MSHSL Section 3 Debate Tournament
2023 — Eagan, MN/US
Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Gosh, I needed to update this...
I'm a long-time coach with a lot of policy debate experience. I pay attention to what's going on and try my best to meet you at your level. I've judged every weekend this season.
Include me on the email chain please - firstname.lastname@example.org
I prefer a more traditional approach to debate - policy evaluation, dead bodies, uniqueness, etc. Not ruling out other methods, I'll listen intently, but it might be more of a roll-of-the-dice.
Disclose in a fair and honest manner, adhering to Kant: "act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.”
(1). K vs. K debates leave me confused. K vs. Policy makes more sense, still not your dream K judge. K's of institutions and methods make more sense than K's of in-round whatever. If you are winning a framing issue, tell me why it matters - how does it interact with impacts?
(2) T/Framework. If there is a plan that's even in the ballpark of being topical, don't make T your 2NR strategy. If there is no plan, my ears are much more sensitive to T. But again, not ruling that method out either.
(3). Embedded clash. I'll do my best but I'm going to do the least work for both teams possible. Back in my day, we mocked the lump-and-dump teams without mercy and I still carry that bias. Times change, I'll do my best.
My hope is that you will have enjoyed Debate so much that you will be a lifetime supporter of the activity.
Name: Matt Davis
Affiliation: St. Croix Prep, Stillwater, MN
Years Coaching: 11
Years Judging: twenty-four
School Strikes: St. Croix Prep
Rounds Judged this year (insert any year here): usually between 80-100
***Include me on the email chain (LD, CX)
1. Be nice. Don't be a jerk. My implicit bias towards kindness will be triggered.
2. Don't be racist. Or sexist. Or classist. Or attack your opponent's character. Just be nice.
3. Run whatever (within the realm of non-oppressive, nonviolent arguments).
4. Slow down on tags and authors. That's what I flow the most.
5. Don't spread analytics. Blippy stuff won't be flowed or extended without adequate warrant.
6. CX is not prep time - cross-ex matters for speaks, but you can ask questions during prep.
7. I do like unique arguments (Ks are my sweet spot), but the more bizarre they are, the more explanation I need.
8. Tech > Truth (unless blatantly unsubstantiated - not a big fan of theory).
9. Passion > Speed - A debater who wears their heart on their sleeve is one with whom I can empathize.
10. Signpost and Clash. Signpost and Clash. Signpost and Clash.
11. Don't expect me to do your job for you - I won't. (Weigh args; clash; explain voters and ROB).
12. I don't disclose, so don't ask.
I debated for St. Francis High School, in Minnesota, from 1989 to 1993, during which time I debated two years of CX and two years of LD. I also debated four years of CEDA debate, debating for various schools. I have been the Director of Speech and Debate at St. Croix Prep in Stillwater, Minnesota since 2013, and I have coached LD, CX, WSD, PF, BQ and all speech categories. I also teach ninth grade Ancient World Literature at St. Croix Prep.
I believe that competitive debate is an educational space that should allow students to explore the relationships of different arguments and/or philosophical ideas. I also believe that competitive debate is an exercise in effective rhetoric (ethos, pathos, logos). With all this in mind, I love debates that involve teams that know their position in the debate and are passionate about their arguments. If one team in a debate shows that they care more about their arguments than another team, this definitely can have an impact on how I evaluate the round. I typically evaluate each team’s use of evidence, reasoning, and passion to further their arguments and clash with their opponent’s arguments, hence my previous mention of the role of the effective use of ethos, pathos, and logos. Most importantly: Be consistent, tell a good story, and explain your arguments in the context of what has happened up to that point in the debate. Teams that just read pre-written rebuttal speeches that don't contextualize their arguments don't usually do very well in front of me.
World Schools Debate
I follow the WSD judging model fairly closely. Be the team that has its finger on the pulse of the debate and knows where the debate is going and how the arguments are evolving. Be nice, don't be rude, and remember that you have to persuade me that your arguments are important for proving your side.
Solid arguments should be supported with empirics and/or logical reasoning. Well developed arguments will usually have examples or logical warrants that explain the reasoning behind the argument. In this context, WSD is much less about use of cited evidence and more about which side has a more convincing story. Accordingly, I don't really give much weight to cited evidence, unless it is needed to challenge a statistic or quantifiable claim. Even to this extent, WSD should never come down to a numbers game (IMHO), so I really don't want teams "going there." Along these lines, a dropped argument isn't necessarily going to lose you the round, but I will listen to reasons why dropping an entire substantive argument or layer of analysis should affect my decision. Remember, a WSD debate is like a funnel, where many arguments begin to get consolidated to fewer, more developed arguments that have evolved throughout the debate, and positions/ stories should be very clear by the end of the debate.
Delivery is what I consider to be how I am assigning "style" points. I'm not going to add or subtract points if a team has or doesn't have matching outfits...of course. I evaluate vocal variance (pitch, rate, volume, etc), nonverbal communication (hand gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, etc), and how you behave when you are and are not speaking. Again, be nice, don't be rude. Additionally, slow down. WSD is intentional, rhetorically based, and - dare I say - performative at times. This means that you should aim to "sound" persuasive as well. Furthermore, there is also a little bit about style that I will discuss under my POI discussion below.
I think that strategy usually means to me that students are cognizant of the way the debate is developing, and they are willing to be a part in how the debate develops. Having your finger on the pulse of the debate is important. Additionally, I also evaluate strategic choices for your third substantive arguments, how those shed new light on your position, and how they affect the way the debate develops. This can be really cool, so take advantage of this unique aspect of WSD!
Also, I really appreciate when the 3rd and 4th speakers create unique organizational strategies that are unique from on another (principle/practical, essential questions, stakeholders, worlds comparison, etc). This allows me to effectively evaluate the side that is winning the big picture debate, which is how WSD really should be evaluated (IMHO).
I tend to evaluate clash as strategy points, but I know that this can be interwoven in content as well. However, I really want teams to talk about their arguments in the context of what is being said by their opponents. This really helps your arguments to evolve throughout the debate. Lowest ground/highest ground debates are an awesome way to do this, since it shows your judge that you are aware of the possible implications that your opponents' arguments could potentially have on the judge's decision.
Points of Information:
I like debaters to be courteous and intentional in how they pose POI's. POI moments are also a good place for me to determine strategy for those posing POI's and style for your ability to engage with the POI. Make good choices for when you pose POI's, since posing lame POI's and/or POI's that are ill-intentioned. Be thoughtful, be intentional, and try to use the POI's to your advantage in other speeches as well. This can be very effective!
Overall: Once again, be nice, be professional, and have fun!
