NDT. Since graduating from law school I have been practicing as an attorney in the New York state court system. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. To me, well-warranted arguments extended and explained in rebuttals combined with strategic control of the flow wins debates. Technical proficiency in terms of argument interaction is also appreciated. Well executed link and impact turns are also impressive. It won't change how I evaluate the debate, but in case you are curious, I was primarily a 2A/1N and ran everything from hard right, to soft left, to ironic affs as well as a full range on the neg. My email is jchicvak at gmail dot com.
Do what you do best and have fun.
Apply here for the presidential scholarship at Wake Forest due November 15th. It's a $16,000 scholarship for four years to a top 30 school in the country if you're interested.
- 1ars should try to read cards.
- Fine with speed.
I did policy for 4 years in high school and I wasn't terrible. I've judged occasionally in the few years since graduating, but I'm not super heavily involved anymore. That said here's what I can tell you:
General Thoughts – I try to be as tab as possible. However, I think everyone inevitably comes in with some preconceived notions about debate. I know I certainly do, but don’t feel like you have to adapt to my preferences – you should do whatever you do best – but if what you do best happens to be judge adaptation, here are some of my thoughts:
Framework – All I ask is that you engage each others’ interpretations--don’t just read and extend. Look to my comments on topicality if you're interested in how I try to evaluate the standards debate. I think these debates are really interesting when they happen.
Case Debate – I think case-specific strategies that integrate intelligent on-case arguments into the 1NC can be really compelling.
DA/CPs – The more specific the better, but I’ll vote on anything.
Kritikal Debate – I like kritikal debate, but I think it’s much more persuasive when it interacts with the 1AC/2AC. For example, I like specific 2NC link analysis (doesn’t necessarily need to be carded) that points to arguments being made in the 1AC/2AC, and I like 2NC attempts to gain in roads to the case by suggesting the alternative is a necessary precondition to case solvency. I'm fine with kritikal affirmatives so long as you explain the significance of voting affirmative. A general note: given that I'm trying to evaluate your arguments as though I'm hearing them for the first time, please operate under the assumption that I'm completely unfamiliar with the literature you're reading (odds are, either I am unfamiliar, or I only remember bits and pieces)
Topicality – My threshold for T is the same as any other type of argument, but like all other positions, there are central issues that the 2NR needs to resolve in order for me to vote on T. If neither team articulates a framework within which I can vote, then I’ll default to competing interpretations, but I’d much rather not have to default to anything. Assuming I’m voting in a competing interpretations framework, I think of standards – or reasons to prefer – as external impacts to a vote for a given team’s interpretation. That means I think that comparative impact calculus has a huge place in a 2NR that’s going for T. Explain to me what debate looks like if I vote for your interpretation and why that vision should be preferred to one that would allow for cases like the affirmative. Also, it’ll be a lot easier for me to vote negative if there’s in-round abuse.
Theory – It’s easier for me to evaluate theory debates when one actually happens, which means engaging the other team's arguments and not just reading blocks and talking past one another. If you expect to win on theory (independently), you should probably give me some kind of substantive reason why a given violation merits a rejection of the team, and not just the argument.
Non-Traditional Debate – As long as I’m provided with a standard for evaluation that I feel both teams can reasonably meet, I don’t care what you do.
In Round Decorum – Don’t be mean, but try to have fun.
Speed – As long as you’re clear, I’m fine with speed.
Speaker Points – 28 is average. I'll add points for things like clarity and efficiency, as well as particularly clean debating, and I'll subtract points for particularly messy debating, lack of clarity, and sometimes for being mean. I really hate mean debaters. Like, a lot. If you're polite, efficient, clear and clean, I enjoy giving out 30's. You have to work for it though :)
If you have any specific questions, please ask. You can email me after the round with questions if you must, but I can't make any promises that I'll remember specifics: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago '05; Minnesota Law '14
For e-mail chains (which you should always use to accelerate evidence sharing): email@example.com
2022-23 rounds (as of 4/23): 169
Aff winning percentage: .527
("David" or "Mr. Coates" to you. I'll know you haven't bothered to read my paradigm if you call me "judge," which isn't my name).
I will not vote on disclosure theory. I will consider RVIs on disclosure theory based solely on the fact that you introduced it in the first place.
I will not vote on claims predicated on your opponents' rate of delivery and will probably nuke your speaker points if all you can come up with is "fast debate is bad" in response to faster opponents. Explain why their arguments are wrong, but don't waste my time complaining about how you didn't have enough time to answer bad arguments because...oh, wait, you wasted two minutes of a constructive griping about how you didn't like your opponents' speed.
I will not vote on frivolous "arguments" criticizing your opponent's sartorial choices (think "shoe theory" or "formal clothes theory" or "skirt length," which still comes up sometimes), and I will likely catapult your points into the sun for wasting my time and insulting your opponents with such nonsense.
You will probably receive a lecture if you highlight down your evidence to such an extent that it no longer contains grammatical sentences.
Allegations of ethical violations I determine not to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt will result in an automatic loss with the minimum allowable speaker points for the team introducing them.
Allegations of rule violations not supported by the plain text of a rule will make me seriously consider awarding you a loss with no speaker points.
I will actively intervene against new arguments in the last speech of the round, no matter what the debate format. New arguments in the 2AR are the work of the devil and I will not reward you for saving your best arguments for a speech after which they can't be answered. I will entertain claims that new arguments in the 2AR are automatic voting issues for the negative or that they justify a verbal 3NR. Turnabout is fair play.
I will not entertain claims that your opponents should not be allowed to answer your arguments because of personal circumstances beyond their control. Personally abusive language about, or directed at, your opponents will have me looking for reasons to vote against you.
Someone I know has reminded me of this: I will not evaluate any argument suggesting that I must "evaluate the debate after X speech" unless "X speech" is the 2AR. Where do you get off thinking that you can deprive your opponent of speaking time?
I'm okay with slow-walking you through how my decision process works or how I think you can improve your strategic decision making or get better speaker points, but I've no interest, at this point in my career, in relitigating a round I've already decided you've lost. "What would be a better way to make this argument?" will get me actively trying to help you. "Why didn't you vote on this (vague claim)?" will just make me annoyed.
I have been an active coach, primarily of policy debate (though I'm now doing active work only on the LD side), since the 2000-01 season (the year of the privacy topic). Across divisions and events, I generally judge between 100 and 120 rounds a year.
My overall approach to debate is extremely substance dominant. I don't really care what substantive arguments you make as long as you clash with your opponents and fulfill your burdens vis-à-vis the resolution. I will not import my own understanding of argumentative substance to bail you out when you're confronting bad substance--if the content of your opponents' arguments is fundamentally false, they should be especially easy for you to answer without any help from me. (Contrary to what some debaters have mistakenly believed in the past, this does not mean that I want to listen to you run wipeout or spark--I'd actually rather hear you throw down on inherency or defend "the value is justice and the criterion is justice"--but merely that I think that debaters who can't think their way through incredibly stupid arguments are ineffective advocates who don't deserve to win).
My general default (and the box I've consistently checked on paradigm forms) is that of a fairly conventional policymaker. Absent other guidance from the teams involved, I will weigh the substantive advantages and disadvantages of a topical plan against those of the status quo or a competitive counterplan. I'm amenable to alternative evaluative frameworks but generally require these to be developed with more depth and clarity than most telegraphic "role of the ballot" claims usually provide.
THOUGHTS APPLICABLE TO ALL DEBATE FORMATS
That said, I do have certain predispositions and opinions about debate practice that may affect how you choose to execute your preferred strategy:
1. I am skeptical to the point of fairly overt hostility toward most non-resolutional theory claims emanating from either side. Aff-initiated debates about counterplan and kritik theory are usually vague, devoid of clash, and nearly impossible to flow. Neg-initiated "framework" "arguments" usually rest on claims that are either unwarranted or totally implicit. I understand that the affirmative should defend a topical plan, but what I don't understand after "A. Our interpretation is that the aff must run a topical plan; B. Standards" is why the aff's plan isn't topical. My voting on either sort of "argument" has historically been quite rare. It's always better for the neg to run T than "framework," and it's usually better for the aff to use theory claims to justify their own creatively abusive practices ("conditional negative fiat justifies intrinsicness permutations, so here are ten intrinsicness permutations") than to "argue" that they're independent voting issues.
1a. That said, I can be merciless toward negatives who choose to advance contradictory conditional "advocacies" in the 1NC should the affirmative choose to call them out. The modern-day tendency to advance a kritik with a categorical link claim together with one or more counterplans which link to the kritik is not one which meets with my approval. There was a time when deliberately double-turning yourself in the 1NC amounted to an automatic loss, but the re-advent of what my late friend Ross Smith would have characterized as "unlimited, illogical conditionality" has unfortunately put an end to this and caused negative win percentages to swell--not because negatives are doing anything intelligent, but because affirmatives aren't calling them out on it. I'll put it this way--I have awarded someone a 30 for going for "contradictory conditional 'advocacies' are illegitimate" in the 2AR.
2. Offensive arguments should have offensive links and impacts. "The 1AC didn't talk about something we think is important, therefore it doesn't solve the root cause of every problem in the world" wouldn't be considered a reason to vote negative if it were presented on the solvency flow, where it belongs, and I fail to understand why you should get extra credit for wasting time developing your partial case defense with less clarity and specificity than an arch-traditional stock issue debater would have. Generic "state bad" links on a negative state action topic are just as bad as straightforward "links" of omission in this respect.
3. Kritik arguments should NOT depend on my importing special understandings of common terms from your authors, with whose viewpoints I am invariably unfamiliar or in disagreement. For example, the OED defines "problematic" as "presenting a problem or difficulty," so while you may think you're presenting round-winning impact analysis when you say "the affirmative is problematic," all I hear is a non-unique observation about how the aff, like everything else in life, involves difficulties of some kind.I am not hostile to critical debates--some of the best debates I've heard involved K on K violence, as it were--but I don't think it's my job to backfill terms of art for you, and I don't think it's fair to your opponents for me to base my decision in these rounds on my understanding of arguments which have been inadequately explained.
3a. I guess we're doing this now...most of the critical literature with which I'm most familiar involves pretty radical anti-statism. You might start by reading "No Treason" and then proceeding to authors like Hayek, Hazlitt, Mises, and Rothbard. I know these are arguments a lot of my colleagues really don't like, but they're internally consistent, so they have that advantage.
3a(1). Section six of "No Treason," the one with which you should really start, is available at the following link: https://oll-resources.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/oll3/store/titles/2194/Spooner_1485_Bk.pdf so get off your cans and read it already. It will greatly help you answer arguments based on, inter alia, "the social contract."
3a(2). If you genuinely think that something at the tournament is making you unsafe, you may talk to me about it and I will see if there is a solution. Far be it from me to try to make you unable to compete.
4. The following solely self-referential "defenses" of your deliberate choice to run an aggressively non-topical affirmative are singularly unpersuasive:
a. "Topicality excludes our aff and that's bad because it excludes our aff." This is not an argument. This is just a definition of "topicality." I won't cross-apply your case and then fill in argumentative gaps for you.
b. "There is no topical version of our aff." This is not an answer. This is a performative concession of the violation.
c. "The topic forces us to defend the state and the state is racist/sexist/imperialist/settler colonial/oppressive toward 'bodies in the debate space.'" I'm quite sure that most of your authors would advocate, at least in the interim, in favor of increased income redistribution, and debates about how that might occur are really interesting to all of us, or at least to me. (I was one of the editors of Karie Davis-Nozemack, Unequal Burdens in EITC Compliance, 31 L. & Ineq. 37 , which was a good introduction to how these debates occur in the academic literature).
d. "Killing debate is good." Leaving aside the incredible "intellectual" arrogance of this statement, what are you doing here if you believe this to be true? You could overtly "kill debate" more effectively were you to withhold your "contributions" and depress participation numbers, which would have the added benefit of sparing us from having to listen to you.
e. "This is just a wrong forum argument." And? There is, in fact, a FORUM expressly designed to allow you to subject your audience to one-sided speeches about any topic under the sun you "feel" important without having to worry about either making an argument or engaging with an opponent. Last I checked, that FORUM was called "oratory." Try it next time.
f. "The topic selection process is unfair/disenfranchises 'bodies in the debate space.'" In what universe is it more fair for you to get to impose a debate topic on your opponents without consulting them in advance than for you to abide by the results of a topic selection process to which all students were invited to contribute and in which all students were invited to vote?
g. "Fairness is bad." Don't tempt me to vote against you for no reason to show you why fairness is, in fact, good.
5. Many of you are genuinely bad at organizing your speeches. Fix that problem by keeping the following in mind:
a. Off-case flows should be clearly labeled the first time they're introduced. It's needlessly difficult to keep track of what you're trying to do when you expect me to invent names for your arguments for you. I know that some hipster kid "at" some "online debate institute" taught you that it was "cool" to introduce arguments in the 1N with nothing more than "next off" to confuse your opponents, but remember that you're also confusing your audience when you do that, and I, unlike your opponents, have the power to deduct speaker points for poor organization if "next off--Biden disadvantage" is too hard for you to spit out. I'm serious about this.
b. Transitions between individual arguments should be audible. It's not that difficult to throw a "next" in there and it keeps you from sounding like this: "...wreck their economies and set the stage for an era of international confrontation that would make the Cold War look like Woodstock extinction Mead 92 what if the global economy stagnates...." The latter, because it fails to distinguish between the preceding card and subsequent tag, is impossible to flow, and it's not my job to look at your speech document to impose organization with which you couldn't be bothered.
c. Your arguments should line up with those of your opponents. "Embedded clash" flows extremely poorly for me. I will not automatically pluck warrants out of your four-minute-long scripted kritik overview and then apply them for you, nor will I try to figure out what, exactly, a fragment like "yes, link" followed by a minute of unintelligible, undifferentiated boilerplate is supposed to answer.
6. I don't mind speed as long as it's clear and purposeful:
a. Many of you don't project your voices enough to compensate for the poor acoustics of the rooms where debates often take place. I'll help you out by yelling "clearer" or "louder" at you no more than twice if I can't make out what you're saying, but after that you're on your own.
b. There are only two legitimate reasons for speed: Presenting more arguments and presenting more argumentative development. Fast delivery should not be used as a crutch for inefficiency. If you're using speed merely to "signpost" by repeating vast swaths of your opponents' speeches or to read repetitive cards tagged "more evidence," I reserve the right to consider persuasive delivery in how I assign points, meaning that you will suffer deductions you otherwise would not have had you merely trimmed the fat and maintained your maximum sustainable rate.
7: I have a notoriously low tolerance for profanity and will not hesitate to severely dock your points for language I couldn't justify to the host school's teachers, parents, or administrators, any of whom might actually overhear you. When in doubt, keep it clean. Don't jeopardize the activity's image any further by failing to control your language when you have ample alternative fora for profane forms of self-expression.
8: For crying out loud, it is not too hard to respect your opponents' preferred pronouns (and "they" is always okay in policy debate because it's presumed that your opponents agree about their arguments), but I will start vocally correcting you if you start engaging in behavior I've determined is meant to be offensive in this context. You don't have to do that to gain some sort of perceived competitive advantage and being that intentionally alienating doesn't gain you any friends.
9. I guess that younger judges engage in more paradigmatic speaker point disclosure than I have in the past, so here are my thoughts: Historically, the arithmetic mean of my speaker points any given season has averaged out to about 27.9. I think that you merit a 27 if you've successfully used all of your speech time without committing round-losing tactical errors, and your points can move up from there by making gutsy strategic decisions, reading creative arguments, and using your best public speaking skills. Of course, your points can decline for, inter alia, wasting time, insulting your opponents, or using offensive language. I've "awarded" a loss-15 for a false allegation of an ethics violation and a loss-18 for a constructive full of seriously inappropriate invective. Don't make me go there...tackle the arguments in front of you head-on and without fear or favor and I can at least guarantee you that I'll evaluate the content you've presented fairly.
NOTES FOR LINCOLN-DOUGLAS!
PREF SHORTCUT: stock ≈ policy > K > framework > Tricks > Theory
I have historically spent much more time judging policy than LD and my specific topic knowledge is generally restricted to arguments I've helped my LD debaters prepare. In the context of most contemporary LD topics, which mostly encourage recycling arguments which have been floating around in policy debate for decades, this shouldn't affect you very much. With more traditionally phrased LD resolutions ("A just society ought to value X over Y"), this might direct your strategy more toward straight impact comparison than traditional V/C debating.
Also, my specific preferences about how _substantive_ argumentation should be conducted are far less set in stone than they would be in a policy debate. I've voted for everything from traditional value/criterion ACs to policy-style ACs with plan texts to fairly outright critical approaches...and, ab initio, I'm fine with more or less any substantive attempt by the negative to engage whatever form the AC takes, subject to the warnings about what constitutes a link outlined above. (Not talking about something is not a link). Engage your opponent's advocacy and engage the topic and you should be okay.
N.B.: All of the above comments apply only to _substantive_ argumentation. See the section on "theory" in in the overview above if you want to understand what I think about those "arguments," and square it. If winning that something your opponent said is "abusive" is a major part of your strategy, you're going to have to make some adjustments if you want to win in front of me. I can't guarantee that I'll fully understand the basis for your theory claims, and I tend to find theory responses with any degree of articulation more persuasive than the claim that your opponent should lose because of some arguably questionable practice, especially if whatever your opponent said was otherwise substantively responsive. I also tend to find "self-help checks abuse" responses issue-dispositive more often than not. That is to say, if there is something you could have done to prevent the impact to the alleged "abuse," and you failed to do it, any resulting "time skew," "strat skew," or adverse impact on your education is your own fault, and I don't think you should be rewarded with a ballot for helping to create the very condition you're complaining about.
I have voted on theory "arguments" unrelated to topicality in Lincoln-Douglas debates precisely zero times. Do you really think you're going to be the first to persuade me to pull the trigger?
Addendum: To quote my colleague Anthony Berryhill, with whom I paneled the final round of the Isidore Newman Round Robin: " "Tricks debate" isn't debate. Deliberate attempts to hide arguments, mislead your opponent, be unethical, lie...etc. to screw your opponent will be received very poorly. If you need tricks and lying to win, either "git' good" (as the gamers say) or prefer a different judge." I say: I would rather hear you go all-in on spark or counterintuitive internal link turns than be subjected to grandstanding about how your opponent "dropped" some "tricky" half-sentence theory or burden spike. If you think top-loading these sorts of "tricks" in lieu of properly developing substance in the first constructive is a good idea, you will be sorely disappointed with your speaker points and you will probably receive a helpful refresher on how I absolutely will not tolerate aggressive post-rounding. Everyone's value to life increases when you fill the room with your intelligence instead of filling it with your trickery.
AND SPECIFIC NOTES FOR PUBLIC FORUM
NB: After the latest timing disaster, in which a public forum round which was supposed to take 40 minutes took over two hours and wasted the valuable time of the panel, I am seriously considering imposing penalties on teams who make "off-time" requests for evidence or needless requests for original articles or who can't locate a piece of evidence requested by their opponents during crossfire. This type of behavior--which completely disregards the timing norms found in every other debate format--is going to kill this activity because no member of the "public" who has other places to be is interested in judging an event where this type of temporal elongation of rounds takes place.
NB: I actually don't know what "we outweigh on scope" is supposed to mean. I've had drilled into my head that there are four elements to impact calculus: timeframe, probability, magnitude, and hierarchy of values. I'd rather hear developed magnitude comparison (is it worse to cause a lot of damage to very few people or very little damage to a lot of people? This comes up most often in debates about agricultural subsidies of all things) than to hear offsetting, poorly warranted claims about "scope."
NB: In addition to my reflections about improper citation practices infra, I think that evidence should have proper tags. It's really difficult to flow you, or even to follow the travel of your constructive, when you have a bunch of two-sentence cards bleeding into each other without any transitions other than "Larry '21," "Jones '21," and "Anderson '21."
NB: The regrettable PF habit of not using explicit taglines for your evidence severely impedes the travel of your speeches. I really would rather hear tag-cite-text than whatever you're doing. Thus: "Further, economic decline causes nuclear war. Mead '92" rather than "Mead '92 furthers...".
1. You should remember that, notwithstanding its pretensions to being for the "public," this is a debate event. Allowing it to degenerate into talking past each other with dueling oratories past the first pro and first con makes it more like a speech event than I would like, and practically forces me to inject my own thoughts on the merits of substantive arguments into my evaluative process. I can't guarantee that you'll like the results of that, so:
2. Ideally, the second pro/second con/summary stage of the debate will be devoted to engaging in substantive clash (per the activity guidelines, whether on the line-by-line or through introduction of competing principles, which one can envision as being somewhat similar to value clash in a traditional LD round if one wants an analogy) and the final foci will be devoted to resolving the substantive clash.
3. Please review the sections on "theory" in the policy and LD philosophies above. I'm not interested in listening to rule-lawyering about how fast your opponents are/whether or not it's "fair"/whether or not it's "public" for them to phrase an argument a certain way. I'm doubly unenthused about listening to theory "debates" where the team advancing the theory claim doesn't understand the basis for it.* These "debates" are painful enough to listen to in policy and LD, but they're even worse to suffer through in PF because there's less speech time during which to resolve them. Unless there's a written rule prohibiting them (e.g., actually advocating specific plan/counterplan texts), I presume that all arguments are theoretically legitimate, and you will be fighting an uphill battle you won't like trying to persuade me otherwise. You're better off sticking to substance (or, better yet, using your opposition's supposedly dubious stance to justify meting out some "abuse" of your own) than getting into a theoretical "debate" you simply won't have enough time to win, especially given my strong presumption against this style of "argumentation."
*I've heard this misunderstanding multiple times from PF debaters who should have known better: "The resolution isn't justified because some policy in the status quo will solve the 'pro' harms" is not, in fact, a counterplan. It's an inherency argument. There is no rule saying the "con" can't redeploy policy stock issues in an appropriately "public" fashion and I know with absolute metaphysical certitude that many of the initial framers of the public forum rules are big fans of this general school of argumentation.
4. If it's in the final focus, it should have been in the summary. I will patrol the second focus for new arguments. If it's in the summary and you want me to consider it in my decision, you'd better mention it in the final focus. It is definitely not my job to draw lines back to arguments for you. Your defense on the case flow is not "sticky," as some of my PF colleagues put it, as far as I'm concerned.
5. While I pay attention to crossfire, I don't flow it. It's not intended to be a period for initiating arguments, so if you want me to consider something that happened in crossfire in my decision, you have to mention it in your side's first subsequent speech.
6. You should cite authors by name. "Harvard," as an institution, doesn't conduct studies of issues that aren't solely internal Harvard matters, so you sound awful when you attribute your study about military presence in the Arctic to "Harvard." "According to Mr. Choi of Harvard" (yes, he's a Harvard Law School alumnus who's recognized as an expert on this particular issue) doesn't take much longer to say than "according to Harvard," and has the considerable advantage of accuracy.
7. You all need to improve your time management skills and stop proliferating dead time if you'd like rounds to end at a civilized hour.
a. The extent to which PF debaters talk over the buzzer is unfortunate. When the speech time stops, that means that you stop speaking. "Finishing [your] sentence" does not mean going 45 seconds over time, which happens a lot. I will not flow anything you say after my timer goes off.
b. You people really need to streamline your "off-time" evidence exchanges. These are getting ridiculous and seem mostly like excuses for stealing prep time. I recently had to sit through a pre-crossfire set of requests for evidence which lasted for seven minutes. This is simply unacceptable. If you have your laptops with you, why not borrow a round-acceleration tactic from your sister formats and e-mail your speech documents to one another? Even doing this immediately after a speech would be much more efficient than the awkward fumbling around in which you usually engage.
c. This means that you should card evidence properly and not force your opponents to dig around a 25-page document for the section you've just summarized during unnecessary dead time. Your sister debate formats have had the "directly quoting sources" thing nailed dead to rights for decades. Why can't you do the same? Minimally, you should be able to produce the sections of articles you're purporting to summarize immediately when asked.
d. You don't need to negotiate who gets to question first in crossfire. I shouldn't have to waste precious seconds listening to you ask your opponents' permission to ask a question. It's simple to understand that the first-speaking team should always ask, and the second-speaking team always answer, the first question...and after that, you may dialogue.
e. If you're going to insist on giving an "off-time road map," it should take you no more than five seconds and be repeated no more than zero times. This is PF...do you seriously believe we can't keep track of TWO flows?
Was sich überhaupt sagen lässt, lässt sich klar sagen; und wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber muss man schweigen.
Affiliation: Clackamas High School
Competitive experience: 2 years of NPDA (college parli), 1 year of CEDA (college policy)
Coaching/Judging experience: 6 years of NPDA coaching with 45-60 rounds judged per year, 6 years coaching high school policy
Post the order in the zoom chat ((especially when someone is afk) credit to Wichita BM and Gerrit Hansen for this one)
I’m into philosophy. It was my major for my decade-long undergrad, so that won’t change anytime soon.
I'm also a former law student focused on immigration, employment, and labor.
Although I have run topical affirmatives with a plan in the past, I have generally moved towards the critical as I have continued (From a Heg and Econ National Security Courts aff to Lovecraft performance and high theory).
In CEDA, I have gone for the Cap K with a Historical Materialism alt in every one of my 2NRs. This does not mean that I will automatically pick you up if you run it, but I will be familiar with most of the arguments and authors involved in that debate.
I have come to grips with the fact that I am not very good at evaluating Framework. This does NOT mean you shouldn't run it in front of me or go for it. I think Framework is a valuable debate to be had in most rounds and I encourage people to look at varying forms of this argument in debate. You should be aware, however, that I am not going to be able to fully appreciate the nuances of Framework arguments. It's really not you, it's me.
I hold a high regard for creativity in debate, both in strategy and style. In my mind, creativity is the reason debate is such a fantastic activity. I particularly like arguments that are novel, strange, or Weird.
I am also pretty expressive in round. If you notice me nodding my head or or making a face that suggests "Hey, that sounds reasonable" then that probably means I'm thinking that. If I look up in disgust or confusion, then that means I am probably experiencing one of those things.
All that being said, I am open to most any position or style so long as you can articulate why your arguments are preferable.
Also, feel free to find me outside of rounds and ask me about a round (please bring your flow or be specific about what went on in the round, I can only remember so much on demand) or about general arguments and strategies or whatever.
Clarity: I flow all speeches in the debate and I stick to that flow when making my decision. I will call clear if I can’t understand you. If you are still not understandable to me after I call clear twice, I will stop flowing what I cannot understand.
Clipping: If there is a challenge relating to clipping cards, it must be brought with video evidence. If a team has been shown to be clipping cards in my round; that team will receive a loss and the clipper will receive 0 speaker points for that round.
For e-mail chains (both pls):
About me - I debated for 8 years competitively, starting at Douglas High School (Minden, NV) before transferring to Sage Ridge (Reno, NV) where I debated with the incredibly brilliant Kristen Lowe. We were the first team from Northern Nevada to qualify to the TOC and had a pretty consistent record of deep elim appearances. I went on to debate at Wake Forest University (class of '17) with varying amounts of success on a wide range of arguments, finishing my career with Varun Reddy in semis of CEDA. I currently work as a legal assistant and lobbyist in Reno/Carson City when I'm not out and about judging and coaching debate.
I have also been published a couple times. I don't think any of it applies, but please don't read my work in front of me. That's just awkward.
2023-24 Update: I am just getting back into debate after a roughly 2 year hiatus. Please slow down a tad and know that my prior experience with the topic (camps, summer files, etc.) is pretty much nonexistent.
Generally - YOU DO YOU!!! I cannot stress that enough. Be aware of my general thoughts on debate, but I want to judge the debate that you want to have!! I have increasingly found that my role as an educator and adjudicator in debate prioritizes the debaters themselves, whatever argument that they want to make, and providing them with the advice and opportunities to be better that I can. It is extremely unlikely (but not impossible) that you read an argument that is entirely new to me.
Whether the 1AC has a plan, an advocacy text, or neither, truly makes no difference to me. It is up to you to explain to me why I should care. I have become increasingly frustrated with the people so quick to say "no plan, no chance at my ballot". This is a pedagogical question.
I consider myself a hard working judge. I will flow, I will read cards, and I will take the time to make the best decision I can.
That being said, the following are my thoughts on certain arguments and some pointers on how to win my ballot.
The kritik - Really dig K debates. I'm pretty well read in a lot of different theories and genuinely enjoy reading critical theory, but I still prefer clarity in explanation. The less jargon you use, the easier it will be to win a K in front of me. Overall, I find that framework args are increasingly irrelevant to the way that I evaluate these debates. Both teams will (hopefully) always win why their conversation is good, so just do the impact calc. But also answer critical framing args about ethics/reps/ontology/etc. For the aff - I find that permutations are pretty underutilized when it comes to mitigating links and find myself voting aff in policy v K debates on permutations more than I would have anticipated. Alternatives are usually the weakest part of a K IMO so leveraging bits and pieces that may not be mutually exclusive, in addition to winning some offense/defense, will go a long way. I also think impact turning is something that is truly underutilized by affirmatives that are facing off with a kritik. Digging in on certain points of neg offense can work wonders. DO NOT say things like anti-blackness, sexism, ableism, etc. are good though. PLEASE explain why your aff outweighs the K, especially if you have big stick impacts that are basically designed for some of these debates... For the neg - framing is absolutely essential. I like 2NRs on the K that guide me through my decision in a technical fashion. Links should obviously be as contextualized to the aff as possible. I am frequently persuaded by teams that realize the alt is a dumpster fire and shift to framework for the same effect. I am more likely to vote negative when there is case debating happening in line with the K, as well. Whether that is impact defense or some sort of "satellite" K, well, that's up to you.
The flourishing of performance debate has really effected the way that I think about form and content in the debate setting. I think these arguments are extremely valuable to the activity and I thoroughly enjoy debates about debate as well.
The DA - I think these debates are pretty straight forward. Do your impact calc, win your link, answer uniqueness overwhelms, etc. I like power plays where the aff straight turns a DA, especially if the 1NC was a lot of off case positions.
The CP - don't judge as many of these debates as I would like. A good counterplan with a specific solvency advocate will impress me. I think these arguments are relatively straight forward as well. In terms of theory issues like PICs bad, condo bad, etc., I truly don't have much of an opinion on these issues, but that doesn't mean I will let you get away with shenanigans. I would prefer arguments to be contextualized to in round abuse claims and how the role of the affirmative became structurally impossible. Rarely do I judge a theory debate, but I would be interested to hear more of them.
I do not default to kicking the CP for the negative. I think the 2NR needs to make that choice for themselves and stick with it. That doesn't necessarily mean I cannot be persuaded otherwise, however. This question should be raised before the 2NR for it to be persuasive to me.
Topicality - I like T debates. Limits isn't an impact in and of itself, I want to hear more explanation on how limits effects what should be your "vision of the topic" holistically, what affs and ground exist within it, and why those debates are good. Education impacts that are contextualized and specific will go a long way for me, whether it be in the context of the aff or the resolution.
I am increasingly persuaded by teams that give me a case list and explain what sort of ground exists within that limited topic.
Framework - I am an advocate for engaging with the affirmative and whatever it is that they have to say. I don't think framework should be taken off the table completely, though, and if you do plan to go for it just know that I require a lot more work on a topical version of the aff and some sort of in-road to how you resolve the claims of the 1AC. There are a lot of framework debates I have judged where I wish the 2NR did some work on the case flow -- ex: aff is about movements, 2NR makes arguments about why movements are coopted or repressed, therefore state engagement is essential.... whatever.
Procedural fairness is becoming less and less persuasive to me. I would vote on it if I have to, but I likely won't be happy.
I believe that debate is a game, but a game that has unique pedagogical benefits.
I may seem "K happy" but I promise my judging record proves that I am more than willing to vote on framework. But like I said, there needs to be more interaction between the affirmative and a limited vision of the topic. I have found that a lot of teams give case lists (both on the aff and the neg) but there is little to no clash over what those affirmatives are and why they are or are not good for debate. If you are trying to make arguments about why your vision of the topic provides a better set of affirmations, whether policy or critical, then there must be some comparison between the two. And those comparisons must have some sort of impact.
Other things - if there is anything else, please feel free to ask me. I know that some of this is vague, but my thoughts tend to change based off of the argument that is being presented and how exactly it is explained. I probably lean more on the side of truth over tech, but that doesn't mean I will make a decision wholly irrelevant to what is said in the debate unless I feel that it is absolutely necessary and something terrible happened. Plus I like to think I keep a clean flow so obvi tech still matters. I have absolutely no qualms checking debaters that are being rude or problematic. That being said, I look forward to judging you and happy prep!
Graduated from West Des Moines Valley 2017
Debated for the University of Iowa for a year
My email is Parker.firstname.lastname@example.org - please add me to the email chain and feel free to hit me up with any questions
Clash of Civs:
This is why people read paradigms right?
I'm very experienced with these rounds, but have always debated on the kritikal side of the issue. I'll evaluate any argument that has an impact and a warrant attached to it - from "procedural fairness is a prior question" to "debate is structurally bad".
Thoughts on reading framework against K teams:
- Fairness doesn't seem to be an impact unless you win that a) debate is a game AND b) debate is good
- Impacts and solvency should be comparative to the other team's claims about what my ballot does/means
- Dropping 2AC disadvantages to your interpretation is a quick way to lose
Answering framework with a K aff:
- Utilizing the base of literature your aff comes from >>> generic framework bad args
- Reading impact defense to their standards helps to minimize their substantive offense
- Tell me what the ballot does for you
Believe it or not, I'm not a total K hack in these rounds. My record is split pretty even in framework v K debates and I definitely believe there are good arguments on both sides. For more info, see the framework section below.
How I view the activity:
Nothing in debate is set in stone for me. If you have a reason why you singing, dancing, reading poetry, staying silent, recrafting subjectivity, etc. is good, go for it.
Give me an easy way out.
Dropped arguments are true, dropped claims are not.
Tech > Truth (with some obvious exceptions)
However, if you think that anything that Ayn Rand has ever said is a good argument I'm not who you want in the back. If the only impact you extend is "states' rights" in your final rebuttal, you probably shouldn't pref me.
At this point in my coaching career, I have researched and advised almost exclusively about the theories of Afropessimism, Black Feminism, and Settler Colonialism. Just something to keep in mind.
Very familiar with:
Nietzsche, Afro-Pessimism, Marx, Deleuze, Baudrillard, Queer Pessimism, Bataille, Queer Utopianism, Preciado, Puar, Negarestani, Foucault, Weheliye, Resiliency, and most "high-theory" or "po-mo" arguments
Pretty familiar with:
Settler Colonialism, Psychoanalysis, Cybernetics, Heidegger, Ableism, and Derrida
Not super familiar with: Irigaray, Hyperstition theory, Adorno, Badiou, and most of analytic philosophy
Even though I spend my free time reading critical literature, don't assume that I'll fill in the gaps for you. I have a fairly high standard for explanation of both your theory, the other team's theory, and how they interact.
Being a 2A who has only ever read K affs, I'm pretty familiar with framework and the different ways that it is deployed in debate. If you are only going to go for procedural fairness as an impact, make sure you flesh out why its an intrinsically good thing for debate/why it isn't just an internal link to education. If you're hitting an aff that links to framework, they've probably thought out a way to apply the theory of the 1AC to the form of debate. Use lots of examples of previous debaters who did good/bad things because of debate to drive your points home.
Just because I don't read framework doesn't mean that I won't vote on it. If anything, I have a high threshold for blatantly untopical affirmatives to explain why they don't have to be topical because that was the burden I had with critical positions.
If the K isn't your thing and you find yourself in front of me, you do you. I'm down for whatever as long as its contextual and well-explained.
Earlier in the season I voted multiple times on Trump tax reform good because trickle-down econ (even though that argument is factually incorrect)
- I don't expect any particular decorum from the debaters I'm judging, I enjoy debates when they're sarcastic/aggressive. That being said, please don't be unnecessarily mean to your opponents.
- Have fun. I wouldn't have done high school debate if it wasn't fun for me, so I don't expect you to do things that make it not fun for you.
- If you're going to refer to me, call me Parker instead of "Judge"
- Sit/stand wherever you are the most comfortable
Don't read 8 theory shells, and if you are going to read 8 theory shells don't spread through them.
You should also flash pre-written theory blocks.
I'll vote on theory, but I'll be sad while I'm doing it.
Email is email@example.com — please put me on the email chain if there is one.
Some stuff you probably care about:
Ks, K affs, performance, and other non-standard ways of engaging with debate and the resolution are fun and fine in my personal view, but I've voted for framework before and I have no doubt I will again. Even if I think you're being a little bit of a cop about it.
Speed is ok. Clarity is essential. Paperless debate has gotten debaters into some very bad habits, among which is thinking that they can rely on judges to read speech docs to reconstruct basically intelligible 1ACs and 1NCs. I won't be doing that. This is an oral advocacy competition. It's basically impossible to articulate a brightline on this but them's the breaks. And honestly, I tend to find rounds that proceed at a speed somewhere below Mach 1 a lot more enjoyable. So consider being conservative on this front. That goes double if the debate is online: you're just flatly not as clear as if we were sitting in a room together and I need you to slow down to compensate for that.
Some stuff I care about:
Cross ex is a speech, it's binding, we named the event after it, I pay very close attention to it and I firmly believe rounds can be won and lost in cross. I have given up on trying to fight for closed cross but just know it's v embarrassing if your 1N can't answer basic questions about the K alt or your 1A can't answer basic questions about your solvency mechanism and if that's obvious it'll be reflected in speaks.
I will vote on defense. A well-articulated, warranted, and contextualized no link argument extended into the last rebuttal can absolutely get me to give zero weight to an impact where the link story is poorly articulated and badly warranted (or not at all warranted—careful about your highlighting!). I find the idea that I should give some probabalistic weight (even if very small) to unwarranted assertions of causal relationships in the round unpersuasive. Relatedly, I will vote on presumption. I realize this all makes me sound a million years old. I don't care.
I care about being told a coherent story. Contradictory off-case neg positions really tend to turn me off for that reason, even if you collapse down to some kind of plausibly non-contradictory position in the 2NR and are feeding me a "testing the aff from multiple perspectives good" line.
Presentation matters. A good presentation in a policy round often isn't the same thing as good presentation in other forms of oral advocacy. But you fundamentally want to make me like your debate persona, and if I do I will be looking for reasons to vote for you.
I am newer to this event than CX. But I try to evaluate PF according to its own standards rather than just being a transplanted policy hack. To my mind a good PF round should look not dissimilar from talking heads on a cable news show discussing current events. It should be intelligible and engaging to an educated and informed lay audience. And that means this is not an event that should privilege fast, technical, evidence-driven styles. I'm perfectly capable of flowing and judging fast, technical rounds, but I am flatly not going to hold debaters to the same kind of standards on this stuff that I would in a policy round and will afford significantly more leeway to less technical presentations than I might in CX.
For related reasons, I have a very high threshold for voting on theory in PF. If you do not have a credible in-round abuse story or it looks like you are cynically using highly technical theory arguments to bully a less technical team I will be spending the entirety of the debate looking for any halfway justifiable excuse to drop you.
I think evidence violations of various kinds are, unfortunately, pervasive in PF. Compared to some judges, I hold students to a high standard on evidence ethics and have a comparatively low threshold for voting on this stuff or signing a ballot on an evidence violation. In particular, be advised that for a tournament operating under NSDA evidence procedures, inaccurately paraphrasing a piece of evidence is "distortion" which should result in an immediate loss of the round. Paraphrase at your peril.
Who are you?
I debated CX at Scituate High School ('06) in the conventional stock issues focused style of the Southeastern Massachusetts Debate League, then at UMASS ('10) doing mostly Ks and K affs and learning everything I actually know about debate from Jillian Marty. Following a hiatus from debate I was an assistant coach for policy debate at James Madison High School in Virginia from 2018 to 2022. I have been the debate coach for Sidwell Friends School since fall 2022.
In terms of my non-debate life, I am among other things a Christian, a socialist, and a practicing class action plaintiff's lawyer.
