National Debate Coaches Association National Championships
2023 — Rolling Hills Estates, US
Public Forum Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Maggie Berthiaume Woodward Academy
Current Coach — Woodward Academy (2011-present)
Former Coach — Lexington High School (2006-2008), Chattahoochee High School (2008-2011)
College Debater — Dartmouth College (2001-2005)
High School Debater — Blake (1997-2001)
firstname.lastname@example.org for email chains, please.
1. Please be nice. If you don't want to be kind to others (the other team, your partner, me, the novice flowing the debate in the back of the room), please don’t prefer me.
2. I'm a high school teacher and believe that debates should be something I could enthusiastically show to my students, their families, or my principal. What does that mean? If your high school teachers would find your presentation inappropriate, I am likely to as well.
3. Please be clear. I will call "clear" if I can't understand you, but debate is primarily a communication activity. Do your best to connect on meaningful arguments.
4. Conduct your own CX as much as possible. CX is an important time for judge impression formation, and if one partner does all asking and answering for the team, it is very difficult to evaluate both debaters. Certainly the partner not involved in CX can get involved in an emergency, but that should be brief and rare if both debaters want good points.
5. If you like to be trolly with your speech docs (read on paper to prevent sharing, remove analyticals, etc.), please don't. See "speech documents" below for a longer justification and explanation.
6. I am not willing or able to adjudicate issues that happened outside of the bounds of the debate itself — ex. previous debates, social media issues, etc.
7. In debates involving minors, I am a mandated reporter — as are all judges of debates involving minors!
8. I’ve coached and judged for a long time now, and the reason I keep doing it is that I think debate is valuable. Students who demonstrate that they appreciate the opportunity to debate and are passionate and excited about the issues they are discussing are a joy to watch — they give judges a reason to listen even when we’re sick or tired or judging the 5th debate of the day on the 4th weekend that month. Be that student!
9. "Maggie" (or "Ms. B." if you prefer), not "judge."
What does a good debate look like?
Everyone wants to judge “good debates.” To me, that means two excellently-prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues related to the policy presented by the affirmative. The best debates allow four students to demonstrate that they have researched a topic and know a lot about it — they are debates over issues that experts in the field would understand and appreciate. The worst debates involve obfuscation and tangents. Good debates usually come down to a small number of issues that are well-explained by both sides. The best final rebuttals have clearly explained ballot and a response to the best reason to vote for the opposing team.
I have not decided to implement the Shunta Jordan "no more than 5 off" rule, but I understand why she has it, and I agree with the sentiment. I'm not establishing a specific number, but I would like to encourage negative teams to read fully developed positions in the 1NC (with internal links and solvency advocates as needed). (Here's what she says: "There is no world where the Negative needs to read more than 5 off case arguments. SO if you say 6+, I'm only flowing 5 and you get to choose which you want me to flow.") If you're thinking "nbd, we'll just read the other four DAs on the case," I think you're missing the point. :) It's not about the specific number, it's about the depth of argument.
Do you read evidence?
Yes, in nearly every debate. I will certainly read evidence that is contested by both sides to resolve who is correct in their characterizations. The more you explain your evidence, the more likely I am to read it. For me, the team that tells the better story that seems to incorporate both sets of evidence will almost always win. This means that instead of reading yet another card, you should take the time to explain why the context of the evidence means that your position is better than that of the other team. This is particularly true in close uniqueness and case debates.
Do I have to be topical?
Yes. Affirmatives are certainly welcome to defend the resolution in interesting and creative ways, but that defense should be tied to a topical plan to ensure that both sides have the opportunity to prepare for a topic that is announced in advance. Affirmatives certainly do not need to “role play” or “pretend to be the USFG” to suggest that the USFG should change a policy, however.
I enjoy topicality debates more than the average judge as long as they are detailed and well-researched. Examples of this include “intelligence gathering” on Surveillance, “health care” on Social Services, and “economic engagement” on Latin America. Debaters who do a good job of describing what debates would look like under their interpretation (aff or neg) are likely to win. I've judged several "substantial" debates in recent years that I've greatly enjoyed.
Can I read [X ridiculous counterplan]?
If you have a solvency advocate, by all means. If not, consider a little longer. See: “what does as good debate look like?” above. Affs should not be afraid to go for theory against contrived counterplans that lack a solvency advocate. On the flip side, if the aff is reading non-intrinsic advantages, the "logical" counterplan or one that uses aff solvency evidence for the CP is much appreciated.
What about my generic kritik?
Topic or plan specific critiques are absolutely an important component of “excellently prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues.” Kritiks that can be read in every debate, regardless of the topic or affirmative plan, are usually not.
Given that the aff usually has specific solvency evidence, I think the neg needs to win that the aff makes things worse (not just “doesn’t solve” or “is a mask for X”). Neg – Please spend the time to make specific links to the aff — the best links are often not more evidence but examples from the 1AC or aff evidence.
What about offense/defense?
I do believe there is absolute defense and vote for it often.
Do you take prep for emailing/flashing?
Once the doc is saved, your prep time ends.
I have some questions about speech documents...
One speech document per speech (before the speech). Any additional cards added to the end of the speech should be sent out as soon as feasible.
Teams that remove analytical arguments like permutation texts, counter-interpretations, etc. from their speech documents before sending to the other team should be aware that they are also removing them from the version I will read at the end of the debate — this means that I will be unable to verify the wording of their arguments and will have to rely on the short-hand version on my flow. This rarely if ever benefits the team making those arguments.
Speech documents should be provided to the other team as the speech begins. The only exception to this is a team who debates entirely off paper. Teams should not use paper to circumvent norms of argument-sharing.
I will not consider any evidence that did not include a tag in the document provided to the other team.
Note (this was written when I only coached/judged policy)
If you can’t beat a “bad” argument then you are a bad advocate for your cause (and you should lose).
Don't expect me to understand or apply the necessary context to certain words or catch phrases that you might use.
I will try to be fair in evaluating whatever you run. Impact calculus is important.
I think there are a number of ways debate can be done really well (my favorite thing about debate).
I prefer you do what you are best at instead of what you think is best for me. Make me adapt to you.
Tell me why your interpretation is better for debate. Do comparative impact calculus. What impacts are most important (what framework should the judge utilize when evaluating T impacts).
The more specific the links the happier I'll be. I think perms should tend towards utilizing the language of the alternative text and away from the generic "do both" or "plan and every other instance". I find a lot of my decisions usually revolve around a framework argument.
I think topical k affs with advantages that are intrinsic to a simulation of plan action are the best.
The more of the aff it includes the more skeptical I am of the CP’s legitimacy. Competition/Theory arguments are best when based on evidence (especially topic ev). I'm definitely in the "neg conditionality has gotten out of control" camp--1cp 1k probably ok, 1 CP that does the aff, 1 k with an alt that could do the aff and a word PIC definitely absolutely not legit (affs need to learn how to go for theory). Theory requires development and impact calculus.
