National Warm up
2021 — Online, IL/US
NPDA Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
You may know me previously as Caitlin Smith or Caitlin Addleman. She/her pronouns.
I coach with the University of Minnesota (fall 2017 - present). I debated 4 years (2013-2017) of NPDA/NPTE parli for Wheaton College and 4 years of LD in high school. I have also coached policy at the UMN and LD at Apple Valley High School.
I care deeply about debate, about equity in it, access to it, and very much believe in the power it has to change lives. I take my role as an educator seriously, which means I am always happy to chat about or answer any questions related to debate, from theory to substantive arguments. Additionally, I consider the moral/ethical questions of debate to be a constitutive feature of the activity. As such, I refuse to check my status as a moral agent at the door. I will, and have (albeit rarely), voted down arguments that I consider to be seriously morally problematic, regardless of what’s on the flow. While my standard for doing so is high, I take as axiomatic that every person has intrinsic and immutable worth - if I feel that your advocacy or representations seriously impinge on the worth of someone in the room, that will affect my decision. This does not mean that I won’t vote for arguments I don’t like or ethically agree with (I do that all the time); rather, I simply will not hold myself to voting on the flow if I feel someone in the room is being done violence. If you have any questions about my standards or threshold, please ask me.
A Note on Tech:
I believe that the technical aspects of debate are tools we use to allow us to understand and engage with the substance of arguments more deeply. I therefore do not think that tech is a substitute for substantive engagement. I value more highly arguments that engage with the opposing positions substantively than ones that merely do so technically (while to do both is truly masterful debate). Put simply, substance > tech > truth.
I’m fine with speed and will clear you if you pass my threshold (which is unlikely). Please be aware of how the online nature of debate constrains speed by paying attention to whatever chat feature we have available for people saying speed or clear - and please make accommodations as necessary. Please say all plans/CP’s/T-interps/alts/etc. slowly and twice.
Please do it. This will make my job a lot easier, and also make it a lot more likely that I see the round the way that you would like me to. I will evaluate the round as you tell me to, although in absence of any weighing arguments, I default to probability first and will have a substantially lower threshold than most parli judges to vote on systemic/materialized/highly probable impacts (given any arguments being made that I should prefer them). This does not mean I will not vote on nuclear, disaster, etc. scenarios, just that I will not accept prima facie an unwarranted claim that those impacts outweigh all other things if your opponents are making arguments to the contrary.
I have broad knowledge of economic and policy issues (my knowledge skews more heavily towards the K). Thus, I will be largely limited to my understanding of what you put out in a given round. If you’re clear, there shouldn’t be a problem, just don’t expect me to know what various terms or abbreviations mean off the bat or grant you internal warrants without clear explanations.
Win the debate on whatever layer you would like. My threshold to vote on theory is determined by the extent to which a clear impact on the shell is articulated and weighed. I also believe that standards should be contextualized to your opponents’ position. I find great problems in reading generic reasons why policy is good against non-T affs because I very much believe that theory should be about bringing questions of how debate ought function into the conversation, rather than forcing certain ideas out. This doesn’t mean don’t read theory in those situations, but that, if you’re going to, I will hold you to a high standard. Finally, I have a lower threshold than most parli judges for we-meets: if they meet the text of your interpretation, I do not consider a remaining violation to be a priori offense (as in, it’s still offense, but without an interpretation it does not function a priori, absent additional arguments that it should). If you have questions about what this means, let me know.
I debated lots of K’s and write lots of them with my team. I love them. I particularly love when they are clear on what the alt does and what a world of the alternative looks like. I really hate chicken-and-egg style root cause debates and would much prefer to hear substantive debate about the issues in the K. Please don’t assume I know your literature (just because I read K’s doesn’t mean I will understand your K) . I will vote on what is said in the round, not my prior knowledge of your particular author.
Debate is both a game and the real world. Bringing real world issues to the forefront within debate rounds is simultaneously extremely important and extremely difficult. It definitely creates change in our community and, as such, is something I take very seriously. I will attempt to evaluate every round as fairly as I can, while recognizing I do not check my status as a moral agent at the door. The one thing I like to be clear in these debates, therefore, is the role of the judge. I don’t mean that you have to include me in your movement, make me feel comfortable, or anything like that; I mean expecting me to evaluate what I’m supposed to do at the end of a debate round, with many moral issues on the table and no framework to deal with them, has the potential to give me a major panic attack. I don’t say this because I anticipate any such problem, but simply because it is a very real concern for my mental health and I want competitors to be aware.
26-30, unless you do something very rude or exclusionary.
I competed in Parli and IE’s for 4 years at Mckendree University and have now coached for 7 years.
I think this means that I have a diverse background of knowledge for most types of debate. I am comfortable in quick K debates and also comfortable in more traditional rounds. I have experience in high level college LD rounds and I also have lots of experience with first year novice rounds. While am I am competent in a K debate, I am most comfortable in a case/DA/CP debate. This means the K needs to be well explained. I tend to weigh Magnitude and Probability before timeframe until you tell me otherwise.
You should feel comfortable running any position in front of me! The most important thing is that it is well explained and well defended.
Will update again for Northwestern -with a longer paradigm
I think the game is best when students are comfortable and presenting arguments at a high level. I will try my best to adjudicate the debate in front of me. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. I'm decently versed in anti-blackness literature. So if that is your thing, awesome. I'm excited to hear your particular work. Just know because of my background I have a high threshold for that argument set. If it's not, that's ok but just know I expect arguments to have a certain level of depth to them and won't just vote on arguments that I don't understand.
2. I haven't judge alot on this topic. So different topic phrasings have to be parsed out for me.
3. I'm all about the link and impact game
4. Not a fan of the overly confrontational approach
5. Slow down on analytics
6. I'm very expressive judging debates so pay attention to the non-verbals
7. FW is cool with me - has to be impacted well.
8. DA/CPs are cool if explained well.
9. Will vote on condo - not a fan of conditional planks
Hope this helps.
Background: I competed in parli and a little policy in college and have been coaching debate (mainly Parli some dabbles in NFA-LD and policy) for almost 10 years.
Policy/CEDA and NFA-LD: I do not have speed over the internet. Go as fast as you want through your cards but please slow down to 70-80% for your tags/cites/analytics. Yes I want to be in the speech drop or email chain ([first letter of my first name] L [first letter of my last name] 11 at st-marys . edu) I flow on paper so I also need pen time.
Please give me judge instructions. I take forever to make decisions because there often a bunch of arguments that I don't know what to do with. I want to judge the round the way you want me to so please lay that out/tell me what I should evaluate first, which arguments matter, etc. The is especially important for K/performance debate.
Kritiks/K-affs/Performance debate Love all of it (even when I don't understand it)! My favorite kind of debate! K v K is especially awesome! That said, please assume I know nothing about your lit/authors/performance/etc. Alternatives need offense against the perm (I've voted for a lot really terrible perms because defense alone isn't strong enough)
Policy affs/DA/CP. It's cool, do your stuff. Please assume I know nothing about the topic.
T/Framework I'll vote on either way in policy v policy rounds, debate it out. In T/FW v K, the easiest way for the K to get ahead in front of me is impact turns. I'll almost always buy that the aff can use their case as offense/weigh against against the K. Beyond that, something has to go very wrong for me to vote on FW against the K. I'm much rather you went had offense against the K-aff/K than tried to argue why it's bad here. (Side note: the more I'm in academia the more I want alternate epistemologies/methodologies. That means good analytics can take out carded evidence in K debates for me).
