1st and 2nd Year National Championships at Woodward Academy
2019 — College Park, GA/US
Parnika Agrawal Paradigm
I debated for Lake Highland for 3 years.
Overall, I’m fine with pretty much whatever you want to read and I don’t have a preference towards judging any specific type of arguments, so you should read whatever you’re most comfortable with. I’ll vote on anything as long as you can explain it well and it has a clear claim, warrant, and impacts. However, if you say or do anything racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I will definitely tank your speaks and probably drop you.
If you’re reading a position that is dense or confusing, make sure you explain it very clearly. Don’t just assume I’ll understand a position or vote on something that isn’t explained well because I or my teammates read something similar in that literature base. If you’re reading blippy tricks make sure you slow down enough so that I can flow them completely – if your strat is to go for blippy arguments that were conceded, make sure they were clear enough for me to catch in the first speech.
Make sure your extensions have clear claims/warrants/impacts. My threshold for extensions will be lower if the argument was conceded, but you still need to give me more than just a card name or a 5 second blip if its something you want me to vote on.
Here are some defaults for the round – I hope I won’t have to use these, and I’ll only use these is literally nothing is said about these issues at any point in the debate:
- Truth testing > comparative worlds
- Theory > K
- You can weigh between layers (theory, T, ROB)
- Permissibility negates
- No RVIs
**Just because these are my defaults does not mean I am more inclined to arguments that align with these – as long as you make a warranted argument on any of these issues in the round, I’ll ignore these defaults.
If you have specific questions just email me (email@example.com), Facebook message me, or ask me before the round and I’m happy to answer them.
Shireen Ansari Paradigm
Hi! My name is Shireen Ansari. I’m Ahad Ansari’s mom and a second-year parent judge who has judged a few, mostly local, tournaments. Overall, I’m looing for a nice civil debate with arguments on both sides. I’ll try and flow, but it is your job to convince me and get me to understand you, and your job to convince me. Of course, no going fast or using things like “theory” or “ks.” I think debate is great! Please be nice and respectful! Above all, have fun!
Lucas Bailey Paradigm
I competed in Lincoln-Douglas for three years in high school, and Public Forum for one. I've been coaching and judging LD and PF since then.
I prefer a slower debate, I think it allows for a more involved, persuasive and all-around better style of speaking and debating. It is your burden to make sure that your speech is clear and understandable and the faster you want to speak, the more clearly you must speak. If I miss an argument, then you didn't make it.
No. There is designated CX time for a reason. You can ask for evidence during prep, but not clarification.
Role of the Ballot: A role of the ballot argument will only influence how I vote on pre-fiat, not post-fiat argumentation. It is not, therefore, a replacement for a framework, unless your entire case is pre-fiat, in which case see "pre-fiat kritiks". I default to a "better debater" standard. Be sure to provide evidence for how the ballot will create change.
Theory: Please reserve theory for genuinely abusive arguments or positions which leave one side no ground. I am willing to vote on RVIs if they are made, but I will not vote on theory unless it is specifically impacted to "Vote against my opponent for this violation". I will always use a reasonability standard. Running theory is asking me as the judge in intervene in the round, and I will only do so if I deem it appropriate.
Pre-fiat Kritiks: I am very slow to pull the trigger on most pre-fiat Ks. I generally consider them attempts to exclude the aff from the round or else shut down discourse by focusing the debate on issues of identity or discourse rather than ideas, especially because most pre-fiat Ks are performative but not performed. Ensure you have a role of the ballot which warrants why my vote will have any impact on the world. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the resolution", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.
Post-fiat Kritiks: Run anything you want. I do like alts to be a little more fleshed out than "reject the resolution", and have a low threshold for voting for no solvency arguments against undeveloped alts.
Topicality: Fine. Just make sure you specify what the impact of topicality on the round is.
Politics Disadvantages: Please don't. If you absolutely must, you need to prove A: The resolution will occur now. B: The affirmative must defend a specific implementation of the topic. C:The affirmative must defend a specific actor for the topic. Without those three interps, I will not vote on a politics DA.
Narratives: Fine, as long as you preface with a framework which explains why and how narratives impact the round.
Conditionality: I'm permissive but skeptical of conditional argumentation. A conditional argument cannot be kicked if there are turns on it, and I will not vote on contradictory arguments, even if they are conditional. So don't run a cap K and an econ disad. You can't kick out of discourse impacts. Performance is important here.
Word PICs: I don't like word PICs. I'll vote on them if they aren't effectively responded to, but I don't like them. I believe that they drastically decrease clash and cut affirmative ground by taking away unique affirmative offense.
Presumption - I do not presume neg. I'm willing to vote on presumption if the aff or neg gives me arguments for why aff or neg should be presumed, but neither side has presumption inherently. Both aff and neg need offense - in the absence of offense, I revert to possibility of offense.
Pessimistic Ks - Generally not a fan. I find it difficult to understand why they should motivate me to vote for one side over another, even if the argument is true.
Since I've gotten some questions about this..
I judge on a 5 point scale, from 25-30.
25 is a terrible round, with massive flaws in speeches, huge amounts of time left unused, blatantly offensive things said or other glaring rhetorical issues.
26 is a bad round. The debater had consistent issues with clarity, time management, or fluency which make understanding or believing the case more difficult.
27.5 is average. Speaker made no large, consistent mistakes, but nevertheless had persistent smaller errors in fluency, clarity or other areas of rhetoric.
28.5 is above average. Speaker made very few mistakes, which largely weren't consistent or repeated. Speaker was compelling, used rhetorical devices well
30 is perfect. No breaks in fluency, no issues with clarity regardless of speed, very strong use of rhetorical devices and strategies.
Argumentation does not impact how I give speaker points. You could have an innovative, well-developed case with strong evidence that is totally unresponded to, but still get a 26 if your speaking is bad.
While I do not take points off for speed, I do take points off for a lack of fluency or clarity, which speed often creates.
If there are any aspects of the debate I look to before all others, they would be framework and impact analysis. Not doing one or the other or both makes it much harder for me to vote for you, either because I don't know how to evaluate the impacts in the round or because I don't know how to compare them.
Public Forum Paradigm
I default to an "on balance" metric for evaluating and comparing impacts. I will not consider unwarranted frameworks, especially if they are simply one or two lines asserting the framework without even attempting to justify it.
I will evaluate topicality arguments, though only with the impact "ignore the argument", never "drop the team".
Yes, I understand theory. No, I don't want to hear theory in a PF round. No, I will not vote on a theory argument.
No. Neither the pro nor the con has fiat.
No. Kritiks only function under a truth-testing interpretation of the con burden, I only use comparative worlds in Public Forum.
The pro and the con have an equal and opposite burden of proof. Because of limited time and largely non-technical nature of Public Forum, I consider myself more empowered to intervene against arguments I perceive as unfair or contrary to the rules or spirit of Public Forum debate than I might be while judging LD or Policy.
Daniel Carmichael Paradigm
I have adept experience with both PF and LD. I've done debate for 4 years now and can understand most arguments. Even if they are borderline stupid. If you speak fast, speak clearly. If I can't understand what you're saying I won't write it on my flow. If you ask for critics I will gladly give them. But I'm a strong believer in constructive criticism, so I will give a thorough analysis of each debater and their arguments. If you have questions after the round, please ask them. I don't vote off presentation, but don't be unnecessarily aggressive.
To win the round...
-don't drop arguments
-if you say your opponent dropped an argument, and they didn't, I will use that heavily in my decision
-use BOTH evidence and logic to refute your opponent's arguments and defend your own
-Even if you don't have a great answer to an argument, answer it anyway. I use dropped arguments heavily while making my decision
-When extending arguments, extend the tag and the warrant
-Articulate to me specific reasons why you have won the round. Give voters
Opinions on CP/K/Theory
CP: do it!!!!
K: don't expect me to take you seriously
Theory: I Don't vote on this unless your opponent has done something significant. If you want to bring up a trivial violation but don't think it out-ways substance
-"Silly Rabbit, tricks are for kids"
Just call me Carmichael
again, if you have any questions before the round, ask them
Madi Crowley Paradigm
put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m currently a varisty fourth year debater at Lake Highland Prep.
The short version is: I believe that debate is a space for debaters to have fun and enjoy themselves, which means that I am open to anything you want to read. If you enjoy the utilz, go ahead and larp. If you prefer Ks, read Ks. If you are good at phil, read phil. I’m fine with flowing speed, but please slow down on tags, things you think are important, and whenever I say “clear." Also, if you are sexist,racist,homophobic,and just plain rude I will tank your speaks.
I tried to read a little bit of everything (high theory, performance, policy args, other Ks, theory/T, tricks, framework, reps, etc.) So I’m comfortable judging a lot of positions.
If you are reading a position that you think is slightly confusing, or that took you awhile to learn, chances are I will think its confusing too. Please, please, please slow down to explain it.
