35th Annual Stanford Invitational
2021 — Classrooms.Cloud, CA/US
Congress Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
This form of debate is based around specific legislative solutions to problems. If you're on the Aff, you must demonstrate that there is a problem that is worth addressing, that the legislation at hand addresses said problem, and that this specific solution is the best one available. If you're on the Neg, you must either demonstrate that the problem doesn't exist, that the problem isn't worth solving, or that the legislation at hand will fail to fix the problem. Basically, you should be debating the legislation, not just the idea behind it.
Adapt to the round as best you can. If you give a constructive speech halfway through a bill or if you give the 4th consecutive Aff speech, I will get upset. Related to that, clash is vital. If you're giving anything other than the authorship speech, your speech should contain references to others.
Congress is the only event in all of Speech & Debate where not everyone is guaranteed equal time, which is something I hate. As such, I try to run fast and efficient rounds to maximize the number of speeches. In a perfect world, everyone would get to give the same number of speeches. If I'm the Parli, don't ask if I'm ready. I am.
I only judge your speech and your performance on both sides of cross-ex. Everything else is just noise unless it's offensively bad. I judge PO's based on efficiency and strength in controlling the chamber. I don't need flair from the PO, but I do need a fast round.
On that note, don't run for PO unless you're good at it, not just because you think it'll help you break. I rank good PO's highly, but I tank the heck out of bad ones. In the interest of time, the PO should write the names and codes of the speakers on the wall (if we're doing that) after the speech starts instead of taking the time to make the speakers do it.
Do NOT use parliamentary procedure to gain an unfair advantage over your opponents. If the PO screws up and awards you a speech you're not supposed to get, yield. The worst offense is when someone tries to kill time with unnecessary motions to prevent someone from getting to speak. Doing that when I'm your judge is a great way to lose.
If you watch C-Span, I guarantee you're not going to see Chuck Schumer yelling and spreading about the need to "fail" legislation. This event is first and foremost about your debate content, but don't discount the value of professional and refined presentation. As a speech coach, I'll have a hard time paying attention to your content if I can't stop noticing how you trail off at the ends of sentences.
Clarity is very important -- guide me through each step of the analysis. Solid, clear structure with a confident delivery.
Hey y’all. My name’s Matt, I competed in congress for 2 years in high school and I’ve been judging tournaments for about the same amount of time. Basically I’ve been in a lot of congress rounds so don’t worry, I know how this works. When I’m judging a round, I’m mainly looking for who can advance the debate the most or otherwise contribute the most to the round as a whole. Whoever can give me the most solid, impactful, well explained point and contextualize it to the round is going to stand out to me the most. That means if you’re speaking early, set the framework for your side to follow and for the debate as a whole to follow. If you can effectively do this, you’ll get ranked well. If you’re speaking later in the round, make share you make your arguments more responsive so the debate can be furthered, incorporate refutation so I know why your points are better, and are your point make sense in the context of other points I’ve heard in the round so far so it’s easy for me to understand. Clean, professional speaking will benefit you but it’s not the deciding factor for your rank. Important to note, I also appreciate a good presiding officer. If you are well versed in procedures and run the round smoothly, you’ll rank well with me, and if I feel you’ve contributed more than anyone else, you’ll rank REALLY well with me. That about does it for me, great luck in round everyone, I look forward to seeing you all compete.
School affiliation: Dougherty Valley Bridge
Judging/Event types: Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Congress
Years in judging: 2
I give points for creativity, good voice projection and modulation (pitch, tone), and eye contact. Please do not speed read. If I can't comprehend what you are saying because you are going too fast, I can't award you for your wonderful thoughts. I give more points for good persuasion with great confidence and fluidity. If you give good evidence and explain a good real world impact, the more points awarded.
I take lots of notes on paper.
Please time yourself so I can focus on the contents of your speech.
I am not very good in remembering all the time limits for all the different types of speech and debate, so I may need a reminder from the first speaker.
Having adjudicated a handful of congress speech debate competitions as a parent judge, here are a few factors I generally consider for evaluating participants:
* content and delivery (equal weightage)
* thoughtfully laid out and well researched arguments with strong analysis
* refutations in every speech after the first affirmative
* participation in CrossX and raise valid logical questions to challenge opposing arguments and strengthening their own argument.
Good luck and thank you for your time and effort!
I've done congress throughout high school at Harker, and am now back working as a coach while I'm an undergrad at the University of Michigan. If you manage to subtly include the phrase "go blue" in your speech, you'll probably get the win from me.
However, if multiple people are able to accomplish this task, or none at all, I will rank competitors in the round based on the following criteria:
1. Giving the right content at the right time.
This is extremely important for me. It means that if you're one of the first few people to speak, I would like to see fresh new arguments that can set the stage for the debate. Strong impact analysis matters too. Try not to spend more than a minute refuting in an early speech, just because many arguments you refute may never even come up later in the debate, and I don't want you to waste your speaking time.
If you're speaking after the first 2 cycles, you'll want to shift to refutation-based speeches. These should continue on until the last 1 or 2 cycles. I need to see clash. I need to see some amount of impact weighing. I need to see actual debate. I especially like arguments that show the unintended (helpful or harmful) consequences of the bill.
Finally, the last couple of speeches should be well-planned crystal speeches. Give me a summary of a couple points from your side of the debate that I should care about, and refute the strongest standing arguments from the other side. Tell me why your side wins.
2. Speaking clearly and succinctly.
Personally, speaking isn't too important for me. If you want to separate yourself from the crowd, speaking is a great and memorable way to do it. Having a unique and energizing speech can only make a good speech even better. In this category, I care most about how clear your delivery is in terms of speed (speak at a reasonable pace, don't make me feel rushed), and continuous flow (think about what you're going to say next so you don't trip up over your words).
PO'ing: if no one else wants to PO, and you choose to step up and volunteer, I'll be considering that positively while I rank you. If you do enter an election for PO, I expect you to do a damn good job and have at most 1 or 2 small mistakes. That being said, PO'ing is difficult, and you will almost always get ranked as a PO. Speak loudly, evoke a sense of confidence, maintain communication with judges as appropriate, and keep speeches going efficiently.
A little bit about me: I am the Head Coach of Millburn High School in New Jersey. In high school, I competed in Congressional Debate, Expository Speaking (now Informative), and Duo Interpretation (Congress was my main event). While in college, I competed in Extemporaneous Speaking and Parliamentary Debate. I have a bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science and a master's degree in International Relations with a focus on International Law and Institutions. Professionally, I work in politics and government affairs, and own my own political consulting and corporate social responsibility consulting businesses in Nevada!
I do my very best to be as non-interventionist as possible, but I know some students like reading judges paradigms to get a better sense of what they're thinking. I hope that the below is helpful :).
Here are some things to consider if I'm your Parliamentarian/ Judge in Congressional Debate:
- I am a sucker for a well-executed authorship, so please don't be afraid to give the first speech! Just because you don't have refutation doesn't mean it isn't a good speech. I will be more inclined to giving you a better speech score if you stand up and give the speech when no one is willing to do so because it shows preparedness.
- Bouncing off of the above bullet point, one of the things I really dislike while at national circuit tournaments is having no one stand up to give the earlier speeches (particularly in out rounds). You should be prepared to speak on either side of the legislation. You're there to debate, so debate.
- Asking the same question over and over to different speakers isn't particularly impressive to me (only in extreme circumstances should this ever be done). Make sure that you are catering the questions to the actual arguments from the speech and not asking generic questions that could be asked of anyone.
- Make my job easy as the judge. I will not make any links for you; you need to make the links yourself.
- Warrants are so important! Don't forget them!
- If you are giving one of the final speeches on a piece of legislation, I expect you to weigh the arguments and impacts that we have heard throughout the debate. Unless there has been a gross negligence in not bringing up a particular argument that you think is revolutionary and changes the debate entirely, you shouldn't really be bringing up new arguments at this point. There are, of course, situations where this may be necessary, but this is the general rule of thumb. Use your best judgment :).
- Please do your best to not read off of your pad. Engage with the audience/ judges, and don't feel as though you have to have something written down verbatim. I'm not expecting a speech to be completely flawless when you are delivering it extemporaneously. I historically score speeches higher if delivered extemporaneously and have a couple of minor fluency lapses than a speech read off of a sheet of paper with perfect fluency.