Don't do/say racists/homophobic/transphobic/sexist/ableist/etc stuff or I reserve the right to vote you down.
Happy to answer any other questions.
I've been debating since I was in high school and am familiar with most forms of debate. Specifically, I've competed in PF and NPDA. With that being said, I'm open to literally any style of debate. I really like critical theory and alternative interpretations of the resolution, but I'm good with traditional too. The most I really ask of you all as debaters, is to make your cases clear to me. Other than that, have fun, be safe, and don't be mean.
Now that we are online, I need more pen time for arguments. Reading off laptops is fast and I will not vote on analysis in the last speeches that is not on my flow.
I have 4 years of policy debate in high school and 5 years of parli at Washburn University
I am currently a coach at Texas Tech University. This is my second year coaching.
I want to hear a good case debate because warrants and resolutional understanding is good. If that is not possible, here are my opinions on other things:
Speed is good. Just be accessible when called clear or slow down. I will not vote if I do not hear arguments. If I call slow, it means I cannot cognitively process what you are saying with enough time to write it down.
K's are good as long as the structure and warrants are there. Don't assume I know the philosophy you are reading. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand. You need to have clear solvency when it comes to how you resolve impact turns on theory as well as perm answers. If you can't give me a clear articulation of "how" through your framework, then I probably will hold your K to a high skepticism.
CP's are good but have your theory ready.
DA's are great make sure you have squo solves if you don't have a cp
Theory is good. Make sure you have a competitive interp when responding to theory. This means for me, your text needs to be textually competitive. I also will only vote on a IVI when it is gone for fully. This means you need UQ, links, Internal link and terminalized impact. Debate collapse is not terminalized. What does that mean outside of this forum/event.
You can run anything as long as it's justified and offensive. When you weigh your arguments in the last speech and make "even if" claims I am more likely to vote on it.
Don't drop offense!! Be kind and respectful.
email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
I've been competing and/or coaching in various speech and debate events since 2011. My primary experience is with policy (national circuit/toc, tfa, and regional/local traditional circuits) and parli (npda/npte). I judge almost every weekend, and I spend a lot of time in debate since it is essentially my full-time job, so I am relatively up-to-date on debate trends and norms, as well as discussions of the criminal justice topic. I typically judge ~50+ rounds a year.
I don’t have any predispositions regrading the content, structure, or style of your arguments. I will defer to evaluating the debate through an offense/defense paradigm absent a team winning an argument for me to evaluate it another way. Clear impact weighing in the rebuttals and evidence/warrant comparison are typically what I notice in teams I enjoy judging.
I attempt to be a ’technical’ judge in every round I watch. I try to keep a detailed flow, and use my flow to evaluate the round that happened. If the flow doesn’t decide a clear winner, I will then look to the quality of evidence/warrants provided. I tend to find I’m less interested in where an argument in presented than others. While clear line-by-line is always appreciated, some of my favorite debaters to watch were overview-heavy debaters who made and answered arguments in the debate while telling a persuasive story of the debate. I would rather you sound organized and clear than following a template throughout each flow.
I will most likely not vote on ‘independent voting issues’ unless it’s an egregious instance. This is separate from ethics concerns, like cheating, card clipping, etc. I am not persuaded by claims that I should evaluate the entirety of the debate based upon a single argument on my flow. Particular rhetorical abuses, such as racist, sexist, transphobic remarks are a different story, and I will hold those to much higher scrutiny than a claim that I should decide a whole debate because the 2ac read a severance perm.
Instead of framing debates through ‘body counts’, I am much more persuaded by framing as ‘who saves the most lives’, or who has the best advocacy for change. Sometimes debaters talk about claims of very real violence and problems for various communities with little regard to the real world implications of their political advocacies.
I tend to prefer specific plan texts over vague plan texts. I also like specific internal link claims and impact scenarios. Specific instances of war are more persuasive to me than ‘goat power war’ claims.
counterplans, disads, & case turns
I would prefer you read at least once piece of solvency evidence per plank in the 1nc. Obviously that’s not a hard rule, but I will hold CPs that read multiple planks with no evidence in the 1nc to much higher scrutiny than a sufficiently developed 1nc shell.
I tend to lean neg on most CP theories. Obviously, the debate is to be had, but I am generally more persuaded that the negative should get access to most CPs and conditional advocacies. Specific claims about instances in-round to generate offense in these debates is much more persuasive than generic standard debates. I am more willing to vote on reject the argument than reject the team.
I find I am more willing to judge-kick in the 2nr than most judges, but think this is still a debate that needs to be had. The 2nr must have a persuasive reason for me to judge kick, and the 2ar can still win that I ought not judge kick.
Uniqueness guides the direction of the link. I like robust development of each level of the debate for disads and case turns, while telling a clear story about the thesis of the disad. I decide the probability of your impact based on the link and internal link level of the debate, and find that often times 2nrs are lacking on this level of the disad flow.
I think the impact turn is a lost art and have a special place in my heart for them. The same is to be said for developed case turn debates.
To me, the best kritiks are the ones that clearly identify a theory of power or possesses some sort of a structural analysis. I am most persuaded by specific historical examples and a clear alternative that frames what my ballot does.
The link level of the debate tends to be the most important in my making my decision at the end of the round. I like developed link blocks, and think that the aff often times doesn’t adequately handle the link section of the debate.
In reformism v revolution debates, I prefer explanations that pinpoint why the conditions of the status quo are the way they are, and can best explain casualty for violence. This is where historical examples become especially important, and where warrant comparison becomes paramount.
I think permutations in the 2ar that attempt to prove the alt is not functionally competitive are not nearly as persuasive as arguments in the 2ar that the aff is in the direction of the alt. A heg aff probably cannot go for a perm against anti-blackness, but an aff that is a step towards the same telos of the alt can.
Affs will usually win that they can weigh their aff, but I am typically not persuaded by framework arguments that attempt to tell me not to evaluate the k. I think the same is also true for the negative. Instead, I think the framework portion of the debate should tell me what my ballot does and how I should frame my decision given the context of the round.
'clash of civilization' debates
I've been seeing a lot of these debates recently, so I figured it was worth adding a section with a bit more tailored to these debates.
In these debates, warrant comparison is paramount. Rebuttals that are just extending state good/bad or reformism good/bad arguments without doing any interaction with the flow is a common mistake I see in these debates. Ideally, your arguments for this level of debate also have terminalized and developed impacts as well. The best debaters in these debates typically are those who use their evidence/examples to implicate the specific warrants the other team is extending.
Links should be explained as disadvantages to the permutation with impacts developed and extended for them. I need the 2nr to be doing more work on the permutation than just extending the link level; this isn't to say you cannot or should not extend them as disads to the perm (I think you probably should), but simply saying the phrase isn't enough to prove mutual exclusivity. I appreciate a really well developed and implicated link wall.
I would much rather not have my ballot decided by the framework level debate. Engaging the substance is very much so appreciated in these debates. Obviously this doesn't influence any debates I watch, but I tend to believe that the aff should get access to their 1ac and the neg gets to weigh their impacts against it; fiat is illusory isn't reason enough for me to moot the 1ac, and just because it's a K doesn't mean your 1ac was necessarily mooted. but again, grain of salt, do you.
A lot of these rounds are decided on which team wins their theory of power or governance, and rebuttalists that are using historical and contextual examples are typically those who win these debates. The more specific the examples throughout the debate, the better spot you will probably be in to get my ballot.
