Digital Speech and Debate e Championship
2023 — NSDA Campus, US
CX - Novice/Middle School Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
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most important things! (not necessarily in order)
1 - have fun and just try your best! novice year is all about learning
2 - be nice to each other and me. basically just don't be racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. - otherwise (depending on how bad it is) i'll stop the round, vote you down and talk to your coach
3 - flow!
4 - try line by line and answer every argument. i know that novice year you'll likely have blocks but still try.
5 - do impact calc! you can always explain things more and "tell the story" of your arguments
1 - please have a plan (especially if you're a novice)
2 - explain your case well
3 - extinction probably outweighs (i can be convinced otherwise)
4 - 2nc cps and condo are probably the only things to reject the team for (if you explain well i can/will vote otherwise)
1 - i love them!
2 - willing to listen to anything (<3 process cps)
1 - impact calc and turns case are part of the best explanations
2 - explain the story of the disad well (uq, link, impact)
1 - kinda familiar with some of the more common stuff (security, fem, cap, set col, etc.) but anything more complicated please explain well
2 - i default util but can be convinced otherwise
1 - i don't think t-interps are great on the nato topic (i would love to be proven wrong)
2 - explain your standards and impacts well please!
1 - make me laugh (or make a joke about debate people i know) and i'll boost your speaks
2 - most of these are centered around novices - if you have questions about any of my preferences email me (if you're a novice don't worry about it - just try your best!)
3- please have your camera on for online debates!! (and realize that if mine is off I'm not ready)
I debated at Blue Valley Southwest High School for 4 years and am currently debating at KU
I am heavily persuaded by arguments about why the affirmative should read a topical plan. One of the main reasons for this is that I am persuaded by a lot of framing arguments which nullify aff offense (TVOA, argument testing, etc). The best way to deal with these things is to more directly impact turn common impacts like procedural fairness. Affirmative teams would also be well served to offer a competing interpretation of debate, designed to mitigate the negative impacts.
Fairness is the most persuasive impact to framework.
I'm not great for the K. In most instances this is because I believe the alternative solves the links to the aff or can't solve it's own impacts. This can be resolved by narrowing the scope of the K or strengthening the link explanation (too often negative teams do not explain the links in the context of the permutation). The simpler solution to this is a robust framework press.
I really enjoy good T debates. Fairness is the best (and maybe the only) impact. Education is very easily turned by fairness. Evidence quality is important, but only in so far as it improves the predictability/reduces the arbitrariness of the interpretation.
CPs are fun. I generally think that the negative doing non-plan action with the USfg is justified. Everything else is up for debate, but well developed aff arguments are dangerous on other questions.
I generally think conditionality is good. I think the best example of my hesitation with conditionality is multi-plank counter plans which combine later in the debate to become something else entirely.
If in cross x you say the status quo is always an option I will kick the counter plan if no further argumentation is made (you can also obviously just say conditional and clarify that judge kick is an option). If you say conditional and then tell me to kick in the 2NR and there is a 2AR press on the question I will be very uncomfortable and try to resolve the debate some other way. To resolve this, the 2AC should make an argument about judge kick.
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GBN class of '24
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If you don't read anything else, these should be your takeaways:
1. Be a good human
3. Tech > truth, but a dropped argument still needs to be fully explained
4. If you don't understand an argument, it shouldn't be in your speech
5. Debate is a persuasive activity. At the very least, pretend like you care
6. Make logical arguments. I know novice year makes it easier to be block reliant, but I promise that in the long run, you'll want to be able to think on your feet
7. Do impact comparison
Specific thoughts, if you care:
1. Neg - paint a picture of the world - shouting debate words and exaggerated impact scenarios without explaining them realistically does not help your cause
2. Aff - novice teams tend to be scared arguments they don't understand, which is not necessarily warranted. If you don't understand something, that's probably because it doesn't make sense - explain to me why that is the case
1. I don't think there are any great T interps on this topic. Prove me wrong.
1. Neg - if you read something other than cap or IR ks, you need to explain even more specifically, but that should be true regardless
2 Aff - In my opinion, the "perm double bind" pretty much always solves - but, I'll listen to what the neg has to say
1. Everything except condo and 2nc CPs are reasons to reject the argument, not the team.
2. If you want me to vote on something else, even if it's dropped, you need to spend substantial time explaining why it's a voter. Otherwise, I'll just default to rejecting the argument.
