North Texas Longhorns District Tournament
2021 — TX/US
Speech (IE) Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
No preferences except for speed, speakers must be clear and concise.
I’m first and foremost an interp coach. Treat me like a lay judge who happens to know the rules (and yes- I know the rules). No spreading, clash is fine. If you really want to pick up my ballot, be professional- yes I like it when people stand for cross examination and are polite and supportive to their opponents before and after the round. I like it when I feel the teams are focused and paying attention not only to their opponents speeches but also to their team member's speeches. And the other way to pick up my ballot is to focus on cross examination. I find that a strong, quality CX can illustrate your ability to communicate, prove your points, illustrate your knowledge and understanding of the debate and show your best engaged debate skills. Anyone can read a prepared card. Show me you know what to do with it.
Please do not ask me what my qualifications are to judge.
I was a high school competitor all four years - competing in all Interp events (DI, HI, OO, prose, poetry, Duo, Duet) and Congressional Debate. I competed on the Texas and National Circuits. Here's the big thing to know - you should never change your style, material, or story to try to get my 1. I will always respect the stories you choose to tell, the performance you're developing, and your courage to be you and share messages important to you. I don't need trigger warnings, I don't need you to cater to me because that's not what speech is about. Just be you. My ballots may sound tough, but it comes out of a desire to help you improve. I've provided insight into what I'm looking for but none of it should force you to change your content.
For Interp Events, I'm looking for honest storytelling (talk to me like a person) and tech that helps enhance your story and not detract from it. I'm looking for clear, well-developed characters. I'm looking for an excellent intro that provides meaning and importance for your piece. I'm looking for excellent execution of pacing and incorporation of levels. Draw me into your story and leave me with something to take away. In addition, for all binder events, I'm a stickler for binder etiquette.
For Public Speaking Events (OO and INFO), I'm looking for topics that you are personally invested in. I'm looking for an engaging AGD, a clear vehicle, well-defined points supported with a balance of ethos, pathos, and logos. Share your heart story and be honest with it. Most importantly, these are two events where you can really be yourself. Be your best self, sure. But don't feel like you have to put on a whole song and dance to get my one. I'm looking for an inspirational, conversational tone. INFO - I'm looking for creative visuals that are well-executed and add value to your speech without being a distraction.
For Extemp, I'm looking for a clear understanding of the question and a definitive answer with supporting analysis (cite those sources guys). Two points or three points are fine, depending on the question and your approach to answering the question. I just want your speech to have a clear sense of structure and organization. I'm also looking for strong presentation skills. Have vocal variety, adopt a conversational tone, know how to present in a way that is approachable for all audience types and not just those well-versed in current events and extemp. Don't be afraid to crack a joke, but don't rely purely on humor. Fluency breaks, circular speech (rehashing points and repeating yourself), and poor time management could affect your rank in round.
Background: I retired from Coppell High School a few years ago where I taught Public Forum, Policy, and Lincoln Douglas. I am assisting Coppell at the present time.
Judging Philosophy: While I don't think anyone can be truly tabula rasa, I try to ignore my bias as much as possible. I will listen to any argument you want to make as long as you have good evidence, and qualified sources. I expect weighing of impacts and any other reason why your argument is better than your opponents. Your strategy is your own business but if you expect me to vote for you I have to have strong impacts and comparisons to your opponents arguments that make sense.
Style: I have to hear you to flow your arguments. Because of this virtual world we are forced to live in you have to be clear and make sure you are being heard. I will say "clear" once. I prefer moderate to a little faster speed. Again, remember you are debating via computer.
I have judged Public Forum a lot this year.
I've got quite a bit of experience in Public Forum, LD, and Policy. I will understand your terminology for the most part, I'll time you, and I understand the rules/expectations. I've been participating in speech and debate for 14 years, coaching for 7, and this is my third year in Texas.
PF: I tend to prefer the debate to tad a bit slower. I'm also a big advocate of very structured speeches and structure to the debate as a whole. So like, signpost, line by line, one case at a time, etc. Also, please collapse throughout and give 2-3 voters or big issues at the end. You can still address line by line in FF though I don't prefer it. If you do, just remember to collapse and categorize. I also tend to prefer front-lining in 2nd rebuttal.
I'm a big proponent of weighing and extensions as well, but like don't just use those things as a time dump alone. The majority of your rebuttals and summary speeches should be focused on the flow and responding to arguments line by line, but make sure to extend key arguments that go unaddressed and either weigh as you go or weigh at the bottom.
