La Salle Forum Invitational 2020
2020 — NSDA Campus, PA/US
JV/Novice PF Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
UPDATED 2/21/20: I do not judge as often as I may once have. At most local events, I find myself on the operations side of a tournament.
That should not terrify you – I am a career public servant, who happens to coach debate because I appreciate everything that it taught me as a student. You should assume that I approach debate rounds this way: what is the best decision I can make given the information presented to me?
It may sound old-fashioned, but I do not wish to be on any email chains. I have sadly witnessed teams answering entire disadvantages not read by their opponents simply because they were included in said distribution. Not to be outdone, I have read ballots where judges voted on evidence that nobody read. I pledge to keep the best flow I can. If I need to see a piece of evidence, and the particular league or tournament's rules allow for that, I will call for it.
If you are short on time reading this, my paradigm can be expressed in six (6) words: do your thing and be nice. If you are really short on time, we can go with four (4): old guy, still flows.
1. Speed is fine, but clarity is necessary. I cannot vote on what I do not have typed/written down. I try hard to listen to the text of the evidence presented;
2. Open cross-examination is acceptable, but if it is clear than one member of the team is not able to participate at the same level, speaker points will suffer;
3. My preference is tabula rasa; in the absence of any alternative framework, I look first to any potential violation(s) of stock issues and then default to a policymaking perspective.
1. I do not mind an LD round that gets on down the flow;
2. My preference is tabula rasa; in the absence of any alternative framework, I will default to a whole resolution lens looking first to the value/value criterion debate.
1. Nothing earth-shattering here. I am less speed tolerant in public forum and I will simply apply the ballot criteria to whatever speech event is at hand.
Regardless of event, we enter the debate knowing the resolution and some basic rules of the road (e.g., speech times, likely printed on the ballot). By tabula rasa I mean that the debaters establish the framework for evaluating debates. You should do what you do best and do it well. Arguments should have three parts – a claim, a warrant, and some sort of greater implication regardless of your style.
I still believe that good decisions should flow like water. Great rebuttals frame debates and clash wins rounds. My ballots will provide a succinct RFD, possibly pointing out either strengths or opportunities for improvement as we progress through the speeches. 3AR/3NR oral critiques nauseate me: what I say out loud (if disclosure is permitted) will almost certainly match what I am placing on your ballot. Your coach should see comments too. You did not go to the dentist; my RFD is never going to read “oral.”
Finally, be respectful of your partners, opponents, and judges. I have zero tolerance for poor behavior in debate rounds.
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.
I'm fine with speed as long as it's clear and understandable.
Please be civil during cross-fires - I know that debate tends to get heated when there's direct clash, but I prefer things to be as respectful as possible.
While cases and rebuttals are important, the thing I will be mostly voting off of is summary + final focus. If you make a point in summary, try to extend it through final focus so I really know why I should vote for your side. What convinces me the most is clear warranting that leads into impacts; if I don't know why the argument makes sense, I can't vote on its impacts.
Off-time road maps are fine, but not necessary. If I see one team being discriminatory towards the other in any way, including being racist or sexist, I'll automatically drop them.
Good luck to both sides; I'm looking forward to a great debate!
I am a lay judge, and I will vote based off of who can support their argument with stats, facts, evidence, and reasoning. I would prefer if you talked at a reasonable pace so I can understand the points being made and can write everything down. I love competition, but I want mutual respect between opponents and I do not approve of being rude during the round. Most importantly, have fun and learn from your own experiences.
I am professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State. I have 20+ years of experience teaching rhetoric and argumentation. In evaluating your debate performance, I am looking for the following:
are you able to formulate clear contentions in response to the resolution?
are you able to substantiate your claims with relevant and credible evidence?
do your arguments show good reasoning (are your warrants sound? do you avoid fallacious reasoning?)
are your questions during cross-examination helpful to your case rather than random? are you able to use the results of cross-examination to your advantage later in the debate?
are you able to respond effectively to all the contentions and rebuttals of the other side?
are you able to structure your contentions in a way that supports your proposition?
are you clear in your statement of claims and support?
do you use clear signposting and transitions?
in rebuttals, do you clearly introduce the opponent's claims and how you refute them?
are you able to summarize your own and your opponent's cases side by side when you argue the relative strength of your case?
