Harvard Westlake Debates
2022 — Los Angeles, CA, US
Challenge Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Debated: Norman High School (2005- 2009), University of Oklahoma (2009-2014)
Coached: University of Texas at San Antonio (2014-2015)
Caddo Magnet High School (2014-2015)
Baylor University (2015-2017)
University of Iowa (2017-2022
Assistant Director of Debate at James Madison University Aug. 2022-present
Updates- Feb 2023
Think of my paradigm as a set of suggestions for packaging or a request for extra explanation on certain arguments.
Despite the trend of judges unabashedly declaring themselves bad for certain arguments or predetermining the absolute win condition for arguments, I depart from this and will evaluate the debate in front of me.
Judge instruction, judge instruction, judge instruction!
Sometimes when we are deep in a literature base, we auto apply a certain lens to view the debate, but that lens is not automatic for the judge. Don’t assume that I will fill things in for you or presume that I automatically default to a certain impact framing, do that work!
Argument framing is your friend.
“If I win this, then this.”
Even if we lose ontology, here is why we can still win.” This is important for both debating the K and going for the K.
Zoom debate things:
Don’t start until you see my face, I will always have my camera on when you’re speaking!
Clarity over speed, please- listening to debates over zoom is difficult, start out more slowly and then pick up pace, but don’t sacrifice clarify for speed.
Ethics violations-Calling an ethics violation is a flag on the play and the debate stops. Please, please do not call an ethics violation unless you want to stop the debate.
Top level thoughts: I am not too biased against any particular argument, it's your round so do what you do, but do it well.
I did however primarily read kritiks, but I have also done strictly policy debate in my career, so I have been exposed to a wide variety of arguments and I am not someone who will always vote for the k or for FW. I like to think that I am a favorable judge for either.
I judge the debate in front of me and avoid judge intervention as much as possible. In this sense, I am more guided by tech because I don't think you can determine the truth of any debate within the time constraints. HOWEVER, I think you can use the truth to make more persuasive arguments- for example, you can have one really good argument supported by evidence that you're making compelling bc of its truthiness that could be more convincing or compelling than 3 cards that are meh.
I judge a good number of T v. K aff debates and am comfortable doing so.
Sometimes these debates are overly scripted and people just blow through their blocks at top speed, so I think it's important to take moments to provide moments of emphasis and major framing arguments. Do not go for everything in the 2NR, there is not enough time to fully develop your argument and answer theirs. Clearly identify what impact you are going for.
Internal link turns by the negative help to mitigate the impact turn arguments. Example- debating about AI is key to create AI that does not re-create racial bias. TVA can help here as well!
The definitions components of these debates are underutilized- for example, if the aff has a counter interp of AI, have that debate. Why is their interp bad and exacerbate the limits or ground issues? I feel like this this gives you stronger inroads to your impact arguments and provides defense to the aff's impact turns.
K aff's- It is way less compelling to go for impact turns without going for the aff and how they resolve the impact turns. You cannot just win that framework is bad. It is more strategic for the aff to defend a particular model of debate, not just a K of current debate.
Updated- It’s important to find balance between theoretical explanations, debate-ification of arguments, and judge instruction. More specifically- if you have a complex theory that you need to win to win the debate, you HAVE to spend time here. Err towards more simple explanation as opposed to overly convoluted.
Think about word efficiency and judge instruction for those theoretical arguments.
Although, I am familiar with some kritiks, I do not pretend to be an expert on all. There are still many kritiks that I have trouble understanding. That being said, I think that case specific links are the best. Generic links are not as compelling especially if you are flagging certain cards for me to call for at the end of the round. It seems that many times debaters don't take the time to really explain what the alternative is like, whether it solves part of the aff, is purely rejection, etc. If for some reason the alternative isn't extended or explained in the 2nr, I won't just apply it as a case turn for you. An impact level debate is also still important even if the K excludes the evaluation of specific impacts. It is really helpful to articulate how the K turns the case as well. On a framing level, do not just assume that I will believe that the truth claims of the affirmative are false, there needs to be in-depth analysis for why I should dismiss parts of the aff preferably with evidence to back it up.
The 2NR should CLEARLY identify if they are going for the alternative. If you are not, you need to be explicit about why you don't need the alt to win the debate. This means clear framework and impact framing arguments + turns case arguments. You need to explain why the links are sufficient turns case arguments for me to vote negative on presumption.
CPs- I really like counterplans especially if they are specific to the aff, which shows that you have done your research. Although PIKs are annoying to deal with if you are aff, I enjoy a witty PIK. However, make it clear that it is a PIK and explain why it solves the aff better or sufficiently. Explain sufficiency framing in the context of the debate you're having, don't just blurt out "view the cp through the lens of sufficiency"--that's not a complete argument.
Generic cps with generic solvency cards aren't really going to do it for me. However, if the evidence is good then I am more likely to believe you when you claim aff solvency. There needs to be a good articulation for why the aff links to the net benefit and good answers to cp solvency deficits, assuming there are any. Permutation debate needs to be hashed out on both sides, with Da/net benefits to the permutations made clear.
DAs- I find it pretty easy to follow DAs. However, if you go for it I am most likely going to be reading ev after the round, so it better be good. If your link cards are generic and outdated and the aff is better in that department, then you need to have a good reason why your evidence is more qualified, etc.
Make the story of the DA AND your scenario clear, DAs are great but some teams tend to go for a terminal impact without explanation of the scenario or the internal link args. Comparative analysis is important so I know how to evaluate the evidence that I am reading. Tell me why the link o/w the link turn etc. Impact analysis is very important, timeframe, probability, magnitude, etc., so I can know why the Da impacts are more important than the affs impacts. A good articulation of why the Da turns each advantage is extremely helpful because the 2ar will most likely be going for those impacts in the 2ar.
Theory- I generally err neg on theory unless there is a really good debate over it. Your generic blocks aren't going to be very compelling. If you articulate why condo causes a double turn, etc. specific to the round is a better way to go with it. I think that arguments such as vague alternatives especially when an alternative morphs during the round are good. However, minor theory concerns such as multiple perms bad aren't as legitimate in my opinion.
Other notes: If you are unclear, I can't flow you and I don't get the evidence as you read it, so clarity over speed is always preferable.
Don't be rude, your points will suffer. There is a difference between being aggressive and being a jerk.
Impact calc please, don't make me call for everyones impacts and force me to evaluate it myself. I don't want to do the work for you.
The last two rebuttals should be writing my ballot, tell me how I vote and why. Don't get too bogged down to give a big picture evaluation.
Accomplish something in your cross-x time, keep me interested, have an agenda during your cx and use the answers you get in cx and incorporate them into your speeches. Cx is wasted if you pick apart the DA but don't talk about it in your speech.
LAMDL. Previous affiliations don't really matter as of now.
I do have a hearing problem in my right ear. If I've never heard you b4 or it's the first round of the day. PLEASE go about 80% of your normal spread for about 20 seconds so I can get acclimated to your voice. If you don't, I'm going to miss a good chunk of your first minute or so. I know people pref partly through speaker points. My default starts at 28.5 and goes up from there. If i think you get to an elim round, you'll prob get 29.0+
Evid sharing: use speechdrop or something of that nature. If you prefer to use the email chain and need my email, please ask me before the round.
What will I vote for? I'm mostly down for whatever you all wanna run. That being said no person is perfect and we all have our inherent biases. What are mine?
I think teams should be centered around the resolution. While I'll vote on completely non T aff's it's a much easier time for a neg to go for a middle of the road T/framework argument to get my ballot. I lean slightly neg on t/fw debates and that's it's mostly due to having to judge LD recently and the annoying 1ar time skew that makes it difficult to beat out a good t/fw shell.
As for K's you do you. the main one I have difficulty conceptualizing in round are pomo k vs pomo k. No one unpacks these rounds for me so all I usually have at the end of the round is word gibberish from both sides and me totally and utterly confused. If I can't give a team an rfd centered around a literature base I can process, I will likely not vote for it.
I lean neg on condo, go for whatever cp you want, and I love well articulated theory arguments. Key words Well Articulated.
If you're in LD, don't worry about 1ar theory and no rvis in your 1ac. That is a given for me. If it's in your 1ac, that tops your speaks at 29.2 because it means you didn't read my paradigm.
Now are there any arguments I won't vote for? Sure. I think saying ethically questionable statements that make the debate space unsafe is grounds for me to end a round. I don't see many of these but it has happened and I want students and their coaches to know that the safety of the individuals in my rounds will always be paramount to anything else that goes on. I also won't vote for spark, wipeout, nebel t, and death good stuff. ^_^ good luck and have fun debating
Intro: Hi I'm Austin. I mainly debated LD in high school, but I'm familiar with most other event formats. I graduated from Northland Christian HS in 2020 and UT Austin in 2022 with a psych major phil minor. I'm currently a 1L at Texas Law. I competed on the local and national circuit all four years of high school (and have been judging/coaching consistently since graduating), so I like to think I'm pretty up to date on the technical nuances of LD. Things that are bolded in my paradigm are things I think people are generally looking for or I think are worth noting about my preferences. Add me to the chain at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to email me with specific questions before the round or thoughts on how I could improve my paradigm!
TLDR paradigm: Read the bottom for my speaks paradigm; I don't gut check "bad" arguments; I really love highly technical debates especially on a theoretical layer but I'm good with evaluating policy, kritik-al debate, etc.; I feel like this goes without saying but I will not vote on something I don't understand; by nature (even outside of debate) I default erring on the side of the person who is most logically consistent which means I will not vote for you unless you are ahead on a technical level (absent someone proposing an alternative method for me to evaluate by); I enjoy analytics more than empirics; I love tricks, but I think they're only pedagogically valuable for their ability to boost critical thinking other than that they're generally just for funzies and potentially bad for debate; due to the nature of my paradigm and the debates I typically judge because of it please read the fourth point in the general section as well; lastly my opinion on anything in this paradigm can change, just make the proper arg.
- I default comparative worlds but love truth testing
- I presume neg unless the neg reads an alternative that is farther from the squo than the aff's plan/advocacy (or presume aff/neg args are made, same for permissibility)
- I will vote on literally anything given the proper framing metric and justification
- I will NOT make arguments for you because I believe judge intervention is the worst for the activity; consequently if your opponent does something that propels a model of debate that is sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic/abelist or something similar I will not drop them unless you mention it. It can be as simple as "they said/did x and that makes debate less accessible so they should lose." Otherwise the only thing I have jurisdiction to do is give them god awful speaks. To clarify if you don't say that they should lose for their discriminatory actions and they are ahead on the tech debate I will vote for them and be very very very sad about it. Please do not make me do this and call them out for being unethical. It's an easy ballot and better for debate.
- you don't have to ask me to flow by ear; I promise I'm both listening and reading your doc (to clarify, I'll catch extemporized blippy analytics)
- I probably default more T>K but that's really up to you
- Weighing makes me happy, as well as a strong fw tie/explanation
- For ethics challenges/evidence ethics calls reference the NSDA guidelines for this year; if the guidebook doesn't make a speaks claim I will either evaluate them myself given the speeches read (if any) or default normal round evaluation (meaning speaks spikes are viable)
- I don't have a default on disclosure at the moment but in debate I defaulted disclosure bad; regardless of my default it doesn't affect my ability to listen to either stance and adjudicate accordingly
- My ability to understand spread/speed is pretty good; feel free to go as fast as you want but please be clear
- Please please please ask your opponent if your practices are accessible before the round so you are 1. not exclusionary and 2. not susceptible to an easily avoidable independent voter; if you don't ask and end up doing something inaccessible you'll probably lose (provided they make it a voting issue); this includes giving trigger warnings
- flex prep is cool
- if you don't read a fw/fw is a wash I'll presume neg (same for voters on t/theory)
- there are only a few norms I think are pretty true; among them are judge intervention bad, no new 2ar arguments, and normal speech times (although these can easily change and I'm coming around to new 2ar args as the default; idk it's complicated)
- you don't have to ask if I am ready for you to speak; I am probably paying attention (to clarify, default I am ready unless I say something that suggests otherwise)
Pt. 1 Pref Shortcuts (by my confidence in my ability to adjudicate and 1 being most confident 5 being least):
Theory/T/Tricks- 1 or 2 (depending on density)
Phil/High Theory- 1 or 2 (depending on density)
K- 1 or 2 (depending on density)
LARP- 1 to 3 (depending on density)
Pt. 2 Pref Shortcuts (by my desire to see them in round and 1 being most desirable 5 being least):
Phil/High Theory- 1
note: I will be happy to adjudicate LARP it's just not my highest preference
- Love these please know what your own plan says though
- I default plans are abusive mainly because I never read one for its PeDaGOgiCaL VaLUe it was always for strategy but don't let this discourage you from reading a plan seriously they're fine
- Honestly severance is cool with me but if they point it out and make a theoretical reason to drop it could be hard to beat back; if they read a condo or dispo CP, however, it becomes a little easier to get out of
- the solvency section is important for plans, if you don't have one it's gonna be rough
- please have an advocate just for the sake of an easier theory debate
- These are cool but better if they're actually competitive; read as many as you want just know anything more than 1 is hard to justify theoretically especially if it's not uncondo (although I love multiple cp debates)
- Any cp is cool (including actor, process, etc.) just make sure the 2nr extension is sufficient to vote on
- I default condo bad but don't let that discourage you from utilizing it as I think condo is super strategic (which is good for speaks), you just have to be technically ahead on the theory debate; feel free to read like 8 condo cps just know it's an uphill theoretical battle (but certainly not impossible)
- I default perms as an advocacy because they always seem to be extended as such but it is really up to you
- Probably my least favorite position because they all seem to go down the same path towards the 2nr, but a good explanation and coupling with a competitive cp makes this position much better
- the more unique the da the more I'll like listening to it (please don't make me listen to a basic three card econ disad unless you don't plan on going for it)
- Please do notttt confuse this with basic fw debate
- I used to read a few high theory positions but that doesn't mean my threshold for explanation on those positions is lower/higher than any other argument
- Kant is kool but I'm not a hack
- If the aff doesn't have a fw and the neg strategically reads a fw the aff can't link into, aff is probably losing
- If no one reads a fw I will probably not evaluate any post-fiat implications of either side and just vote on strength of link weighing (if justified)/presumption or a higher layer (i.e. I will NOT default util or sv for you this isn't pf)
- I'm hesitant to say this but I did read a decent amount of Baudrillard just know there is a reason why I stopped lol feel free to still read it though I love hearing it as well as any other high theory author
- I especially love hearing new philosophies that are either obscure or that I just haven't heard of yet; phil debate is one of my favorite parts of ld
- I am more likely to vote on presumption than I am to evaluate strength of link to fw in the instance I cannot decide which model to evaluate under
- K Affs are fun but I am more inclined to err on the side of t-fw as that's what I mostly read and it seems intuitively true; it really depends on the framing metric though and I will definitely vote on a k aff vs t-fw as long as there is sufficient tech offense
- KvK is cool
- poems/music/art/performance is offense and if you don't respond to it your opponent can extend it as conceded (I have no problem voting on conceded performance offense with the proper framing mech)
- should have a ROB and/or ROJ (and the best ones are not blatantly inaccessible to one side)
- if your opponent asks you a specific question about the framing of your kritik and you cannot give them a cohesive answer it's gonna look bad
- if the distinction is unclear between the method the k evaluates by and the aff's you will have a hard time winning
- please don't read links that you yourself link into
- Having specific rhetoric from the aff itself or your opponent is great and much better than just topic/omission links
- I love seeing the extrapolation of these as linear das in the 2nr
- I am comfortable voting off state/omission links they're just boring
- you must have them and they must be unique; please do weighing as well because k impacts don't always contextualize themselves
- explain plz; It doesn't have to be explained super well if your opponent doesn't press the issue but I need to have a basic understanding of what I'm voting on i.e. what the world of the alt looks like (unless a set col type arg is made about imagining the alt being a move to settlerism)
- Please don't make the alt condo/dispo if your k is about some sort of oppression it looks bad
- do not read two contradictory alts in front of me you will probably lose; if they work well together that's cool
- I LOVE these they make it easier to evaluate the line by line because all the big picture issues are out of the way
- Please make sure the overview is not just line by line in disguise (I was guilty of this) but is instead framing the ways I need to evaluate offense
- literally my fav the more you read the more I'll enjoy the debate as long as you know what you're doing
- friv is fantastic
- please make them positively worded
- be careful of your wording; poor wording leaves you susceptible to easy i meets
- have them and extend them in the next speech
- screenshots/photos are the best
- there are really only like four good standards that the rest fall under categorically but it's whatever
- the more the merrier
- if you do fairness and education linkage inside the standard block I'll be happier
- I default rvi's good and competing interps unless otherwise specified
- I tend to default fairness first but am VERY easily able to be persuaded otherwise
- you must justify voters independently of the standards section (i.e. explain why fairness, education, fun, etc. matter)
- I evaluate these arguments like any other (if they have a claim/warrant/impact you're good)
- I think a block of text is funny but definitely annoying as far as the organization of your spikes/tricks so preference is at least numbering but it's really not a big deal if you can explain them well
- These arguments are generally so bad but if you don't respond or spend too much time messing with them the round becomes significantly more difficult for you
- I can be persuaded by some sort of spikes k so be wary
- I'm unsure if afc/acc are tricks, but know I'll listen to both and any other pseudo-trick
- aprioris and eval after the 1ac are the a-strat
- I'm fine with indexicals, condo logic, log con, etc. (idk how else to say i'll vote on literally any trick/arg generally)
- I am persuaded by a 30 speaks spike (i.e. give both/one of the debaters 30 speaks for x reason) as long as it is extended throughout
- I generally give speaks based on strategic decision making (and will try to justify the deductions if asked, although ultimately they're always on some level arbitrary)
- Anything that you do that purposefully makes your opponent uncomfortable, expresses discrimination/oppression, or generally makes the debate space unsafe will result in your top speaks being a 25 and more likely will result in a 0 or whatever the lowest allowed speaks value is
- for locals I generally give 28-30 and for nat circuit 27-30 unless the tournament has a specified structure; occasionally if the round is super underwhelming I'll evaluate like I would a nat circuit for a local
- If you make me laugh you're definitely getting a speaks inflation but this is rare and it has to be genuine
- I'll clear twice without a speaks deduction and definitely have more lenience in the online format
Updated 5/4/23 for the Post-Season
Hi everyone! I’m Holden (They/He)
Jack C. Hays '20, The University of North Texas ’23 (Go Mean Green)
If you are a senior and gradauting this year (whether you do PF, LD, or policy), UNT has a debate program! If you are interested in looking into the team please contact me via the email listed below and we can talk about what UNT debate can offer you. If you are committed to UNT, please conflict me!
