2023 — New Haven, CT/US
Congress Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
For Congressional Debate, my primary focus is on logical arguments that are well-constructed with quality evidence to support your claims. I appreciate rhetoric and impacts, but I will discount scores if these replace analysis and evidence. Refutations are essential to a strong score but require more than just a claim – give me the analysis and back it up with evidence.
I highly respect constitutional arguments and discount for affirmations of an unconstitutional bill.
It is essential to me that competitors remain in the role of a congressperson, showing respect to the chamber and following proper parliamentary procedure. I encourage everyone to remember to address their colleagues with the proper honorarium (Representative/Senator) at all times, and to avoid using Mr./Ms. personal titles as they both assume gender identity and may be considered dismissive at times.
I respect competitors who are active in the chamber and strongly disagree with the trend of some competitors to press for a base-2 model. Finally, while our U.S. congresspeople may lack persuasive speaking skills, I highly value presentation skills in congressional debate.
As a parliamentarian, I value a presiding officer who is, of course, familiar with both Roberts Rules and the rules set forth by the tournament. However, I do not mind if the PO asks questions to confirm procedures or tournament preferences. The PO should always strive to run a fast and fair chamber to allow everyone opportunities to speak. I prefer to remain as quiet as possible giving the PO the control of the chamber. I will intervene only if the PO makes an incorrect ruling that will impact the results of the session, makes an error in precedence/recency (though I will certainly give the chamber a chance to catch this first), or to insure fairness to everyone in the chamber. I encourage the PO to take charge of the chamber, to rule motions dilatory when appropriate, and to remind the congresspeople of proper procedures when needed. However, I do believe these corrections can be done with respect and kindness.
Though I strive to allow the chamber to function without my input, I will step in if I suspect there is bullying in play, or if I sense discrimination within the chamber, either intentional or unintentional.
I am a cardiologist in the Washington, DC area and I have no background in debate. I am a parent judge. I keep notes however I do not have any background on weird topics, nor do I know debate jargon. I have been a parent judge for 5 years, so I do know some of the basic rules.
Please do not excessively spread or yell. Talk in a conversational tone. If I can't understand you, I can't judge you.
I will try not to vote off of cross but if you can’t defend case in cross/generally are not doing well in cross I will take off speaker points.
I prefer off time road maps and please stick to them. If you don't I'll probably be confused.
Be respectful to your opponents at all times. Let your opponents talk in cross please!
Keep your arguments generally socially acceptable.
Ideally, please time yourself, but I can set a timer if you are unable to.
I prefer probable arguments as opposed to farfetched arguments.
Feel free to send me cases at email@example.com if you think I might have difficulty understanding.
same as above
In addition, I am not a fan of references that don't really relate to the topic.
A little bit about me: I coach for Millburn High School in New Jersey. I competed on the circuit in high school and college.
I do my very best to be as non-interventionist as possible, but I know some students like reading judge's paradigms to get a better sense of what they're thinking. I hope that the below is helpful :).
Overall: You can be nice and a good debater. :)
Here are some things to consider if I'm your Parliamentarian/ Judge in Congressional Debate:
- I am a sucker for a well-executed authorship/ sponsorship, so please don't be afraid to give the first speech! Just because you don't have refutation doesn't mean it isn't a good speech. I will be more inclined to give you a better speech score if you stand up and give the speech when no one is willing to do so because it shows preparedness.
- Bouncing off of the above bullet point, two things I really dislike while at national circuit tournaments are having no one stand up to give the earlier speeches (particularly in out rounds) and one-sided debate. You should be prepared to speak on either side of the legislation. You're there to debate, so debate. I'm much more inclined to rank you higher if you flip and have fluency breaks than if you're the fourth aff in a row.
- Asking the same question over and over to different speakers isn't particularly impressive to me (only in extreme circumstances should this ever be done). Make sure that you are catering the questions to the actual arguments from the speech and not asking generic questions that could be asked of anyone.
- Make my job easy as the judge. I will not make any links for you; you need to make the links yourself.
- Warrants are so important! Don't forget them!
- If you are giving one of the final speeches on a piece of legislation, I expect you to weigh the arguments and impacts that we have heard throughout the debate. Unless there has been a gross negligence in not bringing up a particular argument that you think is revolutionary and changes the debate entirely, you shouldn't really be bringing up new arguments at this point. There are, of course, situations where this may be necessary, but this is the general rule of thumb. Use your best judgment :).
- Please do your best to not read off of your pad. Engage with the audience/ judges, and don't feel as though you have to have something written down verbatim. I'm not expecting a speech to be completely flawless when you are delivering it extemporaneously. I historically score speeches higher if delivered extemporaneously and have a couple of minor fluency lapses than a speech read off of a sheet of paper with perfect fluency.
- Be active in the chamber! Remember, the judges are not ranking students based upon who is giving the best speeches, but who are the best legislators overall. This combines a myriad of factors, including speeches, questioning, overall activity, leadership in the chamber, decorum, and active listening (i.e. not practicing your speech while others are speaking, paying attention, etc.) Keep this in mind before going into a session.
- Please please please don't speak over the top of one another. This being said, that doesn't mean you have a right to monopolize the questioning time, but there is a nice way to cut someone off if they're going too long. Use your best judgment. Don't cut someone off two seconds after they start answering your question.
- I rank based on who I think are the overall best legislators in the chamber. This is a combination of the quality of speeches, questioning, command of parliamentary procedure, preparedness, and overall leadership and decorum in the chamber.
Let me know if you have any questions! :)
Here are some things to consider if I'm your judge in Public Forum:
- Please add me to the email chain if you have one: firstname.lastname@example.org
- I am really open to hearing almost any type of argument (except K's, please don't run K's in PF), but I wouldn’t consider myself a super techy judge. Do your thing, be clear, and enjoy yourselves!
- Please debate the resolution. It was written for a reason.
- It's important to me that you maintain clarity throughout the round. In addition, please don’t spread. I don’t have policy/ LD judging experience and probably won’t catch everything. If you get too fast/ to spreading speed I’ll say clear once, and if it’s still too fast/ you start spreading again, I’ll stop typing to indicate that I’m not getting what you’re saying on my flow.
- Take advantage of your final focus. Tell me why I should vote for you, don't solely focus on defensive arguments.
- Maintain organization throughout the round - your speeches should tell me what exact argument you are referring to in the round. Signposting is key! A messy debate is a poorly executed debate.
- I don't weigh one particular type of argument over another. I vote solely based on the flow, and will not impose my pre-existing beliefs and convictions on you (unless you're being racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitic, or xenophobic). It's your show, not mine!
- Please please please don't speak over the top of one another. This being said, that doesn't mean you have a right to monopolize the questioning time, but there is a nice way to cut someone off if they're going too long. Use your best judgment. Don't cut someone off two seconds after they start answering your question.
- Be polite!
- Make my job easy. I should not have to (and will not) make any links for you. You have to make the link yourselves. There should be a clear connection to your impacts.
- Weighing impacts is critical to your success, so please do it!
Any questions, please feel free to ask!
I am a college sophomore who has competed in PF, CON, and Policy throughout my high school debate career. Here are some things that I ask of those who I am judging:
1) Please be kind to your competitors (If I feel that the debate has turned hostile I will take that into account within my ranking)
2) Please speak clearly and if spreading please ensure that each word is properly articulated (This is especially important when competing online for if connectivity becomes an issue it may be hard for me to follow the argument or for your peers to debate with your case)
3) Please provide weighing mechanisms so that I can see how your case prevails in both presented "worlds"
4) Please prioritize warranting and impacting your claims and I love a good debate based on warrants and/or impacts.
5) Fairness arguments in Policy are not a complete argument in my opinion and while I will take glaring fairness issues into account (ex: not providing a card or stating the card will be expanded later in the round to decrease the amount of debate time regarding the topic) if I feel a that a "potential abuse" does not truly hinder the team or the debate I will not be swayed by it.
My name is Anthony Busatta and I am a first-year at Yale! I did not do any debate in high school but rather Model UN, Mock Trial, and Boys State/Nation; in turn, I am pretty knowledgeable of both parliamentary procedure and political issues: domestic and international. I am also intimately familiar with acting as a presiding officer.
I plan on studying Engineering, meaning I can follow STEM topics quite well in arguments and will usually be receptive to technical facts. I love it when STEM is connected to political or social science topics!
In Congress, I really want to see captivating and accurate arguments made in the most realistic way possible. Don't make an argument that not a single member of Congress would make or support. Also, don't switch your viewpoint or arguments between bills as it doesn't really make sense and in my view, doesn't mean you can represent different sides, it just means you're not consistent. I'm not particularly fond of petty attacks that work in real life, things like childish nicknames or personal criticism. Stick to the argument. This does not mean you can't be fierce in your debate or argument, or even point out missteps by your opponent. In fact, I encourage that and it makes me more likely to rank you higher. As a presiding officer, I want to see an absolute command of the room. If a motion is purposely made to slow down proceedings, rule it out of order. If something isn't germane, rule it out of order. You are the chair, and if you want to be ranked high, act like it. Command respect through actions and words without rudeness or insincerity. Be impartial in your rulings and know when to make certain decisions and when not to. Lastly, as a judge, I essentially act like I'm in the gallery, a random observer with no previous knowledge of what the bills are. Explain what the bills do and are in the authorship speech. Make it so that anyone listening can follow what you're saying and why you're saying it at any specific point.
I am the Director of Speech and Debate at Charlotte Latin School. Have been coaching all types of debate (except Policy), but most specifically Public Forum.
Email Chain: email@example.com
Currently serve on the Public Forum Topic Wording Committee, and have been since 2018.
1. Judge and Coach mostly Traditional styles.
2. Am ok with speed/spreading but should only be used for depth of coverage really.
3. LARP/Trad/Topical Ks/T > Theory/Tricks/Non-topical Ks
4. The rest is largely similar to PF judging:
- Flow judge, can follow the fastest PF debater but don't use speed unless you have too.**
- I am not a calculator. Your win is still determined by your ability to persuade me on the importance of the arguments you are winning not just the sheer number of arguments you are winning. This is a communication event so do that, with some humor and panache.
- I have a high threshold for theory arguments to be valid in PF. Unless there is in round abuse, I probably won’t vote for a frivolous shell. So I would avoid reading most of the trendy theory arguments in PF.
5 Things to Remember…
1. Sign Post/Road Maps (this does not include “I will be going over my opponent’s case and if time permits I will address our case”)
After constructive speeches, every speech should have organized narratives and each response should either be attacking entire contention level arguments or specific warrants/analysis. Please tell me where to place arguments otherwise they get lost in limbo. If you tell me you are going to do something and then don’t in a speech, I do not like that.
I will evaluate arguments under frameworks that are consistently extended and should be established as early as possible. If there are two frameworks, please decide which I should prefer and why. If neither team provides any, I default evaluate all arguments under a cost/benefit analysis.
Don’t just extend card authors and tag-lines of arguments, give me the how/why of your warrants and flesh out the importance of why your impacts matter. Summary extensions must be present for Final Focus extension evaluation. Defense extensions to Final Focus ok if you are first speaking team, but you should be discussing the most important issues in every speech which may include early defense extensions.
Paraphrasing is ok, but you leave your evidence interpretation up to me. Tell me what your evidence says and then explain its role in the round. Make sure to extend evidence in late round speeches.
Narrow the 2nd half of the round down to the key contention-level impact story or how your strategy presents cohesion and some key answers on your opponents’ contentions/case.
SPEAKER POINT BREAKDOWNS
30: Excellent job, you demonstrate stand-out organizational skills and speaking abilities. Ability to use creative analytical skills and humor to simplify and clarify the round.
29: Very strong ability. Good eloquence, analysis, and organization. A couple minor stumbles or drops.
28: Above average. Good speaking ability. May have made a larger drop or flaw in argumentation but speaking skills compensate. Or, very strong analysis but weaker speaking skills.
27: About average. Ability to function well in the round, however analysis may be lacking. Some errors made.
26: Is struggling to function efficiently within the round. Either lacking speaking skills or analytical skills. May have made a more important error.
25: Having difficulties following the round. May have a hard time filling the time for speeches. Large error.
Below: Extreme difficulty functioning. Very large difficulty filling time or offensive or rude behavior.
***Speaker Points break down borrowed from Mollie Clark.***
Congressional Debate Paradigm:
I'm looking for the best legislator overall which means I am considering your holistic participation in the round including the types of speeches you have given and the questions you've asked. I love that Congress is a unique blend with an emphasis on delivery and debate/analysis in the round.
Additionally, I value evidence based debate with credible sources. Cite a source so I can look at it if I'm interested.
Please don't re-hash arguments--Know when it's time to move on. I flow the round and will know when you re-hash arguments and evidence. It's also important to know where/when you are speaking in the round in terms of what type of speech you are giving.
Be prepared to speak on either side of a bill.
You are also role playing as a legislator--remember this as well.
A successful debate performance is one that is easily intelligible and persuasive to a general audience, listeners who are not trained in the arcana of debate terminology, and does so with a rate of delivery that is spirited but does not draw attention to itself by its speed.
Persuasion comes from a Latin word meaning "thoroughly sweet". Being persuasive allows the speaker to challenge the opinions of an audience by a fusion of rigorous logic and an oratorical style that does not offend but which urges the listener to buy into the speaker's take on the great issues of our day..
Br. Anthony K. Cavet
Catholic Memorial School
West Roxbury MA
Nov 19, 2020
I am a debate coach with 20 years experience, and have coached all speech and debate events.
In round, I reward strong research/evidence, solid understanding of the topic, and advancing the debate by bringing points and clash together. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Different speeches (authorship, refutation, weighing, etc.) have different purposes, and accomplishing the purpose of each speech is more important that battling in a waiting game, always trying to get the last speech. Every argument and claim should be effectively supported with warrant and data from evidence. Questioning should be won by smart questions and answers: CX should not be a shouting match or full of interruption.
Presiding officers should maximize time given to speakers and questioners, and minimize PO narration as much as possible through direct communication and strong word economy. POs should keep things fast, professional, fair, and within the rules. The debate session should maximize debate time allotted.
