Taiwan NSDA National Qualifier
2023 — Taipei, TW
Policy Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Hi! I'm Charles (he/him pronouns). My email is ckarcher at chapin dot edu.
I am affiliated with The Chapin School, where I am a history teacher and coach Public Forum.
This is my 10th year involved in debate overall and my 6th year coaching.
Conflicts: Chapin, Lake Highland
Previous affiliations: Fulbright Taiwan, Lake Highland, West Des Moines Valley, Interlake, Durham Academy, Charlotte Latin, Altamont, and Oak Hall.
mid-season updates to be integrated into my paradigm proper soon: 1. (PF) I'm not a fan of teams actively sharing if they are kicking an argument before they kick it. For example, if your opponent asks you about contention n in questioning and you respond "we're kicking that argument." Not a fan of it. 2. (LD) I'm more sympathetic to judge kicking counterplans, but it should be argued and justified in the round by the negative team. 3. Do not steal prep or be rude to your opponents - I have a high bar for these two things and hope that the community collectively raises its bars this season. Your speaks will suffer.
Debate is what you make it, whether that is a game or an educational activity. Ultimately, it is a space for students to grow intellectually and politically. Critical debate is what I spend the most time thinking about. I’m familiar with most authors, but assume that I know nothing. I want to hear about the alt. I have a particular interest in the Frankfurt School and French authors. I have prepped and coached pretty much the full spectrum of K debate authors/literature bases. Policy-style debate is fun. I like good analytics more than bad cards, especially when those cards are from authors that are clearly personally/institutionally biased. Inserted graphs/charts need to be explained and are their own claim, warrant, and impact. Taglines should be detailed and accurately descriptive of the arguments in the card. 2 or 3 conditional positions are acceptable. I am not thrilled with the idea of judge kicking. Theory and tricks debate is the farthest from my interests. Being from Florida, I've been exposed to a good amount of it, but it never stuck with or interested me. Debaters who tend to read these types of arguments should not pref me.
Other important things:
1] If you find yourself debating with me as the judge on a panel with a parent/lay/traditional judge (or judges), please just engage in a traditional round and don't try to get my tech ballot. It is incredibly rude to disregard a parent's ballot and spread in front of them if they are apprehensive about it.
2] Speaks are capped at 27 if you include something in the doc that you assume will be inputted into the round without you reading/describing it. You cannot "insert" something into the debate scot-free. Examples include charts, graphs, images, screenshots, spec details, and solvency mechanisms/details. This is a terrible norm which literally asks me to evaluate a piece of evidence that you didn't read. It's also a question of accessibility.
3] When it comes to speech docs, I conceptualize the debate space as an academic conference at which you are sharing ideas with colleagues (me) and panelists (your opponents). Just as you would not present an unfinished PowerPoint at a conference, please do not present to me a poorly formatted speech doc. I don't care what your preferences of font, spacing, etc. are, but they should be consistent, navigable, and readable. I do ask that you use the Verbatim UniHighlight feature to standardize your doc to yellow highlighting before sending it to me.
- My defaults: ROJ > ROB; ROJ ≠ ROB; ROTB > theory; presume neg; comparative worlds; reps/pre-fiat impacts > everything else; yes RVI; DTD; yes condo; I will categorically never evaluate the round earlier than the end of the 2AR (with the exception of round-stopping issues like evidence evidence allegations or inclusivity concerns).
- I do not, and will not, disclose speaker points.
- Put your analytics in the speech doc!
- Trigger warnings are important
- CX ends when the timer beeps! Time yourself.
- Tell me about inclusivity/accessibility concerns, I will do whatever is in my power to accommodate!
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Currently based in Taiwan and coaching debate for the ADL. That means I am staying up all night when I judge at US tournaments. Please pref accordingly
- Debated in college at the University of Kansas, 2017-2022 (Healthcare, Executive Authority, Space, Alliances, Antitrust). I majored in math and minored in Russian if that matters.
