Val Browning Round Robin
2023 — Online, UT/US
Round Robin Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Affiliations: Debated at Niles West in high school, UTD in college. Now coach for UTD and Greenhill school
LD exception - If an argument can be described as a 'trick', please dont read it in front of me. Likewise, if your theory argument is based on something you opponent didn't do, it is probably unpersuasive to me.
Go for what you want to go for, if you got a K aff, make sure you can beat framework, if you go for a process cp, make sure you can beat theory, etc, etc, I will try my hardest to adapt and judge the round as objectively as possible.
I love line-by-line. The more you engage with your opponent's arguments, the more likely you are to win and the higher your speaks will be.
I won't vote on things that happened out of round or in other debates.
You can insert rehighlightings of the other team's evidence, text of a card only needs to be read once for it to be evaluated.
No racism/sexism/etc, be nice. Don't do that thing where you delete tags or read new affs on paper or stuff like that to make your speech harder to read.
I've become more willing to comb through evidence over the years, but it's mostly out of curiosity since debaters seem to be getting better at spinning ev, obviously I have my limits, but the debate includes the debate over the evidence.
I think conditionality is good, it seems to be necessary in this day and age when topics are very broad. I've become more neg biased recently but maybe it's just my disillusion with one unwarranted sentence of condo bad somehow becoming an entire 2ar. Condo in general seems to have gotten significantly more shallow. There probably is some point at which condo becomes bad, but I can't truthfully see myself voting for condo bad absent some egregious neg strategy or technical error.
Since it has come up more than once, my stance on judge kick is that I will presume judge kick if nothing has been said on theory, if the aff wants to win no judge kick, then you must at least make the arg in the 1ar.
You get infinite condo against new or undisclosed affs.
I personally don't particularly like process cps, this is a sliding scale, as consult ICJ or a commission cp seems less competitive than something like a states cp on face, but it seems like people are either unwilling or unable to actually invest time in theory in the 1ar anyways, so it often doesn't matter. I think fiating multiple actors (think both USFG and the states, not the states cp, or fiating compliance with another actor whom you fiat) is probably cheating, but I can be convinced otherwise. I tend to lean neg on theory questions despite all that
I like Ks the more specific the link analysis is. I tend to think of Ks as one or multiple thesis statements that, if won, should theoretically disprove the aff. This means the more you pull warrants from cards, explain the aff in the terms of your K, etc, the more likely it is that you beat the perm since that explanation makes links a lot more salient. That's a lot more persuasive than big aff/neg framework pushes to me
FW/T vs K affs. Since this is the only portion of a paradigm that matters for most pref sheets, yes I will vote on framework, yes I will vote against it. These debates seem to come down to impact comparison, as usually it seems hard to win either topical affs are necessary to prevent the entire collapse of this activity, versus framework is genocide, which makes winning as much of your impact quite important. Fairness impact seem to make intrinsic sense to me if debate is a game, but im not sure why that is a catch-all win if the aff wins debate rounds have impacts.
On a side note, I hate long overviews. Overviews should be for args that either: a. Are significantly more important and necessary for your argument to work, or b. Don't make sense when on the line-by-line (eg, meta-framing for how I should evaluate a debate). If you can do it on the flow, do it on the flow.
Background: Currently, a coach for Liberty University, where I also debated for 4 years, NDT and CEDA octofinalist,. Started by doing policy args, moved to Kritical/performance things with most of my arguments starting with black women and moving outward such as Cap, AB, Set Col, and so on). started debate in college as a novice and worked my way to Varsity so I do have a pretty good understanding of each division.
Judging wise (general things)
How I view debate: Debate is first and foremost a game, but it’s full of real people and real consequences so we should keep that in mind as we play even though it’s a game that definitely has real-life implications for a lot of us.
Facial Expressions: I often make facial expressions during the debate and yes they are about the debate so I would pay attention to it my face will often let you know when I vibing and when I’m confused
Speaker points: --- totally subjective I try and start at 28.7 and then go up and down based on a person’s performance in a debate ---- in the debate, it becomes a trend to ask for higher speaks which is fine but if your gonna do that you best not suck or I will automatically give you a 28.3, also I feel like you need a justification for asking for those speaks outside of a speaker award --- I try to be nice and fair here
Speed: Don’t risk clarity over speed I’m not straining my ear to make sense of what you are saying.
If you are gonna email questions later pls let me know so I can keep my flows I often throw them away I wanna be to help but its hard for me to answer your questions after the fact if I don't have my flows
I've been involved in policy debate for 15+ years as a debater and coach on the national circuit, including at the highest levels at the Tournament of Champions and National Debate Tournament.
I do my best to evaluate arguments based off what's said in the debate, but like anyone else I bring some preconceived notions about the activity and world that create "default" positions. I'll do my best to detail these below. I am very expressive and communicative and often provide "instant" feedback in the form of non-verbal expressions.
