Ersatz NYPDL Invitational
2023 — Online, CA/US
Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I’m an alumna with three and a half years of parliamentary debate experience and sporadic judging experience in the decades that have followed. My senior year I was 3rd speaker of the year by cumulative speaker points. Since then I have judged at several worlds and NorthAms and organized and attended Canadian debaters’ outreach visit to Ukraine behind the Iron Curtain.
Courtesy and parliamentary language should prevail in all rounds: I abhor the recent trend at the collegiate level toward gutter language in rounds. Don’t use it! It won’t benefit you in debate or in the real word, either. It should go without saying that racist, sexist, homophobic and other abusive language has no place in the debate world: it has no place in my rounds.
I take notes during debates, but I’m not a slave to flowing. To that end, I appreciate debate in normal, conversational tones during rounds and am put off by speed talking. The same goes for spreading. Signposting is a wonderful way to organize and reinforce arguments and is greatly appreciated, though debaters need not feel they must number their arguments.
New arguments in rebuttals will be ignored, but POOs pointing them out are not a waste of time. I do not expect debaters to shrink from POIs, but I do not impose a quota: those who ignore all of them will be marked down for it. Neither theory nor kritiks thrill me: I prefer the round to be about the round. That said, I will consider any reasonable argument that is clearly enunciated.
What I value is style, content and clash – not necessarily in that order. Bring your best and treat your opponents with respect. The rest will take care of itself.
Elisa Batista is a writer, activist, and proud mom of a high school debater in Berkeley, California. She used to be a policy debater back in the 1990s at Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire. She credits her experiences as a high school debater to fruitful careers in journalism and now political strategy and community organizing.
Her judging preferences:
• No spreading or speed-reading.
• Use all time allotted to carefully build on your arguments and counter all of your opposition's arguments.
• Start all speeches with a roadmap: Definitions, contentions, rebuttals, and framework or weighing mechanisms for the debate.
• All POIs should be verbal and judge encourages debaters to take them at some point during their speech.
• Be cognizant of introducing new arguments at the end of the debate. Judge is pretty good at picking up on these and will award extra points to debaters who successfully point them out as well!
• This judge enjoys taking detailed notes--"flowing"--the rounds, and is happy to give oral feedback at the end of the debate.
• Judge does not disclose ballot decision, unless it's the last round and inconsequential in terms of debaters' morale.
• High school debaters are awesome and judge wants to see them keep at it! Good luck!
Hello wonderful debaters, if you are reading this then I am probably judging you next round, how exciting! I am a HS Parliamentary debater, I use she/her pronouns, and I prefer Truth>Tech.
Most importantly, if you can work in a Taylor Swift quote or reference in a speech, I will give you higher speaker points.
- Speak Clearly (I have hearing issues and if you speak fast or mumble I may not understand you)
- Respond to the actual arguments being made
- Please, please, please signpost
- Give me a solid weighing mechanism in PMC or LOC and then weigh during the PMR and LOR
- Explain concepts or definitions clearly and try to give examples
- Ask/take one or two POI's
- Be rude or make debate inaccessible
- Rely too heavily on evidence (It can be good to back up points but the arguments should be based on logic)
- Use unnecessary jargon or theory (If you do use these, explain them clearly, or they will only serve to weaken your case and waste time)
- I am very receptive to blatant compliments before or after the round
- I am a fan of unpredictable Counter Plans, but please explain and weigh them well (I once won a round running abolish the senate)
- If you have any questions feel free to email me: email@example.com
Hello reader, my name is Joel Brown (he/him/his)!
I competed in Policy and Parli on a very lay circuit in high school, and then I competed in Parli and LD in college at Chabot College and at the University of the Pacific. I was also an assistant Parli coach at Washington High School for a year. Altogether, I have a fair amount of experience with policy-style debate.
I try to be impartial about what arguments or strategies you choose to deploy in the round, but I do care that you deploy them well - provide warrants for your arguments, and provide clear decision calculus in the rebuttals. Specifically, don't just link your arguments to x impact, there needs to be an explicit weighing of the impacts in the round.
I'm able to keep up with spreading for the most part, but don't sacrifice clarity for speed as this often impacts your argument quality and consequently your speaker points too.
