Billy Tate Southern Bell Forum MBA
2022 — Nashville, TN/US
Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Indiana University '19
My general presumption for CP solvency is sufficiency, but I can be persuaded by well-articulated/evidenced aff arguments that in certain contexts, and offense/defense paradigm for evaluating solvency deficits is inappropriate.
I'll will *not* kick the CP for the negative unless explicitly told to do so and only when uncontested by the aff. In an equally debated situation, I will strongly err towards sticking the negative with the 2nr
If you have evidence that compares your CP to the plan, it's probably legitimate
Immediacy/Certainty/Any Process CP – Probably illegitimate
No solvency advocate – if its an intuitive advantage CP, particularly when based on the aff evidence, that seems reasonable
2NC CPs – Good
I like any critique that makes calls into question some core aspect of the aff. This can be their primary justifications, representations, mechanism, etc.
Good case debating is important. Solvency/internal link presses that aid your link arguments are extremely powerful.
Fiat is good and the aff should be weighed. But that doesn’t mean questions of epistemology or justifications are irrelevant. Weighing those links against the aff is both possible and desirable.
Limits only matter to the extent they are predictable. Quality evidence should dictate topicality. Community norms shouldn’t be relevant and are subject to group-think and path dependency. T is an important strategic weapon, particularly on large topics and you should go for it when necessary. I’d suggest slowing down in the 2NR/2AR and isolating the debate to a narrow set of relevant questions.
Conditionality is fine within reason. When it seems absurd it probably is, and its not impossible to persuade me to reject the team, but it is an uphill battle. Its hard to imagine voting aff unless there are 4 or more conditional advocacies introduced.
The aff should read a topical example of the resolution.
TVAs don’t have to include the affs precise method or the totality of the 1ac, but create access to the affs literature base
The aff needs a strong defense of why reading this particular aff is key (its methodology, theory, performance, etc), why reading this argument on the aff as opposed to the neg is key, and why debate in general is key
Fairness and skills impacts are fine. Topic education usually seems less relevant and less strategic
Debate is a competitive activity. Even though it isn’t just a game, strategy and competition dictate much of what we do in debate, and that matters
Alex Barreto (pronouns= He/they)
Casady 2021 (debated)
University of Kansas 2025 (debating)
I want the ev. (also questions) pls- email@example.com
Speech times are rules, Clipping is bad, racism/transphobia/sexism/etc... are automatic losses.
I would prefer not to render value statements on actions high schoolers have made in the past.
Online thing: If my camera is not on, assume I am not ready. I would generally like everyone to keep their cameras on during speeches and cross ex but understand technical or personal reasons why people may not want to.
I only read what you read, I can perhaps be convinced to allow insertions but only if you explain the rehighlighting before it's inserted, saying "their ev trash" then inserting 10 cards won't convince me to read them and do work for you.
Asking for marked cards does not take prep or cx. Asking which cards were read or not read is CX or prep.
I evaluate debates by
1- Identifying arguments: I will using my flow and the debaters framing in the 2NR/2AR, identify the central issues of the debates. I will then by using a needs test. IE: If the neg needs to win CP solves to win the debate, I will start on the cp. Determine the order in which I should decide arguments.
2- Trace my flow to see which side is winning an argument and if the arguments were present in earlier speeches.
3- Figure out if I can use the arguments and words used by each side to phrase a coherent decision.
4- Give the decision which feels the least interventionist
I will give decisions where I feel stupid for saying the things I am saying, as long as I think the words, warrants, and arguments provided by the team I voted forgave me sufficient vocabulary to offer a decision. I write decisions with a line of post-rounding in mind. If I cannot give a decision for you without the other team asking me "why" and then me having to explain your argument in a way which you didn't or even try to I will likely vote against you.
I realize If you don't understand my decision it probably won't be helpful for any improvement. Post-Round(or just ask a lot of questions) time permitting, I know it's always been frustrating to me as a debater when judges communicated decisions in a very confusing way and I'm certainly not always the best communicator.
I have judged about 47 rounds at tournaments and about 10 practice rounds. I coach and help out some teams on the topic. That said I think my topic knowledge is somewhat solid.
A lot of affs feel like they are effectually topical, I would really like the neg to make this a viable strategy on T with a nuanced interpretation and bright-line for violations.
A lot of teams have been using really bad "protect cards" to make these interpretation arguments, but plans usually meet those with their mandates but seem to violate their effects. I feel like "increase" more intuitively makes violations against the mandates of a lot of these plans. Maybe "increase" is just meaningless though and I have not seen this debate play out before so take this thought with a grain of salt.
- Tech>truth. At some point, this line gets murky when arguments become unresolvable. I refuse to vote on arguments that are factually untrue. The bar for factually is really high. For example, if you go for an argument that says the moon isn't real and win it, I will vote for the moon is not real. However, if you go for the 2012 elections DA I will not vote for it.
- Warrant framing is important- Which studies should I care about more, what does winning and losing specific examples mean, do two arguments operate at the same "level"(perception vs material for example) etc...
- I read a lot of cards primarily because I love reading cards. That said the amount of time after the round I spend reading cards and factoring them into my decision depends on the debaters, which means it would behoove you to cite specific cards in the final rebuttals and frame how I should read and use them in my decision. A debate where judges only read cards to resolve otherwise unresolvable claims is never where debaters want to be.
- With advantages, less is more. Better internal links but fewer impact scenarios will do more for me than 8 bad impact scenarios. Debates usually come down to 1/2 scenarios vs 1/2 scenarios anyway.
- Soft left affs can be strategic but framing pages are rarely a reason to not evaluate the disad, debate accordingly.
- T interps that aren't predictable are probably worse than ones that are. Defense in "policy T debates" is underutilized
- I generally think a lot of judges insert their personal thoughts in T debates at various levels so I do my best to check against that. That said I will generally say I have noticed a trend where common T arguments have higher win rates at the start and ends of a season, and that statistical confluence is perhaps true for me as well.
- We meets are yes/no questions, "risk of we meet" or "risk they don't" arguments don't make much sense to me.
- Reasonability has never made a ton of conceptual sense to me, seems to be more of an "arbitrariness impact framing argument" in most debates than anything else.
I start from the default that any theory argument other than conditionality is a reason to reject the argument. I also start from the default that I should judge kick counter plans. I think aff teams can easily win otherwise if a specific no judge kick argument is made in the 1AR and 2AR.
- K affs should have a counter-interp and extend it. In debates where the 2AR extends no interpretation or cannot solve their offense, I don't understand how the aff FW disads are unique.
- Fairness can or cannot be an impact- depends on who is winning what.
- Teams usually lose these debates when they ignore what the other side is saying.
- TVAs and Switch side are helpful but I am perhaps more willing than most to vote neg even in worlds where there is no defense to aff impacts. The best way for aff teams to deal with that predisposition is to ensure you explain a strong internal link and solvency argument to impacts, even if they seem "uncontested".
- This was made in the point above, but the team that does their best to engage in the other teams arguments is usually the team that wins.
- The word interpretation matters to me a lot. I will only vote on framework interpretations in the 2NR/2AR. I will not arbitrarily decide a middle ground unless that is explained by one of the 2NR/2AR, I will not however assume to exclude arguments from an interpretation unless it's explained by the team extending the interpretation.
- I read a lot and have read critical arguments in debate from time to time. Still, I may not know as much as you about what your reading. Do your best to apply every theory or argument you introduce to the debate, so I don't have a "floating theory of power" with no idea what to do with it.
- I am really good for highly technical well defended k tricks IE: Floating piks, link turns case, epistemology first etc... Emphasis on "highly technical well defended", I become very bad for all of the above when their presence is vague, unexplicit, and underexplained.
- Counterplans having to be Functionally and textually competitive seems to be the gold standard but aff teams rarely explain the best version of this argument or why functional competition only is bad.
- If I do judge kick an advocacy, I still think presumption goes aff unless some other metric is introduced by the negative when making an "even if judge kick cp...." argument.
- Disad turns case arguments are useful. Well constructed disads that deal with aff arguments are rare and I love them.
- Risk is linear, if a 2NR or 2AR is purely defensive on a disad or advantage I will likely still think there is some risk of an impact. That said a dropped argument on a disad can 0 the disad and I perhaps easier than most, lower the risks of disads/advantages substantially when teams are debating defensive arguments well.
- Uniqueness frames the link arguments or link frames uniqueness arguments make more sense when a team has a straight turn. Otherwise it generally just results in teams pointing out risk is a thing but as the point above elaborates, I already believe risk is a thing. How you frame risk in proportion to other impacts in the debate, however, is important.
Please put me on the chain and feel free to send any questions here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do whatever you want. None of the biases listed below are so strong as to override who did the better debating, but adjusting to my priors could maximize your chances of winning and result in better speaks. That being said, I probably will come down on policy side against the K if the debate is exactly even.
I don't have much familiarity with the Water topic so please over explain if possible.
Being nice in round, evidence quality, and efficient line-by-line are the most important things to me / will be rewarded the most with speaks.
K: I agree with Julian here:
“I will weigh the aff unless convinced otherwise. I enjoy alt debating far, far more than FW. Aff-specific link explanation will be rewarded highly. I am most likely to vote for a K if it uses its critical theory and explanatory power to directly diminish aff solvency rather than try to access a larger impact. If debated like a critical CP, DA, and case push, you will be rewarded.”
CP: Lean neg pretty heavily on most theory but could go either way on process cps, depending on the quality / specificity of the cp and in-round theory debating. I won't judge kick unless told to.
DA: Nothing new to say really. Think that generic DAs are probably underutilized, so no worries going for those in front of me.
K Affs / FW: I went for framework many times in high school, so I judge these rounds with the experience of having been on the neg vs k affs more so than being on the aff vs fw. For affs, I find straight up impact turns / k’s of fw more persuasive than c/i + defining words in the rez. For the neg, I’m more of a skills / education impact person, but still will listen to fairness / clash impacts.
T: Please please give me more background on the topic than you would normally. I have no idea what the core of the topic, community consensus, or what the best core generics are. The team that more specifically describes what their vision of the topic usually seems to win these debates.
Speaker Points: Mine are probably too inflated. Will reward kind debaters who are enjoying themselves in the activity.
If you have any questions email me at email@example.com
I did policy debate for two years at UT Dallas and now have graduated. I debated in high school in LD for 4 years at the local, state, and national circuit, and 2 years in PF.
I'm fine with speed. I'm not going to be timing you, so make sure to time yourself and keep track of your opponent's time.
Debate is about persuasion as well as evidence. I think the quality and explanation of arguments matters more than the amount of arguments. When you are extending/explaining your arguments, make sure to name/warrant the argument, not the author. Your speech is just as important as what you are reading. Don't just throw a bunch of cards in the air and assume I'm going to put it together for you. Your job is to show me at the end why you won, not mine. Evidence supports your argument, it is not enough for you to just spread through a card and expect me to vote off of a tiny sentence in your card. You have to explain the warrant in your evidence. You have to explain how things function in relation to each other.
Additionally, do not assume I understand what your argument is or what esoteric literature you are reading in your K is about. I do not like to do work in debates for debaters. I do not want to add in parts of my knowledge to yours. I aim to be an empty shell that is filled with both teams' arguments and then to adjudicate without any bias-- a true clean slate. That means I'll vote on pretty much anything.
Framework/K v K debates/Framework v. K debates/Topicality
I did run a lot of framework/T debates so I do enjoy watching that. Up to you though on what you want to run and how you want to do it. I'll evaluate it with the best of my ability. I'm predisposed to topical aff positions in policy because I have mostly debated with topical policy cases. That is not to say that I won't vote on them, just that I am not the best judge to evaluate K v. K debates. However, I do have experience running/understanding those arguments because my partner and I ran a nontopical aff for half a semester. I never think you should run arguments you are unfamiliar with, so don't stop running those arguments, just make it easier for me to understand the method by which I should evaluate/weigh the round. Framework is always a voting issue and a criticism of the affs method to play the game of debate. I default competing interps. You need to win that your definition/interpretation/model in a t/framework debate is better for debate unless you give me reasons for why I should default to reasonability. Personally, don't think lots of fairness claims on framework are super persuasive. However, if there is a true unfairness that maybe has to do with privilege/some sort of horrid in round experience (don't make stuff up for the ballot please), then you may be able to persuade me to vote on it.
Ks need to have a link, impact, and alt (though you may convince me you don't need to have an alt). If you’re going to go for the K, explain the link, why they can’t perm (if they try to), why the aff can't solve/is bad (ex. policy failure, vtl) and other aspects of the K. K's in my mind are similar to disads, but just function on a different level with a more critical lens. To weigh the aff against the kritik/vice versa, you also should have some sort of framework method top level.
Counterplans are fine. They are important to test whether the aff is a good idea. For CPs, they should have a cp text and some sort of net benefit. I think you need to win a link (not a risk of a link, I mean a LINK) in order for me to vote on any disad. In my opinion, off cases are conditional, so there's a low probability of me enjoying voting off of condo.
LD Frameworks/Value-Criterion stuff
I believe you need some sort of framework/way for me to evaluate the round. For framing, you need to have a value/criterion/ROB/ROJ that says that I should evaluate arguments by x. I ran different philosophical frameworks when I did LD and enjoy listening to unique ones and the way you justify your position through it. I don't care for disclosure debates in LD. I think disclosure is good in policy, but I honestly couldn't care less either way in LD. If you really feel that you were disadvantaged by not knowing what the aff was before round/previous 2NRs, then feel free to go ahead, but I won't be happy judging that kind of debate. I find those sorts of arguments boring
- Debate is a game.
- Presumption flows neg
- The point of debate is to be persuasive, so I think that as long as you persuade me on something, and have some good cards (even if they're untrue) then I'll vote for you. I love people that can answer arguments using a few logical responses. Quality over quantity.
- I will vote on mostly everything in round if it's explained well and you win the argument. However, I don't care about out of round impacts or voting for you immediately because you're discriminated against if they aren't explained with some sort of fw in mind.
- Let's all be nice to each other
- Simplify, simplify, simplify
Name: Conor Cameron
Current Affiliation: Solorio
If your affirmative strategy does not entail the defense of a topical plan OR if your primary negative strategy is not a reason to reject the affirmative's plan, then you should strike me.
Debate Experience: I debated for GBS in the early 2000s. I have since started a debate program in one of the lower conferences in the Chicago UDL. I am not intimately familiar with recent developments of the National Circuit. My first relevant exposure to the topic will be Round 1 of the first tournament of the year.
Summary – I am a policy-oriented judge. I’m a fan of neither performative debate nor the kritik. I do not mind speed, but clarity is key. You can tell if I can flow you by watching me. Failing a case specific strategy, my ideal negative strategy is a good topic generic: “Every topical affirmative must do [x]. [x] links to our topic-specific DA and/or generates competition for our topic-specific CP.” After that, I like classic debate disadvantages (politics, hegemony, e.g.) and counterplans (including Consult). I think it is difficult to beat most well-constructed affirmatives without a counterplan of some sort.
Disadvantages – I will not assign zero OR 100% weight to an advantage OR a disadvantage. Do your updates, but I tend to evaluate the direction of the link. While I try to keep it out of my decision, I am not oblivious to the ridiculousness of your scenario. I am more likely to spot ridiculousness in areas with which I am familiar. (I majored in economics)
Topicality – Affirmatives are topical until proven otherwise. That burden of proof is emphatically high. In order to win topicality, you need to compare what debating on this topic looks like under your interpretation vs the affirmative’s interpretation. It is insufficient to merely assert that the topic would be smaller under your interpretation. You need to talk about why the collection of affirmatives, disadvantages, and counterplans available under your interpretation would make for significantly better debate than the analogous collection available under the affirmative’s interpretation.
I give affirmatives a lot of leeway in characterizing the plan. In cross examination, the affirmative has the right to not take a stance on certain questions, e.g., whether Congress passes the plan. If a negative runs the XO CP, the affirmative has a right to say “Perm do the CP; that is how our plan passes; moving on.” I give the affirmative more leeway the less useful the counterplan is.
Counterplans – Are theoretically legitimate until proven otherwise. This burden of proof is also emphatically high. In debating counterplan theory, both sides need an interpretation of what a negative can and cannot do. An affirmative must prove that the negative’s interpretation significantly decreases the quality of the resulting debate. I like PICs, agent counterplans, consultation counterplans, etc.
Kritiks – Any acceptable framework should allow the affirmative to weigh the advantages of the plan against the implication of the kritik. Winning that “failure to solve the root cause means you do not solve” is a solvency question. I am unlikely to think that an affirmative has zero solvency in such case. I think affirmatives let negatives get away with a lot in terms of kritik links and alternatives. I am persuaded by “all other instances” permutations, because I think negatives very often do not have an explanation for why the plan in particular is key.
I do my best to avoid pulling the trigger on cheap shots, but if you failed to respond to a dumb argument, it makes you look disorganized and hurts your ethos.
Style – Keeping these notes in mind make you look more organized and “with it,” which will improve your speaker points. – Flowing and line by line are good. Referencing your opponents’ arguments in order and by number are good. Paperless debate is not an excuse to not flow. ALSO: Many theory debates in particular are super fast and super clear. Teams appear to be having a really good debate with each other. But they fail to realize that the only reason they can follow along is because they have immediate access to their opponent’s blocks / speech documents. The judge does not. We are in effect excluded from the conversation. If you want us to evaluate the argument, you need to make sure that we are flowing. It is your responsibility to make sure that your judge understands you. It is not your judge’s responsibility to call for all of your evidence OR try to recreate the entire debate from the fragments that did make it onto the page. Debate is, at its core, a communicative undertaking.
Finally, I do not give away free time, even for flashing. I keep a running clock: I stop a constructive after 8 minutes, cross examination after 11minutes, and just subtract out the 11 when you give me an order for the next speech. I start speech time after the order is given.
Experience- This will be my third year coaching at Northview High School. Before moving to Georgia, I coached for 7 years at Marquette High in Milwaukee, WI and I debated there for four years.
Yes, add me to the email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
*As I have gained more coaching and judging experience, I find that I highly value teams who respect their opponents who might not have the same experience as them. This includes watching how you come across in CX, prep time, and your general comportment towards your opponent. In some local circuits, circuit-style policy debate is dwindling and we all have a responsibility to be respectful of the experience of everyone involved in policy debate.*
*Clarity in online debates- I do not flow off the document that you send me. This means that you must take extra precautions to be clear in online debates. I haven't found a good way to communicate with debaters that they are too unclear to flow, because it's difficult to demonstrate frustration over video calls and the alternative is interrupting the call. I will say clear once or twice. Please keep an eye on your clarity.*
LD Folks at the Blue Key RR, please read the addendum at the end of my paradigm.
Big picture “ideologies”
-I believe that rounds often lack comparative claims about the relative quality of arguments and how this impacts the interactions of arguments. Put another way, impact calculus does not only pertain to weighing the magnitude, timeframe and probability of impacts against each other but also pertains to comparing the way in which defensive arguments, claims about qualifications, evidence quality or other similar arguments impact how I should evaluate certain arguments within the round. When debating, always ask the question "Why?", such as "If I win this argument, WHY is this important?", "If I lose this argument WHY does this matter?". If you start thinking in these terms and can explain each level of this analysis to me, then you will get closer to winning the round. In general, the more often this happens and the earlier this happens it will be easier for me to understand where you are going with certain arguments. This type of analysis definitely warrants higher speaker points from me and it helps you as a debater eliminate my predispositions from the debate.
-For me to vote on a single argument, it must have a claim, warrant, impact, and impact comparison. This also applies to how I judge DA an CP debates.
A DA is not a full DA until a uniqueness, link, internal link and impact argument is presented. Too many teams are getting away with 2 card DA shells in the 1NC and then reading uniqueness walls in the block. I will generally allow for new 1AR answers.
Similarly, CP's should have a solvency advocate read in the 1NC. I'll be flexible on allowing 1AR arguments in a world where the aff makes an argument about the lack of a solvency advocate.
- Yes, terminal defense exists, however, I do not think that teams take enough advantage of this kind of argument in front of me. I will not always evaluate the round through a lens of offense-defense, but you still need to make arguments as to why I shouldn’t by at least explaining why your argument functions as termainal defense. Again this plays into evidence questions and the relative impacts of arguments claims made above.
With those three main paradigmatic questions out of the way, here are my thoughts on particular arguments. This list is by no means exhaustive and if you have any questions about specifics, feel free to ask. Again, these are just predispositions that I would like to eliminate as much as possible while judging but I cannot shy away from the fact that they exist and will impact the way I think about rounds.
Case- Debates are won or lost in the case debate. By this, I mean that proving whether or not the aff successfully accesses all, some or none of the case advantages has implications on every flow of the debate and should be a fundamental question of most 2NRs and 2ARs. I think that blocks that are heavy in case defense or impact turns are incredibly advantageous for the neg because they enable you to win any CP (by proving the case defense as a response to the solvency deficit), K (see below) or DA (pretty obvious). I think that most affs can be divided into two categories: affs with a lot of impacts but poor internal links and affs with very solid internal links but questionable impacts. Acknowledging in which of these two categories the aff you are debating falls should shape how you approach the case debate. I find myself growing increasingly disappointed by negative teams that do not test weak affirmatives. I miss judging impact turn debate, but don't think that spark or wipeout are persuasive arguments.
DA- I most often evaluate the DA through a lens of probability. Your job as the aff team when debating a DA is to use your defensive arguments to question the probability of the internal links to the aff. Likewise, the neg should use turns case arguments as a reason why your DA calls into question the probability of the aff's internal link. I think that an interesting argument that is often not taken advantage of by the neg is DA is the prerequisite for the aff argument.
CP- While, when it is a focus of the debate, I tend to err affirmative on questions of counterplan competiton, I have grown to be more persuaded by a well-executed counterplan strategy even if the counterplan is a process counterplan. The best counterplans have a solvency advocate who is, at least, specific to the topic, and, best, specific to the affirmative. I do not default to judge kicking the counterplan and will be easily persuaded by an affirmative argument about why I should not default to that kind of in-round conditionality.
K- I think that the best critiques are critiques that directly engage the action of the affirmative, however, criticisms or the representations of the aff are also fair. Most rounds on the K are won in front of me when the 2N explains how the K turns the case or is somehow a prerequisite for the aff. I do find permutations persuasive when this sort of analysis is lacking, however. I also find that I will give higher speaker points to the team that explains links to specific lines in their opponents' evidence or to the logic within cross-x answers etc.
I will say that I think the strategy of going for the K with case defense is an argument combination that is not utilized enough. I think that case defense allows you to provide substantive ways in which I can call into question the assumptions of the aff. I think that it is very difficult in high school debate for an aff team to come back from a block that consists of the K and case defense exclusively. By case debate, I do not just mean your generic K links put on the case page. Sure, there's some advantages to this strategy, but making smart arguments that disprove the thesis of their aff is always a good idea. K teams so frequently let policy affs get away with some really poor evidence quality and weak internal links. Please help the community and deter policy teams from reading one bad internal link to their heg aff against your [INSERT THEORY HERE] K. (NOTE: This is not me encouraging you to exclusively debate like this in front of me, I just think that it is an under used strategy).
More familiar bodies of literature: Queerness, security, Lacan, capitalism, anthro
Somewhat familiar: settler colonialism, afropessimism, cybernetics
Less familiar: Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze
K affs- After having judged an increasing amount of debates between plan-less affs and framework, I have started to realize that my thoughts on this question are changing.
1.) Topicality is winning more debates in front of me- While I think that it is possible for teams to win debates vs. plan-less affirmatives without reading topicality, my thoughts on T as an effective strategy against these affs have changed to the point where I think this is a strategic position.
2.) The form vs. content distinction is persuasive- Teams that make arguments that distinguish between the content of the affirmative and the form of policy debate are generally persuasive to me. I think that the evolution in TVA and negative state action arguments have persuaded me that the content of the affirmative can be accessed through "topical" action. This, of course, does not mean that there isn't room for discussion here. Aff teams should be specific when making these arguments.
3.) Case in T debates- Regardless of the side you're on in one of these debates, I think that a lot of the debate comes down to whether or not the aff can access the affirmative and if this gives them offense on the T debate. I have been persuaded by "aff comes first" arguments in the past, particularly when the case is conceded. Negatives need to have arguments (preferably specific ones) about why the aff can't access their offense.
4.) I do think there are situations in which it is a fair expectation that the negative should have a specific answer to the affirmative that does not rely on a generic T, cap or disad shell. In particular, I tend to be persuaded by arguments about the predictability of “debate about debate” being a round for which the negative should have been prepared.
For reference, here is what I used to say about K affs (circa 2016-17):
I want to start out this section of my paradigm by saying that I have not judged many debates in which the affirmative has not read a plan text. I have openly coached teams that do not read plan texts and am open to the idea, however, I am not an experienced judge in this area of the debate. This means that if you are a team that does not defend resolutional action or does not read a plan text you must be clear as to how your advocacy statement or performative impact rectifies the impacts isolated in the 1AC.
I think that strong negative offense against these positions stems from kritiks or disads to the performative action/mechanism of the affirmative. In other words, I think the best answers to these affirmatives directly answer the thesis of the affirmative. I do not think that framework/T debates are the best answers to these arguments. Again, if framework is your response, that's fine but you will need to be making portable skills arguments that are contextualized to lack of access in debate, otherization in the debate space etc., to win my ballot in framework debates.
T- While I used to say that T is not necessarily my strong suit, I think that this has changed in the last year particularly given the lack of affirmative creativity on the arms sales topic. I think that portable skills are the best impact teams can make when they are engaged in T or theory debates. Comparative impact calculus and a discussion of how each team accesses their impacts will be important in winning my ballot in T debates. I find it incredibly problematic when there are multiple T interpretations in the round, especially when there are multiple definitions of the same word. However, as mentioned above, I think that an affirmative team can persuasively make arguments about why aff creativity outweighs predictability, particularly on this topic.
Theory- I debated on a team that engaged in a lot of theory debates in high school. There were multiple tournaments where most of our debates boiled down to theory questions, so I would like to think that I am a good judge for theory debates. I think that teams forget that theory debates are structured like a disadvantage. Again, comparative impact calculus is important to win my ballots in these debates. I will say that I tend to err aff on most theory questions. For example, I think that it is probably problematic for there to be more than one conditional advocacy in a round (and that it is equally problematic for your counter interpretation to be dispositionality) and I think that counterplans that compete off of certainty are bad for education and unfair to the aff. Again, portable skills are the most important to me in terms of my predispositions so you will need to do work in round to explain your arguments in this context.
Individuals who have most influenced my thoughts about debate/who's decision making calculus was (at least at one point) similar to mine: Tyler Thur (former partner), Ben Schultz (former coach).
Speaker point range on CJR (for post-round reference):
Average- 28.2 (though teams I've judged that have cleared at circuit tournaments average ~28.7)
I recommend that you go to the bathroom and fill your water bottles before the debate rather than before a speech.
Notes for the Blue Key RR/Other LD Judging Obligations
Biggest shift for me in judging LD debates is the following: No tricks or intuitively false arguments. I'll vote on dropped arguments, but those arguments need a claim, data, warrant and an impact for me to vote on them. If I can't explain the argument back to you and the implications of that argument on the rest of the debate, I'm not voting for you.
I guess this wasn't clear enough the first time around- I don't flow off the document and your walls of framework and theory analytics are really hard to flow when you don't put any breaks in between them.
Similarly, phil debates are always difficult for me to analyze. I tend to think affirmative's should defend implementation particularly when the resolution specifies an actor. Outside of my general desire to see some debates about implementation, I don't have any kind of background in the phil literature bases and so will have a harder time picturing the implications of you winning specific arguments. If you want me to understand how your argumets interact, you will have to do a lot of explanation.
Theory debates- Yes, I said that I enjoy theory debates in my paradigm above and that is largely still true, but CX theory debates are a lot less technical than LD debates. I also think there are a lot of silly theory arguments in LD and I tend to have a higher threshold for those sorts of arguments. I also don't have much of a reference for norm setting in LD or what the norms actually are. Take that into account if you choose to go for theory and probably don't because I won't award you with high enough speaks for your liking.
K debates- Yes, I enjoy K debates but I tend to think that their LD variant is very shallow. You need to do more specific work in linking to the affirmative and developing the implications of your theory of power claims. While I enjoy good LD debates on the K, I always feel like I have to do a lot of work to justify a ballot in either direction. This is magnified
Thoughts from the arms sales topic that I don't expect anyone to even see:
Judging debates on the arms sales topic is most difficult for me when the negative strategy relies on winning an internal link or link turn to affirmative strategies in order to win an off-case position. Absent specific link or comparative sequencing analysis, I find it difficult to evaluate the distinctions between the China War advantage and the Deterrence DA, for example. I believe these debates are most successful at the highest level, but teams that are slower or might not have the strongest strategic vision often fail to win these negative strategies.
Debate Coach - Niles West
Previous Coaching - Johns Creek, Walter Payton, SLC West, Riverwood, Chattahoochee
Education - West Georgia '20 (Philosophy)
Email - email@example.com
Be clear! If I don't hear your argument, it's not going to be evaluated.
I have no argument preference & will vote for anything (Politics, Cheating CP's, Aspec, Death Good, Framework, Afro-pessimism, Poems, etc...).
Do what you are good at > trying to adapt to what you think I might like.
Usually tech > truth.
Absolutely no ties. First team that asks for one = loss.
Soliciting any outside assistance during a round = loss.
Clipping = loss & lowest possible points.
Please try to treat everyone with respect & don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc...
I've coached LASA since 2005. I judge ~100 debates per season on the high school circuit.
If there’s an email chain, please add me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re using a flash drive, prep stops when you pull the flash drive out of your computer. If you’re using an email chain, I won’t count attaching and emailing as prep time. Please do not steal prep.
If you have little time before the debate, here’s all you need to know: do what you do best. I try to be as unbiased as possible and I will defer to your analysis. As long as you are clear, go as fast as you want.
Most judges give appalling decisions. Here's where I will try to be better than them:
- They intervene, even when they claim they won't. Perhaps "tech over truth" doesn't mean what it used to. I will attempt to adjudicate and reach a decision purely on only the words you say. If that's insufficient to reach a decision either way--and it often isn't--I will add the minimum work necessary to come to a decision. The more work I have to do, the wider the range of uncertainty for you and the lower your speaks go.
- They aren't listening carefully. They're mentally checked out, flowing off the speech doc, distracted by social media, or have half their headphones off and are taking selfies during the 1AR. I will attempt to flow every single detail of your speeches. I will probably take notes during CX if I think it could affect my decision. If you worked hard on debate, you deserve a judge who works hard as well.
- They give poorly-reasoned decisions that rely on gut instincts and ignore arguments made in the 2NR/2AR. I will probably take my sweet time making and writing my decision. I will try to be as thorough and transparent as possible. If I intervene anywhere, I will explain why I had to intervene and how you could've prevented that intervention. If I didn't catch or evaluate an argument, I will explain why you under-explained or failed to extend it. I will try to anticipate your questions and preemptively answer them in my decision.
- They reconstruct the debate and try to find the most creative and convoluted path to a ballot. I guess they're trying to prove they're smart? These decisions are detestable because they take the debate away from the hands of the debaters. If there are multiple paths to victory for both teams, I will take what I think is the shortest path and explain why I think it's the shortest path, and you can influence my decision by explaining why you control the shortest path. But, I'm not going to use my decision to attempt to prove I'm more clever than the participants of the debate.
- I’m not a professional debate coach or even a teacher. I work as a finance analyst in the IT sector and I volunteer as a debate coach on evenings and weekends. I don’t teach at debate camp and my topic knowledge comes primarily from judging debates. My finance background means that, when left to my own devices, I err towards precision, logic, data, and concrete examples. However, I can be convinced otherwise in any particular debate, especially when it’s not challenged by the other team.
- Tech over truth in most instances. I will stick to my flow and minimize intervention as much as possible. I firmly believe that debates should be left to the debaters. I rarely make facial expressions because I don’t want my personal reactions to affect how a debate plays out. I will maintain a flow, even if you ask me not to. However, tech over truth has its limits. An argument must have sufficient explanation for it to matter to me, even if it’s dropped. You need a warrant and impact, not just a claim.
- Evidence comparison is under-utilized and is very important to me in close debates. I often call for evidence, but I’m much more likely to call for a card if it’s extended by author or cite.
- I don’t judge or coach at the college level, which means I’m usually a year or two behind the latest argument trends that are first broken in college and eventually trickle down to high school. If you’re reading something that’s close to the cutting edge of debate arguments, you’ll need to explain it clearly. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear new arguments. On the contrary, a big reason why I continue coaching debate is because I enjoy listening to and learning about new arguments that challenge my existing ways of thinking.
- Please mark your own cards. No one is marking them for you.
- If I feel that you are deliberately evading answering a question or have straight up lied, and the question is important to the outcome of the debate, I will stop the timer and ask you to answer the question. Example: if you read condo bad, the neg asks in CX whether you read condo bad, and you say no, I’ll ask if you want me to cross-out condo on my flow.
- Don't over-adapt to me in these debates. If you are most comfortable going for procedural fairness, do that. If you like going for advocacy skills, you do you. Like any other debate, framework debates hinge on impact calculus and comparison.
- When I vote neg, it’s usually because the aff team missed the boat on topical version, has made insufficient inroads into the neg’s limits disad, and/or is winning some exclusion disad but is not doing comparative impact calculus against the neg’s offense. The neg win rate goes up if the 2NR can turn or access the aff's primary impact (e.g. clash and argument testing is vital to ethical subject formation).
- When I vote aff, it’s usually because the 2NR is disorganized and goes for too many different impacts, there’s no topical version or other way to access the aff’s offense, and/or concedes an exclusion disad that is then impacted out by the 2AR. Without a credible counter-interpretation that the aff meets and that establishes some sufficient limits on the scope of debates, I lean negative.
- Over the years, “tech over truth” has led me to vote neg on some untruthful T violations. If you’re neg and you’ve done a lot of research and are ready to throw down on a very technical and carded T debate, I’m a good judge for you.
- I'm a stickler for the quality of a definition, especially if it's from a source that's contextual to the topic, has some intent to define, is exclusive and not just inclusive, etc.
- Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff. The size of the link to the limits disad usually determines how sympathetic I am towards this argument, i.e. if the link is small, then I’m more likely to conclude the aff’s C/I is reasonable even without other aff offense.
- The kritik teams I've judged that have earned the highest speaker points give highly organized and structured speeches, are disciplined in line-by-line debating, and emphasize key moments in their speeches.
- Just like most judges, the more case-specific your link and the more comprehensive your alternative explanation, the more I’ll be persuaded by your kritik.
- I greatly prefer the 2NC structure where you have a short (or no) overview and do as much of your explanation on the line-by-line as possible. If your overview is 6 minutes, you make blippy cross-applications on the line-by-line, and then you drop the last three 2AC cards, I’m going to give the 1AR a lot of leeway on extending those concessions, even if they were somewhat implicitly answered in your overview.
- Framework debates on kritiks rarely factor into my decisions. Frequently, I conclude that there’s not a decisive win for either side here, or that it’s irrelevant because the neg is already allowing the aff to weigh their impacts. Usually, I find myself somewhere in the middle: the neg always has the right to read kritiks, but the aff should have the right to access their advantages. Kritiks that moot the entire 1AC are a tough sell.
- I’m not a good judge for “role of the ballot” arguments, as I usually find these to be self-serving for the team making them. I’m also not a good judge for “competing methods means the aff doesn’t have a right to a perm”. I think the aff always has a right to a perm, but the question is whether the perm is legitimate and desirable, which is a substantive issue to be debated out, not a gatekeeping issue for me to enforce.
- I’m an OK judge for K “tricks”. A conceded root cause explanation, value to life impact, or “alt solves the aff” claim is effective if it’s sufficiently explained. The floating PIK needs to be clearly made in the 2NC for me to evaluate it. If your K strategy hinges on hiding a floating PIK and suddenly busting it out in the 2NR, I’m not a good judge for you.
- Just like most judges, I prefer case-specific over generic counterplans, but we can’t always get what we want.
- I lean neg on PICs. I lean aff on international fiat, 50 state fiat, condition, and consult. These preferences can change based on evidence or lack thereof. For example, if the neg has a state counterplan solvency advocate in the context of the aff, I’m less sympathetic to theory.
- I will not judge kick the CP unless explicitly told to do so by the 2NR, and it would not take much for the 2AR to persuade me to ignore the 2NR’s instructions on that issue.
- Presumption is in the direction of less change. If left to my own devices, I will probably conclude that most counterplans that are not explicitly PICs are a larger change than the aff.
- I’m a sucker for specific and comparative impact calculus. For example, most nuclear war impacts are probably not global nuclear war but some kind of regional scenario. I want to know why your specific regional scenario is faster and/or more probable. Reasonable impact calculus is much more persuasive to me than grandiose impact claims.
- I believe that in most cases, the link is more important for determining the direction of risk than uniqueness. The exceptions are when the uniqueness can be definitively determined rather than probabilistic.
- Zero risk is possible but difficult to prove by the aff. However, a miniscule neg risk of the disad is probably background noise.
- I actually enjoy listening to a good theory debate, but these seem to be exceedingly rare. I think I can be persuaded that many theoretical objections require punishing the team and not simply rejecting the argument, but substantial work needs to be done on why setting a precedent on that particular issue is important. You're unlikely to win that a single intrinsic permutation is a round-winning voter, even if the other team drops it, unless you are investing significant time in explaining why it should be an independent voting issue.
- I think that I lean affirmative compared to the rest of the judging community on the legitimacy of counterplans. In my mind, a counterplan that is wholly plan-inclusive (consultation, condition, delay, etc.) is theoretically questionable. The legitimacy of agent counterplans, whether domestic or international, is also contestable. I think the negative has the right to read multiple planks to a counterplan, but reading each plank conditionally is theoretically suspect.
- I usually take a long time to decide, and give lengthy decisions. LASA debaters have benefitted from the generosity of judges, coaches, and lab leaders who used their decisions to teach and trade ideas, not just pick a winner and get a paycheck. Debaters from schools with limited/no coaching, the same schools needed to prevent the decline in policy debate numbers, greatly benefit from judging feedback. I encourage you to ask questions and engage in respectful dialogue with me. However, post-round hostility will be met with hostility. I've been providing free coaching and judging since before you were birthed into the world. If I think you're being rude or condescending to me or your opponents, I will enthusiastically knock you back down to Earth.
- I don't want a card doc. If you send one, I will ignore it. Card docs are an opportunity for debaters to insert cards they didn't read, didn't extend, or re-highlight. They're also an excuse for lazy judges to compensate for a poor flow by reconstructing the debate after the fact. If your debating was disorganized and you need a card doc to return some semblance of organization, I'd rather adjudicate the disorganized debate and then tell you it was disorganized.