First of all, evidence is only one part of a debate. Debaters should remember that there are other aspects of debate as well, such as claims and warrants. If you are simply extending an author’s name in order to extend an argument, you still need to extend the claim and warrant, or I am not voting on it. I will look at evidence after the round if the evidence becomes a controversial issue in the debate, or if one team is leaning heavily on a piece of evidence for their win. With this in mind, don’t misrepresent your evidence or make it sound “bigger” than it really is, as this can become an embarrassing moment when someone asks me to read the card and I see that it is hot garbage. One last area that I think is important to note is the citation debate. I don’t think that enough debaters go after their opponents’ sources, and that probably stems from other critical (k) positions. However, if it is clear that the source is biased or should clearly not be considered a reliable source, I would encourage debaters to make this an issue. Also, I am not a big fan of reading more evidence in the rebuttals. Sure, there may be a necessary card or two that can be effective in the first rebuttal for each team, but I would suggest using what you already have read in constructed speeches to respond (this is especially the case in LD). I often find that a 1AR that can use the evidence from the two affirmative constructive speeches should have done enough to "find a way out" of the negative block (if it wasn't in the AC speeches, then its probably too late in CX debate).
Short Version: Be clear and intentional on your tags and author names; you can go faster on your evidence, but I should still be able to understand you. I prefer passion and intensity to speed. Most of my debaters are traditional LD debaters, so I'm not a big fan of circuit speed. Will I flow it if you are slowing for tags and authors? Sure. Will I like it, probably not s'much. In this regard, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SIGNPOST. If you just go on-case and dump a bunch of stuff on the flow, I won't do your work for you.
Long Version: Many of today’s debaters (at least circuit debaters) are not doing much that is different than what has been done in the speed category over the last twenty years. However, I do have some preferences in this regard. When you are speaking at 250+ wpm, I have difficulty distinguishing what you want me to flow versus extraneous evidence text or extemporized explanations, which invariably leads to miscommunications later on in the extension debate. One request that I have to resolve this issue is that debaters speak more articulate and “slower” in their presentation of their signposting, their claims, and their citations. This really shouldn't slow down the overall presentation of the speech by much, but it should make the presentation of those “flow-able” points more intentional. Additionally, I will not shout "clear" or "slower" if you aren't articulating your signposts, tags, and cites. I will probably just have a pained look on my face. After that, I'll just stop flowing. If you see this, you are probably in trouble, so make a conscious effort to accommodate my speed preference for the signposts, tags, and author last name at the very least. An optimal speed is probably around 200-250 on average for me if you at least slow down for these three areas.
As previously mentioned, evidence is only one aspect of rhetoric, and the best debaters know how to balance ethos (evidence), pathos (passion/emotion), and logos (logic/reasoning). Additionally, I feel that the most persuasive debaters are those that can do the line-by-line debating but also move the debate to the bigger picture as well.
While I believe, as previously stated, that competitive debate is an educational space that should allow students to explore the relationships between different arguments and/or philosophical ideas, I do feel that there should be some topical awareness in a debate. With that in mind, I would suggest that any critical affirmative arguments should be accompanied with a thoughtful explanation of why I should entertain a debate that is not related to the topic as worded in the resolution, or explain why their critical affirmative should be considered in the context of the resolution; otherwise, I feel like this is a tough area for me to validate. I would say that my favorite debates are debates that are actually directly tied to the topic and manage to address the underlying issues inherent in the topic through a strong philosophical or political debate (I do enjoy critical affs that are actually topical). However, this doesn't mean that I am partial to these arguments. I will entertain any argument, as long as the debater provides solid and supported rationale for its use in the round and its connection to the topic or the opponent’s arguments.
I really enjoy a great cross examination, especially because it allows debaters to really show their skills when it comes to the interactive part of debate. I think that cross examination is a place that really allows the most prepared debaters to shine. Because of this, I usually determine how I am going to assign speaker points based on a debater's performance in cross-ex. So, please don't ask if you can use the rest of CX as prep. That will always be a big "No."
I am okay with tag-team cross-examination in policy debate to a degree, but I hate it when one debater is clearly the puppet and their partner is the puppet master. This becomes obvious if one debater has no clue how to answer questions posed about what they just read in the speech. That being said, I would encourage you to use tag-team cross-ex as an emergency cord, not as something that should be used frequently.
Just because a debater says that an argument is a voting issue does not make it so. To make an argument into a voting issue, a debater needs to provide warrant for its impact as a voting issue. Each debater should be able to provide decision calculus that makes my job very easy for me (which, ironically, if done well by both sides, may make my job even harder). I am someone who typically votes with their flow, which makes a debater’s speed adaptability and articulation key components in my ability to make a decision in their favor. Additionally, as previously mentioned, I will take a debater’s persuasive style and passion for their arguments into account. I would say that these areas help make my decisions when the debate is very close. Lastly, as far as the “role of the ballot” is concerned, I will leave that up to the debaters to decide. If there is no “role of the ballot” argument made in the debate, I will do my best to intuit this role from your arguments and voting issues.
As has been mentioned previously, I am accepting of most arguments, as long as the debaters are able to explain the rationale behind running such an argument and the impact that the argument has on the debate. I love direct clash, since I believe that this shows a team’s level of preparedness, especially in policy debate, but I also love good critical discussions as well. Overall, I would say that the biggest issue for me is speed. Please, please, please, at the very least, make your signposting, claims, and cites audibly clear and slower than the rest of your speech. I believe this also offers you the opportunity to add emphasis to these points as well, and in so doing show the passion you have for your arguments.
For me, everything in Lincoln-Douglas debate should come back to the framework debate (value/criteria). However, if a debater decides to run a policy affirmative (or counterplans, disadvantages, and kritiks on the negative), then I will decide the debate accordingly. However, just because you have a plan doesn't mean that the framework debate is automatically a Utilitarianism debate. If the opposing side reads a value and criteria and makes the debate about how we are to evaluate arguments (value/criteria), then you need to be ready for this debate, since (as previously stated) this is my predisposition in LD debate. A debater could win all of their contention level arguments and still lose a debate if they cannot prove that their method for evaluating the arguments should be preferred over their opponent's method. I think that some of the best LD debaters are those that can attack criteria with supporting evidence, or they can prove how they can perm their opponent’s criteria. Ultimately, I will vote on the voting issues presented in the debate (or impact calculus if the debate becomes a Util debate), but I will consider the criteria debate first and last when making any decision. That being said, I will entertain "nontraditional" affirmatives and negative positions in a debate (Topicality, Kritiks, Theory, etc), but you need to explain its relevance to the topic and/or arguments that have already been presented in the debate.
Public Forum Notes:
Overview: A developed story of how the arguments engage with one another is one thing that must happen in the last speech or two. This can best be accomplished through a worlds comparison. If you are planning on just spreading your opponent out of the round, please be warned that this will not work in front of me. While I can handle speed, I do not like speed in this format of debate, since the speech times are so short. Making two or three well-developed arguments in support of your side and then about the same number against your opponent's side should be enough for you to develop a solid story for your side.
Impact Framing: if you aren't going to make terminal impact claims, then you need to do some kind of impact calculus or impact framing, even if this just means weighing impacts against one another through a cost-benefit analysis. Also, you need to do comparative analysis if there is a framing debate, especially if there is a discrepancy about the way that impacts are being weighed.
