St Genesius Invitational TOC Qualifier hosted by Marist
2023 — Asynchronous, GA/US
Main Events Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
conflicts: groves high school (class of 2019), wayne state university (class of 2023, secondary ed major w/ minors in public health & gender, sexuality, and women's studies), detroit country day high school, marist (including them now because i judge more for them than i do anyone else at this point)
always put me on the email chain! Literally always! if you ask i will assume you haven't read this! legit always put me on the email chain! email@example.com
**edit for glenbrooks: after getting roasted for the dissertation that was my paradigm, i've decided to cut it down quite a lot.
the abridged version:
do you, and do it well
don't cheat in ways that require me to intervene
don't misgender me, or your competitors
do not assume i am going to vote for you because you say my name a lot
some general stuff:
the more and more i do debate the less i care about what's put in front of me. when i first started debating, i cared very deeply about norms, the resolution, all that jazz. now, if you're willing to read it i'm willing to judge it. i'd rather see an in depth debate with a lot of offense and clash than anything else, and i don't care whether you do that on a T flow vs. a k aff or a cap flow vs. a policy aff.
my least favorite word in the english language (of which is not a slur) is the word "basically." i would rather listen to everyone for the rest of time describe everything as "moist" than listen to you say the word "basically." i've hated this word for years, do not use it. make of that what you will.
it should be said i at one point read a parody aff that involved my partner and i roleplaying as doctor/patient during the 1ac. i care exceedingly little what you want to do with your 8 minute constructive, 3 minute cx, and 5 minute rebuttals - but those speech times are non-negotiable (unless the tournament says otherwise). play a game, eat a salad, ask me about my cat(s), color a picture, read some evidence; but do it within the constraint of a timer.
(this "time fetish" is less of a "respect my time" thing and more of a "i need to know when i can tell tab who i voted for" thing. i take a lot of pride in getting my decision in before repko, and i wish to continue that streak.)
stuff about me as a judge:
i do not follow along in the speech doc. i try not to look at cards. be clear, be concise, be cool. debate is first and foremost a communicative activity. i will only read y'alls ev if there is serious contention, or you tell me to. i HATE DOING THIS, and this very often does not go how people think it will.
if you say "insert re-highlighting" instead of reading the re-highlighting i WILL consider that argument uncarded
bolded for emphasis: people are also saying they can 'insert a caselist' for T flows. this is not a thing. and i will not consider them part of the debate if this occurs.
i do not play poker both because i am terrible at math and because i have a hard time concealing my emotions. i do have pretty bad rbf, but i still think you should look at me to tell what i'm thinking of your speeches/cx.
Misgendering is bad and a voting issue (at the very least I will give you exceptionally low speaks). due to my gender identity i am hyper aware of gender (im)balances in debate. stop being sexist/transphobic jerks, y'all. it's not that hard. additionally, don't be racist. don't be sexist. don't be ableist. don't be a bad person.
Assigning speaker points comes down to: are you memorable? are you funny? are you a bad person? Did you keep my flow neat?
I usually give in the 28.2-29.9 range, for reference.
(pssst that's where my "basically" shpiel above comes into play)
i consider ethics violations clipping, evidence fabrication/omission of paragraphs between the beginning and end of the card, and violence (e.g. calling Black people the n word as a non-Black person, refusing to use correct pronouns).
for clipping: a recording must be presented if a debater brings forth the challenge. if i notice it but no one brings it up, your speaker points will suffer greatly.
for evidence miscutting (this is NOT power tagging): after a debater brings it forward the round will stop. if the evidence is miscut, the team who miscut the evidence will lose with lowest speaker points possible. if the evidence is not miscut, the team who brought forth the violation will lose with the lowest speaker points possible. i will not entertain a debate on the undebatable.
for violence: i will stop the debate and the offender will receive the lowest speaker points possible and will lose. the person who is on the receiving end of the violence is not expected to give input. if you misgender me i will not stop the debate, but your speaker points will suffer.
one of these, because i love getting caught in the hype
brad hombres ------------------------------------X--banana nut brad
generic disad w/ well developed links/uq------X------------------------------------ thing you cut 30 mins before the round that you claim is a disad
read a plan--------------------X---------------------don't read a plan
case turns--X----------------------------------------generic defense
t not fw--------------X-------------------------------fw not t
"basically"-------------------------------------------X-just explaining the argument
truth over tech------------------X--------------------tech over truth
being nice-X------------------------------------------being not nice
piper meloche--------------------X--------------------brad meloche
'can i take prep'----------------------------------------X-just taking prep
explaining the alt------X--------------------------------assuming i know what buzzwords mean
process cps are cheating--------------------------X-------sometimes cheating is good
fairness--------------------------------X----------------literally any other fw impact besides iteration
impact turn-X--------------------------------------------non impact turn
fw as an impact turn------X--------------------------------fw as a procedural
green highlighting-X----------------------------------------any other color
rep---------------------------X----------------i don't know who you are and frankly i don't care to find out
asking if everyone is ready -X-----------------------------------asking if anyone isn't ready
jeff miller --------------------------------------X--- abby schirmer
PUBLIC FORUM SPECIFIC THINGS:
i find myself judging this a lot more than any other activity, and therefore have a LOT of opinions.
- time yourself. this includes prep. i'm not your mom, and i don't plan on doing it for you. the term "running prep" is becoming very popular, and i don't know what that means. just take prep.
- don't call me judge. "what should we refer to you as?" nothing! i don't know who is teaching y'all to catch judges' attentions by referring to us directly, but it's horrible, doesn't work, annoys all of us, and wastes precious time. you should be grabbing my attention in other ways: tone, argumentation, flowability, humor, sarcasm, lighting something on fire (please do not actually do this). call me by my first name (luke) if you have to, but know if you overuse it, it has the exact same affect as calling me "judge."
- PLEASE don't assume i know community norms, and saying things like "this is a community norm" doesn't automatically give you that dub. i entered PF during covid, and have a very strong policy background. this influences how i view things like disclosure or paraphrase theory.
- even more so than in policy, "post-rounding" me after a decision is incredibly common. be aware i'm a petty college student with nothing to lose by arguing with you about my decision, so you're allowed to fight with me all you want. just know it doesn't change my ballot, and certainly won't change it the next time around.
- i will never understand this asking for evidence after speeches. why aren't we just sending speech docs? judges are on a very strict schedule, and watching y'all spend five minutes sending evidence is both annoying and time consuming - bolding, because i continue to not get and, honestly? actively hate it when everyone spend 5-10 minutes after each speech exchanging evidence. just sent the whole speech. i don't get why this isn't the norm
- i'm fine with speed and 'unconventional arguments.' in fact, i'm probably better for them because i've found PF aff/neg contentions to be vague and poorly cut.
- PFers have a tendency to call things that aren't turns "turns." it's very odd to me. please don't do it.
- i'm not going to delay the round so you can preflow. idk who told y'all you can do that but they're wrong
- if you are using ev sending time to argue, i will interrupt you and make you start and/or i will tank your speaks. stop doing this.
- i'm very split on the idea of trigger warnings. i don't think they're necessary for non-in-depth/graphic discussions of a topic (Thing Exists and Is Bad, for example, is not an in-depth discussion in my eyes). i'm fine with trigger warning theory as an argument as long as you understand it's not an automatic W.
- flex prep is at best annoying and at worst cheating. if you start flex prepping i will yell at you and doc your speaker points.
LINCOLN DOUGLAS SPECIFIC THINGS:
please read my policy and pf paradigms. they have important information about me and my judging
of all the speech activities, i know about lincoln douglas the least. this can either be to your advantage or your detriment
apparently theory matters to a lot of y'all a lot more in this activity than in policy. i got a high threshold for voting on any sort of theory that isn't condo, and even then you're in for the uphill battle of the century. i like theory debates generally, but watching LDers run theory like RVIs has killed my confidence in LD theory debate.
'i'm gonna take X minutes of prep' isn't needed. just say you're taking prep and take prep. i'll never understand LD or PF judges who act as if they are parents and y'all are 5 year olds asking for cookies after dinner; if you can figure out how tabroom works and how to unmute yourself, i'm pretty sure you can time your own prep.
going fast does not mean you are good at debate, please don't rely on speed for ethos
i hate disclosure theory and will prob vote neg 99.9% of the time (the .001% is for new affs or particularly bad answers). just put your stuff on the wiki, i genuinely don't understand why this is a debate to be had. just disclose. what year are you people living in.
things i don't care about:
- whether you keep your camera on or off (if you wanna lose free speaker points, that's up to you)
- speed. however, you should never be prioritizing speed over clarity.
hidden at the bottom: if you read the kato k and call it the "oppenheimer k" in the roadmap for the whole round i will give you a 30
please use all your time. my bar for civility is much lower than most neda judges, so make of that what you will. please also use evidence.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic Head Speech Coach
If you have any questions about your ballot, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
((Extemp Paradigm for National Circuit, if you care))
1) Hooks - Connections to pop culture hinder your ability to deliver a good speech. Please do not waste anyone's time by connecting Afghanistan to SpongeBob. I much prefer the first ~45s-1m to be explaining the context of the question: How did we get here? What historical information do I need to know? Any Definitions?
2) Structure - Detail your structure, and stick to it. Make sure you let me know when we are transitioning points, and keep these transitions simple. Keep your points relatively similar in length. 3 points is better than 2. Put your most salient & impactful point last.
3) Warranting - Along with analysis, you need to warrant your claims clearly. This means connecting your analysis back to your claim for the particular point & connecting it to your overall answer to the prompt, in one fell swoop. Strong warranting means you have real skill in argumentation.
Otherwise, be confident, be clear, don't speak too fast, etc. I will also probably count your sources. Diversify them. Don't lie about citations. Arguing directly with a source that disagrees with your conclusion is strong argumentation.
((Paradigms for other speech events are stupid because you can't change your piece midway through a tournament))
Director of Speech & Debate-Cypress Bay HS (2022-present)
Director of Speech and Debate-Cooper City HS (2018-2022)
Director of Speech and Debate-American Heritage Palm Beach (2017-2018)
Director of Forensics-Notre Dame San Jose (2009-2017)
Head Debate Coach-Notre Dame San Jose (2008-2009)
I’ve been a debate coach for the past 15 years, and Director of Forensics for 9 at NDSJ, one year as Director at American Heritage, 4 years at Cooper City HS and now at Cypress Bay High School. I primarily coached Parliamentary Debate from 2008-2017, including circuit Parli debate. I've been involved in National Circuit LD pretty extensively over the last 5 years, but have judged all forms of debate at all levels from local south Florida and northern CA to national circuit.
First and foremost, I only ever judge what is presented to me in rounds. I do not extend arguments for you and I do not bring in my own bias. I am a flow judge, and I will flow the entire debate, no matter the speed, though I do appreciate being able to clearly understand all your points. I consider myself to be a gamemaker in my general philosophy, so I see debate as game. That doesn't mean that there aren't real world impacts off debate (and I tend to be convinced by 'this will impact outside the round' type of arguments).
While I do appreciate fresh approaches to resolution analysis, I’m not an “anything goes” judge. I believe there should be an element of fair ground in debate-debates without clash, debates with extra topicality, etc will almost certainly see me voting against whoever tries to do so if the other side even makes an attempt at arguing it (that said, if you can’t adequately defend your right to a fair debate, I’m not going to do it for you. Don’t let a team walk all over you!). Basically, I love theoretical arguments, and feel free to run them, just make sure they have a proper shell+. *Note: when I see clear abuse in round I have a very low threshold for voting on theory. Keep that in mind-if you try to skew your opponent out of the round, I WILL vote you down if they bring it up.*
I also want to emphasize that I'm an educator first and foremost. I believe in the educational value of debate and it's ability to create critical thinkers.
+Theory shell should at minimum have: Interpretation, Violation, Standards and Voters.
Since quality of argument wins for me 100% of the time, I’m not afraid of the low point win. I don’t expect this to enter into the rounds much at an elite tournament where everyone is at the highest level of speaking style, but just as an emphasis that I will absolutely not vote for a team just because they SOUND better. I tend to stick to 26-29+ point range on a 30 scale, with average/low speakers getting 26s, decent speakers getting 27s, good 28s, excellent 29s, and 30 being reserved for best I’ve seen all day. I will punish rudeness/lying in speaks though, so if you’re rude or lie a lot, expect to see a 25 or less. Additionally, shouting louder doesn’t make your point any better, I can usually hear just fine.
If I gave you less than 25, you probably really made me angry. If you are racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, ableist etc I will punish you in speaks. You have been warned. I will kill your speaks if you deliberately misgender or are otherwise harmful in round. I am not going to perpetuate hate culture in debate spaces.
I have no problem with speed, but please email me your case if you are spreading. I will call 'clear' once if you are going too fast, and put down my pen/stop typing if I can't follow. It's only happened a couple times, so you must be REALLY fast for me to give up.
PLEASE SIGN POST AND TAG, ESPECIALLY IF I'M FLOWING ON MY LAPTOP. IF I MISS WHERE AN ARGUMENT GOES BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T TAG IT, THAT'S YOUR FAULT NOT MINE.
Please explain why your argument is a-priori before I will consent to consider it as such. Generally I am only willing to entertain framework arguments as a-priori, but who knows, I've been surprised before.
Theory is great, as I mentioned above, run theory all day long with me, though I am going to need to see rule violations and make sure you have a well structured shell. I should not see theory arguments after the 1AR in LD or after the MG speech in Parli. I also don't want to see theory arguments given a ten second speed/cursory explanation, when it's clear you're just trying to suck up time. My threshold is high for RVIs, but if you can show how your opponent is just sucking time, I'm open to this. Also open to condo-bad arguments on CPs/Ks, though that doesn't mean you'll automatically win on this.
Small note for LD: Disclosure theory: I'm unlikely to vote on this if your opponent isn't reading something very strange. I think education and disclosure is good but that doesn't mean I think someone should automatically lose for not. Keep this in mind.
Most other theory I evaluate in round. I don't tend to go for blippy theory arguments though!
I love the K, give me the K, again, just be structured. I don't need the whole history of the philosopher, but I haven't read everything ever, so please be very clear and give me a decent background to the argument before you start throwing impacts off it. Also, here's where I mention that impacts are VITAL to me, and I want to see terminal impacts.
I prefer to see clash of ROB/ROJ/Frameworks in K rounds. If you are going to run a K aff either make it topical or disclose so we can have a productive round. Please.
In general I default to competing interp. If for some reason we have gotten to the point of terribad debate, I presume Neg (Aff has burden to prove the resolution/affirm. Failure to do so is Neg win. God please don't make me do this :( )
I like very clear weighing in rebuttals. Give me voting issues and compare worlds, tell me why I should prefer or how you outweigh, etc. Please. I go into how I evaluate particular impacts below.
I like clear voting issues! Just because I’m flowing doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you crystallizing and honing in on your main points of offense.
I prefer voter speeches follow a: Main points of offense-->impact calc--->world comp model. If you just do impact calc I'll be happy with it, but I like looking on my voter sheet for what you feel you're winning on. It helps me more quickly organize my ideas.
I put a lot of emphasis on impacts in my decisions. The team with bigger/more terminal, etc impacts generally walks away with my vote, so go to town. This goes doubly true for framework or critical arguments. Why is this destroying debate as we know it? Why is this ___ and that's horrible? Translation: I tend to weigh magnitude heaviest in round, but if you can prove pretty big probable impacts over very low probability extinction impacts I'll likely go that direction.
You should be able to articulate how your contentions support your position/value/whatever. That should go without saying, but you would be very surprised. I don't vote on blips, even if we all know what you're saying is true. So please warrant your claims and have a clear link story. This goes doubly true for critical positions or theory.
Preferences for arguments:
If you want to know what I like to see in round, here are my preferences in order:
This doesn't mean I won't vote for a tricks case but I will be much sadder doing it.
I've judged a long time. I've heard it all. Some of it I like and some of it I do not. If I'm going to vote for you, I am going to be able to understand you. Speed is not important to me, at all. Make an argument, support it, and be able to defend it.
Remember that this is something you apparently believe in... Read LESS, argue with logic MORE. The most effective arguments are the ones off the top of mind where knowledge of the material is evident. Have your sources, of course, but show knowledge.
Speech: I am a college professor have 3 year debate and speech judging experiences. All types of presentations are welcome. I make decision base on individual presentation confidence, stage body postures, eye contacts and logical thinking flows.
I am a debate coach in Georgia. I also competed in LD and Policy out west. Take that for whatever you think it means.
- LD - Value/Value Criterion (Framework, Standard, etc,) - this is what separates us from the animals (or at least the policy debaters). It is the unique feature of LD Debate. Have a good value and criterion and link your arguments back to it. I am open to all arguments but present them well, know them, and, above all, Clash - this is a debate not a tea party.
- PF - I side on the traditional side of PF. Don't throw a lot of jargon at me or simply read cards... this isn't Policy Jr., compete in PF for the debate animal it is. Remember debate, especially PF, is meant to persuade - use all the tools in your rhetorical toolbox: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos.
- Speed - I like speed but not spreading. Speak as fast as is necessary but keep it intelligible. There aren't a lot of jobs for speed readers after high school (auctioneers and pharmaceutical disclaimer commercials) so make sure you are using speed for a purpose. If you spread - it better be clear, I will not yell clear or slow down or quit mumbling, I will just stop listening. If the only way I can understand your case is to read it, you have already lost. If I have to read your case then what do I need you in the room for? Email it to me and I can judge the round at home in my jammies - if you are PRESENTING and ARGUING and PERSUADING then I need to understand the words coming out of your mouth! NEW for ONLINE DEBATE - I need you to speak slower and clearer. On speed in-person, I am a 7-8. Online, make it a 5-6.
