UIL 4A District 7
2021 — Argyle, TX/US
Hired Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Have been involved in debate as a student, high school debater, college debater, high school coach or a college coach since the Nixon administration. Yes I actually cut Watergate cards. So pardon my smile when asked how I feel about speed etc.
Try to be Tab as much as possible. But like all judges I have some personal preferences listed below:
Is a voter, don't usually vote on it unless it is mishandled or extremely squirely. Make sure to have a violation, standard and voter in shell. Haven't previously voted on a RVI on T.
Tend to look at in round abuse.
They are fine, but make sure you understand the literature, spend a lot of quality time on the link and have a clear alternative.
Speed is ok as long as you are clear. If you are not clear, I will say "clear". Make a clear distinction between your taglines and and your cards.
Will vote you down for being rude or sarcastic. Proper decorum is a must. I will vote against sexist, racist et al. arguments.
I was fairly succinct on this paradigm, so feel free to ask me specific questions before the round. Also debate should be fun. A sense of humor is always appreciated.
No preferences except for speed, speakers must be clear and concise.
PF/LD: I will normally judge based off of the round. Okay with speed. Prefer it if you don't run theory arguments.
Interp: I will take piece selection into account. Prefer more versatile pieces that display a wider range of skill and talent.
Speaking Events: I will count evidence and fluency breaks. I will also keep track of how evenly your time is distributed. I would also appreciate some humor - more in Original Oratory, less in extemporaneous speaking events.
For TFA State:
Interp: I am a pretty open minded judge when it comes to judging interp overall but there are a few things I look for in performances. Creativity and honesty will always be the most rewarded in my book because it is why we do what we do at the end of the day. Showcasing your own interpretation, but staying true to the core of the story is important to me. Character development and emotional shifts are super important especially over a digital platform to keeping us engaged with the story and showing us the meaning behind the words. Have fun with the choices you make as long as they are PURPOSEFUL, doing something that distracts rather than enhances makes us lose connection between what is happening in the story.
Speaking/Extemp: Big thing is show your own unique style and approach to speaking because this is what separates you from other. I am a big fan of humor, but PLEASE, I BEG do not make it feel forced or this is just awkward for both of us. In terms of depth of the speech, I like more than just surface level arguments and I want to see you get to the higher end issues and core problems effectively. Structure is important obviously to make sure we can connect all of the ideas and know how you are getting to what you are wanting to. Finally, have variation in your delivery, it is important to showcase the different levels and power of your arguments and statements and so we should feel very engaged with how you are saying and what you are saying.
Worlds School Debate:
School affiliation/s : Northwest High School
Hired (yes/no) : Hired for WSD
High School Affiliation if graduated within last five years (required): Northwest High School
Currently enrolled in college? (required) If yes, affiliation? No
Years Judging/Coaching (required) I have been judging for 5- 6 years.
Years of Experience Judging any Speech/Debate Event (required)
I pretty much started off my first year judging in interp and PF and then slowly incorporated all other forms of debate the following year.
Rounds Judged in World School Debate this year (required): Since August I have judged about 40 world school rounds around Texas.
Check all that apply
__x___I judge WS regularly on the local level
_____I judge WS at national level tournaments
_____I occasionally judge WS Debate
_____I have not judged WS Debate this year but have before
_____I have never judged WS Debate
Rounds judged in other events this year : 75 rounds including PF, LD, Interp, Speaking, and Congress.
Check all that apply
____ I have not judged this year
____ I have not judged before
Have you chaired a WS round before?
I have chaired multiple WS rounds before locally.
What does chairing a round involve?
Chairing a round basically is keeping the round in order and ensuring a productive and efficient debate. The chair is in charge of calling up the speakers, leading the RFD for the panel, making sure people do not ask questions during protected time (which I discuss students should keep their own timer at the beginning so we do not have this issue), and making sure a fair debate is occurring.
How would you describe WS Debate to someone else?
I would describe WSD as a form of debate in which you are arguing ideas and issues to show which side of the motion is the most logical. This is way different than Americanized debate where theory and jargon is utilized more, so it is focusing on the core issues of the debate. Worlds is suppose to make sense to anyone who is listening to the debate and therefore the arguments should make rationale sense to anybody.
What process, if any, do you utilize to take notes in debate?
