2020 — CANCELED, US
LD Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
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My paradigm is long but still a work in progress, email me if you have any paradigm questions.
I have lots of thoughts. I bolded the things that will mostly matter when prefing or judging LD, the rest only applies to 1-0.1% of rounds I judge. In most rounds I will have an easy ballot on the technical level, these opinions only come in when I am forced to resolve two competing truths that are relatively equal on the tech, they can all be overcome by giving better speeches. (The exception is in-round violence)
Why did I put them in then?
One of the most frustrating things to me as a debater was judges telling me per opinions on arguments in the rfd that could have been in the paradigm, if I judge you and you think I should add something from my rfd to my paradigm please tell me. This way we can avoid people losing on affs because I just don’t feel the aff’s don’t clear the presumption burden even though the aff did great debating etc.
How much I like the args/how much in favor of you I would unconsciously err in close debates probably
0- 0 off, the order is case.
1 – Good Ks, Good/Topic specific Phil, Great theory
2- Good Theory args (condo good/bad, pics good/bad), Good unique LARP (new politics scenario), Good unique tricks (I found Alphabet spec funny the first time I saw it, I didn't the fifth time. Be creative) , Generic Ks (cap k with generic links)
3- Tricky Phil, (your tricky northeast Kant frameworks from 7 years ago), Bad Larp
4- Bad Theory (shoes theory)
5- Bad Tricks (resolved apriori)
Biggest Influences in Debate: NEEDS WORK
Organized my paradigm based on yours, which is perhaps unsurprising since I helped with it.
I attended both Victory Briefs Institute and RKS at Wake Forest, and both shaped my perspective and education in debate.
CMC 2024, yes I’m a first year out, but I coached and judged a lot in high school and worked with camps such as interning at the Victory Briefs Institute. I would not recommend ordinal 1ing me even if you agree with my views, since I’m still learning.
My name is Zachary Davis. I did Circuit LD for 3 years and qualified to the Junior and Senior Year Tocs, with an even 3-3 record junior year, and Coronavirus ending TOC senior year (2020 generation). Before LD I did both Public Forum and Parli for two years. I also dipped into policy occasionally mostly in my freshmen and senior years. I’m choosing to coach rather than debate in college.
I mostly read Ks, but went for theory and larp positions as well. My ideal neg strats were one off k or nc, 2 off k + t, and 5 off k, t, theory, cp, da.
I’m a technical debater/judge, in most cases I’d rather judge a theory debate than a traditional debate. Despite this, many debaters don’t realize how incoherent pers are too spectators, so err on the side of overexplanation, especially in the 2nr and 2ar, if there’s no warrant I won’t vote on it. Concessions mean I evaluate warrants/arguments as true, but if there is no warrant, than there is functionally nothing to vote on and nothing conceded.
Despite this I think the broader community trend to emphasize an ideal position as a tabula rasa judge is both an impossible goal and a false ideal.
What do I mean by this? 1. It’s impossible for judges to leave past experience and argument biases at the door. 2. Tech matters but truth does too, just because I agree technical debate is important, I disagree with only tech mattering which incentivizes debaters to read blatantly false arguments that have good time trade-offs ranging from spikes to incorrect das, because pointing out the fallacies takes longer than reading. 3. However I do think the judge should attempt to leave all past opinions surrounding the topic at the door i.e. even if I think nuclear arsenals are really bad, I shouldn’t let that convince me to vote aff if the debate becomes a stalemate.
Why do I, the debater, care? It’s likely that this won’t impact 99% of rounds I judge since I will usually act as a tech based tab judge, and I won’t actively intervene i.e. reading articles of the cards you read, unless asked too. However this means I am more persuaded that the reading of false arguments doesn’t just mean those argument are wrong and go away, but can be won as a drop the debater voting issue. I won’t intervene and make those arguments voting issues though, and I think there are degrees of wrongness.
1. Don't be sexist, ableist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, or a classist jerk in the round.
2. I strongly believe in trigger/content warnings, if you think there’s a chance your arguments would benefit from them, read them before your first speech, or the speech in which the content begins. Be prepared to read different args.
3. Do not misgender your opponents or judges, intentional or otherwise. I would generally recommend defaulting to "per" if you do not know someone's pronouns and to use "my opponent" “aff/neg” “person” etc. They/them isn’t gender neutral. I don’t want to debate or explain pronouns in this space either, post-rounding me on this issue specifically is unwise. I’ll publish a follow up at some point that you can check for my reasons.
4. Debate however makes you the most comfortable. I have zero preferences whether you sit or stand etc. I don’t care whether you ware shoes etc. My only clothes opinion is that schools should not force debaters to wear formal clothes. I don’t care what individual debaters choose to wear, and think policing debaters presentations is bad and as such want to work against schools doing so. I’m conflicted about punishing individual debaters because it’s not the fault of the debaters because of the school policy (so I’m not the judge for reading friv formal clothes theory against trad debaters), but I hope I along with other judges (such as Alan Fishman) help shift schools to change this opinion.
5. Don’t read identity positions if you aren’t of that identity. I will easily vote on arguments such as non-black debaters should not read afro-pessimism.
Usual Evaluation Flow chart looks like this:
1- Figure out the winning framing, use that framing to isolate which impacts matter.
2- Look through independent voters/arguments that attempt to uplayer the framing
3- Find Offense with warrants/full articulated arguments under the framing
4- (Take into account turns to see which way the offense flows)
5- Weighing between arguments, conceded arguments have full weight and often therefore outweigh, weighing arguments defense etc come in here.
6- If I can’t evaluate the debate on the above both debaters messed up and I start to account for implicit clash followed by my preferences/background understanding to fill in the gaps.
Do what you are good at, I’ll adapt to you, more than you should need to adapt to me.
I value framing more than average judge.
In round articulation is important, I’m going to evaluate your evidence how you explain it to me, if you explain it poorly I won’t grant you additional implications that weren’t made explicitly. Similarly don’t attempt to morph implications that weren’t there, every conceded argument in the 1ar is not a potential drop the debater 2ar (unless set up in the 1ar), so if you want me to vote on the 7. On the k it should have an implication in the 1ar.
I won’t vote on new offense in the 2ar and have a low threshold for 2ar responses to new 2nr offense absent circumstances in which I feel I must intervene i.e. slurs.
Risk of Offense>presumption, if your last speech only has defense you will probably lose the round. I will only vote on presumption if it is a major strategy, there is no offense in the round, or the round is a mess/I have no idea what’s going on anymore.
Cards vs Analytics, I value analytics and low author qualification evidence higher than average. I think unless your argument needs scientific evidence, or polling data etc. i.e. whether nuclear winter would cause extinction or whether Trump is predicted to win the 2020 election, it can be analytic. I don’t inherently value cards more than analytics in the way many judges view author qualifications meaning their opinions are somehow more legitimate. You don’t need to find cards to say every thing you want to say, you just need a warranted argument. In most cases analytic = card.
Offense>Defense, but defense matters it helps the weighing debate.
I default Epistemic confidence (aka I only evaluate impacts through the winning framework, not a mix of frameworks) , I have not heard a brightline that makes sense or a way too evaluate epistemic modesty that’s not just use my framework even if I lose, usually I think you would be better off spending your time winning framing or making arguments as to why your offense links under the opponent’s framework than going for epistemic modesty, but hey if you win a good brightline that makes sense I’ll use it.
Applying framing when responding or going for high layer issues i.e. ks, theory, and independent voters is good and makes decisions cleaner.
Weighing is great especially when it goes beyond impacts. Weigh between links and internal links, do evidence analysis and comparison, weigh between layers etc. Weighing clash is often what separates good debaters from great debaters.
People’s understanding of fiat is bad this article explains many of my thoughts https://www.vbriefly.com/2019/12/28/two-dogmas-of-fiat-by-jacob-nails/
Case first because case on top, and I value case more than average. Against an aff with 2 advantages, if the 1ar concedes two carded case turns one for each advantage, and the 2nr does a good job extending and warranting both of them, absent a higher layer I will be voting neg. The aff must win more offense on case then the neg, otherwise I have an easy neg ballot on case.
Specific case is always better.
Pick and choose what to contest well.
Terminal defense is a thing, but risk of offense is compelling when I don’t know the brightline.
Default reasonability, but I prefer Competiting interps, I only default reasonability because debaters who don’t establish paradigm issues usually aren’t reading reasonable interpretations, or generate offense. If you want to win reasonability>competing interps you need a brightline.
Default Drop the argument>Drop the debater
RVIs are winnable but default no RVIs, I never went for RVIs as a debater and ld is getting more and more influence from policy so these seem to be on the outs, but 1AR is short and probably deserves a tool to beat back neg friv theory, if you’re going for this in the 2AR/2NR I think it’s strategic too commit hard and not just throw one in for 10 seconds.
I don’t evaluate intent that can’t be proven one way or another. I default that debaters intend to have good-will and be educational unless proven otherwise.
Paragraph theory – you can do it, it’s not an excuse to not have paradigm issues, I think having an explicit interp can be good for more complicated theory, but like condo bad is condo bad. I also only really think it makes sense in the 1AR, I think 1nc or 2nr should probably use shells, but do what you want.
Collapsing too one standard can sometimes moot most other responses on the theory flow, but sometimes it can’t, especially when debaters read two standards that relie on the same warranting i.e. if we have a condo bad shell with clash and time skew, clash relies on the assumption of time skew that the aff could not have engaged sufficiently in the neg positions, going for clash and assuming responses to time skew don’t apply can be dangerous. Generally I think if you are going for theory pay attention to every response on the flow, because conceding a one line response can often be damning in these debates.
I think condo’s bad I’m probably 60-40 aff on this debate, but also think condo bad theory time skews the neg. I also think both sides of this debate would benefit from innovation.
Default Drop the debater, all other defaults same as theory.
I think some larp affs are more non-t than many k-affs
I find the Limits concerns of Nebel T compelling (like 70-30 neg) and the semantics also flow neg but I don’t value semantics highly.
I don’t want to incentivize debaters learning how to beat back tricks, I don’t think it’s an educational skill
I probably know your literature but explain it to me like I don’t, you can use jargon to refer to concepts that would take hours to explain, but do so at your own risk I recommend being able to win any round without relying on them.
Not a fan of root cause at the impact level, sequencing and prior question type arguments can be compelling when well warranted.
Links of omission can be links, they are the worst type of links but I’ll vote on them, especially if I have a good card or reason why these things are specifically omitted from discussions.
Specific links are good, but having a solid generic link with specific analysis is underrated.
Severence bad is a good arg, I’ll vote on it.
Aff vs the K
Default perms are tests of competition not advocacies, can be persuaded otherwise.
Please give a perm text
Put offense on the k and respond to framing and the k tricks.
Do whatever you want, reject the res or debate if you want or don’t. I mainly defended my affs as whole res general principle, and think those are the most topical versions of these affs.
T-fw vs K affs
Need a text
Not a fan of pics and word pics, but obviously will vote on them.
Trad Debate and Debating vs Trad Debaters:
Trad debate and trad debaters are repeatedly disrespected by circuit debate elitism. Don’t be an elitist prick, most everyone starts out as a trad debater, those who don’t are lucky enough to be exposed via an older sibling or teammate. Circuit debaters should be open and encouraging to trad debaters at circuit tournaments, especially relating to issues like disclosure.
For trad debaters if you pull up to an octos bid in varsity, I expect you to be able to beat opponents who can spread, I will not force circuit debaters to trad debate trad debaters, because that denies the hundreds of hours those debaters spend to develop circuit skills. That’s not to say trad debaters just should take the L, I think trad debaters can win these debates by focusing on their arguments and doing good comparative analysis and making intuitive responses. One of the best substantive debates I had on my Da Bomb psychoanalysis aff was against a traditional debater at Berkeley who made great intuitive analytic responses which were difficult to deal with.
In my own career and as a judge I highly value pushing new arguments, types of debate, and reorienting both the form and content of debate, and reward clever innovative argumentation with higher speaks. This is usually done by performance and kritikal debaters, but this can be new da tricks with politics, or creating new voters on theory shells etc. At the same time, don’t expect me to vote on it because it’s new, please tell me how to evaluate it.
Collapse the debate to 2 flows max, when crossapplying tell me from what flow you are taking the arg and slow down if you want me to catch it well.
Make the most strategic choices, missed opportunities will be punished less than strategic mistakes, but please don’t read shoes theory when the neg is defending condo advocacies, pick better strategies.
Number analytics and name your arguments (i.e. analytic Das)
Having fun and making debate fun for your opponent
Having the email chain ready to go when you enter the round
Lying and rude behavior will reduce your speaks.
Being sketch in cx is a cx strategy, but fumbling or avoiding questions results in worse speaks, good answers increases speaks.
If you are unclear I’ll yell clear twice (maybe more if I’m feeling generous) and then stop flowing if you don’t get clear/slow down. Your speaks won’t be docked initially, they will be docked based on your response. There are degrees to being unclear, some will just result in lower speaks.
More random thoughts
I’m more down with shadow extensions than most, I’m not gonna treat them like full arguments but like if your opponent concedes 3 das that should count for something and you should still collapse to one. You can shadow extend to basically get the offense from the previous speech, I’d vote on it before presumption but it likely won’t factor into my decision.
Personal beef between debaters is better solved out of round, and uncomfortable too evaluate, that being said I’ve been in and seen other debaters in powerless positions regarding top down support and needed to take charge through per’s only medium – debate. As such if there are screenshots etc. of an opponents harassment I’ll drop them and attempt to resolve the matter according to the wishes of the one who experienced the violence i.e. whether that involves a conversation between the two debaters, or me lecturing the debater etc. The Debate community needs to stop ignoring this stuff otherwise it spirals out of control out of sight.
Flex prep is okay, you can ask questions during your prep time, you can also use your cx time for prep but your speaks will probably take a hit.
TLDR: paradigm is mostly the same as LD, do what you want.
I know you're probably bummed you got an ld judge in the back, but it's not all bad, I unfortunately barely competed in policy at my school because I was the only one interested (therefore I initially did Lincoln Douglas because of the lack of the partner). However I was somewhat involved in the policy debate scene, and most notably attended RKS the Wake Forest Policy Camp and got to quarterfinals at the camp tournament there. Overall I'm going to evaluate these debates as close to policy as I can, but obviously I have some ld influences. You'll find I'm less open to frivilous theory than you may expect and some ld judges are, but have a lower bar for theory then you are probably used too. In general I probably have lower thresholds for warranting than most policy judges, although due to time I expect arguments to be better fleshed out in policy than in ld. Also you can still read traditional philosophy if you want too in front of me like Kant, but I doubt many policy teams will want to have those rounds.
For Public Forum
I'll evaluate these debates using my background, feel free to run progressive arguments in front of me, just don't spread against debaters who can't or try to actively make debate inaccessible. I did Public Forum for my first 2 years so I feel comfortable evaluating the more stock debates as well. Don't start a shouting match in cx or repeatedly cut off womxn.
im a lay judge - i do love k affs tho.