Cavalier Invitational at Durham Academy
2023 — Durham, NC/US
LD Challenge Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Lynne Coyne, Myers Park HS, NC. 20+ years experience across formats
At the NCFL 2023 I will be judging policy debate for the first time in a decade. Here is the warning: I know the generic world of policy, but not the acronyms, kritiks, etc., of this topic. You need to slow down to make sure I am with you. As in all forms of debate, choice of arguments in later speeches and why they mean you win not only the argument, but the round, is important.
I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people.
Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. I see myself as a critic of argument , or in old school policy lingo, a hypothesis tester. The resolution is what I vote for or against, rather than just your case or counterplan, unless given a compelling reason otherwise.
Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.
1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the debates I judge, clarity IS the problem not the speed of spoken word itself. I reserve the right to yell “clear” once or twice…after that, the burden is on the debater. I will show displeasure… you will not be pleased with your points. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable but I recognize that low point wins are often a needed option, particularly in team events. The debater adapts to the audience to transmit the message-not the opposite. I believe I take a decent flow of the debate.
2. I generally dislike theory debates littered with jargon (exception is a good policy T debate that has communication implications and standards—if you’ve known me long enough this will still make you shake your head perhaps). Just spewing without reasons why an interpretation is superior for the round and the activity is meaningless. Disads run off the magical power of fiat are rarely legitimate since fiat is just an intellectual construct. I believe all resolutions are funadamentally questions of WHO should do WHAT--arguments about the best actor are thus legitimate. I am not a person who enjoys random bad theory debates andugly tech debates.
3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.
4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a dual function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well. I try not to intervene on personal preferences that are ideological, but I believe words do matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene.
The ballot acts as a teaching tool NOT a punishment.
5. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex. Enter the content of CX into speeches to translate admissions into arguments. Do not all speak at once in PF and do allow your partner to engage equally in grand cross fire.
6. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:
A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.
B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.
C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc..
7. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument. A dropped argument will rarely alone equal a ballot in isolation.
8. An argument makes a claim, has reasoning, and presents a way to weigh the implications (impacts). I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments. If an argument is just a claim, it will carry very little impact.
Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.
Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.
I'm Bennett Dombcik (he/him), I'm currently a senior @ the University of Michigan.
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
TLDR: if you explain arguments, do impact calc and card comparison, and don't make technical drops, you should be fine. The rest of the paradigm will attempt to explain what I think “good debating” looks like for a bunch of different positions. However, they are not rules to abide by for a round in front of me, and many of the more preference-based notes can be easily overcome by in-round arguments.
Policy Positions: This is the majority of what I did in both high school LD and college policy. I am most comfortable evaluating these debates.
Topicality---negatives should read definitions that are predictable. Affirmatives should do the same. The rest of the debate should compare the limits, ground, predictability, etc. of the two interpretations and explain why one impact is more (or less) important than the other and win a larger link to that impact. Caselists make me happy, the affirmative should probably not win for being topical, and the mandate of the plan is probably the best way to determine topicality (although can create solvency problems for the aff).
DAs---Links should be as specific to the plan as possible; generic links are not persuasive and easily beatable by affirmatives who know what their AFF does. However, smart 2NR contextualization of generics can overcome my affirmative bias in these debates (I just don’t really think negatives do that very often). The DA should ideally both have external offense that outweighs the case and turn the case. Turns case arguments are underutilized and massively increase your chances of winning the round.
Zero risk---clearly a thing. If the affirmative has a good uniqueness/link press I will be unpersuaded by “vote neg for .0001% chance of extinction” (same goes for aff try or die args against a good negative case push). Note the emphasis on good---it is hard to get to zero risk even though it is possible.
CPs---Fun. Should have solvency advocates (although those can be 1ac internal link cards). CPs should solve the case (for the most part), 2NRs should make detailed arguments as to why this is the case. Competition stuff: I have very few pre-conceived notions of what counts as a “legitimate” standard for competition. That being said, I will likely have more fun in the round if the competition arguments are more than just immediacy and certainty.
CP theory---the 1AR should make args about the illegitimacy of various CPs (mostly an LD note). The 1AR is very hard and the 2NR is too easy if it doesn’t have to answer theory. On the flip side, I am very willing to hold the line on new 2AR arguments on theory, so 1AR arguments should probably be longer than a sentence.
---DTA---probably (unless condo)
---Reasonability---define what counts as reasonable and debate why that standard is good.
Case---1ACs tend to be bad. The 1NC tends to be bad at demonstrating why the 1AC is bad. Rounds tend to be better (and more favorable for the negative) when the case page is a larger aspect of the negative strategy.
---Impact turns---cool, no issues with any of them.
Ks: I did some of this in HS, pretty comfortable with what happens in 99% of these debates.
On the negative---do whatever, links should implicate solvency of the plan in some way. Willing to vote on debate should be about epistemological assumptions of the plan. The affirmative should invest some time in we get the case + case outweighs, and the negative should offer a predictable counter-interpretation for how the round should be evaluated. Winning ontology is very important for both teams.
On the affirmative---ontology stuff from above. Probably should be close to the topic, willing to listen to reasons why that’s not true but I think the negative’s framework arguments get a lot stronger when the affirmative doesn’t have a predictable counter-interp. Procedural fairness is probably good, so is clash. However, impact turns are definitely winnable in front of me, so do whatever.
Answering K affs---stuff from above. Negative teams tend to be pretty shoddy explaining the impact to fairness/clash/whatever else you want to go for. Defense to the aff case is important for winning framework arguments and answering impact turns. If you want to go for Ks against them K aff, explaining competition is probably the most important parts of the debate in front of me. (K vs K is probably one of the areas I’m least comfortable with given a lack of understanding on the interactions between competing theories).
I have been coaching Policy Debate full time since 2014. Arms sales is my 7th year of coaching.