Lastly, I will rarely ever vote for a lazy debater. If I ever have to, you'll get very low speaks. If you want to win a debate, you have to play the role of a debater. Here's how I break that down:
1. Debate has time limits for a reason. Your goal is to practice the art of knowing and preparing arguments within a specific timeframe. If you have 3-8 minutes of prep time, you don't need 3 extra minutes to flash evidence/call for cards while you think of what you're going to say in the next speech. Flashing is prep time.
PF: If you want to see a card, ask for it in cross ex, that way your opponents partner can pull it up and you can read it after cross ex when you start prep. Again, saving time. Ask for cards early, so we don't have to sit here waiting for them to find the card and I have to consider whether or not I should count that as prep and for which team.
2. Cross examination is not a time to ask random questions while you sit down and prep for your next speech. Every part of the debate counts. I'll also give low speaker points to a debater who sits during cross ex (other than grand cross in PF, and this doesn't include virtual. In a virtual debate, just sit it's fine).
3. A large part of debate is presentational. In my opinion, spreading cards or cases alone is not debating. Cards don't beat cards, you have to explain the links, warrants, impacts, and weighing. I have ADHD and zone out very quickly if you aren't slowing down and explaining things or you aren't emphasizing the things I should be flowing. I can flow cases slower than I can flow rebuttals so please read a shorter case if you can so you don't have to spread. Exceptions for LD and Policy only. If you spread though slow down on tags, and always include a short analysis of cards and argumentation.
4. K's and Theory are fine (especially in LD and Policy), but slooooooow down. You have to explain that stuff to me or I won't be able to follow you. If you run it in PF just know that I may be very lost or unprepared as to how to deal with that or where to flow it. I'm not completely against it, but like only do it if you're really good at it, and prepared to lose literally because I understood none of what you were saying due to lack of time to explain it.
5. Don't abuse prep time. Always tell me when you are starting and stopping prep. I'm timing you as well, so I will correct you if I need to but if I have to correct you it probably doesn't look good on you and will likely affect your speaker points.
6. Most importantly, do what you're good at. Like, I have the a lot more experience with traditional styles of debate because that's the style we used where I was from. However, I also have a pretty strong understanding and comprehension of progressive stuff. Just do what you're best at. I'd much prefer a really good progressive debate, then a really bad traditional one. I just might understand and flow the traditional debate a taaaad bit better though.
Affiliations and History:
I am the Director of Debate for Hebron High School in Carrollton, TX.
I was an Assistant Coach at Damien High School in La Verne, CA from 2017-2020.
I debated on the national circuit for Damien from 2009-2013.
I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice.
I completed my Master's degree in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration at The University of La Verne.
My academic work involves critical university studies, Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
I ran a 3 week lab at Stanford on the CJR topic and have judged almost 40 rounds on it.
I judged 29 rounds on the Arms topic (2019-2020) (not including practice rounds without a decision rendered).
I judged a bit of LD (32 debates) on the Jan-Feb Topic (nuke disarm) in '19/'20.
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.
Front Matter Elements:
Please email (email@example.com) me all of the speeches before you begin.
If you need an accommodation of any kind, please email me before the round starts.
I want everyone to feel safe and able to debate- this is my number one priority as a judge.
I don't run prep time while you email the speech doc. Put the whole speech into one speech doc.
I flow 1AC impact framing, inherency, and solvency straight down on the same page nowadays.
Speed is not an issue for me, but I will ask you to slow down (CLEAR) if you are needlessly sacrificing clarity for quantity--especially if you are reading T or theory arguments.
I will not evaluate evidence identifiable as being produced by software, bots, algorithms etc. Human involvement in the card’s production must be evident unique to the team, individual, and card. This means that evidence you directly take from open source must be re-highlighted at a minimum. You should change the tags and underlining anyways to better fit with your argument’s coherency.
I have been voting neg a lot lately. Sometimes this has been on the K v Plan Affs, sometimes it has been on FW v K Affs, and a lot of times just when the aff drops something that ends the game after the 2AC. I am not going to be checking myself for Aff/Neg bias until November, but I think that I may unconsciously dislike most affs on this topic (including LD Sept/Oct).
