2015 — CT/US
Public Forum Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I did PF for Walt Whitman and graduated in 2013. I coached at Whitman for threee years, and Riverdale Country School for one year
Speed and technical debate are both fine with me, but you need to be clear. This means signposting, warranting your arguments, and weighing explicitly. I am not going to do work for you, so if you don’t literally tell me why I should vote on something I will not vote on it. I am not going to do any analysis that you do not do for me in your speeches.
I am open to any type of argument. That being said, I can be easily persuaded by opponents’ claims that particular interpretations are unfair ways to view resolutions. If you do anything risky, you need to be able to A) defend why what you’re doing is fair and B) obviously win it if you want me to vote on it. The one caveat to this is if you run anything that is discriminatory in any way (racist, sexist, classist, etc.) I will get really, really angry. Please do not do this, I don’t want to hear your genocide is good contention even if you are down four and not breaking.
If you are first summary, I do not need you to extend defense on arguments that your opponents’ have not gotten to go back to in their rebuttal. If your opponents do not answer that defense in their summary, I am fine as having that as a reason not to vote for them on that argument as long as you extend/explain that they didn’t answer that response in your ff. Any offense you want to go for in final focus need to be in first summary though, including turns on their case (if you don’t extend the turn in your first summary, but extend it in final focus I can evaluate it as defense on their argument but I won’t vote on it).
If you are second summary, you know what your opponents are going for so my standard is a little higher. Any defense you want to extend in final focus need to be in your summary. Only exception to this is if your opponents switch what they are going for in their first final focus (don’t do this please), and you need to remind me that they never answered the defense you had put on that argument.
Weighing needs to be comparative or superlative in some way. The structure should generally be phrased as x is more important than y because or x is the mot important issue in the round because not just x is important because.
I'm from south florida and I did high school debate for four years (shoutout to St. Thomas BS). I love PF and the way I judge is pretty straight forward.
Have you ever watched a finals round and wondered why the competitors don't spread? It's because this is PF. If you're spreading you're doing something wrong. Public forum is not about reading evidence quickly, it's about using evidence intelligently.
If you do not sign post in your case I will be very sad; especially if you're going to ignore my advice about reading quickly.
The "tabula rasa" Judge Myth:
There's no such thing as a truly "blank slate" judge. I am not a blank slate. I will not take whatever you say at face value. If you say something that is outlandishly ridiculous, even if you're reading a card, you need to support whatever it is that you're saying with a solid explanation. It's not up to your opponents to prove you wrong, its up to you to prove yourself right. If you can do that though, then I'm all ears.
Use of Evidence:
Evidence is good. Logic is good. Logical evidence that is used effectively is great. Teams should read cards only when it is fundamental to the development of their argument. If you read a card and then never use it, it makes you look sloppy. Don't be sloppy. Read a card, explain it, interpret it, and then expand on it. I will read cards if your opponents call for it, and I'll probably call for cards myself. If you lie about evidence, or use a card so as to misconstrue the authors original intent, I will hate you forever, drop your lying ass, and call your mom to tell her what you did.
Impacts, Weighing, and Framework:
I like when teams get creative. Pre-fiat impacts, discourse arguments, and alternative frameworks are all awesome. This resolution has the word "ought" in it. Please, for the love of God, talk about morality. When it comes to the final focus, you don't have to reread every card you used to make an argument, but if you don't even mention the argument at all, I can't weigh it. This is why good sign posting and organization early on is so important. Instead of having to waste time being redundant, you can say "Let's discuss the impacts of our first contention," and then go on to weigh or clarify your C1. I haven't forgotten what you said in your earlier speeches, you don't need to simply repeat yourself.
Best of luck!
I am a Debate Coach at Charlotte Latin. Have been coaching all types of debate (except Policy), but most specifically Public Forum.
Email Chain: email@example.com
1. Judge and Coach mostly Traditional styles.
2. Am ok with speed/spreading but should only be used for depth of coverage really.
3. LARP/Trad/Topical Ks/T > Theory/Tricks/Non-topical Ks
4. The rest is largely similar to PF judging:
- "Flow” judge I guess, can follow the fastest PF debater but dont use speed unless you have too.**
- I am not a calculator. Your win is still determined by your ability to persuade me on the importance of the arguments you are winning not just the sheer number of arguments you are winning. This is a communication event so do that, with some humor and panache.
- I have a high threshold for theory arguments to be valid in PF. Unless there is in round abuse, I probably won’t vote for a frivolous shell. So I would avoid reading most of the trendy theory arguments in PF.
5 Things to Remember…
Sign Post/Road Maps (this does not include “I will be going over my opponent’s case and if time permits I will address our case”)
After constructive speeches, every speech should have organized narratives and each response should either be attacking entire contention level arguments or specific warrants/analysis. Please tell me where to place arguments otherwise they get lost in limbo. If you tell me you are going to do something and then don’t in a speech, I do not like that.
I will evaluate arguments under frameworks that are consistently extended and should be established as early as possible. If there are two frameworks, please decide which I should prefer and why. If neither team provides any, I default evaluate all arguments under a cost/benefit analysis.
Don’t just extend card authors and tag-lines of arguments, give me the how/why of your warrants and flesh out the importance of why your impacts matter. Summary extensions must be present for Final Focus extension evaluation. Defense to Final Focus ok if you are first speaking team, but you should be discussing the most important issues in every speech which may include early defense extensions.
I would prefer if you DO NOT paraphrase; you can, but you leave your evidence interpretation up to me. Tell me what your evidence says and then explain its role in the round.
Narrow the 2nd half of the round down to the key contention-level impact story or how your strategy presents cohesion and some key answers on your opponents’ contentions/case.
SPEAKER POINT BREAKDOWNS
"30: Excellent job, you demonstrate stand-out organizational skills and speaking abilities. Ability to use creative analytical skills and humor to simplify and clarify the round.
29: Very strong ability. Good eloquence, analysis, and organization. A couple minor stumbles or drops.
28: Above average. Good speaking ability. May have made a larger drop or flaw in argumentation but speaking skills compensate. Or, very strong analysis but weaker speaking skills.
27: About average. Ability to function well in the round, however analysis may be lacking. Some errors made.
26: Is struggling to function efficiently within the round. Either lacking speaking skills or analytical skills. May have made a more important error.
25: Having difficulties following the round. May have a hard time filling the time for speeches. Large error.
Below: Extreme difficulty functioning. Very large difficulty filling time or offensive or rude behavior."
***Speaker Points break down borrowed from Mollie Clark.***
I have been judging PF since 2010.
Please do not speak quickly - I will not be able to follow you.
I place a premium on well-supported, "real-world" links, which are to me a prerequisite to your impact, no matter how large.
I am a judge from Newton South HS, just outside of Boston, MA. I have been judging PF since 2010. I debated in high school in the early 80s. But don’t let that fool you.
FLOWING – I can flow SOMEWHAT faster than conversational speed. As you go faster, however, my comprehension drops. In addition to speed, I have trouble with the following: (1) Evidence tags: Because I am unable to catch most evidence tags, I probably won’t know what you are talking about when you remind me that “Smith in 17” told me something important in your partner’s last speech – unless Smith is a big deal in the round and you have talked a lot about that evidence. (2) Short argument tags, especially in the two-minute speeches, in which debaters often introduce their own argumentation structure. If you say something like, “On economic growth, remember…”, I will end up spending 5-10 seconds trying to figure out what “economic growth” argument you are referring to (and perhaps even what side of the resolution you are on). As a result, I may miss a few of your responses. It’s more helpful if you build a bit of the link chain into your tag. For example – “Our opponents say more H-1b visas boost jobs and hence economic growth, but remember…”
IMPACTS AND LINKS – I find that which side wins my ballot often depends more on link credibility than on impact magnitude. If I don’t find your link chain compelling, I will have a hard time voting for you, even if there’s something very big at the end of that chain. Argumentation that contributes to link chain credibility includes: (1) Inferences based on rigorous analysis of empirical data – i.e., a well-designed statistical analysis. If you can explain why the data in the analysis apply to (i.e., can be generalized to) the scenario being debated in the round, and why the statistical methods mitigate the risk of invalid inferences, I will find you to be compelling. (2) Consistency with history / the world we live in – For a lot of arguments, there are no rigorously conducted statistical analyses. For example, for few statistical studies look at how policies may influence public opinion, politicians, the policies of other countries, and so forth. But if you can identify pertinent historical precedents and argue that they inform the scenario being debated in the round, I will again find you to be compelling.
LESS COMPELLING ARGUMENTS – (1) Just because Professor Smith says something is true won’t necessarily convince me unless I understand *the basis* for Professor Smith’s beliefs. Yes, I’m looking for a warrant. But hopefully, you have more than your *own* explanation for Professor Smith’s conclusion. It’s best to show me that your evidence presents a coherent story with both warrants and resulting conclusions that support your argument. (2) Pasting together links from different sources often produces less compelling arguments. For example, Source A tells us that certain policies are politically divisive; Source B says that political division leads to federal gridlock; and Source C says that gridlock delays funding for the military and undermines national security, which, naturally, causes nuclear war. A problem with this sort of link chain in my mind is that the different sources use similar phrases to describe various types of events, but they aren’t really talking about the same things. For example, is the “divisiveness” described in Source A really equivalent to the “political division” described in Source B? And is the political division described in Source B emblematic of what has caused gridlock, as documented in Source C? If your opponent fleshes out these limitations, and if they have an alternative, more plausible description of how the real world works, that could be a problem for your position.
BOTTOM LINE – Fast argumentation challenges my ability to follow you. Stretched link chains challenge my tendency to believe you. You are best off presenting an intuitive narrative (i.e., a story that is consistent with how the “real world” works) and using that narrative as your foundation for establishing why your position is more credible than your opponent’s.
Lay judge/teacher chaperone
-enjoy a civil flow not too fast.
I competed in PF my freshman year, LD my sophomore year, Congress my junior year, and DP/Duo/OI my senior year. I know all of the debate terms. If you spread, I will drop you, end of story. I value presentation, but obviously in a debate round logic reigns supreme. Don't get bogged down by the little arguments; focus on winning the resolution war, not the small battle over a tiny fact.
Hello, I have not judged this semester. Please be kind to each other.
I am old and cannot flow speed particularly well but will do my best to keep up.
Theory is okay if it checks abuse, but I don't like it if it's frivolous. I will always caution that I may not follow Ks as well as you do, so read them at your own risk.
I will call for evidence if it sounds too good to be true and reserve the right to disregard entire arguments if the evidence is particularly miscut.
Argumentation/debate teacher and Assistant Speech Coach at Cornell University. I previously ran Public Forum and taught full-time at Delbarton School in New Jersey. I have six years of coaching experience, four years of competitive high school experience in PF on the Missouri circuit, and three years of competitive limited prep/public address experience with Seton Hall University on the AFA individual events circuit. This "clashing of worlds" lends itself to a demanding paradigm: wins come from winning arguments, speaker points from SPEAKING WELL. Forensics is an activity rooted in the communication arts; thus, I have a few deep-seated preferences:
- Spreading is punishable by death. A saliva-filled gasp for breath is unlikely to persuade a jury during closing arguments.
- Debate jargon should be limited.
- Crossfire is annoying. I would rather swim in lava than listen to Grand Crossfire.
- I am not opposed to low point wins.
The route to my ballot is winning the flow as per the winning framework. The route to a speaker award is arguing like a PFer while speaking like an extemper. Plain and simple. I am a somewhat traditional PF judge, but I appreciate a (VERY) well-linked critical argument. Complaints about a legitimate pre-fiat issue will be dismissed quickly if you simply don't understand its nuances. Similarly, fiat can only exist when the resolution involves a policy or a political pivot.
- My sympathies to the first rebuttal speaker. Your life sucks. I do not expect you to make every correct extension from your case, partly because you speak before your opponent responds to the case. I will accept a first-speaking team extending evidence case to summary. Do not abuse this privilege. Extensions can just be author name/what author said.
- I don't flow CX. Mention any occurance of note in another speech.
- If you don't signpost well enough, I will be looking for where you are on the flow. I will miss things you say. Those things might decide the round.
- I'm an open book. If I grimace rudely at you, it means I think your argument is non-responsive and wrote N/R on my flow. Adapt to me both before and during the round, or go for the other two judges on a panel.
- As your lowly judge, I require strict instructions. I won't do ink-work for you. "Extend ____". "Turn _____". "Stop playing ________ during our crossfire".
- I won't weigh for you. If you don't specifically tell me why your argument is more important than your opponent's, I will play argument roulette.
- My mind is usually made up by final focus. Do not wait until then to say important things.
I hate it. It's the part of the round where two and sometimes (gulp) four competitors shout about things like warrants and net benefit without accomplishing anything. More often than not, everyone in the room is rude. It's when I check my text messages and the score of the Knicks game. You can convince me not to ignore crossfire simply by being calm and respectful to one another.
- Below 25 ----- You did something that offended me.
- 25-25.5 ------- You were an ineffective speaker with vocal fillers all over the place. You struggled to get through your speeches. The speech performance was a distraction to your content.
- 26-26.5 --------You showed developing speaking skills, but still lacked the tools employed by an effective speaker. The speech performance was sometimes a distraction to your content.
- 27-27.5 --------You were an average speaker.
- 28 -------------- You were a good speaker who shows developing mastery of speaking skills. The speech performance sometimes supplemented your content.
- 28.5 ------------ You were the same as a 28, but did something else to make me want you to break even more.
- 29 --------------- You were a great speaker who has mostly mastered speaking skills. The speech performance unquestionably added to your content.
- 29.5 ------------ You were the same as a 29, but did something else to make me want you to break even more.
- 30 -------------- I believe you are one of the best speakers on the national circuit.
- Harvard didn't write the study. Someone affiliated with Harvard did. Use the author name.
- Metaphors which turn into solliloquies and equally absurd responses to them. Analogies should take no more than 20 words to explain. Do not ask someone in crossfire if it's okay to kill a baby.
- Talking during your opponent's speeches. You have notepads. Write each other notes like you do in class.
- Asking me how much prep time you have. If you're not prepped for prep time, it won't do you any good.
That's about it. Ask me pre-round if I didn't cover something here.
I cannot flow spreading, so please don't do it.
In making arguments you cannot skip any steps. I know how to evaluate debates, but I am new to LD, so there are lots of arguments that most LD judges know all about that I am unfamiliar with. That does not mean you can't run them in front of me - you just have to be able to fully explain everything part of the argument, avoid jargon where possible, and be crystal clear about why you winning it matters for the round.