In general you should feel free to make whatever arguments you'd like! Debate is for the debaters and I will do my best to adapt to you.
I think the best debates are between two well researched opponents, and that predictable limits on the topic are important for in depth debate. I don't think that means the affirmative must necessarily defend "implementation by the federal government". I often find framework debates stale and difficult to resolve.
I am often quite skeptical of negative strategies that focus on multiple conditional counterplans or process counterplans that are not textually and functionally competitive . I wish more affirmatives would object to the proliferation of 2-3 conditional advocacies and strongly believe that "rejecting the team, not the argument" is the appropriate remedy.
Impact framing is essential for all arguments, regardless of content/form. I almost always vote for the team who better frames "what is important" and explains how it interacts with other arguments. The magic words are "even if..." and "they say ... but". Winning 2NRs and 2ARs use these phrases to 'frame' the big picture of the debate.
While I will often ask to see a card document - I tend to default to the explanation/spin of debaters in the round. IE its very important for you to explain and compare evidence!
I don't have a public judge philosophy because this website is not secure. Nothing has otherwise changed, I will try to be as fair as possible and I am open to persuasion on most things. Email me if you have questions.
Open to all styles of policy debate. 20+ Years coaching college policy, 20+ years teaching policy at high school camps. Detailed philosophy removed due to lack of site security. email to lundeensb at gmail with any questions
College nuclear weapons topic - I have not been actively coaching/researching this season so keep that in mind in assuming my depth of topic knowledge or "where the community is" on any issue.
Assistant Director of Debate -- UTD... YOU SHOULD COME DEBATE FOR US BECAUSE WE HAVE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
So I really dont want to judge but if you must pref me here's some things you should know.
Arguments I wont vote on ever
Pref Sheets args
Things outside the debate round
Death is good
Tl:Dr- do you just dont violate the things i'll never vote on and do not pref me that'd be great.
Line by Line is important.
I generally give quick RFDs this isnt a insult to anyone but I've spent the entire debate thinking about the round and generally have a good idea where its going by the end.
Clarity over speed (ESP IN THIS ONLINE ENVIRONMENT) if I dont understand you it isnt a argument.
****NEW THOUGHTS FOR THE NDT**** I generally dont think process CPs that result in the aff are competitive -- I'm more likely to vote on perm do both or the PDCP if push comes to shove... could I vote on it sure but I generally lean aff on these cps.
Online edit -- go slower speed and most of your audio setups arent great. (See what I did there)
Only the debaters debating can give speeches.
I catch you clipping I will drop you. So suggest you dont and be clear mumbling after i've said clear risk me pulling the trigger.
ecmathis AT gmail for email chains... but PLEASE DONT PREF ME
Can you beat T-USFG in front of me if your not a traditional team.... yes... can you lose it also yes. Procedural fairness is a impact for me. K teams need to give me a reason why I should ignore T if they want to win it. Saying warrantless claims impacted by the 1AC probably isnt good enough.
Aff's that say "Affirm me because it makes me feel better or it helps me" probably not the best in front of me. I just kinda dont believe it.
I dislike reading cards because I do not fell like reconstructing the debate for one side over another. I will read cards dont get me wrong but rarely will I read cards on args that were not explained or extended well.
K-There fine I like em except the death good ones.
In round behavior- Aggressive is great being a jerk is not. This can and will kill your speaks. Treat your opponents with respect and if they dont you can win a ballot off me saying what they've done in round is problematic. That said if someone says you're arg is (sexist, racist, etc) that isnt the same as (a debater cursing you out because you ran FW or T or a debater telling you to get out of my activity) instant 0 and a loss. i'm not about that life.
Alex McVey - Director of Debate at Kansas State University
Yes Email chain - j.alexander.mcvey at gmail
Online things - Strong preference for Camera On during speeches and CX. I'm willing to be understanding about this if it's a tech barrier or there are other reasons for not wanting to display. But it does help me a ton to look at faces when people are speaking.
If I'm physically at a tournament and judging a debate with one online and one in-person team, I'm always going to try to be in the same room as the in-person team, if the tournament permits. Within those parameters, Zoom teams should let me know if there's anything I can do to make myself more present for them in that space. I respect what online debate has done to increase access for some teams, but I value in-person connection with debaters too much to go judge from an empty classroom or hotel room.
I flow on paper. I need pen time. Clarity is really important to me. I'll always say "clear" if I think you're not being clear, at least 1-2 times. If you don't respond accordingly, the debate probably won't end well for you.
I tend to be expressive when I judge debates. Nodding = I'm getting it, into your flow, not necessarily that it's a winner. Frowny/frustrated face = maybe not getting it, could be a better way to say it, maybe don't like what you're doing. I would take some stock in this, but not too much: I vote for plenty things that frustrate me while I'm hearing them executed, and vote down plenty of things that excite me when first executed. All about how it unfolds.
