1st and 2nd Year National Championships at Woodward Academy
2015 — GA/US
Lincoln-Douglas Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I began judging during my senior year of high school, after competing in Lincoln-Douglas debate throughout high school. I studied Economics at Emory University and graduated in 2018. I'll begin studying at University of Florida Law in Fall 2019.
I mostly judge LD, although I have judged PF and BQ before. I evaluate debaters on the basis of structure and framework of arguments, professionalism, clarity, consistency in argumentation, and general persuasiveness. The presentation of the debate is significant to me, even as contentions and argumentation are crucial. You need to have a value and criterion (for LD). You need to define your terms. I will choose logical reasoning over an emotional appeal. I will choose pragmatic ideas over simply theoretical ideas. Impacts are crucial. I consider myself to lean more traditional than progressive.
DO NOT spread. It takes away from the essence of LD debate. Reading quickly is fine, but not a speed that constitutes spreading. Be clear and succinct, otherwise I will not effectively evaluate your arguments. I will say "clear" no more than twice before docking speaker points.
DO NOT just projectile vomit cards at me. I need to know what you're arguing and why (the big picture, the "substance"), not simply your massive card collection. That said, it's key that you have sufficient cards to maintain credibility- find a balance.
DO NOT debate arbitrary aspects of the round. Too often I find debaters wasting their rebuttal speeches with "tit-for-tat" arguments about insignificant factors (i.e. if there are no real stakes for the definitions debate or the value debate, don't waste time on it).
DO NOT try to convince me of BS. This includes (but is not limited to): lying, new arguments in rebuttal speeches, whole contentions/arguments without warrants, false reasoning for why an argument should be extended, non-topical arguments, etc. Give me a clean debate.
I typically determine the winners of each round based on which framework is favorable over another, which framework appears most pragmatic. At the end of the round, if my mind is not already made up, I'll pull back to look at the big picture. Who has the higher valued stakes? Who has better impact analysis? Who was more logically convincing? Who wasted their time and who did not?
Counterplans: These are fine; be consistent in arguing why the Aff world or the status quo is impractical/infeasible. A good CP will pose solvency (without reaching too far) for most if not all impacts of the Aff world/status quo. A good CP will accommodate for each unique Aff case- in contrast, a one size fits all approach or one that preempts only part of the Aff impacts will likely not convince me.
Kritiks: It's better not to run these in general, but I won't disqualify K's automatically. I'm not quite familiar with K literature. Most highly complex K's fail to convince me, often because the relevant debater has failed to even explain it sufficiently, let alone convince me of it.
Theory: These are okay, but only with solid grounds; often I find the application of theory to be more strategic rather than to genuinely highlight unfairness on the opponent's part. I also often find the structure of theory debate is not followed sufficiently.
Speaker points: These largely depend on my 5 C's: clarity, consistency, construction, credibility, and civility. In highly rare instances, speaker points help me to weigh my decision (when the debate appears to be even).
I will keep the official time, but debaters are welcome to keep their own times for reference.
At the end of the round, I am welcome to offer criticisms and advice to improve argumentation, ideas/approach, speaking style, etc. I typically disclose the winner and I try to be thorough in explaining how I've come to my decision. I will not change my mind once my decision is made. You can ask questions and for further clarifications, but do not try to convince me- you'll otherwise risk lost speaker points (for a lack of civility).
2/22 Update: Don't pref me if you aren't going to slow down! I haven't judged circuit LD in a bit, I've been judging a lot of World Schools Debate. Please don't go your top speed and please slow down on tags & author names.
Background: I'm the Director of Debate at Northland Christian School in Houston, TX. In high school, I debated for three years on the national and local circuits (TOC, NSDA, TFA). I was a "traditional" debater whenever I competed (stock and policy arguments, etc). I teach at GDS in the summer.
Email Chain: Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judging Philosophy: I prefer a comparative worlds debate. When making my decisions, I rely heavily on good extensions and weighing. If you aren't telling me how arguments interact with each other, I have to decide how they do. If an argument is really important to you, make sure you're making solid extensions that link back to some standard in the round. I love counterplans, disads, plans, etc. I believe there needs to be some sort of standard in the round. Kritiks are fine, but I am not well-versed in dense K literature; please make sure you are explaining the links so it is easy for me to follow. I will not vote on a position that I don't understand, and I will not spend 30 minutes after the round re-reading your cards if you aren't explaining the information in round.