- Debated in high school at Shawnee Mission Northwest, 2013-2017 (Latin America, Oceans, Surveillance, China).
- If I can tell that you are not even trying to flow (eg you never take out a piece of paper the entire debate, you stand up to give your 2NC with just your laptop and no paper) your speaks are capped at 27.
- Please don't call me "judge." It's tacky. My name is Lily. Note that this does not apply to saying "the role of the judge."
- Cross-x isn't "closed," nobody ever "closed" it... BUT each debater should be a primary participant in 2 cross-xes if your goal is to avoid speaker point penalties.
- I would prefer to not judge death/suffering/extinction good arguments or arguments about something that happened outside the debate.
- I might give you a 30 if I think you're the best debater at the tournament.
- High schoolers are too young to swear in debates. It makes me feel awkward.
- Don't just say words for no reason - not in cross-x and certainly not in speeches.
- If you are asking questions like "was x card read?" a timer should be running. Flowing is part of getting good speaker points.
- The word "nuclear" is not pronounced "nuke-yoo-ler." If you say this it makes you sound like George Bush.
- Shady disclosure practices are a scourge on the activity.
- I judge a lot of clash debates. I'm more likely to vote aff on impact turns than most policy judges, but I do see a lot of value in the preservation of competition. Procedural fairness can be an impact but it takes a lot of work to explain it as such. Sometimes a clash impact is a cleaner kill.
- TVAs don't have to solve the whole aff. I like TVAs with solvency advocates. I think it's beneficial when the 2NC lays out some examples of neg strategies that could be read against the TVA, and why those strategies produce educational debates.
Topicality vs policy affs:
- Speaker point boost if your 2NC has a grammar argument (conditional on the argument making sense of course).
- If you're aff and going for reasonability, "race to the bottom" < debatability.
- Case lists are good.
- The presence of other negative positions is not defense to a ground argument. The aff being disclosed is not defense to a limits argument. This also goes for T-USFG.
- When people refer to counterplans by saying the letters "CP" out loud it makes me wish I were dead.
- As a human I think counterplans that advocate immediate, indefinite, non-plan action by the USFG are legit, but as a judge I'm chaotic neutral on all theory questions.
- Conditionality: I'll give you a speaker point boost if you can tell me how many 2NRs are possible given the number of counterplan planks in the 1NC.
- Read them
- Politics DAs are fun. Make arguments about polling methodology.
- I feel like I have a higher threshold for Ks on the neg than some. I'm not a hack and I will vote for your K if you do the better debating, but I also think arguments that rely on the ballot having some inherent meaning are
- I dislike lazy link debating immensely, primarily because it makes my life harder. Affs hoping to capitalize on this REALLY ought to include a perm/link defense in the 2AR.
- Explain how the alt solves the links and why the perm doesn't.
- Affs should explain why mooting the 1AC means that the neg's framework is anti-educational. Negs should explain why the links justify mooting the aff.
- Case outweighs 2ARs can be very persuasive. The neg can beat this with discrete impacts to specific links+impact framing+framework.
- Speaker point penalty if the 1AR drops fiat is illusory - at the very least your framework extension needs an education impact.
- If there is no net benefit to a counterplan, presumption flips aff automatically.
- I do not think permutations are cheating.
- An argument is a claim and a warrant. If you say something that does not contain a warrant, I will not necessarily vote on it even if it's dropped. In the interest of preventing judge intervention, please say things that have warrants.
- Most neg theory arguments I've watched would go away instantly if affs said "counter interpretation: we have to be topical."
- RVIs are not persuasive to me. Being topical is never an independent reason to vote affirmative. The fact that a counterplan is conditional is never offense for the negative.
I participated in four years of policy debate in high school and I debated four years at Western Kentucky University.