I privilege technical debating and the flow. I try to get as much down as I possibly can and the little that I miss usually is a result of a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker or because the actual causal chain of the idea does not make consistent sense for me (I usually express this on my face). Your technical skill should make me believe/be able to determine that your argument is the truth. That means warrants. Explain them, impact them, and don't make me fish for them in the un-underlined portion of the six paragraph card that your coach cut for you at a camp you weren't attending. I find myself more and more dissatisfied with debating that operates only on the link claim level. I tend to take a formal, academic approach to the evaluation of ideas, so discussions of source, author intentions and 'true' meaning, and citation are both important to me and something that I hope to see in more debates.
The best debates for me to judge are ones where the last few rebuttals focus on giving me instructions on what the core controversies of the round are, how to evaluate them, and what mode of thinking I should apply to the flow as a history of the round. This means that I'm not going to do things unless you tell me to do them on the flow (judge kick, theory 'traps' etc.). When instructions are not provided or articulated, I will tend to use (what I consider to be) basic, causal logic (i.e. judicial notice) to find connections, contradictions, and gaps/absences. Sometimes this happens on my face--you should be paying attention to the physical impact of the content of your speech act.
I believe in the importance of topicality and theory. No affs are topical until proven otherwise.
Non-impacted theory arguments don't go a long way for me; establish a warranted theory argument that when dropped will make me auto-vote for you. This is not an invitation for arbitrary and non-educational theory arguments being read in front of me, but if you are going to read no neg fiat (for example), then you better understand (and be able to explain to me) the history of the argument and why it is important for the debate and the community.
I try to read all evidence as it is read throughout the debate. This can go well or badly for you, but only if you do not make the debate legible and winnable at the level of argument (which is the only reason I would have to defer to evidentiary details).
I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument on both sides. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it (especially why your warrants matter!). I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. If you are conducting a performance in the round and/or debate space, you need to have specific, solvable, and demonstrable actions, results, and evidences of success. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge).
If you are going to go for Fairness, then you need a metric. Not just a caselist, not just a hypothetical ground dispensation, but a functional method to measure the idea of fairness in the round/outside the round i.e. why are the internal components (ground, caselist, etc.) a good representation of a team's burden and what do these components do for individuals/why does that matter. I am not sure what that metric/method is, but my job is not to create it for you. A framework debate that talks about competing theories for how fairness/education should be structured and analyzed will make me very happy i.e. engaging the warrants that constitute ideas of procedural/structural fairness and critical education.
In-round Performance and Speaker Points:
An easy way to get better speaker points in front of me is by showing me that you actually understand how the debate is going, the arguments involved, and the path to victory. Every debater has their own style of doing this (humor, time allocation, etc.), but I will not compromise detailed, content-based analysis for the ballot.
I believe that there is a case for in-round violence/damage winning the ballot. Folks need to be considerate of their behavior and language. You should be doing this all of the time anyways.
CX ends when the timer rings. I will put my fingers in my ears if you do not understand this. I deeply dislike the trend of debaters asking questions about 'did you read X card etc.' in cross-x and I believe this contributes to the decline of flowing skills in debate. While I have not established a metric for how many speaker points an individual will lose each time they say that phrase, know that it is something on my mind. I will not allow questions outside of cross-x outside of core procedural things ('can you give the order again?,' 'everyone ready?' etc.). Asking 'did you read X card' or 'theoretical reasons to reject the team' outside of CX are NOT 'core procedural things.'
While I believe that high school students should not be held to a standard of intellectual purity with critical literature, I do expect you to know the body of scholarship that your K revolves around: For example, if you are reading a capitalism K, you should know who Marx, Engels, and Gramsci are; if you are reading a feminism k, you should know what school of feminism (second wave, psychoanalytic, WOC, etc.) your author belongs to. If you try and make things up about the historical aspects/philosophical links of your K, I will reflect my unhappiness in your speaker points and probably not give you much leeway on your link/alt analysis. I will often have a more in-depth discussion with you about the K after the round, so please understand that my post-round comments are designed to be educational and informative, instead of determining your quality/capability as a debater.
Do not read these types of arguments in front of me:
Arguments that directly call an individual's humanity into account
Arguments based in directly insulting your opponents
Arguments that you do not understand
Online Debating Preferences:
Each team gets 1 technology error flag. If your opponent's audio/video crashes, if something happens to your computer, if your partner's audio/video crashes, etc. Any other technology issues that might hinder you from completing your speeches are your responsibility. Signal me by either saying 'Tech Issue' or by waving your hands--using chat functions will be sufficient if we cannot rely on audio/visual.
a. The way that this will proceed is as follows: 1. Flag thrown 2.All prepping and debate round activity ceases 3. Speech act paused and tech issue communicated 4. Resolution pursued 5. Tech test with non-round content 6. Resume round
If I am having issues with audio/video, I will let you know via audio and/or chat text.