I view my primary objective in evaluating the round to be coming to a decision that requires the least “judge intervention.”
If debaters do not give me instructions on how to evaluate the debate, and/or leave portions of the debate unresolved, they should not expect to get my ballot. My decision will end up being arbitrary, and (while I will likely still try to make my arbitrary decision less arbitrary than not) I will not feel bad.
In the final rebuttals, debaters should be giving me a “big picture” assessment of what’s going on in the debate to give them the best chance to get my ballot. Extending 25 arguments in the rebuttals doesn’t do much for me if you’re not explaining how they interact with the other team’s arguments and/or why they mean you win the round. In my ideal debate round, both 2NR and 2AR have given me at least a 45 second overview explaining why they’ve won the debate where they dictate the first paragraph of my ballot for me.
Important things to note:
-I don’t ever think Topicality is an RVI (*this is distinct from kritiks of the neg’s interp/use of topicality*)
-If you don’t signpost AND slow down for tags, assume that I am missing at least 50% of your tags. This means saying a number or a letter or “AND” or “NEXT” prior to the tag of your card, and preferably telling me which of your opponents arguments I should flow it next to. Speech docs are not substitutes for clarity and signposting.
-I'm probably a 7 on speed, but please see above ^^^^
-High-theory will be an uphill battle.
-I would prefer not to call for cards, I believe it’s the debaters job to clearly communicate their arguments; if you tell me they’re misrepresenting their cards – I will probably call for them. But if I call for it and they’re not misrepresenting their evidence you’ll lose a lot of credibility with me and my cognitive biases will likely run amuck. Don’t let this deter you from calling out bad evidence.
-You can win the line-by-line debate in the 2AR but still lose the debate if you fail to explain what any of it means and especially how it interacts with the 2NR's args.
-Don’t assume I have any familiarity with your Acronyms, Aff, or K literature
-Swearing is probably word inefficient
-You’re in a bad spot if you’re reading new cards in the final rebuttals, very low propensity for me to evaluate them
-CPs that result in the aff are typically going to be a very hard sell, so are most other artificially competitive CPs. Perms are cool, so are time tradeoffs for the aff when this happens. If you really think you've got a sick techy CP make sure to go out of your way to win questions of competition/superior solvency / a specific link to the aff plan alone for your NB
-I think debate is a competition.
-the best “framework” arguments are probably “Topicality” arguments and almost probably don’t rely on cards from debate coaches and definitely don’t rely on me reading them after the round
-Impact everything out... Offense and Defense... I want to hear you telling me why your argument is more pressing and important than the other team's. I hate having to intervene... "Magnitude," "Probability," and "Timeframe" are not obscenities, please use them.
Arguments you shouldn’t waste your time on with me:
-Topicality = RVI (*this is distinct from kritiks of the neg’s interp/use of topicality*)
I am going to have the easiest time evaluating rounds where:
-warrant and evidence comparison is made
-weighing mechanisms and impact calculus guiding how I evaluate micro & macro level args are utilized
-the aff advocates a topical plan
-the DA turns and Outweighs the Case, or the CP solves most of the case and there's a clear net benefit that the perm doesn't solve for
-the negative has a well-researched neg strategy
-I am not expected to sort through high-theory
-the 2NR/2AR doesn't go for everything and makes strategic argument selection
Presumptions I bring into the round that probably cannot be changed:
-I’m voting Neg on presumption until the aff reads the 1AC
-Topicality is never an RVI (*this is distinct from kritiks of the neg’s interp/use of topicality*)
-There is no 3NR
-Oppression of humans = bad (note: I do not know how this compares to the end of the planet/human race, debaters are going to have to provide weighing mechanisms for me.)
-Earth existing = good (note: I do not know how this compares to other impacts like oppression of humans, debaters are going to have to provide some weighing mechanisms for me.)
-I will have a very difficult time bringing myself to vote for any sort of Consult CP if the aff even mumbles some type of “PERM”
-Once the 2AC perms, presumption goes to the neg to prove the perm unworkable or undesirable if the CP/Alt is not textually/functionally competitive
Unimportant things to note:
-Plz read your plan before you read solvency – I will be annoyed and lost if you don’t
-I really enjoy author indicts if/when they’re specific – it shows a team has worked hard and done their research
-I really enjoy case specific strategies – I enjoy it when a team can demonstrate that they've worked hard to prepare a case specific strategy
-I enjoy GOOD topicality debates
-I’ve been involved in policy debate in some capacity for 11 years now – Education is my 5th topic coaching.
-I put my heart and soul into policy debate for four years on high school. I worked tirelessly to put out specific strategies for specific affirmatives and I like to see debaters who I can tell have done the same and are having fun. So, show me you know your case better than anyone else if you're affirmative, or on the neg, show me specific links and answers to the affirmative... I tend to reward this in speaker points. ...That being said, generics are fun, fine, and essential for the negative team. Feel free to run them, you will not be penalized in any way.
I'm good for just about anything that is well debated: T, Theory, DAs, CPs, Ks... I can even be persuaded to vote solely on inherency if it is well debated - if the plan has literally already happened, for the love of god please punish the aff.
That being said, I enjoy seeing a strategy in argument selection, and appreciate when arguments don't blatantly contradict each other (i.e. the DA linking to the CP, or Cap Bad and an Econ Impact on politics). Especially in the 2NR.
I am pretty tab when it comes to LD. My goal is to reach a decision that requires the least amount of judge intervention.
Signpost and slow down on tags. Slow down even more for theory args. Spreading through tags and theory interps is absolutely not the move if you want me to be flowing your speech. I will not be flowing from the doc.
Slow down. No, you don’t have to be slow and you should certainly feel free to read the body of your cards at whatever max speed you are comprehensible at. If you’ve used signposting, slowed down on tags and pre-written analytics, you’re golden. It's inexcusable and unforgivable to not have signposting in the 1ac.