I want clear extensions with claim, warrant and impact. If the argument was conceded I will be more lenient.
I determine speaks based on how well I think you will do at the tournament. I also determine speaks based on how fun you make the round.
Remember to weigh!!!
These are what I default to if no weighing or arguments in favor of the other side were made in the round. These are all subject to change if you just make arguments.
theory before K
Truth testing (what it means for the res to be “true” or “false” can be determined through consequential impacts or rotb)
drop the arg
Some judges that i want to be: Tom Evnen, Becca Traber, Grant Brown, and Julia Wu.
Griffin Darden Paradigm
I prefer a more traditional LD debate. I am fine with DAs, justified theory, and topicality. CPs are fine if your opponent has read a plan but I generally don’t end up voting on them in LD debates. You can read a K if you want but I am only familiar with the pretty generic ones. If you choose to read a K it should not be vague and you should seem knowledgeable about it if you want me to vote on it. Plans are ok I just don’t believe them to be super necessary in LD.
When it comes to the way I vote I will default to weighing on the value criterion that has been provided (although I would prefer that the debate not spend to much time on value criterion back and forth). I think it’s a huge plus for both debaters to weigh their impacts through both criterions.
On speed I am fine with it but I value clarity way more than speed (so don’t sacrifice clarity). If you do elect to spread i would like a copy of the speech doc.
Jaya Dayal Paradigm
Hi! I’m a senior at Lake Highland and I’ve debated for 4 years.
First, please be nice in round :) There's no need to be rude or mean to your opponent in round even if it is a competitive event.
I’m fine with pretty much any arguments you read, so read what you’re most comfortable with and can explain well. I’m not the biggest fan of tricks but I’ll vote on them if you warrant and explain them. I expect extensions and explanations of arguments to have a clear claim, warrant, and impact. If you read anything racist, sexist, homophobic, etc or otherwise discriminatory and exclusionary in round I'll probably drop you and will definitely tank your speaks.
If you're reading a position that's more dense or confusing, you need to explain it clearly. Don't assume that I'll be familiar with it and will just vote on it because I or my teammates read something from a similar literature base. If you're reading blippy arguments or tricks, make sure you slow down enough so I can flow them completely, especially if you're planning on going for conceded blippy arguments - make sure they were clear enough in the first speech for me to flow them. I really don't understand tricks very well so although I'm not opposed to voting on them I really need you to explain them well if you want me to vote on them.
Arguments should be extended with a clear claim, warrant, and impact. My threshold will be a bit lower if the argument is conceded, but if you want me to vote on the argument, you need to do more than just say the card name.
Please weigh between different layers of the debate! This is really important for me understanding how you expect me to evaluate your arguments in the round. If you provide absolutely no weighing between arguments, here are some things I will default to:
- Theory > K
- No RVIs
If you talk about the environment there's a chance I might give you higher speaks.
If you have any specific questions you can email, Facebook message, or ask me before the round.
Lydia Dimsu Paradigm
Hi! I'm a fan of email chains so if you're making one, put me on it: email@example.com
I'm a varsity debater at Marlborough School and have been debating national circuit LD for the past three years.
1. Feel free to go at whatever speed you want to AS LONG AS you are slowing down for analytics, card tags, and author names. At the end of the day, clarity > speed, your incoherent mumbling means nothing to me and I won't flow what I don't hear. If you can go fast without sacrificing enunciation, great!
2. I'm cool with T/theory, Ks, DAs, CPs, PICs, etc. so long as you EXPLAIN it. I will not be happy if you just read a bunch of cards and call it a day. I don't care if you read the most amazing off-cases the world has ever seen, if I don't thoroughly understand them because you aren't doing enough work to persuade me, I will not vote on it. Weighing and impact-calc are key, use them to your advantage.
3. That being said, I'm not a fan of tricks, truth-testing, or high-level (or obscure) phil/Ks. Not only that, but I don't have much experience with these arguments. Read something else or, if you have a burning passion for such positions and are only able to run them, explain them to me really well (refer to point #1 for more info).
4. Please don't be that person who runs 7-off case with four of the off-cases being irrelevant theory shells. Debate should be educational and all you're doing is wasting time with dumb arguments. BUT, again, if it is explained well and I have to vote on it, I will put my feelings aside and do so.
Notes on prep time:
1. I'll allow flex prep if you need it.
2. I don't count flashing as prep but don't try to be sneaky and steal prep, I have my own timer and will notice. I'm not afraid to call you out if you're taking an obnoxious amount of time to send your docs.
If it isn't already obvious from above, don't be mean! There's a thin line between trying to be perceptually dominant and being aggressive, don't cross it or your speaks will suffer immensely. Also, this goes without saying but, don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc.
P.S. If you're a guy debating a girl AND/OR are the more experienced debater in round, you have the obligation to make the round more inclusive/safe (i.e. don't be rude or patronizing, it's as simple as that)!
Chris Flowers Paradigm
Paradigm update eNSDA
Little Rock Central
You can call me by my first or last name. I use he/him pronouns.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
I flow, pay attention to cx and would like to be on the email chain to read your evidence if necessary.
I want you to keep up with your own prep (unless you’re new at this).
I evaluate dropped arguments like won arguments, but expect you to extend the warrants to the claim and impact the argument out as necessary.
Debaters ought to determine the procedural limits and educational value of each topic by defending their interpretations in the round (See preferences section for more on this).
Affirmative teams should advocate for some departure from the status quo in the context of the topic. The more connected to the topic you are, the less likely I am to evaluate fairness impacts on framework/t.
If I have to read evidence for decision purposes I will evaluate the quality of said evidence even without explicit indicts of the evidence from your opponent. If you are way ahead on technical stuff or even spin, evidence quality matters less.
Debaters should not do any of the following:
Outright disregard basic, logistical and procedural things that keep the tournament running on time, i.e. showing up super late, speaking over the time allotted to their side etc.
Disregard reasonable personal request of their opponents. If you don’t wish to comply with opponent requests, you ought to have a good reason why.
Say or do racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist things.
Read identity arguments that you don't identify as.
Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments
Education > Fairness
Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game
Breadth = Depth ---> both are important please make warrants here
Neg getting the status quo plus conditional advocacies is fair and incentivizes good aff research.
K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.
Perf Con is a reason to vote AFF, RVI’s are probably not.
Voting for theory when there’s substantial or egregious abuse > voting for theory because it was undercovered
reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.
Analytic > Low quality evidence
Heg = bad.
Cap = bad.
We don’t need to shake hands.
Calling framework T doesn’t make it not framework. What are you trying to hide!?
Case debate is underutilized.
Analytics are underutilized .
My tolerance for rudeness, sassiness etc. goes up the better you are at debate.
Your speaks go up when you are nice to opponents you are way better than.
Y’all are kids. I’m 35. You can call me by my first or last name, but I’m not here for unnecessary dramatics.
Your coaches and judges give up a lot to be here on the weekends. It’s because deep down they care about you and the activity. It has made a marked difference in their lives and they want you to get the same thing out of it that they did. Make this experience enjoyable and educational for yourself and others. If it’s not fun, maybe consider quiz bowl or model UN.
I'd pref these teams at 1:
PV VG (ride or die)
Lane Tech CG
I evaluate a speech similar to how I would grade a paper.
30 = 100%
I think the 30 is too exalted. But, I do want to be blown away before I hand one out. Do the following for your best chances:
Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.
Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.
Performance between speeches is exemplary (cross-x questions and answers, non-verbal during opponents speeches and a generally likable ethos).
Rebuttal speeches are rich with a combination of argumentation and persuasion (warrants are extended, comparisons are made, round vision is demonstrated through clear strategy but also responsive analytics).
and 29.9 = 99% and so on down the line.
The best way to get a 29 and up from me is focus on the following:
Be yourself, don’t be flippant.
Pre-written speeches should be clear, dynamic and within time.
Rebuttals are a smooth combination of argument extensions, comparisons and in-round analytics.
Strategy is cohesive and cool.
You signpost well and organized. The fewer times I have to move my arguments from the flow the better.
Novices should expect there speaks to be relatively lower. Since speaks are largely arbitrary the most fair way for me to assign speaks is to stick to the criteria above.
*If I haven't mentioned it here, I don't have any strong thoughts on the matter and am most likely to be a pretty blank slate. Especially on theory. *
t/framework vs. k aff
Planless aff’s are a thing and neg teams are best to attempt to engage case as earnestly as possible. This is especially true if the aff has been around for awhile and/or is steeped in literature that is readily accessible through camp files or previous years topics (read: basically everything).
Affs should be related to the topic. The less contextualized to the affirmative your aff is the more likely I am to vote on fairness/procedural issues. On face, I think education is way more important than fairness. But I will begrudgingly vote for you if you’ve out warranted the other team on this issue.