- Be active in the chamber! Remember, the judges are not ranking students based upon who is giving the best speeches, but who are the best legislators overall. This combines a myriad of factors, including speeches, questioning, overall activity, leadership in the chamber, decorum, and active listening (i.e. not practicing your speech while others are speaking, paying attention, etc.) Keep this in mind before going into a session.
Let me know if you have any questions! :)
Here are some things to consider if I'm your judge in Public Forum:
- I am really open to hearing most any type of argument. Do your thing, be clear, and enjoy yourselves!
- It's important to me that you maintain clarity throughout the round.
- Take advantage of your final focus. Tell me why I should vote for you, don't solely focus on defensive arguments.
- Maintain organization throughout the round - your speeches should tell me what exact argument you are referring to the in the round. Sign posting is key! A messy debate is a poorly executed debate.
- I don't weigh one particular type of argument over another. I vote solely based on the flow, and will not impose my pre-existing beliefs and convictions on you. It's your show, not mine!
- I don't require front-lining in the summary, but if you feel as though it is necessary, do it.
- Be polite!
- Make my job easy. I should not have to (and will not) make any links for you. You have to make the link yourselves. There should be a clear connection to your impacts.
- Weighing impacts is critical to your success, so please do it!
Any questions, please feel free to ask!
Racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic, etc. comments and/or arguments and/or behavior are not tolerated. You WILL lose the round and receive 0 speaker points. Don't do it. The debate/speech space must be open and safe for all. If you use stereotypes of identities (particularly race, gender, disabilities, and/or ethnicities) that aren’t yours, especially for comedic effect, you will be ranked last. There is no place in the speech and debate space for that kind of behavior.
My basic judging philosophy:
This activity is about students, first and foremost. That means I am not the most important person in the round. I focus on which team is making the better argument for their position. I provide written feedback and while I will give an oral RFD at the conclusion of a round (when allowed), I like to provide feedback in writing so that it is of the most use for the student and their coaches. Whether it's in speech or debate, I believe in telling students what they did well and then offering some opportunities for improved performance in the future.
General note for both speech and debate: how you behave in a round matters. I expect you to be cordial and collegial to your opponents. If you are not, your speaker points will reflect it.
Here’s the TL;DR version:
Clash is necessary. I love Ks and critical argumentation (but know your theory because I’ll know if you don’t). Give me the ballot in your rebuttals! And don’t conflate ethics and morals!
Each speech should have proper argumentation (claim, warrant, impact(s)). IMPACT OUT YOUR EVIDENCE!!! You should know why the evidence you’re reading or the statistic you’re citing matter! Road map your speeches. Signpost during them. If you are not the first speaker on either side of a bill, make it clear that you're following what's come before you. Acknowledge your fellow representatives when you're building on their point or when you're refuting it. CLASH IS IMPORTANT! I expect crystallizations and rebuttals to include weighing/impact calc. I rank POs unless the round is chaotic/incredibly poorly run. Precedency and recency matter. I track the number of questions you ask in addition to scoring your speeches. The person who gets my top rank is the person who performed best in the round. I'm looking for cordiality and collegiality, strength and uniqueness of arguments, and excellent in-round engagement with the thoughts and arguments of others. Generally speaking, I judge 50/50 content/performance; both what you say and how you say it matter!
In a round, I'm paying close attention to whether arguments are complete and if they're well supported by the cards used. It's not just about cramming as much as will fit into an X-minute speech; it's about making sure that your evidence says what you're saying it does and using information to make your argument stronger. I'm looking for claims, warrants, and impacts.
I'm not a strict flow judge, but I am tracking all the arguments. If questions are raised in rounds that are a priori to the resolution, I'm paying special attention to how they're run and responded to; T and K are voters that, for me, always take precedence over case. RFDs will not be tech heavy.
Clash is important! Rounds where the sides talk past each other and don’t engage with the arguments of the other side are not good rounds
Tell me why you should get the ballot in your rebuttals. Make your case for why you win the round. But please do not tell me that I have an ethical obligation to vote a certain way, unless you're giving me the ethical paradigm from which you want me to vote. Otherwise, the phrase "you have an ethical obligation to vote for us" means nothing. Ethics and morals are not the same thing, so please don't conflate them. Morals are an appeal to shared values, while an ethic is simply a way of being in the world. Knowing how to make these arguments successfully will make you better debaters.
While I was an old school policy debater, my doctoral studies have been in continental philosophy, critical theory, cultural theory, and social ethics. Bring on your critical arguments! I love critical argumentation in both LD and Policy when it's done well. I expect students to understand the theory that underlies their critical arguments, as that is the only way to successfully defend arguments of that kind. Again, know the theory and the methodology of the argument you're making; if you don't, it will hurt you in the round. My decisions in many rounds come down to a priori questions to the resolution, especially Ks.
Speed, in and of itself, is not a problem; speed without clarity is. If I can't understand you, I will say “Clear” once. Slow down and enunciate. If I still cannot understand you, it's an issue that will impact speaker points. Please slow on your tags and citations.
This is the single best advice I can give you if I am your judge: do not conflate ethics and morals. An ethic is a way of being in the world; it does not require morals. Morals, conversely, are principles by which one lives one’s life. While many ethics include morals as part of their structure, ethics and morals aren’t the same thing. If you’re making a moral appeal argument, you need to tell me what the morals to which you’re appealing are and why they’re important. If you’re making an ethical argument, you need to tell me what your ethical framework is. Otherwise, telling me that I have an ethical or moral obligation to vote in a particular way means nothing; you need to give me the framework or the values you want me to use to evaluate the round. When you don’t, it means that I am using my own ethical or moral framework to evaluate rounds and, because no two people have the exact same ethic (way of being in the world), it lowers the persuasiveness of your argument.
I’ve coached nearly every NSDA category and regularly judge them. There are a couple big things that I’m looking for when I judge a speech round.
1) Performance: Can I hear you? Do your movements make sense? Are you comfortable with the material? Do you wait for the judge before beginning? Does entire performance fit with the material? How well do you perform or present your piece? Are you off book? Do you speak with confidence and authority?
2) Category specific things: For interp generally, I pay close attention to transitions, pops, and character work. Are they clean? Are they distinct physically and vocally? Getting those to a point where they’re clean is a huge hurdle, but one that matters.
In humor, do the jokes land? Are they told well? Does the performance include pauses after jokes that elicit a laugh? Do you know what your laugh lines are? Is the piece funny? Are you relying on racial/ethnic, gender, or other stereotypes? (DON’T!)
In POI, I’m looking for a cohesive piece that has a clear narrative arc throughout it. Do the piece selections fit with each other? Is each piece identifiable? In other words, can I tell when you’re popping between pieces? Does the theme carry through? Have the cuttings been done well?
In Info, OO, and other student-written categories, does the text make sense? How well written is the piece? Does it succeed in being interesting and engaging? In an OO round, is the speech persuasive or is it dramatic? And in an Info round, is it an informative speech or is it persuasive? I want persuasion in OO and informative in Info.
For extemp, I want to see both an understanding of the prompt and an understanding of the arguments advanced. Are arguments complete (claim, warrant, impact) or are they missing a piece? Does the argument have ground? Impact out your evidence!
3) Category requirements: do the piece and its performance adhere to the NSDA rules or the operative rules for a tournament? If you’re not sure what they are, you can find that information on the NSDA website.
4) Respect and collegiality: do you treat everyone with respect? Are you on your phone or engaged in watching your peers? Put simply: don’t be a jerk. No one likes a jerk. If you’re disrespectful in a round, it will impact your ranking.
Make my ranking decisions hard for me! The best rounds are the ones where I have a hard time figuring out how to rank you.
I am a parent that did LD and policy debate in high school and loved it.
For Congressional Debate, my focus is on logic. The better I can understand your arguments, the more it clashes with arguments made by previous debaters, and the better you can explain why those should be the reason to vote for the position you're advocating, the better the score will be. For the question of content vs presentation I try to follow the 70-30 rule -- the focus is mainly on the content, but great presentation is appreciated.
In a round with a lot of great speakers and strong arguments and clash, I will tend to rank higher those that "raise the room" more. All things being equal, the tiebreaker for me will be those that are friendlier to others and have a more civil / respectful tone in their speeches and questioning.
I am a judge reasonably experienced at judging tournaments. I have 2 kids and both are in debate and speech each.
Here are few insights on how I judge:
Speak at whatever pace you feel most comfortable. I can keep up with your pace.
I do take notes. Let me know where you are in your arguments. I appreciate the source citation. I like clear, clean lines of logical thinking.