Theory/T: I think running theory is fine (and encouraged) if there is clear abuse. I will not be persuaded by silly theory arguments. If you are wanting a line by line theory debate, I'm probably not the best judge for you :)
Speaker Points: I give out speaker points based on a couple of things: clarity (both in speed and pronunciation), word economy, strategy and attitude. In saying attitude, I simply mean don't be rude. I think there's a fine line between being perceptually dominating in the round and being rude for the sake of being rude; so please, be polite to each other because that will make me happy. Being perceptually dominant is okay, but be respectful. If you give an overview in a round that is really fast with a lot of layers, I will want to give you better speaks. I will gauge my points based on what kind of tournament I'm at...getting a 30 at a Houston local is pretty easy, getting a 30 at a circuit tournament is much more difficult. If I think you should break, you'll get good speaks. Cussing in round will result in dropping your speaks.
Speed: I'd prefer a more moderate/slower debate that talks about substance than a round that is crazy fast/not about the topic. I can keep up with a moderate speed; slow down on tag lines/author names. I'll put my pen down if you're going too fast. If I can't flow it, I won't vote on it. Also, if you are going fast, an overview/big picture discussion before you go line by line in rebuttals is appreciated. Based on current speed on the circuit, you can consider me a 6 out of 10 on the speed scale. I will say "clear" "slow" "louder", etc a few times throughout the round. If you don't change anything I will stop saying it.
Miscellaneous: I don't prefer to see permissibility and skep. arguments in a round. I default to comparative worlds.
1. Don't try to win on tricks...I will severely dock speaker points and just be generally sad when making a decision. Also, don't mislabel arguments, give your opponent things out of order, or try to steal speech/prep time, etc. I am not going to vote on an extension of a one sentence "argument" that wasn't clear in the first speech that is extended to mean something very different.
2. Please don't run morally repugnant positions in front of me.
3. Have fun!
Hey, I’m Michael I did LD for four years at Lake Highland graduating in 2016. I qualled to the TOC twice with 6 career bids making it to octos my senior year. I have no real preference for one type of argument, just do whatever you’re best at. The only arguments I won’t vote for are ones that are blatantly offensive (i.e. racism good) and ones that lack a warrant entirely. Also if no arguments for presumption are made by either debater I'll default to presuming aff. This default can easily be changed with in round arguments it only exists if literally no arguments are made by either debater about presumption. One thing to note is that I’ve been out of the activity for a while so it would be best to start at half speed in front of me if you choose to spread and then work up to your top speed. Other than that if you have any questions feel free to ask me before the round or email me at email@example.com
So yeah as you can tell it has been a while so I have no clue what has changed in debate or even what the topic is so just keep that in mind when debating in front of me. Nothing about my judging has changed aside from that. Good luck have fun.
Stanford 2017 Update
A lot of people regard me as a speaker fairy however, over the years I have become a saltier person as I get older and less tolerant of current debate practices you will all see the speaker points I award will definitely reflect this fact and therefore if you are looking for a speaker fairy I am not your guy. If you have any problems with this
http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/001/209/784/5de.png . In all seriousness I have not judged that much this year so I am kind of rusty at flowing so please adapt if you want to win or get good speaks.
My judge philosophy is pretty simple I will vote on ANY argument so long as it is articulated well and is warranted. So long as that it is done there is no reason for me to just drop an argument I don't like.
Theory is just like any argument make sure to warrant it meaning an actual abuse story, warranting your interpretation, reasons why the standards are important, and why I vote on theory -why fairness, education, ect.. is important-
refer to the top
I will call up evidence if I need to
So sometimes people run really poorly warranted arguments and sometimes people also run really bad no warranted arguments please don't do these things it makes me sad if forced to I will have to do argument comparison myself if two arguments contradict but that won't do well for your speakers points. Granted different arguments require different level of warrants so all of this is rather subjective when I refer to my threshold on warrant analysis how you ought to compare these claims if if you don't do this then I will have to intervene which is bad.
People seem running this argument incorrectly -in my opinion- as some form of a hidden a priori at the risk of sounding very punny I will just let you know that one does not simply trigger skep if you want me to vote on skep the reasons why a meta-ethic provided in case will lead to skepticism if proven false -or some similar form of argumentation- need to be articulated and compared against alternative frameworks still standing in the round.