T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg
I default to reasonability because I think it incentivizes innovative research by the aff that expands the limits of the topic in a good way. (all about that education). I also don’t think it creates much more judge intervention that is already inevitable and comparable to evaluating competing interps. But, I will vote for competing interps if you’ve got good stuff to say that will establish a clear brightline as to what makes a definition better.
Neg definitely gets to be conditional. Limited conditionality is the most comfortable theory interp for me, but unlimited conditionality is fine too, unless you cross over the line into perf con.
I am 1/1 voting on perf con that was in the 2ar.
The threshold for me on perf con is two fold. Either one of these violations happening is enough for me to vote for PC 2AR
a. Arguments made on one flow could be extended to other parts of the flow once the original argument is dropped.
b. Positons are grossly ideologically contradictory. IE, the econ da plus cap.
If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.
Most PIC’s I’ve heard seem theoretically legit because demonstrable abuse hasn’t been proven. But if you have a clear, thesis story on CP abuse I will vote there. It’s happened before. But violations have to be clear.
I think most politics arguments are false and most econ arguments are false. However, I can detach myself from those beliefs and vote for your disad, even if it's terrible. Please be reading updated uniqueness arguments and be paying attention to what’s happening in the squo. Make your turns case analysis efficient and terminal.
Neg walks in with presumption. If both teams show up and neither team speaks I’d vote neg on a low point win. Neg teams should still make presumption analysis and not just rely on my assumption to vote their. Explain to me the inefficiencies of the aff to resolve the harms in the status quo.
Debate is transformative. It is foremost an educational activity. As a classroom teacher, as well as an active coach and judge I approach nearly everything I do with that element of education in mind. I do think there should be some parameters to the game, but I also believe that part of the beauty of the game is that those parameters are generally underlimiting. I think this isn’t always the best for creativity, but that it definitely encourages students to do in-depth research on a broad range of topics.
Debate is challenging. I like arguments that are hard to beat, but not impossible. As a coach debate allows me to set personal challenges, some that I have accomplished others I may never achieve. There’s beauty in the struggle. As a coach, I want to be down in the trenches as much as possible, cutting cards, maximizing pre-round prep. and doing anything I can to win, even if it means being the waterboy before rounds. As a judge, I hope the debaters I judge will feel the same way. I don’t care how much experience you have, how good or bad at debate you are, I want you to be in it to win it. I also want you to not be afraid to fail.
Debate is exhausting. On my squad, I share responsibilities with two other phenomenal coaches. We all drive to and from tournaments, work tirelessly on hearing redos, facilitating practices, cutting evidence and overall trying to put all of our debaters in the best possible position to win debates. All of this can be excruciating and exhausting. If debaters on my team or at tournaments don’t’ share in this sense of sacrifice or the recognition that we are all a part of something a little bigger, there’s no payoff for me. Don’t be those kids. Being away from home and family so frequently during the school year CAN be a worthy sacrifice, if the students I coach and judge demonstrate excellence or a desire for excellence in competitive and interpersonal ways. Your coaches, myself included, do this for a reason. Most of us really want nothing but the best for you. Winning is important, but not everything. Have a good attitude and embrace the game.
Benjamin Geller Paradigm
I debated for American Heritage for 4 years in LD. I ran almost all types of arguments throughout my career, so I'll be fine listening to anything. I am worst at evaluating LARP debates, but if that is your style go ahead. Make sure you weigh ,or my job is much harder and I will be not happy. I take the route of least intervention. If you're running a confusing position, please explain it well. Spreading is cool and I will yell "clear." If you have any questions, my email is at the top. As a judge, I want to be like Luke Gastelu.
Tedy George Paradigm
I am a second-year parent judge for Lake Highland Prep. I have zero national tournament judging experience tbh, but I’ve judged a good number of debates on the Florida/Orlando local circuit. If I'm chosen to judge, it will go slow that will focus on plebeian/noob concepts of LD methods and debate topics. I will try and judge the round as fairly as I am able to despite my issues, of course. If I can’t understand you or your arguments - I literally can’t vote for you, and you should debate accordingly.
Robby Gillespie Paradigm
Hi! I'm Robby and I debated at American Heritage in Plantation, FL for four years. I broke at the TOC and received eight career bids.
There are a few things you should know for your prefs and before round:
1. I'm comfortable evaluating all kinds of debate, but I'm most comfortable with framework (philosophy), theory/topicality, and LARP. Despite not reading K's often as a debater, I can evaluate them if the position is warranted and explained well. Non-T affs are cool and fun to judge, but if you can't explain to me why I should vote aff then it makes your life significantly harder.
2. The only arguments I will not evaluate are exclusionary ones and claims without warrants. The "schmagency objection" and "chilling effect" are not complete arguments unless you explain to me their warrants.
3. I will evaluate tricks, but please show some class. If someone asks you where your a prioris are, please tell them. Good tricks debaters aren't good because they load the AC with a bunch of hidden blips that the NC will inevitably concede. Good tricks debaters say, "here is an argument that might seem silly, but I'm prepared to justify it and beat you on it."
4. I'm decent at flowing but if you're too fast or unclear I'll let you know because I won't flow off of the doc. I'll say "clear" or "loud" as many times as you need. Slowing down on tags, author names, and interps makes judging easier for me and inflection can make you more persuasive.
5. I give speaker points mostly based on in-round performance and strategy. Being tech/efficient (that means do weighing) and making clever strategic choices is the best way to get high speaks from me. Reading interesting positions and making the round entertaining can also earn you better speaks. Also, I'll index speaker points to the quality of the pool.
6. I don't have a high threshold for extensions, especially for conceded arguments and or any arguments in the 1AR.
7. I don't think it's interventionist to not vote on an argument that doesn't have a warrant even if your opponent doesn't call it out. I will take the path of least resistance when evaluating rounds because I don't want to intervene, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't warrant your arguments or that you can warrant them incorrectly. Similarly, I don't default to any paradigm issues. If nobody has justified drop the debater or drop the argument, for example, I will not vote on the shell. This can easily be avoided by impacting all of your arguments.
The most important things are to read what you want instead of trying to adapt to me and be nice to your opponent. If you do those two things everybody will be happy.
Anne Greer Paradigm
Update for TOC: I've been told my paradigm is unhelpful, so I'm trying to fix that. Equally good for policy args + the K. Equally terrible for phil + tricks. Unless you want your speeches to be impossible to flow, you should slow down when you're not reading card text. However fast you would go in the 2NR / 2AR should be how fast you go on analytics in the 1NC and 1AR.
About Me: I'm in my first year of policy debate for Georgetown. I qualified to the NDT this year. I did LD in HS. etc.
How I Judge: My email is email@example.com and I want to be on the chain. Don't assume how I think about debate from the arguments that I go for. I like lots of different kinds of debate and will work hard to ensure that I evaluate your round fairly. The following is a list of non-negotiable rules for any debate that I judge.
- In a debate, there is one aff team and one neg team, I will cast a ballot for one winner and one loser, each side has an equal amount of time to speak, all speeches will be evaluated to their completion, time limits are set, and outside participation is prohibited.
- Things that happened outside the round don't matter. I won't vote on non-verifiable objections to debaters' or coaches' personal character or behavior, and I won't vote on the prefs k.
- Debate is about arguments and ideas, not individuals. I will not vote for debaters who ask me to turn my ballot into a referendum on other debaters.
- There is an intrinsic pedagogical value to debating that we don't get anywhere else.
- Cheating is bad and a voting issue.
- Your arguments need to be comprehensible and warranted, and I will not vote on arguments that don't meet these thresholds.
- You will lose for saying problematic things.
- I will not vote for stupid LD args like a prioris or whatever else you make up.
Everything else about the round is up for debate! Be nice and have fun!
Emmaline Harmon Paradigm
hey! I'm tech> truth- I prefer to vote on like true arguments (this excludes things like comparative analysis of economics- I'm more talking about things like "police do not have qualified immunity" that I wouldn't like to see in the round), but will vote on almost anything.
A: I will not vote on shitty impact turns like "oppression (of any kind for any reason) good". I will drop you, give you the minimum amount of speaker points available and tune you completely out and talk to your coach. This is shitty.
B: Please read my whole paradigm: I don't want to have to give a whole speech on my preferences before the round; it's a waste of time and I would rather just go ahead with the round.
C: I really don't like miscut cards/ evidence (it's wrong to do) and will lower your speaks because of it if you aren't already losing on it. (I will be checking evidence if it's called out/ if i feel fishy about it)
5. DA's, CP, etc.
- Not a fan of friv theory, but not all theory is friv theory. if you run that shell, it's a perfcon, but unless your opponent points it out I'll vote on it, but won't really be happy abt it.
