The Cougar Classic at the University of Houston
2021 — Online, TX/US
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I did high school policy debate for three years debating as a performance and kritik debater. I have 4 years experience judging a range of debate styles and arguments. I prefer performance and kritik but i am open to judging anything.
I prefer you that you spend time on framing the arguments in the debate at the top of your speech. I'm not a line by line heavy judge and judge based on Big issues. First, I evaluate the framework for the debate to determine which impacts I should prioritize. Second, I evaluate Impacts and determine which are more important based on the Framework. Third, I evaluate the Status Quo, Plan, Counter-plan, Kritik Alternative, based on which best solves for in round impacts.
If you want my ballot, check all those boxes and I will most likely vote for you over your opponent if they are missing those parts.
As a former debater, I am qualified and will give feedback not only on your speech but also in ways you can improve your case. Be sure that you offer well developed arguments that show that you understand the topic, as well as your case. In debate, it is important to make sure that you have enough evidence to back up your theories, but also enough commentary to tie everything back to the case as a whole. Make sure your case is not just a bunch of cards after another, I want to know why and how things relate.
Framework and your speeches are extremely important. Your framework should have relevance and be upheld throughout all aspects of your case. If you can prove to my why your framework is stronger than your opponents, this will give you an advantage on the ballot. Not only that, but your speech should be convincing and not unclear. Speed is fine, but make sure that your value and criteria, warrants, authors, or anything you want me to remember is understandable.
To win my vote on the ballot, you must do the following things. You must clash with your opponent. Do not spend all your speeches telling me why your case is the best and should win. You must tell me why your opponents case falls. Make sure that you clash. If you don't, it's no longer debate. It becomes two students public speaking. It is important to clash on framework. Your contentions may fall but convince me that your value/criteria is more important and should be upheld over your opponents. I value framework over evidence. Impact is also an extremely important factor of the ballot. Make sure you are kind and respectful throughout the round. Good luck!
Updated 5/4/23 for the Post-Season
Hi everyone! I’m Holden (They/He)
Jack C. Hays '20, The University of North Texas ’23 (Go Mean Green)
If you are a senior and gradauting this year (whether you do PF, LD, or policy), UNT has a debate program! If you are interested in looking into the team please contact me via the email listed below and we can talk about what UNT debate can offer you. If you are committed to UNT, please conflict me!
Please put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Policy and NFA-LD are at the Bottom
The short version:
I truly do not have an issue in what style of debate you decide to partake in, I am dogmatic against dogmatism as I think it is a bad model of debate. That being said, I prefer debates not end up being very theory shell heavy (despite what my judging history might suggest otherwise). This is not to say that I will not vote for whatever shell you decide to run (barring some caveats that are mentioned below), but rather I would much rather judge debates that are centered around substance (namely a da/cp, a k, or an nc). Despite that, I have voted for just about every argument under the sun. Bad arguments exist, and I dislike them, but the onus is on you for calling out and explaining why those arguments are bad.
Respect your opponents pronouns or else. I have no tolerance for individuals not taking the time to respect people's personhood. You get one chance, with your speaks being docked that one time. If you do it again after that, then my ballot is gone even if there is no argument made. With that in mind, I am also extremely persuaded by misgendering bad shells.
If a round gets to the point where it is no longer healthy or safe for the debate to keep going, and it seems like I am not noticing, please let me know. I try my best to be cognizant but I am imperfect and may miss something, it is my job as an educator to make sure that a round and debate is as safe and accessible is possible so I take these situations very seriously.
Yes speed, but clarity is important as well
For your pref sheets:
Clash debates (k v k, k v phil, k v policy, policy v phil, etc.) – 1
K – 1
Policy – 1
Phil – 1
T/Theory – 1
Tricks – 4
Trad – 5/Strike
I’m serious about these rankings, I value execution over content. I am comfortable judging any type of debate done well.
In terms of ideology, I’m a lot like Patrick Fox just less grumpy, so you can pref me pretty closely with how you pref him.
Some individuals who have shaped how I debate/have coached me: Colin Quinn, Louie Petit, and Shawn Moore (if you know who this is then you are way too old to be debating in front of me)
Some of my former students who share the majority of my opinions/you might pref me similar to: Vishal Sivamani, William Walker, Armaan Christ, Anastasia Keeler, Sean Wallace, and Graham Johnstone.
Triggers – please refrain from reading anything with in depth discussions of anxiety, depression, or suicide that way I can adequately access and evaluate the round. Please give trigger warnings so that debate remains a place in which everyone can participate.
I flow on my laptop, I would put me at a 8-8.5/10 in terms of speed. Just be clear, slow down on tags and analytics a little please
The long version:
Who the hell is this dude who I/my coach preffed?
Hi, I'm Holden! I did LD and policy throughout high school, I wasn't too involved with the national circuit because of financial constraints but I did well at a few big tournaments during my high school career. I now attend the University of North Texas, where I study psychology and philosophy. In addition, I compete in NFA-LD (literally a one person policy event), I have had some moderate success (qualified for and made it to octafinals of the national tournament). I currently coach and judge national circuit LD, where I have judged 500+ debates since 2020. In addition, I have coached students to several bids, bid rounds, speaker awards, and late elims of national tournaments (including elims and top speaker of the TOC).
Nowadays, most of my research is on the k side of the argument spectrum. However, I often say that politics updates are my catharsis, and have cut and coached students to go for arguments in every style of debate. This includes theory, policy, tricks, phil, and kritikal positions.
Call me Holden or judge (I prefer Holden, and judge will also do). Anything more formal (Mr. Bukowsky, Sir, etc.) makes me uncomfortable, and may result in your speaks being docked.
Conflicts: Jack C. Hays (my alma mater). For LD I currently consult for Westlake (TX), and coach Barrington AC, Heritage WT, Jordan FJ and Jordan VS
I have been previously affiliated with: Cabot, Los Altos BF, and Unionville IQ.
What does Holden think of debate?
Debate is a game with educational implications. I love this activity very much, and take my role in it very seriously. I think it is my job to evaluate arguments as presented, and intervene as little as possible. I am not very ideological in a way that translates to how I evaluate the debate (barring some exceptions) because it's not my place to determine what is a valid argument and what is not. That means please do what you are most comfortable with to the best of your ability, and I will do my best to evaluate the debate as fairly as possible (granted that violent or warrantless arguments are exceptions). As such, I consider there to be two concrete rules of debate - 1. I must choose a winner and a loser, and 2. speech times are set in stone. Any preferences I may have should not matter if you make the argument for me, if I have to default to something then that means that you did not do your job.
What does Holden like?
I like good debates. If you execute your arguments well, then I will be impressed.
I like debates that require little intervention, make my job easy for me please I hate thinking.
I like well researched arguments with clear connections to the topic/the affirmative.
I like it when people make themselves easy to flow, this means labeling arguments (for example, giving arguments names, or doing organization like "1, 2, 3, a point, b point, c point, etc.), I can't vote for you if I don't know what the heck the complete argument is so making sure I can understand you is key
I like debaters that collapse in their final speeches, it makes nice room for analysis, explanation, and weighing which all make me very happy.
I like it when I am given some kind of framing mechanism to help filter offense. This can take place via a standard, role of the ballot/judge, impact calc, fairness v education, a meta ethic, I don't care. Just give me something to determine what the highest layer/impact should be.
To summarize the way I feel about judging, I think Yao Yao Chen does a excellent job at it, "I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck. I strive to judge in the most open-minded, fair, and diligent way I can, and I aim to be as thorough and transparent as possible in my decisions. If you worked hard on debate, you deserve judging that matches the effort you put into this activity. Anything short of that is anti-educational and a disappointment."
What does Holden dislike?
I dislike anything that is the opposite of above.
I dislike when people make problematic arguments.
I dislike when debaters engage in exclusionary practices.
I dislike unclear spreading.
I dislike messy debates with little work done to resolve them.
I dislike when people go "my time will start in 3, 2, 1."
I dislike when people ask if they can take prep, I don't care just tell me that you're taking it.
I dislike when people are exclusionary to novices, I am very much in the trial by fire camp but you shouldn't throw someone into a volcano. Yes, you can spread, run disads, counterplan, k's, and even phil as long as your explanations are accessible and in good faith. But theory and tricks is a no go and you WILL get your speaks tanked.
I dislike t - bare plurals.
How has Holden voted?
Across all of my time as a judge, I have judged exactly 551 debate rounds. Of those, I have voted aff approximately 54.08% of the time.
My average speaks for the 2022-2023 season have been 28.532, across my entire time judging they are at 28.507
I have been apart of 140 panels, of those I have sat exactly 17 times (Harvard was rough).
What will Holden never vote on?
Arguments that involve the appearance of a debater (shoes theory, formal clothing theory, etc.)
Arguments that say oppression is good.
Arguments that contradict what was said in CX.
Contrary to my reputation, I actually quite enjoy and have a good amount of experience on the policy side of the argumentative spectrum. I do quite a bit of research for policy arguments, and do topic research on that side of ground very often. I love a good disad and case 2NR, and will reward well done executions of these strategies because I think they're great. One of my favorite 2NR's to give is one on a disad and circumvention, I think it's great and really rewards good research quality
Counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive, I think most counterplans probably lose to permutations that make arguments about this and love when people make these arguments
Impact turn debates are some of my favorite, give me more of them please and thank you
I reward good evidence, if you cite a piece of evidence as part of your warrant for a argument and it's not good/underwarranted then that minimizes your strength of link. I do read evidence a lot in these debates because I think that it often acts as a tiebreaker
I really appreciate judge instruction, how should I frame a piece of evidence, what comes first, I think that telling me what to do and how to decide debates makes your life and my job much easier
I enjoy really well researched process counterplans. Absolutely makes me smile when the evidence is topic specific, and has great solvency advocates.
Yes judgekick, but make an argument for it please
Explain what the permutation looks like, just saying perm do both is a meaningless argument and I am not filling in the gaps for you
For affs, having well developed and robust internal links into 2-3 impacts is much preferred than the shot gun 7 impact strategy
Explanation of the DA turning case matters a lot to me, explain it please
A note on non-black engagement with afropessimism, I will watch your execution of this argument like a hawk if you decide to go for it. I think that certain authors make particular claims about the adoption of Afro-pessimist advocacy by non-black individuals, while other authors make different claims, be mindful of this when you are cutting your evidence/constructing your 1NC. While my thoughts on this question are more neutral than they once were, that does not mean you get to do whatever with the argument. If you are reading this critique as a non-black person, this becomes the round. This also means that if you are disingenuous to the literature at all, your speaks are tanked and the ballot may be given away as well depending on how annoyed I'm feeling. This is your first and final warning.
This is where most of my research and thoughts are these days. I will most likely be good for whatever literature base you are reading, and have a very decent amount of rounds judging and going for the K. I have most likely judged or read the literature you are going for sometime in my years in debate, so feel free to read anything, just be able to explain it.
Aff teams against the k need to go for framework and extinction outweighs more
My ideal k 1nc will have 2-3 links contextual to the aff (one of which is a topic link), an alternative, and some kind of framing mechanism.
I have found recently that most 2NR's have trouble articulating what the alternative does, and how that interacts with the affirmative and the links. If you are unable to explain to me what the alt does, your chances of getting my ballot go down. I find that examples from both sides of the debate help contextualize the offense you're going for in relation to the alternative/the permutation, you should also explain the perm in the first responsive speech
I've found that most k teams have become rusty at debating the impact turn (heg good/cap good), this is to say that I think that if you are agaisnt the k, I am very much willing to vote on the impact turn given that it is not morally repugnant (see above)
I would very much prefer that you introduce an interesting new argument than recycle the same aff or the same 1NC you've been running for 2 years. At least update your cards every once in a while.
Don't run a k just because you think I'll like it, bad k debates make for some of the worst speaks I've given all year (for example, if you're reading argument related to Settler Colonialism and can't name the 6 settler moves to innocence)
K tricks are cool if they have a warrant, floating piks need to be hinted at in the 1NC please so they can be floating
For you nerds that wanna know, the literature bases I know pretty well are: Marxism, Security, Reps K's, Afro-pessimism, Baudrillard, Beller, Deleuze and Guattari, Halberstam, Hardt and Negri, Weheliye, Grove, Scranton/Eco-pessimism, and Settler Colonialism
The literature bases that I know somewhat/am reading up on are: Agamben, Abolition, Cybernetics, Psychoanalysis, Queer-pessimism, Disability literature, Moten and Harney, and Puar
Yes, I think these are cool, defend something and have a counter-interp that substantively does something in relation to maybe limiting the topic? I am increasingly becoming convinced that there should be some stasis for debate, I think that having your aff discuss the resolution makes your framework answers more persuasive and makes me happier to vote for you
Presumption is underrated, most affs don't do anything and their ballot key warrant is bad, you should make sure to utilize that.
For those negating these affs, I think that the case page is the weakest part of the debate from both sides. I think if the 2NR develops a really good piece of offense from the case page then the debate becomes much easier for you to win.I will, in fact, vote for heg good, cap good, etc. and quite enjoy judging these debates
Innovation is appreciated, I swear I've heard the same two or three affs twenty times each. If your take on a literature base is interesting, innovative, AND is something I haven't heard this year then you will most definitely get higher speaks
Performance based arguments are also acceptable/enjoyed, in the last tournament of my career I ran one of these and experienced immense success with it. However, I find that most times when they are ran the performance is not really extended into the speeches after this, obviously there are some limitations but I think that it does give me more leeway in terms of leveraging your inevitable application of the performance to other areas of the debate
Framework isn't capital T true, but it also isn't an automatic act of violence. I find myself neutral on the question of how one should debate about the resolution, but I do think that the resolution should be a starting point for the debate. How you interpret that is up to you
I am of the opinion that most framework debates take place on an impact level, with the internal link to those impacts most of the time never being questioned. This is where I think both teams should take advantage of, and produces better debates about what debate should look like.
I have voted on straight up impact turns before, and I have also voted on fairness as an impact, I think that the onus is on you to explain and flesh your arguments in a way that answers the 1AR/2NR. Reading off your blocks and not engaging in the specific warrants of disads to your model often lead to me questioning what I'm voting for because there is often little to no engagement by either side in the debate
Counter-interps are more persuasive to me, and I think are underutilized, counter-interps that are well thought out and have good explanation of what your model of debate looks like does wonders
In terms of impacts to framework, my normal takes are clash > fairness > advocacy skills
"Fairness is good because debate is a game and we all have intrinsic motivation to compete" >>>>>>> "fairness is an impact because it constrains your ability to evaluate their arguments so hack against them," if the latter is your explanation then 9 times out of 10 you are going to lose
Topicality (Theory is it’s own Monster):
I love T debates, absolutely some of my favorite rounds to adjudicate. I think they've gotten a bad rep over the past four or five years because of the bare plurals stuff *shudders*, but interps that are based on words/phrases of the resolution and are gone for well will make me incredibly happy
My normal defaults for these debates are:
- Competing Interps
- Drop the debater
- No RVI's
Reasonability is about your counter-interp not your aff, people need to relearn how to go for this because it's a lost art in the age of endless theory shells
Arbitrary counter-interps such as "your interp plus my aff" are cringe and you are better served going for a more substantive argument
For all that is holy get over Nebel T and run topic contextual interps, I've heard the same limits v pics debate about 40 times and I'm tired of it
Slow down for me a bit in these debates, I can flow pretty well but T is monster in terms of how many warrants/separate arguments you're spewing out so give me typing time please
You need to read voters, some standards are impacts on their own (precision comes to mind) but outside of that I have trouble understanding why limits is an independent impact sans some external argument about why making debate harder is bad
Weigh your internal links please and thank you
I judge this type of debate a lot, and probably more than most judges. So you'll most likely be fine in these debates in front of me, I just ask that you don't blitz through analytics and make good indepth weighing arguments regarding your internal links to the standards you're going for. I find that a well explained abuse story (whether that be potential or in-round) makes me be conceputally more persuaded by the impacts you go for
Conditionality is good if you win it's such. I've noticed a trend among judges recently just blatantly refusing to vote on conditionality through some arbitrary threshold that they think is egrigious, or because they think conditionality is universally good. I am not one of those judges. If you wanna read 6 different counterplans, go right ahead but just dismissing condo bad like it's an afterthought will not garner you any sympathy from me. To clarify, I think condo is good as a general ideology, but your defense of it better be robust if you plan on using abusing conditionality vehemently
Sure, go for whatever shell you want, I'll flow it barring these exceptions:
- Shells about the appearance and clothing of another debaters
- Disclosure in the case in which a debater has said they can't disclose certain positions for safety reasons, please don't do this
- Reading "no i meets"
- Arguments that say that implicate that a debater may not be able to answer a new argument in the next speech (for example, if the 1AR concedes no new 2ar arguments, and the 2NR reads a new shell, I will always give the 2AR the ability to answer that new shell)
Here are my defaults for counterplan theory:
- Counterplans with a solvency advocate, no matter what type they are = good
- PICs = good
- Process CP's = good
- Consult CP's = bad
- States CP's = good
- Actor/Agent CP's = good
- Object Fiat = bad
I have realized that I need more explanation when people are going for arguments that are based on intense arguments of logic. I need this explanation to be toned down so I can actually follow what’s going on, these make my head hurt and I did not pay enough attention in my logic class to know/understand exactly what you're talking about.
I think that my thoughts about this are "please don't if you don't have to, but if you aren't the one to initiate you can go ham"
I can judge these debates, and have coached debaters that have gone for these arguments, I would really just rather not. I am tired of the same arguments being recycled over and over again with little to no innovation. If you throw random a prioris in the 1A/1NC don't expect me to be happy about the debate. Carded and well developed tricks > "resolved means firmly determined and you know I am"
Slow down on your long underviews, yes I am flowing them but it doesn't help when you're blitzing through independent theory arguments like they're card text. Go at like 70% your normal speed in these situations
Be straight up about the implication and warrant for tricks, if you're shifty about them in cross then I will be shifty about whether or not I feel like evaluating them. This extends to disclosure practices.
Tricks versus identity-based affirmatives is violent, and bad. Stop it.
I love these debates! I find phil a really interesting part of debate that often goes unexplored. That being said, I prefer well developed syllogisms with pieces of evidence over analytical dumps, I find that analytical syllogisms are often spammy with extremely underdeveloped warrants.
Parts of your syllogisms should at least hint at what their impact is. I think that this becomes even more essential in later speeches where you should collapse and impact 1-2 justifications along with weighing
In phil v phil debates, both sides need to be able to explain their ethic more. These debates can either be super informational, or super messy, and I would prefer that they be the former rather than the latter. Explanation, clear engagement, and weighing is the way to my ballot in these debates
Hijacks are great! Just explain them well since they're often pretty complicated and I can't really understand the warrant if it's less than 10 seconds long
Please slow down a bit in these debates, they ore often very fast, technical, and blippy and I can only flow so fast
For those that are wondering, here are the literature bases I know pretty well: Locke, Hobbes, Pragmatism, Kant, Deleuze, Hume, Descartes, Nietzsche, Berkeley, Leibniz, and Spinoza
I know these literature bases somewhat: Rawls, Plato, Aquinas, Virtue Ethics, ILaw, Moral Particularism, and Constitutionality
I know I have it listed as a phil literature base, but I conceptually have trouble with deleuze ethical frameworks, especially since the literature doesn't prescribe a moral claim but makes a structural one which means that it doesn't make too much logical sense to force the literature to make an ethical claim.
- Comparative worlds > truth testing
- Permissibility negates > affirms
- Presumption negates > affirms
- Epistemic confidence > epistemic modesty
Since these are becoming increasingly read in front of me, and are becoming a separate argument in debate, I thought they deserved their own section. I think that these are good arguments when executed well. That being said, I think that for these to be won, you need to win either some meta level framing (such as accessibility first) or linking it to an ethical framework. I often have to ask myself “should I abandon the flow if I think that this is violent” and here is the litmus test for how I will determine to abandon the flow, I will:
1. See if you won the flow proper to see if I can avoid intervening
2. If you did not win the flow proper, I will see if the action in question is a legitimate question of violence in the debate space, your explanation may help, your explanation may not. As much as your 2AR ethos may be good, if I do not think that this situation is an act of violence with reasonable malicious intent, then I will not abandon the flow. A few instances in which I will abandon the flow can be: misgendering, dead-naming, some sort of maliciously intended argument meant to exclude individuals from debate
This is not to say I won’t abandon the flow, but I feel like there has to be some outline for how I can reconcile this, or else this would justify me becoming increasingly interventionist for littler reasons which I think is a horrible model of debate.
Yes, I can judge this, and debated on a rather traditional LD circuit in high school. However, I often time find these debates to be boring, and most definitely not my cup of tea. If you think that you can change my opinion go right ahead, but I think that given the people that pref me most of the time, it will be in your best interest to pref me low or strike me, both for your sake and mine.
I would much prefer these debates be executed as a shell rather than having the round staked on them. I hate adjudicating these debates because a. They deprive me of a substantive round and b. Are normally a cheap shot by an opposing debater. As such, if you stake the round on evidence ethics this will be the procedure for which things will go down: 1. I will look into the evidence that is in question 2. Compare it to the claim/violation that is being presented 3. Utilize the rules for which the tournament is using (NSDA, NDCA, etc.) to determine whether or not it is a violation 4. Check with the debater if they are sure they want this to be a drop the debater issue, or to drop the evidence. If it is a violation, then I will drop the person who committed such with 25 speaks if it's a drop the debater issue, if it's not drop the debater then I will not evaluate the evidence and we can debate as normal. If it is not a violation, then I will drop the accuser with 25 speaks if it's a drop the debater issue, if it's not drop the debater then your speaks will be capped at a 28.
Here is what I consider evidence ethics violations in the absence of guidance: 1. If the author concludes in opposition of what is cited 2. If worlds are deleted or inserted in the middle of a sentence 3. If a debater misrepresented what the author says
For the policy kids-
Full disclosure, I am normally a circuit LD judge but have been judging policy more lately (judged at grapevine and a lot of rounds at camp this year). I did policy in high school, and research/run policy arguments in college now so I will know what's going on.Most of my takes should be summarized above, I think my takes on framework aren’t as dogmatic as I once thought, I think this is because I’ve noticed how much better impact explanation occurs in policy and as such any predispositions listed above can be easily overcome by just solid impact calculus when going for T versus critical affirmatives (no joke framework has a 100% win rate in front of me in policy). I also think I’m better at evaluating policy throw-downs than I thought/once was. All that matters is link contextualization, developing a turns case argument, and implicating your arguments to help resolve the rest of the flow. I like impact turns (dedev, heg good/bad, etc.), I like debaters that make rounds clean, and I like judge instruction. Framework isn't genocide but it's not the holy grail, clash > fairness.
Also neutral on questions such as condo, if you win it you win it, being dogmatic on these questions are bad takes.
