Asheville High Cougar Classic
2020 — NSDA Campus, NC/US
Lincoln Douglas Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Ex-PF debater (out rounds at Nats 2017), now work at a think tank in DC.
For prelim rounds: Please get to the virtual room as soon as possible. Pre-flowing and prepping are understandable but please don't intentionally wait until the last minute possible to join.
1. I would really prefer you not to spread. Especially in Public Forum. Getting four contentions into your speech that I have half-written on my flow is a lot worse than one very clear, well-explained contention.
2. That being said, I am a flow judge. So I will vote on how well you weigh, collapse, defend, etc. which also means that both teams need to be doing these things in rebuttal, summary, and FF
3. First summary only needs to extend defense on arguments that were frontlined in second rebuttal. Second rebuttal should answer all offense on the flow.
4. SIGNPOST. Please do. It really makes my life so much easier, and it also makes your speeches A LOT clearer. If an opponent drops an argument, signpost for me and then just say to extend it on the flow. You don't need to re-explain the whole argument for me if your opponent did nothing to contend it.
5. Be ready BEFORE THE ROUND to share evidence with your opponents. That means the full article, PDF, in addition to the cut card is what you should be ready to share as well as where in there you found it. Read evidence at your own risk. If something your opponent reads sounds questionable, CALL FOR IT! I'm probably not going to call for evidence unless I literally can't believe someone wrote whatever they said. If you are going to call out your opponents' evidence for their source or because they misquoted, do so in an educated manner (i.e. not just because you think it's "bad"). At that point, I will probably look at the evidence at the end of the round.
6. Do NOT flow through ink, drop opponents' arguments in rebuttal (unless that's an intentional, strategic move), try and provide offense in the first rebuttal, bring up a new argument in FF/bring up new evidence in FF. It's not that I'm going to automatically drop you if this stuff happens, but none of these things help move the debate forward for you or for me. With younger debaters, I understand it a lot more if this stuff happens during the round.
7. I do not flow CX. CX is a time for each person/team to set up defense or offense in future speeches. So, if something important comes up, I would assume it would be mentioned in later speeches (i.e. it should be mentioned in later speeches). More for you than for me, I would stay away from using CX time for your opponent just to explain an argument from their case.
8. I abide by the whole "if it's in FF, it needs to be in summary" broadly. So, don't bring up a contention in FF that your opponent didn't bring up in summary. But, the speeches shouldn't be identical, you should provide some sort of new analysis or weighing within the contentions that your opponent brought up in summary as long as it's not new evidence.
9. In LD, if you run theory or Ks, I am not familiar with these arguments from my time debating or the years I have judged so far. So, you will need to really EXPLAIN these for me and break down why they are essential to the round we are in. Based on that then, run them at your own risk. In PF, don't run theory or Ks.
10. Will always disclose at the end of rounds unless I am specifically instructed not to. Feel free to ask any questions for clarity or for advice.
11. Be respectful, please. I understand the nature of competition pits one side against the other. Respectful doesn't mean you should let your opponents walk all over you, but it does mean there needs to be thoughtfulness in what you do. This typically becomes most important during CX. A general example is, it's okay to cut someone off if they've answered your question and are just explaining their case to me (unless that was the question you asked) because there's strategy to making sure CX doesn't become a soap box for your opponent just to have a second case reading. BUT do not cut your opponent off if you asked them a question, and they are providing analysis to their answer. YOU asked the question, and for the most part YOU need to be okay with them giving a complete answer.
I am Ramanathan (Ram) working for an IT company in Greenville, SC. I was born and raised in India and immigrated to the US 14 years ago.
I enjoy judging speech and debate (especially your round) and it’s great to be part of this event which not only helps to shape the life and future of the students but also for myself with a greater understanding of current issues and topics.
I’m fluent in English but I would appreciate it if you (debaters) can avoid jargon as well as speaking too fast. I remain a judge/spectator for the entire part of the debate and step in if and only there is a need (exceeding time limit, inappropriate language, etc.). Also, I keep time for the entire round just to make sure the burden is not on the debaters.
It’s great to meet you all and look forward to judging your event. All the very best!!
Coach for 15 years- judged all events. Important- link of claims back to value structure, moderate speaking pace is very much appreciated. I flow rounds and use the flow to guide my decision but do not drop debaters just for not extending all arguments cleanly. I like to hear logical fallacies called out as much as I like to hear logic employed in a round.
I am generally a flow judge and can follow fast paced debate.
Framework should be established and followed throughout the round. Tell me why your framework is superior and back up your claim with evidence in contentions. If there is no framework debate, the round will rely on weighing evidence in contentions.
