49th Harvard National Forensics Tournament
2023 — Cambridge, MA/US
LD Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Hi, my name is Dawn Brenner and I'm a parent judge. Clackamas Holiday Edge will be the first tournament that I've judged at.
For debate, I want to see a respectful round from both debaters. I personally would like to see a traditional debate style with a full explanation of the arguments being made. I don't want to see any spreading, I want to be able to fully understand the argument that your making.
I DON'T WANT TO SHAKE YOUR HAND PLEASE DON'T ASK ME
Now that that friendly introduction is over:
I'll disclose speaks if you ask.
Background: I debated LD for four years for Brophy College Preparatory in Arizona. Graduated in 2016. Current LD coach for Brophy College Preparatory.
Crash Course version:
-Go for whatever you want, I like all forms of argumentation
-Have fun, debate is an evolving activity and I'm all for hearing creative well-warranted arguments
-The round belongs to the debaters, do what you want within reason
-Tech > truth, extend your warrants, do impact analysis, weigh
-I default to competing interps but will go for reasonability if you tell me to
-For Ks please be prepared to explain your obscure lit to me, don't assume I'll know it because I promise you I won't. It will benefit you if you give an overview simplifying the K.
-If you run a theory shell that's fine but I don't really like it when a shell is read as a strictly strategic decision, it feels dirty. I'll probably still vote for you if you win the shell unless it's against a novice or someone who clearly had no idea how to respond to it.
-Default to epistemic confidence
-Good with speed
-Don't like tricks
-Don't be rude, the key to this activity is accessibility so please don't be rude to any debaters who are still learning the norms. This activity is supposed to be enjoyable for everyone
For the LARP/Policy Debater:
-You don't necessarily have to read a framework if you read a plan but if your opponent reads a framework I'm more likely to default to it unless you do a good job with the framework debate in the 1AR.
-If you run a framework it can be either philosophically or theoretically justified, I like hearing philosophy framing but that is just a personal preference
-Utilize your underview, I'm guessing you're reading it for a reason so don't waste your time not extending it.
-Running multiple counterplans is okay, prefer that you provide solvency
-Make sure your counterplan does not link yourself back into your DA, please
For the K Debater:
-Please label each section of your K (link/framing/impact/alt) it makes it more clear to me how the argument is supposed to function
-If you aren't running a typically organized K then please just explain the argument properly as to how I should evaluate it
-If your ROTB is pre-fiat you still need to respond to post-fiat framing to completely win framework debate
-Feel free to ask more questions before the round
For the traditional debater/everyone else
-Crash course version should cover everything. I have more below for the people who really want to read it but you can always ask more questions beforehand
I like debates which are good. Debaters who are witty, personable, and I daresay good speakers usually score higher on speaker points with me. I'll vote on any argument (So long as it isn't blatantly offensive or reprehensible in some way). I'm a big believer that the round should belong to the debaters, so do with the debate space what you wish.
I like framework debate a lot. This is what I did as a debater and I believe that it makes the round very streamlined. I always like hearing new and cool philosophies and seeing how they apply, so run whatever you want but please be prepared to explain them properly.
Please slow down on impacts and pause between tags and authors!! Yeah, I know everyone has the case right in front of them nowadays but I still want you slowing down and pausing between your authors and tags. Finally, for both of our sakes, please IMPACT to a weighing mechanism. I have seen too many rounds lacking impact analysis and weighing. It's possible it will lead to a decision you don't like if you don't impact well. I don't particularly care what weighing mechanism you impact to so long as you warrant to me that it's the more important one.
Run whatever shells you would like but nothing frivolous, please. I wouldn't recommend reading theory as strictly a strategic play in front of me but I will still evaluate it and vote on it if you prove there is actual abuse in round. I default to competing interps but will go with whatever you tell me. In general, I think you should layer theory as the most important issue in the round if you read it, otherwise what was the point in reading it?
Shells I will likely not vote on:
-Dress Code theory
-Font size theory
-This list will grow with time
I don't like them. Don't run them. They make for bad debate.
I myself was never a K debater but I've now found myself really enjoying hearing them as an argument. I'd appreciate if you could label your K or section it off. I wasn't a K debater so I don't automatically know when the framing begins or when the impacts are etc. The biggest problem I usually see with Ks is that I don't understand the framing of the argument or how to use it as a weighing mechanism, so please help me so I can understand your argument as best as I can. I have dropped Ks because I just didn't understand the argument, err on the side of me not knowing if it is a complex/unconventional K.
