Katy Taylor TFA TOC NIETOC Fall Classic
2023 — NSDA Campus, TX/US
Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Note: Things that are bolded in my paradigm are things I think people are generally looking for or I think are worth noting about my preferences. Read the bottom for my speaks paradigm; the TLDR paradigm is the third paragraph in this top section. Everything in this paradigm has a logical justification; ask me if something doesn't make sense and I'll be happy to explain.
Intro: Hi I'm Austin. I mainly debated LD in high school, but I'm familiar with most other event formats. I graduated from Northland Christian HS in 2020 and UT Austin in 2022 with a psych major phil minor. I'm currently a 2L at Texas Law. I competed on the local and national circuit all four years of high school (and have been judging/coaching consistently since graduating), so I like to think I'm pretty up to date on the technical nuances of LD. Add me to the chain at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to email me with specific questions before the round or thoughts on how I could improve my paradigm!
TLDR paradigm: I don't gut check "bad" arguments; I really love highly technical debates especially on a theoretical layer but I'm good with evaluating policy, kritik-al debate, etc.; please read the first three points in the general section; I feel like this goes without saying but I will not vote on something I don't understand (args need a claim/warrant/implication); by nature (even outside of debate) I default erring on the side of the person who is most logically consistent which means I will not vote for you unless you are ahead on a technical level (absent someone proposing an alternative method for me to evaluate by); I enjoy analytics more than empirics; I love tricks, but I think they're only pedagogically valuable for their ability to boost critical thinking other than that they're generally just for funzies and potentially bad for debate; lastly my opinion on anything in this paradigm can change, just make the proper arg.
- I default args must be immediately sequential and/or allow for a sequential response ("concessions are true," "new 2nr args permissible," and "new 2ar args impermissible" are some noteworthy implications to this); this is my default because any other standard allows for the 2ar to always win by either answering arguments from the 1nc conceded by the 1ar/extended in the 2nr in the 2ar or by making new 2ar uplayers (i guess this means my actual default is against any paradigmatic stance that theoretically allows either side to win every debate because that defeats the purpose of the ballot/there being an adjudicator); please ask me about this point if there is any confusion before the debate starts (also note this is not a rigid stance, just a default)
- I will NOT make arguments for you because I believe judge intervention is the worst for the activity; consequently if your opponent does something that propels a model of debate that is sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic/abelist or something similar I will not drop them unless you mention it. It can be as simple as "they said/did x and that makes debate less accessible so they should lose." Otherwise the only thing I have jurisdiction to do is give them god awful speaks. To clarify if you don't say that they should lose for their discriminatory actions and they are ahead on the tech debate I will vote for them and be very very very sad about it. Please do not make me do this and call them out for being unethical. It's an easy ballot and better for debate.
- I presume neg unless the neg reads an alternative that is farther from the squo than the aff's plan/advocacy (or presume aff/neg args are made, same for permissibility)
- I default comparative worlds but love truth testing
- I will vote on literally anything given the proper framing metric and justification
- you don't have to ask me to flow by ear; I promise I'm both listening and reading your doc (to clarify, I'll catch extemporized blippy analytics)
- I probably default more T>K but that's really up to you
- Weighing makes me happy, as well as a strong fw tie/explanation
- For ethics challenges/evidence ethics calls reference the NSDA guidelines for this year; if the guidebook doesn't make a speaks claim I will either evaluate them myself given the speeches read (if any) or default normal round evaluation (meaning speaks spikes are viable)
- I don't have a default on disclosure at the moment but in debate I defaulted disclosure bad; regardless of my default it doesn't affect my ability to listen to either stance and adjudicate accordingly
- My ability to understand spread/speed is pretty good; feel free to go as fast as you want but please be clear
- Please please please ask your opponent if your practices are accessible before the round so you are 1. not exclusionary and 2. not susceptible to an easily avoidable independent voter; if you don't ask and end up doing something inaccessible you'll probably lose (provided they make it a voting issue); this includes giving trigger warnings