Crossfire: This should not be a shouting match. Be respectful and cordial. I shouldn't hear people rudely cutting others off, but at the same time I shouldn't hear people rambling on and on (although this can happen if questions are framed incorrectly). Well thought out questions and concise and supported answers (between seemingly nice people) are a recipe for an excellent crossfire.
How I vote: I want debaters to tell me why I should vote for their position over their opponent's position. If you just barf a bunch of arguments onto the flow and don't explain how I should evaluate them against what your opponents have said, then I probably won't be too keen on buying in to your "story." I'm not a fan of judge intervention, so don't leave me too much room to make my own decision.
Minneapolis South/Occasional judging for Minnesota
My email is izakgm [at] gmail.com, add me to the email chain before the round, please and thank you.
Good debating overwhelms anything else on here. I've coached and judged teams of all styles. I will try my best to evaluate the round on your terms and not my own.
do whatever you gotta do for your internet quality. I'd like camera on but if you can't, you can't, and I won't hold it against you and you don't need to explain to me.
IN PERSON DEBATE IS BACK and its time to shed our eDebate norms like "not saying the words that are in the card text while we spread". I will most certainly let you know I'm not getting it. Teams that spread clearly: I see you, I hear you, I honor you, and I am here with you!
How I judge - big picture > minutia.
I appreciate explicit impact comparison, judge instruction, and when the 2nr/2ar starts in a place that helps me resolve the rest of the debate. I don't mean "they dropped my role of the ballot!!!!!!". If you say "extinction outweighs" but don't tell me what it outweighs, I'll just assume you mean its important since you haven't made a comparative claim.
I'm flow centered, but not a fan of cheap shots or punishing small mistakes. I'm not a perfect flow. In fact I am certainly one of the worst flowers on the circuit and yet I use my flow to decide the round. If you want me to evaluate your argument its on you to make sure I write it down. Late breaking and unforeseeable arguments may justify new responses. I do have 2n sympathyTM and will check the 2ar against arguments that weren't in the 1ar. 2nr line drawing or instruction remains helpful.
I think in terms of risks, including zero risk and presumption. Offense/defense works well a lot of the time, but I'm not a cultist. If internal links are missing and the other team points it out without reply, I'm not giving you 1% just for fun.
I think I used to be harder on the 1ar and 2nr. Now I give a bit more leeway if there was sufficient explanation earlier in the debate. I pay close attention to and often flow cross-x if its going somewhere.
I read less evidence than many judges at the end of the round. If your superior evidence quality is not explained, I might miss it. I will not reconstruct the round through the docs afterwards. I won't read along unless I suspect clipping. If you deliver the text of your evidence incomprehensibly fast I will not read the text of it later to figure out what you said. Again, the burden of communication is on you.
I love strategic concessions and rehighlightings. If you are right and you read it in the speech, I will prioritize your analysis. It makes sense to insert things like charts. If its "a stake the round on it" kind of issue, please do not insert a rehighlighting, I need you read it. If its just an FYI about a tertiary issue... go off I guess.
I'm expressive and might intervene vocally to move you off a stale cx direction or motion to move on if you are repeating yourself in the speech. It will be pretty obvious in person if I have stopped flowing because I don't understand what you are saying. My resting face is rather stern, don't take it personally. I'm probably still vibing with you.
FW v K aff - Yes, I will vote either way. It comes down to links and impacts like any other debate and the best teams in these rounds have offense and defense.
Neg teams: I'll be honest, if you say debate is a game more than twice my eyes start to glaze over. Fairness can be an impact but it usually feels like a small one. By this I mean if the aff wins any impact at all it will be more important to me than fairness. If that's your approach you'll need to be playing great defense (lots of ways to do this) or really filtering out aff offense somehow. I say this and yet I think fairness/clash is by far the most strategic version of this argument. Y'all think I didn't notice you just ctrl-f'd your fairness blocks with clash? Ignoring the questions posed by the aff or repeatedly mischaracterizing the aff's claims will likely result in an aff ballot.
Aff teams: I'm open to whatever approach you want to take. I'm personally more interested in strategies built around a counter interpretation even if its not an intuitive (or predictable) one, will vote for impact turns alone and in many cases that is more strategic. Just FYI, I do not know what the symbolic economy is, so if you are the first one to explain it to me then kudos. I think I just learned what a psychoanalytic drive is last month but I still might not understand it. If the TVA is something I'm thinking about during my decision time, even if you dropped it, then you've written or explained your aff poorly. If your model doesn't explain a role for negation, or your aff is so uncontroversial that it doesn't hold up to a basic inherency push, I can see myself voting neg easily.
Ks on the neg - Love these debates. Explanation is vital on both sides. Aff teams that explain their internal links and solvency have the most success against ks in front of me. Aff framework arguments that exclude kritiks entirely will be a tough sell. If the alt is cheating, you can point that out tho ;) I've yet to hear a persuasive explanation for judge choice - I will only vote on benefits of your plan that you explain. Neg teams do well with strong links that implicate the case. You don't always need an alt in the 2nr, but you might be better off defending an imperfect alt instead of just the squo, especially if the 2ar is on to you. Perms are a valuable tool but 90% of aff wins would be on case outweighs whether the perm was present or not.
Policy stuff - Yes. I like internal link and solvency presses. Impact defense can make sense, but "x doesn't cause extinction" might not get your there if the other team has a nuanced impact comparison. I have a loose attachment to the "link first" camp until you tell me otherwise. My time in Minnesota has left me with a love for impact turns, don't care how dumb it seems. If you can't beat stupid... I don't know what to tell you.
I struggled with Judge Kick for a while. I've come around. I still enjoy strategic and narrow 2nrs (i.e. not making me do this). If you explicitly (saying "squo is always an option" in 1nc cx counts) flag this as an option by the end of the block I'm game. I am open to affs that ask me to stick the 2nr to the cp.
Complicated Perm texts can be explained and inserted - they should be written out fully and sent for all to see. Counterplan texts that you don't want to read fully.... No thank you. Be more creative with how its written.
Things it might be helpful to know about me/carrots+sticks/hot takes inspired by OTT
- i understand why no one does this but if the aff team took a stance on something (like an actual explanation of how they solve not solely hedging against agent cps) and the neg fiats through a solvency deficit based in literature and the aff went for theory I might be more likely to vote aff than most. This obviously goes out the window if the aff says the phrase "for the purpose of counterplan competition" at any point in cx.
- some bonus speaker points (maybe .2?) if your neg strategy (policy or k) hinges on tech and not nato. Feels like there is room for das/impact turns in this area and I would like to see them.
- If your wiki is sparse your points are capped at 28.5 - its JV behavior, you get JV points.
- If you can't answer basic CX questions about a position you are asking for an L 27. If you think the round is over and you stop your rebuttal VERY early because you have already won (invoke a TKO correctly), the baseline for your points is 29.5.
- I'm lukewarm for plan text in a vacuum. "Only non-arbitrary" blah blah blzh both teams should just debate about what the aff does. I will require some extra convincing before the 2ar and will heavily protect the 2nr here.