I don't time flashing/making docs during the round but I expect it to take no longer than 30 seconds. Try to have a speech doc ready to go before each round. I'm good with flex prep. I don't care if you sit or stand. I'll hop on your email chain. Don't be rude, that should go without saying. Lastly, and I mean this seriously, please have fun with it. I really prefer voting for debaters who look like they're having a good time debating.
If you have any questions feel free to ask before the round or contact me via email
I have been coaching speech and debate since 1999, first in south Florida and now in central Florida.
LD: I am not a fan of Kritiks or RoBs. I personally find these types of arguments counter to the essence of the debate activity. So in that respect, I consider myself more of a traditional LD judge than a progressive one. Debaters who can present a strong case with great logic and evidence, effective refutation of their opponent's case, and ultimately prove their Value/Value Criterion will win. If both debaters are equal on contentions and rebuttals, I will decide the round on which value holds up. So, make sure everything you argue ties back to your V and VC.
Special Note about progressive LD: While I do not like this style, I will (of course) judge you on your performance in the round, whatever shape each particular round takes. I will not judge anyone solely based on style/type of case. But let me elaborate a bit on why I find progressive style LD so problematic.
First, the speed is antithetical to real communication. Ideas, especially complex, nuanced, layered ideas (the likes of which one would hope to encounter in LD) require momentary breaths, pauses to let them settle. While sharing cases can help, it does not solve the issue fully. Also, the prevalence of JARGON in progressive debate is a distraction from the arguments in the round. Do your best to limit the use of jargon.
My next concern is the facile, reductive treatment given to the philosophical and academic theories often used by students. While I applaud your efforts to engage with these complex, rich, important ideas and texts, debaters are too often punching above their weight. That is understandable. Scholars spend their entire careers unpacking these theories. It is the very rare teenager who can engage with them without reducing them to tag lines and washed-out, oversimplified shadows of the textured ideas they actually are. IF you truly understand the ideas you are using (and you’re not just parroting something written by your team/coaches/camps), then go for it.
Finally, as the coach of a burgeoning team at a Title 1 school, I am very concerned about the fairness of this type of debate for programs like mine. Much has been written about this issue, so I will not belabor the point.
PF: The team that is able to support their contentions with strong logic and good evidence while effectively refuting their opponents' case will win the round. I am okay with some speed. You will see me flowing during most of the round, but I am still looking for all of the hallmarks of good communication: eye contact/hand gestures/facial expressions/voice modulation. Although I won't decide a round based on a single dropped argument, I will consider that as part of my decision. The best rebuttals are those who can systematically go down the flow and address most arguments. Strong contentions will include important impacts. Strong cases will provide some sort of framework. A good final focus will include impact weighing and voters.
Again, I am not a fan of the changes occurring in PF. Jargon (lots and lots of it) has crept in, and we have left the “public” in Public Forum far behind. (Sigh).
Final note: I value clarity over speed, and I consider civility to be of paramount importance in all rounds. Assertiveness does not require aggression. Assertiveness is applauded; aggression will be penalized.
I coach Greenhill. I am currently a PhD student in philosophy at MIT.
I have neither coached nor judged since April 2021. I have not judged in person since February 2020. Slow down and take it easy on the jargon (both topic and debate varieties thereof).
Here is a slightly older + longer version of my paradigm. Everything on the longer version remains true.
Short version: If you are aff, you should read a well-researched affirmative that defends someone doing something. If you are neg, you should read something that meaningfully engages with the aff.
Here are some things that it will be useful to know if I am judging you.
 I don’t flow author names.
 Please slow down on analytics, probably more than you think you need to.
 I am best suited to judge well-researched debates about a clear point of contestation in which both sides are clear about what they’re defending. Policy-style, K, T, and many theory debates are all fine.
 I will not vote for exceptionally bad theory arguments. Exceptionally bad arguments include but are not limited to: so-called "role of the ballot spec," "neg may only make 2 arguments," "must spec CP status in speech," "must read an explicit standard text," "must contest the aff framework," and "must spec what you meant when you said 'competing interps.'" By contrast, arguments that are fair game are CP theory, plans good/bad, stuff like that.
If you’re unsure whether an argument counts as exceptionally bad, err on the side of caution. You should err on the side of caution on very specific / demanding disclosure theory arguments.
 Other theory predispositions:
I think it's good to keep topics fairly small, which makes me good for the neg in many T debates.