Engage with the round, have refutations and ask questions
Be respectful to everyone and have fun
Background: Coached middle school speech and debate for seven years, high school for six years, elementary school for three years and college for two years.
High School Competitive Experience: Mainly in congress, impromptu, parli and duo. Qualified to states in cong, duo, opp and TOC bid in congress.
College Competitive Experience: DEBATE: 1. Parli: NPTE Qualifier, Parli 2nd seed and Semifinalist at State , 8th best Parli Spkr and Semifinalist at Nationals, awarded best college parli team in the country as voted on by competitors in 2016. 2. IPDA: Semifinalist and 9th Spkr at State
IE'S/Speech:CA Community Colege States: 2x champ in IMP( 1 picketfence) and Extemp, Finalist in ADS/STE. MI States: Runner Up in Imp and Poetry, 3rd in Extemp and Persuasion, Individual Sweeps Winner. Phi Rho Pi Nationals: Finalist in Imp, Semifinalist in Ext. AFA: Semi in Persuasion/Oratory NFA: Semi in ADS/STE, NFA Quarterfinal in Persuasion/Oratory, Octofinal in Impromptu and Poetry Interstate Oratorical Association National Qualifier
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN I JUDGE YOU:
1. Role of the debate space: This activity should be a safe and inclusive place for EVERYBODY. I am open to progressive and identity based arguments, and I want ya'll to be comfortable in the round. Although I've faced my own discrimination as a member of the Jewish community, I will never know what it's like to deal with the marginalization that POC, Women/Womxn, and the LGBTQ face on a daily basis. Thus, if there is anything I can do to make you feel more comfortable in the debate space, please let me know.
A. Speed I have a fine motor skill issue that prevents me from flowing super fast. I will listen to some speed, but not full spreading. I can handle more speed than lay, but less than the avg flow judge. If I call speed 3x and you don't slow down you lose the round.
B. Speaker Points. Rounds should be fun. I want ya'll to be able to use your wit and humor, thus I will take that into account if you are looking for a way to improve your speaker points. I like puns, Childish Gambino, Hamiltion, Lil Dicky, Rick and Morty, sports, and silly analogies. You won't win just for being funny, but you'll up your spks for sure.
3. Types of Arguments I will and won't listen to: Debate is a game so run what you want, but here is a tip sheet if you have me.
A. Counter-plans: Make sure they aren't perm-able, that they are non topical and that they don't bite into your own disadvantage
B. Conditionality: Kick whatever you want as long as there isn't offense on them. I'll listen to condo theory
C. Kritik's: Will listen to them if the structure is very organized. I want to be told the role of the ballot, the framework, the link, the impact, the alt etc... I've only voted on three k's ever.
D. Topicality: If you're being abused by the aff, run it. I'm also okay with seeing it as time strategy. Show the articulated abuse.
E. Reverse Voting Issues: They usually aren't very persuasive but I will buy them more than the average flow judge.
F. Spreading Theory: If you're calling speed, clear and the team refuses to slow down I will probably vote for this if you do an okay job running it.
G. No New Points in Rebuttal Theory: I'm a fan, but you have to earn it.
H. Trichotomy: Bleh, you better make some really compelling arguments.
I. Perm: Show why both plan and cp can be done. I won't allow everything to be permed just because it's a "test of competition"
J. No Neg Fiat: I'll laugh, but hey, if you can do it, good for you.
Overall: Be organized, use sub-points, number your responses, explain your impacts. I will listen to complex arguments but please explain them clearly. Hard for me to vote for you if you don't give me voters. HAVE FUN.
Director of Forensics at Bentley School, Lafayette
High school and college experience
I flow the round, but I promise there is a high probability that I will get lost if you go too fast or jump around with your arguments. You’ll benefit from signposting and staying organized. I prefer fleshed out arguments and not blips. Don’t assume I know theory. If something is a voting issue, explain it to me. Always tell me "why".
I’ve spent many years coaching speech events and I appreciate quality public speaking skills, along with respect towards your teammate and opponents.
By the end of the round, you need to tell me why I should be voting for you over your opponent. What are the voting issues and how do your impacts outweigh your opponent's impacts.
-DO NOT SPREAD! I like smooth deliveries and perfect fluency, especially from the first speakers of each team.
-Have solid link chains that are easy to understand. In addition, be sure to have strong supporting evidence because arguments are only strong if they have strong factual backing.
-Even if you have the perfect case, it’s no use if your delivery is poor. Powerful speaking and relevant content are extremely important but with perfect fluency added on, that’ll bring you up from my 29 to 30.
-I'm not as experienced with Congress so please excuse any mistakes I make.
-I'm looking for strong link chains and delivery.
-Clash is important! Including refutation in your speeches, especially after 1st aff/neg is essential.
-Impact your points, tell me why what you're saying matters.
I value insightful responses to challenging questions during the questioning period. By that same token, if you ask challenging and provoking questions, it will reflect well on your round placement.
I wholeheartedly value speeches that embody the congressional debate sentiment: a focus on the American constituents who "elected" you to office. At the end of the day, that is who you represent. The best speeches are compelling, comprehensible, motivating, and delivered at a normal speaking pace (no spreading). I definitely don't mind a joke/pun or two. Speaking well, in a very compelling way, is just as important as what you are saying. Try not to read from your screen too much.
For PO contests, speed and efficiency is key. The better PO is the one that successfully moves the round along with minimal hesitations, almost as if you don't even notice their presence.
World Schools Debate:
I heavily value speaking compellingly and passionately. That means that you shouldn't be spreading. Also, make sure that you keep in mind that because this is WSD, you should be considering the perspective of the world, not focusing your debate on a specific country.
I participated in Congressional Debate and World School's Debate in high school, attending both CA State Finals and Nationals. I am now an undergraduate student at Yale University.
I enjoy working with students who display great energy and persuasion during their presentation. Listed below are a few additional items I look for in a speaker.
· Effective opening statements with solid reasoning
· Arguments that are clear and easy to follow
· Good eye contact and stage presence
· Ability to move the debate further
· Being respectful and an active participant
•Move debate forward--continue to examine impact (cause-effect relationships)
•Synthesis of prior speakers as debate rounds ensue
•Questions that probe for clarification of key terms and implications of key choices
This is my second year judging. I specialize in judging Congressional Debates, have experience judging Public Forum, and do enjoy judging other styles as well. While I do not deduct if time management is within a few seconds, if you go on for 30sec or more beyond the time limit, I will deduct significant points.
The most important element for me is the strength of the evidence. I believe in maintaining good eye contact, making arguments not just reading cards. Please keep your "spreading" in check. I would like to have a clear and effective delivery. I appreciate clever wordplay and well-done appeals to emotion.
Please think about the weighing mechanism for the debate, what is the impact and why I should vote for your side.
Debate should be exciting and fun. Please enjoy the experience. I expect professional behavior by all participants, and look forward to a great session.
Samsung CRM Manager
Dougherty Valley High School
Years of Judging/Event Types:
No years of judging, will judge the Congressional Debate.
How will you award speaker points to the debaters?
Emphasis on necessary or important statistics
Appropriate hand gestures
What sort of things help you to make a decision at the end of the debate?
The overall delivery of a one’s speech helps me make a final decision.
Do you take a lot of notes or flow the debate?
I have not judged before, but I’m planning to take notes on the aspects I’m going to judge them on, including the content of their speech.
Rank each using the following rubric: 1 - not at all 5-somewhat 10- weighed heavily
Speaking skills: 7
Use of Evidence: 8
Cross Examination: 6
Real World Impacts: 9
Debate skill over truthful arguments: 5
Use of Evidence:
Cite the sources, say at least the author and date.
Statistics is highly recommended
Relevant pieces of evidence must be incorporated.
Real World Impacts:
How it will affect all people
Weighing is very important
Why is your stance in the debate important? Why does it matter?
Speakers must be fluent and give relevant answers.
Ask a lot of questions, but useful ones.
Make eye to eye contact during one on one cross examination.
Debate skill over truthful arguments:
Must be fact based
On topic, don’t drift off to other topics.
Dougherty Valley '19 | UC Davis '23 | firstname.lastname@example.org
I competed for 4 years in mainly Circuit Congress and Extemporaneous Speaking but I have also dabbled in Impromptu.
In a Nutshell: The more memorable (for better) that you are, the higher you will rank.