I come into the round presuming:
-the aff should be defending the resolution
-the aff is defending the entirety of the resolution
-my ballot answers the resolutional question
-debate is a game
These presumptions can likely be changed.
Stylistically agnostic, but probably not your best judge for:
-dense phil that you’re spreading through
-undisclosed affs that don’t defend the entirety of the resolution
-process CPs that result in the aff
-more than 2 condo
-friv theory - I ❤️ substance
-Probably not interested in hearing condo if it’s just 2 condo positions
-theory interps that require me to ignore other speeches
I think that I have a low propensity to vote for most arguments regarding things that happen outside of the round or prior to the 1ac. I am not interested in adjudicating arguments that rely on screenshots of chats, wikis, or discord servers.
Questions, or interested in my thoughts on particular subjects not covered in my LD paradigm? Check out my POLICY PARADIGM above!
Email for chains or anything else: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current PF debater for Taipei American School. Competitive record from tab if you're curious.
Debate however you want and I'll do my best to follow.
My preferences and how I evaluate the round:
- Tech > truth. I vote off the flow.
- Not a fan of progressive arguments.
- Jargon and speed are fine as long as you're clearly explaining things.
- It's conceded if it's dropped in a speech (2nd rebuttal must frontline).
- Claims without warrants are not arguments -- Explain your argument well.
- Weigh. Tell me why your argument is the most important (why I'm voting on it).
- Collapse. Don't go for everything.
- Everything in final focus has to be in summary (defense isn't sticky).
- If evidence is bad, tell me how it's bad (I'll check) and why that matters to my ballot.
- Feel free to postround (argue against my RFD) if you want.
If you don't understand something from my paradigm or have any other questions, feel free to ask before the round.
Just as a disclaimer, my RFDs are really blunt. I apologize beforehand LOL
Hi! I'm Fiona, a pf debater at Cary.
If you have any questions you can message me on messenger (should just be Fiona Hu)
Add me on the email chain: email@example.com
Tldr: run whatever you want
Hate speech, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. will not be tolerated. Any violation to this rule will be auto 0L. I will also be reporting this violation to the tournament head
Tech > Truth
Signpost! PLEASE! It makes my life easier for flowing and easier for me to follow the round.
Extend link chains and impacts. I can not weigh the round if I have no impacts and warranting for these impacts.
If the round comes down to evidence clash, please tell me as a judge which piece of evidence I should care about/is more important in the round. THIS SITUATION IS NOT IDEAL, AND I WANT TO AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS.
If there is no offense in the round, I presume neg/whoever loses coinflip (normally I just pick whoever loses flip).
I really prefer you line by line everything, if you have an overview tell me where to flow it.
Second rebuttal must frontline. Defense is NOT sticky.
PLEASE PLEASE WEIGH.
If you're going to go fast, send a doc. I literally cannot flow things really fastly, I need a doc.
If you paraphrase, please provide cut cards.
Speaks depends on the tournament, but they normally start at 28.5. (If you can name 3 unreleased Lana Del Rey songs and tell me your fav Lana Del Rey song I'll boost your speaks by +1).
That being said, for everytime you go "I will take x number of time" I will be docking a speaker point.
I don't pay attention in cross, but it's binding.
I'll disclose if the tournament allows it.
DON'T SEND YOUR KIDS INTO VARSITY LEVEL TOC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENTS IF THEY CAN'T HANDLE VARSITY LEVEL ARGUMENTS LIKE THEORY OR K'S.
I understand K's better than theory. I have a history of reading non-T Ks. I personally think that the current atmosphere for K debate is treating it like this sacred thing. It's not sacred lmao, just an argument. If you decide to go for a non-T K, I'll still vote for you if you win on the flow.
That being said, I have no sympathy if you hit prog and you cry and you're in varsity. Here's my take. Prog arguments need to be treated like arguments. People need to treat K debate and theory like arguments. K debate and Prog debate is just like substance debate, don't try to make it something else. THEY ARE ALL JUST ARGUMENTS. Do not take things personally - debate is just a game. At the end of the day, I will comfort you if you cry, and I will hug you if you cry. However, I will not be voting for you just because you cried. If you lose on the flow, you lose on the flow. Ks are arguments. Shells are arguments. Don't take it personally, just debate. (This part doesn't apply if your in MS, Novice and JV).
I have the same takes as Gabe Rusk on TW theory, go read on his paradigm if you want to know my take.
Disclosure is good, and paraphrasing is bad. That being said, I won't hack for either disclosure or paraphrasing theory.
I don't get trixs, so run them at your own risk
I have been debating since 2017.
-Tech > truth: meaning that you can run anything as long as it is well warranted.
-Make sure you have clash and compare the arguments.
-I love Impact Calculus!!!! (Probability, Magnitude, Timeframe)
-Argument quality > quantity
-Use speed as your weapon and not against you (be clear).
-Explain why you should win. Write my ballot in your final speeches.
-I don't flow crossfire so if there is anything important make sure to bring it up in a speech.
