Sequoyahs Autumn Argument
2022 — Canton, GA/US
V/JV LD Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Last edited for ’23-24. This paradigm tries to be expansive as possible a) to avoid a slew of questions pre-round (it’ll happen anyway bc people have stopped reading these) and b) because most judges really aren’t transparent at all and I do have real preferences.
For any local tournament: Unlike most GA judges, I’m not lay (and I don’t evaluate the round off arbitrary/usually ableist metrics). Consult the “trad” section if you want to know what to avoid in most rounds, and if you go progressive, that’s fine (read: if you know what you're doing, please do it). I will not vote on disclosure theory at locals. You don't meet your own interp, you don't know what you're reading, and you aren't setting norms. Stop it. Speaks are capped at 25 if you do this.
About: Did 4 years of LD at a high school you’ve never heard of, ended up learning circuit debate independently, currently a senior/master's student at UGA (studying what is basically just K lit) and not doing college CX but still actively judging and coaching LD—this means I'm reasonably familiar with the rez.
- Pronouns: they/she (basically anything that isn’t masculine)
- I listen to girl in red (iykyk)
- I don’t shake hands, pls don’t try and shake my hand after the round (thanks for your understanding)
Speaks (Numbers n Stuff):
- Go as fast as you want, just be clear, and slow down on interp texts, advocacy texts, and standards plz
- I won’t listen to arguments asking for extra speaks, I also tend to not disclose speaks
- I want to be on the chain, no need to ask: email@example.com
- I typically try to average ~28.5 relative to the pool, they’re always based off efficiency/strategy rather than the ableist method of evaluating “speaking ability”
Prefs Cheat Sheet:
K, Policy: 1
Theory and Tricks: 4
Trad: Your call (I would place myself around a 2 for these kinds of rounds)
*I prefer genuine ACs/NCs to tricks—a “Korsgaard AC” is best read as Korsgaard and not 3 min of goobledygook
TL;DR: engage, clash, and read substantive arguments that are well-thought out and you should be fine
Here are the most common things people look for, people have stopped reading paradigms:
- Paradigms are largely unhelpful bc they're all iterations of "fine with anything" and "do what you do best" - point blank, I do best with Ks and policy, understand philosophy which means I have a higher threshold for it (debate is so far removed from real philosophical deliberation that it hurts sometimes), and do not prefer tricks/friv theory - in general, I'm fine for arguments that are pedagogically responsible (warranted and have real value), bad for arguments that are frivolous
- A lot of my RFDs involve in-round explanation of some degree (in both directions)—well-warranted and explained arguments tend to fare better than meaningless walls of buzzwords and claims, and since debate is a communicative activity, I need to be able to understand and articulate your arguments
- Method and framing evidence has been atrocious as of late—it's underhighlighted and doesn't warrant what's in the tag—if I can't piece together what you're trying to say with the highlighted portion alone, I'm not going to fill in the rest for you—blitz through this at your own risk
- I will always disclose the decision (but not speaks) at the end of the round (if the tournament won’t let me, I will do it anyway if you email me afterwards) – all good judges disclose their decisions. It sometimes takes me a moment to type stuff up if the round was close. I will always try to give the “right” decision since I care a lot about giving quality feedback + results, but similarly, don’t aggressively postround me.