It's pretty hard to convince me that 1 condo is bad. 2 starts to push it, and I think 3+ is probably bad. I'm increasingly convinced PICs should have a solvency advocate. And I'm pretty in the middle with respect to whether process counterplans & the like are good.
 No tricks. I won't vote on them. If you think your argument might count as a trick, don't read it. If you do go for tricks, you will not win and your speaks will not exceed 26.
 I value explanation a lot. I vote aff in a lot of debates in which the neg goes for a ton of arguments, each of which could be a winning 2NR but end up getting very under-explained. I have also voted for a lot of debaters whose evidence is not amazing but who give very good explanations/spin for that evidence.
 I am unlikely to be convinced that something categorically outweighs something else (e.g. extinction outweighs regardless of probability, tiny unfairness outweighs all education no matter what, etc.). Weighing arguments should be contextual and comparative.
 No "inserting highlighting" or inserting a list of what the aff defends. You have to read it.
 Debaters should disclose, and the aff should tell the neg what aff they’re reading before the debate unless it is new. No one should lie when disclosing. It is very hard to convince me that disclosure isn’t good.
 Clipping and reading miscut evidence will result in an automatic loss, regardless of whether your opponent notices / mentions it. More on that here.
 I will not vote on: tricks (broadly construed), "paradox" tricks (e.g. Zeno's Paradox, the "Good Samaritan" Paradox), a prioris, oppression good (if you concede that your position entails that oppression is good, then your position is that oppression is good), skepticism ("both frameworks are wrong; therefore, 'permissibility'" is skep), trivialism, arguments that the other side cannot make arguments / that I should evaluate (any part of) the debate at the end of a speech other than the 2AR, or awful theory arguments. These arguments are bad for debate.
I competed in policy for three years in high school at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School; I did an additional year at the University of Kentucky. I am now on the coaching staff at Little Rock Central High School. I have a bachelor's and a master's in Communication Studies and a master's in Secondary Education. I said that not to sound pompous but so that you will understand that my lack of exposure to an argument will not preclude me from evaluating it; I know how to analyze argumentation. I have represented Arkansas at the Debate Topic Selection for the past few years (I authored the Middle East paper in 2018 and the Criminal Justice paper in 2019) and that has altered how I view both the topic process and debates, in a good way. I think this makes me a more informed, balanced judge. Summer '22 I chaired the Wording Committee for NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection; do with this information what you want.
I find that many teams are rude and obnoxious in round and don’t see the need to treat their opponents with dignity. I find this mode of thinking offensive and disrespectful to the activity as a whole
I consider myself an open slate person but that doesn’t mean that you can pull the most obscure argument from your backfiles and run it in front of me. Debate is an intellectual game. Because of this I find it offensive when debaters run arguments just to be running them, do not run your arguments if you don’t think they can win you the round!
I don’t mind speed and consider myself an exceptional flower. That being said, I think that it helps us judges when debaters slow down on important things like plan/CP texts, perms, theory arguments, and anything else that will require me to get what you said verbatim. I flow on a computer so I need typing time. Your speed will always outpace my ability to type; please be conscious of this.
Intentionally saying anything remotely racist, ableist, transphobic, etc will get you an auto loss in front of me. If that means you need to strike me then do us both a favor and strike me. That being said, I’m sure most people would prefer to win straight up and not because a person was rhetorically problematic, in round.
Update for Online Debate
Asking "is anyone not ready" before an online speech an excise in futility; if someone's computer is glitching they have no way of telling you they aren’t ready. Wait for verbal/nonverbal confirmation that all individuals are ready before beginning your speech, please. If my camera is off, I am not ready for your speech. Online debate makes speed a problem for all of us. Anything above 75% of your top speed ensures I will miss something; govern yourselves accordingly.
Please make sure I can see your face/mouth when you are speaking if at all possible. I would really prefer that you kept your camera on. I understand how invasive of an ask this is. If you CANNOT for reasons (tech, personal reasons, etc.) I am completely ok with going on with the camera off. Debate is inherently an exclusive activity, if the camera on is a problem I would rather not even broach the issue.
I would strongly suggest recording your own speeches in case someone's internet cuts out. When this issue arises, a local recording is a life saver. Do not record other people's speeches without their consent; that is a quick way to earn a one-way trip to L town sponsored by my ballot.
