The Iowa Caucus Debates
2021 — NSDA Campus, IA/US
Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Experience: Former Missouri State NFA-LD debater for 4 years. 2 years of judging college debate. Now work in think tank world.
TLDR: Do what makes you comfortable. Make sure you are keeping the debate accessible and educational for everyone involved. Be nice. I’m more knowledgeable and comfortable with policy debate than K debate but I want you to do what you feel good about. Go fast if you want. Condo is good and your theory argument probably isn’t going to be on my mind at the end of the round. Quality and depth of arguments > multiple shallow arguments. CP + DA =personal favorite type of debate.
A quick note about online debate
I would implore you to remember that we as a community are weathering this storm together and doing things that help make this process easier for everyone (including maybe going a little slower than normal because of low quality computer speakers). Keep your camera on while you debate please.
At the end of the day, debate should be a game built around clever technical argumentation that enhances your education on the topic and relevant critical literature, while remaining open for as many people as possible. Tech>truth I think is key to preserving said game. I think speed is generally good but you should ask yourself if you are doing it because it is necessary to win or if you are being exclusionary.. I do not think my ballot determines anything other than wins in losses in a casual game. Things that I feel are intentionally done to exclude people from the game will be held against you and could be a voter if bad enough (i.e. you made a racist/sexist/ableist/transphobic argument). You should disclose to your opponent before round and on the wiki.
Notes on different arguments:
Disads are good. I don’t know what else to say really. I hope you spend time weighing the impact from the DA and contextualizing how it interacts with the aff rather than just saying “it outweighs”. I don’t think that should have to be said really but too many debates in NFA don’t contain that broader story and contextualization. I like a good politics DA a whole lot.
CP’s are very good for debate and your personal education. I think judge kicking a CP is pretty intuitive and I haven’t seen a great argument against it. PIC’s are generally good for debate and holding the aff to a reasonable intellectual standard. I tend to think that theory arguments are a reason to reject the arg not the team, BUT I can obviously be persuaded otherwise.
I’m all for K’s...more so on the negative than the affirmative, but I’m open to both I suppose. The only thing I want to specify here is that I really would prefer your alt to be more than a mad lib full of philosophy 350 jargon. I want to be able to walk away from the round with a fairly clear understanding of the action of the alt and a pair of contrasting worlds for me to evaluate. It’s fairly easy just to say “thing bad”, so I would hope for a little more substance than that.
My general stance is that if you know deep down in your heart that your opponent's Aff is topical and you still want to go for T… you’ve chosen probably the least intellectually interesting way for this round to go. Snarky comment aside I think T debates can be ok and I'll vote on both proven and potential abuse.
Something I think uniquely plagues the NFA community is the lack of standardized and agreed upon speaker points. Some judges will hand out a 29.5 to anyone who strings a sentence together and others will give you a 28 for a round they said "blew them away". While I don't think I am necessarily going to solve that myself, I wanted to be transparent and clear about how I think this should work. So here are my breakdowns for speaker points in NFA-LD
25 or below: You said something offensive or mean to the other debater. Booo
25.1-25.9: You filled up less than half of your speech time or seemed to struggle to grasp the fundamentals of debate. I'll hand these out pretty sparingly.
26-27: You made some pretty significant mistakes in this round, conceded a major impact, and could use a fair amount of practice. You probably couldn't quite figure out how to utilize the arguments you were making or made a bunch of blippy arguments with no contextualization and they were never expanded upon later.
27-28: You did pretty ok. If I was tournament god I would not give you a speaker award, there were some clear areas of improvement that could be worked on, but it was a pretty solid performance otherwise.
28-You did pretty good. You had a solid path to victory at one point or another in the round and deserve a low speaker award.
28.5-29: I left the round with a very clear understanding of exactly what you were going for and why you deserved to win. You know what you had to do to win, and even if you ultimately lost, you were never truly out of the game. You contextualized exactly how your impact or framing interacts with your opponent's and pulled a few clever tricks.
29-29.5: Fantastic job. You deserve a high speaker awards and I would very much expect you to be in deeper elims. Not only were your final arguments well developed and weighed, but you were able to give me a legitimately deeper understanding of the competing worlds with specific warrants from each card and demonstrated you genuinely knew your stuff. You pulled out something neither me nor your opponent expected and had excellent round vision.
29.5-30: This speech should be shown to future novice debaters as an example of what to do.
Email Chain: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Current School Affiliations: DOF @ NoBro (2016-), Assistant Coach @ Harvard (2022-)
Previous School Affiliations: Emory (2019-2022), James Madison University (2011-2016), Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007).
I am less interested in the genre of argument chosen and more interested in its technical execution + quality of ev, with caveats.
- Debate is best when students reference and respond to arguments in the order in which they were presented.
- I evaluate arguments, not character assassinations. Ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Screenshots are not ev. I have neither the authority nor resources to launch an investigation about outside behavior, coach indiscretions, and pref sheets. Debate like you are grown.
- No double wins, devolution to a different game, or soliciting audience participation. First to initiate receives a L and very low speaks.
- What you may think is "strategic petty" is not strategic in front of me. Escalating CX unnecessarily, heckling opponents, etc = cringe.
- Cheating, harassment, slurs are a L, 0 speaks, and gets your coaches/tab involved. Same for ethics violations without evidence.
- Asking for a 30 = automatic 26.
- Reading cards > Not reading cards. An smart analytic can beat a bad card, but a constructive with no cards lowers your chances of victory.
- No evidence insertions. Debate is an oral activity.
- My speaker points are lower than the community average. I reserve 29+ to speakers I thought were exceptional. You can improve your points by debating your opponents rather than reading scripts, preparing effective cross-examinations, and reading cards that don't break my verbatim.
- My flow is decent but I'm not super intelligent AI. Easy-to-transcribe soundbytes, emphasis in sentences, and pen time is a must. I feel little shame in admitting I can't flow debaters who shotgun a series of 3 word arguments, nor those who speak in delirious, winding paragraphs.
- Conditionality + judge kick is my default. Either can be contested.
- I am unsure why "new affirmative" means "blank check" for the negative. I have never heard a warrant for why it suddenly makes artificially competitive counterplans competitive, and don't agree with the community consensus that it automatically justifies deranged conditionality. If the new affirmative is topical, it implies that the negative should have been able to anticipate it and prepare strategies. That said, the affirmative usually folds and lets the negative go bananas, so - more power to them.
- I am more amenable to negative terrorism (2NC CPs, logical CP planks without solvency advocates, word PICs, etc) than most if executed well. I do not necessarily think "counterplans must be textually and functionally competitive" is a truism. That said, I was a 2A, and am amenable to affirmative objections. I enjoy theory debates more than most, but it has been a minute since anyone has been good at debating it.
- Objections about the legitimacy of counterplans that do the mandate of the plan are better explained through competition than theory.
- Critiques aren't counterplans. Links aren't meant to be "unique" or "to the plan" because they aren't "DAs." Private actor fiat of "movements" or "mindsets" makes it easier for the affirmative to win on the perm. Links must be paired with impacts that outweigh, turn, or bracket the case.
- Fairness is an impact for T USFG if explained right, and limits + caselist is the most persuasive internal link. Evidence-based debate seems unworkable if there’s significant asymmetries in anticipation. Affirmatives can win without a traditional plan; critiquing neg definitions and providing counter-definitions that establish a model for both sides to engage improve their win rate. “CI - discussion of topic,” “default to us,” “debate bad” and its corollary of naming debaters who used their skills for evil, and poor analogies that T is akin to drone strikes are dissuasive.
I AM NOT GOING TO VOTE ON PROCEDURAL ARGUMENTS ABOUT COVID/MASKS - DO NOT READ THEM IN FRONT OF ME - I WILL INTERVENE TO NOT VOTE FOR THEM
-yes email chain: email@example.com - feel free to reach me there before or after the round with any questions you have as well
-debated in high school @ Mill Valley and college @ NYU for 7 years total - mostly policy arguments in high school, mix of high theory and policy in college
-assistant coach at Blue Valley West, former assistant for Mill Valley and Mamaroneck
-spin > evidence quality, unless the evidence is completely inconsistent with the spin
-tech > truth as long as the tech has a claim, warrant, and impact
-great for impact turns
-fairness is more of an internal link or impact filter than an impact itself
-don't like to judge kick but if you give me reasons to I might
-personally think condo has gone way too far in recent years and more people should go for it, but I don't presume anything for theory questions
-most of the rounds I judge are clash debates, but I've been in policy v policy and k v k both as a debater and judge so I'm down for anything
-apparently, I take a long time with my decisions - often I go all the way to the decision time - this does not say anything about the debate, I am just trying to give the best feedback possible, so don't read into it
Debate is for the debaters so do your thing and I'll do my best to provide a fair decision despite any preferences or experiences that I have. I have had the opportunity to judge and participate in debates of several different formats, circuits, and styles in my short career. What I've found is that all forms of debate are valuable in some way, though often for different reasons, whether it be policy, critical, performance, LD, PF, local circuit, national circuit, public debates, etc. Please have fun! Debating is fun for you I hope!
Rules of Thumb:
-Clarity: I fervently believe that debate is a communicative activity, and therefore insist that I can hear and understand every word that is being said. I will say clear at most twice during a speech, then give up flowing. Often debaters will have different levels of clarity during different parts of their speech, sometimes making it difficult to call out unclear speech if the moment passes. To avoid this, please just be clear in the first place. As I have just recently stopped debating and have judged a good number of high school and college debates, I'd like to think I have a pretty well-attuned ear, meaning that if I can't understand you it is probably because you are being genuinely unclear, not because you are going too fast.
COVID Update - Please try to be as clear as possible, but obviously tech issues are just going to get in the way sometimes. I can't say clear over Zoom, but you should generally know if you're being clear or not. I follow along in speech docs occasionally now if I need to, but I try not to make a habit out of it. If you're unclear during a later rebuttal speech, there's really not much I can do.
-Etiquette: I have a soft spot for debaters from smaller or underfunded programs. I despise arrogance from debaters with more experience and resources against those without. Confidence is fine, but there can be a fine line between it and meanness. Please recognize that everyone has different levels of access to the activity and refrain from disparaging other debaters implicitly or explicitly because of their background, or I will lower your speaks dramatically. Luckily, I have only seen a couple of serious examples of this, but I find it important to mention nonetheless.
-Cards: As a debater, I always hated when judges read cards to find arguments that weren't really present in a speech. I try to rely on the debate in front of me as much as I can, but I've found that I have to resort to reading evidence in a lot of debates I would rather not because the debaters do not do a good enough job explaining warrants or doing evidence comparison, leaving me to do these things on my own. I also find that I have a preference for longer cards with more highlighting and fleshed out warrants, even in straight-up policy debates. I dislike having to find warrants in un-underlined or un-highlighted portions of cards when I'm reading evidence after the debate, and may not consider them at all if I don't think they're consistent with the rest of the highlighting. I don't usually follow along in speech docs.
-The Clash of Civilizations: Since I started out reading policy args in a very k-heavy region, then transitioned to reading more k args against policy teams nationally, most of my college debate career has been clash debates. These are also the debates that I always excelled the most in, on either side of the spectrum. Trying to convince me that one side or the other is completely irredeemable is possible, but not something I am necessarily amenable to. I find arguments that X model of debate produces research/skills, but those are the wrong kinds of skills, and ours are better because of Y and Z to be more convincing.
It seems this is the main reason most people read paradigms these days. I have voted both ways in these debates, and have been on both sides (2A reading a k aff & 1N going for fw in the block) of the framework debate in my career.
I think negative teams here most often miss why things like fairness and education are important. Impact these claims out into some tangible benefit that I can compare against the impact turn. Writing a neg ballot only on procedural fairness is hard for me. I find a lot of these debates to end up pretty tautological - "fairness is an impact because debate is a game and games should have rules or else they'd be unfair," etc. These debates leave me wondering how to compare fairness to something tangible like psychological violence or political passivity in a traditional impact calc sense. I find fairness much more convincing to me as an impact filter, i.e. a reason to be skeptical of the case page, ensuring better clash, etc. This is considered a hot take by a lot of people, but I really don't understand why. Many teams in front of me will win that fairness is necessary to preserve the game, but never take the next step of explaining to me why preserving the game is good. In that scenario, what "impact" am I really voting on? Even if the other team agrees that the game of debate is good (which a lot of k affs contest anyways), you still have to quantify or qualify how important that is for me reasonably compare it to the impact turn. Perhaps if you read something like deontology arguments that say fairness is a virtue I must always preserve, I could vote on it alone, but in a utilitarian sense, I just don't know how to weigh it against anything. Fairness as a filter to some neg arguments and a more external impact like skills or topic-specific education is a much more convincing ballot for me. When I do vote on fairness alone, it is usually because the negative team has also forwarded substantial defensive arguments like a convincing TVA, read it on the neg, or c/i links to aff offense that mitigates the risk of the impact turn to nearly zero.
I generally prefer aff strategies that just impact turn framework. I have seen and voted for predictable counter-interps, but a lot of the time it feels like an uphill battle. Most of the time, the neg is able to tie a good chunk of their offense to the predictability portion of the debate, which really hurts c/i solvency. That being said, a counter-interp can still mitigate a good amount of neg offense, so it may be still good to have one even if you are impact turning some of the neg's stuff. I just wouldn't recommend it as the focus of your strategy. Like the neg however, aff teams need to do more than make nebulous references to things like psychological violence. What kind of violence, and why is it more important than debating the topic? Explain to me in clear terms what the impact to your impact turn is. Be careful of large defensive arguments. I have dropped a number of teams who mishandle read it on the neg or who read impact turns that link to their own interp.
Everyone needs to compare their impacts to the other side's as well as relative solvency of the interps, and tell me why I should vote for them. For some reason, impact comparison just seems to disappear from debaters' repertoire when debating framework, which is really frustrating for me.
Other Argument Preferences:
-Kritiks: Both sides of these debates often involve a lot of people reading overviews at each other, especially in high school, which can make it hard to evaluate at the end of the round. Have a clear link story and a reason why the alternative resolves those links. Absent an alt, have a framework as to why your impacts matter/why you still win the round. For affs, pick either the impact turn strat or the perm strat and stick with it. I like impact turns better, but sometimes perms are more strategic. I'm not sure how useful this is, but the way I think about kritiks may also be a bit different than what you're used to. Rather than thinking about it as a non-unique disad with a counterplan, I think about the impacts as negative effects of the status quo, the alternative as a way of resolving the status quo, and the links as reasons why the aff prevents the alternative from happening, rather than something that directly causes the impacts. This framing helps me a lot when I'm thinking through permutations. This is of course when I'm evaluating something like fiat. Winning that the debate should only be about representations and that the affirmative's reps are bad for scholarship is also a convincing ballot for me.
Literature I am intimately familiar with (have run these arguments frequently and/or have done other research outside of debate into them): Cap, Psychoanalysis (more Lacan than Freud), Baudrillard, Foucault, DnG, Bataille, plant ontology (lol), Bifo, Edelman, Puar.
Literature I am somewhat familiar with (have run these arguments infrequently or done some coaching on them): Derrida, Wilderson, Warren, Set Col.
Anything else assume that I have little or no familiarity with.
-Affirmatives: I think all affs should have a clear impact story with a good solvency advocate explaining why the aff resolves the links to those impacts. I really enjoy affs that are creative and outside of what a lot of people are reading, but are still grounded in the resolution. If you can find a clever interpretation of the topic or policy idea that the community hasn't thought of yet, I'll probably bump your speaks a bit.
-Disads: Love 'em. Impact framing is very important in these debates. A lot of disads (especially politics) have pretty bad ev/internal link chains, so try to wow me with 1 good card rather than spitting out 10 bad ones. 0 risk of a disad is absolutely a thing. I don't automatically presume a 1% chance of the link for the whole debate just because you read 1 or 2 bad cards in the 1NC. You have to actually win the link debate for me to grant you a chance of a link.
-Counterplans: They should have solvency advocates and a clear story for competition. Exploit generic link chains in affs. I read some wonky process cps and pics in my career but if the aff wins theory then they win theory. I won't judge kick unless you tell me to in the 2NR, and preferably it should have some kind of justification.
-Topicality: I default to competing interps most of the time, but you can convince me that I should vote on reasonability. Be clear about what your interp includes and excludes and why that is a good thing. I view topicality like a disad most of the time, and vote for whoever's vision of the topic is best.
-Theory: Being a 2A I think makes more inherently sympathetic to affs on theory questions and the like. I think condo has gone way too far in recent years, especially with multi-plank counterplans that have dozens or hundreds of possible combinations that can all be kicked. If the aff wins new affs are good, it doesn't make sense to me why new affs would then justify unbridled conditionality. That being said, I do my best to evaluate theory arguments as well as I would any other argument in debate. I haven't thought too hard about other theory questions. If you're winning it as a reason to reject the team, feel free to go for it no matter how silly you think it is.
Random Things I Like:
-I love impact turns. Everything from prolif good and dedev to spark and wipeout.
-I think that intrinsicness vs. agenda politics disads is an underutilized argument. By that I mean if the affirmative can prove that both the agenda item and plan can happen at the same time then I will assign the da 0 risk. I think most political capital is finite ev is pretty bad and does not actually establish tradeoffs, but hey maybe you'll surprise me.
-I like numbering 2AC responses to off-case and 1NC responses to case arguments. If you can keep consistent numbering and substructure I will be a fan and it will help my flow.
-Jokes if you're funny. I'm not funny so I get it and you shouldn't feel obligated.
This is a pretty good scale that I like to use: http://collegedebateratings.weebly.com/uploads/4/2/0/5/42050991/point-scale-desc-6_orig.png
Extras (you get extra points for 1 reference per round): Brandon Sanderson novels (stormlight, mistborn, or warbreaker) +.3, AoT +.2, HxH through greed island arc +.2, Haikyuu +.1, jjk +.1, HxH after greed island arc -.2 (in the middle of chimera ant and would like to avoid spoilers).
I have a lot of personal political and philosophical beliefs, but I try my best to leave them at the door. Being funny or just doing things to make the debate more enjoyable will boost your speaker points. I think debate is a game, and I think it's a pretty fun one. So while winning or losing, always try to have fun. You don't need to always take things so seriously. I don't understand why someone would do this activity if they didn't enjoy it.
Updated for the Legalization Topic 9/11/14
I do want on the e-mail chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debate Experience: Wichita State graduate 2009. We read a middle of the road straight up affirmative and won more debates on arguments like imperialsim good than should have been possible. However, on the negative roughly half of my 2NRs were a K (with the other half being some combination of T, politics/case etc.) so I believe firmly in argumentative flexibility and am comfortable voting for or against almost all arguments.
Judging Experience: 5-8 tournaments each year since graduating.
Most importantly: I do not work with a team currently so I have not done any topic research, my only involvement is judging a handful of tournaments each year. It would be in your best interest to not assume I have the intricacies of your PIC or T argument down and take some time explaining the basis of your arguments. If the first time I figure out what your CP does or what your violation is on T is after you give me the text after the debate, my motivation to vote for you is going to be pretty low. I am currently a practicing attorney so I may have some insight on the topic from that perspective, but I'll try to minimize what impact that has on my decisions outside of possibly some suggestions after the debate on how to make it more accurately reflect how the legal process works.
Ways to kill your speaker points/irritate me
1. Cheating - I mean this substantively not argumentatively. This can include stealing prep time, clipping cards, lying about disclosure etc. If people are jumping cards or waiting to get the flash drive and you are furiously typing away on your computer it's pretty obvious you are stealing prep and I will call you out on it.
2. Being unecessarily uptight/angry about everything. There's no need to treat every round like it's the finals of the NDT, try having some fun once in awhile I promise your points from me and others will go up as a result. I take debate seriously and enjoying being a part of debate, but you can be very competitive and still generally pleasant to be around at the same time. I have no problem if people want to make fun of an argument, but it's one thing to attack the quality of an argument and another entirely to attack the person reading those arguments.
3. Not letting the other person talk in cross-x. It irritates me greatly when one person answers and asks every single question on one team.
