2020 — NSDA Campus, PA/US
N-JV Public Forum Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I am a parent PF judge, and a practicing attorney with more than 25 years of experience.
I believe a sound debate is about a fair, intelligible and intelligent dialogue. Speed reading off a computer screen or spreading is incompatible with such a process. Fast speakers assume the risk that I could miss some arguments/points/evidence. Additionally, if in my view you've spoken at a fast clip, I will not view unfavorably your opponent failing to respond to an argument that you have advanced.
I flow arguments. While I do not take note of points made/unmade in crossfire, I pay careful attention to astute questions and answers. I prize the ability to think on one's feet and deliver a cogent response. Please bring up crossfire points that you would like me to flow in a subsequent speech. I am persuaded by well-structured arguments that are honestly supported by key pieces of evidence.
The team advancing a contention must rejoin the issue and tell me why the opposing team's rebuttal/counter/block does not work.
In crossfire, please avoid questions with long preambles.
While, for the most part, I don't get into the weeds with cards and evidence, I may on occasion call for a piece. Teams should feel free to assail each other's evidence during the debate.
Please do not use debate jargon.
Keep the discourse civil. Incivility in any form will hurt your cause.
Enthusiasm for, intensity, and passion regarding the proposition you are espousing is welcome. Discourtesy or aggression against your opponents is not.
Tactical and strategic thinking in arguing, rebutting, and in crossfire is always delightful.
I appreciate clear analysis of why your contention should win the day in the summary and final focus. Further, the final focus should have all that you would like me to vote on (akin to writing my RFD for me - pros of your case and cons of your opponent's.) Lastly, all arguments and evidence that are in the final focus must have been in the summary - it is a matter of fairness.
I'm a freshman polisci major/philosophy minor at Temple University. I debated on the circuit in public forum for JR Masterman for 4 years and I’ve dabbled in speech and parli.
This paradigm is just a guideline, not a ruleset. If you’re new to debate or just don’t know something on here, don’t worry, I think of myself as pretty nice and I try to evaluate every round with the context of the competition in mind.
----Big warning: If I'm judging you in person I (may) have a resting bored face when I judge! This doesn't mean I don't like the argument, sorry about that----
The most important thing to me is that everyone feels comfortable in round.
I will drop you for racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism etc..
Please read trigger warnings.
I don’t care what you wear.
Time yourself please.
I can handle some spreading, but please slow down if your opponents cannot. If you’re spreading please send speech docs to me and your opponents. “Pf fast” is totally acceptable and comfortable.
+1 speaks if you include a meme reference in a speech or cross (-1 speaks if the meme is dead)
+2 speaks if you include a poem or haiku (about the round) in speech
+2 speaks if you give me food or sugar free drinks before round
I think speaks are rather arbitrary and so I tend to be generous, if you genuinely make an effort in round and are not offensive don’t worry about them.
Frontline 2nd Rebuttal. I value a good collapse and good narrative later in the round. Weigh early and often. Defense in both Summarys, weigh at the latest in summary. Summary is the most important speech fite me.
Be nice, (optionally) be funny, don’t make me wanna punch you. If anything important happens bring it up later in a speech. If both teams agree to flex prep you may.
My circuit was fairly traditional, however I have exposure to theory and K debate in PF, and will vote on it. CI > Reasonability. I'll probably buy RVIs but they should be either hella warranted or specific to the shell. The more frivolous the theory the less likely I’m gonna buy it. I still don’t really know what trix are but if you think you can persuade me to vote on it feel free.
If you can’t produce a card in a timely manner I’ll assume it doesn’t exist. I’ll call for cards after round, but only if debaters in round instruct me to or if it’s necessary for me to vote. Tech > Truth, but honestly the squirrlier your args get the more likely I am to buy answers to them. WARRANT WARRANT WARRANT please.
If you read Bostrom and win I’m docking a half a point.
Signpost and Roadmap please.
I presume neg
Impeccable vibes are a voter
If you have any questions, concerns or if you wanna add me to a doc chain my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Burdette: I'm a novice public forum judge (11/14/20 is my second tournament). I'll flow (other than during cross fire), but will flow more accurately if you prioritize and speak slowly. Very much appreciate signposting, and on rebuttals -- as much clarity as possible regarding what you are rebutting. While I'm not as able to judge on technical approach as a more experienced judge can, I will judge based on the strength and clarity of the argument, and the impact you demonstrate -- both in terms of probability and magnitude. If you believe you win on a point based on evidence or other, tell me why. I appreciate creative arguments as long as you demonstrate clear relevancy.
Excellent debaters speak slowly, clearly and with good organization to their presentation.
Speak in plain English and avoid debate speak. Do not "resolve to negate" (no one says that in real life); tell me why I should find that the proposition is wrong or unwise.
If you cite to an authority, make it clear what the authority is and why that authority is reliable. For example, it is not "Higgins says". Rather, it could be: "As former Assistant Secretary of Defense John Higgins said in his Foreign Affairs article..."
You do not have a "card". You have evidence described by or the views of a third party.
Be respectful to each other, do not interrupt during crossfire. If you ask a question, allow the opponent(s) to answer. Refer to public officials by their title and with respect in a way that no one knows your politics. For example, it is President Trump, President Obama and (until January), Vice President Biden.
If you say your opponents did not respond to your third contention (debate speak!) then make clear what that contention (better referred to as "point", "reason", "premise" etc.) is. The same holds true if you are addressing one of their points.
It is important that I be able to track the organization and logic flow of your argument. I do that for the purpose of determining overall persuasiveness not to create a checklist of everything that must be "covered". If there is a major point that I believe is unpersuasive based upon the totality of the arguments, then not every sub-point or sub-argument needs to be addressed. To be clear though, if there is a strong argument that is not rebutted, that will weigh heavily in the determination of the winner.
Saying less but clearly is far more important and effective than saying too much in a way that cannot be understood.
I am a parent judge without much experience, so please make it as easy for me as possible. Explain why your points or arguments make sense, don't just push evidence in my face. Cards do not replace logic, they should support it. Please weigh through the entire debate and tell me exactly why I should vote for you. Explain why your impacts carry through and why they matter.
As mentioned above, I do not have a lot of experience so please signpost each speech and speak clearly and comprehensibly (I will let you know if you are speaking too fast). Make sure your speeches have structure (you can roadmap them out off time if you want) -- it makes everything much easier to follow.
Finally, keep the debate civil. I will give lower speaker points to people who insult or demean their opponents. These tournaments are for fun, so I do not want anyone being personally attacked.
I am a junior at Cornell University and I did PF in high school, which means I will be flowing throughout the debate. Here are some things that I think are important:
- since I have debate experience I understand debate jargons, but I don't keep up with resolutions so be clear if youre gonna use acronyms/ resolution terms.
- please make it easier for me to judge. weigh your arguments, have clear but concise signposting, extend points, which points to vote on, etc
- don't yell during cross please. it especially annoys me when debaters throw passive-aggressive remarks.
- don't just list your evidence, tell me why it's important/how it supports your contention
- speak clearly and don't speak so fast or else i won't know what you're saying
- most importantly, be respectful and be honest. i usually don't like to keep time so be honest about your prep time lol
For public forum, please speak slowly and clearly. I prefer well-structured arguments with fewer sources of evidence as opposed to an overwhelming number of sources that are not clearly linked to your argument. As you present your case, define terms and abbreviations as if the audience has little to no background in this area. The final focus, closing argument, is important as I develop the Reason for my Decision.
Hey! I did CX, PF, LD, and Congress in high school, and I've been debating parli at UC Berkeley for the past two years. I'm willing to hear out a spectrum of argumentation, as long as it's well-researched and well-qualified. You're welcome to spread if you really think it'll do you the most good, but please flash me your case if you choose to do so. Please don't say anything racist/homophobic/transphobic because I would hate to drop a team automatically. I'll also be looking for continuity in flow and consistent clash—make things spicy!
Forensics Team coach for Dallastown since 2014
For the most part,you'll be looking at this paradigm because I'll be your LD judge. cross-apply these comments to PF as applicable and to policy if/when I get recruited to judge policy.
