West Bloomfield HS Invitational Tournament
2020 — Online, MI/US
PF Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Show me why your argument is better
I will vote for anything long as it is explained
I like ethos inside of debate
please say "next" in between cards
do some kind of impact interaction
explain y i should vote
if all is done u should win
Pronouns: Any (They/He/She/Them/Him/Her)
E-mail: email@example.com - put me on the email chain
Updated in October, 2020.
Experience: 2 years high school debate at Mona Shores High School, 2.5 years college debate at Wayne State University, 1 year coaching at Mona Shores High School, 2 years coaching at Detroit Country Day School, and a long judging history over that time to present, for both high school and college-level debate.
I'll give a short version: I'll listen to just about anything, minus overtly problematic arguments (racism good, sexism/gender discrimination good, fascism good, etc.), which will at best lead to tanked speaker points, at worst an automatic loss (and I lean that way).
I have a fair amount of experience debating both traditional policy and K frameworks but find myself being more entertained in K v K rounds. It's a T/Framework thing, it's boring and I don't trust the government to do anything right. Read more below, I definitely still do like a policy v. policy round, I just hate voting on T.
I expect everyone to be timing themselves. Please don't call me "judge," I don't like most of them IRL. "Logan" is fine.
Virtual Debate: I don't care whether or not your camera is on, regardless of what the tournament rules are saying. If your virtual workspace is anything like mine, it's improvised and ugly. Also, it feels like I'm invading your privacy on some weird level when you're debating from your bedroom. 2020 is weird enough without trying to force you to show me your house. Also, if you're experiencing connection issues, turning the video streaming off can really help. On another topic, CX is kind of tough right now due to talking over one another by accident. I don't really have a solution for it other than trying to stick to the model of whoever's not speaking next asks, the person who just spoke answers. That being said, if you can tag-team effectively virtually then go for it. When the questioner tells you to stop answering, stop answering.
Dropped arguments are usually true arguments (save for the above), you must make the argument early enough in the debate for me to vote on it (outside of theory/common-sense or evidence-based analysis). That being said, I vote on arguments I understand. If I don't understand, that's on you, this is a speech activity.
More probabilistic impacts outweigh bigger magnitude ones for me, on almost every level. Establishing probability is most important to me and I think the overemphasis on existential impacts is making policy debate stale (as well as literally untrue, I have not yet died in a nuclear war).
A lot of the longer version below doesn't really apply in high school debate outside of Open division.
The long version (ask specific questions before the round if anything is unclear):
T/Framework - T needs standards and voters on the neg and counter-standards and -voters on the aff or you probably won't win it. Framework is also fine, but you should do it right (when I didn't go for Cap, I went for framework). You need to have impacts to Framework that you can weigh against the aff (or another off-case argument you can weigh). "Fairness" is not an impact I'm going to vote for. Framework can be defensive if you want to go for the other off, and this is usually the best way to use it in front of me. I don't find skills arguments very convincing at all and I find them very easily turned as the only skills I learned in debate either A. weren't transferable or B. were skills that help the government murder people more effectively (this is definitely more for college and I'll definitely vote on skills args at the high school level). I have a high threshold for this line of argumentation and I'm not ashamed to hold you to that, but I will vote on them if they're mishandled or you've found one of the few I believe (here's a hint: research probably isn't inherently bad). Explain the impacts to the generally accepted ones like fairness (research burden, ground loss, etc.) Probabilistic impacts matter more here too: Does the aff you're running framework against stand a chance of modifying debate culture? What specific fairness/skills loss was there? The most probabilistic impacts happen in-round, in front of my face, and this is how I weigh T. I default to competing interpretations, as do most, but my threshold on reasonability is comparatively low, because for me to vote on competing T interpretations, you're going to have to convince me beyond a doubt that the way they violated the topic was uniquely bad for you debating in this round. That means if you're reading a CP or DA that clearly links, you probably shouldn't run T as I will probably buy the "but their DA links" arg.
The Aff, in general: I was a 2N and when I was double 2s I hated being aff, so I don't have much advice here. Most teams who are aff lose in the 1AR, but the 2AC is close behind. Time allocation is much more important on the aff (which is why I hated being a 2A, I'm slow), so identify which arguments are the biggest threat early on and adjust accordingly. The biggest mistake newer debaters make is forgetting about all that evidence you read in the 1AC, which should have embedded answers to your weak spots.