The more I judge debates, the less ev I'm reading, the more I'm relying on 2nr vs 2ar explanation and impact calculus. If there are cards that you want me to pay attention to, you should call the card out by name in the last rebuttal, and explain some of its internal warrants. Debaters who make lots of "even if" statements, who tell me what matters and why, who condense the debate down to the most important issues, and who do in depth impact calculus seem to be winning my ballots more often than not.
Debating off the flow >>> Debating off of speech docs (ESPECIALLY IN REBUTTALS). I'd say a good 25% of my decisions involve the phrase "You should be more flow dependent and less speech doc dependent." Chances are very little that you've scripted before the debate began is useful for the 2nr/2ar.
My experience and expertise is definitely in kritik debate, but I judge across the spectrum and have been cutting cards on both K and Policy sides of the legal personhood topic. Run what you're good at. Despite my K leaning tendencies, I’m comfortable watching a good straight up debate.
Don't assume I've cut cards in your niche research area though. I often find myself lost in debates where people assume I know what some topical buzzword, agency, or acronym is.
Theoretical issues: Blippy, scatter-shot theory means little, well-developed, well-impacted theory means a lot. Again, pen time good.
I have no hard and set rules about whether affs do or don't have to have plans. Against planless/non-topical affs, I tend to think topicality arguments are generally more persuasive than framework arguments. Or rather, I think a framework argument without a topicality argument probably doesn't have a link. I'm not sure what the link is to most "policy/political action good" type framework arguments if you don't win a T argument that says the focus of the resolution has to be USFG policy. I think all of these debates are ultimately just a question of link, impact, and solvency comparison.
I tend to err on truth over tech, with a few exceptions. Dropping round-winners/game-changers like the permutation, entire theoretical issues, the floating PIC, T version of the aff/do it on the neg, etc... will be much harder (but not impossible) to overcome with embedded clash. That being said, if you DO find yourself having dropped one of these, I'm open to explanations for why you should get new arguments, why something else that was said was actually responsive, etc... It just makes your burden for work on these issues much much more difficult.
Be wary of conflating impacts, especially in K debates. For example, If their impact is antiblackness, and your impact is racism, and you debate as if those impacts are the same and you're just trying to win a better internal link, you're gonna have a bad time.
I intuitively don't agree with "No perms in a method debate" and "No Plan = No Perm" arguments. These arguments are usually enthymematic with framework; there is an unstated premise that the aff did something which skews competition to such a degree that it justifies a change in competitive framework. Just win a framework argument. That being said, I vote for things that don't make intuitive sense to me all the time.
I like debate arguments that involve metaphors, fiction, stories, and thought experiments. What I don't understand is teams on either side pretending as if a metaphor or thought experiment is literal and defending or attacking it as such.
A nested concern with that above - I don't really understand a lot of these "we meets" on Framework that obviously non-topical affs make. I/E - "We're a discursive/affective/symbolic vesting of legal rights and duties" - That... doesn't make any sense. You aren't vesting legal rights and duties, and I'm cool with it, just be honest about what the performance of the 1ac actually does. I think Neg teams give affs too much leeway on this, and K Affs waste too much time on making these nonsensical (and ultimately defensive) arguments. If you don't have a plan, just impact turn T. You can make other defensive args about why you solve topic education and why you discuss core topic controversies while still being honest about the fact that you aren't topical and impact turn the neg's attempt to require you to be such.
RIP impact calculus. I'd love to see it make a comeback.
RIP performance debates that actually perform. My kingdom for a performance aff that makes me feel something.
Affs are a little shy about going for condo bad in front of me. I generally think Condo is OK but negatives have gotten a bit out of control with it. I'm happy to vote for flagrant condo proliferation if the neg justifies it. I just don't think affs are making negs work hard enough on these debates.
Negs are a little shy about making fun of 1ac construction in front of me. Ex: K affirmatives that are a random smattering of cards that have little to do with one another. Ex: Policy affs where only 2 cards talk about the actual plan and the rest are just genero impact cards. I feel like negative's rarely ever press on this, and allow affirmatives to get away with ludicrous 2AC explanations that are nearly impossible to trace back to the cards and story presented in the 1ac. More 1nc analytical arguments about why the aff just doesn't make sense would be welcome from this judge.
In a similar vein, many affirmative plans have gotten so vague that they barely say anything. Negatives should talk about this more. Affs should write better plans. Your plan language should match the language of your solvency advocate if you want me to grant you solvency for what is contained in said evidence. I'm going to be trigger happy for "your plan doesn't do anything" until teams start writing better plans.