Contentions should be clearly stated with supporting evidence and analysis. Your evidence should be fully explained and analyzed as to its impact on the debate. I prefer evidence be referred to by subject/topic throughout the round rather than simply the author's name. Know your evidence well enough defend it in cross-examination.
Your case should be organized, focused and come to a reasonable conclusion that convinces me to vote in your favor. Failure to communicate the importance of evidence, weighing values and impacts, or extending key arguments may result in a loss.
I am a parent judge who has been judging since 2019. I have some experience judging both speech and LD fields.
Please do not spread, and please provide evidence and signposting during the round. Spreading is the quickest way for you to lose the round- if I can’t follow your arguments, I will likely pick your opponent. Speak clearly, and if running more complex arguments explain your links and impacts well. Use carded evidence.
Above all, please be nice to everyone in the round. Being rude or obnoxious will earn you very low speaks.
Enjoy the round!
Hello all! Because access to most technology remains dependent in some areas on socio-economic status, please note that the basics of my paradigm will be repeated in person for the benefit of any student that does not have internet access. As the standards of debate change to reflect an increasingly technologically-dependent world, please remember as future leaders and philanthropists that the students who may benefit from scholastic debate the most may not have access to these now-standardized platforms and tools. Be kind to one another, and make sure that you remember that scholastic debate is, first and foremost, meant to foster greater mindfulness, critical thinking, and the skills one needs to lead and participate in productive and compassionate discourse. Never sacrifice your empathy for a trophy!
Now that that's out of the way, you should know that I am a NC LD Debate veteran, having qualified for nats and all that jazz. In college, I've participated in a much more soft and nice form of debate via the NCICU Ethics Bowl (which I encourage you all to participate in if available to you). I am currently a student at Gardner-Webb University in the graduate MA religion program. I graduated last year with a BA in Philosophy/Theology, so I will definitely know if you mix up consequentialism and non-consequentialism.
I have no definite preferences in terms of form of argumentation. My one request is that you take my hand and gently lead me to flowing your side. The point of LD is to provide a concise, thorough, and convincing argument for whatever side you are obligated to defend. All the counterplan advocacy theory blah blah blah hoopla matters far less to me than your ability to convince me that you have one. With that said, the value debate is, in my opinion, a vital part of LD debate. You are far more likely to win if you pay close attention to the value debate. Without it, LD would not exist.
In terms of things that will definitely get you on my bad side, I cannot stand when debaters are rude to one another. Be nice, be polite, stand up during your speeches, don't hold your laptop in front of your face, and for the love of all that is holy please do not stare at your opponent during CX or make faces at them. It is not convincing. It is not funny. It will get you low speaker points and a stern lashing on your ballot.
Know that when you receive your ballot from me, 99% of the critique on that ballot will have nothing to do with my decision. Rather, I will attempt to impart my wisdom to you to the best of my ability. My comment regarding your misuse of Immanual Kant has nothing to do with your win or loss. I will tell you explicitly why you won/lost.
Finally, ask me if I'm ready before speeches, especially CX, and know that my time is the final time. I will time you and you will not trick me into believing that you had 30 seconds left. Let me know if you need time signals.
Also don't spread. If I can't understand what you say, I can't flow you. That doesn't work on me.
If I judge you in PF, I'll try my best.
New addition as of Spring 2022 > Please do not send me your case. I will look at it and judge you for how it is cut. Thank you.
Coach at Charlotte Latin School, formerly at Providence (2014-22).
Treat me like a "flay" judge.
I'm a flow judge, but apparently people read that now and think they don't need to read actual warrants? And can just stand up and scream jargon like "they concede our delink on the innovation turn in the 1AR so vote for us" instead of actually explaining how the arguments interact?
Please just explain your arguments. I'm not going to do all that work for you!
Please COMPARATIVELY weigh ("prefer our interp/evidence because...") and IMPLICATE your arguments ("this is important because...") so that I don't have to intervene and do it for you. Clear round narrative is key.
If you present a framework, I'll look for you to warrant your arguments to it. Convince me that the arguments you're winning are most important, not just that you're winning the "most" arguments.
Please be clean: signpost, extend the warrant (not just the card).
I vote off the flow, so cross is binding, but needs clean extension in a speech.
I do see debate as a "game," but a game is only fun if we all understand and play by the same rules. We have to acknowledge that this has tangible impacts for those of us in the debate space -- especially when the game harms competitors with fewer resources. You can win my ballot just as easily without having to talk down to a debater with less experience, run six off-case arguments against a trad debater, or spread on a novice debater who clearly isn't able to spread. The best (and most educational) rounds are inclusive and respectful. Adapt.