- Know your case, like you actually did the research and wrote the case and researched the arguments from the other side. If you present it, I expect you to know it from every angle - I want you to know the research behind the statistic and the whole article, not just the blurb on the card.
- Casing - Love traditional but I am game for kritiks, counterplans, theory - but perform them well, KNOW them, I won't do the links for you. I am a student of Toulmin - claim-evidence-warrant/impacts. I don't make the links and don't just throw evidence cards at me with no analysis. It is really hard for you to win with an AFF K with me - it better be stellar. I am not a big fan of Theory shells that are not actually linked in to the topic - if you are going to run Afro-Pes or Feminism you better have STRONG links to the topic at hand, if the links aren't there... Also don't just throw debate terms out, use them for a purpose and if you don't need them, don't use them.
- I like clash. Argue the cases presented, mix it up, have some fun, but remember that debate is civil discourse - don't take it personal, being the loudest speaker won't win the round, being rude to your opponent won't win you the round.
- Debating is a performance in the art of persuasion and your job is to convince me, your judge (not your opponent!!) - use the art of persuasion to win the round: eye contact, vocal variations, appropriate gestures, and know your case well enough that you don't have to read every single word hunched over a computer screen. Keep your logical fallacies for your next round. Rhetoric is an art.
- Technology Woes - I will not stop the clock because your laptop just died or you can't find your case - not my problem, fix it or don't but we are going to move on.
- Ethics - Debate is a great game when everyone plays by the rules. Play by the rules - don't give me a reason to doubt your veracity.
- Win is decided by the flow (remember if you don't LINK it, I don't either), who made the most successful arguments and
- Speaker Points are awarded to the best speaker - I end up with a rare low point win each season. I am fairly generous on speaker points. I disclose winner but not speaker points.
- Don't browbeat less experienced debaters; you should aim to win off of argumentation skill against less experienced opponents, not smoke screens or pure esoterism. 7 off against a first-year may get you the win, but it kills the educational and ethical debate space you should strive for. As an experienced debater, you should hope to educate them not run them out of the event.
- Enjoy yourself. Debate is the best sport in the world - win or lose - learn something from each round, don't gloat, don't disparage other teams, judges, or coaches, and don't try to convince me after the round is over. Leave it in the round and realize you may have just made a friend that you will compete against and talk to for the rest of your life. Don't be so caught up in winning that you forget to have some fun - in the round, between rounds, on the bus, and in practice.
- Rule of Debate Life. Sometimes you will be told you are the winner when you know you in your heart you didn't win the round - accept it as a gift from the debate gods and move on. Sometimes you will be told you lost a round that you KNOW you won - accept that this is life and move on. Sometimes judges get it wrong, it sucks but that is life. If the judge is inappropriate - get your advocate, your coach to address the issue. Arguing with the judge in the round or badmouthing them won't solve the issue.
- Immediate losers for me - be disparaging to the other team or make racist, homophobic, sexist arguments or comments. Essentially, be kind and respectful if you want to win.
- Questions? - if you have a question ask me.
My background: I am a former CEDA debater (1987-89) and CEDA coach (1990-93) from East Tennessee State University. Upon my retirement in August 2021 I've judged numerous at numerous debate tournaments for PF, LD, IDPA, Parli, and Big Questions (mostly PF and LD).
Speed: I can keep up with a quick-ish speed - enunciation is very important! Pre round I can do a "speed test" and let you know what I think of a participant's speech speed if anyone wants to. I was never a super speed debater and didn’t encourage my students to speed.
Theory: I am familiar with topicality and if other theory is introduced, I could probably understand it. (I also used to run hasty generalization but not sure if that’s still a thing or not.) Theory is best used when it’s pertinent to a round, not added for filler and needs to be well developed if I am expected to vote on it. If you are debating topicality on the neg you need to provide a counter definition and why I should prefer it to the aff.
The rounds: Racism/sexism etc. will not be tolerated. Rudeness isn’t appreciated either. I do not interject my own thoughts/opinions/judgements to make a decision, I only look at what is provided in the round itself. Re: criteria, I want to hear what the debaters bring forward and not have to come up with my own criteria to judge the round. My default criteria is cost/benefit analysis. I reserve the right to call in evidence. (Once I won a round that came down to a call for evidence, so, it can be important!) As far as overall judging, I always liked what my coach used to say – “write the ballot for me”. Debaters need to point out impacts and make solid, logical arguments. I appreciate good weighing but I will weigh the arguments that carried through to the end of the round more heavily than arguments that are not. Let me know what is important to vote on in your round and why. Sign posting/numbering arguments is appreciated and is VERY important to me; let me know where you plan to go at the top of your speech and also refer back to your roadmap as you go along.
Cross Examination: a good CX that advances the round is always valued. If someone asks a question, please don’t interrupt the debater answering the question. I don’t like to see a cross ex dominated by one side.
In most rounds I will keep back up speaking time and prep time.
I hope to see enjoyable and educational rounds. You will learn so many valuable skills being a debater! Good luck to all participants!
-Do not spread. On a scale of 1-10 for speed I prefer somewhere around 6-7. I would prefer you to slow down or pause a tad for taglines for my flow. Also if you list 4-5 short points or stats in quick succession, I probably will miss one or two in the middle if you dont slow down.
-Arguments you go for should appear in all speeches. If your offense was not brought up in summary, I will ignore it in FF.
-I do not think cross is binding. It needs to come up in the speech. I do not flow cross, and as a flow judge that makes decisions based on my flow, it won't have much bearing on the round.
-At the least I think 2nd rebuttal needs to address all offense in round. Bonus points for collapsing case and completely frontlining the argument you do go for.
-In terms of overviews, please do not be abusive. I don't like it when a team throws a nib on their opponent. I will reduce speaker points for this tactic. It's fine to use an overview for something that covers their entire case, not to just introduce a new argument that acts just like a contention from case.
-Please time yourselves. My phone is constantly on low battery, so I'd rather not use it. If you want to keep up with your opponents' prep too to keep them honest then go ahead.
-For speaking, I do not care at all about eye contact. I do not care if you sway, etc. I will not be looking at you during speeches, as I am looking down at my flow most of the time. Project your voice and be clear.
-In terms of some of the more progressive things- I haven't actually heard theory in a PF round but I hear it's a thing now. If your opponent is being abusive about something then sure, let me know, either in a formal shell or informal. Don't run theory just to run it though. Obviously, counterplans and plans are not allowed in PF so just don't.
1) Bad or misleading evidence. Unfortunately this is what I am seeing PF become. Paraphrasing has gotten out of control. Your "paraphrased" card better be accurate. If one piece of evidence gets called out for being miscut or misleading, then it will make me call in to question all of your evidence. If you are a debater that runs sketchy and loose evidence, I would pref me very high or strike me.
2) Evidence clash that goes nowhere. If pro has a card that says turtles can breathe through their butt and con has a card saying they cannot and that's all that happens, then I don't know who is right. In the instance of direct evidence clash (or even analytical argumentation clash) tell me why to prioritize your evidence over theirs or your line of thinking over theirs. Otherwise, I will consider the whole thing a wash and find something else to vote on.
3) Not condensing the round when it should be condensed. Most of the time it is not wise to go for every single argument on the flow. Sometimes you need to pick your battles and kick out of others, or risk undercovering everything.
So first, I primarily judge PF. This means my exposure to certain argument types is limited. I LOVE actually debating the resolution. Huge fan. I'm cool with DAs and CPs. Theory only if your opponent is being overly abusive (so no friv). If you are a K or tricks debater good luck. I know about the progressive things but since I primarily judge PF, my ability to evaluate it is very limited from experience. If you want to go for a K or something, I won't instantly drop you and I will try my best to flow and evaluate it in the round. But you will probably need to tweak it a little, slow down, and explain more how it is winning and why I should vote for it. I come from a traditional circuit, so the more progressive the round gets, the less capable I am of making a qualified decision.
I do not want you to flash your case to me. I want to flow it. If you read to point that it is unflowable then it is your loss. If I don't flow it, I cannot evaluate it and thus, cannot vote on it. Spreading in my opinion is noneducational and antithetical to skills you should be learning from this activity. Sorry, in the real world and your future career, spreading is not an acceptable practice to convince someone and get your point across.
Please signpost/roadmap- I hate when it is unclear where you are and I get bounced around the flow. Have fun and don't be overly aggressive.
I'm happy judging whatever crazy, creative argument you think you can make me believe (which you will do by providing awesome evidence, links, etc.) BUT you better enunciate those crazy arguments clearly. My number one pet peeve in policy debate is debaters who try to spread but stutter and stumble through their speeches. I can flow as fast as you can speak, but if I can't understand what you're saying, I will say "clear" once or twice, and then simply not flow what I can't understand.
I'm fine with tag-teaming in cx.
If the round is shared via email chain, I'd prefer you still make an effort to say actual words.
A few caveats to the "I'll buy anything" -
I'm fine with Ks, but it's got to be a pretty killer kritik for me to vote on one K alone - it's more likely I'll weigh it as part of a larger strategy.
PICs are abusive as they take too much affirmative ground, BUT occasionally there's a PIC that justifies the existence of PICs, and those make me happy.
Run topicality if it's justified. If it's not, and you're running four Ts as a time-suck, I won't buy any of them.
I prefer textually competitive CPs. If it's only competitive through a link to a DA, then I'm going to give it the stink eye. Never say never - I do periodically vote for arguments I claim not to like - but you better advocate for that CP really, really well.
IN summary with the PICs, Ts and CPs - just run a good, relevant argument. If you're throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks, I'm probably going to dismiss it as crap. But if you're confident it's an awesome argument, tell me why I should buy it; it's distinctly possible I will, just understand those arguments have a higher threshold for me.
Signpost, give me clear voters, be polite. When a team starts showing contempt for their opponents, I start looking for reasons to vote against them.
And have fun.
Value/Value Criterion Clash - I expect you to have a clear value and value criterion, but I use them as a way to evaluate the round (framework), not as a voting issue (unless they're really, really bad, abusive, or maybe unexpectedly brilliant). Show why you meet your opponents' v/vc as well as your own, or why yours makes much more sense in context of the round, then move on. It's probably not going to be a big independent voter for me.
If you're doing circuit LD - please don't make it dumbed-down policy. Arguments still need to be fully developed, relevant to the topic, and coherently articulated.
If you're doing traditional LD - I appreciate someone who can talk pretty, I really do, but I want to see CLASH. Weigh arguments. Compare sources, and delve into what cards actually say. I like to vote for debaters who can help me see the big picture in the round, but can also weave a convincing narrative out of all the minutiae.
As with all debate - be confident, be aggressive, but don't be a jerk.
I'm fine with speed in PF - but same as other debates, enunciate clearly!
More than any other debate, I expect PFers to be respectful of opponents. Be confident, be aggressive, never show contempt.
Please maintain a consistent strategy between both partner's speeches - you need to be on the same page as to what you're going for and how you argue things. If I'm seeing two different debates from one partnership, I don't know what I'm supposed to vote for, so I'll usually vote for the other team.
Most (not all, but most) topics benefit from a framework, so have one! Tell me how to evaluate the round so I can judge the debate on what's debated, not on my preconceived notions of what's important.
With the new pilot rules, the summary speech has become paramount for me, and I expect it to be somewhat similar to a 1AR in policy - cover it all. If you're just giving me a slightly longer version of the final focus, it's a wasted opportunity. You can give me voters if you want, but I expect the final focus to be all about those.
Mariel Cruz - Updated 9/20/2022
Schools I've coached/judged for: Santa Clara Univerisity, Cal Lutheran University, Gunn High School, Polytechnic School, Saratoga High School, and Notre Dame High School
I judge mostly Parliamentary debate, but occasionally PF and LD. I used to judge policy pretty regularly when I was a policy debater in college. I judge all events pretty similarly, but I do have a few specific notes about Parli debate listed below.
Background: I was a policy debater for Santa Clara University for 5 years. I also helped run/coach the SCU parliamentary team, so I know a lot about both styles of debate. I've been coaching and judging on the high school and college circuit since 2012, so I have seen a lot of rounds. I teach/coach pretty much every event, including LD and PF, but I have primarily coached parli the last few years.
Policy topic: I haven’t done much research on either the college or high school policy topic, so be sure to explain everything pretty clearly.
Speed: I’m good with speed, but be clear. I don't love speed, but I tolerate it. If you are going to be fast, I need a speech doc for every speech with every argument, including analytics or non-carded arguments. If I'm not actively flowing, ie typing or writing notes, you're probably too fast.
As I've started coaching events that don't utilize speed, I've come to appreciate rounds that are a bit slower. I used to judge and debate in fast rounds in policy, but fast rounds in other debate events are very different, so fast debaters should be careful, especially when running theory and reading plan/cp texts. If you’re running theory, try to slow down a bit so I can flow everything really well. Or give me a copy of your alt text/Cp text. Also, be sure to sign-post, especially if you're going fast, otherwise it gets too hard to flow. I actually think parli (and all events other than policy) is better when it's not super fast. Without the evidence and length of speeches of policy, speed is not always useful or productive for other debate formats. If I'm judging you, it's ok be fast, but I'd prefer if you took it down a notch, and just didn't go at your highest or fastest speed.
K: I like all types of arguments, disads, kritiks, theory, whatever you like. I like Ks but I’m not an avid reader of literature, so you’ll have to make clear explanations, especially when it comes to the alt. Even though the politics DA was my favorite, I did run quite a few Ks when I was a debater. However, I don't work with Ks as much as I used to (I coach many students who debate at local tournaments only where Ks are not as common), so I'm not super familiar with every K, but I've seen enough Ks that I have probably seen something similar to what you're running. Just make sure everything is explained well enough. If you run a K I haven't seen before, I'll compare it to something I have seen. I am not a huge fan of Ks like Nietzche, and I'm skeptical of alternatives that only reject the aff. I don't like voting for Ks that have shakey alt solvency or unclear frameworks or roles of the ballot.
Framework and Theory: I tend to think that the aff should defend a plan and the resolution and affirm something (since they are called the affirmative team), but if you think otherwise, be sure to explain why you it’s necessary not to. I’ll side with you if necessary. I usually side with reasonability for T, and condo good, but there are many exceptions to this (especially for parli - see below). I'll vote on theory and T if I have to. However, I'm very skeptical of theory arguments that seem frivolous and unhelpful (ie Funding spec, aspec, etc). Also, I'm not a fan of disclosure theory. Many of my students compete in circuits where disclosure is not a common practice, so it's hard for me to evaluate disclosure theory.
Basically, I prefer theory arguments that can point to actual in round abuse, versus theory args that just try to establish community norms. Since all tournaments are different regionally and by circuit, using theory args to establish norms feels too punitive to me. However, I know some theory is important, so if you can point to in round abuse, I'll still consider your argument.
Parli specific: Since the structure for parli is a little different, I don't have as a high of a threshold for theory and T as I do when I judge policy or LD, which means I am more likely to vote on theory and T in parli rounds than in policy rounds. This doesn't mean I'll vote on it every time, but I think these types of arguments are a little more important in parli, especially for topics that are kinda vague and open to interpretation. I also think Condo is more abusive in parli than other events, so I'm more sympathetic to Condo bad args in parli than in other events I judge.
Policy/LD/PF prep:I don’t time exchanging evidence, but don’t abuse that time. Please be courteous and as timely as possible.
General debate stuff: I was a bigger fan of CPs and disads, but my debate partner loved theory and Ks, so I'm familiar with pretty much everything. I like looking at the big picture as much as the line by line. Frankly, I think the big picture is more important, so things like impact analysis and comparative analysis are important.
Any pronouns, they/she listed - it's complicated, referring to me using feminine descriptors is fine, though any are accepted. I have no strong feelings about my gender.
***Apparently to search my paradigm, you need to type "Sophia Dal" instead of "Sophia Dal Pra" - just a heads up***
Background: Wooster HS '20, Kentucky ex-pat, Now debate at West Georgia, Class of '25
Conflicts: Wooster High School, Reagan High School, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Canyon Crest Academy, Chatahoochee High School.
Put me on the email chain - email@example.com
10/14/23 - My personal style of debate has become a lot more critical. I coach policy teams pretty much exclusively, but I'm way more familiar with the engagement between lit bases in K v. K debates. As always, I love organized, technical debates, but I have no strong preclusions whether I'm in the back of a policy throwdown or a method debate.
2/22/23 - Some things in debate that others may view as non-negotiables (i.e. flowing, speech-times, etc.) are things I lean towards as being so, but I can be persuaded by framing arguments that these are things I should disregard.
I think that debate is amazing and unique because of the diversity of positions and stances that we can take, from typical substance debate to debates about the rules to debates about debate. I think that debate is a competition at its foundation and that the educational benefits we gain are shaped from its research benefits. I also think that debate as an activity or as an institution is not shielded from critique.
Feel free to ask me about anything below or any thoughts you have in the pre-round!