- flex prep is cool
- if you don't read a fw/fw is a wash I'll presume neg (same for voters on t/theory)
- you don't have to ask if I am ready for you to speak; I am probably paying attention (to clarify, default I am ready unless I say something that suggests otherwise)
Pt. 1 Pref Shortcuts (by my confidence in my ability to adjudicate and 1 being most confident 5 being least):
Theory/T/Tricks- 1 or 2 (depending on density)
Phil/High Theory- 1 or 2 (depending on density)
K- 1 or 2 (depending on density)
LARP- 1 to 3 (depending on density)
Pt. 2 Pref Shortcuts (by my desire to see them in round and 1 being most desirable 5 being least):
Phil/High Theory- 1
note: I will be happy to adjudicate LARP it's just not my highest preference
- Love these please know what your own plan says though
- I default plans are abusive mainly because I never read one for its PeDaGOgiCaL VaLUe it was always for strategy but don't let this discourage you from reading a plan seriously they're fine
- Honestly severance is cool with me but if they point it out and make a theoretical reason to drop it could be hard to beat back; if they read a condo or dispo CP, however, it becomes a little easier to get out of
- the solvency section is important for plans, if you don't have one it's gonna be rough
- please have an advocate just for the sake of an easier theory debate
- These are cool but better if they're actually competitive; read as many as you want just know anything more than 1 is hard to justify theoretically especially if it's not uncondo (although I love multiple cp debates)
- Any cp is cool (including actor, process, etc.) just make sure the 2nr extension is sufficient to vote on
- I default condo bad but don't let that discourage you from utilizing it as I think condo is super strategic (which is good for speaks), you just have to be technically ahead on the theory debate; feel free to read like 8 condo cps just know it's an uphill theoretical battle (but certainly not impossible)
- I default perms as an advocacy because they always seem to be extended as such but it is really up to you
- Probably my least favorite position because they all seem to go down the same path towards the 2nr, but a good explanation and coupling with a competitive cp makes this position much better
- the more unique the da the more I'll like listening to it (please don't make me listen to a basic three card econ disad unless you don't plan on going for it)
- Please do notttt confuse this with basic fw debate
- I used to read a few high theory positions but that doesn't mean my threshold for explanation on those positions is lower/higher than any other argument
- Kant is kool but I'm not a hack
- If the aff doesn't have a fw and the neg strategically reads a fw the aff can't link into, aff is probably losing
- If no one reads a fw I will probably not evaluate any post-fiat implications of either side and just vote on strength of link weighing (if justified)/presumption or a higher layer (i.e. I will NOT default util or sv for you this isn't pf)
- I'm hesitant to say this but I did read a decent amount of Baudrillard just know there is a reason why I stopped lol feel free to still read it though I love hearing it as well as any other high theory author
- I especially love hearing new philosophies that are either obscure or that I just haven't heard of yet; phil debate is one of my favorite parts of ld
- I am more likely to vote on presumption than I am to evaluate strength of link to fw in the instance I cannot decide which model to evaluate under
- K Affs are fun but I am more inclined to err on the side of t-fw as that's what I mostly read and it seems intuitively true; it really depends on the framing metric though and I will definitely vote on a k aff vs t-fw as long as there is sufficient tech offense
- KvK is cool
- poems/music/art/performance can be offense and if you don't respond to it your opponent can extend it as conceded (I have no problem voting on conceded performance offense with the proper framing mech)
- should have a ROB and/or ROJ (and the best ones are not blatantly inaccessible to one side)
- if your opponent asks you a specific question about the framing of your kritik and you cannot give them a cohesive answer it's gonna look bad
- if the distinction is unclear between the method the k evaluates by and the aff's you will have a hard time winning
- please don't read links that you yourself link into
- Having specific rhetoric from the aff itself or your opponent is great and much better than just topic/omission links
- I love seeing the extrapolation of links as linear das in the 2nr
- I am comfortable voting off state/omission links they're just boring
- you must have them and they must be unique; please do weighing as well because k impacts don't always contextualize themselves
- explain plz; It doesn't have to be explained super well if your opponent doesn't press the issue but I need to have a basic understanding of what I'm voting on i.e. what the world of the alt looks like (unless a set col type arg is made about imagining the alt being a move to settlerism, etc.)