For questions, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a traditional judge. I judge what's on the flow. Truth and tech both matter. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Framework and Value/criterion/standard are very important. I'd rather hear arguments grounded in real world data in the literature on the topic, but also am open to philosophy arguments. I am not a fan of theory that would end up substituting for debating the actual topic. Please don't spread. It's rarely necessary. If opponents or I call for evidence, please provide it right away- there shouldn't be delays related to evidence searching. Don't call for evidence too often or without good reason. Please be cooperative, civil, and professional in CX when you are questioned.
For email chains/questions, my email is email@example.com.
I judge what's on the flow. Truth and tech both matter. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Framework and warrants and data are very important to me. Every argument should be clear, warranted, and supported with data/examples/evidence. Keep cross ex civil and polite, and an equal sharing of speaking time. I prefer to hear grouping and strong weighing in summary and final focus, so definitely collapse the debate to a few key issues instead of covering a ton of different thoughts in a line by line style. If opponents or I call for evidence, please provide it right away- there shouldn't be delays related to evidence searching. Don't call for evidence too often or without good reason. I strongly prefer arguments grounded in the literature of the topic, with data and real world examples, over efforts to avoid debating the topic, such as disclosure theory or other theory. Public Forum debate was created to develop skills related to communicating with the general public, and that intent should be embraced by PF debaters. No need to spread in PF at all.
For email chains/questions, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a traditional extemp judge. I like clear and straightforward organization. I reward strong research/evidence, solid understanding of the topic, and strong well supported argument. Use evidence accurately and truthfully. Every argument, idea, claim, should be effectively supported with warrant and data from evidence. Ideas and evidence should come together smoothly and well to answer the overall question. Body paragraphs don't need an agd- if they have agds, they should enhance the body paragraph and link perfectly to it without muddling the flow of the speech and without taking tangents. Cross examination should be won by smart questions and answers.
For questions, my email is email@example.com.
Served as a parliamentarian last season at Cavalier, Emory, Harvard, TOCs, and NCFLs. Served as a parliamentarian or judge at Yale, Blue Key, and Glenbrooks this season.
My rankings as a parliamentarian tend to be pretty spot-on for the top three to five students in my prelim chambers before varying a little bit going down from there, as they should.
Try not to overthink where I rank you. I would say to focus on the feedback; I've been a part of the Congressional Debate community as a competitor, judge, and coach for over a decade now, so I certainly have some thoughts on how I think you can improve.
We are all aware that teammates share prep, students are using AI, and some unscrupulous coaches prep their students out. That is why I have found that I actually judge more heavily off of delivery in prelims. I'm always listening to your arguments and taking note of strong and weak ones, but I'm not exactly flowing the round like it's PF; I'm just trying to give each of you a paragraph of feedback for each speech. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things I will try to evaluate over the course of nine or so hours as your parliamentarian:
☐ Good arguments & avoid rehash
☐ Full (with the date) citations & high-quality sources
☐ Signposting your arguments/clear taglines
☐ Ability to refute
☐ Ability to crystalize
☐ Strong analysis
☐ Strong questioning
☐ Strong introductions
☐ Strong conclusions (that relate to your intro and last for longer than 5 seconds)
☐ Rhetoric & humor
☐ Appeals to pathos
☐ Effective hand gestures
☐ Eye contact (especially during your introduction)
☐ Passion, not aggression
☐ Vocal variation (tone & volume & speed)
☐ Fluency of speech
☐ Walking on points
☐ Conversational pace
☐ Ends on time/time management (this is a BIG pet peeve of mine; try to end at 3:00 please)
☐ Leadership/influence in the chamber
☐ In-round strategy (overcoming bad pre-set recency, getting a third speech in without losing the respect of your peers)
☐ Use of a legal pad or non-technological equivalent (this is part of the role-play)
☐ Maintaining the role-play (if you are a senator, that means you're pretending to be at least 30 years old)
I'll be honest, I only occasionally judge elimination rounds because I am usually conflicted out of all of them except for at the largest tournaments (think Harvard or NSDA House quarters). However, I do watch them all the time as a spectator.
What I am really looking for in semis (or quarters) are students who have not only mastered the fundamentals, but also find a way to stand out in a room where everyone is pretty decent at speaking.
Specifically, the key things I am really looking for when I judge an elimination round are:
☐ Outstanding intros & conclusions
☐ Clear signposting & structure
☐ Authentic rhetoric & pathos
☐ Advanced argumentation & synthesis
☐ Conversational pace & stellar eye contact
☐ Strong time management throughout a speech (3:00 is the target; if both of your speeches are 3:10, that looks comparatively weak)
A note on presiding:
If you're going to be a presiding officer while competing in Congressional Debate, be a great one. Above all, time your fellow competitors accurately. If you mistime or misgavel your colleagues, I consider that to be a critical failure. Pay attention to your timer and if you make a mistake, be honest about it and come clean. I also don't like it when POs lie about speech times (saying a speech that is 3:13 is 3:10).
POs should demonstrate authority and leadership through problem-solving, managing the chamber when conflict and confusion arises.
I keep a close eye to see if a PO appears to have read the tournament-specific rules.
I highly value word economy. The more you speak as a PO, the more time you are wasting.
Dockets and agendas are not the same thing. The words are not interchangeable.
If no one wants to preside and you are genuinely taking one for the team, I will obviously recognize that and try to help you out if I'm your parli.
Remember why we are all here: Speech and Debate is an educational activity. This is about you becoming the best, most capable version of yourself (and using those talents to make the world a better place). Five years from now, the confidence, talent, and knowledge you cultivate through this activity will be useful to you, every single day. The plaques and trophies will either still be on display at your old school or sitting in a box at home somewhere, out of sight and out of mind.
Hi. My name is Michael Chu and I am currently a junior at Yale studying computer science. I debated in high school, and enjoyed it as an activity. I hope everyone has fun!
First year PF judge and PF coach, but I was an experienced Parliamentary debater in college. The burden is on the Aff to prove that the status quo is untenable and their change will produce a marginally better outcome, the burden on the Neg is to defend the existing status quo and to prove that the proposed changes will produce a marginally worse outcome than the present. Contention speeches are important to set the tone of the debate, but the real winners are able to flow out a round and produce effective rebuttals on the fly along with clear crisp summaries and focus speeches.
I am much more impressed by debaters thinking on their feet than stat dumping or giving canned rebuttals and summaries, due to my background in the more free flowing parliamentary debating style of the APDA collegiate circuit. Try to avoid rehash as much as possible or introducing new contentions in later rounds. I reward civility and good-natured debating over overly aggressive crosses. I find asking for cards and sources to be a somewhat annoying feature of PF, so do so only if needed to clarify an opponents point, and I like both teams to self time.
Hi, my name is Parker De Dekér (He/Him), I'm a Student at Columbia University in New York where I study Latin American & Caribbean Studies and Cognitive Science and I conduct research at the Institute of Global Politics and Institute of Latin American Studies. I'm also the Assistant Coach for Congress at Taipei American School, and an active alumnus of the National Speech & Debate Association!
While in High School, I competed in Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, Congressional Debate, World Schools Debate, and one Big Questions Tournament. For Speech, my primary experience is in Impromptu, Original Oratory, Program Oral Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry, and Extemp; however, I am also decently familiar with all the other Speech categories and know what I look for in each of them. I am super excited to judge your round, and if you are looking for a more in-depth paradigm for each category, look below!
I competed in over 2,000 Hours of Congressional Debate in my High School Career, I was the 2022 National Champion in Congressional Debate: House as well as the Final Round Presiding Officer & Leadership Bowl Winner. With that being said, I know just how much work all of you put into this activity, so I will always judge you based on the effort you put in!
Repetition & Refutation: The recurrence of similar ideas in the first two cycles of debate is okay; subsequently, I either want to hear new points that highlight the issues brought forward to focus on achieving a resolution or I want to be listening to you refute your opponent's points. I respond to engaging speeches with dynamic responses to specific arguments mentioned earlier in the round and points of note referenced by the speaker’s name; it demonstrates you are actively listening to others and formulating new material as the round progresses. A memorable speech that I can flow assists me when filling out my rankings upon completing the round.
Speaking: I am comfortable with spreading; however, this is a Congressional debate, and spreading is non-sensical when getting your point across, especially if you are trying to emphasize or embolden certain points. I prefer to see open, engaging dialogue over a flurry of nonsensical interjections. I enjoy speakers that show a genuine passion for what they are talking about.
As the round goes on and the material becomes more repetitive, I WILL flow less of what is presented. If you are debating in a later cycle and still want a place on my ballot, you need to fight for it, that comes by distinguishing yourself stylistically. Refute your opponents' arguments, weigh the round, and if you are one of the final speakers PLEASE CRYSTALIZE. I will give you higher speaker points if you attempt on crystal speech and do okay, rather than give a constructive one with no refutation and do great. In my opinion, crystallizing the round is a difficult task; if you do it well, I'll remember you!
Decorum: As a judge, I appreciate your ability to respect your PO, Parliamentarian, Competitors, and Judges with formal language and modest amounts of well-timed humor. It is your responsibility to ensure you monitor time signals and adhere to PO policies.
Equity and inclusion are integral points in how I judge a round. I expect to hear demonstrated efforts to make a round more inclusive for others through the usage of correct terminology, proper pronouns, etc. Explicit acts to infringe upon a person's identity, including, but not limited to, their race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or other such disregard, will result in an immediate drop in ranking status.
Presiding: As an experienced Parliamentarian (and High School PO) I'm very familiar with the intricacies of presiding. If you are running against someone as the presiding officer, I hope you are decently experienced. If you are stepping up to preside, I will take that into account when filling out my rankings; however, if you say you are an experienced PO, list a whole bunch of tournaments you've presided at, and then still fail to provide efficient presiding, I'm going to consider that a bluff, and include comments about it in your RFD. Even if I'm not the parliamentarian, I will still be keeping track of precedence and recency and your employment of Roberts Rules of Order. I consider efficient, organized, and experienced POs equivalent to quality speakers and will rank my POs on the same level during the round. I appreciate a well-run chamber where all parties are held to the highest standard and will make a note of those who rise to the occasion.
I will flow everything in the round, even Cross-Ex, so if your opponent asks a question in cross-ex and you don't carry that argument through the round, I'm going to believe that you either weren't paying attention in Cross or you are not responding to the question; however, if you are the one answering the question and your counter never appears later in the round, I'm also dropping it from the flow. I encourage you to run whatever you like; however, I enjoy progressive arguments in PF. Yes I know, a public forum is supposed to be very accessible, and I agree. Still, it should also be a learning opportunity, so responding to abuses of the debating environment (T-Shell), introducing frameworks (I wish I didn't have to mention this, but I do), moral imperatives and interpretations are all appreciated. That said, if you are trying to run a T-Shell in JV or Novice, I will be a little concerned; save this for varsity. In terms of speed, I've competed in almost every debating style, so I am very familiar and comfortable with spreading; however, I'm not a big fan of spreading in PF, so fast paces are okay, spreading to a point that puts your competitor and a disadvantage will be labeled as abusive, please don't do this.
What I Love to See: Impact calculus- it is the most important thing to me; please weigh & please tell me how to vote so I don’t have to intervene in any capacity. I also like to see super high respect for your opponent. This is such an underrated part of PF that is not nearly as present in LD or Policy, and it totally should be.
A few things I hate in rounds:
- Swearing, I wish it were obvious but you would be surprised. This lacks professionalism if it is not needed to make points. Same goes for using basic filler such as like, um, literally, err, but, stupid, etc. If you use these, your not going to get a 30 from me for your speaker points.
- "Stealing" prep- if you need prep take it, if you are sitting for more than 15 seconds without telling me that you are taking prep, having tech issues, etc, I'm going to start the prep clock.
- Experienced debaters being overly hard on novices- we want to keep them in the activity, don't discourage them by running super dense over the top arguments- you will probably win if you just run a standard argument simply by being more experienced.
-Straight Theory Arguments: Are done to death, and aren't making either debater better. If it wins, I'll still pick you up, but I would prefer to see educational rounds.
-Do not run a "fairness" argument that you couldn't prep against your opponent, and then you have a case completely against your opponent. This demonstrates that you lied about the fairness argument; I'm dropping it.
-DEBATE SHOULD ALWAYS BE INCLUSIVE! The usage of any verbiage or dialogue that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, anti-semitic, islamophobic, nativist, xenophobic, classist, or abusive will result in an immediate loss of the round, and a speaker score below 20, this is not tolerated while I am a judge.
Lincoln Douglas & Policy:
1. I will be flowing all of the debate, but I appreciate it when you slow down on the authors and taglines, even if you are spreading. I'm very comfortable with spreading, but I ask that you put me on the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Even in complex debates in LD and CX, I want to see the debate a clear storyline that properly compares the resolution to the context of the squo, and explains how arguments within the round interact with one another. I'm a huge lover of Phil. debate, but not framework debate. I don't want to make it to the 2AR and still be arguing about what the Value/VC is for the round. If there is no way for you to adopt the same value for the res then just provide a holistic approach to explaining how your args can suffice both values and criteria for the round.
3. Do what you do best. While I do not believe that affirmatives have to be topical, I am often more invested when you approach the aff case with new and innovative arguments that still engage with the topic.
4. Please know what you’re talking about. The easiest way for you to lose a round is to look for an argument that is "irrefutable," "shiny" or non-topical because it sounds good and like an easy win, but then have no tangible way of continuing the argument without sole reliance on the card. When students are well-read/versed on the things that they are reading, and have an ability to care and genuinely understand them, I am easily engaged and feel better positions to vote for you. That being said, being well-read does equate to using complex jargon all the time. This is not really appealing to me, and can also come off as an unfair approach to the round, especially because not every team/school has the resource to equip them with these complexities. If your wording doesn’t make sense or if I don’t understand it at the end of the debate, I will have a hard time evaluating it.