Speed and Decorum:
Send me your case. My email is email@example.com I cannot overemphasize the necessity of doing this – it will help keep me focused and generally just make me happier. Using the file share feature on online platforms is also OK. (Let me know that you've sent me your case.)
Spreading…fine if you've given me the speech DOC and follow it (or make it clear where you deviate). Probably also a good practice for virtual debates, too. .
If we ever go back to in-person debating, I don't care if you sit/stand. Really, I don't. Just vaguely remain in the room. If in person, I'm not a handshake person.
Please time your speeches and prep time. I may not keep accurate time of this since my attention is to the content of your speeches. Flex prep is fine if all debaters in the round agree.
Some debaters have asked me for "time signals" (like in extemp?) - this will result in my not taking notes. If you want this, be aware that I won't be taking notes and you'll risk me forgetting the content of your speeches.
Arguments that are obviously racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, etc. are not OK. (Read: you will lose if you run them.)
I do not prefer theory. I find it unnecessarily complicated and usually designed to make debate inaccessible (especially to those who are likely already crowded out of this forum in some other way). Please don't run it unless there you see literally NO OTHER WAY to respond to your opponent's arguments. Even then, I may not evaluate it the way you want or expect. If you planning to run dense or tricky theory, you should find a different judge.
You have an absolute obligation to articulate your arguments. Even if I’m familiar with the literature or whatever that you might be referencing I *try* to avoid filling in any gaps.
Signposting = GOOD! Flipping back and forth from AFF flow to NEG flow then back to AFF Flow to NEG Flow....BAD.... VERY, VERY, VERY BAD!
Tricks = no. Thanks.
Above all, strive to make sense. I do not prefer any “style” of debate or any particular kind of argument over another. Similarly, there isn’t much that is “off limits” (other than that which is listed above…pay attention to that). Regardless of what you run, if your case relies on me to connect the dots for you or if it is a literal mess of crappily cut and equally crappily organized evidence sans warrants, you probably be sad at the end of the round.
Speaks: based on organization and time allocation
Summary: 1. if it's not said in this speech i wont flow it to the FF.
2. Collapse down to fewer contentions, and explain why they drop off the flow (wash, block, etc.), but still go line by line as much as possible.
FF- 1. Give me big picture themes that the round has collapsed to. Not just your voters and their voters, collapse on the round as a whole, big picture.
*I dont flow CX so say it again in speech if its important
** I'm ok with speed, but go easy on me its been a few years
*** I HATE EVIDENCE DEBATES. If there is even in the slightest a voter issue/arg in the round relying on the properly cut evidence, then i will call to see the card. I will treat it as a reverse voting issue if the accusing side is wrong to disincentivize wild accusations.
I competed in high school speech and debate all four years back in the 1990s and have been judging Lincoln Douglas and Public Forum for the last five years.
Well reasoned arguments and high quality evidence is more convincing to me than twenty evidence cards- quality not quantity!
I am aware NSDA rules allow citing sources as "Jones 2020" but if I need to weigh evidence, knowing that "Jones 2020" is from The Washington Post instead of Wikipedia is important.
If you can't find the evidence in 30 seconds, we will move along.
Learning how to organize your thoughts quickly and how to stay cool under pressure is a terrific life skill- this is a worthwhile activity!
Extra speaker points
If you can make a haiku
In final focus
I will always prefer the team with well-explained arguments over the team with 20 cards.
Feel free to call out sources for being biased.
If a card is called and you can't find it in 30 seconds, the round will move on. Organize your stuff.
Strath Haven '20 Northwestern '24
Update for 2021-2022 Season: I don't debate in college so it's been over a year since I debated. I don't know anything about the water topic. My debate brain is prob not the same as it was.
- add me to the chain firstname.lastname@example.org
- for online debating, analytics in the docs would be helpful (my connection is often slower than others)
- evidence quality is important, but explanation is too; card docs in close debates are helpful
- if you're fully open source on the wiki (every card you read in your debates) means +0.3 speaks if you tell me
Counterplans are good. Cheaty counterplans make me sympathetic to cheaty perms.
Topicality vs Policy: Not a fan. Not my strong suit. You'd probably regret having me in the back. Competing interps will be my default and predictability is important.
Disads are good. Make it make sense tho.
Impact Turns are fun
Don't like framing pages on soft left affs. You still have to answer the disad.
K vs. Policy Affs: If FW is equally debated, I weigh the aff. Explain your theory well. Need links turns case. Other than that do whatever you want.
Planless Affs: The closer they are to actually solving the impacts of the 1AC the better. I believe fairness is an impact to T. Aff teams should have answers related to their aff. Also went for Cap K, heg good, cap good, and am fine with almost whatever in these debates.
I am a parent judge and a lay judge. Please keep your speaking speed reasonable and be clear.
Time yourselves please. Remember you are smarter than me. Speak slowly.
email@example.com please add me to email chains
from planet debate-
this is difficult for me b/c i'm not sure i have A judging philosophy but I do have many different ideas about and for debate...some inconsistent. that being said i don't want what i think about debate to totally dictate what debaters decide to do in rounds.
topicality- generally don't like it. I find no abuse args to be really persuasive. Since I like critical arguments so much I think you can usually find ground in any debate. i don't like the competing interpretations framework very much. i find the "that limits out any aff" arg to be persuasive. but i will vote on that framework and topicality if left unchallenged. in a good topicality debate on competeing interp vs an ok no abuse arg i'll USUALLY vote aff.
cp- like em. with a critical nb even better. i think i'm a fair judge for these debates. aff theory args generally not persuasive unless unchallenged. very similar to topicality in this regards.
das- great. a lot of people are now struggling with the we control the uniqueness = a risk vs. we got d/risk of turn. i don't think the aff has to have offense to win a da but i do find in a lot of debates that with only defense it hurts the aff a bunch. especially when the neg has a cp. but i tend to weight the da first in terms of probability and then magnitude.
critical args- love em. these are the debates i find the most interesting. i'm willing to listen to virtually any way the neg wants to present them. method. alternative. text no text. don't care. case turn. obviously it's the neg's burden to provide some way to evaluate their "framework" but in terms of theory i think they are all pretty much legit. args are args and it's the other teams responsibility to answer them.
others- i like to see people be nice to each other in debate rounds. some people may say i intervene sometimes. it's true but let me provide context. if you go for you mis-spelled (jk) a word in your plan and you should lose and your winning the arg but the other team says this is stupid...we'll i'm persuaded. you just wasted a bunch of peoples time. another thing. DON'T RUN MALTHUS IN FRONT OF ME- DOESN'T MATTER IF IT RIGHTS OR NOT. i won't flow it. i think that while debate is a game we still have a responsibility to "speak truth to power". discourse is very important. definately co-constitutes with reality. this may be why i'm starting/have been hating the politics debate for the last year and a half. but hey, like i said before, i'm full of inconsistancies b/c sometimes you just don't have another arg in the box to go for. i'm sympathetic to this. especially in high school debate. i still research it for the hs topic and coach my kids to go for it.
Debate is a game- i have a lot of ideas about how the game should be played but in the absence of teams making those arguments i won't default to them. i think debate should make the rules of the game and provide a framework for how i should evaulte the debate. i'm not a big fan of some arguments...like malthus in particular...but also theory arguments in general. these debates generally happen faster then my mind and pen can handle. ive judged a lot although i haven't much this year on the china topic. some people may think i have a bias towards critical arguments, and while this is true to some degree (i generally find them more intersting than other debates), it also means i have higher standards when it comes to these debates. yeah imagine that, me with high standards.
I am a parent on a team that practices traditional debate. I'm most interested in seeing students develop their strongest, most important arguments as persuasively as possible rather than rely on tricks or tactics such as rushing through a long list of undeveloped arguments.
Please make your framework clear and, when necessary, address why your framework should prevail.
When you clash with your opponents, I will judge your case based on how you weigh your arguments' significance relative to your opponents' arguments.
Please do not spread. If you do, I may miss an argument or response.
I am a registered nurse living in Philadelphia. I participated in forensics while in high school. I enjoy judging tournaments.