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Policy and NFA-LD are at the Bottom
The short version:
I truly do not have an issue in what style of debate you decide to partake in, I am dogmatic against dogmatism as I think it is a bad model of debate. That being said, I prefer debates not end up being very theory shell heavy (despite what my judging history might suggest otherwise). This is not to say that I will not vote for whatever shell you decide to run (barring some caveats that are mentioned below), but rather I would much rather judge debates that are centered around substance (namely a da/cp, a k, or an nc). Despite that, I have voted for just about every argument under the sun. Bad arguments exist, and I dislike them, but the onus is on you for calling out and explaining why those arguments are bad.
Respect your opponents pronouns or else. I have no tolerance for individuals not taking the time to respect people's personhood. You get one chance, with your speaks being docked that one time. If you do it again after that, then my ballot is gone even if there is no argument made. With that in mind, I am also extremely persuaded by misgendering bad shells.
If a round gets to the point where it is no longer healthy or safe for the debate to keep going, and it seems like I am not noticing, please let me know. I try my best to be cognizant but I am imperfect and may miss something, it is my job as an educator to make sure that a round and debate is as safe and accessible is possible so I take these situations very seriously.
Yes speed, but clarity is important as well
For your pref sheets:
Clash debates (k v k, k v phil, k v policy, policy v phil, etc.) – 1
K – 1
Policy – 1
Phil – 1
T/Theory – 1
Tricks – 4
Trad – 5/Strike
I’m serious about these rankings, I value execution over content. I am comfortable judging any type of debate done well.
In terms of ideology, I’m a lot like Patrick Fox just less grumpy, so you can pref me pretty closely with how you pref him.
Some individuals who have shaped how I debate/have coached me: Colin Quinn, Louie Petit, and Shawn Moore (if you know who this is then you are way too old to be debating in front of me)
Some of my former students who share the majority of my opinions/you might pref me similar to: Vishal Sivamani, William Walker, Armaan Christ, Anastasia Keeler, Sean Wallace, and Graham Johnstone.
Triggers – please refrain from reading anything with in depth discussions of anxiety, depression, or suicide that way I can adequately access and evaluate the round. Please give trigger warnings so that debate remains a place in which everyone can participate.
I flow on my laptop, I would put me at a 8-8.5/10 in terms of speed. Just be clear, slow down on tags and analytics a little please
The long version:
Who the hell is this dude who I/my coach preffed?
Hi, I'm Holden! I did LD and policy throughout high school, I wasn't too involved with the national circuit because of financial constraints but I did well at a few big tournaments during my high school career. I now attend the University of North Texas, where I study psychology and philosophy. In addition, I compete in NFA-LD (literally a one person policy event), I have had some moderate success (qualified for and made it to octafinals of the national tournament). I currently coach and judge national circuit LD, where I have judged 500+ debates since 2020. In addition, I have coached students to several bids, bid rounds, speaker awards, and late elims of national tournaments (including elims and top speaker of the TOC).
Nowadays, most of my research is on the k side of the argument spectrum. However, I often say that politics updates are my catharsis, and have cut and coached students to go for arguments in every style of debate. This includes theory, policy, tricks, phil, and kritikal positions.
Call me Holden or judge (I prefer Holden, and judge will also do). Anything more formal (Mr. Bukowsky, Sir, etc.) makes me uncomfortable, and may result in your speaks being docked.
Conflicts: Jack C. Hays (my alma mater). For LD I currently consult for Westlake (TX), and coach Barrington AC, Heritage WT, Jordan FJ and Jordan VS
I have been previously affiliated with: Cabot, Los Altos BF, and Unionville IQ.
What does Holden think of debate?
Debate is a game with educational implications. I love this activity very much, and take my role in it very seriously. I think it is my job to evaluate arguments as presented, and intervene as little as possible. I am not very ideological in a way that translates to how I evaluate the debate (barring some exceptions) because it's not my place to determine what is a valid argument and what is not. That means please do what you are most comfortable with to the best of your ability, and I will do my best to evaluate the debate as fairly as possible (granted that violent or warrantless arguments are exceptions). As such, I consider there to be two concrete rules of debate - 1. I must choose a winner and a loser, and 2. speech times are set in stone. Any preferences I may have should not matter if you make the argument for me, if I have to default to something then that means that you did not do your job.
What does Holden like?
I like good debates. If you execute your arguments well, then I will be impressed.
I like debates that require little intervention, make my job easy for me please I hate thinking.
I like well researched arguments with clear connections to the topic/the affirmative.
I like it when people make themselves easy to flow, this means labeling arguments (for example, giving arguments names, or doing organization like "1, 2, 3, a point, b point, c point, etc.), I can't vote for you if I don't know what the heck the complete argument is so making sure I can understand you is key
I like debaters that collapse in their final speeches, it makes nice room for analysis, explanation, and weighing which all make me very happy.
I like it when I am given some kind of framing mechanism to help filter offense. This can take place via a standard, role of the ballot/judge, impact calc, fairness v education, a meta ethic, I don't care. Just give me something to determine what the highest layer/impact should be.
To summarize the way I feel about judging, I think Yao Yao Chen does a excellent job at it, "I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck. I strive to judge in the most open-minded, fair, and diligent way I can, and I aim to be as thorough and transparent as possible in my decisions. If you worked hard on debate, you deserve judging that matches the effort you put into this activity. Anything short of that is anti-educational and a disappointment."
What does Holden dislike?
I dislike anything that is the opposite of above.
I dislike when people make problematic arguments.
I dislike when debaters engage in exclusionary practices.
I dislike unclear spreading.
I dislike messy debates with little work done to resolve them.
I dislike when people go "my time will start in 3, 2, 1."
I dislike when people ask if they can take prep, I don't care just tell me that you're taking it.
I dislike when people are exclusionary to novices, I am very much in the trial by fire camp but you shouldn't throw someone into a volcano. Yes, you can spread, run disads, counterplan, k's, and even phil as long as your explanations are accessible and in good faith. But theory and tricks is a no go and you WILL get your speaks tanked.
I dislike t - bare plurals.
How has Holden voted?
Across all of my time as a judge, I have judged exactly 551 debate rounds. Of those, I have voted aff approximately 54.08% of the time.
My average speaks for the 2022-2023 season have been 28.532, across my entire time judging they are at 28.507
I have been apart of 140 panels, of those I have sat exactly 17 times (Harvard was rough).
What will Holden never vote on?
Arguments that involve the appearance of a debater (shoes theory, formal clothing theory, etc.)
Arguments that say oppression is good.
Arguments that contradict what was said in CX.
Contrary to my reputation, I actually quite enjoy and have a good amount of experience on the policy side of the argumentative spectrum. I do quite a bit of research for policy arguments, and do topic research on that side of ground very often. I love a good disad and case 2NR, and will reward well done executions of these strategies because I think they're great. One of my favorite 2NR's to give is one on a disad and circumvention, I think it's great and really rewards good research quality
Counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive, I think most counterplans probably lose to permutations that make arguments about this and love when people make these arguments
Impact turn debates are some of my favorite, give me more of them please and thank you
I reward good evidence, if you cite a piece of evidence as part of your warrant for a argument and it's not good/underwarranted then that minimizes your strength of link. I do read evidence a lot in these debates because I think that it often acts as a tiebreaker
I really appreciate judge instruction, how should I frame a piece of evidence, what comes first, I think that telling me what to do and how to decide debates makes your life and my job much easier
I enjoy really well researched process counterplans. Absolutely makes me smile when the evidence is topic specific, and has great solvency advocates.
Yes judgekick, but make an argument for it please
Explain what the permutation looks like, just saying perm do both is a meaningless argument and I am not filling in the gaps for you
For affs, having well developed and robust internal links into 2-3 impacts is much preferred than the shot gun 7 impact strategy
Explanation of the DA turning case matters a lot to me, explain it please
A note on non-black engagement with afropessimism, I will watch your execution of this argument like a hawk if you decide to go for it. I think that certain authors make particular claims about the adoption of Afro-pessimist advocacy by non-black individuals, while other authors make different claims, be mindful of this when you are cutting your evidence/constructing your 1NC. While my thoughts on this question are more neutral than they once were, that does not mean you get to do whatever with the argument. If you are reading this critique as a non-black person, this becomes the round. This also means that if you are disingenuous to the literature at all, your speaks are tanked and the ballot may be given away as well depending on how annoyed I'm feeling. This is your first and final warning.
This is where most of my research and thoughts are these days. I will most likely be good for whatever literature base you are reading, and have a very decent amount of rounds judging and going for the K. I have most likely judged or read the literature you are going for sometime in my years in debate, so feel free to read anything, just be able to explain it.
Aff teams against the k need to go for framework and extinction outweighs more
My ideal k 1nc will have 2-3 links contextual to the aff (one of which is a topic link), an alternative, and some kind of framing mechanism.
I have found recently that most 2NR's have trouble articulating what the alternative does, and how that interacts with the affirmative and the links. If you are unable to explain to me what the alt does, your chances of getting my ballot go down. I find that examples from both sides of the debate help contextualize the offense you're going for in relation to the alternative/the permutation, you should also explain the perm in the first responsive speech
I've found that most k teams have become rusty at debating the impact turn (heg good/cap good), this is to say that I think that if you are agaisnt the k, I am very much willing to vote on the impact turn given that it is not morally repugnant (see above)
I would very much prefer that you introduce an interesting new argument than recycle the same aff or the same 1NC you've been running for 2 years. At least update your cards every once in a while.
Don't run a k just because you think I'll like it, bad k debates make for some of the worst speaks I've given all year (for example, if you're reading argument related to Settler Colonialism and can't name the 6 settler moves to innocence)
K tricks are cool if they have a warrant, floating piks need to be hinted at in the 1NC please so they can be floating
For you nerds that wanna know, the literature bases I know pretty well are: Marxism, Security, Reps K's, Afro-pessimism, Baudrillard, Beller, Deleuze and Guattari, Halberstam, Hardt and Negri, Weheliye, Grove, Scranton/Eco-pessimism, and Settler Colonialism
The literature bases that I know somewhat/am reading up on are: Agamben, Abolition, Cybernetics, Psychoanalysis, Queer-pessimism, Disability literature, Moten and Harney, and Puar
Yes, I think these are cool, defend something and have a counter-interp that substantively does something in relation to maybe limiting the topic? I am increasingly becoming convinced that there should be some stasis for debate, I think that having your aff discuss the resolution makes your framework answers more persuasive and makes me happier to vote for you
Presumption is underrated, most affs don't do anything and their ballot key warrant is bad, you should make sure to utilize that.
For those negating these affs, I think that the case page is the weakest part of the debate from both sides. I think if the 2NR develops a really good piece of offense from the case page then the debate becomes much easier for you to win.I will, in fact, vote for heg good, cap good, etc. and quite enjoy judging these debates
Innovation is appreciated, I swear I've heard the same two or three affs twenty times each. If your take on a literature base is interesting, innovative, AND is something I haven't heard this year then you will most definitely get higher speaks
Performance based arguments are also acceptable/enjoyed, in the last tournament of my career I ran one of these and experienced immense success with it. However, I find that most times when they are ran the performance is not really extended into the speeches after this, obviously there are some limitations but I think that it does give me more leeway in terms of leveraging your inevitable application of the performance to other areas of the debate
Framework isn't capital T true, but it also isn't an automatic act of violence. I find myself neutral on the question of how one should debate about the resolution, but I do think that the resolution should be a starting point for the debate. How you interpret that is up to you
I am of the opinion that most framework debates take place on an impact level, with the internal link to those impacts most of the time never being questioned. This is where I think both teams should take advantage of, and produces better debates about what debate should look like.
I have voted on straight up impact turns before, and I have also voted on fairness as an impact, I think that the onus is on you to explain and flesh your arguments in a way that answers the 1AR/2NR. Reading off your blocks and not engaging in the specific warrants of disads to your model often lead to me questioning what I'm voting for because there is often little to no engagement by either side in the debate
Counter-interps are more persuasive to me, and I think are underutilized, counter-interps that are well thought out and have good explanation of what your model of debate looks like does wonders
In terms of impacts to framework, my normal takes are clash > fairness > advocacy skills
"Fairness is good because debate is a game and we all have intrinsic motivation to compete" >>>>>>> "fairness is an impact because it constrains your ability to evaluate their arguments so hack against them," if the latter is your explanation then 9 times out of 10 you are going to lose
Topicality (Theory is it’s own Monster):
I love T debates, absolutely some of my favorite rounds to adjudicate. I think they've gotten a bad rep over the past four or five years because of the bare plurals stuff *shudders*, but interps that are based on words/phrases of the resolution and are gone for well will make me incredibly happy
My normal defaults for these debates are:
- Competing Interps
- Drop the debater
- No RVI's
Reasonability is about your counter-interp not your aff, people need to relearn how to go for this because it's a lost art in the age of endless theory shells
Arbitrary counter-interps such as "your interp plus my aff" are cringe and you are better served going for a more substantive argument
For all that is holy get over Nebel T and run topic contextual interps, I've heard the same limits v pics debate about 40 times and I'm tired of it
Slow down for me a bit in these debates, I can flow pretty well but T is monster in terms of how many warrants/separate arguments you're spewing out so give me typing time please
You need to read voters, some standards are impacts on their own (precision comes to mind) but outside of that I have trouble understanding why limits is an independent impact sans some external argument about why making debate harder is bad
Weigh your internal links please and thank you
I judge this type of debate a lot, and probably more than most judges. So you'll most likely be fine in these debates in front of me, I just ask that you don't blitz through analytics and make good indepth weighing arguments regarding your internal links to the standards you're going for. I find that a well explained abuse story (whether that be potential or in-round) makes me be conceputally more persuaded by the impacts you go for
Conditionality is good if you win it's such. I've noticed a trend among judges recently just blatantly refusing to vote on conditionality through some arbitrary threshold that they think is egrigious, or because they think conditionality is universally good. I am not one of those judges. If you wanna read 6 different counterplans, go right ahead but just dismissing condo bad like it's an afterthought will not garner you any sympathy from me. To clarify, I think condo is good as a general ideology, but your defense of it better be robust if you plan on using abusing conditionality vehemently
Sure, go for whatever shell you want, I'll flow it barring these exceptions:
- Shells about the appearance and clothing of another debaters
- Disclosure in the case in which a debater has said they can't disclose certain positions for safety reasons, please don't do this
- Reading "no i meets"
- Arguments that say that implicate that a debater may not be able to answer a new argument in the next speech (for example, if the 1AR concedes no new 2ar arguments, and the 2NR reads a new shell, I will always give the 2AR the ability to answer that new shell)
Here are my defaults for counterplan theory:
- Counterplans with a solvency advocate, no matter what type they are = good
- PICs = good
- Process CP's = good
- Consult CP's = bad
- States CP's = good
- Actor/Agent CP's = good
- Object Fiat = bad
I have realized that I need more explanation when people are going for arguments that are based on intense arguments of logic. I need this explanation to be toned down so I can actually follow what’s going on, these make my head hurt and I did not pay enough attention in my logic class to know/understand exactly what you're talking about.