I enjoy debaters doing what they do well. If you’re funny, be funny. If you are smart, be smart. Cordial debates are generally more enjoyable. Context matters. If two aggressive teams have a heated rivalry then it’s going to produce an aggressive debate---I get that. Unnecessary aggression/rudeness/etc will result in lower points.
If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Hi, I'm Gio, a current sophomore at Duke University. I debated in LD for Harrison HS and got 13 career bids (3 bids my junior year and 10 my senior year). I mainly read Ks, but you should read arguments you're good at.
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
Obvi, don't say anything racist, sexist or homophobic, etc. I would say that I judge very similarly to Hertzig and have the same views on debate. Here is his paradigm: https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_person_id=3081.
Debated 2 years at Downtown Magnets High school and 1 Year in College. I am familiar with both LD and Policy Debates.
I'm not the most experience debater, but I have a grasp of most concepts in debate. Explain at the end why your winning the debate.
· Add me in the email chain before the round starts
· I will not keep track of time and flashing evidence is not considered prep time, but don’t be slow
· I am experience enough, but find the middle ground in speed for important arguments later in the round.
· Flush out arguments and explain high theory well including the importance of the debate
· I’m more techy
· I like performance and K’s and T
· Framework needs to be clear and concise.
I like performances and kritikal affirmatives, that’s basically summarizes my preference on K-affs. I am not well versed in most hard theory kritiks. I ran Cap K mostly, but I’m fine with any other kritik’s if you explain them. Don’t be intimidated to run any hard theory kritik’s, but take the time to explain the arguments.
I like all policy aff’s except the most generic ones. The more unique the affirmative is the more likely I will like the aff and probably vote on it.
Disadvantage links is what I focus a lot on. The structure for the DA should stay the same and answering them should stay the same not tangled in a mess. I will consider who has a more a updated Uniqueness card. Uniqueness is the foundation of the DA, so the card must be relevant. I like all Cp’s even consult, Cp w/ planks, and 2nc cps are okay. Give me a good reason why to outweigh the Cp against the aff and answer the perm. A good net benefit could be the very reason you win on the CP.
Any theory is fine. Topicality is one of my favorite arguments so make sure to extend interpretation and counter-interps. I want to see both negative and affirmative topicality to be contested. If you run T as a time skew that is also fine. Debate is all about strategy and using the tools you have.
I dislike trick debate
My RFD's can sometimes be unclear so ask questions
Don’t be toxic. (less speaks). I always give high speaks so don’t worry about speaks to much
-Debated 4 years LD, graduating in 2013; qualled to TOC twice and reached Quarterfinals my senior year.
-Have coached for 10 years; am currently at Lynbrook and Silver Creek High Schools. I judge and coach all forms of speech and debate.
I don't see myself as having too many conscious biases against certain kinds of argument.
I'll listen to all styles -- K, policy, phil, theory, etc. I care more about how you argue your positions than the actual content of the positions.
There was way more phil and theory read when I debated, so feel free to go for that stuff, although on theory I definitely do not default to an offense-defense paradigm (if that's how you want me to evaluate the theory flow, you have to argue explicitly for that).
I also think I may be a good judge for kritiks because I mainly coached k debate this year.
I'm probably the worst at evaluating policy v policy debates. When I did LD, it had not yet mutated into one-person policy. I can still keep up if you line-by-line each others' arguments and do weighing, but if your speeches are just long overviews that list out a bunch of impacts without engaging the other side, I guarantee I will get lost.
Here are the things I like to see:
- Good, explicit weighing, a clear ballot story, and clearly implicating/explaining the function of your arguments.
- Original analysis as opposed to merely cards.
That's about it honestly, but you'd be surprised how few rounds nowadays contain those things.
Side note: I won't vote on disclosure theory, because I feel weird about voting someone down for something that happened outside of the debate.
IMPORTANT: Please, please, please be fast with sending evidence. If it's taking too long I'm going to insist on continuing the debate.
Second rebuttal/summary obviously can't frontline everything, so make sure you focus on answering the responses that are most threatening to your side.
The final focus is so short that you really have to focus -- narrow things down -- and explain not only why your side is ahead, but anticipate/answer the strongest reason your opponent could provide for why they're ahead. Don't ONLY weigh, also respond to the other side's weighing -- or else the debate might end up looking an awful lot like a tie.
I do, admittedly, like theory and kritiks in other events. In PF, not so much. Not saying you can't read them -- but you probably shouldn't do so if your strat is just to read them bc you've seen on this paradigm that I mainly judge other events in which those positions are more popular. **Definitely do not run these positions at lay tournaments/against lay debaters. I personally think one of the benefits of PF is that it's a good activity for people who don't like fast/technical debate styles. So I'd prefer you don't use theory/kritiks to ruin their day.
Do your thing. I am not here to limit you. I love debate and did it all four years in high school and a little in college. I ran a K aff on the national circuit in high school as a little background. But that doesn’t really matter. It is up to y’all on what you want the debate to be about. So please debate however you feel you will do best. I want to see debaters debating about what they know not what they think I would like.
On a side note go follow the Sacramento Urban Debate League on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It’s the UDL I am from. Also I want to be in the email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org thanks!
Email chain: email@example.com
Speed: You do you but quality over quantity with clarity
Voting issues are not necessary
Jargon or technical language should be kept to a minimum
I don’t count flashing as prep unless you are taking advantage
You don’t have to constantly remind me that your opponent dropped such and such argument(s)--don’t rely on a win because they dropped x amount of arguments
Evidence, analytical and empirical--state your source
Roadmaps and overviews
Weigh your arguments
Card cutting- you will lose the round
David Levin (he/him/his)
Head Debate Coach for St. Luke's School, New Canaan, CT
Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
be decent to one another (this includes your partner). bigoted language is an auto-drop. put me on the email chain.
Paradigms for PF, PD, LD, and Parli below.
>100 rounds judged in 2022-23. run what you want. cut cards. i'm a good judge for the K. i'm a good judge for theory.
I firmly believe "progressive debate is exclusionary" is wrong, and far too often a line wielded in bad faith to preserve traditionalist norms that prioritize "slickness" of debaters over the intellectual rigor of their arguments. I believe "Progressive debate" has no stable definition, but rather refers to arguments that stray from normative expectations of PF debate, including important discussions of what forms of exclusion undergird the debate to begin with. This article from Stefan Bauschard offers some excellent insights.
Please pre-flow, and ideally, create the email chain >5mins before the round. Include me on the email chain. Make sure your opponents and I get the card doc (if applicable) prior to starting your speech. Card docs must have full paragraphs, and include highlighting or otherwise clearly denote what words you say from the card (see "Evidence"). If you have a shell (T, theory, etc), please send it in the card doc. I often take longer to decide than most judges, so the more tech/admin time we can trim, the better.