-Be kind and respectful (if you don't it will drop your speaker points).
hi uk :) i'm a little sick so i'm not at 100% brain capacity so maybe don't do anything too wild/too fast
TL;DR FOR PREFS i have recently come to the conclusion that i actually care very little what you read and hold a minimal amount of dogma re: what arguments should be read and how they should be read. i am good for whatever barring anything offensive, obviously. i have judged & voted for basically everything - if you have good strategy and good judge instruction, i will be happy to be in the back of your round whether you're reading the most stock larp stuff ever or tricky phil or friv theory or a non-t aff, etc. read the circuit section if you're interested in more specific thoughts on specific types of arguments. basically, do whatever you want, seriously
conservative estimates of minutes of my life this season so far that have been wasted from email chains because for some reason you all will not use fileshare/speechdrop: 16
*Sorry I know this is super long, but I figured it’s better to be comprehensive than not. Control F if you’re looking for something specific. ALSO ctrl f for accessibility requests, they’re at the bottom
I’m Eva (they/them). I did traditional LD (Canfield ‘18) in HS and have coached since graduating. I currently coach LD at Hawken. I have worked for a handful of camps, primarily VBI. ALSO i'm admin of the HSLD FB group which you should join because it's a really good thing even tho fb sux
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org put me on the chain pls & thx - i probably rely on the doc more than most judges on the circuit but i promise i'm listening enough to catch extemped stuff, stuff you skip, etc. i think docs are a good practice even if you aren't spreading but i won't force a lay debater to send them
Email me or message me on Facebook if you have questions before the round or after. I’ll pretty much always answer.
Sidenote: I judge every weekend in the season, but Ohio doesn’t use Tabroom so it doesn’t show up :( I've probably judged an additional 500+ local rounds
tech > truth, but debaters make that hard sometimes. Make sure your paths to the ballot are extremely clear, don’t be offensive or blatantly make stuff up, and I will make a tech decision
One of my biggest priorities as a judge is round safety. I have made interventionist decisions based on conduct in round and I’ll do it again if I have to, so don’t be offensive or a jerk. My threshold for this is mostly a gut feeling, so just be nice and avoid it entirely :) If you are feeling unsafe in a round, please feel free to email or FB message me and I will intervene in the way you request.
Rounds should be accessible to your opponent. This means that you should, of course, use inclusionary language, correct pronouns, content warnings if necessary, etc. but also means that you should not spread complex Ks or tricks or anything otherwise unnecessarily high level against novices, lay debaters, etc. If you do this I will be supremely annoyed and you will be very unhappy with your speaks. What is the point of winning a debate round if your opponent never has a chance to compete? (more on this in the trad v. circuit section)
im bad at flowing so prob go like 75% max speed unless you're extremely clear :)
Policy/LARP: all good for this - obviously comfortable with the basics, less confident on your cheaty counterplans but they're still all good. Innovative positions are cool but I’m fine with extremely stock arguments if that’s what you have to read to have good evidence. I want to see good, quality evidence that actually says what you say it does, well warranted scenarios, etc, etc. I’m fine with extinction impacts/extinction first stuff but winning extinction first doesn’t mean your links can suck or you don’t have to do any weighing/risk analysis to win the extinction scenario. condo is probably good and condo debates are boring to judge but im willing to vote on condo bad
Kritiks: Fine for the K, judged a lot of k rounds, voted for the K many a time. I find a lot of Ks to be underdeveloped and would really prefer if the position was actually explained and contextualized. your alt should be well explained and pls do not make it something in the 2n it wasn't in the 1n. if you’re reading something super obscure or complex pls slow down and actually explain what you’re on about. ive voted for non t affs plenty of times but ive also voted for tfw plenty of times. I'll also vote off performance but it needs to be clear how exactly i'm meant to evaluate the performance. I also think a lot of k debaters need to get better at extending/explaining the substantive content in the k as opposed to just blippy extensions. Don’t really like high theory but you can go for it as long as you explain it, I’ve voted for it before. i am beginning to think a lot of k affs try to win off of only rhetoric but no, actually, spending 2+ minutes extending the aff in the 1a is actually not a very good strategy in most scenarios :/
Theory/T: how did i become a theory judge??? anyway i like theory these days. still treat the shell like an ELI5 post and slow it down esp if you don’t send stuff (pls at least send interps though - even just in the text of an email is fine.) I don't think i'm particularly dogmatic on theory, so read whatever u want. defaults probably c/i, dta, no rvis, but i can be easily swayed in other directions for any of those. condo good but ill vote on condo bad. i very tired of listening to disclo debates :( friv is fine, will vote on it if u win it, it'll probably make me kinda happy tbh (tho prob avoid reading stuff about clothing and such unless you're like friends with ur opponent and know they're cool with it or something like that)
Phil: Surprisingly, these are some of my least favorite rounds to judge. I find them really blippy, super fast, and never actually very in depth or instructional :( that being said, i’ve judged and voted off of phil before so you can still read it. I’m a philosophy major so I can usually pick up what you’re putting down. My philosophy knowledge is primarily in modern analytic moral/political theory but I've read some continental stuff. I’d rather see a well fleshed out theory from your fw as opposed to a million tricks and please slow it down
Tricks: i sure do love voting for them (not really being sarcastic here - i've voted for tricky stuff many times and i'm actually pretty sure every time i've sat recently has been for tricks...) i like them because they're usually kinda funny and everyone seems to think "this is dumb" is a sufficient response (which it usually isn't) which means it's really ez to vote in these rounds
- IVIs: felt the need to add this in because apparently they're contentious. i'm cool for independent voters and quite frankly i wish you all would actually go for them more - the number of rounds where i've seen one read, the next speech drop it, and the final speech not go for it is severely depressing. however, being independent of a particular framing does not mean these should be independent of warrants - i need to know why it should be a voter
In terms of traditional judges, I’m super tech. I like the big picture debate, but it is often meaningless to me if you have not done a good job with the technical aspects of the round. Make sure that you are interacting on that level.
Traditional debaters should weigh more pls weigh.
I like the framework debate! I’m very familiar with most of the philosophy/frameworks in trad, so I’ll be able to pick up whatever you put down. But I am also really tired of seeing bad framework debates in traditional. For example:
The value debate does not matter. I can't think of a single round in my time in debate where this has not been true.
If what you really want is the util debate, then just run util. Traditional debaters do this thing where they’re like “my framework is rights” but it’s clearly just util.
Make sure you are explicitly weighing under your framing/whatever framing is being used in the round.