- Sign post please
- Weighing early is how you get my ballot (best case scenario is starting in the 2AC)
- Yes open cross
For the NFA-LD kids:
Everything above applies
Don't think I'm a k hack, my background may suggest otherwise but ideologically I have a high threshold for execution and will punish you for it if you fail to meet it. If you are not comfortable going for the k then please don't unless you absolutely want to, don't adapt to me. I promise I'll be so down for a good disad and case 2NR or something similar
"It's against NFA-LD rules" is not an argument or impact claim and if it is then at best it's an internal link to fairness. Only rules violation I will not roll my eyes at are ethics challenges
Yes non-T affs, yes t - framework, yes cap good/heg good
Condo is bad if you win that it is bad, it is good if you win it is good
An addendum to how I dish out my speaks, any additional speaker points you get via my challenges cannot get you above a 29.7, the other .3 is something you have to earn/work for
Speaker points challenges (things to maintain my vtl during tournaments):
- Send a picture of your pet (not snakes please I have a phobia of them) in the doc or email chain +.3
- Bringing me a diet or zero version of coke, pepsi, or dr. pepper will result +.5 (will exceed the 29.7 threshold if my exhaustion and delirium is enough)
- Pepsi challenge jokes (making sense to the debate and actually related to the content) +.1
Things I will be more apt to maybe slightly inflate your speaks for:
- Being generally pleasant (not in the "hi how are you judge" kind of way but being vibey I guess)
- Making actually funny jokes
Across over 200+ prelims at bid tournaments, I have averaged at a 28.5 in terms of speaks, which means I'm not necessarily a speaks fairy or stingy
A 30 is very hard to achieve in front of me, and the only ones I have given out is because of the utilization of the challenges
I don't evaluate "give me x amount of speaks" arguments, if you want it so bad utilize the ways to get extra speaks I have below
They're adjusted according to the tournament, but here's a general scale -
29.6+ Great round, you should be in late elims or win the tournament
29.1-29.5 Great round, you should be in mid to late elims
28.6-29 You should break or make the bubble at least
28.1-28.5 About middle of the pool
27.6-28 You got some stuff to work on
27-27.5 You got a lot of stuff to work on
Anything below a 27: You did something really horrible and I will be having a word with tab and your coach about it
Random Sliding Scales that I think are Fun (Stolen from Patrick Fox)
Voting for policy----X----Voting for the K
Researching/coaching policy-------X---Researching/coaching the K
Good evidence-X---------Bad evidence + spin
Will read ev without being told------X----Tell me what to read
Asking "did you read X card"-------X--- Learn to flow or run prep/CX for this
Yes RVIs-------X---No RVIs
Fairness is definitely an impact-----X-----Fairness is definitely not an impact
Alternatives/K affs should solve things or lose--X--------Alternatives/K affs can not solve things and not lose
"It's pre-fiat"--------X--Actual arguments that mean things
Debate good---X-------Debate bad (the activity)
Debate good-------X---Debate bad (the community)
Creative, alternative models of the topic + offense---X-------Impact turn everything vs framework
Yes ur Baudrillard/Kant-X---------Not ur Baudrillard/Kant
Feelings and jokes--X--------Debate robots
Mime-like expressiveness---X-------Statue-like poker face
Assume I understand the things--------X--Assume I do not understand the things
Speaker point fairy------X----Speaker point goblin
LD should be like policy-------X---(Some) LD stuff is cool
Capitalism----------X( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
I am a lay judge who does not understand jargon (e.g. words such as solvency, counterplan, kritik, disad). Treat the debate like a performance. Do not spread or use progressive arguments. I do flow. I prefer truth over tech. I like when you do impact calculus and make my decision easier for me. I do not care what you wear. Please do not run theory. If you have written a storytelling version of your AC or NC, you should read that instead of reading a traditional LD case with all your cards cut. I listen to cross-ex, but I do not pay much attention. You should set up a big picture that is easy for me to follow in your later speeches.
Coach at Heights High School (TX)
Separately conflicted with: Carnegie Vanguard KF, Challenge Early JA, Challenge Early KU, Eastwood Academy JS, Langham Creek ML
Set up the email chain before the round starts and add me. I would strongly prefer email over NSDA Classroom fileshare, and please title the chain as so: "Tournament Year + Name - Round # - _____ vs. _____ (Judge)"
If I'm judging you in LD: email@example.com
If I'm judging you in policy: firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated LD for Timothy Christian School in New Jersey for four years. I graduated from Rice University, am currently a teacher at Heights, and predominately coach policy: my program competes through the Houston Urban Debate League and the Texas Forensic Association. My views on debate are heavily influenced by Kris Wright via the Texas Debate Collective Teachers Institute. Most of the sections below are relevant for both policy and LD; see the very bottom for policy/PF-specific thoughts, although policy teams might also want to review the sections for LARP/T/K.
- LARP/Policy: 1
- T/Theory: 1-2
- Phil: 2*
- Kritik (identity): 2-3*
- Kritik (pomo): 3-4*
- Tricks: Strike; I can and will cap your speaks at a 27, and if I'm on a panel I will be looking for a way to vote against you.
*Ratings vary as function of what you're reading and whether I'm familiar with it. It's not that I will refuse to evaluate an author or position that I haven't seen before - rather, it'll just be more challenging for me to adjudicate. Feel free to ask me before round about a specific author.
- I will try to be tab and dislike intervening so please weigh arguments and compare evidence. It is in your advantage to write my ballot for me by explaining why you win which layers and why those layers come first.
- I won't vote on anything that's not on my flow. I also won't vote on any arguments that I can't explain back to your opponent in the oral.
- I default to a competing worlds paradigm.
- Tech > Truth
- I'm colorblind so speech docs that are highlighted in light blue/gray are difficult for me to read; yellow would be ideal because it's easiest for me to see. Also, if you're re-highlighting your opponent's evidence and the two colors are in the same area of the color wheel, I probably won't be able to differentiate between them. Don't read a shell on your opponent if they don't follow these instructions though - it's not that serious.
- Prep time ends when you've finished compiling the document. I won't count emailing but please don't steal prep.
- Signpost please. I prefer debaters to be explicit about where to flow things and I appreciate pen time. If you're giving a speech and I'm looking around the different sheets of paper instead of writing, I'm likely trying to find the argument and will probably miss something.
- Not fond of embedded clash; it's a recipe for judge intervention. I'll flow overviews and you should read them when you're extending a position, but long (0:30+) overviews that trade-off against substantive line-by-line work increase the probability that I'll either forget about an argument or misunderstand its implication.
- I presume aff in LD: neg side bias exists so in the absence of offense from either side the aff did the better debating. It is unlikely, however, that I will try to justify a ballot in this way; I almost always err towards voting on risk of offense rather than presumption in the absence of presumption arguments made by debaters.
- Debaters should time every speech and should always count down on their timer for their own speeches. That way, it'll go off when your time runs out, which will keep you honest and ensure that you don't accidentally go over. I might not cut you off if your time runs out, but I'll stop flowing and deduct 0.1 speaks for every 3 seconds you go over if your timer doesn't ring.
- Given that I predominately coach policy, I am probably most comfortable adjudicating these debates, but this is your space so you should make the arguments that you want to make in the style that you prefer.
- You should have be cutting updates and the more specific the counterplan and the links on the disad the happier I'll be. The size/probability of the impact is a function of the strength/specificity of the link.
- Terminal defense is possible and more common than people seem to think.
- I think impact turns (dedev, cap good/bad, heg good/bad, wipeout, etc.) are underutilized and can make for interesting strategies.
- Perms are tests of competition, not shifts of advocacy.
- If a conditional advocacy makes it into the 2NR and you want me to kick it, you have to tell me. Also, I will not judge kick unless the negative wins an argument for why I should, and it will not be difficult for the affirmative to convince me otherwise.
- A 1NC strategy that doesn't include a substantial investment on case is generally sub-par.
- I default to competing interpretations. I'll evaluate shells via reasonability if you ask me to but I'd prefer an explicit brightline for determining what constitutes a reasonable vs. unreasonable practice rather than drawing upon my intuitions for debate. If you just ask me to intuitively evaluate the shell without an explanation of what that constitutes, my aversion to intervention will likely lead me to gut check to competing interpretations.
- I default to no RVIs (and that you need to win a counterinterp to win with an RVI).
- You need to give me an impact/ballot story when you read a procedural, and the blippier/less-developed the argument is, the higher my threshold is for fleshing this out. Labeling something an "independent voter" or "is a voting issue" is rarely sufficient. These arguments generally implicate into an unjustified, background framework and don't magically operate at a higher layer absent an explicit warrant explaining why. You still have to answer these arguments if your opponent reads them - it's just that my threshold for voting for underdeveloped independent voters is higher.
- Because I am not a particularly good flower, theory rounds in my experience are challenging to follow because of the quantity of blippy analytical arguments. Please slow down for these debates, clearly label the shell, and number the arguments or I will likely miss something.
- Disclosure is good. However, I do coach both sides of this debate. Read it if you'd like, just don't be mean about it and be prepared to defend your performance if your opponent is clever.
- "If you read theory against someone who is obviously a novice or a traditional debater who doesn't know how to answer it, I will not evaluate it under competing interps."
- I will not evaluate the debate after any speech that is not the 2AR.
Framework (as distinct from T-FW)
- I believe that impacts are relevant insofar as they implicate to a framework, preferably one which is syllogistically warranted. My typical decision calculus, then, goes through the steps of a. determining which layer is the highest/most significant, b. identifying the framework through which offense is funneled through on that layer, and c. adjudicating the pieces of legitimate offense to that framework.
- You should assume if you're reading a philosophically dense position that I do not have a deep familiarity with your topic literature; as such, you should probably moderate your speed and over-explain rather than under. Especially if your framework is complex or obscure, a brief summary of how it functions (i.e. how it sifts between legitimate and illegitimate offense) would be helpful.
- I have a decent conceptual understanding of k debate, especially after teaching it to students every year, but don't presume that I'll recognize the vocabulary from your specific literature base. I am not especially well-read in kritikal literature so explain well. It is in your best interests to keep your speeches well-structured so they are easy to follow.
- I especially appreciate kritikal debates which are heavy on case-specific link analysis paired with a comprehensive explanation of the alternative. Good K debates typically include quotes from lines in your opponent's evidence/advocacy with an explanation of why those are additional links.
- I don't judge a terribly large number of clash debates, but I've also coached both non-T performative and pure policy teams and so I do not have strong ideological leanings here.
- Too many Role of the Ballots are impact-justified; if you're reading one you should warrant it more substantively.
- Speed is generally fine, so long as its clear. I'd place my threshold for speed at a 8.5 out of 10 where a 10 is the fastest debater on the circuit, although that varies (+/- 1) depending on the type of argument being read.
- Slow down for and enunciate short analytics, taglines, and card authors; it would be especially helpful if you say "and" or "next" as you switch from one card to the next. I am not a particularly good flower so take that into account if you're reading a lot of analytical arguments. If you're reading at top-speed through a dump of blippy uncarded arguments I'll almost certainly miss some. I won't backflow for you, so spread through blips on different flows without pausing at your own risk.
- If you push me after the RFD with "but how did you evaluate THIS random analytic embedded in my 10-point dump?" I have no problem telling you that I a. forgot about it, b. missed it, or c. didn't have enough of an implication flowed/understood to draw lines to other flows for you.
- My flowing limitations are a contributing factor to why I'm probably not a great judge for you if tricks are your A-strat. If you're reading tricks one of three things is likely to happen: I'll miss it, I won't understand it, or I'll think it's stupid. Additionally, I won't hold your opponent to a higher standard than I hold myself to, so if I didn't understand the implication of an argument (especially a blippy/shady one) in a prior speech, I'll give them leeway on answering it in a later one.
- I'll yell "clear" or "slow" once but that means I already missed something. Honestly though, it's not uncommon for me to be so preoccupied with trying to keep up that I forget to call clear or slow.
- A 28.5 or above means I think you're good enough to clear. I generally won't give below a 27; lower means I think you did something offensive, unless the round is bad and it makes me want to go home.
- I award speaks based on quality of argumentation and strategic decision-making.
- I won't disclose speaks so don't bother asking.
- I give out approximately one 30 a season, so it's probably not going to be you. If you're looking for a speaks fairy, pref someone else. Here are a few ways to get high speaks in front of me, however:
- I routinely make mental predictions during prep time about what the optimal 2NR/2AR is. Give a different version of the speech than my prediction and convince me that my original projection was strategically inferior. Or, seamlessly execute on my prediction.
- Read a case-specific CP/Disad/PIC that I haven't seen before.
- Teach me something new that doesn't make me want to go home.
- Be kind to an opponent that you are more experienced then.
- If you have a speech impediment, please feel free to tell me. I debated with a lisp and am very sympathetic to debaters who have challenges with clarity. In this context, I will do my best to avoid awarding speaks on the basis of clarity.
- As a teacher and coach, I am committed to the value of debate as an educational activity. Please don't be rude, particularly if you're clearly better than your opponent. I won't hack against you if you go 5-off against someone you're substantively better than, but I don't have any objections to tanking your speaks if you intentionally exclude your opponent in this way. As a former competitor from a school with very limited competitive infrastructure, most of what I know about debate I had to learn myself absent formal instruction. This makes me very sympathetic to debaters from small schools or under-resourced programs who might not be familiar with the technical jargon of the activity but who, nevertheless, make good arguments. It behooves you, if you've had access to more privileged instruction, to debate in a way that keeps the round accessible for everyone.
If Judging Policy
- Please keep in mind that although I coach policy now, the entirety of my competitive experience and the bulk of my training, judging and thinking about debate has been funneled through the lens of LD. If you're a policy debater, it's probably still useful for you to review the specific argumentative sections above (ex. LARP, Theory, K), depending on what you're planning to read.
- I presume neg in policy because in the absence of offense in either direction, I am compelled by the Change Disad to the plan. However, presumption flips if the 2NR goes for a counter-advocacy that is a greater change from the status quo than the aff.
- I frequently see teams read half a T-shell in the 1NC (unwarranted standards/voters/implication/paradigm issues, or missing those pieces altogether) and then blow it up in the block. I think that if you read a disad in the 1NC it should probably contain the core parts (uniqueness/link/impact), even if you read additional evidence in the block, and I hold T to the same standard. Otherwise, I'm receptive to efficient 2AC responses along the lines of "that's not a complete argument; lack of warranted standards means there's no offense to the interp and you should reject the shell" and will allow new responses in the 1AR in response to developments in the block.
- If your counterplan is 8 seconds long with no cards, the 2AC probably needs no more than 0:15 answering it and I'll be super lenient with 1AR responses if you blow it up in the block.
- Smart, analytical arguments (particularly as no-links on a kritik or an improbable impact chain) are heavily underutilized in policy. My ideal 1NCs/2ACs incorporate analytics as a component of a layered response strategy. I see too many policy debaters who are just card bots, including reading cards that don't actually contain warrants and reading additional cards in a later speech instead of going for preexisting evidence.
If Judging PF
- I rarely judge PF and I avoid it when I can. I won't know what your topic is and I probably had to google the speech times beforehand.
- If you're paraphrasing cards I will evaluate them as glorified analytics. Alternatively, if you're one of the rare teams that actually reads cards and doesn't paraphrase, say so and I will reward you with speaks. Just don't commit to reading cards and then paraphrase; that's clipping.
- I don't know what it is with PF debaters either stealing prep or stealing speech time, but I'm not here for your shenanigans. There should not be more than a 0:10 difference between your timer and mine, and I stop flowing at the timer. I will deduct speaks if this comes up.
I am a parent volunteer judge with children doing debate for many years. I have been judging debate for a few times already. I judge the debate based on who persuades me of their side more with facts and logic. With speed, I am comfortable with slower and clear speaking. In LD I understand the importance of value and criterion so please make sure you have both and that your arguments center around them.
I did PF debate throughout middle school, some Congress but mainly Lincoln Douglass throughout high school. I evaluate all debates pretty fairly. Although I favor more critical race based and “progressive” arguments, I’m open to anything. Faith warning, overt disrespect or discrimination of any sort will result in a tanking of speaker scores.
Other than that, be yourself, debate as you please. Make sure every word is intentional and meaningful.
I'm a second year out from Montgomery HS. I primarily did K debate, but I also read larp, phil, and theory on the circuit so I'm comfortable with pretty much anything you want to read. I'd say I'm least comfortable judging tricks so if that's your A strat I probably wouldn't pref me. Other than that, I want to see good clash in round and courtesy between opponents so don't be rude. You can get high speaks if you read something interesting, debate well, or make me laugh. Feel free to ask me questions before the round and please add me to the email chain: email@example.com
Yes email chain
TLDR: I’m a circuit flow judge who qualified to TOC twice as a debater, and has since coached 10+ debaters to the TOC reading LARP, Ks, Phil, and Theory. You can read pretty much anything in front of me, I care more about you doing it well then trying to appeal to my opinions. If you want to learn my opinions to see how I will err in close debates read on:
My paradigm is long but perpetually a work in progress, email me if you have any paradigm questions or better ask before round.
Despite my technical background, I wouldn’t assume I have topic knowledge on any particular topic, particularly policy acronyms, nor what affs are common/topical. So appeals to intuition like this aff is obviously reasonable are ineffective.
Also you should use your full speech times in 99.9% of rounds.
Paradigm from 2020:
I have lots of thoughts. I bolded the things that will mostly matter when prefing or judging LD, the rest only applies to 1-0.1% of rounds I judge. In most rounds I will have an easy ballot on the technical level, these opinions only come in when I am forced to resolve two competing truths that are relatively equal on the tech, they can all be overcome by giving better speeches. (The exception is in-round violence)
Why did I put them in then?
One of the most frustrating things to me as a debater was judges telling me per opinions on arguments in the rfd that could have been in the paradigm, if I judge you and you think I should add something from my rfd to my paradigm please tell me. This way we can avoid people losing on affs because I just don’t feel the aff’s don’t clear the presumption burden even though the aff did great debating etc.
How much I like the args/how much in favor of you I would unconsciously err in close debates probably
0- 0 off, the order is case.
1 – Good Ks, Good/Topic specific Phil, Great theory
2- Good Theory args (condo good/bad, pics good/bad), Good unique LARP (new politics scenario), Good unique tricks (I found Alphabet spec funny the first time I saw it, I didn't the fifth time. Be creative) , Generic Ks (cap k with generic links)
3- Tricky Phil, (your tricky northeast Kant frameworks from 7 years ago), Bad Larp
4- Bad Theory (shoes theory)
5- Bad Tricks (resolved apriori)
Biggest Influences in Debate:
I attended both Victory Briefs Institute and RKS at Wake Forest, and both shaped my perspective and education in debate.
CMC 2024, yes I’m a first year out, but I coached and judged a lot in high school and worked with camps such as interning at the Victory Briefs Institute. I would not recommend ordinal 1ing me even if you agree with my views, since I’m still learning.
My name is Zachary Davis. I did Circuit LD for 3 years and qualified to the Junior and Senior Year Tocs, with an even 3-3 record junior year, and Coronavirus ending TOC senior year (2020 generation). Before LD I did both Public Forum and Parli for two years. I also dipped into policy occasionally mostly in my freshmen and senior years. I’m choosing to coach rather than debate in college.
I mostly read Ks, but went for theory and larp positions as well. My ideal neg strats were one off k or nc, 2 off k + t, and 5 off k, t, theory, cp, da.
I’m a technical debater/judge, in most cases I’d rather judge a theory debate than a traditional debate. Despite this, many debaters don’t realize how incoherent pers are too spectators, so err on the side of overexplanation, especially in the 2nr and 2ar, if there’s no warrant I won’t vote on it. Concessions mean I evaluate warrants/arguments as true, but if there is no warrant, than there is functionally nothing to vote on and nothing conceded.
Despite this I think the broader community trend to emphasize an ideal position as a tabula rasa judge is both an impossible goal and a false ideal.
What do I mean by this? 1. It’s impossible for judges to leave past experience and argument biases at the door. 2. Tech matters but truth does too, just because I agree technical debate is important, I disagree with only tech mattering which incentivizes debaters to read blatantly false arguments that have good time trade-offs ranging from spikes to incorrect das, because pointing out the fallacies takes longer than reading. 3. However I do think the judge should attempt to leave all past opinions surrounding the topic at the door i.e. even if I think nuclear arsenals are really bad, I shouldn’t let that convince me to vote aff if the debate becomes a stalemate.
Why do I, the debater, care? It’s likely that this won’t impact 99% of rounds I judge since I will usually act as a tech based tab judge, and I won’t actively intervene i.e. reading articles of the cards you read, unless asked too. However this means I am more persuaded that the reading of false arguments doesn’t just mean those argument are wrong and go away, but can be won as a drop the debater voting issue. I won’t intervene and make those arguments voting issues though, and I think there are degrees of wrongness.
1. Don't be sexist, ableist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, or a classist jerk in the round.
2. I strongly believe in trigger/content warnings, if you think there’s a chance your arguments would benefit from them, read them before your first speech, or the speech in which the content begins. Be prepared to read different args.
3. Do not misgender your opponents or judges, intentional or otherwise. I would generally recommend defaulting to "per" if you do not know someone's pronouns and to use "my opponent" “aff/neg” “person” etc. They/them isn’t gender neutral. I don’t want to debate or explain pronouns in this space either, post-rounding me on this issue specifically is unwise. I’ll publish a follow up at some point that you can check for my reasons.
4. Debate however makes you the most comfortable. I have zero preferences whether you sit or stand etc. I don’t care whether you ware shoes etc. My only clothes opinion is that schools should not force debaters to wear formal clothes. I don’t care what individual debaters choose to wear, and think policing debaters presentations is bad and as such want to work against schools doing so. I’m conflicted about punishing individual debaters because it’s not the fault of the debaters because of the school policy (so I’m not the judge for reading friv formal clothes theory against trad debaters), but I hope I along with other judges (such as Alan Fishman) help shift schools to change this opinion.
5. Don’t read identity positions if you aren’t of that identity. I will easily vote on arguments such as non-black debaters should not read afro-pessimism.
Usual Evaluation Flow chart looks like this:
1- Figure out the winning framing, use that framing to isolate which impacts matter.
2- Look through independent voters/arguments that attempt to uplayer the framing
3- Find Offense with warrants/full articulated arguments under the framing
4- (Take into account turns to see which way the offense flows)
5- Weighing between arguments, conceded arguments have full weight and often therefore outweigh, weighing arguments defense etc come in here.
6- If I can’t evaluate the debate on the above both debaters messed up and I start to account for implicit clash followed by my preferences/background understanding to fill in the gaps.
Do what you are good at, I’ll adapt to you, more than you should need to adapt to me.
I value framing more than average judge.
In round articulation is important, I’m going to evaluate your evidence how you explain it to me, if you explain it poorly I won’t grant you additional implications that weren’t made explicitly. Similarly don’t attempt to morph implications that weren’t there, every conceded argument in the 1ar is not a potential drop the debater 2ar (unless set up in the 1ar), so if you want me to vote on the 7. On the k it should have an implication in the 1ar.
I won’t vote on new offense in the 2ar and have a low threshold for 2ar responses to new 2nr offense absent circumstances in which I feel I must intervene i.e. slurs.
Risk of Offense>presumption, if your last speech only has defense you will probably lose the round. I will only vote on presumption if it is a major strategy, there is no offense in the round, or the round is a mess/I have no idea what’s going on anymore.
Cards vs Analytics, I value analytics and low author qualification evidence higher than average. I think unless your argument needs scientific evidence, or polling data etc. i.e. whether nuclear winter would cause extinction or whether Trump is predicted to win the 2020 election, it can be analytic. I don’t inherently value cards more than analytics in the way many judges view author qualifications meaning their opinions are somehow more legitimate. You don’t need to find cards to say every thing you want to say, you just need a warranted argument. In most cases analytic = card.
Offense>Defense, but defense matters it helps the weighing debate.
I default Epistemic confidence (aka I only evaluate impacts through the winning framework, not a mix of frameworks) , I have not heard a brightline that makes sense or a way too evaluate epistemic modesty that’s not just use my framework even if I lose, usually I think you would be better off spending your time winning framing or making arguments as to why your offense links under the opponent’s framework than going for epistemic modesty, but hey if you win a good brightline that makes sense I’ll use it.
Applying framing when responding or going for high layer issues i.e. ks, theory, and independent voters is good and makes decisions cleaner.
Weighing is great especially when it goes beyond impacts. Weigh between links and internal links, do evidence analysis and comparison, weigh between layers etc. Weighing clash is often what separates good debaters from great debaters.
People’s understanding of fiat is bad this article explains many of my thoughts https://www.vbriefly.com/2019/12/28/two-dogmas-of-fiat-by-jacob-nails/
Case first because case on top, and I value case more than average. Against an aff with 2 advantages, if the 1ar concedes two carded case turns one for each advantage, and the 2nr does a good job extending and warranting both of them, absent a higher layer I will be voting neg. The aff must win more offense on case then the neg, otherwise I have an easy neg ballot on case.
Specific case is always better.
Pick and choose what to contest well.
Terminal defense is a thing, but risk of offense is compelling when I don’t know the brightline.
Default reasonability, but I prefer Competiting interps, I only default reasonability because debaters who don’t establish paradigm issues usually aren’t reading reasonable interpretations, or generate offense. If you want to win reasonability>competing interps you need a brightline.
Default Drop the argument>Drop the debater
RVIs are winnable but default no RVIs, I never went for RVIs as a debater and ld is getting more and more influence from policy so these seem to be on the outs, but 1AR is short and probably deserves a tool to beat back neg friv theory, if you’re going for this in the 2AR/2NR I think it’s strategic too commit hard and not just throw one in for 10 seconds.