Lastly, if the round is scheduled to start at 2, don’t show up to the room asking for my email at 1:58. Be in the room by tech time (it’s there for a reason) so that you can take care of everything in preparation for the round. 2 o’clock start time means the 1ac is being read at 2, not the email chain being set up at 2.
My previous paradigm had a thorough explanation of how I evaluate most arguments. For the sake of prefs and pre round prep I have decided to amend it. When I debated, I was mostly a T/CP/DA debater. That being said, I am open to just about any form of argumentation you want to make. If it is a high theory argument don’t take for granted that I understand most of the terminology your author’s use.
I will prioritize my ballot around what the 2NR/2AR highlights as the key issues in the debate. I try to start with the last two speeches and work my way back through the debate evaluating the arguments that the debaters are making. I don’t have to personally agree with an argument to vote for it.
Too often debaters read a lot of blocks and don’t do enough engaging in these kinds of debates. The “Role of the Ballot” needs to be explicit and there needs to be a discussion of how your ROB is accessible by both teams. If you want to skirt the issue of accessibility then you need to articulate why the impact(s) of the aff outweigh whatever arguments the neg is going for.
I am less and less persuaded by fairness arguments; I think fairness is more of an internal link to a more concrete impact (e.g., truth testing, argument refinement). Affs should be able to articulate what the role of the negative is under their model. If the aff is in the direction of the topic, I tend to give them some leeway in responding to a lot of the neg claims. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. The aff should spend time on impact turning framework while simultaneously using their aff to short circuit some of the impact claims advanced by the neg.
When aff teams lose my ballot in these debates it’s often because they neglect to articulate why the claims they make in the 1ac implicate/inform the neg’s interp and impacts here. A lot of times they go for a poorly explained, barely extended impact turn without doing the necessary work of using the aff to implicate the neg’s standards.
When neg teams lose my ballot in these debates it’s often because they don’t engage the aff. Often times, I find myself having a low bar for presumption when the aff is poorly explained (both in speeches and CX) yet neg teams rarely use this to their advantage. A good framework-centered 2NR versus most k affs involves some type of engagement on case (solvency deficit, presumption, case turn, etc.) and your framework claims; I think too often the neg gives the aff full risk of their aff and solvency which gives them more weight on impact turns than they should have. If you don’t answer the aff AT ALL in the 2NR I will have a hard time voting for you; 2AR’s would be smart to point this out and leverage this on the impact debate.
If you want to read a critique of debate, I have no problems with that. While, in a vacuum, I think debate is an intrinsic good, we too often forget we exist in a bubble. We must be introspective (as an activity) about the part(s) we like and the part(s) we don't like; if that starts with this prelim round or elim debate then so be it. As structured, debate is super exclusionary if we don't allow internal criticism, we risk extinction in such a fragile world.
LD - *update for TOC
If you don't read a "plan" then all the neg has to do is win a link to the resolution. For instance, if you read an aff that's 6 minutes of mining bad but you don't defend a way to end said mining then the neg just needs to win a link based on the resolution OR your impact scenario(s). If you don't like it then write better affs that FORCE the neg to get more creative on the link debate.
If theory is your go-to strategy, on either side, please strike me. I am sick and tired debaters refusing to engage substance and only read frivolous theory arguments you barely understand. If you spend your time in the 1AR going for theory don’t you dare fix your lips to go for substance over theory and expect my ballot in the 2AR. LD, in its current state, is violent, racist, and upholds white supremacy; if you disagree do us both a favor and strike me (see above). Always expecting people to open source disclose is what is driving a lot of non-white people from the activity. I spend most of my time judging policy so an LD round that mimics a policy debate is what I would prefer to hear.
I’m sick of debaters not flowing then thinking they can ask what was read “before” CX starts. Once you start asking questions, THAT IS CX TIME. I have gotten to the point that I WILL DOCK YOUR SPEAKS if you do this; I keep an exceptional flow and you should as well. If you go over time, I will stop you and your opponent will not be required to answer questions. You are eating into decision time but not only that it shows a blatant lack of respect for the "rules" of activity. If this happens and you go for some kind of "fairness good" claim I'm not voting for it; enjoy your Hot L (shoutout to Chris Randall and Shunta Jordan). Lastly, most of these philosophers y’all love quoting were violently racist to minorities. If you want me (a black man) to pick you up while you defend a racist you be better be very compelling and leave no room for misunderstandings.