- Misgendering, general misconduct (like being racist or sexist) is a reason for me to damage your speaks at best, if you continue to do it, try to impact turn it, and/or willfully ignore it, neither one of us will like the end result
- Discourse violations are better read as kritiks than theory but I will vote on both (I tend to be slightly annoyed by the team/debater that used harmful discourse to begin with, so no need to worry about how you go about this)
- To add to the above: pls let me know if you have any accommodations that need to be met before the round (slower spreading than normal, preferred pronouns, etc.) to make the round as safe and inclusive as possible, debate is for everyone—I care a lot about student well-being and any accessibility concerns should be relayed in a manner you feel comfortable with (getting my attention or emailing me, whatever you need to do)
- Weighing is good. please do it. thx in advance <3
- Good K debates are the best types of rounds, but bad K debates are frustratingly difficult to resolve (i.e., pre-scripted 2NRs loaded with buzz terms that don’t frame anything for my ballot)—know your lit base (theory of power, topic links…the whole shebang), make it meaningful
- Fav lit bases are queer and feminist lit but if you don’t know these lit bases, they can also make me v sad
- I'm a material kinda person, which means I like to see material examples of theory in power in motion—always willing to vote on high theory arguments, but it is a near necessity that there be a connection to the material world
- Do impact analysis/weighing bc these debates can otherwise become messy, also do lots of link and alt work and don’t just talk past the Aff—lack of engagement and poor alt work are two ways to a good old-fashioned L
- Non-T Affs are always great but be ready for generic responses (and just make sure the Aff does ‘something’…I don’t really care what that ‘something’ is though)
- T-FW should engage with the Aff and explain what it means to affirm (“must defend only a policy” is a terrible argument and does not explain what it means to affirm), DAs to models of debate are underrated—tailor it to the Aff (ngl, I don't really take a definitive stance on what T-FW should look like, just make it good)
- Aff FW v. K: a) just bc you win that you weigh case, doesn’t mean you’ll win the round, b) state engagement good needs to be contextualized to the specific criticism, otherwise you should just debate at the link level—also, most state engagement good cards are really underhighlighted/underwarranted c) extinction outweighs is often a link but I’ll go either way on this one, d) only makes sense in policy v. K rounds tbh
- K v. K – always welcome but can be very difficult to evaluate without effort on your behalf
- Don’t be lazy—explain the perm (beyond ‘double-bind’ bc that means nothing) and explain the alt
- I do think that debaters should be held accountable for their discourse in-round—I prefer only going for discourse links when the link is egregious (like calling an immigrant an 'illegal alien'), and also think that word PIKs can be policing (basically: tread carefully, do this when it's necessary)
- Performances: can really matter in terms of how the Aff frames its engagement w/ debate + the world, but if it’s a 5-10 second “land acknowledgment” that takes place in your constructive and never gets brought up again, then idrc—performances have as much meaning as you articulate them to have, and can be as simple as playing background music to as complex as layering personal anecdotes/poetry in the round—you do you, I’m here for it
- Sure, did this for a while and it’s probably the most common type of round I judge, fine with however you carry out policy rounds though I much prefer topic-specific ptx positions and impact turns to generics like “x is the actor, extinction”
- Weighing = necessity (and beyond just “magnitude” if there are two competing extinction scenarios), I really like “even if”/relativistic claims to be made in these rounds (it’s never absolute…trust me) and doing evidence comparison/weighing is super helpful
- Case debate is great debate - contest the scenarios, solvency, and other details too beyond just impact D
- “Judge kick” seems rather goofy
- If you can read CP texts and plan texts at conversational speed, that’d be fantastic
- The 1AC probably needs to at least mention Util/SV (even if it’s just a one-liner), the 1NC should exploit Affs that don’t
- Extinction is overused in debate (won’t hack against it but like…do we need to be mentioning extinction on “standardized tests?”)
- I like tests of competition more than theory debates (plan v. CP perm debates are underrated), but if you go with theory, pls weigh against 1NC procedurals
- Less a fan of limits/fairness for the sake of limits—overlimiting is a thing, I prefer topic lit implications and warrants (and similarly this constrains semantics impacts)
- Losing influence in the meta, I did study philosophy for some of college and still actively keep up with philosophy,I prefer real-world style philosophical argumentation to shenanigans based on my experiences in actual philosophical inquiry
- I prefer sensical ACs/NCs to nonsense, not a fan of tricks disguised as philosophy, generally quick to understand what you're reading but many debaters do a very poor job of in-round explanation (just keep that in mind)
- FW justifications need real warrants - a lot of them like "performativity" are like really circular and never explain why the FW is actually true
- A lot of phil contentions don't actually align with their framing - Kantian philosophy, for example, would not conclude "taxation is impermissible under the criterion"