- Drop the arg is NOT AN RVI: when you tell me to/ win drop the arg, I'll stop evaluating theory and go to the next layer of the debate. If you say it's an RVI, I will not vote on it as an RVI. I'll just go to the second layer of the debate.
- If you collapse to a different layer in the 2n/ 2a I'll kick theory with you but PLEASE TELL ME TO DO SO (also really strategic move)
- Y’all: no 2nr/ 2ar theory unless you justify it earlier in the round. This is nasty please I am begging you.
- I'll evaluate the round however it goes, but if you're feeling "don't evaluate the round after the 1n/2nr/1ar", it's up to your opponent to say otherwise, not me.
-I HATE TRICKS it's not debate. Please don't run this in front of me.
- please god run this if the aff isn't topical*: I DISLIKE AFFS THAT PRETEND TO BE TOPICAL(YES I'M TALKING ABOUT THE SUBS AFF)
- I don't really buy that the neg has to be topical unless it's a cp, but prove me wrong.
- If you are neg and the aff violates t-plural, you can absorb that as part of your advocacy and I'll buy it.
*tell me why non t affs are harmful!! don't just assert that it's non t.
- I really love k debate, feel free to run this in front of me- these are the rounds I like to judge.
- I’m fine with k debate on a lay circuit: I do like to hear good educational k's (setcol, securitization, orientalism, etc) because those truly open up a space for discussion. BUT PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS OF YOUR AUDIENCE. if the person you’re hitting is super new to debate then please don’t run like psyco or baudrillard if you’re just doing it bc they can’t answer it(i mean the justification should already be in the framework but...). THAT IS BAD, and I’ll most likely dock your speaks by .5 every time I feel you’re being a jerk just to win.
- K affs are good, but I would like for them to be topicialish, but even if they aren't I'm still down.
- Perms are great AFF
- If you are creative with your case I will increase your speaks.
- YOUR VALUE CRITERION (if you're using one) HAS TO BE AN ACTION SO I CAN KNOW HOW TO EVALUATE THE ROUND (i.e. maximizing wellbeing is a good one)
- Phil is good and I really love this style of debate and will be really happy if you run it but please know I'm decently well versed in philosophy and will be sad if you fuck it up.
- Don't have a lot of specifics here.
- plans are cool too.
CPS, DA, ETC
- I don't care what you do here, just make sure you're doing a good job on why the cp is competitive
- Perms are great
-PICS =???????????????? but go wild if you think you can win that on both the theory and actual argument itself.
- no I don't disclose speaks
- (this again should be given but) I also will dock your speaks if you are a jerk to your opponent (or me??) during a speech or just say something way out of line.
- negs don't get perms: pointing out they are defending a singular (noun) and absorbing that as part of your advocacy is not a perm.
- Don't clip cards please I will 100% allow your opponent to stake the round on it and rightfully so.
- you are a jerk if you out spread someone who is obviously new/ not as experienced.
1: phil/ K debate
4- whatever: whatever else there is
strike: tricks and jerks
yeah. please don't bring me food.
^ questions (put the subject line “debate question”) and chains (we are doing chains if you are going fast for a lay round or spreading (+3 speaker points if you make the subject funny, but keep in mind I have a windows laptop))
Brent Huang Paradigm
I debated national circuit LD at Starr's Mill High School '12 (GA) and did Policy at Vanderbilt University '16 (TN).
I think I am a standard national circuit LD judge. If you only have experience with local debate, this means that I'm fine with (and proactively prefer) spreading and non-traditional arguments. However, if doing so, I recommend using a email chain, for which my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
My general preference for debate argument types is Framework >= Plan-Focused/Util > Theory >> Kritiks.
I like philosophy debate a lot, especially analytical ethical philosophy. If you frequently read cards from Singer, Korsgaard, Mackie, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in general, I would probably really enjoy judging you.
- I enjoy cases that are balanced between framework and contention-level offense, e.g., the AC spending half its time justifying an ethical system (utilitarianism, Kant, Hobbes, virtue ethics, divine command, moral skepticism, etc.) and then the rest on offense under that framework.
- I'm extremely opposed to theoretically-justified frameworks/affirmative framework choice. I think these things kill philosophy education, which is the most useful part of debate. If you can't prove that util is objectively true, what's even the point of pretending it's true if we have no reason to believe it?
- I'm not a fan of vague standards like "structural violence" where practically anything commonly considered bad can be considered an impact. Winter and Leighton are the bane of my existence.
- Your impacts need to actually link to an ethical philosophy in the round. Explain to me why I should care about people dying, why human rights exist, and why racism is bad in the context of the round.
I can enjoy a Plan-focused or whole-resolution util debate just as much, however, and I've done Policy in the past.
- Weighing is wonderful, and probably the point where you will best be able to pick up high speaks.
- Things like author-specific indicts or methodological critiques of particular studies are fantastic. Tell me things like, "This study only has a sample size of n=24" or "The study's authors indicated the following problems with their own study."
- Impact turns are great. I can’t promise it’s always the best idea, but I’ll probably love it if the 1AR is four minutes of “global warming good” or "economic collapse prevents nuclear war."
- Counterplans are a very important neg tool, but I think some of the more abusive ones, like 50 States CP or Consult CP are difficult to defend in terms of making debate a good activity.
- In LD, I'd prefer you just read one unconditional CP.
- If the AC is super spiky, please number the spikes. This will make it a lot easier for me to flow. If you spout out single-sentence arguments for a full minute, I’ll be more inclined to vote on them if I can clearly tell where one ends and another begins.
- I like clearly articulated theory shells in normal Interpretation-Violations-Standards-Voters format. It makes it much easier to flow compared to paragraph theory.
- I would prefer if you shared pre-written shells in the email chain, even if they're only analytical.
- I default to competing interpretations but am receptive to reasonability if mentioned.
- I like RVIs and will often vote on them, especially for the aff. If you're the aff and you're not sure if you should go for 4 minutes of the RVI in the 1AR, my advice is probably yes.
- Post-fiat Kritiks are fine. I'm not very receptive to pre-fiat Kritiks. If you aren't sure about the distinction, think about whether your alternative negates the resolution. For example, if the resolution is "The US gov should do [x]", and your alternative is "The US gov should not do [x]" or "The US gov should instead do [y]", that's fine. If your alternative is only "People around the world should..." or "The judge should..." or "The debate community should...," I'm probably not going to enjoy it. If the alt doesn't even have an actor and is just to "reject the aff," that's even worse.
- Although I’m generally well-versed with the basic ones like Cap/Security/Fem K, my understanding of the more esoteric ones falls off. Although I will try to evaluate the round as fairly as possible, I haven’t spent much time reading 1970s Continentals, and you can’t assume that I’ll have intimate knowledge of their arguments ahead of time.
- I lean towards the Role of the Ballot being just whoever proves the resolution true or false (offense-defense is also acceptable).
- Fairness definitely matters. Education might matter to some degree. I am very loathe to consider anything else as an independent voter. If your argument is nothing more than "Util justifies slavery, so auto-drop them," I am not likely to be agreeable.
- If your NRs often include the claim, "It's not a link of omission; it's a link of commission," I am probably not the judge for you.
- I'm fine with flex prep (asking questions during prep time) if you want it. I think it's a good norm for debate.
- I do not care if you sit or stand.
Read the Plan-focused/Util and Kritiks sections of the LD paradigm, but you can ignore most of the rest. Due to my LD background, I am much more willing to vote on philosophical positions. If you want to go for "Don't do the plan because objective morality doesn't exist" or "Pass the plan because that's most in line with Aristotle's notion of virtue," I'm totally fine with that.
- I still prefer clearly articulated Interpretation-Violation-Standards-Voters theory shells, even in Policy.
- I'm more willing to accept conditional CPs in Policy, although it gets really sketchy with conditional K's, especially if there's performative contradictions.
- I'm probably more willing than most Policy judges to consider analytics. I don't think you need a card for every argument you make, and oftentimes just having a warranted argument is sufficient.
Public Forum Paradigm
I understand that Public Forum has different end goals than LD or Policy. I will try to evaluate it through the following in contrast to LD or Policy:
- I will not require explicit ethical frameworks. If something sounds bad, like "It kills people" or "It hurts the economy" or "It is unfair," I'll try to evaluate that in some gestalt manner. You can probably expect a little bit of judge intervention might be necessary in the case of mutually exclusive impact frameworks and lack of weighing.
- I will generally keep in mind who is "speaking better." Although this will not change my vote in most cases, if the round is really close I might use that as the determiner.
- If I ask for a card and you can't find it, especially if it has a statistic, I will drop 1 speaker point for poor evidence norms.
Ben Jablonski Paradigm
Fairness is an impact and affs should have plans
I do not like T against affs with plans
Higher threshold for voting / rejecting a cp on theory
The long paragraphs below are my general leanings when judging a debate -- all of this goes out the window with uneven debating
Top Level Stuff
1. Send a doc after the round with the relevant cards. If you find yourself speaking for 20 consecutive seconds in any speech from the 1ac to the 1ar without a card, something has gone wrong.