Montgomery Bell Academy
University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks
Jordan (UT) 96-98
College of Eastern Utah 99
Cal St Fullerton 01-04
Points will generally stay between 27.5 and 29.9. It generally takes between a 28.6 and 28.7 to clear. I assign points with that in mind. Teams that average 28.65 or higher in a debate means that I thought your points were elimination round-level debates. While it's not an exact science, 28.8-28.9 mean you had a good chance advancing the elimination rounds, 29+ indicates excellence reserved for quarters+. I'm not stingy with these kinds of points and they have nothing to do with past successes. It has everything to do with your performance in THIS debate.
1. Jumping is no longer considered prep.
2. Please do your best to reserve restroom breaks before the opposing team's speeches and not right before your own.
3. Try to treat each other with mutual respect.
4. Cards MUST be marked during the speech. Please say "Mark the card" and please have you OR your partner physically mark the cards in the speech. It is not possible to remember where you've marked your cards after the speech. Saying "mark the card" is the only way to let your judge and competitors know that you are not intending to represent that you've read the entirety of the card. Physically marking the card in the speech is necessary to maintain an accurate account of what you did or didn't read.
My 20 years in the community has led me to have formulated some opinions about how the activity should be run. I'm not sharing these with you because I think this is the way you have to debate, but because you may get some insight about how to win and earn better speaker points in front of me.
1) Conceded claims without warrants - A conceded argument is only given as much weight as the warrant that supports it. You still must have a warrant to support your claim...even if the argument has been conceded. If no warrant has been provided, then it wasn't ever an argument to begin with. For theory arguments to rise to the level of an actual "argument", they have to be properly warranted. If your conditionality argument takes less than 5 seconds to read, it's probably not an argument. "Condo -strat skew, voter....I hope they drop it" very well might be dropped, and not voted on. Politics theory arguments and Permutations fall into this same category. A perm must describe how it resolves the link to the net benefit to be an argument. You can't win on "perm: do the cp" without a reason it resolves the aff and should be theoretically allowed. "Vote NO" and "Fiat solves the link" need to have warrants also. If you are the victim of a theory arg like this, vote no, or intrinsicness, or whatever short thought, do not give up on this argument. You should be honest about not having flowed the argument because of its absurd brevity. You should also make arguments about how the development of those arguments in the 1ar are all new and should be rejected and your new answers be allowed. Affirmatives should make complete theory args in front of me, and negatives shouldn't be afraid to point out that the argument lacked a credible warrant.
2) Voting issues are reasons to reject the argument. (Other than conditionality)
3) Don't make affirmative statements in CX to start your response to a CX question you disagree with. For example, if one is asked "Is your plan a bad idea?' You shouldn't start your response with "sure" or "right", and then go on to disagree with the question. If you need a filler word or phrase, find one that doesn't posit an affirming response.
4) Debate stays in the round -- Debate is a game of testing ideas and their counterparts. Those ideas presented inside of the debate will be the sole factor used in determining the winning team. Things said or done outside of this debate round will not be considered when determining a winning team.
Topicality vs Conventional Affs: I default to competing interpretations on topicality, but can be persuaded by reasonability. Jurisdiction means nothing to me because I see jurisdiction being shaped by the questions of predictability, limits, and fairness. Topicality is a voting issue.
Topicality vs Critical Affs: I generally think that policy debate is a good thing and that a team should both have a plan and defend it. Given that, I have no problem voting for "no plan" advocacies or "fiat-less" plans. I will be looking for you to win that your impact turns to topicality/framework outweigh the loss of education/fairness that would be given in a "fiated" plan debate. I generally think affirmative teams struggle with answering the argument that they could advocate the majority of their aff while defending a topical plan. I also think that teams who stress they are a pre-requisite to topical action have a more difficult time with topical version type arguments, then teams do who impact turn standards. If you win that the state is irredeemable at every level, you are much more likely to get me to vote against FW. The K aff teams who have had success in front of me have been very good at generating a reasonable list of arguments that negative teams could run against them in order to mitigate the fairness impact of the T/FW argument. This makes the impact turns of a stricter limit much more persuasive to me.
I'm also in the fairness camp as a terminal impact, as opposed to an emphasis on portable skills. I think you can win that T comes before substantive issues.
One note to teams that are neg against an aff that lacks stable advocacy: Make sure you adapt your framework arguments to fit the aff. Don't read..." you must have a plan" if they have a plan. If a team has a plan but doesn't defend fiat, and base your ground arguments on that violation.
Counterplans and Disads: The more specific to the aff, the better. There are few things better than a well-researched PIC that just blind sites a team. Objectively, I think counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy are not legitimate. However, I still coach teams to run these arguments, and I can still evaluate a theory debate about these different counterplans as objectively as possible. Again, the more specific the evidence is to the aff, the more legitimate it will appear.
The K: I was a k debater and a philosophy major in college and you are welcome to run a criticism in front of me. I prefer criticisms that are specific to the resolution. If your K links don't discuss arms sales this year, then it's unlikely to be very persuasive to me. I think that impact comparisons usually become the most important part of a kritik, and the excessive link list becomes the least of a team’s problems heading into the 2nr. You need to win that either a) you turn the case and have an external impact or b) you solve the case and have an external impact. Root cause arguments are good, but rarely address the timeframe issue of case impacts. If you are going to win your magnitude comparisons, then you better do a lot to mitigate the case impacts. I also find most framework arguments associated with a K near pointless. Most of them are impacted by the K proper and therefore depend on you winning the K in order to win the framework argument. Before devoting any more time to framework beyond getting your K evaluated, you should ask yourself and clearly state to me, what happens if you win your theory argument. You should craft your "role of the ballot" argument based on the answer to that question. I am willing to listen to sequencing arguments that EXPLAIN why discourse, epistemology, ontology, ect. come first.
Conclusion: I love debate...good luck if I'm judging you and please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.
In an effort to promote disclosure at the high school level, any team that practices near-universal "open source" will be awarded .2 extra per debater if you bring that to my attention prior to the RFD.
I have 8 years of experience in policy debate: I debated 3 years at Little Rock Central (2013-2016) and 4 years at the University of Kansas (2016-2020). I currently am a GTA at Wake Forest and Coach for Bronx Science.
When it comes to evaluating debates, two things are the most important for me:
1. Clear judge instructions in the rebuttals of how I should filter offense and arguments made in the round. Impact and Link framing are a must. if I can't explain the argument myself, I probably can't vote on it.
2. Impact comparison and clear reason why I should prioritize impacts in the round between the neg and aff. Each argument should have a claim - warrant - impact for me to evaluate it as such.
Use these to filter the rest of my paradigm and general in round perception.
I consider myself to be pretty flexible when it comes to arguments that teams want to read. I debated more critically but you should read whatever arguments that you are comfortable with. Any racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc will be met with speaker points that reflect, so don't be an assho|e.
Most of my debate experience was in critical debates on both the aff and neg (I was a 1A/2N), but I’m not unfamiliar with the technical aspects of policy debates.
I’m probably not the best for Topicality debates in general when it comes to plan-based policy debates and less likely to vote on Framework vs plan-less affs if going for impacts such as fairness/competitive equity or predictability. I generally lean more into truth over tech in most debates, but tech is important for impact comparison.
for college: still formulating how I understand and evaluate as a judge, so making sure I clearly understand what I should evaluate without intervention from me comes down to how you go for your arguments. The less judge intervention I feel like I have to do, the happier we are all in the post-round RFD.
Truth over tech/Tech over truth? - Depends, i view myself evaluating truth before tech concessions but that isn’t always the case. I think technical concession are important for evaluating impact debates, so utilize both these to your advantage.
Framework on the Neg? - I’ll evaluate any negative arguments about the meta of debate. If you win your model of debate is good and the aff in question doesn’t access it then generally I’m pretty neutral on Framework arguments. Same for K’s with framing questions, the way you want me to evaluate a prior question should be framed as such.
10 off? I’d prefer if you didn’t, gish galloping is a fascist tactic.
Theory arguments? I believe theory arguments are heavily underutilized in high school debates. I evaluate conditionality and presumption debates as much as I evaluate K vs Framework. I have a certain threshold for certain arguments that I will vote on in theory debates, I think condo is a definite aff/neg ballot if it gets dropped in the neg block or rebuttals. I tend to vote neg on presumption, in those debates I think a lot of the perm debate and solvency portions of both sides are important to those rounds. CP contextual theory, perm text theory, textual severance, etc im all game for theory. i think theory debates get underutilized a lot
I read them, I think that you should read whatever you read on the aff. I will vote for them, but I at least think they should be in the direction of the topic and a reason why the topical version doesn't solve.
If performance is your thing - go ahead go for it.
FW on the neg
I will vote on a neg FW but I think that there are certain arguments that I'm gonna have a harder time pulling the trigger on, i.e. fairness. I don't think fairness is something I would absolutely vote on but of course that all depends on the round. I also think the neg should be doing a lot of work why the state/usfg is worth it, why the aff isnt good for a model of debate, or why the judge should care. Generic args on framework aren't gonna cut it for me tbh, i need a concise way of why i should view the debate through the neg and why the aff doesnt solve etc etc.
Pretty versed in most of the lit but you shouldn't use a lot of buzzwords in front of me. I think you should say why the aff is uniquely bad and how the alternative can resolve its impacts and the squo. Why perms don't solve, links are disads, etc etc. I find alternative debates to be the most shallow, I think even if you are winning reason the links are disads you still need a reason the alt isn't the squo. Role of the ballot arguments are self-serving but it makes is a lot easier to evaluate them when they are dropped or not contested by the aff. Aff teams: FW on Ks is underutilized, I think you should make arguments about why you should get to weigh your impacts vs the K.
Any other questions just ask before the round, "If you can't dazzle me with excellence, baffle me with bullshit."
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
I HAVE ZERO TOPIC KNOWLEDGE
Top Level TLDR:
My hearing is awful. Slow down on analytics. If you have them prewritten you should send in the speech doc. See "Speech Doc" below
I judge a lot but do not coach or work at camps. Therefore super technical or specific arguments NEED TO BE EXPLAINED to me.
Favorite neg blocks:
---2NC T + CP + Case then 1NR 1 - 2 DA's
---2NC K then 1NR T + Case
Arguments must be sufficiently explained for me to evaluate them. This includes normal, conceded, and "troll" arguments (death good etc.)
I do not judge K's often nor am I knowledgeable about most of them. If your K FW jettisons the entirety of the 1AC you MUST TELL ME WHY.
Most CP's are OK but I will probably have a bias against anything that is Plan Plus. I lean aff on CP's with no solvency advocate.
If you go for T PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE explicitly tell me what standards you access and what their terminal impacts are. Debate T like a DA.
Both teams reading impact and UQ walls is extremely boring IMO. In-depth link-level clash is where it's at. I will be thrilled if you do this.
I am OK with any affirmative whether it be policy, critical, or performance. However, I think the latter 2 should be related to the resolution in some way. A good example of this would be Centennial KK on the Latin America topic who ran a Model Minority aff but centered it around the resolution by talking about forced Korean labor in Mexican haciendas. I'll link their aff wiki from that year if you want to take a look at it: https://hspolicy13.debatecoaches.org/bin/Centennial+MD/Koo-Koo+Aff.htm. Absent that type of connection, I am more neg leaning on framework.
If the neg reads more than 1 CP + 1 K you should pull the trigger on conditionality.
Multiplank CP's should have unconditional planks that number in low single digits. If this is violated the aff should read theory.
A good 2N will explain why their CP accesses the internal links or solvency mechanisms of the 1AC, or if you don't, why the CP is able to access the advantages better than the original 1AC methods. Absent that I am highly skeptical of "CP solves 100% of case" claims and default aff on specific solvency deficits.
I will quote some people I respect and share the same opinion with on this issue.
Maggie Berthiaume: "Teams that remove analytical arguments like permutation texts, counter-interpretations, etc. from their speech documents before sending to the other team should be aware that they are also removing them from the version I will read at the end of the debate — this means that I will be unable to verify the wording of their arguments and will have to rely on the short-hand version on my flow. This rarely if ever benefits the team making those arguments."
Bill Batterman: "Respect your opponents by sending the same documents to the email chain that you use to deliver your speeches. If you create separate versions of your speech documents (typically by deleting headings and analytical arguments) before sharing them, I will assume that you do not respect your opponents. I like debaters that respect their opponents."
Yes, email chain. email@example.com
Debater--The University of Michigan '91-'95
Head Coach--Oak Park and River Forest HS '15-'20
Assistant Coach--New Trier Township High School '20-
--Old School Policy.
--Like the K on the Neg. Harder sell on the Aff
--Truth is slightly >Tech. But silence is concession.
--Quality of Evidence Counts. Massive disparities warrant intervention on my part.
--Not great with theory debates.
--Prefer arguments that originate from Truth and Research. The more you respect the value of research in your round, the happier I will be.
--I am a better judge if the round is about substance rather than procedure or ethos.
Advantage vs Disadvantage.
I will always give more credence to the team that has a more consistent narrative and better explains causality from A to B to C. I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read. Coherent and plausible stories with good evidence will always win out in my mind. You not understanding obvious political reality will cast a bit of a shadow over your credibility.
Not a big fan of Pre-Fiat DA's: Spending, Must Pass Legislation, Riders, etc. I will err Aff on theory unless the Neg has some really good evidence as to why not.
KNOW YOUR POLITICS!! Knowledge of the Legislative process is about the only decent thing that this DA teaches you. Teams that know how PC or Floor Time actually work will earn my ballot far more easily.
It is perfectly okay for Agents to be a part of the debate. No International Fiat and Object Fiat please. 50 State is iffy for me. Have a solvency advocate and I become flexible on all of this.
PICs-- all good.
Process Counterplans-- You had better have a solvency advocate and a good one and you had better prove why your "process" is somehow valuable and/or educational. Absent that, I will err aff on CP theory debates. The more generic the CP is, the more likely I will vote on Perm do the CP.
Some thoughts about CP theory debates--Largely okay with lots of conditional arguments. 4-5 condo is no big deal for me. Be advised that I don’t spend much, if any, time thinking about CP theory so I have no real baseline for how I feel about intrinsic perms or functional vs textual competitiveness or things of that ilk. That said, if you choose to have this debate you open yourself up to my whims. The best way to avoid this is to prove that the other team’s model is bad for debate and education.
I will judge kick automatically unless given a decent reason why not in the 1AR.
If you lean on high theory or K Affs, just do yourself a favor and put me low or strike me. If you can't do that...
I have voted for a lot of K-Affs and it is usually because the Aff effectively impact turned Framework and beat back a TVA. If you can do those things, you can get my ballot.
Topic relevance is important.
If your goal is to use the K-Aff as a means to teach an old white male who engages with both capitalism and the state for a living something valuable, then I am all ears. I love being taught things and you have done the Aff justice. If your goal is to make blanket statements about why certain people are good or bad or should be excluded from valuable discussions then I am not your judge. We are all flawed.
I do not like “debate is bad” arguments. I don't think that being a "small school" is a reason why I should vote for you.
Kritiks vs Policy Affs:
Truth be told, I vote Neg on Kritiks vs Policy Affs A LOT. I have even voted on Neg FW as Offense.
I am prone to voting Aff on Perms, so be advised College Debaters. But I also do not feel that an Alt is always necessary, especially with Reps K.
I am not up on the Lit AT ALL, so the polysyllabic word stews you so love to concoct are going to make my ears bleed.
I like reading cards after the debate and find myself understanding nuance better when I can. If you don’t then you leave me with only the bad handwriting on my flow to decipher what you said an hour later and that’s not good for anybody.
When I usually vote Neg its because the Aff has not done a sufficient job in engaging with core elements of the K, such as Ontology, Root Cause Claims, etc.
I am not a great evaluator of Framework debates and will usually err for the team that accesses Education Impacts the best.
Because it theoretically serves an external function that affects other rounds, I do give the Aff a fair amount of leeway when the arguments start to wander into a gray area. The requirement for Offense on the part of the Affirmative is something on which I place little value. Put another way, the Aff need only prove that they are within the predictable confines of research and present a plan that offers enough ground on which to run generic arguments. The Negative must prove that the Affirmative skews research burdens to a point in which the topic is unlimited to a point beyond 20-30 possible cases and/or renders the heart of the topic moot.
Plan Text in a Vacuum is a silly defense.
Limits and Fairness are not in and of themselves an impact. Take the impacts to the next level.
Things that make me happy:
Nuanced Case Debates. Obviously being prepared. Impact Turns. Link Turns. (not at the same time) Specific Links. Tricks and Traps. Debating evidence. Beating an argument in Cross Ex.
Things that make me unhappy:
Spark. OSPEC. Over highlighting. Hidden Theory Arguments. New Affs Bad. Poor disclosure ethics. Wipeout. Not using that awesome thing your partner said in CX in your speech. Trying to prove why debate makes people bad. Calling me “judge.” Turning debates into poetry slams or video games.
PUBLIC FORUM SUPPLEMENT:
I judge about 1 PF Round for every 50 Policy Rounds so bear with me here.
I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.
Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at things from a cost benefit perspective. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Impacts need to be tangible.
Evidence quality is very important.
I will vote on what is on the flow (yes, I flow) and keep my personal opinions of arguments in check as much as possible. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.
Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.
Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.
While I am not a fan of formal “Kritik” arguments in PF, I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. Racism and Sexism will not be tolerated. You can attack your opponents scholarship.
I reward debaters who think outside the box.
I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. Again, I am not a fan of the Kritik, but if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”
Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them. Often the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.
While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.
The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc.) then the Con gets some leeway.
I care about substance and not style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because your tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.
Relax. Have fun.
I competed in policy for three years in high school at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School; I did an additional year at the University of Kentucky. I am now on the coaching staff at Little Rock Central High School. I have a bachelor's and a master's in Communication Studies and a master's in Secondary Education. I said that not to sound pompous but so that you will understand that my lack of exposure to an argument will not preclude me from evaluating it; I know how to analyze argumentation. I have represented Arkansas at the Debate Topic Selection for the past few years (I authored the Middle East paper in 2018 and the Criminal Justice paper in 2019) and that has altered how I view both the topic process and debates, in a good way. I think this makes me a more informed, balanced judge. 2020 marks the first year, of a three-year rotation, on the NFHS Wording Committee; do with this information what you want.
I find that many teams are rude and obnoxious in round and don’t see the need to treat their opponents with dignity. I find this mode of thinking offensive and disrespectful to the activity as a whole
I consider myself an open slate person but that doesn’t mean that you can pull the most obscure argument from your backfiles and run it in front of me. Debate is an intellectual game. Because of this I find it offensive when debaters run arguments just to be running them, do not run your arguments if you don’t think they can win you the round!
I don’t mind speed and consider myself an exceptional flower. That being said, I think that it helps us judges when debaters slow down on important things like plan/CP texts, perms, theory arguments, and anything else that will require me to get what you said verbatim.
Saying anything remotely racist, ableist, transphobic, etc will get you an auto loss in front of me. If that means you need to strike me then do us both a favor and strike me.
Update for Online Debate
Asking "is anyone not ready" before an online speech an excise in futility; if someone's computer is glitching they have no way of telling you they aren’t ready. Wait for verbal/nonverbal confirmation that all individuals are ready before beginning your speech, please. If my camera is off, I am not ready for your speech. Do not begin the speech at your fastest speed. Makes it very difficult to begin flowing in the online environment. Online debate makes speed a problem for all of us. Anything above 75% of your top speed ensures I will miss something; govern yourselves accordingly.
Please make sure I can see your face/mouth when you are speaking if at all possible. I would really prefer that you kept your camera on. I understand how invasive of an ask this is. If you CANNOT for reasons (tech, personal reasons, etc.) I am completely ok with going on with the camera off. Debate is inherently an exclusive activity, if the camera on is a problem I would rather not even broach the issue.
I would strongly suggest recording your own speeches in case somebody's internet cuts out. When this issue arises, a local recording is a life saver. Do not record other people's speeches without their consent; that is a quick way to earn a one-way trip to L town sponsored by my ballot.
Lastly, if the round is scheduled to start at 2, don’t show up to the room asking for my email at 1:58. Be in the room by tech time (it’s there for a reason) so that you can take care of everything in preparation for the round. 2 o’clock start time means the 1ac is being read at 2, not the email chain being set up at 2.
My previous paradigm had a thorough explanation of how I evaluate most arguments. For the sake of prefs and pre round prep I have decided to amend it. When I debated, I was mostly a T/CP/DA debater. That being said, I am open to just about any form of argumentation you want to make. If it is a high theory argument don’t take for granted that I understand most of the terminology your author’s use.
I will prioritize my ballot around what the 2NR/2AR highlights as the key issues in the debate. I try to start with the last two speeches and work my way back through the debate evaluating the arguments that the debaters are making. I don’t have to personally agree with an argument to vote for it.
Too often debaters read a lot of blocks and don’t do enough engaging in these kinds of debates. The “Role of the Ballot” needs to be explicit and there needs to be a discussion of how your ROB is accessible by both teams. If you want to skirt the issue of accessibility then you need to articulate why the impact(s) of the aff outweigh whatever arguments the neg is going for.
I am less and less persuaded by fairness arguments; I think fairness is more of an internal link to a more concrete impact (e.g., truth testing, argument refinement). Affs should be able to articulate what the role of the negative is under their model. If the aff is in the direction of the topic, I tend to give them some leeway in responding to a lot of the neg claims. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. The aff should spend time on impact turning framework while simultaneously using their aff to short circuit some of the impact claims advanced by the neg.
When affs lose my ballot in these debates it’s often because they neglect to articulate why the claims, they make in the 1ac implicate/inform the neg’s interp and impacts here. A lot of times they go for a poorly explained, barely extended impact turn without doing the necessary work of using the aff to implicate the neg’s claims.
When neg’s lost my ballot in these debates it’s often because they don’t engage the aff. Often times, I find myself having a low bar for presumption when the aff is poorly explained (both in speeches and CX) yet neg’s rarely use this to their advantage. A good framework-centered 2NR versus most k affs involves some type of engagement on case (solvency deficit, presumption, case turn, etc.) and your framework claims; I think too often the neg gives the aff full risk of their aff and solvency which gives them more weight on impact turns than they should have.
If you want to read a critique of debate I have no problems with that. Some judges have a problem with it but any activity that can’t listen to internal criticism doesn’t deserve to be called an academic challenge.
I am sick and tired of you LD debaters refusing to engage substance and only read stupid theory arguments you barely understand. If you spend your time in the 1AR going for theory don’t you dare fix your lips to go for substance over theory and expect my ballot in the 2AR. LD, in its current state, is violent, racist, and upholds white supremacy in debate; if you disagree do us both a favor and strike me. Always expecting people to open source disclose is what is driving a lot of non-white people from the activity. I spend most of my time judging policy so an LD round that mimics a policy debate is what I would prefer to hear.
Don’t read frivolous theory in front of me, I’m not voting for it. I’m sick of LDers not flowing then thinking they can ask what was read “before” CX starts. Once you start asking questions, THAT IS CX TIME. If you go over time, I will stop you and your opponent will not be required to answer questions. Lastly, most of these philosophers y’all love quoting were violently racist to minorities. If you want me (a black man) to pick you up while you defend a racist you be better be very compelling and leave no room for misunderstandings.
I came into this activity as a fierce competitor, at this juncture in my life I’m in it solely for the education of the debaters involved; I am less concerned with who I am judging and more concerned with the content of what I debate. I am an educator and a lover of learning things; what I say is how I view debate and not a roadmap to my ballot. Don’t manipulate what you are best at to fit into my paradigm of viewing debate. Do what you do best and I will do what I do best in evaluating the debate.
If you're running an email chain, please add me: Andrewgollner@gmail.com
About me: I debated one year of PF and three years of policy at Sequoyah High, and I'm debating in my third year of college policy at the University of Georgia. I'm a 2N that generally runs policy offcase positions but, especially earlier in my debate career, I ran many critical positions. I'll try to be expressive during the round so that you can discern how I am receiving your arguments.
Judge Preferences: On a personal level, please be kind to your opponents. I dislike it when a team is unnecessarily rude or unsportsmanlike. I am completely willing to discuss my decision about a round in between rounds, so please ask me if you want me to clarify my decision or would like advice. You can email me any questions you have.
I recognize that my role is to serve as a neutral arbiter without predispositions towards certain arguments, but as this goal is elusive the following are my gut reactions to positions. I strive to ensure that any position (within reason, obviously not obscene or offensive) is a possible path to victory in front of myself.
CP: I love a well written CP which is tailored to your opponent's solvency advocate and that can be clearly explained and is substantiated by credible evidence. If your CP is supported by 1AC solvency evidence, I will be very impressed. Generic CPs are fine, I've read a ton of them, but the more you can at least explain your CP in the context of the affirmative's advantages the more likely you are to solve for their impact scenarios.
DA: Make sure to give a quick overview of the story during the neg block to clarify the intricacies of your position. If, instead of vaguely tagline making a turns case arg like "climate turns econ, resource shortages", you either read and later extend a piece of evidence or spend 10 to 15 seconds analytically creating a story of how climate change exasperates resource shortages and causes mass migrations which strain nation's financial systems, then I will lend far more risk to the disadvantage turning the case. Obviously the same goes for Aff turns the DA. I will also weigh smart analytical arguments on the disad if the negative fails to contest it properly. I'm also very persuaded when teams contest the warrants of their opponents evidence or point out flaws within their opponents evidence, whether it's a hidden contradiction or an unqualified author.
T: I've rarely gone for topicality but I have become increasingly cognizant of incidents in which I likely should have. My gut reaction is that competing interpretations can be a race to the bottom, but I have personally seen many affirmatives which stray far enough from the topic to warrant a debate centered over the resolution in that instance.
K: I used to run Ks pretty frequently in high school but I run them far less frequently now. I'm likely not deep in your literature base so be sure to explain your position and your link story clearly.
FW: My gut feeling is that debate is a game and that it should be fair, but I have seen many rounds where the affirmative team has done an excellent job of comparing the pedagogy of both models and won that their model is key for X type of education or accessibility there of. However, I am persuaded that a TVA only needs to provide reasonable inroads to the affirmatives research without necessarily having to actually solve for all of the affirmative. I do find the response that negs would only read DAs and ignore/"outweigh" the case to be effective - try to add some nuance to this question of why negs would or wouldn't still need to grapple with the case.
Non-traditional Aff: I've always run affs with USFG plan texts, but that doesn't mean that these positions are non-starters. I will be much more receptive to your affirmative if it is intricately tied to the topic area, even if it does refuse to engage the resolution itself for whichever reasons you provide.
Theory: I generally think 2 condo is good, more than that and things start to get a bit iffy.
Most importantly, please be kind to your opponents and have a good time.
Yes, add me to emails please: gonza310 at gmail
!*!*!*!*! November 2021 Updates !*!*!*!*!
If you've found yourself thinking "wow, plan texts these days don't say anything substantive, that seems like it's bad for debate and I should go for a vagueness argument", then you may want to pref me. You need to win that argument on the flow (i.e., I won't just auto-vote for you), but I am utterly and completely fed up with the unwillingness of affirmatives to defend anything substantive in their plan. Talk to your coaches, develop some args for the negative, and ride off into the sunset with some big Ws in front of me.
2021 - now includes me complaining about stuff:
1. Since I only judge K-T/FW debates anymore, it's increasingly becoming clear that I think that fairness is probably internal link....but it's an internal link to pretty long list of some really good stuff in debate, so just list out what you think that stuff *is* at some point, please.
2. Flow, or I will give you bad speaker points.
New for 2018-2019:
High School Debates:
0. I will, at my own discretion, treat evidence that is highlighted such that the remaining words still follow basic grammatical rules as necessarily superior to evidence that is not. If I have to read and/or search unhighlighted parts of the evidence to make sense of the parts that you *did* read, then *your* version of that evidence isn't very good, even if the full, un-highlighted card is quite good...
Rando stuff that I've added:
1. I will not automatically judge-kick conditional CPs. 2NR must signal to me to do it, in which case (absent a compelling aff response) I'm happy to do it, but I don't remember to do it every single time unless signaled, and it isn't fair for me to do it inconsistently.
The majority of what I've written below is of a positive/empirical nature, rather than normative/ideal. I obviously have opinions about debate, arguments, etc., but who doesn't? Every time a debate happens, the activity changes a little bit, as do my thoughts and opinions about it. If anything, what is below describes how I have voted in the past more than I how I intend to vote in the future.
That being said, there are a number of practices that have developed various degrees of normative force over time in our activity. Arguers who seek to overturn norms (not universally, obvi) are necessarily dealing with a task of overcoming presumption. I don't think that this is a particularly high bar (certainly not high enough that it should discourage you from trying); I just think it's the best explanation for my past voting behavior.
Speaker Points: who even knows anymore. I'll assign some.
Newest Complaint: 2NC/1NR - please don't group disparate parts of a flow and call it "the link debate" or "the uniqueness debate." While there are def. parts of flows that deserve grouping, this is a technique that is over-used and isn't very smart. There's a good chance you'll drop something the other team said.
Paperless addendum: Mark your cards during your speech. Save the speech doc from which you spoke, with marks. Be prepared to send it out after the speech if the other team requests that you do so. Regardless, I will expect to receive a post-round doc of all relevant cards WITH MARKS CLEARLY NOTED. If I don't, I will not consider the cards as part of my decision. If this document includes evidence that was not read in full (all portions that are highlighted) but is not marked as such, I will definitely blow up your speaker points and will may just vote for the other team on the spot. If you discover, after sending the document to me, that it is missing a mark, don't hesitate to correct it. Honesty and transparency are what we're aiming for here.
Clipping: Auto-loss, auto zero points for the debater. This is obvious.
SWEAR LESS: I didn't care about this nearly as much when I was younger, but as I've become older, I've increasingly become of the belief that all of you kids need to stay off my lawn. Let's try and cut down on the swearing during actual debate speeches, it's just not particularly becoming and it gets us in trouble with the higher ups. I'm sure there's any number of things you can say about this, but honestly, I probably disagree and this is one of those spots where I assign the speaker points and you'll just have to adapt. If this is a non-negotiable item for you, I take no offense to you moving me down the pref sheet, as is your perogative.
T/Framework/Etc. - I have rarely made the decision that topicality was not a voter. In all but the most extreme instances, I have typically decided that the affirmative should have to try and read a topical plan. I phrase this as an empirical statement rather than a normantive one, but I think it would be unfair of me to not let you know that I've been more likely than not to side with the negative when they make an argument to that effect. Here's the big catch: what the words that are configured into this “plan” (and the resolution) mean are significantly open to debate (or how they are best understood/interpreted) but it's plainly obvious what the directions of most topics are and what one would do to have some fidelity to that. I am inclined to think that people who claim that it is actually impossible to make arguments about social justice in the context of most any recent debate are, well, incorrect and really aren't trying very hard.
Theory – I don’t seem to vote on this much, but I’m probably just waiting to meet the right theory debater. I have an intuition that the multiplicity of worlds advanced in 1NCs these days are probably unfair, I just haven’t heard a team that has really made a good set of arguments as to why. Be careful with the words “logical policy maker”: logical policy makers might consider lots of different counterplans, but they probably think the politics disad is really, really stupid, too. I don’t have too much of a dog in the fight with regard to intrinsicness, etc. – I coach a lot of teams to go for politics, but I do also think that debate is probably worse off for it at the end of the day. I find most totalizing theories of CP competition pretty self-serving and stupid, particularly “textual competition.” I have not heard a compelling reason why it makes sense as a standard, rather than just something that conveniently excludes a number of undesirable counterplans. If those CPs are bad, there is likely plenty of good reasons to reject them on their own and we don’t need a counterintuitive competition standard to prevent them from being run.
ASPEC – this is my least favorite debate argument. New rule: 2ACs don’t have to spend any more time answering it than the 1NC spent reading it. If the block makes a big deal, I’m inclined to allow a TON of new 1AR argument—and you can still probably say “cross ex checks” and get out of Dodge. This is one of the only things I am actually willing to impose by judge fiat.
Consultation CPs – these are my second least favorite debate arguments. Any generic strategy that creates an incentive for the aff to read plans that would be vetoed by any relevant international actor is probably a bad argument. I still vote on them, just don’t expect great speaks, even if you think you gave the best speech of your life, which, by virtue of making it about a consultation CP, you have not.
Critiques – I used to be the guy that K teams struck. Now I seem to be a middle-of-the-road sort of fellow. Maybe even K-leaning. This is not because I think critiques are totally awesome and the past/present/future of debate. I actually think many, if not most of them are surprisingly shallow and silly, but most teams seem incapable of acquitting themselves as anything less than even more shallow and dumb. My research interests go vastly farther into the critical than do my debate interests, so there’s a good chance I know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to make arguments that have some theoretical depth, but in so doing, do not fail to make them relevant to the question of the debate (theorizing biopower is totally fascinating, but you need to make it into a reason to not do the plan).
Decorum/Attitude/Behavior – ethos matters in a persuasive setting. Become comfortable with the fact that debate judges (this one in particular) are not logical robots. We are big, jiggly masses of flesh. This means that you should make some attempt at being likeable in debate rounds. I rarely find myself voting for teams that I do not like and yet I feel as if I make decisions on the basis of relatively objective criteria. This does not make much sense unless one understands that how judges feel about you effects (affect?) how they understand and evaluate every other facet of the debate. I have spent more than 20 years of my life in this activity and rarely regretted it (until recently). I still love almost every person I've met through debate, but I am having an increasingly hard time coming to grips with how many of us are behaving (myself included, from time to time). Make it the sort of place that other people want to be and not only will judges reward you, but you will likely reap an enormous number of other intangible benefits as well. Only one team wins the tournament – everybody else should have a pretty good reason that they came. Year after year, I find that the only good reason (and the best reason that I could imagine) is “everybody else.”
tech > truth
Send your analytics. Clash is good.
Inserting evidence is good, but don't do it egregiously (ie Aff reads a chapter of an article the neg can't just skip 20 pages and insert it. There should be some tangential relationship).
I'll check your wiki for good disclosure. If it's good, expect a bump in points, but if it's not so good I will let you know. It might be awkward, but debate would be better if teams were called out for it!
28.8 is the expectation to clear
Pop culture and sports analogies, as well as clever jokes, are always welcomed. If you're neither funny nor clever don't force it. Just try and win the line by line.
No plan, no win!
With framework interpretations like philosophical competition becoming popular, I think perm double bind is truer than ever. I will evaluate framework first since it's functionally a theory argument.
I like Ks more that are about the plan being bad rather than fiat.
Permutations having to have net benefits make negative sense to me. The perms are tests of competition nothing more nothing less.
Read evidence that actually defines things
T arguments grounded in topic wording that grant new functional limits via counterplan competition are oftentimes very convincing
Listing viable affirmatives under an interpretation > affirmatives that could be possible (most times teams overexaggerate)
Have an alternative to plan in a vacuum. Otherwise an easy affirmative ballot.
A random pet peeve of mine is that teams will either randomly answer reasonability when it wasn't said or will say reasonability without any strategic utility.
Send out perm texts. Lots of times debates henge on the precision of texts, so make sure I can see them!
I default no judge kick although a quick 2NR sentence can change my mind
Condo is good
Sufficiency framing makes intuitive sense for most counterplans.
Negatives only have to answer framing not the actual case.
I find framing very important turns case notwithstanding. If a counterplan solves some of the case, but the Affirmative wins framing that means the solvency deficit would outweigh.
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart
NDT 2021 note:
I just read the resolution for the first time a few days ago. I will put in as much work as I can when judging a debate, but I have no topic knowledge at all.
Some education topic specific thoughts:
1. I'm ambivalent about the states counterplan. I could easily see myself voting against it on theory, but I think there's a debate to be had and I could also easily see myself voting for it as well. I'm a lot more likely to vote against it the further it gets away from topic literature or a respectable solvency advocate, and a lot less likely to vote against it if the evidence defending it is of high quality.
2. I think critiques are decent on this topic largely because I see critiques as competing strategies for social change, and I think there's pretty good education-topic literature that supports criticism from this perspective and *defends alternatives*. If you can't go for a critique without making it a critique of fiat or saying the word Baudrillard, then I'm unlikely to be the judge for you. But if you research critiques of education policy and defend an alternative method, then I'm very likely to be receptive. My view of critiques depends heavily upon evidence quality, and there were several that were turned out at camps this year that I think were pretty good. How specific is your argument to education reform? If it's about the topic and you have an alternative, you're probably good to go. If it's about cybernetics, you're probably not.
3. While I would like to see a good federalism DA, I have yet to hear one that I did not start at 0% risk and I don't think the 2ac even requires evidence to answer it. It seems pretty bad on this topic, despite being one of the core objections to federal education policy. I don't think this DA is even runnable in the 1nc; at least not the versions I've heard.
4. I like the education topic quite a bit - I think the federal education reform literature is outstanding and I think affirmative teams should defend it. I'm aff-leaning towards my view of the topic as a whole - the literature is pretty heavily aff-biased and the quality of negative generics is much lower than in previous years. But that has two pretty important implications.
First, I'm pretty unsympathetic to aff claims along the lines of "this topic is terrible for the aff; we need an expansive topicality interpretation to be creative". Broad topics are the enemy of education. Broad topics mean the neg goes for garbage like consult. That's not what I want my students to get from debate.
Second, if you're reading an aff without solvency evidence or with internal links that you just made up by mistagging evidence - I'm probably going to think that you haven't met your burden of proof and I'm likely discount it entirely. I think that the risk of both advantages and disadvantages can be - and frequently is - zero. I don't think the judging philosophy that says there's always a small risk of something is very well thought out. Presumably, it would mean that if I carded my own judging philosophy, and flagrantly mistagged the cards to represent an education tradeoff DA, someone subscribing to the 'any risk' view would assign the DA some risk and vote neg on it if it was read as a net benefit to a CP that solved the whole case. While this example might seem absurd, it's not more absurd than some of the aff advantages that were broken at Greenhill this year. It's not more absurd than some politics DAs. Mistagged cards from this very paragraph would probably be of higher quality and represent the source material more accurately than some of the things that people have called advantages and disadvantages over the years.
I don't know why judges assume there's a risk of anything - the whole point of the burden of proof is that it's a BURDEN and the judge needs to be convinced that you're right - we don't just give you the benefit of the doubt. If the standard is merely "they presented some words verbally so there's a risk because the neg didn't have offense", then we've all really failed at our jobs. If you're going to win a risk of an advantage or disadvantage, the minimal burden is (1) it has to make sense, and (2) it must be supported with evidence reflects expertise, data or logic, and does not misrepresent the author.
Generally I try to evaluate arguments fairly and based upon the debaters' explanations of arguments, rather than injecting my own opinions. What follows are my opinions regarding several bad practices currently in debate, but just agreeing with me isn't sufficient to win a debate - you actually have to win the arguments relative to what your opponents said. There are some things I'll intervene about - death good, behavior meant to intimidate or harass your opponents, or any other practice that I think is negative for a high school student classroom setting - but just use some common sense.
Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:
Good debates require two prepared teams. Allowing the affirmative team to not advocate the resolution creates bad debates. There's a disconnect in a frighteningly large number of judging philosophies I've read where judges say their favorite debates are when the negative has a specific strategy against an affirmative, and yet they don't think the affirmative has to defend a plan. This does not seem very well thought out, and the consequence is that the quality of debates in the last few years has declined greatly as judges increasingly reward teams for not engaging the topic.
Fairness is the most important impact. Other judging philosophies that say it's just an internal link are poorly reasoned. In a competitive activity involving two teams, assuring fairness is one of the primary roles of the judge. The fundamental expectation is that judges evaluate the debate fairly; asking them to ignore fairness in that evaluation eliminates the condition that makes debate possible. If every debate came down to whoever the judge liked better, there would be no value to participating in this activity. The ballot doesn't do much other than create a win or a loss, but it can definitely remedy the harms of a fairness violation. The vast majority of other impacts in debate are by definition less important because they never depend upon the ballot to remedy the harm.
Fairness is also an internal link - but it's an internal link to establishing every other impact. Saying fairness is an internal link to other values is like saying nuclear war is an internal link to death impacts. A loss of fairness implies a significant, negative impact on the activity and judges that require a more formal elaboration of the impact are being pedantic.
Arguments along the lines of 'but policy debate is valueless' are a complete nonstarter in a voluntary activity, especially given the existence of multiple alternative forms of speech and debate. Policy debate is valuable to some people, even if you don't personally share those values. If your expectation is that you need a platform to talk about whatever personally matters to you rather than the assigned topic, I encourage you to try out a more effective form of speech activity, such as original oratory. Debate is probably not the right activity for you if the condition of your participation is that you need to avoid debating a prepared opponent.
The phrase "fiat double-bind" demonstrates a complete ignorance about the meaning of fiat, which, unfortunately, appears to be shared by some judges. Fiat is merely the statement that the government should do something, not that they would. The affirmative burden of proof in a debate is solely to demonstrate the government should take a topical action at a particular time. That the government would not actually take that action is not relevant to any judge's decision.
Framework arguments typically made by the negative for critiques are clash-avoidance devices, and therefore are counterproductive to education. There is no merit whatsoever in arguing that the affirmative does not get to weigh their plan. Critiques of representations can be relevant, but only in relation to evaluating the desirability of a policy action. Representations cannot be separated from the plan - the plan is also a part of the affirmative's representations. For example, the argument that apocalyptic representations of insecurity are used to justify militaristic solutions is asinine, given the plan includes a representation of a non-militaristic solution. The plan determines the context of representations included to justify it.
Thoughts about topicality:
Limited topics make for better topics. Enormous topics mean that it's much harder to be prepared, and that creates lower quality debates. The best debates are those that involve extensive topic research and preparation from both sides. Large topics undermine preparation and discourage cultivating expertise. Aff creativity and topic innovation are just appeals to avoid genuine debate.
Thoughts about evidence:
Evidence quality matters. A lot of evidence read by teams this year is underlined in such a way that it's out of context, and a lot of evidence is either badly mistagged or very unqualified. On the one hand, I want the other team to say this when it's true. On the other hand, if I'm genuinely shocked at how bad your evidence is, I will probably discount it.
firstname.lastname@example.org pls add me to the chain
About me as a person:
I am an environmental scientist. My day job is habitat restoration and land management in East Tennessee. I know a lot about ecology and I care about the environment a LOT. I think impacts about food/water/ecology resonate with me more than the average person, and I am not inclined to enjoy bad or contrived environment-related impacts/internals.
In my free time I work with land and labor advocacy groups out here in the Unaka Mountains. I’m rabidly pro-labor and pro-conservation, so do with that what you will.
About me as a judge:
Very few of my preferences are set in stone. Debates are about your arguments.
I am ready to hear anything. Surprise me. Impress me. Make me laugh. I’m hear to listen.
I don't like theory debates. I think almost any counterplan is justified if it's competitive. Although I am biased against object fiat and counterplans without actors. I'll vote on condo, but I think almost everything else is a reason to reject the argument, not the team.
I don't like T debates. I think too many people have drunk the limits kool-aid, and, to quote Seth Gannon, I'm a reasonability guy.
I think death is bad and extinction is worse. But it’s not *TOO* hard to convince me otherwise.
I didn’t read a plan in college and I’m really into continental philosophy, so I have working knowledge of most critical theses.
I think people should read plans. But again it’s not that difficult to convince me otherwise.
I think it's possible for the negative to win that the AFF doesn't get to weigh the plan. In fact, I think it would be easier than most people believe.
"Good" arguments in debate are relative. Quoting another old man, if you can't beat the argument that genocide is good or that rocks are people or that rock genocide is good because they are people, then you are a bad advocate for your cause and should lose. Most of the crazy arguments you hear are "crazy" because a lot of smart people have thought about these things and concluded that they're nonsense.
No audience participation. No arguments about the people in the round. No arguments about stuff that happened out of round. These three beliefs are 100% immutable. (To clarify, debaters’ in-round actions are still fair game for arguments. Don’t be cruel to each other.)
I've debated for five years for Liberal Arts Sciences Academy. This means I probably agree with most norms of debate. I will take the easiest way out when making a decision. I do not want to read a ton of cards and I will default to whatever evidence comparison/ spin was said in the debate regardless of if it was true if it is not challenged. I do not want to hear in depth debates on whether or not fairness is an impact on framework because I don't think it matters. I also am not super familiar with a lot of K literature and I will not give you the benefit of the doubt if you under explain it.
Director of Debate at the University of South Florida
Yes, email chain - sohailjouyaATgmailDOTcom
- Probably not the best judge for the "Give us a 30!" approach unless it becomes an argument/point of contestation in the round. Chances are I'll just default to whatever I'd typically give. My speaker point scale is pretty awful in comparison to colleagues and I've yet to invest the mental capacity necessary to ensure the most precise of speaker point allocation as it is.
- I appreciate adaptation to my preferences but don’t do anything that would make you uncomfortable. Never feel obligated to compete in a manner that inhibits your ability to be effective. My promise to you will be that I will keep an open mind and assess whatever you chose. In short: do you.
- Truth > Tech. I recognize that debate is not merely a game, but rather a competition that models the world in which we live. This doesn’t mean I believe judges should intervene on the basis of - what it does mean is that embedded clash band the “nexus question” of the round is of more importance than blippy technical oversights between certain sheets of paper.
Don't fret: a dropped argument is still a concession. All I mean is that I likely have a higher threshold for the development of arguments that are more intrinsically dubious.
- As a former coach of a UDL school where many of my debaters make arguments centred on their identity, diversity is a genuine concern. It may play a factor in how I evaluate a round, particularly in debates regarding what’s “best” for the community/activity.
Do you and I’ll do my best to evaluate it but I’m not a tabula rasa and the dogma of debate has me to believe the following. I have put a lot of time and thought into this while attempting to be parsimonious - if you are serious about winning my ballot a careful read would prove to serve you well:
- All speech acts are performances, consequently, debaters should defend their performances including the advocacy, evidence, arguments/positions, interpretations, and representations of said speech acts.
- One of the most annoying questions a judged can be asked: “Are you cool with speed?”
In short: yes. But smart and slow always beats fast and dumb.
I have absolutely no preference on rate of delivery, though I will say it might be smart to slow down a bit on really long tags, advocacy texts, your totally sweet theory/double-bind argument or on overviews that have really nuanced descriptions of the round. My belief is that speed is typically good for debate but please remember that spreading’s true measure is contingent on the number of arguments that are required to be answered by the other team not your WPM.
- Ethos: I used to never really think this mattered at all. To a large degree, it still doesn’t considering I’m unabashedly very flowcentric but I tend to give high speaker points to debaters who performatively express mastery knowledge of the subjects discussed, ability to exercise round vision, assertiveness, and that swank.
- Holistic Approaches: the 2AR/2NR should be largely concerned with two things:
1) provide framing of the round so I can make an evaluation of impacts and the like
2) descriptively instruct me on how to make my decision
Overviews have the potential for great explanatory power, use that time and tactic wisely.
While I put form first, I am of the maxim that “form follows function” – I contend that the reverse would merely produce an aesthetic, a poor formula for argument testing in an intellectually rigorous and competitive activity. In summation: you need to make an argument and defend it.
- The Affirmative ought to be responsive to the topic. This is a pinnacle of my paradigm that is quite broad and includes teams who seek to engage in resistance to the proximate structures that frame the topic. Conversely, this also implicates teams that prioritize social justice - debaters utilizing methodological strategies for best resistance ought to consider their relationship to the topic.
Policy-oriented teams may read that last sentence with glee and K folks may think this is strike-worthy…chill. I do not prescribe to the notion that to be topical is synonymous with being resolutional.
- The Negative’s ground is rooted in the performance of the Affirmative as well as anything based in the resolution. It’s that simple; engage the 1AC if at all possible.
- I view rounds in an offense/defense lens. Many colleagues are contesting the utility of this approach in certain kinds of debate and I’m ruminating about this (see: “Thoughts on Competition”) but I don’t believe this to be a “plan focus” theory and I default to the notion that my decisions require a forced choice between competing performances.
- I will vote on Framework. That means I will vote for the team running the position based on their interpretation, but it also means I’ll vote on offensive responses to the argument. Vindicating an alternative framework is a necessary skill and one that should be possessed by kritikal teams - justifying your form of knowledge production as beneficial in these settings matter.
Framework appeals effectively consist of a normative claim of how debate ought to function. The interpretation should be prescriptive; if you are not comfortable with what the world of debate would look like if your interpretation were universally applied, then you have a bad interpretation. The impact to your argument ought to be derived from your interpretation (yes, I’ve given RFDs where this needed to be said). Furthermore, Topical Version of the Affirmative must specifically explain how the impacts of the 1AC can be achieved, it might be in your best interest to provide a text or point to a few cases that achieve that end. This is especially true if you want to go for external impacts that the 1AC can’t access – but all of this is contingent on a cogent explanation as to why order precedes/is the internal link to justice.
- I am pretty comfortable judging Clash of Civilization debates.
- Framework is the job of the debaters. Epistemology first? Ontology? Sure, but why? Where does performance come into play – should I prioritize a performative disad above the “substance” of a position? Over all of the sheets of paper in the round? These are questions debaters must grapple with and preferably the earlier in the round the better.
- "Framework is how we frame our work" >>>>> "FrAmEwOrK mAkEs ThE gAmE wOrK"
-Presumption is always an option. In my estimation, the 2NR may go for Counterplan OR a Kritik while also giving the judge the option of the status quo. Call it “hypo-testing” or whatever but I believe a rational decision-making paradigm doesn’t doom me to make a single decision between two advocacies, especially when the current status of things is preferable to both. I don't know if I really “judge kick” for you, instead, the 2NR should explain an “even if” route to victory via presumption to allow the 2AR to respond.
“But what about when presumption flips Affirmative?” This is a claim that I wish would be established prior to the 2NR, but I know that's not gonna happen. I've definitely voted in favour of plenty of 2ARs that haven't said that in the 1AR. The only times I can envision this is when the 2NR is going all-in on a CP.
- Role of the Ballots ought to invariably allow the 1AC/1NC to be contestable and provide substantial ground to each team. Many teams will make their ROBs self-serving at best, or at worse, tautological. That's because there's a large contingency of teams that think the ROB is an advocacy statement. They are not. Even more teams conflate a ROB with a Role of the Judge instruction and I'm just now making my peace with dealing with that reality.
If the ROB fails to equally distribute ground, they are merely impact framing. A good ROB can effectively answer a lot of framework gripes regarding the Affirmative’s pronouncement of an unfalsifiable truth claim.
- Analytics that are logically consistent, well warranted and answer the heart of any argument are weighed in high-esteem. This is especially true if it’s responsive to any combinations of bad argument/evidence.
- My threshold for theory is not particularly high. It’s what you justify, not necessarily what you do. I typically default to competing interpretations, this can be complicated by a team that is able to articulate what reasonability means in the context of the round, otherwise I feel like its interventionist of me to decode what “reasonable” represents. The same is true to a lesser extent with the impacts as well. Rattling off “fairness and education” as loaded concepts that I should just know has a low threshold if the other team can explain the significance of a different voter or a standard that controls the internal link into your impact (also, if you do this: prepared to get impact turned).
I think theory should be strategic and I very much enjoy a good theory debate. Copious amounts of topicality and specification arguments are not strategic, it is desperate.
- I like conditionality probably more so than other judges. As a young’n I got away with a lot of, probably, abusive Negative strategies that relied on conditionality to the maximum (think “multiple worlds and presumption in the 2NR”) mostly because many teams were never particularly good at explaining why this was a problem. If you’re able to do so, great – just don’t expect me to do much of that work for you. I don’t find it particularly difficult for a 2AR to make an objection about how that is bad for debate, thus be warned 2NRs - it's a downhill effort for a 2AR.
Furthermore, I tend to believe the 1NC has the right to test the 1AC from multiple positions.
Thus, Framework along with Cap K or some other kritik is not a functional double turn. The 1NC doesn’t need to be ideologically consistent. However, I have been persuaded in several method debates that there is a performative disadvantage that can be levied against speech acts that are incongruent and self-defeating.
- Probability is the most crucial component of impact calculus with disadvantages. Tradeoffs ought to have a high risk of happening and that question often controls the direction of uniqueness while also accessing the severity of the impact (magnitude).
- Counterplan debates can often get tricky, particularly if they’re PICs. Maybe I’m too simplistic here, but I don’t understand why Affirmatives don’t sit on their solvency deficit claims more. Compartmentalizing why portions of the Affirmative are key can win rounds against CPs. I think this is especially true because I view the Counterplan’s ability to solve the Affirmative to be an opportunity cost with its competitiveness. Take advantage of this “double bind.”
- Case arguments are incredibly underutilized and the dirty little secret here is that I kind of like them. I’m not particularly sentimental for the “good ol’ days” where case debate was the only real option for Negatives (mostly because I was never alive in that era), but I have to admit that debates centred on case are kind of cute and make my chest feel all fuzzy with a nostalgia that I never experienced– kind of like when a frat boy wears a "Reagan/Bush '84" shirt...
I know enough to know that kritiks are not monolithic. I am partial to topic-grounded kritiks and in all reality I find them to be part of a typical decision-making calculus. I tend to be more of a constructivist than a rationalist. Few things frustrate me more than teams who utilize a kritik/answer a kritik in a homogenizing fashion. Not every K requires the ballot as a tool, not every K looks to have an external impact either in the debate community or the world writ larger, not every K criticizes in the same fashion. I suggest teams find out what they are and stick to it, I also think teams should listen and be specifically responsive to the argument they hear rather than rely on a base notion of what the genre of argument implies. The best way to conceptualize these arguments is to think of “kritik” as a verb (to criticize) rather than a noun (a static demonstrative position).
It is no secret that I love many kritiks but deep in every K hack’s heart is revered space that admires teams that cut through the noise and simply wave a big stick and impact turn things, unabashedly defending conventional thought. If you do this well there’s a good chance you can win my ballot. If pure agonism is not your preferred tactic, that’s fine but make sure your post-modern offense onto kritiks can be easily extrapolated into a 1AR in a fashion that makes sense.
In many ways, I believe there’s more tension between Identity and Post-Modernism teams then there are with either of them and Policy debaters. That being said, I think the Eurotrash K positions ought to proceed with caution against arguments centred on Identity – it may not be smart to contend that they ought to embrace their suffering or claim that they are responsible for a polemical construction of identity that replicates the violence they experience (don’t victim blame).
THOUGHTS ON COMPETITION
There’s a lot of talk about what is or isn’t competition and what competition ought to look like in specific types of debate – thus far I am not of the belief that different methods of debate require a different rubric for evaluation. While much discussion as been given to “Competition by Comparison” I very much subscribe to Competing Methodologies. What I’ve learned in having these conversations is that this convention means different things to different people and can change in different settings in front of different arguments. For me, I try to keep it consistent and compatible with an offense/defense heuristic: competing methodologies requires an Affirmative focus where the Negative requires an independent reason to reject the Affirmative. In this sense, competition necessitates a link. This keeps artificial competition at bay via permutations, an affirmative right regardless of the presence of a plan text.
Permutations are merely tests of mutual exclusivity. They do not solve and they are not a shadowy third advocacy for me to evaluate. I naturally will view permutations more as a contestation of linkage – and thus, are terminal defense to a counterplan or kritik -- than a question of combining texts/advocacies into a solvency mechanism. If you characterize these as solvency mechanisms rather than a litmus test of exclusivity, you ought to anticipate offense to the permutation (and even theory objections to the permutation) to be weighed against your “net-benefits”. This is your warning to not be shocked if I'm extrapolating a much different theoretical understanding of a permutation if you go 5/6 minutes for it in the 2AR.
Even in method debates where a permutation contends both methods can work in tandem, there is no solvency – in these instances net-benefits function to shield you from links (the only true “net benefit” is the Affirmative). A possible exception to this scenario is “Perm do the Affirmative” where the 1AC subsumes the 1NC’s alternative; here there may be an offensive link turn to the K resulting in independent reasons to vote for the 1AC.
I am happy to be on the email chain: Nijuarez@utexas.edu
Last update: October 2021
Online debate note: If my camera is off, I apologize. Video conferencing is so soul destroying. I will make sure to turn it on for the RFD at minimum but will do my best to keep it on as much as possible. Also, I apologize in advance if I adjudicate wrongly because the audio blipped out for some time and I missed a warrant that is important. Slowing down helps, but I also understand you got stuff you gotta get to.
General Philosophy (or TL;DR)
Some general points:
---I tend to be pretty technical and care a lot about line by line unless given an alternative paradigm. I resolve alternative paradigms by line by line unless an alternative evaluation is given (and recursively on and on). While I believe in tech over truth, the more "true" something is, the less tech usually needed to win it. By truth, I mean less what I personally believe and more what seems compelling or like it could be reasonably entertained by someone evaluating the evidence before them. Which is to say that while I vote for things I don't believe in all the time, I rarely vote for arguments I do not find compelling. I have been compelled to vote for framework or the K and I find no particular allegiance to either.
---Evidence tends to draw far more conservative conclusions than debaters claim it does and, as a result, I tend to only feel that the more conservative claims are justified absent work from the debaters present. At the same time, I often find people believe they need carded evidence for claims that surely could be made and defended absent cards.
---No claim should escape the possibility of being called into question. What is "common sense" is never truly so and I'm happy to entertain arguments concerning "common sense" notions.
---I am skeptical that anything spills out of debate besides a particularly in depth understanding of particular literature bases and the capacity to write and speak well. Both of those things seem ideologically and ethically neutral to me.
---I usually end up voting for the team that not only wins their framing, but wins framing at the most in depth and nuanced levels. Oftentimes, winning the frame at one level is simply insufficient.
---I am more and more confident in simply saying "I did not understand that" and, while I do my best to fairly and accurately adjudicate decisions, I recognize that some responsibility belongs to the debater in assisting me in understanding.
---Most ROBs are just impact framing and debaters would be better served if they rhetorically presented them that way.
---I'm begging you to give me impact calculus and impact framing.
---If I get the impression that you've read more than a single book on the topic you're debating, that almost always results in higher speaker points. In short, I love esoteric discussions of niche literature. However, see above "I did not understand that" point.
---I am less concerned with the positionality/identity of the speaker than one might assume, but I'm also open to voting on arguments related to the positionality/identity of the speaker if they are forwarded.
Below are my general beliefs/preferences concerning arguments. If it's not there, assume I feel neutral about it and will vote on whatever.
Affirmatives - I'm good with anything, I don't care. If you want me to do something besides flow it, let me know. Also, I still flow various advantages on separate pages. Generally, I believe the affirmative needs to prove a departure from the status quo. I am unsure why K teams simply do not fiat this.
Permutations - I evaluate permutations as a test of competition. Usually, but not always, however much time the affirmative spends on the perm is how much time I think the negative needs to spend answering it. I am currently very resistant to the idea of new perms in the 1AR. Finally, I do not to vote on perm theory--I simply reject the permutation if it is flagged as and proven to be illegitimate.
Disadvantage - Read whatever you want.
Counterplan - I will accept all counterplans and will only vote down on/dismiss a genre of counterplans if the negative loses the theory debate. I generally believe in functional competition. Word PICs should just be PIKs. New CPs in the Block are sketchy to me.
Kritiks - Read whatever you want. New Ks in the Block are sketchy to me.
Topicality - I love a good T debate. That being said, Topicality is NEVER a RVI. I default to competing interpretations.
Framework - Framework is the most idiosyncratic and ideological argument, in my mind, so I'll go a little more in depth than I would for other things. I'm by no means guaranteed to vote along these lines in any given debate, but it is my general disposition prior to any arguments being made. I essentially see most framework debates as debates over whether or not the affirmative should have to advocate the USFG/defend state action as the mechanism. I use an offense/defense paradigm.
Some general notes on framework for me:
-If you call framework "T-USFG" I'll be annoyed and, depending on the mood of the day, might dock speaks over it.
-Fairness isn't an impact, it's an internal link. Whining about why debate is hard makes it difficult for you to generate any convincing ethos. I don't believe that debate is uniquely good and therefore needs to be preserved through a fair game. However, I understand if fairness is your internal link to something else.
-If the affirmative defends topic DAs I'm almost entirely convinced they don't need to endorse USFG action.
-Everyone has their pet impact on framework. Mine has changed over time. I tend to care most about clash.
-I think affirmative's don't do enough work on reasonability.
-Impact turns surely win debates.
-I think people don't tend to do terminal impact comparison which means I end up having to decide if "third and fourth level answers" outweighs "imperial knowledge-making" (for example) which is annoying. Like any other flow, you should tell me how I should adjudicate the round if your opponent wins a risk of their impact.
-I don't vote on jurisdiction.
Theory - Generally, if you win the line by line, I'll probably vote for you. However, the main predisposition I find myself leaning towards in regards to theory debates is that unlimited conditionality is bad and most conditionality interpretations are arbitrary.
All in all, good luck, debate well. If you win the line-by-line, there is a 99% chance I'll be voting for you, so don't sweat over my preferences too much.
Director of Debate at The University of Michigan
General Judging Paradigm- I think debate is an educational game. Someone once told me
that there are three types of judges: big truth, middle truth, and little truth judges. I would
definitely fall into the latter category. I don’t think a two hour debate round is a search for
the truth, but rather a time period for debaters to persuade judges with the help of
evidence and analytical arguments. I have many personal biases and preferences, but I try
to compartmentalize them and allow the debate to be decided by the debaters. I abhor
judge intervention, but do realize it becomes inevitable when debaters fail to adequately
resolve the debate. I am a very technical and flow-oriented judge. I will not evaluate
arguments that were in the 2AR and 2AC, but not the 1AR. This is also true for
arguments that were in the 2NR and 1NC, but not in the negative block.
Counterplans/Theory- I would consider myself liberal on theory, especially regarding
plan-inclusive counterplans. Usually, the negative block will make ten arguments
theoretically defending their counterplan and the 1AR will only answer eight of them- the
2NR will extend the two arguments that were dropped, etc. and that’s usually good
enough for me. I have often voted on conditionality because the Aff. was technically
superior. If you’re Aff. and going for theory, make sure to answer each and every
negative argument. I am troubled by the recent emergence of theory and procedural
debates focusing on offense and defense. I don’t necessarily think the negative has to win
an offensive reason why their counterplan is theoretically legitimate- they just have to
win that their counterplan is legitimate. For the Aff., I believe that permutations must
include all of the plan and all or part of the counterplan. I think the do the counterplan
permutation is silly and don’t think it’s justified because the negative is conditional, etc. I
do realize this permutation wins rounds because it’s short and Neg. teams sometimes fail
to answer it. On the issue of presumption, a counterplan must provide a reason to reject
the Aff. Finally, I think it’s illegitimate when the Aff. refuses to commit to their agent for
the explicit purpose of ducking counterplans, especially when they read solvency
evidence that advocates a particular agent. This strategy relies on defending the theory of
textual competition, which I think is a bad way of determining whether counterplans
Topicality- When I debated, I commonly ran Affirmatives that were on the fringe of what
was considered topical. This was probably the reason I was not a great topicality judge
for the negative my first few years of judging college debate. Beginning this year, I have
noticed myself voting negative on topicality with greater frequency. In the abstract, I
would prefer a more limited topic as opposed to one where hundreds of cases could be
considered topical. That being said, I think topicality often seems like a strategy of
desperation for the negative, so if it’s not, make sure the violation is well developed in
the negative block. I resolve topicality debates in a very technical manner. Often it
seems like the best Affirmative answers are not made until the 2AR, which is probably
too late for me to consider them.
Kritiks- If I got to choose my ideal debate to judge, it would probably involve a politics
or other disadvantage and a case or counterplan debate. But, I do realize that debaters get
to run whatever arguments they want and strategy plays a large role in argument
selection. I have probably voted for a kritik about a half of dozen times this year. I never
ran kritiks when I debated and I do not read any philosophy in my free time. Kritik
rhetoric often involves long words, so please reduce your rate of speed slightly so I can
understand what you are saying. Kritiks as net-benefits to counterplans or alternatives
that have little or no solvency deficit are especially difficult for Affirmatives to handle.
Evidence Reading- I read a lot of evidence, unless I think the debate was so clear that it’s
not necessary. I won’t look at the un-underlined parts of cards- only what was read into
the round. I am pretty liberal about evidence and arguments in the 1AR. If a one card
argument in the 1NC gets extended and ten more pieces of evidence are read by the
negative block, the 1AR obviously gets to read cards. I think the quality of evidence is
important and feel that evidence that can only be found on the web is usually not credible
because it is not permanent nor subject to peer review. I wish there would be more time
spent in debates on the competing quality of evidence.
Cheap Shots/Voting Issues- These are usually bad arguments, but receive attention
because they are commonly dropped. For me to vote on these arguments, they must be
clearly articulated and have a competent warrant behind them. Just because the phrase
voting issue was made in the 1AR, not answered by the 2NR, and extended by the 2AR
doesn’t make it so. There has to be an articulated link/reason it’s a voting issue for it to
Pet Peeves- Inefficiency, being asked to flow overviews on separate pieces of paper, 2NRs that go for too much, etc.
Seasonal voting record:
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
Pronouns They/Them or She/Her
Northside CP Class of 2018
University of Michigan Class of 2021
Currently Assistant Coach at Niles North
zoom debates: you should not be going maximum speed ever. microphones are weird and so is the internet. not 100% fast, u should be going like 80-85% fast.
UMich Grad who graduated in Philosophy and Environmental Science.
If you care, I received multiple TOC bids throughout my career, and qualified my senior year. I debated on the Umich debate team for two years to relative success. This is my fourth year judging varsity-level rounds of high school.
No major dispositions to any style of debate, though I typically find myself in the back of mostly clash of civs and K v K debates. That being said, I have judged hundreds and hundreds of high school debate rounds at this point, and am confident in my ability to judge policy rounds as well. Contrary to belief, I did do some policy stuff in my high school days (I have read a soft left corporal punishment aff and a school searches aff senior year, big stick biotech aff junior year).
I'm comfortable with nearly all kritiks, so go wild. My personal strength in debate has been primarily queer and gender theory (I've run Preciado, Halberstam, Spade, Stanley, Irigaray, Puar, and Marquis Bey) and then also high theory (I've run Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, Kroker, Negarestani, science fiction, a ton of misc. critiques about American imperialism, generic Ks like Cap and Security, and sadly Baudrillard).
My voting record has been relatively 50-50 in clash debates.
Also, random thing, I am a goofy person, sometimes I just randomly smile or laugh out loud, it has nothing do to with whether you are doing well or not, I'm just a weirdo.
Clash of Civs
Aff (Policy) vs Neg (Kritikal)
Comfortable with mostly every K, identity or pomo are both fine in front of me.
If you are aff
[Big Stick Affs] Defending your ethics such as utilitarianism, realism, securitization good etc and just going the hard aff outweighs, extinction is big sad route usually does best in front of me. Moving the debate farther left through permutation or no link strategies or "reform good" for these types of big extinction affs usually often ends in me leaning neg.
[Soft Left Affs] These affs need better defense than "just because we use the state doesnt mean we are the state". Defend negative state action but also recognize you are still the state...so defend it. I think the best strategy against Ks with these affs is severe mitigation of the alt, a robust permutation coupled with extremely well-developed, ideally carded, link turns.
Generally other thoughts for the aff: The bulk of the 2AC should not be bad outdated pragmatism good cards. I also think if you intend to be going for framework in the 2AR, there needs to be more than one sentence in the 2AC.
If you are neg
I am comfortable with whatever K you read. However, this is not an excuse for you not to define buzzwords, explain jargon, etc. to your opponents. You should still be acting like I've never read your author.
Kritiks need an external impact that outweighs the aff, or must win a massive turns case scenario. The only exception is if the neg massively wins a no-aff framework, though this is a harder strategy to win in front of me.
K teams that don't pull lines from 1AC evidence are getting capped at a 28.5. Link arguments should be robustly developed and aff-specific.
I expect to see good impact framing in the 2NR. I despise when I am left weighing ressentiment or gratuitous violence against the aff impacts with no explanation of why I consider those impacts first.
I default to expecting K teams to do line by line, etc. That being said, I'm all good for non-traditional strategies however there needs to be a defense of why I should be viewing/evaluating the debate differently than I otherwise would.
I'll flow long overviews, but I won't be happy. Embedded clash is your friend.
Aff (Kritikal) vs Neg (Policy)
I am very familiar with these rounds. As a debater, I defended my aff against framework every tournament for years, but only got into running framework myself in my very final college tournaments. That being said, I like both sides of this debate a lot, and my voting record has been very even when I am in the back of these rounds.
I'm fine with either a counter-interp/competing models of debate strategy or an impact turn strategy from the aff. I am also really fine with any style or impacts on framework, though I do have some personal thoughts (that I note in a bit).
Defend *something* clearly from the 1AC, I don't care if its topical or not. I strongly dislike it when affs so blatantly change what the aff is throughout the course of the debate. Affs that have zero advocacy and are just A2: Framework cards will make me more incentivized to vote on framework.
Have a clear and organized framework block that are not just clumps of analytics. Cards are also nice. Numbered blocks will get a boost in points. If the block is not organized, don't blame me for not picking up random disad number 7 on the flow.
Counterdefining words is probably useful for a counter-interp strategy, but is utterly useless for me if you're trying to impact turn framework.
Go for either a counterinterp strategy or an impact turn framework strategy. Both can and should be in the 2AC block, but you should be focusing on ONE of these options in the 2AR.
I don't vote on condo for K affs. Period.
I don't prefer any standard over another. Yes this includes "fairness". However, word of caution: Theres too many debaters I have seen who just say the word "fairness" and presume its this instantly miraculous impact that automatically comes before all else without any additional explanation. As such, I've observed teams who go for this strategy opt to answer the line-by-line with "but debate is a game so fairness" with no further explanation of what that means or why it implicates the aff's offense. If a framework team can explain to me why debate being a game means procedural fairness comes first, and strongly impacts fairness out, I will certainly vote on it as an impact in itself.
Link turning the aff's offense with framework is one of the better strategies in front of me as a judge. Especially if you make either a good TVA (with a card ideally) or spend substantial time on a SSD claim.
2NRs should be going to the case page and spending good time on it. Otherwise I am far more likely to weigh aff offense if the 2AR blows it up.
I think it is important to read multiple off against K teams in the 1NC. 1 Off Framework is less convincing than 3 Off but you go for framework because they no linked out of your other positions.
Kritikal vs Kritikal
These debates are awesome and are super useful to have in the community. *Anything goes here!* These were some of my favorite debates to have in high school and they are certainly my favorite to watch.
I think debate is a constantly transforming activity that should be experimented on in new and innovative ways. I'm totally down to throw out all norms and having the debate round how you all want to have the debate round, just tell me what the best way to adjudicate it is.
Regardless of whether this is still a tech above all else debate or something different, I need both sides to frame the round. What do I evaluate first? How do I weigh impacts? What should my decision center around? The debates are messy and muddled if done wrong - if one team remedies this for me and another team does not, the former team probably wins 99% of the time.
Do whatever style you want. Any well researched strategy that is well thought out as well as personal narratives and forms of self-expression, including poetry, music, etc have worked well in front of me.
I'm personally apathetic to the question of whether the aff gets a perm in these debates. This will just come down to the flow.
Alts are very big in these debates, the more explanation the better.
Not afraid to pull the trigger on floating PIKs in these rounds.
Policy vs Policy
I am very comfortable judging these debates now after 4 years of experience. However, caution: I do not know any topic lit at all. I am also an idiot and often forget about certain nuanced government functions, so stronger explanation on CP mechanisms or politics DAs are probably important.
Extend less and explain more rather than extend more and explain less. I hold policy debates to the same level of nuanced explanation as I would a K debate. Take that as you will. I think the best policy 1NCs are the ones that have one or two well developed strategies in them rather than throw 10 off at the wall and see what sticks.
Going off what I said above, rebuttals need to narrow down the debate down to one or two DA links, blow up on one big solvency deficit, etc. If the 2NR is just a condensed version of the 2NC but basically the exact same thing I wont be happy.
Evidence quality is important to me. A great analytic will always beat a mediocre card.
If you don't read a rehighlighting in your speech, I won't consider it.
Heavy evidence comparison on the definitions is good in front of me.
I default to competing interps, unless I am told otherwise.
Slow down in the last two rebuttals.
I don't know random names of policy affs on this topic, so explain to me what debate looks like under your model instead of just labeling a bunch of affs or namedropping schools I'm not familiar with.
I only judge kick IF the neg team says I can/should. I won't do that work for you unless you say I should.
I'll just be real, I'm probably bad for over-the-top long process multiplank CPs, I need to know how your CP works and how it competes before I vote on it, even if the other team doesnt press on those questions.
Aff teams shouldn't be afraid to go for counterplan theory, I'm very willing to vote on it, especially in the instance of process CPs.
Dumb DAs with long contrived internal link chains can definitely be beaten in cross-exs calling out their ridiculousness if done right.
Maybe I'm in the minority, but if your uniqueness evidence is "heres a chart", I'll treat it as if you didn't read a uniqueness card. Read some damn words.
Please. Do. Impact Calc.
These are hella fun. Go crazy. Spark, Warming Good, or Wipeout for all I care. Anything cool will get the neg a huge boost in points if they go for it in the 2NR.
I think I'm more likely to pull the trigger on theory than most judges. Whether it be condo, counterplan theory, or any spec arguments, I'm all for it.
Put it in the doc.
They usually very from 28.5 to 30. If you have ethos and don't make any big deal mistakes you should get high speaks. I used to have some kind of chart here but I'd be lying if I said I abided by it. Point is you should have no problems getting high points in front of me.
Any racism/sexism/anti-queerness or general rudeness/disrespect will make me give you the lowest points I can justify.
Want crazy inflated speaker points?
Joke about one of these people who mentored me and shaped how I think about debate: Wayne Tang, James Mollison, Aaron Davis, Pauline Esman, Adam Hausman, Robb Berry, Kylie Vera, and Luther Snagel.
Or jokes about these folks too: Magi Ortiz, Talia Blatt, Kathy Martinez, KJ Reese, Hannah Wolfson, Allison Pujol, Joshua Harrington, Ben McGraw, Maria Sanchez, and Lukas Taylor.
A tasteful but subtle pokemon reference. Don't judge me.
Turn your tags into enjoyable surrealist poetry.
Please name the email chain: "Tournament - Round X - Team (AFF) vs Team (NEG)" - "TOC - Round 1 - Coppell AK (AFF) vs Coppell DR (NEG)".
“Debate how you can, the best you can. Swag is good. Complexity. Concretization. Examples. Comparison” – Amber Kelsie.
“Most judges give appalling decisions. Here's [my attempt] at trying to be better than them” – Yao Yao Chen.
“Above all, tech substantially outweighs truth. The below are preferences, not rules, and will easily be overturned by good debating. But, since nobody's a blank slate, treat the below as heuristics I use in thinking about debate. Incorporating some can explain my decision and help render one in your favor” – Debnil Sur.
1. My speaker points seem to be lower than most. When I do give higher speaks, it's to debaters that do the following:
A) Look like they want to be there! If debaters are having fun, judging is fun.
B) Efficiently and effectively translate their ideas/arguments into their speeches. This involves not only logical argumentation, but presenting it in an engaging and persuasive manner.
C) Accurately recognize and develop the core disagreements.
D) Narrate the debate's progression and prioritize argument resolution in their rebuttals.
2. My ideal 9 person panel would be: Kevin Hirn, Yao Yao Chen, Debnil Sur, Anirudh Prabhu, Zahir Shaikh, Giorgio Rabbini, Rafael Pierry, Azi Hormozdiari, and David Asafu-Adjaye. Debate as you would in front of them.
Top Level Thoughts
1. I’m a first year out judge. Below, I’ve explained how I believe I will judge, but at least some of these will likely change as I judge more.
2. I’ve included sections from the paradigms of judges and debaters that have shaped my view of debate to provide a clearer picture. Some of the strongest include Shreyas Rajagopal, Het Desai, Vikas Burugu, Alec Ramsey, Yao Yao Chen, Adam Lipton, David Kilpatrick, Ruby Klein, Alex Marban, and Amber Kelsie. All changes have been marked with brackets.
3. Debate is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. I love this activity and hope you can as well. I have tremendous respect for the hard work you’ve done to come here and will try to reciprocate that in my decision. I will be ready to defend my decision. “If you feel unsatisfied with my RFD, I encourage you to post-round me. I will not take any offense or make a determination on your personality on the basis of your reaction to my decision. I was always quick to disagree with judges as a debater and have always considered disagreement the highest forms of respect” – Vikas Burugu.
General Argument Preferences
1. I’m likely worse for the K team in clash debates and better for policy v policy debates than you’d think. “Ideologically, I'd say I'm 55/45 leaning right. I think my voting records won't reflect this, because K debaters tend to see the bigger picture in clash rounds” – Debnil Sur.
2. Stolen from Shreyas Rajagopal:
A) “links to the plan > links that interact with central thesis of the aff > links to state > links to fiat
B) literally anything else > role of the judge/ballot
C) actual arguments > ad homs [I will not evaluate any arguments about anything that occurred outside of the round outside of disclosure etc. or render a decision about the ethicality of any person I am judging (I don’t know you and this is incredibly uncomfortable)]”
3. Every topic I debated on in HS had a significant affirmative bias. I am inclined to believe the neg needs to be able to get back in the game. This means it will likely be slightly easier to convince me on neg theory and limits arguments.
4. "Inserting rehighlighted evidence without reading it is fine if it's to prove their thing is out of context or if it was read in CX. Otherwise, read it" - Ruby Klein.