Sit or stand for your speeches. Share the tabletote if only one team has one. No preference for room setup, however if there is a rocking chair in the room, I reserve claim to it.
Speed/spreading is fine with some exceptions. Arguments presented in shell form (T, theory, etc) should be read more deliberately than case, otherwise I may miss an important warrant. Critical cases don't necessarily need to be read slower than conventional cases, but reducing your speed usually generates more "rhetorical heft", which helps your cause.
If you have an auditory processing concern, please address it with your opponents rather than me whenever possible. If someone comes to you with an auditory processing concern, accommodate them. I trust that debates will be conducted in good faith. Do not abuse that trust.
How I flow:
I flow digitally, and divide my flow by contentions. For contentions with multiple subpoints, just make sure you sign post. I flow warrants and read card docs during crossfire and prep. Therefore, author/tag extensions are insufficient, even when I know what warrant an author/tag extension is referring to. I don't judge-extend arguments, however I will cross-apply arguments made when they are clearly responsive to multiple flows. I flow overviews at the top of the first contention addressed in the speech. I flow weighing at the bottom of the contention being weighed. If you start weighing in rebuttal, I suggest weighing on the contentions individually, rather than en-masse at the bottom of the speech.
How I evaluate:
A-priori arguments are, as the name implies, evaluated first; Most theory and IVI debates fall under this category. Absent an a-priori debate, I go to framing.
Framing should be complementary to your impact/weighing. Example: "Structural violence first" framing with probability weighing is dissonant with structural violence read as a link to a nuclear war impact -- rather, structural violence should be read AS the impact in this case, resolving both the framing and weighing mechanism, creating a more cohesive argument. If framing is not argued, or if both teams drop framing, I default to utilitarianism. Once the framework for how I evaluate the round is resolved, I move to the contentions.
When both teams' frameworks agree, I look to the link first, specifically for answers to these questions: HOW does affirming/negating the res trigger the impact they describe? (qualify your link story) Is there an empirical precedent for the link, or is it speculative? If speculative, I move to uniqueness and ask, what conditions of the status quo produce the link, and how? (qualify the uniqueness). These questions lend me to favor probability in weighing debates.
When frameworks conflict, I ask the same questions as above, however I find myself obligated to consider solvency. Examples: If the hypothetical endorsement of the aff prevents WWIII, but cannot solve back existing structural violence, I lean aff. If the hypothetical endorsement of the negative probably creates better living conditions for marginalized people, but exacerbates to already-existing carbon emissions, I lean neg. Turns can be remarkably effective in conflicting framework debates. The ballot as a token of endorsement is also central to my view of K debate in PF. More on that follows.
If neither team is able to secure offense in the round, presumption defaults to the side of the resolution which most resembles the status quo. Presumption can be flipped if the status quo independently triggers an impact.
Notes on certain arguments:
Topical (normative) Cases - Truth is determined by the flow, unless the claim is patently false or discursively violent. The link/link chain and solvency tend to be the most vulnerable components of any given contention. I find myself to lean toward favoring probability weighing. Defense needs to be extended or conceded. I will only judge kick if the other team doesn't take advantage of the misstep. Turns are great, but be decisive and kick case if you're going for it - its a great demonstration of your technical skills.
Topical (critical) Cases - Win your framework and role of the ballot. "Role of the judge" feels redundant, but if you make a distinction between my role and my ballot's role, I'll listen. Again, links and solvency usually the most vulnerable components of the case. K solvency shouldn't be restricted to discourse - but what does the fiat-ed adoption of the critical worldview look like? Textual alts that suggest specific actions get a little too close to plans/counterplans for comfort - instead, "vote [your side] to endorse/reject [something]", then go win the link. Engaging a K with your own K is a great way to ensure everyone's speaks go up regardless of my decision.
Non-topical criticisms - Win your framework. Explain why the criticism is a prerequisite to topical debate, answer the TVA/TVN, and the perm. Remember that I default presume to the side of the ballot closest to the status quo, whether you're reading a Non-T K or debating against one. Presumption can be flipped either way. If you do a performance or narrative of some sort, implicate that stylistic choice! Look at the "theory" section below for additional thoughts that might be helpful.
"Off-case" Criticisms - I'm not quite as fond of these for time constraint reasons (they often result in messy back-halves), so if you read one, do so in 2nd constructive or first rebuttal. If you're critiquing a specific problematic discourse your opponent advances, consider running it as a short theory shell instead (example: I don't need you to spend 120 seconds dissecting gendered structures of power to claim misgendering is bad - it's pretty straightforward).
Topicality - I prefer T be read in shell form with an interpretation, violation, standards and voter(s). I believe that fairness is an internal link to various more objective impacts, rather than an impact itself. T is an a-priori argument, and if you go for it, it should be the whole FF. T against kritiks should center standards for why I should hold the line for the resolution.
Theory - PF is still a very young format, quickly growing in popularity. Debaters do not set the the meeting agendas for the community's governing bodies. Therefore, theory rounds constitute a means for students to determine the direction of the event from the grassroots level. Theory arguments are your way of arguing what should be the broadly held best practices for the activity. "Theory bad" arguments are inherently theory arguments themselves and I'll evaluate them the same way I evaluate other forms of theory. I prefer competing interpretations, but if the theory is clearly infinitely regressive or needlessly punitive, my threshold for reasonability lowers. Some theory things is believe: Disclosure is good; Open-source disclosure is the gold standard; from my experience and observation, disclosure serves to benefit small programs and under-resourced programs; community minimums for disclosure are debatable. Paraphrasing, rather than reading actual evidence, is unethical.
Cut cards are and ethical standard for debate and non-negotiable at the varsity circuit level. Paraphrasing is not an automatic loss, but I will have no basis to trust your analytics absent you producing a marked copy of your evidence. I will joyfully vote for the lowest threshold paraphrasing theory against you, absent a performative contradiction from the other team. If you genuinely don't know what I mean by "cut cards", please tell me before the round and I will explain this (nicely). Novices should learn to cut cards, but for them this a goal, not an expectation.
3 rounds judged 2022-23. I'm a little rusty, but regularly judged policy between 2016 and 2020. K v. K and K v. FW/T rounds were my favorites.
Hello again! It's been a minute! If you have me in a policy round, my most important request is that you help me flow you. I can normally follow at decently quick speeds, but if I "clear" you, it's a request for you to help me catch what you're saying. Sign posting is important and please please read tags and shells more slowly than your I debated policy in HS and coached/judged for a few years before moving to more PF. Policy directly informed the way I coach and evaluate PF. I don't have particularly strong opinions about most arguments, so run what you're good at running. I understand that this is quite vague, so if you're unsure how you'll pref me, or what to run in front of me, just shoot me an email.
2 rounds judged 2022-23. Run what you want, but understand that I don't know the norms as well here.