Instead of telling me what your alt does, tell me how I can do your alt. I love references to other movements, specific actions I can take, and what the telos or the vision of your alternative is; I do not like you telling me in the abstract what the alterative means. Don't try to explain the words of the alt to me, tell me what the alt means with specific warrants for how the alt can resolve the links and/or the aff.
The 2ar needs to be finding ways to extend and terminalize offense that exists outside solving the aff. If your offense on the K only relies on your ability to solve your aff in the 2ar, it tends to not bode well for the aff. Reformism/state good offense that isn't just 'we solve the aff, the aff is a good idea', or terminalized impact turns or disadvantages to the alternatives can be really useful in close 'clash' debates.
If the 2ar is going for a permutation, I must know what the world of the permutation looks like with some explanation of the solvency mechanism for the perm and why the alt is not mutually exclusive.
Competing interpretations just tells me to evaluate offense vs defense, which is what I am most likely going to do. I think reasonability tells me that even if they win the their impact claims (the standards), they haven’t won the link debate (the interp debate) because we meet/are close enough to the interp. Because I view T debates this way, I like clear and developed standard debates that clear isolate impact claims.
Case lists, TVAs, examples of affs that would violate, etc. are all useful because they help me situate your interp within the topic. These are all terminal defense, so you won’t necessarily win a debate with them alone, but they are persuasive.
Interp comparison is really useful as well. Debating the quality of interps is a lost art and can generate offense in the standard level as well.
I don’t think that the aff has to win a specific counter interp in K aff v FW debates, but rather a counter model for debate. I like these debates that break down the skills gandered from each model of debate, and use them to generate offense. Arguments like fairness claims, or claims that framework is inherently violent aren’t persuasive to me. Standards about portable skills, research, advocacy, etc. that tell me the tangible benefits of your model serve best on either side because I think helps frame what sort of method my ballot is endorsing.
I did two years of circuit LD at Miramonte High School and graduated in 2015. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 after doing four years of NPDA parliamentary debate.
I have no desire to impose my own views upon the debate round. In deciding the round, I will strive to be as objective as possible. Some people have noted that objectivity can be difficult, but this has never seemed like a reason that judges shouldn't strive to be objective. I, overwhelmingly, prefer that you debate in the style that you are most comfortable with and believe that you are best at. I would prefer a good K or util debate to a bad theory or framework debate anyday. That's the short version--here are some specifics if you're interested.
May 28th 2020 NFA-LD Update:
I'm new to NFA-LD LD so feel free to ask me questions. Most of the paradigm below applies, but here's some specific thoughts that could apply to NFA-LD.
1. Cards v. Spin: I tend to err that spin and analysis trump evidence quality in the abstract. Intuitively, a card is only as good as its extension. However, I will listen to framing arguments that indicate judges should prioritize debate's value as a research activity and prefer cards to spin.
GGI 2019 Parli-Specific Update:
While I will generally vote for any strategy, I would like to discuss my thoughts on some common debates. These thoughts constitute views about argument interaction that should not make a difference in most debates.
- K affs versus T: Assuming the best arguments are made, I err affirmative 60-40 in these debates (The best arguments are rarely made.) However, I tend to believe that impact turns constitute a suboptimal route to beating topicality. I differ from some judges because I believe that neg impact framing on T (procedural fairness first, debate as a question of process, not product) tends to beat aff impact framing. However, I err aff on the legitimacy of K affs because I'm skeptical of the neg's link to that framing. Does T uniquely ensure procedural fairness? Thus, to win my ballot, teams reading K affs must take care to respond to the neg's specific impact framing. They cannot merely read parallel arguments.
- Conditionality: I lean strongly that the negative gets 1 conditional advocacy. 2 is up for debate and three is pushing it. Objections to conditionality should be framed around the type of negative advocacies and the amount of aff flex. For example, perhaps 2 conditional advantage counterplans is permissible, but not 2 conditional PICs.
- Absent weighing on any particular layer, I default to weighing based on strength of link.
- I probably won't cover everything so feel free to ask me questions.
- Taken from Ben Koh because this makes sense: "If I sit and you are the winner (that is, the other 2 judges voted for you), and would like to ask me extensive questions, I will ask that you let the other RFDs be given and then let the opponent leave before asking me more questions. I'm fine answering questions, but just to be fair the other people in the room should be allowed to leave."
Delivery and speaks:
- Fine with speed.
- I'm not the greatest at flowing, so try to be clear about where an argument was made.
- High speaks for good strategic choices and innovative arguments. I will say clear as much as necessary and I won't penalize speaks for clarity.
- I default to being epistemically conservative, but will accept arguments for epistemic modesty if they are advanced and won.
- I am willing to support any framework given that it is won on the flow.
- I'm willing to vote for permissibility or presumption triggers. However, there must be some implicit or explicit defense of a truth-testing paradigm. The argument must also be clear the first time that it is read. If the argument is advanced for the first time in the 1AR and I think that it is new, I will allow new 2NR responses.
- Many framework debates are difficult to adjudicate because debaters fail to weigh between different metastandards on the framework debate. For example, if util meets actor-specificity better, but Kantianism is derived from a superior metaethic, is the actor-specificity argument or the metaethic more important?
Theory and T:
- I default to no RVI, drop the argument on most theory and drop the debater on T, competing interpretations, and fairness and education not being voters. Most of these defaults rarely matter because debaters make arguments.
- I don't think that competing interps means anything besides a risk of offense model for the adjudication of theory. That means, for example, that debaters need to justify why their opponent must have an explicit counter-interpretation in the first speech.
- I, paradigmatically, won't vote on 2AR theory.
- I'm willing to vote on metatheory. I probably err slightly in favor of the metatheory bad arguments such as infinite regress.
- I'm willing to vote on disclosure theory.
- Fine with frivolous theory.
- I default to believing in durable fiat.
- Debaters should work on pointing out missing internal links in most extinction scenarios.
- I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.
- I probably err aff on issues of counter-plan competition.
- Err towards the view that uniqueness controls the direction of the link. However, I'm willing to accept arguments about why the link is more important.
- I will evaluate 1ar add-ons and 2nr counter-plans against these add-ons. This is irrelevant in most debates.
- There are many different kinds of kritikal argumentation so feel free to ask questions in round.
- I'm unsure whether I should default to role of the ballot arguments coming before ethical frameworks. I personally believe that ethical arguments engage important assumptions made by many ROB arguments. However, community consensus is that ROB's come first so I will usually stick with that assumption if no argument is made either way.
- I default to fairness impacts coming before theory, but I'm willing to evaluate arguments to the contrary.
- I don't have strong objections to non-topical positions. However, I believe debaters should probably engage in practices like disclosure that improve the theoretical legitimacy of their practices.
- Willing to vote on Kritikal RVI's/impact turns to theory.
- I'm willing to listen to arguments that there shouldn't be perms in method debates. However, I find these arguments not very persuasive.
Note for HS Parli:
Everything above applies. Except for the stuff about prep time. The only parli specific issue is that I will listen to theory arguments that it is permissible to split the block. Feel free to ask me any questions
Greetings! I’m looking forward to judging your rounds.
I am a former NPDA debater from Mercer University. I am currently a graduate student in rhetoric at Penn State University, with a focus on disability. I love debate, and I am convinced your speeches are gifts to us all, for which I thank you.
Although no one is truly “blank slate”, I try to keep an open mind in the debate. For me, pretty much anything goes (including breaking the rules) if you can convince me.
I am open to traditional debate, technical arguments, abuse complaints, critiques, and performances. However, if you would like to do, say, critiques or abuse arguments or performances, the burden is on YOU to show me that this choice is necessary for your team. I believe that the resolutions are generally important, so I may take some convincing. However, I love creativity.