I am open to anything and I try to be as tab as possible. Just use warrants in your argumentation, even if it is theory. If an argument has absolutely no warrant and is just a claim, there is a chance I still won't vote on it even if it is 100% conceded. That is to say, if you just say conditionality is bad because of fairness and education, that is a series of claims without warrants, and thus is unpersuasive even if the other team doesn't address it. However, if a poorly warranted claim goes conceded, then I will not necessarily adjudicate the strength of the warrant as it is the other team's obligation to defeat this warrant, and as such I will take the warrant as true unless it is unintelligible or utterly absurd. I will default as a policymaker if you don't put me in a competing paradigm.
When adjudicating competing claims, it is my hope that debaters will engage in evidence comparison. However, if two contradictory claims are made, and no one weighs the strength of the internal warrants of the evidence, then I will likely call for the evidence to adjudicate which claim is more strongly warranted (assuming the argument may be part of my reason for decision). Same goes with topicality. I am 50/50 in voting for topicality, and I default competing interpretations.
If you are running critical/performance arguments, please be familiar with the argument and able to intellectually defend it. My personal preference when I debate is usually policy-oriented discussions and my personal bias is that switch-side policy debate is good, but I don't let this inform my decision in the round. At the same time, I think that non-traditional forms of debate are an important component of the community and have an important message to broadcast, and as such, I have voted for performance affs in the past.
The following is a preference and not a requirement. It is common for me to judge teams running non-traditional forms of arguments and personally be unfamiliar with the literature base. Thus, it is probably in your interest to ask if I'm familiar with a non-traditional argument prior to the round unless you plan to explain it extensively in the round. An argument is inherently less persuasive when the messenger also does not fully understand it, and the debate is probably less educational for everyone involved as a result. In general, I think you should be familiar with any argument you read before you deploy it in-round, but I've found this is more frequently an issue when high school debaters deploy the critical literature base. If I don't think you are familiar with your argument, I won't hold it against you in my RFD (although it will inform my speaker points), but it will probably influence whether you are able to effectively deploy the argument on the flow, where I will vote.
Finally, you should tell me explicitly how the RFD should be written if you win so I can understand your vision of the round. If you do not have ballot directing language, I will use my own judgment to write the RFD, so it is in your interest to write the RFD for me.
1. My background
- Debated (policy debate) for two years in high school in New York, USA.
- In college, I didn't continue competitively in debate but did "persuasive speech."
- 10+ years of coaching/instructing/judging debate in secondary education to students and fellow teachers. (Mostly in policy debate, but also some public forum and Lincoln Douglas)
2. How I judge.
- It is true that I deliberate on the overall presentation of debaters to an extent. (see below)
- I primarily focus on arguments and logical reasoning/connections.
- The delivery primarily only is an impact if it makes the arguments unclear to the listeners (myself or the opponents).
3. My judging style and preferences.
- Any pace/speed should be okay as long as the speaker is clear and loud enough (I'm not a fan of debaters racing through a preprepared speech thoughtlessly while being barely comprehensible).
- I'm not a big fan of a Kritik approach but will accept it if there is enough of a clear, logical connection created by the speaker. (If you use one, you had better be really good with having it connected and possible/believable.)
- I attempt to approximate the estimate of the “AVERAGE INFORMED CITIZEN.” (A simple "blank slate" is not an average citizen, so I do somewhat weight points according to the arguments being reasonable. However, you are also not debating against my knowledge of a topic.)
- I enjoy hearing counter plans and original ideas but don't like it if a counter plan is remarkably similar to the affirmative plan (has only minor differences/changes).
- I DON'T LIKE SPREADING! I would rather have a team choose their best arguments instead of trying to win by just having a large number of minor points that end up being dropped. (If you have a lot of points, that is not a problem that is, if... lots of points are dropped by your opponents, but you can defend the parts challenged are defended instead of quickly dropping them (when challenged) that would convince me that you are ready to defend the other points that were dropped. However, if you spread and then repeatedly drop your own arguments (when challenged), that would lead me to believe that you are only trying to win via numbers alone.)