I'm game for theory debate, but I expect a clear abuse story outlined in the standards that relate to your impacts in the context of the round. I'm not predisposed to either proven or potential abuse threshold, as both have real impacts - hash out the threshold question in the round and then explain your abuse story from there.
Disad/Counterplan debates are also a great option - go with whatever you think fits the round best or what you're most comfortable with. All counterplans MUST be functionally mutually exclusive with the plan or else the perm is terminal defense that I will vote on as the easiest out in the round.
I also think case debate has become something of a lost art, meaning that you can win terminal defense in front of me so long as you frame it correctly and pair it with turns. When it comes to case debate, I won't automatically vote on a risk of offense if that offense is predicated on a claim with missing/dubious warrants.
I frequently ran kritiks as a competitor and I enjoy judging rounds where critical arguments are made on either side, but that doesn't mean I automatically know the lit base you're citing inside and out - my flow benefits from 1) slowing down when introducing your thesis and/or framework at the top 2) presenting a well-developed link story that indicts the specific actions of your opponents case 3) explaining how your alt solves the K per the framework. I am most familiar with critical arguments pertaining to capitalism, race, gender, colonialism, biopower, and the environment. I am less well-versed in other literature, but I can usually track a well-explained and cohesive thesis for the most part.
Round vision is key to wining in front of me - PLEASE COLLAPSE IN THE BLOCK/PMR OR ELSE IT BECOMES OBJECTIVELY DIFFICULT FOR ME TO VOTE FOR YOU. It is both easier and more compelling for me to vote for the team that identifies and collapses to a few points of key offense than for the team that keeps doing line-by-line in the rebuttals without providing coherent impact calculus.
Feel free to ask any further questions before the round!
I am a parent judge and a lawyer. I primarily judge parliamentary debate but have judged public forum and LD a few times. As a parent/lay judge, I am not trained or well-versed in the technical rules/strategies for parliamentary debate (or any other format for that matter). Moreover, as a lawyer, I present and evaluate arguments for a living and in the real world where "kritiks" "theory" and spreading are typically not effective means to persuade. This means I value logical, substantive arguments about the underlying case/resolution over technical gamesmanship, jargon, and speed.
I also value "sportsmanship" -- which means debaters who are rude, disrespectful, arrogant, condescending, disruptive etc. toward their opponent(s) both during and before/after rounds will have a very difficult time earning my support.
As a debate tournament judge, I recognize the importance of my role in evaluating the arguments presented by each team and selecting a winner based on the strength and persuasiveness of their arguments. My primary focus will be on the substance and quality of the arguments, as well as the clarity and effectiveness of the presentation.
In order to help me evaluate the arguments presented, I will be using a flow to keep track of each team's arguments and rebuttals. This means that I will be taking detailed notes on each team's points, evidence, and responses throughout the debate.
When evaluating the arguments, I will consider the following factors:
Clarity and coherence: I will assess how well each team presents their arguments and how well they connect them to a coherent overall case. I will be looking for a clear thesis statement, a logical progression of points, and effective transitions between arguments.
Relevance and sufficiency: I will evaluate whether the arguments presented are relevant to the topic and whether they are sufficient to support the team's position. I will be looking for well-supported arguments that are directly related to the debate topic.
Evidence and analysis: I will examine the quality and relevance of the evidence presented by each team, as well as the level of analysis and reasoning applied to that evidence. I will be looking for well-researched and credible evidence, and for teams to effectively explain the significance of that evidence in relation to their argument.
Warranting and impact analysis: I will be paying attention to how well each team supports their points with logical reasoning and evidence, and how well they explain the significance of their arguments in relation to the overall debate topic. I will be looking for strategic use of warranting and impact analysis, including clear identification of key points of disagreement, effective counterarguments, and the ability to anticipate and respond to their opponent's arguments.
Rebuttals and refutation: I will also evaluate the effectiveness of each team's rebuttals and refutations, including their ability to anticipate and respond to their opponent's arguments. I will be looking for teams to effectively address the underlying warrants and impacts of their opponent's arguments, and for strategic use of rebuttal, including clear identification of key points of disagreement and effective counterarguments.
Presentation style: I will evaluate the presentation style of each team, including their tone, pace, and confidence. I will be looking for clear and concise delivery, effective use of vocal inflection and body language, and an engaging and persuasive speaking style.