2. Framing contentions -- I am not a good judge for framing contentions that just say util bad, consequences bad, predictions bad, nuclear war isn't bad; the neg should go for a DA and case
CPs and theory
States, international, multiplank, multiactor, pics, CPs without solvency advocates are good
Process CPs are good when grounded in topic literature. I do not have a predisposition on theory here.
Condo -- Aff teams seem too scared to extend it. A lot of times it truly is the most strategic option.
Advantage counterplans are underutilized - I feel people either stop fiat-ing a dozen planks too early, or they forget about all of the planks except for one or two
I'm apprehensive about kicking the CP for the neg
The flow is important. 7 minute overviews will never be a good idea. You've probably answered their args somewhere along the way, but it sucks
FW should be a small investment of time -- I will weigh the aff in most situations
I think the aff should defend the hypothetical implementation of a topical plan. Most affs in these debates have little to no offense. I think fairness is the best impact, and other neg impacts link to aff offense that I don't think links to fairness. In these debates, the impact turns rarely make sense to me. You must have a reason that the process of debating the topic is bad not just a reason that the topic itself is bad.
Not a big fan - I'd prefer just about any other debate
Reasonability -- i think this could / should be the first minute or two of the 2ar, explain how reasonability turns all of their limits, ground or predictability arguments. I find substance crowd out to be true. I think it outweighs the minimal difference between the two interpretations.
I will not vote on arguments about things that happened outside of the round.
I am not a fan of spreading bad arguments.
Cameron Lange Paradigm
Add me to the email chain: CameronLange20@marlborough.org
Hello! I am a Varsity LD debater from Marlborough. I've done 2 years of local parli and 3.5 years of national circuit LD.
- I am fine with speed but if you go at top speed on analytics, I will miss arguments.
- I love evidence comparison. There are few things I find more persuasive than recutting your opponent’s ev. I will read your cards, and be mad if they don’t make the same claims as your tags.
- I don’t count sending docs as prep but don’t be sketchy.
- I will stop flowing when the timer goes off, not when you decide to stop talking 15 seconds later.
- I am not familiar with most unconventional K and phil positions. I’m not the judge for whom you should pull Dark Deleuze out of a policy backfile.
- I hate tricks, stupid plan flaw args, and dumb T or theory args including Nebel T because I think they detract from more substantial debate but I will vote on them if I have to. Same goes for truth testing.
- I will give you low speaker points if you are rude to your opponent. I have a lower tolerance for this than most people especially because I think in-round demeanor/interactions can be very gendered.
- If I'm judging you in policy I will not understand your topic-specific acronyms because I am not debating your topic. Please explain! I don't know how to vote on letters.
Raul Larsen Paradigm
Email chains are a tangible improvement to debate. RLarsen at desidancenetwork dot org. You can read my entire paradigm for bolded passages, as you would a card. Pronouns are he/him/”Judge”. Flow paper is always appreciated and often needed; Affirmative should have speech doc ready to be emailed by round start time. Flight 2 should enter the room at Flight 2 start time.
(Long Version is for procrastinating non-debate work)
(Pre-round Prep/Deadline Preffing):
Debate is a group of people engaging in performances. The nature of those debate performances (including my role as a judge) is settled by the competitors in the round with arguments. My default as a policy judge is to believe that those performances regard policymaking and that plans (/counterplans/alts/advocacies) create worlds with real impacts I should calculate via fiat as the plan is executed. As an LD judge, I think the round is about pursuing philosophical reasons to affirm or negate the resolution, and impacting through the lens of the criterial structure. Any successful movement away from the default paradigm typically entails explaining why I, the judge, should interpret your speech time differently. Most people succeed in shifting my defaults, and would consider me a “tabula rasa” judge. Nearly all of my LD rounds look like solo Policy these days. I’m expressive while judging, and you should take advantage of that, and look for cues.
Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next. More at the top of the long version below.
Negatives are currently going for too much in the 2NR, while dropping case. Affirmatives are currently spending too much time extending case while dropping world of the perm articulations.
Perms: I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there (more below).
Tricks: If you go for this, impact the tricks out, as you would a dropped card. Slow down for the key line(s) in rebuttal speeches. Eye contact makes this strategy sustainable. Yes, Tricks rounds have '19-'20 ballots from me. No, it should not be your first move.
Topical Version of the Aff (TVA): Gotta read them, gotta answer them. Most of the rounds I vote for T are from a dropped interp or dropped TVA
Independent Voters: explain to me why the voter stands apart from the flow and comes first. Debaters are not consistently executing this successfully in front of me, so consider my threshold higher than average
No Risk: I do vote on no risk of the aff/plan doesn't solve. Terminal defense is still a thing
If you expect me to evaluate charts/graphics in your speech doc, give me time during the speech to read any graphics. It will otherwise only be a tie-breaker in evidence analysis
Uplayering: layers of debate often interact with each other; that they exist in separate worlds is not very compelling. Sequencing why I should analyze argument implications before others is the best way to win the layers debate.
While I recognize there's no obligation to share your analytics, the practice serves a good pedagogical benefit for those who process information in different ways. I will begin awarding +.3 speaker points for those speeches including all/nearly all analytics in the speech doc AND that are organized in a coherent manner.
Updated 2/12 Average Speaker Points '19 - '20 Season: 28.770
185 rounds judged for the season ('19-'20) going into Berkeley/Harvard, mixed LD and Policy
(good luck, get snacks)
I recognize that this is no longer a viable read between rounds. Because I continue to receive positive feedback for its detail, it will be kept up, but I do not have any expectation that you will memorize this for my rounds. Bold text is likely worth its time, though.
Long Version (Procrastinating Other Work/Season Preffing):
Role of the Ballot:
Framework debaters: if you think the debate space should be predictable and fair, you should articulate what education/fairness/pick-your-voter means to the activity and why the ballot of this particular round matters.
K debaters: if you think rhetoric and its shaping matters more than the policy impacts of the 1AC, you should articulate your world of the alt/advocacy/pick-your-impact in a way that allows me to sign the ballot for you.
Performance debaters: if you think the debate space is for social movements/resistance/pick-your-story, you should explain why your performance relates to the ballot and is something I should vote for. Ideal performance cases explain topic links or provide reasons they actively choose not to be topical.
Everybody else: you get the idea. Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next.
The world is unfair. Fairness is still probably a good thing. We get education from winning, and from losing. Some topics are poorly written and ground issues might not be the fault of your opponent. For debaters pursuing excellence, traditional voters aren’t the end of the conversation. Argument context can be everything. Tech speak, fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact.
“Two ships passing in the night” is something we hear in approximately 143% of RFDs, and it’s almost always the most efficient way to sad faces, frustration, and post rounding. RESOLVE this by finding points of clash, demonstrating that your claims engage with the claims of your opponent in a way that is beneficial for you. Clash shows that you are aware that your opponent has ground, and your following that with an explanation of why that ground couldn’t possibly earn my ballot is very persuasive. A round without clash is a round left to the judge, and you don’t want to leave any argument, big or small, up to the discretion of the judge.
The preventable argument issue that most often shows up on my ballot is how the permutation functions. I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. For example, I think it’s very easy to imagine a world where two separate policy actions are taken. I think it’s very hard to imagine a world in which Civil Society is ended and the 1AC still solves its harms through implementation. The former gets preference for the permutation making sense. The latter gets preference for exclusivity making sense. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there.
I flow on paper, because as a wise teacher (Paul Johnson) once (/often) told me: “Paper doesn’t crash.” This means I will NOT:
Flow your overview verbatim
Flow your underview verbatim
Flow your tags verbatim
But I WILL:
Follow the speech doc for author name spelling
Have no issues jumping around sheets as long as you signpost as you go
Still always appreciate another run through the order (if you don’t have the order, or you change it up, that’s O.K. Again, just sign post clearly)
Write in multiple colors (for individual speakers and notes)
Typically respond to body language/speech patterns and give you cues to what should be happening more or what should be happening less (furrowed brow + no writing usually means bad news bears. No writing, in general, means bad news bears)
I will keep the speech doc open on my computer, because it seems like a good idea to live the round as closely to the competitors’ experience as possible. However, it is YOUR job as a debater to COMMUNICATE to me the most important parts of your speech. 9 times out of 10 this means:
SLOW DOWN to emphasize big picture ideas that you use to contextualize multiple parts of the round. Let me know that you know it’s important. That level of awareness is persuasive.
TELL A STORY of the debate round. Are you winning? (the answer is almost always “yes”) Why are you winning? What are your winning arguments? Why do they demolish your opponent’s arguments into a thousand pieces of rubble that couldn’t win a ballot if you were unable to deliver any additional arguments?