Congress is a debate event. Unless you are presenting an authorship or sponsorship speech, clash/refutation is a must. I believe that the later you speak in round, the more important refutation becomes. This doesn't mean that you have to refute all minor and major arguments. Rather, the later you present in round, the more I think you have the burden of selectively and strategically refuting. I am a big fan of speakers who crystallize near the end of the round so if you are speaking last or near last, a good crystallization speech is a solid path to getting a higher rank.
When presenting evidence/analysis, a good rule of thumb is to explain relationships as articulately as you can. It is your job, not mine to ensure that your speech makes sense. If I can't understand the logic in your arguments, I won't spend time to try and figure them out. Hard evidence (statistics etc.) from reliable sources is always preferred to anecdotal evidence.
Good one-liners and rhetoric are always appreciated :)
Be as aggressive as you want. I will never judge your speaking style as being too "emotional" or sappy - I care far more about what you are saying than how you are saying it. Just remember that being aggressive does not entail insulting people straight up to their faces.
TL;DR - If you make it easy for me to give you the 1, I will give you the 1.
For Presiding Officers:
If you are fast, fair, efficient and don't make any major errors, you are guaranteed a top 5 rank. If you are exceptional, you are guaranteed a top 3 rank.
PUBLIC FORUM PARADIGM:
I'm not super experienced with PuFo but have judged a few rounds before. Here is my take:
Make sure your arguments are clear and have strong links and properly cited evidence. I do value presentation heavily when evaluating speaks, but will also factor strength and creativity of arguments.
I learned debate at Hillsdale College from Jeremy Christensen and Matthew Doggett and James Brandon; I competed in IPDA and NPDA. I've been a coach since 2014. I have coached PF, Coolidge, LD, and Congressional. I judge on the flow. I'm looking for sound argumentation tied to the resolution; if you go off topic (K, etc) or want to run a theory argument, be prepared to explain why your strategy is justified. I am not a fan of speed in debate - convey your arguments, evidence, and impacts without spreading.
Debate is a wonderful game, and I enjoy judging rounds where both teams play it well. Accept your burdens, and fight for your position. Evidence goes a long way with me, so long as you explain the validity of your evidence and the impact that it links to. In LD, Im a big fan of traditional values-driven argumentation. In PF, I want to see the purposes of public forum respected - no plan, no spreading, and publicly accessible debate on a policy-esque resolution.
School Affiliations: Dougherty Valley Bridge
Judging/Event Types: Congress
Even though this is my first year judging- third event, I have a fairly good understanding of Judging Congressional Debate. I have two kids. One now a College Freshman. Both my kids have been in Speech & Debate since the very start of middle school.
*For me speaking well is as important as what you are saying. That being said you don't have to change your pace for me. I can follow you.
*Things that will help me make a decision at the end of each round are Clear arguments, Impacts that will show the depth of knowledge of your argument and a good flow.
*I will be taking notes.
*Ask questions, have refutations and evidences that show you are engaged in the round.
*Last but not the least be respectful towards your fellow debaters.
1. I am a parent/judge. I am ok with any argument as long as there is sufficient evidence for the case. Arguments should be concise and straight to the point.
2. Please speak clearly and not too fast. Clarity is key and I want to be able to properly understand your point to effectively judge you.
3. Maintain a clear speech order (do not jump around from contentions to refutations, etc.)
4. During CrossX please fully answer all of the questions asked. I think an effective CrossX is very important.
5. Please be respectful towards others and have fun!
Hey everyone! My name is Fidencio Jimenez, and I am currently the head congressional debate coach for Modernbrain Academy. I have competed in a variety of individual and debate events during my time as a competitor in the high school and collegiate circuits of competition. My general approach to judging follows this general framework:
Policy, LD: In terms of theory, K, I am very indifferent about running those. You can run whatever type of arguments you want to, just be sure that I am able to connect the logic of the arguments together. At the end of the day, I am a flow judge. For me, clear impacts, clear warrants will win the round regardless of the type of arguments.
Parli: I've competed in parli for 2 years at the collegiate level and I think the biggest problem with many people who do parli is the impacts. To start, if it is a policy round, please be very clear about the plan. I.E: Have a date, agency, etc. For definitions, please only explain meaningful and useful definitions. Don't define words like "should" or "to". Only define a word that has a meaningful part of the round. Contention wise, I really want to stress impacts. Yes, have good warrants, have good links, but flow wise its hard to vote for somebody who does not prove how a plan is effective. Once again, indifferent to K's, theory, etc. Just be clear.
Speed for ALL Debates: Please try your best not to spread. I don't feel that as a judge I should have to work to be able to listen to arguments. As a competitor, its your role to make sure I understand the arguments. I don't hear, I don't flow. If you are going too fast, I will say clear to let you know.
Congress: Congress was always something I enjoyed. With that being said, the only 2 things I have to say about congress is that yes, presentation matters, a lot. But at the end of the day, it is debate. Please display clear, strong arguments with great impacts, while at the same time giving me the sense of formality that you actually care for the people you represent. Congress is partially about convincing me you are right and why I should believe your advocacy and partially about having the best arguments in the round. Second, please during cross-examination, limit the "Senator don't you agree that...........". These arguments don't add anything to the round and just take up other people's time to question. That being said, just remember to not go overboard. You're acting.
I look for evidence-backed claims, weighing of impacts, understanding of the government structure, and a clear outline of the feasibility of the proposals offered in the debate. I am also looking for a good speaking style, including eye contact, emotion, and confidence. I previously competed in Congress on regional and state levels and have not judged Congress before.
- While speaking fast in Public Forum is uncommon, I am fine with any speed that an individual wishes to speak at as long as they are articulate and comprehensible. However, do not speak to the point that neither I nor your opponents can understand you.
- I am for all types of arguments as long as there is evidence backing up claims and contentions. If there is no evidence to back up the claim and your opponent has evidence proving their claim, I will be inclined to lean towards the side that presents evidence backing up their claims. However, if a team makes a claim that is supported by flawed or outrageous evidence, it will not be necessary to offer evidence to counter their claim. This only applies if an argument is very obviously false or supported by faulty evidence.
- I flow the entire round except cross-fire. If there is a point or argument that comes to light during cross-fire that you believe benefits your case/argument, bring it up in your speech. It is very important that you state it in your speech and explain why it favors your side, otherwise if it is not brought up in your speech, it will not be accounted for in the final disclosure.
- I am able to understand most/all jargon, so terminology should not be a limiting factor when creating arguments and refutations.
- When making an argument, you must show its impact/the magnitude of its impact. I do not blindly flow every argument that is presented and then never refuted if it is not part of the main debate. If you wish for an argument/contention to benefit your side, make sure to continually reference/support it throughout the debate and argue its impact. However, do not bring up non-refuted contentions/arguments, which not even your own side brought up since the first speech, in the Final Focus as I will not flow these arguments. The reason for this is that these arguments did not receive any debate nor were they even considered a substantial enough piece of the argument for any side to bring up. Thus, I will only flow contentions that receive debate and are referenced throughout the round.
- There must be clash. If two teams go through a round without ever addressing the other team's arguments/contentions, then I will have basically nothing to evaluate the round on. While I doubt this will happen often, I do wish to make a point that each team must address their opponent's arguments. The best way to win my vote is to outweigh your opponent in the magnitude of your impacts. If you can prove that your impacts have a greater benefit/magnitude than your opponents, then you will most likely win the round.
ABOUT ME -
I have been judging in Speech Events (HI, DI, DUO, EXT, OO), Debate Events (LD, PF, Policy) and Congressional Debate since 2018.
I enjoy judging Congressional Debates where I can see many debaters debate on numerous topics in the student chamber.
I favor to give points and rank high upon following skills even though congressional leaders need to be successful in passing legislation.
- Assertiveness – Standing up for one’s beliefs and being able to confidently take charge of difficult situations, making tough decisions despite opposition. In a politically charged environment where everyone is vying for their opinion to be heard, being assertive is key.
- Building Alliances – Earning trust and respect from others and taking the time to build effective working relationships with individuals.
- Commitment - Passionately and enthusiastically demonstrating a dedication to the causes and beliefs you espouse.
- Conflict Resolution - Effectively resolving misunderstandings, disagreements, and disputes with other individuals. Directly addressing issues with others in a non-threatening manner. Being willing to compromise in order to maintain effective working relationships.
- Influence - Using a variety of persuasion tactics, interpersonal skills, and communication and presentation strategies to convince others to make decisions that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
- Presentation Skills - Using effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills to clearly deliver information to a variety of audiences. Being confident and comfortable when speaking in front of groups. Making presentations that are clear, engaging and impactful.
