NDT District VII Qualifier
2021 — Online, VA/US
All Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Anti-trust: don't know much about it :)
—I will do my best to be as flow-centric as possible in every debate. Tech over truth as long as your argument makes sense.
—Respect your competitors, partner, and the time everyone in the room puts into this activity.
—I enjoy substantive and topic grounded arguments and prefer them over cheap shots/run and gun strategies.
—I realized that good impact calc is where I end up deciding many debates, especially when it is close.
—I tend to think link determines the direction of UQ, but just tell me how to vote.
—Revisionism ends up mattering a lot less than you think, regardless of whatever spin you attach to it.
—Topicality: I will default to competing interps. Explain your vision of the topic and model of debate under your interp.
—Overall neg leaning on theory. Infinite condo is good. Can you convince me otherwise? maybe/gut feeling. Things that will increase my likelihood to vote on condo bad: contradictory worlds, and a million unsupported conditional planks.
—Insert rehighlighting? No/maybe (just don't do it excessively)
—Highlight full sentences, seriously. Fragmented, ungrammatical sentences are not arguments and do not make sense.
—Gimme my pen time....beware of the technical implications of online debate and slow down. I flow on paper. Do not start your speech until you get visual confirmation from me. I will always have my camera on unless I am not there.
Policy vs K things:
I have realized that impact calc/clearly articulated impacts is where I start to evaluate a lot of these debates, then I work my way backward to the link and mechanism debating. I would highly encourage both teams to forefront their offense and solvency explanations in the 2nr/2ar and do comparative impact calc.
—Hard to convince me to disregard the 1AC and not let it be weighed as a source of offense.
—You should have k specific links to the aff.
—The more you can explain how the affirmative makes the status quo worst, the better off you will be infront of me.
—Fairness/clash/research are all impacts. I think some are harder to win against certain affs than others but I do not have an ideological preference toward either.
—I appreciate K affs that are grounded in topic literature. If your aff can be read in its exact format on a different topic, that's probably bad.
—My understanding of K literature is limited. Although I am slowly trying to broaden my knowledge of critical scholarship, you may need to communicate your arguments differently for the sake of my comprehension. This means I will want examples and specific link debating from both sides.
—Both sides should slow down while speeding through their blocks. I flow on paper.
I. Biographical Information:
I am in the second year of a doctoral program in Communication and Rhetoric at the University of Pittsburgh. I helped coach at Kansas State University for two years while earning an MA. I debated for 5 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
II. The Big Picture
First, this is a competitive academic activity and I expect the evidence you introduce into the debate to meet a certain level of intellectual rigor. This does not mean that every piece of evidence needs to be from a peer-reviewed source (although it is often preferable) but it should contain a coherent argument (i.e. claim and warrant). Hint: one line cards rarely (read: never) meet this standard.
Second, quality always trumps quantity. The “strategic” decision to read a bunch of cards that either come from questionable sources or fail to make a coherent argument will never beat one well-warranted card. This shouldn’t be controversial yet somehow debate has conditioned otherwise intelligent people to think otherwise.
Third, question your opponent’s sources. This is a quick way to get favorable speaker points from me. Do your opponent a favor and tell them that their sources are unqualified. Do me a favor and explain why I should disregard certain pieces of evidence because they aren’t academically credible and unfit for this academic community. Bottom line: read unqualified/bad evidence at your own risk.
Paperless Information: Prep time stops when you pull the flash drive/send the email. If you are doing an email chain then you should include me in it (my email is aallsup[at]gmail.com).
Good Speaker Points 101:
- Make an complete argument (claim, warrant, and impact).
- Clarity: If I cant hear/understand your argument I will not flow/evaluate it
- “Extinction” or “Nuclear War” is not a tag. Tags include claims AND warrants
- Author name extensions are insufficient. Don’t do it. Make an argument and use the evidence to support it
- Cross-X is a speech and it will factor heavily in speaker point distribution. I reward good questions and responses.
- Get to the point: focus on the core issues of the debate
III. Argument Specific:
First, I am not the judge for you to stake the round on arbitrary interpretations. You need to be able to defend that your interpretation presents a useful norm that should be universalized within debate. That being said, I default to competing interpretations but have a decently low thresholds for critiques of topicality/theory when interpretations are wholly arbitrary.
Second, if you want to win a critique of topicality/theory you must prove that the exclusion of the affirmative is worse than the negatives ability to expect a fair, limited, or predictable debate.
Third, I tend to side with the idea that conditionality is a beneficial and educational tool in debate. The affirmative will have to win a decisive and tangible impact in order to get me to vote against conditionality. That being said, there is a point at which conditionality can be abused and that abuse trades off with good scholarship. I’m not the person to read nine conditional advocacies in front of. At a certain point there is an inverse relationship between number of advocacies and good arguments that demeans the purpose of engaging each other in this competitive academic forum.
Fourth, you can read your agent/actor counter plans and I will evaluate them fairly but I certainly will not be happy about it. My belief is that the negative should only be allowed to fiat the agent of the resolution. I don’t think competition based on the “certainty” of the plan is productive or interesting.
Fifth, my default is that most theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. If you think you can win a reason to reject the team then go for it. I guess we will find out what happens.
Counterplans: I’m not a fan of conditions/consultation counterplans. I think they should be both textually and functionally competitive. The negative should only be allowed to fiat the agent of the resolution. If you’re affirmative, don’t be afraid to go for theory. However, as mentioned before, I often find theory to be a reason to reject the argument not the team. As a former 2a I am not even in the ballpark when it comes to word pics/floating pics. Reading it as a critique solves your pedagogical net benefit. QED.
Disadvantages: Higher risk almost always beats a higher magnitude. You should always make disad turns the case arguments. You must provide some sort of impact calculation in order to have me interpret your strategy favorably.
First, the story has to match. Please don’t make me listen to a scenario that doesn’t have matching parts. If the uniqueness and link evidence don’t assume the same politician/group of politicians then you lose.
Second, explain the implication of core defensive arguments. If Obama has no political capital or if the negative is missing a crucial internal link then you need to explain how that affects everything else they are saying.
Third, surprisingly I find myself enjoying politics debates more and more. Don’t hesitate to go for it when I’m judging. Just be smart about it – put your logical-analytic skills to work and make the debate worth listening to.
Critical Affirmatives and Framework:
First, I don’t think framework is a voting issue. Framework is a means by which I determine how to evaluate the round.
Second, topicality is absolutely essential to winning a framework debate when you’re negative.
Third, you need to prove that your interpretation can offer the possibility for the same education as the affirmative has provided to emerge. The best way to do this is to offer a topical version of the 1ac. Another way to do this is provide other topical examples that produce the same pedagogical effect as the 1ac.
Fourth, you also need to prove some competitive reason why the negative has been disadvantaged by the affirmative. More importantly, you need to prove why this violation of competitive equity impacts or implicates their education impacts.
First, the worst thing you can do is read a critique that you have little-to-no knowledge about or practice debating. Critiques are hard to win. I loved debating them. They’re all I debated. However, my experience has led me to conclude that I should have a high standard for those who wish to read critical arguments. It’s better for you (because you learn more about an absolutely fascinating literature base) and it’s better for me (because I don’t have to listen to bad scholarship).
Second, framework against the negative critique is rarely a winning strategy. Reading a bunch of cards is rarely a good strategy. Find the 2 or 3 crucial issues you need to win and win them with good arguments. For example, instead of telling the negative they need to provide a policy option, why not just win that policymaking is the best way to solve the impact to the critique?
Debated at Gonzaga, Currently Judging for Navy -
Email: email@example.com - yes you can put me on the doc chain.
I did primarily CP/DA/Case debate in college and that's what I'm familiar with. I'm helping out with research at Gonzaga this year so I'm fairly familiar with the climate college topic. This is what I think that I think about debate, but I intend to continue updating as I judge more and learn more about what I think.
Affs: I like plans that defend the hypothetical implementation of the plan and are topical. You can read your other affs in front of me but I'm more inclined to think that reading a topical plan is important and good for debate. At the very least you should have a stasis point that is in the direction of the topic and then tell me why that's important.
Ks: I'm most familiar with gender based Ks, I do not know much about this area in general and I will not understand you if you throw out a bunch of buzzwords. If you want to read a K, I like a clearly articulated and specific alternative that does something and explains to me why that thing is important. I am inclined to believe things can always get worse. If you are set on going for your K, make sure your explanation is on point and your links are specific to the aff.
DAs: I like them, I'm willing to assign 0 risk of a DA, especially if the link is really bad. I do a lot of elections/politics work. I will still vote for you if I know your DA is a lie and the other team doesn't call you on it, but I won't be happy about it.
CPs: I have always been a 2N - I lean a little negative on CP theory, but you should point out when you think they’re cheating and can definitely win if you debate the theory well.
***Added after recieving an email for clarification on my thoughts on Topicality - response below****
Short version: Affs that Intend to be T, I can be persuaded either way, but most likely lean a little neg. I dislike affs that never intended to be T and am likely to be persuaded by framework.
This topic in my opinion has the potential to be really large or really small depending on the 'acceptable standards' that the community sets on affs that are intending to be topical so your questions are important to me and I hope to answer them well.
Framing for how I think about T - I have always been a 2N and tend to be slightly neg leaning on most things. However, T was never really my A strategy except against teams that were blatantly non-topical so my bias might not be as apparent in this area.
Topicality for affs that intend to be T - I would say at the beginning of the year I'm more willing to listen to all affs and hear what they think a reasonable interpretation of the topic should be, but I think limits are important especially on this topic. I can definitely be persuaded either way. While I think aff creativity is important, the research burden for the neg is also a major concern for me.
Topicality for affs that don't intend to be T - I don't like when teams do not have plans. No plan at all is probably a non-starter for me because it doesn't meet the requirements I list below in the stasis point section.
- Distinction between Framework and Topicality: When I debated I made a distinction between Framework and Topicality. A lot of people don't think there's a distinction, obviously. I think the distinction is based on the explanation of the link to the argument and the impact. Framework, for me seemed to be about what kind of educational paradigms are endorsed, whereas T was more about the effects on the topic and debatability for the neg. These are in many ways artificial distinctions, and both T and framework are often deployed as encompassing both these arguments because different teams have different conceptions of what framework means. Because of this, I'm fine with whatever teams want to call it - Framework or T - and however you explain it is how I will judge. If you would like to separate T and framework and read them both that's also fine with me both can persuade me.
- Stasis point: When reading/debating a non-topical aff the most important thing to me is that there is a stable controversy that isn't one sided that both teams are prepared to debate. If the negative wins that these conditions do not exist I am very likely to pull the trigger on T/Framework. In order to meet all the requirements above, I think it's necessary to be at the very least in the direction of the topic so the neg can debate the aff. I value in-depth debate of the affirmative and give a lot of weight to "topical" versions of the aff in these debates.
In general, you should be kind to everyone in the round. I really really don’t like rudeness. Especially when it is directed at your partner.
Adrienne F. Brovero, Director of Debate, University of Mary Washington
25+ years coaching
Please label your email chain subject line with Team names, tourney, round.
Your prep time does not end until you have hit send on the email.
Clarity - Cannot emphasize enough how important clarity is, whether online or in-person.
Highlighting - Highlighting has become a disgrace. Highlighting should not result in anti-grammatical shards of arguments. Highlighting should not result in misrepresentation of the author's intent/ideas. Quite frankly, some highlighting is so bad, you would have been better served not reading the evidence. When highlighting, please put yourself in the judge's shoes for a moment and ask yourself if you would feel comfortable deciding a debate based on how you've highlighted that card. If the answer is no, reconsider your highlighting.
SERIOUSLY - LINE-BY-LINE. NUMBER.
If you like to say "I will do the link debate here" - I am probably not the best judge for you. I would prefer you clash with link arguments in each instance they happen, as opposed to all in one place. Same is true for every other component of an argument.
- Qualifications - read them. Debate them.
- Line-by-line involves directly referencing the other team's argument ("Off 2AC #3 - Winners Win, group"), then answering it. "Embedded" clash fails if you bury the clash part so deep I can't find the arg you are answering.
- Overviews - overrated. Kinda hate them. Think they are a poor substitute for debating the arguments where they belong on the line-by-line.
Things that are prep time:
- Any time after the official start time that is not a constructive (9 mins), CX (3 mins), rebuttal (6 mins), or a brief roadmap. Everything else is prep time.
- Putting your speech doc together - including saving doc, setting up email chain, putting doc on a jump drive, etc.
- Asking for cards outside of CX time.
- Setting up your podium/stand.
- Putting your flows in order.
- Finding pens, flows, timers.
Debate like this: http://vimeo.com/5464508
Communication: I like it. I appreciate teams that recognize communication failures and try to correct them. If I am not flowing, it usually means communication is breaking down. If I am confused or have missed an argument, I will frequently look up and give you a confused look – you should read this as an indication that the argument, at minimum, needs to be repeated, and may need to be re-explained. I am more than willing to discount a team’s arguments if I didn’t understand or get their arguments on my flow.
Speaker points: Points are influenced by a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: Communication skills, speaking clarity, road-mapping, obnoxiousness, disrespectfulness, theft of prep time, quality of and sufficient participation in 2 cross-examinations and 2 speeches, the quality of the debate, the clarity of your arguments, the sophistication of your strategy, and your execution. I have grown uncomfortable with the amount of profanity used during debates – do not expect high points if you use profanity.
Paperless/Prep Time: Most tournaments have a strict decision time clock, and your paperless time cuts into decision time. Most of you would generally prefer the judges has the optimal amount of time to decide. Please be efficient. Prep runs until you are pulling the jump drive out of your computer or the email is sent. I will be understanding of tech fails, but not as much negligence or incompetence. Dealing with your laptop’s issues, finding your flows, looking for evidence, figuring out how to operate a timer, setting up stands, etc. – i.e. preparation – all come out of prep time.
In terms of viewing your evidence myself, I prefer email over flashing - my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, so please include me on speech doc emails.
• I flow.
• Unless both teams instruct me otherwise, I will flow both teams.
• I evaluate the debate based primarily on what I have flowed.
• I frequently flow CX. I carefully check the 2AR for new arguments, and will not hold the 2NR accountable for unpredictable explanations or cross applications.
• I try to get down some form of tag/cite/text for each card. This doesn’t mean I always do. I make more effort to get the arg than I do the cite or date, so do not expect me to always know what you’re talking about when you solely refer to your “Henry 4” evidence.
• I reward those who make flowing easier by reading in a flowable fashion (road-mapping & signposting, direct refutation/clash, clarity, reasonable pace, emphasis of key words, reading for meaning, no distractions like tapping on the tubs, etc.). If you are fond of saying things like "Now the link debate" or "Group the perm debate" during the constructives, and you do not very transparently embed the clash that follows, do not expect me to follow your arguments or connect dots for you. Nor should you expect spectacular points.
• I appreciate efforts to evaluate and compare claims and evidence in the debate.
• I pay attention to quals and prefer they are actually read in the debate. I am extremely dismayed by the decline in quality of evidence (thank you, Internets) and the lack of teams’ capitalization on questionable sources.
• I don’t like to read evidence if I don’t feel the argument it makes has been communicated to me (e.g. the card was mumbled in the 2AC, or only extended by cite, or accompanied by a warrantless explanation, etc.).
• I also don’t like reading the un-highlighted portions of evidence unless they are specifically challenged by the opposing team.
• I should not have to read the un-highlighted parts to understand your argument – the highlighted portion should be a complete argument and a coherent thought. If you only read a claim, you only have a claim – you don’t get credit for portions of the evidence you don’t reference or read. If you only read a non-grammatical fragment, you are running the risk of me deciding I can’t coherently interpret that as an arg.
• I don’t like anonymous pronouns or referents in evidence like “she says” without an identification of who “she” is – identify “she” in your speech or “she” won’t get much weight in my decision.
• If you hand me evidence to read, please make clear which portions were actually read.
Decision calculus: Procedural determinations usually precede substantive determinations. First, I evaluate fairness questions to determine if actions by either team fundamentally alter the playing field in favor of the aff or neg. Then, I evaluate substantive questions. Typically, the aff must prove their plan is net beneficial over the status quo and/or a counterplan in order to win.
Topicality & plan-related issues:
• The aff needs to have a written plan text.
• It should be topical.
• T is a voter. Criticisms of T are RVIs in sheep’s clothing.
• Anti-topical actions are neg ground.
• Have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation of how nontraditional advocacies or demands are meaningfully different from plans, other than they are usually either vague and/or non-topical.
• On a related note, I don’t get why calling one’s advocacy a performance or demand renders a team immune from being held responsible for the consequences of their advocacy.
• In relation to plans and permutations, I value specificity over vagueness – specificity is necessary for meaningful debate about policies. However, please do not consider this an invitation to run dumb spec arguments as voting issues – absent a glaring evasiveness/lack of specificity, these are typically more strategic as solvency args.
Adjudicating critique or performance debates is not my strong suit. Most of these debates take place at a level of abstraction beyond my comprehension. If you have a habit of referring to your arguments by the author’s name (e.g. “Next off – Lacan”), I am not a very good judge for you. I don’t read very much in the advanced political philosophy or performance studies areas. This means, most of the time, I don’t know what the terms used in these debates mean. I am much more the applied politics type, and tend to think pragmatically. This means if you want to go for a critical or performance argument in front of me, you need to explain your arguments in lay-speak, relying less on jargon and author names, and more on warrants, analogies, empirical examples, and specifics in relation to the policy you are critiquing/performing for/against – i.e. persuade me. It also helps to slow it down a notch. Ask yourself how quickly you could flow advanced nuclear physics – not so easy if you aren’t terribly familiar with the field, eh? Well, that’s me in relation to these arguments. Flowing them at a rapid rate hinders my ability to process the arguments. Additionally, make an effort to explain your evidence as I am not nearly as familiar with this literature as you are. Lastly, specifically explain the link and impact in relation to the specific aff you are debating or the status quo policy you are criticizing. Statements like "the critique turns the case” don't help me. As Russ Hubbard put it, in the context of defending his demining aff many years ago, “How does our plan result in more landmines in the ground? Why does the K turn the case?” I need to know why the critique means the plan’s solvency goes awry – in words that link the critique to the actions of the plan. For example: Which part of the harms does the critique indict, with what impact on those harms claims? What would the plan end up doing if the critique turns its solvency? In addition, I find it difficult to resolve philosophical questions and/or make definitive determinations about a team’s motives or intentions in the course of a couple of hours.
I strongly urge you to re-read my thoughts above on “Communication” before debating these arguments in front of me.
I generally lean negative on CP theory: topical, plan-inclusive, exclusion, conditional, international fiat, agent, etc. Aff teams should take more advantage of situations where the counterplan run is abusive at multiple levels – if the negative has to fend off multiple reasons the CP is abusive, their theory blocks may start to contradict. Both counterplan and permutation texts should be written out. “Do both” is typically meaningless to me – specify how. The status quo could remain a logical option, but growing convinced this should be debated. [NOTE THAT IS A FALL '18 CHANGE - DEBATE IT OUT] Additionally, another shout-out for communication - many theory debates are shallow and blippy - don't be that team. I like theory, but those type of debates give theory a bad name.
I like DAs. I’m willing to vote on stock issue arguments like inherency or “zero risk of solvency”.
First off, do you. If my judging philosophy meant that you were put at a disadvantage for any particular style of debate, that would be indicative of a larger problem.