Debaters should talk more about the lack of quality the other team's evidence and the highlighting of that evidence in particular. If you've highlighted down your evidence such that it no longer includes articles (a/an/the/etc...) in front of nouns, or is in other ways grammatically incoherent due to highlighting, and get called out on it, you're likely to not get much credit for that ev with me.
Be kind to one another. We're all in this together.
DOD - Baylor University
Yes please on email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR TEAMS PRE-ROUND:
Hello! The very short version of this is "do what you're best at and tell me why things matter in relation to other things." Historically, I have tended to be almost exactly 50/50 AFF/NEG in "framework"/"one off" debates, without much variance in which side is which. My personal academic research leans more critical but I mostly cut policy/case cards for Baylor, so I may not have read your specific counterplan advocate but I have a good sense about what is encompassed in the topic. I don't care what you do and I hope that you do what makes you most comfortable and you feel gives you the best chance to win. I'd much rather you make the arguments you think are best instead of you trying to adapt to some assumptions you think I may hold. My goal is a tabula rasa approach to adjudication, which we know is impossible, but I generally seem to vote for teams who keep the flow clean and isolate the central questions of the debate. That said, being tab only extends to arguments and argumentation that does not personally impact, harm, or otherwise exclude folx, especially those with marginalized identities.
Affiliated with college debate from visas (2010-11) through warming (2016-17), left and got a PhD in rhetoric, and became Baylor Director of Debate from rights (2022-23) to present.
I'm excited to be back in the activity. My goal is a tabula rasa approach to adjudication, which we know is impossible, but I generally seem to vote for teams who keep the flow clean and isolate the central questions of a debate. That said, being tab only extends to arguments and argumentation that does not personal impact, harm, or otherwise exclude folks, especially those with marginalized identities.
My primary goal is to write down everything you say, but walls of text or implicit arguments make that much tougher, especially since I LOATHE to have to read speech docs during a debate. Debaters that explicitly tag arguments/headers (the ontology debate, the access DA, etc) or do actual line by line (and by this i do mean on down the flow) make my life easier and it tends to reward you in both ballots and speaker points.
Teams that win structural framing arguments and apply them down the flow also tend to help shape how I evaluate parts of the debate, and virtually always in your favor.
RFD-giving is a learned skill and I continue to strive to improve my practice of it in order to both relay my thinking and give feedback.
1) Do what you're best at. Judges should adapt to debaters, and not vice-versa
2) Argument = claim + warrant + impact. Any argument that has all three (this certainly does not mean carded) can win my ballot.
3) Dropped args are virtually always true, excepting when the arg does not meet #2, which gives the other team leeway in new answers. Tech creates "truth". What is "truth" is entirely contingent to the round and arguments that are made (and won). I will vote for arguments I personally disagree with or seem silly when one side executes better.
4) I think people forget that this is ultimately a communication and persuasion activity, so clarity matters. Evidence text should be audible/discernable. Also please don't just talk into your laptop or, if you're online, spread too fast for your mic to properly sort sound. Arguments that don't make it onto my flow don't exist. Sorry not sorry.
5) I plan on flowing almost exclusively on paper. I'm better at it and it keeps the debate cleaner in my mind, but that does mean you should allow for a little pen time while making a quick wall of arguments (like, say, a theory block).
1) Speaker Points: I am an argument critic. Points received from me reflect the debating done in front of me and are neither punished, nor rewarded, by particular ideology, style, or approach to debate, with the standard caveats from before about obvious exceptions vis-a-vis discourse or actions that make debate actively harmful, unsafe, etc. Argument selection, persuasion, clarity, wit, approach to opponents, specificity of examples, and explantation of argumentative import are just some of things that go into my speaker point scale. This is both a communication activity and a persuasion activity, and both matter for better or worse.
My scale is constantly evolving and subject to the whims of fate. 29 is the new 28 apparently.
2) "Clock management:" I am inclined to give a speech time out under the reasonable conditions if requested (asthma attack, coughing fit, speaking stand collapses, etc).
3) Judge Kick: Is this still a thing? It seems silly. I will assume the 2NR is going for what the 2NR went for unless otherwise instructed. That said, if "judge kick" first appears in the 2NR, the 2AR definitely gets to answer it.
4) Clipping: I will not proactively call out clipping; it must be done by one of the debaters in a round. Round stops, either the clipper or false accuser gets a 0. You do need evidentiary support of clipping (i.e. recording) in order for me to adjudicate that question. Clipping is defined as intentionally portraying cards or words as having been read into the debate when they have not.
The best framework debaters focus more on the testing/debatability arguments or a traditional limits/fairness DA. Debaters should focus on meta-questions like "what is debate?", "why does this round/activity matter?", and which interpretation creates a better/more sustainable version of debate now and in the future, etc. I often think about these debates as being competing advocacies of what debate should look like with a collection of ADV/DA to each. Debaters that organize and condense these effectively in the 2NR/2AR will be rewarded with ballots and speaker points. The best affs are ones that are "about the topic," in whatever capacity, and these are the affs that teams will have the hardest time winning FW against.