- Barkley Forum for High Schools 1/29 - 1/31/2021
- Sunvite 2021
- Cavalier Invitational at Durham Academy 1/16 - 1/18/2021
- Florida Sunshine District Tournament 12/5
- FGCCFL December Tournament
- Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament 11/21 - 11/23/2020
- FGCCFL November Tournament
- Florida Blue Key 2020 10/30 -11/1 Congress Debate
- Duke Invitational 2020 9/19 -9/20 Congressional Debate
- National Speech and Debate Season Opener Hosted by UK 2020 9/12 -9/14 Congressional Debate
- FGCCFL Grand Finals 2020 2/28 -2/29 Congress Debate
- FGCCFL February All Events 2020 2/8 IE & Congress Debate
- FGCCFL January All Events 2020 1/18 -1/18 IE & Congress Debate
- Florida Sunshine District Tournament 2019 12/14 -3/28 Congress Debate
- The Sunvitational 2020 1/10 -1/12 Congress Debate
- FGCCFL December All Events 2019 12/7 IE & Congress Debate
- Barkley Forum for High Schools 2020 1/24 -1/26
- Congressional Debate FGCCFL September All Events 2019 9/28 -9/28 IE & Congress Debate
- Florida Blue Key 2019 11/1 -11/3 Congress Debate
- Yale Invitational 2019 9/13 -9/15 Speech
- FGCCFL Grand Finals 2019 2/22 -2/23 Lincoln-Douglas
- Barkley Forum for High Schools 2019 1/25 -1/27
- Congressional Debate Florida Sunshine District Tournament 2018 12/8 -3/9
- Congressional Debate FGCCFL November All Events 2018 11/17 -11/17 IE and Congress Debate
- FGCCFL October All Events 2018 10/13 -10/13 Lincoln-Douglas
- FGCCFL September All Events 2018 9/22 -9/22 Public Forum Yale Invitational 2018 9/14 -9/16 Varsity Public Forum
- MBBS, University of Medicine, Yangon, Myanmar.
- MPH, London School of Hyigene and Tropical Medicine, University London, UK
- MSc. Computer Science, Western Illinois University
- Post Doc Medical Informatics Fellowship, Health Science Technology, Harvard-MIT
Hey everyone, my name is Jasmine (she/her/her's) and I come from four yeas of high school experience mainly in Congressional Debate (I competed at district and national level, CHSSA state, and was a finalist at the 2018 TOC) and am now entering my third year in collegiate debate. In college, I compete in the NPDA (parliamentary debate with more tech)/IPDA/BP formats so I am well-versed in everything from technical debate to more lay, rhetoric-heavy debate. I have been coaching debate for six years now and judging for three years, most recently at the 2020 NSDA nationals. I do not like/cannot follow *extreme* spreading, so please avoid doing that if I am judging a policy round. Overall, I look for well-articulated arguments with clear and coherent links as well as concrete impacts. Unique contentions are always a plus. It is very important in Congress to show to me that you are interacting with the round if you are one of the later speakers; clash is appreciated. In other debates, I would consider myself to be a flow judge, so organization and clarity is critical. I am also familiar with and have judged all speech events and there is less of a paradigm I can give for that because everyone is so different, just enjoy your time in speech and debate and performing! Best of luck to everyone!
Hi Y'all, I know we are in a new world with online tournaments and I hope to make everything as smooth as possible as your judge in round to ensure you all have the same access to quality and competition and judging I was so lucky to have as a competitor. I am currently a rising Junior at UC Davis, and graduated from Davis Senior High in 2018 where I competed in Congress, Oratory, Extemp, Parli and Impromptu and I currently coach the same program.
Overall I am basically your standard tech college judge. I am fine with Theory, Topicality, RVI's and will vote on most progressive arguments if formatted correctly and make if they are cogent. My only issue is I do not like spreading, I don't think it is bad I just cannot effective flow rounds where competitors are spreading.
Now to the events
PF- Don't yell at each other in Grand Cross, it's something I see often and I don't like. Also create a norm to share evidence before the round, I hate having to wait 15 minutes for someone to share a card to the other team. One other thing, make sure your cards are clear, I don't like calling for cards after the round but I will do so if the round is messy.
Parli- I'm basically fine with anything you do in Parli and will vote on basically anything, I've judged mainly Parli, Parli is the primary event I coach and I really appreciate unique and interesting arguments and discourse that rarely occurs outside the event.
Congress- You'll get a paradigm in round.
LD- If your doing Lay LD stop treating it like a speech event, this is a trend I've noticed in lay LD at points I'm judging certain rounds it feels like I'm judging an extemp round, just please clash don't over-explain basic ideas.
Circuit LD- Don't Spread, I buy every argument, I appreciate the discourse and platform the event offers.
*This will likely be somewhat confusing, please make an attempt to read it and I am more than willing to clarify before the round, but will not repeat it verbatim*
Background: Competed in PF, CD, and IX for Wauseon (OH), also debated in college for Heidelberg University. In addition, I competed at the 2018 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Championships. I coached at Wauseon (OH). I am a Ph.D. candidate in applied economics at Western Michigan University. I have judged more extensively than my Tabroom indicates, as I judge every weekend, Ohio just does not use Tabroom. Primarily judge/parli Congress as such you will find my Congress paradigm much longer. Served as the Parliamentarian for the final round of Congress at the 2020 and 2021 OSDA State Tournaments, as well as the semifinal of the 2021 NCFL tournament .
Conflicts: Wauseon (OH)
1. What should I call you?
You can refer to me by name. I also use he/him pronouns. Preferably don’t call me “judge”, that’s a bit strange.
2. Are there arguments you won’t vote off of?
If something is clearly false or abusive, I probably won’t vote for it. If you’re being blatantly offensive, I might drop you.
meme cases, do NOT run a meme case.
3. Should I shake your hand?
Please do not do that.
4. Do you disclose?
I will follow the rules of the specific tournament in regards to disclosure and oral feedback. But generally, if the tournament allows I prefer to disclose.
5. In Congress (and other debates) should I wait for a sign of readiness from you?
No, you may assume that I am always ready
Be respectful of your opponent. Ask for their pronouns and use them correctly. Don’t do things that will clearly and unnecessarily make the round unfair to your opponent (ie., don’t spread or run tricks against a novice or something like that. You won't auto lose me but I will be annoyed!) Have fun with it, it is supposed to be fun.
Feel free to ask me questions about anything on here or anything not on here.
General Debate Info
I find myself very comfortable with any level of speed presented by debaters. However, do not use speed to be abusive to your opponents.
Link your arguments to the resolution. Do not leave me wondering what your case has to do with the resolution, and why you’re reading it. If you are reading something off case make me at least acutely aware as to how it links to the resolution.
The short answer, yes. If you say something inaccurate I will note it on the ballot, but will not consider it in my decision unless your opponent mentions it. Refer also to FAQ 2.
Yes, you should cite evidence to support your claims. Claims supported by evidence, empirics, and philosophy, along with developed warrants, links, and impacts will go a long way to winning my ballot.
Run as inventive of a case as you can properly defend in the round, maintaining proper respect for the activity and your opponents.
Give an off-time road map and signpost clearly in all speeches.
You should have a balance of hard evidence and philosophy within your case.
I will listen to and tolerate most any argument you run in front of me.
A Value and Value criterion are integral.
If you are going to use an uncommon philosopher/ school of philosophy make sure you flesh out the details of it, and do not simply name drop a philosopher.
Err on the side of more traditional arguments, stick to the resolution. I prefer to not judge a round of Policy with the time constraints of PF.
I like Grand Cross, I know some do not, but I believe it serves a purpose.
I do not enjoy being an interventionist judge in PF or LD.
Modeling proper decorum is incredibly important, respect your opponents and the event if you fail to maintain proper decorum during the round you will fail to be high on my ballot. Included in having proper decorum is an understanding of the rules outlined in Parliamentary Procedure.
I tend to rank presiding officers quite well, it can even serve as a tie-breaker between two competitors when I conduct my pref ranking of the chamber. If you preside over an effective chamber it will boost your rank, if not it will drop you pretty far, as an ineffective presiding officer can quickly derail a chamber.