Based on the above factors, I will be using the following criteria to select a winner:
Quality of arguments: The team with the most persuasive and well-supported arguments will receive a higher score.
Effective use of warranting and impact analysis: The team that effectively supports their arguments with logical reasoning and evidence, and that explains the significance of their arguments in relation to the overall debate topic, will receive a higher score.
Effective rebuttals and refutation: The team that effectively anticipates and responds to their opponent's arguments, and that addresses the underlying warrants and impacts of their opponent's arguments, will receive a higher score.
Presentation style: The team with the most clear, engaging, and persuasive presentation style will receive a higher score.
This paradigm was most definitely NOT written by chatgpt.
I'm David, I'm a former Parli debater and I'll be your judge today. If you have any questions about my paradigm just ask me before the round starts:
If you say "is everyone ok with an offtime roadmap" and don't wait for someone to respond and just start talking then I will look at you very disapprovingly.
What even is a "technocrat":
->Given that I am a decently experienced debater and judge I can flow and understand your tech arguments. That being said, unless it's very clearly warranted in the round, I default to assuming you made a theory argument to skew the other team out of the debate.
->Theory I'm most sympathetic too is stuff about abusive definitions and mutual exclusivity.
->Don't spread, you're not the next Eminem.
Do the work for me:
->I know I technically have to be judging your round based off of who had the best arguments with the greatest impact, but that's a lot of thinking (and subjectivity) on my part.
->Do a sizable portion of the thinking for me through weighing, clear impacts, and voting issues, and you are likely to get my vote.
->Sometimes when there are inferences in the round that aren't clearly stated (e.g. climate change would end the world) then I might, MIGHT, do some of the work for you. Though that depends on the day, and on whether or not you shamelessly compliment me before the round starts.
->Debate is supposed to be a fun activity.
->If you are able to use a significant amount of dad-jokes and puns then I probably can't vote on that but I will be paying more attention to your arguments making them, potentially, "better".
->Don't ruin the fun for anyone else, it's never that deep.
Don't be gross:
->I feel like this doesn't require a lot of elaboration. If you have to ask the question "would this be considered gross?" then you probably shouldn't be making the argument.
->I am not "tabula rasa" and by that I mean that I won't just believe any argument you make until it's disproven. If you make a bad argument that doesn't make sense, I'm not voting on it. Generally, the bigger the claim the more warranting is needed.
->Take a few POIs.
->I don't exactly "protect the flow" so I recommend calling POOs. That being said, I do tend to not really focus on new arguments made in the last speech when making a decision but that's not a promise.
Non-Parli Event Specific Notes:
PF: Please please please be respectful during Cross! If you've already asked a couple questions and the other person hasn't, give them a chance to talk. Also, depending on the time of day I may or may not be familiar with this month's topic. This means that you need to explain everything as if I'm hearing it for the first time. Also, given that I'm a Parli debater, I'm not very familiar with PF so please be patient with me.
Congress: I have a very low tolerance for interrupting. Speakers should be very aware that everyone in that space also wants to talk (especially if you're a man, you should be hyper aware of the effect of talking over women in the debate space).
LD: Same with PF, I may not be at all familiar with the topic so please be clear and explain things as if I'm hearing them for the first time. Also, given that I'm a Parli debater, I'm not super familiar with LD structure so please be patient with me.
My name is Eliot. I'm a Parli debater first, so if I'm judging some other event than this paradigm may be less useful. I would attempt to make this more entertaining, but it would probably be a copy of one of these great paradigms (that I happen to generally agree with) so I'll just keep it short.
Generally, I'm truth > tech. Parli should be a space where anyone can win a round if they make good arguments. As long as you don't make debate inaccessible, or act like a terrible person, then you're probably fine!
Some other general points:
- Tell me what the resolution is, what you're actually talking about
- Please don't run unnecessary theory
- Evidence on its own doesn't actually mean anything. Use actual logic!
THE SHORT VERSION: Avoid speed and jargon, and in rebuttal, focus on fewer arguments and develop them rather than trying to win everything. Connect your arguments to the resolution, and where appropriate, to the standard for judging the round, and definitions of key terms. No tag team. No offtime roadmaps/thank yous. Take at least one or two POIs, and don't make that POO unless it's clear cut and important. Unreceptive to kritiks. Raise topicality if the case is legitimately outside the resolution, but do so briefly and simply, explaining the interpretation and violation then moving on.