I think that my thoughts about this are "please don't if you don't have to, but if you aren't the one to initiate you can go ham"
I can judge these debates, and have coached debaters that have gone for these arguments, I would really just rather not. I am tired of the same arguments being recycled over and over again with little to no innovation. If you throw random a prioris in the 1A/1NC don't expect me to be happy about the debate. Carded and well developed tricks > "resolved means firmly determined and you know I am"
Slow down on your long underviews, yes I am flowing them but it doesn't help when you're blitzing through independent theory arguments like they're card text. Go at like 70% your normal speed in these situations
Be straight up about the implication and warrant for tricks, if you're shifty about them in cross then I will be shifty about whether or not I feel like evaluating them. This extends to disclosure practices.
Tricks versus identity-based affirmatives is violent, and bad. Stop it.
I love these debates! I find phil a really interesting part of debate that often goes unexplored. That being said, I prefer well developed syllogisms with pieces of evidence over analytical dumps, I find that analytical syllogisms are often spammy with extremely underdeveloped warrants.
Parts of your syllogisms should at least hint at what their impact is. I think that this becomes even more essential in later speeches where you should collapse and impact 1-2 justifications along with weighing
In phil v phil debates, both sides need to be able to explain their ethic more. These debates can either be super informational, or super messy, and I would prefer that they be the former rather than the latter. Explanation, clear engagement, and weighing is the way to my ballot in these debates
Hijacks are great! Just explain them well since they're often pretty complicated and I can't really understand the warrant if it's less than 10 seconds long
Please slow down a bit in these debates, they ore often very fast, technical, and blippy and I can only flow so fast
For those that are wondering, here are the literature bases I know pretty well: Locke, Hobbes, Pragmatism, Kant, Deleuze, Hume, Descartes, Nietzsche, Berkeley, Leibniz, and Spinoza
I know these literature bases somewhat: Rawls, Plato, Aquinas, Virtue Ethics, ILaw, Moral Particularism, and Constitutionality
I know I have it listed as a phil literature base, but I conceptually have trouble with deleuze ethical frameworks, especially since the literature doesn't prescribe a moral claim but makes a structural one which means that it doesn't make too much logical sense to force the literature to make an ethical claim.
- Comparative worlds > truth testing
- Permissibility negates > affirms
- Presumption negates > affirms
- Epistemic confidence > epistemic modesty
Since these are becoming increasingly read in front of me, and are becoming a separate argument in debate, I thought they deserved their own section. I think that these are good arguments when executed well. That being said, I think that for these to be won, you need to win either some meta level framing (such as accessibility first) or linking it to an ethical framework. I often have to ask myself “should I abandon the flow if I think that this is violent” and here is the litmus test for how I will determine to abandon the flow, I will:
1. See if you won the flow proper to see if I can avoid intervening
2. If you did not win the flow proper, I will see if the action in question is a legitimate question of violence in the debate space, your explanation may help, your explanation may not. As much as your 2AR ethos may be good, if I do not think that this situation is an act of violence with reasonable malicious intent, then I will not abandon the flow. A few instances in which I will abandon the flow can be: misgendering, dead-naming, some sort of maliciously intended argument meant to exclude individuals from debate
This is not to say I won’t abandon the flow, but I feel like there has to be some outline for how I can reconcile this, or else this would justify me becoming increasingly interventionist for littler reasons which I think is a horrible model of debate.
Yes, I can judge this, and debated on a rather traditional LD circuit in high school. However, I often time find these debates to be boring, and most definitely not my cup of tea. If you think that you can change my opinion go right ahead, but I think that given the people that pref me most of the time, it will be in your best interest to pref me low or strike me, both for your sake and mine.
I would much prefer these debates be executed as a shell rather than having the round staked on them. I hate adjudicating these debates because a. They deprive me of a substantive round and b. Are normally a cheap shot by an opposing debater. As such, if you stake the round on evidence ethics this will be the procedure for which things will go down: 1. I will look into the evidence that is in question 2. Compare it to the claim/violation that is being presented 3. Utilize the rules for which the tournament is using (NSDA, NDCA, etc.) to determine whether or not it is a violation 4. Check with the debater if they are sure they want this to be a drop the debater issue, or to drop the evidence. If it is a violation, then I will drop the person who committed such with 25 speaks if it's a drop the debater issue, if it's not drop the debater then I will not evaluate the evidence and we can debate as normal. If it is not a violation, then I will drop the accuser with 25 speaks if it's a drop the debater issue, if it's not drop the debater then your speaks will be capped at a 28.
Here is what I consider evidence ethics violations in the absence of guidance: 1. If the author concludes in opposition of what is cited 2. If worlds are deleted or inserted in the middle of a sentence 3. If a debater misrepresented what the author says
For the policy kids-
Full disclosure, I am normally a circuit LD judge but have been judging policy more lately (judged at grapevine and a lot of rounds at camp this year). I did policy in high school, and research/run policy arguments in college now so I will know what's going on.Most of my takes should be summarized above, I think my takes on framework aren’t as dogmatic as I once thought, I think this is because I’ve noticed how much better impact explanation occurs in policy and as such any predispositions listed above can be easily overcome by just solid impact calculus when going for T versus critical affirmatives (no joke framework has a 100% win rate in front of me in policy). I also think I’m better at evaluating policy throw-downs than I thought/once was. All that matters is link contextualization, developing a turns case argument, and implicating your arguments to help resolve the rest of the flow. I like impact turns (dedev, heg good/bad, etc.), I like debaters that make rounds clean, and I like judge instruction. Framework isn't genocide but it's not the holy grail, clash > fairness.
Also neutral on questions such as condo, if you win it you win it, being dogmatic on these questions are bad takes.
- Sign post please
- Weighing early is how you get my ballot (best case scenario is starting in the 2AC)
- Yes open cross
For the NFA-LD kids:
Everything above applies
Don't think I'm a k hack, my background may suggest otherwise but ideologically I have a high threshold for execution and will punish you for it if you fail to meet it. If you are not comfortable going for the k then please don't unless you absolutely want to, don't adapt to me. I promise I'll be so down for a good disad and case 2NR or something similar
"It's against NFA-LD rules" is not an argument or impact claim and if it is then at best it's an internal link to fairness. Only rules violation I will not roll my eyes at are ethics challenges
Yes non-T affs, yes t - framework, yes cap good/heg good
Condo is bad if you win that it is bad, it is good if you win it is good
An addendum to how I dish out my speaks, any additional speaker points you get via my challenges cannot get you above a 29.7, the other .3 is something you have to earn/work for
Speaker points challenges (things to maintain my vtl during tournaments):
- Send a picture of your pet (not snakes please I have a phobia of them) in the doc or email chain +.3
- Bringing me a diet or zero version of coke, pepsi, or dr. pepper will result +.5 (will exceed the 29.7 threshold if my exhaustion and delirium is enough)
- Pepsi challenge jokes (making sense to the debate and actually related to the content) +.1
Things I will be more apt to maybe slightly inflate your speaks for:
- Being generally pleasant (not in the "hi how are you judge" kind of way but being vibey I guess)
- Making actually funny jokes
Across over 200+ prelims at bid tournaments, I have averaged at a 28.5 in terms of speaks, which means I'm not necessarily a speaks fairy or stingy
A 30 is very hard to achieve in front of me, and the only ones I have given out is because of the utilization of the challenges
I don't evaluate "give me x amount of speaks" arguments, if you want it so bad utilize the ways to get extra speaks I have below
They're adjusted according to the tournament, but here's a general scale -
29.6+ Great round, you should be in late elims or win the tournament
29.1-29.5 Great round, you should be in mid to late elims
28.6-29 You should break or make the bubble at least
28.1-28.5 About middle of the pool
27.6-28 You got some stuff to work on
27-27.5 You got a lot of stuff to work on
Anything below a 27: You did something really horrible and I will be having a word with tab and your coach about it
Random Sliding Scales that I think are Fun (Stolen from Patrick Fox)
Voting for policy----X----Voting for the K
Researching/coaching policy-------X---Researching/coaching the K
Good evidence-X---------Bad evidence + spin
Will read ev without being told------X----Tell me what to read
Asking "did you read X card"-------X--- Learn to flow or run prep/CX for this
Yes RVIs-------X---No RVIs
Fairness is definitely an impact-----X-----Fairness is definitely not an impact
Alternatives/K affs should solve things or lose--X--------Alternatives/K affs can not solve things and not lose
"It's pre-fiat"--------X--Actual arguments that mean things
Debate good---X-------Debate bad (the activity)
Debate good-------X---Debate bad (the community)
Creative, alternative models of the topic + offense---X-------Impact turn everything vs framework
Yes ur Baudrillard/Kant-X---------Not ur Baudrillard/Kant
Feelings and jokes--X--------Debate robots
Mime-like expressiveness---X-------Statue-like poker face
Assume I understand the things--------X--Assume I do not understand the things
Speaker point fairy------X----Speaker point goblin
LD should be like policy-------X---(Some) LD stuff is cool
Capitalism----------X( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
I have coached LD at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Tx since 2009. I judge a lot and do a decent amount of topic research. Mostly on the national/toc circuit but also locally. Feel free to ask questions before the round. Add me to email chains. Jchriscastillo@gmail.com.
I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. The best debaters will 1. Focus on argument explanation over argument quantity. 2. Provide clear judge instruction.
I do not flow off the doc.
- I rarely read evidence after debates.
- Evidence should be highlighted so it's grammatically coherent and makes a complete argument.
- Smart analytics can beat bad evidence
- Compare and talk about evidence, don't just read more cards
- I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types.
- I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness.
- Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments.
Non-T/Planless affs: I'm good with these. I'm most compelled by affirmatives that 1. Can explain what the role of the neg is 2. Explain why the ballot is key.
Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".
Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity. I do not disclose speaks.
Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. I will not vote on "evaluate after X speech" arguments.
Updated for TOC 2023
Email for chain – firstname.lastname@example.org
Conflicts: Harker, Harvard-Westlake
Tl;dr: good for: CPs, DAs, T, non-postmodern Ks. bad for: tricks, pomo, theory debates, phil.
1. I enjoy judging. TOC 2023 will likely be the last tournament I judge for a while. I know how much effort goes into preparing for debate tournaments, let alone a season end tournament like the TOC. I am excited to hear what you have to say.
2. Speed - you should not go your top speed, 80-90% is probably fine most of the time, maybe err on the slow side on (especially short) analytics.
***Theory is an entirely different ballgame - I don't know if theory arguments are just getting shorter or if I'm not catching as much because people go too fast, but people need to slow down a substantial amount. This is one of the most important parts of this paradigm, it is also the most ignored.
3. I care about evidence more than the average judge. I usually read the most important cards after the debate and compare what the evidence actually says against the debaters’ explanations. Evidence is almost never perfect – pointing out flaws in your opponents’ cards, comparing author qualifications, etc. will result in higher points.
4. I will only vote on arguments that I understand and can explain back to the other debater. I will never vote on arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, etc.
5. Arguments should be complete in the first constructive in which they are presented. CPs need to have competition and solvency arguments explicitly made in the NC. DAs must have uniqueness. ACs must include solvency arguments. Ks should have a semblance of a FW argument in the NC. Incomplete arguments can be dispatched by brief, smart analytics.
6. General argument preferences – I prefer quality arguments related to the topic. All things equal, I prefer to hear a core topic DA instead of politics, a K with a strong link to the aff over a consult CP, etc. Of course, if you execute a niche argument really well, go for it, just be aware that the less familiar I am with it, the less likely I am to fully understand it, and the more likely it is that you get a decision that you may not like.
A. Policy arguments (CPs, DAs, etc.)
–I am best for these types of arguments.
-Impact calc + turns case are underutilized/usually a game winner if you do them well.
-The Politics DA is the worst argument that I vote on routinely. Dunking on politics during CX (while still being respectful of course)/dismantling it in the 1ar will likely result in higher points. Unfortunately, affs rarely do this and instead just read 4 impact defense cards :(
-I do not default judge kick, but I am open to it.
-I am open to most CP theory (conditionality, PICs, agent CPs, etc.) but am a hard sell on LD nonsense (must spec status in speech, no neg fiat, etc.). One condo is generally ok, two is pushing it, three or more is no good. However, debates that come down to 1ar theory are among my least favorite to judge (unless it’s a slam dunk)
-That being said, most CP theory arguments other than condo are likely better as competition arguments rather than theory
-I've noticed a proliferation of really horrible process CPs. I don’t like them. Most of these are consult CPs that lack a reason why bindingness/consultation are key – these should easily be beaten by permutations. If you have qualified cards from the literature about the topic (or even close to being about the topic), though, I am good for these.
-I like well executed T debates.
-But I'm usually not thrilled to be judging Nebel over and over again. Nebel/can't spec should be viewed as a last resort (cases where the aff is very very small). I will probably vote aff on the “PICs argument” if both sides debate this argument equally.
-I find myself usually unpersuaded by “only semantics matter” claims on T. A well thought out limits claim is definitely the way to go in front of me.
-On T I’m probably 50-50 on the competing interps/reasonability debate.
-In theory debates, I am generally persuaded by reasonability + drop the argument. I do not like judging theory debates a whole lot.
-I would not read an RVI in front of me. I have a hard time understanding the warrants for these. It will be nearly impossible to get me to vote on one.
-I prefer not to judge debates with out of round violations (disclosure etc.) The exception is if your opponent does not disclose first 3 last 3 - include screenshots/evidence and this is a near slam dunk. Other disclosure violations (round reports, open source, etc.) can be easily beaten by reasonability in front of me. Things like "misdisclosure/opponent lied" are uncomfortable to judge/you must include screenshots/definitive evidence in your speech docs.
-Yes - Neolib, Afropessimism, Set Col, other "structural" identity Ks, Security
-No - pomo. It’s not that am not ideologically against these Ks, I am just very unfamiliar with them which will make it hard for you to win them in front of me. It's unlikely you get higher than a 28.5 unless you are very good at explaining your argument.
-I probably lean neg in FW/K aff debates. Negs should articulate an impact outside of "limits because limits" and affs should have counterinterpretations that solve most of neg offense
-When going for a K on the neg, if your only link is some fancy packaging of "fiat bad" I am not the judge for you.
-Links should be contextualized/turn the case. This does not mean that all your links need to be to the plan; rather, if you explain why your links turn the case under the aff FW, you are in a good spot.
-Ideally the 2NR does most if not all of their work on the line-by-line – I’m fine with a short overview to explain thesis/impact but I’m not a fan of the 4-minute overviews followed by the neg saying “this was in the overview” to answer every 1AR argument.