I don’t evaluate intent that can’t be proven one way or another. I default that debaters intend to have good-will and be educational unless proven otherwise.
Paragraph theory – you can do it, it’s not an excuse to not have paradigm issues, I think having an explicit interp can be good for more complicated theory, but like condo bad is condo bad. I also only really think it makes sense in the 1AR, I think 1nc or 2nr should probably use shells, but do what you want.
Collapsing too one standard can sometimes moot most other responses on the theory flow, but sometimes it can’t, especially when debaters read two standards that relie on the same warranting i.e. if we have a condo bad shell with clash and time skew, clash relies on the assumption of time skew that the aff could not have engaged sufficiently in the neg positions, going for clash and assuming responses to time skew don’t apply can be dangerous. Generally I think if you are going for theory pay attention to every response on the flow, because conceding a one line response can often be damning in these debates.
I think condo’s bad I’m probably 60-40 aff on this debate, but also think condo bad theory time skews the neg. I also think both sides of this debate would benefit from innovation.
Default Drop the debater, all other defaults same as theory.
I think some larp affs are more non-t than many k-affs
I find the Limits concerns of Nebel T compelling (like 70-30 neg) and the semantics also flow neg but I don’t value semantics highly.
I don’t want to incentivize debaters learning how to beat back tricks, I don’t think it’s an educational skill
I probably know your literature but explain it to me like I don’t, you can use jargon to refer to concepts that would take hours to explain, but do so at your own risk I recommend being able to win any round without relying on them.
Not a fan of root cause at the impact level, sequencing and prior question type arguments can be compelling when well warranted.
Links of omission can be links, they are the worst type of links but I’ll vote on them, especially if I have a good card or reason why these things are specifically omitted from discussions.
Specific links are good, but having a solid generic link with specific analysis is underrated.
Severence bad is a good arg, I’ll vote on it.
Aff vs the K
Default perms are tests of competition not advocacies, can be persuaded otherwise.
Please give a perm text
Put offense on the k and respond to framing and the k tricks.
Do whatever you want, reject the res or debate if you want or don’t. I mainly defended my affs as whole res general principle, and think those are the most topical versions of these affs.
T-fw vs K affs
Need a text
Not a fan of pics and word pics, but obviously will vote on them.
Trad Debate and Debating vs Trad Debaters:
Trad debate and trad debaters are repeatedly disrespected by circuit debate elitism. Don’t be an elitist prick, most everyone starts out as a trad debater, those who don’t are lucky enough to be exposed via an older sibling or teammate. Circuit debaters should be open and encouraging to trad debaters at circuit tournaments, especially relating to issues like disclosure.
For trad debaters if you pull up to an octos bid in varsity, I expect you to be able to beat opponents who can spread, I will not force circuit debaters to trad debate trad debaters, because that denies the hundreds of hours those debaters spend to develop circuit skills. That’s not to say trad debaters just should take the L, I think trad debaters can win these debates by focusing on their arguments and doing good comparative analysis and making intuitive responses. One of the best substantive debates I had on my Da Bomb psychoanalysis aff was against a traditional debater at Berkeley who made great intuitive analytic responses which were difficult to deal with.
In my own career and as a judge I highly value pushing new arguments, types of debate, and reorienting both the form and content of debate, and reward clever innovative argumentation with higher speaks. This is usually done by performance and kritikal debaters, but this can be new da tricks with politics, or creating new voters on theory shells etc. At the same time, don’t expect me to vote on it because it’s new, please tell me how to evaluate it.
Collapse the debate to 2 flows max, when crossapplying tell me from what flow you are taking the arg and slow down if you want me to catch it well.
Make the most strategic choices, missed opportunities will be punished less than strategic mistakes, but please don’t read shoes theory when the neg is defending condo advocacies, pick better strategies.
Number analytics and name your arguments (i.e. analytic Das)
Having fun and making debate fun for your opponent
Having the email chain ready to go when you enter the round
Lying and rude behavior will reduce your speaks.
Being sketch in cx is a cx strategy, but fumbling or avoiding questions results in worse speaks, good answers increases speaks.
If you are unclear I’ll yell clear twice (maybe more if I’m feeling generous) and then stop flowing if you don’t get clear/slow down. Your speaks won’t be docked initially, they will be docked based on your response. There are degrees to being unclear, some will just result in lower speaks.
More random thoughts
I’m more down with shadow extensions than most, I’m not gonna treat them like full arguments but like if your opponent concedes 3 das that should count for something and you should still collapse to one. You can shadow extend to basically get the offense from the previous speech, I’d vote on it before presumption but it likely won’t factor into my decision.
Personal beef between debaters is better solved out of round, and uncomfortable too evaluate, that being said I’ve been in and seen other debaters in powerless positions regarding top down support and needed to take charge through per’s only medium – debate. As such if there are screenshots etc. of an opponents harassment I’ll drop them and attempt to resolve the matter according to the wishes of the one who experienced the violence i.e. whether that involves a conversation between the two debaters, or me lecturing the debater etc. The Debate community needs to stop ignoring this stuff otherwise it spirals out of control out of sight.
Flex prep is okay, you can ask questions during your prep time, you can also use your cx time for prep but your speaks will probably take a hit.
TLDR: paradigm is mostly the same as LD, but I have explicitly judged, coached, and debated policy, and am aware of the differences, do what you want.
I know you're probably bummed you got an ld judge in the back, but it's not all bad, I unfortunately barely competed in policy at my school because I was the only one interested (therefore I initially did Lincoln Douglas because of the lack of the partner). However I was somewhat involved in the policy debate scene, and most notably attended RKS the Wake Forest Policy Camp and got to quarterfinals at the camp tournament there. Overall I'm going to evaluate these debates as close to policy as I can, but obviously I have some ld influences. You'll find I'm less open to frivilous theory than you may expect and some ld judges are, but have a lower bar for theory then you are probably used too. In general I probably have lower thresholds for warranting than most policy judges, although due to time I expect arguments to be better fleshed out in policy than in ld. Also you can still read traditional philosophy if you want too in front of me like Kant, but I doubt many policy teams will want to have those rounds.
For Public Forum
I'll evaluate these debates using my background, feel free to run progressive arguments in front of me, just don't spread against debaters who can't or try to actively make debate inaccessible. I did Public Forum for my first 2 years so I feel comfortable evaluating the more stock debates as well. Don't start a shouting match in cx or repeatedly cut off womxn.
I have been a local parent judge in 2 events in this school year, I do not prefer spreading. I vote based on mainly on evidence and cross. I also will consider theory in deciding who I vote for. I give more importance to cross as it gives me a chance to know how prepared both sides are.
Add me to the Email Chain: MD16@albion.edu
I debated in high school at CRSJ from 2018-20 through SVUDL. I debate Policy and LD.
I am currently attending Albion College in Michigan.
Currently I am a judge for SVUDL and DUDL. I was given the opportunity to debate from a UDL and I am more then willing to help any UDL students. I understand what it takes coming from a UDL, so I just want everyone to have fun and learn.
Speed: I am fine with speed but please make sure it's clear for me to understand. If I don't understand I will say clear three times and you'll have to hope for the best.
Kritiks: I am fine with Ks but I had limited exposure to Ks themselves. If you chose to run a K that is more complicated or nuanced please do the extra work of explaining it for me, I hate assume things and it might not always work in your favor.
Topicality: If your opponents run something unfair, call it out and run topicality. I will actually listen and it matters, I've had too many parents judges just dismiss it because they just like the other arguments my opponents where making.
Theory: Please make it clear and reasonable. It may be better to have a doc sent out as it would be easier for me to follow. I will probably vote on Education, access, or fairness. Sometimes you don't have the same opportunities so I just want everything to be fair for everyone. Now, I personally don't like frivolous theory but if you chose to run it I will do my best to put my bias aside.
CP: Okay Okay... my favorite cp of all time is the Canada counter-plan. My friends ran the Wakanda counter-plan on the 2019-20 topic and I always loved how passionate they were about it and how they knew every aspect about it. They put a lot of work into it and it helped our whole team understand it and to get a new perspective on it every time.
CX: I am fine with tag-team CX. I don't usually flow CX, if it's a definition then I'd probably write it down. When the time runs out, please wrap it up and be respectful to your opponents. If your opponent doesn't answer your question, call it out.
DA: I am fine with anything, make sure it makes sense. I would rather you run 2-3 solid DAs then 6 or 7 and then drop them.
If you made it this far then yess, this might help you see what I might like and probably will vote on.
Please Please Please make sure if you are running anything that is as clear as possible, I don't want to assume things because you work hard on your cases and if I have to assume something it might not help you.
I want a good informative debate, I want everyone to learn something new and have a good time. Everyone has a different perspective on the world and everyone's voice is valid. Do not discriminate against anyone, debate should be inclusive and accessible to everyone. With that if there is discrimination in the round I will take it to tab, I will definitely will not stand for racism or Ablism, everyone matter and every voice is important. Do not make something up too, that is just abusive and hurts every community.
My favorite Ks of all time is Anzaldua and Afro-futurism, learning these two really helped my debate team really grow and helped us understand our place in the world. I am chicano so Anzaldua hit on a personal note. I really care that everyone is represented in debate and if your argument are about structural issues then this space is for you because if we are educated then we can find solutions.
70 year old parent judge. I have extensive judging experience on the local circuit in Dallas, however our tournaments are not on tabroom so you cannot see my judging record. This will be my first time judging on the national circuit. I tried to format this like I saw other judges at the Mid America Cup doing it.
1 - Traditional
Strike - Anything else
- I am nearly deaf in both ears, so please make sure to speak loudly. For zoom tournaments I can turn your volume up locally however if we return to in-person tournaments I need both debaters to be loud and clear. I strongly dislike speed and will hold it against you if I cannot understand you. I would put my flowing at around a 2/10.
- Debate is a communication activity and it is your job to communicate with me. I value clarity and effective communication in speaking. My flow will not be super comprehensive, so I am bad for technical debates. If your goal is to overwhelm your opponent by talking quickly, strike me.
- Plans are okay, I will also understand a counter-plan however I will likely not evaluate these the way most judges on the circuit would want you to. I would rather listen to a good debate about the Affirmative instead of something else. Disads are good. Critiques and Theories are a no - I do not understand these and probably won't.
- Please have a value and criterion. I think this is the best way to debate in front of me and I will understand it the most.
- Clear voters at the end of the debate will always be a plus. It makes it easy for me to judge.
tl;dr - "negative terrorist, but very amenable to aff counterterror", primarily K coach who secretly likes policy stuff a whole lot. technical, but not to the point of stupidity. reasonably adept judging everything, would prefer an in-depth K v K or counterplan/DA/impact turn debate, but I accept the nightmare of clash debates as penance for the sin of debate centrism. likes lots of evidence, likes lots of explanation, dislikes stupidity hiding behind abstractions and posturing. yes, you can read a planless aff, and yes, you can read framework. very expressive, generally grumpy about everything, but don't take it personally. if you can't be funny without being a dick, you aren't funny. please be funny. less posturing, more arguing. Please don't call me "judge", "Mr.", or "sir", pat or p.fox is fine.
the top-level stuff
Policy debate: University of Houston and Dulles HS (formerly Westside HS). LD debate: all over the place.
More robust debate CV here.
email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
Format subject lines for email chains be "Tournament Round - Aff Entry vs Neg Entry" (e.g: "NDT 2019 Octos - Wake EF vs Bing AY")
I have hearing damage in my left ear, so try and position yourself to my right. I also sometimes get sensory overload, so I close my eyes during speeches/put my head down during prep - I promise I'm not sleeping, I can literally flow with my eyes closed.
Debate is a competitive activity centered around research and persuasion. I adjudicate the competitive aspect and enable progression of students in research and persuasion.
The safety of students is my utmost concern above the content of any debate. This is the only way you, as a debater, can genuinely make me mad. Avoid it for both our sakes. Racism, sexism, transphobia, etc. will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and I am more willing to act on this than most judges - I have literally stopped flowing and submitted my ballot in the middle of a 1AR before because I couldn't justify letting the debate play out "impartially", and I will lose no sleep over doing it again.
Two teams are the only entities taking part in the debate. I will decide the debate based on arguments made within tournament set speech and prep times, and will submit a decision with one winner and loser or possibly a double-loss.
You are high school students, so I do not want to see or perceive anything NSFW. PG-13 is your upper limit.
If you try and tell me that anything outside of this is "binding" on my "jurisdiction" as a judge, you are incorrect. Furthermore, I will resent you telling me how to do my job.
Condo is good, RVIs are bad. I put this in the non-negotiables section because they are far and away the convictions I will have the hardest time to be dissuaded of.
I try to be a good judge for any content-heavy strategy, and I find the best rounds to be small debates over a central controversy and driven by research. I know many judges say they have no ideological investment , but have only ever lived on one half of the weird K/cheaty counterplans dualism - I have gone for and coached both. I personally enjoy T throwdowns, impact turns and a CP/DA, framework vs K aff, policy vs K and rev v rev rounds equally, and I have no qualms judging any of them. This being said, I care above everything else that whatever you do, you defend it (and if it's indefensible, don't do it).
For what it's worth, historically I am probably a bit higher preferred by K teams than policy teams, but my voting record in clash debates was always pretty even, and I find that in the last year or so the gap seems to have narrowed. I used to say I had more practice judging K v policy and K v K rounds than policy/policy rounds - I no longer think this is true, given my judging record as of late. LD phil people - I judge less of your stuff these days, but once upon a time I was thought to be pretty decent for it.
I'm very expressive. Comically so, in fact. I shake my head and scowl at arguments I dislike (I do this with condo a lot), I grin and nod when I think you're doing the right thing, I make eye contact and raise my eyebrows if I am confused, and I will chuckle if you make reference to any of these reactions in the speech, which I am fine with, if not actively encouraging of - I think if you have a read on me, it makes judge instruction easier, which makes everything better.
I worked with JD Sanford and Aimun Khan in high school, and work with Richard Garner (whom I am ideologically aligned with most of anyone), James Allan, Rob Glass, and Michael Wimsatt in college. I like debating in front of David Kilpatrick, Alex McVey, Phillip DiPiazza, Devane Murphy, Reed van Schenck, Jesse Smith, Doug Husic, and DML. Some former students and/or close friends of mine are Dylan Jones, Z Clough, Townes Schultz, Elliott Cook, Ali Abdulla, Holden Bukowsky, and Avery Wilson. I have debated in college with Gabby Lea and Brett Cryan. I have worked extensively with Eric Schwertfeger the past few years. There is probably some overlap between me and all these people as a judge.
2022-23 Hall of Fame: Favorite debaters I have judged this year are Sam Church, Wyeth Renwick, Elizabeth Elliott, Justin Wen, and Neil Choudhary. Debate like them and I will probably enjoy judging you too.
I find most judge paradigms unhelpful, because they’re almost all some variant of “Tech over truth, good for anything, mostly read policy stuff/xyz Ks though, I swear I’m smart and cool, I definitely have no biases” which is completely useless to me, a debater, for understanding how you make decisions and what you view as good debating. As such, this paradigm is kinda long. That being said, this paradigm used to be even longer, with many more specific thoughts on specific args - you can find those longer and specific thoughts here, for the purposes of more informed prefs. This includes my thoughts on specific arguments (i.e: the K, counterplans, etc) topic metas, and miscellaneous quirks about my judging habits and procedure.
Stolen from Jake Lee: "You have the doc in front and all you have to do is listen. If I can flow without looking at the doc, you can too!" I am increasingly appalled by the standard of flowing among high school debaters, and aside from asking for a marked doc, questions such as "did you read X card/arg in the doc" are for CX or prep time. If you ask this and you haven't started a timer for one or the other yet, I will start one for you. If you ask "can you send a doc without all the cards you didn't read", the other team does not have to do that, because that is not what a marked doc is. The obvious exception to this is if you have some sort of hearing problem or a similar issue with audio processing that requires accommodation - feel free to tell me if that's the case, and I will enforce those accommodations for you with the same vigor that I forbid them for anyone who doesn't actually need them.
here's what I think is most important to know about me as a judge:
- I judge a lot, schedule allowing - usually ~80 debates a season. This is because of three things:
1. I think judging is a skill, and it is valuable for the community to have a surplus. You can't give a good 2NR if you haven't given a speech in three months, and I can't give a good RFD if I haven't judged all season. Many judges suck because they don't think about judging as something to be practiced and refined, and have never tried to improve. I try to think about this a lot.
2. I think judging is interesting, because I like debate. Knowing what the best teams are going for both helps my own debaters and keeps me awake - the way the activity iterates and (mostly) improves over time, both in content and form, is the fun part.
3. Rent isn't free, and judging pays bills. Interpret all this as you will, but I think you can be confident I am reasonably aware of community norms and have decent experience with the techne of judging, and I most enjoy debates at the bleeding edge of the meta - push boundaries or show me something new, and you'll be rewarded. This being said, I'm an old man at heart, so good renditions of classics also get rewarded. Just focus on executing, and don't be afraid to take risks - I am a big fan of scrappy debating.
- Some judges admit they are not the best flows. I consider myself a very good one. I flow in shorthand on my computer, and I can get down basically every word of all but the very fastest (or most unclear) debaters. It deeply frames how I view the debate, and I do not think there is any real alternative to judge by. My primary reference for the decision I make is what you tell me it is, not what your doc said or how good your cards are. If you want me to pay attention to those things, put it on my flow. Regardless of content or style, I value debaters who are organized and easy to follow - debate like Dartmouth, number args. My ideal speech structure is minimal (if not zero) overview, with arguments answered in the order they were presented in the previous speeches, and explaining the parts of your argument in the context of being responses to your opponents (i.e: putting the link debate on the permutation and explaining it in that context). I am certainly open to adopting alternative models of evaluating the debate beyond technical refutation, but I am loathe to reject it outright without having a pretty good idea what I should do instead beforehand.
- Tech over truth. However, the way debaters have come to conceptualize what that means is an atrocity. I do not think this implies that any dropped assertion, no matter how stupid, becomes true by nature of being dropped - it means that technical execution can overcome the truth of an argument. When claims are equally warranted and impacted out by both sides, tech determines the winner, but unwarranted or non-impacted tech doesn't get you far with me. This also means that in technically close debates, truth often tiebreaks. I am interested in watching you technically execute an argument that you have invested meaningful preparation and strategizing into - many styles and arguments can satisfy this, but some clearly do not. A better way to frame my philosophy here is that the burden of proof precedes the burden of rejoinder - if you have not warranted an argument to justify it's truth, I do not care if it is "dropped", as there was never a full argument to answer. Will happily say "didn't understand this, sucks" in my RFD, even if "technically" won. This is why, while I do apply a very strict standard of organized refutation and keep a very tight flow, I am sometimes persuaded to vote for the team that was being "out-teched" because I find the opposing team to be spamming ink instead of making a comparative response to big thesis claims (this matters a lot in Framework debates I judge, and I find both sides equally often guilty here). To simplify, techy arguments beat non-techy arguments, but techy non-arguments don't beat anything. Be wary of the distinction.
- I think that debate is best when debaters are comparative, and speak in relative risk rather than absolutes. Very few pieces of evidence support as clean cut yes/no conclusions as debaters want them to, and recognizing that will make you much more persuasive. Example: "No China war now, but plan guarantees it - outweighs because zero impact to the prolif scenario" sets a very high threshold for me to vote neg, as you've left no room for anything less than absolute certainty at the uniqueness and link level, as well as perfect case defense. By contrast, "likelihood of US-China escalation is low now even with tensions because disputes are being managed, but the plan is a massive shift towards offensive posturing which incentivizes Xi to retaliate, which would draw in the US and allies because we have too much to lose - it's significantly higher risk than the case because multiple external factors check escalation from prolif, but their ev only assumes worst-case scenarios" is certainly a longer argument, but still probably a lot truer, and leaves more leeway for me to conclude in your favor even if I have some doubts. I think debaters are almost never winning anything as decisively as they think they are, and so couching 2N/AR offense in this frame (i.e: "even if" statements) helps a lot.
- Many judges give atrocious RFDs. I try not to. I'm definitely long-winded, but being thorough and going through every moving part of the debate is better than a 2 sentence non-decision that hand-waves details. I ask myself what would be most confusing about losing if I was the 2A/2N, and try to answer that question in advance. The best way to make my decision sound like the one in your head is to tell me what it should be - please take this literally, as I coach my debaters to start the 2N/AR off with "your RFD is..." Judge instruction is an essential skill that is nonetheless deeply lacking from many debates.
- I am deeply unsympathetic to strategies that attempt to avoid clash/engagement, and my threshold for answering patent nonsense is low. You know who you are and you know what this means. Debate is valuable because it encourages content mastery, and I am most impressed by debaters who can show me they've done their homework. That means that I find arguments that attempt to circumvent this pretty clearly less valuable from a pedagogical standpoint, and as such I will be loathe to reward such strategies with the ballot - the stupider or more in bad faith your argument is, the harder I will look for an excuse to not vote for it, and therefore the lower my threshold for answering it will be.
Barring connection issues, I have my camera on at all times during speeches and CX. I will turn my camera off after the 2AR while making my decision and turn it back on once I'm in. You don't have to have your camera on and don't have to ask me to turn it on/off. I'm okay with being recorded if (and only if) everyone else in the room is also okay with it.
COVID things: I am vaccinated and boosted. If anyone else in the room is wearing a mask, I will also be wearing a mask. If the tournament has a mask mandate, I will be following it. If anyone asks me to put on a mask, I will put on a mask. I will hold all of you to the same standards. If you do not have a mask, I will have extra. If you refuse to abide by these very simple and reasonable standards, I will happily give you an L25.
I like music and will listen to it during prep time. I enjoy most music (I almost went to school for jazz composition, and regularly listen to hip hop, punk, blues, and metal, as well as lots in between). Any debater can suggest a song for me to listen to during prep, and if I like it, I will bump everyone's speaks by 0.1 (there's no penalty if I decide I dislike it, I promise).
Speaks start at 28.5 for a team I'd expect to go 3-3. I try and keep it relative to the pool - a 30 at TFA State is easier to get than a 30 at GBX (although I don't give out many 30s). Below 28 and I think you are legitimately in the wrong division i.e: you should go mess around in JV for a bit, below 27.5 and you have done something profoundly bad. I tend to reward organized speeches, smart and gutsy strategic choices, and debating with character. Not a big believer in low-point wins - if the 2NR makes a stupendously dumb decision, but the 2AR doesn't effectively capitalize on it and loses anyways, why wouldn't I punish the 2AR harder for fumbling the bag harder?
Debate should be a safe space for everyone. Respect pronouns, respect people's personhood, etc.
A casual approach is welcome and appreciated. I'm a wacky guy at heart. Mess around a bit. Have some fun. Its the weekend. Show me you wanna be here.
I will make minimal eye contact during any given debate. It's not you, it's my autism.
I decide most debates very fast, even in close rounds. Don't take it personally.
Yao-Yao: "I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck." You work hard to debate, and I promise I will work hard to judge you and give a decision that respects the worth of that.
Big DC comics nerd. Favorite heroes are Green Lantern and Red Hood (and Batman, obviously). References always welcome, may be rewarded with speaks. Marvel movie jokes will get speaks penalized though.
Good luck, and see you in round!
1. Be nice and respectful. If you are highly offensive or disrespectful, I reserve the right to vote you down.
2. Speed is fine, but be clear and slow down in rebuttals. If you go top speed in rebuttals, I will miss arguments.
3. I prefer interesting and creative arguments. I will usually prefer truth over tech and decide on the most cohesive weighed argument. If I don't clearly understand, I don't vote. Tell me how to vote please.
4. If you do what makes you comfortable and throw a voter on it, you'll be fine.
Lately, I have not received my flowers from the debate community for my exemplary judging. As a result, I will be starting the All-Pro Panel. All-Pro Panel distinctions will be given to the best judges throughout the debate community. This year, I will be determining the honorees. In the future, we should have more voters in the pool. Now to the good stuff.
It is with great honor I would like to present the 2020 All-Pro Panels.