3. Communication and professionalism:
do you communicate in clear, uncluttered sentences?
are you speaking at an appropriate rate and volume to be clearly understood?
do you articulate/pronounce your words clearly?
are you polite and respectful your the opponents?
About myself: I'm a biology and environmental science teacher, while also an assistant speech/debate coach.
Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I prefer a more traditional style of argumentation that is well supported with evidence. Please try to speak at a pace that allows me to understand you and take notes about your case (quality of cards over quantity). Please clarify arguments at the end and make evidence very clear on the flow.
Good luck and have fun!
Online Debate: Please turn your camera on for speeches (if possible). I don't care if you have your cams off when you're not talking.
Decorum: Be kind and respectful. I will immediately drop teams for any racist, sexist, homophobic, and other discriminatory actions.
Content Warnings: If you are reading a case regarding sexual assault, human trafficking, mental health, etc. you must have a content warning before the round starts and provide your phone number for anonymous contact. Failing to do so will cause me to drop you.
Tech vs Truth: I am tech over truth unless you make arguments that are racist/homophobic/ableist/etc..
Evidence: Warranting every argument is the easiest way to win my ballot. I don't care that Mark 18 tells you that the world will explode in 5 years due to gun control unless you explain to me logically why that card makes sense. In a similar vein, if you contest evidence you must explain why I should prefer your evidence logically, don't just tell me "X card is more recent so prefer it."
Speed: I would prefer you speak at a reasonable pace (~250 wpm), but if you go fast (300+ wpm) I would like a copy of your case so I can follow along (I also expect you and your opponent to exchange cases for fairness). If you spread, slow for tags and warrant.
Off-Time Roadmaps: Don't care if you do it or not, you don't need to ask me.
Weighing: Weighing should start early in the round. I appreciate metaweighing and framing debate (ex. I like structural violence framing).
Summary/FF: Extend warrants over cards. If you tell me to extend a specific card without explaining 1) what that card is and 2) the logic of how that supports your argument I probably won't evaluate it since there's a good chance I'll have no clue what you're talking about. Frontlining in 2nd rebuttal and 1st summary. Absolutely no new arguments after 1st summary!
Theory: I'll evaluate it, but I generally dislike theory unless it's extremely obvious your opponent made a huge abuse.
K: K is fine with me, but make sure you explain thoroughly if it's a more niche K. I will not vote on K if you are using it to get an easy win against a team that has no clue what you're talking about (I'll still vote on your other arguments, but if the K is the only offence you have you will end up losing).
Disclosure: I will disclose as long as the tournament allows me to.
Evidence: If a specific piece of evidence is highly contested throughout the round, I will call for it and make a decision off of what I see. Paraphrased evidence makes me sad so please don't do it.
Speaker Points: I give speaks starting from 28. You will get <28 for being excessively rude, sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic, etc.
Timing: Time yourself. I'm pretty bad at remembering to set my timer. Do not hold your timer up during your opponent's speech if they go over time, it's pretty obnoxious.
I'm not an LD debater, so all the morality stuff is foreign to me. I have a general understanding of value/criterion debate, but please try to explain all the morality framing you bring up. K/T/Theory is fine, I will vote off of an RVI. No spikes or tricks.
General: I have a basic understanding of Policy and should be able to follow most basic arguments (will vote on pretty much anything). Just explain everything to me thoroughly and I'm happy.
DA: I prefer good DA debate over K/T/etc.
K: I'm not super familiar with a lot of K literature so explain it thoroughly. Aff K/Planless affs are fine by me but you should have a really clear explanation why I should vote for you/why it's necessary.
Spreading: Slow for tags and warrant when spreading. Off-time roadmaps are a must.
Spikes/Tricks: I won't vote on any spikes or tricks.
Performative cases: Make sure you explain framework well.
Hi I'm Marie! I do pf at Strath Haven, I'm a senior.