Not a fan of tricks.
I tend to be more traditional, but can judge "prog lite" LD -- willing to entertain theory, K's, phil, LARP, non-traditional role of the ballot arguments, etc. Explanation/narrative/context is still key, since these are not regularly run in my regional circuit and I am for sure not as well-read as you. If I can't understand what your advocacy is, I can't vote on it.
Please collapse the round!
I’ll vote on theory, but don’t make it your all-in strategy. I’m way more interested in the substance of the debate.
I look for a solid flow of argument in a debate round. Is the moral value clear? Is there a clear Contention? Are the contentions backed by facts that come from credible sources and do they circle back to the value? I like to flow when I judge so I also watch to make sure no new contentions are brought into the argument during the final rebbuttles. I also look for good facts to back up contentions to make their argument strong.
I look to see if the students are professional and respectful to each other during Cross X and allow each other to speak.
I am a parent at Lewis & Clark in Spokane WA. I had four years of LD and PF experience in high school. I have judged for 2.5 years.
I will be flowing debates, but with only moderate speed. If I can't get your argument down, I won't be able to weigh it later in the round. Please sign post as much as possible.
LD debates need to be weighed through criterion, regardless of which side's criterion. It helps me if you present your framework up front rather than waiting until the summary.
Hi. I am new to judging. I have a basic knowledge of the topic and I have completed some training relative to judging this event. I strive to maintain a high standard of objectivity and fairness.
I am a traditional judge.
Do not spread.
Civility is essential.
I value clear communication. Sign posts and voters are excellent tools.
I value clash. So listen to your opponent and tell me why they are wrong and your side is better.
Give weight to the most important arguments and tell me why they are the most important.
Write the reason for decision for me.
I prefer that there is not speed talking in rounds
What’s important to me:
Use your voice well. On a written text, I see periods, commas, colons, capital letters, paragraph breaks, headings, underlined material, and so on. In a debate, what replaces all this is your voice. For example, a written text with no punctuation and no spacing is largely unintelligible; an oral argument with no pauses between clauses, sentences, or paragraphs is equally meaningless—regardless of all the points that you think you are making or all of your opponent’s points that you think you are refuting.
Use good transitional expressions. You may know where you are going, but your listener does not. Say where you plan to go, and then on your journey regularly tell your listeners when you are going to turn right or left. The alternative, which is to present a torrent of impressive sounding facts and figures that are hard to follow, tilts this judge against you.
Avoid bossiness. I regularly spend time in courtrooms, and I notice that attorneys who instruct judges and juries about what to do end up hurting their own cases. Also, argue the merits of your position, and be careful with theory debating. Sometimes I consider it smoke and mirrors, and it may work against you—unless, of course, you can use your voice well, use good transitional expressions, and convince me of the reasonableness of your position. A jury wants reasonableness. So do I.
I am a parent judge of LD. I have judged regularly since 2018.
Please do not spread. Do not attempt to speak quickly. Do not present opinions as fact and please have references for unusual positions. I expect a calm rational argument based on fact and logic. I accept that some conclusions are speculative and cannot be based entirely on current conditions.
Yes you may time yourself, I will be timing as well and I do mark down for going over allotted time.
I am an ex-traditional college policy debater (Stock issues) and high school Lincoln-Douglas debater (Values) that has been coaching LD since 2019. I have judged Lincoln-Douglas debate off and on since 1994.
Speed: Adapt to the judge who prefers a few well-developed arguments to spreading. I will flow as fast as I can, but it is up to you to communicate to me the compelling/persuasive reasons why you should earn my ballot. Speak clearly and articulate your words and you'll do fine.
Flex Prep. No. Speak within the time constraints and use prep time to see evidence.
Evidence Challenge: If you doubt the veracity of evidence, then challenge it at the next available opportunity. Remember evidence challenges are all or none. If the evidence has been proven to be altered or conjured, then your opponent loses. If the evidence is verifiable and has NOT been materially altered, then you lose for the specious challenge.
Arguments: A few well-reasoned claims, warrants, and impacts are very persuasive as opposed to a laundry list of underdeveloped assertions/arguments.
Theory Arguments: Not a big fan of sitting in judgment of the topic with critiques. But I do weigh the issue of topicality as germane if made during the constructive.
Philosophy: It's been labeled value debate for a reason. I encourage the discussion of scholarly philosophies.
Framework: There is a Value that each side is pursuing as their goal. There is a value criterion that is used to measure the accrual of the VP. The last steps include why the Value is superior and why the VC is the best way to measure that value.