Rafael Acosta [REDACTED]
Rob Glass (he lives on tabroom.com)
Obinna Dennar [REDACTED]
George Lee (judging while lowkey tiktok famous)
Rafael Acosta (explained above)
Honorable Mentions (in the future this might be Third Panel)
Chris Castillo (voter fatigue)
Eric Emerson (most sits)
Jason Courville (voter bias)
Back in my day, I beat Abby Chapman (one of the best debaters of my generation) three times in a row. I'm serious business, kid.
Hello debate community,
I am sorry for my unbecoming comments posted above. Debaters should never gloat over victories. The truth is Abby Chapman has always been a sore spot for me. Abby Chapman ended my middle school debate career on a 2-1 decision (Jacob Nail's sat) at the Middle School national tournament. Seriously, I cried for two hours. My young heart was broken and my dreams shattered. Abby, I would like to extend a public apology for my rude comments posted above.
Some rounds I am the best judge at the tournament (rarely) sometimes I am the worst (often). hahahha kiddinngg or am I?
I do judge a lot, so I can usually give an rfd that would bring a tear to the eye of Shakespeare's modern reincarnation. This tear would christen their greatest most profound literature bending-binding-changing work, but I am not too special.
I will vote on anything that is justified as a ballot winning position.
My flow is poor. The faster you go the more arguments I will miss. I am truth over tech.
I subconsciously presume towards unique arguments/funny, nice, and/or like-able people. This doesn't mean you will win, but if the round becomes unadjudicatable more often than not I'll decide your way.
I don't believe in speaker points.
If you are oppressive, I reserve the right to not vote for you.
Please keep me entertained I have severe ADHD.
Please make jokes. I find terrible dad humor jokes that fall flat to be the funniest.
I have no debate competition experience, but I do regularly speak in my profession. I have experience with positioning an argument on both the pitch and receive side, and thus will recognize a strong, fact based and well supported argument.
General Expectations and Things for You to Consider
1. Do expect me to value appropriate appearance, being on-time and being respectful of all participants.
2. Do expect me to follow the tournament rules.
- If you miss a requirement, I will deduct the appropriate score regardless of how well you performed.
3. Do expect me to keep notes.
- Please do not assume I am not listening or disinterested if I am looking at my pad writing. This also means I may miss something if you rush through your points quickly.
4. Do expect I may lack foundational knowledge of the debate topic.
- If you are building a position based on an assumption of topic knowledge, the point may be missed. Explain your key points fully and give me the "why" it matters for your position.
5. Do expect me to not place any value on positions just because they may be popular belief.
- For example, "Everyone knows kids between 13 and 15 want to listen to Pop Music".
6. Consider your voice.
- Speak loud enough to be clearly heard without reaching shouting level. Watch your tone...if you are overly flat and have zero inflection on important points, I may miss them.
7. Consider your flow.
- Signpost or signal your key points within the framework so I clearly understand your argument key points and rules fulfilment. Do this as part of your natural flow and avoid awkwardly chopping up your argument. If you read the majority of your argument, you will not flow well and hence, not score well.
8. Consider your non verbals.
- Posture, confidence, eye contact with me and overall energy of you wanting to be in the room matter.
9. Consider your factual evidence.
- I will follow the framework of the Debate Forum, but if I believe any evidence put forth is actually an opinion presented as a fact, it will not be received well. If I believe evidence put forth as a fact is deceitful, I may challenge it in my review.
10. Consider your emotions.
- Passion is great and encouraged, but if your approach is to convince me primarily through an emotional plea, you will not score well.
11. Consider professional over slang or casual communication
- Humor may be your style, which is fine, but deliberate use of puns or silliness as a strategy will not score well.
12. Consider your personal politics to be kept to yourself unless it is relevant to the topic.
I am pretty much open to any argument that falls within the boundaries of the event that you are competing in. I will not use bias in the decisions that I make, so anything that can logically be explained and defended will show up on the flow. I am not picky regarding the way that you speak, I will flow whatever I can–although if it is hard to understand it may reflect in the speaker points.
I like for things to be explained and extended–I am not going to do the work for you. As such, I am going to leave the decision I have to make as a judge up to the round itself, whatever can be extended and defended will get the win. Framework is very important to me as a judge, I like to see a lot of clash in the round itself. I will take off speaker points if someone is rude/unprofessional. Essentially, I just expect that people present the information they want me to flow and I will not extend/drop arguments for you.
I am ~5 years removed from debate and I did LD for most of my high school career. I used to read a lot of Kritiks, but as a judge, I don't prefer any particular type of argument over another.
Speed is fine. Just be clear on tags, author names, and any warrants in the cards you want me to focus on. Please do lots of weighing, it makes my job easier.
Even if its a lit base I'm familiar with, I would like you to explain your positions just as well as you would to someone who isn't as well versed in the position. I am pretty rusty.
I'm not really good at evaluating theory, but I will listen if you slow down and have a very clear ballot story.
If there is a massive skill gap between you and your opponent and you completely steamroll them in a way that is not conducive to their education (ex: you read 5 off @ 400 wpm vs. a traditional debater who doesn't use cards), expect lower speaks.
I was a high school debater and am now a junior Political Science major at Rhodes College. I'm pretty flexible about what you run in front of me as long as it is written well.
If you have questions about it feel free to ask me point blank before round I will not be offended. I would seriously rather you ask me very abrupt questions then you ask me something cryptic and we misunderstand each other and then the round isn't judged the way you want it to go.
Framing is literally so important. YOU get to decide how the round is judged if you so choose. Anything you run should have AT LEAST a sentence or two about how to frame the round (ex: "This round should be judged based on breaks down cap the best, etc.). If you get questions/arguments about how to frame the round, you should be prepared for it. If you do not give me a way to judge the round, then I have to make one up, and that sucks for everyone.
If there is only one framing mechanism presented in the round, I will default to that.
Speed- Spreading is fine, but be clear. I'll say clear 2x, but after that if I cannot understand you I'll stop flowing. I do generally prefer you either flash/email me your cases if you are going to spread because it makes both of our lives easier.
LARP Debate- Cool.
K's- I freaking LOVE a well run K. Make sure you understand the philosophy you're running though, at least well enough to cover anything that might be asked in the round.
Easiest way to my heart is anti-cap lit.
Traditional- Trad is like, super boring, but its fine to run. Imo this has the highest standard of execution because you as a debater don't really have anything to hide behind, so when its bad it is BAD.
Racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, etc. comments= loss 20; being respectful is cool and stuff.
If you're running against a debater who clearly has less experience than you and maybe does not understand what you're doing, you should not be hammering that home to me or being rude/condescending towards them, be respectful, teach them something, don't be a jerk.
If you have any more specific questions feel free to ask me before round/if you see me.
email: email@example.com (for email chains, questions, etc.)
updated Dec 2020
I have been a parent judge for two years and am familiar with LD to an extent. I view debate as the ultimate game of strategy and persuasion. Creativity is encouraged. Regardless of whatever argument you're going to run, it ought to be run clearly. Ks and Theory need to be explained thoroughly. If I can’t follow you, I won’t vote on them.
Speed is okay, but if you’re spreading, I would like to be on the email chain. However, If you do spread, it will impact your speaker points. Debate is about communication. The more effectively you communicate, the higher your speaks will be.
I am tech over truth. I evaluate strictly on what is presented in the round. I will inevitably have to choose one argument over the other but I will base those interpretations on warrants and analysis presented in the round—not outside information.
If you want me to vote on a certain argument, it should be explained in a clear manner and your impacts should be extended. Weighing your argument and impacts against your opponent's argument and impacts will make your path to the ballot easier. I will try not to intervene, but please weigh arguments comparatively to make my job easier as a judge. If not, I will have to decide which arguments are more important.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.
Updated for Glenbrooks :)
Email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about this paradigm. Please at least read the tl;dr and the section about online debate.
I did LD for 4 years in high school on various circuits, and for various schools, including as an independent. I graduated in 2015. I also competed in policy at the University of North Texas. I coached a few students to TOC quals and bid tournament wins as a first and second year-out, and have judged at the TOC, NSDA Nationals, late outrounds of quite a few bid tourneys and round robins, and soooo many locals. I'm not coaching anyone this semester so I am not actively engaged with the lit. Don't assume I know your authors bc I probably don't.
Also, I judged during a time when joyoftournaments was still more popular than tabroom, so a lot of my judging history isn't listed here. If you are someone who cares to know, in general I think I've voted affirmative slightly more than negative (probably a 55-45 split), and you can totally read that against aff side bias arguments if you're negative in front of me. This is not to say I hack for the 2A, I've just seen a lot of 2N's go for wayyyy too much only to be immediately followed by a well-consolidated 2A that collapses to something winnable.
tl;dr Debate however you're comfortable. I have run, coached, and/or answered virtually every type of argument. It's not my job as the judge to tell you how I think you should go for the ballot. I will vote for any type of argument, at any speed. You must give a trigger warning if you're going to discuss a sensitive topic. If you're not sure if it needs one, err on the side of caution. In general, as the affirmative, you need to establish an evaluative mechanism for the round, and generate offense under it. Whatever that looks like to you is fine with me; from the simplest V/C structure to the wildest performance 1AC, I'm down for it. I prefer the affirmative to discuss the topic in some way, but that's not necessarily a hard requirement. The negative just needs to be winning a reason why I shouldn't vote aff (absent a theoretical reason why the neg needs to read an advocacy text/presumption args or whatever the kool kidz are doing these days). A lot of my preferences are just that: preferences. There aren't a lot of ways to get auto-downed by me, and the exceptions are outlined below. Have fun and be kind! Here's some more elaborate thoughts on debate if you care:
Good debate starts with good research. Cheesy but true. You should feel confident walking into the round that you know more than anyone else in the room about the topic. Getting caught off guard is no fun. Being able to make awesome, carded, responsive arguments on the fly because you know your stuff is super fun. And a super topic-centric, contentious round is far more fun to judge than a super generic one. Choose wisely. If I feel like you know a ton about the topic you're discussing (ie you explain it super well, don't have to constantly refer to evidence or quote it to explain warrants, etc), your speaks will be really high.
In general, I think that most contemporary structures of power are bad. I read a lot of critical arguments as a debater and coached even more of them. This is not to say I won't adopt a policymaking lens if that's where the round goes or you justify my role as a judge as such. If that's your A strat please full send, it's not going to impact my voting or your speaks. If you read util I generally prefer that you have a plantext with a policy advocate. Under any framing mechanism, I still prefer the affirmative to defend a specific advocacy text, even if it's just "do the res". I have a distaste for super broad, "do the res" style plan-affs in util debates. I don't like Nebel T and I think it's bad for debate. No I don't want to hear you shouting about "bare plurals" through two rebuttals, read better T or do better prep. I like Plan v CP debates, especially involving really strategic PIC's, and plan v. k debates a lot. Perm: do both is not a real argument absent actual justifications/net benefits, even if perms are a test of competition. If you perm a disad you lose 2 speaks. If you're reading policy args in general I expect the components to be there; I have a lot of policy experience and I will know if you're bullshitting and just dropping jargon.
I feel like this goes without saying, but arguments in bad taste or that justify bad things (racism good, genocide good), or use of rhetoric that I feel violates the safety of others (hate speech, slurs, sexism, etc), will cause me to immediately stop the round and have a serious, coach-involved discussion after I vote you down with 0 speaks. Rhetoric matters. No one has ever put me in this position; please do not be the first. I'm not talking about things like triggering skep or other strategic decisions, which can be morally questionable but also strategic if used correctly; I don't think anything in that regard de facto justifies atrocity. But if your opponent goes for that argument and wins a link (ex. your arg justifies atrocities), it will be a voting issue independent of FW. Racism, sexism, ableism, etc are intrinsically bad, and as an educator, I could not justifiably vote for a position that is determined in-round to be oppressive. I still need you to weigh and win a VERY clear link story if this is the argument you're going for. Read this article by the legendary Chris Vincent if any of this is unclear (I'm sure you've already read the Vincent 13 evidence but the whole article is really good and applicable here)
Be clear and concise. I'll say clear as many times as I have to. I don't think it's fair of me as a judge to stop trying to understand you just because I'm having to work a little harder at it. However, you're liable for anything I don't get the first time. If you're trying to extend an argument in the 1AR and I have no idea what you're talking about because the 1AC was 6 minutes of garbled tags and authors, that's on you. The speech doc will not save you in this regard; I'm only going to open it during CX to follow along and potentially after the round if I need to review evidence. I feel like I've developed a pretty fair briteline over time for how clear and expounded upon I require an argument to be in order for me to vote on it.
However, being clear and concise doesn't just apply to spreading. Word economy and time allocation are super important. One of the biggest pitfalls plaguing debaters is reiterating the same argument 10 different times, at various points during their rebuttal, simply to make sure that the judge understands how key of a voting issue it is. Please don't do this. You'll be amazed at how much more time you have in your rebuttal if you weigh and do argument interaction concisely, while telling a good ballot story. Organization is crucial; consistently good debaters are not sloppy.
Please weigh. Please. If you don't I have to do it for you, and nobody likes judge intervention. Avoid that situation entirely and do good weighing.
Please stop reading pre-written overviews in front of me. Your speaks will suffer. I have not judged a single round this year where the rebuttal overviews did any work whatsoever. If you tell a good ballot story an overview is not necessary. It literally is a waste of your time and it irritates me. A short overview at the end of your rebuttal is fine (ie explain how I'm voting and why after you've gone for substance) but why would you do it before I'm just confused tbh.
Speaker points: You'll start at a 28, and move in increments of .1. Speaks are obviously pretty subjective, and I tried not to read too far into them as a debater. Good strategic decisions, conciseness, clarity, and confidence are all important to me. Pretty much everything I discuss here will affect your speaks. I don't think I've ever given a 30 at a bid tournament, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. I have given a few out at locals for extremely impressive performances. At a bid tournament, 28.5 or above generally means I think you deserve a shot to break, above a ~29 means I think you deserve a speaker award too. If the maximum increment set by the tournament is .5, I will round up and let you know that in the RFD.
Do not be mean to less skilled debaters. If there is a clear skill gap in the round, and you're a total dick, spread them out of the room, intentionally make super complex args that they cannot engage with (basically doing anything to exclude them from even participating in the round in any way), you'll get the win but I will bomb your speaks. Debate should be inclusive, fun, and educational for everyone. Nothing is more demoralizing than getting dunked on while you have no idea what's happening. The flip side of this is that being kind, educational, helpful, mature, and still decisively winning a round against a significantly less skilled debater/novice will be a quick W30 from me, even at a bid tournament. We have to prioritize fostering an atmosphere in this community that will make people want to stay and get better, not quit. Relatedly, if your opponent asks you not to spread, and you do it anyway, I'm not going to vote for you. I don't care what their reason is. If you ask your opponent not to spread and then get up and spread the 1NC (why would you even try this lmao), I'm going to down you too. It's mean and probably cheating.
Theory Specific Stuff: I default to competing interps, no RVI's, drop the arg. I ran a lot of theory in high school. Although my views on the subject have changed significantly since then, I understand that theory is an important part of debate strategy, and I will vote for pretty much any theory arg. I will not vote for "wifi bad", "shoe theory" (what the fuck is this), or really any shell that isn't about something that happened in-round. I generally think shells should be structured Interp-->Violation-->Standards-->Voters-->Implications (drop the arg v. debater). Justify why you should get an RVI if you're going for one. My threshold is pretty low on CI/I meet's for the 1A and 2A; the negative needs to do a lot more work to prove why the aff shouldn't get an RVI than the aff needs to prove why they should. I feel like this offsets the time burden placed on the aff should the neg choose to go theory-heavy in the 1N and 2N, but again, you've still gotta win why the RVI is a voting issue in both the 1A and 2A. I despise messy theory debates so pls don't be that person. I am okay with theory preempt-heavy 1AC's, however:
Tricks: I ran a few egregious tricks AC's in my day. Not my cup of tea anymore, but I understand that they can be fun to run from time to time, especially if both debaters can throw down. I also believe that being able to answer them makes you a much better debater. If you're going to read stuff like this, don't be shady. I expect you to number, or signpost in some way, every single spike in the 1AC. I will bomb your speaks if your strategy involves your opponent missing a tiny blip that you blazed through in the first speech, and if they missed it, it's probable that I did too. That is not good tricks debate.
Do not clip cards. It's easy to do it by accident, but I will hold you accountable regardless. If you're not 100% sure what I mean, https://the3nr.com/2014/08/20/how-to-never-clip-cards-a-guide-for-debaters/
If you follow those guidelines, you should not have any issues with clipping.
CX is binding. I don't usually flow or take general notes during CX but I pay close attention. Flex prep is fine, but you may not use CX time as prep time. Any questions asked and answered doing prep will also be binding. You must answer any question asked in CX, and if you and your opponent agree that flex prep is cool, any that they ask you during prep as well. If you are not okay with flex prep, please make that clear before the round begins.
The case that you send in the email chain must be formatted identically to the one you're ready out loud. Same font size, highlights, stylization, everything. Don't be that person that sends their case in all caps or with the cards uncut or all highlighted or whatever. That's not cool and if you need to do that to get a leg up you're probably not very good at debate.
I think disclosure is a good norm. I obviously can't require you to do this, but I am pretty persuaded by disclosure theory as a result.
Time yourself and your opponent. This is something I shouldn't have to say, but apparently it's becoming more of an issue. I'm not going to have a timer. Time prep and tell me how much you have left, and write it down yourself too. If you ask me "how much prep do I have left?", I'm going to take a speaker point away.
You must flow. Again, something I shouldn't have to say. Reading off the speech doc doesn't count. If you don't flow, I'm going to assume you're bad at debate, and I'm probably not going to be very impressed with what you have to say, unless you're a literal human computer who can remember everything and generate perfect responses. Which you're not. So flow please.
You should compile your speech doc during prep. I don't count flashing/emailing as prep but please do not abuse this; if it takes you longer than 20-30 seconds to get it done, I'm going to assume you're stealing prep and I'm going to remove the excess from your remaining prep time, or dock your speaks if you have no prep left.
Online debate-specific stuff:
a.) You MUST make local recordings of your speeches as you give them in the round. If you or I or your opponent drops off the call, please complete the speech without stopping, and immediately email the copy in the email chain. Failure to do this will result in any missed arguments not being considered. After reviewing community discussions on this issue, this seems like the best norm going forward.
b.) Pls don't steal prep, I don't think this has been an issue so far this year so please don't be the first.
c.) DO NOT GO FULL SPEED YOU WILL PROBABLY LOSE!!!! Go 70% of your top speed max. Spreading is HARD to follow online. I'm tired of flowing off speech docs, if I miss an argument completely I literally will not even flow the extension and that's on you. Also, I often mishear/misspell the author names, and sometimes I'm wayyyy off, so it would behoove you to say "extend [warrant]" as opposed to "extend [author name]." This is a good habit to get into regardless, some judges don't even flow author names and it's usually more convincing if you don't need to tell me the name of the card for me to know what you're talking about.
d.) Email chains are required, if you're flight B please set it up before the round. Yes I would like to be added, my email address is at the top.
e.) Try to find a way to see both me and your opponent during speeches. Body language is important, and I'm pretty expressive as a judge, so you'll probably want to see me while you're reading to keep your finger on the pulse relative to my receptiveness to your args.
f.) I will allow debaters to tell each other "clear" or "slow" (please do not abuse this) during speeches. Other than that please make sure your mic is muted while your opponent is giving a speech.
If you have any questions for me before the round, please don't be shy. I try to be as approachable as possible at tournaments, so if you have any questions about the decision or things you could've done better, please ask as many questions as necessary after the round or in the downtime between rounds. This is a weird time in life for everyone, and we're all having to adjust in our own way. If you're ever feeling down, struggling, or need to talk, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or at least some responsible adult at the tournament. Debate can be stressful, and life is stressful enough right now as is. You should always feel safe and cared for in the debate community, and if you don't, please speak up; there are always people listening. Good luck, and most importantly, have fun!
EMAIL CHAIN: email@example.com
Please do not call me judge - Henderson - no Mr/Ms just Henderson. This is what I am most comfortable with.
Please share speech docs with me, your opponent in a timely manner. If it get long, your speaks drop. I've been saying for a couple years now that I cannot physical handle the top debaters speed any longer. I will not backflow or flow from doc. This is an oral activity so adjust. I am very expressive in round and you should have no issue discerning if I am with you or not. For me it is definitely that my pen times needs more time, so look periodically and you should be fine.
The older I get the more triggered I find I am when someone spreads unnecessarily. If you using speed to increase clash - awesome! If you are using it outspread your opponent then I am not your ideal judge. I can understand for the AC but I think a pre-round conversation with your opponent is both helpful and something as a community we should attempt to do at all time.
If you do not adjust or adapt accordingly I will give you the lowest speech possible. If this is a local, I am likely to vote against you - TOC/State - you will likely get the ballot but again lowest speaks possible.
I am an educator first. This means that I am concerned about the what happens in the debate more than I do about what the debate claims to achieve. This does not lessen my focus on argumentation, rather it is to say that I am sensitive to the issues that concern the debaters as individuals before I am my concern about various claimed link stories. Be honest, fair and considerate to each other. This manifests itself in my judging when I pay particular attention to the division of prep time. Debater who try to steal prep or are not considerate of their opponents prep will irritate me quickly (read: very bad speaks).
This is a common question given I tend to be critical on points. Basically, If you deserve to break then you should be getting no less than a 28.5. Speaker points are about speaking up to the point that I can understand your spread/read. Beyond that there are mostly about argumentation. Argumentation includes strategy, crystallization, and structuring of speeches. If you have a creative strat you will do well. If you are reading generics you will do less well. If you tell a full story on the implication of your strat you will do well. If I have to read cards to figure out what you are advocating you will not. If you collapse well and convene the method and meaning of your approach you will do well. If you go for everything (neg) or a small trick you will not. Finally, if you ask specific questions about how I might feel about your strat you will do well. If you ask, "What's your paradigm?" because you did not take the time to look you will not. Previously, I had a no speaker point disclosure rule. I have changed. So ask, if you care to talk about why; not if you do not want to discuss the reasoning, but only want the number.
I truly like a good theory debate. I went for T often as a debater and typically ran quasi topical cases so that I could engage in theory debates. This being said, what you read should be related to the topic. If the words of the topic do not occur in what you read you are in an uphill battle, unless you have a true justification as to why. I am very persuaded that we should learn about certain topics outside of the debate topic, but that just means you should create a forum or propose a topic to the NSDA, or create a book club. Typical theory questions: Reasonability is defense, competing interps are offense. Some spec is generally encouraged to increase clash and more nuance, too much should be debated. Disclosure theory is not very persuasive too me, unless debated very well and should only be used after you sought to have an actual conversation with your opponent prior to the debate. I am very persuaded by contact info at national tournaments - put up contact info and any accomodations you need - it makes for a safer space.
I was a policy debater, so disads and counterplans are perfectly acceptable and generally denote good strat (read: better speaks). This does not means a solid NC is not just as acceptable, but an NC that you read every debate for every case that does not offer real clash or nuance will make me want to take a nap. PIC are debatable, but I default to say they are acceptable. Utopian fiat is generally not without a clear method story. Politics disad seem mostly silly in LD without an explicit agent announcement by the AC. If you do not read a perm against a counterplan I will be very confused (read: bad speaks). If you do not read uniqueness then your link turns are just defense.
A kritik is a disad with a counterplan, typically to me. This means I should understand the link, the impact and the alternative as much as I would if you read a disad and counterplan. I vote against kritik most often because I have no idea what the alt does. This happens when the aff fails to engage and you think that you now just need to extend tags on the alt and assume that is enough. I need a clear picture of the link and the alt most importantly regardless of how much the aff has engaged or not. Gut check is a real thing. If your kritik is death good, skep, determinism you are working uphill. If you are reading "high theory" know that I have not read the literature, but I will do my best. In the 1890s, when I debated, I was really into Cap and Gender based positions. My debaters like Deleuze and Cap (probably my influence, if I possession such).
If you are trying to convince me that what you are doing matters and can change people in some way I really need to know how. If your claim is simply that this method is more approachable, well that is generally not true to me and given there is only audiences beyond me in elim.s you are really working up hill. Access trumps all! If you do not make the method clear you are not doing well. If your method somehow interrogates something, what does it interrogate? how does that change things for us and why is that meaningful? And most important you should be initiating this interrogation in round. Tell me that people outside the debate space should do this is not an interrogation. That is just a plan with a specific mechanism. Pre-fiat claims are fine, but again I need to understand the implication. Telling me that I read gender discrimination arguments and thus that is a pre-fiat voter is not only not persuasive it is not an argument at all. Please know that I truly love a good method debate, I do not enjoy people who present methods that are not explicit and full of nothing but buzzwords.