Getting the 30 -update since Harvard 2012-
Since many talented debaters can end up being screwed speaker point inflation and I have found myself judging at tournaments where cake is easily accessible I am going to sadly put an end to my previous paradigm of giving the 30 for chocolate cake or coffee instead I will simply award speakers points based off of strategic thinking and decision making if I find that your strategic choices were perfect than I can see no reason to not give you perfect speaks.
Edit Yale on speaks
I kind of have this reputation of being a speaker fairy -someone who just gives out high speaks willy nilly- but that was 2011 and before Fred a much nicer guy who seriously did not pay much mind to speaker inflation and didn't seem to adjust his speaks to prospective tournaments. Well I am afraid that I -2012 Fred- f@#%ing killed that guy here is a funny video to help you through the loss
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDndS5N9tes ok that being said I am not a complete asshole I just don't give out 28-30s so please just debate well. Also I have been noticing that people tend to lie about their arguments in their last speech like as if I am not paying attention or something, this makes me want to dock your speaks now granted you might say "But 2012 Fred that seems kind of relevant and your perception of the round isn't perfect" I might say in return "If it was that blatant then you had it coming but I will let you explain yourself because well I don't like accusing people of things like that" either way I swear I am not a complete tool and generally don't give bad speaks unless the round was horrible if you ask me "Fred was I really that bad?" I will probably say "Oh hellz yeah" either way you can ask me. Now if you want specific ways to get good speaks from me I would suggest you pick good strategies and make good arguments and also I have noticed that when people make decisions easy for me and telling me specifically how to evaluate the round -and do this well obviously- I seem to give pretty good speaks just putting that out there. Also DON'T BE RUDE!!
I have noticed that other judges have included this and to be honest I thought they were pretty good to add to this
1. As most college students I am generally pretty tired please try and keep me awake
2. In the absence of any reason to prefer either debater -including presumption or permissibility- I will be forced to intervene for the most intuitive argument but I would rather not be forced to do this though
Edit since Yale 13'
Sometimes judges like myself don't understand arguments and ideally don't vote on them however I am sympathetic to how people want to try arguments that may take a little more explaining so if I don't understand an argument I will make it clear that I am in a state confusion by flipping over my ballot -since apparently I am not good at controlling my face- to give you the opportunity to go "oh shit Fred's confused I should take time explain an argument better". In fact if you need any sort of indication of anything or feedback just ask.
EDIT FOR THE END OF ALL TIME
In order to get a 30 in front of me you must have swag END OF STORY. If you ask me what swag is then you clearly don't have swag and will never be able to understand the true meaning of swag so it would be pointless for me to explain it to you. Thus if you ask me, you will bring great shame upon your family.
edit from Harvard 13'
I am currently watching House of Cards but have only watched up to episode 3 if you begin talking about this show and mention anything past this episode that spoils it for me I will dock your speaks and then harm you physically think I am joking? Try me
edit from Emory 13'
Often times debate rounds are won or loss earlier than many debaters might think if I make it obvious that I have already made my decision please stop if you misjudged whether that actually happened I will make that also obvious also I don't worry I don't dock speaks for you failing to do this I just would like to spend less time judging is that so wrong?
MUY IMPORTANTE: I become an incredibly crappy judge -no seriously- when I am tired and you'll know I am tired because I will complain about it constantly if you want me to judge well I suggest you get me some caffiene to prevent me from being stupid -no seriously- or at least check if I have caffiene otherwise I am not going to make much sense. If you see me on the brink of falling asleep please yell at me and throw things at me do whatever it takes because I deserve it.
I can follow speed so long as you are speaking clearly -which I will let you know if you are not by yelling clear- however if I can't understand it I can't vote on it
Any specific questions can be asked before the round or you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I coach Greenhill. I am conflicted from ETHS. I am currently a PhD student in philosophy at MIT.
Here is a slightly older + longer version of my paradigm. Everything on the longer version remains true.
From Rodrigo Paramo: "here is the procedure i will follow if a student drops off a call, or i drop off a call: students are expected to maintain local recordings of their speeches - if they drop off, they should complete the speech and immediately email their recording upon completing it. i will not allow students to restart speeches / attempt to figure out how much time they had left, particularly in elimination rounds." If you do not record your speech, then the part that I missed b/c of someone dropping off is gone.
Short version: If you are aff, you should read a well-researched affirmative that defends someone doing something. If you are neg, you should read something that meaningfully engages with the aff.
Here are some things that it will be useful to know if I am judging you.
