St Francis Invitational
2022 — St Francis, MN/US
Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Head Coach--Farmington High School (2020-date)
Co-JV/Varsity coach at Rosemount High School for 6 years (2014-2020)
Head Coach--Forest Lake, MN (1995-2000)
Assistant Coach--Mankato East (1993-1995)
Concordia College (1989-1993)
Rosemount High School (1985-1989) (NDT twice)
Staff--Concordia College Debate Institute, Minnesota Debate and Advocacy Workshop (MDAW)
Committee to develop the Novice Packet in Minnesota
To answer this ahead of time---yes, I want to be on your email chain. firstname.lastname@example.org NOTE THE CHANGE in email.
(If you care about previous judging records, look me up using the email@example.com address)
Generally more tech>truth. I debated in a world where the K was brand new and my partner and I won a lot of rounds on rhetoric K’s. K’s that relate to more traditional political concepts make the most sense for me (Cap, Biopower, Neolib, Abolition, Feminism, IR, etc) in the context of a policy debate round. I was not a philosophy major and I don’t get all excited about the nuances of Baudrillard, or other high theory topics. Lots of big, academic words don’t impress me and honestly, I probably don’t understand them in the same way you do so if you choose to run args like that, know that I probably don’t get, or care, about the distinctions you are making and I don’t really see how or why that arg is relevant to the debate round.
Policy maker at heart--I’d rather think about the consequences of plan than about academic discussion of high theory
If I don’t understand your argument, I don’t want to vote on it. Signposting will probably help you here.
If I can’t understand you (spreading, etc), I can’t vote on it
I won‘t judge kick for you. It was your strategy, not mine.
Racism/Sexism/Discrimination are non starters for me. It will be reflected in your speaker points.
Misgendering folks also is a non starter.
In this technological world, Disclosure Theory args strike me as a whine unless there is some sort of egregious situation that occurs.
I am a teacher and I look at debate through that lens. Education is the main reason why I do this activity.
I believe that the argument construction provided by Toulmin (claim/data/warrant) is the bedrock upon which competitive debate has been built.
I don't like judge intervention, you should be telling me how to vote in the final two rebuttals.
Online debate: I have coached and run tournaments this fall on line. I have also taught online both this past spring and this fall. However, I have not judged a lot this fall because of tabbing tournaments so I am not “expert” but I understand enough to not be intimidated by it. I do know that smart debaters will sacrifice a degree or two of speed in order to improve the clarity. I will tell you if you are not clear. I don’t want folks talking over each other during cross-ex. I will be patient with tech, but also mindful that we have a schedule and it is best to stick to that. If tech issues become extreme, I’ll ask the tab room how they want to proceed. I will probably not have my camera on so get verbal confirmation that I am there and ready to go before you start speaking.
I am also a fan of debaters being good human beings. Being kind, polite and remembering that we are all humans goes a long way in my book. If you are debating a less experienced team, there is no glory in crushing them into the ground. Remember, you were inexperienced at one point, as well. Additionally, I believe people should be consistent, both in terms of their arguments and, in the world of the K, in their advocacy. Post-Rounding me is also not cool. My decision is my decision and that will be your privilege when you are a judge.
If you have other questions, or concerns, please ask.
Chicago '05; Minnesota Law '14
For e-mail chains (which you should always use to accelerate evidence sharing): firstname.lastname@example.org
2022-23 rounds (as of 3/26): 155
Aff winning percentage: .529
("David" or "Mr. Coates" to you. I'll know you haven't bothered to read my paradigm if you call me "judge," which isn't my name).
I will not vote on disclosure theory. I will consider RVIs on disclosure theory based solely on the fact that you introduced it in the first place.
I will not vote on claims predicated on your opponents' rate of delivery and will probably nuke your speaker points if all you can come up with is "fast debate is bad" in response to faster opponents. Explain why their arguments are wrong, but don't waste my time complaining about how you didn't have enough time to answer bad arguments because...oh, wait, you wasted two minutes of a constructive griping about how you didn't like your opponents' speed.
I will not vote on frivolous "arguments" criticizing your opponent's sartorial choices (think "shoe theory" or "formal clothes theory" or "skirt length," which still comes up sometimes), and I will likely catapult your points into the sun for wasting my time and insulting your opponents with such nonsense.
You will probably receive a lecture if you highlight down your evidence to such an extent that it no longer contains grammatical sentences.
Allegations of ethical violations I determine not to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt will result in an automatic loss with the minimum allowable speaker points for the team introducing them.
Allegations of rule violations not supported by the plain text of a rule will make me seriously consider awarding you a loss with no speaker points.
I will actively intervene against new arguments in the last speech of the round, no matter what the debate format. New arguments in the 2AR are the work of the devil and I will not reward you for saving your best arguments for a speech after which they can't be answered. I will entertain claims that new arguments in the 2AR are automatic voting issues for the negative or that they justify a verbal 3NR. Turnabout is fair play.
I will not entertain claims that your opponents should not be allowed to answer your arguments because of personal circumstances beyond their control. Personally abusive language about, or directed at, your opponents will have me looking for reasons to vote against you.
I'm okay with slow-walking you through how my decision process works or how I think you can improve your strategic decision making or get better speaker points, but I've no interest, at this point in my career, in relitigating a round I've already decided you've lost. "What would be a better way to make this argument?" will get me actively trying to help you. "Why didn't you vote on this (vague claim)?" will just make me annoyed.
I have been an active coach, primarily of policy debate (though I'm now doing active work only on the LD side), since the 2000-01 season (the year of the privacy topic). Across divisions and events, I generally judge between 100 and 120 rounds a year.
My overall approach to debate is extremely substance dominant. I don't really care what substantive arguments you make as long as you clash with your opponents and fulfill your burdens vis-à-vis the resolution. I will not import my own understanding of argumentative substance to bail you out when you're confronting bad substance--if the content of your opponents' arguments is fundamentally false, they should be especially easy for you to answer without any help from me. (Contrary to what some debaters have mistakenly believed in the past, this does not mean that I want to listen to you run wipeout or spark--I'd actually rather hear you throw down on inherency or defend "the value is justice and the criterion is justice"--but merely that I think that debaters who can't think their way through incredibly stupid arguments are ineffective advocates who don't deserve to win).
My general default (and the box I've consistently checked on paradigm forms) is that of a fairly conventional policymaker. Absent other guidance from the teams involved, I will weigh the substantive advantages and disadvantages of a topical plan against those of the status quo or a competitive counterplan. I'm amenable to alternative evaluative frameworks but generally require these to be developed with more depth and clarity than most telegraphic "role of the ballot" claims usually provide.
THOUGHTS APPLICABLE TO ALL DEBATE FORMATS
That said, I do have certain predispositions and opinions about debate practice that may affect how you choose to execute your preferred strategy:
1. I am skeptical to the point of fairly overt hostility toward most non-resolutional theory claims emanating from either side. Aff-initiated debates about counterplan and kritik theory are usually vague, devoid of clash, and nearly impossible to flow. Neg-initiated "framework" "arguments" usually rest on claims that are either unwarranted or totally implicit. I understand that the affirmative should defend a topical plan, but what I don't understand after "A. Our interpretation is that the aff must run a topical plan; B. Standards" is why the aff's plan isn't topical. My voting on either sort of "argument" has historically been quite rare. It's always better for the neg to run T than "framework," and it's usually better for the aff to use theory claims to justify their own creatively abusive practices ("conditional negative fiat justifies intrinsicness permutations, so here are ten intrinsicness permutations") than to "argue" that they're independent voting issues.