4. A lack of line-by-line debate. If your only reference to the previous speeches is some vague reference to "the link debate" you are going to be irritated with my decision. I'm only willing to put in the same amount of work that you are. This is not to say that I can't be persuaded to have a more holistic view of the debate, but if I can't tell what arguments you are answering I am certainly going to be sympathetic if the other team can't either. Also people over use the phrase "dropped/conceded" to the point that I'm not sure they mean anything anymore, I'm paying attention to the debate if something is conceded then certainly call the other team out, if they spent 2 minutes answering it skip the part of your block that says "they've conceded: . It just makes me feel that you aren't putting the same work that I am in paying attention to what is occurring in the debate.
5. If your speech/cx answers sound like a biblography. Having evidence and citations is important, but if all you can do is list a laundry list of citations without any explanation or application and then expect me to wade through it all in the end, well we're probably not going to get along. I do not tend to read many cards after a debate if any. I pretty quickly figure out where the important arguments (debaters that identify and highlight important arguments themselves and resolve those debates for me are going to be very far ahead) and then I will turn to arguments and evidentiary issues that are contested.
Ways to impress me
1. Having strategic vision among the different arguments in the debate. Nothing is better than having a debater realize that an answer on one sheet of paper is a double turn with a team's answer on another and be able to capitalize on it, bold moves like that are often rewarded with good points and wins if done correctly.
2. Using your cross-x well. Few people use this time well, but for me it's some of the most valuable speech time and it can make a big difference in the outcome of debates if used effectively.
3. Having a working knowledge of history. It's amazing to me how many arguments are just patently untrue that could be disproven with even a basic understanding of history, I think those are good arguments and often more powerful than the 10 word overhighlighted uniqueness card you were going to read instead.
I enjoy a well crafted and strategic T argument. My biggest problem with these debates is the over emphasis on the limits/reasonability debate occuring in the abstract, usually at the expense of spending enough time talking about the particulars of the aff/neg interps their support in the literature, and how the particular interp interacts with the limits/reasonability debate. T cards rival politics uniqueness cards as the worst ones read in debate, and more time should be spent by both teams in pointing this out.
I think this topic provides an interesting opportunity for discussion with the absence of the federal government in the topic as far as what the Aff can and should be allowed to defend. I'm curious how both Affs and Negs will choose to adapt to this change.
Topicality - K Affs
I think you have to have a defense of the resolution, the manner in which that is done is up to the particular debate. Unfortunately I've been forced to vote on T = genocide more times than I'd like to admit, but Neg's refuse to answer it, no matter how terrible of an argument it is (and they don't get much worse). Critical Affs are likely to do the best in front of me the stronger their tie is to the resolution. The argument there is "no topical version of our aff" has always seemed to me to be a reason to vote Neg, not Aff. Stop making that argument, doing so is just an indication you haven't read or don't care what I put in here and it will be reflected in your points.
I don't ususally get more than one or two opportunities per year to judge debates centered around issues of race/sex/identity but try to be as open as I can to these types of debates when they do occur. I still would prefer these arguments have at least some tie to the resolution as I think this particular topic does allow for good discussion of a lot of these issues. I have generally found myself voting Aff in these types of debates, as the Negative either usually ignores the substance of the Aff argument or fails to explain adequately why both procedurally and substantively the way the Aff has chosen to approach the topic is bad. Debates about alternate ways in which these issues might be approached in terms of what Negatives should get to say against them compared to what the Aff should be forced to defend seem most relevant to me, and one that I find interesting to think about and will try hard to make an informed decision about.
I like this style of debate a lot. However, one thing I don't like is that I find myself increasingly voting on made up CPs that for some unknown reason link slightly less to politics, simply because Aff teams refuse to challenge this claim. To sum up, don't be afraid to make smart analytical arguments against all arguments in the debate it can only help you. I am among those that do believe in no risk either of an aff advantage or neg disad, but offense is always nice to have.
Affs also seem to give up too easily on theory arguments against certain process CPs (condition/consult etc.) and on the issue of the limits of conditionality (it does exist somewhere, but I can be persuaded that the number of neg CPs allowed can be high/low depending on the debate). In general though I do tend to lean neg on most theory issues and if you want to win those arguments in front of me 1) slow down and be comprehnsible 2) talk about how the particulars of the neg strategy affected you. For example conditionality might be good, but if it is a conditional international agent cp mixed with 2 or 3 other conditional arguments a more coherent discussion about how the strategy of the 1nc in general unduly harmed the Aff might be more effective than 3 or 4 separate theory arguments.
I judge these debates a lot, particularly the clash of civilization debates (the result of judging exclusively in D3). Negative teams would do well to make their argument as particularized to the Aff as possible and explain their impact, and by impact I mean more than a vague use of the word "ethics" or "ontology" in terms of the Aff and how it would implicate the aff advantages. If you give a 2NC on a K and haven't discussed the Aff specifically you have put yourself in a bad position in the debate, apply your arguments to the Aff, or I'm going to be very hesitant to want to vote for you.
Additionally while I vote for it pretty often exploring the critical literature that isn't "the Cap K" would be pleasantly appreciated. I can only judge Gabe's old cap backfiles so many times before I get bored with it, and I'd say 3/4 of the debates I judge it seems to pop up. Be creative. Affs would be smart not to concede big picture issues like "no truth claims to the aff" or "ontology first." I vote for the K a lot and a large percentage of those debates are because people concede big picture issues. Also keep in mind that if you like impact turning the K I may be the judge for you.
Debated at KU (13-15, Energy, War Powers, Legalization)
Previously Coached: Ast. Coach Shawnee Mission Northwest, Lansing High School.
Currently Coaching: Ast. Coach Washburn Rural High School
Do whatever you need to win rounds. I have arguments that I like / don't like, but I'd rather see you do whatever you do best, than do what I like badly. Have fun. I love this activity, and I hope that everyone in it does as well. Don't be unnecessarily rude, I get that some rudeness happens, but you don't want me to not like you. Last top level note. If you lose my ballot, it's your fault as a debater for not convincing me that you won. Both teams walk into the room with an equal chance to win, and if you disagree with my decision, it's because you didn't do enough to take the debate out of my hands.
Carrot and Stick
Carrot - every correctly identified dropped argument will be rewarded with .1 speaks (max .5 boost)
Stick - every incorrectly identified dropped argument will be punished with -.2 speaks (no max, do not do this)
DAs - please. Impact calc/ turns case stuff obviously great, and I've seen plenty of debates (read *bad debates) where that analysis is dropped by the 1ar. Make sure to answer these args if you're aff.
Impact turns - love these debates. I'll even go so far as to reward these debates with an extra .2 speaker points. By impact turns I mean heg bag to answer heg good, not wipeout. Wipeout will not be rewarded. It will make me sad.
CPs - I ran a lot of the CPs that get a bad rep like consult. I see these as strategically beneficial. I also see them as unfair. The aff will not beat a consult/ condition CP without a perm and/or theory. That's not to say that by extending those the aff autowins, but it's likely the only way to win. I lean neg on most questions of CP competition and legitimacy, but that doesn't mean you can't win things like aff doesn't need to be immediate and unconditional, or that something like international actors are illegit.
Theory - Almost always a reason to reject the arg, not the team. Obviously conditionality is the exception to that rule.
T - Default competing interps. Will vote on potential abuse. Topical version of the aff is good and case lists are must haves. "X" o.w. T args are silly to me.
Ks - dropping k tricks will lose you the debate. I'm fine with Ks, do what you want to. Make sure that what you're running is relevant for that round. If you only run security every round, if you hit a structural violence aff, your security K will not compel me. Make sure to challenge the alternative on the aff. Make sure to have a defense of your epistemology/ontology/reps or that these things aren't important, losing this will usually result in you losing the round.
K affs - a fiat'd aff with critical advantages is obviously fine. A plan text you don't defend: less fine, but still viable. Forget the topic affs are a hard sell in front of me. It can happen, but odds are you're going to want someone else higher up on your sheet. I believe debate is good, not perfect, but getting better. I don't think the debate round is the best place to resolve the issues in the community.
I don't really have a set system. Obviously the carrot and stick above apply. It's mostly based on how well you did technically, with modifications for style and presentation. If you do something that upsets me (you're unnecessarily rude, offensive, do something shady), your points will reflect that.
email chain: email@example.com
If you're not flowing, I'm not flowing.
I debated for 4 years at Washburn Rural. I now coach for Annie Goodson at Blue Valley West. This is my 4th year coaching.
I will not do any work for you.
You can read fast but don't go 100%. I need to be able to understand your tags and analytical arguments, especially during online debates. Getting through your T shell in 2.8 seconds is cool I guess but I won't be able to flow it.
Extending claims without warrants is not making an argument.
I am familiar with Cap, Security, Abolition, and some SetCol. I'll listen to whatever K you read, but for ones outside of those 4 I will probably need some explanation.
Stop reading 8 minutes of bad arguments in the 1nc hoping that the 2ac will undercover one and you'll win that way. That's bad for debate and horrible to listen to. I wish aff teams would make args about this in the debate. If your arg is that pqd stops nuisance lawsuits about naval sonar, and naval sonar kills horseshoe crabs which are key to the survival of the human race, perhaps you should lose. Stop it
I am a current policy debater at Cedar Rapids Washington. They/Them pronouns. I've always been a 2N/1A
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are racist/sexist/homophobic/ect. I will call you out and vote you down. You are not better or above anyone else in the room. We're all here because we like debating, don't make the experience miserable for someone.
Time your own prep. Time your opponent's prep. Time your speeches. Have your partner time your speech too just in case. I am timing as well.
If there is a real reason that's out of your control that makes it so your spreading may be slower/less clear (that's not tech related) either email me or say something before round and I'll remember that when assigning speaks.
Online debate is rough. I have debated online so I understand the struggle. If theres tech issues thats not prep time. That being said, please dont fake tech issues as a way to steal prep. Its not nice and is pretty obvious that you are lying. It will hurt your speaker points.
CX is binding. That being said, make sure if there's something big in cx please mention it in a speech so it is on the actual flow. I am fine with open/tag team cx but try to answer/ask the questions if it is your cx.
I will vote on it. Any aff can lose to T, but the 2NR needs to have some impact that is warranted out.
I want to see clash here.
Affs should spec the agent at the very least when asked in cx.
Case list or TVAs are a must when the aff asks.
I will vote on it but you need to do the work.
Don't just read your blocks have actual clash.
Tell me why what the other team is doing is bad, and what the impact to that is.
I default to durable fiat being real and good, but if you tell me its not and the other teams drops it ill take what you said.
I like DAs.
Impact Calc is needed to win.
Make sure you’re winning the framing flow or both sides agree on framing.
Uniqueness and Link pushes by the aff can be really good.
The CP solving the aff is key.
CPs need a net benefit, don't assume we all know what the net benefit is, take the 3 seconds to say it.
2-3 condo is typically fine but I can be convinced that 1 condo is bad--see theory notes above.
I’m the most familiar with Ks like cap, security, biopower, etc.
I don't have knowledge on any identity k lit base. I'm not your ideal judge, but if you can explain it in a way that makes sense (and win the flow) I'll vote on it.
Clash on framework is really good and usually is needed to win it.
Role of the Ballots of framework can be crucial.
I don't really have a preference on K v. Policy debate. I have more experience with policy though.
PoMo is a no go.
Case turns are a totally legit 2NR and can be a great tool to attack affs.
Clash on framing debates makes debate way more fun and tends to be underestimated in rounds.
I read mostly soft-left affs, but also have gone for extinction impacts. Do what you are best at.
I’m not anti k-aff on face but I won’t pretend like that’s my arena. I've never read a k-aff and I think having a plan text is key to ground.
When the aff has multiple advantages, everyone needs to be super explicit about what arguments are on which flows and keep them there throughout the debate.
Don’t be nervous, be nice, have fun, and debate with integrity.
**I will be a cop about masks. Make sure we're wearing them correctly unless actively speaking.
I'm the head coach at Blue Valley West. I tend to value tech over truth in most instances, but I 100% believe it's your job to extend and explain warrants of args, and tell me what to do with those args within the context of the debate round. I expect plans to advocate for some sort of action, even if they don't present a formal policy action. I won't evaluate anything that happens outside of the debate round. This is an awesome activity that makes us better thinkers and people, and when we get caught up in the competition of it all and start being hateful to each other during the round (which I've 100% been guilty of myself) it bums me out and makes me not want to vote for you. Be mindful of who you are and how you affect the debate space for others--racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. will result in you losing the round and I won't feel bad about it.
I'm generally fine with speed but need you to slow down on authors/tags. You need to speak slower in front of me than you do in front of a college kid. Slow down a few clicks in rebuttals. The more technical your argument, the slower I need you to go. I'll say "clear" once, and if I still can't follow I'll stop flowing. I won't evaluate anything that's not on the flow. Please signpost clearly and extend warrants, not just authors/dates. Good rebuttals need to explain to me how to fill out the ballot. I'm looking for strong overviews and arguments that tell a meaningful story. We often forget that debate, regardless of how fast we are speaking, is still a performative activity at its core. You need to tell a story in a compelling way--don't let speed get in the way of that. Going 9 off in the 1NC is almost always a bad call. I'd rather you just make a few good arguments then try to out-spread the other team with a lot of meh arguments. I think the trend of going a million-off in the 1NC is a bad trend in this activity.
I default to competing-interps-good, but I've voted on reasonability in the past. Give me a case list and topical versions of the aff.
This are weird for me because I'm pretty unfamiliar with them but also vote for them a lot? I'm not the best judge on these args because they're not my expertise--help me by explaining what your performance does, why it should happen in a debate round, and why it can't happen elsewhere, or is less effective/safe elsewhere. I have the most fun when I'm watching kids do what they do best in debates, so do you.
These need to be specific and include solvency advocates, and they need to be competitive. I'll defer to just not evaluating a CP if I feel like it's not appropriately competitive with the aff plan, unless the aff completely drops it. I think delay and consult CPs are cheating generally, but the aff still needs to answer them.
Assume I'm unfamiliar with the specific texts you're reading. You'll likely need to spend some more time explaining it to me than you would have to in front of another judge. One thing I like about this activity is that it gives kids a platform to discuss identity, and Ks serve an important function there. Non-identity based theoretical arguments are typically harder for me to follow.
Love these, even the generic ones. DAs need to tell a story--don't give me a weak link chain and make sure you're telling a cohesive story with the argument. I'll buy whatever impacts you want to throw out there.
Make sure you're explaining specifically what the framework does to the debate round. If I vote on your framework, what does that gain us? What does your framework do for the debaters? What does it make you better at/understand more? Compare yours to your opponents' and explain why you win.
General Cranky Stuff:
1. A ton of you aren't flowing, or you're just flowing off the speech doc, which makes me really irritated and guts half the education of this activity. You should be listening. Your cross-x questions shouldn't be "Did you read XYZ?" It's equally frustrating when kids stand up to give a speech and just start mindlessly reading from blocks. Debate is more than just taking turns reading. I want to hear analysis and critical thinking throughout the round, and I want you to explain to me what you're reading (overviews and underviews, plz). I'll follow along in speech docs, and I'll read stuff again when you tell me take a closer look at it, but I'm not a computer with the magic debate algorithm--you need to explain to me what you're reading and tell me why it matters.
2. 1NCs, just label your off-case args. It wastes time and causes confusion down the line when you don't.
3. The point of speed is to get in more args/analysis in the time allotted. If you're stammering a ton and having to constantly re-start your sentences, then trying to go fast gains you nothing.....just......slow down.
4. Finally, you HAVE to slow down during rebuttals for me--other judges can follow analytics read at blistering speed. I am not one of those judges.
5. In my old age I have become extremely cranky about disclosure. Unless you're breaking new, you should disclose the aff and past 2NRs before the round.
**Disclosure is good and should happen always.
**Clipping is cheating and if I catch you it's an auto-loss
**Trigger warnings are good and should happen whenever needed BEFORE the round starts. Don't run "death good" or the like in front of me--those args are irresponsible and harmful.
I use this scale for speaks: http://www.policydebate.net/points-scale.html
Anything else, just ask!
hello! my name is sim. i’m a college student at johns hopkins university studying public health and Black studies. i previously competed in policy and public forum, and i currently compete in college parliamentary debate.
if you have inquiries about debating at johns hopkins, or the school in general, feel free to reach out to me!
add me on the email chain and please have it ready asap, even if i am not in the room yet – email@example.com. you can reach me there with any inquiries, but please don’t request round documents, i will not fwd them.
my prior institutional affiliations include west des moines valley hs, colleyville heritage hs, westview hs, beacon hs, and baltimore city college. i privately coach teams/debaters as well, and i previously worked at nsd pf 2021 and swsdi pf 2020.
∙ all prior efforts to curb spreading in rounds i judge have failed. i have audio processing issues and i don’t consistently judge fast, techy rounds anymore. this does not mean you have to go slow in front of me, but this does mean you cannot card dump at 500wpm. i encourage you to be deliberate with your speed and prioritize clarity. i will say “slow” or “clear” up to two times. if you fail to adapt, i will flow what i can and if i miss most of your speech or anything important, welp!
∙ tech determines what is true for the round, with certain exceptions. i will not vote for x-ist arguments, climate denialism, anti-vaccination rhetoric, or advocacies where the united states bombs another country. such positions will result in a loss with the lowest possible speaks.
∙ the majority of my coaching experience is in kritikal debate or novice/jv training. i was rather flexible with strategies as a competitor and feel comfortable judging both k and straight policy rounds (and everything in between), but i am not the best judge for finicky theory shells.
∙ warrant and implicate your arguments. a card means nothing in and of itself without your analysis and contextualization. please be comparative and layer, frame, and filter arguments in rebuttals. if you leave me with unresolved issues, you will likely hate the assumptions i will have to make, so fill in the gaps for me.
∙ arguments must be properly extended – tagline extensions or vaguely referring to your evidence is insufficient. the warrants in your constructive speeches should be very clear! extensions and weighing are still expected even if an argument is cold conceded.
∙ if you rehighlight your opponents evidence and want it to count for something, you need to read it out loud. there’s no such thing as “check the doc for the rehighlighted card”.
∙ if you (or your coach) rudely post-round me, i will simply leave. you do not have to like the decisions i make, but you will treat me and others in the room with respect.
∙ i care about educational and meaningful debates happening. at the end of the day, i just hope to judge rounds where debaters are reading strategies they care about and make them excited about this activity and to learn!
∙ i use the wake scale for speaker points. references to the best game in the world, league of legends, will be rewarded in speaks :3
∙ kritiks: you can read them on the aff or neg. i’m extremely familiar with most structural kritiks and i am a good judge for identity and performance debate. i would say my specialty is orientalism or asian identity literature. kritiks of the postmodernist flavor are not my strength and i am not so familiar with these literature bases, so have robust explanations. regardless of what i like and know well, it is your burden to do the explanations and debating so do not assume you get my ballot just because you read a k i like. i dislike when debaters rely on buzzwords and jargon, these are not adequate substitutes for analysis! please actually explain your thesis and contextualize it in the link debate. i prefer when kritiks have a relationship to the resolution and examples (both historical and current) to back your narrative. that said, i’m not averse to kritiks of debate but i will expect you to have some level of solvency and a good reason for ditching the resolution. no topic link means i’m super sympathetic to framework.
when i vote against a kritik, it’s usually because the ontology debate wasn’t implicated, the link debate was too generic and didn’t indict the aff, or the alt wasn’t explained and i don’t know how the k resolves any impacts.
∙ framework: contrary to popular belief, i do like framework and i will vote on procedural fairness, though i do prefer education and skills impacts over procedural fairness as a principle. i will be quite compelled to vote for your model of debate if you can explain how it’s inclusive of the aff. you need to have a topical version of the affirmative, even if it only solves a fraction of the 1ac – winning framework without one is an uphill battle. please organize your standards, make the link to your voters clear, and weigh.
∙ theory and topicality: i default to competing interpretations. it’s frustrating to judge these rounds when there’s no actual explanation of how the interp accesses the standards. the definitions debate is so neglected, but so important.