- Please time yourselves
- I appreciate concision, but I think evidence too often gets misconstrued when it's paraphrased. I understand paraphrasing is common now, so I reserve the right to check evidence at the end of the round even if the evidence is not challenged by the debaters (I won't look for holes in the evidence - I just want to make sure what was said matches the original writing).
- I accept logical defensive responses made in crossfire as part of the flow. Cross is still not for reading cards.
- I don't think defense needs to be extended in late round speeches unless it is answered. The alternative to this would be to allow extensions through ink, which is wrong.
- I try my best to flow. I won't vote for things I don't understand. I don't want to keep you in the dark about whether or not I understand something, so my face should give away when I am confused.
- If multiple arguments flow through to the end of the round and there isn't good, explicit weighing, I will vote for the argument that was best constructed/most persuasive to me. Since how I feel about arguments is pretty nebulous, you should weigh early and often. Do not leave it for the last moment. If you can't think of anything productive to do in crossfire, set up weighing mechanisms.
Some of you may know me as Zachary's Mom. Yes, I'm a "mom judge," but don't despair. I will do my level best to flow the round competently.
This will be my sixth year judging PF, so I'm am not a novice anymore. I do, however, like to keep it simple.
Please give me your case in a logical format and give me the reasons why I should vote for you. Please don't speak super fast, since that just makes my head spin and I won't be able to follow your brilliant arguments as easily.
If you don't extend in summary, I can't weigh it. (How's that for debate jargon?)
Lastly, please be professional and courteous to each other. No eye-rolling, tongues hanging out, general snottiness. I don't appreciate that. Win with grace and class.
I am a current APDA debater and former national circuit PFer. I evaluate off the flow, but will not credit arguments if critical links are missing. I am more sympathetic to analytical claims than most judges. You do not have to extend defense past rebuttal, but if you want me to vote on an offensive claim, please extend it into final focus.
Richard Haber, Chagrin Falls High School.
firstname.lastname@example.org For any e-mail chains during round (specifically for Virtual Tournaments)
I am a practicing Trial Attorney and have practiced law for nearly 30 years. I also coach of Public Forum and have done so for 8 years. With respect to LD, I assist LD debaters as needed and judge when required though I am admittedly more experienced with Public Forum.
I can handle a fair amount of speed, but please exercise some common sense with pace. Do not spread. If I am judging (Whether PF or LD) you may assume I am familiar with the topic which will certainly help me follow your argumentation. Nevertheless, I believe the judge should judge as if he/she has no prior knowledge about the topic. Thus, you will win or lose the round based upon what happens in the round. If you advocate a position that I know is not correct based upon my own review of the topic I may note it as an NVI, but it will only impact the round if your opponent calls you on it. I will not intervene in rendering a decision.
As a practicing attorney, I value professionalism. I expect debaters to be professional, respect your opponents and facilitate the exchange of ideas.
Generally, I decide the round on who persuades me. It is not a question of how many argument you win, but which arguments you win, the impacts of those arguments and how you weigh them. I am a flow judge and will track the round. If you do not respond to a contention of your opponent, you risk losing the argument, and if important in the weight of the round it could result in a loss. However, just because your opponent fails to respond to a contention or sub-contention, does not mean you win the issue. You must still persuade me why it matters.
As a trial lawyer, I think evidence is important, but it is equally important to me to logically extend your evidence. Please explain why your evidence is more important or impactful than the evidence that your opponent inevitably will argue in response. I view Summary as the opportunity to reset the round. Structure the round for me as the judge and tell me what I should be looking for through the rest of the round. It may require you rebut additional points, but in the end, start to focus and weigh the round on the 2 to 3 key issues that I will be voting on.
You should extend your case and arguments throughout the round. If you don't extend, I will assume you are dropping a contention (assuming opponent rebutted). Do not lay in wait until second speaker final focus to extend the argument - though I understand the strategy, I prefer teams debate the issues that matter, rather than prevail on a failure to debate.
To this end, cross-fire is not an opportunity to filibuster. It is intended as an exchange of ideas. Your opponent's response to a well framed question can be far more impactful to me, than refusing to allow them to answer. If they are evasive, I will get it.
You should be careful running theory or kritiks. Though I will not "drop" you for running theory or kritik, I am not a fan of avoiding the clash on the topic.
I will consider arguments raised in grand crossfire if reasonable in the flow of the round because your opponent can respond in grand cross and final focus. I will not consider new evidence or arguments raised in either final focus.
The best speakers may not always win. The team with the best reasoned arguments, offering the greatest reasonably extended impacts will prevail on my ballot.
Generally, speaking I am not as familiar with (or fond) of progressive debate). I will not automatically vote you down if you offer progressive arguments, but it will require you offer greater explanation why I should accept your arguments/position if it is not embracing the actual subject of the debate.
Because I am a trial lawyer, and because of my PF background, use of evidence, and explanation of evidence, a logical extension of this evidence and warranting about why it connects with your position is always well received. I don't like listing of evidence in PF without explanation, simply citing to evidence without some explanation of its importance does little to advance the ball for me in LD as well. I value strong logical links as much as evidentiary links.
I will flow the round. I will vote off of my flow. I will flow your CX to the extent that you make/establish point in furtherance of your case. Ultimately, I will decide the round on the debater that overall convinces me of their position. Please note, I view debate as an exchange of ideas. Engage your opponent's warrants, while furthering your own. Impacts matter when weighing warrants which may both be true.
I decide based on the most important arguments in the round, so I will not penalize a debater for failing to cover every sketchy claim put out by an opponent. I strongly prefer crystallization and voting issues in NR and 2AR.
I am tabula rasa. Speed is fine.Open CX OK, open rebuttal NOT OK. Will vote on T only if it is clearly untopical- FXT is of more interest. OK with K but Alts need to be actionable.
tl;dr - tech and speed good, but I'm not doing work for you. The resolution must be in the debate. Email chain: havenforensics (at) gmail - but I'm not reading along. I tab more than I judge, but I'm involved in research. Last update: 6/10/21
Head Coach of Strath Haven HS since 2012. We do all events.
Previously coach at Park View HS 2009-11, assistant coach at Pennsbury HS 2002-06 (and beyond)
Competitor at Pennsbury HS 1998-2002, primarily Policy
I like a quick, technical debate (due to my Policy background) - if I was starting debate today, I would be a PFer. Major difference from what I used to do is that in PF drops are not death because of the weird way speeches match up. But you should warrant and impact your claims throughout the debate so I don't have to! Speed is good when it gets us depth, not as much if it gets us breadth.
1st Rebuttal should be line-by-line on their case; 2nd Rebuttal should frontline at least major offense, but 2nd Summary is too late for dumps of new arguments.
With 3 minutes, the Summary is probably also line-by-line, but perhaps not on every issue. Summary needs to ditch some issues so you can add depth, not just tag lines. If it isn't in Summary, it probably isn't getting flowed in Final Focus, unless it is a direct response to a new argument in 2nd Summary.
Final Focus should continue to narrow down the debate to tell me a story about why you win. Refer to specific spots on the flow, though LBL isn't strictly necessary (you just don't have time). I'll weigh what you say makes you win vs what they say makes them win - good idea to play some defense, but see above about drops.
With a Policy background, I will listen to framework, theory, and T arguments - though I will frown at all of those because I really want a solid case debate. I do not believe counterplans or kritiks have a place in PF.
You win a lot of points with me calling out shady evidence, and conversely by using good evidence. You lose a lot of points by being unable to produce the evidence you read quickly. If I call for a card, I expect it to be cut.
I don't care which side you sit on or when you stand, and I find the post-round judge handshake to be silly and unnecessary.
tl;dr: Look at me if you are traditional/LARP. Strike me if you don't talk about the topic or only read abstract French philosophers or rely on going for blippy trash arguments that mostly work due to being undercovered.
My LD experience is mostly local or regional, though I coach circuit debaters. Thus, I'm comfortable with traditional, value-centered LD and util/policy/solvency LD. If you are going traditional, value clash obviously determines the round, but don't assume I know more than a shallow bit of philosophy.
I probably prefer "LARP" debates, but not if you are trying to fit an entire college policy round into LD times - there just isn't time to develop 4 off in your 7 minute constructive, and I have to give the aff some leeway in rebuttals since there is no constructive to answer neg advocacies.
All things considered, I would rather you defend the whole resolution (even if you want to specify a particular method) rather than a tiny piece of it, but that's what T debates are for I guess (I like T debates). If we're doing plans, then we're also doing CPs, and I'm familiar with all your theory arguments as long as I can flow them.
If somehow you are a deep phil debater and I end up as the judge, you probably did prefs wrong, but I'll do my best to understand - know that I hate it when debaters take a philosophers work and chop it up into tiny bits that somehow mean I have to vote aff. There should be a real clear topical connection that you can explain to me, not because LD is to train future lawyers talking to regular people, but because I can't digest your entire philosopher in the tiny pieces you are feeding me.
If you are a tricks debater, um, don't. Arguments have warrants and a genuine basis in the resolution.
In case it isn't clear from all the rest of the paradigm, I'm a hack for framework if one debater decides not to engage the resolution.
Update for TOC '19: it has been awhile since I've judged truly competitive, circuit Policy. I have let my young alumni judge an event dominated by young alumni. I will still enjoy a quality policy round, but my knowledge of contemporary tech is lacking. Note that I'm not going to backflow from your speech doc, and I'm flowing on paper, so you probably don't want to go your top speed.
1. The role of the ballot must be stable and predictable and lead to research-based clash. The aff must endorse a topical action by the government. For all of the flaws in the structure of debate and the debate community, this is the only way to have a productive debate. You cannot create a role of the ballot based on the thing you want to talk about if that thing is not part of the topic; you cannot create a role of the ballot where your opponent is forced to defend that racism is good or that racism does not exist; you cannot create a role of the ballot where the winner is determined by performance, not argumentation. And, to be fair to the aff, the neg cannot create a role of the ballot where aff loses because they talked about the topic and not about something else.
2. I am a policymaker at heart. I want to evaluate the cost/benefit of plan passage vs. status quo/CP/alt. Discourse certainly matters, but a) I'm biased on a framework question to using fiat or at least weighing the 1AC as an advocacy of a policy, and b) a discursive link had better be a real significant choice of the affirmative with real implications if that's all you are going for. "Using the word exploration is imperialist" isn't going to get very far with me. Links of omission are not links.
I can shift to other paradigms, however, I have never been able to get into abstract philosophy, especially at the speed of a policy round. I understand how critical arguments work and enjoy them when grounded in the topic/aff, and when the alternative would do something. Just as the plan must defend a change in the status quo, so must the alt - otherwise you've got a non-unique philosophical disad.
3. Fairness matters. I believe that the policymaking paradigm only makes sense in a world where each side has a fair chance at winning the debate, so I will happily look to procedural/T/theory arguments before resolving the substantive debate. I will not evaluate an RVI or that some moral/kritikal impact "outweighs" the T debate. I will listen to any other aff reason not to vote on T.
I like T and theory debates. The team that muddles those flows will incur my wrath in speaker points. Don't just read a block in response to a block, do some actual debating, OK? I definitely have a lower-than-average threshold to voting on a well-explained T argument since no one seems to like it anymore.
Notes for any event
1. Clash, then resolve it. Clash is important. Don't structurally avoid clash. But you also have to resolve the issues of clash. The last rebuttals should provide all interpretation for me and write my ballot, with me left simply to choose which side is more persuasive or carries the key point. I want to make fair, predictable, and non-interventionist decisions, which requires you to do all my thinking for me. I don't want to read your evidence, I don't want to think about how to apply it, I don't want to interpret your warrants - I want you to do all of those things! The debate should be over when the debate ends.
2. Warrants are good. "I have a card" is not a persuasive argument; nor is a tag-line extension. The more warrants you provide, the fewer guesses I have to make, and the fewer arguments I have to connect for you, the more predictable my decision will be. I want to know what your evidence says and why it matters in the round. You do not, for example, get a risk of a link simply by saying it is a link. Warrantless arguments aren't worth a whole lot. Defensive arguments are good, especially when connected to impact calculus. I don't reject shaky evidence out of hand - but defense can win rounds.
3. Speed. Speed for argument depth is good, speed for speed's sake is bad. I hate voting on the dropped #14 or watching the 1AR get outspread with 8 blippy disads. Clarity is important. My threshold is that you should slow down on tags and theory so I can write it down, and so long as I can hear English words in the body of the card, you should be fine. I will yell if I can't understand you. If you don't get clearer, the arguments I can't hear will get less weight at the end of the round, if they make it on the flow at all. I'm not anti-speed, but I'm not reading the speech doc, I'm just flowing and listening.
4. Finally, I think debate is supposed to be both fun and educational. I am an educator and a coach; I'm happy to be at the tournament. But I also value sleep and my family, so make sure what you do in round is worth all the time we are putting into being there. Imagine that I brought some new novice debaters and my superintendent (she loves LD!) to watch the round with me. If you are bashing debate or advocating for suicide or other things I wouldn't want 9th graders new to my program to hear, you aren't going to have a happy judge. Don't take yourselves too seriously, but don't waste my time.
I am more than happy to elaborate on this paradigm or answer any questions in round.
I am a parent judge from Hunter College High School. I have been judging for a few years now. Please speak slowly and clearly, no jargon. You should concentrate on the 1-2 most relevant arguments at the end of the round and point out to me why I should vote on those. If you want to win off of an argument, please highlight it in the summary and reiterate it in the final focus speeches. Please be civil to your competitors.
I went to the TOC 3x, have worked at CBI and Capitol, and have coached Bronx Science and Scarsdale. Please believe me when I say I can understand fast and technical debate but I absolutely abhor it and my decision will reflect that. I want you to treat me as if I am a small child, or maybe a Labrador, and make things excruciatingly, brain-deaddeningly simple for me.
LD: I do NOT believe is SPREADING. This technique of speaking does not show your ability to be clear and use concise arguments. If you spread, I will miss your points and then most likely, you will not get the win. Competitors should have clash in the debate round. Since this is a philosophical debate, I would expect to hear which philosopher reflects your value/criterion and explain the connection. Stating voting issue at the end of the round is very important. Also, competitors must support their V and VC in their speeches.