 I don’t flow author names.
 Please slow down on analytics, probably more than you think you need to.
 I am best suited to judge well-researched debates about a clear point of contestation in which both sides are clear about what they’re defending. Policy-style, K, T, and many theory debates are all fine.
 I will not vote for exceptionally bad theory arguments. Exceptionally bad arguments include but are not limited to: so-called "role of the ballot spec," "neg may only make 2 arguments," "must spec CP status in speech," "must read an explicit standard text," "must contest the aff framework," and "must spec what you meant when you said 'competing interps.'" By contrast, arguments that are fair game are CP theory, plans good/bad, stuff like that.
If you’re unsure whether an argument counts as exceptionally bad, err on the side of caution. You should err on the side of caution on very specific / demanding disclosure theory arguments.
 Other theory predispositions:
I think it's good to keep topics fairly small, which makes me good for the neg in many T debates.
It's pretty hard to convince me that 1 condo is bad. 2 starts to push it, and I think 3+ is probably bad. I'm increasingly convinced PICs should have a solvency advocate. And I'm pretty in the middle with respect to whether process counterplans & the like are good.
 No tricks. I won't vote on them. If you think your argument might count as a trick, don't read it. If you do go for tricks, you will not win and your speaks will not exceed 26.
 I value explanation a lot. I vote aff in a lot of debates in which the neg goes for a ton of arguments, each of which could be a winning 2NR but end up getting very under-explained. I have also voted for a lot of debaters whose evidence is not amazing but who give very good explanations/spin for that evidence.
 I am unlikely to be convinced that something categorically outweighs something else (e.g. extinction outweighs regardless of probability, tiny unfairness outweighs all education no matter what, etc.). Weighing arguments should be contextual and comparative.
 No "inserting highlighting" or inserting a list of what the aff defends. You have to read it.
 Debaters should disclose, and the aff should tell the neg what aff they’re reading before the debate unless it is new. No one should lie when disclosing. It is very hard to convince me that disclosure isn’t good.
 Clipping and reading miscut evidence will result in an automatic loss, regardless of whether your opponent notices / mentions it. More on that here.
 I will not vote on: tricks (broadly construed), "paradox" tricks (e.g. Zeno's Paradox, the "Good Samaritan" Paradox), a prioris, oppression good (if you concede that your position entails that oppression is good, then your position is that oppression is good), skepticism ("both frameworks are wrong; therefore, 'permissibility'" is skep), trivialism, arguments that the other side cannot make arguments / that I should evaluate (any part of) the debate at the end of a speech other than the 2AR, or awful theory arguments. These arguments are bad for debate.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School
PV Peninsula High School
There was a time when I was really invested in the activity (I did policy) and this paradigm was longer and more nuanced, but those days are pretty far gone. I think the best debates happen when people are both passionate and informed about the arguments they read. The worst debates I’ve ever judged happen when neither side really wants to be there, and I honestly consider those a waste of my time.
I’m a chemistry major and read a LOT of science-related material in my spare time. If you like making arguments that depend on science or data, I expect you to have done the proper background research. If you’re debating against said arguments, disqualifying a source is everything (i.e. “this study doesn’t take into account X”, “that’s not how global warming models are made”, “that’s not how drugs work”, “here’s an article that takes into account Y and concluded the other way”, etc.)
Quality research is as valuable as quality debating
There is such a thing as absolute defense, and “any risk” logic is nonsense. Additionally, I’m skeptical of “shifting qualitative risk,” as I call it. “War is likely” doesn’t magically become “war is inevitable” just because it was dropped.
I lean slightly left-of-center on the economy, slightly right-of-center on trade, and fairly liberal on everything else.
I flow on paper.
While I do love coffee, if you see me with a cup of it in the round, please start slow.
I think affirmatives should actually do things. This is not the same as reading a plan text, though I used to read mostly "traditional" or "soft-left" affs, and I still really like those.
My favorite anime is Bungou Stray Dogs. I highly recommend it. Watch season 2, episodes 1-4 before season 1. Quality references are appreciated.
Case and topic-specific DA debates are cool.
I’m always down for a good theory or T debate. I hate frivolous T/theory arguments (and so should you).
I will not vote for the "ctrl+F language K." I will vote on the “what the fuck, you should never say that again” language K.