THE LONGER VERSION: I am the debate coach for Berkeley High School. I've been involved in debate (all kinds) for longer than I care to admit, and parli almost the whole time. I am now a practicing lawyer.
1. I tend to focus on where the analysis is, rather than where the drops are.
2. I dislike excessive speed (that is, faster than you would talk outside of a debate round) and jargon (any term that would be unintelligible to a non-debater). Employing either of these will hurt your chances of winning, maybe by a lot.
3. Please, please, please focus on a few key issues in rebuttal and really develop them, rather than trying to cover everything, and saying little about each point. If you don't spend much (or any) time on your key offense, you're in trouble.
4. No tag teaming. It's not your turn to speak.
5. Don't say "Try or die." It's trite and overused. When you say "try or die," I hear "we don't have any good responses to their analysis that our plan won't solve the problem." Use your time instead to explain your causation arguments more clearly.
6. Topicality is a necessary rule and voting issue, but the cottage industry of theory that has blossomed around it is not only unnecessary but also a huge drag on substantive debate. Do not spend more than 30-90 seconds of any speech on topicality unless the round genuinely presents the most complex topicality question you've ever encountered, or unless you genuinely can't clash on any other argument in the round. If you're challenging their plan/arguments as non-topical, just explain what the Gov team is supposed to prove ("the interpretation") and why they do or don't prove it ("violation/no violation"). If you're challenging their definition, tell me their definition, the "real" definition, why yours is better, and why it matters. That's it. I don't want to hear arguments about the consequences of the violation. If the Gov doesn't affirm the resolution, they lose. If they do, I'll probably ignore topicality unless the Opp interpretation is farfetched and/or they violate the above 30-90 second rule, in which case I'll consider voting against them to deter similar topicality arguments in the future ("RVI"). But again, I will make this call based on the quality of the interpretation and violation arguments; don't waste your speech time with RVI theory.
7. Please take at least one or two points of information.
8. I'm pretty loose on counterplans as long as a good debate can still be had, and I'm okay with kicking them. I have a pretty low threshold for rejecting plan inclusive counterplans, though, since they usually seem like attempts to avoid having a substantive debate.
9. Kritiks: I am generally unreceptive to them. You can use your speech time however you like, but I have a very strong default to judging the round based on arguments for and against the resolution, which you will have to persuade me to abandon. The fact that you have better K debate skills than your opponent does not inherently validate your stated justification for running the K.
No plans or counterplans, please. If you run one, I will probably drop you. I want traditional-style LD value debate.
I don't judge policy debate much, but when I do, none of the above applies. I'll judge it based exclusively on the flow, and try to be as tabula rasa as I can.
TOC update: here are some resources I put together for the housing topic area
Background: debated in high school. That was fun! Included in my impressive list of accomplishments are such gems as: going 2-3 at Vassar, being told I am “dry enough to go straight into law” by a judge at Ridge, and spending approximately 23 seconds arguing that free will doesn’t exist in Yale Octos. Outside of debate, some of my hobbies include debating, débáting, and dëbätïng. For instance, if you ever find a college debate round with like 7 views on YouTube, 5 of them are probably from me.
Some notes on my personal stylistic and argumentative preferences:
- “Spreading” is something you do with softened butter on warm rolls, not something you should be doing in a debate speech. If I hear you double-breathing to accommodate your fast speaking, I will assume you are having a medical emergency and call 9-1-1
- If you say phrases such as “cap K,” “friv T,” or “K Aff,” I will likely assume you are talking about some musician’s stage name that I am simply not aware of. I’m kritical and kwestioning of the konsistent kustom of katering to adjudikators through kritical klaims in kompetitive debate. Konsequently, I kan’t komprehend komplicated kritical klaims. In short: kick the Ks to limit the Ls and wrack up Ws
- If you pull out one of those tripod-desk-stand thingies, I will assume you are using it as a table for brunch. And then get offended if you don’t offer me food.
