Alta Silver and Black
2014 — UT/US
LD Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I haven't judged since 2018, I dont think my opinions on debate have changed but maybe slow down for me as I get back into this. You definitely should slow down on texts (plant texts, alts, interps etc.) and author names pls. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Monica Amestoy. I graduated in 2013 and debated for Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Canada, CA. I qualified for TOC my senior year, coached a few debaters who did very well at the TOC and have taught at VBI, NSD, PDI and BFI. I also debated in college. Overview: I will do my best to evaluate the round the way you tell me to. I will try to be as objective as possible, but I think that it is impossible to be a completely "tab" judge. So instead of pretending that I will vote like a blank slate my paradigm is to let you know about some of my opinions on certain aspects of debate. Also I haven’t really edited the rest of this paradigm in a while so feel free to ask questions.
Short version: I like policy style arguments, non topical argument, Ks and theory. Read whatever you feel you are best at and when in doubt weigh. I will straight up drop you if you make racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic arguments.
Theory: I really enjoy good theory debates.
I hesitate to tell you about my love for the K debate because I’m scared people will think that means they have to run their K in front of me. I obviously love the K but you should run what you think you will do your best with. That being said, I have found that I am more compelled by critical arguments so if you are responding to one of these types of positions or feel that you would perform better under a different paradigm of debate then I think you should probably address questions of what fairness is and for whom/what it means in the debate space.
CPs, Perms, Plans and DAs:
Go for it
Is condo good? Bad? Idk you should tell me these things in your speech
People need to slow down for their plan/cp texts. -Slow down for card names. I think judges lie way too much about how good they are at flowing. I'm just okay.
Things I will drop your speaks for (a lot):
1. Formatting your case in a way that makes it difficult for your opponent to read: multiple colors, fonts, highlighting or lack of spacing. (honestly win the round because your arguments or ballot story is better not because your opponent has a hard time reading your case)
2. Being really rude
3. Stealing prep
Just have fun and read what makes you happy.
Be yourself: relaxed, prepared, focused.
I look for a few, well crafted arguments, with clear impact. What is so significant about the reasons you present?
Reasons, reasons, reasons: are the arguments you are making the most weighty, the most significant?
Showcase where you are headed (great off time road maps help me realize up front where you are headed).
Too many random, unrelated ramblings are not well received.
Tell me what you are going to tell me, then tell me, then tell me what you told me.
Key Preferences and Beliefs
Clarity is important.
Being well prepared is important.
Being kind and respectful to your opponent is important.
I flow using a template (which I will be happy to show you), making a few notes as you speak, circling significant impacts as you state them clearly. I do not disclose unless specifically asked to do so by the tournament directors. I feel that you will see who won soon enough and part of disclosing is offering constructive criticism (which is tough for me). I most always find something about your presentation that I liked and express that constructively. Do more of what you are good at, and less of what you are not good at is my philosophy. Most tournaments are on a tight schedule, but, if I see you in the hall, and have time, I will be happy to share some ideas with you.
I am very fortunate to be associated with you wonderful, positive, young people, desirous of making positive changes to your community.
Last Updated: 10/07/14
Who am I? My name is Mackiel Benson, this is my first year competing in college policy debate for Weber University. I graduated in 2012 and during the time in between I coached for Hunter High School. When I was competing, I floated between participating in Policy Debate and Lincoln Douglas.
What you need to know before your first round in front of me:
1. I like Identity Affs, read them if you'd like, straight up affs are also cool.
2. I'm not a big fan of dead white guy criticisms (Bataille, Heidegger, Neitzsche, etc), I find they tend to be very elitest and exclusionary. Arguments about access against them are probably a good direction for you to move in. (eg, Neitzsche hates the gays and the ladies and the disabled and anybody who isn't Clark Kent).
3. I have a high threshold for theory and would prefer not to see these be the args you go for in the 2NR/2AR, but if that's the flow you're winning, go for it. Slow down, make sure I'm keeping up on the flow. If you think you're going to win a theory flow simply by being fast and techy, you're probably wrong.
4. I'm new. I've been judging for a couple of years but this is my first semester actually debating in college, give me a break and explain unfamiliar and uncommon arguments very cleanly. That means you can't rely on buzzwords. I'm not a fan of lazy K debaters. Here's kind of what my standard for buzzwords is: Most k's try to solve for some form of education. They restructure my ethics, my pedagogy, methodology, ontology, whatever, they try to inform me on some crucial missing peice of my education/knowledge base. In a world where I already know what 'resantiman' is and how that's articulated in the context of the aff without your telling me so in round, I view your solvency as non-unique and vote aff. I've already seen a Neitzsche aff, I don't need this round. However, that's not really fair in a debate round context so I need to take the position of a clean state in order to ensure that we get to listen to K arguments (which I think are probably productive for ya'll, even if I know what you're talking about). I need to vote like I don't know what that means in order for your solvency to be realized. Thus, it's your job to make those extrapolations.
5. Highschool debates tend to be very disorganized. Keep the flows clean and we'll get along just fine :)
6. Don't impact turn an identity argument. Don't do it. You are not going to win racism/sexism/ableism/homophobia good in front of me. I really hesitate to say something like that in my paradigm because it might make you think my paradigm justifies lazy debaters and that's not true. You do have to make good responses to these args, just know that I can't envision myself ever voting for that sort of argument if you make even the smallest of rebuttals against an impact turn to, say, ableism.
7. Don't be afraid to ask me questions after the round. Know that I have a short-term memory loss issue that I have to deal with and so if it's more than an hour or so after the round I might have to clarify some of what happened and review my notes, so the best time for me would be as I'm walking back to tab to turn in my ballot; or, if I can send it in electronically, take a moment after the round to discuss the results. I view my role in the community as an educator. I'd love to help in anyway that I can.
8. I also have some damage with my ability to hear very soft voices, I need a certain level of volume. That's entirely my own problem and so I won't ever fault you if I need to say clear once or twice, but if it becomes a continual problem, I'll realize you really don't care about my access in the round. That's only a problem for you as it means my flow won't have any ink for your speaches because I can hear you. That also means clarity is important. Very important. Pen drills please :)
9. Also: Probability > Magnitude or Timeframe
First; Case or K’s?
I don’t have any particular disposition to either form of argumentation; I enjoy listening to both insofar as the arguments are of quality. I will admit I’m a bit of a ‘rebel’ at heart and like to listen to criticisms that speak to that. However, I am much better at understanding and evaluating case debate simply because I’ve had more experience with it. I would love to listen to any well put together criticism insofar as you put enough work in that you don’t expect a lot of judge intervention on my behalf or assume that I have extensive prior context to the argument you are presenting. Regardless of my skill set or background, I firmly believe that it is the job of the debater to present each argument based not on the assumed general knowledge of their audience, but on their own ability to present and push forward said argument.
I’m interested in case-based arguments on this topic in particular. I’m currently listed as a geoscience major, but my passion has always been marine biology and the study of climate cycling/change. I’d love to hear well thought out and put together arguments regarding the subject. That does mean certain things however. Warming is happening, and it’s anthropogenic, and it’s most probably bad for people at least. That’s something it won’t be very hard to convince me of. Of course I won’t assume its truth, your arguments still need to be substantiated in round. I have a particular love for the deep sea and would really enjoy hearing some science affs on this topic.
I’d love to hear about anything that has to do with speciation diversity, questions regarding recent discoveries of methane bubbling along the east coast, science affs about Dendrogramma would be cool. I love learning about Cnidaria, which are organisms like jellyfish, anemone, etc, or most deep sea creatures. Basically just run wild. Talk to me about sea snow and the effect climate change is having on algae and microbial populations in the ocean. Talk to me about thermal vents on the ocean floor filled with organisms that can withstand temperatures exceeding 300F. Should we extract fuels/minerals from the sea floor? Just how awful are fishing corporations for coral reefs? Are coral reefs an ecological keystone?
Run ‘em, run lots of them. I firmly believe that the negative has the right to multiple non-contradicting advocacies. If you want to read contradicting texts amongst your counterplans I think that’s fine. You should test the aff from every angle and as long as your net benefit scenarios don’t contradict, I have no problem with you running multiple well explained counterplans. Well explained is key because, as always, is need to understand the likelihood of your impact if I’m going to evaluate your impact calc at the end of the 2NR. It’s only for your critical alternatives where the ground gets a little sketchy for me and I’m much more likely to vote on some perf-con theory than listen to why you should have the ability to switch in and out of your ideological representations in round. Doesn’t mean I won’t vote on them, there’s not really anything that Ill REFUSE to vote on, but the general ideas I’m mentioning will make it an uphill battle for you.
Please be specific. Please be specific. Please be specific.