5. Progressive Debate: So this has become a huge debate in recent years on the circuit, and coming from Wisconsin, I'm used to competitors being dropped for running prog, but surprisingly, I absolutely love progressive debate. I will vote for Theory, T debates, Kritik, plans, CPs, etc, but I do not believe that running a progressive approach is a necessarily substantive response to certain arguments. This being established, if you choose to run a Prog case, there are a few things you need to do: prove actual in-round abuse, actual ground loss, and actual education lost for T debates. Establish why the resolution cannot be debated and why you have to run a CP/Plan (your DAs need to be crystal clear and need to be used to set up the case before you move into the CP in the 1NC) or provide me with genuine context about why the philosophy, theory, or kritik holds more validity to be debated over the topicality within the round. While I love prog debate, my caveat is--you need to know your audience. If you have a competitor who is in a position where they cannot respond to your arguments because of their complexity/lack of literature to disprove or position your competitor within the round where they cannot logistically win the round in your own opinion, then I cannot vote for the prog arguments, because it doesn't allow the debate to be educational.
All Events: If you ever need an explanation of your feedback, or want a more in-depth response, email me email@example.com I WILL NEVER leave you a blank ballot. If this happens, it is a mistake, please send me an email, and I'll see what I can do.
Best of luck to you in your rounds today and tomorrow. Your speaking will change lives, even if it is just one, I promise.
CONGRESS PARADIGM IS BELOW THIS PF Paradigm
ALMOST EVERY ROUND I HAVE JUDGED IN THE LAST 8 YEARS WOULD HAVE BENEFITTED FROM 50% FEWER ARGUMENTS, AND 100% MORE ANALYSIS OF THOSE 50% FEWER ARGUMENTS. A Narrative, a Story carries so much more persuasively through a round than the summary speaker saying "we are going for Contention 2".
I am NOT a fan of speed, nor speed/spread. Please don't make me think I'm in a Policy Round!
I don't need "Off-time roadmaps", I just want to know where you are starting.
Claim/warrant/evidence/impact is NOT a debate cliche; It is an Argumentative necessity! A label and a blip card is not a developed argument!
Unless NUCLEAR WINTER OR NUCLEAR EXTINCTION HAS ALREADY OCCURED, DON'T BOTHER TO IMPACT OUT TO IT.
SAVE K'S FOR POLICY ROUNDS; RUN THEORY AT YOUR OWN RISK- I start from ma place that it is fake and abusive in PF and you are just trying for a cheap win against an unprepared team. I come to judge debates about the topic of the moment.
YOU MIGHT be able to convince me of your sincerity if you can show me that you run it in every round and are President of the local "Advocacy for that Cause" Club.
Don't just tell me that you win an argument, show me WHY you win it and what significance that has in the round.
Please NARROW the debate and WEIGH arguments in Summary and Final Focus. If you want the argument in Final Focus, be sure it was in the summary.
There is a difference between "passionate advocacy" and anger. Audio tape some of your rounds and decide if you are doing one or the other when someone says you are "aggressive".
NSDA evidence rules require authors' last name and THE DATE (minimum) so you must AT LEAST do that if you want me to accept the evidence as "legally presented". If one team notes that the other has not supplied dates, it will then become an actual issue in the round. Speaker points are at stake.
In close rounds I want to be persuaded and I may just LISTEN to both Final Focus speeches, checking off things that are extended on my flow.
I am NOT impressed by smugness, smiling sympathetically at the "stupidity" of your opponent's argument, vigorous head shaking in support of your partner's argument or opposition to your opponents'. Speaker points are DEFINITELY in play here!
1: The first thing I am looking for in every speech is ORGANIZATION AND CLARITY. 2. The second thing I am looking for is CLASH; references to other speakers & their arguments
3. The third thing I am looking for is ADVOCACY, supported by EVIDENCE
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A SPEAKING EVENT, NOT A READING EVENT! I WILL NOT GIVE EVEN A "BRILLIANT" SPEECH A "6" IF IT IS READ OFF A PREPARED SHEET/TUCKED INTO THE PAD OR WRITTEN ON THE PAD ITSELF; AND, FOR CERTAIN IF IT IS READ OFF OF A COMPUTER OR TABLET.
I value a good story and humor, but Clarity and Clash are most important.
Questioning and answering factors into overall placement in the Session.
Yes, I will evaluate and include the PO, but it is NOT an automatic advancement to the next level; that has gotten a bit silly.
Hey, I'm Faith! Former LD, PF, Congress. Most experience in LD.
Take all of this with a grain of salt. You don't have to cater to me, just do your thing and be nice and I'll do my thing :). If you want my manifesto on debate, talk to me; if you want some general guidelines:
I never did it but I have an essential understanding of how it works. Only speak as fast as you can enunciate; speed impressive, spreading make me sad :(
PF is meant to be the debate that any random person can judge; don't get to jargony and technical. Talk to debate judges the same way you talk to mom judges. Impact calc is literally slay. Clear summary speeches are a must. Final focus should be voters. Grand Cross is my fav part.
Congress?? If you're here???
Do your thing. I don't want to keep precedence so if there's a disagreement over it, L I guess? I'll default to the chair id there's a disagreement. Be nice to your chair too I will not tolerate anything otherwise (and the ballot will reflect that, you elected the chair if you don't like how they're doing it, that sounds like a you problem). Congress is not an oratory. Don't make the opposite of progress be congress. Don't just repeat arguments. Please have fun too!! I have fallen asleep in too many rounds and I'm not going to be a prick.
Unapologetically my favorite <3. I love extremely philosophical argumentation and direct quoting of philosophy, that's the way LD is supposed to be imo, but I know it's not the norm so I'm not going to judge you based on personal stylistic preferences. Yet, my number one consideration is always the value and value criterion clash and whose arguments uphold better. That's a reasonable expectation. LD isn't conducive to card dumping. I'm okay with speed, but talk pretty. I will probably give you lots of advice on the ballot; you don't have to take any of it, it's just my personal opinion. If you think it will bring you success, do it, but what worked for me won't necessarily work for you. LD is in a bit of a rough place right now with the traditional versus progressive styles, but the only things that I believe are absolutely imperative are A: Logic and B: A Value and Value Criterion. Slay.
Quality of arguments > quantity of arguments.
Logical arguments with cards > more cards without logic.
Pointing out logical fallacies in your opponent's case/arguments <3
I will flow but I'm not a tech>truth judge, I think it's lame.
You need to link out and explain the why and the logic behind your argument, I won't do your argumentation and class for you because I won't be able to do it consistently and that's not fair to you—explain why said card/theory supports/defeats said argument, why something can't be permed, why this is going to cause economic inflation etc..
Ik I'm a Yale judge but that doesn't mean I know anything about whatever you're debating; genuinely I don't spend my free time researching the resolutions don't assume that coming to our tournaments means you'll have judges who are experts on the topic area. Unless it's common knowledge, explain/define it. I have Google but if it is more complicated than the first paragraph of its wikipedia page, spell it out. With that being said, if you try and convince me of something that is false or have bad/self-serving geopolitical/economic analyses, I will be disappointed in you and I may start crying.
Link chains good if done right, bad if lead to crazy infeasible arguments. Exaggeration is a no no. (The exception is LD due to its philosophical premise, but only if you have the philosophy to back it up)
I won't flow all of questioning but if you absolutely demolish an argument in it or if you establish something in it I will definitely weigh it. I love questioning and I'm not one of the judges that expects you to recap it in speeches; do refer to it if you wish, but I know what happened in questioning I was there.
Be nice to your opponents; being abusive is the best way to get voted down. I understand being stern in questioning because that is a strategic space, but you still need to be fair and respectful.
Heyoo and Howdy, Its Jomi,
I have been Competing, Coaching, and Judging for going on 8 years now and I'm 21 so that says a lot about my wild amount of commitment I have towards this activity.
Mainly competed and coached extemp and congress so that is where my best critiques would come from since those are the events that I know the most about, however, I am proficient in knowing PF and LD since I have judged tons of elimination rounds for those events and have friends in the events so they teach me the game.
I would say no matter the event it always comes down to three solid principles for me
Logic without evidence
Quality of evidence
Speaking and execution of rhetoric
Logic without evidence meaning how solid on a logic understands deductive or inductive reasoning is the argument, to the point that at the least from a basic philosophical level can I consider that argument valid but not being true because that would require evidence.
Quality of evidence is what sets an argument to being a good argument because if your evidence is timely, relevant, and flows within the speech or case then that sets you apart from the round. Good evidence balances arguments, Bad Evidence breaks arguments
Speaking and execution of Rhetoric meaning simply how well are you conveying your speech and case in your delivery, even in Policy debate, if you want the judge to hear something import and round defining then you slow down and say it with conviction. How well do your voice and your inflections convey your narrative especially on the impact analysis which to me is the most important parts of arguments especially;y on a human level is to be important
Most of all, be respectful and courteous to your judges and especially to your opponents because if you are rude, condescending, sexist, racist, you know the deal if it's bad and I catch it, expect the worst result from me and expect for me to back it up. So just be a respectful person and we will be all good.
Make sure your claims are linked and warranted with evidence. Clear sources please. I value accurate information that is credible and unbiased.
I need to see an impact with clear context. If I do not understand it I will not flow it, so assume I do not know anything and be sure to provide context to your claims.
Use the legislation in your arguments. I read the topics beforehand, however understand I want to see how your claim aligns with the legislation.
I value quality questions and quality answers, need to see you are active in round.
Rhetoric is so important. Please present your arguments confidently, clearly, and succinctly so I can understand you completely. Do not spread in a CD round. Keep the debate topical.
And lastly, always be respectful.
I value insightful responses to challenging questions during the questioning period. By that same token, if you ask challenging and provoking questions, it will reflect well on your round placement.
I wholeheartedly value speeches that embody the congressional debate sentiment: a focus on the American constituents who "elected" you to office. At the end of the day, that is who you represent. The best speeches are compelling, comprehensible, motivating, and delivered at a normal speaking pace (no spreading). I definitely don't mind a joke/pun or two. Speaking well, in a very compelling way, is just as important as what you are saying. Try not to read from your screen too much.
For PO contests, speed and efficiency is key. The better PO is the one that successfully moves the round along with minimal hesitations, almost as if you don't even notice their presence.
World Schools Debate:
I heavily value speaking compellingly and passionately. That means that you shouldn't be spreading. Also, make sure that you keep in mind that because this is WSD, you should be considering the perspective of the world, not focusing your debate on a specific country.
Try not to spread, as Public Forum is intended to be accessible to the average non-debater. Additionally, make sure your arguments are presented in a compelling way; what you say is just as important as how you say it. For online tournaments, your arguments are communicated more effectively if you are not clearly reading from your screen for the entire speech. Try to look up at the audience/camera every once and a while. I am also comfortable with nonconventional arguments (at least nonconventional for PF) as long as they are presented compellingly and have a clear tie-back to the topic at hand.
I participated in Congressional Debate and World School's Debate in high school, attending both CA State Finals and Nationals. I am now an undergraduate student at Yale University.
tl;dr - tech and speed good, but I'm not doing work for you. The resolution must be in the debate. Though I think like a debater, I do an "educator check" before I vote - if you advocate for something like death good, or read purely frivolous theory because you know your opponent cannot answer it and hope for an easy win, you are taking a hard L.
Email chain: havenforensics (at) gmail - but I'm not reading along. I tab more than I judge, but I'm involved in research. Last substance update: 9/18/22
Head Coach of Strath Haven HS since 2012. We do all events.
Previously coach at Park View HS 2009-11, assistant coach at Pennsbury HS 2002-06 (and beyond)
Competitor at Pennsbury HS 1998-2002, primarily Policy
I like a quick, technical debate (due to my Policy background) - if I was starting debate today, I would be a PFer. Major difference from what I used to do is that in PF drops are not death because of the weird way speeches match up. But you should warrant and impact your claims throughout the debate so I don't have to! Speed is good when it gets us depth, not as much if it gets us breadth.
1st Rebuttal should be line-by-line on their case; 2nd Rebuttal should frontline at least major offense, but 2nd Summary is too late for dumps of new arguments.
With 3 minutes, the Summary is probably also line-by-line, but perhaps not on every issue. Summary needs to ditch some issues so you can add depth, not just tag lines. If it isn't in Summary, it probably isn't getting flowed in Final Focus, unless it is a direct response to a new argument in 2nd Summary.
Final Focus should continue to narrow down the debate to tell me a story about why you win. Refer to specific spots on the flow, though LBL isn't strictly necessary (you just don't have time). I'll weigh what you say makes you win vs what they say makes them win - good idea to play some defense, but see above about drops.
With a Policy background, I will listen to framework, theory, and T arguments - though I will frown at all of those because I really want a solid case debate. I also have no problem intervening and rejecting arguments that are designed to exclude your opponents from the debate. I do not believe counterplans or kritiks have a place in PF.
You win a lot of points with me calling out shady evidence, and conversely by using good evidence. You lose a lot of points by being unable to produce the evidence you read quickly. If I call for a card, I expect it to be cut.
I don't care which side you sit on or when you stand, and I find the post-round judge handshake to be silly and unnecessary.
tl;dr: Look at me if you are traditional or policy. Strike me if you don't talk about the topic or only read abstract French philosophers or rely on going for blippy trash arguments that mostly work due to being undercovered.
My LD experience is mostly local or regional, though I coach circuit debaters. Thus, I'm comfortable with traditional, value-centered LD and util/policy/solvency LD. If you are going traditional, value clash obviously determines the round, but don't assume I know more than a shallow bit of philosophy.
I probably prefer policy debates, but not if you are trying to fit an entire college policy round into LD times - there just isn't time to develop 4 off in your 7 minute constructive, and I have to give the aff some leeway in rebuttals since there is no constructive to answer neg advocacies.
All things considered, I would rather you defend the whole resolution (even if you want to specify a particular method) rather than a tiny piece of it, but that's what T debates are for I guess (I like T debates). If we're doing plans, then we're also doing CPs, and I'm familiar with all your theory arguments as long as I can flow them.
If somehow you are a deep phil debater and I end up as the judge, you probably did prefs wrong, but I'll do my best to understand - know that I hate it when debaters take a philosophers work and chop it up into tiny bits that somehow mean I have to vote aff. There should be a real clear topical connection that you can explain to me, not because LD is to train future lawyers talking to regular people, but because I can't digest your entire philosopher in the tiny pieces you are feeding me.