You can likely infer my judging style from the PF and Policy sections above. Any questions, just send an email.
4 rounds judged 2022-23. I did not enjoy any of them.
change my mind! :)
Debated @ UNT 2009-2014
Coach @ St Marks since 2017
Coach @ UTDallas since 2018
If you have questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com
For me, the idea that the judge should remain impartial is very important. I've had long discussions about the general acceptability/desirability of specific debate arguments and practices (as has everybody, I'm sure), but I've found that those rarely influence my decisions. I've probably voted for teams without plans in framework debates more often than I've voted neg, and I've voted for the worst arguments I can imagine, even in close debates, if I thought framing arguments were won. While nobody can claim to be completely unbiased, I try very hard to let good debating speak for itself. That being said, I do have some general predispositions, which are listed below.
-I tend to err aff on T and neg on most theory arguments. By that, I mean that I think that the neg should win a good standard on T in order to win that the aff should lose, and I also believe that theory is usually a reason to reject the argument and not the team.
- Conditional advocacies are good, but making contradictory truth claims is different. However, I generally think these claims are less damaging to the aff than the "they made us debate against ourselves" claim would make it seem. The best 2ACs will find ways of exploiting bad 1NC strategy, which will undoubtedly yield better speaker points than a theory debate, even if the aff wins.
- I kind of feel like "reasonability" and "competing interpretations" have become meaningless terms that, while everybody knows how they conceptualize it, there are wildly different understandings. In my mind, the negative should have to prove that the affirmative interpretation is bad, not simply that the negative has a superior interpretation. I also don't think that's a very high standard for the negative to be held to, as many interpretations (especially on this space topic) will be hot fiery garbage.
- My view of debates outside of/critical of the resolution is also complicated. While my philosophy has always been very pro-plan reading in the past, I've found that aff teams are often better at explaining their impact turns than the neg is at winning an impact that makes sense. That being said, I think that it's hard for the aff to win these debates if the neg can either win that there is a topical version of the affirmative that minimizes the risk of the aff's impact turns, or a compelling reason why the aff is better read as a kritik on the negative. Obviously there are arguments that are solved by neither, and those are likely the best 2AC impact turns to read in front of me.
- "The aff was unpredictable so we couldn't prepare for it so you should assume it's false" isn't a good argument for framework and I don't think I've ever voted for it.
- I'm certainly a better judge for CP/DA debates than K v K debates. I particularly like strategic PICs and good 1NC strategies with a lot of options. I'd be willing to vote on consult/conditions, but I find permutation arguments about immediacy/plan-plus persuasive.
- I think the neg gets away with terrible CP solvency all the time. Affs should do a better job establishing what counts as a solvency card, or at least a solvency warrant. This is more difficult, however, when your aff's solvency evidence is really bad. - Absent a debate about what I should do, I will kick a counterplan for the neg and evaluate the aff v. the squo if the CP is bad/not competitive
- I don't think the 2NC needs to explain why severence/intrinsicness are bad, just win a link. They're bad.
- I don't think perms are ever a reason to reject the aff.
- I don't think illegitimate CPs are a reason to vote aff.
- Run them. Win them. There's not a whole lot to say.
- I'd probably vote on some sort of "fiat solves" argument on politics, but only if it was explained well.
- Teams that invest time in good, comparative impact calculus will be rewarded with more speaker points, and likely, will win the debate. "Disad/Case outweighs" isn't a warrant. Talk about your impacts, but also make sure you talk about your opponents impacts. "Economic collapse is real bad" isn't as persuasive as "economic collapse is faster and controls uniqueness for the aff's heg advantage".
- My general line has always been that "I get the K but am not well read in every literature". I've started to realize that that statement is A) true for just about everybody and B) entirely useless. It turns out that I've read, coached, and voted for Ks too often for me to say that. What I will say, however, is that I certainly focus my research and personal reading more on the policy side, but will generally make it pretty obvious if I have no idea what you're saying.
- Make sure you're doing link analysis to the plan. I find "their ev is about the status quo" arguments pretty persuasive with a permutation.
- Don't think that just because your impacts "occur on a different level" means you don't need to do impact calculus. A good way to get traction here is case defense. Most advantages are pretty silly and false, point that out with specific arguments about their internal links. It will always make the 2NR easier if you win that the aff is lying/wrong.
- I think the alt is the weakest part of the K, so make sure to answer solvency arguments and perms very well.
- If you're aff, and read a policy aff, don't mistake this as a sign that I'm just going to vote for you because I read mostly policy arguments. If you lose on the K, I'll vote neg. Remember, I already said I think your advantage is a lie. Prove me wrong.
-Don't ignore it. Conceding an advantage on the neg is no different than conceding a disad on the aff. You should go to case in the 1NC, even if you just play defense. It will make the rest of the debate so much easier.
- If you plan to extend a K in the 2NR and use that to answer the case, be sure you're winning either a compelling epistemology argument or some sort of different ethical calculus. General indicts will lose to specific explanations of the aff absent either good 2NR analysis or extensions of case defense.
- 2As... I've become increasingly annoyed with 2ACs that pay lip service to the case without responding to specific arguments or extending evidence/warrants. Just reexplaining the advantage and moving on isn't sufficient to answer multiple levels of neg argumentation.
I don't think you need to take prep time to flash your speech to your opponent, but it's also pretty obvious when you're stealing prep, so don't do it. If you want to use viewing computers, that's fine, but only having one is unacceptable. The neg needs to be able to split up your evidence for the block. It's especially bad if you want to view their speeches on your viewing computer too. Seriously, people need access to your evidence.
I've decided enough debates on clipping in the last couple of years that I think it's worth putting a notice in my philosophy. If a tournament has reliable internet, I will insist on an email chain and will want to be on that email chain. I will, at times, follow along with the speech document and, as a result, am likely to catch clipping if it occurs. I'm a pretty non-confrontational person, so I'm unlikely to say anything about a missed short word at some point, but if I am confident that clipping has occurred, I will absolutely stop the debate and decide on it. I'll always give debaters the benefit of the doubt, and provide an opportunity to say where a card was marked, but I'm pretty confident of my ability to distinguish forgetting to say "mark the card" and clipping. I know that there is some difference of opinion on who's responsibility it is to bring about a clipping challenge, but I strongly feel that, if I know for certain that debaters are not reading all of their evidence, I have not only the ability but an obligation to call it out.
- Really generic backfile arguments (Ashtar, wipeout, etc) won't lose you the round, but don't expect great speaks. I just think those arguments are really terrible, (I can't describe how much I hate wipeout debates) and bad for debate.
- Impact turn debates are awesome, but can get very messy. If you make the debate impossible to flow, I will not like you. Don't just read cards in the block, make comparisons about evidence quality and uniqueness claims. Impact turn debates are almost always won by the team that controls uniqueness and framing arguments, and that's a debate that should start in the 2AC.