∙ disadvantages & counterplans: many disads have bad internal links and affs could probably smack them down with smart analytics and rehighlightings. focus on uniqueness and link framing, this matters more to me than the impact debate. utilize strategies like disads turning case, and do not forget to weigh! please explain your cp’s solvency.
perms: i will vote on any sort of perm if it’s conceded, but perms need to be explained. just saying “perm do both” or “perm do the aff through the lens of the alt” is insufficient for my ballot because i do not know what that actually looks like. even if the neg drops the perm, you need to tell me how it functions, what it solves, and why it’s preferable to the alt.
∙ just read the policy section. i am not the judge for niche ld things such as tricks and philosophy positions. i do not know what most words lders use mean, like what’s “permissibility” ???
∙ bad practices and norms are rampant in this format, and it makes me incredibly grumpy. disclosure is good, paraphrasing is bad, cut cards are necessary, and everyone would be better off if debaters send a speech doc/evidence prior to the speech starting!
∙ if you are not in the novice or jv division, do not paraphrase in front of me. if your opponent paraphrases or has incorrectly cited evidence, just make it a voter and you win.
∙ if your evidence is not cut cards with proper citations, i will cap your speaker points at 27 and discount your poorly cited “evidence” as an analytic, at best.
∙ i rarely ever vote against disclosure theory. i doubt your round will be an exception and you win against disclosure theory in front of me.
∙ send your cases and all evidence you intend to read PRIOR to starting your speeches – this means the ac/nc and the rebuttals. if you opt out of this, your speaks will be penalized by -2.0. if you go for an inefficient form of evidence exchange (such as requesting specific pieces of ev after a speech and making everyone wait while the exchange occurs), both teams will get no more than 3 minutes – total – to do so and if it goes over time, it will come out of both teams’ prep time.
Benjamin Hamburger 1/2018
Sure, you can add me to an email chain. benjamin dot hamburger at gmail. So you know, I probably will NOT follow along on your speech doc, though.
For Wisconsin paradigm defining purposes, you should consider me tabula rasa. don't make me talk about it too much though because there's no such thing as that.
Information about me:
*I have judged and coached in what would be considered "national-circuit" style Midwestern high school debate since about 1998 as a card-cutting coach, as the primary policy coach, as a head coach, and now as a coach and teacher in the Department of History and Social Sciences at Central High School in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I am now getting old in debate terms--37 at the time of writing--which means I have old ideas and am grumpy about certain things.
*A Debate History:
1993-1998 Policy debater at Hastings High School, Hastings, NE
1998-1999 Judge/minor card cutter, Hastings Senior High School
1999-2005 Assistant Coach for Policy Debate at Fremont High School, Fremont, NE
2005-2007 Director of Forensics, Iowa City High School, Iowa City, IA
2007-2016 Assistant Varsity Coach, Cedar Rapids Washington High School, Cedar Rapids, IA
2016-Present Director of Debate, La Crosse Central High School, La Crosse, WI
*Academic Info that Might Be Relevant:
B.A. in Political Science (emphases in international relations and political theory) and History, a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education and History from the University of Iowa.
Argument choice issues:
*Choose your arguments. I try to avoid evaluating rounds based on what I like to hear. Even if I don’t like your argument, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it, etc. My self-estimation is that I am fairly even on the K vs. Policy question. I believe that both are very interesting and useful styles of debate. Most of the time framework debates aren’t particularly productive, the aff will win that they get to weigh the case, the neg will win that they get some form of an alternative, etc. (hint: if you are serious about winning framework, don’t waste your time on the rest of the debate—prove that you’re serious about it and go for it.)
*One of the areas I am slightly old school. Left to my own devices, I am more likely than many judges to evaluate the risk of a disad as zero if there is a step which has been substantially defeated. I do not particularly prefer offense-defense paradigms, it is my feeling that it is necessary to win your arguments to get a DA. Similarly, I think you need to win a link to generate offense, so without justification I do not default to a uniqueness-focused decision-making process. In spite of these warnings, a justified argument can change those decision-making processes. Generally, though, a good politics debate with developed turns-case analysis is a thing of beauty. Quality of evidence comparison/warrants will always beat number of cards.
*I have increasingly found myself somewhat lost in fast debates about security policy which include multiple interacting internal links--not because I am incapable of understanding them, but because I am not as familiar with these arguments as you all are. On occasion debaters need to slow down and explain some arguments.
*My favorite negative strategies are about criticisms that isolate and condemn social injustice or reveal power relations and debate epistemology smartly. I have no problem with generic criticisms like security and the cap k, but to win them or to get decent points requires specific discussion of the 1ac—isolating the links and their implications for evaluating the aff is what makes it awesome. Affs lose lots of K debates largely because they pile up cards rather than planning what the 2ar endgame looks like. Often affs are better served defending their own assumptions than reading argument-specific cards that are not part of a specific strategy. To wit, affs regularly go for permutations or no link arguments when they claim an advantage which impact turns the k while conceding a utopian alternative. Because I am a sucker for well-developed analysis about epistemology/ontology, I don't think as a rule the 2nr needs to go for external case defense, at least if you can give examples of how aff authors have specific problems or biases. Wisconsin teams have proven to think that mindless tech can win you a permutation, this is not generally true--most neg args against one permutation work against all of them.
*I consider myself generally well-read on critical arguments, but that reading maybe stopped being so robust in like 2007 or 2008, and so I'm not as up-to-date on the more recent turns in that literature. I can observe some additional relevant tendencies: I often find myself frustrated in rounds that involve a lot of psychoanalytic arguments (I get the cap bad part of Zizek. That may be about it). I dislike the Nietzsche alternative viscerally. In spite of my feminist leanings, Donna Haraway makes no sense to me. In each of these cases, if this is your only game, I am probably not a good judge for you. I will also explicitly note some critical arguments with which I am well acquainted: I’m fairly well read in Foucault, Heidegger, lots of feminisms, critical international relations business, objectivism, cap bad, etc. Lots of experience now with Afro-pessimism, Orientalism, at least some entrée into queer theory args. I still need someone to convince me that Bataille and Baudrilliard are more smart than confusing.
*I’m probably a decent judge for a T debate. Most of the theoretical issues are up in the air—competing interpretations vs. abuse as a standard, etc. If you concede a competing interpretations arg, though, be aware that you’ll need offense on your interp.
*I can enjoy a good theory debate, but if you actually want to win it you probably need to convince me early on in a debate that you are going to do something other than just read your block at full speed. i have a natural dislike towards theory debates that i see as unnecessary. I'm not the ideal judge if you *plan* on going for theory a lot, but again, i try to evaluate those debates fairly. I will note that I do not have a neg side bias when it comes to counterplan debates--be it issues of conditionality, fiat, or competition issues. Some people see that fact in and of itself as an aff side bias on those theoretical issues, but what it means is that i am more than willing to vote aff because a counterplan is cheating, if you win that debate.
*I have found that I am getting older and more dinosaur-like on counterplan theory: I think I have an aff bias on these issues: multiple counterplans, consult counterplans, and conditionality.
*Non-traditional affs: it seems that I am going to judge my share of clash-of-civs rounds, which is fine. I generally think that negative teams do not work hard enough to generate smart arguments against non-traditional affs, so I start with a slight lean against framework arguments, but a sophisticated execution of those debates are often successful. I will also say that aff teams that make efforts to meet some standard of topicality also will find me more forgiving than teams that do not; I think negs do deserve some degree of a starting point.
*I believe my job as a critic is to evaluate a debate as it occurred, rather than retroactively applying my standards of what debate should look like to your round. I try as hard as I can to stay to this standard, but some intervention is inevitable. Read below in the “self-observed biases” section. I try to remain agnostic about the various frameworks for evaluating debates, so that means that if there is a difference in the round as to how I should evaluate it, you should propose your framework explicitly and defend it. My presumption is that debate should be an educational activity, and it would be hard to shake me of that idea, as I am an educator by trade. However, I am open to debates about what kinds of education debate should bring, and how it does so.
*My decisions are nearly always decided by a close review of the 1AR, 2NR, and 2AR, with references to the negative block as necessary. I am not, however, a perfect flow, and you should be aware of that and flag important arguments as such. I believe a part of persuasion is correct emphasis.
*It is fairly uncommon for me to read evidence after a debate--use the evidence yourself, refer to warrants, etc. If you think you have good evidence, you need to show it off. The "in" thing to say is that I reward a team for good research, but the most important part of good research is understanding why your evidence is good, and exercising your ability to explain and use the evidence. I do not plan to do evidence comparison for anyone.
*As regards "offense/defense" distinctions: I understand the importance of offense, but I do not discount the art of defensive argumentation. The fact that the other team does not have a turn does not mean you are winning. I have probably evaluated the risk of a disad or other impact as zero (or close enough to not matter) more than the average judge.
*I generally speaking will not seriously consider any independent issue that is not in your final rebuttal for at least 2 minutes--I do not reward a refusal to put all eggs in one basket. This is particularly true for theory arguments. If you feel that a theoretical issue is strong enough to justify a vote, plan to spend the better part of your final rebuttal on it, or don't expect my ballot on it.
In Round Decorum:
*Not much here--but I absolutely cannot stand when debaters talk audibly during an opponent's speech. Increasingly it is hard for me to follow what a fast speaker is saying anyhow--when you're talking too, I am liable to get angry at you.
*I think most of the time you will tend to get better speaker points if you stand up when you speak. Also, pay attention to where your opponent is and where you are when you cross-ex--it is a speech. Cross-ex's where all the debaters are sitting across the room from one another and staring at their computers is not a good persuasive strategy.
*I will also likely get grumpy at you about your paperless crap, especially when it makes a debate round last 20 minutes longer than it should. Don't worry about that too much. Unless it gets out of hand. If you don't know the difference, watch me, and you'll be able to tell.
2011-15 – Lawrence Free State, KS, Policy (Space, Transportation, Latin America, Oceans)
2015-17 – JCCC, KS, NDT/CEDA (Military Presence, Climate Change); NFA-LD (Bioprospecting, Southern Command)
2017-20 – Missouri State University, MO, NDT/CEDA (Healthcare, Exec Authority, Space); NFA-LD (Policing, Cybersecurity)
2016-17 – Lawrence High School, KS, (China engagement)
2017-19 – Olathe West High School, KS, (Education, Immigration)
2019- Present – Truman High School, MO, (Arm Sales, CJR, Water)
2020- Present – Missouri State University, MO, (MDT Withdrawal, Anti-Trust); NFA-LD (Climate, Endless Wars)
Always add: firstname.lastname@example.org
If I walk out of the room (or go off-camera), please send the email and I will return very quickly.
Email chains should be labeled correctly. *Name of Tournament* *Round #* *Aff Team* vs *Neg Team*
You do you; I'll flow whatever happens. I tend to like policy args more than K args. I cannot type fast and flow on paper as a result. Please give me pen time on T, Theory, and long o/v's etc. Do not be a jerk. Debaters work hard, and I try to work as hard as I can while judging.
Evidence Quality X Quantity > Quality > Quantity. Argument Tech + Truth > Tech > Truth. Quals > No Quals.
In "fast" online debates, I found it exceptionally hard to flow those with poor internet connections or bad mics. I also found it a little harder even with ideal mic and internet setups. I think it's reasonable for debates in which a debater(s) is having these issues for everyone in the debate to debate at an appropriate speed for everyone to engage.
Clarity is more important in a digital format than ever before. I feel like it would behoove everyone to be 10% slower than usual. Make sure you have differentiation between your tag voice and your card body voice.
It would be super cool if everyone put their remaining prep in the chat.
I am super pro the Cams on Mics muted approach in debates. Obvious exceptions for poor internet quality.
People should get in the groove of always sending marked docs post speeches and sending a doc of all relevant cards after the debate.
I enjoy politics debates. Reasons why the Disad outweighs and turns the aff, are cool. People should use the squo solves the aff trick with election DA's more.
I generally think negatives can and should get to do more. To me, CP's test the intrinsic-ness of the advantages to the plan text. Affs should get better at writing and figuring out plan key warrants. Bad CP's lose because they are bad. It seems legit that 2NC's get UQ and adv cp's to answer 2AC thumpers and add-ons. People should do this more.
Judge kicking the cp seems intuitive to me. Infinite condo seems good, real-world, etc. Non-Condo theory arguments are almost always a reason to reject the argument and not the team. I still expect that the 2AC makes theory args and that the neg answers them sufficiently. I think in an evenly matched and debated debate most CP theory arguments go neg.
Kritiks on the Negative
I like policy debate personally, but that should 0% stop you from doing your thing. I think I like K debates much better than my brain will let me type here. Often, I end up telling teams they should have gone for the K or voted for it. I think this is typically because of affirmative teams’ inability to effectively answer critical arguments
Links of omission are not links. Reject the aff is not an alternative, that is what I do when I agree to endorse the alternative. Explain to me what happens to change the world when I endorse your alternative. The aff should probably be allowed to weigh the aff against the K. Clash debates with solid defense to the affirmative are significantly more fun to adjudicate than framework debates. Floating pics are probably bad. I think life has value and preserving more of it is probably good.
Kritical Affirmatives vs Framework
I think the affirmative should be in the direction of the resolution. Reading fw, cap, and the ballot pik against these affs is a good place to be as a policy team. I think topic literacy is important. I think there are more often than not ways to read a topical USfg action and read similar offensive positions. I am increasingly convinced that debate is a game that ultimately inoculates advocacy skills for post-debate use. I generally think that having a procedurally fair and somewhat bounded discussion about a pre-announced topic helps facilitate that discussion.
Debates in which the negative engages all parts of the affirmative are significantly more fun to judge than those that do not.
Short blippy procedurals are almost always only a reason to reject the arg and not the team. T (along with all procedurals) is never an RVI.
I am super uninterested in adjudicating a disclosure theory debate. Especially if the HS Coaching staff of one team has purposefully instructed debaters to not disclose and/or disclosure happened when I was not present. I am interested in telling teams they should disclose because it is clearly good. I may rectify this in speaker points if I do think something exceptionally bad has happened, however, I have yet to do so.
I am super uninterested in making objective assessments about events that took place outside of/before the debate round.
Things that are bad, but people continually do:
Saying something sexist/homophobic/racist/ableist/transphobic - it will probably make you lose the debate at the worst or tank your speaks at the least.
Send docs without the analytics you already typed. This does not actually help you. I sometimes like to read along. Some non-neurotypical individuals benefit dramatically by this practice. It wastes your prep, no matter how cool the macro you have programmed is.
Use the wiki for your benefit and not post your own stuff.
Refusing to disclose.
Reading the 1AC off paper when computers are accessible to you. Please just send the doc in the chain.
Doing/saying mean things to your partner or your opponents.
Unnecessarily cursing to be cool.
Some random thoughts I had at the end of last season: .
1. I love debate. I think it is the best thing that has happened to a lot of people. I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out how to get more people to do it. People should be nicer to others.
2. I was worse at debate than I thought I was. I should have spent WAY more time thinking about impact calc and engaging the other teams’ arguments.
3. I have REALLY bad handwriting and was never clear enough when speaking. People should slow down and be clearer. (Part of this might be because of online debate.)
4. Most debates I’ve judged are really hard to decide. I go to decision time often. I’m trying my best to decide debates in the finite time I have. The number of times Adrienne Brovero has come to my zoom room is too many. I’m sorry.
5. I type a lot of random thoughts I had during debates and after. I really try to make a clear distinction between the RFD and the advice parts of the post round. It bothered me a lot when I was a debater that people didn’t do this.
6. I thought this before, but it has become clearer to me that its not what you do, its what you justify. Debaters really should be able to say nearly anything they’d like in a debate. It is the opposing teams’ job to say you’re wrong. My preferences are above, and I do my best to ignore them. Although I do think it is impossible for that to truly occur.
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.
1. Conflicts [as of 10/04/2020]
- No Univ of Chicago Lab
- No Iowa City
2. Short Version
- tech over truth
- strong analytics/analysis can beat carded evidence
- prioritize your impacts
- have fun!
3. Pandemic Social Distancing Related Technology Notes
- Please slow down 5-10%. Emphasize your warrants. Without a microphone stem, your quality fluctuates. Keep in mind that I still flow on paper.
- Please get explicit visual or audio confirmation from everyone in the debate before beginning your speech. I may use a thumbs up to indicate I am ready.
- If my camera is off, unless I explicitly have told you otherwise, assume I'm not at the computer.
- If the current speaker has significant tech problems, I'll try to interrupt your speech and mark the last argument and timestamp.
4. Some Detail
I've been meaning to do this for a while, but have not really had the time. My hope is that I end up judging better debates as a result of this updated philosophy. I am now changing to a more linear philosophy, it is my hope that you read this in its entirety before choosing where to place me on the pref sheet. I debated for four years at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the south Chicago suburbs from 2007-2011. During that time I debated, Sub-Saharan Africa, Alternative Energy, Social services and substantial reductions in Military presence.
Nearing a decade ago, during would would have been the h.s. space topic. I started at the University of Northern Iowa, Where I debated NDT/CEDA Middle East/North Africa while judging a few debate rounds across the midwest. After my freshman year I transferred to the University of Iowa, where I started coaching at Iowa City High School. This year, I will continue to coach the City High Debate team.
Framing, Issue choice and impact calculus are in my opinion the most important aspects of argumentation, and you should make sure they are components in your speeches. Late rebuttals that lack this analysis are severely.
I preference tech over truth. Your in round performance is far more important to me, as it is what I hear. I greatly attempt to preference the speaking portion of the debate. Increasingly, I've found that my reading evidence is not necessarily an aspect of close debates, but rather results from poor argument explanation and clarification. The majority of 'close rounds' that I've judged fall into the category of closeness by lack of explanation. In some limited instances, I may call for evidence in order to satisfy my intellectual fascination with the activity. Anything other than that--which I will usually express during the RFD--probably falls upon inadequate explanation and should be treated as such.
I feel my role as a judge is split evenly between policymaker and 'referee' in that when called to resolve an issue of fairness. I will prioritize that first. Addressing inequities in side balance, ability to prepare and generate offense is something may at times find slightly more important than substance. In short, I consider myself a good judge for theory, THAT BEING SAID, rarely do I find theory debates resolved in a manner that satisfies my liking - I feel theoretical arguments should be challenged tantamount to their substance based counterparts. Simply reading the block isn't enough. Though I was a 2A[≈ High power LED current, peak 2.7 A] in high school I have since found myself sliding towards the negative on theoretical questions. I can be convinced, however, to limit the scope of negative offense quite easily, so long as the arguments are well explained and adjudicated.
I consider reasonability better than competing interpretations, with the caveat that I will vote on the best interpretation presented. But topicality questions shouldn't be a major concern if the team has answered.
I have a long and complicated relationship with the K. I have a level of familiarity with the mainstream literature, so go ahead and read Capitalism or Neolib. Less familiar arguments will require more depth/better explanation.
Hi! I listed any specific things I like to see below - lmk if you have any questions :) Add me to the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
K vs DA Rounds: I don't care what the neg team runs, because whatever strat will beat the aff is fine haha. I am a policy debater and will definitely be more helpful in judging policy debates b/c of my experience.
- If you're going to run a K, explaining how & using dropped FW as the offense gets you bonus points.
- If you can't explain the K, or any of your links well during cx or in round it's pretty likely I won't vote for you. You've gotta be able to articulate what you're running, so just explain!!
Speech Docs: Just be nice to everyone. Don't leave out ASPEC or any other theory args - if you do deliberately leave it out and try to blow it up in the round, I'm not going to vote on it. Ofc, you can leave out any analytics.
Controversial Args: I'm Black, Muslim, and a woman so try not to say anything too crazy lol. If you run something blatantly racist I won't react well. Definitely watch your language in round because I do not tolerate slurs/racism/sexism/homophobia/general discrimination at all.
Affs: Policy affs>K Affs because of my personal bias in thinking they solve better & more directly. Run what you'd like, but if you run a K-Aff you better do lots of explaining b/c if I don't believe the aff solves or understand how it solves, I can't vote aff.
Line By Line: I love line by line, so incorporate it into all of your speeches for bonus points!! Flow the other team's args, and don't rely on the speech docs 100%
Randos: You & your partner should time your speeches, and make sure to turn your camera on if you're spreading! Everyone else can have cams off :)
For online debates, I can't catch everything if you're going too fast, so be conscious of that.
