Digital Speech and Debate e Championship
2023 — NSDA Campus, US
PF - Varsity Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I debated in high school LD and PF and am a college Parli debater, so I have a good amount of experience. I was a quarter finalist in CA for LD and a TCFL State Qualifier in LD (if that matters).
LD is first and foremost a value debate. Be sure to keep that in mind.
- Be cordial to each other. There is no reason to be rude to your fellow competitors.
- Time yourselves and each other, please.
- I am fine with speed, but I do not like spreading.
- Sign posting is extremely important to me.
- It’s extremely important that you show a good understanding of the topic and you are not simply throwing out arguments that you think fit and reiterating them.
- While I am more of a traditional judge, I am open to progressive debate (K, T, Theory, ect.) but give substantial explanation.
- I love clash. Be sure to actually respond to your opponents arguments rather than just say they don't matter.
Chicago '05; Minnesota Law '14
For e-mail chains (which you should always use to accelerate evidence sharing): firstname.lastname@example.org
2022-23 rounds (as of 3/26): 155
Aff winning percentage: .529
("David" or "Mr. Coates" to you. I'll know you haven't bothered to read my paradigm if you call me "judge," which isn't my name).
I will not vote on disclosure theory. I will consider RVIs on disclosure theory based solely on the fact that you introduced it in the first place.
I will not vote on claims predicated on your opponents' rate of delivery and will probably nuke your speaker points if all you can come up with is "fast debate is bad" in response to faster opponents. Explain why their arguments are wrong, but don't waste my time complaining about how you didn't have enough time to answer bad arguments because...oh, wait, you wasted two minutes of a constructive griping about how you didn't like your opponents' speed.
I will not vote on frivolous "arguments" criticizing your opponent's sartorial choices (think "shoe theory" or "formal clothes theory" or "skirt length," which still comes up sometimes), and I will likely catapult your points into the sun for wasting my time and insulting your opponents with such nonsense.
You will probably receive a lecture if you highlight down your evidence to such an extent that it no longer contains grammatical sentences.
Allegations of ethical violations I determine not to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt will result in an automatic loss with the minimum allowable speaker points for the team introducing them.
Allegations of rule violations not supported by the plain text of a rule will make me seriously consider awarding you a loss with no speaker points.
I will actively intervene against new arguments in the last speech of the round, no matter what the debate format. New arguments in the 2AR are the work of the devil and I will not reward you for saving your best arguments for a speech after which they can't be answered. I will entertain claims that new arguments in the 2AR are automatic voting issues for the negative or that they justify a verbal 3NR. Turnabout is fair play.
I will not entertain claims that your opponents should not be allowed to answer your arguments because of personal circumstances beyond their control. Personally abusive language about, or directed at, your opponents will have me looking for reasons to vote against you.
I'm okay with slow-walking you through how my decision process works or how I think you can improve your strategic decision making or get better speaker points, but I've no interest, at this point in my career, in relitigating a round I've already decided you've lost. "What would be a better way to make this argument?" will get me actively trying to help you. "Why didn't you vote on this (vague claim)?" will just make me annoyed.
I have been an active coach, primarily of policy debate (though I'm now doing active work only on the LD side), since the 2000-01 season (the year of the privacy topic). Across divisions and events, I generally judge between 100 and 120 rounds a year.
My overall approach to debate is extremely substance dominant. I don't really care what substantive arguments you make as long as you clash with your opponents and fulfill your burdens vis-à-vis the resolution. I will not import my own understanding of argumentative substance to bail you out when you're confronting bad substance--if the content of your opponents' arguments is fundamentally false, they should be especially easy for you to answer without any help from me. (Contrary to what some debaters have mistakenly believed in the past, this does not mean that I want to listen to you run wipeout or spark--I'd actually rather hear you throw down on inherency or defend "the value is justice and the criterion is justice"--but merely that I think that debaters who can't think their way through incredibly stupid arguments are ineffective advocates who don't deserve to win).
My general default (and the box I've consistently checked on paradigm forms) is that of a fairly conventional policymaker. Absent other guidance from the teams involved, I will weigh the substantive advantages and disadvantages of a topical plan against those of the status quo or a competitive counterplan. I'm amenable to alternative evaluative frameworks but generally require these to be developed with more depth and clarity than most telegraphic "role of the ballot" claims usually provide.
THOUGHTS APPLICABLE TO ALL DEBATE FORMATS
That said, I do have certain predispositions and opinions about debate practice that may affect how you choose to execute your preferred strategy:
1. I am skeptical to the point of fairly overt hostility toward most non-resolutional theory claims emanating from either side. Aff-initiated debates about counterplan and kritik theory are usually vague, devoid of clash, and nearly impossible to flow. Neg-initiated "framework" "arguments" usually rest on claims that are either unwarranted or totally implicit. I understand that the affirmative should defend a topical plan, but what I don't understand after "A. Our interpretation is that the aff must run a topical plan; B. Standards" is why the aff's plan isn't topical. My voting on either sort of "argument" has historically been quite rare. It's always better for the neg to run T than "framework," and it's usually better for the aff to use theory claims to justify their own creatively abusive practices ("conditional negative fiat justifies intrinsicness permutations, so here are ten intrinsicness permutations") than to "argue" that they're independent voting issues.
1a. That said, I can be merciless toward negatives who choose to advance contradictory conditional "advocacies" in the 1NC should the affirmative choose to call them out. The modern-day tendency to advance a kritik with a categorical link claim together with one or more counterplans which link to the kritik is not one which meets with my approval. There was a time when deliberately double-turning yourself in the 1NC amounted to an automatic loss, but the re-advent of what my late friend Ross Smith would have characterized as "unlimited, illogical conditionality" has unfortunately put an end to this and caused negative win percentages to swell--not because negatives are doing anything intelligent, but because affirmatives aren't calling them out on it. I'll put it this way--I have awarded someone a 30 for going for "contradictory conditional 'advocacies' are illegitimate" in the 2AR.
2. Offensive arguments should have offensive links and impacts. "The 1AC didn't talk about something we think is important, therefore it doesn't solve the root cause of every problem in the world" wouldn't be considered a reason to vote negative if it were presented on the solvency flow, where it belongs, and I fail to understand why you should get extra credit for wasting time developing your partial case defense with less clarity and specificity than an arch-traditional stock issue debater would have. Generic "state bad" links on a negative state action topic are just as bad as straightforward "links" of omission in this respect.
3. Kritik arguments should NOT depend on my importing special understandings of common terms from your authors, with whose viewpoints I am invariably unfamiliar or in disagreement. For example, the OED defines "problematic" as "presenting a problem or difficulty," so while you may think you're presenting round-winning impact analysis when you say "the affirmative is problematic," all I hear is a non-unique observation about how the aff, like everything else in life, involves difficulties of some kind.I am not hostile to critical debates--some of the best debates I've heard involved K on K violence, as it were--but I don't think it's my job to backfill terms of art for you, and I don't think it's fair to your opponents for me to base my decision in these rounds on my understanding of arguments which have been inadequately explained.
3a. I guess we're doing this now...most of the critical literature with which I'm most familiar involves pretty radical anti-statism. You might start by reading "No Treason" and then proceeding to authors like Hayek, Hazlitt, Mises, and Rothbard. I know these are arguments a lot of my colleagues really don't like, but they're internally consistent, so they have that advantage.
3a(1). Section six of "No Treason," the one with which you should really start, is available at the following link: https://oll-resources.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/oll3/store/titles/2194/Spooner_1485_Bk.pdf so get off your cans and read it already. It will greatly help you answer arguments based on, inter alia, "the social contract."