“They don't achieve their fw” is not a response to the fw. “My fw is a prerequisite” is almost never explained and I usually cannot figure out a single reason why it matters or is true.
Traditional debaters too often get away with making arguments that are racist, sexist, etc. Do not make offensive arguments or use offensive language. You’ll be unhappy with your speaks and maybe with the outcome of the round.
I hold the same beliefs about traditional debate as Lawrence Zhou, if you want to give his paradigm a read
Trad v. Circuit
I think circuit debaters should make more of an effort to make rounds more accessible to trad debaters. Yes, I understand they chose to come to this tournament. I understand they can just read the speech docs. I understand all of your excuses for still spreading multiple offs against trad kids. But that doesn’t really mean I’m sympathetic to those excuses. I won’t drop circuit debaters for this unless it is egregiously bad (like if you make a lay novice cry or something) but I will be really annoyed and maybe tank your speaks. If you have an especially good/nice adaptation practice for a trad debater, I might bump your speaks a bit.
On the other hand, (experienced-ish) trad kids who still read anti-spreading against LARP debaters going at like 50-60% speed should probably just spend their time actually engaging with the args. Don’t think I’ll vote for you just for traditional solidarity or something, I usually find myself voting circuit in these rounds because traditional debaters blatantly refuse to engage.
random debate beliefs
I won’t extend stuff for you — I hate extensions in the 2ar you didn’t do in the 1ar (how thorough your extensions need to be for me to be happy about them depends on the press; if the 1n was easy to deal with then your 1ar should extend pretty thoroughly for instance,) brand new stuff in the 2n/2a are things I will rarely evaluate without good reason, etc, etc.
Unwarranted arguments aren’t arguments and I think it is your obligation to not miscut your evidence or powertag it. if something sounds sus to me when u read it and i look at the doc and it is indeed really sus i probably will not evaluate it. I care deeply about evidence quality, so please just read good evidence and don’t misrepresent stuff
- similarly to the previous point, I really care about evidence ethics - powertagging/mistagging, miscutting, terrible quals, etc. are things that really irk me. probably won't drop you for it unless your opponent says i should, but it's possible in a close round i just won't evaluate your bad evidence even if you get to cleanly extend it. if you notice your opponent has bad evidence, point it out and i'll be happy. relatedly, rehighlighting is good
- send analytics in doc pls you all make me so sad
Don’t call me “judge,” that’s weird. Pls just call me by my first name. If you use my name in round I’ll bump you up .1 speaks, because it makes sure I'm paying attention. It’s pronounced with a long E (think wall-e), not “Ava”
I don’t disclose speaks sorry. I’ve come to realize I’m a really low scorer but I’m trying to work on it. i WILL evaluate theory that tells me how i should score the round bc i think speaks are pretty nonsense and would love for you to just decide for me :D
I like when rounds are relaxed/informal/funny. If you really make me laugh I will bump your speaks
I don’t care if you stand, I don’t care what you wear, I don’t care if you swear, etc.
- I consider myself to be a mid to bad flower and i flow on paper. if you're clear i should be cool, but if i look confused/i'm not writing anything, probably slow it down for a few seconds at least
please do not send me docs with dark highlighting - yellow is optimal, after that it’s green>blue and anything else is unreadable. Please bold text you are reading especially if the highlight color isn’t yellow. I’m sorry if this is annoying for you but if I end up needing to reference docs it’s gonna be extremely difficult to do so if you don’t listen to this, I have a lot of vision issues
pls give me a heads up if you're gonna read explicit discussions of self harm, suicide, and violence against queer/trans ppl. you can still read them in front of me but i would like a warning as early as possible - messenger is the fastest way to reach me during tournaments
- DO NOT try to SHAKE MY HAND. on this subject, i am a huge germaphobe - i will be wearing a mask probably until the end of time, don't worry i'm not sick, i just don't want to get sick. if there are covid precautions or anything like that you want us to take in the round, please vocalize this and we will make that happen (open windows, masking, etc.)
This is my third year judging LD as a parent judge. Please add me to the email chain: email@example.com
Preference: Traditional or Policy-oriented arguments > Mainstream Critical=Mainstream Philosophy > Theory > Esoteric concepts that can't be explained fully within the time limits.
I prefer traditional rounds with straight-forward weighing and voter issues. I value clear logical connections between your arguments and your impacts. Furthermore, I will not extend anything for you. Please sign post, give an off-time roadmap, and try to stay organized.
Under any/all conditions on a lay circuit:
- No spreading
- No theory
- No tricks
- No spikes
- No Ad Hominem
- No Bigotry/Disrespect
For progressive debaters -
- Limit speed to <250 wpm for your rebuttal speeches - you don't need to email me your rebuttal speeches. I judge by listening not reading for rebuttals
- DAs/CPs are perfect but please include only one CP in your NEG case
- Keep your DAs topical
Hi, I am Jacob Palmer (he/they). I do policy at Emory. I debated for and now coach at Durham. If you will be on the Emory debate team in the fall you should put me as a conflict.
Feel free to ask questions about my paradigm before the round. It's better to hop into the competition room early as opposed to email me since I might miss your question.
Add me to the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sending docs is good. It lets both me and your opponent verify the quality of the evidence you are reading. Sending docs is not an excuse to be unclear. I won't backflow off the doc, and I will yell clear or slow if needed. Docs should be sent promptly at the round start time. If we reach the round start time and you are just starting to set up the email chain, I will be very sad. Even if I am judging on the local circuit, I would like a card doc since I like to look over evidence and just sending cards out from the beginning is easier than me trying to call for cards while the decision time ticks away. On a somewhat related note, although I do think disclosure is good, I'd rather not watch debates about this. This is especially true if your opponent does disclose in some fashion, even if it's not what you consider the best norm.