Finally, here is a short list of general biases.
- The status quo should always be an option in the 2NR (Which doesn't necessarily mean that the neg get's infinite flex. If they read 3 contradictory positions, I can be persuaded that it was bad despite my predisposition towards conditionality. It does mean that I will, absent arguments against it, judge kick a counterplan and evaluate the case v the squo if the aff wins the cp is bad/not competitive)
- Warming is real and science is good (same argument, really)
- The aff gets to defend the implementation of the plan as offense against the K, and the neg gets to read the K
- Timeframe and probability are more important than magnitude
- Predictable limits are key to both fairness and education
- Consult counterplans aren't competitive. Conditions is arguable.
- Rider DA links are not intrinsic
- Utilitarianism is a good way to evaluate impacts
- The aff should defend a topical plan
- Death and extinction are bad
- Uncooperative federalism is one of the worst counterplans I've ever seen
Policy + PF Debate @ Success Academy (September 2022-Present)
Parliamentary Debate @ Inwood Academy for Leadership (2017-2021)
Hi everyone! I am very excited about coaching and judging policy debate this year! Although this is my first year coaching policy debate, it is certainly not my first time coaching or judging competitive debates. Here are a few things about my style/preferences to keep in mind:
1. Tabula Rasa: I try my best to enter each debate round with a "clean slate." I leave my biases at the door and will judge solely based on the quality and skills of your argumentation.
2. WEIGH WELL. I often find it difficult to judge rounds involving little to no weighing. I HIGHLY consider impacts in my decision-making.
3. I pay close attention to the rebuttal speeches. Stay away from being redundant, meaning your rebuttal speeches shouldn’t sound like your constructive speeches. Paint a picture, and tell me why your side should win. I
4. Create a legitimate clash. Please show me the contrast between your world and your opponent’s world. Make the distinction obvious to me.
5. I find K-AFFs and Kritiks to be very unique and interesting. I enjoy them if presented well enough for me to understand. Do your very best to explain the complex rhetoric you're stating in the round. Regarding critical affirmatives, the expectation is that your plan is still topical and related to the resolution. Regarding Kritiks on the Neg, please make sure you present a decent link story to the AFF and that you prove that your alternative is better than the AFF's plan.
6. I enjoy cross-examination periods. Take advantage of your cross-examination periods and ask your opponents specific, meaningful questions. Try not to waste your C/X time asking clarifying questions.
7. A bit of aggression is fine in debate, but I will not tolerate disrespect. Please be a kind and decent human being. *Any racist, and discriminatory arguments or language will result in low speaker points and may result in the loss of the round.*
8. Run anything on the NEG, no preference.
9. I typically find myself voting on 3 things in a debate: solvency, impact calc, and framework.
10. I will never vote for a "human extinction good/death good argument."
11. Regarding speed, I'm totally fine with spreading. Just please project your voice, roadmap, and please make sure you're clear. If I can't understand you, then I will probably stop flowing.
BEST OF LUCK AND HAVE FUN! :)
Debate Experience: TOC Champion PF 2010, 4th at British Parli University National Championships 2014, Oxford Debate Union competitive debater 2015-2016 (won best floor speech), LGBTQIA+ Officer at the Oxford Debate Union.
NSDA PF Topic Committee Member/Writer: If you have any ideas, topic areas, or resolutions in mind for next season please send them to my email below. We on the NSDA PF Topic Committee will be finalizing our topics for the season over the next five months with tentative topics released mid-June.
Coaching Experience: Director of Debate at Fairmont Prep 2018-Current, 13 years of coaching, instructor at 14 debate camps, Senior Instructor and PF Curriculum Director at the Institute for Speech and Debate, La Altamont Lane 2018 TOC, Capitol 2016-2018, GW 2010-2015. British Parli coach and lecturer for universities including DU, Oxford, and others.
Education: Masters from Oxford University '16 - Law & Religion - Dissertation on the history of the First Amendment - Religion and Philosophy at DU '14. Other research areas include Buddhism, comparative religion, sociology of religion, conlaw, First Amendment law, free speech, freedom of expression, art law, media law, & SCOTUS history. AP Macroeconomics Teacher
2023 Winter Data Update: Importing my Tabroom data I've judged 651 rounds since 2014 with a 53% Pro and 47% Con vote balance. There may be a slight subconscious Aff bias it seems. My guess is that I may subconsciously give more weight to changing the status quo as that's the core motivator of debate but no statistically meaningful issues present.
Right-to-work law debate comments for UNLV/Stanford/California Round Robin/Berkeley
For the Cal Round Robin: I am not going to disclose to respect Lexy and the tournament's spirit. Also lowkey how many tournies have experts judge finals? I would prefer topic specific debates/topic specific k's. We should be testing who deserves to debate in front of the experts in my opinion.
I've judged about 20 rounds now on the topic. If y'all just go for an econ link or econ impact debate please be careful. These debates can be total soupy number messes. Wages go up/no they go down. Econ goes up/now they go down. Inequality goes up/no it goes down. Pensions go up/no they go down. Start thinking about evidence comparison because both warrants can sound true. Or prereqs. Or short term or long term analysis. I've already judged several rounds on this topic where I have two pieces of evidence that say the opposite economic conclusions and no one tells me why their evidence or warranting is better.
For example, on Neg you run profit and patent decreases from unions decrease innovation by 20%. Aff runs increased wages increase motivation and thus productivity and new ideas increasing innovation by 24%. This is introducing clash but you don't implicate either side or resolve the clash. Why is one warrant better than another? Is one piece of evidence net innovation? Are there different types of innovations? In different sectors? Is one piece of evidence a meta study or more recent? If more recent why does that matter? Does your study have better methodology? You need to resolve these questions otherwise I make the choice on how to resolve the clash which is not what you want. These choices increase judge intervention. Even if I am an AP Macro Econ teacher as well don't make me do the work to decide.
Lastly chill on the global impacts. I know you want those nice terminal impacts but the resolution is not US right to work laws do more harm than good which lets you link in outside the US. The resolution is In the US, right to work laws do more harm than good. Grammar forecloses your high mag/scope weighing outside the US. I like the wishful thinking but just debate domestic impacts for once I believe in you and you should believe in yourself. You're going to do great without global recession and global war. :)
PF Paradigm 2022-23 Season:
I consider myself tech>truth but I have been approaching a closer equilibrium between the two lately due to the poor state of evidence ethics, power tagging, clipping, and more. Further, I know stakes can be high in a bubble, bid, or important round but let's still come out of the debate feeling as if it was a positive experience. Life is too short for needless suffering. Please be kind, compassionate, and cordial.