- truly random defaults that have come up more than once in rounds that I want on the record: perms are tests of competition so I will jettison them if they would hurt the aff. you can implicitly answer a "ballot pic" by trying to win the round.
If you still have questions, please feel free to email or ask me before the round!
Old water topic thoughts archive
- Glad I didn't judge enough on this topic to have thoughts. We only heard extinction affs all year because of the bizcon da? Now that's what I call cowardice. Excited for NATO!
Old CJR thoughts archive
- learning about the criminal justice system is nice. If you teach me something about the topic (yes critical knowledge is part of the topic get over yourself) over the course of the debate, boost to your points. If your aff is about cyberattacks strike me, I simply don't care. If your aff is about cyberattacks and you debate the internal link level well enough to convince me that you were actually talking about criminal justice reform,
- i have some professional experience working on police reform. I live in Minneapolis and South high is blocks from where the 3rd precinct burned. My personal belief is ACAB. I feel familiar with many of the practical arguments for and against abolition, so I have a high threshold for link debating. aff teams, feel free to go for "abolition bad" instead of the perm...
- I'd love to be a judge that fully resolved framing first before substance. Unfortunately the quality of debating here is often such that I have to resolve some substance to figure out what to do.
Policy debate coach at Como Park Senior High.
CARD coach and policy debate judge at the University of Minnesota.
I am beginning to judge more events other than just policy but I have almost zero experience with other forms of debate.
Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com. Everyone gets plus .1 speaks if I'm not asked to be put on, and I'm just automatically put on the chain. Ask me any questions about my paradigm in person or via email, although I do try to update it regularly with the most important stuff.
Ks on the neg are obviously always fine and for what I think about T-USFG/FW, see the very bottom below the fairness slider. But bottom line, I don't really care what you read as long as you convince me to vote for you, I will.
Stuff related to online debating:
Don't delete analytics from the speech doc, please. I'll probably dock your speaks if I remember to. Online debate is harder to flow than in-person so it's good practice if you want me to catch everything you're saying.
Please slow down a little (especially on T and theory*) because the number of arguments I flow is rarely equal to the number of arguments the speaker actually makes, and those numbers will be much closer to each other if everyone prioritizes clarity and slowing down a bit. Don't just read this and think you're fine. Slow down, please. I know half of all judges ever have something like this in their paradigm but I'm a slower flow than average because I flow on paper.
Read a plan--------------------------x--------------Do whatever (probably at least sorta related to the topic)
Tech--------------x----------------------------Truth -- I hate myself for it, but I am kind of a truth-orientated judge in that I really don't want to vote for silly args, and the worse an arg is, the more leeway I give to answering it
Theory-------------------------------------x--------- Substance -- condo is really the only theory arg that gets to the level of "reject the team", I simply feel that most other theory args are reasons to reject the arg, not the team. Unless the negative goes for the CP/K to which the theory applies in the 2nr, it's a tough sell for me to vote on, "They read [insert abusive off-case position], they should lose".
Conditionality good--------x---------------------Conditionality bad -- this being said, I would much rather see 4-6 good off, than a 7+ mix of good and bad
States CP good (including uniformity)-----------x----------------------50 state fiat is bad
Always VTL----------------x---------------------Never VTL
Impact turn (*almost) everything-x-----------------------------I like boring debate -- to add to this, I'm huge sap for impact calc and specifically rebuttals that provide a detailed narrative of the impacts of the debate and how they interact with the other team's. Impact comparison and impact turns are often the deciding factors for me in close debates
*Almost meaning I'll vote on warming good, death good, etc. but obviously not on args like racism good or sexism good
Process CP's are cheating----------------------x---------------Best fall-back 2nr option is a cheating, plan-stealing CP
Lit determines legitimacy-------x-----------------------Exclude all suspect CPs
Yes judge kick the CP--x-------------------------------------------Judge kick is abusive -- as long as the 2nr says to kick the CP, I'm gonna kick it and just analyze the world of the squo vs the aff and I'm pretty sure there's nothing the aff can really do if condo bad isn't a thing in the round. Heck, I judged a debate where the CP was extended for 30 seconds and not kicked but I still voted neg because the neg won a large risk of a case turn. What I'm saying, is that when you are aff and the neg goes for more than just the CP with an internal NB, beating the CP doesn't equate to winning the debate outright
Presumption----------x--------------------------Never votes on presumption
"Insert this rehighlighting"---------------------x--I only read what you read
I flow on my computer ---------------------------------------x I'm gonna need to borrow some paper
I try to give out speaker points that are representative of how well you performed in the round compared to the tournament as a whole. I try to follow the process detailed here, but I often find myself handing out speaks sort of indiscriminately. Getting good speaks from me includes being respectful and making good choices in the rebuttals (smart kick outs, concessions, and flow coverage).
Clash! I like judging debates where the arguments/positions evolve in relation to one another as opposed to simply in vacuums.
Fairness is an impact---------------x--------------Fairness is only an internal link -- My threshold is usually how close your aff is to the topic in the abstract, i.e. personhood and NATO. I do feel like in the end the main goal of doing debate is to win. The activity obviously serves a ton of other purposes but at the end of each debate, one team wins, and one team loses. This doesn't mean that I think reading a planless aff is unfair and can definitely be convinced that a "fair" debate produces something bad, but it's going to be very hard to convince me that debate is not a game.
Topic education is decent for an education impact but policymaking and policy education are meh. Critical thinking skills can also be extracted from debate and critical skills about calling out state action and for revolution planning.
If you don't read a written-out advocacy statement: Impact turn framework----------x---------------------------Procedural
Debate and life aren't synonymous but I understand that many of your lives revolve heavily around debate, so I will respect any arg you go for as long as you make smart arguments to support it.
Yes, I would like to be on the email chain: matthewsaintgermain at gmail. Affirmatives should have the email chain up and ready to roll immediately upon getting settled in the round. Please do not wait for everyone to arrive to start this. No "oops, I forgot" 1 minute before the round starts please! Unpack your stuff and get on this immediately, preferably sending a blank test email ASAP to make sure we're not having connection issues right before you stand up for 1AC. Also please only use an email chain and not the file drop and please do not send me a live doc as I flow on my computer (a Mac, so please send pdfs) and working from a file that people are updating live causes issues on my end so create a copy of your doc and send so I can view it without issue. I have multiple screens up optimized to flow the round and fill out the ballot via web browser split screen with a spreadsheet program and having to search for your evidence or view it outside of a browser before your speech messes my whole deal up. Despite all this being clear in my paradigm for some time now people keep ignoring it so it seems as if I have to give you justification for why this is important and it is because doing it any other way causes all my screens to get totally out of order as well can cause system resources to go wild. Having to minimize a screen to open up a word editor to then maximize and place back in my dual screen takes time and then rearranges the order of all my windows meaning in the time I'm trying to accomplish this while muted, debaters often go "I'll start if i don't hear from anyone in 3... 2..." and I'm now scrambling to try and find the window that Mac has decided to randomly change position in my window swipe order meaning where I think it is it isn't, and by the time I find it to unmute myself y'all are already speaking despite me not being ready and struggling to tell you this because of your choices to send me stuff that does not comport with my set up. Please keep things easy for me by running an email chain where you send pdfs, not doing this tells me you haven't read the very top level of my paradigm.