3a(2). If you genuinely think that something at the tournament is making you unsafe, you may talk to me about it and I will see if there is a solution. Far be it from me to try to make you unable to compete.
4. The following solely self-referential "defenses" of your deliberate choice to run an aggressively non-topical affirmative are singularly unpersuasive:
a. "Topicality excludes our aff and that's bad because it excludes our aff." This is not an argument. This is just a definition of "topicality." I won't cross-apply your case and then fill in argumentative gaps for you.
b. "There is no topical version of our aff." This is not an answer. This is a performative concession of the violation.
c. "The topic forces us to defend the state and the state is racist/sexist/imperialist/settler colonial/oppressive toward 'bodies in the debate space.'" I'm quite sure that most of your authors would advocate, at least in the interim, in favor of increased international cooperation in "topically designated areas" at a time when a novel pandemic has made us dependent for the past two and a half years of "two weeks to flatten the curve" on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity in the virtual "debate space" and of which biotechnology offers promising ways out.
d. "Killing debate is good." Leaving aside the incredible "intellectual" arrogance of this statement, what are you doing here if you believe this to be true? You could overtly "kill debate" more effectively were you to withhold your "contributions" and depress participation numbers, which would have the added benefit of sparing us from having to listen to you.
e. "This is just a wrong forum argument." And? There is, in fact, a FORUM expressly designed to allow you to subject your audience to one-sided speeches about any topic under the sun you "feel" important without having to worry about either making an argument or engaging with an opponent. Last I checked, that FORUM was called "oratory." Try it next time.
f. "The topic selection process is unfair/disenfranchises 'bodies in the debate space.'" In what universe is it more fair for you to get to impose a debate topic on your opponents without consulting them in advance than for you to abide by the results of a topic selection process to which all students were invited to contribute and in which all students were invited to vote?
g. "Fairness is bad." Don't tempt me to vote against you for no reason to show you why fairness is, in fact, good.
5. Many of you are genuinely bad at organizing your speeches. Fix that problem by keeping the following in mind:
a. Off-case flows should be clearly labeled the first time they're introduced. It's needlessly difficult to keep track of what you're trying to do when you expect me to invent names for your arguments for you. I know that some hipster kid "at" some "online debate institute" taught you that it was "cool" to introduce arguments in the 1N with nothing more than "next off" to confuse your opponents, but remember that you're also confusing your audience when you do that, and I, unlike your opponents, have the power to deduct speaker points for poor organization if "next off--Biden disadvantage" is too hard for you to spit out. I'm serious about this.
b. Transitions between individual arguments should be audible. It's not that difficult to throw a "next" in there and it keeps you from sounding like this: "...wreck their economies and set the stage for an era of international confrontation that would make the Cold War look like Woodstock extinction Mead 92 what if the global economy stagnates...." The latter, because it fails to distinguish between the preceding card and subsequent tag, is impossible to flow, and it's not my job to look at your speech document to impose organization with which you couldn't be bothered.
c. Your arguments should line up with those of your opponents. "Embedded clash" flows extremely poorly for me. I will not automatically pluck warrants out of your four-minute-long scripted kritik overview and then apply them for you, nor will I try to figure out what, exactly, a fragment like "yes, link" followed by a minute of unintelligible, undifferentiated boilerplate is supposed to answer.
6. I don't mind speed as long as it's clear and purposeful:
a. Many of you don't project your voices enough to compensate for the poor acoustics of the rooms where debates often take place. I'll help you out by yelling "clearer" or "louder" at you no more than twice if I can't make out what you're saying, but after that you're on your own.
b. There are only two legitimate reasons for speed: Presenting more arguments and presenting more argumentative development. Fast delivery should not be used as a crutch for inefficiency. If you're using speed merely to "signpost" by repeating vast swaths of your opponents' speeches or to read repetitive cards tagged "more evidence," I reserve the right to consider persuasive delivery in how I assign points, meaning that you will suffer deductions you otherwise would not have had you merely trimmed the fat and maintained your maximum sustainable rate.
7: I have a notoriously low tolerance for profanity and will not hesitate to severely dock your points for language I couldn't justify to the host school's teachers, parents, or administrators, any of whom might actually overhear you. When in doubt, keep it clean. Don't jeopardize the activity's image any further by failing to control your language when you have ample alternative fora for profane forms of self-expression.
8: For crying out loud, it is not too hard to respect your opponents' preferred pronouns (and "they" is always okay in policy debate because it's presumed that your opponents agree about their arguments), but I will start vocally correcting you if you start engaging in behavior I've determined is meant to be offensive in this context. You don't have to do that to gain some sort of perceived competitive advantage and being that intentionally alienating doesn't gain you any friends.
9. I guess that younger judges engage in more paradigmatic speaker point disclosure than I have in the past, so here are my thoughts:Historically, the arithmetic mean of my speaker points any given season has averaged out to about 27.9. I think that you merit a 27 if you've successfully used all of your speech time without committing round-losing tactical errors, and your points can move up from there by making gutsy strategic decisions, reading creative arguments, and using your best public speaking skills. Of course, your points can decline for, inter alia, wasting time, insulting your opponents, or using offensive language. I've "awarded" a loss-15 for a false allegation of an ethics violation and a loss-18 for a constructive full of seriously inappropriate invective. Don't make me go there...tackle the arguments in front of you head-on and without fear or favor and I can at least guarantee you that I'll evaluate the content you've presented fairly.
NOTES FOR LINCOLN-DOUGLAS!
PREF SHORTCUT: stock ≈ policy > K > framework > Tricks > Theory
I have historically spent much more time judging policy than LD and my specific topic knowledge is generally restricted to arguments I've helped my LD debaters prepare. In the context of most contemporary LD topics, which mostly encourage recycling arguments which have been floating around in policy debate for decades, this shouldn't affect you very much. With more traditionally phrased LD resolutions ("A just society ought to value X over Y"), this might direct your strategy more toward straight impact comparison than traditional V/C debating.
Also, my specific preferences about how _substantive_ argumentation should be conducted are far less set in stone than they would be in a policy debate. I've voted for everything from traditional value/criterion ACs to policy-style ACs with plan texts to fairly outright critical approaches...and, ab initio, I'm fine with more or less any substantive attempt by the negative to engage whatever form the AC takes, subject to the warnings about what constitutes a link outlined above. (Not talking about something is not a link). Engage your opponent's advocacy and engage the topic and you should be okay.
N.B.: All of the above comments apply only to _substantive_ argumentation. See the section on "theory" in in the overview above if you want to understand what I think about those "arguments," and square it. If winning that something your opponent said is "abusive" is a major part of your strategy, you're going to have to make some adjustments if you want to win in front of me. I can't guarantee that I'll fully understand the basis for your theory claims, and I tend to find theory responses with any degree of articulation more persuasive than the claim that your opponent should lose because of some arguably questionable practice, especially if whatever your opponent said was otherwise substantively responsive. I also tend to find "self-help checks abuse" responses issue-dispositive more often than not. That is to say, if there is something you could have done to prevent the impact to the alleged "abuse," and you failed to do it, any resulting "time skew," "strat skew," or adverse impact on your education is your own fault, and I don't think you should be rewarded with a ballot for helping to create the very condition you're complaining about.
I have voted on theory "arguments" unrelated to topicality in Lincoln-Douglas debates precisely zero times. Do you really think you're going to be the first to persuade me to pull the trigger?