For the record, I think most education impacts to FW are silly and a much harder path to victory. I see many more debaters and coaches go into the academy or public life as opposed to becoming tiny Eichmann policy folks who care about Schoolhouse Rock stuff. And frankly, given white supremacy and other ongoing issues, it seems wild to think that critical theory has no place in understanding how arguments and policy work in the real world.
When the affirmative is ostensibly trying to be topical, T is usually a priori until debaters win arguments otherwise. Debaters have a history of blasting through walls of text here without actually analyzing anything, which is hard to flow and harder to evaluate. Examples of what affs are justified or excluded, what ground is added or lost, etc are incredibly helpful. Potential abuse is a voter if you win it should be. You need a reasonability claim to win a 'we meet' or counter-interp or I default to a competing interp paradigm.
Just because I liked the K does not mean I understand what you're talking about, so please explain what argument you think you're making. The best critical debaters tie the links of the K into the aff to implicate solvency and/or the adv's. Isolate your offense, how you access it, and how it turns or outweighs or solves the aff.
What does the alt do? How does it solve the links? 2N's seem insistent on not answering these questions, to my endless frustration. Buzzwords like "endless wars" is not an impact on its own; its a claim. Implicate how and why these things occur, preferably in the context of the aff.
My personal research sits at the intersection of gender, sexuality, identity, and race, usually historically situated in archives. Does this mean I'm a better judge for those arguments or that I have a higher threshold for good quality arguments? Historically, neither.
They're great and I like them. Baylor has historically had a diverse squad in terms of arguments so I may have heard of your acronym or process counterplan, but probably not. Counterplans should be competitive. I defer to functional competition being important and textual competition being up for debate, but am easily shifted by quality argumentation.
Theory is best used as a tool to justify things rather than as a reason for decision. I am normally unlikely to vote on theory, but mostly this is because people are bad at debating it, and spew blocks and then move on. Good theory debating, like T debates, is nuanced and provides specific lists of examples of things that included/excluded/justified and so forth, and defends this in order to further a definition of what debate should entail. If it's your thing, do it, but it needs to be done well and clearly. I'm much happier analyzing theory as a way to help frame my adjudication of the substance, but do what you gotta do to win.
Debated at University of Pittsburgh
I think about debate strategically primarily. Bad strategy => bad decision-making => bad comparison => bad debate. Lack of argument comparison also generally means more of a focus on skill than arguments which makes for less substantive feedback which has a negative feedback loop on the quality of judging experienced by debaters and the growth of teams themselves in my view. Substance is cool even when the substance is literally just about the meta-game.
I like judging different things, there are many different styles and many get overlooked or forgotten, so do your thing and do it well. I have a higher threshold for how you answer presumption in rounds without a plan and will filter a lot of the debate through solvency.
I'm typically more interested in a K that has offense either about the consequences of the plan or the consequences of the process but if you can win your overarching thesis claim outweighs plan/method focus, then go for it. The whole point of a K is to disagree with the assumptions of the affirmative so I don't understand the turn to agree with the affirmative's assumptions about how it should be evaluated vis-a-vis their various interps.
If you have a K that fundamentally disagrees with the epistemic starting point of the affirmative, then the latter part of the prior statement probably applies more than the former two even if you do have an embedded impact turn to the affirmative considering you likely have epistemic disagreements on starting points that inform what counts as an impact turn and also how to evaluate it comparative to other arguments on the level of uniqueness.
I don't have any specific feelings about framework as long as you're doing impact comparison. Regardless of whether you are winning a procedural or a terminal impact, it doesn’t really mean you auto win unless you have effectively zero’d/excluded all the opposing team’s offense, so offensive applications of impacts matter, if only from a strategic point of view.
Everything else is pretty round-by-round, please pic out of things, use theory intelligently and capitalize on mistakes and cross-examination early. Things may be unfair but unfairness can be justified or argued to not be unfair if a team lacks core justifications against competing claims to uniqueness/barriers to effective implementation. Same reason the neg gets to exclude the entire aff from evaluation if they win the procedural comes before aff offense.
Always keep in mind that just because you're right doesn't change the fact that you're still a debater doing debate. Every round is different and every debater debates/interprets arguments differently, so don’t switch up. Popular opinion (in debate) rarely matches reality anyway.
Please think about what is your strongest argument instead of ones that are superfluous, waste time, are unfamiliar to you, or otherwise have no strategic value. I try to give good speaks, but rarely super high. I prefer debates with fewer sheets. Don’t spread faster than is comprehensible and prioritize clarity. Make it make sense.
A dropped argument is not a true argument, though it may be persuasive. Micro-aggressions exist but so do mistakes. Your standard for how to engage them is likely biased and/or strategic. The easiest way to engage is to be a less than terrible person. If you have to worry about that you have more personal work to do.