Debate how you want to debate. I find many of the ways that people classify themselves are debaters, such as a traditional or circuit, largely artificial distinctions. I don’t particularly care whether your arguments are properly formatted in line with whatever norms exist in various local, regional, or national circuits, such as if you read a standard or a value and a criterion. I do care that you make warranted arguments and tell me why they matter in the broader context of the debate. Smart arguments will win rounds.
I will evaluate any argument that has a warrant, clear implication, and isn't actively exclusionary. I am tech in that I will keep a rigorous flow and evaluate the debate solely off that flow, but I think the distinction between tech and truth in debate is largely silly. That means there are some limits to my tech-ness as a judge. I will always evaluate every speech in the debate. I will not evaluate arguments made after speech times end. I think arguments must be logically valid and their warranting should be sound. I think lazy warranting is antithetical to technical argumentation. Reading truer arguments will make your job and my job substantially easier. I won't vote on something not explained in round.
Lastly, be a good person. Debate often brings out the worst of our competitive habits, but that is not an excuse for being rude or disrespectful. Respect pronouns. Respect accessibility requests. Provide due content warnings.
TDLR: Don’t cheat. Be a good person. Make real arguments. Do those things, and I will adapt to you.
Since other people do this and I want to respect the people that helped me in my own debate journey, thank you to the all the people that have coached me or shaped who I am as a debater: Jackson DeConcini, Bennett Dombcik, Allison Harper, Brian Klarman, Ed Lee, Becca Steiner, Mikaela Malsin, Marshall Thompson, Christian Quiroz, Nick Smith, Devane Murphy, Brianna Aaron, and Andrew Garber. Special thanks to Crawford Leavoy for introducing me to this activity and teaching me most everything I know about debate.
Policy – Plans, CPs, and DAs are great! Advantages and DAs shouldn’t be more complicated than they need to be. Plan and counterplan texts should also be specific and have a solvency advocate. You don’t get to say “no link - that's not how we do the plan” unless the evidence says that’s how to do the plan. Spec is fine against vague positions but the sillier the shell the harder it will be to win an actual internal link to fairness or education. I'm generally fine with condo counterplans, but the more condo you read the more receptive I'll be to theory. To win the 2ar on condo the 1ar shell needs to be more than a sentence. Judge kick is fine, but I won't do it unless you tell me to. I lean negative on most competition issues, and I think I am better for process counterplans than most other LD judges. The 2nr is not a 2nc. If your 2nr strategy relies on reading lots of new impact modules or other new arguments, I am not the judge for you. To an extent, carded 2nr blocks are fine but all the evidence you should need to win the 2nr on most positions should just be in the 1nc. If you sandbag reading CP competition cards until the 2nr, for example, I will be sad.
T – I love a good T debate. Don't be blippy. Weigh between interps and show what Affs, Advantages, DAs, etc. are actually lost or gained. The worst T debates are an abstract competition over ethereal good like fairness. The best T debates forward a clear vision of what debates on the topic should look like and explains why the debates based on one interpretation of the topic are materially more fair or educational than others. On T I default to drop the debater, counter interps over reasonability, and no RVIs, but would strongly prefer that you debate these issues out, so I don't have to rely on my defaults. I think affirmatives should generally be predictably limited. I think functional limits can solve a lot of neg offense if correctly explained.
K – K debates are great, just know the literature and be ready to explain it. If I don't understand your argument, I won't be able to vote for it. These debates are also probably where I care the most about quality over quantity. Specificity matters - Not all Ks are the same and not all plans are the same. If your 1nc shell doesn’t vary based on the 1ac, or your 1ar blocks don’t change based on the kritik I will be sad. I generally think I should vote for whoever did the better debating, but y'all are free to hash out what that means. While I recognize debate is a game, I also recognize that it can be something more. Alternatives should be tangible, and you should have examples.
More often than not, it seems like I am judging clash debates nowadays. Whether you are the K debater or the Policy/Phil debater in these rounds, judge instruction is essential. The 2nr and 2ar should start with a clear explanation of what arguments need to be won to warrant an aff or neg ballot and why. The rest of the 2nr or 2ar should then just do whatever line-by-line is necessary to win said arguments. I find that in clash debates more than other debates, debaters often get lost in extending their own arguments without giving much round-specific contextualization of said extensions or reasons why the arguments extended are reasons they should win the debate. Whether you are going for an impact turn to the K or extending the K itself, you need to tell me what to do with the arguments you think you are winning and why those specific arguments are sufficient for my ballot.
Non-T/Planless Affs – All the stuff from the K section applies here. I am happy to judge these debates and have no issues with non-t affs. Solvency is important. From the 1ac there should be a very clear picture of how the affirmative resolves whatever harms you have identified. For negatives, T USFG is solid. I’ve read it. I’ve voted on it. Turn strategies (heg good, growth good, humanism good, etc.) are also good. For T, I find topical versions of the aff to be less important than most other judges. Maybe that’s just because I find TVAs to be largely underdeveloped or not actually based in any real set of literature. Regardless, I don’t think the negative needs the TVA to win, but it also won’t hurt to make one and extend it. Cap and other kritiks can also be pretty good if you understand what you’re doing. I no qualms evaluating a K v K or methods debate.
Phil – I love philosophical debates. I think phil debates benefit greatly from more thorough argumentation and significantly less tricks. Explain your syllogism, how to filter offense, and tell me what you're advocating for. If I don't know how impact calc functions under your framework, then I will have a very hard time evaluating the round. If your framework has a bunch of analytics, slow down and number them.
Theory – Theory should be used to check legitimate abuse within the debate. As with blatantly untrue DAs or Advantages, silly theory arguments will be winnable, but my threshold of what constitutes a sufficient response will be significantly lower. Slow down on the analytics and be sure to weigh. I think paragraph theory is fine, but you still need to read warrants. I think fairness and education are both important, and I haven’t really seen good debates on which matters more. Debates where you weigh internal links to fairness and/or education are generally much better. I think most cp theory or theoretical objections to other specific types of arguments are DTA and really don’t warrant an RVI, but you can always convince me otherwise.