Addendum: To quote my colleague Anthony Berryhill, with whom I paneled the final round of the Isidore Newman Round Robin: " "Tricks debate" isn't debate. Deliberate attempts to hide arguments, mislead your opponent, be unethical, lie...etc. to screw your opponent will be received very poorly. If you need tricks and lying to win, either "git' good" (as the gamers say) or prefer a different judge." I say: I would rather hear you go all-in on spark or counterintuitive internal link turns than be subjected to grandstanding about how your opponent "dropped" some "tricky" half-sentence theory or burden spike. If you think top-loading these sorts of "tricks" in lieu of properly developing substance in the first constructive is a good idea, you will be sorely disappointed with your speaker points and you will probably receive a helpful refresher on how I absolutely will not tolerate aggressive post-rounding. Everyone's value to life increases when you fill the room with your intelligence instead of filling it with your trickery.
AND SPECIFIC NOTES FOR PUBLIC FORUM
NB: After the latest timing disaster, in which a public forum round which was supposed to take 40 minutes took over two hours and wasted the valuable time of the panel, I am seriously considering imposing penalties on teams who make "off-time" requests for evidence or needless requests for original articles or who can't locate a piece of evidence requested by their opponents during crossfire. This type of behavior--which completely disregards the timing norms found in every other debate format--is going to kill this activity because no member of the "public" who has other places to be is interested in judging an event where this type of temporal elongation of rounds takes place.
NB: I actually don't know what "we outweigh on scope" is supposed to mean. I've had drilled into my head that there are four elements to impact calculus: timeframe, probability, magnitude, and hierarchy of values. I'd rather hear developed magnitude comparison (is it worse to cause a lot of damage to very few people or very little damage to a lot of people? This comes up most often in debates about agricultural subsidies of all things) than to hear offsetting, poorly warranted claims about "scope."
NB: In addition to my reflections about improper citation practices infra, I think that evidence should have proper tags. It's really difficult to flow you, or even to follow the travel of your constructive, when you have a bunch of two-sentence cards bleeding into each other without any transitions other than "Larry '21," "Jones '21," and "Anderson '21."
NB: The regrettable PF habit of not using explicit taglines for your evidence severely impedes the travel of your speeches. I really would rather hear tag-cite-text than whatever you're doing. Thus: "Further, economic decline causes nuclear war. Mead '92" rather than "Mead '92 furthers...".
1. You should remember that, notwithstanding its pretensions to being for the "public," this is a debate event. Allowing it to degenerate into talking past each other with dueling oratories past the first pro and first con makes it more like a speech event than I would like, and practically forces me to inject my own thoughts on the merits of substantive arguments into my evaluative process. I can't guarantee that you'll like the results of that, so:
2. Ideally, the second pro/second con/summary stage of the debate will be devoted to engaging in substantive clash (per the activity guidelines, whether on the line-by-line or through introduction of competing principles, which one can envision as being somewhat similar to value clash in a traditional LD round if one wants an analogy) and the final foci will be devoted to resolving the substantive clash.
3. Please review the sections on "theory" in the policy and LD philosophies above. I'm not interested in listening to rule-lawyering about how fast your opponents are/whether or not it's "fair"/whether or not it's "public" for them to phrase an argument a certain way. I'm doubly unenthused about listening to theory "debates" where the team advancing the theory claim doesn't understand the basis for it.* These "debates" are painful enough to listen to in policy and LD, but they're even worse to suffer through in PF because there's less speech time during which to resolve them. Unless there's a written rule prohibiting them (e.g., actually advocating specific plan/counterplan texts), I presume that all arguments are theoretically legitimate, and you will be fighting an uphill battle you won't like trying to persuade me otherwise. You're better off sticking to substance (or, better yet, using your opposition's supposedly dubious stance to justify meting out some "abuse" of your own) than getting into a theoretical "debate" you simply won't have enough time to win, especially given my strong presumption against this style of "argumentation."
*I've heard this misunderstanding multiple times from PF debaters who should have known better: "The resolution isn't justified because some policy in the status quo will solve the 'pro' harms" is not, in fact, a counterplan. It's an inherency argument. There is no rule saying the "con" can't redeploy policy stock issues in an appropriately "public" fashion and I know with absolute metaphysical certitude that many of the initial framers of the public forum rules are big fans of this general school of argumentation.
4. If it's in the final focus, it should have been in the summary. I will patrol the second focus for new arguments. If it's in the summary and you want me to consider it in my decision, you'd better mention it in the final focus. It is definitely not my job to draw lines back to arguments for you. Your defense on the case flow is not "sticky," as some of my PF colleagues put it, as far as I'm concerned.
5. While I pay attention to crossfire, I don't flow it. It's not intended to be a period for initiating arguments, so if you want me to consider something that happened in crossfire in my decision, you have to mention it in your side's first subsequent speech.
6. You should cite authors by name. "Harvard," as an institution, doesn't conduct studies of issues that aren't solely internal Harvard matters, so you sound awful when you attribute your study about right-to-work laws to "Harvard." "According to Professor Sachs of Harvard" (yes, he's a professor of labor law at Harvard who's recognized as an expert on this particular issue) doesn't take much longer to say than "according to Harvard," and has the considerable advantage of accuracy.
7. You all need to improve your time management skills and stop proliferating dead time if you'd like rounds to end at a civilized hour.
a. You people really need to streamline your "off-time" evidence exchanges. These are getting ridiculous and seem mostly like excuses for stealing prep time. I recently had to sit through a pre-crossfire set of requests for evidence which lasted for seven minutes. This is simply unacceptable. If you have your laptops with you, why not borrow a round-acceleration tactic from your sister formats and e-mail your speech documents to one another? Even doing this immediately after a speech would be much more efficient than the awkward fumbling around in which you usually engage.
b. This means that you should card evidence properly and not force your opponents to dig around a 25-page document for the section you've just summarized during unnecessary dead time. Your sister debate formats have had the "directly quoting sources" thing nailed dead to rights for decades. Why can't you do the same? Minimally, you should be able to produce the sections of articles you're purporting to summarize immediately when asked.
c. You don't need to negotiate who gets to question first in crossfire. I shouldn't have to waste precious seconds listening to you ask your opponents' permission to ask a question. It's simple to understand that the first-speaking team should always ask, and the second-speaking team always answer, the first question...and after that, you may dialogue.
d. If you're going to insist on giving an "off-time road map," it should take you no more than five seconds and be repeated no more than zero times. This is PF...do you seriously believe we can't keep track of TWO flows?
Was sich überhaupt sagen lässt, lässt sich klar sagen; und wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber muss man schweigen.
My background: I am a former CEDA debater (1987-89) and CEDA coach (1990-93) from East Tennessee State University. Upon my recent 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.
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. 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.
I hope to see enjoyable and educational rounds. You will learn so many valuable skills being a debater! Good luck to all participants!
Lynne Coyne, Myers Park HS, NC. 20+ years experience across formats
I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people.
Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. I see myself as a critic of argument , or in old school policy lingo, a hypothesis tester. The resolution is what I vote for or against, rather than just your case or counterplan, unless given a compelling reason otherwise.
Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.
1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the debates I judge, clarity IS the problem not the speed of spoken word itself. I reserve the right to yell “clear” once or twice…after that, the burden is on the debater. I will show displeasure… you will not be pleased with your points. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable but I recognize that low point wins are often a needed option, particularly in team events. The debater adapts to the audience to transmit the message-not the opposite. I believe I take a decent flow of the debate.