I am a Junior at Liberty University. I have done traditional policy, critical, and performative debate, though recent experience has drifted heavily toward the latter end of the spectrum. I am decently well-versed in most forms of critical literature. However, my level of familiarity with a topic should be largely irrelevant to the way you debate. I view debate generally as a format established for the clash of pedagogies. This clash can take place on the macro level or the micro, and applies to both policy and critical debate. The key is to explain which premises of your opponent’s arguments are in contestation and why. In other words, it can be as broad as a discussion on the merits or demerits of proximate state action, or as specific as the effectiveness of China deterrence to maintain US hegemony. This principle can be applied to virtually all arguments:
Ks: Isolate what the affirmative has done, explain how their particular methodology/epistemology perpetuates structural violence, and give me a clear explanation of how to avoid those harms. In debate-speak, spell out the link/s, draw a story between that link and a particular impact, and explain to me how your alternative avoids said link/impact story. The debaters who do this best are the ones who can relate the structural to the specific (ie, the aff’s use of x term/methodology/analysis leads to y structural impact writ large through z process). K affs function similarly: Tell me what systems of behavior or thought are perpetuated in the status quo, how this is done, why it is bad, and what you do about it.
FW: Framework can be run in many different ways, and should be contested in accordance to the specific argument run. For the team running it: Tell me the specific violation of the affirmative, and give me palpable reasons why the aff perpetuates a model that is harmful for debate/why your model is relatively better. Central to this argument is an explanation of why your version of debate is good, or at least better than that of the affirmative. Contestability is important, but it must ultimately be tied to the specific impacts of the model you are offering. For the team answering it: tell me in what ways you meet their interpretation, or in what ways that interpretation is bad. On both sides of the debate, blanket statements are insufficient. Tell me specific reasons why your opponents’ framing is bad. This involves an interplay of tech vs. truth that I will attempt to balance depending on the arguments made in the particular round.
DAs & CPs: My assessment of the risk of the DA happening as a result of the aff is dependent on the specific details offered as part of the negative strategy. Give me a clear line of reasoning between that link and the impact. Specificity is also important for Counter Plans, in that you must show me how the Counter Plan is competitive with the aff. Don’t assume I am familiar with the jargon.
T: I like T but I am not particularly well versed in the area. Be creative, slow down a bit, and give me well-reasoned applications to the aff.
The paradigm is split up into things you might want to know before the tournament when doing prefs, and things you might want to know before a round.
Email address for chains and debate-related contact is email@example.com
1) Accommodations - I have difficulties with processing auditory information and verbalizing my decisions. I would appreciate some level of accommodation, primarily that y'all go clearer and slower, especially on tags, and signposting/labeling of arguments in the rebuttal speeches. Clear signals of when you are moving on from an argument are also welcome - I flow on my laptop, and often end up flowing upwards of 2/3rds of what you say verbatim pretty much straight down with some attempts at matching up arguments on the flow, but I need some help/signalling from debaters as per when one argument ends and another begins. Please email me at the address above regarding questions about decisions not asked during RFDs or further lines of clarification.
2) Framework - I am not often persuaded by framework/T-USFG negative arguments, so I'm not a safe bet in those rounds. When I do judge those rounds, I am more persuaded by arguments focusing on potential material educational benefits of debate than fairness (fairness is not an impact, as I do not understand why debate is an intrinsic good), but it's still a pretty uphill battle.
3) Experience - did LD in high school, four years of policy in college, and this is my fifth year of coaching and judging as a graduate student assistant. I largely read critical arguments and have judged mostly k-on-k debates and clash rounds, with a few policy rounds thrown in. I was a 2A, and the critical affirmatives I wrote were largely high theory shenanigans related to race, war, and imperialism.
4) Orientation to judging - I consider judging to be a job - I'm in the pool because it's related to obligations tied to my employment. I respect debaters time, effort, and scholarship and try to give feedback that will help refine argumentation and scholarship. Further, I don't have any strong identification as an educator, a blank slate, or a rational policy/decision-maker. This means that, especially in critical rounds, I would appreciate some instruction regarding how I should be viewing/judging the arguments in the debate, but otherwise I'll just default to what's in the next bullet point. I enjoy learning while judging, so new ways to see things or just some fun facts are always appreciated speaker points-wise.
5) How I judge - I see my role in debate as the person that has to be persuaded to press either the affirmative or negative button on tabroom based on what happens in the round. The affirmative should probably make a claim to doing something good, and the negative should say that whatever the aff did is either a) bad or b) doesn't do anything good. I start my decisions with framework/framing arguments - who's told me what the function of the debate should be and how to judge who has done that function better. I then evaluate either a) what's up with the aff in the 2AR based on what can be mobilized from the 1AR - how is it being extended, does it still do stuff, etc. and/or b) what core issue(s) of the debate the 2NR has identified/hinges on.
I often have some idea of b) going in to the 2AR, which entails I generally have some sense of what the aff would need to address to win (i.e. prove their advocacy is still good and 'solves' in some way), which leads to some quick decisions on my part - if my decision takes a while, either I'm trying to figure out how to word my decision properly and/or I'm very confused about what's happening/missed something. I care a lot about good warranting in the last speeches for arguments you're going for, and of course clear judge instruction and weighing. I'm not the most technical judge, but I do care that important arguments are answered although I would like the function of whatever dropped argument is being extended to be explained. You're better off going for a few well explained arguments rather than trying to cover everything.
For this next part, these are largely preferences/tendencies in how I view things based off of my experience with judging, and are subject to change/what happens in rounds.
Before a round:
1) Evidence quality vs analytic argumentation - I like good evidence, and I do not mind when debaters apply evidence in creative contexts, but evidence that you read is not by itself an argument. I often read evidence while it's being read in a speech, in cross-x, or during prep time because of my difficulties with processing auditory information. I don't think you need a card for everything, and also value good extrapolation of warrants, analysis and comparison of authors and citations, and applications of evidence.
I appreciate historical and contemporary examples (and metaphors/analogies), especially when it comes from your evidence, but I also need those examples to be well explained - an example is not in and of itself a warrant, but they're pretty essential for me to understand your argument and find what you're saying persuasive. Examples help concretize your warrants and make your argument something I can understand better - it's okay to kind of treat me like somebody who doesn't easily understand what people are saying, especially when they say it very quickly. Jargon's fine but we might not agree on the meaning of stuff so explain what you actually mean when you can.
2) Presumption - it's real, and if I don't think the 2AR sufficiently defends that the aff is good in some way the chance I end up voting negative at least a bit - also, it's not often that presumption is the best 2NR, it should be paired with some offense. I probably am amenable to presumption arguments because I think case debate is important. You don't have to put stuff directly on case flow, but aff's get away with so many things they shouldn't especially when it comes to how well their internal links are supported by the evidence, and it pains me to watch 2Ns miss some of that stuff.
I start my decisions (in my head) with the question of presumption/what the aff does, so keep that in mind. I tend to let negative alternatives get away with murder (although please don't call random alt related arguments a floating PIC it's really confusing for me) it despite having been a 2A, so watch out for that and point out when they don't haven't extended warrants. I can be persuaded that presumption flips affirmative, but that might just be because I don't entirely understand that phrase.
3) Framework (not T-USFG but for policy aff v k or k v k rounds) - I don't care as much about fairness, but I do think that both policy and critical teams should be forwarding arguments about how debate and arguments works and how I should be judging them. Debate theory arguments supported by actual theoretical arguments (be they critical or not) are valuable. For policy affs, I think of framework as a question of you telling me why talking about a plan might actually lead to the impact being addressed. For the negative, you can do some real damage here - tell me why the aff can't resolve what it's talking about, and what you're doing differently. I'm cool with whatever epistemology/ontology/affect/performance/ethics stuff you want to talk about.
I do think that people can make good arguments for how and why debate 'does things,' because it's a weird community full of some weird repetitions, but it's a question of how you explain that (and if you think debate doesn't 'do anything' you really gotta tell me what that means). Questions of 'spill over' and 'the ballot' are often red herrings for more substantive analysis of how the relationship between debaters, debates, policy debate as a format/medium of speech, the debate community, academic institutions, and 'the real world' works, so less debate jargon and more explanation helps.
4) Links and Perms - I really appreciate a good link argument with a quotation from the affirmative, an example, and an impact. You don't need a card for your links, as good analysis applied to specific parts of the aff will do the trick, but cards can help a ton. I appreciate depth of a link rather than several link arguments.
I don't often care for most 'no perms' debate theory arguments (like method v method means no perms bc advocacy can shift kind of arguments), and in those cases I would be more persuaded by no perms arguments grounded in theories of performance and speech (taken broadly) applied to debate. I'd prefer that the neg wins a substantive link as a DA or some degree of mutual exclusivity/trade-off. It helps me understand the difference between the aff and the neg better when DAs to the perm that are not just link arguments are applied to how the aff has explained the permutation. "Do both" is rarely enough in the 2AC, and by the 1AR I would like to know how the perm works more in depth - framework arguments about debate help here.
5) Overviews - I prefer short overviews that give me a primer on what to expect for the rest of the 9 minutes on the line-by-line + identification/flagging of important arguments (like links, tricks, and turns case stuff), but if you gotta do the long overview go for it, they are fine but a bit difficult to flow - it would be appreciated if you made the lines between the different chunks of argument you're making more clear if that's the case. It's easier for me to flow when debaters slow and then speed up; otherwise I fail to catch certain key warrants. It's also fine if you don't care too much about the flow and do whatever.
6) Theory - both policy and critical arguments rely on theoretical premises, and I'd appreciate when folks are ready to make them explicit. Theory should be a building block in a broader argument, so the arguments you make don't have to use evidence from authors that are 100% theoretically consistent with each other, but you should still be somewhat prepared to defend the political implications, associations, and (mis)uses of the theoretical dispositions your evidence is tied to. Big contradictions between authors and lit bases, however, do matter. I'm sympathetic to arguments about how theory functions in academia/academic community for better or for worse, but it's not necessarily only tied to that context.
Winning big theory thesis claims does not always mean that you win the debate (unless such claims go uncontested, and even then I need a brief explanation for why that matters). Theory is significant as a way of explaining how stuff works and how to engage in stuff, but an advocacy can be good (and a link valid) even if you 'lose' parts of the theory debate. I see theory and praxis as intertwined but sometimes it's worth making the distinction to explain warrants, so focusing on highlighting both (or explaining how they might be one and the same) helps me out when I am making my decisions.
Email chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach at Mason (2016-Present)
If my camera is off, I am not ready. Please do not start your speech yet or I will likely miss things. Thanks!
Top Level Things:
Tech > truth.
Depth > breadth.
I won't take prep for flashing/emailing, just don't steal it.
If a paradigm is not provided for me to evaluate the round, I will default to util.
I don't keep track of speech time/prep. Please keep your own.
Unless I am told not to judge kick by the 2AR, I will default to judge-kicking the CP or alt (in open).
I won't vote on things that have occurred outside of the round (ie pre-round misdisclosure) that cannot be verified.
Do not include cards in the card doc if they were not referenced in the 2NR/2AR but they do answer arguments your opponents made in their speech. If you didn't make the arg, I'm not going to read the card.
Please. Please. Please. Start slow for the first 5 seconds of each speech. It is sometimes so hard to comprehend online debate, especially if you are even slightly unclear in person.
Make sure to occasionally check the screen when speaking to make sure we aren't frozen/showing you we can't hear you.
I am very understanding of inevitable online tech failures.
I am not a judge who bases decisions off cards first. Main things I end up looking to cards for:
1) To clarify questions I have about my flow based on arguments made in the 2NR/2AR.
2) To compare the quality of evidence on well-debated arguments. If both teams have done a good job responding to warrants from opponent ev + explaining their own ev, I will look to evidence quality as a tie breaker for those arguments.
3) To determine if I should discount a card entirely. If a card is bad, say that. I will then validate if the ev is bad, and if it just doesn't make arguments I will not evaluate it in my decision. If I'm not told a card is bad and the arg is dropped, I'll give the other team full weight of it regardless of ev quality to preserve 2NR/2AR arg choice on arguments dropped by the other team.
Evidence quality is extremely important, because ideally both teams should be doing card comparisons. Cards just shouldn't be the sole factor in deciding debates and certainly shouldn't be a way to compensate for bad flows.
2021 update: I'm fine with unlimited condo. I am very unlikely to vote on condo, but will if it is certainly won.
Other theory stuff:
If theory comes down to reasons that the specific CP is a voter, I view it as a reason to reject the arg and not the team. To be clear, I will not vote someone down for reading a certain type of CP or alt based on theory args alone.
Below is a small reference. If a CP type is not listed, I do not have strong opinions either way.
Conditionality Bad-----------------------X-Hard Debates Good
Delay CPs Bad---X--------------Delay CPs Good
Consult CPs Bad---X---------------Consult CPs Good
PICs Good------------X-----------PICs Bad
Process CPs Good-----------X----------Process CPs Bad
There can be 0 percent risk of a link.
Bad DAs can be beaten with analytics + an impact defense card.
Uniqueness isn't given enough credit in a lot of 2NRs/2ARs.
DA turns case/case turns DA gets dropped A LOT. Try not to do that.
I miss judging politics debates. I know it was so bad for so long. It's good again. Please do it.
Ks v Policy Affs:
I prefer line-by-line debates and very much dislike lengthy overviews and convoluted alt explanations. I will not make cross-applications for you.
Aff gets to weigh the aff unless the 2AC doesn't make that arg.
I prefer Ks that have specific links to the topic or plan action significantly more than Ks that have state or omission links.
It is important for you to win root cause claims in relation to the specifics of the aff rather than sweeping generalizations about war. This is especially true when the aff has arguments about a certain countries' motives/geopolitical interests or reasons behind corporate/governmental actions.
Outside of something that was blatantly offensive, I believe that all language is contextual and words only mean as much as the meaning attached to them. Thus, args like "we didn't use it in that context" are convincing to me. I can be persuaded to vote them down, but I am going to be more biased the other way.
K affs v Policy Team:
The aff should at minimum be tied to the resolution. Novices should read a plan during their first semester.
Honestly, I would just prefer to resolve a debate that is aff v. case defense + offense specific to the aff (reform CP w/ net benefit, etc) over framework. If you go for framework/if you're giving a 2AR v it, below are some random things I think about clash debates. This is not exhaustive, nor does it mean I will automatically vote on these arguments. I will vote for who I think wins the flow, but in close debates, these are my leanings:
- I dislike judging debates that solely come down to structural v procedural fairness. I find them nearly impossible to resolve without judge intervention.
- Fairness is an internal link. There are multiple impacts that come from it.
- K affs are inevitable and we should be able to effectively engage with them in ways other than fw/t when they are based in discussions of the resolution.
- Ground and stasis points in debate are important for testing and arg refinement.
- Arg refinement can still occur over the process of the aff even w/o a plan if it's in the area of the resolution. Everyone should have X topic reform good cards to answer these affs/go against the K.
- Being topical is not the end of debate.
- Affs that are directly bidirectional are not a good idea in front of me and T should be the 2NR.
- Creativity can exist with plan texts and is not precluded by defending one.
- Affs garnering solid offense from sequencing questions is one of the best ways to win my ballot in these debates.
- Debate itself is good. Gaming is good. W/L inevitable. The goal of a debate is to win.
They're arbitrary. I've given up trying to adapt to a scale but I do try to give speaks based on the division and tournament. Here's some important things to note:
- Confidence gets you a long way.
- If you prevent your opponent from answering in cross ex, that won't bode well for speaks and I will be annoyed.
- I will not give you a 30 because you ask for one. Though I will give birthday and Senior last tournament boosts.
- If I'm not flowing something, and you notice I am staring at you, you are being redundant and should move on.
I’m currently a junior at Liberty University and debated in high school at University High School (Jersey Urban Debate League). This is approximately my 7th year in debate and as such I have engaged in both 'traditional' and now 'performance' style debate. Ultimately, I have come to conclusion that debate is a game but this game also has real life effects on the people who choose to participate in it. Therefore, BE NICE, HAVE FUN, and DO YOU!!!
I have found in my time debating that there are a few things that debaters are looking for when they read judging philosophies (including myself) so I’ll get straight to the point:
K's: I’m fine with them and have run them for quite some time in my career. However, this does not mean run a K in front of me for the fun of it - rather it means that I expect you to be able to explain your link story and the way the alternative functions. I find that most teams just make the assumption that the Aff doesn’t get a perm because "it’s a methodology debate". That’s not an argument, give me warrants as to why this is true if this is the argument you are going to for. K Aff's are fine often times debaters lose sight of the strategic benefits of the Aff, So a simple advice I can give is DONT FORGET YOUR AFF!!
DA's: In general I like strong impact analysis and good link story. Make logical argument and be able to weigh the impact story against the Aff.
CP’s: I am open all types of CP’s you just have to prove the competitiveness of said CP and make sure it has a net benefit.
FW: Again….Debate is a game but this game has real life implications on those who choose to engage in it. I think FW can be strategic against some Aff’s but don’t use it as a reason to not engage the Aff. Win your interpretation and weigh your impacts. Aff’s: don’t blow off FW answer it and engage it or tell me why you are not engaging in it.
Theory: Not a big fan of it, but make sure you slow down as to ensure I get all the arguments you are making. But do you!
Cross X: I think this is the best part of debate and LOVE it. Don’t waste those 3 min, they serve a great purpose. I am ALWAYS paying attention to CX and may even flow it.
*** Please remember that I am not as familiar with the high school topic so don’t assume I know all the jargon ***
Last but not least, watch me!(take hints from the visual cues that I am sending)
Yes email chain: email@example.com
AFF on T
NEG on conditionality, but even I have my limit (more than 3, no evidence for a bunch of them, combining them later in the debate, amending and adding 2NC cps). NEGs are less good at defending their egregiousness in my recent experience.
I will kick the CP if I think it is worse than the status quo. A neg team doesn't have to say "judge kick" and the AFF isn't going to convince me I shouldn't do this.
I reject the argument and not the team for most every other theoretical objection to a CP.
Will vote on K's. Will care about if the plan is a good idea even if the AFF can't physially make it happen.
Don't have to read a plan, but merely saying the res is bad and dropping stuff will lead to L's.
I am not in the market to award AFF vagueness or poor explanations of cases until the 2AR
Evidence quality outweighs evidence quantity.
If you have any questions or want to add me to an email chain, I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn from you.
I have been coaching at the Naval Academy since October 2016, and before that, I coached Cathedral Prep from 2014-2018. I debated on the national circuit in high school and qualified to the TOC twice, but I didn’t debate in college.
Most of my research and coaching is geared toward the K, but I feel comfortable evaluating a da/cp or da/case debate. I often think that the K is the best way to exploit the weaknesses of the affs that I hear, but that doesn't mean you have to take this route.
When debating in front of me, I'd highly recommend developing the implications to your arguments as soon in the debate as possible. In close debates between technically proficient teams, this is especially important. I appreciate it when a debater is creative and tries to relate to me rather than debating like a computer and into their computer.
I'd like to make things as easy as possible for you, and you're welcome to set up your speaking/video/microphone situation in whatever way makes you most comfortable.
On my end, I'm still learning how to adapt to zoom debates. There seems to be a lower ceiling on arguments I can process through zoom. This is especially the case on theory debates. If you could help me out by slowing things down, I'd appreciate it.
Debate doesn't translate directly from in-person to zoom. There are some limits that we haven't yet come to terms with, but there are also some possibilities (screen sharing comes to mind) that could be interesting, and you're welcome to experiment with that in front of me.
2021 College Topic
There's an important distinction between labor antitrust and consumer antitrust. In labor antitrust, independent contractors and labor unions are considered the businesses with whom the government is interested in limiting anticompetitive business practices. From the most straightforward reading of the topic, aff ground doesn't seem to allow for much labor antitrust. This would have been a significant consideration in at least half of the debates that I have judged so far.