If you are a tricks debater, um, don't. Arguments have warrants and a genuine basis in the resolution or choices made by your opponent.
In case it isn't clear from all the rest of the paradigm, I'm a hack for framework if one debater decides not to engage the resolution.
Update for TOC '19: it has been awhile since I've judged truly competitive, circuit Policy. I have let my young alumni judge an event dominated by young alumni. I will still enjoy a quality policy round, but my knowledge of contemporary tech is lacking. Note that I'm not going to backflow from your speech doc, and I'm flowing on paper, so you probably don't want to go your top speed.
1. The role of the ballot must be stable and predictable and lead to research-based clash. The aff must endorse a topical action by the government. For all of the flaws in the structure of debate and the debate community, this is the only way to have a productive debate. You cannot create a role of the ballot based on the thing you want to talk about if that thing is not part of the topic; you cannot create a role of the ballot where your opponent is forced to defend that racism is good or that racism does not exist; you cannot create a role of the ballot where the winner is determined by performance, not argumentation. And, to be fair to the aff, the neg cannot create a role of the ballot where aff loses because they talked about the topic and not about something else.
2. I am a policymaker at heart. I want to evaluate the cost/benefit of plan passage vs. status quo/CP/alt. Discourse certainly matters, but a) I'm biased on a framework question to using fiat or at least weighing the 1AC as an advocacy of a policy, and b) a discursive link had better be a real significant choice of the affirmative with real implications if that's all you are going for. "Using the word exploration is imperialist" isn't going to get very far with me. Links of omission are not links.
I can shift to other paradigms, however, I have never been able to get into abstract philosophy, especially at the speed of a policy round. I understand how critical arguments work and enjoy them when grounded in the topic/aff, and when the alternative would do something. Just as the plan must defend a change in the status quo, so must the alt - otherwise you've got a non-unique philosophical disad.
3. Fairness matters. I believe that the policymaking paradigm only makes sense in a world where each side has a fair chance at winning the debate, so I will happily look to procedural/T/theory arguments before resolving the substantive debate. I will not evaluate an RVI or that some moral/kritikal impact "outweighs" the T debate. I will listen to any other aff reason not to vote on T.
I like T and theory debates. The team that muddles those flows will incur my wrath in speaker points. Don't just read a block in response to a block, do some actual debating, OK? I definitely have a lower-than-average threshold to voting on a well-explained T argument since no one seems to like it anymore.
Notes for any event
1. Clash, then resolve it. Clash is important. Don't structurally avoid clash. But you also have to resolve the issues of clash. The last rebuttals should provide all interpretation for me and write my ballot, with me left simply to choose which side is more persuasive or carries the key point. I want to make fair, predictable, and non-interventionist decisions, which requires you to do all my thinking for me. I don't want to read your evidence (unless you ask me to), I don't want to think about how to apply it, I don't want to interpret your warrants - I want you to do all of those things! The debate should be over when the debate ends.
2. Warrants are good. "I have a card" is not a persuasive argument; nor is a tag-line extension. The more warrants you provide, the fewer guesses I have to make, and the fewer arguments I have to connect for you, the more predictable my decision will be. I want to know what your evidence says and why it matters in the round. You do not, for example, get a risk of a link simply by saying it is a link. Warrantless arguments aren't worth a whole lot. Defensive arguments are good, especially when connected to impact calculus. I don't reject shaky evidence out of hand - but defense can win rounds.
3. Speed. Speed for argument depth is good, speed for speed's sake is bad. I hate voting on the dropped #14 or watching the 1AR get outspread with 8 blippy disads. Clarity is important. My threshold is that you should slow down on tags and theory so I can write it down, and so long as I can hear English words in the body of the card, you should be fine. I will yell if I can't understand you. If you don't get clearer, the arguments I can't hear will get less weight at the end of the round, if they make it on the flow at all. I'm not anti-speed, but I'm not reading the speech doc, I'm just flowing and listening.
4. Finally, I think debate is supposed to be both fun and educational. I am an educator and a coach; I'm happy to be at the tournament. But I also value sleep and my family, so make sure what you do in round is worth all the time we are putting into being there. Imagine that I brought some new novice debaters and my superintendent to watch the round with me. If you are bashing debate or advocating for suicide or other things I wouldn't want 9th graders new to my program to hear, you aren't going to have a happy judge. Don't take yourselves too seriously, but don't waste my time.
I am more than happy to elaborate on this paradigm or answer any questions in round.
Hey, I'm Mike Kaiser! I competed in Congress on the national circuit for 4 years and graduated in May of 2023; I'm now an undergraduate college student studying finance at the University of Florida. My biggest takeaway from this activity was that there are an infinite amount of ways that to communicate a message effectively, but the best way will always be the one that highlights your individuality, so be original!
General Philosophy (and TLDR): I reward speakers that explain why their arguments are true as well as prove that they are true. This means a good argument includes plenty of warranting behind it, solid evidence to prove it, and proper analysis to link it together. I believe that every speaker has a unique role depending on how early or late the round is and I will rank the speakers that do the best job of fulfilling their roles (i.e. don't give a constructive as the last speech of the round). Finally, make sure that your speaking is engaging and passionate. In order to convince me that I should care about what you're saying, you have to sound like you care about what you're saying. Think of your round as an opportunity for me to get to know you, throw in a little personality.
Originality:As the great Zachary Wu once said, Congress is a game of raw persuasion. This just means that you don't have to abide by the conventions of Congress in order to be good, you just have to do the best job of convincing me why your argument is the most important in the round. I don't want you to give copy-paste speeches that you've given before nor extensively rehearsed speeches that sound like ChatGPT. In fact, I would rather you write a speech from scratch in-round if it means you will adapt to the round, include refutation, and explain your advocacy properly. I rank speeches that are good in the context of the round, not just good in isolation.
Humor: I love humor and will reward it if done properly. Humor in Congress is at its best when the jokes are professional and the role of Congressperson is maintained. That being said, if you make me laugh with a "less-than-professional" joke I will still reward you because I have a sense of humor.
Presiding Officers:If you want my 1, you better not make any mistakes. I rank presiding officers that are assertive, but not rude, and effectively manage the round. The best presiding officers are not yappers, they are quick and concise. Making a couple of mistakes will probably still land you in my ranks, depending on how you handle them.
Flipping:I love a balanced debate, so I reward people who flip. There is a caveat here that is fairly important: don't give a bad speech. Flipping will not automatically get you my 1, I still want to hear a good speech. In other words, don't give a terrible speech "for the sake of the debate." You will get points for flipping if your speech is good though.
Weighing: Do it, please. I'm a fan of weighing at any point in the round where it makes sense to do so, don't just leave this to the crystallization speech if you can fit it in earlier. The best debaters can weigh without using debate jargon, but I'll be happy with any weighing.
Refutation: Don't just tell me that someone is wrong, tell me why they're wrong and explain why you're right. Also, don't just namedrop a bunch of people and say they're all wrong. Either group their arguments or take them one by one.
Most importantly, have fun, be yourself, and don't be rude to anyone. And be confident.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
My name is WK (they/them).
I have 10 years of competitive and coaching experience. 3 years of mediocrity in novice/JV PF 2012-2015, and then as a senior in 2015-2016 I switched to Congress and got 1 bid (Penn), 2nd at NY States, and Semis at NCFLs. Did 2 years of APDA (American Parli) in college to minimal competitive success, but did attend 2018 WUDC (British Parli). I have coached pretty much all events since graduating HS in 2016, and have been a teacher since finishing undergrad in 2020. Currently, I teach debate full-time to grades 5-12. I am also pursuing an MA in political science.
I mostly judge PF and Congress these days, so extensive paradigms follow for those two events, respectively. If anything below, for either event, doesn't make sense, ask me before the round! We are all here to learn and grow together.
Equity: Read this article. After reading that article, you should feel compelled to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Though at this point it should go without saying, I will make myself clear: I have a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance. You are smart enough to find impacts for the most esoteric and outlandish of arguments, I am certain you are aware of the impact of your words and actions on other people. Simply put: respect each other. We are all here to learn and grow together.
Yes, please put me on the email chain (email@example.com)
Speed: speed is mostly fine but if I signal to slow down (either a hand wave or a verbal “clear”) then slow down. 2 signals and then I stop flowing. Share speech docs if you’re worried about how speedy you are (again, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Evidence: I know what cards are really garbage and/or dishonest since I am coaching every topic and judging most of the time (Example: Don't read O'Toole in the HSR topic, or Chinese state media about BRI). That said, I am as non-interventionist as possible. I am pretty straightforward and flow centric: if you say it, it’s on my flow, if you don’t say it, it doesn’t exist in the world of the debate. I will stop writing at the time limit of the speech, you will see me put my pen down and you should know to stop, in addition to the fact of your and, likely, your opponents' timers going off. Author or Publication and Date is sufficient in speeches (and is the bare minimum by NSDA rules), and just author and/or publication after the first mention (and year if the author/publication is a repeat). If your evidence sounds sus, I will make note of that, but won't drop you unless it's challenged. It will probably hurt your speaks, though. I expect honesty and integrity in rounds. Evidence ethics in PF is really really messy right now, so I'll appreciate well-cited cases (but cards are not the same as warrants. You should know that, but still).
Framework debate: Try your best to engage with the other side’s framework, as that to me is fundamental to any debate and I have decided many rounds on it: it frames the round for a reason. Don’t just say it because it’s traditional/you’re expected to and then not engage with it or believe in it. If both teams present framework, you have to tell me why to prefer yours; if you do and they don't extend it, and that can help me clarify voters later. If both sides read FW but then no one extends/interacts, I'm just not gonna consider it in my RFD. If you read framework, I better hear how your impacts specifically link to it; that should happen in case, but if you need to clean up your mess later that's possible. If you can win your case and link into your opponent's FW and then weigh, you've got a pretty good shot of picking up my ballot.
Rebuttals: Frontlining needs to happen in rebuttals. IMO Second Rebuttal is the hardest speech in a PF round, and so I need you to leave yourself time to frontline or else they're gonna kill you in Summary (or at least they should, and I probably won't look favorably upon lots of unresponded to ink on the flow coming out of Rebuttals). Any defense in rebuttal isn't sticky. I'm also a fan of concessions/self-kick-outs when done well, but use the extra time to start weighing early on top of dumping responses/frontlines on whatever you are covering. That said, you'll probably get higher speaks if you do all the things on all the points.
Summary: Any defense in rebuttal isn't sticky, extend it if you want me to adjudicate based on it. I like it when summaries give me a good notion of the voting issues in the round, ideally with a clear collapse on one or two key points of clash. If you can sufficiently tell me what the voting issues are and how you won them, you have a real strong chance of winning the round. In so doing, you should be weighing against your opponent’s voting issues/best case (see above) and extending frontlining if you can (hence why it has to happen). Suppose I have to figure out what the voting issues are and, in cases where teams present different voting issues, weigh each side's against the other's: in that case, I may have to intervene more in interpreting what the round was about rather than you defining what the round was about, which I don't want to do. Weigh for me, my intervening is bad. Comparative weighing, please. In both backhalf speeches, I want really good and clear analytics on top of techy structure and cards.
Final Focus: a reminder that defense isn't sticky so extend as much as you can when you need to. The Final Focus should then respond to anything new in summary (hopefully not too much) and then write my ballot for me based on the voters/collapses in Summary. I am going to ignore any new arguments in your Final Focus. You know what you should be doing in that speech: a solid crystallization of the round with deference to clearing up my ballot. Final Focuses have won rounds before, don't look at it like a throwaway.
Signposting/Flow: I can flow 250-300 WPM if you want me to, but for the love of all things holy, sign post, like slow down for the tag even. I write as much as I can hear and am adept at flowing, and I'll even look at the speech doc if you send it (and you probably should as a principle if you're speaking this quickly), but you should make my life as easy as possible so I can spend more time thinking about your arguments. Always make your judges' lives as easy as you can.
Speaker points: unless tab gives me a specific set of criteria to follow, I generally follow the traditional “30 means I think you’re the platonic ideal of the debater, 29 means you are one of the best debaters I have seen, etc…” In novice/JV rounds, this is a bit less true: I generally give speaks based on the round’s quality in the context of the level at which you’re competing. If you are an insolent jerk, I will drop your speaks no matter how good you are. Insolence runs the gamut from personal put-downs of your opponent(s) to outright bigotry. If I am ever allowed to do so again, I have no issue with low point wins. Sus-sounding evidence will also drop your speaks.
T/Theory/K/Prog: This is part of my paradigm that I rewrote at the start of the 2022 season (and have updated regularly since) after seeing some of the most egregious judging of my life at a regional tournament, where ostensible preferences for lay debate were used as an excuse for blatant judge intervention and dog whistling of problematic worldviews. Given this, I have recently become way more open to T/Theory/K/Prog than I was earlier in my debate career. Let me be specific: if you can run any T/theory/prog/Ks that sufficiently criticizes competitive debate as an institution (fem K, tournament K, team K, SV, etc.), I am more open to it than I am to other T/Theory/K/Prog (as long as you read/provide real warrants and not just pre-written docs you don't understand from camp/your expensive private coach). I do not like any T/Theory that is purposely run on debaters that don't know how to deal with it to try and pick up; I'll drop you with crappy speaks. Separately, I think paraphrasing is bad for debate (as it is practiced by many circuit teams) and am also very open to paraphrasing theory, but be specific when reading the violation: if you don't prove there was a violation (or worse, there isn't really one at all and the other side gets up and tells me that, as happened in a round I judged in 2023), then I can't vote for you on theory no matter how good of a shell you read. On a different note, if you read any theory that has anything to do with discourse, my threshold for voting against you drops a lot at the point at which your opponent says anything close to "running theory isn't good for discourse." These are the kinds of theory I am most open to/familiar with in either direction, though I can adjudicate other kinds decently enough. If you're not sure about what I might think about the theory you wanna run, feel free to ask me before the round. In short, as long as the theory/K is executed well, meaning you actually link in and your impacts are very very well warranted, you should be fine. Prog is not an excuse to be blippy.
If you have any questions that haven't been answered here, feel free to ask them before the start of the round.
Have fun, learn something, and respect one another. Good luck, and I look forward to your round!