"If your strategy involves skep, permissibility, or some logical syllogism that relies upon analytic philosophy showing that the other side can't be proven, you probably don't want me as your judge" –Scott Wheeler
RVIs are an uphill battle. RVIs on T are like mountain climbing. If you don’t know how hard mountain climbing is, I can tell you a cool story about my biochem professor.
Someone told me I should have a line here about flashing, which makes me sad. I will dock 2 points if you intentionally don't provide a copy of your evidence to the other team prior to your speech.
Kant = :(
I debated at Northland Christian School on the Texas circuit and national circuit. I attended TFA State 4 times and TOC 3 times. I graduated in 2015.
I am fine with just about any arguments (obviously nothing morally repugnant). Speed is fine. I do struggle with dense philosophical positions, so slow down on tags or give me a quick overview in the rebuttal. As a debater, I enjoyed theory and util debates and feel most comfortable evaluating similar arguments, but proceed as you wish. Ask me any questions before the round and have fun!
I did LD successfully for four years on the national circuit for Walt Whitman High School in Maryland, graduating in 2010. I now coach at Whitman.
I will vote on any argument if you win it. Since my principal aim is to avoid intervening, it is very important for you to compare arguments. If debaters are extending arguments for competing claims, I won't do my own comparison between the arguments as long as one of the debaters has explained why I should prefer theirs. Explaining why I should prefer your argument requires giving some argument for why you are labeling it the way you are. I will not vote for you just because you label every framework argument as "precluding everything else" or every link into fairness as "controlling the internal link," etc. -- this sort of thing does not make you the better debater.
Speed is fine, but slow down on short analytics, especially spikes, interpretations, and violations, and complicated cards. I won't vote on arguments I couldn't flow the first time I heard them. I will say "clear" and "slow" if necessary, but that means I already missed something.
I don’t presume either way absent presumption arguments made by the debaters – I’ll vote for the side that requires me to do less work.
This is the LD paradigm. Do a Ctrl+F search for “Policy Paradigm” or “PF Paradigm” if you’re looking for those. They’re toward the bottom.
I debated LD in high school and policy in college. I coach LD, so I'll be familiar with the resolution.
If there's an email chain, you can assume I want to be on it. No need to ask. My email is: email@example.com. For online debates, NSDA file share is equally fine.
Summary for Prefs
I've judged 500+ LD rounds from novice locals to TOC finals. I don't much care whether your approach to the topic is deeply philosophical, policy-oriented, or traditional. I do care that you debate the topic. Frivolous theory or kritiks that shift the debate to some other proposition are inadvisable.
JanFeb '22 (Space) Thoughts
"Appropriation" is a term of art and is not equivalent to "everything vaguely space-related and involving private companies in some way."
Aside from that, this topic's wording is quite non-standard and a bit vague. I'm open to hearing debates about how similar or dissimilar "is unjust" is to "ought to be banned, as a policy," although I get annoyed by "this word in the topic means I don't have to defend X" when it's not coupled with a positive explanation of what you do defend.
Yale '21 Update
I've noticed an alarming uptick in cards that are borderline indecipherable based on the highlighted text alone. If the things you're saying aren't forming complete and coherent sentences, I am not going to go read the rest of the un-underlined text and piece it together for you.
Topicality is good. There's not too many other theory arguments I find plausible.
Most counterplan theory is bad and would be better resolved by a "Perm do the counterplan" challenge to competition. Agent "counterplans" are never competitive opportunity costs.
I don’t have strong opinions on most of the nuances of disclosure theory, but I do appreciate good disclosure practices. If you think your wiki exemplifies exceptional disclosure norms (open source, round reports, and cites), point it out before the round starts, and you might get +.1-.2 speaker points.
If the strategic value of your argument hinges almost entirely on your opponent missing it, misunderstanding it, or mis-allocating time to it, I would rather not hear it. I am quite willing to give an RFD of “I didn’t flow that,” “I didn’t understand that,” or “I don’t think these words in this order constitute a warranted argument.” I tend not to have the speech document open during the speech, so blitz through spikes at your own risk.
The above notwithstanding, I have no particular objection to voting for arguments with patently false conclusions. I’ve signed ballots for warming good, wipeout, moral skepticism, Pascal’s wager, and even agenda politics. What is important is that you have a well-developed and well-warranted defense of your claims. Rounds where a debater is willing to defend some idiosyncratic position against close scrutiny can be quite enjoyable. Be aware that presumption still lies with the debater on the side of common sense. I do not think tabula rasa judging requires I enter the round agnostic about whether the earth is round, the sky is blue, etc.