I Debated for three years at Madison West HS in Wisconsin. I mainly did Public Forum Debate, but I also did Congress and Extemp. I am now an Economics major at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Public Forum Paradigm:
This is not a requirement, but I would generally prefer if you sent your case doc to your opponents at the beginning of the round. Also as long as you're comfortable with it, I would like to be added to the email chain so that if I need to inspect evidence that is contested in-round it's easier for me to see what cards to ask for. This makes dealing with evidence problems in an online format easier. The amount of time I've seen wasted because people don't know what card they're asking for is ridiculous, if you send each-other your cases at the start of the round we can avoid that entirely.
If you have some time, try to read or at least skim the full paradigm. You don’t need to read my pet peeves at the bottom unless you want to. If you’re in a time-crunch, at least read the TLDR.
If you have any questions or have any problems with my paradigm, please tell me before the round or after the round at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want additional feedback or advice, don’t be afraid to email me after the round.
I’m a flow judge but treat me flay for speed. I like fewer pieces of quality offense, a strong narrative, heavily dropping and consolidating arguments in Summary, and good narrative-based weighing in Final Focus with voters. No entirely new arguments after Rebuttal, no new supporting evidence after first summary. Cards should only be used when they offer unique expertise, data, or examples to an argument, I accept uncarded arguments. The bigger the claim/impact, the better evidence and warrants you need. Citation is author, source, date said once and then probably never again. Don’t use authors, or sources as taglines. I default to a utilitarian cost-benefit analysis framework. Use realistic impacts with smaller magnitudes over just pretending like everything causes World War 3. No Debate Theory unless its to address in-round unfair behavior, most especially discrimination. If your opponents, myself, or another judge discriminates against you in-round you should tell your coach and tournament organizers. I may drop you for discriminatory behavior, being excessively rude, or obviously and intentionally lying. Finally I will drop the IMF 900 million in poverty due to a recession card immediately. Se bottom explanation for why.
Structure and Comprehension
Speed: I am a former PF debater and I will be flowing. That said, please go slow and do not spread. What most debaters don’t understand is that even flow judges are going to miss or forget ~50% of what you’re saying. Slow down, emphasize, and potentially repeat key points that you want me to remember. In debater jargon: treat all flow judges as flay.
Quality vs Quantity/Creativity: The quantity and creativity of arguments presented is overrated in the PF debate space. Putting 6 contentions in a case or using some bizarre argument for the express purpose of having your opponents not respond adequately is bad for two reasons.
The first is that if you spend too little time on an argument or it’s too loosely connected to the resolution you’re rarely making the argument well. Your judge will be confused and unconvinced and will vote against you, even if you think you technically won. You’re not getting bad judges, you’re just not debating well. Solid well-executed stock cases beat wild, overly packed or strange cases on narrative and lay appeal most of the time.
The second is that you make the debate space worse. By trying to win via confusion and overwhelming your opponent you destroy the educational value of the activity and turn it into a nasty game of chess.
Constructive- Proposing framing and introducing offense. Remember to have a connecting narrative for your later speeches to use.
First Rebuttal- Primarily for introducing defense. Additionally for resolving framing disputes.
Second Rebuttal- Equal parts for rebuilding offense and introducing defense. Calling this speech a rebuttal is deceptive because it’s the first and last chance to introduce defense and your last chance to introduce supporting evidence for your case. It should be less like a rebuttal and more like a hybrid rebuttal-summary.
First Summary- Equal parts for rebuilding offense and for dropping arguments. That’s right, I want you to drop arguments like they're hot potatoes. First summary should be all about rebuilding your case narrative and consolidating around only the most important few arguments in the round. At the end of the speech I should know exactly the voters you’re going to have me vote off of in final focus. Don’t be afraid to hard-drop arguments. Trying to win everything is a recipe for losing the round.
Second summary- All narrative and dropping arguments. By this time you should be entirely done supporting your arguments and responses. I want to know the voters, I want to know the exact narrative you’re going to use to sell me the round, and if you have time, beginning to weigh here is key for selling me that narrative. The more you can make the second summary sound like a final focus, the better.
Final Focus- The most important speech of the round. All narrative and weighing. If you’re having to explain or add support for your arguments at this stage, you’ve already lost. The entire speech should sell me a cohesive story complete with voter analysis and weighing.
Links, Warrants and Evidence
Carded Arguments: An argument is a story, not a piece of evidence. Cards exist to offer expertise, data, and/or examples to your story to make it stronger and more convincing. Cards that do not offer any unique expertise, data, and/or examples are a waste of your time.
Uncarded Arguments: Uncarded arguments are very legitimate and under-utilized in PF. Cards are there to provide expertise and/or data. Expertise and data strengthen an argument, but are not required for an argument to be convincing. A good uncarded logical argument can defeat a carded argument as long as the logic isn’t trying to directly contradict the expertise or data provided by the card.
Warranting and Evidence Burden: I do not just assume that all claims are true until proven otherwise. The largest claims and most important impacts require the best evidence and warrants. As a judge I want to pick the team that makes the best arguments. When you make an argument with a strong claim or a very important impact, that’s going to heavily affect my decision. As a result, that impact carries a lot of risk that if it’s wrong, I might make the wrong decision. To minimize my risk of picking the wrong team I need to be more sure that what you’re saying/implying is true. That requires better warranting and evidence. If you do not provide better warranting or evidence I will either 1. heavily reduce the importance of the impact due to its risk, or 2. discard it entirely.
Citation: If you are providing evidence I need the author, source and date said once. After that, I don’t need you to cite the source in any way in consecutive speeches, please don’t waste your time.
Argument Taglines: If you are mentioning an argument or a card as part of an extension, please do not use the card author, source, and/or date as a tagline. Use a description or an incredibly succinct summary (ex. “Data privacy response”) This is for two reasons. First, I will not remember what your card says from the citation. Second, the core of a debate should be conflicting ideas not conflicting sources. By using an author name as a tagline you are defining your argument by who said it first, which isn’t really very convincing, distracts from your content, and wastes time.
New Arguments/New Evidence: Entirely new arguments (defined as being either offense or defense entirely unique from previous arguments) must be said before the First Summary. All carded evidence (even for supporting existing arguments and responses) must be brought up before the Second summary. In the second summary and final focus speeches the only things I should be hearing that I haven’t heard before are logical supports to previously existing arguments and weighing.
If you want me to think of an extension as important in the round you need to make it important. That means spending more time on it, rebuilding any flaws, and repeating key points in speeches.
That said, at the bare minimum to extend an argument on my flow I need the tagline, and any contested links, warrants, and impacts stated. If no part of your extension is contested I theoretically only need the tagline, but realistically if you want me to consider it important you need to spend more time on it.
Impacts, Weighing, and Framework
Framework: I default to a Utilitarian Cost Benefit Analysis Framework. Any proposed frameworks must explain why they’re preferred over the default. Because the utilitarian CBA is so common on the PF circuit as a framework I don’t want Debaters to waste time reaffirming a framework that won’t be contested. The Utilitarian CBA provides an easy way to weigh all sorts of varying impacts
Framework must be introduced in the Constructive speech. If you do not have a framework in your Constructive you may defend the default framework.
Weighing: Remember to use all four ways of weighing as they’re useful to you:
Magnitude, Probability, Timeframe, and Severity. PF often gets overly fixated on magnitude and while magnitude is probably the most convincing of the four, it isn’t sufficient. Arguing for Nuclear War with incredibly low probability and incredibly high magnitude isn’t the silver bullet to winning that you think it is. Try to be realistic with impacts as you weigh them. I don’t mind voting off of a very low-magnitude, high probability, high severity impact with a good narrative, warranting and evidence behind it.
Debate Theory, Speaker Points and Behavior
Speaker Points: Unless the tournament offers some sort of scale for judges to use for speaker points, I will award a 28-29 on average and will rarely go below 27 unless you were rude in round. If you’ve read this far, ask me my favorite color and I’ll bump up your speaks. I think that reading paradigms is a really good practice.
