Stephen Stewart Memorial Middle and High School Invitational
2023 — Milpitas, CA/US
Policy CX Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
my email is: email@example.com
background: currently a freshman @ uc berkeley - I competed in speech and debate for four years on both the league (coast forensic league) and national circuit, with my main events being parliamentary debate, policy debate, and congressional debate by the end of senior year. I finalled at two TOC bid tournaments and State my senior year, and qualified to the TOC in Congressional Debate.
Here are a few of my judging preferences:
1.speaking: first and foremost, be respectful in round, and in cross-examination. If you bring harm to the debate space in any way, I will drop you. You’re in the round to further your point to your side, and fully participate in the round. I don’t mind speed (I was a pretty fast speaker myself in round), as long as you don’t become indecipherable. Don’t use canned speeches or intros - I value original, unique, and nuanced arguments over delivery every time and will rank as such. Try to show some variety in the types of speeches you give (first few cycles vs. crystals)
2.cross-examination: don’t treat cx as throwaway time! I judge on the quality of all aspects of round engagement, including asking quality cross examination questions to further your argument, as well as poking holes on the other side. be present and engaged - it makes a huge difference!
3.argumentation: just to reiterate what I mentioned earlier: make original, unique, and nuanced arguments. please don’t rehash arguments late into the round. if you cite credible sources, tag them as such - they’re crucial to validating the argument you’re making.
I love clash and weighing (a lot)! please make an effort to integrate it in your nuanced argumentation. At the very least, be organized and understandable.
if you’re introducing a unique impact to the round, make sure to explain the link chain thoroughly; if you’re rehashing/validating a previous impact brought up on your side, make sure to be explicit for how your impact/argumentation is different from previous speakers. I don’t mind either, but the goal is to add depth to the round.
(For Congress) POs: I default to tournament rules on POs, but I tend to rank POs highly if they are well-paced, engaged, and prepared.
Look above for my prefs on argumentation
Don’t use time in between speeches for prep
Plans/evidence whatever you want to use is up to you!
make sure you properly cite sources & empirical examples
Don’t evidence dump in speeches, I’ll give more points for warranted reasoning/connecting to the larger ideas of your case (two world analysis in rebuttals)
Ask and answer AT LEAST 2 POIs in the constructive!
I don't mind fast rounds, be clear on taglines & condense off cases in later speeches
Hey everyone! My name is Gurshaan Bariana (preferred pronouns he/him/his) and I did Policy debate on the national circuit for three years at Milpitas High School and just completed my studies at UC Berkeley.
You'll find I'm extremely supportive and want you all to do well, so don't worry about asking me questions after the round if you still need help with anything. I would also like to be on the email chain (firstname.lastname@example.org) just so I can look back at the evidence at the end of the round if I need to.
Now onto the important stuff:
YOU DO YOU. Too many times I've seen debaters worrying about who their judge is and conforming to their style. I would highly advise against this. I am a firm believer in the idea that you should go for whatever you're comfortable with. I would much rather watch an interesting debate than hear exactly what I want to hear each and every round. Now onto more specifics:
Hateful speech will not be tolerated. That includes any racist/sexist/ableist/homophobic rhetoric. I will stop the round immediately if this happens.
Clash is key- I want to see you directly contesting your opponents arguments instead of reading the blocks your coaches gave you before the round. Trust me, I will be able to tell and it will probably show when you see your speaker points. Indicting your opponents authors and responding to each individual piece of their evidence is something I'll look for and reward. Line by line is extremely important to me and should be for you.
I won't count flash as prep. That being said, if it starts taking a ridiculous amount of time to send over one file, I will start counting it as prep.
Tag team cx is ok, but don't constantly speak over your partner as it will reflect poorly on your speaker points.
CX is extremely underrated- use your time to point out contradictions, ambiguity, or just roast them. A little arrogance is amusing and an ethos boost, but it's awkward if you aren't in a position to be doing so. Please don't spend the entire time asking for clarifications about the case.
Policy Affirmative: If this is your thing, go for it. I have a recent appreciation for creative topical affs, so if you are able to do that I'll definitely reward you. If not, I'd prefer you don't go on openev and use the same generic aff everybody already has answers to; I don't want to listen to the same argument every round. Make sure you are able to clearly explain the aff and the impacts behind it. Please please please do not bombard me with nuclear war scenarios because I will probably view those with a little skepticism. Impact calc is definitely something I will be looking for, so make sure you flush it out.
K affs: Only go for it if you know what you're doing. There is nothing worse than a K poorly executed, so I expect you to be able to clearly explain the advocacy and what it entails. If you are a performative team, I am super down to judge that, but once again please make sure you know what you are doing.
Framework vs K affs: Yes. Please do this. Throughout my senior year, framework was my go-to argument against any K affs. Please don't read framework blocks from openev or generic arguments that you found in your backfiles as that will make for a boring round for everyone in the room. The best debates I've seen were super contextualized framework arguments against teams with flushed out impact arguments.
Topicality: I'm not extremely opposed to Topicality, but at the same time I don't know if I would have much fun listening to teams spitting definitions and counter-interpretations back at each other. If you go for this, I want you to go all out. You should emphasize the impacts of topicality and make it extremely clear to me why the other team's aff is bad for debate.
K's: I definitely had more exposure to kritiks during my years of debate, so I'm down to listen. I will not favor any team just because they choose to read a kritik in front of me. Although I will vote for generic links that are poorly handled by the other team, I will definitely reward you if your link is super specific to the aff. I love gutsy 2nr calls, but make your decisions at your own risk. I think it is also especially key to make sure you have several framing arguments and are clearly able to articulate any permutation arguments if it arises. In order for me to vote for you at the end of the round, I need to have a clear understanding of the alternative and its implications.
DA/CP- The more specific they are to the aff, the more I'll love them. I'm not really a fan of politics DA, but anything else I see as a viable option. The link for the DA and the solvency/net benefits for the CP will be extremely important for me, so make sure you take that into consideration.
If you can somehow make me laugh for a good reason, you'll be seeing some boosts in your speaker points (but don't force it please). Other than that, I wish you all the best. Good luck and have fun!
Email Chain: email@example.com
Please slow down on analytics. It is really hard sometimes to hear debates online so doing this is purely for your own benefit.
Debated in policy for four years at Damien High School in La Verne, CA. I had 5 career bids and I participated in the 2020 eTOC. I placed pretty well at some national tournaments and received some speaker awards along the way. I have worked as a judge and staff member at the Cal National Debate Institute. I was a consultant/judge for College Prep, and this is my first year as an assistant coach for College Prep.
The list of people below are folks that I have had the privilege of knowing or working with and they all have influenced how I think about debate and I try to emulate all of them in my decision-making:
Christina Phillips, Mike Shackelford, Jon Sharp, Chris Paredes, Michael Wimsatt, Cade Cottrell, Christian Bato, Jyleesa Hampton, Nate Fleming, Ian Beier, and Kelly Ye
Debate is a competition, but education seems to be the most intrinsic benefit to the round taking place. I believe that debates centered around the resolution are the best, but that can mean many different things.