Former Edina High School (MN) policy debater (1991-1995) and captain (1994-1995). Former Wayzata High School (MN) policy coach (2019-2022).
I have judged just about every year since then for various high schools in the Twin Cities metro, including Edina, Wayzata, Minnetonka, and South St. Paul, from 1995 to present, with only two years off, just about 27 years. Please note, however, that this has not meant coaching on those topics up until 2019 through the end of the 2021-2022 season.
I'm versed in plenty of debate theory but I'm still catching up on nuance of newer nomenclature so get wild on the meta jargon at your own peril. Especially on critical theory arguments, you would do well to SLOW WAY DOWN and explain yourself thoroughly as while these things may be crystal clear to you, I'm not reading theory or complex philosophy In my free time so stuff like telling me to look beyond the face and totalizing otherness isn't going to immediately jog my "oh, yeah, that stuff" part of my dusty closet of a brain as you're going a million miles an hour with almost zero audible indication of where tags or analysis begin or end with relation to the evidence you're blazing through. I am 45 years old, I played in bands and have worked in rock clubs for years which has impacted my hearing, and especially over the Internet, speed reading complex philosophy through whatever variable quality mic you have often results in a kind of unintelligible din that is not helping you. You may in fact say it is actively hurting you. SLOW DOWN. This is an issue of accessibility and ability. If you're doing this and not sending the analysis that you're straight up reading from a file but expect me to somehow jot down multi-syllabic, college-level philosophical words while you triple-auctioneer speed over the internet, I mean, you're gonna get what you're gonna get, and no amount of post-rounding questions about things that were so clear to you is going to demystify what I humanly was able to get down. I need to stress this. If you're going philosophical and going even moderately fast, you're probably going to lose. Acting shocked after the round isn't going to change what you could have easily adapted to before the round started.
Unless you're theorizing it on the fly, send me everything you read, not just evidence. There is no material audible difference for the listener between you reading evidence and you reading analysis as fast as humanly possible. Both are just a kind of variable din regardless of the content.
My primary focus has been and continues to be Policy debate on the high school level, and that's where probably about 85% of my judging work has come. But I have ample experience judging circuit-level LD and PF through breaks alongside college debate and am more than comfortable adjudicating these different forms of debate.
This paradigm is a constant work in progress.
Dear debaters: I want to up front set your mind at ease by saying that debate, as I see it, is a club that by the start of your very first round, you are all a valued member of. The fact that you gathered up all your anxiety and worries and excitement and talent and got up and gave your very first speech, it's totally awesome. To me, you are part of a distinct kind of people, different from all the non-debate people, and as such, I want you to both embrace failure as a growth methodology as well as let go of any worries or judgments or preconceived notions about whether or not you belong here. You absolutely do. Please, not only feel okay making mistakes here but look for opportunities to make them! Take chances, especially in your first two to three years of debate. This debate stuff can honestly be mentally rigorous at times, but it's all about a kind of shedding of your prior self and any of the BS put on you in your lives outside of debate. Here you're on the team so any and all advice given to you is purely about building you up even if it feels like criticism. Only internalize what you need to fix, not that it means anything about you. I've learned over nearly 30 years of judging and coaching that while there are kids whom take to this immediately, that there are also kids who seem like they can't handle this at all and drop terrible rounds in their first year or even two, whom end up becoming TOC and Natty quals debaters that blow you away. I've seen it over and over. Debate (and especially policy debate) is a gauntlet that takes years to develop your skills, and so long as you stick with it, you'll succeed. The fact that you are here means that you're already one leg up on winning arguments in regular meatspace as is, but stick with it and it'll change your life over a myriad of domains.
If you think I'm not paying attention to you, you're wrong. I have probably one of the most detailed flows you're ever going to see, which you won't, but you get my drift. I just try very hard to look almost disinterested so you don't really know what I'm thinking and so it won't mess with you, though there are points where something does trigger a response and you should notice that, but anything else is just me trying to give you nothing visual to go off of. Just never confuse it with anger or indifference or whatever. Like, if you do something egregious, you'll know because I'll tell you. Otherwise, there's no subtext or hidden meaning behind anything I'm relaying to you as I'm extremely direct. I promise you I don't hate you.
Time yourselves, across all levels of debate, including novices. Y'all can handle this and take responsibility for each other by keeping tabs on both your and your opponents time.
Straight up don't go whole hog on disclosure. There was no disclosure when I debated. There wasn't even really "let me see your evidence" my novice year. You went in raw dog and dealt with it. That's not to say that I don't understand the whys here, it's just that I really don't find them compelling versus the debate we still could have with you ripping through open ev quick-like. If your opponent is being intentional here, didn't disclose or did something different than what their wiki said or what they told you, I think you have a path to argue presumption tilting your way but I still really need you to debate the actual debate rather than dumping a ton of time into an argument I would honestly feel dirty voting for. If you want to run disclosure, honestly do not spend more than 30 seconds in a constructive or rebuttal on it. Make your violation, set your standard, show how they violate, move on to actual substantive issues. You're just never going to win a "5 min on disclosure in 2NR" strat with me. Do other stuff.
If your Neg strat involves multiple off and post Aff-response you kick out of a ton of stuff that the Aff responded to and just go for something that was severely undercovered, yes, I'll still maybe vote for this because technically you are winning, but this won't engender good speaks, and the other team really has to mismanage it. I don't believe this is all that educational of a debate (hint: there's an in-round arg here) and I think smart Affirmative teams should challenge this strat within the confines and rules of the round (meaning I think there's an argument you can construct, esp w/in policy, to check against this strat in your 2AC/1AR). To be clear, I am not anti-speed whatsoever, but a straight dump strat and then feasting on the arg that they had at the bottom of the flow with few responses is just like meh. It's honestly poor form. You're telling me you cannot beat this team heads up on the nuts and bolts argumentation. Affs are responsible for handling this, no doubt, but we're walking a fine line here when it comes to previous exposure and experience, and if it's clear this is not a breaks team and your whole strategy is just making debate less educational for them by spreading them out of the round, I'm not going to dole you out rewards beyond the technical win.