2. I generally dislike theory debates littered with jargon (exception is a good policy T debate that has communication implications and standards—if you’ve known me long enough this will still make you shake your head perhaps). Just spewing without reasons why an interpretation is superior for the round and the activity is meaningless. Disads run off the magical power of fiat are rarely legitimate since fiat is just an intellectual construct. I believe all resolutions are funadamentally questions of WHO should do WHAT--arguments about the best actor are thus legitimate. I am not a person who enjoys random bad theory debates andugly tech debates.
3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.
4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a dual function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well. I try not to intervene on personal preferences that are ideological, but I believe words do matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene.
The ballot acts as a teaching tool NOT a punishment.
5. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex. Enter the content of CX into speeches to translate admissions into arguments. Do not all speak at once in PF and do allow your partner to engage equally in grand cross fire.
6. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable: (a la A. Timmons)
A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.
B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.
C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc..
7. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument. A dropped argument will rarely alone equal a ballot in isolation.
8. An argument makes a claim, has reasoning, and presents a way to weigh the implications (impacts). I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments. If an argument is just a claim, it will carry very little impact.
Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.
Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.
Hey ya'll, I was a 3-year debater at LAMDL and captained my high school team and graduated UCLA 2021 with background in political science and a concentration in IR. I debated up to varsity so I'm very familiar with all the tricks, strategies, lingo when it comes to debate. I also debated in parli at UCLA for around 2 years.
Email chain: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Small things that will earn you some favorable opinions or extra speaks
-Be politically tactful on language use. Although I won't ding you if you curse or any of that sort, I do find it more entertaining and fun if you can piss off your opponent while remaining calm and kind to strategically manipulate them rather than yell and get mad. This also means that you should be very careful about using certain words that might trigger the opponent or allow them to utilize that as an offensive tool.
-Use as much tech lingo as you can. Point out when the opponent drops something or why the disad outweighs and turns the case or when there is a double bind, etc etc.
-Analogical arguments with outside references will earn you huge huge points. References through classical literature, strategic board games, video games, anime, historical examples, current events or even just bare and basic academics. It shows me how well versed and cultured you are and that's a part of showmanship.
-Scientific theories, mathematical references, experiments, philosophical thoughts, high academia examples will get you close to a 30 on your speaks and definitely make your argument stronger.
Big things that will lean the debate towards your favor and win you rounds
-I like a good framework debate. Really impact out why I should be voting for your side.
-If you're running high theory Kritik, you need to be prepared to be able to explain and convince me how the evidence supports your argument. A lot of the time when high theory Kritik is run, people fail to explain how the evidence can be interpreted in a certain way.
-Fairness and debate theory arguments are legitimate arguments and voters, please don't drop them.
-I was a solid K debater so it will be favorable for Neg to run K and T BUT I am first and foremost a strategist debater. Which means I will treat debate as a game and you SHOULD pick and choose arguments that are more favorable to you and what the Aff has debated very very weakly one or if there is a possibility that the Disad can outweigh the case better than your link story on the K, I would much prefer if you went for DA and CP than K and T.
-K Affs must be prepared to debate theory and fw more heavily than their impact.
-I LOVE offensive strategies and arguments whether you're Aff or Neg. If you can make it seem like what the opponent advocates for causes more harms than it claims to solve for or causes the exact harms it claims to solve for + more (not just more harms than your advocacy) then it won't be as hard for me to decide on a winner.
-Would love to hear arguments that are radical, revolutionary, yet still realistic. They should be unique and interesting. Be creative! High speaks + wins if you're creative. Try to make me frame the round more differently than usual and think outside the box.
-Answer theory please.
Disclosed biases, beliefs, educational background
West coast bred, progressive arguments are more palatable but some personal beliefs are more centrist or right swinging (depending on what). Well versed with foreign policy and especially issues dealing with Middle East and China, have some economics background. With that being said, I do not vote based on beliefs but arguments, I also don't vote based on what I know. Will vote against a racial bias impact if not clearly articulated. You should never make the assumption that I will automatically already have the background to something, please answer an argument even if you think I already should have prior knowledge on it.
CX:I do not flow but I pay attention.
Flashing:I do not count it as prep unless it feels like you're taking advantage of it.
Time:Take your own time and opponents time, I do not time. If you don't know what your time is during prep or during the speech, I will be taking off points.
David Levin (he/him/his)
Head Debate Coach for St. Luke's School, New Canaan, CT
Email Chain/Doc: email@example.com
tl;dr: Clarity>Speed. K Debate is good for PF. No problem voting on theory, but I like case debate more.
Speed is fine, just prioritize clarity and please give a road map/sign-post your arguments.
I'll vote off the flow, so your speech organization will make my job a lot easier and will benefit you on the ballot and speaker points. I've found that this grants more significance to link and solvency work in the summaries.
On that note, I love specific, even niche link chains, within the realm of plausibility.
On topics with stats-heavy evidence (including RTW), well-warranted, qualitative weighing - "paint the picture of the aff/neg world".
Warrant out the causal relationship between fiating the resolution and the impact.
Kritiks in PF:
Engaging with critical literature is good. It exposes debaters to non-hegemonic discourses, which are more sparse in PF. There's some understandable hesitancy with regard to the time constraints of PF, but you should be able to explain a critical argument to the same level of depth and nuance as you would a more conventional case - you won't be able to unpack all the minutiae in 4 minutes, but that goes for just about any contention/case. To this end, the framing and link debate is crucial for both pre and post-fiat approaches.
I'll vote on theory no problem, but if you're winning on a more substantive argument, go for that instead. Your speaks will thank you.
There is a line between witty snark and being a jerk. Stay on the correct side of it.
Don't use racist, sexist, ableist or otherwise offensive rhetoric. Gender is a product of language, not biology.
Things that will boost your speaker points:
-Transferring evidence quickly, ideally before speeches
-Helping me flow you (namely sign posting and organizing the line by line chronologically)
Clarity>Speed. Specific acronyms might need explanation.
Rounds involving policy affs:
Specifying your agent is especially good on this topic, as the procedural implementation of the plan sets the groundwork for many core negative strategies, including T, which is probably good for the education we get out of the round.
I tend to view doves>hawks, though I will vote on US hard power good if you win the tech side of the debate.
Structural violence impacts are generally the most compelling to me.
T is a really good point of contention on this topic. Procedural implementation and the ambiguity of "security cooperation" make these debates worth having. Generally, I prefer affirmatives winning a competing interpretation over reasonability, as it sets a brighter line for what the topic should encompass. I tend to view fairness as an internal link, rather than a voter on its own.
Plan-specific DAs and counterplans are a delight. I'll evaluate and vote on generic DAs but will have a high threshold on the link level.
This goes for generic Ks as well. Explain how the aff is worse than the status quo, otherwise I will grant more credibility to the perm's ability to solve back the K.
I find performative contradiction arguments more salient than "time/strategy-skew" conditionality args.
Rounds involving critical affs:
These are my favorite rounds to judge.
Warrant out why USFG action is/isn't tenable. Generally speaking, I think radical demands of the state have good explanatory power and probably do a good job of creating a DA to USFG action - this goes for both TVAs and perms on the TVA.
In K v K rounds, some of the most compelling arguments I see are on the perm/mutual exclusivity level, and can present a fantastic educational opportunity.
Generic Ks need considerable work on the link level, but I will vote on them.
I did PF for 4 years, now I study poli sci and IR and coach, I'm an average lazy flow judge.
Add me to the email chain (not doc): firstname.lastname@example.org
Idc if you're formal or not in any regard but it's cringy if you wear like air forces w a suit.