Because of my academic and professional background, I've thought a lot about labor antitrust, monopolies, market power, and the suitability of the law as a remedy to these issues. To disclose a personal bias: I think that there are significant limits on the capacity of antitrust. That's not to say that I don't think there are many instances in which changes to antitrust law would be a good idea. Nor do I think that there aren't radical possibilities in antitrust. But its limits have become relevant and convincing in kritik debates in which the aff takes for granted the fundamental radicality of their proposal. I think this topic would be worthwhile if the debate community reckoned with those limits. In other words, Robert Bork was a real-life sicko, but so are most people, albeit in less apparent ways, who think that Amazon would stop being a problem if a judge told them to knock it off.
- I'm not in touch with community consensus so you might be able to use that to your advantage.
- I really enjoy a good T debate and don't have any strong inclinations toward fairness or education as the ultimate standard.
- I like definitions that define a word as close in a contexts as possible to the other words of the resolution
- I'm often disappointed by T evidence quality. For this reason, source/Expertise/qualifications debates tend to be pretty important. Just because a judge wrote it in a decision doesn't make it a relevant expert definition. Just because the usfg is defined in a certain way in the Bill Emerson English Language Empowerment Act of 1997, doesn't mean it's the best way to understand usfg for debate.
- Debating in the Pennsylvania has given me a comprehensive understanding of inherency as a procedural argument if you want to go there.
- In the last dozen or so framework rounds that I've judged, the neg has won or lost based on whether they had a compelling claim to significant offense.
- It's frustrating to judge a framework debate wherein framework is deployed as a replacement for debating the case. I get that this is tied in some way to the "ground" and "unpredictability" aspects of the arguments you're advancing, but a failure to contend with fundamental questions posed by the aff can come across more as a sin of the neg.
- For me, framework is most useful as a neg strategy in debates where affs are needlessly obscure or cynical.
- I evaluate the link first, and I think it's a yes/no question which controls the direction of uniqueness.
- Most of the best answers to politics disads I've seen aren't necessarily carded answers to the U/L/IL/I parts of a disad, but arguments about the nonsensical nature of certain parts of the politics disad as applied to the aff.
- Although I don't cut politics files, I'm extremely aware of what's going on and familiar with who's writing what about Congress and the White House.
- I really like impact turn debates.
- Except in cases where something sophisticated is going on, it's usually a waste of time to read evidence that "warming isn't real" or "warming isn't a pressing issue." Go after the internal link, go after solvency, turn the impact, solve the impact. It's hard to convince me that warming isn't an immediate, urgent, and moral concern, but I'm skeptical that the only thing we need to do is develop the right tech or enter certain climate talks with sufficient leverage.
- I won't kick the counterplan for the negative unless the negative persuades me to do otherwise.
- There's a fine line between creative, technical counterplans and a contrived trick. Avoid the contrived tricks. I enjoy a creative and technical counterplan, but these aren't the kinds of arguments I spend a lot of time thinking about, so you'll do well to simplify your explanation of it as much as possible.
- I’m most familiar with psychoanalysis and Marxism (including left criticism of Marxism, Marxist criticisms of leftism, and Marxist critiques of other Marxisms).
- I spend a lot of time thinking about labor because of my day job.
- I first look at role of the ballot/role of the judge arguments when I'm rendering a decision, so these arguments tend to have a strong effect on the outcome of a debate.
- The perm, which is tied in important ways to the role of the ballot, tends to be the aff's most strategic line of pursuit.
- I'm willing to stop the debate and give someone a loss for using flagrantly inappropriate language.
- I've noticed that, on very many occasions in which a K debate was underdeveloped, I have recommended the second chapter of Wretched of The Earth to both teams.
- Reject the argument is the default. Spend time on the impact level to convince me to reject the team.
- I heard recently that nobody votes on multiple conditional worlds bad anymore. I guess that means I'd be more willing to entertain this argument than the average judge.
- Against affs which don't read a typical plan text or defend the resolution, I would prefer to hear a nitty-gritty case debate rather than a framework debate. This is a strong preference.
- When debaters unsuccessfully extend framework in front of me, the unsuccess is usually a result of disorganization, a lack of adaptation of pre-written blocks to the specific aff arguments, and my inability to interpret the significance of an abstract debate concept.
- If you go for framework, make sure you clearly implicate the stakes of winning a section of the debate. What I mean by this is that you shouldn't assume we're on the same page about what it means to win, say, that there exists a topical version of the aff, or your limits disad, or the benefits of switch-side debate, or etc. Leave nothing flapping in the wind in the 2nr.
- I enjoy humor a lot.
- Speeches are best when they're persuasive performances; I don't enjoy monotone spreading.
- I like when debaters make smart cross applications from a flow the other team tried to kick out of.
- If the chips are down, flip the table. If, going into the rebuttals, you know you're losing 99% of the debate, see if you can explode that 1% into a win.
Debated: UNI 2007-2011
Coached: University of Minnesota 2011-2017, James Madison University 2017-2021
Currently: Director of Forensics, Texas Tech
When evaluating debates I try to privilege the arguments made by debaters in the debate, and attempt to resolve the debate based on those arguments as much as possible. Which is to say, I attempt to resolve debates to the greatest of my ability by evaluating competing claims rather than relying on my own assumptions. I do not have any aesthetic or political investment in defending a particular model of debate in how I render decisions, but instead seek to render a decision that reflects my subjective perception of which side did the better debating. Read: I am as comfortable with debaters who choose to pursue critical lines of argumentation as I am with policy debate. Where these differing styles meet I decide the debate on the merits of the argument advanced. The description below is an attempt to sketch my process for deciding which side advances the better argument.
When rendering a decision I begin by evaluating arguments that establish a framework for comparing the impacts advanced by both sides during the debate. This can be as abstract (from the resolution) as determining whether the arguments in favor of a more fair debate format is more important than a particular kind of education derived from changing the norms of debate, or as concrete as determining whether or not the magnitude of a disadvantage should outweigh the probability of an advantage. Debaters who emphasize comparing impacts in a manner that is clear, helpful, and grounded in a combination of evidence and the nature of the arguments advanced tend to have more success debating in front of me.
After determining what impacts ought to be prioritized I evaluate whether or not those impacts are valid based on the arguments provided. This means determining whether a team has sufficiently proven the constituent elements of the individual argument (for instance, the uniqueness/link/impact of a disadvantage) for me to give the argument credence. One predilection that I have which is unlikely to change is that I do believe that it is possible to win 100% defense against an argument, so debaters should not presume that there is “always a risk” to any claim entered into the debate.
When evaluating individual arguments I usually apply two criteria. First, is the argument is internally consistent? Meaning, the argument should have a consistent logic and avoid internal contradictions. Second, is the argument externally coherent? Meaning, the argument should be consistent with other claims advanced in the debate and has an (arguably) factual correspondence with reality. In both of these criteria I emphasize the way the argument is explained by debaters as well as the quality of evidence provided to support that explanation. Arguments without evidence have value for me, but many claims need evidentiary support in order to satisfy the criteria described above.
Ultimately my decision tends to reflect which team provides the best way to evaluate competing claims where both sides have won at least parts of the position they have advanced. This almost never reflects an absolute view of the value or validity of the arguments advanced. Instead, it reflects a contingent decision based on the debate which has taken place in my view based on the process described above.
Other things that debaters should know about me as a judge:
Clarity is important. While I can flow most speeds I will admit that I am not the fastest around. This is made worse by a lack of clarity. When judging a debate I flow on paper, I do not follow along on speech docs, and I do not look at them during prep time (although I often am on my computer to make comments on the ballot). I will look at evidence after the debate if necessary to make a decision, but my predisposition is to do so as little as possible. Usually when I do look at evidence it is because of a flowing error on my part or the need to do my own interpretive work due to an error on the part of the debaters. Debaters are best served to be clear about how I should read a piece of evidence and its significance rather than relying on me to sort it out after the debate. The more clear that debaters are, both in terms of their speech and the explanation of their argument, the more predictable and consistent I am as a judge.
Cross examination matters for me. I will take notes, and I will be attentive. I consider questions asked and answered to be binding pending an explanation or argumentation to the contrary.
I do have a minimum threshold for argument explanation. Uttering “permutation do both” without any elaboration over the course of the debate is not sufficient, nor is saying “permutation links to the disadvantage.” I am open to debaters giving more thorough explanations over the course of the debate, but simply relying on the fact that a claim has been uttered is not sufficient, as it is not a complete argument.
I will follow the directions provided by debaters on how to treat arguments. For example, if a theoretical objection is raised as “reject the team” I will treat it as such unless it is challenged. Additionally, in keeping with my minimum threshold for argument, an instruction should come with a justification for why that direction makes sense. Similarly, I will not “judge kick” an argument for a team unless directed to do so, and that instruction is not challenged.
I believe that presumption follows from the burden of rejoinder. The affirmative has the burden to respond to the resolution, and I presume to vote negative unless the affirmative succeeds in responding. Subsequently I presume affirmative until the negative has provided a competitive option.
Debaters should not presume that I know anything of substance about goings on in the debate community. That is to say, if the community has decided that a particular argument is a bad one, or that an affirmative is decidedly not topical, that I am unlikely to be clued in to that decision.
Speaker points are at my discretion. That said I modulate the scale quite a bit to account for division and the size/norms of the tournament. I do very occasionally use them as a way to indicate my displeasure, usually at how a debater treats their peers (I think I’ve done this all of five times in as many years).
1. Please let me know when you are done prepping and send a message in the chat box letting me know you are done and how much time remains if the platform supports it.
2. I have solid internet and decent equipment, but I have noticed that clarity is still lost somewhat. Mostly it happens where debaters are not enunciating while going quickly. For folks who are clear to begin with it's not generally a problem, but if you have struggled with clarity when debating in person you may need to take just a hair off your top speed for me.
3. Cross-ex is a little messier online because usual techniques for bringing long winded answers and questions to an end don't transmit as well online as in person. Please practice turn taking and be reasonable with how you use your time. Unnecessarily long and convoluted questions and answers used to soak up time are unlikely to be very popular with me.
4. I'm going to follow tournament guidelines for how to deal with tech questions wherever they exist. If there are no guidelines I'm going to assume all debaters are acting in good faith and let you do what you need to do in order to debate.
5. I am not requiring students to have video on in order to debate. I will have my own video on, and I do encourage it because I do think it helps debaters make appeals, but I will do my best to not let the decision to not use video influence my decision or the speaker points that I assign.
Background: Debated four years at Georgetown (2013-2017), where I'm now the assistant coach.
--Standard Operating Procedure
--How I Judge
--Clash of Civs
Standard Operating Procedure (lifted from Mikaela):
1. Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com. Whether/how much I will look at the cards during the debate will vary wildly depending on the debate.
2. After the debate please compile all the ev that *you believe* to be relevant to the decision and email it to me. I will sort through to decide which ones I need to read. A card is relevant if it was read and extended on an issue that was debated in the final rebuttals.
Speaks: My guide is the WFU scale (http://collegedebateratings.weebly.com/points-scale.html). Preparation, smart strategic decisions, and effective use of CX will be rewarded.
-- Debate is hard, debaters work hard, and judges owe it to debaters to work hard too. As a result, I take judging seriously as a responsibility, one part of which is doing my best to evaluate arguments in isolation from my own predispositions. With only a handful of exceptions, which will be made explicit, nothing below is close to set in stone, nor should you write off the viability of any genre of argument because of any preconceptions you might have about me, the school I attended, or who my coaches were. Do your thing, do it well, win debates.
-- Debate should be a safe space. As an educator, as someone who cares about debate and debaters, and as a decent human being, there are certain things that are utterly unacceptable, and warrant (at a minimum) a loss and zero speaks. This includes, but is not limited to, things like racist or sexist slurs. What might be a useful litmus test for how I feel about this, if things bordering on personal attacks constitute part of your argument, is that I feel that the 1NC from the 2017 NDT Finals is pretty clearly in-bounds, but portions of the 1NR were just as clearly not. If you would like further clarification, or simply would like to gain a better understanding of where that line falls for me and why, I am happy to discuss it further.
-- Cheating is unacceptable. I hope never to have to deal with this, but just to be clear -- David Stoecker-Strauss's paradigm sums up my take on clipping. Also, obviously, don't steal prep etc -- don't be shitty.
-- I/we are not wasting our time. Given the amount of time, money, and emotional energy that we collectively sink into the activity, persuading me that debate is devoid of value will be a *very* uphill battle. Note: this is different from saying that there should be changes to how the activity is currently constituted.
How I Judge
1. Hard work, great evidence, and strategic thinking are important to me, and that's likely to affect how I evaluate debates. Debaters should cut and read good cards. Lots of in-depth research + clever strategery are key parts of what makes the activity valuable (and fun!), and should be competitively incentivized and rewarded. This does NOT mean I will not vote for a process CP or T or w/e. It DOES mean that I am likely to read a significant amount of evidence after debates, and that such arguments will be a much easier sell if supported by smart, well-researched arguments & good ev. Note: this applies just as much to the Aff, and it's worth noting that the ev quality of many affs is dismal -- something that the neg can and should exploit to dramatically reduce the risk.
2. "Smart arguments win. The minimum standard for a relevant argument is a claim, warrant and impact. Smart and intuitive analytic arguments can easily meet this threshold and evidence often doesn't meet this threshold. Evidence that is over-highlighted may not constitute “evidence” in any meaningful definition of the term." --Kevin Kallmyer
3. Execution is key. High quality evidence matters a great deal--but only if you make it matter. It can never substitute for poor debating. I keep returning to my flow throughout making a decision and am very paranoid about making a decision that does not reflect the debating in the final rebuttals. Debaters will benefit greatly from making well-warranted comparisons backed by evidence, and warranted appeals to evidence quality (or lack thereof -- many "cards" are no more credible than an analytic).
4. Dropped arguments are true - that does not make them impactful. It's your job to explain why it matters. Also, absent a warrant there is no argument, whether they respond to it or not - see #2. If you don't want them to have a second chance, make complete arguments.
5. Risk: I am likely to think of things in term of relative risks - few things are yes/no, and even those that are are typically only probabilistically that way. That said, I can be persuaded that the risk is so low that a rational policymaker should consider it to be negligible. Such arguments that get at the risk comparison/decisionmaking process more holistically rather than being boxed in by traditional taxonomies of impact comparison are underutilized.
6. "Debaters should recognize when they are losing certain arguments/parts of the debate and incorporate that understanding into their rebuttals." -- Jackson Erpenbach
7. "Be comprehensible. Aside from it having a huge impact on how I assign speaker points, I’m far more likely to vote for arguments that I can understand." -- JP. I would add that ethos & a strong command of your argument matter a great deal for how it's received and processed. I'm not a robot.
8. Dumb arguments are dumb. You know it, I know it, your opponent knows it. Tell me so, say why, move on.
I default to competing interpretations.
Reasonability should be framed as an argument that accepting the Aff's interp is best even if the Neg wins that theirs is marginally better.
T is a disad, a question of which view is better for debate. Win the link, then win the impact, and win that it outweighs.
A well-researched T interp backed by a stack of high-quality contextual evidence can make for sweet, core-of-the-topic, highly educational and fun debates. This is far rarer than it should be.
T also obviously serves an important purpose as a functional limit on the topic--but be aware that winning that the topic should be small is a very up-hill battle in front of me, though certainly not unwinnable.
All things being equal, precision & predictability, determined according to contextual evidence (ideally with a clear intent to define), will be decisive in my determination of what interpretation is best. The literature base determines what is predictable, and limits and ground absent predictability are essentially meaningless.
My favorite debates are high-tech counterplan debates--whether specific, well-researched PICs or smart shenanigans.
"If debated equally, I am prone to thinking that counterplans which are desirable because they result in the affirmative, are, generally speaking, not competitive and make for worse debates. At a fundamental level, I don’t believe they express disagreement with the affirmative plan, which I sort of think is the whole point of debate. That said, I’ve written many of these counterplans, and voted on many of these counterplans.
I lean heavily neg on all other counterplan theory questions." -- Coach Dave
The States CP is good, and so is uniformity. I would rather that be the functional limit on the topic than a generic K or T-subs 10 times out of 10. That relies on the neg winning that that's the case, though, and for some reason in debates that I witnessed last year the Aff was often ahead on the issue.
Note: Fiating fed + states is murkier territory, and all things being equal, the aff should be able to decisively win that it's illegitimate. That said, many teams won't--in which case do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
Conditionality - it's probably good. With 1, 2, probably even 3 winning it's bad is close to a non-starter absent the neg screwing up. More than that and you're in murkier waters. None of this should be taken to mean I won't vote for a conditionality bad 2AR if the neg screws it up, or will intervene on the Aff's behalf if they go for theory poorly no matter what the neg gets up to. As a sidenote, I find the logical equivalent of "reject the arg" for conditionality to be sticking the neg with it - and that to be an intuitively persuasive remedy, assuming you explain why that's the case.
My default assumption, if neither team speaks to the issue, is that 'conditional' means 'the status quo is a logical option for the judge' even if the CP is in the 2NR. This is easily changed with arguments by either side. Obviously, if the neg says ‘we’ll only go for one policy’ / '2nr choice checks' as an argument to defend conditionality, then I will only consider the option they select.
The vast majority of other theory arguments are a reason to reject the arg. Thus:
"You will do far better on theory arguments if they inform my decision rather than making it for me. Maybe that means “rejecting the argument.” Maybe that means getting a ruling from me along the way: I am happy to pause the CX for a 30-second intervention on agent specification or conditionality, and we can use the remaining 90 minutes for an entertaining and educational debate." -- Seth Gannon
Impact comparison is essential, but so is a holistic comparison of risk (esp. vis-a-vis links) and *internal links*.
Turns case arguments are strategic, but far more so if made at the internal link level. These can be quite powerful, even game-changing, if well-warranted. Far more often, I think DA t/case args made in the block don't pass the test of even being an argument.
Unless the DA is linear or one of a subset of probabilistic things like elections, direction of uniqueness probably determines whether the link is possible. If this is not the case, explain why. Note that even when this is true, 1.) a large link vs a close UQ debate logically produces a risk assessment that prioritizes the link over UQ, and 2.) it does not preclude the link being so decisively one direction that it functions as functionally 'absolute' defense -- ergo, "UQ controls L" and vice-versa are frequently not real arguments as deployed, but can/should be.
Critiques are a tremendously powerful tool in the toolbox. At their best, they combine high-quality, specific evidence with well-explained and well-warranted arguments. That is rarer than it ought to be.
I'm likely to be a better judge for the K, done well, than some might expect given my background. I'm fairly well-versed, though if you're saying something new, it would behoove you to make sure you're being understood.
Teams that use the critique as a crutch to substitute for doing work are unlikely to do well in front of me, provided the Aff effectively exploits the resultant weaknesses. However, the flip side of this is true as well: affs relying on backfile answers to K's, when their opponent is well-prepared and ready to roll, are likely to have a bad time.
Theories that deny life value or say that death is desirable are, understandably, a tough sell. This also applies to Wipeout.
"Clash of Civs"
I will do my best to fairly adjudicate any argument you make in front of me. However, here are my defaults (again: always subject to the arguments made and how they evolve):
1. Debate is political - but it is not THE political. It does have important implications for the way we think, and what we say and do, but that's true of both “traditional”, policy analysis oriented debate, and other approaches. That means that: (a) I agree that debate affects us; (b) I will listen to whatever you have to say, and am totally open to debates that question the traditioanl understanding of what debate is or should be; (c) by the same token, I think that going for topicality and framing things in terms of a limited, predictable stasis point with an equitable division of ground to facilitate a good debate - and why that's good - puts you in a great spot.
Stasis stuff alone, done well, is sufficient to win the debate. Also including a component about the importance and value of learning about this particular topic in a nitty-gritty way is often useful and strategic, as are more "substantive" process/skills arguments when the LINK & INTERNAL LINK are well-explained. I find Lomborg-style articulations of T much less compelling.
2. "T not Framework" is a distinction with a difference. The former is a claim about a stasis point within the rez; the latter about how one ought to debate. Those are very different claims.