I came into this activity as a fierce competitor, at this juncture in my life I’m in it solely for the education of the debaters involved; I am less concerned with who I am judging and more concerned with the content of what I debate. I am an educator and a lover of learning things; what I say is how I view debate and not a roadmap to my ballot. Don’t manipulate what you are best at to fit into my paradigm of viewing debate. Do what you do best and I will do what I do best in evaluating the debate.
I’ve been coaching debate of all varieties for over 20 years now. I love this activity, and believe it teaches some important and useful skills.
What you want to know:
1. Speed is fine. Be clear.
2. Disclosure is preferable at circuit tournaments (I’m less concerned about it locally).
3. Progressive arguments, in general, are good by me. Some caveats:
A. I generally prefer to vote on substantive issues over procedural ones. My threshold for theory is fairly strict, and the abuse has to be pretty clear.
B. Tricks aren’t cute. They’re intellectually dishonest bad faith arguments that I think are bad for debate. Run them if you must, but I’m generally disinclined to reward them.
C. Kritiks based on identity arguments (fem rage/trans rage/etc.) are relevant and important, but if you do not identify with the positionality upon which the kritik is based, and are running the argument for its strategic value, you are doing a really bad thing by co-opting a discourse to which you have no right or claim, and commodifying it for wins. Do better.
4. Good impact analysis is important to me, explain clearly why you should win. Tell me the story you want me to believe.
5. Don’t tell lies. Bad debate math counts as lies. I’m happy to evaluate all arguments, but lies are not arguments. There isn’t room in this activity for intellectual dishonesty.
6. Have fun, be kind and generous and charitable. This is a really rewarding game, even when you take an L. Enjoy it, and help others enjoy it too.
EXPERIENCE: I'm the head coach at Harrison High School in New York; I was an assistant coach at Lexington from 1998-2004 (I debated there from 1994-1998), at Sacred Heart from 2004-2008, and at Scarsdale from 2007-2008. I'm not presently affiliated with these programs or their students.
Please just call me Hertzig.
Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com
CLARITY in both delivery and substance is the most important thing for me. If you're clearer than your opponent, I'll probably vote for you.
Ks (not high theory ones) & performance - 1 (just explain why you're non-T if you are)
Trad debate - 1
T, LARP, or phil - 2-3 (don't love wild extinction scenarios or incomprehensible phil)
High theory Ks - 4
Theory - 4 (see below)
Tricks - strike
If, after the round, I don't feel that I can articulate what you wanted me to vote for, I'm probably not going to vote for it.
I will say "slow" and/or "clear," but if I have to call out those words more than twice in a speech, your speaks are going to suffer. I'm fine with debaters slowing or clearing their opponents if necessary. I think this is an important check on ableism in rounds.
I don't view theory the way I view other arguments on the flow. I will usually not vote for theory that's clearly unnecessary/frivolous, even if you're winning the line-by-line on it. I will vote for theory that is actually justified (as in, you can show that you couldn't have engaged without it).
I need to hear the claim, warrant, and impact in an extension. Don't just extend names and claims.
For in-person debate: I would prefer that you stand when speaking if you're physically able to (but if you aren't/have a reason you don't want to, I won't hold it against you).
Link to a standard, burden, or clear role of the ballot. Signpost. Give me voting issues or a decision calculus of some kind. WEIGH. And be nice.
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Sasha Kreinik Paradigm
I am a pretty straightforward judge and was in forensics way back in the Stone Age when I was in high school. I am a teacher and speech and debate coach first, so I value education, good and creative cases, and expect professionalism and respectful behavior.
I am open to any arguments as long as burdens are being met and I value strong evidence ably applied. Over the past year I have found myself needing to highlight the items I have listed below most often in rounds.
Mad spreading skills need to come with mad pronunciation skills. I’m okay with speed, but am even more impressed by the debater who can do more with less. You are less likely to have an issue with my rulings if I have been able to easily flow your round. I am noticing a trend lately of debaters that goes far beyond spreading to actually mumbling quietly and incoherently through most of the case, only enunciating specific phrases, tags, etc. If you are this type of debater, strike me. Yes, I can read your case, but that's not what debate is about. Your speaks will be the lowest possible. One more caveat about spreading--if you are using it merely to disadvantage a less experienced opponent, it will annoy me. Have that conversation with your opponent at the start of the round.
One of my pet peeves is a debater who is obviously seeing his/her evidence for the first time or, worse, sounds like it. Be sure to master the material you are using. If there is a piece of evidence or a theory you are presenting that you don’t understand, we won’t either, and it will show.