I am a parent of a Hunter College High School PF debater. I have judged both LD and PF, with more experience in LD. I can handle speed, but probably not full on spreading.
I can be sympathetic to arguments over frame and theory. But, in my opinion, the main ethical context in a debate round is the round itself. So any arguments about frame and theory, or alleged abusiveness, should be shown to be rooted in the resolution itself or in the conduct of the round being debated.
Signposting can be either implicit or explicit. Dropped arguments are more of a factor when they are shown to be important arguments rather than tangential ones. A coherent account of voting issues is very useful to me as a judge, as is weighing of impacts.
Currently Assistant Coach for Washburn Rural (KS)
Formerly Assistant Coach at Lake Highland (FL), and Head Coach of Fairmont Prep (CA), Ransom Everglades (FL) & Pembroke Hill (MO)
Coached for nearly 20 years – Have coached all events. Have coached both national circuit policy & PF.
Address for the email chain: email@example.com
Scroll down for Policy Paradigm
Public Forum Paradigm
- If you want me to evaluate anything in the final focus you MUST extend it in the summary. That includes case attacks.
- Absent any other framing arguments, I will default to a utilitarian offense/defense paradigm.
- Narrow the 2nd half of the round down to one key contention-level impact story and 1-2 key answers on your opponents’ case.
- No new cards in 2nd Summary. No new cards in 1st Summary unless directly in response to new 2nd Rebuttal arguments.
- Make sure you evidence really says what you say it does.
- 2nd Rebuttal should rebuild + extend any portions of case they want to go for in FF.
- For virtual debates, don't go quite so fast. The tech doesn't do quite as well in effectively conveying a pace of delivery that I normally would have no problem with in person.
1. Summary extension
If you want me to evaluate anything in the final focus you MUST extend it in the summary. Yes, that includes defense & turns from the rebuttal. In fact, that especially includes defense & turns from the rebuttal. If you want to go for it in the FF, make sure your partner knows to extend it. Even if it is the best argument I’ve ever heard, failure to at least mention it in the summary will result in me giving the argument zero weight in my decision. Basically, too many 2nd speakers just ignore their partner’s summary speech. Attempting to extend things that were clearly dropped in the Summary will result in a lowering of speaker points for the 2nd speaker. This is # 1 on my list for a reason. It plays a major factor in more than half of my decisions. Ignore this advice at your own peril.
1A. 2nd Rebuttal Rebuild
Everything I just said about Summary also goes for 2nd Rebuttal. Anything you want me to evaluate at any later point in the round needs to be mentioned/extended in 2nd Rebuttal. That includes extending / rebuilding the portions of your case you want me to weigh at the end, even those that were not addressed by your opponents in the first Rebuttal. For example: 1st Rebuttal just answers your links on C1. You not only need to rebuild whatever C1 links you want me to evaluate at the end of the round, but you also need to explicitly extend your impacts you are claiming those links link to in at least a minimum of detail. Just saying" extend my impacts" will be unlikely to cut it. At least try to reference both the argument and the card you want me to extend. And, yes, I know this means you won't be able to cover as much in 2nd Rebuttal. Make choices. That's what this event is all about.
2. Offense defense
Absent any other framing arguments, I will default to a utilitarian offense/defense paradigm. Just going for defensive response to the the opposing case in FF won’t be persuasive in front of me. Additionally, I am open to non-traditional framing arguments (e.g. rights, ontology, etc), but you will need to have some pretty clear warrants as to why I should disregard a traditional net offensive advantage for the other team when making my decision.
3. Narrow the round
It would be in your best interest to narrow the 2nd half of the round down to one key contention-level impact story and 1-2 key turns on your opponents’ case, and then spend most of your time doing impact comparisons on those issues. Going for all 3 contentions and every turn you read in rebuttal is a great way to lose my ballot. If you just extend everything, you leave it up to me to evaluate the relative important of each of your arguments. This opens the door for judge intervention, and you may not like how I evaluate those impacts. I would much rather you do that thought process for me. I routinely find myself voting for the team that goes all in on EFFECTIVE impact framing on the issue or two they are winning over the team that tries to extend all of their offensive arguments (even if they are winning most of them) at the expense of doing effective impact framing. Strategic choices matter. Not making any choices is a choice in itself, and is usually a bad one.
4. No new cards in Summary, unless they are in direct response to a new argument brought up in the immediately prior speech.
1st Summary: If you need to read cards to answer arguments first introduced in opponents case, those needed to be read in 1st Rebuttal, not 1st Summary. Only if 2nd Rebuttal introduces new arguments—for example a new impact turn on your case—will I evaluate new cards in the 1st Sum, and only to specifically answer that new 2nd Rebuttal turn. Just please flag that your are reading a new card, and ID exactly what new 2nd Rebuttal argument you are using it to answer.
2nd Summary: Very rarely, 2nd summary will need to address something that was brought up new in 1st summary. For example, as mentioned above, 2nd Rebuttal puts offense on case. 1st Summary might choose to address that 2nd Rebuttal offense with a new carded link turn. Only in a case like that will I evaluate new evidence introduced into 2nd Summary. If you need to take this route, as above in 1st Summary, please flag exactly what argument you say was new in the 1st Summary you are attempting to answer before reading the new card.
In either case, unless the prior speech opened the door for you, I will treat any new cards in Summary just like extending things straight into FF & ignoring the summary—I won’t evaluate them and your speaker points will take a hit. However, new cross-applications of cards previously introduced into the round ARE still OK at this point.
4A. No new cross-applications or big-picture weighing in Final Focus.
Put the pieces together before GCF - at least a little bit. This includes weighing analysis. The additional time allotted to teams in Summary makes it easier to make these connections and big-picture comparisons earlier in the round. Basically, the other team should at least have the opportunity to ask you about it in a CF of some type. You don't have to do the most complete job of cross-applying or weighing before FF, but I should at least be able to trace its seed back to some earlier point in the round.
I will, and am often eager to, vote on debate theory arguments. That being said, debaters in PF rarely, if ever, know how to debate theory well enough to justify voting on it.
I believe that there are several highly abusive forms of advocacy that are very bad for PF, and just bad debate in general. I welcome a discussion of those practices in round, and believe that the best way to stamp them out is for teams to make those abuses voting issues in rounds. I won’t vote on these issues unless the objections are raised and effectively argued in-round (e.g. impacted, extended in all the necessary speeches, etc). but I have strong leanings that make me VERY receptive to several theory arguments.
Fiat – Until the “no plans” rule is changed, PF is essentially a whole-resolution debate, no matter how much teams would like for it to be policy. Thus, if teams want to read a specific subset(s) of the resolution, they need to provide some warrants as to why their specific subset(s) of the resolution is the MOST LIKELY form the resolution would take if it were adopted. Trying to specify and only defend a hyper-specific example(s) of the resolution that is unlikely to occur without your fiat is ridiculously abusive without reading a plan text, and makes you a moving target – especially when you clarify your position later in the round to spike out of answers. Plan texts are necessary to fiat something that is unlikely to happen in order to create a stable advocacy. Basically, in my mind, “no plans” = “no fiat.”
Multiple conditional advocacies – Improbable fiated advocacies are bad enough, but when teams read multiple such advocacies and then decide “we’re not going for that one” when the opposing team puts offense on it is the zenith of in-round abuse. Teams debating in front of me should continue to go for their unanswered offensive turns against these “kicked” arguments – I will weigh them in the round, and am somewhat inclined to view such practices as a voter if substantial abuse is demonstrated by the offended team. If you start out with a 3-pronged fiated advocacy, then you darn well better end with it. Severance is bad. If teams are going to choose to kick out of part of their advocacy mid-round, they need to effectively answer any offense on the "to-be-kicked" parts first.
6. Arguments in Crossfire
If you want me to evaluate an argument or card, it needs to be in a speech. Just mentioning it in CF is not sufficient. You can refer to what was said in CF in the next speech, and that will be far more efficient, but it doesn’t exist in my mind until I hear it in a speech.
7. Evidence availability
If you read any evidence, have the card available to hand over. Immediately (within reason, of course). Constructives should have their cards ready to hand over, in order, (probably even in the same document) because you know someone is going to ask for them. And having a bunch of PDF’s that you have to Command-F is not having your cards available. That is just lazy debating. Cut a card like a real debater. If you don’t know what that means, look it up. If you are reading this deep into a judge paradigm, it means you’re a big kid now. Act like it. As far as time is concerned, taking 10 minutes to find a card is inexcusable. At some point, I will just say you can’t find it, and and tell you to move on. This is becoming enough of a problem that I’m considering starting a running clock for “evidence hunting time.” I’m not there yet, but this practice really annoys me (and ALL judges), and needs to be stopped. If you can’t find the card you read in a reasonable amount of time, “Just drop it off the flow,” is not a sufficient recourse. In my mind, that is tantamount to evidence fabrication. If it happens once, I will be annoyed and chastise you after the round, but I’ll likely grudgingly give you the benefit of the doubt. If it happens multiple times, I am likely to be persuaded should the opposing team make such offenses a well-warranted and properly extended theory voting issue in the round.
8. Evidence Quality
I will, on occasion, ask to see key pieces of evidence at the end of the round as I make my decision. If I do ask for cards, and the text of the evidence you provide me doesn't match up with the argument you make in-round (e.g. egregious power-tagging, taking out of context, etc - basically, more than what I perceive to be an honest mistake), I reserve the right to penalize the team providing the evidence, even if the opposing team does not bring up the quality of the card in question as an issue in the round. Best case for the offending party: I will simply not evaluate the evidence in question and decide the round as though that card has been redacted from the debate, leaving the argument with the same functional weight as an unsupported analytic. Worst case: If I see multiple offenses in the round, see a particularly egregious offense, or have seen and commented on the team committing the same kind of offense in previous rounds I've judged, I may choose to drop the team solely on evidence quality. This is the one and only form of judge intervention I will engage in, as I have increasingly seen far too many teams functionally fabricating evidence and getting away with it because there is simply not enough time for opponents to question each and every card. Someone needs to serve as a check on such practices, and I believe judges should have a hand in that service. Rest assured, I will not decide a round in such fashion often, or without serious cause. I understand the serious ramifications of judges deciding rounds arbitrarily. If I do have a serious enough issue with your evidence to warrant some sort of intervention (which, again, is still very rare for me), I will be very clear in my RFD what the issue was, and how it factored into my decision, so that students can learn to not make the same mistakes again.
9. Evidence citations
You should probably read the citations according to whatever the NSDA says, but I’m not likely to vote on any irregularities (e.g. no date of access) unless the abuses are proven to be especially egregious and substantive in the round.
10. Speaker points
My reference point for “average” is 27.5. That’s where most everyone starts. My default is to evaluate on a scale with steps of 0.1, as opposed to steps of 0.5. Below a 25 means you did something offensive. A true 30.0 in HS debate (on a 0.1 scale) doesn’t exist. It is literally perfect. I can only think of 3 times I have ever given out a 29.6 or higher, and each of them were because of this next thing. My points are almost exclusively based on what you say, not how you say it. I strongly value making good, strategic choices, and those few exceptional scores I’ve given were all because of knowing what was important and going for it / impact framing it, and dumping the unnecessary stuff in the last half of the round.
11. "What's your methodology?"
Asking “What’s the methodology of your study” is a huge pet peeve of mine. Nails on a chalkboard bad. It’s a lazy way of saying, “I don’t really have an answer to this, so I’m just going to ask a bunch of questions about it and hope that clouds the debate enough to make it go away.” Questions about a card/study without evidence/warrants supporting the opposite aren’t arguments against it. They are just tricks debaters who got out-researched use to cover up that they got out-researched. In short, they are defensive only, and are only offensive if there are warrants / evidence as to why the opposite conclusion is true.
12. Ask for additional thoughts on the topic
Even if you’ve read this whole thing, still ask me beforehand. I will probably have some specific thoughts relating to the topic at hand that may be useful.
Notice how I didn't say anything about that above, even though it's the first questions like half of kids ask? Yeah, that's intentional. If you can't figure out the answer to that question from the numerous comments above, then you really are beyond help. But basically, yes, I can handle your blazing speed, you debate god, you. But it would still probably be a good idea to slow it down a little, Speed Racer. Quality > quantity.
I debated for 4 years in high school (super old-school, talk-pretty policy), didn't debate in college, and have coached at the HS level for 15+ years. I am currently an Assistant Coach at Washburn Rural in KS, and previously was head coach at Fairmont Prep in Anaheim, CA, Ransom Everglades School, in FL, and The Pembroke Hill School in MO. However, I don't judge too many policy rounds these days, so take that into account.
Generally, do what you do, as long as you do it well, and I'll be happy. I prefer big-picture impact framing where you do the comparative work for me. In general, I will tend to default to such analysis, because I want you to do the thinking in the round, not me. My better teams in the past read a great deal of ontology-based Ks (cap, Heidegger, etc), and they often make some level of sense to me, but I'm far from steeped in the literature. I'm happy to evaluate most of the normal disads & cps, but the three general classes of arguments that I usually find less persuasive are identity-based strategies that eschew the topic, politics disads, and to a lesser degree, performance-based arguments. But if any of those are your thing, I would in general prefer you do your thing well than try and do something else that you just aren't comfortable with. I'll go with the quality argument, even if it isn't my personal favorite. I'm not a fan of over-reliance on embedded clash, especially in overviews. I'd rather you put it on the line-by-line. I'm more likely to get it down on my flow and know how to apply it that way, and that's the type of debating I'll reward with higher speaks. Please be sure to be clear on your tags, cites, and theory/analytic blocks. Hard numbering/”And’s” are appreciated, and if you need to, go a little slower on those tags, cites, and theory/analytic blocks to be sure they are clear, distinct, and I get them. Again, effort to do so will be rewarded with higher speaks.
I generally think affs should have to defend the topic, and actually have some sort of plan text / identifiable statement of advocacy. There are very few "rules" of debate, thus allowing tons of leeway for debaters to choose arguments. But debating the topic is usually a pretty good idea in my mind, as most issues, even those relating to the practices and nature of our activity, can usually still be discussed in the context of the topic. I rather strongly default to competing interpretations. I like to see T debates come down to specific abuse stories, how expanding or contracting limits functionally impacts competitive equity, and exactly what types of ground/args are lost/gained by competing interps (case lists are good for this in front of me). I usually buy the most important impact to T as fairness. T is an a priori issue for me, and K-ing T is a less than ideal strategy with me as your judge.