3. I agree the world is structurally unfair, and wish my ballot would somehow affect that -- I have yet to hear an explanation for why it would.
4. One can have opinions about something that someone or something else ought to do or not do, without either a. thinking that entity is good or b. somehow identifying with that entity. To wit: Bush should not have invaded Iraq. I'm no more a Bush fan for saying so, nor do I think I'm Bush.
5. It is a tough sell to convince me that having such opinions, or the process of doing rigorous research and engaging in argumentation to form and test them, is either a. inherently violent or b. useless.
6. Nobody in the history of debate has ever been "roleplaying". If I missed the memo and that's a thing we're doing now, I want my costume.
Judd D. Kimball, Assistant Coach, University of Mary Washington
Article I. Communication Approach to Debate
Section 1.01 The following are brief explanation of what I envision when I think of the highest quality debate. These are items that can factor in both positively and negatively for you in my determination of who did the better debating.
(a) A primary goal should be to present your ideas and arguments in a communicative fashion. What factors influence the effectiveness of your communication?
(i) Rate of Delivery. You should not present ideas at a rate that interferes with the effectiveness of sharing those ideas with another human being. You must analyze your audience to determine the rate at which they can absorb ideas, and you must evaluate (fairly) your own abilities to speak rapidly which not losing clarity/enunciation or normal tone inflection that signals the beginning and ending of sentences, and is critical to judges understanding concepts and ideas, not just individual words.
(ii) Clarity/Enunciation. Each word should have a beginning and an ending. Each sound should be pronounced, and not mumbled through.
(iii) Interpretation/Tonal inflection. It is a personal belief that the way we normally communicate with other people involves a lot of vocal interpretation and tonal inflection. It’s a way to communicate phrases and ideas, rather than just leaving each word hanging out by itself, merely surrounded by other words. With interpretation the audience has an easier time comprehending, understanding the processing the idea, as they don’t have to put the sentence together from the individual words, and then discover the meaning of the phrase or sentence themselves. Interpretation, by my definition, is the attribute of communication that helps provide understanding to the audience of the ideas being presented through the way the ideas are presented. It has been my experience that most debaters are very interpretative speakers when they are not debating from prepared scripts. It is during this time that the communication skills you have honed since you began talking are on display. Yet when it is time to read evidence, or a prepped theory block, they shift communicative gears and start just reading each individual word, rather than presenting ideas for the consideration of the judge. I am very unlikely to read evidence after the debate if it was not read in a comprehensible manner, or the warrants and reasons of the evidence were not discussed as being important ideas.
(b) A primary focus of your speeches and cross-examination period should be information sharing. This goes beyond your personal motivation to communicate with the judges, and includes a responsibility to present your arguments in a fashion that facilitates your opponent’s comprehension of your position.
(c) Clash. You should seek to create class in your debates by interacting with not only your opponent’s tag lines, but with the warrants for those claims. In essence, clash is explaining to me why I should prefer/believe your arguments over your opponents. In order to effectively do that, you must be making comparisons that take your opponents argument into account. You must clash.
Section 1.02 Effective implementation of these points will most likely result in higher speaker points, and a greater understanding of your arguments by me as a judge. That will help you in winning the debate, as I will hold the other team responsible for answering your arguments, and if they fail toy,your superior communication will be a determining factor (as a process) of your victory.
Article II. Debate Evaluation
Section 2.01 I recognize objective standards and processes are probably impossible, as the subjective creeps into everything, I just desire and strive for objectivity.
(a) I have a default judging perspective, which evaluates the net benefits of a policy proposal, and answers the question of whether the government should take a particular course of action. I prefer a framework which strives to include as many voices and perspectives as possible, and provides a framework in which different perspectives can be compared, contrasted and weighed. I like my decision to be grounded in the arguments made in the debate. I strive not to bring in “baggage” with me, though I recognize the final futility of that effort, and I will make every effort to explain my decision by reference what was actually communicated in the debate
(b) If you wish the debate to be evaluated from an alternate perspective, you will need to provide a well-defined set of criteria for me to apply when evaluating and weighing arguments. The question of controversy needs to be defined, and discussed in order to provide me the necessary framework to avoid subjectively deciding the debate. Now mind you, I don’t mind subjectively deciding a debate, just be prepared to be frustrated by my statement that I can’t explain why I voted for a particular position, just that that was what I wanted to do at that moment of time, or frustrated by the fact that what I voted on wasn’t an argument or part of the debate that you had a chance to answer. That will happen when I find myself stalled out in the decision making, finding no way to decide other than adding in factors that were not included or discussed in the debate.
Section 2.02 I find questions of autonomous action and personal belief difficult to decide in the context of debate competition. I have found myself perplexed by arguments advanced on the basis of exercising personal autonomy, and then be expected to evaluate them without the inclusion of my opinions, my autonomy, in the process. This is difficult when I find that my personal approach to life contrasts with the approach to individual decision making advocated by one team. If the ballot is my endorsement of your idea, then I would be denying my own autonomous position by being constrained by debate conventions of judging (i.e., you did a better job against the opponents objections, but I wasn’t persuaded to change my personal beliefs). Defining your framework for debate evaluation with this in mind will ease my difficulty. I have been close to taking the action of including my position on the question, in the last few debates I’ve had when this situation arose. Questions of Autonomy and personal belief are difficult questions for me to resolve
Section 2.03 I will be very resistant to deciding debates where the character of the participants is the foundation for the decision. I do not like to cast judgments on people and their behavior without having gathered as much information as is possible. I do not feel that in the high pressure competition of debate is the best forum for investigating those issues, or in seeking to engage the other individual in a dialogue about their behavior. Am I totally unwilling to decide a debate on such a question? I’m not willing to say that either. But I would have to be convinced that not only was this an egregious act, but that malevolent intent was involved.
Article III. Other Issues:
Section 3.01 Topicality I think topicality debates hinge on the question of whose interpretation provides for a better debate topic/experience. If your violation and argumentation does not provide an answer to that question, then figure the answer out. You must also be sure to be complete in your argumentation about why the affirmative violates your interpretation. Do not leave issues of plan interpretation vague, or hinge your argument on a vague cross ex question or answer. Make clear and concise arguments about why the affirmative plan doesn’t meet your interpretation.
Section 3.02 Counterplans. I’ll evaluate any counterplan presented. I begin from a bias that "net benefits" is the most meaningful competition standard, and perhaps only standard. But you can argue other standards, and you only have to defeat your opponent’s arguments, not mine. As to other theory questions with counterplans, it will depend on who does the best job defending/indicting a particular theoretical practice used in the debate.
Section 3.03 Kritiks I need to understand what you are saying from the beginning on all arguments, but especially these. Please communicate your ideas to me when you present this type of argument. I won’t go back later and try to figure out what you were arguing about. I need to know what the affirmative does that is bad, and why it is bad enough that I should either vote negative, or not affirmative, or however I should vote.
Section 3.04 Debating and Evaluating Theory Issues. Theory issues are difficult to evaluate, because they are a yes/no question. If you wish to win a theory objection, you must deal with all of your opponent’s defenses, and provide reasoning explaining why a particular theory position is destructive to quality debate. This is not meant to scare you off of theory debates, just to encourage you to be thorough and complete when discussing this issue.
Email for speech docs:
Thoughts about the antitrust topic post-NU:
This is one of the most complicated topics involving very technical legal details and economic theories (I love it and I hate it ). Naturally, debate can get easily confusing for us judges who might not be familiar with the particular subject matter you’re discussing. I humbly offer my two cents on how you can help us better understand your arguments:
-Doing more “big picture” debating that explains and compares your position. How is your non-antitrust mechanism different from the aff? Why does the CP get preempted? What is anti-competitive about X conduct? Filling-in details on these foundational questions and slowing down in the last rebuttals can be more useful than line-by-line debating. That one last evidence you didn't get to ultimately won't matter if I don't understand the premise behind your position.
-Defining abbreviations and explaining key terms. For example, is SEP standard essential patents or September? What do you mean by "per se" or "rule of reason"?
-Focusing on internal links rather than terminal impacts in innovation debates. For instance, aff says innovation solves warming and neg says innovation solves food. 2AR that says warming outweighs food makes no sense because whoever controls the internal link ultimately solves both warming and food, unless you are very detailed about how/where innovation occurs. Instead of spending so much time on impact calculus, explain why you control the direction of innovation.
-Highlighting full sentences and using tags that are detailed and warranted, at least for key solvency/internal link evidence that will matter for the debate. I found it helpful when the solvency evidence are highlighted to tell a story on what/how things get prohibited, as opposed to you highlighting phrases like "substantial effects test" and hoping that we will read through the articles to figure out whatever that means.
-Not blazing through the 1AC or the 1NC. I don’t follow along the speech doc, and I will miss a lot of nuances if you don’t bother to slow down.
Other general thoughts about debate:
-Re-inserting highlighting is okay, until someone else says it’s not okay, at which point it becomes a debate. It’s probably fine unless it’s egregious, but it’s still a debate
-Please set up the email chain before the actual debate start time so that the 1AC is ready to start when it’s supposed to start.
-When did it become fashionable to abbreviate “cross-ex” as “cross”? No.
- Everyone is too focused on limits, but that not all limits are same. Some might be more precise, more predictable, or better for debatability. Fleshing out these internal links is important when you are comparing your interpretation vs. counter-interp.
- I am usually aff on competition/theory like “should”, or “resolved,” other process CP variants, and international fiat particularly when they seem to fiat the object of the advantages. Other things are more debatable, but I also think the aff has gotten worse in debating competition.
- "CP must be both textually and functionally competitive"---to be 100% honest, I don't know what this actually means. Please tell me what it means and why it matters in the context of the particular CP you're debating.
- My initial default on presumption is for the side who advocates for change. This means presumption flips aff when the neg introduces a CP even if it’s less change than the status quo.
- I am most likely going to kick the CP foro neg, unless the aff really pushes hard earlier (I can rarely recall an instance when this actually mattered though).
- Things that will increase my propensity to vote on condo: conditional planks, contradictory things, “12 off”
- I decide more based on what was said than what cards were read
- Whoever resolves the meta-level arguments will most likely win, such as is debate a game? is fairness an impact? Does TVA have to solve the aff? Can you read the aff on the neg? etc.
- I am not as familiar with the literature, so it will require more connecting the dots for me. For instance, how does winning your theory power implicate framework?
Gabe Lewis (he/him/his)
Juan Diego Catholic High School 2011-2015 (1N/2A)
University of Mary Washington 2015-2019 (1A/2N)
HS Rounds Judged on this Topic: 6
College Rounds Judged on this Topic: 0
Add me to the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
Early Season/Online Debate Thoughts - Oct 2021
-I have not done any topic research on either the college or high school topic so please, please, please avoid using acronyms without introducing them first.
-I have found it to be more difficult to flow speeches in online debate than in in-person debate. Combine that with the fact that I have not been consistently judging or debating in policy debates for a few years means you should probably go a bit slower than you normally would.
-In conjunction with the sentence above, I hate short-form blippy "gotcha" arguments now more than ever. "Fiat solves the link," "a logical policymaker could do both," "fiat is illusory," etc. are all claims with no warrant or impact and I am likely to miss them when they take you 0.2 seconds to mutter because you lack warrant/impact.
-I will have my camera on and I expect you to do the same.
-I flow on the computer and also pay attention to the speakers on Zoom. If it doesn't look like I'm looking at you during your speech, I'm probably looking at my flow. Sometimes I move windows around so don't read into anything too much if I suddenly start staring into a different monitor.
-I am currently a policy analyst for a lender so I am somewhat familiar with the housing market, lending laws and regulations, etc. I'm not sure if that is relevant to any debate round ever but as a debater, I always liked to know what my judges did "in the real world" in case there was a way I could tailor my arguments to better suit their knowledge.
-What if you... didn't use pocketbox… and just made an email chain...
-Not interested in your insertion of your opponent's evidence. If you want me to care about it you have to read it.
-Probably more sympathetic to "small school" related arguments than other judges considering my background. That being said you still have to win the debate but I think you can explain small school as it relates to things like predictability and research burdens on T and FW to justify an interpretation.
-Conceding an opponent's argument to use to exploit a double turn or a solvency takeout is very smart. You cannot undo it by You should explain what the argument you are conceding is **explicitly** and then go through each internal link to explain how it mitigates or undermines it.
-Potentially most important - don't be rude to your partner or your opponents. If you're offensive and/or problematic expect an L and some bad points.
Paperless Debate & Prep Time:
Not going to make you take prep to send the email or hand off the flashdrive but if it takes more than a few seconds I'll start the timer. Stealing prep will result in a dock of .5 speaker points. When a timer isn’t running for prep, it is my expectation that debaters stop typing/writing/talking etc. Make sure that you are being efficient to ensure I have maximum time to evaluate the round and make a decision and you should be fine!
Also if you stop prep and then delete analytics before sending your doc you will not get higher than a 27.
I am irked when debaters forget how email works. I recognize that debate can be high stress but please take .2 seconds to double check that you've included your partner on the chain/emails are spelled correctly, you press reply all, etc.
BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG fan of case and circumvention debates. Fiat may be durable but it definitely isn't if you don't say and explain that it is/answer the negative's claims that the aff gets rolled back. Also don't be afraid to go for presumption. I mean obviously having offense is good but if you develop it well I could be persuaded by a 6 minute 2NR on presumption or no solvency.
Zero risk exists.
Topicality is a voting issue. I don't have a lot of knowledge of this topic so I will evaluate a lot of these debates based on my gut which means you need to do a good job explaining your world of debate versus your opponent's world of debate.
With no topic knowledge, I am persuaded by teams that read ev from the topic paper. I think explaining why an aff does or does not fit in with the topic paper/topic committee to be compelling.
Leave your overviews at home please. They're redundant and often unnecessary. Just start with the line by line. Don't read new 1NR impact scenarios - it's not a constructive. Internal links are usually terrible and affs should point that out.
Probably not voting on politics theory. Uniqueness is a sliding scale - there is never likely to be 100% UQ just like there is never likely to be 0%.
I think that CP’s should have specific solvency advocates. Permutations need to have an explanation. I feel that teams make permutation arguments with a variety of texts without explaining how the different permutations function - if you don't know how your perms are different I almost certainly don't either. If you are going for a perm other than “perm do both”, explain what makes it insulated from the neg’s permutation offense. State CP's are probably bad.
I am familiar with generic cap and security K’s but if its anything other than that, I’m going to need a lot more explanation. I’m unlikely to vote for any aff framework that excludes all K’s ever. Regardless of what K you choose to read you should assume I know nothing about the literature base. My 1NC's in college rarely included a K but I do understand they are strategic so if you can execute it, go for it.
When I debated in college, this was the 2NR against nontraditional affs. Like seriously in all four years I don't think I went for anything else against nontraditional affs. That being said I don't think I'm guaranteed to vote on it. I think that neg teams going for FW often fail to incorporate the affirmative's offense into what is being said in the block-2NR. Unless you win fairness through and through you're going to have to talk about the case.
These debates were some of my favorites because I always felt that I learned the most from them.
The issue I struggle with most in voting for affirmatives often comes down to the model of debate comparison. For affs to win, they need to persuade me that their model of debate is better than the resolution and that it leads to better debates.
I don't think it's impossible for nontraditional affs to win in front of me - as someone that read them in high school and debated against them in college I understand the utility of them and strategic ways to incorporate impacts in ways that framework cannot encompass. Just debate how you debate and I'll evaluate the debate I see.
Also nobody is roleplaying unless explicitly stated by a team. FW isn't genocide either.
I think that theory debates are usually very shallow and block dependent. CP theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. Performative contradictions are bad but this should just be a standard on conditionality. Reading more than three conditional advocacies is pushing it but I generally believe condo is good. If you want to go for theory in the end of the debate please do not fly through your 2AC/1AR blocks. Take time to develop the arguments and do the line-by-line before the final speeches.
Not going to lie I have like... zero idea how to do these. The points I received throughout college were wildly inconsistent between judges. That being said I'll work on developing my own scale as I see fit once I judge debates more frequently. At the very minimum, I'll stick to whatever random fake scale I make up in my mind for the entirety of a tournament to provide some level of consistency. 28.5 is probably close to average because despite being coached by Adrienne, I won't give out points as low as her's lol.
Being funny is cool but it's a gamble
If you have any other questions about my preferences, feel free to ask me before the round!
You should debate what you're best at. To me, the game of debate is more important than any particular argument. I think it's most important that debaters try to write the ballot in their final rebuttal and leave as few issues unresolved as possible.
While I am doing work for Georgetown this year, I'm probably somewhat less familiar with the topic than you are, so please try to be clear and explain specific terms/acronyms.
Be respectful of your opponent, partner, and judge.
I'm aff leaning on most competition questions - if you have doubts about whether your counterplan is competitive, make sure you are very confident in answering the perm. Conditionality is probably good and I'm generally OK with states. Theory debates on those questions are winnable, but should not be your first resort.
"Turns case" and "turns disad" arguments are usually under-explained, however, I'll reward thoughtful versions of these arguments even if analytical.
Try to provide a clear picture of what debates will look like under the various interpretations in the debate. Negative teams will be best served by reading evidence that clearly substantiates their desired limit. Successful affirmative teams will have well thought out arguments about the intrinsic benefits of including their affirmative in the topic.
Specificity is a must, if not in evidence, then in application. I won't hesitate to vote on more generic or tricky arguments if they're dropped, but the bar is higher when the affirmative has a cogent answer. Affirmative teams should be ready with a good defense of they say and do in the debate. Negative teams will benefit greatly with even a few well thought out case arguments.
As above, do what you are best at and I will give the attention and thought I would any other argument. That being said, if you want to completely dispense with the plan-focused vision of the topic, you need a very compelling reason for doing so. In topicality/framework debates clear links and clash at the impact level is most important. Simply saying the negative is denied disadvantages or the affirmative is denied ground is not sufficient.
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
a few virtual debate things:
-i've found it significantly harder to hear -- audio is less intelligible than in person -- go a little slower and/or make sure you're really clearly enunciating
-MAKE SURE you get a thumbs up or a yes that I'm ready before you start seriously i don't know how to make this more clear. every tournament ppl keep starting without confirming i'm ready. "is anybody not ready?" is not a question that works in virtual debate.
-prep stops when you've attached the document to the email just be reasonable. it shouldn't take you more than 10 seconds from after you've said stop prep to have pressing send on the email
-i'm so proud of everyone debating right now for your drive, determination, and resilience
My pronouns are they/them and my last name is pronounced "MACK-oo."
I have judged close to a million rounds on the 20-21 college/high school topics.
debate history: -HS GBN (2x TOC elims, RRs) - College Texas (2x NDT elims, RRs) -Colleges coached: WSU, UCO, Emory, NU -HSs coached: bronx science, edgemont, GBS, westwood, damien -taught at many camps every summer over the last 10 years -currently work full time at the Chicago Debate League + judge/direct lots of tournaments
Even though I read as arguments and studied critical literature about race, gender, colonialism, and sexuality in college, my HS background was exclusively "policy," and I continue to do research and coach in both areas.
In the post round, if you'd like to seek advice or challenge components of my thinking or note your disagreement or try to get my ballot in the future or try to understand my decision, I would love to discuss my decision with you! If you are into post-rounding as some weird ego thing where you need to demonstrate that you couldn't possibly have lost a debate by berating the judge, then you should not pref me.
My argument preference is whatever you're passionate about and really know in depth.
I take a while/my time to decide debates, so time-wasting during a debate is truly to your detriment.
After the 2XR, please send me a judge doc with the (marked version) of ONLY the cards you extended.