Usually, I like affirmatives with a bold plan and big solvency, but I am not too biased against smaller, technical affs. For the negative, don't be afraid to spend time on the case debate (of course, while keeping a balance of good off-case positions), especially if you have good offense on the flow.
Be civil with cross-ex, but be decisive, and don't waste the entire time on one question.
Keep track of your own times for cross and prep.
Some other things for novices:
DA - If you run a generic disad, be able to explain the story and don't just rely on carded extensions. Aff should be able to expose the neg if this is the case.
T - Topicality is pretty hard for novices, especially on a packet. I want good comparisons of interps and why yours is better for deciding the debate.
K - Know all the ins and outs of the link story. Also, be sure to say exactly why and how the alt solves.
Theory - I'll probably go for conditionality if you can convince me of negative abuse, which is a lot easier to do if the negative runs 13 off as opposed to if they run 3.
NARROW THE DEBATE DOWN BY THE SECOND REBUTTALS. Even if it feels like you're winning everything, instead of throwing all these different arguments at me, choose your strongest impacts and flesh out the story for me, so I can have a clear picture of who to vote for by the end of the round. Especially as novices, it's good practice to identify which arguments you're winning and effectively extend them.
Debated at Cedar Rapids Washington for four years. IFLs state champion 2021. Wellesley College class of 25. I'm only familiar with policy debate. She/Her/Her's pronouns. My last name is pronounced "Kern". You can call me Elizabeth instead of "judge."
Put me on the email chain: email@example.com
You do you. I'm fine with almost anything. Don't be rude/offensive in round. I will not tolerate any behavior that is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. If you repeatedly misgender your opponent I will vote you down. Don't read "death good" in front of me.
Coppell 2022- I am not super familiar with this year’s topic yet so please explain water-jargon or acronyms when you use them. :)
Tech > truth.
Time your own prep. Not a bad idea to also time your opponent's prep. Also please format your speech docs so that they're easy to navigate. Try to be clear and coherent, I'll make my decision based on my flow.
Dropped arguments are true but warrants are still important. Don't say the other team dropped an argument that they answered.
More familiar with policy, but will vote on Ks/K affs. Will vote on theory. Don’t botch the case debate. If you’re a novice read my novice section please. Be nice in round!!
The most impressive thing you can do is debate off your flow and do line-by-line. Also sign-post. This makes my job so much easier. I don’t like messy debates. Also please give a roadmap.
Impact calc is essential. Tell me why it makes sense for me to use your framing model.
Split the block! The 2NC should take 2-3 positions and the 1NR should take 1. This gives you more time for line-by-line and leads to more in-depth debates.
I'm generally going to give y'all pretty high speaks because y'all deserve it.
I think cross examination is a speech. That being said, I need arguments you make in cx to show up in your future speeches.
I like T and I will vote on it. It needs to be extended well in the block in order for it to be the 2NR (1NRs on just T are a power move.) If you're going for it make sure it's the only thing in your 2NR. Structure is key, messy T debates aren't fun for anyone.
Fairness is not an impact, but can be a strong internal link. Limits for the pure sake of limits is not compelling. Clash and education are good.
I will vote on it. It needs to be a good chunk of the 1AR and all of the 2AR. Don't just read your blocks, apply it to the round.
Dropped theory is a voting issue.
I like DA debates. I need impact comparison.
CPs are generally good. I like smart CPs that actually solve the aff. Cheaty CPs are probably bad and should have theory read against them. 2 condo is probably fine, 3+ is shadier.
PICs are probably cheating but they can be smart arguments.
Most familiar with Ks like cap, security, etc.
I understand most identity Ks but I am not the best judge for those debates.
PoMo is a no go.
The aff should probably be able to weigh their plan in some way, but I can be convinced otherwise. The link is the most important part of the K. If you want judge kick, tell me.
Subbi Namakula, Michael Cho, Jake Sanders, Henry Wright, and Warren Sprouse have all coached me during my debate career. My senior year I was mostly policy-oriented, but I don't really have a preference when it comes to K vs. Policy debate.
Case turn debates are fun (except spark.) Don't concede the aff's framing. If you read generic impact defense contextualize it to the aff and their internal link chains. Worthwhile impact defense is really all about pulling the logical warrants out of your cards and using them to poke holes in the other team’s internal link chains.
I've read soft-left affs for almost my entire debate career, but extinction impacts are fine too. Have a clear route to solvency. Also explain your internal links.
I'm most familiar with topical affs. I have read some K affs, but I'm not especially well-versed in them. Framework/Cap debates are fine.
Be nice. Have fun.
LD addition for KCI 2022:
Most of how I understand debate is from a policy debate perspective. I've coached traditional and progressive LD teams. Do you're thing and I'm happy to judge it. Judged a little on the national circuit last year. I think I'm a LARP judge lmao. or maybe a Phil judge, I do have a decent background in philosophy. Despite being asked if I'm ok to judge tricks debates repetitively, I still don't understand what this means. I'm open to mostly any arguments but you need to frame why I should win you the round. Offense wins debates. Lmk if you have any specific questions
I participated in debate for 4 years in High School (policy and LD for Olathe East) and 3 years in College (Parli for Washburn University). This is my 5th year assisting Olathe East debate.
I can keep up for the most part. I will say clear twice in a speech if I feel like I am missing arguments, after that I get what I get. I'd like have speech docs shared with me but ultimately I evaluate the debate from what is on my flow, not in the speech doc. I think times in which I most often miss nuance that become relevant later in the debate are when teams are blazing through topicality and theory blocks at tops speeds.
In high school, I preferred traditional policy style debate. In college, I preferred more kritical arguments. I studied philosophy but don't assume I know everything about your author or their argument. Something that annoys me in these debates is when teams so caught up in buzzwords that they forget to extend warrants. In terms of judging, I'd rather you debate arguments you enjoy and are comfortable with as opposed to adapting to my preferences. A good debate on my least favorite argument is far more preferable than a bad debate on my favorite argument. I'm open to however you'd like to debate, but you must tell me how to evaluate the round and justify it. I'm not super prone to voting on Ks that do nothing or simply reject the aff. Justify your methodology.
K affs- I don't think an affirmative needs to defend the resolution if they can justify their advocacy/methodology appropriately. However I think being in the direction of the resolution makes the debate considerably easier for you.
I'm of the opinion that one good card can be more effective if utilized and analyzed effectively than 10 bad/mediocre cards. At the same time, I think a mediocre card utilized strategically can be more useful than a good card under-analyzed.
Any other questions, feel free to ask before the round.
- I debated in high school for 3.1 years (the .1 being freshman year) at Iowa City West. Currently a freshman debating at Northwestern (although I just joined the team like two weeks ago so take that for what it's worth). I was/am a 2A.
- Went to GDI sophomores 5 week and Mich 7 week FFPSVV
- Limited water topic knowledge. I've judged one tournament (Iowa Caucus) on the topic and did a little bit of prep/coaching for Iowa City West
- Very policy-leaning. The vast majority of my experience and knowledge base is in policy-style arguments so I may have difficulty understanding high-theory, abstract, niche, or jargon-heavy Ks (except maybe the fem K because I've been reading a lot of feminist critical literature for a class, but I'd still consider it intro-level material). I have a particular distaste for pomo & baudrillard, but regardless I am willing to vote for any K so long as it is well-explained; just know that my threshold for "well-explained" is high. What will help you either win with the K or beat the K is slowing down in the 2ar/2nr, isolating at the top of your speech the key issues that frame my ballot, and explicitly comparing your offense to your opponents offense on those key issues.
For pre-round prep
Add me on the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
BE NICE TO YOUR OPPONENT AND YOUR PARTNER IN ROUND >:((((((
Send analytics -- we're online and mics suck sometimes. Even if we're in person, its a good practice.
Speed is fine and good as long as it's CLEAR. Do: slow down on tags, slow down on analytics, signpost, stick to road map, short pause btwn each flow so I can get next sheet of paper, and other good speech practices. Know that I flow exclusively on paper and the faster you go the more unreadable my handwriting becomes.
If there is likely to be a K involved in the debate, read last bullet under "for prefs".
Tech > truth. BUT...
1---no isms good arguments/harmful/violent args
2---I only evaluate arguments that meet my criteria: claim + warrant + impact.
"Not specifying an agent beyond the USFG in the 1AC is a voting issue (claim) for fairness and education (impact) because it allows for 2AC respecification which spikes out of agent-based arguments (warrant)"
Anything less I will simply ignore.
3---For me to weigh an argument in my decision, it MUST be extended in the final speech, even if it's been conceded by the other team. For example, aff still must extend case/impacts in the 2ar even if neg cold concedes case in the 2nr. Dropped arguments are only true if they are extended.
I will only judge kick if neg wins condo/judge kick in the 2nr.
Be bold!!!! I love non-traditional strategies and will entertain silly arguments. I read the Saudi ally prolif DA on the aff. I put no neg fiat in all my 2ac blocks. I ended my high school debate career extending the God procedural in the 1nr (God solves aff impacts or they are happening for greater good). Note that this does NOT mean I think silly arguments are on-the-whole STRATEGIC, just that they can be fun and I am willing to vote on it. Debater discretion is advised.
Blue is objectively the best color for highlighting.
Tag team cx is fine but please try your best to ask/answer your own questions. Will dock points if you do it too much.
Ins & outs are fine.
+ 0.3 speaks if you say gautam sucks at debate BUT you have to pronounce his name right
& If you make me laugh i'll give you more speaks ahaha ;)
Heart of Texas: This is the first tournament I've judged in a hot minute! Don't come at your fastest right out of the gates, I'll need to adjust to your cadence. Have fun, be smart.
Put me on the email chain-- email@example.com
I debated in high school, went to a handful of tournaments with KU, and am in my fourth? fifth? year coaching (Lawrence Free State, Pembroke Hill).
I don’t think it is my job as a judge to call for evidence, kick CPs, decide how I should evaluate the debate, etc. It is your job to tell me these things. This means impact calculus plays a significant part in the way I evaluate the round—please do it. I default to moral obligation claims. Warranted extensions only or it isn’t an extension.
I don’t put up with rudeness, racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, or ableism-- these are worthy of losing a ballot and certainly a reason to dock your speaker points.
I expect debaters to do whatever they are best at and want to do in front of me-- debate is not an event for conformity.
My speaker point scale (taken from the KellyThompson):
29+ - you should receive a speaker award in this division at this tournament
28.5+ - you should be in elimination debates at this tournament, and probably win one or more of those rounds
28 - you are competing for a spot to clear but still making errors that may prevent you from doing so. Average for the division/tournament.
27.5 - you are slightly below average for the division/tournament and need to spend some time on the fundamentals. Hopefully, I've outlined in my notes what those are.
27 - you are in the wrong division or at the wrong tournament in my estimation.
If you’re going for T it should be the entire 2NR. If it is not, you’re not doing enough work. I evaluate education and fairness as impacts, so treat them as such. I am more persuaded by education. I am fine with creativity to make the aff topical, but at a certain point would rather you just reject the resolution than squeeze your way into a nonexistent “we meet” arg. I think rejecting the resolution is fine and switch side debate is typically not a winning argument. If you can prove that your education is best in the round I am willing to listen to what you have to say.
Fine, great, everyone should do them. If you don’t have a specific link you better be prepared to do a lot of work for me.
Generic bad. I think smart and well-developed PICs are a good way to control offense in a debate. Don’t assume doing theory and a perm is enough to get out of the CP. I default to sufficiency framing so I need clear reasons why the aff is more desirable. Blippy word PICs and delay CPs are annoying.
Most familiar with neolib/fem/anthro. You need to explain what the alternative does specifically—even if it is inaction. I like to hear “in the world of the alternative…”. I need to know why the aff is uniquely bad. Permutations are always valid, but often poorly executed and cause severance. Severance is probably bad. If I have to do a lot of work just to understand your jargon and what the K is I’m not the judge for you.
I have a higher threshold for voting on theory, it needs to be the center of the rebuttal if that is what you want. I almost always view theory as a reason to reject the argument not the team. Obviously I can be persuaded otherwise. Severance mostly bad. Condo mostly good. K’s are not cheating. PICs are good but also sometimes not. Slow down on theory.
A little bit about me - Hi! I am Miles Luce, I debated for the Barstow School on the national circuit for four years from 2016-2020. Prior, I debated at the Debate Kansas City UDL for two years in Middle School. I have been a lab leader at the 3-Week Jayhawk Debate Institute for two consecutive years. I debated for one year at the University of Kansas. I am an undergraduate at KU studying Art History, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Philosophy. My pronouns are they/them.
My Background - My argumentative history mostly consists of kritiks and planless affs. I am most familiar with Queer Theory and Poststructuralism. Some of my favorite authors are Jasbir Puar, Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze, David V. Ruffalo, and Jack Halberstam. I love all debates and would be more than willing to judge a technical policy debate. I hope people do not interpret my paradigm to read as a bias for or against a certain style of debate. As a judge, I understand that my role is to determine which team won the debate.
Why I Love Debate - I believe one of high school debate's greatest functions is exposing students to fields of thought they would not otherwise discover. I really value debaters' investment in research. I know that without debate's exposing me to Queer Theory, I wouldn't have some of the texts that are foundational to my identity as a queer person. Debate was that refuge of self-discovery for me in a restricted home and school environment. It allowed me to express myself in a welcoming environment, in squad meetings, and camps where I found my chosen family. I do not know where I'd be without it.
Evaluating Debates - In evaluating debates, I first prioritize impact calculus. Framing your impact is the most important thing a team can do. Regardless of whether your aff solves X, if you cannot win that X matters, then it is incredibly difficult for me as a judge to endorse your position. In order of priority, I would evaluate turns case, ethics/impact framing, then case outweighs. In debates with equivalent levels of impact calculus, I then prioritize solvency. Given, I do believe the ethicality of an impact might outweigh the question of whether the aff does or does not solve.
Determining Speaks - To me, a good speaker is articulate, persuasive, confident, respectful, and kind. I allocate speaker points based on a debater's skill. However, even if someone is a "good debater" in a skill sense, if they are rude or dismissive to their opponents, their ability as a debater matters much less because they have failed to be a good person. Good speakers should be good people first.
Put me on that email chain. Policy Debate Coach at Iowa City West since '18, Head Debate Coach at Liberty High since '20. I'm a senior Political Science/Journalism double major and "member of" the policy debate team at the University of Iowa. Before college, I debated policy at ICW for all 4 years of high school. Scroll to the bottom if you're a PF or LD debater
TLDR: I'll vote on anything you can make me understand. Tech and truth are both important, tech over truth unless instructed to do otherwise or if the tech is indisputably false. I often enjoy judging K affs but have been told I'm a bad judge for them. I'm intimately familiar with cap and politics, but I'll vote on anything I can understand.
The type of debater I am: When I debated, I typically went for policy arguments and policy-ish Ks. (Cap, Agamben, some very shallow Foucault, etc.) As a judge, I'll vote on any argument I can understand. I often find framework against negative Ks uncompelling unless the neg drops it or you have some reason that the specific Kritik in question that round is bad for debate.
Spreading: is fine. But don't spread analytics, please, for the love of god.
Tag team CX: it's allowed but I lower your maximum speaker points to 29.9. Also, if you do it when you don't need to or if you do it very excessively (i.e., the 2A talking for over half of 1AC cx) I'll drop it further.
DAs: see paragraph 1 of the detailed paradigm. DA+Case in the 2NR is the most satisfying thing in the world, done correctly.
CPs: Yeah ofc you can and should read CPs, it's not the 60s. Perms are good, btw: only way to test negation theory. Don't say perms are severance unless you can explicitly outline for me which perm severed and how.
CP theory: I'll admit that I'm personally biased in favor of condo good bc I was, in my prime, a condo hack. If you want to win condo bad, be very clean and very thorough about it. I only vote on no neg-fiat when it's cold conceded, but I do think debates about specific types of negative fiat are interesting. (i.e. 50 state fiat, consultation fiat, international fiat, etc.)
Kritiks: pretty rad, whether they're read as part of a 12-off 1NC or a 1-off, no case strat. I want to be clear, though: I REALLY NEED to understand what you're saying to vote for you with confidence. I try to understand things that I can, but I lack the exposure and/or general vocabulary to understand a lot of high theory keywords and phrases. Please don't hesitate to use Layman's terms when I look confused, and I assure you, I will eventually look confused.
I usually find aff framework against Ks kind of uncompelling. I think Ks are probably fine for education, and the link lit base probably means they're fair. I don't want to vote aff on "kritiks bad for debate," it makes me feel indescribably upset to do so. (I'm still down to vote aff on like, condo tho. See the CP theory section.)
K affs: I find K affs very interesting, but I AM AN EMPIRICALLY BAD JUDGE FOR THEM. I hold affs to an allegedly higher-than-average threshold of explanation for why being topical wasn't an option, and why reading an actively untopical aff is better. I will not assume these arguments for you, they need to be spelled out clearly. Your 1AC should probably mention the resolution subject at some point.
I also want to re-emphasize the thing I said about kritiks here: if I don't understand the K aff, it's a lottttt harder for me to vote for you. If I look confused, that's a big red flag, and means I need more explanation about what the things you're saying mean because I'm not big brain enough to understand your vocabulary. I try to approach every round as objectively and neutrally as possible, but I need to understand what both teams are saying in order to maintain that neutrality, and tapping into a niche high theory literature base will often make that much harder for you to do. Props to you if you can adapt to this, but please understand that I may not comprehend 100% of what you're saying.
Topicality: Yeah, it's good stuff. Use it to hold affs accountable for jumping to the whacky end of the topic, or just to fill time you wanted to use on your politics DA that no longer links. "Literature base checks" + "we're a core of the topic" is a pretty compelling aff combo to me, but only when both of those things are like, true.
Want better speaks? Don't be blippy on T. If you choose extend it, do it in such a way that I won't feel like trash for voting on it later.
Policy affs: just because you're topical doesn't mean you're ethically justified. You should be ready to defend your methods/ethics/whatever just as much as you expect untopical K affs to. AT THE SAME TIME, just because an aff is topical doesn't always mean it links to the K. Careful K teams: I do still expect you to win links to things.
- My friends know me as a Cap and Politics debater and they're not wrong. That doesn't mean I'll auto-vote on these arguments, but it does mean these are the flows on which you'll probably get the most in-depth feedback. (Again: don't assume I'll vote you up just for reading cap or politics.)
- I'm always impressed with good, clean line-by-line. I'll give you speaks for being clean on the flow.
- Spreading is an impressive skill and you should do it when you read cards. HOWEVER, if you spread analytics, I'M GONNA MISS SOME. 300 WPM on analytical arguments is really pushing it. I know that some judges can flow that fast, but I am not one of them: my handwriting sucks and is capped at like, normal tagline pace. (This DOES NOT MEAN go slow in general. It just means that you should acknowledge that the concept of going too fast can sometimes exist in the context of analytics.)
- Debate is a functionally a game (not necessarily in the context of framework, just like, in the abstract.) It's also a community, so you should be nice to eachother. I'll probably give you speaks for it, and I'll certainly take them away for being rude.
PF: PF is traditionally about being persuasive, whereas policy is about being right. If you can do both I'll be impressed and probably give you a 30. Otherwise, I feel like I have a more or less firm grasp on your activity.
LD: I have no idea how your activity works and at this point I'm too afraid to ask. Whoever successfully teaches me the activity will get an automatic 30. Please dumb your Ks down for me, I'm a policy hack. If you can't do that, you can always go for Cap.
hello my email is firstname.lastname@example.org (use this for any questions or to add me to the email chain.)
For CX and LD only also add: email@example.com
I am a LAMDL alumni and debated for stern MASS for three years and currently debating for Cal State Fullerton. I have been both the 2a and the 2n im honestly open to anything as a judge except any ism if you have to ask yourself "is this okay to run in front of him ?" the answer is probably no.