A PRIORI: I WILL BUMP YOU UP AT LEAST ONE FULL RANK IF YOU DO NOT READ OFF OF A FULLY PRE-WRITTEN SPEECH
I am a bit old school insofar as I believe Congress is very much a hybrid between speech and debate events: of course I want the good arguments, but you should sound and act like a member of Congress. The performative element of the event matters very much to me. Be respectful of everyone in the room and be sure that your arguments are not predicated on the derogation or belittlement of others (see the last paragraph of this paradigm for more on respect and its impact on my judging).
Your speeches are obviously most important, assuming you're not POing. I'm looking for solid and logical warranting (cards are important but not a replacement for warranting, especially in a more rhetorically oriented event like Congress), unique impacts (especially to specific constituencies) and strong rhetoric. Your argumentation should leave no big gaps in the link chains, and should follow a clear structure. Arguments that are interdependent obviously need that linkage to be strong. Obviously, avoid rehash. Good extensions, meaning those that introduce meaningully new evidence/context or novel impacts, are some of my favorite speeches to hear. I also value a real strong crystal more than a lot of judges, so if you're good at it, do it.
I also give great weight to your legislative engagement. Ask questions, make motions, call points of order when appropriate. If you're good at this, I will remember it in your ranking. The same goes if you're not good at it. I have no bright-line for the right/wrong amount of this: engage appropriately and correctly and it will serve you well. Sitting there with your hands folded the entire session when you're not giving a speech will hurt you.
I highly value the role of the PO, which is to say that a great PO can and will get my 1. A great PO makes no procedural errors, provides coherent and correct explanations when wrongly challenged, runs a quick-moving and efficient chamber, and displays a command of decorum and proper etiquette. Short of greatness, any PO who falls anywhere on the spectrum of good to adequate will get a rank from me, commensurate with the quality of their performance. Like any other Congressperson, you will receive a detailed explanation for why you were ranked where you were based on your performance. While you may not get the 1 if you are perfect but also frequently turning to the Parli to confirm your decisions, I would rather you check in than get it wrong and be corrected; you'll still get ranked, but perhaps not as highly. The only way I do not rank a PO is if they make repeated, frequent mistakes in procedure: calling on the wrong speaker when recency is established, demonstrating a lack of procedural knowledge and/or lack of decorum, et cetera.
My standards are the same when I Parli as when i judge, the only difference being I will be comparing POs and speakers across the day, so POing one session does not guarantee a rank on my Parli sheet, since it is an evaluation of your performance across all sessions of the tournament. When I am Parli, I keep the tournament guidelines on me at all times, in case there are any regional/league-based disparities in our expectations of procedure/rules.
Above all else, everyone should respect one another. If you are an insolent jerk, I will not rank you no matter how good you are. Insolence runs the gamut from personal put-downs of your fellow Congressmembers to outright bigotry.Read this article. After reading that article, you should feel compelled to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Though at this point it should go without saying, I will make myself clear: I have a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance. You are smart enough to find impacts for the most esoteric and outlandish of arguments, I am certain you are aware of the impact of your words and actions on other people. Simply put: respect each other. We are all here to learn and grow together.
Have fun, learn something, and respect one another. Good luck, and I look forward to your round!
Karissa Kromminga - she/her
Debated 4 years of policy at Washburn Rural - (arms sales, CJR, water, NATO)
Seton Hall University - International Relations and Diplomacy
Pls add me to the email chain: email@example.com
I love good line-by-line and case specific debating
Do whatever you need to win rounds. I have arguments that I like / don't like, but I'd rather see you do whatever you do best, than do what I like badly. Have fun. I love this activity, and I hope that everyone in it does as well. Don't be unnecessarily rude, I get that some rudeness happens, but you don't want me to not like you. I will auto vote you down for being discriminatory (racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, etc.) and I will not feel bad about it.
General rule - I need a warranted explanation of what your argument is and why it outweighs/solves whatever the other team went for in order to vote for it.
Impact calc is super important for both the aff and the neg. All parts of the DA need to be extended in the 2NR for me to reasonably vote on it. If you only extend the link or only extend the impact I won't give it much weight. The more specific of a link the better, evidence is great, but an in-depth explanation of why the specific mechanism of the aff triggers the link is better than non-contextualized/generic evidence.
Impact turns - I love them, read them. However, this does not include death good, if you read it don't expect me to vote on it.
Yes. That being said, I need a 2NR explanation of what the CP actually does in order to vote for it. There has to be a net benefit to the CP that the perm can't access in order for me to vote for it.
I tend to think that CPs that fiat the aff (consult, QPQ, etc) are probably cheating, or easily beat by a perm, but I will vote for them if the aff doesn't extend theory.
I won't judge kick the CP, unless I am told to.
I am fairly familiar with the traditional K lit, so if you are reading a K outside of that assume that I am not super familiar with the lit. I have a high threshold for you reading noncontextualized blocks, especially in the 2NR/2AR. Please please please do not just spread through your blocks with no interaction, it will piss me off, and I will tune you out.
Be very clear with signposting during framework and large link walls - however, when extending links please do not just say, "extend X link" with no explanation, that means nothing to me.
K affs: I tend to lean more towards affs having a plan being good, and can be pretty persuaded by a good T push in the 2NR. That being said, I think a lot of 2N’s are bad at extending T, so you might not have that much trouble getting my ballot. I have a very high threshold for T=policing or T=genocide arguments.
K v K: This is area where I am the least familiar. If you want to have this debate, go ahead, but I'll need clear impact calc and explanations from both teams. If I don't understand what your argument is I probably won't vote for it.
I love a good T debate. If you are going for T, make sure to extend your impacts and clash with what your opponent is saying. I tend to lean towards reasonability being a bad standard, but I will vote on it if it is not answered in the debate.
For T-USFG: clash>fairness. Same as above, I have a high threshold for just reading uncontextualized blocks. I think that switch-side debate solves is pretty persuasive, but only if it’s paired with a good TVA, otherwise it’s pretty hard to hedge back against a 2AR “we can’t access our lit” push.
I think theory is usually a reason to reject the arg not the team, with condo as an exception. I think disclosure is good, and I have a low threshold for theory if an aff team refuses to disclose before the round.
I am fine with speed, but clarity is important. Please don't spread through analytics at top speed and expect me to catch everything. I will clear you twice, and after that I will just stop flowing. Good, strategic CX will lead to higher speaks. Flex prep does not exist, if you are asking the other team questions outside of cross I am not listening and I do not care. I will boost speaks if you give the 2NR/2AR off the flow. If you get 26 or less, you were probably incredibly rude or literally did not debate.
I flow on my computer, so if I am not typing, assume I am not flowing. Watch for nonverbals, I give them. That said, I have been told I have a RBF, so if I am not making an expression don't assume negatively.
Crawford Leavoy, Director of Speech & Debate at Durham Academy - Durham, NC
Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a former LD debater from Vestavia Hills HS. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at New Orleans Jesuit (LA) and Christ Episcopal School (LA). I am currently teaching and coaching at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. I have been judging since I graduated high school (2003).
- Speed is relatively fine. I'll say clear, and look at you like I'm very lost. Send me a doc, and I'll feel better about all of this.
- Run whatever you want, but the burden is on you to explain how the argument works in the round. You still have to weigh and have a ballot story. Arguments for the sake of arguments without implications don't exist.
- Theory - proceed with caution; I have a high threshold, and gut-check a lot
- Spikes that try to become 2N or 2A extensions for triggering the ballot is a poor strategy in front of me
- I don't care where you sit, or if you sit or stand; I do care that you are respectful to me and your opponent.
- If you cannot explain it in a 45 minute round, how am I supposed to understand it enough to vote on it.
- My tolerance for just reading prep in a round that you didn't write, and you don't know how it works is really low. I get cranky easily and if it isn't shown with my ballot, it will be shown with my speaker points.
SOME THOUGHTS ON PF
- The world of warranting in PF is pretty horrific. You must read warrants. There should be tags. I should be able to flow them. They must be part of extensions. If there are no warrants, they aren't tagged or they aren't extended - then that isn't an argument anymore. It's a floating claim.
- You can paraphrase. You can read cards. If there is a concern about paraphrasing, then there is an entire evidence procedure that you can use to resolve it. But arguments that "paraphrasing is bad" seems a bit of a perf con when most of what you are reading in cut cards is...paraphrasing.
- Notes on disclosure: Sure. Disclosure can be good. It can also be bad. However, telling someone else that they should disclose means that your disclosure practices should bevery good. There is definitely a world where I am open to counter arguments about the cases you've deleted from the wiki, your terrible round reports, and your disclosure of first and last only.
- Everyone should be participating in round. Nothing makes me more concerned than the partner that just sits there and converts oxygen to carbon dioxide during prep and grand cross. You can avert that moment of mental crisis for me by being participatory.
- Tech or Truth? This is a false dichotomy. You can still be a technical debater, but lose because you are running arguments that are in no way true. You can still be reading true arguments that aren't executed well on the flow and still win. It's a question of implication and narrative. Is an argument not true? Tell me that. Want to overwhelm the flow? Signpost and actually do the work to link responses to arguments.
- Speaks? I'm a fundamental believer that this activity is about education, translatable skills, and public speaking. I'm fine with you doing what you do best and being you. However, I don't do well at tolerating attitude, disrespect, grandiosity, "swag," intimidation, general ridiculousness, games, etc. A thing I would tell my own debaters before walking into the room if I were judging them is: "Go. Do your job. Be nice about it. Win convincingly. " That's all you have to do.
- I'll give comments after every round, and if the tournament allows it, I'll disclose the decision. I don't disclose points.
- My expectation is that you keep your items out prior to the critique, and you take notes. Debaters who pack up, and refuse to use critiques as a learning experience of something they can grow from risk their speaker points. I'm happy to change points after a round based on a students willingness to listen, or unwillingness to take constructive feedback.
- Sure. Let's post round. Couple of things to remember 1) the decision is made, and 2) it won't/can't/shan't change. This activity is dead the moment we allow the 3AR/3NR or the Final Final Focus to occur. Let's talk. Let's understand. Let's educate. But let's not try to have a throwdown after round where we think a result is going to change.
Regarding my background, I have served as a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State and have served in U.S. Embassies across the globe as well as in Washington, DC and at the United Nations. Prior to that, I initially began my career working on Wall Street for Goldman Sachs in corporate finance. I transitioned to consulting on international finance for Price Waterhouse, and then left to begin a career in government working for the CIA. All that to say, my background is heavy on foreign policy, economics, and finance. I have judged speech and debate for the past 15 years but most actively in the last 5 years. I have judged every speech and debate event on both the local and national circuits. Congress has become one of my favorite events to judge because almost every round there is an issue that I can relate to from real world experience and it is truly a joy to watch students delve into significant and strategic issues.
I tend to spend more time listening and evaluating your arguments than I do writing feedback, though I aim to give constructive comments. In general, I look for strong evidence to back up arguments and well constructed and articulated speeches. Coming from a diplomatic background, I like a courteous debate, although I appreciate, when appropriate, the need to be assertive and forward leaning in defending a position.
I am very objective when it comes to the issues. However, I will mark down for a speech that does not stand up in the status quo. While content and argumentation are at the forefront of my judging criteria, I do appreciate fluidity and strength in delivery. I frown on rehash and grandstanding. Speeches should also demonstrate strong impact. Questions should be relevant and purposeful. Lastly, I especially enjoy judging rounds where students are listening and creating good clash. Have fun and make it a true debate!
If you're reading this before a PF round consider: skip to the bolded "this is a note for PF" which is about my views on evidence. Otherwise do what you want in round, go crazy. Read the rest of the paradigm if you have time, but it's mostly about LD/Policy.
1. I encourage you to ask me specific questions before the round. Asking me general questions (EG: "How would you describe your paradigm", etc.) before the round won't prompt me to give you very helpful answers. Just be specific with your questions and we'll be good, I'm happy to answer any questions I can. If you have questions that are going to determine or guide your strategy in round then ask them! But I'm not great at summarizing all my thoughts for you on the spot.
2. Most of the thoughts that follow are inspired by my experience judging and coaching LD, especially the Policy-lite model of LD that's become common at the college level. If you're concerned about how these thoughts translate to PF or to more traditional LD settings please ask about that in-round.
3. Tech over truth in nearly every regard, I want to see your arguments and responses to opponents'. Give me clear, evidenced links to support impact scenarios and narrativize them well. I will avoid judge intervention in almost all cases and to the extreme. That is to say, to put yourself in the best position to win I want to see you clearly defend and weigh your points because I will not weigh them for you. I will not automatically default to one position over another when given no reasons to prefer. From a strategic standpoint, it is in your best interest to give me a framework by which to evaluate your impacts even if that framework is localized to weighing your impact.
4. I'm always happy to answer questions and listen to concerns/criticisms of my decisions afterwards. I want to get better and so do you, why not help each other. However, I will not change my decision, even if you convince me I've made the wrong one.
5.THIS IS A NOTE FOR PF. If it takes you longer than 15 seconds to find a card that you claim to have, I will ask you if you want to run YOUR prep time to find it. If you say "yes" then carry on, but maybe consider familiarizing yourself with your evidence so you can find it quicker. If you say "no" then that evidence won't "exist" until you demonstrate that it's real (which could include reading it in the next speech, though that might be too late if your opponents speak between when you cite it and then). Obviously I will be understanding if there are technical difficulties (IE internet cutting out, computer crashing) which I have been made aware of.
Also, while we're on evidence in PF, sending just like, a link to a website isn't great. If your opponent doesn't interact with it I will probably take you at face value, but know that there is a chance (slight) that I will, unprompted, click your link and read the article and if it says something other than what you claimed then I will intervene to vote against you because of this. I won't do this with a cut card unless someone in the round makes it an issue. TL;DR: If you're sending just hyperlinks to articles make sure they say what you claim.
Speed: Sure. I can keep up as long as you are able to maintain clarity. I will call speed if you go too fast, and I encourage you to call speed on your opponent if they are going too fast for you. I will begin docking speaker points on the third time I have to call speed, and if your opponent calls a third time you should expect a good hit to your speaker points. This isn't necessarily a voting issue for me (unless your opponent makes it a voting issue). I definitely want to be on the speechdrop/email chain (though I prefer speechdrop). email@example.com.