1a. That said, I can be merciless toward negatives who choose to advance contradictory conditional "advocacies" in the 1NC should the affirmative choose to call them out. The modern-day tendency to advance a kritik with a categorical link claim together with one or more counterplans which link to the kritik is not one which meets with my approval. There was a time when deliberately double-turning yourself in the 1NC amounted to an automatic loss, but the re-advent of what my late friend Ross Smith would have characterized as "unlimited, illogical conditionality" has unfortunately put an end to this and caused negative win percentages to swell--not because negatives are doing anything intelligent, but because affirmatives aren't calling them out on it. I'll put it this way--I have awarded someone a 30 for going for "contradictory conditional 'advocacies' are illegitimate" in the 2AR.
2. Offensive arguments should have offensive links and impacts. "The 1AC didn't talk about something we think is important, therefore it doesn't solve the root cause of every problem in the world" wouldn't be considered a reason to vote negative if it were presented on the solvency flow, where it belongs, and I fail to understand why you should get extra credit for wasting time developing your partial case defense with less clarity and specificity than an arch-traditional stock issue debater would have. Generic "state bad" links on a negative state action topic are just as bad as straightforward "links" of omission in this respect.
3. Kritik arguments should NOT depend on my importing special understandings of common terms from your authors, with whose viewpoints I am invariably unfamiliar or in disagreement. For example, the OED defines "problematic" as "presenting a problem or difficulty," so while you may think you're presenting round-winning impact analysis when you say "the affirmative is problematic," all I hear is a non-unique observation about how the aff, like everything else in life, involves difficulties of some kind.I am not hostile to critical debates--some of the best debates I've heard involved K on K violence, as it were--but I don't think it's my job to backfill terms of art for you, and I don't think it's fair to your opponents for me to base my decision in these rounds on my understanding of arguments which have been inadequately explained.
3a. I guess we're doing this now...most of the critical literature with which I'm most familiar involves pretty radical anti-statism. You might start by reading "No Treason" and then proceeding to authors like Hayek, Hazlitt, Mises, and Rothbard. I know these are arguments a lot of my colleagues really don't like, but they're internally consistent, so they have that advantage.
3a(1). Section six of "No Treason," the one with which you should really start, is available at the following link: https://oll-resources.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/oll3/store/titles/2194/Spooner_1485_Bk.pdf so get off your cans and read it already. It will greatly help you answer arguments based on, inter alia, "the social contract."
3a(2). If you genuinely think that something at the tournament is making you unsafe, you may talk to me about it and I will see if there is a solution. Far be it from me to try to make you unable to compete.
4. The following solely self-referential "defenses" of your deliberate choice to run an aggressively non-topical affirmative are singularly unpersuasive:
a. "Topicality excludes our aff and that's bad because it excludes our aff." This is not an argument. This is just a definition of "topicality." I won't cross-apply your case and then fill in argumentative gaps for you.
b. "There is no topical version of our aff." This is not an answer. This is a performative concession of the violation.
c. "The topic forces us to defend the state and the state is racist/sexist/imperialist/settler colonial/oppressive toward 'bodies in the debate space.'" I'm quite sure that most of your authors would advocate, at least in the interim, in favor of increased international cooperation in "topically designated areas" at a time when a novel pandemic has made us dependent for the past two and a half years of "two weeks to flatten the curve" on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity in the virtual "debate space" and of which biotechnology offers promising ways out.
d. "Killing debate is good." Leaving aside the incredible "intellectual" arrogance of this statement, what are you doing here if you believe this to be true? You could overtly "kill debate" more effectively were you to withhold your "contributions" and depress participation numbers, which would have the added benefit of sparing us from having to listen to you.
e. "This is just a wrong forum argument." And? There is, in fact, a FORUM expressly designed to allow you to subject your audience to one-sided speeches about any topic under the sun you "feel" important without having to worry about either making an argument or engaging with an opponent. Last I checked, that FORUM was called "oratory." Try it next time.
f. "The topic selection process is unfair/disenfranchises 'bodies in the debate space.'" In what universe is it more fair for you to get to impose a debate topic on your opponents without consulting them in advance than for you to abide by the results of a topic selection process to which all students were invited to contribute and in which all students were invited to vote?
g. "Fairness is bad." Don't tempt me to vote against you for no reason to show you why fairness is, in fact, good.
5. Many of you are genuinely bad at organizing your speeches. Fix that problem by keeping the following in mind:
a. Off-case flows should be clearly labeled the first time they're introduced. It's needlessly difficult to keep track of what you're trying to do when you expect me to invent names for your arguments for you. I know that some hipster kid "at" some "online debate institute" taught you that it was "cool" to introduce arguments in the 1N with nothing more than "next off" to confuse your opponents, but remember that you're also confusing your audience when you do that, and I, unlike your opponents, have the power to deduct speaker points for poor organization if "next off--Biden disadvantage" is too hard for you to spit out. I'm serious about this.
b. Transitions between individual arguments should be audible. It's not that difficult to throw a "next" in there and it keeps you from sounding like this: "...wreck their economies and set the stage for an era of international confrontation that would make the Cold War look like Woodstock extinction Mead 92 what if the global economy stagnates...." The latter, because it fails to distinguish between the preceding card and subsequent tag, is impossible to flow, and it's not my job to look at your speech document to impose organization with which you couldn't be bothered.
c. Your arguments should line up with those of your opponents. "Embedded clash" flows extremely poorly for me. I will not automatically pluck warrants out of your four-minute-long scripted kritik overview and then apply them for you, nor will I try to figure out what, exactly, a fragment like "yes, link" followed by a minute of unintelligible, undifferentiated boilerplate is supposed to answer.
6. I don't mind speed as long as it's clear and purposeful:
a. Many of you don't project your voices enough to compensate for the poor acoustics of the rooms where debates often take place. I'll help you out by yelling "clearer" or "louder" at you no more than twice if I can't make out what you're saying, but after that you're on your own.
b. There are only two legitimate reasons for speed: Presenting more arguments and presenting more argumentative development. Fast delivery should not be used as a crutch for inefficiency. If you're using speed merely to "signpost" by repeating vast swaths of your opponents' speeches or to read repetitive cards tagged "more evidence," I reserve the right to consider persuasive delivery in how I assign points, meaning that you will suffer deductions you otherwise would not have had you merely trimmed the fat and maintained your maximum sustainable rate.
7: I have a notoriously low tolerance for profanity and will not hesitate to severely dock your points for language I couldn't justify to the host school's teachers, parents, or administrators, any of whom might actually overhear you. When in doubt, keep it clean. Don't jeopardize the activity's image any further by failing to control your language when you have ample alternative fora for profane forms of self-expression.