Policy Affs: Cool. You should probably kick some of it by the end of the debate at the college level, free up some time for that 1AR and 2AR. Left-policy affs are usually weaker than both their policy and K options (standard policy follows the rules better, helping you out in a framework debate, and the K probably solves better), so try not to read them unless you have really good ideas for how to use it.
K affs - Fine by me, be prepared for the framework debate, win the impact turns to framework and I'll vote for you. That being said, I still have to understand. These weird "every theorist ever" affs are kind of getting out of hand (at least at the high school level), but if you can explain it, run it. No plan text or advocacy statement required if the mechanism is clear. If you're going to run a left-policy aff, you'd might as well just run the K version in front of me, I'm good for it. I prefer K v K debates in these rounds because I hate listening to framework/T (it's just boring), use it as leverage and time-skew instead. I also think they're more useful and educational because waxing poetic about how a team broke the rules for 4 speeches is not only extremely boring, it's self-fulfilling and frankly only useful for institutionalized debate (which isn't a real thing IRL). They should probably still be tangential to the topic, but I can be convinced the topic should be ignored in favor of something better.
The Neg, in general: The more specific the strategy to the aff, the better chance you have of winning. General topic links are usually not enough and need some analysis to make them compelling. That's not to say I won't vote on more general links/uniqueness evidence, but that the aff is probably winning your DA/K/CP coming out of the 2AC and you'll need to develop the arguments a lot more in the block.
DAs - fine, run them, explain them, win them. Winning a link (and the internal links) is more important than totally winning the impact. I'll vote on risk, depending on how things are going on the case flow.
Theory - I've become a bit more open to theory but the only theory I find automatically compelling is conditionality bad (and that's if the neg runs too many condo off-case args, "too many" being determined by the skill level). If theory is dropped and is a reason to reject the team, that is super bad for the team that dropped it, keep track of the line-by-line. Best case, I reject the argument, worst case I reject the team (if they've dropped it but you haven't explained it well, I'll probably just reject the arg, be prepared to lose if your 2AR is 5/6 on theory). Theory about generally accepted and common args is probably useless (50 states fiat, neg fiat, limits on aff fiat, etc.), but I'll vote on it if it's explained well and is mishandled by the other team, or you can convince me an actual offense was committed (a long shot). Your theory should have warranted impacts, just like any argument ("They did a bad thing that's bad because...").
CPs - See above for how I feel about conditional advocacies. I can be convinced of most counterplan theory (again, see above). The best PIC/Ks are when no one knows that's what they are until the 2NR, usually that's an immediate neg ballot. PIC theory is usually a wash after you read your blocks at each other. I love a good advantage CP and I hate a bad one.
Ks - I went for the Cap K in almost every 2NR of my college/late high school career. Ks should usually engage something specific about the aff. Specific links are good. However, I don't think you necessarily need them, your general ones probably do the job well enough, paired with explanation. Ks should prove the aff is a uniquely bad idea/influenced by bad ideas and prove the alt can solve the impact. They should prove the perm doesn't work (preferably just being able to cross-apply case offense and prove it still links) and that the impacts outweigh the aff. This means you have to win the framework debate too, unless the K has existential impacts). I'll vote on risk of alt solvency if there's enough defense/risk on the case flow, probably at a lower threshold than most, given the framework debate basically has to be won (unless you kick the alt and go for structural impacts, which means you're probably having a bad time anyway). Fiat is illusory. It just is. Good policy-prone teams know this better than the K team.
More specific thoughts, as I did debate the K:
Cap: Honestly, I have a slightly higher threshold because I went for it so much when I debated. I'm an anti-capitalist in "real life" and familiar with most theoretical arguments contained within and if I think it's a dumb argument (not even in the round, just generally) I might have some bias, but I promise I'll try not to. I love great Cap rounds, though, so, if you're confident in your strategy (and maybe more importantly, theoretical basis), go for it!
Queerness: Read this for maybe a year as well, but wasn't as heavily invested or well-researched. That being said, I am passingly familiar with the field and like the line of argumentation, but it must be explained well, both for my sake and your opponents', as Edelman can be basically incomprehensible at times.