If you are going to go for it, go for it. I am unlikely to vote either way on theory via a blippy cheap-shot, unless the entire argument was conceded. But sometimes, for example, condo bad is the right strategic move for the 2AR, If it's done well, I won't hesitate to decide a round on it. Not a fan of multiple conditional worlds. With the notable exception of usually giving epistemology / ontology-based affs some flexibility on framework needing to come before particulars of implementation, I will vote Neg on reasonable SPEC arguments against policy affs. Affs should be able to articulate what their plan does, and how it works. (Read that you probably ought to have a plan into that prior statement, even if you are a K team.) For that reason, I also give Neg a fair amount of theoretical ground when it comes to process CPs against those affs. Severance is generally bad in my mind. Intrinsicness, less so.
Personally, I think a lot of the standard CPs are, in any type of real world sense, ridiculous. The 50 states have never worked together in the way envisioned by the CP. A constitutional convention to increase funding for whatever is laughable. An XO to create a major policy change is just silly (although over the last two administrations, that has become less so). All that being said, these are all legit arguments in the debate world, and I evaluate and vote on them all the time. I guess I just wish Affs were smart enough to realize how dumb and unlikely these args actually are, and would make more legit arguments based on pointing that out. However, I do like PICs, and enjoy a well thought out and deployed advantage CP.
Most topic-related disads are fine with me. Pretty standard on that. Just be sure to not leave gaping holes / assumptions in your link chains, and I'm OK. However, I generally don't like the politics disad. I would much rather hear a good senator specific politics scenario instead of the standard “President needs pol cap, plan’s unpopular” stuff, but even then, I'm not a fan. I'll still vote for it if that's what is winning the round, but I may not enjoy doing so. Just as a hint, it would be very easy to convince me that fiat solves for most politics link stories (and, yes, I understand this places me in the very small minority of judges), and I don't see nearly as much quality ground lost from the intrinsic perm against politics as most. Elections disads, though, don't have those same fiat-related issues, and are totally OK by me.
I don’t read the lit much, but in spite of that, I really kind of like most of the more "traditional" ontological Ks (cap, security, Heidegger, etc). To me, Ks are about the idea behind the argument, as opposed to pure technical proficiency & card dumping. Thus, the big picture explanation of why the K is "true," even if that is at the expense of reading a few more cards, would be valuable. Bringing through line-by-line case attacks in the 2NR to directly mitigate some of the Aff advantages is probably pretty smart. I think Negs set an artificially high burden for themselves when they completely drop case and only go for the K in the 2NR, as this means that they have to win 100% access to their “Alt solves the case” or framework args in order for the K to outweigh some super-sketchy and ridiculous, but functionally conceded, extinction scenario from the 1AC. K's based in a framework strategy tend to be more compelling in front of me than K's that rely on the alt to actually solve something (because, let's be honest here - they rarely do). Identity-related arguments are usually not the most compelling in front of me, and I tend to buy strategic attacks against them from the left as more persuasive than attacks from the right.
I understand that some teams are unbalanced in terms of skill/experience, and that's just the way it goes sometimes. I've coached many teams like that. But I do like to see if both debaters actually know what they are talking about. Thus, your speaks will probably go down if your partner is answering all of your cross-ex questions for you. It won’t impact my decision (I just want to know the answers), but it will impact speaks. Same goes for oral prompting. That being said, I am inclined to give a moderate boost to the person doing the heavy lifting in those cases, as long as they do it respectfully.
I have been coaching and judging since 2013. I'm a flow judge, and I am fine with speed to a point. However, if you see me put down my pen, it means I've stopped flowing because you're speaking too quickly.
When it comes to argumentation, don't assume I am an expert on the topic at hand. I'm leaving all my prior knowledge and opinions about the resolution at the door, so you need to clearly explain your framework (if you have it) for the resolution, and your claims/warrants/impacts should be clear throughout your debate. Make sure to signpost your speeches so I know exactly where you are on the flow. In rebuttals, make sure to actually clash with your opponents' argument, and if you're cross-applying (which I love when it's done correctly), just mention the contention you're using to do so.
In cross X, make sure to give your opponent time to respond to your questions, and give your opponent the chance to ask questions. It will hurt your speaker points if you're rude or show a lack of respect towards your opponent during cross x.
As the debate winds down, make sure to crystalize the point you want me to vote on, and be sure to weigh those points with the points your opponent has.
Pretty much, I'll vote off the flow, so just be sure to make it as clear to me as possible the arguments you've won and why you've won them at the end of the round.
NOVICE AND VARSITY PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE
When it comes to Public Forum debate, it's meant to be a debate style that's easily understood by the mass public. Your case (Aff or Neg) should conform to this style as best you can. Make your case understandable and accessible. You and your partner usually get very interesting topics, so, make the best of it.
For novice, I usually help keep time to ensure that we're all on track and where we should all be in the round. Please also keep time, it just makes things easier. Also, keep accurate prep time too. Furthermore, even if time runs out and you're mid sentence, I usually let you finish, if you keep going I will cut you off. Time is time.
Very easy to do and I'm very straight forward about this: at this point in the debate it is not really that scripted so I need you to make this as informative and interesting as possible. However, debate is meant to be an exciting and informative exchange of ideas between you and your opponent. The discussion should be lively but not a shouting match. If you are blatantly rude, disrespectful, and/or verbally assaulting your opponent, I will deduct speaker points from you.
What I Look for in a Round
Please tell me the weight of your arguments. If you do NOT tell me, I will weigh them for you. I generally flow what I can understand. If your case makes no sense or you're speaking too fast, I just won't flow your arguments. Extensions are important. I look for which of your contentions, arguments, and cards can be extended throughout the debate. Turns are interesting...but a debater can be abusive about it sometimes because they think everything is a turn when in fact it's not. So, it's good to know what's a turn but keep in mind I ultimately decide that. Scope, magnitude, and impacts are very important to me. I really look for those in a round.
NOVICE AND VARSITY LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE
I have grown fond of the LD debate round. Novices shape their moral philosophy arguments while Varsity gets very complex with their arguments and speed of speech. Very interesting indeed. I really enjoy the philosophical debates, so the more you can philosophize about your case (Aff or Neg) and do it in a way that's clear and concise we should be in a good round.
For novice, I usually help keep time to ensure that we're all on track and where we should all be in the round. Please also keep time, it just makes things easier. Also, keep accurate prep time too. Furthermore, even if time runs out and you're mid sentence, I usually let you finish, if you keep going I will cut you off. Time is time.
Very easy to do and I'm very straight forward about this: at this point in the debate it is not really that scripted so I need you to make this as informative and interesting as possible. However, debate is meant to be an exciting and informative exchange of ideas between you and your opponent. The discussion should be lively but not a shouting match. If you are blatantly rude, disrespectful, and/or verbally assaulting your opponent, I will deduct speaker points from you. Please avoid awkward silences and come prepared to a debate. I don't like it when you ruffle papers and are disorganized. It wastes debate time. Also, use all your time in a crossX or speech. If you don't use all your time it gives me the impression you're unprepared and that the round just won't be interested. So, again, be prepared.
What I Look for in a Round
Please tell me the weight of your arguments. If you do NOT tell me, I will weigh them for you. I generally flow what I can understand. If your case makes no sense or you're speaking too fast, I just won't flow your arguments. Extensions are important. I look for which of your contentions, arguments, and cards can be extended throughout the debate. Turns are interesting...but a debater can be abusive about it sometimes because they think everything is a turn when in fact it's not. So, it's good to know what's a turn but keep in mind I ultimately decide that. Scope, magnitude, and impacts are very important to me. I really look for those in a round. I try to be as non-interventionist as I possibly can be in the round. I like to have the debate round take it's own course. Also, sometimes a lot can happen in an LD round so please sign-post just to make sure we're on the same flow.
I have coached PF for about 6 years so I have a fair bit of knowledge about the style and most likely the topic that is being debated as well. This means that you should not worry too much about speed or giving arguments that are too complex. My comments after the round will usually involve RFD and how to improve some arguments. The "improvements" part has no impact whatsoever on my decision in the round and is only meant as something to take into your next round. I do not complete arguments for teams or refute them based on my own knowledge. I will judge the round only based on what was said in the round.
Please don't refer to cards ONLY by author name because I don't note down author names for cards (e.g. "John 18 or Smith 20") I'm putting this at the top so y'all see it.
-I weigh content much more heavily than style
-Have clear logical analysis of evidence
-Use evidence to support arguments; do not use as an argument itself, that said, do have evidence to support each claim
-Show me clear impacts and weigh them for me. This is super important in how I adjudicate rounds. Just proving a superior number of contention does not give you the round, proving why your contentions are more important wins you the round. Very rarely will there be a round where one side has no contentions standing at all, so I need some sort of metric to measure. This also means that I value a clear framework from both sides and potentially a debate about framework should that influence how I would adjudicate
-Do not assume I know the basics about the topic, I try to be a “blank-slate” judge as much as possible, except in cases of misrepresented evidence. If I read the evidence and it says something completely different than what was said in the round then I will intervene.
-Crossfire is not super important to me unless either you go back to it in one of the speeches or something absolutely killer comes out of the exchange
-I do not care as much about flowing everything through in summary and final focus. It should mostly be used to clarify the round for me. If some point is not mentioned again in summary and final focus, then I will judge as that point stands from material in the first half. However, this usually means the weight of the point is up to my discretion
-Be courteous during cross-fire (ie. do not shout over each other)
-Eye-contact and other stylistic aspects are not weighed heavily (ie. If I can hear you and understand you fully then you're good to go)
-Have evidence ready; if the other team asks for it and you cannot give it to them in 1 min, it will be discounted from the round
-I will stop crossfire questions right at 3 minutes but I will allow for you to finish your sentence if the time is up during an answer
-I rarely write out RFD's on Tabroom ballots so my oral feedback after the round is where the majority of my RFD is explained
-I welcome questions or concerns about the round, and if you feel that I judged unfairly, please let me know after. While I cannot change the ballot, I will do my best to explain my RFD.
I've done various parli styles like BP and Worlds for about a decade now. I haven't judged much American Parli so there might be some rules I am not familiar with.
I mostly judge based on content, with very little focus on style as long as I can understand you. As for theory or whatever, make it simple for me, I'm not a fan but I will always be happy to hear them out.
Please keep time for both yourself and your opponents. If you keep asking POIs during protected times I will deduct points.
I am a parent judge, but I have been judging the National Circuit PF for five years and judged 600+ rounds (including TOC semifinals). I am scientist so if you are making science arguments please make sure you understand the science..
How to win my ballot
- Speak clearly
- Extend arguments- not cards
- Focus the debate to what you are winning
- Keep theory reserved for actual abuse
- Keep Ks in policy
- Keep aliens and zombies for bad movies and out of debate
- Summary in line with final focus
- Be polite
- Have your evidence ready (you have 1 minute)
How to get good speaks
- Make good arguments
- Make good choices
- Don't yell
- Don't argue with me
- Arguing with me after the round- I GIVE SPEAKS AFTER I GIVE MY RFD FOR THIS REASON
Update 10/15/20: I've judged many PF rounds but 2020 NYC Bronx will be my first experience judging remotely, and my first of this school year - meaning I am new to this resolution, args, evidence. I'm not currently coaching, so you'll risk losing my ballot if you use tons of jargon, esp. with arguments/acronyms etc. specific to this resolution.
Experience: minimal policy debate a very long time ago, and many PF rounds judged
I'm not lay but also not super technical; think flow-leaning flay. I vote off the flow.
I love good analysis; not so impressed by blippy arguments. Having a coherent narrative by the end of the round is a good thing.
Evidence: quality over quantity. Understand your evidence. Ideally you should be able to:
- explain any expert opinion you cite (rather than just stating it),
- understand where a statistic comes from (how a study was done, what its limitations are etc),
- defend the relevance of any empirical evidence you present, and
- be sure you’re not misrepresenting evidence.
Weighing is important (not just impacts). Tell me why I should vote for you.
Some speed is ok with me as long as you're clear (not crazy speed). If you can't speak both quickly and clearly, slow down.
If something isn’t in summary, don’t bring it up in FF b/c I won’t vote on it. If you want me to vote on something, it should be extended through FF (by "extended" I mean more than just one or two words).
cx: I listen, but I'm not voting off anything in cx. Bring it into a speech.
I'm generally not a fan of kritiks in PF, but I'll do my best to be fair and consider whatever you're running.
I sometimes avoid disclosing at large tournaments in order to get things moving.
Good luck, please don't worry about this paradigm - just debate and have fun!
Director of Speech & Debate
Charlotte Latin School
Updated: January, 26, 2020
Public Forum Debate Paradigm
Emory 2020 update: I will drop you with haste if you run theory in front of me.
TL;DR - Explicitly weigh and you can go kinda fast.
If you don't do it I'll try to vote on the arguments allocated the most time in the round, but I reserve the right to decide what's most important all on my own in the absence of arguments about which ones truly are. I'm a moderate on speed; doesn't have to be conversational, but my flowing definitely gets weak at top speed. If you won't think me an idiot for admitting what is true of every judge, my processing of a few, well developed arguments will be better than many underdeveloped ones.
Random thoughts on the state of the art:
- It doesn't absolutely have to have been in summary for it to be in final focus, but I definitely think that's best practice.
- Don't card dump in rebuttal. Don't read a new contention disguised as a response. If your opponents do this call them out for it and I'll drop the argument.
- I won't charge either team prep when cards are called for, but your prep time does begin once you're handed the evidence. Hand your opponent your device with the exact content they asked for displayed.
- Paraphrasing isn't the devil, but be ethical. It's essential you have the underlying text readily available (per the rules, ya know).
- I think case disclosure is ok. I distrust that this is really about enhancing education and suspect it's more often about enabling a school's war room to prep everyone out. Please don't read me disclosure theory in PF.
- I'd rather not shake your hand. It's just too much.