- Don’t quote things like source Kant (Korsgaard is cooler anyway)
- TJFs—mixed feelings, most of them aren’t fantastic arguments but I’m fine voting on them
- I heavily dislike AFC/ACC (debate is about clash lol), not fond of Truth Testing ROBs in place of FW debates
Traditional LD (Trad)
- I would consider myself a reasonably competent judge; I can evaluate whatever you’re doing just fine—traditional rounds are easier to evaluate if you weigh, give clash, and give voters at the end, but are more difficult to resolve in the absence of crystallization in latter speeches
- Please don't read arguments like "we must follow what is in the constitution and only what is in the constitution" as "this is ethical" - consider that you're reading an argument weaponized against queer people in front of an openly queer judge
- Counterplans are a good thing for debate, but many counterplans read in lay debates do not make sense
- Please say the name of the card BEFORE you start reading off the actual card—this makes it so much easier for me to flow (i.e., “Jones 20: blah blah”)
- I’m not a parent judge who cares about “speaking well” or “the values debate” – you should debate impacts instead of framework if the two don’t clash with each other
- Words in the rez =/= abstract principles of good
- The Aff must provide solvency to some extent (implied solvency doesn’t exist)
- “Where’s the statistic for x” is only a legitimate argument when dealing with utilitarian impacts
- I view the rez as a fluid idea—I don’t hack against any given arguments (except obv problematic ones), which includes “circuit arguments” (also, as a heads up: if your opponent is reading a kritik, you should probably not call it “[a] theory” or say “they didn’t have a value/VC” – these two things will tank your speaks)
- Full disclosure here - my ability to eval these rounds is entirely dependent on execution - if you actually do weighing (between standards, paradigm issue warrants, etc.), we're fine, if the opponent concedes something, make that the center of attention, if these things don't happen, brace for impact
- Overall: good for policy-type theory (condo, warranted spec theory like aspec, CP theory, etc.), bad for friv theory, won’t vote on out-of-round violations (beyond disclosure, which similarly needs a clear violation or I won’t vote on it) or theory where there is no in-round abuse
- Won’t evaluate arguments about your opponent’s appearance or other ad hom-type theory (please don’t), similarly have a very high threshold when theory is deployed to shut out hard convos, it’s bad for debate
- People need to SLOWWW DOWN when reading the interp text (conversational speed would be amazing)
- Reading more than 2 shells in-round (on either side) will usually lead me to question your strategic decisions
- I don’t apply defaults in theory rounds—read paradigm issues pls and thx
- Reasonability is always an option (please?) – similarly, I think it’s actually quite strategic to read reasonability as a paradigm issue for accessibility-type theory (must not misgender opponent, accessibility formatting, etc.)
- The RVI: have voted for one before, not an impossible battle, just not an easy one
- I have judged several debates in which there is a “misdisclosure” violation and it devolves to “they said-they said” – please: a) collapse to something else most of the time, b) explain at like 60-70% speed “I asked for x before the debate, they said they would provide it, and then y happened” – basically, make the violation super clear to me, and c) take screenshots that are definitive evidence - this isn't to say "never go for it," it's more so to say "go for it if you think an outsider (me) will get it"
- Disclosure has made debate better, but reading disclosure theory is an attempt to mandate equality when we should be focusing on issues of equity
- You don’t have to disclose performances
- I will not vote on disclosure at locals (as aforementioned at the top), if you think it should be enforced, we can have a conversation about it, but let's be honest: you just want a cheap tech ballot
- Learning about disclosure norms is a topic for out-of-round discussion but not one I ever feel comfortable adjudicating (i.e., rounds where disclosure theory is deployed when one team doesn’t know how to use the wiki)
- Genuine philosophical paradoxes (like stuff out of Socratic dialogues), innovative arguments, and creativity are okay—anything else is probably a non-starter for me, especially if it’s an argument that can be dismantled via any coherent thought (the key distinction is how much explanation is put into the argument…much like other styles in debate)
- I understand ethical paradoxes within the time constraints of a debate round much better than logical formulae/dense logic equations—blitzing through a paragraph of “if p then q” will leave my head spinning and a mess on my flow
- I seriously dislike the way Truth Testing gets deployed in debate, especially if you use it against Ks or K Affs (it’s violent) – I do think that identity tricks are a valid response to violent practices, although you can (and should?) also go for it as a link
Misc/Defaults for LD
- FW Defaults: Comparative Worlds, Epistemic Confidence
- Permissibility and presumption both negate at face value, unlikely to vote on permissibility affirming (given ‘ought’ in the rez), presumption flips Aff if the Neg reads an advocacy, but I seldom vote on either one
- Don’t care if you sit or stand
- If I am on a panel with two lay/parent judges, I apologize to everyone else in the room in advance
Sequoyah HS, Perry HS, Ivy Bridge Academy, Dean Rusk MS
I competed in Lincoln-Douglas for three years in high school, and Public Forum for one. I've been coaching and judging LD and PF since then.