Things I am really interested in:
--lots of evidence comparison!! this often shifts my decisions
--framing arguments and judge instruction
--even if arguments -- recognizing where you might be losing
--beginning the 2XR with what you want the RFD to be
--in depth explanations -- more warrants, less tag lines
--strategic concessions + cross applications
--thoughtful and consistent analytics
--attentive line by line
--(hate to have to say this) 2NRs that take advantage of 1AR dropped arguments. It will hurt your speaker points a little if there's a clear path to victory that you ignore entirely
Things I am not interested in:
--long overviews - LINE BY LINE is where those overview arguments fit my friends. i promise you can find a spot if u look
--being rude to your partner
--scholarship/behavior that is morally reprehensible
--"if you vote X you'll have to look me in the eye and explain..., etc." type of inefficient judge strong-arming
--multiple paragraph tags
--mumble spreading on the text of cards
--things that happened outside of the round
--highlighting into sentence fragments
When cx time is over, both teams need to stop talking unless someone wants to take prep.
Make sure you time yourselves, because I WILL forget at some point
Pointing out that something was conceded is not the same as extending that argument. Author names or claims without warrants are not arguments. I think I have a higher standard than most for this. A conceded assertion is still not an argument. Yes ofc, your burden of explanation is substantially reduced, but there's gotta be something.
Things I am interested in:
--the solvency mechanism of the aff, whatever solvency means in the context of the affirmative
--clash impacts in the context of skills gained from debate
--whether the aff is contestable
--a good ol' topical version of the aff that addresses impact turns
--impact framing arguments
--line by line refutation
--well developed impact turns to the neg's interpretation/TVA that don't apply to a counter interpretation
--counter interpretations that address some of the neg's clash/limits arguments
--slowing down when reading consecutive paragraphs of text you have typed for 2nr/2ar
Things I am less interested in:
--affs that are descriptive but not prescriptive -- it's easy to say something is bad, even in a very theoretically dense, educational, interesting way. the more difficult question is determining the best method (not picky about what this is) for addressing or approaching the problem described
--clash/fairness as an impact in and of itself -- it's an internal link to an impact (in my default view, though I end up voting for it more frequently than i would've thought bc people don't answer it)
--long, pre-written "overviews" where you address none of the line by line (both sides are very bad about doing this)
(As an aside, if the aff says they'll defend they link to DA(s), I would always strongly prefer the neg take them up on a substantive debate. That's not to say the neg shouldn't go for framework if that's their heart's desire, only that I find a substantive debate more interesting.)
Whatever is fine. Do what you want, but make sure you can defend it. I truly have no strong feelings/beliefs about conditionality either way, other than it'll be tough to win 1 is bad. But, I decide that like I decide all things: based on the arguments actually presented in the theory debate.
Exception to that -- perms are just no link arguments to the opportunity cost of the CP, so I will probably never vote that dropped perm theory arguments are a reason to reject the team.
See plea for evidence and impact comparison above. When I get a stack of cards at the end of the debate, it's going to be annoying for both of us that I now just have to render judgment on each of them with no guidance.
Please make more smart, warranted analytics about why the DA is nonsense. A lot of DAs don't pass the test of being a complete argument if the full text of the cards are read and you just take a second to actually think about it.
I expect a high degree of technical proficiency in these debates.
Neg needs SPECIFICITY in your explanation of the aff. Highly specific cards to the aff are not necessary, though helpful, to make specific links, alt solves, turns case, root cause arguments etc. Reference the aff's 1ac ev maybe. Use historical examples maybe. Make logical arguments maybe. All important things. What is the impact to the link in the context of turning the aff? The more contextual your explanation of every facet of the k is to the aff, the more likely you will win that part of the debate and the higher your speaker points will be.
Against policy affs, you will likely win a link, so focus your attentions on defeating the impact turns/case outweighs arguments from the jump. Opposite for k affs -- less focus on impact, instead focus on in depth contextual explanations of the link and how it turns the aff, the alt solves aff impact better, DAs to the perm that aren't just links to the aff, etc.
I almost always find the framework debate to be a huge waste of everyone's time. Both sides get to weigh their stuff. Please just spend this time clashing over the substance of the debate. This is my perhaps most biased opinion, in that it's the only place I consider intervening -- I will almost always err towards allowing both teams to access their substance, even if one team isn't doing very well on the fw debate. If I'm the only judge, feel free to spend very little time here.
Finally, almost every argument in the overview should/could be on the line by line.
Sure. Not really the debate I want to be deciding because folks rarely do comparative impact calc. Debates about reasonability are usually so shallow as to be meaningless. I have judged (too) many rounds on the topic, though many of those debates did not contain topic specific arguments.
Let me save you time:
You: "What did you think about [x argument/author name]"???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Me: "I didn't think about it that much because you didn't tell me to/you didn't speak about it enough or in a way that made it relevant to my decision making process."
I do try to be thorough. Debaters have worked hard to get here, so it's my obligation to work hard to assess the debate.
This is the best cx I've ever seen and a very important video to me:
**standard operating procedure: 1) yes, if you are using an e-mail chain for speech docs, I would like to be on it: firstname.lastname@example.org. The degree to which I look at them varies wildly depending on the round; I will often check a couple of cards for my own comprehension (because y'all need to slow down) during prep or sometimes during a heated cross-ex, but equally often I don't look at them at all. 2) After the debate, please compile all evidence that *you believe* to be relevant to the decision and e-mail them to me. I will sort through to decide which ones I need to read. A card is relevant if it was read and extended on an issue that was debated in the final rebuttals.
updated pre-Shirley, 2013
Background: I debated for four years at Emory, completed my M.A. in Communication and coached at Wake Forest, and am now in my 2nd year of the Ph.D. program at Georgia.
global thoughts: I take judging very seriously and try very hard to evaluate only the arguments in a given debate, in isolation from my own beliefs. I'm not sure that I'm always successful. I'm not sure that the reverse is true either. In the limited number of "clash" debates that I've judged, my decisions have been based on the arguments and not on predispositions based on my training, how I debated, or how my teams debate.
speaker points: I will use the following scale, which (while obviously arbitrary to some degree) I think is pretty consistent with how I've assigned points in the past and what I believe to represent the role of speaker points in debate. I have never assigned points based on whether I think a team "should clear" or "deserves a speaker award" because I don't judge the rest of the field in order to make that determination, I judge this particular debate. EDIT: I think the scale published for the Shirley is very close to what I was thinking here.
Below 27.5: The speaker has demonstrated a lack of basic communication.
27.5-27.9: The speaker demonstrates basic debate competency and argumentation skills. Some areas need substantial improvement.
28.0-28.4: The speaker demonstrates basic argumentation skills and a good grasp on the issues of importance in the debate. Usually shows 1-2 moments of strong strategic insight or macro-level debate vision, but not consistently.
28.5-28.9: Very solid argumentative skills, grasps the important issues in the debate, demonstrates consistent strategic insight.
29-29.5: Remarkable argumentative skills, understands and synthesizes the key issues in the debate, outstanding use of cross-ex and/or humor.
29.6-29.9: The speaker stands out as exceptionally skilled in all of the above areas.
Critical arguments: My familiarity is greater than it used to be but by no means exhaustive. I think that the "checklist" probably matters on both sides.
Topicality: I believe in "competing interpretations" with the caveat that I think if the aff can win sufficient defense and a fair vision of the topic (whether or not it is couched in an explicit C/I of every word), they can still win. In other words: the neg should win not only a big link, but also a big impact.
CP’s: Yes. The status quo is always a logical option, which means the CP can still go away after the round. (Edit: I am willing to stick the negative with the CP if the aff articulates, and the neg fails to overcome, a reason why.) Presumption is toward less change from the status quo.
DA’s: Big fan. At the moment, I probably find myself slightly more in the “link first” camp, but uniqueness is certainly still important. There CAN be zero risk of an argument, but it is rare. More often, the risk is reduced to something negligible that fails to outweigh the other team's offense (edit: this last sentence probably belongs in the all-time "most obvious statements" Judge Philosophy Hall of Fame).
Theory: RANT is the default. Probably neg-leaning on most issues, but I do think that we as a community may be letting the situation get a little out of control in terms of the numbers and certain types of CP’s. I think literature should guide what we find to be legitimate to the extent that that is both possible and beneficial.
Good for speaker points: Strategic use of cross-examination, evidence of hard work, jokes about Kirk Gibson (edit: these must be funny)
Bad for speaker points: Rudeness, lack of clarity, egregious facial hair.
Updated October 10, 2016.
Either defend it, or don’t say it. Defend everything.
The appeal of debate for me is in chicanery and sophistry. Arguments are refined by endless friction, like gems in a tumbler…or at least, turds with a good coat of polish. It is a mistake to limit out a class of arguments because they’re “stupid,” “offensive,” or “something no one will ever say”—if they’re bad, then beat them, don’t complain about them. Nothing is too dumb to appear in public discourse. Evil things get said. They flourish when no one engages them; they metastasize when they are labeled taboo and off-limits. That only adds to their appeal. If something is so vile that it would not survive exposure to the light, then be the one to bring it there. Victory in debate rewards good argument. If you can’t beat some argument, then you don’t deserve to win—doubly so if the argument is “bad”—because you’re not a good advocate of your cause if you cannot respond to your opponents. It’s as simple as that. Nearly every supposed benefit of debate is easy to replicate, but this environment of ruthless inquiry is not, and neither is the crucible of high-level competition.
Does that mean I might vote on “warming good because it solves ice age” against a critical aff about object oriented ontology and the Anthropocene? No. It means I will especially do that. Where there’s a link, there’s a way.
Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. I don’t care what kind of argument you make. All kinds of debate can be done well or done poorly. If you can explain why it’s important, then do it. If you cannot, then I cordially request that you do not. One caveat for the college topic: I am more interested in the policy aspects and science of this topic than I usually am, and my favorite debates are likely to be about that. The argument that we should learn about these things is more compelling to me than it normally would be, although that hardly means I’ll ignore the counterarguments. See above.
You have to communicate arguments clearly. The baseline requirement of this activity is that you communicate with the person you’re trying to persuade—that is, after all, how you persuade them. My hearing is not very good, but I will compensate for that without you needing to do anything. I will not yell “clear.” I will not read your stupid card that you slobbered through. I will simply ignore you without feeling, much less remorse.
I am not an unusually emotional person, and as a result, pathetic appeals are not particularly effective for me. I tend to disassociate when people get very emotional. It’s especially obnoxious when debaters scream at each other or generally perform overaggressively. This isn’t a matter of respectability—it’s just boring and tedious to watch a bunch of people I usually don’t know get live about something I don’t usually care about. Saying that you’re upset about something is fine, of course, but you can’t beat an argument by reporting on your brain chemistry. Concentrating on readjusting the dopamine levels of your enemies through losses.
Here are some ways that I think about debate. None of them are immutable; I have changed my mind before and intend to do so frequently in future. I’ll ignore all of these things if you’ve made and won an argument to the contrary in a specific debate. I’m writing this because people make decisions within sets of unquestioned normative parameters all the time (e.g. “human life good” even if no one explicitly says that), so here are some of mine:
--“Any risk” is just objectively wrong. A small enough signal is overwhelmed by noise, which means not only that we can’t establish its magnitude with precision, but if sufficiently small, we can’t establish its sign either. Similarly, “this is 100% true” is almost never the case, even with conceded causal arguments, because the full weight of most things is radically overclaimed. “X will cause Y” almost invariably (there are exceptions) means “X is highly likely to cause Y” because even in well-established relationships r seldom equals 1. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should—I mean that because it will make you a better (policy) debater.
--Uniqueness does not determine the direction of the link. Deep reflection suggests that the, uh, link determines the direction of the link. If X thing prevents Y thing, the occurrence of Y does not make this relationship less likely to be true. In most situations, there should be some residual link turn, because uniqueness tends to be a projection of future likelihood which, although possibly almost certain, is very, very rarely actually certain. If X prevents Y, and Y is almost certainly not happening now, that doesn’t mean that X might cause Y. It means that X would prevent Y if Y was not in fact going to occur, which is possible, although unlikely. “Y happening now” doesn’t change the issue of whether X would cause Y. Those probabilities are calculated separately. Yes, “Y happening now so anything you do might change the outcome” is possible, but it relies on the same sloppy thinking as “any risk.”
--Fairness is usually an internal link, not an impact. Fairness is important to preserve a kind of debate, which needs an impact, or maintain the quality of competition, which needs an impact, etc. If debate was perfectly fair in an argumentative sense (not in an acceptance-of-difference sense), it wouldn’t necessarily be a good model for the world. If we need to learn to debate to overcome warming deniers (or whatever), wouldn’t those skills only be sharpened by unequal odds? Maybe, maybe not, but make an impact argument anyway.
--“The identity of this author is X so this argument is bad” doesn’t typically compel me. It’s not that I don’t think it matters, but rather that people usually don’t make a complete argument. If their identity influenced this argument and so it’s bad, make that link claim specific about what they said. That’s probably more helpful to you anyway.
--“Critical” or identity-based debate has evolved beyond the point where the theoretical language of policy debate still analogizes easily to it. What I mean is that concepts like “permutation,” “opportunity cost,” “intrinsicness,” “net benefit,” “mutual exclusivity,” and so on, most of which are the products of game-theoretical modeling or RAT economic thought, don’t track very well. That’s perhaps good—make the argument you want to make and explain (if necessary) why that’s okay. We should be innovating here, trying to figure out what works in a newer style of debate assessment, not fixating on false analogies. For example, I don’t think “permutations” make sense in debates without plans, but that doesn’t mean that an argument about why two strategies are complementary is necessarily bad.
--Points don't really make any sense to me anymore, but I've gone back to assigning them based on how well a particular speaker fulfills their position's role; i.e., 1Ns get points for being "good 1Ns," so I've been giving them somewhat higher points relative to other debaters that the average (I think). Speaker points are still arbitrary and best used as an expression of praise or disdain, so that's what I'm doing.
--Unless you have an argument otherwise (and I do think these exist), the person designated to give a particular speech is the only one whose arguments "count." If Joe Siegmann could've given all my speeches, there would have been a statue to him on the National Mall already.
--Garrett Hardin. But, Thomas Ligotti. However, Georges Bataille. Ultimately, Attila the Hun, and sometimes Harald Hardrada; always Belisarius.
I've been the Director of Debate at the US Naval Academy since 2005. I debated at Catholic University in the late 90s/early 2000s.
1. WASTING TIME IN DEBATES--what is prep time? This isn't an existential question. Prep time is anything you do to prepare for a debate. That means when it's start time for the debate, everyone should be READY TO START--restrooms visited, water gathered, stand assembled, doc thread started, timer in hand, snacks ready for your judge (jk). Any of these things that need to happen during a debate are technically prep time and thus should probably happen either during your prep or the other team's prep. The 2:15 decision deadline is an unequivocal good because it makes me 100% more likely to get a reasonable amount of sleep at night which makes me a better judge/coach/administrator/human, but y'all need to get better at managing your time to make it work.
2. Elusiveness (especially in Cross-Ex but during speeches too): “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer. Taking your questioner on a goose-chase for the answer to a simple question is not. Pretending you don't know how the plan works or what it does or that there are a whole bunch of ways it MIGHT happen is not persuasive to me, it just makes it look like you don't know what's going on. Answer the counterplan; tell me it's cheating--I'm one of the like 5 judges in the community who believe you.
3. Debaters who get mad that I didn’t read their one piece of really sweet evidence. If you want me to understand the warrants of the evidence and how they compare to the warrants of the other team’s evidence, maybe you should talk about them in one of your speeches. Read less bad cards and talk about the good ones more--tell me how your one good card is better than their 12 bad ones.
4. Rudeness. Don’t be rude to your partner, don’t be rude to the other team, and DEFINITELY don’t be rude to me. Excessive cursing is frowned upon (louder for the people in the back). Conversely, if you are nice, you will probably be rewarded with points. Entertain me. I enjoy pop culture references, random yelling of "D7", humorous cross-x exchanges, and just about any kind of joke. I spend a LOT of time judging debates, please make it enjoyable, or at least not uncomfortable.
Performance/Ks of Debate:
I’m going to be painfully honest here and say that I don’t like performance debate or critiques of current debate practices. I’m also going to state the obvious and say that I really like policy debate. Why? Well, I guess it’s the same reason that some people root for the Yankees over the Red Sox—I’m evil. Actually, it’s because I think there are a lot of specific educational benefits to traditional policy debate that you can’t get anywhere else. There might be a lot of educational benefits to performances, but I think that you can get those benefits from doing other activities too, which isn’t necessarily true of policy-style debate. If this makes you want to strike me, I heartily encourage you to do so.
HOWEVER--the opposing team would need to advance those arguments to win the debate. Do I think status quo debate is good? Yes. Will I vote on "debate is good" without that argument having been made? No. If the opposing team concedes the framework debate or doesn't advance "status quo debate good" as their framework arg, I'm not going to vote on it, obviously; the debate would proceed as agreed to by both teams. I have judged these debates before and have voted on the arguments in the round.
Whatevs, if it’s your thing, you can do it in front of me. I’m pretty smart, which means I attempt to avoid reading post-modern philosophy as much as possible, and the only languages I currently speak with any level of fluency are English and Pig Latin. This means you should probably SLOW THE HELL DOWN and find a convenient time to define any words that are Greek/German/made up by an aging beatnik. The problem I have with most Ks is that they have totally sweet, awesome impacts but there’s little link to the aff (or no harder link to the aff than to the status quo), so maybe that’s something that both the aff and neg should work on in the round. I really prefer Kritiks with alternatives, and I prefer the alternative not be “reject the plan”.
I think lots of counterplans (consult, international actor, conditions, etc) are probably cheating. As a director of a small school, I don't have a huge problem with cheating if you can defend it and do it well. I wouldn't make this the "A strat" for me if you've got other options, but I appreciate that there sometimes aren't any and I promise not to throw things or set the ballot on fire if you've gotta roll with it.
Not to sound like a grumpy old person (though I am) but I think conditionality run amok is hurting debate. I'm probably okay with 1 CP, 1 K, and the status quo as an option until the 2nr (test the rez from a variety of standpoints, etc). Any more than that and you're pushing my buttons. I'm about as likely to "judge kick" a CP for you as I am to kick a winning field goal for the Steelers (not gonna happen).
There’s nothing better than a good disad. Well there are a few things, but none of them should be happening in a debate round. What do I mean by a good disad? Well, it should have a pretty clear, and ideally pretty specific, link to the affirmative. It should also (and here’s the part lots of debaters forget about) have some form of internal link that goes from the link to the impact. Aff—if the neg doesn’t have one of those things, you might want to point it out to me.
If your disad makes my internal BS-ometer go off I'm gonna tank your points.
I think my old philosophy on this point was tremendously vague and unclear (probably much like me in T debates when I was a debater). So I’ll say this instead. I don’t evaluate T like it’s a disad, which I think is the current fashionable thing to say, because unlike lots of people, I don’t think your aff advantages can outweigh T in the way that the aff could outweigh a disad. If you’re not T it’s game over in front of me—you can thank my ADA roots. So I don’t focus as much on the “best” interpretation—if the aff interp is good but not as good as the neg’s, the aff will probably win in front of me. This means I think the neg really needs to focus on the ground and limits debate—here is where you can persuade me that something is really bad. Again, I have a small school and understand the need for predictability. So tell me how the aff’s interpretation is going to make my life miserable because it allows for xyz.
I think topics are becoming more broad and vague, and understand negative frustration at attempting to engage in a debate about the plan's mechanism or what the plan actually does (often the very best parts of a debate in my opinion). I feel like I can be fairly easily persuaded to vote against a team that just uses resolutional language without a description of what that means in a piece of solvency evidence or a cross-examination clarification. I think neg teams will need to win significant ground loss claims to be successful in front of me (can't just roll with agent cps key) but I think I am more easily persuaded on these arguments than I have been in the past.
Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason University.
I know you work hard at debate so I will work hard to be your judge. I know the rest of this is long, but I really hated when judges didn’t have in depth philosophies when I was a debater.
I vote neg more than aff.
Paperless or questions: email@example.com
Top level Alliance Topic/Online Debating thoughts:
-More people should pref Tyler Wiseman
-I'm going into this topic with the assumption that limit the conditions means anything is topical.
-Asking "is anyone not ready" before an online speech is silly, because if someone's computer is glitching how will they tell you they aren't ready. Wait for verbal/nonverbal confirmation that all individuals are ready before beginning your speech.
-If my camera is off, I am not ready for your speech.
-Email threads for evidence is required. I will not read any cards that are sent via the zoom call.
-I do not consent to being recorded.
-If you are a "audience member" in a debate, do not type in the chat. The chat is for members of the debate.
-Please make sure I can see your face/mouth when you are speaking if at all possible.
-Please do not begin the speech at your fastest speed. Makes it very difficult to begin flowing in the online environment.
Random Things that Annoy me:
1. Cards in the body of the email.
2. Yelling over each other in cx - everyone will lose speaks.
3. Interrupting your partner in cx - I am seriously close to saying I want closed cx, I am so annoyed at how egregious this is becoming. I will deduct speaks from both partners.
4. Extending Cross ex past 3 minutes. I will actively stop listening in protest/leave the room. Anything past the 3 minutes should be for clarification purposes only.
I love topicality debates. My voting record leans much more neg than aff in topicality debates. Couple framing issues for me on topicality debates:
Competing Interpretations > Reasonability
Predictable Limits > Ground/Education
Debate-ability > Framer's Intent (I'm okay with voting that certain parts of the topic should not have been included if the topic committee just messed up the wording)
If cross ex actually checked for specification questions (i.e. "who is the actor" - and they tell you "Congress") - that is the only argument the 2ac needs to make against a 1NC spec argument.
NOVICE NOTE: I think it is ridiculous when novices read no plan affs - do whatever you want in other divisions, but these kids are just learning how to debate, so providing some structure and predictability is something I think is necessary. I err heavily on framework in those debates for the negative in the first semester.
Besides conditionality, theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. Anything else is an unwinnable position for me. One or two conditional options is probably good for negative flexibility, anymore more is probably pushing it a little. Granted, conditionality theory is all debateable.
I always judge kick if the negative would win the debate on the net benefit alone. However, I will not judge kick to vote on presumption.
Are awesome. The trickier, the better. I’m okay with most of them, but believe that the action of the CP must be clearly explained at least in the 2NC. I don’t vote on something if I don’t know what my ballot would be advocating. I shouldn’t have to pull the CP text at the end of the round to determine what it does. I err to process/agent/consult cp’s being unfair for the aff (if you can defend theory though, this doesn’t mean don’t read them). Also, I think that perm do the cp on CPs that result in the plan can be rather persuasive, and a more robust textual/functional cp debate is probably necessary on the negative's part.
**Delay and consultation cp’s are illegit unless you have a specific solvency advocate for them. Agenda DA Uniqueness cp’s are too – I’m sorry that the political climate means you can’t read your politics strat on the negative, but that doesn’t mean you should be able to screw the aff’s strategy like that. Have other options.
Wonderful. Disadvantages versus case debates are probably my favorite debates (pretty much every 2NR my partner and I had). I love politics disads (RIP the trump administration ruining the best DA strat), I think they are educational in many ways. However, I can be very persuaded by no backlash/spillover answers on the internal link – in so many situations the internal link just makes NO sense. Offense is always preferred against da’s, but I think that there is such a thing as 100% no link (LOVE thumpers btw). Like elections DA's - not a huge fan of impact scenarios relying on the democratic candidate doing something once they get in office. Think shorter term impact scenarios are necessary.
I wrote my thesis on queer rage and my research now focuses on a Derridian/Althusserian analysis of Supreme Court rhetoric - but that does not mean I will automatically get whatever random critical theory you are using. Due to who I coach and what I research for academics, I am most familiar with identity theories, biopower, Marxism, any other cultural studies scholarship, Baudrillard, Derrida, and Deleuze. If your K isn't one of those - hold my hand. I think the most persuasive kritik debaters are those who read less cards and make more analysis. The best way to debate a kritik in front of me is to read slower and shorter tags in the 1NC and to shorten the overviews. I find most overviews too long and complicated. Most of that work should be done on the line-by-line/tied into the case debate. Also, debating a kritik like you would a disad with an alternative is pretty effective in front of me. Keep it clean. Unless your kritik concerns form/content - be organized.
Update: due to dissertation research monopolizing a large portion of my scholarly reading time, I have been unable to keep up with the newest writings of afro-pessimist/indigenous scholars. If you are reading anything from 2018-2020, assume I have not read it.
Note for policy v K regarding the "weigh the affirmative or nah" framework question - basically no matter how much debating occurs on this question, unless the affirmative or negative completely drops the oppositions' arguments, I find myself normally deciding that the affirmative gets to weigh their but is responsible for defending their rhetoric/epistemology. I think that is a happy middle ground.
Alliances notes: I think the affirmative should *at least* defend that one of the defense pacts in the resolution should be reduced. An affirmative argument on framework that they will defend topic disadvantages would be a very persuasive middle ground argument for me.
Overall Framework update: Procedural fairness IS an impact, but I prefer clash key to education. I find it difficult to vote for impacts that preserve the game when the affirmative is going for an impact turn.
Generic Case Update: I find myself voting neg on presumption often when this is a large portion of the 2nr strategy. I recommend affirmatives take this into account to ensure they are explaining the mechanism of the aff.
Your aff must do something. Deferral is not a strategy for me. I am not a fan of teams that just wait to get links until the 1NC occurs. I find performance debates some of the most fun rounds that I have debated in/seen, but I do like when critical affs engage the topic somehow. I find that interesting and usually a happy medium. Don’t get me wrong, I vote on who wins the argument so framework v. critical aff that engages the topic is still an option for the negative. Look at my Kritik views to get more ideas, but once again go slower on the tags so I can get what you are talking about. There is nothing worse than figuring out what the affirmative does in the 1AR-2AR.
I find judging non-black teams reading afro-pessimism affirmatives against black debaters an uncomfortable debate to decide, and my threshold for a ballot commodification style argument low.
Individual survival strategies are not predictable or necessarily debatable in my opinion (i.e. "This 1AC is good for the affirmative team, but not necessarily a method that is generalizable). I enjoy critical methods debates that attempt to develop a praxis for a certain theory that can be broadly operationalized. For example, if you are debating "fem rage" - you should have to defend writ large adoption of that process to give the negative something to debate. It is pretty difficult for a negative to engage in a debate over what is "good for you" without sounding incredibly paternalistic.
I am partially deaf in my left ear. It makes it difficult to decipher multiple sounds happening at the same time (i.e. people talking at the same time/music being played loudly in the background when you are speaking). I would recommend reducing the sound level of background music to make sure I can still hear you. Also means you just have to be a smidge louder. I'll let you know if sound level is an issue in the debate, so unless I say something don't let it worry you.
I love flowing. I now flow straight down in columns in an excel document, and have found it has made my decisions much more cohesive. I do my best to transcribe verbatim what you say in your speech so I can quote portions in my RFD. If you ask me not to flow, the amount I pay attention in the debate probably goes down to 20% and I will have mild anxiety during the round.
Debate should be fun - don't be jerks or rhetorically violent. This includes anything from ad homs like calling your opponent stupid to super aggressive behavior to your opponents or partner. Speaker points are a thing, and I love using them to punish jerks.
I am extremely expressive during round and you should use this to your advantage. I nod my head when I agree and I get a weird/confused/annoyed face when I disagree.
my email for email chains is firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick update 2018 - some years ago I drafted the rubric for speaker points that you see below. Since then I have monitored developments in the debate community on typical speaker point distribution across all judges/tournaments, as discussed online by people who keep track of such things. I don't really dwell on this data much, but I do try to be mindful of community tendencies. Also, I notice how my own debaters read judge philosophies in crunch-time right before a round, and realize debaters reading this want a tl:dr.
Therefore, note that I probably now give speaker points that inch higher than what I initially suggested. This means in most cases I'm giving 28 and above, for debaters who seem to be doing elim-level debate it's usually 28.5 and above, and for especially impressive debate it's 29 and above. I do still dip into the mid-to-high 27's in occasional instances where I want to make it clear that I think the particular speeches really could use some work. At the time of writing (Jan 2018) my average speaker points are about a 28.5.
*******Paradigm Edited 11/10/13, prior to Wake Forest 2013 *******
** Scroll past speaker point scale to get a shorter philosophy explanation **
Speaker point scale:
0 = the debater committed some sort of ethics violation during the round (e.g. clipping cards)
26 to 26.9 = one or both of the following things happened: a) the debater made some kind of major tactical mistake in the debate, such as a completely dropped off-case position, without any attempt to address how they might still win the debate even if that argument is charitably given the full weight that the opposing team prefers. (more leeway on this is given to novice debates) b) the debater was hostile or rude towards competitors in the debate such that opportunities for respectful discourse concerning different ideas devolved into a breakdown of communication. Debaters have different personalities and approaches and I encourage you to explore ways of comporting yourself that express these personalities and approaches (be proud, indignant, cunning, provocative, etc), but please at all times also communicate with each other as students from different schools who respect each other for taking the time to have a lengthy debate round, in whatever part of the U.S. where you may presently have journeyed for such an encounter.
27 to 27.4 = the debater's overall strategy made sense, but various parts of the debate could have used more depth when instead those parts were fairly 'paint by numbers' (e.g. addressing certain arguments with generic/block answers instead of dealing with them more specifically). Evidence comparisons were fairly sparse, but the basic story on a given sheet of flow paper was clear enough.
27.5 to 27.9 = the debater did a solid job of debating. A coherent strategy was executed well. For certain key issues, initial clash advanced into higher forms of assessment, including a charitable understanding of why your opponent's arguments might be good yet your argument is ultimately more important/relevant.
28 to 28.4 = the debater did a solid job of debating across all the flows that were alive in the round. The debater focused on what mattered, was able to swiftly discount what did not ('closing doors' along the way), and took initial clash on key points to highly advanced levels. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this advanced to early elimination debates (e.g. double octo's)
28.5 to 28.9 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but was also able to do this with incredible organization: the most important things were in rank order, the crucial arguments were made without repetition/with cogent word economy, and I felt that the debater's communication seemed to guide my flow along with me. If cards/evidence are in question, you're able to speak of the overall ideologies or motivations driving a certain scholarship/movement, thus "getting behind" the card, in some sense. If a point is made without evidence or without a traditional claim/warrant structure, the debater does so in way that requires translation/interpretation on my part, yet the manner in which I should translate/interpret is also elicited from me/taught to me over the course of the debate. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this could advance past early elimination debates.
29.0 to 29.4 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but approached a sort of fluency that amazed me. The debater not only did what they needed to in order to match or outclass their opponents, but I furthermore felt that the debater was connecting with me in such a way where your arguments trigger understanding almost as a gestalt phenomenological experience. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if you did well in any of your other debates, prelim or elim.
29.5 to 30 = If memory serves, I have rarely if ever given speaker points that inch this close to 30. This is because 30 is perfection, without any umms, ahhs, odd turns of phrase, instances where you just lost me or where, given a rebuttal redo, you yourself would probably have done that part of your speech differently. If you are this close to 30 then you have perfect command of your opponent's position, of whatever gap you have to bridge in order for things to 'click' with me, and you are able to talk about your research and core arguments in a way where you yourself are clearly ready to push the scholarship/performance that you draw upon to its next heights, if you are not doing so already.
Objectivity and consistency is an elusive ideal: the reality is that subjectivity and some variability is inevitable. I think a good judge should be attentive in debates and vigiliant with self-assessments, not solipsistically but in light of evolving encounters with others. One of the biggest lessons I got out of my philosophy work was the extent to which all humans are prone to habits of self-deception, on many levels.
***** Debate experience
- Debated policy 4 years in high school (won the TOC)
- Debated policy 4 years at University of Southern California (4-time NDT qualifier, elims in my senior year)
- I was away from debate while in graduate school for philosophy
- I have coached Policy and PF debate at two high schools (Notre Dame and Millburn)
- I have coached Policy debate at two universities (Binghamton and Cornell)
- I am currently Assistant Director of Forensics/head debate coach at Cornell University
***** Some views on certain arguments
Any kind of argument is fine by me: I wait to see how debaters respond to what happens in the round and try not to import any predispositions concerning the default way that I should evaluate things. There are various harms/impacts that can orient a given side’s concern, plus various meta/framing/sequencing arguments that grant, reorient, or block my access to consideration of those harms/impacts, depending on how these issues play out in a debate.
Various kinds of challenges to the resolution and norms of the community are fine by me.
Kritiks: I ran them often in high school/college. I studied philosophy in graduate school.
Counterplans can take various forms: bring it on. See below about having full cp/permutation text for the entire round (to check against ‘morphing advocacies’).
Topicality debates: if an affirmative is trying to present a topical example of the resolution being true, but the negative thinks the aff is not topical then it is the negative’s right to go ‘all in’ on such an argument.
I debated policy advantage/da/impact debates almost as often as kritiks. Any politics link and link turn debates need to be laid out pretty clearly for me - mind your jargon please. The same goes for impact scenarios: who, what, against what country, etc.
For any asserted advocacy or test of competition, the plan text, permutation, etc needs to be clearly articulated in the round and written down so that it can be evaluated. For any card that you want me to read in last rebuttals, you should be telling me what I will find when I read that card and why it matters for the debate. I won't sift through a series of cards if you have just mentioned them/rattled off the citations without making use of them.
***** final notes
I have an aversion towards 'cloud clash', i.e. rattling off 2-3 minutes of overview and then basically hoping that the judge plucks out whatever applies towards some later part of the debate. Line-by-line debate and the elegance of organization that it offers is in decline lately. This has a lot to do with recent norms and computer-debating. This is at the cost of clash and direct refutation, and can come across as being aloof/wanting the judge to do the work for you. So, overviews should be short and then get on with actually responding to individual arguments.
I prefer the email chain over jumping flash drives, when possible. One click of ‘send’ and there is no longer the agonizing wait of flash drive driver installation, throwing jump drives around, etc.
Please communicate with each other, instead of yelling at each other (see my speaker point scale above for the under 27 range).
At the end of any round, I will vote for one team over the other and indicate this with my written ballot. This will be the case for any debate round that I can presently imagine.
That is all I can think of. Feel free to ask me more questions in person.
Philosophy Updated 9-5-17
Nick Ryan – Liberty Debate – 10th year coaching/Judging
Please label your email chains “Tournament – Rd “#” – AFF Team vs Neg Team” – or something close to that effect. I hate “No subject,” “Test,” “AFF.” I would like to be included “email@example.com”
Too often Philosophy’s are long and give you a bunch of irrelevant information. I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet.
1. I spend most of my time working with our “Policy teams,” I have a limited amount of working with our “K/Non traditional” debaters, but the bulk of my academic research base is with the “traditional” “policy teams;” don’t expect me to know the nuances of your specific argument, debate it and explain it.
2. Despite this I vote for the K a fair amount of time, particularly when the argument is contextualized in the context of the AFF and when teams aren’t reliant on me to unpack the meaning of “big words.” Don’t rely on me to find your “embedded clash” for you.
3. “Perm Do Both” is not a real argument, neg teams let AFFs get away with it way too often and it shifts in the 1AR. Perms and Advocacy/CP texts should be written out.
4. If neither team clarifies in the debate, then I default to the status quo is always an option.
5. These are things that can and probably will influence your speaker points: clarity, explanations, disrespectfulness to the other team, or your partner, stealing prep time, your use of your speech time (including cx), etc.
6. Prep time includes everything from the time the timer beeps at the end of the lasts speech/CX until the doc is sent out.
7. I think Poems/Lyrics/Narratives that you are reading written by someone else is evidence and should be in the speech document.
ADA Novice Packet Tournaments:
1. It is hard to convince me that AFFs aren’t reasonably topical when there are only two affs that you didn’t get to choose.
2. Evidence you use should be from the packet. If you read cards that weren’t in the packet more than once it’s hard to believe it was a “honest mistake.”
If you have any questions about things that are not listed here please ask, I would rather you be sure about my feelings, then deterred from running something because you are afraid I did not like it.
Background: 4 years at Baylor University, 1-Time NDT Qualifier. Currently a Ph.D. Student in Government and Politics.
Yes I want to be on the email chain: Sheaffly@gmail.com. Also email me with questions about this paradigm.
== TL;DR ==
Flowing is not my strongest skill and the best way to win my ballot is to keep my flow very clean. It will cause me to understand your argument better than your opponents and therefore I will be likely to vote for you. I do not flow straight down and I do not flow off the speech doc. I am a DA/CP/Case kind of judge. I am bad at understanding kritiks and I am biased towards the topic being good. Be nice.
== Top Level - Flowing ==
**Please note*** The flowing section is written with varsity debates in mind. Novice and JV debaters: clarity is still very important, but for the most part you don't have to slow down for me to flow you!
It has become clear to me after 3 years of judging that most of my decisions center not around my biases about arguments (which I won’t pretend not to have), but rather around my ability to understand your argument. My ability to understand your argument is probably directly related to how clean my flow is. Thus, it is in your best interest to make my flow very clean. I am not going to pretend that I am a great flower, it’s always been a weakness of mine. If that causes you not to pref me than so be it, I’m just tryna be honest about how to get my ballot. A couple of ways that you can help keep my flow clean:
1) You need to slow down a little. I don’t know if I don’t have as good of shorthand as other people or if other people have a better short term memory than me or what, but I literally cannot write down all of the arguments you are making at the speed you are currently making them. You’ve gotta slow down. This is especially true in online world. For online world, I’ve decided to start saying “clear” since you can’t tell if I’m not flowing anymore and such.
2) Find ways to give me pen time. For example, do not read 4 perms in a row. It’s impossible for me to write down all of those words. Plus, it’s always first and you haven’t even given me time to flip my paper over. And then your next argument is always an analytic about how the CP doesn’t solve and then I can’t write that down either. So stop doing things like that.
3) I’m not gonna flow everything straight down and then reconstruct the debate afterwards. The 1NC sets the order of the debate on the case, the 2AC sets the order of the debate off case. Abide by that order. Otherwise, I will spend time trying to figure out where to put your argument rather than writing it down and that’s bad for you.
4) Overviews are very helpful to me. Sometimes I get confused about the nitty-gritty of an argument, but if I’ve got a strong overview, then I can figure it out. Without a strong overview, any gaps on my flows will simply go un-filled.
5) Read your deterrence DA on a separate sheet of paper. This will make it easier for me to flow the debate.
== Top Level – Arguments ==
Basic stuff: I love creativity and learning from debate. Make it clear to me how much you know about the arguments you are making. I don’t think this means you have to have cut every card you read, but understanding not just the substance of your argument, but the tricks within them is important.
As I said above, the thing that will be a problem for me is not understanding your argument. Unfortunately, this probably impacts Kritik debaters more than policy debaters, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I don’t do research for the college topic, so I am also likely to be confused by acronyms and the intricacies of different parts of the topic. Later in the year hopefully I’ll have these down, but early in the year you should be very clear.
I am probably a little more truth > tech than most judges. I believe in technical debate, but I also believe that debate is a place where truth is important. I don't care how many cards you have that say something, if the other team asserts it is not true and they are correct, they win the point.
== Top Level - Community Norms ==
1) For online debate, prep time stops when you unmute yourself and say stop prep. A couple of reasons for this. a) I have no way of verifying when you actually stopped prep if you come out and say "we stopped 15 seconds ago" and b) neither do your opponents, which means that you are basically forcing them to steal prep. I don't like it so that's the rule.