I'll flow the round-make sure to explain everything clearly, collapse, and weigh. I won't flow cross (and probably won't listen), so if anything important happens tell me in a speech.
Other stuff (thanks samah)
1. Keep your own time.
2. Extend your arguments. If you want me to vote on an argument, explain it clearly in summary and final focus.
3. Frontline in second rebuttal. If you're the second speaking team, defend any arguments you want to extend in second rebuttal.
4. Please collapse!!!!! Please please please don't extend more than 1 (maybe 2) arguments in summary. It's better to clearly explain 1 contention than speed through 3.
5. Weigh, tell me why your argument is more important than your oppenents'.
6. Be nice is crossfire. Don't interrupt or talk over your opponents. If you do, I'll drop speaks.
Most importantly be nice and have fun
Hi! I'm a senior at Strath Haven & I do PF.
I'll flow the round– please make sure to explain everything clearly, collapse, and weigh
Other stuff (thanks Samah & Marie!)
1. If you want me to vote on an argument, explain it clearly in summary and final focus.
2. Frontlining in second rebuttal. If you're the second speaking team, defend any arguments you want to extend in second rebuttal.
3. Collapse! Please don't extend more than 1 (maybe 2) arguments in summary. It's better to clearly explain 1 contention than speed through 3.
4. Weigh! Tell me why your argument is more important than your opponents'.
5. Be nice in crossfire. Please don't interrupt or talk over your opponents. If you do, I'll drop speaks.
Most importantly, please be nice and have fun!
I am a previous PF debater, so I value logic and clarity in arguments (no long link chains) and no spreading.
• Last name rhymes with “josh” not “brioche
• she/her pronouns
• Michigan State University ‘22
• email@example.com (please put me on the email chain)
• Updated with my CJR topic + online debate thoughts
• This is longer than it needs to be because I think about debate a lot. To speed up pre-round philosophy skimming, the most important takeaways of each bullet are bolded.
• Unpopular opinion - I like small talk and talking about debate with the students I judge. I'm happy to talk to you about anything (college debate, MSU, how your day's going, etc.) - you can also shoot me an email if you think of a question later. Alternatively, if you want me to shut up, I won't hold it against you.
• Public Forum Debaters - please read the “online debate” header then scroll down to “Public Forum Thoughts”
• Flow, keep your own time, be respectful to your opponent, frame my ballot for me at the top of the 2NR/2AR.
• I feel like the phrase “you do you” is overused in judge philosophies. Yes, I obviously will evaluate any argument you read in front of me. Yes, I am familiar with both K and policy strategies. Yes, my love for debate massively outweighs any argument preferences or familiarities I have. That doesn’t mean those preferences and familiarities don’t exist. The purpose of this paradigm is not to constrain what you do in front of me, but to give you the most accurate understanding of my predispositions and how I try to judge debates.
• I'm more familiar with policy arguments. I was flex (at some points exclusively k) in high school, but exclusively policy in college. This switch wasn’t due to any dramatic shift in my ideology. Still, I am much more familiar and comfortable with policy strategies since the bulk of my research now lies here.
•Tech>truth but the two are obviously not divorced. Dropped arguments are true with the caveat that dropped arguments must actually be arguments for me to care - arguments have a claim, warrant, and implication. Debaters often forget the last part when extending dropped arguments. Merely pointing out that the eighth plank of your advantage counterplan wasn’t answered isn’t enough - I need to know how that implicates the rest of the debate. Arguments also must not be morally repugnant - death good, oppression good count as morally repugnant, and hot take (pun intended), global warming good is pushing it.
• Evidence quality is really important to me. Research is fun and you should do it! Good cards and smart re-highlights will be rewarded with speaker point boosts. Debates about evidence quality are my favorite to have as a competitor and my favorite to judge as a judge.
• I will keep my video on during speeches. If my video isn’t on then I’m not ready for you to start speaking. I would prefer yours is on too, but I understand if that can’t happen and won’t punish you for tech issues.