The most important thing for me as a judge is seeing clash and line-by-line debating instead of relying upon pre-written blocks. Drops happen and that is debate, but what I most hate to see are students reading off their laptops instead of making compelling indicts of their opponents' arguments off the top of their heads. Debate requires some reaction to unexpected things but I think that it enhances critical thinking and research skills.
When it comes to content, I sincerely do not have any big leans toward any type of argument. Just come to the round with a well-researched strategy and I will be happy to hear it. My only non-starters are arguments that promote interpersonal violence, prejudice toward any group of people, or danger toward anyone in the round. If those arguments are made, the offending team will lose, receive a 0 for speaks, and I will speak with their coach. The safety of students is the number one priority in an academic space such as debate.
Thoughts on Specific Arguments Below:
Be explicit and clear in the impact debate. I want good and warranted impact comparison with tons of turns case/turns disad arguments at the top. I also want explicit link debating with an extension of warrants and not just a repetition of the tag for the link. Politics disads are great but I would like a somewhat coherent link that is topic or aff-contingent and not just a generic "new bill saps PC" or "new bill kills focus" argument.
I am all about good counterplan strategies that have great solvency evidence and finesse. I have grown tired of all the nonsense process, agent, and consult counterplans, and while I will vote for them, I prefer to hear one that is well-researched and actually has a solvency advocate for the aff. Regarding theory, most violations are reasons to justify a permutation or to lower thresholds for solvency deficits, not voters. Consult CPs are however the most sketchy for me, and I can be convinced to vote against them given good debating.
Love these debates, but sometimes people get too bogged down by the minutiae of the flow that they forget to extend an impact. Treating T like a disad is the best way to describe how I like teams to go for it. Please give a case list and/or examples of ground loss. Comparison of interps is important. I think that intent to exclude is more important than intent to define regarding predictability, but this is only marginal.
I think that up to 3 advocacies are fine for me. Anything more and I am more sympathetic to the aff. Don't get it twisted, if the neg screws up debating condo, I will vote aff.
I like Kritiks, but I really hate when teams do not do the work that is necessary to make a cogent argument. I think that the alternative is the hardest thing to win, and more often I vote for teams that invest a lot of time and good ink on the framework debate and one or two solid, specific pieces of link offense against the aff. The more specific link is obviously better. I also think that it is possible to win absent case defense, but only if you are winning the correct framework offense.
I think that my thoughts on the K apply here with a bit more nuance involved. I prefer that the aff be related to the topic and that it actually does something that is a departure from the squo. Framework is a good strategy, but if executed poorly, the aff will have an easy time getting my vote. The neg must also answer the aff because it will be hard to win framework without contesting the method of the 1AC. I am most likely to vote for whoever consolidates and focuses on a central point of offense and impacts it out better.
Feel free to ask me anything before the round. Most importantly compete, respect each other, and have fun.
disclaimers for preffing:
- i competed four years at archbishop mitty high school, policy for two years and parli for two years after, won chssa parli 2021
- i'm cool with the common k's (cap, neolib, security, etc), as a debater i have experience with running antiblackness, orientalism and queer k's. im good with anything, but im probably not familiar with ur niche lit base so just explain it well. if you're a super high level k or theory debater however, consider preffing me low lol
- spread if you want, i'll say slow or clear if i need to
my judging preferences:
1. if u cause harm in the debate space ill drop u immediately
2. tech over truth unless you don't warrant
3. organize uq/l/il/mpx and signpost
4. impact everything out or it doesn't matter; if i'm judging parli, everything should be centered around your weighing mechanism
5. im down for friv theory, unless u make the debate completely inaccessible to your opponents EDIT: if you are going to run theory, please for the love of god, run it well. don’t give me shitty theory shells to evaluate instead of substantive k/case debate. you may not suffer but i do
6. everyone gets a 29, make an atla/aot/jjk/shadow and bone reference and i'll give you a 30. speaks end up being arbitrary and ableist/sexist anyways so just have fun
7. stick around for feedback, i'll always try to disclose. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need anything else
General: Graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2021 with a double-major in computer science and anthropology and now work as a product manager in the tech industry.
My email is email@example.com - please add me to the email chain and/or reach out with any questions!
Debate Background: 4 years of circuit policy debate at Milpitas High School (2013-17). 3 years of NPDA Parliamentary and NFA-LD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2018-21).
During my time in college, I coached a handful of high school policy/LD teams and worked as a lab leader (leading labs focused on K arguments) at the University of Texas National Institute of Forensics. Since I graduated and started working, I have been completely removed from debate.
DISCLAIMER: This paradigm was originally written for policy debate but is pretty consistent with how I evaluate ANY style of debate. Let's be real, every debate event seems to slowly adopts new "progressive" norms that make it closer and closer to policy anyway.
Debate is a game. It is influenced by (and often a microcosm of) the social, political, cultural, and libidinal constitution of what we might call the "real world", but is ultimately an argumentative testing ground for ideas.
The only thing I know to be "true" as a judge is that I have been tasked to listen, evaluate, and arrive at a decision based on the presentation and clash of ideas. The scope / nature / telos of those ideas, how I interpret and evaluate argumentation, and what influences my decision-making is entirely up for contestation. I can be compelled to vote for anything regardless of its simplicity, complexity, or absurdity without any preconceived biases as long as it is not racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, etc.
My personal debate career and involvement as a coach was primarily invested into kritikal styles of advocacy, but I do not have any fixed stylistic biases. I will not have a problem understanding and evaluating traditional arguments, but this is an area of research in debate that I did not have too much personal investment in. My policy debate background means I generally won't have a problem flowing speed.
I really do NOT care about trivial debate etiquette. Dress however you want. As long as you're not compromising the safety or access of people, say whatever you want, however you want. Call people out on their BS.
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN (GOOD) DEBATES:
- Tech > truth (but I will only evaluate arguments that I understand).
- Organization, specificity, evidence comparison and argument interaction are key to amazing debates.
- Write my ballot for me - judge instruction is the mark of a well executed rebuttal speech. Frame every part of the debate: tell me how I should be viewing and evaluating arguments and why. Leaving it up to me (or your opponents) to make assumptions or connect the dots to influence my decision may not bode well for you.
- The debate is NOT determined by evidence in a vacuum; it's up to YOU to explain (or spin) warrants, regardless of how amazing (or unfortunately terrible) your cards may be.
- Cross-x is an underutilized art. Destroy your opponents with precise and impactful questions. Be one step ahead. Be witty!
I may not be intimately familiar with topic-specific political processes or terminology, so be sure to explain things and be precise. I would much rather you read one or two well-developed and strategic contentions than several mediocre ones.