- Please don't make the alt condo/dispo if your k is about some sort of oppression it looks bad
- do not read two contradictory alts in front of me you will probably lose; if they work well together that's cool
- I LOVE these they make it easier to evaluate the line by line because all the big picture issues are out of the way
- Please make sure the overview is not just line by line in disguise (I was guilty of this) but is instead framing the ways I need to evaluate offense
- literally my fav the more you read the more I'll enjoy the debate as long as you know what you're doing
- friv is fantastic
- please make them positively worded
- be careful of your wording; poor wording leaves you susceptible to easy i meets
- have them and extend them in the next speech
- screenshots/photos are the best
- there are really only like four good standards that the rest fall under categorically but it's whatever
- the more the merrier
- if you do fairness and education linkage inside the standard block I'll be happier
- I default rvi's good and competing interps unless otherwise specified
- I tend to default fairness first but am VERY easily able to be persuaded otherwise
- you must justify voters independently of the standards section (i.e. explain why fairness, education, fun, etc. matter)
- I evaluate these arguments like any other (if they have a claim/warrant/impact you're good)
- I think a block of text is funny but definitely annoying as far as the organization of your spikes/tricks so preference is at least numbering but it's really not a big deal if you can explain them well
- These arguments are generally so bad but if you don't respond or spend too much time messing with them the round becomes significantly more difficult for you
- I can be persuaded by some sort of spikes k so be wary
- I'm unsure if afc/acc are tricks, but know I'll listen to both and any other pseudo-trick
- aprioris and eval after the 1ac are the a-strat
- I'm fine with indexicals, condo logic, log con, etc. (idk how else to say i'll vote on literally any trick/arg generally)
- I will grant a 30 speaks spike (i.e. give both/one of the debaters 30 speaks for x reason) as long as it is extended throughout
- if no ties are allowed on the ballot I technically am unable to perform "give both debaters 30 speaks" and i'll evaluate like i normally would; if you know no ties are allowed/are uncertain if ties are allowed, spec 30/29.9 rather than 30s bc that's always permissible on tab (and i'll give the 30 to whoever would be ahead under my typical speaks evaluation unless told otherwise)
- if you're uncertain if tab
- I generally give speaks based on strategic decision making (and will try to justify the deductions if asked, although ultimately they're always on some level arbitrary)
- Anything that you do that purposefully makes your opponent uncomfortable, expresses discrimination/oppression, or generally makes the debate space unsafe will result in your top speaks being a 25 and more likely will result in a 0 or whatever the lowest allowed speaks value is
- for locals I generally give 28-30 and for nat circuit 27-30 unless the tournament has a specified structure; occasionally if the round is super underwhelming I'll evaluate a local like I would a nat circuit
- If you make me laugh you're definitely getting a speaks inflation but this is rare and it has to be genuine
- I'll clear twice without a speaks deduction and definitely have more lenience in the online format (i hardly ever clear anyways)
Please send speech docs! (also if you say "mark the card here" please mark it)
Lets all learn something from each other. Debate is supposed to be fun, that being said, if you are having fun, I'll have a better time judging the round. The best judges will listen to any argument and style of debate. Do what you are best at. I try to leave predispositions out of decision-making as much as possible (it's not) and will work hard to adjudicate your round well. It's not my job to decide what you should debate, but to help you become better at how you choose to debate.
Signposting is important, please do this throughout your speeches and tell me the order beforehand.
If you say the words "for a brief off time roadmap," I am going to be sad.
I will vote on T. I think you need to be explaining why you have the better internal link to either fairness or education. I think these debates have gotten increasingly shallow, and no one goes for it as a super compelling strategy in the block anymore. Explain why under your interpretation, debate is better and you method is better for debate at large. Arguing the spillover effects of your interp is an easy way to win this on the negative. Generics will not do it for me. I default to competing interpretations.
You should be cutting new uniqueness very often, and if you go for this strategy the quality of your evidence will have an impact on my decision. "If your link cards are generic and outdated and the aff is better in that department, then you need to have a good reason why your evidence is more qualified, etc. Make your scenario clear, DAs are great but some teams tend to go for a terminal impact without explanation of the scenario or the internal link args. Comparative analysis is important so I know how to evaluate the evidence that I am reading. Tell me why the link o/w the link turn etc. Impact analysis is very important, timeframe, probability, magnitude, etc., so I can know why the Da impacts are more important than the affs impacts. A good articulation of why the Da turns each advantage is extremely helpful because the 2ar will most likely be going for those impacts in the 2ar. Uniqueness controls the direction of the link, this goes for both sides. If you want to win a link turn, you must win that the disad is non-unique and if you want to win the link you must win that it is." -Kristiana Baez. There is such thing as 0% risk of a link.
Much more persuasive if they have a solvency advocate, just reading a line in the 1NC just to dump 6 minutes on it in the block means that I give the aff leniency in rebuttals to catch up, but that isn't an excuse for sloppy 2ACs. I really like counterplans, and I like process counterplans. I don't love super generic CP's with the same set of solvency cards each round. However, if the evidence is good then I am more likely to believe you when you claim aff solvency. There needs to be a good articulation for why the aff links to the net benefit and good answers to cp solvency deficits, assuming there are any. Permutation debate needs to be hashed out on both sides, with Da/net benefits to the permutations made clear.