I don’t have a whole ton to say here. Know that I’m not a big fan of politics, and the reason why is that I probably evaluate probability over magnitude or timeframe in most instances. I am much more interested in the educational opportunities that clean, reliable, likely link stories can provide than discussing the magnitude of six separate nuclear extinction scenarios, the decline of our entire biozone, and the eradication of all life in the universe because someone thought it might be a good idea to search for Atlantis.
Similar to what I mentioned in the case section; there are certain things that it will not be difficult to convince me of. Things like structural oppression exist, and we should be able to talk about those things in the debate space, and racism and sexism and transphobia are things that deserve being discussed. At the same time, I really take seriously the ability for a critical team to deliver to me a very solid and tangible solvency mechanism. What do you do to solve for these large, very important issues. I need to understand your story inside and out by the end of the block or I will have a very difficult time voting for any type of criticism after the 2NR. I am of firm belief that real transformation doesn’t happen because of techy wins on a ballot record; rather, it is because debaters are grappling with truths and uncovering their validity in a public space. Yes, I am quite good and listening to very fast speeds and no you do not need to slow down for me, but you need to ensure that the language that you are using and the arguments you put forward are clearly labelled and delivered in a way that is understandable. If you start just ‘spouting words’ I may have a difficult time justifying voting for an extension of your link scenario filled with unintelligible jargon when the negative tells me that your particular forms of expressing your criticism is bad for debate because education.
I am quite a fan of well put together fem/queer identity or ableism arguments. But that’s just a bias that exists inside of me because I happen to be a queer woman with certain mental disabilities who very powerfully identifies with all three social movements. When you hit teams running this argument; please don’t tell me that my suffering is good (Heidegger/Nietzsche) without talking about the specific context of individual people. You probably won’t win an argument like this unless you can, for example, win why I should allow women to be disproportionally represented in human trafficking circles being bought and sold like objects simply because we ought embrace suffering, while those who do live up to the Ubermench ideal don't suffer and get to rape women, structurally disenfrancise and kill the disabled, and hang queers up on stakes to be burned. Please contextualize your arguments. The debate space is a place for learning and gathering knowledge types that will be important and relevant to you outside of the debate space. Winning techy args about how abstractly suffering is probably something we should accept isn’t going to cut it. You're much more likely to pick up the ballot with a counter criticism and some terminal solvency deficits on case. That or maybe some cedes the political args with a good counterplan that solves the case. Topicality and framework args do reinforce binaries, but they also allow for predictable education because grounds. I'm actually still formulating my position on T/FW in relation to Identity affs so as long as you're polite there isn't much I don't want to hear.
In sum, don’t tell me that I should tell a transgendered youth that their voice is not appreciated or welcome in the debate space because it doesn’t fit inside the box that the founders of debate (white, male, heterosexual, cis, wealthy) laid out for us (FW/T). Instead, please tell me interesting ways in which their method of engagement could be bettered. Tell me how your interpretation doesn't exclude them (topical version of the aff) and how engaging with the political may be better for their movement. Doesn't mean you'll win the arg, but it's better than the alternative.
I really have a hard time voting for a theory scenario without an in round abuse scenario. You can go for potential abuse, but know that you’ll have to put a chunk of work on the arg.
Also, same thing as will all of your arguments actually, but even more particularly here, I need a very, very clean story being delivered during the entire five minutes of your last rebuttal about this argument. Be very clear, be very clean, articulate impacts both internal and external to the round. Thank you :)
On Topicality, the resolution exists. I don’t care if you don’t want to affirm it, be sure you’re just ready to defend your reason for rejecting it. I’m not particularly invested in the idea of the debate space only being open to policy-based education.
FW. Tell me why your particular model of debate is good and why theirs is bad. I’m persuaded by education-based impacts and deconstruction/reformative impacts. This is why if you’re running a criticism, me understanding your solvency mechanism is so important. I need to understand how you translate into positive change in the world, the framework is an apparatus through which I can understand and evaluate that mechanism. Tell me that I’m an educator, or a revolutionary, whatever. It doesn’t matter as long as you give me very good reasons why I should be.
Second is Evidence.
I don’t call for evidence unless you tell me to. I am a firm non-believer of judge intervention in as many cases as possible. It is your debate, not mine. I’m not interested in showing off how intelligent I am or how harsh I can be, I’m interested in giving back to a community that has given a lot to me, and that means I expect you to present your arguments independent of my will/intervention.
If I am told to call for evidence, I will have a very high standard for it. I will ask for all evidence relevant to that bit of clash and compare them to one another. I will choose the best piece and make my decision within the context of what was actually spoken aloud in the speech. I need to see clear warrants and stories that do not contradict from one piece of evidence to another.
If your opponents have ‘bad’ evidence, be sure to call them out on it. If it’s under highlighted, that’s a reason for me to toss the card out of my evaluation. If you can highlight a relevant contradiction within the text, go for it. This is the nitty gritty part of debate that I really love and it goes for any type of debate; case, da, criticism, cp, etc.
As for the quality of your author, if you can convince me that it doesn’t matter that your author is a news columnist for the salt lake tribune, then fine, I’ll evaluate that piece of evidence if the warrant is logical and strong enough, but it won’t beat out a more qualified author unless their evidence is contradictory or logically unsound. That mostly tends to happen because of bad highlighting.
Third is Prep/Speaking Issues
I don’t count flashing as prep, but I’m one the brink of changing this standard and converting to a more harsh ‘prep stops when the flash drive leaves the computer’ type deal. I’m so done with debaters stopping prep, typing a bit, reading, and then eventually handing their flash over after they’ve essentially taken an extra minute of preparation time.
For speaker points I’m fairly lenient (also indecisive). If you were able to give a full speech and didn’t cut it short, if you didn’t bombard me with blocks that don’t clash or completely miss your opponents arguments, and if you were generally pleasant to your partner and your opponent, you won’t get below a 26.5 If you did all of the above and managed to win a few arguments on the flow and/or were particularly charismatic, you’ll likely get somewhere around a 28. 29’s are given to individuals who work well as a team, seem very prepared, and are making arguments that they are personally passionate or interested in (or at least seem like it). 30’s are given to those who can impress me very much with their skill and/or knowledge base about a particular subject area.
I am an LD debater from the distant past (2009-2012). I did 4 years of high school debate and coached Palo Alto for 4 years as well.
I'm not up to date with all the fashionable arguments and I'm a little rusty in terms of flowing speed, so go easy on me and explain your args. Other than that, I don't have strong preferences. I'm happy to go along with whatever the debaters tell me to do. If I had to pick a favorite style, I'd pick framework debate with strong warrants and good explanation of how fw interacts with the arguments in the round.
I am a traditional judge, a diamond coach in the NFL who has been coaching for 7 years and I hold Bachelors degrees in both Political Science and International Studies.
1.) Be respectful to your opponent.
2.) Don't try to turn LD or Public Forum into Policy. They are separate events with separate styles.
3.) Back up your claims and tell me why a source or a card is valuable.
4.) I look heavily at your value and criteria and look to see how well you uphold these throughout the round.
I am a former policy and Lincoln Douglas debater. This is my third year of judging on the Arizona and national circuit. The simplified version of my philosophy is:
I will decide which debater's arguments as written on the flow makes the proposition "vote aff" or "vote neg" more true.
The following details may be useful to remember:
"arguments" are well developed links, warrants, and impacts. Assumptions may be implicit or explicit, but there will be less confusion the more explicit they are.
"on the flow" means that if I don't write it down I don't evaluate it. Reasons that something you say may not get written down incude, but are not limited to:
Excess speed / Insufficient clarity. I can handle most speed as long as your speech is clear
Disorganization. If I am trying to figure out where to write it, I'm not writing it. Signpost and minimize repeated switching between AC, NC, Off case, etc.
Confused exposition. Balance between saying too little and too much on each argument
"more true" is the crux of the matter. At the VLD level all debaters are capable of taking a set of assumptions and constructing a coherent argument leading to their desired conclusion. So how to decide between A and (not A)? It will come down which side asks me to make the most fantastic assumption. For example if AFF is asking me to believe that Magic Fairy Dust can supply 25% of the world's energy needs and NEG wants me to believe in Bostrom, I'll vote AFF.
The other thing I have to decide is Speaker points. An average debater at the national circuit level should expect 28 points, leaving me room to reward really excellent speakers. Things that cause me to deduct speaker points are ineffective or obnoxious CX, extreme disorganization, and general unfamiliarity with the norms and practices of LD.
I won't list my defaults for such things as whether I favor competing interps versus reasonability, because if I am deciding based on my defaults neither debater has grounds to be upset at the results.
I have no preference for the different forms of your argument. Performance based arguments, kritiks, as well as traditional models are all fine so long as you effectively articulate the role of the ballot in adjudicating the round. I have a fairly high threshold for speed but ask that you slow down marginally when reading your tags so I can keep a rigorous flow.
My threshold for voting on topicality is fairly low. Unless the abuse is palpable I will default drop the argument before drop the debater.