I believe that the art of nuanced technical debate is dying, but I'm hoping you prove me wrong. I've noticed a troubling trend of terrible evidence, mediocre internal link explanations, and extensions without substance in the traditional rounds I've had the opportunity to judge. Put in the effort to explain and contextually apply the arguments made in your evidence. Question the merits of bad evidence. Spend the time to frame and impact out your arguments in detail.
Well developed weighing mechanism / impact framing arguments will go a long way with me. I don't presume to know what is good and what is bad - it's up to you to tell me and justify why things are important and what my ballot ought to prioritize.
Because the traditional affirmatives I judge usually end up being versus the K, here's some specific thoughts on those debates:
- Defend your affirmative. Pivoting to spike out of offense is not as strategic as you think. Avoid resorting to vague permutations and/or shifty link defense.
- Utilize and apply your affirmative. Take the time to make specific link/impact turn arguments.
- Engage the criticism. Failing to answer the negative's theory of power is usually an instant recipe for a loss.
- I have a high standard for perm articulation from the affirmative, and link/alt explanation from the negative. Do NOT let lazy K teams get away with bad link analysis or incoherent explanations of their theory.
- Substantive 2AC framework arguments are more likely to influence my decision than whiny procedural stuff.
I have debated against, affirmed, written, and judged a wide variety of K-Aff arguments and fully encourage you to experiment, push the boundaries of literature and debate as an activity, and ultimately use this space to advocate for things of interest or importance to you. If you're looking for an idea of literature bases with which I am most familiar, check the "Kritiks" section of my paradigm.
I will NOT uncritically vote for you because I like your choice or style of argumentation. Although kritikal affirmatives enable potentially valuable breaks in the traditional form/content of debate and the resolution, I believe that there is a level of investment with the literature and knowledge about debate as an activity necessary to successfully challenge the ideological protocols of the game itself and/or operationalize the game as a site of critical contestation.
Take the time to make smart and offensive application of your Aff's criticism, and explain the unique friction between your methodology and the Neg's argumentation. Supplement your blocks and cards with smart in-round analysis and contextual application of your theory. Going beyond the jargon and providing concrete examples in support of your theory of power and/or methodological strategy will typically go a long way.
Successful kritik debating at a minimum requires intimate familiarity with the literature, and clarity and depth in explanation. The best kritik debates happen when you generate unique links to the affirmative and are able to build intricate link-stories by strategically referencing specific warrants, lines, or moments in your opponents performance, argumentation, and evidence and tying it back to your theory of power. Going beyond the jargon and providing concrete examples in support of your theory of power and/or methodological strategy will typically go a long way. I will reward you generously with speaks if you are well versed in your literature and are able to demonstrate your knowledge by making smart and strategic analytic claims and arguments in your speeches and cross-x.
I believe form precedes and determines content: I often begin my decision-making in kritik debates by asking what the telos (or perhaps a lack thereof) of this debate is, and what interpretational lens I ought to use to understand and assess what content means in relation to the presentation of the affirmative and alternative.
I have a general understanding of most criticisms read in debate, but my personal knowledge and interest lies in criticisms pertaining to identity politics and structural positionality. Most of the scholarship I've engaged with as a former debater and coach pertains to various branches of theory speaking to Anti-blackness, South Asian identity, Settler Colonialism, Feminism, Queer/Quare/Kuaerness, and Disability. Although I'm not AS well-read up on the edgy and often unintelligible works of old white dudes, I've judged or been personally involved in a fair share of those debates too and much of the scholarship I engaged with as a debater had its ideological roots in the works of Lacan, Heidegger, Marx, Deleuze, and Baudrillard among others. If YOU understand your criticism and YOU do the work to explain and contextualize your offense, you'll probably be fine.
The more specific and less generic your strategy is, the happier I will be. I have no pre-defined standard for what makes a CP legitimate or abusive. Absent theory arguments, I will evaluate and happily vote on any DA and/or CP strategy without any predispositions.
I may not be intimately familiar with topic-specific political processes or terminology, so be sure to explain things and be precise.
The path to a ballot in these debates (on either side) is to do real comparative work on the level of interpretations and standards. Dive into the nitty-gritty analysis: what type of norms do we want to set in this activity/topic? Why? Why does it matter if the violation is true? What is the threshold to meet your interpretation?
Unlike many judges, I don't mind frivolous theory arguments. This is YOUR debate. If you want to make the debate about some trivial procedural question and you do it well, I'll happily vote on it. If you see strategic value in wasting your opponent's time with frivolous theory, more power to you. Likewise, if you make a well-developed argument that frivolous theory is bad, I'll happily vote on that too.
I think innovative or unconventional topicality and theory arguments (on either side) can make for very interesting discussions about the norms of the activity: arguments about identity, body politics, performativity, agency, boredom, death, simulation, educational models etc.
Impact analysis is CRITICAL to winning T/Theory debates:
Fairness is NOT an intrinsic good. What does fairness mean? Fairness for whom? Why is fairness something we ought to preserve in debate? What is fairness an internal link to?
Education is also NOT an intrinsic good. Why should the telos of debate be to produce education? Why does your model of debate have the ability to produce "good" kinds of education? Why are the specific skills we gain from your model good, and how do we operationalize them?
FRAMEWORK (VS. K-AFFS):
I spent my entire debate career arguing against Framework, but I think there's a lot of merit to these debates (on both sides).
What does your interpretation and model of debate look like in context of the affirmative's criticism? What types of norms and rules do we want to set for the activity? You probably have to win that the affirmative's theory about the way power operates (at least within the debate space) is bad AND/OR fundamentally not testable.
Impact analysis is CRITICAL to winning framework debates:
Fairness is NOT an intrinsic good. What does fairness mean? Fairness for whom? Why is fairness something we ought to preserve in debate? What is fairness an internal link to?
Education is also NOT an intrinsic good. Why should the telos of debate be to produce education? Why does your model of debate have the ability to produce "good" kinds of education? Why are the specific skills we gain from your model good, and how do we operationalize them?
-Debated 4 years LD, graduating in 2013; qualified to TOC twice and reached Quarterfinals my senior year.
-Have coached for 10 years; am currently the Head Debate Coach at Lynbrook High School.
- My goal when judging is to be tab.
- That being said, I am way better at judging phil debates than policy debates.
- Start your last speech with an overview that tells me as directly as possible why you win. It shouldn't be prewritten. It should go something like: 'I'm winning X argument because Y, and it comes first because Z.'
- Please compare clashing arguments as soon as possible (i.e. in the NC/1AR). Weighing is more important to my ballot than extra cards.
- I like theory but NOT when it's extra ridiculous (i.e. shoe theory).
I am a parent judge and have some experience of judging Policy, PF, LD and Parli debates as well as Speech competitions for Middle and High School.