Tricks – If this is really your thing, I will listen to your arguments and evaluate them in a way that I feel is fair, granted that may not be the way you feel is most fair. I have found many of the things LDers have historically called tricks to be neither logically valid nor sound. I have no issue with voting on arguments like skep or determinism or paradoxes, but they must have a sufficient level of warranting when they are first introduced. Every argument you make needs to be a complete argument with a warrant that I can flow. All arguments should also be tied to specific framing that tells me how to evaluate them within the larger context of the debate. Also, be upfront about your arguments. Being shady in cx just makes me mad and sacrifices valuable time that you could spend explaining your arguments.
Independent Voters - I’m not a big fan of independent voters. I think arguments should only generate offense through specific framing mechanisms. Somewhat tied into this I feel incredibly uncomfortable voting on people's character or using my ballot to make moral judgements about debaters. I also don’t want to hear arguments about events outside of the round I am judging. If something your opponent did truly makes you feel unsafe or unable to debate, then you should either contact me, your coach, tab, or the tournament equity office. We can always end the round and figure something out.
Houston Memorial ’20
Andrewqin02@gmail.com for sdocs
Update for TOC: If you plan to read blips and tricks in front of me, they MUST be warranted, and I MUST understand the warrant. Saying the words "I am the GCB" is not a warrant, and I will not vote on it even if it goes dropped. Go for these blippy arguments at your own risk.
I competed on the national circuit for three years, qualifying to TOC my junior and senior years. I try to be relatively tab – I will attempt to fully consider any argument that has a warrant as long as the argument doesn’t exclude debaters from the activity (No oppression good). However, I have debate preferences, though I will try not to let those preferences influence my decision-making.
Quick Pref Sheet:
Theory – 1
LARP – 2
Phil – 2
K – 3
Tricks – 4 (I can judge it, but the warranting on these arguments is just atrocious enough that it makes bad decisions much more likely)
· CX is binding – If you say something is Uncondo in CX and kick out of it in the 2NR, if the 2AR points it out, it’s an auto-loss with few exceptions.
· Evidence Ethics Claims (Clipping, Miscutting, etc.) stop the round and the challenging debater must agree to stake the round on it. Whoever loses the challenge gets an L-0.
· I have a higher threshold of warranting on independent voters. You can’t just say something is an “independent voter” for three seconds and collapse to it for 6 minutes in the 2NR. An independent voter needs clear warrants as well as clear reasons why it’s a reason to drop the debater. I am willing to not vote on a dropped independent voter if it had basically no warrant for why it’s a voter in the last speech.
· Lower threshold for 1AR extensions, though I’m a tad skeptical of straight-up new 2AR weighing. Case outweighs and theory vs K weighing should generally be in the 1AR.
· AD HOMS: I really really really don’t like ad hominem arguments that call out x debater for being a bad person out of round. If it’s won, I’ll grudgingly vote on it, but speaks WILL suffer, and I have a low threshold for responses.
· High speaks are received for technical efficiency, strategy, and clarity in spreading.
· Be nice to novices and traditional debaters.
· I don’t consider arguments about speaker points or double wins or going beyond the time given. Any argument past the timer is disregarded, and if you keep going, it’s an L-0.
· Defaults: C/I, Drop the Arg, Fairness/Education are voters, No RVIs
· Friv theory and theory purely for strategy = 100% fine. I heavily prefer theory centered on round and disclosure abuse (spec status, AFC, CSA, disclose round reports, etc) as opposed to theory on clothing or Zoom styles (shoes theory).
· PLEASE WEIGH BETWEEN THEORY SHELLS AND STANDARDS! If there’s no weighing, I’ll default to evaluating on strength of link. I don’t know what it means for the “theory debate to be a wash” if both sides have offense, which means I do not default to presumption or substance if both sides have theory shells that aren’t weighed between.
· I do not default to judge kick if it’s condo (this is just a default though and can be changed with arguments).
· Understand most of the traditional LD canon – Rawls, Kant, Hobbes, Locke, Levinas (somewhat), I-Law, Constitution, etc.
· I think I’d be fine in the back of most phil debates, but be sure to explain the phil well. If I don’t understand it, I won’t vote on it.
· Postmodern and critical phil like Semiocap – I probably am not the best at adjudicating these, but I’ll try my best.
· Default epistemic confidence.
· SLOW DOWN ON ANALYTICS AND INFLECT! If I don’t catch a trick, I won’t backflow for you.
· Default: Truth Testing, Presumption/Permiss Negate.
· Explain and weigh the tricks well – The sillier the argument, the lower the threshold for the response. Not a huge fan of blippy aprioris and the like, but if it’s won, I suppose I’ll vote on it.
· Prefer you to be straight-up in CX with tricks.
· I’m familiar with a decent amount of Ks: Queerpess, Afropess, Settcol, some Weheliye, Warren, some Deleuze, etc.
· Overviews are helpful, but please do good line by line work – I won’t cross-apply your overview to every possible argument for you.
· Never really understood these very much but I’ll try my best.
· I prioritize technical ability – This means even if the 1AR and 2AR have good overviews explaining your position, you need to explain how it directly interacts with 2NR arguments.
· If it’s a K v K (anything other than cap) debate, I will probably be lost unless the ballot story is very clear.
Hi, I'm Tarun and I debated at Southlake Carroll for four years and qualified to the TOC my senior year.
Im tech over truth but I won't vote on your one sentence arg without a warrant.
Please do impact calculus, make it good, and make it comparative. This is how you will win a debate no matter what type of argument you read.
I've gone for and voted for multiple types of arguments and I'd be much happier to see debaters read what they want than try and "adapt" to a made up idea of what arguments I like.