Unless the other team insults your character, microaggression/community critiques are an almost auto-loss for me for the team that runs them. If one team is being a bunch of dongs, I may say something in round, but if I don't it's because it has not risen to the level wherein my intervention is necessary. Otherwise, this is something to solely bring up with your coaches and bring to tab; it's not in-round argumentation PERIOD and turning it into offense is well beyond problematic to me. My degree is in psychology and this greatly informs my position on this across a variety of domains, and one of the central reasons is argumentation like this used as offense almost entirely is not followed up with any kind of tournament debrief between tab and the two teams and their coaches. Because no one wants to nor cares about that in these rounds where the offense is beyond subjective. If these are such severe circumstances that you're claiming rises to the level of an ethics violation, there's a process here that involves a lot of parties and time and I've yet to see this happen at all in rounds where the violation is tenuous at best. As one of the judges in both the '22-'23 MN State Final Round in policy between Eagan and Edina and '20-'21 Nat Quals policy round between Rosemount and Edina, I rejected both of these arguments with prejudice. Character assassinating a kid in round will *NEVER* fly for me and if this kid is such a well known problem, then coaches, tab, and the state high school league must be involved before they even sniff the morning bus to the tournament, let alone in the round itself. This has nothing to do with the Role of the Ballot and is extrinsic to why we're here to debate. Again, I will not have rounds I judge turn into character assassinations of individual debaters just because you don't like their personality. If they drop something offensive, like actual name calling, I'll even bring it to tab, but a little friendly sparring does not make the activity unsafe and not liking how someone speaks or their intonation sets a precedent that makes it even harder for neurodiverse kids (and adults) to participate. Make no mistake, this is not a "kids these days are too soft" boomer doomer arg. It's expressly about protecting everyone and not having DEBATE rounds devolve into some inquisition about a teenager's however unsavory-to-you approach. Racist, sexist, ableist, etc. comments are squarely different from this, though I believe teams who make an honest mistake and apologize should not be rejected and we should continue to move on, with the understanding that I'll likely mention something to your coaches to make sure the mistake is noted beyond the confines of the round.
I view the intent of debate to be about education while simultaneously playing an intellectual game. I think that the word education itself is up for debate, but I would tend to view it as both mastery of epistemology and praxis. I am open to a discussion of that truth but I enter the world of debate with a certain set of beliefs about larger issues that should the round conform to that precondition, I am likely to vote there.
I would outwardly suggest that I am a tabula rasa judge who will vote for anything (that isn't reveling in things that make all debaters unsafe and are conscientious of specific situations that tend to be more unique for particular populations), but if you pinned me down on what I tend to think of when I think "policy debate," I would likely default to being a policymaker who attempts to equally weigh critical debate, meaning if the analysis/evidence is good, I can be persuaded to buy "cede the political," but it's not my default position.
Within the realm of policy, I believe a lot is up for grabs. The rules themselves are up for debate, and I think this can be a wonderful debate if you really want to go there. And just because I say I'm a policymaker doesn't mean that I'm against critical arguments; quite the contrary. I will vote on anything so long as the reasoning for it is sound. My preference is to hear about a subject that the affirmative claims to solve and why I should or should not vote for it. If that means that the policy entrenches some problematic assumption, that's 100% game; if it means something beyond the USFG, that's also fine.
Brass tacks, I'm not going to deny it: you give me a solid policy style round, I'm gonna love it. But I'm right there with you if you want to toss all that aside. As a debater, I chose to run arguments (borders K in 94/95) for an entire season that over half of my judging pool rejected on face as a valid form of argumentation with some making a drammatic display of holding their pen in the air while I was speaking and placing it on the table and then folding their arms to let me know just how horrific my choice of argumentation was. So for critical teams know that outside of Donus Roberts in the back of the room, I was a K debater who intentionall ran Ks in front of judges that thought I was ruining the activity and exacted punishments against me throughout my entire senior year basically destroying my experience. These were grown ass adults. While I might hedge towards policy as policy, I was a K debater myself so I am open to anything. I ran what I wanted to run, and I think the debaters of today in policy should run what they want to run, and our job as judges is to fairly adjust to how the activity adapts while connecting the activity to the constructs that best define it. That said, the further you diverge from the resolution on the aff, the more neg presumption is not just fair, but warranted.
I believe debate is also much more about analysis of argumentation than just reading a bunch of evidence. It's awesome you are able to quickly and clearly read long pieces of evidence, but absent your analysis of this evidence and how it impacts the round/clashes with the other team's argumentation, all you've done is, essentially, read a piece of evidence aloud. I need you to place that evidence within the context of the round and the arguments that have been made within it. I don't need you to do that with ALL the evidence, just the pieces that become the most critical as you and your opponents construct the round. Your evidence tells the story of your arguments, and how far they'll go with me.
If you hit truth, I'm there with you, but I can't make the arguments for you (I lean more truth than tech but I just can't make the arguments for you). When rounds devolve into no one telling me how to adjudicate the critical issues, you invite me to intervene with all my preconceived notions as well as my take on what your evidence says. To keep me out of the decision, I need you to tell me why your argument beats their argument based on what happened in the round (evidence, analysis, clash). I need you to weigh for me what you think the decision calculus should come down to, with reasons that have justification within the sketch of the round.
If you're a critical team reading this, know I've voted for K affs, poetry affs, narratives, and the like before. I'd even venture to guess my voting record on topics venturing far from the resolution is probably near 50/50. But I will buy TVA, switch-side and the like if they're reasonably constructed. The further you are from the resolution, the more I need you to justify why the ballot matters at all.
I believe line-by-line argumentation is one of the most important parts of quality debate. Getting up and reading a block against another team's block is not debate. Without any form of engagement on the analysis level, the round is reduced to constructives that act like a play. I want you to weave the evidence you have in your block into the line-by-line argumentation. This means even the 1NC. Yes, you are shelling a number of arguments, but you do have the ability as a thinking brain to interact with parts of the 1AC you think are mistagged, overstated, etc.
2AC and 2NC cause significant in-round problems when they get up and just group everything or give an "overview" of the specific arguments and then attempt line-by-line after I've flowed your 15 arguments on the top of the flow. Don't do this. Weave case extensions within the structure of replying to the 1NC's arguments.
The strongest Negative critical argument to me is "One Off" in the 1NC and then just horizontally eating that team alive the whole round on this one argument. I don't care how good the Aff is, "ONE OFF" uttered as the roadmap in 1NC sends chills down anyone's spine. Honestly, I HATE "6 off" and then feasting on the one arg the Aff fumbles. As I grow older, I'm less and less and less inclined to dole out the win on this strat. I also probably am not the best judge to run condo good against if the way you operationalize stuff is a pump and dump strat.
The following specific speech comments of this paradigm are more focused for novice and junior varsity debaters. At the varsity level, all four debaters should feel free to engage in cross ex, though, if you are clearly covering for a partner who seemingly cannot answer questions in varsity, that's going to impact their speaks and you highlighting it by constantly answering first for them is kinda crappy, kid.
Specific Speech Thoughts:
I do not like tag team cross ex for the team that is being questioned. Editing this years on, and I think the way this is phrased is misleading. A digression: some of the best cross-exes I've ever seen involved all four debaters. That said, the time was still dominated by those who were tasked with the primary responsibilities. And I think saying "I do not like tag team cross ex" makes it seem like I would be against the thing I just described as being great. This is only meant regarding scenarios in which it is clear one person is taking over for another for whatever reason. Taking over for your partner without allowing them the opportunity to respond first makes it look like they don't know what they're talking about and that you do not trust them to respond. Further, doing this prevents your partner from being able to expertly respond to questioning, a skill that is necessary for your entire team to succeed. I have little to no qualms about tag team questions, meaning if it's not your c/x and you have a question to ask, you can ask it directly rather than whispering it to your partner to ask. Again, however, I would stress you should still not take over your partner's c/x. Also, I'm generally aware when it's a situation where there is a pull up and the team has to make due. Obviously speaks will be attenuated, but also do think this is some kind of "I'm angry at you," deal. I can generally recognize in these scenarios and don't worry if you're trying to help your pull up.