Debate Theory: I am not a big fan of Debate Theory (also called Progressive Debate) arguments in Public Forum. Not to be confused with arguments that are politically progressive (which are often very convincing), debate theory arguments debate conditions in the debate space rather than the resolution. There are two reasons I don’t accept most of these arguments. The first is that in the circuit I debated in, they were primarily used to disorient debaters unfamiliar with the national circuit or with theory, often from smaller programs, less privileged, or newer to the activity.
The second is that pre-prepared theory arguments allow one side to prepare for a debate that the other side is completely unaware they will be having. This creates an unfair situation.
If Debate Theory seriously helped less privileged debaters or smaller programs bring attention to injustice in the circuit, I would be more responsive. Instead I’ve found that they’re largely used by privileged debaters from large schools who were exposed to them on the national circuit who use them to win rounds cheaply and have the position and power to bring those issues up to people with influence outside of round.
The ONE exception to this is debate theory arguments surrounding something unfair, rude or discriminatory your opponents have done in a round that has put you at a disadvantage. This can be a very real issue, particularly with male debaters talking down to female debaters and when debaters are consistently misgendered. I think that pointing out these issues helps debate significantly and as a result, I will factor these arguments into my decision.
If the offending party is not your opponents but a judge, either myself or another judge on the panel, you can still run the debate theory (provided there is still time left in the round). That said, you should absolutely take further action, notifying your coach and the tournament so that they can respond adequately. If I or any other judge discriminates against you in Debate, it’s hard to address that in round given that the offending party would be writing a ballot.
Building off all of that, I do not require your opponents to run Debate theory to punish you for unfair or discriminatory behavior. If you are exceptionally rude, I may drop you. If you overtly lie in a round, I may drop you. If you say something discriminatory against your opponents I may drop you. Please do not lie or be rude to your opponents. PLEASE do not say discriminatory things against your opponents.
Economics Student Pet Peeves
In general I make a point not to intervene with personal knowledge into a debate. I will inform debaters during my RFD of things I thought they got wrong or could’ve done better, but it will not affect my decision with the below exceptions. These are things that just annoy me so much I’m putting them into my RFD so I can intervene.
US GDP is Roughly $20 Trillion: Please do not try to claim impacts to the US Economy anywhere immediately around or surpassing that number. Government programs will not annually cost that much, and unless a meteor vaporizes the country there will be no recessions that big either. Keep in mind this does not apply to wealth or debt, which could conceivably be much larger.
My Biggest Pet Peeve: The IMF card/ cards that cite the IMF saying that the next recession could push 900 million people into poverty. This is, in my opinion, the most mis-cited and absurd card that is widely used on the circuit.
Here is my reasoning for why its absurd.
First off, and most importantly, the statistic is as far as I can tell based off nothing. The IMF card cites a 2013 UN World Economic Situation and Prospects reports which has, as far as I could find, no mention of anything close to such a statistic in its 207 pages. Second off, this number is absurdly high. The highest estimates from the Great Recession have 100 million people going into poverty at most. In 2018, 8.6% of the global population or 736 million people lived below the international poverty line. By citing the 900 million number you are suggesting that this population would more than double, which is absurd. Even if you used a different measure for poverty, the likelihood of seeing such an increase is incredibly doubtful. A UN World Institute for Development Economics Research working paper published in April 2020 suggested that in the worst case scenario if the Covid-19 Pandemic caused a global consumption contraction of 20% the highest conceivable number of people that would be pushed into poverty is 580 million. To give you context most estimates of the Covid-19 Pandemic put global consumption losses at highest at about 5% for 2020. During the Great Recession from the peak Global GDP in 2007 Q4 to the lowest global GDP point in 2009 Q2 there was a 4.3% drop. The idea of a recession 4 to 5 times the magnitude of the Great Recession is an incredible claim and you would have to give me considerable evidence to that effect. Regardless, while poverty often compounds over time, poverty caused by temporary recessions (especially the Covid one) is largely temporary rather than long-term. So even if you somehow got access to an absurdly large recession 5 times larger than the Great Recession the likes we’ve never seen before you would have to prove that the global economy would turn that into a depression and stay at that level of complete collapse for a considerable time to gain access to 580 million people in poverty long term. Basically, there’s no way that whatever thing you’re debating could ever destroy the world’s economy so bad that you would have access to 580 million people in poverty, let alone 900 million.
In conclusion, this is a stupid, absurd statistic. Please stop citing it. If I see you citing it I will drop it off my flow immediately.
Oakton(HJ)'20 (4 years of PF) UVA '24
Winning my ballot starts with weighing, in fact, weighing is so important I'd prefer if you did it at the begiNning of every speech after first rebuttal. Be cOmparative, I need a reason why I should look to your arguments firsT. Please collapse, don't go for more than one case arg in the second half, its unnecessaRy. I'm a lazy judge the easIest plaCe to vote is where I'll sign my ballot. I'm not going to do more worK than I need to. I will not vote off of one sentence offense, everything needS to be explained clearly, warranted, and weighed for me to evaluate it(turns especially). I try not to presume but if I do, I will presume whoever lost the coin flip.
I will evaluate progressive arguments.
If you are going to give a content warning please do it correctly - this means anonymized content warnings with ample time to respond.
I'm very generous with speaks, speaking style doesn't affect how I evaluate the round and I don't think I'm in a place to objectively evaluate the way you speak. With that being said I will not tolerate rudeness or ANY bm in round. I can handle a decent amount of speed but do not let speed trade off with quality.
Online debate I will be muted the entire round just assume I'm ready before every speech and time yourselves and your own prep. I will disclose if the tournament allows.
I am a parent/lay judge who is learning "flow" for public forum debate. I appreciate clarity over speed, as well as respectful disagreement. I expect you to synthesize and apply your research, not simply provide citations.
Hi everyone! A quick overview about me before I launch into what I'm looking for: I debated PF at Council Rock North for four years, and I'm now debating APDA with Columbia Debate. I judge pretty much every high school format nowadays, but PF and LD are going to be way closer to my sweet spots than Policy or Speech events - so if I'm judging one of the latter two, be aware that I may ask questions here and there during it. It doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong, it just means that it's harder to teach an old PF-er new tricks.
Okay! Let's talk debate:
Spreading - The number one question I always get asked is if I'm cool with spreading and the answer is... eh? I can follow a faster pace than everyday conversation, but the moment you need to be double-breathing and speaking in gushes is when I'm less keen. As a rule of thumb, if you really don't think you can get through your speech without spreading then let me and your competitor know and I'll see what I can do.
Theory - So this is something I've never had to deal with in PF, but apparently every other format is doing something we aren't. Pretty much, if you run theory that's very well warranted and not just an attempt to throw off the other team and not debate the actual topic then I'll consider picking up on it. If it's anything but, I'll throw you some dirty looks and tank your speaks.
Flowing - Make flowing easy for me! Start each of your big points with something like "My first contention is..." or "My second independent point is...", and then clearly indicate to me the different branches of argumentation under that big point. You don't need to be as obvious as shouting "THIS IS MY WARRANT, THIS IS MY IMPACT", but be able to clearly explain why something is true and what's going to result from it, and especially why it matters more than whatever your opponent is saying. Also, I flow everything, including cross-examinations (I don't know why it's trendy to not flow these?), so believe me when I say that I care about every point you make.
Evidence/Cards - I remember once a few years ago I got asked to see a card about a point I was making, and my Google Doc had tragically lost the link to the article I was citing. I was horrified, I thought my debate career was over, etc. etc. And yet, the judge still picked up my point. Why? Because evidence is only as good as the warranting, weighing, and impacting that goes behind it. I will never base my RFD on how well you were able to gather bits of evidence from the depths of debate's dark web, or if one really good point you were making had a link that couldn't load. Instead, if the argument you're making makes sense to me (with some informational evidence to back it up, sure) because of the warranting, weighing, and impacting you put behind it, then I'll always be more willing to pick that up rather than just buy what the other team is saying because of some Guardian article from 2004. If you have any more questions about this, let me know.