I am fortunate enough to have a full setup for my computer. I have two monitors and on the main monitor I watch the debate, and the second monitor has my tabroom ballot where I am writing notes over each speech and speaker. I also in front of me use a notebook to flow the debate to make sure I keep up with what is being said in the round.
When evaluating the round, assuming both principle and practical arguments are advanced through the 3rd and Reply speeches, do you prefer one over the other? Explain.
This just simply depends on the topic itself. I am pretty open minded when it comes to arguments and do not have a personal preference as long as it is discussed why you chose what to advocate for. This clarity is needed to really emphasize why that approached is needed and it's on the debaters to tell me why it is preferable.
The WS Debate format requires the judge to consider both Content and Style as 40% each of the speaker’s overall score, while Strategy is 20%. How do you evaluate a speaker’s strategy?
I think strategy usually is overlooked in terms of how you want structure arguments. A speaker's strategy is how do you connect the claims you present and how you word things in order to be effective in elaborating on arguments presented by the other side. Picking the right way to argue things and how you say it are definitely things to be aware of for your strategy.
WS Debate is supposed to be delivered at a conversational pace. What category would you deduct points in if the speaker was going too fast?
First, I am glad to have not judged a WSD where someone was spreading, so let's keep it that way hopefully. If someone is just not effective with their speed and tone I usually deduct points from their style.
WS Debate does not require evidence/cards to be read in the round. How do you evaluate competing claims if there is no evidence to read?
As silly as it may sound, I usually vote on simply what makes sense. Since we do not have to have the 20 minutes of calling for cards (thankfully), I simply view whos reasoning and rationale makes the most sense towards the topic and arguments presented in the round. Show me your thought process through your speech and it usually comes down to who can prove their claims in a clear manner, rather than the throw everything at the wall and see what sticks strategy.
How do you evaluate models vs. countermodels?
I look at how effective and clear some model is to make sure it sets the foundation for your ideas. Make sure you think through your model to answer any potential questions individuals may have about it. I do not think all motions need a model or countermodel, so just make sure if you use one there is a purpose to it.
Jenn (Jennifer) Miller-Melin, Jenn Miller, Jennifer Miller, Jennifer Melin, or some variation thereof. :)
Email for email chains:
If you walk into a round and ask me some vague question like, "Do you have any paradigms?", I will be annoyed. If you have a question about something contained in this document that is unclear to you, please do not hesitate to ask that question.
-Formerly assistant coach for Lincoln-Douglas debate at Hockaday, Marcus, Colleyville, and Grapevine. Currently assisting at Grapevine High School and Colleyville Heritage High School.
I was a four year debater who split time between Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage High Schools. During my career, I was active on the national circuit and qualified for both TOC and NFL Nationals. Since graduating in 2004, I have taught at the Capitol Debate Institute, UNT Mean Green Debate Workshops, TDC, and the University of Texas Debate Institute, the National Symposium for Debate, and Victory Briefs Institute. I have served as Curriculum Director at both UTNIF and VBI.
In terms of debate, I need some sort standard to evaluate the round. I have no preference as to what kind of standard you use (traditional value/criterion, an independent standard, burdens, etc.). The most important thing is that your standard explains why it is the mechanism I use to decide if the resolution is true or false. As a side note on the traditional structure, I don't think that the value is of any great importance and will continue to think this unless you have some well warranted reason as to why I should be particularly concerned with it. My reason is that the value doesn't do the above stated, and thus, generally is of no aid to my decision making process.
That said, debates often happen on multiple levels. It is not uncommon for debaters to introduce a standard and a burden or set of burdens. This is fine with me as long as there is a decision calculus; by which I mean, you should tell me to resolve this issue first (maybe the burden) and that issue next (maybe the standard). Every level of analysis should include a reason as to why I look to it in the order that you ask me to and why this is or is not a sufficient place for me to sign my ballot. Be very specific. There is nothing about calling something a "burden" that suddenly makes it more important than the framework your opponent is proposing. This is especially true in rounds where it is never explained why this is the burden that the resolution or a certain case position prescribes.
Another issue relevant to the standard is the idea of theory and/or off-case/ "pre-standard" arguments. All of the above are fine but the same things still apply. Tell me why these arguments ought to come first in my decision calculus. The theory debate is a place where this is usually done very poorly. Things like "education" or "fairness" are standards and I expect debaters to spend effort developing the framework that transforms into such.
l try to listen to any argument, but making the space unsafe for other bodies is unacceptable. I reserve the right to dock speaks or, if the situation warrants it, refuse to vote on arguments that commit violence against other bodies in the space.