I believe that debate should be both ethical and educational, so I am especially open to arguments that affirm this.
Do you like to spread? Feel free; however, keep your arguments purposeful and your articulation clear.
One thing that is unique about me as a judge—If I miss part of the flow, I will ask you to repeat your points off-time. I also reserve the right to ask questions of you off-time if there is something I don’t understand. The reason being is that I feel my not understanding and my missing points would be my fault as a judge, so I don’t want debaters to suffer for my mistakes.
Please to be as civil as would be reasonable; however, if justice calls on you to be a little bit harsh, I don’t mind. Be respectful of each other and the art. Bigotry is of course unacceptable, and I reserve the right to give you a loss for violations of decency.
I have Tourette’s syndrome (the swearing kind) and ADHD. Please don’t take my tics personally.
My pronouns are she/they.
Looking forward to meeting you!
Important note for 2021 Nationals: I've recently had a hand injury and can't flow anywhere near as quickly as I normally would. You would do well to slow down a bit in front of me so that I can keep my flow up to speed. I'll try my best to be vocal about my limitations, especially because I'm still finding them. I'll still do my best to flow, but if I can't keep up, I will have an incomplete flow.
**An argument consists of both a claim and a warrant. If you make claims without providing evidence which explains why that claim is true, I will not vote for that argument. Saying that a study concluded that your claim is true or that a news source claims it is not enough. You need to explain what that study did to conclude that or explain the reasoning of the news source which you reference.**
This philosophy should give you a look into the way I think, but I believe that it will be totally sufficient given my outlook on debate. In the past, I’ve tried to be comprehensive, but I think that that lead to folks misinterpreting my thoughts on debate. Do not take my brevity to mean that I don’t have thoughts about debate, but rather that I think my own opinions ought not matter to you as a debater – this is, after all, your activity.
My goal as a judge is to adapt to the round that the debaters have. This may seem to be empty to y’all, and that’s fine, but my goal as a coach and judge is to facilitate debate rounds that debaters want to have. I feel capable of judging any debate and would encourage you to do you when I am your judge.
With that said, you’ll probably want a few things that I start off with to keep in mind.
- I assume all negative advocacies are conditional unless stated otherwise.
- I think timeframe and probability are more important than magnitude, but no one ever does the work, so I end up voting for extinction impacts.
- Give your opponents’ arguments the benefit of the doubt. They’re probably better than you give them credit for and underestimating them will hurt your own chances of winning.
- Role of the ballot arguments do not make sense to me: if you have to win that the aff/neg does something good to meet the role of the ballot, it seems like you’ve already won the regular-old impact debate. Keep trying! But be aware that I was probably already voting for you if you won an impact.
- I really dislike spec, but read it if you must. Please don't collapse to spec unless you see no other outs.
- I generally dislike MG theory with the exception of CP theory and condo.
quick additions for 2020 NPTE/NPDA:
I really like conditionality. I have seen some pretty good PMRs on condo, and they have not persuaded me on this. You probably don't want to run the risk unless it's a particularly egregious case of condo.
I will almost never exclude the aff from a K debate based on "K comes first" type arguments or no fiat arguments. If you manage to win these arguments on the neg, I typically treat them as framing issues on the link page that improve my evaluation of your argument quality/probability.
If you're reading this, that's already a good start. You should continue to do so until there are no words left. I debated in parli for ~5 years at McKendree University, and did 4 years of high school LD before that. My partner and I won the 2020 NPDA. All of these things mostly tell you nothing about my thoughts on debate, but they should tell you that I have quite a lot of them. I'll do my best to keep it brief here.
Before I get into any specifics, I want to avoid what I assume most of your coaches or veteran debaters on your team will tell you about my time as a debater. Was I fond of the K? Yes. More accurately, I was fond of winning and a good chunk of the time, I found the K to be the best way to do so. With that being said, I would by no means describe my career as being a "K debater." I won just as many debates reading a topical policy aff as I did reading a K aff. In the same vein, our neg strat was a one off K just as often as it was a DA/CP combo or sometimes just straight up case turns against the aff. I did it all, and I consider myself to be a judge that can evaluate any kind of debate you put in front of me because, well, I used every tool at my disposable to win debates. I think you should as well. I pride myself on having been an incredibly versatile debater so please, for the love of god, do not high pref me for your "k teams" and low pref me for your "non-K teams" because you think that's the kind of debate I wanna hear/am best positioned to evaluate. I will get tired of hearing Ks every round very quickly, then I'll get annoyed, and then I won't be a good judge for anyone because I'll want to go home. Do not make me want to go home (chances are I already want to by no fault of yours so like, don't pile it on).
Max Groznik recommended I add these quotes from a conversation between the two of us. I don’t know why I am, but I’m not sure any of this means anything anyway:
”Ah, my life is a series of baubles that I must sort. Both real and fabricated for me to have something to do. C’est la vie.” - Me, 2020
”I think everyone is stupid except for me. It actually makes me care more. I’ll steer them in the right direction.” - also Me, 2020
In general, I think debate is a technical game and I evaluate it as such. I'm not easily swayed by positions that rely on some other metric that's not a net-benefits paradigm where my role is to weigh impacts and evaluate the arguments on the flow. That being said, I did dabble in this kind of non-traditional debate during my career. I think it's interesting, and I'm all for arguments that lightly poke and push at the limits of parli debate, I'm just not at all sure how I evaluate these arguments as a judge. If that's your thing, my advice is to proceed with caution and keep in mind that at my core, I'm a technical debater and that's where I'm comfortable. If you want me to throw tech out the window in favor of something else, you'll have to be fairly convincing and exceptionally clear on what exactly this means. This in no way means I'm unwilling to listen to a less technical argument. I definitely will, I just don't have a concrete framework for how I evaluate these arguments, so I think it's important that you make this clear for me so that I don't end up making a decision that misses the point entirely.
I also think I should address MG theory here. If you've read Alyson Escalante's philosophy, I pretty much agree 100% with her about the direction this activity is going and what's causing it. The proliferation of nonsense MG theory is definitely up there for me in terms of something that's threatening this activity, and you will be hard pressed to get me to vote on it. The only legitimate MG theory in my mind is CP theory (PiCs bad, multiple actor CPs bad, floating PiCs bad, Delay bad, for the most part) and Condo bad. These are debates that I will listen to, and that for the most part, I don't have a huge bias for voting one way or the other (maybe Condo, but read my later section on that). Any other silly MG theory about passing texts or reading the plan text in 30 seconds or whatever is becoming increasingly annoying to me. I don't even want to listen to these debates, so your speaker points will reflect my annoyance if these are even apart of the MG order. Beyond that, you likely will not get a ballot out of me that even references the MG theory as a part of my decision. My threshold for abuse on these sheets is very high, and absent an incredibly legitimate abuse claim, I will find any small defensive argument possible to make this sheet of paper go away, and your speaker points will suffer the more you press the issue. Please keep this in mind if you have me as a judge.
Read whatever you want on the aff. I truly don't care, and I'll evaluate the debate that happens in front of me. Just a few specifics though:
1. I need texts read twice and slowly.
2. Don't try to be faster than you are. It's probably my biggest pet peeve in this activity. Clarity is just as important as speed, and I won't be nice with your speaker points if your inability to be honest with yourself about your own skills means we all have to suffer through a speech that's unclear.