I really enjoy good framework debate, but I really despise bad framework debate. If you know what a normative ethic is and how to explain it and how to explain your philosophical basis, awesome. If that is uncomfortable language default to larp. Please, avoid cliche descriptors. I like good framework debate but I am not as versed on every philosophy that you might be and there is inevitable coded language within those scholarship fields that might be unfamiliar to me. Most importantly, if you are into phil debating do it well. Bad phil debates are painful to me (read: bad speaks). Finally, a traditional framework should have a value (something awesome) and a value criteria/standard (something to weigh or test the achievement of the value). Values do not have much function, whereas standards/criterion have a significant function and place. These should be far more than a single word or phrase that come with justification.
I have very frustrated feeling about PF as a form of debate. Thus, I see my judging position as one of two things.
If this is a debate event then I will evaluate the requirements of clash and the burden of rejoinder. Arguments must have a claim and warrant as a minimum, otherwise it is just an assertion and equal to any other assertion. If it is an argument then evidence based proof where evidence is read from a qualified sources is ideal. Unqualified but published evidence would follow and a summary of someone's words without reading from them would be equal to you saying it. When any of these presentation of arguments fails to have a warrant in the final focus it would again be an assertion and equal to all other assertions.
If neither debate team adheres to any discernible standard of argumentation then I will evaluate the round as a speaking event similar to extemp. The content of what you say is important in the sense that it should be on face logical and follow basic rules of logic, but equally your poise, vocal variation and rhetorical skills will be considered. To be clear, sharing doc.s would allow me to obviously discern your approach. Beyond this clear discernible moment I will do my best to continue to consider the round in my manners until I reach the point where I realize that both teams are assume that their claims, summaries etc... are equally important as any substantiated evidence read. The team that distinguishes that they are taking one approach and the opponent is not is always best. I will always to default to evaluate the round as debate in these situation as that is were I have the capacity to be a better critic and could provide the best educational feedback.
If you adhering to a debate model as described above these are other notes of clarity.
I’m very resistant to theory debates in Public Forum. However, if you can prove in round abuse and you feel that going for a procedural position is your best path to the ballot I will flow it. Contrary to my paradigm for LD, I default to reasonability in PF.
I think the function of framework is to determine what sort of arguments take precedence when deciding the round. To be clear, a team won’t win the debate exclusively by winning framework, but they can pick up by winning framework and winning a piece of offense that has the best link to the established framework. Absent framework from either side, I default utilitarianism.
Finally Word for All
I am sure this is filled with error, as I am. I am sure this leaves more questions than answers, life has. I will do my best, as like you I care.
Intro / About Me:
Shout out to Westside High and UH - I wouldn't be anywhere without you. <3
Don't be discriminatory. I'm warning you now if you have to ask, "Is this problematic? Don't read it - there are better strategies out there.
Also Important: If you read spreading bad in front of me, I will not hack for you. I can spread and I can flow, but I am disabled and these skills were harder for me to develop than most. Many debaters see this as an opportunity for a persuasive 2ar and 2nr push, don't let this be you. I consider this motivated and ableist.
You're either winning an argument on the flow or you're not. Trivializing my struggles or the struggles of any judge for the ballot is an easy way to get me to despise you.
Debate is a game, but it is an academic game. Tech over truth, but truth constrains tech. You'll have a harder time convincing me global warming is fake than convincing me warming will destroy the planet. If two debaters are equal on a particular flow, truth is the obvious tie breaker.
I will try to intervene as little as possible - I'm old school in that you need to explain things to me like I'm 5 for me to grant you the arguments you want to go for.
I have been in this space for too long. I have zero clue how some old heads have been here for 20+ years. As such, it's becoming much harder to tolerate cringe, posturing, flexing, and generally being an obnoxious debater stereotype. While I will not punish you for it, it will still make me cringe. Be nice to people, there's a difference between being confident and being mean.
I vibe check speaks, I don't know what a 30 looks like, but I can feel it. But that doesn't mean that speaks are arbitrary because my flow checks my vibes. I default to a 28.5 and go higher or lower based on your strategic decisions.
Online debate and its consequences have been a disaster for the debate community. Disclose quickly, don't steal prep. I am growing tired of people that can't manage their files and make a 45-minute round an hour long.
Post UT update: Post rounding is cool and checks against dumb decisions, I frequently make bad decisions and I encourage you ask questions, but do it nicely.
Now for the gross stuff
I love the K. I've read many lit bases.
Know your lit, theorize, and don't neglect the material implications of your literature.
I think generic links are fine, but specific links are always better. Saying that a K link is generic and so I should gut check it is never sufficient - you need to explain why a generic link doesn't apply to your aff.
Don't drop your alt unless you're winning a framework push because dropping the alt means that I have to weigh the aff versus the status quo, and 9 out of 10, you will lose that debate.
I default to weighing the aff against the K or something to that effect. If you wan't me to exclude aff offense, you need to do some heavy work.
Fairness is not a good argument if a K team is winning that your model is problematic, justify policy making and then cry about fairness.
Substantive reasons for why they don't get the perm > Theoretical reasons for why they don't get the perm.
You must explain how the perm works for me and the net benefit. Saying "perm do both" - is okay but super weak and usually will not be enough to overcome disads to the perm.
Love kritikal affs, but TVAs usually pick up my ballot here. You need to explain your model of debate / method. You should have a strong relationship to the topic or at least explain why a relationship to the topic is bad or doesn't matter.
Define how your method of debate works, the benefits only your method can access, and why you can include their model / arguments, even if they can't argue for their perfect advocacy.
Generally speaking, it's okay if the topic excludes your specific author - you don't get the perfect aff sometimes, it is what it is. Debate is about controversies and every advocacy (mostly) will have side-constraints, disadvantages, or criticism from different schools of thought. You should embrace this.
Don't neglect case - if they're winning that their scholarship is good and key, it'll be much harder for you to win this flow.
Debatability is not the sole metric that I use to decide T debates. Real world application of literature is another side-constraint of an interpretation.
Sure, your interpretation might produce the most clash, but if there's no exportable topic education, what's the point of clash?
I'm very happy to vote on "Nobody in X field or expertise defines the words in the resolution in a specific way." I hate fake debate T interpretations with 0 real world application.
You need to weigh between standards and different implications of interpretations.
Also weigh definitions - but saying, "Our definition is from a reliable source, and yours isn't." is not an argument.
Competing Interps > Reasonability.
Deploy whatever arguments you need to win the round.
I love a good counterplan gimmick.
Pics are good. But my default can change.
Delay counterplans are not legit. Unless, the net benefit is fire and super specific.
Process counterplans are suspect, but I'm willing to vote on them.
Actor counterplans are fine.
You must justify judge kick - and say you're kicking something.
Use differential degrees or lense of sufficiency framing to explain how I should evaluate solvency deficits vs. the net benefit of the counterplan.
Weigh between different scenarios please.
Compare warrants and explain why yours are better, this is super neglected in policy and LD especially.
Explain how the PIC solves the aff. I will not give this to you just because you label something a pic.
No opinions on condo, dispo, or how many offs are too much. I will police this more in LD. I think 2 to 3 condo positions + squo is enough neg flex, but you're more than welcome to convince me otherwise. I really don't care.
There can be 0 risk of a DA - but it's very rare. You need to do stellar work here for me to say there's no risk to the DA.
I don't like these debates in LD - they're way overused.
In policy, theory debates are fine.
Reasonabilty > Competing Interps
Yes, 1AR theory.
DTA > DTD, unless DTA is impossible.
I used to discriminate against these arguments, but there's no reason why these arguments are any less legit than the K, a DA, or T. I'm just not qualified to be your judge - read at your own risk.
(I go by Sai + they/them)
Quarry Lane 19, NYU 22
(firstname.lastname@example.org) -- Pls add me to the email chain! And feel free to ask me questions before round about my paradigm or judging!
I don't know how much this matters, but I've done debate for 8 years now, had 9 career TOC bids in LD in high school, broke at the TOC, championed a college policy tournament, and coached several debaters who earned bids. I have extensive experience competing in and judging traditional rounds both locally and nationally, and I've also judged over 200 rounds of LD and policy at bid tournaments. I now work in real estate, film/tv production, and I'm a writer.
UPDATE for NSDA:
I don't care if you spread or speak slow, so you do you but please just slow down on tags. The easier you make the round for me to evaluate, the happier I will be!
I'm willing to give you a 30 if you read a really well-researched aff or have a strong defense of a K, but I'm also tryna be pretty generous with speaks anyways. I'm comfy evaluating pretty much anything you read as long as it's not disrespectful/bigoted/blatantly offensive, etc. (state good is fine, oppression good is not) and I enjoy creativity + well-researched args!
I like RFD's. I think they're a valuable tool for education and for you to challenge judges/hold us accountable. I'll disclose and give an oral RFD if you are willing to listen/if there's time (I like to write them out too tho, so you will see them on tab hopefully/I can email them to you or your coaches if you would prefer)!! And feel free to push me on anything or ask questions! This is about you, not me -- and I don't take it personally but I know that y'all get a W/L, so don't hold back if you feel some type of way.
I don't care if you read tricks, friv theory, K's, policy, etc. -- but I do care for warrants, weighing, and interesting args so have fun and do u -- I have a pretty good amount of experience with every style and form of debate in LD and policy, so feel free to read whatever you're most comfortable with. My only hardcore paradigmatic policies are that I will not enforce an argument about what a debater should wear because I feel uncomfortable doing that (shoes theory, clothing theory, etc. will earn you an auto-loss) or anything that is overtly violent, but you are also welcome to ask me or have your coaches ask me about my comfortability evaluating a certain argument.
You do you and I'll do my best — I don't care what you read as long as you win it and you're not actively violent. I'll aim to be as tab as I can -- I appreciate judge instruction, clarity > speed, and clear framing -- but regardless, tech > truth and I will vote for whoever has the cleanest route to the ballot/whoever I have to do less work for.
I also am trying to be super generous with speaks, but humor, creative args, or strong execution will get you a 29.5-30!
Please give me trigger/content warnings
Go to the bottom for stuff about speaks and some random shtuff I care about (also influences speaks tho)
K, Performance, Planless, etc.: 1
Plans, CP's, DA's, etc.: 1-2
Tricks, Friv Theory, etc.: 2-3
Topicality, Kritikal Theory, etc.: 1
Normative Phil/Framework: 1-2
Lay (LD): 4-5/strike
My approach to rounds has always been who do I need to do the least work for. That means you’re always better off with more judge instruction, clear weighing, impact comparison, and strong line by line as well as overview analysis. That’s obviously a lot (and LD rounds are short), so prioritize issues and collapse in later speeches. I am more than willing to vote on impact turns, independent voting issues, etc. — just make them clear, warrant them, and don’t leave me with a ton of questions at the end of the round. I default comparative worlds, but tech > truth. I think I probably have a relatively high threshold for warrants, which means quality > quantity. I don’t see myself really reading through evidence or revisiting your docs to find args — it’s your job to do that work for me.
I love impacting, weighing, and warranting -- don't just say "neolib" or yell "ontology" and move on because you think I will vote for you since I was a K debater -- do the work for me because I will drop you and hate intervening to fill gaps.
For Policy/CX Debate:
There's not a lot I think I really need to say -- I was a college policy debater at NYU and I went to RKS 2018 -- I judged a bid round/up to early elims at tourneys, coached some policy debaters in the past, and I'm pretty familiar with both policy and K lit -- I also read a ton of performative args from cardless aff's about throwing a party to queer bombs, tons of K's (queer theory, gender studies, critical race theory, indigenous studies, disability studies, and pomo), but also read a ton of straight up strats from a Bahrain aff to the classic politics DA + framework/T against non-T aff's -- I have been on both sides of most issues, but I don't really care about my opinions (except when it comes to accessibility and safety in rounds) -- so you do you and go ham (within reason of course).
My approach to rounds is typically to vote for the team that I need to do less work for to determine a ballot -- I have a somewhat high threshhold for warrants regardless of what you read (at least, compared to what I've seen other folx grant) -- meaning, you need to make sure you warrant everything because I will feel uncomfortable voting for something I cannot adequately explain without intervening to do work for you. This kinda just means I wanna hear internal links and their warrants, and/or a strong overview defense of your impacts.
I think framing is important -- doesn't mean you have to win util or a ROTB, but just do weighing, impact comparison, and draw me a ballot story by telling me what matters most in the round.
Everything else is pretty straight forward -- tech > truth, judge instruction, and you do you.
Feel free to hit me up and ask me any questions if you have em on either FB or my email.
I don’t think there’s much of an issue here since this is my initial foundation, I defended plan aff's and DA's throughout my career, I was a west coast debater, I read policy strategies in college with my partner, coached a couple policy and LD kids who read topical plan aff's, and I love policy debate. Debate as you do and I doubt there’s gonna be a problem for me. I'm a sucker for weighing and warrant comparison.
Don't be afraid to defend a policy aff against k's or phil -- I don't mind voting aff on Zanotti 14, but I'd rather you have a coherent justification for the aff being a good idea and a developed link turn strategy. Compare between the aff and the alt. Do framework comparisons if there's an NC and don't pretend Bostrom is enough. Also, adding in an impact that applies to marginalized populations could really help in debates where you want to go for a DA against a K aff, which shouldn't be hard to find since shtuff like climate change, war, and poverty affect those groups the most and also first.
DA's and CP's are fine and I have no problem here. I really like specific links and very specific politics scenarios, from like specific bills in Congress to international relations (I love IR). I think 2 condo CP's might be starting to push it, but that just means you should be ready to defend that you get them because I don't care as long as you answer any potential theory args.
I’m mostly familiar with Kantian Ethics, and have experience with Virtue Ethics, Pragmatism, Particularism, Agonism, Butler, and Social Contract Theories. I've read and/or defended all of these, but never studied them in-depth and wouldn't call myself an expert -- I haven't had trouble judging them and actually enjoying hearing them, so just do your best and you should be fine.
I find Phil vs. K interactions really interesting, but both sides could benefit from specific warranting when it comes to this rather than just winning your own framework or theory of power, but I am just as willing to vote on Kant as I am to vote on a K.
I am not very persuaded by author indicts of philosophers, but can be convinced if it is argued well -- BUT I have a higher threshhold for this than a turn to the framework itself. For example, I won't vote on Kant is racist, unless someone proves that his theory is and does the work of proving the aff is as well, OR is able to prove to me why I should not evaluate any of the work that someone who is a racist philosopher/writer has done -- which is a valid argument to make, but you can't just end it at Kant is racist -- explain to me why that's a voting issue/reason to drop the debater/argument because I'm so far not convinced by the super old and recycled cards everyone keeps reading. And if you're defending a framework against these objections, stand your ground and defend your aff without being repugnant -- impact turning racism is not ok, but you can definitely win that your framework guides against structural violence even if the original author sucks (i.e., Farr 02 lol).
HOWEVER, this is a different story if they actually read cards/cite the author you are calling out -- i.e., if someone read a Kant card and you read Kant is racist, I don't see a way for the affirmative to win a no link argument or prove why their reading of Kant is uniquely necessary -- at which point, the Kant is racist voter issue becomes very very persuasive to me.
I default epistemic confidence, but am open to hearing epistemic modesty and/or other framing mechanisms for evaluating competing ethical theories -- but that's up to you to justify and win.
I don't mind if you read these -- read a fair share of them myself (good samaritan paradox, a priori's, k tricks, etc.) and went for them too, coached debaters who read them, and have judged many rounds that came down to tricks.
I like creativity and think this can be a very fun style of debate to judge -- I find it often easier to resolve than other rounds, but that is all up to how you choose to go for them -- I will comfortably vote on tricks when they're impacted out and you explain the ballot story to me.
I think people could be more creative with these -- I wanna see a nailbomb K tricks aff or something else fresh -- and they are quite easy to write a ballot story with for me because they require mostly just an explanation of the argument, a warrant, and some impact analysis that explains why it's a voting issue/is sufficient for the ballot.
Go for it. I read everything from solvency advocate theory to disclosure to body politics, so I as long as it’s not actively violent (look at the bottom of my paradigm for more on that) and you're not being too frivolous -- it's fine with me -- the more frivolous it gets, the lower my threshhold for responses gets ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
My defaults: competing interps, drop the debater, no RVI’s — this is just how I will evaluate the theory debate if you don't give me paradigm issues, but please do and I'm more than willing to vote on reasonability or grant an RVI if it's won.
Impact turns are not RVI's and I still haven't heard a single persuasive or compelling reason I shouldn't vote on an impact turn -- feel free to read your no impact turns dump, but I recommend just cleaning up the flow by answering them instead -- a lot of impact turns to both T and theory are just cross-apps of case or huge conflations of arguments -- point that out, make it a link, put offense on that too (i.e., when they rely on warrants in the aff and you're reading arguments on T/theory for why you couldn't engage those warrants, granting the impact turn doesn't make sense in this case and seems to supercharge the abuse story) -- however you deal with it, deal with it.
I read topicality against most k aff’s that I hit my senior year, both just defend the topic and framework itself, and I read spec bad against like every larp aff my last topic too. However, I have no biases here and can be persuaded to vote either way.
I have no issues with you going for 1-off T-FW against K aff’s and I’m more than willing to vote on it, but I do think there are ways to win my ballot easier. Having a clear TVA is always persuasive, but what I mean by this is not just like a literal plan text that mentions the identity group the aff talks about — take it further and explicitly explain to me why that TVA is a much better model for debate than the version of the aff that was the 1AC.
I think having either offense on the case page or doing clear interactions between the aff offense and the T flow is persuasive and useful when I write my ballot. I’d prefer you tell me a story in the 2NR and really sell your model of debate to me. In other words, it is not sufficient to win that debate is solely a competitive game for me, I want you to really explain the implications of that to me because that’s a pretty bold claim considering all that this activity has been for a ton of people.
When debating T — have a clear counter-interp and defend your model of debate. I am more than willing to vote on an impact turn and am down for all the drama of various T strategies. Regardless, have a strong and robust defense of whatever model you choose to defend. I have been on both sides of this issue and I love debating from both sides of the issue (to some extent -- some language y'all be using in both your topicality extensions and your topicality answers are very iffy), and I find these to be some of the best and worst rounds. However, I am here for it.
Quick side note on Nebel -- I have not read much into Nebel, but it's not very persuasive to me that I should determine the topic by conventional grammar rules in a language that has been so deeply tied to colonialism -- I don't think this means I will auto-vote on grammar/textuality is racist, but I can be very strongly persuaded to and I think negatives need to have a robust defense prepared against this -- as in, take it serious and engage the argument by explaining to me why Nebel is not racist/answering the aff arguments, but don't assume I will vote on fairness outweighs or semantics first in a scenario where you are losing on that argument. That being said, a simple spec bad shell with a limits standard gets the job done and is a very great strat in front of me.
Yes. This is what I’m most comfortable evaluating. I’m most comfortable with identity politics, especially Critical Race Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Queer Theory, Queer of Color Studies, Asian Studies, and Performance Studies. If there’s a high theory k or some other area of literature that you enjoy reading or want to try out — go for it. However, I will hold you to really knowing your lit.
Also, please be aware of your own privilege -- have a strong and robust defense of why you should be able to read the k, what your relationship is to the literature, and how I should evaluate the round given all that.
Leverage the K against other flows and put offense on different layers — if you’re winning a case turn, implicate it both through the thesis of the K and independently.
Engage the thesis claims and answer the links in the 1AR.
Perms should probably have a text, but I'm open to the 2AR having leeway to explain them. But if you just yell "perm -- do the aff and graffiti the alt" -- I'm not gonna be very inclined to vote aff if I have no explanation of why that does anything. Have a relatively clear warrant and explanation of the perm that you can develop in the 2AR if you collapse to it.
Kicking the alt is fine — win the links and warrant presumption. I’m also fine with all your k tricks, but I’m not gonna stake the round on the 2AR dropping that fiat is illusory absent some clear warranting and judge instruction with it, as well as some comparison between your claim and a 1AR/2AR arg about the value of simulating policymaking or whatnot.
Yes. These are my favorite aff’s and I find them super interesting. I read them almost every round for 5 years now, I coached them for 2 years now, and I've debated/judged them for that whole time as well -- I got you LOL. I don’t care if you defend the topic or not, but be prepared to defend your aff and all the choices you made in it.
Presumption is fine, but I’m probably not gonna be persuaded by the classic arg that the aff does not affect how I view the world, feel, etc. This is not to say that I will not vote on a ballot presumption argument if it is argued well and won, but don't expect me to bank the round on a 5 second shadow extension that lacks clear warrants or weighing. I did read and go for presumption against a lot of these aff’s, but I prefer these to be reasons for why the performance of the aff is inconsistent with the method or other parts of the 1AC somehow, lack of solvency, vagueness, etc., and make sure the turns are impacted out effectively and weighed against affirmative's.
Be creative. Have fun. Express yourself. The best kritikal and performative aff’s that I have seen are a result of how they are presented, written, and defended — I think these can be some of the best or some of the worst rounds, but the only thing I’ll hold you to is defending something clear, whether a method, advocacy statement, praxis, or whatnot. Just be clear and tell me how to evaluate the round, considering most of these aff’s ask for a shift in how to evaluate and view debate itself.
Do NOT read these in front of me just because it’s what I did. I will definitely hold you to a higher threshold. Also, feel free to ask me any questions — I’d be more than happy to help you figure out some aspects of how you wanna explore reading this and I know I definitely benefitted from judges who did that for me, so I got u. With that being said, here's some cool things I'd love to see.
Something I loved doing was impact turning presumption args though — 1AR’s and 2AR’s that can effectively do this and collapse to it are dope and I’m here for it.
I think CX is a place to perform too -- I love performances that somehow extend beyond just the 1AC because they bring so much more of the drama of debate into question. However, I have also seen many people do this in ways that aren't very tasteful and end up either confusing me or triggering me. On the other hand, I've also found that these can be some of the most brutal CX strategies when employed well.
Regardless, don't feel shy about testing the waters in front of me, within reason. However, fire hazards are real, flashing lights are a no-no, and I would like to be warned, if possible. In other words -- sure, go off, but don't get me (or yourself) in trouble or do anything hazardous/risky. Also, I don't think it's ok for you to infringe on someone else's literal ability to debate, in terms of doing anything to their flows or picking up their computer for whatever reason -- please don't, I won't be happy and your coaches/school won't be happy.
I loved getting speaker awards, so just do you and I got you, but here's some incentives + random things LOL
- + speaks for everyone if you have the email chain set up before I walk into the room
- Clarity and enunciation > speed please
- Passion and ethos are dope — I don’t care what form this is in, but really sell whatever you read to me
- I will try to average a 29, but to be continued
Some qualms of mine (these will affect speaks):
- Non-black folx who read anti-blackness against black folx will prolly lose in front of me
- Please please slow down on tags and give me something to differentiate between args (i.e., “and”)
- I will not vote on anything that polices what clothing other debaters are wearing — this is not negotiable sorry and yes, that means I will not vote on shoes theory or formal clothing theory — you can @ me if you want, but I don't feel comfortable deciding what children should wear
- If you are reading a card with more than one color highlighted in it, please remove the highlights of what you're not reading -- it really messes with me and I personally have issues processing that -- it's not a huge deal, but it will help me adjudicate better and I'll boost speaks
- Evidence ethics is actually quite important to me -- just cite stuff and use EasyBib if you are unsure how -- that means I have very low tolerance for lack of citations (the minimum is the author name, name of the book/article, and the date it was published), clipping, and more
- Pronouns are important — misgendering is not cool w me, but try your best and I understand — I recommend defaulting to “they” anyways
- Trigger and content warnings are important to me as an educator in the activity, but also as a participant in the round — if you’re going to be talking about sensitive topics, please give me (and everyone in the room) a heads up -- (this does not mean you don't get to read it tho -- you don't need my permission, just let us all prepare emotionally/mentally)
Hello friends! I'm Kiran, I do policy debate at the University of Houston and help out Kinkaid in policy and PF when I can :)
I have a lot of sympathy for online debaters, tech issues happen, so don't worry about it, but please don't steal prep.