Warrant quality matters. Here is a non-exhaustive list of common claims I would not say I have heard a coherent warrant for: permissibility affirms, conditional logic, aff does not get perms, pretty much anything using the word “indexicals.”
I don’t know what the precise threshold for a “spike” or “trick” is supposed to be and so am generally skeptical of theory arguments claiming to indict them. I think I already naturally judge in a way that makes abuse of such tactics unstrategic, so you shouldn’t worry about needing to police your opponent’s use of them.
The neg’s burden is to negate the topic, not whatever word, claim, assumption, or framework argument you feel like.
Calling something a “voting issue” does not make it a voting issue.
The texts of most alternatives are too vague to vote for. It is not the opponent's burden to spend their cross-ex clarifying your advocacy for you.
I am pretty well-read in analytic philosophy, but the burden is still on you to explain your argument in a way that someone without prior knowledge could follow.
I am not well-read in continental philosophy, but read what you want as long as you can explain it and its relevance to the topic.
You cannot “theoretically justify” specific factual claims that you would like to pretend are true. If you want to argue that it would be educational to make believe util is true rather than actually making arguments for util being true, then you are welcome to make believe that I voted for you. Most “Roles of the Ballot” are just theoretically justified frameworks in disguise.
CX matters. If you can't or won't explain your arguments, you can't win on those arguments.
Regarding flex prep, using prep time for additional questions is fine; using CX time to prep is not.
LD paradigm ends here.
Yes I want to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
For debates on the NSDA Campus platform, Fire Share is equally fine.
Summary for Prefs
I qualified to the NDT a few times at GSU. I now actively coach and judge LD.
The affirmative should defend a topical USFG policy. The negative should prove that the status quo or a competitive USFG policy is preferable to the affirmative. I'll vote for arguments outside of those parameters if you win them, but I highly doubt I'm a good judge for them.
Quarry Lane is my first tournament judging Water, so assume close to zero knowledge of the topic and the meta, but I sure would love to judge some rounds that teach me new things about the details of water resources.
I don't think there's any numerical limit on the number of advocacies the neg can introduce, but I do have a strong distaste for underdeveloped arguments, so only include as many counterplans as you can make a full and complete argument for in the 1NC.
Neg leaning on cheaty counterplan theory. Aff leaning on cheaty counterplan competition. As aff leaning as it is possible to be on agent counterplan competition. An action by a different agent is never an opportunity cost.
I do find existential risk literature interesting, but I dislike the lazy strategy of reading a card that passingly references nuke war/terrorism/warming and tagging it as "extinction."
Straight turns are great turns.
Topics DAs >> Politics.
Topicality is important. It matters a lot to me that both sides have a fair chance to win the round. You should defend the topic that your opponents prepared to debate.
If you'd like to leverage some dense philosophy in support of a USFG policy, by all means go hog wild.
Very aff leaning on framework. Your burden is to prove that the plan is a bad idea, not that some assumption your opponent made is.
K alts: I will not vote for an argument I did not understand in the 1NC. I will not vote for an argument you spend half of cross-ex dodging questions about. These are general rules that apply to all arguments, but debaters seem to mistakenly believe kritik alternatives get a pass.
9 November 2018 Update (Peach State Classic @ Carrollton):
While my background is primarily in LD/Policy, I do not have a general expectation that you conform to LD/Policy norms. I do however prefer directly quoted evidence over paraphrasing.
I have zero tolerance for evidence fabrication. If I ask to see a source you have cited, and you cannot produce it or have not accurately represented it, you will lose the round with low speaker points.
My last paradigm was way overdue for a rehaul. Here are some things:
1. I'm an Emory student majoring in philosophy and biology. I love transhumanism.
2. I hate theory and will almost never vote on it unless it is actual abuse. I have seen rounds where someone runs theory because the aff didn't say resolved, but when asked in cross fire clarified. Don't run theory in front of my unless necessary.
3. Have a value structure.
4. On balance, I prefer traditional debate + speed. However, I understand for the most part this isn't always the case.
5. Impact yourself.
6. If I say clear more than once, I will probably dock speaker points. Also, if something isn't on my flow, I won't vote for it even if you said it.
7. Don't argue with me about my decision. Ask questions, clarifications, but know that my decision is final and can't be changed.