If you have any specific questions let me know. Keep a clean flow and I will reward you generously!
I competed in Policy in high school and a bit of Parli in college. I have judged for about 8 years. I am the head coach at Lone Peak High School.
I would categorize myself as a fairly traditional judge, but will allow most things to fly in a round. Although I competed in Policy, I don't think its format are effective in other events. I think there is value in LD debates that include V/C arguments, instead of a 1-man Policy debate. I think PF should not imitate a short version of Policy. You can do what you like (its your event) and I will still vote for a progressive case, but I think you are selling yourself and your event short.
My main concern is you provide a clear analysis to show why you are winning the arguments you are winning and impact calculus to show why they are important enough to win the entire round.
Spreading and evidence
I am probably too slow for high levels of Policy, but I can usually keep up with most rounds. At least I think I can... If you say something too fast or incoherent or in a way I can't understand, that is your problem, not mine. I will not ask for tags to be repeated, I will not ask to see the case, so you better hope I got the gist of it the first time.
I don't call for cards at the end of the round to check them for warrants. If the card is garbage, then it is the opponents job to point that out in round. If the card is the best thing ever, you better point that out in round. I would vote for 1 good card run well compared to 15 cards that are not developed or don't really apply to anything. Quality is better than quality, but you have to explain it.
Theory / K / T
I, for the most part will listen to any arguments, as long as you provide clear links or rationale as to why you are spending time on it in round. If the argument is weighted properly and the link story is there, I will vote on it. Whining about timeskews needs to have substantial reasons to consider it, a better option would be to include education as a voter.
Random Pet Peeves
Flashing is such a waste of time. I think competitors should learn how to listen to the other peoples' arguments and flow properly. Judges have to do that, too... I wouldn't assign a loss for taking forever but it is annoying...
I don't care if you sit or stand in cross-ex, I don't care if you look at the opponent, etc.
I'm married with children, have a master's degree, read widely, and enjoy current events. In high school, I competed with one year of policy and one year of LD and several individual events, such as oratory, humorous interpretation, extemp, and dramatic interpretation. I love debate because it helps you see that most issues have pros and cons on both sides.
THE GENERAL PARADIGM:
I want to see that you can recognize and point out the most important aspects of both cases, and that your points are supported by both logic and evidence. I will flow and watch for you answering your opponents arguments and advancing your own.
Be respectful. I will automatically vote against rudeness or ad hominem attacks.
I prefer debates about the topic, supported by evidence, and some explanation in your own words and understanding about what matters in the round. I might entertain a kritik or other philosophy if it has a reasonable connection to the actual topic and includes evidence.
I can handle moderate speed, but have good diction and state your outline markers clearly. As long as I'm taking notes, I'm following, and I'll put down my pen if I can't understand you at all.
TLDR: You do you. I do what you tell me.
I strive to judge like a "blank slate" while recognizing that I will never actually be one. Keep this in mind as you read the rest of this paradigm.
If there is an email chain I will want to be on it. I would be glad to answer any questions you have.
Disclose as much or as little as you want to me or anyone else in the room. Either way, I am committed to making the debate rounds I judge safe and accessible.
I competed in LD in high school (2009-2013) in Wyoming and northern Colorado with some national circuit exposure.
I competed in policy at the University of Wyoming (2013-2018) and qualified to the NDT twice. I loved reading complicated courts affirmatives, bold impact turns, and Ks with specific and nuanced justifications for why they are competitive with the aff. I wish I had had the courage to go for theory in the 2AR more often. I studied (mostly analytic) philosophy and some critical disability theory to earn my bachelor's degree.
All debate is performative. I can be persuaded that one performance is contingently more valuable (ethically, aesthetically, educationally, etc.) than another, but it would be arbitrary and unethical on my part to categorically exclude any particular style.
That being said, I am not agnostic when it comes to form. An argument has a claim, a warrant, and an impact. I do not care how you give me those three things, but if you do not, then you have not made an argument and my RFD will probably reflect that. This cuts in many directions: I hate K overviews that make sweeping ontological claims and then describe implications for the case without explaining why the original claim might be true; I equally detest when anyone simply asserts that "uniqueness determines the direction of the link".
Organization matters. However, I do not think organization is synonymous with what a lot of people mean when they say "line by line". It means demonstrating a holistic awareness of the debate and effectively communicating how any given argument you are making interacts with your opponents'. Therefore, when adjudicating whether something is a "dropped argument" I will parse between (a) reasonably predictable and intelligibly executed cross-applications and (b) superficial line-by-line infractions. Giving conceptual labels to your arguments and using your opponents' language when addressing theirs can help you get on the right side of this distinction.
Evidence matters. A lot. Again, I do not mean what a lot of people mean when they talk about evidence in debate. It is about a lot more than cards. It is also about personal experience and preparation, historical consciousness, and even forcing your opponents to make a strategic concession (by the way, I flow cross-examination). I read cards only when I have to and tend to defer to what was said in the debate regarding how to interpret them and determine their quality. Thus, I will hold the 2NR/2AR to relatively high thresholds for explanation.
I flow on paper. This means I need pen time. It also magnifies the importance of organization since I cannot drag and drop cells on a spreadsheet. Because I flow the "internals" of evidence (cards or otherwise), you will benefit enormously from clarity if you are fast and will not necessarily be at a disadvantage against very fast teams if you are slow but efficient with your tag lines.
Substance: mostly agnostic.
Hate and disrespect are never conducive to education and growth. I presume that the need to disincentivize abusive speech and other behaviors overrides my desire to reward skill with a ballot, but it never hurts for debaters to remind me of why this is true if you are up to it. This includes card clipping and other ethics violations. In general, I will stop the round if I notice it on my own. Otherwise, you have two options: (1) stop the round, stake the debate on it (you may lose if you are wrong, but they will certainly lose and receive no speaker points if you are right), and let me be final arbiter or (2) keep the issue alive throughout the debate, but leave open the option to go for substance. I think this is the most fair way for me to address this as an educator, but please do not think option two gives you license to go for "a risk of an ethics violation" in the final rebuttals or to read a generic "clipping bad" shell in every one of your 1NC/2ACs. That's icky.
There is no right way to affirm the topic. There are wrong ways to affirm the topic. I can be sold on the notion that the aff did it the wrong way. I can also be convinced that the wrong way is better than the right way. It may yet be easiest to convince me that your counter-interpretation of the right way to affirm the topic is just as good as, or better than, theirs.
Theory is mis- and underutilized. You get to debate the very rules of your debate! Current conventions regarding negative fiat, for example, will inevitably make me smirk when you read "no neg fiat." Still, if you invest enough thought, before and during and after debates (not merely regurgitating somebody else's blocks at an unintelligible rate), into any theory argument I am going to be eager to vote on it.
Start an email chain or whatever online portal is currently in use to create a “room” dropbox. My email is email@example.com. Flashing/emailing should take less than 30 seconds for each side during the entire debate. After those 30 seconds, it comes out of your prep time. I will end that time period once you can confirm the email was sent.
Read arguments that are good for debate. Read logical arguments, have some personality, weigh between arguments, and have good explanations. Be sure to slow down a lot on tags/author names/anything you really want me to get on my flow.
I loved debating in high school and believe it is a great activity for kids to explore new areas of education that they otherwise would never have access to, gain speaking skills, and skills on how to advocate for themselves on both sides of an issue. Regardless of my paradigm, I encourage that you approach debate with a similar mindset. It’s a privilege to be debating at any tournament, so you should appreciate that and respect others who might have had a more difficult time to get to that same tournament.
Background: I debated for Northland Christian School in high school. I did some debate at UCLA. I coached Northland Christian and Harvard-Westlake in the past, and I am currently the head coach for the middle school speech and debate program at The Harker School.
**Disclaimer: don’t read arguments that are bad for debate.
If you plan on reading/doing any of the following…
- permissibility/presumption or anything that triggers permissibility/presumption
- completely unnecessary theory
- cases with majority paragraph theory
- offensive arguments like racism/sexism good holocaust good (even if your case is supposed to be ironic—don’t do it)
- spreading someone out that is clearly very new to debate
..then stop reading my paradigm and don’t pref me. If you must debate in front of me and this is your normal strategy, just don’t read these arguments. I don’t want to devalue debate as an activity where you get to choose what you run so if you read them and make me vote off of them, your speaks will probably never breach a 25. If you read them in general, good luck breaching a 27. Read these arguments in front of other judges.. not me.
I’m just going to write down some general beliefs/preferences below I have for LD rounds.
Stylistic Preferences: Read tags, plan texts/cp texts, theory/t interps, etc at a snail’s speed. I don’t care if you read the rest fast. I won’t check speech docs for an argument that I miss because you are reading at an incomprehensible speed, are unclear, etc.
Expected Behavior: Be cordial and respect each other in round. Some debates get very passionate, and that’s ok. Debate should be a fun, enjoyable learning experience for all. Please do your best to make it that way.