This is a debate event before anything. That means you should be adapting to the round as it goes. The sponsor and the first negative speaker should set up the round for strong debate. The sponsor should state the problem, how this bill fixes the problem, give one or two impacts from solving it, and if you're a superstar give me a framework. As the round moves on from these first two speeches, I should see an increasing amount of refutations and original views on the legislation. As we move into the last 1/3rd of the debate cycle there should be an increasing amount of extensions countering the other arguments of the other side of the debate while still maintaining an original point of view and analysis. When arguments for both sides are exhausted or when the debate becomes stale, I should see the crystallization of the debate, and speeches that refute the whole of the opposition not just individual speakers bringing the debate to an effective conclusion.
Effective cross-examination involves attacking your opponent’s arguments and exposing the flaws therein. Do not waste time by asking favorable questions of your opponent, use the time to ask them questions which clash and help to hash out the debate. Ask questions in a succinct manner, there is no reason your question should take half of the questioning block to ask. The same applies to long-winded answers, do not waste the questioning period. Defense in cross x is more straightforward because all I want to see is that you can defend your argument to the point where it is still standing strong after cross x. I prefer calmer cross x over yelling, remember that decorum is integral to successful Congressional debate.
I rank based on the totality of your participation in the chamber this includes decorum, questions, answers, speeches, and general participation(voting, making/seconding motions, etc.). Basically, participate and move the debate further and you will likely end up high on my pref ballot.
to call the
not "i move"
I competed in PF and Congress (3 and 4 years respectively) at Durham Academy.
TL; DR:I will be flowing the round, so feel free to refer to the flow on points you would like to reintroduce. Don’t spread, this is not LD. You can speak quickly, so long as you are delivering your points clearly. The main focus of my judging is who is winning the debate. You provide the set of criteria that defines what winning means. Respect each other. No off-time roadmaps.
Constructive: This speech is the foundation for the entire debate. As such, all of your main points should stem from this speech. At the beginning of the speech, I expect that you will introduce a weighing mechanism or lens through which the debate ought to be judged*. Your impacts should lead into this mechanism or lens. All claims made during the constructive need to have warrants and each warrant should have a reputable source. With that being said, the constructive speech is a great time to provide depth to arguments. I would prefer a more robust explanation of points in two contentions to a list of numbers in a case with 4 contentions. Additionally, this speech is the only one that should be fully prepared ahead of each round and should be spoken clearly, articulately, and should end on at the appropriate time.
Rebuttal: This speech should focus on explaining why your opponent’s points are either wrong or outweighed by your own. You can certainly use the time to extend your constructive, but you should ensure that you leave time to address your opponent’s points.
Summary: The summary serves as a funnel for the debate. It should narrow the scope to the points that you see as the most important. These do not need to be your own points, but they should be weighed to explain why you’re winning on those points.
Final Focus: The final speech in the debate should focus on voters and weighing. I strongly dislike reaching back for points that were not extended through summary. I appreciate when the weighing mechanism or lens for the debate are brought back in for the final focus, especially when your opponents have accepted that weighing mechanism or lens.
Crossfire: Please be respectful of each other. Each side should have the opportunity to ask questions. Keep the focus on the topic and avoid ad hominem remarks.
*This isn't required, but if you don't provide a framework then I will assume you're running util.
· Use your prep time. There are no bonus points for leaving prep time on the board.
· Stay calm. It will help you maintain a reasonable speed and deliver points clearly.
· Avoid off-time roadmaps. Just signpost throughout your speech instead.
· Attire is not something I tend to worry about. I will not be counting it for or against you, but some judges might. I recommend professional attire.
Maintaining decorum during the round is important. Each competitor ought to be respectful of each other, regardless of what occurs during the round. I will be judging based on how each student operates as a legislator. Participating in cross-examination, presiding well, properly using points of order, and generally demonstrating a thorough understanding of the event will all be considered when I make my judgment. When giving a speech it is important that you support your points with evidence. Credible evidence should be clearly cited from a reputable source.
I have experience judging middle school debate. This is my first year judging high school debate. I prefer arguments with strong rationale, statistics, and logically linking impact to evidence. Because I haven't judged high school debate prior, please avoid largely theoretical and complexified arguments. I also prioritize clear, confident speaking at a pace that can be understood (no spreading) as well as showing respect to the opposition.
What I am looking for
- Engage with other debaters. Starting with the first negation speech, refutations are not simply an added benefit but are necessary. The depth of a debater's analysis of other arguments made in the round will be one of the main criteria that I use in evaluating speeches and formulating ranks.
- This, however, does not mean I will dock you for running sponsorship speeches. As a sponsor, be sure to explain the bill thoroughly and why it solves an important problem. Pre-refutations are appreciated, but only so long as delivering them does not come at the expense of explaining warrants and impacts.
That being said, try not to give sponsorship speeches for both of your speeches in the round. Giving a sponsorship speech is great and can bump up your ranks, but giving two sponsorship speeches makes it difficult for me to evaluate your ability to refute and engage with other debaters.
Do not name-drop. A rigorous breakdown of an opposing contention is valued significantly more than two or three cursory rebuttals.
Be respectful to other debaters. In my opinion, it’s fine to utilize humor and creative rhetoric, but do not take that as a license to disparage other debaters. Aim to undermine arguments, not people.
Avoid stock introductions that have a sort of “fill in the blank” structure. A general rule of thumb: if your introduction can be used for another bill while just switching out a few words, then it probably isn’t an introduction that will help your score or rank.
I value argumentation over delivery, but if your speech is delivered so quickly that I cannot understand it, I cannot ascertain whether the argumentation is high quality. As such, high-quality delivery with tonal inflections, fluency, etc. is an important part of how I will evaluate your performance in the round.
There is a fine line between assertiveness and aggressiveness; be confident in your demeanor, but not to the point where it can be construed as being rude and unprofessional.
Do not continue speaking if the Presiding Officer is gavelling you down. I understand the urge to get those last words in, but trying to speak over the gavel will not work and will hurt your score.
What can get you dropped
Making rude generalizations and attacks against a particular race, religion, ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, etc.
Disrupting another debater’s speech.
Being overly aggressive (i.e. yelling at another debater, calling other debaters stupid, etc.)
Tl;dr follow basic common sense.
In all debate events, especially Congress, I highly value clash. Please make sure that you are staying respectful, but that your argumentation is warrant-level rather than claim-level -- do not name drop. Please have sound structure and don't be afraid to show personality in your speeches. As per delivery, since we are now using an online format, do not read off of your computer for your whole speech. Otherwise, just adapt to the round and have a fun time.
In speech events, please make sure that you balance your content with your delivery. I am a 50/50 judge. Otherwise, have fun with your speeches and don't be afraid to drop in a joke or two.
School Affiliations: DVHS
Judging/Event Types: Congress
How many years have you been judging? This is my first year judging.
What sorts of things help you to make a decision at the end of the debate? Clear and coherent arguments, depth of the topic, nice flow.
Do you take a lot of notes or flow the debate? I will be taking notes.
Preferences on the use of evidence? Yes, I would like to see use of evidence, and a good analysis and conclusion.
How do you judge cross examination? Stay on the topic, Show respect to others. Keep your questions short and to the point; always leave enough time for others to defend.
How do you value debate skill over truthful arguments? Both are equally important. I understand that I myself may not have all the knowledge and stats to validate truthfulness. However, I would like to see that the dots are well connected in the argument.
Please try to complete every round on-time, and not try to stretch. Judges also need some time to complete the assessment and get ready for the next round!!
Good luck, and enjoy!!
I am a parent volunteer judge and have judged a few Congress tournaments over the last six months. I reviewed the judge training materials on the website as well as the overview the tournament director walked us through on the day of the tournament.
Regarding the judging criteria, I had a notebook to jot down the relevant points each of the participants presented and discussed. I awarded points to each candidate based on how well they presented their for/against arguments and how well they were able to defend their point of view. I was also able to use my own personal knowledge on the topics while awarding the points. One drawback I noticed was that everyone presents a set of facts that based on a certain research paper or analysis based on a journal or a trade article. It is very hard to determine which one is more relevant or how it applies to the facts at hand, since the articles quoted are from a technical or trade journal which I have not had access or aware of it. In such situations I went with how well the facts were presented and how well they were able to defend their point of view.
In terms of judging and awarding points, I awarded higher points to debaters who were able to articulate clearly their views and the supporting arguments. I also awarded points for people who were able to defend their arguments based on the relevant facts. I also awarded points based on how well prepared the debaters were and their skill in answering some questions where did not have the complete information to judge a particular situation
I am an experienced coach and judge. I have competed, coached and judged in all areas of speech & debate.