Further, there is no "preparatory" time between a speech and cross ex. C/x time starts as soon as speech time ends.
Global (all speeches):
- I was an extremely fast, clear, and loud debater. I have no issue with real speed. I have an issue with jumblemouth speed or quiet speed. I especially have an issue with speed on a speech with little to no signposting. Even if you are blindingly fast, you should ALWAYS slow down over tags, citations, and plan (aff or neg). Annunciate explicitly the names of authors. Seriously... "Grzsuksclickh 7" is how these names come out sometimes. Help me help you.
- Need to be signposted in some way. This means, on a base level, that you say the word "NEXT" or give some indication that the three page, heavily-underlined card you just read had an ending and you've begun your next tag. Simply running from the end of a piece of evidence into more words that start your next tag line is poor form. It makes my job harder and hurts your overall persuasion. Numbering your arguments, both in the 1AC and throughout the round, goes a long way with me.
- Optimize your card tags to something a human can write/type out in 3-5 seconds. Your paragraph long tag to a piece of evidence hurts your ability for me to listen to your evidence. No one can type out: "The alternative is to put primary consideration into how biopower functions as an instrument of violence through status quo education norms. Anything short of fundamentally questioning the institution of schooling only reifies violence. The alternative solves because this analysis opens space for discovery and scholarship on schooling that better mitigates the harms of status quo biopolitical control" within about 5 seconds, while you are reading some dense philosophical stuff that we ostensibly are supposed to listen to while trying to mentally figure out how to shorthand the absurdly long tag you just read. And yes, that's a real tag and no, it's not even close to the longest one I've heard, it's just the one I have on hand.
- The ultimate goal is to not be the speech that completely muddles/confuses the structure of the round.
- It's supposed to be a persuasive speech. It's the one speech that is fully planned out before the round. You should not be stuttering, mumbling, etc. throughout it. You've had it in your hands for an ample amount of time to practice it out. Read it forwards and backwards (seriously... read your 1AC completely backwards as practice, and not just once but until you get smooth with it). It's your baby. You should sound convincing and without much error. If you are constantly stumbling over your words, you need to cut out evidence and slow down. Tags need to be optimized for brevity and you should SLOW DOWN when reading over the TAG and CITATION. And you should be able to answer any question thrown at you in c/x. 2A should rarely, if ever, be answering for you.
- Operates much like a 1AC, in that you have your shells already fully prepared, and only really need to adjust slightly depending on if the 1AC has changed anything material. If you are just shelling off case, then you are basically giving a 1AC, and you should be clear, concise, and persuasive. As with 1ACs, if you are stumbling over yourself, you need to cut out evidence/arguments. If you are arguing case side, you need to place the arguments appropriately, not just globally across case. Is this an Inherency argument? Solvency? Harms mitigation? Pick out the actual signposted argument on case and apply it there. As with 1A, your 2 should not be answering questions for you in c/x.
- If the 1NC did not argue case, I do not need you to extend each and every card on case. "Extend case," is pretty much all I need. Further, this is a great opportunity to use any of the 1AC evidence against the off-case arguments made. Did you drop a 50 States Bad pre-empt in the 1AC? Cross-apply it ON THE COUNTERPLAN. I don't need you extending it on case side which literally has zero ink from the 1NC on it. KEEP THE FLOW CLEAN.
- You should be following 1NC structure, and line-by-lining all their arguments. Just getting up and reading a block on an argument is likely going to end up badly for you, because this is shallow-level, novice-style debate, that tends to miss critical argumentation. I need you to *INTERACT* with the 1NC argumentation, and block reading is generally not that.
- First and foremost, you need to make sure you are creating a crystal clear separation between you and the 1NR in the negative block. Optimally, this means you take WHOLE arguments, not, "I'm gonna take the alt on the K and my partner will take the rest of the K." Ugh. No. Don't do this. Ever. It's awful and it ruins the structure and organization of the round. If there were three major arguments made in 1NC, let's say T, K, and COUNTERWARRANTS, you should be picking two of those three and leaving the third one completely untouched for the 1NR to handle.
- Use original 1NC structure to guide your responses to 2AC argumentation. Like the above, you should not be reading a block to 2AC answers. You need to specifically address each one, and using the original 1NC structure helps keep order to the negative construction of argumentation.
- Following from the above, you should not be recovering anything the 2NC did, unless something was missed that needs coverage. You should be focused on a separate argument from the 2NC. As above, don't just get up and read a block. Clash! Line-by-line! Make the 1AR's job harder.
- The hardest speech in the game. This is a coverage speech, not a persuasive speech. By all means, if you can be persuasive while covering, great, but your first job is full coverage. You do not need to give long explanations of points. Yes, you do need to respond to 2NC & 1NR responses to 2AC argumentation, but much of the analysis should have already been made. Here's where you want to go back and extend original 1AC and 2AC argumentation, and you only need to say "Extend original 1AC Turbinson 15, which says that despite policies existing on the books in the SQ, they continue to fail, everything the Negs argued on this point is subsumed by Turbinson, because these are all pre-plan policies." The part you don't need to do here is get into the *why* those plans fail. That's your partner's job to tell the big story. Again, if you are good enough to pull this off in 1AR, that's amazing and incredible, but no one is expecting that out of this speech. All judges are looking for from the 1AR is a connection from original constructive argumentation to the 2AR rebuttal. Rounds are generally NEVER won in 1AR, but they are often lost here. Your job, as it were, is essentially to not lose the round. Great 1ARs, however, begin to combine some of the global, story-telling aspects of 2AR on line-by-line analysis. But one thing none of them do is sacrifice coverage for that. Coverage is your a priori obligation and once you master that, then start telling your 1AR stories.
- Put things like Topicality and the Counterplan on the top of the flow.
2NR & 2AR
- Tell me why you win. Weigh the issues and impacts. Tell me what they are wrong about or analysis/argumentation they dropped. Frame the round.
- I tend to believe that any case that is reasonably topical is topical. You have to work hard to prove non-topicality to me, but that does not mean I will not vote for it. 2AC should always have a block which says they meet both the Neg definition and interpretation, as well presents their own definition and interpretation.
- And as a bit of history, when I was a debater, the Kritik was an extremely divisive argument, with more than half of the judges my senior year (1994/95) demonstrably putting their pen down when we'd shell it and would refuse to flow or listen to it. We decided that we were not going to adjust for these judges and ran the K as a pretty much full time Negative argument and we were the first team in the State of Minnesota debate to do this. This made sense at the time as the topic was Immigration and a solid 75% of the cases we hit were increased border partrol, or ID cards, or reducing slots, etc. So, I'm quite familiar with the argumentation and I'm sympathetic to it. But I also feel it is overused in a sense when much more direct argumentation can defeat Affs and I would venture to guess many of the authors used in K construction would not advocate its use against Affs which seek redress for disadvantaged groups. I want you to seriously consider the appropriateness of the link scenario before you run a K.