I will defer to stated tournament online guidelines if they are present otherwise.
For TFA State:
Interp: I am a pretty open minded judge when it comes to judging interp overall but there are a few things I look for in performances. Creativity and honesty will always be the most rewarded in my book because it is why we do what we do at the end of the day. Showcasing your own interpretation, but staying true to the core of the story is important to me. Character development and emotional shifts are super important especially over a digital platform to keeping us engaged with the story and showing us the meaning behind the words. Have fun with the choices you make as long as they are PURPOSEFUL, doing something that distracts rather than enhances makes us lose connection between what is happening in the story.
Speaking/Extemp: Big thing is show your own unique style and approach to speaking because this is what separates you from other. I am a big fan of humor, but PLEASE, I BEG do not make it feel forced or this is just awkward for both of us. In terms of depth of the speech, I like more than just surface level arguments and I want to see you get to the higher end issues and core problems effectively. Structure is important obviously to make sure we can connect all of the ideas and know how you are getting to what you are wanting to. Finally, have variation in your delivery, it is important to showcase the different levels and power of your arguments and statements and so we should feel very engaged with how you are saying and what you are saying.
Worlds School Debate:
School affiliation/s : Northwest High School
Hired (yes/no) : Hired for WSD
High School Affiliation if graduated within last five years (required): Northwest High School
Currently enrolled in college? (required) If yes, affiliation? No
Years Judging/Coaching (required) I have been judging for 5- 6 years.
Years of Experience Judging any Speech/Debate Event (required)
I pretty much started off my first year judging in interp and PF and then slowly incorporated all other forms of debate the following year.
Rounds Judged in World School Debate this year (required): Since August I have judged about 40 world school rounds around Texas.
Check all that apply
__x___I judge WS regularly on the local level
_____I judge WS at national level tournaments
_____I occasionally judge WS Debate
_____I have not judged WS Debate this year but have before
_____I have never judged WS Debate
Rounds judged in other events this year : 75 rounds including PF, LD, Interp, Speaking, and Congress.
Check all that apply
____ I have not judged this year
____ I have not judged before
Have you chaired a WS round before?
I have chaired multiple WS rounds before locally.
What does chairing a round involve?
Chairing a round basically is keeping the round in order and ensuring a productive and efficient debate. The chair is in charge of calling up the speakers, leading the RFD for the panel, making sure people do not ask questions during protected time (which I discuss students should keep their own timer at the beginning so we do not have this issue), and making sure a fair debate is occurring.
How would you describe WS Debate to someone else?
I would describe WSD as a form of debate in which you are arguing ideas and issues to show which side of the motion is the most logical. This is way different than Americanized debate where theory and jargon is utilized more, so it is focusing on the core issues of the debate. Worlds is suppose to make sense to anyone who is listening to the debate and therefore the arguments should make rationale sense to anybody.
What process, if any, do you utilize to take notes in debate?
I am fortunate enough to have a full setup for my computer. I have two monitors and on the main monitor I watch the debate, and the second monitor has my tabroom ballot where I am writing notes over each speech and speaker. I also in front of me use a notebook to flow the debate to make sure I keep up with what is being said in the round.
When evaluating the round, assuming both principle and practical arguments are advanced through the 3rd and Reply speeches, do you prefer one over the other? Explain.
This just simply depends on the topic itself. I am pretty open minded when it comes to arguments and do not have a personal preference as long as it is discussed why you chose what to advocate for. This clarity is needed to really emphasize why that approached is needed and it's on the debaters to tell me why it is preferable.
The WS Debate format requires the judge to consider both Content and Style as 40% each of the speaker’s overall score, while Strategy is 20%. How do you evaluate a speaker’s strategy?
I think strategy usually is overlooked in terms of how you want structure arguments. A speaker's strategy is how do you connect the claims you present and how you word things in order to be effective in elaborating on arguments presented by the other side. Picking the right way to argue things and how you say it are definitely things to be aware of for your strategy.
WS Debate is supposed to be delivered at a conversational pace. What category would you deduct points in if the speaker was going too fast?