2) Debate is a messed-up community already. Don't make it more so. Be nice to each other. Have fun in the debate while you are disagreeing. If you make it seem like you think the other team is stupid during the debate, it's gonna make me grumpy. I love debate and I love watching people do it, but I hate confrontation and I hate it when people get angry about debates that don't matter that much in the long term. Be nice. Please.
3) This is mostly for high schoolers, where I see this issue all the time: If you are going to send a document without your analytics in it, making the version of the doc without the analytics in it IS PREP TIME. You don't get 45 seconds to send the document. Y'all are GenZ, I know you can send an email faster than that. You get 15 seconds before I break in and ask what the deal is. You get 20 seconds before I start prep again.
== Specifics ==
...Which Defend the Topic - I enjoy creativity. This includes creative interpretations of topicality. You should also read my thoughts on DAs as they apply to how you construct your advantages. Clear story is good.
...Which Do Not Defend the Topic - I am likely not a great judge for you. I think I may have a reputation as someone who hates these arguments. That reputation is no unearned, I built it up for years. But over time I’ve come to become a lot more accepting of them. I think I learned a lot of things from these types of debates when I had them and I think they can have tremendous value to the activity. The problem is that I still don’t understand the argument structure. I’m still trying to fit it into an “Inherency, Harms, Solvency” type framework in my brain, and they don’t fit there. The difference between “I am ideologically opposed to these arguments” and “I simply don’t understand them,” however, might be totally irrelevant to you because the effect is the same: I am likely to default towards framework because I understand it better. Maybe over time I will come to understand it more and therefore become one of the judges who I admire most, who can judge all kinds of debates. But I’m not there yet.
If you already have me as the judge, see if you can explain the aff in an “Inherency, Harms, Solvency” type framework and see where it gets you. Maybe you’ll make the light go on for me.
Framework: See discussion above. Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Education, skills, procedural fairness are good impacts in that order. “Ks are bad” is a bad argument, “their interpretation makes debate worse and uneducational” is a winnable argument. Topical version of the aff goes a long way with me.
Topicality: Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Case lists. Why that case list is bad. Affirmatives, you should talk about your education. I love creative interps of the topic if you defend them. But for the love of god slow down (see “Flowing” above)
Disads: Absolutely. Well constructed DAs are very fun to watch. However, see truth vs. tech above – I have a lower threshold for “zero risk of a [link, impact, internal link] etc.” I love Politics DAs, but they’re all lies. I am up-to-date on the news. If you are not, do not go for the politics DA using updates your coaches cut. You will say things that betray that you don’t know what you’re talking about and it will hurt your speaks. Creative impact calc (outside of just magnitude, timeframe, probability) is the best impact calc.
Counterplans: Yes. Most are cheating (I'm a 2A, sue me) but most of the time you can get away with it, especially by justifying the educational benefit of the CP and giving a reasonable standard of debatability. 1 condo world is always okay, 2 is mostly okay but I'm wiling to be persuaded, 3 is bad but I'm willing to be persuaded, 4 is evil but I have been evil before. Theory debates are fun for me but for the love of god slow down.
Kritiks: Eh. You can see the discussion above about K affs. I used to be rigidly ideological about hating the K. I am now convinced that the K can make good points. But because I was so against them for so long, I don’t understand them. I still think some Kritiks (here I am thinking mostly of French/German dudes) are basically designed to confuse the other team into losing. Problem is, I can’t tell the difference between those Kritiks and other Kritiks, because all Kritiks confuse me.
Very basic Ks are fine. Realism is bad, heg is bad, capitalism is bad, I get. Get much beyond that and I get lost. It's not that I think you're wrong it's that I have always been uninterested so I never learned what you're talking about. I cannot emphasize enough how little I understand what you're talking about. If this is your thing and I am already your judge, conceptualize your K like a DA/CP strategy and explain it to me like I have never heard it before. Literally, in your 2NC say: "We believe that X is bad. We believe that they do X because of this argument they have made. We believe the alternative solves for X." I cannot stress enough how serious I am that that sentence should be the top of your 2NC and 2NR. I have had this sentence in my judge philosophy for 3 years and this has been the top of the 2NC once (in a JV debate!). I do not know how much clearer I can be. Again, I am not morally opposed to Kritiks (anymore), I just do not understand them and I will not vote for something I do not understand. I believe you need a good link. Yes, the world is terrible, but why is the aff terrible. You also need to make your tags not a paragraph long, I never learned how to flow tags that were that long.
I have been coaching and judging for almost a decade primarily as a grad student at Kansas and now as a coach at James Madison (2 yrs in the middle at UCF). I have tried to mark any updates to this with a ***
Big Picture: How you debate is the most important thing to me. I will stick as close to what I have on the flow as I can. This means you can win meta-issues that influence other arguments on the flow. Or you can crush on the super technical line by line. Either way I attempt to evaluate debates based on what is said in the debate. I would rather you explain your arguments in depth than read a billion cards. That being said here are the things I would want my debaters to know:
***A note on this topic - I am more involved in all areas but I know substantially more about prostitution than any of the others because it is part of my academic research and the majority of what I do for JMU. That means if you are making arguments that require a high level of topic knowledge in one of the other areas you might want to give me some additional explanation.
Framework: ***Update - I can't remember the last time I voted aff on a Framework interpretation that said "the status quo or competitive policy option because fairness or whatever" Just make arguments about why policymaking in terms of your aff is a good thing.
Framework as a theoretical issue is unpersuasive. You are not likely to convince me that a K should not be allowed in debate. In my opinion to win this issue you have to win substantive reasons why your view of debate is good. Since that is true, you should just read the evidence and make arguments about why your view of how I should evaluate impacts is best. So if you are a policy team on the aff debating a K team do not expect me to vote on your interp that the neg must have a policy option or that they shouldn’t get to K representations. I will vote on impact turns to the K or to the framework (these are usually part of theoretical framework debates anyway). In front of me you are better served to substantively defend your view of debate then try and convince me any particular position should just be rejected. All of that being said I will and have voted for theoretical framework positions – so if it is what you need to do to win because it is either what you debate best or what you have then go for it.
Topicality: ***Update - I prefer affs that have some relationship to the topic. That relationship can be debated and I assume, if I am in the back, likely will be.
A couple of important notes I find myself thinking more and more:
1. I am unlikely to be persuaded that debating topicality is the worst kinds of violence. Someone reading topicality against you is NOT rape and NOT killing you. It might be a very serious problem. You might have a very serious problem with it. But I find myself unpersuaded that Topicality is "x really terrible act of violence." You can absolutely win your impact turns in front of me about why T is a problem I would just prefer you explain your metaphors and have depth and reasons and examples that contextualize how topicality mirrors or causes the problems you highlight. Nuance is very important for me in these debates and if you have nuanced reasons you are likely in good shape. The more broad and generic your claims are about ALL T or ALL K teams OR ALL policy teams the less persuaded I am. In the same way I am unlikely persuaded that all people quit when teams are untopical or all decision making improves because of plan focused policy debating.
2. That being said - inevitability and uniqueness matter in debates about the impacts to topicality and I take those questions seriously and find they are often where decisions begin for me.
3. I find that topical version of the aff and your argument is inaccessable tend to be the two arguments that I most often see winning these debates. Deal with those or wait for me to explain why you lost on them. If both of them exist - then having comparissons based on why T version overcomes that accessibility problem or fails to is important.
4. Critical teams in the past have been upset that I didn't vote on their T argument links to this K they read. You can win this argument if you PROVE not just say but have a serious reason that their K links to their T argument - many teams are taking care to craft their (almost always a cap K) arguments so that this isn't a problem. Given that I am a fan of nuance it is unlikely I will believe the generic "they said cap and T that means they lose." So these arguments are winnable I just think they need to have some specificity and account of what is happening in that debate in particular. If you make the argument generically I may or may not agree with you and that is generally what leads to people being upset.
This is old but still true---->I judge these debates as close to the flow as possible. I tend to believe that if you can have a plan you should defend it. If you are not topical you will be better off in front of me if you can prove that you provide unique insight about the topic that traditional policy affirmations miss.
PLAN IS IMPLEMENTED AND MATTERS DEBATES
Disads, Counterplans, kritiks, case debate - the more specific the better. If you are going for a super technical CP or obscure DA or K then you should probably take a second and slow down the explanation of why it applies to the aff. I find these debates are often lost when I (or any judge) is unclear about all the wonderful aspects of your argument and how it solves or outweighs or nullifies the aff. Given that I don't always know the TRUTH in these debates and that decision times means I can't read every card for you and put the whole debate together I find these debates are often won in front of me by the team that is controlling the WAY I read or interpret the evidence and examples/story of the arguments. You should take that as explain the argument instead of reading the 7th card on a topic. That is not always true - sometimes I know about the topic enough to know you are wrong, sometimes your evidence is too terrible to vote on, and sometimes you are persuasive but wrong about the flow math. Random notes about these debates:
1. I think teams with big policy impacts are often silly sounding when they go for perms since that is almost always illogical and they are basically just going for case outweighs anyway. Seriously just go for your aff is awesome and outweighs and its representations or assumpetions are good/justified. Perms are unnecessary in that world.
2. I am willing to vote on presumption.
3. I am not a believer in the offense/defense paradigm - you can win zero risk of links, impacts etc.
4. I don't mind theory debates (and think many affs have lost the skill of exposing competition problems with CPs) but and this is important - YOU MUST HAVE WELL EXPLAINED reasons. I have no interest in listening to your blippy block. The more specific it is to the debate the more examples you have about what they do and why its bad for debate the better. I would rather hear 2 well developed reasons something is bad or good then 7 meh sentence fragments about it.
5. Going for T against a plan that someone is defending the implementation of is also good in front of me. I think you need to win why the world of debate is made specifically worse by what they do and justify so impact level comparissons matter a lot in these debates. I can also be persuaded that cards and definitions are too bad to be considered in these debates if they are just random statements about what someone thinks a word means.
K vs. K DEBATES (method or not) - These debates are interesting and I see more and more of them. A couple of notes:
1. Someone at some point needs an external impact. I judge a lot of these that end up with everyone winning some risk that they solve some violence and oppression while the other team may cause some violence and oppression. These impacts don't have to be war - but they do need to make distinctions between what you solve or address and what they sovle or address. Otherwise you are really relying on me to be persuaded by one internal link/solvency story or the other and often that makes people unhappy.
2. I think what a perm means and whether or not they are always good is up for debate. I think you have to win a reason that SOMETHING the aff endorses or assumes or does is bad. So you should not expect to win that you just have another good idea. So the pure method v method means no perm arguments can persuade me but need to overcome the idea that you still have to prove something about the aff is problematic. Now that being said I am willing to entertain that there can be lots of problems with combining strategies or ideas that are not evidenced or that might be "it is bad for debate reasons." My opinion on this is evolving so I am definitely open to hearing more debates about what competition standards mean in a world where affs are not necessarily advocating for pragmatic or concrete shifts from the status quo policies.
3. Root cause debates - are almost impossible to resolve. You have to put in a lot of work or it has to actually be conceeded. I see a lot of the cap K vs. the aff that focuses on race or gender or sexuality or sorta class issues or some combination. I find that questions of sovlency for the alt and the aff are FAR more important than controlling the root cause. Talk more about HOW things work and WHAT they solve rather than saying the thing you hope you solve is the root cause of the thing they hope they solve.
RANDOM NOTES ABOUT ARGUMENT ETC.
Paperless: ***I strongly prefer email chains it seems much faster. Your prep time stops when the flash drive is ejected. I expect paperless teams to be courteous and helpful to non paperless teams.
Argument Standards: Complete arguments are necessary. For me to evaluate an argument it needs to have a claim and reasoning that proves that claim. Ideally it will also have an impact. Do not expect me to vote on an argument just because it is conceded if it is not complete.
I appreciate work done in the debate. I tend to reward debaters who do a lot of comparative work with the major issues in the debate. High levels of comparison and interaction between arguments and evidence makes my job more enjoyable and easier and I will reward with speaker points and when applicable the ballot. This means that if you are doing a good job indicting their evidence and comparing it to yours I am likely to read their evidence with your spin in mind.
Evidence should be worth reading. Good analytic arguments can beat bad evidence. This also means when you highlight your evidence it should make sense.
Defend things. This sounds simple but I really hate it when people are sketchy about what they will defend about their positions. If you will not defend your plan instrumentally then be clear about that as soon as you are asked. Likewise be clear about the perms you made and what they mean and the actions taken in the CP.
Specificity is good. The more specific you can make your negative strategies to the aff the happier I will be. Likewise in the 2ac I like to hear specific answers to positions (this goes both for K teams answering all DAs with the Dillon card and policy teams that think Realism answers all Ks). This does not mean I won’t vote on generics it just means your speaks may suffer.
Terrell Tayloradd me to doc chains: terrell taylor at gmail dot com. No punctuation, no space, no frills.
Debated at Mary Washington from 2007-2011
Debate is an intellectual activity where two positions are weighed against each other. A part of this is making clear what your position is (plan, cp, alt, advocacy, status quo etc.) and how it measures up against the other team’s position. Arguments consist of a claim (the point you want to make), warrant (a reason to believe it), and an impact (reason why it matters/way it functions within the debate). Evidence is useful when trying to provide warrants, but is ultimately not necessary for me to evaluate an argument. Debates get competitive and heated, but staying polite and friendly and remembering that the name of the game is fun at the end of the day makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Disads/Case and Advantages
These arguments should be stressed in terms of a coherent story of what the world looks like in terms of the status quo, affirmative plan or alternative option. These positions should be attacked from a variety points including the link and internal link chain, impact and uniqueness level. When it comes to link turning, my default thought is that uniqueness determines the direction; if you have an alternative understanding that is particular to a scenario, be sure to explain why it is that the direction of the link should be emphasized or what have you. Impacts should be compared not only in terms of timeframe, probability and magnitude, but in terms of how these issues interact in a world where both impact scenarios take places (the popular "even if.." phrase comes to mind here). Also, keep in mind that I have not kept up with the trends in disads and such within the topic, so explaining specifics, acronyms and otherwise is useful for me. I prefer hearing case specific scenarios as opposed to generic politics and similar positions. This does not mean I will not vote for it or will dock your speaker points, just a preference.
Counterplans and Counterplan Theory
Counterplans should be functionally competitive; textual competition doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me (see later section on theory). I think that perms can be advocated, but am more than willing to hear reasons why they shouldn’t be and why that is a bad way to frame debates. When it comes to agent counterplans, I tend to think that topic specific education should trump generic presidential powers or judicial independence debates. Consult and condition cps just make the logician inside my head painfully confused (not sure why a reason to talk to X country is also a reason why the plan is bad). International fiat is suspect to me, and I tend to think that limiting the discussion to US policy (including its international relevance) is a good thing.
All of this being said, I am open to voting for any of the above arguments. These are merely my general theoretical leanings, and I will certainly flow, listen to, and evaluate arguments from the other side.
I haven’t seen many debates on this topic, so if a debate comes down to T, don’t be surprised if you see me googling to find the resolution to check the words. In general I think Topicality is important for two reasons. One is the general reason that most people think it’s good, being that we need to be prepared/have set limits and parameters for debate. The second is that I think each year presents an opportunity to gain in depth education on an issue, even if it's not a policy perspective of that issue. I feel that competing interpretations is generally the default for T, but I am open to defenses of reasonability and in fact, think that there are cases where this is the best means of evaluation. Standards should be impacted in terms of education and fairness, and the debate should come down to the best internal links between the standards and these terminal values. If you are the type to critique T, your critique needs to come down to these terms (education and fairness). RVIs don’t make sense to me. If you want to take the challenge of trying to make one make sense, be my guest, but it’s an uphill battle.
As mentioned, I am not wedded to any particular frame or “rulebook” for debate. Part of the beauty of debate to me is that debaters get to be both the players and referee. As such, I enjoy theory and think that such discussions can be fruitful. The flipside to this is that most theory debates devolve into tagline debating, shallow and repetitive arguments, and a race to see who can spit their block the fastest. These debates are 1) hard to flow and 2) not really a test or display of your ability so much as a test of your team’s theory block writer. I reward argumentation that is clear, comprehensible and complete in terms of theory debates, and urge debaters to these opportunities seriously.
I’ve laid out most of my theoretical dispositions in the counterplan section. Conditionality to me is like siracha sauce: a little bit heats up the debate, too much ruins it. I don’t know why three or four counterplans or alternatives along with the status quo is key to negative flex or good debating (one is good, two is ok). Also, if you want to use a status other than conditional or unconditional, (like the imaginary “dispo”) you should be ready to explain what that means. Again, I think that it is okay to advocate permutations as positions in the debate.
In terms of alternate frameworks for the debate (i.e. anything other than policy making) I’m honest when I say I’m not extraordinarily experienced in these areas as I’d like to be. I’ve seen a decent few of these debates and think that they provide some nuance to an otherwise stale activity. That being said (and this is true for all theory positions) you should try and weigh the educational and competitive equity benefits of your position versus the other teams proposed framework the debate. I debated for a squad that saw framework as a strategic and straightforward approach to most alternative forms of debate, so those arguments make sense to me. On the other hand, especially when it comes to arguments concerning structural issues in society/debate, if argued well, and with relevance to the topic in some way, I am willing to listen and evaluate.
Critical arguments (Kritiks/K-affs)
Much of what I just said applies here as well. I had the most success/felt most comfortable debating with these types of arguments as a debater (I did, however, spend most of my career debating with “straight-up” affs and disads that claimed nuclear war advantages). I studied English and Philosophy in undergrad and am pursuing a MA in English with a focus on critical theory, so there’s a decent chance that my interests and background might lean more towards a topic oriented critique than a politics Da.
I will avoid following the trend of listing the genres of critiques and critical literature with which I am familiar with the belief that it shouldn't matter. Running critiques shouldn't be about maintaining a secret club of people who "get it" (which often in debates, is construed to be a club consisting of the critique friendly judge and the team running the argument, often excluding the other team for not being "savy"). In other words, Whether I've read a great deal of the authors in your critique or not, should not give you the green light to skimp on the explanation and analysis of the critique. These debates are often about making the connections between what the authors and literature are saying and the position of the other team, and hence put a great burden on the debater to elucidate those connections. A shared appreciation or research interest between a team and a judge does not absolve you of that burden, in my opinion.
I agree with many recent top tier collegiate debaters (Kevin Kallmyer, Gabe Murillo, etc.) that the difference between policy and critical arguments is overstated. An important piece of reading critical arguments with me in the back of the room is explaining what your arguments mean within the context of the aff/da. If you read a no value to life impact, what about the affs framing makes it so that the people involved see their lives differently; if the critiqued impact is a merely constructed threat, reveal to me the holes in the construction and explain how the construction came to be. Doing that level of analysis (with any argument, critical or policy) is crucial in terms of weighing and relating your arguments to the other teams, and engaging in a form of education that is actually worthwhile. This probably entails removing your hypergeneric topic link and replacing with analysis as to the links that are within the evidence (and therefore, the assumptions, rhetoric, methodology, so and so forth) of your opponents. In terms of vague alts and framework, I have mixed feelings. The utopian fiat involved in most alts is probably abusive, but there is something to be said for making the claim that these arguments are vital to thorough education. On the framework question, gateway issue is probably a poor way to go. I don’t understand why the fact that your K has an impact means that you get to suck up the entire debate on this one issue. Instead, a framing that opens the door to multiple ways of critiquing and evaluating arguments (both on the aff and the neg, or in other words, doesn’t hold the aff as a punching bag) is preferable.