- Neg teams should frame their link not only against the plan alone but through the lens of the permutation. Likewise, affs should frame their link turns not through the lens of the status quo, but through the alternative.
- I’m most well-versed in consequentialism but I think I understand Kant and some political theory a decent amount. I’m at ELI5 level for almost every other type, so tread carefully. You do not need an explicit standard text.
-I’m pretty tired of every phil debate I judge coming down to induction fails/consequentialism impossible.
-“Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” – Trix kids
7. Evidence ethics – if a debater claims their opponent committed an evidence ethics violation, such as clipping, they will stake the debate on that claim. If there’s proof that the accused the debater clipped, they get an L and the lowest points I can give. If the opposing debater did not clip, the accusing party gets an L and the lowest points I can give.
I don’t read along in the speech doc…usually. Usually if you’re talking, I’m flowing. Sometimes, however, I look if I suspect clipping is occurring. If I catch you clipping, I will let the debate finish, but you will lose. I won’t catch everyone who clips, I don’t think it’s my job to constantly check everyone, so when I check/when I don’t may be somewhat arbitrary, but the easy way to not get caught is to not cheat.
If I call clear (multiple times) and you don't clear up/I cannot understand the words you are saying, it is clipping.
Things like bracketing, cutting an author who concludes the other way (as long as it’s not egregious), etc. aren’t round-stopping issues to me. However, I am extremely receptive to theory arguments about them, and doing those things will tank your speaks.
This is how I evaluate these issues, even if no ethics challenge is raised.
If I notice...
-Card from an article which concludes the other way - your speaks get tanked (25) if you don't go for the flow/it is not egregious; you lose if it is integral to your strategy/you would lose the debate without it
-Card with paragraphs missing - you lose
-Clipping - you lose
-Cards that are miscited - you lose
8. Ways to get good speaker points
-Demonstrating topic/content knowledge
-Debating about author quals
-High quality/not scarcely under-highlighted evidence
-Going for an impact turn well
9. Last housekeeping things
-You must share your speech docs with your opponent - email is preferable
- Each debate will have 1 winner and 1 loser. The speech times are set as is prep time. You can’t use CX as prep time. Asking for me to give you a 30 will result in you getting no higher than a 26.
-I like evidence a lot, but good analytics >>> bad cards. Even if your card is A+, you only get credit for how good you explain it in later speeches/when you extend it.
- Debate is a communicative activity, so I don't make my decision by reading through all the cards in the speech doc after the debate. I think I'm a pretty good flow, so I don't backflow unless I think it was my fault. If it's not on my flow, you don't get credit for it - emphasizing/slowing down on certain arguments will greatly enhance my ability to understand them. People need to slow wayyyyy down on theory.
-Please be nice to your opponent
Please put me on the chain - email@example.com
Harker 20' | BU 24'
I did LD at Harker (Go Eagles!), went for a lot of policy arguments with a little bit of K stuff. Now I study computers and philosophy at Boston University.
Biggest thing: I very rarely evaluate theory. See more thoughts below.
Guidelines that are set in stone
- Arguments that are blatantly sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. and clearly made in bad faith means an instant loss, 0 speaks, and an uncomfortable conversation with your coach. If it's clear the debate is being made violent the debate ends. If you have a question about an argument, ask before the round.
- if you feel uncomfortable participating in the debate (your opp. triggered you, accidentally misgendered you, etc) feel free to discretely email or talk to me if you're uncomfortable making it an issue in the debate and we'll all work to make the debate a more productive space
- If your opponent is speaking too quickly or unclearly for you to flow, you have a right to call clear.
- I won't flow arguments made after the timer ends.
-I'll evaluate evidence ethics and other cheating challenges per tournament rules.
- I care about good evidence. When left to my own devices, I will often look at evidence quality to evaluate an otherwise close debate. If you want me to not do this, do smart evidence resolution as soon as possible.
- please weigh arguments, always, as soon and as much as possible.
- I enjoy smart strategic decision making, both micro and macro,, including a willingness to be bold and make/go for innovative or exciting arguments within reason.
Things I do not enjoy
- Theory. Consider this by far the strongest opinion in the paradigm.
- Tricks. Do anything close to them and you will automatically lose
- I greatly enjoy good Kritik debate, which I believe means strong contextualization of your argument to the Affirmative and not abandoning good technical debating.
- It is difficult to convince me that your narrow structuralist Kritik can explain every complex dynamic the Aff discusses. I am more amenable to arguments about class or economics in this regard. Either way, strong evidence and examples of how you can explain the phenomena the Aff talks about will help greatly.
- Psychoanalysis is always a hard sell; this isn't an English class, you do have to base your arguments in real things.
- I try to not fill in my own knowledge of a position to help make your argument better in a way your opponent might be at a disadvantage to because of their own lack of knowledge of an argument.
- I Prefer K Affs that creatively reinterpret the resolution via predictable and robust counter-interpretation of words in the resolutions as opposed to ones that just impact turn limits. This usually includes defending links to and responding to topic disads, cps, and kritiks.
- You should treat me like the village idiot when explaining what your non-topical Aff does. I give a lot of decisions in debates where the Aff is no res, neg is framework, both sides drop lots of stuff, but I vote Neg because I understand the Framework argument more than whatever the Aff is trying to do. Please make it explicit what your Aff says, why that matters, and what the ballot can do about that. Related, it will be a very had sell to me that the mere reading of framework or the suggestion that some rules exist is violent or bad. Beat framework by telling me why the resolutional rule is so bad it outweighs a predictable deliberation point.
- I want to see more high-quality K v K debate: if that's something you're up for and if you have a good specific position against their Aff, go for it! Similarly, I hate it when non-topical affirmtives run away from these debates by trying to claim the link is not their thing. Don't be a coward, you had infinite flexibility when choosing what you wanted to say, defend it.
- Generally a fan as long as it's less tricksy and more substantive. You know what the difference is, don't test me on it (if you really don't just email me about it)
- Especially receptive when the Aff barely/doesn't defend a coherent framework in the 1AC which happens a lot especially on the West Coast these days. If the Neg does judge instruction about why 1AR framework restarts are bad this could be a devastating strategy for me.
- It would be cool if you didn't butcher what philosophers actually said but I know that's a pipe dream. Philosophy is really hard, mostly because philosophers are by and large atrocious writers. Give an honest interpretation your best shot and all will be well.
- I have very strong opinions about theory that you cannot change my mind about. I have and will give decisions that where I throw out a theory argument most people are fine with.
- T starts as drop the debater, but never an RVI, theory is always drop the argument, and never an RVI.
- Arguments I will evaluate: non-resolutional actor fiat (like I-Fiat or States), disclosure unless there has clearly been no good faith attempt to get it. Unlikely I vote on stuff like "must have complete round reports" or whatever, but if their disclosure practices are truly terrible and you can explain why this is probably ok. Topicality arguments that define words in the resolution, judge kick.
- Arguments I will never vote for: Any non-resolutional theory argument not listed above. This includes: "object fiat", solvency advocates, PICS bad, conditionality, no neg fiat, new affs bad, any form of spec argument without a card supporting it. I literally do not flow these, and will say as such as part of my RFD. Do not bother making them.
- Regarding re-highlighting - to point out flaws in evidence inserting is fine, to make an offensive argument read it.
- I spend a lot of my time studying the math behind how AI/machine learning works, and how that stuff works in general. I feel pretty confident saying that the version of AI/ML the debate community talks about and the real thing are basically completely disconnected (not just in high school, but college too. Not gonna call-out anyone, but there's some real lack of understanding of the fundamentals here). So part of me wants to tell you to call out people on their nonsense, but that would require a level of expertise that you probably just don't have the time to acquire. High school is very busy and you probably don't want to waste your time self-teaching yourself linear algebra and whatnot. I will just say this: people very frequently overestimate AI's capabilities in debate, and you should call them out when their evidence is not making as strong a claim as they are forwarding in their tags (both in terms of AI solving this or that, and about being an x-risk). I also pretty strongly think people PhDs in philosophy or comparative english are unqualfied to write about AI eating the planet or whatever.
she/they, lay-uh, not lee-uh
A) I've competed and coached high school and college policy debate since 2008.
B) I've taught new novice students and instructed K-12 teachers about Parli, PuFo, LD, and Policy
C) I am an educator and curriculum developer, so that is how I view my role as a judge and approach feedback in debate. I type my RFDs, please ask your coaches (if you have an experienced coach) to explain strategic concepts I referenced. Otherwise you can email me.
D) I am very aware of the differences in strategy and structure when comparing Policy Debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate.
d)) which means I can tell when evidence from one format of debate [ex: policy -> ld] is merely read in a different format of debate for strategic choices rather than educational engagement.
heads up: i can tell when you are (sp)reading policy cards at me, vs communicating persuasive and functionally strategic arguments. please read and write your speeches, don't just read blocks of evidence without doing the persuasive work of storytelling impacts.How I Evaluate & Structure Arguments:
Parts of an Argument:
Claim - your argument
Warrant - analytical reasoning or evidence
Impact - why the judge should care, why it's important
Probability - how likely is it the impact will happen
Magnitude - how large is the harm/who will be negatively affected
Timeframe - when this impact will occur
Reversibility - can the harms be undone[Online Debates]
prewritten analytics should be included in the doc. we are online. transparency, clarity, and communication is integral in debate. if you are unclear and i miss an argument, then i missed your argument because you were unclearpre-pandemic paradigm particularities
for policy and/or ld:
1) AFFs should present solutions, pass a Plan, or try to solve something
2) K AFFs that do not present a plan text must: 1. Be resolutional - 1ac should generally mention or talk about the topic even if you're not defending it, 2. Prove the 1AC/AFF is a prereq to policy, why does the AFF come before policy, why does policy fail without the aff? 3. Provide sufficient defense to TVAs - if NEG proves the AFF (or solvency for AFF's harms) can happen with a plan text, I am very persuaded by TVAs. K teams must have a strong defense to this.
3) Link to the squo/"Truth Claims" as an impact is not enough. These are generic and I am less persuaded by generic truth claims arguments without sufficient impacts
4) Critique of the resolution > Critique of the squo
5) NEG K alts do not have to solve the entirety of the AFF, but must prove a disadvantage or explain why a rejection of the AFF is better than the alt, or the squo solves.
6) Debate is a [policy or LD] game, if it is a survival strategy I need more warrants and impacts other than "the aff/alt is a survival strategy" with no explanation of how you are winning in-round impacts
7) Framing is FUNctional, the team that gives me the best guide on how/why I should vote for X typically wins the round. What's the ROB, ROJ, the purpose of this round, impact calc, how should I evaluate the debate?
8) Edu is important. Persuasive communication is part of edu. when the debate is messy or close I tend to evaluate the round in terms of 1. who did the better debating, 2. who best explained arguments and impacts and made me more clearly understand the debate, 3. who understood their evidence/case the most.
9) Dropped arguments are not always necessarily true - I will vote on dropped arguments if it was impacted out and explained why it's a voter, but not if the only warrant is "they conceded _____it so it's a voter"
10) I flow arguments, not authors. It will be helpful to clarify which authors are important by summarizing/impacting their arguments instead of name dropping them without context or explanation.
I am an assistant coach for Immaculate Heart High School. I debated for Immaculate Heart for four years. I am now a 4th year philosophy student at UC Berkeley.
Most important stuff:
I try my best to not let my argument preferences influence my decision in a debate; I have no problem voting for arguments that I disagree with. That said, I will only vote on arguments — that is, claims with warrants — and I have no problem not voting for an "argument" because it is not properly warranted.
I will not vote on arguments that I don't understand or didn't have flowed. I do not flow from the doc; I think the increasing tendency of judges to do this is abetting the issue of students being literally incomprehensible. I will occasionally say clear, but I think the onus is on you to be comprehensible.
You must send to your opponent whatever evidence you plan to read before you begin your speech; you do not need to send analytics. If you mark cards during a speech — that is, if you begin reading a card but do not finish reading that card — then you must indicate where in the card you stopped, and you should send a marked doc immediately after your speech. You do not need to send a document excluding cards that were not at all read.
If you want to ask your opponent what was read/not read, or what arguments were made on a certain page, you of course may, but you must do it in CX or prep. There is no flow clarification time slot in a debate!
The upshot of the last few comments is that I think flowing is a very important skill, and we should endorse practices that cultivate that skill.
You will auto-lose the debate if you clip cards. Prep ends once the speech doc has been sent. If you want to advance an evidence ethics violation, you must stake the debate on it.
Be respectful to your opponent. This is a community.
Above all, I like clash-heavy debates between well-researched positions.
My favorite negative strategies include impact turns, counterplans, and NCs. My favorite affirmative strategies are plans with “big-stick” or “soft-left” advantages.
I don't really like "tricks" of any genre because I think overwhelmingly they simply lack warrants.
I don't like strategies that depend entirely on framework or framing arguments to exclude your opponent's offense. You should always answer the case even if you are reading a framework/impact framing argument that explains why I should prioritize your offense over your opponent's.
As I said, I will never not vote on an argument simply because I disagree with it. I will, however, ignore arguments that are not warranted, and I think certain claims are very difficult, if not impossible, to provide a warrant for.
Here are some examples of claims that I think are very difficult to provide a warrant for:
It would be better if debates lacked a point of stasis.
The outcome of a given debate is capable of changing people's minds/preferences.
It would be better if the negative could not read advocacies conditionally.
I should win the debate solely because I, in fact, did not do anything that was unfair or uneducational.
There is a time skew between the aff and neg in a debate.
A 100% risk of extinction does not matter under my non-utilitarian/non-consequentialist framework.
My 1ar theory argument should come procedurally prior to the negative's topicality argument.
There is something paradoxical about our understanding of space/time, so you should vote for me.
Here are some claims that I will never vote on, whether you try to warrant them or not:
That which is morally repugnant
This debate should be about the moral character of my opponent
X is a voting issue simply because I labeled it as such.
I am the Director of Debate at Immaculate Heart High School. I am a conflict for any competitors on this list.
1. I will vote on nearly any argument that is well explained and compared to the arguments your opponent has made.
2. Accusing your opponent of an evidence ethics or clipping violation requires you to stake the debate on said allegation. If such an allegation is made, I will stop the debate, determine who I think is in the wrong, and vote against that person and give them the lowest speaker points allowed by the tournament.
3. I won’t vote on arguments that I don’t understand or that I don’t have flowed. I have been involved in circuit LD for almost ten years now and consider myself very good at flowing, so if I missed an argument it is likely because you were incomprehensible.
4. I am a strong proponent of disclosure, and I consider failing to disclose/incorrect disclosure a voting issue, though I am growing weary of nit-picky disclosure arguments that I don’t think are being read in good faith.
5. For online debate, please keep a local recording of your speech so that you can continue your speech and share it with your opponent and me in the event of a disconnect.
6. Weighing arguments are not new even if introduced in the final rebuttal speech. The Affirmative should not be expected to weigh their advantage against five DAs before the Negative has collapsed.
7. You need to use CX to ask which cards were read and which were skipped.
Some thoughts of mine:
1. I dislike arguments about individual debaters' personal identities. Though I have voted for these arguments plenty of times, I think I would vote against them the majority of the time in an evenly matched debate.
2. I am increasingly disinterested in voting for topicality arguments about bare plurals or theory arguments suggesting that either debater should take a stance on some random thing. No topic is infinitely large and voting for these arguments discourages topic research. I do however enjoy substantive topicality debates about meaningful interpretive disagreements regarding terms of art used in the resolution.
3. “Jurisdiction” and “resolvability” standards for theory arguments make little sense to me. Unless you can point out a debate from 2013 that is still in progress because somebody read a case that lacked an explicit weighing mechanism, I will have a very low threshold for responses to these arguments.
4. I dislike critiques that rely exclusively on framework arguments to make the Aff irrelevant. The critique alternative is one of the debate arguments I'm most skeptical of. I think it is best understood as a “counter-idea” that avoids the problematic assumptions identified by the link arguments, but this also means that “alt solves” the case arguments are misguided because the alternative is not something that the Negative typically claims is fiated. If the Negative does claim that the alternative is fiated, then I think they should lose to a theory argument. With that said, I still vote on critiques plenty and will evaluate these debates as per your instructions.