8: For crying out loud, it is not too hard to respect your opponents' preferred pronouns (and "they" is always okay in policy debate because it's presumed that your opponents agree about their arguments), but I will start vocally correcting you if you start engaging in behavior I've determined is meant to be offensive in this context. You don't have to do that to gain some sort of perceived competitive advantage and being that intentionally alienating doesn't gain you any friends.
9. I guess that younger judges engage in more paradigmatic speaker point disclosure than I have in the past, so here are my thoughts:Historically, the arithmetic mean of my speaker points any given season has averaged out to about 27.9. I think that you merit a 27 if you've successfully used all of your speech time without committing round-losing tactical errors, and your points can move up from there by making gutsy strategic decisions, reading creative arguments, and using your best public speaking skills. Of course, your points can decline for, inter alia, wasting time, insulting your opponents, or using offensive language. I've "awarded" a loss-15 for a false allegation of an ethics violation and a loss-18 for a constructive full of seriously inappropriate invective. Don't make me go there...tackle the arguments in front of you head-on and without fear or favor and I can at least guarantee you that I'll evaluate the content you've presented fairly.
NOTES FOR LINCOLN-DOUGLAS!
PREF SHORTCUT: stock ≈ policy > K > framework > Tricks > Theory
I have historically spent much more time judging policy than LD and my specific topic knowledge is generally restricted to arguments I've helped my LD debaters prepare. In the context of most contemporary LD topics, which mostly encourage recycling arguments which have been floating around in policy debate for decades, this shouldn't affect you very much. With more traditionally phrased LD resolutions ("A just society ought to value X over Y"), this might direct your strategy more toward straight impact comparison than traditional V/C debating.
Also, my specific preferences about how _substantive_ argumentation should be conducted are far less set in stone than they would be in a policy debate. I've voted for everything from traditional value/criterion ACs to policy-style ACs with plan texts to fairly outright critical approaches...and, ab initio, I'm fine with more or less any substantive attempt by the negative to engage whatever form the AC takes, subject to the warnings about what constitutes a link outlined above. (Not talking about something is not a link). Engage your opponent's advocacy and engage the topic and you should be okay.
N.B.: All of the above comments apply only to _substantive_ argumentation. See the section on "theory" in in the overview above if you want to understand what I think about those "arguments," and square it. If winning that something your opponent said is "abusive" is a major part of your strategy, you're going to have to make some adjustments if you want to win in front of me. I can't guarantee that I'll fully understand the basis for your theory claims, and I tend to find theory responses with any degree of articulation more persuasive than the claim that your opponent should lose because of some arguably questionable practice, especially if whatever your opponent said was otherwise substantively responsive. I also tend to find "self-help checks abuse" responses issue-dispositive more often than not. That is to say, if there is something you could have done to prevent the impact to the alleged "abuse," and you failed to do it, any resulting "time skew," "strat skew," or adverse impact on your education is your own fault, and I don't think you should be rewarded with a ballot for helping to create the very condition you're complaining about.
I have voted on theory "arguments" unrelated to topicality in Lincoln-Douglas debates precisely zero times. Do you really think you're going to be the first to persuade me to pull the trigger?
Addendum: To quote my colleague Anthony Berryhill, with whom I paneled the final round of the Isidore Newman Round Robin: " "Tricks debate" isn't debate. Deliberate attempts to hide arguments, mislead your opponent, be unethical, lie...etc. to screw your opponent will be received very poorly. If you need tricks and lying to win, either "git' good" (as the gamers say) or prefer a different judge." I say: I would rather hear you go all-in on spark or counterintuitive internal link turns than be subjected to grandstanding about how your opponent "dropped" some "tricky" half-sentence theory or burden spike. If you think top-loading these sorts of "tricks" in lieu of properly developing substance in the first constructive is a good idea, you will be sorely disappointed with your speaker points and you will probably receive a helpful refresher on how I absolutely will not tolerate aggressive post-rounding. Everyone's value to life increases when you fill the room with your intelligence instead of filling it with your trickery.
AND SPECIFIC NOTES FOR PUBLIC FORUM
NB: After the latest timing disaster, in which a public forum round which was supposed to take 40 minutes took over two hours and wasted the valuable time of the panel, I am seriously considering imposing penalties on teams who make "off-time" requests for evidence or needless requests for original articles or who can't locate a piece of evidence requested by their opponents during crossfire. This type of behavior--which completely disregards the timing norms found in every other debate format--is going to kill this activity because no member of the "public" who has other places to be is interested in judging an event where this type of temporal elongation of rounds takes place.
NB: I actually don't know what "we outweigh on scope" is supposed to mean. I've had drilled into my head that there are four elements to impact calculus: timeframe, probability, magnitude, and hierarchy of values. I'd rather hear developed magnitude comparison (is it worse to cause a lot of damage to very few people or very little damage to a lot of people? This comes up most often in debates about agricultural subsidies of all things) than to hear offsetting, poorly warranted claims about "scope."
NB: In addition to my reflections about improper citation practices infra, I think that evidence should have proper tags. It's really difficult to flow you, or even to follow the travel of your constructive, when you have a bunch of two-sentence cards bleeding into each other without any transitions other than "Larry '21," "Jones '21," and "Anderson '21."
NB: The regrettable PF habit of not using explicit taglines for your evidence severely impedes the travel of your speeches. I really would rather hear tag-cite-text than whatever you're doing. Thus: "Further, economic decline causes nuclear war. Mead '92" rather than "Mead '92 furthers...".
1. You should remember that, notwithstanding its pretensions to being for the "public," this is a debate event. Allowing it to degenerate into talking past each other with dueling oratories past the first pro and first con makes it more like a speech event than I would like, and practically forces me to inject my own thoughts on the merits of substantive arguments into my evaluative process. I can't guarantee that you'll like the results of that, so:
2. Ideally, the second pro/second con/summary stage of the debate will be devoted to engaging in substantive clash (per the activity guidelines, whether on the line-by-line or through introduction of competing principles, which one can envision as being somewhat similar to value clash in a traditional LD round if one wants an analogy) and the final foci will be devoted to resolving the substantive clash.
3. Please review the sections on "theory" in the policy and LD philosophies above. I'm not interested in listening to rule-lawyering about how fast your opponents are/whether or not it's "fair"/whether or not it's "public" for them to phrase an argument a certain way. I'm doubly unenthused about listening to theory "debates" where the team advancing the theory claim doesn't understand the basis for it.* These "debates" are painful enough to listen to in policy and LD, but they're even worse to suffer through in PF because there's less speech time during which to resolve them. Unless there's a written rule prohibiting them (e.g., actually advocating specific plan/counterplan texts), I presume that all arguments are theoretically legitimate, and you will be fighting an uphill battle you won't like trying to persuade me otherwise. You're better off sticking to substance (or, better yet, using your opposition's supposedly dubious stance to justify meting out some "abuse" of your own) than getting into a theoretical "debate" you simply won't have enough time to win, especially given my strong presumption against this style of "argumentation."
*I've heard this misunderstanding multiple times from PF debaters who should have known better: "The resolution isn't justified because some policy in the status quo will solve the 'pro' harms" is not, in fact, a counterplan. It's an inherency argument. There is no rule saying the "con" can't redeploy policy stock issues in an appropriately "public" fashion and I know with absolute metaphysical certitude that many of the initial framers of the public forum rules are big fans of this general school of argumentation.