Also, please be nice and a good human being during rounds (and outside of them!) Asking for the bare minimum here.
Yes, I want to be on the email chain: email@example.com
Do whatever, but do it well. I judge based on what's on my flow, follow along in docs during the round, but I'm not reading for meaning that isn't articulated in the speeches.
I'm good with speed, but slow down to about 85% for online debate- at least at the beginning until I get used to your voice. It would also help if you used a headset
I remember arguments by name, not author
Tech>truth, and use smart cross-applications to your benefit
More judge instruction and comparison = more likely wins
More specific thoughts:
CP/DA/Case Debate: Great, I love it! These are the debates I understand the best. For the neg, explain to me how the cp sufficiently solves for the aff and why the DA ow and (preferably) turns case. For aff, I can be persuaded that there's no link to the DA, or that the risk of the impact is significantly mitigated by weak internal links. Explain solvency deficits in relation to the DA, so I know which one outweighs.
Topicality: One of my new favorite arguments. I'll default to competing interpretations, and winning reasonability requires a counter interpretation with some net benefits. Having a TVA and a case-list under your interp helps a lot. Definitions grounded in the literature>any other definition, (unless ofc there are several downsides to debating with a certain interp).
Policy v Ks: For aff, focus on and clearly explain education impacts under framework, and I'll probably let you weigh the aff. I need a clear explanation of the alt throughout the entirety of the debate, and having specific case links is a good strat. Aff tell me why case ow or the perm solves, neg tell me the opposite and why your alt is the right way to go. I'll vote on the "you link, you lose" strat, but 1)make sure links are specific to case and 2)extinction ow is a threat to your argument, so you need to close that door in the 2nr
K Affs v Framework: Whoever does more/better impact debating will most likely win. Affs need a counterinterp that explains why your model of debate is good, please no super long overviews, and if I don't know what the aff does, I will not be voting on it. Negs, explain why your impacts outweigh, TVAs help, and explain how your interp resolves aff's impact turns
K v K: This is probably where my debate knowledge starts to fall apart. These rounds require a lot more explanation on both sides for me, especially with the alt. Organization, clear examples, and good impact debating will help a lot.
Speaks: A smart cross-ex, clear sign posting, and clean technical debating will increase your speaks
I started judging PF this year, and I evaluate PF rounds in the same exact way I think about policy rounds ie care a lot about the flow, only evaluating args with warrants attached to them, and looking for good ev/arg comparison. The speeches are way too short for you to say buzzwords from every argument you had earlier, so please please please pick the args you think you are winning and go in depth on explanation/warrant comparison.
Feel free to send me questions, and have fun y'all! :)
I am a parent/lay judge.
I will vote for whoever presents high quality arguments in a clear and coherent way and is best able to persuade me. I will evaluate arguments based on how true I think they actually are, and overall presentation will be crucial in my decision. I appreciate debaters who emphasize important points and use persuasive techniques. My decision is also heavily influenced by performance during the cross-examination period.
If you want me to vote for you, please go slow (conversational pace). If you are rushing through the debate, it will reduce my chances of voting for you and hurt your speaker points.
I will take notes, but they will be brief and only consist of things which are clearly emphasized to me and points which I thought were very good.
former debater at UH, now judge/coach there.
You do you. I have few predispositions about how the round ought be. I have no real preference between policy and K arguments, but I am significantly more experienced with the policy side of things. I won't be as familiar as you with your specific lit base.
Judge instruction is important and I take it seriously. It is better for you as debaters and me as the judge when you explain a clear path to the ballot rather than having me do unguided forensic analysis on the flow.
I love case debate. I think it is underutilized. The 2ac is often allowed to get away with far too much. I am not unwilling to zero solvency when affs are missing key pieces. I take evidence quality seriously when it is made an issue in round.
Almost certainly won't vote on condo or new affs bad, won't default to judge kick but can be swayed.
Be kind, have fun.
Hello! My name is Michael Kurian and I did Natcircuit LD for 2 years at Dulles High School in Houston, TX.
I had 5 career bids and qualled to the TOC as a junior and senior. I also did a bit of policy as a senior and qualled to NSDA in CX.
Yes, email chain me friends:
Do whatever you want, some things tho
1. I will say clear and slow if you're incoherent. I have ADHD and will lose focus if the debate has 5+ shells and every single sentence refers to a specific line by line argument. Extremely dense theory debates are not good for me and I will vote on overviews and voting issues, ignoring line by line concerns sometimes. I would not recommend you debate like this infront of me.
2. I dislike theory when frivolous (you know what "frivolous" means) but will vote on it. This means yes, I will vote on it, but I give the opposing side a ton of leeway. If the aff makes a bad I meet or has marginal offense on a really dumb shell like "Link chains bad" I will err that way. I like theory when strategic, but LOVE it when there is legit especially if you use creative interps or good combo shells. My favorite theory shell is O-Spec :)
3. Lets say you read a dump of some kind and you don't flash the arguments to the room. If your opponent asks you to flash them during CX or prep, you will do so. Otherwise, I will eviscerate your speaks.
4. You're allowed to be a jerk proportionally to the amount of foolery going on in the debate
ex. If the aff has 3 NIBS, you can be a little mad. If the 1NC is racism good, you can be furious etc.
5. I dislike partial disclosure shells ie. "Must disclose Plan Text of new aff, must open source, etc."; Disclosure is simple - if you've read it, disclose it. All of it. If you haven't broken it yet, you don't owe your opponent jack. You can give them the ROB text or the plan text if you're feeling benevolent.
*****I will NOT vote on ****
1) Brackets theory
2) Font theory
3) Arguments that are explicitly homophobic, racist, or otherwise bigoted.
4) Evaluate the debate at X speech (no - I will eval the whole debate regardless)
5) New affs bad (but "Must disclose plantext/framework" is fine)
6) Arguments that exclusively link to your opponents/your identity without structural warrants- ex. "White ppl should lose", "vote for me cuz im X minority group"
7) Must Disclose Round Reports
This is the form of debate that I did the most in high school. I will probably understand your insane postmodern nonsense as long as you understand it enough to explain the application back to me. Race and Id pol Ks are fine
1) Link work - really important.
2) Alternative explanation - I have a somewhat low threshold; I'll assume it solves case and the K's links unless that is contested by the Affirmative
3) WEIGH with the ROLE of the BALLOT - tell me why your pedagogy is important, why it belongs in debate, and how we can use it to derive the best form of praxis. If you aren't doing these things, you will probably lose to a more intuitive RoB.
Things I don't like but will still vote on:
1) Kritikal presumption arguments
2) Links of Ommission
3) Lazy, overused link arguments
4) edgy jargon that stays edgy jargon (explain ur stuff at SOME point at least)
Love it, think its cool and underused.
Do lots of weighing and explain why your framework resolves meta-ethical problems -- Infinite regress, Constitutivism, Actor spec. etc. If not, tell me why it should be preferred over another framework. I don't like particularism (or rather I like it as an ethical theory, but think it is weird when used in debate); my favorite frameworks to hear are Pragmatism and Virtue Ethics.
I prob went for a DA 2 times in my entire career lol. Just do weighing and warrant comparison. It's a relatively intuitive debate style and if it doesn't seem so, I'm not one to say, but you might be doing it wrong. I'm a sucker for good IR analysis. If you understand how States function in relation to eachother and can use concrete examples in explanations I'll be persuaded and also boost your speaks.
Weigh. Make good arguments or make really creative bad arguments. Failure to do either will make me sad.
On the Theory vs K debate:
1. If the AC references the topic heavily, is strongly in the direction of the topic, defends implementation, and/or in some other way grants you your topic ground, don't whine and call me a K-hack when I err aff against whatever shell you read. If they're doing everything within reason to grant you your prep, and I still hear 9+ mins of crying in the 1NC and 2N about how you have LITERALLY ZERO GROUND™ I'm going to be much more likely to vote the other way. That being said, if you genuinely feel like the aff is out of the range of the topic or is straight up non-T, go for T, or T - Framework, and go as hard as you want.
2. Reading disclosure against K affs is a good strat.
I just evaluate it the same way I would a bs-heavy theory or framework debate, which lets be honest, is what this is.
Paradoxes, Aprioris, and presumption/skep triggers are all fine.
Things I'll boost your speaks for:
Naruto Reference in speech: +.1
Dressing like you don't give a crap: +.1
Cool Affirmatives: +.3
Solid Collapsing: +.5
Creative arguments: +.2
30: straight fire
29.5-29.9: ur fire
28.6 - 29.4: You good
26.1-27: big oof
25.1-26: go to church dude lol
25: f you
Hi, I’m Gabby! (they/them)
Please put me on the email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated for 4 years at All Saints in Tyler (‘20) and now I go to the University of Houston (‘24) where I did policy debate with Patrick and am majoring in biomedical engineering. I was told that I should mention this: I never qualified to the TOC but I did qualify to the NDT twice. Not sure why this matters since competitive success doesn’t guarantee high-quality judging.
Note on re-highlighting: I do not read re-cut cards for you. I flow what comes out of your mouth. You have to read them in the speech or I'm not flowing it.
PREP TIME ENDS WHEN YOU SEND THE DOC. I am impatient :(
In general tech>truth, run what you want, but I will not vote on an argument that I don’t hear, flow, or understand. I don’t like doc-botting (not the same as having some pre-written extensions). Please contextualize arguments. Voters are greatly appreciated. Don’t call me ma’am I’m not a ma’am. Feel free to email or Facebook message me after the round with any more questions. If I find that you're purposely clipping in your speech you get an automatic L20. I’ll be more lenient if it’s an internet issue or otherwise unverifiable.
I have a horrible poker face. Watch my non-verbals. I have hearing problems as well as sensory issues from the 'tism so you should be clear. Start slow then speed up but don’t go more than 80%. If you cannot spread clearly, I would much rather have you speak slowly. In fact, I will bump speaks for slow but clear speaking over messy spreading. S I G N P O S T. I will not cross-apply arguments for you. Tell me where to flow things. I’ll vote on almost anything as long as it’s warranted/impacted well and isn’t morally repugnant. I’ll vote on capitalism or extinction being good but not any oppression good args. Presumption goes to the side with the least change. CX is binding. Don’t try to convince me it isn’t. I don’t judge kick arguments absent some very strong persuasion. Please just pick one scenario I really don’t want to do the mental gymnastics to evaluate more.
Overall: If you’re going to run something you think I won’t understand then err on the side of over-explaining or else I probably won’t vote for it. EXTEND WARRANTS. I WON'T EXTEND ARGUMENTS FOR YOU. I generally don't vote on new arguments made after the 1AR but I can be convinced to make exceptions. I ideologically lean right in K v Policy debates.
Actual Policy: Did a lot of this debate in high school and I think you should too. Please give me more of these debates. Please. Zero risk is possible especially if you don’t read a complete link chain. Can you even quantify this stuff otherwise? Idk. If you say things like uniqueness controls the directionality of the link unironically I will probably laugh at you. You didn't need to do all that. Be efficient. Wacky impact d (mushrooms, bubbles, etc) on case is funny and I like it. Reading this will probably bump your speaks. Impact turns are epic and swag and I like them. Please read cap good against cap affs. Don't read racism good against any aff or ever. Smart analytic advantage counterplans are cool. Solvency advocates (especially card recuttings) are cooler.
T/Theory: Most of my qualms listed are for LD. Please don't make me have to sort through more than 3 shells in a single round.If you’re a policy debated reading this you’re probably fine. I have a high threshold for voting on "new affs bad" and I EVALUATE DEBATES AT THE END OF THE ROUND. I'm dropping speaks if you read "eval the debate after x speech that isn't the 2ar." Make the abuse story clear. Spikes are fine. Tricks are less fine. If indexicals are true then I evaluate debates under the index that they're not real arguments that can win you the round. I'll vote on frivolous theory but I DO NOT WANT TO. I will not vote on theory args about your opponent’s appearance or clothing. I’ll end up going truth>tech if you annoy me with too many shells. I default competing interps and drop the argument, but if you warrant reasonability and/or drop the debater better than your opponent, then that’s the way I’ll evaluate the shell. I dislike paragraph theory because people tend to blitz through their analytics, so please be clear enough for me to flow it OR just send analytics in the doc.
Mini Note on Framework/Clash Debates: Being topical is probably good I guess. Negation theory is true. I like "semi-topical" K affs that show how much you've researched/worked. All these debates I’ve judged have been hella boring. Make it funky, make it fresh please. I’m not good at flowing lots of little arguments in these types of debates so you have to be very clear/slow down and sometimes you really just gotta persuade me. I think you have a better shot going for case in these debates because most affs really don't do anything. But you do you.
K: I was the quiet 2A of a K team so let that guide your decisions. I might lean a little further right than you're expecting. Don’t have a 4 min long overview and then explain again on the line by line. Pick one, preferably the second. Don’t use big words to explain big words. Use little words. From what I’ve gathered, affect is the ~vibes~ so maybe I’m not the best for the gooey-est of pomo debates. Role of the ballot debates feel more like a role of the buzzword competition. These debates tend to be incredibly irresolvable and still don't give me much of a direction in terms of how the ballot functions (is it an endorsement of a research model? why do you want the ballot?) Parasitic attachments to critical theory are very uncool. I won’t auto-drop you but I probably won’t think it’s a very good debate or give high speaks if all you cannot clearly articulate the args or give good answers in CX. Make sure the alt resolves the link or I’ll vote aff on presumption. Floating PIKs are not intuitive to me most of the time so you have to sell them or have them be dropped for me to vote on them. Don’t be sketchy about them in CX. Tell me things like why the link being a disad to the aff even matters. Perms need warrants and implications/net benefits. My controversial opinion is that perms can be both tests of competition and positions at the same time. Low key most Ks read in debate are just linear disads with CPs with multi-actor fiat.
Performances: I think these are pretty neat. Please contact me if the content might be triggering in any way or talk explicitly about queer/trans experiences. Have a theory of power. Explain your method. If you’re playing music or have background noises make sure it’s not too loud.
LD-style Phil: I did a lot of this in high school but have forgotten a solid amount. Don’t assume I know what the white guy you’re talking about is saying. I probably understand Kant the most. Always loved me some Mouffe. Rawls is now just cringe. You should put turns on the contention. Independent voters ("Kant is Racist!") need warrants and implications. Please don't make me vote on "induction fails" because I will if you reallllly sell it but you'll probably end up with an LPW.
PF: Tech>Truth. WRITE MY BALLOT FOR ME! WRITE MY BALLOT FOR ME! WRITE MY BALLOT FOR ME! Be nice to your opponents. Being rude in cross will hurt your speaks. I really don’t feel a need for you to be spreading in PF. I don’t mind if you say "clear" or "slow" to your opponents if they spreading in a round and you are not comfortable with it. Giving me a framework will only help your case. No framework/standards mean that I default to a cost-benefit analysis. Observations need a warrant, and I will not vote on them alone. Don’t run sketchy/abusive/messed up arguments. Please terminalize/contextualize your impacts (e.g. don’t make your impact “bees will die” without telling me why bees dying should matter). Give good voters (the framework is not a voter) and an impact calc (comparing your impacts with theirs and why yours will matter more).
A note on Speaker points (ALL EVENTS)
rule of thumb: happy Gabby = higher speaks!
I determine speaker points based on a mix of strategic choices, persuasion, and good, positive vibes. IF YOU ASK FOR A 30 YOU GET A 25! Speaks will start at a 28 and go up or down from there. Speed is fine. I’ll say clear 3 times before I dock speaks. Slow down on tags and analytics. Please be nice to your opponent. Snark and sarcasm are fine, being outright rude and dismissive is not. If you fail to read content warnings and your opponent ends up feeling unsafe or triggered in the round, you won't get automatically dropped but you’ll get a 27 max. If you purposely misgender your opponent you will get no higher than a 20 and I will find and talk to your coach and/or school sponsor. Doing the listed things might get you some extra points. Kind of important: I will be very very unhappy if you take more than 20 seconds to send out your doc. More than a minute and you're capped at 29. More than 2 and you're capped at 28.
- for every silly spec shell you add (shoes, internet spec, etc.) - minus a full point
- clown Patrick Fox for not having a life outside of debate (in a way that makes sense in the round) +.2
- read an argument that has to do with aliens or frogs and win it +.2, and alien frogs get a +.4
- outspreading someone you know can’t keep up or being an ass to novices/lay debaters - 27 max
- ask for a 30 or other speaks theory = 25 max for not reading my paradigm
Last note- be nice andhave fun!
I default policy maker.
Summary: I debated policy for 3 ½ years in highschool and attended a 5A school. I also judged some novice rounds in highschool. I have an associates degree in criminal justice and am currently studying criminal justice and political science at university.
Speed is fine so long as I can understand you. If I am not flowing (holding my pen), it is likely that I cannot understand you. Roadmaps and signposting are preferred. If you cannot read quickly without gasping for air, screaming at me, or rocking back and forth, then you should probably slow down. A moderate amount of eye contact is preferred (you don’t have to look at me the whole time, but you also shouldn’t only look at your evidence).
Open cross-examination is fine on the TFA circuit, but one student should not dominate the cross-x period, especially if it was not theirs to begin with. Do not speak over one another and do not be rude. I do not flow questioning periods.
Affirmative can claim “fiat,” under the guise that the plan “should” be done, not that it is being done or will be done. Presented frameworks must be adequately supported; a flimsy explanation of the framework will not suffice.
Generally, theory arguments are fine as long as they apply to the round and are not used to waste time.
Quality vs. Quantity-
I prefer quality of arguments over quantity. It does not matter if you have 15 pieces of evidence against your opponent if they do not flow well and are not well delivered. Additionally, explain why each piece of evidence is important! If you want me to flag evidence, call for it in your rebuttals.
These are fine as long as they are not generic. I do not consider a rejection of the affirmative plan to be an alternative. That said, if you are going to run a kritik, it MUST be complete! Do NOT run a kritik without links or an alternative.
This is fine as long as it is not used to waste time. If your opponent is reasonably topical, you need not read a topicality shell. If you do not provide standards and voters, I will default on reasonability. If you can provide a list of cases that fall under your definition of topicality, this will provide you with more leverage on T. Make sure you address all parts of the T should your opponent decide to run it.
This is my favorite negative strategy :-). Counterplans do not have to be topical. Plan inclusive CPs are accepted. Please indicate whether the CP is conditional, unconditional, or dispositional in the 1NC. Net benefits are strongly encouraged.
I will vote for the team with better impact calculus. I prefer that you don’t use big stick impacts, but that does not mean I will vote you down for it. Just know, if you read a nuclear war impact, I will be screaming internally. However, I have voted on it before.
Be clear about what arguments you are going to kick. Try not to kick arguments unless it is absolutely necessary. That said, do not run arguments you know you aren’t going to stick with; that wastes time. Remind me which arguments you have kicked in your rebuttals. If I don’t flow it in the rebuttals, it counts as a drop :-).
As far as value and criterion are concerned, your value must be measurable. While this is not my primary mechanism for deciding the round, it can be a factor depending on how you use it.
-It is important to generate clash and imperative that your plan solves!
-Be civil with your opponents! I will dock speaker points if you are disrespectful of your opponent! Snide comments are unacceptable. Debate is supposed to facilitate education and understanding; this cannot be done if your opponents feel uncomfortable or isolated.
-I will not include roadmaps in your speech time, or flashing in your prep time, unless it becomes excessive.
-I will not disclose; don’t ask.
-If there is an email chain, I would like to be included.
-Ask for pronouns before the round starts.
R1- voted neg, triggered presumption
R2- the aff had the only offense left
R3- novice round
R6- I voted for a fem k aff against 2NR cap k on no link and risk of aff method solvency in-round
Novice semis - I voted for neg case turns
Novice finals - I voted for a conceded disad
I don't know if people still read these, but if you are here welcome! This is updated for Georgetown Day School 2022.
email chain: email@example.com
People who's thoughts I generally agree with on debate: Gabriel Koo, Michael Koo, Sooho Park, Viraj Patel, Holden Bukowsky, Patrick Fox, Gabby Lea, Phoenix Pittman, Megan Wu, Evan Alexis, Khoa Pham
I have not been active in debate since the 2021 TOC where I coached and judged. I currently work as an economic analyst for Congress after graduating from UC Berkeley in 2020. Previously, I was active in debate for 8 years as a competitor/judge/coach in Texas and California primarily in national circuit LD. I will be admittedly rusty, but you will have my full attention and focus in round. I know nothing about the topic meta or what arguments are being run, but I am familiar with issues in the topic area.
If you're doing prefs, I have no preferences for any kind/style of argument. As a coach/judge/competitor, I took a flexible approach in terms of k/policy/other kinds of arguments (You can read below the line to see what specifically I judged and voted for in 2020-21).
Things that will boost your speaks: specific and contextual k or DA links, good strategic decisions, quality evidence, logical advantages and link chains, clear impact calc and weighing, clear explanations of k concepts, taking strategic risks and all or nothing strategies like 26 minutes of framework/one off k or going all in on impact turns or something like condo in the 1AR.
Things that will make me unhappy: Poorly explaining arguments, reading bad evidence, long overviews, more than 3 condo, not collapsing as the round progresses, making me vote on arguments that don't make sense, being mean or dishonest in-round.
Be respectful of those in the room, and best of luck!
(Old paradigm below is LD focused, but left up for transparency)
*TOC 2021 running update*
(copied from megan wu's paradigm)
"given that toc is often the last tournament of the year/debaters’ last tournament, and also an unusually stressful tournament, i am happy to honor the wishes you may have about my rfd—i am happy to do anything from giving compliments instead of critique, to only sharing the decision with your opponent, etc. if you want me to do this, please communicate this to me before i begin with the rfd!
enjoy the toc experience—you deserve it!"
I work for the government--better explanations of inter-governmental processes or policymaking would be much appreciated.
R1, F2: Voted for Scarsdale ZS on their moral non-naturalism, intuitions good aff
R3, F1: Voted for Immaculate Heart BC on 1 condo bad.
R4, F1: Voted for American Heritage Broward EM on their contracts/internalism NC.
Conflicts: Garland (TX), Lindale PP, Westlake (TX)
Pref Shortcut: K: 1-2; LARP: 1-2, Phil: 2-4, T/Theory: 3-4, Tricks: Strike
If you'd like to see what rounds/who I've judged, how I voted, my side bias, average speak stats and what kinds of args I've judged, here's a spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vs4kAHB-mdhbm7QInTPOX-Jp8KAZeO1s7WsGGX1m3fs/edit?usp=sharing
Past 2NRs that I've voted for this year (2020-21):
jan-feb: sgr-a1 PIC w/ korea NB, terror DA + case defense, queer pess k
sep-oct: T-"a", prison abolition k, disability pess k, anti-blackness kritiks [4 times], sortition cp and elections da, a multi-plank voting improvement cp and case turns, presumption
Past 2AR's that I've voted for this year (2020-21):
jan-feb: the aff itself [3 times]
sep-oct: AFC [:(], multiple dispo bad, vague alts bad, ableism independent voting issue on a spec shell, the aff itself [only once though *shockingly*]
I'm going back to (in an attempt to be a better listener in round): a) flowing on paper b) flowing what you say, not the doc c) re-tracing the round using relevant parts of the doc only after the round.
Speaks: I'll default to the tournament's speaker point scale if given, otherwise I'll start at a 28.6 and go up/down from there.
Things that will get you extra speaks:
---Writing my ballot in the 2NR/2AR.
---K 2NR's that have aff-specific links, use specific in-round issues to evaluate the debate, and generally explain the K well.
---Executing an aff-specific LARP strategy with robust argumentation.
---Explaining philosophy well. (I'll be super impressed with this specifically)
---A well-researched and well constructed aff.
---Strategic choices and concessions that get you ahead in the debate.
---An all or nothing strategy and winning it. Examples: a) the 2NR goes all-in on impact turns to the aff and nothing else b) the 1AR straight turns the 1nc's disads c) the 2AR only goes for their Kant framing and precluding all the neg's offense d) the 2AR goes for a 1AR discourse K
Things that will make me unhappy and likely lose you speaks:
---Poorly explaining arguments or reading bad evidence.