Education:Wooster HS (OH), Grinnell College, Western Kentucky University (BS + Current MPH student in Epidemiology)
Prior Affiliations: West Des Moines Valley HS (IA) (2011-2013) [Asst. Coach, Policy]; Wooster HS (OH) (2015-2020) [Asst. Coach, Policy]
Experience: Debated 4 years in HS; judging and coaching on local and national circuits since graduating in 2011
I used to have a super long paradigm that, if any one ever finds, still is probably mostly relevant. But in short: debate the round how you choose to debate the round, I will follow where you go and judge based upon what I'm told to judge on. 2021 update: As I get old(er), my paradigm has basically become "debate well, be nice"
If you don't tell me what to judge on, or if there's insufficient debate regarding framework, then I have to choose what to prioritize and no one ever likes me when I do that. I prefer you to be obvious and specific in this regard- like a chef crafting a tasting menu, tell me how you want me to taste your arguments? Idk. That simile didn't work out well.
Yes, I will vote on framework, on real world impacts outside the round, on aliens invading, etc etc. Generally, I will vote on anything that isn't racist, sexist, homo/transphobic, ableist, [insert any sort of discriminatory view here]-ist. I do have different thresholds on certain things- I try to be open-minded, but it's easier for me to imagine a recession than aliens. Feel free to ask me about these thresholds before round, I'm happy to discuss since this is vague.
Philosophy is cool (though I'm dying to see someone read Hume in a round just once), performance is great, advocacy vs plan text is a great debate. Do what you think will make a difference, what you think is important, and defend it, and I will happily listen and judge.
All my opinions on CPs, DAs and Theory are uncontroversial, though I am a sucker for a good impact calc debate and terminal defense and expertly done turns. Oh, Consult CPs annoy me. I'll vote for them and whatever, but they annoy me.
I don't like calling for evidence unless 1) the evidence has been called into question in the round or 2) I missed hearing the warrants or tag because of something I did and not due to the debater being unclear. I'm great with speed, but clarity is the responsibility of the debater. I will try to make it known if you're being too unclear, but please please please keep yourself and your partner checked in that regard. If I need you to slow down, either due to me being tired or my hands hurting (arthritis) I will definitely let you know.
If you're reading this for LD:
I have not judged LD since Apple Valley in 2012, and rarely judged in the two seasons around then. Your best bet is LARPing policy for me, but I also don't want to force you into a form of debate you're uncomfortable with.
Just know: I may not be familiar with hyper-LD specific terminology. I'm cool with speed usually, but may need time to adjust to LD format. Please be patient.
A few last notes:
Debate in high school was a safe harbor for me from a difficult home life. I want to foster an environment that feels safe for all involved- competitors, judges, coaches. In round, I expect everyone to treat each other with respect. Use of slurs, derogatory or aggressive language towards others, physical threats or harm, sexual harassment, or anything else that causes harm or makes anyone else feel unsafe or unwelcome will lead to stoppage of the round and a report to Tab. If at any point a debater feels unsafe, they are also welcome to stop the round or leave in order to resolve the situation, though I will make all attempts to recognize the situation first.
I also want to make sure debate is as accessible as possible for those with disabilities or with medical conditions. If you need me to adjust anything in a room to make you more comfortable, or make it easier for you to debate, please do not hesitate to ask. I will never force you to stand, to sit, or take any physical position at all. If you need to leave the room at any time, everyone is entitled to and will not be penalized. You do not have to disclose your reasoning for asking or doing anything. All I ask is that you do not hinder your opponents, and try your best to limit disruption to their speech as much as possible.
I debated at Missouri State for three years and had moderate success. I am now a graduate student studying communication.
I slightly prefer policy arguments more than critical ones. I want to refrain from intervening in the debate as much as possible. Extinction is probably bad. I think debate is good and has had a positive impact on my life. Both teams worked hard and deserve to be respected.
-Aff needs a clear internal link to the impact. Teams often focus too much time on impacts and not enough on the link story, this is where you should start.
-I like impact turns that don't deviate from norms of morality.
-Condo is good.
-Fairness is not an impact within itself but could be an internal link to something.
-Kritiks are interesting. Explain your stuff.
-Weighing impacts, evidence comparison, strategic decisions, and judge instruction can go a long way.
-Any argument that disproportionately targets minority populations will result in an automatic loss, conclusion of the debate, and a reporting to tabroom as well as your coaches.
I debated in high school and am now attending university. I doubt much of that matters to you but please include me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to debate with arguments that you feel are the best; however, it would be silly to assume this doesn't come with certain caveats. I have minimal experience judging on this new topic so I urge you to explain your jargon.
Tech over truth, but with limitations. Technical concessions matter a lot. However, your arguments have to be developed enough in earlier speeches that a reasonably smart opponent & judge can see it becoming a round-changer in a later speech.
Speed is fine, but I will say clear when it becomes incomprehensible. Debaters often tend to spew through their analytics within their rebuttal speeches but be cognizant of the fact that I will flow on paper so anything that doesn't make it on to my flow will not be considered within my RFD.
The quality of your evidence matters, but won’t win or lose you a round unless somebody in the round makes this happen. You certainly don’t need evidence to make every single argument. I want to be on the email chain so I can read evidence after the round if need-be
In the new world of debate, thorough impact analysis often gets left behind but is crucial to evaluating debates.
If you're going for the K, don't neglect talking about the case.
Yes, feel free to run critical affirmatives, as I did so my senior season. Regardless, I can be persuaded by good technical framework debating from the negative.
Organization and strategic argumentation are crucial to your speaker points
I'm lenient on paperless rules - as long as you don't take forever and I don't catch you stealing prep you'll be fine, if your computer crashes mid speech just let me know
Any form of misrepresenting evidence is considered card clipping and will severely affect your speaker points and could cost you the round. Audibly marking the card is acceptable.
Don't be mean. Debate is a learning experience and a grind, so there's no place for rude behavior or ad hominem arguments
Update: Jack Howe '23 - I haven't judged policy yet this season (the purgatory of LD imprisons me), but I led a lab at the UTNIF and have cut some cards on the topic for Dulles. Consider my topic knowledge medium-low. This is maybe either good or bad for you in that I have no strong predispositions on what the consensus is on what is T and what competes, which may help or hinder particular strategies in front of me. That being said, can still flow, can still cut weird cybernetics and psychoanalysis cards, can still understand and evaluate K and policy things as well as always, can probably still be trusted with clash debates and throwdowns equally. Pref accordingly.
tl;dr - "takes his job seriously, but not himself", "negative terrorist, but very amenable to aff counterterror". did lots of policy things in high school, did lots of K things in college, primarily a K coach, but secretly cuts and likes policy stuff just as much. offense/defense, tech-y (but not to the point of stupidity), and doesn't flow off the doc. topic knowledge will be medium, reasonably adept at judging everything, would prefer an in-depth K v K or counterplan/disad/case debate, but I accept the nightmare of clash debates as penance for the sin of debate centrism. likes lots of evidence, likes lots of explanation, dislikes stupidity hiding behind abstractions and posturing. yes, you can read a planless aff, and yes, you can read framework. 2N, very expressive, generally grumpy about everything, but don't take it personally - i am not as much a hardass as i seem. debate probably a game, games probably should be fun and valuable. if you can't be funny without being a dick, you aren't funny. please be funny. less posturing, more arguing. Please don't call me "judge", "Mr.", or "sir", pat or p.fox is fine.
the top-level stuff
Policy debate: University of Houston, Dulles High School, Sidwell Friends School (current), Westside High School (former). LD debate: all over the place. Lab leader: UTNIF (CX), TDI (LD).
email@example.com - I strongly prefer email chains to anything else (SpeechDrop, etc). Please have the doc sent at or before start time.
Format subject lines for email chains as "Tournament Round - Aff Entry vs Neg Entry" (e.g: "NDT 2019 Octos - Wake EF vs Bing AY")
I have hearing damage in my left ear, so try and position yourself to my right. I also sometimes get sensory overload, so I close my eyes during speeches/put my head down during prep/stare off into the distance - I promise I'm not sleeping or zoned out, I can literally flow with my eyes closed and without looking at my screen.
Debate is a competitive activity centered around research and persuasion. I adjudicate the competitive aspect to enable progression of students in research and persuasion.
The safety of students is my utmost concern above the content of any debate. Crossing this line is the only way you can legitimately piss me off. Avoid it. Racism, transphobia, misogyny, etc. will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and I am more willing to act on this on my own accord than most judges you have had (i.e: I have submitted a ballot mid-1AR before due to some egregious misconduct).
Two teams are the only entities taking part in the debate. I will decide the debate based on arguments made within speech times, and will submit a decision with one winner and loser (or, rarely, a double-loss).
For high school students, I do not want to see or perceive anything that isn't PG-13.
If you try and tell me anything is "binding" on my "jurisdiction" as a judge, you are incorrect. Furthermore, I will resent you telling me how to do my job.
Condo is good, RVIs are stupid. I put these in non-negotiables because they are far and away the convictions I will have the hardest time to be dissuaded of.
I try to be a good judge for any research-heavy strategy, and I think the best rounds are small debates over a stable controversy. I personally enjoy T throwdowns, impact turns and a CP/DA, framework vs K aff, policy vs K and rev v rev rounds basically equally, and I have coached all of them at high levels. Above everything else, I care that whatever you do, you defend it (and if it's indefensible, don't do it). I have voted on heg good, I have voted on "killing all white people good", I have voted on "Kant's ethics solves all of racism", I have voted on death good (once).
Do not make assumptions about your strategy's viability based on my record as a debater or coach. For what it's worth, I tend to spend more of my time as a debater thinking about K than policy strategies, but I coach a decently even mix of both, my voting record in clash debates has always been pretty even (probably policy leaning, actually), and the gap on pref sheets between where K and policy teams put me seems to have narrowed over the last two years. I used to say I had more practice judging K v policy and K v K rounds than policy/policy rounds - I no longer think this is true. If I were to personally curate the rounds I had to judge (what a dream), it'd be about an even mix of policy affs vs the K, policy affs vs a disad and counterplan, and K affs vs Ks.
I'm comically expressive. I shake my head and scowl at arguments I dislike, I grin and nod when I think you're doing the right thing, I make eye contact and raise my eyebrows if I am confused, and I will chuckle if you make reference to any of these reactions in the speech, which I am fine with, and actively encourage - I think if you have a read on me, it makes judge instruction easier, which makes everything better.
I was coached by JD Sanford and Aimun Khan in high school, and Ricky Garner, James Allan, Rob Glass and Michael Wimsatt in college. My favorite judges were Scott Harris, DML, DKP and Devane Murphy. Former students, colleagues, and close friends of mine I noticeably overlap in my conception of debate with include Luna Schultz, David Bernstein, Ali Abdulla, Eric Schwerdtfeger, Sean Wallace, E Cook, and Avery Wilson.
Most judge paradigms are some variant of “Tech over truth, I swear I’m smart and cool, I definitely have no biases, I was very good at debate”. I found these useless as a debater for understanding how someone makes decisions and what they view as “good” debating. So, this paradigm is kind of long, and I modify it very frequently, usually in the form of small tweaks to better articulate my views on debate. That being said, it could be longer - if you want thoughts about specific args and not just my general thoughts on how judging/debating works, click here for the purpose of more informed prefs.
Stolen from Jake Lee: "You have the doc in front and all you have to do is listen. If I can flow without looking at the doc, you can too!" I am increasingly appalled by the standard of flowing among high school debaters, and aside from asking for a marked doc, questions such as "did you read X card/arg in the doc" are for CX. If you ask this and you haven't started a timer for it yet, I will start one for you. If you ask "can you send a doc without all the cards you didn't read", the other team does not have to do that, because that is not what a marked doc is. The obvious exception to this is if you have some sort of hearing problem or a similar issue with audio processing that requires accommodation - feel free to tell me if that's the case.
here's what I think is most important to know about me as a judge:
- I judge a lot - on average, ~100 debates a season, more policy than LD rounds these days. This is because of three things:
- I think judging is a skill, and it is valuable for the community to have a surplus. You can't give a good 2NR if you haven't given a speech in three months, and I can't give a good RFD if I haven't judged all season. Many judges don't think about judging as a skill you can refine, so they never get good at judging. I try to think about this a lot.
- I think judging is interesting, because I like debate. Knowing what the best teams are going for both helps my own debaters and keeps me awake - the way the activity iterates and (mostly) improves over time, both in content and form, is the fun part.
- I really, really, really love debate. Coaching is the only consistent job I have had since graduating high school, so I am reasonably aware of community norms and have decent experience with the techne of judging, and I most enjoy debates at the bleeding edge - push boundaries or show me something new, and you'll be rewarded. Good renditions of classics also rock, though. Just focus on executing, and don't be afraid to take risks.
- Some judges admit they are not the best flows. I consider myself very good. You will likely not go too fast for me, but know that I do not open docs during speeches. I think debate is communicative, so my primary reference for the decision I make is what you tell me to do, not what your doc said or how good your cards are. If you want me to pay attention to those things, tell me to do it. This means regardless of content or style, I value debating which is organized and easy to follow - number arguments, give me "pen" time (I'm on my laptop, but not by choice), slow down for emphasis, signpost. My ideal speech structure is minimal (zero, tbh) overview, with arguments answered in the order they were presented, and explaining the parts of your argument in the context of being responses to your opponents (i.e: putting the link debate on the permutation, extending the alt as an answer to the deficit). I am probably actually open to adopting alternative models of evaluating debate beyond technical refutation, but I don't wanna reject flowing outright without having a good idea what I should do instead.
- "Tech vs truth" is a false dichotomy. Better warranted arguments require less technical prowess to win, but technical execution improves your chances of beating a better arg. In a perfect truth stalemate, tech tiebreaks, and vice versa. Either can overcome the other, provided proper judge instruction and strategy, but I guess I'm "tech over truth" in that I do think dropped args are true. I think DML's paradigm says this perfectly, tbh: "I will not vote for something if I cannot explain why it is a reason that one side or the other has done the better debating, even if it is technically conceded by the other team. Obviously, this is not to say that technical concessions do not matter--they're probably the most important part of my decision-making process! However, not all technical concessions matter, and the reasons that some technical concessions matter might not be apparent to me. A dropped argument is true, but non-dropped arguments can also be true, and I need you to contextualize how to evaluate and compare those truths." This also means that if the argument does not have a complete and coherent warrant at it's first introduction, I don't think the other team needs to answer it while it's still an incomplete argument, because the burden of proof comes before the burden of rejoinder. Example: I have given RFDs that say “the 2AR has X argument from the 1AR that the 2NR did not answer, but the actual warrant for why the argument was true did not exist until the 2AR, so I consider the argument in its winning form ‘new’ and am not very comfortable letting the 2AR sit on this” (relatedly to this portion of my philosophy, I am very judicious in policing the final rebuttals for new arguments). Also, obligatory "debaters say 'dropped' too much when things aren't actually dropped" rant goes here.
- I think that debate is best when debaters are comparative, and speak in relative risk rather than absolutes. Very few cards support clean cut yes/no conclusions, and recognizing that makes you much more persuasive. Example: "No China war now, but plan guarantees it - outweighs because zero impact to the prolif scenario" sets a very high threshold for me to vote neg. By contrast, "likelihood of US-China escalation is low now even with tensions, but the plan is a massive shift which incentivizes Xi to retaliate - it's significantly higher risk than the case because external factors check escalation from prolif, but their ev only assumes worst-case scenarios" is certainly a longer argument, but leaves more leeway for me to conclude in your favor even if I have some doubts. Debaters are never winning anything as decisively as they think they are, and so I think the best way to account for this this is to take the most epistemically humble position possible when speaking - you should assume I currently think you are losing every non-dropped argument, and try to convince me I am wrong. Even if I don't actually feel that way, you will debate much better for it.
- The best final rebuttals do the absolute bare minimum - if there are not fewer arguments in the 2N/AR than the 2A/NC on a particular page, we’ve lost the plot. Choice is the foundation of strategy, and final speeches that choose the exact smallest number of arguments they need to win maximize the relative time they can spend explaining and impacting each argument. Example: I hear 2N/ARs say things like “we don’t need to win [xyz] to win, but I’ll do it anyways” - why? You’ve just actively told me this has nothing to do with you win-condition, so flowing this is now a waste of time. Either spend the time on things that matter or make this argument matter too. Example 2: The best 2ARs I judge usually begin with something like “there are only 3 arguments that matter for this debate: X, because… Y, because… and Z, because… - we’re going to win all three”. This reflects good strategic vision, because the best strategies make the fewest number of largest disagreements possible central to the debate.
- Many judges give atrocious RFDs. I try not to. I'm definitely long-winded, but being thorough and going through every moving part of the debate is better than a 2 sentence non-decision that hand-waves details. I ask myself what would be most confusing about losing if I was the 2A/2N, and try to answer that question in advance. “Writing my ballot” should be taken literally - I coach my debaters to start the 2N/AR off with "your RFD is..." I have autism, I promise you cannot be "too direct" with me. Judge instruction is an essential skill that is deeply lacking from many debates. Weighing, impact calculus, argument resolution, etc.
- I find strategies that attempt to avoid clash/engagement more annoying than amusing, and my threshold for answering nonsense is medium-low. You know who you are and you know what this means. Debate is valuable because it encourages content mastery, and I am most impressed by debaters who can show me they've done their homework. That means that I find arguments that attempt to circumvent this pretty clearly less valuable from a pedagogical standpoint, and will be loathe to reward them - the stupider or more in bad faith your argument is, the harder I will look for an excuse to not vote for it. The funniest arguments are the ones that make your opponents look silly by nature of undermining their credibility and advantage, not by making a jackass of yourself in CX.
COVID things: I am vaccinated and boosted, and I take COVID tests before traveling to any given tournament. "Post-pandemic" is an empty signifier. If anyone else in the room is wearing a mask, I will also be wearing a mask. If the tournament has a mask mandate, I will follow it. If anyone asks me to put on a mask, I will. I will hold all of you to the same standards. If you do not have a mask, I will have extra. If you refuse to abide by these very simple and reasonable standards, I will happily give you an L25. These are not negotiable standards of conduct.
Theoretical/procedural questions ("is there a violation", "does perm do the counterplan sever", etc) are resolved as yes/no, with the burden of proof on the "yes" side (i.e: neg has to prove the counterplan could/should definitely never be the aff - there is no "risk of competition/violation"). Everything else is offense/defense.
I like music and will listen to it during prep time. I enjoy most music - I almost went to school for jazz composition, and regularly listen to hip hop, punk, blues, and metal, as well as lots in between. Any debater can suggest a song for me to listen to during prep, and if I like it, I will bump everyone's speaks by 0.1 - this is a stackable bonus, and there's no penalty if I decide I dislike it.
Speaks start at 28.5 for a team I'd expect to go 3-3. I try and keep it relative to the pool - a 30 at TFA State is easier to get than a 30 at GBX (although I don't give out many 30s). Below 28 and I think you are legitimately in the wrong division i.e: go mess around in JV for a bit, below 27.5 and you have done something profoundly bad. I tend to reward well-organized speeches, smart and gutsy strategic choices, and debating with character. Not a big believer in low-point wins - if the 2NR makes a dumb decision, but the 2AR doesn't capitalize on it, the 2AR is probably dumber for fumbling a bag.
Debate should be a safe space for everyone. Respect pronouns, respect people's personhood, etc.
Taking it easy is fine and good, but wasting everyone's time is not. You should respect that your opponents and judges take both themselves and you seriously, and that there is value we get from being here. At the same time, games should be fun to play. Its the weekend. Show me you *want* to be here.
I will make minimal eye contact during any given debate. Don't worry about it.
I decide most debates very fast, even in close rounds. Don't worry about it.
When debating a novice/substantially less experienced debater, taking advantage of their inexperience (speeding through a ton of off knowing they can't keep up, going for weird counterplans or Ks knowing they won't get it, being obtuse in CX, etc) will be aggressively penalized with low speaks. Like, your cap is a 28. By contrast, giving them the dignity of a full debate without being a dick (slowing down, being nice in CX, making the debate smaller, etc) will be generously rewarded. Like, your floor for speaks is a 29. We aren't nice enough to novices and people from smaller, less circuit-y programs, but they are much more important to the long-term health of the activity than any of us.
Yao-Yao: "I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck." You work hard to debate, and I promise I will work hard to judge you and give a decision that respects the worth of that.
Good luck, and see you in round!
Head coach at Plano East Senior High.
I enjoy judging IEs most.
In LD, I’ve gotten much more progressive, but I tend to still favor traditional.
-I do not like Kritiks; they are generic and lazy debating - I will not vote for them. If you can run the same K all year on all the topics, that's a problem.
-On case attacks are important!
-Theory & CPs good.
-Do not read at me while giving voters.
-2AR does not necessarily have to be line-by-line.
-I understand spreading, but if you become unclear I will say "clear" once, and after that, if you do not clear your speaking, I will stop flowing, more than likely hurting your chances. 7/10 speed please. Slow down on tags please.
In PF, I’m traditional. I don’t like spreading in PF and there should definitely not be CPs, Theory, Kritiks, or anything like that.
In Policy, pretty much the same as LD above, except I have more tolerance for Ks in Policy because it is a year long topic and you have more time to read lit. I have a lot less experience in Policy than the other debate events, but I have some competitive UIL CX history and can cross apply progressive LD knowledge.
In all debates: I do not tolerate rudeness - especially in cx/crossfire. I love seeing passion in rounds, but being passionate about your topic does not mean you get to be rude. Excessive rudeness/terrible attitude results in lowest speaks possible.
Include me in on email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing you speak!
Cypress Bay '20 | Georgetown '24
Put me on the email chain: Gavsie.email@example.com
Top Level Stuff:
I did policy debate in HS and I'm currently competing at Georgetown.
Do whatever you want. I'm as happy to judge a K v K debate as I am a nuanced CP/DA debate. This round is for you all, not me. Most of my opinions about the activity can be overcome by good debating so just be smart and you can probably win my ballot.
That being said, there are obviously the standard non-negotiables. For example, "racism good" or anything else of the sort gets you an L with 0 speaker points. I feel like shouldn't have to say much more here just please don't be a bad person.
Good speaks for good debating, great speaks for being funny.
A significant amount of the following stuff is taken from Tessa Harper. I think they articulated their thoughts on this stuff really well and it mirrors how I feel about these issues.
How I Evaluate Debates:
I'll evaluate arguments as per the execution on the line-by-line unless told otherwise. Dropped arguments are true but that doesn't mean it's the best argument or the winning one. Explain why concessions matter and why they should frame my ballot.
I'll have the speech doc open but I'll be following YOU so please be clear (especially in online debate)!! I'll be looking at cards if I really need to or if specific pieces of evidence are flagged.
- I'll vote for framework but it's not an excuse to not engage with the affirmative. Negative teams that fail to do this usually sound like block-reading robots and will not fare super well in these debates unless they grapple with specific parts of aff offense.
- That being said, there is a difference between T and framework. If you want to take the aff up on some other part of the topicality debate outside of focus on the USFG, I'm definitely down for that.
- Critical affs should probably have a model of debate. This means that impact turns to T should be coupled with a good counter-intepretation and that the aff should counter-define words in the 2AC. A 2AR that is impact turns alone without a vision for what we are doing in this activity or in a debate will be much harder for me to vote for than a warranted vision for debate that provides at least some defense/link turns to their standards.
- Examples/history matter a lot and will influence how I evaluate competing theories of power -- whether it is techy IR debate or a high theory discussion of psychoanalytic black feminism, I think that theories draw their explanatory power from material realities of the world and I tend to be be more easily convinced by debaters and scholars who tie their theory to that world. This doesn't mean I need you to be empiricists or defend a materialist conception of history, just that having a knowledge of how your theory is related to the world around you will make the arg far more persuasive to me than floating buzzwords.
- TVAs are usually not super important to me. At best, they're fine defensive arguments but not what you really need to be winning in these debates to get my ballot.
- Critical affs should ideally have a relationship to the topic that is inherent and significant. I will be more persuaded by T against affs that don't do or say anything about water than I will be against teams that read an affirmative which answers a core question of the topic.
- K's v policy affs -- the good ol' framework tricks like fiat bad are nice and works far too often (ehem affs) but I also enjoy in-depth link and alt work. The affirmative tends to lose these debates when it doesn't leverage the case beyond "we have a big impact" -- timeframe args, comparative arguments about alt solvency, etc. are all very helpful when adjudicating these debates and the negative should prepare for them beyond simply the frame out, even if it is a useful trick. These are the kind of debates I'm the most well versed in if that's something that's important to y'all.
K v K debates:
- These debates can be a lot of fun to watch - if both sides demonstrate a good understanding and application of the literature they're reading I'll be very satisfied.
- I like critical affs that defend material praxis. Advocating for grounded praxis will always get me interested in a debate. Don't let this mean you abandon theory -- theory is extremely important for controlling the direction of politics, subject formation, praxis, etc. but when I have a soft spot for critical affs that are able to combine theory with praxis. (See above about using history.)
- Advantage counterplans with impact turns as the net benefit are underutilized in the debates I judge.
- I get annoyed when teams let counterplans absolve them of the need for good case debate. Solvency deficits to the aff matter as much as the aff's solvency deficits to the counterplan.
- PICs -- I like these. The more substantive the PIC's relationship to the aff, the less I will be persuaded by theory.
- Specific DAs are always good but politics can be good too and get the job done when debated well
- The relative magnitude of the uniquness/links determine what the direction of things are. Be comparative.
- 2ACs/1ARs that impact turn disads strategically are cool
- Not super familiar with the T norms on the water topic - do with that what you will
- I do really enjoy T debates - creating distinctions between the kinds of ground/affs that are allowed or denied is the sort of comparative work that makes decisions easier.
- Precise and predictable limits are good!
- Functional limits exist and are persuasive to me but you should be clear about why and how.
- Evidence is either extremely important or largely irrelevant depending on how it is framed - you should control this framing.
- I default to competing interps but reasonability arguments paired with a strong push on arbitrariness/precision can be persuasive.
Pet Peeves in no particular order:
- Not flowing speeches. There shouldn't be a minute and a half of figuring out what cards were skipped before cross-ex. (Especially in varsity debates lol like cmon pay attention)
- Bastardizing revolutionary history and/or reading ev written by reactionaries will lower your ethos and speaker points - there are so many better ways to debate the cap K than reading imperialist propaganda about communism. Please do better.
- Don't call me "judge." Josh is fine.
- Profoundly untopical policy affs written only to beat critical teams but never to be read against policy teams (ehem, "sabotage")
- Being mean for no reason in cross ex.
- Reading the cap K as a root cause/state good double whammy, rather than, ya know, a real argument.
Everything above still applies but it’s worth noting that I think tricks/friv theory is an absurd form of argumentation. If this happens to be your thing, strike me and move on. If you primarily read anything else, I’m probably a fine judge for whatever you want to do lol.
I’m not super familiar with the heavy philosophical aspects of LD but am not unwilling to vote for it, I just may require a higher threshold for explanation in these debates.
My background is in policy debate but I'm familiar with the structure and style of PF rounds. That being said, I'm really not trying to watch kids in PF attempt to spread through their case and adapt to me in a way that is clearly not their preferred style of debating. What this does mean is that I have a higher standard for evidence comparison, line by line, and actually answering arguments. If you do these things, you're in a good spot. If you don't, you will likely lose. Feel free to ask any questions before the round.
ALSO, the evidentiary standards in this activity are wild. If someone calls for a card and it takes you five minutes to send out a link to a 60-page PDF, I will not be terribly happy. Please actually cut cards and have them readily accessible in the debate.
Updated 2023 Pre-Northwestern College Season Opener
Assistant Policy Debate Coach at UT-Dallas and Greenhill
Debated at C.E. Byrd HS in Shreveport, Louisiana (class of ’14). Debated in college policy for Baylor University (2014-2016) and the University of Iowa (2017-2019)
Have coached: Caddo Magnet HS, Hendrickson HS, Little Rock Central HS, Glenbrook South HS, University of Iowa, James Madison University
Email chain should be set up/sent before start time. Sam.firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be respectful of one another. We are all sacrificing our weekends to be here and learn, you can be passionate about your arguments without being mean, rude, condescending, hostile, etc. I’d almost always prefer you convince me that your opponent’s arguments are bad, not that they’re bad people. Chances are, none of us know each other well enough to make that determination.
Please prioritize clarity over speed. This is non negotiable. Everything else you can take with a grain of salt and ultimately do what you are best at, but me being able to understand you comes before anything else.
Debate is hard. People make it harder by making it more complicated than it needs to be. I like debaters who take complex ideas and bring them down to the level of simplicity and common sense. Debate is very niche, and so I think a lot of the time people assume that everyone thinks about things the same way or has the same experience with these ideas. That’s not the case.
Judge instruction, impact framing, comparison of evidence, authors, warrants, etc. or “the art of spin” is the most important thing for telling me how I should decide a debate. Making strategic decisions, explaining the implications of those decisions, and winning that whatever position you’re going for outweighs your opponent’s offense.
One of the things that makes debate truly unique is the research that is required, and so I think it makes sense to reward teams who are clearly going above and beyond in the research they’re producing. Good cards won’t win you the debate, but they certainly help “break ties” on the flow and give off the perception that a team is deep in the literature on their argument. But good evidence is always secondary to what a debater does with it.
I care about cross-x A LOT. It’s the one time in a debate round that debaters are exchanging arguments and ideas back and forth rather than monologuing. USE ALL OF YOUR CX TIME. Ask a diversity of questions, not just the same thing over and over.
Organization is also really important to me. Debaters that do effective line by line, clearly label arguments and author names and use things like subpoints and numbering of arguments to keep an organized record on the flow, and use those subpoints and labels consistently throughout the debate to reference arguments make my life easier and increase your chances of winning.
High School Specific Thoughts
I work full time in college debate and as a result am less familiar with the ins-and-outs of the high school topic. I have a basic understanding of the topic but don’t know every acronym, agency, process cp, or T argument related to fiscal redistribution. Take that into consideration.
If you’re interested in doing policy debate in college, feel free to talk to me about debating at UT-Dallas! I am a full-time assistant coach there. We have scholarships, multiple coaches, and a really fun team culture.
CLARITY OVER SPEED APPLIES DOUBLE TO HIGH SCHOOL
Set up the email chain as soon as you get to the room and do disclosure. If you’re aff, ask for the neg team’s emails and copy and paste mine from the top of my paradigm. Let’s get started on time!
Please keep track of your own prep, cx, and speech time.
Don’t flow off the speech doc, it’s the easiest way to miss something and it’s super obvious. Don’t waste cross-x time asking what the did and didn’t read! Flowing is so important.
I don’t care what “style” of aff you read, I just care that it is consistently explained and executed throughout the debate, and that you win offense for why your aff is better than the status quo or the neg’s position. The aff should tell a story, and I should have an idea of exactly what the aff does after the 1AC and 1AC cx.
I like most judges enjoy 2ACs that make strategic choices, smart groupings and cross applications, and effectively and efficiently use the 1AC to beat neg positions in addition to reading new cards.
2ACs and ESPECIALLY 1ARs are getting away with murder in terms of not actually extending the aff.
Pretty aff leaning on a lot of CP theory questions (Process especially, 50 states, agent CPs. With the exception of PICs), but usually think they’re a reason to reject the argument. You can win it’s a reason to reject the team, but my bar for winning the 2ac was irrevocably skewed by the existence of a single 1NC position is pretty high. I don’t really lean one way or the other on condo (ideologically at least, I have no clue what my judge record is in condo debates).
Neg Thoughts - General
I like negative strategies that are well-researched specific responses to the aff. I think case debating is super important and underutilized. Nothing is more persuasive than a negative team who seems to know more about the 1AC than the Aff team does.
I think if I were debating right now I’d prefer going for disad/case in the 2NR rather than going for a CP/DA. I think substance is more fun than theory and a lot of CP debates boil down to competition and theory debates, for what ultimately gets you defense to the aff (in most cases)
The 1NR should be the best speech in the debate, you have so much prep.
The 2NR should make strategic decisions, collapse down, and anticipate 2ar framing and pivots. The block is about proliferating options, the 2NR is about making decisions and closing doors.
Like I said above, prefer aff-specific CPs to generics. Counterplans that only compete on immediacy and certainty and net benefits that don’t say the aff is bad are not my favorite. I definitely prefer Process CP + Politics to Process CP + internal net benefit, because the politics DA disproves the desirability of the plan.
Because of the above thoughts, I am more aff leaning on CP theory in a lot of instances, with the exception of PICs. I think PICs that disprove/reject part of the aff are probably good, and that predicting the seemingly infinite different processes the plan could be done through is a lot harder than predicting the neg saying part of the aff is bad. To me it’s pretty easy for the neg to win that they do not have to prove the entire aff is bad, but like everything else, it’s a debate. You can’t get beat on PICs bad and just expect me to ignore it. I think most aff theory args are a reason to reject the CP
This is not a hot take and applies to any argument, but some helpful things you could do when doing for a CP: Judge instruction, being organized and clearly labeling things.
People say sufficiency framing without doing the work to explain why the risk of the net benefit actually outweighs the risk of the solvency deficit. You have to do some type of risk calculus to set up what is sufficient and how I should evaluate it.
I have no feelings one way or another about judge kick. Win that it’s good or win that it’s bad. To me the 2NR should probably know whether or not the CP is worth extending, but I guess if you want me to figure it out I will. In other words, I’m not theoretically opposed to judge kick, but a lot of the time in practice it becomes an excuse for the 2NR to not make strategic decisions, and I don’t like that.
Counterplans vs K affs are underutilized. Creatively applying CPs in a substantive way to solve or impact turn K affs can be super strategic. Using a CP as an example of a TVA is great but I often see people stop there in terms of making CPs matter in critical debates.
Comparison is important and not just at the impact level. Telling me what warrants to prioritize on the uniqueness and link debate, rehighlighting evidence, doing organized labeling and line by line, etc. Don’t just extend the different parts of the DA, do comparative work and framing on each part to tell me to tell me why you’re winning it and what matters most in terms of what I evaluate.
Like I said in the neg general section, I usually prefer an aff/topic specific DA to politics, but those concerns can be easily alleviated with good link debating on the politics DA. Your link being specific to the aff/resolution is usually important especially for link uniqueness reasons. I typically like elections more than agenda politics just as a research preference.
Get in the weeds early in these debates and read a lot of cards. Don’t be afraid to read cards late in the debate either. Teams that get out-carded in these debates early have a tough time getting back in the game.
Recency, specificity, and evidence quality really matter for most every argument, but these debates especially. It’s pretty obvious when one team has updates and the other is reading a backfile
These debates get unorganized in a hurry. Labeling, line by line, using subpoints/numbers, and making clear cross applications are super important
I really like T debates vs policy affs. I think creative arguments like extra T and effects T are underutilized or at least often underexplained and that there are affs getting away with fiating a lot of extra-resolutional/non-resolutional things.
Typically default to competing interps, and I’ll be totally transparent here: reasonability is kind of an uphill battle for me. When people go for reasonability with an interp, I almost always understand reasonability as a standard for why the aff’s interp is good. If you’re arguing your interpretation is better because it’s more reasonable, how is that not also an appeal to competing interpretations? And in the other scenario, if you’re going for reasonability with a we meet argument, I feel like a lot of the time it just begs the question of the violation and it’s easy for the neg to frame it as a yes/no question, not something that you can kind of/reasonably meet. Ultimately superior debating supersedes everything. If you win reasonability, you win reasonability. But you are probably better off just winning the we meet or going for a counter-interp
Impact comparison on standards is super important. I don’t have any strong preferences in terms of how I evaluate limits vs precision, aff ground vs neg ground, etc. Those are things you have to win and do the work of framing for me.
For the neg: Case lists, examples of ground lost under the aff’s interp, examples of why the debates under your model over the course of the year, topical versions of the aff, etc. will all help me understand in practice why your interp is better for the year of debate on the topic rather than just in theory.
For the aff: A well-explained we meet and/or counter interpretation, a case list of things you allow and things you don’t, and explanation of what ground the neg gets access to under your interp beyond quickly listing arguments and saying functional limits check, explain the warrant for why your interp preserves that ground and why those debates are good to have. N
Not super persuaded by “we meet – plan text in a vacuum” without much additional explanation. If the aff reads a plan text but then reframes/clarifies what that means in cross-x, in 1ac solvency evidence, or in the 2ac responding to neg positions, I think it’s easy for the neg to win those things outweigh plan text in a vacuum.
I judge a lot of these debates, and I’m fine with that. I think debating about debate is useful.
Fairness can be and impact or an internal link, just depends on how it’s debated. For it to be an external impact, it needs to not be circular/self-referential, which I think it often is in terms of how teams execute it. “Debate is a game, so it needs to be fair, because games need to be fair, and without fairness we can’t debate” is a circular argument that lacks an impact. To me, the argument becomes more offensive the more teams emphasize the time commitment we all put into debate and why maintaining fairness is important for honoring that time commitment, or explaining why it’s important for participation.
If either side is claiming participation as an impact, you have gotta explain how voting for you/your model would solve it. I think that’s hard to do but I’ve seen it done effectively both with fairness and with K affs doing for access/participation outweighs. The impact is obviously very big, but the internal link is often sketchy and not flushed out, in addition to largely being untrue because things like budget cuts have a lot more to do with who can participate than any particular team reading any particular argument.
I prefer clash as an impact more because I feel like it gets to a bigger impact that is more at the heart of why debate is good and that it often causes the neg to interact with the aff more. Your warrants for why clash turns the aff should be aff specific – same with TVAs. Nothing hurts me worse than ultra-generic framework debating where the argument could apply to literally any K aff. The best way to win your model can account for the aff’s impacts is to use the language of the aff in your explanation of things like clash, Switch-Side, and the TVA.
Affs that have something to do with the topic and can link turn things like topic education and clash are more persuasive to me than affs that try to impact turn every single part of framework. You probably will need to win some defense, because so much of the neg side of framework is defense to the stuff you want to go for.
Having a counter-interpretation really helps me understand how to evaluate offense and defense in these debates. This does not necessarily require the 2AC to redefine words in the resolution, but rather to tell me what the aff’s vision of debate is, what the role is for the aff and neg, and why those debates are good. Even if you are going to impact turn everything, having a counter-interpretation or a model of debate helps me understand what the role of the aff, neg, and the overall role of debate are.
The more aff-specific the better. Links do not necessarily have to be to the plan (it would be nice if they were), but they should implicate the 1ac in specific ways whether it’s their rhetoric, impact scenarios, etc. 2NCs that quote and rehighlight aff evidence, read new cards, proliferate links, and give the 2nr options are good. If you are criticizing/kritiking the aff, you should quote as much of their evidence, indict as many of their authors, and apply your criticism to the aff as much as possible. The most common advice I give 2Ns going for the K is to quote the aff more
Making decisions in the 2NR is still important even when reading the K one-off. You cannot go for every link, framing argument, perm answer, etc. in the 2NR.
The best K 2NRs I’ve ever seen effectively use case to mitigate parts of the aff’s offense. If you give them 100% risk of the aff vs the K, it’s harder to win!
Kicking the alt/going just for links or case turns is not the move in front of me. There are almost always uniqueness problems and I end up usually just voting aff on a risk of case. Whether it’s an alternative or a framework argument, you gotta explain to me how voting neg solves your offense.
I have noticed that in a lot of K debates I find that both the aff and the neg over-invest in framework. I honestly don’t see a scenario where I don’t let the aff weigh the 1AC if they win that fiat is good. I also don’t see a scenario where I vote aff because Kritiks on the neg are unfair. If the neg is making links to the aff, the aff obviously gets to weigh their offense against those link arguments. I really think both sides in most cases would be better served spending time on the link/impact/alt rather than overinvesting time on the framework debate.
I don’t really understand a lot of the form/content distinction stuff people go for because I think that the way arguments about “form” are deployed in debate are usually not actually about the form of anything and almost exclusively refer to disagreements in content
Ethics challenges/Clipping/Out of Round Stuff:
In the case that anyone calls an ethics violation for any reason I reserve the right to defer/go to tab, and then beyond that I can only vote based on my interpretation of events. This used to really only apply to clipping, but I’ve been a part of a bunch of different types of ethics challenges over the years so I’ve decided to update this.
Clipping: Hot take, it’s obviously bad. If I have proof you clipped the round will end and you’ll lose. I don’t follow along in speech docs unless someone starts being unclear, so if your opponent is clipping it’s up to you to notice and get proof. I need a recording if I don’t catch it live, even if we are on a panel and another judge catches it. Without a recording or proof, I’m not pulling the trigger.