For novice tournaments -
- Please time yourself.
- Either give a quick off-time roadmap or signpost during your speech.
- I may be unfamiliar with your debate jargon, so please explain any terms simplistically.
- For PF/LD - don't assume I have judged the topic earlier, so please explain any terms related to the topic.
- I will flow with you and will take notes. I will use any missed arguments in my judging.
- Please be respectful of your opponent team, irrespective of their level of debate.
- Speaker points will be awarded on the clarity of speech and thoughts and your art of laying down your thoughts.
- In your final speeches, make sure to clearly lay out why I should vote for you.
Most importantly, debate is a friendly competition. Remember to have fun !
If you know you know.
"You...kicked me. But I can't be seen by ordinary humans. Are you saying you can see me?" - Rukia Kuchiki
about me: debated policy all four years at leland. in high school i competed in both lay and circuit policy (i've debated stock issues and ran Ks, CP, DAs, theory, FW, etc.). that being said, if you're more comfortable with stock issues, debate stock issues. if you're more comfortable with circuit, then go circuit. i don't care what you run as long as you debate it well and you can explain your arguments. creative arguments will be rewarded (speaks!)
i don't have an argument preference—i will vote on anything as long as you tell me why i should vote on it over your opponents' arguments. i never envisioned myself running a k aff, but my partner junior year wanted to run one so we ended up doing it. as a former debater, i know that judge intervention is annoying, so it's up to y'all to tell me which arguments to prefer and why (framing!) my personal preferences and thoughts about arguments don't play a role when it comes to deciding who debated better in a round.
critics / coaches who I respect / admire / had a large influence on my debate career: Michaela Northrop, Stacy Dawson, jon sharp, Mark Hernandez, Mylan Gray. you should also check out my partner's paradigm (Allen Kim), who has a far better articulated paradigm than mine, and we generally hold similar views on good debating.
also, i try to make my facial expressions expressive so yall can tell what arguments im jiving with / which arguments i'm unclear on or have doubts about. please don't take it personally! i personally preferred being judged by individuals who were responding to my arguments, which is why i try to do the same now.
please be nice to each other! at the end of the day, we're here because we want to learn and debate is fun, and i think pettiness and toxicity ruins debate for everyone. there's a clear line between witty humor or sarcasm and rudeness. don't cross it, or it'll be reflected in your speaks.
ask me any specifics before the round! firstname.lastname@example.org
Debated as a 2A for James Logan High School for 4 years. Went almost exclusively for K’s on the aff and the neg. Qualified and broke at the TOC and won a handful of circuit tournaments. Currently debating as a 2A for the University of California. I exclusivley go for policy arguments now.
A majority of my debates have been one off/K Affs so do with that what you will. Im a sucker for a good Security/Cap/Settler Colonialism Kritik. However, this does not mean I wont vote for a policy argument. I love debate and do not have a predisposition to certain types of arguments. At the end of the day my rfd is a referendum on who debated better. That being said, do not try and over-correct for me. I think debate is a space for you to pursue whatever you want (as long as it’s not overtly violent like racism/sexism/discrimination good).
Don’t bomb through analytics its annoying to flow and you will lose speaks. The less you act like a jerk the better. Theres a time and place for everything.
Rebuttals are often the most frustrating part of debate. This is when people have to get off the blocks and start thinking big picture. I like debaters who write their ballot for me in the 2NR/2AR. More judge instruction will not only get you better speaker points but dramatically increase your chances of winning. Im more than likely not going to vote on ticky tacky arguments, but who has a better big picture analysis for why they’ve won the debate and can flush out the benefits to granting them a ballot. In close debates, impact calc goes a long way. I will read evidence at the end of the round, but that is not an excuse for lazy debating.
extra .1 speaks for making fun of a current cal debater
Please make sure that your arguments have logical consistency and that your presentation has integrity.
Also, presentation skills play a large part of my evaluation.
about you: thank you for being here and for your commitment to this activity! before we even meet, i already have so much respect for you - for your time spent working on this life-changing activity that builds essential life skills and shares important messages and advocacies! i'm here to listen and respond and will put 100% effort into that for you during your debate / performance! please communicate with me if you need any sort of support or accommodation during the round!
she/her...and you can call me Michaela; email@example.com – put me on the chain
current policy debate & spontaneous events speech coach at Leland High School in San Jose; have coached policy debate on a spectrum from slow lay judge format to fast circuit style nearly every year since 1999 but have focused less on circuit style the last few years - more lay & semi-fast / mixed pool debate for regional / state & nsda / cat nats
former head coach for all speech & debate events; experience coaching all of them
competed in hs & college speech & debate (policy, extemp, congress, duo, oratory, & parli) in the mid-to-late 1990s
- tabroom experience is deceptive; i judge 50+ practice rounds a year for our team
coaching areas / experience:
2000-2003 - head speech and debate coach at Lynbrook H.S. in San Jose (California and some national circuit tournaments)
2003-2006 - head speech and debate coach from at Chantilly H.S. in the Washington D.C. metro (D.C. metro and some national circuit tournaments)
2006-2008 - assistant coach for policy debate at Wayzata H.S. in Minnesota & Twin River (formerly Henry Sibley) H.S. (Minnesota and some national circuit tournaments)
2015-present - policy & impromptu coach at Leland High School in San Jose (California and some national circuit tournaments)
most general paradigm for all debate events (please see below for more specific paradigms for Policy, LD, PF, Parli, and Speech - it’s a lot more specific below)
- i'm a critic of argument open to most arguments you might want to advance (see exceptions below in terms of arguments which marginalize or seem to create harm) with more policy strat experience than K experience and very little high theory experience.
i used to run Ks on the neg but my experience as a competitor was before K affs really hit the scene, so though i'm open to hearing K affs and have judged some K v framework and K v K rounds, i wouldn't call them my wheelhouse. i'd say 90% of my judging experience - just based on types of tournaments judged and the timelines for those - lines up with either policy strats or Ks on the neg as opposed to 10% K affs / clash rounds. see details below for more of my thinking on K affs & framework debates.
unless persuaded into another vantage point and role, i first view myself as an educator seeking the outcome of advocacy skills and informed activism in / beyond the debate space
If you're not familiar with “critic of argument” as a paradigm, it’s probably most helpful to interpret it as a tabula rasa judge who is open to whatever role of the judge / ballot you want to set up but who defaults to the side with the overall best-warranted logical argumentation (with well-substantiated analysis and judge direction held in nearly equal weight with strong evidence) and the side with the best control of clear comparative impacting throughout the debate (not just in final rebuttals).
i think this is not much different from what a lot of coaches a few decades into the activity are saying except that i flag it as what we used to call it (critic of argument paradigm): yes do line by line, yes tech > truth, but also get out of your blocks and compare stuff; it's not just having a solid line by line or having more arguments or flagging that they dropped more than you did...but saying why your line by line is better and why your arguments >>>.