WEIGH IMPACTS. Time frame/magnitude/probability. These are all great words that win debate rounds. There are other great words that also win rounds.
PRIORITIZE (TRIAGE) arguments. You don’t need to win all the arguments to win the debate. If you go for all the arguments, you will often lose a debate you could have won.
I’m still hearing this debated occasionally, but cross ex is binding. I flow it/take notes.
Flex Prep is alive and well in my rounds. You have an opportunity to ask further questions, but not a clear obligation to answer them. I also think it’s pretty fair that prep time can be used to just… prep.
If you ask me to call for evidence, you probably didn’t do a sufficient job presenting your cards during the round.
Rhetorical questions seem very clever as they’re conceived, but are rarely persuasive. Your opponent will not provide a damning answer, and your time would have been better spent working to make positive claims.
I tend to like policy arguments and performance more than philosophy-heavy kritiks because Ks often lose their grounding to the real world (and, it follows, the ballot). Policy arguments are claiming the real world is happening in the speeches of the round, and performance debate has had to justify its own existence for as long as it has existed, which makes it more practiced at role of the ballot. If you love your K and you think it’s the winning move, go for it! Just make sure to still find clash. Related: “reject” alts almost always feel like they’re missing something. Almost like a team without a quarterback, a musical without leads, a stage without performers.
Good links >>> more links
Good evidence >>>>> more evidence
Many definition interpretations are bad. Good definitions win [T] rounds.
Many framework card interpretations are bad. Every debater is better off reading the cards in the entirety at some point during their infinite prep, in order to better understand author intent.
My threshold for accepting politics disads as persuasive feels higher than the community average. I think it’s because probability is underrated in most politics disads.
Anything I believe is open to negotiation within the context of debate, but general truths have a much lower standard of proof (i.e. Debater 1 says “we are currently in Mexico.” Debater 2 counters “Pero estamos en Estados Unidos.” I consider the truth contest over at this point). The more specialized the knowledge, the higher the standard of proof.
Technical parts of the flow (T & Theory come to mind) can be really fast. I mentioned above that I’m writing by hand. You are always better off with -50% the number of arguments with +50% presentation and explanation to the remaining claims. Yes, I have your speech doc. No, I’m not doing your job for you. Communicate the arguments to me.
Debaters are made better by knowing how arguments evolve. There’s a reason a permutation is a “test of competition” (see: plan plus). Knowing the roots and growth of arguments will make you better at clash will make you better at debate will make you better at winning real, actual ballots.
My default is always to give an RFD, and to start that RFD with my decision. This will typically be followed by the winning argument(s). Ideally, the RFD should look suspiciously like the final rebuttal speech of the winning team.
I apologize for this paradigm becoming unreasonable in length.
Advice I give frequently enough to consume space on this infinitely long page that is now my paradigm:
Ships passing in the night/Clash wins rounds (see above)
Thanksgiving standard: if you can't explain why this argument is important to your Grandma during Thanksgiving dinner conversation, you probably need to keep reading the literature until you can contextualize to the real world. There's also a really good chance it won't win you the round.
At least try to live the advocacy you endorse. If you think coalition-building is the move, you shouldn’t be exclusionary without clear justification, and possibly not even then. The debate space is better for inclusion efforts.
It’s always to your advantage to use cross ex/prep to understand opposing arguments. Don’t realize after a rebuttal speech that your strategy was based on an incomplete understanding of your opponent(s) and their case.
It’s almost always worth your time to take a small amount of prep to sit back, breathe, and consider how you’re going to explain this round to your coach, debate-knowledgeable legal guardian, or friend-who-doesn’t-like-debate-but-supports-you-in-your-endeavors-because-they’re-a-good-friend. It’s an exercise that will tell you what’s important and help clear the clutter of speed, terminology, and tech.
This is also a good test for seeing if you can explain all the arguments using small words. I think the fanciest words I use in this paradigm are “verbatim” and “temporal proximity”. If you can’t explain your arguments in a simple, efficient manner, you need to keep reading.
It’s also almost always worth your time to take a moment, a sip of water, and a breath to collect yourself before a speech. Do this without excess and every judge you compete in front of will appreciate the generated composure and confidence in your ensuing speech.
Don’t start that speech with a million words a minute. Build to it. Double plus ungood habit if you forgot to check that everyone was ready for you to begin speaking.
I have never, not even once, in a decade+ of debate, heard a judge complain that author names were spoken too slowly.
Don’t take 5 minutes to flash a speech or to sort together a speech doc after you’re “done” prepping.
Your speech and prep time is yours to do with as you wish. Play music, talk loudly, play spades.
Opponent prep time is theirs to do with as they wish. That means you don’t get to play music intrusively (read: use headphones), talk intrusively, play spades intrusively, you get where this is going. This is one of the areas I think speaker points is very much at judge discretion.
If it’s not a speech and it’s not cross ex and neither team is running prep, you should not be prepping. Stealing prep is another area that I think leaves speaker points very much to judge discretion.
Don’t set sound alarms to the time you keep for your opponent’s speeches. Nobody ever, ever wants to hear the timer of the opponent go off before the speaker’s. I will keep time in 99% of debates, and if you’re wrong and cutting into their speech time, you’re losing speaker points.
I’m almost always down to give notes between rounds/after tournaments/via email on your performance in debate. Temporal proximity works in your favor (read: my memory has never been A1).
There are few things I love in this good life more than hearing a constructive speech that takes a new interpretation of an old idea and expands how I see the world. Writing your own arguments makes the time you invest in debate more worthwhile.
Spend some time teaching debate to others. Most things worth learning are worth teaching, and the act of teaching will give you an excellent perspective to arguments that have staying power in the community.
Lincoln-Douglas Debaters: A priori arguments can win rounds, but I’d rather see a debate where you win on substance than on a single line that your opponent dropped/misunderstood. If you’re going for a dropped analytic, impact it out in the 2R, as you would any other dropped card.
I feel like the rounds that end up being primarily the criterial debate typically indicate that the debaters could have done more to apply their arguments to the lens of their opponent’s criterion.
This space is for you. We don’t hold debate tournaments so that judges can sign ballots. You don’t spend hours/years preparing arguments and developing this skill because you just really want Tab Staffers to have something to do on the weekends. Mountains of money aren’t shifted so that we can enjoy the sweet, sweet pizza at the lunch hour. We’re here so that you can debate. Performance is about communicated intent, and debate is no exception. You can take anything out of that experience, but articulating your purpose walking into the round, even if only to yourself, will make you more persuasive.
Closing note: I typically think dialogue is the best way to educate, and that my role (at a bare minimum) is to educate the competitors following the round, through the lens of my decision and its reasoning. I will typically write a short Tabroom ballot and give as extensive a verbal RFD as scheduling permits/the students have asked all the questions they desire. The short version of this paradigm caused me physical pain, so that should indicate my willingness to engage in decision-making/pedagogical practices.
4 years high school LD/Extemp/PF
3 years college policy/parli/public
Coaching/teaching debate since 2009-ish
Writing Arguments by Allegory since 2013
Rachel Mauchline Paradigm
Director of Debate Cabot
Conflicts- Bentonville West
Put me on the email chain @ email@example.com
speed is good
tech over truth
I'm commonly a judge that flips between judging cx, ld, and pf. There are specific sections of this paradigm for policy and progressive ld arguments. I've also got a general PF section. Ask questions if you have any comments or concerns.
I typically get preferred for more policy-oriented debate. I gravitated to more plan focused affirmatives and t/cp/da debate. I would consider myself overall to be a more technically driven and line by line organized debater. My ideal round would be a policy affirmative with a plan text and three-seven off. Take that as you wish though.
you do you. make the debate whatever you want it to be. I've got experience judging rounds on multiple levels from local levels all the way to the finals of the toc. I like rebuttals to have clear line by line with numbered responses. second speaker should frontline in rebuttal. summary needs to extend terminal defense and offense OR really anything that you want in final focus. final focus should have substantial weighing and a clear way for me to write my ballot.
I enjoy a well articulated t debate. In fact, a good t debate is my favorite type of debate to judge. Both sides need to have a clear interpretation. Make sure it’s clearly impacted out. Be clear to how you want me to evaluate and consider arguments like the tva, switch side debate, procedural fairness, limits, etc.
This was my fav strat in high school. I’m a big fan of case-specific disadvantages but also absolutely love judging politics debates- be sure to have up to date uniqueness evidence in these debates though. It’s critical that the disad have some form of weighing by either the affirmative or negative in the context of the affirmative. Counterplans need to be functionally or textually competitive and also should have a net benefit. Slow down for CP texts and permutations- y’all be racing thru six technical perms in 10 seconds. Affirmative teams need to utilize the permutation more in order to test the competition of the counterplan. I don’t have any bias against any specific type of counterplans like consult or delay, but also I’m just waiting for that theory debate to happen.