Policy Arguments: Love plans, CPs, Das, Ks, etc. Have well-researched positions. I love a unique DA or strategic counterplans that respond to specific plans. These argument types / util is probably the most comfortable arguments I can judge.
Performance and/or Non-topical Cases: I am here for it. However, if there is theory or T read against the aff, you still need to win that your argument should be allowed in debate.
Heavy Phil/Super Critical Args: To be honest, beyond the basic common philosophies and common Ks (like cap, for example), you are going to have to do some extra legwork in the debate to make sure I understand your position. I need clear explanations on how the aff links, what the impacts are, and what the alt is. It’s on you to make sure that any judge understands your arguments. You should not presume that I know everything about your framework or K.
Theory/T: Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of T and theory. This is because students read super-fast and the debate devolves down to a small argument that each side only made arguments about for 10 seconds of each speech. If you must read theory or T, I won’t be upset just debate T/theory a bit better.
Skep/Permissibility/etc: Hopefully these arguments have lost enough debates at this point to where students don’t find them strategic to read anymore. In case that’s not true, I will not vote for these arguments. I will not vote on skep triggers or permissibility claims; I will give you terrible speaks if you read these in front of me. I don’t like arguments that cheat out of content of the debate.
How to Get Better Speaker Points: they will be based on a combination of clarity, strategy, and arguments. I rarely go above a 29.5 or below a 26. I evaluate speaker points based off each round and do not compare you to the rest of the tournament or your past debates in front of me. Generally, this looks like the best debaters (who tend to be very clear, explain well, etc) get between a 29-30, debaters who are good but need to work on something 28-29, debaters who are learning and have a few things to work on, 27-28, etc. I will give you what you deserve, even if you think you are a fantastic debater. I will not tell you what your speaker points are after the round, mostly because I probably haven't determined them yet.
- explaining arguments. I never understood this well enough as a debater. The better your explanation of arguments, the better your speaker points.
- weigh between you and your opponent’s arguments. Trust me—you’d rather not have me weigh the arguments for you. So just tell me how I prioritize arguments and what arguments are better evidence wise.
- be clear – If I can’t understand you, I can’t get your arguments down, and that sucks for everyone because you don’t get to have arguments on the flow and your opponents miss out the opportunity on a good, educating debate round.
- have fun – if you are having fun, that will reflect on your in round persona and make the round more enjoyable and not a snooze fest for me. You also will get particularly good speaks if you are clever and interesting in CX.
Just because you read things I like doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily vote for you just as doing something I don’t like mean I necessarily vote against you.
And, while there are rare exceptions to the rules of paradigms, don’t hedge your bets on being the one exception.
If you have any other questions, ask them before the debate. If you have any general questions about why I feel so strongly on some arguments not being in the debate round, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
this is the first tournament i've judged in 2 years
i was a K debater in policy and LD and ran nontopical affs all the time so if you've got something "weird" you wanna run i'd love to see it
currently expecting to just hear about nuke war nonstop for two days so i'd love for that to not happen
University of Utah student
No previous experience in this activity, please be clear and minimize jargon.
A persuasive argument is persuasive regardless of format.
I'll do my best to leave my proclivities behind and evaluate the debate fairly.
I am familiar with philosophy and literature as well as logic.
In lieu of speed, fast speaking is okay as long as I can still understand and follow your argument.
Please clearly state your criterions and such.
--Assistant Debate Coach at The Harker School (2018-current) & previously UC Berkeley (2018-2019)
--Sixth-year coaching/judging high school policy debate
--M.A. in Communication, University of Wyoming (thesis was on the rhetoric of settler colonialism and urban homonationalism)
--Policy debater for the University of Wyoming (B.A. in American Indian Studies & Political Science) and Twin Falls High School in Southern Idaho
ACCESS REQUIREMENTS: Do not relentlessly post-round me. If you want to disagree with my decision and argue with me about it then send me an email and we can have a constructive dialogue that way. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the space accessible for you before the round begins.
--Flowing: I am not opposed to arguments that challenge how I flow, but here are my default mechanics: I use my laptop and I can type pretty fast, but you should still slow down on tags, analytics and most importantly, theory. I flow CX. I attempt to line up every argument so I expect you to debate line-by-line. Tell me if you have an overview on each page. I will only flow the speaker who is supposed to be giving the speech unless instructed otherwise for performative reasons.
--Paperless Debate: I will not count emailing as prep time unless you are being unreasonable. Your doc needs to be saved and ready to be uploaded by the time you end prep. I am not afraid to arbitrarily deduct time from your prep clock if you are stealing prep (trust me, we all know it is happening). You are likely to get higher speaker points if you are ready to give your order and speech the second your prep clock ends.
--Clarity: I tend to value clarity more than most judges. I need to be able to hear each word you read. I will yell "clear" three times and if you do not correct your clarity I will stop flowing (same with "louder" or "slower").
--Clipping: Zero-tolerance policy so MARK YOUR CARDS as your speaking (I flow the marks). If I think you clopped with malicious intent I will stop the round and award the individual who clipped zero speaker points and the team with the L. If you know it occurred and I don't, it needs to be on film for verification.
--Evidence Standards: I prefer that every argument made in policy debates have evidence attached to them unless the observation is obvious. I am less strict in kritical debates, but evidence on questions of ontology, theory, and your alternative would help your arguments greatly. I tend to read in-between highlighting to ensure the description of your evidence is accurate (this is why my decisions take a while sometimes). If you want to point out that your opponents read evidence out of context you should read a re-highlighting of it not just insert it into the debate.
Tech > Truth
I am agnostic on content, but not on form. Your arguments need to be well-warranted (i.e. you should not merely present a conclusion, but you should present logical reasons for why I should accept that conclusion as true or I will presume it false because you have not presented a complete argument).
Kritical/Planless Affirmatives--- Affs should be debatable and, at the very least, your 1AC should have a solvency mechanism attached to a stable advocacy statement. I am willing to vote neg on presumption if you don't solve your impacts unless your interpretation of presumption is better than the negs.
Topicality (Kritical affs)---
Affirmative advice: You have to have a compelling competing model of debate to win my ballot (i.e. a counter-interpretation that sets limits on the topic). I agree that the best debates are ones that generate the most clash so if you can prove you were debatable you will be in a good spot for my ballot. I can be persuaded that breaking some rules of the game are good. However, I'm increasingly frustrated by arguments about debaters as people rather than theory. I will never be persuaded that reading framework in and of itself is violent, and I am not compelled by pre-requisite arguments or impact turns that are based on metaphors or syllogisms (claiming that "plan debate is genocide" is trivializing). Instead, you should critique the neg's substantive model of debate. Framework alone can outweigh the affirmative even without a TVA or solvency answers, but either of those greatly diminishes affirmative offense. I don't think TVAs need to solve perfectly, just access a similar discussion so I will rarely vote for aff teams that do not have an offensive reason to reject the TVA.
Negative advice: Make sure you are accurately describing policy debate, not an abstract deliberative process. I am likely to conclude that the educational content both policy debate and kritical debate give you are equally valuable so it is better to ground your offense in the form of iterative argument refinement and rigorous contestation around a predictable stasis point to demonstrate why your model of debate is preferred (this means you have to win a predictability internal link and prove the aff is un-debatable). Fairness is an impact but you should still tell me why it outweighs the aff's offense. Case defense helps minimize the risk of the aff's impact turns. TVAs better be topical, but they don't have to solve the aff just access the 1AC's educational value.
Topicality (Policy affs)--- I don't think teams go for T enough. Quality and context of evidence matter. You should provide a detailed picture of what the topic should look like. Reasonability framing only makes sense if you are winning that your interpretation of the topic is reasonable (i.e. extend a counter interp). I am highly unlikely to vote aff if you only have an education impact.
Case Debating--- I want more of it unless you are going for a CP that clearly solves the aff. I love impact turns (no matter how absurd; thanks TCram).
Kritiks--- I'm down with any K you want to read, but I am less familiar with continental philosophy so you need to clearly explain your theory. I am not willing to reward you for my prior knowledge so define complex terms. Don't just assert the impact and assume I know what it is, you need to explain it and tell me why it outweighs. The neg should present an opportunity cost to doing the affirmative, even if the alternative is a superior method or I will likely vote on a permutation. Roll of the ballots/judges are only important if you impact them out or I will always just vote for the team who I think did the best debating. I tend to agree that affs should justify their epistemology before getting to weigh their impacts (but you need to prove their impacts false first so go for case defense).
Disadvantages--- I prefer topic DAs, but also enjoy a tricky election or agenda DA. The quality of evidence matters, but spin is also critical. I will vote on zero risk, but it is unlikely. Good impact calc can easily switch my ballot in a close debate.