- I am dyslexic... if there is a lot being said, I might not be writing/typing because it can be distracting from what is being said, but I am keeping mental notes. (Being dyslexic means that it is a bit harder for me to write and listen simultaneously.)
- My notes are sometimes messy because they are only intended for me.
- I prefer to give immediate feedback instead of long detailed written reports but will write up the more major things in a feedback report.
Email: Nathan.in.Taiwan@gmail.com (ONLY use my listed email if you need it to share evidence or in debate email chains)
Last updated October 1 2023
I am currently a policy and PF coach at Taipei American School. My previous affiliations include Fulbright Taiwan, the University of Wyoming, Apple Valley High School, The Harker School, the University of Oklahoma, and Bartlesville High School.
Email for the chain: lwzhou10 at gmail.com
If I am judging you online, I am almost certainly doing so while it is night in Taipei, which means I am probably extremely tired.
Stolen from Matt Liu: "Feb 2022 update: If your highlighting is incoherent gibberish, you will earn the speaker points of someone who said incoherent gibberish. The more of your highlighting that is incoherent, the more of your speech will be incoherent, and the less points you will earn. To earn speaker points, you must communicate coherent ideas."
I debated for OU back in the day but you shouldn't read too much into that—I wasn't ever particularly good or invested when I was competing. I lean more towards the policy side than the K side and I'm probably going to be unfamiliar with a lot of the ins-and-outs of most kritiks, although I will do my best to fairly evaluate the debate as it happens.
1. I tend to think the role of the aff is to demonstrate that the benefits of a topical plan outweigh its costs and that the role of the neg is to demonstrate that the costs and/or opportunity costs of the aff's plan outweigh its benefits.
2. I find variations of "fairness bad" or "logic/reasoning bad," to be incredibly difficult to win given that I think those are fundamental presuppositions of debate itself. Similarly, I find procedural fairness impacts to be the best 2NRs on T/Framework.
3. Conditionality seems obviously good, but I'm not opposed to a 2AR on condo. Most other theory arguments seem like reasons to reject the argument, not the team. I lean towards reasonability. Most counterplan issues seem best resolved at the level of competition, not theory.
4. Warrant depth is good. Argument comparison is good. Both together—even better.
5. Give judge instruction—tell me how to evaluate the debate.
None of these biases are locked in—in-round debating will be the ultimate determinant of an argument’s legitimacy.
I care that you debate the topic in a way that reflects serious engagement with the relevant scholarly literature. I would also prefer to judge debates that do not contain references to arcane debate norms or jargon.
Additionally, I expect that your evidence abides by NSDA rules as outlined in the NSDA Evidence Guide. If I find evidence that does not conform to these guidelines, I will minimally disregard that piece of evidence and maximally vote against you.
I do not believe that either team has any obligation to "frontline" in second rebuttal, but my preferences on this are malleable. If "frontlining" is the agreed upon norm, I expect that the second speaking team also devote time to rebuttals in the constructive speeches.
The idea of defense being "sticky" seems illogical to me.
I find it extremely difficult to vote for arguments that lack resolutional basis (e.g., most theory or procedural arguments, some kritikal arguments, etc.). I find trends to evade debate over the topic to be anathema to my beliefs about what Public Forum debate ought to look like.
There is also a strong trend towards under-developing arguments in an activity that already operates with compressed speech times. I also strongly dislike the practice of spamming one-line quotes with no context (or warrant) from a dozen sources in a single speech. I will reward teams generously if they invest in a few well-warranted arguments which they spend time meaningfully weighing compared to if they continue to shotgun arguments with little regard for their plausibility or quality.
Update: Exchanging evidence in a manner consistent with the NSDA's rules on evidence exchange has become a painfully slow process. Please simply set up an email chain or use an online file sharing service in order to quickly facilitate the exchange of relevant evidence. Calling for individual pieces of evidence appears to me as nothing more than prep stealing.