Public Forum lives in limbo between its Policy and Lincoln-Douglas counterparts. Frankly, one of the great things about being involved in the event right now is the lack of choking orthodoxy (which paradoxically really only tries to be as unorthodox as possible) to which our cousins in CX and LD have subjected themselves. (What a fun sentence!) Directly charged with neither the task of advocating a plan to execute a policy nor with advocating a particular value structure, as an emerging community we are only just now figuring out how to articulate what exactly debaters are supposed to be doing in Public Forum rounds. I certainly do not have the definitive answer to that question, but my best description of the event is that it is meant to be a policy-rationale debate. Public Forum debate at its best calls for a momentary suspension of the considerations of exactly how (i.e., a plan) to execute a policy and instead debating the rationale for changing/not changing the status quo. Allow me to qualify: I am not suggesting that Public Forum should systematically exclude all consideration of how policy would be executed (occasional assumptions about how the policy would unfold in the context of today’s America have a place in-round), but rather I am attempting to define appropriate parameters for Public Forum. If you've made it this far, you might also find some thoughts in my LD paradigm useful.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Paradigm
I have remarkably low-self esteem as a Lincoln-Douglas Debate critic. I think I’m a good coach and possess somewhat above-average intelligence, but the gobbledygook that passes for “debate” in most circuit LD rounds I’ve seen is either A) so complicated and over my head that I should rethink those assumptions about myself or B) such a poor excuse for an intellectually honest discussion of the resolution that I’m glad to be an outsider in your realm. If I’m in the pool at a meaningful LD tournament it means that I’m doing a coaching friend a favor, failed to successfully hire out my commitment, or a terrible mistake of some kind has been made. I will almost certainly look miserable at the back of the room. Because I am.
As terribly negative as that sounds, I do on occasion find Lincoln-Douglas debates to be fulfilling and invigorating. What is it that can make me happy? Well, I suppose that’s what you’d like for me to attempt to articulate here. So here I go.
Speed – This is usually the only thing you ask about before you start debating. I do not believe that rate of delivery must be conversational and I will try to keep up with you. My pen can reasonably keep up, but since I don’t coach LD at a circuit-level full-time, and since I haven’t read the theory/critical literature that you want to throw at me at 500 words per minute, I’m probably not going to be very successful in evaluating it at the end of the round if you do go circuit-fast. You’ll see the frustration on my face if you ever look up. I can only vote on what I was able to process.
Framework – I do need you to articulate some weighing mechanism or decision-making calculus before you hit me with your case. I don’t care what you call it or what form it takes, but it does need to be clear, and the less variables you put into it the more comprehensible my decision will be at the end of the round. I tend to prefer specificity in criteria. If you never address this then what choice do I have but to arbitrarily decide? By that I mean don’t just put some nebulous, overly broad value at the top of your case and then never reference it. That’s just some vestigial relic from the way things were in LD 20 years ago. Then you’ll need to win why it’s preferable to use your weighing mechanism. Then just evaluate the arguments in the round (that’s “link back” I think in your vernacular) by that standard. If you do these things well and in a manner I can understand, you’re going to win.
Theory – I have opinions about what debate ought to be. You have opinions about what debate ought to be. Everyone has opinions about what debate ought to be. They differ wildly. I suppose then that I’m obligated to evaluating your arguments about how this activity should take place and to being open-minded about what best practices really are. But like everyone else, I have my personal biases and preferences and it’s going to be difficult to dislodge me from them. I prefer straightforward debate with comparison of the impacts in a world for which the resolution is or is not true. Now, you’re going to read that and think that I’m some sort of horrible “Truth seeker” judge. No. I just want to hear a debate of the resolution itself, not an advocacy primarily about what the educational value of debate is, some tenuous application of fringe academic theories, or some significant variation on the resolution that you wish to debate instead. That means I’m highly likely to accept some very simple topicality analysis as an answer when your opponent does any of these things. I like the way Joe Vaughan put it many years ago in an old version of his paradigm (I liked it so much I saved it), “I am open to a variety of different types of argumentation (kritiks, counterplans, et cetera), but only if such positions are linked specifically to a reasonable interpretation of the topic and are not an attempt to fundamentally change the focus of the issues intended by the framing of the resolution. Arguments that are only tangential to the conflict embedded in the resolution and shift the focus of the round to the validity of alternative philosophies are difficult for me to accept if challenged sufficiently.”
Disclaimer – While I deeply value winning as a worthwhile goal of debate, I am still also responsible for being a (albeit flawed) role model and an educator. If you are so profoundly rude or callous towards your opponent, or anyone in the community at any time for that matter, I reserve the right to drop you for that. I don’t have to accept all possible behaviors just because this is a game where we play with ideas.
Policy Debate Paradigm
I know the names of all the stock issues. I am a native speaker of English. I promise to try my best to be attentive and fair. Those are the only possible qualifications I have to be sitting in the back of your room (at least at any tournament important enough for you to be checking here for a paradigm). Go complain to the tab room immediately. I already tried and they didn't listen to me.
Past School Affiliations
Director of Forensics, Charlotte Latin School 2013-present
Director of Congressional Debate & Individual Events, The Harker School, San Jose, CA, 2009-2013
Director of Forensics, Manchester Essex Regional HS, Manchester, MA, 2007-2009
Director of Forensics, East Chapel Hill HS, Chapel Hill, NC, 2002-2007
Assistant Speech & Debate Coach, East Chapel Hill HS, Chapel Hill, NC, 2000-2002
Student (Primary Event: Congressional Debate), South View HS, Hope Mills, NC, 1996-2000
Co-Founder & Co-Director, The Institute for Speech and Debate, Boulder, CO, Charlotte, NC & Fort Lauderdale, FL 2013-present
Director, Congressional Debate & Individual Events, University of California National Forensics Institute, Berkeley, CA 2012-2013
Director, Public Forum Debate, Capitol Debate Institute, Baltimore, MD 2011-2012
Instructor, Public Forum Debate, Harvard Debate Institute, Boston MA 2010
Instructor, Public Forum Debate, National Debate Forum, Boston, MA, 2008-2009
Instructor, Public Forum Debate, National Debate Forum, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2009
Director, Public Forum Debate, University of Kentucky National Debate Institute, Lexington, KY, 2008
Director, Public Forum Debate, Florida Forensic Institute, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2007
Instructor, Congressional Debate, Florida Forensic Institute, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2006
Director, Congressional Debate, Research Triangle Forensics Institute, Cary, NC, 2003-2005
Lay judge. 2 years experience judging.
I describe myself as a "flay" judge. I flow a round but I rarely base my decision solely on flow. If a team misses a response to a point, I don't penalize that team if the drop concerned a contention that either proves unimportant in the debate or is not extended with weighing. I have come to appreciate summaries and final focuses that are similar, that both weigh a team's contentions as well as cover key attacks. I like to hear clear links of evidence to contentions and logical impacts, not just a firehose of data. I prefer hard facts over opinion whenever possible, actual examples over speculation about the future.
I ABSOLUTELY DEMAND CIVILITY IN CROSSFIRES! Ask your question then allow the other side to answer COMPLETELY before you respond further. Hogging the clock is frowned upon. It guarantees you a 24 on speaker points. Outright snarkiness or rudeness could result in a 0 for speaker points. Purposely misconstruing the other side's evidence in order to force that team to waste precious time clarifying is frowned upon. Though I award very few 30s on speaker points, I very much appreciate clear, eloquent speech, which will make your case more persuasive.
I have seen a trend to turn summaries into second rebuttals. I HATE THIS. A summary should extend key offense from case and key defense from rebuttal then weigh impacts. You cannot do this in only two minutes if you burn up more than a minute trying to frontline. If I don't hear something from case in summary you will lose most definitely. Contrary to growing belief, the point of this event is NOT TO WIN ON THE FLOW. The point is to research and put forth the best warrants and evidence possible that stand up to rebuttal.
When calling cards, avoid distracting "dumps" aimed at preoccupying the other side and preventing them from prepping. In recent tournaments I have seen a rise in the inability of a team to produce a requested card QUICKLY. I will give you a couple of minutes at most then we will move on and your evidence likely will be dropped from the flow. The point is to have your key cards at the ready, preferably in PDF form. I have also seen a recent increase in badly misconstrued data or horrifically out of date data. The rules say full citation plus the date must be given. If you get caught taking key evidence out of context, you're probably going to lose. If you can't produce evidence that you hinge your entire argument on, you will definitely lose.
The bottom line is: Use your well-organized data and logic to win the debate, not cynical tactics aimed at distraction or clock dominance.
Yes, I am a parent judge, yet travelled with my son's team for three years and judged at every tournament. I want you to convince me with your arguments, not with a bunch of PF lingo. I do not like speed for speeds sake, as I can't flow. If I can't understand what is coming out of your mouth, I can't follow you. If I can't follow you, I can't vote for you. I originally came from a speech background, I care about speaking technique. Quality of argument over quantity.
Public Forum's roots are based in "one" going before the general public, persons of diverse education, intellect and knowledge. I expect the presentation of your arguments to reflect that. Please don't dumb down because I am a "parent" judge.
Be clean: Please do not play dirty, the world is dirty enough. Be clean.
Be respectful: In crossfire, don't get muddled in stupid arguments, use them intelligently to undue the other side. Please do not be rude or condescending. There is no room for that.
Your constructives to set me up for your arguments - build your case, tell me the story.
Your rebuttals to give me reason to disagree with your opponent. Don't just attack, you need to defend.
Your summaries to clean up anything vague or muddled.
Your final focus to make me vote for you.
Most of my experience is in PF but I have judged everything (debate and speech) at one point or another.
If something is important to your case or argument do not be afraid to repeat it. Despite my best efforts there are always going to be times where a stat, date, figure, name, or card is mentioned but missed in the heat of the round. It never hurts to repeat what matters.
You may time yourselves, but if I call for time you should end what you're doing. You may finish a thought/sentence after time ends but do not abuse this by adding multiple sentences or thoughts.
In the interest of keeping rounds moving, I do not disclose after round unless specifically instructed by the tournament directors. If you want feedback later I will gladly discuss the debate with you between rounds.
If you don't weigh your impacts, you're going to have a bad time.
30 speaks if you make me laugh.
I am a traditional debate judge. I like clash, weighing of arguments, and substantive, not blippy arguments. I do not believe that Kritiks and other cases like that have any place in PF debate. Speed should be reasonable. I can handle speed, but again, I don't think it belongs in PF.
I have been coaching PF for seven years, so I am old-fashioned enough to have some very real concerns with the direction PF is heading. I don't consider it good communication or good debate to go as fast as circuit debaters are now going, and the lack of analysis in favor of spewing source after source is not persuasive to me. I can handle speed; but that doesn't mean I will tolerate it. If you want PF to be Policy, I'm not the judge you want to see in the back of the room.
I have virtually no patience with cases that purposefully avoid the intent of the resolution. Be professional, be polite, don't just talk over each other in every crossfire, and don't play fast and loose with evidence.
I am a parent judge from West Windsor Plainsboro High School South. Here are some of the most points about my judging philosophy. Don’t spread, if I can’t understand your arguments I can’t vote for you so slow down or take something out of your case. I am a strong believer in speaking well and making logical arguments, if you can explain your position with clarity you will get high speaker points and more than likely win.
I will not call for evidence unless you ask me to. All I care about evidence is that you don’t lie or alter the author’s purpose. If the evidence is doctored and your opponents tell me that, you lose.
I write down all your arguments during your first speech and see how they play out during the debate. Convince me that your arguments stand at the end of the debate and if I see that they were emphasized at the beginning then you will win.
This is one aspect of debate that I find really important. I pay attention to every cross because it shows me how strong of a debater you are. Reading from paper is a lot different than on the feet thinking. I don’t want cross to be a shouting battle, but more of an opportunity to show your skills. If you get something good in cross make sure you bring it up in your speeches and I will definitely weigh that heavily.
I don't care for it so keep it to a minimum.
Please debate with respect. I will disclose my decision at the end of the round and provide all debaters with feedback. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.
I’ll get right to the point.
I have six years of experience judging in Public Forum Debate as a parent. I do keep track of contentions and their responses, though my ability is limited by the speed at which you speak. I want you to take special care about being crystal clear when saying the first sentence of each contention. I am a fan of signposting. If I am keeping time, don’t ask me for X seconds. Tell me when to start or stop.
There are only three ways you can lose a round with me judging.
1: Believe it or not you can be out debated. J
2: You speak too fast for me to flow.
3: You are extremely rude to your opponents.
My judging style is as follows:
I don’t judge just off lives impacts or random pieces of evidence. I want you to tell me a story and be compelling with your arguments. That’s the whole point of Public Forum.
Note on rudeness: If you are somewhat rude to your opponents, I will most definitely dock speaker points, but will still listen to your arguments. If I believe you cross the line, I will immediately drop you.
- Strike me if you're a relatively inexperienced "circuit" debater who is trying to debate in a "circuit" style: i.e. spreading for its own sake, running theory because you haven't researched enough case material, etc. Pref me highly if you are not such a debater or if you come from a traditional circuit and expect to be debating a value and value criterion (by no means am I saying you must have those things). Pref me in the middle if you are an experienced debater who truly understands when using certain strategies is important and you're not just reading me what a coach/teammate told you to run.
- On spread--I can flow spread just fine; however, I don't like spread when it is used as a barrier for discourse. If you and your opponent are comfortable with spread (defined as 250 wpm or above) then go for it. Speak loudly and clearly and I'll be fine. If not, if your opponent can't flow spread, please do not spread. If your opponent can't respond to your arguments simply because you're speaking too fast then it is your fault, not hers. You won't lose the round for it but your speaker points will suffer.
- On arguments--run whatever you think is most effective. However, know that I don't really like Topicality as a response. I have judged an awful lot of debate and can count on two fingers how many arguments have truly been nontopical. Usually, T is run against arguments that debaters don't otherwise know how to respond to and I don't like that. You are welcome to tell me a nontopical argument is nontopical but please also engage the substance of the argument.
- On evidence--I believe this to be a community of integrity. There are individuals who will do shoddy things and we should discourage that but there are others who call falsification without proof as a strategy. Both are bad. THE MOMENT I HEAR "FALSIFICATION" THE ROUND STOPS. I evaluate the evidence and award a loss to the debater/team that was wrong. If you're calling clipping, calling falsification, etc, prove it. The burden of proof I'll use is not a steep one but it needs to show misrepresentation. I'm not encouraging falsification nor am I discouraging calling it; however, those are tall accusations and it is your burden to prove it.
- I'm a big backpack rap fan--work in a Watsky, Macklemore, Wax, or Dumbfoundead reference and I'll smile and be happy with you and might give you an extra speaker point.
The rest of this paradigm is a verbose discussion of my thoughts on the activity to which I've dedicated much of my life for the past eight years.