AntiBlackness: I find this and Cap most compelling when talking about debate writ large, which AntiBlackness debaters frequently do (not so much on the Cap side, but you should, debate is classist). I have found the best AntiBlackness rounds I've spectated or watched (or, rarely, was a part of) directly tied their impacts to the round or the topic (governance writ large isn't as good of a link/internal link, but use it anyway). However, I also think that many AntiBlackness debaters have a hard time encountering a Black policy debater, when they really shouldn't. The strategy should NOT be to attack or cast doubt on this debater's Blackness, but the structure of policy debate that incentivizes skewed topics, interpersonal violence, resource skewing, and bad rhetoric. I'm fairly read on the subject of AntiBlackness but, as a white person, I'm always listening closely in these rounds (not to imply I don't otherwise). Also, as a white person, I CANNOT be trusted fully to adjudicate these rounds, which AntiBlackness debaters would do well to keep in mind for all of their white judges. I find alternate root cause arguments fairly unconvincing on most Ks, but this one even more so (although there are TYPES of arguments I can find convincing in this realm, such as the totalizing description of oppression that some AntiBlackness teams make; It's complicated). I (and if "we" were being honest, most white judges and debaters) am usually pretty uncomfortable adjudicating these rounds as I feel whiteness is inherently moderating in these cases. That being said, I think white debaters should be very careful with these arguments (to the point of maybe considering not reading them), ESPECIALLY in reading prewritten tags. Don't call yourself Black or imply that you are a part of the "Black Body" if you are not.
Anthro: I can be convinced, but it's been a running joke to me (and pretty much anyone who isn't a die-hard) for years. I'm a vegetarian for ethical reasons, so I'm probably more persuadable than most people on this one. Animal death matters and anthropocentrism definitely defines our relationship to the environment, but I'm gonna find it really annoying if you equate animal death to human death, as I feel like this has some... implications. The better impacts here are rooted in environmental destruction, but there are easier ways to that impact.
Ableism: I am very easily convinced that the root cause of ableism is capitalism. Other alt causes could probably convince me too. Always open to hearing your way around that, though.
Beaudrillard/Symbolic Exchange/"The Real": I gotta be honest, this usually isn't helpful without being combined with theory that evaluates an axis of oppression under this theoretical framework. Another point of honesty: Tough to understand, especially being read at Mach 5 in a debate round. Explain yourself well, impact it out, and explain how the alt resolves the impact. The link debate is less important with this type of K (at least to me), but it should still be there.
Rhetoric more generally: Should probably contain a justification for the self-link here, but other than that I can be pretty easily convinced that debate is bad and the rhetoric we use sucks too, read further on for details.
Speaker points - I generally try to think as little as possible about them, as speaker points are subjective and largely useless except for tie-breaking. I am a chronic stutterer, empathize with speaking difficulties, and they obviously won't affect speaks. Doing things like using problematic language, misgendering, stealing prep, being generally rude, etc. will at worst get you dropped (malicious or ignorant use of problematic language or misgendering will get you dropped 100% of the time), and at worst will get you docked speaks. However, I understand mistakes happen, especially in the case of misgendering, and as long as it doesn't become a reoccurring/malicious issue, I won't be very heavy-handed with the docking. Get to know your competitors and asking for pronouns never hurts. The way you earn the most amount of speaker points is good STRATEGIC decision-making. I don't really care about your style, but the way you manage the round. Also, if you're not using all of your prep/speech time, it better be perfect or you'll probably lose speaks for that too.
One caveat, definitely more for college-level - My debate experience has been complex and frankly, frequently negative in university. The community is toxic and often overworks students to the point of serious mental health issues. I am thankful for what I learned and what resources debate gave me, but some of the behavior in this community is inexcusable and leads to the sort of institutional abuse (verbal, emotional, and sexual) that plagues politics, which makes debate a good microcosm for government (which, if it's not clear, I hate). I take extreme issue with anyone that uses institutional power in debate to give themselves or their team an edge and will make that clear if I think you or your team is doing so. Of course, this is an unsolvable problem, as more wealthy schools have inherently better access to resources and, thus, better win rates. I encourage every debater to remember that debate does not happen in a vacuum and to respect your fellow debaters no matter their skill level, style, or status because at the end of the day, your skill level, style, and status are all dependent on luck and environment. I also especially encourage coaches to take this into consideration and help your students understand this, as you are ultimately responsible for not just their careers and health, but everyone else's in this community (especially because it is usually coach ego causing these issues). All of this being said makes me sound like I have a heavy bias against policy debate (versus the K), which I'd like to think I don't, but I may have one. I suppose what this all means for your rounds, besides the obvious decorum I expect, is that I likely have a higher threshold for arguments that assume policy debates, and to some extent government and statehood, are inherently good. I believe some of the skills arguments, but any argument about upward mobility (gross), political understanding good (which "political understanding?"), or literature knowledge (again, what "literature knowledge?") I may chuckle to myself over, but begrudgingly vote for if the other team drops the ball. I think it's pretty proven that most former debaters either become bureaucrats or other government (gross) or debate coaches (due to lack of time to pursue literally anything else in college), which makes me basically not believe most policy debate education arguments. All of that being said, K affs focusing on debate bad still have to win. I know these perspectives in debate are rare, with many viewing policy debate education as being worth power, time, and energy trade-offs, but I've only seen these issues exacerbated in recent years. Policy snobs (myself included) need to either modify the activity to help with these issues or embrace other forms of debate. That likely makes me more malleable to arguments that break "the rules," such as form or content differences, because anything else is debate fascism.