I vote on the path of least resistance, weighing/framing first, then fully extended arg that links into that with the better frontlining.
Please set up and flip as quickly as possible, don't wait for me to get there. Preflow before the round, I'll drop your speaks if you make me wait.
Speed: Even if you send a doc, I don't want to be trying that hard to keep up. I prefer good explanations over speed as a strategy (a lot)
Don't be rude, especially if you’re rich/white/male. If you are, be aware of your advantages and check back on them.
Do not shake my hand.
Email chains/card docs are cool.
Paraphrasing is fine I guess, but do not change the meaning of your evidence. Have the cut card on hand if you paraphrase. I’ll call for evidence if I’m told to, if I need it for my decision, or if generally, it sounds a little too good to be true. I'm dropping your speaks if your evidence is clearly misrepresented when I call for it. If it's called out in round and it's bad evidence, I'll strike it from the flow too.
I prefer cards bc they're usually less blippy/better warranted, but it's kind of funny how people act as if cards are the end all be all of evidence ethics when you can literally cut out words you don't like.
Progressive Args: I’ll listen to and vote off anything as long as it’s not discriminatory. I’m kind of familiar with K’s/theory/etc but not fully informed on how to evaluate them properly - tell me how to evaluate them. I prefer topical debate and I'd like to you really know what you're talking about if you run these args. Don't exclude your opponents, slow dowwwnnn jfc. I don't require the proper format for these args.
That being said, I prefer traditional PF rounds tbh, especially in the morning. Like I said, I'm lazy.
Idc a lot about a turn unless you develop it well, frontline it, impact it out, and (hopefully!!) weigh it.
Extend fully and frontline the argument as needed. Resolve any clash. Collapse well. Warrant every claim you make. These are pretty big for me.
Whichever argument outweighs I will evaluate first. Meta weigh when needed.
Just do all that stuff and you'll be fine, I don't really give less than a 28/27.5 unless you need to really grow. If you’re exclusionary/discriminatory/mean though...lol.
My name is Lillian Myers (they/them) new at judging, but I was the team captain of the Oregon City High School speech and debate team in 2019-2020 and I was a 2020 National Tournament Qualifier in Congress. I competed in Parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas, Congress, Radio Commentary, Informative, Prose, Programmed Oral Interpretation, and Extemporaneous. Currently, I'm a sophomore at Simmons University as a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies double major.
My rounds will always be a respectful and inclusive space for everyone. Disrespectful or offensive language and misgendering will not be tolerated in my rounds. I didn't think I'd have to remind people of this but I would like people to check for racial bias in their cases and language. You can affirm or negate any resolution without biased arguments.
In debate events I am looking for a few things: confidence in both your argument and your delivery, quality arguments and rebuttals, and a fair and respectful debate.
Clarity is of utmost importance to me. I will not tolerate spreading of any kind, you must speak clearly and at a normal pace. It is an accessibility concern for me, as well as other debaters and judges with disabilities. Your presentation of your speeches is important to me as well as the content. Deliver your speeches with confidence and clarity. Because of my disability please do not spread. I don't want to have to mark you down for this, so please don't spread during my rounds.
I'm not very particular about how you debate, all I ask is that it is logical and easy to follow. With that said, I am not a fan of kritiks or debate theory. If you do choose to use them, do not stray too far from the resolution. I would rather you spend more time on your case and addressing the resolution than trying to stray from the topic or argue about the debate itself.
Email: email@example.com [Add me to the chain]
About me: I debated in Texas mostly in LD (TFA, TOC, NSDA) and some Policy (TFA). I debated at Northwestern for a little. I teach at an LD camp in the summer.
- Tech > Truth
- Assume I don't know much about the topic or about your author or philosopher I
- I'll listen to anything but its still your obligation to explain your position
- I'm not flowing off the doc and won't look at the doc/cards unless I need to after the round (9/10 times I don't need to)
- Don't wait for me for the email chain, I'll get it if I need it post round
- I flow what I hear not what I read - if I miss any analytics that are blitzed through, thats your fault
- Its your job to explain and extend cards properly
- Clipping and evidence ethics violations are left in the hands of the debaters
- Prep time ends when the doc is *compiled and ready to be sent.
- PLEASE BE CLEAR. I will yell CLEAR if you are not clear. CLEAR doesn't mean SLOW
- You can debate whatever and however you want as long as you're not violent and you do not make the space unsafe
- Decision calc is who has the most offense under the highest framework - this means frame your impacts and weigh your impacts. Else I'm presuming util
- Don't start at full speed and slow down on tags/analytics/theory. Go as fast as you want as long as you are CLEAR.
- ****I don't know analytic philosophy or LD fw tricks. I'm willing to evaluate and listen to this, but for dense/intricate philosophical debates please slow down and explain or else things will go over my head.
- I like good theory debates but HATE bad ones. I won't categorically reject bad theory argument, my threshold for responses will be low though
- You will auto-lose if you clip cards or falsely accuse. You will lose for evidence ethics violations.
- You will get good speaks if you give good speeches (good overviews, line by line, and crystallization) and don't debate like a robot.
- I don't care how far away or how close to the topic you are but you should justify your practice. I love a good T-FW debate and can/will vote for either side in these debates
- If there's an important CX concession, please flag it and/or get my attention in case I have zoned out
Observations from judging:
- Debaters seem to give black examples when I'm judging and this sometimes makes me uncomfortable. e.g "so you're saying if I were to punch a black person in the face for no reason, your fw justifies that"
- Graphic descriptions of antiblack violence triggers me. Also please examine your relationship to blackness and antiblack violence
- If you want me to judge kick the cp, please make the argument and justify it. I won't make assumptions for you
- Just because someone makes a bad theory argument doenst mean you don't have to answer it. Dont assume that I "obviously know that this is frivolous theory"
- ****I've noticed Util v Kant debates to be confusing. Please give me big picture explanations for why to prefer your FW. Don't just do the line by line and expect me to decipher through it. I will be confused, you must tell me meta level decision making reasons to prefer you FW.
- Referencing college teams or other teams doesn't really get you anywhere, "our models allows for Iowa ST vs Berkeley FU debates" I simply do not know or give a _____ about these teams
The Long Version:
- I don't care what you do or read but assume I know ABSOLUTELY nothing. I'm willing to listen to anything as long as you explain it to me. But Assume I am unfamiliar with your position and debate accordingly. Don't think that I accept common norms even those widely accepted by others. I don't default to anything, and you should obviously direct me when it comes to paradigm issues. Treat me like some random dude on the street who's pretty logical.
- Please for the love of God be CLEAR. High School debaters are incredibly unclear and judges are only pretending to flow you. One thing that really grinds my gears is when the 1AC is incomprehensible, (no judge yells clear for one reason or another) then the 1NC takes that as leeway to be equally (or even more) incomprehensible and then none of the constructives are flown. I feel more and more comfortable voting for one side simply because they were clearer and I understood their argument and didn't have to reconstruct the round for them using docs. You don't need to be blitzing through card tags/analytics/blocks/theory. If you're not doing at least an hour of speaking drills a week you're doing something wrong.
- As far as policy goes, I didn't compete in the event long enough or intensely enough to know or really care about the "norms." This means for example I don't "obviously know that process cp's are cheating." This doesn't mean that you can just say anything though. Like sure I'm probably more willing to listen to 4 condo good than the next judge, but that's still an uphill battle for you.
- If you need to know something specifically ask before the round.
- Good luck, do your thing, and have fun!
Fun Stats (Update 1/20/2023)
I've judged 400+ rounds including a ton of LD, a good chunk of CX, less than 12 PF, and 2 WSD.