I believe that case debate is under-covered in many debates by both teams. I love watching a case debate with turns and defense instead of the aff being untouched for the entire debate until last ditch move by the 2AR. The affirmative needs to continue to weigh the aff against the negative strat. Don't assume the 1AC will be carried across for you throughout the round. You need to be doing that work on the o/v and the line by line. It confuses me when the negative strat is a CP and then there are no arguments on the case; that guarantees aff 100% chance of solvency which makes the negative take the path of most resistance to prove the CP solves best.
I’m not as familiar with this form of argumentation or literature, but I’ll vote for the k. From my observations, I think teams end up just reading their prewritten blocks instead of directly engaging with the k specific to the affirmative. Be sure you understand what you are reading and not just reading a backfile or an argument that you don’t understand. The negative needs to be sure to explain what the alt actually is and more importantly how the alt engages with the affirmative. Similar to disads, the neg block/nr should expand on the link level of the debate and then condense down to the link they are winning in the 2NR for policy. I am seeing more and more teams, taking the strategy of kicking the alt and cross-applying the links as disads on the case flow. It's important to be aware though that for some kritiks that simply kicking the alt eliminates the uniqueness level of the link debate since they are simply implications from the status quo. That’s a cool strategy, which is also why affirmative teams need to be sure to not just focus on the alternative vs. the aff but also respond to all parts of the K. I think most aff teams that read a plan should have clear framework against the K in order to weigh this aff against the alt. Like I’ve said I judge more K rounds than I expected, but if you are reading a specific authors that isn’t super well known in the community, but sure to do a little more work in the o/v.
I’ll vote for whatever theory; I don’t usually intervene much in theory debates but I do think it’s important to flesh out clear impacts instead of reading short blips in order to get a ballot. Saying “pics bad” and then moving on without any articulation of in round/post fiat impacts isn’t going to give you much leverage on the impact level. You can c/a a lot of the analysis above on T to this section. It’s important that you have a clear interp/counter interp- that you meet- on a theory debate.
David McGinnis Paradigm
I spent a bunch of time before New Trier 19 writing a policy paradigm and in the one round I got the aff read "queer eroticism" so I am done trying to explain to policy teams how to adapt to me. Those of you who would strike or otherwise depref me because I am an LD coach: good call. Those of you who would refrain from striking me and then read "queer eroticism": please reconsider.
I am the head coach at Valley High School and have been coaching LD debate since 1996.
I coach students on both the local and national circuits.
I can flow speed reasonably well, particularly if you speak clearly. If I can't flow you I will say "clear" or "slow" a couple of times before I give up and begin playing Pac Man.
I'm most familiar with philosophical framework debating, but you can debate however you like in front of me, as well as you explain your arguments clearly and do a good job of extending and weighing.
UPDATE JUNE 2019: AND IMPACTING!
Abby Morris Paradigm
Hi. I’m a junior at LHP and this is my fifth year debating. I have 1 career bid and have had 10+ bid rounds.
I feel comfortable evaluating most styles of debate, just make sure all arguments are warranted and impacted out well. As a debater I read a lot of phil, ks and theory, and I'm least comfortable with larp/policy style debates, so take that however you want. If you say or do anything racist/sexist/homophobic/etc I will immediately tank your speaks and probably drop you.
Please read trigger warnings !! If you don't and your opponent gets triggered you will receive max 25 speaks. If you do and someone tells you to not read it but you still do i will drop you and give you 0 speaks.
Be nice to younger or less privileged debaters. If you don't I will doc your speaks and think you are mean. Use those rounds as a teaching opportunity, NOT as an experience that makes them scared of debate.
I won’t listen to arguments like “eval substance after the 1N” or “eval theory after the 1AR."
If you have any specific questions message me on Facebook or email me @firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacob Nails Paradigm
This is the LD paradigm. Do a Ctrl+F search for “Policy Paradigm” or “PF Paradigm” if you’re looking for those. They’re toward the bottom.
I debated LD in high school for Starr's Mill high school (GA) and policy in college for Georgia State University. I coach LD, so I'll be familiar with the resolution.
If there's an email chain, please add me to it. My email is: email@example.com
Harvard '20 Update:
It seems there's been a resurgence of "object fiat" theory on this topic. Object fiat has never been a real argument; it's a cop-out for people who think agent CPs are ever real arguments to explain away the most egregious ones on an arbitrary, ad hoc basis. But this new trend seems to involve accusing any CP that solves the aff of being "object fiat" (lookin at you, IndoPak affs), even when it has the same agent. That's both not object fiat and also not a real argument.
1. Unwarranted/incomplete arguments are not arguments. It seems like a lot of LDers really try to test the limits of what the bare minimum standard for a warranted argument is. Ex., “Use util because it promotes the best consequences” is not a warranted argument simply by virtue of having “because” in it; you’re just defining what util is.
2. Tech over truth in the sense that I'm perfectly fine voting for obviously false claims if the opponent can't refute them. That does not mean I'm agnostic about warrant quality. A dropped one-liner with a weak warrant doesn't receive the same weight as a well-developed argument.
3. The onus is on you not to mis-cut or powertag evidence, not on your opponent to catch you cheating. Most common culprit: If your impact card just says that bad things happen but doesn't mention extinction, you don't get to tag it as "extinction" and make Extinction First arguments about future generations and the like. It is far from a foregone conclusion that impacts like terrorism, global warming, or nuclear war cause total human extinction. If that's all your impact card mentions, you get credit for a large global catastrophe, not an existential risk. That distinction is sometimes very important.
The affirmative should affirm the topic.
I don't have any particular bias against RVIs. They're debatable in LD.
Theoretical reasons to prefer/reject an ethical theory are generally pretty terrible arguments. This includes: Must Concede FW, May Not Concede FW, Util is Unfair, Only Util is Fair, etc. You should prove that you're right, not that it's educational to pretend that you are. Many 'role of the ballot' arguments are just theoretically justified frameworks by another name, and I feel similarly about these. I also do not assume by default that your warrant comes logically prior to your opponent's because you referenced "education" or "ground"; the falsity of a standard seems at least as salient a reason not to require debaters to use it.
Permissibility does not affirm. Barring a rehash of SepOct '08/JanFeb '12-style topic wording, I have trouble conceiving of a warranted argument that would justify this. And no, none of the cards y'all tag as making this claim actually do.
"I don't defend implementation" doesn't make sense on most topics.
I default to Truth Testing. It makes much more sense to me than any other paradigm. This does not mean I want to hear your bad a prioris.
I don’t have strong opinions on most of the nuances of disclosure theory, but I do appreciate good disclosure practices. If you think your wiki exemplifies exceptional disclosure norms (open source, round reports, and cites), point it out before the round starts, and you might get +.1-.2 speaker points.
I think Conditionality Bad is much more winnable in LD than policy.
LDers are infuriatingly dodgy about answering CP status questions. This has been one of my biggest pet peeves as of late. You should answer with an immediate "it's conditional/unconditional." Your opponent's CX is not the time to spend 20 seconds pondering the matter, and I never want to hear the phrase "What do you want it to be?" You know damn well what the aff would rather it be. It would make me happy if you just specified the status in your speech to avoid this whole rodeo, e.g. "[CP Text.] It's conditional," as I no longer trust LDers to give a prompt CX answer. I do not, however, want to imply any amenability to 'must spec status' as an aff theory argument.
Most CP theory questions (PICs, Delay, cheaty process stuff) seem best resolved at the level of competition. I can't think of any types of counterplans I would consider both competitive and also theoretically illegitimate. Likewise, lack of a solvency advocate seems more like a solvency press than a voting issue.
Extremely aff leaning vs agent counterplans. These are not real arguments. It remains unclear to me how anyone seriously thinks agent CPs are ever competitive. If you can’t explain how the agent of action could choose to do the CP rather than the plan, you have not presented an opportunity cost to affirming. Neg fiat is not an excuse to forgo basic logic.
'Role of the ballot' is an overused buzzword. These are often impact justified frameworks, theoretically justified frameworks, or artificially specific.
New NR floating PIKs will be disregarded, just like any other new NR argument. This is your 2NR, not your 2NC.
Vague alternatives are bad, and any ambiguity will not work in favor of the K. Minimum standard of clarity: don't phrase your alternative as an infinitive. None of this "the alt is: to reject, to challenge, to deconstruct, etc" business. It needs a clearly specified actor. Which agent(s) will do what?
If you think your alt functions like an agent CP, be sure to read the CP section of my paradigm.
Yes I want to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I qualified to the NDT a few times at GSU, but nowadays I mostly coach/judge LD. Don't assume I'm well-read on the policy topic.
The affirmative should defend a topical USFG policy. The negative should prove that the status quo or a competitive USFG policy is preferable to the affirmative. I'll vote for arguments outside of those parameters if you win them, but I highly doubt I'm a good judge for them.