- What I want to see: I'm empathetic to major technical errors in my ballots. In a perfect world I vote for the team who does best on tech and secondarily on truth. I tend to resolve clash most easily when you give explicit reasons why either a) your evidence is comparatively better but also when you tell me why b) your warranting is comparatively better. Obviously doing both compounds your chances at winning my ballot. I have recently become more sensitive to poor extensions in the back half. Please have UQ where necessary, links, internals links, and impacts. Weighing introduced earlier the better. Weighing is your means to minimize intervention.
- Weighing Unlike Things: I need to know how to weigh two comparatively unlike things. If you are weighing some economic impact against a non-economic impact like democracy how do I defer to one over the other? Scope, magnitude, probability etc. I strongly prefer impact debates on the probability/reasonability of impacts over their magnitude and scope. Obviously try to frame impacts using all available tools but it's less likely I will defer to nuclear war, try or die, etc on the risk of magnitude. Probability over magnitude debates unless I'm given well warranted, carded, and convincing framework analysis to prefer the latter.
- Weighing Like Things: Please have warrants and engage comparatively between yourself and your opponent. Obviously methodological and evidentiary comparison is nice too as I mentioned earlier. I love crossfires or speech time where we discuss the warrants behind our cards and why that's another reason to prefer your arg over your opponent.
- Don't be a DocBot: I love that you're prepared and have enumerated overviews, blocks, and frontlines. I love heavy evidence and dense debates with a lot of moving parts. But if it sounds like you're just reading a doc without specific or explicit implications to your opponent's contention you are not contributing anything meaningful to the round. Tell me why your responses interact. If they are reading an arg about the environment and just read an A2 Environment Non-Unique without explaining why your evidence or warranting is better then this debate will suffer.
- I'm comfortable if you want to take the debate down kritical, theoretical, and/or pre-fiat based roads. I think framework debates be them pre or post fiat are awesome. Voted on many K's before too. Here be dragons. I will say though, over time I've become increasingly tired of opportunistic, poor quality, and unfleshed out theory in PF. But in the coup of the century I have been converted that disclosure theory and para theory is a viable path to the ballot if you win your interp. I still believe theory is used as an easy way to avoid substantive debates but you do you. I will always prefer a round sans disclosure theory but can no longer for intellectual consistency stop you from running it. Still highly suspicious of paraphrasing theory as your "full-text" cards are super power clipped and disclosure solves back but you do you. TL;DR: I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. I am more skeptical of paraphrasing theory than disclosure theory. Lastly, if you look back at the last 32 rounds or so I've judged with theory as the primary voter I've probably only voted for the team who introduced theory in the round 7 of 32 rounds. Meaning I vote for theory 22% of the time when it's the voter. Take that as you will. All variables being equal I would prefer post-fiat stock topic specific rounds but in principle remain as tabula rasa as I can.
- What needs to be frontlined in second rebuttal? Turns. Not defense unless you have time. If you want offense in the final focus then extend it through the summary.
- Defense is not sticky between rebuttal and final focus. Aka if defense is not in summary you can't extend it in final focus. I've flipped on this recently. I've found the debate is hurt by the removal of the defense debate in summary and second final focus can extend whatever random defense it wants or whatever random frontlines to defense. This gives the second speaking teams a disproportionate advantage and makes the debate needlessly more messy.
- DA's in general or second rebuttal? You mean the borderline new contentions you are trying to introduce in the round that are tentatively linked at BEST to the existing arguments in the round order to time skew/spread your opponents thin? Don't push it too much.
- I will pull cards on two conditions. First, if it becomes a key card in the round and the other team questions the validity of the cut, paraphrasing, or explanation of the card in the round. Second, if the other team never discusses the merits of their opponents card the only time I will ever intervene and call for that evidence is if a reasonable person would know it's facially a lie.
- Calling for your opponent's cards. It should not take more than 1 minute to find case cards. Do preflows before the round. Smh y'all.
- If you spread that's fine. Just be prepared to adjust if I need to clear or provide speech docs to your opponents to allow for accessibility and accommodation.
- My favorite question in cx is: Why? For example, "No I get that's what your evidence says but why?"
- My favorite phrase in debate is: "Prefer our warrant or evidence" or "comparing our warrants you prefer ours because..."
- Germs are scary. I don't like to shake hands. It's not you! It's me! [Before covid times this was prophetic].
- I don't like to time because it slows my flow in fast rounds but please flag overtime responses or raise your phone. Don't interrupt.
Ramblings on Theory
Let me explain why I am writing this. This isn't because I'm right and you're wrong. I'm not trying to convince you. Nor should you cite this formally in round to win said round. Rather, a lot of you care so much about debate and theory in particular gets pretty personal fairly quickly that I want to explain why my hesitancy isn't personal to you either. I am not opposing theory as someone who is opposed to change in Public Forum.
- First, I would highly discourage running trigger warning theory in front of me. My grad school research and longstanding work outside of debate has tracked how queer, civil rights advocates, religious minorities, and political dissidents have been extensively censored over time through structural means. The suppression and elimination of critical race theory and BLM from schools and universities is an extension of this. I have found it very difficult to be tabula rasa on this issue. TW/anonymous opt outs are welcome if you so wish to include them, that is your prerogative, but like I said the lack of one is not a debate I can be fair on. Let me be clear. I do not dismiss that "triggers" are real. I do not deny your lived experience on face nor claim all of you are, or even a a significant number of you, are acting in bad faith. This is always about balancing tests. My entire academic research for over 8 years was about how structural oppressors abuse these frameworks of "sin," "harm," "other," to squash dissidents, silence suffragettes, hose civil rights marchers, and imprison queer people because of the "present danger they presented in their conduct or speech." I also understand that some folks in the literature circles claim there is a double bind. You are opting out of trigger warning debates but you aren't letting me opt out of debates I don't want to have either. First, I will never not listen to or engage in this debate. My discouragement above is rooted in my deep fear that I will let you down because I can't be as fair as I would be on another issue. I tell students all the time tabula rasa is a myth. I still think that. It's a goal we strive for to minimize intervention because we will never eliminate it. Second, I welcome teams to still offer tw and will not penalize you for doing so. Third, discussions on SV, intersectionality, and civil rights are always about trade offs. Maybe times will change but historically more oppression, suppression, and suffering has come from the abuse of the your "speech does me harm" principle than it benefits good faith social justice champions who want to create a safe space and a better place. If you want to discuss this empirical question (because dang there are so many sources and this is an appeal to my authority) I would love to chat about it.
