The Hilltopper Classic
2021 — NSDA Campus, WI/US
Varsity Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Quick overview in case you're reading before a round:
- debated 4 years high school debate, Marshfield Missouri (Africa through Military engagement)
- debated University of Central Florida , 3 years (MENA through War Powers)
-Coached James Madison University, 2 years (military presence through climate policy)
-Coached Berkeley Prep for 2 years (ocean exploration and domestic surveillance)
-currently an assistant professor of race, Gender, and sexuqlity studies at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and coaching part-time for La Crosse Central
I like well-explained, smart arguments. I would rather hear you explain something well with good examples than read a ton of cards that all say the same thing. I'll stick as close to the flow as I can and judge the debate based on how the debaters tell me to judge.
Please add me to the email chain. email@example.com
Most debaters would benefit from slowing down by about 20%. Not because speed is bad, but because few debaters are actually clear enough for the average judge to get a good flow when you're going at 100% speed.
I tend to prioritize solvency/links first when evaluating a debate. I think it's totally possible to win zero risk of an impact and I'm definitely willing to vote on presumption (but if that's your strategy I expect you to do the work to make it explicit).
Examples, examples, examples. If you take one thing away from my paradigm, it is that I like to be given examples. What does your theory look like in practice? What kinds of plans are included/excluded under your T interp? Etc.
More detailed if you are reading this for prefs:
I'm mostly out of debate at this point, but when I was competing I could be described as a mostly soft left debater. My academic research focuses primarily on environmental justice and settler colonialism, and those are the literatures where my expertise lies. I'm more than happy to answer questions/think through ideas/email back and forth about those fields - feel free to reach out!
I'm open to any kind of argument you want to make, but I'm much more versed in critical arguments and framework than super detailed disad/counterplan debates. That being said, if your K/aff relies on a bunch of high theory you should assume that I don't know many (or any) of the specifics of your authors/theories and explain them clearly to me. Even if I do know the literature, I don't want to fill in those gaps for you. Put in the work.
Claims alone are not arguments. They are assertions. I will prioritize arguments with warrants over claims without warrants. I tend to reward debaters that do the work to explain and compare over debaters who throw claims at the wall and wait to see what sticks.
I generally prefer to minimize the amount of evidence I read after the round. If you haven't extended the warrant in your card, but have just given me an author name and a claim, I will likely not hunt down the card to find the warrant for you after the round, especially if the other team is extending warranted answers to that card.
I like it when people tell me how they want me to read evidence. If you tell me to call for a card/star it/circle it, or to maintain a particular mindset when evaluating something, I'll do my best to think in that mindset when making my decision.
Most of the time, I would rather hear you do a good job extending a card from the 1ac/1nc and explaining why the warrants of that card overcome the other team's evidence than hear a new card. That's not to say you shouldn't ever read new evidence later in the debate, but you should know the evidence from your earlier speeches well enough not to just read a new card that says the same thing as the card you already read. You read the evidence you read for a reason. Use it!
Paperless debate (this whole section assumes in-person debate): I am a fan of paperless. I think it makes debate more accessible by making travel more affordable and reducing space issues when taking teams to tournaments. However, there are several issues that come with the transition that can easily trigger my anger toward you.
- I won’t time saving a document and ejecting your flash drive as a part of prep unless I feel that prep stealing is becoming an issue. However, don’t take advantage of my generosity on this issue. You will lose speaker points if I notice that you’re consistently prepping after the timer has stopped. I'll also probably yell at you and start timing you flashing.
- Make sure the other team has a way to view your speeches. If the other team is papered and needs a viewing computer, provide one. That’s part of the responsibility you accept when you make the transition.
- Don’t read ahead in your opponent’s speech. I shouldn’t need to tell you this. If I see you doing this, I will dock your speaks.
- Have a backup plan for computer crashes. It is not a question of if you will have a tech problem, but rather when. Save your speeches in dropbox or on your partner’s computer so that if your computer crashes you can read from theirs. Remember that every minute you spend trying to deal with a computer that shut down during your speech is a minute cut out of my decision time. I have little tolerance for making the round or the tournament run late because you had a technical problem.
- Don’t speak directly into your computer screen or ignore the flow just because you have a speech document that you’re reading from. If I can’t hear you, I can’t flow, and if you’re not telling me where to flow the arguments you’re making, I’m unlikely to follow the intricacies of the debate as well as I do when things are clearly labeled and signposting is prevalent.
Things that will improve your speaker points in front of me:
-Telling me how you want me to read the evidence
-Being particularly clear. I would rather hear someone who is relatively slow but clear and efficient over someone lightning fast but unclear any day.