I don't want to be on the email chain/speech drop/whatever. Debate is a speaking activity, not an essay writing contest. I will judge what you say, not what's written in your case.
I prefer a slower debate, I think it allows for a more involved, persuasive and all-around better style of speaking and debating. It is your burden to make sure that your speech is clear and understandable and the faster you want to speak, the more clearly you must speak. If I miss an argument, then you didn't make it.
No. There is designated CX time for a reason. You can ask for evidence during prep, but not clarification.
LARP - Don't. Discussion of policy implications is necessary for some topics, but if your case is 15 seconds of "util is truetil" and 5:45 of a hyperspecific plan with a chain of 5 vague links ending in two different extinction impacts, I'm not going to be a fan. Your links are bad, your impacts won't happen, and you're wasting my time. Please debate the topic rather than making up your own (unless you warrant why you can do that, in which case, see pre-fiat kritiks). If there is no action in the resolution, you can't run a plan. If there is no actor, don't aspec. If you want to debate policy, do policy debate.
Role of the Ballot: A role of the ballot argument will only influence how I vote on pre-fiat, not post-fiat argumentation. It is not, therefore, a replacement for a framework, unless your entire case is pre-fiat, in which case see "pre-fiat kritiks". A role of the ballot must have a warrant. "The role of the ballot is fighting oppression" is a statement not an argument. You will need to explain why that is the role of the ballot and why it is preferable to "better debater". Please make the warrant specific to debate. "The role of the ballot is fighting oppression because oppression is bad" doesn't tell me why it is specifically the role of this ballot to fight oppression. I have a low threshold for voting against roles of the ballot with no warrants. I will default to a "better debater" role of the ballot.
Theory: Please reserve theory for genuinely abusive arguments or positions which leave one side no ground. I am willing to vote on RVIs if they are made, but I will not vote on theory unless it is specifically impacted to "Vote against my opponent for this violation". I will always use a reasonability standard. Running theory is asking me as the judge in intervene in the round, and I will only do so if I deem it appropriate.
Pre-fiat Kritiks: I am very slow to pull the trigger on most pre-fiat Ks. I generally consider them attempts to exclude the aff from the round or else shut down discourse by focusing the debate on issues of identity or discourse rather than ideas, especially because most pre-fiat Ks are performative but not performed. Ensure you have a role of the ballot which warrants why my vote will have any impact on the world. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the affirmative", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.
Post-fiat Kritiks: Run anything you want. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the resolution", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.
Topicality: Fine. Just make sure you specify what the impact of topicality on the round is.
Politics Disadvantages: Please don't. If you absolutely must, you need to prove A: The resolution will occur now. B: The affirmative must defend a specific implementation of the topic. C:The affirmative must defend a specific actor for the topic. Without those three interps, I will not vote on a politics DA.
Narratives: Fine, as long as you preface with a framework which explains why and how narratives impact the round.
Conditionality: I'm permissive but skeptical of conditional argumentation. A conditional argument cannot be kicked if there are turns on it, and I will not vote on contradictory arguments, even if they are conditional. So don't run a cap K and an econ disad. You can't kick out of discourse impacts. Performance is important here.
Word PICs: I don't like word PICs. I'll vote on them if they aren't effectively responded to, but I don't like them. I believe that they drastically decrease clash and cut affirmative ground by taking away unique affirmative offense.
Presumption - I do not presume neg. I'm willing to vote on presumption if the aff or neg gives me arguments for why aff or neg should be presumed, but neither side has presumption inherently. Both aff and neg need offense - in the absence of offense, I revert to possibility of offense.
Pessimistic Ks - Generally not a fan. I find it difficult to understand why they should motivate me to vote for one side over another, even if the argument is true.
Ideal Theory - If you want to run an argument about "ideal theory" (eg Curry 14) please understand what ideal theory is in the context of philosophy. It has nothing to do with theory in debate terms, nor is it just a philosophy which is idealistic. If you do not specify I will assume that you mean that ideal theory is full-compliance theory.
Disclosure - I will not vote on disclosure arguments.
I will dock half a speaker point if you use Moen 16 or Goodin 95 in your framework. They are wildly overused, and most cuts don't say what people claim they do.
Since I've gotten some questions about this..
I judge on a 5 point scale, from 25-30.
25 is a terrible round, with massive flaws in speeches, huge amounts of time left unused, blatantly offensive things said or other glaring rhetorical issues.