4. If it's in the final focus, it should have been in the summary. I will patrol the second focus for new arguments. If it's in the summary and you want me to consider it in my decision, you'd better mention it in the final focus. It is definitely not my job to draw lines back to arguments for you. Your defense on the case flow is not "sticky," as some of my PF colleagues put it, as far as I'm concerned.
5. While I pay attention to crossfire, I don't flow it. It's not intended to be a period for initiating arguments, so if you want me to consider something that happened in crossfire in my decision, you have to mention it in your side's first subsequent speech.
6. You should cite authors by name. "Harvard," as an institution, doesn't conduct studies of issues that aren't solely internal Harvard matters, so you sound awful when you attribute your study about right-to-work laws to "Harvard." "According to Professor Sachs of Harvard" (yes, he's a professor of labor law at Harvard who's recognized as an expert on this particular issue) doesn't take much longer to say than "according to Harvard," and has the considerable advantage of accuracy.
7. You all need to improve your time management skills and stop proliferating dead time if you'd like rounds to end at a civilized hour.
a. You people really need to streamline your "off-time" evidence exchanges. These are getting ridiculous and seem mostly like excuses for stealing prep time. I recently had to sit through a pre-crossfire set of requests for evidence which lasted for seven minutes. This is simply unacceptable. If you have your laptops with you, why not borrow a round-acceleration tactic from your sister formats and e-mail your speech documents to one another? Even doing this immediately after a speech would be much more efficient than the awkward fumbling around in which you usually engage.
b. This means that you should card evidence properly and not force your opponents to dig around a 25-page document for the section you've just summarized during unnecessary dead time. Your sister debate formats have had the "directly quoting sources" thing nailed dead to rights for decades. Why can't you do the same? Minimally, you should be able to produce the sections of articles you're purporting to summarize immediately when asked.
c. You don't need to negotiate who gets to question first in crossfire. I shouldn't have to waste precious seconds listening to you ask your opponents' permission to ask a question. It's simple to understand that the first-speaking team should always ask, and the second-speaking team always answer, the first question...and after that, you may dialogue.
d. If you're going to insist on giving an "off-time road map," it should take you no more than five seconds and be repeated no more than zero times. This is PF...do you seriously believe we can't keep track of TWO flows?
Was sich überhaupt sagen lässt, lässt sich klar sagen; und wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber muss man schweigen.
I am a lay parent judge who competed in high school speech (extemporaneous speaking) for several years. I had limited experience with LD debate. This is my first time judging policy debate.
Policy Debate Judging Notes
I am generally comfortable with the arguments in the novice case limits. I am fine with tag teaming in cross-ex as long as you do not dominate your partner's questioning time.
I am generally fine with spreading, but within reason. Be coherent while spreading, and I will have no issue with your speed.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Judging Notes
Value/framework debates have a place in LD. You should convince me that your value/criterion is stronger than that of your opponents by providing solid contentions that clearly support your value/criterion.
Respond to your opponent's arguments. Failing to address the opponent's arguments suggests you either agree with the arguments or do not have counterarguments.
Any hate speech will result in an automatic drop and a loss in speaker points. You will also be reported to Tabroom. I expect respectful behavior.
Experience: I debated for Eagan High School for 4 years and I am in my fourth year of coaching policy debate for them. I have debated primarily in policy debate, but I was also a congress debater for a year and a half and dabbled in Big Questions. I have been judging in some capacity for 7 years starting my freshman year primarily for the MNUDL.
Topicality: I believe topicality is an important question in the debate space and will never dismiss it as an arbitrary argument. However, I am also very open to arguments that prove why topicality is not necessary for the aff or is actually a detriment to debate. If proved properly and argued well I will totally buy that some affs should be untopical and that topicality is actually a detriment to debate in specific circumstances.
K's: I ran some k's and debated a lot of them and have read a lot of critical literature in college, but I have a high-ish bar for K's. Particularly on the alt, without an alt, k's are vague DA's, so run them that way, or actually explain the alt to me. I think I've heard maybe 1 alt ever that actually make sense so I'm not expecting to buy what you say. That being said, if the other team fumbles it, I'll vote for you. I like the theory base for k's, but I often don't think they actually make sense in a debate context.
Speed: I don't like speed debate, to be 100% honest. I debated somewhat fast and I can hear fast, but I've never liked it. I think it is one of the largest contributors to the death of policy debate and the reduction in the quality of arguments. It's made 80% of rounds I see blippy and underdeveloped on both sides where just the sheer volume of arguments is preferred to the quality, specificity or emphasis of positions. Everyone just scrolls down an email and no one has to listen to speeches. Also, I will not / can not catch every single little analytical you spew onto the flow when you're spreading 7 words a second and any judge that claims they can is lying. If you want me to pay attention to something specific, SLOW DOWN and EXPLAIN instead of making your tags 5 words long and reading 5 point blocks full of jargon and hyphens. I am a human being, not a robot, I can't flow everything perfectly, you'll need to accommodate the sad reality that I am not, unfortunately, a literal flowing machine.
How I Judge: Generally, I will vote on "tech" over "truth". Though the macro level is also vitally important to a debate, I wholeheartedly believe that the judge should never do any work for the debaters. I will only take what arguments and analysis the debaters provide in the round, I will not allow my personal opinion or judgment of "common sense" to rewrite what was actually said. This means that I highly value drops and extensions in round. However, I will NOT evaluate an argument if I don't hear it or if it is just as blippy as every other argument in the speech. If you want me to take an argument more seriously than others it is your responsibility to blow that up (which means, yes, maybe you should slow down to show emphasis). Pointing out when things are dropped and continuing to extend impacts and voters is crucial, but you have to actually extend it IN DETAIL. I believe at the end of the day that debate is an educational game to teach knowledge and skills. The point is to have fun, think critically and help everyone involved to learn more about the world we live in.
Framing: I try to be open minded about framing and the weighing you give me in the round and as described above, I'll take what you give me. That being said, I don't like extinction scenarios and in general I don't like crappy internal link chains that get you to extinction or other extreme scenarios with little to no real explanation. I think probability, overall, makes the most sense, and I don't think terminal impacts have some exalted place above structural ones. Usually, these link chains become trash earlier, like "econ collapse = global war" with little to no explanation. Realistically, most teams don't actually contest these links, but I like it when teams do. Really press these teams on how we're getting to literal extinction from one plan in congress, you know? If you told that to anyone outside of debate, they'd laugh at you. Convince me why I shouldn't be laughing too.
Other Things: Don't expect me (or anyone for that matter) to know the complex intricacies of your k rhetoric or obscure policy action, explain your evidence like you would to a non-debater. This will improve clarity, accuracy and quality of debate for everyone in the round (and maybe up your speaker points as well). I do not know all of the specific positions and I'm no expert on the topic knowledge. It will take me longer to grasp things you explain less, that might mean I don't fully understand something you were saying by the end of the round. It is your burden to make sure that doesn't happen, like I said above, I'm not a calculating super-computer, I'm a fallible human, please treat me like one.
Evidence/Flowing: I would like to be on the email chain for convenience's sake, but I'll try not to just read along during your speech. More importantly, I don't want to have to read along during your speech. It is your responsibility to speak clearly enough for me to hear and write down your argument. I'll only look at the evidence in depth if told to.