AFF: I prefer topical AFFs. I am open to listening to an engaging K AFF (or if your opponent doesn't call T then I guess run whatever you want, obviously), but I would still prefer to listen to a topical AFF. I strongly prefer AFFs that include a plan text of some sort (even if it's a vague/open-ended plan text). I don't like the idea of "reserve the right to clarify" but I understand it's functionality given time constraints. Don't clarify in an utterly unreasonable way (my threshold is pretty high here).
T: Topicality is a stock issue, and as such I will vote on it if it's won. I don't particularly enjoy listening to T arguments, but who really does. I don't particularly love definitions (I.E. "substantial"), unless the original definitions are completely misrepresenting the words of the resolution/rule/etc. That being said, competing interpretations has been doing well in front of me recently so I would hardly call it unviable. Upholding your standards is pretty much the most important thing to do to win T in front of me. You can make your voter "NFA-LD rules" if you want, but there needs to be an articulated voter on T for me to vote on it. I default reasonability, but really I strongly prefer one or both debaters to give me a FW. I will evaluate T on whatever FW is given to me by the debaters. NOTE: My threshold for voting on T is lower than it was my first two years judging, if you happen to remember/have heard that I would not vote on Topicality.
Theory: Pretty much the same as my T paradigm. I'll listen to theoretical positions, just give me some clear standards if you want to win that position in front of me. I default drop the argument, but will vote on drop-the-debater if that argument is warranted out to me. Clear in-round abuse stories tied to theory arguments, especially those focused on research burden and unfair ground have been successful in front of me in the past, but I don't perceive myself as being uniquely drawn to them. I don't mind Neg debaters running Disclosure Theory against Affs, but unless the Neg runs a CP or an Alt I don't think Affs running Disclosure Theory against Negs is a viable strategy in front of me (NOTE: this is for LD, for PF aff's can run disclosure theory, it is viable in that realm). if the Neg DOES run a CP or Alt then suddenly Disclosure is a viable aff position.
Disclosure in PF is a fine theory position to run in front of me, but I will not vote for it on principle alone. I DO generally think disclosure is a good norm that should be adopted into PF, but that being said, you need to have clear standards, voters and weighing on a theory argument to win. My desire to not intervene in a round far outweighs my desire to punish teams for not disclosing. A role of the ballot framing is also a good strategy in any context if you're going for theory and if you're defending against a position like this then having a counter framework is also a good idea.
I will vote on conceded RVI's but the threshold for voting on an RVI that's been effectively defended against is probably fairly high. "Don't vote for an RVI" is not enough defense. Explain to me literally any reason to not vote for the RVI.
CP: I don't have a strong personal predilection to voting on conditionality one way or the other, but I conceptually dislike conditional CP's a lot- that being said, it's not a strong enough dislike for it to matter unless someone in round forces my hand. "Condo Bad" arguments are viable in front of me but by no means will they always win. Perms of the CP need to be actually explained to me. Just hearing "both" won't be a winning position in front of me. I will evaluate the plan vs. CP debate in pretty much the same way that I evaluate the SQ vs. plan debate unless one side offers a different FW. I am okay with the Neg going for CP and SQ in the NR, but I feel like the strategy is risky given that you have to split your time between both positions.
K: I love critical arguments and I'm a critical scholar professionally, but don't necessarily expect me to be read up on all of the literature (though I may surprise you). I'm okay with generic links to the AFF, but I definitely like to see good impact calculus if your argument is reliant on a generic link; I need one or the other to be strong for your K to have a chance in a round. I need to know why the impacts of the K outweigh or precede the impacts of the AFF. I prefer Alternatives that have some type of action, but am open to other types of Alts as well. I don't particularly love hearing alts that say we need to theoretically engage in some different type of discourse unless there's a clear plan for what "engaging in X discourse" looks like in the real world (which can include within the debate round at hand, but might have more). Particularly, I enjoy hearing alternatives that call for the debaters in the round to engage in discourse differently (I think this is the easiest type of Alt to defend). Even if the Alternative is to simply drop the AFF in-round, that is enough "real world" implementation of a theoretical Alt for me.
Clarification: K debate is not the absence of tech- you still need to demonstrate a link an impact even if those things take a different form or are about different things than they would be in a more traditional arg.
DA: Not much to say here. Give me a good DA story and if you are winning it by the end of the round then I'll probably vote on it. Definitely remember to do weighing between the DA and the AFF though because there's always a good chance that I won't vote on your DA if you can't prove it outweighs any unsuccessfully contested Advantages of the Aff. DA's with no weighing are only a little better than no DA at all.
Solvency: A terminal solvency deficit is usually enough of a reason for me to vote against the aff BUT I need this extended as a reason to vote. You can always say that it's try-or-die, tell me there's a risk of solvency and sure, I'll still grant you that begrudgingly (unless you've really lost the solvency debate). If you're getting offense somewhere else good for you, I'll still vote on that; so like, if your case falls but you have a turn on a CP or an RVI on T or something those are still paths to the ballot. This note is here because I've seen a few rounds where the aff just sort of says "they have at best a terminal no solvency argument" and like- that's enough for them. That's what neg needs at the minimum to win the round.
As a judge, I look to you to tell me the rules of the round. I try to be as fluid as possible when it comes to framework and arguments. I only ask that you make sure you explain it and how it impacts the round.
In regards to speed, I would say I am comfortable with mid-high, however it would be smart to speak slower on tag lines. Remember, If I am part of the email chain then that makes speed much less of a factor in my decision.
Counter plans & disadvantages great.
I'm up for just about anything when it comes to arguments. Run what you feel comfortable running. I prefer the debaters to tell me what they want the round to look like. If you leave it up to me I will vote almost exclusively on framework but I also like to hear good impact calc. Not a big fan of speed at all. If you are spreading then you aren't trying to win my ballot. If I can't follow you then I won't flow the arguments. If I don't flow it then I won't vote on it. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Please include me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
To basically get my one, make me care and feel for the topic the most.
bad precedence won't impact my ranking just be a good speaker
Be kind in all that you do.
I flow but not particularly well (especially the back half) and generally will not evaluate arguments that I don't understand, so please collapse and make sure you clearly extend your warranting.
I am generally okay with spreading as long as I get a speech doc.
I have a slight preference for truth over tech. My brightline here isn’t totally clear so you’re probably best playing it safe.
Under no circumstances will I vote for a "death good" argument and under very few circumstances will I vote for an "oppression good" argument. Pretty much every other type of argument is fine.
Theory should only be run for legitimate norms and legitimate violations. Running stuff like “tall people theory” or “formal clothes theory” almost guarantees a loss.
- For email chain purposes: email@example.com
I’ve been a member of the debating world for about eight years now. As a competitor, I saw some success at the state and national level in Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, and World Schools, qualifying for the state championship four times and placing 10th at Nats in 2019. I also competed in BP debate at the university level in England. I am currently an assistant coach for American Heritage School - Broward.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, & Race Studies. I have a Master’s degree in Theory and Practice of Human Rights. You can expect me to have more than the average level of knowledge in those areas. I like to think that I know about as much as the average person on most other things, but for economic arguments (or anything involving math) I get lost easily. Do with that what you will!
I have voted on evidence ethics violations in the past, both with and without competitors calling them out in round. You cannot take evidence out of context (like presenting a straw argument as though it's the actual conclusion of the author), distort evidence (add or delete words to alter the conclusion), or use non-existent evidence. If you do these things, you will lose the round.
Don't paraphrase! I will be very open to cut cards theory, direct quotes theory, or anything else like that. If you do paraphrase, you need to be able to provide a cut card or the exact quote you're referencing if evidence is called. It's not a reasonable expectation for your opponents or I to have to scrub through a webpage or a long document searching for your evidence.
I find myself leaning more and more truth > tech, especially with the state of evidence ethics these days. It's really important for you to explain the link chain and somewhat important for you to explain things like author credibility/study methodology, especially for big impact contentions.
Line-by-line rebuttal is really important in the front half of the round. That means you should be frontlining in second rebuttal, respond to arguments in an order that makes logical sense, and actively extend your own arguments. For an extension to be effective you need to tell me what the argument is, how it works, and why it's important. You can almost always do this in three sentences or less. These pieces are important - I don't flow evidence names, so saying something like "Hendrickson solves" without an explanation does nothing for you.
Fiat is pretty much always a thing - There's a reason Public Forum topics usually ask "is this policy a good idea" and not "will this thing happen." My view of fiat is that it lets the debate take place on a principles level and creates a "comparative" between a world with a policy and a world without a policy. That said, politics arguments can work, but only if they relate to a political consequence of a policy being enacted and not if they try and say a policy will never happen in the first place.
Kritiks and theory are fine in PF. Be mindful of your time constraints. For kritiks, focus on explaining how your cards work and what the alternative is. For theory, make sure there's a legitimate violation and that it's something you're willing to bet the round on. Theory exists to create norms. I won’t vote on frivolous theory and I won’t vote on your shell if you aren’t actively embodying the norm you’re proposing.
Flex prep does not exist. “Open” crossfires don’t exist. As a whole, crossfire doesn’t matter that much but you still shouldn’t contradict yourself between cross and speech.
I really enjoy a good framework debate and it’s something that I find is missing from a lot of modern LD rounds. One of the best parts of LD is getting to see how different philosophies engage with each other, and we’re gonna see that thru framing. I do my best to evaluate the framework debate at the very top and use it as my primary decision-making mechanism. Framing doesn't have to be done with a value/criterion if you'd rather run a K or Theory or something else, but you need to five me a role of the ballot if you don't use a value/criterion.
Please don’t spread philosophy or theory if you want me to flow it - I read and write it all the time and I still barely understand it, so I’m not going to understand what you’re saying if you’re going 500 words per minute. If you must spread your framework or K, send me the case or be prepared to explain it again next speech.
I’m fine with condo, fiat, and counterplans. Please don’t paraphrase and don't rehighlight.
"Debate bad" arguments are pretty weird. I probably won't vote on them because, at the most fundamental level, you're still participating in a debate round and perpetuating whatever core "harm" of debate that you're talking about. If your alternative is a reasonable alternative or reform instead of just "don't do debate", I could be persuaded, but you've got an uphill battle.
Above all else, I want to see you displaying courtesy to your fellow competitors and taking a leadership role in the chamber. Doing things like moving on from a bill when there are still obviously speeches to give or treating people disrespectfully in questioning can make even the best debater drop multiple ranks in my eyes. In contrast, working to ensure that everyone in the chamber is heard and helping to coordinate splits goes a long way in affecting your final rankings.
Congress (much like the real thing) is fundamentally an acting event. I view Congress as being very much in the same vein as DUO, HI, and DI - I want you to tell me a story. The most compelling performance and the most engaging character is who I'll rank highest. Try to avoid contradicting yourself when the bill changes - You should be the same "character" throughout the round. Something I really love to see is references to other bills and speeches - Call out your opponent's hypocrisy in supporting a bill when earlier in the round they said or supported something else!
Despite that, Congress still needs debate. Something I pay a lot of attention to is how the "arc" of the bill is going. Ideally, the first sets of speeches on a bill present some core arguments as to why the bill is good or bad. The next sets of speeches will start getting into refutation and extension of those core arguments. The final sets of speeches should actively crystalize what others have said (with credit) into a couple voting issues before the in-round vote. If you stand up to give the eleventh speech on a bill and it's a bunch of new arguments with no real thought or connections to anything else, I'm not going to be super receptive to that speech!
The number one mistake I see is people giving authorship/sponsorship speeches without actually explaining what the bill does. If I'm judging, I'm not referencing the packet. You need to explain what the bill does instead of just jumping into reasons to support it.
The most important thing for you to do is to remember the purpose of your speech. Your speech should not be defined by the "line-by-line," rather, you should have a clear idea or set of ideas that you are trying to get across and I should be able to understand what those ideas were at the end of your speech. I am a big believer in the "World Schools style," meaning that I like it when debaters lean into the concept of being representatives in a global governing body, when debaters deploy flowery rhetoric about grand ideals, and when debaters spend a lot of time establishing and engaging with the framework/definitions/plan for the debate.
I'm fine with theory as long as it's a legitimate norm and a legitimate violation. Don't run frivolous theory (I'm not going to vote on something like "debaters should sit during their speeches", for example) and don't run theory if it isn't a norm you're actively doing yourself (don't run disclosure theory if you didn't disclose either). I don't have a preference on DtD vs. DtA or Competing Interpretations vs. Responsibility. I lean rather heavily towards theory being a RVI, especially in PF debates where it often becomes the only argument in the round.
I'm ambivalent about trigger warnings. I'm not going to be the arbiter of somebody else's experience and there's not much evidence that they're actually harmful in any meaningful way. Be aware that simply saying "trigger warning" tells us nothing - If you have one, be specific (but not graphic) about the potentially triggering content.
Kritiks are an incredibly powerful education tool that let debaters bring light to important issues. That said, you do need a link, preferably a resolutional/case one. I'm not opposed to hearing kritiks that tackle the structure of debate as a whole, but I think that it's difficult for you to justify that while also participating in the structure (especially because I've seen the same debaters participate in debate rounds without talking about these structural issues). Just like theory, you should be talking about legitimate issues, not just trying to win a round.
Death Good/Oppression Good
"Death good" is a nonstarter in front of me. I get it - I was a high school debater too, and I have vivid memories of running the most asinine arguments possible because I thought it would be a path to a technical victory. As I've stepped away from competition, entered the role of an educator, and (especially) as I've become immersed in human rights issues indirectly through my research and personally through my work, I no longer hold the same view of these arguments. I've been in rounds where judges and the audience are visibly, painfully uncomfortable with one side's advocacy. I've voted on the flow and felt sick doing it. I don't anymore. Do not run "death good" in front of me unless you want a loss and 20 speaks. It's not good education, it actively creates an unsafe space, and its often incredibly callous to actual, real-world human suffering.
"Oppression good" is also generally bad but I can at least see a potential case here, kinda? Probably best to avoid anyway.