Assistant Coach of Forensics and Debate at Brookfield East High School. Previously coached at Whitefish Bay High School. Competed in Wisconsin and nationally in Congressional Debate and in Public Forum debate with Brookfield East (class of ’12). I have a bachelor's degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, majoring in Political Science (concentration in public policy/political economy) and Economics (analysis in international trade, econometrics, and public finance/policy evaluation) with a minor in Spanish. I'm a nerd for the studies and empirical research. In real life, I run a restaurant and small investment firm with differentiated subsidiaries.
I judge almost every weekend from September through March and am well versed on the topic literature as I research and cut cards with my team. I coach PF and LD as well as Congressional Debate (and IE’s in the spring) so I read lots and lots of evidence.
I'm extremely progressive on this topic. I feel that the debate is ultimately decided in the metaphysical realm and there are generally few empirics you can run strongly on the topic. Give me something to chew on here, more than usual. I think a lot of the debate is going to be framework and theory. I will accept Anti-values, Standards, et cetera, instead of a traditional V/VC structure. You can advocate a standard-less debate as well as long as you give me good theory to back it up.
I will only vote on a definition if it goes dropped and really does redefine the debate in a way that I can only vote for one side. That being said, if you present me a really shady definition that defines it so that the Aff/Neg has no chance of winning the round and your opponent provides a legitimate and fair definition in response I, as a judge, am always going to favor the definition that provides equality to the grounds of both sides. This shouldn’t have to be said but I will always prefer a term of art definition to Webster’s even if the dictionary is the only card presented. I am a word nerd; please don't BS me in the definitions debate.
I generally don't like verbose discussions of framer's intent with resolutions. I'm intimately familiar with how these resolutions are actually written--don't try to run ridiculous things on these grounds.
Types of Arguments:
I will accept any type of argumentation you throw at me as long as it's well argued with warrants and impacts. You can kritik the resolution; read me poetry that helps me better understand the plight of the needy; K the opponents case or his language; run a narrative alternative; run a priori reasons to negate; or tell me my ballot is a tool and I should vote for you for some obscure yet well argued reason. I personally believe that good argument is good argument—if you give me reasons why it should be the voting issue in the round I will vote on it. That said, if you provide an argument that requires me to accept something completely non sequitur with reality, I will reject it. In other words, if you tell me I should affirm because there are only 49 states and that is a prime number, I won't vote on it because, well, there aren't and it’s not. Otherwise, I don't intervene.
I can follow complex philosophy pretty easily but you shouldn’t assume anything and take shortcuts here, as I’m nowhere near as proficient as I’d like to be. I love philosophy; I’ve read a lot on many subjects and can follow along with sound analysis; however, it's bad form to assume that your opponent will be familiar with your concepts. Debaters should generally subscribe to the ELI5 method. That is to say, if you can’t explain your argument to a five year old, you don’t fully understand the concepts yourself. I will vote on theory but please explain why voting on theory should trump case evaluation.
Extending arguments is important; however, telling me to "extend contention 2--it went cold conceded" is far less effective than summarizing the argument and presenting it as a round issue. Same goes with cards. "Extend the Coase analysis" is valid but less effective than explaining it to me again so I know why it's important.
I've developed a slight disdain for plans over time as they present an infinite research burden but will still vote on them.
People who say evidence doesn’t belong in LD are, for some reason, clinging to the archaic as a means to bring the activity towards where they think it should be rather than allowing it to grow organically. Use evidence if it's necessary for your argument. I’ll buy sound analysis over a shoddy card any day but you should back things up with research. My thoughts on this are developing over time as I watch more rounds. Really, I appreciate the debaters who make sound arguments that are based in analysis over those who rely on their evidence to analyze things--it shows a better understanding of the issues. However, reading me cards without analyzing them yourself is the equivalent of saying nothing. Signpost then analyze the evidence—tell me why I should care about what the author is saying—why does it impact the debate?
I’ve never had to ask for a card before but will if I have to. Don’t clip cards. This is a community of integrity—keep it that way. I generally won’t vote on cards; I vote on arguments. I don’t really care whether a Ph.D said it… if it’s sound, I’ll buy it and if it’s not, I won’t. To be clear, I expect more than regurgitation or carpet-bombing.
I need adequate citations. Name is usually enough if they’re not claiming anything weird but sometimes it’s best to hear a few words on the credentials too. If you’re citing an analysis of Rawls or Kant, name-drop the master so I know what’s going on, please.
I can flow pretty quickly and can handle “debate speed” but don’t want to hear much more. This is more a philosophical issue than anything else—I generally will pick up a spreader 50% of the time, as they tend not to make any more, or better, arguments than a non-spreader. Quality will always beat quantity. As this is a communication event, don’t forget that you have to communicate your arguments so that I may understand them. I'll yell at you if I can't hear/understand what you're saying, of course.
I like signposting; it enhances the debate. You have to tell me where things go on my flow if you expect me to write them down. If you’re giving an overview, tell me. If you’re starting with the second contention and then coming back to the first for some cockamamie reason, tell me.
As a general rule, if I’m looking back at you in a speech (not in CX) you’re likely not saying anything worth writing down. If you read me a canned 1AR that has nothing to do with the opponent’s case, I’ll read the posters in the room or count down the seconds on my timer until the time-wasting has completed. I like clash and debating, if you haven’t noticed.
I don’t care whether you sit, stand, or lay on the table when you debate. Do what makes you comfortable. If that means taking off your jacket because it’s hot—go for it. Take off the heels—I don’t care.
Be nice. I get that things get heated—I was a debater too. I get it. Not much more to say here. However, if you are disrespectful it will reflect in your speaker points. There’s a fine line between assertive and jerk. I’m liberal here but have seen many rounds get out of hand. As a general rule, treat others the way you want to be treated: respectfully.
Give them to me. If you don't, I will intervene strangely and vote in ways you won't like. Tell me how to vote. This is your round and not mine. You don't have to give them all at once, but if they aren't given I am left without a methodology to adjudicate things
Please weigh your impacts. If you tell me that I should vote aff for puppies, and I should vote neg for kitties, I'll be happy you've given me voters but lost on how I'm supposed to weigh them—link back through your criterion or make sure I understand there are real world impacts outside the resolution. If you're still reading this exceedingly long thing you are an excellent human and probably already know how to weigh impacts.
I used to be a stickler about them but have seen the trend of inflation coming. With their use as a common tiebreaker, I’ve become a sort of point fairy. However, there is a scale. I'm a big backpack rap fan--work in a Watsky, Macklemore, Wax, Dumbfoundead, et cetera, reference and I might have to give you an extra point or two.
30) Excellent, passionate and engaging performance. Not uncommon but hard to attain. Argumentatively speaking, not much else you could have done better. I’m impressed. Most likely on par with the best thing I’ll see in the tournament; you deserve a speaker award.
29) Sound arguments and leadership in the discussion. Not much to improve in the way of argumentation. I’m impressed. Much more common that 30’s. You've taken the time to read your judge's paradigm--bravo to you for doing what I try to get my kids to do--you'll do fine with points.
28) Great job with the argumentation. Good delivery and good leadership. You did all that was expected of an experienced debater.
27) Great job with the arguments but you likely lost the round because of something here. You did all that was expected of a good debater.
26) You could have done more with the argumentation. You likely dropped something or committed a logical fallacy or two. Competent delivery.
24) Argumentation was deficient in some way. Delivery was likely lacking in poise.
23) You’re likely out of your league and still learning. That’s still good though—learn from our mistakes. Few refutations made and delivery was lacking. Usually didn’t fully utilize time given
20) Equally as common as 30’s. I give these because they’re usually the lowest I’m allowed to go. Only given when there’s misconduct of some sort. I’ll note on the ballot what you did to irk me.
I will make whichever decision requires the least amount of intervention. I don't like to do work for debaters but in 90% of rounds you leave me no other choice.
I have a very high threshold for extensions, saying the phrase "extend our 1st contention/our impacts" will get you lower speaks and a scowl. You need to re-explain your argument from fiat to impact in order to properly "extend" something in my eyes. This goes for turns too, don't extend turns without an impact.
I need parallelism (summary+FF) for any offense you want me to vote for.
I realize this is controversial, but I don’t require defense in summary, although it usually makes sense to extend in 2nd summ once you know what offense your opponent is going for. With that being said, if your opponents frontline case in 2nd rebuttal, you need to answer back their frontlines in 1st summary if you still wanna go for that defense. Defense is most important for me in Final Focus though, so if you want me to delink/NU the offense they're going for, blow it up in FF. (Long story short, good pieces of defense can be extended as terminal D from rebuttal to FF if not answered by your opponents.)
Presumption flows neg. If you want me to default to the first speaking team you'll need to make an argument. In that case though you should probably just try to win some offense.
I like analytical arguments, not everything needs to be carded to be of value in a round. (Warrants )
Signpost pls. Roadmaps are a waste of time 98% of the time.
I love me some good framework. Highly organized speeches are the key to high speaks in front of me.
Try to get on the same page as your opponents as often as possible, agreements make my decision easier and make me respect you more as a debater (earning you higher speaks). Strategic concessions make me happy. The single best way to get good speaks in front of me is to implicate your opponent's rebuttal response(s) or crossfire answers against them in a speech.
Frontlining in second rebuttal is smart but not required. It’s probably a good idea if they read turns.
Reading more than 1 or 2 different weighing mechanisms is a waste of time because 10 seconds of meta-weighing OHKOs. When teams fail to meta-weigh or interact impacts I have to intervene, and that makes me sad.
Don’t extend every single thing you read in case.
I'm not gonna call for cards unless they're contested in the round and I believe that they're necessary for my RFD. I think that everyone else that does this is best case an interventionist judge, and worst case a blatant prep thief.
Skipping grand is cringe. Stop trying to act like you're above the time structure.
I may look like I’m timing stuff, but I just like to watch the clock run. Track each other’s prep.
Theory's fine, usually frivolous in PF. Love RVIs . Genuinely believe disclosure is bad for the event, but I won't intervene against a shell you're winning.
I will vote for kritikal args if you win/extend role of the ballot :-)
Just because you're saying the words structural violence in case doesn't mean you're reading a K.
Shoutouts to my boo thang, Shamshad Ali #thepartnership
Win the flow. As long as I understand you (read: no spreading), I couldn’t care less about how you speak.
My full paradigm is a little long so I've written up a summary of my preferences below.
1) Weigh all of your arguments. Odds are, both debaters will be winning arguments by the end of the round, so make sure to tell me why the ones that you’re winning are the most important. Also explain why your weighing mechanism (probability, magnitude, etc.) is the best one.
2) I place a lot of work on framework. If you provide a weighing mechanism at the top of your case, and actually engage in the framework debate, I will be very happy and more likely to vote for you.
3) If you're the second second speaker, you can spend four minutes on your opponents' case. Both first speakers may spend two minutes on their side of the flow in summary. All arguments that I may consider must be brought up in final focus.
4) I always prefer going down the flow line-by-line in summary, rather than randomly-numbered voting issues. Do whatever you want in final focus, but make it clear which arguments you're talking about. Whichever strategy you choose, SIGNPOST.
1) You need to weigh arguments. I think of weighing as really important in LD, but in PF, where a consequentialist framework is almost always accepted on face, weighing is absolutely necessary. I don’t want to intervene, but I’ll have to if no one is telling me what specifically I should be voting on, and why those issues are the most important. If you rely on a standard weighing mechanism (probability, magnitude, etc.) I expect you to tell me why that weighing mechanism is better than others.
2) Since my background is primarily LD, I place more weight on framework than most PF judges. Framing the round to provide a weighting mechanism that benefits your arguments is extremely helpful, especially if your opponent doesn’t have a framework at all (this strategy won me quite a few PF rounds). I do default to utilitarian cost-benefit analysis, but I will evaluate the framework debate before the contention-level debate if one is presented in the round, and I am more likely to view the round as a whole in a positive light (read: higher speaks) if there is some sort of framework debate going on.
3) In rebuttal, I don't think the second second speaker has an obligation to respond to their opponents' rebuttal, so they can spend all four minutes attaching their opponents' case. Similarly, since summary is primarily for extending offense, it's okay if both first speakers spend the entire time on their side of the flow. Neither of these are mandatory - do what works for you. In final focus, I expect all arguments you want me to consider to be brought up.
4) In summary, I’d prefer you go down the flow and emphasize important issues by telling me that they’re important (and why), rather than giving randomly-ordered numbered voting issues. You can give voting issues if you want, and I will try to find them on the flow, but you have to remember to SIGNPOST. In final focus, I don't really care what you do as long as it's very clear which arguments you're talking about (that often means referencing contention numbers/subpoints). I don't you to risk me missing one of your arguments, so SIGNPOST. (Did I mention SIGNPOST?)
Paul Wexler Coach since 1993, Judge since 1987 Debated CEDA,College Parli, HS LD and Policy, College and HS Speech
Current Affiliation: Needham High School Coach (speech and debate) I coach a little with Arlington HS (Massachusetts)
Previous Affiliations: Manchester-Essex Regional, Boston Latin School, San Antonio-LEE, College of Wooster (Ohio) (competitor) , University of Wisconsin (Madison)(coach): Debate and Speech for Irvine-University HS (CA) (competitor)
LD Paradigm is here first, followed by Policy and then PF at the bottom (though much of LD applies to PF and nowadays even policy where appropriate)- Congress and Worlds is at VERY end.
For outrounds and flip rounds, please especially note section marked 'outrounds' at end
Shorter Version (in progress) (if you want to run some of these, see the labeled sections for most of them, following)
-Defaults to voting criterion.
-Theory-will not vote on fairness or disclosure. It will be treated as radio silence. See below for note regarding Arlington HS specifically.
-Education theory on the topic's substantial, topic-related issues OK but if frivolous RVIs encouraged.(i.e., brackets theory, etc ) I will almost always vote on reasonability.
--Will not vote on generic skepticism. May vote on resolution-specific skepticism
-Blips in constructive speeches blown up large in 1NR or 2AR are weighed as blips in my decision calculus
-It is highly unlikely I shall vote on tricks or award higher speaker points for tricks-oriented debaters
-No 'kicking' out of arguments unless the opponent agrees with said kicking. "You broke the argument, you own it."
-Critical arguments are fine and held to the same analytical standard as normative arguments.