Typical concerns about a critic of argument paradigm are: How do we know the judge won’t intervene? What are “quality” arguments? Is this just a strategy contest comparing the first constructives? Nope. Here are some other core beliefs which check against those concerns and provide more information on how i judge argument quality:
tech > truth: i vote off of the flow guided by your comparisons of argumentation strength and your assessment of the significance of arguments extended or dropped… with the caveat that the tech (right out of the gate, not just by the final rebuttal) needs to have clearly articulated substance (claim-warrant-impact) to be a voter. dropped arguments are true, provided they were originally presented as a complete argument (claim, warrant, impact).
evidence quality + analysis quality instead of evidence automatically being weighted over analysis: Quality evidence (breadth and strength of warrants, relevant source with expertise for the claim at hand) is important to me. So is analysis. Contextualized analytics with clearly isolated warrants demonstrating logical reasoning (empirics, cause and effect, argument by sign with clear justification for the link, or other clear categorical reasoning) easily beat vague evidence missing clear warranting other than having a source. Evidence with more warranting > evidence with no warrant other than the source. However, source quality is persuasive as a separate metric. The basic point here is that arguments like “I read evidence, so you must prefer it over a high school debater’s analysis” aren't persuasive for a critic of argument. Warrant breadth, isolation, and application via analysis is persuasive. Flagging fallacies also moves you up the believability spectrum.
the best stuff as far as i'm concerned (highly rewarded w/ speaks and tipping me towards your side before you apply any other particular structure or goal to the round):
demonstrating strategic thinking in speeches and cx
in-depth discussion and comparison of evidence (source quality, internal analysis, warrants);
detailed, clearly substantiated analytics;
clear advocacy (applies to condo / dispo as much as any other advocacy - tell me what this advocacy means and why it's good);
cross-ex as an art form which i'm flowing and applying highly to speaks and then to the round if you apply cx concessions during speeches;
a good balance of ethos, logos, and pathos - which breaks the speaker / audience barrier a bit, generating audience goodwill and communicating empathy which elevates your speech acts / projects
See below under particular event paradigms for specifics according to common argument categories.
i love comparative overviews telling me your path to the ballot via the avenues above, the flow, and clear impact calculus, starting some of this party BEFORE FINAL REBUTTALS
Other General Points Across Debate Formats:
rate: speed is fine but needs to be clear; no predisposition for or against a rate as long as it's clear but I'm happiest and doing the best processing and evaluation when debaters choose a *moderately* fast rate [see special note below - command F Debating for Panels - about mixed panels / local lay tournaments though! i want you to include / consider the whole panel!]
for online debate, a caveat to the above: due to the special constraints of judging online (home wifi issues, multiple windows / programs to manage on the computer while tracking the debate, etc.), i really prefer a moderate rate of delivery at most - what i view as about a 7/10 vs. full-speed TOC-style rounds. feel free to run a quick pre-round calibration w/ me to get a baseline as i realize this is subjective.
If you're not clearly communicating (too fast, not enough articulation or separation of words, etc.), I'll indicate that once by typing "clear" in the chat or in person by saying "clear." If you don't change and i've already indicated an issue, don't expect me to flow.
Debate needs to be a safe space for all participants. Be kind. We're all here to learn and grow. You can be assertive, authoritative, and forceful without being dismissive or rude. Be inclusive and respectful of others' expressed concerns. Consider the assumptions behind your claims and arguments carefully as well as their impact on all involved. Ad hominem and exclusionary behavior are unacceptable. At a minimum, you will lose speaker points. Personal attacks or marginalizing behavior that seems intentional or that's repeated without apology / recognition after an objection is raised may also be grounds for a loss, especially (but not only) if your opponents raise the issue.
i am not going to vote on an individual's behavior *outside* my ability to observe it within the round. this includes any flux time before or between rounds at tournaments. this is not to say that you can't use examples about what a team has *run* at other tournaments to substantiate T or theory or credibility arguments or to add pressure about a team's authentic advocacy during cx based on their prior arguments; feel free to do that
POLICY DEBATE SPECIFICS
the commentary below isn't meant to be prescriptive but instead serve as guideposts - the thinking i'll tend to apply absent specific guidance on an issue; you can always make a push for me to see it from your perspective! in that case, what i wrote about my default paradigm (critic of argument) comes into play for how to best persuade me into a particular vantage point
NATO topic experience:
- some policy-focused strat familiarity and experience: i led a middle school policy debate workshop this summer on this topic. we focused on policy strats and the NFHS / NSDA novice case areas.
- i spent some time reviewing various summer camps’ literature and doing personal research; this was also policy-focused
- year-long involvement with our team's policy strats in lay and mixed judge pools
- some involvement with our varsity teams' circuit K affs but mainly at a narrative / case consideration level (not steeped in all the lit bases)
Style / Approach: Your rate, style, and argumentation are your own decisions (with the caveat above about mixed / lay panels as well as thoughtfully considering any expressed concerns for access and content). i'm happy to hear about whatever you think is important. i do especially enjoy thorough case, theory, and T debates, but i'm no more likely to vote on them vs. other positions.
Number of off case / depth vs. breadth:
it’s your call, but as a critic of argument who values argument development, i'd say you'll generally fare better with me in a 1-4 off round than a 5+ off round. i'd much rather see a few well-developed arguments.
if your shell is undeveloped and under-highlighted, you will have a lot of catching up to do in the block and i won't be filling in conventional blanks for you on missed steps in a disad or K shell. i'd rather hear more internal analysis in fewer quality cards than lots of cards highlighted down to bare bones.
CX: love it, pay attention to it, actually flowing it for reference, but waiting to hear you integrate it in speeches to factor it in beyond speaker points and general credibility
Overviews - love them! i think impact calc and setting a clear lens for the round at the top of a speech and / or on top of the core issues you're going for is strategic starting in the 2ac and in most subsequent speeches. (just make sure the line by line is developed enough to substantiate this work!)
Clash rounds: i don't have a strong default for sequencing arguments, so please clearly articulate criteria for how you believe clashes of advocacies should be resolved with strong warrants as to what level of impact / implication comes first and why. tagline advocacy won’t be enough. cross-x will matter. escape your own perspective enough to make comparative claims
Theory - enjoy it but cannot be blipped - i don’t vote on *tagline* theory debates, even if conceded; not inclined to revert to status quo / judge kick unless 2nr advocates it but sympathetic to 2ars if that happens and definitely open to advocacy shift arguments on that; please warrant any "drop the team" arguments heavily
T / framework
i default to competing interpretations with an eye on education unless given another method of evaluation
i REALLY dislike the trend toward underdeveloped standards and warrantless voters. i prefer instead to hear distinct, warranted standards and voters, case lists and articulation of the quality of debate and other impacts those case lists create, and the *importance* of the ground you've lost.
i have no preference for potential abuse vs. in-round abuse arguments so long as you warrant them.