1. “Tech over truth. But... Debate is subjective and arbitrary. I consider “dropped arguments are true” to be not particularly helpful” – Anirudh Prabhu. Almost every debate requires some level of intervention to decide, you’re best served explaining each argument and its implications. Most of the time, single technical concessions are likely not the round enders they were made out to be. Every argument will be evaluated in the broader context of what occurred in the debate. However, explicit judge instruction with explanation within the context of other arguments in the debate will be strictly adhered to. Holding my hand will be rewarded with higher speaker points, a quicker decision time, and a more favorable RFD that minimizes intervention.
2. “I will follow something resembling the following structure to make my decision:
A) List the arguments extended into the 2NR and the 2AR
B) Ask myself what, as per the 2NR and 2AR, winning these arguments will get for either the affirmative or the negative. The answer to this question will sometimes be “absolutely nothing” at which point I will strike these arguments off my flow.
C) Trace whether these points of disagreement were present previously in the debate. This will only include substantive argumentation, but will not include framing devices introduced in the 2NR and the 2AR.
D) Compare the negative and affirmative’s central issues by asking myself if losing a certain argument for a certain team will still allow for that team to win the debate.” – Vikas Burugu
3. Technical debating will be rewarded and is important to me. “Flowing is imperative. Arguments should be [explicitly referenced as they were presented when you answer them] if you want 2021 speaker points instead of 1995 speaker points” – Shree Awsare. Whenever possible, each argument in the 2AC/1NC on case should be numbered/labeled and those numbers/labels should be referenced for the rest of the debate.
4.I will certainly reward good evidence if you have it. However, your evidence is only as good as you can explain it to me. ” “Regarding argument resolution, spin outweighs evidence. Spin is debating. Evidence is research. The final rebuttals should be characterized by analytical development rather than purely evidentiary extension.”– Rafael Pierry.
5. “My general guideline for a warrant is: could I explain this argument to the other team in a reasonable post-round and feel confident that it was said by their opponents? This explanation doesn’t mean I need to have a deep intellectual grasp of the position, simply that I could re-state it and the losing side would understand why they lost” – Rafael Pierry.
6. “Any risk” is just objectively wrong. A small enough signal is overwhelmed by noise, which means not only that we can’t establish its magnitude with precision, but if sufficiently small, we can’t establish its sign either” – Calum Matheson.
7. "Prioritize efficiency---notice how that doesn't say speed. Teams should diversify their responses, avoid repetitive phrasing, and effectively engage the line by line" - Shreyas Rajagopal.
1. I feel very comfortable evaluating these debates. I do not think I have significant ideological preferences for either side and have spent an absurd amount of time strategizing arguments for both sides. I’ll likely have a high threshold for what I think are “quality” arguments. “Don't over-adapt to me in these debates. If you are most comfortable going for procedural fairness, do that. If you like going for advocacy skills, you do you. Like any other debate, framework debates hinge on impact calculus and comparison” – Yao Yao Chen. I went for mainly procedural-based impacts centered around clash and argumentative refinement when I was negative. This strategy requires greater defense to the aff’s impact turns, while making it less difficult for you to indict the aff counter-interp.
2. Switch side debate is massively underutilized in HS debate. Most 2NRs assert TVA and SSD with no connection to the rest of the arguments. The 2NC and 2NR should spend time applying their impact filters to specific parts of aff offense. This can be made most effective by explaining your switch side argument on the impact turn you believe it resolves the best.
3. “TVA: who cares. If the 1AC says "reduce FMS to Saudi - we must discuss the Yemen War now!" on the water topic, it is not the negative's burden to describe how the aff team could have made their 1AC topical. TVA could be useful as defense (especially if conceded) but tends to factor little in my decisions” – Shree Awsare.
4. Most Framework approaches can be filtered into one of two categories:
A) Finding a middle ground
While this approach will be significantly harder to assemble / formulate, it gives affirmative teams the ability to impact turn both the content of debate’s that would occur under the negative’s interpretation AND the reading of framework with significantly less drawbacks than the impact turn approach. It will, however, require affirmative’s to wade through the traditional components of a topicality debate and will be subject to good negative teams closely scrutinizing affirmative counterinterpretations. An important question that not enough negative teams ask is how the aff’s counter-interpretation solves their impact turns. “Aff odds of winning are substantially higher if you persuade me that the negative can debate the aff over the course of a season with a relatively even win-percentage. Advance impact-turns boldly, but do not forget defense” – Rafael Pierry.
B) Impact turning topicality
This argument is only particularly persuasive if you win an argument aside from competing interpretations for how a debate should be evaluated. Unless your argument is debate bad, I will struggle to find a way to vote for no topic at all against a competent negative team. However, if you do win an argument that reduces the question of my ballot to an individual debate, the impact-turn only approach becomes much more viable. Aff offense here should focus on why the 1NC’s reading of framework is violent.
5. Neg teams should extend presumption and contest aff solvency throughout the debate. This will make it much more difficult for the aff to shift to more persuasive impact turns that are likely not resolved by their counter-interpretation/the ballot.
6. The 2AR should center 1-2 pieces of central offense through which to explain their strategy. “Less random DA’s that are basically the same, and more internal links to fully developed DA’s. Most of the time your DA’s to the TVA are the same offense you’ve already read elsewhere” – Joshua Michael.
Kritiks v Plan
1. I’m comfortable in these debates as well. I have atleast a decent grasp on most of the common Ks in debate and have likely went for them a number of times.
2. How you frame your arguments will likely have a significant impact on my evaluation of them. “All debate is storytelling, but K debate especially so” – Anirudh Prabhu. Not enough preparation is spent on how you will package your arguments, cross-examination, and/or general round vision.
3. Framework means a lot more to me than it does to some judges. A vast majority of judges seem to arbitrarily intervene and decide to take a middle stance on the framework debate and generate their own justifications for why this “middle stance” is preferable. I will avoid doing this at all costs and only decide between the interpretations present in the 2NR and the 2AR. It will likely be the first argument I evaluate, unless the affirmative has decided not to prioritize it.
“How I should "weigh the aff" versus the K is rarely self evident. I don’t mind a little bit of arbitrariness in a framework interp if you are instructing me clearly on how to evaluate your offense versus their offense” – Anirudh Prabhu. Negative defense to the aff’s standards are usually insufficient and should be prioritized more, while aff teams should borrow more from their negative framework arsenal against planless affirmatives and explain why a model of debate where the affirmative gets to weigh the plan is most reflective of the resolution and why debate over that predictable stasis point is the best model.
4. High link specificity will be rewarded. Although I will still evaluate the debate as presented, demonstrating you’ve thought about how your K interacts with the affirmative will be rewarded in speaker points and in the decision. Unlike many other judges, I will certainly be willing to vote on turns case arguments when your link arguments are well-explained in the context of the affirmative.
5. The permutation is overrated as the basis for affirmative strategy. Instead, Affirmatives should prioritize developing their aff as offense more.
6. Extinction outweighs is a devastating argument against most neg Ks. I have a difficult time understanding neg responses as they are reliant on Framework and/or do not contest the specific scenario for extinction in the 1AC. “If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs” – DKP.
Kritiks/Other Strategies v No Plan
Technical debating and argument comparison is often lost in these debates for assertions with little application. If this does not occur, I will likely enjoy the debate.
1. It will be difficult to convince me that your K aff does not have to defend something. You got to pick and choose what to defend and you should be held responsible for it. This becomes less true as the neg's criticism becomes more trivial, but I will have a relatively lower threshold for link explanation.
2. I am not very persuaded by “no perms in method debates”. Although permutations tend to get out of control in these debates, abandoning competition should not be how to resolve it. The negative needs to disprove the aff with their links, but the threshold for a no link argument if one is forwarded by the affirmative will be higher.
3. Go for presumption. Press the aff on its ability to solve. Vague assertions will not be rewarded with either the ballot or speaker points and I will not be lenient to new aff extrapolation.
4. Go for Topic DAs and Impact Turns if the affirmative links. Or better yet, link them to it. Usually, aff responses are woefully insufficient.
5. This might sound terrible for the aff, but if the neg does not refute aff shifts with specific link explanation, I’m likely quite a good judge for the aff. Kritikal affirmatives have easy angles to exploit vs substantive negative strategies. Neg teams are often awful at contesting the aff, so applying your theory and solvency explanation to different pages effectively should be an easy route to victory.
1. “A decent amount of evidence with intent to define considerably improves your offense.
2. Caselists on both sides help.
3. I tend to care most about predictability” – Ruby Klein.
4. “The articulation of reasonability that will persuade me is that the substance crowdout generated by T debates outweighs the difference between the two interps” – Anirudh Prabhu.
5. In most circumstances, affs should utilize reasonability, functional limits, and arbitrariness as their 2AR strategy.
1. Well-researched strategies (especially PICs) will be rewarded. Topic/aff-specific advocates go a long way.
2. I will default to judge-kick unless told otherwise. Generally, I believe no judge-kick arguments should start in the 1AR at least if you want to win them.
3. I will default to the model that counterplans must compete functionally and textually, but I am willing to hear alternative models for competition.
4. Sufficiency framing is asserted without an implication in most instances. You should set a threshold for how much the CP needs to solve i.e. “1AC ev says we need to meet the 2 degree threshold – if the CP gets there it’s sufficient to solve and deficits do not matter past that”. Otherwise, this seems to be intuitive and just an assertion that serves as a poor substitute for impact calculus.
5. Presumption goes to least change.
1. “Turns the case” is important in some debates, but not others. It’s important to recognize when to prioritize it. The argument that war causes structural violence is intuitive and should not require too much explanation aside from explaining how it implicates framing. Turns case arguments at higher levels of the DA are more persuasive when applied to the aff’s internal links.
2. I generally care more about link defense than impact defense. Link framing is especially important because it can start argument resolution in your favor.
3. Smart analytic arguments are significantly under-utilized. Most politics scenarios, for example, can be logically disproven by a series of analytic arguments. But, the better the other team’s evidence is the more you’ll need of your own.
1. Like everyone else, I like good case debating. 2Ns that show they know the aff better than the other team will especially be rewarded with higher speaks.
2. I will be very strict for the 2AC and 1AR on case. The 2AC needs to actually answer the 1NC case arguments not just re-explain your advantage. I will also be deeply skeptical of new 1AR/2AR arguments on the case especially if your explanation of the aff shifts.
3. #2 and #3 from the DA section apply just as much here.
1. I’m likely better for theory arguments than most because I evaluate them similarly to every other argument. But, if left to my own devices, I’m neg leaning on most questions.
2. “A creative perm debate is likely better and less life-denying, but I understand that theory is necessary to beat process CPs that steal the aff and cheat" - Ruby Klein.
3. I'm far better than the average judge for aff-specific PIKs. I think they're heavily underutilized and a personal favorite of mine. However, beating theory is still difficult given significant aff pushback, especially if the PIK was not explicitly one in the 1NC.
Yes email chain-- firstname.lastname@example.org
I am currently a coach at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I debated in high school in Kansas, in college at the University of Kansas, and have coached and judged debate since I graduated high school.
I am very involved on the HS water topic. I have zero topic knowledge for the college antitrust topic.
Deep debates > broad debates, good for T vs plan and vs no plan, both evidence and narrative are important, clash > trickery, plan vagueness is makes debates bad
SLOW DOWN. Even the clearest debaters have moments of unclarity in online debate, slow down a little bit so that it's easier to recover from small lags in tech.
I have a 2-monitor setup, so if I look like I'm staring above my computer, I promise I'm paying attention
I would really prefer that you kept your camera on.
I am much more compelled by a strategy that goes vertically deep (small number of very well developed arguments) than horizontally deep (a large number of poorly developed arguments). That might be my single most important preference as a judge. I believe that poorly developed arguments (bad unwarranted procedurals; cp's that are just a text; da's, k's, and advantages that are incomprehensible based on highlighting and evidence quality) should be flippantly disregarded. I think far too often, debaters are baited into answering non-arguments at the expense of answering fully developed positions.
Argumentative narrative is very important to me. Packaging arguments effectively goes a long way with me, regurgitating arguments thoughtlessly does not tend to get a lot of weight in my decisions.
I will not evaluate arguments about an individual's character or behavior that occurred outside of the debate.
K aff vs T- I am far better for the neg than the aff. The most successful affs in this scenario will focus almost all of their debating on why their interp/model of debate produces better debates over the course of a season.
K affs vs k- don’t judge enough of these debates to have real preferences. Affs that explain what they do, rather than just what they don’t do, have been more successful
Policy aff vs k- framework matters a lot. Lots of k speeches are good on link and framework but very weak on impact
Theory- sure. Lots of 1nc’s seem to have far too many extremely questionable arguments that degrade the overall quality of debates.
gbn '20 & umich '24
yes email chain- email@example.com
1. debate should be a safe place for all people. if at any point i feel that the safety of a debater is being compromised, i will not hesitate to intervene.
2. a debate round is about 2 hours, involves 8 speeches that following time limits, no ~discussions~ and no participation beyond the four debaters and the judge(s).
3. tech over truth. if it's dropped, it's unquestionably true. you need to impact out why what was dropped matters though. ev matters when you tell me it matters.
below are a list of my opinions in the abstract. everything below is subject to change based on the round and technical debating.
minimal debate experience with the topic. 1) define your acronyms 2) spend more time explaining your t interp and 3) give me a dummy proof explanation of whatever complicated legal thing you're going for. i don't know topic norms, act accordingly.
generic "no war" or "probability first" doesn't make much sense if you don't also win the disad. reading a 2ac overview is not responsive to the neg's 1nc shell.
the more time spent on the case debate the higher your speaks will go.
you should read a plan. i am easily persuaded by t usfg.
to win a k aff in front of me: it is not enough to win the 1ac was important or just a disad to t. t usfg is not the aff versus t but the aff's model of the topic versus the negs. for the aff to win, they must defend a model for debate and win a disad to the neg's interp that is a net benefit to theirs.
my favorite impact is portable skills.
fairness is an internal link.
i will have no idea what to do if you run a k vs a k aff.
the more your k is debated like a disad/counterplan the more i will understand it, like it, and be inclined to vote for you.
tips: over-explain everything, have aff specific links, be organized, do lbl, have an alt that solves.
do not: read death good, use jargon, repeat yourself 8x with different big words, read a long overview.
i do not understand: anthro, bataille, high theory, high theory cybernetics, nietzche, schopenhauer, or weird k's.
in the 2nr and 2ar please do a brief overview of what you want my ballot to be and include impact calc. judge direction is especially important in these debates and i have found myself struggling to sift through what arguments are important unless they are flagged as such and there's an explanation for WHY those arguments are important. i feel like in t debates it's very common for teams to extend their offense but not do much clash, "even if" statements, or judge direction which means that some level of intervention always happens. i'm also not familiar with the topic and don't know what topic consensus is which makes an overview especially important.
legal precision > limits > ground.
aspec is a theory argument and should be treated as such.
i find effects t to be entirely unpersuasive.
i won't kick the counterplan unless instructed to.
everything with a solvency advocate, and especially if it's aff or topic specific, i'll likely think is okay.
condo: unlikely to be abusive unless there's in round abuse. kicking planks is fine. don't mistake this as permission for spamming unnaturally short, made up, barely highlighted, or analytical counterplans.
theory args i'm more murky on: object fiat, international fiat, private fiat, and 2nc cps for no reason other than you are losing.
i'm totally down for your crazy illogical ptx da. however, i do find disads about whether congress will or will not pass a bill to be boring.
fiat doesn't solve the link and ptx theory isn't a thing.
i am decently well read on: dedev, executive flex, heg, soft power bad, and space col.
spark/wipeout/strikes good: let’s not.
warming: is bad.
send all cards in a doc, not the body of the email.
you can't insert re-highlightings you must read them.
no clipping. auto loss.
i can't adjudicate issues that occur outside of the round.
28 to 29.5- probably where you'll end up
26- you were rude, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.
you should have your zoom camera on for the entire round. speaking from a dark abyss is just weird and i will assume that you're stealing prep and deck your speaks. just lmk if you have bandwidth/camera problems.
ways to boost your speaker points
put me on the email chain without asking.
use lower case letters, blue highlighting, and calibri/georgia font.
joke about people i'm friends with or me.
ways to lower your speaker points
mispronounce words. BUT, if you mispronounce a word and then say "words are hard" then +.1
pause for an excessive period of time during your speech.
read dedev and then double turn yourself.
take less than 10 seconds of prep or repeatedly start and stop prep.
Want to be on the email chain? - Yes, please send docs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
My paradigm, at its core, is to judge the debate according to the parameters set by the debaters in the room. I am willing to decide the round on any arguments the debaters mark as the voting issues (including T, theory, and other procedural arguments, traditional policy affs, planless affs, performance, etc.). You need to be clear, your evidence should be good, and your authors should generally agree with each other (on solvency, Ks, etc.). If you are running critical and/or performance arguments you should clearly articulate what the role of the judge/ballot is in the round.
I don't especially enjoy reading cards after the debate to try to piece together what should have been explained more clearly in the debate. If you think the round hinges on the text of a piece of evidence, spell it out in the rebuttals. Alternatively, if the debate is really good and evidence must be read, I'm perfectly happy to do so; I encourage you to provide me the context necessary to read for you.
Speed is great, just be clear. With online debating, I would encourage you, as good practice, to reduce your speed to 85% or so. Also, know that I flow on paper and need pen time--slow down on T, Theory, perms, CP texts, etc. If I ask you to be clear and you ignore me, I'm probably not going to be able to follow you on the flow. I keep pretty detailed flows (of course, not perfect), if it's not on my flow I'm not voting on it.
Overviews are a great rhetorical tool but if you speed through them I'm not sure how useful they are. Similarly, if they are 5 mins long, you are probably going to lose the LBL. Speaking of rhetorical tools, humor and personality are also a delightful addition to rounds, especially with everything being virtual. :-)
Needless hostility or defensiveness is intellectually--and just at a human level--crushing. Please don't. If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, abelist, etc. please strike me--you will lose the debate.
email@example.com, yes to questions and email chain. I am a debate coach at Little Rock Central.
You do you. I want to see you at your best and not over adapting. I believe that my role is to listen, flow, and weigh the arguments offered in the round how I am told to weigh them by each team, starting with the framework debate, if applicable. I will listen to and evaluate any argument.
1. Explain why your impacts outweigh the other team's impacts, and explain the risk of your impacts compared to theirs.
2. Do evidence comparison as necessary.
3. Tell me why I am writing my ballot for you.
Unethical behavior: Not cool with any behavior that is racist, transphobic, ableist, or violent.
Go for it. I am probably at my best as a judge in the back of a policy v policy round, a policy v K round. These are some of my favorite debates.
Kritikal Affirmatives and Framework
Go for it, but be wary- I am not the best for K v K round. I love and admire these debates, but I am probably best a spectator for them. I don't have any theoretical problem with KvK debate, but I do struggle to flow some of the most technical aspects of these debates when they are had at the highest level. I will be at my best if you slow down on disads to the opponents' methods in these debates (or just slow down a bit in general).
That being said, I will vote for any kritikal argument that wins its method and theory of power and explains them well. I will vote for embedded critiques of debate. I will vote for kritkal affs and performances if the aff wins the method, theory of power, and impacts the debate. I think it’s important for kritkal affirmatives to be able to articulate how the negative side could engage with them as it comes up, explain the role of the negative in the debate as it comes up, and win the questions of fairness if applicable.
Quality over quantity. Happy to listen and evaluate any neg strat. I don’t dislike any negative strategy aside from choosing a bunch of blippy arguments or lacking in-depth analysis (or doing anything unethical, see General). 7 or 8 off is not my favorite, but I'm happy to flow it. When it comes to case debate and offcase links, the more specific, the better.
1. Perms: Explain how the perm works (more than "perm do X"). Why does the perm resolve the impacts? Why doesn't the perm link to a disad?
2. T: Normal threshold if the topicality impacts are about the implications for future debates. High threshold for affs being too specific and being bad for debate because neg doesn't have case debate.
3. Speed: Think 8.5/10 and slowing down a bit on the perms, link turns, and analytics embedded in the overview. (I have no theoretical problem with speed… just being realistic on my limit.)
New Note - I'm totally uninterested in adjudicating arguments that endorse self harm, suicide, or purposeful death. I won't auto-vote against you but if someone you're debating asks me to stop the debate I will. If I end up voting for you, you will not like your points.
Things like wipeout/spark/other impact turns are a little different than this category for me and you can still read those types of hypothetical impact turns as they don't feel the same as [self harm good].
I am a coach at the University of Texas-Austin, Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy and The Harker School. Conflicts: Texas, LASA, Westwood, St Vincent de Paul, Bakersfield High School
Email Chain: yes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Debate is an activity about persuasion and communication. If I can't understand what you are saying because you are unclear, haven't coherently explained it, or developed it into a full argument-claim, warrant, impact, it likely won't factor in my decision.
While there are some exceptions, most debaters I've judged the last few years are pretty unclear, so its likely I will miss some arguments. Zoom has magnified this issue for me (not necessarily the debaters fault). Final rebuttals offer you a space to retrace the part(s) of the debate you think are most relevant to the decision. This both makes it much more likely I will understand your argument and will likely improve your speaker points.
The winner will nearly always be the team able to identify the central question of the debate first and most clearly trace how the development of their argument means they're ahead on that central question.
Virtually nothing you can possibly say or do will offend me [with the new above caveat] if you can't beat a terrible argument you probably deserve to lose.
Everyone seems to have intense clashphobia these days - this isn't about policy or k debate, its across the board and going for the least covered option seems to be everyone's mantra. I get why you think that's strategic, but typically it results in shallow rebuttals, frustrating decisions, 1-1-1 panels and lower points. Specific AFF/NEG research that demonstrate the third and fourth level testing everyone seems to think is important wil be rewarded with higher points. All in on "not our ___" will not.
I flow CX, unless its some random clarification question you forgot I will stop flowing CX after 3 minutes. The "I'm going to ask a million questions while my partner preps their 2NC" has gotten ridiculous.
newer - I don't judge many non-framework debates anymore. I tend to vote neg when the neg wins clash is the biggest/most portable impact + explanation for how it improves over the year as a result of their interp and access aff offense via TVA or SSD. I tend to vote AFF when they win an impact turn to the end result of clash alongside robust answers to the NEG ballot can't access that offense args. I think 2NCs that lack an explanation of how 2nd and 3rd level testing occurs under their interp and changes over the year, with examples, lacks credibility when going for only clash matters (you can maybe win the debate on a different terminal impact, but lately I haven't really voted on other ones). Fairness is both an internal link and an impact. Debate is a game but its also so much more. You can persuade me to think one way or the other in any given debate and I've learned to love judging these debates because I often learn new things about the activity and its potential.
older - but not un-true
I find myself voting negative a lot on procedural fairness a lot. K affs seem to have a lot of trouble deciding if they want to go for the middle ground or just impact turn--pick a strategy and stick to it 1AC-2AR and you're more likely to be in a good place. The block is almost always great on T, the 2NR almost always forgets to do terminal impact calculus. Testing arguments become much more persuasive to me when you give specific examples for how those would occur. What neg args would you be able to read against a potential TVA? Why is it good for the 2AC to research those positions, how would you researching answers to their answers be beneficial? A lot of this stuff just gets assumed and I think that a lot of repetitiveness from most framework 2NCs can be substituted for this kind of depth early in the debate. 2NRs sometimes seem to spend so much time on why they access AFF lit base/impacts that they don't end up extending a terminal impact or external offense at all. I think it's difficult to win a debate when you basically go for a CP w/o a net benefit.
I'm a lot better for framework that sounds closer to T with a limits and clash as the primary impacts then the soliloquy on the most superior model for debate. Clash as the most important internal link to education/fairness/skills/game etc. is usually more persuasive to me than other arguments on T.
-If your CP competes based on the certainty or immediacy of the plan, it doesn't take a ton on theory for me to reject the counter plan.
-I won't kick it for you unless you tell me to. Judge kick makes more sense to me than it used to, but I still think the AFF can win it shouldn't be allowed.
-"perm do both" or "perm do cp" with no explanation isn't a complete argument. I get that given negative off-case prolif sometimes this feels inevitable, but I'm confident results will improve if you give warrants for any permutation that you think it's likely will find its way into the 2AR.
-affs usually lose these by forgetting about the case, negs usually lose these when they don't contextualize links to the 1ac. If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs.
-link specificity is important - I don't think this is necessarily an evidence thing, but an explanation thing - lines from 1AC, examples, specific scenarios are all things that will go a long way
-they should be intrinsic to the plan, with enough time investment affs can potentially win that agenda politics disads are not a logical opportunity cost.
-uniqueness controls the direction of the link typically makes the most sense to me, but you can probably convince me otherwise
I haven't judge many rounds. Likely quite bad for tricks - arguments need a claim, warrant and impact to be complete. Dropped arguments are important if you explain how they implicate my decision.
Arguments communicated and understood by the judge per minute>>>>words mumbled nearly incomprehensibly per minute.
Unlikely you'll convince me the aff doesn't get to read a plan for topicality reasons. K framework is a separate from this and open to debate, see policy for most specifics.
Lane Tech - 2012 - 2013
Iowa City High - 2013 - 2016
University of Northern Iowa - 2016 - 2017
Emporia State 2018 - 2021
Berkeley Prep - 2021 -
email chain - BerkeleyPrepDocs@gmail.com
*Update for Blake 2021*
Recently retired k-leaning flex debater and resident performative stunt queen for Berkeley Prep Debate -
As someone who went for everything these past like 9 or 10 years, from big stick warming affs to f*** debate performance 1AC's, to Black/Native Studies like Warren, Wilderson, Moten, King, Gumbs and Hartman to Queer theory like Butler, Edelman and Trans-Rage to High theory like Nietzche, Baudy and OOO to Procedurals like T/FW/A- and I-Spec to Disads/Case turns like to deterrence, politics and SPARK I would MUCH rather watch you go for politics than like an anthro kritik you aren't 100 percent invested in. The speeches I want to see are the ones you are enthused about giving and ultimately want you to be excited to do whatever it is you are best at.
Due to recent events its been suggested to me that I add a layer to my philosophy I didn't really believe necessary, but to help protect future debaters as well as myself here is what I will say. While I empathize with the competitive nature of why we all come to debate, if there is violence of any kind, intentional or not, my role as an educator in the community is to intervene if deem necessary and I have no qualms of doing so. Its important to recognize when to put the game aside in situations like those and understand that we have a responsibility to learn from stuff like that and to be better moving forward. SO just so we are all clear, my role as a judge (and a role I would hope others embody when judging my own students) is one that adjudicates the round in the fairest way possible AS WELL AS ensures the safety, to my best capacity, of each debate and all of its participants. Strike me if you don't like it.
Side note- Sometimes, not always, but just like countless other judges in this community, I can, at times, be a very reactive and nonverbal judge. Understanding that those kinds of things are both inevitable and not always caused by something you did is key and whether you choose to modify what you are doing based off how I'm reacting is your decision and is a skill I believe is vastly important to succeeding in this activity.
Updated for Greenhill Round Robin
better for k v k or policy v k
- have aff specific link explanations regardless of offcase position - that doesnt mean that every card has to be specific to the aff but your explanation of the link should be as specific to the 1AC as you can make possible - extra speaker points to those who can successfully pull lines
- that being said, "as specific to the 1AC" means you could have a really good link to aff's mechanism. or you could have a great state link. or a link to their impacts. etc. it doesnt matter to me what the link is as long as it is well developed and made specific to what the 1AC is. I dont want to hear the same generic state link as much as the next person but if you make it creative and you use the aff than I dont see a problem.
- affirmatives could be about the topic, or they could not be, its up to you as long as whatever you choose to do you can defend and explain. If you're not about the topic and its a framework debate, I need to know what your model of debate is or why you shouldnt need to defend one etc. if youre reading a performance aff, the performance is just as important if not more than the evidence you are reading - so dont forget to extend the performance throughout the debate and use it to answer the other teams arguments.
- whether its one off or 8 please be aware of the contradictions you will be making in the 1NC and be prepared to defend them or have some sort of plan if called out.
- on that note theory debates are fine and could be fun. im not that opposed to voting on theory arguments of all varieties as long as you spend a sufficient amount of time in the rebuttals to warrant me voting on them. most of the time thats a substantial amount if not the entirety of one or more of your rebuttals.
- perm debates are weird and i dont feel great voting for "do both" without at least an explanation of how that works. "you dont get a perm in method debates" feels wrong mostly because like these are all made up debate things anyways and permutations are good ways to test the competitiveness of ks/cps/cas. that being said, if you have a good justification for why the aff shouldnt get one and they do an insufficient job of answering it, i will obviously vote on "no perms in method debates"
- dropped arguments are probably true arguments, but there are always ways to recover, however, not every argument made in a debate is an actual argument and being able to identify what is and isn't will boost your speaker points
*Find all of the relevant water puns and you get a +.2 speaker boost. One guess per debater. Sink or Swim on this
Jake Lee (He/Him)
Present and Past Affiliations:
Current High School Affiliation - Head Coach and Teacher at the Mamaroneck High School
Current College Affiliation - Assistant Coach at the University of Michigan
Former Assistant Coach - Pine Crest ('18-'21), Strath Haven ('19)
Former Debater - University of Pittsburgh ('16-'20), Qualified to NDT ('19)
Former Debater - GBS ('12-'16)
HS Debaters add: mamaroneckdebate[at]googlegroups[dot]com
College Debaters add: umichdocs[at]gmail[dot]com
6th year Judging High School Debate, 2nd year Judging College Debate
Tech > Truth
I'm good for anything. I have judged all various types/styles of debate. Do whatever makes the debate flow well.
Will not vote on Death Good, Racism Good, Sexism Good, etc.
Explanation matters more than evidence. Most debaters give shallow explanations of their arguments. Cards only matter to break ties in arguments when warrants/arguments are explicitly contested.
Condo is probably fine. New affs justify condo and maybe perf con. International Fiat is probably bad. Do not coast through your theory blocks to answer theory. Clash with your opponents arguments
You are NOT allowed to insert the re-highlighting of a card. You MUST read you re-highlighting. I will not flow it and speaks will be docked
Water Topic Thoughts:
I do research on this topic pretty much all of the time since debate is practically my full time job.
The States Counterplan wave is real. These debates seems to be very enjoyable. I am not afraid to vote for 50 State fiat bad, however, that does not mean I will not vote for 50 state fiat good
T debates seems to be stale. Haven't heard a decent topicality argument so far
Stop calling it T-Matanich, just say T-Protection
Antitrust Topic Thoughts:
I have very little topic knowledge. I do know a bit about antitrust law, but gonna need a little more unpacking
Heard its pretty neg side bias, so 1NCs better be stacked with stuff other then just politics, federalism and states
Cap debates I've heard sound interesting.
Specific Debate Thoughts:
Counterplans: Fine for Counterplans. Advantage CPs are under-utilized in debate. Some process counterplans are more legitimate than others.
Disadvantages: Fine for DAs, Impact Calculus is a must, filtering your offense out is important.
Topicality: Will reward high speaks for a good T debate, but that does not mean you should go for T just for the points. Limits > Ground. Stop calling T arguments by an author name (ie T-Pearson, last year instead of T-Reduce)
Critiques: Fine with Critiques, pretty well versed in most literature ranging from Security and Cap to Identity-based and High Theory K's. Still believe Links about the plan > Links about advantage thesis/impacts, extinction probably outweighs, and an alternative should have to do something. The Framework debate impacts my decision calculus the most in these types of debates.
Framework: These debates tend to drift away from offense. Condensing the debate to your best impacts are the best debates. Best impact to Framework is CLASH and TOPIC EDUCATION. I can see Fairness as an impact, but view it honestly as an internal link. AFFs are better off impact turning the negative's offense and weighing their counter-interpretation. NEG teams needs to answer the AFF's specific arguments. Generically stating fairness and clash won't get you very far.
Why don't more people read Heg/Cap Good against K affs? Much rather see that debate than a Framework Debate.
**Side Note about Counterplans: Counterplans are becoming more and more abusive and the AFF just lets things slide a bit too much. The fact in the HS scene has a cascade of teams reading multiplank-advantage CPs that the STATES are doing without a solvency advocate is pretty ridiculous. Now, will I auto vote AFF on theory, no, but make the argument very compelling and it is pretty decent.
Mamaroneck ‘21, Johns Hopkins '25
Add me to the chain - email@example.com
+0.3 speaks if you open source all of your docs and tell me.
Tech > truth, but everything needs a warrant.
I was 1a/2n.
I've received 5+ bids to the toc.
I will default to competing interpretations.
You need an alternative to plan text in a vacuum.
Tell me to judge kick.
Smart perms destroy process cps.
You can insert perm texts.
You can insert rehighlightings.
The more specific the disad, the better.
Impact turns are fun (excluding wipeout).
ks on the neg
Ks should have specific links to the plan. Pull quotes from their aff for links.
Reps links are bad.
If the other team doesn’t understand you, don’t assume I will.
Policy teams that can't answer the K deserve to lose.
Framework: Procedural fairness and clash are impacts.
I can very easily be persuaded by presumption against k affs.
If argued by the neg, k affs probably don’t get a perm.
Condo is good but you can persuade me that it is not.
Neg leaning for most theory.
Will vote on conceded aspec and other theory arguments.
Follow speech times, don’t ask for high speaks, don’t ask for double wins, and don’t try to destroy the game.
Assistant Director of Debate -- UTD... YOU SHOULD COME DEBATE FOR US BECAUSE WE HAVE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
So I really dont want to judge but if you must pref me here's some things you should know.
Arguments I wont vote on ever
Pref Sheets args
Things outside the debate round
Death is good
Tl:Dr- do you just dont violate the things i'll never vote on and do not pref me that'd be great.
Line by Line is important.
I generally give quick RFDs this isnt a insult to anyone but I've spent the entire debate thinking about the round and generally have a good idea where its going by the end.
Clarity over speed (ESP IN THIS ONLINE ENVIRONMENT) if I dont understand you it isnt a argument.
Online edit -- go slower speed and most of your audio setups arent great. (See what I did there)
Only the debaters debating can give speeches.
I catch you clipping I will drop you. So suggest you dont and be clear mumbling after i've said clear risk me pulling the trigger.
firstname.lastname@example.org for email chains... but PLEASE DONT PREF ME
Can you beat T-USFG in front of me if your not a traditional team.... yes... can you lose it also yes. Procedural fairness is a impact for me. K teams need to give me a reason why I should ignore T if they want to win it. Saying warrantless claims impacted by the 1AC probably isnt good enough.
Aff's that say "Affirm me because it makes me feel better or it helps me" probably not the best in front of me. I just kinda dont believe it.
I dislike reading cards because I do not fell like reconstructing the debate for one side over another. I will read cards dont get me wrong but rarely will I read cards on args that were not explained or extended well.
K-There fine I like em except the death good ones.
In round behavior- Aggressive is great being a jerk is not. This can and will kill your speaks. Treat your opponents with respect and if they dont you can win a ballot off me saying what they've done in round is problematic. That said if someone says you're arg is (sexist, racist, etc) that isnt the same as (a debater cursing you out because you ran FW or T or a debater telling you to get out of my activity) instant 0 and a loss. i'm not about that life.
Jesuit College Prep
Please use email@example.com for speech docs. I do want to be in the email chain.
However, I don't check that email a lot while not at tournaments - so if you need to reach me not at a tournament, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Topicality is about competing interpretations for me, unless you tell me otherwise. Negatives should explain what allowing the affirmative in the topic would allow— ie what other affirmatives would be allowed and what specific ground or arguments you have lost out on. Affirmatives should, in addition to making counter-interpretations, explain why those counter-interpretations are good for the topic.
Case lists are underutilized in these debates – both about what they exclude and realistically justify on both sides of the topic. Topical version of the aff is an important but not a must have – especially if you are partially trying to say that they are SOOOO bad I shouldn’t want them to be a part of the topic.
Counter plans are good -- but I think that Affs underutilize solvency advocate based arguments. If you are going to have a CP with a ton of different elements, neg should be able to support that with solvency evidence that supports the whole CP not just the elements. If you are neg, you should still do these mutliplank cps if you like but the aff can win a solvency deficit if you don’t have someone to advocate all of it together. Asserting a not accurate way the government works to make a claim about neg CP also should be contested by the aff - and so should dates of the evidence being used to justify the CP. Specific counterplans that reflect you did some work in research the aff = good for the neg. Process counterplans less good b/c they usually show that you didn’t do the research on the aff.
Also enjoy a good disad debate—used to include politics. But alas, Trump has ruined many things for me - including this. GOP unwavering support for Trump has also ruined this for me. Maybe new Biden administration can help this argument and the world. I do think it is possible to win zero risk of the politics DA. I do think that affs should make a bigger deal about how that zero risk of the DA means that any risk of a solvency deficit on the CP means should vote Aff. But alas, you probably won't, then I will have to default to my engrained any risk of the DA if the CP solves mostly wins a debate.
For other DAs, much like my previous discussion of topicality and the kritik, explain the link specific to the affirmative – you can and should have multiple link args in the block that help build your story about why the aff triggers the DA. Assess how the impact of the DA relates to the case impact. Overviews should be specific to the aff not a reiteration of magnitude probability and time frame - as this results in awkward comparisons especially on this topic. Offense is a good thing but defensive versus a disad may be enough to win. In other words, any risk of a DA does not mean you win on the Negative (unless perhaps it’s a CP net benefit)—there is room for Affirmatives to make uniqueness, no link, and impact arguments that erode the DA so significantly the Negative doesn’t win much a risk versus the Aff. Good case debates with solvency or impact turns make for appealing and compelling debates. Negatives can win on case turns alone if the impacts are developed in the block.
Contrary to what some of you might think, I really do enjoy a good kritik debate. Jesuit teams have basically run only Ks on this topic. The Negative should, through evidence and link narratives, explain how more ‘generic’ evidence and the K applies to the Aff. For example, explain why the aff’s use of the state is bad; don’t just assert they are the state therefore they must be bad. The other place to be sure to spend some time is explaining the role of the ballot and/or the role of the alternative. I think that topic specific K much better than your hodgepodge throw some authors together ks. Also not a huge fan of death is inevitable so we should give up now or alternatives that incorporate “suicide” as an alternative. Both sides when initiating framework arguments need to think through what they are getting out of the framework arguments – don’t just go for it bc someone told you novice year you should. If it's strategic say concede their framework, we just do their thing better, you should.