- If you use any jargon-y abbreviation I am unfamiliar with, I will Google that abbreviation and use the first search result to evaluate your argument. For instance, if you use the abbreviation “ULI,” I shall Google “ULI” and see that “ULI” refers to the “Urban Land Institute;” then do my very best to understand how your argument connects back to said institution
- If you time yourself using your phone’s alarm and the ringer audibly goes off, I will assume the noise is coming from my microwave and immediately rush off to make sure my food isn’t burning
- Sometimes, when I’m walking around on the streets, people’ll come up to me and shout “RYYYAANNNN – WHAT’RE YOUR THOUGHTS ON USING ABUSIVE DEFINITIONS TO GAIN A STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE???” to which I always respond: “Roses are red, violets are blue, don’t use abusive definitions, for I will hate you :)”
Q: Are you okay with PICs?
A: Not sure why you capitalized it like that, but I absolutely ADORE dog pics, cat pics, fluffy cow pics, or basically any [insert cute thing here] pics
Q: Do you like theory?
A: Depends on the theory. Like, for instance, I’m really into the theory that colleges are just money laundering fronts for the massive #2 pencil lobbying industry. Watch out folks: it’s not just Big Oil and Big Pharma that runs the world. It’s also Big Pencil
Q: Do you enjoy POIs?
A: Oh yes for sure! But please, for the love of all things good on planet earth, under no circumstances *ever* should you pronounce the word “POI” phonetically in a way that rhymes with words like “toy” or “boy.” Please.
Q: Will you give me an extra speaker point if I bring you food?
A: I’m actually such a generous person that I’d rather bring you the food! To make sure I’m delivering it to the right place, just shoot me an email with your name, address, preferred type of pizza, social security number, mother’s maiden name, and the name of your first pet.
Hi! My name is Lily (she/her) and I am a senior at Berkeley High. I tend to be pretty nice, but I have a very expressive face and may be staring at you during your speech like you have just said the most insidious thing. I am likely not thinking anything negative, that is just my thinking face.
Please abstain from spreading and using jargon unnecessarily. I am a feeble minded gal and won’t understand nor do I find it particularly charming.
If you are going to run a Kritic or other theory take a step back and think: “Is this going to leech academic value from the debate?” If your answer is yes, reconsider.
Be respectful to your opponents. It is supposed to be fun. If you are especially rude to your opponents, I will shamelessly talk smack about you to my team. Also, it won’t make me want to vote for you.
Most importantly, warrant out your impacts.
Have judged a few rounds, but not much experience. Stay organized and have good impacts.
Call me judge
About Me: Semi-new to judging, not new to debating. Junior at Monrovia High School.
- If you can help it, try not to speak too fast, my handwriting tends to get bad under pressure.
- To win, have an effective argument that gets to the heart of the issue and refutes all your opponent's points.
- If your opponent doesn't understand a POI, don't assume I do.
- I like timing debaters myself, and even if you time yourself I will be using my time to ensure some degree of accuracy.
- Have fun and learn!
I'm Elisandra (any prns) and I'm going to judge your round today:
- I am a high school parli debater at Berkeley High
- Statistics are meaningless without warranting, logic > numbers
- Not a K debater. Not a fan of K’s. Needs to be generally lay or else I won’t understand it.
- Theory when necessary, should be presented with words an average human can understand. It’s also usually *not* necessary
(speed theory is fire, equity related theory is fire,.. note on everything else- WHAT is the point of doing parli if you want to pre write your case)
-I will tune out any and all arguments related to SA or DV.
- Please don't spread, if you talk too fast and I can't understand your arguments I can't vote on them
- Be a good human
- take POI’s, ask POI’s, I “protect the flow” but it’s your burden to POO new argumentation in rebuttal speeches
-I’m okay with tag teaming just not an excessive amount
- Utilize counter-plans but if you can argue straight opp don’t do too much
-double breathing to talk faster is fascinating. I will vote against you, but will also be requesting a tutorial after
-“I’m a tech judge I’m a truth judge” if you make a bad argument I’m not voting for it. If you make an ‘okay’ uncontested argument, it’s not going to win you the round.
If you have any questions feel free to ask me before or after the round- along with that feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck debaters :)
New parent to judging. Looking forward to this.
I’m primarily parli these days, but the principles would apply to any form of debate I might judge.