Decision-Rule. While repetition often aids learning, I prefer that you tell me what the established standard for judging the round has been and why your arguments have met the threshold. Write the ballot for me.
PFD/BQ: I have judged PFD and Big Questions debate as well.
I prefer a framework and a few well-developed arguments to the spread. Point key words as you read your case. Be polite in C-X and ask closed-ended questions. Tell me why your arguments are better by weighing impacts.
I graduated high school in 2014 and competed mainly in LD (Nats qualifier) and PFD. However, I also competed in extemp, impromptu, congress, and surprisingly policy. I'm currently working in the Public Relations and Social Media realm. I have an MBA and fairly in-depth knowledge in the political arena, the business world, and history.
Preferences for the round:
LD: I prefer traditional philosophical and value oriented debate. This is the roots of LD and I much prefer this to the PF-esque LD rounds I've seen become the norm. I prefer discussions of the rational or the driving force rather than card battles over the implementation.
PFD: Give me a measuring system for how to judge the round. Unlike LD there are no values, so you must tell me what measuring system to use and why it is preferred to your opponent's system.
Generic debate preferences:
As far as progressive debate tactics vs traditional debate tactics, I have no real preference and am open to voting for kritics, etc. Speed is not a problem for me and neither is spreading. However if you do decide to use progressive tactics, I have a few caveats. Don't be abusive, clearly explain your argument/warrant/impact, and you must be articulate. If you are not understandable, I will stop flowing until you are able to be understood (this is still about the art of communication not just about speed reading). A round where debaters will receive high speaker points will include substantive argumentation supported by reputable sources, will have clear value clash, clearly link to values (LD) and the speakers will present the claim, warrant, and impact of each argument. I'm a traditional flow judge so I'm not a fan of dropped arguments. If there is a dropped argument, tell me what was dropped and why that drop is important. Not every argument carries the same weight so just because an argument was dropped, it does not mean that you instantly win or lose. It depends on the argument that was dropped. As far as organization of your speeches, signposting is a must but especially if you are running 3-4 contention cases with many cards.
Timing on your phone is fine with me and honestly every debater should be self timing. Reading cases and evidence off your computer is fine. However if your computer crashes, have a hard copy of your case and evidence available so that you can continue the round.
CX is for breaking down your opponent's case and logic. Use it wisely and do not waste time with pointless questions or questions that do not advance your goal. CX is not an extra 3 minutes to give a speech furthering your constructive.
Things that increase your speaker points:
Good understanding and use of philosophy. Strategic use of CX.
Things that lower your speaker points:
Definition battles (I think I can only remember 1 instance where the definition was truly that important to the result of the round).
Not knowing when to move on from a question that has been asked and answered in CX (just because you didn't get the answer you wanted does not mean that the opponent hasn't answered the question).
Don't attempt to box opponent into defending or advocating for something that is extra-resolutional (for example forcing opponent to create a viable plan of implementation instead of defending the theory of an action).
Being rude, abusive, et al.
Hey y'all! I’m sophmore at Washington and Lee University with an anthropology/politics double major intent, and I spent all of high school doing trad LD, and can follow most LD arguments. Also I did extemp like three times lol. My pronouns are she/her/hers
I know very little about other events so if you have me as a judge for an event that’s not LD or extemp, I’m sorry I’ll try my best.
A good LD round has a lot of clash (lol duh) but if you run something weird/out of the box, and run it well, I will enjoy it. This is really j to say that if you have a weird case you want to try out, pls do it in this round.
- please sign post
- off time roadmaps are preferred but if you don't use them, just be really clear
- IMPACT!!! spell out to me why something matters (I'm two years out please tell me why I should care)
- call me trad or whatever but I love a strong framework (one with real warrants)
- crystalize your impacts and tell me what (and why) I should weigh in the round
- I'm fine with speed as long as I can understand you.
- If there's an email chain, please add me. My email is at the top.
- if you plan to spread, please start an email chain :-)
- I can follow K's/theories but I didn't debate them, so make your argument clear.
- PLAY NICE!!! Don't be intentionally mean, because that's sucky and we're here to learn and grow and have fun.
Ok that’s all! Have fun and if you have any more questions ask me before the round :-)
Crawford Leavoy, Director of Speech & Debate at Durham Academy - Durham, NC
Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a former LD debater from Vestavia Hills HS. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at New Orleans Jesuit (LA) and Christ Episcopal School (LA). I am currently teaching and coaching at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. I have been judging since I graduated high school (2003).
- Speed is relatively fine. I'll say clear, and look at you like I'm very lost. Send me a doc, and I'll feel better about all of this.