Yena Koo (she/her)
Please add me to the email chain!! --> email@example.com
Speed --> I am fine with speed, spread through whatever you want in your constructive speeches but BE CLEAR and slow down a little on your tags and analytics.
I don't care if you tag team if both teams are okay with it (just don't abuse it --- example being cutting your partner off)
I am fine with whatever you run as long as the arguments you are presenting are well articulated/developed (that being said, just do your best!).
I'm not gonna time your speeches, prep, or cx.
Don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc...
+0.5 speaks if you roast Lauren Chang or Celeste Eckstein in one of your speeches (depends if it is funny or not though...)
Reference Sabeeh Mirza's paradigm for further info.
Background: I did extemp and policy in high school, I currently do extemp in college. I ran more pragmatic arguments in high school. That being said, I haven't heard fast spreading in a long time, so please be as clear as possible, especially online. If you cannot be clear then please speak slower.
Affs: I am fine with critical affs, but you need to defend topicality, solvency, etc.
Negs: I'm fine with k's, but cover your bases. I am not well read into critical theory, so if you are obscure theory or a complicated take on theory, explain it like you are talking to a five year old. I will vote neg on presumption, but the burden flips if negative runs a counteradvocacy. I am fine with T, make sure you have a whole T shell. A definition without voters or standards is not a topicality argument
Any questions, feel free to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris McDonald (He/Him) - email@example.com
Use the above email for any email chains during the round.
Head Coach Eagan High School in Minnesota
While I mainly have coached and judged Policy Debate for the past 35 years I do judge my fair share of LD and Public Forum Debate Rounds.
Policy Debate - Please know that while I used to judge a lot of rounds throughout the season in policy debate it has been 5 years since I judged more than just a handful of policy rounds. I do work with my school's varsity policy team.
My philosophy has pretty much remained consistent throughout my career. I consider policy debate to be a test of policy based ideas between two teams. How those teams approach the topic and frame the debate is entirely up to them. Below are a few things to know about me on some specifics but please know my primary objective is for us to have an enjoyable round of debate.
Delivery Speed - Since it has been a few years for me since last judging lots of policy debate my ability to listen to really fast debate has faded. Please keep it to a slightly slower speed of delivery especially using the online platforms. I will let you know if you are unclear or going too fast by verbally indicating such during your speech. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being oratory speed and 10 being approaching the sound barrier (only joking here) I would place myself as a 7 these days.
Topicality - I enjoy a good topicality debate but have found that over the years teams are taking too many shortcuts with the initial development of the topicality violation. I prefer topicality to have a clear definition, a clearly developed violation, standards for evaluating the violation and reasons why it is a voting issue. For the affirmative side you really need to engage with the topicality violation and provide a counter interpretation that supports your interpretation of the resolution. Topicality is distinct from framework.
Framework - I also enjoy evaluating a debate when framework is clearly articulated and argued by both the affirmative and negative sides. Framework is focused around how you would like me to evaluate the arguments in the round. Do you prefer a consequentialist framework, a deontological framework, etc..
Critiques - I am fine with critical approaches by the negative and the affirmative sides. For the affirmative please keep in mind that you will need to defend your critical affirmative as either a topical representation of criminal justice reform or why it is important for us to debate your affirmative even if it isn't necessarily within the boundaries of the topic.
Flow - Please label all arguments and positions clearly throughout the debate. Signposting has become a lost art. Debaters doing an effective job of signposting and labeling will be rewarded with higher speaker points.
Disadvantages - Please be certain to articulate your links clearly and having clear internal links helps a great deal.
Counter plans - I think counter plans are an essential tool for negative teams. Please note that I am not a big fan of multiple conditional counter plans. Running a couple of well developed counter plans is better than running 4 or 5 underdeveloped counter plans. Counter plans should have a text to compete against the affirmative plan text.
Theory - General theory in debate rounds like conditionality and that are fine but have rarely been round winners without a lot of time devoted to why theory should be considered over substance.
If you have any questions please let me know and I will happily answer those questions.
1. I am not a fan of theory as it plays out in LD debate rounds. Most of the theory that is argued is pretty meaningless when it comes to the topics at hand. I will only consider topicality if the affirmative is presenting a plan text in the round. I ask that the debaters debate the topic as it is written and not as they would like it to be.
2. Beyond my dislike for theory you are free to pretty much debate the round as you see fit. Please keep your speed to a level where you are clear especially considering buffering time with online platforms you should probably slow down from what you think you are capable of during in-person debates.
3. Evidence should be shared using an email chain. Please include me at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. If you have specific questions please ask. I will disclose at the end of the round but I will also respect the tournaments schedule and work to keep it on time.
1. Evidence is very important to me. I prefer direct quotation of evidence over paraphrasing but understand that paraphrasing is allowed in PF. Please make note of the new NSDA rule regarding paraphrasing. Source Citations: make sure that you present enough of a source citation that I should have no problem locating the evidence you present in the round. This would include the author or periodical name and date at a minimum. So we are clear Harvard in 2014 is not a source citation. Harvard is a really great University but has, to my knowledge never written a word without the assistance of some human that attends or works at Harvard.
2. There is to be no game playing with regards to evidence sharing during or after the round. If you are asked for evidence by your opponents you must produce it in a timely manner or I will discount the evidence and only treat the argument as an unsubstantiated assertion on your part. Even if it means handing over one of your laptops you must provide evidence for inspection by the other team so that they may evaluate it and respond to the evidence in subsequent speeches.
3. Prep Time - you are only provided with 3 minutes of prep time. Please use it wisely. I will only give a little latitude with regards to untimed evidence sharing or organizing your flows, but please be efficient and quick about it.
4. Argument choices are completely up to the debaters. I prefer a good substantive debate with clear clash and that the debaters compare and weigh the arguments they feel are important for their side to prevail as the debate comes into focus but the substance of those arguments is completely within the control of the teams debating.
5. Please respect your opponents and treat everyone involved in the debate round with the utmost respect. Speaker points will be effected by any rude behavior on the part of a debater.
6. I will disclose and discuss my decision at the end of the round so long as there is time and the tournament stays on schedule.
7. Finally, please remember to have fun and enjoy the experience.
I view myself as a traditional but flexible LD judge. When making a decision I try to keep an open mind, and only consider the arguments that have been presented in the round as they were presented. I don’t believe in filling in the blanks for the debaters. I will entertain any argument as long as it is well explained. Speed is not a problem.
I do believe that the resolution is important, and should be interpreted precisely and with reasonable assumptions about drafters intent. Unless you tell me to do otherwise, In making a decision, I start with the resolution, then move to the value, then the criterion, then the contentions. In most rounds that I hear, the value is basically ignored, but I am happy to listen to debate on the value. In my view, Morality and justice as they are typically presented are not values, at least not ones worth debating. They are broad conceptions that have no meaning unless informed by actual values upon which there can be clash (freedom, responsibility, equality, human life, etc.). Every villain thinks s/he is moral and just, and is when viewed through the values that inform them. The question is, are the values that inform one persons conception of morality more or less valid than those that inform another person’s.