I abhor racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and any other language of hate or any language that enables it. They have no place in the debate space and will cost you the round.
In the end, I want you to have fun, learn something, and bring forth truly creative and interesting cases. If all else in your round is perfectly equal, I am going to give the round to the debater who told a better story.
Feel free to ask me if you have any more questions. Always include me in the email chain. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- 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: email@example.com. I strongly prefer an email chain to the NSDA Classroom file sharing, and would love for the chain name to be specific and descriptive - perhaps something like "Tournament Name, Round # - __ vs __". I find debates without cameras to be a real bummer; particularly at the toc when students' careers will end, and i would thus appreciate if cameras were on for the duration of rounds.
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.
in person + masks:
i do not have a strong preference on masking - as long as both participants are comfortable, i'll be chill - if one of you asks the other to wear a mask while not speaking, i expect the other to comply. it is difficult for me to imagine a situation where i will vote on an argument about masks in a round.
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 also true for whoever is answering these positions. every time i have voted for an analytic phil arg, it has been because the rebuttal tailored speed to a level where i understood and was able to process 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.
This used to be much longer - I have preserved the older version, but understand it was cumbersome for pref purposes, too long to read immediately pre-round, etc.
2 things on online debate & speed:
slow down slow down slow down slow down slow down. you should be going at 70% or so of the speed you would go in person. if you do not slow down and i miss arguments, i will not be very sympathetic to the post round.
- it is clear no one could flow a debate round as it is delivered. given that, i am cool w debaters tossing out "slow" at their opponents if they can't flow them at top speed. i prefer more experienced debaters to modulate their speed/presentation to be closer to that of their opponents.
10 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, there is no room for drop the arg negotiation. do with that what you will.
i mark cards at the timer and stop flowing at the timer. this is not negotiable.
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. an important caveat: 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.
there is no chance you get me to exclude a speech from the debate - i will evaluate every portion of the debate after the 2ar, with relevant content from the 2ar taken into consideration.
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. The 1ac/nc should have evidence of high quality, and the 1ar/2nr/2ar should have explanation of that evidence of a similarly high quality.
I think disclosure is good, and "i think the best debates happen when both teams are able to reasonably predict what arguments will be read (with the exception of new affs + unbroken neg positions). i am unsympathetic to arguments about disclosure that do not contest this point. even if you cannot post broken positions on the wiki for whatever reason, it is my belief that you should be willing to provide them, in good faith, to your opponent upon request in some way." - anna. 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. - "If there was an accessibility, disclosure, or other request made before the debate that you plan to bring up in the debate please inform me before the debate. I would like to evaluate the debate with this information ahead of time. More personal issues/things that someone did last year are difficult for me to understand as relevant to my ballot." - eli
i rely heavily on framing claims made by both teams in deciding debates, and i much prefer these claims to break early than late - if neither the 1nc/1ac have particularly clear framing claims, my decision is liable to get weird. a lot of k debates i've coached/judged this year have taken for granted that "explanatory power" has some innate value that is sufficient to win debates - i don't understand why this is true, or why explanatory power is intrinsically valuable/something i should view as sufficient to grant a ballot.
- form vs content: over the last few years, i have seen a significant uptick in arguments about form vs content. i find this dichotomy fascinating, but i find myself rarely understanding where debaters want me to draw the form/content line - if you plan for this to be a significant part of your strategy, you need to be very clear about what is different between your form and your opponent's form.
- i think the semantics da to T is often articulated in ways that are paternalistic and verge on racist. if you do not have a defense of your reading of the resolution, i think vaguely gesturing at racial minorities and saying "topicality is racist, why do you exclude minorities?" is gross unless you have an explanation of what dialect, culture, etc., interprets the topic the way you have. otherwise, you are simply making the claim that minorities are insufficiently intelligent to handle... grammar? other languages have internal structures, grammar, and conceptions of semantic correctness, and it is unbelievable to me how many times i've seen debaters assert otherwise in debates this year!
- speaks: if you debate at a level that makes me think you should be in out rounds, you will likely have a 28.8 as your floor - moving above that requires good strategic decisions, well structured rebuttals, and making the debate easy to resolve. 28.8 were the average speaks required to break at a few of the larger octas bids in recent years.