I hold all arguments to the same standard of development regardless of if they are "traditional" or "progressive". An argument has a structure (claim, warrant, and impact) and that should not be forgotten when debaterI ws choose to run something "critical". Warrants should always be well explained. Certain cards, especially philosophical cards, need a context or further information to make sense. You should be very specific in trying to facilitate my understanding. This is true for things you think I have read/should have read (ie. "traditional" LD philosophy like Locke, Nozick, and Rawls) as well as things that I may/may not have read (ie. things like Nietzsche, Foucault, and Zizek). A lot of the arguments that are currently en vogue use extremely specialized rhetoric. Debaters who run these authors should give context to the card which helps to explain what the rhetoric means.
One final note, I can flow speed and have absolutely no problem with it. You should do your best to slow down on author names and tags. Also, making a delineation between when a card is finished and your own analysis begins is appreciated. I will not yell "clear" so you should make sure you know how to speak clearly and quickly before attempting it in round.
I will always disclose unless instructed not to do so by a tournament official. I encourage debaters to ask questions about the round to further their understanding and education. I will not be happy if I feel the debater is being hostile towards me and any debater who does such should expect their speaker points to reflect their behavior.
I am a truth tester at heart but am very open to evaluating the resolution under a different paradigm if it is justified and well explained. That said, I do not understand the offense/defense paradigm and am increasingly annoyed with a standard of "net benefits", "consequentialism", etc. Did we take a step back about 20 years?!? These seem to beg the question of what a standard is supposed to do (clarify what counts as a benefit). About the only part of this paradigm that makes sense to me is weighing based on "risk of offense". It is true that arguments with some risk of offense ought to be preferred over arguments where there is no risk but, lets face it, this is about the worst type of weighing you could be doing. How is that compelling? "I might be winning something". This seems to only be useful in a round that is already giving everyone involved a headache. So, while the offense/defense has effectively opened us up to a different kind of weighing, it should be used with caution given its inherently defensive nature.
Theory seems to be here to stay. I seem to have a reputation as not liking theory, but that is really the sound bite version of my view. I think that theory has a place in debate when it is used to combat abuse. I am annoyed when theory is used as a tactic because a debater feels she is better at theory than her opponent. I really like to talk about the topic more than I like to wax ecstatic about what debate would look like in the world of flowers, rainbows, and neat flows. That said, I will vote on theory even when I am annoyed by it. I tend to look at theory more as an issue of reasonabilty than competing interpretations. As with the paradigm discussion above, I am willing to listen to and adjust my view in round if competing interpretations is justified as how I should look at theory. Over the last few years I have become a lot more willing to pull the trigger on theory than I used to be. That said, with the emergence of theory as a tactic utilized almost every round I have also become more sympathetic to the RVI (especially on the aff). I think the Aff is unlikely to be able to beat back a theory violation, a disad, and a CP and then extend from the AC in 4 minutes. This seems to be even more true in a world where the aff must read a counter-interp and debate on the original interp. All of this makes me MUCH more likely to buy an RVI than I used to be. Also, I will vote on theory violations that justify practices that I generally disagree with if you do not explain why those practices are not good things. It has happened a lot in the last couple of years that a debater has berated me after losing because X theory shell would justify Y practice, and don't I think Y practice would be really bad for debate? I probably do, but if that isn't in the round I don't know how I would be expected to evaluate it.
Finally, I can't stress how much I appreciate a well developed standards debate. Its fine if you choose to disregard that piece of advice, but I hope that you are making up for the loss of a strategic opportunity on the standards debate with some really good decisions elsewhere. You can win without this, but you don't look very impressive if I can't identify the strategy behind not developing and debating the standard.
I cannot stress enough how tired I am of people running away from debates. This is probably the biggest tip I can give you for getting better speaker points in front of me, please engage each other. There is a disturbing trend (especially on Sept/Oct 2015) to forget about the 1AC after it is read. This makes me feel like I wasted 6 minutes of my life, and I happen to value my time. If your strategy is to continuously up-layer the debate in an attempt to avoid engaging your opponent, I am probably not going to enjoy the round. This is not to say that I don't appreciate layering. I just don't appreciate strategies, especially negative ones, that seek to render the 1AC irrelevant to the discussion and/or that do not ever actually respond to the AC.