I've judged over 1000 LD and policy rounds from novice locals to TOC elims. I am not particularly partial to a style in which you debate the topic, e.g. philosophical, kritikal, traditional, etc., but I do care that you debate the topic. Frivolous theory or kritiks that shift the question of the debate start a few steps behind for me.
Ideological stances that might influence prefs:
1. Fairness and logic are good—args to the contrary are self-defeating.
2. The aff should defend the topic; the neg should disprove the aff—I've voted against framework/for Ks a decent amount too but it's just a tougher route to take in front of me.
3. Some tricks are fine, most stretch the definition of what counts as an argument—anything that relies almost entirely on your opponent dropping it probably isn't even worth making in front of me.
4. I think Nebel T is true, but tech > truth.
5. Conditionality is probably bad in LD, but it's not that hard to defend condo good; most other counterplan issues are best resolved at the level of competition, not theory.
6. I'm inclined to think that everything other than conditionality and T should be a reason to reject the arg. Most other theoretical objections aren't particularly persuasive to me.
7. I'm generally against sandbagging both in the 1NC and 1AR. I would rather the 1NC read 1 less off case position in favor of more developed case analysis, impact calc, or fully complete arguments. I would rather the 1AR make 1 less theory argument in favor of actually explaining what the words "perm do both" mean. How much "new-ness" is allowed in the 2NR or 2AR is obviously contextual but the default is that it's determined by how new your opponent was.
8. Ev ethics are important—I'll default to the NSDA Evidence Guide.
9. I'd prefer not to read your cards—I'd rather you explain them to me.
None of these biases are locked in—in-round debating will be the ultimate determinant of an argument’s legitimacy. I'm not sure I have strong opinions about much else. Like most other judges, I like evidence quality, impact calculus, and strategic choices. Like most other judges, I dislike cheating, unclarity, and impropriety.
I will NOT hesitate drop anyone who spreads or engages in debate practices that would not be persuasive or understandable to a reasonable person—this is not negotiable. Please do not see my policy background or circuit LD experience as an invitation to make this round uninteresting for everyone involved.
1. Please time yourselves. Using a phone is fine.
2. Yes, off-time roadmaps are good.
3. Offense (why you win) is superior to defense (why you don't lose). I'm much more interested in the former; don't spend so much time on the latter.
4. The criterion/framework is not a voting issue. If you say it is, I'll make a big sad face :(.
5. I prefer more principled and philosophical arguments in debate. If the debate does become a question about the consequences of adopting some policy, I prefer empirical studies and examples over random predictions without evidence.
6. I prefer voting issues to be given as they arise on the flow, not in a discrete section at the end of rebuttal speeches.
7. You do not need to ask me to use your prep time (although I will keep track of time myself).
8. You can read my longer LD paradigm at the bottom for a more detailed view at my decision-making process.
9. You MUST follow the NSDA Evidence Rules (High School Manual here, shorter version here). I care deeply about evidentiary ethics in an academic event and I will not hesitate to punish to the full extent allowed by the rules up to, and including, voting against you.
10. I hate evasion. Direct clash with your opponent's central points is preferred.
11. I will keep a rigorous flow, time all speeches, and not hesitate to enforce those time limits.
My debate experience is primarily in LD, policy, and PF. I do not consider myself well-versed in all the intricacies or nuances of WSD strategy and norms. My only strong preference is that want to see well-developed and warranted arguments. I would prefer fewer, better developed arguments over more, less-developed arguments.
Online Procedural Concerns
1. Follow tournament procedure regarding online competition best practices.
2. Record your speeches locally. If you cut out and don't have a local backup, that's a you problem.
3. Keep your camera on when you speak, I don't care if it's on otherwise. Only exception is if there are tech or internet issues---keeping the camera off for the entirety of the debate otherwise is a good way to lose speaker points.
4. I'll keep my camera off for prep time, but I'll verbally indicate I'm ready before each speech and turn on the camera for your speeches. If you don't hear me say I'm ready and see my camera on, don't start.
5. Yes, I'll say clear and stuff for online rounds.