Stats from rounds currently recorded in tabroom including all the above events:
- Percentage voting Aff: 43.4%
- Percentage voting Neg: 56.6%
- Number of panels: 100+
- Percentage of time I sat: 18.63% :/ #Maverick #Rebel
firstname.lastname@example.org thats my email before you ask.
Experience: I am currently the head coach for Neenah high school Speech & Debate (but currently only assisting in debate... if that makes sense? I do all the other things) and have been a coach for the last 6 years. I have students who compete locally as well as nationally- we had the national champion at NSDA in Congress, and a Quarterfinalist in LD, a national competitor in Speech, so I have judged all over the place. This is my eighth year as a judge ('22-'23). I judge all categories, except varsity policy. I was not a debater in school, so I have a more basic understanding of the more obscure things that go on in debate.
"I have 5 minutes and wanted to check your paradigm quick, whats the headlines?"
I wasn't a debater- explain things clearly or I drop arguments I don't understand.
***note on that- I understand the terms of debate (link, turn, impact, etc), just not more niche philosophies and less popular arguments***
Be nice to each other- respect will get you far with me
Impact calc and weighing of final arguments is the best strat with me
Don't argue with me in RFD. If I drop you and you think you should have won, explain it better next time.
I can handle spreading, but if you can't... don't. It's awkward to have to tell you that you don't make sense.
Use a timer, and stick to it- I hate it when kids go over time. I stop flowing within 5 seconds of the end of your time. I will not warn you about this- you know your time limits.
Okay, I love these little things I have seen on other paradigms, so hopefully this helps.
For your pref sheets:
K's 1<-------------------------------X------>5 (I like them, but I feel like I am not a good judge for them)
Policy – 1<----X--------------------------------->5 /strike
Phil – 1<-------------------X------------------>5
Tricks – 1<-------------------------------------X>5 Actually... X. <== I HATE them. Please don't run them.
Trad – 1<--X----------------------------------->5
See below for more in-depth explanations divided by category
Preferences: You are acting as a member of congress- keep that in mind in how you behave! Please make sure to respect the rules of your parli and PO. For the love all that is good, please pay attention to the round. This is far more fun when everyone participates! I tend to rank PO's high, as long as they are engaged and (well versed in the congress rules, or at least learning them!) if they are not engaged, they can expect a low ranking. If you don't ask any questions, don't expect a rank of over 6 from me.
A few things I love to see: *actually* extemporaneous speeches. Please breathe some life into your words- you are trying to make your fellow congresspeople vote for or against the bill! Make sure you include stats, citations, and some analysis of other speaker's points.
A few things I hate in rounds: Please don't just read off your screen/notepad in a monotone voice at a breakneck speed. Don't just turn off your camera and not listen until we get to the bill you want to talk about. It drives me insane to have a silent room for questions and no opposition to a bill. Also, please don't be a multi-aff/neg speaker- if we just had an aff speech and there is no neg speech to go next, please don't be the person who gives a second aff. I realize this isn't your fault, but that means the debate is stale and we need to move on.
Preferences: Please be clear and professional in round. I hate that the attitudes and behaviors seen in other styles is seeping into PF. As noted in other sections, I was not a debater, so don't expect me to know every single term you share. Generally, if I make a somewhat confused face, define your term.
A few things I love to see: Please, collapse arguments. It's so awesome to watch a veteran team (or even a novice team) weigh arguments and determine the largest impacts and points in the round and weigh them against each other, rather than slowly increase their speed in through the debate to try and get every single argument in to the last speech.
A few things I hate in rounds: Veteran debaters being overly hard on novices- we want to keep them in the activity, don't discourage them by running super dense over the top arguments- you will probably win if you just run a standard argument simply by being more experienced. "Stealing" prep- if you need prep take it, don't make me sit for 35 seconds and then tell me you're taking prep. If you want cards, fine... but ask for them all at once and get it over with quickly. It is super annoying to go through CX and then have a 15 minute "card trade" before getting back into debate.
Preferences: This is what the majority of my students do. I will flow everything and I will say clear if necessary, but only once before I stop flowing you. I was not a debater, so my knowledge of really weird arguments is lacking. Let me say that again. I WAS NOT A DEBATER- EXPLAIN WHAT YOU MEAN. It has become more and more common to use really dense philosophies in your framing- this is something I have little experience with. Make sure to explain your super specialized philosophy carefully or I can't use it as a weighing mechanism. I encourage you to run whatever you like, but explain it very well, especially if it is not something common. Err on the side of caution if you are not sure if it is common- like I said I am not well versed in most of the different arguments. In terms of speed I judge a lot of policy, so I would say I am comfortable with most speeds seen in LD.
A few things I love to see in round: Please weigh & tell me how to vote so I don’t have to intervene in any capacity. I also like to see super high respect for your opponent. This is such an underrated part of PF that is not nearly as present in LD or Policy, and it totally should be. If you have nearly identical frames, I love to see kids recognize that and show how they can fit into each other's frame, rather than making the round about whether I should weigh using "limiting suffering" or "increasing societal welfare." Let's be honest, those are pretty similar, and if you fit in one you probably can fit in the other.
A few things I hate in rounds: Swearing- This seems like an obvious one, but is lacks professionalism if it is not needed to actually make the points. "Stealing" prep- if you need prep take it, don't make me sit for 35 seconds and then tell me you're taking prep. Veteran debaters being overly hard on novices- we want to keep them in the activity, don't discourage them by running super dense over the top arguments- you will probably win if you just run a standard argument simply by being more experienced. Last thing: if you run a "fairness" argument that you couldn't prep against your opponent and then you have a case against your opponent, expect me to completely drop your fairness argument. You just proved that you lied about the fairness since you prepped that argument.
Preferences: I do not like any tricks or unprofessional behavior in round. I prefer not to hear teams talking to each other while their opponents are presenting, as it is distracting to me as a judge. Open speeches are a no-go. If you don't have your own stuff ready, then take prep time. If you're out of prep time, organize yourself better next time. I generally only judge novice policy once in a while, so be aware you might be my only round this year, and I probably don't have a comprehensive knowledge of the subject area.
I am fine with spreading, (probably a 6/10 for speed) however if you are not understandable, I will only tell you clear two times before I stop flowing you. Please be aware of your own speaking issues- for example, if you have braces and rubber bands, you probably should not spread, since you will be almost unintelligible. On the topic of spreading- I understand it is a strategy to get as many arguments in as possible, but be aware that a large breadth of arguments you do not understand is basically useless.
Impact calc is huge for me. If I don't clearly hear you explain why your impacts are bigger or more important, I judge completely by what is on my flow. DA's and CP's are fine in a round, and good experience for a novice/Post nov. I always flow cross x, and keep track of questions asked. I do not want to see a framework in novice policy.
Misc. Stuff for any style debate:
-I am not about speaker points- I think its a really biased system, but I do it because its required. I would not consider myself generous with points, but I try to be fair with the way the system is set up. That said, if you’re mean to your opponent I will substantially dock your speaks. If you can’t control your round without being disrespectful there is something wrong. Since I have been asked, I average about 28 for speaks.
-I don't flow CX unless I am told to. I find it to be one of the more telling parts of any round about who has stronger arguments and better understands the content, but if you want it to weigh in to my decision, you need to bring it up in speeches.
-Please understand whatever you’re running before you run it in front of me- it is super frustrating to hear kids hem and haw about defining terms when they didn't take time to understand what they are saying.