San Marino (LD) 2019-2020
Stern MASS (CX) 2017-2020
Port of Los Angeles GR (CX) 2020 - 2021
Stockdale High School (LD & CX) 2021 -
k affs and performance: Go for it. One thing I would add is to be accessible for example if you read a poem have a transcript for me and your opponents and etc. Affirmatives can be in direction of the topic or not it is up to you to still provide a justification and reasoning to why your model of debate is preferable. I buy counter interps more often than we meets.
framework: I don't lean aff on framework debates but there is definitely an above average threshold when competing different models of debate.
procedural fairness is an internal link although the competitive aspect of debate exist and a fair "game" is probably good. Good TVAs are good.
topicality: if you are going for topicality or any theory argument in the 2ar/2nr you need to extend interpretations, violations, and standards. Standards must have impacts fairness and education is not super persuasive and will probably lean to reasonability.
kritiks: Link contextualization is key no matter the kritik. Alternative contextualization is key too if at the end of the round I do not understand what your alternative does than I am probably going to lean aff on this flow. kicking the alt in the 2nr is not the most convincing strategy and I will most likely not judge kick the alt unless the neg tells me to and the aff drops it. even if I am familiar with your lit base please still explain the ontology debate thoroughly.
counterplans: I lean neg on conditionality 5-7 off is fine 8+ off is a bit questionable. make sure that your counterplans are textually competitive some of them are already cheaty enough. Well explained net benefits to the CP is a must.
disads: Link contextualization is key. specific links are even better. I love good impact calc debates. please explain the internal link chain.
Spreading: when people spread super fast I tend to get off track so please slow down especially in the beginning so I can get used to your voice. If I miss something important than I will probably wont count it in my decision.
truth ≥ tech
TLDR: Email me for any questions or if my paradigm had any typos. Take care and take a break from debate. breaks are good.
LD: you can read tricks in front of me but please impact it out I have judged way to many theory vs theory debates where I have no clue where to vote because there was no impact calc or reason why one arg comes before the other. Other than that policy stuff above applies just please please explain your arguments the time constraints in ld is real but contextualization of links are important.
Please put me on the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
Preferred pronouns he/him
Barstow 19 — (debated for four years)
Kansas 23 – (I am a junior at KU and debated my freshman year.)
1. Debate what you know best - Demonstrate that knowledge with comparative work on the line by line.
2. Judge instruction – The more the better. The last two rebuttals should consolidate arguments and begin with identifying the nexus question of the debate. Explain why you are ahead there and let that frame the rest of your rebuttal.
3. Topic notes – I have taken a class on Environmental Law but other than that I have very little knowledge of this year’s HS topic. Although it is likely I will have some background info for arguments on this topic, don’t assume I will be familiar with the technical terms housed in any Aff or Neg strategy.
1. Policy—Towards the end of my career, I started reading more policy args. Cards and smart analytics should be a 50/50 balance. In a policy Aff vs k debate, there is a tendency to card dump in the 2AC and then go for whatever conceded card comes out of the block. I understand this is strategic and often works. But in an ideal debate, it should be the opposite, with considerably more analytics.
2. K Aff’s – I have read a wide range of K Aff’s, mostly relating to critical Asian scholarship. I don’t think there is a cookie-cutter structure to an Aff or to answering arguments like FW. I am all here for the creative Aff strats but draw the line at you must have a topic link. I find that K teams often have a very good understanding of their Aff but struggle with recontextualizing the theory into a diverse and technical set of arguments. Rely less on your blocks and trust in your ability to debate the line by line.
- FW— I have no problem voting for fairness and other standards. I am not asking for you to reinvent the wheel, but please reframe your arguments to the language of the Aff. For example, modify your education block to explain why the loss of education is uniquely worse for the Aff’s discussion. Just to be safe, don’t throw away case in the 2nr and at least extend some form of defense or presumption argument.
- K’s— I will most likely be familiar or have run whatever K, you read in front of me. Less is more in these rounds. More arguments do not equate to a better block. It just results in a more spread-out speech with less time on the line by line. Alt’s need to solve either the links or the Aff.
- Policy – I am by all means capable of judging a policy v policy debate but please bring your level of analysis down. Again, I will take analytics over a ton of cards any day.
- Theory – I have a high threshold for voting on theory arguments. But if you think it’s the path to victory, I am all for it. Just know that the more ridiculous, the more time you are going to have to spend on the argument.
updated for: Tournament of Champions
- coach at the university of chicago laboratory schools
- i view the speech act as an act and an art. debate is foremost a communicative activity. i want to be compelled.
- i go back and forth on topicality/fw vs kritik/performance affs, which is supported by my voting record. i enjoy k v k or policy v k debates. however i end up with more judging experience in policy v policy rounds because we're in the north shore
- academic creativity & originality will be rewarded
- clarity matters. i flow by ear and on paper, including your cards' warrants and cites
- tag team cx is okay as long as its not dominating
- don't vape in my round, it makes me feel like an enabler
if you do not see me on camera then assume i am not there. please go a touch slower on analytics if you expect me to flow them well. if anyone's connection is shaky, please include analytics in what you send if possible.
coaching at uclab for several years. i've will probably have >50 rounds by the end of the season, often included on a panel for some reason. i occasionally coach and judge PF and camp (harvard). i am a former policy debater from maine east, (north shore, wayne tang gharana) with some college debating at iowa. i identify as subaltern, he/they pronouns are fine. my academic background is medicine. this means i haven't spent my summers deeply reading into the topic aside camp files. it also means you may be counseled on tobacco cessation.
**how to win my ballot**
*entertain me.* connect with me. teach me something. be creative. its impossible for me to be completely objective, but i try to be fair in the way i adjudicate the round.
as tim 'the man' alderete said, "all judges lie." with that in mind...
i get bored- which is why i reward creativity in research and argumentation by being more forgiving in articulation. if you cut something clever, you want me in the back of the room. i appreciate the speech as an act and an art. i prefer debates with good clash than 2 disparate topics. while i personally believe in debate pedagogy, i'll let you convince me it's elitist, marginalizing, broken, or racist. in determining why i should value debate (intrinsically or extrinsically) i will enter the room tabula rasa. if you put me in a box, i'll stay there. i wish i could adhere to a paradigmatic mantra like 'tech over truth.' but i've noticed that i lean towards truth in debates where both teams are reading lit from same branch of theory or where the opponent has won an overarching claim on the nature of the debate (framing, framework, theory, etc). my speaker point range is 27-30. Above 28.3-4 being what i think is 'satisfactory' for your division (3-3), 28.7 & above means I think you belong in elims. Do not abuse the 2nr.
Congrats! you're slowly sinking into a strange yet fascinating vortex called policy debate. it will change your life, hopefully for the better. focus on the line by line and impact analysis. if you're confused, ask instead of apologize. this year is about exploring. i'm here to judge and help :)
this topic has a wealth of amazing definitions and i'm always up for a scrappy limits debate. i think debaters should be able to defend why their departure from (Classic mode) Policy is preferable. i don't enter the round presuming plan texts are necessary for a topical discussion. i enjoy being swayed one way or the other debate to debate on k affs vs framework. overall, its an interesting direction students have taken Policy. i used to be a HUGE T & spec hack. nowadays, the these debates tend to get messy. so some flow organization is much appreciated: number your args, sign post through the line-by-line, slow down to give me a little pen time. i do not enter the round with an assumption of the necessity of plan texts. argument of T through analogy, metaphor, exclusion/inclusion is just as valid as a discussion of voters; i tend to vote on analysis with specificity and/or(?) creativity.
i enjoy performance, original poetry, rap, singing, moments of sovereignty, etc. i find most "high theory" and critical identity politics literature & debates enjoyable. i dont mind how you choose to organize k speeches/overviews so long as there is some way you organize thoughts on my flow. 'long k overviews' can be (though seldom are) beautiful. i appreciate a developed analysis. more specific the better, examples and analogies go a long way in you accelerating my understanding. i default to empiricism/historical analysis as competitive warranting unless you frame the debate otherwise. i understand that the time constraint of debate can prevent debaters from fully unpacking a kritik. if i am unfamiliar with the argument you are making, i will prioritize your explanation. i may also read your evidence and google-educate myself. this is a good thing and a bad thing, and i think its important you know that asterisk.
**spec, theory, and ethics challenges**
PLEASE DO NOT HIDE YOUR ASPEC VIOLATIONS. if the argument is important i prefer you invite the clash than evade it.
i have no way to fairly judge arguments that implicate your opponent's behavior before the round, unless i've witnessed it myself or you are able to provide objective evidence. debate is a competitive environment so i have to take accusations with a degree of skepticism. i think the trend to turn debate into a kangaroo court, or use the ballot as a tool to ostracize members from the community speaks to the student/coach's tooling of authority at tournaments as well as the necessity for pain in their notion of justice. a really good podcast that speaks to this topic in detail is invisibilia: the callout.
on traditional theory args, whatever happened to presumption debates? i more often find theory compelling when contextualized to why there's a specific reason to object to the argument (e.g. why the way this specific perm operates is abusive/sets a bad precedent). i always prefer the clash to be developed earlier in the debate and more than vomiting blocks at each other. as someone who used to go for theory, i think there's an elegant way to trap someone. and it same stipulations apply- if you want me to vote for it, make sure i'm able to clearly hear and distinguish your subpoints.
i always enjoy creative or case specific PICs. i like to hear story-weaving in the overview. i do vote on theory - see above. i also enjoy an in depth case clash, case turn debate. i do not have a deep understanding on the procedural intricacies of our legal system and may internet-educate myself on your ev during your round
you can ask me about:
- medical school, medicine
- clinical research/trials
- biology, physiology, gross anatomy, & pathophysiology are courses i've taught
- nicotine/substance cessation
**PoFo - (modified from Tim Freehan's poignant paradigm):**
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 debate as competitive research or full-contact social studies. 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. Framework, philosophical, moral arguments are great, though I need instruction in how you want me to evaluate that against tangible impacts.
Evidence quality is very important.
I will vote with what's on what is on the flow only. I enter the round tabula rasa, i try to check my personal opinions at the door as best as i can. 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.
I am a fan of “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. You can attack your opponents scholarship. Racism, sexism, heterocentrism, will not be tolerated between debaters. I have heard and will tolerate some amount of racism towards me and you can be assured I'll use it as a teaching moment.
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. 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. Some of 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 more than 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 am the debate coach at Kickapoo High School in Missouri. I have been involved in policy debate since 1994 as a student and/ or coach. The 2021-22 topic marks my 26th. I have coached in very critical circuits (one round with a plan read by any team in an entire year), very community judge oriented circuits (that don't allow CPs or Ks), TOC qualifying circuit, ELL circuits, and combinations of all circuits. If you have questions, please email email@example.com
TOC 2022 Update - I severely dislocated my pinky finger on my left hand on Wednesday before the TOC. I mention this because it slightly reduces my flowing speed. I would ask that you slow down just a touch on tags and analytics to accommodate this.
Cliff's Notes Version (things to do in the 10 minutes before the round):
- As long as we are online, please make sure you are adding intentional breaks between arguments. These can be verbal or non-verbal but they are necessary to make sure flowing is happening from the oral arguments instead of just from the speech doc. As an example, clearly say the word "next" or "and" after each card/ subpoint/ etc. or slow down for the tags to where there is a noticeable difference between the card or warrants and the next tag. This is one of those things that the technology just isn't as good as being face-to-face, but it may make debate better down the line.
- Disclose on the wiki pre-round unless you are breaking a new case. I can be persuaded, relatively easily, that this is a voting issue (this is not about small details in the case, but overall picture). Once a case is broken, please put it up as soon as possible. If you read it at last tournament and haven't found time to put it up, that's a problem. Also, at a minimum, the negative should be posting their main off case positions. Before the round, the aff and neg should both know what the opponent is reading as a case and what positions they have gone for at the end of debates on the negative. Having coached at a small and economically disprivileged school most of my life, the arguments against disclosure literally make no sense to me.
- I like politics a lot more than Ks - My perfect generic 2NR is politics and an agent CP. The best way to win a K in front of me is to argue that it turns case and makes case impossible to solve.
- I don't like cheap shots - I think plan flaws are a reason to ask questions in the CX or pre-round. Make debate better.
- K Framework - I prefer to do policy making. However, you need to answer the project if they run it.
- Cheating CPs - I don't like backfile check type CPs (veto cheato) or "I wrote this for fun" CPs (consult Harry Potter/ Jesus). I do like topic agent CPs (like have China do the plan, have the private sector do the plan).
- Link vs Uniqueness - Uniqueness determines the direction of the link - if it is not gonna pass now, there is no way the link can make it pass less.
- Cross-ex is always open unless another judge objects.
- Be Nice and FLOW!
High School Policy Specifics:
- **UPDATE on Water** - I know that the water topic doesn't have core stable offense for the neg. This definitely makes the neg more intuitively persuasive to me on questions of topicality and on the threshold that I need for the negative to win some kind of a link. I don't like CPs that aren't tied to topic specific literature. This includes, but is not limited to, contrived fiat tricks designed to garner net-benefits. This includes NGA, ConCon, etc. It doesn't mean I won't vote for it, it just means my threshold for aff theory, etc. is really low. If you are choosing between a CP that I have listed above and a disad with a less than ideal link (not no link, just less than ideal), it would be more persuasive to me to read the disad.
Here is a crystalized version of this stolen from Will Katz but it explains what I think about contrived CPs - "I am over contrived process cp's. If you don't have aff/topic specific evidence for your cp, I probably won't care if the aff's perm is intrinsic. If you don't have evidence about the plan, why does the aff's perm only have to be about the plan?"
I am a high school coach who tends to be at TOC tournaments about 3/4 of the time and local tournaments (with community judges) the other 1/4. However, I do cut a lot of cards, coach at camps, and think about the topic a lot which means that I have a pretty good grip on the topic. This means I may not know the intricacies of how your particular argument may functions in the high school environment you are competing in right now.
High School LD Specifics:
My default is that I don't need a value and value crit. in order to vote for you. However, I can be persuaded that it is needed. If the affirmative reads a particular interpretation of the topic (i.e. they read a plan) then, absent theory arguments about why that's bad, that becomes the focus of the debate. If the affirmative does not read a plan then the negative can still read disadvantages and PICs against the entirety of the topic. I don't terribly love NRs and 2ARs that end with a series of voting issues. Most of the time you are better off using that time to explain why the impacts to your case outweigh your opponent's case as opposed to describing them as voting issues. If you are going to make an argument in the NC that there is a different framework for the debate than what the affirmative explains in the AC, you need to make sure you fully develop that position. Framework functions very differently in LD compared to policy so make sure your blocks are written out for that reason.
I'm not a big fan of a big theory pre-empt at the end of the 1ac. I think the aff case is the time when you should be making most of your offensive arguments and most of the time theory is set up to be defensive. This is particularly silly to me when the aff has more time in rebuttals than the neg does anyway.
NFA LD Specifics:
I am relatively new to this format of debate but I like it a lot. I think debate should be viewed through a policy framework in this style of debate, but I can be persuaded out of this belief. However, if your main strategy is to say that the rules of NFA are problematic or that you shouldn't have to weigh the case and the DA, then I think you fighting an uphill battle.
Also, given the limited number of speeches, I tend to err on the side of starting aff framework as early as possible (probably the AC). This is mostly to protect the aff since if it's not brought up until the 2ac/ 1ar it is possible for the NR to straight turn it and leave the 2ar in an unwinnable position.
In Depth Stuff:
I tend to prefer policy oriented discussions over kritikal debates but I will be happy to evaluate whatever you want to run. My favorite debates come down to a clash between specific arguments on the flow of the advantages and disadvantages. On theory you should number or slow down your tags so that I get the clash. I can flow your speed if it is clear, but if you want me to get the 19 reasons why conditionality is a bad practice you should slow down to a speed I can flow the blips. That said, I tend to prefer fast debate to slow debates that ultimately don't point to the resolution of the topic.
Read warrants in your evidence. Full sentences are how people speak. They have things like nouns, verbs, and prepositions. Please make sure that your evidence would make sense if you were reading it slowly.
If the round is close, I tend to read a decent amount of evidence after the round if there is a reason to do so. If you want me to call for a specific card please remind me in the 2nr/ 2ar.
Also please give reasons why your offense turns their offense besides "war causes x."
Disclosure theory note:
I have a VERY low threshold on this argument. Having schools disclose their arguments pre-round is important if the activity is going to grow / sustain itself. Having coached almost exclusively at small, underfunded, new, or international schools, I can say that disclosure (specifically disclosure on the wiki if you are a paperless debater) is a game changer. It allows small schools to compete and makes the activity more inclusive. There are three specific ways that this influences how ballots will be given from me:
1) I will err negative on the impact level of "disclosure theory" arguments in the debate. If you're reading an aff that was broken at a previous tournament or on a previous day and is not on the wiki (assuming you have access to a laptop and the tournament provides wifi), you will likely lose if this theory is read. There are two ways for the aff to "we meet" this in the 2ac - either disclose on the wiki ahead of time or post the full copy of the 1ac in the wiki as a part of your speech. Obviously, some grace will be extended when wifi isn't available or due to other extenuating circumstances. However, arguments like "it's just too much work," "I don't like disclosure," etc. won't get you a ballot.
2) The neg still needs to engage in the rest of the debate. Read other off case positions and use their "no link" argument as a reason that disclosure is important. Read case cards and when they say they don't apply or they aren't specific enough, use that as a reason for me to see in round problems. This is not a "cheap shot" win. You are not going to "out-tech" your opponent on disclosure theory. To me, this is a question of truth. Along that line, I probably won't vote on this argument in novice, especially if the aff is reading something that a varsity debater also reads.
3) If you realize your opponent's aff is not on the wiki, you should make every possible attempt before the round to ask them about the aff, see if they will put it on the wiki, etc. I understand that, sometimes, one teammate puts all the cases for a squad on the wiki and they may have just put it under a different name. To me, that's a sufficient example of transparency (at least the first time it happens). If the aff says it's a new aff, that means (to me) that the plan text and/ or advantages are different enough that a previous strategy cut against the aff would be irrelevant. This would mean that if you completely change the agent of the plan text or have them do a different action it is new; adding a word like "substantially" or "enforcement through normal means" is not. Likewise, adding a new "econ collapse causes war" card is not different enough; changing from a Russia advantage to a China, kritikal, climate change, etc. type of advantage is. Even if it is new, if you are still reading some of the same solvency cards, I think it is better to disclose your previous versions of the aff at a minimum.
4) At tournaments that don't have wifi, this should be handled by the affirmative handing over a copy of their plan text before the round.
5) If you or your opponent honestly comes from a circuit that does not use the wiki (e.g. some UDLs, some local circuits, etc.), I will likely give some leeway. However, a great use of post-round time while I am making a decision is to talk to the opponent about how to upload on the wiki. If the argument is in the round due to a lack of disclosure and the teams make honest efforts to get things on the wiki while I'm finishing up my decision, I'm likely to bump speaks for all 4 speakers by .2 or .5 depending on how the tournament speaks go.
Topicality- I believe the affirmative should affirm the topic and the negative should negate the plan. It is fairly difficult to convince me that this is not the appropriate paradigm for the affirmative to operate under. The best way to think about topicality in front of me is to think about it as drawing lines or a fence. What does debate look like for a season when the negative wins the topicality argument vs. what does it look like when the affirmative wins. Affirmatives that push the bounds of the topic tend to be run more as the season progresses so the negative should be thinking through what the affirmative justifies if their interpretation because the standard for the community. This also means that there is no real need to prove real or potential *problems in the debate.
If the affirmative wants to win reasonability then they should be articulating how I determine what is reasonable. Is it that they meet at least one of the standards of the neg's T shell? Is it that there is a qualified source with an intent to define that thinks they are reasonable? Is it that there is a key part of the topic literature that won't get talked about for the season unless they are a topical affirmative?
If you want me to vote on Topicality the 2nr (or NR in LD) should be that. Spending less than the entire 2nr on a theoretical issue and expecting me to vote on it is absurd. I would only vote neg in that world if the affirmative is also badly handling it.
Counterplans- I love counterplans. I typically believe the negative should be able to have conditional, non-contradicting advocacies but I can be persuaded as to why this is bad. Typically this will need to be proven through some type of specific in round problem besides time skew. I think that the permutations should be more than "perm: do both, perm: do the plan, perm: do the CP."