Misc - I don't mind "Offtime Roadmaps" or whatever the kids are calling it these days, just let me know beforehand. If you're a novice (or even a varsity!!!) and you have questions during the round, please don't be afraid to ask me, I'll never look down on you for wanting to learn! I'm happy to give any timing cues, you've just gotta let me know beforehand. Be nice to each other, high school debate is temporary but building a habit of being a jerk lasts forever. And in case I haven't beat this to death already, WARRANT AND IMPACT AND WEIGH.
If you have any more questions (about debate, about college, about debate in college), let me know. I'm so excited to see what arguments you come up with!
plz talk slow and explain your arguments well; the former is not necessary but usually precludes the latter
I am a parent judge from a school that practices traditional styles of debate. Please to do not spread. Please keep your own and/or each other's time.
No need to be too slow, but speak clearly so I can understand you. If I cannot understand what you're saying, I can't evaluate the argument.
During crossfire, if one side asks the other a question, do not interrupt the other side when they are giving an answer.
Advocate your position through logical reasoning and support it by presenting evidence clearly.
I was a Lincoln-Douglas debater for four years. I prefer a round in which the debaters engage substantively with the issues and critically analyze evidence and arguments. I will flow all speeches and like to see effective crystallization as the round progresses. I am happy to answer any specific questions before the start of the round.
I’m a lay parent judge.
For speaking style, speed is okay, but it’s not preferred. It’s really important to me that you’re speaking clearly enough for me to understand you.
I’ll be flowing your speeches and I do pay attention during cross.
I do not know any debate jargon so please don’t use it unless you explain what it means. Please be explicit about which arguments you’re dropping. Run progressive arguments at your own risk. It’s likely I won’t understand the argument(s) and my decision will reflect that.
Safety is important to me in round and if you make remarks that are sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. I will drop you to 25 speaker points.
I did PF debate for 4 years in high school in Tennessee and graduated in 2018. I'm currently a junior at Georgetown University.
Although I did compete PF in high school a few years ago and am familiar with the format, this is my first time judging. I do not have prior knowledge about the topic so be sure to explain terms and concepts pertinent to the topic clearly.
Please speak slowly and clearly throughout your speeches. Try to create an overarching narrative throughout your speeches and don't let your major points fall through the cracks throughout the debate. I will be listening to crossfires but please bring up any major findings during your speeches. I will not accept any new arguments brought up in final focuses if they were not mentioned in summary speeches or prior speeches.
You will get high speaker points if you can communicate your arguments clearly and effectively. Be sure to weigh your arguments as you create your narrative.
Most importantly, be respectful of your opponents! I will not tolerate any rude behavior. I've seen problems come up with this during crossfires- do not speak over each other as this is ineffective.
I look forward to watching everyone debate!
Affiliations: Madison West, Verona Area HS.
12/3/2020 update: My bar for dropping a team for cheating is fairly low. If your opponents are misconstruing evidence and you want to stake the round on it, a useful phrase to know is: "I am making a formal evidence challenge under NSDA rule 7.3.C., for distortion of evidence. We are stopping the round and staking the round's outcome on the result of this formal evidence violation."
No off-time roadmaps. Period. Signpost instead. I will start the clock when you start roadmapping.
Online debate: Before the round starts, there should be a Google Doc (preferred instead of email) with all debaters and judges on it. You should be prepared to add any evidence you read to that Doc in a carded format -- I am receptive to drop-the-argument theory if evidence isn't accessible to your opponents in round.
I time prep meticulously because prep theft is rampant in PF. If a card is requested, teams have 60 seconds to find the card and add it to the file sharing mechanism of the round -- anything beyond that comes out of the prep time of the team that can't find their own evidence. If evidence can't be found, there needs to be an argument made in a speech to drop it (eg. "Drop their argument because they could not share the supporting evidence: we were not given a fair chance to review and dispute its claims."). Discuss and review evidence during cross-x time whenever possible.
If both teams agree to it before the round, and the tournament doesn't explicitly disallow it, I am fine with waiving Grand Cross and granting both teams an additional minute of prep time.
Clash as soon as you are given the opportunity.
- Plans and fiat are educational.
If it's not in the final focus, it's not going to win you the round.
I appreciate effective crossfire, and will listen to it, however I don't flow it unless you explicitly tell me to write something down by looking at me and saying "write that down".
I am inclined to reward good communication with speaker points and a mind more receptive to your arguments.
Outside of the fact that the 2nd overall speech is expected to just read case (though I'm open to teams rejecting this norm), I expect coverage of both sides of the flow starting with the 2nd rebuttal (4th overall speech). The 1st rebuttal (3rd overall speech) doesn't need to extend case -- they just need to refute the opposing case.
- Exception to the above: Framework. If you're speaking second, don't wait until 15 minutes into the round to tell me your framework. You're obligated to make framework arguments in case.
I am very likely not the judge you want if you're running a non-canonical PF strategy, like a "kritik".
- I don't give weight to any argument labeled as an "overview". Overviews are heuristic explanations to help me make sense of the round.
If you start your speech by saying "3-2-1", I will say "Blastoff"! "3-2-1" is not necessary!
POLICY (AND SOMETIMES PARLIAMENTARY) DEBATE PARADIGM
NSDA 2021: I have judged ZERO rounds on this topic. The last policy judging I did was at NCFL 2019. I will not know the jargon or meta of this topic.
Judging circuit policy debate is generally an unpleasant experience for me, mainly because of speed. However, lay-oriented CX debate is easily my favorite event.
- Default to Policymaker paradigm. The one major difference is that you should always assume that I am very dumb. Call it the 'stupid President' paradigm, a phrase that is now redundant.
- You're welcome to run non-traditional positions (K's included) IF you keep them to a conversational pace (We're talking Public Forum slow here) and explain why it means I vote for you.
- I have a mock trial background and I LOVE clever cross-x. However, I do expect closed cross-x: one person per team speaking!
- I don't open speech docs except to review specific pieces of evidence that have been indicted.
- <230 wpm, non-negotiable. Slow down for taglines, plantexts, and important quotes from the evidence.
- I generally prefer debates I'd be able to show to a school administrator and have them be impressed by the activity rather than offended or scared.
- I am inclined to give bonus speaker points if I see an effort to "read me" as a judge, even if you read me wrong. Cite my paradigm if you need to. Learning to figure out your audience is a crucial life skill. On a related note: if you use the secret word 'whiplash' in your speech, I will give you and your partner 0.3 extra speaker points, since it means you read my philosophy thoroughly. This applies to LD and PF, too.
- I like smart counterplans that discuss technical details.
- Theory/K's should be impacted more than just saying "voter for fairness and education".
LD DEBATE PARADIGM
Speed-reading (spreading) is embarrassing. I want to sell school administrators on this activity.
My default stance is to vote based on the "truth" of the resolution, but you can propose alternative frameworks.
I have no K background. For Ks/nontraditional arguments, go slowly and explain thoroughly. Explain either how the K proves/disproves the resolution, or offer a compelling alternative ROTB.
Disclosure theory is exclusionary/bad, but disclosed positions get more leeway on certain T standards.
- Number your refutations.
- Use cross-ex effectively -- the goal is to get concessions that can be used in speeches.
- Present charismatically, make me want to vote for you as a communicator (though I vote off the flow).
- Give me voter issues -- the big ballot stories of the round. Go big picture and frame how I'm supposed to look at issues.
- Philosophical "evidence" means very little to me. A professor from Stanford making a specific analytical claim is functionally the same as you making that argument directly.
- I'm bad at flowing authors and try to get the concepts down in as much detail as possible instead. For philosophical arguments, I generally prefer clearly explained logic over hastily-read cards. However, evidence related to quantitative things should be cited because those studies are highly dependent on precision/accuracy and are backed up empirically.
I have judged debate since 2001. Since 2014, I have coached Public Forum and Speech events. I retired after 8 years as the Co-Director of Speech and Debate at Cary Academy in North Carolina in 2021.