- i think a clean articulation of a counter-interp that hones in on one impact turn and how the counter-interp solves it is a pretty straightforward approach as long as you are articulating why this outweighs
perfectly willing to vote on old school T metrics like jurisdiction and justification if you tell me reasons that would be good in the debate space or in life; i’ve loved T debates forever including reading 80s backfiles so do with that what you will…T theory is cool!
K affs which focus on impact turning education args have been pretty compelling to me
both sides can provide a lot of clarity for me by throwing down on a TVA and what it does and doesn't resolve
yes please; i love a good case debate (not to say that a K cannot access this love...but i enjoy hearing about the fundamentals and nuances of a case)
yes i will vote on presumption (if you tell me how & why i should) and case defense can be very helpful in the overall decision (assigning relative risk, forefronting your own arguments)
K affs: looking for a clear thesis, connection to the resolution, clear articulation of method or solvency, and a clear role of the judge and ballot
Performance specifically: i've judged very few rounds of this; you'd have to be pretty specific in telling me how to evaluate it and the role of the ballot and judge
Off case generally
no real preference for what you run (Ks, DA/CP, whatever else) but looking for strong analysis of the evidence and well-developed overviews clarifying your impacts / implications and overall position starting in the 2N
yes zero risk is a thing; i heavily lean towards the link strength of your evidence + analysis (critic of argument lens here is relevance + significance + proof)
love to hear about how the world of the disad implicates case claims and solvency
strong uniqueness and link specificity explanation > giant uniqueness walls
yes, no problem, excited to hear these but i'm not steeped in high theory lit so you need to use overviews and analysis to develop those particular arguments for me
the link story and overall reasoning of the position need to be clear, as well as your suggested role for me as a judge and the role of the ballot
love and reward debaters who do the work to contextualize specific links to case / speech acts instead of relying on generic links
i really prefer a structured debate here (clear sectioning of framework, perm, link debate, implications, alt, etc.)
long overviews are fine and probably most helpful in resolving the ballot as long as you get to the line by line to justify and substantiate the overview work
- in a pretty balanced debate, aff probably gets to weigh their plan and neg probably gets some offense from their discourse
- i need to hear details about what your alt is and does to give it much weight; evasiveness is hecka bad for your ballot odds
if your CP doesn't have a solvency card / advocate, you're way behind and probably have to justify that with something like how small the aff is + some reasonable indication of solvency based on facts in the round (e.g. aff evidence)...or exploiting a plan flaw…but in general, i think the playing field needs to be level and counterplans should have solvency given affs should have solvency
A few args i'll admit to not liking:
New affs bad isn't usually persuasive to me. i don't reject it out of hand but it's an uphill battle. i value research and innovation. T, significance / impact weighing, and args against the evidence quality are probably better ways to go if you think their new aff is abusive or bad.
Disclosure theory is similarly uphill; as a coach who believes in the life skills of debate, i believe you should have a generic strat and some confidence in your analytical skills. i will vote neg on analytics or logical application of general evidence to a specific case, so you're not disadvantaged in front of me by not having case-specific evidence. i don't think there's information you're definitively owed before the 1ac speaks...nor are you owed time to prep with a coach before your round given that your opponents may not have that opportunity...though i do think reciprocal agreements should be respected and any disclosure misdirection i can verify / observe will result in low speaks at a minimum.
i try to fit into the rubric of a particular tournament’s level of challenge and objectives; in lay local debate, i tend to defer to the adaptation goals of that community and adjust accordingly; in circuit, certainly i hold the line more on substance and relative skill in the pool
speaks are earned by a combo of:
style (art, creativity, accessibility, memorability, ethos/pathos/logos balance)
+ substance (tech, strategy, demonstrating knowledge and control of the flow + clearly writing my ballot)
+ adaptation (because i’m here for you and you can be a little here for me - and i think this shows your ability to pave a way to persuasion and willingness to make a speech act connect; as a critic of argument focused on education, to me that seems like part of the mission; you make a clear effort to reach out to my understanding of and goals for debate; it’s flagged; it’s obvious; bonus points in paneled rounds if i can tell you're doing this for the whole panel)
Generally, i think the College Debate Ratings speaker point scale from a few years ago is a good guide for toc-qualifying tournaments but here i overlay my personal rubric from above so you see more of what i’m looking for per level:
29.7+ – exceptional; top few speakers; you’ve blown me away in style + substance + adaptation
29.5-29.6 – should be top 10 speakers; the force is strong with you across style + substance + adaptation
29.3-29.4 – still high points for top 10 speakers; very strong in at least one subset of style + substance + adaptation and other areas are still high
29.1-29.2 – median for top 10 speakers; by here, you may not have the full package of style + substance + adaptation but you are excellent in at least some of those areas
28.8-29.0 – roughly 75th percentile at the tournament; bubble territory; i see a bright spark in at least one of the areas of style + substance + adaptation but the breadth isn’t there yet / today
28.5-28.7 – roughly 50th percentile at the tournament; emerging strengths in style + substance + adaptation but some clear deficits in skills or effort across the areas
28.3-28.4 – roughly 25th percentile at the tournament; not projecting certainty in style + substance + adaptation; clearly uneven performance
28.0-28.3 – roughly 10th percentile speaker at the tournament; not projecting certainty in style + substance + adaptation
27.5-27.9 – having a tough day / round or looking early in your journey for style + substance + adaptation; some skills which seem basic for the tournament mission aren’t clear yet
OTHER DETAILS & DEBATE FORMATS:
Debating for Panels:
State Quals / NSDA National Quals / Panels with Lay Judges: i'm an educator who believes in access and participation. If you go warp speed, choose a hyper-technical style, and / or present esoteric arguments and in doing so exclude a lay judge, i will be peeved and your speaks will be low. i'm fine with you picking a moderate rate and trying to hit the middle most of the time by occasionally getting more technical, but i'm a proponent of including all your critics. i also see a value in lay debate and stock issues, so if you do that, i'm not going to be bored or think you're not a smart debater. This isn't to say i believe you must take a stock issues approach to mixed panels - just saying i'd recommend you err towards what includes the panel's understanding of debate.