Counterplans--- Consult, conditions, and process CPs are not very compelling, but I enjoy predictable PICs. I tend to agree that solvency advocates matter for each plank. My default is to kick the CP if it doesn't solve but the DA still outweighs the aff (unless the aff proves the CP links to the net benefit).
Theory--- People cheat. Don't let them. Your block should be fully developed and read slowly. Theory arguments are only reasons to reject the team when you have proven the other team has changed your ability to engage in the substance of the debate (even if the argument was conceded).
Conditionality--- Conditionality is good (contradictory truth claims are not, but for substantive reasons rather than theoretical).
All of my policy preferences above apply. I recommend making way fewer arguments so you can develop them more. I have a little more sympathy for the aff's theory arguments due to the format of the activity, but it'll be hard to convince me to vote on an RVI.
Here are the things that matter:
I did not debate as a student.
I have judged and coached PF and LD for 8 years.
I don’t lean towards any style of debate, just convince me why I should vote for you and you can win.
My favorite philosophy is Utilitarianism... just sayin’
High School debate experience: 2 year of policy debate
Colligate experience: 1st year at Weber State
My name is Benjamin Moss any further questions contact email email@example.com
I give the debaters the luxury of running the debate round unless you specifically ask, I don’t like to see people abuse there prep time so as soon as the speech is ready and time stops prep is over. If you continue prepping you speaker points will drop. When It comes to general arguments I’m not picky being newer to the game, I like to have you as a debater explain your arguments to me versus being block or card heavy. First when you’re reading if you are unclear I will tell you to clear up, If you don’t clear up I will disregard that evidence because I won’t do your work for you.
I Flow on paper in columns
There are specific arguments that I like more I do tend to understand straight up arguments more, though if you have a kritik it’s not like I won’t vote on it. Again once you present your kritik I expect you to explain it not just specifically for me but I enjoy debates that are more even where both side understand the argument and can debate it well. I will vote on theory arguments but you do have to explain why they out way the affirmative or the negative strategy.
Argument versus Argument:
Straight up debates: I like to see all arguments on a flow but especially straight up impact debates, if you can show me how the debate applies or cross applies to specific arguments. I also love to see the impact level of the debate, tell me why things out ways and why they do. I’m not the type of judge that won’t buy into an argument, but again if you don’t explain why the impact matters in the round I’m going to have a hard time voting on it.
Kritik versus Straight up: Being young in a debate nature I prefer policy debate, but this is where It comes down to weighing the kritik versus the policy plan and why it’s important to way this argument in the round. I do tend to like kritiks that have links to the affirmatives discourse on an argument. Though I’m totally open to debaters running any arguments. I like the ability for debaters to show tons of creativity and style in rounds, I feel like no debate truly is all that good if you don’t truly buy into some of the arguments that you run.
Kritik versus Kritik: Again not as familiar with critical affirmatives but I tend to love creativity in these strategies going around the debate world today. I tend to lean more on the negative side on these arguments because I tend not to know why to vote on the affirmative. But when it comes down to who wins the round it’s truly all about execution the team that executes the debate the best on the critical side wins, fair and simple tell me why and how you want me to vote and do it better than the other team and you’ll likely win.
Current: Bishop O'Dowd HS
tl;dr: Don't read conditional advocacies, do impact calculus, compare arguments, read warrants, try to be nice
NEW FOR 2021: It is highly unlikely you will ever convince me to vote for NET-Spec, Util-spec, basically any theory argument which claims it's unfair for the aff to read a weighing method. Just read a counter weighing method or a critique of net benefits.
Questions left unanswered by this document should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
I think the most important thing for competitors to remember is that while debate is a competitive exercise it is supposed to be an educational activity and everyone involved should act with the same respect they desire from others in a classroom.
If you do not take a question in the first speech on your side and the other team requests a question I will top your speaks at 26 or the equivalent. You start the debate at 27.5 and go up or down from there.
Don't call points of order, I protect teams from new arguments in the rebuttals.
I don't vote on unwarranted claims, if you want me to vote for your arguments make sure to read warrants for them in the first speech you have the opportunity to do so.
With that said, I try to keep my judging paradigm as neutral as possible. Debate is an educational activity, you should assume I am not a debate argument evaluation machine and instead remember I am a teacher. I think the debaters should identify what they think the important issues of the resolution are and the affirmative will offer a way to address these issues while the negative will attempt to show why what the aff did was a bad idea. This means impact analysis and warrant comparison is critical in the rebuttals, your claims should be examined in comparison with the opposing teams, not merely in the vacuum of your own argumentation.
Impact calculus is the most important thing you can do once the card reading section of the debate is over. Explaining why your argument is true based on the warrants you have provided, comparing those arguments with what your opponents are saying and then explaining why your argument is more important than your opponents' is the simplest way to win my ballot.
Section 2: Specific Inquiries
Speaker points (what is your typical speaker point range or average speaker points given)?
My baseline is 28, if you show up and make arguments you'll get at least that many points. I save scores below that for debaters who are irresponsible with their rhetorical choices or treat their opponents poorly. Debaters can improve their speaker points through humor, strategic decision-making, rhetorical flourish, SSSGs, smart overviewing and impact calculus.
How do you approach critically framed arguments? Can affirmatives run critical arguments? Can critical arguments be “contradictory” with other negative positions?
I approach critically framed arguments in the same way I approach other arguments, is there a link, what is the impact, and how do the teams resolve the impact? Functionally all framework arguments do is provide impact calculus ahead of time, so as a result, your framework should have a role of the ballot explanation either in the 1NC or the block. Beyond that, my preference is for kritiks which interrogate the material conditions which surround the debaters/debate round/topic/etc. as opposed to kritiks which attempt to view the round from a purely theoretical stance since their link is usually of stronger substance, the alternative solvency is easier to explain and the impact framing applies at the in-round level. Ultimately though you should do what you know; I would like to believe I am pretty well read in the literature which debaters have been reading for kritiks, but as a result I'm less willing to do the work for debaters who blip over the important concepts they're describing in round. There are probably words you'll use in a way only the philosopher you're drawing from uses them, so it's a good idea to explain those concepts and how they interact in the round at some point.
Affirmative kritiks are still required to be resolutional, though the process by which they do that is up for debate. T & framework often intersect as a result, so both teams should be precise in any delineations or differences between those.
Negative arguments can be contradictory of one another but teams should be prepared to resolve the question of whether they should be contradictory on the conditionality flow. Also affirmative teams can and should link negative arguments to one another in order to generate offense.
Performance based arguments
Teams that want to have performance debates: Yes, please. Make some arguments on how I should evaluate your performance, why your performance is different from the other team's performance and how that performance resolves the impacts you identify.
Teams that don't want to have performance debates: Go for it? I think you have a lot of options for how to answer performance debates and while plenty of those are theoretical and frameworky arguments it behooves you to at least address the substance of their argument at some point either through a discussion of the other team's performance or an explanation of your own performance.
To vote on topicality I need an interpretation, a reason to prefer (standard/s) and a voting issue (impact). In round abuse can be leveraged as a reason why your standards are preferable to your opponents, but it is not a requirement. I don't think that time skew is a reverse voting issue but I'm open to hearing reasons why topicality is bad for debate or replicates things which link to the kritik you read on the aff/read in the 2AC. At the same time, I think that specific justifications for why topicality is necessary for the negative can be quite responsive on the question, these debates are usually resolved with impact calculus of the standards.
FX-T & X-T: For me these are most strategically leveraged as standards for a T interp on a specific word but there are situations where these arguments would have to be read on their own, I think in those situations it's very important to have a tight interpretation which doesn't give the aff a lot of lateral movement within your interpretation. These theory arguments are still a search for the best definition/interpretation so make sure you have all the pieces to justify that at the end of the debate.
Functional competition is necessary, textual competition is debatable, I don't really think text comp is relevant unless the negative attempts to pic out of something which isn't intrinsic to the text. If you don't want to lose text comp debates in front of me on the negative you should have normal means arguments prepared for the block to show how the CP is different from how the plan would normally be resolved. I think severence/intrinsic perm debates are only a reason to reject the perm, and are not automatically a neg leaning argument. Delay and study counterplans are pretty abusive, please don't read them in front of me if you can avoid it. If you have a good explanation for why consultation is not normal means then you can consider reading consult, but I err pretty strongly aff on consult is normal means. Conditions counterplans are on the border of being theoretically illegitimate as well, so a good normal means explanation is pretty much necessary.
Condo debates: On the continuum of judges I am probably closer to the conditionality bad pole than 99% of the rest of pool. If you're aff I think "contradictory condo bad" is a much better option than generic "condo bad". Basically if you can win that two (or more) neg advocacies are contradictory and extend it through your speeches I will vote aff.
In the absence of debaters' clearly won arguments to the contrary, what is the order of evaluation that you will use in coming to a decision (e.g. do procedural issues like topicality precede kritiks which in turn precede cost-benefit analysis of advantages/disadvantages, or do you use some other ordering)?