5. Despite what you may have heard, I enjoy philosophy arguments quite a bit and have grown nostalgic for them as LD increasingly becomes indistinct from policy. What I dislike is when debaters try to fashion non-normative philosophy arguments about epistemology, metaphysics, or aesthetics into NCs that purport to justify a prescriptive standard. I find philosophy heavy strategies that concede the entirety of the opposing side’s contention or advantage to be unpersuasive.
6. “Negate” is not a word that has been used in any resolution to date so frameworks that rely on a definition of this word will have close to no impact on my assessment of the debate.
Currently a coach and PhD student at The University of Kansas.
Add me to the chain plz and thank you DerekHilligoss@gmail.com
for college add firstname.lastname@example.org as well
Plz go a bit slower- Not everyone's audio equipment is able to handle 20 off-
Face the thing that is recording your audio (computer, external mic, headphones, etc...)- when you look away the audio quality is likely to go from good to bad real quick
Don't really care if your camera is on that's a you choice. I'll have mine on.
TL;DR do what you do and do it well. Don't let my preferences sway you away from doing what you want.
The biggest thing for me is that I value good impact framing/calc. If you aren't explaining why your impacts matter more then your opponents you are leaving it up for me or the other team to decide.
Framework: Go for whatever version of framework you like but I tend to think it should interact with the aff at some level. If you give the 2NC/2NR and make no reference to the aff you will find it harder to win my ballot.
Planless affs: The one note I wanna make outside of FW notes is that you have to be able to answer the "what do you do" question no matter how silly it may seem. If I don't know what the aff does after the 1AC/CX that's gonna put you in a rough spot. I don't think this means you have to do anything but you should have a good justification for why you don't have to.
Theory: condo (probably) to a certain extent is good and counterplans should (probably) have solvency advocates. I have no strong opinions just tell me how to feel.
Topicality: limits for the sake of limits probably bad?
Counterplans: cool? Do it
Disads: The only thing I wanna note here is highlight your cards better. I don't wanna have to read 30 crappy cards to get the story of the disad and it makes it easier for the aff to win with a few solid cards.
Kritiks: Specific links go a long way. This doesn't mean it has to be exactly about the plan but your application will do better than a generic "law bad" card. Applying your theory to the aff's advantages in a way that takes out solvency will make your lives so much easier.
For the aff FW I think a well developed FW argument about legal/pragmatic engagement will do more for you than fairness/limits impacts.
If you are unclear I'll yell clear twice before I stop flowing. I'll make it apparent I'm not flowing to let you know you need to adjust still.
If you clip you will lose.
"reinsert card here"- nope :) read it- this is a communication activity not a robot activity.
Hi. I did LD at Westwood High School for four years. Put me on the email chain - email@example.com
Affiliations: Westwood ('19-'22), DebateDrills Club Team ('21-'22)
I've shortened this paradigm because it was very lengthy, but the full one from the 2021-2022 season can be found here.
1] I am comfortable judging policy-style debates and T/theory debates, though the worse the shell gets, the more unhappy I am. I am comfortable judging phil and kritik debates if they don't get too advanced for my brain (pomo, Baudrillard, existentialism, etc.). I am not comfortable judging tricks debates, and though I will still evaluate those debates, I have great distaste in that debate and my threshold for answering those arguments is much lower than other arguments.
2] I agree with Rodrigo Paramo on evidence ethics and trigger warnings. Detailed specifics for ev ethics is below as well.
3] I think tricks args operate on a sliding scale; I think some tricks are worse than others. For example, calc indicts are fine whereas "evaluate the debate after the 1AC" is horrendous. Likewise I also think indexicals and tacit ballot conditional are horrendous arguments for debate. If you're not sure whether an argument is too tricky to read in front of me, err on the side of caution, or just email me pre-round.
4] I believe in open-source disclosure. I think most disclosure arguments that go beyond this are bad (contact info, round reports, actual tournament name, etc.).
5] I give speaks based on how far I believe your performance would get you at the tournament I'm judging at. I tend to average around a 28.5. Yes I will disclose speaks if requested.
6] I require much more explanation for arguments than you think I do. Many 2AR's that I've judged go for a 3-second argument in the 1AR that I did not catch/have an understanding for, and many 2NR's that I've judged blitz through overviews of the theory of power/philosophical position that I cannot keep up with. Either slow down or be clearer in explanations.
7] Slow down please, especially in online debates. You will not be happy with my RFD if I don't catch something because you're blitzing too fast.
8] I am extremely visually expressive. I know it's hard during online debate to see my face when you're reading through a doc, but you should almost always be able to tell if I like something/find something confusing.
9] I don't know anything about this topic. Err towards overexplaining and try not to use too many acronyms.
I perceive the following to be cheating (or check Rodrigo's paradigm):
- Cards starting or ending in the middle of a paragraph, or leaving paragraphs out (yes this includes the "they continue" stuff
- Miscutting evidence
- Misrepresenting the date of evidence
I would much prefer debaters stake the round on evidence ethics claims. I will notice clipping without debaters pointing it out, though you should still do so to make it easier for me. If there is an evidence ethics violation, it will result in the offending debater getting an L 25. If there is not a violation, the accusing debater will get an L 25.
Director of Forensics, Cal State Northridge
Email speech documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any other inquires should go to email@example.com
A. Judging/Coaching History
- Over 19 years of experience judging/coaching competitive debate events; less experience with speech and individual events (5 years)
- Worked with students of all ages: elementary (MSPDP), middle school (MSPDP), high school (policy, LD, public forum), and college (NDT/CEDA, NFA-LD, NPDA, IPDA, CPFL)
B. General Philosophy
1. Do you thing! This activity should center the stylistic proclivities of students, not judges. Full stop. My academic background has taught me reasonable arguments come in a variety of forms, styles, and mediums. I've coached and judged a wide range of styles from very traditional (e.g. topicality, disads, cps, and case), critical (e.g. post-structural/modern/colonial theory), to very non-traditional (e.g. performative/identity/method debate). There are things I like and dislike about every style I've encountered. Do what you do and I'll do my best to keep up.
2. "Inside Baseball" Sucks. These days I mostly judge college policy and high school LD. That means I am unlikely to know most of the acronyms, anecdotes, inside references about other levels of debate and you should probably explain them in MUCH more detail than you would for the average judge.
C. Pedagogical/Competitive Points of Emphasis
1. Importance of Formal Evidence (i.e. "cards"). I once heard a judge tell another competitor, “a card no matter how bad will always beat an analytic no matter how good.” For the sake of civility I will refrain from using this person’s name, but I could not disagree more with this statement. Arguments are claims backed by reasons with support. The nature of appropriate support will depend on the nature of the reason and on the nature of the claim. To the extent that cards are valuable as forms of support in debate it’s because they lend the authority and credibility of an expert to an argument. But there are some arguments where technical expertise is irrelevant. One example might be the field of morality and ethics. If a debater makes a claim about the morality of assisted suicide backed by sound reasoning there is no a priori reason to prefer a card from an ethicist who argues the contrary. People reason in many different ways and arguments that might seem formally or technically valid might be perfectly reasonable in other settings. I generally prefer debates with a good amount of cards because they tend to correlate with research and that is something I think is valuable in and of itself. But all too often teams uses cards as a crutch to supplement the lack of sound reasoning. The takeaway is … If you need to choose between fully explaining yourself and reading a card always choose the former.
2. Burden of Persuasion vs. Burden of Rejoinder One of things that makes policy and LD debate (and perhaps public forum) a fairly unique activity from a policy/legal perspective is our emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. If one competitor says something then the opponent needs to answer it, otherwise the judge treats the argument as gospel. Debaters might think their judges aren't as attentive to the flow as they would like, but ask any litigator if trial judges care in the least whether the other attorney answered their arguments effectively. Emphasizing the burden of rejoinder is a way of respecting the voice and arguments of the students who spend their valuable time competing in this activity. But like everything else in debate there are affordances as well as constraints in emphasizing the burden of rejoinder. Personally, I think our activity has placed so much emphasis on the burden of rejoinder that we have lost almost all emphasis on the burden of persuasion. I can’t count the number of rounds I have participated in (as a debater and as a judge) where the vast majority of the claims made in the debate were absolutely implausible. The average politics disad is so contrived that it's laughable. Teams string together dozens of improbable internal link chains and treat them as if they were a cohesive whole. Truth be told, the probability of the average “big stick” advantage/disad is less than 1% and that’s just real talk. This practice is so ubiquitous because we place such a heavy emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. Fast teams read a disad that was never very probable to begin with and because the 2AC is not fast enough to poke holes in every layer of the disad the judge treats those internal links as conceded (and thus 100% probable). Somehow, through no work of their own the neg’s disad went from being a steaming pile of non-sense to a more or less perfectly reasonable description of reality. I don't think this norm serves our students very well. But it is so ingrained in the training of most debates and coaches (more so the coaches than the debaters actually) that it’s sustained by inertia. The takeaway is… that when i judge, I try (imperfectly to be sure) to balance my expectations that students meet both the burden of rejoinder and the burden of persuasion. Does this require judge intervention? Perhaps, to some degree, but isn't that what it means to “allow ones self to be persuaded?” To be clear, I do not think it is my job to be the sole arbiter of whether a claim was true or false, probable or unlikely, significant or insignificant. I do think about these things constantly though and i think it is both impossible and undesirable for me to ignore those thoughts in the moment of decision. It would behoove anyone I judge to take this into account and actively argue in favor of a particular balance between the burdens or rejoinder and persuasion in a particular round.
3. The Role of the Ballot/Purpose of the Activity/Non-Traditional Debate. The first thing I want to say isn’t actually a part of my philosophy on judging debates as much as it is an observation about debates I have watched and judged. I can’t count the number of rounds I have watched where a debater says something akin to, “Debate is fundamentally X,” or “the role of the ballot is X.” This is not a criticism. These debaters are astute and clearly understand that defining the nature and purpose of the activity is an extremely useful (often essential)tool for winning debates. That said, in truth, debate is both everything and nothing and the role of the ballot is multiple. Asserting the "purpose of debate" or "the role of the ballot" is essentially a meaningless utterance in my opinion. Arguing in favor "a particular purpose of debate” or “a particular role of the ballot” in a given round requires reasons and support. Policy debate could be conceived as a training ground for concerned citizens to learn how to feel and think about particular policies that could be enacted by their government. Policy debate could also be conceived as a space students to voice their dissatisfaction with the actions or inactions of the governments that claim to represent them through various forms of performance. Excellent debaters understand policy debate is a cultural resource filled with potential and possibility. Rather than stubbornly clinging to dogmatic axioms, these debaters take a measured approach that recognizes the affordances and constraints contained within competing visions of "the purpose of debate" or the "role of the ballot” and debate the issue like they would any other. The problem is assessing the affordances and constraints of different visions requires a sober assessment of what it is we do here. Most debaters are content to assert, “the most educational model of debate is X,” or the “most competitive model of debate is Y.” Both of these approaches miss the boat because they willfully ignore other aspects of the activity. Debates should probably be educational. What we learn and why is (like everything else) up for debate, but it’s hard to argue we shouldn’t be learning something from the activity. Fairness in a vacuum is a coin-flip and that’s hardly worth our time. On the other hand, probably isn’t a purely educational enterprise. Debate isn’t school. If it were students wouldn’t be so excited about doing debate work that they ignore their school work. The competitive aspects of the activity are important and can’t be ignored or disregarded lightly. How fair things have to be and which arguments teams are entitled to make are up for debate, but I think we need to respect some constraints lest we confuse all discourse for argument. The phrase “debate is a game/the content is irrelevant” probably won’t get you very far, but that’s because games are silly and unimportant by definition. But there are lots of contests that are very important were fairness is paramount (e.g. elections, academic publishing, trials). Rather than assert the same banal lines from recycled framework blocks, excellent debaters will try to draw analogies between policy debate and other activities that matter and where fairness is non-negotiable. So the takeaway is … I generally think the topic exists for a reason and the aff has to tie their advocacy to the topic, although I am open to arguments to the contrary. I tend to think of things in terms of options and alternatives. So even if topicality is a necessarily flawed system that privileges some voices over others, I tend to ask myself what the alternative to reading topicality would be. Comparison of impacts, alternatives, options, is always preferable to blanket statements like “T = genocidal” or “non-traditional aff’s are impossible to research.”
4. Theory Debates (i.e. Debates about Debate Itself) I have a relatively high threshold for theory arguments, but I am not one of those judges that thinks the neg teams gets to do whatever they want. You can win theory debates with me in the back, but it probably isn’t your best shot. As a general rule (though not universal) I think that if you didn’t have to do research for an argument, you don’t learn anything by running it. I have VERY high threshold for negative theory arguments that are not called topicality. It doesn’t mean I wont vote on these arguments if the aff teams makes huge errors, but a person going for one of these argument would look so silly that it would be hard to give them anything about a 28.
Online Debate : You should record your own speeches. Be prepared to send them if the wifi goes out mid-speech. No re-giving speeches.
Misc stuff :
Don't cheat. Disclose. Clipping = L25
"There is no "flow clarification" time slot in a debate. If you want to ask your opponent what was read/not read, you must do it in CX or prep -- better yet, flow!" - Danielle Dosch
I don’t care if an argument is a “voting issue." Tell me why that matters. Same goes for "terminal defense" and "zero risk" -- these words mean nothing to me.
Strong impact calculus wins debates
2AR and 2NR impact calculus arguments are not new (2AR turns case arguments are new though)
I'm flowing CX. Treat it like a speech, not prep.
Your 1NC should always answer the case.
I'll only vote for an argument if I heard it and can reasonably explain it.
Know your positions well; it will win you debates.
I'm of the belief that conditionality is good. More than 2 is pushing it. When answering condo, the 2NR needs to do impact calculus. “Cheaty” counterplans are smart and should be included in more 1NCs. Will judge kick if you tell me to! (so do)
Negating: Links must be tailored to the aff. A good kritik with disagrees with and disproves the affirmative. Ideally, your 1NC should include a link wall.
Affirming: Make the debate about your aff! The case outweighs. Answer -- and ask about -- the alternative. Impact turn when you can.
Affirming: Arguably most important to me is a coherent counter-interp. Explain your offense and make it super clear which affs would be allowed under your interpretation.
Negating: I think one-off framework is a smart strategy (especially if you have no idea how to give a 2NR on the other positions you're filling the 1NC with.) Fairness is an impact but you need to explain it as such.
If you're reading FW, answer the case. FW 2NRs must be thorough. Don't rely on your 5 minute overview to answer every 1AR argument -- it probably won't.
I believe that framework serves as impact calculus, not a preclusive impact filter. I can be persuaded otherwise.
Read NC's! But answer the case
I like reasonability. The more frivolous an argument is, the lower the threshold I have for responding to it.
he/him, appleton east ‘19, wisconsin ‘23
if you have any questions before i judge you, PLEASE just ask - i'm not picky, but i'm also not a robot, i would rather be transparent than leave you with concerns over your strategy
i view debate near identical to tej gedela, sam mcloughlin, jonathan jeong, ishan bhatt, and rex evans
1. tl;dr - not formally involved in debate anymore but judging is a privilege and i am plenty qualified to judge your round, i care about good debating and really nothing else, don't worry too much about tailoring towards my ideology from when i was a debater/coach
2. background - i did ld and dabbled in policy at appleton east in wisconsin, i broke at the toc in 2019, led 3 summer labs, and have coached on all types of circuits - my main experience is with policy debate and kritiks, but i have extensive experience coaching, debating, and judging every style of debate at national and local levels
3. hard and fast rules - strike me if you don't disclose/flash your evidence or i will rigorously tank speaks, an arguments risk starts at 0% and goes up based on the quality of it's warrant, evidence quality matters so i will read cards you reference in the 2nr/2ar, yes judge kicks but tell me to, won't vote for stuff i can't explain back to you which means winning arguments require a ballot implication, arguments that demonstrate your work put into debate are always better than tricks you grabbed from backfiles or had your coach explain to you pre-round
4. for high speaks - my avg range is 28.2-29.4, biggest boosts for ending the debate early/speeding things up and being casual/personable - have fun, make jokes, be technical, and write my rfd
Strath Haven High School (PA) - 2014 to 2016
Emory University - 2016 to 2020
Please add me to the email chain!