Anyways, see ya~
Judging Experience: 19 years
Email: email@example.com (yes, include me on the email thread)
Big Picture: There is no one right way to debate. We all have our biases and preconceptions, but I try to approach each round as a critic of argumentation and persuasion. Some people will define themselves as being more influenced by either “truth” or “tech.” For me, this is a false binary. Tech matters, but it doesn’t mean that I will focus on the ink on the flow to the detriment of argument interconnections or ignore the big picture of the debate. Truth matters, but pretty much every debate I will decide that both teams win arguments that I don’t necessarily believe to be true. In my view, “argument” falls into a third category that overlaps with tech and truth but is distinct from them. Make your argument more effectively than your opponent and you’ll be in good shape. For me, that means making clear claims, developing warrants for those claims, and explicitly identifying what’s important in the debate, how it’s important, and why. Use logos, ethos, and pathos. Look like you’re winning. Your adaptation to the stylistic/technical comments below is far more important than your adaptation to any particular type of argument.
Comment about debate ethics: By debate ethics, I mean both what has been conventionally called “ethics violations” – like clipping cards, evidence fabrication, etc – as well as the interpersonal dynamics of how we treat one another in debate. I group them together here because they are both areas where somebody has crossed a line and upset the conditions necessary for debate to occur. For me, neither of these things is “debatable” in the sense I used above (“making clear claims, developing warrants…,” looking like you’re winning, etc). If a team is suspected of clipping cards, the debate stops and we do our best to resolve the issue before either ending the debate or moving forward. Similarly, if there is a concern that a team made racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted – or even just excessively mean-spirited or rude remarks – the debate should not continue as normal. I have zero interest in watching a competitive debate in this context about what was said, whether an apology was sincere, the terminal impact of discourse, whether the ballot is an appropriate punishment, etc. In this, I aggressively fall into the “truth over tech” crowd.
What this means for me is that I will try to be attentive to these things happening. I do not believe that a debater has to say something for me to vote on an ethics violation. At the same time, there is a lot of gray area in interpersonal relationships and we all draw our own boundaries.
What this means for you is if you believe one of your ethical lines has been crossed, I need you to point it out *outside of speech time* and not treat it like you would other debate arguments. As we all know, there are different ways of arguing that the other team has said offensive things. An argument that the Aff’s Economy advantage is based in colonial & white supremacist logic seems to fall squarely “within the game” as a debatable position. On the other hand, if a debater refers to another debater with an offensive racial epithet, this seems to pretty clearly transcend the game. There’s a million miles of microaggressions and not-so-micro aggressions in between. My working presumption is generally that if you are debating about it, then you consider it debatable and that I should evaluate it within the context of argumentation, persuasion, and competition. But if you feel that the other team has crossed a line and that I should not continue evaluating the round as I would a regular competitive debate, say something – again, *outside of speech time* – and we will work together to reach an understanding and figure out the best resolution to the situation.
Stylistic/Technical Issues: I am a medium flow. My ear for extremely fast speech is not particularly great, and my handwriting is not particularly fast. Extremely fast debates oriented around the techne of the flow are not my forte. There is a fairly clear inverse relationship between the speed at which you speak and the amount that I get written down on my flow. This greatly rewards debaters who give fewer – but more fully developed and explained – arguments. I will probably not read very many cards at the end of the debate, so don’t rely on your evidence to make your arguments for you. At the same time, I do generally try to attend to the quality of cards and bad cards can definitely undermine your arguments. I categorically do not want to be forced to reconstruct the debate by rereading all of the cards. This means that explanation and prioritization in the final rebuttals weighs more heavily for me than it might for other judges. Attend to the big picture, make direct comparisons showing why your arguments are better than your opponents’, and most important, find the hook that allows you to frame the debate in your favor.
Theory Debates: This is the area where my thinking has evolved the most as I’ve aged. There are many theory issues that I can be persuaded by. However, I will say that many theory debates that I have seen are vacuous. The key question for me is what kind of world is created by each side’s interpretation – is it good for debate or bad for debate. The impacts that I find most persuasive are the ones that are less about whether the other team made debate hard for you and more about what their interpretation does to argumentation and whether that’s an educational and constructive vision of what debate should be. Generally, impacts like “time skew” or “moots the 1AC” are pretty empty to me. But an argument that uniform 50 state fiat is an artificial debate construct that’s not rooted anywhere in the solvency literature and distorts the “fed key” debate so wildly as to make it meaningless is maybe something that I can get behind. A short list of a few of my current theory pet peeves: the States CP, object fiat, vaguely written – and downright misleading – plan texts, and nonsense permutations. While I wouldn’t necessarily call it a pet peeve, I may be growing increasingly persuaded that excessive conditionality is not good for debate.