I am a 'tabula rasa' judge, which for me means that I will listen to any reasonable argument. I am always interested in hearing creative approaches to any resolution. However, I fully support the format, style and philosophy of each debate and speech event.
I am not adverse to rapid speaking, because debate time is limited. BUT I will not condone 'spreading' as a tactic. If you insist you win because the opponent did not address all of your issues, I may or may not accept your premise.
Evidence is primary to any good argument. You should be able to coherently present your evidence with citation in every instance. Referencing 'cards' in a case is ambiguous, since I will not have your case in front of me.
LISTEN to your opponent. Address their concerns and their rationale for opposing you. Be civil and understand they have as much a right to be here as you do.
I will not make your case for you. I may be very familiar with the resolution, strategy and line of reasoning you are using, but I will not assume you even know what you are talking about. You have to know your case and be able to defend it.
In Congress, competitors must listen to the line of argument and offer unique and relevant argument. Repeating points or delivering a prepared speech that does not advance the debate is poor practice and means you do not know the bill.
I do not rank POs particularly high. A competent PO will score near the middle of a typical Congress round.
In Extemp, I want to learn new things, hear unique ideas and understand my world better.
Hi, I'm Devon Shewell, and my pronouns are he/him/his.
I debated for four years in Missouri (Near Kanas City), and my main focus was on Congress and LD, but I am also quite experienced in PF and Extemp. I go to Vanderbilt now and study Philosophy and Communication Studies.
Some general stuff - regardless of the type of event, use good evidence if it's needed, use organization in your speeches, and don't be a bad person. Please don't waste my time, your time, or your opponent's time. I high-key like voting issues (in congress make them to your colleagues, in LD/PF/Policy make them to me).
Adding this cause it hasn't happened much - please give me weighing mechanisms and tell me how to evaluate the round.
Give me weighing mechanisms/framework. Focus on strong internal structure within your speeches and give me lots of signposting. I look for each speech to serve a purpose towards the round, and for teams to be strategic in how they choose to extend arguments and which arguments slip out of the debate. Don't feel like you need to hit every single point in the round during every speech, some stuff won't be relevant and that's okay - just don't bring something up in the constructive and then never talk about it again until the FF. I will be flowing the rounds, and if you want something to be in the last row of my flow (FF), it needs to be extended. Please give me some voting issues and try to "write my ballot" for me towards the end of the round.
In LD, I am open to just about anything. That being said, I come from a relatively traditional LD Debate Background. I try to come to every round as an entirely blank slate that will mold to the round. I will judge you off the flow, but I am not opposed to people stepping out of the line-by-line norm. The round, although judging from the flow, is like a story. If you can tell the story better, I am inclined to vote for you. Of course, be sure that your evidence is good - if you are paraphrasing evidence, summarizing evidence, or doing the "reading bolded sections thing," you should make that clear, especially when sharing evidence. If you send me a card that is two pages long but only selectively reads two sentences, I'm going to think that's pretty suspect. Other than that, I am open to watching debates as they unfold - ask questions if you have them before the round.
If you are going to read Philosophy style frameworks it better make sense. Just cause you say Util is the framework doesn't mean I will accept it (unless your opp does too). You need to explain why frameworks are optimal, not just that you have one.
If you are wondering what my LD Style/Background is like, I come from the Heart of America District where I was a national qualifier - check out either of the wonderful debaters from the 2017 NSDA National Championship (shoutout Natalie and Nathan) or the 2019 NSDA Championship (shoutout Grace) to see what that debate looks like.
Virtually - Please include me on the email chain if necessary.
Please don't go crazy with speed. I can flow it, but if I can't understand or comprehend the argument in time, I don't think it helps you.
I really enjoy a good theoretical argument.
Good structure within speeches, both for the speech itself and within arguments, is great.
Speaker points will be high if you are clear, nice, insightful/witty, and signpost well. I also really appreciate it if you are not reading off blocks and prewritten responses to the entire debate. If you are funny, it's a plus, but not everyone can be funny (sorry), so if you aren't funny, don't worry about it. Generally, everyone gets pretty good speaker points. You can swear if you want to, I don't care - don't be mean though.
Give me good evidence - I love academia
Don't be a bad person (Racism, homophobia, hateful, etc.)
Things I Really Don't Like (I'll probably drop you).
- In House recess to prep speeches - it's your obligation to prep before a tournament; if you are the PO, I think you should rule the motion dilatory. Don't waste everyone's time.
- Asking about the "split." Debate on the side of the legislation you believe in. Flipping sides and making arguments you don't care about is quite potentially the silliest thing I have ever seen.
- Not using evidence and not knowing what your evidence actually says.
- Not being willing to solve problems/address the issues.
- Reading Speeches
- Going overtime - you have 3 minutes.
- Having Stale Debate (It's okay to not speak on every bill. You have lots of legislation, if stuff is boring, move on)
- Being a bad person
My first and primary focus is on quality argumentation - it's a debate. I want quality evidence; however, there is no need for you to read card after card after card - give me analysis from the evidence. If you are giving a later speech, clash is expected. Please try to contextualize your arguments and humanize your impacts. Debate in what you believe in - debate the issues for the sake of debating the issues (not to have an "even split"). I won't mark down any particular arguments, but I have a bias towards arguments that makes the lives of human beings better (particularly on economic and foreign policy.)
Delivery and style do matter, but you don't win from it! If you can't persuasively explain your argument, it's hard for me to buy it. I'm not a big fan of the quirky congress rhetoric; I would much prefer you simply explain your argument. Structure your speeches clearly and signpost within them. Don't be afraid to give an early speech. I think a good constructive explains what the legislation does (references legislation) and doesn't get caught up in nuances. Make sure you know what type of speech you are giving. i.e.) if it is six speeches deep on a topic, don't give a constructive speech. I have no preference for when you speak. However, if it is a longer round, and you have the chance to speak multiple times, it would benefit you to showcase different skills by giving different types of speeches.
I have a lot of respect for people who make arguments which they believe in. If you debate what you believe in, it should reward you. I also really respect people who give a speech when the chamber needs a speech; the most frustrating thing to me is taking a recess to prep a speech. If you give a totally extemporaneous speech because nobody else in the chamber is willing to speak, you will be looked at favorably.
Presiding Officer - I will hold you to a very high standard. Maintain order and keep track of everything (I will as well). Enforce time limits on speeches and questioning. Tell me about your procedures before the round starts. I also understand that in the virtual setting, some things are exceptionally difficult; if you prioritize fairness, you should be good. I am more than happy to give the PO a 1.
If you are a real nerd, you can see what I like as a PO (cause it's what I did) by finding my time as PO in the Nats final from 2018.
Other Notes on Ballots - High speech scores on your ballot do not directly lead to the best rankings. Everything will be put in the context of the round. I will try my best to give comments that actually help you improve. For so many of these rounds, everyone is very talented, ballots in those round may come across as critical of very small things, but that's how the decisions are made when everyone is good.
If you have any questions, my email is email@example.com
Always be respectful of your opponent. Use your knowledge, intellect and reasoning skills. Not intimidation or mockery.
I will always weigh a long, well warranted, analytical response more heavily over a card dump.
Speaking quickly is alright though, but if I can't follow along then I might miss the main point of an argument.
I am looking for a good understanding of the matter at issue and content that promotes healthy debate. I value well-structured and cogent arguments with relevant evidence. I prefer quality over quantity! So please lean towards clarity of delivery rather than the number of words you can get out. I am a lay judge, so if your content is not clear to me you will hurt your ranking. Feel free to do a roadmap for me (off time if allowed in the event rules).
Claim uniqueness is important and entering new evidence and unique perspectives always make for a more interesting debate, and scores points with me. How well you defend your arguments or how relevant and incisive your questions/refutations are will rank you higher in my book.
Overall, I am looking for erudite content as well as an effective speaking style. The speakers with an optimal combination of both will get the highest ranks in my judging.
About me: 2018 NSDA National Champion: Congressional Debate - Senate. 2019 USA Debate Team Member. Currently the Assistant Coach of Congressional Debate at Taipei American School. he/him
Tl;dr don’t try to “adapt” to me as a judge because I see value in all styles of Congress. The best part about Congress is that there are a myriad of ways to be successful in the event. I can appreciate all speaking and argumentation styles - just give the best speech in the round. I do not care if you speak early, mid-round, or late.
