Robert Barbera Invitational
2022 — Northridge CA, CA/US
Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Send docs to: tuggdb (at) gmail (dot) com
East Los Angeles College 2009 - 2011
California State University, Fullerton 2011 - 2013
Assistant Debate Coach: Fresno 2013 - 2016
Assistant Debate Coach: Fullerton 2016 - 2019
Assistant Director of Forensics @ CSU - Fullerton: 2019 - Present
// Fall 2022 //
update mw2 is out fr
// Spring 2021 // We still in COVID mode
Still your debate and your choice.
Plans and topics exist. Tell me why they don't.
Like and subscribe.
// Fall 2020 // COVID EDITION
Call of Duty Warzone tbh.
Offense offense offense.
your debate. your choice.
audio quality matters. read the zoom room.
// Fall 2019 //
World of Warcraft (CLASSIC)
// Spring 2019//
like and subscribe
- team comp matters (2/2/2, 3/3)
- stay on the payload!
- definitely need a shield
- dps flex
High school debate: Baltimore Urban Debate League
College debate: Univ of Louisville then Towson Univ
Grad work: Cal State Fullerton
Current: Director of Debate at Long Beach State (CSULB)
Speaker Point Scale
29.5-30: one of the best speakers I expect to see this year and has a high grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and Swag is on 100. This means expert explanation of arguments and most arguments are offensive.
29 - 29.5: very good speaker has a middle grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag. Explanation of arguments are of great quality and many of the arguments are offensive.
28.4 - 28.9: good speaker; may have some above average range/ parts of the Cha.Uni.Ner.Tal.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out. Explanation of arguments are of good quality and several of the arguments are offensive.
28 - 28.3: solid speaker; needs some work; probably has average range/ parts of the Cha.Uni.Ner.Tal.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out. Explanation of arguments are of okayish quality and very few of the arguments are offensive.
27.1 - 27.5: okay speaker; needs significant work on the Cha.Uni.Ner.Tal.S acronym. Not that good of explanation with no offensive arguments.
< 27: you have done something deeply problematic in this debate like clipping cards or linguistic violence.
I am more than willing to listen to any arguments that are well explained and impacted and relate to how your strategy is going to produce scholarship, policy action, performance, or whatever political stance or program. I will refer to an educator framework unless told otherwise...This means I will evaluate the round based on how you tell me you want it to be framed and I will offer comments on how you could make your argument better after the round. Comparison, Framing, OFFENSE is key for me. Please indict each other's framework or role of the ballot for evaluation and make clear offense to how that may make a bad model of debate. OR I am down with saying the debate should not be a reflection about the over all model of debate.
I avoid the privileging of certain teams or styles over others because that makes debate more unfair, uneducational, and makes people not feel valued or wanted in this community, on that note I don't really jive to well with arguments about how certain folks should be excluded.
I judge debates according to the systematic connection of arguments rather than solely line by line…BUT doesn’t mean if the other team drops turns or other arguments that I won’t evaluate that first. They must be impacted and explained. PLEASE always point out reason why the opposing team is bad and have contextualized reasons for why they have created a bad impact or make one worse. I DO vote on framework and theory arguments….I’ve been known to vote on Condo quite a bit, but make interp and contradictions clear.
Don’t try to adapt to how I used to debate if you genuinely don’t believe in doing so or just want to win a ballot. If you are doing a performance I will hold you to the level that it is practiced, you have a reason for doing so, and relates to the overall argument you are making…Don’t think “oh! I did a performance in front of Deven I win.” You are sadly mistaken if so.
Overall I would like to see a good debate where people are confident in their arguments and feel comfortable being themselves and arguing how they feel is best. I am not here to exclude you or make you feel worthless or that you are a "lazy" intellectual as some debaters may call others, but I do like to see you defend your side to the best of your ability.
A few issues that should be clarified:
I DO NOT LIKE when teams think they can disrespect, bully, talk rude to, or scream at other teams for intimidation purposes in order to win or throw the other team off. And being hyper evasive to me is a hard sell. Do not get me wrong, I do love the sassiness, sarcasm, curtness, and shade of it all but there is a way to do it with tact.
Framework and Theory: I love smart arguments in this area. I am not inclined to just vote on debate will be destroyed or traditional framework will lead to genocide unless explained very well and impacted based on some spill over claims. There must be a concrete connection to the impacts articulated on these and most be weighed. I will not vote on conditionality good alone…You better point out the contradictions in the 2AC/1AR. I am persuaded by the deliberation arguments, institutional engagement/building, limits, and topical versions of the Aff. Fairness is an interesting concept for me here. I think you must prove how their model of debate directly creates unfairness and provide links to the way their model of debate does such. I dont think just saying structural fairness comes first is the best without clarification about what that means in the context of the debate space and your model of debate.
Performance: It must be linked to an argument that is able to defend the performance and be able to explain the overall impact on debate or the world itself. Please don’t do a performance to just do it…you MUST have a purpose and connect it to arguments. Plus debate is a place of politics and args about debate are not absent politics sometimes they are even a pre-req to “real” politics, but I can be persuaded otherwise. You must have a role of the ballot or framework to defend yourself, or on the other side say why the role of the ballot is bad. I also think those critics who believe this style of debate is anti-intellectual or not political are oversimplifying the nuance of each team that does performance. Take your role as an educator and stop being an intellectual coward or ideology driven hack.