Feel free to read them on affirmative or negative, but don't get lazy with them and engage with the arguments the other team is making. Just reading the blocks you wrote at the beginning of the season and not referencing specific authors, lines of evidence from either side and engaging with arguments without specificity is a good way to get really behind in these debates. You should have specific links to the aff. I am the best for cap. Anything else, especially anything pomo, you will need to explain to me like I am a 5 year old. If you're arguing that the k outweighs and turns case, you need a solid articulation as to why. You also need to be arguing specific impacts of the k, and how that compares to the claims made in the affirmative. I need a very clear explanation of framing here, and if you go for the K in the 2NR you should be writing my ballot for me. I also need a very clear picture of how the alternative functions, and why you solve the aff if you do.
K v K
I think that these debates can be really great because clash is kind of important. However, these debates tend to get really muddled, so you need to work extra hard to make things clear for me rather than just assuming I will lean one way or another. When it comes to K Affs v. FW, I think that you need to do a lot of work and don't just go for generic arguments like switch side without giving specific examples of things like in round abuse, etc. or interesting impact arguments. Ex: just saying roleplaying good/bad without a really good explanation is not going to be compelling.
I am in no way biased in one way or another. I think that arguments need to be competitive. The things you may talk about in your performance/methodology may be true, but there needs to be a clear link articulated to the argument that you are debating. Many times competing methodologies start to sound really similar to each other, so teams need to establish a clear difference between the arguments.
Dumb theory or tricks won't do it for me. However, the less generic you are, the more I would be willing to vote on this. I believe theory that is done well and is well-articulated could be a compelling place for me to vote. I think proving in round abuse is important. Generally, I think condo is good.
I am best for a policy v policy debate
I have a special place in my heart for the politics DA.
I did policy debate for four years at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA High School) before graduating in 2020. I debated over 80 debates per school year, with around 50 of them on the national circuit. I now coach and judge for LASA sporadically.
If there’s an email chain, please add me at email@example.com
Do what you do best. I would rather listen to you debating your strongest argument than you adapting to my preferences. Having said that, I’m most comfortable judging CP + DA debates, since that is the literature base I know best. Write my ballot in the 2NR/2AR and tell me what I’m voting on. Your speaks will thank you. Tech > Truth.
For novices: The most important thing is to have fun! It’s important to remember that debate is a process, not a product. Focus on learning as much as you can from these debates, instead of focusing on the results. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask me or send me an email. I promise I’m not scary!! Yes, I’m okay with speed (as long as you are clear). No, flashing and emailing are not prep (unless it’s excessive). Yes, I’m okay with open CX.
For LD: I coached LD in the 2020-2021 season. Since my background is in policy debate, I am most comfortable judging LARP and kritiks (to a lesser extent). I'm not the judge for you if you specialize in phil/theory/tricks.
I went for framework a LOT. This doesn’t mean I hate all K affs, but it does mean I subconsciously look at these debates through the lens of a 2N. I find myself going for fairness as an impact in some debates, so I can definitely be persuaded to vote on it. Don’t forget impact calculus! It’s not enough to extend the impact of the aff on the case page. Explain how it implicates framework and why it outweighs the Limits DA (or whatever the negative team goes for). In that same vein, make sure you are not just extending arguments. Explain the broader implication of winning that argument and why it means you win the debate. "I find it really hard to explain why the act of reading framework in and of itself is violent or bad." -- Mason Marriott-Voss. Retweet.
Going for topicality was my jam in high school. These debates come down to the execution of your standards. Quality of your definition matters, especially if you are going for a precision or predictability impact.
“Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff.” -- Yao Yao Chen. Retweet. Topicality is a question of models of debate, not THIS debate.
I’ve dabbled in the fem K and the cap K, but I have very little expertise in critical literature. If you want to go for another kritik, by all means, do it. Just be clear with your explanations. The more case-specific your link is, the more likely you are to get my ballot. I find myself questioning what the purpose of framework is in these debates. If your 2NR/2AR strategy relies on winning framework, explain what winning framework gets you in terms of the rest of the debate. Floating PIKs must be clearly made in the 2NC. If you bust one out in the 2NR, I’m probably not a great judge for you.
Theory debates are fantastic. I lean affirmative on process CPs (consult, delay, etc.). I lean negative on PICs. I don’t have a preference on conditionality, 50 state fiat, or international fiat.