So, when deciding a round, unless you explicitly request that I decide the round in a different way, and either get your opponent to agree or out-debate your opponent on why your judging criteria should be used, I will use what is said in the round to determine: first, what should be valued (generally based on how it links directly into the resolution), second, what criterion should be used to determine if the value is upheld, and finally, which debater best upholds the criterion.
Hey, my name is Teddy! I am an assistant coach for Farmington (MN) and I currently debate for the University of Minnesota.
Topics that I have debated: arms sales, CJR, anti-trust, & legal personhood; coached: water protection & NATO
My general view of debate rounds is that debate is a game that tests policy options to solve problems outlined by the resolution of that year--the aff must identify an issue, propose a solution, and then prove that that solution works. The neg must test the strength of that policy, which can be done various ways with multiple positions to make sure the policy is thoroughly tested. I generally default to tech--but can easily be persuaded truth outweighs/comes 1st. Education can spill over (depending on method), debate is a game--but NOT one where “anything goes”--remember to be decent. I have a tendency to view myself as a policy-maker most often, BUT value education highly and can be convinced to switch my evaluation/calculus.
**I worry that my paradigm scares people away from reading Ks in front of me--here are my K-specific thoughts: While I default to a policy-maker if not given a specific-paradigm to follow, I think that the 1AC has the ability to dramatically switch what calculus I use to evaluate the round--it's just up to them to give me a role as the judge & warrant it out. On the neg, I think that the K is a totally reasonable way to prove that the AFF is bad to implement or makes the harms within the squo worse--I prefer Ks that have unique or specific links to the plantext, the assumptions or representations of the aff (including rhetoric), and/or have a way to solve those issues via the alt (or at least prove they don't have to). Framework & theory args that are framed around education are particularly convincing to me.
If your position requires a TW, don't read it in front of me. Send pre-written blocks/analytics/extensions in the chain for accessibility reasons, especially if you intend to read them one right after the other or really fast. Rhetoric does matter and has an immediate, irreversible impact--please still impact out these arguments in the round, though.
If I am judging a category that isn't Policy/CX: please be patient--I'm still learning. Yes, I'm fine with speed. Please make an email chain. Send out everything you intend to read the first time.
I debated at Eagan High School for four years, three of which being on the Policy Debate team. Although not debating there, I'm a college graduate from the University of Washington with a varied range of interests including Philosophy, Mathematics, Computer Science, Linguistics, and Political Science.
I tend to abide by the principle that debate is a game meant to improve the education and public speaking of its participants, but I am open to a wide variety of differing interpretations of the activity so long as they are well-substantiated. Without the presence of super-ceding frameworks, I default to a humanitarian-utilitarian policy maker. I will not make arguments for you that aren't on the flow. If you want me to think something, you have to say it in round.
Note that "Default" is the operating term in the above header, and I am willing to be persuaded to vote on any argument that is supported well-enough and doesn't inherently create a hostile debate environment.
No specific argument by default will be rejected by me. If you can argue it, I want to hear it. I do have a word of warning however:
-I've never had the greatest relationship with dense K-theory. Please, if you are going to run these types of arguments, be prepared to give clear and compelling rebuttals which tell the story of the K.
Speed is totally fine with me, but I find my ability to flow comes best when it is clear. I love it when tags are slowed down, and analytics especially need a clearer (often slower) explanation compared to card text.
If I were to emphasize any of these categories the most, it would be this one. Please please please make the debate space an inclusive, empathetic, and (dare I say) fun activity for all participants. Belittling, mocking, or name-calling your opposition is not an effective rhetorical tactic, and you'll often find it has the opposite effect on the round results.
I did LD and PF in high school, but I am almost certainly rusty now. I am fine with speed so long as you're clear, but add me to the email chain if you're going fast (300 wpm is definitely fast for me).
In front of me you're probably best off focusing on the line by line, though I would much appreciate it if you make weighing arguments in later speeches.
Would also like to see more evidence comparison, or at least detailed arguments on warrants. If I hear plausible evidence that says the US heg deters conflict with China and plausible evidence that US heg causes war with China, I will most likely evaluate it as neutral unless someone gives me a justification to prefer one piece of evidence over the other.
Feel free to make any arguments that you can warrant well. I prefer phil or policy debates, but kritiks or theory are fine. I think a lot of theory debates are unwarranted and blippy but if theory is the best way to engage an argument then go for it. For kritiks just make sure the arguments are understandable without having read through the literature, at least for more obscurantist authors like Deleuze. If I don't find an argument well warranted or plausible I will be much less happy to vote on it and will accept weaker answers.
Experience: I am a fourth-year policy coach for Rosemount High School. I debated for 4 years at Rosemount High School and currently attend the University of Minnesota for a degree in political science and election administration. My main experience in argumentation is in policy-oriented positions, specifically in legal theory (court CP's, Court Legitimacy, Test Case FIAT, etc), although I did often run critical arguments such as Neoliberalism, Security, Legalism, and Ableism.
Please include me on email chains: email@example.com
Specific for this Year's Policy Topic: I love the security K, and I think it is probably one of the best Ks on this topic. I also love any cyber-security and elections security affs, because it directly relates to what I do.
Framing: I view debate in a few ways:
1. It is an educational activity first and foremost. Everything else (competitive success, winning, etc) is second to education. If you aren't learning, then you aren't succeeding in debate. If you do things that actively harm someone else's education, then you will get bad speaker points.
2. It is a game - it should be fair, and you shouldn't exclude others from the discussion. This means debate should be accessible and respectful. Intentionally misgendering your opponent, saying rude comments or anything like that is not good for a game. That will also hurt your speaker points.
3. It is a competitive reading activity - you should read your opponents' evidence and attack the specific warrants. The other team's evidence is also the best way to find links to any kritiks. Additionally, this means evidence quality matters -- if you misrepresent your warrants and the other team calls you out for it, I will intervene and only judge the warrant as the author originally intended it.
4. Clarity > Speed - I flow on paper, and if you are reading at one speed that is incomprehensible, then you will get low speaker points. I have voted for teams but given them 26 speaker points to them purely because they did not slow down throughout their speech, creating a borderline unflowable speech. Lack of clarity is anti-education.
5. In-depth conversation and argumentation >>>>> five-off or more - I think the tendency to read as many off-case arguments as possible to out-spread the other team is an inherently bad strategy and extremely detrimental to debate. It certainly damages education. I will absolutely accept Condo arguments if the other team is reading more than four-off, especially if you explain how damaging it is to education. This is one of the few areas where I am very oriented toward truth over tech. Reading an unreasonable number of off-case arguments is a surefire way to lose a ballot in front of me. Especially if 3 or more of those arguments are separate advocacies, I will automatically buy abuse arguments.
Affirmatives: As I stated before, I prefer policy plans, but if you have a more critical advantage, I will not be too lost. I prefer soft-left affirmatives over policy affs, but I've run both types. Advantages that tackle discrimination including Sexism, Ableism, or Racism are very responsive to me, as I believe they have the most realistic impacts. I also generally believe the affirmative must be in the resolution. In other words, if you have a critical aff, this is not the best round to run it. I believe the affirmative should stick to the plan text and should defend that plan throughout the round. I do, however, understand the validity of Critical Affirmatives, but if you cannot answer the questions from the negative like "what ground do we get?" or "how is your model of debate accessible?" during cross-examination, you will likely lose, because I view debate as a game that needs to have at least some semblance of fairness and education. In my experience, most K affs end up being a way to scare other teams from engaging with the arguments and ends up shifting the discussion away from education. Basically, if you're able to defend how your model of debate promotes fairness and education, then K affs are fine. But I generally think plan-based affs provide for better models of accessible debate.