Topic/Resolution: I will vote on reasons why or why not to go by the topic...unlike some closed minded judges who are detached from the reality that the topics chosen may not allow for one to embrace their subjectivity or social location. This doesn’t mean I think talking about puppies and candy should win, for those who dumb down debate in their framework args in that way. You should have a concrete and material basis why you chose not to engage the topic and linked to some affirmation against racism/sexism/homophobia/classism/elitism/white supremacy and produces politics that are progressive. There would have to be some metric of evaluation though. BUT, I can be persuaded by the plan focus and topic education model is better middle ground to what they want to discuss
Hella High Theory K: i.e Hiediggar, Baudrillard,Zizek, D&G, Butler, Arant, and their colleagues…this must be explained to me in a way that can make some material sense to me as in a clear link to what the aff has done or an explanation of the resolution…I feel that a lot of times teams that do these types of arguments assume a world of abstract that doesn’t relate fully to how to address the needs of the oppressed that isn’t a privileged one. However, I do enjoy Nietzsche args that are well explained and contextualized. Offense is key with running these args and answering them.
Disadvantages: I’m cool with them just be well explained and have a link/link wall that can paint the story…you can get away with a generic link with me if you run politics disads. Disads on case should be impacted and have a clear link to what the aff has done to create/perpetuate the disad. If you are a K team and you kick the alt that solves for the disads…that is problematic for me.
Perms: I HATE when people have more than 3 perms. Perm theory is good here for me. For a Method v Method debate, you do not get to just say you dont get a perm. Enumerate reasons why they do not get a perm. BUT, if an Aff team in this debate does make a perm, it is not just a test of competition, it is an advocacy that must be argued as solving for what is the issue in the debate.
Additionally, you can kick the perms and no longer have to be burden with that solvency. BUT you must have offensive against their C/P, ALT, or advocacy.
Counterplans/Advocacies: They have to solve at least part of the case and address some of the fundamental issues dealing with the aff’s advantages especially if it’s a performance or critical aff…I’m cool with perm theory with a voter attached. I am cool with any kind of these arguments, but an internal net benefit is not enough for me in a policy counterplan setting. I do not judge kick things...that is your job.
Race/ Identity arguments: LOVE these especially from the Black/Latinx/Asian perspective (most familiar with) , but this doesn’t mean you will win just because you run them like that. I like to see the linkage between what the aff does wrong or what the aff has perpetuated. I’m NOT likely to vote on a link of omission.
Case Args: Only go for case turns and if REALLY needed for your K, case defense.…they are the best and are offensive , however case defense may work on impacts if you are going for a K. If you run a K or performance you need to have some interaction with the aff to say why it is bad. Please don't sandbag these args so late in the debate.
The first debate I judged in five years was Halloween weekend. It's been 15 years since I judged a college debate. I currently work for an organization serving domestic violence survivors- so many debate games not revolving around "truth" are frivolous and purposeless.
My flow was only slightly above average when I was doing it every weekend, I can only imagine how bad it is now, with no driving force like shame to make sure I kept copious notes.
I will vote less on dropped/conceded arguments and more on true arguments- something about the "real world" makes me less for "debate games" than truth in argument.
Explain why you're winning. It might be helpful to explain why you're winning even if your opponent is also winning something. Comparative analysis matters, like Black Lives.
Be smart. Make good arguments. If you're funny, be funny. Don't make fun of your opponents, but making fun of their arguments is fair game. Don't be an a**hole to be funny tho.
Michael Eisenstadt, Ph.D.
Director of Forensics, California State University Long Beach
13th Year Judging College Debate | 18th Year Judging High School Debate
2014 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year | 2018 "Top Critic Award" at the Las Vegas Classic (UNLV) | 2019 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year
For questions of any kind, please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tournaments Judged This Season (2022-2023):
***I would like to be on the e-mail chain (email@example.com, not my Tabroom e-mail).***
I will not necessarily read along with your speeches, but I would like to have evidence in the case that particular cards are disputed in cross-x and/or to make reading them after the debate concludes quicker.
This judge philosophy is just that, a philosophy. I think I have become more ambivalent to what your argument is over the years and more concerned with how you argue it. My job is to evaluate the arguments made in a debate, your job is to tell me why and how I should vote for them. Therefore, I think the following information is more helpful for you than me telling you what arguments I "like." This is your debate and not mine. Every day is #GAMEDAY and I will work hard when judging your debate, the same way I appreciated those who worked hard to judge my own.
An important meta-theoretical note: I believe in a 'healthy diet' of persuasion. I perceive there to be a serious problem with communication in competitive debate. Debates are won by important communicative moments (see below). Whether they are fast, slow, passionate, or hilarious, they must happen. I believe Will Repko has called these "Moments of Connection." Reading into your computer screen with no emphasis or clarity would make having such a moment extraordinarily difficult.
Debate is a communicative activity. This means that to win an argument a) I have to understand it and b) I have to hear it clearly enough to know it was there. At the end of the round, if we have a disagreement about something, usually a failure to achieve those requirements will be my explanation. Reading directly into your computer during your speeches and/or making no attempt at eye contact drastically heightens the risk of a miscommunication.
I am deeply concerned about the trend of evidence quality in debate. Teams seem to frequently read evidence that either fails to make a warranted claim OR that is highlighted down into oblivion. I think that a team who reads fewer, better (read: warranted) cards and sets the bar high for their opponents has a much better chance of winning their nexus/framing arguments.
Debate is what you make it. For some, debate is a game of verbal chess that is designed to teach them about institutional policy-making. For others, it is a place to develop community and advocacy skills for the problems and issues they face on an everyday basis whether at school, within debate, or elsewhere. I believe that one of the best things about this activity is that it can accomplish so many different things for so many individuals and it serves a variety of purposes. I think either or any of these approaches teach us the transferable skills debate can offer. No matter the arguments presented in a debate, I will always recognize this and will always support you for what you do. Over the years I have found myself voting fairly evenly for and against "framework" arguments because I will evaluate the arguments made in the debate itself. My ballot will never be an endorsement of one form of debate over another, it will very simply represent who I thought did the better debating.
Framework. In 1984, Dr. David Zarefsky famously argued, "the person who can set the terms of the debate has the power to win it." Generally, the 2NR that goes for "Topicality + Case D to Aff Impact Turns" is more likely to win in front of me than the 2NR who only goes for "State Good/Inevitable," though that is typically suitable defense on the case when the affirmative criticizes governmental action. The negative wins in front of me going for this 2NR strategy most often when it includes some combination of the following 3 arguments:
1. An interpretation supported by definitional evidence (that is ideally contextual to the topic). I am uncertain why negative interpretations like "direction of the topic" circumvents affirmative offense. These softer interpretations typically hurt the negative's ability to win the limits DA without much payoff. I have found that negative teams have a more uphill battle in front of me when the only term in the resolution they have defined is "United States Federal Government."
2. A Topical Version of the Aff and/or Switch Side Debate argument - I think of "framework" as the intersection between Topicality and argument(s) about how I prioritize impacts, which impacts should be prioritized, and what the best strategy for dealing with those impacts is. So, having a "counterplan" that plays defense to and/or solves portions of the case (and/or the impact turns) can be a good way to beat the affirmative. I find myself voting affirmative in debates where the 2NR did not address the affirmative's substantive offense (so, you did not respond to internal links to impact turns, address impact priority arguments, etc.). I also think this sets the negative up to make arguments about potential neg ground as well as a switch-side debate argument.
3. An impact - I have voted on procedural and structural fairness, topic education, and argument advocacy/testing impacts. Ideally, the 2NR will be careful to identify why these impacts access/outweigh the affirmative's offense and/or solve it. I think that debate is generally more valuable for "argument testing" than "truth testing," since the vast majority of arguments made in a debate rely on assumptions that "the plan/aff happens" or "the alternative/framework resolves a link."
Conversely, the affirmative should point out and capitalize on the absence of these arguments.
Presumption: This is a legal term that I think folks are often confused about. Presumption means that the affirmative has not met their burden of proof (sufficient evidence for change) and that I should err negative and be skeptical of change. Although a 2NR should try to avoid finding themselves with no offense, I am increasingly compelled by arguments that an affirmative who has not chosen to defend a(n) change/outcome (note: this does not mean a plan) has not met their burden of proof. For instance, an affirmative that says "the State is always bad" but does not offer some alternative to it has not overcome the presumption that shifting away from "the State" would be inherently risky. Of course, a framework argument about what it means to vote affirmative, or whether the role of the debate is to advocate for/against change factors into how I think about these issues.
Flowing: is a dying art. Regardless of whether I am instructed to or not, I will record all of the arguments on a flow. You should flow too. Reading along with speech docs does not constitute flowing. I am frustrated by teams who spend an entire cross-x asking which cards were read and requesting a speech doc with fewer cards. In the days of paper debate (I am a dinosaur to the teens of 2020), you would not have such a luxury. There are clearly instances where this is not uncalled for, but the majority of cases appear to be flowing issues, and not "card dumps" from an opposing team.
Permutations: I am almost never persuaded by the argument that the affirmative does not get a permutation in a "method debate." Permutations are mathematical combinations and all methods are permutations of theories and methods that preceded it. I could [rather easily] be persuaded that if the affirmative has no stable advocacy or plan, then they should not get a permutation. That is a different case and has a different warrant (affirmative conditionality). "Perm do the aff" is not an argument, it is not a permutation and says nothing about how a counterplan or alternative competes with the aff. I have also found that teams seem to have difficulty in defending the theoretical legitimacy of permutations. Although I would have an astronomically high threshold for voting on an argument like "severance permutations are a voting issue," such arguments could be persuasive reasons to reject a permutation.
Risk: I find that I am mostly on the "1% risk" side of things when a team has [good] evidence to support a claim. However, I can also be easily persuaded there is a "0% risk" if a team has made too much of a logical leap between their evidence and their claim, especially if the opposing team has also indicted their opponent's evidence and compared it to their own. This is especially true of "Link->Internal Link" questions for advantages and disadvantages.
Tech and Truth: If all arguments were equal in a debate, I would err on the side of truth. However, that is rarely (and should not be) the case. When there is not a clear attempt by both teams to engage in line-by-line refutation, one team tends to miss important framing arguments their opponents are making that undercut the "impact" of their truth claims. This understanding is distinct from "they dropped an arg, judge, so it must be true," since that is not a warranted extension of an argument nor is it a comparison that tells me why the "dropped argument" (how do we know it was dropped if we aren't debating line-by-line and making these comparisons? Could an argument somewhere else or on an entirely different sheet answer it?) should affect the way I evaluate other portions of the debate.
Other important notes:
A) I will vote for the team who I found to do the better debating. This means if your framing argument is "your ballot is political because _______" and I vote for you, my ballot is NOT necessarily an endorsement of that politics. Rather, it means you won your impact prioritization and did the better debating, nothing more, nothing less.
B) I do not want to preside over accusations about what has or has not happened outside of the debate I am judging. In these situations, I will always defer to the arguments presented in a debate first and try to resolve the debate in that fashion, since I am often not witness to the events that are brought up about what may or may not have happened prior to a debate.
C) I am ambivalent about argument selection and theory and am willing to vote against my own convictions. E.G. I think the Delay CP is 100% cheating and unfair but I will not credit a 2AR on that position that does not defeat the negative's arguments about why the CP is good/legitimate or I think conditionality is generally good but would still vote that it is bad if the negative is unable to defend their 1NC strategy.
D) I am unwilling to "judge kick" a CP extended by the 2NR unless they have explicitly told me why I should. The affirmative should, of course, contest the claim that I can always revert to the status quo in the event that a counterplan is insufficient/unnecessary.
I am a first year out judge. I debated for 2.5 years at Cal State Long Beach. I am now a debate coach at Cal State Long Beach. I was a K Debater running arguments pertaining to Afro-Pess, Misogynoir, Reproductive Justice (& Feminism in general) , sexual politics, and colonialism. During my time at Long Beach I also competed in IPDA and Parli; also having debate experience in World Schools.
Please add my email to the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Honestly not sure what to say here because I am new to this side of the game so bare with me as this is likely to change with experience.
I understand the debate space as an academic site centered on the development and dissemination of knowledge. I think of myself as a big picture judge; what is the role of the judge? How should I evaluate arguments? What about their plan, methodology, alt, etc. is bad or harmful? how do arguments interact with each other? I understand the debate as it is explained to me, and that is left in the hands of the competitor :)
I don't think there is any one way to debate, I think of most arguments as valuable and deserving of attention. Come as you are and say what you gotta say :)
Go ahead and speak at the speed you are most comfortable.
I flow on paper and I also tend to flow CX paying attention to interesting moments or points made.
I also pay heavy attention to the way power flows through the debate space and I am critical of the space people take up within round. With that said I like when debates get heated and people get sassy but just make sure to be reasonable with one another.
Tell me how to navigate the debate. Persuade me and you have my ballot.
If you have any questions feel free to ask but other than that, Happy Debating!
Jaysyn Green (she/her)
If it matters to you, I used to make critical and performance based arguments. I have coached all types. I generally like all arguments, especially ones that come with claims, warrants, impacts, and are supported by evidence.
Do you (literally, WHATEVER you do). Be great. Say smart things. Give solid speeches and perform effectively in CX. Win and go as hard as it takes (but you dont have to be exessively rude or mean to do this part). Enjoy yourself. Give me examples and material applications to better understand your position. Hear me out when the decision is in. I saw what I saw. Dassit.
Add me to the email chain- email@example.com
My "high" speaker points typically cap out around 28.9 (in open debate). If you earn that, you have delivered a solid and confident constructive, asked and answered questions persuasively, and effectively narrowed the debate to the most compelling reasons you are winning the debate in the rebuttals. If you get higher than that, you did all of those things AND THEN SOME. What many coaches would call, "the intangibles".
Speaking of speaker points, debate is too fast and not enough emphasis is put on speaking persuasively. This is true of all styles of debate. I flow on paper and you should heavily consider that when you debate in front of me. I am a quick and solid flow and pride myself in capturing the most nuanced arguments, but some of what I judge is unintelligible to me and its getting worse. Card voice vs tag voice is important, you cannot read analytics at the same rate you are reading the text of the card and be persuasive to me, and not sending analytics means I need that much more pen time. Fix it. It will help us all. Higher speaker points are easier to give.
Thank you, in advance, for allowing me to observe and participate in your debate.
Judge Paradigm for Frank Irizarry, Suffolk University
Name: Frank Irizarry
College: Suffolk University
Current Profession: Professor/Debate Coach
Judging for: Suffolk University Debate / The Boston Debate League
I was a CEDA debater at Marist College (1989-1993) and I coached at the college level for 15 years (Northern Illinois University, Syracuse University, Pace University, University of Florida, Suffolk University). I have been actively involved with the Boston Debate League for the last 14 years and I judge periodically for the BDL. I have judged policy debate for a long time.
After a 14 year "sabbatical" from coaching, I am back coaching college debate for Suffolk University. I am looking forward to this next act in my debate journey.
I am fairly open to whatever debaters want to do stylistically in a debate round. I wasn't always like that but time away gives you some perspective and I realize that this activity belongs to the debaters so I try to create minimal interference in their argument/advocacy strategy.
If you'd like to know about my thoughts on the typical things debaters generally like to ask about, here goes:
Rate of Delivery: Go as fast as you'd like as long as you are CLEAR.
Quantity of Arguments: I prefer a few well developed arguments but if your strategy involves making lots of arguments early in the debate, so be it.
I am willing to vote on: Topicality, Counterplans, Generic Disadvantages, Conditional Negative Positions, Debate Theory Arguments, Critical Arguments.
Ultimately, I like well reasoned arguments, a defense of those arguments and clash on the arguments in the debate.
I dislike rudeness directed toward me or your opponent.
If you have any questions, just ask!
Director of Forensics at Juan Diego Catholic High School - Draper, UT
Coach of TOC Qualifiers in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015
Debated at Idaho State University
2010 NDT Elimination Round Participant. 2010 + 2011 CEDA Quarterfinalist.
Sean Kennedy - Debated at: University of Kansas
Coaching for: University of Kansas and Shawnee Mission South High School
In general I would prefer to judge based upon the perspective presented by the debaters in the debate. Framing issues are very important to me, and I think debaters should make it clear what they believe those issues are through tone, organization, or explicit labeling (ie "this is a framing issue for the debate" or some similar phrase). Embedded clash is fine, but I think that concept carries some limitations - there is only so far that I am willing to stretch my reading of a (negative/affirmative) argument on X page/part of the flow, that does not reference Y (affirmative/negative) argument on another page/part of the flow. Some of my more difficult decisions have revolved around this point, so to avoid any ambiguity debaters should be explicit about how they want arguments to be read within the debate, especially if they intend a particular argument to be direct refutation to a specific opponent argument.
Beyond that I will try to keep as open a mind about arguments as possible - I have enjoyed initiating and responding to a diverse set of arguments during my time as a debater, and I have had both good and bad experiences everywhere across the spectrum, so I think as a judge I am unlikely to decide debates based on my personal feelings about content/style of argument than the quality of execution and in-round performance.
As a caveat to that - I do think that the affirmative has an obligation to respond to the resolution, though I think whether that means/requires a plan, no plan, resolution as a metaphor, etc is up to the debaters to decide during the round. However, I am generally, although certainly not always, persuaded by arguments that the affirmative should have a plan.
I am also willing to believe that there is zero risk or close enough to zero risk of link/impact arguments to vote on defense, should the debate appear to resolve the issue that strongly.
Whether or not I kick a counterplan/alt for the 2nr (what some people call "judge conditionality" or "judge kick") depends on what happens in the debate. I will always favor an explicit argument made by either team on that score over some presumption on my part. I have similar feelings about presumption when there is a counterplan/alt. The reason for this is that although there may be logical reasons for kicking advocacies or evaluating presumption in a certain light, I think that debate as a pedagogical activity is best when it forces debaters to make their choices explicit, rather than forcing the judge to read into a choice that was NOT made or requiring that both teams and the judge have an unspoken agreement about what the logical terms for the debate were (this is probably more obvious and necessary in some cases, ie not being able to answer your own arguments, than I think it is in the case of advocacies).
Please be kind to your competitors and treat their arguments with respect - you don't know where they come from or what their arguments mean to them, and I think this community can only work if we value basic decency towards others as much as much as we do argumentative prowess. In that vein, jokes are good, but I'm certainly much less amused by personal attacks and derision than I am by dry humor or cheekiness.
Director of Forensics, Cal State Northridge
Email speech documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any other inquires should go to email@example.com
A. Judging/Coaching History
- Over 19 years of experience judging/coaching competitive debate events; less experience with speech and individual events (5 years)
- Worked with students of all ages: elementary (MSPDP), middle school (MSPDP), high school (policy, LD, public forum), and college (NDT/CEDA, NFA-LD, NPDA, IPDA, CPFL)
B. General Philosophy
1. Do you thing! This activity should center the stylistic proclivities of students, not judges. Full stop. My academic background has taught me reasonable arguments come in a variety of forms, styles, and mediums. I've coached and judged a wide range of styles from very traditional (e.g. topicality, disads, cps, and case), critical (e.g. post-structural/modern/colonial theory), to very non-traditional (e.g. performative/identity/method debate). There are things I like and dislike about every style I've encountered. Do what you do and I'll do my best to keep up.
2. "Inside Baseball" Sucks. These days I mostly judge college policy and high school LD. That means I am unlikely to know most of the acronyms, anecdotes, inside references about other levels of debate and you should probably explain them in MUCH more detail than you would for the average judge.
C. Pedagogical/Competitive Points of Emphasis
1. Importance of Formal Evidence (i.e. "cards"). I once heard a judge tell another competitor, “a card no matter how bad will always beat an analytic no matter how good.” For the sake of civility I will refrain from using this person’s name, but I could not disagree more with this statement. Arguments are claims backed by reasons with support. The nature of appropriate support will depend on the nature of the reason and on the nature of the claim. To the extent that cards are valuable as forms of support in debate it’s because they lend the authority and credibility of an expert to an argument. But there are some arguments where technical expertise is irrelevant. One example might be the field of morality and ethics. If a debater makes a claim about the morality of assisted suicide backed by sound reasoning there is no a priori reason to prefer a card from an ethicist who argues the contrary. People reason in many different ways and arguments that might seem formally or technically valid might be perfectly reasonable in other settings. I generally prefer debates with a good amount of cards because they tend to correlate with research and that is something I think is valuable in and of itself. But all too often teams uses cards as a crutch to supplement the lack of sound reasoning. The takeaway is … If you need to choose between fully explaining yourself and reading a card always choose the former.
2. Burden of Persuasion vs. Burden of Rejoinder One of things that makes policy and LD debate (and perhaps public forum) a fairly unique activity from a policy/legal perspective is our emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. If one competitor says something then the opponent needs to answer it, otherwise the judge treats the argument as gospel. Debaters might think their judges aren't as attentive to the flow as they would like, but ask any litigator if trial judges care in the least whether the other attorney answered their arguments effectively. Emphasizing the burden of rejoinder is a way of respecting the voice and arguments of the students who spend their valuable time competing in this activity. But like everything else in debate there are affordances as well as constraints in emphasizing the burden of rejoinder. Personally, I think our activity has placed so much emphasis on the burden of rejoinder that we have lost almost all emphasis on the burden of persuasion. I can’t count the number of rounds I have participated in (as a debater and as a judge) where the vast majority of the claims made in the debate were absolutely implausible. The average politics disad is so contrived that it's laughable. Teams string together dozens of improbable internal link chains and treat them as if they were a cohesive whole. Truth be told, the probability of the average “big stick” advantage/disad is less than 1% and that’s just real talk. This practice is so ubiquitous because we place such a heavy emphasis on the burden of rejoinder. Fast teams read a disad that was never very probable to begin with and because the 2AC is not fast enough to poke holes in every layer of the disad the judge treats those internal links as conceded (and thus 100% probable). Somehow, through no work of their own the neg’s disad went from being a steaming pile of non-sense to a more or less perfectly reasonable description of reality. I don't think this norm serves our students very well. But it is so ingrained in the training of most debates and coaches (more so the coaches than the debaters actually) that it’s sustained by inertia. The takeaway is… that when i judge, I try (imperfectly to be sure) to balance my expectations that students meet both the burden of rejoinder and the burden of persuasion. Does this require judge intervention? Perhaps, to some degree, but isn't that what it means to “allow ones self to be persuaded?” To be clear, I do not think it is my job to be the sole arbiter of whether a claim was true or false, probable or unlikely, significant or insignificant. I do think about these things constantly though and i think it is both impossible and undesirable for me to ignore those thoughts in the moment of decision. It would behoove anyone I judge to take this into account and actively argue in favor of a particular balance between the burdens or rejoinder and persuasion in a particular round.
3. The Role of the Ballot/Purpose of the Activity/Non-Traditional Debate. The first thing I want to say isn’t actually a part of my philosophy on judging debates as much as it is an observation about debates I have watched and judged. I can’t count the number of rounds I have watched where a debater says something akin to, “Debate is fundamentally X,” or “the role of the ballot is X.” This is not a criticism. These debaters are astute and clearly understand that defining the nature and purpose of the activity is an extremely useful (often essential)tool for winning debates. That said, in truth, debate is both everything and nothing and the role of the ballot is multiple. Asserting the "purpose of debate" or "the role of the ballot" is essentially a meaningless utterance in my opinion. Arguing in favor "a particular purpose of debate” or “a particular role of the ballot” in a given round requires reasons and support. Policy debate could be conceived as a training ground for concerned citizens to learn how to feel and think about particular policies that could be enacted by their government. Policy debate could also be conceived as a space students to voice their dissatisfaction with the actions or inactions of the governments that claim to represent them through various forms of performance. Excellent debaters understand policy debate is a cultural resource filled with potential and possibility. Rather than stubbornly clinging to dogmatic axioms, these debaters take a measured approach that recognizes the affordances and constraints contained within competing visions of "the purpose of debate" or the "role of the ballot” and debate the issue like they would any other. The problem is assessing the affordances and constraints of different visions requires a sober assessment of what it is we do here. Most debaters are content to assert, “the most educational model of debate is X,” or the “most competitive model of debate is Y.” Both of these approaches miss the boat because they willfully ignore other aspects of the activity. Debates should probably be educational. What we learn and why is (like everything else) up for debate, but it’s hard to argue we shouldn’t be learning something from the activity. Fairness in a vacuum is a coin-flip and that’s hardly worth our time. On the other hand, probably isn’t a purely educational enterprise. Debate isn’t school. If it were students wouldn’t be so excited about doing debate work that they ignore their school work. The competitive aspects of the activity are important and can’t be ignored or disregarded lightly. How fair things have to be and which arguments teams are entitled to make are up for debate, but I think we need to respect some constraints lest we confuse all discourse for argument. The phrase “debate is a game/the content is irrelevant” probably won’t get you very far, but that’s because games are silly and unimportant by definition. But there are lots of contests that are very important were fairness is paramount (e.g. elections, academic publishing, trials). Rather than assert the same banal lines from recycled framework blocks, excellent debaters will try to draw analogies between policy debate and other activities that matter and where fairness is non-negotiable. So the takeaway is … I generally think the topic exists for a reason and the aff has to tie their advocacy to the topic, although I am open to arguments to the contrary. I tend to think of things in terms of options and alternatives. So even if topicality is a necessarily flawed system that privileges some voices over others, I tend to ask myself what the alternative to reading topicality would be. Comparison of impacts, alternatives, options, is always preferable to blanket statements like “T = genocidal” or “non-traditional aff’s are impossible to research.”
4. Theory Debates (i.e. Debates about Debate Itself) I have a relatively high threshold for theory arguments, but I am not one of those judges that thinks the neg teams gets to do whatever they want. You can win theory debates with me in the back, but it probably isn’t your best shot. As a general rule (though not universal) I think that if you didn’t have to do research for an argument, you don’t learn anything by running it. I have VERY high threshold for negative theory arguments that are not called topicality. It doesn’t mean I wont vote on these arguments if the aff teams makes huge errors, but a person going for one of these argument would look so silly that it would be hard to give them anything about a 28.
Affiliations and History:
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) me all of the speeches before you begin.
I am the Director of Debate at Damien High School in La Verne, CA.
I was the Director of Debate for Hebron High School in Carrollton, TX from 2020-2021.
I was an Assistant Coach at Damien from 2017-2020.
I debated on the national circuit for Damien from 2009-2013.
I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice.
I completed my Master's degree in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration at The University of La Verne.
My academic work involves critical university studies, Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
Author of Suburba(in)e Surrealism (2021).
Yearly Round Numbers:
I try to judge a fair bit each year.
NATO Topic Round Count: 37
I have judged over 50 rounds on the Water Topic.
I judged around 40 rounds on the CJR topic.
I judged 29 rounds on the Arms topic (2019-2020) (not including practice rounds without a decision rendered).
I judged a bit of LD (32 debates) on the Jan-Feb Topic (nuke disarm) in '19/'20.
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.
LD Protocol:I have a 100% record voting against teams that only read Phil args/Phil v. Policy debates. Adapt or lose.
NDT Protocol: I will rarely have any familiarity with the current college topic and will usually only judge 12-15 rounds pre-NDT.
Please make your T and CP acronyms understandable.
Front Matter Elements:
If you need an accommodation of any kind, please email me before the round starts.
I want everyone to feel safe and able to debate- this is my number one priority as a judge.
I don't run prep time while you email the speech doc. Put the whole speech into one speech doc.
I flow 1AC impact framing, inherency, and solvency straight down on the same page nowadays.
Speed is not an issue for me, but I will ask you to slow down (CLEAR) if you are needlessly sacrificing clarity for quantity--especially if you are reading T or theory arguments.
I will not evaluate evidence identifiable as being produced by software, bots, algorithms etc. Human involvement in the card’s production must be evident unique to the team, individual, and card. This means that evidence you directly take from open source must be re-highlighted at a minimum. You should change the tags and underlining anyways to better fit with your argument’s coherency.
I privilege technical debating and the flow. I try to get as much down as I possibly can and the little that I miss usually is a result of a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker or because the actual causal chain of the idea does not make consistent sense for me (I usually express this on my face). Your technical skill should make me believe/be able to determine that your argument is the truth. That means warrants. Explain them, impact them, and don't make me fish for them in the un-underlined portion of the six paragraph card that your coach cut for you at a camp you weren't attending. I find myself more and more dissatisfied with debating that operates only on the link claim level. I tend to take a formal, academic approach to the evaluation of ideas, so discussions of source, author intentions and 'true' meaning, and citation are both important to me and something that I hope to see in more debates.
The best debates for me to judge are ones where the last few rebuttals focus on giving me instructions on what the core controversies of the round are, how to evaluate them, and what mode of thinking I should apply to the flow as a history of the round. This means that I'm not going to do things unless you tell me to do them on the flow (judge kick, theory 'traps' etc.). When instructions are not provided or articulated, I will tend to use (what I consider to be) basic, causal logic (i.e. judicial notice) to find connections, contradictions, and gaps/absences. Sometimes this happens on my face--you should be paying attention to the physical impact of the content of your speech act.
I believe in the importance of topicality and theory. No affs are topical until proven otherwise.
Non-impacted theory arguments don't go a long way for me; establish a warranted theory argument that when dropped will make me auto-vote for you. This is not an invitation for arbitrary and non-educational theory arguments being read in front of me, but if you are going to read no neg fiat (for example), then you better understand (and be able to explain to me) the history of the argument and why it is important for the debate and the community.
Reading evidence only happens if you do not make the debate legible and winnable at the level of argument (which is the only reason I would have to defer to evidentiary details).
I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument on both sides. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it (especially why your warrants matter!). I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. If you are conducting a performance in the round and/or debate space, you need to have specific, solvable, and demonstrable actions, results, and evidences of success. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge).
If you are going to go for Fairness, then you need a metric. Not just a caselist, not just a hypothetical ground dispensation, but a functional method to measure the idea of fairness in the round/outside the round i.e. why are the internal components (ground, caselist, etc.) a good representation of a team's burden and what do these components do for individuals/why does that matter. I am not sure what that metric/method is, but my job is not to create it for you. A framework debate that talks about competing theories for how fairness/education should be structured and analyzed will make me very happy i.e. engaging the warrants that constitute ideas of procedural/structural fairness and critical education.
In-round Performance and Speaker Points:
An easy way to get better speaker points in front of me is by showing me that you actually understand how the debate is going, the arguments involved, and the path to victory. Every debater has their own style of doing this (humor, time allocation, etc.), but I will not compromise detailed, content-based analysis for the ballot.
I believe that there is a case for in-round violence/damage winning the ballot. Folks need to be considerate of their behavior and language. You should be doing this all of the time anyways.
While I believe that high school students should not be held to a standard of intellectual purity with critical literature, I do expect you to know the body of scholarship that your K revolves around: For example, if you are reading a capitalism K, you should know who Marx, Engels, and Gramsci are; if you are reading a feminism k, you should know what school of feminism (second wave, psychoanalytic, WOC, etc.) your author belongs to. If you try and make things up about the historical aspects/philosophical links of your K, I will reflect my unhappiness in your speaker points and probably not give you much leeway on your link/alt analysis. I will often have a more in-depth discussion with you about the K after the round, so please understand that my post-round comments are designed to be educational and informative, instead of determining your quality/capability as a debater.
I am 100% DONE with teams not showing up on time to disclose. A handful of minutes or so late is different than showing up 3-5 min before the round begins. Punish these folks with disclosure theory and my ears will be open.
CX ends when the timer rings. I will put my fingers in my ears if you do not understand this. I deeply dislike the trend of debaters asking questions about 'did you read X card etc.' in cross-x and I believe this contributes to the decline of flowing skills in debate. While I have not established a metric for how many speaker points an individual will lose each time they say that phrase, know that it is something on my mind. I will not allow questions outside of cross-x outside of core procedural things ('can you give the order again?,' 'everyone ready?' etc.). Asking 'did you read X card' or 'theoretical reasons to reject the team' outside of CX are NOT 'core procedural things.'
Do not read these types of arguments in front of me:
Arguments that directly call an individual's humanity into account
Arguments based in directly insulting your opponents
Arguments that you do not understand
About Me: I am a former Open Debater at Cal State Fullerton. I had 3 years ~ debating in college and experience as a coach at CSUF. I have vast judging and coaching experience at the High School level. I spent a lot of my Career running mostly critiques including Settler Colonial K's, Afropessimism K's, Baudrillard K's, performance K's, as well as experience running Framework.
Aside from that my cases usually involved futurisms and storytelling.
Coaches: Toya Green, Romin Rajan, Lee Thach.
Me as a judge real talk: I can understand spreading, and I'm as good as anyone at getting this down. But Imma be honest, it is hard for me to stay organized. I joined debate in college, no high school experience.
In other words, framing is super important for me. Clarity is important to me, because I want to understand how you think we/you/ I should think, view and participate in the community, in this round, at this tournament, etc. Is debate a game? is the game good? why or why not? I'd like these question answered either implicitly or explicitly. I don't inherently work with the perception that debate is (just) a "game", but if given a good argument as to why I should take on that perspective (in this round, all the time, etc) I'll take on that perspective. I prefer not to feel like a worker in the debate factory who needs to take notes and produce a ballot, but idk maybe I should function in that way-just tell me why that's true.
Impact: Proximity and likelihood> magnitude and time frame
Clipping Cards is an auto DQ.
I really don't care what you do as far as tag teaming, changing format, playing music, using stands, seating placement, etc. Do you, just don't make the debate go longer than it needs to. Also feel free to talk to me before, after and during prep in rounds. I generally enjoy talking about debate and like helping young peeps. Just chit chat and such.
Policy- I think that a straight up policy plan is dope. MY biggest concern is the debaters ability to explain numbers to me. ITs hard for me to do the calculations and understand why specific stats are important and win you the debate. I am pretty line by line when it comes to a policy debate. Id say with me, focus on some impact calc because thats usually where my attention is mostly at. Liklihood and proximity are more important than severity, magnitude. Time-Frame is iffy but doable.
FW- Honestly, framework is pretty cool. I think its become kind of a meme at this point about my annoyance with whiney FW debaters, so make sure you are being real with your critique. Framework says that there is a structure which needs to be followed for this activity to run efficiently. This assumes that the game of debate is good, so explain why the game is good, or why your specific version of the game is good. When you run framework you are saying that the other team is debating in a way that lessens/nullifies the benefits of debate. That is a big claim, so treat it as such. If you are just using it strategically- more power to you buuuuuuut, it makes you hella less persuasive if thats how you are coming off. Also, Fairness is not inherently a terminal impact, lol. At least mention debate is a game and tell me why the games good.
K- I love k's, but they get hella sloppy. With k's, i need to know that you are solving your impacts. seems basic but im shocked at how often debaters dont explain how their "self abolishment" solves antiblackness. Acknowledging that there is a problem isn't a solution, or plan or anything. It's just a diagnosis. I need a prescription. HAving said that, Im pretty open minded when it comes to different strats. The more weird the more fun for me.
I'm way more truth than tech.
Updated philosophy as of March, 2019:
I'm judging more often and tabbing less these days, so I thought it was fair to have a little substance here. Anyway, this is how I judge:
(1) I have the speech doc open and I'm following along as you're reading cards
(2) I'm only ever listening to the speaker(s), I think it's really important not to be messing around with electronic media while judging.
(3) I'm constantly judging argument quality throughout the debate, so when the 2AR ends, 90% of the time I'm fairly certain who I am going to vote for. What time I spend looking over my flow and the evidence is used to think through the most likely questions from the losing team, to see if there's something that I might have missed.
(4) My general decision making process starts with impact calculus and impact comparison. If one side is decisively ahead here, this often controls my vote. 2NR and 2AR work here is vital.
(5) To decide key points of controversy in the debate, I identify each one from the final rebuttals, list them in the AFF or NEG column, then find the arguments from the responding team and line them up. Once I think the lists are complete, I choose which side persuaded me on each one.
(6) While I work hard to keep my (long list of) debate opinions out of debate in deference to the specific ways debaters make their arguments, I think it's only fair to list some of my abstract debate leanings so that you have more context/information:
--Everyone reading an aff related to the topic IS ideal for fairness, education, and research-based reasons, but simply listing off these buzzwords is not going to persuade me. And "related to the topic" is really case by case.
--On framework, education is more important than procedural claims - I regularly vote aff against framework bc the neg is overly fixated on "procedural fairness outweighs"
--Topical Versions of the Aff and Switch-Side debate arguments function like CPs that access AFF education and preserve fairness
--States CP is illegit bc it eliminates the literature-based debate over FG vs States
--CPs ought to be textually and functionally competitive
--Alts succeed by being deliberately vague and shifting later in the debate - especially "reject the aff" alts
--"Realism good" indicts virtually all affs on the Space Cooperation topic
--Both truth and techne matter