For Michigan local tournaments: Please be mindful of rhetoric when responding to race and structural violence arguments;
to summarize my paradigm: a dropped argument is true, collapse, and please weigh. I will not evaluate any new arguments brought up in second final focus, in fact, summary is a little to late to be reading new defense. If its in ff, it must be in summary as well. Also, if you are first rebuttal, I would prefer that you don't go over your own case as no one has responded to it yet. Additionally, there is no need to tell me if the framing is CBA/util.
Also time yourselves and also TIME YOUR OPPONENTS. sometimes im not looking at my stopwatch so its on you to keep your opponents honest. also try to time crossfire as well. for some reason those always run long
Debated 4 years on the national circuit at Cranbrook in MI. Currently a freshman at Carnegie Mellon
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Speed is fine but don't spread, I'll clear you if needed.
-Roadmap and signpost (i guess if someone else in the panel hates roadmaps, then you don't need one)
-A dropped argument is a true argument (if its extended properly)
-Any offense needs to be in both sum and FF. Extend warrants and impacts too, not just author names and tags.
-Theory is fine if its used to check back real abuse. I default to competing interps and yes rvi. I will evaluate K's but I am less confident with my ability to handle them properly(I've only ever done PF). No tricks.
-I presume whoever lost the toss unless you give me reasons to do something else
-Trigger warnings are necessary
-I am personally not a fan of probability weighing. If you win the links, then the probability is high...
-2nd rebuttal must Fl turns.
-My threshold for responses against second rebuttal offensive overviews will be low.
-First summary should extend defense. you don't have to go for everything, just one piece of dropped TD is enough.
-Weighing must start in summary.
-All offense must be weighed
I've been competing all 4 years of high school in Public Forum at Dexter High School. I debated line-by-line as a second speaker so I will be paying attention to what you say closely. I mainly judge on use of impact weighing, and unique/compelling arguments.
I generally don't vote based on who has more evidence, because I dislike the burden of evidence in PF - I won't vote against you for using analysis (as long as it makes sense). Please collapse the round. A dropped argument is true if it gets extended - please weigh this if the other team drops. I don't flow cross, but I usually pay attention. New arguments brought up in summary won't weigh my decision and any arguments dropped during summary won't be taken account of during FF.
I give points for natural and topical jokes (made in good taste) during speeches.
My paradigm is largely just opinions I have that don't matter. Oh and I debated through high school at Dexter and did moderately okay. I was an extremely critical second speaker so I will be very critical of you.
If you leave an entire minute at the end of any one of your speeches you will NOT be scoring above a 27.
In Michigan PF we say pro and con not aff and neg.
Nothing is ever "obvious". Please don't ask "judge how would you feel". My eyes will glaze over the minute you start an emotional anecdote.
I was a line by line debater, but now as a judge I'm not flowing nearly as diligently. I am mainly going to vote off of what you tell me to vote for later in the round. If a team forgets one of your arguments it is your responsibility to point that out.
^^This may be different if the round becomes especially interesting.
New Edit @Umich: Nobody appreciated when Trump claimed victory before he had won right? So in round lets not claim we've proved things, especially in the first half of the debate. In your speech you can tell me as a judge I can drop their contention from my flow, or that I should be weighing your arguments, but don't assert that you've won please or else I don't really have a job :/
About Me: I went to a small high school and took debate class for all four years. I participated in policy debate, but we often did not compete in co-curricular events. I also joined the CMU Debate team for a semester and participated in Lincoln Douglas debate. In 2007, I judged forensics for MIFA as a student teacher at Utica High School. It has been about 10 years, but I just started coaching and judging Public Forum debate for Utica High School.