I check all the boxes: successful, national circuit high school debater (policy/cross-ex); debate coach for over 25 years; tab director for over 20 years; debate league director for over 15 years; taught at a respected parliamentary debate summer workshop for 10 years. However, my career was in business, not education or the law, which does affect my point of view.
None of that is “actionable”, in that it is of no help to you if I’m sitting in the back of the room with my flow and stopwatch waiting for you to begin. The following may be more useful.
My role as a judge is to sort through the debate you and your opponent choose to have and produce a reasoned, persuasive decision. My “case” (RFD) should accurately reflect what was said and be acceptable to each of the debaters as a valid opinion on what occurred, even if they may take issue with that opinion.
This judge-as-debater approach has certain implications:
· My source material is the debate you choose to have. If you don’t agree on what it should be about, then my decision should be based first on your definitional arguments. If you do agree, then my decision should be based on the relative weight of arguments on the issue. If both teams agree—explicitly or tacitly—to have a particular debate, my opinion as to what the motion or debate should have been about is not relevant.
· The more work you do to lay out a path to a decision, the less work I have to do building my own, and the fewer decisions I have to make as the judge. That generally works in your favor.
· Your arguments should be based both on what you present and, perhaps even more so, on what your opponents present, with a fair comparison and weighing.
My business background has certain implications:
· Debate is intended to be educational. I have less sympathy for arguments that no one would make or consider in the real world. Theory arguments should be clearly explained and shown to have a serious impact on the matter at hand. The more distantly related an argument is to a plain reading of the motion, the greater the need to justify that argument.
· Not all arguments are equal. Judging is not simply counting arguments won, lost, or dropped, but comparing the persuasive weight of each side. I expect both sides will win some arguments and lose some arguments and drop some arguments. If you don’t weigh them, I will.
· Explanations count more than facts (at least explanations broadly consistent with the facts). For any arguable topic there will be examples that favor each side. The fact that some people survive horrendous accidents unscathed is not in itself an argument against safety equipment; that many will refuse to use safety equipment that is inconvenient or uncomfortable is, at least against that particular type.
· I don’t have a problem making decisions. I rarely take long or agonize over them. However, I will do my best to provide a detailed written RFD, time permitting.
Finally, debate is about the spoken word. It is your job to persuade me and in your best interest that I clearly understand what you want to say. It is not my job to be persuaded, nor to intuit what you intended to say beyond a reasonable effort on my part to do so. This has the following implications:
· Speak as fast as you think appropriate. I flow well and can tolerate speed. But if I don’t hear it, don’t hear it as intended, or don’t get it on my flow, it won’t help you. It’s not my job to signal you if you are speaking too fast or drifting off into unintelligibility.
· Why wouldn’t you present more arguments than your opponents can handle in the time allowed? Spread is a natural consequence of time limits on speeches. But 13 weak reasons why an argument is true won’t help you even if your opponent drops 12 of them, but wins the one most important to the issue. And debaters with more than one level of subpoints almost always get lost in their own outline. Quality spreads as surely as quantity and has more impact.
· I understand some debaters provide outlines, cards, briefs, etc. I will listen carefully to what you say, but I will not read anything you give me.
I have published a great deal of material of varying quality on the Connecticut Debate Association website, http://ctdebate.org . You will find transcriptions of my flows, various RFDs, topic analysis and general debate commentary reflecting my opinions over the years.
Definitions? Definitions are a legitimate area of argument, but don’t ask me to rule on them mid-round. Gov has the right to a reasonable definition of terms. If Opp does not like them, Opp should challenge in a POC, POI or at the top of the LOC. Don’t wait to challenge definitions late in the round. Gov need not explicitly define terms or present a plan: clear usage in the PMC binds Gov and must be accepted or challenged by Opp. In other words, if it is obvious what Gov is talking about, don't try to re-define the terms out from under them. P.S. No one likes definition debates, so avoid them unless Gov is clearly being abusive.
Points of Clarification? Like them. Think it’s a good tactic for Gov to stop and offer Opp a chance to clear up terms. Should occur at the top of the PMC immediately after presenting definitions/plan/framework, etc.