26 is a bad round. The debater had consistent issues with clarity, time management, or fluency which make understanding or believing the case more difficult.
27.5 is average. Speaker made no large, consistent mistakes, but nevertheless had persistent smaller errors in fluency, clarity or other areas of rhetoric.
28.5 is above average. Speaker made very few mistakes, which largely weren't consistent or repeated. Speaker was compelling, used rhetorical devices well.
30 is perfect. No breaks in fluency, no issues with clarity regardless of speed, very strong use of rhetorical devices and strategies.
Argumentation does not impact how I give speaker points. You could have an innovative, well-developed case with strong evidence that is totally unresponded to, but still get a 26 if your speaking is bad.
While I do not take points off for speed, I do take points off for a lack of fluency or clarity, which speed often creates.
If there are any aspects of the debate I look to before all others, they would be framework and impact analysis. Not doing one or the other or both makes it much harder for me to vote for you, either because I don't know how to evaluate the impacts in the round or because I don't know how to compare them.
Public Forum Paradigm
I default to an "on balance" metric for evaluating and comparing impacts. I will not consider unwarranted frameworks, especially if they are simply one or two lines asserting the framework without even attempting to justify it.
I will evaluate topicality arguments, though only with the impact "ignore the argument", never "drop the team".
Yes, I understand theory. No, I don't want to hear theory in a PF round. No, I will not vote on a theory argument.
No. Neither the pro nor the con has fiat.
No. Kritiks only function under a truth-testing interpretation of the con burden, I only use comparative worlds in Public Forum.
The pro and the con have an equal and opposite burden of proof. Because of limited time and largely non-technical nature of Public Forum, I consider myself more empowered to intervene against arguments I perceive as unfair or contrary to the rules or spirit of Public Forum debate than I might be while judging LD or Policy.
- LD - Value/Value Criterion (Framework, Standard, etc,) - this is what separates us from the animals (or at least the policy debaters). It is the unique feature of LD Debate. Have a good value and criterion and link your arguments back to it. I am open to all arguments but present them well, know them, and, above all, Clash - this is a debate not a tea party.
- PF - I side on the traditional side of PF. Don't throw a lot of jargon at me or simply read cards... this isn't Policy Jr., compete in PF for the debate animal it is. Remember debate, especially PF, is meant to persuade - use all the tools in your rhetorical toolbox: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos.
- Speed - I like speed but not spreading. Speak as fast as is necessary but keep it intelligible. There aren't a lot of jobs for speed readers after high school (auctioneers and pharmaceutical disclaimer commercials) so make sure you are using speed for a purpose. If you spread - it better be clear, I will not yell clear or slow down or quit mumbling, I will just stop listening. If the only way I can understand your case is to read it, you have already lost. If I have to read your case then what do I need you in the room for? Email it to me and I can judge the round at home in my jammies - if you are PRESENTING and ARGUING and PERSUADING then I need to understand the words coming out of your mouth! NEW for ONLINE DEBATE - I need you to speak slower and clearer. On speed in-person, I am a 7-8. Online, make it a 5-6.
- Know your case, like you actually did the research and wrote the case and researched the arguments from the other side. If you present it, I expect you to know it from every angle - I want you to know the research behind the statistic and the whole article, not just the blurb on the card.
- Casing - Love traditional but I am game for kritiks, counterplans, theory - but perform them well, KNOW them, I won't do the links for you. I am a student of Toulmin - claim-evidence-warrant/impacts. I don't make the links and don't just throw evidence cards at me with no analysis. It is really hard for you to win with an AFF K with me - it better be stellar. I am not a big fan of Theory shells that are not actually linked in to the topic - if you are going to run Afro-Pes or Feminism you better have STRONG links to the topic at hand, if the links aren't there... Also don't just throw debate terms out, use them for a purpose and if you don't need them, don't use them.
Short-pre-round version: Speech and Debate coach at Calhoun High School (Georgia). Former high school policy debater in the mid 1980s. Since re-entry into the activity via UTNIF in 2018, I have worked hard to learn innovations in debate since my time in high school. My paradigm is still evolving. Even though I am willing to listen to anything, debaters must have clash and explanation. - following Toulmin (Claim, Warrant, Explanation). I flow, so I expect you to signpost, label, and explain.
Longer, working on prefs, version: If you think from visual clues that I am not getting the argument, I am probably not.