Finally, I understand this isn't really a paradigm, moreso a preference list. Ask me questions if you can intuit the answer from this. :)
Disclaimer: I am partially deaf in my left ear. While this has zero impact on my ability to flow in 99.9% of debates, exceptionally bad acoustics may force me to be closer than usual during speeches. In less exceptional circumstances, I may ask you to make minor adjustments (e.g. changing the angle of your laptop). I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.
· Debate Experience
o Lincoln-Douglas: 3 Years (Local / National Circuit)
o Policy Debate: 4 Years of College Policy Debate (Georgia State University)
o 2015 NDT Qualifier
o Coached By: Joe Bellon, Nick Sciullo, Erik Mathis
o Argument Style: Primarily Kritikal (Freshman / Sophomore Year). Switched To Primarily Policy Arguments (Junior / Senior Year)
o Caselist Link (I Was A 2N My Senior Year): http://opencaselist14.paperlessdebate.com/Georgia+State/Stewart-Nails+Neg
· Coaching Experience
o Lincoln-Douglas: 4 Years (Local / National Circuit)
o Policy Debate
§ University of Georgia – Graduate Assistant (3 Years)
§ Atlanta Urban Debate League (3 Years)
§ The Galloway School --- Tournament Coach (1 Year)
Debate is a game; my strongest belief is that debaters should be able to play the game however they want to play it. I remain committed to Tabula Rasa judging, and have yet to see an argument (claim/ warrant) I would not pull the trigger on. The only exception to this is if I could not coherently explain to the other team the warrant for the argument I'm voting on. Unless told otherwise, I will flow the debate, and vote, based on the line-by-line, for whomever I thought won the debate.
What follows are my general thoughts about arguments, because for some reason that's what counts as a "judging paradigm" these days. Everything that follows WILL be overridden by arguments made in the debate.
Not my strongest point as a judge. That does not mean that you should not run theory if that's your thing/ there's actual abuse/ it's the most strategic way out of the round. The easiest thing you can do to win my ballot on theory is to slow down and give an overview that sets up a clear way for me to evaluate the line-by-line. I have no default conception of how theory functions, it could be an issue of competing interpretations, an issue of reasonability, an RVI, or a tool of the patriarchy. Frame it the way you want it evaluated.
***Warning***: My LD background, where theory is much more common, means that I probably have a much lower threshold for pulling the trigger than you're used to. Defaults such as X is never a reason to reject the team, RVIs Bad, and a general disregard of Spec arguments aren't hardwired into me like the vast majority of the judging pool.
Shenanigans/ Weird Stuff:
I'm fine with whatever you choose to do in a debate round. Given my debate career, I've probably put myself in Death Good/ Omega Point-land for the rest of my life.
Not a judge to reconstruct debates after the 2AR. Substantial deference will be given to in-debate spin. If that's not enough for my decision, then I'll start reading more into card quality/ warrants.
Computer Issues/ In-Round Issues:
I'm an understanding person. We'll stop the clock, resolve the issue/ wait an appropriate amount of time.
Read 'em. While I'm personally a big fan of process CPs/ PICs, I generally default to letting the literature determine CP competition/ legitimacy. If you have a kickass solvency advocate, then I will probably lean your way on most theoretical issues. On the other hand, as a former 2A, I sympathize with 2AC theory against CPs against which it is almost impossible to generate solvency deficits. 2ACs should not be afraid to bow up on CP theory in the 1AR.
Specific DAs/ links trump generic DAs/ links absent substantial Negative spin. Love DAs with odd impact scenarios/ nuanced link stories.
I functionally never read this as a debater, but my time coaching at UGA has brought me up to speed. Slow down/ clearly flag key points/ evidence distinctions in the 2NR/ 2AR.
Read it. Strategic tool that most 2Ns uderutilize. Rarely hear a nuanced argument for reasonability; the T violation seems to prove the 1AC is unreasonable...
I do not personally agree with the majority of Kritiks. However, after years of graduate school and debate, I've read large amount of Kritikal literature, and, if you run the K well, I'm a good judge for you. Increasingly irritated with 2ACs that fail to engage the nuance of the K they're answering (Cede the Political/ Perm: Double-Bind isn't enough to get you through a competently extended K debate). Similarly irritated with 2NCs that debate the K like a politics DA. Finally, 2ACs are too afraid to bow up on the K, especially with Impact Turns. I often end up voting Negative on the Kritik because the 2AC got sucked down the rabbit hole and didn't remind there was real-world outside of the philosophical interpretation offered by the K.