Pre-speech outline or road map? A common local custom not to my taste. Speeches are timed for a reason, and I see this as an attempt to get a bit more speaking time. But, when in Rome… They should be brief and truly an outline, not substance. I will listen politely but I won't flow them.
New contentions in the Member constructives? Perfectly legitimate, though it was considered old-fashioned even when I debated 50 years ago. It also presents certain tactical and strategic issues debaters should understand and have thought through.
Counterplans? If you know what you are doing and it’s appropriate to the motion and the Gov case, a counterplan can be extremely effective. Most debaters don’t know what they are doing, or use them when there are less risky or more effective options available. Many counterplans are more effective as arguments why the status quo solves or as disadvantages.
Written material? I’m aware in some leagues debaters give judges a written outline of their case, or pass notes to the speaker. I accept all local customs and will not interfere or hold these against you. However, debate is by spoken word, and I will not read anything you give me.
New arguments in rebuttal (Point of Order)? You should call them if you see them. But if you see them every five words it begins to look like an attempt to disrupt the rebuttal speaker. Landing one good PO puts me on watch for the rest of the speech; multiple “maybes” will likely annoy me.
Evidence? Even in heavily researched debate like policy, facts are cherry picked. Even in the real world one rarely has all the facts. Explanations generally outweigh simple facts (though explanations that contradict the facts aren't really explanations). Information cited should be generally known or well-explained; “what’s your source” is rarely a useful question or counter-argument. I am not required to accept something I know to be untrue. If you tell me something I don’t know or am not sure of, I will give it some weight in my decision, and I will look it up after the round. That’s how I learn.
Theory? (See “business background” comments above, and "Definitions".) These are arguments like any other. They must be clearly explained and their impact on the round demonstrated. They are not magic words that simply need to be said to have an effect. Like all arguments, best present them as if your audience has never heard them before.
Weird stuff? Everyone in my family has an engineering degree. We’re used to intelligent arguments among competent adults. We know we aren’t as clever as we think we are, and you probably aren’t either. The further you drift from a straightforward interpretation of the motion, the greater your burden to explain and to justify your arguments.
Rules of debate? There are none, or very few. If your opponent does something you think is out of bounds, raise a POI if you can and explain the impact on the arguments or on the debate in your next speech. Most "rules" debaters cite are more like "guidelines". If you understand the reason for the guideline, you can generally turn a weak "that's against the rules" into a much stronger "here is why this is harmful to their case."
ejr, rev July 2023
I expect debaters to be courteous, which is to say I prefer 'our opponents claim of X is incorrect/flawed/incomplete because Y and Z' to 'claiming X is ridiculous', as both more civil and more persuasive. I appreciate when everyone keeps to time. Please do not resort to language that is discriminatory or disrespectful.
Debaters are free to inform me (or not) of their preferred pronouns when/as they choose.
I can follow a fast debate, but I prefer it when debaters speak at their own normal rate. I do not love speed for the sake of speed or jargon for the sake of jargon. If a team does not meaningfully slow down after being requested to do so (within reason), I will dock speaker points and be more forgiving of dropped arguments.
I have no objection to theory, but I expect the connection and relevance between the theory and the topic to be clear and convincing and in no way abusive. I generally dislike topicality arguments, unless the government's definition/framing is unreasonable. If teams introduce a weighing mechanism, I appreciate when they use it to weigh the competing arguments.
Overall, I judge each round on the cogency and strength of each side's argument as a whole rather than the quantity of evidence or arguments presented. For me the flow is to keep track of the debate, it is not the debate.
I did parli. in college and some judging then and more recently. I prefer to outline the debate to keep track of both the arguments and the structure of the debate itself.
Hey guys I'm Kai Teigen! I use he/him/his pronouns and I'm the captain of Berkeley High School Speech and Debate. I have a few judging preferences you should be aware of:
1. I think Theory is a cool concept but is often used unnecessarily to beat down less tech oriented debaters, so T shells are fine but unless you have genuine ground for abuse it won't make much of a difference in weighing the round. I have similar feelings towards Kritiks; I won't outright ban but I'd strongly advise you not to run them especially in Novice. Ks and other hypertechnical debate styles tend to be pretty inaccessible, and if you do end up running one please explain it clearly and succinctly. The other team must have some chance to actually debate your Kritik or I won't vote for you, regardless of how many fancy sounding words you use.