- Run whatever you want, but the burden is on you to explain how the argument works in the round. You still have to weigh and have a ballot story. Arguments for the sake of arguments without implications don't exist.
- Theory - proceed with caution; I have a high threshold, and gut-check a lot
- Spikes that try to become 2N or 2A extensions for triggering the ballot is a poor strategy in front of me
- I don't care where you sit, or if you sit or stand; I do care that you are respectful to me and your opponent.
- If you cannot explain it in a 45 minute round, how am I supposed to understand it enough to vote on it.
- My tolerance for just reading prep in a round that you didn't write, and you don't know how it works is really low. I get cranky easily and if it isn't shown with my ballot, it will be shown with my speaker points.
SOME THOUGHTS ON PF
- The world of warranting in PF is pretty horrific. You must read warrants. There should be tags. I should be able to flow them. They must be part of extensions. If there are no warrants, they aren't tagged or they aren't extended - then that isn't an argument anymore. It's a floating claim.
- You can paraphrase. You can read cards. If there is a concern about paraphrasing, then there is an entire evidence procedure that you can use to resolve it. But arguments that "paraphrasing is bad" seems a bit of a perf con when most of what you are reading in cut cards is...paraphrasing.
- Notes on disclosure: Sure. Disclosure can be good. It can also be bad. However, telling someone else that they should disclose means that your disclosure practices should bevery good. There is definitely a world where I am open to counter arguments about the cases you've deleted from the wiki, your terrible round reports, and your disclosure of first and last only.
- Everyone should be participating in round. Nothing makes me more concerned than the partner that just sits there and converts oxygen to carbon dioxide during prep and grand cross. You can avert that moment of mental crisis for me by being participatory.
- Tech or Truth? This is a false dichotomy. You can still be a technical debater, but lose because you are running arguments that are in no way true. You can still be reading true arguments that aren't executed well on the flow and still win. It's a question of implication and narrative. Is an argument not true? Tell me that. Want to overwhelm the flow? Signpost and actually do the work to link responses to arguments.
- Speaks? I'm a fundamental believer that this activity is about education, translatable skills, and public speaking. I'm fine with you doing what you do best and being you. However, I don't do well at tolerating attitude, disrespect, grandiosity, "swag," intimidation, general ridiculousness, games, etc. A thing I would tell my own debaters before walking into the room if I were judging them is: "Go. Do your job. Be nice about it. Win convincingly. " That's all you have to do.
- I'll give comments after every round, and if the tournament allows it, I'll disclose the decision. I don't disclose points.
- My expectation is that you keep your items out prior to the critique, and you take notes. Debaters who pack up, and refuse to use critiques as a learning experience of something they can grow from risk their speaker points. I'm happy to change points after a round based on a students willingness to listen, or unwillingness to take constructive feedback.
- Sure. Let's post round. Couple of things to remember 1) the decision is made, and 2) it won't/can't/shan't change. This activity is dead the moment we allow the 3AR/3NR or the Final Final Focus to occur. Let's talk. Let's understand. Let's educate. But let's not try to have a throwdown after round where we think a result is going to change.
I am the Speech and Debate Coach at Carolina Day School in Asheville, NC.
Our program at Carolina Day focuses on Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, and some speech events. In competition, I primarily judge Lincoln-Douglas.
I will always be flowing debates and will be familiar with the topics. I hear a lot of debates and can handle speed, but speed cannot come at the expense of clarity. If I can’t understand what you are saying and get it down on the flow, I won’t be able to weigh it later in the round.
I value frameworks in PF. If you don’t have a framework in the constructive, I will assume we are employing a cost-benefit analysis.
I judge primarily on a traditional local circuit. I'm open to progressive argumentation, but it will need to be clearly explained and clearly connected to the topic.
Background info: Former Policy Debater (Ohio), History, Government and Econ Teacher (NC), American History Professor (NC) BA in History and Poli sci, MA in American History (emphasis on Women's history). I now coach LD, PF, Congress and Speech events and have had the pleasure of jumping into World Schools.
I'm pretty easy going and do not mind spreading in LD so long as you are clearly speaking when doing it. Not such a fan of PF speaking super quickly as that's not really the point of that event. Make good use of time but don't rush it. Outside of that in these events feel free to ask for any other concerns you may have. Happy to answer before a round starts.
Update on WSD: I do value the flow but also want to see WS norms happening in the round. Take POIs and engage with each other when time allows. I'm not a huge fan of first speech getting into refutation as two other speeches do that I would rather 1st speech take some POIs and develop your sides case. Please remember this is WSD US centric arguments happen based on the motion but I really value some international attention happening regardless of motion as I think it shows broader understanding of the World as a whole .Not to mention a countries decisions do not occur in a bubble and international events do impact other countries decisions, US included.
