Cypress Freeze TFA Swing at Jersey Village
2022 — Jersey Village, TX/US
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Thanks for checking in with my paradigm!
I've done WSD quite a bit in the past, and just have a few pointers and things that I like to see in rounds.
This is a somewhat big thing for me as POIs are a pretty important part of WSD debate. They're a great strategic tool and can really disrupt your opponent's arguments mid-speech/sidetrack them. My main thing about POIs is moderation.
I love to see teams that POI with really thoughtful questions a few times a speech. The two things I don't like to see in a round are:
If you're using POIs every 20 seconds or even barracking, and then don't have any good or strategic content for your POI. I used to call that "POIs to be annoying."
Or if you're never using POIs and just trying to use all your strategic material in your speech to A) give the other team less response time or B) try to make your own speech stronger. If you go back to an argument you made in a POI in a speech, I'm totally fine with that. Just don't be silent the entire time the other side is up there and then try to cram everything into your speech.
Weighing is a huge part of debate! Something that is very mature and helpful for judges in a round is weighing. The more you can weigh your arguments not only in your 4th speech but throughout the round, the further you'll get ahead in my book. Telling me why something is a better solution or what you propose is one thing. Telling me why I should vote for you and especially why your world is preferable over the other team's makes my job at the end of the round that much easier.
Creative Arguments/My Personal Weighing
Not every motion is perfect. One of my first WSD rounds was "this house prefers in person school to online." I mean, just looking at that you can see how it's really sort of weighed to one side. Not a single team at a tournament who debated as the opposition won that motion.
I know that sometimes you pull a side you don't want. Sometimes you're given the short end of the stick with examples, arguments (especially arguments that don't make it sound like you're some sort of -ist), and the amount of work or effort you have to put into preparing a case.
The great thing is I understand this and if you can have a beautiful debate round with good argumentation, presentation, and strategic decisions, I'm not going to count you off the ballot just because in the real world the proposition is always preferable.
In the end, I decide a winner based off of which team has more points. If everything you do earns more points, I don't overly care if the other team's world is more preferable. Especially because in order to earn that point advantage, you're going to have to make good arguments and counter arguments and debate really well. So, it's not like I'm going to be voting for a horrible world against an amazing one, you do still have to show me why your world would be a good one. That's how you earn points after all.
Last little bit here.
I take analysis on the bounds of a motion and what the teams "have to debate" very seriously. In essence:
If you're a proposition team and define the motion as one way and say that the opposition has to debate these things and can't use A, B and C in their arguments, you're going to have to really prove to me that they can't. Use some definitions, common sense, etc. But abusive framing isn't high on my list of reasons to vote for you, so preferably you write a case where you prove why your world is better on a point rather than just framing the round so that neither world can use those things.
If both teams agree with framing, then I'll totally work with that. If prop and opp disagree, I'll generally lean towards the opposition framing as it's typically fairer. That being said, prove to me why the bounds of the round should be what they are, and then debate! You will not win a round by saying the other team can't argue something and then only argue points that are exclusive to your side. There's no strategy in that, no clash, no debate really. If you ignore the other team's points, that's your decision, but they might just be marked as unconflicted winning points on my ballot without good analysis in your framing as to why those points don't fall under the motion.
Also, sometimes in a debate round we get caught up debating things that don’t really matter to the motion. If you’re debating about climate change and then start arguing about the morality of capitalism, you’re not really explaining to me why your side is a better world. You’re just saying you hate Jeff Bezos. So…try to stay close to the heart of the motion.
Finally, don't insult the opponents or their side of the world. There's no point in claiming that the other team is blatantly racist, or hates poor people, or anything like that. Tell me why their world is disproportionately unfair to certain groups and why that makes your word preferable. You don't need to frame any argument made against your world as an -ist. You just need to prove why your side is more beneficial in helping those groups. That's defensive and more mature.
I am a debate coach and familiar with all formats of debate. Primary focus is now World Schools Debate. I have coached teams and competed on the international level with those teams so I am well versed in WSD. Embrace the format of this special debate. I don't enjoy seeing a PF attempt in this format-make the adjustment and be true to the form as intended for it to be.
I'm a policy-maker at heart. Decisions will be flow-based focusing on impact calculus stemming from the question of the resolution.
If I'm not flowing, I'm either not buying your current argument or not appreciating your speaking style.
Play offense and defense; I should have a reason to vote FOR you, not just a reason to vote AGAINST your opponents.
WSD-Show me what the world looks like on your side of the motion-stay true to the heart of the motion
Yes, manners. Good debate is not rude or snarky. Do not let your primal need to savagely destroy your opponent cost you the round. Win with style and grace or find yourself on the wrong side of the ballot. You've been warned.
WSD- I love the passion and big picture
Speed is not a problem with me, it's probably more of a problem with you. Public Forum is not "Policy-lite" and should not be treated as such as far as speaking style goes. The beauty of PF should not get lost in trying to cram in arguments. Many times spreading in PF just tells me you need work in word economy and style. Feel free to speak at an elevated conversational rate displaying a rapid clarity that enhances the argument.
WSD-Don't even think about speed!
Speeches should follow the predetermined road map and should be signposted along the way. If you want an argument on the flow, you should tell me exactly where to flow it. If I have to make that decision for you, I may not flow it at all. I prefer your arguments and your refutation clearly enumerated; "We have 3 answers to this..."
Framework and Definitions
The framework (and definitions debate) should be an umbrella of fairness to both sides. The framework debate is important but should not be over-limiting to your opponents. I will not say "impossible" here, but winning the round without winning your framework is highly improbable. I am open to interpretation of the resolution, but if that interpretation is overtly abusive by design, I will not vote for your framework. That said, I caution your use of abuse stories. Most abuse arguments come off like whining, and nobody likes that. If a framework and accompanying definition is harmful to the debate, clearly spell out the impacts in those terms. Otherwise, provide the necessary (and much welcomed) clash. Most definition debates are extremely boring and a waste of time.
Your FF should effectively write the RFD for me. Anything less is leaving it up to my interpretation.
Good luck, and thank you for being a debater.