I expect to receive an email chain for 1A and 1N at firstname.lastname@example.org
My team: I coach on the national and regional (Georgia) circuit. My team has transitioned from a policy only team to an LD only team. Now, the team writes most of their own arguments, but my varsity teams run a lot of Ks. Understand that just because my team runs an argument doesn't mean that I like it, or that I will understand it without your thorough explanation of the argument.
Likes/dislikes: I teach debate because I love debate, the community, and the education it provides. I try to be extremely objective and vote for teams because I think their arguments won, never because of rep or outside (or inside the round) influences. In fact, I tend to react badly if I believe a team or coach is trying to exert undue influence. Post-round I will give you as clear a critique as I possibly can and will answer respectful and honest questions from the debaters. I expect a team I drop (and their coaches) to be unhappy, but no matter what, please be nice to your opponents, your partner, your coaches, and your judge.
LARPing: I can deal with LARPing as long as I can follow it. If you spread through the analytics or don't signpost or don't weigh the args, don't expect me to vote for it.
Weirdness:I do not like performance-based actions of any kind. No challenging opponents to any kind of physical altercations, especially tortilla fights (don't ask.)
My email: email@example.com
Updated 18 March 2023
Dr. Brice Ezell – Debate Coach, The Lovett School
I competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate in California and nationally for my four years in high school, and another four years in the WUDC format at George Fox University. My PhD, though in English, centered on philosophy, so I’m comfortable and familiar with much of the critical/theoretical literature used in theory-heavy LD cases. At Lovett, I coach LD and PF, though I mostly judge the former.
TL;DR Summary of Everything in this Paradigm: In general, I will vote on whatever is most successfully warranted, weighed, and impacted in the round. Arguments can have all sorts of impacts: to the fairness of the debating activity, to the possibility of nuclear war, to violating a universal ethical principle, etc. However you impact your arguments, you also need to sell me on some kind of standard by which I am to evaluate the in-round impacts. This doesn’t mean you have to use the old-school value/criterion structure, but rather that you as part of your weighing need to tell me the yardstick by which to measure all the in-round impacts. Absent any clear standard from the debaters I will default to a post-AC utility calculus (meaning: I assume the AFF happens, and then I weigh the impacts claimed in the round by both sides) – though, hopefully, my judging doesn’t get to that point. [PF Debaters: scroll all the way to the bottom for a brief spiel on PF-specific things.]
Speed?: Yes, I’m fine with it. I will admit that, having been out of debate for awhile during my doctorate, my ear is less tuned to it than it used to be, but now that I’m getting back into the swing of things I’m getting comfortable with it once again. My main request, though, is that you slow down and are very clear when reading your contention taglines and names/dates of your cards.
What Do I Not Like? (Really: What Arguments am I Skeptical Of?)
Like any judge I’m not bias-free, but I do try to keep myself as open as possible to learning new things from the debaters I judge, so I don’t really feel comfortable drawing a hard line excluding classes of arguments. That said, in the spirit of honesty, I’ll list some categories of argument for which I have a higher degree of skepticism:
*RVIs: Have never voted on one. Doesn’t mean I couldn’t vote on one, but in general I find the ones I have heard thin on face, and I tend to buy the “you don’t vote AFF based on the mere fact of their fairness” response.
*Disclosure theory arguments: This take may be a product of my debate experience, back when disclosure was less common and/or rarely practiced: I have yet to be sold on the claim that not disclosing cases withholds debate to such a pernicious degree that I’m meant to vote against the non-disclosing debater. Doesn’t mean that a particularly persuasive debater couldn’t sell me otherwise, but I think of all the theory arguments out there, disclosure’s the one where I have the highest threshold.
*"Util because pleasure/pain are inherent" (AKA: "Moen 16: doesn't say what you think it does"): I am not anti-util – it’d be pretty hard to be in competitive debating, where utility is such a natural (and good!) weighing mechanism. But I will say I find most presentations of util by LD debaters very unsophisticated. Util comes in many shapes and sizes, and in running a util framework you should specify the type of util to which one is committing themselves, and explain why said framework makes sense for your case/the topic. (E.g. act util or rule util; specifying if your calculus is “maximizing pleasure/minimizing pain” or “greatest good for the greatest number” – these are all different things, and come with different commitments). I find the prevalence of the pleasure/pain binary in framework cards very odd; if you’re arguing, say, that China should maximize its environmental policy, “pleasure” and “pain” are weird metrics to use. Long and short of it: if you naturally default to a utilitarian-style calculus in your case writing, that’s fine, but put some actual work into it. I’ve heard so many shallow util frameworks to the point that now I’m somewhat numb to them.