Debate has major representation issues (gender, race, etc.). I have spent years committed to these issues so you should be aware that I am perhaps hypersensitive to them. We should all be mindful of how we can increase inclusion in the debate space. If you do things that are specifically exclusive to certain voices, that is a voting issue.
Being nice matters. I enjoy humor, but I don't enjoy meanness. At a certain point, the attitude with which you engage in debate is a reason why I should choose to promote you to the next outround, etc.
You should not spread analytics and/or in depth analysis of argument interaction/implications at your top speed. These are probably things that you want me to catch word for word. Help me do that.
Theory is an issue of reasonability. Let's face it, we are in a disgusting place with the theory debate as a community. We have forgotten its proper place as a check on abuse. "Reasonability invites a race to the bottom?" Please, we are already there. I have long felt that theory was an issue of reasonability, but I have said that I would listen to you make arguments for competing interps. I am no longer listening. I am pretty sure that the paradigm of competing interps is largely to blame with for the abysmal state of the theory debate, and the only thing that I have power to do is to take back my power as a judge and stop voting on interps that have only a marginal net advantage. The notion that reasonability invites judge intervention is one of the great debate lies. You've trusted me to make decisions elsewhere, I don't know why I can't be trusted to decide how bad abuse is. Listen, if there is only a marginal impact coming off the DA I am probably going to weigh that against the impact coming off the aff. If there is only a marginal advantage to your interp, I am probably going to weigh that against other things that have happened in the round.
Grammar probably matters to interpretations of topicality. If one reading of the sentence makes sense grammatically, and the other doesn't that is a constraint on "debatability". To say the opposite is to misunderstand language in some pretty fundamental ways.
Truth testing is still true, but it's chill that most of you don't understand what that means anymore. It doesn't mean that I am insane, and won't listen to the kind of debate you were expecting to have. Sorry, that interp is just wrong.
Framework is still totally a thing. Impact justifying it is still silly. That doesn't change just because you call something a "Role of the Ballot" instead of a criterion.
Util allows you to be lazy on the framework level, but it requires that you are very good at weighing. If you are lazy on both levels, you will not make me happy.
Flashing is out of control. You need to decide prior to the round what the expectations for flashing/emailing are. What will/won't be done during prep time, what is expected to be flashed, etc. The amount of time it takes to flash is extending rounds by an unacceptable amount. If you aren't efficient at flashing, that is fine. Paper is still totally a thing. Email also works.
School affiliation/s - please indicate all - None
Hired - yes
If HIRED - what schools/programs in Texas do you work with if any: none
High School Affiliation if graduated within last five years - n/a
Please list ANY schools that you would need to be coded/conflicted against - none
Currently enrolled in college? grad school University of Texas at Dallas
College Speech and Debate Experience - parliamentary debate
Years Judging/Coaching - 4
Years of Experience Judging any Speech/Debate Event - 25
Rounds Judged in World School Debate this year - lots
Check all that apply
_XX___I judge WS regularly on the local level
_XX__I judge WS at national level tournaments
Rounds judged in other events this year
Have you chaired a WS round before? yes
What does chairing a round involve? facilitating between speeches
How would you describe WS Debate to someone else? equal burdens
What process, if any, do you utilize to take notes in debate? flow
When evaluating the round, assuming both principle and practical arguments are advanced through the 3rd and Reply speeches, do you prefer one over the other? Explain. I think there needs to be a balance of both.
The WS Debate format requires the judge to consider both Content and Style as 40% each of the speaker’s overall score, while Strategy is 20%. How do you evaluate a speaker’s strategy? for strategy it's a matter of addressing the arguments in the round and how well they adhere to the norms of their speech order.
WS Debate is supposed to be delivered at a conversational pace. What category would you deduct points in if the speaker was going too fast? style
WS Debate does not require evidence/cards to be read in the round. How do you evaluate competing claims if there is no evidence to read? which side presents more compelling logical warrants as to why something is true.
How do you resolve model quibbles? whichever side does a better job of explaining why we should prefer theirs
How do you evaluate models vs. countermodels? whichever side does a better job of explaining why we should prefer theirs
Hi, welcome to my 30 second tutorial called, 'Answering Arguments Wins Debates.' Notice I didn't say 'repeating arguments wins debates,' because it doesn't. You have to listen to your opponent's argument, and then craft a response that shows why your side of the resolution is comparatively better regarding this issue. Telling me their argument isn't well-warranted isn't enough. You have to provide me with a warrant for why your side of the debate wins that point.