---Making me yell clear multiple times
---Going for everything in the 2NR or 2AR
---Making me vote on tricks, a random truth-testing argument, an RVI, or on a theory shell that doesn't pass the common sense test.
---Being mean or saying something awful in-round. [I reserve the right to intervene if what you said is truly awful]
---Long 2NR K overviews.
---Being overly reliant on blocks, or not utilizing the flow/issues that happened in-round.
Some thoughts I have on debate that reflect my thinking and may affect how I judge the round:
1] I prefer to hear smart, well-researched, good quality arguments. The bright line for this is whether or not a school administrator/sponsor would view debate positively after seeing/hearing the argument. This matters because all too often people are willing to vote on illogical, poor quality, or dumb arguments that reduce the value of debate as an activity. I would prefer that debate becomes a stronger and more vibrant activity, and to that end, I will strive as a judge to promote that goal.
2] At the end of the round, I want to only vote for arguments that I can explain back to the debaters. As a judge, I feel that this is only fair so that I can give a coherent RFD and not leave one or both debaters confused and/or angry. That means that in your 2NR or 2AR, you should explain the position/argument that you're going for well, in addition to winning the position/argument on a technical level.
3] Defaults I will use (in the absence of argumentation or being told otherwise):
Competing Worlds > Truth Testing
Theory paradigm issues: 1AR theory is legitimate, No RVI's, Reasonability, Drop the Argument
T paradigm issues: No RVI's, Competing Interps, Drop the Debater
Role of the Ballot: Vote for the debater who did the better debating.
Role of the Judge: To decide a winner, a loser, and assign speaker points if this is prelims.
4] While the 1AR or 2NR might be time-compressed or skewed strategy-wise, I believe that granting an RVI is not the right correction to make. Instead, reasonability and/or drop the argument make way more sense to me to correct the abuse incurred by skews or frivolous theory shells.
5] I find that unless there is substantial demonstrated in-round abuse, I'm skeptical of voting on theory and tend to think that it's a reason to reject the argument, not the debater.
6] Evidence ethics is a stop the round issue. If a challenge is initiated, I will evaluate it and nothing else in the debate. A successful challenge will result in an L20 for the evidence offender, and an unsuccessful challenge will result in an L20 for the challenge initiator.
Old paradigm (that's still true, but was scrapped for length and being overly complicated): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bxnud-Adkse3iBuHL3LW6WOx-tPHHxUHGVLSLpjTSO0/edit?usp=sharing
Conflicts (ghill, memorial, Marlborough, )
Yeah, I want the docs -- firstname.lastname@example.org,
stealing a version of this from @sebastian cho
since debate is a game lets play the speaks game
Say you want to play the speaks games
- I will put it into a random number generator
- 3/4 chance of 30 speaks 1/4 chance of 28.5 speaks
2023 note! only reason im not judging every weekend on the circuit like '22 is bc stuff isn't online like it used to be, don't let that shy u away from preffing me, I'm judging one way or another and am up to date w the topic.
Pref Cheat sheet
LARP -> 1-2
K / Theory -> 1-2
Trix -> 1-2
Phil -> 3 *
*(not saying I'm inept to these debates, rather just don't normally judge them, never read them when i debated but am fine w them)
I tend to prefer LARP debates over traditional debates. I never liked traditional LD (however not opposed) and was never the best with PHIL, these debates can be confusing for me, in all honesty. I was never a theory debater but if the theory flow is very cleanly explained, ill vote on it. No I'm not opposed to trix, or permissibility debates. Yes, ill vote on disclosure. I'm very reluctant now to vote on condo, but.. that can change 100%. I default to competing interps, no rvi's, and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types. Please Extend the aff in the 2ar even if the 2ar is theory. You can go for the k I don't have any issues and enjoy a good K debate, don't expect me to know your high theory (Batille, Pyshco, Baudy) beforehand though, I will listen and evaluate, but will require a higher threshold of proof and explanation.
I will not vote on arguments I don't understand. if you think it's sus, imagine how I feel.
I did policy for 3 years and had some success
Policy Affs > K affs
Soft left policy affs> Big stick generic Affs
While I have these notions, I will listen to a K aff etc and not be biased against it.
Speed is fine but will say clear once before stopping flowing.
Disad/Cp debate is the key to my heart
I think a solid case page debate is the most underutilized tool in debate
you can go for the k I don't have any issues and enjoy a good K debate, don't expect me to know your high theory beforehand though, I will listen, but will require a higher threshold of proof and explanation.
This is a new tabroom account so please excuse the lack of judging history.
I have participated in PF, LD and Policy within the 8 years of me being in the debate community.
Please email me if you have any questions as I continue to update my paradigm thank you.
OR - If you have any immediate question for PREFS you can always find me on facebook Heaven Montague
Tech or Truth?
I am a technical judge BUT I WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY ARGUMENTS THAT MAKE STATEMENTS SUCH AS RACISM GOOD AND ETC.
Competed in LD and WS at Plano East for four years mainly in TFA but also at some NatCircuit tournaments.
email@example.com put me on chains
These are all just preferences, TL;DR debate how you want to I might give the wrong rfd if I'm in the back of a tricks or phil round.
I should be able to make a decision looking only at your 2nr/2ar flows.
Be CIVIL and strategic and you will get high speaks -- online debate especially makes it difficult to differentiate between being funny and rude so please be respectful.
Shouldn't have to explain much here. Just do good weighing explaining how the DA turns case or case turns DA.
CP Theory is cool.
Give me some pen time between flows -- 1-2 seconds is enough if I have sheets in order.
Nebel is a meme but sure.
I'm good for this. I tended to go for 1ar theory a lot when I debated and I tend to think it's a good thing but that doesn't mean you don't have to answer the hedge if the 1nc has one.
Theory is not just a tool for norm-setting and can be used strategically
Friv theory doesn't exist b/c it forces intervention -- if you win an abuse story it obviously isn't 'frivolous'
Hate it and love it. Almost every 1ar I gave had a few of these arguments in it and I understand why it's needed especially considering how skewed the 1ar is. If you plan on going for it, it should still have a warrant and impact (i.e: condo is a voting issue vs it splits the 1ar destroying engagement key to fairness.)
Policy AFF vs K:
1. AFFs should make arguments as to why they get to weigh the case.
2. Alt solvency needs to be explained in the 2nr unless you are going for the K as a disad to the 1ac. Explain very clearly why they don't get the perm.
3. Assume I don't know the K lit, this is most likely a safe assumption as I've never gone further than reading Harney, and a little bit of Wilderson. I probably will be able to understand debates over more common arguments like afropess, setcol, cap, Puar, etc. But you need to err towards over-explaining anything complicated. (edit: sorta hate pomo)
K AFF vs T-FW:
I've been on both sides of this debate, very rarely read big-stick extinction AFFs alternated between egregiously non-t affs and soft-left affs. However, I went for framework a lot and think it is correct on a truth level, often find myself voting for it because very few teams have a good defense against framework.
1. Explain why voting AFF is a good idea non-contextual to FW. Having a nuanced defense against presumption can also be leveraged against
2. Impact Turns don't need a CI but it's strategic to have a competing model of debate that sets some limit or new stasis point for debate that is able to resolve some (if not all) of the offense coming off of T.
1. Don't spend much time on individual standards (Limits, prep, clash, etc) because let's be honest most K teams will just impact turn.
2. Spend more on explaining the terminal impact of your model. You should approach the round as a question "Why does fairness matter in a world of the affirmative? How do more fair debates solve the AFF?"
3. I don't think the TVA is a CP but it can be good to frame the TVA as advocacy that solves all their offense with the net benefit of clash/testing/engagement/fairness, etc. Think of it as a CP+DA 2NR, makes the offense you have to win so much less when you win the TVA.
4. Turning framework into a state good/bad debate on the case and leveraging that state good offense on T is a very good strategy and will be rewarded with higher speaker points.
I read almost exclusively Util and a Kant NC once or twice every topic. I find Phil debate very fun and engaging but I hate how they have died. Kant in the 1nc too often ends up as condo logic or skep in the 2nr which makes me sad but I end up having to vote on it.
Having a strong defense for your framing mechanism is much more useful than extending 6-7 blips to their method, just use the blip storm as a time suck so that you can spend more time on your own flow.
Welp. I will vote for these but I am kinda awful at flowing through them.
This covers exclusively substance or LARP debates, anything else will be in the LD section of my paradigm. Here is a short version if you don't have much time to read through everything before the round: (all the LD paradigm applies here too)
ill evaluate anything and evaluate arguments however you tell me to in round. These are just my preferences/defaults as to what I believe is good for debate.
Defense has to be extended through speeches
2nd rebuttal needs to frontline everything you want to go for, this doesn't mean you can't kick out of arguments, you just need to
Weighing is never new
New offense past rebuttal is kinda sus.
I have done PF as a middle schooler and occasionally at some locals. I didn't go for the K much when I did LD and almost exclusively LARPed so I feel pretty comfortable judging this event. However, there are definitely a lot of 'procedurals' that PF messes up pretty badly and you need to be mindful of if I'm in the back:
a. Sticky arguments are stupid. You can not make arguments in the last two speeches that weren't extended the speech prior. There is no logical justification for this except that it forces you to extend a bunch of different conceded arguments in which case you can just extend one of them quickly and since it's conceded and explained it is true.
b. Second Rebuttal should frontline everything. Obviously you can concede defense to answer turns on arguments you aren't going for but if you want me to vote on an argument later on, you need to answer everything.
c. Link turns aren't offense w/o UQS. Obviously, this isn't the case for Linear DA's without uniqueness but just keep in mind that if you don't straight turn an argument then your opponents can just say UQS overwhelms the link (insert explanation) and kick the argument which makes your link turn a glorified piece of defense. If you are going for an impact turn this isn't a problem.
d. Weigh. PF'ers spend too much time weighing in the wrong ways. "my impact is bigger" and "My impact has a fast timeframe" isn't weighing. Weighing should be comparative, and not just at the impact level because from what I have seen most PF rounds will end up with the same impact level and no external impact like extinction. Internal link arguments (i.e: CC = crop shortage = ag industry collapses = recession) and x turns y arguments are much better allocations of your time and will be rewarded with high speaks. Remember you only need one good weighing argument, not seven bad ones.
Torrey Pines '19
- I’ll vote for almost anything as long as it isn’t morally abhorrent
- go a bit slower bc of online debate, thanks :)
- Read whatever you want as long as you can explain it
- If you have any questions just ask before round or you can msg me on fb/email me
Defaults (can be changed if you make the args)
- Neg on presumption
- Drop the debater, competing interps, no rvi
CP - Should solve the case or part of it, have a solvency advocate, and be competitive with the aff. PIC’s are fine, 1-2 condo is fine, also open to aff theory against them.
DA – Disads are great, higher quality disads > higher quantity of disads.
Kritiks – My knowledge is mostly towards more basic k’s like cap, security, setcol, etc. It’s your job to articulate the k to make sure I understand - I'm not well read on a lot of lit bases and I might not know the jargon you use. Contextualize the k/links to the aff. High theory – really interesting but the extent of my knowledge is a 30 min lecture from Ronak and a bit of source reading so probably not a good idea.
K Affs – I like them and read them, but I don’t favor either side of the debate more than the other. Make sure you explain what the aff actually does.
Topicality – Convince me that your model/interp of debate is better than theirs.
T/FW - TVA arguments and case lists help me visualize the interpretation.
Theory – Good theory for me includes things like 50 state fiat bad, floating piks bad, disclosure, etc. Friv theory - I’ll still vote on it but the threshold for responding lowers the more friv it is.
Phil – I find philosophy interesting but I only have base level understanding of anything not util.
Tricks – 0 experience
I'm flow/tech until you are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I can handle spreading, just send a speech doc that includes anything you read so I don’t accidentally miss something, I'd hate to vote someone down because audio cut out or my hearing failed me. If you're gonna read primarily analytics or logic include bullet points.
If you want more details read below. If you want the most up to date info, ask me in round.
Important Note: I will not look at any evidence unless it is asked of me to do so in round, once you ask me to examine the evidence I assume you give me full discretion to read the entire article or study and make judgements based on its contents.
I have 4 years of experience in PF, Congress, and LD. I have no exposure to Ks, but I do have experience with and enjoy judging theory debate. I am currently studying economics at Tufts University and have familiarity with urbanization and healthcare. This will not affect decision making, but I believe in the spirit of fairness I should disclose my familiarities with related subjects.
Speaker Point System:
Here's a rudimentary point system
24: You broke a rule or were racist
27: Worst you can get normally, your speeches were messy and impossible to understand.
28: Mediocre, you gave your speech monotone or had several issues with clarity
29: Good, you gave your speeches clearly most of the time and had few issues during cross.
30: Great, you didn't have any noticeable issues
This is what will lose you points
1. Interrupting during crossfire or trying to turn it into another speech instead of asking a question
2. Not speaking clearly(I give a lot of leeway on this)
4. Being rude or disrespectful
How I judge debate:
I vote almost solely on what happens in the round with framework being the first thing I consider and speaking and strategy being the last. So if you impact to only economic downfall but forget to attack the framework that says we should focus on saving lives then that’s an L for you.
While I am a flow/tech judge, if you run blatantly untrue or abusive arguments I will step in because then I see you as just being an awful human being. This hasn't ever happened, but I want it to be known that I reserve the right to intervene in order to be transparent as a judge. This shouldn't ever happen unless you run "racism is good" like that one kid in Oklahoma.
If you hold your opponents to a standard in round you must meet that standard too.
What I like:
1. Thorough and well done weighing
2. Collapsing of arguments
3. Clearing extensions through till final focus
4. Clear and quantified impacts
5. Well written theory
How to annoy me:
Here are a few ways you can annoy me in the round: lying, not giving your opponents the evidence they call for in a timely manner, defining every word in the resolution, acting arrogant, expecting me to weigh for you, running arguments that are immature and demeaning such as racism good or that sexism doesn't exist.
Debate is meant to be inclusive and any attempts to undermine that will lose you speaker points very quickly.
Occasionally I will have suggestions for evidence, cases, or arguments that I do not have the materials on standby for, if you ever want to follow up on an RFD and ask for a clarification you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How I judge extemp:
To me, extemp is just as much about being a charismatic speaker as it is having good arguments. If I’m not interested in what you’re telling them you’re not doing a great job. There are several ways to get my attention including being humorous or having a good introduction. I’ve had people win rounds despite having weaker arguments because it actually became painful to listen to the other speakers' monotone performances. Your speaking abilities makes up half your ranking.
Strake Jesuit Class of 2020 | Texas A&M Class of 2024
If there’s an email chain add email@example.com but if you can, use the file share (it's a lot quicker) and share a PDF instead of a .docx file.
At Strake I debated PF for 2 years and LD for roughly 2 years, predominantly on a local level.
TL;DR, I strongly prefer traditional/LARP debates, and I will judge rounds based on the flow. Don't speak fast if the tournament is held online.
-I won’t extend evidence if you don’t mention its ***author name and date***. Give a warrant’s implications and extend them throughout the round.
- It’s good to give off-the-clock roadmaps and signpost (i.e. where you are or what you are attacking) during the speech.
-Weigh arguments with metrics like magnitude, scope, timeframe, etc.
How to get good speaker points:
- Being polite (also being aggressive isn’t mutually exclusive).
- Being articulate and I can understand what you're saying.
- Don’t go over your allotted speech and prep time by much. Note that I keep track of speech times (but not prep time).
- Don't use filler words like "uh" or "um" and avoid speaking in a monotone.
Affiliation: Winston Churchill HS
*I don't look at docs during the debate, if it isn't on my flow, I'm not evaluating it*
**prep time stops when the email is sent, too many teams steal prep while 'saving the doc'**
FOR LD PREFS AT BERKELEY
All of the below thoughts are likely still true, but it should be noted that it has been about 5 years since I've regularly judged high-level LD debates and my thoughts on some things have likely changed a bit. The hope is that this gives you some insight into how I'm feeling during the round at hand.
1) Go slow. What I really mean is be clear, but everyone thinks they are much more clear than they are so I'll just say go 75% of what you normally would.
2) I do not open the speech doc during the debate. If I miss an argument/think I miss an argument then it just isn't on my flow. I won't be checking the doc to make sure I have everything, that is your job as debaters. This also means:
3) Pen time. If you're going to read 10 blippy theory arguments back-to-back or spit out 5 different perms in a row, I'm not going get them all on my flow, you have to give judges time between args to catch it all
4) Inserting CP texts, Perm texts, evidence/re-highlighting is a no for me. If it is not read aloud, it isn't in the debate
5) I'll be honest, if you're using your Phil/Value/Criterion as much more than a framing mechanism for impacts, I'm not the best judge for you. I'll try my best, but I often find myself behind in these debates and struggling to find an offensive reason to vote for you.
6) Same is true for debaters who rely on 'tricks'/bad theory arguments, but even more so. If you're asking yourself "is this a bad theory argument?" it probably is. Things such as "evaluate the debate after the 1AR" or "aff must read counter-solvency" can be answered with a vigorous thumbs down.
7) I think speaker point inflation has gotten out of control but for those who care, this is a rough guess at my speaker point range28.4-28.5average;28.6-28.7 should clear;28.8-28.9 pretty good but some strategic blunders; 29+you were very good, only minor mistakes
That being said, if you have me as a judge read below:
Do what you do well: I have no preference to any sort of specific types of arguments these days. The most enjoyable rounds to judge are ones where teams are good at what they do and they strategically execute a well planned strategy. You are likely better off doing what you do and making minor tweaks to sell it to me rather than making radical changes to your argumentation/strategy to do something you think I would enjoy.
-Clash Debates: No strong ideological debate dispositions, affs should probably be topical/in the direction of the topic but I'm less convinced of the need for instrumental defense of the USFG. I think there is value in K debate and think that value comes from expanding knowledge of literature bases and how they interact with the resolution. I generally find myself unpersuaded by affs that 'negate the resolution' and find them to not have the most persuasive answers to framework.
-Evidence v Spin: Ultimately good evidence trumps good spin. I will accept a debater’s spin until it is contested by the opposing team. I often find this to be the biggest issue with with politics, internal link, and permutation evidence for kritiks.
-Speed vs Clarity: I don't flow off the speech document, I don't even open them until either after the debate or if a particular piece of evidence is called into question. If I don't hear it/can't figure out the argument from the text of your cards, it probably won't make it to my flow/decision. This is almost always an issue of clarity and not speed and has only gotten worse during/post virtual debate.
-Permutation/Link Analysis: I am becoming increasingly bored in K debates where the negative neither has a specific link to the aff nor articulates/explains what the link to the aff is beyond a 3-year-old link block written by someone else. I think most K links in high school debate are more often links to the status quo/links of omission and I find affirmatives that push the kritik about lack of links/alts inability to solve set themselves up successfully to win the permutation. I find that permutations that lack any discussion of what the world of the permutation would mean to be incredibly unpersuasive and you will have trouble winning a permutation unless the negative just concedes the perm. Reading a slew of permutations with no explanation as the debate progresses is something that strategically helps the negative team when it comes to contextualizing what the aff is/does. I also see an increasingly high amount of negative kritiks that don't have a link to the aff plan/method and instead are just FYIs about XYZ thing. I think that affirmative teams are missing out by not challenging these links.
I debated for two years at Strake Jesuit High school in Houston, Tx. I've competed at TFA, Nationals, and the TOC. I worked five weeks over the summer with NSD and coach a handful of kids independently. I agree with my old coach Chris Castillo on most things so I'm just going to paste his paradigm below (Matthew Chen's paradigm is another good jumping off point). My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, feel free to email me any questions and include me on the email chain.
I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. Be clear, both in delivery and argument function/interaction, weigh and develop a ballot story.
Theory: I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types. I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness. Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments. D
Non-T affs: These are fine just have a clear ballot story.
Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".
Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity.
Prep: 1. I prefer that you don't use cx as prep time. 2. It is ok to ask questions during cx. 3. Compiling a document counts as prep time. 4. Please write down how much time you have left.
Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. Don't manipulate evidence or clip.
I haven’t judged in a while. Going slightly slower than usual and over-emphasizing will be appreciated.
Facebook: Neville Tom
Hi! My name’s Neville. I debated for four years at Strake Jesuit (got a few bid rounds during my career if that makes any difference), and I’m currently a freshman at UH. I’m still kinda working out the whole judging thing, so there’ll probably be some edits to this as time goes on. As such, please feel free to ask me any questions prior to round if you need any clarification about my judging style or my paradigm.
How to Win (the TL;DR version):
You do you – just do it well. Tell me very clearly how to evaluate the round and why you’re winning compared to your opponent and that’ll probably be what I decide on. I liked to read a little of everything in my rounds, so don’t be afraid to try out some obscure strategy in front of me – just know how to explain it well enough for the win.
How to Greatly Improve Your Chances at Winning & Boost Speaks:
- Weigh: Do it. A lot. As much as you POSSIBLY can manage. It doesn't matter to me if you're winning 99% of the arguments on the flow; if your opponent wins just that 1% and does a better job at explaining WHY that 1% matters more in terms of the entire debate, you will probably lose that debate.
- Crystallize: Don't go for every possible argument that you're winning. You should take time to provide me a very clear ballot story so that I know why I should vote for you. It might even behoove you to explicitly say: "Look. Here's the thesis of the aff/neg: (insert story of the aff/neg). Here's what we do that they can't solve for: (insert reason(s) to vote aff/neg). Insofar as we're winning this/these argument(s), we should win the round."
- Use Overviews: I find that debaters who use overviews effectively tend to win more rounds. It will definitely help me evaluate if you start off your rebuttal speeches with an overview, so... *shrug*. A good overview will have these three components: (1) explain which issues matter most in the debate, (2) explain why those issues matter most (why I should care about them most), (3) why you're winning those issues. After that, feel free to go to the line-by-line to do the grunt work. This will help clarify the round and will help me to focus on the issues that matter.
- Warrant your Arguments: When making arguments, be sure to provide clear WARRANTS that prove WHY your argument is true. Highlight these warrants for me and make sure to extend them for the arguments that you're going for in later speeches - if done strategically and well, I will probably vote for you.
- Signpost: Make very clear to me where you are on the flow and where you want me to put your responses. This will help to prevent any disambiguities that might affect my decision.
- Creatively Interpret Your Arguments: Feel free (in fact I encourage you) to provide your own unique spin to your arguments by providing implications that may not be explicit on first glance. Just make sure your original argument is open-ended enough to allow for your new interpretation. For example, if you win a Hobbesian framework and claim that the sovereign should settle ethical dilemmas, then feel free to make the implication that theory is illegitimate because it is not a rule that the sovereign has proposed.
How to Greatly Improve Your Chances at Losing & Lower Speaks (Borrowed from Chris Castillo's paradigm):
1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too).
2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand, so don't just read some dense phil or K and expect me to understand it.
3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters.
4. Don't steal prep.
5. Don't manipulate evidence or clip. If I get conclusive evidence that you are purposely clipping, then I will down you.
I’m fine with it – make sure to start off slow and ramp up to your higher speeds so that I can get used to it. I flow on my computer and will say slow or clear several times if necessary – that being said, if you still continue to be incoherent, I will not get your arguments on my flow and will not be able to evaluate them.
That being said, there are things I will DEFINITELY want you to slow down for to make sure that I catch them.
Slow down on:
1. Advocacy/CP Texts
2. Text of Evaluative Mechanism (This can include the text of your ROB, your standard/value criterion, etc.)
3. Theory Interps
5. Author Names
6. After Signposting (Just pause for a second so that I can navigate to that part of my flow)
7. Analytics (in rebuttals)
**NOTE: I'm not asking to talk at a snail's pace when making analytical responses to arguments. However, if you blitz out ten 1-sentence analytics in the space of 5 seconds, I will not be able to catch all of them, so it would be to your betterment to slow down a bit. Additionally, it would help me flow analytics if you provide a verbal short 2-word tag prior to making your argument. For example, "A-point, no warrant: (insert argument here). B-point, missing internal link: (insert argument here). C-point, turn: (insert argument here). D-point, turn (insert argument) here." etc., etc. Feel free to be creative with your tags.
I will assign speaks based on your strategical decisions in round, but sounding pretty doesn’t hurt. I’ll start at a 28 and go up or down based on how you do.