2. As a general rule I think jargon is pretty silly; use it if you'd like but keep in mind that if it doesn't seem like you actually know what you're saying I'll probably disregard it. I also think speaker points are outdated and unnecessary, so I'll give you the tournaments average speaker score unless you're being condescending or rude, in which case expect to be dropped to the lowest possible speaker score.
3. I judge Tabula Rasa, so if I flow an argument and it goes unrefuted I'll assume it to be true. If new analysis is made in rebuttals, I will expect a point of order and without a point of order that analysis will factor into my decision as if it had been made in constructives. Make sure to weigh your points if you want to influence my verdict; tell me why your contentions matter and what I should be voting on. I have seen incredible teams fall apart in rebuttals just because they failed to weigh. Please don't let this be you. If neither side weighs, I'll weigh using my own political biases (I am no longer nearly as far left as I used to be but still economically and socially progressive) Just make things easy for all of us and weigh the damn points.
4. I'm not a stickler for perfect organization (I tend to be a little all over the place myself) but please keep your speeches as neat and clear as possible. If I don't understand where you are on the flow or I find you repeating a point, I'll take my hands off the keyboard and stop flowing your points until you tell me where you are or move on to a new point.
5. I tend to prefer actual logic over facts: facts can be great kickers to back your point but they're not real warrants on their own. If you want strong links you need to extend the fact, tell me what it means, and tell me why it makes sense and supports your case. Nine times out of ten I'll vote for a team with no facts but excellent warrants over a team that just rattles off university studies and doesn't extend their points, so prioritize reasoning over citations.
6. The last thing I have to say is that debate is supposed to be fun, safe, and inclusive. Don't laugh or smirk at your opponents, don't belittle or demean them, and don't trivialize tragedy. Trust me, none of these look good. IF ANY RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC, TRANSPHOBIC OR OTHERWISE EXCLUSIONARY LANGUAGE IS USED, I WILL DROP YOU IMMEDIATELY. Please be respectful and kind, because in the end debate is just a game and we're all here to learn and enjoy ourselves. I'll give a verbal disclosure and some feedback at the end of the round, feel free to ask questions but respect my decision because it is final. Good luck!
I'm a senior and captain of Harriton's (PA) debate team. I'm on the NYPDL's board as Social Media Director, and primarily debate on the east coast, but have some experience with west coast tournaments.
I appreciate well warranted arguments, and will prioritize them in a round. Please respond to all of your opponents points, and explain the impacts of your case. I will vote for "out-there" arguments if you can prove to me in the round that they're true.
Be respectful to me and your opponents. I'm excited to watch your round!
My name is Adam, I am an experienced debater (now college student) with more than four years behind my belt. Here are some of my tips for your round with me:
1) Please be respectful and attentive throughout the entire round
2) I am not a tech judge per se but greatly appreciate proper contention/advantage structure. The more organized you are, the more likely I will be to grant you the win. I crave a carefully crafted link chain.
3) IMPACTS ARE ESSENTIAL! A debate is won over impacts - make sure to allocate proper time to them in round.
4) Theory... it's alright. I appreciate the necessity of theory to keep rounds free and fair, but would rather not see the whole round become about it. Make your argument, and move on. I don't need to see a proper theory shell but please make it make sense.
5) SET A STANDARD AND STICK TO IT. I think standards are really important so don't forget to set one or to weigh your arguments against it during the round. If your opponent sets a standard you think is unreasonable, please suggest an alternative for me to weigh your arguments with.
6) I would rather you not bombard me with tons of evidence and facts. Parli is not about how many statistics you know or mathematical wizardry, but about logic and reasoning and argument. If your argument doesn't need statistics to be believed then I don't necessarily need to see them.
7) My flowing skills are good, but don't assume I have every little point down.
8) I much prefer a clear, slow, and precise speaker to a fast one who gets more points in. Debate is not just about arguments but arguing itself - thoughtful presentation and speaking is essential.
9) Have a good time! Debate is best when everybody is really engaged with and enjoying the glorious intellectual battle that it is. Appreciate the activity.
My name is Ellen! When I judge, I mainly look for skilled speaking style, complete and understandable arguments with valid evidence, and well-thought out refutations.