Be careful about recording people without their consent, especially minors. Multiple states require two-party consent to record, don’t get yourself in legal trouble over a debate round. On the other hand, if you don’t let me listen to a recording where you’re accused of clipping, I’m probably just going to vote against you for some other reason, I have to be honest.
I don’t vote on out of round stuff, especially stuff I wasn’t there for. For clarification, I suppose there could be exceptions to this and my opinions on it have gone back and forth. The top-level truth of the matter is that I as a debate coach do not have the jurisdiction, training, qualifications, or power to resolve interpersonal disputes by voting for someone or against someone in a debate. If you feel that someone in the round has jeopardized your safety, made you uncomfortable, or anything remotely similar, I will do everything in to advocate for you if I witness any of the following. If I am not a witness, I will make sure that the proper channels are used to address the complaint. But just like my role for my university, I am a mandatory reporter. I do not have the jurisdiction to decide those claims and I will be forced to take them to people above me at the tournament.
This is obviously distinct from criticizing something that someone has said or calling people out for being problematic. I’m saying if something so bad has happened that we have to stop the round, I have to go to the tournament and my bosses and look at my options. For your safety and mine I am required to think about how I’m protected, and my role and qualifications as a coach and educator as it relates to resolving officially lodged complaints of discrimination or harassment.
Tech over truth but asserting that an argument is dropped/conceded is not the same thing as extending a full argument
My debate background is in policy, so I have much more familiarity with policy/LARP and Kritikal debates than I do with phil.
That is not to say you cannot win on philosophy in front of me, but you should try to frame it in language that I will understand. So telling me why your impact outweighs and turns their offense, winning defense to their stuff, doing judge instruction and weighing to tell me what matters and what doesn't.
Clarity is more important than speed. Slow down a bit on counterplan texts, interps, etc. Spreading as fast as you can through theory shells or a million a priori's means there's probably a good chance that I am not going to get everything
A lot of arguments in LD stop at the level of a claim - you can be efficient but you can't just blippily extend claims without warrants and expect to win
Not a huge fan of frivolous theory. I think most theory debates end up being a reason to reject the argument not the team with the exception of condo. But like I said, tech over truth so you can win theory in front of me, it just needs to be well impacted for why it is a reason to drop the debater and why rejecting the argument/practice doesn't solve
Will Halverson (he/him/his)
Kent Denver '20
Coach at Gunn
Standard procedure: 1) Start an email chain and put me on it: willhalverson02 [at] gmail [dot] com. 2) If you have opensourced every card you have ever read (this includes the 2AC and the block), let me know before the RFD and I will boost your speaker points by .3 per debater. 3) Please compile all evidence you believe is relevant after the debate and send it to me.
I don't really care about most of the preferences listed below. I mostly just want to see a debate where both teams are engaging in good faith and are interested in the arguments they're reading. You do you, I'll try to leave my predispositions at the door.
I am unlikely to do any work for you or apply anything that you have not explicitly told me to apply. Judge instruction and argument resolution are the most important parts of debating. Tell me what issues are most important and why you are winning them.
I think the best debates are ones that involve both teams reading well-researched arguments, engaging in line-by-line refutation and clash, and speaking clearly. I prefer debates where both teams go for a few well-developed arguments as opposed to many un-developed ones.
For Online Debate:
Go slower than you usually would. Everyone is more unclear online. (Seriously. Please go slower.)
Please don't speak over each other. It's impossible to hear you.
If my camera's off don't start speaking.
Ks: I have a basic understanding of most K literature. Historical examples on both sides are helpful.
I will likely conclude that the aff gets the aff and the neg gets the K. Instead of asking me to completely disregard one side's arguments, make impact calculus arguments about the relative importance of representations vs hypothetical consequences.
Specificity is key. Affs should read aff-specific answers, even if they are analytics, rather than generic cards. The neg should attempt to make the K interact with the aff as much as possible (i.e. quoting your opponent's cards for links, making specific turns case arguments, applying the alt to the aff, etc.).
T vs Planless Affs: I believe that the affirmative should read an aff that is grounded in topical literature.
Fairness is the most compelling impact, but you must explain it well. I will be more persuaded by arguments about predictable limits and research burdens than arguments about skills or ground.
Ks vs Planless Affs: I have limited experience in these debates. Please help me understand your theory if you want my ballot.
DAs: Judge instruction is especially important when evaluating the different parts of the DA. This includes comparative impact calculus as well as explaining the importance of the link versus the importance of uniqueness.
I like creative link spin, even if you don't have a card.
It is possible for an argument to have zero risk, but rare.
CPs: Read the CP text slower please.
I love love love big advantage CPs. Process CPs are less great, but if you gotta read em, so be it. I would prefer that process CPs have a topic-specific solvency advocate.
I will default to judge-kicking the CP unless persuaded otherwise.
Theory: Lean aff on international fiat and multi-actor fiat. I'm neutral on 50 states. On everything else, I'm heavily neg-leaning, especially against new affs. All theory except for condo is probably a reason to reject the argument.
Either you get conditionality or you don't. Numerical interpretations are arbitrary.
I might be more persuaded by your argument that you get new answers than you think.
T vs Plan Affs: Again, I prefer predictable limits-based arguments over arbitrary arguments about ground. Invest more time in evidence comparison to win my ballot.
Framing Pages: I am persuaded by affs that leverage framing pages as kritiks of the DA. I am also persuaded by affs that argue that a utilitarian calculus is best served by evaluating probability, not just magnitude. Affs that argue that structural violence should always come first are less convincing.
Top Level - Only judge every once and a while now, debated for George Mason University.
I would like to be on the email chain - gerrit.hansen96 AT gmail.com
Go to the bottom for non-policy formats
What to read before the round, if you are interested.
This paradigm is too long - I like K debate, but also policy debate. I am not as experienced in the latter, and will likely over-compensate by reading cards if I get confused or lost. I will do my best to judge your debate fairly.
I am neither the best - nor the worst, hopefully - flow in the game. I have great auditory processing, handwriting not so much. I would encourage a lil pen time for important args.
If the other team brings up an accessibility issue about some portion of your speech, the impetus is on you to fix the problem. I am somewhat open to discussion of what is reasonable (or fair) but please don't make me punish you for being a jerk.
Exclusionary language - including misgendering anyone, racism, ableism, sexism, etc is a voting issue. Almost guaranteed your speaks suffer at least. I will usually leave it to the team that has been harmed to make an argument about it, because I don't want to decide for you when your debate should end.
Topicality - I think this argument has many valuable uses in debate. Use it how you will. Evidence comparison and caselists are a MUST in these debates. Tell me what your vision of the topic looks like.
Reasonability, as a phrase, is not an argument. I'm open to any and all arguments about how T debates should be viewed, but the onus is on you to create a model for what judging debates in that way ought to look like. Default to competing interps.
Theory - Slow if you plan to go for it. High speed blocks are unpersuasive and are optically a cheap-shot. Potential abuse is probably not an impact I care about that much.
CP's - They can be cool, they can be contrived and silly. PIC's should be specific rather then general. Sympathetic with 2As on some counter-plan theory. Slow down on your CP text if you want me to catch its nuances. Word PIC's are usually silly.
DA - They're cool. The more creative the better. Politics is good. 1 good and well compared impact scenario is worth 3 with loose comparison or impact calculus.
K's - This is the style of debate I personally chose to do. I have a fairly extensive literature base, and am probably more then willing to listen to your stuff. If you argue your position well and prove that you have an understanding of your literature base I will probably want to vote for you. If you're good at what you do, do it.
Links are better when they are specific to the aff - I'm down for spin, but a generic state link or a security K with no impact defense is unlikely to make me want to vote for you
Line by line is important to me, and I have yet to hear a way to evaluate debates in a reasonably fair fashion except some version of the offense/defense paradigm. If you don't want me to flow or want to change the format of the debate, I support you in your efforts but I'm also probably not the judge for you
Debates about debate (The section is a bit of a tangent for K teams) - I grow increasingly tired of the "standard moves" in these debates. I feel many ballot commodification/currency arguments are very reductionist and very much resemble whiny debaters screaming about fiat being illusory. I will obviously vote on them, but I would say I have a higher threshold than most. I care a little bit less about what the ballot does for the aff/neg, and more about what strategies, tactics, methods, alternative world views etc my ballot ought to endorse.
K Aff's/Framework- This is a debate. Defending debate norms is cool, saying "Debate bad" is cool. Being creative on both sides is more likely to get me on your side.
Topical Versions of the Aff are a good way to mitigate offense against framework. Explain to me why it solves their impact turns, not why it is similar to the aff
The Affirmative is much more likely to win if they have a counter interpretation - I find it hard to evaluate defensive "rez already exploded" or "rez poorly written" arguments without one. Rez +1 is not an argument
Arguments about jurisdiction and authority are not good ones, so long as they are answered.
Fairness is an impact. I have the inclination that debates should be fair. That being said, I don't particularly care about procedural fairness in my heart of hearts, and it's rather easy to convince me that a host of things might outweigh the need for debates to be fair.
Speaker Points: I used to have a convoluted scale of sorts here. To be honest, as I judge more often, I usually give pretty high speaker points. I think I tend to presume the best of debaters, and I often find it hard to judge their relative qualities against other debaters I have seen in a bad light. That being said, I have found that I punish very vindictively if you use exclusionary language or are a jerk.
I mainly participated in and judge policy. I will be upfront and say that while I am familiar with the rules and some of the norms of non-policy formats, but it is probably not as second nature to me as it is to you. I would not say that I judge more then 1 tournament in either LD or PF a year, and speech is even more uncommon. These are some helpful thoughts:
PLEASE CLASH. Compare impacts. Compare frameworks. Acknowledge that your opponent made arguments, and tell me why I should care about your arguments more.
"Progressive" debate styles are cool. Theory is way too common in LD, but I don't plan to be the activist judge that stops it.
There is not a single thing that will matter to me LESS then if you stand up whenl you speak, where you speak from, etc. Accommodate yourself in the room, and I will choose my place in relation to that. It is strange how common this question is in public forum.
I'm pretty good at flowing, and the flow is how I will decide the debate. Logic over persuasion. Good policy over good personality. Tech over truth.
"Off-time" Roadmaps are helpful
Don't spread if you can't be clear. PLEASE.
Email chain please! email@example.com
TL;DR: You do you and I'll judge accordingly. Run the arguments with which you are most comfortable.
Current affiliation: Pittsburgh Central Catholic
I debated for four years in high school, most of that time being a 1A/2N, and on these topics: China Relations, Education, Immigration, and Arms Sales.
Please SLOW DOWN. I have not debated competitively since high school and have become more numb to spreading. I cannot physically write down every argument that you make. I also try not to look at the speech doc. Try to go slower than you normally would. If you are zipping through your theory/T blocks, I will assume that you have not read this and I will be annoyed.
I did policy debate for four years at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA High School) before graduating in 2020. I debated over 80 debates per school year, with around 50 of them on the national circuit. I now coach and judge for LASA sporadically.
If there’s an email chain, please add me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do what you do best. I would rather listen to you debating your strongest argument than you adapting to my preferences. Having said that, I’m most comfortable judging CP + DA debates, since that is the literature base I know best. Write my ballot in the 2NR/2AR and tell me what I’m voting on. Your speaks will thank you. Tech > Truth.
For novices: The most important thing is to have fun! It’s important to remember that debate is a process, not a product. Focus on learning as much as you can from these debates, instead of focusing on the results. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask me or send me an email. I promise I’m not scary!! Yes, I’m okay with speed (as long as you are clear). No, flashing and emailing are not prep (unless it’s excessive). Yes, I’m okay with open CX.
For LD: I coached LD in the 2020-2021 season. Since my background is in policy debate, I am most comfortable judging LARP and kritiks (to a lesser extent). I'm not the judge for you if you specialize in phil/theory/tricks.
I went for framework a LOT. This doesn’t mean I hate all K affs, but it does mean I subconsciously look at these debates through the lens of a 2N. I find myself going for fairness as an impact in some debates, so I can definitely be persuaded to vote on it. Don’t forget impact calculus! It’s not enough to extend the impact of the aff on the case page. Explain how it implicates framework and why it outweighs the Limits DA (or whatever the negative team goes for). In that same vein, make sure you are not just extending arguments. Explain the broader implication of winning that argument and why it means you win the debate. "I find it really hard to explain why the act of reading framework in and of itself is violent or bad." -- Mason Marriott-Voss. Retweet.
Going for topicality was my jam in high school. These debates come down to the execution of your standards. Quality of your definition matters, especially if you are going for a precision or predictability impact.
“Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff.” -- Yao Yao Chen. Retweet. Topicality is a question of models of debate, not THIS debate.
I’ve dabbled in the fem K and the cap K, but I have very little expertise in critical literature. If you want to go for another kritik, by all means, do it. Just be clear with your explanations. The more case-specific your link is, the more likely you are to get my ballot. I find myself questioning what the purpose of framework is in these debates. If your 2NR/2AR strategy relies on winning framework, explain what winning framework gets you in terms of the rest of the debate. Floating PIKs must be clearly made in the 2NC. If you bust one out in the 2NR, I’m probably not a great judge for you.
Theory debates are fantastic. I lean affirmative on process CPs (consult, delay, etc.). I lean negative on PICs. I don’t have a preference on conditionality, 50 state fiat, or international fiat.
I find evidence quality matters a lot more than evidence quantity, especially in politics debates and impact turn debates. Evidence comparison is under-utilized.
I will not vote on any argument that endorses racism, sexism, homophobia, or otherwise offensive ideologies. I will also not listen to any arguments that endorse self-harm, suicide, or purposeful death. I will vote you down and it will be completely on you for not reading this paradigm.
This paradigm is definitely a work in progress because I’m still figuring out how I think about debate. Yao Yao Chen has probably influenced my thoughts on debate the most. Check out his paradigm here if you want to.
Debated for Bronx Science for 4 years (2015-2019) and been judging for three years in college; polsci and public policy major at Hunter College
DISCLAIMER FOR CAT NATS: I am completely new to the water topic (haven't researched, coached it, etc.), keep this in mind while debating in terms of technical terms and knowledge of topic Ks, CPs, etc. I have also not judged policy in over a year so chill with the spreading
Feel free to run any argument in front of me. I want you to tell me how to vote and how I should view the round. Besides that, I'm down for anything.
Quarantine edition edit: My connection isn't the best so please send the analytics and/or spread like 5% slower so I can flow it, if the argument isn't on my flow I can't evaluate it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Feel free to add me to the email chain: email@example.com
tl;dr: run what you want
I decide rounds pretty quickly so I usually disclose right after the 2AR.
This is more for policy rounds but don't just card-dump, I hate it when teams just spew a bunch of cards at each other and expect me to do all the work.
If I’m on a panel with Eugene Toth there is a literal 100% chance that we will vote the same way.
My paradigm has been greatly influenced by my god-tier debate partner in high school so if you want to give it a look: https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_person_id=46818
TKO: If you think you 100% won the round at any point in the debate (i.e. other has no path to a ballot bc of conceded off case, etc.) then you can call a TKO and the round will stop. If I buy that the opponents have no path to the ballot, I will give you the win and 30s. If you are wrong, you will get an L and 25s.
DA should at least have a aff-specific link and not just "Protecting water resources means Biden loses political capital". Make sure impact calc is tight, and good evidence comparison will notch up your speaker points. I want you to tell me a story of how the aff actually triggers the impacts.
Haven't gone for that many CPs, not really my favorite argument. Please slow down for the CP text, especially if it's one of those really long ones. Whatever you run, make sure that you have a clear net-benefit.
Unless its not even in the direction of the topic, I won't automatically vote down an aff because it violates your interpretation of framework and the resolution. If there is no significant impact and there is sufficient response from aff, I will weigh education over fairness.
I like to hear cleverly thought out T arguments against K affs that aren't just USFG, but an explanation, again, is necessary.
I run Ks very often and love a good K debate but I also hate it when the links for the Ks are not explained well or are just generic. Most of the K debate is rooted in the link debate and you have to be able to do this well in order for me to understand how the kritik functions in terms of the affirmative.
A side note: I am not a judge who thinks you need to win the alternative debate in order to win the round. As long as you can prove that each link is a non unique disad to the aff, and those disads outweigh, I will gladly vote neg. However, winning the alternative debate definitely makes your job a LOT easier. If you do go for the alt, I need to know what the alt is supposed to do, how it is supposed to do it, and why what it does matters. You have to be able to explain the alt well, a lot of debaters do not read the literature behind their kritik and this means they cannot explain their alternatives well or just summarize the tags of the cards when explaining the alt.
Love creative K args, topic-specific Ks are really cool too and I've been finding myself voting for more eccentric and high theory Ks so take that as you will
Ks I've ran: Cap (almost every variant of it: logistics, Dean, historical materialism, etc.), academia (Moten and Harney, Tuck and Yang, etc.), ID stuff (set col, queer theory), psychoanalysis.
I have read K affs the majority of my debate career. Love them, they great. But if it is a nontraditional aff, an EXPLANATION is necessary. If I don't understand what the aff is, what it does, or why it's good, then I will absolutely default neg
Have judged a fair amount of theory debates at this point and have voted for condo and ASPEC, so I'm down w it just make sure you have interpretation, violation, and standards esp in the last speech
Been there done that, just don't be reading random files you found in the backfiles or online without knowing what they mean
Joshua F. Johnwell (he/him/they/them/queer/josh/whatever you want)
NYU Policy Alumni (2016-2020)
Houston, TX / Nat HS Circuit (4 Years) @ Dawson HS
GDI (Gonzaga) Alum - 4WK, 5WK Scholars, 2WK
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
or just ask before round, preferably. oh & YAS, EMAIL CHAIN ME
Current Affiliations: NYU
Past Affiliations: BL Debate (2020-2021), Success Academy HS (2019-2020), Dawson HS (2012-2016)
I debated policy in high school and college; I have judged for years and have coached on the high school and college levels. I am tabula rasa and will vote on anything as long as it is carried well throughout the debate. I will not intervene or make the arguments for you. I evaluate on tech over truth. It is your debate; tell me how to vote, weigh the impacts, and clash. That said, do not run any arguments that could be offensive and exclude individuals from the debate space such as racism good, religion bad, or arguments that are demeaning to one's identity. Speed is great; be sure to be clear and sign post.
Ks - I am fine with Ks and will evaluate any alternative; be sure to explain the alternative and how it solves. Also, explain how the K specifically links to the aff as well as the DAs to a perm. Presumption flips aff if the neg is more of a departure from the status quo, but the aff needs to make the claim. I will not do the work for you.
K Affs - I like policy affirmatives but will vote on any K aff as long as you have a reason to be untopical and clearly explain your praxis. That said, I will also vote on FW if it is not sufficiently answered by the aff.
CPs - I love CPs. Clash on timeframe, inherency, solvency, and method of solvency will go a long way for both sides.
DAs - I like DAs; be sure to explain why the DA makes the status quo worse and how it outweighs/turns the case. Too often teams do not sufficiently weigh the round.
T - I love in depth topicality debates. Please weigh the impacts and extend interpretations. I will vote on reasonability or competing interps. Tell me how to vote.
Final Rebuttals - The purpose of these speeches is to weigh the impacts and break down the round. I expect clash and will only evaluate what is on the flow at the end of the round. Merely extending taglines without clear warranting and explanations are not persuasive and will not win the round alone. Inherency, solvency, timeframe, probability, and magnitude are all really important in determining a round. Use them to your advantage.
Speaker Points - Competence, clash, and professionalism will gain the most speaker points. There is never a need to be rude or unprofessional; cursing is unnecessary and discouraged.
Want to be on the email chain? - Yes, please send docs to: email@example.com
My paradigm, at its core, is to judge the debate according to the parameters set by the debaters in the room. I am willing to decide the round on any arguments the debaters mark as the voting issues (including T, theory, and other procedural arguments, traditional policy affs, planless affs, performance, etc.). You need to be clear, your evidence should be good, and your authors should generally agree with each other (on solvency, Ks, etc.). If you are running critical and/or performance arguments you should clearly articulate what the role of the judge/ballot is in the round.
I don't especially enjoy reading cards after the debate to try to piece together what should have been explained more clearly in the debate. If you think the round hinges on the text of a piece of evidence, spell it out in the rebuttals. Alternatively, if the debate is really good and evidence must be read, I'm perfectly happy to do so; I encourage you to provide me the context necessary to read for you.
Speed is great, just be clear. With online debating, I would encourage you, as good practice, to reduce your speed to 85% or so. Also, know that I flow on paper and need pen time--slow down on T, Theory, perms, CP texts, etc. If I ask you to be clear and you ignore me, I'm probably not going to be able to follow you on the flow. I keep pretty detailed flows (of course, not perfect), if it's not on my flow I'm not voting on it.
Overviews are a great rhetorical tool but if you speed through them I'm not sure how useful they are. Similarly, if they are 5 mins long, you are probably going to lose the LBL. Speaking of rhetorical tools, humor and personality are also a delightful addition to rounds, especially with everything being virtual. :-)
Needless hostility or defensiveness is intellectually--and just at a human level--crushing. Please don't. If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, abelist, etc. please strike me--you will lose the debate.
I have coached Policy debate for 23 years in Indiana, but my "National Circuit" experience is limited. I do not like speed and spread. Philosophically I do not consider these persuasive speaking, rather training to be an auctioneer. If you choose to speed and spread, be aware that I am liable to lose some of your points in the clutter, and that will be your responsibility, not mine. For teams that say "We had to speed to respond to them because they were doing it first" -- if you slow down I will cut you slack in not responding to everything they spew out, assuming it is not a major issue.
I would like to hear a debate about the Resolution. I do not like Affirmative K's that throw the topic in the ditch and go elsewhere. If you do that I will likely be responsive to a framework argument that says the most basic obligation of the Affirmative is to present a topical case that affirms the resolution. Without that the debate often becomes a stream of arguments based on personal experience and anecdote for which the Negative has had no opportunity to prepare, and there is no educational value.
I am somewhat more amenable to Negative K's, but I would like them to have some relation to the topic and the Affirmative Case.
Topicality and Counterplans are of course acceptable. I do have something of a dislike for dropping arguments late in the debate which have previously sucked up much of the time, and I may hold that against a team.
Brian McBride. I love you so much, you will always be cherished in my memories. The impact you had on the community is immeasurable - thank you for being such a big part of why I love debate and am still involved today. If you haven't heard Stars of the Lid, give it a listen - I hope his music can bring all of us comfort when we need it.
I am a coach at Emory, Liberal Arts and Science Academy and The Harker School. Other conflicts: Texas, Westwood, St Vincent de Paul, Bakersfield High School
Email Chain: yes, firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm totally uninterested in adjudicating arguments that endorse self harm. I won't auto-vote against you but if someone you're debating asks me to stop the debate I will. If I end up voting for you, you will not like your points.
Things like wipeout/spark/other impact turns or like "death k" are a little different than this category for me and you can still read those types of hypothetical impact turns as they don't feel the same as [self harm good].
You will receive a speaker point bump if you give your final rebuttal without the use of a laptop. I will give higher points to speeches with errors/pauses/inconsistencies etc. where the speaker debates off their flows than speeches that sound crystal clear and perfect but are delivered without the speaker looking up from their computer screen.
Do what you do best. Giving speeches you're comfortable with is almost certainly a better path to victory than attempting to adapt to any of this stuff below.
Debate is an activity about persuasion and communication. If I can't understand your argument because what you are saying because you are unclear, haven't explained it, or developed it into a full argument-claim, warrant, impact, it likely won't factor in my decision.
The winner will nearly always be the team able to identify the central question of the debate first and most clearly trace how the development of their argument means they're ahead on that central question.
Virtually nothing you can possibly say or do will offend me [with the new above caveat] if you can't beat a terrible argument you probably deserve to lose.
Another new thing - my favorite debates are ones where the affirmative defends a topical example of the resolution (how you interpret the words in the resolution are up to you, but in this scenario you would defend a change from the status quo and defend the implications of your change w/either a traditionally topical plan or a well thought out and carded counter-interpretation) - the negative then criticizes the representations, justifications, philosophy, ethics, or method of the plan and make arguments about whether I should weigh the plan or prioritize something else first. Obviously you shouldn't try to over-adapt and do this if its not your thing, but well executed policy v K debates with lots of research, examples, and high quality evidence will be rewarded with extremely high points for all four participants.
newer - I don't judge many non-framework debates anymore. I tend to vote neg when the neg wins clash is the biggest/most portable impact + explanation for how it improves over the year as a result of their interp and access aff offense via TVA or SSD. I tend to vote AFF when they win an impact turn to the end result of clash alongside robust answers to the NEG ballot can't access that offense args. I think 2NCs that lack an explanation of how 2nd and 3rd level testing occurs under their interp and changes over the year, with examples, lacks credibility when going for only clash matters (you can maybe win the debate on a different terminal impact, but lately I haven't really voted on other ones). Fairness is both an internal link and an impact. Debate is a game but its also so much more. You can persuade me to think one way or the other in any given debate and I've learned to love judging these debates because I often learn new things about the activity and its potential.
older - but not un-true
I find myself voting negative a lot on procedural fairness a lot, even though I don't think this is the most persuasive version of T. The reason is that K affs seem to have a lot of trouble deciding if they want to go for the middle ground or just impact turn--pick a strategy and stick to it 1AC-2AR and you're more likely to be in a good place. The block is almost always great on T, the 2NR almost always forgets to do terminal impact calculus. Testing arguments become much more persuasive to me when you give specific examples for how those would occur. What neg args would you be able to read against a potential TVA? Why is it good for the 2AC to research those positions, how would you researching answers to their answers be beneficial? A lot of this stuff just gets assumed and I think that a lot of repetitiveness from most framework 2NCs can be substituted for this kind of depth early in the debate. 2NRs sometimes seem to spend so much time on why they access AFF lit base/impacts that they don't end up extending a terminal impact or external offense at all. I think it's difficult to win a debate when you basically go for a CP w/o a net benefit.
-spamming permutations, particular ones that are intrinsic, without a text and with no explanation isn't a complete argument. [insert perm text fine, insert counter plan text is not fine].
-if evenly debated, better for textual competition is silly
-instead of saying "logical limited intrinsicness," say what it is you mean by that specifically
-pretty neg on "if it competes, its legitimate." Aff can win these debates by explaining why theory and competition should be separated and then going for just one in the 2ar. the more muddled you make this, the better it usually is for the neg.
-non-resolutional theory is rarely if ever a reason to reject the team. Generally don't think its a reason to reject the argument either.
-I'm becoming increasingly poor for conditionality bad as a reason to reject the team. This doesn't mean you shouldn't say in the 2ac why its bad but I've yet to see a speech where the 2AR convinced me the debate has been made irredeemably unfair or un-educational due to the status of counter plans. I think its possible I'd be more convinced by the argument that winning condo is bad means that the neg is stuck with all their counter plans and therefore responsible for answering any aff offense to those positions. This can be difficult to execute/annoying to do, but do with that what you will.
-affs usually lose these by forgetting about the case, negs usually lose these when they don't contextualize links to the 1ac. If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs.
-link specificity is important - I don't think this is necessarily an evidence thing, but an explanation thing - lines from 1AC, examples, specific scenarios are all things that will go a long way
-these are almost always just framework debates these days but debaters often forget to explain the implications winning their interpretation has on the scope of competition. framework is an attempt to assign roles for proof/rejoinder and while many of you implicitly make arguments about this, the more clear you can be about those roles, the better.
-i'm less likely to think "extinction outweighs, 1% risk" is as good as you think it is, most of the time the team reading the K gives up on this because they for some reason think this argument is unbeatable, so it ends up mattering in more rfds than it should
I have been judging LD for a year now. The policy section all applies here.
Tech over truth but, there's a limit - likely quite bad for tricks - arguments need a claim, warrant and impact to be complete. Dropped arguments are important if you explain how they implicate my decision. Dropped arguments are much less important when you fail to explain the impact/relevance of said argument.
RVIs - no, never, literally don't. 27 ceiling. Scenario: 1ar is 4 minutes of an RVI, nr drops the rvi, I will vote negative within seconds of the timer ending.
Policy/K - both great - see above for details.
Phil - haven't judged much of this yet, this seems interesting and fine, but again, arguments need a claim, warrant and impact to be complete arguments.
Arguments communicated and understood by the judge per minute>>>>words mumbled nearly incomprehensibly per minute.
Unlikely you'll convince me the aff doesn't get to read a plan for topicality reasons. K framework is a separate from this and open to debate, see policy section for details.
If you read cards they must be sent out via email chain with me attached or through file share prior to the speech. If you reference a piece of evidence that you haven't sent out prior to your speech, fine, but I won't count it as being evidence. You should never take time outside of your prep time to exchange evidence - it should already have been done.
"Paraphrasing" as a substitute for quotation or reading evidence is a bad norm. I won't vote on it as an ethics violation, but I will cap your speaker points at a 27.5.
I realize some of you have started going fast now, if everyone is doing that, fine. However, adapting to the norms of your opponents circuit - i.e. if they're debating slowly and traditionally and you do so as well, will be rewarded with much higher points then if you spread somebody out of the room, which will be awarded with very low points even if you win.
About Me: Junior at Emory University. I debated for 4 years in high school at the University School of Nashville. Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
New Paradigm [9/27/2019]
I am re-writing this paradigm to be a little bit more transparent on some of the key issues which have been affecting a lot of the ways I judge debates. I used to consider myself more of a neutral judge, but I think it is time that I recognize my own biases because they definitely do affect a lot of my decisions.
Addressing each of the key issues outlined below is a great way to get my ballot. I would definitely recommend reading this thoroughly before your round because I definitely differ from other judges.
Key issues -
1.) K - If you are running a K, I want you to treat me as if I do not understand the literature. This way your argument becomes clearer in the round, and if I am genuinely not familiar with the literature then you have still done the work necessary to win the round. I think that this is a very hard skill to do in round with the limited time allotted to you (especially with the more jargon-heavy kritiks), but I think it is an important persuasive tool and it shows that you actually know your argument and aren't just relying on the other team's lack of understanding to win the round. I would rather you spend a minute or two on explanation rather than just reading additional sub-points to an irrelevant argument on the flow.
2.) Speed/Clarity - I prefer slower, clearer debate to faster technical debate. I think that this realm is where the best debates happen as it leads to better clash and argumentative nuance within the round. It also takes me a bit longer to understand arguments, so many times I just won't understand an argument if you are blazing through it. If you are debating whether to be fast or be clear - I would definitely recommend clarity in all instances. Some implications of this:
a.) I don't appreciate 1NC strats designed to spread the 2AC thin
b.) Signpost and number your arguments!!
c.) Please take time in speeches to clarify complicated/nuanced issues (especially in final rebuttals)
d.) I appreciate slow final rebuttals (except when you have a lot to cover - then almost certainly go fast) and writing my ballot at the start of the 2AR/2NR.
e.) Always start slower in speeches then go faster
f.) If you don't understand something the opponent said then please signal that in your response to it (as I probably didn't understand it as well)
g.) I don't read cards until after the round, so clearly spreading through the text of the card matters just as much as the tag!
3.) T/Theory - My least favorite debates to judge, but I understand the necessity of it at times. In front of me, I really do not want these to be the 2NR/2AR except where actual abuse occurs (Cheaty CPs/Non-Topical Affs). If you can debate substance over going for either of these, always go for substance.
Old Paradigm: Nothing here is really "different", so you can still look at this as a reference for how I evaluate debates.
Quick Version: Run arguments that you are comfortable with. I will vote on anything if it is well argued and defended. I am familiar with kritikal literature as well as policy arguments.
About Me: Sophomore at Emory University. I debated for 4 years in high school at the University School of Nashville. Add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Argument Preference - Pretty non-existent. I don't want to tell you what to run so here is a tl;dr:
CP: Win the tech to win the CP
DA: Impact Comparison goes far.
K: Define your terms and have specific analysis
T: I will vote for whoever wins the tech debate - I lean towards reasonability on affs which are core of the topic.
K affs: Win framework and defend your method. Perms are probably illegit if the link is decent to the method/analysis.
Theory: Warrant out your arguments and don’t spread through blocks. Please don't go for theory unless there is legitimate abuse.
Policy debate coach at Como Park Senior High.
CARD coach and policy debate judge at the University of Minnesota.
I am beginning to judge more events other than just policy but I have almost zero experience with other forms of debate.
Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com. Everyone gets plus .1 speaks if I'm not asked to be put on, and I'm just automatically put on the chain. Ask me any questions about my paradigm in person or via email, although I do try to update it regularly with the most important stuff.
Ks on the neg are obviously always fine and for what I think about T-USFG/FW, see the very bottom below the fairness slider. But bottom line, I don't really care what you read as long as you convince me to vote for you, I will.
Stuff related to online debating:
Don't delete analytics from the speech doc, please. I'll probably dock your speaks if I remember to. Online debate is harder to flow than in-person so it's good practice if you want me to catch everything you're saying.
Please slow down a little (especially on T and theory*) because the number of arguments I flow is rarely equal to the number of arguments the speaker actually makes, and those numbers will be much closer to each other if everyone prioritizes clarity and slowing down a bit. Don't just read this and think you're fine. Slow down, please. I know half of all judges ever have something like this in their paradigm but I'm a slower flow than average because I flow on paper.
Read a plan--------------------------x--------------Do whatever (probably at least sorta related to the topic)
Tech--------------x----------------------------Truth -- I hate myself for it, but I am kind of a truth-orientated judge in that I really don't want to vote for silly args, and the worse an arg is, the more leeway I give to answering it
Theory-------------------------------------x--------- Substance -- condo is really the only theory arg that gets to the level of "reject the team", I simply feel that most other theory args are reasons to reject the arg, not the team. Unless the negative goes for the CP/K to which the theory applies in the 2nr, it's a tough sell for me to vote on, "They read [insert abusive off-case position], they should lose".
Conditionality good--------x---------------------Conditionality bad -- this being said, I would much rather see 4-6 good off, than a 7+ mix of good and bad
States CP good (including uniformity)-----------x----------------------50 state fiat is bad
Always VTL----------------x---------------------Never VTL
Impact turn (*almost) everything-x-----------------------------I like boring debate -- to add to this, I'm huge sap for impact calc and specifically rebuttals that provide a detailed narrative of the impacts of the debate and how they interact with the other team's. Impact comparison and impact turns are often the deciding factors for me in close debates
*Almost meaning I'll vote on warming good, death good, etc. but obviously not on args like racism good or sexism good
Process CP's are cheating----------------------x---------------Best fall-back 2nr option is a cheating, plan-stealing CP
Lit determines legitimacy-------x-----------------------Exclude all suspect CPs
Yes judge kick the CP--x-------------------------------------------Judge kick is abusive -- as long as the 2nr says to kick the CP, I'm gonna kick it and just analyze the world of the squo vs the aff and I'm pretty sure there's nothing the aff can really do if condo bad isn't a thing in the round. Heck, I judged a debate where the CP was extended for 30 seconds and not kicked but I still voted neg because the neg won a large risk of a case turn. What I'm saying, is that when you are aff and the neg goes for more than just the CP with an internal NB, beating the CP doesn't equate to winning the debate outright
Presumption----------x--------------------------Never votes on presumption
"Insert this rehighlighting"---------------------x--I only read what you read
I flow on my computer ---------------------------------------x I'm gonna need to borrow some paper
I try to give out speaker points that are representative of how well you performed in the round compared to the tournament as a whole. I try to follow the process detailed here, but I often find myself handing out speaks sort of indiscriminately. Getting good speaks from me includes being respectful and making good choices in the rebuttals (smart kick outs, concessions, and flow coverage).
Clash! I like judging debates where the arguments/positions evolve in relation to one another as opposed to simply in vacuums.
Fairness is an impact---------------x--------------Fairness is only an internal link -- My threshold is usually how close your aff is to the topic in the abstract, i.e. personhood and NATO. I do feel like in the end the main goal of doing debate is to win. The activity obviously serves a ton of other purposes but at the end of each debate, one team wins, and one team loses. This doesn't mean that I think reading a planless aff is unfair and can definitely be convinced that a "fair" debate produces something bad, but it's going to be very hard to convince me that debate is not a game.
Topic education is decent for an education impact but policymaking and policy education are meh. Critical thinking skills can also be extracted from debate and critical skills about calling out state action and for revolution planning.
If you don't read a written-out advocacy statement: Impact turn framework----------x---------------------------Procedural
Debate and life aren't synonymous but I understand that many of your lives revolve heavily around debate, so I will respect any arg you go for as long as you make smart arguments to support it.
Add me to the chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Pronouns are she/her.
Assistant Coach at Homestead 2020-2021
Head Coach at Homestead 2021-2022
Assistant Coach at Lake Highland 2023-Present
College Policy at West Georgia 2022-2023
College Policy at Kansas starting Spring 2024
I've judged too many debates to care what you read. I have enough experience with every style of LD that I'm fine to evaluate any argument, with the most experience in K, policy, and phil debate, and the least experience in tricks and theory. Don't overadapt, do what you do best, make complete, smart arguments, and we'll be fine.
An argument has a claim, a warrant, and an implication. Less than that and you have not made an argument and I will not evaluate it. Don't test my limits on this - I don't care if words you've said were not answered by your opponent, they have not "dropped an argument" until you have actually MADE one.
Evidence quality matters a bunch, I'll probably read evidence in close debates, and I won't fill in the blanks for your incomplete highlighting. I would prefer well-warranted analytics to bad, under-highlighted cards.
Fine for K affs, also fine for framework. My voting record is roughly 50-50.
I enjoy in-depth clash and don't enjoy under-warranted blipstorms, so I will likely enjoy your debates more and consequently give you better speaker points if your strategies include specific, complex, and vertical debating as opposed to shallow horizontal debating. I've historically been the best for debaters who understand their arguments very well and are prepared to defend them, whether they be afropessimism, heg good, or the omnilateral will, and historically been the worst for debaters who rely on cheap shots. Do with that what you will.
Debate is supposed to be fun and educational, but it also means a lot to a lot of us, so it's okay if debates get heated and passionate, don't pretend like this doesn't mean something to you if it does.
I will evaluate the debate after the 2ar. You cannot persuade me otherwise.
If you label an argument "evidence ethics" I will ask you after your speech is over if you'd like to issue a formal evidence ethics challenge and stake the round on it. If the answer is no, I won't flow or evaluate the argument going forward. If you accuse your opponent of cheating, either stake the round on it or stop (this doesn't apply to evidence ethics as a standard for something like disclosure - "our model creates better evidence ethics" is fine, "you have committed an evidence ethics violation" is not).
Happy to answer other questions pre round.
Berkeley Prep Assistant Coach - 2017 - Present
10+ years experience in national circuit policy @ Damien HS, Baylor University and other institutions
I have an appreciation for framework debates, especially when the internal link work is thorough and done on the top of your kritik/topicality violation before it is applied to pivotal questions on the flow that you resolve through comparative arguments. On framework, I personally gravitate towards arguments concerning the strategic, critical, or pedagogical utility of the activity - I am readily persuaded to vote for an interpretation of the activity's purpose, role, or import in almost any direction [any position I encounter that I find untenable and/or unwinnable will be promptly included in the updates below]
I have almost no rigid expectations with regard to the K. I spent a great deal of my time competing reading Security, Queer Theory, and Psychoanalysis arguments. The bodies of literature that I am most familiar with in terms of critical thought are rhetorical theory (emphasizing materialism) and semiotics. I have studied and debated the work of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, to that extent I would say I have an operative understanding and relative familiarity with a number of concepts that both thinkers are concerned with.
I think that by virtue of evaluating a topicality flow I almost have to view interpretations in terms of competition. I can't really explain reasonability to myself in any persuasive way, if that changes there will surely be an update about it - this is also not to say nobody could convince me to vote for reasonability, only that I will not default in that direction without prompt.
Theory debates can be great - I reward strategic decisions that embed an explanation of the argument's contingent and applied importance to the activity when going for a theory argument on a counterplan.
I believe that permutations often prompt crucial methodological and theoretical reflection in debate - structurally competitive arguments are usually generative of the most sound strategic and methodological prescriptions.