3. I love a non-topical aff - in theory. In practice, I find myself begging for just one or two arguments that clearly explain why you ought to be non-topical. If I get those, I'll be far more enthusiastic about whatever your k aff is. Also, referencing the topic on your link page and giving a lackluster warrant as to its connection to whatever your k aff is about does not make you "topical" and I will vote on framework 99% of the time in these cases.
As far as negative strats go, I also pretty much think you should do whatever you want, but as for specific thoughts:
1. I assume all negative advocacies are conditional unless specified otherwise. As a person, I think you should say most things with your chest, which would naturally mean I think condo is bad. BUT, as someone that understands how the activity works and would like it to keep working that way, I think condo is good and I don't think there are many scenarios where I would vote for condo bad unless it's an egregious abuse of condo.
2. I love a T debate - in theory. I don't think many judges or debaters really agree on how a T debate ought to be evaluated, which is why most of the time every judge in the room ends up sighing, groaning, and shaking their heads through a T debate and then punishing debaters for committing any number of "sins" that are entirely based on their personal views on T and not some agreed upon community norm. So, here are my thoughts: I think of interps similarly to counterplans. It's a specific text (that defines a certain word in the resolution), with "net-benefits" (or standards) that resolve or cause certain negative or positive impacts (that discuss an effect on debate as an activity). Although the interp usually defines a singular word, it's defining that word in the context of the resolution, not in a vacuum. The violation describes this context. That's typically how words work, alongside other words or groups of words. I evaluate topicality in this way. If you don't win a standard on your interp, then there's not reason for me to vote for it instead defaulting to the PMC (just like there's no reason for me to vote for a counter-plan if it doesn't have a net benefit. I would just vote for the aff). If both interps win a standard, then I need impact weighing to compare offense and determine which interp solves the most. We-meets can be terminal defense, if they sufficiently resolve the offense gone for in the context of the violation. Just like in any other debate, if the defense isn't enough to outweigh the offense gone for in the MO, I can still vote on the offense. For example, if you read defense against one link on the disad but not the other, I can still vote on the offense triggered by the second link. This goes for T as well. These are just my thoughts, but if you keep them in mind, I will not groan through your MO/PMR on T. I think T is fun and more people should go for it.
3. Please...collapse...in the block...
4. Whatever your nonsense k is, please explain it to me as if I did not pay attention in my intro ethics class (I did not). This threshold is much higher for D&G (I just don't get it. I'm sorry).
Finally, I was pretty deep in the anti-blackness literature as a debater, I mostly debated pess, but I also dipped into futurism/nihilism/etc. I mean like, 5 years and lots of books and research and readings by lots of different authors deep. This is a topic area that I have a lot of knowledge on because I did a lot of work to accumulate this knowledge. I like these arguments, and I don't think parli has even scratched the surface of this lit base and the type of arguments that can come from it. That being said, I have zero respect for debaters that think they don't need to do any of this work and that they can formulate an argument based entirely on their own (albeit real and highly valuable) cultural knowledge. This isn't twitter, (although if you're funny and often talk about your cultural experiences as a Black there, I might follow you) but there's a reason tweets have a character limit, this activity does not. Luckily, there are a ton of Black authors that have just as much cultural knowledge, paired with years of academic research and writing that contains well thought out and explained theories regarding the Black experience and anti-Blackness generally. Please give them their clout, read their books/essays, and use them as at least the basis for your argument. Otherwise, you're not engaging in this activity in the way that it's designed to be engaged in and I won't be the judge that rewards you for it.
Also, I have opinions about speaker points. Mainly, that a 30 ought to be virtually unattainable and given only to those that are truly exceptional - not just in a given round, but compared to the rest of the field. I will almost never give one, and my average range is somewhere between a 27.7 and a 29.7. If you’re on either side of that range it means you were particularly impressive (either negatively or positively). Judges that give these out like candy or debaters that explicitly ask for them when they’ve not given a speech that constitutes a 30 generally tend to make speaker awards not reflective of the actual ranking of debaters at the tournament. I’m pretty committed to not contributing to that, so if you receive a 30 from me just know it was well deserved. If you ask for a 30, I probably will not respond nicely with how many speaker points I end up giving you. 30s ought to be earned; and, if the 2020 NPDA is any indication, when people explicitly ask for them and judges give them, people who actually earned their 30s end up not getting rewarded for it.
TLDR; say whatever you want, I'm a good judge for any of it. Condo is good. Books are fun and you should read them. There's someone out there that has spent years researching whatever thought you think you came up with all on your own, I promise.
The allegory of the cornbread:
Debate is like a delicately constructed thanksgiving dinner. Often, if you take time to make sure you don’t serve anyone anything they’re allergic to, we can all grit it and bear it even if we really didn’t want to have marshmallows on our sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes and gravy are just as good as cranberry relish if you make it right. Remember, If you’ve been invited to a thanksgiving dinner you should show up unconditionally unless you have a damn good excuse or your grandma got hit by a reindeer because we’re here to eat around a point of commonality unless your great uncle happens to be super racist. Then don’t go to thanksgiving. I’ll eat anything as long as you’re willing to tell me what’s in it and how to cook it. Remember, you don’t prepare stuffing by making stuffing, that’s not a recipe that’s a tautology. I eat a lot, I’m good at eating, and I’d love to help you learn how to eat and cook too.
PS: And why thanksgiving? Because you’re other options are Christmas featuring a man way too old to be doing that job asking if you’ve been naughty or nice at the hotel lobby, the Easter bunny which is just a man way older than you’d think he is in a suite offering kids his definitely-not-sketchy candy (who maybe aren’t really even old enough to be eating all that candy), or Labor Day where everyone realizes they can’t wear their hoods and be fashionable at the same time.
Hi! I’m Zach. I debated for 5 years of NPDA/NPTE parli (4 at Cedarville and 1 at SIU) and this is my 6th year coaching/judging. I've been coaching for McKendree since 2017. Here are some of my many thoughts about debate:
- I will flow the round and make a decision based on my flow. I will skip flowing your speech if you insist but I will not evaluate arguments that I don't flow.
- You won't get a 30 unless you give a perfect speech. My average is 28.1 with a standard deviation of 0.6. 27 is the floor unless you do something offensive.
- I've gone back and forth on this a few times and I've decided the best use of this space is just to tell you what I think I'm a good/bad judge for. Standard caveats apply, you should really just do what you do best, don't read something just because I listed it here, but this is what I've learned about myself to help you pref me. I also keep a Google doc with stats for every round I judge.
- Good judge for: topicality, big-stick affs, topic-specific disads, advantage counterplans, K affs that do the work on the flow, framework teams that do the work on the flow, Nietzsche, antiblackness arguments, conditionality, impact turns, pessimism based arguments, defense, creative interpretations of the topic, fast-paced debates, teams that stake out their ground and defend it
- Medium judge for: politics, process counterplans, soft left affs, Marx, Foucault, D&G/Bataille/most other Eurotrash, Buddhism (unfortunately), counterplan theory, novelty, teams that win by tricking the other team, probably anything else I didn't think to list above or below
- Bad judge for: K aff teams that think I'll autovote for them for ideological reasons, framework teams that think I'll autovote for them for ideological reasons, Lacan/psychoanalysis, Baudrillard, any argument that posits that rocks and/or animals are people, fact or value affs
- It will take a Herculean effort to make me vote for: spec, AFC, any other theory that makes me roll my eyes (e.g. must pass texts at X time), RVIs
- Will not vote for: negative kritiks that don't have a link to the aff, any theory if the other team wins a we meet, arguments about something that happened in another round/that I cannot verify
As a quick background, I did high school policy debate and college parli debate. I would like to think I was at least okay as a debater. I haven't really been involved in judging or coaching for about three years, so my ability to flow fast spreading has probably deteriorated. Although I'll probably still "get" any particularly debate-y arguments, I've probably become significantly more lay since I left the debate scene.