*"Death good": An unusual number of debaters have asked me about this line of reasoning lately. I suppose I could vote for this argument, but just know that different kinds of arguments have different sorts of evidentiary burdens baked into them. Meaning: while I am open to pretty much all arguments one could make in a round, I do not have to treat “actually, death good” as equally plausible a line of reasoning as, “We should pass single-payer healthcare so that we can increase the number of insured people.” “Death good” or, idk, “actually we’re in the matrix” are bolder arguments to make, and bolder arguments require more robust proofs. That doesn’t mean I dislike these arguments; far from it, I really enjoy it when debaters take big swings, especially in out-rounds. But just know that ambitious cases require a higher degree of intellectual sophistication to run, meaning you can’t just cut the “death good” case the way you would, say, a stock plan-based case.
*Time skew arguments: In contrast to my generally "I'll vote on whatever's warranted" stance, here's maybe one place I'll be curmudgeonly: time skew arguments (e.g. "1AR's only four minutes!" "As the NEG I only speak twice!") are incredibly corny, and I can basically imagine no case where I'd vote on one. To be fair to the people who have run this in front of me, most of the time this is just an additional piece of warranting under a theory arg, so it's not as if this line of thinking is endemic to most cases I'm hearing now. But this kind of complaint, to me, is pretty whiny. Debate, like any game, has rules and regulations, and the trade-off in LD's pretty basic: AFF gets more speeches, but NEG's speeches are longer. Given how many people continue to participate in this activity, I find it pretty dubious to say that the speech times are so unfair as to be a theoretical warrant in-round, especially given spreading.
Evidence/A Brief “Old Man Yells at Cloud” Rant on Case Writing
Do add me to the chain -- my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
My general policy is that unless I know a card that's being used and it sounds off in the round, or if the evidence is cut in such a way as to be unclear, I won't comb through all the evidence when making my RFD, barring a dispute in-round about a piece of evidence's validity or cutting. Put shortly, unless you give me reasons to doubt your handling of your evidence, I will honor the arguments in-round as presented. I ask to be added to the chain just so that I have a record in case of such an aforementioned dispute.
There has long been a trend in debate of treating a cut card as automatic "evidence" for something. The important thing to remember is that the cards are not your case; your case should be making its own argument(s), for which the cards are support. I would hope that in constructing cases that debaters are taking as much time on their contention taglines, framework warrants, and overall structure as they are cutting their evidence. Thin case-writing (that is, little time on contention/subpoint tags and overall argument structure) has been a problem for as long as I’ve been in debate, but it does seem to have gotten worse. The framework, contentions, plan texts, etc – meaning, all the stuff that the debater themselves creates – should shine, as that’s where the debater’s personality can most come through. The cards just demonstrate how well you do (or don’t) make the argument that you yourself are writing.
*I prefer immediate post-round disclosure of result if possible. If for some reason it isn't depending on tournament rules (thankfully these instances seem rare now), know you can find me after the round to ask about an RFD, but if you wish to do so, make sure you find me ASAP, as I'll be less detailed if I'm several rounds removed from your debate. Should you want an oral RFD post-round in the event where I can't give one immediately, find your opponent from the round so I can speak to you both at the same time.
*I'm cool with flex prep.
*I am not a fan of the strategy wherein a debater takes a stray line from an AC or NC card and tries to blow it up in the rebuttals if it isn't directly refuted by the opposing speaker. Even if I can technically flow it as a drop, I'm generally of the belief that if you're going to make a big deal out of a specific argument/detail, you need to flag it as such in your constructive. I like clash between clearly presented, bold arguments; I'm less inclined to trickery for trickery's sake, even if you're technically extending arguments fairly.
*Don't just say "my opponent dropped this argument, so extend it"; impact all arguments, even drops. I do not immediately think to myself, "By gum, they've given up the debate!" the moment I hear that an argument has been dropped.
*Cross-x is binding. Use it well.
*Nothing is more boring than a debate that collapses into the most generic version of the "utilitarianism/consequentialism vs. deontology/principles" discussion. Avoid these, please. If a framework debate gets into this territory naturally, try to make a case for why your specific version of util or deontology holds up best, rather than relitigate the broad debate that we all know and hate.