Finally, I am not particularly good for the following buckets of debates:
Warming good & other impact turn heavy strategies
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)
- infinitely regressive "must disclose _____" shells
Identity ks that appropriate the form and language of antiblackness literature
affs/nc's that have entirely analytic frameworks (even if it is something like util!) - i think this is often right on the line of plagiarism, and more importantly, my brain simply cannot process / flow it at high speeds.
baudrillard & his derivatives
- i am very interested in discussions/theories of translations, and woefully inept at understanding how they would operate in a debate context - read it if you'd like, but i will need a very clear explanation of competition in particular, and how it operates in the round more broadly.
- new affs bad
- disclosure debates against a very stock affirmative/against debaters without experience who may not be familiar with the wiki
Email for questions/clarifications and chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debate background: I debated at Barrington for 3 years, 2 on the nat circuit. I ran mostly fem/queer theory and other similar K stuff. I'm super familiar with traditional LD-- that's what my school did most. I debated for NYU policy last year.
For the most part, do your thing. Just make sure you do it well.
If for any reason you feel unable to continue the round, feel free to stop time and let me know. This is ~supposed~ to be a fun learning experience for every debater–– I understand how bad it can get. In the case that you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or otherwise unable to continue, don't hesitate to stop round. No pressure.
Trigger warnings please! Also, do not misgender your opponent. If this continues past one clarification, I'm docking speaks and we're having a serious discussion after round. See more info below on bigotry in round.
This applies to everything I'm about to elaborate on, so if you read nothing else, read this: I really think the most valuable skill you can learn from debate is the art of synthesis. Being able to explain, extrapolate, and impact your arguments is the most important thing to me as a judge for LD rounds. If you do nothing else in round, make an effort to give me good analysis and weighing of your args.
My threshold for adequate responses to theory is extremely low, especially in the context of argument weighing/analysis of topical-layer arg dynamics. That said, I'm quickest to vote off reasonability.
Send all speech docs in the email chain.
For the tricky framework/high theory stuff, be ready to actually give good warrants on the nuances of your stuff. I'm not well-versed in it, so spell it out.
High theory: explain it well.
Misgendering and slurs are voting issues and will tank your speaks. No bigoted args and discourse.
"Decorum" standards low––swear, perform, get passionate about what you're talking about.
Asking questions during the RFD is a great idea, but continuing the debate after time stops is not.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above, let me know before round. I'm happy to answer any other questions/concerns after round as well :)
Email chain/ questions: email@example.com
Speak at a moderate pace that both your opponent and I can follow.
I will be flowing the round. No new arguments in summary.
If you want the easy path to my ballot; weigh, implicate your defense/turns, and tell me why you should win.
I prefer a line by line. The summary should respond to turns/disadvantages. I allow the first speaking team to extend defense from the first rebuttal to the first final focus. If you’re going to read a super long overview or have a weird speech order please let me know before you start talking.
I won't do ghost extensions for you even if the argument is conceded, extend your arguments.
I will give a bonus point to the first debater to give me a piece of paper for my flow.
-------- email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org --------
Hi there! My name's Zoe - I was a coach at Southwest Speech and Debate Institute '22 and now I coach at Brophy! I debated LD for four years at ACP, attended nats 3 times, and now dabble in college policy. While I specialized in LD, I've tried every debate event at least once. For circuit, pref me underneath your top-tier tech judge but above your average lay judge. Feel free to email any questions you may have after the round and I'd love to help!
I'll disclose speaks if you ask
tech > truth
comp worlds > truth testing
reasonability > competing interps
DTD < DTA this can change easily
Flex prep fine
FW- util if nothing is read
*****these can change easily if you explain to me why
Spec stuff: I'll analyze anything but for specific scoring
da, plan, cp- 2
theory- 4 (very high threshold, see below)
tricks- 2 (would reco asking pre-round but normally fine with it lol)
Fw- very important for me in lay. Please just collapse if the fw's are super similar (ie consequentialism vs util or social justice vs structural violence). The NC doesn't have to read fw if it's the same as the aff's. FW should be addressed in every speech at the top, preferably
K- K’s are cool but I have a very high threshold for K affs. The K must have a link to the topic. Running a nontopical K aff in front of me is not the best strategy. Topical Ks are fine by me if warranted properly. Make sure to explain the K if you’re reading a complex one. I mostly know foucault, anthropocentrism, set col, baudy, cap, fem, and queer myself but as long as you warrant it I can follow anything.
DA- Please don’t run multiple DA’s in front of me just to win on substance. Run a couple well warranted ones if you want
Plan- Plans are cool, especially a unique one. Make sure it's not nontopical and/or extratopical, that's a pet peeve of mine. Don't run a PIC as a plan on the aff please (ie Iron Dome CP from the LAWs topic but just on the aff).