• Can we please let the question “is anyone not ready” die? Especially in online settings? If someone’s internet is glitching they won’t be able to tell you that they’re not ready. Instead, ask for a thumbs up from your opponents and judge. Even as we shift back to in person, I hope to never hear “is anyone not ready?” again.
• Do not type in the chat during your opponent's speech! It's distracting to me and inconsiderate to your opponents. If I notice you doing this, three things will happen: (1) I will unmute myself after your opponent's speech and call you on it, (2) your speaker points will not be to your liking, (3) if you continue, I will be in contact with your coaches. This behavior is certainly not common (it's only happened in one round I've judged), but this is something I REALLY don't want to catch on in the community.
• The rest of my online debate thoughts are stolen from Bruce Najor: “I value the competitive aspects of debate immensely, and I will respect/adhere to as many of these norms as I can. That said, we're all learning and doing this together, and I may do some things that in a normal environment I find undermining of the competitive nature, but justified for the sake of a productive debate. For example, I will stop your speech if I can't hear you and let you try again, I will keep your speech doc open as I flow, etc. On your end, you should emphasize clarity, avoid filibustering CX just because the tech lets you, don't be shy about including non-carded arguments in your doc (particularly if you are known to have clarity issues), etc.”
• You should probably slow down and prioritize clarity, especially when debating online.
• Make jokes if you’re funny.
• Some pet peeves of mine and how to fix them: Starting your speech too fast → start at 80% and build up; Poor breath control → diaphragmatic breathing (reach out to me for resources - I owe every compliment I have gotten on my clarity to these exercises); Poorly handled tech problems → do your best to resolve them quickly; Being mean to your partner/opponents/anyone → don’t do that
K Affs v Policy Neg
• CJR thoughts: I find myself leaning further neg on t/fw debates this year than I have in the past. On a topic where abolishing the police, abolishing ICE, and legalizing marijuana are topical, it’s hard for me to see a world where aff offense isn’t solved by a TVA. Just being honest. I’m also super persuaded by the argument that planless affs get rid of abolition/legalism ks (which is pretty much the only piece of stable offense the neg has this year). I can be convinced otherwise, but know that you should spend more time answering these arguments in front of me.
• A note about “small schools” arguments on t/fw: I was part of a 2 person squad in high school and I would appreciate it if we could just keep the conversation of “small schools” out of this round if neither team is from a small school! K debate is not inherently better for small schools (we were ~90% policy when our team was the smallest, that’s also when we were the most successful). K debate also does not inevitably kick small schools out of the activity.
• Thoughts for the aff: I would prefer that the aff at least be connected to the resolution, this will probably make your life easier on T as well. I would STRONGLY prefer you read an identity aff rather than postmodernism. Notice that this “strongly” is the only word I have in all caps in this philosophy. I’m not a great judge for arguments that involve saying that an argument is your survival strategy. I think that it is unethical for me to tie survival strategies to a win or loss. Finally, reading T in a high school debate round is not comparable to slavery, rape, or other atrocities. Please do not say that.
• Thoughts for the neg: I’m more familiar with t strategies than kvk strats. You should also read impact turns and disads if you can. My biggest pet peeve in debate is giving the 1NR a position that is clearly a throwaway. This happens in way too many debates of all types but I find that policy teams answering the K are most guilty of this. I think fairness is an impact, but if the aff disagrees, you should spend time here. Duh.
Policy Aff vs K Neg
• In most debates, I end up concluding the following: the alt probably doesn’t solve (the exception to this is the abolition k, which has super solid alt solvency for most affs this year, again though -- you need to do that work), the aff definitely gets a perm, the neg gets to read Ks and the aff gets to weigh their plan.
• Thoughts for the aff: When in doubt, go for the perm and defend your aff. There are pros and cons to reading a different aff against "k teams" or keeping things mostly the same. I've done both and encourage you to do what's most comfortable.
• Thoughts for the neg: This is such a great topic to read solid, topic-specific, ks - and I'm super excited to judge these debates this year. However, if you choose to read something generic instead of reading one of these, I will be disappointed. "Aff doesn't get a perm" won't get far with me unless the aff completely concedes it. Perms are good.