-Lay parent judge
-Speak at a normal pace
-Will be taking notes throughout the round
-Don't collapse on arguments, be thorough
-Facts are important, I may ask for cards
-Repeat: Be civil and respectful!!
-Overall, enjoy the round :)
I've been judging LD debate since the fall of 2000. I prefer more conversation delivery as opposed to spread. I still put a lot of weight into framework arguments vs my card is better than your card arguments. Speaking of that it is possible to persuade without a card if using a common sense argument it then falls upon the opponent to use common sense to rebut the argument rather than just: "My opponent doesn't have a card for that." This does not apply to specific amounts. For example, if you were to claim that Mossism has 50,000 adherents, I'd need a card. Common sense arguments follow lines of basic logic. Also, please please please please Signpost as you go down the flow.
I am lay judge. Although I am lay, I am familier with debate strategies. Please speak slowly. Dont spread. I will only entertain arguments that i can undersatnd. So make sure to warrant clearly. Dont run kritiks.
Good luck, i look forward to see you in debate
Hey, if you are reading this then I'm Judging you. So ill give you a rundown on what I like and dislike in debate
- For proper argument to be made in your case. Give me arguments in your case not just counterpoints
- Proper clash, If you are here to debate then actually debate, don't just keep defending your case but go on the offense too.
- I like slow well thought out arguments I want to be able to understand the arguments you are making.
-traditonal debate, please don't bring in a million different theories to debate
-disads, don't care for these for the most part it has to be argued effectively for me to vote for you
- Counterpoint based cases, if you are doing this I won't vote in your favor if your whole case is just counterpoints
- Spreading, if you going to spread chances are I'm not going to understand you and I will probably be missing a lot of your points in the process.
- Lack of clash, if there is no clash then it makes it hard for me to vote.
-Outlandish links to Nuclear War: Just stop doing this, seriously if your link chain is more than 2 deep i'm not counting that as an argument
-Tricks: This will literally get you dropped I don't care, we debate in debate nothing more nothing less
- If your case is off topic then I probably will just not listen, nor care.
- Any arguments that attack groups of individuals based on RACE, GENDER, SEXUALITY, ABILITY OR DISABILITIES, or have any stigmatized arguments I will drop you and once I hear it I will be giving you a loss. I have no patience for this and will ignore any other argument you make.
I am new to judging debate. I am a retired teacher, so I do have a lot of experience judging presentations. I look for professionalism and well thought out information and arguments. I don't appreciate students who talk so fast that it's impossible to process what is being said. If I'm not clear on what is being said, this doesn't help a students score.
3 time NSDA Qualifier/longtime judge and coach here.
I try to vote for who I think is the better debater, which means you probably
1. won framework
2. had good coverage
3. were generally entertaining
Anything is fine so long as it's basically intelligible (a good technical debater doesn't flash cases in order for the judge to read along, just for flow accuracy).
I don't like bad theory that you read every round no matter the topic (no time skew, no weaponizing legitimate social causes to win debate rounds w/o a serious violation by your opponent, etc)
If you need to call out abuse, don't waste time on a shell. Just say it- I probably see it too if it's real.
Any specific questions I can address verbally before the round- don't be afraid to ask.
I’m a law student at Wake Forest. While I have never debated competitively, I fell in love with arguments, studying economics and philosophy in college. This is my third year judging high school debate. In the past, I have judged LD, PF, and Congress.
General Thoughts on Debate
Debate is about excellence in argumentation, and arguments are a special kind of explanation that uses claims, warrants, and impacts to lead its audience towards the acceptance of particular conclusions. Debaters should keep in mind that the characteristics of a good argument are the characteristics of a good explanation. While debate is more than mere explanation, good explainers and good debaters do the following well:
- use plain language when possible;
- prize clarity above speed or complexity;
- offer a complete explanation of their reasoning, which, in debate, means fully explaining the claim, warrant, and impact of each argument;
- use tags or "sign posts" to organize their speeches in an easy-to-follow way;
- emphasize key concepts or important points through their delivery; and
- keep the big picture in mind by constantly relating sections of their speech back to their bottom-line conclusion.
Many debaters are narrowly focused on beating the other side. While winning is the goal of debate, beating the other side need not be the only strategy one tries. An alternative strategy is to approach each round with the goal of making the other side better. You might try conceding part of your opponent's argument, charitably interpreting part of your opponent's speech, or helping your opponent adopt a stronger premise. Believe it or not, this strategy often wins because it demonstrates confidence in your own arguments and builds credibility with the judge. As an added benefit, it improves the overall level of debate.