DEBATE: In debate (LD/PF) I look for clear claims, evidence and links to logical, clear impacts show contextual analysis. (I will vote down an argument, no matter how creative, if it is just a rehash of one article that fails to do set it in historical or global/domestic context. In other words, the Cold War is NOT ancient history, and interest rates have not been low since the dawn of time! I flow each round and look for you to bring your arguments through the round, tell me the clash and how I should weigh. Speed speaking isn't real world and I won't flow what I have to work too hard to follow or translate. Asking for evidence for common sense issues won't count either. I look for logical links to impact, clear organized argumentation that tells me how to vote. You can use flow jargon, but tell me why. You want me to flow across the round? cross apply? for instance, tell me why. Secondly, don't exaggerate your evidence, I used to be a little more laid back about that but no more. If it is challenged and you made it up or exaggerated it, I likely won't pick you up no matter how great a speaker/team. Finally, I'm not here to show you how smart or clever I am. Two things - 1.) do a kritik and you are likely going to lose because you failed to acknowledge that ideas can conflict and are worthy of discussion; 2.) "the tech over truthers" and other silly judging paradigms don't make you a more articulate conveyor of ideas after you leave high school, so don't look for me to pick you up there either. I will know the topic, but judge like a lay judge (particularly in PF). Convince me. Have fun and enjoy the activity!
CONGRESS: Well researched unique takes on a resolution are important. Simple stock arguments and analysis is easy. I look for you to look deeper into the consequences/outcome of passage. I hate rehash, not only is it boring but it suggests you needed to listen more closely. I'll mark that against you. Refutation of previous speeches shows careful analysis in the moment and it shows you have more than the case you wrote the night before (even if you did :)). Presentation is also important. I don't like BS for the sake of being a good presenter but a balance of solid research, thoughtful analysis, ambitious and relevant refutation from a persuasive speaker will get high marks!
Yes, I would like to be apart of the email chain. (email@example.com)
Yes, you can spread.
Yes, it can be open CX.
No, I don't care what arguments you read as long as you keep the space safe for everyone (including me)!
Winning = Offense (not just, at best, terminal defense) :)
Hey y’all I’m (obviously) Temitope (teh-me-toe-pay)!
Quick Things to Know ...
- DO NOT say anything racist/homophobic/transphobic. If you think your opponent has said something that could be one of these just make the argument and impact it out (it'll take like 30 seconds).
- I debated for Newark Science for 4 years and was primarily a K debater (do not take this to mean that I will vote up a queer anarchy k, anti-blackness k, etc. just because its read) but I ran everything from Kant to disclosure theory to Bataille to comedy (satire) to Afropess. I currently debate policy at Rutgers Newark :P
- I LOVED LOVED LOVED taking risks and encourage you all to do the same especially in front of me, just explain! (Don't push limits though and try to impact turn racism bad (unless you're black doing satire but even then you better be funny and/or enticing and it needs to have a distinct and well-explained purpose)).
- Impact out all of your arguments!
- Truth over tech until tech overwhelms truth (probably because you were inefficient). As in, you should be grouping arguments and working to boil the debate down yourself. Yes, I love big pictures but there needs to be some actual substance too like you can't just read a 4-minute overview in the 1AR over multiple flows that don't engage anything and expect a ballot.
CPs are fine, just prove mutual exclusivity (b/c I am likely to buy a perm with a good net benefit). A clever PIC is always good but be ready to defend why you get to steal most or certain parts of the aff, especially against a K or Non-T aff.
DAs are good too, but generic links are ineffective, and if the aff proves that to be true I am less likely to vote on it.
- I'm also not as persuaded by nuclear war impacts. You can try, just have a good internal link story.
Ks are my favorite! BUT I will not pretend to understand "gobbledygook", so err on the side of over-explanation (esp. if you're reading the philosophy of a long-dead French white dude). Have specific links to the AFF, point out specific warrants and give analysis on how the world of the alt vs. the world of the aff functions, and you got my ballot!
FW shells are interesting as I do not have a bias on it, so do whatever you want. Just prove why I should adopt your FW interp/debate model and compare it to the aff's.
I have a HIGH threshold for voting on T/Theory especially if the violation is unreasonable.
- Fairness is NOT a voter
- I will likely buy condo bad if it's more than 5 off.
Tricks (or Trix or Spikes) have to actually be won. You can't just have terminal defense and claim that you've "won" that layer. No, you just didn't lose that layer but not losing does NOT equal winning. Since y'all mostly collapse to max 3 spikes, you need to do a better analysis of the offensive reasons of why you win.
** A large pet peeve of mine are over-explained roadmaps. Just say the pages! EX. "case --> counterplan --> disad" instead of "framework on the aff then the 2nd contention then the first contention then the underview then..."
I'll vote for whatever you persuade me to vote for. The only things I can't be persuaded about are 9/11, the 2000 election, or that I should trust the government. I'll do other things with the government (like vote for a plan that dramatically expands its influence), but I won't trust it, so don't ask me to. Speakers points are awarded for good speeches, good teamwork (which includes prep time allocation), and good jokes; cordiality is irrelevant, civility is not. Arguments are what's important to me.
This is a general paradigm for all events, and I'm not highly active in the speech/debate communities any longer, so here's some background on me, in case you're wondering whether I'm flowing or just somebody's cousin. I mostly judge JV public forum these days because of my judging for the DC UDL. I did competitive forensics in high school for four years. I won the student congress TOC and the Harvard congress tournament in 2009 and I directed the congress camp at UTNIF for four years from 2012-2015. I did parliamentary debate in Canada (APDA, BP, CUSID) for the first two years of university, then policy debate at Wake Forest and Emporia State in my final three years. Now I do policy work for HHS.
Parent Judge. New Judge. Speak clearly.
I am a junior at Columbia University studying history, languages, and politics. Although I'm an ex-debater myself, I don't flow rounds or rely too heavily on debate jargon when judging rounds. I appreciate when teams use sound logic, analysis, and evidence to advance their arguments throughout the round as well rebut the claims of the opposition. During the summary and final focus speeches, it is especially important that you summarize and weigh the arguments brought up during the round (tell me what arguments matter the most/are the strongest and why, tell me why your impacts are greater than your opponents'). Finally, try to avoid excessive spreading and be respectful.
I take detailed notes (flow) during the debate. I do not flow cross examinations. If seeing a specific piece of evidence is relevant to the decision I will ask for it. I care about logic and the strength of link chains. The quality of evidence matters. Please extend arguments through the debate. A dropped argument will not hold. The speed arguments are delivered is only an issue when words become garbled and unintelligible. Thus, be very careful spreading if you chose that method. Please try to use all of the time allocated to you. It is easier for me to follow a debate when I can see the debaters. Have fun and respect the art of debate!
- Tell me why and on what grounds you’re winning -- this matters a lot
- Tell me how I should evaluate the round. Give me the standards
- ALWAYS make comparative claims about the other teams evidence & arguments (in relation to yours). Direct clash is important
- Speed is good, but clarity is far better. Be efficient with your speeches. If you can’t speak quickly without slurring, don’t speak quickly
- LD and Policy Specific -- Favorite strats to least favorite. Respect this order -
- Impact turning the whole case
- Topic specific T
- Politics/Process CP
- PIC with internal net benefit
- Be nice. I will not give good speaks to people who act inappropriately in rounds or to their partners/team. Being offensive is not funny. I refuse to accept abuse in round.
Performance/Non-traditional: I default to traditional.
Speaks: 28 is average. I doubt you'll get a 30. Try not to talk into your paper/flows/laptop because I won't say "louder" unless it's really extreme and I might be missing arguments. Speak clearly and persuasively.
Please do not use progressive arguments in PF rounds; speak at an average rate and be nice to each other.
Parent Judge. Third Judging. Speak slowly and clearly.
I did PF in high school! Here are some things I like to see in a round:
1. Pretty extensions. If you want me to vote on an argument, re-explain it in summary and final focus.
2. Frontlining in second rebuttal. If you want me to vote on one of your contentions, you should defend it in second rebuttal.
3. Collapsing. It's better to pick and clearly explain 1 of your contentions than speed through 3.
4. Weighing. Tell me why your argument is more important than your opponents'.
5. A friendly crossfire. Please don't interrupt or talk over your opponent in cross. I probably won't pay attention to crossfire, but if people are being mean I'll drop speaks.