You're better off reading this as policymaking good/ pragmatism offense to prefer the plan versus the alternative than a reason to exclude the K entirely. Generally skeptical of 2ACs that claim the K isn't within my jurisdiction/ is super unfair.
Often end up voting Negative because the Affirmative strategically mishandles the FW of the K. Generally skeptical of K FW's that make the plan/ the real-world disappear entirely.
***Non-Traditional Preferences/ Clash of Civilization Debates***
Clash of Civilization Debates:
Enjoy these debates; I will probably judge alot of them. The worst thing you can do is overadapt. DEBATE HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEBATE. My favorite debate that I ever watched was UMW versus Oklahoma, where UMW read a giant Hegemony advantage versus Oklahoma's 1-off Wilderson. I've been on both sides of the clash debate, and I respect both sides. I will just as easily vote on Framework/ the Community PIC, as use my ballot to resist anti-blackness in debate.
Traditional ("Policy" Teams):
DO YOU. Traditional teams should not be afraid to double-down against K 1ACs,/ Big K 1NCs either via Framework or Impact Turns.
Framework (As "T"):
Never read this as a debater, but I've become more sympathetic to arguments about how the the resolution as a starting point is an important procedural constraint that can capture some of the pedagogical value of a Kritikal discussion. As a former 2N, I am sympathetic to limits arguments given the seemingly endless proliferation of K 1ACs with a dubious relationship to the topic. Explain how your interpretation is an opportunity cost of the 1ACs approach, and how you solve the 2ACs substantive offense (i.e. critical pedagogy/ our performance is important, etc.).
Non-Traditional ("Performance"/ "K" Teams):
As someone who spent a semester reading a narrative project about welcoming veterans into debate, I'm familiar with the way these arguments function, and I feel that they're an integral part of the game we call debate. However, that does not mean I will vote for you because you critiqued X-ism; what is your method, and how does it resolve the harms you have isolated? I am greatly frustrated by Kritik Teams that rely on obfuscation as a strategic tool---- even the Situationist International cared deeply about the political implications of their project.
The closer you are to the topic/ the clearer your Affirmative is in what it defends, the more I'm down with the Affirmative. While I generally think that alternative approaches to debate are important discussions to be had, if I can listen to the 1AC and have no idea what the Affirmative does, what it defends, or why it's a response to the Topic beyond nebulous claims of resisting X-ism, then you're in a bad spot. Explain how your Counter-Interp solves their theoretical offense, or why your permutation doesn't link to their limits/ ground standards.
Is important. I am generally confused by teams that claim to impact turn fairness/ education. Your arguments are better articulated as INL-turns (i.e. X-ism/ debate practice is structurally unfair). Debate at some level is a game, and you should explain how your version of the game allows for good discussion/ an equal playing field for all.
After being forced to decide an elimination debate on a card-clipping accusation during the 2015 Barkley Forum (Emory), I felt it necessary to establish clarity/ forewarning for how I will proceed if this unfortunate circumstance happens again. While I would obviously prefer to decide the debate on actual substantive questions, this is the one issue where I will intervene. In the event of an ethics accusation, I will do the following:
1) Stop the debate. I will give the accusing team a chance to withdraw the accusation or proceed. If the accusation stands, I will decide the debate on the validity of the accusation.
2) Consult the Tabroom to determine any specific tournament policies/ procedures that apply to the situation and need to be followed.
3) Review available evidence to decide whether or not an ethics violation has taken place. In the event of a clipping accusation, a recording or video of the debate would be exceptionally helpful. I am a personal believer in a person being innocent until proven guilty. Unless there's definitive evidence proving otherwise, I will presume in favor of the accused debater.
4) Drop the Debater. If an ethics violation has taken place, I will drop the offending team, and award zero speaker points. If an ethics violation has not occurred, I will drop the team that originally made the accusation. The purpose of this is to prevent frivolous/ strategic accusations, given the very real-world, long-lasting impact such an accusation has on the team being accused.
5) Ethics Violations (Update): Credible, actual threats of violence against the actual people in the actual debate are unacceptable, as are acts of violence against others. I will drop you with zero speaker points if either of those occur. Litmus Test: There's a difference between wipeout/ global suicide alternatives (i.e. post-fiat arguments) and actually punching a debater in the face (i.e. real-world violence).
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.