Critical Stuff / Framework: I regularly vote both ways in framework debates. I evaluate these debates much like I would a debate over the "substance" of the case. Both sides need to play offense to amplify their own impacts while also playing defense against their opponent's impacts. In most cases where I have voted against critical affirmatives, it is because they have done a poor job answering the negative's debatability/fairness impact claims. In most cases where I have voted against traditional policy frameworks, it has been because they have done a poor job defending against the substantive critiques of their approach. My general set of biases on these issues would be as follows: critical (and even no-plan) affirmatives are legitimate, the aff needs to either have a defensible interpretation of how they affirm the topic or they need to full bore impact turn everything, a team must defend the assumptions of their arguments, critiques don't need (and are often better served without) alternatives (but they still need to be clear about what I am actually voting for), debate rounds do not make sense as a forum for social movements and “spill up” claims are vacuous, and most of the evidence used to defend a policy framework does not really apply to policy debate. However, to state the obvious, each of these biases can be overcome by making smart arguments.
Speaker Points: Since Tabroom stopped making speaker points accessible, I honestly don’t really even know what they mean anymore. I try to give them careful consideration, but I admit that often it becomes a gestalt thing. I intend somewhere around 28.7 or 28.8 to be my median. I will occasionally dip into the high 27s for debaters that need significant improvement. Good performances will be in the low 29s. Excellent performances will get into the mid 29s. This was generally close to how things broke down the last time I was actually able to run the numbers on speaker point data.
Here are the things I value in a good speaker. I love debaters that use ethos, logos AND pathos. Technique should be a means of enhancing your arguments, not obfuscating or protecting them. Look like you're winning. Show that you are in control of yourself and your environment. Develop a persona that you can be comfortable with and that shows confidence. Know what you're talking about. Answer your own cross-ex questions. Use an organizational system that works for you, but communicate it and live up to it (if you do the line-by-line, then *do* the line-by-line). Avoid long overviews with content that belongs on the line-by-line. Overviews should have a clear and concise purpose that adds something important to the debate. Be clear, which includes not just articulation & enunciation. It also includes the ability to understand the content of your evidence. If I can't follow what your evidence is saying, it will have as much weight in my decision as the tagline for that evidence would have had as an analytic. Debaters who make well thought out arguments with strong support will out-point debaters who just read a lot of cards every time.
Ay yo, what up! I'm Niko and I'm finna be your judge!!!
Put me on the chain plz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debated for 4 years at Washburn Rural High School (go blues) - mostly went for DAs, CPs, and T. Also read USFG plans.
Debated for 4 years at Emporia State University (STINGERS DOWN) - mostly went for anti-Blackness, semiotics, and T.
GTA for Wyoming (Go Pokes) - I do coach-type things.
I'm probs flowing on paper, that I took from you. I know y'all are speed demons, just check to make sure I got your stuff and be clear. I like to vote off the flow and it would be unfortunate if I didn't get your args down.
You're here to have fun. Please do!
But don't be a jerk. If you are you will probs lose.
I've bolded what I think is important but you can read all of it if you want.
I will pull the trigger on reasonability if the impact on T is not extended well. But in general, I think these debates should be about competing interpretations. I think T should be similar to a DA with UQ, Link, I/L, and Impacts. If I think these parts of T aren't clear then...RIP. I am not the biggest fan of SPEC debates, but I will watch it.
I think this debate is like a T debate but nobody treats it like that. Negative teams should have a solid TVA that has inroads to access some of the aff's offense. (A case list would also be tight.) I’ll vote on switch side, but I don’t know if it should be your primary offense. I’ve seen myself more concerned with limits than ground since nobody can articulate what ground is lost due to including the aff. I just need teams to tell me what debates look like under their model.
I think theory debates can be hella cool (if they are more than reading blocks). I most likely will reject the argument, unless it's just a blowout. I think Condo can be a good thing but can be convinced otherwise pretty easily. Also, I think PIC/PIKs are generally good if they are specific to the aff.
I need some explanation of what is happening. I do not know your tricks. I think you'll win my ballot easily if you can spin a link specific to the aff. Tell me why the other team dropping that link to the K is a reason to kick the alt. Oh yeah, I should know what the alt does if you think I'm going to vote on it. But is it legit to kick the alt? Fam you better have some sick FW args. Is performance cool? Yo, you do you as long as you tie the performance to some theory. What about that perm tho? I think it's a test of competition. But hey if it's messed up let me know! I bet, I don't even need an impact, right? Slow your boat fam, you better have an impact.
I'm cool with any disad. Process and conditions CP are pretty sketchy, especially if they don't have a solvency advocate. PICs are cool - but I could see why they are bad. Impact-turn debates are sick plz go for it fam. Case debates are super tight please do them.