I find evidence quality matters a lot more than evidence quantity, especially in politics debates and impact turn debates. Evidence comparison is under-utilized.
I will not vote on any argument that endorses racism, sexism, homophobia, or otherwise offensive ideologies. I will also not listen to any arguments that endorse self-harm, suicide, or purposeful death. I will vote you down and it will be completely on you for not reading this paradigm.
This paradigm is definitely a work in progress because I’m still figuring out how I think about debate. Yao Yao Chen has probably influenced my thoughts on debate the most. Check out his paradigm here if you want to.
Director of Debate
Dulles High School 2022 - Present
Westside High School 2017 - 2022
Magnolia High School 2016-2017
Summer Debate Institutes
Lab Leader - Texas Debate Collective 2020 - Present
Admin - National Symposium for Debate 2022
Lab Leader - Houston Urban Debate League 2019 - 2021
All Rounds: esdebate93 at the google messaging service
Policy Rounds: dulles.policy.db8 at the google messaging service
LD Rounds: dulles.ld.db8 at the google messaging service
I am a full time classroom teacher who oversees a large team and judges frequently (over 100 rounds in the 22-23 season). I debated for a small rural high school and read exclusively policy style arguments; however, I have since coached students who go for the K on both sides and every other kind of argument under the sun. I am probably fine for whatever you want to do. Although most of my experience competing, judging, and coaching is in Policy and LD, I have worked with debaters across all formats. My preference is for national circuit style debate, but I have worked with a number of traditional debaters and judge traditional rounds quite frequently. I believe that debate can be one of the single most transformative activities for high schoolers who engage deeply in the processes of research, argument refinement, skill development, and content mastery that it requires to be done well. As such, I am committed to the educational integrity of the activity. This has a few different implications for you, regardless of format:
Safety, inclusion, and access are my first priorities because students can’t get the benefits of the activity if they feel unsafe, unwelcome, or lack access to the materials they need to be successful. For you, this means to be cognizant of your words/actions and their effects on other people, especially those coming from social locations different from your own. Assume less, listen more.
Respect people’s pronoun preferences, honor requests for accommodation, and be kind to novices and those less experienced than you. Don’t bully or harass people, don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist. If something is happening and I’m not picking up on it, please bring it to my attention either verbally or via email. If I am part of the problem, please let me know so that I can do better.
Recording your speeches is fine. You must get consent from everyone in the room to record the whole round. If you record others sans consent and I find out, you will be reported to the tabroom.
Content/Trigger warnings should be read if you suspect a position might be triggering to someone, and you should be ready to read something else if your opponents or I say we are not comfortable with the position being read. If an observer objects, they are free to leave, but we have to be there.
I will not be evaluating arguments about people’s character or their conduct outside of the round we are in and the prior disclosure period. Any significant issue of safety or comfort that impacts your ability to engage with someone is not something that a ballot can resolve. That needs to be taken to the tabroom.
If you debate for an under-resourced program and would like some materials to help you improve, let me know and I’ll send you some of the resources I make sure my students have access to.
The rigor of academic debate is the main reason it has such a large and long lasting impact on people’s lives. I will reward displays of it with generous speaker points and will tend towards being punitive with regards to practices that compromise the rigor of the activity.
The two teams on the pairing are the only entities taking part in the debate. Coaches, teammates, random spectators, and AI chatbots are not to be assisting once the door closes. Chatbots shouldn’t be used before the door closes either. If I find that academic dishonesty of this variety has occurred, I will go to tab and lobby for you to be disqualified.
You should do your own research, reading, card cutting, and block writing. Using open evidence, the wiki, or published briefs is fine as a starting point, but that hardly constitutes research. Similarly, it is fine if some of your blocks are written by a coach or more veteran teammates, but overreliance on things cut/written by other people is detrimental to your learning and development. This will put a cap on your speaker points. I will bump speaker points for quality work that is obviously your own.
When cutting cards, make sure not to clip or power tag. For those who don’t know, clipping entails cutting around parts of cards that are inconvenient for your argument, not cutting at paragraph breaks, reading more or less than what is highlighted, and failing to mark cards if you decide to move on. Power tagging is simply when the tagline you have written does not represent what the body of the card says. Evidence ethics challenges are limited to claims that evidence is fabricated in whole or in part, so you should be confident that you are correct before staking the round on it. In the event of a challenge, you win if you are right and you lose if you are wrong.