Given absolutely no impact calculus I will err towards the argument with the most warrants and details. For example if a team says T is a priori with no warrants or explanation for why that is true or why it is necessary an aff could still outweigh through the number of people it effects (T only effects the two people in the round, arguments about T spillover are the impact calc which is missing in the above explanation). What I'm really saying here is do impact calculus.
How do you weight arguments when they are not explicitly weighed by the debaters or when weighting claims are diametrically opposed? How do you compare abstract impacts (i.e. "dehumanization") against concrete impacts (i.e. "one million deaths")?
I err towards systemic impacts absent impact calculus by the debaters. But seriously, do your impact calculus. I don't care if you use the words probability, magnitude, timeframe and reversability, just make arguments as to why your impact is more important.
Cross-X: Please don't shout at each other if it can be avoided, I know that sometimes you have to push your opponents to actually answer the question you are asking but I think it can be done at a moderate volume. Other than that, do whatever you want in cross ex, I'll listen (since it's binding).
Debated for three years on the high school policy debate circuit. broke to NFL and NCFL and broke into quarter finals at NCFL. Now a coach at Hunter High School in West Valley City, Utah.
I understand both LD and Policy Debate stylistics and I am fine with both traditional and progressive debate.
I am fine with mostly anything you run as long as you justify each of your arguments well enough with warrants although there are a few nitpicky things that I prefer when it comes to debating, especially in the last few rebuttals. I have to add though that I enjoy listening and judging critical arguments more than traditional arguments but that doesn't mean that I would base my vote on it. When it comes down to it no matter how you debate I will vote on who debated better.
For me judge intervention should be prevented at all costs, this means that within the last rebuttals you should lay down to me where am I voting and why I am voting on it.
First off, slow down on taglines and authors, not extensively slow but just a quick brisk pace on the taglines will do just fine, other then that, go as fast as you'd like.
Secondly, if you're going to run a theory argument where I have to reject the opposing team, prove to me some type of abuse scenario, preferably in-round abuse, or else I will be hesitant to vote for it lest the other team does not answer it or drops it.
Thirdly, vague alts justify vague perms. As a judge who enjoys kritikal debating, it would be awesome if you could delineate to me how your advocacy specifically solves for the harms that you are trying to criticize. Advocacies, solvency, and methodologies are a necessity when it comes to kritiks of any type, justify each of these within your kritik and I will be a happy camper.
Fourth, when it comes to impact calculus don't just read a bunch of premade blocks make sure you have competing impact calculus with the opposing team. Apparently in the debate space people feel that just reading a bunch of cards and blocks will save them and do the work for them. Although premade blocks are awesome don't solely rely on them, I want actual debating and critical thinking, not just some kid reading off of their computer excessively in the 2NR.
Tag team is fine, but be warned that speaker points not only reflect the speeches but also reflect who does most of the work in CX as well. So think wisely before answering or asking all the questions while your partner remains silent.
Prep ends when you tell me it does unless it takes an excessive amount of time to "flash" your speech over to your opponents then I will be forced to end prep when the flash leaves your computer.
When it comes to Post-Fiat v. Pre-Fiat I tend to do whatever the debaters tell me via their framework or preferences based off of whether one arg encompasses/entrenches the opposing teams impacts, etc. I don't really err towards one side but generally if it comes down to the debate if I have to decide whether I should vote on something because it's a prerequisite to solvency of the impact(Pre-Fiat) compared to whether I actually solve for the impacts given to me in a post-fiat world (Post-Fiat) I have to err towards post-fiat because, in my sense, even if the K is a prerequisite to the impacts of the 1AC (or whatever instance you give to me) any risk of solvency for the impacts of the aff outweigh some type of solvency deficit given to me by the prereq args on the neg. of course these claims I give are debateable and if you prove to me that pre-fiat should be weighed over post-fiat in the round then I will definitely weigh it especially if thats what the round comes down to. But if you're going to have a post-fiat/pre-fiat debate make sure to emphasize the theoretical reasons why I should prefer either.
CLASH CLASH CLASH CLASH CLASH
Run args that you feel powerful about, pathos is an awesome tool use it to your advantage
some (and by some I mean that some words I despise and other words I'm just like meh) forms of bad language - I HATE THE WORD RETARDED
I don't mind saying "guys" i feel like it's colloquialized to the extent that it includes the female body but even if, you can still run G-Lang and if you prove to me enough how this bad language is inherently bad then I will vote on it.
Don't Post-Round me I will dock your speaks!
Topicality: I am not a huge fan of topicality especially generic ones because the majority of the time these generic topicalities are only ran for time skew which is totally fine but if you plan on going for topicality in the 2NR then I want you to articulate specifically 1. how they are untopical 2. why is this bad for the debate or debate in general. I am huge on standard debates if you run a topicality argument make sure to specify to me as the judge why these standards are important for debate or for you as a team and how the other team delegimitizes these standards. This doesn't mean that I won't vote for Topicality it just means I have a high threshold on it. However, if you're going to go for T in the 2NR make sure to spend 5 whole minutes on T not to split it because obviously if T is an apriori concern to me then it should be the only argument in your 2NR decision.
As the AFF I'm not big on RVIs unless you can prove that the other team is abusive through their topicality. Competing interpretations and counter standards are your best friends.
Counterplans: I don't really have much to say on this part. Just make sure to specify what the counterplan solves for specifically, how it solves, and how it doesn't trigger the net benefit.
On the aff, articulation of permutation solvency and net benefits to the permutations are a must if you plan on permutating the CP. I don't want some random perm being read without articulation of what the permutation is actually doing and how it solves.
Disadvantages: like the Counterplan section I really have little to say on this part. Most of the time disadvantages come down to impact calculus debates. whether doing the aff advocacy is good or not so this is where my competitive impact calculus statements come in. Articulate how the impacts of doing the plan are more disadvantageous than beneficial and vice versa for the aff
Criticisms: I really enjoy critical debates I think they're entertaining and really bring out the more personal aspects of debate. I thoroughly enjoy identity and biopolitics kritiks. one thing that I would emphasize for kritik is alternative solvency and the mechanism for which you use to solve the harms for which you are trying to criticize. I enjoy good role of the ballot and framework debates and why me as a judge signing a piece of paper is so crucial (or not crucial depending on if you are aff or neg) to your solvency/args.
Theory: I don't really vote on theory arguments unless I actually get proven an abuse scenario I find them to be a bit whiny at times and aren't very beneficial to debate unless there are actual harms being presented from the other team.
Body Language: I make faces, a lot of them; use it to your advantage.
saying "it's lit" might or might not get you more speaker points. depending on the context
LD Paradigm -- substantial revisions April 2018:
LD Judging Record:
I am a coach-adjacent (married to one) judge, and I have been judging policy, PF and LD for 15 years. I was also a policy debater in the last century. That said, I am not necessarily dialed in to the most current strategies and shorthand, especially in policy. My overall approach is basically tabula rasa- I will consider any argument that you can explain in terms of engagement with your opponent, i.e. if you can tell me WHY what you are bringing into the round should win my vote. That could be evidence, impacts, kritiks- whatever- I just need to know that you are listening to your opponent, engaging them directly and weighing their response to you. I’m not really drawn to debates about debate (theory?) in a debate round, but I value thoughtful kritiks about the appropriateness and shortcomings of topics/resolutions in the real world. I will vote on topicality, but it needs to be rigorously adapted to the case in round by specifying exactly why something is non-topical. I’m well aware of the implications for educational purposes.
In terms of mechanics, I can flow fairly speedy rounds, but I have always been a quality over quantity judge. Debate is still about communication and persuasion, and presenting a great volume of evidence/sources accomplishes neither goal.
For Public Forum rounds, much of what I like to see in policy applies, only more so because the time to make arguments is so abbreviated. The winning team will have narrowed their best argument down to one or maybe two by final focus, and will keep it tight, clear and concise.
In LD, I am old school, and I appreciate the idea of a ponderous, reflective and challenging philosophical discourse on a contentious topic. I want to see well developed cases and arguments that explore the moral implications of respective sides of a resolution. A good LD round, in my view, is one in which both participants can speak like orators and use the power of language to bring the listeners to hear the righteousness of their position.
I've been a debate coach for many years and have a good understanding of how each event should be done.
I believe that a good debate is one that focuses on the intention of the resolution. I'm not a big fan of definition-based debates that try to win based on how one team interprets the resolution over another.
Evidence is also key. All evidence should be properly cited and relevant. It should also be presented in a way that maintains the original positions of the author(s).
Respect is key. Debate is a civil event. There is never a need to shout or use foul language. You should treat your opponent with respect and remember that we can only hold debates if there are individuals willing to do the activity. Speaking poorly about someone, either in round or outside of a round is uncalled for.
In speech events, I respect originality. I'm not too much of a fan of speaking given solely to create shock and discomfort. I believe that serious issues can be discussed without having to focus on how negative everything is.