**IMPORTANT** If you are running a highly critical advocacy (e.g., something involving the word simulacrum), I will almost certainly need you to explain it to me like a five-year-old. While I will try to consider any advocacy you run, my ability to judge will be delimited by my ability to understand what I am judging. If that makes me a bad judge for you, that's my b (but also maybe your b).
1. I appreciate having a written version of all texts, advocacies, etc. The language we use matters.
2. I appreciate teams that are respectful and courteous (not to me, but to their opponents and partners).
3. I appreciate when teams are creative. Boring debate is bad debate.
4. I appreciate clash. Offense wins rounds.
5. I appreciate well warranted and clear arguments, with an emphasis on presenting tangible or real-world examples. Explanations should come in constructive speeches, I should not be waiting until the end of the round to understand the argument.
6. I appreciate debaters who ask good (or strategic) questions.
7. I appreciate debaters who have good round vision and collapse only to the round’s most essential arguments.
8. I will always evaluate “stupid” arguments (RVIs, etc.) if given a good reason. I will listen to all arguments barring dangerous or violent ones. (This means I do not have a high threshold for theory, etc.)
9. I will do my best to not involve myself in the round and rely heavily on the flow (unless told otherwise). In instances where I do not understand something (e.g. one is speaking too quickly), I will make this clear.
10. I dislike when debaters deliberately exclude their opponents (by using speed, unnecessary jargon, etc.).
11. I dislike debaters who lie and cheat.
12. I dislike debaters who are rude, make the debate space more inhospitable than it already is, etc. Debate is best served when we all are (or aim to be) safe, kind, and having a good time.
13. I dislike having to do work. I will always prefer debaters who weigh arguments early and often, who explain the relationships between pages, and who have a clear narrative at the end of the round.
14. I dislike having one partner excessively use their other partner as a puppet or mouthpiece.
15. I am (currently) not well versed in argument theory. You should not assume I understand the complex relationships between the two-plank dispositional CP and x, y, or z argument. Explain your arguments well.
16. I think rebuttals should be a much slower-paced speech than the others and provide the judge with the most persuasive version of your argument. I won't dock you if they don't sound pretty, but these should be where you try and sound the least like you're trying to cram in every possible argument.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me before the round!
Please, I beg, read the things I write here. I didn't write it for no reason.
I'm Fiker (pronounced like snicker). She/her/hers. I debated a bit in high school which is mostly unimportant, and then did four years (2015-2019) at Texas Tech University. I (and my partner) won the NRR and I won all 3 national top speaker awards in 2019. I judged and coached for TTU 2019-2021 including being the acting Director for a hot second. Now I'm the Director of Debate at Grapevine HS. So it goes.
Note: Most terminology in my paradigm is geared towards parli debate, but all opinions apply across formats. I want good debates, regardless of the kind.
I generally think debate is a game, but a useful and important one. It may not be "fiat" but it does influence the real world by how we exist inside of it. Let's not forget we're human beings. Read what you want, I certainly did. However, I do not intend on imposing my own ideals onto debaters, so please have whatever round you want so long as we respect one another as humans. Speed isn't usually an issue but if we're blazing, let me know so I can use paper and not my laptop. Your clarity does matter when you spread (even if I am sent the speech doc) so I can actually follow along and even when reading y'all are not as clear on signposting as you think you are.
Things to keep in mind in general***: My favorite arguments are well warranted critical arguments that I can actually learn and grow from; also, Japan re-arm and heg. I like to do as little work as possible when it comes to making decisions on the flow so please be INCREDIBLY explicit when making claims as I will not fill in arguments not being made in the round. Impact calculus is essential. However many warrants you have, double it. Condo is good, but don't test the decently sturdy limits. **I don't really get presumption arguments nor disclosure and may not be in your best interest to stake the round on it**. Thought experiments aren't real. Jokes are fun. 9/10 the late theory is not worth it.
Affs: Read them and be very well warranted within them. Pull from the aff throughout the debate as I feel this is one of the least utilized forms of offense in the round. K affs are fine (I'm a big fan) just make sure the things you say make sense and do something. I think because I have read a lot of Ks in my time that people think I will vote them up regardless, which is not true. I like offense and warrants and I like not doing work so whoever allows the most of that will be in the better spot regardless. Read case against the aff. Be clear and read texts twice.
DA/CP: Also read these. They need to be complete and fleshed out with good warrants and net benefits where they need to be. Warrant explicitness are your best friend. CPs should come with written texts, imo. I would say I have a slightly higher than average threshold for CP theory but that doesn't mean I won't evaluate it if it is read and defended well (just remember MG theory isn't always worth it if you can just win the substantive).
Theory: I like this and my threshold is pretty equal to substance if run well, but I needneedneed good structure. Interpretations are key, please slow down and repeat them. Now, I don't need several sheets of theory, MG/1AR theory, overly high-level theory, and certainly not MO/2NR and later theory. Keep it at home. Have voters. Defend them. *Competing interpretations is based on the way that the interpretations are being upheld through the resolution of the standards but standards alone do not win without a competitive interpretation*. I think theory does not exist in a vacuum and all interpretations should be able to exist at the same time. I am a one-shot-kill judge on theory and prefer that if you're going to go for it as your win condition it operates as your only win condition (don't split your own burden on already time constrained arguments).
Ks: I love them, but I don't vote on nothing. Framework needs to be strong or it needs to not bog down the real parts of the argument. Links need to link..... please (generics won't save you)......Alt needs to make sense, repeat them twice for me, and if they're long, I'd like to be told in flex or given a copy. Even if I know your literature, I am not debating. Please do the work for me in round. Identity arguments are fine, do as you please just don't be offensive or overly satirical about real violence. You must still win the actual debate and make the actual arguments for me to vote. This runs both ways, so anyone reading the K should do so if you want but if this is your winning strategy then make sure I know why and am not filling anything in for you where you believe I should be able to.
Things that lose my ballot: over complicated or unnecessarily gamesy arguments that amount to nothing, minimal to no impact weighing, blippy arguments with no warrants or analytics, bigoted comments or arguments (especially just for the sake of making them) will not only cost you the round but I will make note of it on ballots and to competitors orally
Things you can use to win: well placed jokes (especially about anime, history, pop culture, or something of the like), well crafted arguments that are also educational, heg, actually using your affs/shells as extensions for arguments (aka using your free, already presented offense), an appropriate roast that isn't disrespectful
Any other questions about my paradigm or my opinions/feelings about debate can be directed to me on social media (probably facebook most easily) or you can email me at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Have your debate. Live your life. Yee, and dare I say it, haw.
-If I show preference for a genre of arguments, it’s not known to me. I wish for folks to read the arguments they find strategic/interesting and try not to worry about my feelings. This could mean, however, that non-topical approaches to debate are more good with me than you'd prefer. I’m not begging for framework in response to those positions, but I also feel like I will absolutely vote on framework if you win the position.
-I enjoy quick, technical debates over debates where public presentation is prioritized. I’m also open to being persuaded that quick, technical debates are bad/wrong/misguided for any number of reasons. I rarely find arguments suggesting speed is a tool of exclusion compelling, however, I also think speed as a means to avoid substantive engagement is weak in the paint.
-I like procedural arguments, in general. However, I like arguments with clear links and reasonable standards, so… too much theory, too fast… bums me out. I'm often disappointed when folks go for things like condo in the last speech (an out is an out, I'd just rather see other strats, all things being equal). I often think MG theory makes debates less good.