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For online debate especially, you really need to slow down and prioritize clarity.
I debated at Glenbrook North HS for four years. During my senior year, I went to most national tournaments (Greenhill, New Trier, UMich, Blake, Pinecrest, etc), qualified to the TOC and went 4-3. Most of my views of debate are the same as those of Michael Greenstein, Stephen Pipkin, Kevin McCaffery, and Jared Zuckerman.
The role of my ballot is to vote for the team who does the better debating on whether a topical plan is better than the status quo or a competitive alternative. That means the aff has to defend a topical plan and the neg has to prove the plan is a bad idea or there's no risk the plan is a good idea.
Don't pref me if you refuse to defend the resolution. ¯\_(ãƒ„)_/¯
If you aren't going to read my whole paradigm before the round, the most important thing I can tell you is to flow and respond to all your opponent's arguments. If I can see that you aren't flowing, you probably won't win my ballot and I will deduct speaker points.
When I judge T debates, I'm answering the question "Which definition creates the best version of the topic?" I expect debaters to pretty explicitly answer this question for me in the impact debate. In my opinion, legal precision is the most convincing impact and the team that better accesses it will probably be the team that wins the debate regardless of if you are AFF or NEG. That being said, in order to access legal precision as an impact, you must have well-researched evidence. Without it, your chances of winning the debate drop exponentially even if you do the best impact calc I have ever seen. No matter what impact you end up going for, you should do impact calc just like you would if you were going for a disad- why does your impact outweigh their's and how does your impact access/turn theirs?).
I don't lean AFF or NEG in T debates- I ran pretty borderline untopical AFFs in high school which meant that a lot of my AFF debates came down to T, but I also frequently went for T on the NEG.
Case turns are underutilized and can be extremely effective either on their own or when paired with an advantage counterplan. The uniqueness/inevitability question is probably the most important part of these debates because it controls who gets to leverage try or die. If you go for an impact turn correctly (AFF or NEG) it will make my job as a judge much more fun and will probably result in increased speaks. I'd love it if more teams brought back Co2 ag.
Econ growth = bad.
You probably can't go wrong with a disad. That being said, please do your best not to prove me wrong and read disads that are somewhat coherent and can survive cross-ex. Once you have met that standard any and all disads are fine with me. I shouldn't even have to say this but impact calc is the most important part of a disad debate. When doing impact calc, you should talk about why your impact matters AND talk about how it compares to and interacts with your opponents' impact. The link debate probably controls the direction of the uniqueness debate and I generally begin evaluating disad debates by deciding whether or not the disad links. Link evidence is an important factor in my evaluation, but it is not as important as the story you tell throughout the debate and how you spin your topic generic evidence. Zero risk of a disad is a real thing and I can and will vote on it.
When debating/reading a politics disad things change a little. In agenda disad debates, I find that the uniqueness debate controls the direction of the link debate. Your uniqueness evidence must be recent and of good quality if you want my ballot. AFF teams should make politics theory arguments in the 2AC but should never extend them unless they are straight-up dropped. Besides that everything else is the same.
Undoubtedly my favorite negative argument. I think a good advantage counterplan and a disad can be a devastating strategy. That being said, I went to GBN so I know I'm going to be a big fan of your agent, conditions, and process counterplan if it seems like it belongs on the topic. The standard for whether or not a cheaty counterplan belongs on the topic is whether or not you have a solvency advocate that ties the CP to the resolution. If you do, you're golden, but if you don't, I wouldn't even bother reading it.
Solvency deficits can be great when they are explained AND impacted well and should definitely be a part of your strategy. Unfortunately, most plan-inclusive counterplans will solve your deficit so you should go for theory or an impact turn of the net benefit. I find myself very convinced by sufficiency framing and think that it is very unfortunate that most AFF teams will drop it in the 1ar. The only theory argument that I am AFF leaning on is "no neg fiat". I don't know about y'all but I don't see a negative resolution...