First, I am glad to have not judged a WSD where someone was spreading, so let's keep it that way hopefully. If someone is just not effective with their speed and tone I usually deduct points from their style.
WS Debate does not require evidence/cards to be read in the round. How do you evaluate competing claims if there is no evidence to read?
As silly as it may sound, I usually vote on simply what makes sense. Since we do not have to have the 20 minutes of calling for cards (thankfully), I simply view whos reasoning and rationale makes the most sense towards the topic and arguments presented in the round. Show me your thought process through your speech and it usually comes down to who can prove their claims in a clear manner, rather than the throw everything at the wall and see what sticks strategy.
How do you evaluate models vs. countermodels?
I look at how effective and clear some model is to make sure it sets the foundation for your ideas. Make sure you think through your model to answer any potential questions individuals may have about it. I do not think all motions need a model or countermodel, so just make sure if you use one there is a purpose to it.
I tend to include performance, diction, voice, energy, etc. in my evaluation for events like oratory, info, and extemp, along with the obvious analysis of content, ideas, and supporting material.
I think creativity in blocking and staging should be rewarded in a digital atmosphere as much as they are in a live one.
I am pretty liberal on content - language, sexuality, etc. do not bother or offend me, as long as the performer has a real grasp on the subjects they are talking about and understands them fully. However, I view 'profanity' much differently than slurs, derogatory language, etc. In general I would prefer that they not be used. There are scripts that use them in order to bring home a point about the vileness of such ideas and beliefs, but in my opinion, that must be very earned, and in most cases, it is not.
Date Last Reviewed: 2/14/21
Name: Breann Smith [she]
Schools: LCS ’16, Austin College ‘21
*Scroll to bottom for my WSD Preferences*
Debate Background: I did 4 years of LD at LCS in Argyle, TX. I competed on the local, state, and national circuits, and was competitive at each level. Notable achievements include qualifying to the TOC my senior year by reaching semis at Isidore Newman and winning Holy Cross, qualifying to NSDA Nationals in LD both junior and senior years, and accumulating 85 career TFA state points. I currently compete in mock trial at Austin College.
Disclaimer: You can change any of the following preferences in round. You just have to tell me how you want me to evaluate the round, and give me a warrant as to why it should be that way.
At the end of the round, this is my thought process:
First I evaluate who won the framework debate. I don’t vote here, but it does determine what offense I can look to in the round. I don’t care if you win Turn #5 to their contention level if it doesn’t have an impact back to the winning framework. From there I look at voters/crystallization to see who is winning the “best” issues in the round, i.e. who links to the winning framework and why the way they link matters more. (“Best”=however you decide to weigh. In the absence of weighing I default util in the sense that I vote for the biggest impact under the winning framework.)
Important Misc. Stuff
- Please provide a trigger warning if you plan on dealing with sensitive topics. I do have two triggers that I would rather not have to deal with in round unprepared.
- Speed is fine (plz be clear)
- I will say "clear" and "loud" as many times as it takes, although I will get irritated after two times
- Flex prep is okay if both parties are cool with it
- I don’t count compiling docs or flashing/emailing as prep until it gets ridiculous (honestly it shouldn’t take over :20)
- Your opponent needs to have access to anything you read if they ask
- Please don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, anthropocentric, etc. That's the kind of stuff that will get you dropped.
- Just something I've noticed, you should ALWAYS ask the status of the offs if you're affirming and the neg runs multiple offs. I don't know why people don't seem to do that anymore.
Flowing: I flow on paper (most of the time), and can catch quite a lot, but here are some preferences that would make everyone’s life easier:
- Slow down a bit for tags and especially author names (I suck at getting author names)
- Slow down for or repeat plan/counterplan texts and theory/T interpretations
- If you plan on reading T or theory, please tell me so I can flow that part on my computer. It’s easier for me to get theory down typing for some reason.
Extensions: I have a pretty low threshold on what counts as an extension, especially for the 1 and 2ARs. For me to consider something “Extended” at the end of the round, it needs to:
1) Be extended in every rebuttal with the word “extend” in there somewhere
2) Have a claim and a warrant
Signposting: Keep in mind that I suck at getting author names unless you slow down for them, so if you say “off Smith 3” I’ll probably be confused until you explain what the arg is. It is significantly easier for me if you say “off contention one”/ “Off turn #2”/ “Off ”
30 – I expect you to win the tournament or be in finals
29.5 – You should be in late out rounds
29 – You should break
28.5 – You could be on the bubble
28 – You could have a winning record
27.5 – You’ll probably break even
27 – You’ll probably have a losing record
26 – It was a rough time
I really don’t care what you do in terms of framework; you just have to have one that you can weigh back to. I am familiar with meta-ethics, dense philosophy, kritikal framing, and util. I know how burden structures work, but I never ran any myself.