I default to judge kick, but I'm open to args against judge kick.
Permutations that are not either some variation of perm do both or perm do the cp should have a written out perm text in the 1ar. Don't make me flow your functionally intrinsic but textually non-intrinsic perm shoved between condo bad and a solvency deficit.
The best DAs clash with the plan. Made up politics arguments usually aren't very persuasive against a well developed affirmative advantage.
Impact turns and "cheaty" counterplans are underutilized. It seems no one is ready to debate them.
You can’t just read generic cards about probability and concede a DA; I have no problem voting for a small impact against some extinction scenario, but I won't vote on probability first if you don't actually diminish the probability of the specific scenarios they read.
Stop reading terrible advantages. You need to win that the plan is uniquely key to resolve the internal links to your impact, otherwise you will lose to an advantage cp or alt causes.
Competition is better than theory against process things.
Zero risk is a thing.
I prefer and enjoy legit philosophy debates where you just win deontology or something is true rather than go for induction fails or a spike.
I'm comfortable with any of the common philosophy positions that are read in debate.
I don't enjoy when debates end with a 3 minute 2ar on a 15 second shell from the 1ar.
Drop the argument and reasonability are extremely underutilized. Theory is over-utilized in LD you will always have your links of omissions to generate violations.
I am not a fan of plans bad. Other T shells that qualitatively not quantitatively limit the topic are good and enjoyable.
Won't vote on death good.
I like the K a lot if it has a link to the aff, and it indicts the epistemology behind the aff. However Ks that rely on fiat illusory, or "pre-fiat" offense makes me like these arguments significantly less.
I enjoy actual debates, and get very upset when debaters read arguments that waste their opponents and my time. I also get even more annoyed when debaters are unable to flow said arguments.
I default comparative worlds. I also wont vote on a trick I don't understand or without a warrant.
Non T affs
Framework debates almost always require you to debate the case well. Don't just rely on truth testing to exclude aff arguments.
K Affs should impact turn the negative model of debate or be topical people who do a best of both worlds don't usually win against framework. However, I'm fine with affs counter defining words in the resolution to make a we meet on framework, but this shouldn't be your only strategy.
Fairness is an impact, but the 2nr feels like it's missing something without some defense on their model of how debate should be and why that is valuable.
I am a parent judge who has been judging LD in eastern North Carolina for the past two years. I appreciate the challenges and pressure that competitive debating brings, and as such insist that a cordial and respectful environment be maintained at all times. This will ensure space for the highest level of thought and expression.
The most important points that I respond to in a successful debate are:
1) Clear logic and articulated support. Preferably argued under an overarching structure where evidence can be understood through tangential relationships, and not a series of unrelated statements.
2) Composed and effective communication, including body language as well as verbal skills.
3) Intellectual agility- the ability to quickly craft and articulate thoughtful positions in a short time frame.
If these points are present I am confident that you will be a very strong debater, and gain as much as possible from these exceptional educational opportunities.
There are however a few things that hinder my ability to evaluate information and arguments as fairly as possible. Primarily speed is a detriment to my ability to synthesize the arguments being offered. Please no spreading. Also, as a lay judge I prefer traditional debate styles. Stay on topic and debate the merits of the given topic. It will allow for my fullest engagement and fairest evaluation.
Director of Speech & Debate Isidore Newman School
Coach USA Debate
Please slow down! It is much harder for me to hear online. Go at about 75% rather than 100% of your normal pace!!!
Relevant for Both Policy & LD:
This is my 20th year in debate. I debated in high school, and then went on to debate at the University of Louisville. In addition, I was the Director of Debate at both Fern Creek & Brown School in KY, a former graduate assistant for the University of Louisville, and the Director of Speech & Debate at LSU. I am also a doctoral candidate in Communication & Rhetorical studies.
I view my role as an educator and believe that it is my job to evaluate the debate in the best way I can and in the most educational way possible. Over the past several years have found myself moving more and more to the middle. So, my paradigm is pretty simple. I like smart arguments and believe that debates should tell a clear and succinct story of the ballot. Simply put: be concise, efficient, and intentional.
Here are a few things you should know coming into the round:
1. I will flow the debate. But PLEASE slow down on the tag lines and the authors. I don’t write as fast as I used to. I will yell clear ONE TIME. After that, I will put my pen down and stop flowing. So, don't be mad at the end of the debate if I missed some arguments because you were unclear. I make lots of facial expressions, so you can use that as a guide for if I understand you
2. I value effective storytelling. I want debates to tell me a clear story about how arguments interact with one another, and as such see debates holistically. Accordingly, dropped arguments are not enough for me to vote against a team. You should both impact your arguments out and tell me why it matters.
3. Do what you do best. While I do not believe that affirmatives have to be topical, I also find myself more invested in finding new and innovative ways to engage with the topic. Do with that what you will. I am both well versed and have coached students in a wide range of literature.
4. Know what you’re talking about. The quickest way to lose a debate in front of me is to read something because it sounds and looks “shiny.” I enjoy debates where students are well read/versed on the things they are reading, care about them, and can actually explain them. Jargon is not appealing to me. If it doesn’t make sense or if I don’t understand it at the end of the debate I will have a hard time evaluating it.
5. I will listen to Theory, FW, and T debates, but I do not believe that it is necessarily a substantive response to certain arguments. Prove actual in-round abuse, actual ground loss, actual education lost (that must necessarily trade off with other forms of education). Actual abuse is not because you don't understand the literature, know how to deal with the argument, or that you didn't have time to read it.
6. Be respectful of one another and to me. I am a teacher and educator first. I don’t particularly care for foul language, or behavior that would be inappropriate in the classroom.
7. Finally, make smart arguments and have fun. I promise I will do my best to evaluate the debate you give me.
If you have any other questions, just ask.