- Negs need to do a lot of work to win these with me. It can't just be the rehashing of tag lines over and over and over. You need to have read the original articles that construct your argumentation so you can explain to me not only what the articles are saying, but are versed on the rather large, college-level words you are throwing around. Further, I find kritiks to be an advocacy outside of the round. I find it morally problematic to get up in the 1NC and argue "here are all these things that impact us outside of the round because fiat is illusory" and then kick out of this in the 2NR.
- I also want you to seriously consider the merit of running these arguments against cases which seek to redress disadvantaged groups. While I get the zeal of shoving it down some puke capitalist's throat, I question whether running said argumentation against a case which seeks, for example, to just provide relevant sex education for disabled or GLBTQ folx as appropriate. You're telling me after all these years of ignoring educational policy which benefits straight, cis, white guys that *now's the time* to fight capitalism or biopower or whatever when the focus on the case is to help those who are extremely disadvantaged in the SQ. This is an argument that proffers out-of-round impacts and I certainly understand the ground that allows this kind of argumentation to be applied, but a K is a different kind of argument, and I think it runs up against some serious issues when it attempts to lay the blame for something like capitalism at the feet of people who are getting screwed over in the SQ.
- I'm going to copy my friend Rachel Baumann's bit on the identity K stuff: "I will also admit to being intrigued with the culture-based positions which question the space we each hold in the world of debate. I have voted both for and against these arguments, but I struggle with which context would be the appropriate context in which to discuss this matter. The more I hear them, the less impressed I am with identity arguments, mostly because, again, I struggle with the context. Also, there is the issue of ground. Saying "vote against them because they are not... X" (which is an actual statement I heard in an actual round by an actual debater this year) seems just as constraining as the position being debated, and does not provide the opposing team any real debatable ground."
- I will vote on IT ALL. Their barrier is existential? Well, that's an old school argument and I will totally vote on an Aff not meeting their prima facie burden, and I will not find it cute or kitsch or whatever. It is a legitimate argument and I am more than happy to vote there, but you have to justify the framework for me.
- Negatives must keep in mind that unless you have some crystal clear, 100% solvency take out, you are generally just mitigating their comparative advantage. Make sure that you aren't overstating what you are doing on case and that you weigh whatever you are doing off case against this.
- Also into it all and will vote on it. I think Vagueness and Justification and Minor Repairs all are quite relevant today with how shoddily affirmatives are writing their plans. Use any kind of argumentation that is out there, nothing is too archaic or whatever to run. Yes, this means counterwarrants!
Much of the above for Policy crosses over into LD. I often sit in LD rounds where the criterion and value are mentioned at the front end of the debate and then never again. It would seem to me that these help bolster a framework debate and you're asking me to lock into one of these in order to influence how I vote, so then never really mentioning them again, nor using them to shape the direction of the debate always confuses the heck outta lil ol' me. Weigh the issues, write the ballot for me. Not locking argumentation down forces me to go through my flows and insert myself into the debate. Will vote on critical argumentation on either side (check my responses on 'distance from the resolution' up in the policy part, applies here as well) and you can never go too fast for me so don't worry.
The requisite "I'm a policy coach, you can do whatever with me in PF" applies. Just tell me how to vote.
Adapted from a fellow coworker:
- Voters and weighing. I don't want to have to dig back through my flow to figure out what your winning arguments were. If you're sending me back through the flow, you're putting way too much power in my hands.
- Clear sign posting and concise taglines.
- Framework. If you have a weighing mechanism, state it clearly and provide a brief explanation.
- Unique arguments. Debate is an educational activity, so you should be digging deep in your research and finding unique arguments. If you have a unique impact, bring it in. I judge a lot of rounds and I get tired of hearing the same case over and over and over again.
-Just referencing evidence by the card name (author, source, etc.). When I flow, I care more about what the evidence says, not who the specific source was. If you want to reference the evidence later, you gotta tell me what the evidence said, not just who said it.
-SPEED. I'm a policy coach. There is no "too fast" for me in PF. Seriously. There's no way possible and anti-speed args in PF won't move me in the slightest. Beat them heads up.
-Evidence misrepresentation. If there is any question between teams on if evidence has been used incorrectly, I will request to see the original document and the card it was read from to compare the two. If you don't have the original, then I will assume it was cut improperly and judge accordingly.
-Don't monopolize CX time. Answer quickly the question asked with no editorializing.
-"Grandstanding" on CX. CX is for you to ask questions, not give a statement in the form of a question. Ask short, simple questions and give concise answers.
-One person taking over on Grand CX. All four debaters should fully participate. That said, I really don't need any of the PF niceties and meta communication. Just ask away. Seriously. The meta performance of cordiality seems like a waste of time in a format with the least time to speak.
-K cases. I'll vote for em. K arg's same. If you hit a K arg, don't deer-in-headlights it. Think about it rationally. Defend your rhetoric and/or assumptions. Question the K's assumptions. Demand an alternative. Does the team running the K bite the K themselves? What's the role of the ballot under the K? There's plenty of ways to poke a sharp stick at a K. Simply sticking your head in the sand and arguing "we shouldn't be debating this" is not and will never be a compelling argument for me and you basically sign the ballot for me if the other team extends it and goes for the K with only your refusal to engage it as your counter argumentation.
-Evidence Exchanges. If you are asked for evidence, provide it in context. If they ask for the original, provide the original. I won't time prep until you've provided the evidence, and I ask that neither team begins prepping until the evidence has been provided. If it takes too long to get the original text, I will begin docking prep time for the team searching for the evidence and will likely dock speaker points. It is your job to come to the round prepared, and that includes having all your evidence readily accessible.
-If anything in my paradigm is unclear, ask before the round begins. I'd rather you begin the debate knowing what to expect rather than start your brutal post round grilling off with one-arm tied behind your back. ;)
I do bring a policy comparative advantage approach to PF. In the end I believe there are two compelling stories that are butting heads and which one both 1) makes the most sense, and 2) is backed up by argumentation and evidence in round. I am pretty middle of the road on truth vs tech, requiring a lot less when the arg aligns with the truth, but if you are cold dropping stuff there's no amount of reality I can intervene to make up for that. You are each attempting to construct a scenario to weigh against the other and I'm deciding which one makes more sense based on the aforementioned factors. Point out to me how you've answered their main questions and how your evidence subsumes their argumentation. Point out your strongest path to victory and attempt to block their road. Don't just rely on thinking your scenario is better, you must also harm theirs.
No one really gets their full scenario, it's all a bunch of weighing risk and probability and if you can inject doubt into the other teams scenario, it goes a long way towards helping weigh the risk of your scenario against yours. Keep the flow clean and do this work for me and you'll get your ballot.