Performance/non-instrumental use of the rez
While I am compelled by arguments about the need to redress exclusion in the debate community, Negatives should challenge, and the Aff should defend, the importance of the ballot in redressing those exclusions. If the neg can explain why the same education and same exploration of privilege can occur without the ballot, I am very persuaded by those arguments. However, in these debates I have judged, I have almost always voted for the team advocating non-instrumental use of the topic because this ballot piece often goes unchallenged. I think that if you are aff and running an advocacy statement, you should have some reason why that is better than a plan on the ready -- assuming the neg challenges this. In these debates it seems that negatives often forget that even if they are only going for framework, they will still need to have a reason why the aff ROB or method is bad. Otherwise, the aff will make some arguments (as they should) that their method is offense against traditional understandings of debate/T/framework. I do think that the performance should be tied to the resolution when you are aff - or at least that's my default.
Theory – Aff/Neg
If there is a legit reason why what the other team has done has eroded your ability to win by creating a not reciprocal or not level playing field, then initiate the arguments. I understand the strategic value creating a time trade off might get you. However, you should think about whether or not you have some compelling args before going for the arg all out or in the 2nr/2ar. Multiple contradictory framework type args are an underutilized arg when there are k alts and cps in the debate---especially if any or all are conditional. Be concrete about what they are doing and what the justify in order to make “impact” arguments.
New aff theory - I don't have anything else in my philosophy like this (that just say no to an argument) but "new aff disclosure theory" arguments are silly to me. Aff Innovation = good, and incentivizing innovation by giving a strategic leg up to affs by getting to break a new aff = good. I've got more warrants if you want to chat about it - I know some of you feel very strongly about this - but it doesn't make sense to me. You should not probably spend the time to read your shell even if its supershort. Affs should say "competitive innovation = good". And that'd probably be enough.
Certainly, new affs mean that the neg get to make a bunch of args - and that I probably am more sympathetic on issues like no solv advocate, multiple cp, condo, etc - but yeah, no, new affs = good not bad.
Stylistic Issues (Speed, Quantity)
Clarity is important and so are warranted arguments and cards – say what you would like but be clear about it. If you have many argument but you have highlighted down the evidence to 3-5 words, you have also not made a warranted argument. Also, “extinction” is not a tag. Some highlighting practices have become so egregious that I think you're actually highlighting a different argument than the author is actually making.
Speaker Point Scale
Decent debate = 28 + ; more than decent gets more points. You can gain more points by having proper line by line, clash, good evidence with warrants, good impact comparison. You can lose points by not doing those aforementioned things AND if you are snarky, condescending, etc.
Productive cross-examinations add to speaker points and help to set up arguments---needlessly answering or asking your partners cx questions subtract from speaker points. Did I mention flowing is a good thing?
The line by line is important as is the evidence you read, explain and reference by name in the debate. Line by line is the only way to clash and avoid “two ships passing in the night” debates. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.
I do tend to read evidence on important issues – so the quality of your evidence does matter as does how much you actually read of it. I am persuaded by teams that call out other teams based on their evidence quality, author quals, lack of highlighting (meaning they read little of the evidence). You should flow – you can’t do anything else I’ve outlined without flowing – and like, actually flow, not copy the speech doc..
Jesuit is not open source - and if you think our cards are good, you should enjoy the experience of reading the good research. While I know that there are many people who disagree with me, I think that reading other people's cards disincentivizes hard work and cultivates unethical academic practices. And, for the record, there's no small school arg here - in fact large schools benefit more from this model (where you read other people's cards without recutting them) because they have more access to more open source docs in debates. I will disregard Jesuit evidence read by another team whether that's an argument made or not. Doesn't mean I will auto-vote against you but not going to vote on cards we cut that you use.
I DO NOT mean that you can't take cites and recut the evidence - in fact getting cites from someone and recutting the evidence is good. BUT, if for example School A debate School B in round 4, then School A uses ev read by B against another B team, that's unethical. TEAM'S SPEECH DOCUMENTS ARE NOT OPEN EVIDENCE FILES. Know the difference. If there is a Jesuit cite you can't access because of a lack of access to resources, please email me and I will provide a full text of the article or book - I pinky swear.
For those of you who think that this is inconsistent with soliciting speech docs, with a rare exception, our solicitation of speech docs fills in intel that those who don't update their wiki ever or only after a tournament is complete. While I would prefer to just rely on the wiki, that's not a reliable source of information for a lot of teams. It should be reliable, however, if you are debating a Jesuit team - and if you find a lack of information on a Jesuit team's page, please feel free to let me know. The above perspective on the open source stems from a view that people should do their own work - and open source incentivizes ppl just stealing cards from speech docs versus developing their own research skills.
Email chains are good. Include me email@example.com
Debate Coach @ Coppell (9th Grade Center and Coppell High School)
*edited 2/11/2021 - I took out any objection to the 50 states CP.
I think debate operates in a unique place in the high school experience, where it serves as a crucible for the development of advocacy skills and critical engagement that is not replicated anywhere else. I love this activity and want each successive generation to be able to enjoy it. As such, be good to one another! Take care of our space and leave it better than the way you found it. Come back and give back if debate has given you a space to develop yourself.
These are some of my thoughts but I’m not dogmatic. Do what you do best.
1. Please forward a well-developed ballot story. Compare methods and offense
2. Tell me what you want me to vote on.
3. Compare evidence - this doesn’t happen enough and it’s usually what close debates depend on to resolve.
4. K aff’s - I default to believing that K aff's should still be affirmative arguments. I think switch-side debate is good and develops a portable skill that other activities do not. I think what you clash abilities is important. K aff's should forward counter-interpretations as needed. I am willing to vote on framework.
5. Counterplans are best when case-specific. PiCs are fine. The aff should have to defend their plan.
6. I prefer line-by-line debate more than long overviews. Too many rebuttals I’ve seen recently spend a ton of time explaining arguments in overviews that should just be done on the flow. Numbering arguments and following the order of your opponents is preferable or at least be explicit when re-grouping the flow.
7. I cannot flow a string of unending analytics with no time to type even if it's in perfect outline from in speech doc. Slow down just a bit, change your tone, and or pause for a moment when reading strings of long analytics.
8. I will be following along with the evidence read in the debate on my computer.
Debated for UWG ’15 – ’17; Coaching: Notre Dame – ’19 – Present; Baylor – ’17 – ’19
I prefer K v K rounds, but I generally wind up in FW rounds.
K aff’s – 1) Generally have a high threshold for 1ar/2ar consistency. 2) Stop trying to solve stuff you could reasonably never affect. Often, teams want the entirety of X structure’s violence weighed yet resolve only a minimal portion of that violence. 3) v K’s, you are rarely always already a criticism of that same thing. Your articulation of the perm/link defense needs to demonstrate true interaction between literature bases. 4) Stop running from stuff. If you didn’t read the line/word in question, okay. But indicts of the author should be answered with more than “not our Baudrillard.”
K’s – 1) rarely win without substantial case debate. 2) ROJ arguments are generally underutilized. 3) I’m generally persuaded by aff answers that demonstrate certain people shouldn’t read certain lit bases, if warranted by that literature. 4) I have a higher threshold for generic “debate is bad, vote neg.” If debate is bad, how do you change those aspects of debate? 5) 2nr needs to make consistent choices re: FW + Link/Alt combinations. Find myself voting aff frequently, because the 2nr goes for two different strats/too much.
Special Note for Settler Colonialism: I simultaneously love these rounds and experience a lot of frustration when judging this argument. Often, debaters haven’t actually read the full text from which they are cutting cards and lack most of the historical knowledge to responsibly go for this argument. List of annoyances: there are 6 settler moves to innocence – you should know the differences/specifics rather than just reading pages 1-3 of Decol not a Metaphor; la paperson’s A Third University is Possible does not say “State reform good”; Reading “give back land” as an alt and then not defending against the impact turn is just lazy. Additionally, claiming “we don’t have to specify how this happens,” is only a viable answer for Indigenous debaters (the literature makes this fairly clear); Making a land acknowledgement in the first 5 seconds of the speech and then never mentioning it again is essentially worthless; Ethic of Incommensurability is not an alt, it’s an ideological frame for future alternative work (fight me JKS).
General: 1) Fairness is either an impact or an internal link 2) the TVA doesn’t have to solve the entirety of the aff. 3) Your Interp + our aff is just bad.
Aff v FW: 1) can win with just impact turns, though the threshold is higher than when winning a CI with viable NB’s. 2) More persuaded by defenses of education/advocacy skills/movement building. 3) Less random DA’s that are basically the same, and more internal links to fully developed DA’s. Most of the time your DA’s to the TVA are the same offense you’ve already read elsewhere.
Reading FW: 1) Respect teams that demonstrate why state engagement is better in terms of movement building. 2) “If we can’t test the aff, presume it’s false” – no 3) Have to answer case at some point (more than the 10 seconds after the timer has already gone off) 4) You almost never have time to fully develop the sabotage tva (UGA RS deserves more respect than that). 5) Impact turns to the CI are generally underutilized. You’ll almost always win the internal link to limits, so spending all your time here is a waste. 6) Should defend the TVA in 1nc cx if asked. You don’t have a right to hide it until the block.
Theory - 1) I generally lean neg on questions of Conditionality/Random CP theory. 2) No one ever explains why dispo solves their interp. 3) Won’t judge kick unless instructed to.
T – 1) I’m not your best judge. 2) Seems like no matter how much debating is done over CI v Reasonability, I still have to evaluate most of the offense based on CI’s.
DA/CP – 1) Prefer smart indicts of evidence as opposed to walls of cards (especially on ptx/agenda da's). Neg teams get away with murder re: "dropped ev" that says very little/creatively highlighted. 2) I'm probably more lenient with aff responses (solvency deficits/aff solves impact/intrinsic perm) to Process Cp's/Internal NB's that don't have solvency ev/any relation to aff.
All of my thoughts on policy apply, except for theory. More than 2 condo (or CP’s with different plank combinations) is probably abusive, but I can be convinced otherwise on a technical level.
Not voting on an RVI. I don’t care if it’s dropped.
Most LD theory is terrible Ex: Have to spec a ROB or I don’t know what I can read in the 1nc --- dumb argument.
Phil or Tricks (sp?) debating – I’m not your judge.
TLDR: Answer the arguments in the order presented.
1. Bellarmine '21.
2. Georgetown '25.
3. Assistant Debate Coach at Bellarmine.
1. I have no preferences about the arguments you read. My senior year, Adarsh and I defended affirmatives that administered the death penalty to super-intelligent AI, established criminal justice for future space colonies, and endorsed “viral tactics of resistance through hacking digital infrastructure” that produced “counterapparatuses’ of knowledge” which destroyed “data that furthers the state’s necropolitical functions.” We spun the most contrived link for the elections DA against affirmatives that modified obscure cyber statutes but also went for the Baudrillard K in our TOC bubble round. Despite that, my heart lies with well-researched positions. My favorite memories in debate are getting into the mechanics of the China appeasement debate and combing through IR journals to cut updates. In short, read the arguments you wish to read and I’ll accommodate you.
2. At the end of the debate, I ask myself what the two or three nexus questions are and use whatever frameworks the final rebuttals have left me with to answer them. It would behoove you to begin your rebuttals with what you think these important issues are and why I’ll resolve them in your favor. This includes impact calculus, but also goes beyond it. Did the 1AR drop case arguments that were applicable to both advantages? Did the 2NR get to the revisionism debate with 15 seconds remaining? The best rebuttals are reflexive; don’t tell me why you’re winning, tell me why you have already won.
3. Add suryamidha2003 [at] gmail [dot] com to the email chain, format the subject as “Year -- Tournament -- Round # -- Aff Team vs Neg Team,” send every card in a Word document (not in the body of the email), and always compile a card document (unless the 2AR is just a theoretical objection).
1. Number everything. "One, two, three" is preferable to "first, second, third." If your gripe with numbering is that it "interrupts the flow of your speech," you have incidentally just articulated the most compelling justification for the practice.
2. Speed should never come at the expense of clarity.
1. I’ve mostly been on the negative side of this debate.
2. Fairness being/not being an impact begs the question of what an impact is. Fairness, skills, self-questioning and the gamut of negative framework impacts all seem important, but so are other values. The way to my ballot is impact comparison. Choose your 1NC standards wisely and explain why they outweigh the Aff’s framework offense through discussions of their relative importance and the ability of framework to access them.
3. I have no preference for either the skills-based or fairness-based framework strategies. Be cautious that defending standards like movement-building opens you up to Aff impact turns since you’ve granted them debate has value outside of the ballot.
4. Hyperbolic claims about limits can be easily overcome by a well-developed explanation of functional limits.
1. Perm texts must be sent in the 2AC.
2. Textual and functional competition seem like good standards to hold CP’s too. Defending positional competition will require a robust definition of what an Aff “position” is.
3. Speak to the normative implications of definitions in addition to reading cards. Forcing Affs to be immediate would justify “do the Aff after our politics scenario” while certainty would allow for “end arms sales to Taiwan, but only if China gives us a dollar.”
4. The “mandates vs effects” articulation of competition has made more sense to me than “yes for DA’s, but not for CP’s.” Mandates are what the plan text defends. Effects are how they would likely be implemented. The mandate of the plan can be ambiguous about immediacy, but the effects could likely be immediate. All of this defends on the Aff winning how the plan would be interpreted (and, more importantly, who gets to interpret it). Negs are best served by complaining about plan shape-shifting and explaining why immediacy and certainty are necessary for DA links.
5. Recognize when it’s strategic to couple/separate the competition and theory debate. That being said, I don’t know about “competition justifies theory.” The CP “China should not go to war with the US” is competitive, but seems theoretically suspect in every direction.
6. Creative permutations have a special place in my heart.
7. For process CP’s, the unprecedented nature of the CP is often what grants the Neg an internal net benefit, but Affs should be ready to generate smart solvency deficits based on those same claims.
8. No one goes for perm shields anymore. It breaks my heart. Think about the political implications if every one of the 50 states (including conservative ones) for the first time in US history unanimously affirmed a certain policy option. There are both sides to this debate but 2N’s seem terrible at answering intuitive presses.
1. I would love to watch a well-developed theory debate, but block-reliance has ruined everything. If you plan to read your standards straight down and not explain anything comparatively, you’re better off going for a substantive strategy in front of me.
2. Arguments about conditionality are most persuasive when couched in a descriptive claim about the current topic. Is the neg so hosed that they need to throw CP’s at the wall to catch up? Or, is there sufficient literature for in-depth debates? The ability to read DA’s to CP planks is meaningful to me. If the negative can introduce dozens of policy options (some of which would definitively cause a civil war) and choose to go for any combination of them at whim, the affirmative policy literally needs be the 11th commandment to generate a substantive deficit.
3. Other than conditionality and a few other theoretical objections, I’d rather you turn your poor standards into good substantive arguments. For example, the lack of a solvency advocate seems like less of a reason they shouldn’t get the CP and more of a reason why your uncarded solvency deficits should be given an enormous amount of weight. Plan vagueness begs the question of what is “vague.” A much better strategy is reading solvency cards that interpret the plan differently or punishing them for including words in the plan they aren’t ready to defend.
4. Theoretical objections are rarely “dropped.” Either the block made new arguments extending it or you had cross-applicable offense from other flows.
1. This is probably the position where I diverge the most from other judges. I suspect I have a higher threshold for what constitutes a negative interpretation and does not immediately lose to “we meet” given some Aff pushback. For example, take the T-Criminal Justice is not Criminal Law piece of evidence that won dozens of debates (including a TOC elim). It reads “Criminal justice, interdisciplinary academic study of the police, criminal courts, correctional institutions (e.g., prisons), and juvenile justice agencies, as well as of the agents who operate within these institutions. Criminal justice is distinct from criminal law…” What? How is this an interp? Just because something is NOT something else does not mean that it cannot be a part of that thing. Texas is NOT the US, but it is part of the US. In fact, this interpretation of the card belies all logic because it defines criminal justice as an “interdisciplinary academic study.” That limits out NOTHING. To be clear, if you have well-researched negative evidence with an intent to exclude, go for it. But, I’m very willing to vote on we meet against poorly written interpretations that do not definitively establish a violation.
2. Affs lose these debates when they’re too defensive. Isolate one or two core pieces of offense (Aff ground, predictability, etc.) and develop them at the top of the 1AR and 2AR.
3. Reasonability is always about the interps and never about the Aff.
4. If the affirmative advances an argument about reading the "plan text in a vacuum," the negative should propose an alternate model of either understanding the plan text or the affirmative's policy.
1. Technical framework debating will matter more to me than most judges. What it means to “weigh the aff versus the K” is far from a settled controversy and interesting to think about. I’d appreciate guidance on how to resolve offense from both sides.
2. That being said, I’m continually confused by how the Neg’s links interact with their own framework interpretation. For example, if you have said scholarship is the only thing that matters, but then have read links to the effects of the plan, it feels like you’re asking me to evaluate all the bad parts of the Aff and none of the good parts. There are many ways to overcome this: make your framework a sequencing question, narrow the scope of the links, or (my preference) significantly reduce the risk of the case.
3. I think Affs lose these debates most often when they don’t recognize Neg pivots (kicking the alternative, going all in on framework, etc.).
1. Often contrived (more a fault of the topic than debaters), but I have very little remorse for new 1AR’s when the 2AC fails to make substantive arguments.
2. Turns case arguments need to be carded if not immediately intuitive.
3. I’d rather you just explain why the parts of the DA you’re winning matter contextually rather than throwing out “link controls the direction of uniqueness” or vice-versa.
4. Evidence comparison is important to me. I will not sift through the card document after the debate digging for a warrant. I expect the final rebuttals to provide the author name and the warrant for most of the cards they are citing in their analysis.
1. No argument is too presumptively incoherent to answer. If you are correct about how inane an argument is, you are better served by completely obliterating it rather than complaining about its pedagogical value.
2. Risk calculus matters a lot to me. For example, the reason why SPARK seems inane outside the context of debate is because we’re gambling with the survival of the human race. We would have to be incredibly confident that future technologies would actually end civilization for us to roll the die. In debate, a card citing 20 scientists published in a peer-reviewed journal might exceed this threshold. But should it? It almost certainly wouldn’t be enough for us to endorse human extinction in a more legitimate policymaking setting. How confident must we be? Arguments along the lines of “the risk that we are right outweighs the risk that we are wrong” and explaining them contextually is persuasive to me.
3. If a team is going for an impact turn, Aff teams should recognize that they now have the full weight of their internal link. If the Neg is going for DeDev but the internal link to Econ was tech development, Affs should be strategic about explaining how rapid technological progress might be helpful in staving off climate change.
1. I learned everything I know from Anirudh Prabhu and Tyler Vergho. Ideologically, I align completely with Adarsh Hiremath. If there’s an issue that’s ambiguous on my paradigm, I would suggest looking through theirs for additional clarity.
2. Rehighlightings can be inserted to demonstrate the other team’s reading of the article was incorrect. They need to be read if they’re introducing new claims.
3. My email response time is always a fault of me and never an annoyance with you.
For the water topic, this topic sucks and I hate it so much so if everyone agrees to it before the round, I'll give everyone in the round a 29.5 for debating the CJR topic or a 30 for debating the Arms Sales topic. If the tournament doesn't allow me to give ties, I will give everyone speaks as close as possible to that level. If you are worried about uniqueness/inherency and both teams agree to it, we can also "time travel" back to NSDA of that topic year or the TOC if that was your last tournament.
Add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please title it with tournament name, round number, and team names so I can find it later. Don't use NSDA file share.
Feel free to ask me questions.
I am not familiar with the water topic so don’t assume I know what your abbreviations mean.
Tech over truth.
Flashing isn't prep but don’t steal prep.
Judge adaptation/changing your arguments to be more palatable is an important skill to be gained from debate
The 2AR and 2NR should impact out their arguments and tell me why it matters if you win it. You won’t be winning everything so acknowledge why it doesn’t matter if you are losing something. “Even if” statements can be very helpful.
I’ll try and line stuff up, but if you don’t do line by line, I’ll just flow straight down. Speed is fine, just be clear. Tell me the order, follow it and make it clear when you switch pages. If you have time at the end of your speech, you can go back, but it’s not ideal. If you show me your flows and they’re good, I’ll give you up to .5 extra speaks. The worst that can happen is that they’re bad, but I won’t penalize you for that.
I don’t know why this might be important to you, but I only flow in 1 color most of the time because otherwise I’ll mess up in the block/1AR and use the wrong color which I find to be more confusing.
I don’t really enjoy these debates. I much prefer substance but it won’t hurt you speaks if you go for it especially if it was the right 2NR choice although that does means I am probably more likely to default aff.
Contextualize the interp and counter-interp and explain how they actually resolve the impacts.
A pretty good argument for why we need a more limited topic is that there are very few generic topic disads (or disads in general) so most disads have to be pretty specific to the aff. Because of that, I’m also more likely to agree with the negative argument on why a more limited topic is good although you should make that argument.
Do impact comparison and make sure to extend the entire DA throughout the round. Extend your warrants. Have turns case analysis, ideally specific to the internal links of the aff.
Impact turns are the best but try to have some kind of offense on each DA.
Have recent uniqueness especially for politics DAs and make use of that especially if the other team doesn’t but you need a reason why that is important.
Please have a solvency advocate. Use the aff evidence if possible. Have sufficiency framing at the top of the 2NR. Most CPs are legitimate as long as they don’t completely steal the aff or fiat something giant.
I auto judge kick so it’s not the neg’s burden to tell me to judge kick it but the aff can make the argument that I shouldn’t but should make a pretty compelling case otherwise and probably slow down a tad to explain it if you’re really fast.
I don’t know much about these, if you really want to read it go ahead but I lean aff. Have aff specific links and do line by line. I hate it when people divide their speeches into link, alt, and impact; do that part of the argument where it belongs based on what the 2A said. Have a lot of clear explaination. If your aff has the ability to impact turn Cap or Heg bad, do so because it’s more persuasive than link turns.
The aff needs to be able to weigh their 1AC.
I don’t understand why or how to go for framework on a K so if you want to do it in front of me, you should explain very clearly what it means and what you need to win in order for me to vote for you. Similarly, if you are aff, making an argument about why they can’t kick the alt and what it means if they try to are persuasive.
K Aff –
It won’t be hard to win framework in front of me but if you can explain it well and the other team doesn’t do a good job of answering it or reading framework, I might vote for you but it’s risky.
Lean neg here. Fairness is an impact and an internal link to education/clash but I can be persuaded otherwise. Clash and policy education being key to subject formation is persuasive to me but the K also may be able to use that to their advantage by saying they are key to subject formation.
Have a convincing counter-interp that actually solves some of the framework impacts. “Their interp but also our aff” is not an example of a good counter-interp.
Debate is probably a beneficial activity that teaches skills and saying debate is bad isn’t that persuasive to me because then why are you in debate.
You probably need to answer the aff to some degree in order to win that your impacts come first because K teams frequently say that voting for them is able to alleviate some of their impacts.
Don’t go top speed through your theory blocks
Probably lean neg on most of these because I’m a 2N. I tend to lean aff on multi-actor CP theory. I lean neg on international and process CP theory. PICs are probably legitimate as long as they have a solvency advocate and are at least functionally competitive. Three or less condo worlds are probably okay, four and up starts to get a little more questionable. Having a solvency advocate in the 1NC to prove they’re predictable and the neg spent some time besides just reading a CP text could be used as an answer to time skew. The CP probably needs to have a solvency advocate, even if it’s not in the 1NC. PICs don’t need a solvency advocate as long as there is a card about the specific thing you’re PICing out of being good. I lean to reject argument, not the team, because most things probably aren’t abusive enough to warrant a loss. Going for substance is better. If you want to go for it, make sure it’s a substantial part of previous speeches and that it expands and changes in every speech.
***If you're short on time, just read what's in bold***
Maize High School (China, Education, Immigration, Arm Sales)
Wichita State (Alliances)
Cornell '24 (taking a sabbatical)
Coach for Maize High School and St. Mark's School of Texas. Call me Connor. they/them
I have no idea how people get access to my other email. Please send the chain to the address above. -.1 speaks if you send it elsewhere.
I really don't want to do a SpeechDrop or whatever. Prefered subject line: [Tournament] [round] [aff team] (aff) vs [neg team]. ex. Heritage Hall Rd 4 Little Rock Central GL (aff) v Maize LM
1. Do whatever you're best at and I'll be happy. I used to run Ks in high school, but by senior year I figured out I was way better debating policy. Last season, ~50% of my 2nrs were T; however, I find myself mostly in clash debates. I've voted for both fw and the K roughly equal amounts. Really, do whatever you want.
2. Good debate is good and bad debate is bad. I've drastically simplified my paradigm to not include explanations for how to debate because every judge believes the same thing. This paradigm is an explanation for how my views on debate might differ than others.
3. Disclosure is good. Preferably on the wiki. Plus .2 speaker points if you fully open source the round docs on the wiki (tell me before the RFD, I'm not going to check for you).
4. Please number and label your arguments. Give your off names in the 1nc.
6. Don't be mean or offensive. Please actively try to make the community inclusive. I will not hesitate to dock speaks, drop you, or report you to the tournament directors/your coach if you say or do anything offensive or unethical.
7. I stole this from Tim Ellis: "10 minutes of prep is a lot. Debate rounds are very long. If all debaters agree, at a tournament with 10 minutes of prep, I will boost speaker points by +.1 each if you agree to use 8 minutes of prep, and +.3 each if the teams use 5 minutes of prep. All parties must agree before the round, not decide in the middle of the round."
8. I have auditory processing issues. I can struggle with understanding everything you say, so clarity and pen time are extra important. Sending analytics is nice too. I don't flow off the speech doc but I use it as proto-closed captioning + I check for clipping. If online, being able to read your lips is helpful. Facing the mic is helpful. I won't ever dock speeches for not being totally accommodating, but I might miss something you say if you don't.
9. This is true for every judge, but have fun. I really look forward to judging debaters who genuinely enjoy the activity, and don't take themselves too seriously. Respect your opponents and recognize that this is an activity you choose to do.
I'm a big fan of posting the roadmap in the chat.
Slow down. It's possible that I might miss things during the round due to tech errors. Most mics are also not great and so it can be harder to understand what you are saying at full speed.
I have a multiple monitor setup so I might be looking around but I promise I'm paying attention.
If my camera is ever off, please get some sort of confirmation from before you begin your speech. It's very awkward to have to ask you to give your speech again bc I was afk.
I default to no judge kick but can easily be swayed either way. I default to dropping the arg for every question except condo, but, again, you can easily sway me either way. I lean neg on condo. Dispo is beta condo.
I think affs should be in the general direction of the topic. That doesn't mean I'm going to outright not vote for you if you're extremely anti-topical, but rather that I'm more likely to buy negative framework arguments.
If you're reading an aff that includes music in someway, I'd greatly appreciate if you turn it down/off while you speak. My auditory processing issues makes it difficult for me to understand what you're saying when there is something playing in the background. I don't have any qualms about this form of argumentation, I just want to understand what you're saying.
Affs need counter interps. I require a greater explanation of what debate looks like under the aff model more than most judges. You should explain how your (counter)interp generates offense/defense to help me conceptualize weighing clash vs your model. I don't think shotgunning a bunch of underdeveloped framework DAs is a good or efficient use of your time. Most of them are usually the same argument anyways, and I'd rather you have 2-3 carded & impacted out disads.
I don't think it makes sense to go for both switch side and the TVA in the 2nr. Pick one.
Affiliation: 4 years at Jesuit Dallas, currently at Trinity University
Top Level Stuffs
- Water Topic – I did a little research on WOTUS over the summer. That’s about all I know so please explain stuff.
- My camera will be on the entire debate, if it’s not, then I’m not ready.
- Flowing, line by line, and organization are all really important. I would prefer that you number arguments (at least case args in the 1NC and off case args in the 2AC). Do line by line or get a 27
- Prep stops when the email is sent
- Send cards in a doc - not the body of the email
- Slow Down. I flow on paper, I won't follow along with your doc, and it's zoom. At the very least, I request you start at like 70% of top speed so I can get used to your voice.
- The debate is up to the debaters. Judge adaptation should influence how you go for an argument not if you go for an argument.
- Respect your opponents. This means two things: 1) be nice to each other; and 2) send the same doc you read for a speech to your opponent. It is quite disparaging to see debaters delete analytics in an online format where connectivity issues may prevent others from hearing everything you say. It’s also kind of sad if you think that sending analytics might make or break the debate for you. This won’t reflect my evaluation of the debate, just my perception of your in round presence (speaks).
- Evidence quality > quantity. Part of this includes highlighting full sentences/making your cards comprehensible. If I look at cards, I only look at the highlighting you read.
- Inserting Evidence: If it’s part of the text that the other team put into the debate. If the highlighting is from a different part of the article, you must read it out loud. If you find this confusing, your presumption should be to read the card.
- It's underutilized - specific internal link and solvency arguments go a long way in front of me. Strategically, a good case press in the block and 2nr makes all substantive arguments better
- The aff should use the case more. 1AC ev usually has a lot of answers to neg args that people just forget about.
- I evaluate Topicality like a CP and DA. You must do impact calc and have offense and defense to the other team’s stuff.
- I care about predictable limits, topic education, precision, ground more than I care about jurisdiction, grammar
- T substantial is more persuasive to me than most
- I will vote on defense against a DA
- ev comparison or judge instruction about micro moments in the debate goes a long way for winning individual parts of a DA.
- CP should have a solvency advocate - what that constitutes one is debatable.
- I think the Net benefit should be a DA to the plan and not just an advantage to the CP
- CP that compete off certainty and immediacy with artificial net benefits are a hard sell. However, I understand these strats often become necessary for the neg. If you're going for one of these CPs, prioritize winning the competition debate and give me a lot of judge instruction on how to evaluate different definitions or competition standards.
- 2NC CPs are legit
- I don't judge kick unless instructed in the 2nr.
- I don't think I lean heavily aff or neg. I’d feel uncomfortable voting for one side based on ideology if the other side was technically ahead.
Conditionality is probably more good than bad, but I’m not sure. If you’re aff and crushing the conditionality is evil debate, just go for it. Quantitative interps don’t make sense to me
- Slow down!!! I need pen time.
- I won’t vote on new affs bad
- My default is to reject the argument for all things except conditionality. This shouldn't deter you from going for theory given rejecting a CP usually means the neg has no defense left in a debate.
- Good K debating is good case debating. A good critique would explain why a core component of the 1ac/plan is wrong. That is a much stronger way to minimize aff offense than some K trick like FW or a PIK argument.
- The link is the most important part of the debate. Be specific, pull 1AC lines, give examples, etc.
- My background knowledge of critical arguments should mean nothing to you. Explain. Explain. Explain.
- If you are going for framework, make sure it has a purpose and that you are communicating that purpose to me.
- Winning some theory of how the world operates doesn't mean anything unless you apply it to the aff. I don't care if somethings ontological if you don't have a link to the aff.
- Go for it. They should have some connection to the topic and some statement of advocacy. If you can read your aff on every topic without changing cards or tags, I’ll enjoy the debate less.
- Like T, impact calc is extremely important. These debates come down to who has the better vision of debate/the topic. Describe in detail what those visions look like and how a debate would go down or how the season goes down.
- While I will vote on procedural fairness, I prefer arguments about substantive engagement and clash. I think clash based impacts still have the benefit of focusing on the competitiveness of the activity, but also have better inroads to educations claims the aff usually makes. If you do say procedural fairness, you should only say procedural fairness.
- A topical version of the aff isn’t a CP, but a way for the neg to explain why their model of debate is better/compatible with the aff’s education claims. I think of them in terms of how debates would play out over a season, not in terms of fiat.
Yes, I want to be on the email chain, please put both emails on the chain.
I attempted to resist the point inflation that seems to happen everywhere these days, but I decided that was not fair to the teams/debaters that performed impressively in front of me.
27.7 to 28.2 - Average
28.3 to 28.6 - Good job
28.7 to 29.2 - Well above average
29.3 to 29.7 - Great job/ impressive job
29.8 to 29.9 - Outstanding performance, better than I have seen in a long time. Zero mistakes and you excelled in every facet of the debate.
30 - I have not given a 30 in years and years, true perfection.
I am willing to listen to most arguments. There are very few debates where one team wins all of the arguments so each of you must identify what you are winning and make the necessary comparisons between your arguments and the other team's arguments/positions. Speed is not a problem although clarity is essential. If I think that you are unclear I will say clearer and if you don't clear up I will assign speaker points accordingly. Try to be nice to each other and enjoy yourself. Good cross-examinations are enjoyable and typically illuminates particular arguments that are relevant throughout the debate. Please, don't steal prep time. I do not consider e-mailing evidence as part of your prep time nonetheless use e-mailing time efficiently.
I enjoy substantive debates as well as debates of a critical tint. If you run a critical affirmative you should still be able to demonstrate that you are Topical/predictable. I hold Topicality debates to a high standard so please be aware that you need to isolate well-developed reasons as to why you should win the debate (ground, education, predictability, fairness, etc.). If you are engaged in a substantive debate, then well-developed impact comparisons are essential (things like magnitude, time frame, probability, etc.). Also, identifying solvency deficits on counter-plans is typically very important.
Theory debates need to be well developed including numerous reasons a particular argument/position is illegitimate. I have judged many debates where the 2NR or 2AR are filled with new reasons an argument is illegitimate. I will do my best to protect teams from new arguments, however, you can further insulate yourself from this risk by identifying the arguments extended/dropped in the 1AR or Negative Bloc.
GOOD LUCK! HAVE FUN!
Yes, I want to be on the email chain. Codymorrowtx1@gmail.com
If you are a novice, none of these things apply to you. please just do your best. Your speaks are solely dependent on you being kind and nice to everyone in the room.- I don't need to be on the email chain! You kiddos amaze me every day!
(Policy, Public Forum, then LD)
I'm Subbi and I do Policy debate at the University of Iowa. GO HAWKS I debated for 3 years at Niles West.
First things first, make arguments you are comfortable and happy with. This is an activity that is inherently for the students participating in it. Read what you want to read and tell me why it matters and why I should vote on it. That being said please don't say racist/sexist/ableist language during a round. I'm just not gonna vote on racism good. I also just want to say that while I will adjudicate all types of arguments, I am kritikal afropess debater almost all the time. This means that I understand this literature the best, this does not mean that I'm just going to vote for you because you want to "burn it down." I have high expectations and lots of love for teams that read afro-pess. (Don't read Heg good, I will not vote on that arg, Thanks!!)
@Both Aff and Neg- Making fewer arguments that are extremely warranted is better than making more arguments that are not as warranted. I love common sense arguments and analytics. I don't think you need a card for every argument you make. If you make a persuasive analytic I'm all for that. I think debaters should be able and be encouraged to make arguments outside of cards. I prefer structural impacts over extinction level impacts if you do make an extinction impact, have a really good internal link chain analysis.
@Policy Aff- Policy affs are really precise and garner GOOD SKILLS and I love them. I LOVE theory and I have a very low threshold for voting on it. I don't like really long case overviews. I will always weigh the affirmative unless told otherwise by the Neg. Winning against a one-off K in front of me requires you to at least win the Perm and a no link argument. I am very biased towards structural and ontological impacts like I don't think extinction outweighs everyday mundane violence, that being said have impact defense.
@Non-Traditional Affirmatives- Non-traditional affirmatives are really fun give good EDUCATION and I love them. Non-Traditional Affs don't have to win that the Ballot is key in front of me, I will hold them to the same standard I hold the policy affs to, which is "you have to prove that the aff is a good idea. I need the aff to at least be reasonably within the bounds of the resolution.
@Policy Neg- Please don't read spark, death good, or PIC/KS.
@K Neg- If you're a one-off K team, please have a good explanation of your Links. You don't need to win an Alt in front of me to win the K, but you have to win impacts and framing, and why your theory means the aff can not solve or turns the case. Please have great answers to the permutation because I think most times the permutation is probably good, and I admit that I lean aff when it comes to permutations In one-off rounds.
@Negs Vs Non-Traditional Affs- If your ammo against non-traditional affs is two off cap and FW, lose the cap in front of me and just read external impacts that the aff can't solve but can be solved by core policy education. Case debates are really good against Non-traditional affs, Utilitarian framing is good, survival strategies are bad, No root cause. All of these are valid and good arguments to read. Don't drop the case ever. Don't let the aff weigh the entire aff against FW because they will almost always win. I like framework debates where the impact isn't fairness but education and skills. If you go for a Kritik against these Kinds of Affirmatives, I will have a high threshold for the aff being able to get a permutation, especially if they don't have an advocacy statement, but you must make this argument. Also, contextualize your Links to their theory/aff.
@cross ex- Look at me and don't laugh at your opponent's answer. Many people have done this with me in the back and it really hurts your ethos. Please be nice to each other, I have hella feelings and I don't wanna vote up a mean team.
Ethos, puns, and creativity. I mean obviously clarity too, but if you make me laugh in your round. I'm gonna give you all the speaker points. I'm definitely a points fairy but Y'all deserve them and I'm so proud of all of you.
- On god don't steal prep, I am also timing and I will tank your speaks so hard
-Cx is a speech- Brian Rubaie 2k16
-I will never judge kick, ever.
-Don't steal prep.
-Have Fun :)
-I'm here to protect the 2NR.
-Will vote you down if you own Air Pods!!
-fam the wilder your alt, the higher the speaks lol.
- I have a low threshold for presumption
Hey, I actually love and prefer judging PF. People in PF are a lot more polite and they always acknowledge me in the round and I like that.
PRO- Strongly prefer if pro always goes first in speeches and in the crossfire. I think to me a good pro is very persuasive and organized. I would prefer if you have two well-written and well-explained advantages rather than a bunch of shallow ones. I don't need you to extend everything in every speech but you should definitely have your points in the last two speeches if you want me to consider them.
CON- I think I am CON-leaning but that doesn't mean this is an easy ballot. You should offer good counterexamples, and directly answer their points in the last 3 speeches. I prefer that you have less defensive arguments and are more focused on proving the pro harmful.
Crossfire- You get a question, they get a question, then you get a follow-up. I hate hate hate when someone dominates the crossfire and doesn't allow for the other person to question, very rude. Will drop your speaks.
NOTES- I am fine with speed, I will reward politeness. Thank you for debating for me!