Yo, my history with debate is two years of Lincoln-Douglas debate in high school and two years coaching Lincoln-Douglas for Juan Diego Catholic High School (ongoing).
The foundation of my philosophy is that debate is a game. This is important in that I believe strongly that everyone who wants to should be able to play. That means that treating each other with respect, and sportsmanship are very important. If you lie to me, or your competitors or do anything to intentionally belittle anyone's efforts you will awaken my wrath. You should always debate to the best of your ability but if you are debating a team that clearly isn't up to your competition level please try to make it quick and painless. If you don't need to use all your speech time don't and in those situations because I am a coach I tend to reward debaters who are kind and helpful to those who are still learning.
I appreciate debate as forum for education and expression and believe that my role is simply to try to do my best to evaluate the round through whatever method you effectively present to me. I have been participating in this activity in one way or another for 20 years. That has benefits and disadvantages to you. I am willing and able to evaluate any style of debate and my preference for what you choose to do doesn't exist as long as you do your thing well. Because I have seen so many debates, I do appreciate creativity in argument choice, and strategy.
I am not as good at flowing as I used to be so signposting and clarity are key. If the round comes down to whether you uttered one sentence or not somewhere in the round that is not a position I would trust my own flow in so debate better than that. If an argument is really important you should flag it as such.
My understanding of most philosophy/philosophers/Kritiks is very basic. So, you need to be clear in your explanations of any positions that involve these things. My own debate preference was theory, D/As, and C/Ps as a result those positions are easiest for me to evaluate. While I often very much enjoy performance/identity debates they are the most difficult to evaluate as I find they often call for judge intervention. Because I believe debate is a game (your game not mine) I do my best to just follow where you take me in a round. That means anything goes. To answer the typical questions: speed is fine (being unclear can cause you problems), tag team is fine, playing media is fine, anything you can justify through argumentation is fine.
Specifics on my experience: 3 years high school policy TOC qualifier, 4 years college policy debate (CEU, Georgia State, Weber State) NDT qualifier. 12 years various coaching positions. Have coached TOC qualifiers in all events.
Have fun! Please ask if you have any other questions.
I would like to be on the email chain, my email is jpscoggin at gmail.com
I am the coach of Loyola High School in Los Angeles. I also own and operate Premier Debate along with Bob Overing. I coach Nevin Gera. I prefer a nuanced util debate to anything else.
In general, I am not a fan of frivolous theory or non-topical Ks.
High speaker points are awarded for exceptional creativity and margin of victory.
I am fine with speed as long as it is comprehensible.
If you are not comfortable disclosing to your opponent at the flip or after pairings are released it is likely in your best interest to strike me. If the tournament has a rule about when that should occur I will defer to that, if not 10 minutes after the pairing is released seems reasonable to me.
Compiling is prep. Prep ends when the email is sent or the flash drive is removed from your computer.
Please include me on the email chain: email@example.com
Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible. I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions. I will not tolerate language or behaviors that create a hostile environment. Please include trigger warnings for sexual violence. Feel free to ask me any questions you have before the round.
Speed - I'm comfortable with speed but please recognize that if you're reading typed blocks that are not in the speech doc at the same speed you are reading cards, there's a chance I will miss something because I can't flow every word you're saying as fast as you can say them. Slow down just a bit for what you want me to write down or include your blocks in the doc. I will say "clear" if you are not clear.
Topicality- I enjoy good topicality debates. To me good topicality debates are going to compare impacts and discuss what interp of the topic is going to be better for the debate community and the goals that are pursued by debaters.The goals and purpose of debate is of course debatable and can help establish which impacts are more important than others so make sure you're doing that work for me.
Counterplans- I enjoy creative counterplans best but even your standard ones will be persuasive to me if there is a solid solvency advocate and net-benny.
Theory - In-round abuse will always be far more persuasive to me than merely potential abuse and tricksy interps. I expect more than just reading blocks.
K- I really enjoy a good critical debate. Please establish how your kritik interacts with the affirmative and/or the topic and what that means for evaluating the round in some sort of framework. Authors and buzzwords alone will not get you very far even if I am familiar with the literature. I expect contextual link work with a fully articulated impact and alternative. If your K does not have an alternative, I will weigh it as a DA (that's probably non-unique).
Performance - All debate is a performance and relies on effective communication. If you are communicating to me a warranted argument, I do not care how you are presenting it.
I usually judge LD, but I often judge CX and PF as well. I don't care about your style of debate. I just want a clear reason to vote for you.
I flow and vote from the flow. I want to be able to look at the flow and see a simple, clear, and unbroken story about why you win based on the framework that you provide. Crystallization is important throughout to give me this story. Overviews are often effective.
My experience with T and theory debates are more limited than most judges. It doesn't mean that I won't vote for them, as I often do. A blippy T or theory argument is unlikely to get my vote, however.
I enjoy good k debates. If you're clear about your k's thesis and how the alternative works, they're fun and interesting. It doesn't mean that you should run a k, but if you like them and want to run one, go for it. I think that the philosophical ideas in a k can add a lot to discussions of topics. I doubt that I know a ton about your literature on the k, however, so don't expect me to have a lot of background.
Framework for why your impacts matter is vital. You can win deontological positions, but you need to give offense under those frameworks too! I default to a cost-benefit analysis if no framework is provided. What else am I supposed to do? I'm open to suggestions, but I'd prefer that you give me a clear framework.
Coach at Hillcrest High School (Utah) 5 years
Over the years I have become fully aware of just how policy-making oriented I am when I evaluate a round. As a quick synopsis, I flow on paper, am receptive to all types of arguments, happen to incredibly dislike contradicting strategies from the neg, generally prefer reasonability as a standard for T but can be convinced to vote on competing interpretations, and while I have high standards for the K, I love a good discussion of discourse and framework.
The key to the aff winning the round is to show me that affirming the resolution through their plan has the potential to create a better future than the status quo.
The key to the neg winning the round is to show me why the aff plan specifically is not worth the risk because it has the potential to shape a world worse than the status quo or why the affirmative's advocacy generates some sort of harm that only my ballot can help resolve.
Both teams, tell me why MY BALLOT is key!!!
Given my policy background I am a very flow intensive judge. This means I will be looking for you to extend your arguments throughout the round and to provide warranted analysis. At the end of the round I will ask myself, under the framework provided as the ideal weighing mechanism for this round, what are the impacts to voting aff and what are the impacts to voting neg? If affirming the resolution has the best potential for generating a positive world, thereby upholding the framework I will vote aff. The neg needs to show me why the aff cannot access their impacts and thus not uphold the framework (defense) and why voting aff may actually cause worse things to happen and thus means you reject the aff under that framework (offense).
For progressive style debaters: I am good with speed, just make sure you are clear (absence of clarity while spreading means I don't write anything down which is not good news for you because I evaluate the round on my flow...) Negatives, you are welcome to run off case positions, please note the specifics below for each argument type. Affirmatives you can run a K Aff, but you still need to show me why that means I affirm the resolution. Both sides, you can run a V/C combination or a Standard, just be sure you explain why this lens is the best framework for the round. I will default to consequentialist framing if the framework debate is a wash.
Given my policy background I am a very flow intensive judge. This means I will be looking for you to extend your arguments throughout the round and to provide warranted analysis. At the end of the round I will look to my flow to make the decision.
First Constructive speakers do your thing, framework can be helpful but sometimes is a waste of time, I will be looking for you to show your expertise of the case and topic in cross-examination (that will help boost your speaks! To be clear I do not flow crossfire!)
Second Constructive speakers I want to see you attack your opponents case soundly! If you are speaking first in the round, you may want to consider touching on your case with 30 or so seconds to explain "even if my opponents argue x on our contention 1, you prefer warrant/author/analysis" That can help protect your summary speaker from being time skewed. If you are speaking second in the round, I would strongly recommend you spend about 1minute going over the attacks against your case, extending the analysis/warrants/authors from the first speech to help mitigate the offense and give your summary speaker an easier time.
Summary speakers please start to breakdown the round to key voting issues. You should not cover everything! You should clearly indicate your prioritization to me though.
Final Focus speakers should provide comparative analysis between the cases and extend the voters given in the summary speech. I want the analysis of WHY affirming/negating is important, and HOW you are winning the flow versus your opponent.
1998-2003: Competed at Fargo South HS (ND)
2003-2004: Assistant Debate Coach, Hopkins High School (MN)
2004-2010: Director of Debate, Hopkins High School (MN)
2010-2012: Assistant Debate Coach, Harvard-Westlake Upper School (CA)
2012-Present: Debate Program Head, Marlborough School (CA)
General Preferences and Decision Calculus
I no longer handle top speed very well, so it would be better if you went at about 70% of your fastest.