Different Styles/ Types of Debate
I’m indifferent to whatever style of case you want to run, whether it’s traditional, kritikal, performance, policy style, or tricky. You do you. I’d rather see you excel in a great tricks debate than see you have a shitty kritik debate because that’s what you think I like more.
However, there is a catch: I really don’t like affs that aren’t topical. Nine times out of ten there will be a topical version of your aff, you’re just deliberately choosing to avoid it. That being said, I won't vote you down if you run an untopical case, but I certainly won’t be very happy.
So I initially didn't think I was going to add a section on perms, but I think it could prove helpful
- If you just say "Perm: Do both," then explain why the CP/Alt isn't mutually exclusive, then that is a test of competition. If you win the perm, the CP/Alt isn't competitive and I have to look elsewhere on the flow.
- If you say "Perm: Do both" then explain why it isn't mutually exclusive and then have net benefits to that perm, it becomes an advocacy I can vote on because then I have reasons why actively doing the perm would be a good thing.
The only theory shell I will never vote on is disclosure theory. I do think that you should disclose, and I did my entire senior year even though I was functionally a lone wolf, however I don’t think people should be voted down for not doing it if it’s not explicitly required by the tournament. I don’t care if you’re winning your shell and they completely drop it, I won’t vote on it. This doesn’t mean I’ll down you for running it; I’ll just grumpily look elsewhere on the flow.
There are two other theory shells that I have a very high violation threshold for to consider:
- Brackets Theory: For me to vote on brackets theory, you have to show that they have significantly altered the meaning or intention of the card. I won’t vote on brackets theory if all they do is change for grammar or offensive language.
- Wifi Theory: For me to vote on wifi theory, you have to prove that the opponent was actively using the Internet to communicate with outside persons or to cut evidence/look something up during round. I will not vote on wifi theory if they weren’t using it for anything, but they just forgot to turn it off.
Other Theory notes:
- I'm actually a fan of well-executed meta theory. I think it's very strategic.
- A shell needs to have a violation for me to evaluate it.
- As someone who was functionally a lone wolf debater I REALLY hate the arguments surrounding small school prep skew, especially when those arguments come from individuals in established programs.
World Schools Debate:
I don't judge WSD often, however I will on occasion. Here is a list of my general preferences:
- I'm not a big fan of speed in WSD
- I strongly prefer verbal POIs, and like debaters to state their name before the POI proper
- I like roadmaps/outlines before speeches a lot
- For scoring, I use the "standards for judging" from the NSDA sample ballot
- Director @ Coppell
- Assistant Director @ Mean Green Comet
- Debated NDT/CEDA at North Texas
- Please add me to the email chain and/or doc: sykes.tx @ gmail.com
- This document offers insight to the process I use to make decisions unless directed to do otherwise.
- Clarity is important. I'm also working to adjust my speaker points to keep up with inflation.
- I won't claim to be perfect in this area, but I believe debate has strong potential to build community. Please play nicely with others.
- I view all debate as comparison of competing frameworks. I was a flex debater, typically went for more critical (K) arguments, and am happy to evaluate policy arguments.
- I will attempt to minimize intervention in the evaluation of a) the selection of framework and b) the fulfillment of the framework's demands.
- I believe the topic should provide debatable ground, but I don't think that's exclusive of other arguments and approaches.
- Consistent with my view of competing frameworks, there is no difference in my mind between "competing interpretations" and "abuse." Abuse is a standard for evaluating competing interpretations.
- If the framework for evaluating the debate involves a disad, be aware that I generally determine the direction of uniqueness before the link, but these arguments together speak to the propensity for risk.
- If forced by lack of comparison to use my own framework I will consider time frame, probability, and magnitude of your impacts as part of cost benefit analysis of endorsing the affirmative advocacy.
- I don't believe I have strong predispositions related to counterplan types or theory. Be creative.
- The division in the community between "kritik people" and "policy people" frustrates me. We should constantly seek more effective arguments. Questions of an academic nature vary from method to application.
- A working definition of "fiat" is "the ability to imagine, for the purposes of debate, the closest possible world to that of the advocacy."