Kritiks- I am not as deep on some of this literature as you are. You should take the time in CX or a block overview to explain the story of the K. Performance style debate is interesting to me but you will have to explain your framework from the beginning. I probably tend to be more easily swayed by the framework arguments about clash compared to exclusion. I will tend to default to preferring traditional types of debate.
Politics- I like good politics debates better than probably any other argument. I like interesting stories about specific senators, specific demographics for elections d/as, etc. With this being said, I would rather see a fully developed debate about the issue. I tend to evaluate this debate as a debate about uniqueness. Teams that do the work tend to get rewarded.
My perfect debate- Without a doubt the perfect round is a 2nr that goes for a pic (or advantage cp with case neg) and a politics d/a as a net benefit.
*Questions of "abuse" - This is a soapbox issue for me. In a world of significant actual abuse (domestic abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, bullying, etc.), the use of the word to describe something as trivial as reading a topical counterplan, going over cross-x time by 3 seconds, or even not disclosing seems incredibly problematic. There are alternative words like problematic, anti-educational, etc. that can adequately describe what you perceive to be the issue with the argument. Part of this frustration is also due to the number of times I have heard debaters frustrate community judges by saying they were abused when the other team read an argument they didn't like. Please don't use this phrase. You can help make debate better.
Paperless and speaker point stuff-
I used to debate in a world where most people had their evidence on paper and the one thing that I believe has been lost through that is that people tend to look more at the speech doc than listening to the debate. I love paperless debate, just make sure that you are focusing on the speech itself and not relying exclusively on the document that the other team has sent you. Flowing well will often result in improved speaker points.
If you are using an online format to share evidence (e.g. speechdrop or an email chain), please include me in the loop. If you are using a flashdrive, I don't need to see it.
I don't expect teams to have analytics on the speech document (but if you are asked by your opponent for equity or accessibility reasons to have them there, please do so). I do expect teams to have every card, in order, on the speech document. If you need to add an additional card (because you've been doing speed drills), that's fine - just do it at the end of the speech.
If you let me know that your wiki is up to date including this round (both aff and neg) and send me the link, I'll also bump speaker points by .2.
Masks stuff for in person (last updated 11/20/21)
We still exist in a world of COVID. If this changes, I will update this part of my paradigm. You should plan to wear a mask when you aren't speaking - even if the tournament or your coach doesn't force you to. You are welcome to take it off while you are speaking, but please put it back on when you finish your speech. If anyone in the room (either team, a spectator, another judge, etc.) asks you to wear a mask while you are speaking then you should. I will have my mask on the entire round. This is an issue of safety. If you are asked to wear a mask, and you choose not to, it is an auto-loss with the lowest speaker points that I am allowed to give.
Along those lines, with the experiences that many have gone through in the last year, please don't make arguments like "death good," "disease good," etc. While there may be cards on those things, they very violent for many people right now. Please help make debate a safe space for people who are coming out of a very difficult time.
My name is pronounced loo-CHI-uh. It's mad weird when debaters who don't know me use my name in rounds, but that's clearly not going to stop, so please at least pronounce it correctly. She/ they. Yes, I want to be on the email chain: lucia.scott at barstowschool.org
Previous debating: K-State (2013-2016), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2009-2013)
Coaching: Barstow (2018-Present), Baylor (2017-2018), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2013-2017)
For everything I say I don't like in my paradigm, there's at least one round (probably more) where I've voted on that thing. At the end of the day, my goal is to intervene as little as possible. Like a lot of judges, I enjoy debates when you enjoy debates. I'd rather see you do your thing and do it well. Might I be grumpy if I have to judge a 10 off debate with a Deleuze K, Gregorian calendar procedural, anarchy counterplan, and whatever that omnipotent AI that's going to kill us all is called? Yes. So grumpy. Will I vote on these arguments if you win the debate? Also yes. Will it affect your speaks? No. Grumpy adults shouldn't get to determine what debaters do.
I appreciate scrappy debate. If you like to use tricks to win, fine by me. If you think an argument is silly, it shouldn't be too hard to beat.
What I don't appreciate is cowardly debate. I don't love watching rounds where the core strat seems to be defending nothing. Debate is about arguments and controversy. Embrace it. It's awesome.
Tech over truth, but the less true an argument is, the less tech you need to beat it. This is particularly true of 1NC strats the just shove a bunch of garbage non-arguments in to try to freak out the 2A.
My threshold for explanation on un-answered arguments is incredibly low. I don't think the 2A should have to spend time explaining the internal links of an advantage that has one impact d card on it, or the 2N should have to spend time explaining a dropped alt. You do, however, need to tell me what the IMPLICATION of those dropped or mostly dropped arguments is in order for me to know how to evaluate them and how they interact with other flows.
Quality over quantity; what constitutes quality is, of course, up for debate.
Questions are not arguments. I see way too many 2NRs/2ARs that say, "What does the alt/aff even do?" instead of just explaining why it wouldn't do anything.
I read cards to make sure you aren't clipping, but what they actually say doesn't factor into my decision unless there's some contestation by the debaters about the content of the evidence. Don't let a team get away with reading garbage cards that don't say anything. I'm not going to make that argument for you.
I get grumpy about arbitrary interps of theoretical arguments (conditionality, ROB's, really anything). This means I do think "conditionality bad" is a better interp than "they get three conditional advocacies." Relax, I don't actually think conditionality is bad, but I don't think there's really a difference between three vs four or four vs five or five vs six conditional advocacies.
With the exception of conditionality, I default to theoretical objections are reasons to reject the argument or reasons that justify you also doing some theoretically illegit thing, like "perm do the counterplan."
For topicality, you need impacts. You're saying this team should lose the debate. That's a pretty steep punishment. You need to win more than just a violation here. I feel like a lot of debate in high school has devolved to just "if you win the violation, you win" type of debating. Standards/reasons to prefer are a thing for a reason. What affs would be allowed under their interp that you shouldn't have to prepare for? What off case positions do you lose access to?
I think "lit checks abuse" solves 90% of policy-based limits arguments. Aff teams should also make more arguments about why whatever ground the neg loses isn't ground they should have had in the first place. I think big topics are better than small topics provided those big topics have good neg generics. Politics is not a good neg generic.
Reasonability, to me, means that the neg had a reasonable amount of predictable ground, not that the aff is "reasonably topical," whatever that means. I don't think that means the aff's counter interp has to be "reasonable."
My favorite part of debate. I can be persuaded to (and even like to) vote neg on presumption, but the work done needs to be specific. I'm more likely to assign a low or no risk of the aff if there's a compelling internal link debate than if the 1AR dropped the third impact D card that's non-specific and two lines long.
I also think a well-leveraged aff can do a lot on other sheets of paper, especially when comparative work with the neg's offense is done.
Big pet peeve of mine is treating the aff like it's just one big page if it isn't. E.g. the 1AC had an advantage and a solvency contention, but the 1N just says "case" in their roadmap. Where on case? If it doesn't matter, you're not doing very good case debate. Same thing with the 2AC order. Why did you make the 1AC more than one page if you're not going to treat the pages as separate???
Your 2AC and 1AR advantage overviews are probably a waste of time in front of me. Overviews should frame the debate, not just extend 1AC cards.
This is where "quality over quantity" and "the less true and argument is, the less tech you need to beat it" become really important. Affs can beat bad disads on defense if affs explain why that defense is more important than everything the neg is saying (same goes for the neg with bad aff advantages). In terms of impact calc, I think probability is generally the most important. Zero risk is a thing. I default to uniqueness determines the direction of the link.
On balance, I think counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive. A 2A who's good at theory can win process counterplans just go away with enough work. I think counterplans should have solvency advocates, especially if you've added seven planks just designed to fiat out of solvency deficits. I don't kick the counterplan unless the 2NR tells me to. I am willing to vote aff on zero risk of a net benefit even if the counterplan solves 100% of the aff.
I don't have any preferences as far as whatever lit base you like to read in debates. I'm not afraid of the big bad Baudrillard.
My threshold for a link here seems to be comparatively low. I think this "links must be to the plan text" argument people keep making is absolutely ridiculous. If you get to weigh the aff, I think the neg should get links to the advantages.
My threshold for the alt is relatively high. Examples are good. I don't necessarily think you need to win the alt to win the k, but it's probably a good idea to have an alt. Framework strats are also viable in front of me. If you've won the 1AC is anti-black or a settler project, and you're winning your framework arguments, you probably win the debate. Under no circumstances should the aff let the neg get away with fiating the alt. That's absurd.
Framework arguments that compare world-views (i.e. "extinction outweighs epistemology") are far more compelling than framework arguments about procedural fairness (i.e. "the K is cheating"). I can be persuaded not to weigh the aff, but you really have to commit to this strategy.
For the 2AC, stick to the things that are really important. Don't read things/ make arguments you'll never go for unless they're actually dropped. It's a waste of time you don't have. Always ask about floating piks. It's usually only a floating pik if you don't ask about it.
I think it's reasonable for K affs to say that all they have to do is prove their method is good; if the method is good, I should vote for the aff. I am generally not persuaded by "winning is key to our method" arguments. Probably means you've got a bad method. Similarly, not of fan of consciousness-raising arguments. I don't know why that means I should vote for you.
I think T violations that deal with substantive parts of the resolution are better than framework violations about the fg. I think affs should be making the argument that any education claims about the fg are non-unique; it's part of the topic every year. I think the neg should make arguments about why policy education on this specific topic is good.
Anything can be an impact if you tell me it's an impact and explain why it outweighs your opponent's impacts. I generally think, for the neg, fairness-based impacts provide the best external offense, and education-based impacts provide the best in-rounds to the aff. Both the aff and the neg should be doing some comparative work about how education and fairness implicate one another.
On balance, I think impact turn strats are better than counter interp strats for the aff in these debate. I think ethics arguments are the best offense for the aff. Affs can also internal link turn the majority of the neg's standards if they spend the time doing it instead of extending a wreck of random disads that are all basically the same.
I think the TVA and switch side are the best defense to the aff's impacts. I conceptualize TVAs as counterplans (an alternate mechanism to solve the same impacts while avoiding the net benefit, e.g. under limiting). That means I hold a TVA to similar standards; I think it should have to solve all or most of the aff and that the TVA should have a solvency advocate. Half the TVAs I hear aren't topical; not enough aff teams make this argument.
New word Ks in the 2AR - okay, so this is tricky. I think if you do this, I think it needs to be the whole 2AR, and I think you should be held to an exceptionally high explanation standard. I think you should have to pre-empt the 3NR the neg doesn't get.
Arguments about micro-aggressions - Fine as long as you explain the implication for this debate/ perhaps the community as a whole. Tell me what you want me to do about it.
Arguments that compare conditionality to structural privilege - Fine as long as you warrant them. Just saying, "This is the logic of..." isn't enough; tell me why.
So clipping. If you have somehow misrepresented what you have read/ if there is not a way to tell from the speech doc what was read, you have clipped. I've had some recent judging experiences that are moving me toward clarity being a clipping issue. If I can't understand any of the words in your cards, and it seems like this is to get in more cards, that's probably clipping. If I catch clipping, I will make sure I'm sure (usually during prep time), and then stop the debate. If a debater accuses someone of clipping, the debate stops right then. If the challenger is correct, they win. If they are not correct, they lose. I don't really know what to do with speaks here, tbh. I will give the person who clipped a 0, but everyone else is probably going to get somewhere between a 28.5 and a 29.5.
I start at a 28.5 and move up or down from there. If I think you should clear, I'll give you at least a 29.
-yes email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
-College freshman. Not doing college debate, but passively involved.
-Did policy debate in high school for 3.5 years from 2017-2020. Went to Mich 7 week twice (CCPW + BFHPRS). Participated in the 2019-20 TOC (Arms Sales). Did not debate in the second half of the 2020-21 season (Criminal Justice Reform).
-Coaching Iowa City West this year in my free time, but not too deeply involved.
-Have judged 5 debates on the Water topic.
-Have judged 5 varsity debates.
-Have judged 14 novice debates.
-You will benefit from going just a tad bit slower than your usual speed this season.
-Keep in mind - I might be inexperienced with the topic/judging, but I am experienced with policy debate.
-More experience with policy stuff than K, but not a hack, and think the division between the two is overstated
-List of generic 2NRs in order from safest to riskiest: Process CP + Politics + Case, Process CP + internal net benefit, Politics + Case, topic K, Impact Turn(s), Topicality.
This is assuming all were equally well prepared and debated - if you either are significantly better prepared or have more practice with one of these, you should probably stick to that.
A specific strategy would be a better bet than any of these.
-That said, I really do find impact turns of all kinds pretty interesting, including spark and death good - but don't read racism, or any other -isms good unless you want negative infinity speaks
-I do not hesitate to vote on "cheapshot" arguments (assuming a complete argument was made, even if blippy).
For example - if the 2AC dropped an ASPEC argument in a T shell and it looked something like:
"Not specifying an agent beyond the USFG in the 1AC is a voting issue (claim) for fairness and education (impact) because it allows for 2AC respecification which spikes out of agent-based arguments (warrant)"
Then I am likely voting neg so long as they 1 - have the same claim, warrant, and impact in the block and the 2NR and 2 - sufficiently respond to "we get new 1AR responses"
A 1NC shell more incomplete than that OR not meeting the above 2 criteria = I will happily vote aff instead.
-Recent high school debaters that I found to be the most persuasive and would give very high speaker points who have videos of them debating online so you can see what I mean: Rafael Pierry (Monta Vista PS), Dhruv Sudesh (Monta Vista PS), Aden Barton (MBA), Giorgio Rabbini (North Broward MR), Nicholas Mancini (North Broward MR), Grace Kessler (Washburn Rural KP).
-I'd prefer if you demonstrated a basic level of respect for everyone present. Not doing this is the only way to get very bad speaks.
-Tech > Truth / my personal beliefs - but I want to write a helpful paradigm, so I've included the section below.
How you can adapt if you're:
a) Policy aff
Do impact comparison I guess. Some judges really hate certain DA's like rider or something, but I'm not so rigid about this, so theoretical objections to DA's need a deeper explanation than "the DA is nonintrinsic so it is not intrinsic and non-intrinsicness is a voting issue".
I HATE it when the 2AC spews a bunch of made-up solvency deficits that are just not in the evidence. This is one issue where I really care about evidence quality. Limit yourself to a few, good deficits instead of many non-sensical ones because otherwise when the 2NR says "this is not a real deficit" I will be persuaded regardless of your spin.
I have voted aff on the only condo debate I've judged so far, so it is not a bad choice.
Against a process CP (whatever that means), these are your most persuasive arguments for me (best to worst): a carded solvency deficit, perm + model of competition (functional + textual > functional only), offense, a theoretical objection alone (without a perm + model of competition).
You should have a defense of the aff separate from its fiated consequences to use as offense vs the K in case you don't win the framework interp of weighing the plan vs the alt - otherwise just don't lose framework, win a deficit to the alt, and win impact comparison = I will probably vote aff
Reasonability is a viable strategy but you need to at least make a race to the bottom/substance crowd out argument. If all the 2AC says is something like "prefer reasonability -- good is good enough", you're probably not going to win it because this doesn't have much of a warrant or an impact (unlike the ASPEC example above).
Soft left affs
You should absolutely invest in framing. Obviously, you need it to win vs an extinction DA. I will likely be persuaded for evaluating consequences so don't go for deontology or something. Critiques of magnitude times probability alone are also insufficient absent a viable alternative (I haven't found most to be persuasive, but still this is better than telling me to ignore consequences). However, simply saying the risk of the neg's existential scenario is exceedingly low to the point it should be disregarded (Think: Infinitarian paralysis, butterfly effect type arguments) is pretty compelling. There is no persuasive way to actually reduce the risk of the DA except making substantive defensive arguments. This doesn't include conjunctive fallacy, but it could include reading evidence that broadly says the risk of extinction is low. Coupling that with regular DA answers will be best, but I don't think it's necessary.
Overall I will make my decision very similar to how Brandon Stras would (https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_person_id=41283). TLDR = framing-centric.
b) K aff:
The most persuasive approach for me would be to have a real counter-interp and win the neg's fairness stuff is just fluffy word salad and your model solves real impacts that theirs does not.
I don't have much judging experience with these debates so basic things like organization and clear line by line will be vital if you don't want me to get lost in the sauce. I would evaluate these pretty similar to a plan vs CP+DA debate where the alt = CP and links = DAs. Impact comparison would matter if you're saying the alt doesn't solve your offense. Explaining how the perm solves each of the links is important.
a) vs Policy Aff
Absent any instruction, I will evaluate the plan vs the alternative (i.e. the world if the plan happens vs if the alt happens). If you don’t want me to do that, that's fine, but you absolutely need to make it very clear what you want me to do - ideally in the form of a framework debate. If you win an alternative framework, then mitigate any aff offense that isn't about it's fiated consequences and I will vote neg. If the aff wins plan vs alt, then you need to win your alt solves their impact OR your impact outweighs theirs on face.
I don't "default to precision" or whatever. Ideally, you'd have justification for whether precision/accuracy matters most or debate-ability (aka limits/ground) matter most - And unless you win your interp is better on both fronts, this is what my decision will be based on - but absent any instruction on this I will just evaluate their combined risk of offense to make a decision.
You should have a coherent argument for why reasonability is bad, defense to causing substance crowd out, and impact comparison between the two.
Be liberal with your use of fiat.
I feel pretty confident evaluating most competition debates.
Answer condo seriously.
I don't have much to say here. Good for generic stuff. Do not really have a super high bar for ev quality generally here (unless told otherwise).
I probably have a soft spot for good, in-depth case debating... who doesn't?
framing please (see under 1. Aff -> soft left for more details) - I would vote aff in a CP+DA strategy where you lose framing and the CP doesn't solve 100% of case (aka zero deficits) - but I would vote neg if you win framing and a non-zero risk of the DA even without any mitigation of aff offense
b) vs K Aff
I'm not a fairness hack so don't be deterred from a skills impact. Overall, I don't have a strong preference for hearing a skills or fairness argument, but I think the latter
1 - requires you to explain fairness well (I've seen debates where I'd be underwhelmed by the neg here, although never judged one myself)
2 - win a much higher level of defense to aff arguments
Lastly, if the aff is reading a plan and a counter-interp then you really should invest in winning a violation instead of just asserting one in the block
This can be a strategic choice - Just don't make it super messy in the block please - I'd prefer you have a few clear links/pieces of offense instead of a bunch of shoddily extended arguments/streams of consciousness
I tried to write a paradigm following advice from https://the3nr.com/2011/09/02/judge-philosophy-guidelines/
My preferred pronouns are they/them.
I debated in the NDT-CEDA policy circuit for 4 years.
I believe the topic is always being negotiated, not static. Much like a German Shepherd, framework is not always policing, but it may lend itself to such a service. Debates come equipped with norms, but those are not law.
High School 2020-21
Speed is fine, but go only as fast as you can handle. Conditionality is generally okay. Everyone in the debate should be timing. I have ADHD so I am terrible at remembering to press start. Rely on my timer at your own peril.
I like to hear critiques explained through history and current events. Examples are the easiest way to make a complex concept simple enough to evaluate in the short span of time we have together.
Police apologists whose arguments rely on the fear of the criminal will gain little traction on my ballot. Discussion of crime requires nuance as it easily becomes anti-black very quickly given the history of politicians using thinly veiled "tough on crime" platforms to wrestle over power. Read the links below and avoid an automatic L.
The Willie Horton Ad
Hi, I’m Will Soper. He/him/his. Wsoper03@gmail.com
I debate for the University of Kansas. I led a lab at JDI this past summer. I've judged 60+ debates this year and I'm currently coaching for Blue Valley North.
I'll flow the debate on paper.
I have an aversion to bad arguments. I think most debaters understand what these are: hidden aspec in the 1NC, reading paradoxes as solvency arguments, turning random things into voting issues, etc. If your ideal negative strategy involves more nonsense than specific discussions of the affirmative, the way we think about debate may not align. Here are some arguments I will certainly never vote for:
1. Schopenhauer-style death good. These are arguments like "life is suffering so we should all die."
2. Floating piks which are not clearly flagged before the 2NR.
3. Arguments which you phrase or explain in a way to intentionally make your opponent misunderstand them.
4. "Racism/sexism good" and other clearly offensive arguments.
Evidence matters a lot to me. Debaters should strive to connect the claims and warrants they make to pieces of qualified evidence. A complete argument is claim, warrant, data. If one team is reading qualified evidence on an issue and the other team is not, I'll almost certainly conclude the team reading evidence is correct. I read a lot of evidence after debates.
I care about author qualifications/funding/bias more than most judges. I'm willing to disregard evidence if a team raises valid criticisms of it.
Kritiks. Specific negative kritiks are some of my favorite arguments to judge. When teams don't read a plan and answer framework, I am much more persuaded by a clear counter-vision of what educational debates look like and offensive justifications for that vision, rather than arguments that say topicality as an argument is bad (t = policing/exclusion is not very persuasive to me).
The more I think about offense/defense, the more I think presumption is a thing. If you point out that your opponent doesn't have evidence to support an essential part of their argument (not having a "PC key" warrant in a political capital disad, for instance), I'm willing to grant that argument zero risk.
I think a lot about conditionality a lot but I wouldn't say I'm a condo bad hack. I think the best aff offense is strategy skew and the best neg offense is neg flex. Just defend what you do and be intentional.
Things which will make your speaker points higher: exceptional clarity, numbering your arguments, good cross-x moments which make it into a speech, specific and well-researched strategies, developing arguments as the debate goes on, developing and improving arguments over the course of a season (if I judge you multiple times), not being a jerk to a team with much less skill/experience than you. I decide speaker points.
I default to not judge kicking the CP absent an argument why I should. You need to give a reason why judge kick is good, not just say "squo is a logical option" in 1NC CX.
I default to presumption flipping aff if the neg goes for a non-squo world absent an argument about how presumption should flip.
You're welcome to post-round or email me if you have questions or concerns about my decision.
"I like teams who are clear, teams who flow, and teams who aren't block reliant." -Brian Box
FRED STERNHAGEN Concordia College; 36 years coaching; Spring 2018
For e-mail chains: Fred.Sternhagen@gmail.com
This First Section is the Quick Overview
Things I’ll Try to Do
1. I have no approved list of positions. My commitment is to listen to the debate that the debaters produce.
2. I try to preference decisions made in the last rebuttals. I think developing critical thinking is a (perhaps the) biggest benefit of the activity. Making choices is very important to critical thinking. So, I will try to hold you responsible for the choices you make in the last two rebuttals. If you don't talk about it in the 2NR or the 2NR, I'm going to try to not think about it. To me, this seems to emphasize and reward critical thinking by the debaters.
3. I will try to privilege decision calculus developed by the debaters. Even if I think the way you compare and weigh issues is pretty silly, I’ll try to use that decision calculus if the other team doesn’t present an alternative. If you don't do that comparative work (and few debaters do) I'll need to do the decision calculus work. You might not like the way I do it--but someone needs to do those comparisons.
1. People tell me I’m quite easy to read non-verbally. I certainly try to be. I try to give you a lot of response. So, if you pay attention, that should help you.
2. I can get irritated by people who seem to presume that they are so much smarter than their partner that they need to do all the cross ex answers. Now, I'd really prefer a complete and/or accurate cross ex answer to an answer that will mess up the debate. So, if you need to answer to accomplish that, please do so. However, please think carefully about whether you are presuming your partner is not competent enough to give the answer. Do you really want to say that?
GENERAL ADVICE: 1) I don’t want to read a lot of evidence after the round. While I do have concerns about preserving orality, my bigger concern is that judges often construct arguments that the debaters did not. If I have to read a bunch of stuff to figure out what you are saying—that’s a problem for you. 3) I will not read speech documents during the round. This is a consequence of my concern for judges constructing arguments (what we used to call "judge intervention") 4) Portions of many speeches are unintelligible to me. Frankly, I think that is true for many people and that a lot of people fake understanding. I think the major reason debaters swap their speeches back and forth is that without that—you wouldn’t know what is going on. Maybe not, maybe it is only me. In any case, you would be well served when debating in front of me to be much more concerned about being understandable. 5) I like clear claims. I REALLY like clear claims. If your tags are over nine words long, you should not presume that I can flow that. I’ll pick 6 to 9ish words as a rendition of your claim. It is very much in your self-interest to influence what I perceive to be your claim. 6) Clear precise signposting is likely to be very helpful to you. I like arguments to line up. 7) Following transitions between arguments can be difficult for me. My higher pitch hearing is not very good. Grunting “next” might not let me know you have moved to another argument. 8) I think most contemporary debaters are simply horrid at refutation. Repeating what was said earlier is not an extension. Reading more evidence is not refutation. Tell me HOW you win an argument.
CRITIAL ARGUMENTS: 1) The philosophical issues seem important to me. 2) Still, a lot of critique positions strike me as just silly or, even more likely, some kind of incoherent philo-psycho-babble. I think you would be well served to think about what separates a critique from other kinds of arguments. Just reading some cards that mention a philosophical concept does not mean that the position functions as a different kind of argument. 3) My desire for the educational functioning of the activity still controls the situation and IF you were able to convince me that critique positions are particularly bad for our game, I'd want to get rid of them. However, you need to remember that I don't start with the assumptions that critiques are bad. You need to explain and illustrate why that would be so. More specifically, appeals that seem to merely call for a rejection of weird stuff are not likely to be persuasive with me. There’s still a lot of 1969 under my thinning hair….. 4) While the Concordia debaters have been far “left” of center for some time—that was never my plan. It just kind of happened. I’ve never told debaters what positions they may or may not work on. I’ve just sort of been taken along for the ride. 5) Mutual preference judging means I’ve heard way more critical than traditional debates for some time. You should remember that if you are running traditional positions. I’ll probably enjoy hearing them—but I’ll be less practiced with them than a lot of judges. Be careful about assuming I’ll fill in gaps for you.
THEORY ARGUMENTS AND OTHER PROCEDURALS: I’ve never been opposed to these arguments. However, I don’t vote for them much. I think there are two reasons. First, usually there is not much in the way of support/grounds for the claims. When debaters don’t have a card to read—they often don’t know how to support a claim. Secondly, there is usually a need to do more impact comparison. An affirmative decreases ground. Okay, what is the result of that? What bad happens? Is the result enough to outweigh what the affirmative claims as the advantage to their approach?
The rest of this is stuff I’ve distributed for many years. I still think reading it would be helpful—but there isn’t much new from this point on. Some of it is repetative with parts reworked above. The parts are meant to be consistent.
OVERVIEW: My views about what needs to be emphasized in contemporary academic debate have remained stable for several years. The first is PRECISION OF ARGUMENT. It seems to me that debate should train students to more precisely advance and identify claims. It is hard for me to regard sloppily worded claims on the nature of, “case analysis disproves that” as representative of good argumentation. Second is lack of COMPLETENESS. I think speed per se, the words per minute uttered, is rarely an important problem. Rather, utterances become so truncated that they cross below the threshold of what constitutes an argument or delivery makes it very hard for listeners to process--to attend to and remember--the arguments. Third is lack of COHERENCE in the reasons debaters advance. We've heard a lot about the need to “tell a story.” Much research converges on the conclusion that people process information within structures; that for information to be meaningful, it must be connected to other information. My firm belief is that debaters need to spend MUCH more time and effort considering how separate arguments in a debate fit together into a coherent whole. Particularly important is comparison of arguments and evaluation of their relative importance. Winning an argument isn't that hard. Ability to show why the arguments you've won are important to the whole round is the mark of a truly good debater. Instead, debaters usually treat all arguments as equally important. There is little attempt to discuss underlying assumptions or overarching issues. While overviews at the beginning of a rebuttal are better than NO attempt to provide comparisons I often find them of little use because they are left divorced from the "line-by-line." In my view, really effective debating would INTEGRATE comparisons with the specific refutation. That is, the debaters would win the particular arguments and then explain the importance of those positions rather than separating out the "importance" step into a separate overview. Also, I suspect that overviews are often used to advance new arguments so be sure you clearly connect overview arguments to somewhere else on the flow
GENERAL IMPLICATIONS; FRAMEWORK FOR DECISION MAKING In an effort to promote precision, completeness and coherence in argument, I have adopted what can be termed a ”non-interventionist” stance, holding that debaters should be given credit for only the arguments they ACTUALLY PRESENT. I attempt to place an obligation upon debaters for not merely presenting ``positions,'' but to create MEANING. To promote decision making by the debaters, I take the role of an “educational gamesperson'”. The “educational” reflects my desire for the outcome of the process. The “games” term reflects my view that the educational end result is best served by allowing argument about any issue. I promise to listen (to the best of my ability) to anything. Since education is my desired end result of the game, educational implication is one fruitful area from which to develop justifications for theoretic practices. It is certainly not the only area from which to develop such justifications. I purposely avoid terming myself “tabula rasa'' since it is hard for me to believe a blank slate possible or even desirable. What does a blank slate tell the tab room if no one develops any decision rules? The predispositions which I knowingly bring into a room fall into these general categories
ARGUMENT PRECONCEPTIONS: Remember that my definition of an argument is ”cognitive” and focuses on meaning. That means I'm actively trying not to intervene and finish titles, explanations, applications,... What you say out loud is the argument made. Even if I could make the argument more effective by altering the claim, it will not be rewritten for you. You should also make your own applications of arguments. If an argument on disad 1 applies to disad 3, you need to tell my why. Even if the link is ``clearly'' the same. You need to tell me that. However, intervention will happen after 2AR. I will make a real effort to catch new arguments in 2AR. A lot new happens in 2AR and it is automatically thrown out. While a smart disco can strike me as a thing of true beauty, it is risky to grant things out in 2AR since that may be perceived as new. Comparisons of positions are pretty safe. In another effort to minimize intervention, I try to call for evidence only if it was missed through my error or if there is a dispute about the nature of the evidence.
COUNTERPLANS: 1) I think a lot of debaters don’t really “get” competition. You need to address the question, “what forces a choice between the two systems.” 2) I am not terribly interested in questions about things like what it means to “advocate a perm.” Focus on the competition question.
TOPICALITY PRECONCEPTIONS; At the start of the round topicality is an absolute voting issue, extratopicality means no accruing advantages. Again, all this can be fruitfully argued.
PERSONAL PREDISPOSITIONS; Don't be obnoxious to anyone. This would never be consciously applied to a decision but it sure will be applied to your points! Playing with the format of the activity should be argued only as a last resort. This view of game playing does not thrill me. It would take a lot of educational benefit to outweigh the impact upon the poor tournament director. When in doubt - ASK!!
A Couple of General Things About My Orientation to Debate
1. I’m a lot less interested in what you debate about than how. You debate. An example. It is true that I often find the subject matter of politics disads, big federalism positions, etc. to be rather boring. However, that does not mean you would be better off not running such positions. This semester I judged a round where the neg did a big, very predictable Bush credibility disad. But I really enjoyed that debate because they did it so well! They were technically clean, had good evidence, were direct in their refutation. The way they debated was much more important to me than what they talked about.
2. Most debaters don’t have a good sense of their own limits in regard to fast delivery. Consequently, they regularly exceed what they can handle. I’m very convinced of that.
a. That does not mean I would like debate to be slower. I know where to find extemp speeches if I wanted to listen to them. It does mean that most debaters would be more effective in front of me if they would be clearer/slower.
b. Articulation is rarely the important variable. Seems to me the problem usually has to do with people moving out of English into some kind of truncated debate-speak that doesn’t make much sense.
I did high school debate at Lawrence Free State (2012-2015). I've been out of debate since then, judging one or two tournaments a year.
I'm happy to listen to anything you want to read with two caveats:
1. This is my first tournament this year, so please define/explain any acronyms you use when you use them so I can keep up with you.
2. When I was a debater I didn't do much in the way or K's or K Affs. Feel free to read one of those, but I will likely need a bit of help getting to understand it. Around 15-30 seconds before or after you introduce the argument to summarize it should be good for me.
Speed can be about an 8/10 or slower, whatever your preference, just don't go faster than you're capable of going.
Feel free to ask any specific questions you have.
Updated Feb 2017
Yes, I want to be on the email chain, email@example.com.
If you are a team that has been judged by me in the past there aren’t many changes. This is mostly an update b/c I haven’t looked at this thing in like 7 years.
I don’t really have strong argumentative preferences. Do what you do best and I will give you my best attempt to understand what you are arguing. Complete arguments have a claim, warrant and impact (reason it matters in the debate). Incomplete arguments rarely make it into my decision.
I flow and I don’t really read speech doc until I need a specific piece of evidence at the end. I value line-by-line refutation and get irritated when arguments don’t line. Overview proliferation is annoying. Most of those args can just be made on the lbl. I also flow on paper so undeclared overviews destroy my flow.
Good impact analysis helps my decision. Spend a little time talking about timeframes and probabilities instead of just magnitude. Often times mag is a tie, so I need something to clarify the extinction v extinction debate, obviously.
I look mad all the time. I’m not actually mad. It has no bearing on how I feel about the debate or you as debaters. If I am mad at you, you will know it.
Links are links not Disads to XYZ. If you win a link that means the argument competes, it isn’t a DA to anything on its own.
Debaters should handle their own CXs. If they need help that is fine, but they should at least be given the chance to answer questions in their own CX.
You are 18-25 year olds, figure out how email works. Excessive time sending email will result in prep time restarting.
I find it kind of sad that debaters aren’t funny anymore. I reward humor with points. Obviously, you should consider audience and appropriateness but don’t take everything so seriously all the time.
I don’t really have anything substantive to say here. You can outweigh the aff with a good disad you don’t always have to have a counter-plan but you do have to win case defense. It also helps if you explain the warrants of the case defense in relation to the aff impact claims (instead of just reading cards and letting me sort it out). In DA outweighs the aff rounds, you must have internals between your DA and the case impacts OR some really good defense. You also need to spend a lot of time on internals and TF/Prob differentials.
I pretty much adjudicate K debates like I do disads, did you prove a link and does the impact outweigh. Also typically in K rounds I will ask myself at the end of the round if I can explain in plain English why I voted on this argument (to the losing team). In other words if you can’t explain a K in simple English it becomes more difficult (not impossible) for me to vote for you. Alternatives don’t have to solve the aff if they solve the K and it outweighs the aff.
Self-serving roles of the ballot are annoying. My ballot typically indicates who did the better debating. Sometimes that better debating means that you convinced your opponents that the ballot means something different, but for real that ballot doesn’t change just b/c you said so. Go ahead and play the game but like all other arguments you are going to have to win this. A simple assertion of a new role is not enough. If you want to change the role of the ballot you are going to have to have a rationale for why your role is good for debate/the round/has some justification that goes beyond “you want to win the round”.
It is a voter. I usually evaluate on competing interps. I can be persuaded by reasonability however I think that these args are deployed weakly these days. Reasonability is a value claim and as such you need to assert the value (i.e. we are reasonable) and then explain how to evaluate reasonableness (how do I recognize if something is reasonable). The aim of this should be to take the onus off of my moral system of what is reasonable/fair to me and put it more on an objective system for recognizing reasonability in relation to community norms. It helps if you have a vision for debate and can defend it and don’t just treat T/FW as an analytic disad.
I often struggle with theory debates because people blaze through them with no regard for pen time. If you want to win theory debate you have to have a clear link and impact and explain why the impact should merit the ballot. I won’t read your blocks, if I can’t understand it from the speech and my flow then it doesn’t count.
I debated for 3 years @ Washburn Rural
I debated for 4 years @ Emporia State (NDT '08)
I am the Director of Debate at Lawrence Free State HS (4th year at FS, 12th year as a head coach, 20th year in Policy Debate)
*Please add me to the email chain if one exists: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will do my best to answer any questions that you have before the debate.
-I don't care how fast you talk, but I do care how clear you talk. I'm unlikely to clear you but it will be obvious if I can't understand you because I won't be flowing and I communicate non-verbally probably more than most other judges. This is particularly relevant in online debate.
-I don't care what arguments you read, but I do care whether you are making arguments, responding to opposition arguments, and engaging in impact calculus (your arg v their arg, not just your arg) throughout the debate.
-I don't care what aff you read, if you defend a plan, or if you debate on the margins of the topic, but I do care if you have offensive justifications for your decisions, and if you solve.
-If you're reading generic link arguments or CP solvency cards - it will matter a great deal how well you can contextual that generic evidence to the specific affirmative plan.
-I think teams should be willing to go for theory more.
Some top level thoughts:
1) "New in the 2" is bad for debate. Barring an affirmative theoretical objection - I'll evaluate you arguments and not intervene despite my bias. But, if the other team makes an argument about it - I will disregard all new positions read in the negative block.
2) Neg ground on this topic is not very good. I'm sympathetic to the negative on theoretical objections of counterplans as a result.
3) If you're flowing the speech doc and not the speech itself you deserve to be conned in to answering arguments that were never made in the debate, and to lose to analytic arguments (theory and otherwise) that were made while you were busy staring at your screen.
4) People should assume their opponent's are winning some arguments in the last rebuttals. A decision to assume you're winning everything nearly guarantees that you are incorrect and minimizes the likelihood that you're doing relevant impact calculus. I really think "even-if" statements are valuable for final rebutalists.
-My speaker point scale has tended to be:
29+ - you should be in elimination debates at this tournament, and probably win one or more of those rounds
28.5 - you are competing for a spot to clear but still making errors that may prevent you from doing so. Average for the division/tournament.
28 - you are slightly below average for the division/tournament and need to spend some time on the fundamentals. Hopefully, I've outlined in my notes what those are.
27.5 - there were serious fundamental errors that need to be corrected.
Topicality- I really enjoy T debates, I think competing interpretations is probably true and find reasonability arguments to be uncompelling almost always. If you're not topical you should have an offensive reason that you're not. If you are topical then you should win why your vision of the resolution is superior to the negatives.
Critiques- K debaters tend to spend an extraordinary amount of time on their link arguments, but no time on explaining how the alternative resolves them. Affirmatives tend to concede K tricks too often.
Counterplans - I like smart, aff specific counter plans more than generic, topic type counter plans. I understand the need for questions CPs on this topic.
Critical affs - I'm fine with K affs and deployed them often as a debater. I find it difficult to evaluate k affs with poorly developed "role of the ballot" args. I find "topical version of the aff" to be compelling regularly, because affs concede this argument. I have been more on the "defend topical action" side of the framework debate in the last two years or so. I'm not sure why, but poorly executed affirmative offense seems to be the primary cause.
Iowa City CW and debating in college at Harvard (sorta)
Coach for UC Lab
Yes, add me to the chain: email@example.com
Zoom Debate - if my camera is off or if I am not within the frame, don't start talking. I am not there and will miss your speech.
TLDR; I am a significantly worse judge than you think I am. My voting record is surprisingly neg leaning. I'm not a great flow. I *hate* framing contentions. I think being unclear is borderline clipping. Fine with all types of debates, but am generally preffed policy > clash > KvK. I generally give low speaks (I have never given above a 29.5, so far).
People who’ve influenced my views on debate: Vince Woolums, Bill Batterman, Maggie Berthiaume, Ellie Bennet, Nate Sawyer, Kyle Joseph.
Will hold the line against any bad ‘ism’. If this is a vague standard to anyone reading my paradigm, 1) Don’t pref me 2) Read a better argument.
You can insert ev, as long as it was read by the other team.
Small schools get higher speaks, as long as I see a sufficient amount of Orginal prep work.
If you don't send analytics you lose speaks (doesn't apply for stuff on your flow, duh). If you send speech docs where you deleted analytics you will lose extra speaks.
If a debate were 50-50 I would likely vote for the FW team, but no debate will ever be 50-50 and I'll determine who's winning in the most equitable way possible
Full Disclosure: I debated a cap k aff for most of my sophomore year and have only read aff with plantexts since (although most were dubiously topical). I was more on the side of T during hs, but actively work to judge these debates with as little ideology as possible.
That being said, here are some of my preferences:
I very much enjoy originality, I strongly believe Shree’s view on aff diversity. There are lots of defensible positions in every part of the library, you should branch out and read the most strategic ones.
You actually have to beat T-USfg – I slightly prefer C/I over Impact turns, but you do you.