I like substantive and interesting debate. I like to see good strategic choices as long as they do not undermine the substantive component of the debate. I strongly dislike the intentional use of bad arguments to secure a strategic advantage; for example making an incomplete argument just to get it on the flow. I tend to be most impressed by debaters who adopt strategies that are positional, advancing a coherent advocacy rather than a scatter-shot of disconnected arguments, and those debaters are rewarded with higher speaker points.
I view debate resolutions as normative. I default to the assumption that the Affirmative has a burden to advocate a topical change in the status quo, and that the Negative has a burden to defend either the status quo or a competitive counter-plan or kritik alternative. I will vote for the debater with the greatest net risk of offense. Offense is a reason to adopt your advocacy; defense is a reason to doubt your opponent's argument. I virtually never vote on presumption or permissibility, because there is virtually always a risk of offense.
Moral Skepticism is not normative (it does not recommend a course of action), and so I will not vote for an entirely skeptical position. Morally skeptical arguments may be relevant in determining the relative weight or significance of an offensive argument compared to other offense in the debate.
I am skeptical of impact exclusion. Debaters have a high bar to prove that I should categorically disregard an impact which an ordinary decision-maker would regard as relevant. I think that normative ethics are more helpfully and authentically deployed as a mode of argument comparison rather than argument exclusion. I will default to the assumption of a wide framework and epistemic modesty. I do not require a debater to provide or prove a comprehensive moral theory to regard impacts as relevant, though such theories may be a powerful form of impact comparison.
Arguments that deny the wrongness of atrocities like rape, genocide, and slavery, or that deny the badness of suffering or oppression more generally, are a steeply uphill climb in front of me. If a moral theory says that something we all agree is bad is not bad, that is evidence against the plausibility of the theory, not evidence that the bad thing is in fact good.
I default to evaluating theory as a matter of competing interpretations.
I am skeptical of RVIs in general and on topicality in particular.
I will apply a higher threshold to random theory interpretations that do not reflect existing community norms and am particularly unlikely to drop the debater on them. Because your opponent could always have been marginally more fair and because debating irrelevant theory questions is not a good model of debate, I am likely to intervene against theoretical arguments which I deem to be frivolous.
Tricks and Triggers
Your goal should be to win by advancing substantive arguments that would decisively persuade a reasonable decision-maker, rather than on surprises or contrived manipulations of debate conventions. I am unlikely to vote on tricks, triggers, or other hidden arguments, and will apply a low threshold for answering them. You will score more highly and earn more sympathy the more your arguments resemble genuine academic work product.
Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs
The affirmative has the obligation to ask about the status of a counterplan or kritik alternative in cross-examination. If they do not, the advocacy may be conditional in the NR.
I default to the view that the Negative has to pick an advocacy to go for in the NR. If you do not explicitly kick a conditional counterplan or kritik alternative, then that is your advocacy. If you lose a permutation read against that advocacy, you lose the debate. I will not kick the advocacy for you and default to the status quo unless you win an argument for judge kick in the debate.
I default to the presumption that floating PIKs must be articulated as such in the NC. If it is not apparent that the kritik alternative allows you to also enact the affirmative advocacy, then I will regard this argument as a change of advocacy in the NR and disregard it as a new argument.
To the extent possible I will resolve the debate as though I were a reasonable decision-maker considering only the arguments advanced by the debaters in making my decision. On any issues not adequately resolved in this way, I will make reasonable assumptions about the relative persuasiveness of the arguments presented.
The speed at which you choose to speak will not affect my evaluation of your arguments, save for if that speed impairs your clarity and I cannot understand the argument. I prefer debate at a faster than conversational pace, provided that it is used to develop arguments well and not as a tactic to prevent your opponent from engaging your arguments. There is some speed at which I have a hard time following arguments, but I don't know how to describe it, so I will say "clear," though I prefer not to because the threshold for adequate clarity is very difficult to identify in the middle of a speech and it is hard to apply a standard consistently. For reasons surpassing understanding, most debaters don't respond when I say clear, but I strongly recommend that you do so. Also, when I say clear it means that I didn't understand the last thing you said, so if you want that argument to be evaluated I suggest repeating it. A good benchmark is to feel like you are going at 90% of your top speed; I am likely a significantly better judge at that pace.
My threshold for sufficient extensions will vary based on the circumstances, e.g. if an argument has been conceded a somewhat shorter extension is generally appropriate.
It is primarily the responsibility of debaters to engage in meaningful evidence comparison and analysis and to red flag evidence ethics issues. However, I will review speech documents and evaluate detailed disputes about evidence raised in the debate. I prefer to be included on an email chain or pocket box that includes the speech documents. If I have a substantial suspicion of an ethics violation (i.e. you have badly misrepresented the author, edited the card so as to blatantly change it's meaning, etc.), I will evaluate the full text of the card (not just the portion that was read in the round) to determine whether it was cut in context, etc.
I use speaker points to evaluate your performance in relation to the rest of the field in a given round. At tournaments which have a more difficult pool of debaters, the same performance which may be above average on most weekends may well be average at that tournament. I am strongly disinclined to give debaters a score that they specifically ask for in the debate round, because I utilize points to evaluate debaters in relation to the rest of the field who do not have a voice in the round. I elect not to disclose speaker points, save where cases is doing so is necessary to explain the RFD. My range is approximately as follows:
30: Your performance in the round is likely to beat any debater in the field.
29: Your performance is substantially better than average - likely to beat most debaters in the field and competitive with students in the top tier.
28: Your performance is above average - likely to beat the majority of debaters in the field but unlikely to beat debaters in the top tier.
27.5: Your performance is approximately average - you are likely to have an equal number of wins and losses at the end of the tournament.
26: Your performance is below average - you are likely to beat the bottom 25% of competitors but unlikely to beat the average debater.
25: Your performance is substantially below average - you are competitive among the bottom 25% but likely to lose to other competitors
Below 25: I tend to reserve scores below 25 for penalizing debaters as explained below.
Rude or Unethical Actions
I will severely penalize debaters who are rude, offensive, or otherwise disrespectful during a round. I will severely penalize debaters who distort, miscut, misrepresent, or otherwise utilize evidence unethically.
A debater has clipped a card when she does not read portions of evidence that are highlighted or bolded in the speech document so as to indicate that they were read, and does not verbally mark the card during the speech. Clipping is an unethical practice because you have misrepresented which arguments you made to both your opponent and to me. If I determine that a debater has clipped cards, then that debater will lose.
To determine that clipping has occurred, the accusation needs to be verified by my own sensory observations to a high degree of certainty, a recording that verifies the clipping, or the debaters admission that s/he has clipped. If you believe that your opponent has clipped, you should raise your concern immediately after the speech in which it was read, and I will proceed to investigate. False accusations of clipping is a serious ethical violation as well. *If you accuse your opponent of clipping and that accusation is disconfirmed by the evidence, you will lose the debate.* You should only make this accusation if you are willing to stake the round on it.
I am happy to answer any questions on preferences or paradigm before the round. After the round I am happy to answer respectfully posed questions to clarify my reason for decision or offer advice on how to improve (subject to the time constraints of the tournament). Within the limits of reason, you may press points you don't understand or with which you disagree (though I will of course not change the ballot after a decision has been made). I am sympathetic to the fact that debaters are emotionally invested in the outcomes of debate rounds, but this does not justify haranguing judges or otherwise being rude. For that reason, failure to maintain the same level of respectfulness after the round that is generally expected during the round will result in severe penalization of speaker points.
I did LD predominantly in high school, also dabbled in policy. Did parli at the U of Utah for 2 years, and 3 years of policy at Weber State University. I predominantly made arguments about disability, but I have went for heg bad and Marx
Do whatever you're best at, I am not here to dictate content nor form.
I dont judge much anymore, so I am not super up on current changes in debate norms. That being said, i do still have predilections:
Explanation over extension, I am willing to vote off 1 major arg that frames the entirety of a debate over 10 super quick extensions of a card.
I'll believe terminal defense of "they have no internal link between securtizing rhetoric of the internet and thermonuclear war" if you are unable to explain the link between those two things. Just becasue I know a lot of K lit doesn't mean I will do the work for you.
Slowing down helps everyone. I'll tell you when I cant understand, and you will have to adapt. Giving me typing or pen time (espescially on theory) is super important.
I'd prefer to watch a more substantial debate than just theory, but do you. That being said, I dont judge too much theory so you might not always like my deciscion. I default reasonability, but its not that hard to win competeing interps. The more fleshed out warrants you give me the more likely I am to vote for you
Go for less, going for a CP, DA, K and a FW is a lot for an NR and gives the aff a lot of leeway to poke holes in stuff. Going for just a DA allows me to evaluate that much easier versus the aff. The same can be said for the aff, go for less.
I will compare the NR to the 2AR as to the story told and compare arguments. If there is something neither debater can answer, I'll start thinking back to earlier rebuttals and constructive, possibly call for cards, and then try to make a deciscion.