debate events besides policy: i primarily coach and judge policy but have coached and judged all debate events; my paradigm below has sections for LD, Parli, & PF; you might want to read the Policy section above to get more insight about particular positions; ask if you've got questions...but i'll go w/ the standards the debaters set as opposed to judging your LD, PF, and Parli rounds "like a policy judge" unless you give me no guidance, in which case i default to being a critic of argument
for LD Debate:
i've most often judged traditional / "California style" LD but i'm open to other styles
my default is to look for contentions which are clearly impacted to the criterion based upon warranted, high quality evidence and / or analysis
will listen to theory arguments and consider them if they are substantiated and impacted...but also...i will follow / enforce the specific rules of a tournament (e.g. CHSSA or NSDA rules such as "no plans" / "no counter plans") in those particular settings if a student raises an objection regarding event rules
for PF Debate:
my ideal PF round has debaters setting a clear framework / objective / goal for the round and pointing their contentions and their impacts towards this goal
my rfds - absent guidance otherwise - tend to hone in on how the debaters resolve the framework of the debate and the relative weight of their impacts
cross-fire / grand cross-fire are very important to me in terms of argument testing and argument resolution and i'm flowing them; however, debaters should carry these concessions or other components into speeches and weigh them out in the context of the round's framework / objectives / core claims if they want cross-fire content to be a voting issue
theory - sure if substantiated and impacted, though i think PF lacks adequate time for impacting such arguments without placing yourself significantly behind on clash
will follow / enforce the specific rules of a tournament (e.g. "no plans" / "no counterplans") as directed by debaters' objections or formal protest (e.g. CHSSA or NSDA rules) in those particular settings
cards, not links or vague paraphrasing - "[author name] says X in 2022" where X is not a direct quote or at least mentioning a very specific data point / argument rather than a broad claim is absolutely not evidence to me; i'm dismayed by the amount of paraphrasing i've seen in the event lately; paraphrasing brief claims without warrants or drop quotes...or simply providing a pile of author names...these things truly aren't persuasive if there's no quoted evidence or warranted analysis based upon specific conclusions; this isn't to say you need giant paragraphs like policy evidence but actually cite specific details and quotes with warrants for your claim if you want me to view that as a supported claim. i am not going to go through your separate evidence doc to find the support for you if you haven't read it into the round. you don't get to summarize a whole book or article w/o detail. NSDA rules (which apply to CHSSA & CFL tournaments as well as NSDA tournaments) are very clear on this point. See NSDA High School Unified Manual (Feb. 2023 updated version) (command F "Evidence Rules for Policy, Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, and Big Questions Debate" and in particular, rule 7.2.B.3 on p. 30: "If a student paraphrases from a book, study, or any other source, the specific lines or section from which the paraphrase is taken must be highlighted or otherwise formatted for identification in the round.")
for Parli Debate:
mainly looking for clear warranting & impacting as well as linking plan provisions / thesis to benefits or the agreed upon / debated out goal of the round
will apply other frameworks based upon debaters' warranted advocacy and clash
theory is fine if substantiated and impacted; T / other theory / off-case positions are welcome if clearly warranted
either "dismiss the argument" or "drop the team" claims need to be very heavily substantiated and demonstrate clear potential or in-round abuse with demonstrable impacts
generally no RVIs absent substantial work in justifying them
I debated for 4 years in policy at Head-Royce as a 1A/2N and went for the K on both the aff and the neg for my last 3 years. I now debate at UC Berkeley. Put me on the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
update for Long Beach: I haven't been super in depth in the topic so go a bit slower especially on T and aff mechanism stuff
Do what you do best. Don't change your strat just because you think I wanna hear certain arguments. I definitely have some predispositions but all of them can be overcome by good debating. Below are some random thoughts, feel free to email me with questions!
I'll evaluate off the flow. Pretend like I don't have the doc open. I'll evaluate evidential disputes after the round but I would rather them be settled during the debate.
Call me Riley not judge.
Fairness is an impact but I prefer skills/education. I usually find it difficult to weigh models against each other by comparing how fair each one is.
Never heard a convincing arg for why K affs don't get perms. Most reasons are predicated off of winning T.
I like creative arguments. Read arguments you wouldn't normally read in front of a different judge.
Be nice and try to make the debate fun for everyone (including yourself!).
extra .1 speaks for references to old Head-Royce debaters or current cal debaters
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.
Very experienced judge and coach for Saint Francis high school. I will consider pretty much any arguments that are not blatantly sexist, racist or crudely discriminatory (blatant is the key word here, much of this stuff is debatable and I will try not to punish you for my general feelings about your arguments).
It is important to me that debaters be respectful and polite to each other, this puts the spotlight on the arguments themselves and I am not a fan of extra drama.
I try hard to be fair and the following things help me do that:
- I rarely call cards. I like to focus the debate on the analysis given by the debaters (of course I will usually give more weight to analysis that is taken from qualified sources). I do not like to decide debates on random parts of a card that neither debater really focused on. I will call cards if I forget what they said, if there is a conflict about what they say and I can not remember, or if I am personally interested in the card.
- I try to judge on the flow in the sense that I evaluate the debate on the arguments presented, explained and extended into the rebuttals. I will occasionally do the work to weigh impacts or decide framing if the debaters are not doing that for me.
- I will not yell "clear", so mumble and slur at your own risk (I don't yell clear because I don't want a team to find that sweet spot where I can understand them but their opponents can not). I will also not evaluate arguments that I can not hear. I do not read speech documents during the debate rounds, sometimes I will look at them after the round (see calling cards stuff above).
I am cool with critiques on the aff and neg.
I am cool with framework (I like the debaters to work this out and I am pretty neutral on this question).
I like clarity (both in speech and arguments). I am not impressed by things that are "too complex" for me to understand but I will do my best to try to make sense of it. I am confident enough to not pretend I know your position and I will not fill in the blanks for you.
I am cool with policy arguments.
I have a wide breadth of knowledge but little depth on certain positions, don't assume I know your literature.
I give high speaks for clarity, efficiency, a pace that I can flow, respectfulness and occasionally speaking style.
I feel like the speaker point range I give is pretty close to average (I am not a reliable source of high speaks for everyone, but I will reward excellent debate with high speaks).
mail all speech documents to: email@example.com
anything else (if you want me to read the e-mail or respond): firstname.lastname@example.org
Lowell '20 || UC Berkeley '24 || Assistant Coach @ College Prep || she/her/hers
Add me to the email chain - email@example.com
Please format the chain subject like this: Tournament Name - Round # - Aff Team Code [Aff] vs Neg Team Code. Please make sure the chain is set up before the start time, or you will not like your speaks.
I think about debate in the same way as this guy. (He's probably the person I talk to the most when it comes to strategies and execution, it would be fair to say that if you like the way that he judge then I am also a good judge for you).
I debated for four years at Lowell High School. I’ve been a 2A for most of my years (2Ned as a side gig my junior year). Qualified to the TOC & placed 7th at NSDA reading arguments on both sides of the spectrum. I'd say my comfort for judging rounds is Policy vs. Policy > K vs. Policy > K vs. K.
I learned everything I know about debate from Debnil Sur - his paradigm is 1000x more nuanced and thought-out than mine will be.
Please don't start until you see my camera on!
If you're not wearing headphones with a microphone attached, it is REALLY hard to hear you when you turn away from your laptop. Please refrain from doing this.