Citation drives research, which is the source of argument innovation over the course of a topic. Complete citations contain the following information: The author’s complete name (you only need to read the last name), the date of publication (read month and day if the evidence is from this year, just the year if it is from a previous year), a list of author qualifications, the title of the source, the name of the publishing entity, a url to the text if applicable, and an indicator of who cut the evidence.
Generally speaking, I am pro disclosure since having time to read, think, and strategize tends to improve the quality of engagement from both sides exponentially, which in turn results in debates that are more educational for the participants and, incidentally, more enjoyable for me to judge. This is my default position; it doesn’t mean you can’t get me to vote against disclosure. I freely acknowledge the validity of objections regarding student safety and competitive equity.
Recording audio of your speeches, later transcribing and editing them, is a good habit to help you notice issues with clarity, efficiency, and explanation. It can also be a part of your block writing process. The final product might be super specific, but it does not take that much time to convert the specific speech to a generic block that you can use in future debates.
Prep time exists for a reason. You should not be typing or strategizing with your partner if there is not a timer running, be that yours or your opponents’. Stealing prep is cheating.
Take notes during feedback, preferably in a word or google doc. It’s a good habit to be in, as some judges don’t write much, memory is pretty faulty, and it helps create the impression that you care about improving and are actively listening to what judges are telling you. I would also suggest labeling and saving your flows.
Ask questions with redos and file updates in mind. I welcome all questions; however, understand that once the ballot is submitted I can do nothing to change it. Aggressive post-rounding of me or another judge on a panel is futile and immature. I would suggest that you choose to focus on growth and improvement rather than burning bridges with people.
Debate is a skill focused activity that necessitates a degree of technical mastery. As such, I tend towards tech over truth, but I think that paradigm is overly simplistic. In reality, truth is constitutive of tech, meaning that arguments more germain to my understanding of the world will inevitably require less work to get me on board with. I do my best to check my preconceptions at the door but the idea of a truly tabula rasa judge is a farce.
While I prefer fast debates over slow debates, I enjoy debates I can understand even more. If you are not capable of spreading clearly, then don’t do it at all. Slow down for taglines and parts of cards you wish to emphasize. Raise your volume when something is important. If you are not doing speaking drills for at least 15 minutes every day, you are not working to improve or maintain what is, realistically, the easiest skill to practice. If you spread, be ready to honor a request for accommodation.
All arguments should make a claim, support that claim with evidence and/or reasoning, and explain the implication of that argument for the debate. They should be organized in a line by line fashion, meaning “they say . . . we say . . . that matters because . . .”. Compare arguments/evidence and weigh as you go down each flow sheet. If the affirmative team introduces a position, the negative team sets the order for line by line on that flow. When the negative team introduces a position, the affirmative team sets the order for line by line on that flow. Any overview that summarizes an argument should be kept short, and should include weighing and judge instruction, especially as we get deeper into the debate. Get to the line by line and do the work of debating there. Affirmative teams should start on the case page (T first is an exception), and negative teams should start with the off case positions they are extending, then go to the case (unless presumption or an impact turn is what they go for in the 2NR). Neither side should jump around and go back to a page they have already moved on from.
Most errors get made because debaters don’t flow or are not proficient at flowing. This should be one of your most practiced skills, as you can’t do line by line effectively or make intelligent decisions if you don’t have an accurate record of what happened in each speech. Flow every single speech of every single debate you are in or that you observe in order to practice. I am generally of the opinion that it is better to flow on paper rather than on your laptop when debating.
Housekeeping tasks should be done at the beginning of CX/speeches. This means that questions about independent reasons to affirm/negate, CP/alt status, etc. go first in CX, counterplans get kicked and no link arguments get conceded at the top of speeches.
Don’t just answer the previous speech, anticipate and shut down the arguments that will be in the next speech using lots of judge directed language. The 2NR should be focused on beating their best 2AR options, and the 2AR should be focused on narrating the debate back to me and beating the 2NRs ballot story. The earlier you can start the process of judge instruction, the better off you are.
Aff and Neg Case Debating Thoughts
Affirmative teams must identify a harm or set of harms that is being caused by some aspect of the status quo. They must also propose some method of addressing those harms. If you can’t articulate how you’ve met those two burdens clearly and succinctly, you probably lose on presumption. I don’t particularly care if you prefer policy/law, philosophy, or critical theory as the part of the library you research from, nor do I care if you read a plan or poetry. I do, however, think that the topic should have some effect on the research and writing you are doing when crafting your case. If every aspect of the aff is generic and not specific to the area of controversy that we voted to have debates over, I will likely be voting neg as you have clearly not thought very hard about the way that your particular literature base engages the topic and topicality/FW answers will be bad.