-I dislike timing rounds and I've found I'm extremely inaccurate. I will keep time, but it is best if we have multiple timers going to ensure accuracy. Please time yourselves and hold your opponent accountable so that I don't have to. I HATE having to cut people off because they are over time.
TLDR: Be respectful, know & define your stuff, watch your time.
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
- remember when J.O.T was a thing? I'm from that era
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 - ps I keep up with everything.
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 act like Trump
witty banter is a plus
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 depends all on you competitors
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
stock issues - cool
K - cool
LARP - (my loudest YEAH BOI)
Trix/Phil/Theory - the quickest way to torture me
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 2022-2023 season!!
Debate Experience: TOC Champion PF 2010, 4th at British Parli University National Championships 2014, Oxford Debate Union competitive debater 2015-2016 (won best floor speech), LGBTQIA+ Officer at the Oxford Debate Union.
NSDA PF Topic Committee Member/Writer: If you have any ideas, topic areas, or resolutions in mind for next season please send them to my email below. We on the NSDA PF Topic Committee will be finalizing our topics for the season over the next five months with tentative topics released mid-June.
Coaching Experience: Director of Debate at Fairmont Prep 2018-Current, 13 years of coaching, instructor at 14 debate camps, Senior Instructor and PF Curriculum Director at the Institute for Speech and Debate, La Altamont Lane 2018 TOC, Capitol 2016-2018, GW 2010-2015. British Parli coach and lecturer for universities including DU, Oxford, and others.
Education: Masters from Oxford University '16 - Law & Religion - Dissertation on the history of the First Amendment - Religion and Philosophy at DU '14. Other research areas include Buddhism, comparative religion, sociology of religion, conlaw, First Amendment law, free speech, freedom of expression, art law, media law, & SCOTUS history. AP Macroeconomics Teacher
2023 Winter Data Update: Importing my Tabroom data I've judged 651 rounds since 2014 with a 53% Pro and 47% Con vote balance. There may be a slight subconscious Aff bias it seems. My guess is that I may subconsciously give more weight to changing the status quo as that's the core motivator of debate but no statistically meaningful issues present.
Right-to-work law debate comments for UNLV/Stanford/California Round Robin/Berkeley
For the Cal Round Robin: I am not going to disclose to respect Lexy and the tournament's spirit. Also lowkey how many tournies have experts judge finals? I would prefer topic specific debates/topic specific k's. We should be testing who deserves to debate in front of the experts in my opinion.
I've judged about 20 rounds now on the topic. If y'all just go for an econ link or econ impact debate please be careful. These debates can be total soupy number messes. Wages go up/no they go down. Econ goes up/now they go down. Inequality goes up/no it goes down. Pensions go up/no they go down. Start thinking about evidence comparison because both warrants can sound true. Or prereqs. Or short term or long term analysis. I've already judged several rounds on this topic where I have two pieces of evidence that say the opposite economic conclusions and no one tells me why their evidence or warranting is better.
For example, on Neg you run profit and patent decreases from unions decrease innovation by 20%. Aff runs increased wages increase motivation and thus productivity and new ideas increasing innovation by 24%. This is introducing clash but you don't implicate either side or resolve the clash. Why is one warrant better than another? Is one piece of evidence net innovation? Are there different types of innovations? In different sectors? Is one piece of evidence a meta study or more recent? If more recent why does that matter? Does your study have better methodology? You need to resolve these questions otherwise I make the choice on how to resolve the clash which is not what you want. These choices increase judge intervention. Even if I am an AP Macro Econ teacher as well don't make me do the work to decide.
Lastly chill on the global impacts. I know you want those nice terminal impacts but the resolution is not US right to work laws do more harm than good which lets you link in outside the US. The resolution is In the US, right to work laws do more harm than good. Grammar forecloses your high mag/scope weighing outside the US. I like the wishful thinking but just debate domestic impacts for once I believe in you and you should believe in yourself. You're going to do great without global recession and global war. :)
PF Paradigm 2022-23 Season:
I consider myself tech>truth but I have been approaching a closer equilibrium between the two lately due to the poor state of evidence ethics, power tagging, clipping, and more. Further, I know stakes can be high in a bubble, bid, or important round but let's still come out of the debate feeling as if it was a positive experience. Life is too short for needless suffering. Please be kind, compassionate, and cordial.
- What I want to see: I'm empathetic to major technical errors in my ballots. In a perfect world I vote for the team who does best on tech and secondarily on truth. I tend to resolve clash most easily when you give explicit reasons why either a) your evidence is comparatively better but also when you tell me why b) your warranting is comparatively better. Obviously doing both compounds your chances at winning my ballot. I have recently become more sensitive to poor extensions in the back half. Please have UQ where necessary, links, internals links, and impacts. Weighing introduced earlier the better. Weighing is your means to minimize intervention.
- Weighing Unlike Things: I need to know how to weigh two comparatively unlike things. If you are weighing some economic impact against a non-economic impact like democracy how do I defer to one over the other? Scope, magnitude, probability etc. I strongly prefer impact debates on the probability/reasonability of impacts over their magnitude and scope. Obviously try to frame impacts using all available tools but it's less likely I will defer to nuclear war, try or die, etc on the risk of magnitude. Probability over magnitude debates unless I'm given well warranted, carded, and convincing framework analysis to prefer the latter.
- Weighing Like Things: Please have warrants and engage comparatively between yourself and your opponent. Obviously methodological and evidentiary comparison is nice too as I mentioned earlier. I love crossfires or speech time where we discuss the warrants behind our cards and why that's another reason to prefer your arg over your opponent.
- Don't be a DocBot: I love that you're prepared and have enumerated overviews, blocks, and frontlines. I love heavy evidence and dense debates with a lot of moving parts. But if it sounds like you're just reading a doc without specific or explicit implications to your opponent's contention you are not contributing anything meaningful to the round. Tell me why your responses interact. If they are reading an arg about the environment and just read an A2 Environment Non-Unique without explaining why your evidence or warranting is better then this debate will suffer.
- I'm comfortable if you want to take the debate down kritical, theoretical, and/or pre-fiat based roads. I think framework debates be them pre or post fiat are awesome. Voted on many K's before too. Here be dragons. I will say though, over time I've become increasingly tired of opportunistic, poor quality, and unfleshed out theory in PF. But in the coup of the century I have been converted that disclosure theory and para theory is a viable path to the ballot if you win your interp. I still believe theory is used as an easy way to avoid substantive debates but you do you. I will always prefer a round sans disclosure theory but can no longer for intellectual consistency stop you from running it. Still highly suspicious of paraphrasing theory as your "full-text" cards are super power clipped and disclosure solves back but you do you. TL;DR: I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. I am more skeptical of paraphrasing theory than disclosure theory. Lastly, if you look back at the last 32 rounds or so I've judged with theory as the primary voter I've probably only voted for the team who introduced theory in the round 7 of 32 rounds. Meaning I vote for theory 22% of the time when it's the voter. Take that as you will. All variables being equal I would prefer post-fiat stock topic specific rounds but in principle remain as tabula rasa as I can.
- What needs to be frontlined in second rebuttal? Turns. Not defense unless you have time. If you want offense in the final focus then extend it through the summary.
- Defense is not sticky between rebuttal and final focus. Aka if defense is not in summary you can't extend it in final focus. I've flipped on this recently. I've found the debate is hurt by the removal of the defense debate in summary and second final focus can extend whatever random defense it wants or whatever random frontlines to defense. This gives the second speaking teams a disproportionate advantage and makes the debate needlessly more messy.