You have to give the speech that is appropriate for when you are speaking in order to get me to rank you. By this, I mean that if you give a constructive speech when you should be crystallizing or give an authorship that doesn't sufficiently explain the legislation and the main impetus for the legislation's creation, then I will not rank you. Adaptation is the name of the game in Congress.
PLEASE weigh! Weighing (to varying extents) should happen at every stage of the debate.
Name-dropping a bunch of people and half-way refuting their claim is not nearly as impressive to me as picking the most strategic argument and thoroughly refuting it (i.e. show why the warrant is untrue instead of just saying "X said this bill decreases jobs. Well, here's a statistic that says it increases jobs!)
Presentation vs. argumentation balance: Congress is a debate event. This means that I will prefer competitors with the best arguments. Speaking/rhetoric is a tie-breaker between students with arguments of equal quality. Obviously, if your presentation is so poor that it detracts from your argumentation then I cannot credit you for that argumentation. This means that at high-level debates (e.g. semis-bid final rounds) odds are that argumentation will be the most important thing because almost everyone will meet my bar for being a solid speaker. Rhetoric/speaking then will likely be the tie-breaker between first and second between the competitors with the smartest/most strategic arguments.
My biggest pet peeve is having a one-sided debate. I’d prefer you just call for the previous question and move to the next item on the agenda.
I’ve been in the game for awhile now, so I know all the canned intros and impacts. You should avoid using them when I’m judging you because I will notice that your content is not original. And please have the decency to not use rhetoric/intros that I came-up with. You’d be surprised how often this happens, and it is a good way for me to drop you.
The struggle of historically marginalized groups is not a tool for you to weaponize to win a debate trophy. If you slap on "also this helps *insert historically marginalized group here*" as an impact at the end of your point without sufficiently explaining the context and warrant, then you are guaranteed to be at the bottom of my ballot. Just be tactful and respectful and you will be fine.
I don’t mind if you have an untraditional speech structure as long as it is easy to follow.
If you’re rude I will not rank you.
POs: I see the value in presiding, as I know it is necessary for the event to function. Thus, if the PO does a solid job, then I am likely to rank them.
Hello! I am a former competitor, now judge who is extremely passionate about all things forensics. My experience lies mostly in Public Forum and Parliamentary debate, but I am familiar with all styles (save for Congress)
Because I am well versed in debate, feel free to talk at an accelerated rate, as long as your opponents can still understand you. As long as you aren't spreading, more than likely I'll be able to track what you're saying.
Theory arguments are fine by me, but make sure they are accessible to your opponents as well. If an opponent is unfamiliar with how theory arguments work, then as a courtesy I ask that you refrain from running them.
For Parli, I do my best to protect the flow but I ask that you still call out Points of Order when they occur and clearly state the rule violation just in case I missed something.
Lastly, I will disclose and critique after each round under the circumstance that all competitors would like to hear the results and the critiques present.
A quick note about myself:
Hi. My name is Jackson. I competed for Northland Christian School in Houston for four years. I have an extensive background in congress. It was my primary event. I competed in nat circuit tournaments like Berkeley, Emory, TOC, Sunvite, and others.
-Before reading into this: don't feel like you need to change yourself as a debater. I understand people have different styles and techniques. I will equitably evaluate all of these.
- Facts first. You aren't making this activity educational by making things up.
- Relevant and captivating introductions will get even the most experienced judge's attention.
- I like hearing direct lines and quotations from your evidence. Sometimes paraphrasing is necessary. Use good judgment here.
- Cite your evidence to the full extent that you can (don't leave out author, date, etc. when that info is made available in the book or article). Make it easy for me to find your evidence!
- Think about the kind of speech you are about to give. Is it a constructive AFF/NEG, Rebuttal, Crystallization, Refutation, Combination? Remember that this is a debate event. Just as LD or PF starts the round with constructive speeches to set that debater's position, the first few aff/negs in congress do the same. As you get further along in an item, the speeches should be getting more conclusive/overviewing.
- Be careful about tautological arguments.
- As the PO, you will start at 1 and can move down with errors. Please be efficient. I'm not asking you to abbreviate parliamentary procedure but think about your word economy when calling for speakers and questioners. This could make the difference between a few more speeches happening or not. If you run against someone to get to the seat, I will expect more from you.
LD, PF, & Policy:
If you get me for these, don't spread. It would be best for you to stay topical, but if you decide to take the theory route, I will listen.
- Have fun :)
- Be respectful, civil, and kind
- Think of what you are about to say. Is it problematic and potentially harmful to someone? If you don't know, think of something else to say!
I am a parent judge. I prefer clear and logical speech. Make sure you explain your argument very clearly. Respect your opponents. Please do not interrupt your opponents during crossfire.
General Ideas to Keep in Mind: I strongly prefer clear speakers that are easy to understand and follow. I would also like a respectful debate, so during the round and cross examination especially, please limit cutting off other competitors. The side you stand on does not matter to me as long as you are a good speaker with proper argumentation and persuasion skills.
Speeches: I prefer clear speakers who I can understand well - if I have any trouble understanding you, you will not be getting a high score. Please include vocal variety and some hand gestures, or else the speech seems very bland. I also would like to see clear argumentation that is backed up with solid evidence. And finally, unless you are the sponsorship or authorship speaker, I expect some clash in your speech, though canned rebuttal will lose you points.
I recognize crystallization speeches and that they are harder to present, so if you do it well, I will give you a higher score. However, if you do it poorly, do not expect me to rank you very high.
Cross Examination: During direct cross examination, I would like both competitors respecting each other and allowing the other to speak. Please do not continuously cut off other competitors as that makes it harder to follow and understand - I will give you a lower score for that.
And during indirect cross examination, please keep your questions short but meaningful, with solid answers - leading questions, preface questions and other fallacies should not be present in the round and will you get a lower score.
Presiding Officers: I expect that Presiding Officers can move the round along quickly and smoothly - if as a judge I can clearly see otherwise, I will not give Presiding Officers a high score. However, if the Presiding Officer is particularly good, expect a top 5, or at the very least, top 8 score.
Hi everyone! My name's Tiffany and I'm currently a freshman at NYU Stern. I debated in Congressional Debate at Harker for three years and am now back as an assistant coach. Here are a few things I look for the most when deciding my ranks:
1. Clarity and relevance. First and foremost, I need to be able to follow the structure of your speech, understand your arguments, and identify your warrants and impacts with relative ease. Use specific signal words to help with this. This requires both strong argumentation/framing and effective speaking. After meeting this bare minimum, I'm looking for relevance. If you're giving an early round speech, the most relevant arguments are the apparent ones that shed light on the core controversies of the debate. Past that, the best way to make your speech relevant is to directly contextualize it by refuting, mentioning other speakers, or collapsing arguments. After the sponsorship, I'm looking for at least one mention of other speakers in the round. If you're giving a mid-cycle speech, it's not enough to pull out what might have been a super good and unique contention if you don't frame it as a response to the arguments already brought up in the debate OR weigh your impacts against others. By the time late-cycle speeches come around, in order to stay relevant, you have to ensure you're breaking down the debate into a few key points of contention and comparing both sides on these key points. You should always be asking yourself one fundamental question: am I helping my judge assess whether my speech is BETTER than other speeches in the round rather than just am I helping my judge assess whether my speech is GOOD. A good isolated speech does not always guarantee a good speech in a congressional debate round.
2. Speaking persuasively. I will always decide ranks primarily on my first point, especially because clarity and relevance inevitably requires some degree of effective speaking. However, if there are multiple people speaking at around the same level of clarity and relevance, I will turn towards persuasiveness to decide my ranks. For me, effective persuasion always includes conveying genuine concern and a sense of urgency. Conveying genuine concern can be done through utilizing rhetoric and speaking slowly while conveying a sense of urgency often requires momentum-building throughout your speech through varying your speed, volume, and intonation.
3. A few other things to keep in mind.
a) On an online platform, don't read off your screen. Extra points for having a setup and giving your speech standing with a legal pad the traditional way.
b) Provide solid evidence. When in doubt, use evidence.
c) Speak at different points in the debate. For example, if your first speech is a constructive, make sure your second speech is a rebuttal of some sort.
On a final note, please be respectful, kind, and easy to work with at all times. It really does come through in round if you are non-cooperative and dismissive of others, so just make sure to maintain decorum both in and outside of rounds. Debate is honestly a great way to better yourself as an individual and meet some great people along the way, utilize that! Looking forward to being your judge and hope this helps!