-Policy approaches (plans/CPs/DAs) are fine. They are held to same prima facie burdens as in actual CX rounds- That also means if you want me to be a policy-maker, your evidence better be recent. If you don't know what I mean by 'prima facie burdens as in actual CX rounds' you should opt for a different strategy.
-Narratives are fine and should provide a rhetorical model for me to use to evaluate approach.
-If running something dense, it is the responsibility of the debater to explain it. I regard trying to comprehend it on my own to be judge intervention.
As I believe debate is an ORAL communication activity (albeit one often with highly specialized vocabulary and speed) I (with courtesy) I do not wish to be added to any 'speech document ' for debates taking place in the flesh or virtually. I will be pleased to read speech documents for any written debate contests I may happen to judge.
Role of ballot - See labeled section below- Too nuanced to have a short version
To Access higher speaker points...
Be kind/professional towards those less experienced or skilled. i.e. , make their arguments sound better than they probably are, make your own arguments accessible to them, organize the disorganized ideas of opponents, etc. while avoiding being condescending.
If clearly outclassed, stay engaged and professional. Try to avoid being visibly frustrated. We have all been there! You will absolutely get this eventually. (Plus, you never know- you may make the 'golden ticket argument ' to winning the round without knowing it...)
If I think you have done either of these, it will always result in bonus speaker points.
-Engage with your opponent's ideas. Clash with them directly, prove them wrong, demonstrate they are actually reasons to vote for you, etc., or at least of lesser importance,
exhibit the ability to listen.(see below for how I evaluate this)
exhibit the ability to use CX effectively (CX during prep time does not do so) This DOES NOT mean 'stumping the chump' it DOES mean setting up arguments for you to use in later speeches.
To Access lower speaker points
1) Act like a rude, arrogant, condescending, ignoramus. (or just one of these)
In other words, making offensive arguments, 'ist' arguments or behaving like a jerk - If you have to ask, chances are you shouldn't. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." Being racist or sexist or homophobic means one loses regardless, but behaving like a jerk in a non-'ist' way still means you lose speaker points and if offensive enough I'll look for a reason to vote against you.
2)have your coach fight your battles for you- When your coach browbeats your opponents to disclose or flip- or keeps you from arriving to your round in a timely fashion, it subliminally promotes your role as one in which you let your coach do your advocacy and thinking for you.
3)Avoid engaging with your opponent's ideas. Avoiding engaging through reliance on definitions, tricks, etc., or other methods may win you my ballots, but will earn lower speaker points.
4)Act like someone uninterested in knowledge or intellectual hard work and is proud of that lack of interest. Running theory as a default strategy is a most excellent way of doing so, and in public at that.-- (But there are other ways).
1)The voting standard is the most important judging tool to me in the round. Whatever else you do or say, weighing how the different arguments impact COMPARATIVELY to the voting standard is paramount.
I strongly prefer debaters to focus on the resolution proper, as defined by the topic literature. I tend to be really, REALLY bored by debaters who spend the bulk of their time on framework issues and/or theory as opposed to topical debating.
By contrast, I am very much interested in how philosophical and ethical arguments are applied to contemporary challenges, as framed by the resolution.
You can certainly be creative, which shall be rewarded when on-topic. Indeed, having a good command of the topic literature is a good way to be both.
My speaker points to an extent reflect my level of interest.
2) I evaluate a debater's ENTIRE skill set when assigning speaker points, including the ability to listen. See below for how I assess that ability.
3)One can use alternative approaches to traditional ones in LD in front of me. I am receptive to narratives, plans, kritiks, the role of the ballot to fight structural oppression, etc. But these should be grounded in the specific topic literature- This includes describing why the specific resolution being debated undermines the fight against oppressive norms.
4) I am NOT receptive to generic 'debate is bad' arguments. Wrong forum.
5) Specifics of my view of policy, critical, performance, etc. cases are at the bottom if you wish to skip to that.
I will not vote on...
a)Fairness arguments, period. They will be treated as radio silence. - See famed debate judge Marvin the Paranoid Android's (which I find optimistic) paradigm on this in 'The Debate Judges Guide to the Galaxy.' by Douglas Adams.
"The first ten million (fairness arguments) were the worst. And the second ten million: they were the worst, too. The third ten million I didn’t enjoy at all. After that, their quality went into a bit of a decline.”
And complaints about having to affirm makes the arguer look and sound like this from 'Puddles Pity Party'
Instead, tell me why the perceived violation is a poor way to evaluate the truth of the resolution, not that it puts you in a poor position to win.
b) I will not vote on disclosure theory, it shall be treated as radio silence. I have assisted a little with Arlington High. Arlington High by team consensus does not permit its' members to disclose except at tournaments where it is specified as required to participate by tournament invitation. I find the idea that disclosure is needed to avoid 'surprises' or have. a quality debate to be unlikely.
c) I will vote on education theory. In most cases it must be related to the topic literature. However, I am actively favorable to RVIs when run in response to 'cheap' , 'throw-away' , generic, or 'canned' education theory. Topic only focused, please.
d)Shells are not always necessary (or even usually). if an opponent's position is truly bollocks ten seconds explaining why is a better approach in front of me than a two or three minute theory shell
e) I am highly unlikely to vote on arguments that center on an extreme or very narrow framing of the resolution no matter how much framework you do- and 100% unlikely based on a half or full sentence blurb.-
'Extreme' in this context means marginally related to the literature (or a really small subset of it)
ON BLIPS AND EXTENSIONS
I believe that debaters indicate through analysis and time management what their key arguments are. Therefore, a one-sentence idea in case, if used as a major voting issue in rebuttals, will receive 'one sentence worth' of weight in my RFD. even if the idea was dropped cold. That's not no weight at all. But it ain't uranium either.
Simply extending drops and cards is insufficient, be sure to connect to the voting standard and explain the argument sufficiently. I do cut the Aff a little more leeway in this regard than the neg due to time limitations, but be careful.
OLD SCHOOL IDIOSYNCRASY- THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING
1) On sharing cases and evidence,
Please note: The below does not apply to the reading of evidence cards, nor does it apply to people with applicable IEPs, 504s or are second language learners.
1) I believe that listening is an essential debate skill. In those cases where speed and jargon are used, they are still being used within a particular oral communication framework, even if it is one unique to debate. It makes no sense to me to speak our cases to one another (and the judge), while our opponent reads the text afterwards (even more so as the case is read) and then orally respond to what was written down (or for the judge to vote on what was written down). If that is the norm, we could just stay home and email each other our cases.
In the round, this functions as my awarding higher speaker points to good listeners. Asking for the text of entire cases demonstrates you are still developing the ability to listen and/or the ability to process what you heard. That's OK, this is an educational activity, but a still developing listener wouldn't earn higher speaker points for the same reason someone with developing refutation skills wouldn't earn higher speaking points. My advice is to work on the ability to process what you have heard rather than ask for cases or briefs.
As I believe that act of orally speaking should not be limited to being an anthropological vestige of some ancient debate ritual, I will courteously turn down offers to be added to any speech documents, except at contests designed for such a purpose.
Asking for individual cards by name to examine their rhetoric, context etc, is acceptable, as I don't expect most debaters to be able to write down cards verbatim. I expect those cards to be made available immediately. Any time spent 'jumping' the cards to an opponent beyond minimal is taken off the prep time of the debater that just read the case.
I will most likely only ask for cards at the round's end in the case of ethical challenges, etc, or if I failed to make note of a card's substance through some reason beyond a debater's control (My own sneezing fit for example, or the host school's band playing '76 Trombones on the Hit Parade' in the classroom next door during the 1AC)-
On Non Debater authored Cases
I believe two of the most valuable skills in debate, along with the ability to listen, are the ability to write and research (and do both efficiently).
I further believe the tendency of some in the debate community to encourage students to become a ventriloquist's dummy, reading cases authored by individuals post-HS, is antithetical to developing these skills. Most likely it is also against most schools' academic code of conduct. I reject the idea that students are 'too busy to write their own cases and do their own research'
I will drop debaters -with minimal speaker points- who run cases written by any individual not enrolled in high school.
In novice or JV rounds I will drop debaters who run cases written by a varsity teammate.
Further, if I suspect, given that debater's level of competence, that they are running a position they did not write ( I suspect they have little to no comprehension of what they are reading) I reserve the right to question them after the round about that position. If said person confirms my suspicion about their level of comprehension, they will be dropped by me with minimal speaker points.
THAT SAID my speaker points will reward debaters who are trying out new ideas which they don't completely understand yet- I think people should take risks, just don't let yourself be shortchanged of all that debate can be by letting some non-high school student - or more experienced teammate- write your ideas for you. Don't be Charlie McCarthy (or Mortimer Snerd for that matter)
Finally, I am not opposed to student-written team cases/briefs per sae. However, given the increasing number of cases written by non-students, and the difficulty I have in distinguishing those from student-written positions, I may eventually apply this stance to any case I hear for the second time (or more) at a tournament. That day has not yet arrived however.
ON POLICY ARGUMENTS (LARPING)
I am open to persons who wish to argue policy positions as opposed to voting standard If that framework is won.
Do keep in mind that I believe the time structure of LD makes running such strategies a challenge. I find many policy link stories in LD debate, even in late outrounds at TOC-qual tournaments, to be JVish at best. Opponents, don't be afraid to say so.
Disadvantages should have clear linkage to the terminal impact, the shorter the better. When responding, it is highly advantageous to respond to the links. I tend to find the "if there is a .01% chance of extinction happening you have to vote for me" to be silly at best if there is any sort of probability weighing placed against it.
Policy-style debaters assume all burdens that actual policy debaters have, That means if solvency -(or at least some sort of comparative advantage, inherency, etc. is not prima facie shown for the resolution proper, that debater loses even if the opponent does not actually give a response while drooling on their own cardigan. (or yours, for that matter).
That means if you want me to be a policy-maker, your evidence should be super-recent. Otherwise, I may decide you don't meet your prima facie burdens, even for 'inherency' which virtually nobody votes on ever. Why? The same reason one shouldn't read a politics DA from October 2018.
Side note: If your OPPONENT does so, please be sure to all call them out on it in order to demonstrate CX or refutation skills. (I once heard someone ignore the fact a politics DA was being run the Saturday AFTER the election, it having taken place the Tuesday prior. I was sad.
I do have some sympathy for the hypothesis-testing paradigm where up-to-date evidence is not always as necessary- if you sell me on it. Running older evidence under such a framework may or may not be strategic, but it WOULD meet prima facie burdens.
If you don't know what I mean by 'prima facie burdens', or 'hypothesis-testing' you should opt for a different strategy. - Do learn what these terms mean if interested in LARPing, or answering LARPers.
I am also actively disinclined to allow the negative to 'kick out' out of counterplans, etc., in face of an Aff challenge, during the 1NR. Think 'Pottery Barn'- to paraphrase Colin Powell- "You broke the argument, you own it."
ON NARRATIVE ARGUMENTS
In addition to the 'story', be sure to include a rhetorical model I can use to evaluate the narrative in the course of the round. if you do so effectively, speaker points will be high. If not, low.
One can access the power of narrative arguments without being appropriative of other cultures. This is one such approach (granted from a documentary on Diane Nash)
ON CRITICAL ARGUMENTS
I hold them to the same analytical standard as more normative or traditional arguments. That means quoting some opaque piece of writing is unlikely to score much emphasis with me, absent a complete drop by the opponent. And even if there is a complete drop, during the weighing stage I could easily be persuaded that the critical argument is of little worth in adjudicating the round. When debating critical theory, Don't be afraid to point out that "the emperor has no clothes."
In the round, this functions as debaters coherently planning what both they and their sources are being critical of, and doing so throughout the round.
Identifying if the 'problem' is due to a deliberate attempt to oppress or ignorant/incompetent policies/structures resulting in oppression likely add nuance to your argument, both in terms of introducing and responding to critical arguments. This is especially true if making a generic critical argument rather than one that is resolution-specific.
Critical arguments all take place in a context, with the authors reacting to some structure- be it one created and run by 'dead white men' or whomever. The authors most certainly were familiar with whom or what they were attacking. To earn the highest speaker points, you should demonstrate some level of that knowledge too. HOW you do so may vary, your speaker points will reflect how well you perform under the strategy you choose and carry out in the round
In any case, be sure to SLOW DOWN when reading critical arguments.
ROLE OF THE BALLOT-
I believe that debate, and the type of people it attracts, provides uniquely superior opportunities to develop the skills required to fight oppression. I also believe that how I vote in some prelim at a tournament is unlikely to make much of a difference- or less so than if the debaters and judge spent their Saturday volunteering for a group fighting out-of-the-round oppression Or even singing, as they do in arguably the best scene from the best American movie ever.--
I tend to take the arguments more seriously when made in out rounds with audiences. The final round of PF in 2021 at TOC was important and remarkable. In fairness, people may see prelims as the place to learn how to make these arguments, which is to be commended. But it is not guaranteed that I take an experienced debater making such arguments in prelims as seriously, without a well-articulated reason to do so.
Also bear in mind that my perspective is that of a social studies teacher with a MA in Middle Eastern history and a liberal arts education who is at least tolerably familiar with the literature often referenced in these rounds. (If sometimes only in a 'book review' kind of way.) But I also default in my personal politics to feeling that a bird in hand is better than exposing the oppression of the bush.
if simply invited or encouraged to think about the implications of your position, or to take individual action to do so, that is a wild card that may lead to a vote in your favor- or may not. I feel obligated to use my personal knowledge in such rounds. YOU are encouraged to discuss the efficacy of rhetorical movements and strategies in such cases.
ONE LAST NOTE
Honestly, I am more than a little uncomfortable with debaters from privileged backgrounds running race-based nihilist or pessimist arguments of which they have no historical part. Granted, this is partly because I believe that it is in the economic self-interest of entrenched powers to propagate nihilist views. If you choose to do so, you can win my ballot, but you will have to prove it won't result in some tangible benefit to people of privilege.
ON MORALLY OFFENSIVE ARGUMENTS
Offensive debaters, such as those who actively call for genocide will be dropped with minimal speaker points. The same is true for those who are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.
I default to skepticism being in the same category when used as a response to 'X is morally bad' types of arguments.
By minimal speaker points, I mean 'one point' (.1 if the tournament allows tenths of a point) and my going to the physical (virtual) tabroom to insist they manually override any minimum in place in the settings.