Next, let me explain some specific reasons why I am resistant to TW theory in debate using terms we use in the literature. There is a longstanding historical, philosophical, and queer/critical theory concern on gatekeeper shift. If we begin drawing more and more abstract lines in terms of what content causes enough or certain "harm" that power can and will be co-opted and abused by the equally more powerful. Imagine if you had control over what speech was permitted versus your polar opposite actor in values. Now imagine they, via structural means, could begin to control that power for themselves only. In the last 250 years of the US alone I can prove more instances than not where this gatekeeping power was abused by government and powerful actors alike. I am told since this has changed in the last twenty years with societal movements so should we. I don't think we have changed that significantly. Just this year MAUS, a comic about the Holocaust, was banned in a municipality in Jan 22. Toni Morrison was banned from more than a dozen school districts in 2021 alone. PEN, which is a free press and speech org, tracked more than 125 bills, policies, or resolutions alone this year that banned queer, black, feminist, material be them books, films, or even topics in classrooms, libraries, and universities. Even in some of the bills passed and proposed the language being used is under the guise of causing "discomfort." "Sexuality" and discussions of certain civil rights topics is stricken from lesson plans all together under these frameworks. These trends now and then are alarming.
I also understand this could be minimizing the trauma you relive when a specific topic or graphic description is read in round. I again do not deny your experience on face ever. I just cannot comfortably see that framework co-opted and abused to suppress the mechanisms or values of equality and equity. So are you, Gabe, saying because the other actors steal a tool and abuse that tool it shouldn't be used for our shared common goals? Yes, if the powerful abuse that tool and it does more harm to the arc of history as it bends towards justice than I am going to oppose it. This can be a Heckler's Veto, Assassin's Veto, Poisoning The Well, whatever you want to call it. Even in debate I have seen screenshots of actual men discussing how they would always pick the opt out because they don't want to "debate girls on women issues in front of a girl judge." This is of course likely an incredibly small group but I am tired of seeing queer, feminist, or critical race theory based arguments being punted because of common terms or non-graphic descriptions. Those debates can be so enriching to the community and their absence means we are structurally disadvantaged with real world consequences that I think outweigh the impacts usually levied against this arg. I will defend this line for the powerless and will do so until I die.
All of these above claims are neither syllogisms or encyclopedias of events. I am fallible and so are those arguments. Hence let us debate this but just know my thoughts.
Like in my disclaimer on the other theory shell none of these arguments are truisms just my inner and honest thoughts to help you make strategic decisions in the round.
I did PF and qualled to gold TOC twice.
- if its not in summary it should not be in FF; extend links, warrants, and impacts please don't just say u can extend this
- Frontline turns in 2nd rebuttal, defense is sticky but I will not evaluate offense unless it is extended and implicated
- speed is fine. if you will be spreading send me a speech doc (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- sign post please
- tech > truth
- Ks and theory are fine if you run it well and explain (do not do it just to confuse ur opponents)
*please for the love of god preflow before the round if I have to wait for you I will be spiced, possibly enough to drop ur speaks*
- make me laugh
- do not make up evidence
Current Coach -- Marist School (2020-present)
Former Debater -- Marist School (2016-2020)
Please add email@example.com to the chain
I debated on the national circuit and have judged a TON in recent years. I think one thing many people overlook is how much time and effort it takes to debate especially at a high level. I understand the commitment you put into the activity so I try my best to put the same amount of effort into judging and making a decision. Nothing is worse than when a judge does not care about what they do and do not give you real feedback because the whole point of the activity is education and to learn stuff.
Debate is first and foremost a safe and educational activity so we should do our best to keep it that way
TL;DR: I am a tech judge and I really enjoy debate so do what you are best at.
General important stuff:
1) Extend every part of the argument... uniqueness, link, internal link, and impact. A claim without a warrant is not an argument. If you do not extend your argument then I can not vote on it.
2) I cannot stress enough that fewer well developed arguments will always be better than blips with no argument development or good warrants. I've noticed teams that collapse and more thoroughly explain their arguments tend to win my ballot more often than not against a team that goes for too much.
3) Please weigh your arguments
4) My only real pet peeve is wasting time during or before a debate. Please be ready to start the debate on time and don't cause unnecessary delays during it. Preflowing should be done before the debate. When prep time ends you should be ready to start your speech right away. "Pulling up a doc" or something like that for 30 seconds is stealing prep and should be done before you end your prep time.
5) Second rebuttal must answer first rebuttal
More specific stuff:
I don’t really care what type of argument you read as long as it is well explained, has warrants, and is weighed (case, k’s, theory... whatever are all fine). You do what you're best at and I'll judge it accordingly.
You can go as fast or slow as you want. I won't have any issue flowing any speed you decide to go.
I believe paraphrasing is bad and disclosure is good. At this point in the activity reading cuts cards and disclosing has become a norm that most teams adhere to which I think makes my threshold for responses to the shell even higher than it has been in the past.
Any other theory arguments just need to be real violations that have real impacts. Frivolous theory is unpleasant to judge and will be tough to impossible to win in front of me.
I'd really prefer you read cut cards. Debate is an activity about high quality research not writing a persuasive english paper. If you do paraphrase then you really need to have the cut cards ready at a minimum. A card is not cut if it does not have a complete and correct cite as well as the important/ cited parts of the card being emphasized. Evidence should be able to be sent when asked for in a timely manner. If it is not sent quickly it may be dropped from the debate.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overview - 1) I judge all debate events; 2) I agree with the way debate has evolved: progressive debate and Ks, diversity and equity, technique; 3) On technique: a) Speed and speech docs > Slow no docs; b) Open CX; c) Spreading is not a voter; 4) OK with reading less than what's in speech doc, but send updated speech doc afterwards; 5) Clipping IS a voter; 6) Evidence is core for debate; 7) Dropped arguments are conceded but I will evaluate link and impact evidence when weighing; 8) Be nice to one another; 9) I time speeches and CX, and I keep prep time; 10) I disclose, give my RFD after round.
Lincoln-Douglas - 1) I flow; 2) Condo is OK, will not drop debater for running conditional arguments; 3) Disads to CPs are sticky; 4) PICs are OK; 5) T is a voter, a priori jurisdictional issue, best definition and impact of definition on AFF/NEG ground wins; 6) Progressive debate OK; 7) ALT must solve to win K; 8) Plan/CP text matters; 9) CPs must be non-topical, compete/provide NB, and solve the AFF or avoid disads to AFF; 10) Speech doc must match speech.
Policy - 1) I flow; 2) Condo is OK, will not drop team for running conditional arguments; 3) Disads to CPs are sticky; 4) T is a voter, a priori jurisdictional issue, best definition wins; 5) Progressive debate OK; 6) ALT must solve to win K; 7) Plan/CP text matters; 8) CPs must be non-topical, compete/provide NB, and solve the AFF or avoid disads to AFF; 9) Speech doc must match speech; 10) Questions by prepping team during prep OK; 11) I've debated in and judged 1000s of Policy rounds.