Rebuttals/How to win
- You should either win in your framework and show how it's preferable, or simply win in theirs. This applies to theory debates and impact comparison as much as anything else.
- I find that many debates I judge are heavily influenced by the quality, persuasiveness, and effectiveness of warranted explanation and comparison.
Lincoln Douglas, specifically
- While my background in policy debate leads me to a more progressive perspective toward LD, I have evaluated many traditional debates as well. You do you.
- I am open to theoretical standards in LD that are different than those in CX, but understand that my experience here affects my perception of some issues. For example, I may have a predisposition against RVIs because there are vastly different standards for these arguments across events. I'll do my best to adapt with an open mind.
Public Forum, specifically
- PF should transition to reasonable & common expectations for disclosure, evidence use, and speech doc exchange.
- Email chains and/or speech docs should be used to share evidence before speeches.
- Evidence should be presented in the form of direct quotes and accompanied by a complete citation. If you must paraphrase, direct quotations (fully cited with formatting that reflects paraphrased portions) should be included in the speech doc. If I feel you've abused this expectation (e.g., pasting and underlining an entire article/book/study), I won't be pleased.
- Time spent re-cutting evidence, tracking down URLs, or otherwise conforming to these conventions should be considered prep time.
- Regardless of the way the resolution is written, I tend to believe someone should advocate a mechanism to alter the status quo. Uniqueness and inevitability claims, therefore, would greatly benefit the analysis of risk provided in most of the PF rounds I evaluate.
I'm a full-time teacher and coach in the North Texas circuit. I have experience coaching and/or competing in every event except Duo and Duet Acting. I've been involved in Speech and Debate, as either a competitor or a coach, for 13 years.
I'm open to hearing policy-type arguments, such as CPs, Plans, kritiks, etc., but also believe that PF cases and arguments should be presented in a style that is understandable to the general public. Practically, this means that any policy-type arguments needs to be read slowly (not spread) and should refrain from using debate-specific terminology.
Speaking quickly is okay but please do spread.
Teams that do the best in front of me tend to spend lots of time in summary and final focus picking a few quality arguments they want to go for and explaining why those arguments outweigh other issues in the round. Every line-by-line argument you go over in these last couple speeches should have context accompanying it- Why does you winning this argument matter? How is this extension you're doing or drop by your opponent supposed to shape my overall perspective on the round? And so on.
The second speaking team can defend their case in rebuttal but by no means needs to. Offensive arguments and/or voters should be present in both the summary and the final focus in order for me to consider them. If you say something about the opposing case in rebuttal and your opponents never respond to it, you don't need to keep bringing it up (unless it's a turn that you really want to go for or something like that).
The question I get asked most often at tournaments when judging LD is "are you okay with speed?" The answer is yes, but you'll probably find that I understand your case/arguments better if you slow down during any analytics (interpretation, plan text, standards, spikes, etc.) that you expect me to write down. You'll also probably find that unless you don't spread much, I won't achieve 100% comprehension of your "top speed." And I'm big on this one - if your opponent doesn't understand spreading, don't spread.
Another question I get asked a lot is "are you okay with policy-style arguments?" Again, the answer is yes, but with some caveats. The farther your argument goes from traditional LD or traditional policy case structure, the harder it will be for me to grasp it and the less likely I am to vote on it.
I used to have a lot of really negative stuff about theory arguments in my paradigm. My position on that has softened a bit. There is a place for theory arguments in modern LD debate, but I still generally think theory should be in the minority of LD rounds, and the abuse should be substantial and clearly demonstrable if a theory argument is being made.
I don't like skep, since I personally believe it is irresponsible for me as an educator to encourage or reinforce the idea that morality doesn't exist by rewarding students for propagating it. It also feels like a cop-out to me, since the resolution is often asking for us to debate about whether or not something is moral!
I do not disclose speaker points.
I generally include the PO in my ranking of a round, although not as highly as the best speakers in a round. Expect a rank in the 3-6 range unless you screw up often, are an exceptionally good PO, or are POing a round full of very bad speakers. This obviously does not apply to tournaments that task me with selecting the best PO in a given session, and not ranking them against everyone else in the room.
A few other particulars:
-It's a good idea to break down the what exactly a piece of legislation says and does as the first negative and first affirmative speaker. Never assume that the judge has read the item you're discussing (unless it was read to them before debate started).