My RFDs - are scripted as best I can to organize my thoughts. I have pretty bad ADHD and I tend to have a lot of external thoughts about arguments in any given debate, so I do this to stay organized. It's also how I verify that my decision can be delivered in a sensical manner. My decision on any given debate is usually made at a relatively normal pace, but writing out the decision, (and sometime a separate decision for the other team/over another argument in close debates) usually takes me to d-time in elim debates. I will sometimes read them to myself aloud as well for good measure. I would want my judges to care about the decisions in my debates, so this is my way of returning the favor.
General Argument Preferences - I prefer well-crafted strategies over all else. I do have a soft spot for specificity, but I understand when that is not an option because of new affs, team resources, or miscellaneous reasons. Linearly, the more thought you have put into the strategy, the more I will probably like it.
I have found that I am increasingly annoyed by debates that do not have a substantial portion of them dedicated to answering the aff in some way. This does not have to be with a specific strategy; it can be with making the most with what you have. This can be through generic impact defense, deconstructing a poorly-constructed aff, citing 1AC lines when explaining how the K links, creative counterplanning, etc. Policy debate is plan-focused, and your strategy should be to address it, not to empty your box in the least appealing way possible.
This does not mean that I have apprehensions about the amount of offcase that you read. I think that thought can go into a 12-off strategy as much as a no off/only case turns strategy.
Evidence - Evidence comparison is a great way to get me to like you. Recency isn't everything when it comes to ev comparison. Give me author indicts, prodicts, think-tank biases, etc. The best skill that debaters take from debate is the ability to critically process large amounts of information, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the analysis of the evidences' sources is important to that processing in our day-to-day lives. If you would be embarassed to read the qualifications of an author aloud during a debate, don't include that piece of evidence and find a better one.
Another point of contestation that should make its way into more debates is the way that authors make their arguments, or the way that debaters have highlighted these claims. Is the author making this claim based on one case study or based on a peer-reviewed, time-series cross sectional statistical analysis? Does the card itself not provide any warrants? Is the highlighting of the edvidence not able to lend itself to a claim and a warrant, or even a complete sentence? Point these issues out during your debating.
I believe the highlighting of your evidence should be coherent enough to read as a public speech, and not phrased like Rupi Kaur's new poetry anthology.
You can "insert the re-highlighting" if you need to discuss the quality of your opponents evidence. I think that having debaters re-read bad evidence means that there is a disincentive to do this type of evidence comparison because of the time it takes out of a speech.
I love evidence-based debates and will want a card doc at the end of the debate. My evaluation of these card docs will be in a way in which I feel I have done the least amount of intervention. To me, this means that cards/arguments that are referenced heavily by the debaters in the final rebuttals, even if they aren't by name, will be read and I'll adjust my thoughts on them accordingly. I will assign the meaning to the evidence that the debaters give it, so, for example, if the 1NC has a highlighted link argument within a card on the kritik, and the 2NR doesn't go for that link argument but goes for another claim in the card, I will not evaluate the extraneous link argument as meaning anything. The evidence you read does not give your argument more weight than you gave it. If you read stellar evidence but can't interpret it for me or move your analysis beyond tagline extensions, then I will not rely on the fact that that card is better than your opponent's.
CX is binding, but that doesn't mean you can read evidence in CX or finish cards in CX. There is a reason that CX is denoted as separate from speech time, and I still hold folks to the threshold of bringing those arguments into speeches, which means that you will just be wasting a lot of time.
Even if someone else cut the evidence you are reading, you are responsible for any issues of academic integrity that arise when you read that evidence, even if you weren't aware of the issue beforehand.
This is not to say I will not vote for teams that don't read evidence. I vote for teams that win debates.
Flowing - I only flow what I catch you saying. Please try to recognize communication break-downs and adjust. I will be following along in the speech document as you read, but I want to be able to understand you.
One of the biggest negative impacts of online debate along with a drop in participation is the increasing card-doc-ification of debates. I am not a fan. Make arguments, do line-by-line, know what evidence they read, FLOW THE DEBATE YOURSELF!
ADAPTATION: I have an auditory processing disorder that makes it especially difficult to flow unclear, online speeches. I can flow top speeds and follow along, but you do not understand how big of a difference clarity makes.
I have recently been attempting to learn how to type with more than my pointer fingers, and am a good flow on my computer but still, please don't let that be a substitute for your own communication.
When flowing debates, I will attempt to line up arguments next to each other, and I would appreciate it if line-by-line is clear as to facilitate this. If I can't do this, I will flow straight down and match arguments and their responses together at a later point, though, this may extend my already egregious use of time post-debate to deliberate.
Absent a defense of splitting up speaking times, the partner that is supposed to be speaking in that speech based on their speaker position is the one I will flow. I will not flow arguments that are being fed to another debater by their partner.
Tech and Truth - I am a "tech" judge. The arguments from the debate that make it on my flow and their implications will be compared based on the connections and the argument resolution that debaters have made.
Above all, when technically evaluating arguments, I value the way that debaters have characterized specific arguments rather than relying solely on evidence to make those comparisons or connecting the dots for them. Cross-applications still need explanation as to how they apply to the new argument. Debates are won and lost through small link distinctions, and especially in buzzword-heavy theory debates, this nuance is lost and leaves me in no way ready to vote on them without explanation.
I have a low threshold for "out-teching" stupid arguments. Stupid arguments can have just as stupid responses. However, if an argument is factually incorrect or incomplete, I'll disregard it. This includes, but is not limited to, voting issues without warranted standards and anything that I can easily google.
(Former) Argument Non-Starters
While rewriting my paradigm, I critically thought about my previous argument inhibitions and realized that they were just based on what I thought were accepted community norms, left over from when I created my paradigm when I was first introduced to national circuit debate. That was stupid of me, and I think that I should be able to defend to myself why I completely exclude an argument from evaluation. Other than, obviously, arguments that are on-face violent, I am fair game for any position.
My previous nonstarters that are now on the table include
- Death Good
- "No perms in a method debate"
There are two arguments that are difficult for me as a judge:
1. A very pessimistically-read "Debate Bad" argument. Without a way to resolve the offense, I am left wondering why this doesn't link to every debater participating in the debate.
2. This is more of a brand of argument than a specific argument, but any personal arguments that I cannot verify within the current debate. This includes previous debates against this team or incidents between the teams. Debate competition is not the best accountability method for interpersonal violence, you should take these issues to tab, coaches, or relevant authorities to resolve it, not me.
All of my dispositions can be overcame through outdebating the other team. There is always the chance that you could be the debater who makes me enjoy judging issues that I once disliked.
If your strategy involve humiliating the other debaters in the round you should strike me. I am fine with passion about arguments and the way that people communicate them, I do not want harm to come in personal attacks against debaters and their unique positionality in debate.
Online Debate - PLEASE BE MORE CLEAR. I cannot stress this enough. In some of the rounds I have judged, I was very close to losing the argumentation to mumbling or a lack of clarity of speech. Start off slower please. I can flow at fast speeds, but high schooler's laptops are usually not the best, so please be as clear as possible.
The timer stops for medical issues and tech issues.
Lay Debate/Non-Circuit Styles - I debated on a semi-lay circuit for my high-school career, so if your debate style is more stock issues, traditional, or slow, go for it! I will not penalize you for sticking with a local style that you have no control over, just know that I am still a "flow" judge. I'm not a lay judge or blind to circuit norms by any means, I just think that it is not a team's fault where they begin debating, and will not penalize a different style that does not match progressive debate norms.
Speaker Points - are based on skill, respectfulness to the judge and your opponents, clarity, roadmapping, and how you execute your strategy. I do not give you higher speaks based on you telling me to. If you ask for speaker points, I will give you the tournament minimum.
Procedural issues always come before substance.
I like T debates. I especially enjoy T debates where a substantial amount of evidence is read, epecially evidence about caselists and interpretations with intent to define and exclude. Please explain to me your visions of the topic and why that should frame my decision. Impacting out these debates is important. T is always a voting issue. Some things that I think you should focus on:
1. What is the distinction between the interpretation and the counter-interpretation? I find that debaters oftentimes lose the forest for the trees and dive into the violation debates without solidifying what makes each team's views of what should be included in the topic distinct. A great way to do this for me is with caselists, from both teams, prodicting their interpretations and indicting the opposing interpretation.
2. In what way does the aff violate the interpretation? This seems like a basic portion of T debate, but I see so many high school shells being whitled down so much so that the violation doesn't make it in. If the violation is poorly written or non-existent, point that out to me. I have judged way too many T debates where the violation hinges on an assertion from the negative that the aff is not a thing, when they probably are that thing. I give affirmatives the benefit of the doubt when explaining intriciacies of their plan. This is an area where neg T evidence can really help.
I default to rejecting the argument on theory except for conditionality. If you want me to reject the team on anything else, impact out why. I think that you shouldn't rely heavily on blocks in these debates, or at least make those blocks responsive. Impacts to theory should be clear and articulate; the less buzzwords, the better. The offense of your interpretation or your counter-interpretation should be intrinsic to the interpretation/counter-interpretation.
My leanings on conditionality are that it's good, but I'm not opposed to pulling the trigger on condo bad by any means. I think going for conditionality when mishandled by the negative is perfectly viable and more aff teams should do it. I don't necessarily have a lower limit if you want to pull the trigger. As long as your standards are intrinsic to your interpretation, I'm fine with it. I find that the general practice of conditionality can be argued against and potential-abuse based arguments that come along with it are pretty compelling in these debates.
Please do more of this, as per my rant above. I seriously love a good case debate. Have good 1NC answers to the advantages and good explanations and clash on the aff, and we'll have a good day. I think that advantages can be beaten by zero risk arguments. I will vote on presumption if the aff has a ridiculous, completely misconstrued scenario with 0% risk of any of it being a thing.
I think that I can vote negative on presumption if a CP has no net benefit but the neg team proves that presumption lies with them.
I prefer framing pages that are specific to the aff. Debate tends to be extremely reductive of ethics and moral philosophy. Conflating consequentialism and utilitarianism, conflating deontology and structural violence, etc. Pointing out discrepancies in a team's framing and the way they view arguments in the debate is very convincing to me, i.e. a team advocating deontology making a consequential claim, etc.
I love impact turn debates. Please be nuanced with the uniqueness question - I need a very good unsustainability argument to weigh against their impact, otherwise I will still give their impact risk.
Please read a full shell in the 1NC. The link is the most important part of the DA, please explain it well. I think the Aff team can beat a DA with zero risk arguments. Please have a reason why it turns the advantages.
Neg must prove competition and that the CP is net-beneficial to the aff. I think process CPs are fine, more so if they are topic-relevant. CP and Perm texts should be specific. "Do Both" or others mean nothing unless the aff explains how the perm functions.
Multi-plank CPs should be broken down for me; please explain how each plank functions and solves the advantages. If planks can be kicked, and the CP is egregiously long, then each plank functions as a conditional advocacy
I think that judge kick needs to be flagged in the debate. This can be through saying "judge kick" explicitly or "The status quo is always a logical option", which I take as meaning "judge kick + conditional".
CPs - Novice and JV Debate: Please y'all, you need a net benefit to your CP. I will not vote on a CP that "just solves better". This has happened in almost all of the JV/Novice debates I have judged this year. Please be a stand-out and don't do this.
---Kritiks on the Negative---
Disclaimer: Though the common theme of this section is that you should explain your thing, this is because I am a perfectionist when it comes to how literature is represented, not because I think teams that read kritiks need to break down their stuff more than policy teams. I recognize that teams that read "policy" style arguments get away with the most blippy characterizations of their arguments too often, and this is a practice that I would like to stop in any style of debate I judge. Both teams will be held to the same standard of explanation of any argument. I despise 5-word theory arguments, framework standards, etc. All arguments have to have a claim and a warrant. Explain the link and the impact of the K in the context of the advocacy you are criticizing.
High theory is fine and welcomed, as long as you show you know what you are talking about.
I need a lot of alternative explanation. What is it and how is it distinct from the aff? Does it capture the aff? Why is it mutually exclusive to the aff? Most importantly, how doe the alternative resolve the links to the K? I think a very convincing way the aff can beat the alt is a defense of your method and DAs to the way the alternative explains the case, if at all. Alts should have a consistent text throughout the debate.
I think Ks should have an alternative or something external that resolves the offense (framework, CP with the K as a net benefit, etc.) I don't like evaluating linear DAs based on K impacts and links if the status quo does not resolve the offense.
In K v. K debates, I need the debaters to explain to me the distinction between the methods. What impacts do each of the methods access? What does the perm look like OR Why does the perm ruin the alt? How does the aff's method resolve the K's links?
Debaters should decide for me whether there are perms in a method debate, but I tend to lean neg on this question. See below.
---Framework/T-USFG v. K Affs---
After the first semester on the water topic, I maintain an exactly 50/50 voting record for for or against framework.
I think that the way that most people evaluate fairness impacts writ large is based on personal preconceptions and biases about what it good. I want to make mine as clear as possible here, while also emphasizing that any framework impact to me is fair game. However, the most convincing genre of impacts for me in framework debates are clash, argument refinement, and iterative testing in relation to how they affect advocacy skills.
I like affs that have creative counter-interpretations that include your method and creative impact turns. If you articulate to me why the aff should be included in the topic better than the neg does, you win. This is best done for me through an indict of the neg's interpretation and the research it creates, not by reading a linear DA against debate norms as a whole.
My only caveat is that I believe that there should be limits on the topic of debate, and I think that the aff will always have a more expansive view of the topic (unless only the aff is topical/some explanations I have yet to find convincing). However, placing at least some defined limits on the aff's interpretation mitigates the offense the neg gets and puts me in a good spot to weigh your impacts against however-better limits the neg's interpretation provides.
I don't think that the reading of framework constitutes violence. Arguments that are loose metaphorizations of debate norms to real-world violence are difficult to win in front of me, and I would be keen to vote on arguments from the negative that that metaphorization is bad. However, more nuanced versions of the "policing/exlusion" DA that involve connections to the aff's lit base and academia as a whole and have an impact that is focused more around your research and education are more convincing.
---K Affs (General/K v. K)---
I'm fine with K affs as long as you have both (A) some sort of advocacy statement and (B) a reason why you shouldn't defend this year's topic. This seems intuitive, but in some K debates I have judged, the affirmative is focused more on the community as a whole rather than
I'm not a great judge for K affs that don't have a robust method defense in the 1AC. I think there is a common trend for these types of affs to defend as little as possible in the 1AC and then shift their explanations to defend whatever suits their fancy in the 2AC and beyond after the neg lays down their core offense.
Because of this, I feel as if, in direct opposition to my previous opinions, I am leaning neg on "no perms in a method debate". It is easy for me to buy that the ability for the aff to permute the K incentivizes writing affirmatives with vague theses to eliminate competition, which hurts kritikal clash, education, advocacy, etc. I think that the negative can do a better job convincing me of this when they read literature-specific offense. Aff, you should have a hearty defense of your method. A specific perm text or hearty explanation, coupled with answers to "no perms" should be enough for you to argue and win that "this perm is good and we should get it". Cards for perms are especially helpful when deciding whether you get a perm or not.
Reflected in the the update above, I find myself spending more and more time reading K literature in my free time. I am familiar with the basics of many areas and their key authors, and I have done some assistant coaching for teams that primarily read kritkal positions, but am not an expert on the latest stuff. Therefore, while I would love to judge more of these debates, I understand that I may not be the best for you in terms of pre-existing knowledge.
Performance - Fine with it as long as it's educationally appropriate.
Judging LD is something I don't commonly do, but you can translate a lot of the above here.
ATTN: My standard for what is a complete argument is high for current norms in LD. Claim, Warrant, Implication. Make less arguments and use that time to make better quality arguments.
I am best for policy debates, quality T/Theory debates, and Policy v. K debates.
I am fine for K v. K debates, and my reading and debate style has put me in way more of these than in the past.
I am less ok for dense phil. I need a lot of explanation and impacting.
I am not good for frivolous theory or tricks.
Behavior - Being rude/obnoxious gets speaks taken away.
Please be humble and considerate if you win and patient if you lose. As long as I'm in the room, no comments should be made about the skill of your opponents or their knowledge on certain subjects. Post-rounding is welcomed until it crosses the line from picking my brain to being angry at me for not seeing that you are so obviously right. If you have a habit of post-rounding aggressively, break it. I have PTSD and will not spare a second going to tab if you react in a way that may trigger an anxiety attack.
I will intervene and stop a round if I think that there is violence, physical or verbal, that endangers those participating in that round. Those who perpetuate the violence will receive an instant loss, 0 speaks, and coaches will be contacted. I will fight tab to give you 0 speaks or have you ejected.
Evidence Ethics Violations - Clipping, Paraphrasing without reading the evidence, and cutting evidence out of context is what I define as academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty mean an instant loss and I will award you the lowest amount of speaks that the tournament allows.
I understand the novelty of the activity for novices, but I hold JV and Varsity debaters to the standard of being able to properly read a card.
To quote Ryan McFarland, “Clipping is cheating no matter the intent."
Debate success doesn't matter! Have fun and do what you love! Be a good person!
Hello! My name is Anna Dean (she/her). I will default to (they/them) if I don't know you.
Bentonville West High School '21 (AR) | Harvard '25
I currently debate at Harvard. In High School, I did: Policy (Bentonville West DR FOREVER.), Extemp, World Schools, a little bit of Congress/ LD.
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do what you do & do it well.
Speed is fine (in CX/LD) (slow down a bit online & emphasize clarity)
Truth over Tech
If you read 40 cards in the block = fascism
I love a good cross-ex :)
Win an impact.