How I Evaluate Debates
I take notes during the round (also known as flowing). As soon as the round ends, I reconstruct each argument, giving special attention to what each side told me were the decisive issues in their final speeches. Next, I evaluate each argument with the following questions in mind:
- Logic. Were the claims, warrants, and impacts of each argument fully explained? Were there any gaps or unexplained steps in the reasoning? Did warrants offer strong reasons to back their claims? Did impacts communicate the significance of each claim to the debate overall?
- Evidence. Did the evidence strongly or weakly support the claims it backed? Did the debater state evidence accurately, or was evidence overstated in any way?
- Responsiveness. Did the debater engage with the other side's arguments? Did the debater refute 'straw men' or the other side's actual position?
Understanding an argument is a prerequisite to evaluating it. Unfortunately, I have to disregard any lines of reasoning I cannot understand. An intelligible argument contains a claim, a warrant, and an impact. So, for example, simply saying "my side should prevail because Kant said lying is immoral" does not communicate an intelligible argument. That statement, apart from additional context, is a logical fallacy called an appeal to authority. I might happen to know that Kant thought lying was immoral because lying violates the categorical imperative, but a different judge with a different background might not. More importantly, by failing to explain what the categorical imperative is and why lying violates it, the hypothetical debater has failed to offer a reason why someone should accept their argument. Having failed to offer any reasons, the debater has failed to engage in rational persuasion at all.
I acknowledge the benefits of a fast round. Unfortunately, I can only understand 1.5x conversational speed. If I get to the point where I cannot understand you, I will get your attention by saying, "Too fast!" Keep in mind that, by the time I have the chance to speak up, I likely have already missed part of your argument.
- For Congress, I place emphasis on delivery and on how well speeches contribute the deliberative goals of the body.
- For LD, I want to see values-based argument somewhere.
- For PF, debaters should focus on empirical argument. Values-based argumentation should take the back seat.
- For LD and PF, points go to the side that can effectively place empirical evidence within value frameworks.
I will always vote for the strongest argument. However, all else being equal, I prefer:
- A small number of well-coordinated arguments to a great many disjoint ones.
- Nuanced arguments that concretely address the resolution at hand. Ask yourself: Can this argument be easily recycled for use in other resolutions? If the answer is yes, consider tailoring your argument more narrowly to the resolution at hand.
(this paradigm was written with the assistance of my son)
Hi! I am a parent judge who has been judging here and there for the last 1 year. I am a typical lay judge and thus, adjust your arguments and style as such.
Speed: Don't spread, don't talk fast. I know all you "flow" kids are groaning rn, but chill out fam.
Rhetoric: Rhetoric matters to some extent, but as long as you can get the arguments across to me, from your brain to my flow, you're fine.
Extending: Any arguments you want me to vote on must have cleanly been extended throughout the entire round. Don't tell me to vote off of any args that you didn't make/extend previously.
If both debaters are equal in my "lay" eyes, I will probably vote off of speaking style and persuasiveness.
I enjoy strong framework. Present your case, support your case and weaken your opponents case. This is about you, so do your thing.
TL;DR: Check Bolded
I wanna keep this relatively simple, so: Hi, I'm JD Swift. I am a former competitor and former coach of Holy Cross School, currently an Assistant at The Delores Taylor Arthur School for Young Men (New Orleans, La). I'm too old to use this platform as an ego boost so I won't bother re-putting my qualifications, accolades, etc. I have either judged, coached, or competed (or done all of the above) in nearly every event under the sun, so I'd call myself pretty familiar.
My resting face may not prove it, but I am always approachable. If you have any questions about stuff before or after around, and you spot me, please don't hesitate to have a conversation, its why I still do this activity.
+ I do not tolerate any forms of: racism, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, or ableism. This activity is special because it is the most inclusive activity that I know of. This space actively works to include all members of society and I will not stand for any tarnishing of that. I do not believe that you will be any of those things, but if it happens in round, I will stop the debate, give you a loss with the lowest possible speaks, and have a conversation with your coach.
+ I prefer an email chain, please add me:email@example.com
+ I prefer to disclose. You won't be able to adjust from round to round if you don't know exactly how you won or lost a round. That being said: if any competitor in the round would prefer me not to disclose, I will not.** I also don't disclose speaks, that's just kinda weird to ask **
+ On Postrounding: I'm absolutely down to answer any and all questions as long as time permits. I take pride in the notes I take alongside the flow to give back to debaters. However, if you begin to challenge my decision, or (yes, this has happened before) you get your coach to challenge me, you can finish postrounding with the empty chair I left behind.