For FW teams – have SSD or TVA – probably don’t need both
Clash/Negation > Fairness > Skills
I think debate is good however the activity is flawed. I generally feel like most impact turns about the community aren't based on whether or not you read a plan text.
Case args are almost always mishandled by the neg – yes the aff doesn’t fiat something but almost all K affs advocate some sort of future. Debate the methodology, the ‘imagined future’, and the contradictions that are in almost all K affs. It’s far less difficult than you think it is.
Please don’t be rude in these rounds (@policy hacks), just because it’s a clash debate does not justify being an ass.
Non-T strats are very fun. Especially Counter Advocacies
K v. K are my least familiar debates but I generally view it as a question of the perm. Be clear on how you want me to frame my ballot please!
Similar to K affs above, I enjoy diversity. The best affs are the ones you cut.
Most affs are trash – sometimes the best affs are trash. Make of that what you will.
I hate framing contentions – I have never seen an arguement in a framing card that has needed evidence before. If you can’t find framing cards that are specific to your aff, then your aff is most likely bad.
Impact turns are fun (not spark). Also, impact turning impact turns is very fun Probably will involve me reading a lot of ev.
I think I’m a pretty good judge for this. I had a lot of experience debating T on very dubious affs. Aff teams get away with murder when it comes to affs, negs should hold the line.
I’m very much on the side of Legal precision outweighs Debatability (the only reason something is debatable is because we know what the topic is)
Jurisdiction is just a reason why T is a voting issue
T is not genocide
Hidden theory dropped = insta dub (as long as you go for it)+ me being very sad - if you hide your theory on a flow that is not T expect low speaks
I have either debated or debated against basically every K that teams read nowadays. I am most familiar with Cap, Security, Anthro, Abolition, and Set Col.
I think self-described K debaters often get stuck with very little strategic K diversity (a different link card does not a new K make). As with K affs above, there are many parts of the critical library and many of them engage the aff better than most generic Ks.
I actively support arguments that engage in sedition.
I exclusively went for the Perm + link turn as a debater. If you wanna defend heg though, go for it.
K tricks are stupid and affs have a very low threshold to answer them.
Yes, your Baudrillard – I see no reason why debates over author quals are legitimate on other flows but not here.
Negative teams get away with murder when it comes to cp texts, affs should hold the line
generally fine for perm debates - impact calc and framing on the definitions is the best way to avoid judge choice from determining rounds
Condo is a reason to reject the team, it should be in every debate. That being said I read both 4000 conditional advocacies and 0 conditional advocacies in my career, so its really just a question of who debates it better
Perms are an affs best friend
Not much to say here – topic disads are better than ptx das but I get that its not possible to have topic disads sometimes.
Its generally a question of the link – tbh idrk if uq determines the link or vice versa – it shall be open to debate
Disad theory is pretty dumb, exceptions being fiat args vs ptx das
Member of the No Spark Society
I flow exclusively on paper
I won’t vote you down for memes but like they’re not good args
Please email me with questions after a debate if you have any
Any type of debate that’s not policy, I apologize profusely that you have to have me judging. I know nothing about your event. The closer you are to policy the better you will do in front of me.
FOR PF – Paraphrasing evidence is academically dishonest. I will NOT evaluate ANY piece of evidence that is paraphrased. Don't test me.
About me: I debated for 4 years at Mill Valley (2014-18) and I am now an assistant coach at Blue Valley West. I'm currently in my first year of OT school if that matters to anyone.
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Pre-KSHSAA state update:* I have not judged a lot of debates on the water topic, but I would say I am pretty familiar with the core of the topic from coaching.
I will evaluate anything you read to the very best of my ability. I try my best to leave any biases at the door and make a fair decision no matter what. However, my background and most experience is in policy-oriented arguments and therefore I will be best judging those debates.
Tech > truth, but warrants of arguments should still always be extended and explained. Evidence quality is still important to me, but I won't make arguments for you based on the ev that weren't made in the round.
Please tell me how to evaluate arguments in rebuttals so that I am not left to figure it out myself. I always try to intervene as little as possible when making my decisions and only vote on arguments based on what was said in the round. I try not to read evidence when writing my RFD unless it was an extremely important card to the outcome of the round and/or I can't resolve the debate without reading it. If you want me to read a piece of evidence, tell me that in the 2NR/2AR.
Please be kind. Debate is hard; there's no reason to make it even harder for others.
I don't have a lot of background knowledge in critical literature and therefore I will require more explanation of these arguments than some other judges. If I can't reasonably explain an argument myself or explain to a team in an RFD, I won't vote for it. This does not mean that I need to have a super high understanding of the literature or argument, but that you spent enough time on it in the debate for me to feel comfortable voting on it.
Literature I am more familiar with: security, neolib/cap, set col. Assume that I am unfamiliar with anything else. Please slow down on tags and analytics (especially important things like perms) and don't use buzzwords. Good line-by-line and impact comparison is very important to me in making my decision. Long overviews are not a good idea.
Ks on the neg: Explain clearly what the alt does and how it solves for the impacts you're claiming. I often find myself confused as to what I am voting for at the end of the round, so a robust explanation of the alternative will help you immensely. I don't think that links of omission are links and links that are very specific to the plan are most persuasive. I will let the affirmative weigh the case unless I'm given a convincing reason not to do so.
Framework vs. K affs:
I think that affirmatives should probably defend a plan, and if not, they should be grounded in the resolution in some way. I am usually pretty persuaded by the TVA if it's done well, so the aff needs to explain why the TVA can't access the same impacts as they can. Neg teams need actually engage the aff and do impact explanation and comparison vs. reading blocks without ever contextualizing it to the aff.
I am increasingly starting to think that fairness isn't a terminal impact but rather an internal link, but I can be persuaded otherwise. I think a lot of neg teams don't really explain why these impacts matter, they just say 'key to fairness,' 'key to clash,' etc. but miss the explanation of the implications of those impacts.
I am not a good judge for a K v. K debate.
The more aff-specific, the better. I will reward you/give more leeway on creative counterplans and ones with recut 1AC ev. They need to be competitive and should probably have a solvency advocate - if it doesn't have one I'll have a much lower threshold for voting aff on solvency deficits. I default to judge kick unless I am told otherwise.
Even though I think condo is generally good, I think it's definitely underutilized by aff teams, especially when neg teams read 3+ advocacies, kick planks, etc. I would say I generally lean neg-ish on most counterplan theory arguments if debated equally.
I am not a fan of T on the water topic. I get sometimes it's the most strategic option, but just know it might be more of an uphill battle with me than other arguments would be.
Make the flow clean, explain your impacts, and be clear on what your interp includes and excludes and why that is a good thing. Case lists are a good idea on both sides.
I default to competing interps. I'm generally not a big fan of reasonability and think it's usually a waste of time unless you give convincing reasons as to why I should vote on it.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. Good luck and have fun!
Debated 4 years of policy debate at Iowa City High school
Debated 3 years at the University of Iowa (BS Economics)
University of Chicago (Master of Public Policy)
I find debates the most interesting when debaters bring new things to the table or have a strong and innovative way to explain their argument. Someone who understands and can apply their links from the cap K or spending DA to the aff specificity is more rewarding than someone struggling to answer basic questions about a more topic-specific argument. With that in mind, if you have spent the time to construct a specific strat please please read it.
Before taking everything I say to heart, Tim Alderete told me something that changed my perspective on reading judge philosophies. He said something to the effect of “Judges ALWAYS lie. No one ever wants to say they are a bad judge or predisposed to certain arguments. It is your job as debaters to sift through that.” So if you want the truth don't ask me what I like ask people who know me.
1) I find that debate is a game and whoever plays it better wins. I really enjoy good line-by-line debate but what is often lost is for what ends are your arguments being made. Please have a framework for me to evaluate everyone's arguments. That should help prevent me from intervening arbitrarily.
2) Speed=amount of arguments clearly articulated per second. So make sure you articulate the argument and not just a claim. Moreover, if I can't understand you then I can't flow you and I can't evaluate what you said as an argument.
3) I think that a discussion of the resolution is important. That can be in many forms but the aff should include an advocacy that affirms the resolutional statement.
I want you to enjoy this activity so please ask me for help if you want it.
Please include me on the email chain: (email@example.com)
Assistant Coach at University School of Nashville since 2014.
I generally prefer affirmatives that do something bold and transformative over ones that do something small and technical. On the negative, I most enjoy the kritik and case debate.
Defend a hypothetical project that goes beyond the 1AC
- Affirmatives should defend a project that is independent of the recitation of the 1AC.
- This means voting affirmative should engage some project that exceeds the simple validation of the 1AC's theoretical positions or performative mood.
- Ideally, this is a material project that is specifically outlined and allows for its consequences to be posed as a question.
- This ensures that the negative team can generate (unique) offense through a characterization of how the affirmative project would be hypothetically implemented.
Rarely go for theory
- Nothing is a voter except conditionality.
- Within reason, conditionality is only a voter in rounds with full (plan+advantages/cites) affirmative disclosure.
- I will not vote on conditionality if there are 3 or fewer positions. I may still be unlikely at 4 positions unless the positions are redundant (ie same types of Ks/CPs or solving the same net benefits).
- I have a distaste for multi-plank CPs when # of planks >> sum of aff advantages+add-ons. This strikes me as cynical and needlessly complex. I would consider rejecting the CP if the aff checks out ideologically.
Debate Coach, Okemos High School
Quick version: If you want to run it, justify it and win it and I'll go for it. I tend to think the resolution is the focus (rather than the plan), but have yet to see a high school round where that was a point with which anybody took issue or advantage. I like succinct tags, but there should be an explanation/warrant or evidence after them. I do pine for the days when debaters would at least say something like "next" when moving from one argument to another. If you run a critical argument, explain it--don't assume I understand the nuances or jargon of your theory. Similarly, the few critical debaters who have delivered succinct tags on their evidence to me have been well-rewarded. Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I can't flow your 55-70 word tag, and the parts I get might not be the parts you want. I think all four debaters are intelligent beings, so don't be rude to your opponent or your partner, and try not to make c-x a free-for-all, or an opportunity for you to mow over your partner. I like the final rebuttals to compare and evaluate, not just say "we beat on time-frame and magnitude"--give me some explanation, and don't assume you are winning everything on the flow. Anything else, just ask.
The longer version: I'm a dinosaur. I debated in college more than 30 years ago. I coached at Michigan State University for 5 years. I'm old enough I might have coached or debated your parents. I got back into debate because I wanted my children to learn debate.
That history is relevant because I am potentially neither as fast a flow as I used to be (rest assured, you needn't pretend the round is after-dinner speaking) and for years I did not kept pace with many of the argumentative developments that occurred. I know and understand a number of K's, but if you make the assumption I am intimately familiar with some aspect of Kato, Taoism, Heidegger, or whoever, you may not like the results you get. Half the time I still struggle to be conversant about what many of these arguments involve unless somebody prompts me (indigenous peoples and nuclear development, anthropocentrism, tech=evil, etc. is far more informative than simply saying Baudrillard or Zizek). Go for the idea/theme not the author. If you like to use the word "subjectivity" a lot on your K argumentation, you might explain what you mean. Same thing for policy and K debaters alike if they like to argue "violence".
Having discussed my inadequacies as a judge, here is my default position for judging rounds: Absent other argumentation, I view the focus of the round as the resolution. The resolution may implicitly shrink to the affirmative if that is the only representation discussed. If I sign the ballot affirmative, I am generally voting to implement the resolution, and if the affirmative is the only representation, then it is as embodied by the plan. However, I like the debaters to essentially have free rein--making me somewhat tabula rosa. So if you prefer a more resolution focus rather than plan focus, I'm there. I also like cases that have essential content and theory elements (stock issues), but if one is missing or bad, the negative needs to bring it up and win it to win. I do generally view my role as a policy maker, in that I am trying to evaluate the merits of a policy that will be applied to the real world--but that evaluation is being done in a format that has strong gamelike aspects and strong "cognitive laboratory" aspects. As such, I will accept counter-intuitive arguments (e.g. extinction is good), planless affs, etc. and vote on them--although you will have to justify/win such an approach if it is challenged and in many cases there is a bit of a natural bias against such arguments.
I say "absent other argumentation" because if you want me to use another process, I all ears. I'm pretty open-minded about arguments (even counter-intuitive ones), so if you want to run something, either theoretical or substantive, justify it, argue it, and if you win it, I'll vote for it.
The biggest problem I observed when I did judge college rounds, and at the high school level, is that debates about how I should evaluate the round are often incomplete and/or muddled, such as justifying the use of some deontological criteria on utilitarian grounds. While such consequentialism is certainly an option in evaluating deontological positions, I struggle to see how I'm not ultimately just deciding a round on some utilitarian risk-based decision calculus like I would ordinarily use. I've had this statement in my philosophy for years and no one seems to understand it: if I reject cap, or the state, or racism, or violations of human rights, or whatever because it leads to extinction/war/whatever, am I really being deontological--or just letting you access extinction via a perspective. That fine if that's why you want it, but I think it makes "reject every instance" quite difficult, since every instance probably has solvency issues and certainly creates some low internal link probabilities. If you do truly argue something deontologically, having some sort of hierarchy so I can see where the other team's impacts fit would be helpful--especially if they are arguing an deontological position as well. Applying your position might be helpful: think how you would reconcile the classic argument of "you can't have rights if you are dead, yet many have been willing to give their life for rights". Sorting out that statement does an awful lot for you in a deontology vs. utilitarianism round. Why is your argument the case for one or the other?
Given my hypothesis-testing tendencies, conditionality can be fine. However, as indicated above, by default I view the round as a policy-making choice. If you run three conditional counterplans, that's fine but I need to know what they are conditional upon or I don't know what policy I am voting for when I sign the ballot—or if I even need to evaluate them. I prefer, although almost never get it, that conditionality should be based on a substantive argument in the round, preferably a claim the other team made.
Theory and K's:
I can like both theory args, especially T, when the debate unfolds with real analysis, not a ton of 3-5 word tags that people rip through. Theory arguments (including T) can be very rewarding, and often are a place where the best debaters can show their skills. However, debaters often provide poorly developed arguments and the debate often lacks real analysis. I do not like theory arguments that eliminate ground for one side or the other, are patently abusive, or patently time sucks. I like theory arguments but want them treated well.
I'm not a fan of K's, but they definitely have a place in debate. I will vote on one (and have voted for them numerous times) if two things happen: 1) I understand it and 2) you win it. That's a relatively low threshold, but if you babble author names, jargon, or have tags longer than most plans, you make it much harder for me.
As for argument preferences, I'll vote on things that do not meet my criteria, although I dislike being put in the position of having to reconcile two incomprehensible positions. I'll vote on anything you can justify and win. If you want me in a specific paradigm, justify it and win that I should use it. I like a 2ar/2nr that ties up loose ends and evaluates--recognizing that they probably aren't winning everything on the flow.
I don't like to ask for cards after the round, or reviewing the evidence in pocketbox, etc. and will not ask for a card I couldn't understand because you were unintelligible. If there is a debate over what a card really says or signifies, or it seems to contain a nuance highlighted in the round that is worth checking, I may take a look at the evidence.
I traditionally rely on providing nonverbal feedback—if I'm not writing anything, or I'm looking at you with a confused expression, I'm probably not getting what you are saying for one reason or another.
Debate is still a communication activity, even if we rip along at several hundred words a minute. If I missed something in your speech, that is your fault--either because you did not emphasize it adequately in the round or you were unintelligible. If you are a gasper, you'll probably get better points if you slow down a bit. I tend to dislike prompting on content, but keeping your partner on pace is fine. I'd prefer you ask/answer your own c-x questions. I like numbering and organization, even though much has apparently died. At this point, even hearing "next" when going to the next tag would be a breath of fresh air (especially when it isn't being read off of a block). Similarly, I'll reward you if you have clear tags that would fit on a bumper sticker I could read without tailgating. Humor is a highly successful way to improve your speaker points. If you are organized, intelligible and funny, the much-sought-after 30 is something I have given. I haven't given many, but that reflects the debaters I've heard, not some unreasonable predisposition or threshold.
If you have questions about anything not on here, just ask.
Debated at Okemos High School 2016-2020
Debating at KU 2020-Now
T - fine
FW - fine
DA's - fine
CP's - fine
K's - I love these, so definitely fine; race theory/pomo/gender and or sexual orientation
K-Affs - ^^^^
Theory - fine
not much lit base for K's (or much of any arg) on this topic so just explain the link, I/L, and impact.
Run whatever you want, be clear, signpost and warrant out all arguments you want me to vote on. If it isn't in the 2nr/2ar, I will not vote on it. A dropped argument is a concession but make sure you point it out and EXPLAIN why it matters. I'm familiar with a fair amount of K literature but some of the heavy pomo/race theory stuff should be explained and warranted.
Args I've run consistently: Cap, Militarism, Set Col, Antimilitarism K-aff, Set Col K-aff, FW/T-USFG
Args I'm familiar with: Fem, Set Col (and it's varients), Afropess (and it's varients), Psycho, Black Psycho, Baudrillard, Deleuze and Death Good
Link: make sure it's something unique to the aff, something that the aff does or supports through direct evidence or analysis. "Aff does _____ with ____ which causes ______" A link doesn't have to be a direct quote but it does have to be a direct mechanism or flaw with the aff/resolution. If you're critiquing the resolution then at least tie your theory into whatever your are dismantling/restructuring. Other than that, I don't have too much of a high threshold for the topicality of the K or the K aff.
Alt/Solvency for K-Aff's: I have a little more leniency with alt's on a K than an alternative/mode of solvency for a K aff because in my opinion, when critiquing an aff, it should honestly be enough to say that the aff's epistemology is flawed, therefor we shouldn't invest any energy into debating about it, and they should lose. If you're critiquing the resolution though, you need to have some concrete way of doing something about what you've critiqued. A lot of K-affs just kind of say the rez sucks and then do quite literally nothing about it. Even in round education can beat a lot of other off case offense, but you have to explain how reading your aff in debate spills out into something that changes our relationship to the rez. Even in a world without fiat, I need to know why the scholarship of the aff is net better than any scholarship the neg would have access to in a debate under different circumstances.
Case and Case v K Stuff
At the end of a round in which I vote aff, I need to be able to coherently describe the mechanism of the aff, the impacts, and how the aff solves the impacts. If the 2ar doesn't have this or spends a minute doing some sloppy LBL with unintelligible spreading on case and then moves on to answering 4 minutes of the K/FW, I'm probably not going to vote for you. I understand that sometimes people feel like they know their case very well and the "premise" of the aff "should" solve the residual offense, but it gets muddled or you get rushed because you're running out of time on the K. So just be mindful. Explain the warrants of the LBL.
Do whatever you want, but I don't really believe in voting on T as a reverse voter but under some special circumstances, I can see myself doing so, assuming the Aff can clearly explain a voter and standards that prove they lost ground by having T run on them (for some reason I have a fear of this, don't ask). Slow down a little on standards and block stuff.
If you don't extend your interp throughout each speech then I probs will have a harder time voting for you, so make sure to do so. Other than that though, do whatever the hell you want. Standards and/or Impact turns being gone for should be extrapolated and contextualized to the type of advocacy/education in the round. Read all the disads you want. Make sure to tell me why policy education might be better vs. critical education in the long run for a certain case scenario. Keep FW separate from framing on case but MAKE CONNECTIONS.
I mean if you want. I tend to give condo more weight when there are 3 + conditional advocacies, including the K, so be a bit careful there.
IMPACT FRAMING!!!!!! 2ar/1ar as well Block/2nr need to be solid about what impacts/offense is/are being gone for in the debate. There's obviously going to be concessions on both sides at the end of the debate but where are they, why do they matter, and what does this mean for other arguments on the flow? 2ar's/2nr's that write the ballot at the top of the rebuttles>>>>>>
Pls enunciate the tags and don't spread through blocks at the rate of a lawnmower on drugs, especially when/if they're not in the doc. I have a sore spot from a round with clipping so I'll probably say clear like 5 times, and if there's still an issue after that I'll mention something at the end of the speech. If it keeps happening, there will probably be more severe consequences.
I'll probably give you better speaks if you're slower and have good arguments than if you're fast and make little strategic arguments. If you're fast and make good args, I'll definitely give you the extra speaker points.