Number your args... please.
You have not turned the case just because you read an impact to your DA or K that is the same as the advantage impact.
Don't clip cards.
Updated 2023: DO NOT GO FOR THEORY. Don't read tricks. I don't buy the bs. Win your arguments without tricking your opponents.
I do not like disclosure. I won't vote for it. You should be able to win without knowing exactly what your opponents are going to say(can't believe I have to even write this)
I like them if they're well done. I should say, I don't have immense knowledge of theory. I ran Fem, Fem Killjoy<3, Queer, Set Col, Cap in high school. I evaluate method v. method.
*I study Women and Gender Studies. I have knowledge about gender/ feminism critical theory and loveeeeee these arguments!
Yes! I love a soft left AFF. My ideal round is a soft left aff and 3-6 off.
I love T. Go for it. I think it's underutilized. I like procedural fairness impacts (when it's clearly an impact). If you want to win my ballot, paint a picture of what your vision of the topic is and what happens in debates on it, which matters much more to me than conceded generic blips and buzzwords.
I lean more neg (60/40). IMPACTS.
Yes, but they can get boring and overdone. I would rather read 5, solid, well-highlighted UQ cards than 10 poopy cards that say "it'll pass but it's cloooooseeee!" without ever highlighting anything beyond that sentence. Uniqueness controls the direction of uniqueness and the link controls the direction of the link.
I tend to think condo bad (55/45). Some teams try to get away with murder. Yes, I will vote on 'condo bad'. I lean neg when the CP is based in the literature and there's a reasonable solvency advocate. I lean aff when the CP meets neither of those conditions.
Focus on arg development & application rather than reading backfiles.
If your strategy involves going for some version of "all debate is bad, this activity is meaningless and only produces bad people" please consider who your audience is. Of course, you can make arguments about flaws in specific debate policies & practices, but you should also recognize that the "debate is irredeemable" position is a tough sell to someone who has dedicated 6+ years of her life to it and tries to make it better.
Examples are incredibly helpful in these debates, especially when making structural claims about the world.
I am policy debater at heart. I will flow every word you say. Speed is a weapon in debate.
I don't love theory/meta-theory/tricks. I find a lot of Philo debates have tricks. Please just win your arguments and do not trick your opponents. It is extremely rare I vote on it.
I am good for more policy-oriented theory arguments like condo good/bad, PICs good/bad, process CPs good/bad, etc.
See above for more specifics.
Speak well. You are role-playing a policymaker... act like it.
Be prepared to speak on both sides of the bill.
I value evidence and credible sources.
DO NOT re-hash args.
I love good intros and transitions! I love to laugh a lil in an extemp round!
Organization is key!
I value evidence and credible sources.
I stay very up to date on current events... I will know what you're talking about... take that as you wish:)
Best of luck to you! If you have questions feel free to ask me before a round or email me!
Former US Extemper, PFer, and OOer, with a strong focus/storied career in extemp.
Currently compete in british parliamentary debate and occasionally APDA with Stanford.
truth > tech, the point of debate is education on topics + critical thinking skills so don't tell me that nuke war with china will happen if we don't pass your water infrastructure bill
only spread if you're good at it lol. if i'm confused, i'll look confused.
i won't flow cross or take it into consideration for who wins UNLESS you bring up something that happened on cross during a speech and use it to make an argument, which you should probably do.
please weigh impacts for me this is probably the most important thing you can do especially if theres a lot of confusing clash on warranting. also "lol big magnitude means better impact :)" is not a good way of weighing impacts, explain things more than just one sentence of "we win on magnitude" - why should we care about magnitude over prob/timeframe or vice versa?
plz signpost and keep speech organized
I prefer quality arguments over quantity of arguments. Debate is educational; if your strategy is to spread the other team in the rebuttal, that doesn't seem like you are trying to promote education. Being able to talk faster does not equate to being a better debater. That being said, I am not unreasonable; if you have to speak faster in the summaries to cover everything the other team put out, that is acceptable. If you are going to use speed as part of a strategy, I would rather you use the extra time you save to go more in-depth on fewer arguments rather than creating more, not as well-fleshed-out arguments.
I am a teacher, and debate is for education. I am predisposed to believe that debating issues that are intentionally (not just a loose link to the resolution or a bad interpretation of a definition) outside of the resolution can harm the fairness of the debate and the opponent's education. That said, I welcome you to use your speech time to advocate for any issues you believe in and educate the people in the round; I am just not likely to give you the ballot.
If two competing frameworks offer substantially different views of the round, I will evaluate it based on whichever team persuades me to use their framing. So, yes, I will vote on a framework and mentally adopt that framing to evaluate the impacts of the round. Strategically, it would be best to tell me how you win under both frameworks if you are unsure which framework is more persuasive to me. If the framing is fairly similar, I would hope the debaters would recognize that sooner rather than later and mutually agree so there is more time to focus on the core issues of the topic.
(I don't expect you to follow this exactly. You debate how you feel best. These are just the styles I am more likely to understand, appreciate, and ultimately vote for because it is how I teach my students. You utilize this information however you like.)
I like to flow as much as I possibly can. So, if I am not writing anything down during your speeches, you are either not being clear in your argumentation or have spent too much time covering the point; it is best to move on. Because I like to keep a detailed flow, I also appreciate a debater who is well organized in their signposting. Also, I have found debaters more successful when they can cross-apply evidence or arguments from their own contentions to attack the opps case. It seems to make things more organized because less evidence is being brought in, and thus, the debate becomes more focused on the quality of the argumentation.
When I am thinking, I often make a very grumpy-looking face. Don’t think I disagree with what you are saying because of this.
In public forum, I believe that most summary speeches drop excessive amounts of arguments against their own case. If you can defend your case and respond to what the other team said in the previous speeches, you are much more likely to win. I wouldn’t mind a line-by-line of both cases in the summary speech if you can. On the same note, if the other team does drop key arguments on the case, these are easy wins in my book; please bring them up.
You should select two or three main voting issues for the final focus. The speech's last 15-20 seconds should be spent giving me impact calc and telling me what the Pro world vs. the Con world looks like. I also don't mind an overview at the top if that suits you.
Roadmaps are off the clock for me
I will if you ask me to call for evidence to be evaluated.
Please don't try and avoid giving the other team evidence by saying your partner will do it after the cross. Evidence transparency is a huge part of the debate. Try to be as upfront as possible.
I can tell the difference between someone confident and standing their ground and someone using rudeness to make it look like they know more than they do. If being rude is part of your pathos as a debater, I don't think you're doing it right.
As just a general observation, conceding a few arguments that might legitimately be untrue puts you in a better position than trying to defend every aspect and piece of evidence of your case. The amount of time and energy it takes to defend legitimately untrue arguments is not worth what you lose on other, stronger arguments. Just pick and choose wisely.
Policy-I- I have debated it before. I do not judge it often. I do not coach it. Most likely, I am not familiar with the topic. Policymaker.
LD- I have not debated it before. I do not judge it often. I do not coach it. Most likely, I am not familiar with the topic. Good luck.
I've been judging Congressional Debate at the TOC since 2011. I'm looking for no rehash & building upon the argumentation. I want to hear you demonstrate true comparative understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the plan presented by the legislation. Don't simply praise or criticize the status quo as if the legislation before you doesn't exist.
Each LDer should have a value/value criterion that clarifies how their case should be interpreted.
I prefer to evaluate a round by selecting whose V/VC weighs most heavily under their case. Winning this is not in itself a reason for you to win. Tell me what arguments you're winning at the contention level, how they link, and how much they weigh in comparison to other arguments (yours and your opponent's) in the round.
Voting down the flow, if both sides prove framework and there’s not a lot of clash I would move on to the contention level and judge off the flow.
Don't. I can't deal with speed.
Paraphrasing is a horrible practice that I discourage. Additionally, I want to hear evidence dates (year of publication at a minimum) and sources (with author's credential if possible) cited in all evidence.
I believe it is the second team's duty to address both sides of the flow in the second team's rebuttal. A second team that neglects to both attack the opposing case and rebuild against the prior rebuttal will have a very difficult time winning my ballot as whichever arguments go unaddressed are essentially conceded.
The summaries should be treated as such - summarize the major arguments in the debate. I expect debaters to start to narrow the focus of the round at this point.
FOCUS is key. I would prefer 2 big arguments over 10 blippy ones that span the length of the flow. If you intend to make an argument in the FF, it should have been well explained, supported with analysis and/or evidence, and extended from its origin point in the debate all the way through the FF.
INTERP overall: I pay real close attention to the introduction of each piece, I look for the lens of analysis and the central thesis that will be advanced during the interpretation of literature. When the performance is happening, I'm checking to see if they have dug down deep enough into an understanding of their literature through that intro and have given me a way to contextualize the events that are happening during the performance
POI: I look for clean transitions and characterization (if doing multiple voices).
DI: I look for the small human elements that come from acting. Big and loud gestures are not always the way to convey the point, sometimes something smaller gets the point more powerfully.
HI: I look for clean character transitions, distinct voices, and strong energy in the movements. And of course the humor.
INFO: I'm looking for a well researched speech that has a strong message to deliver. Regardless of the genre of info you're presenting, I think that showing you've been exhaustive with your understanding is a good way to win my ballot. I'm not wow'd by flashy visuals that add little substance, and I'm put off by speeches that misrepresent intellectual concepts, even unintentionally. I like speeches that have a conclusion, and if the end of your speech is "and we still don't know" then I think you might want to reassess the overall direction you are taking.
FX/DX: When I'm evaluating an extemp speech, I'm continually thinking "did they answer the question? or did they answer something that sounded similar?" So keep that in your mind. Are you directly answering the question? When you present information that could be removed without affecting the overall quality of the speech, that is a sign that there wasn't enough research done by the speaker. What I vote on in terms of content are speeches that show a depth of understanding of the topic by evaluating the wider implications that a topic has for the area/region/politics/etc.
I am a lay judge (parent) and am judging for the first time. I am affiliated with Landmark Christian School where my daughter attends high school. I was not involved in debate when I was in high school. Therefore, although I have a working knowledge of debate jargon, please do not assume that I am well-versed in all debate terminology.
I do not penalize (or reward) students for spreading. My preference is for students to articulate and respond to arguments using a rate, tone and prosody of speech that is understandable. I will not cue you if you are speaking too fast. In general, I value the quality of key arguments over the sheer quantity of arguments. Therefore, students should not feel compelled to spread. Finally, my preference is for debaters to provide a roadmap and respond to arguments line-by-line.
I use a typical utilitarian paradigm that places a heavy emphasis on impacts and warrants. I also use what one would consider to be a reasonably educated person's understandings of economics, history, and politics. It is also important that arguments are well organized and clear. Furthermore, rebuttals should include impact explanations.
Former PF debater, but have been out of the circuit for a few years. Look to Jeff Miller's paradigm for more specifics on how I view rounds.
For policy, not big into k's unless they are extremely compelling.
Aloha from Hawai'i and the island of Oahu! I bring this to your attention because for virtual tournaments, I am 4 hours behind mainland Central time, so noon there is 8 a.m. for me. If you draw me in a morning round and I look like I just rolled out of bed, please know that it is probably because...well...I likely DID just roll out of bed and may or may not have finished my first (or third) can of Mtn. Dew yet! That said, let me get on to the real reason you came here and introduce you to my judging paradigm...
As an adjudicator in debate (going on 30 years on and off in the activity), I try to leave preconceived notions at the door so that both sides in the debate space are free to utilize the full range of style and strategy that they want during a round. Judge adaptation is a two-way street and judges need to accept that competitors in their presence bring differing styles and that we should give fair treatment to the same, even if their practices do not align with those that we personally favor/teach/have practiced.
My "style" of judging would best be described as tabula rasa with some tones of game player mixed in. We are here for competition, so regardless of "role of the ballot" arguments, my ultimate duty as a judge is to progress the better competitor in the round. I like to think of myself as a fairly "hands off" person when it comes to interjecting myself into a debate round, but you can make this more of a certainty by being absolutely sure you stress why YOU think you've won -- give voters, weigh out arguments, state the significance of points you think you win. At its heart, debate is a head-to-head story telling competition. For best results, your job is to tell me why your story is more believable than the one I'm hearing from your opponent. I am a judge, not a mind-reader, so do not leave your tournament future in the hands of fate by making me guess what you're trying to say! (remember, I probably woke up REALLY early today...)
For specific elements of debate that I commonly get asked about (much of what follows is specific to LD and Policy, PF is pretty clear within its event description with regard to what the event does/nʻt accept):
SPEED -- I would say on a scale of 1 (slow) to 10 (lightning fast), I probably log in at about a 7 (but be aware that this is for in-person...if you feel the need to go fast in an online tournament, you are putting yourself at the risk of technological glitches. This is still a communication activity, so arguments at least need to be intelligible to have merit and weight within a round. If there is an email chain being created, please add me to it -- email@example.com
THEORY -- I will vote on theory if you convince me that the argument has merit (usually this means convincing me that there has been a genuine abuse/loss of ground/skew of fairness as opposed to "my opponent dropped 3 of my 9 blipped one-liners from my last speech"). I am not a fan of theory as a time-suck argument, so if you run something please be serious about its application and utilization. I will only vote on disclosure theory if something in the tournament literature indicates that disclosure is expected.
K's -- I'll entertain them and will vote for them the same as any other argument in a round. Please be clear about the Alt.
SPEAKING POINTS -- Absent documentation from the tournament, here is my personal scoring range on a traditional 30-point scale: 30 = in my opinion, likely one of the top debaters in the tournament; 29 = Someone I expect to advance deeply into elimination rounds based off this performance; 28 = Clearly above average, good chance of making elim rounds; 27 = An average debater for this level, someone I would expect to finish near .500 based on what I see; 26 = Needs improvement as clear technical/speaking gaps were evident based on performance. ***I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO DELIVER LOWER POINT SCORES SHOULD YOU BE RUDE OR OFFENSIVE***
In closing, if there's anything here that you are still curious about, feel free to ask about it pre-round. You are here to compete and have fun. I am here to make sure the tournament runs smoothly and to do my part toward seeing the best competitors advance as deep into the tournament as they deserve. Live aloha, give aloha!
I have been coaching debate since 1980. I was a policy debater in high school. I have coached policy debate, Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, Big Question and World Schools debate. I am also a congressional debate coach and speech coach.
It comes as no surprise based on my experience and age, that I am a traditional judge. I do keep up on current theory and practice, but do not agree with all of it. I am a traditional judge who believes that LDers need to present a value to support based in the resolution. A criterion is helpful if you want me to weigh the round in a certain way. Telling me you won your criterion so your opponent loses doesn't work for me, since I believe you win the round based on your value being upheld by voting affirmative or negative on the resolution. Telling me to weigh the round though using your criterion makes me very happy.
Voting Issues- I need these. I think debaters ought to tell me what to write on my flow and on my ballot.
Not a fan of K's, performance cases, counter plans, or DA's in LD. I know the reasons people do it. I don't think it belongs in this type of debate. I know debate is ever-evolving, but I believe we have different styles of debate and these don't belong here.
Flow: I was a policy debater. I flow most everything in the round.
Speed- The older I get the less I like speed. You will know if you are going too fast --- unless your head is buried in your laptop and you are not paying any attention to me. If I can't hear/understand it, I can't flow it. If I don't flow it, it doesn't count in the round.
Oral Comments- I don't give them.
I have coached Public Forum since it began. I have seen it change a bit, but I still believe it is rooted in discussion that includes evidence and clear points.
Flow: I flow.
Public forum is about finding the 2 or 3 major arguments that are supported in the round with evidence. The two final focus speeches should explain why your side is superior in the round.
I am not a fan of speed in the round. This is not policy-light. I do not listen to the poor arguments moving into the PF world.
Yes, email chain: sohailjouyaATgmailDOTcom
- Probably not the best judge for the "Give us a 30!" approach unless it becomes an argument/point of contestation in the round. Chances are I'll just default to whatever I'd typically give. To me, these kind of things aren't arguments, but judge instructions that are external to making a decision regarding the debate occurring.
- I appreciate adaptation to my preferences but don’t do anything that would make you uncomfortable. Never feel obligated to compete in a manner that inhibits your ability to be effective. My promise to you will be that I will keep an open mind and assess whatever you chose. In short: do you.
- Truth > Tech, but RELAX: All this means is that I recognize that debate is not merely a game, but rather a competition that models the world in which we live. This doesn’t mean I believe judges should intervene on the basis of argumentative preference - what it does mean is that embedded clash band the “nexus question” of the round is of more importance than blippy technical oversights between certain sheets of paper - especially in K v K debates.
Don't fret: a dropped argument is still a concession. I likely have a higher threshold for the development of arguments that are more intrinsically dubious and lack warrants.
- As a former coach of a UDL school where many of my debaters make arguments centred on their identity, diversity is a genuine concern. It may play a factor in how I evaluate a round, particularly in debates regarding what’s “best” for the community/activity.
Do you and I’ll do my best to evaluate it but I’m not a tabula rasa and the dogma of debate has me to believe the following. I have put a lot of time and thought into this while attempting to be parsimonious - if you are serious about winning my ballot a careful read would prove to serve you well:
- All speech acts are performances, consequently, debaters should defend their performances including the advocacy, evidence, arguments/positions, interpretations, and representations of said speech acts.
- One of the most annoying questions a judged can be asked: “Are you cool with speed?”