A debate is a search for the truth. That's why, along with voting, debating is at the heart of America's democratic process.
So please call out people who just make things up.
* Intros that are directly about the topic always beat generic intros that could apply to any topic.
* Quotations always beat paraphrase.
* Fully-cited evidence I can hunt down always beats "The New York Times tells us that . . ." (Remember: NSDA-minimum is name or publication and year. That's an absurdly low standard that makes zero sense for the new-resolution-every-hour world of Congress. Many Congress debaters still fail to meet it.) The challenge posed by AI will make attention to sources even more important.
* An authorship without an expert solvency advocate--a credentialed source who advocates what's in Section 1 of the bill or the Resolved clause--is cursed. An authorship which has an expert solvency advocate is blessed. I hold cursed bills against their authors/sponsors and reward blessed authors/sponsors. It's considered rude to point out that the only people in the whole world who think the bill is a good idea happen to be the handful of AFF speakers, but that argument is an automatic winner for NEG. A great nation doesn't make policy based on a random hunch. If you can't quote an expert who says "We should spend X billion on Y program" (for instance) then your bill is cursed. I won't, of course, hold cursed first-AFFs against speakers, because someone has to kick off. TL;DR: Find your Section 1 in your research. Don't just wing it.
* Giving the right kind of speech (constructive, rebuttal, summative/"crystallization") at the right time always beats giving the kind of speech you're best at without thinking about what the debate needs. I think I can tell an "oops, thought I'd PO" crystal from one that groups and clinches the best arguments in the round.
* Rehash is a venial, not a mortal, sin. And if you're a novice, always give the speech. That said, giving a third- or fourth-in-a-row is an admission of under-preparation.
* The assumption that everyone is going to give two speeches in a round seems fair, but it has pernicious effects. It discourages folks from speaking early. That in turn results in several "please, someone give a speech" moments in the round. It also discourages people from prepping the full agenda. I have mixed feelings about people ruthlessly taking speeches whenever they can. It's not friendly, but neither is stonewalling until some novice buckles and agrees to kick off the debate, and it's hard to blame someone who grabs a speech opportunity that's just sitting there.
* POs start at 1 on my ballot and lose ranks from errors. They can also be displaced by truly excellent speakers. The PO starts at 1 because the PO is the only indispensable contestant in the round. Can't have a round without the PO. The more people there are who run for PO, the faster the winning PO loses ranks from errors, because you're claiming you're better than everyone else who wanted it.
* Congress is speech *and* debate, so be sure you're listening and responding (debate) and keeping me focused on what you're saying (speech). Congress is getting too fast and burdened with jargon. The ideal Congress speaker is perfectly intelligible to someone who wandered into the room. A conversational pace is a supreme sign of confidence, and if your arguments are also the ones the round needs, you get the one.
* Respect the role-play, which is the only thing that has kept Congress from joining the long list of last decade's big new debate event that will solve everything but which is now moribund because the college kids got hold of it.
* My feedback more often plays the doubting game than the believing game. For instance, I often suggest arguments I think would be better. I do this to help debaters, which helps Congress, which is something I love. Anyone who spends a perfectly good weekend trying to honestly hash out trade policy etc. is a hero, and I encourage everyone to be their best, which is why my feedback is more full of "grows" than "glows." But you're glowing just by playing.
My primary coaching event is Congressional Debate. Don't freak out, I prefer the debate portion of the event as my high school background is in PF/LD.
For CD: I’ll always consider a balance of presentation, argumentation, and refutation. If you happen to drop the ball on one of those traits during a speech, it won’t ruin your rank on my ballot. I look for consistency across the board and most importantly: What is your speech doing for the debate?
For both PF/LD: As long as you're clear/do the work for me, I have no preference for/against what you run/do in the round. I'll vote off of what you give me. With that, I really stress the latter portion of that paradigm, "I'll vote off of what you give me". I refuse to intervene on the flow, so if you're not doing the work for me, I'm gonna end up voting on the tiniest, ickiest place that I should not be voting off of. Please don't make me do that. Respect the flow and its links.
PF specific: I love theory. I don't prefer theory in PF, but again I'll vote off of where the round ends up...it'd be cool if it didn't head in that direction as a good majority of the time you can still engage in/ win the debate without it.
I don't time roadmaps, take a breather and get yourself together.
Speed isn't an issue for me in either event.
Avoid flex prep.
I prefer googledocs to email for evidence sharing (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hey all, I'm Liv! I competed in Congress on South Florida local and national circuits from 2019-2023.
I believe that the best speaker in the round is the person who can tell the most compelling narrative, so I do highly consider presentation in my rankings. I will reward you extra highly in my ballot if you find a unique niche for yourself within the round, develop a persona, or emote appropriately. Ideally, I'm not sitting in a room of high schoolers aimlessly raising their voices for 8 hours a day. Every argument is a story. Tell your story with purpose, conviction, and empathy.
Content-wise, I like well-supported arguments (duh hello) with lots of links. Knowing your audience is important; guide everyone in the room through why your specific argument is the best. I LOVE CLASH please include clash, clash is what makes for great debate!! But of course be nice.
[For anyone skimming, please fully read this part.] Although I weigh content and presentation equally, if you are not acting ethically, I will drop you and, in severe cases, contact Tab. Acting ethically means citing your sources properly (at least publication name and date, author appreciated), not lying about data, and overall just being a good person. If I hear any racist, homophobic, sexist, or any form of bigoted language, I will drop you and contact Tab immediately. Please make the round a safe space and do not force any competitor to debate their experiences or identities. And please oh please do not get into screaming matches.
POs, if I don't or barely notice you, I will rank you highly. If you hold yourself accountable for your errors I will appreciate that, as long as there are not too many errors. Don't be biased, do play by the rules. If I am acting as your parli and you need to ask me a procedural question, go for it. I won't penalize you as long as you're not asking too many questions (upwards of 3 per round is probably too much), the tournament rulebooks are there for a reason.
Have fun, be kind to each other, and craft compelling narratives!
My name is Imani (she/her or any pronouns with respect)
Experience and Knowledge: My journey in this activity began as a competitor over a decade ago in Policy (back in the good ol’ days when you had to lug around crates containing all your case files) Since then, I've ventured into various debate formats including PF, LD, IPDA, Parli, Congress, as well as Interpretation, Speech, and Limited Prep events. I’ve coached them all as well. This diverse experience has given me a deep understanding of what constitutes good debate, which is to say I will probably forget to give you time signals or who is next to speak but you will get very helpful and comprehensive feedback.
I try not to factor my prior knowledge into a round but I have a background in policymaking, the law, tech, and data privacy.
Equity: I will not tolerate bigoted behavior, talking points, or interactions in round. If necessary, I will stop the round. If as a competitor you are ever uncomfortable or have an accessibility need please let me know!
I firmly believe that Congress should be an enjoyable and enlightening experience for all involved. Here are some key aspects of my judging preferences:
Argumentation Style: This is not supposed to be a boring event, if you can't grab and maintain attention for 3 minutes, there's a serious issue. If you present a compelling interpretation, a new perspective, or a well-thought-out amendment (especially if you know your stuff), you'll do great.
I appreciate debaters who actually debate. Speaking extemporaneously or impromptu while demonstrating a strong grasp of the subject matter, and engaging with your fellow debaters and audience will set you apart. I strongly discourage the use of pre-written or canned intros, speeches and questions. They are academically dishonest, diminish the educational value of debate and, frankly, make Congress boring. If it's evident that a speech or question isn't tailored to the current debate, lacks originality, or shows you have not been flowing, I'll reflect that in my rankings.
Substance and flow are even more crucial to me. Avoid fluff, flowery language, stand-up routines, and theatrics – they won't factor into my ballot You don't have much time. Get to the point. Focus on presenting logical and well-researched arguments and having thoughtful, intentional contributions to the round. This includes questions and answers.
Bills and Arguments: Just because Congress has a role-playing element does not mean you should ever feel compelled to resort to devil’s advocacy or the use of strawman arguments in order to represent “both sides” of a bill. There is no pedagogical value to debate like that. I don't care too much about even splits or clash for the sake of clash, so if you morally can't flip, don't, or propose a revision or amendment. I also love when debaters try to bring prog into congress or have fun with it. I'd rather judge a round with a bill to issue every child a pony or see someone try to run a K than sit through a round filled with "human rights bad" arguments.
I look forward to lively and enjoyable debates with all of you!
I debated in the late 90's. I believe in the Value Premise and Criterion. I think there should be clash. Rounds should be in a conversational speed. If I am yelling clear, I am missing an argument. I will stop flowing. I am not a blank slate judge nor will I drop someone for dropping an unreasonable argument. The last speeches are for providing voters and writing my ballot. If there is no connection back to the VP/ your position, I feel there is no ground for me to vote. I do not vote for Kritiks. I do believe a discussion with a debater about the round is ok. I think understanding points of view helps with communicating your cases in later rounds. I will not switch my decision.
Welcome to my debate dissertation.
John Paul Stevens '23 + UT Austin '27 (Statistics)
I mostly did congress during high school but find myself usually judging circuit LD. (strange switch, I know)
I believe debate is a game with educational implications. The purpose of this paradigm is not to tell you how to debate, it is simply a way for me to communicate my argumentative bias and broader debate philosophy to competitors. You choose what you do with the information in this paradigm. With that being said, if you think my decision is incorrect, you are welcome to post round me. As long as you remain respectful, I am always willing to have an educational discussion that can improve both my judging skills and your debating. However, if the tournament directors get upset, that's on you.
I'd prefer speech drop, but if not, put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Now for the fun stuff. Buckle up cause I'm a yapper.
The round starts in 5 minutes and you’re asking “is the judge flow?”: The easiest path to my 1 is for you to stop making arguments that you think are decent or good and start making arguments that you think will WIN the debate. There is a very key difference. Answer that argument nobody else will and defend your side's winning condition if you want my 1.
The long version:
Zach Wu once said, "[Congress] is neither a debate nor speech event. It is a game of raw persuasion: however you choose to win that game is totally up to you." I find this is to be the perception of the event I align most closely to.
Controversially, I am fine with you speaking with an ipad or laptop for accessibility purposes. I believe that being discreetly anti-technology in congress is ableist, so if this is an accommodation you need it will not harm your ranking. With that being said, you should still not be reliant on reading off of whatever it is you bring up with you to speak.
Just like everyone else, I don’t like rehash, I don’t think you should give a constructive last cycle, I like refutation, etc etc. The remainder of this paradigm will be directed towards less obvious and more specific parts of congress.
I keep a scale in my head of which side I believe is winning the debate. At the end of the debate, I will rank the debaters by how much I believe they changed my scale of who is winning.
Here is an explanation of how I determine who I think is winning the debate/my general thoughts on congress:
I seriously dislike when debaters rely on evidence without providing the logical warrant for their argument. It’s like when your math teacher tells you to show your work, if you just read a piece of evidence without explaining why your argument is true, I have no idea what you’re thinking. If you want to be most persuasive to me, make sure you explain the warrant for your argument. Evidence is supplementary.
I also seriously dislike when debaters do a poor job of impacting. I would like a very in depth explanation as to why I should care about your argument both in the real world and in the context of the debate.
Don’t just refute arguments willy nilly, refute the BEST arguments on the other side of the debate. It’s really obvious when debaters try to take the easy way out by refuting the arguments at the bottom of the barrel or making arguments that are not well thought out. Responding to the best ground of the other side is the best thing you can do to make your side win the debate.
I hear a lot of arguments that are exclusively defensive (constitutionality, enforcement, etc.). I also hear a lot of arguments that don't follow the laws of uniqueness (not being dependent on a change in the status quo). So simply put, I believe that the affirmative’s job is to prove the bill is better than the status quo (and nothing else) and the negation's job is to prove the bill creates a worse world than the status quo. (this also means I will not evaluate your counter plan)
Weighing is important, but not as important as the congress community likes to pretend it is. Yes, I need a reason to prioritize your argument over someone else's but since there are so many arguments in a CD round, it is not easy to individually weigh your argument against everyone else. So, whenever you decide to weigh, my advice would be to treat it like comparing worlds more than it is actual weighing. This also means that uniqueness is very important in my eyes because that's what characterizes each world in the debate. Remember, weighing must also serve a strategic purpose in the round. Weighing for the sake of weighing will not really give you many brownie points on my ballot.
Have fun with structure -- Run one point and I'll think you're cool. Drop 5 warrants with no claims and I'll probably think you're even cooler. Forcing yourself to a rigid structure can seriously limit the potential of your argumentation so get creative!!!!
It is rare that a PO will be deserving of my 1. It takes an incredible PO and a really rough chamber for me to even consider it. POs usually sit between my 3-6, but I may adjust it depending on what the break is for the round. It is also pretty rare that a PO will get my 9, but if I feel like the round was a total mess, I will consider the drop. But I generally just believe a PO should be in the background and do their best to make the judge and debaters job easier. I’m also not a big fan of flexing your accomplishments in your PO speech.
I will always be in favor of stretching the norms of congress. What this means is up to you, but by no means do I believe that congress should be done in a specific way or that our norms are stagnant. Do things that have not been done before and make me rethink the way I view this event. I'm worried that competitors, coaches, and judges are getting bored of congress so any attempt to be interesting will be fairly evaluated.
LD (and policy):
I like good arguments and dislike bad ones...
I vote for bad arguments all the time.
I'm willing to vote on anything with a warrant, tech>truth, speed is cool as long as you slow down on anything that isn't on the doc
I’m trying to become a fully tab judge robot that evaluates debates with no intervention or bias. I know I am delusional.
For your prefs:
T/Theory - 1
I am willing to vote on RVIs more than most judges but I still default to competing interps
The more friv the shell, the lower the bar for answering it is. To be clear, I will still evaluate any shell with the single exception that it is not about the appearance of your opponent.
I default DTA for T violations (but can be convinced otherwise). I am otherwise impartial on DTA or DTD
Don't read "no i meets", that's just weird
It can be really difficult to keep track of the line by line on these analytic heavy theory debates so please either slow down or put the analytics on the doc :)
K - 1
If the aff is non-T, be prepared to answer the T-Fwk, cap k, presumption, case pushback from the 1N. I truly dislike poorly prepped K debates but truly love in-depth, prepped K debates.