-Fast rounds are fun, but too fast rounds are a smidge miserable. I wish I could give a clear idea of what too fast means, but that’s tough. I feel like if it’d be difficult for you to flow your speech, you’re too fast. If it sounds like you’re reading cards, that’s too fast.
-Arguments that rely on subtle tricks and logic games are not necessarily intuitive, for me. I was bad at logic in college and would not describe myself as mathematically inclined. I feel more comfortable with arguments that demonstrate narrative cohesion and substantive engagement.
My background as a competitor involved a couple years reading primarily policy strategies and a couple years reading primarily old-white-man criticisms (Baudrillard, Marx, Lacan, etc). As a coach, my teams have dipped their toes into nearly every kind of argument. I love it all, when it is done well. I can hate it all, when it ain't.
I feel comfortable judging any “genre” of argument and have no real argument preference beyond the desire to see clash.
Debate is the most fun and the most educational when a variety of argumentative styles, people, knowledge bases, and strategies are given room to thrive. I feel lucky to have judged a vast array of different arguments in my judging career. One of my main goals as a judge is to allow teams to run the arguments they feel are most compelling in front of me. I’ve picked up teams reading structural indictments of debate about as many times as I’ve picked up teams reading policy affirmatives and defending incrementalism.
It is my goal to involve myself in the debate round as little as possible. I have no preference for any particular kind of argument and generally feel that almost every debate issue can be resolved in the round. I will vote for arguments with warrants. I will try my best to synthesize your arguments, but I also believe that to be a central skill of effective debaters.
I will vote for arguments I think are stupid 10 out of 10 times if they are won in the round.
I rely on my flow to decide the round. I attempt to flow performances and I do my best to write down what you’re saying as close to verbatim as my fingers allow me. If there is an expectation that I not decide the round based on the way I understand argument interaction on my flow, that should be stated explicitly and it would be a good idea to tell me how I am intended to evaluate the debate round.
Emphasize explanation early… don’t let your argument make sense for the first time in the LOR or PMR etc.
All constructive speeches should take a question if asked, and it’s strategic to ask questions (unless there is flex, then I'm agnostic on this question).
Theory interpretations and advocacy statements should be read slowly and read twice.
Points of Order should be called, but I will also do my best to protect new arguments… don’t be excessive with them though [I’ll be vague about what that means, but be an adult]
RVI’s have never been good arguments, read them at your own risk.
I cut my teeth on procedural arguments in college, and I am still a huge fan. To vote on a procedural, I need an interpretation explaining how the debate should be evaluated, a violation detailing specifically why the other team does not fit within that interpretation, standards that explain why the interpretation is good, and a voter that outlines why I should vote on the argument. PLEASE read your interpretation/definition slowly and probably repeat it. It is good to have an interpretation that makes some sense.
DAs and Advs. require uniqueness arguments that explain why the situation the affirmative causes is not happening in the status quo. Defensive arguments are useful, but they often serve to make offensive arguments more impactful or serve as risk mitigation, as opposed to terminal takeouts.
I ran politics in a majority of my negative rounds and I coach my teams to read the position as well. So, I will totally vote on politics every time it is won. That being said, I’m finding the position to be one my least favorite and least compelling these days. The obscene nature of congress make the position even more laughable than it was in the past [and it’s always been sketchy at best, without cards (and with?)]. Read the DA if you’re a politics team, but there are almost always better arguments out there.
Critique debates can be fun to watch, but only when the position is clear at the thesis level. If your shell argues that the K is a prior question or something like that, spend some meaningful time explaining why that’s the case instead of “shadow” extending an argument from the shell. I am familiar with a lot of the literature, but you should argue the position as if I am not. Critiques are totally dope, but only because they have the potential to advance compelling arguments… not because they are obtuse.
Framework debates (on the top of critique... i.e.: epistemology comes first) are a waste of time a vast majority of the time. I do not understand why teams spend any substantive amount of time on framework. The question of whether the affirmative methodology/epistemology/whatever vague term you want to use, is good or bad should be determined in the links and impacts of the criticism. I see almost no world where framework matters independent of the rest of the shell. So… the only K framework questions that tend to make sense to me are arguments about why it is a prior question. It makes sense that if the critique wins that the affirmative impacts are threat constructions that I’m not going to weigh the affirmative impacts against the position. That’s not a framework debate though, that’s a question determined by winning the thesis of the position.
Critical affirmatives can be cool, but they also put me in a weird position as a judge sometimes. If your affirmative is positioned to critique DAs, then I still want to see specific applications of those arguments to the DAs. I need to see how the DA demonstrates your argument to be true in some specific way. By that I mean, if the negative outright wins a DA, I would need to see why that would mean the affirmative shouldn’t lose early, often, and specifically. The same is true of any set/genre of negative positions.
Performance/Non-Topical Affirmatives/Alternative Approaches to Debate
I tend to not have super strong feelings in favor or in opposition to “performance” style arguments. Several of the teams I have coached have run non-traditional arguments and I have seen those be incredibly beneficial for the debaters and have a positive effect on education garnered from their rounds. I have also seen people really struggle with performance-style arguments on an interpersonal level, in both advocating their positions and responding to others doing so. I defer to the debaters to wade through the various issues related to alternative approaches to debate.
I will vote for framework as answer to these arguments if the other team “wins” the position. However, I also think most non-topical affirmatives are written with 5 minutes of impact turns to framework. Affirmatives must explicitly extend those kinds of arguments to answer framework (don't assume I understand how that's happening just by you extending the affirmative) and teams going for framework should not assume the "a priori" nature of theory means I reject the aff out-of-hand.
I tend to think arguments about the collapse of debate due to alternative approaches to debate, are frequently poorly warranted. Which doesn't mean those warrants don't exist... I just need them to be made explicitly. Debate can look like many things, and still be interesting/educational/productive, in my mind. However, I also believe compelling arguments about "topical versions of the affirmative" can be very compelling. If there is a way to read your criticism as a nuanced way to affirm the resolution, you've probably landed close to my ideal version of critically framed affirmatives. Affirmatives seeking to indict structural conditions of debate can also be very compelling, too. I hope to put my personal desires for a particular model/instantiation of debate to the side in any particular round I'm judging.
In general, the CP/DA debate is probably what I feel most comfortable judging accurately and I think CPs that solve the affirmative are very strategic. There are probably enough arguments on both sides to justify different interpretations of how permutation or CP theory in general should go down, that I don’t have strong opinions about many CP related issues.
I tend to think objections to conditionality are rooted in some very valid arguments, however I find myself concluding conditionality is probably more good than bad in my mind. That only means the conditionality debate is totally fair game and I probably have voted conditionality bad as many times as I have voted it is good.
Cheater CPs are cool with me, so feel free to deploy delay, conditions, consult, whatever. I tend to think the theory arguments read in answer to those positions are more persuasive than the answers when argued perfectly, but that in no way makes me more predisposed to reject any kind of CP strategy.
David Worth – Rice
D.O.F., Rice University
Parli Judging Philosophy
Note: If you read nothing else in this, read the last paragraph.
I’ll judge based on given criteria/framework. I can think in more than one way. This means that the mechanisms for deciding the round are up for debate as far as I’m concerned. My decision is based mostly on how the debaters argue I should decide the round but I will intervene if the round demands it. There are many cases where this might be necessary: If asked to use my ballot politically for example, or if both sides fail to give me a clear mechanism for voting, or if I know something to factually incorrect (if someone is lying). In these cases, I try to stay out of the decision as much as I can but I don’t believe in the idea that any living person is really a blank slate or a sort of argument calculator.