*I am not terribly persuaded by arguments that feel so stock/generic that you have no investment in them. Even conventional T shells should be presented like they are specially applicable to the debate that's happening in the room.
*The only things that will make me drop you outright are things like: egregious card-cutting which leads to misrepresentation/distortion of sources (having competed myself, I know what some will try to get away with) and morally outrageous arguments like "genocide/racism/sexism/homophobia good."
What About Public Forum?: I am generally of the belief that PF should be insulated from the "circuit-ification" that's endemic to the other major debating formats. A PF round really should be viewable by all, including the mythical "average person on the street." This isn't because I'm a "PF originalist," or am against spread/circuit debate -- far from it. Rather, I just think the strictures of the form (four minute speeches max, topics that change every month) make "circuit PF" a kind of contradiction in terms. PF should be about a clearly defined, and persuasively delivered, argumentative clash on a current events topic. Though PF doesn't have the value framework of LD, your weighing mechanism for my decision in the round -- these are often called "voters" or "voting issues" -- should still be clear by the time you get to the Final Focus speeches.
Note on Speaks: Unless a specific tournament specifies a house preference for its speaker point allocations, here's how I award speaks:
30: You changed my mind about what's possible in the activity of debating, or did something truly revelatory with the topic. Your speaking style exhibits a sophistication that would get an attention of a full theatre.
29-29.5: You're a top-tier speaker and thinker, one I'd expect to be in late elims at the tournament. You are thinking about the topic at a very high level.
28-28.5: You gave a speech that put considerably more thought into the topic than the stock cases I'm likely to hear on any given topic. Your speaking style shows confidence and elegance.
27-27.5: This is what I call the "perfect average." You did good work in presenting and constructing your case, even if the presentation wasn't particularly flashy.
26-26.5: You generally presented a coherent case, but with not much sophistication either in delivery or in quality of argumentation.
25-25.5: Your case and/or delivery were unclear, and your arguments poorly warranted.
Under 25: You did something profoundly offensive.
Hi, my name is John. I use any pronouns, and I debated for 4 years in LD and congress at Cherokee HS, 45 minutes north of Atlanta.
If there's anything in this paradigm that you don't understand or that wasn't covered, let me know before the round in person, by texting me (+1 470 232-4546), or by sending an email (email@example.com). good luck!
If you send a doc, cc me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm going to delete your doc at the end of the round.
I'm gonna keep it real with you, i've gotten a lot dumber since I stopped debating. i've regressed. you need to explain complicated stuff really slowly. treat me like a parent judge if you run advanced phil. i need to understand and hear your argument in order to flow it. my ability to understand speed is... a lot worse now than it was. that being said i'll flow most things as long as they're done well. being racist/homophobic/transphobic/sexist/etc. is penalized with an L. **this includes the sources you use! i will notice if you cite a hate group or hate publication. also flex prep is cool
do lots of weighing and talk at a reasonable speed ????
I want email chains at the beginning of the round and all cards sent out each round. U can paraphrase but I want both versions of your case b4 your speech starts
Bottom line: I don't like being professional, I just want to have fun as debate is my life and will continue to be for eternity till sue fires me and I need to get a "real job"
I am a 3rd year college student, GSU policy/NFA LD debater, IBA coach (VDA plz hire me so I can leave the US), Sequoyah HS 21'. Don't be afraid to ask questions before round.
Quick prefs: 1 - Kritik, Larp/stock/topical util offense 2 - Tricks/Theory 3 - Topicality 4 - Phil (LD)
Speed? Any is fine. Plz extend args. I like fun rounds where no one takes themselves seriously. I will know the PF topic well.
If any Ivy Bridge kiddos get annoying online plz tell me so I can remove their access to the google drive.
I get called a K hack, that's not quite true, it's just what I actively debate the most, I have probably voted against K's more though because I care that you extend a theory of power and stuff, so uh, do it well.
I take women in debate very seriously, I will be very blunt and unforgiving for any foul "crass", rude, or exclusionary talk of women in debate, honestly this should not even need to be here but after seeing enough of my debaters cry I won't be silent or dance around it. My rounds should now and always be a safe place for any gender/race/sexuality/disability status.
Full paradigm: for if u like prog/policy/circuit ld: