Melissa ONLINE TFA
2022 — NSDA Campus, TX/US
Policy Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Hi, I'm Tristan! When I was in high school, I did cx, ld, extemp, congress, and prose with varying degrees of success. I have experience in basically any event and a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for in all of them.
I would definitely like to emphasize that debate is an event that people do for fun so please be respectful and friendly during the round. Hostility towards another debater is never impressive, so if I feel that there is unnecessary aggression, I will change speaker points accordingly.
Generally, I am open to any argument but please make sure it has all parts of the argument when it is first presented.
I consider myself a policy maker because at the end of the day I feel like the goal of the debate is to answer the resolution adequately. Don't be afraid to run unique arguments in front of me.
I am open to any argument but I have a few things I feel like y'all should know. I really like good analytics in a debate and don't believe that an argument needs to have a card attached to be an important argument. However, it still has to be a convincing argument to be effective in the round. The best debates usually have a healthy combination of evidence and analysis without being overly reliant on either.
Also, please try to use all of your speech time. Many rounds can be lost because you end your speech before you adequately address everything your opponent said.
Speed: I debated for a long time, so I can understand most speeds and I understand the strategic benefit of going fast. Please make sure you are still articulating the words. Additionally, please make sure that I can understand what you are saying and emphasize anything important for my flow. I will try my best to keep up with everything but if I miss something on my flow because I couldn't understand what you were saying it only harms you. If I have a difficult time understanding, I will just say "clear".
New in the 2: Please do not read new arguments in the 2NC! It diminishes clash tremendously and leaves the 1ar with an impossible burden. I have seen times when it is acceptable i.e. if the aff changes what their plan is mid-round. Also, I will still vote on an argument presented in the 2NC, but it won't take much for the aff to convince me that the neg's strategy is abusive.
Kicking out of arguments: Please kick out of arguments. I had judges in high school tell me I couldn't kick out of stuff. I don't mind at all. I prefer if the neg condenses down to a few winning arguments by the 2NR so they have a clear voting issue. To me, kicking out of arguments shows that someone understands the flow and time allocation very well.
Theory: I love good theory debates, but please only read theory if it is relevant to the round. In-round abuse is the biggest voting issue for me for theory but I will vote on potential abuse or other well-drawn-out impacts. I don't feel confortable voting for things that didn't happen in round, so just be careful what you want to make your voting issues. (for example, running disclosure as your 2nr decision might not win you the round)
T: I love T but believe it has a high threshold to win. If I vote on T it is because the neg won that the aff shouldn't exist inside of the resolution and that it would be unfair for the aff to continue running their case. T is usually a good argument to have on the flow for a bunch of reasons so don't be scared to run it even if I have a high threshold for voting on it.
DAs:I love DAs! They were my favorite argument to run while I was debating policy! Just make sure you can win all the parts of the DA and then weigh its impacts vs. the aff. Also, I prefer case-specific or unique DAs above generics but I understand why people run generics. If you ever write your own DA please run it!
Ks: Ks are cool and I will listen to any of them but please make sure you are running them properly. Also please make sure you are explaining the literature and the impact it has on the round. K literature has a tendency to be from high academic circles so make sure that you are using it as a tool for education and not a tool to confuse your opponents. Love seeing them in round though as a mechanism to keep the literature healthy. Definitely don't feel uneasy about running a K in front of me as long as you know the K well.
K Affs: I'm totally cool with people running K affs just make sure you win whatever framework you need to keep the aff on the flow. Also, keep in mind that I value clash a lot, so if the K aff you are running doesn't have much topic-specific clash, then it does make it easier for the neg to win that you shouldn't be able to run it. None of this is to scare you from running your aff just make sure you are doing it responsibly.
CPs: Counter plans are cool and a good thing to have on the flow. If the counter plan is specific to the aff, then I will be more likely to vote on it but I will still vote on generics.
Framing: I'm totally cool with framing please run it.
Ok, I basically just gave y'all step-by-step instructions on how to get my ballot but if you still have questions please just let me know. TLDR: you can run whatever just make sure you are being smart when you run it.
Even though I mainly debated policy I have competed, wrote cases, and coached LD. I also understand traditional and progressive LD so do whichever you please. However, if you notice that your opponent is debating in a different style, that doesn't give you an excuse to not clash. Progressive debaters need to clash with traditional debaters and vice versa.
LD is usually considered to be the philosophy debate so if you are running philosophy please explain what it is and if it proves the resolution true. For example, I shouldn't have to google what your criterion is because it is your responsibility to communicate why it's important.
The biggest problem I usually encounter in LD debate is a lack of clash. Directly clashing with what your opponent is saying gives me a much bigger reason to vote for you than if you just try to tell me your case is more important. A general rule of thumb is that if it feels like you are being too repetitive, then you probably aren't engaging in your opponent's arguments enough.
Speed is cool just make sure I can understand.
I know looking at paradigms is less common for congress, but it can't hurt to let y'all know what I look for in a round. Essentially, I look for a healthy combination of entertaining and professional. Entertaining can look like a lot of different things- from good humor to presenting statistics in a way that keeps me engaged. I really like it when a speech is well organized and gives proper time to each point that is being made. I value clash a lot in congress because that is what makes it interesting past the third speech on a topic. It is very impressive to me if you can prove that you have been paying attention the whole round and have done the research to prove others wrong. Please make sure your clash is professional and doesn't seem aggressive or like a personal attack.
As long as the argument is well explained and the debater shows why it leads to a winning ballot, I will vote on anything.
I typically judge policy, so I might be somewhat biased to policy-esque arguments.
Make sure I'm on the email chain/speech drop and be clear on tags.
Do not make me make the arguments for you. Be clear on how and why a card or an analytic clashes with your opponent's arguments, or why it's a voter.
Make sure you have fun in the round. Do not take it too seriously. You are [probably] not actually a racist no matter what your opponent calls you.
I am willing to listen to any argument as long as you explain why it leads to a winning ballot. Make it easy for me to judge the round by explaining to me what to vote for and why I should vote on it. If arguments become incomprehensible, I will default policy.
I do not like new arguments in the 2nd Negative Constructive.
I am mostly fine with Ks. I am not super well read on all K literature, so make sure that everything is well explained, defined and be specifically clear on the link debate. Again if the K debate gets too messy or incoherent, I will default policy.
Any theoretical conflict is up for debate. I will vote on T but it has to be well-developed and reasonable in the round. Otherwise, I will typically vote Aff on T as long as the aff has a reasonable response to the argument.
I am not the biggest fan of CP but I will usually vote on it as long as its properly debated.
As long as I'm part of the email chain or speech doc, all you have to do is have clear tags. If for some reason I do not have access to your doc, make sure your reading is clear and comprehensible. I am fine with speed, but I will not flow anything I cannot understand. Do not make me make the arguments for you. Explain your arguments, provide analytics, and make sure you have a clear line by line. Make sure to go hard into voters in the last speech.
Don't be a jerk in-round. I will deduct speaks for unruly behavior.
My pet peeve is "in your own words" questions in cx.
Hi all! Feel free to call me Connelly.
connellydebate [at] gmail [dot] com
I’m currently a sophomore debating at Georgetown (Hoya Saxa!). If you’re considering debating for or attending Georgetown, please feel free to reach out! In high school I debated for Mount Pleasant in Texas (#bEastTexas).
I believe my job as a judge is to evaluate whatever debate you all decide to have. I try my best to check my biases and preferences at the door and evaluate the debate as a “blank slate,” so to speak. I would much rather judge you at your best than have you over-adapt to my preferences. That said, I am probably a better judge for some styles of debate than I am for others. I will use the rest of this space to attempt to convey to you what arguments I am good/bad for and why I feel I am that way.
Some non-negotiables for me include racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. Please be good people.
I will also categorically refuse to evaluate things that occur outside of the debate. If there is a serious issue of interpersonal violence, I will attempt to contact the appropriate set of people, whether that be coaches, tab, etc. I will not make a subjective determination on what happened via the ballot.
In the event of any ethics violations that occur during the course of the debate, I will follow tournament procedure.
Quick Pref Notes
Not categorically opposed to anything.
Much better for policy strategies than critical strategies.
Within the spectrum of critical strategies, I am much better for ones that engage the case than ones that do not. It is hard to convince me that the plan does not matter at all, even if you win that it is not the only thing that matters.
Critical Affirmatives vs T-USFG/Framework
I will decide these debates, like any other, based on the flow alone. I am more than willing to vote in either direction.
That said, I am probably “better” for the neg than the aff here. The overwhelming majority of my own experience in these debates is on the neg going for T. I also have a pretty strong predisposition that the aff should defend doing something. If your strategy is dependent on defending nothing, I will likely be very sympathetic to the neg on T.
I think affirmatives should pick a strategy and commit to it. The 2AR should either center around a re-interpretation of the resolution (which should likely involve evidence) OR around impact turns to the negative’s impacts/performance/etc.
Ideally, both the 2NR and 2AR will include robust impact comparison as well as internal link comparison/interaction.
Critical Affirmatives vs Substance
Negative teams who take up the affirmative on the substance of the case will be rewarded.
I’m absolutely down for a big impact turn debate or big DA debate. If the aff will grant you links to those things, you should take them up on it!
I feel the least comfortable in K v K debates. If that’s your thing, go for it! Just please take the time to give me clear judge instruction as to how I should resolve the important questions in the debate.
Policy Affs vs Topicality
Great. Go for it.
Much like in T-USFG debates, I think about these through the lens of models. Giving me a clear picture of your model—including what affirmatives are/are not included, what core generics are guaranteed, and why those debates are good ones to have—will correspond with a greater chance of winning the debate.
Reasonability is most persuasive when it is packaged as a predictability DA. “Good is good enough” is not a winner.
Policy Affs vs Disadvantages
Great. Go for them.
Impact comparison is incredibly important. Give me clear tools for comparing impacts during my decision.
I am very persuaded by turns case arguments, even when analytical.
Do not underestimate the utility of smart analytical arguments. Many DAs are silly. Tell me why they are silly.
Policy Affs vs Counterplans
Great. Go for them.
I find “textual” and “functional” competition to be pretty silly and unpersuasive. I am much more persuaded by arguments about models of competition tethered to interpretations of resolutional words that justify them. Examples of important questions to me: what kinds of counterplans does your model of competition justify? What kinds does it exclude? Why are those useful to debate? Why are those important (or not important) tools in the neg’s arsenal?
My default assumption is that I should judge kick the CP, the same way my default assumption is that conditionality is not a reason to reject the team. If no one says a word about judge kick, I will do it. If the aff would like me to not judge kick the CP, that debate -must- start by at least the 1AR. If the 2AR is the first time anyone is talking about judge kick, I will probably do it anyways. This also means it is likely in the best interest of the negative to get out ahead of this debate by telling me to judge kick in the block.
Probably predisposed to think it is good, but that shouldn’t really matter. If the 2AR is condo, I will evaluate the debate according to the flow alone, not my own preferences.
Other Theoretical Questions
If the 2AC says it is a reason to reject the team, and the only thing the 2NC says is “reject the argument not the team,” I’m pretty good for the aff. I do not understand why neg teams choose to leave this door open when it would take 15-20 seconds at most to close it entirely. If the 2AC does not make a complete argument, then the above 2NC response is probably sufficient, but if the 2AC includes warranted reasons to reject the team, failing to respond to those seems pretty dangerous.
Policy Affs vs Kritiks
I am a lot worse for the neg here than I used to be. That should not deter you from reading or going for kritiks in front of me, but it is something I feel like you should know.
Framework is often important in deciding these debates, but not always.
It is possible to convince me the aff does not get the plan, but it is incredibly difficult to do so. I tend to think the plan matters and will also likely conclude that the consequences of that plan matter (not necessarily in an “extinction outweighs” sense but in the sense that in order to evaluate the “epistemology” or “ethics” of the aff, we must consider what kinds of consequential outcomes it would produce).
Like in any debate, impact comparison and judge instruction matters a lot.
I did this like twice in high school. My background is incredibly policy so I will think about debates the way a policy-brained judge would.
If your thing is “prog LD,” I’m great for that.
If your thing is “trad LD,” that’s also great. I don’t feel super experienced with value/criterion debating, but as long as you give me clear judge instruction and tell me why you winning certain arguments means you win the debate, we should be all good.
I do not want to judge a trix debate. Those are for kids.
No idea how I ended up here. I do not know anything about PF specifically but all of my above thoughts apply.
Also apparently y’all paraphrase evidence instead of actually reading it? I don’t understand that. I would rather you read cards.
I did this for 6 years and loved it.
I care about your macro structure as well as your micro structure. There should be a clear development of ideas within your points.
Source quality matters. Using high level sources will be rewarded.
Be sure you answer the question, not answer around the question.
(Full Update - March 2021)
*Bolded information is for skimming if you're short on time.
**Online Tournament Notes: I'll unmute and let you know if you're having audio problems. Still comfortable with speed, but ask that we slow down a couple of notches from top speed to account for lag.
Feel free to just call me Kay; pronouns are she/her. I did policy for four years at North Lamar High School and have been judging since graduating in 2017.
If you are using an email chain, my email is email@example.com. If you are flashing, I don't want the flash and I'll ask if I need a specific piece of evidence post-round.
Attaching to the flash/email isn't prep unless it's excessive. If you're moving stuff between documents or around inside the document, that should be on the clock. If anything gets excessive, I'll let you know to start prep again.
Philosophy (all events):
Debate should be about the arguments you find "best" for you. I am comfortable and equally happy in well-warranted policy debates as I am in well-warranted kritikal or performance debates. When not given another framing mechanism, I tend to default to an offense/defense paradigm. My general answer to what "should" be allowed in a round is that theory read/answered by the debaters will parse that out.
[added on 2/23/2023] - For the sake of transparency, I want to add a few caveats to the above. The more I listen to it, the more I've discovered that I have a pretty high threshold for voting on disclosure theory. Just something to be aware of if you choose to read it in front of me.
Speaker Points (all events):
I assign speaker points on strategic decision-making and organization (including signposting and coherent line-by-line). I will dock speaker points for excessive rudeness, demeaning others in the debate, and intentionally making offensive/discriminatory arguments or comments in the debate.
Easy Routes to my Ballot (policy but also everything else really):
1. You should construct the narrative you want on my ballot. This means that I don't want to have to fill in internal links, test truth claims, or filter your offense through the framing that wins the debate.
2. Consistency across speeches is important. That means I'm not voting on 2NR/2AR arguments from the 1AC/1NC that aren't in the block or 1AR. I also have a pretty high threshold for buying arguments that are shadow extended through the block/1AR.
3. I prefer evidence analysis/extension over card dumps. I very seldom find dumping cards onto the flow in the 2NC/2AC compelling if I'm not getting some articulation of how the evidence functions in the round.
I'm fine with everything from more traditional value/criterion debate to more policy-style debates, performance debates, etc. Have the debate you want and are most comfortable having. That being said, some of the less common LD arguments (skep, NIBs, etc.) are pretty out of my wheelhouse and will require some serious explanation for me to understand them enough to feel comfortable voting on them.
One other thing I like to add for LD'ers: winning framework (morality good, util good, etc.) isn't enough to win the debate if you aren't winning a piece of offense through your framing. I won't do the work of weighing your offense for you, either, so please show me how your offense connects to your framing.
PF Note (updated September 2020): I don't judge very much PF, but you all ask this question, so I'll go ahead and make it easy on you: defense isn't sticky.
Feel free to email or talk to me in person before or after the round with any questions that come up!
I am a debate coach at Little Rock Central. Please put both on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
You do you. Let it rip. Seriously. A judge does not exist without the debaters, and I view my role as a public servant necessary only to resolve arguments in a round to help empower young people to engage in meaningful discourse. I believe that it is important for me to be honest about the specific things I believe about common debate arguments, but also I find it more important to ensure I am prepared for debaters to persuade me away from those beliefs/biases. Specifically, I believe that my role is to listen, flow, and weigh the arguments offered in the round how I am persuaded to weigh them by each team. I will listen to and evaluate any argument. It is unacceptable to do anything that is: ableist, anti-feminist, anti-queer, racist, or violent.
I think debates have the lowest access to education when the judge must intervene. I can intervene as little as possible if you:
1) Weigh your impacts and your opponents' access to risk/impacts in the debate. One team probably is not most persuasive/ahead of the other team on every single argument. That needs to be viewed as a strength rather than a point of anxiety in the round. Do not be afraid to explain why you don't actually need to win certain arguments/impacts in lieu of "going for" the most persuasive arguments that resolve the most persuasive/riskiest impacts.
2) Actively listen and use your time wisely. Debaters miss each other when distracted/not flowing or listening. This seems to make these teams more prone to missing/mishandling arguments by saying things like, "'x' disad, they dropped it. Extend ____ it means ____;" yet, in reality, the other team actually answered the argument through embedded clash in the overview or answered it in a way that is unorthodox but also still responsive/persuasive.
3) Compare evidence and continuously cite/extend your warrants in your explanations/refutation/overall argumentation. Responses in cross that cite an individual warrant or interrogate their opponents' warrants are good ethos builders and are just in general more persuasive, same in speeches.
Go for it. Your pathway to solving a significant harm that is inherent to the status quo with some advantageous, topical plan action is entirely up to you. There are persuasive arguments about why it is good to discuss hypothetical plan implementation. I do not have specific preferences about this, but I am specifically not persuaded when a 2a pivot undercovers/drops the framework debate in an attempt to weigh case/extend portions of case that aren't relevant unless the aff wins framework. I have not noticed any specific thresholds about neg strats against policy affs.
Go for it. Your pathway/relationship to the resolution is entirely up to you. I think it’s important for any kritikal affirmative (including embedded critiques of debate) to wins its method and theory of power, and be able to defend that the method and advocacy ameliorates some impactful harm. I think it’s important for kritkal affirmatives (when asked) to be able to articulate how the negative side could engage with them; explain the role of the negative in the debate as it comes up, and, if applicable, win framework or a methods debate. I don't track any specific preferences. Note: Almost all time that I am using to write arguments and coach students is to prepare for heg/policy debates; I understand if you prefer someone in the back of the room that spends a majority of their time either writing kritikal arguments or coaching kritikal debate.
This is all up to how it develops in round. I figure that this often starts as a question of what is good for debate through considerations of education, fairness, and/or how a method leads to an acquisition/development of portable skills. It doesn't have to start or end in any particular place. The internal link and impact are up to you. If the framework debate becomes a question of fairness, then it's up to you to tell me what kind of fairness I should prioritize and why your method does or does not access it/preserve it/improve it. I vote for and against framework, and I haven't tracked any specific preferences or noticed anything in framework debate that particularly persuades me.
Overall, I think that most neg strats benefit from quality over quantity. I find strategies that are specific to an aff are particularly persuasive (beyond just specific to the overall resolution, but also specific to the affirmative and specific cites/authors/ev). In general, I feel pretty middle of the road when it comes to thresholds. I value organization and utilization of turns, weighing impacts, and answering arguments effectively in overviews/l-b-l.
Other Specifics and Thresholds, Theory
• Perms: Be ready to explain how the perm works (more than repeating "it's perm do 'X'"). Why does the perm resolve the impacts? Why doesn't the perm link to a disad?
• T: Normal threshold if the topicality impacts are about the implications for future debates/in-round standards. High threshold for affs being too specific and being bad for debate because neg doesn't have case debate. If I am in your LD pool and you read Nebel, then you're giving me time to answer my texts, update a list of luxury items I one day hope to acquire, or simply anything to remind myself that your bare plurals argument isn't 'prolific.'
• Case Debate: I am particularly persuaded by effective case debate so far this year on the redistribution topic. Case debate seems underutilized from an "find an easy way to the ballot" perspective.
• Disclosure is generally good, and also it's ok to break a new aff as long as the aff is straight up in doing so. There are right and wrong ways to break new. Debates about this persuade me most when located in questions about education.
• Limited conditionality feels right, but really I am most interested in how these theory arguments develop in round and who wins them based on the fairness/education debate and tech.
• Please do not drop condo or some other well-extended/warranted theory argument on either side of the debate. Also, choosing not to engage and rely on the ethos of extending the aff is not a persuasive way to handle 2NRs all in on theory.
TOC Requested Update for Congress (April 2023)
Be your best self. My ranks reflect who I believe did the best debating in the round (and in all prelims when I parli).
The best debaters are the ones that offer a speech that is appropriately contextualized into the debate the body is having about a motion. For sponsors/first negs, this means the introduction of framing and appropriate impacts so that the aff/neg speakers can build/extend specific impact scenarios that outweigh the opposing side's impacts. Speeches 3-10 or 3-12 (depending on the round) should be focused on introducing/weighing impacts (based on where you are in the round and where your side is on impact weighing) and refutations (with use of framing) on a warrant/impact level. I value structured refutations like turns, disadvantages, presumption, PICs (amendments), no solvency/risk, etc. The final two speeches should crystallize the round by offering a clear picture as to why the aff/neg speakers have been most persuasive and why the motion should carry or fail.
The round should feel like a debate in that each speaker shall introduce, refute, and/or weigh the core of the affirmative and negative arguments to persuade all other speakers on how they should vote on a pending motion.
Other TOC Requested Congress Specifics/Randoms
Arguments are claim, warrant, impact/justification and data when necessary. Speeches with arguments lacking one or more of these will not ever be rewarded highly, no matter how eloquent the speech. It is always almost more persuasive to provide data to support a warrant.
Impacts should be specific and never implied.
Presiding officers should ensure as many speeches as possible. The best presiding officers are direct, succinct, courteous, organized, and transparent. Presiding officers shall always be considered for ranks, but ineffective presiding is the quickest way to a rank 9 (or lower).
More floor debaters are experimenting with parliamentary procedure. Love it, but debaters will be penalized for misapplications of the tournament's bylaws and whichever parliamentary guide is the back up.
Nothing is worse in floor debate than repetition, which is different than extending/weighing.
- Decorum should reflect effective communication. Effective communication in debate often includes an assertive tone, but read: folx should always treat each other with dignity and respect.
Woo Pig. I am not here to force you to capitulate a paradigm that you find in someway oppressive to what your coach is teaching you to do. I will drop you for clipping/cheating, and I do not reward (and will rank low in congress) bad/no arguments even if they sound as rhetorically smooth as Terry Rose and Gary Klaff singing "Oh, Arkansas."
NLHS Policy 2013-2017
UT 2017-2021 (just judging, no debate)
A&M Law 2021-
Email for chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email for contact: email@example.com
The easiest thing I can tell you about my paradigm is that I am tab. I'll vote on anything, and I essentially ran anything while I was in high school, so you're not going to lose me in running any of your favorite arguments.
Further in-depth stuff (this is primarily for policy, but can be cross-applied to LD (or PF I guess)):
When I say I'm tab that means that I will vote in any framework you give me, don't mistake that for if you win the framework you win the round (this is especially true in traditional LD). I have voted for teams that lose the framework debate, but still had better offense under the opposing framing. Therefore, you need to both win your framework and meet that framework better than the opponent to win the round. However, if you don't run a framework I default to an offense-defense paradigm where I vote on whichever team has managed to generate the most offense.
If you're baffled by a decision it is because you did not warrant. I am a stickler for warranting, especially in extensions, and if you don't extend a warrant, even over a dropped argument, then I'm not doing that work.
Like I said, I'm tab, so naturally I'm fine with/a fan of Ks. I am NOT a fan of 2NC/2NR overviews of kritikal buzzwords that do nothing to advance debate in the round. I'm not 100% read on all K literature, so if you're going to use technical terminology - define them, tell me how they relate to your alt, to the link debate, and to the aff. Line-by-line is generally much easier for me to flow and understand a K debate.
That being said, I would avoid reading one-off K in front of me. I won't vote down one-off K on face, but I find that it's not terribly strategic, and doubly so if you're the type to concede all of case by going for the one K. All of the eggs in one basket just isn't good strategy, and it's super boring to listen to.
People will talk about how you need a specific link - I'm not that type. If the aff has a good reason that you need a specific link then you should be able to provide one, but a good generic link to the topic, state, or debate will suffice without aff contest.
Stylistically I don't really care what you do. I can handle your spreading if you can handle your spreading. If you're unclear then don't spread. Furthermore, signposting is an absolute must between flows and cards. That can be as a simple as saying "next off" or "onto the K," and between cards inserting an "and." If I miss a card or argument that you didn't signpost clearly where I should've flowed it will not be evaluated, and that's on you.
Offensiveness in round is always bad, and I'll penalize any aggression appropriately depending on severity of the aggression. There are instances where you might just be ignorant which will only result in a minor speak penalty and a stern reprimanding in RFD. Above all, be polite to your opponents. You can be competitive, but don't be rude, especially in CX.
Redundancy isn't great. That means reading a bunch of repetitive cards, putting an explanation under a card that explains the card you just read, or just saying the same thing over and over. I get tired of this quickly and it does harm speaks. Card dumps seriously aren't persuasive or strategic about half the time. If you're card dumping like five new impacts onto a undercovered disad in the 2NC that's chill, but just reading like 5 uniqueness cards that all say the same thing isn't.
I evaluate speaks through strategy, not presentation. A 30 happens through really good decisions, time allocation, unique argumentation, etc. I can't tell you what exactly gets a 30, nor will I attempt to define it further decisively here, but I know it when I see it.
I don't err anything on any argument before a debate, so all theoretical objections are up for dispute. That being said, I've seen a lot of debates where people read two shells at each other (such as states bad v. good) and don't have any actual clash. If that is the ONLY sort of argumentation being put down on a theory flow before the 2NR/2AR, do not try to convince me to vote for theory because it'll end up being a wash, and I'll vote on presumption.
Speaking of presumption; I tend to vote it on it a lot because many people end up not winning anything. So in the case that there doesn’t seem to be any offense for any team I default to presumption. Most of the time for me that means neg, but if there’s an alternative advocacy on the flow then it goes aff. If you have a different model of presumption in mind - make it an argument, but otherwise that's how I vote.
Note about disclosure: I have an impressively high threshold for voting on disclosure, and there are a number of ways that debaters articulate disclosure that I find objectionable. Please do not make arguments for disclosure based on the capabilities of small/rural schools (especially if you are from a (sub)urban/large school). Moreover, please do not read interpretations that mandate your opponent post any sort of contact information on the wiki - I will not vote on this interp no matter how hard you're winning the flow.
I wouldn't say that I have a high threshold for T, I will vote on T if you win it, but you need to win each part of the T: interp, violation, standards, and voters. (Theoretically you could get me to vote on a T with just an interp, violation, and standards if you win that a stock FW is good)
The "all three branches T" is really popular right now. I'll vote on it, but it's the worst T argument. Nothing uses all three branches because that's not how government works.
I don't think you absolutely have to have either of these in the 1NC to win; if you like em, go for em, and if you don't, don't. I'm not a person who's super convinced that things have to be super specific or anything like that - generic links are fine, just try to contextualize to the aff or give a good scenario analysis.
Please, god, do not sit at the door weirdly if I'm in the room waiting for my queue to give you agency. Just walk in. I'm the judge; you are ALLOWED to come in if I'm in here.
I don't care where you sit. I don't want to shake your hand before or after the round (especially true as of March 2020).
“My partner will answer that in the next speech” is NOT a cx answer, and if you use it it’s minus 1 speak.
Same thing goes for asking questions that are prefaced with "in your own words."
This is specifically for UIL tournaments: there's no such thing as "UIL style" and most "UIL rules" aren't actually rules. Any appeal to the UIL that aren't in any UIL handbook will not be flowed and is again, -1 speak.
- I don't judge this event nearly at all, but please just select sides in such a way that pro always speaks first. I get confused when it's reversed.
- Also, there's nothing I hate more than the PF convention of sharing evidence. Please just flash entire cases.
Updated Longhorn Classic '21
forever student at UT Austin
please put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated policy in high school all 4 years in Athens TX, and have been judging/coaching on the Austin circuit since 2013.
Also, if anything in this paradigm isn't clear enough, feel free to ask me before the round, I'd be more than happy to clarify.
I am tab but default to policymaker if not given a clear alternative evaluative framework.
The most important thing is that you give me the easiest path to the ballot. Tell me how to vote, on what, and why. Other than that, give me overviews, keep the debate organized, and please extend things correctly. Technical debating ability determines your speaker points in large part, unless there is reason to dock speaks for hate speech/immoral arguments.
I am generally more confident in my ability to evaluate policy v policy and policy v k debates, than k v k due to a literature knowledge deficiency, especially in high theory kritiks (read: Baudrillard, Heidegger, Deleuze/Guattari, etc.), so expect to explain the thesis of your critical position and how they interact with the topic thoroughly when reading those arguments.
Performance Affs are fine as long as you are very thorough in your explanation of what my role as a judge is and what the ballot does.
I will try to evaluate rounds to the best of my ability based on the information I am able to flow from your speech. That means despite what is in the speech doc, I will only be evaluating what you actually say in your analysis and a lot of close rounds are won or lost in the rebuttals over this issue. There should be clear extensions from the 2AC to the 1AR/Block to the 2NR and 2NRs/2ARs should be going for a specific strategy that is writing my ballot.
Tech over truth in most cases. If an argument is dropped, I still need a proper warrant extension and implication given for that drop to matter, unless given some other model of judging the round. I will rarely decide a round on a single drop and that argument must still be implicated in the broader aspects of the round.
I flow on paper despite the advances in technology since I first started debating. Speed is fine, but in a world of virtual debate please slow down. I expect any theory standards to be read at a pace that gives me adequate pen time, if not they should be in the speech doc.
I will always listen to CX - open CX is fine, but do not talk over each other. Flashing/Email doesn't count towards prep unless it is egregious.
Don't be offensive, rude, homophobic, racist, ableist, derogatory, sexist etc.
Always try to have fun - if you're not acting like you want to be there, it is a real drag to judge your round.
I default to debate is a game, and I think the k aff bad debate comes down to a question of fairness, whether used as an impact or an internal link by the neg. I am not usually persuaded by topic education vs critical lit education through an aff specific method since that doesn't interact with the fairness question a lot of the time, and the aff team usually has better evidence about the importance of their particular educational outlet anyway, especially given the fact that they know what it is and can adequately prepare for it. The most important way for the aff to get me to vote for a non-resolutional based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. However, I grant K affs a lot of grace if there are clear resolution-based links that are able to answer ground loss claims.
My threshold for granting neg offense on clash is directly determined by how abstract/immaterial the aff explanations of the k method are.
TVAs are under-utilized in my opinion as ways to take out Aff standard offense. SSD is a must-have argument to even compete on the education debate.
I default to k affs getting perms but have a pretty high threshold for these arguments in context to the ground/clash debate, if brought up.
I default to competing interpretations, but can be persuaded otherwise in round. Bad/unpredictable T interps are worse for debate than predictable ones, so I expect neg teams to read interps that are actually making an argument about what the literature base should be for the topic. Barring the block dropping reasonability, I will most always focus on the standards when evaluating the T debate, so teams that do the work on explaining how limits are improved/destroyed by the other team, what case lists/neg generics look like, and which interp provides the most sustainable form of debate for the year are most likely to win.
I typically don't vote on RVI's here unless there is a multitude of T's that the aff meets on face, which puts the neg more in the realm of reading frivolous theory, not just T args.
I really enjoy policy aff vs k debates, however I have very limited knowledge of critical literature outside of Cap/Neoliberalism, Abolition, SetCol, Security, Biopower (Foucault/Agamben), and small amounts of Ahmed. As said above in general thoughts, if you are reading a kritik you feel I may be unfamiliar with, or are pulling multiple theories from critical bodies of literature, I fully expect you to clearly explain the thesis of the criticism and how your method is able to possibly resolve the links you present.
I am very tech based in my evaluative approach to kritiks and hold a high standard for both teams in order to win the sheet. I evaluate the K sheet first by framework then K proper, where the line-by-line is very important - reading massive overviews that don't specifically interact with 2ac arguments hurt your chances of winning those parts of the K if the aff does the work you don't do in the 1ar. I believe the aff should be able to be weighed against the kritik, it is up to the neg to win why that is not the case in this round with a clear counter-interp.
Links are important and must be contextualized to the affirmative, but it is also just as important to be able to explain how the alt method is able to resolve those links. I hold alt solvency to a high regard, you must be able to explain what the alt does to create change in the world after I vote neg. I have found that there is big trend recently by neg teams to ignore solvency deficits/turns because they aren't specific to the (usually obscure) alt method the neg is choosing to read this round - you still need to interact with those arguments and disprove their warrants!
I think perf con is voter as long as there is a clear link in contradiction of advocacies - I believe the neg is able to spin out of this, but depending on the positions read that might be hard at times.
Floating PIKs are bad, but if you get away with it, I will still vote on it.
I would love to hear a good DA+Case collapse in the 2nr. I believe the top level of the disad should be thoroughly fleshed out in the block and there be clear turns case analysis given that is contextualized to the aff scenarios/solvency. Generic link walls are fine as long as you are doing that contextualization as well. I don't think winning case outweighs is all the aff needs to do when turns case analysis is competing against it, but I do think it is underutilized in the 1ar when paired with other arguments on the disad proper.
I really enjoy politics disads when their scenarios lean closer to plausible rather than just fiat spin +"and x is at the top of the docket now". I think warrant interaction on the uniqueness/link uniqueness question is where this sheet is usually won on either side. Generic pc is fake and winners win args aren't too persuasive unless contextualized to the current political climate.
I really love good counterplan debate. Generic counterplans are necessary and good. I think specific counterplans are even better. Counterplans that read evidence from the 1AC or an aff author are even better than that! I think process cp's are legitimate but prefer neg teams to explain how the net benefit is still a disad to the aff. Plan plus multi-plank advantage cp's are my new most hated CP on this topic - do with that info what you will.
Neg teams need to be sure to have a clear story/explanation for how the aff/perm links to the net benefit and the CP alone avoids it. I do not think the answer to solvency deficits is to go for "lens of sufficiency" or fiat, you need to explain how those deficits still allow the cp to solve the aff/avoid the net benefits. Severance/Intrinsic perm debates seem to be less common these days, but I still think they are important tools against "creative" aff perms.
I am okay with aff teams making multiple perms but those perms need to be explained and how they work before the 2ar is going for them. In that same regard, solvency deficits/perm shields the link analysis and implications must not be made for the first time in the 2ar either. Aff should be leveraging their "creative" permutation with their cp theory if the cp is even close to abusive, but I really don't like when rounds come down to just a theory question.
Theory that is more specific to the argument it is read against will typically have a higher chance of being viewed as a voter. I typically lean neg in most cases, except for bad PICs or convoluted process cp's. I think theory should also be used as a justification for other arguments you make in the round based on substance, not just a reason to reject the team.
My threshold for condo is very easily shifted by circumstances, but I generally believe it is a good idea for the aff to read condo in the 2ac if the neg is reading 3 or more counter-advocacies, though the likelihood of me voting on it largely depends on the amount of in-round abuse/sand-bagging strategy the neg is choosing to do. Aff needs to have a clear interpretation, and I find "no difference between 2/3/4 off" not very convincing by the neg, especially if the aff gives any type of intelligent analysis on time tradeoffs.
I believe frivolous theory bad is a voter, especially on procedural questions that the aff/neg themselves violate, but you need to do the work of showing how in round abuse is occurring and how the theory is frivolous.
On judge kick - if the neg tells me to and it's unanswered or the neg is ahead on the question of whether I should, then I will. Neg teams, you should tell me to do this in the block if you want it to be considered for the same reason 2ar condo strats are bad, you wouldn't want the aff to win on 5 minutes of judge kick bad in 2ar and it gives the aff plenty of time to respond/not respond to it by the 2nr.
Gordie O'Rorke (he/him)
- University of Texas '26 -- not debating
- Winston Churchill '22
- Put me on the email chain -- email@example.com
- I do not know this topic. Please explain acronyms, intricacies, etc. clearly. I am willing to listen to any arguments that aren't racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. Don't sacrifice clarity for speed--I don't care how good your arguments are if I can't understand them.
- I am tech>truth. You still need to extend arguments completely even if they're dropped.
Other Relevent Things:
- Not a fan of small talk.
- I prefer word docs over google docs and pdfs.
- Don't say "see-pee".
- Disclosure is good -- send your ev.
- Ok for it. I lean towards competing interps. Have an impact.
- Wildly arbitrary process cp's aren't my fav but I guess if you're good at it. Not good for intricate cp theory debates.
- No unique thoughts here. Love turns case args.
- Not familiar with niche lit bases and args. I prefer if you have an alt, but not necessary. I default to weighing the aff.
- Be in the direction of the topic. Love SSD and TVAs. I might get lost in deeply theoretical K v K debates.
- I am unfamiliar with the intricacies of these events. RVIs are a non-starter. I don't know what "tricks" are and I don't care to learn.
Tab, do whatever you do best. Comfortable with all arguments. I seek to minimize judge intervention. Impact comparison is incredibly important for my ballot. Absent a framing mechanism I default to Utilitarianism. I do not need an abuse claim to pull the trigger on T and Theory, my default is to consider them through the lens of modeling. I do not back fill warrants nor arguments. For example, a T and Theory require an explicit interp violation standards and voters. Commonly, non-extinction death impacts are not quantified, please quantify these arguments for me. For example, if your impact is a pandemic that does not lead to extinction, please tell me how many deaths per year. This makes it much easier for me to reach a decision at the end of the round without intervening.
Good with speed
Speaks: Organization and making the right game decisions are weighed heavily for speaks. I also enjoy a good cx period.
I did policy in high school and parli @ UT Tyler.
Background: 4 years at Baylor University, 1-Time NDT Qualifier. Assistant Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, 2018-2022, Assistant Coach at Dowling Catholic High School, 2019-Present. Currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science and I work for the Legislative Services Agency in Iowa.
Yes I want to be on the email chain: Sheaffly@gmail.com. Also email me with questions about this paradigm.
Paradigms are difficult to write because there are so many potential audiences. From novice middle schoolers to varsity college debaters, I judge it all. As a result, I want everyone reading this paradigm to realize that it was written mostly in terms of varsity college debates. I think about debate a little differently in high school and a little differently when it comes to novice debates, but I hope this gives you a general idea of how to debate in front of me
== TL;DR ==
Do line-by-line. I do not flow straight down and I do not flow off the speech doc. I am a DA/CP/Case kind of judge. I am bad at understanding kritiks and I am biased towards the topic being good. Be nice.
== Top Level - Flowing ==
It has become clear to me after years of judging that most of my decisions center not around my biases about arguments (which I won’t pretend not to have), but rather around my ability to understand your argument. My ability to understand your argument is directly related to how clean my flow is. Thus, it is in your best interest to make my flow very clean. I used to think I was bad at flowing, but I've come to the conclusion that line-by-line and organized debate has become a lost art. Debaters who learn this art are much more likely to win in front of me.
You are NOT as clear on tags as you think you are. Getting every 4th word of a tag is okay only if every 4th word is the key nouns and verbs. This is never true. So slow down on your tags, I am NOT READING THEM.
I’m not gonna flow everything straight down and then reconstruct the debate afterwards. The 1NC sets the order of the debate on the case, the 2AC sets the order of the debate off case. Abide by that order. Otherwise, I will spend time trying to figure out where to put your argument rather than writing it down and that’s bad for you.