Now onto the stuff about me...
NO SPEED IN DEBATE. If it's faster than you would talk to a parent or teacher, don't do it. I will say clear once, then I will take off speaker points if I have to say clear again. I find speed problematic for two reasons. 1) it does not promote an inclusive debate space, because participants who are new or rarely compete cannot truly participate. 2) it is completely ableist to assume all of your competitors and judges will be able to meaningfully understand your speech. A decade ago I experienced a bipolar break, and since then my brain doesn't work as fast, and my ear-to-brain interaction isn't what it used to be. That doesn't mean I am stupid. It just means that I need to hear things at a normal, conversational speed.
***Whether it's prelims or elims of LD, PF, or worlds, at the point that you disregard my ability to participate in the round, you will not win my ballot. You might think you can win the other two ballots in an elim round, but it's not a great idea to have a 50% chance of winning/50% chance of winning/0% chance of winning when you could go slower and have 50% chance of winning each judge.*** Please note that I rarely am put in policy rounds, but sometimes I am needed. In prelims I expect a slower round. In elims, I will not be offended if you go your regular speed, but you have a greater chance of winning my ballot by going slower, as pointed out above. If you are in LD, PF, or worlds I WILL be offended if you go faster than my preference, and offending judges is not a great look.
In terms of argumentation, I will consider anything that isn't offensive. If you're trying to make an argument based on debate jargon explain it to me. Just because you think you sound cool saying something doesn't mean I am going to vote on it. I do not vote off tricks on the flow. Not every dropped argument actually matters. On the flipside, don't ignore arguments. LISTEN to your opponent. Respond to them.
I vote more on the big picture - overall impacts, overall strategy. I want to see you show why your side of the resolution is comparatively better than your opponent's. I do not like overwrought impacts. I am going to buy the impact about a million people that has a high probability of happening and a strong link chain over an existential impact that has a shady link story. If you think your opponent's impact is ridiculous, I probably do, too. Point that out to me so I can vote on yours instead. Every time a debater makes an argument that extinction level impacts have a zero percent probability, an angel gets its wings and Tinkerbell can fly again. You want to save flying paranormal creatures, don't you? Then be the person who isn't impacting to extinction.
Lastly, be respectful of me and of your opponent. If I am cringing by how rude you are in CX, you won't be getting high speaks. I don't vote for bullies. I vote for debaters. If you have questions about how to get better after the round, you can ask me. If you want to re-debate the round, I will not be tolerant. You had a chance to communicate to me, and if you lost, you lost. I am not going to change my mind, and arguing with me will just mean I will be in a bad mood if I ever have to judge you again. I judge often enough you want to be the person I smile when I see.
I am open to all arguments. I really want debaters to explain why their specific argument is better than the other side. If you are arguing theory be sure to make sure I know where the abuse/ violation is and why it is more important than other arguments in the round. I am fine with speed in person but I have found that sound quality from mics and speakers are huge variables that can cause problems and although you might be clear in person it may not be coming across clear on my end and I will let you know and ask you to slow down.
Yes, I want to be on the email chain. email@example.com
Tl;dr I'm fine with really any argument you want to read as long as it links to and is weighed in relation to some evaluative mechanism. I am pretty convinced that T/theory should always be an issue of reasonability (I obviously think that some debates are better when there is a clear counter-interp that offense is linked back to); if you trust me to compare and weigh offense on substantive issues in the debate, I can't figure out why you wouldn't also trust me to make the same judgments on T/theory debates (unless you're just making frivolous/bad T/theory args). I enjoy any debate that you think you can execute well (yeah this applies to your K/counter-plan/non-T aff; I'll listen to it). I base speaker points on whether or not I think that you are making strategic choices that might lead to me voting for you (extending unnecessary args instead of prioritizing things that contribute to your ballot story, dropping critical arguments that either are necessary for your position or that majorly help your opponent, failing to weigh arguments in relation to each other/the standard would be some general examples of things that would cause you to lose speaker points if I am judging). Beyond those issues, I think that debate should function as a safe space for anyone involved; any effort to undermine the safety (or perceived safety) of others in the activity will upset me greatly and result in anything from a pretty severe loss of speaker points to losing the round depending on the severity of the harm done. So, be nice (or at least respectful) and do you!