+ I know you care about speaker points. I don't give a whole lot of 30s (you can fact check me on this) so if you get one from me, I will be speaking high praises to others about your stellar performance. 2 rules of thumb for if you have me as a judge: 1. Make the debate accessible, 2. Let your personality shine through. No, I won't clarify on what those things mean. ;)
+ My face is very readable. This is semi-intentional. If I'm confused, you will see it. If I'm impressed, you will see it.
+ If you don't see me writing, specifically if my pen is obviously away from the paper/iPad (usually palm up) and I'm just staring at you, then I'm intentionally ignoring your argument. (I only do this when you are clearly over time, or if you are reading new in the 2)
+ In terms of intangibles such as: Your appearance, dress, how you sit or stand, etc. I do not care at all. A wise man once said: "Do whatever makes you comfortable, I only care about the arguments." -JD Swift, (circa 20XX)
+ I hate information elitism, meaning, if any jargon or terms in my paradigm confuse you-- please, please, please ask me for clarification.
+ Debate is a competitive activity, but it is foremost an educational one. If you see me in the back of the room, please do not feel intimidated, we as coaches and judges are here for y'all as competitors.
For LD & Policy:
+ Run whatever you like, please just explain it well. If you don't trust your ability to provide quality warrants on an argument, do not run it.
+ Please extend full arguments, most importantly the warrants. Not just impacts, Not just card names, but all of it.
+ No amount of signposting is too much. The more organized you are, the better I can give you credit.
+ Speed does NOT impress me. I can hang, but if you're sacrificing clarity for speed, I won't strain myself trying to catch the argument. If you want to go fast, go for it, just make sure you're clearly distinguishing one argument from the next, and that your tags and authors are clear.
+ Please do not reread a card, unless the card is being re-read for a different purpose(re-highlighting, new warrants, etc.). You're killing your own speech time.
+ If an argument or concession is made in cross, and you want credit for it, it has to show up in speech. I'll listen out for it, but if I don't hear it, in speech, it didn't happen.
+ Not a fan of petty theory at all. If there is real, round impeding abuse, I'll vote on it in your favor. If the theory argument is petty, I give RVI's heavy weight.
+ I don't like tricks. This is not a forum for deception.
+ If you're gonna kick the alt on the K, and use it as a disad, please articulate why the disad is a sufficient reason to not pass the plan.
+ Framework is important, otherwise I believe topic areas get too broad for this format. Win your framing and then use that to win your impact calculous. That's the fastest way to my ballot.
+ I have little patience for paraphrasing. If you want credit for evidence, read the card and give context.
+ I hold PF to the same evidence ethics and standards as Policy and LD.
Most importantly: please have fun; If what you are doing is not fun then it's not worth your time.
I did extemp and policy debate in high school (College Prep CA) and policy debate in college (UC Berkeley). I am a lawyer, and my day job is as a professor of law and government at UNC Chapel Hill. I specialize in criminal law.
For more than 10 years, I have been coaching at Durham Academy in North Carolina. I’ve coached a little bit of everything but mostly public forum. We’ve been nationally competitive in PF during that time. For example, we have won Glenbrooks, Harvard, and NSDA nationals.
Although I did policy debate, I see PF as a distinct form of debate. Accordingly, I prefer a more conversational pace and less jargon. I'm open to different types of argument but arguments that are implausible, counterintuitive or theoretical are going to be harder rows to hoe. I prefer debates that are down the middle of the topic.
I flow but I care more about how your main arguments are constructed and supported than about whether some minor point or another is dropped. I’m not likely to vote for arguments that exist in case but then aren’t talked about again until final focus. Consistent with that approach, I don’t have a rule that you must “frontline” in second rebuttal or “extend terminal defense in summary” but I do think that you should spend time talking about and developing the issues that are most important to the round.
Evidence is important to me and I occasionally call for it after the round. However, the quality of it is much more important than the quantity. Blipping out 15 half-sentence cards in rebuttal isn’t appealing to me. I dislike the practice of paraphrasing evidence — in my experience, debaters rarely paraphrase accurately. Debaters should feel free to call for one another’s cards, but be judicious about that. Calling for multiple cards each round slows things down and if it feels like a tactic to throw your opponent off or to get free prep time, I will be irritated.
As the round progresses, I like to see some issue selection, strategy, prioritization, and weighing. Going for everything isn't usually a good idea.
Finally, I care about courtesy and fair play. This is a competitive activity but it is not life and death. It should be educational and fun and there is no reason to be anything but polite.