-Being kind/helpful/collegial to everyone in the room
Things that will hurt your points with me:
-Being a jerk. It's not necessary to be condescending or rude to your opponents. Doing so will piss me off. (note that there's a distinction between being snarky/funny and being an ass. If you don't know where the line between the two is, snark probably isn't the best strategy for you to use)
My speaker point scale:
29.2 or above - you blew my mind/I want to thank you for your performance...You deserve top 3 speakers
29-29.2 - Performance in this round was top-5 worthy
28.8-28.9 - top-10 worthy
28.6-28.7 - Decent doubles/Octos speech
28.4-28.5 - Good break-round/doubles performance
28.3 - You should be on the top side of the bubble for breaking, but not by much
28.1-28 - This was a top 50 team at the tournament ranking, but you likely miss clearing
27.8-27.9 - Solid effort - continue the quality of speeches and one will likely finish at a 3-5 or 4-4
27.6-27.7 - Solid effort - continue the quality of speeches and one will likely finish at a 2-6 or 3-5
27.5 - Solid Effort - I like your attitude, you have a lot of elements to improve.
Below a 27.5 - Some major element of speaking was missing (only read blocks), was extremely unclear or behaved in a way that did not demonstrate respect for the people in the room.
T/Framework: If there’s an agreed-upon lens through which the teams think I should view the debate, that’s how I’ll evaluate the round. Otherwise, there are a few things I’m looking for in a framework debate:
I view framework first and foremost as a debate about how I should weigh impacts. For me, that means you should devote time to explaining why I should weigh your neoliberal pedagogy bad impact before I look at the other team’s global warming causes extinction story, or vice-versa. If the other team is doing this and you are not, I’m going to evaluate the debate through their lens.
- I’m unlikely to grant you that the neg doesn’t get kritiks. If that’s the view of debate you’re advocating, you’re going to have to give me some pretty good reasons that they keep you from being able to debate. I’m much more persuaded by arguments that you should get to weigh the aff against the K, or that their specific role of the ballot is unsustainable.
- Two most important things to me in a framework/T debate:
1. Topical version of the aff. Any decent K team should be able to convince me that there's at least some benefit to discussing the things they discuss. The TVA is the best way to overcome this DA to your interp.
2. (and related to #1) Clear descriptions of what your interpretation includes/excludes (this is key for both sides). I want a clear vision of what an acceptable debate looks like in your world and what the advantages of that version of debate are in comparison with what their version of debate looks like.
- While I don’t really believe the affirmative must provide a topical plan text to make debate fair, I prefer affirmatives that have a clear tie to the topic. This is not to say I can't be convinced that there are discussions that need to happen before we can talk about the resolution, but generally I think that talking about the topic in some way is probably good. That said, I’m much more willing to listen to “the aff must provide a specific example of what their case looks like in action,” or “the aff must be resolutional (they must in some way be about the resolution),” than “the aff must role play the USFG doing a topical policy action.” If the latter is what you do, do it. But do it well.
-I think education is probably the most important impact in a framework debate. If you can explain to me why your version of debate is more educational or provides better/more topic-focused education, you're on the right track with me. (This is not to say that I'm unwilling to weigh impacts differently, but my predisposition if no one puts in the work to convince me otherwise is to evaluate education most heavily)
Slow down in T and theory debates and give me a chance to flow. If I can’t get your five reasons to prefer down before you move on to the next off, you’ve put yourself in a difficult position.
I like specificity. I'm much happier watching a debate where you read a well-researched, specific CP written specifically to answer the aff than a generic states or consult CP. Same goes for DAs - I would rather listen to a topic DA than politics.
You should be clear about how your CP is executed. If you read “consult the public,” but can’t tell me how the consultation process happens in your world, the aff is going to have a pretty easy time winning a solvency deficit.
I love a good case debate. More people should devote effort to getting into the details of how the aff works and picking the plan/advantages apart bit by bit.
- On the aff: I prefer you have a tie to the resolution. I like affs that provide a parametricized advocacy as a point of stasis for the debate. Without a clearly defined departure from the status quo, I’m not sure how the debate functions. That doesn’t mean you have to read a topical plan text, but it does mean you should tell me what kind of discussion of the topic your aff uniquely provides, and how your performance, advocacy, etc. deals with the issues you present.
- On the neg: The more specific your link, the better. Links of omission will not get you far.
- For everyone: I like theories that are firmly rooted in reality (examples of this that I am inclined to read include gender/class/race-based arguments. This doesn't mean I'll automatically vote for these arguments, but I understand them and know their literature better than most of the high theory Ks that are in vogue right now.) I’m unlikely to be well-versed in your high theory literature, so if you can give me concrete examples of how your link story and alt play out, I’ll follow the debate much better. I’ve read some Derrida and Foucault, but I don’t spend my time reading high theory. Explain your argument as concretely as possible. If the only explanation of the alt you give me is “we’ll rethink thinking,” I’m unlikely to understand how that solves anything.