Another tip: Find ways to give me pen time. For example, do not read 4 perms in a row. It’s impossible for me to write down all of those words. Plus, it’s always first and you haven’t even given me time to flip my paper over. And then your next argument is always an analytic about how the CP doesn’t solve and then I can’t write that down either. So stop doing things like that.
== Top Level – Arguments ==
Basic stuff: I love creativity and learning from debate. Make it clear to me how much you know about the arguments you are making. I don’t think this means you have to have cut every card you read, but understanding not just the substance of your argument, but the tricks within them is important.
As I said above, the thing that will be a problem for me is not understanding your argument. Unfortunately, this probably impacts Kritik debaters more than policy debaters, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I am probably a little more truth > tech than most judges. I believe in technical debate, but I also believe that debate is a place where truth is important. I don't care how many cards you have that say something, if the other team asserts it is not true and they are correct, they win the point.
== Top Level - Community Norms ==
1) For online debate, prep time stops when you unmute yourself and say stop prep. A couple of reasons for this. a) I have no way of verifying when you actually stopped prep if you come out and say "we stopped 15 seconds ago" and b) neither do your opponents, which means that you are basically forcing them to steal prep. I don't like it so that's the rule.
2) Debate is a messed-up community already. Don't make it more so. Be nice to each other. Have fun in the debate while you are disagreeing. If you make it seem like you think the other team is stupid during the debate, it's gonna make me grumpy. I love debate and I love watching people do it, but I hate confrontation and I hate it when people get angry about debates that don't matter that much in the long term. Be nice. Please.
3) This is mostly for high schoolers, where I see this issue all the time: If you are going to send a document without your analytics in it, making the version of the doc without the analytics in it IS PREP TIME. You don't get 45 seconds to send the document. Y'all are GenZ, I know you can send an email faster than that. You get 15 seconds before I break in and ask what the deal is. You get 20 seconds before I start prep again.
== Specifics ==
...Which Defend the Topic - I enjoy creativity. This includes creative interpretations of topicality. You should also read my thoughts on DAs as they apply to how you construct your advantages. Clear story is good.
...Which Do Not Defend the Topic - I am likely not a great judge for you. I think I may have a reputation as someone who hates these arguments. That reputation is not unearned, I built it up for years. But over time I’ve come to become a lot more accepting of them. There are many of these affirmatives that I think provide valuable debate. The problem I have is that I cannot figure out an interpretation of debate that allows the valuable "K Affs," but limits out the affs that I think are generally created to confuse their way to a win rather than provide actual valuable propositions for debate. I will always think of framework as a debate about what you JUSTIFY, rather than what you DO, and every interpretation I have ever seen in these debates simply lets in too much of the uneducational debates without providing a clear basis for clash.
I realize this sounds like I have been totally brainwashed by framework, and perhaps I have. But I want to be honest about where I'm at. That said, I think the above makes clear that if you have a defensible INTERPRETATION, I am willing to listen to it. You should also look at the section under kritiks, because I think it describes the fact that I need the actual argument of the affirmative to be clear. This generally means that, if your tags are poems, I am not ideologically opposed to that proposition, but you better also have very clear explanation of why you read that poem.
Framework: See discussion above. Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Education > procedural fairness > any other impact. “Ks are bad” is a bad argument, “their interpretation makes debate worse and uneducational” is a winnable argument. Topical version of the aff goes a long way with me.
Topicality: Good strategy. Impact, impact, impact. Case lists. Why that case list is bad. Affirmatives, you should talk about your education. I love creative interps of the topic if you defend them. But for the love of god slow down.
Disads: Absolutely. Well constructed DAs are very fun to watch. However, see truth vs. tech above – I have a lower threshold for “zero risk of a [link, impact, internal link] etc.” I love Politics DAs, but they’re all lies. I am up-to-date on the news. If you are not, do not go for the politics DA using updates your coaches cut. You will say things that betray that you don’t know what you’re talking about and it will hurt your speaks. Creative impact calc (outside of just magnitude, timeframe, probability) is the best impact calc.
Counterplans: I'm tired of the negative getting away with murder. I am VERY willing to listen to theory debates about some of these crazy process CPs which compete off of a net benefit or immedicacy/certainty. Theory debates are fun for me but for the love of god slow down. Otherwise, yeah, CPs are fine.
Kritiks: Eh. You can see the discussion above about K affs. I used to be rigidly ideological about hating the K. I am now convinced that the K can make good points. But because I was so against them for so long, I don’t understand them. I still think some Kritiks (here I am thinking mostly of French/German dudes) are basically designed to confuse the other team into losing. Problem is, I can’t tell the difference between those Kritiks and other Kritiks, because all Kritiks confuse me.
Very basic Ks are fine. Realism is bad, heg is bad, capitalism is bad, I get. Get much beyond that and I get lost. It's not that I think you're wrong it's that I have always been uninterested so I never learned what you're talking about. I cannot emphasize enough how little I understand what you're talking about. If this is your thing and I am already your judge, conceptualize your K like a DA/CP strategy and explain it to me like I have never heard it before. Literally, in your 2NC say: "We believe that X is bad. We believe that they do X because of this argument they have made. We believe the alternative solves for X." I cannot stress enough how serious I am that that sentence should be the top of your 2NC and 2NR. I have had this sentence in my judge philosophy for 3 years and this has been the top of the 2NC once (in a JV debate!). I do not know how much clearer I can be. Again, I am not morally opposed to Kritiks (anymore), I just do not understand them and I will not vote for something I do not understand. I believe you need a good link. Yes, the world is terrible, but why is the aff terrible. You also need to make your tags not a paragraph long, I never learned how to flow tags that were that long.