If you're judged by me, here are the most important things for you to know:
1. I prefer affs that defend a topical plan. If they do not, I find framework arguments about fairness and limits very compelling. If you choose to not defend a plan, you have to play at least some defense on fairness/limits to make any education arguments compelling.
2. Offense/defense strongly shapes how I think about individual debates. I am very unwilling to vote on presumption.
3. Please assemble a document of every card extended in the final rebuttal and send it to me as soon as possible when the debate is done. How I evaluate your explanation is shaped by how much quality evidence you have. I think I care about evidence quantity much more than most judges. Reading 5 cards on something in the 1AR is much more likely to get you back into the debate than explaining why you think its wrong.
4. Tech is important, but so is developing robust positions throughout the debate. If you go for something that the other team has hardly covered or dropped, but you have barely spent any time developing it, I can't guarantee I'll vote on it.
5. Strong neg bias on condo. Generally cool with 2NC counterplans, modifying/kicking planks, etc. I do think that neg teams need to say judge kick in the 2NR for me to consider it. I don't find most other counterplan theory arguments very compelling. You're much better off winning competition arguments than saying that a whole category of counterplan doesn't belong in the debate.
6. Critiques need to engage the case. I generally don't find role of the ballot/FW debating very important for either teams in these debates. I'd much rather see aff specific link debating. I’m probably better for PIKs than most, but I have a decently high threshold for explaining how the alt results in the plan. Please be specific.
7. I'm not very good at evaluating T debates against policy affs. Go for it at your own risk.
8. I love politics DAs.
9. Debate is fun! I understand everyone cares a lot about wins and losses, but I appreciate debaters who remember that they're functionally just playing a game with their friends on the weekend. I'll enjoy judging you if you enjoy being in the debate!
I debated policy for 6 years so debates that look closest to policy debates are what I probably want to see. I want to see debates about substance. Plans and counterplans are great, critiques too. I love the politics DA. Please do impact calc--at least the top 30 seconds of the final rebuttals should be devoted to it.
I care about evidence. I'd rather see you read more cards to build your arguments (throughout every speech except the 2AR) than rely on spin.
I'm meh for theory. From my understanding there is generally a lower threshold for theory args in LD than in policy, so if your are making impassioned appeals to fairness I probably do not feel as cheated as you do.
In K debates--do link debating. I care more about that than framework/role of the ballot args. The strength of the link affects how I view every other arg in the debate.
Values stuff--I generally lean towards util/consequentalism when thinking about debates.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please add me to the chain
TOC 2023 Update: I have only judged once this school year and not at all on this topic, so explain things well, slow down a bit etc
1. An argument is a claim, warrant, and impact. I will not vote on anything that does not meet this threshold and I will vote on basically anything that does. The fact you say the word "because" after your claim does not mean what follows is a warrant.
2. I won’t vote on any argument that I cannot explain back to your opponent after the round. I need to be able to explain it back based off your explanation, not my prior knowledge of the argument.
3. Assuming they meet the threshold set in #1 and #2, I’m willing to vote on “bad” arguments. However, the less intuitive/worse that I consider an argument to be, the lower the threshold I have for the response.
4. If something is conceded, I grant it the full weight of truth. If I did not realize that an argument was being made, then I will not consider it to be conceded.
5. I will attempt to err on the side of least intervention. I think it’s the job of whoever presents an argument to prove the argument is true. So, for example, if the NEG team says “X card is a link to our K because it’s gendered” and then the AFF team says “no link, X card is actually criticizing gender norms, not perpetuating them,” I would consider both these explanations to be lackluster and have no way of resolving the question, but instead of reading the card and coming to my own conclusion, I would err AFF and assume there’s no link because it is the job of the NEG to prove a link to the K, not the job of the AFF to disprove it.
6. **********Debaters have an obligation to flow. You should send a marked version of the doc indicating where cards were cut immediately after the speech, but you should not delete the cards that weren't read. If your opponent wants to know what was/wasn't read, they must take prep or CX time. I will deduct speaks for debaters who don't adhere to this.
7. **********Slow down on analytics. This is especially true now that I haven't judged in a while!
8. Theory defaults: drop the team for T (or other arguments about the plan), condo, disclosure; drop the argument for everything else; no RVIs; competing interps. These are admittedly very arbitrary and I only created them so that I would have a consistent way of evaluating rounds in which neither side establishes paradigm issues - these defaults can and will change as soon as one team makes an argument to justify their paradigm issues. In fact, I would almost always suggest making a reasonability argument (especially against 1ar theory if you have specific warrants!)
9. I think good evidence is important in so far as it allows debaters to make arguments about author qualifications, recency, the methodology of their studies, quality of warrants, etc... but the onus is on you to make these arguments. I don't decide rounds based on my own readings of evidence unless there is a specific dispute about what a card says.
10. I don’t flow author names
Online Debate Specific:
I’ll call slow or clear once, but if I don’t call it after that, it’s not necessarily because I can understand you - it may also be because when I speak, your audio gets muted and I don’t think it’s worth it to miss more of what you’re saying if you’re not going to slow down anyways.
Record all of your speeches on voice memos so that if there’s a problem, I can fast forward to the time of the cut-out and listen to that argument. This means that if you get kicked out of the meeting or there’s any type of glitch, you must keep speaking and recording and then you can deal with the technical issue after your speech. And if you forget to record it during a rebuttal, I won’t evaluate what was missed.
I will end rounds in which I witness clipping because to the best of my current knowledge not clipping cards is an NDCA “rule,” and doc speaks when I see miscut evidence because to the best of my current knowledge, properly cut evidence is a “norm” (although reading theory about miscut evidence or ending the round for an evidence ethics challenge are still fair-game).
Hey, please add me to the email chain email@example.com.If you really don't want to read this I'm tech > truth, Warranted Card Extension > Card Spam and really only dislike hearing meme arguments which are not intended to win the round.
PF and LD specific stuff at the bottom. All the argument specific stuff still applies to both activities.
How to win in front of me:
Explain to me why I should vote for you and don't make me do work. I've noticed that I take "the path of least resistance" when voting; this means 9/10 I will make the decision that requires no work from me. You can do this by signposting and roadmapping so that my flow stays as clean as possible. You can also do this by actually flowing the other team and not just their speech doc. Too often debaters will scream for 5 minutes about a dropped perm when the other team answered it with analytics and those were not flown. Please don't be this team.
Online Debate Update
If you know you have connection/tech problems, then please record your speeches so that if you disconnect or experience poor internet the speech does not need to be stopped. Also please go a bit slower than your max speed on analytics because between mic quality and internet quality it can be tough to hear+flow everything if you go the same speed as cards on analytics.
By default theory and topicality are voters and come aprior unless there is no offense on the flow. Should be clear what the interpretation, violation, voter, and impact are. I generally love theory debates but like with any judge you have to dedicate the time into it if you would like to win. Lastly you don't need to prove in round abuse to win but it REALLY helps and you probably won't win unless you can do this.
I feel framework should be argued in almost any debate as I will not do work for a team. Unless the debate is policy aff v da+cp then you should probably be reading framework. I default to utilitarianism and will view myself as a policy maker unless told otherwise. This is not to say I lean toward these arguments (in fact I think util is weak and policy maker framing is weaker than that) but unless I explicitly hear "interpretation", "role of the judge", or "role of the ballot," I have to default to something. Now here I would like to note that Theory, Topicality, and Framework all interact with each other and you as the debater should see these interactions and use them to win. Please view these flows wholistically.
I am comfortable voting on these as I believe every judge is but I beg you (unless it's a politics debate) please do not just read more cards but explain why you're authors disprove thier's. Not much else to say here besides impact calc please.
I am a philosophy and political science major graduate so please read whatever you would like as far as literature goes; I have probably read it or debated it at some point so seriously don't be afraid. Now my openness also leaves you with a burden of really understanding the argument you are reading. Please leave the cards and explain the thought process, while I have voted on poorly run K's before those teams never do get high speaker points.
Look above for maybe a bit more, but I will always be open to voting and have voted on K affs of all kinds. I tend to think the neg has a difficult time winning policy framework against K affs for two reasons; first they debate framework/topicality most every round and will be better versed, and second framework/topicality tends to get turned rather heavily and costs teams rounds. With that said I have voted on framework/topicality it just tends to be the only argument the neg goes for in these cases.
Perms are a test of competition unless I am told otherwise and 3+ perms is probably abusive but that's for theory.
So I will only intervene if the 2AR makes new arguments I will ignore them as there is no 3NR. Ethics and evidence violations should be handled by tab or tournament procedures.
- What gets you good speaks:
- Making it easier for me to flow
- Demonstrate that you are flowing by ear and not off the doc.
- Making things interesting
- Clear spreading
- Productive CX
- What hurts your speaks:
- Wasting CX, Speech or Prep Time
- Showing up later than check-in time (I would even vote on a well run theory argument - timeless is important)
- Being really boring
- Being rude
- I am much more lenient about dropped arguments than in any other form of debate. Rebuttals should acknowledge each link chain if they want to have answers in the summary. By the end of summary no new arguments should made. 1st and 2nd crossfire are binding speeches, but grand crossfire cannot be used to make new arguments. *these are just my defaults and in round you can argue to have me evaluate differently
- If you want me to vote on theory I need a Voting Issue and Impact - also probably best you spend the full of Final Focus on it.
- Make clear in final focus which authors have made the arguments you expect me to vote on - not necessary, but will help you win more rounds in front of me.
- In out-rounds where you have me and 2 lay judges on the panel I understand you will adapt down. To still be able to judge fairly I will resolve disputes still being had in final focus and assume impacts exist even where there are only internal links if both teams are debating like the impacts exist.
- Please share all evidence you plan to read in a speech with me your opponents before you give the speech. I understand it is not the norm in PF, but teams who do this will receive bonus speaker points from me for reading this far and making my life easier.
- 2AR should extend anything from the 1AR that they want me to vote on. I will try and make decisions using only the content extended into or made in the NR and 2AR.
- Don't just read theory because you think I want to hear it. Do read theory because your opponent has done or could do something that triggers in round abuse.
- Dropped arguments are true arguments, but my flow dictates what true means for my ballot - say things more than once if you think they could win/lose you the round if they are not flown.
I did 3 years of policy debate in the RI Urban Debate League. Been judging since 2014. As a debater I typically ran policy affs and went for K's on the neg (Cap and Nietzsche mostly) but I also really enjoyed splitting the block CP/DA for the 2NC and K/Case for the 1NR. Despite all of this I had to have gone for theory in 40% of my rounds, mostly condo bad.
i debated LD and policy in high school, graduating in '13. this is my 5th year coaching @ greenhill, and my first year as a full time debate teacher.
- i coached independent debaters from: woodlands ('14-'15), dulles ('15-'16), edgemont ('16-'18);
- team coach for: westwood ('14-'18), greenhill ('18-now);
- program director for dallas urban debate alliance ('21-'22)]
i would like there to be an email chain and I would like to be on it: firstname.lastname@example.org. would love for the chain name to be specific and descriptive - perhaps something like "Tournament Name, Round # - __ vs __"
I have coached debaters whose interests ranged from util + policy args & dense critical literature (anthropocentrism, afropessimism, settler colonialism, psychoanalysis, irigaray, borderlands, the cap + security ks), to trickier args (i-law, polls, monism) & theory heavy strategies.
That said, I am most comfortable evaluating critical and policy debates, and thoroughly enjoy 6 minutes of topicality or framework 2nrs [like, T-framework against k affs, not kant] if delivered at a speed i can flow. I will make it clear if you are going too fast - i am very expressive so if i am lost you should be able to tell.
I am a bad judge for highly evasive tricks debates, and am not a great judge for denser "phil" debates - i do not think about analytic philosophy / tricks outside of debate tournaments, so I need these debates to happen at a much slower pace for me to process and understand all the moving parts. This is true for all styles of debates - the rounds i remember most fondly are one where a cap k or t-fwk were delivered conversationally and i got almost every word down and was able to really think through the arguments.
i think the word "unsafe" means something and I am uncomfortable when it is deployed cavalierly - it is a meaningful accusation to suggest that an opponent has made a space unsafe (vs uncomfortable), and i think students/coaches/judges should be mindful of that distinction. this applies to things like “evidence ethics,” “independent voters,” "psychological violence," etc., though in different ways for each. If you believe that the debate has become unsafe, we should likely pause the round and reach out to tournament officials, as the ballot is an insufficient mechanism with which to resolve issues of safety. similarly, it will take a lot for me to feel comfortable concluding that a round has been psychologically violent and thus decide the round on that conclusion, or to sign a ballot that accuses a student of cheating without robust, clear evidence to support that. i have judged a lot of debates, and it is very difficult for me to think of many that have been *unsafe* in any meaningful way.
7 things to know:
- Evidence Ethics: In previous years, I have seen a lot of miscut evidence. I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. If I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence. My longer thoughts on that are available on the archived version of this paradigm, including what kinds of violations will trigger this, etc. If you are uncertain if your evidence is miscut, perhaps spend some time perusing those standards, or better yet, resolve the miscutting. Similarly, I will vote against debaters clipping if i notice it. If you would like me to vote on evidence ethics, i would prefer that you lay out the challenge, and then stake the round on it. i do not think accusations of evidence ethics should be risk-less for any team, and if you point out a mis-cutting but are not willing to stake the round on it, I am hesitant to entertain that argument in my decision-making process. if an ev ethics challenge occurs, it is drop the debater. do not make them lightly.
i mark cards at the timer and stop flowing at the timer.
- I do not believe you can "insert" re-highlightings that you do not read verbally.
please do not split your 2nrs! you will be far likelier to win if you develop one flow for the 2nr, and will be served poorly by the attempt to go for every 1nc arg in the 2nr. In principle, this is also true for your 2ARs. if any of your 1nc positions are too short to sustain a 6 minute 2nr on it i think that likely means the 1nc arg is underdeveloped.
Evidence quality is directly correlated to the amount of credibility I will grant an argument - if a card is underhighlighted, the claim is likely underwarranted. I think you should highlight your evidence to make claims the author has made, and that those claims should make sense if read at conversational speed outside of the context of a high school debate round.
i do not enjoy being in the back of disclosure debates where the violation is difficult to verify or where a team has taken actions to help a team engage, even if that action does not take the form of open sourcing docs, nor do i enjoy watching disclosure theory be weaponized against less experienced debaters - i will likely not vote on it. if a team refuses to tell you what the aff will be, or is familiar with circuit norms but nothing on their wiki, I will be more receptive to disclosure, but again, verifiability is key.
topicality arguments will make interpretive claims about the meaning or proper interpretation of words or phrases in the resolution. interpretations that are not grounded in the text of the resolution are theoretical objections - the same is true for counter-interpretations.i will use this threshold for all topicality/theory arguments.
Finally, I am not particularly good for the following buckets of debates:
Warming good & other impact turn heavy strategies that play out as a dump on the case page
IR heavy debates - i encourage you to slow down and be very clear in the claims you want me to evaluate in these debates.
Bad theory arguments / theory debates w/ very marginal offense (it is unlikely i will vote for theory debates where i can not identify meaningful offense / where the abuse story is very difficult for me to comprehend)
Identity ks that appropriate the form and language of antiblackness literature
affs/nc's that have entirely analytic frameworks (even if it is util!) - i think this is often right on the line of plagiarism, and my brain simply cannot process / flow it at high speeds.
History: Hebron first year out, qual to TOC senior year in policy, been both a 2a and 2n if that makes a difference to you
Email chain: email@example.com
*** IF anything in my paradigm is unclear, feel free to ask before the round starts ***
At the minimum I would like all debaters to send their cards to one another and me, preferably through an email chain. Not sending your evidence is a good way to lose speaks in front of me. I want to read your cards and you should want me to.