Negative teams should spend more time on case and contest it with diverse offensive and defensive arguments. Don’t just spend time at the impact level. Don’t just make cross applications of off case positions. Read cards, contest link and internal link claims, contest claims of solvency, etc.You need to think about how these case cards interact with other off case positions. I’ve written a shocking number of aff ballots in debates where someone goes for a security K in the 2NR without extending carded link, internal link, or impact defense on case, and they end up losing the debate because the 2AR gets to wax poetic about how good and true their China reps are given the conceded empirics.
I default to competing interpretations, as I think choices should be justified. Reasonability is an argument for the counter interpretation, not the specific aff, arguing that it is sufficiently predictable, limiting, etc. to mitigate the impacts of the shell, and that losing the round would be disproportionate punishment, even if there is some marginal benefit to the negative interpretation. Interpretations and counter interpretations should be topic specific rather than generic. They should intend to define and include/exclude a given aff or set of affs. T is fundamentally a question of limits; all other standards are secondary.
I’m of the opinion that both sides should defend a model of debate that they believe to be desirable. The social structures and dynamics that define competitive debate are fair game for criticism; however, I think the fact that you’ve voluntarily chosen to come to a tournament probably concedes that there is some benefit to doing the activity as it is currently instantiated, so tell me what your vision of the activity is and why you think it’s worth it to show up to tournaments, not just why your opponents’ model is bad. Both sides should start with a caselist of affs that would be topical under their interpretation and the various possibilities for negative testing their interpretation would permit.
For T USFG vs K affs, a limits standard with an education/skills impact, switch side debate/read it on the negative solves their offense, and an example of a topical version of the aff is most persuasive to me. If you prefer to go for fairness, that’s fine, just be aware that I understand myself as an educator first and a referee second.
For K frameworks vs policy affs, I am unsure why we are making this section of debate more confusing and self-serving than it needs to be. They want me to look at just the plan and its consequences, you want me to look at the 1AC holistically. Other questions are either secondary to this core controversy about the evaluative terms of the debate or are irrelevant altogether. KvK debates have a tendency to be less clean cut at the framework level, so just be sure you are being very clear about the model you think is good and explain how the debates your model would value relate to the debates they think matter.
You should have done a lot of reading on the thesis of your kritik so you actually know what you are talking about. That said, over reliance on jargon isn’t a flex. Instead, explain big concepts simply and use lots of examples. Links should be specific to the aff/topic you are criticizing. If you can quote your opponents or their evidence directly, I will be very happy.
Disadvantage and Counterplan Thoughts
In an ideal world, disadvantages would be intrinsic to the action of the plan. Explain the link story and do impact comparison. Uniqueness controls the direction of the link.
Case specific counterplans are better than generics. I lean aff on multi-actor fiat, consult, and condition. I lean neg on PICs. There is strategic utility to not including a solvency advocate, but literature should probably inform the ground for both sides. Presumption flips aff if the 2NR goes for a counterplan. I'm agnostic on judge kick.
Everything mentioned above applies to LD. I'd prefer not to be subjected to tricks or frivolous theory debates.
The relationship between a philosophy framework should have a clearly articulated relationship to the relevant impacts for the round. I would suggest slowing down to ensure I don't miss key steps in your syllogism. I'm fine for one or two substantive tricks like skep triggers and paradoxes here, provided they make sense in the context of your framework.
I'm agnostic on 1AR theory and RVIs in the context of this event.
This event exists with the explicit purpose of preserving lay debate, so pretend that this is a short policy round, and I am a lay judge who knows how to flow. If you want to do progressive debate things, come to policy.
Cards are good. Paraphrasing is bad. If we are sending out speech docs with carded evidence before speeches, I will be a happy camper and likely bump speaks.
"Flowing through ink" is not a thing. You have to attend to responses if you want to extend something. Additionally, defense is not "sticky". You have to extend it if you want me to consider it.
Topicality doesn't make a ton of sense in PF considering that the aff doesn't default to speaking first and the negative isn't tasked with upholding the resolution. Just do the thing traditional debaters used to do and define your terms at the top of the speech to paramentracize the debate.
You don't have enough time to read kritiks in this event and do the requisite amount of explanation and contextualization for me to feel like you have a shot at winning.