I really don’t like vague alts: I think you should be able to defend the alt as some action that someone can take -- even for all my set col debaters out there, you should be able to defend the pragmatic implementation of your land back alt, almost as if it was a plan. I especially dislike 2NRs that can't explain the alt or explain why it's contextual to the aff/what it does for the purpose of the debate
I view Ks as DAs with a CP, if you want to strategically kick the CP (alt) and go for the K as a disad of the aff, I’m here for it
I think teams going against the K should go for framework + extinction outweighs more often
I am willing to vote for cap good, heg good, spark, dedev, etc. However, I am NOT willing to vote for death good.
(goes with phil) Literature base I'm very familiar with: set col, marxism, security, mollow/crip pess/disabilities, afropess, baurdillard, deleuze, queer pess
Assume I know nothing about anything else
There is a serious issue with neg K teams making an argument that nobody understands then clarifying it in the 2NR and saying the 1AR mishandled. Please just be a good sport and don’t do this, explain the argument honestly if you are asked during cross.
Trad - 2
I'll judge this as tabula rasa as I can. Do not feel the need to debate "progressively" because you think that will be the most conducive to me. I will adapt myself to the round. I will say though, framework is often extremely silly in these trad debates because they are usually comparing something very similar (util vs. maximizing expected well being) or it is never implicated into the debate (framework is a lens I use to evaluate debates, not a voter in and of itself).
LARP - 2
I feel like CPs should be competitive with the plan, i guess it's fine if they are not but I find myself just buying the perm against these uncompetitive CPs.
Mostly impartial on whether or not PICs, consult CPs, process CPs, etc are abusive, can be convinced either way
Pls tell me what your permutation looks like "perm do both" and nothing else will leave me clueless with what to do on my flow
I appreciate good impact turns, reading your spark or dedev backfile is cool, but creativity is even cooler
Pre requisite > Probability > Scope/Magnitude > Time frame
Phil - 3
Here’s how phil debates work: the AC riffs off 8 warrants for the cateogorical imperative (they are all one line and have no warrant), the 1N does not line by line them but the 1AR doesn’t extend them? the strategy in these debates never makes sense to me
I've become increasingly more tolerant of phil debates, I think you should engage more on the contention level debate rather than banking these rounds on framework. Btw I will not think your Kant AC is quirky or unique
Comparative world > truth testing
Presumption affirms < presumption negates
Permissibility affirms > permissibility negates
I will still probably evaluate about anything but I tend to prefer a good, fundamentally sound and traditional PF round. My other thoughts include:
The main exception to the rule above is that I believe theory should be used as a tool in PF to set better norms. Theory by far is the non-traditional argument I am most susceptible to voting for in PF.
PF K debates are a little silly in my eyes -- most teams are either reading surface level literature just so they can say they're reading a K or they're under-explaining more complicated literature so the debate usually becomes uneducational either way. However, if you take the risk and run the K but manage to change my perception, I will give you 30 speaks (you'll likely win the round too lol).
Collapse in summary!
A lot of judges want you to weigh early but I actually don't really care, as long as you weigh at some point.
The team second speaking should frontline in rebuttal.
I will not read evidence unless you tell me to in summary/final focus.
Good framing arguments make me happy but don't feel the need to make any just because you think I'll like it. (bad framing arguments make me upset)
I competed pretty extensively on the international circuit. I mainly gave the 2/4, but spoke everywhere at some point.
I'd like to say I'm as tech as they come, but it truly is very difficult to evaluate these debates with 0 intervention. This is mostly because it's against the norm for you to kick arguments which makes my job a bit difficult. With that being said, I try and be as tab as I can, but forgive me if I make mistakes. My other thoughts are listed below:
I find myself really confused with what I'm supposed to do with principled arguments on my flow. Maybe I'll evaluate it if I think the practical debate is a wash? Maybe it's how I'm supposed to weigh practical offense? Maybe it functions as a priori offense? I'm not really sure. So, if you decide to go for a principled argument, please tell me what I'm supposed to do with it on my flow and why.
Rhetoric is SUPER cool and fun as long as it is good. This will probably not help you win the round but it will make me happy and boost your speaks.
I think the opp block should coordinate on what they go for. Depending on what is more important in the round, one should probably dedicate a lot of time to defense, the other should be much more offensive. An 8 minute opp whip followed by a 4 minute opp reply that just summarizes the opp whip is a missed opportunity to say the least.
Third subs are not required but can be very strategic. I usually found that when I went for them, it would rarely ever be brought up in the OA/RFD, even if it was basically cold dropped. I find many third subs to be very good if they are independent offense from the central clash of the debate. They will absolutely weigh on my ballot just like any other argument would.
Structure speeches however you would like. Don't feel binded to some two/three question speech, I will just flow what I hear.
Focus on the line-by-line! Win individual links and then implicate them as a larger voting issue in the round/run me through the strategic implications of the argument. This will make the round easiest for me to evaluate and will give you the best chance of winning my ballot.
Do not be afraid to kick arguments/collapse! Very much against the norm in worlds but I would rather you do all the frontlining/extension/link work necessary for one argument than to poorly cover 3 arguments.
I throw away most technical argumentation factors for this event and will judge it like your AP Lang teacher. Logically sound arguments will be more important than speaking/rhetoric/jokes, but that doesn't mean they'll completely determine my ranks. Evidence is important, but not as important as people like to pretend it is. I would rather you give me no evidence but your argument makes logical sense than dump fake evidence. Also, unconventional structure is awesome and I will probably heavily reward it.
I have SO much respect for people that can do this as their main event for a long time. This is one of the most, if not the most, mentally draining events...so PLEASE take care of yourself. Drink water, eat good meals, and take breaks. This is true for every event but especially this one.
Good luck and fun debating!
I look for clear evidence and also don't rush your speech. Please do not read the arguments from your laptop or from your document and speak with confidence
Director - Ridge High School
30+ years experience coaching and judging
I'm considered a very traditional flow judge within the various competitive debate arenas. I appreciate slightly-higher than conversational rates as a maximum. I will afford you a 'clear' if necessary.
I do expect and reward debate with a clear framework of understanding. I also like direct application of your argument to clear and defined system(s). I don’t believe we exist in a vacuum – there must be context for me to consider and weigh an argument, and I recognize the resolution is created and should be interpreted within a particular context. Therefore, hypothetical worlds must be warranted as reasonable within a pragmatic context developed within the resolution. I appreciate creative, though plausible and non-abusive, House interpretations in Parliamentary rounds.
In LD and PF, all evidence must be clearly tagged and clearly linked to the grounds within your claims. In Parliamentary, examples should be true, contextually-defined, when appropriate, and directly linked to your claims. You can create hypothetical examples or indicate your personal beliefs on an issue; however, if you are unsure what a particular constitutional amendment or Supreme Court decision states, please avoid introducing it. Also, where tag-teaming is permitted, proceed with caution. One or two interjections is fine. More than that diminishes your partner's voice/skill and will be considered in speaker points and, if excessive, the RFD.
Crystallization is key to winning the round. Be sure you allow yourself ample time to establish clear grounds and warrants on all voters. I don’t consider arguments just because they are uttered; you must explain the ‘why’ and the ‘so what’ in order for me to weigh them in my decision, in other words, directly impact them to the framework/standards. I do appreciate clear signposting throughout the round in order to make the necessary links and applications to other arguments, and I will give you more speaker points if you do this effectively. Speaker points are also rewarded for competence, clarity, and camaraderie during the round. In LD and PF, I will not give below a 26 unless you're rude and/or abusive.
Overall, please remember, I may not be as well-read on the resolution as you are. I do not teach at camps; I don’t teach debate in any structured class, nor do I judge as regularly or frequently as others. I will work hard to reach the fairest decision in my capacity. I really enjoy judging rounds where the contestants make a concerted effort to connect with me and my paradigm. I don't enjoy rounds where I or my paradigm is ignored. Thanks for reading this far!! Best of luck in your round.
I have 25+ years experience in Congressional 'Debate' and REALLY enjoy judging/parli'ing great rounds! I evaluate 'student congress' as a debate event; hence, if you are early in the cycle, I am looking for clear affirmative and negative grounds to establish clash and foundation for the remainder of the debate. If you speak later in the cycle, I expect extensions and refutations of what has already been established as significant issues in the debate (beyond just name dropping). I see each contribution on the affirmative and negative sides as extensions of the previous speeches presented; consequently, if there is a significant argument that has not been addressed to by opponents, I expect later speakers to build and expand on it to strengthen it. Likewise, if speakers on the other side do not respond to a significant issue, I will consider it a 'dropped argument' which will only increase the ranking of the student who initially made it, and lower the rankings of students who failed to recognize, respond or refute it; however, it is the duty of questioners to challenge opposing speakers thus reminding the room (including the judges) on significant arguments or issues that have gone unrefuted. In other words, students should flow the entire round and incorporate that information into their speeches and questions. I also highly encourage using the amendment process to make legislation better. Competitors who attempt it, with germane and purposeful language, will be rewarded on my ballot.
Most importantly, enjoy the unique experience of Congressional Debate. There are so many nuances in this event that the speech and debate other events cannot provide. Own and appreciate your opportunity by demonstrating your best effort in respectful dialogue and debate and be your best 'self' in the round. If you do, the rewards will far outweigh the effort.
EVIDENCE: All claims should be sufficiently warranted via credible evidence which ideally include both theoretical and empirical sources. I reward those who consider constitutional, democratic, economic, diplomatic frameworks, including a range of conservative to liberal ideologies, to justify their position which are further substantiated with empirical examples and data. All evidence should be verbally-cited with appropriate source and date. Students should always consider biases and special interests when choosing sources to cite in their speeches. I also encourage students to challenge evidence during refutations or questioning, as time and warrant allows.
PARTICIPATION: I reward participation in all forms: presiding, amending, questioning, flipping, and other forms of engagement that serve a clear purpose to the debate and fluent engagement within the round. One-sided debate indicates we should most likely move on to the next piece of legislation since we are ready to vote; therefore, I encourage students to stand for additional speeches if your competitors are not willing to flip, yet do not wish to move to previous question (as a matter of fact I will highly reward you for 'debating' provided that you are contributing to a meaningful debate of the issues). I expect congressional debaters to remain engaged in the round, no matter what your speaking order, therefore leaving the chamber for extended periods of time is highly discouraged and will be reflected in my final ranking. Arriving late or ending early is disrespectful to the chamber and event. Competitors who appear to bulldoze or disenfranchise others regarding matters of agenda-setting, agenda-amendments, speaking position/sides can also be penalized in ranking. I am not fond of splits before the round as I've seen many students, typically younger folks, coerced into flipping; hence, students should just be ready to debate with what they've prepared. If you are concerned with being dropped, I recommend exploring arguments on both sides of the bill/resolution.
PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you for being willing to serve the chamber. I look highly upon students who run for PO. If elected, be sure you demonstrate equity and fairness in providing the optimum opportunity for every competitor to demonstrate their skills as a debater and participant in the chamber. I value POs who assert a respectful command and control of the room. Do not allow other competitors to take over without your guidance and appropriate permissions (even during breaks while others may be out of the room). Your procedures of recognizing speakers (including questioning) should be clearly communicated at the top of the round to promote transparency and a respect for all members of the chamber. Mistakes in recency or counting votes happen -- no big deal (just don't make it repetitive). Public spreadsheets are appreciated.
DELIVERY, STYLE and RHETORIC: Good delivery takes the form of an argument and audience-focused presentation style. Authorship/ Sponsorship/ first-negative speeches can be primarily read provided the competitor communicates a well-developed, constructed, and composed foundation of argument. These speeches should be framework and data rich -- and written with a rhetorical prowess that conveys a strong concern and commitment for their advocacy.
After the first speeches, I expect students to extend or refute what has been previously stated - even if offering new arguments. These speeches should be delivered extemporaneously with a nice balance of preparation and spontaneity, demonstrating an ability to adapt your advocacy and reasoning to what has been previously presented. Trivial or generic introductions/closings typically do not get rewarded in my rankings. I would much prefer a short, direct statement of position in the opening and a short, direct final appeal in the closing. Good rhetorical technique and composition in any speech is rewarded.
DECORUM & SUSPENSION OF THE RULES: I highly respect all forms of decorum within the round. I value your demonstration of respect for your colleagues referring to competitors by their titles (senator, representative) and indicated gender identifiers. Avoid deliberate gender-specific language "you guys, ladies and gentlemen" etc. I encourage any suspension of the rules, that are permitted by the tournament, which contribute to more meaningful dialogue, debate, and participation. Motions for a suspension of the rules which reflect a lack of decorum or limit opportunity are discouraged. I also find "I'm sure you can tell me" quite evasive and flippant as an answer.
I will be keeping it simple and will intend on looking in-depth in the rounds and to provide the information needed to explain why I gave a specific rank to each competitors.
Here's what I'm looking for:
Delivery: I wish to see you provide emotion and vocal variation in your speeches, after all these rounds can take up to 3 HOURS meaning as the round progresses it will be difficult to be heavily interested when someone is speaking in a monotone voice compared to someone who brings sadness, anger, and strength/impact to their speeches.
Fluency: I will be looking out for the competitors with the best fluency.
Interpret: This will be by far THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect I will be looking for. As a judge I inherently will not be researching the bills everyone is prepping for, so speakers who come up and provide an argument for a certain side of a bill on why their side is right without being confusing and overreaching and hard to catch up will get a big boost in how I rank. Essentially I wish to see speakers be clear and concise with their speeches because again, I will not have huge prior knowledge on the legislations at hand.
Legal Pad Dependence: Although it can be difficult to give speeches without a pad, I am looking for people who are not overtly dependent on their legal pad.
Uniqueness: If you make a common argument that is fine but if you go ahead and bring a whole new argument and make it unique and add new perspective, that will most definitely boost you in the ranks.
Late Round Speeches: As the round goes on and many arguments are used and it will obviously be difficult to make new argument that has not been overused. So for late round speeches I will not criticize you heavily if you cannot be special about it and instead focused more on refutation and delivery.