I prefer debates that are related to the topic.
I will not vote for an argument that I don’t understand. If I can’t figure it out from what you’ve said in the round, I can’t vote on it.
I will admit that I am tired of debates that are mostly logic puzzles. I am tired of moving symbols around on paper. Alts and plan texts that are empty phrases don’t do it for me anymore. The novelty of postmodern critique that verges on--or actually takes the leap into--nihilism has worn off. I don’t think there’s much value anymore in affirming what we all know: That things can be deconstructed and that they contain contradictory concepts. It is time for us to move beyond this recognition into something else. Debate can be a game with meaning.
Warrants: I will not vote for assertions that don’t at least have some warrant behind them. You can’t say “algae blooms,” and assume I will fill in the internals and the subsequent impacts for you. You don’t get to just say that some counter-intuitive thing will happen. You need a reason that that lovely regionally based sustainable market will just magically appear after the conveniently bloodless collapse of capitalism. I’m not saying I won’t vote for that. I’m just saying you have to make an argument for why it would happen. NOTE: I need a good warrant for an "Independent Voting Issue" that isn't an implication of a longer argument, procedural, or somehow otherwise developed. Just throwing something in as a “voter” will not get the ballot. I reserve the right to gut-check these. If there is not warrant or if the warrant makes no sense to me, I won't vote on it.
Defense can win, too. That doesn’t mean that a weaker offensive argument with risk can’t outweigh defense, it simply means that just saying, “oh that’s just defense,” won’t make the argument go away for me. Debate is not football. There’s no presumption in the NFL, so that analogy is wrong.
You need to deal with all the line-by-line stuff but should not fail to frame things (do the big picture work) for me as well. It’s pretty rare that I vote on one response but it’s equally rare that I will vote on the most general level of the ideas. In a bind, I will vote for what’s easier to believe and/or more intuitive.
Speed is fine as long as you are clear. There are days when I need you to slow down a tad. I have battled carpal/cubital tunnel off and on for a few years and sometimes my hand just does not work quite as well. I’ll tell you if you need to clear up and/or slow down, but not more than a couple of times. After that, it’s on you.
Please slow down for the alt texts, plans, advocacies, etc., and give me a copy too. If I don’t have it, I can’t vote for it.
Strong Viewpoints: I haven’t yet found "the" issue that I can’t try to see all sides of.
Points of Order: Call them—but judiciously. I’ll probably know whether the argument is new and not calling them does not change their status as new. Also, if you’re clearly winning bigtime don’t call a ridiculous number of them. Just let the other team get out of the round with some dignity. If you don’t, your speaker points will suffer. It’ll be obvious when I think you are calling too many.
If the round is obviously lopsided and you are obliterating the other team then be nice. I will lower your speaker points if you aren’t respectful or if you simply pile it on for the heck of it. If it’s egregious enough, you might even lose the debate.
You don’t need to repeat yourself just to fill time. If you’re finished, then sit down and get us all to lunch, the end of the day, or the next round early.
Theory: I’m not going to weigh in on the great theoretical controversies of the day. Those are up to you to demonstrate in the round. T can be more than one thing depending on the round. I’m not going to tell you what to do. Debate is always in flux. Actually, I’ve learned or at least been encouraged to think differently about theory issues from debaters in rounds far more often than from anyone else. If I had pontificated about The Truth As I Knew It before those rounds, the debaters would have simply argued what I said I liked and I wouldn’t have learned, so it’s in my interest as well as yours for me not to hand you a sushi menu with the items I’d like to see checked off. PICS, Framework, Competing Interp, in-round abuse, etc. are all interpretable in the debate. I will say that I probably most naturally think in terms of competing interpretations, but, again, I can think in more than one way.
My “Debate Background:” I did CEDA/NDT in college. I coached policy for years, and also coached parli from the days of metaphor all the way into the NPTE/NPDA modern era. I have also coached NFA-LD.
Finally, I ask that you consider that everyone in the room has sacrificed something to be there. A lot of resources, time, and effort went in to bringing us all there. Be sure to show some respect for that. I am serious about this and it has come to occupy a significant portion of my thinking about debate these days. In fact, I think it’s time for the in-round bullying to stop. I see too many rounds where one team’s strategy is simply to intimidate the other team. I find it strange that an activity that talks so much about the violence of language often does so in such a needlessly aggressive and violent manner. In some rounds every interaction is barbed. Flex/CX is often just needlessly aggressive and sometimes even useless (when, for example, someone simply refuses to answer questions or just keeps purposely avoiding the question when it’s obvious that they understand the question, opting instead for aggression sometimes verging on ad hominem). I see too many other rounds where everyone is just awful to each other, including the judges afterward. You can be intense and competitive without this. We are now a smaller circuit. It’s strange that we would choose to spend so much time together yet be so horrible to each other.
FOR GGI 2021
I haven't heard or flowed speed in a while, and also haven't been super involved in debate lately, so I will probably have trouble flowing top-speed. Content preferences are generally unchanged, with the exception that I now know even less about both current events and critical literature. My general inclination as a judge is to take whatever is said in-round at face value (e.g. I won't fact check warrants or scrutinize textually flawed interps unless told to do so).
Most of the below paradigm was written when I was still a competitor. Looking back, I've found that the actual process I use when judging rounds is frankly very intuition-based and not always the most technical, especially when it comes to warrants and POIs. At the end of the day, I think debate is just competitive storytelling. And personally, I prefer Ancient Aliens to C-SPAN.
OLD PARADIGM (mostly still applies)
TL;DR: Go nuts (but please don't be rude/horrible to your opponents).
The round is yours. I prefer a well-executed strategy more than anything else. For some background, I competed in NPDA at Berkeley for three years (graduated in 2020). As a competitor, the arguments I most commonly collapsed to were Theory, Buddhism, Anthro, Politics, and Dedev.
Here are some general thoughts/preferences:
Case/Disads: I love to see good case debate. I'm not particularly well versed in what's going on in the world, so if the case debate is getting messy then some top-level overviews and explanation are probably helpful. I don't care if you read generics. I like good politics debates.
Counterplans: I have no preferences on issues like conditionality, PICs, delay, consult, negative fiat, etc.. I'll vote for it if I think you're winning it, and I'll vote for them if I think they're winning a theoretical objection. By default, I assume negative advocacies are conditional.
Kritiks: If you're reading something complicated, overviews/explanation are super appreciated. Words like ontology, epistemology, etc. don't mean that much to me in a vacuum, so it's good to read implications to arguments when extending them. K affs are fine, I don't have much attachment to the topic (although I'm happy to vote on framework-T too if won).
Theory: I think it can be a strategic tool in addition to a check on abuse. I default to competing interpretations and drop the team. Will evaluate an RVI if you read a justification. Proven abuse is unnecessary, but you can make arguments why it should be necessary and I'll listen to them. If reasonability doesn't have a brightline or some explanation of what it means to be reasonable, then I'll just disregard it.
Presumption/tricks: I believe in terminal defense. By default, I think presumption goes neg. In general, I don't mind voting on tricksy arguments as long as they're sufficiently explained when gone for.
Point of orders: Feel free to call them. I'll try and protect, but I think they're still good to call just in case I'm missing something. I will also try to protect from shadow-extensions.
Out-of-round stuff: I'm pretty sympathetic towards arguments calling for content/trigger warnings before the round.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask before the round starts.