Hi so I have only judged a few rounds of LD, I think I have a good enough grasp on what is going on. I give a lot of leeway for the pro because they have a very short speech when answering a very long one. I prefer if this wasn't a debate about super old philosophers. That's right, I am NOT here for a Kant vs Locke debate. Most of these philosophers were super racist and if you want to talk philosophy there are philosophers today that you can reference. That being said, I will judge these debates and try not to bring my "feelings" into this because, at the end of the day, this is about what the kiddos want.
cam, she/they, email@example.com
7 years of cx debate experience and counting
lane tech debate captain ('21) michigan state debate ('25)
went to the toc in hs if that sort of thing has significance to you
people who have had a significant effect on my debate style and experience: lila lavender, george lee, geordano liriano, sam price, and zac clough
online debate: please turn your camera on, I hate listening to 4 black boxes. please don't call me judge, my name will do just fine.
though in high school i was primarily a k debater, i have plenty of policy knowledge and appreciation. i generally think that good things are good and bad things are bad. i have little stipulations on how the "rules" of debate ought to work, if you win the thing that you are running then i will vote on it
1) clash is good
2) i won't kick arguments for you
3) line by line debating is non-optional
K's general: LT PN was explicitly a set col team for many moons, so I personally am most familiar with that set of lit. That being said, I am not as familiar with high theory as I would like to be, so if that sort of thing appeals to you please be prepared to over explain yourself. That being said, in working with the lovely lila lavender for quite some time, I have found myself more drawn to K v K debate over time, so do not shy away from your K debate on my regard. I do wholeheartedly agree with her analysis of non-colonized and non-black people reading afro-pessimism as strategy, for more information I have included the same blog link here
K on the aff: I am good for your K aff, i'm an enabler of the people's revolutionary front of west georgia (no really, look https://opencaselist.paperlessdebate.com/West%20Georgia/Clough-Forsyth%20Aff). that being said, i have a strong preference for k affs that defend something instead of just "debate is bad". as far as content goes, the material that i have the most personal familiarity is settler colonialism (especially that with a strong material revolution praxis) and Marxist-Leninist-Maoist alignments, however im good for anything else as well just make mental note to over-explain (esp in the case of any higher theory). i think lila says it best when they say "If you are going to reject the res, which is totally cool with me, you should make sure to have justifications as to why the res is bad, and why rejecting it on the affirmative is key."
K on the neg: Same content familiarity applies here. generally the neg shouldn't be lazy with their links, and the aff should be smarter debating fiat arguments. I prioritize explanation and specificity above all else. I also think affs should be smarter on the FW flow (we all know you get to weigh your aff). My favorite part of Nick Rosenbaum's theory of debate is that "you do not need an alternative if you are winning framework OR if your links are material DA's to the aff's implementation where the squo would be preferable OR if your theory of power overdetermines the aff's potential to be desirable OR if you can think of another reason you don't need an alt." If you have an alt, it should be material, fiating mindset shifts is probably abusive.I will vote on death good.
FW: I generally believe that framework is probably true to some extent, and net good for clash v k affs because reciprocity is good etc. etc. That being said i will judge based ONLY on the flow. For the negative, use smart defensive tactics like switch-side debating and TVA's, explain the flaws in the counter-interpretation (unlimited topic, links to aff offense, creates bad debates), and making smart arguments about limits, predictability, mechanism education, or clash. dear god fairness is NOT a terminal impact. if the game is bad what is the good in maintaining the rules of said game?
T: bit of a t hack, it probably makes its way into 75% of my own 1NR’s, competing interps/quality of evidence comes first. do not hinge your strat on some vague cross ex answer, clear and concise arguments only. additionally, both or either team reading blocks through the rebuttals without refuting the other team's arguments in depth is very boring and not something I want to watch.
Dropped ASPEC is a dropped ballot
Theory: See T. I err aff on condo generally and for the sake of transparency thing, most consult/agent counterplans are probably abusive, but don't let that sway you, i will still vote on the flow work (yes i am a strong believer in the debate truth that neg fiat is bad)
Da's: make sure you do plenty of impact work, and PLEASE articulate why the impact of your DA overwhelms the harms of the aff. Links exist on a spectrum; the "chance of a link" has to be qualified and then incorporated into the risk assessment component of impact calculus. Expert turns case analysis is invaluable.
CP's: go into depth on the net ben and how you access it, otherwise i will vote on a nice Aff perm. That being said, If a perm is present in the 1ar, I will NOT automatically judge kick the CP if the squo is preferable. In this scenario, the 2nr would need to instruct me as to why I should do this, however I think judge kick goes aff easily in the presence of a perm.I think lots of counterplans that steal much of the aff (interpret that as you wish) are illegitimate and the aff should hammer them. the aff still needs has to win theory regardless of my personal disdain for certain CP's.
Finally, don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, or use any other forms of discriminatory language. 24 L and i will speak to your coach. Have fun, debate should be something you enjoy doing. Be nice and cordial to your opponents, that being said don't be afraid to be assertive. Don't clip cards I will vote you down and the round will end.
Bonus speaks section
+0.1 for open sourcing (let me know)
+0.1 for any good joke in a speech (this is at my discretion, good luck)
Assistant Coach @ Mamaroneck, 2020-Present
Assistant Coach @ Lexington, 2019-20
Debated @ Northside College Prep, 2015-19 (TOC x2)
The sections below this are a set of my opinions on debate, not a stringent set of guidelines that I always adhere to when making decisions. Debate is an incredibly valuable activity, and thus I encourage you to go for the arguments that you enjoy instead of overcorrecting to my paradigm. I tend to like most arguments - my only distinction between good and bad debates is whether or not your argumentation is strategic and nuanced.
I think CX is heavily underutilized by most debaters. Organized debates make my job easier and are more enjoyable.
I won’t vote on things that have happened outside of the round.
There is a fine line between being assertive and being rude in CX - please be aware of it.
Don’t threaten others or make harmful comments about someone or a group of people - you will lose the round and I will talk with your coaches.
If the coaching staff at your program encourages you to make harassment/insulting the other team a component of your strategy, I suggest you strike me, and I would encourage you to deeply reconsider if you are making debate better.
Non-Traditional Affs/Clash Debates
It’s hard for me to be convinced that policy debate actively creates bad people OR perfect policymakers; I think there’s value in challenging our understanding of the resolution and debate itself, but I also don’t think T is inherently violent.
In clash debates, I tend to vote negative when the affirmative fails to parse out the unique benefits of their model of debate, and tend to vote affirmative when the negative fails to grapple with the applicable offense of case. Organization often falls by the wayside in these debates, so I would encourage you to identify the nexus questions of the debate early and compartmentalize them to one area of the flow.
Fairness can be an impact, but it is not one by default - that requires explanation. I’ll vote for any impact on FW if effectively argued, but I personally like strategies centered around truth-testing/dogmatism. I think skepticism is healthy and that breaking out of our preferred ideological bubbles results in more ethical and pragmatic decision-making over time, but I can also be persuaded that the method the aff defends can also be consistently ethical/beneficial.
Aff teams are overly reliant on exclusion/policing arguments but almost never actually impact out the tangible consequences of the negative model as a result, or provide a reason why the ballot would resolve this. If arguments like these are what you like going for, I suggest you codify them within a reasonability paradigm that criticizes the usefulness of the competing interpretations model when it comes to K Affs.
I will say that I am quite partial to teams that go for the K against non-traditional affs (I judge FW debates frequently, and they get repetitive). Most K affs nowadays are specifically tailored to beat FW and generally rely on generic permutations to beat back K’s. I can be easily convinced that permutations exist to compare the opportunity cost of combining specific policies, and that in debates of competing methodologies the evaluating point of the debate should be reliant on who had broader explanatory power and a more effective orientation. How I decide that is up to what parameters you establish within the debate.
I’m not opposed to any of them. However, I do prefer techy K debaters - overviews should be short and the substantive parts of the debate should be done on the respective parts of the line by line.
Specificity goes beyond good links - nuanced impact and turns case explanations make it easier to vote on something tangible as opposed to nebulous platitudes. It’s easy to tell when you have a generic link wall with fill-in-the-blanks like “insert aff impact” “aff mechanism” etc.
For both teams - know the broader theories that your arguments function within (i.e. understanding what theory of IR your authors defend, or actually knowing a decent amount about the author your K is named after). Understanding these concepts outside of the context of debate will give you the tools to be more specific in round, and will often give you additional ways to leverage offense.
Aff teams with extinction impacts - stop overcorrecting to the negative team's strategy. Extinction is extinction, which is easily defensible as bad - if you're not link turning the K/going for the perm, I find it strange when the 1AR/2AR try to subsume the K's impacts/offense by describing how the inroads to extinction would be bad for X group the K is worried about ("nUcLeAr StRiKeS tArGeT uRbAn CeNtErS") ... because extinction, in the end, kills everyone. Also, K teams often capitalize on this arbitrary framing and make it a new link. Don't waste your time - win that you get to weigh your impacts and then win that your impacts outweigh.
The more specific, the better.
Yes judge kick. “Status quo is always an option,” once said, is sufficient enough for me to be willing to kick the CP unless the aff explicitly challenges it in both aff rebuttals.
Condo is good. If the 2AR is condo, it's either been dropped or you think it is your only road to victory.
I lean neg on most theory issues, but can be convinced that process CPs and 50 state/NGA fiat are bad for debate.
Invest time and organization into the competition debate - meta definitions matter just as much as word definitions in these debates because they are about competing models.
Severance perms are probably always bad, but intrinsic perms can be very useful if you know how to defend them well.
Love them, even the crappy ones - there's nothing more fun than watching someone very effectively debate in favor of something everyone in the round knows is ridiculously unlikely.
Winning framing does not mean you win terminal defense to the DA. Winning that a DA is low risk comes from substantive arguments, and then how the framing debate is resolved dictates whether or not risk probability matters. Seriously. Nebulous arguments about the conjunctive fallacy or the general low risk of existential impacts mean nothing if the 2NR can just get up and point to a unique internal link chain on their DA that has not been contested.
Impact turn debates are some of my favorite rounds to judge, but unfortunately I am often left to resolve stalemates within a debate by reading a bulk of the cards in the round and then determining on my own which ones are better, which I think functions as a disservice to everyone in the round. I don’t think that having less/worse ev necessarily means you’ll lose the debate, but you must have constant and effective comparison in-round.
Evidence comparison matters. Terminal impacts are important - so many 2NRs don't do this work (why, I don't know). Not enough teams are going for T against the egregious number of bad affs on this topic.
I don't like arguments like Embody PTX because I don't think there is a way to enforce them as a model and thus lend themselves to problematic enforcement, and it frustrates me when affirmative teams don't make the obvious case for this being true.
Aff teams should be going for reasonability more often against nitpicky T violations - not as a vague appeal, but as a better heuristic than competing interps.
Yes I want to be on the email chain. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't steal prep
An argument is claim and warrant minimum.
I like flex debating and enjoy diverse strategies, so you do you and I will try to judge you with as little argumentative biases as possible. That being said, I am a human and I do have preferences.
I think the aff should read a plan text and defend it. At worst, I think the aff should have a strong resolutional basis. Probably related to that, I'm likely not the greatest judge for super K-oriented strategies. This is not to say I do not enjoy these debates or won't vote for Ks, but that you will have to do more work explaining the theory and its relationship to the aff than average.
I feel much more qualified in "policy" debates. I like wonky and technically intensive stuff so do something interesting.
Isolate what impacts you think you have a chance of winning and compare it to the impacts you think the other team has a chance of winning.
I'm good with it but don't sacrifice clarity. Slow down on theory arguments, give me pen time.
*For online tournaments: Maybe slow down a bit to compensate for mic quality so I can still understand what you're saying.
Tech vs. Truth:
Tech> Truth. Being on the side of truth is obviously a good thing and I'm hesitant to consider arguments that are objectively false, but if you can't answer an argument that's really really bad, then you should lose anyways.
Evidence vs. Spin:
I think research is the most important aspect of debate and should be rewarded. I will read every card that I think I need to at the end of the round, so isolate evidence you think is really good or important. That being said, cards are support for larger arguments, meaning that I will default to your explanation of an argument or card whenever it makes sense.
In technical debates, have a card doc for the end of the round so I don't have to look around for relevant cards.
Specific argument preferences:
I went for T a lot in both high school and college and think a lot of debaters just aren't as good at debating it or as willing to go for it as a lot of other argument categories. Well executed T debates are really fun for me, but poorly executed T debates are the least enjoyable type of debate to judge. Limits and ground aren't impacts, they're internal links to things like education, fairness, research models, etc. I default to competing interpretations but reasonability is a winnable argument.
RVI's are bad arguments.
T comes before theory.
Case lists are good and necessary.
Actually engage with the other teams arguments, most T debates I've judged at this point have felt like ships passing in the night and forced me to resolve a lot of stuff on my own which should never be what you want. Statistically I lean neg in these debates, but I think that's because a lot of 2Ns only go for T if it's very clear cut which is unfortunate.
Cool. Aff specific DAs are much cooler (and usually easier to win).
There is such thing as zero risk and I think the link usually controls the direction of uniqueness.
Do a lot of turns case analysis that's actually contextualized to the internal links of the 1AC. Not much else to say.
Good, not much else to say. I will say that I like advantage CP + Impact turn debates a lot.
Word PICs should be based on a word in the plantext, anything other than that is meh.
Read a solvency advocate, each plank should be based on evidence or something the other team said.
I will not kick the counterplan for you unless you tell me to.
Material> High theory
I have a high threshold for the link portion of the debate. Root cause claims are not links but they can be solvency deficits. Fiat not being real is not an argument. Links of omission are the worst arguments in debate.
If I don't feel like I can explain your K to someone else by the end of the round then I will not feel comfortable voting for you.
Ks that advocate for death or suicide are not only bad arguments in the context of debate, but also morally objectionable and I will not vote for them.
I am not the best judge for this. I prefer debates focused around a plan, and in nearly all of the clash debates I have judged at this point I have voted for FW.
I don't know that my ballot has the potential to do anything beside designate a winner or loser, and debate isn't meant to come to a final decision on the truth of any given statement but come to a determination on subjective truth so I don't think subject formation arguments are very persuasive.
The aff should at a minimum be related to the topic. You should also have some clear advocacy statement that you defend consistently. The CI should be predictable and res grounded with definitions. USFG = "the people" is intellectually dishonest and just not a good argument.
FW vs. K Affs:
Go for it, it's the most strategic 2NR available.
I'm more likely to vote on procedural fairness than I think the community at large is. Structural fairness disparities are inevitable but procedural fairness disparities aren't.
FW is not violent or policing and saying so is insulting to people that have dealt with those issues.
Usually a reason to reject the argument not the team. 3 conditional advocacies are probably ok but more is iffy. Consult, delay, and condition counter-plans are sketchy. Each conditional plank is its own world if you can kick them individually. I have been both a 2A and 2N, so I don't have any strong protectionist feelings for either team, and sometimes cheating is pretty fun to watch. Also I think the impact of some theory arguments should sometimes just be that you should get to cheat too.
They're entirely subjective. That being said, I do understand that context (tournament size, quality, etc.) should influence my scale. Speaker points are a holistic reflection of how I think you did. I used to have a scale here but with speaker point inflation I don't think it really matters anymore. My average hovers around 28.5-28.6.
I have shortened my paradigm over time to make it easier to read, if you have questions for prefs just email me.
MBA 21’, Emory 25'
Tech > Truth
I primarily ran and debated against policy arguments, but I will do my best to follow along to any argument that is made. That being said, if the argument has not been explained to the point where I would feel comfortable explaining why I am voting for it at the end of the round, I am not going to vote on it.
My ballot generally will start with framing/impact calc and/or framework, where you should be comparing/debating out both which sides framing is better and what that means for my ballot. This sets a threshold for what I should look for on the other pages and minimizes intervention. I can be convinced to build offense from the bottom up, meaning I consider each level of offense as a yes/no question and then consider who access more offense at the end of that chain and then do framing/framework/impact calc, but that is not my default.
The three most important things:
Theory---I will be fine if you want to go for theory but please slow down on it especially if you don't send analytics in the speech doc. Outside of conditionality, I generally don’t think theory arguments are reasons to reject the team, and it would be difficult to persuade me to vote on it.
Ks---you can read Ks in front of me but do not use excessive jargon or just assume that I understand the underlying theory. The framework debate is often ignored or not fleshed out, which means I generally have to give the aff their plan and the k their links.
K affs---I am not going to be your best judge. I think fairness is an impact.
CPs---they are great. If you say judge kick and say I could in the 2nr, you should do that impact calc/framing for both a ballot with the cp + da and da + case defense. Generally speaking, I think the literature determines which counterplans are legitimate and which aren’t, but I can be persuaded that against that
DAs---also great. DA plus case is an underrated strategy vs bad affs.
Ts---a good T debate is really fun to listen to, but it requires a lot of judge instruction in order to not intervene.
My name is Dana Randall (email@example.com) and I am the Director of Debate at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I have been an active member of the policy debate community since 1996.
As a competitor and coach of policy teams at regional and national levels I feel comfortable assessing debates that are quick and complex.
I have instructed novice, jv, and varsity teams who've enjoyed tremendous success. I credit that success to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with some of the brightest and most dedicated students in the activity. Witnessing their steadfast commitment inspires me to take my judging responsibilities very seriously. I will strive to keep a meticulous flow and render my decision based on what transpires in the debate round as opposed to my personal predispositions.
I will ask to be included on the speech thread. I do this to prevent teams from debating students that succumb to pressure of competition by representing that they have read words in a speech document which they have not audibly read. Debate is a very difficult activity without compelling students debating to also follow along with every word read by their opponent.
I believe that fairness is a terminal impact – that is why I flow both teams, listen to both teams, enforce reciprocal time limits, have teams affirm or negate the resolution based on the pairing provided by the tournament and I have no idea what an alternative metric for reaching a conclusion as to which team did the better debating.
Woodward Academy '21
Last Updated: 07/08/2021
I have found debate to be an incredibly valuable activity, and I hope everyone makes the most of it.
Be respectful to others in the round. Debate should be fun!
Be clear, both when speaking and in communicating your overall position.
I would like to be on the email chain: please add firstname.lastname@example.org
Thoughts on online debate —
1. I will give a thumbs up or verbally communicate when I am ready for you to begin your speech.
2. Flowability is especially important now. That requires clarity and organized line-by-line.
3. During cross-ex, try to minimize talking over each other.
Demonstrate that you understand the arguments you have presented in the round and that you can clearly explain them. That is far more important to me than individual argumentative preferences.
Excluding morally reprehensible positions (like “death good”), I generally believe that most arguments are winnable if debated well. However, there are a few general principles that guide how I evaluate virtually any position.
1. Know your evidence. I like arguments that are well-supported by research. Be able to explain not only what your evidence says, but how it further proves your position. I will read cards after the round, especially ones that are emphasized in speeches. Evidence comparison is an essential part of argument comparison.
2. Be specific. Contextualize your offense and defense to the affirmative or negative team’s particular scenario. Specific, detailed explanation is far better than making sweeping, unwarranted claims.
3. Connect on important arguments. Do not forget line-by-line, but also remember to explain the implication of each argument, especially in the later speeches. Ballot framing is just as important as argument resolution. What does winning an individual argument mean for the other components of the debate?
4. Cross-ex should have a strategic purpose. Determine how you can use this time to further your position in the debate. I like when an argument traces from one speech to cross-ex to another speech.
dani, never "judge", he she they.
new trier alum, current emory debater.
this is the only belief i hold that i allow to determine my ballot: i exclusively evaluate the arguments in a debate and on my flow. the only time where I might see myself making decisions about things debaters don't say occurs with either abysmally little clash or near-perfect debating on both sides.
the only exception to this is that i will not entertain any arguments that are facially unethical. this includes death good. i will stop flowing.
beyond this, i do not care about what you go for. do whatever.
here are comments i have about judging certain arguments:
1. you need an advocacy of some sort. i find it hard to work with affs that center the 1ac around a refusal to defend usfg action without isolating some proposed solution. i will understand your offense on all pages better when the affirmative offers an advocacy with a method relevant to the debate space and/or the ballot.
2. keep blocks, especially overviews short---i tend to require less explanation for thesis arguments than others.
3. if you're not defending fiat, you need some other explanation of the relationship between my ballot and your aff. use rebuttals to articulate "the judge’s relationships to your theory/performance," especially "about their role in the debate." -azja butler.
4. if the 1ac has a song in the back i kinda like that like that's so good. i wish people just did this for fun honestly.
1. i am personally of the opinion that the status quo is good for both k and policy teams. i wouldn't want a world without k affs, i wouldn't want a world without t-usfg. k affs having to think about t-usfg is good for both k teams and policy teams.
2. i tend to vote neg when the aff doesn't flesh out the internal link to their offense. an disad about why the state is bad needs an internal link tying debate to a defense of the state.
3. i tend to vote aff when the neg fails to do impact framing. the aff is always a little bit ahead on impact calculus because of the proximity between the case page and aff disads to the neg's model.
4. relatedly, i am of the personal opinion that ballots don't shape subjectivities, but can be persuaded otherwise. k affs are better served with offense that doesn't require them to win this.
5. neg teams often struggle to substantively answer aff offense. think twice before writing down "fairness is good, that's above" during 2nc prep.
6. i wish there was better cohesion between the disads to the neg model and the counter-interpretations affs read. for example, a "state discourse bad" disad needs an explanation for why the counterinterp solves. why does the counterinterp prevent policy teams from defending the state?
7. likewise, i wish aff counterinterps held more clarity. the "affs must"-verb-noun-"the resolution" template (e.g. "affs must challenge assumptions about the resolution") doesn't seem to have intent to exclude. affs like the militant preservation aff of yore (hi shreyas) do a good job addressing this problem.
8. clash and fairness are the best impacts, but you do you.
kvk debates: my personal favorite
1. keep blocks, especially overviews short. more clash in these debates does justice to the quality of arguments both sides present.
2. "no perms in a method debate" is word salad. this needs to be a more substantive argument for me to evaluate it.
3. generally, affs are better served winning disads to the alt as opposed to attempting to win a link turn
k's v. policy affs:
1. ambivalent about if teams should get to weigh the plan. see t-usfg above. broadly, both teams need clearer framework interpretations.
2. plan- and mechanism-specific links tend to be of the highest quality.
3. 2nr and 2ars need to make more choices in these debates---don't try to go for everything and collapse down to one cohesive ballot.
4. please commit to a strategy. the cap- and heg-good 1ac does not lend itself to the link turn in the 2ar.
counterplans: read the following (ethically sourced from azi hormozdiari):
1. any perm that is not do both or do the counterplan needs a perm text.
2. functional and positional competition need to define what constitutes function or position.
3. “sufficiency framing” alone means nothing.
4. solvency deficits need impacts---do impact calculus presuming the impact to the deficit, not the impact to the aff.
*** 5. solvency deficits are rarely 0/100---argument resolution should presume that (i'm not opposed to quantifying a deficit).
6. competition off of immediacy and certainty is unideal, but people are bad at winning that.
7. agent counterplans don’t need solvency advocates per se---burden is probably on the aff to prove a deficit in these debates.
8. 2nc counterplans are underutilized. they’re probably theoretically illegit (sans answering an add-on) but people rarely point that out.
t v. policy affs: neg ground seems dire on the water topic, and aff teams are getting out of pocket. i think of all places in my paradigm, my bias emerges the strongest here.
1. ambivalent about competing interps v. reasonability but closer to competing interps.
2. precision and card quality matters somewhat here, but less so on the water topic.
3. please do more impact calculus. you'll probably autowin if more than 15 seconds are dedicated to this in a 2nr/2ar.
disads: good for them.
1. intrinsicness feels really false.
2. good analytics can tank a bad disad.
3. i have 0 clue what uniqueness determines link/link determines uniqueness means. make of that what you will.
soft left affs: read one forever in high school.
1. framing pages obviously don't answer disads alone. you should only use them to FRAME arguments. it is judge instruction with cards, don't make it do anything else.2
2. "we stop a little violence that's enough" isn't an impact in and of itself. please explain what about the proximate instance of harm you resolve is important.
University of Miami '25
I am Bria (she, her, hers) and add me to the email chain please — email@example.com
- I love judging debates and debates should be enjoyable. With that being said, please be nice to your opponents AND your partner. It is more than okay to be strong while you speak during things like CX, but still be respectful to each other.
- Of course, don’t run anything offensive/inappropriate.
- All I ask speaking wise is for clarity and I will tell you if I need you to speak clearer. Don’t get so caught up in trying go fast if you are no longer clear. I don’t want to have to continuously ask you to be clear.
- I am fine with tag teaming during CX but only under certain circumstances. If it doesn’t fall under these circumstances then, please do not speak if it isn’t your turn.
- If your partner is completely stumped with a question and is saying nothing, then you may speak.
- If your partner is about to say something that may lose the round for you.
- Don’t just rely on cards. With that being said, evidence is great! But your entire block shouldn’t just be reading through cards. I will read through the cards, especially if you keep emphasizing one, but reading off nothing but cards won’t get you the debate no matter how good they are. You should explain why your evidence is better. That comes with really knowing and understanding what your evidence is saying.
- I don’t really like “sneaky” debaters. Here is a scenario to explain what I mean by this. Pretend I am a debater in the round and I have just made my speech doc and I save that one for me. I then make a copy of that speech doc and remove all the analytics, perm texts, counter interns, and stuff like that so the other team will not see my speech doc. Remember, if you are trying to hide stuff from the other team by removing stuff from your speech doc, you are also hiding it from me. :)
- Don’t clip. You never know when I get suspicious of you clipping and when I do, I will watch closely and you don’t want to get caught clipping!!
With everything else, I want you to debate how you want to debate. At the end of the round, I will look at what both teams have presented me and I will make what I believe is the best non-biased decision.
I am coaching for Emory nowadays. Previously coached at UGA, Wake Forest & University of Florida.
Create an email chain for evidence. Put me on it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Do not trivialize or deny the Holocaust
2020-2021 Updates - Online Judging:
Ask if I am in the room / paying attention before you start speaking. Non-negotiable. "Becca, are you ready?" or "Becca, are you here?" I will give you a thumbs up or say yes (or I am not in the room and you shouldn't start).
I get that tech issues happen, but unnecessary tech time hurts decision time.
Please please please have one (or all) debaters look to make sure people haven't gotten booted from the room. It might happen to you, might might happen to me. I've heard best practice is to have some backup of yourself speaking in case this occurs. If the tournament has rules, follow those.
Is there an overview that requires a new sheet of paper? I hope not
Does the DA turn the AFF?
Impact turn debates are fine with me
What are the key differences between the CP and the plan?
Does the CP solve some of the aff or all of the aff?
Be clear about which DA/s you are claiming as the net benefit/s to your CP
"Solving more" is not a net benefit
I lean neg on international fiat, PICS, & agent CP theory arguments
I lean aff on conditionality bad & conditional planks bad theory arguments.
I don't love when the neg reads a 1nc full of arguments in great tension with/clearly link to other things in the 1nc.
I will flow the entire debate and judge based on what I flowed
I prefer when debaters make flowing easier for me (signposting, identifying other team’s argument and making direct answers, clarity)
I prefer when debaters answer arguments individually rather than “grouping”
Tech > truth
"What cards did you read" and "What cards did you not read" definitely count as cross-x time
Avoid intervening in your partners cross-x time, whether asking or answering. Tag team is for WWE, not debate.
Note: This is my Policy paradigm. For my LD paradigm, see the JudgePhilosophies Wikispaces.
Disclaimer: I am partially deaf in my left ear. While this has zero impact on my ability to flow in 99.9% of debates, exceptionally bad acoustics may force me to be closer than usual during speeches. In less exceptional circumstances, I may ask you to make minor adjustments (e.g. changing the angle of your laptop). I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.
Lincoln-Douglas: 3 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 4 Years of College Policy Debate, Georgia State University (Starting with the 2011-2012 Democracy Assistance Topic)
2015 NDT Qualifier (WOOT!)
Coached By: Joe Bellon, Nick Sciullo, Erik Mathis
Argument Style: I read primarily kritikal arguments my Freshman/ Sophomore year; I switched to primarily policy arguments my Junior/ Senior year.
Caselist Link (I was a 2N my Senior year): http://opencaselist14.paperlessdebate.com/Georgia+State/Stewart-Nails+Neg
Lincoln-Douglas Debate: 4 Years (Local/ National Circuit)
Policy Debate: 3 Years (Graduate Assistant At The University of Georgia)
Debate is a game; my strongest belief is that debaters should be able to play the game however they want to play it. I remain committed to Tabula Rasa judging, and have yet to see an argument (claim/ warrant) I would not pull the trigger on. The only exception to this is if I could not coherently explain to the other team the warrant for the argument I'm voting on. Unless told otherwise, I will flow the debate, and vote, based on the line-by-line, for whomever I thought won the debate.
What follows are my general thoughts about arguments, because for some reason that's what counts as a "judging paradigm" these days. Everything that follows WILL be overridden by arguments made in the debate.
Not my strongest point as a judge. That does not mean that you should not run theory if that's your thing/ there's actual abuse/ it's the most strategic way out of the round. The easiest thing you can do to win my ballot on theory is to slow down and give an overview that sets up a clear way for me to evaluate the line-by-line. I have no default conception of how theory functions, it could be an issue of competing interpretations, an issue of reasonability, an RVI, or a tool of the patriarchy. Frame it the way you want it evaluated.
***Warning***: My LD background, where theory is much more common, means that I probably have a much lower threshold for pulling the trigger than you're used to. Defaults such as X is never a reason to reject the team, RVIs Bad, and a general disregard of Spec arguments aren't hardwired into me like the vast majority of the judging pool.
Shenanigans/ Weird Stuff:
I'm fine with whatever you choose to do in a debate round. Given my debate career, I've probably put myself in Death Good/ Omega Point-land for the rest of my life.
Not a judge to reconstruct debates after the 2AR. Substantial deference will be given to in-debate spin. If that's not enough for my decision, then I'll start reading more into card quality/ warrants.
Computer Issues/ In-Round Issues:
I'm an understanding person. We'll stop the clock, resolve the issue/ wait an appropriate amount of time.
Read 'em. While I'm personally a big fan of process CPs/ PICs, I generally default to letting the literature determine CP competition/ legitimacy. If you have a kickass solvency advocate, then I will probably lean your way on most theoretical issues. On the other hand, as a former 2A, I sympathize with 2AC theory against CPs against which it is almost impossible to generate solvency deficits. 2ACs should not be afraid to bow up on CP theory in the 1AR.
Specific DAs/ links trump generic DAs/ links absent substantial Negative spin. Love DAs with odd impact scenarios/ nuanced link stories.
I functionally never read this as a debater, but my time coaching at UGA has brought me up to speed. Slow down/ clearly flag key points/ evidence distinctions in the 2NR/ 2AR.
Read it. Strategic tool that most 2Ns uderutilize. Rarely hear a nuanced argument for reasonability; the T violation seems to prove the 1AC is unreasonable...
I do not personally agree with the majority of Kritiks. However, after years of graduate school and debate, I've read large amount of Kritikal literature, and, if you run the K well, I'm a good judge for you. Increasingly irritated with 2ACs that fail to engage the nuance of the K they're answering (Cede the Political/ Perm: Double-Bind isn't enough to get you through a competently extended K debate). Similarly irritated with 2NCs that debate the K like a politics DA. Finally, 2ACs are too afraid to bow up on the K, especially with Impact Turns. I often end up voting Negative on the Kritik because the 2AC got sucked down the rabbit hole and didn't remind there was real-world outside of the philosophical interpretation offered by the K.
You're better off reading this as policymaking good/ pragmatism offense to prefer the plan versus the alternative than a reason to exclude the K entirely. Generally skeptical of 2ACs that claim the K isn't within my jurisdiction/ is super unfair.
Often end up voting Negative because the Affirmative strategically mishandles the FW of the K. Generally skeptical of K FW's that make the plan/ the real-world disappear entirely.
***Non-Traditional Preferences/ Clash of Civilization Debates***
Clash of Civilization Debates:
Enjoy these debates; I will probably judge alot of them. The worst thing you can do is overadapt. DEBATE HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEBATE. My favorite debate that I ever watched was UMW versus Oklahoma, where UMW read a giant Hegemony advantage versus Oklahoma's 1-off Wilderson. I've been on both sides of the clash debate, and I respect both sides. I will just as easily vote on Framework/ the Community PIC, as use my ballot to resist anti-blackness in debate.
Traditional ("Policy" Teams):
DO YOU. Traditional teams should not be afraid to double-down against K 1ACs,/ Big K 1NCs either via Framework or Impact Turns.
Framework (As "T"):
Never read this as a debater, but I've become more sympathetic to arguments about how the the resolution as a starting point is an important procedural constraint that can capture some of the pedagogical value of a Kritikal discussion. As a former 2N, I am sympathetic to limits arguments given the seemingly endless proliferation of K 1ACs with a dubious relationship to the topic. Explain how your interpretation is an opportunity cost of the 1ACs approach, and how you solve the 2ACs substantive offense (i.e. critical pedagogy/ our performance is important, etc.).
Non-Traditional ("Performance"/ "K" Teams):
As someone who spent a semester reading a narrative project about welcoming veterans into debate, I'm familiar with the way these arguments function, and I feel that they're an integral part of the game we call debate. However, that does not mean I will vote for you because you critiqued X-ism; what is your method, and how does it resolve the harms you have isolated? I am greatly frustrated by Kritik Teams that rely on obfuscation as a strategic tool---- even the Situationist International cared deeply about the political implications of their project.
The closer you are to the topic/ the clearer your Affirmative is in what it defends, the more I'm down with the Affirmative. While I generally think that alternative approaches to debate are important discussions to be had, if I can listen to the 1AC and have no idea what the Affirmative does, what it defends, or why it's a response to the Topic beyond nebulous claims of resisting X-ism, then you're in a bad spot. Explain how your Counter-Interp solves their theoretical offense, or why your permutation doesn't link to their limits/ ground standards.
Is important. I am generally confused by teams that claim to impact turn fairness/ education. Your arguments are better articulated as INL-turns (i.e. X-ism/ debate practice is structurally unfair). Debate at some level is a game, and you should explain how your version of the game allows for good discussion/ an equal playing field for all.
After being forced to decide an elimination debate on a card-clipping accusation during the 2015 Barkley Forum (Emory), I felt it necessary to establish clarity/ forewarning for how I will proceed if this unfortunate circumstance happens again. While I would obviously prefer to decide the debate on actual substantive questions, this is the one issue where I will intervene. In the event of an ethics accusation, I will do the following:
1) Stop the debate. I will give the accusing team a chance to withdraw the accusation or proceed. If the accusation stands, I will decide the debate on the validity of the accusation.
2) Consult the Tabroom to determine any specific tournament policies/ procedures that apply to the situation and need to be followed.
3) Review available evidence to decide whether or not an ethics violation has taken place. In the event of a clipping accusation, a recording or video of the debate would be exceptionally helpful. I am a personal believer in a person being innocent until proven guilty. Unless there's definitive evidence proving otherwise, I will presume in favor of the accused debater.
4) Drop the Debater. If an ethics violation has taken place, I will drop the offending team, and award zero speaker points. If an ethics violation has not occurred, I will drop the team that originally made the accusation. The purpose of this is to prevent frivolous/ strategic accusations, given the very real-world, long-lasting impact such an accusation has on the team being accused.
5) Ethics Violations (Update): Credible, actual threats of violence against the actual people in the actual debate are unacceptable, as are acts of violence against others. I will drop you with zero speaker points if either of those occur. Litmus Test: There's a difference between wipeout/ global suicide alternatives (i.e. post-fiat arguments) and actually punching a debater in the face (i.e. real-world violence).
Other judges disappoint me. Apparently, I diverge from the average judge:
• I give technical decisions. I am unimpressed with the idea that an argument consists of a "claim, warrant, data, and impact." If a team communicates an argument, I will not complain that they did not include some "data" or an "impact." This holds for arguments that I know as obviously false: if a team drops that an old argument is new and I should reject it, then I do so.
• Describing an argument as "conservative" does not answer it.
• I only intervene against new arguments in the 2AR. Otherwise, teams must debate whether arguments are new and/or justified, even if this leads to some absurd outcome.
• Until Lina Khan announces a real new antitrust action that changes the game or we enter an economic recession, I am finding myself unsympathetic to the idea that the topic is aff-biased. Disads are strong. Counterplans are even stronger.
• Update: probably neg-biased right now.
• George Mason indicts are not persuasive.
• Most problems don't cause extinction, environmental problems especially. In a close debate, I could see myself hacking out for "warming no big deal, decades out."
• Topicality debates hinge on definitions that exclude or include an aff. Definitions.
• Condo's legitimacy usually depends on the quality of disads.
• Conditional 2NC counterplans are usually bad.
• I will judgekick only if ordered to in a speech. CX is not a speech!
• I believe counterplans should compete functionally. Controversially, I also believe that counterplans should compete textually. Because of these two beliefs, I often accept "intrinsic permutations" (textually but not functionally intrinsic perms, functionally but not textually intrinsic perms).
• Send out perm texts. Thanks.
• Debate is my favorite strategy game. Fairness matters to me for the same reason that I do not think Pokémon matches should handicap a player with a team of five instead of six. I am personally skeptical that debate offers educational value that a highly-motivated book club could not capture.
• Read it on the neg > TVAs. Framework is supposed to exclude affs. More persuaded by "excluding content is whining at best" than "we don't exclude your stuff."
• Since the perm double bind is an apt answer to most Ks, framework usually centers my decision. I treat it like a theory debate.
Free Speaker Points in High School
• Open-source as a pair in high school and I'll improve your speaks by 0.2. I'll check myself. Don't tell me about your open source unless the wiki is down.
• I'll probably enforce them.
assistant coach @ Berkeley Prep
As of fall 2021, I myself no longer actively debate. This was not by my own choice, but rather the result of partner scarcity/other people quitting at a small program, and is something I am sort of sad about. It does however, mean a few things:
1. My engagement with the activity entirely takes place through coaching/judging, thus, I will be especially committed to making these debates as good as possible in whatever ways I can.
2. Many of the view and/or biases (particularly concerning k debate) stated in this paradigm are far more weakly held than they were even a few months ago. You probably get away with anything if you do it well.
In high school I read a plan exclusively and went for the k in a lot of 2nrs because it was fun, but also for policy arguments every so often and for t against k affs quite regularly. My closest mentors in the activity were/are "policy-leaning" and my brief college career was largely k-oriented. Do with all that what you will.
+0.3 speaks if you opensource after the debate and tell me
tech determines the direction of truth
protecting the 2nr = yes
not your baudrillard
I will not evaluate arguments made outside of speech times and thus will stop flowing if you continue after the timer
don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc
an expressive judge, but tend to express my feelings about extremely irrelevant things and make difficult to discern expressions
horrible with eye contact
speed = good. I would strongly dislike adjudicating a debate that comes down to "speed bad" but won't let my biases interfere too much if there is robust technical argumentation. With that said, it is up to the debaters to honor requests not to spread and if they decide not to I won't personally or ethically find that objectionable.
I am extremely unlikely to vote in favor of mandating pref disclosure
Do not ask for high speaks
Moralizing is prohibited
"kritik affs"/planless affs/t-usfg/framework:
Debate is a game. It is also 1) A game with potentially meaningful effects on the social/political consciousness of the participants and 2) A game with a community, culture, and history. This history may mean that even if an argument is narrowly true, the actual enforcement/implementation of a rule may have historically been used as a tool of exclusion. On the flipside, without rules to the game it might cease to function entirely, and then whatever benefits there are to it would be lost. I can be convinced of either of these things.
IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE: k teams -- before you give the 1ac, you should have a VERY clear concept of what the mechanism of your aff is and how your advocacy leads to it. as a rule, you should be able to succinctly sum up both those things in your head in one sentence or less. My least favorite debates to judge by far are those in a particularly annoying k team claims that the neg "conceded that we solve x" -- without having explained anything other than what "x" is. I will VERY stringently hold the line on writing ballots for arguments that lack any kind of internal logic -- in fact, I am probably more willing to do SIGNIFICANT work for the negative.
This applies more if you "read a plan" but do not have any actual or specific connection between it and your theory, and will jettison its actual implications or add things to it at will. If that sounds like you, be aware that I will probably not evaluate most if not all offense tied to the "plan." NOTE: not necessarily referencing PRF here -- i have a variety of complex thoughts on it but on the whole, relatively positive ones when done well.
affs should not defend a moral truism
The rest of my views here are much less strongly held -- kritik affs can be topical and sometimes are but the overwhelming majority are not. By this I mean that there are hypothetically possible planless affs that result in the resolution but don't attempt to garner offense from things extraneous to it, i.e. whose advocacy of the resolution is filtered through different scholarship/research than that traditionally employed in policy debates. I do NOT mean that effects topicality is not a thing in these debates -- just that it's perfectly possible for these affs not to need to win offense about "creating movements" that lead to the resolution to win that they do the resolution.
Defending a topic disad doesn't necessarily convince me that you're topical. The idea that it does makes neg ground reliant on the goodwill of the affirmative. If you say that you defend the link and then blow off answering the substance of the disad such arguments will seem disingenuous and unrelated to what your model of debate actually entails. the flip side of this is that teams that do not go for these disads out of cowardice will be less convincing and feel it in their speaks. ks of disads, interesting as they are, are basically irrelevant absent substantive contestation
if your strategy is to be untopical, I will be more convinced by arguments which implicate the communicative structure and/or form of debate rather than practices in the community.
debate is a game, but it does have social and political implications for the players, however, blowing up the game makes any of those benefits a moot point. if you are going to indict the gaming model you should functionally be saying debate bad.
Procedural fairness is an impact, because, again, the integrity of the game is a pre-requisite to its positive attributes
fairness > clash > skills. if you do go for a clash impact you need to explain why lack of clash is unique to not having a plan, especially if the aff defends something tangible/similar to the resolution AND why clash makes your model preferable -- i.e., much of the time the 2nr and 2ar in these debates force me to weigh totally non-quantifiable claims about the relative amount of ground lost or preserved, rather than making a hard structural claim about why adhering to the rez is necessary for debate to exist. I think procedural fairness is the only impact that adequately does this
the only remotely convincing skills impacts seem to be those that deal with "learning about IR good", but I'm up to hear a new one
]the cap k is incredibly underutilized by both sides of the "clash of civs" when debating planless affs
k stuff generally:
I love 'em, though my ideological kinks might have you believe otherwise. I have knowledge of all manner of Marxist and Lacanian things, Baudrillard, Girard, Bataille, Heidegger, Semniocapitalism, "Cybernetics," Preciado, Queer Negativity, Deleuze, Dark Deleuze, Queer Optimism, Afropessimism (primarily Wilderson and Warren), "the race war." Chances are I know it, although somethings published by Germans in the past year may escape me.
links to the plan + alts that function as counterplans OR links that function as impact turns are my favorite k debates. This is slightly ideological, but more simply that I feel that these debates produce the best revolutionary research and are more delightfully creative than the type of critical debates that are more common.
That said, I don't have any real objections to framework focused argumentation. I think "weighing the aff" is not all-or-nothing, insofar as the aff is attached to a number of things (political and educational methodology, engagement with certain structures, goals, etc) besides its scenarios which these debates are almost entirely about. Aff teams themselves tacitly admit this (reading framing contentions, aff framework args existing to begin with, etc). Most framework arguments will allow the aff their impacts as long as they defend the other parts of the aff, which seems like a good and sustainable model of debate.
If your framework argument doesn't allow some form of weighing the aff, that's fine too. To clarify: it's not that I don't have ideological views here, its just that they are too weakly held to influence how I judge.
I in the abstract like impact turns as a strategy vs the k, as these debates should be more interesting and provide more clash than standard "state good, etc" debates. In practice, I find that many of the arguments made on both sides in these debates are among the least thought out in the activity. This is generally worse for k teams, who more often than not seem to not read cards to answer these arguments, contextualize their theory to them without actually disproving their truth, or read very non-specific evidence from k authors (people involved in phil and english departments) to answer ev from scientists, etc. This wounds me existentially, given the amount of actual research out there that would allow you to win these debates, and I will be delighted to punish your bad research.
Much of the time the arguments made on the other side of these debates are also silly and reflect at what are at best half-baked understandings of given world events, or in some cases just involve naming something good and assuming that no one will contest that cap/whatever is key to it or reading evidence almost completely lacking in actual warrants. This is not to say that I don't want to hear cap good or heg good, but I beg you to cut better cards and make sure your ev or args stand up to logical scrutiny based on their broader context. Also, there should be cap key warrants. As someone who spends a great deal of time reading about international conflicts and booms and busts, I would appreciate it.
t vs policy affs
I default to competing interpretations.
reasonability is not a thing
not much else to say here
community consensus + inability to draw a line between disads means that the politics da is a real thing BUT these disads seem to often consist of uniqueness + impact with very weak coverage of the link debate, and evidence quality trends towards abysmal. I will be far less tolerant of evidence spin than I would be normally given the already tenuous theoretical legitimacy
I read most if not all evidence
uq + link + internal link + impact
I like well-researched, specific, techy, creative, etc counterplans. I am a big fan of the advantage cp. I especially enjoy cps that rely on a macroeconomic or ir theory to ground solvency (mmt, prolif good, etc). uniqueness cps are cool
Process counterplans become better the more they are grounded in topic literature. Process counterplans become worse the more they use neg fiat to manufacture an opportunity cost or lead to the aff. Theory will be covered below.
Sufficiency framing >>>>
Logical arguments or arguments based on obvious holes in the aff don't necessarily need solvency advocates
obviously you can kick specific planks
lean negative on: condo, pics (including plan-inclusive alts), no plan no perm
will assume judge kick except for k alternatives
lean affirmative on: fifty state fiat, multi-actor fiat generally, agent counterplans generally, process counterplans that don't very obviously compete
i am open to intrinsic perms being okay to punish shitty process cps
I am completely unfamiliar with traditional ld. My understanding of this kind of debate is really only insofar as it is a less complex, shorter, one-person version of policy
Same views as in policy apply for the most part. Best for larp or structural k debates.
Biases in no plan debates significantly weaker in this activity
While I like the general idea of trix debate based on troll factor, I am VERY unfamiliar with this style of debate and the way it works. Some trix args I will probably be able to intuit a decision out of, others maybe not. Do with this what you will.
I do not know much about analytic phil. I know a decent amount about continental and political phil.
People who have influenced how I debate/judge/view debate:
Atticus Glen, Ken Karas, Ronak Ahuja, Daryl Burch, Jorman Antigua
Monta Vista '18, UC Berkeley '22. email@example.com -- put me on the chain.
This philosophy reflects my ideological leanings; it is not a set of rules I abide by in every decision. All of them can be easily reversed by out-debating the other team, and I firmly believe tech > truth.
The most important thing for me is argument resolution. In close debates, I generally resolve in favor of rebuttals that have judge instruction, explain the interaction between your arguments and theirs, and efficiently frame the debate in a way that adds up to a ballot. If you don't give me a way to reconcile two competing claims, I'll likely just read evidence to make my own judgment. Some effective examples of this are "even if they win x, we still win because y" and short overviews for individual parts of the line by line (like framing issues for comparing the strength of a link to a link turn).
K Affs and Framework:
K Affs: Develop one or two pieces of central offense that impact turn whatever standard(s) the neg is going for. I tend to vote more frequently for the direct impact turn than the 'CI + link turn neg standards' strategy.
Framework: I don't have a preference for hearing a skills or fairness argument, but I think the latter requires you to win a higher level of defense to aff arguments.
I am well versed in security, cap, and a few other similar K's. Links are best when they prove the plan shouldn't be implemented. I'm skeptical of sweeping claims about the structure of society (provided reasonable pushback by the aff). If equally debated, I am likely to conclude that the affirmative gets to weigh the plan. I tend to vote aff when the aff wins they get to weigh the plan and their impact outweighs the neg's, and I tend to vote neg when the neg wins a framework argument.
Infinite conditionality, agent CPs, PICs, conditional planks, 2NC CPs are all good. CPs that rely on certainty or immediacy or the like for competition are illegitimate. I would strongly prefer if you resolve debates substantively than resort to theory.
CPs/DAs/Impact Turns/Case Debate/T:
Smart, analytical case defense or CPs are fine if completely intuitive or factual, but they hold significantly more weight if tied to a piece of evidence.
As far as T goes, I highly value precision when compared to limits and ground. Winning that your interp makes debates slightly more winnable for the neg is unlikely to defeat a precise interpretation that reflects the literature consensus.
When reading evidence, I will only evaluate warrants that are highlighted.
Dropped arguments don't need to be fully explained until the final rebuttals. However, you must point out that they are dropped and give a quick explanatory sentence.
Debate is a research game. Demonstrate topic knowledge, and you'll earn high speaker points. Isolate one or two questions to hinge the debate on, and you'll have an easier path to victory.
You don't have to read a plan. Just impact turn framework. Don't need an elaborate explanation of your vision of debate.
Fairness is an impact. How exactly one should weigh an ethical principle against the 2AC's impact turns is a more difficult question to resolve.
Evidence quality matters a little more than in-round strategy. That being said, dropped arguments are true (though it'll be hard to convince me that a 1NC DA shell with 50 words highlighted is a "complete" argument).
Conditionality is good. Unlikely to vote on cheap-shot theory arguments unless dropped.
Topicality usually comes down to evidence quality. If you're decidedly right about the meaning of a word, then you'll probably win. If there's some ambiguity in this, then case-lists help your case better than a generic under/over-limiting block.
Critiques should dispute the reasons to vote affirmative. In other words, not a fan of negative strategies that consist entirely of frivolous pre-requisite questions and framework interpretations. The K should make sense in a world where the plan happens.
Counterplans that compete off of certainty/immediacy are not ideal.
Feel free to post-round.
Stanford '17, '18
Yes email chain: lowelldebatedocs [at] gmail.com -- please format the subject as "Tournament Name -- Round # -- Aff School AF vs Neg School NG". Example: "NDT -- Finals -- Georgia RS vs Kentucky BT". Please send in-tournament emails to lowelldebatedocs as well. For emails that are not chain requests, debnil.sur [at] gmail.com.
Lay Debate: If this is a setting that's predominantly lay (GGSA, CA State), I will judge as a parent, unless explicitly told by both teams that they'd like a circuit debate. I think lay-friendly debate is an immensely valuable dying art. At NSDA, given the sheer number of circuit judges and my background in both lay and circuit debate, I would recommend that you adapt to the rest of the panel, especially the most lay judge. I will understand what you are doing and evaluate accordingly. I will not penalize you for making the debate more accessible for all judges.
LD: The closer you are to policy, the better. I strongly lean aff on all theory in this activity and think the time constraints make negative conditionality incredibly difficult.
Above all, tech substantially outweighs truth. The below are preferences, not rules, and will easily be overturned by good debating. But, since nobody's a blank slate, treat the below as heuristics I use in thinking about debate. Incorporating some can explain my decision and help render one in your favor.
General Background: I debated at Bellarmine in San Jose, CA. I consistently cleared at large national invitationals, including the TOC, and did well at lay-friendly formats like NSDA and California state. I briefly debated at Stanford but spent my limited debate efforts on youth outreach. I was a 1A/2N.
I now work full-time in tech in San Francisco. In my spare time, I help the policy debate team at Lowell. I'm involved in strategy and research and have coached both policy and K debaters to the TOC.
I've judged many debates between great teams. Ideologically, I'd say I'm 55/45 leaning right. I think my voting records don't reflect this, because K debaters tend to see the bigger picture in clash rounds.
Topic Background: I've mostly done case-specific research this topic. I judge 1-2 tournaments a month. As a result, I know trends on the high school circuit well. Below are contingent predispositions about the topic.
- I've been voting aff a lot, but I can still judge. Negative offense, like the politics DA, has been quite spin-laden and unpersuasive first semester.
- The T definitions are really bad. A winning 2NR on T on this topic needs to explain why that does not matter. 2NRs have not been doing this particularly well, so I've been voting aff on T a lot.
- I'm fine with this new "states can do everything" advantage counterplan meta. I get it on a topic without an agent. Reading solvency advocates in the block is fine, but the 1AR gets new answers. I will be easy to convince that fully uncarded planks solve zero.
Voting Splits: As of halfway through the water topic, I've judged 259 rounds of VCX at invitationals over 8.5 years. 75 of these were during college; 74 during immigration and arms sales, at West Coast invitationals; and 110 on CJR and water.
Below are my voting splits across the (synthetic) policy-K divide, where the left team represents the affirmative, as best as I could classify debates. Paradigm text can be inaccurate self-psychoanalysis, so I hope the data helps.
Water (through Blake)
Policy v. Policy - 13-8: 62% aff over 21 rounds
Policy v. K - 10-7: 58% aff over 17 rounds
K v. Policy - 3-4: 43% aff over 7 rounds
K v. K - 0-0, N/A
Policy v. Policy - 62-51: 55% for the aff over 113 rounds
Policy v. K - 37-43: 46% for the aff over 80 rounds
K v. Policy - 26-30: 46% for the aff over 56 rounds
K v. K - 3-3: 50% for the aff over 6 rounds
- Please slow down 10-20%. Your mic quality is worse than in person, and my flowing is a bit slower.
- Be extremely clear, or send analytics.
- Keep your cameras on. No problem if this is an issue, just let me know and turn it off. If I think you're stealing prep, I'll ask what you're doing.
- Get explicit visual or audio confirmation from everyone before starting.
- If my camera's off, assume I'm not at the computer, unless I've told you I'm having Internet issues.
- If the current speaker has significant tech problems, I'll try to interrupt their speech and mark the last argument and timestamp.
- Be mindful of your ethos. Strategic pauses, emphasizing key words, and general persuasive speaking really sways me online.
Thoughts on Specific Arguments
Framework: I almost exclusively went for framework against planless affs in high school; identity arguments really rose in the West Coast post-2013, so this was primarily against pomo arguments. I then proceeded to work with excellent debaters on either side of this ideological divide. I have a very even, slightly right-leaning voting record. I almost always vote for whoever resolves uniqueness to impact/impact turns and the relative precedence of these arguments. I'm better for switch-side, TVA, skills impacts than procedural impacts; I think the latter requires you to win defense to the aff in some form (of course, these can be defensive framings of the former). Fairness does not seem intrinsically good if the affirmative wins impact turns to the game.
K Affs: Totally down. Develop a couple pieces of key offense and explain thesis claims. Do line-by-line (or apply your overview to specific 2AC answers, in order) unless you're incredible at generating clash without it. If you aren't, your speaks will suffer, and I will likely resolve key points of clash for the negative. I do think you get a perm, because the negative must prove a link to their offense. I love reading topic disads against K affs, or picking and choosing quotations of the 1AC as bases for various disadvantages.
Ks: I know something about almost all Ks in debate. Links to the plan are great, and if you don't have them, tell me how to weigh those against the plan and its consequences. I find that framework almost always decides these debates for me. I believe I'm more of an educator than policymaker, which means representational critiques or critiques of debate's educational incentive structure will land better for me than most judges. This is reflected by my voting record, which is about 60/40 neg, since most 1ARs don't handle the framework and K tricks well.
That being said, if the neg doesn't win framework, I'm quite aff leaning in a policy versus K debate. I'm a hard sell on sweeping ontological or metaphysical claims about society; I'll likely let the aff weigh the plan; I don't think the alt can fiat structures out of existence; and I think the alt needs to generate some solid uniqueness for the criticism. The neg will have to win some major turns case arguments and do great case debating/contextualization if framework is lost.
Theory: Conditionality is good. Counterplans competing on certainty or immediacy are bad. Other theory preferences are likely determined by the topic. If you have solid lit for your CP, I'll be very receptive to its theoretical legitimacy. Presumption goes to less change - debate what this means in round. Otherwise, it goes aff in the event of an advocacy.
Topicality: Before other theory. Precision typically decides the standards debate for me. I default to competing interps. Reasonability is a question of whether substance crowdout caused by topicality debates outweighs difference in interps. Please demonstrate solid knowledge of the topic (specific case lists, arguments being read around the country, etc) to go for this well.
Policy Stuff: Like everyone, I like it. I care more about link centered debate than impact, so focus on uniqueness and link framing over terrible turns case arguments. I don't think you need evidence to make an argument -- I think many bad advantages can be reduced to zero through smart analytics, and I shower debaters who do this with high speaker points. But, the better their evidence is, the more likely you'll need your own. While I like soft left affs, they need to contextualize generic framing contentions to specific negative arguments.
Speaker Points: I flow on my computer, but I do not use the speech doc. I want every word said, even in card text and especially in your 2NC topicality blocks, to be clear. I will shout clear twice in a speech, after that, your problem.
Note that this assessment is done per-tournament: for calibration, I think a 29.3-29.4 at a finals bid is roughly equivalent to a 28.8-28.9 at an octos bid.
29.5+ — the top speaker at the tournament.
29.3-29.4 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.
29.1-29.2 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.
28.9-29 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.
28.7-28.8 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.
28.3-28.6 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
28-28.2 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.
**If you can meaningfully integrate a lyric from this modern classic, I'll bump you +0.2. If you did it well, you won't need to point it out to me.
Ethics: Cheating means you will get the lowest possible points. You need a recording to prove the other team is clipping. If you mark a card, say where you’re marking it, actually mark it, and offer a marked copy before CX in constructives or the other's team prep time in a rebuttal. Flashing and emailing isn’t prep, but don’t take forever.
If there is a different alleged ethics violation, I will ask the team alleging the violation if they want to stop the debate; let both teams offer a written defense of their practice; and then decide the violation based on said written defenses. I'll evaluate these per the NSDA rulebook, since non-clipping ethics norms are quite vague, and I can't find another coherent set of norms.
Debate is the greatest game I've ever played, and it also substantially changes your subjectivity and makes life-long friendships. Enjoy it!
Put me on the chain- firstname.lastname@example.org
I like all sorts of arguments - I go to MBA and am the most well versed in policy, however Ks are pretty cool too- I don't have too much background knowledge on anything other than Cap, Agamben, Set-Col, Anti-blackness etc. I heavily prefer specific links to the aff.
Condo is cool, it's a debate to be had, but i will likely vote on the better extended interp
Terrell Tayloradd me to doc chains: terrell taylor at gmail dot com. No punctuation, no space, no frills.
Debated at Mary Washington from 2007-2011
Debate is an intellectual activity where two positions are weighed against each other. A part of this is making clear what your position is (plan, cp, alt, advocacy, status quo etc.) and how it measures up against the other team’s position. Arguments consist of a claim (the point you want to make), warrant (a reason to believe it), and an impact (reason why it matters/way it functions within the debate). Evidence is useful when trying to provide warrants, but is ultimately not necessary for me to evaluate an argument. Debates get competitive and heated, but staying polite and friendly and remembering that the name of the game is fun at the end of the day makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Disads/Case and Advantages
These arguments should be stressed in terms of a coherent story of what the world looks like in terms of the status quo, affirmative plan or alternative option. These positions should be attacked from a variety points including the link and internal link chain, impact and uniqueness level. When it comes to link turning, my default thought is that uniqueness determines the direction; if you have an alternative understanding that is particular to a scenario, be sure to explain why it is that the direction of the link should be emphasized or what have you. Impacts should be compared not only in terms of timeframe, probability and magnitude, but in terms of how these issues interact in a world where both impact scenarios take places (the popular "even if.." phrase comes to mind here). Also, keep in mind that I have not kept up with the trends in disads and such within the topic, so explaining specifics, acronyms and otherwise is useful for me. I prefer hearing case specific scenarios as opposed to generic politics and similar positions. This does not mean I will not vote for it or will dock your speaker points, just a preference.
Counterplans and Counterplan Theory
Counterplans should be functionally competitive; textual competition doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me (see later section on theory). I think that perms can be advocated, but am more than willing to hear reasons why they shouldn’t be and why that is a bad way to frame debates. When it comes to agent counterplans, I tend to think that topic specific education should trump generic presidential powers or judicial independence debates. Consult and condition cps just make the logician inside my head painfully confused (not sure why a reason to talk to X country is also a reason why the plan is bad). International fiat is suspect to me, and I tend to think that limiting the discussion to US policy (including its international relevance) is a good thing.
All of this being said, I am open to voting for any of the above arguments. These are merely my general theoretical leanings, and I will certainly flow, listen to, and evaluate arguments from the other side.
I haven’t seen many debates on this topic, so if a debate comes down to T, don’t be surprised if you see me googling to find the resolution to check the words. In general I think Topicality is important for two reasons. One is the general reason that most people think it’s good, being that we need to be prepared/have set limits and parameters for debate. The second is that I think each year presents an opportunity to gain in depth education on an issue, even if it's not a policy perspective of that issue. I feel that competing interpretations is generally the default for T, but I am open to defenses of reasonability and in fact, think that there are cases where this is the best means of evaluation. Standards should be impacted in terms of education and fairness, and the debate should come down to the best internal links between the standards and these terminal values. If you are the type to critique T, your critique needs to come down to these terms (education and fairness). RVIs don’t make sense to me. If you want to take the challenge of trying to make one make sense, be my guest, but it’s an uphill battle.
As mentioned, I am not wedded to any particular frame or “rulebook” for debate. Part of the beauty of debate to me is that debaters get to be both the players and referee. As such, I enjoy theory and think that such discussions can be fruitful. The flipside to this is that most theory debates devolve into tagline debating, shallow and repetitive arguments, and a race to see who can spit their block the fastest. These debates are 1) hard to flow and 2) not really a test or display of your ability so much as a test of your team’s theory block writer. I reward argumentation that is clear, comprehensible and complete in terms of theory debates, and urge debaters to these opportunities seriously.
I’ve laid out most of my theoretical dispositions in the counterplan section. Conditionality to me is like siracha sauce: a little bit heats up the debate, too much ruins it. I don’t know why three or four counterplans or alternatives along with the status quo is key to negative flex or good debating (one is good, two is ok). Also, if you want to use a status other than conditional or unconditional, (like the imaginary “dispo”) you should be ready to explain what that means. Again, I think that it is okay to advocate permutations as positions in the debate.
In terms of alternate frameworks for the debate (i.e. anything other than policy making) I’m honest when I say I’m not extraordinarily experienced in these areas as I’d like to be. I’ve seen a decent few of these debates and think that they provide some nuance to an otherwise stale activity. That being said (and this is true for all theory positions) you should try and weigh the educational and competitive equity benefits of your position versus the other teams proposed framework the debate. I debated for a squad that saw framework as a strategic and straightforward approach to most alternative forms of debate, so those arguments make sense to me. On the other hand, especially when it comes to arguments concerning structural issues in society/debate, if argued well, and with relevance to the topic in some way, I am willing to listen and evaluate.
Critical arguments (Kritiks/K-affs)
Much of what I just said applies here as well. I had the most success/felt most comfortable debating with these types of arguments as a debater (I did, however, spend most of my career debating with “straight-up” affs and disads that claimed nuclear war advantages). I studied English and Philosophy in undergrad and am pursuing a MA in English with a focus on critical theory, so there’s a decent chance that my interests and background might lean more towards a topic oriented critique than a politics Da.
I will avoid following the trend of listing the genres of critiques and critical literature with which I am familiar with the belief that it shouldn't matter. Running critiques shouldn't be about maintaining a secret club of people who "get it" (which often in debates, is construed to be a club consisting of the critique friendly judge and the team running the argument, often excluding the other team for not being "savy"). In other words, Whether I've read a great deal of the authors in your critique or not, should not give you the green light to skimp on the explanation and analysis of the critique. These debates are often about making the connections between what the authors and literature are saying and the position of the other team, and hence put a great burden on the debater to elucidate those connections. A shared appreciation or research interest between a team and a judge does not absolve you of that burden, in my opinion.
I agree with many recent top tier collegiate debaters (Kevin Kallmyer, Gabe Murillo, etc.) that the difference between policy and critical arguments is overstated. An important piece of reading critical arguments with me in the back of the room is explaining what your arguments mean within the context of the aff/da. If you read a no value to life impact, what about the affs framing makes it so that the people involved see their lives differently; if the critiqued impact is a merely constructed threat, reveal to me the holes in the construction and explain how the construction came to be. Doing that level of analysis (with any argument, critical or policy) is crucial in terms of weighing and relating your arguments to the other teams, and engaging in a form of education that is actually worthwhile. This probably entails removing your hypergeneric topic link and replacing with analysis as to the links that are within the evidence (and therefore, the assumptions, rhetoric, methodology, so and so forth) of your opponents. In terms of vague alts and framework, I have mixed feelings. The utopian fiat involved in most alts is probably abusive, but there is something to be said for making the claim that these arguments are vital to thorough education. On the framework question, gateway issue is probably a poor way to go. I don’t understand why the fact that your K has an impact means that you get to suck up the entire debate on this one issue. Instead, a framing that opens the door to multiple ways of critiquing and evaluating arguments (both on the aff and the neg, or in other words, doesn’t hold the aff as a punching bag) is preferable.
I didn’t do a whole lot of handling with this genre of argument, but have debated semi-frequently and enjoy the critical aspects of these arguments. I think that there is a difference between the type of critical debater that reads a couple of disads along with a K and case args, and a team that reads a indictment of the topic or reads narratives for nine minutes. If you read a poem, sing, recite a story or anything of that nature, I will be more interested in observing your performance than trying to flow or dictate it on my flow (my reasoning for this is that, unlike a speech organized for the purpose of tracking argument development and responses, I don't think flowing a poem or song really generates an understanding of the performance). More importantly, framing should be a priority; give me a reason why I should look at the debate through a certain lens, and explain why given that framing you have done something either worth affirming your advocacy. I think that these types of debates, especially if related to the topic, can be fruitful and worthwhile. Performance affirmatives should try to find some in road to the topic. If your argument is pervasive and deep enough to talk about, I generally think it probably has a systemic implication for the resolution in some way, even if that doesn’t manifest as a topical plan or even agreeing with the resolution.
For teams going against performance strategies, Framework based arguments are options in front of me. A good way to frame this argument is in terms of what is the best method to produce debates that create the most useful form of education, as opposed to just reading it like a procedural argument. I do think it is important to engage the substantive portion of their arguments as well, (there are always multiple dimensions to arguments of these forms) even if it happens to be a critical objection to their performance or method. Many policy based strategies often want to avoid having to engage with the details involved, and in doing so often fail to rigorously challenge the arguments made in the debate.
Good luck, and have fun. I spent a great deal of my debate career stressing out and losing sleep, instead of experiencing the challenge and fun of the activity; Enjoy your time in the activity above everything else.
2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).
It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.
I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.
After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.
I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.
When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.
Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).
I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.
Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.
I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).
- Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.
You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.
By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.
I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.
Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).
Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.
For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.
The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).
If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.
“We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.
For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.
Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.
Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.
I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.
Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.
From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.
A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.
I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.
Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.
Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).
Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.
I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.
Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.
Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.
I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.
For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.
Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.
Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.
Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.
Performance (the other critique):
Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.
However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.
If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.
Former Varsity Policy Debate Competitor
Debated at Valley International Preparatory High School
Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com
First things first, feel free to ask me about anything on the paradigm if it is unclear before the round. Also, the paradigm is extremely subject to change.
TL;DR - This paradigm will be a conglomeration of known biases of mine, and arguments I generally believe/don't believe. Don't let any of these discourage you from making the arguments you want to; you can win anything as true if you do so in-round. I won't pretend to be completely tabula rasa, but I'll do everything in my power (including making this paradigm) to inform you of potential biases. Make the arguments you're good at and this paradigm might change if you convince me of the power of a particular argument. I am very unfamiliar with everything including the current Policy Topic, so explain arguments/acronyms that might be unfamiliar to me. Also, if you're novice, don't worry about almost all of this, just read whatever you want and be confident, and learn from your experiences! You can read it if you like, but feel no rush to do so. As a note, please don't spread through analytics that aren't in a doc; I will not process or even hear half of the arguments.
General: Tech > Truth. Every argument must have a claim, warrant, and impact. I will be assigning speaker points based on the invisible morality of things in the round (ex: correctly identifying a dropped argument is good, incorrectly claiming a dropped arg is bad) Absent in-round violence (racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, misgendering people, etc.) your speaks should not drop lower than 27.5. I rarely award 29.3-29.7 unless I am blown away by your speaking. I am totally fine with spreading, but I can only type so fast. If you have a document for me to read along on word-for-word (such as the 1AC) then go as fast as you want. If not, please slow down on the parts you want me to flow. Also, rudeness is an immediate deduction from speaks. This includes making noise/being distracting during speeches, excessively cutting off during CX, and snarky comments/insults that target debaters, not their arguments.
K: I won't lie by saying I'm particular to the K. I won't scratch it off the flow, but know it might be more difficult to convince me the K's claim is true, and you'll need to do some more work to show how it links to your opponents. However, I do have a basic understanding of most K's, though treat me as if I'm a fledgling debater who's never even heard of the Cap K. Explain the claims in-round clearly, and show why the opposing side links to your Kritik.
Topicality: I think T is a powerful tool for the neg, whether or not the Aff is genuinely in violation or topical. I can be convinced of nearly anything in-round on T. Provide and compare models of debate under different interpretations, and explain why your model has tangible impacts. I think fairness is probably its own impact, but it certainly can be an internal link to other impacts. Overall, I love T debates.
Policy: I love policy. If you're going to read a disad, explain clearly how the DA links to the aff, and the rebuttals should provide a clear story and link chain that triggers the impacts. I can be convinced a DA has a 0% chance of occurring. I don't favor Process/Consult CPs, but I will evaluate them normally in-round. Condo is probably a reason to reject the team. If you're going to read 10 off, make sure to slow down on taglines and blocks if they aren't sent out in a doc. FIAT isn't fake, but it's not omnipotent. Assume the plan is executed as per the plan text if it could reasonably do so in reality. (ex. I likely won't evaluate a delay DA because of floor clog, but I will evaluate args against a utopian plan text.)
The Value Debate (for LD): If neither competitor makes an argument on value, I default to Utilitarianism: the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Winning the value debate does not win you the round. You win the lens through which I view the round, but your opponent can still win under your interp. Do not blow up on the value debate unless you also plan to argue you win under your interpretation. Cases that win under both interpretations make me happy, but please explain how you do so. I honestly loved my time in LD for the value debate, so I will reward clash on the value and criterion with extra speaks!
Things I Like: Final speeches that give a clear picture of what a ballot for either side means. Substantive clash. Analytics about round-specific arguments. Speaking clearly. Quick puns. Clever strategies. Light-hearted debates.
Things I Dislike: Final speeches that rehash old arguments without responding to new ones. Reading blocks from a document the whole round. Analytics I can't hear. Slurring words without a doc for me to read along on. Jokes in bad taste. Sneaky/Abusive strategies. (you can call these out in-round and if you have sufficient offense I may end up voting on it, use your head about it) Dehumanizing, cutthroat debates.
If you have any questions, be sure to email me before the round or ask me just before we start!
Virtual Debate Updates:
I am almost always using two computers so I can watch you speak and flow/look at docs. I would prefer that you debate with your camera on so that I can watch you speak, but PLEASE do feel free to turn it off if doing so stabilizes your audio.
Do NOT start at top speed. You should start a little slower anyway to allow judges to get acclimated to your speaking style, but I think this is especially important in virtual debate.
Do I understand why you don't want to flash theory/overviews/analytics? Of course. Do you have to do it? No. Will I be mad at you if you don't? Of course not. Would it help me flow better in many virtual debates? YES.
Do what you do and do it well. I will vote for who wins. Over-adaptation is exhausting and I can smell your soft-left add-ons a mile away. My voting record is a pretty clear indication that I judge a wide variety of debates. Who/what I coach(ed) are generally good indications of what I am about. Update: I've found myself recently in some seven off rounds. I really hate to say I am bad for any kind of debate, but I am bad for these rounds. Late-breaking debates make me tired and grumpy, and I find myself having to do way too much work in these debates to resolve them. If seven off is your thing, and I am your judge, do what you do I guess, but know this is probably the only explicit "don't pref me" in this whole paradigm.
I care a lot about quality of evidence. I would much rather hear you read a few well-warranted cards than a wave of under-highlighted evidence. Same goes for redundant evidence; if you need six cards that “prove” your claim with the same words interchanged in the tag, your claim is probably pretty weak. Evidence does not (alone) a (winning) argument make.
I think I flow pretty throughly. I often flow in direct quotes. I do this for me, but I feel like it helps teams understand my decision as we talk after a round. I reward organized speakers and meaningful overviews. I am easily frustrated by a messy card doc.
I listen closely to cross-ex.
Neg teams lose when they don’t demonstrate how their arguments interact with the 1AC. Winning that the affirmative is “flawed” or “problematic” does not guarantee a neg ballot. In my mind, there are two ways to win the k versus a policy aff: either win that the effects of the plan make the world significantly worse OR win framework and go for epistemology/ontology links. Know when framework is important and when it’s not. Give analysis as to how your links implicate the world of the aff. This is where case mitigation and offense on why voting affirmative is undesirable is helpful. These debates are significantly lacking in impact calculus. Also - the alt needs to solve the links, not the aff - but if it does, great! If you win framework, this burden is lessened. Don’t spread through link explanations. I am seeing more debates where teams kick the alt and go for the links as disads to the aff. This is fine, but be wary of this strategy when the alt is what provides uniqueness to the link debate.
Conversely, affs typically lose these debates when there is little press on what the alternative does and little analysis of perm functions. However, some teams focus on the alt too much and leave much to be desired on the link debate (especially important for soft-left affs). Defend your reps. Your framework shell should also include a robust defense of policymaking, not just procedural fairness. The 1AR should actually answer the block’s framework answers. More impact turning rather than defensive, no-link arguments.
Also, running to the middle will not save you. Some Ks are going to get a link no matter what, and tacking on a structural impact to your otherwise straight policy aff will likely only supercharge the link. So. Read the aff you'd read in front of anybody in front of me. You're probably better at that version anyway.
K Affs vs. FW
For affs: I’m good for these although I do think that oftentimes the method is very poorly explained. Neg teams should really press on this and even consider going for presumption. Side note: I absolutely do not think that critical affs should have to win that the ballot is key for their method. Against framework, I most frequently vote aff when the aff wins impact turns that outweigh the neg’s impacts and have a counter-interp that resolves the majority of their offense. I can still vote for you if you don’t have a counter-interp in the 2AR but only if the impact work is exceptional. I prefer affs that argue that the skills and methods produced under their model inculcate more ethical subjectivities than the negative’s. The best aff teams I’ve seen are good at contextualizing their arguments, framing, and justifying why their model and not their aff is uniquely good. I am most frequently preffed for K v K debates. Judge instruction is extremely important I would rather evaluate those rounds based on whose method is most relevant to the debate rather than k tricks.
For neg teams: I like to see framework deployed as debate methodologies that are normatively good versus debate methodologies that are undesirable and should be rejected. Framework debates should center on the impact of certain methodologies on the debate space. “Your argument doesn’t belong in debate” is not the same thing as “your argument is hindered by forum” or “your argument makes it functionally impossible to be negative.” (fun fact: I read a lot of judges' paradigms/preferences..."debate is a game" does not = debate is a good game, and participation in that "game" does not = can't say the game is bad). I prefer more deliberation & skills-based framework arguments rather than procedural fairness, but I will vote on either as long as you have warrants and comparative impact analysis. If going for skills & research impacts, the internal link debate is most important. TVAs are great as defense against the aff’s impact turns. They do not have to solve the aff but should address its central controversy.
I feel similarly about theory debates in that they should focus on good/undesirable pedagogical practices. Arguments that explain the role of the ballot should not be self-serving and completely inaccessible by a particular team.
Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. T debates are won and lost on the standards level. If the affirmative wins that their interpretation solves the impact of topicality, then I see no reason to vote negative. Thorough T debates are about more than fairness. The idea that you have no game on an aff in this era is just not as persuasive as the idea that the aff’s interpretation negatively impacts future debates.
No real issues here. Specific links to case obviously preferred to generic arguments. Give me good impact analysis. As a debater, counterplans weren’t really my jam. As a judge, I can’t say that I get to vote on CPs often because they are typically kicked or are not competitive enough to survive an affirmative team well-versed in permutations. A CP should be something to which I can give thoughtful consideration. Don’t blow through a really complicated (or long) CP text. Likewise, if the permutation(s) is intricate, slow down. Pretty sure you want me to get these arguments down as you read them, not as I reconstruct them in cross. I vote for theory as much as I don’t vote for theory. No real theoretical dispositions.
1. I’m not going to bump your speaks for thanking me and taking forever to start the round because you’re asking “opponent ready? judge ready? partner ready? observers ready?” for the first 20 minutes.
2. If you do not take notes during my RFD, I will leave.
3. Don’t clip. Why do debaters in Arkansas clip so much? Answer: Because I don’t judge very much in Arkansas.
4. Keep your own time.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – put me on the chain.
Last Updated: October 2021
Topic Knowledge: I have moderate familiarity with the core affs and neg positions on the water topic. I coach for Bellarmine, but have not yet judged any rounds on the topic.
- I would prefer that debaters keep their cameras on the whole debate. Online debate is depressing enough without staring at empty black boxes the entire time. However, I won’t enforce this or penalize you for choosing to keep it off.
- If my camera is off, assume that I'm away from my computer and don't start speaking.
- If a serious tech problem occurs (a debater cutting out mid-speech being the most likely example), I will attempt to interrupt your speech and mark the last argument I heard.
- Slow down a little. It is almost certainly more difficult to flow you online than in-person, even if you have the best microphone and Internet setup possible.
- Keeping track of prep in the chat is helpful.
Tech over truth – always. Debate how you want. The below paradigm reflects my ideological predispositions, and can be easily reversed by out-debating the other team. I will read evidence after the debate to resolve closely contested issues, so judge instruction is paramount.
An argument isn’t a complete argument – even if dropped – if I can’t explain the claim, warrant, and impact in the RFD. Additional warrants, evidence, or explanation are new and merit new responses accordingly.
I generally take a long time to decide. This usually does not reflect the closeness of the round.
I evaluate rounds in terms of relative risk. In practice, this means that I will almost certainly not care about generic impact calculus or "only our impact causes extinction" framing, absent those arguments being contextualized to the link scenario and overall risk of the DA or advantage. Impacts can be of greater or lesser magnitude, but that only implicates the starting risk of each scenario – a uniqueness take-out is still a uniqueness take-out regardless of whether the rest of the link chain accesses extinction or not. A “no link” argument worth 10% is as much mitigation as a “no impact” argument worth 10%. This also means I care less about impact turns case arguments than the average judge.