• Thoughts on misc alts/args: I cannot (as in tabroom will not allow it) and will not award a tie. See my thoughts about survival strategies and identity vs postmodernism above. I'm here to judge a debate and if y'all want to do something that is not that (color, play a different game, etc.) I will have no clue how to evaluate it and will probably be uncomfy.
• I’m not sure what I should do differently in these rounds. Please tell me.
• Big fan.
• Read as many planks as you want, but be sure to give me an explanation of how these planks interact and solve the aff when extending them.
• I would prefer that counterplans compete textually and functionally, but I am no stranger to annoying counterplans.
•No judge gets paid enough to do the 2N’s job and kick the counterplan. To be honest, as a lifelong 2A the last thing I want to do when judging is larp as a 2N for any period of time. So, yes, I will stick you with the counterplan unless the 2NR asks me not to and the 2AR doesn't say anything.
• Turns case is really important -- don’t drop it if you’re aff and make multiple turns case arguments if you’re neg.
• Zero risk is not likely, though I guess technically possible?
• Please answer the disad instead of relying on framing advantages.
• I consider the politics disad my first love. Sure it's not true, but neither is anything else in debate! These are my favorite debates to judge as long as the following conditions are met: (1) the neg doesn't throw crap together and call it a politics disad, (2) given condition one has been met, the aff makes thoughtful answers to the disad, (3) everyone has updated uniqueness. For the love of all that is good, we are no longer in an era where you can get by with "no agenda ever" cards from three months ago. I would obviously prefer an A+ card from last week as opposed to a C- card from an hour ago, but if you show up with C- cards from last year...big frowny face.
• Efficient 2ACs on case make me happy. It's a hard skill to master and will be rewarded with high speaks.
• The neg should spend more time here. Pretty much every aff I’ve encountered is bad, pretty much every judge I’ve encountered says that the neg should do more work on case, and yet case is too often neglected. It’s tragic.
T vs Policy Affs
• CJR Thoughts: I worked at the SDI this summer and did some preseason work but that’s about it, so I have no clue what the community norms are on t. That being said, especially when the topic is this big and there’s so little neg ground to begin with, neg ground arguments are more persuasive to me this year than they have been in years past.
• Slow down here
• Default to competing interpretations, but pretty easy to persuade on reasonability.
• Both teams should provide a case list in their overview that outlines their view for the topic.
• Please keep my flow neat
• Everything but condo is a reason to reject the argument not the team and it will be an uphill battle to convince me otherwise.
• Condo is probably good up until a point. Where that point is, obviously, is debatable, but I think most people know too many condo when they see it. Kicking planks is fine but puts you at greater risk to face some very convincing aff condo arguments
Public Forum Thoughts
I judge these debates less often, but I enjoy them when I do get to judge! I don't think there's a reason to change what you normally do too much for me. Teams do best in front of me when they explicitly answer the arguments their opponents make and weigh them against your arguments. I likely know nothing about the topic outside of background knowledge from my public policy major, so explaining acronyms and such is nice.
Thumpers/"X thumps the DA" -------x- Yeeters/"X yeets the DA"
Untropical affs ---x----- Untopical affs
AT -----x--- A2
Death by a thousand cuts (the neg strat) --------x Death By A Thousand Cuts (the Taylor Swift song)
folklore ------x-- evermore
Opossums/raccoons/skunks ----x---- Frogs/lizards/snakes
Luke Bagdon (my best friend) -----x--- Your best friend, probably
Mamma Mia!/Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! x-------- Any other movie
I am a college student who debated in high school. I like when debaters fully engage with each other's arguments; I am impressed when you can situate your opponent's arguments and evidence in the landscape of your own. (i.e., Beyond just saying that they are wrong, explain to me why your arguments/evidence are better.)
I don't have a preference about your speaking speed, but I do think it's impolite to speak much faster than your opponent if that hinders your opponent's understanding of your arguments. This should make sense given that I want you to engage with each other.