In short: yes. But smart and slow always beats fast and dumb.
I have absolutely no preference on rate of delivery, though I will say it might be smart to slow down a bit on really long tags, advocacy texts, your totally sweet theory/double-bind argument or on overviews that have really nuanced descriptions of the round. My belief is that speed is typically good for debate but please remember that spreading’s true measure is contingent on the number of arguments that are required to be answered by the other team not your WPM.
- Pathos: I used to never really think this mattered at all. To a large degree, it still doesn’t considering I’m unabashedly very flowcentric but I tend to give high speaker points to debaters who performatively express mastery knowledge of the subjects discussed, ability to exercise round vision, assertiveness, and that swank.
- Holistic Approaches: the 2AR/2NR should be largely concerned with two things:
1) provide framing of the round so I can make an evaluation of impacts and the like
2) descriptively instruct me on how to make my decision
Overviews have the potential for great explanatory power, use that time and tactic wisely.
While I put form first, I am of the maxim that “form follows function” – I contend that the reverse would merely produce an aesthetic, a poor formula for argument testing in an intellectually rigorous and competitive activity. In summation: you need to make an argument and defend it.
- The Affirmative ought to be responsive to the topic. This is a pinnacle of my paradigm that is quite broad and includes teams who seek to engage in resistance to the proximate structures that frame the topic. Conversely, this also implicates teams that prioritize social justice - debaters utilizing methodological strategies for best resistance ought to consider their relationship to the topic.
Policy-oriented teams may read that last sentence with glee and K folks may think this is strike-worthy…chill. I do not prescribe to the notion that to be topical is synonymous with being resolutional.
- The Negative’s ground is rooted in the performance of the Affirmative as well as anything based in the resolution. It’s that simple; engage the 1AC if at all possible.
- I view rounds in an offense/defense lens. Many colleagues are contesting the utility of this approach in certain kinds of debate and I’m ruminating about this (see: “Thoughts on Competition”) but I don’t believe this to be a “plan focus” theory and I default to the notion that my decisions require a forced choice between competing performances.
- I will vote on Framework. (*This means different things in different debate formats - I don't mean impact framing or LD-centric "value/value criterion" but rather a "You must read a plan" interpretation that's typically in response to K Affs)That means I will vote for the team running the position based on their interpretation, but it also means I’ll vote on offensive responses to the argument. Vindicating an alternative framework is a necessary skill and one that should be possessed by kritikal teams - justifying your form of knowledge production as beneficial in these settings matter.
Framework appeals effectively consist of a normative claim of how debate ought to function. The interpretation should be prescriptive; if you are not comfortable with what the world of debate would look like if your interpretation were universally applied, then you have a bad interpretation. The impact to your argument ought to be derived from your interpretation (yes, I’ve given RFDs where this needed to be said). Furthermore, a Topical Version of the Affirmative must specifically explain how the impacts of the 1AC can be achieved, it might be in your best interest to provide a text or point to a few cases that achieve that end. This is especially true if you want to go for external impacts that the 1AC can’t access – but all of this is contingent on a cogent explanation as to why order precedes/is the internal link to justice.
- I am pretty comfortable judging Clash of Civilization debates.
- Framework is the job of the debaters. Epistemology first? Ontology? Sure, but why? Where does performance come into play – should I prioritize a performative disad above the “substance” of a position? Over all of the sheets of paper in the round? These are questions debaters must grapple with and preferably the earlier in the round the better.
- "Framework is how we frame our work" >>>>> "FrAmEwOrK mAkEs ThE gAmE wOrK"
-Presumption can be an option. In my estimation, the 2NR may go for Counterplan/Kritik while also giving the judge the option of the status quo. Call it “hypo-testing” or whatever but I believe a rational decision-making paradigm doesn’t doom me to make a single decision between two advocacies, especially when the current status of things is preferable to both (the net-benefit for a CP/linear DA and impact for a K). I don't know if I really “judge kick” for you, instead, the 2NR should explain an “even if” route to victory via presumption to allow the 2AR to respond.
“But what about when presumption flips Affirmative?” This is a claim that I wish would be established prior to the 2NR, but I know that's not gonna happen. I've definitely voted in favour of plenty of 2ARs that haven't said that in the 1AR. The only times I can envision this is when the 2NR is going all-in on a CP.
- Role of the Ballots ought to invariably allow the 1AC/1NC to be contestable and provide substantial ground to each team. Many teams will make their ROBs self-serving at best, or at worse, tautological. That's because there's a large contingency of teams that think the ROB is an advocacy statement. They are not. Even more teams conflate a ROB with a Role of the Judge instruction and I'm just now making my peace with dealing with that reality.
If the ROB fails to equally distribute ground, they are merely impact framing. A good ROB can effectively answer a lot of framework gripes regarding the Affirmative’s pronouncement of an unfalsifiable truth claim.
- Analytics that are logically consistent, well warranted, and answer the heart of any argument are weighed in high-esteem. This is especially true if it’s responsive to any combinations of bad argument/evidence.
- My threshold for theory is not particularly high. It’s what you justify, not necessarily what you do. I typically default to competing interpretations, this can be complicated by a team that is able to articulate what reasonability means in the context of the round, otherwise I feel like it's interventionist of me to decode what “reasonable” represents. The same is true to a lesser extent with the impacts as well. Rattling off “fairness and education” as loaded concepts that I should just know has a low threshold if the other team can explain the significance of a different voter or a standard that controls the internal link into your impact (also, if you do this: prepared to get impact turned).
I think theory should be strategic and I very much enjoy a good theory debate. Copious amounts of topicality and specification arguments are not strategic, it is desperate.
- I like conditionality probably more so than other judges. As a young’n I got away with a lot of, probably, abusive Negative strategies that relied on conditionality to the maximum (think “multiple worlds and presumption in the 2NR”) mostly because many teams were never particularly good at explaining why this was a problem. If you’re able to do so, great – just don’t expect me to do much of that work for you. I don’t find it particularly difficult for a 2AR to make an objection about how that is bad for debate, thus be warned 2NRs - it's a downhill effort for a 2AR.
Furthermore, I tend to believe the 1NC has the right to test the 1AC from multiple positions.
Thus, Framework along with Cap K or some other kritik is not a functional double turn. The 1NC doesn’t need to be ideologically consistent. However, I have been persuaded in several method debates that there is a performative disadvantage that can be levied against speech acts that are incongruent and self-defeating.
- Probability is the most crucial component of impact calculus with disadvantages. Tradeoffs ought to have a high risk of happening and that question often controls the direction of uniqueness while also accessing the severity of the impact (magnitude).
- Counterplan debates can often get tricky, particularly if they’re PICs. Maybe I’m too simplistic here, but I don’t understand why Affirmatives don’t sit on their solvency deficit claims more. Compartmentalizing why portions of the Affirmative are key can win rounds against CPs. I think this is especially true because I view the Counterplan’s ability to solve the Affirmative to be an opportunity cost with its competitiveness. Take advantage of this “double bind.”
- Case arguments are incredibly underutilized and the dirty little secret here is that I kind of like them. I’m not particularly sentimental for the “good ol’ days” where case debate was the only real option for Negatives (mostly because I was never alive in that era), but I have to admit that debates centred on case are kind of cute and make my chest feel all fuzzy with a nostalgia that I never experienced– kind of like when a frat boy wears a "Reagan/Bush '84" shirt...
I know enough to know that kritiks are not monolithic. I am partial to topic-grounded kritiks and in all reality I find them to be part of a typical decision-making calculus. I tend to be more of a constructivist than a rationalist. Few things frustrate me more than teams who utilise a kritik/answer a kritik in a homogenizing fashion. Not every K requires the ballot as a tool, not every K looks to have an external impact either in the debate community or the world writ larger, not every K criticizes in the same fashion. I suggest teams find out what they are and stick to it, I also think teams should listen and be specifically responsive to the argument they hear rather than rely on a base notion of what the genre of argument implies. The best way to conceptualize these arguments is to think of “kritik” as a verb (to criticize) rather than a noun (a static demonstrative position).
It is no secret that I love many kritiks but deep in every K hack’s heart is a revered space that admires teams that cut through the noise and simply wave a big stick and impact turn things, unabashedly defending conventional thought. If you do this well there’s a good chance you can win my ballot. If pure agonism is not your preferred tactic, that’s fine but make sure your post-modern offense onto kritiks can be easily extrapolated into a 1AR in a fashion that makes sense.
In many ways, I believe there’s more tension between Identity and Post-Modernism teams than there are with either of them and Policy debaters. That being said, I think the Eurotrash K positions ought to proceed with caution against arguments centred on Identity – it may not be smart to contend that they ought to embrace their suffering or claim that they are responsible for a polemical construction of identity that replicates the violence they experience (don’t victim blame).
THOUGHTS ON COMPETITION
There’s a lot of talk about what is or isn’t competition and what competition ought to look like in specific types of debate – thus far I am not of the belief that different methods of debate require a different rubric for evaluation. While much discussion has been given to “Competition by Comparison” I very much subscribe to Competing Methodologies. What I’ve learned in having these conversations is that this convention means different things to different people and can change in different settings in front of different arguments. For me, I try to keep it consistent and compatible with an offense/defense heuristic: competing methodologies require an Affirmative focus where the Negative requires an independent reason to reject the Affirmative. In this sense, competition necessitates a link. This keeps artificial competition at bay via permutations, an affirmative right regardless of the presence of a plan text.
Permutations are merely tests of mutual exclusivity. They do not solve and they are not a shadowy third advocacy for me to evaluate. I naturally will view permutations more as a contestation of linkage – and thus, are terminal defense to a counterplan or kritik -- than a question of combining texts/advocacies into a solvency mechanism. If you characterize these as solvency mechanisms rather than a litmus test of exclusivity, you ought to anticipate offense to the permutation (and even theory objections to the permutation) to be weighed against your “net-benefits”. This is your warning to not be shocked if I'm extrapolating a much different theoretical understanding of a permutation if you go 5/6 minutes for it in the 2AR.
Even in method debates where a permutation contends both methods can work in tandem, there is no solvency – in these instances net-benefits function to shield you from links (the only true “net benefit” is the Affirmative). A possible exception to this scenario is “Perm do the Affirmative” where the 1AC subsumes the 1NC’s alternative; here there may be an offensive link turn to the K resulting in independent reasons to vote for the 1AC.
Judging I look for: speech suitability to the speaker, performance technique, creativity, understanding of the material.
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."
Cabot High School 2021 Alumni
Hello! My name is Clayton, and I did Speech and Debate for 6 years while in high school. While I primarily did speech, my junior year onward, I did debate on the side. I qualified twice for Nationals in WSD, as well as winning best overall delegate at ACTAA Congress in 2019! This experience is where I will be basing most of my judging.
I prefer speeches that are clearly organized with a teaser, conclusion, and roadmap. When speaking, provide credible sources (don't make claims or statements without backing it up). Try and provide new arguments not provided in the round when speaking, if possible; this helps keep the debate fresh for everyone involved. Make sure that during the questioning period, you adequately respond to questions and don't circle around what's being asked. Be kind to your fellow delegates and don't speak over them or patronize them. Overall, I value fluid speeches that are well-spoken and easy to follow.
1. For speaking points, I value a good "public speaking" voice. Do not spread or rush through the content. Make sure speeches are well organized, follow a template, and flow from each speaker to the next. Sign-posting is ideal for organization, but treat these segments nonetheless as you're speaking a normal sentence--AKA don't fall into a policy style of speaking. Enunciate all words and have tonal inflection that helps keep me engaged.
2. For content points, I highly regard the "world" aspect of world schools. Arguments that are international, unless specifically regarded as a U.S-centric topic, will always be preferred. Respond to each point the opposing side brings up, but don't fall into the "list" trap of going through all the specific issues over having clear organization. Having a debate about framing is okay, but making it a large issue during the round ends up giving everyone involved a headache (and means I can't judge well)!. Organization is key for having a great argument, so find a structure that works well for your team and stick to it! Ultimately, remain friendly and cordial with one another. Being disrespectful or rude to your opponents during questioning or during speaks is unacceptable, and will most likely result in a loss.
If given the option, I will always disclose my decision and provide reasons why. I'm not the best at flowing, so I will mainly look for how each team responds to the broad arguments of one another and provides the most convincing argument for overall arg/content points (though I will still flow).
I have judged in a few events before. Don't spread because you will loose my attention for sure. I have to be able to clearly hear you and understand your argument. Try to avoid talking over other person. You should be able to convince me with your arguments. I care more about persuasion and confidence vs. facts. If you use an acronym, at least explain it once. I am a bullet point person. So in this case, I would love to see Signpost. It will convey your points to me much more clearly.
Atlanta Urban Debate League (UDL). Decatur.
You can put me on the E mail chain: firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes I want the docs. Yes I want your analytics. If you are a novice and don't have blocks that is one thing but if you are clearly reading and it's not the 2AR I want your docs.
Note for the NAUDL: if you are debating on paper or this is not the practice of your league, I may ask to see your docs but that is unlikely. We debate both UDL and circuit debate (and individual events) so I am aware that norms differ between leagues.
Current Urban Debate League coach (Atlanta/AUDL) but a long time ago (when we carried tubs, no one had a cell phone, and the K was still kinda new) I used to coach and judge on the national circuit. I took a sabbatical from coaching (had kids, came back, things have changed, no more tubs). I still flow on paper and probably always will. FYI -- I have not judged national circuit varsity debates consistently since 2008 when I worked at a now-defunct national circuit program that had some money for travel. I've been told I'm more tech over truth and although I enjoy listening to K debates I don't have a K background (my national circuit experience has all been old school policy so like DA plus case plus CP). If you are a K team I expect some sort of ADVOCACY not just a bunch of block reading and a framework dump. If you don't have a plan you still need to advocate FOR something. Theory dumps are very frustrating to me because I don't know how to evaluate the round.
Crystalizing the round in rebuttals is an important skill - especially in front of a judge like me that did not spend 8 weeks at camp nor has read all of the lit. Or maybe any of the lit. You absolutely will be more familiar with your evidence than I will so please don't expect that kind of deep dive into the post round discussion. There was a point in my life when I could have those discussions, but I'm not there anymore. I am however more likely to buy your case attacks or a topicality argument so there's that.
Notes for IE/LD -- I judge more policy debate than LD/IE/PF/Congress but at some point this year have judged all of the above. I tend to be more tech over truth with LD and am looking for some sort of impact analysis of the values presented. My policy team does not run the K and debates more traditionally -- one of the most underutilized strategies in LD is to debate the other team's case.
Current Coach -- Marist School (2011-present)
Lab Leader -- National Debate Forum (2015-present), Emory University (2016), Dartmouth College (2014-2015), University of Georgia (2012-2015)
Former Coach -- Fayette County (2006-2011), Wheeler (2008-2009)
Former Debater -- Fayette County (2002-2006)
Last Updated -- 2/12/2012 for the 2022 Postseason (no major updates, just being more specific on items)
I am a high school teacher who believes in the power that speech and debate provides students. There is not another activity that provides the benefits that this activity does. I am involved in topic wording with the NSDA and argument development and strategy discussion with Marist, so you can expect I am coming into the room as an informed participant about the topic. As your judge, it is my job to give you the best experience possible in that round. I will work as hard in giving you that experience as I expect you are working to win the debate. I think online debate is amazing and would not be bothered if we never returned to in-person competitions again. For online debate to work, everyone should have their cameras on and be cordial with other understanding that there can be technical issues in a round.
What does a good debate look like?
In my opinion, a good debate features two well-researched teams who clash around a central thesis of the topic. Teams can demonstrate this through a variety of ways in a debate such as the use of evidence, smart questioning in cross examination and strategical thinking through the use of casing and rebuttals. In good debates, each speech answers the one that precedes it (with the second constructive being the exception in public forum). Good debates are fun for all those involved including the judge(s).
The best debates are typically smaller in nature as they can resolve key parts of the debate. The proliferation of large constructives have hindered many second halves as they decrease the amount of time students can interact with specific parts of arguments and even worse leaving judges to sort things out themselves and increasing intervention.
What role does theory play in good debates?
I've always said I prefer substance over theory. That being said, I do know theory has its place in debate rounds and I do have strong opinions on many violations. I will do my best to evaluate theory as pragmatically as possible by weighing the offense under each interpretation. For a crash course in my beliefs of theory - disclosure is good, open source is an unnecessary standard for high school public forum teams until a minimum standard of disclosure is established, paraphrasing is bad, round reports is frivolous, content warnings for graphic representations is required, content warnings over non-graphic representations is debatable.
All of this being said, I don't view myself as an autostrike for teams that don't disclose or paraphrase. However, I've judged enough this year to tell you if you are one of those teams and happen to debate someone with thoughts similar to mine, you should be prepared with answers.
How do "progressive" arguments work in good debates?
Like I said above, arguments work best when they are in the context of the critical thesis of the topic. Thus, if you are reading the same cards in your framing contention from the Septober topic that have zero connections to the current topic, I think you are starting a up-hill battle for yourselves. I have not been entirely persuaded with the "pre-fiat" implications I have seen this year - if those pre-fiat implications were contextualized with topic literature, that would be different.