1. I tend to find defenses of resolutional stasis more persuasive than impact turns to topical debate.
2. Impacts to framework based on debate’s form (e.g. fairness, clash, limits) are more effective than impacts based on debate’s content (e.g. topic education, legal engagement).
3. The closer a K comes to disproving the desirability of the plan’s enactment, the better.
4. Winning ontology or any other broad theory that purports to describe how the world works will be an uphill battle.
5. If you have to ask whether your CP is competitive, it’s probably not. That being said, if the aff mishandles the competition debate, anything’s fair game.
6. Conditionality is good.
7. Utilitarianism is good. Impact framing oriented along alternative rubrics should focus on critiquing risk assessment, not how I conduct impact calculus.
8. I will default to kicking the CP, including individual planks, unless contested.
9. Zero risk probably isn’t a thing.
10. Author quals are important. I can be convinced to assign certain cards no more weight than a comparable analytic.
Framework: In general, my predisposition is that debate is better when affirmatives defend a topical plan. If you read a planless aff, you’re best off preffing me above the judges who will auto-vote neg on framework and below the judges who are truly agnostic. Relative uniqueness and impact comparison will determine a lot of these debates.
My primary bias is that I don’t believe procedural fairness is automatically a terminal impact. Defenses of fairness as an “intrinsic good” typically are explained as “it’s necessary to sustain the game,” which still begs the question of an external justification as to why that game is good.
I’ve noticed myself voting a lot on “we meet” against framework with critical affs that ambiguously defend a plan in the 1AC.
Aff teams should invest in one or two central impact turns to the negative’s model of debate, rather than overly relying on the counter-interpretation. Neg arguments about arbitrariness are persuasive against aff counter-interpretations that don't re-define words in the topic.
I find an immense amount of irony in policy teams that complain about long K overviews while simultaneously reading 3+ minute pre-written framework overviews of their own.
K’s: I have a passing familiarity with security, neolib, Foucault, Agamben, and legalism/necropolitics. You’ll need to robustly explain everything else. Aff teams commonly lose these debates by pursuing the defensive “perm/no link” route instead of defending their aff and leveraging salient impact turns. My general skepticism of alternatives to utilitarian cost-benefit analysis means “extinction outweighs” framing is extremely persuasive. If equally debated, I’m likely to conclude the aff gets to weigh their plan and the neg gets some access to discourse-based offense.
I’m skeptical of most metaphysical, ontological, or otherwise totalizing theories that attempt to explain how the world operates. I typically assign an extraordinarily high burden of proof to win these arguments, given reasonable pushback from the other team.
Detailed roadmaps (framework, perm, link debate, etc.) are often helpful in K debates. Long overviews are fine, but should not become a pretense to discard the line-by-line and 2AC structure.
K v K debates: I don’t expect I’ll be judging many of these. Judge instruction is paramount. I can go either way on whether planless affs get a permutation.
Topicality (against policy affs): Between two interpretations of relatively equal quality, I’m a fairly good judge for the neg in topicality debates. Evidence quality matters. Limits are desirable in the abstract; limits for the sake of limits aren’t. If your interpretation is clearly contrived nonsense, you’ll be facing an uphill battle persuading me that your model reasonably establishes contours for aff research.
As Ani puts it: “The articulation of reasonability that will persuade me is that the substance crowdout generated by T debates outweighs the difference between the two interps. Note that reasonability is about the interps, not the aff. It means the aff gets their interp comparison offense plus substance crowdout as bonus offense.”
I have no strong opinions about T-Enact, either as a competition or topicality argument.
DA’s: Obviously fine. A well-explained link story and solid spin can go a long way. Absent winning some terminal claim (“the bill already passed,” “this country factually doesn’t exist,” etc.), I’ve yet to see a speech that successfully mitigated something to zero risk. I care far more about link-centered debate than impact calculus divorced from the cumulative risk of the DA. Smart analytical defense is fine, but holds significantly more weight when tied to evidence.
I find long framing contentions unpersuasive usually because they fail to present a coherent alternative model for risk assessment. I classify impact framing into two types: risk assessment (how I evaluate the relative probability of an impact), and impact calculus (how I assess which impact outweighs what). In the abstract, it will difficult to get me to abandon my inclination towards utilitarian cost-benefit impact calculus. However, most critiques of util, when accompanied by meta-level instruction about how I should evaluate the debate, can be persuasively applied to change how I determine whether an impact is "probable" or "large."
I’m more down for the rider DA than most judges. Impact turns are always fun, but maintaining organization on the flow is crucial.
CP’s: Nuanced and in-depth counterplan competition debates are some of my favorite debates to judge. Evenly debated, I tend to err aff on competition questions. If the counterplan could theoretically fiat a possible manifestation of the plan, I view the counterplan as questionably competitive at best. However, many aff teams don't invest the requisite time and refutation in later rebuttals to sufficiently answer neg competition "tricks."
Debated equally, going for a perm > going for theory against largely plan-inclusive counterplans.
Offense-defense applies to the link to the net benefit. If the counterplan links less than either the aff or the perm, in the absence of a solvency deficit that outweighs the residual link differential I’m likely to vote neg because the counterplan is the least risky option. This presumption is by no means immutable if the affirmative invests in an alternative frame for risk evaluation.
I will default to kicking the CP if neither side brings it up. If equally debated, I’ll likely err negative on judge kick as the logical extension of conditionality.
Limited intrinsicness, backed by a non-regressive theoretical interpretation, is a vastly underutilized tool against many neg CP's. A model in which counterplans must be functionally and textually competitive justifies perms that are functionally or textually intrinsic, but not both.
Theory: I’m generally neg-leaning on conditionality and view all aff interpretations based on the number of advocacies as equally arbitrary.
Aff-leaning on consult, delay, con-con, and generic counterplans that compete off immediacy and certainty. I also think multi-actor (not multi-branch) counterplans are illegitimate. Ambivalent on international fiat. Anything other than conditionality is a reason to reject the argument, not the team.
Neg-leaning on PIC’s, QPQ, multi-plank CP’s, non-enforcement, states, and generic “topic” counterplans like ESR. 2NC CP’s are good in response to new 2AC offense. Agent CP’s are theoretically legitimate but questionably competitive.
That being said, don't drop theory arguments. The line-by-line overdetermines theory debates and I will mercilessly vote against you if you concede well-explained theory arguments backed by reasons rejecting the team is justified.
Speaker Points: I’ll adjust the scale on a per-tournament basis and attempt to remain consistent throughout the tournament.
29.5+ – top speaker.
29.3-29.4 – top 5-10 speaker.
29.1-29.2 – top 20 speaker.
28.8-29.0 – a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; should break.
28.6-28.7 – a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament.
28.4-28.5 – a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
28.0-28.3 – a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.
I will type “clear” into the chat once and then verbally say it twice – after that, I will stop flowing.
I won’t actively call out clipping; the other team needs a recording to prove it. I won’t declare an auto-loss if one team alleges a clipping violation and I conclude otherwise. NDCA guidelines apply: “clipping has occurred when a debater represents they have read five words or more that they did not read in any speech.”
The ballot is yours. Speaker points are mine. Ask for 30’s and you just might receive 24’s.
Other Thoughts: With the exception of obvious or deliberate racial or homophobic slurs, in most instances I view rejecting the team as an inappropriate remedy for accidentally misgendering or using potentially problematic language. Obviously this can change for repeat offenses or a refusal to offer an apology.
Numbering arguments is good and will be rewarded with speaker points.
Probably more receptive to new(ish) 1AR arguments than most.
I’m a very expressive judge. If this bothers you, just let me know before the round.
Absent in-round contestation, I'll accept inserted re-highlightings to deter poor evidentiary practices, provided that the re-highlighting actually comes from the card your opponent read in the debate. If it comes three paragraphs later, you actually have to read the part where the author concludes the other way. I will treat this as the equivalent of an evidence indict with added context. You have to actually explain how the re-highlightings implicate the round; don't insert 10 different cards and expect me to sort through the tags later. This only applies if you are indicting the other team's evidence; if you're using the card to advance some extrinsic argument, you need to actually read it.
I will never vote on an argument that relies upon non-falsifiable things that may have occurred outside the round in front of me.
If your computer freezes or crashes in the middle of the speech, don’t worry about it – just pause the timer and wait for it to restart. Similarly, flashing isn’t prep, but if you take forever and are obviously stealing prep I’ll dock your speaks.
hills ill die on in bold.
do people even read these things? was that just me?
1) Online stuff: I prefer you give speeches with your camera on, err on speech clarity & flowability because online debates drastically reduce that. If my camera is off I am not there and definitely not ready
2) Procedural stuff/meta stuff: Please start debates on time, to the minute. The 1AC should be sent with speaker prepared to speak BEFORE that minute. Otherwise, -.2 speaks for both aff debaters. If you are not clear, I will not read off the doc, I will just not flow. I mean it, I will not have sympathy for unclear speaking in an activity about communication This may sound harsh but when yelling clear is no longer a viable option I have to be.
-Put me on the email chain (I dislike file share but I can tolerate it if you insist) @ Ethanwall2003@gmail.com
-Please do not refer to me as "judge" I am a human with a name (its Ethan)
-My thoughts on the k v policy IdEoLoGicAl DiVidE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXLu_x0SRm4&ab_channel=Noodle
-I think of every debate and every argument within that debate through the lens of probable risk of said argument being true versus its' competing argument. This is why specific and nuanced argument resolution is the best way to earn my ballot.
-Stealing prep is a pet peeve of mine. Its also awkward to resolve. If your opponents say nothing, nor will I. If they do, best knock it off or face actual recourse(we cross that bridge when we come to it). If they do not and I am beyond reasonable doubt foul play is at hand, it will reflect poorly in your speaker points.
-Clipping is a reason to reject the team given indisputable evidence.
-I will work hard to evaluate your debate in the LEAST interventionist way possible. absent argument resolution that can be difficult
3) Top level thoughts on content/actual debating: I think judges should adapt to the debaters not vice versa, best way to my ballot is to do what you know you can do because at the end of the day, you're trying to beat your opponents not my biases/predispositions/my own training. The only exceptions are that I ask you time your own speeches, track your own prep, and do astute line by line/labeling/signposting. I didnt think id need to mention this but I flow straight down. I have a disdain for long overviews [1 minute +] hidden under the guise of "cloud clash"
-"I find many debaters over-estimate the amount of ideas they believe they communicate to the judge. Debaters who concentrate on persuading the judge, not just entering arguments into the record, will control the narrative of the round and win my ballot far more often than those who don’t." - Matt Liu
-I like policy debates, I like K debates, I like planless debates, I like politics, specific DA's, annoying cps, piks, turing test, you name it and im probably down to hear a 2NR/2AR on it! (this is NOT an advertisement to be racist, homophobic, sexist, etc!) Debate is a strategic and fun game in my mind and all the wacky arguments are apart of it and what make it fun. (A bad argument is a bad argument though, any of them are technically winnable, but many of them are uphill battles) On the other hand, this activity used to be less lighthearted to me; If you want a serious debate about something important to you, I am down for that too.
-Tech determines truth seems obvious, otherwise I can just impart my own wacky beliefs on whatever I want right? (sky is green now, sorry not sorry)
-Do argument resolution a lack of this is the number one reason debates dont turn out the way debaters want. Do impact calc, 4th level explanation, evidence comparison, etc
-I am increasingly annoyed by a lack of warranted explanations/extensions. (I promise slowing down for more coherence will help not hurt you) Buzzwords are not warrants.
-In a debate where both teams are reading blocks I will likely conclude condo is good. if condo bad is the 2AR, focus on being persuasive (generally this means being thorough about in round abuse)
-If you have any questions about specific content or accessibility concerns/needs please dont hesitate to ask
4) Speaker points
tldr: if youre good, youll get good speaks.
alas, a roadmap in my decision calculus on what a 'good' speaker/debater is:
--organized and labeled debating (do line by line)
--apparent knowledge of an argument
--apparent credibility to an arguments' execution
--clash and appreciation for the flow
--ARGUMENT RESOLUTION (this means you tell me your answers to their answers and close doors)
--CX competency (keep it moving, be mindful, be engaging)
--I dont care what prose you use or how you dress, just know what you are talking about.
Specific questions/concerns/etc my Paradigm didn't touch on? feel free to ask in round or email ahead @Ethanwall2003@gmail.com
5) LD: I am comfortable judging either traditional or modern LD rounds but keep in mind I have no familiarity with the topic so an emphasis on explanation and implication will likely go a long way. Avoid topic acronyms
6) PF/Parli/Congress/Speech: If you're a die hard fan of these events, sorry to lump them all together. The best way to earn my ballot is to focus on using little to no debate jargon and instead to emphasize on persuasive speaking and making complete arguments.
1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption.
2. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate.
3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."
1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.
2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.
1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to "win" uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.
2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches). Note: this doesn't apply to riders or horsetrading or other disads that assume voting aff means voting for something beyond the aff plan. Then it's winnable.
1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.
2. I think I'm less technical than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.
3. If it's a critique of "fiat" and not the aff, read something else. If it's not clear from #1, I'm looking at the link first. Please--link work not framework. K debating is case debating.
1. I'm *slightly* better for the aff now that aff teams are generally impact-turning the neg's model of debate. I almost always voted neg when they instead went for talking about their aff is important and thought their counter-interp somehow solved anything. Of course, there's now only like 3-4 schools that take me and don't read a plan. So I'm spared the debates where it's done particularly poorly.
2. A lot of things can be impacts to T, but fairness is probably best.
3. It would be nice if people read K affs with plans more, but I guess there's always LD. Honestly debating politics and util isn't that hard--bad disads are easier to criticize than fairness and truth.
Versus the K:
1. If it's a team's generic K against K teams, the aff is in pretty great shape here unless they forget to perm. I've yet to see a K aff that wasn't also a critique of cap, etc. If it's an on-point critique of the aff, then that's a beautiful thing only made beautiful because it's so rare. If the neg concedes everything the aff says and argues their methodology is better and no perms, they can probably predict how that's going to go. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.
Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.
2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp. The reasonability debate does seem slightly more important on CJR given that the neg's interp often doesn't solve for much. But the aff is still better off developing offense in the 1AR.
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.
2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.
3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.
4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.
LD Specific Business:
I am primarily a policy coach with very little LD experience. Have a little patience with me when it comes to LD specific jargon or arguments. It would behoove you to do a little more explanation than you would give to a seasoned adjudicator in the back of the room. I will most likely judge LD rounds in the same way I judge policy rounds. Hopefully my policy philosophy below will give you some insight into how I view debate. I have little tolerance and a high threshold for voting on unwarranted theory arguments. I'm not likely to care that they dropped your 'g' subpoint, if it wasn't very good. RVI's aren't a thing, and I won't vote on them.
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You should debate line by line. I continue to grow frustrated with teams that do not flow. If I suspect you are not flowing (I visibly see you not doing it; you answer arguments that were not made in the previous speech but were in the speech doc; you answer arguments in speech doc order instead of speech order), you will receive no higher than a 28. This includes teams that like to "group" the 2ac into sections and just read blocks in the 2NC/1NR. Also, read cards. I don't want to hear a block with no cards.
Debate the round in a manner that you would like and defend it. I consistently vote for arguments that I don’t agree with and positions that I don’t necessarily think are good for debate. I have some pretty deeply held beliefs about debate, but I’m not so conceited that I think I have it all figured out. I still try to be as objective as possible in deciding rounds. All that being said, the following can be used to determine what I will most likely be persuaded by in close calls:
If I had my druthers, every 2nr would be a counterplan/disad or disad/case.
In the battle between truth and tech, I think I fall slightly on side of truth. That doesn’t mean that you can go around dropping arguments and then point out some fatal flaw in their logic in the 2AR. It does mean that some arguments are so poor as to necessitate only one response, and, as long as we are on the same page about what that argument is, it is ok if the explanation of that argument is shallow for most of the debate. True arguments aren’t always supported by evidence, but it certainly helps.
I think research is the most important aspect of debate. I make an effort to reward teams that work hard and do quality research on the topic, and arguments about preserving and improving topic specific education carry a lot of weight with me. However, it is not enough to read a wreck of good cards and tell me to read them. Teams that have actually worked hard tend to not only read quality evidence, but also execute and explain the arguments in the evidence well. I think there is an under-highlighting epidemic in debates, but I am willing to give debaters who know their evidence well enough to reference unhighlighted portions in the debate some leeway when comparing evidence after the round.
I think the affirmative should have a plan. I think the plan should be topical. I think topicality is a voting issue. I think teams that make a choice to not be topical are actively attempting to exclude the negative team from the debate (not the other way around). If you are not going to read a plan or be topical, you are more likely to persuade me that what you are doing is ‘ok’ if you at least attempt to relate to or talk about the topic. Being a close parallel (advocating something that would result in something similar to the resolution) is much better than being tangentially related or directly opposed to the resolution. I don’t think negative teams go for framework enough. Fairness is an impact, not a internal link. Procedural fairness is a thing and the only real impact to framework. If you go for "policy debate is key to skills and education," you are likely to lose. Winning that procedural fairness outweighs is not a given. You still need to defend against the other team's skills, education and exclusion argument.
I don’t think making a permutation is ever a reason to reject the affirmative. I don’t believe the affirmative should be allowed to sever any part of the plan, but I believe the affirmative is only responsible for the mandates of the plan. Other extraneous questions, like immediacy and certainty, can be assumed only in the absence of a counterplan that manipulates the answers to those questions. I think there are limited instances when intrinsicness perms can be justified. This usually happens when the perm is technically intrinsic, but is in the same spirit as an action the CP takes This obviously has implications for whether or not I feel some counterplans are ultimately competitive.
Because I think topic literature should drive debates (see above), I feel that both plans and counterplans should have solvency advocates. There is some gray area about what constitutes a solvency advocate, but I don’t think it is an arbitrary issue. Two cards about some obscure aspect of the plan that might not be the most desirable does not a pic make. Also, it doesn’t sit well with me when negative teams manipulate the unlimited power of negative fiat to get around literature based arguments against their counterplan (i.e. – there is a healthy debate about federal uniformity vs state innovation that you should engage if you are reading the states cp). Because I see this action as comparable to an affirmative intrinsicness answer, I am more likely to give the affirmative leeway on those arguments if the negative has a counterplan that fiats out of the best responses.
My personal belief is probably slightly affirmative on many theory questions, but I don’t think I have voted affirmative on a (non-dropped) theory argument in years. Most affirmatives are awful at debating theory. Conditionality is conditionality is conditionality. If you have won that conditionality is good, there is no need make some arbitrary interpretation that what you did in the 1NC is the upper limit of what should be allowed. On a related note, I think affirmatives that make interpretations like ‘one conditional cp is ok’ have not staked out a very strategic position in the debate and have instead ceded their best offense. Appeals to reciprocity make a lot sense to me. ‘Argument, not team’ makes sense for most theory arguments that are unrelated to the disposition of a counterplan or kritik, but I can be persuaded that time investment required for an affirmative team to win theory necessitates that it be a voting issue.
Critical teams that make arguments that are grounded in and specific to the topic are more successful in front of me than those that do not. It is even better if your arguments are highly specific to the affirmative in question. I enjoy it when you paint a picture for me with stories about why the plans harms wouldn’t actually happen or why the plan wouldn’t solve. I like to see critical teams make link arguments based on claims or evidence read by the affirmative. These link arguments don’t always have to be made with evidence. I think alternative solvency is usually the weakest aspect of the kritik. Affirmatives would be well served to spend cross-x and speech time addressing this issue. ‘Our authors have degrees/work at a think tank’ is not a response to an epistemological indict of your affirmative. Intelligent, well-articulated analytic arguments are often the most persuasive answers to a kritik.
Debated at Wake Forest University (2016-21) and Little Rock Central High School (2012-16)
Currently coaching for Berkeley Prep
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Please be as clear as possible. I'd rather you slow down than continue stumbling over words and making it painful for all involved.
Be relatively friendly to one another. It's annoying watching a team mock their opponents without reason.
I don't have an argument preference but I am more familiar with K/K affs. However, I was initially trained in "traditional" policy style arguments. So, say whatever just do it well and help me out with policy acronyms/jargon (especially topic specific stuff).
Lastly, it is imperative that you explain to me what voting or not voting aff/neg means. I find it frustrating when I have to construct the big picture at the end of the debate. I expect you to write my ballot for me by a) explaining what offense you are winning or going to win by the end of the speech and 2) contextualizing those arguments to the other team's.
If you have any questions about certain arguments or misc. preferences, please don't hesitate to ask!
Last Updated: December 18 2021.
Spencer ("SkyCat") Williams – he/him
Coach at BASIS Shavano and Assistant Coach at Edgemont
OES 2020 (3 years of HS Policy with 2x TOC + 8 bids)
College debater for Harvard on a year-long break from school to beat brain cancer. I went through proton radiation treatment, meaning that my brain is radioactive. Sorry in advance if I make flowing errors; I usually don't. I get fatigued easily and might close my eyes, yawn, or sound monotone during the round. I am not bored and I am still listening and processing what is being said, I promise. I fully understand the amount of work and time that debaters put into this activity and I intend to honor that to the best of my ability.
Yes email chain, please include an informational title – email@example.com
1. Do what you do best, be smart and passionate, and you'll be fine.
2. Tech determines truth unless your argument is offensive or an insult to obvious reality.
3. As a debater, I am most frustrated with RFDs that seem unfair or removed from the reality of the round. Whether that be allowing new rebuttal answers, voting based on predetermined personal beliefs, or not flowing properly, I will try to correct against those things as much as possible as a judge.
4. If you debate well, you should have no problem convincing me of your argument. Everything in my paradigm except the non-negotiables are up for change in the round. I may dislike your arguments, but I will try my best to not let my opinion affect my evaluation of the line by line.
5. Clarity over speed, especially in online debates! I will clear you 3 times before I warn you that I have stopped flowing. I have more trouble than the average judge when it comes to unclear, fast spreaders. Slow down especially on condo and other theory arguments. There is an increasing trend of teams spreading through theory blocks and it only hurts you.
I love judging good K affs, but I believe that the affirmative needs to have a sustainable interpretation of what the topic looks like to win. What that looks like is up to you, but I am not persuaded by interpretations of the topic that do not leave a role for the negative to adequately engage with the affirmative.
Topicality arguments are not prescriptively violent. I am more persuaded by affirmatives that respond to framework by introducing a more effective model for political or institutional engagement than affirmatives that argue all politics or institutions are irredeemable. Affirmatives that prescribe homogeneity based on one identifying factor for an otherwise diverse group of people will have difficulty convincing me.
I think that going for presumption against K affirmatives is awesome. Also, please go for disads/impact turns if you get a link – those debates are so fun!
Most out of my element in K v K debates. Explain your position thoroughly and have clear reasons why your theories of power are incompatible.
In terms of running a K on the neg, if you do not extend an alt, you need to explain to me what that means for the rest of the K. No big overviews please, just do line by line. Also, links of omission are silly.
As a side note, I do not have any predisposed beliefs when it comes to kritiks. This means that "big if true" claims (such as: people of color already live in a state of extinction which outweighs biological extinction, Blackness is ontological, subjectivity is shaped by debate, surrendering to Blackness is your primary prerogative, the aff causes genocide, etc.) require extensive proof if rebutted by the other team.
The quality of evidence matters when it comes to T. A good T card should have intent to define, intent to exclude, and compelling author qualifications. It isn't impossible to win without those three qualities in front of me, but the T argument is significantly more convincing with them. If your opponent's card is lacking, point out specifically what the piece of evidence needs to be persuasive.
Impact and caselist comparisons are essential to winning my ballot; I probably value them more than the average judge does. In T debates, argument interaction and clash are especially critical to prevent running circles around arguments.
Unpack and compare, do not rely on buzzwords. Your T blocks should be specific to the argument you're running. "Vote neg because our interp sets a limit on the topic" or "vote neg for limits and ground" are neither warranted nor complete arguments unless you explain why and how the topic established by the negative's interpretation is net better than the affirmative's for reasons of better education, deeper clashing debates, etc.
Everything except attaching the doc to the chain and making a marked copy is prep. Do not steal prep.
Leave your cameras on if you are debating. My preference is that your cameras are on at all times during the round, not just during your speeches. Get verbal or visual confirmation before you start your speech.
CX starts when you ask the first question unless you are experiencing technical difficulties (opponent's mic cut out, etc.). Otherwise, clarification questions such as "did you read X card?" are part of your 3 minutes.
Let me know if you are experiencing any technology problems and we will try to work around them.
Please don't call me judge! My name is fine.
Rehighlightings must be read and not inserted unless they were read in CX.
Speech times are not flexible. I will not flow your partner if they interrupt during your speech unless they are speaking as part of a rehearsed 1AC/1NC.
I will drop the offender and check out for the rest of the debate if they misgender anyone.
I will not explicitly intervene in any debate round unless a debater makes it clear that they do not want the round to continue. The exception is that accusations about ethics violations, clipping, etc. means the debate stops and I go to tab.
Stole this from Zidao. <3
I reward humor, playfulness, demonstrated intelligence, round awareness, specific strategies, and kindness. Don't be mean, but assertiveness is cool. I love debate and I love to see people have fun in debate rounds.
If you opensource everything, let me know before the RFD and I'll add .2 to your speaks.
I give speaks based on tournament and division. 30 at a finals bid may not be 30 at an octos bid.
29.5+: One of the top speakers of the tournament. Should be in deep elims.
29-29.5: Good debater that I expect to break and get a speaker award.
28.5-28.9: Competent debater with good grasp of fundamentals. Not at the level of clearing yet.
Good luck at the tournament and take care!
Georgia Tech '24 (Sociology and History; Civil Engineering)
Woodward Academy ’20
Last Substantively Updated: 9/10/21
Gmail chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Topic Knowledge: I judge a lot of debates.
Short Version + Novices
"Debate like an adult. Show me the evidence. Attend to the details. Don't dodge, clash. Great research and informed comparisons win debates." — Bill Batterman
It’s probably not a voting issue.
Give an order before your speech.
I write formally but I'm not a very serious person.
Always feel free to email me if you have questions.
An argument must be complete before there is a burden to answer it.
Depth of arguments should take precedence over quantity of arguments.
I don’t care about tag-teaming; just don’t dominate another person’s cross-ex.
Frame my ballot at the top of your late rebuttals, without using any debate jargon or hyperbole.
Please stop asking for marked copies when you don't actually need them/were just not flowing; I need time to make a decision.
"Marking a card" means actually marking that card so that you can send out the marked version after the speech if anybody wants it.
If you advocate something, at some point in the debate, you need to explain the tangible results of your advocacy without relying on any debate or philosophy jargon.
I really enjoy debate. Debate is the most rewarding activity I have ever done. I hope that everybody prioritizes having fun, and then learning and improving. If you do things that infringe on the ability of everyone to have fun, learn, and improve, I will be sad.
The comment I find myself giving nearly every debate is to focus more on depth in argument. Against good teams—good teams being those that are very unlikely to drop entire arguments—you will be left empty-handed in your final rebuttals if you lack highly-developed arguments because you tried to proliferate shallow arguments in earlier speeches in hope of your opponent dropping something. Beyond the strategic value, the process of second- and third- and fourth-line development of arguments is what makes debate so fun and educational. Depth in discussion allows us to learn things that we don't in other parts of our lives.
I will vote on absolute defense.
Explain; don’t confuse.
I am familiar with most critiques, although less so with queer theory and high theory critiques. This is solely an approximation of my existing skill to understand your argument, not an assessment of whether I will vote for or against it.
If you are not black (team) and present anti-blackness arguments, I want you to know beforehand that I find this style of debate to be anti-educational and disappointing. I am not going to interrogate anybody's relationship to blackness nor say "please strike me," but I agree with RW Evans that the incoherency of non-black afropessimism makes it "theoretical, redundant, and objectifying." Frank Wilderson III himself claims that he "grieves over" this appropriation (full reference at the bottom of my paradigm).
I have two major thoughts about critique links that may influence how you debate —
First is about link quality. I am increasingly exposed to critique links that it would be generous to call “silly;” many are factually untrue or are mirror-images of the worst “no solvency” policy arguments (multiple versions of “circumvention” not based in empirics, unexplained assertions that the state would replicate the violence that the aff addresses elsewhere, etc.). To clarify, these threads can result in very good links about the nuances of the aff’s strategy being flawed; my point is that the way they are deployed in many debates is a generic cycling of the same, bad arguments to every affirmative because negatives are too lazy to generate higher-quality but aff-specific links. In other words, negatives become unevidenced cynics instead of well-prepared counter-advocates. Simply because these arguments are deployed in a critical way, A. judges give too much weight to them, and B. policy debaters somehow become incapable of answering them. Take the 2019-2020 arms sales topic: “DoD has 49 Other Programs” and “BPC Circumvents” are horrible arguments that made their way into nearly every critical 1NC. In contrast, I find that the debaters who go into detail about the many parts of the 1AC that exhibit the flaws they criticize develop the most convincing critiques.
Second is about link falsifiability. I remain highly unconvinced by arguments that rely on assertions about the motives of the other team. Accusations of “bad faith” are undebatable because they are just that: accusations, not to mention that you are likely butchering your own scholarship if you are reducing it to “the other team is just here to win.” So, stick to links based on broader relationships to advocacy and verifiable in-round actions.
Topicality is not a reverse voting issue.
I have no reservations against the introduction of a topicality argument; I defer to the line-by-line.
I enjoy K vs. K debates.
Aff conditionality is the worst thing I have experienced in not-trying-to-be-topical debate. If you have chosen to not defend the resolution, you certainly need to defend your aff. It is astoundingly ironic when not-trying-to-be-topical teams criticize other teams for going for Topicality and then do everything in their power to avoid clash over competitive advocacies and/or disadvantages. When the rebuttals are no-linking out of critiques that include direct links to 1AC commitments/scholarship, I will be enthused to vote on topicality or a stand-alone procedural.
I cannot foresee myself voting on theory other than Conditionality/Dispositionality Bad (and Topicality) beyond the very limited exceptions of when a team impacts out why using the ballot as a remedy is key. All other theory arguments are reasons to reject an argument or give leeway elsewhere.
I am highly sympathetic to affirmative complaints about counterplans that do nearly all of the affirmative and rely on competition based on very silly definitions of words (e.g. "should means immediate and certain") without solvency evidence advocating the counterplan-as-written.
I am also sympathetic to affirmative complaints about counterplans that compete solely based off of the agent and fiat multiple auxiliary policies without solvency evidence advocating the counterplan-as-written. The communal acceptance of this style of counterplan, with the States-multi-plank CP in mind, stagnates negative topic innovation and forecloses valuable discussions of the desirability of topic policies regardless of agent. I also find it questionable if the judge should choose between two actors doing the same policy when no policymaker could be in a position to make that decision.
If you sign-post and refuse to answer hidden theory arguments, I will remove them from my flow and grant you speaker points.
I am slow. That means purging your speech documents of analytics and then rocking 300 wpm through them will be just as likely to "trick" me into not flowing an argument as it will be your opponents.
I am a degrowth and climate change hack. T: Substantial against an unsubstantial aff is fun.
I am a utilitarian. However, I don't think this will ever influence the way I evaluate debates. I see categorical imperatives as having significant utilitarian value, and I think I am much more skeptical of "extinction first" than most judges.
If you argue extinction is an infinite magnitude, and impact = magnitude * probability, a 0.0001% risk of extinction and 100% risk of extinction have the same impact. If Bostrom is correct that the the impact of extinction is 10^18 human lives, and impact = magnitude * probability, then decreasing the risk of extinction by 0.000000001% would be preferable to preventing the amount of deaths in the Holocaust. That line of logic seems totally incoherent to me given that we could never reliably estimate a risk to be that small (we would call it 0%, or infinitesimal).
Timeframe needs an impact. Why does an event happening ten years from now make it less important than the same event happening now? Is it because there is a chance of intervening factors preventing the future impact (probability)? Is it because timing determines the ability of one impact to cause another?, etc.
With respect to Catastrophe Good arguments, "kill nearly everyone on Earth to destroy a particle accelerator that this fringe scientist says will consume the universe" is less convincing to me than a nihilism or misanthropy argument. I value accurate science.
I’m fine with post-rounding. Except, nearly every time I have witnessed post-rounding, it has been mostly whining and meanness. If you don’t have the maturity to do it, please don’t.
I put this at the bottom because everybody should know it already, but it’s still the most important.
Clipping is misrepresenting what you have read by incompletely reading cards and failing to note that they were incompletely read.
If you clip cards, I will be sad, and you will get a loss and 0. For advice on how to avoid clipping, look to the link below (1).
In the instance that a team accuses the other of clipping, I will follow the NDCA clipping guidelines (2).
Full Wilderson Reference
From “Staying Ready for Black Study: A Conversation”
Tiffany King: Toward another direction, I have been in conversations with others and myself about how white and non-Black folks are taking up Afro- pessimism. Some of my anxiety is emerging when and where I see non-Black folks working under the guise of, “I’m doing the political work and exposing anti-Black racism,” but they are primarily doing their antiracist political work through theorizing Black death and flesh. I often see these folks thinking of, or theorizing, Black death and flesh at the level of metaphor and aestheticizing it in order to make it more malleable. This then becomes “the work.” I find myself recoiling from that kind of work. Do you have any thoughts about what white and non-Black folks are doing with Black death and Afro-pessimistic work?
Frank Wilderson III: I hear exactly what you’re saying, and I grieve over it. Sometimes, I try not to know to get my own work done. As a general rule, it is difficult for Black people to make anything and to hold onto it for more than thirty seconds before the world takes it for its own purposes. Afro-pessimism is going the way of jazz, where it will be for everyone else. Or hip-hop. Patrice Douglass asked me, how do we keep Afro- pessimism for Blacks? And I said, it’s like our bodies, we can’t. What it becomes is something to animate someone else’s projects, and then we’ll be dispossessed of Being. That doesn’t mean I’m not writing, but I don’t know what to do about it. It’s akin to lynching as David Marriott describes. The lynched body becomes something through which community can build because it is the not quite human thing to which Humans can ultimately compare themselves.
Tiffany King: ...
Frank Wilderson: ... With grad students, I try to say, “what I would like you to do is take down your own people; as opposed to fetishizing and wallowing in Blackness.” The insurgent gesture in Afro-pessimism is that there is not just a grammar of Black suffering but a finger that points to humanity as being deserving of destruction because of its very being and not just its actions. In other words, it’s an unflinching critique of Human capacity, rather than a critique of unethical and/or discriminatory acts performed. That aspect, that affective side of Afro-pessimism, is important for giving critical recognition to Black rage for your existence, your capacity to be Human, and not just your actions. This part is rarely taken up. Non- Black people cannot fathom the fact that it’s their cultural coherence and not their cultural practices that is the problem.
St. Mark's School of Texas '21
Put me on the email chain please email@example.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org
You do you—debate should be for the debaters.
Dropped arguments are true, but only as true as the words in the dropped argument.
Online Debate things—I would strongly prefer for everyone's cameras to be on although I will not force you to do this unless the tournament rules say so. You will greatly benefit by slowing down 20% from your in-person speed and speaking less than 3 feet away from your microphone. If my camera is off, just assume I am not at my computer.
Apart from that, there are only 2 things that are really important in here:
1. This paradigm is far from perfect; I'm still learning as a judge and debater.
2. Tell me why I should vote for you, and I will try my best to do so.
You should read and employ whatever strategies you feel most comfortable with. No matter your argumentation style, organization, impact calculus, and judge instruction matter the most to me. If an argument is bad, beat it by explaining why it is bad, not just asserting that it is bad. 80% of the things past this point reflect my (constantly shifting) ideological leanings when I'm left to my own devices.
Affirmatives that do not defend hypothetical resolutional action—Adding this section at the top because I get asked a lot about it and it's probably what you're here for anyways. Rest assured, I am far from an auto-ballot for either side. I will flow everything I can from every speech made and determine a winner and a loser based on said flow while removing my personal biases as much as possible. Admittedly, I feel that I have moved more and more into the "fairness outweighs everything else" camp throughout my career. HOWEVER, at the same time, I feel that the more I believe in fairness as an impact, the more I realize that my bar/threshold for voting on an accurate articulation and application of fairness has increased.
To quote Collin Roark: "Lots of different folks do debate for different valuable reasons." I think that it is good to have active discussions and arguments about why this activity is so worthwhile to begin with.
Topicality—I dig deep T debates and think about this argument often. Assume that I have zero topic knowledge; I'm more likely to vote for the side that explains and impacts out their vision of the topic better.
Counterplans—a well-researched, specific counterplan can be a deadly opportunity cost to the affirmative. Too bad they're an endangered species. What happened to theory? I'm probably better than most for conditionality bad (sorry, fellow 2Ns).
Disadvantages—Read a complete shell. Turns case is usually important. Do impact calculus, please.
Kritiks—I have no qualms with these arguments despite my argumentative background. If you want to maximize your chances of winning this argument in front of me, skip the long rebuttal overviews, do some impact calculus, read links about the actual implementation of the plan, and assume I know nothing about your K when explaining things.
Nevermind. There are a few more non-negotiables:
How to L: asking for speaks, death good because life is suffering, racism/sexism/homophobia or anything along those lines. I get to decide when this happens.
Things that make me happy:
Smart cross-applications/in-round pivots.
Clever plan/counterplan flaw arguments.
Finally, have fun! So many speeches sound irritated or jaded or irrationally angry about something. Don't run from arguments. Clash. Reinvent. Improve. Learn. If you actively demonstrate your love for this activity, I promise I will work hard to reciprocate it.
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High School: Wooster High School ~ College: Trinity University ~ Coach: MBA
--Theory: these arguments need to be developed beyond a 1 line, incomplete thought in the 2AC. For CP theory, I lean negative but expect evidence to be read on positions like process CPs. My voting record for condo is 50/50.
--T-USFG: affirmatives should defend the topic. Fairness is an impact. Skills impacts are bad. Impact turns to T rarely make sense to me-- they need to impact out why the process of debating the topic is bad, not just general reasons why the content of the topic is problematic.
--Affirmative impact framing: probability indicts are meaningless if you don't indict the specific scenarios of the negative team. I would prefer to see offensive/security-esque framing arguments. For any negative team debating these affirmatives, DA+case > DA+CP.
--Topicality: I like T debates, but both teams need to read more than an interp/counter-interp card-- limits, "precision" (whatever that really means), etc all need evidence to substantiate their impacts. 1ARs should be reading evidence on the defensive questions or aff flex style impacts, too.
Add me to the Email Chain: Bryan.Zhang22@montgomerybell.edu