CP- I’ve grown to dislike CPs because they are either a. A super common CP that everyone reads on this topic (ie UBI CP on the fjg topic) or B. Not well-warranted (which makes the CP feel like just another argument you’re throwing out for substance). Feel free to run a decent CP. Not a fan of PICs in most cases and will slant heavily aff if they read PICs bad theory. Multiple condo CPs will probably get a drop if its at all possible
Phil- Phil is awesome, literally anything in any form is cool
Theory- Very low tolerance for theory. Only want to see it for valid abuse. Frivolous theory I will dock speaks. That means more than 1 shell 9 times out of 10, maybe 2 if like multiple abuses occurred. Knowing your audience hates theory, you reading it better be a decent strategy. If you read two theory shells in the 1nr and then just concede theory in the 2nr I will err heavily on aff if they even do a half decent job of answering anything or just say like RVIs. Don't use theory as some strategic ploy, use it to legitimately uncover abuse (or like very obviously as a joke thrown in with actual argumentation as well).
Tricks- i think it's fine as long as i as the judge can determine what the tricks are and you actually tell me how to evaluate it, however blippy that explanation may be
How I view the debate: K, theory, plan, CP, DA -- Case.
^ tell me otherwise if you want me to change it
Not timing unless you ask me to
Sitting or standing doesn't matter but sitting is a tad bit lazy
No new in the 2nr/2ar args please
No using rest of cross for prep
Make the round a nice experience for everyone involved. Be nice during cross, especially. I will tank speaks for blatant rudeness in any form in the round.
PLEASE WEIGH IN YOUR LAST SPEECH. Show why your evidence/impact is better, use terms like magnitude and scope, it’ll make my ballot super easy. Weighing throughout the round is good but last speech like a good 30 second chunk should be impact weighing and framework analysis.
Asking for cards after speeches is fine, reading cards is on prep
Sharing cases- you get a 5 min timer. If you're unable to post by then I'm taking it out of prep. Speech drop is simple, or I have my email in my paradigm. if you ask for my email I take off speaks
If your opponent asks for a piece of evidence during their prep, they can keep prepping the whole time it takes you to find the card. You get two minutes max and then I'm deleting it from my flow.
Start at 26 speaks and go up from there, 25 for blatant rudeness, racism, etc. 30 if you get me any dutch rebel (gift card works too i suppose)
PF paradigm- I was an LD debater but I know how PF works and have tried it at a few tournaments. I think the main difference is that I look at framework more, so like you can read structural violence and I'll evaluate it but I default to util. I feel PF should be a debate for a lay judge so everyone can understand it, but if you happen to have me as your judge you could toy around with some progressive, it's just slightly bothersome if you have a lay panel and you run that stuff. Be warned that reading progressive in front of an LD judge who did a lot of that stuff might be bad if you don't structure it properly or understand what you're doing.
- asking for cards and reading isn't on prep unless the panel disagrees
- I watch cross it shouldn't be used as a rebuttal it should be a time to actually ask questions. please don't excessively talk over each other keep it at least a tad civil
- def/off aren't sticky I need extensions in summary or it's nonexistent in final focus
- no new arguments in final focus
- any of your other typical pf judge norms I'll follow if you ask me before
Policy- see LD paradigm. I know most of the caveats but not like extensively (like aff/neg burdens, time frames, solvency, inherency, harms, etc). probably a tech judge but not as much as an 8 year policy coach.
BQ-also refer to my LD/PF paradigm as you will. I did BQ before I can judge it. that's about it.
- congressional debate doesn't denote the use of debate terminology like "extend" "outweigh" or "vote aff." if I hear these I'm dropping your speech/round ranks. I care more about rhetoric than argument in a congress speech. construction > content
- giving a good speech is not a guaranteed first. you have to be active within the round (asking questions + motions) to do well
- please avoid using a computer and/or fully prewritten speeches. at least print out the speech and paste it on a legal pad (it's very easy to fake a speech, c'mon).
- there is a huge PO shortage on our circuit. if you step up to PO, do a decent job, and (if I'm parli) are also active in the other session, you will receive a good rank as a result. if it's your first time POing, ask the parli questions and try your best and you probably can still get a decent rank. if you're a seasoned PO and don't do very well don't expect to make ranks
Hi, my name is Zee. I'm a parent judge, so don't go too fast and make your arguments clear.