I did Policy in HS and College. I coached Middle/HS LD for six years, and am now coaching Policy for UWyo.
I am collecting anonymous feedback and data about my judging. If I've judged you and you'd like to contribute, please fill out the form!
Above any ideological loyalty or stylistic preference is my appreciation and need for clean, organized, structured debates.
natalieforensics at gmail dot com
Other Mechanics of Evaluation
I try my hardest to be tabula rasa, but I'm also a person. I vote on dropped arguments more than most people.
Major things that make me different from other judges:
I'm somewhat hard of hearing - try to talk way louder than you would. This is usually only a problem during physical (not online) tournaments and in rooms with a lot of echo. If you are unclear, I'll yell clear twice before I stop flowing.
Tech and Truth - it's not hard for me to see the connections between arguments. I vote on many conceded args with impacts, and heavily undercovered args. I guess that makes me more of a tech judge, but I also will be very grumpy about arguments that don't make sense, so I'll vote on them but I'll complain about having voted on them.
1ar/2nr/2ar dynamics - I like to protect the 2nr. If the arg wasn't in the 1ar or the 2ar pivot is outlandish, it can be a problem for me. That being said if the 2nr spin on the block strat is heavy, 2ars should be pointing that out as a reason to justify new 2ar args.
Speech docs- I hate having to follow along on the doc. I think debaters' flowing skills have rapidly deteriorated since judges were added to speech docs. But now, with mixed modalities, it's very much necessary. That being said, I'm not gonna base much of my decisions on your evidence unless there's a disagreement about what it says - the parts that are most relevant should be paraphrased and cited by author name and the speech they were introduced in the rebuttals. It's silly how often people spread through their analytics (especially on theory) as though they're highlighting within a card and expect the judge to follow along on the speech doc.
Try to be pleasant - It's not gonna swing my ballot unless it's turned into an argument, which usually has to do with critiques of how people talk.
K's on the Neg and their Aff refutations:
Aff: Don't over-rely on framework, perms and theory. Read these arguments when they really make sense, not out of fear of engaging the substance of the K. Make sure that the K actually violates the rules you want to set up before spending time setting up those rules.
Neg: Don't be lazy! Read specific, offensive links with well-explained alts that are both paradigmatic and can be translated into action that helps people. You can advocate for specific solutions (that may or may not be state policies) as examples of a broader and more general alternative. Find a good balance between examples, explanations, and warrants/proof.
Events that happened out of round - This is a gray area for me. I guess on some level I think you should be held accountable for things that happened that can be proven to have happened. On the other hand, how many times does someone have to lose on something for them to be free of their past? I guess that's for y'all to debate about and me to find out.
Ideologies and their Juxtapositions
K v K Debate
Aaahhh... the format that the algorithm has determined I'm destined to judge the most....
Be organized. Distinguish between claim warrant and implications. Writing the story of the ballot can be important. Detailed perm theory about what the aff does or does not get to permute is essential for me.
When I vote on Framework there's usually an offensive answer to "you don't address the aff impacts" via a conversation about how affs that have no tie to the topic or completely foreclose upon state engagement to trade off with opportunities to learn about the values of state engagement or ways in which the topic hurts the people the aff is talking about. I do think that soft framework with interps such as "aff must defend a tangible strategy," "aff must have a connection to the resolution," "aff must be in the direction of the resolution," etc. with most of the same justifications as regular framework can be solid round winners in front of me. My neg ballots on this usually start with "the topical version of the affirmative resolves most of the aff's offense and has better inroads into dialogue/clash and advocacy/policymaking skills for the following reasons:" or because the aff undercovered switch-side debate.
Plan v K Debate
Discourse/rhetoric links: this is my jam. Neg teams answering these - perm and framework go a long way, but honestly people should sometimes just defend their rhetoric. You're not gonna have a defense of every word you use so offensive args about why the 1ac performance is net good even if it's messy or not ideologically pure. The defense of the performance of the 1ac is the key here, and what impacts it addresses. Labeling it as "the value of the performance of the 1ac outweighs the negative harms of their links" really goes a long way with me because it's a clearer contextualization of what "policymaking good" and "research on this topic is good" are actually doing for you besides getting you out of "roleplaying bad" debates. This isn't a theory arg either - you're just weighing the costs vs benefits of the 1ac speech act, in addition to a robust strategy about why my ballot should prioritize the outcomes of the plan over the performance of the speech.
Critiques based on consequences: winning the impact/root cause debate is key? Idk what else to say here.
I did this style in High School, and while I coach a team that predominantly does traditional debate, I also don't spend a lot of my time thinking about this side of the topic. My favorite traditional debates have been more technical than most. Since I'm more unfamiliar I tend to be a lot more tech over truth, given as I'm not exactly doing regular work on your politics disad or specific uniqueness claims. I am also not very in the know about what a lot of acronyms on the topic mean.