I would also love if you slowed down a tiny tiny tiny tiny bit on your analytics. I will clear you at most 3 times, but I can't help it if I miss what you're saying on my flow ;(.
I'll vote on anything.* I think there is certainly a lot of value in ideological flexibility.
*Outside of the blatantly offensive arguments, but I think that's obvious.
Tech >>>>>>>>> truth: I'd rather adapt to your strategies than have you adapt to what you think my preferences are. The below are simply guidelines & ways to improve speaks via tech-y things I like seeing rather than ideological stances on arguments.
Looooove judge instruction - I’m lazy, please write my ballot for me. Top level framing and cleaning up the debate for me >>>>>>>>. This makes it infinitely easier for me to resolve debates, but I'm seeing less and less of this in 2NRs/2ARs that I've judged recently. You will be rewarded with inflated speaker points for simple framing at the top that includes phrases like "You're voting aff this round because x, y, z" or "Even if they're winning x, y is true."
I think evidence quality is important, but I value good spin more because it incentivizes smart analysis/contextualization - I personally believe that a model of debate where rounds are adjudicated solely based on evidence quality favors truth more than technical debate skills. As a result, I tend not to look at evidence after the round unless it was specifically flagged during speeches. With that being said, I’ll probably default to reading evidence if there’s a lack of evidence indicts or resolving done by teams in round. You probably don't want this because I feel like its opens up the possibility for more intervention -- so please just help me out and debate warrants + resolve the biggest points of clash in your 2NR/2ARs.
Obviously I'm fine with speed, but it seems like people have forgotten to sign post or slow down on tags/analytics. I'll clear at most 3x, but if I'm missing important stuff you'd like on my flow, that's on you. I don't flow off speech docs, but I try to follow along when you're reading evidence to ensure you're not clipping. If I catch you clipping, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don't know what you're doing. I will give you a warning, but drop you if it happens again. If the other team catches you and wants to stake the round on an ethics challenge, I doubt you're winning that one.
My biggest frustration when judging rounds is inaccurately flagging arguments the other team spent a substantial amount time answering as “dropped" - your speaks will reflect this frustration. Second to that is repeating “they dropped x” instead of explaining what the technical concession means for you.
Generally, I don’t think people do enough work comparing/explaining their competing models of debate and its benefits other than “they exclude critical discussions!!!!”
For the aff: Having advocacy in the direction of the topic >>>>>>>> saying anything in the 1AC. I’ll probably be a lot more sympathetic to the neg if I just have no clue what the method/praxis of the 1AC is in relation to the topic. I think the value of planless affs come from having a defensible method that can be contested, which is why I’m not a huge fan of “refusal” affs or advocacies not tied to the topic. Not sure why people don’t think perms in a method debate are not valid - with that being said, I can obviously be convinced otherwise. I prefer nuanced perm explanations rather than just “it’s not mutually exclusive”.
For the neg: I don’t really buy procedural fairness - I think to win this standard you would have to win pretty substantial defense to the aff’s standards & disprove the possibility of debate having an effect on subjectivity. I don't think I'd never vote on fairness, but I think the way that most debaters extend it just sound whiney and don't give me a reason to prefer it over everything else.I usually like to go 6-8 off against planless affs - one off framework debates are boring for me. If the aff says you can read topic disads - hold them to that and read a bunch in the 1NC. If not, there’s your abuse for framework.
Not much to say here - think these debates are pretty straight forward. Smart, nuanced link analysis/internal link explanation >>>> “our impact outweighs on [x] because [unwarranted assertion]!!11!!”. Detailed, subpointed link modules and link turns case analysis will make me and your speaks very happy.
Default to judge kick unless the 2ar is really convincing on why I should not/wins the thesis of condo.
I can't remember the last time I heard a really good counterplan. Process/agent/consult CPs are kind of cheating but in the words of the wise Tristan Bato, "most violations are reasons to justify a permutation or call solvency into question and not as a voter."
Smart solvency deficits >>>>
I think I tend to err neg on questions of conditionality & perf con but probably aff on counterplans that garner competition off of the word “should”. Obviously this is a debate to be had but also I’m also sympathetic to a well constructed net benefit with solid evidence.
Framework is sosososo important in these debates. I don’t think I really lean either side on this question but I don’t think the neg needs to win the alt if they win framework + links based on the representational strategy of the 1AC.
Nuanced link walls based on the plan/reps + pulling evidence from their ev >>>> links based on FIATed state action and generic cards about your theory.
To quote Debnil “I'm a hard sell on sweeping ontological or metaphysical claims about society; I'll likely let the aff weigh the plan; I don't think the alt can fiat structures out of existence; and I think the alt needs to generate some solid uniqueness for the criticism.“
I default to competing interps. Explanations of your models/differences between your interps + caselists >>>>> “they explode limits” in 10 different places. Please please please please do impact comparison, I don’t want to hear “they’re a tiny aff and that’s unfair” a bunch.
Questions of norms ≠ ethics violations. If you believe the ballot should resolve a question of norms (disclosure, open sourcing, etc), then I will evaluate it like a regular procedural. If you believe it's an ethics violation (intentionally modifying evidence, clipping, etc), then the round stops immediately. Loser of the ethics challenge receives an auto loss and 20s.
Evidence ethics can be really iffy to resolve. If you want to stake the round on an evidence distortion, you must prove: that the piece of evidence was cut by the other team (or someone affiliated with their school) AND there was clear and malicious intent to alter its meaning. If your problem isn't surrounding distortion but rather mistagging/misinterpreting the evidence, it can be solved via a rehighlighting.
I've never debated in PF, but I have judged a handful of rounds now. I will evaluate very similarly to how I evaluate policy rounds, which you can read about under the "General Things" section above.
I despise the practice of sending snippets of evidence one at a time. I think it's a humongous waste of time and honestly would prefer (1) the email chain be started BEFORE the round and (2) all of the evidence you read in your speech sent at once. Someone was confused about this portion of my paradigm -- basically, instead of asking for "Can I get [A] card on [B] argument, [C] card on [D] arg, etc...", I think it would be faster if the team that just spoke sent all of their evidence in one doc. This is especially true if the tournament is double-flighted.
If you want me to read evidence after the round, please make sure you flag is very clearly.
I've been in theory/k rounds and I try to evaluate very close to policy. I'm not really a huge fan of k's in public forum -- I don't think there is enough speech time for you to develop such complex arguments out well. I also don't think it makes a lot of sense given the public forum structure (i.e. going for an advocacy when it's not a resolution that is set up to handle advocacies). I think there's so much value in engaging with critical literature, please consider doing another event that is set up better for it if you're really interested in the material. However, I'm still willing to vote on anything, as long as you establish a role of the ballot + frame why I'm voting.
If you delay the round to pre-flow when it's double-flighted, I will be very upset. You should know your case well enough for it to not be necessary, or do it on your own time.
Be nice & have fun.