Heads up: I am not very good at timing or giving time signals, but I will do my best. You may find it helpful to time yourself. Not required of course; only time yourself if you think that would be helpful.
1. No spreading and no off-time roadmapping: speaking quickly and fluently does not have to be spreading and you should have enough time to say everything you want to say within the clocked time (you can run a speaking speed test with me).
2. Balance evidence with fluid expression: arguments are only as good as how you make them, so don't just cram in lots of things and expect that, if the other side can't refute every single one of them, then I'll automatically award you the win (because I won't!).
3. If the other side introduces an argument when they shouldn't, then it's your responsibility to say that out loud when appropriate: I will not treat this violation the same way whether or not the non-offending side raises the issue.
4. You can agree with each other, but be careful: a lot of talented sides lose when they concede a point and then it becomes a stick wielded by their opponents the rest of the round, so don't put yourself on the back foot here.
5. Be respectful and error on the side of formality: it is rarely effective to be disrespectful, but more importantly there is a difference between being assertive and being pushy.
Balancing all of these factors is tough, but if you consider them closely you will begin to see what kind of comments you can anticipate for your performance in a round. Good luck and have fun!
If you're going to make an assertion, you better back it up with evidence and analysis.
If you have evidence, you better give me analysis to tie back to your point. Don't assume the evidence speaks for itself.
If you make a point you better give analysis to show it proves that supporting/negating is the way to go.
NOTE: I get REALLY cranky if I suspect debaters are manipulating (or outright faking) evidence.
If you're a PF debater, don't waste your time with off-time roadmaps, because there are only two things you should ever be doing--hitting their case, and defending yours. Even weighing is just hitting their case, and defending yours. If you are organized in presenting your points it will be clear what you are doing. I'm ok with paraphrasing, but if the other team asks to see the original text and you can't produce it, I'm ignoring your evidence. I'm also ok with non-traditional approaches, but you better make it CLEAR CLEAR CLEAR that it's necessary, because I will always pref good debate over acrobatics.
If you're an LD debater, you better be giving analysis that shows your points are proving that you have achieved your value criterion. Articulate the connections, don't assume they speak for themselves. As far as non-traditional cases, I won't automatically vote against, but you better sell me on the necessity of going there, and that it's enriching the debate, and not hobbling it.
If you're a CX debater, get a life (JK!). I value quality over quantity. Take the time to analyze and apply your evidence instead of just turning on the fire hose of verbiage.
No one should ever tell me when or how to time. You can self-time, but I am the final arbiter of time.
If you are excessively rude, aggressive, shouty, or derisive you will see it in your speaks. If you are racist I will vote against you every single time.
1. I'm fine with any speed as long as you are clear and understandable.
2. If you're going to spread (not preferred), let me and your opponents know beforehand.
3. Don't be racist, sexist, or discriminatory, I will give you extremely low speaks and possibly drop you.
4. Don't be rude :)
1. I vote off the flow.
2. Signposting is very helpful.
3. Crossfire: doesn't largely impact my decision, though please be civil, take turns, and give your opponents a chance to respond.
4. Summaries and final focus: mainly vote off of these, weighing is very important, also extend things through the round.
5. I like logic and strong warranting. You will not persuade me to your side with false links and logical fallacies.
1. Time yourselves (I'll also keep time)
2. If I look confused that means I either don't know what you're talking about or it doesn't make sense. I'll probably be nodding if I like what you're saying.
3. Good luck to everyone, I look forward to some awesome debates!!
I am a volunteer and new to judging. I have read some information about this topic and watched some videos on PFD. I appreciate slow delivery and clear analysis of why you should win in the final focus.
Drawing my academic experience, I plan to look at the following aspects:
* Structured arguments. I believe that a better way to support a position is to make arguments with a clear and easy to follow structure, rather than just to stack lots of evidences (e.g., quotes or numbers).
* Depth. I believe that a few focused arguments with reasonable depth are more convincing than a collection of overwhelming, but shallow arguments.
* Good manner. I believe that debate is won by argument and manner. I do not tolerate those behaviors or words that are regarded as disrespect, rudeness, racism, sexism, etc.