I'm not super familiar with progressive arguments (k, theory, etc.), so if you do run them please explain them well.
Feel free to ask me any questions before the round!
P.S. if you do a TikTok dance/make a TikTok reference you'll get +.5 speaks
I participated in PF for 1 year and Congress for 2 years in high school, but now that I'm in college I've been out of this world for a bit.
I would appreciate clear and concise arguments, as well as demonstrations that participants have thought critically about their own arguments and their opponents'.
Speak well and clearly. Extended stuff, frame the round. Voters are great
Please add me to the email chain at firstname.lastname@example.org
Experience: CX for 5 years (Grade 6-10), PF for 2 years (Grade 10-11), World Schools (Grade 12)
Furthest I’ve Gone in Tournaments: Taiwan Nationals Winner/Top Speaker 2015 in CX and Quarterfinals in TOC PF Silver in 2016
Judging Style: I am a flow heavy judge. However, I will only write down what you say and will make judgments based on your arguments only. For example, if your opponent double-turns themself but you don't address it, I will not count it against your opponent. I will only use my own judgment and experience if both sides have equal arguments.
Frameworks: If you have a framework, I will judge based on it. If you have a framework and your opponent doesn't bring up a counter-framework, the debate will be judged based on your framework.
Theory/Kritiks: I am okay with theory but will need you to explain it carefully. Do not play the theory game if you are unable to explain all your links. It is NOT my burden to understand all the possible Kritiks out there. IF I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT I WON'T VOTE FOR IT. It is your responsibility as the debater to explain the K if you run it. I do prefer DAs/CPs to Ks. I’m generally good with Marxism Ks, Feminism Ks, Ableism Ks, and Race Ks (I ran Afro-Pessimism and Afro-Nihilism in the past) but anything beyond these I’m going to need clear explanations about the theory. I also need you to have an impact on your K or else I don’t see a point in it.
LD debaters: Please do not expect me to understand every single theory thing that pops up. I'm comfortable with the basic ones used in CX, but please play safe and pretend I don't know much.
Impacts: It is extremely important to me that your case and arguments have a tangible impact. If the argument is part of a link game, that's fine but the link game must end in an impact. Do not leave me thinking so what? If that happens and the opponent makes a decent counterargument, I'll give it to them.
Speed is fine but please be clear.
I was a Public Forum debater for four years. Speed is not an issue for me, so long as you articulate and speak at an appropriate volume. I guess I would be considered a flow judge. With this in mind, I prefer fewer pieces of strong evidence carried throughout the round rather than numerous stats and quotes thrown around with no weight. New arguments in summary will most likely not be weighed by me.
I do not have any particular preferences in judging Public Forum Debate. I ask that all students keep their own time both for speeches and prep time
I am the Scott Woods who teaches and coaches at BASIS Scottsdale in Arizona. There are others. For instance, I am not the slam poet Scott Woods (although I enjoy his work), so if you try a slam poetry case because you think that your judge is a pretty famous slam poet, you will probably be disappointed by the ballot.
About me: I teach middle school English and high school speech and debate. I competed in interp and platform events in college. I'm a Scoutmaster, a Republican, and I go to church regularly. Many people who know me don't believe that I am as conservative as I think I am.
I want the debate round to be for the benefit of the debaters. I have been coaching and judging debate for several years, mostly in PF, but some LD. I also judge policy rounds occasionally. I've judged at the TOC four times and at NSDA Nationals three times. When I judge on a panel, my decision is often different from the majority, possibly because my judging skills are so refined and subtle, or maybe for other reasons that escape me.
I think of debate as an educational game that should be fun, challenging, and life changing for the good. I don't like sneaky approaches to debate, tricks, or unsporting behavior. I especially don't like anything that attempts to achieve an unfair advantage over an opponent. Among the behaviors I don't like to see are spreading, because it seeks to gain a time advantage by squeezing more content in the given time, forcing one's opponent either to spread or to be disadvantaged, because it makes debate into a ridiculous exercise (and I consider making good things appear ridiculous in order to achieve personal gain to be bad form), and because it is aesthetically unpleasant (and I consider intentional ugliness inflicted on others to be bad form). Also, if you spread I won't flow as much, won't understand as much, and won't believe you as much. If both teams spread, then I'll just have to guess at who won, which is very likely something that you don't want me to do. Please speak in a clear, persuasive voice at a reasonable public debate speed, and be sure to point out when the other side is spreading, show the harms, then show why they should lose on that. I'll probably buy it.
If your debate strategy includes using tactics that have the effect of giving you an unfair advantage over your opponent, your chances of winning will go down. Your arguments should give you the advantage, not your sneaky approach, your hidden claims, your abusive framework, or your tricky wording. Again, call out your opponent's sneakiness. This is especially fun and elegant in an LD round when your opponent values morality, justice, fairness, etc., and you call them out for violating standards of morality, justice, or fairness.
I prefer clear, well-reasoned arguments that are logically valid and well supported by warrants and evidence. I also value impacts. Show me magnitude and probability. I will evaluate these by taking on the stance of an intelligent person who is well educated, open minded, and not a fool. If you read a card but don't put it into the context of a clear argument, then I won't care about it. You have to use evidence to support your warranted arguments. Your cards are your evidence. I hear many LDers giving lengthy quotes of dense philosophy, without contextualizing the quoted speech. I would much prefer that you summarize the entire argument of the philosopher clearly, briefly, and accurately, rather than quoting some paragraph that seems to support your interpretation. I almost never buy appeals to authority. If you say that Philosopher X says Y, therefore Y is true, I will probably not believe you. Feel free to call your opponent on this.
Since I think that debate is a worthwhile activity that can positively shape the character of youth, I value having fun and being nice. I don't want to spend an hour or so with people who are being mean to each other. Let's have fun and enjoy the round.
I won't leave my knowledge, training, or prejudices at the door, mainly because I can't (if I were truly tabula rasa, I would be an infant or an imbecile). Instead, I'll try to be aware of them and limit the impact of my own opinions or knowledge on the debate. If you don't make the argument, I will try not to make it for you. You must do all the work in the debate. I will, however, apply my knowledge of effective argumentation and the "reasonable person" test to the arguments in the debate. If you give me a weighing method and a clear path to signing the ballot for you, your chances of winning the round go up. Please understand that I will fail to leave behind my biases, assumptions, prejudices, etc. This is a feature of being human. We can't control the processes of our thought very well, and we are largely unaware of what guides and controls our thinking. Your job as a debater is to make these biases, assumptions, and prejudices irrelevant against the overwhelming power of your arguments. Good luck.
Please understand that I will likely be judging you after having taught children all day or having traveled a long distance and slept poorly. I will probably not be at my best. This is true for many of your judges. You should consider taking this into account when you write your cases and make your arguments. After you lose a round that you think you should have won, don't complain about the stupid judge. Instead, consider what you could have done differently to compensate for that judge not being at his or her cognitive best. That's your responsibility. I don't want to think during a round. Thinking is hard. It's not my job. I often disappoint debaters when I am required to think. Your job is to pre-think the round for me, better than your opponent does. The team that does this best will win.
It's up to the round to decide on the framework. If your framework is abusive or unreasonable, I'll drop it and favor your opponent's analysis, especially if your opponent calls it out as such. I prefer realistic frameworks that generously look at the resolution as though the debate were really a public forum (even in LD) for discussing an important issue. I also prefer realistic arguments that are accessible to the public.
It bothers me when debaters don't know their case because someone else wrote it, they haven't researched the topic, or they are just using the cards that came with the briefs without trying to understand the bigger picture. This become a problem when debaters misinterpret cards or philosophers they don't understand. If your opponent calls you on your card and disputes what it means, then I will call for the card at the end of the debate and make my own judgment. I don't want to do this for a number of reasons, mainly because I don't want to do the work that you should be doing. That being said, I know a lot about many subjects, so if I think that you are misinterpreting a card, I may call for it, even if your opponent has not called you out on it. I don't like to do this, but I also don't like misinterpreted or false cards to affect a round, and I don't expect high school students to have comprehensive knowledge of the world. If I think that your card was misinterpreted, then I will drop the argument it supports.