My major gripe with progressive debates this year has been a lack of clash. Saying "structural violence comes first" doesn't automatically mean it does or that you win. These are debatable arguments, please debate them. I am also finding that sometimes the lack of clash isn't a problem of unprepared debaters, but rather there isn't enough time to resolve major issues in the literature. At a minimum, your evidence that is making progressive type claims in the debate should never be paraphrased and should be well warranted. I have found myself struggling to flow framing contentions that include four completely different arguments that should take 1.5 minutes to read that PF debaters are reading in 20-30 seconds (Read: your crisis politics cards should be more than one line).
How should evidence exchange work?
Evidence exchange in public forum is broken. At the beginning of COVID, I found myself thinking cases sent after the speech in order to protect flowing. However, my view on this has shifted. A lot of debates I found myself judging last season had evidence delays after case. At this point, constructives should be sent immediately prior to speeches. (If you paraphrase, you should send your narrative version with the cut cards in order). At this stage in the game, I don't think rebuttal evidence should be emailed before but I imagine that view will shift with time as well. When you send evidence to the email chain, I prefer a cut card with a proper citation and highlighting to indicate what was read. Cards with no formatting or just links are as a good as analytics.
For what its worth, whenever I return to in-person tournaments, I do expect email chains to continue.
What effects speaker points?
I am trying to increase my baseline for points as I've found I'm typically below average. Instead of starting at a 28, I will try to start at a 28.5 for debaters and move accordingly. Argument selection, strategy choices and smart crossfires are the best way to earn more points with me. You're probably not going to get a 30 but have a good debate with smart strategy choices, and you should get a 29+.
This only applies to tournaments that use a 0.1 metric -- tournaments that are using half points are bad.
Professionalism and respect are what champions are made of; words of wisdom always win! Apply the principles of good sportsmanship-hold yourself to a higher standard.
Plan and stick to your position. Prep time is crucial.
Communicate clarity in your stance, topic, rebuttal, and explanations; add to the impact of your statements.
Countering arguments need to be expressive, factual, and worthy of a solution if needed. Think your ideas through.
Convince me. Why do YOU rank first? Persuasion is the big picture.
Talking fast? Lots of information? Can I justify all your points if you rush? Maybe not. Don't take that chance.
Adding fillers and hypotheticals to stretch time? Don’t. Be meaningful with our time.
Evidence? Yes, please! Explain how your evidence justifies your topic's stance. If you have my attention, give it your all!
Yes, I want to be on the email chain, please put both emails on the chain.
I attempted to resist the point inflation that seems to happen everywhere these days, but I decided that was not fair to the teams/debaters that performed impressively in front of me.
27.7 to 28.2 - Average
28.3 to 28.6 - Good job
28.7 to 29.2 - Well above average
29.3 to 29.7 - Great job/ impressive job
29.8 to 29.9 - Outstanding performance, better than I have seen in a long time. Zero mistakes and you excelled in every facet of the debate.
30 - I have not given a 30 in years and years, true perfection.
I am willing to listen to most arguments. There are very few debates where one team wins all of the arguments so each of you must identify what you are winning and make the necessary comparisons between your arguments and the other team's arguments/positions. Speed is not a problem although clarity is essential. If I think that you are unclear I will say clearer and if you don't clear up I will assign speaker points accordingly. Try to be nice to each other and enjoy yourself. Good cross-examinations are enjoyable and typically illuminates particular arguments that are relevant throughout the debate. Please, don't steal prep time. I do not consider e-mailing evidence as part of your prep time nonetheless use e-mailing time efficiently.
I enjoy substantive debates as well as debates of a critical tint. If you run a critical affirmative you should still be able to demonstrate that you are Topical/predictable. I hold Topicality debates to a high standard so please be aware that you need to isolate well-developed reasons as to why you should win the debate (ground, education, predictability, fairness, etc.). If you are engaged in a substantive debate, then well-developed impact comparisons are essential (things like magnitude, time frame, probability, etc.). Also, identifying solvency deficits on counter-plans is typically very important.
Theory debates need to be well developed including numerous reasons a particular argument/position is illegitimate. I have judged many debates where the 2NR or 2AR are filled with new reasons an argument is illegitimate. I will do my best to protect teams from new arguments, however, you can further insulate yourself from this risk by identifying the arguments extended/dropped in the 1AR or Negative Bloc.
GOOD LUCK! HAVE FUN!
LD June 13, 2022
A few clarifications... As long as you are clear you can debate at any pace you choose. Any style is fine, although if you are both advancing different approaches then it is incumbent upon each of you to compare and contrast the two approaches and demonstrate why I should prioritize/default to your approach. If you only read cards without some explanation and application, do not expect me to read your evidence and apply the arguments in the evidence for you. Be nice to each other. I pay attention during cx. I will not say clearer so that I don't influence or bother the other judge. If you are unclear, you can look at me and you will be able to see that there is an issue. I might not have my pen in my hand or look annoyed. I keep a comprehensive flow and my flow will play a key role in my decision. With that being said, being the fastest in the round in no way means that you will win my ballot. Concise well explained arguments will surely impact the way I resolve who wins, an argument advanced in one place on the flow can surely apply to other arguments, however the debater should at least reference where those arguments are relevant. CONGRATULATIONS & GOOD LUCK!!!
LD Paradigm from May 1, 2022
I will update this more by May 22, 2022
I am not going to dictate the way in which you debate. I hope this will serve as a guide for the type of arguments and presentation related issues that I tend to hear and vote on. I competed in LD in the early 1990's and was somewhat successful. From 1995 until present I have primarily coached policy debate and judged CX rounds, but please don't assume that I prefer policy based arguments or prefer/accept CX presentation styles. I expect to hear clearly every single word you say during speeches. This does not mean that you have to go slow but it does mean incomprehensibility is unacceptable. If you are unclear I will reduce your speaker points accordingly. Going faster is fine, but remember this is LD Debate.
Despite coaching and judging policy debate the majority of time every year I still judge 50+ LD rounds and 30+ extemp. rounds. I have judged 35+ LD rounds on the 2022 spring UIL LD Topic so I am very familiar with the arguments and positions related to the topic.
I am very comfortable judging and evaluating value/criteria focused debates. I have also judged many LD rounds that are more focused on evidence and impacts in the round including arguments such as DA's/CP's/K's. I am not here to dictate how you choose to debate, but it is very important that each of you compare and contrast the arguments you are advancing and the related arguments that your opponent is advancing. It is important that each of you respond to your opponents arguments as well as extend your own positions. If someone drops an argument it does not mean you have won debate. If an argument is dropped then you still need to extend the conceded argument and elucidate why that argument/position means you should win the round. In most debates both sides will be ahead on different arguments and it is your responsibility to explain why the arguments you are ahead on come first/turns/disproves/outweighs the argument(s) your opponent is ahead on or extending. Please be nice to each other. Flowing is very important so that you ensure you understand your opponents arguments and organizationally see where and in what order arguments occur or are presented. Flowing will ensure that you don't drop arguments or forget where you have made your own arguments. I do for the most part evaluate arguments from the perspective that tech comes before truth (dropped arguments are true arguments), however in LD that is not always true. It is possible that your arguments might outweigh or come before the dropped argument or that you can articulate why arguments on other parts of the flow answer the conceded argument. I pay attention to cross-examinations so please take them seriously. CONGRATULATIONS for making it to state!!! Each of you should be proud of yourselves! Please, be nice in debates and treat everyone with respect just as I promise to be nice to each of you and do my absolute best to be predictable and fair in my decision making. GOOD LUCK!
Former college policy debater and speech competitor. Been coaching speech and debate for the last 12 years.
A fan of clean, structured, easy to follow debates. I'm big on pre-speech road maps and internal signposting. Staying on track and explaining to me where you're going indicates to me that you are in control of the round and your performance within it. Debates that get muddled aren't fun for anyone, so keep it clear where you are cross applying and clashing.
I won't time anything in round. Keep tabs on each other.
I do prefer you extend thru summary if you have time so I know what you're going for.
Definitions only help us stay on the same page so when they are helpful, they are appreciated. Totally down with an overview.
Also fine with jargon. Competed in policy so speed shouldn't be an issue. I prefer it to be a little slower as this is PF, but if I can't understand you it's almost certainly an issue with articulation, not speed.
Impact weighing should be a primary part of your final focus. If I don't know what you impact out to then what are we even doing here and why does it matter? I do my best to leave my biases at the door, but that also means I will not intervene for you. Don't sprinkle a trail of bread crumbs and lead me down a path without actually ending up somewhere. Don't imply impacts or warrants, state them directly. You shouldn't make me work to follow you, it should be easy.
Speaker points for me are a function of your ability to logically break down and explain your points in a clear and concise manner. In my opinion it's not about how pretty you speak, that's what IE's are for (a stumble here or there means nothing to me in debate). Be clear, articulate, logical, and explain where you are going and you'll get high speaks from me. Be warned though: in 12 years of judging debate I have given out less than 10 perfect 30's. To me, 30 means perfection, as in you could not have done anything better whatsoever.
Framework is cool with me. Makes it easier to weigh the round.
Truth over tech.
Any other questions feel free to ask me before the round starts.
Hi there! I've been performing since I was very young, and I am a 2007 graduate of the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City. I direct both adult and youth productions at my local theatre and have been an active judge in both this year's, as well as last year's, tournament seasons.
I have completed the NFHS Cultural Competency course, and I identify as diversity enhancing!
POI/PR/PO: Show me a strong commitment to your material, with bold but organic choices. Use your binder --this is a reading event-- but don't hide behind it!
HI/DI: Make sure your piece tells a decisive story and that your character transitions are smooth enough that I know who's talking at at all times! Also important: sure, bold choices are good, but I still want to see the nuances behind your characters and what you're saying. Rather than just doing stock characters, approach them from a place of truth. That almost always yields funnier and/or more powerful results!
EXTEMP: Research, research, research! I'm looking for a well-organized speech that answers the question clearly and provides a lot of cited sources.
OO/INFO: I love how much I learn when judging both of these categories. Remember your top priority is to teach us something, and that good lessons are organized, compelling, and easy to understand.
CONGRESS: Ask great questions of your fellow debaters and be researched enough to be able to provide convincing answers to the questions that are asked of you! Looking for strong points and organization in your speeches!
Remember that no one can offer exactly what YOU offer, and embrace that! Most of all, have fun!
I have experience in just about all types of debate. While some distinctions between formats I see similarities rooted in intentional relationships, education and rhetoric. I do not see the judge as a blank slate. So I have some things that I think, based on my experiences as a debater, social science teacher, coach, parent and program director effect my role as a judge. We all have filters.
Personally, I debated NDT for the University of Houston in the early 80's. Achieving out rounds at major national tournaments and debating at both the NDT and CEDA Nationals. I have coached all debate events and many speech events. My policy teams won St. Marks and Memorial TOC tournaments and enjoyed success nationally. My students were also successful on Texas UIL and local circuits. I have had debate teams, LD debaters, extemp speakers and congress entries placed 1st or 2nd in Texas and have also coached a state oratory champion.
Currently, I consult and do debate on the side from home. I'm 62 years old. Concerns or questions about a judge that age are addressed below. The two biggest concerns are usually handling "speed" and "progressive" arguments. Speed with style and good technique is one thing speed that seems like a stream of consciousness is another. As for what progress is or progressive is, well that depends on your experiences.
I am open to alternative approaches to resolutions but also enjoy frameworks employed in the past. Debating and coaching in Houston and teaching at the UTNIF for a decade definitely shaped my my ability to listen to different types of frameworks - or what the debate is supposed to mean or accomplish. I have coached at so many levels, for many years on different topics - instead of seeing differences I see many similarities in the way arguments are framed evolve. I debated when it was highly questionable to do anything beyond policy debate - even counterplans, much less conditional frameworks, but being from a small squad (in a different info environment - when access to research and evidence was definiteley privileged) we pursued the edge strategies - such as hypothesis testing to level the field. Coaching in policy we ran all range of arguments. Over time shifting to a more critical approach. Once again in response, in part, to the changing information space. On an education topic we went deep all year on Critical Pedagogy and on a criminal justice - Constitutive Criminology. There are very few rules in debate. What policy debate means and what my vote means are for grabs by both teams. I'm not into labels at way to define myself. If I had to pick a term it would be: Critic of Argument
A couple of notes
Speed, unless evolution is really off track, speed can't be any faster, even from when we debated in college. Speed is rarely what set the best debaters apart. However, these are my first NDT rounds this year. (I'm contemplating grad schools in the mountain west for next year) Make sure acronyms, initialisms etc. are clear first before ripping through what will be new information for me. I suggest making sure each of you arguments (CP/K/DA - plan objection if you're old -) have a quick efficient thesis that makes sure I understand your position and its potential in the round before you take off speaking more quickly.
I evaluate your proofs. Proof is a broad term - much more than published material.
I consider evidence to be expert testimony. A type of proof. The debater who presents experts to support their claims should lay the predicate - explain why that source is relevant and qualified to be an expert - when they present the evidence. Quotations submitted as evidence with just a publication title or name and date often fall short of this standard. Generally I don't want to call for a card after the round whose author was not qualified when presented in constructives. I will call for evidence on contested points. However, that evidence has been well qualified by the team presenting it and the debaters are usually talking about lines and warrants from the card. It is highly unlikely that I will call for card not qualified and/or not talked about in rebuttals. If a piece of evidence is not qualified in a meaningful way during a debaters speech - it is unlikely I would call for it after the round. I've seen traveling graduate students from England just dismantle top flight policy teams - they had proofs that all knew and accepted often with out some of the "debate tech" norms found in academic policy debate (NDT/CEDA). See the comments below on what matters in rebuttals!
Notes on Education
Spurious "quick claims" claims of a specific educational standard thrown out with out all elements of an argument are problematic. I am a life long educator who has witnessed and evolved with debate. Often teams quick claim Education as a voting issue. As an educator, I often see performance methodology (like only reading names and dates to qualify evidence or "card stacking" reading only the parts of a card that favor you - even if full context sheds a different light OR speed reading through post-modern literature as probably much more important than a debate tech argument) as serious education issues that could be discussed - and much more primary to education - than debate tech one offs.
I find "debate tech" like spreading and some uses of technology in round serve to privilege or tilt the playing field. This doesn't mean to slow to a crawl - fast and efficient - but also accessible to both the other team and the judge. So winning because the affirmative can't respond in depth to 8 off case arguments is not persuasive to me. Be bold - go deep on issues that you think are yours. "Debate Terms of Art" often fall in this category. Language choice should be accessible - even if it means adapting to your opponent as well as your judge.
Evidence often is not enough
Most debates aren't won early - the changing information space has created a lot of equity. But there two things debaters do in my experience in rebuttals that make a difference. After they have strategically collapsed or decided which issue to go for they:
1. They talk authors and specific warrants contained in the evidence - usually contrasting opposing authors and warrants. These warrants are prima facia - they are best when clearly identified - even in the opening speeches.
2. They can tell a narrative - or give examples of the mechanics, warrants, internal links in the card. They can also explain sequences of events - what would happen if I voted for your argument/position or team.
From an educators view - this is the goal of debate.
Counterplans and debate tech
Counterplan "micro theory" has really evolved. That is my term for many variations of counterplans that drive focus away from clash on the topic. Superficial, procedural and timing exceptions or additions counterplans. I actually spent time reviewing two articles on the history of PICs and their evolution prior to writing this. The excessive use of academic debate "Terms of Art" is problematic, sometimes exclusionary. I prefer head on collision in debate - and debaters who figure out how to position themselves for that debate. I prefer the debate come down to clash on field contextual issue as opposed to "side swiping" the topic. Just my preference.
I also find that this type of debate tech functions as a tool of exclusion. The debate should be accesable to your opponents without an overreliance of theory or tech debates. If they are used as time sucks that rubs me the wrong way going to your Ethos as a debater.
I do not and will not vote on or enforce a preround disclosure issue. Settle that before the round starts. Take it over my head if you object. If you ask me to adjudicate that - you might not like the answer.
How we treat each other
This is something that might trigger my voting in way you don't expect. Let's work on accomodating each other and creating safe spaces for academic discourse and the development of positive intentional relationships.
Experience/Background: I coached at Columbus HS from 2013-2021, primarily Public Forum, and now coach at Carrollton HS (2021-present). I did not debate in high school or college, but I have been coaching and judging PF, a little LD, and IEs since 2013, both locally (Georgia) and on the national circuit, including TOC and NSDA Nationals. I spent several years (2017-2022) as a senior staff member with Summit Debate and previously led labs at Emory (2016-2019).
If you have specific questions about me as a judge that are not answered below (or need clarification), please feel free to ask them. Some general guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions are below:
1. Speed: I can flow a reasonably fast speed when I'm at the top of my game, but I am human. If it's late in the day/tournament, I am likely tired, and my capacity for speed drops accordingly. I will not be offended if you ask me about this before the round. For online rounds, I prefer that you speak at a more moderate speed. I will tell you "clear" if I need you to slow down. If I am flowing on paper, you should err on the slower side of speed than if I am flowing on my laptop.
2. Signposting and Roadmaps: Signposting is good. Please do it. It makes my job easier. Off-time roadmaps aren't really needed if you're just going "their case, our case", but do give a roadmap if there's a more complex structure to your speech.
3. Consistency of Arguments/Making Decisions: Anything you expect me to vote on should be in summary and final focus. Defense is not "sticky" -- meaning you cannot extend it from rebuttal to final focus. Please weigh. I love voters in summary, but I am fine if you do a line-by-line summary.