Judging Criteria: Providing framework is important, along with clear road mapping throughout your speech. Repeat your framework throughout the speech and adhere to that in your final focus. I usually flow the entire debate and judge primarily off of the flow, but I also weigh persuasiveness, evidence, logic, and refutations. I pay close attention to "dropped" arguments, so I suggest that you and your partner flow as to refute their arguments. Clash is very important to me in a debate. Use all of your speaker time - I am looking for your speech to refute the other teams' arguments, then strengthen your teams' arguments with supplemental evidence. Clear communication is important. Make eye contact as frequent as possible, I also prefer a conversational style, opposed to jargon that a "lay" judge would not understand. I am judging based on the quality of your arguments made - not the quantity. Speakers should appear confident, with clear, logical relevant arguments and recent evidence.
I like confidence in a speaker, but I do not like cockiness or being mean while debating. This is supposed to be fun and educational, so I expect you to keep it classy. Do not look at each other during cross fire - you are trying to persuade me - not your opponent. Do not make statements during cross fire - save that for your summary or final focus. Ask meaningful questions during cross fire, as it can be a turning point for a debate. I am not going to judge a debate based on how "pretty" you speak, but I take your communication style along with case, evidence & arguments into consideration.
I care that students' points carry through to the end and they give sufficient evidence to support their claims. Anyway a student speaks is fine with me as long as they are clear and easy to understand. Respect each other and you will be fine.
Hi! I am Stefanie Zin.
Please add me to the e-mail chain: email@example.com
If you don't read ANYTHING else, please read the following:
2.PLEASE PROVIDE A ROADMAP
Okay, now that I've said that:
While I debated in high school for four years, and in college for two, it was a while ago. I have VERY LIMITED familiarity with most Kritiks and definitely not as fast a flow as I used to be. That said, you needn't act like you are giving an "after dinner speech". Related to speed, I also appreciate intelligibility. My motto is, "If I can't understand what you said, I can't flow it and if I can't flow it, I can't vote on it." To borrow a statement from my Husband, David, "Debate is still a communication activity, even if we rip along at several hundred words a minute."
I am a bit of a traditionalist: I tend to have a stock issues approach to the AFF, I like clear and succinct tags on evidence. You can read the evidence as fast as you want (assuming you are intelligible). I appreciate it when the 2NR/2AR not only provide me with justification as to why they win, but contrasts their position to the other team and explain how they outweigh.
Tag team CX is okay, within reason. I award speaker points based on the quality/content of the speeches as well as CX performance. I want all of the debaters to be able to think on their feet and not rely solely on their partner to "carry them through the round". Please demonstrate your independent understanding and mastery of the material (this will be rewarded).
Finally, I have a deep and profound respect for civility in a debate round. Your goal should be to prevail based on the content and quality of your argumentation, not on your ability to subject your opponent to abject misery and totally debase them. (This type of behavior will NOT be rewarded and you will NOT be happy with your Speaker Points as a result).
Please consider the following elements with an "X" denoting my position with respect to the spectrum of characteristics.
No Tag Team CX---------------------------X---Tag Team CX okay (within reason
Policy--X---------------------------------------Kritiks (As stated above, I have very limited experience with Kritiks.)
I'll read no cards----------------------X-----------I'll read all the cards
Lots of so-so cards ---------------------X-------- A few good, longer cards
Debate is about ideas--------------------X-------------------Debate is about people
Debate is good/valuable -X--------------------------------It's not
Conditionality bad-------------------------X--------------------Conditionality good
No process CPs ------------------------------X---------------Lit determines legitimacy
Politics DA not a thing --------------------------------X-------------(Good) Politics DA is a thing
Running Kritiks assuming I am infinitely UNFAMILAR with them-----------------------X- Explain the K and the Alt and Framework
Framework with respect to Kritiks - PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW YOUR FRAMEWORK IS PREFERABLE and how I should weigh it!!!
Clarity--X-------------------------------------------Unintelligibility (Trust me on this!)
I'm a robot-----------------------------------------X-Slow down on tags/cites/analytics/theory
Long overviews-----------------------------------X----Articulate positions, line by line
2NRs that collapse ---X------------------------------- 2NRs that go for everything
2ARs that assume I will AFF regardless------------------------------X-2ARs that tell my WHY to vote AFF.
I look forward to an enjoyable experience judging you and your team!