Disadvantages: If you run this and want to win with it, there must be a clear link. If you don't do enough link work in the 2NR, I probably won't vote for it, unless the aff never answers it in the 2AR. Also, make sure you do impact calculus between the aff and the DA, and prove why your impact is worse. I also love when a team runs a CP with their DA. For politics DAs, I hate most of these because I think the logic behind these DAs is bad and generally relies on flawed assumptions. Politics DAs can be creative, but the bar for this is very high if I'm your judge.
Counterplans: CP's are a versatile position which I am quite familiar with. I believe Counterplans do not have to be topical, but they should still be competitive. Also, if you run a CP, make sure you answer the Perm, and when you do, make sure that you tell me specifically why it doesn't function. Theory can be an independent voter (when it is impacted out), so don't ignore it. Additionally, I think sufficiency framing is usually a pretty lazy argument that is made by teams who don't think their CP solvency is all that good. You need to prove why the CP solves BETTER than the affirmative, not just that it solves "enough" of the aff. Sufficiency framing is generally not enough for me to vote for the CP.
Topicality/FW/Theory: While the position is more valid when there is clear abuse outlined in the argument, there doesn't always have to be abuse. It can be used effectively as link traps or other strategic things. I also love Effects/Extra Topicality arguments, especially if presented well. For the aff, Reasonability is a valid argument, but if you want me to vote on it, tell me why your plan is reasonably topical under the neg's interpretation and the aff's. On theory, disclosure theory is a non-starter. Do not run this, even as a cheap argument. While it won't lose you the round, it will damage your credibility with me and your speaker points. The only exception to this is if the team discloses one aff, and then changes it at the last minute. Then I can see it being warranted. For the most part, I think theory is usually used as a cheap strategy. Don't use it as that. Use it only if it is well-warranted. A-Spec is usually ridiculous unless they don't specify any actor. Perf con against a team reading one-off is ridiculous. Condo against a team reading one-off is ridiculous. Make sure your theory arguments make sense!
Most of all in theory debates, SLOW DOWN! You are essentially reading paragraphs which are incredibly difficult to flow if you just speed through them. I think spreading through theory is anti-education, and is a surefire way to damage your speaker points. I flow on paper, so my flowing speed is limited I'm not going to flow theory arguments that I missed - it's your burden to make sure I get them. Additionally, if you don't slow down on theory arguments, you will damage your speaker points. Like I started this paradigm with, debate is an educational activity first. If the way you read theory is anti-educational, I will let you know after the round.
Kritiks: I am not great with all K's, so if you run one, make sure you clearly explain the story (especially the link and alternative) if you expect me to vote for it. However, I have recently been running Ableism, Security, Legalism, and Neoliberalism K's as well as Word PIKs, so if you're comfortable with those positions, this would be the round to run it. Basically, if you really want me to follow your Kritik, run Security, Ableism, Language K's, or Neoliberalism. If you don’t care if I understand your position, run Wilderson, Deleuze, Queer Pessimism or Baudrillard. Basically, I have a high bar for voting for Kritiks that I am not familiar with. Do not assume I understand your Kritik, explain it at the thesis level. Just as importantly, explain it within the context of the affirmative! What is the problematic assumption or rhetoric that the aff makes/uses? How does that cause the perpetuation of the bad thing you're Kritiking? How does your alternative resolve the issue? A Kritik that earns my ballot will answer all of these questions.
General: Spreading is fine, but make sure you don't go past what you feel comfortable with and SLOW DOWN ON THE TAGS. If I miss your tag because you didn't pause or slow down when reading it, I am not going to flow it for you. Make it clear, or I won't weigh the argument. When you are speaking, make sure you analyze each argument in full and make a coherent claim. Tags should be complete sentences. The word "Extinction" is not a tag. I will not flow it as an argument if that is your tag. Also, please self-time. It really helps me, and especially it helps you. Also, please do not try to throw rounds. I have had a team do that in front of me, and I believe that it legitimizes a bad practice in the debate community, is anti-education, and it will severely impact your speaker points if I realize your intention.
Structuring: I will give you extra speaker points if you NUMBER AND SUBPOINT each of your arguments on the flow for the ease of flowing.
Other Positions/Arguments: There are a few positions that I will NEVER evaluate within any round. These include, but are not limited to:
-Suicide CP/DA and/or Death K (Seriously. The way this is commonly debated brings with it serious mental health concerns and I will tolerate none of that.)
Basically, if you think that your position sounds like it advocates for something offensive, don't run it.
Cross-Examination: Make sure you are polite. I am fine with tag-team if both teams agree to it, but if you shout over your partner, I will dock speaker points. Most importantly, remember that CROSS-EX IS A SPEECH. Cross-Ex is a great place to set traps for your opponents, and for you to be able to use what they say in-round against them. I do flow cross-ex, so I know what was said. Don't try to pull one over on me.
To sum it all up in a few points...
1. Education comes first. Debate is an educational activity at its core, and I believe my primary role within the round is that of an educator. If you do things that I deem as harmful to debate education, you will get lower speaker points, and may lose the round.
2. I am a very policy-oriented judge, although I am comfortable with certain Kritiks. If you want to run one, be sure to fully explain it as if I have never heard of the philosophy before.
3. Cross-Ex is a speech and a great place to form arguments, so use it!
4. Explain everything to the fullest extent, especially links. If there is not enough work done on DA/K/T links, I will not vote for it.
Feel free to ask me any other questions before the round starts!
You can call me alex, judge, or judge alex
im down with k affs you just better be good at responding to t cause i love t
I've been juding for a few years and i debated a bit before that (started judging in 2018)
Its okay to be nervous. debate especially when you just start debating can be really scary. Its okay take a deep breath. if that doesn't work talk to me we can ways pause the round for a minute or two for mental health.
Clarity comes before speed
Yes you can tag team but don't abuse it. (You can not tag team against a maverick )
Even if both teams are three headed monsters the third person who isnt in that debate CAN NOT help.
If I don't understand an argument by the end of the round I won't vote for it
If your spreading is unclear don't assume I wrote down anything you said.
If you don't make it clear your going onto a new card by saying next it is very possible I'll miss your tag.
Make it clear where you on in the speech by sign posting i will probably flow it on the wrong flow which wont make your argument stronger.
Its totally fine to be assertive but don't be mean if you get mean I'll dock speaker points.
If i see you not flowing all of the speeches i will dock speaker points.
Don't ask me questions in round if it deals with the round wait until the debate is over and im giving my rfd.