-Refuting or extending the argument of at least one specific person is mandatory if you're the fifth speaker on an item or later.
-From the second you step foot into a Congressional Debate chamber, my expectation is that you are IN CHARACTER as a member of the United States House of Representatives or Senate. Breaking character (even during recess, or AGDs) and acting like a high schooler will disappoint me.
-I care about how good your best speech was more than how many speeches you gave.
-I am rarely impressed with three-plus main point Congress speeches. Unless you're in a round that has four minute speech times, this is a bad idea.
The single most important thing to me as a judge is whether or not you answered the question. Your three main points should be three reasons why your answer is correct. Somewhere between 7-10 sources is ideal. You should present an extremely compelling reason in your intro if you are giving something other than a three main point speech; 95% of your speeches or so should be of the three main point variety. Your speech should be over at seven minutes. Grace time is for you to finish a sentence that got away from you, not deliver a conclusion. I often rank people down for talking longer than 7:10.
It's important to me that I be able to tell, based on your oratory, how exactly you are defining your topic and what exactly you are proposing we do about it. This may sound obvious, but one of my most common negative comments on oratory ballots tends to be something to the effect of, "be more clear about what your persuasive goal for this speech is." Speeches should have a personal story. They should have a literary reference. They need to include some research.
The most important thing to me about your informative speech is whether or not you are actually informing me about something. Again, this might sound obvious, but I feel like many Infos are either disguised persuasive speeches or speeches that are repeating very widely known information (and therefore, no actual "informing" is taking place). I tend to have a "less is more" attitude when it comes to Info visual aids - this isn't to say that I penalize students who have elaborate visual aids; just that if you only have a couple unsophisticated visuals you could do still quite well with me if you have a good speech.
For both of these events, I want a balance of "hard" evidence (research, data) and "soft" evidence (anecdotes, stories, literary examples).
My overarching philosophy with all interp performances is that as a artist, you are baking a cake. The three main ingredients of this cake are "characters," "emotion," and "story." Everything else - blocking, accents, how your intro is written, suitability of subject material, author's intent, humor - is icing on that cake. Not totally unimportant - just not the first thing I think about when I'm deciding whether or not I liked the performance.
With the exception of situations where you are outright violating a rule (such as modifying source material in an unallowable way), author's intent is less important to me than creativity. I want to see an story I haven't seen before more than I want to see a story that is 100% tonally similar to its source material.
I prefer in HI fewer characters to more characters; 3-5 is perfect, more than that and it is likely I will get confused about your plot unless your differentiation between characters is exceptionally good.
I have a relatively high threshold for what I consider to be "appropriate" in terms of literal language, but am pretty intolerant of humor that is aimed at marginalized groups or individuals, or that makes light of issues like sexual assault or mental disability.
My attitude towards blocking is that it should be in service of characterization and story - I find myself writing comments like "I don't know what you were doing while you said XXXX" and "you doing XXXX is distracting" way more than I write comments like "need to add more blocking."
I judge this event extremely rarely, so if you have me judging you here, treat me like an old-school, traditional debate coach. I like stock issues debate, disads, and topicality, and probably haven't judged many rounds on your topic.
I am not a fan of spreading...if I can't understand you how can I make an informed decision on your position? If you are for or against the status quo then state that and be convincing and compelling. Don't forget the importance of definitions but just because the other side concedes to your definitions don't assume that is enough to win the round.
Arguments need to have a claim, warrant, and an impact.
Tell me what you want me to vote on...give me a road map and sign post along the way. I am a fan of impacts and if you see a turn...go for it with all you have.
PF- has the feel of a "town" meeting so your argument should kept simple..not to the point of being insulting. In this case...be sure you are factual/truthful with "commonly" known information. I am an educated, tax paying, home owning person.
I dont need a trigger warning but I will warn you that any moral repugnance ie RACISM (which has been way too prevalent of late), SEXISM, HOMOPHOBIA (you get the jist) I have a zero tolerance policy for...let's not test me on this issue please...I'd like to keep my hopes that we will continue to evolve into a society that is tolerant of how everyone wants to live their lives.
Congress: I am looking for full participation in the round. I am watching to see how active you are in questioning. I want to hear you give your argument for or against that is compelling and not a rehash of what's already been said throughout the round. I do not like watching speaks being given for the sake of giving a speech when we've already heard the same point stated in 3 previous speeches. Be clever and when you give your speech...I am stoked when you point out something said by the opposing side previously stated.