I didn’t do a whole lot of handling with this genre of argument, but have debated semi-frequently and enjoy the critical aspects of these arguments. I think that there is a difference between the type of critical debater that reads a couple of disads along with a K and case args, and a team that reads a indictment of the topic or reads narratives for nine minutes. If you read a poem, sing, recite a story or anything of that nature, I will be more interested in observing your performance than trying to flow or dictate it on my flow (my reasoning for this is that, unlike a speech organized for the purpose of tracking argument development and responses, I don't think flowing a poem or song really generates an understanding of the performance). More importantly, framing should be a priority; give me a reason why I should look at the debate through a certain lens, and explain why given that framing you have done something either worth affirming your advocacy. I think that these types of debates, especially if related to the topic, can be fruitful and worthwhile. Performance affirmatives should try to find some in road to the topic. If your argument is pervasive and deep enough to talk about, I generally think it probably has a systemic implication for the resolution in some way, even if that doesn’t manifest as a topical plan or even agreeing with the resolution.
For teams going against performance strategies, Framework based arguments are options in front of me. A good way to frame this argument is in terms of what is the best method to produce debates that create the most useful form of education, as opposed to just reading it like a procedural argument. I do think it is important to engage the substantive portion of their arguments as well, (there are always multiple dimensions to arguments of these forms) even if it happens to be a critical objection to their performance or method. Many policy based strategies often want to avoid having to engage with the details involved, and in doing so often fail to rigorously challenge the arguments made in the debate.
Good luck, and have fun. I spent a great deal of my debate career stressing out and losing sleep, instead of experiencing the challenge and fun of the activity; Enjoy your time in the activity above everything else.
Currently a coach for GMU, former debater at Liberty University, 7 years debating experience overall, NDT 2x, 2019 1st round, 2019 CEDA Top Speaker, and have judged all the tingz. After doing both policy and performance debate, I have learned that the most important thing for me is to create a space for myself and the arguments I want to read. Even though I think this is an educational and competitive activity that pays the bills (#schmoney), I still think it should be fun! That being said, my hope is that you will run what you are passionate about! If that's the Econ DA, Anti-blackness K, Fem K, or USFG, then let's get it! DO YOU BOO! This also means that yes debate is a game, but its full of real people and real consequences so we should keep that in mind as we play.
The above thoughts are still true, but thought it's probably time to update this thing in the case people actually read it. The biggest update is making sure y'all know that I want to be a puppet. I don't want to do more work than I have to, I don't want to have to read your evidence, I don't want to have to find pieces across the flow to make my decision, and I just don't want to intervene. So, please stop card dumping and just explain the warrants you have, please give me a clear ballot you want me to repeat back to you, and please talk about you really cool concepts in relation to the other team's arguments and not just as rants (even though they are really smart rants).
Now, that that's been said, I've found myself mostly in the back of the room of either KvK or clash debates, with the very rare appearance of a policy v policy round (minus novice and so my rant on theory doesn't apply to them), it may help to unpack my thoughts based on type of round.
K v K (jv/open):
There seems to be a lack of explanation burden for affs and alts recently. As a result, it normally ends up hurting the aff on presumption because the neg can kick the alt but the aff can't kick the aff. A few recommendations -
For the aff, make sure you know what your aff does and that you can explain the i/l to resolve your impacts. It really isn't enough to use words within your method to explain your method because it becomes circular logic very quickly. The second is to find ways to make it harder for the negative to kick out of the alt or have less burden to prove solvency than you do.
For the neg, take advantage if the aff has a lack of explanation. You should be pressing them to explain every impact in the aff even if they don't flag it as the big impact. I am very persuaded by presumption when its read offensively so make the aff do their job.
Other comments for k v k include the permutation debate. A lot of neg teams make the argument about no perms in a method debate and the only reason I am persuaded by that is 1ars never answer it and the 2ar answer is so new and lacks depth. As a result, aff's should probably have a better prepared answer and then I would be more open to your perm.
I vote on who wins the round which means one round I may vote on fmwk against a k aff, the next on the k aff. Each round is different so please, innovate! Even with the same argument, you should be searching for ways to re-articulate arguments. Seeing the same 1nc/2n/1nr read off same blocks is not a good look and this is speaking to both sides policy and k.
In these debates, I normally end up siding with tech over truth insofar as it has let me do the least amount of judge intervention. I want to be very clear about what I mean by this, truth normally requires me to read cards for people which if you're not explaining cards I don't want to do the work for you, which is why I say I tend to lean towards clash. I'm saying this to reassure K teams that tech > truth is not automatically a bad thing for you. Ultimately, the best debaters find a good balance between tech and truth, but again I'm a puppet so if you want me to lean a certain way, tell me to do so and why I should.
Policy v Policy (jv/open):
Again, I am rarely in these but the few I have been in tend to come down to the most random theory arguments and I have to be honest - condo is not bad. Whenever I hear condo read in front of me, it just feels like policy teams whining cause I'm like - this is literally the ground you want when you read fmwk, but now its abusive? 5 off is abusive? 3 off is abusive? I meaaaaan ... it just ain't clicking for me because its mostly teams who are absolutely losing other flows because the other team is better and theory is your hail mary. But that means I reward you for avoiding the fight? ok... That being said, people will continue to read condo and I get that - I don't want neg to read this and be like "bri says condo isn't bad in paradigm therfore I don't have to do a lot of work" - no. Please answer it accordingly. What I'm saying is I do not want to vote for condo so neg please don't create a world in which I end up voting for condo - close that door for the aff and I will forever appreciate you.
The only theory arg I find persuasive is perf con - because it means reading a k with something that contradicts makes you a fake radical. Do with that what you will.
End of update.
Now I know some debaters still like to worry about what the person in the back of the room thinks so I'll break down some key points.
-I used to say spreading is fine, but in the era of online debate, folks be more unclear than usual. Spread at your own risk because if you don't pace yourself, then it may not get on my flow.
-Explanation > reading more cards
-Organization is key. Even if the other team is messy, it puts you in a better position to clear things up for the judge so line by line can help
-I'm a very expressive person so look at my face cause my visual cues might help you out (and I oop...)
-More people should pref Tyler Wiseman.
-At the end of the debate, be sure to tell me why I should vote for you; if you don't, then you can't get big mad when I don't ... periodt
I love running the K and the moment I was able to get into critical literature in my debate career, I dived right in. That being said, two important conclusions: One, I understand the foundations of most literature bases so feel free to run them if that is the style of argumentation you prefer.
Two, I have a larger threshold for the K because I expect you to explain the link story and the alternative with warrants so don't assume that just because I know the theory means you don't have to put in the work for the ballot. Links should be contextualized to the aff - please don't restate your tags and author, but pull lines from 1ac/2ac. I would also warn against just running a K because you think I'm only a K debater. Again, DO YOU BOO! If your heart is in the K, go for it! If its not, don't force yourself.
I love performative links not personal attacks so if you are unsure what that line is, talk to your coaches or email me before you dive in. With performative links, just make sure to give a warranted analysis as to why I should vote on it and what the impact is.
Love them! I do prefer K aff's to be in the direction of the topic or make some attempt to include a discussion of the resolution, but if you are not, then at least give me a warranted explanation as to why you have chosen that route. For those that are in the topic of the resolution, have a clear impact and solvency story. Many times, debaters will get so caught up in the negative arguments that they lose sight of what is important...their aff! So make sure to keep a story line going throughout the entirety of the debate.
When you get into FMWk/T debates, be sure to extend and explain your counter-interpretation. What is your model and why is it good? That plus impact turns = a pretty easy ballot from me.
It's a strategy that is read against K aff's, it's a strategy I have won against, a strategy I have lost to, a strategy I have voted on and against. My personal outlook - debate is a game but it has real impacts that can help or harm certain individuals. While it is a competitive strategy, I do not think it is an excuse to not engage the affirmative because most of the time, your lack of engagement is what the aff will use to link turn the performance of reading fmwk (hint hint to K debaters reading this).
PSA - fairness is not an impact... at best, its an internal link to education. That being said, unless the aff has no justification for their aff, then you will have a 2% of getting my ballot by reading fairness. I find it most compelling when you prove in round abuse so be on the lookout and don't miss opportunities if you really down for that fairness life. I like the impact of education a lot more because it has better spill over claims. I also don't think you need a role of the ballot because I think fmwk is a counter RoB, but you should probably indicate that. Don't be shifty with your interp, but I believe a capable 2N will be able to accurately counter the 2AC shift and reframe the debate through the same interp in the 1nc. Please have a TVA! No, it does not need to solve the entirety of the aff because that is neg ground, but it should be able to solve the main impacts they go for. Lastly, defend your model of debate and explain why it would be better for the debate community writ large. If you are only focusing on the one round, then explain why that is better.
I don't have a preference meaning I am open to all types of CPs. What I do ask is that you have a net benefit and explain how your CP solves the aff. It's also nice if your CP is competitive...
I'm down for some good old throw downs on the DA flow, but make sure you have a clear and warranted link story and awesome impact calc for ya girl.
I think theory is procedural just make sure you explain very clearly and slowly what the violation is and why that matters...if you are going to go for theory, I expect the 2n or 2a to spend a good amount of time on it which means not just 30 sec or 1 min.
Policy Affs vs K:
Engage the K! Too many times policy teams just write over the K with their fmwk thinking that is the only work they have to do but it's just like debating a DA or CP. Do the link work and the more specific answers you have to the alt, the better position you are in. Don't just say Perm DB or Perm aff then alt, but really explain what that means and looks like in the world of the aff. I think you do need fmwk to get to weigh your aff but that is all the fmwk will get you which means don't forget to extend your aff and the impact story. A really good way to engage the K is to prove how the plan not only outweighs but resolves the specific impacts.
I think cross-ex is a really good place to assert your arguments and point out key flaws in the other team's arguments. This means you should take advantage of the time to really prove to me why the entire speech they just gave don't matter. While I think cross-ex is binding, you still have to bring it into a speech to explain why that moment was so important and the impact of it.
names michelle. Asst coach at gmu, previously binghamton for 2 years. debated for 5 years at mason
add me to the chain please - my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I tend to keep my camera on during speeches. If my camera is off please assume I am not there and do not begin. I’m probably not far from my computer but if it’s been a while shoot me an email. 'is anyone not there' is not how you should be asking lol
Do whatever you do best. I debated on both sides of the clash so I’ll hear just about any arg as long as it’s well warranted and you make it interesting.
please slow down a little. i know every other judges paradigm says this but seriously dont go flying through your analytics on zoom.
i dont like this topic. i have done very little topic research. keep that in mind if for whatever reason tab decided i should judge your policy debate.
FW - if fairness is your jam, you need to give a very good explanation of why clash was impossible in this debate. if a team says you can go for a da and you dont im gonna be very sympathetic to the aff (seriously just go for the da). quite often counter-interps are incredibly vague and poorly explained, so take advantage of that. i am not compelled if your tva isnt actually responsive to the aff - it doesnt need to be perfect but at the very least make sure it talks about the content of the 1ac. even if you're going for fw, you still need to answer the aff (make use of presumption! its your friend!)
for answering fw - if youre a team that does nothing in the 1ac and all of your offense is based on just impact turning whatever the 1nc said, im going to be a little grumpy. i like affs that defend things. i need a very clear explanation of what your interp is and what it actually means in a competitive sense; debate is a pretty cool activity and if your interp is just 'f*ck debate' ill be sad.
t - no idea whats topical under anti-trust. i barely know the names of the core laws. i do like t debates though, so do with that what you will. with policy affs, over limiting > under limiting
Counterplans - not the biggest fan of cheaty cps. condo is good up until a point. dont like perf con or condo planks. not a fan of states but i guess y'all dont really have a choice this year.
case debate - big big fan of good impact turn debates. presumption is also a useful argument.
K - it would be cool if your link would be about the aff. i like alts but they are not necessary - win the framework debate and you're golden.
some odds and ends -
im typically a big picture thinker, so meta level questions and framing args are critical to instructing my ballot.
if im in a straight up policy debate, i dont get these too terribly often, so id recommend not making it too big - id prefer depth over breadth.
ive found im a pretty expressive judge, and if i am confused or cant understand you my face will make that clear.
That’s about it. Have fun, be clear, be clever. Don’t say f*cked up sh*t.
I'm a graduate student and coach at the University of Pittsburgh studying Communication and Rhetoric. My research focuses on far-right digital subcultures. I debated at Wake Forest (2015-2019, 1x NDT octofinalist, 1x CEDA octofinalist) and at Princess Anne High School in Virginia (2011-2015). 9 times out of 10, I was a 2N/1A reading non-traditional affs and going for the K, and I liked to read Marxism, cybernetics, psychoanalysis, Virilio, among others. My experience as a debater and coach is 99% in the policy format.
Yes, I want to be on the email chain. Ask me for my email before the round.
The one thing you should know if you want my ballot is this: If you say something, defend it. I mean this in the fullest sense: Do not disavow arguments that you or your partner make in binding speeches and cross-examination periods, but rather defend them passionately and holistically. If you endorse any strategy, you should not just acknowledge but maintain its implications in all relevant realms of the debate. The quickest way to lose in front of me is to be apprehensive about your own claims.
I enjoy judging any and all debates across the purported ideological spectrum, but traditional policy debaters should take note of my lack of experience in these debates and adjust their rhetoric accordingly. On the opposite side of the coin, K teams (and especially Marxist teams) who take me and expect an instant win will likely be disappointed by the outcome.
Written paradigms can only describe how a judge aspires to evaluate debates, not necessarily how they will actually evaluate your debate.
Everything below this line is a proclivity of mine that can be negotiated through debate:
I think that debate is a game with pedagogical and political implications. As such, I see my role as a judge as primarily to determine who won the debate but also to facilitate the debaters' learning. The technical play of the game determines the parameters of "truth" through which I evaluate the debate, but I hold myself to the same standards of basic pedagogical responsibility that I would hold in the classroom.
A complete argument consists of a claim, warrant, and evidence. Absent a clear extension of all three parts, I will not feel comfortable voting on the argument in question. Furthermore, arguments are not reducible to the evidence used to substantiate them. My evaluation of carded evidence starts from the analysis of the evidence given to me by the debaters, not my own reading of the cards.
I think that affirmatives should present and defend an inherent advocacy that solves a significant harm. I also think that affirmatives should defend that they are topical, but this does not necessarily require a defense of instrumental fiat. A 2NR that demonstrates that the affirmative has not met these burdens is likely to get my ballot. In other words: I am not the judge for five McGowan cards with a topic link.
You should be explicit about the model of competition that you are employing, especially (though not exclusively) if you know that your opponent assumes a different model. Framework arguments are useful for signaling me to give weight to your strongest arguments over your weakest ones. Please do not collapse the complicated and necessary debate about these burdens to an un-nuanced "role of the ballot" or "role of the judge."
Everything can be an impact if you find a way to weigh it against other impacts. This includes procedural fairness - even though I personally do not consider fairness to be essential to the function of the game. When my ballot is decided on the impact debate, I tend to vote for whoever better explains the material consequence of their impact.
Use examples. Examples can help to elucidate (the lack of) solvency, establish link stories, make comparative arguments, and so many more useful things. They are also helpful for establishing your expertise on the topic.
You should always debate the case. Having a K link on another flow or - dear God - putting the whole 1 off K onto the case flow does not count as debating the case.
On the Capitalism K: I'll evaluate it like any other argument, which is to say, I'll try my best to suspend my biases, but know that I have a lot of feelings about the best way to run this argument. If you traffic in revisionist nonsense ("talking about identity = extinction," non-reformist reforms, using fiat to say that the American government suddenly becomes communist) but market it as Marxism, you do so at your own risk.
Especially in morning debates, I am not particularly expressive, and rarely do my facial expressions actually communicate whether I am persuaded by what you're saying. I occasionally nod, which is usually a good thing. If I furrow my brows, that means I'm thinking, not that I'm upset.
Getting interrupted in CX is part of the game. It is not always racist, sexist, etc. - but egregious, condescending behavior certainly can be. Just remember that any arguments about what goes on in CX are up to my discretion.
Speaker points are arbitrary. I tend to give higher speaker points to debaters who effectively tow the lines between mirth and rigor, respect and irreverence, and abstractness and concreteness. Also, being good at debate helps: I am especially impressed by debaters who efficiently collapse in the final rebuttals.
I'm fine with being postrounded. The debate that just happened may be static, but the ideas are not. You're allowed to be angry if I'm allowed to be cheeky - deal?
Debated at and now coach for George Mason.
Please put me on the email chain! email@example.com
- This is a communication activity. Please be clear. You're probably going much faster than you need to be.
- The aff should defend an unconditional change from the status quo.
- Tech (usually) comes before truth.
- Presumption is a thing. I default to the least change.
- Please debate the case. Terribly constructed affs too often get away with it.
- The only types of CPs I feel any particular bias against are uniqueness CPs and new 2NC CPs. As with all things, this is a threshold/preference thing; if you win the theory debate, you're good.
- There can be zero risk of a DA.
- I did very little K debating, but am familiar with the more popular/classic lit. Historical examples and analogies are much more helpful in explaining your arguments than just dropping buzz words or author names.
- I'll vote on non-topical affirmatives. The aff probably does need to do something, though.
- Fairness is an impact, but not always the most strategic one.
- More than two conditional advocacies puts you in the danger zone.
- Contradictory conditional advocacies are probably bad for debate.
- Condo doesn't outweigh T, but I guess a fire 1AR could change my mind on this.
- Cross-ex ends after 3 minutes. Anything after that is not "on the record" but still binding when it comes to things like if the CP is conditional.
- Don't clip cards. A team that calls for an ethics challenge against a team clipping needs to provide proof in the form of an audio recording. If I agree that the team did indeed clip, they'll lose the round and get 0 speaker points. If I decide that the team did not clip, the challenging team will lose the round and get 0 speaker points. This being said, if a tournament has a different procedure for this, I'll obviously adhere to it.
- Mark your cards during the speech. If you can't provide accurately marked cards to your opponents, it makes sense to me that I should disregard that evidence.
Offense wins debates. Defense is cool, but offense is why it matters. Warrants are key to offense. Smart analytics are better than bad cards. Examples are great contextualizations that allow you to reframe your opponent's arguments. Use them.
Impact framing has to be clear. Debates tend to come down to who can outweigh on the impact level. Internal links are both underrated and underquestioned. Tell me why you get to your impacts and then give me a warrant for how you stop it. Asserting "economic declines leads to war" is not a warranted internal link analysis.
I'm naturally very expressive. Watch me during the debate and you'll have a pretty good idea of what I think about the argument you are making.
I'm very flow-centric. Overviews are great for impact comparison, but line-by-line is where the fun techy stuff happens. Make sure you have a warrant and impact extended if you expect me to vote on something. Saying "they conceded this claim" is not an argument. That being said, one of my biggest pet peeves is when debaters say "they conceded this argument!" when they clearly answered it. Don't be that person.
Frame my ballot. My default stance is that I'm an educator, but not in the sense that I am present to educate you. I think I should be learning from you in the round, and my role as an educator just means that I am there to make sure everyone is learning. Winning framework goes back to impact comparison- tell me why the impacts on framework outweigh (or have to come before) the aff. That means you also have to engage the aff. If you're trying to beat framework, you need a reason why the case impacts outweigh (or come before) the impacts on framework. That means you have to engage the framework impacts.
In round abuse is a whole lot more convincing than potential abuse. If you're speeding or mumbling through a theory block, don't expect me to get down everything you're saying. The only theory arg I think I lean one way or the other on is performative contradictions. If you're going to contradict yourself, you better have a good defense of it.
I'm not going to vote for your alt if I don't know what it is or why it solves. Impacting your links is a great idea. You need to make sure you're contextualizing why the aff is bad and not why the status quo is bad.
Debate is an awesome opportunity for education in a very unique setting. Don't neglect that by not engaging your opponents' arguments