Extending isnt re-reading the card its reading the author year then explaining the warrant in your own words
I don't flow cross x. BUT if you say something that goes aginst the side you supposed to be on i will write it down in the notes
Tell me if there is anything you don't want me to comment on like if you have a stutter. I dont wanna be bring that up and possibly just annoying you
Rosemount High School (MN) / Conflicted against Farmington (MN)
Debate Experience: 4 years HS policy (1987-1991), 2 years CEDA (1991-1993)
Coaching/Judging Experience: 31 years judging, 17 of these actively coaching
St. Thomas Academy 1993-2001
Last update: 2022-11-19
Building on evidence highlighting argued below. If the highlighted portion of your evidence is word salad and/or changes the author's intent when read in isolation, I will stop the round and immediately vote on an ethical violation. This means a loss and minimum allowable points to the offending team. National circuit evidence standards are atrocious and need to be changed. This may be quixotic, but so be it.
Yes, email chain.
I have changed the email address I use for email chains. The old one will still work, but please use firstname.lastname@example.org going forward
New 2021-10-02: Your evidence highlighting should read in grammatically correct sentences when read in isolation. I will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis (generally, there should be a legitimate argumentative purpose for doing otherwise).
None of the older profile information below is out-of-date, feel free to refer to it for additional information.
I'm definitely an older coach but I like a lot of what K debate has brought to the community. I'm unique among the Rosemount coaching staff in that respect.
I most enjoy judging rounds where the aff and the neg have an underlying agreement on how the round should look. I prefer to judge either policy v policy debates or K v K debates.
* I prefer that the negative engage with the affirmative. The better the specificity of link arguments, the more likely the negative is to win their chosen arguments.
* I roughly think of my judging philosophy as "least intervention". My hope is to try to not do any work for debaters, but this is the ideal and rarely occurs in practice. So I generally look at what I would need to do to vote for either team and choose the outcome that requires the least work on my part. I do my best to not interject personal beliefs into the debate, but realize this isn't always possible.
* I don't like most process or actor CPs, but often vote for them. When neg CP lit says a topic should be left to the states, that lit never means "all 50 states act in concert" but instead usually means "states should be free to not do anything". Affs could do a lot with this, but never do.
* I despise politics DAs, but again find myself voting for them. In 30+ years of debating and judging these, I think I've heard one scenario that had any semblance of truth to it. I think negative over-simplification of the political process and the horse-race mentality engendered by these DAs has been bad for debate and bad for society as a whole. But again, I rarely see Affs making the arguments necessary to win these sort of claims.
* I have a debate-level knowledge of most Kritiks. My knowledge of the literature is about 20 years old at this point and I rarely cut cards for my teams. What this means if you're running a K (either aff or neg): assume that I'm a judge who is willing to listen to (and often vote for) what you say, but don't assume any specific knowledge. This is particularly important at the impact level. If I have a warranted and detailed explanation as to why your model of debate is essential,
* In debates between similarly skilled teams, Framework debates usually come down to "is the aff in the direction of the resolution?". If so, I usually vote aff. Otherwise, neg. If you're a policy team, you're probably better off going for even a Cap K in front of me than for Framework.
* Even in person, you're not as clear as you think you are. This is doubly so in online debates. Slow down a little and you'll likely be happier with my decision.
* It's come to my attention that some teams have shied away from going for theory because of what I've written below. If you believe your violation is true, go ahead and go for it. My preference is to decide debates on the issues, but if I can get good clash on a theory or T flow, that's OK too.
* Disclosure theory is exempt from the preceding bullet. If you can win the debate on disclosure theory, there are better arguments you can make that you can also win on.
* If you're a big school on the circuit where I'm judging you, running a "small schools DA" will likely see speaker points reduced.
* I don't like a 6+ off neg strategy. If you're obviously far more skilled than your opponents and still do this, speaker points will suffer. Regardless, I'm probably more likely to vote on condo bad or perf con than most judges (but see everything else I've written on theory)
* I love good topicality debates. I also love creative (but defensible) affirmative interpretations of the topic. I default to "good is good enough"/reasonability for the aff on topicality, but can be persuaded to vote for the competing interps model. Just saying "reasonability invites judge intervention" isn't enough though. Believe it or not, so does competing interps.
I actively coached from 1993 until 2001 before largely leaving the activity for a dozen years. I got back into coaching in 2013 and have been in the activity since then. My time away from the activity proved to profoundly affect the way I view debates.
I view debate as an educational activity and my primary responsibility as a judge as facilitating that education. It is important to note what this means and what it does not mean. What it does not mean is that I like arguments that impact in "voting issue for reasons of education." Leaving aside the irony of the lack of educational value in those sorts of arguments, I am not saying that I will vote for the "more educational" team, whatever that means. What I do mean is that the round can be a very educational environment and my position is to assist that as best as I can. Argumentatively, I am looking for well-reasoned logical arguments, preferentially with strong evidential support. Counterplans which are contingent on successful consultation of any sort are almost always lacking here. Almost all politics DAs that I've ever heard have this problem as well. You're going to have a much easier time if you run a DA, CP, or a K with a solid literature-based link story.
Theory and Analytics: In-round abuse is more persuasive than potential abuse. I have a large presumption against voting on theory, although I have voted on it. To win on theory, you'll probably need to spend substantial time in the last rebuttal and offer a persuasive story. SLOW DOWN when arguing theory. Give me a tag that I can get on my flow and then explain it. Five consecutive four word responses will likely get the first one or two responses flowed, and the rest missed. If it's not on my flow, I can't vote on it. The explanation is the most important part of the argument.
Topicality: Topicality stems from plan action. Placing the resolution in plan text or looking to solvency do not prove topicality. My default view is that if the affirmative interpretation provides an equitable division of ground and plan meets their interpretation, they will win the argument. Generally speaking, if the negative wins topicality, they win the debate. I have been persuaded to vote contrary to my default views in the past. The negative need not win that their interpretation is best for debate, but it helps.
Non-traditional Affirmatives: I don't insist that the affirmative run a plan but any planless aff better be prepared to explain how they engage the resolution. I'm much more willing to accept a non-traditional interpretation of the terms of the resolution than I am to accept an aff that completely ignores the resolution or runs counter to the direction of the resolution.
Evidence sharing/email chains: As of 2017, I have updated my philosophy on these. I would now like to get all speech docs that are shared. Please add me to any email chain using email@example.com. Please note that I will not use the speech doc to help flow your speech. [2021-12-14: Use firstname.lastname@example.org now]
One notable change for the worse over the last decade is the terrible practices that paperless debating has fostered. I approve of paperless debating in the abstract and in a good deal of its implementation, but teams have taken to receiving a speech doc before the speech as a crutch and flowing and line by line debate have suffered as a result. I'm not happy with the blatant prep time theft that pervades the activity, but I recognize that any gesture that I make will be futile. I will take action in particularly egregious cases by deducting from prep time (or speech time, if no prep remains).
Please ask before rounds for clarification.
Lincoln Douglas Philosophy:
I judge far more policy than LD, but I'm not a stranger to judging or coaching LD. I have no predispositions toward any particular style, so largely you should feel free to do what you're most comfortable with. I will not vote for a policy argument just because I'm predominantly a policy judge, although I will listen to them. Be sure to offer full explanations. LD time formats can be challenging, prioritize explanations over evidence. Anything above that isn't specific to policy will apply in LD as well. Your explanations are the most important part of the debate.
Updated 1/9/2019 to add LD