4. Prep (in-round and pre-round): Please pre-flow before you enter the round. Monitor your own prep time. If you and your opponents want to time each other to keep yourselves honest, go for it. Do not steal prep time - if you have called for a card and your opponents are looking for it, you should not be writing/prepping unless you are also running your prep time. (If a tournament has specific rules that state otherwise, I will defer to tournament policy.) On that note, have your evidence ready. It should not take you longer than 20-30 seconds to pull up a piece of evidence when asked. If you delay the round by taking forever to find a card, your speaker points will probably reflect it.
5. Overviews in second rebuttal: In general, I think a short observation or weighing mechanism is probably more okay than a full-fledged contention that you're trying to sneak in as an "overview". Tread lightly.
6. Frontlines: Second speaking team should answer turns and frontline in rebuttal. I don't need a 2-2 split, but I do think you need to address the speech that preceded yours.
7. Theory, Kritiks, and Progressive Arguments: I prefer not judging theory debates. Strongly prefer not judging theory debates. If you are checking back against a truly abusive practice, I will listen to and evaluate the argument. If you are using theory/Ks/etc. in a way intended to overwhelm/intimidate an opponent who has no idea what's going on, I am not going to respond well to that.
8. Crossfire: I do not flow crossfire. If it comes up in cross and you expect it to serve a role in my decision-making process, I expect you to bring it up in a later speech.
9. Speaker points: I basically never give 30s, so you should not expect them from me. My range is usually from 28-29.7.
I have countless years of experience as a judge/coach for HS debate, and I was a collegiate competitor back in the day ... Not to mention I have been judging on the local, state and national level around the country.
- PLZ treat your opponent the way you would want to be treated, there is no room for rudeness or hate in debate
- if you treat us judges terribly I will spread your name among the community and encourage everyone to blacklist you
- tournaments that use .5 speaks are VERY bad, .1 all THE way
- My philosophy is Teachers teach, Coaches coach and Judges judge ... it is what it is
- Talking fast is ok, spreading is a big NO for me ... also if its not a bid tournament I DONT want to be on the chain / will not look at the doc
IE's: MS and HS level - you do you, be you and give it your all!!
Collegiate (AFA) - you know what to do
(MS , HS , College) - I'm a stickler for binder etiquette
if you treat this event like its a form of entertainment or reality TV I WILL DOWN you , you are wasting your time, your competitors time and my time
POs: I'm not gonna lie, I will be judging you the harshest - you run the chamber not me and I expect nothing but the best. Please be fair with everyone , but if I feel the PO is turning a blind eye or giving preferential treatment I will document it
Competitors: Creativity, impacts, structure and fluency are a must for me.
don't just bounce off of a fellow representatives speech, be you and create your own speech - its ok to agree tho
don't lie about sources/evidence... I will fact check
best way to get high ranks is to stay active thru the round
clash can GO a long way in this event
For direct questioning please keep it civil and no steam rolling or anything harsh, much thanks.
gestures are neato, but don't go bananas
witty banter is a plus
I only judge congress in person not online
NEVER wants to Parli a round
if y'all competitors are early to the round go ahead and do the coin flip and pre flow ... this wastes too much time both online and in person
tech or truth? Most of the time tech, but once in a while truth
I better see clash
if the resolution has loose wording, take advantage of it!!
When did y'all forget that by using definitions you can set the boundaries for the round?? With that being said, I do love me some terms and definitions
I'm all about framework and sometimes turns ... occasionally links
I don't flow during cross x , but if you feel there's something important that the judge should know.. make it clear to the judge in your following speech
I LOVE evidence... but if your doc or chain is a mess I'M going no where near it!!!
Signposting - how do I feel about this? Do it, if not I will get lost and you won't like my flow/decision
FRONTLINE in second rebuttal!! (cough, cough)
Best of luck going for a Technical Knock Out ... these are as rare as unicorns
Extend and weigh your arguments, if not.. then you're gonna get a L with your name on it
I'm ok with flex prep/time but if your opponent isn't then its a no in round - if yes don't abuse it ... same goes for open cross
When it comes to PF ... I will evaluate anything (if there's proper warranting and relevance) but if its the epitome of progressive PLZZ give a little more analysis
^ Disclosure Theory: if you have a history of disclosure then do it, if not then you will get a L from me, why? Great question, if you don't have a history of promoting fairness and being active in the debate community you have no right to use this kind of T
I'll be honest I am not a fan of paraphrasing, to me it takes away the fundamentals from impacts/evidence/arguments/debate as a whole - it lowers the value of the round overall
Speaker points - I consider myself to be very generous unless you did something very off putting or disrespectful
Easiest way to get my ballot is by using the Michael Scott rule: K.I.S "Keep It Simple"
take it easy on speed , maybe send a doc
Tech > Truth (most of the time)
links can make or break you
value/criterion - cool
P/CP - cool
stock issues - cool
K - cool
LARP - can go either way tbh
Trix/Phil/Theory - PLZ noo, automatic strike
never assume I know the literature you're referencing
I don't judge a lot of CX but I prefer more traditional arguments, but I will evaluate anything
look at LD above
PLZ send a doc
I expect to see clash
no speed, this needs to be conversational
don't paraphrase evidence/sources
STYLE - a simple Claim , Warrant , Impact will do just fine
its ok to have a model/c.m , but don't get policy debate crazy with them - you don't have enough time in round
not taking any POI's makes you look silly , at least take 1
^ don't take on too many - it kills time
don't forget to extend, if you don't it a'int being evaluated
the framework debate can be very abusive or very fair ... abuse it and you will get downed
as a judge I value decorum, take that into consideration
Should any debate round be too difficult to evaluate as is.... I will vote off stock issues
I like to consider myself a calm, cool and collected judge. I'm here doing something I'm passionate about and so are y'all - my personal opinions will never affect my judgement in any round and I will always uphold that.
If anyone has any questions feel free to contact me or ask before round - whether online or in person.
May all competitors have a great 2023-2024 season!!
She/Her/They/Them - Radically Thotty
If you have any questions about the round or anything in general, don't hesitate to email me at email@example.com (Also add me to the email chain)
Just have fun with the debate I promise I'm not mean it's just my face
Go off on whatever you want
Truth Over Tech (Tech is obviously amazing, but don’t go reading racism/homophobia good args or something like that because that ain't the truth, and arguments that are just not true are not persuasive)
Love speed especially when clear
If you read 40 cards in the block = fascism (sorry bout it)
Also, cross-ex is like... the most important part to me...
I think that debate is based on the contextualization of the round. Whatever comes out of your mouth is what I evaluate (which on paper sounds really weird but you get the point).
Don't be rude, but that doesn't mean you can't be bitchy, if fact I encourage it, if you know a claim is ridiculous call it out, clown on them, and CX is a perfect place to do this.
IMO CX is CX because of CX so I evaluate Cross-Ex ALWAYS. It's my favorite part, so y'all better know whatchu talking about because CX can be pretty damning for a lot of teams
KvK: I'm all for them, especially if it's done well. I love talking about specific theories and reading various literature on them. I do a lot of QT research so if you're planning on running with that I'd have a pretty good background on it before reading it in front of me. Anything else is totally fine, but I evaluate this in terms of a method v. method, not in terms of which method I think is better but which is better framed, linked, and described materially throughout the round. So tech helps you a lot here.
Plans: Sure! I read soft left affs in high school, so I have a soft spot for em........ If you're not reading one, topic analysis is obviously almost necessary, but even then if it says fvck the res that's totally fine too, C/I can help you with this as well. I read k affs, but I love clash debates.
Framework: I read both K affs and Policy affs, so I've definitely voted on FW before. I will say there better be a lot of impact framing on this especially in the context of the round, cause I believe that the aff in itself is scholarship so that's already a plus for in-round analysis.
TvPlans: You can go for T in the 2NR, but there needs to be quite a bit of articulation, mostly just because I don't really understand it and I didn't do much of it in high school. I've never gone for T before, so if that gives you any information. Affs that are obviously untopical sway my vote in this case. Grammar T's are pretty strong tho too ;)
DAs: I like these, but at some point, I think they not only get repetitive but also boring. In this case, quality over quantity, because if not, it's a waste, so if you running it into the block, there needs to be a lot of contexts and in-round descriptions.
CPs: I like these, condo is definitely good in this case. I think theory on CPs can be strategic, I also like the creativity on CPs, but I think Fiat in all cases needs to be explained to me in the context of what we fiating and why we should be able to. I don't just buy a "we get fiat" argument, I need to know why you do.
Theory: Perm debate is good, but it isn't just about specific theories and why you deserve perms or not, it's also what can the perm do for each side, or why it's unfair for the affirmative to have one, I love out of the box answers to perms and play on words. Other theories are fine I guess but there needs to be more than a 1 line description and a fairness impact though.
KvPlan (K's in general): I like these kinds of debates, especially if there's a good link not just to the topic/overarching usfg, but specifically the plan itself and why voting aff causes specific disadvantages. Tell me why the perm can't work, and why the K and K alone is specific to solving the plan. I also live for the ways in which plan debaters respond to this, if done well can make for really good debates.
Also, I love putting DA names on links and examples, creative naming goes a long way for me.
Things I hate
- Blippy Disclosure (Unless breaking new or specific reason)
- Stealing Prep
- Homophobia/Racism/Sexism, etc.
Debates supposed to be fun and an awesome activity where we all get to hear each other's opinions, voices, and scholarship; don't ruin that. It makes debate inherently harmful and unfun, and I don't think engaging in such an intellectual activity should be either of those things.
If you got this far lol:
+.25 speaking points for each GOOD RuPaul's Drag Race reference ;) (This doesn't mean dancing btw - Asya told me I had to clarify that)
I am looking for creative speech topics. Material should show deep knowledge, good organization, and clear evidence from source material. I like out of the box thinking. Be clear in your thoughts and use facts to show understanding of your topic. Have good annunciation, transitions, body language, and appropriate emotions. Assume I don’t know anything about the topic. If the topic allows...Be happy, Be positive, and smile.
I am the head debate coach at James Madison Memorial HS (2002 - present)
I am the head debate coach at Madison West HS (2014 - present)
I was formerly an assistant at Appleton East (1999-2002)
I competed for 3 years (2 in LD) at Appleton East (1993-1996)
I am a plaintiff's employment/civil rights lawyer in real life. I coach (or coached, depending on the year) every event in both debate and IE, with most of my recent focus on PF, Congress, and Extemp. Politically I'm pretty close to what you'd presume about someone from Madison, WI.
Congress at the bottom.
(For online touraments) Send me case/speech docs at the start please (firstname.lastname@example.org) email or sharing a google doc is fine, I don't much care if I don't have access to it after the round if you delink me or if you ask me to delete it from my inbox. I have a little trouble picking up finer details in rounds where connections are fuzzy and would rather not have to ask mid round to finish my flow.
(WDCA if a team is uncomfortable sharing up front that's fine, but any called evidence should then be shared).
If your ev is misleading as cut/paraphrased or is cited contrary to the body of the evidence, I get unhappy. If I notice a problem independently there is a chance I will intervene and ignore the ev, even without an argument by your opponent. My first role has to be an educator maintaining academic honesty standards. You could still pick up if there is a path to a ballot elsewhere. If your opponents call it out and it's meaningful I will entertain voting for a theory type argument that justifies a ballot.
I prefer a team that continues to tell a consistent story/advocacy through the round. I do not believe a first speaking team's rebuttal needs to do more than refute the opposition's case and deal with framework issues. The second speaking team ideally should start to rebuild in the rebuttal; I don't hold it to be mandatory but I find it much harder to vote for a team that doesn't absent an incredible summary. What is near mandatory is that if you are going to go for it in the Final Focus, it should probably be extended in the Summary. I will give cross-x enough weight that if your opponents open the door to bringing the argument back in the grand cross, I'll still consider it.
Rate wise going quick is fine but there should be discernible variations in rate and/or tone to still emphasize the important things. If you plan on referring to arguments by author be very sure the citations are clear and articulated well enough for me to get it on my flow.
I'm a fairly staunch proponent of paraphrasing. It's an academically more realistic exercise. It also means you need to have put in the work to understand the source (hopefully) and have to be organized enough to pull it up on demand and show what you've analyzed (or else). A really good quotation used in full (or close to it) is still a great device to use. In my experience as a coach I've run into more evidence ethics, by far, with carded evidence, especially when teams only have a card, or they've done horrible Frankenstein chop-jobs on the evidence, forcing it into the quotation a team wants rather than what the author said. Carded evidence also seems to encourage increases in speed of delivery to get around the fact that an author with no page limit's argument is trying to be crammed into 4 min of speech time. Unless its an accommodation for a debater, if you need to share speech docs before a speech, something's probably gone a bit wrong with the world.
On this vein, I've developed a fairly keen annoyance with judges who outright say "no paraphrasing." It's simply not something any team can reasonably adapt to in the context of a tournament. I'm not sure how much the teams of the judges or coaches taking this position would be pleased with me saying I don't listen to cards or I won't listen to a card unless it's read 100% in full (If you line down anything, I call it invalid). It's the #1 thing where I'm getting tempted to pull the trigger on a reciprocity paradigm.
Exchange of evidence is not optional if it is asked for. I will follow the direction of a tournament on the exchange timing, however, absent knowledge of a specific rule, I will not run prep for either side when a reasonable number of sources are requested. Debaters can prep during this time as you should be able to produce sources in a reasonable amount of time and "not prepping" is a bit of a fiction and/or breaks up the flow of the round.
Citations should include a date when presented if that date will be important to the framing of the issue/solution, though it's not a bad practice to include them anyhow. More important, sources should be by author name if they are academic, or publication if journalistic (with the exception of columnists hired for their expertise). This means "Harvard says" is probably incorrect because it's doubtful the institution has an official position on the policy, similarly an academic journal/law review publishes the work of academics who own their advocacy, not the journal. I will usually ask for sources if during the course of the round the claims appear to be presented inconsistently to me or something doesn't sound right, regardless of a challenge, and if the evidence is not presented accurately, act on it.
Speaker points. Factors lending to increased points: Speaking with inflection to emphasize important things, clear organization, c-x used to create ground and/or focus the clash in the round, and telling a very clear story (or under/over view) that adapts to the actual arguments made. Factors leading to decreased points: unclear speaking, prep time theft (if you say end prep, that doesn't mean end prep and do another 10 seconds), making statements/answering answers in c-x, straw-man-ing opponents arguments, claiming opponent drops when answers were made, and, the fastest way for points to plummet, incivility during c-x. Because speaker points are meaningless in out rounds, the only way I can think of addressing incivility is to simply stop flowing the offending team(s) for the rest of the round.
Finally, I flow as completely as I can, generally in enough detail that I could debate with it. However, I'm continually temped to follow a "judge a team as they are judging yours" versus a "judge a team as you would want yours judged" rule. Particularly at high-stakes tournaments, including the TOC, I've had my teams judged by a judge who makes little or no effort to flow. I can't imagine any team at one of those tournaments happy with that type of experience yet those judges still represent them. I think lay-sourced judges and the adaptation required is a good skill and check on the event, but a minimum training and expectation of norms should be communicated to them with an attempt to comply with them. To a certain degree this problem creates a competitive inequity - other teams face the extreme randomness imposed by a judge who does not track arguments as they are made and answered - yet that judge's team avoids it. I've yet to hit the right confluence of events where I'd actually adopt "untrained lay" as a paradigm, but it may happen sometime. [UPDATE: I've gotten to do a few no-real-flow lay judging rounds this year thanks to the increase in lay judges at online tournaments]. Bottom line, if you are bringing judges that are lay, you should probably be debating as if they are your audience.
The later in the cycle you speak, the more rebuttal your speech should include. Repeating the same points as a prior speaker is probably not your best use of time.
If you speak on a side, vote on that side if there wasn't an amendment. If you abstain, I should understand why you are abstaining (like a subsequent amendment contrary to your position).
I'm not opposed to hearing friendly questions in c-x as a way to advance your side's position if they are done smartly. If your compatriot handles it well, points to you both. If they fumble it, no harm to you and negative for them. C-x doesn't usually factor heavily into my rankings, often just being a tie breaker for people I see as roughly equal in their performance.
For the love of God, if it's not a scenario/morning hour/etc. where full participation on a single issue is expected, call to question already. With expanded questioning now standard, you don't need to speak on everything to stay on my mind. Late cycle speeches rarely offer something new and it's far more likely you will harm yourself with a late speech than help. If you are speaking on the same side in succession it's almost certain you will harm yourself, and opposing a motion to call to question to allow successive speeches on only one side will also reflect as a non-positive.
A good sponsorship speech, particularly one that clarifies vagueness and lays out solvency vs. vaguely talking about the general issue (because, yeah, we know climate change is bad, what about this bill helps fix it), is the easiest speech for me to score well. You have the power to frame the debate because you are establishing the legislative intent of the bill, sometimes in ways that actually move the debate away from people's initially prepped positions.
In a chamber where no one has wanted to sponsor or first negate a bill, especially given you all were able to set a docket, few things make me want to give a total round loss, than getting no speakers and someone moving for a prep-time recess. This happened in the TOC finals two years ago, on every bill. My top ranks went to the people who accepted the responsibility to the debate and their side to give those early speeches.
Marist, Atlanta, GA (2015-2019, 2020-Present)
Pace Academy, Atlanta GA (2019-2020)
Stratford Academy, Macon GA (2008-2015)
Michigan State University (2004-2008)
Please use email chains. Please add me- email@example.com.