Judging for Berkeley Prep - Meadows 2020
I have judged enough framework debates at this point in the topic to feel prompted to clarify my approach to judging framework v. K aff rounds. I believe that there are strong warrants and supporting arguments justifying procedural fairness but that these arguments still need to be explicitly drawn out in debates and applied as internal link or impact claims attached to an interpretation or defense of debate as a model, activity, or whatever else you want to articulate debate as. In the plainest terms, I'm saying that internal link chains need to be fully explained, weighed, and resolved to decisively win a framework debate. The flipside of this disposition applies to kritikal affs as well. It needs to be clear how your K Aff interacts with models and methods for structuring debate. It is generally insufficient to just say "the aff impacts are a reason to vote for us on framework" - the internal links of the aff need to be situated and applied to the debate space to justify Role of the Ballot or Role of the Judge arguments if you believe that your theory or critique should implicate how I evaluate or weigh arguments on the framework flow or any other portion of the debate.
As with my evaluation of all other arguments, on framework a dropped claim is insufficient to warrant my ballot on its own. Conceded arguments need to be weighed by you, the debater. Tell me what the implications of a dropped argument are, how it filters or conditions other aspects of the flow, and make it a reason for decision.
Judging for Damien Debate - Berkeley (CA) 2016
In judging I am necessarily making comparisons. Making this process easier by developing or controlling the structure of comparisons and distinctions on my flow is the best advice I could give to anyone trying to make me vote for an argument.
I don't feel like it is really possible to fully prevent myself from intervening in a decision if neither team is resolving questions about how I should be evaluating or weighing arguments. I believe this can be decisively important in the following contexts: The impact level of framework debates, The impact level of any debate really, The method debate in a K v K round, The link debate... The list goes on. But, identifying particular points of clash and then seeing how they are resolved is almost always my approach to determining how I will vote, so doing that work explicitly in the round will almost always benefit you.
If you have any questions about my experience, argumentative preferences, or RFD's feel free to ask me at any time in person or via email.
**There are hidden money-related puns in this paradigm. Find them and tell me how many there are before the round. IF you are correct, a plus +.2 speaker points will be added on.
Jake Lee (He/Him)
Present and Past Affiliations:
Current High School Affiliation - Head Coach and Math Teacher at the Mamaroneck High School ('21-Now)
Former College Affiliation - Assistant Coach at the University of Michigan ('20-'21)
Former Assistant Coach - Pine Crest ('18-'21), Strath Haven ('19)
Former Debater - University of Pittsburgh ('16-'20), Qualified to NDT ('19) D7!
Former Debater - Glenbrook South ('12-'16)
My Email for the Chain: email@example.com
HS Debaters ALSO add: firstname.lastname@example.org
In-Depth Judging Record: View this Speadsheet
Hi! I am currently a math teacher and Director of Debate at Mamaroneck High School. I work debate pretty much full-time. I attend tournaments and work at summer camps to help out debate. I invest a lot of my time thinking about debate. This will be my 12th year in debate.
I debated four years at Glenbrook South. I mainly was a 2N my entire time there. I went for a variety of arguments such as the politics DA, the privatization CP, framework, the terrorism DA, various Process CPs, the Cap K and Security K. I debated three years at the University of Pittsburgh as both a 2N and 2A. I mainly wrote AFFs with plan text when I was a 2A, and as a 2N went for the Economy DA, Midterms DA, and Cap K during my time. I qualified to the NDT my junior year (2019).
I have been coaching debate for a while. I helped out GBS from 2016-2018 for a small bit just cutting small files. I worked with Pine Crest 2018-2021 doing research on a vast amount of areas. I focused on AFF writing mostly while researching the occasional topic DA/CPs to K literature for both the AFF/NEG. With Mamaroneck, I have just started the role of leading a large team. I have researched everything from primarily policy strategies to critical literature in high theory, critical race/identity literature.
**Before the start of every round: I want every person in the room to go around and state your name, pronouns and one fun fact about yourself. You all are way too stressed out before rounds and having this little icebreaker before the start of rounds promotes a safe, friendly space. It helps create a community in debate, and the teacher in me enjoys the idea of promoting community building.
I evaluate arguments on a Tech over Truth basis. A dropped argument is a true argument on the flow. However, the word "conceded" does not mean you get to skirt by with laziness on the flow. Implicating your argument/evidence/impact etc. as to how it relates to you winning the argument or the overall debate is something that I value. The only time tech over truth will not matter is on Death Good (Ligotti style), Racism Good, Sexism Good, etc. Reading these arguments at your own expense will lead to an inevitable L and 25's immediately. As an educator, it is my responsibility to make debate a safe space for everyone.
You cannot just "re-insert" highlighting into the round. I know this a judge dependent statement, but if you are going to talk about a re-highlighting, you MUST READ it. I am not going to evaluate the re-highlighting unless you re-read it. This is non-negotiable. This will cost you speaks.
I will not evaluate things that occur outside of the debate round. My role as a judge is to evaluate arguments relevant to flow. Ad Hominems are not arguments. I have no authority nor resources to launch an investigation about something that occurs outside of the debate.
No requesting "can you send a marked copy of the doc, and take out the cards that you did not read" before CX or speeches. If you ask, there are two options that can occur: a) the other team has the right to just say NO or b) if the other team says yes, I'm going to run YOUR prep time and the other team can stall as long as they want because you decided not to flow. I don't care if they purposely run your time to ZERO, you didn't FLOW! You all have the document in front of you. That is a privilege debaters about 15 years ago did not have. If I can flow the speech without looking at the doc, you can to.
Fiscal Redistribution Topic Thoughts:
After doing very basic preseason research and hearing the arguments put out by the camp on this topic, I enjoy researching this topic a ton. There is a topic DA now, please go for it!! It is a valuable asset. Seriously please go for DA's, it makes sense. I think process counterplans are pretty weak this year, and I am kind of tired of hearing basic process CPs after the quagmire from last year. I will probably have a ton of other thoughts about the topic once we get closer to the start of the season.
Topicality Debates are actually going to be good on this topic. The files and definitions that have been put out are quite interesting, and T seems like a great option. Now, there are some definitions that I am skeptical about such as "FR can be tax or transfer instead of tax and transfer". But I am happy to hear that T debate for sure. Limits may be very persuasive on this topic with the right interpretation.
Economy Advantage vs Economy Disadvantage: Having debated the health insurance topic a couple of years ago, this debate was the most prevalent on the topic. If you take this route, please make sure you isolate your offense on Economy. This is important since it helps me look on the flow how the AFF either solves the economy or crashes the economy. Highlighting key warrants and links reduces the messiness on the flow.
The Taxes/transfers PIC seems pretty OP. But there are a ton of reasons why Taxes are needed. Would love to hear this debate.
Recalling a very old thought I had on the CJR/Education/Immigration topic when I judged soft left AFFs. It feels really ironic that teams who have "framing contentions" do not do any framing at all. Both AFF and NEG are at fault for just reading cards and not "framing" anything. Please make some role of the ballot/judge or something to frame the debate if there is one. The spamming of Util Outweighs or Deontology First does nothing to help me evaluate the round.
Consider the Following:
1) Implicate Arguments:
Judge Instruction is pretty non-existent in 90% of debates. As a math person, I really care about how things are concluded. What implicating your argument is pretty much equivalent to showing your work to me on a test. Telling me how to vote prevents major judge intervention from me. Clash, compare, articulate, explain arguments and tell me how they relate to you winning the debate round. Arguments without warrants depreciate in value compared to arguments with warrants are appreciated.
Nothing frustrates me more when teams say their arguments but do not tell me how to evaluate them. If I cannot figure out what I am supposed to do with your argument at the end, I am pretty much going to ignore it or not evaluate it. It is pretty consuming to try to sort out a wad of arguments that have no value to them. It is equivalent as to you telling me that this shape is a rectangle, and you cannot tell me why it is a rectangle without the proof/work. Do not bank on me trying to figure out what you are trying to tell me if you do not provide judge instruction, otherwise your arguments get bogged down.
Please just stop reading pre-written blocks in these debates. I know you think you are "answering" the argument, but you are really not. Do Line-by-Line as you would normally do on any other flow. That is just so much better to listen to because it actually shows you are actively listening and thinking about your opponent's arguments in the round.
Conditionality is probably good. I have voted both ways when it comes down to conditionality. Impact calculus and counter-interpretation debating does matter. New AFFs justify condo and perf con.
I end up judging these debates a lot. In these debates, both in K AFF and K rounds, are often quite frustrating to resolve at the end of the day. To win Framework on either the AFF or NEG, you need to do impact calculus! Most debates tend to stagnate and never expand on their impacts. This gets really left out in these debates and ends up being two ships passing each other. Use the language of the other team to really help me guide the debate.
The other thing that annoys me that teams do not do is explaining their interpretation of debate. Both sides just breeze through this when this actually matters to me a lot as to why you resolve your own offense and why they link to your own offense. Debating and refuting each other's interpretations matters a lot and gets you a lot farther in the debate.
Hey Jake, is Fairness an impact? Yes and No. I think Fairness is an internal impact that can produce a plethora of external impacts. Hence, I tend to think Fairness is more of an internal link. I prefer clash style impacts over fairness impacts, but fairness can be a powerful impact set up for a lot of framework offense if executed correctly. However, I am not the person debating, and if you make frame Fairness as an external on the flow, I will treat it as an impact on the flow. It is your job to implicate it. Yes, I have voted on Fairness being an impact in the past: Walter Payton SW, MBA BM, Whitney Young MM, and LFS MR are a few teams that I have voted on fairness for.
I prefer the AFF to have a counter-interpretation most of the time than just going for the impact turn strategy. Counter-interpretations help me get a perspective as to what I should think about debate and how I should come to the conclusion about debate. Most teams fail to provide also any UQ framing about debate.
TVAs are a great tool. A lot of NEG teams fail to understand the purpose of a TVA. A TVA does not need to solve the AFF. If the NEG can prove there is a TVA that can resolve a lot of offense from the AFF, the NEG is in a good spot. The AFF's best shot at beating TVAs is proving how silly sometimes these TVAs are. I am also shocked how AFF teams just let the NEG get away with blatantly untopical TVAs. There are so many times where I am just shocked that I end up voting for a TVA that just sounds very UNTOPICAL under the NEG's definitions.
Switch Side Debate is an under utilized argument that helps with most NEG teams. AFF teams can easily combat this by stating an AFF key warrant, which goes back to my thoughts about the counter-interpretation always being present in the 2AR.
I am always down for a counterplan debate. I did find the NATO topic last year a bit annoying with the amount of process CPs that came out of it, so let's try to avoid it this year since there are decent non-process CPs on this topic. Counterplans should be both "textually and functionally" competitive is the immoveable standard that I will stake in counterplan debates.
Not only this forces better counterplans writing, but better permutation writing. Limited intrinsic perms really are go-to strategy against counterplans such as Consult NATO or the Lopez CP when they really have no intrinsic purpose to the topic. But a very good counterplan that destroys the intrinsic perm is very much a power move. I am easily persuaded that the "other issues" perm should be abolished since it limits out NEG ground a ton. Debating out words, phrases, and reasons behind it will go a long way. Should/Resolved debates are pretty meh, but they have stuck with me for a long time given my time debating against GBN and hearing Forslund's thoughts about counterplan competition theory.
Permutation Do Both seems lost in most process CP debates. I sometime think that you can just do both. That places the burden a lot of the NEG to really explain any inherent trade-off between doing the plan and the counterplan, especially with garbage internal net benefits.
Permutations are not advocacies. They are tests of competition/trade-offs. That is it. Permutations also DO NOT have to be topical. What's up with this trend lately?
Text-Only Counterplans: This is might be a hot take. If the NEG team just reads a counterplan text in the 1NC and nothing else, the AFF can just say Perm Do Both and move on. Here's why: a) there is no claim of solvency established after the text. The Counterplan text explains what you are doing, not how it solves and b) you have not established the threshold of competition. Jimin Park and I had an interesting conversation about this.
Huge fan of disadvantages. However, this is a sliding scale. There are some DAs that are pretty heat, ie. Assurance DA on Alliances Topic, Econ DA on Health Insurance Topic, Russia Fill-In DA on Arms Sales topic. Then, there are some DAs that are absolute garbage, ie. Federalism DA on Education topic, DoD Trade-Off on the NATO topic.
Much prefer you focus on the link level of the DA. This is where a lot of DA debates are either won or lost. A lot of debaters really fail to explain or attack the link. I see the common tactic against DAs is just impact defense, when again link level debating helps. AFFs should link turn DAs when they have the opportunity. Straight turning stuff has become a lost art.
Politics DAs: Okay, I will admit these DAs are non-sensical. However, I love a good politics DA debate. It was my most common 2NR in high school. That being said, the politics DA is probably the hardest DA to both execute and answer. There are a ton of moving parts to it, that a lot of debaters end up getting lost in the sauce and just make this debate about who likes/hates the plan. Defenses of PC theory, UQ warrants, takes outs of the bill all have large implications on the DA. Winner's Win theory is a great debate to listen if the AFF decides to put offense against the DA. Rider DAs are bad (sorry Voss).
Critiques are an argument I hear a lot when I judge. I have voted both ways in Cap, Security, Psychoanalysis, Afropessmism, Settler Colonialism, Baudrillard, etc. debates.
Framework for me dictates how I evaluate the round. Both teams should have a comprehensive interpretation of what debates should look like and how I should evaluate it. Both teams should also impact out why their model of debate is better than their opponents. This is where a lot of debates just fall flat. AFF team says fairness and clash. NEG team says that's capitalist/anti-black and that's it. Lack of impact calculus just frustrates me a lot. Why should I have to "weigh the plan" or "prefer representations first prior to weighing the plan". Bronx Science BD was the only team that really impacted out framework and provided a clear lane for judges to evaluate rounds.
I prefer if the critique had links about the plan/topic rather than representations of the AFF's impacts. That is a preference, not a mandate. A lot of good executions of the link debate utilize re-highlightings and implicating the reason for a link. AFF's can easily combat this by just defending their threats are real. I am pretty good for AFF teams that just that their impact is true OR their AFF is just a good idea.
Extinction is First is a default for me, unless there is another Utilitarian thought process that is presented and articulated well to me to think otherwise.
I am probably not the best judge for topicality debates. I think it is definitely an important stock issue for sure. T debates are very hard to execute because majority of the time teams are just saying buzzwords without any real meaning to it. I will default to competing interpretations majority of the time.
What matters to me is counter-interpretation debating, and how you explain to me your view of the topic is better for debate. A lot debates end up messy for me to evaluate because there is no impacting out why limits outweighs ground or AFF ground better than NEG ground. I will always will try to figure out which topic is best for both the AFF and NEG.
Much prefer limits over ground, unless there is a clear linkage between the AFF's interpretation decking NEG ground.
Plan Text in a Vacuum is a questionable standard. NEG teams keep forgetting to answer it for some strange reason.
8) Case Debating:
Love a good case debate. Both sides will profit well from a good case debate. Making smart internal link/solvency takes outs really provide the NEG a lot of leverage. If going for a counterplan, still having case defense to the advantage that you think the CP solves the least forces me to drop you twice as I have to decide the CP doesn’t solve AND that the case impact outweighs your net-benefit. That seems like a pretty good spot to be in for NEG since I can judge kick the CP and weigh the net benefit. What most high school debaters end up doing is just spamming impact defense. Much prefer internal link/solvency take outs.
Majority of the time, a lot of 1ACs are hyperinflated, illogical and run into a ton of problems. If you tell me you cannot find an illogical flaw in an internal link chain that says, "plan's biofuel research promotes ag research, ag research promotes GMOs, GMOs help solve food shortage in Ukraine, lack of food in Ukraine causes NATO intervention, NATO scares Russia, NATO-Russia war goes nuclear", I will be shocked.
9) Ethics Violations:
Clipping: a team misrepresents how much evidence they have read in a debate, such as improperly highlighting their evidence, “clipping cards” (the team says they read more than they actually did by clipping a card short of the indicated end), or “cross reading” (the team skips words or sentences in the middle of the text but indicates that they read all the highlighted words).
Any use of AI or other services to generate random text and use the text as "evidence" is deemed a fabrication of evidence.
Any altering of the author's original text such as deleting/adding/re-arranging words/phrases/paragraphs is also deemed a fabrication of evidence. Proof of fraud is necessary.
Any ethics violation challenge, the other team must present evidence. Whoever wins the challenge gets the win and max speaker points. Whoever loses the challenge gets the lost and lowest speaker points possible (probably a 25).
High School Coaches I agree with - Jeremy Hammond, DB, Gabe Koo, Eric Forslund, Allie Chase, Tim Lewis, Peter Susko, Jazzy Stidham, Yao Yao Chen, Will Katz, and Maggie Berthiaume.
Schools I judge the most: Lexington, GBN, Calvert Hall, New Trier, Berkeley Prep, Peninsula, and GDS
I am a big fan of the Washington Urban Debate League! Appreciate all of the work David Trigaux does down there.
Top 5 Favorite Topics I debated/coached (top was favorite): Domestic Surveillance (2016), Oceans (2015), Executive Authority (2019), Transportation Infrastructure (2013), Alliances (2021),
Top 5 Least Favorite Topics I debated/coached (top was worst): Education (2018), Space (2020), NATO (2022), National Health Insurance (2018), Latin America (2014)
Giving the final speeches (2NR/2AR) off the flow (ie paper) will boost speaker points!!!! Shows great ethos in round.
Brandon Reynolds is not funny.
Old Thoughts from Previous Topics
T-A5 is the worst argument on this topic. I just WON'T vote on IT. (NATO)
Why are people talking about Space Elevators on this topic? (CJR)
Assurance and Deterrence DAs are the best on this topic. Please put these DAs on case when relevant, just makes things flow easier. (Alliances)
Con-Con seems cheating. (CJR)
Yes, include me on the email chain. email@example.com
Brooklyn Tech: 2011 - 2012 (those three novice UDL tournaments apparently count), 2017 - 2021 (coach)
NYU: 2014 - 2018
The New School: 2018-2020 (coach)
***I used to keep my video off for rounds, but I've since learned that it's a mistake for the morale of the debater as well as for confirming whether or not I'm actually in the room. If my camera is off, I am not in the room. Please do not start speaking***
I currently work a full-time job that has nothing to do with debate. I still judge because that full-time job does not pay enough (does any job nowadays?) and I've built community with people that are still very active in debate, so seeing them is nice. It is also means I'm VERY out of touch with what the new norms in debate are. But everything below still applies for the most part.
In case you're pressed for time
1. Do you. Have fun. Don't drop an important argument.
2. If there is an impact in the 2NR/2AR, there's a high chance you've won the debate in front of me. I like going for the easy way out and impacts give me the opportunity to do that. Impact comparisons are good too. NEG - LINKS to those impacts matter. AFF - how you SOLVE those impacts matter. Outside of that context, I'm not sure how I should evaluate.
3. I flow on paper, so please don't be upset if I miss arguments because you're slurring your words or making 17 arguments/minute.
4. Don't assume I know the acronyms or theories you're talking about, even if I do. This is a persuasion activity, so no shortcuts to persuading me.
5. Obviously, I have biases, but I try not to let those biases influence how I decide a round. Usually, if debaters can't accomplish #2, then I'll be forced to. I prefer to go with the flow though.
6. If at the end of the round, you find yourself wanting to ask my opinion on an argument that you thought was a round winner, know that I have one of two answers: I didn't consider it or I didn't hear it. Usually, it's the latter. So try not to make 5 arguments in 20 seconds.
**ONLINE DEBATE**: You don't need to yell into your mic. I can hear you fine. In fact, yelling into your mic might make it harder for me to hear you. Which means you may lose. Which is bad. For you.
If you're not so pressed for time
I debated for four years at NYU and ran mostly soft left affs. I think that means I'm a pretty good judge for these types of affs and it also means I'm probably able to tell if there is a genuine want for a discussion about structural violence impacts and the government's ability to solve them or if they're just tacked on because K debaters are scary and it makes the perm easier.
I do think debate is a game, but I also think people should be allowed to modify the "rules" of the game if they're harmful or just straight up unlikeable. I've designed games from time to time, so I like thinking about the implications of declaring debate to be "just" a game or "more than" a game. Now to the important stuff.
Speed: Through a card, I'll tolerate it. Through a tag or analytics, I'll be pretty annoyed. And so will you, because I'll probably miss something important that could cost you the round. When reading a new card, either verbally indicate it ("and" or "next") or change your tone to reflect it.
Planless affs: Even in a game, some people just don't want to defend the government. And that's perfectly okay. But I would like the aff to be relevant to the current topic. Though I do understand that my definition of "relevant" and a K debater's definition of "relevant" may differ
greatly slightly, so just prove to me why the aff is a good idea and why the lack of government action is not as relevant/bad/important as the negative's framework makes it seem.
CP: Wasn't really much of a CP debater and I don't really coach teams that run CPs, except the basic novice ones that come in a starter kit. I think they're a fine argument and am willing to vote on them.
DA: You could never go wrong with a good DA. DAs, when run correctly, have a really good, linear story that can be extended in the neg block and could be used to effectively handle aff answers. Feel free to go crazy.
Ks: I can't think of a neg round where I didn't run a K. I've run cap, security, queerness, and Black feminism. But please, do not talk to me as if I know your K. If you're running pomo, I most definitely don't know your K and will need to be talked through it with analogies and examples. If you're running an identity K, I probably do know your K but expect the same from you as I expect from a pomo debater. Cap, security - you get the memo.
T: My favorite neg arg as a senior. I'm always down for a good T debate. I do think that sometimes it's used as a cop-out, but I also think that some affs aren't forwarding any sort of plan or advocacy. Just stating an FYI and a neg can't really argue against that. So T becomes the winning strategy.
Framework: Not exactly the same as T, but I still **like** it. Please just call it framework in front of me. I've heard various names be used to describe it, but they're all just arguments about what should be discussed in the round and how the aff fails to do so.
Theory: Important, but the way debaters speed through their theory shells makes me question just how important it is. Again, slow down when reading theory in front of me so it's actually an option for you at the end of the round.
I'm a versatile judge but also keeping in mind that this is policy debate, I intend on voting at least with the barest minimum required:
- Framework - what's yours, reasons to perfer, why is your opponents f/w undesirable, etc.
- Impacts - what is the urgency? In round impacts included. If going for theory, what's the terminal impact of that.
- Risks - what conquenses will be made from an opposing ballot?
- Solvency - evidence of proof
- Topicality/Theory - if there are no voters, I will not be voting on the argument. Independent voters need to be impacted out.
K affs have the burden of proof which means even if you don't claim fiat, solvency is still required. Evidence can be used as proof but there's going to be a deeper analysis needed to support your commitment and legitimacy of your advocacy if it is a performative style of debate especially. I still expect clash and line by line. You cannot get caught up in the argument that you refuse or forget to engage in actual debate. If by the end of debate I don't understand the solvency mechanism being used to solve the impacts of the aff and no analysis on reasons to perfer affs f/w I'm probably going to vote on persumption.
Lastly but should've been firstly, after years of debating and over a decade of judging, I have seen an upward trend in bad ethos in debate. Lets keep it respectful. If there are trigger warnings, they need to be addressed before the debate starts.
Open cross-x is fine.
I'm not going to evaluate any questions past cross x but if you want to ask simple questions during your prep during contructives, that's fine.
for email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org -- include pairing and tournament in the subject
my name is sim, you can use any pronouns. i'm studying public health and Black studies at johns hopkins university. i debated for a small school that only competed on the local circuit in the pacific northwest -- i have accomplished nothing notable. i'm currently the head policy coach at georgetown day school
i never debated on the national circuit and i learned entirely from flowing rounds online. i'd say it means i keep a pretty decent ear and a neat flow. i'm alright for kritikal and clash debates, bad for everything else.
things that are good: proper extensions, framing and layering the debate, explaining concepts. things that are bad: jargon, not implicating concessions, no judge instruction.
the competitive nature of debate can truly create some cruel behavior. names on tabroom are not just your opponents or your judges, they are real people. losing rounds, reading arguments you dislike, or being a “bad judge” are not reasons to say disgusting and mean things. people deserve to be respected regardless of their debate skill and merit.
for ld: no tricks, no phil, nothing that you wouldn't see in policy. i don't know how to judge it and i simply won't, i'll pretend i'm a parent judge.
put me on the email chain email@example.com
Lincoln Park (CDL) 2016-2020
University of Kentucky 2020-present
don't call me "judge," lauren is fine.
preferrable to reduce speed by about 15%
analytics in the doc are appreciated and will result in a .2 speaker point bump
No experience on the current topic so don't overrely on acronyms or buzz words
Read whatever you want to read - i'll do my best to evaluate all arguments without bias. I have done all kinds of debate.
Tech > truth (mostly) - I have a lower threshold for silly arguments and think a smart analytic can beat a bad card.
T is good, theory is good, disads are good, counterplans are good, abusive counterplans are good, saying abusive counterplans are bad is good, Ks are good, K affs are good, framework is good. Everything that is not racist/sexist/ableist/and/or homophobic is probably good.
my voting record on framework is split 50/50.
im biased towards the aff on fairness - i have a hard time believing the aff makes debates procedurally unfair as long as there is a strong connection to the topic. that being said, i'll still vote for it even if i think it's a little silly. best aff strat --- nuanced counter interp that solves limits and ground or just straight impact turns. best neg strat --- tva + switch side.
K v K debates are cool and you should probably still make a framework argument about how to evaluate the round. i do not care if perms exist or not in a methods debate. convince me.
I AM A VERY BAD JUDGE FOR TRICKS --- READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
get your opponents emails and send your case to them before your speech. if you do not do this, i will make you take prep time for anything that exceeds cross time to send evidence back and forth to each other.
do line by line, respond to all arguments, and extend all parts of your arguments, split the block on the neg, and narrow down what you go for in the final speeches and you will be golden.
Sometimes I follow along, sometimes I don't. I tend to only read the evidence when the debate is close or convoluted. Other than that, I think the debating should be left to the debaters in the room, not authors or coaches who cut the cards.
If you read a great piece of evidence but can't explain the warrants and your opponent reads a mediocre piece of evidence and can, I'm more likely to side with your opponent.
Most points I give are in the 28.3-29 range.
Card clipping = -.5 for every offense
being overly rude or threatening = -1 for every offense
the phrase "cold conceded" = probably will lose like -.1
if you make a funny joke about Ariel Gabay or Anna Stockstill = +0.2 speaks
I think this is my one old man pet peeve: please don't call it "cross."
I debated from 2006-2010 at Loyola Blakefield HS, then from 2010-2013 at the University of Mary Washington. Coached at George Mason University from 2014-2017. I've been mostly out of debate since then aside from a handful of debates each year. The place where this probably impacts you most is in T debates (if you're shotgunning a case list at me, especially one full of topic acronyms, I may not know what you're talking about).
Short version - do what you do. I’m not here to tell you what debate is supposed to be about or what arguments are best, so I won’t judge in a fashion that assumes I know the answers to those questions. Do whatever you were going to do before you saw my name on the pairing. Treat the following as proclivities that break ties. In other words, if two sides debate an argument as perfectly (or as poorly?) as humanly possible, this is how I would probably err in a given situation.
Top level stuff:
I enjoy fast, clash-heavy, policy debate. I think there are benefits to all three of those descriptors (though I am open to well-argued critiques of “policy” – see below). That necessitates certain things about the way I judge:
- I like to flow. I will evaluate arguments that tell me not to flow in order to determine if not flowing is a better model for debate, but I need to flow the arguments to make that determination in the first place
- Line by line is important in my decision-making. I have a tendency to reward direct clash over embedded/holistic argumentation. That doesn't mean I adhere strictly to the line by line, but keep in mind that it can be a tiebreaker, and that good line by line debating can only help your points.
- Clarity is crucial. A lot of “bad judging decisions” are the result of miscommunications between judges and debaters
- An argument is a claim and a warrant. A good argument is a claim, a warrant, and an impact. Phrases such as “fiat solves the link” or “infinite regression” are not arguments. Teams are only responsible for responding to arguments.
Paperless prep - I took a decent amount, so I'm pretty lenient about it. I also think that the whole "when the email is sent/when the jump drive is out" standard reduces the quality of debates by forcing debaters to take prep when they aren't actually prepping. I think prep time stops when you are no longer prepping your speech. But you should know that the more prep you take means the less time I have to decide the debate. There's also a limit to the dead time I can allow because I do like having time to decide.
I give speaker points based on how effectively students articulate their arguments, regardless of the type of argument. Above a 29.5 deserves to contend for top speaker, 29.3-29.5 is a speaker award, 29-29.2 is good/should be clearing, 28.5-28.9 is on the cusp of clearing, 28-28.4 is average, 27.5-27.9 is below average, 27 and up needs work or might be in the wrong division. Any lower and you probably did something unethical or offensive. I try to roughly keep up with community norms here.
One more note on speaks - borrowed from Hester's philosophy:
"Debaters who have used the opportunity afforded by annual resolutions to learn about the topic and are able to apply that knowledge in the round will be in position to receive higher points than debaters whose speeches are lacking in this category. Debaters whose speeches reflect little to no effort at having learned about this season's topic may win the debate, but will not receive good points.
This does not mean the AFF must read a plan text...nor that the NEG can only debate the case (rarely a wise strategy). It simply means i am listening for proof that debaters are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about a different topic area each season."
I think it’s one of the most underutilized tools in the neg arsenal. I also think 1ARs don’t give it enough credibility. It’s a voter and never a reverse voter. Limits determines everything. I view topicality as a battle between functional limits for the aff and predictable limits for the neg. That’s also what determines whether or not an aff is “reasonable” or not. I frequently find myself caring very little about what government definitions or topic framers think, especially compared to arguments about debatability (for either side).
ASpec is a nonstarter unless you ask in c/x, and even then it’s probably an uphill battle. As a 2A, I respect the aff’s choice to refuse to give PIC ground in 1AC c/x, but affs need to understand that a mishandled vagueness argument can lead to an outcome, however unlikely, that they don’t want. Effects and extra T could just be reasons to reject the nontopical parts of the aff (I could be persuaded otherwise), but negative teams would be wise to point out the ways that the aff fails to solve/function logically without those parts.
I’m most familiar with these kinds of debates. Here’s a laundry list of random advice and thoughts.
- I think DAs can have a tendency to be a series of strung together cards – it’s important to articulate a story to the DA that makes sense. Note - this is also an opportunity for you politics 1NRs out there to prove to me that you have some topic/current events knowledge and to get a nice boost in speaker points.
- I think there can be zero risk of a link, especially if your DA is one of the ones described above. That being said, going for a link turn can still be more strategic than terminal defense because controlling the direction arrow of the link/internal link chain necessarily zeroes the link.
- Link precedes uniqueness.
- Start impact calculus as early as possible.
- Cards should never be tagged “more ev.”
- Just respond to arguments instead of saying “uniqueness (or link) debate – group it.”
- In many instances (especially picking apart opponents’ cards), smart analytics are just as effective, if not more so, than cards.
The absolute best thing the last rebuttals can do in a CP debate (and pretty much all debates) is to assume that the other side is going to win some part of their argument - whether that be case defense or a solvency deficit. That means you need to quantify the risk of the solvency deficit versus the risk of the DA/case. Affs should be smart and creative with permutations and explanations of the perm. Negs should lock down what the perm is early to avoid aff shiftiness.
If nobody says anything about it, I’m willing to kick the CP for the neg because of implicit assumptions of it being conditional. But I could definitely be persuaded that presumption flips aff/the neg should get one world in the 2NR. Caveat - if the block says "2NR choice checks" when answering conditionality in the block, I will almost definitely hold the neg to one world in the 2NR. Another caveat - if the 1NC response to the status question is "status quo is always a logical option" (or some functional equivalent) AND the block rearticulates that the judge can kick the CP for the neg, it would be too late for the 2AR to make an argument about sticking the neg with the CP.
***ADA/NDT 2015 Edit***
I think I'm more in the 1%/any risk camp than I initially thought I was. This is especially true with a 2NR that includes a CP that solves the case. A tiny net benefit lowers the bar for a perm/solvency deficit, but it seems logical to me that there needs to be a perm/solvency deficit to beat a CP.
Again – these are inclinations. Nothing is set in stone and I can be persuaded either way.
Conditionality – fine within reason. I personally believe more strongly in the justifications for 1 CP, 1 K as opposed to 2 CPs or 2 Ks. Neg debaters would be well-served making arguments that reflect that distinction.
Dispositionality – I would be surprised if I voted against a team on it
CPs that do the whole aff (consult, condition, etc) – probably not reasons to reject the team. Perm do the CP is probably a winner though.
PICs – probably good, especially the more aff specific and germane they are.
As a rule of thumb, smarter arguments like “conditional PICs bad” are generally better than reading your “conditionality bad” and “PICs bad" blocks.
Not the most familiar with all of the lit here, but probably not the least familiar either. Persuasive aff arguments revolve around justifying that you get the aff, then using the aff as a way to defend your scholarship, method, and way of understanding the world. The best neg arguments make the case irrelevant, either through framework arguments, root cause/terminal solvency takeout-type args, or establishing a different paradigm through which I assess impacts.
I’m more familiar with the standard –ism Ks: capitalism, feminism, imperialism, etc., but I’m willing to hear whatever K you’ve got if you do it well. But if you think there’s a chance that your K might be over my head, please label and describe it by the argument as opposed to just the random author.
Planless Affs/Framework Debates
I’m open to hearing types of affirmatives that criticize the topic or norms/structures/discrimination within the community. I have voted for these in the past, though more often than not this is due to poor execution by the neg. Some things about me that I think can influence my decisions in a “clash of civilizations” style debate:
- Debate is a game. It is highly unlikely that you will change my mind on this point.
- The more related the aff is to the topic, the less uphill the framework battle is for the aff - see above. For certain affs, I definitely understand that it's more strategic to run from the topic and/or be about debate. I'm not bad for these affs. It just raises the bar for both teams to make sure you're clashing in a framework debate rooted in impact turns
- Nebulous terms like fairness, education, and x-ology are not impacts in and of themselves
- I am more likely to reward teams who do line by line analysis than those who operate more holistically. This is both because I believe in the value of direct clash (see above) and because it seems to disincentivize that sort of clash if I reward embedding clash when the other team is doing the work to create clash directly.
[Post Coast 2015]
- I'm starting to realize that I think I'm better for the neg on theoretical framework than substantive framework, but I think this is a divergence from most judges who see clash debates as often as I do. I think aff teams in clash debates have way better answers to a 2NR that focuses on substantive framework args, whereas it is less likely I will be compelled by their answers to theoretical framework args. Neg teams would probably be best served using substantive args to limit aff offense, but get most of their offense from theoretical args.
This is obviously the most controversial area when it comes to preffing judges. So if you read a planless aff or are facing one with me in the back and you have questions, please ask them.
Almost every single 2NR should address the case. Case debates are awesome. Please do them and do them well.
I debated at Mary Washington and coached at Wake Forest, then for several national circuit high school teams. I have coached a DC UDL team for the last four years and judge around 100 debates per year. This season (2020-21) I have judged at Kentucky and GDS.
Overall, I will vote for the team that does the best debating. But I do have certain predispositions. That doesn't mean a good team can't overcome them - I've voted for lots of arguments I don't love over the years. But it is harder to win my ballot if you depend on those arguments. A few examples:
(1) Kritik Affs that are not centered on the resolution:
**You should probably strike me.**
I have voted for many K Affs over the years, but it's easier to get me to vote Neg.
Negative arguments I find interesting/compelling:
- Disads can link to the Aff advocacy. Does the Aff advocate universal gun control? That would require legislative action and would likely be extremely controversial/unpopular with a huge part of the electorate. May link to Politics. And so on.
- Existence of a Topical Version of the Aff means I vote Neg: I believe most K Aff teams are trying, at least in part, to avoid debating Disads and Counterplans. If the Neg can show me there is a policy or topical action that would allow for the same criticism or Alt, I'm much more likely to vote Neg.
- Forum selection: I'm still puzzled about why Policy debate is the right space to advocate non-policy actions. If you show up to a tennis tournament, don't expect to win because your Rook took the Queen. Tennis is not Chess, and Policy debate is about ... policy.
Merely saying the above won't win a Negative ballot. A good Aff can overcome these arguments. But I am predisposed to them.
(2) Kritiks on the Neg:
I'm much more open to Neg K's than non-topical K Affs. I have voted Neg on every K imaginable, even though many of them seem incredibly generic and frankly dumb. A few are topic-specific and much more compelling. Arguments that interest me include:
- Is the Alt a speech act or a counterplan? Just because the Neg advocates an Alt, I don't assume it will happen. It's the Neg's burden to explain how voting Neg in a debate advances their Alt worldview.
- Is "serial policy failure" an actual solvency takeout? Most of time time it is not. Neg teams should explain why AND HOW the Aff's flawed assumptions/process actually takes out their specific solvency mechanism. "State action always fails" is deeply unpersuasive to me. For example, if the Aff has credible evidence that US arms sales lead to human rights violations, generic "state action bad" claims are unlikely to persuade me that banning the arms sales can't solve. Of course that action may create other problems - and that's very debatable.
(3) Policy Arguments:
I like Disads with specific links and CPs with specific solvency. I'm totally open to Agent CPs and disads, and believe Politics DAs, while generic, are essential to Policy debate.
I believe a DA can have zero risk, either because there is no specific link, no uniqueness, or no internal link. All of these things should be explained and supported with evidence and analysis. I pay attention to dates on Uniqueness cards. If the 1NC is reading uniqueness evidence from Summer 2020, you should probably lose.
On the Policy Aff side, a lot of 1ACs lack internal links to impacts, and 1AC cards are highlighted down to almost nothing. There is value in pointing these things out.
(4) Other issues:
- ****MAKE ANALYTICAL ARGUMENTS. These are almost extinct, but I will vote on good ones.****
- Speed is fine. If I say "clearer" then you should SLOW DOWN.
- Organization of speeches is critical. Jumping around the flow = bad speaker points.
- Be civil. Don't be mean or overly harsh. Don't make the round personal.
I debate for the University of Pittsburgh; third year of college debate.
Please add me to the email chain, before the round would be nice. Email me if you have questions before or after the debate.
If you have a technical issue, just pause your timer and let everyone know.
Mics will cut out sometimes, if this becomes a problem, I will let you know and pause the speech.
Clarity over speed, but you can go fast, and I’ll keep up on the flow
I’m not incredibly familiar with this years topic so explain your acronyms and make your tags clear, also differentiate them from the cards because online debate can be hard to hear. I will read your cards and figure it out from there as long as you’re making honest arguments you can defend and explain.
I judge primarily by listening to what you say, which means cx matters, judge instruction tells me how to evaluating my decision and I’m not going to just look at your cards while you read them instead I will pay attention to what you’re telling me. Impact comparison makes it much easier to evaluate the debate but don’t sacrifice a good framework debate.
I am not tech over truth. While you can win on technical aspects of the flow that doesn't mean I default to tech when you can make simple arguments with good evidence.
I am partial to the affirmative in framework debates, however, I will vote on the most persuasive team which means you have to answer questions for me which include what your model of debate looks like or your critique of the resolution/debate etc.
Fairness is an IL to Education, not an Impact in itself. If your impact is fairness, you need to explain what debate is and not rely on a premeditated idea of debate. I like when teams write my ballot in the 2nr and 2ar.
The best way to win a round is to narrate what happened in the debate and sit on a couple of arguments rather than try and go for too much without a clear line of thinking.
I tend to protect the 2nr, so try not to lie too aggressively in the 2ar and sit on your biggest pieces of offense that were won.
Dropped arguments should be extended but will not get you an auto win by any means unless you use them for a different part of the debate. I would much rather vote on a team that made the best arguments and consistently kept it clean on the flow then a team that relies on debate tech to get out of tough spots on the flow. Make it make sense.
Finally, debate rounds are fun and can be very educational. Try and keep the debate interesting because it really does take 2 hours.
Do not harm others with your language because debate is a real activity.
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
add me to the email chain if I'm about to judge your round.
Online debate note: having judged 35+ rounds of online debate at this point - please slow down if you're debating virtually. 70-80% of your normal max speed should be fine.
TLDR: Say whatever you want to say- if you are passionate and enthusiastic about your argumentation, I am more inclined to be an enthusiastic and active Judge. I have little to say about argumentative preference besides the fact that I am probably not the person to have in the back of a room for a policy-policy T debate given that I have little topic knowledge, and I also hate unresponsive theory debates.
I am here first and foremost to listen to the things you have woken up early in the morning to come tell me about. Do not be afraid to talk to me during your speeches, do not be afraid to tell me which way to vote and why to do it, and do not be afraid of the LBL!
Tech over truth always unless a substantive argument is made by either side as for why debate techné should be reconsidered.
People that have influenced the way I think abt competition and debate: Kevin Kuswa, Dr. Reid-Brinkley, Daryl Burch, Amber Kelsie, Taylor Brough, Ignacio Evans, Jack Lassiter, and Nick Lepp.
Do not call me judge, or ask me to go to the bathroom/start prep/etc. !!!
About me: I debated for Berkeley Preparatory School and as a hybrid team in HS. I had 5 bids my senior year, and 2 my junior year. My senior year, I went to 6 tournaments and got to finals of 4, and got to a bid round and a top 10 speaker award at all 6.
I debated on the 2018-2019 college topic (executive authority) at Wake Forest, cleared at a couple national tournaments and got to Octafinals of CEDA before transferring to Columbia and choosing to no longer pursue collegiate debate.
In both high school and college I was primarily a performance and K debater, but this by no means indicates I lean towards a particular side of the argumentative spectrum- if anything, it means I have a higher burden for both sides in clash of civ debates given that I have been on both sides of that debate several times. I have also read plans, extended disads, gone for Framework, etc.
Things I appreciate regardless of what side of the spectrum you fall on:
- comparative impact calc- do not explain your impacts in a vacuum, explain them in the context of the impacts your opponents are going for! Which impact and TYPE of impacts should I prioritize more?
- I LOVE impact turns. These are some of my fave debates to judge.
- creative strategies and passion
for the love of god, please have external impacts to your model and describe the limits and ground provided by the model of debate you are forwarding.
This means: negative teams going for framework, please isolate why your model of debate is GOOD and what it provides for the community, not just arguments as for why they make your model of debate worse/unplayable.
Aff teams- don't just talk about why their model is bad/harmful- please talk about the minutia of your own model- what can the aff say under your model? what is predictable ground the neg can say in response? Why is this model of debate preferable to theirs?
Generally default to debate being a game unless told otherwise
Aff against the K:
if you have a plan-
- if you say extinction and are good at the util debate, by all means, go for it.
- please defend your aff and why it's a good idea instead of relying on arbitrary FW arguments. I am v inclined to give the neg the K and the aff their aff unless an argument as for why either should be excluded is repeatedly extended and dropped.
- if you're going for the perm, please answer the LBL from the negative team as for why you get the perm instead of making a series of compelling, common-sense perm arguments in the 2AR that should've been in the 1ar.
if you don't-
- big fan of either the link turn or the perm in K v K debates.
- please have a theory of competition!!! that makes these debates so much easier to resolve from my end.
- please do impact calculus- it is unbelievably frustrating to have to determine on my own which nebulous impact matters more or impacts solvency- tell me what to evaluate first and why I should evaluate it first.
Going for the K:
- the primary theory bases I read during my career: afropessimism, queer pessimism, quare theory, anything involving gender, and psychoanalysis- if you are reading anything outside of these literature bases, please be comfortable giving me a greater degree of explanation instead of dropping buzzwords.
- do not be afraid to be creative- a creative, well-thought-out, and well-executed strategy is always more interesting to listen to early in the morning.
- if you're kicking out of the alt, please explain why your link arguments still have uniqueness, especially in a world where your alternative was the only thing generating uniqueness for the K as a whole.
- much better for alts that question/change epistemology in the round or result in some form of praxis than a nebulous alt that never claims to resolve any of the impacts of the Kritik.
- sucker for external impacts and links that turn case.
- answer fairness and reciprocity arguments on the framework flow please
- If an argument is consistently extended and dropped as to why one team should get higher/lower speaks I will usually adjust speaks accordingly (assuming I feel comfortable w/ and understand the argument as for why that should be)
To get higher speaks in front of me:
- know what you're talking about
- package your arguments in a way that is both easy to flow and understand (this includes both short blippy theory args and 5 minute K overviews)
- make smart strategic decisions about what is going into your speeches and what you spend your time on
- drop relevant examples and explain/extend them consistently!
- make eye contact/be an engaging speaker that *pretends* to care what they're talking about
I’m good with any arguments - most important thing is you understand the args you're making. Good with speed, no preferences on anything in particular. Feel free to ask me any questions.
I did 4 years of policy in high school, 4 years of parli in college, and I’ve been coaching policy at Solon for 5 years.
Arguments that are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, islamophobic, anti-semitic, etc. are not okay. You will lose if you run them. Graphic imagery cards (ie. graphic descriptions of violence/sexual assault) without a trigger warning are not acceptable. Additionally, if you plan to discuss potentially traumatic topics please make sure you give a trigger warning.
IMPACT CALC WINS DEBATE ROUNDS!
Civil rights/LGBTQ+ rights litigation attorney during the week, debate coach by weekend.
Coaching/judging CX for about 15 years now. I do have an international relations background, but not up on all my NATO specific topic lit, so please explain your topic specific jargon.
Tech over truth, insofar as it minimizes my own intervention. But that's not an excuse to throw out a bunch of poorly developed/bad quality args.
In general, it's your debate, not mine. You can choose to follow my preferences on here if you want to, but never limit your ability to debate based on my personal preferences.
I find that case debate is frequently underdeveloped on the high school level. Like, I get you love your off, but you should probably cross apply all that to the S flow please? At the end of the round, I'm basically going to ask myself if the aff is a good idea. As the neg, don't make it harder than it needs to be- tell me why it isn't. As Aff, give me good impact calc and explain why the plan is a good idea, as opposed to just answering off case.
T- I have a pretty high standard on T, and in general, I'm not going to vote on potential abuse. You need to do more work than that. The standards debate is important and needs to be fleshed out well. I tend to default to reasonability in a world where the standards debate isn't developed or impacted out properly.
Theory- Make it interesting. Super generic theory is lame, and it makes me very sad, especially when you use it to avoid poignant and interesting debate. I really hate rounds that are just people reading blocks at each other instead of actually engaging. That being said, I really appreciate nuanced framework and pre-fiat args, so go for it- tell me all about how fiat is illusory. Tell me all about how policy debate is inherently elitist and how valuing procedural fairness is a bad idea. Or tell me it's a key prereq to structural fairness. Or not. Engage and have critical thought.
Condo is fine, PICS are fine. Condo and pic theory make me sad. I mean, I'll vote on it, but I'll be cranky.
I love good K debate. However, you need to truly know and understand your K and articulate it well. Even if I know your cards, I'm not going to interpret them or argue them for you- that's your job. Good analysis always preferred over bad cards. I'll appreciate it if you do a nice job with the alt debate- make me understand the post alt world and flesh out alt solvency. Perf con matters on a reps focused K.
Framework debates can sometimes really frustrating to judge when they are just block vs. block. Chances are, they're going to get to read their K. I'd much rather you spend the time of K proper and impact framing. If the framework debate is what really matters, engage in it with critical thought and clash, and explain to me your vision for the debate space.
K affs are fine, with some notes. If there's absolutely no potential for clash or when the K aff is just making for really lazy aff debaters, that's sad to me. I don't need a plan, but I appreciate an advocacy statement. I think non-resolutional debate can be really valuable, but I also think that topic education is important, and I hate when either Aff debaters or neg debaters use the K as a way to bypass properly engaging with the topic lit.
Speed is fine as long as you're clear. I'll tell you if you aren't. I appreciate it if you slow down on your tags, especially super long ones. For the love of all that is holy, if you spread those Lacan tags at me, we will not be friends.
Underviews make everyone sad, me included.
If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc., you will absolutely pay for it in your speaks, and we're gonna have a post-round chat.
A good analytic is always better than a bad card, especially in K debate.
Be conscious of how you are communicating with your opponents. Give meaningful trigger warnings. Respect pronouns. Be kind. Don't talk over people in cross. Be good humans.
At the end of the day, debate is a game. Have fun and learn stuff.
I go by Nish, I'm a current senior at UC Berkeley and I debated for McDonogh School in high school. Competed in hundreds of rounds at all levels of debate, TOC Champ 2017, First Round Bid team to NDT sophomore year of college, Copeland Panel team junior year, ive seen it all ill listen to it all
email chain: email@example.com
technical prowess is important
debate is most certainly a game, and like any game there will be competitive incentives to maximize your winning chance and I am totally on board with the idea debate is most fundamentally a game. however, like any other game, there are still epistemological consequences for how we play those games that can call into question a matter of procedure; it is undeniable what we do in this activity shapes even our smallest most meaningless political engagements in a meaningful way
k aff v fw debates:
when i vote for the k team my rfd usually sounds like this: aff has a strong impact turn to framework and policy debate, 2nr is behind on the impact turn and has likely spent too much time on the internal link story and has neglected substantive impact debating, there's just enough of a counterinterp extended that the aff doesnt totally break the game, but the risk that playing the game as-is is whack outweighs.
when i vote for the fw team my rfd usually sounds like this: aff needs a stronger substantive impact turn to framework or the activity, the strategy of internal link turning all the fw offense and going for the counterinterp isn't totally enough to convince me that the game as-is is not valuable and that clash minimization is warranted, if there's a significant risk the game produces well intending advocates then it should certainly be played in a way that maximizes advocacy skills and is fair
takeaway: to me these debates are just impact turn debates and if the game isn't being played in a whack way then it should aim to maximize clash (implication: i dont think framework is whack unless it's substantiated well). but if the game does produce uncritical thinkers or whatever, then i see little reason to maximize advocacy skills gained through a broken game nor do i think its procedures must be set in stone.
- cameras only need to be on during prep time, i dont care if cameras are off during speeches
- if a team requests a debate to be a slow debate, I do not think the opponents have to accede, and I think both parties are allowed to spread as slow or as fast as they'd like in front of me. but certainly if you make an argument about your opponent's decision to spread being a voting issue, i'll evaluate it. and likewise if you make an argument about why debate has to be technical and why that outweighs, ill evaluate it
Updated: 06/29/2023 Rounds judge for this year: 0
I coach for the John W. McCormack middle school and coach the open division kids in the Boston Debate League.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org , please add me on the chain. Also email if you have any questions/concerns.
My name is Dilon (he/him/his), I debated for 6 years in the Boston Debate League. Been to a couple nat tournaments.
-I was the 1A/2N if that matters to you.
if you only have 10 seconds to know how i am as a judge: Tech>Truth \\ pref me low for Policy. I'll vote on anything you read, I've done cp's and da's to performances. It really comes down to what you tell me to vote on and why(GOOD & CONCISE IMPACT CALC WILL LITERALLY GIVE YOU MY BALLOT). I will most definitely not do work on the flow for you so please keep that in mind. I'm also not super well-versed in high theory K's but can hang if contextualized well.
Keep these things in mind because I take these rules/thoughts very seriously:
1. Be cordial, i want a good debate where both teams are able to learn and have fun. Be funny! I love when a round is fun and I can converse with y'all normally!
2. I do not want to see a veteran team running high theory stuff against a team that is new to debate because you think they cannot answer it, it can and may discourage new debaters to ever debate again. Also, disrespect is taken very seriously; it'll reflect on your speaks. I debated in a UDL so i know the huge gap in debate, so please be respectful to every team.
3. Weighing cards is better than giving me multiple pieces of evidence without any impact framing/calc. It'll be rewarded if you can tell me why pieces of evidence are important.
If you say Jessie Pontes loves Framework debate, I might just give you a 30.
there's a thin line between funny and rude so remember that. Be you, do you, but just be respectful. :)
AFF: run whatever you like. I've ran K AFFS, Policy, and even aspec policy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. The aff has a burden of proving something, so prove to me why I should vote for you. It's simple really, I just go on a daily explanation of why my solvency mechanism makes sense instead of giving way to many advantages and never explaining them.
K AFF: I love K debates. But, that doesn't mean you can just run anything and assume I understand. I need something to vote for and why I should vote for it. Explanations are needed just like any argument you make in life. That being said, treat it like you would treat any aff. Run it, tell me why it's important and what I as a judge can do by giving y'all the ballot. TVA's are amazing, metaphorical interps awesome, and solid contextualization of philosophies make me super happy. Please! DO NOT CHANGE YOUR STYLE FOR ME! DEBATE AS YOU PLEASE!
K: Don't read lit that is about racism, sexism, ableism good; I will not let the round go on. Also, high theory like nietzsche, Lacan, Agamben, psychoanalysis etc. i'm not to familiar with but if you just explain it like a good story, tell me why the AFF links to the kritik, how it triggers the impacts, and as long as there's good contextualization then I'm all for it. Also, please please please give me a reason to vote on the alt/advocacy, I want to hear what I am doing as the judge by giving you the ballot, not some BS "don't vote aff cool thanks!" kind of alt.
FW/T: give me a voter, why do I say this? No one ever extends voters in the 2A/NR which then cost them the round. TBH, why does your interp matter? How does it allow the opponent then to be apart of it? Why is it something that must be addressed within the round? these questions matter and must be answered.
DA: give me a good link story and impact calc. don't make me do work on the impact calc. I need to hear a real clear reason on why they trigger imp. if it's not explained then i probably won't evaluate it.
CP: sure go for it. Give me a reason on why the CP is a feasible solution to either solve the aff and the "disad(s)".
Speaks: speed, idc but i need to hear a tag and author. I'm super lenient w/ speaks because everyone has their own style.
Misc: people who have influenced me through my debate career are , Daryl Burch, Moselle Burke, Roger Nix and Richard Davis. take it however you want to.
Email chain: email@example.com
NEW EDIT: I have taken ~1 year off from debate and will be fresh to the topic as well, everything else below is still valid. Prior to the 2019/2020 school year though I was judging 50+ rounds a year w/ TOC & National qualifying teams on my squad.
I have competed and judged for a combined +14 years (averaging 40+ rounds a year) at the varsity-national circuit level.
If I debated in this current era I would be a framework debater. Tech > Truth, up until the point where I need to evaluate directly two objective claims (this happens less than you would think).
I have not read every piece of critical literature that you have read to write your arguments.
I will vote on 0% risk if there is dropped defense or even much better warranted argumentation, but I default to a 1% risk calculus most of the time.
I am OK with any level of speed. I think it is worth reminding most debaters that I am (oftentimes) not looking directly at your evidence as you read it which means that varying tone/speed on tags is necessary. Only be rude if you can back it up.
What I aim for:
I believe that the debaters frame the debate round. Any RoB or Framework lens will stand and will guide my ballot unless contested. I will default to a policy maker/utilitarian if no one tells me otherwise. Overall, I aim to leave my biases towards positions out of an objective evaluation of the arguments as they are flowed.
Debate is a game; create your own rules. However, ensure that they provide competitive fairness to both teams (I think fairness is intrinsic to debate/a competitive activity). I firmly believe that the K needs to provide a fair division of ground for the opposing team to argue - you need to explain what your alternative is doing well enough that I know what I am voting for, not simply that the plan is what I shouldn't.
If Framework wasn't applicable to a round I would be reading mostly a CP/DA combo. But that doesn't mean I won't hear your Kritik, just please make sure it follows the above two criteria (provides fairness, has an explainable alternative).
Things I like:
Make signing my ballot very clear and easy; take the easy way out. Creative topicality violations and well thought out theory debates. Uphold competitive equity. Don't use every second of your prep time if you are clearly ahead and don't need it. I believe some T debates can be resolved with only a bold "we meet (+ explanation)."
Stealing prep and not realizing it. If no one is taking prep in the room do not be typing on your computer, flash/email time is not a free-for-all. Telling me a team dropped an argument when they didn't. The sudden shift of teams seemingly not flowing arguments makes for very poor line-by-line and that makes for worse quality debates. Card clipping will get you in a lot of trouble on my ballots; have integrity. If you say "cut the card there" I will ask to see your evidence (if not already on an email chain) and I will expect you to mark your evidence accordingly. I actively monitor for card clipping if your behavior makes me suspicious and I will drop teams that do any degree of clipping.
tl;dr: You probably won't want me judging a performance aff. K's are cool if you make me understand it, and give it a reason to vote for it in the round (Have. An. Impact). Policy oriented debate is cool. I have no issue voting on theoretical objections/T if they're impacted and shown why it matters.
I won't vote on a position I don't understand. Make sure you explain your position if you want me to vote on it.
[MN Novice Only]: If you break the rules of the packet I WILL NOT hesitate to vote you down, especially if the other team says something. This activity is difficult enough to learn, going into a grey area of packet rules makes it un-fun for other students and un-educational when I need to only coach whack-a-mole answers to rule breaking arguments instead of debate skills.
I was a Policy debater for 4 years at Rosemount High School in Rosemount Minnesota. I was a very Policy heavy debater and rarely utilized Kritiks. I have been coaching Policy debate at Rosemount High School since graduating in 2010 and have been judging tournaments in Minnesota.
I will listen and vote on almost any argument or position you choose to read in front of me. With this freedom of positions you can run there are some caveats though. I prefer to see policy impacts in the round. I would prefer a Counterplan and Disad debate over a critical debate any day. I like to see impacts I can weigh in the traditional Timeframe, Probability, and Magnitude model. This does not mean you cannot run a Kritik in front of me though. It just means that if you choose to run one you should make sure it has an impact in the round. If this is not a traditional impact which can be weighed against the Aff, you need to provide me a way to weigh your impacts in the round or I will likely fail to see how your Kritik is going to outweigh the plan.
I tend to weigh Kritiks and anything non-traditional against the aff (or neg, if you're running a non-traditional aff) in a very policy oriented way. I look for impacts, either in the round or after implementation of the plan. I tend to evaluate procedural arguments very heavily in the case of performance affs. I am often uncomfortable judging performance affs.
Kritiks come with a caveat as well. As I stated, I was a policy impact focused debater. I did not read the philosophy y'all are reading in your Kritiks, and I haven't since being a debater. Your position should be clear and there should be explanations of your positions if you are reading some obscure author I've never heard of. I welcome Kritiks, but make sure they have impacts, and make sure I can understand them, or I can't promise my interpretation of your K will match your interpretation.
Topicality and other procedural arguments are fine with me but I have to see why it matters at the end. If you just do a "Extend all of my T" at the end, I probably won't vote on it.
Speed is fine with me. Read as fast as you feel you need to, but make sure your tags are clear. I cannot stress this enough. If I cannot understand you during your tags You likely are not going to get your position across to me. Annunciate and you will be fine.
Email chains: I'd like to be on the Email Chain. I do think that Debate is a speaking activity though, and if I miss something I shouldn't be using the speech docs as a crutch to help unclear presentation. Sometimes I miss things because I'm running slow in the morning (8am is too early for me) and it's not your fault, or after lunch, or because I haven't had caffeine. These aren't your fault and I will use the speech docs in these situations.
Flowing: Debaters are starting to use speech docs as a crutch and not flow. It's incredibly common now for debaters to answer cards which were never read simply because they were in the speech doc. Also it's becoming common for debaters to think they need to send out altered versions of their docs to take out cards they didn't read. This is incredibly annoying and actively KILLING debate as a verbal activity. If this happens in a round I'm judging I will be lowering speaker points.
Tag team cross-ex is fine, unless you ask me if it's fine. Then it's only fine if you physically tag your partner when wanting to tag team.
My judging history will show that I’ve primarily tabbed at tournaments since the pandemic started. However, I’ve been keeping up with topic discussions and am looking forward to judging you all!
** Updated in 2021**
I’ve been in the debate world for over a decade now. I was trained in policy debate but have also judged both policy and LD since 2016.
TLDR: I want you to debate what you’re best at unless it’s offensive or exclusionary. I try to have very limited intervention and rely on framing and weighing in the round. Telling me how to vote and keeping my flow clean is the fastest way to my ballot. Please have fun and be kind to one another.
ONLINE DEBATE UPDATES
In an online world, you should reduce your speed to about 75%-80%. It’s difficult for me to say clear in a way that doesn’t totally disrupt your speech, so focusing on clarity and efficiency are especially important. I will try to resolve tech issues in the round to the best of my ability.
I use two monitors, with my flow on the second monitor, so when I’m looking to the side, I’m looking at the flow or my ballot.
If your argument isn’t on my flow, I can’t evaluate it. Because of this, keeping my flow clean, repeating important points, and being clear can decide the round. I flow by ear and have your speech doc primarily for author names, so make sure your tags/arguments/analytics are clear. I default to tech over truth and debate being a competitive and educational activity. That being said, how I evaluate a debate is up for debate. The threshold for answering arguments without warrants is low, and I don’t find blippy arguments to be particularly persuasive.
In general: I take my flow seriously but am really not a fan of blippy arguments. I’m fine with speed and theoretical debates but am not the best judge for affs with tricks. I don’t like when theory is spread through and need it to be well-articulated and impacted. I have a decent philosophy background, but please assume that I do not know and err on over-explaining your lit.
On Framework: In LD, I default to framework as a lens to evaluate impacts in the round. However, I am willing to (and will) evaluate framework as the only impact to the round. Framework debates tend to get really messy, so I ask that you try to go top-down when possible. Please try to collapse arguments when you can and get as much clash on the flow as possible.
A note on fairness as a voter: I am willing to vote on fairness, but I tend to think of fairness as more of an internal link to an impact.
On T: I default to competing interpretations. If you’re going for T, please make sure that you’re weighing your standards against your opponent’s. In evaluating debates, I default to T before theory.
On Theory: I lean towards granting 1AR theory for abusive strats. However, I am not a fan of frivolous theory and would prefer clash on substantive areas of the debate.
On RVIs: I think RVIs have morphed into a way of saying "I'm fair but having to prove that I'm being fair means that I should win", which I don't particularly enjoy. If you’re going for an RVI, make sure it’s convincing and reasonable. Further, please make sure that if you’re going for an RVI that you spend sufficient time on it.
In general: I rely on my flow to decide the round. Keeping my flow clean is the best path to my ballot, so please make sure that your speeches are organized and weigh your arguments against your opponents. Please take care to not misrepresent your evidence. Along those lines, I would also prefer that you do not paraphrase evidence.
On LD/Policy Arguments: While I will evaluate the round based on my flow, I want PF to be PF. Please do not feel that you need to adapt to my LD/Policy background when I’m in the back of the room.
On Framework: ROBs and ROJs should be extended and explained within the context of the round. Interpretations and framing how I need to evaluate the round are the easiest path to my ballot. Please weigh your standards against your opponent’s and tell me why your model of debate works best. While I will vote on fairness as a voter, I tend to default to it as an internal link to another impact, i.e. education.
One off FW: These rounds tend to get messy. Please slow down for the analytics. The best path to my ballot is creating fewer, well-articulated arguments that directly clash with your opponent’s.
On Theory and T: Make sure you make it a priority if you want me to vote on it. If you’re going for T, it should be the majority of your 2NR. Please have clearly articulated standards and voters. I typically default to competing interpretations, so make sure you clearly articulate why your interpretation is best for debate.
On DA/CP: Explain why your evidence outweighs their evidence and please use impact calc.
On K-Affs: Make sure you’re weighing the impacts of your aff against tech stuff the neg articulates. Coming from the 1AC, I need a clear articulation of your solvency mechanism and the role of ballot / judge.
Hitting K-Affs on neg: PLEASE give me clash on the aff flow
On Ks: Make sure that you’re winning framing for these arguments. I really enjoy well-articulated link walls and think that they can take you far. I’m maybe not the best judge for high theory debates, but I have some experience with most authors you will read in most cases and should be able to hold my own if it’s well articulated. I need to understand the world of the alt, how it outweighs case impacts, and what the ballot resolves.
One off Ks: These rounds tend to get very nuanced, especially if it’s a K v K debate. Please have me put framework on another flow and go line by line.
Hi my name is Max O'Hare
OES (Oregon Episcopal School) '19
I did policy for 3 years in high school and was relatively successful my senior year, qualifying to the TOC.
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
TL;DR: I'm fine with nearly all arguments and would much rather you debate what you are comfortable with than try to adapt your argumentation to my style and not do it well. Just have fun and win the flow and you'll be golden in my eyes.
Please go slow on tags and analytics, clearly distinguishing them from the bodies of cards. I feel as if online debate has exacerbated the problem policy debate has with debaters being unclear so make sure you're clear while speaking.
I'm still new to this topic so I'm working on adjusting to the terminology and T debates should take extra care to paint a picture of what the topic looks like under your interp.
Here are some general guidelines if you have me in the back of the room:
1. Tech > Truth. Debate is a game and I can be convinced of anything. A dropped argument is a true one. Everything else on my paradigm is irrelevant if you are winning whatever you are going for on the flow.
2. Evidence Quality Matters. I strictly only evaluate highlighted warrants. At the end of the debate, the team that has most skillfully utilized and spun high-quality evidence is in the best position to win.
3. Non-K neg positions. Politics DAs, Process CPs, PICs, conditional advocacies? I've seen them all and enjoying hearing unique strategies! Regardless, a proliferation of generics is inferior to thought-out, specific strats. I am directly in the middle for most of the theory debates.
4. K Debate. Fairness is an impact, but that does not mean that arguments about why fairness shouldn't be weighed as highly as other impacts aren't valid. The affirmative should probably be attached to the topic in some way, but I can be convinced otherwise if you explain your thesis well. For the NEG, links should never be of omission and should probably be specific to the plan. I read basic K's in highschool and I'm familiar with a lot of K literature now that I have a year of college under my belt, but that doesn't mean you should forgo explaining the thesis of more complex K's.
5. Impact Calc & Turns Case. To quote Dr. Bricker: “Turns case matters more to me than some. Is it offense? Does the link to the advantage/FIAT outweigh or prevent turning the case? Does it mean the AFF doesn’t solve? Questions that should be answered by the 1AR.” Final rebuttals, feel free to write my ballot for me! If I look at my flow at the end of the round without a way to evaluate which impacts matter more I will default to my own interpretations which is probably not what you want.
6. Other. Do not make any assumptions about the other team's identity or background. Additionally, I'll drop you and check out for the rest of the debate if you misgender, harass, are racist towards, (etc.) your opponents. I also tend to believe that being purposefully aggressive towards your opponents is not productive and sometimes incredibly harmful so rethink your strategy if it involves abusing your opponents.
I'm happy to answer any questions you may have before we start the round.
Updated for 2023-2024
4 years at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, 3 years at University of Pittsburgh, NDT Semi-Finalist, some other less relevant things
Competition matters but for different reasons. I like arguments executed well regardless of what they might be. Good debates are engaging regardless of the content. I like judging different things, there are many different styles and many get overlooked or forgotten. so do your thing and do it well. Strategic thinking should always be at the forefront, but taking risks is good too. Ienjoy when students reach clarity after the round and will help as best I can or move on if the debate does not require much discussion after the fact.
Nearly everything is subsidiary to the argumentative choices you have made to compel judges to articulate why the ballot they chose was preferable to the other. The only thing this means to me is that, unless a round is stopped, you have the burden of winning it rather than relying on a judge to work for you. The value of any particular debate and my priorities as a judge are negotiated on a round-to-round basis - defend what you're doing in a debate if it's questioned and out-perform your opponent if you agree on the parameters. Be ready to explain why your position is desirable, especially if it’s nontraditional.
Always keep in mind that just because you're right doesn't change that you're still a debater doing debate. Explain what parts of the cards you think justify your argument and which cards to look at if needed.Every round is different and every debater debates/interprets arguments differently, so don’t switch up. Popular opinion (in debate) rarely matches reality.
Please think about what will encourage the strongest analysis by the end of the debate over arguments that waste time, are unfamiliar to you, or otherwise have no strategic value.I try to give good speaks, but rarely super high.I prefer debates with fewer sheets. Don’t spread faster than is comprehensible and prioritize clarity.Make it make sense. I will read cards during the debate but rarely read after the debate unless teams have a disagreement. Sometimes you should actually read your re-highlighting, but not always.
A dropped argument is not a true argument, though it may be persuasive. Panels influence debaters differently than singles. Micro-aggressions exist but so do mistakes. Your standard for how to engage them is likely biased and/or strategic. The easiest way to engage is to be a less than terrible person. If you have to worry about that you have more personal work to do.
Anyways, see ya~
General Thoughts – I try to be as tab as possible. However, I think everyone inevitably comes in with some preconceived notions about debate. Don’t feel like you have to adapt to my preferences--you should do whatever you do best. But if what you do best happens to be judge adaptation, here are some of my thoughts:
Framework – All I ask is that you engage each other's interpretations and arguments--don’t just read and extend. Look to my comments on topicality if you're interested in how I try to evaluate standards-based debate.
Case Debate – I think case-specific strategies that integrate intelligent on-case arguments into the 1NC can be really compelling.
DA/CPs – The more specific the better, but I’ll vote on anything.
Critiques – Most persuasive when they interact explicitly with the 1AC/2AC. For example, I like specific 2NC link analysis (doesn’t necessarily need to be carded) that points to arguments being made in the 1AC/2AC, and I like 2NC attempts to gain in roads to the case by suggesting the alternative is a necessary precondition to case solvency. I'm fine with critical affirmatives so long as you explain the significance of voting affirmative. A general note: given that I'm trying to evaluate your arguments as though I'm hearing them for the first time, please operate under the assumption that I'm completely unfamiliar with the literature you're reading.
Topicality – My threshold for T is the same as any other type of argument, but like all other positions, there are central issues that the 2NR needs to resolve in order for me to vote on T. If neither team articulates a framework within which I can vote, then I’ll default to competing interpretations, but I’d much rather not have to default to anything. Assuming I’m voting in a competing interpretations framework, I think of standards as external impacts to a vote for a given team’s interpretation. That means comparative impact calculus has a huge place in a 2NR that’s going for T. Explain to me what debate looks like if I vote for your interpretation and why that vision should be preferred to one that would allow for cases like the affirmative.
Theory – Please engage the other team's arguments--don't just read blocks and talk past one another. If you expect to win on theory (independently), you should probably give me some kind of substantive reason why a given violation merits rejection of the team, and not just the argument.
Nontraditional Debate – As long as I’m provided with a standard for evaluation that I feel both teams can reasonably be expected to meet, you can do whatever you'd like.
In Round Decorum – Don’t be mean. Try to have fun.
Speed – As long as you’re clear, I’m fine with speed.
Speaker Points – 28.5 is average. I'll add points for things like clarity and efficiency, and I'll subtract points for particularly messy debating.
If you have any specific questions, please ask. Feel free to email me after round with questions: email@example.com
UC Berkeley '21
I used to debate at Berkeley.
Tech > Truth.
I don't care what arguments you read.
I will read evidence at the end of the round, but that is not an excuse for lazy debating. No, I will not do work for you - no matter what your arg is.
I have never done LD.
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edit for 2021 TOC: I tend to be placed in clash debates, so here are some thoughts: I think the best iterations of FW are ones that deploy skills/testing impacts as solvency turns to the affirmative. The best way to approach debating a K aff is to make smart, technical arguments about the internal link level of the affirmative, paired with a robust turns case argument and some external impact that only your interpretation can solve. This will often shield you from the 2AR using the impact turn as a battering ram against all of your offense.
Conversely...dear K 2As...even if the 2NR doesn't make the above arguments remember that the aff exists outside of the impact turn. You are telling a meaningful story that happens to disagree with the pedagogical model that the other team has forwarded NOT the other way around. This means that you must be answering the following questions during the debate with absolute clarity.
What does the aff do? Why is it key in debate? What does your ideal form of debate look like? Why is that form the only acceptable one to deal with the issues you've brought to attention? Why is your offense against FW intrinsically tethered to their model of debate? etc etc etc
Topicality- Things that will help you out:
1) explaining which affs we should be debating and why
2) which affs they allow that would be bad to have to debate
3) which arguments we should be debating and why your interpretation best facilitates that discussion, etc.
I think T debates aren't as great when offense is deployed generically. Contextualize, contextualize, contextualize!
If you are going for FW -
a) have a robust defense of your interp (clear internal link explanations)
b) if fairness is your jam take heed! I think fairness is important, but it's likely not enough outweigh whatever impact turn they're about to go for.
c) perhaps more importantly, impact calc. I think it's generally strategic for FW args to have external impacts outside of fairness, but if that's your thing just comparatively explain why it matters.
DAs/CPs- love them.
Counterplans are awesome. Treat them well and all will be well. However, treat them poorly (not clearly establishing a sufficiency framing, not doing ev comparison, etc etc etc) and... you will likely not win the round.
I'll only kick the counterplans if you tell me to. The neg gets condo. Any other theory stuff is up to debate.
Don’t take counterplan competition for granted, take clever perms seriously. Politics debates- affs, several plan popular cards does not a link turn make - uniqueness is a thing.
Impact calc. Please. Maybe even pretty please. This will win you close debates, because it's all about the spin.
Ks- love them
Long ranty overviews and generic link walls are generally a waste of everyone's time. K debate reveals its intellectual potential when the debaters are committed to the literature and when a team has a unique angle against the aff. If you're doing this, it'll be pretty clear.
Affs will do well by reading as much specific evidence about the neg’s author/-ism as possible.
K affs are great too. Yes, I am more than willing to vote against you on framework. Everything about debate is how well thought through your argument is. Just because you aren't defending the resolution in a traditional sense, that doesn't mean you don't have to defend the consequences of your model of debate. I value narrative cohesion in debates - that's especially true in FW debates. Judge instruction in the 2NR or 2AR will make my life easier and probably win you the debate.
Cross-x- It’s where a lot of evidence comparison happens now. Being smart here can win or lose you the debate. It's also a great speaker point booster.
You are all smart. Be confident and have fun.
35th year in the activity; lawyer and elected official these days…
-I vote for things that I don't like, the debate is yours to make what you will. That does not mean I have no opinions.
-T: compare evidence and impact T like a DA.
-Things I am unlikely to vote for: ticky-tacky debate; Inherency, "speed kills", claims without warrants, poorly debated T violations, "multiple perms bad".
Read a topical plan----------------------X--------------------say anything
Usually some risk---------x---------------------------------Zero Risk
Conditionality Good--------------------X----------------------Conditionality Bad
States CP Good------X------------------------------------States CP Bad
Process CPs------------------X------------------------Ew Process CPs
Competing off immediacy/certainty---------------x---------------------------No
Politics DAs are a thing-------------------x-----------------------Good Politics DAs are a thing
Read every card----------x--------------------------------Read no cards
Lots of evidence--------------------------------------x----Lots of good evidence
Judge Kick---------------------x---------------------Stuck with the CP
Reject the Team--------------X----------------------------Reject the Arg
CPs need cards--------------------------------------x----Smart CPs can be cardless
Competition is based off the plan----x--------------------------------------Neg gets to define the plan
Fiat solves circumvention---------------x---------------------------Trump's President
K alts need to do something-------------------------------X-----------but you're asking the wrong question
K links about the plan---------------X---------------------------K links about a broad worldview
Have fun and be kind.
So far, I have judged 10 Debates - I voted neg seven times and have voted aff three times in all my practice debates. The winning 2NR's were:
1: Inflation DA and States CP against Federal Jobs Guarantee Aff with Inequality and Infrastructure Impacts.
2: Interest Rates DA and States CP against Federal Jobs Guarantee Aff with Inequality and Infrastructure Impacts.
3: IRS DA and States CP against Federal Jobs Guarantee Aff with Inequality and Infrastructure Impacts.
4: Farm Bill Politics DA and States CP against Universal Basic Income Soft Left Aff with Poverty and Gender Advantages.
5: Capitalism Critique against Carbon Tax Basic Income Aff with Climate and China REE and Populism Advantages.
6: Colonialism Critique against Carbon Tax Basic Income Aff with Climate and China REE and Populism Advantages.
7: Politics DA and PIC out of "Social Security" against Expand Social Security To Include Medicare Aff.
The PIC was functionally conceded in both the 2AC and 1AR in the final debate, and the aff did not have a "social security key" warrant.
None of the aff teams went for 50 state fiat bad, and they did not point out that the States CP linked to the net benefits.
Neither of the first two aff teams against the critique answered the link correctly (or basically at all) in the 2AR, and the negative teams in both instances won a substantial link to the aff that (actually, surprisingly) engaged the plan alongside winning their framework arguments that functionally mooted the 1AC and lowered the threshold for the negative to win the debates both times.
However, I recently voted twice for the Carbon Tax Basic Income aff against the Cap K. If the neg from the first Cap K v. Carbon Tax debate did not win framework, I would have also voted aff and I think all the Cap K links on this topic are generally ridiculous. I do not find the Azmanov link persuasive at all nor do I think that "philosophical competition" framework arguments are persuasive if the aff can still weigh the aff and they win a link turn. Find substantive arguments and make real links. Affs are not "philosophically invested" in capitalism if they win the link turn, which they are built to do because wealth redistribution is obviously net better than the status quo. If you are planning on reading a critique against the Carbon Tax Basic Income aff, I would make links to the advantages that aren't about climate change and try to pin the aff down to defending imperialism. Many aff teams have asserted that the China REE advantage does not require them to defend "heg good". I understand the sentiment, but I disagree in the sense that it says China is bad and US leadership (albeit in a specific sector) is good, and I think links can certainly be garnered from that. I'm confused why teams are saying that fiscal redistribution "reifies" capitalism because not only are they non-unique, they do not establish any trade-off with the alternative. If this is your strategy, you are better off reading and going for the "Taxation is Coercion" DA (which is equally bad). Either find a material consequence to the aff that trades off with the alt, or just find a link to their Reps and a Research-First Framework.
I also did cast an aff ballot for a Federal Jobs Guarantee aff going for the Infrastructure Advantage against the States CP. I now realize that advantage is quite literally built to beat the States CP. My thoughts after judging five debates on the States CP is that it certainly is overpowered on this topic since we just all decided to agree that neg teams get to fiat states doing Deficit Spending, and I think aff teams need to technically handle all of the links that negative teams generate with critiques. That being said, I am definitely willing to vote on "Uniform 50-State Fiat Bad" theory against the States Counterplan, and I am also willing to vote on smart solvency deficits based on strategic aff "fed key" warrants against the States CP. T-Taxes is winnable on both sides and an interesting debate to watch.
Most people are intensely ideological about Debate opinions regarding minutiae and asserting their own frivolous small gripes onto others when it comes to what they consider to be "good" strategy, which clouds their ability to be an impartial judge. I believe there are a lot different ways to understand what "good" strategy is, and many different ways to view Debate which are all good. Politics DA's have a lot of polarizing takes attached to them. same thing with Process CP's. Same thing with critiques of fiat. Same thing with soft left affs. Same thing with Condo. I'm honestly tired of having opinions and I molded my brain so much over the years that I really don't have any strong opinions. Just debate it out and whoever is better will win. I can be sold on either side in the abstract but it will always come down to the specifics in the particular debate. Truth = Tech are the same because dropped arguments are true and nobody agrees on what the capital T Truth is. I flow well enough to know when something is dropped, but good cross-applications can save you.
Read whatever u want. I can judge any debate. I have no hard and fast opinions on theory or topicality because I have a real life outside debate and I honestly couldn't care less about 99% of it sorry. Otherwise tho, about critiques, i hate when people call it "the K". We're not german. That's really my only personal pet peeve. Debaters are already under enough stress as is at a debate tournament, don't worry about adjusting your strategy in front of me. Just debate well.
I can recognize good debaters regardless of what argument you read and how you present yourself, so actually just be yourself and i can give you tips on how to just unlock your true potential based on what you already do, not based on what i want you to do. i dont get paid enough to police your personal opinions, but I do get paid to give you an RFD which ur gonna hear approximately two and a half hours to three hours after you read this when you see my name on the pairing. My RFD is based on who i think won the Debate based on community consensus across the board. It reflects what I think most judges in the pool would think, not my own hot takes.
I promise I'm chill and actually way less opinionated than most people in debate. I believe the judge should adapt to the debaters and I'm very aware of what community consensus on most things are so dont judge me based on what I personally read (if you do know what arguments in debate i choose). I debate for money because I'm poor and being homeless is not fun and student loans arent fun either soooo yeah. Something something topic link. But anyways, debate scholarships are cool. Speaking of scholarship, anything can count as evidence or research to me including art. & music is cool but you're in high school so i think my music taste is better because i'm older and i listened to things before you listened to things and i still probably listen to most things you listen to unless i don't listen to them in which case i won't like them because i don't listen to them or i don't listen to them because i don't like them, so it'll probs just backfire.
-I debated policy at Georgetown Day School for 4 years and am now debating at Brown University. In HS, I had 8 bids to the TOC.
-Unless your argument is in favor of discrimination (racism, sexism, etc.), I’m down to vote for it. Tech>Truth for sure.
-Examples are awesome, and you should use them whenever possible. A few well-explained ones are usually better than a bunch of small ones. These can be used as historical contextualizations of why something will fail/succeed, or turn out well/poorly, or as demonstrations of your praxis.
-In debate, I spent more time reading kritikal args (see below), but I'm more than hyped to judge a policy throwdown.
-I read evidence when asked to or when a team makes a big deal out of a card in the last rebuttals. Quality evidence makes for good later speeches, especially when you can pull direct quotes from your ev that are really applicable. Just remember, that debaters, not cards, win rounds, so you can absolutely spin a bad card into a phenomenal argument.
-If you have any questions, just ask before the round!
-Explain what your aff (policy or K) does in crossex, especially on the K side I need concrete solvency examples, and on the policy side, I need to know exactly what policy change the aff makes.
-For the neg, case debate is great, particularly solvency takeouts, and recuttings of the affirmative team’s own evidence (hint: these recuttings are not nearly as hard to find as they should be).
The two most important things to win here are a credible internal link story and impact comparison. Too often, neg teams get away with a ridiculous internal link chain, that the affirmative should absolutely expose (affs also tend to have these, neg teams should expose these as well). The 2nc/1nr and 2nr should explain step-by-step how the aff causes your impacts. Impact comparison means not just explaining what your impacts are, but why I should prioritize them over the aff’s. For example, I don’t just want to know why the aff causes nuclear war, I want to know why that matters more than/happens more quickly than/is more probable than, the aff’s impact scenario(s).
Establishing exactly what parts of the aff you do and do not claim to solve (and why) is key here. The net benefits to your counterplan should be explained in the context of the disad (or if you’re not going for a disad as an independent off-case position, why mutual exclusivity is clear, and why your impacts outweigh). Also, the theory in these debates tends to get extremely muddled. If this happens it will make me sad.
T (vs plan affs)
In these debates, both sides generally agree with the theoretical impacts the neg is going for (i.e. that fairness/education etc.) are good in the abstract, so the nuance comes down to whose interpretation provides them better and/or is more resolutionally based. That means that knowing what debates look like under your model is paramount. Topical Versions of the Aff, especially ones with cards, are cool, so are arguments (on both sides) about how your model of debate produces ethical subjectivities, better advocates etc.
Slowing down and getting off your blocks is crucial here, especially since I feel strongly that jargon is not a good replacement for nuanced warrants. That said, if you can clearly explain why something the other team did is/should be illegitimate, I’m more than happy to vote for it. Also, please specifically explain why whatever they did is a reason to reject the team rather than just the argument, if you’re going for it that way.
These are the majority of the arguments I read in debate (aff and neg). This is both good and bad for you if you read Ks. This is good for you, because I’m probably at least relatively familiar with your arguments (particularly Afro-pessimism, coloniality, variants of the cap K, and high theory like Baudrillard, Deleuze, and Psychoanalysis). It also means that your link contextualizations can be more creative than a hardcore policy judge might prefer (note that “creative” does not mean link to the status quo, but rather that you can, if you win it in the round,link into the aff’s discourse or political telos). This is bad for you if you read Ks because I know how these arguments can be poorly executed, which means that using a bunch of jargon without explanation and not doing line by line will generally not turn out well. Fun K Tricks are fun.
K affs vs Framework
I had these debates. A lot. As a result, I’m probably pretty good for both teams here, for the aff because I've debated on your side a ton so I can definitely see your argument, and for the neg, because I know that a lot of K affs are ridiculous and completely unconnected to the topic area (which is distinct from using the USfg). For the aff, a counterinterp that provides a real and better model of debate + a couple impact turns to their standards are best. For the neg, I’m really cool with any standards you wanna go for, and TVAs are good as long as they actually solve some of the aff (as opposed to, “Look! We have something that is tangentially related to their lit base!”) Also, showing how the aff’s model produces terrible debates is going to make it harder for them to win on impact turns alone. The only argument I don’t like here is that being topical is a “rule.” In contrast to things like violating speech times, clipping, etc (which will result in an automatic loss), almost all judges will agree that you should not inherentlyreject affs that are not topical (i.e. vote neg after the 1ac) and I’m not sure how something is a "rule" if teams get rewarded for breaking it all the time. I, however, am open to voting for framework as a good norm.
**Final Note: I'll boost your speaks a bit if you make a good (emphasis good) reference to The Dark Knight or The Matrix.
Gabriel, He/Him/His, email@example.com
I debated Policy for 4 years at both the state and national level, and have experience judging all three debate events. I was an assistant Public Forum coach for a year and have also helped coach Policy students. I'm fine with spreading as long as you slow down for your analytics-- if it's unintelligible, I won't flow it. Just make it really clear when you're transitioning from one idea to another.
I don't trust tabroom completely anymore, so if you have any issues seeing ballots/ anything else with my profile, just email me, I will have the rfd's all saved in a word doc.
Because this is a concern I've heard expressed from some debaters I know-- if I'm not looking at you, it's a good sign, because it means I'm flowing. If I am looking at you, I'm trying to figure out what on Earth you are saying, so I can try to flow it.
Please put me on the email chain.
FOR LD/POLICY (pfers scroll to the bottom):
On Policy and "traditional" args
Theory/ Topicality: I'm cool with this stuff if and only if it is run when necessary. Be careful with theory as it isn't always your friend-- sometimes it is just a time waster. For example, I don't like it when teams run disclosure just cause they're used to it/good at it. Run it if the aff is tricky and them not disclosing actually hurts how you are able to debate-- you need to prove that it is your education at stake if you want to run disclosure in front of me. Truth over tech for sure when it comes to theory.
Topicality I have more patience for (I'm more willing to vote on it for tech-based reasons) but also you need to prove to me why it's bad for debate if the aff is untopical. I'm not going to vote on theory or t just because the aff drops one of your million analytics--but I will vote on them if I feel like you've proven to me the world of debate will be better adhering to your norms. I actually really like topicality when it's run properly I just think that often times it's run as a time suck which makes me sad.
Other Policy args: Framework is good. Disads are good. CP's are good (but I am sure to be considerate of the aff and the potential harm that ridiculous CP's bring, especially if aff makes args for itself). "Traditional" style LD debates are good. Policy style debates are good.
Everything is pretty much good with me if it doesn't undermine the well-being of your fellow debaters or marginalized groups in some way. I also value education in the debate space VERY highly-- don't stifle it.
Tricks-- If you have to rely on tricks to win a debate round, you should probably strike me.
On K Debates
I'm cool with K debates and think that if done right they are some of the most educational debates. I do have one rule, however. Either a K aff should be semi-related to the resolution or the aff debater needs to devote a couple seconds to telling me why the K takes preference to the resolution. I feel like most debaters do this, so it's not normally an issue, but if you don't I think then it's fair game for the neg to fight for resolutional debate. Basically, I go into the round prepared to vote based off the resolution, but I will do differently if it is successfully argued otherwise.
I've both debated K's and debated against K's before, BUT if you read anything too critical, consider summarizing it briefly for me in lay terms-- if I don't know what it is, it'll help me out, and if I do, then it'll boost your speaks because it shows me you can adapt to lay debate with critical arguments. Putting it into a "real-world" perspective will highlight to me why this argument matters.
Overall I think K debates are great and are always better if they're a K you run passionately than if they're the old Cap K you pulled from a camp file 2 years ago and shoved a link card on.
On Voters/ how you should debate
I love both traditional debates and non-traditional-- but I need you to include voters in your rebuttals that tell me why I should consider voting for you. These voters should be for strats that you have carried throughout the round and fleshed out well-- it's okay to condense down to a couple key arguments if you know they can win you the round. What's not okay is just dropping your opponent's arguments without either making it clear to me why they don't matter in the context of the round or neglecting to tell me why the issues you have selected are the critical talking points of the round and deserve all of my attention. There are usually so many arguments in the round, and having each team tell me what they value as the most important argument and why said argument is a voter makes it much easier for me to give a ballot (this means you should condense, even if you are aff, don't try to go for everything, it never ends well). Without voters, you risk me voting on whatever issues I think are most important, and who knows if that will benefit you or not.
Again, tell me exactly WHAT you did that I should focus most on and WHY it is worthy of a ballot. I can look through my flows and evaluate the technical aspect of the debate myself-- what I can not do myself is determine which arguments are most important without bias. Please don't make me even come close to having to rely on my personal opinions to decide a round.
Overall, debate is a game, somebody will win, and somebody will lose. I love seeing different strategies and approaches to it-- that's what makes debate fun. That being said, no game should ever come at the expense of hurting somebody personally, so if there are abusive attacks and/or harmful arguments at the expense of a marginalized group/ a debater, I will take it very seriously both in the administration of the space and with my ballot.
Always feel free to ask me questions before round.
Speaks Chart (for tournaments with decimal speaks):
30: I feel lucky to have judged you because you are just that good.
29.7-29.9: Your performance "wowed" me, good on the flow, good at speaking, and with exciting argumentation.
29.3-29.6: Great debaters.
28.5-29.2: Good debaters and good at speaking.
28-28.4: Good debaters with room for improvement on speaking.
27.5-27.9: You made a couple of errors, but nothing that significantly frustrated me.
27-27.4: You made several errors, but I can see a semblance of strategy.
26.5-26.9: You made several technical errors that have me questioning if you really ever had a path to the ballot.
26 or lower: You said something really offensive/made the debate space actively bad.
1) Weighing is really important!!!! Teams NEED to tell me how to vote-- I go in to the round open to voting for just about anything (no racist, homophobic, etc. arguments). Telling me how to vote and providing me with evidence/args to back up your claim that you have the best voters is key to my ballot. Especially in debates with lots of args all across the board-- I need voters so that I can see what you think is most important about the round. Teams weighing helps make my ballot so much easier.
2) Refute your opponent's arguments in addition to extending your own, but also don't try to go for everything in your final focus. CONDENSE! PLEASE!
3) As a former policy debater, I'm decent with speed, but be careful transitioning too fast between contentions/ analytics. Those fast transitions are what can make PF hard to flow. Basically just slow down to sign post so I put things on my flow properly. Maybe one day PF will pick up flashing and I can delete this.
4) Have arguments that are backed up by both evidence and analytics. I'm not going to vote solely on unwarranted claims, but I'm also not going to vote for you because you threw a bunch of authors at me and just said "figure it out." Evidence debates are only good if your opponent's evidence is unethical/incorrect, and rarely are good when your evidence is just "better."
5) I'm not the biggest fan of sticky defense or not frontlining defense in second rebuttal, but I understand that PF speeches are short and you're in a time crunch, so I won't hold these things against you. All offense must be frontlined in second rebuttal, however. No new arguments in second final focus, ever!
I'm not a fan of PF cross x and there is a pretty big chance I won't evaluate it unless things that are said come up again in later speeches. I will listen to it, but probably won't put anything down on my flow based solely off of what I hear in cross. Teams being nice, clear, and not turning cross X into a garbled mess often times get rewarded with high speaks from me in this event.
If you have more questions you can ask me before the round. I implement the same speaks chart as listed in the LD/Policy section (if there are decimal speaks).
- Tech > truth but cards decide close debates. Both sides need cards to back up their advantage and DAs, but I will not read cards unless they are disputed and/or the content of them is relevant to my decision. I will be happy to vote on your analytical press against a DA or someone's case. The best takeouts to most DAs and even advantages won't have cards for them but you SHOULD make the argument and I will vote on it. However, if both sides are clashing on an issue in the debate I will read the cards and they will shape my decision.
- Macro-strategy is the best way to win my ballot. A lot of debates I watch have a lot of good line-by-line and clash going on, but neither side is thinking about how arguments interact and what they want the ballot to say. The more judge instruction and thinking about the debate you do the more likely you are to win my ballot.
- A note on how I evaluate debates - At the end of every debate, I make a T chart where I write down what "world" is being advocated by each team in the final rebuttal and the pros and cons of each "world." Keeping this in mind when doing final speech impact calculus and judge instruction could help you win a close debate. This also means that I care about 'try or die' a lot more than most. In K debates, the neg could probably get pretty far by explaining how their framework should alter how I approach the debate and my decision.
- I care more than the average judge about:
- The NEG robustly describing the role of critiques under their model
- The link to exclusion DAs run by the AFF. Whoever wins the link debate on this argument is likely to win my ballot. I highly encourage the neg to focus a lot of time here and make offensive arguments rather than just defense. Your fairness/clash impact is unlikely to outweigh this sort of argument if you blow it off.
- Models of debate. The best AFF framework arguments connect an in round action by the NEG to an implication for their broader model.
- The TVA. A well crafted NEG TVA can eliminate most AFF offense. In most cases, this shouldn’t just be an afterthought.
- I care more than the average judge about:
- The framework debate. I won’t just default to my own arbitrary “middle ground.” One side will win the framework debate and that will frame my ballot. However, I am very open to one side defending their own compromise framework if they can clearly articulate how I should decide the round.
- “Soft left” impacts. Evenly debated, I am unlikely to significantly discount non-extinction impacts in my decision. However, I am more than willing to vote on “only extinction matters” if decisively won.
I debated for Stuyvesant High School for 4 years as a 2A, and ended my career in quarters of the TOC, so I'd like to think I'm qualified to judge you. Add me to the email chain (StuyvesantDS@gmail.com). Please make this round fun for me to watch and adjudicate. I'm a huge believer in tech over truth. All that being said:
If you have only a little time, like the round is about to start or something:
Run (almost) whatever you want in front of me. K debate is mostly what I stuck to when I debated, but I have absolutely 0 predispositions about what debate should look like that I bring into the round with me, that's completely up to y'all to argue about. I have no biases about any specific argument (except theory vs theory rounds, ew), but I probably have a higher level of familiarity with nuances on most K's than with extremely nuanced topical CJR stuff. I have a high level of involvement with coaching some of my students to run topical affs and DA’s/CP’s though, so I should be able to keep up. Just have fun with whatever arguments you run!
If you actually read paradigms when doing prefs/before a round:
T: Sure I guess, just don't go hyperspeed on your standards, especially in the era of Zoom debate. If you're able to somehow tie T into your other flows with fun cross-applications and creative argument interactions, you'll most likely be rewarded with speaker points. If someone makes an RVI I will probably laugh, but will vote on it if they somehow manage to win the arg.
DA's: I'm down. The link story is very important to me here because I feel like a lot of people try to get away with super shady links, and affs don't capitalize on that enough. I really enjoy listening to DA's that have a specific link to the aff and have a really unique internal link/impact scenario, and those are also really strategic so please run those! I also think DA's are a great and incredibly underused asset against K-Affs. Many teams won't be prepared to answer them beyond an impact debate, and if you can convince me that the aff's semiotic insurrection or metaphysical revolution or whatever somehow leads to a collapse in the food chain causing extinction, by all means be my guest. Finally, if you absolutely must run some form of the Politics DA, fine, I'll listen to it, but begrudgingly. I know that neg ground is scarce on this topic, and so now Politics/Federalism/Elections is core lit lol.
CP's: Sure. I generally prefer advantage CP's to shady PIC's, but I'll vote on your shady PIC if you win it. I honestly don't care about how many planks your CP has or how abusive or ridiculous it is, unless the other team tells me to care about it.
Theory: I won't pretend to be an expert on theory debates or to particularly enjoy evaluating them, but if you must you must. Make sure to have a clear, stable interpretation - "conditionality is bad" doesn't cut it, "the neg can get X conditional advocacies" is more like it.
K's: Yes please. Throughout my debate career, I've read almost every single K under the sun, from anthro to race and gender K's to every level of postmodern and psychoanalytic fuckery imaginable. I love hearing both K on K and clash of civs debates, so yes go for it. The one caveat is that the more familiarity I have with the K, the higher of a standard I'll hold you to while running it. This doesn't mean I won't vote on a poorly explained Baudrillard K, but my disappointment will be reflected in your speaker points. My preferred strategy when I ran K's was going 1-off, because I think that's the best way to fully develop your thesis and (hopefully) complex arguments. If you're the type of person who runs 7 K's in the 1NC that all contradict to outspread the other team and go for whatever they undercover, you devalue this activity (and not in a Baudrillardian sense - in a "you suck" sense), and I encourage the aff to take some prep for the 2AC and point out the contradictions in the neg's K's and why this means they should lose as per their own authors. I will most likely agree. I think framework is crucial for both the aff and neg in K debates, as these rounds can sometimes be won on framework alone, even stuff as extreme as "they don't get to have an aff" or "they don't get to have a K". Other than that, I think the best strategy for affs against K's is a solid link-turn that's specific to the K's impacts.
FW: I've been on both sides of the Framework/K-Aff debate many times, and have absolutely 0 predispositions about either argument when they clash. I've found that sticking to either procedural fairness/gameplaying or portable skills instead of trying to fuse the two works best, but you do you (in most instances, debate is a game is probably most strategic route). I can be fairly easily convinced that K-Affs make debate less fair, but not enough teams are going the distance and explaining why fairness is an inherent good or important. If its an impact and not just an internal link, justify that! Also, why aren't people going for agonism on FW anymore, that's a fun argument. For the aff, even if the neg says that you can't leverage the 1AC against FW, it doesn't hurt to try. Make sure to flag central pieces of offense against FW for me at the top of your flow!
K-Affs: I ran only K-Affs from my sophomore year onward, and prefer evaluating them to policy affs. I'm down with any branch of K literature u chose to use, and I'd really like for there to be SOME kind of relation to the topic, the extent of that is up to you. (like 8 minutes of an interpretive dance where you repeatedly chant "CJR" or something). That being said, if you're trying to no-link framework fairness claims, the closer you are to the topic, the better that'll work out for you. If you're ready to tell me fairness doesn't matter, the world is your oyster. In my eyes, you don't need to have an advocacy text, nor be constrained to auditory forms of communication, nor even be speaking in English, unless the other team says you need those things, in which case y'all can debate it out. Neg should try to run something other than/in addition to just framework against K-Affs, as the aff has most likely prepped the hell out of your arguments. Get some good ol' fashioned case debate in there too!
Don't ever: be blatantly racist, sexist, etc, you know the drill. If it happens, you'll get an auto-loss, 0 speaks, and I'll have a conversation with your coach. Don't make me take time out of my day to do that.
Troll arguments: Go for it, there's very few things I won't vote for, and they were just mentioned above. I fall under the Calum Matheson school of thought, wherein if you truly think an argument is incredibly asinine, you should have no problem answering it, and if you can't answer it, you deserve to lose. However, trolling in cross-ex is a form of performance in my eyes, so be sure you know what you're getting yourself into, and how it relates to your arguments.
Intervention: I don't like it, don't make me fill in blanks for u
Speaker points: I debated fairly recently so I know what speaks should look like in this day and age. I'll give higher speaks for bold strategic choices, creative arguments, a good knowledge of your arguments, and confidence in what you're saying. Jokes are also very welcome and appreciated and can boost your speaks, especially if they concern my old debate partner, there's a lot about him to roast. Entertain me.
Im not a fan of overly heavy theory. I’ve learned that people in LD tend to un-clearly spread thru their pre-written theory analytics, and I have no desire to write down points 1-17 for why X is a voter when you’re slurring words at 400 WPM.
I don’t have super strong opinions on Phil stuff. I think it’s interesting for sure, and I have a good degree of familiarity with the authors, but I don’t think it makes for good or meaningful debate. Run it if u must, but if the entire debate ends up entirely coming down to Kant or Spinoza I will not be happy.
Trix are an interesting gray area for me. I guess I'll vote on it if you win, but if I have to evaluate whatever the fuck "firmly determined" means or something along those lines, my disappointment will be reflected in speaker points. I draw a distinction between trix and general trolling. Trolling is all good if it’s justified.
I think I’m really good for the K, for K-aff’s, and for framework. I elaborate on those in detail above in my Policy paradigm. I encourage you to read that before figuring out where to pref me.
If you know anything about debating in front of judges who've only ever done Policy debate, that's how you should probably try to adapt. I have, however, judged enough LD rounds at this point where I feel like I’m fairly familiar with all the ways this activity is different than Policy, so it’s chillin.
Cheaters lose. Clipping cards is cheating. Reading K-aff's is certainly not cheating unless you convince me that it is. Tech > Truth. Please make the round entertaining for me!!! It could only help ur speaks.
The only topic work I’ve done for Personhood is digging up my old plant ontology files, go slow and tell me your stuff.
If my camera is off I am not present - don’t start.
I've read every kind of aff from straight up heg good to baudrillard, I care way less about what arguments you make than how well you defend them.
I went for the K a lot in high school and still do, but I also love a good policy round, and would much rather you debate to your strengths than to what arguments you think I'll like.
Put me on the email chain, firstname.lastname@example.org I won't be reading along, unless you read a card that I think is so good I want to recut it for my teams, or if there's a dispute about something that was read.
I flow on paper. This means that you going slightly slower, and having a clear story will be quite helpful. I'm at the tail-end of year 10 competing and year 5 judging, so this doesn't mean you have to talk to me like I'm a parent judge, but it does mean that if you go full speed through 8 minutes of blocks, to not be surprised when I miss an argument or two. The easy fix to this, for all of you speed demons out there, is to label your arguments with a flowable tag. We already do this with cards, why not do it with our analytics too?
When making my decision. I first write up the most important arguments for both sides. This usually comes down to about 2-3 things, though that may just be because I only judge clash rounds. I then look over my flow, and try to write up an explanation of each, and what it means for both sides. I then compare these, and look for responses that the other team has forwarded. What this means for you, is that it is in your interest to identify what you think the 2-3 most important arguments for either side are, tell me why you're winning them, or why you should still win in the event that you don't win these arguments. If you do not do this, I will still do my best to identify these arguments, but, what I think is important and what you do may not line up, and as a result, our perceptions of the winner may not line up either.
When doing this, I often try as hard as I can to not read evidence. This is because I am very committed to my belief that debate is an activity about communication, and that if you did not effectively communicate an argument to me, it does not matter if you read an amazing card. While I obviously still care about research and evidence quality, I feel that the impulse to read all of the evidence to decide the round makes me more interventionist (which I would like to avoid) and also seems to fall outside of the terms of debate. I.e. outside of teams dropping stuff, if i were to just decide the round based on the cards you read, and not what you said about them, why should I even be sitting there for two hours listening to you? Couldn't you just send me your cards and have me decide at the end whose I thought were better?
This applies less and less if both sides are comparing a piece of evidence, or questioning it's qualifications, or implication, but the "this card is fire, please read it judge" has never been something I have been that inclined to do.
I judge a majority clash debates (around 80% when I last checked) and have found that oftentimes the winners in this debates are the ones who engage with the other side's approach to the world, rather than just explaining why their approach is better. While we obviously should still care about drops, and they are often useful in making decisions in these rounds, I've found that it's useful for both teams to invest a substantial amount of time in looking to where the other team clashed, as much as where they didn't.
I've noticed that I may sound kind of grumpy when giving rfds. This very rarely reflects my distaste at having to judge your round, and more so reflects that I am displeased at having to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
My favorite judges in high school were always the ones who seemed really excited to be there judging my round, and the ones who emphasized voting on what was in the round. I love debate and I know you care about the activity to be giving up your weekends to compete in it, and it would be rude of me if I didn’t put all my effort into making the best decision I can. If you don’t think I’m paying enough attention, go ahead and call me out. Nothing here is set in stone, but, if you don't tell me to change how I'd evaluate any of these, then they're my defaults.
1 Tech Over truth, but to an extent. True arguments require less technical explanation for me to buy what you're selling. Oftentimes when making decisions, I find that I am looking at dropped words on my flow, but am unsure how to piece them together to make a cohesive rfd. It is in your best interest to not only tell me what was dropped, but then tell me what I should think about the drops.
2 Mediocre strategies may win in front of me, but, speaker points will likely suffer. If the 1ar drops aspec that was at the bottom of your t overview, and that’s your a-strat, I’m probably not the judge for you. I prefer debates with either really tricky and nuanced strategies, or teams that are willing to just bet it all on black and go for impact turns. I've found that teams that do a better job articulating how I should evaluate arguments do better in front of me than teams that just wait for me to reconstruct what an argument means for my decision. I'm not smart so if you tell me how arguments implicate the rest of the debate, you'll be in a better spot.
3 Protecting the 2nr. There's nothing worse than giving what you think is a fire 2nr and then watching the judge nod along with an argument you're certain wasn't in the 1ar. 2ars should have a high standard for drawing arguments from the 1ar unless they were clear in the speech. I.E. new 2ar cross applications should be justified in the speech/flagged in the 1ar. If I don’t think I could have seen it coming, I probably will think it’s new.
4 Counterplans: They should compete with the aff. Theory arguments are usually just reasons to reject the counterplan, but this is primarily because most folks are afraid of going all in. If your solvency deficit is mediocre, theory is probably a good way out. You don't need a solvency advocate, but having one definitely makes your job easier. Exploit generic link chains in affs.
Generic pics are awful, and specific pics are one of the fastest ways to get good speaks, but in both cases, pics bad needs to come back with a vengeance. I won't judge kick unless you tell me to in the 2NR.
5 Disads: 2acs with bold strats, i.e. straight turning a disad would increase my value to life, and your speaker points. I am very much in the camp that a disad that isn't a full argument in the 1nc is a terrible strategic decision hint: 1a's pull out your impact turns. Outside of that though, I really do like them, whether you're a plug and chug politics team, or a team with the amazing topic link card that no one else has found.
6 Kritiks I like them, they’re probably my favorite argument. I’m really into high theory, and probably am a good judge for you if you like to run kritiks. I’ve run all kinds of things, mainstream stuff like cap, and apoc rhet, to stuff like dng, baudrillard, and halberstam. Examples, explanation and re-contextualization will be integral to your success. These rounds are often more about controlling the narrative than many others, which makes sense given that the focus of the debate is on whether the assumptions that the other team has forwarded are valid.
You don’t need to have an alt to win, but you should justify why. Your links should be specific to the aff. Obviously this is a sliding scale, and if you're reading a K of realism against an aff from John Mearsheimer, I won't be rolling my eyes wishing you had a card specific to the aff, but, If I can’t tell what aff your debating in your 2nc on the k, we’re both gonna have a bad time.
I was always pretty frustrated after giving a 2nr on the K when the judge was just like. "I know you both read a bunch of stuff on framework, but I couldn't really decide who won so I kinda just picked a middle option that both teams never said" Not only does this seem to heavily favor the affirmative, but also reflects a combination of arguments that was never advocated for by either team. I think the best strategy for the aff is just to have some arguments that presume that they (gasp) have to defend why their representations and scholarship are good. Given that most k's are some kind of argument about how the affirmative's theory of IR justifies violence, it doesn't seem that hard to identify the strain of IR that you have affirmed, and provide a defense of why you think about the world the way you do. If the neg has said debate is about how we craft our subjectivity, and said that the subjectivity they endorse opposes a particular world view, why wouldn't this equally apply to the aff, and the defensive realist subjectivity of the taiwan aff be a reason why you should get to say your impacts still matter.
Generally though, I think that affs need to be doing a lot better job answering k's. Please talk about your aff more and generic backfile cards less. Most cases outweigh the k, and extinction impacts are often pretty persuasive. I really do not want to die, and presume that most people do not want to die either, and one thing that always confused me was when there were debates where that comparison didnt really start until the last two rebuttals.
I also think more affs should just bite the link and impact turn the K. Obvi dont read racism/sexism/ableism good, thats the quickest way to a 25 and an L short of conceding the round, but, every K makes other claims that you can, and probably should consider reading offense against.
Two side thoughts
1. Most people read utterly incoherent theories of international relations. I.E. Ikenberry and Mearsheimer may both think that leadership is good, but are not as buddy buddy as people would like me to believe. Obviously just being like "lmao these cards are a double turn" does not meet the threshold of an argument, but, "the aff de-prioritizes the role of institutions because ___ this means that you should be skeptical of their ability to solve for the liberal international order, which Ikenberry says is cohered through a strong commitment to international institutions" is. The latter will shock and impress me, and put your baseline speaks at a 29.
2. Most people have turned against the "not our x" Sometimes this is fair, because the team is lying to get out of links. But, I don't particularly understand why a team should be punished because their author had a bad idea that they don't defend or talk about in the 1ac or 1nc. Consider if we applied this same standard to policy rounds, and the neg read a politics card from nate silver about a specific seat in the midterms. The affirmative responded with a card that said "nate silver was way off on this one super unrelated prediction" and read a card indicting the method of that poll specifically. Why would the neg be tied to defending the poll that they have not cited, and is not intrinsic to their argument? This doesn't mean that I'm waiting to vote on not our x, but, that I will be pleased if both teams can defend why their argument is or is not distinct from x, by demonstrating a command of the literature base that they are deploying.
7 Topicality: Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't really understand ground arguments - if you don't have generics ready to go for core topic areas, or arguments that make debating the aff irrelevant (impact turns, process cp's etc) that seems like a you problem. I get some affs are really small and don't do much, but either they have an absurd impact claim that you can turn or outweigh, or they'd need such a contrived interpretation of the topic to be T that you could just go for limits.
Reasonability has never really made sense to me either, because usually those debates just boil down into the same silly buzzwords that everyone uses. I think reasonability can be an incredibly gnarly argument if it's framed more in the form of an explanation of why offense/defense is bad for topicality debates. Scotty P wrote a really good explanation of what that would look like here https://hsimpact.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/what-is-reasonability/
Things that will get you good speaks
5 minutes of Antonio in the 2nr (not joking)
9 Clipping- Don’t do it. I’ll be sad, and have to give you a 0
10 No argument too strange- I can be convinced to vote on anything if you do well. T is a rvi, double win theory, normativity k, silence k. If you think you can pull it off, and want to risk a ballot on it go ahead. If you execute it poorly, I'll probably be annoyed, but at the same time, no one ever did anything to radically change debate without taking a lot of risks.
11 Non-traditional affs. I think I’m a pretty good judge for these. I think these affirmatives are unfair, but, don't really know why that's bad (fairness is not an impact). I don’t really think framework is deployed effectively very often, which is unfortunate, because I oftentimes think that many of the claims from framework teams make a lot of intuitive sense. I ended up voting against framework about 60% of the time last year, but I'd attribute that a lot more to what happened in the rounds I judged than to a general predisposition.
For the neg. When I vote neg on T, it's because the negative has successfully done one of two things.
1. Proven that their impact turns the aff's offense.
2. Proven that the aff doesn't solve their offense, and have mitigated the application of case to T in a way beyond the sentence blurb "they don't get to weigh the aff because t is a procedural"
I've found that the topical version of the aff has become less persuasive to me the more clash rounds I've judged. This is not due to the argument being not strategic, but rather, me being left confused about how the topical version resolves offense that the affirmative has deployed, (and a secondary problem of most topical versions of the aff not meeting the standard of being a topical aff in a policy v policy round). The solution to this is easy. Instead of repeating any disad to the topical version doesn't prove it isn't an answer, it just proves neg ground, take some time thinking about the offense that the other team is deploying.
A second problem, is that most people seem to forget they're reading a topicality argument. I have judged almost 30 framework debates this year, and in about 5 of them, I've been clear on how the counterinterpretation solved the aff's disads, and included their affirmative. If the aff read a counterinterp they didn't meet on T-Pearson, or that didn't solve the aff's overlimiting offense why wouldn't you point that out? There's a reason why you're reading interpretations, and why we call framework a topicality argument, you should debate your shell as such.
I've also found that the repetitive "but what do you do?" presumption argument, is wholly unpersuasive. Most affs say they do something, and the neg says, but what do you do, the aff says what they do, and the neg says, yeah, but what do you do? I think this can also be fixed pretty easily, instead of carrying over this, but what do you do argument, make the implied follow on argument, which is something to the effect of, if x structure is so totalizing as their theory says it is, their method is insufficient to resolve it. Think about x as a similar example, which failed for y reason.
All this being said, I'm more than willing to vote on T, as it is obviously a strategic position, and I'm very sympathetic to teams (especially without substantial coaching resources) who would rather prepare to get really good at one argument that would answer all no plan affs, as opposed to specific critiques/disads.
For the aff - Have a clear counterinterp, tight impact turn story, and exploit the weakness of most teams at answering arguments that they are mostly unfamiliar with.
You have to answer disads, even if you dont defend hypothetical implementation of usfg action. This doesn't mean I'm waiting to vote on the aff flips the 2020 election, but rather that if you can think of a nuanced way to articulate a link I wont be a super tough sell on the aff has to defend the consequences of their epistemology. I.e. if an aff says that executive power is bad, I feel like John Yoo would have some things to say about that, even if the aff doesn't implement a policy.
I also really enjoy K vs K debates, as this gives me a break from hearing about what Steinberg and Freely need to tell me about decisionmaking, and allows both sides to engage literature bases that are often not brought into connection with each other. One side note is that I tend to find that the theory of power debate is far less compelling than specific applications. Most folks in the 2nr and 2ar tend to just be like, they dropped our theory of power, game over!!
Questions? Email me at email@example.com. The longer you wait, the less specific my comments may be, but I have noticed that I recall my thoughts about rounds more than I don't.
Glenbrook South '19 | University of Michigan '23
I've been both a 2A and 2N. I judged and led a lab at the University of Michigan camp this summer, and have researched on the topic.
Be organized. Do line-by-line, impact calc, judge instruction, and evidence comparison. Do not just read evidence in the 2AC/2NC/1NR. Smart analytics can overcome bad evidence.
Inserting rehighlightings is okay as long as the rehighlightings are short and the implication is explained in the speeches.
For everything below, I can be convinced otherwise through good debating. Feel free to ask clarification questions pre-round!
I love good case debating. No, this does not just mean yes/no impact. Yes, this means debating the internal link to advantages (and disadvantages). Debates can easily be won or lost here, and internal link comparison in the final rebuttals is underutilized.
Case-specific DAs are preferable, but politics can be good with decent evidence and persuasive spin.
Rider DAs are not DAs.
Advantage CPs are preferable to Agent CPs/Process CPs. PDCP definitions (from both sides) should have specific standards/theoretical justifications.
Condo is (probably) good, kicking planks is (probably) good, and judge kick is the default unless debated otherwise.
2NC CPs are good against new affirmatives, but against non-new affirmatives, the 2NC should justify their new planks. The 1AR can convince me this is abusive (especially if the 2NC is adding new planks to get out of a straight-turned DA).
Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, not the team unless debated otherwise.
It is important for both sides to map out what topics look like under their interpretations, especially at the beginning of the season. What affirmatives are included? What negative argument are guaranteed? What does each interpretation exclude? Examples help frame the round!
Evidence quality matters much more in these rounds!
T vs K Affs
Debate is a game, and competition/winning drives our participation in debate. The strongest impacts to T are fairness and clash (iterative testing, testing etc). Negative teams have had success in front of me when they utilize clash to link turn affirmative offense.
Specific TVAs are good. You do not need evidence as long as you have a plan text and explain what debate rounds would look like under the TVAs.
I am most familiar with Anti-Blackness, Capitalism, and Settler Colonialism literature, and not as familiar with Baudrillard, Bataille etc.
Please do not give extremely long overviews. Root cause claims, impact comparisons at the top are smart and strategic, but the rest of the "overview" can be incorporated into the line-by-line later on the flow.
Impact out each link!
Above all, tech over truth--to this, there are no realistic exceptions. Fairness in evaluation is most relevant for arguments which are disreputable, and it is my intent to be fair. I will evaluate every argument I have on my flow, and refuse none. It's an argument if I understand it, which includes most blips but excludes some K things. My opinions about content that follow are the equilibrium provided teams make the best available arguments, so far as I understand them, which means that when the best arguments aren't made, I'm liable to vote exactly opposite of what I've said here. Superior debating overrides all.
Although it hurts to say, I am not the best flow, and will likely miss some arguments. I can't be trusted to make the right decision in situations when such a decision hinges on a single, unemphasized argument. To be clear, I will try to do that--and vote remorselessly on, say, dropped one line intrinsicness if I got it--but a lack of clarity is the strategic risk inherent to speed. I will try my best to be fair, and care about making the right decision, even when it may be inconvenient or for something I find distasteful. Sometimes, I have made the wrong decision--I am not a relativist, and judges are often wrong. Corny as it, numbering 1NC case/2AC offcase arguments, and then adhering to those numbers, helps me a lot and will increase the likelihood I render the most correct decision.
I am very sensitive to judge instruction: About when an argument is new, about what evidence I should read or under what circumstances, about how strictly or literally I should take what was said, so on. My default is that I shouldn't read any evidence unless it's a subject of contention and that tags start at 100% risk.
I enjoy villainy, and things generally hated: scandalous impact turns, process counterplans/neg terrorism, competitive personalities, egregiousness and trickery.
LD: I never competed in LD and have judged it sparingly. But, I have more than a passing interest in analytic philosophy and, as you might tell from the rest of this paradigm, considerably more tolerance for trickery and theory than a typical 'policy' judge. There will be some gaps in my knowledge of norms and some content but: I try hard to flow and be fair and vote on what was said, which puts me in an alarmingly high percentile for your potential judges....
K affs and framework:
The aff should go for impact turns. I think that K arguments are almost uniformly awful, but have no objection to voting on even the weakest among them. Go for "debate bad means it's good that we destroy it" or "no models--only in-round 'violence'" or whatever else. Cynical and tricky K teams should easily reach competitive parity with top policy teams because of the tactics they have at their disposal. But they must use those tactics. Instead, 2ACs often waste time with wordplay that is easily reduced to zero by a even a third-rate recitation of plagiarized framework blocks.
DAs do not generally link to K affs, unless the aff catastrophically fails in cross-ex. If they do, then even a negligible risk of the DA clearly outweighs and turns the case. The neg should probably go for T, or maybe a PIK (will the aff successfully execute competition?). High theory Ks can also be good against typical K affs, and mostly now lose, I suspect, for ideological reasons which I will not replicate. I am worse for identity politics than other Ks. I prefer bad faith debating about identity to its moralizing, sincere alternative, and technical debating above all.
On T, the neg should go for fairness. I have a low opinion of the education that debate provides or even could provide, really. Clash is not the point of debate--it is strategic to minimize it. Of course, all strategies are viable. These are recommendations, not prescriptions, and I have voted every way.
There is behavior sufficiently objectionable to sideline competitive concerns. That is easy to establish. The rub is whether or not the object of the dispute (often, reading T) constitutes that behavior. Truthfully, it basically never does, but policy teams can lose this argument, and do.
Ks on the neg:
The best Ks are framework arguments that moot the plan. Second best is a concrete (if utopian) alt with framework-type reasons why "do both" is illegitimate. Without some way of overcoming the uniqueness problem, Ks don't make sense and wouldn't outweigh the case if they did. Alternately, the K should be a vehicle for tricks: "If we're right about the incurable racism of the academy, assume that all social science is false and vote neg on presumption" is the kind of thing I would speedily vote on when dropped by the 1AR, perhaps because it was overstretched having to answer several other tricks. Those are the three main 2NRs I am looking to vote for. "Link, impact, alt" is incoherent and factually defeated by the perm double bind. The problem is not me--the emperor has no clothes. To be clear, that excludes "links to the plan," which are bad, non-unique DAs. Even when they are unique, they likely will not outweigh the case without considerable attention paid to framing. Of course, the aff still must minimally extend the perm and non-unique and so on in situations that call for it.
To reiterate, I think the fiat K that moots the case and has the neg go for framework impact turns is very winnable, something on which the aff could reasonably get out-teched. Similar the other 2NRs. I believe debate is a technical game and don't want my feelings in truth about the K to be mistook for my belief that it's not at least sometimes viable. On the other hand, incoherent arguments are extremely unstrategic, because they can be easily beaten.
Obviously, I will only assess the aff's FW interpretation versus the negs. Middle-ground interpretations are fine, but you don't need them to win, and I will won't opt for one unilaterally. A neg interp that allows the aff to weigh the case but reserves uniqueness for links does solve some fairness offense and could be strategic if the K impacts get to extinction (say, security or cap), but I think the aff should probably go for no Ks.
There are some teams and persons who inspired me in the K world--Izak Dunn, James Mollison, Ani Prabhu--who made me believe that more creativity and alternate models were possible and worthwhile. At the moment, it's hard to reconstruct exactly what they were. But I mention them here to curb my cynicism and to break from my narrow prescriptions up until this point. I was a K debater in high school (high theory, Buddhism, anthro).
For policy debaters: If an extinction impact is dropped, it needs no further elaboration.
Reasonability is about the threshold of necessary offense before the the penalty for substance crowdout is outweighed. It is wholly irrelevant of whether or not the aff is popular or easy to debate or if the neg read multiple positions in the 1NC.
It is far easier to win a giant limits DA and 'debatability matters most,' than that precision in the abstract outweighs, and I will vote on that. But my true belief is that there really is a 'best' way to read the resolution in context, and I care about this 'precise' reading immensely. I don't know how pertinent that will be in really-existing debates. I highly, highly recommend Scalia's Reading Law for thinking about topicality.
Plan text in a vacuum is obviously true, and better than all competing standards by a great deal, with the exception of specification in 1AC CX. (It is only better than that standard by a lot.) Serious question: What would topicality be about, if not the plan? "Planicality" loses swiftly to analytical PICs and a topic DA. Related: Normal means is a factual question. If the aff declares the plan happens in an unrealistic way, the neg should read contravening evidence.
Counterplans & theory:
I like counterplan competition and find it interesting, especially its outer recesses. I agree exactly with Rafael: "I don’t share the sanctimonious distaste that many do for plan inclusive or process counterplans. I won’t think a net benefit is bad just because it’s ‘artificial’ and I don’t think a DA/Case 2NR is necessarily better than a counterplan that steals the aff." You should go for the argument that maximizes your chance of victory, regardless of whether or not it represents research as some people in the community may like.
Textual alone is a bad standard, but I think textual and functional or just functional are both OK.
I am a little higher on theory than I used to be, because I realized that competition alone cannot elegantly exclude game-breaking counterplans, like those which fiat both the federal government and the states, or private actors. But I am still mostly in the "get good" school, and am fine for the neg on most questions. Then again, theory is a technical matter like any other, and in fact more susceptible to fatal drops, and so it's still probably worth the time.
Conditionality: Seven is clearly worse than two, but even seven isn't so bad.
RVIs: Stupid, but don't warrant suspension of the law of tech over truth.
Judgekick: Truthfully good, but no different than everything else in vulnerability to technical debating.
Text vagueness: Concern is overheated. The neg should write texts as vague as they can get away with, but counterplans should probably be policies. Normal means determines what the counterplan does; sufficiently vague ones may factually do something unrelated to neg solvency claims.
Again Rafael: "I don’t understand the moral panic about politics, ‘generic’ DAs, or links to fiat. A disadvantage is just some negative consequence the plan brings about. The nature of that consequence is entirely irrelevant except to the extent it affects the substantive magnitude of the impact." And again, you should go for the argument that maximizes your chance of victory.
Zero risk will probably only be achieved through judge instruction, or expired uniqueness, or some sort of plan flaw. But even then, how can I be sure that I'm not only hallucinating it's not 2016? Or that the author of the card accidentally cited the wrong bill? Truthfully, I think this logic is suspect, but the reasons why that are commonly discussed in round are unimpressive.
See the note on PTIV as well.
What fiat means is open to debate, but starts at durable, good faith passage. Circumvention is a theoretical, normative matter whose viability varies by the topic.
Presumption is the procedure for adjudicating a tie, not deference to the status quo through "least change." Of course, it may behoove the neg to advocate the "least change" standard.
Analytics can defeat many advantages (but probably won't get them to zero).
Soft left affs will likely struggle. The more the "framing" arguments are defense (even if not in the traditional sense), the more successful they will be. Strategies that grant that the plan causes extinction but plead that other issues matter more hardly even need to be answered for me...
Impact turns/misc. arguments:
Debate is a voluntary, competitive game centered on disagreement, which means that, of all scholastic activities, it must be the most permissive in speech. I must be a responsible supervisor of high school students, but I also have a responsibility to ensure fairness between competitors, as measured by technical judging to the best of my ability, regardless of content. Relatedly, skill in the art of debate requires the cultivation of mental toughness and the ability to countenance ideas that may be upsetting at first; it requires a philosophical tact and mental flexibility to take seriously a superficially ludicrous claim, or four. Debate should not be a place where scoffing is good enough, or where students are taught to run to an adult the moment they encounter something challenging--that is literally everywhere else. It should certainly not be a place where judges abandon logic and allow bad responses to defeat arguments they dislike. Not only would I violate the fairness of the game were I to intervene against some arguments, I would also compromise students developing the habits of mind that are sorely needed nowadays, and which, you'd hope, debate would be able to provide....
If it's not clear: Yes, that includes the death good argument that all human life is worse than nonexistence on balance, so maximizing the number killed is good. It also includes spark and war good and liberal shibboleth bad and aliens and souls and libertarianism and yadda yadda. My views are no longer the in majority within our community which, although discouraging, has the silver lining that I am perfectly comfortable saying that if you would like judges to intervene on your behalf on those issues, you should strike me. You will still have the majority of other judges to choose from; I'd like to judge debates where teams have 'opted in' to the joy of nihilism.
Nonetheless, there is something gorgeous about teams defeating impact turns, defending the truth. Successfully parrying a 1NC full of garbage would make very pleased to vote aff, if they did, and has historically afforded my best points.
D-rules are not answered by "case outweighs," nor uniqueness, and instead require a defense of some kind of consequentialism or criticisms of deontology/rights.
Whether or not an argument is "generic" or has legitimately no bearing on how much the other team has to respond to it. Similarly, the threshold for answering a bad argument is only low in the sense that there exist arguments which easily beat it---it does not mean that arguments other than those 'true' responses are somehow better. In fact, often, responses to 'bad' arguments are unrecoverably poor. Anything else is unfair (to competitors) and illogical.
The 2NC is a constructive, and so wholly new case arguments and positions (including counterplans) may be read in it. The 1NR and 1AR do not get unjustified new arguments, although justifications are easy to come by, and include the other team making any new arguments. Similarly for cards. When extending, say, dropped theory, the extensions should also be blippy, to avoid making new arguments to which the aff can respond, or at least careful to avoid them, demarcating which kinds of new arguments may be allowed. When an argument is truthfully new or illegitimate, you do not need to respond to it, other than to point that out.
Dropped arguments that make the other team's thing zero risk cannot be recovered from, assuming the team that made them doesn't own goal themselves. Sometimes there was nothing the rebuttals could've done!
Don't do the annoying echo thing--if you need your partner to say something, the ideal is that you type it in a Google Doc to which they alt tab when you tell them to. If it's not written down, then I will flow the speaking partner until it becomes excessive, after which I won't flow it at all. The only reason you should repeat them is if it wasn't audible. Obviously, this is bad for your ethos and you should try to avoid it.
Updated November 2022
2 Years at Los Rios Community College
1 Year at CSU Fullerton
1 Year at UNLV
2 Years Coaching at UWG
2 years @ Baylor
Iowa 2019 - 2020
IC 2022 -
Coached for CKM on TI topic
Coached for Juan Diego on Surveillance
Coach for SLC West Education
Coached for CKM Immigration - CJR
Coached for Nevada Union Immigration - CJR
Add me to your email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2022 Update:
Taylor Swift lyrics cleverly incorporated will result in a speaker point boost. Jokes in poor taste will result in a speaker point drop. Buyer beware.
"I am a firm believer that debate is for debaters. I had my time to make others listen to whatever (and I do mean absolutely whatever) I wanted to say, and its my turn to listen to and evaluate your arguments, whatever they may be. While I'm sure I have my limitations make me adapt to you instead of the other way arouund" -- Lindsay VanLuvanee
I will attempt to limit the amount my predispositions will influence how I evaluate a debate round. Don't feel as if you need to change your strategy to debate in front of me, do what you do best, because the alternative is usually subpar debate. The final two rebuttals should write my ballot for me, teams that accurately break the round down and are reasonable about what they are and are not winning will usually be rewarded with increased speaker points.I enjoy a high level of specificity and nuance broad sweeping claims will get you nowhere. I place importance on how pieces of evidence get debated, as opposed to simply constructing debates based on the pieces of evidence that have been introduced. While I also place a premium on quality evidence (which, I would like to be able to hear during your speech), I believe that a smart analytic argument has the potential to gain equal traction to a solid piece of evidence. Quality always trumps quantity.
I find cross ex to be the most important part of debate its one of the few times I feel I get to connect with the individual debaters, while I don't flow it I pay very close attention to it, and what happens here will inform how I see large portions of the round.
Theory needs to be well executed. Debates in which theory blocks do the arguing almost always favor the neg.
I don’t like cheap shots.(This does not mean I won't vote on them, I'll just be cranky about it) I like arguments to be well developed. Most cheap shots are not reasons to reject the team and significant time would need to be spent in order to convince me otherwise. However, it is your burden to point out how irrelevant many theory arguments that are advanced in debates are, as a concession may force my hand.
Nearly all theory questions I end up siding in favor of the negative, I think conditionality is fine, any potentially abusive CP is checked by quality of evidence. 50 States Fiat is one arg where an affirmative could convince me this is a reason to reject the team it is likely to still be an uphill battle.
Judge Kick: I think this deserves its own section, when the 2nr goes for a CP I believe the debate is solely a question of plan versus the CP. While a 2nr can instruct me to to kick the cp for them if the 2r wins offense against the counterplan an affirmative can respond that I shouldn't kick the counterplan for the negative and I am likely to side with the affirmative. If the 2nr contains a counterplan I have a very strong predisposition that if the affirmative wins substantive solvency deficits to the counterplan or other offense against it that outweighs the net benefit than I should be voting aff. And that I then shouldn't decide to then evaluate the status quo (i..e the net-benefit) vs. the plan.
Separate from the framework section, I really enjoy evidentiary T debates that aren't clash of civ debates. I find these are some of the most nuanced debates about what the resolution means which is always compelling to me. I evaluate topicality like a DA offense v defense. For affirmatives here do not place all your eggs in the basket of reasonability, I think only reasonability is only a question of the interpretation and not the aff or plan itself. Any other interpretation of reasonability I don't think constitutes an actual argument.
First contrary to popular belief I do not hack for framework, however this year I have noticed myself voting for framework more often than I don't vote for framework. For me there are a few ways the framework debates break down in terms of impact, primarily between procedural and education based impacts. By procedural I mean those impact arguments that result from things such as limits, or grounds internal links to impacts like clash, fairness, debatability. The second form of framework are those arguments about decision making skills, topic education, deliberative democracy.
If you are negative reading framework I cannot stress how much I would rather see the version of framework that couches its arguments in terms of the procedural side, ie. limits , ground, etc. I believe this is the most strategic form of the argument. I believe debate is a game and impacts that make the game unable to be played by one side or the other constitute a reason to vote negative. Explanations of the impact that have been compelling to me is that I strongly believe there should be a negative path to victory, a negative that couches their impacts like this will have greatly increased my likelihood to vote for framework. For affirmatives debating this style of framework if you win a counter interpretation that provides a limit on the topic and can explain why that limit on the topic mitigates some portion of the negative offense regards to limits or debateability, then that is the best route for getting me to vote affirmative. I will also say YOU NEED OFFENSE, playing the middle ground will not get my ballot I need impact turns big disads to their interpretation of the topic with well explained impacts. If affirmative I do not need 5-10 barely explained disads to FWI need 1-4 well explained and warranted DA's to the negative interpretation.
Conversely it is much harder to win my ballot exclusively going for arguments about topic education, decision making skills, or deliberative democracy. I believe any affirmative that is even close to knowing what they are doing will be able to easily impact turn these arguments. This isn't to say you shouldn't read these arguments at all they can be excellent external impacts to your interpretation, but instead you should use these arguments as a supplement to the more game-playing/ procedural versions of the argument.
For negatives who have framework as their go to strat THE CASE STILL MATTERS , the reason for this is the case determines the weight I give to affirmative impact turns / disadvantages to framework. If the affirmative solves 100% of their aff then I gave 100% of the weight of their impact turns to framework, conversely if the aff solves maybe 1% of their aff then the strength of the disadvantages or impact turns will be drastically reduced.
Topical version of the aff: You don't have to have one to win but it can help. They also don't have to solve the entire aff instead they are a test to show that the content of the aff is not precluded by the resolutional prompt. For affirmatives the topical version of the aff doesn't solve our aff not very persuasive to me. However, an argument that the topical version of the aff is not in fact topical under the negative's interpretation of the topic is persuasive. Similarly an argument that the topical version of the aff in fact does not allow for the content of the aff to exist. Form based arguments from affirmatives are also compelling to me in response to topical versions of the aff, how the content may exist but the form of it would not be, can be an extremely persuasive argument against both the topical version, as well as also acting as offense against the negatives interpretation.
Beyond counter interpretations it can be incredibly helpful for an affirmative to have a counter model of what debate looks like, which can act as a filter for a variety of the negatives arguments as well as acting as a type of uniqueness for your own impact turns to a negatives interpretation of the topic.
Something I've told to a few debaters this year may help further contextualize what I've said here -- "If both affirmative and neg execute absolutely perfectly I probably lean slightly negative" -- however it should be noted that I have never seen this perfect execution take place.
I will do my best to limit my predispositions from giving explanation or advancing arguments for the other team. Specificity and spin are important for both sides of the debate. I don’t like generic explanations of meta theory with no tie to the affirmative. Similarly, I don’t like generic responses to critical theory outside of the context of the aff. Generic evidence does not force generic explanation.
Disability k's -- Due to how I spent my last two years in debate , this is obviously a body of literature that I am extremely familiar with however if you are not familiar with it trying to pick it up just because I am in the back of the room is a terrible decision, and one you will almost certainly regret. Secondarily I thought I should include my thoughts on the various ableist language arguments. Essentially most of the time I believe these arguments in and of themselves don't constitute a great argument unless its an especially violent piece of language this doesn't mean what you say doesn't matter what it does mean is that the negative needs to explain to me why the language warrants a negative ballot and not just punitive measures like maybe lower speaker points or not evaluating certain pieces of evidence. I'm happy to explain this further if there are questions.
Recent years I have found I have a tendency to enjoy arguments described as "high-theory" IF THEY ARE EXECUTED WELL. I have coached teams to read all variety or arguments from the cap k to baudrillard, so if the death K is your jam then you should go for it. A lot of my current academic work revolves around disability and psychoanalysis so take that as you will.
If you ask anyone at Baylor they will tell you (and are correct) in that I really enjoy hearing arguments about psychoanalysis I find this to be an incredibly interesting area of argumentation and always enjoy when the affirmative or negative has to do with these questions of psychoanalysis.
I love a good, well-researched, specific strategy. The more generic your strategy becomes, the greater the chance of me assigning an extremely low risk to these arguments. Sometimes there is simply no link. Absolute defense does exist.
The last thing I will say is that debates that I have fun in will be rewarded by higher speaker points. I have fun when I see well thought out and deployed strategy.. Make me laugh and you will be rewarded. Be nice.
Also, I adore good puns (well maybe bad ones even more) make some clever puns in your speeches and you will be rewarded with speaker points.
Change in 2014
excessive / intentional use of racial slurs, jokes in bad tase, misgendering, ableist slurs will result in much lower speaker points. Note: an ableist slur is the R word , or derogatorily referring to someone as a cripple. It is not saying the word stand in your plan text/advocacy statement.
assistant coach @ Berkeley Prep
As of fall 2021, I no longer actively debate. This was not by my own choice, but rather the result of partner scarcity/other people quitting at a small program, and is something I am sort of sad about. It does however, mean a few things:
1. My engagement with the activity entirely takes place through coaching/judging, thus, I will be especially committed to making these debates as good as possible in whatever ways I can.
2. Many of the views and/or biases (particularly concerning k debate) stated in this paradigm are far more weakly held than they were even a few months ago. You probably get away with anything if you do it well.
In high school I was flex but went for the K very often. I would typically go for topicality against critical affs. I have predispositions towards both sides of the clash of civs depending on issue. My closest mentors in the activity were/are "policy-leaning" and my brief college career was largely k-oriented. Do with all that what you will.
I read a great deal in my spare time and as part of my academic career. This mostly focuses on putatively "critical" bases of literature like world-systems analysis, Russian Studies, Marxism, and development economics. I strive to be neutral but I believe that judges who are highly engaged with scholarship outside of the activity should not try to pretend that it doesn't influence how they think about debates.
+0.3 speaks if you opensource after the debate and tell me
tech determines the direction of truth
protecting the 2nr = yes
not your baudrillard
I will not evaluate arguments made outside of speech times and thus will stop flowing if you continue after the timer
don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc
an expressive judge, but tend to express my feelings about extremely irrelevant things and make difficult to discern expressions
horrible with eye contact
speed = good
I am extremely unlikely to vote in favor of mandating pref disclosure
Do not ask for high speaks
Moralizing is prohibited
I would frankly prefer not to hear fascist and genocidal arguments about "first striking" Russia or China or Iran
other than that, more general "death good" is fine
"kritik affs"/planless affs/t-usfg/framework:
Debate is a game. It is also 1) A game with potentially meaningful effects on the social/political consciousness of the participants and 2) A game with a community, culture, and history. This history may mean that even if an argument is narrowly true, the actual enforcement/implementation of a rule may have historically been used as a tool of exclusion. On the flipside, without rules to the game it might cease to function entirely, and then whatever benefits there are to it would be lost. I can be convinced of either of these things.
affs should not defend a moral truism
i will lean more strongly towards the policy side of these debates when affs do not clearly advocate for something and more strongly towards the critical side when negatives make very racist or orientalist arguments
Critical debates are good when done well. As mentioned above, I am very knowledgeable about literature bases related to Marxism, critiques of imperialism, or orientalism. I am also conversant in baudrillard, foucault, wilderson, etc -- most of the literature that is conventionally read in debates.
links to the plan + alts that function as counterplans OR links that function as impact turns are the most enjoyable k debates for me. these debates produce the most interesting revolutionary research. this doesn't change at all that affs that can't justify weighing the plan will lose in front of me.
I think "weighing the aff" is not all-or-nothing, insofar as the aff is attached to a number of things (political and educational methodology, engagement with certain structures, goals, etc) besides its scenarios which these debates are almost entirely about
Impact turns when well explained and well carded are often a good strategy.
t vs policy affs
I default to competing interpretations.
reasonability is not a thing
not much else to say here
I read most if not all evidence
uq + link + internal link + impact
I like well-researched, specific, techy, creative, etc counterplans. I am a big fan of the advantage cp. I especially enjoy cps that rely on a macroeconomic or ir theory to ground solvency (mmt, prolif good, etc). uniqueness cps are cool
Process counterplans become better the more they are grounded in topic literature. Process counterplans become worse the more they use neg fiat to manufacture an opportunity cost or lead to the aff. Theory will be covered below.
Sufficiency framing >>>>
Logical arguments or arguments based on obvious holes in the aff don't necessarily need solvency advocates
obviously you can kick specific planks
lean negative on: condo, pics (including plan-inclusive alts), no plan no perm
lean affirmative on: fifty state fiat, multi-actor fiat generally, agent counterplans generally, process counterplans that don't very obviously compete
i am open to intrinsic perms being okay to punish shitty process cps
Same views as in policy apply for the most part. Best for larp or structural k debates.
Biases in no plan debates significantly weaker in this activity
I do not know much about analytic phil. I know a decent amount about continental and political phil.
People who have influenced how I debate/judge/view debate:
Ronak Ahuja, Ken Karas, Atticus Glen, Daryl Burch
If you make (nice) jokes at the expense of someone from Mamaroneck chances are that I will laugh, especially if it is Sonia Suben
If you are starting an email chain for the debate, I would like to be included on it: email@example.com
Debate should be centered on the hypothetical world where the United States federal government takes action. I default to a utilitarian calculus and view arguments in an offense/defense paradigm.
Most topicality debates come down to limits. This means it would be in your best interest to explain the world of your interpretation—what AFFs are topical, what negative arguments are available, etc—and compare this with your opponent’s interpretation. Topicality debates become very messy very fast, which means it is extremely important to provide a clear reasoning for why I should vote for you at the top of the 2NR/2AR.
Conditionality is good. I default to rejecting the argument and not the team, unless told otherwise. Counterplans that result in plan action are questionably competitive. In a world where the 2NR goes for the counterplan, I will not evaluate the status quo unless told to by the negative. The norm is for theory debates to be shallow, which means you should slow down and provide specific examples of abuse if you want to make this a viable option in the rebuttals. The trend towards multi-plank counterplans has hurt clarity of what CPs do to solve the AFF. I think clarity in the 1NC on the counterplan text and a portion of the negative block on the utility of each plank would resolve this. I am also convinced the AFF should be allowed to answer some planks in the 1AR if the 1NC is unintelligible on the text.
I am willing to vote on a zero percent risk of a link. Vice versa, I am also willing to vote negative on presumption on case if you cannot defend your affirmative leads to more change than the status quo. Issue specific uniqueness is more important than a laundry list of thumpers. Rebuttals should include impact comparison, which decreases the amount of intervention that I need to do at the end of the debate.
I am not familiar with the literature, or terminology, for most criticisms. If reading a criticism is your main offensive argument on the negative, this means you’ll need to explain more clearly how your particular criticism implicates the affirmative’s impacts. For impact framing, this means explaining how the impacts of the criticism (whether it entails a VTL claim, epistemology, etc.) outweigh or come before the affirmative. The best debaters are able to draw links from affirmative evidence and use empirical examples to show how the affirmative is flawed. Role of the ballot/judge arguments are self-serving and unpersuasive.
In my eight years as a debater, I ran a policy affirmative and primarily went for framework against performance AFFs. The flow during performance debates usually gets destroyed at some point during the 2AC/block. Debaters should take the time to provide organizational cues [impact debate here, fairness debate here, accessibility debate here, etc.] in order to make your argument more persuasive. My lack of experience and knowledge with/on the literature base is important. I will not often place arguments for you across multiple flows, and have often not treated an argument as a global framing argument [unless explicitly told]. Impact framing and clear analysis help alleviate this barrier. At the end of the debate, I should know how the affirmative's advocacy operates, the impact I am voting for, and how that impact operates against the NEG.
I am not the fastest flow and rely heavily on short hand in order to catch up. I am better on debates I am more familiar with because my short hand is better. Either way, debaters should provide organizational cues (i.e. group the link debate, I’ll explain that here). Cues like that give me flow time to better understand the debate and understand your arguments in relation to the rest of the debate.
Prep time continues until the jump drive is out of the computer / the email has been sent to the email chain. This won't affect speaker points, however, it does prolong the round and eliminate time that I have to evaluate the round.
I am not a fan of insert our re-highlighting of the evidence. Either make the point in a CX and bring it up in a rebuttal or actually read the new re-highlighting to make your argument.
The debaters that get the best speaker points in front of me are the ones that write my ballot for me in the 2NR/2AR and shape in their speeches how I should evaluate arguments and evidence.
Depth > Breadth
wake 24 | law magnet 20
call me asya, like asia.
pls add me to the chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
be fun/funny/interesting, unless you’re not, then don’t be.
i’d rather watch debates i’m normally in (clash, k debates). i’d also rather be doing things that aren’t judging debates so don’t feel like it’s adapt or die if you wanna do plan things, just know i need more handholding on argument interaction.
defend what you say, hold people responsible for what they say. i’m not here to resolve your personal beef with someone, but i do find myself responsible for making sure this space is maximally safe.
“with high risk comes high reward, etc, etc” -- you win more the more you’re willing to try things you wouldn’t go for, and you can persuade me of most things (not ethnic genocide good, never ethnic genocide good).
i flow, but sometimes not very fast or well. if i’m judging you, assume that i’m in the camp of people who are literally writing down what you’re saying and not always the argument you’re making. i don’t suck at debate, i just have short term memory loss and don’t want to literally miss arguments you’re making.
i can’t flow when people are atrociously unclear, which is like saying “i can’t flow when the debaters are completely silent” because you are effectively saying nothing. i get being nervous though so i try as much as possible to not punish debaters for stuttering or anything else that people traditionally suggest makes someone a "bad speaker"
i’m unclear on why people try to resolve debates in their paradigm - if i could resolve a debate on my own, then i would ask you to send speech docs for the 1ac/1nc and get back to you in thirty.
-convincing me fairness matters as anything more than an internal link will be difficult.
-if debated equally, i tend to err aff on framework.
-default offense-defense, technical concessions matter - unless someone says they don’t or another frame of evaluation
-won’t judge kick unless told to
-unless the negative is crushing framework, at best i default to weighing the non-idealized version of the plan in most aff v k debates (i.e. i’m unlikely to ‘moot’ the aff)
-don’t really follow docs to be honest, if i’m sus about clipping i certainly will (will dock speaks, won’t drop team unless the other team suggests it)
ask me questions about my paradigm, wake debate/the rks, or my rfd. disagreeing with me is fine, insulting me is not.
I evaluate debate like a policy debater that reads k's and read 'larp' or more traditional arguments in high school. I value really good thought out strategies over obfuscating the debate. Debate should be about substantive issues so it's easier to get me to reject the argument and not the team for theory.
please don't ask me for your speaks (uncomfortable), please set up an email chain (not fileshare)
if you need help preffing me, nate kruger gave me this guide:
k - 1
larp - 1
theory (topicality) - 1
phil - 4
tricks/theory - 5
I coach Baylor Georgetown University, American Heritage and Walt Whitman High School.
If you think it matters, err on the side of sending a relevant card doc immediately after your 2nr/2ar.
Tech>Truth (default). I judge the debate in front of me. Debate is a game so learn to play it better or bring an emotional support blanket.
I think affs that are unrelated to the topic are lazy.
Yes, I will likely understand whatever K you're reading.
Framing, judge instruction and impact work are essential, do it or risk losing to an opponent that does.
There should be an audible transition cue/signal when going from end of card to next argument and/or tag. e.g. "next", "and", or even just a fractional millisecond pause. **Aside from this point, honestly, you can comfortably ignore everything else below. As long as I can flow you, I will follow the debate on your terms.
-My first cx question as a 2N/debater has now become my first question when deciding debates--Why vote aff?
-My ballot is nothing more than a referendum on the AFF and will go to whichever team did the better debating. You decide what that means.
-Your ego should not exceed your skill but cowardice and beta energy are just as cringe.
-Topicality is a question of definitions, Framework is a question of models.
-If I don't have a reason why specifically the aff is net bad at the end of the debate, I will vote aff.
-CASE DEBATE, it's a thing...you should do it...it will make me happy and if done correctly, you will be rewarded heavily with speaks.
-Too many people (affs mainly) get away with blindly asserting cap is bad. Negatives that can take up this debate and do it well can expect favorable speaks.
More category specific stuff below, if you care.
From low theory to high theory I don't have any negative predispositions.
I do enjoy postmodernism, existentialism and psychoanalysis for casual reading so my familiarity with that literature will be deeper than other works.
1. You don't necessarily need to win an alt. Just make it clear you're going for presumption and/or linear disad.
2. Tell me why I care. Framing is uber important.
My major qualm with K debates, as of late, mainly centers around the link debate.
1. I would obvi prefer unique and hyper-spec links in the 1nc but block contextualization is sufficient.
2. Links to the status quo are links to the status quo and do not prove why the aff is net bad. Put differently, if your criticism makes claims about the current state of affairs/the world you need to win why the aff uniquely does something to change or exacerbate said claim or state of the world. Otherwise, I become extremely sympathetic to "Their links are to the status quo not the aff".
Security Ks are underrated. If you're reading a Cap K and cant articulate basic tenets or how your "party" deals with dissent...you can trust I will be annoyed.
Not much needed to be said here. Have good internal link analysis. You don't need to be a poly sci major, just be knowledgeable about what you're reading. Econ, Biz Con and of course Heg are among my favorites here.
- vs policy affs I like "sneaky" CPs and process CPs if you can defend them.
- I think CPs are underrated against K affs and should be pursued more.
- Solvency comparison is rather important.
Good Topicality debates around policy affs are underappreciated.
Perhaps contrary to popular opinion, I'm rather even on this front.
I think debate is a game...cause it is. So either learn to play it better or learn to accept disappointment.
Framework debates, imo, are a question of models and impact relevance.
Just because I personally like something or think its true, doesn't mean you have done the necessary work to win the argument in a debate.
Neg teams, you lose these debates when your opponent is able to exploit a substantial disconnect between your interp and your standards.
Aff teams, you should answer FW in a way most consistent with the story of your aff. If your aff straight up impact turns FW or topicality norms in debate, a 2AC that is mainly definitions and fairness based would certainly raise an eyebrow.
Debated 4 years at Weber State University (2013-2017)
Four time NDT Qualifier, 2017 NDT Octa-Finalist, 2015 CEDA Quater-Finalist
Currently a Graduate Assistant at James Madison University
I believe debate is for the debaters, I am happy to listen to whatever your argument is and will do my best to adapt to you so you don’t have to change the way you debate. I would much rather you do what you are comfortable with than read an argument just because you think it is something I would prefer to hear. I debated for 8 years and have read and coached all different kinds of arguments, so you should feel comfortable doing whatever you want in front of me. Everything else I’m going to say is just my preference about debate arguments and doesn’t mean that my mind can’t be changed. The last thing I'll say here is the most important thing for me in debates is that you defend your arguments. You can read almost anything in front of me as long as you can defend it. I decide the debates based off of what is on my flow, and nothing else.
Critical Affirmatives – I believe affirmatives should have a relation to the resolution, but I think there are many different interpretations as to what that can mean. To get my ballot with a non-traditional affirmative you must justify why your discussion/performance is a better one for us to have than talking about the resolution or why the resolution is bad. I am sympathetic to arguments that the negative needs to be able to engage the affirmative on some level, and I don't think that "they could read the cap K" is good ground. Counter interpretations are important on framework and will help me frame your impact turns. To win your impact turns to any argument I think the affirmative should have some mechanism to be able to solve them. Overall, I think it is important for any affirmative to actually solve for something, having a clear explanation starting from the 1AC of how you do that is important, and that explanation should stay consistent throughout the debate.
Framework – I think negative framework arguments against critical affirmatives are strategic and love to listen to thought out arguments about why the resolution is an important form of education. Fairness and ground are also impacts I will vote on and I perceive them as being important claims to win the theory of your argument. I am easily compelled that the negative loses ground when a non-topical affirmative is read, and having a list of what that ground is and why it is important is helpful when evaluating that debate. Even if you don't have cards about the affirmative it is important that you are framing your arguments and impacts in the context of the affirmative. If your FW 2NC has no mention of the affirmative that will be a problem for you. I view topical versions of the affirmative and switch side arguments as an important aspect to win this debate.
Kritiks – As I reached the end of my debate career this is the form of debate I mostly participated in which means I will have a basic understanding of your arguments. My research was more in structural critiques, especially feminism. I have dappled in many other areas of philosophy, but I wouldn’t assume that I know a lot about your Baudrillard K, so if that is your thing explanation is important. If you have an alternative, it is important for you to explain how the alternative functions and resolves your link arguments. I would prefer links specific to the affirmative over generic links. I am not a huge fan of links of omission. You will do better in front of me if you actually explain these arguments rather than reading your generic blocks full speed at me. In method v method debates I think you need to have a clear explanation of how you would like competition to function, the sentence "no permutations in a method debate" doesn't make sense and I think you need to have more warrants to why the permutation cannot function or wouldn't solve.
For affirmatives answering critiques, I believe that impact turns are highly useful in these debates and are generally underutilized by debaters. I don't think permutations need to have net benefits, but view them as just a test of competition. However just saying extend "perm do both" isn't an acceptable extension in the 1AR and 2AR, you should explain how it can shield the links. As for reading framework on the aff against a critique, it will be very hard for you to convince me that a negative team doesn’t get the critique at all, but you can easily win that you should be able to weigh the impacts of the 1AC.
Counterplans – Please slow down on the text of the CP, especially if it is extremely long. I am fine with anything as long as you can defend it and it has a clear net benefit. If I can't explain in my RFD how the counterplan solves majority of the affirmative or its net benefit then i'm probably not going to vote for it, so start the explanation in the block.
Disadvantages – I enjoy a good disad and case debate with lots of comparison and explanation. I would much rather that you explain your arguments instead of reading a bunch of cards and expecting me to fill in the holes by reading all of that evidence, because I probably won’t.
Topicality - I really don't have a strong opinion about what it is and isn't topical and think it is up to you to explain to me why a particular aff makes the topic worse or better. I tend to have a pretty low standard of what it means to be reasonably topical.
Theory - I generally think conditionality is good. Other than that I really don't care what you do just be able to defend your arguments.
Finally, as I becoming older and more grumpy I am getting increasingly annoyed about stealing prep and random down time in between speeches. That doesn't mean you aren't allowed to use the restroom, just be respectful of my time. I will reward time efficiency between speeches with better speakers points. Especially if you can send the email before prep time is over. These are my preferences
--If a speaker marks the speech document and the other team wants the marked document that should happen after CX during prep time. If the other team cannot wait until after CX then they can take prep time to get the cards
--If a speak reads a cards that were not in the speech document and needs to send them out the speaker will take prep time before CX to send out the necessary evidence.
--CX ends when the timer is over. Finish your sentence quickly or take prep time to continue CX
I would like to be on the email chain – email@example.com
Put 2 emails on the chain:
Affiliations: NYU (debater) and Bronx Science (assistant coach)
Argumentation: K (all of them)
Influences: Will Baker, Alex Sherman, Taylor Brough, Anthony Joseph, Jorman Antigua, and others but not as much
Pronouns: he/him/his or they/them/theirs (idrc)
Experience: 4 yrs of HS debate (qualified to TOC in senior year), 1 yr college debate @ NYU (qualified to NDT and quarterfinalist @ CEDA) if that matters to you
POLICY Paradigm Things
1. Previously I said I'm "not the judge for policy throwdowns". Probably still true but definitely to a lesser extent, so don't poop your pants if you're reading 8 off in front of me. That being said, reading one piece of Baudrillard 94 evidence about Sarajevo and extrapolating that into a PhD thesis defense in the 2NC about signification I will be strongly judging you the entire debate.
2. I will not vote for "debate is a game". If you think it is then you're clowning yourself--we're 2.5 years into this online format and y'all will spend almost every weekend in front of your computer yelling about water policy or antitrust law and 99% of you don't know how to have a conversation about things that aren't debate.
3. Given that is true, in order to win that fairness or education is an impact, you need to prove the efficacy and importance of some model of "debate" that is relevant to your impact. I will not vote on debatability or fairness as a terminal impact unless you prove that debate is necessary for something that fairness is a key prerequisite to achieving.
4. Tech is infinitely more relevant to truth in deciding debates except during "KvK debates". Unless you convince me otherwise, during KvK debates both teams are often making structural claims about peoples' position in relation to power and one another meaning I will not ignore my own position as a judge and otherwise when deciding the debate. That means that you need to explain why the ballot matters not only for your solvency but also in terms of the embodied interactions we have assumed by reading our respective arguments. This also does not mean that you can concede arguments and win. This just means that, despite trying to detach my decision-making from my own personal opinions about arguments, the standard of "tabula rasa" is and will always be a myth.
5. Drawing on point 4, I am a very big fan of people reading kritikal condo and perf con against shotgun K strats--they almost always detract from substantive discussion about the theory of power and nuances of what is being read and make the round extremely unpleasant to judge. This applies much less to "policy v. policy" debates, where y'all are often not making claims or defenses of power (at least on surface level)
6. The death K--idk why so many people have a problem with this argument since there are different types of death Ks with varying warrants about the value of life and such. Reading Lynice Pinkard, Georges Bataille, and Thomas Ligotti constitutes three different death Ks and grouping them together is a. antiblack and b. woefully ignorant. But if the sentence "if death is bad why don't you k--- y-------" is spoken I will drop you and give you the lowest speaks possible.
7. I'll still flow more than 5 off, but I'll just think you're being an ass (especially if your opponents don't spread or are mavericks).
8. If I am on a panel with Daniel Iskhakov there is a literal 100% chance that we will vote the same way and for the same reason.
Not an LD judge, not going to be a great adjudicator for half of what you're saying.
1. Policymaking args are often very dull and the debates try to conflate impact calculus and role of the ballot in an attempt to win on technicalities of the role of the ballot rather than proving the "truth" (as far as truth can ever be found) of your arguments. It's a really annoying cop out of judging real debates and leaves rounds with very unsatisfying results so try to actually win your arguments instead of weird ROB technicalities.
2. PLEASE DO NOT READ THEORY--I am not the person who will be able to intelligently evaluate a 45 minute round on the moral framework of the resolution. I have a base-level understanding of Kant and know what util is but beyond that I will not be of much help.
3. Apparently inflation of LD speaker points is more egregious than the Venezuelan bolivar. If you're looking for an easy 29 I'm not going to give it to you. My speaks start at 28 and vary from there.
I believe all debates are performances and you are responsible for what you say/do in round.
Do what you want! I've done Black Feminism, Pessimism, Framework, Racial Capitalism, Eroticism, RSPEC, Counter Performances, Body Politics, Critical IR Theory, etc.
I stop listening after 4 off.
2023 NDT Champion; 2023 CEDA Champion - Wake Forest 2024
Bio - Former CUNY Debater (2013-14) and current high school coach
For the e-mail chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
For PF: You're getting a judge with some policy background and policy (let's just face it) is a more rigorous form of debate. This means you have liberty to run more than the CBI and debate blog vetted positions in front of me. You will be better off taking advantage of that. However, I don't appreciate the mental gymnastics it takes to understand many policy positions and you folks get less speech time to spin arguments so please keep it relatively simple.
For Policy: I'll try my best to be a fair judge and vote based on the merit of the arguments presented in a given round. That being said, I think that debate (at least the way it's done at tournaments) is a game and thus do not appreciate teams who try to avoid being topical or enjoy running far left identity arguments. Beyond that, what you would deem as wise strategy and advice from most circuit judges applies for me as well. Some side notes though....
- I lean generally on the side on Condo good in theory debates.
- Any type of competition works for a counterplan. Explain the net benefit clearly if you plan to go for a CP
- Affirmative teams should spend as much time as possible on the case debate explaining why the aff is a good idea and outweighs the negative
- Good impact calc is necessary to resolve close debates and can clean up messy link clash on the off case flows.
- Politics DA >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nearly every K
Student at the University of Chicago.
Put me on the chain -- Jakeziqiwei@gmail.com
Hawken School 2020 -- 2A/1N
Becomes a parent judge before 8AM and after 9PM
1)Don't assume I know the topic well
2)I have pretty fat fingers, so I am a slower flower than most (especially online cuz my wifi tends to be flippy)
3)I am fine with anything as long as you explain and debate it well(except for death good, racism good and etc), but I am weaker on K knowledge than traditional args.
4) Tech> truth -- in so far as to minimize judge intervention, but its not an excuse for machine-gunning 30 bad arguments
5)no long overviews on anything pls
if you want some extra speaker points, use the word "tragic" to describe your impacts
University of Chicago Law School c/o 2024
Emory University c/o 2021
Edina HS c/o 2017
Put me on the email chain: email@example.com
I haven’t judged any water debates since camp, please keep this in mind.
I don't like frivolous theory arguments or philosophy with no application to the debate.
If you're going to posit overarching principles for deciding the debate, you need to apply it to the round.
**Online Debate Updates**
I will keep my camera on during speeches and CX unless I have wifi issues. If I have to turn my camera off to preserve my wifi connection, I apologize in advance.
I don't have any strong predispositions about how you should debate and will evaluate whichever arguments you choose present to me. That being said, please tell me how I should evaluate arguments in the final rebuttals so I'm not left to figure things out on my own and read cards without any instruction.
I will reward in-depth research, clash, and evidence comparison. I care about evidence quality and will probably ask you for a card doc after the debate is over.
I generally believe that the aff should defend hypothetical USFG action. Debate is a valuable communicative activity and fiat is a good mechanism for generating clash.
I believe that fairness is an impact. If you are aff, please connect the dots between your offense on t and how you solve it via your method or your aff.
I place a high burden on the affirmative proving an internal link to their impacts on case - if you are negative, please make arguments about this, it is so frustrating to watch neg teams just auto grant the aff solvency.
If you read a planless aff, I am more likely to vote for you if your aff is in the direction of the topic and has clear, impacted reasons why topical action is impossible in the context of your advocacy. I also like clever counter-interpretations on topicality that retain some limits but have an external impact related to your aff.
*** CJR UPDATE - the topic is huge and so I sympathize with 2Ns going for T, I will vote for t-enact = congress if you debate it well. ***
If you’re looking for a sign not to go for T-subs in front of me, this is it.
Please don't subject me to a shallow topicality debate. If you would like to go for this argument, do a lot of impact calculus in the 2NR/2AR. It is essential to compare evidence in topicality debates, if you do not I will be forced to make a decision based on how I interpret the evidence myself.
If you are a 2N trying to go for T, consider where your ev comes from and what it says. Is it an arbitrary defense of whatever word you are suggesting the aff violates? Is your evidence only tangentially related to the topic? Does it provide a good metric for predictable limits? If the answer is no, I most likely will not be persuaded. I will not vote for limits for the sake of limits unless the aff drops T.
Conditionality is probably good, that doesn't mean I cannot be compelled otherwise.
Other CP theory stuff is open for debate, probably only a reason to reject the team.
If you decide to go for a K in front of me, please explain the relationship between your K and the outcome of the plan. Please explain why links apply to the permutation, not just the aff.
If your entire arg boils down to a k of fiat and your only impact is ressentiment, consider not preffing me.
i dislike when teams ask for a marked doc and then it results in 10 minutes of time between preparing the marked doc and the team receiving the marked doc. please don't be this team.
... but don't be a bad person, I will give you low speaker points and will be persuaded by arguments to vote against you if you are
Condo is probably bad. I don't like tricks and rude stuff. I don't like people beating their opponents down in a disrespectful manner. True champions find a way to win with style, finesse, and some measure of grace. Basically, "say what you mean, and mean what you say" in front of me. Kick outs and shifts are not received well. If you shift your position and the other team catches you, calls you on it, labels it a voter, impacts it, and you do not give that response serious consideration, you will have missed the opportunity to respond to something likely important in the decision. I prefer that debaters determine the issues in the round. My job is to evaluate how well, how clearly, how expertly, and how meaningfully the debaters present, refute, and summarize versus each other.
I like and am comfortable with crystal clear debaters and crystal-clear rebuttals. I've been focused on my policy teams this year, so I'm not familiar with the LD debate, Worlds, or Congress--when I am assigned to judge these events. I think there is still such a thing as an LD topic, although I keep hearing the same positions regardless of the topic a lot, and I guess that's ok. I am open to a lot of different types of discussions, and I'm excited to listen to what you bring to the debate space.
NO MATTER WHAT YOUR ARGUMENT, In a nutshell:
Tell Me What Your Argument Is
Tell Me Why I Should Prefer It
Tell Me Why If I Do Prefer Your Argument Why You Should Then Win The Debate---Some form of Impact Calculus/Weighting Magnitude, Probability and Time Frame-ish args are goods.
If you think you are really winning something, "sit on it" and explain why you win.
Overview: I firmly believe that policy debate is first and foremost a communication activity. Consequently, oral presentation plays a large factor in my adjudication process. I focus on the “story” of the debate, but line-byline refutation can be a component of that. Know your order before you announce it. Don't change the order after you announce it. Clearly articulated arguments at any speed can be evaluated. Inarticulate utterings that cannot be understood cannot be evaluated. Especially in online debates. Slow down and be really clear on why you are winning. Be quick, but don't hurry. I will not tolerate rudeness. Cross X is binding. I don’t like “camp games” that steal time. I see you. Keep it to a minimum. If there is a mistake or misunderstanding just apologize. Saying you are sorry is often overlooked. You might clean it up well and still be in the debate. At the very least, you will save yourself low speaks if you make an honest effort to play it smart and on the level.
My paradigm biggies are as follows:
1. I agree that conditionality is "probably" bad. So, its "probably" not a bad idea to speak to this and support reasons why I might or might not vote on this. Don’t just wait to see what I’ll do. In a vacuum of no direction on a debate argument, I am left to ignore the argument or evaluate by my own standards. I prefer to not do this. Its your debate. Clean it up. As far as just throwing out a bunch of stuff and then dropping it as a strategy---it does not usually go very well. I do not automatically judge kick. If you run 10 off, then win 10 off that do not contradict each other. Most importantly, be sure that you are clear as crystal even attempting it. When you time skew and then kick out, I am predisposed to vote for the other team if they argue time shew is a reason to reject the side that initiates such practices in the debate space. Absent compelling reasons why I should not do this--that's my predisposition. Again, its your debate so remember to tell me as the judge why I should prefer you style or point of view. Say what you mean and mean what you say is always best---as long as you are not being rude to your opponents. Practice civility always in debate rounds.
2. Topical Counterplans are not OK. If at the end of the round I have been effectively persuaded there are two Affirmative teams, I'll probably vote Affirmative. Give me reasons to not do so if this is part of your normal strategy. Explain why in a manner that includes what the AFF is doing and WHY a CPLAN is preferred.
3. I prefer not to judge topicality debates. If you're ahead on it, explain to me why it’s important to care about this, or I might not understand why to vote on it. Again, compare your position to your opponents.
4. I enjoy case debates. Solidly clear and irrefutably presented and reasonably current inherency evidence could really win a debate. Really.
5. Kritikal arguments on both AFF and NEG are fine, but pay close attention to the way you communicate your positions (clear and concise!).
6. The topic should be debated, but how you approach the resolution, and how you approach debate generally (content, style, etc.), is left up to the debaters.
7. If you're Negative, show me how your approach is specific to this Affirmative. Be thoughtful in explaining what a vote for your side means and why I should endorse it. Ask me to vote for your side. Don't completely on-face grant the 1AC in favor of pre-set tangentially related points and expect me to get why that means the Negative wins the debate. Be particularly clear on fairness and why ground is or isn't lost and warrants a decision. These are usually not presented clearly and powerfully. And without why they should matter, I tend to be persuaded by other issues
8. I will appreciate teams who competently deploy arguments from the earlier days of CEDA, such as Justification, Hasty G, etc. I also appreciate when the AFF and NEG teams sit on the correct sides of the room with respect to the judge. Otherwise, I might want to vote for someone but accidentally vote for the wrong team. "Sort of kidding" but I know this has happened to teams and that in my career in the activity, more than one judge thought they voted for a team, when they hadn't. If you're not on the proper side of the room, at least say in your speech which team you represent and why you think your side should win the debate. That is taken for granted a lot. :)
Rosemount High School (MN)
Debate Experience: 4 years HS policy (1987-1991), 2 years CEDA (1991-1993)
Coaching/Judging Experience: 32 years judging, 18 of these actively coaching
St. Thomas Academy 1993-2001
Last update: 2022-11-19
Building on evidence highlighting argued below. If the highlighted portion of your evidence is word salad and/or changes the author's intent when read in isolation, I will stop the round and immediately vote on an ethical violation. This means a loss and minimum allowable points to the offending team. National circuit evidence standards are atrocious and need to be changed. This may be quixotic, but so be it.
Yes, email chain.
I have changed the email address I use for email chains. The old one will still work, but please use firstname.lastname@example.org going forward
New 2021-10-02: Your evidence highlighting should read in grammatically correct sentences when read in isolation. I will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis (generally, there should be a legitimate argumentative purpose for doing otherwise).
None of the older profile information below is out-of-date, feel free to refer to it for additional information.
I'm definitely an older coach but I like a lot of what K debate has brought to the community. I'm unique among the Rosemount coaching staff in that respect.
I most enjoy judging rounds where the aff and the neg have an underlying agreement on how the round should look. I prefer to judge either policy v policy debates or K v K debates.
* I prefer that the negative engage with the affirmative. The better the specificity of link arguments, the more likely the negative is to win their chosen arguments.
* I roughly think of my judging philosophy as "least intervention". My hope is to try to not do any work for debaters, but this is the ideal and rarely occurs in practice. So I generally look at what I would need to do to vote for either team and choose the outcome that requires the least work on my part. I do my best to not interject personal beliefs into the debate, but realize this isn't always possible.
* I don't like most process or actor CPs, but often vote for them. When neg CP lit says a topic should be left to the states, that lit never means "all 50 states act in concert" but instead usually means "states should be free to not do anything". Affs could do a lot with this, but never do.
* I despise politics DAs, but again find myself voting for them. In 30+ years of debating and judging these, I think I've heard one scenario that had any semblance of truth to it. I think negative over-simplification of the political process and the horse-race mentality engendered by these DAs has been bad for debate and bad for society as a whole. But again, I rarely see Affs making the arguments necessary to win these sort of claims.
* I have a debate-level knowledge of most Kritiks. My knowledge of the literature is about 20 years old at this point and I rarely cut cards for my teams. What this means if you're running a K (either aff or neg): assume that I'm a judge who is willing to listen to (and often vote for) what you say, but don't assume any specific knowledge. This is particularly important at the impact level. If I have a warranted and detailed explanation as to why your model of debate is essential,
* In debates between similarly skilled teams, Framework debates usually come down to "is the aff in the direction of the resolution?". If so, I usually vote aff. Otherwise, neg. If you're a policy team, you're probably better off going for even a Cap K in front of me than for Framework.
* Even in person, you're not as clear as you think you are. This is doubly so in online debates. Slow down a little and you'll likely be happier with my decision.
* It's come to my attention that some teams have shied away from going for theory because of what I've written below. If you believe your violation is true, go ahead and go for it. My preference is to decide debates on the issues, but if I can get good clash on a theory or T flow, that's OK too.
* Disclosure theory is exempt from the preceding bullet. If you can win the debate on disclosure theory, there are better arguments you can make that you can also win on.
* If you're a big school on the circuit where I'm judging you, running a "small schools DA" will likely see speaker points reduced.
* I don't like a 6+ off neg strategy. If you're obviously far more skilled than your opponents and still do this, speaker points will suffer. Regardless, I'm probably more likely to vote on condo bad or perf con than most judges (but see everything else I've written on theory)
* I love good topicality debates. I also love creative (but defensible) affirmative interpretations of the topic. I default to "good is good enough"/reasonability for the aff on topicality, but can be persuaded to vote for the competing interps model. Just saying "reasonability invites judge intervention" isn't enough though. Believe it or not, so does competing interps.
I actively coached from 1993 until 2001 before largely leaving the activity for a dozen years. I got back into coaching in 2013 and have been in the activity since then. My time away from the activity proved to profoundly affect the way I view debates.
I view debate as an educational activity and my primary responsibility as a judge as facilitating that education. It is important to note what this means and what it does not mean. What it does not mean is that I like arguments that impact in "voting issue for reasons of education." Leaving aside the irony of the lack of educational value in those sorts of arguments, I am not saying that I will vote for the "more educational" team, whatever that means. What I do mean is that the round can be a very educational environment and my position is to assist that as best as I can. Argumentatively, I am looking for well-reasoned logical arguments, preferentially with strong evidential support. Counterplans which are contingent on successful consultation of any sort are almost always lacking here. Almost all politics DAs that I've ever heard have this problem as well. You're going to have a much easier time if you run a DA, CP, or a K with a solid literature-based link story.
Theory and Analytics: In-round abuse is more persuasive than potential abuse. I have a large presumption against voting on theory, although I have voted on it. To win on theory, you'll probably need to spend substantial time in the last rebuttal and offer a persuasive story. SLOW DOWN when arguing theory. Give me a tag that I can get on my flow and then explain it. Five consecutive four word responses will likely get the first one or two responses flowed, and the rest missed. If it's not on my flow, I can't vote on it. The explanation is the most important part of the argument.
Topicality: Topicality stems from plan action. Placing the resolution in plan text or looking to solvency do not prove topicality. My default view is that if the affirmative interpretation provides an equitable division of ground and plan meets their interpretation, they will win the argument. Generally speaking, if the negative wins topicality, they win the debate. I have been persuaded to vote contrary to my default views in the past. The negative need not win that their interpretation is best for debate, but it helps.
Non-traditional Affirmatives: I don't insist that the affirmative run a plan but any planless aff better be prepared to explain how they engage the resolution. I'm much more willing to accept a non-traditional interpretation of the terms of the resolution than I am to accept an aff that completely ignores the resolution or runs counter to the direction of the resolution.
Evidence sharing/email chains: As of 2017, I have updated my philosophy on these. I would now like to get all speech docs that are shared. Please add me to any email chain using email@example.com. Please note that I will not use the speech doc to help flow your speech.
One notable change for the worse over the last decade is the terrible practices that paperless debating has fostered. I approve of paperless debating in the abstract and in a good deal of its implementation, but teams have taken to receiving a speech doc before the speech as a crutch and flowing and line by line debate have suffered as a result. I'm not happy with the blatant prep time theft that pervades the activity, but I recognize that any gesture that I make will be futile. I will take action in particularly egregious cases by deducting from prep time (or speech time, if no prep remains).
Please ask before rounds for clarification.
Lincoln Douglas Philosophy:
I judge far more policy than LD, but I'm not a stranger to judging or coaching LD. I have no predispositions toward any particular style, so largely you should feel free to do what you're most comfortable with. I will not vote for a policy argument just because I'm predominantly a policy judge, although I will listen to them. Be sure to offer full explanations. LD time formats can be challenging, prioritize explanations over evidence. Anything above that isn't specific to policy will apply in LD as well. Your explanations are the most important part of the debate.
Updated 1/9/2019 to add LD
I reserve the right to end the debate due to anti-blackness
I evaluate debates based on offense/defence.
I study political science and finance at Case Western Reserve University.
I did policy at Bronx Science.
If you want something to be more important, then emphasize it (slow down, be clear).
Also add me on the email chain @firstname.lastname@example.org.
I DO NOT look at evidence during the debate. If you are unclear and force me to look at speech docs, I will be frustrated and will probably take off speaks.
I hate dead time-- be efficient please.
- I value quality arguments over quantity of arguments. Fewer, well-developed arguments will get your farther. Therefore, I don't need gasp-level speed. Spreading is fine-- as long as tags and analytics are clear. Warrant analysis is essential to a good debate and I need to be able to flow it.
- Keep good flows of your round. Do not waste CX time asking which cards the speaker skipped. Do not waste your speech time answering arguments they didn't read. Don't miss the analytical arguments that your opponents included speech but not their doc.
- Keep flows compartmentalized and organized through a line by line. Clean flows make judges most happy and --> ^ speaks.
- Look at your judges during speeches and pay attention to whether they are flowing! Your partner can help with this and signal if you perhaps need to slow down, be more clear or just move on.
- I'm unlikely to go neg on T absent a clear violation and an abuse scenario. If your abuse scenario is underdeveloped, then good clash elsewhere is key to an offensive T debate from the negative. T debates should be framed on both sides, and standards need to be impacted and weighed comparatively.
- The 2NR should only go for one position/world. Multiple, contradicting positions in the 2NR make the judge's decision difficult.
- If you run a K, demonstrate that you've read the literature, know your authors and truly understand what you're advocating-- don't wait until the rebuttals to explain the critical theory behind your lx and alts.
- Tagline extensions of 1NC evidence will never win you the K debate. If the neg is not doing in-depth work on the link, the perm will likely solve. Framework, where necessary, should consists of the same aspects as a good theory or T debate.
- I'm unfamiliar with evaluating performance debates.
- Tag-team CX is generally unnecessary. If your partner needs help answering a question, a short interjection is fine. Otherwise, tag-teaming should be avoided.
- Running a K on novice as varsity debaters is unnecessary and will only hurt your speaks. I consider myself a "tabula-rasa," but i will default to policy-maker if you don't provide me with a decisive way to evaluate the round.
What's most key for me?
- Show care and always aid in your opponents' understanding of the arguments and the world of Policy Debate as a whole; be authentic and vulnerable but know your arguments inside and out; do not take this precious activity or space for granted and learn something from every round.
Background - 4 years at Wake Forest University (2008-2012), 2A for all 4 years with occasional exceptions.I've been an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida since August 2013. I've debated and coached across the ideological spectrum.
I think I agree with everything in Sean Ridley's paradigm.
Aff - Do what you want. Defend what you do and why, but you already know that.
T/FW - I wasn't great debating them, and I'm probably the same way judging them. I'll give it my best effort, but just know that it might be a bit of a crapshoot.
K - Specificity is generally what wins the day for either side. Give clear, concrete examples. Cite something that happened in THIS round. The less jargon the better. I will happily listen to any K (and any K answer) that meets these criteria.
CP - Please don't read some contrived CP that's based around one out of context card or that relies on more weird theory than substantive argument to be competitive.
Theory - You'll need a story for abuse in this round if you want me to do more than just reject the argument. That is NOT to say that you can't win common practices in debate warrant a loss. I'll vote on condo or consult bad or whatever if you can present a good story why. Contextualize it. What happened this round = good. "Unique time and strategy skew, it's a voter" = bad. And for God's sake, slow down. I have no idea how some judges can flow theory debates at full speed.
Clash of Civ - Do not just talk about your side in the rebuttals. Do not just use your terminology. Talk about what they said, use the key words they use, explain how it interacts with your take on things, etc. If you do more work to bridge the gaps between their position and yours, you'll get to put your own spin on what I inevitably end doing in the post-round.
In round etiquette - Be assertive, even abrasive, but don't break basic norms of decency.
Ethics challenges - Better have some convincing evidence.
Emory '23 | Strath Haven '19 | 2A/1N
tech > truth
debated two years in college/qualled to TOC in policy my senior year/know nothing about the water topic
please put me on the email chain: lynnea(dot)zhang@gmail(dot)com
i go by the flow which presupposes any ideological preferences i have; if you win the flow, i will vote for you.
if i look grouchy, you're doing something wrong.
do ev comparison.
i will be very very sad if i have to flow your 24 point at: perm do the counterplan block
won't judge kick unless i am told to
if you're running one, your burden is still to disprove the aff. please debate the case. i am probably not familiar with your theory, but have few ideological preferences when it comes to what your scholarship is as long as it is well explained.
i really really do not care that fiat isn't real, i'm going to weigh the aff
do your thing. i really enjoy well-developed case debate, k aff or otherwise. the best k affs capably explain their method to resolve a problem. impact turns vs k affs are great.
K Affs vs T
i think debate is a game and the only impact that my ballot can really resolve is procedural fairness. however, if you can prove why that that's a bad or violent model, you've leveled the playing field.
counter define words in the resolution.
procedural fairness >>> truth-testing/refinement > topic education > deliberation > any other impact
condo is probably pretty good and the only violation i'd be willing to vote on
i have a high threshold for voting issues here. my team routinely ran very abusive counterplans, so there's no alarm that really goes off in my head
i like t debates. please explain the violation clearly and compare counter-interps.
untopical affs should go for reasonability and literature checks limits/potential abuse. i find the arg that ground shapes limits on certain resolutions very persuasive in determining an impact to something like ground loss or limits explosion.
i don't think there is much delineation between my philosophy for LD and Policy. i will give more weight to theory because i recognize that it is apart of LD norms, except for rvis. rvis are silly.
Feelings |------------------------------------------X| Dead inside
Policy |-----------X-------------------------------| K
Tech |---X--------------------------------------| Truth
Read no cards |-----------X---------------------| Read all the cards
Conditionality good |----------X-------------------| Conditionality bad
States CP good |----------X--------------------------| States CP bad
Politics DA is a thing |---------X-------------------| Politics DA not a thing
Always VTL |---------------X----------------| Sometimes NVTL
UQ matters most |---------------------------X--------| Link matters most
Fairness is a thing |-------------X--------------------------| Delgado 92
Try or die |X-----------------------------------------| What's the opposite of try or die
Not our Baudrillard |-----------------------------X---------| Yes your Baudrillard
Clarity |X--------------------------------------------| Srsly who doesn't like clarity
Limits |-------------------------X--------------------------| Aff ground
Presumption |---------------------X-----------| Never votes on presumption
Resting grumpy face |----------------X--------------| Grumpy face is your fault
Longer ev |------------X--------------------------| More ev
"Insert this rehighlighting" |--------------------------------------X-| I only read what you read
Reverse voters are a thing |--------------------------------------X| Spare me
Fiat solves |-------X---------------------------------| LOL someone messes w/ your aff
CX about impacts |-------------------------X--------| CX about links and solvency
Who is this Zizek guy |-----X-------------------------| The Phenomenology is my bedside novel
Experience: HS - backwoods regional debate, mostly LD a little PF. College - Policy, 2 years at GMU
I do the flowing thing. I go off the flowing thing.
No disclosure is also dumb. Email me after if you want comments.
My pen is down when my timer goes off.
No I don't want to shake your hand. Sorry.
There is not a world in which underviews are good nor will you convince me there is a world in which underviews are good.
Debate is a game and it should be fun. I'll vote on anything that's not an -ism. Below are just my predispositions that are subject to change.
A lot of people like to outsource violence (oppression, etc.) to other countries when there are a lot to pull from and use in the U.S. Be creative. Many people's struggle and oppression did not end with the Revolutionary War and Civil War despite what the history books try to tell you. Debate is also educational, so educate everyone in the room.
If you show me your fluffy animal, preferably in a sentient format, I will increase speaker point by 0.1 or whatever the equivalent step is for your tournament.
The following will result in a 0-0.5 increase or decrease in speaks
1) Quoting from the band The Wanted.
2) Referring to President Dude in an invalidating manner throughout the ENTIRE debate
Thoughts on progressive: Look to policy. Inserting RVIs and conflating T/Theory will make for a pissy Beth. Don't ask people to delete files you flashed them. That's too extra.
Value/Value Criterion: Need to link to contentions. Obvi. Just the lens on how I should evaluate the round. Conceding this won't lose you the round.
Definitions/Observations: If you're going to talk about it, be self-serving about it.
Contentions: This is where most of the debate is. Everyone seems to be saying the same arguments. Be creative with your argumentation here.
Cross-ex: Make an effort to not look at each other. Please. I don't flow this. CX is binding.
Road maps/Line by Line: Stolen from Sean Colligan. "Debate is a journey and a journey is helped by signpost and roadmaps. Could you imagine trying to find this building without any signpost or roadmaps, it would be chaos."
If email chain: email@example.com
I don't run prep for email/flashing. Don't abuse it. If it takes too long I'll start the timer at my discretion but I'll do you the courtesy of letting you know.
Topic research? What's that? 2A's for life.
T: Default to reasonability. If you didn't get to read a stupid process CP it's nbd but if you lost a core of the topic DA then the aff probably isn't T. If you're running spec args set it up in CX otherwise CX checks. Slow down and show me where the clash is.
Theory: Sans condo, reject the arg not the team. But a dropped theory arg is a dropped theory arg. Can't say I'm the best judge on theory. It would be really helpful if you would slow down and do line by line rather than read block your coach wrote five years ago. You get two conditional worlds and the status quo until the 2NR, otherwise I'm pretty convinced by condo bad.
FW: I understand more now as a judge than I ever did as a debater. I was mostly in policy v. policy debates. Take this as you will
CP: Process/Delay,etc. CP's are stupid. Any other CP is a great way to solve the aff. Planks probably shouldn't be conditional. Solvency deficits and perms are ways to my heart. Judge kicking seems cheating but if the 2A doesn't say anything about it then the 2A isn't very good at their job.
DA: While DAs are important, I think it's getting harder and harder to win with just a DA. Links and impact calc are the most important here. I won't not vote on UQ overwhelms
Case: Case almost always gets try or die so if your favorite 2NR is DA and case you should put some link turns on case otherwise it's an uphill battle for you. A lot of 2NRs seem to forget that case is a thing. Most K's don't work without some defense on case.
K: The extent of my k lit are the cards I read in round. From a truth perspective, the K probably links to the aff and the impacts are probably true, but the alt just seems to be some sort of circle jerk. I'd like to think that my ballot does something and I'm not sure if thinking away the patriarchy actually does anything.
K/Performance AFFs: Do your thing and I will try my best to follow. I lean policy. If you can't adequately explain your AFF by the end of the round its your fault. New debaters just don't know debate well enough to say why debate is bad. Young debaters for the most part do not have a solid grasp to debate these affs well.
CX: I don't flow it unless I catch something important. CX is binding. If knowing that I don't flow CX is a reason that you start making things up that will make for a very angry Beth and will reflect in your speaker points.
Random thoughts I didn't know where to put but might be important: Impact turns are da bomb and I love to watch them. The more outlandish the better. Dedev is love. Dedev is life. If you concede 1AC advs and go for a straight turn DA that is not severance.
I evaluate the round similarly to my policy paradigm, happy to answer any questions before round. Below are things I would like to (not) see happen in the round
Strategy. Going for arguments/impacts/scenarios that your opponent dropped and contextualizing it to the round is the best thing you can do. Too often debaters don’t notice dropped/under covered arguments and it’s super frustrating for me bc I already see my ballot written. If you go for harder arguments you’ve made your job harder and mine so now I’m less happy.
Analysis. I guess it’s called weighing but please do this! Depth > breadth. The more you can contextualize your debate for me, the easier it is to write my ballot.
Time keeping. There should be a timer running at all times, whether it’s prep, cross, or speech. This also means you need to time literally everything not only to keep everyone responsible but also to make sure round/tournament run on time. If at any point you have to ask or are asked “are you running prep” “is anyone keeping time” then someone fucked up
General niceties. I don’t care for them AT ALL and teams that really lean into it honestly piss me off. I get it’s PF or whatever, but I don’t really like it. I’ll list somethings that irk me and why.
A) Introducing yourself and team. For the love of god your speech is already so short, just get to the substance. I promise I will not vote for/against you bc you did/not introduced yourself. If it doesn’t count towards the ballot, it doesn’t matter. If you do it during your speech, I’ll be mad bc I don’t think your using your time strategically. If you do it before your speech your adding more time to the round that I cannot wait to get out of.
B) Roadmaps. Love a good roadmap, but your roadmap should be something along the lines of “aff case, neg case. I’ll be starting on x argument”. anything more than that and you’re wasting everyone’s time.
C) Saying things like “I’d like to take prep time” or anything that signals you’re asking me to use your time. It’s weird. It’s your time. Idc how you use it. Take ownership of your time.
D) Normalize “is anyone not ready” before speeches and “you ready” for cross. This is especially important for online environment where verbal cues are a less common. Things like “is my judge ready” really bother me.
E) This is a catch all. Do not involve me into your debate anymore than I have too. I’m here to evaluate arguments, nothing more. Please ask questions before your debate that you think will help you but once the timer starts I’m chilling.
F) This doesn't mean you get to be mean. Filter out what is and is not necessary.
Lynbrook '18, UChicago '22
Competed in LD for 3 years in high school; judged LD (Holy Cross, Voices, HWL, Stanford) & CX (Bronx, GBX, UNLV) in 2020-2021
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org She/Her/Hers
- How you should pref me: LARP (1), Theory (1), Phil (2), K (2/3), High Theory (3)
- Tech > truth generally, but I will not vote for something that is categorically false (racism good, 1+1=3, etc)
- Will not vote on an argument that's dropped if there is no warrant or if I didn't flow it
- Strategy dictates speaks so go for only what is necessary and end early if you can
- Make good arguments, weigh a lot, and give a clear ballot story in your last speech
Anything is fine, but you will probably lose if your aff doesn't include at least a short util framework.
I would like to say I have a decent grasp on most analytic phil and would like to hear something interesting (here something interesting ≠ your logical consequence aff with tricks, although I don't mind hearing it).
Love good Ks but strongly dislike poorly written ones, although I will vote on it if you win. Know your literature. Give concrete examples of what your impact/alt looks like. If you read a ROB/ROJ, explain why it precludes a normal standard. I don't like it when the debate turns into two people claiming opposing things with no real comparison to back it up.
Enjoy good T/theory debate! I will no longer vote for arguments of the form "Evaluate the round after X speech." Otherwise I will vote on any theory no matter how frivolous, although your speaker points will suffer and I have a lower threshold for responses if your shell is really silly. Justify why competing interps implies I vote on a risk of offense. I will gut check against bad theory if you win reasonability and have some defense on the shell. Paragraph theory is fine, but you should explicitly state things like fairness/education, competing interps/reasonability, and drop the arg/drop the debater. If no arg is made, I default reasonability, drop the arg, no RVIs.
Include me on the chain: email@example.com
- Backfile DAs, Ks, or CPs hurt topic education. I value quality arguments over quantity of arguments. Fewer, well-developed arguments will get your farther. Therefore, I don't need gasp-level speed. Spreading is fine-- as long as tags and analytics are clear. Warrant analysis is essential to a good debate *and I need to be able to flow it.
- Debaters must flow. You HAVE to flow. Keeping good flows is the best way of seeing the debate from a judge's perspective. Flows are an essential tool for use in partner communication and in-round decision-making. Both partners MUST FLOW-- and *flow FROM THE SPEAKER, NOT from THE DOC. Do not waste CX time asking which cards the speaker skipped. Do not waste your speech time answering arguments they didn't read. Do not miss the analytical arguments that your opponents included speech but not their doc (either because it was dope and off-the-dome or because they don't have to).
- Keep flows compartmentalized and organized through a line by line. Clean flows make judges most happy and => ^ speaks.
- Look at your judges during speeches and pay attention to whether they are flowing! Your partner can help with this and signal if you perhaps need to slow down, be more clear or just move on.
- I'm unlikely to go neg on T absent a clear violation and an abuse scenario. If your abuse scenario is underdeveloped, then good clash elsewhere is key to an offensive T debate from the negative. T debates should be framed on both sides, and standards need to be impacted and weighed comparatively.
- I enjoy a good theory debate. They need to be line by line debates, just like any other, and should consist of impacted and responsive standards. Interpretation debates on theory are important.
- The 2NR should only go for one position/world. Multiple, contradicting positions in the 2NR make the judge's decision difficult.
- If you run a K, demonstrate that you've read the literature, know your authors and truly understand what you're advocating-- don't wait until the rebuttals to explain the critical theory behind your lx and alts.
- Tagline extensions of 1NC evidence will never win you the K debate. If the neg is not doing in-depth work on the link, the perm will likely solve. Framework, where necessary, should consists of the same aspects as a good theory or T debate.
- I'm unfamiliar with evaluating performance debates but they've won my ballot before. Same rules-- know your stuff.
- Tag-team CX is generally unnecessary. If your partner needs help answering a question, a short interjection is fine. Otherwise, tag-teaming should be avoided.
- Running a K on novice as varsity debaters is unnecessary and will only hurt your speaks. I consider myself a "tabula-rasa," but i will default to policy-maker if you don't provide me with a decisive way to evaluate the round.
What's most key for me?
- Show care and always aid in your opponents' understanding of the arguments and the world of Debate as a whole; be authentic and vulnerable but know your arguments inside and out; do not take this precious activity or space for granted and learn something from every round.
Debated at Okemos High School 2016-2020
Debated at KU 2020-2022
Coaching at Blue Valley
T - fine
FW - fine
DA's - fine
CP's - fine
K's - I love these, so definitely fine; race theory/pomo/gender and or sexual orientation
K-Affs - ^^^^
Theory - fine
not much lit base for K's (or much of any arg) on this topic so just explain the link, I/L, and impact.
Run whatever you want, be clear, signpost and warrant out all arguments you want me to vote on. If it isn't in the 2nr/2ar, I will not vote on it. A dropped argument is a concession but make sure you point it out and EXPLAIN why it matters. I'm familiar with a fair amount of K literature but some of the heavy pomo/race theory stuff should be explained and warranted.
LBL should be a little more in depth and have a lot more warranted analysis than I've seen recently
Args I've run consistently: Cap, Militarism, Set Col, Antimilitarism K-aff, Set Col K-aff, FW/T-USFG
Args I'm familiar with: Fem, Set Col (and it's varients), Afropess (and it's varients), Psycho, Black Psycho, Baudrillard, Deleuze and Death Good
Link: make sure it's something unique to the aff, something that the aff does or supports through direct evidence or analysis. "Aff does _____ with ____ which causes ______" A link doesn't have to be a direct quote but it does have to be a direct mechanism or flaw with the aff/resolution. If you're critiquing the resolution then at least tie your theory into whatever your are dismantling/restructuring. Other than that, I don't have too much of a high threshold for the topicality of the K or the K aff.
Alt/Solvency for K-Aff's: I have a little more leniency with alt's on a K than an alternative/mode of solvency for a K aff because in my opinion, when critiquing an aff, it should honestly be enough to say that the aff's epistemology is flawed, therefor we shouldn't invest any energy into debating about it, and they should lose. If you're critiquing the resolution though, you need to have some concrete way of doing something about what you've critiqued. A lot of K-affs just kind of say the rez sucks and then do quite literally nothing about it. Even in round education can beat a lot of other off case offense, but you have to explain how reading your aff in debate spills out into something that changes our relationship to the rez. Even in a world without fiat, I need to know why the scholarship of the aff is net better than any scholarship the neg would have access to in a debate under different circumstances.
Case and Case v K Stuff
At the end of a round in which I vote aff, I need to be able to coherently describe the mechanism of the aff, the impacts, and how the aff solves the impacts. If the 2ar doesn't have this or spends a minute doing some sloppy LBL with unintelligible spreading on case and then moves on to answering 4 minutes of the K/FW, I'm probably not going to vote for you. I understand that sometimes people feel like they know their case very well and the "premise" of the aff "should" solve the residual offense, but it gets muddled or you get rushed because you're running out of time on the K. So just be mindful. Explain the warrants of the LBL.
Do whatever you want, but I don't really believe in voting on T as a reverse voter but under some special circumstances, I can see myself doing so, assuming the Aff can clearly explain a voter and standards that prove they lost ground by having T run on them (for some reason I have a fear of this, don't ask). Slow down a little on standards and block stuff.
If you don't extend your interp throughout each speech then I probs will have a harder time voting for you, so make sure to do so. Other than that though, do whatever the hell you want. Standards and/or Impact turns being gone for should be extrapolated and contextualized to the type of advocacy/education in the round. Read all the disads you want. Make sure to tell me why policy education might be better vs. critical education in the long run for a certain case scenario. Keep FW separate from framing on case but MAKE CONNECTIONS.
I mean if you want. I tend to give condo more weight when there are 3 + conditional advocacies, including the K, so be a bit careful there.
IMPACT FRAMING!!!!!! 2ar/1ar as well Block/2nr need to be solid about what impacts/offense is/are being gone for in the debate. There's obviously going to be concessions on both sides at the end of the debate but where are they, why do they matter, and what does this mean for other arguments on the flow? 2ar's/2nr's that write the ballot at the top of the rebuttles>>>>>>
Pls enunciate the tags and don't spread through blocks at the rate of a lawnmower on drugs, especially when/if they're not in the doc. I have a sore spot from a round with clipping so I'll probably say clear like 5 times, and if there's still an issue after that I'll mention something at the end of the speech. If it keeps happening, there will probably be more severe consequences.
I'll probably give you better speaks if you're slower and have good arguments than if you're fast and make little strategic arguments. If you're fast and make good args, I'll definitely give you the extra speaker points.
I’m a first year PhD student at Colorado State University studying communication. I did my master’s in comm at Baylor, which is also where I debated for 5 years.
I coach college and high school policy debate. At this year’s NDT (’22), I’m working with Northwestern. I have worked with North Broward for the last few years in high school, and I have also been involved with Debate Boutique.
’22 NDT Cheat Sheet
You’re here to (1) figure out whether to pref me, prior to the tournament, and (2) figure out how to get my ballot, prior to the round. Here’s the basic things you should know:
o I feel pretty out-of-the game – While I’ve worked with Debate Boutique fairly consistently over the last year, my level of involvement has been lower than previous topics. As a result…
o I don’t know this year’s topic – Even though I generally think Zephyr Teachout is a cool person, my knowledge of antitrust is very limited both in terms of the overall literature, and especially, in terms of how it’s been translated in terms of debate. I know the difference between the consumer welfare standard and the effective competition standard, but I have no idea which affs are popular or what any of the acronyms mean.
o My flow is rusty – I was a quick debater, and I think I still have a pretty fast ear, but my pen-time has always lagged behind my hearing (I flow on paper). This has only gotten worse as I’ve been less involved in judging, and I’m sure that the virtual format of debate rounds will only worsen it further. If you choose to pref me, please try to slow down and emphasize the parts of your speech that you know need to be flowed.
o I’m judging virtually and I care about clarity – I’m a huge curmudgeon when it comes to clarity, and virtual debating risks amplifying unclarity. If you want good speaker points, I strongly encourage you to focus on emphasis. If you are spreading card text, I should be able to hear the card text. I will only flow out of the speech doc if I truly cannot understand you.
o Grammar matters for card highlighting – I don’t know who is responsible for every card looking like a cross between a Jackson Pollack painting and a Mad Libs template, but it’s terrible. Tons of evidence currently lacks grammatically correct noun-verb agreement and often just includes a list of vaguely tied-together words. If a slow reading of your card’s text sounds ridiculous, speeding-up doesn’t make you sound any less ridiculous. If your cards are poorly highlighted, those cards will have less weight in the round.
o I’m still a grumpy K debater at heart – If you’re unfamiliar with my history in debate, I employed a wide variety of critical literature on both the aff and the neg. This produces a couple biases that go in different directions. On the one hand, it means I am less sympathetic to certain policy responses to kritik arguments. On the other hand, it means I have an extremely high standard for critical argumentation. In general, you should avoid recycled argumentation and clichés on either side of the debate.
o I increasingly err toward more concrete or pragmatic analysis – A lot of debate—both policy and critical—is stuck in very conceptual, abstract forms of argumentation. I have always appreciated applied examples, empirical history, and case studies as ways of demonstrating your arguments. More recently, I’ve become a lot more aware of local social movements, ongoing legislative fights, and granular election results. Following these things has made me a lot more concerned with the pragmatic efficacy of plans, counterplans, alternatives, and advocacies.
o Evaluative metrics and framing devices should be centered – Since moving from being a debate to being a judge, I’ve found impact calculus, filtering, and framing arguments to be the most important components of a debate. These arguments should be emphasized and woven into a broader narrative about why you win the debate. Rebuttals, in particular, are most effective when they sound like an RFD and walks me through the debate using these evaluative metrics.
Older version of this philosophy:
I almost always flow on paper and do my best to avoid reading evidence out of the speech doc. I have never been great at coming up with shorthand on the fly, so while I think I write relatively quickly, I'm still trying to improve my flow. I put this first because it's reasonable of you to expect me to keep as close of a record of your arguments as I can, and I'm very concerned with doing so to the best of my ability. Some things that could immediately help you immensely:
- slow down (just some) and pauses between arguments - this will honestly result in more on my flow than the inverse
- try to be conscious of pen time - I'll try to be as facially expressive as I can, and if you would prefer for a verbal cue like "slow" or "clear" instead, then please let me know
- numbering and labeling - not for the sake of some ultra-technical "you dropped our #18 answer" kind of thing, but just try to logically break up arguments and reference them when you can
- I really want to be able to hear card text without having to reference a computer - I understand that this hasn't been the norm for a while and I also completely understand that clarity is sometimes complicated by things outside of people's control, but I'm just looking for some effort in making the text of evidence at least mostly audible
More than any argumentative content or stylistic preference, I just want to hear debaters that are genuinely engaged with their research. I enjoy when the strategic aspects of debate cause people to develop clever strategies or interesting spins on arguments I may have heard before. Basically, if you are clearly invested in what you're talking about, it's relatively easy to get me interested too.
The ability to use specific examples often makes the difference in terms of how "warranted" I think an argument is. These kinds of discussions are where a lot of rounds are won or lost.
A phrase that will help you a lot in front of me is "which means that...". I really value framing issues when they are clearly connected together to form a big picture, especially in the later rebuttals. This is another way of saying that impact calculus is usually the first thing I look at when deciding rounds.
LD Specific Stuff
- I'm just not a fan of theory unless there is genuine truth to the abuse claim. This standard is obviously inherently arbitrary, but there's a difference between reading conditionality and writing massive AC underviews or theory shells with spikes, trix, cheap shots, and time sucks. I'm a fine judge for topicality and even for legitimate theory issues when debated in depth, but if you're going to do so, this can't just be a battle of the blocks.
- I'd prefer not to disclose speaks immediately after the round in most instances.
- Because I grew up doing exclusively policy debate, I am not familiar with a lot of common buzzwords for philosophical concepts in LD, even if I'm sometimes familiar with the ideas in question. For example, I've debated about utilitarianism in policy an uncountable number of times, but we never discussed things like the intent-foresight distinction or personal identity reductionism. You can obviously read these arguments, but just recognize that we don't have the exact same language regarding them.