This event suffers from inconsistency of argument from speech to speech. Introduce your arguments in you first speech, and start answering your opponents arguments as soon as you are able. Arguments and answers must then be extended in each successive speech in which you'd like for it to be up for consideration.
After a few speeches of floor debate and cross examination on a given bill, you should not be reading speeches word for word. Clash with arguments presented by people on the other side of the issue and extend arguments made by representatives you agree with.
Affiliation: Winston Churchill HS
*I don't look at docs during the debate, if it isn't on my flow, I'm not evaluating it*
**prep time stops when the email is sent, too many teams steal prep while 'saving the doc'**
Do what you do well: I have no preference to any sort of specific types of arguments these days. The most enjoyable rounds to judge are ones where teams are good at what they do and they strategically execute a well planned strategy. You are likely better off doing what you do and making minor tweaks to sell it to me rather than making radical changes to your argumentation/strategy to do something you think I would enjoy.
-Clash Debates: No strong ideological debate dispositions, affs should probably be topical/in the direction of the topic but I'm less convinced of the need for instrumental defense of the USFG. I think there is value in K debate and think that value comes from expanding knowledge of literature bases and how they interact with the resolution. I generally find myself unpersuaded by affs that 'negate the resolution' and find them to not have the most persuasive answers to framework.
-Evidence v Spin: Ultimately good evidence trumps good spin. I will accept a debater’s spin until it is contested by the opposing team. I often find this to be the biggest issue with with politics, internal link, and permutation evidence for kritiks.
-Speed vs Clarity: I don't flow off the speech document, I don't even open them until either after the debate or if a particular piece of evidence is called into question. If I don't hear it/can't figure out the argument from the text of your cards, it probably won't make it to my flow/decision. This is almost always an issue of clarity and not speed and has only gotten worse during/post virtual debate.
-Inserting evidence/CP text/perms:you have to say the words for me to consider it an argument
-Permutation/Link Analysis: I am becoming increasingly bored in K debates. I think this is almost entirely due to the fact that K debate has stagnated to the point where the negative neither has a specific link to the aff nor articulates/explains what the link to the aff is beyond a 3-year-old link block written by someone else. I think most K links in high school debate are more often links to the status quo/links of omission and I find affirmatives that push the kritik about lack of links/alts inability to solve set themselves up successfully to win the permutation. I find that permutations that lack any discussion of what the world of the permutation would mean to be incredibly unpersuasive and you will have trouble winning a permutation unless the negative just concedes the perm. Reading a slew of permutations with no explanation as the debate progresses is something that strategically helps the negative team when it comes to contextualizing what the aff is/does. I also see an increasingly high amount of negative kritiks that don't have a link to the aff plan/method and instead are just FYIs about XYZ thing. I think that affirmative teams are missing out by not challenging these links.
FOR LD PREFS (may be useful-ish for policy folks)
All of the below thoughts are likely still true, but it should be noted that it has been about 5 years since I've regularly judged high-level LD debates and my thoughts on some things have likely changed a bit. The hope is that this gives you some insight into how I'm feeling during the round at hand.
1) Go slow. What I really mean is be clear, but everyone thinks they are much more clear than they are so I'll just say go 75% of what you normally would.
2) I do not open the speech doc during the debate. If I miss an argument/think I miss an argument then it just isn't on my flow. I won't be checking the doc to make sure I have everything, that is your job as debaters. This also means:
3) Pen time. If you're going to read 10 blippy theory arguments back-to-back or spit out 5 different perms in a row, I'm not going get them all on my flow, you have to give judges time between args to catch it all. I'll be honest, if you're going to read 10 blippy theory args/spikes, I'm already having a bad time
4) Inserting CP texts, Perm texts, evidence/re-highlighting is a no for me. If it is not read aloud, it isn't in the debate
5) If you're using your Phil/Value/Criterion as much more than a framing mechanism for impacts, I'm not the best judge for you (read phil tricks/justifications to not answer neg offense). I'll try my best, but I often find myself struggling to find a reason why the aff/neg case has offense to vote on
6) Same is true for debaters who rely on 'tricks'/bad theory arguments, but even more so. If you're asking yourself "is this a bad theory argument?" it probably is. Things such as "evaluate the debate after the 1AR" or "aff must read counter-solvency" can be answered with a vigorous thumbs down.
7) I think speaker point inflation has gotten out of control but for those who care, this is a rough guess at my speaker point range28.4-28.5average;28.6-28.7 should clear;28.8-28.9 pretty good but some strategic blunders; 29+you were very good, only minor mistakes