- DA's in general or second rebuttal? You mean the borderline new contentions you are trying to introduce in the round that are tentatively linked at BEST to the existing arguments in the round order to time skew/spread your opponents thin? Don't push it too much.
- I will pull cards on two conditions. First, if it becomes a key card in the round and the other team questions the validity of the cut, paraphrasing, or explanation of the card in the round. Second, if the other team never discusses the merits of their opponents card the only time I will ever intervene and call for that evidence is if a reasonable person would know it's facially a lie.
- Calling for your opponent's cards. It should not take more than 1 minute to find case cards. Do preflows before the round. Smh y'all.
- If you spread that's fine. Just be prepared to adjust if I need to clear or provide speech docs to your opponents to allow for accessibility and accommodation.
- My favorite question in cx is: Why? For example, "No I get that's what your evidence says but why?"
- My favorite phrase in debate is: "Prefer our warrant or evidence" or "comparing our warrants you prefer ours because..."
- Germs are scary. I don't like to shake hands. It's not you! It's me! [Before covid times this was prophetic].
- I don't like to time because it slows my flow in fast rounds but please flag overtime responses or raise your phone. Don't interrupt.
Ramblings on Theory
Let me explain why I am writing this. This isn't because I'm right and you're wrong. I'm not trying to convince you. Nor should you cite this formally in round to win said round. Rather, a lot of you care so much about debate and theory in particular gets pretty personal fairly quickly that I want to explain why my hesitancy isn't personal to you either. I am not opposing theory as someone who is opposed to change in Public Forum.
- First, I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. My grad school research and longstanding work outside of debate has tracked how queer, civil rights advocates, religious minorities, and political dissidents have been extensively censored over time through structural means. The suppression and elimination of critical race theory and BLM from schools and universities is an extension of this. I have found it very difficult to be tabula rasa on this issue. TW/anonymous opt outs are welcome if you so wish to include them, that is your prerogative, but like I said the lack of one is not a debate I can be fair on. Let me be clear. I do not dismiss that "triggers" are real. I do not deny your lived experience on face nor claim all of you are, or even a a significant number of you, are acting in bad faith. This is always about balancing tests. My entire academic research for over 8 years was about how structural oppressors abuse these frameworks of "sin," "harm," "other," to squash dissidents, silence suffragettes, hose civil rights marchers, and imprison queer people because of the "present danger they presented in their conduct or speech." I also understand that some folks in the literature circles claim there is a double bind. You are opting out of trigger warning debates but you aren't letting me opt out of debates I don't want to have either. First, I will never not listen to or engage in this debate. My discouragement above is rooted in my deep fear that I will let you down because I can't be as fair as I would be on another issue. I tell students all the time tabula rasa is a myth. I still think that. It's a goal we strive for to minimize intervention because we will never eliminate it. Second, I welcome teams to still offer tw and will not penalize you for doing so. Third, discussions on SV, intersectionality, and civil rights are always about trade offs. Maybe times will change but historically more oppression, suppression, and suffering has come from the abuse of the your "speech does me harm" principle than it benefits good faith social justice champions who want to create a safe space and a better place. If you want to discuss this empirical question (because dang there are so many sources and this is an appeal to my authority) I would love to chat about it.
Next, let me explain some specific reasons why I am resistant to TW theory in debate using terms we use in the literature. There is a longstanding historical, philosophical, and queer/critical theory concern on gatekeeper shift. If we begin drawing more and more abstract lines in terms of what content causes enough or certain "harm" that power can and will be co-opted and abused by the equally more powerful. Imagine if you had control over what speech was permitted versus your polar opposite actor in values. Now imagine they, via structural means, could begin to control that power for themselves only. In the last 250 years of the US alone I can prove more instances than not where this gatekeeping power was abused by government and powerful actors alike. I am told since this has changed in the last twenty years with societal movements so should we. I don't think we have changed that significantly. Just this year MAUS, a comic about the Holocaust, was banned in a municipality in Jan 22. Toni Morrison was banned from more than a dozen school districts in 2021 alone. PEN, which is a free press and speech org, tracked more than 125 bills, policies, or resolutions alone this year that banned queer, black, feminist, material be them books, films, or even topics in classrooms, libraries, and universities. Even in some of the bills passed and proposed the language being used is under the guise of causing "discomfort." "Sexuality" and discussions of certain civil rights topics is stricken from lesson plans all together under these frameworks. These trends now and then are alarming.
I also understand this could be minimizing the trauma you relive when a specific topic or graphic description is read in round. I again do not deny your experience on face ever. I just cannot comfortably see that framework co-opted and abused to suppress the mechanisms or values of equality and equity. So are you, Gabe, saying because the other actors steal a tool and abuse that tool it shouldn't be used for our shared common goals? Yes, if the powerful abuse that tool and it does more harm to the arc of history as it bends towards justice than I am going to oppose it. This can be a Heckler's Veto, Assassin's Veto, Poisoning The Well, whatever you want to call it. Even in debate I have seen screenshots of actual men discussing how they would always pick the opt out because they don't want to "debate girls on women issues in front of a girl judge." This is of course likely an incredibly small group but I am tired of seeing queer, feminist, or critical race theory based arguments being punted because of common terms or non-graphic descriptions. Those debates can be so enriching to the community and their absence means we are structurally disadvantaged with real world consequences that I think outweigh the impacts usually levied against this arg. I will defend this line for the powerless and will do so until I die.
All of these above claims are neither syllogisms or encyclopedias of events. I am fallible and so are those arguments. Hence let us debate this but just know my thoughts.
Like in my disclaimer on the other theory shell none of these arguments are truisms just my inner and honest thoughts to help you make strategic decisions in the round.
Hello everyone! My name is Isabella and I am honored to be judging your rounds and look forward to hearing what you have prepared!
I strongly believe that debate is a game--I am not a policy maker--debate should be fun so argue what you want to argue.
For LD/PF Competitors: add me on the chain, my email is email@example.com
Create an email chain EVERY round, it saves time from calling for evidence, thanks.
I have experience in and a solid understanding of every speech and debate event. However, I specialized in extemp, PF, LD, and WSD. I currently debate CX and IPDA in college.
- Tech > Truth
- I auto drop for racism/sexism/homophobia or anything that is problematic that can make the debate space unsafe for others.
- Spreading is fine.
- If you provide rational impact calculus and extend the right arguments, it will be reflected in my ballot.
- AVOID SOURCE WARS
- I classify myself as a "traditional" debater, with that being said it might take me longer to understand high theory. If you are running K's make link clear in every speech and explain well.
- Tech > Truth
- Spreading is fine.
- I enjoy framework debate.
- Complicated and convoluted arguments that are poorly conveyed are worse than simple arguments conveyed convincingly and strongly.
As a general blanket statement, I am going to weigh and vote off of the arguments and the warrants you provide. If your spreading is muddled and incomprehensible I will stop flowing until I can understand you again.
If you have any questions or advice on your round, simply ask me after the round or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have very simple demands when it comes to judging:
- Speak concisely and at a reasonable tempo; if I do not understand what you're saying, I unfortunately cannot give you credit for saying it.
- Be respectful to the opposing team throughout the debate and especially during crossfire.
- Stay on time; I will not be timing throughout the debate, so it is your responsibility to hold the other team accountable either verbally or by letting your timer play aloud.
I vote solely based on the strength of your arguments and rebuttals to aforementioned arguments. I have only judged twice before this so I may occassionally need assisstance in running the round. I am excited to see what both teams have up their sleeves. Thank you for reading and good luck!