Not very deep in any identity or high theory lit so you better explain things very well becuase if I can't explain it back to the other team I will not vote for it. I have provided a spectrum of how likely I am to vote for your kritiks with a disad as a reference:
A Disad--Security/Neolib/Cap----Set Col------------------------------------Everything else-----------------High theory-----------Identity
I will not vote on death/suffering good and I find the fiat double-bind funny but unwinnable.
When going for a K in front of me, please don't tell me that I need an extra sheet for the overview. Spend a lot of time on the link portion of the debate and flush out several clear and direct links. The more specific they are, the better the debate will be and your chances of getting my ballot go up. Naming the links is a good and helpful practice. Don't fill your speech with buzzwords and don't drop the alt in the 2NR.
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be respectful to everyone in the round
- tech > truth but you need to explain why a dropped argument allows you to win the argument / round
- every argument should have a claim, warrant, and an impact
- smart analytics beat cards with no explanation/impact
- cx is open and binding
- impact comparison is underutilized. try to complexify your impact comparison beyond just saying buzzwords like "magnitude", "time frame", and "probability"
- play nice and have fun!
- know your affirmative beyond your plan text
- case debate is good and underrated!
- frame your aff! i lean towards util
Counterplans and Theory
- i am familiar with pretty questionable counterplans; run whatever you want.
- have a net benefit!!
- condo is probably good. you're welcome to prove me wrong.
- everything other than condo is a reason to reject the argument, not the team
- fully warrant out the story of your DA. in the 2NR do not just read your overview again please
- try to read as specific of a link as possible -why or how does the aff's plan directly cause the impact
- impact comparison is vital here. make sure you explain why your impact happens faster/at higher magnitude/more probable and how it encompasses the aff's impact
- questionably topical affs should be prepared to defend their plan but i'm not predisposed to vote against you
- answer your opponents standards
- what even is reasonability
- don't spread your blocks
- i'm familiar with security, cap, fem, fem ir, set col, etc. but none of it is on a techy level so i am probably not your go-to person for K debates, especially K affs.
- specify your links, explain what your K is, also prove why your K is unique -- why is the plan net worse than squo?
Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010
I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.
My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.
Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:
Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:
My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.
I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.
In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments aren't broadly compatible with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.
Value proof higher than rejoinder:
I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.
My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.
A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.
Incomprehensible value systems:
One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.
I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.
Junior @ Dartmouth
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Answer arguments in the order presented.
I will do my best to evaluate the debate in front of me. The K v. Policy divide in the community is detrimental to the activity - read what you prepared to debate.
Reading topicality against affirmatives that do not defend a plan is not a microaggression or an -ism of any kind.
I am at my best in debates where the affirmative is defending a topical plan and the negative is going for a CP, DA, or K with topic/aff specific links.
If you're going to read a K, I will need more explanation and general direction about how I should be evaluating arguments. If your speeches sound like they could be about any affirmative, I am unlikely to vote for you.
I will not judge kick a counterplan.
Basically no patience for debate shenanigans.
I will not vote for arguments about things that happened outside of the round I am being asked to judge.
Behavior that causes immediate harm to other debaters will result in me contacting coaches + tab.
Topicality should not be your primary strategy when I am judging. I have little topic knowledge.
In an ideal world, we would all have our cameras on. Online debate is kind of depressing so let's try to make it a slightly more bearable experience by keeping our cameras on. At the very least, I would like to see you while you are speaking.
**If my camera is off, please assume that I am not at my computer and do not start speaking**
If there is a serious tech problem (i.e. someone cuts off mid-speech) I will try to stop your speech and have you continue from the last argument I fully heard.
Tracking of prep will happen in the chat.
I am tired of people giving orders and speeches while people are not at their computers. Debaters need to be responsible and make sure that all relevant parties are present. I will heavily deduct speaker points if you fail to make sure everyone is present before you start speaking.
I am stingy with prep. I want to get the debate over with as soon as possible and go get food and hang out in the hallway. When the timer of the person before you has gone off, one of three things must be happening: 1.) cx is starting, 2.) the order of the next speech is being given, or 3.) prep has started.
Don't call me "Jenny" during your speeches or cross-examination. Outside of that sure fine whatever go ahead.
Don't ask me if I want a card doc, make one. If you send me a massive document with basically every single card you read in the debate I am going to close it.
Messing up the email chain is an easy way to get me annoyed and lose speaks.