Please do the work for me. Make it easy for me to decide who wins. Tell the story of the round. Be organized on the flow in your rebuttals.
If your opponent calls for a card, they may continue to prep while you search for it, without that time counting against their prep. This is the procedure at the TOC, which I particularly like because it encourages teams to provide their opponents with the cards they ask for in a timely manner. If you don't have the card, and the context surrounding it, then I will drop the argument that is supported by the card. If your card clearly says something other than what you say it does, I will very likely vote for the other side. Please don't misrepresent your evidence.
Regarding policy debate: Every round that I have judged in policy debate has come down to judge adaptation. Whoever adapts best to my limitations as a judge (see above) will likely win the round (or, if you prefer, my ballot). My recommendation is that policy debaters should have two cases: one that they normally run and another that they write for judge adaptation. Debaters should also practice adaptation whenever they can, making sure that their arguments are comprehensible (at a minimum) and convincing (this should be the target) to normal, educated people.
Hi. My name is Laura Worrel. I am very much a lay judge but have been judging public forum for a couple of years. I prefer organized speeches that I can understand. Please make it very clear why I should vote for you. I will try my best to flow and make an informed decision. Thanks!
I did 4 years of PF and Speech with Unionville and graduated in 2010, and have judged national circuit regularly since. Most recently, I judged PF at Yale 2021.
I appreciate evidence, but value argument structure and critical thinking/logic more. Cards should be used as support for, and not in place of contentions. Please set up a weighing mechanism for the round as early as possible; I will expect the round to be distilled into voting issues by the time we get to Summary and Final Focus.
If frameworks/definitions are a crucial part of your case, I expect it to come up in the first constructive and reiterated throughout the round.
Likewise, key contentions and responses must come within constructives/rebuttals. Summaries and Final Focus are for refining arguments, not for raising entirely new points your opponents have no time to respond to.
If you do not extend your arguments, I will generally not include them in the final weighing. If you do not quantify your impacts, i will have to use a judgement call to decide what each one is worth.
Cross fire will not be flowed, but will be evaluated in speaker points. If you make a point in Cross fire that is important, please include it in the next speech.
The round will be flowed, and I'm generally ok with speed, but if you spread to the point where I can no longer flow, I will stop flowing.
Calling for evidence is fine, but I expect you to have your cards organized and accessible enough that locating them when called for is straightforward. If it takes an excessive amount of time for you to find the card, I will drop it from the flow.
Being professional/not condescending means I won't slash your speaks.
Flow judge. Clean rounds are nice. Please have evidence. Please display critical thinking.
Here are my paradigms for various events. If you have any questions feel free to ask for clarification in round.
I am a former PFer and so I am familiar with the event. I competed for 4 years and I am pretty easy going as for judge preferences. I flow the round, but I do really like to see weighing, sign posting throughout the round and voters in the summary and final focus. I am okay with some speed, but this is not policy or LD so don't go over the top.
I competed a bit in Congress in high school and am familiar with the event. I also have 2 years organizing a youth congress program in Iowa. I am looking for organization in speeches, and also prefer if you speak with limited notes rather than read word for word.
I have judged some LD and competed about 2-3 times in high school, but I still consider to be a lay judge. I do flow though, but please provide clear extensions.
For Public Address/ Limited Prep speeches, I like seeing organization in the speeches, and for events such as oratory a clear argument
For Interp. I prefer seeing clear character pops and smooth transitions between characters.
Tell me which time signals you want otherwise I will typically give just 2 down for interp/ public address events and then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 in extemp.
Debated for Millburn for four years on the national circuit, was fairly successful
PF has gotten faster but my speed has not. Please have mercy. If you’re going too fast I’ll clear you, and if you don’t slow down it’s no longer my fault if I make the wrong decision
- You need to signpost. I will not flow if you do not signpost. A roadmap, while appreciated, is not a substitute for signposting
Tech>truth but the more ridiculous your argument gets the lower my threshold for what counts as a good response to it becomes. Please don’t test the limit I think debate is much more educational if you’re reading realistic arguments
- Warrant your arguments. "This is not warranted" is an acceptable response if true. Do not card dump
I think of weighing in layers, beginning with probability. You need to have a certain amount of probability your impact happens before you access the other layers of weighing like magnitude, timeframe, etc.
Any offense not responded to after 2nd rebuttal is considered conceded, you can only weigh against it. This means 2nd rebuttal MUST respond to turns
- I am not very good at flowing author names. This means when you make extensions you cannot just say "the X evidence" you need to state what that evidence says. This also applies when you tell me to call for evidence
- Read author qualifications/institution when citing cards. Otherwise you could be citing Joe's blog, and as much as I like people named Joe I don't know how qualified they are
- Much like my good friend Sandeep Shankar, if you do not do this your speaks will be capped at a 28.5
You don’t need defense in first summary unless the second rebuttal frontlines. You do need it in second summary
Fiat means the resolution happens. Debaters don’t get to pick the method in which it happens
If your opponents didn’t read the date of a card and you want to know what it is, just ask. It will not count against your prep. This solves literally all of the abuse of date theory
If neither team has anything to ask during a CX you can end it early. But this should probably never happen
Cross is binding, mention concessions in speeches
- I don't really get this new age default first thing. If you don't convince me we should pass a policy, we shouldn't pass the policy. I default neg
- If you are offensive, you will lose. If you do not trigger warn, you will lose
Things I like:
I think it’s strategic if you frontline all responses in 2nd rebuttal. Not mandatory but recommended
Good warrant extensions, not just card tags. In the wise words of David Mason: “Extend warrants before impacts in both summary and final focus. It is far more interventionist for me to extend your warrant for you than it is for me to just drop the impact that you went for without a warrant. If you are winning the warrant debate you are probably winning the round.”
Smart, well-warranted analytics beat blippy, poorly warranted cards every time
Please weigh and interact with your opponents weighing. Number comparison is not compelling
- Make me laugh!
Things I don’t like:
- Probably the most abusive strategy is reading new contentions in rebuttal and disguising them as overviews. This will make me very unhappy. My unhappiness is amplified if this occurs in the second rebuttal.
I will flow these but will not cast my ballot off them unless there is NOTHING else on the flow I can vote off. I am looking for reasons to not vote for these: my threshold for what counts as a good response is extremely low
I do not evaluate the 3rd final focus. If you know, you know.
- You cannot read defense to your own arguments in order to kick out of turns. It's unbelievable that I even have to say this
- You can concede defense to kick out of turns, but you cannot read defense to your own arguments
Don’t like calling cards because I don’t like intervening. I will only call a card if:
You tell me to in a speech and give me a reason to do so
I actually just can’t make a decision without seeing it
Your representation of the card changes as the round progresses
Indicting a card may lead me to drop the card, but does not replace actually responding to a warrant
- Cost benefit analysis is not a framework
Please don’t call me “judge” that's weird
Don’t post-round me. Feel free to ask for critiques but don’t waste my time trying to convince me I botched
- I miss when this section would not have to exist in my paradigm. I will not evaluate any theory, tricks, Ks, etc., unless there is a violation in the round that hurts or excludes someone. Even then, I would prefer you point it out to me in paragraph form with a warrant and explanation. Jackie Wei put it nicely: "Not only am I uncomfortable with my ability to seriously evaluate these, I don't think they should exist in an event designed with as low of a barrier of entry as possible."
- Debate the resolution. I will treat your frivolous argumentation as though it does not exist on my flow. Paraphrasing and disclosure are both friv
If you read an Orientalism K when you aren’t Asian I will drop you and give you the lowest speaks the tourney allows
If I suspect you are reading progressive arguments against a team that doesn’t understand them for the purposes of getting an easy win, I will drop you on the lowest possible speaks
- Please don't read 30 speaks theory on me. I will decrease your speaks if you do
- If you spin around 360 degrees every time you say the word “turn” I will give you a 30
If you bring me a Manhattan Special espresso soda I will give you a 30