Public Forum - 1) I flow; 2) T is not a voter, non-topical warrants/impacts are dropped from impact calculus; 3) Minimize paraphrasing of evidence; I prefer quotes from articles to paraphrased conclusions that overstate an author's claims and downplay the author's own caveats; 4) If paraphrased evidence is challenged, link to article and cut card must be provided to the debater challenging the evidence AND me; 5) Paraphrasing that is counter to the article author's overall conclusions is a voter; at a minimum, the argument and evidence will not be included in weighing; 6) Paraphrasing that is intentionally deceptive or entirely fabricated is a voter; the offending team will lose my ballot, receive 0 speaker points, and will be referred to the tournament director for further sanctions; 7) When asking for evidence during the round, refer to the card by author/date and tagline; do not say "could I see your solvency evidence, the impact card, and the warrant card?"; the latter takes too much time and demonstrates that the team asking for the evidence can't/won't flow; 8) Exception: Crossfire 1 when you can challenge evidence or ask naive questions about evidence, e.g., "Your Moses or Moises 18 card...what's the link?"; 9) Weigh in place (challenge warrants and impact where they appear on the flow); 10) Weigh warrants (number of internal links, probability, timeframe) and impacts (magnitude, min/max limits, scope); 11) 2nd Rebuttal should frontline to maximize the advantage of speaking second; 2nd Rebuttal is not required to frontline; if 2nd Rebuttal does not frontline 2nd Summary must cover ALL of 1st Rebuttal on case, 2nd Final Focus can only use 2nd Summary case answers in their FF speech; 12) Weigh w/o using the word "weigh"; use words that reference the method of comparison, e.g., "our impact happens first", "100% probability because impacts happening now", "More people die every year from extreme climate than a theater nuclear detonation"; 13) No plan or fiat in PF, empirics prove/disprove resolution, e.g., if NATO has been substantially increasing its defense commitments to the Baltic states since 2014 and the Russian annexation of Crimea, then the question of why Russia hasn't attacked since 2014 suggest NATO buildup in the Baltics HAS deterred Russia from attacking; 14) No new link or impact arguments in 2nd Summary, answers to 1st Rebuttal in 2nd Summary OK if 2nd Rebuttal does not frontline.
For PF: Speaks capped at 27.5 if you don't read cut cards (with tags) and send speech docs via email chain prior to your speech of cards to be read (in constructives, rebuttal, summary, or any speech where you have a new card to read). I'm done with paraphrasing and pf rounds taking almost as long as my policy rounds to complete. Speaks will start at 28.5 for teams that do read cut cards and do send speech docs via email chain prior to speech. In elims, since I can't give points, it will be a overall tiebreaker.
For Policy: Speaks capped at 28 if I don't understand each and every word you say while spreading (including cards read). I will not follow along on the speech doc, I will not read cards after the debate (unless contested or required to render a decision), and, thus, I will not reconstruct the debate for you but will just go off my flow. I can handle speed, but I need clarity not a speechdoc to understand warrants. Speaks will start at 28.5 for teams that are completely flowable. I'd say about 85% of debaters have been able to meet this paradigm.
I'd also mostly focus on the style section and bold parts of other sections.
2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).
It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.
I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.
After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.
I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.
When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.
Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).
I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.
Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.
I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).
- Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.
You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.
By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.
I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.
Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).
Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.
For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.
The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).
If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.
“We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.
For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.
Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.
Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.
I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.
Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.
From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.
A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.
I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.
Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.
Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).
Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.
I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.
Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.
Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.
I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.
For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.
Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.
Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.
Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.
Performance (the other critique):
Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.
However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.
If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.
Hello. I am the Westwood High School Speech and Debate Director. This is my first year teaching and directing Speech and Debate, however, I am a licensed attorney with much experience in the real world. I prefer judging speech events.
I prefer straightforward arguments, following the extemp flow.
As far as other speech events, I value creativity, manner of speaking, charisma, and if you are the one person I remembered specifically as best in the round.
I have been coaching & judging for 15+ years, primarily in Congress, Original Oratory, & Informative Speaking, though I have experience with any/all events. I'm a coach at Flintridge Preparatory & The Westridge School, and Curriculum Director of OO/Info at the Institute for Speech & Debate (ISD). I believe that the Speech & Debate events are far more complementary than we acknowledge, & that they’re all working toward the same pedagogical goals. Because debate is constantly changing, I value versatility & a willingness to adapt.
PF: I'd rather not need to read any docs/evidence in order to decide how I'm voting, but if it comes down to that, I will (begrudgingly) scrutinize your evidence. Feel free to run any experimental/non-traditional arguments you want, but please make these decisions IN GOOD FAITH. Don't shoehorn theory in where it doesn't apply & don't run it manipulatively. I am admittedly not techy-tech girl, but I am always listening comprehensively & flowing.
In Congress rounds, I judge based on a competitor’s skill in the following areas: argumentation, ethicality, presentation, & participation.
Argumentation: Your line of reasoning should be clear & concise; in your speeches & your CX, you should answer the questions at hand. Don’t sacrifice clarity for extra content – there should be no confusion regarding why the bill / resolution results in what you’re saying. You can make links without evidence, but they must be logically or empirically sound.
Ethicality: Evidence is borrowed credibility; borrow honestly. A source should necessarily include its date & the publication in which it appeared, & should not be fabricated. No evidence is better than falsified evidence. Additionally, competitors should remember that although you may not be debating real legislation, the issues at hand are very real, as are the people they affect. An ethical debater does not exploit real world tragedy, death, or disaster in order to “win” rounds.
Presentation: Congressional Debate is the best blend of speech skills & debate ability; what you say is just as important as how you say it. The best speakers will maintain a balance of pathos, ethos, & logos in both their content & delivery style. Rhetoric is useful, but only if its delivery feels authentic & purposeful.
Participation: Tracking precedence & recency is a good way to participate – it helps keep the PO accountable, & demonstrates your knowledge of Parliamentary Procedure. Questioning is an integral part of Congress; I like thoughtful, incisive questioning that doesn’t become adversarial or malicious. Both your questions & your answers should be pertinent & succinct. Above all, I am a big fan of competitors who are as invested in making the chamber better as they are in bettering their own ranks. The round can only be as engaging, lively, and competitive as you make it - pettiness brings everyone down.
My name is Daria. I've participated in Speech at Cal State Long Beach for two years. I've been most active in ADS and Impromptu, and I have given speeches pertaining to political legitimacy and social issues.
I am new to the debate side of things but I am a quick learner :-)
Please speak at the rate most comfortable for you. I'd prefer if you do not spread but I will clear if necessary.
I am inclined towards identity arguments (gender, sexuality, race, class, ability), politics (legislation, international relations), colonialism, and the environment.
I appreciate debates that are impact driven and I highly consider the way participants weigh impacts when it comes to my RFD. I am a big-picture judge, and I consider context more than structure.
During Cross-X I look for competitors who explain their arguments thoroughly and ask questions that expose the underlying assumptions of their opponent's arguments. I'm alright with a spicy cross-x as long as you're being respectful toward your opponent.
I believe debate provides the opportunity for people to expand their minds to other ideas and explore effective methods of communication.