Short version- You need to read and defend a plan in front of me. I value clarity (in both a strategic and vocal sense) and strategy. A good strategic aff or neg strat will always win out over something haphazardly put together. Impact your arguments, impact them against your opponents arguments (This is just as true with a critical strategy as it is with a DA, CP, Case Strategy). I like to read evidence during the debate. I usually make decisions pretty quickly. Typically I can see the nexus question of the debate clearly by the 2nr/2ar and when (if) its resolved, its resolved. Don't take it personally.
Case Debate- I like specific case debate. Shows you put in the hard work it takes to research and defeat the aff. I will reward hard work if there is solid Internal link debating. I think case specific disads are also pretty good if well thought out and executed. I like impact turn debates. Cleanly executed ones will usually result in a neg ballot -- messy debates, however, will not.
Disads- Defense and offense should be present, especially in a link turn/impact turn debate. You will only win an impact turn debate if you first have defense against their original disad impacts. I'm willing to vote on defense (at least assign a relatively low probability to a DA in the presence of compelling aff defense). Defense wins championships. Impact calc is important. I think this is a debate that should start early (2ac) and shouldn't end until the debate is over. I don't think the U necessarily controls the direction of the link, but can be persuaded it does if told and explained why that true.
K's- Im better for the K now than i have been in years past. That being said, Im better for security/international relations/neolib based ks than i am for race, gender, psycho, baudrillard etc . I tend to find specific Ks (ie specific to the aff's mechanism/advantages etc) the most appealing. If you're going for a K-- 1) please don't expect me to know weird or specific ultra critical jargon... b/c i probably wont. 2) Cheat- I vote on K tricks all the time (aff don't make me do this). 3) Make the link debate as specific as possible and pull examples straight from the aff's evidence and the debate in general 4) I totally geek out for well explained historical examples that prove your link/impact args. I think getting to weigh the aff is a god given right. Role of the ballot should be a question that gets debated out. What does the ballot mean with in your framework. These debates should NOT be happening in the 2NR/2AR-- they should start as early as possible. I think debates about competing methods are fine. I think floating pics are also fine (unless told otherwise). I think epistemology debates are interesting. K debates need some discussion of an impact-- i do not know what it means to say..."the ZERO POINT OF THE Holocaust." I think having an external impact is also good - turning the case alone, or making their impacts inevitable isn't enough. There also needs to be some articulation of what the alternative does... voting neg doesn't mean that your links go away. I will vote on the perm if its articulated well and if its a reason why plan plus alt would overcome any of the link questions. Link defense needs to accompany these debates.
K affs are fine- you have to have a plan. You should defend that plan. Affs who don't will prob lose to framework. A alot.... and with that we come to:
If not defending a plan is your thing, I'm not your judge. I think topical plans are good. I think the aff needs to read a topical plan and defend the action of that topical plan. I don't think using the USFG is an endorsement of its racist, sexist, homophobic or ableist ways. I think affs who debate this way tend to leave zero ground for the negative to engage which defeats the entire point of the activity. I am persuaded by T/Framework in these scenarios. I also think if you've made the good faith effort to engage, then you should be rewarded. These arguments make a little more sense on the negative but I am not compelled by arguments that claim: "you didn't talk about it, so you should lose."
CPs- Defending the SQ is a bold strat. Multiple conditional (or dispo/uncondish) CPs are also fine. Condo is probably good, but i can be persuaded otherwise. Consult away- its arbitrary to hate them in light of the fact that everything else is fine. I lean neg on CP theory. Aff's make sure you perm the CP (and all its planks). Im willing to judge kick the CP for you. If i determine that the CP is not competitive, or that its a worse option - the CP will go away and you'll be left with whatever is left (NBs or Solvency turns etc). This is only true if the AFF says nothing to the contrary. (ie. The aff has to tell me NOT to kick the CP - and win that issue in the debate). I WILL NOT VOTE ON NO NEG FIAT. That argument makes me mad. Of course the neg gets fiat. Don't be absurd.
T- I default to offense/defense type framework, but can be persuaded otherwise. Impact your reasons why I should vote neg. You need to have unique offense on T. K's of T are stupid. I think the aff has to run a topical aff, and K-ing that logic is ridiculous. T isn't racist. RVIs are never ever compelling.... ever.
Theory- I tend to lean neg on theory. Condo- Good. More than two then the aff might have a case to make as to why its bad - i've voted aff on Condo, I've voted neg on condo. Its a debate to be had. Any other theory argument I think is categorically a reason to reject the argument and not the team. I can't figure out a reason why if the aff wins international fiat is bad that means the neg loses - i just think that means the CP goes away.
Remember!!! All of this is just a guide for how you chose your args in round. I will vote on most args if they are argued well and have some sort of an impact. Evidence comparison is also good in my book-- its not done enough and i think its one of the most valuable ways to create an ethos of control with in the debate. Perception is everything, especially if you control the spin of the debate. I will read evidence if i need to-- don't volunteer it and don't give me more than i ask for. I love fun debates, i like people who are nice, i like people who are funny... i will reward you with good points if you are both. Be nice to your partner and your opponents. No need to be a jerk for no reason
i'm fine with any kind of argument. my decision is mostly based off the line by line debate. be sure to have real impacts that you carry across the flow and weigh against your opponents. if there is a weighing mech make sure it's actually one worth while and that you continue relating back to it and explaining how you win under it. take full advantage of cross, ie bringing up what happened during cross in your speeches. arguments need to have warrants and links. i'm fine with speed, just don't sacrifice clarity. any homophobia, sexism, racism, ableism, etc will result in an L. respect your opponents.
Timothy E. Sheaff - Dowling Catholic
I have been coaching various events both speech and debate for 30 years.
I am very good at getting students started and then passing them on to experts in the specific events. I am a generalist.
I entered this activity because I am pretty dyslexic and so I am a slow reader and terrible writer, this activity allowed me to SPEAK...I like SPEAKING.
I have a fairly policy mindset. I like that kind of pretend.
Per above I am a BAD FLOW for fast....I am not opposed to fast..we try to be fast...but I can not make my hand write what I am hearing if I am also thinking...just a struggle...maybe that means something to you...I am trying to let you know here in advance, I will try, I will not be mad at you...but I may not get it all down.
Old school, not MILITANTLY so, its just what I actually know and understand.
I feel I can evaluate best when the debate is about the resolution being a truth claim.
I LOVE POLICY...If a genie came and gave me 3 wishes I would use one to perpetually understand the arguments better than I do (esp if I could trick the genie into letting me also add "flowing perfectly" on to that wish and still counting it as 1)
I just do not comprehend why we can't do the plan and work on the valid issues in the K as well..if you can explain why really that can not happen, I suppose you could get my ballot with it...otherwise I am probably not your guy
I feel it is a short policy round with less time to develop arguments. Again I am probably better suited for a round about the merits of the truth statement than a contest over who has read who's meta study in more detail)
I have been around a long time in a lot of venues, be kind, use the activity to grow in a way that means you will actually make a difference in the world going forward.
TLDR- This guy is stupid and does not get the K and he can't even flow
I judged many different forensic events last year, both online and in person. My favorite is POI. I appreciate a well written and performed piece. My least favorite event is Extempt - if I could follow politics and current events I'd be a debate judge! I always find something positive to say and I try to offer constructive suggestions. I want to watch you learn and get better. I am looking forward to another year.
Email for document sharing/evidence chains: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm the head coach of a successful team, and have been coaching for 14 years. I did CX in high school so long ago that Ks were new, and I competed in college.
LD: I'm a very traditional judge. I like values and criteria and analysis and clash. I don’t like Ks or anything based entirely on theory with no actual clash. I want framework debate to actually mean something.
PF: I’m a very traditional judge. If the round becomes a very short CX round instead of a PF round, we have a problem. I want evidence and actual analysis of that evidence, and I want actual clash. Again, I don’t like Ks or anything based entirely on theory.
CX: I can handle your spread and I will vote where I'm persuasively told to with the following exceptions: 1) I have never voted on T. I think it's a non-starter unless a case is so blatantly non-topical that you can't even see the resolution from it. That's not to say it isn't a perfectly legitimate argument, it's just to say that I will probably buy the aff's 'we meet's and you might have better uses for your time than camping here. 2) I do not traditionally like Ks because I feel like there is always a performative contradiction. If you run a K, you should firmly and continuously advocate for that K. 3) I, again, will always prefer actual clash in the round over unlinked theory arguments.
General Things ~
Don't claim something is abusive unless it is.
Don't claim an argument was dropped unless it was.
Don't advocate for atrocities.
Don't be a jerk to your opponents (This will get you the lowest speaker points possible. Yes, even if you win.)
Current Associate Director of Debate at Emory University
Former graduate student coach at University of Georgia (2016-2020), Wake Forest University (2014-2016), University of Florida (2012-2014)
Create an email chain for evidence before the debate begins. Put me on it. My email address is email@example.com
Do not trivialize or deny the Holocaust
Determine if I am in the room before you start a speech. "Becca, are you ready?" or "Becca, are you here?" I will give you a thumbs up or say yes (or I am not in the room and you shouldn't start).
I get that tech issues happen, but unnecessary tech time hurts decision time.
Please have one (or all) debaters look periodically to make sure people haven't gotten booted from the room. The internet can be unreliable. You might get booted from the room. I might get booted from the room. The best practice is to have a backup of yourself speaking in case this occurs. If the tournament has rules about this, follow those.
Is there an overview that requires a new sheet of paper? I hope not
Impact turn debates are fine with me
What are the key differences between the CP and the plan?
Does the CP solve some of the aff or all of the aff?
Be clear about which DA/s you are claiming as the net benefit/s to your CP
"Solving more" is not a net benefit
I lean neg on international fiat, PICS, & agent CP theory arguments
I am open minded to debates about conditionality & multiple conditional planks theory arguments.
I prefer when debaters make flowing easier for me (ex. debating line by line, signposting, identifying the other team’s argument and making direct answers)
I prefer when debaters answer arguments individually rather than “grouping”
"What cards did you read" and "What cards did you not read" count as cross-x time
Avoid intervening in your partners cross-x time, whether asking or answering. Tag team is for professional wrestling, not debate.
Public forum debate specific thoughts:
I am most comfortable with constructive speeches that organize contentions using this structure: uniqueness, link, and impact.
I am comfortable with the use of speed.
From my experience coaching policy debate, I care a lot about quantity and quality of evidence.
I am suspicious of paraphrased evidence. I would prefer to see a “card” as evidence (the full text of an article is provided and what you are choosing to read aloud is underlined and highlighted).
I like when the summary and final focus speeches make the debate smaller. If your constructive started with 2 or 3 contentions, by the summary and final focus your team should make a choice of just 1 contention to attempt winning.
Because of my background in policy debate, it takes me out of my comfort zone when the con/neg team speaks first. I will try to get over that.
As your judge I value clear, concise and polite speakers. Content and presentation are both equally valuable, and I will be carefully observing the quality of your speeches and questions asked. During crossfire, I expect questions and answers to be straight to the point.
I am a junior high speech and debate coach. While I do tolerate some speed please do not spread. Please make sure to signpost. Impacts are important please make sure you connect them back to your value/criterion. Have fun and be kind to each other.
I prefer quality arguments over quantity of arguments. Debate is educational; if your strategy is to spread the other team in the Rebuttal, that doesn't seem like you are trying to promote education. Being able to talk faster does not equate to being a better debater. That being said, I am not unreasonable; if you have to speak faster in the summaries to cover everything the other team put out, that is acceptable.
I more than welcome you to use your speech time to advocate for any issues you believe in and to educate the people in the round; I am just not likely to give you the ballot for that.
I like to flow as much as I possibly can. So, if I am not writing anything down during your speeches, you are either not being clear in your argumentation or you have spent too much time covering the point; it is best to move on. Because I like to keep a detailed flow, I also appreciate a debater who is well organized in their signposting.
When I am thinking, I often make a very grumpy looking face. Don’t think I am in disagreement with what you are saying because of this.
In public forum, I believe that most summary speeches drop excessive amounts of arguments against their own case. If you are able to actually defend your case and respond to what the other team said in the previous speeches, you are much more likely to win. If time allows and you are able to do so, I wouldn’t mind a line-by-line of both cases in the summary speech. On the same note, if the other team does drop key arguments on case, these are easy wins in my book; please bring them up.
For the final focus, you should select two or three main voting issues. The last 15-20 seconds of the speech should be spent giving me impact calc and telling me what the Pro world vs. the Con world looks like. I also don't mind an overview at the top if that works better for you.
Roadmaps are off the clock for me
If you ask me to call for evidence for it to be evaluated, I will.
Please don't try and avoid giving the other team evidence by saying your partner will do it after the cross. I believe evidence transparency is a huge part of the debate, try to be as upfront as possible.
I can tell the difference between someone who is confident and standing their ground, and someone who is using rudeness as a way to make it look like they know more than they do. If being rude is part of your pathos as a debater, I don't think you're doing it right.
Policy-I have debated it before. I do not judge it often. I do not coach it. Most likely, I am not familiar with the topic. Policy maker.
LD- I have not debated it before. I do not judge it often. I do not coach it. Most likely, I am not familiar with the topic. Good luck.
I have 12 years of debate experience. I have 2 years of high school LD, 1 year of Policy, and finished with a year of Senate. I then competed in NPDA, LD, IPDA, and BP at UNR. I am versed in debate, so don't be afraid to run technical arguments. However, if you need accessibility, I also understand.
I plan on judging high school and college debate. Please refer to the appropriate section. Thank you!
LD: Connect your contentions to the (V)alue and (C)riterion. Probably should justify your V and C as the most important/relevant V and C for the RESOLUTION. You can use an analytic, but carded evidence to uphold your V & C would be stronger. You can run your case like a Policy case, but keep it in the format or LD (Value Net Bens through Cost Benefit analysis for example). You can run Ks, just connect it back to your V and VC. You can run whatever really, just justify the argument to me. I'm still not used to hearing CPs in LD, but go for it! I have Parli, Policy, and college LD experience, I can keep up. Be nice to each other.
PF: The only high school debate event I never competed in. Be straight-forward. You have evidence, tell me why it matters. Be nice to each other.
Policy: Run whatever (K, DA, CP, Aff-K, Perf, T., Theory, etc.) but be inclusive. Arguments need to connect logically between cards. Don't make leaps in claims. Be nice to each other.
NPDA: I competed in NPDA for 4 1/2 years for UNR. I will be upfront by saying that I was not nationally competitive. I did not do well at NPDA nor NPTE and have difficulties flowing Elim 2 and beyond at either tournament. That said, I can keep up with most and plan on flowing on paper.
Here is how I evaluate the round:
T/Theory comes before the K unless there's enough work on why the K should come first. I default to competing interps. If you believe the T/Th to be abusive or problematic, I will vote on an RVI for both equity and education. Don't waste my time spreading out your opponents with 3 T/Th and collapsing to the undercovered one. However, I'm more likely to vote the argument down and not the team on an RVI. So at least it's not a one-shot kill(?)
Ks are an important part of critical thinking, and thus important to education. However, I also believe that in a world where the resolution is the only guaranteed point of research, and where Debate should be about having equal access to good education, you need clear links to the resolution. This includes Aff Ks. I think performances face a unique problem in this case. I say, contextualize your perf to debate or the world around us and explain why it's a more pressing issue than the resolution. Give your opponents options to compete against your performance. Disclosing your perf at the start of prep could easily resolve competitive equity claims for me.
The second part of Ks for me are Solvency. I have a hard time buying K solvency. Unless it's rooted in fiat, K solvency often sounds like it's some high theory, PoMo, Ivory Tower analysis that I can't wrap my head around without having prior knowledge on the subject. That said, I try to be tabula rasa, but I obviously have my knowledge bases. I understand Security, Borders, EcoFem, EcoSec, Queer Args primarily, although not exclusively.
RoB/RoJ: I think these are fine, except when you're aff and you also run a Plan alongside the K. Just because your read "PT: The res" does not mean you are doing the res. Unless you are. If you are just saying it to answer back a Theory Interp by saying, "we did read a PT" without actually integrating it into your K args, then you're just wasting your time in my opinion.
Also, give me reasons why your RoB/RoJ is preferable, even in the PMC/LOC.
CP/DA: Competition block. Is it feasible to do both? Is it preferable to do both? What are the advantages of doing the CP alone (the DA that goes with it)? What are the DAs of doing the CP and the Aff? What are the ADV of doing the CP and the Aff?
ADV: I need a clear link story. Internal links are helpful here. Solvency is fine instead of IL. Critical impacts will win my heart, but magnitude, probability, and timeframe are definitely also important. I'll vote on any of the three if you explain why in this round one matters over the others. Or go for all three, whichever.
Don't be rude. Don't attack the opponents, attack their arguments. Be clear in your delivery. Signpost. Have fun. Learn a lot! :D
Use the pronouns people ask you to use. I will end the round if it gets brought up, but that's not the reason you should respect other people. I am a parent judge who primarily focuses on speech. Delivery is very important to me, but I will be taking notes. I hope to enjoy a respectful and educational round, good luck and have fun!
The FitnessGram™ Pacer Test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20 meter pacer test will begin in 30 seconds. Line up at the start. The running speed starts slowly, but gets faster each minute after you hear this signal. [beep] A single lap should be completed each time you hear this sound. [ding] Remember to run in a straight line, and run as long as possible. The second time you fail to complete a lap before the sound, your test is over. The test will begin on the word start. On your mark, get ready, start.