*edit for online debate - typing your remaining prep in chat will result in higher speaks
My debate philosophy is summed up here:
"If you want my ballot, this is really a simple concept. Tell me 1) what argument you won; 2) why you won it, and 3) why that means you win the round. Repeat."
I spent most of my debate career debating K's, however I will obviously try to evaluate each argument to the best of my ability. I am not very familiar with the topic so be clear on what specific acronyms stand for. I am very familiar with identity arguments and pomo arguments. That being said I also enjoy a DA CP round so you do you.
Ks - 1
Policy/Larp - 2-3
Phil - 4
I am fine with speed however slow down on tags and analytics.
An on-going list of things I've noticed I commonly say were insufficient (doing these things will likely make my decision easier) :
1. Judge Instruction- what I mean is tell me what arguments you're winning and the implication, doing so makes my judging experience much better
2. Fleshed Out Extensions- beyond just a reiteration of the tagline
K aff v FW debates - I don't believe fairness is an independent impact but can be persuaded otherwise. I usually lean internal link to education in most debates however unless poorly handled by the affirmative. I also don't think the aff needs to win a counter interp if they are winning an impact turn to the negative's model of debate
Phil and Tricks- I never really debated these, but it's not like I won't vote for it- I just might require more explanation than a judge more familiar with the argument.
RVI - Love em though I can be persuaded otherwise
Defaults- all of these can be persuaded differently you just need to give me a reason why:
1. Competing Interps > Reasonability
2. Default Framing = Util
3. Tech > truth (it all instances except for things like racism good, sexism good, etc)
Hey I’m Jack! I went to and now coach at Northland in Houston, TX. Feel free to ask questions before or after the round. Add me to email chains at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATED for 2022/23 season
TLDR: I will vote on anything that has a claim, warrant, and impact. I most enjoy and am best at judging policy arguments. (P.S. I realized that I tend to give way higher speaks in substance debates. Take that as you wish)
Policy - 1
Theory/T - 1
K (security, cap, set col) - 2
K (anything else) - 3
Phil/Tricks – 4
- Tech > Truth
- Fairness > Education
- 1NC Theory/T > 1AR Theory
- T/Theory > K
- Comparative Worlds
- No RVIs, Competing Interps, DTD
- I'm cool with anything as long as it has a claim, warrant, and impact. None of my personal opinions or interests in arguments will factor into my decision.
- I want you to debate the way you debate best. I want debaters to read what they know and are invested in.
- No buffet 2nrs please
- Be nice to one another and don't take yourself too seriously
- If you are sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic/ableist or something similar
- Clipping/losing an ethics challenge OR a false accusation.
- Stealing prep
Things I'm not voting on
- Any argument concerning out of round practices (except disclosure).
- Any argument concerning the appearance/clothes/etc. of another debater.
- Any auto affirm/negate X identity argument
- "Evaluate the entire debate after X speech". However, I will evaluate "evaluate ___ layer after X speech".
- IVIs not flagged as IVIs in the 1NC/1AR (possibly a 2NR exception)
- My favorite type of debate to think about and judge.
- Likes: impact calc, ev comparison, plans with tight scenarios and big impacts, rehighlighting ev, cheaty CPs, reading theory against cheaty CPs, "the order is case"
- Dislikes: not weighing, old/no UQ, underhighlighted ev, plan flaw, other debater: asks you a cx question about your ev you: "where is it/that", literally extending your tags in the 2NR
- Somewhat familiar with most K lit at this point, but refuse to fill any substantive gaps in your explanation.
- Likes: robust line by line, root cause, link turns case, good fwk debates, pulling lines from the aff, actual alt solvency, set col vs phil, specific links to the plan
- Dislikes: massive overviews, "what's a floating PIK", the "state" link, the current standard for a sufficient explanation of ontology, no perms in a method debate
K Aff/T Framework
- Affs need solvency and a robust defense of their model of debate
- Negs need an answer to aff solvency and a robust defense of their model of debate
- Likes: testing, fairness, intuitive aff counterinterps, Non T aff vs one off Cap K, TVAs, actual solvency
- Dislikes: "T is violence/policing", 6 minutes of my coaches prewritten fwk 2NR, 3 minutes of my coaches prewritten A2 fwk 2AR, blitzing through the 1ACs theory of power, "we don't need solvency", 2NRs that ignore case
- Not good for dense phil v dense phil (good for util vs other phil)
- Don’t assume I have read your literature. BUT, I will still evaluate just like I would any other type of debate. I just need a very clear extension of why your framework comes first/is true.
- Likes: extinction first, fun calc indicts, Blum, TJFs, going for turns under their fwk
- Dislikes: not reading a fwk in the AC, not reading a fwk in the NC when the AC doesn't read one, the "pragmatism" aff, TT takes out theory, hidden triggers in the fwk
- I will evaluate them the same as any other argument as long as I hear a claim, warrant, and impact.
- Likes: warrants
- Dislikes: "what's an apriori?", condo logic, indexicals, if the negs response to your trick is that it negates just as much as it affirms - you probably shouldn't read it!
- Love it!
- The frivolous nature of some shells does not factor into my evaluation. Although, reasonability tends to become easier to justify and the answer becomes easier.
- Likes: robust weighing, caselists, infinite regress vs spec, combo shells with unique offense
- Dislikes: poor explanation of semantics, 5 second 1AR shells, 2NR theory that isn't severance
- Less prep and sitting down early will be rewarded with higher speaks.
- Clarity is VERY IMPORTANT. If you are unclear and I miss a “game changing” argument – that’s a you problem.
- Speaks will be awarded for good debating (strategy, technical ability, good CX, etc).
katy taylor '17
yes, add me to the email chain: email@example.com
cal rr/tournament 2021 update: I have judged numerous rounds on this topic and I can confidently say that I don't like nebel t as an argument.
current 2020 conflicts: Rutgers-Newark AH and Northern Valley JL
previous conflicts: Evergreen Valley SS, Coppell DR, Houston EP, Alief Kerr EG, Guyer CM, Woodlands MR, Cy-Fair TW, and Katy Taylor.
background: I have been coaching high school CX and LD for the past three years. I was coached by Elijah Smith (Emporia SW) in high school and he taught me everything I know about debate. In the past, I've had my fair share of reading and/or coaching teams going for policy arguments and/or critical arguments. I debated nationally in high school and have coached debaters in both events to deep elims of tournaments, round robins, and accumulate bids to the TOC.
overall thoughts: I believe it's important to be consistent on explicit labeling, generating offense, and extending some sort of impact framing in the debate because this is what ultimately frames my ballot. Debate is a place for you to do you. I will make my decisions based on what was presented to me in a debate and what was on my flow. This means I am unlikely to decide debates based on my personal feelings about the content/style of an argument than the quality of execution and in-round performance. It is up to the debaters to present and endorse whichever model of debate they want to invest in. Have fun and best of luck!
-- please record your speeches/debates.
-- please be kind to each other.
-- good quality evidence + in-depth analysis of the evidence is always appreciated.
-- i will not vote on an rvi on topicality.
-- do not intentionally clip cards. it will be an automatic L and 25 speaks if you do.
-- please start out clear, slow, and loud (very crucial for online debate).
-- ld theory tricks are bad and i refuse to vote for it.
-- speaks are determined by a combination of strategy choice, efficiency, weighing, and good cross-x skills.
-- some people who I agree with and/or have been heavily influenced by in debate: Shanara Reid-Brinkley, Daryl Burch, Amber Kelsie, Devane Murphy, Taylor Brough, Ignacio Evans, Chris Randall, Anthony Joseph, and Jon Sharp.
Specifics thoughts I've provided from my previous paradigm (2019-2020):
-- Case is incredibly underutilized and should be an essential part of every negative strategy. You need to have some sort of mechanism that generates offense/defense for you.
Policy affs vs. K
-- I am most familiar with these types of debates. With that being said, I think the affirmative needs to prioritize framing i.e. the consequences of the plan under a util framework. There need to be contestations between the aff framing versus the K's power of theory in order to disprove it, not desirable, or incoherent and why your impacts under the plan come first. Point of the flaws of the kritiks alternative and make solvency deficits. Aff teams need to answer the link arguments, read link defense, make perms, and provide reasons/examples of why the plan is preferable/resolve material conditions. Use cross-x to clarify jargon and get the other team to make concessions about their criticism.
-- CP(s) need to have a clear plan text and have an external net benefit, otherwise, I'm inclined to believe there is no reason why the cp would be better than the affirmative. There needs to be clear textual/function competition with the Aff or else the permutation becomes an easy way for me to vote. Same with most arguments, the more specific the better.
-- The 2NR should generally be the counterplan with a DA/Case argument to supplement the net benefit. The 1AR + 2AR needs to have some offense against the counterplan because a purely defensive strategy makes it very hard to beat the counterplan. I enjoy an advantage counterplan/impact turn strategy when it’s applicable. Generally, I think conditionality is good but I can be persuaded otherwise.
-- Please have good evidence and read specific DAs. If you have a good internal link and turns case analysis, your speaker points will be higher. For the aff, I think evidence comparison/callouts coupled with tricky strategies like impact turns or internal link turns to help you win these debates.
-- I don't really have a threshold on these arguments but lean towards competing interps over reasonability unless told otherwise.
-- When going for theory, please extend offense and weigh between interps/standards/implications.
-- When responding/going for theory, please slow down on the interps/i-meets.
-- Comparative analysis between pieces of interpretation evidence wins and loses these debates – as you can probably tell, I err towards competing interpretations in these debates, but I can be convinced that reasonability is a better metric for interpretations, not for an aff. Having well-explained internal links to your limits/ground offense in the 2NR/2AR makes these debates much easier to decide, as opposed to floating claims without warranted analysis. A case list is required. I will not vote on for an RVI on T.
-- I prefer framework debates a lot more when they're developed in the 1NC/block, as opposed to being super blippy in the constructives and then the entire 2NR. I lean more to competing interps than reasonability. Aff teams need to answer TVA well, not just say it "won't solve". Framework is about the model of debate the aff justifies, it’s not an argument why K affs are bad or the aff teams are cheaters. If you’re going for framework as a way to exclude entire critical lit bases/structural inequalities/content areas from debate then we are not going to get along. I am persuaded by standards like clash and topic education over fairness being an intrinsic good/better impact.
K affs vs. T-Framework
-- There are a couple of things you need to do to win: you need to explain the method of your aff, the nuanced framing of the aff, and the impacts that you claim to solve. You should have some sort of an advocacy statement or a role of the ballot for me to evaluate your impacts because this indicates how it links into your fw of the aff. If you’re going to read high theory affs, explain because all I hear are buzzwords that these authors use. Don’t assume I am an expert in this type of literature because I am not and I just have a basic understanding of it. If you don’t do any of these things, I have the right to vote to neg on presumption.
-- You need a counter interp or counter model of debate and what debate looks like under this model and then go for your impact turns or disads as net benefits to this. Going for only the net benefits/offense without explaining what your interpretation of what debate should look like will be difficult. The 2AC strategy of saying as many ‘disads’ to framework as possible without explaining or warranting any of them out is likely not going to be successful. Leveraging your aff as an impact turn to framework is always good. The more effectively voting aff can resolve the impact turn the easier it will be to get my ballot.
-- I went for the Kritik in almost every 2NR my senior year. I have been exposed to many different types of scholarship, but I am more familiar with some critical race theory criticisms such as anti-Blackness, capitalism, psychoanalysis, and some critiques of humanism. This form of debate is what I am most comfortable evaluating. However, it is important to note I have a reasonable threshold for each debater's explanation of whatever theory they present within the round, extensions of links, and impact framing. I need to understand what you are saying in order for me to vote for your criticism.
-- You should have specific links to affirmatives because without it you will probably lose to "these are links to the squo" unless the other team doesn't answer it well. Link debate is a place where you can make strategic turns case/impact analysis. Make sure you have good impact comparison and weighing mechanisms and always have an external impact.
-- The alt debate seems to be one of the most overlooked parts of the K and is usually never explained well enough. This means always explain the alt thoroughly and how it interacts with the aff. This is an important time that the 2NR needs to dedicate time allocation for if you go for the alternative. If you choose not to go for the alternative and go for presumption, make sure you are actually winning an impact framing claim.
K vs. K
-- These debates are always intriguing.
-- Presumption is underutilized by the neg and permutations are allowed in a methods debate. However, it is up to the teams in front of me to do this. There needs to be an explanation of how your theory of power operates, why it can preclude your opponent’s, how your method or approach is preferable, and how you resolve x issues. Your rebuttals should include impact comparison, framing, link defense/offense, permutation(s), and solvency deficits.
History: Graduated from Hebron 2020, qual to the TOC in policy
email chain- Aashir.firstname.lastname@example.org
*If there are any other questions about how I would evaluate something more specifically feel free to ask
*Online Debate - not sharing your evidence in some capacity is an easy way to lose speaks in front of me
*Please type remaining prep in chat if possible- just makes keeping track of prep time easier
**Greenhill 2022 Edit
Please understand the capacity of debating online- microphones create echos and wifi cut-outs are regular- I guarantee if you're spreading your blocks/analytics at full speed I'm going to miss something, and no one is going to be happy about that- I say clear once per speech at most- if I can't cleary understand an articulation, its not making it to my flow
**PLEASE READ- I always preferred judges to be honest so here's my attempt to do so:
1. I was really only successful in policy, did LD at locals and some TOCs- This means I can flow, but I may not be familiar with LD's meta or LD lingo being thrown around- if you have any doubts feel free to ask me before round
2. please take your time to clearly articulate arguments and most importantly make clear implications- I feel judge instruction is severely underutilized by a majority of debaters- rather than being confused about why I viewed an argument a certain way, tell me how to view it and what it means for my decision making.
3. I will obviously try my best to get every argument I hear- but remember, everyone makes mistakes- it never hurts to repeat something you think is important- doing so only increases the chances that it makes it to your judges flow and subsequently into my decision
**EDIT for 2022 Season
1. Topic- keep in mind I haven't done any topic research- I'm confident you're familiar with the topic literature so please explain it thoroughly
2. Speed/Spreading- Please slow down for analytics- I've noticed some debaters literally spread analytics, and to be honest I don't flow fast enough to keep up with that- for me specifically I would say analytics should at a bare minimum be 20-25% slower than your top speed. if you want it on my flow I advise you to articulate it clearly
3. Interps- for your sake and mine, please slow down on the interp at the very least- It doesn't have to be a conversational speed, but should not be spreading either- Ive noticed I'm usually annoyed by casual transitions that are difficult to follow- what i mean is for example if your reading condo bad on the cp flow- make it very clear where you're transitioning to theory- this is easily solved by slowing down and giving clear articulation- if possible I would even a pause at the start of the transition or change your tone so its easier for me to identify a switch is occurring.
"If you want my ballot, this is a simple concept. Tell me 1) what argument you won; 2) why you won it, and 3) why that means you win the round. Repeat."
To be honest, most of my debate experience was with Ks, however, I will try to evaluate each argument to my best ability.
Ks - 1
Policy/Larp - 2-3
Phil - 4
Phil and Tricks- I never really debated these, but it's not like I won't vote for it- I just might require more explanation than a judge more familiar with the argument.
Defaults- all of these can be persuaded differently you just need to give me a reason why:
1. No RVI on Theory- IE theory is no risk (Same for T)
2. Competing Interps > Reasonability
3. Default Framing = Util
4. Tech > truth (in all instances except for things like racism good, sexism good, etc)
a) "are you okay with speed/spreading?" - yeah just try to be clear
b) please, do not spread analytics at 100%. I doubt I type faster than you speak
An ongoing list of things I've noticed I commonly say were insufficient (doing these things will likely make my decision easier) :
1. Judge Instruction- what I mean is beyond just telling me what you're winning (and why you're winning it) give me the implication to the argument (IE what that means for my decision)- doing so makes my judging experience much easier
2. Fleshed Out Extensions- beyond just a reiteration of the tagline
1. Yes, include me on the doc chain – email@example.com
2. No, I am not ok with you just putting the card in the text of the email
3. Idk if the aff has to read a plan. I would obviously prefer it because I'm used to it, but I also would prefer if I were in for zero rounds, so…
4. No, you should not try to read Baudrillard or other post-modern theories against me. This is not a challenge. It's not a threat, it's a warning.