If an argument not intended to be racist or sexist or homophobic or pro-murder could be misused to justify the same, that would be debatable in the round- though be reasonable. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." Arguing over if general U.S. immigration is irredeemably racist is debatable in the round, arguing that an entire group of people should be excluded based on religion is racist on face, and arguing that it is morally permissible to tear gas children is a moral travesty in and of itself.
Outrounds/Flip Rounds Only
I believe debate offers a unique platform for debaters to work towards becoming self-sufficient learners, independent decision-makers, and autonomous advocates. I believe that side determination with a lead time for the purposes of receiving side specific coaching particular to a given round is detrimental to debaters developing said skills. Further, it competitively disadvantages both debaters who do choose to emphasize such skills or do not have access to such coaching to start with.
Barring specific tournament rules to the contrary, in elimination rounds this functions as
a) flip upon arrival to the round.
b)avoid leaving the room after the coin flip (i.e., please go to the restroom, etc. before arriving at the room and before the flip)
c) arrive in sufficient time to the round to flip and do all desired preparation WITHOUT LEAVING THE ROOM so that the round can start on time.
d)All restrictions on electronic communication commence when the coin is in the air
Doing all of this establishes perceptual dominance in my mind. All judges, even those who claim to be blank slates, subliminally take perceptual dominance into account on some level. -Hence their 'preferences'. For me, all other matters being equal, I am more likely to 'believe' the round story given by a debater who exhibits these skills than the one I feel is channeling their coach's voice.
Have fun! Learn! "If you have fun and are learning, the winning will take care of itself"
In absence of a reason not to do so, I default to policy-maker (though I do have some sympathy for hypothesis-testing).
The above largely holds for my policy judging, though I am not as draconically anti-theory in policy as I am in LD because the time structure allows for bad theory to be exposed in a way not feasible in LD.
I've judged it and coached it since the creation.
I default to voting on the whole resolution. I vote for whichever side shows it is preponderantly more desirable That may include scope, impact, probability, etc.
Most of what I say under Lincoln-Douglas applies here, regarding substance as well as theory/and Ks. The differences OR key points are as follows.
1) I judge PF as an educated layperson- i.e. one who reads the paper but doesn't know the technicalities of debate lingo.
As such your 'extend this" and "pull that" confuse me for the purposes of the round - I will ignore debate lingo unless you explain the argument itself.
1b) I shall ignore 'theory' arguments completely (in PF, I will also ignore 'education' theory arguments, as well as 'fairness'-- '. Frame those arguments in terms of substance if you opt to make them). Theory arguments such shall be treated as radio silence on my flow. I will default to thinking you are uninterested in doing the work necessary to understand the topic, and that you are publicly announcing you are proud of being ignorant. If someone's opponent is prima facie unfair or uneducational, say so without running a 'shell'.
I will evaluate K's solely when based on the topic literature.
Your rate of delivery should be appropriate to the types of arguments you are making.
2)Stand during the cross-fire times. This adds to your perceptual dominance.
3) Offer and justify some sort of standard I can use to weigh competing arguments.
4) On Evidence...
--a)Evidence should be fully explained with analysis. Evidence without analysis isn't persuasive to me. (the best evidence will have analysis as well, which is the gold standard- but you should add your own linking to the round itself and the resolution proper).
4b) In order to earn higher speaker points, I expect evidence use to adhere to the full context being used and accessible. This doesn't mean you can't paraphrase when appropriate, it does mean reciting a single sentence or two and/or taking excessive time when asked to produce the source means you are still developing your evidence usage ability. Of course, using evidence in context (be it a full card or proper paraphrasing-) is expected Note #6 below.
You will also want to make note of the 'earn higher speaker points' in the LD section above, it also applies in PF.
--Quantitative claims always require evidence, the more recent the better.
--Qualitative claims DO NOT always require evidence, that depends on the specific claim.
-5)-Be comparative when addressing competing claims. The best analytical evidence compares claims directly within itself.
-6)Produce requested evidence in an expeditious fashion- Failure to do so comes of YOUR prep time, and eventually next speech time. Since such failure demonstrates that organizational skills are still being developed, it also means lower speaker points are likely to be earned.
'Expeditious' means within ten seconds or so, unless the tournament invitation mandates a different period of time
-7)-Blips in constructive speeches blown up large in summary or final focus are weighed as blips in my decision calculus
8)No 'kicking' out of arguments unless the opponent agrees with said kicking. "You broke the argument, you own it."
9) I will most likely only ask for cards at the round's end in the case of ethical challenges, etc, or if I failed to make note of a card's substance through some reason beyond a debater's control (My own sneezing fit for example, or the host school's band playing '76 Trombones on the Hit Parade' in the classroom next door during a speech.
10) What I have to say elsewhere in this document about how to access higher speaker points and how to earn super low points by being offensive also applies to PF.
Most Importantly- as with any event " Have fun! "If you are learning and having fun, the winning shall take care of itself."
To Access better ranks
1) Engage with your opponent's ideas. Clash with them directly, prove them wrong, further develop ideas offered previously by speakers on the same side of legislation as yourself, demonstrate opposing ideas are actually reasons to vote for you, etc
2)Speech organization should reflect when during a topic debate said speech is delivered. Earlier pro speeches (especially authorships or sponsorships) should explain what problem exists and how the legislation solves for it. Later speeches should develop arguments for or against the legislation. The last speeches on legislation should summarize and recap, reflecting the ideas offered during the debate
3)Exhibit the ability to listen. This is evaluated through argument development and clash
4)Evidence usage. Using evidence that may be used be 'real' legislators is the gold standard. (government reports or scholarly think tanks or other policy works. Academic-ish sources (JSTOR, NYRbooks, etc) are next. Professional news sources are in the middle. News sources that rely on 'free' freelancers are below that. Ideological websites without scholarly fare are at the bottom. For example, Brookings or Manhattan Institute, yes! Outside the box can be fine. If a topic on the military is on the docket, 'warontherocks.com ', yes!. (though cite the author and credentials. in such cases)
4b) Souce usage corresponds to the type of argument being backed. 'Expert' evidence is more important with 'detailed' legislation than with more birds-eye changes to the law.
5)exhibit the ability to use CX effectively - This DOES NOT mean 'stumping the chump' it DOES mean setting up arguments for you or a colleague to expand upon a speech later. Asking a question where the speaker's answer is irrelevant to you- - or your colleagues'- ability to do so later is the gold standard.
6)PO's should be transparent, expeditious, accurate and fair in their handling of the chamber.
6b)At local tournaments, 'new PO's will not be penalized (or rewarded) for still developing the ability to be expeditious. That skill shall be evaluated as radio silence (neither for, nor against you)- Give it a try!
To Access worse ranks
1) Act like a rude, arrogant, condescending, ignoramus. (or just one of these)
In other words, making offensive arguments, 'ist' arguments or behaving like a jerk - If you have to ask, chances are you shouldn't. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." Being racist or sexist or homophobic or transphobic means one loses regardless, but behaving like a jerk in a non-'ist' way still means I'll look for a reason to rank you at the very bottom of the chamber, behind the person who spent the entire session practicing their origami while engaged in silent self-hypnosis.
2)If among any speaker other than the author and first opposition, rehashing arguments that have already been made with no further development (no matter how well internally argued or supported with evidence your speech happens to be backed with)
3)Avoiding engaging with the ideas of others in the chamber- either in terms of clashing with them directly or expanding upon ideas already made
4)Evidence usage. Using evidence that may NOT be used be 'real' legislators is the gilded standard. Examples include blatantly ideological sources, websites that don't pay their contributors, etc. This is especially true if a technical subject is the focus of the debate.
4b)In general, using out of date evidence. The more immediate a problem the more recent evidence should be. Quoting Millard Fillmore on immigration reform should not more be done than quoting evidence from the Bush or even the Obama Administration. (That said, if arguing on the level of ideas, by all means, synthesize important past thinkers into your arguments)
5) Avoiding activity such as cross-examination
5b)'Stalling' when being CXed by asking clarification for simple questions
6)Act like someone uninterested in knowledge or intellectual hard work and is proud of that lack of interest
7)POs who show favoritism or repeatedly make errors.
What (may) make a rank or two of positive difference
Be kind/professional towards those less experienced or skilled. i.e. , make their arguments sound better than they probably are, make your own arguments accessible to them, organize the disorganized ideas of others, etc. while avoiding being condescending. Be inclusive during rules, etc. of those from new congress schools or are lone wolves.
If clearly outclassed, stay engaged, and professional. Try to avoid being visibly frustrated. We have all been there! You will absolutely get this eventually. (Plus, you never know- you may make the 'golden ticket argument ' to ranking high without knowing it...)
If I think you have done the above, it will improve your rank in chamber.
First, Congrats on being here. Well earned. One piece of advice- Before starting your speaking in your rounds here in the Virtual Space City, take a moment while in front of the Zoom to fix the memory in your mind. It is a memory well-worth keeping.
I have judged at the NSDA Worlds Invitational since 2015 with the exception of two years, though I have coached the New England teams each year. It judged WSD at a few invitationals and competed in Parli in college.
While I am well-experienced in other forms of debate (and I bloviate about that quite a bit here) for this tournament I shall reward teams that do the following...
-Center case around a core thesis with supporting substantial arguments and examples. (The thesis may- and often will- evolve during the course of the round)
-Refutation -(especially in later speeches) integrates all arguments make by one's own side and by the opposition into a said thesis
--Weighs key voters. Definitions and other methods should be explicit
Effectively shared rhetorical 'vehicles' between speakers adds to your ethos and ideally logos.
---Blips in constructive speeches blown up large in later speeches are weighed as blips in my decision calculus
--Even succinct POIs can advance argumentation
-Avoid using counterintuitive arguments.(often popular in LD/PF/CX) If you think an argument could be perceived as counterintuitive when it is not, just walk me through that argumentation.
Debate lingo such as 'extend this" and "pull that" confuse me for the purposes of the round - I will ignore debate lingo unless you explain the argument itself.
--Use breadth as well as depth when it comes to case construction (that usually means international examples as well as US-centric, and may also mean examples from throughout the liberal arts- science, literature, history, etc.- When appropriate and unforced.
If a model is offered, I believe 'fiat' of the legislative (or whatever) action is a given so time spent debating otherwise shall be treated as radio silence. However, mindsets or utopia cannot be 'fiat-ed'.
To earn higher speaker points and make me WANT to vote for you-
-Engage with your opponent's ideas for higher speaker points. Avoiding engaging through reliance on definitions or other methods may win you my ballots, but will earn lower speaker points. (This DOES NOT mean going deep into a line by line, it does mean engaging with the claim and the warrant)
Be kind/professional towards those less experienced or skilled. i.e. , make their arguments sound better than they probably are, make your own arguments accessible to them, organize the disorganized ideas of opponents, etc. while avoiding being condescending.
If clearly outclassed, stay engaged and professional. Try to avoid being visibly frustrated. We have all been there! You will absolutely get this eventually. (plus, you never know- you may make the 'golden ticket argument ' to winning the round without knowing it...)
If I think you have done these, it will always result in bonus speaker points.
and needless to say, I'm sure, offensive debaters, such as those who actively call for genocide will be dropped with minimal speaker points. The same is true for those who are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.
If an argument not intended to be racist or sexist or pro-murder could be misused to justify the same, that would be debatable in the round- though be reasonable. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." Arguing over if general U.S. immigration is irredeemably racist is debatable in the round, arguing that an entire group of people should be excluded based on religion is racist on face, and arguing that it is morally acceptable (or even amoral) to tear gas children is a moral travesty in and of itself.
Again, congratulations on being here!! You have earned this, learn, have fun, make positive memories...
Hi, I'm the Director of Speech and Debate at Poly Prep.
I did 8 years of policy debate in HS & College. I started my career coaching college policy at NYU, was then the Director of Debate at Byram Hills HS, and now have been at Poly for the last 5 years.
I see rounds as technical applications that interact with each other and split out a winner. My goal as the judge is to be the least involved with the decision I make as possible. The more you let this happen for me, the happier you will be with speaker points.
I have no preferences in the types of arguments you run - but make sure to provide a framework for how to evaluate said arguments.
**2020 TOC add-on:
I have been on the sideline from judging for the last several years due to health issues that limited the use of my hands. I am so pumped to be able to judge again. That being said - in order to make sure I have a correct flow, if you are going too fast for my hands to catch up (which for PF should be fine, but just so you know), I will unmute and say 'slower'.
Director of Speech & Debate at Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan. Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Institute for Speech and Debate. Formerly worked/coached at Hawken School, Charlotte Latin School, Delbarton School, The Harker School, Lake Highland Prep, Desert Vista High School, and a few others.
Updated for Online Debate
I coach in Taipei, Taiwan. Online tournaments are most often on US timezones - but we are still competing/judging. That means that when I'm judging you, it is the middle of the night here. I am doing the best I can to adjust my sleep schedule (and that of my students) - but I'm likely still going to be tired. Clarity is going to be vital. Complicated link stories, etc. are likely a quick way to lose my ballot. Be clear. Tell a compelling story. Don't overcomplicate the debate. That's the best way to win my ballot at 3am - and always really. But especially at 3am.
firstname.lastname@example.org is the best email for the evidence email chain.
You can ask me specific questions if you have them...but my paradigm is pretty simple - answer these three questions in the round - and answer them better than your opponent, and you're going to win my ballot:
1. Where am I voting?
2. How can I vote for you there?
3. Why am I voting there and not somewhere else?
I'm not going to do work for you. Don't try to go for everything. Make sure you weigh. Both sides are going to be winning some sort of argument - you're going to need to tell me why what you're winning is more important and enough to win my ballot.
If you are racist, homophobic, nativist, sexist, transphobic, or pretty much any version of "ist" in the round - I will drop you. There's no place for any of that in debate. Debate should be as safe of a space as possible. Competition inherently prevents debate from being a 100% safe space, but if you intentionally make debate unsafe for others, I will drop you. Period.
One suggestion I have for folks is to embrace the use of y'all. All too often, words like "guys" are used to refer to large groups of people that are quite diverse. Pay attention to pronouns (and enter yours on Tabroom!), and be mindful of the language you use, even in casual references.
I am very very very very unlikely to vote for theory. I don't think PF is the best place for it. Also, I am skeptical of critical arguments. If they link to the resolution, fantastic - but I don't think pre-fiat is something that belongs in PF. If you plan on running arguments like that, it might be worth asking me more about my belief first - or striking me.
I reserve the right to end the debate due to anti-blackness