- Tech > Truth: Technical proficiency outweighs the actual truth value of an argument. Even if I do not personally agree with your argument, the onus is on the opponent to prove why the argument is false or shouldn't be evaluated. If your opponent fails to do this, then I will view the argument as legitimate and will evaluate the argument accordingly.
- Talk to me prior to the round if you need any accommodations. If you have a legitimate problem with a specific argument that impedes you from debating at your best, then please, by all means, let me know before the round starts. In order to avoid any mishaps, please provide a trigger warning prior to reading any (possibly) sensitive issue. If you are doubtful on whether you should give a trigger warning, then provide one anyway to be safe.
- Have Fun with the Activity: feel free to make jokes/references/meme (a bit) in round. Debate is admittedly a stressful activity and so is school and basically the rest of life, so feel free to relax. Make sure that your humor is in good taste, however; there is a very fine line between humor and arrogance/insults and I do not want to have to deal with a situation where "fun goes wrong".
- Disclosure is probably good: I find myself compelled by the argument. This does not mean that I will auto-hack for Disclosure Good or any of its variants - I believe that it is a legitimate debate to be had and if you conclusively win that disclosure is bad, then I will vote for you. That being said, do NOT run it on someone that is clearly novice level/just started circuit debate. If you win the argument, I will vote for you, but I will not be giving you higher speaks.
- Strength of link is a great weighing argument. Use it.
- People I Share Similar Judge Philosophies With: Chris Castillo, Matthew Chen, Tom Evnen, Erik Legried, Etc.
*Edit - Here’s my wikis from senior year so that you can get an idea of the type of debater that I was:
I wish every debater and team the best of luck!
Background: I've participated in LD since the eighth grade. In high school I qualified for the TX state tournament two years in a row. I have volunteered as a judge for a handful of local tournaments in Houston.
Paradigm: I flow every round and will keep a copy of the flow until after the tournament, should any questions arise.
I subscribe to a more traditional style of LD. You may use policy(CX) language, but I ask the debaters to NOT "spread". I believe it makes for stronger cases when contentions all coherently support a criterion and value. However, I do not believe winning the value debate without successfully engaging in the contention debate is a thorough method from which to approach a round, and is rarely sufficient to win a debate.
Time signals: I can provide time signals for 1 minute remaining and 30 seconds remaining if asked. Otherwise I will just call time.
Three main things I evaluate
1) Framework and pre-fiat arguments
2) Evidence Comparison: give me reasons to prefer your evidence especially to set the record straight about something.
3) Impact Calculus
Topicality is something I will vote on
Kritiks must have an alt. it must be clear through Cross X and Speech what the world of the alt looks like.
I debated at Katy Taylor HS in Houston from 2014-2018 and went to TOC senior year. I taught at NSD and TDC during the summer. My debate style was primarily util, Ks, and theory. For the email chain, my email is email@example.com
I'm most comfortable with judging
But do whatever you like doing- I'll do my best to be tab and vote on whatever is warranted and won.
-Fine with K affs, also fine with T answering K affs
-I'm unfamiliar with a lot of phil lit and tricks bc I rarely went for these as a debater so give good explanations of it and how they interact with other layers if you go this route
-I have no biases towards any positions just be clear with explanations, interactions, and weighing
If you have any questions you can message me on Facebook or email me!
****Last Updated: Greenhill 2021****
· I’m a fourth year pre-med student at Purdue University. I aspire to attend medical school in a couple years. I competed in LD for duPont Manual High School (Louisville, Kentucky) from 2014-2018. I cleared at almost every bid tournament I attended and reached bid rounds at Emory and UPenn. I mostly LARPed, but I enjoyed reading Ks and T/Theory too during my time on the circuit.
· Add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
· I’ll vote on any argument that meets the minimum requirements of having a claim, warrant, and impact. The more arcane aspects of debate don’t matter to me (for example, I don’t have an opinion on whether PICs are bad or 3 condo CPs are good) because it’s the debaters’ responsibilities to generate arguments and defend their positions. I’ll evaluate the flow as technically as I can because I care more about the debating than the ultimate truth of your arguments, so tech > truth. I do, however, believe that debate is designed to be a competitive research game.
· Maintain a local recording of each of your speeches. If there’s a disconnect, finish your speech and promptly send out the recording.
· Feel free to ask me questions about my preferences before the round via email or Facebook. Good luck and don’t forget to have fun!
· Speed is good, but do NOT use your top speed in online debates. If you have analytics typed out in the doc, I’ll have a higher threshold for “too fast,” but over the course of my judging history (all which has been online) I’ve come to realize that my worst decisions have come from debates where the debaters are going too fast. Efficient and well enunciated speeches will seriously trump fast and unclear speeches: I CANNOT vote on arguments I didn’t hear. I’ll yell clear as much as I need to. Please pop tags and author names.
· Prep ends when the doc is compiled. Sending the doc isn’t prep, but don’t steal prep.
· I’ll disclose speaks if you ask and if both debaters are ok with it. Speaks are adjusted according to the tournament’s difficulty. They reflect how well I expect you to do.
· If you make a Star Wars reference I’ll add +0.1 to whatever your speaks were supposed to be. I’ll add +0.2 if it's a Darth Vader or Yoda quote. Don’t be afraid to “do it.” Add it to the speech doc and make it stand out, so I don’t miss it!
· weighing that is contextualized to your opponent’s arguments
· good overviews
· fast and efficient tech skills
· good case debate—I appreciate negs that actually read carded arguments and analytics against the aff and I am impressed by affs that are very techy when responding to case dumps
· numbered arguments
· good evidence comparison
· impact turns—bonus speaks if you can end the debate with these
· being funny (making me laugh will get you bonus speaks)
· saying your opponent conceded something even though it wasn’t conceded
· saying the word “extend” a ton or trying to extend every author name—just make the argument and tell me its warrant and impact in the round
· jumping around different parts of the flow
· power tagging
· going for everything in your last speech (although this is justified sometimes)
· Extinction scenarios are very entertaining—these positions were my favorite strategies in debate. I find these debates easier to adjudicate when debaters have high quality evidence.
· Impact calc and comparative weighing are imperative.
· Evidence comparison could be make it or break it. This includes reading cards: I like it when 1ARs and 2NRs strategically read cards to extend their scenarios, but they better be relevant and well-explained!
· Extensions need to have warrants—even in the 1AR/2AR. All I need is an overview of the advantage, but your extension of the aff should match the degree to which its warrants have been contested. You don’t need to say every card name. Just tell me what the aff does, what it solves, and how it does so.
· I think CPs are some of the best neg args. All types of CPs are cool, but don't blame me if your opponent reads theory.
· CPs should avoid a DA or turn to the aff, so just saying “CP solves better” isn’t a DA to the perm.
· DAs are great. The best DAs have a “DA turns case” component. 2NR impact calc is critical: probability and magnitude are important, but strength of link and evidence specificity need to be articulated as well.
· Some of my favorite debates to witness have been phil debates. In fact, some of the best speaks I’ve given have been a result of good phil debate (and the frameworks weren’t util—surprise!).
· Err on the side of overexplaining. I’m good on most framework authors.
· DON’T extend every card and go for every justification—give an overview of your framework’s thesis and go from there.
· The best phil debaters are able to contextualize real world examples that illustrate their ethical theory.
· You have to contextualize why the justification you go for matters in the context of your opponent’s framework. Too many phil debates end up being two ships sailing past each other in the middle of the night.
· I enjoy judging T/Theory debates. They demonstrate whether debaters have good tech skills and whether they know how to defend their personal convictions about debate as an activity. If you’re willing to be persuasive and you’re serious about defending your interp, then go for it.
· I “default” to the norms of the activity, which seem to be drop the debater, no RVIs, and competing interps (unless justified by debaters that I should do otherwise).
· Not all theory arguments need to be in a shell format.
· I adjudicate on a strength of link style on various layers of the theory debate (i.e. if you have a ton of offense to education, and they have a tiny amount to fairness, the fact that fairness slightly outweighs is probably not sufficient to vote for their shell).
· I’ll probably have a basic understanding of whatever K you read, but I will not vote for you unless YOU explain your theory.
· SHORTER TAGS ARE EASIER TO FLOW. PLEASE.
· Aff specific links paired with generic links are preferable to solely relying on generic links: negs should use lines directly from the aff to make the links more robust.
· I don’t believe there is a significant distinction between “post-fiat” and “pre-fiat.” The most important facet of the debate is that you defend your arguments and prove why the aff or neg is good/bad/correct/incorrect/etc. It is a fact that nothing truly happens after the round—the only thing we take away from the round is the knowledge derived from the arguments that were made by the debaters. You should stray away from using the terms “post-fiat” and “pre-fiat.”
· I expect detailed explanations for the interaction between the K and the aff. Use the appropriate K tricks and explain why the K outweighs/turns the case/perm fails/is a prior question/solves the aff/etc.
· Your aff doesn’t need to be topical, but I expect good 1AR and 2AR explanations of your offense. Buzzwords will only get you so far.
· Honestly, I’d rather listen to a beautiful 2NR that goes for a K that is meaningful to the debater or a strategic 2AR that goes for an advantage and does amazing impact calc. I empathize with debaters who have committed hours and hours to research/prep about the topic or literature of choice because I believe in hard work. This is what I did back in the day, so I want to reward students who are going through the same thing; however, strategy and winning ballots is important, so I’ll listen to and vote on your arguments. Just be prepared to receive the appropriate speaks.
· In high school I had a great time with debate. I was fortunate to never have any serious drama or traumatic experiences during my time in the activity and I think that everyone should be able to say the same. I hold my peers to a high standard, and I hope you all help each other to do that as well. As someone who is now out of the activity, I cherish the years that I debated. It was a major part of my life and I learned a lot from the activity and the people around me. You all should make the most of every moment and do your best so that you don’t have any regrets.
· An atrocious AP Physics teacher I had in high school once told me that you can only be unhappy about an outcome if you’ve truly put in every ounce of effort and you still don’t reach your goal.
· Disclaimer: Parts of this paradigm were borrowed from Kieran Cavanagh, Alan George, and Adam Tomasi. Shout out to them for letting me borrow their content.
· May the force be with you!
Experience: I have taught at NSD, VBI, TDC. I've been coaching since I graduated in 2015 and I am the former director of debate at the Woodlands High School. My main experience is in LD, but I competed in/coached in NSDA nationals WSD (lonestar district), judge policy and PF somewhat irregularly at locals and TFA State. Across events, the way I understand how things work in LD applies. (WSD Paradigm at end)
Update for series online:
1. I have not judged any circuit-y debate since Grapevine, go slightly slower especially since it is over zoom. I do not like relying on speech docs to catch your arguments, but this is somewhat inevitable in zoom land. If you do go off doc or skip around you need to tell me.
2. Do whatever your heart desires. The paradigm below is merely an explanation of how I resolve debates, not a judgment on what kind of debate you like/have fun with. You can read pretty much whatever you want in front of me (with caveats mentioned below).
LD Paradigm (sorry this is long)
TL;DR: Use TWs, do not be rude, I am truly agnostic about what kind of debate happens in front of me. If you do not want to read through my whole paradigm check pref shortcuts and "things that will get your speaks tanked/I won't vote on."
K: 1-2 (more comfortable with identity Ks like queer theory, critical race theory, etc. I know some post-structuralist like Derrida, some Deleuze, Butler, Foucault, Anthro). Give me a 3 if you read Baudrillard unless you're good at explaining it
A bunch of theory: 2. I have been judging a lot of this lately, so do what you will. More specific theory stuff below.
Tricks: 2-3 I like good tricks but please have the spikes clearly delineated. There have been a couple rounds recently where I started to believe negating was in fact harder due to the affs that were being read. This kind of debate makes my head explode sometimes so collapsing in this form of debate is essential to me.
Policy/LARP: 3 (I guess?) I understand all of the technical stuff when it comes to this style, but I am not the judge for you if you're hoping that I would give you the leg up against things like phil or Ks. I vote on extinction outweighs a lot though (just bc I think LD has made a larger ideological shift towards policy args)
The trick to win my ballot regardless of the style/content: Crystallize!!!! Weigh!!!! Your 2nr/2ar should practically write my ballot.
I know that all of these have me in the 1-3 range, just consider me 'debate style agnostic'
I am familiar with most kinds of K lit, but do not use that as a crutch in close rounds. Underdeveloped K extensions suck equally as much as blippy theory extensions. Here are some other things I care about:
1. Make sure the K links back to some framing mechanism, whether it is a normative framework or a role of the ballot. You can't win me over on the K debate if you don't clearly impact it back to a framing mechanism. The text of the role of the ballot/role of the judge must be clearly delineated.
2. Point out specific areas on the flow where your opponent links. I'm not going to do the work for you. Contextualize those links!
3. If the round devolves into a huge K debate, you must weigh. Sifting through confusing K debates where there isn't any weighing is almost as bad as a terrible theory debate.
Overview extensions are fine, people forget to interact them with the line by line which makes me sad. If there are unclear implications to specific line by line arguments I tend to err against you
Non-black people should not read afro pess in front of me. You will not get higher than a 27.5 from me if you read it, I am very convinced by arguments saying that you should lose the round for it.
I vote on these relatively consistently, the only issue that I have seen is an explanation of why the aff needs the ballot -- I rarely vote on presumption arguments (e.g. "the aff does nothing so negate!") but that is usually because the negative makes the worst possible version of these arguments
I am just as likely to vote on Framework as I am a K aff -- to win this debate, I need a decent counter-interp, some weighing, and/or impact turns. Recently, I have seen K Affs forget to defend a robust counter-interp and weigh it which ends up losing them the round. Maybe I have just become too "tech-y" on T/Theory debates
Also, generally, a lot of ppl against Ks have just straight up not responded to their thesis claims -- that is a very quick way to lose in front of me -- I sort of evaluate these thesis claims similar to normative frameworks (e.g. if they win them, it tends to exclude a lot of your offense)
This is the type of debate I did way back when, so I am probably most comfortable evaluating these kinds of debates (but I only get to rarely). I studied philosophy so I probably know whats happening
Make all FW arguments comparative
Unless otherwise articulated, I probs default truth testing over comparative worlds when it comes to substantive debates
Phil debaters: stop conceding extinction outweighs. It is my least favorite framework argument and it makes me sad every time I vote on it
If you are reading theory against a K aff/K's then you need to weigh why procedurals come first and vice versa. If the K does not indict models of debate/form then I presume that procedurals come first (e.g. if the neg just reads a cap k about how the plan perpetuates capitalism, then I presume that theory arguments come first if there is no weighing at all)
You should justify paradigm issues, but I default competing interps and no RVIs. Reasonability arguments need a specific/justified brightline or at least a good enough reason to 'gut check' the shell. I think people go for reasonability too little against shells with marginal abuse
I tend not to vote on silly semantic I meets unless you impact them well (e.g. text>spirit) my implicit assumption is that an I meet needs to at least resolve some of the offense of the shell. So, if the I meet does not seem to resolve the abuse, then I likely will not vote on it absent weighing
aff/neg flex standards: need to be specific e.g. you cant just say "negating is harder for xyz therefore let me do this thing" rather, you should explain how aff/neg is harder and then granting you access to that practice helps check back against a structural disadvantage in some specific way
If there are multiple shells, I NEED weighing when you collapse in the 2nr/2ar otherwise the round will be irresolvable and I will be sad
Really, just weighing generally.
Shells I consider frivolous and won't vote on: meme shells, shoe theory, etc
Shells I consider frivolous and will vote on: spec status (and various other spec shells beyond specifying a plan text/implementation), counter solvency advocate, role of the ballot spec (please do not call it 'colt peacemaker')
Combo shells are good but please be sure that your standards support all planks of the interp
Alright, so you roll up into the room and you got this really tricked out case with 100 different a prioris, so many theory spikes that they are literally jumping off the page to fight for fairness, and the classic incontestable descriptive offense, and you are ready to win. I just have a couple of requests:
1. I want the spikes clearly delineated. None of that hidden theory spikes between substantive offense bs. I won't catch it, your opponent won't catch it, so it probably doesn't exist (like absolute moral truths).
2. Slow down a little for theory spikes. I was and continue to be terrible at flowing, so help me out a little by starting out slower in the underview section.
Sometimes these debates make my brain explode a little bit, so crystallization is key -- obvi it is hard to be super pathosy on 'evaluate the debate after the 1ac' but overviews and ballot instruction is key here
Also, I likely will never vote on evaluate the debate after "x" speech that is not the 2ar. So if that is a core part of your strategy I suggest trying to win a different spike. I probably voted on this once at the NSD camp tournament, which was funny, but not an argument I like voting on. Similarly, I will evaluate the theory debate after the 2ar; you can argue for no 1ar theory or no 2nr paradigm issues however.
Against Ks, I will likely not vote on tricks that justify something abhorrent. I think 'induction fails takes out the K' is also a silly argument (again, I voted on it like once but I just think its a terrible argument)
Unsure why I have to say this but DAs are not an advocacy and if I hear the phrase "perm the disad" you immediately drop down to a 28. If you extend "perm the disad" then you will drop to a 27. I'm not kidding.
Perms need a text, explanation of how the advocacies are combined, and how it is net beneficial (or just not mutually exclusive)
I do not really have any theoretical assumptions for policy style arguments, I can be convinced either way re:condo and specific CP theory (PICs, consult, etc)
Extinction outweighs: least favorite argument, usually the most strategic argument to collapse to against phil and K debaters
Unsure what else to say here, do what you want
Speaker points are relatively arbitrary anyways, but I tend to give higher speaks to people who make good strategic decisions, who I think should make it to out rounds, who keep me engaged (good humor is a plus) and who aren't mean to other debaters (esp novices/less experienced debaters). Nowadays, I tend to start you off at a 28 and move you up or down based on your performance. The thing I value most highly when giving speaks is overall strategy and arg gen. If I think you win in a clever way or you debate in a way that makes it seem that you read my paradigm before round, then the higher speaks you will get. I think I have only given out perfect 30s a handful of times. At local tournaments, my standards for speaks are a lot lower given that the technical skill involved is usually lower.
Things I like (generally) that ensure better speaks: overviews that clear up messy debates and/or outline the strat in the 1ar/2nr/2ar, effective collapsing, making the debate easy to evaluate (about 7 times out of 10, if I take a long time to make a decision it is due to a really messy round which means you should fear for your speaks; the other 3/10 times it is because it is a close round).
If you are hitting a novice, please don't read like 5 off and make the round less of a learning experience and more of a public beat down. It just is not necessary. I will give you higher speaks if you make the round somewhat more accessible (ie going slower, reading positions that they can attempt to engage in, etc).
Things that will get your speaks tanked and that I will not vote on:
1. Shoe theory, or anything of the like. I won't vote on it, instant 25.
2. Being rude to novices, trying to outspread them and making it a public beatdown. Probs a 27 or under depending on the strength of the violation. What this means is that you should make the round accessible to novices; do not read some really really dense K (unless you are good at explaining it to a novice so that they can at least make some responses), nor should you read several theory shells and sketchy/abusive arguments to win the ballot. Not making the round accessible is a rip, and I think it is important for tournaments to be used as a learning experience, especially if it is one of their first tournaments in VLD.
3. If you are making people physically uncomfortable in the space, and depending on the strength of the violation, you can expect your speaks to be 26 or lower. If you are saying explicitly racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc things then probs an auto-loss 25.
4. Consistently misgendering people. L 25
5. I will not vote on the generic Nietzsche "suffering good" K anymore, I just think that it is a terrible argument and people need to stop going to bad policy back files, listen to some Kelly Clarkson if you want that type of education. L 25
Style: To score high in this category, I not only consider how one speaks but the way arguments are presented and characterized. To some extent, I do think WS is a bit more 'performative' than other debate events and is much more conversational. As such, I think being a bit creative in the way you present arguments wins you some extra points here. This is not to say that your speech should be all flowery and substanceless; style is a supplement to content and not a replacement. Good organization of speeches also helps you score higher (e.g clash points, the speech has a certain flow to it, etc).
Content: The way I evaluate other forms of debate sort of applies here. The main thing I care about is 1. Have you provided an adequate explanation of causes/incentives/links etc? 2. Have you clearly linked this analysis to some kind of impact and explained why I care comparatively more about your impacts relative to your opponents? Most of the time, teams that lose lack one of these characteristics of arguments. The best second speeches add a new sub that puts a somewhat unique spin on the topic - get creative.
Models v. Counter-Models: The prop has the right to specify a reasonable interpretation of a motion to both narrow the debate and make more concrete what the prop defends on more practical/policy oriented motions. To some extent, I think it is almost necessary on these kinds of motions because while focusing on 'big ideas' is good, talking about them in a vacuum is not. Likewise, the opp can specify a reasonable counter-model in response/independent of the prop. I try my best not to view these debates in an LD/Policy way, but if it is unclear to me what the unique net benefit of your model is (and how the counter-model is mutually exclusive), then you are likely behind. On value based motions, I think models are relatively silly in the sense that these motions are not about practical actions, but principles. On regrets/narrative motions, I need a clear illustration of the world of the prop and opp (a counter-factual should be presented e.g. in a world without this narrative/idea, what would society have looked like instead?).
Strategy: Most important thing to me in terms of strategy is collapsing/crystallizing and argument coverage. Like other formats of debate, the side that gives me the most clear and concise ballot story is the one that will win. The less I have to think, the better. Obviously, line by lining every single argument is not practical nor necessary; however, if you are going to concede something, I need to know why it should not factor in my decision as soon as possible. Do not pretend an argument just doesn't exist. I also do not evaluate new arguments in the 3rd speeches and reply. For the 3rd speech, you can offer new examples to build on the analysis of the earlier speech, which I will not consider new.
Also, creative burden structures that help narrow the debate in your favor is something I would categorize as strategic. The best burdens lower your win conditions and subsequently increase the burden on the opposing side. Obviously, needs to be somewhat within reason or a common interp of the motion but I think this area of framing debates is under-utilized.
(sorry if the above is somewhat lengthy, I figured that I should write a more comprehensive paradigm given that I am judging WS more often now)
I'm a parent judge and will vote on what I feel is the most persuasive. Please present your case in a comprehensible way. Please do not use debate jargon and please do not spread. If I don't understand you, I will not be able to vote for you.
ld @ cypress woods high school '20, parli @ harvard '24.5. dabbled in worlds (usa dev '19)!
please time yourself
ask me anything before round!
i qualled to the toc my senior year and taught at nsd flagship & tdc. if you have questions / for sdocs: email@example.com
1 - phil/theory. i probably give more weight to k v phil interactions, phil v theory interactions, and k interactions in a truth testing paradigm than the average tx judge. i also enjoy interesting paradigm issue interactions on theory
2 - tricks/larp. i’m not familiar with the topic though, nor do i know what the principle of explosion is - you still need to explain things!
3 - k unless they're reps ks, which i read a lot of. i prefer lbl to floating overviews that im not sure what to do with.
- have the doc ready to send ahead of time
- i enjoy a good cx
- i'll call slow and clear as many times as i need to but speaks will drop. im fine w ur opponent calling slow/clear too as long as it's not malicious.
- scripting the entire speech and/or big words without explanation is an ick - i have no idea what, for example, hapticality is.
- postrounding / being aggressive (esp against trad/novices/minorities) makes me sad
- you have to provide evi to your opponent/judge. that does not mean you have to disclose (you can have that debate) but should show them, if requested. evi contestation (clipping, miscutting, etc.) is evaluated however the debaters decide: theory shell, stopping the round, etc.
- reading problematic args (eg racism good) is obvs an L. however, the validity of death good, trigger warnings, etc. are debatable (at least in front of me)
- online rounds - record your speeches in case internet gets funky
- i think the ability to spin evi should be rewarded; having good evi helps but "call for the card" puts me in a weird position. do that weighing for me.
- send any relevant screenshot for violations
i don't want to use defaults but here they are for accountability:
- comparative worlds
- permissibility negates, the side with less of a change from the status quo under comparative worlds gets presumption
- epistemic confidence
- dta on theory, dtd on t, competing interps, no rvis
- no judge kick
I am a parent judge and prefer a traditional/lay style of debate.
Please do not spread or run progressive arguments-- a moderate or conversational speed with clarity works best and will get you higher speaker points.
At the end of the round I will vote for whichever side presents their arguments in a more persuasive and logical way.