5. Yes, you should (please) slow down while debating if you are online. There are glitches in streaming and it’s hard enough to understand you. For a while, I tried following along with the docs when I missed something, but we all know that just leads to more errors. This is your warning: if you are not clear enough to flow I will not try to flow it. I will give two warnings to be clear (and one after your speech in case you didn’t hear me). If you choose to keep doing you, don’t expect to win or for me to know what you said. On the flip side, if you are actively slowing down to make the debate comprehensible, you will be rewarded with a speaker point bump.
6. JESUS CHRIST PLEASE stop trying to debate how you think I want you to. It's never a good look to over-adapt. The only exception isis you want to go for Baudrillard and somehow ended up with me as a judge. Then please over-adapt. I cannot stress enough the importance of adaptation if you are trying to tell me post-modern theory or that death is cool.
- I am chronically ill. If you pref me, there is a chance I have a flare up while judging you. This means I will finish the debate with my camera off but am still there. I just want some privacy while sick/you really don't want to see my face if I turn my camera off.
- I am a blunt judge. If you choose to pref me, that’s on you. Blow me up and I might say some harsh things. I wont call you out of your name, but I will be very clear about your skills (or lack thereof) in the debate.
- I also might cry...I'm clinically hypersensitive from PTSD. If I cry and you weren't being a total jerk, don't over-apologize and make the RFD about me, lets just plan on a written RFD in that case.
The longer version:
I've been told you need to average a 29.2 to clear nowadays. Because of that:
-a learning speech will be 28.4-28.7,
-an average speech will be 28.8-29.1,
-a clearing level speech will be 29.2-29.5,
-a top ten speaker will be 29.6-29.9.
I'm not giving 30s. Ya gotta be perfect to get a 30, and Hannah Montana taught me that nobody's perfect.
If you get below a 28.4 you probably severely annoyed me.
If you get below a 28, you were probably a problem in the debate, ethically.
-I’ve rarely judged a planless debate where the neg has not gone for framework. In instances where I have, the neg was policy style impact turning a concept of the aff, not going for a K based on a different theory of the world.
-I generally went for framework against planless affirmatives when I debated, and therefore am a bit deeper on the neg side of things. That being said, I also have a standard for what the neg needs to do to make a complete argument.
-I don’t think topicality, or adhering to a resolution, is analogous to rape, slavery, or other atrocities. That doesn't mean arguments about misogynoir, pornotroping, or other arguments of that nature don't work with me. I understand the logic of something being problematic. It's just the oversimplification of theory into false comparisons I take issue with.
-I don’t think that not being topical will cause everyone to quit, lose all ability to navigate existential crises, or other tedious internal link chains. That being said, I love an external impact to framework that defends the politics of government action.
-I would really prefer if people had reasonable arguments on topicality for why or why they don’t need to read a plan, rather than explaining to me their existential impact to voting aff or neg. In the same way that I'm not persuaded the neg will quit or extinction will happen if you don't read a plan, I also don't think extinction will happen if you lose to topicality. Focus instead on the real debate impacts at hand. Though, as said above, I love a good defense of your politics, and if that has a silly extinction impact that's fine.
-I find myself persuaded that the case can not outweigh topicality. Arguments from the case can be used to impact turn topicality, but that is distinct from “case outweighs limits” in my mind. T is a gateway issue. If the neg goes for T, that's what the debate is about. This is why I think many planless 1ACs are best when they have a built-in angle against framework.
Neg K v plans:
-Generally, the alt won’t solve when the aff does a serious push, but the aff will let the neg get away with murder on alt solvency.
-Generally, the alt doing the plan is a reason to reject the alt/team absent a framework debate, which is fine.
-Generally, contradictions justify severance
-Generally, the neg is allowed to read Ks
-I'm getting more and more persuaded the neg needs a big push on framework to beat the perm. If the alt is fiated and not mutually exclusive with the plan, there is almost no way to convince me that the perm won't solve.
-Framework debates are won by engaging the theory aspect and is pragmatism/action desirable, not just one. Typically the neg spends a bunch of time winning the aff is an unethical method, while the aff is talking about fairness and limits.
K v K debate:
I tend to find myself thinking of things in terms of causality, so if that’s not your jam you gotta tell me not to think in that way. I have *technically* judged a K v K debate, but I'm pretty sure it was a cap debate that was more impact turn-y than theory of power-y.
I'm interested in seeing debates like this despite my lack of experience.
K stuff in general:
-My degree is in math. While y’all were reading a lot of background lit, I was doing abstract algebra. You might have to break it down a bit. I'm reading a bit more of the stuff y'all debate from in grad school, but it's still safe to eli5.
-I am more persuaded by identity or constructivism than post-modernism.
-I DO NOT recommend reading Baudrillard, Bataille, etc. You might think "but I'm the one that will change her mind;" you aren't. I will be annoyed for having to judge the debate tbh. You have free will to read it if you want, but I have free will to tank your points with ZERO remorse. If this third warning doesn't do it for you, you are responsible for your speaker points.
General: I don't like to read cards as a default. If a card is called into question or my BS meter is going off, I will read the card. Absent that, I'm mostly about the flow and ethos. Tell me what warrants in your card you want me to know about. Point out the parts in the other team's evidence that are bad for them. That makes my judging job easier AND gives you a sick speaker point boost.
-Tell me if I can (or can’t!) kick it for you. I may or may not remember to if you don’t. I may or may not feel like you are allowed to if you don’t.
-Reading definitions of should means the perm or theory is in tough shape. It's not unwinnable, but I was a 2A… Tricky process counterplans that argue to result in the aff by means of solvency, but are *actually* competitive (more than just should and resolved definitions), game on. If that means you have to define some topic words in an interesting way, I'm fine with that. Also, despite being a classic 2A, I find myself holding the aff to a higher standard sometimes. Maybe it's because I went to MSU, but a lot of times I find myself thinking "this CP obviously doesn't solve. why doesn't the aff just say that or try to cut a card about it???"
-Make the intrinsic perm great again
-Links to the net benefit is usually a sliding scale. But sometimes links have a certain threshold where it doesn’t matter which links less. Please consider this nuance when debating.
-TBH – y’all blaze through theory blocks with no clarity and then get confused when I have no standards written down. These debates are bad. Be more clear. Speak at a flowable pace. Maybe make your own arguments. Idk.
-It is debatable whether an argument is a reason to reject the argument or team.
-2ACs that spend 15-plus seconds on the theory shell will see a lot more mileage and viability for the 2AR. One-sentence blips with no warrants and flow checks will be treated as such.
-impact comparison and turns case are lost arts in theory debates.
-Yes, there can be zero DA. No, it’s not as common as you think.
-answer turns case!!!
I debated LD for three years for Strake Jesuit (after a brief period in PF). I qualified for TFA State and TOC in LD, and I have instructed at TDC and NSD. I am conflicted with Strake Jesuit. Contact me/add me to docs at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can call me "JP." "James," "Mr. Stuckert" or "judge" are fine but weird to me.
For online rounds:
1. Keeping local recordings of speeches is good. You should do it.
2. If I or another judge call “clear” video chat systems often cut your audio for a second. This means (a) you should prioritize clarity to avoid this and (b) even repeat yourself when “clear” is called if it’s a particularly important argument.
3. I don’t like to read off docs, but if there's an audio problem in an online round, I will glance to make sure I at least know where you are. I would really prefer not to be asked to backflow from a doc if there's a tech issue, hence local recordings above.
4. You should probably be at like 70% of your normal speed while online.
· I aim to be a neutral party minimizing intervention while evaluating arguments made within the speech times/structure set by the tournament or activity to pick one winner and loser for myself. Some implications:
o The speech structure of LD includes CX. Don't take it as prep and don't go back on something you commit to in CX (unless it's a quick correction when you misspeak, or is something ambiguous). I generally flow cx and factor it into speaker points, but arguments must still be made in other speeches.
o The speech structure also precludes overt newness. Arguments which are new in later speeches should be implications, refutations, weighing or extensions of already existing arguments. Whether 2N or 2AR weighing is allowable is up for debate and probably contextual. Reversing a stance you have already taken is newness -- e.g. you can't kick out of weighing you made if your opponent didn't answer it. (Obviously you can kick condo advocacies unless you lose theory.)
o I won't listen to double-win or double-loss arguments or anything of the sort. You also can't argue that you should be allowed to go over your speech time.
o Being a neutral party means my decision shouldn't involve anything about you or your opponent that would render me a conflict. If I were involved in your prefs, I would consider myself to essentially be a coach, so I won't listen to pref/strike Ks. If other types of out-of-round conduct impact the round, I will evaluate it (e.g. disclosure).
o Judge instruction and standards of justification on the flow are very important, and if they are not explicit, I look to see if they are implicit before bringing to bear my out-of-round inclinations. If two debaters implicitly agree on some framing issue, I treat it as a given.
o Evidence ethics: I will allow a debater to ask to stake the round on an evidence ethics issue if it involves: (1) brackets/cutting that changes the meaning of a card; (2) outright miss-attribution including lying about an author's name, qualifications, or their actual position; (3) alterations to the text being quoted including ellipses, mid-paragraph cutting, and changing words without brackets. Besides these issues, you can challenge evidence with theory or to make a point on the line-by-line. For me, you should resolve the following on the flow: (1) brackets that don't change meaning; (2) taking an author's argument as a premise for a larger position they might not totally endorse; (3) cases where block quotes or odd formatting makes it unclear if something is a mid-paragraph cut; (4) not being able to produce a digital copy of a source in-round. If another judge on a panel has a broader view on what the round can be staked on, I'll just default to agreeing it is a round-staking issue.
· Despite my intention to avoid intervention, I am probably biased in the following ways:
o On things like T framework and disclosure I think there is an under-discussed gap between "voting on theory can set norms" to "your vote will promote no more and no less than the text of my interp in this activity."
o I will be strongly biased against overtly offensive things (arguments which directly contravene the basic humanity of a marginalized group). I don’t think it’s prima facie offensive to read moral philosophy that denies some acts are intrinsically evil (like skep or strict ends-based ethical theories) or which denies that consequences are morally relevant (like skep or strict means-based theories). I also don't think generic impact turns against big stick impacts are innately offensive. But I will certainly listen to Ks or independent voters indicting any of those things.
o Speaks: each speech counts, including CX. Strategy and well-warranted arguments are the two biggest factors. My range typically doesn't go outside 28 to 29.5. I adjust based on how competitive the tournament is. I don't disclose them.
o Be polite to novices, even if you can win a round in 20 seconds it’s not always kind to do so. Just be aware of how your actions might make them feel.
o I am usually unpersuaded by rhetorical appeals that take it for granted that some debate styles (K, LARP, phil, theory, tricks) are worse than others, but you can and should make warranted arguments comparing models of debate.
Affiliation: Marlborough (CA), Apple Valley (MN)
Past: Peninsula (CA), Lexington (MA)
Email: email@example.com — but I prefer to use speechdrop.net
I like substantive and engaging debates focused on the topic's core controversies. While I greatly appreciate creative strategy, I prefer deeply warranted arguments backed by solid evidence to absurd arguments made for purely tactical reasons.
I find the tech or truth construction to be reductive — both matter. I will try to evaluate claims through a more-or-less bayesian lens. This means my existing knowledge of the world establishes a baseline for the plausibility of claims, and those priors are updated by the arguments made in a debate. This doesn’t mean I’ll intervene based on my preexisting beliefs; rather, it will simply take much more to win that 2+2=5 than to prove that grass is green.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" — Carl Sagan
"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence" — Christopher Hitchens
I default to viewing resolutions as normative statements that divide ground, but I’m open to arguments in favor of alternative paradigms. In general, I believe the affirmative should defend a topical policy action that's a shift from the status quo. The negative burden is generally to defend the desirability of the status quo or competitive advocacy.
Affirmatives should advocate a clearly delineated plan or advocacy, which can be the resolution itself. The aff's advocacy text is the basis for negative competition and links, and as such, it must contain any information the aff feels is relevant to those discussions. Affs cannot refuse to specify or answer questions regarding elements of their advocacy and then later make permutations or no-link arguments that depend on those specific elements. "Normal means" claims can be an exception but require evidence that the feature in question is assumed. Proof that some possible version of the aff could include such a feature is insufficient. Refusal to answer direct questions about a particular element of the advocacy will likely take "normal means" claims off the table.
I prefer policy/stock arguments, but I’m certainly open to critical or philosophical positions and vote on them often.
If you refer to your arguments as “tricks,” it’s a good sign that I’m not the best judge for you. Debaters should, whenever possible, advance the best arguments at their disposal. Calling your argument a "trick" implies its value lies in surprise or deception, not quality.
Note: an odd topic construction could alter these priors, but I'll do my best to make that known here if that's the case.
Generally, affirmatives should be topical. I have and will vote for non-topical positions, but the burden is on the aff to justify why the topicality constraint shouldn't apply to them.
Topicality is a question of whether the features of the plan/advocacy itself being a good idea proves the resolution. This means I will look unfavorably on a position that is effects topical, extra-topical, or related to the topic but doesn't in and of itself prove the resolution.
In topicality debates, both semantics and pragmatic justifications are essential. However, interpretations must be "semantically eligible" before I evaluate pragmatic advantages. Pragmatic advantages are relevant in deciding between plausible interpretations of the words in the resolution; pragmatics can't make those words mean something they don't. I will err aff if topicality is a close call.
Affs nearly always must disclose 30 min before start time, and both debaters should disclose which AC they will read before elim flips.
Affirmatives should usually be topical.
Plans are good, but they need to be consistent with the wording of the topic.
Extra T is probably bad
Severance is bad
Intrinsicness is usually bad, but I'm open to intrinsic perms in response to process cps
Conditionality is OK
PICs are OK
Alt agent fiat is probably bad
Competing interpretations>reasonability, usually
Probably no RVIs
Almost certainly no RVIs on Topicality
I don't like arguments that place artificial constraints on paradigm issues based on the speech in which they are presented.
I am open to Ks and vote on them frequently. That said, I’m not intimately familiar with every critical literature base. So, clear explanation, framing, and argument interaction are essential. Likewise, the more material your impacts and alternative are, the better. Again, the more unlikely the claim, the higher the burden of proof. It will take more to convince me of the strongest claims of psychoanalysis than that capitalism results in exploitation.
Establishing clear links that generate offense is necessary. Too often, Ks try to turn fundamentally defensive claims into offense via jargon and obfuscation. A claim that the aff can’t or doesn't solve some impact is not necessarily a claim the aff is a bad idea.
It's essential that I understand the alternative and how it resolves the harms of the Kritik. I won't vote for an advocacy that I can't confidently articulate.
Arguments I will not vote for
An argument that has no normative implications, except in situations where the debater develops and wins an argument that changes my default assumptions.
A strategy that purposely attempts to wash the debate to trigger permissibility/presumption.
A contingent framework/advocacy that is "triggered" in a later speech.
Any argument that asks me to evaluate the debate after a speech that isn't the 2AR.
Arguments/Practices I will immediately drop you for
Any argument that concludes that every action is permissible.
Any argument that creates a hostile environment for either myself, the other debater, or anyone watching the debate.
Any argument that explicitly argues that something we all agree is awful (genocide, rape, etc.) is a good thing. This must be an argument THAT THE DEBATER AGREES implies horrible things are ok. If the other debater wins an argument that your framework justifies something terrible, but it is contested, then it may count as a reason not to accept your framework, but it will not be a reason to drop you on its own.
I only judge PF a few times a year, mostly at camp. Arguments are arguments regardless of the format, so most of my typical paradigm applies. The big caveat is that I strongly prefer teams read actual cards instead of paraphrasing evidence. I understand that there are differences of opinion, so I won't discount paraphrasing entirely, but I'll have a lower bar for indicts. Also, I'm not reading ten full articles at the end of the debate, so I'd appreciate it if you could prepare the paraphrased portions in advance.