Neg leaning on: Conditionality, most cheaty CP theory questions.
Aff leaning on: Agent CPs, most cheaty CP competition questions.
I'll assume the CP can be judge-kicked unless the aff makes an argument to the contrary.
A lot of advantages/DAs are super contrived, and it’s easy to convince me that impacts short of extinction should matter more.
I do find existential risk literature interesting, but I dislike the lazy strategy of reading a card that passingly references nuke war/terrorism/warming and tagging it as "extinction." If accessing extinction specifically, as opposed to just a big non-existential impact, is important to your impact framing arguments, then you should justify that last internal link.
Straight turns are great turns.
Delay, consult, and the like don't seem competitive to me, but if the neg can prove that their CP is competitive with the plan, theory arguments telling me to disregard it anyway seem weak. 'Perm do the CP' is your friend.
I don't really understand why intrinsicness is such a dirty word. If the neg wants to say a logical policy maker should consider every germane opportunity, that cuts both ways. Likewise, I don't see any reason why the aff can't extend a permutation on a CP that was kicked, if it happens to be relevant to other flows.
The plan is the focus of the debate. The negative will be hardpressed to win that their alternate ex post facto framework is not arbitrary and self-serving.
Using critical theory to support advantages or impact framing is totally fine. I enjoy philosophy, although admittedly I'm more well-read in analytic philosophy than continental.
Most kritik alternatives are unacceptably vague. If I don't understand what it means based on the 1NC text, I'm probably not voting for it. Bare minimum: I need to know which agent(s) will take the action/adopt the mindset of the kritik. If your alternative is worded as an infinitive (it probably is), re-word it to clarify the actor.
9 November 2018 Update (Peach State Classic @ Carrollton):
Public Forum - As the rest of my paradigm suggests, my background is primarily in LD/Policy. I don't have strong opinions on PF norms in general, but I do prefer directly quoted evidence over paraphrasing. If you cannot quickly produce the specific portion of the source you're referencing on request, paraphrased evidence will be given the same weight as an analytic, which, if the claim was just "expert X says Y" with no further warrant, is zero weight.
Anand Rao Paradigm
Email chain: email@example.com
LARP - 1
Phil - 2
K - 3
T - 3
Theory - 4
Tricks - 5
I debated policy in high school and college (Pitt), and coached college policy for ten years, but haven’t coached college level in a long time. Started coaching again for my kids in middle and high school. I also teach in a comm program (UMW). My LD experience is limited to the last three years coaching my son.
My average speaks are higher at circuit tournaments (avg 29) than regional (somewhat lower). Clear decision calculus/weighing, and being nice, will earn extra points. I am generally fine with speed. If you are unclear I will say ‘clear’ a couple of times - after that, your points will take a hit, and I will definitely miss arguments. Offensive or rude comments will also result in a serious hit to your points, and possibly the loss of a ballot.
role of the ballot is one of comparative worlds
role of the judge is to select the best policy through comparison of policy options
value as morality and standard as util
LARP: Clearly I am most comfortable with a LARP strategy. The biggest problem I have seen in LD debates is not properly weighing and explaining how positions interact. Spell out what the implications are for the policy position you are advocating. LD debates are so short, I think it is better to stick with a CP. If you need the option to kick it, then best to make it dispositional. Do not run conflicting conditional counterplans. I like a good politics disad (as long as there is a clear link story and is unique), and am open to PICs. CPs can be either mutually exclusive or net beneficial. Aff should always use perms to test competition, and I am open to using the perm as a new advocacy (as long as there are not so many that it becomes abusive). I am also a fan of a good intrinsicness answer- as an additive that would work in the real-world as a test of the link. This does not mean the aff can change their core advocacy- just outline a new action that would be compatible with the plan. The aff should be topical.
Ks: I am not a fan of most K affs, because I find that most do not properly link to the res. As long as you are able to explain it with clear links to the res, and not just to limit the state and the state is bad, then I am open to it. On the neg, have a clear alt and a link story that is more than state bad. If you are going to answer framework, do that on framework, and not on role of the ballot- they are different. Just because you win one or the other, does not mean that you win both. Do not assume that I have read all of the lit on your K- spell it out and explain connections to your opponent’s position. Only run one K in a debate - more than one is too messy.
Phil: If you are sending me the speech doc, then I am fine with phil and most high theory. I do not require a complete articulation of value/criterion in 1AC for standard phil.
Tricks: No skep triggers- just don’t. Don’t run ridiculous and frivolous a prioris under truth testing.
Truth over tech, though you need tech after the framework debate to decide on the contention level.
Theory: I like T, but if you are going for it, do so because there is clear abuse or potential abuse. I really do not like frivolous theory, and never enjoy when a debate ends with messy theory. I prefer reasonability over tech in theory debates, and I prefer to drop the arg and not the debater (but will if I have to). RVIs as tech are a waste of our time- save them for clear demonstration of abuse. Theory about someone’s physical appearance is offensive and will result in your being dropped. For circuit debate, I am not swayed by spreading theory. My default on disclosure is that the practice to disclose is good, and you should share your case/args in advance (10 mins usually enough), but am unlikely to vote on disclosure unless there is clear abuse. I am okay with condo/dispo CPs, within reason (see above). For voters, fairness generally equals education (might prefer fairness a bit more, but open to hearing the debate). Competing interps.
Make sure you are actually flowing, and not just relying on a speech doc.
Finally, rude people are not fun to listen to, and I have little tolerance for a more experienced debater bullying or beating up on someone who is learning how to enjoy the activity. Make good arguments, test ideas, and have fun.
Sachin Shah Paradigm
I debated in Lincoln-Douglas for Lake Highland for 5 years. I competed at TOC my junior and senior years.
Add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Short version: I will evaluate any type of debate. My evaluative strengths are probably in framework and theory debates. Warrants should be extended in all speeches, even if it’s dropped. Don’t be rude, mean, or offensive.
Warrants: Fancy rhetoric and big words are not substitutes for warrants. Repeating the claim or tag twice also is not a warrant. I want to hear the warrant from you as the debater. Arguments without warrants are claims, as a result, I will not vote on it. Author names are not warrants. However, I will vote on arguments with warrants that are clearly false and essentially nonsense so long as your opponent doesn’t point out the nonsense.
Framework: I have read a lot of philosophy from Kant to Social Practices so read anything. That being said, I will not use my prior knowledge of your framework in my evaluation. Hijacks are underutilized in my opinion. A combo of theoretical and philosophy warrants are cool, but you should weigh which comes first.
Theory: I enjoy these debates when there is lots of weighing and clash. I will vote on any type of shell, but the more frivolous the more I will be persuaded by responses. Theory “tricks” such as evaluate theory after the 2NR or must have a counterinterp can be useful. I don’t care the format you read the shell in, however I need to know the interp, violation, offense, and voters in all speeches to vote on it. In the absence of paradigm issues like drop the debater and fairness, I will not vote on the shell i.e. I don’t default to any paradigm, unless there is a shared assumption by other debaters.
Topicality: Similar to theory. I like both pragmatics and semantics. Having a TVA and topical cards is good. In my opinion linking T offense under the aff’s framing is underutilized. I like shells that have specific offense against the aff. T doesn’t automatically come before the ROB, you should weigh.
K’s: I am familiar with a wide variety of K literature from identity politics to high theory, so feel free to run your favorite. I like the K v phil interactions a lot. At the end of the debate I should be able to explain (a) why the aff is bad and (b) what the alternative does to resolve the link. Perms are good; they need a text and must be extended clearly. Similar to theory, a ROB doesn’t automatically come before theory or the framework, so you should explain why it comes first.
LARP: I like a well weighed and unique impact situations. You should know the warrants and link chain without relying on your authors. If there is only 0.00001% risk of the impact, its 0, unless you tell me why I should care about that small portion. Typically empirics come first, but I’ll listen to logical analytics.
Non-topical affirmatives: I will listen to the aff, but I need to know why I should vote aff. I may be swayed by a good topicality shell, however am willing to vote on impact turns to theory. I prefer affirmatives that at least try to be topical.
“Tricks”: They are cool. Dumb tricks like the “Resolved apriori” have a very low threshold for responses. If truth testing is not read, I use framework as the offense filter meaning some tricks won’t matter. You should be honest about tricks when asked in CX. The more sketchy you are the less I will like you.
I don’t disclose speaks. I will try to average around a 28.5 and typically base it on the creativity of your positions and strategy.
Jasmine Stidham Paradigm
-Pronouns: she/her. I will default to using they/them if I don't know you.
-Yes, put me on the chain. email@example.com
-I coach/teach at the Harvard-Westlake school, I'm an assistant coach for Dartmouth, and I work at UM 7 Week in one of the seniors labs. I debated at the University of Central Oklahoma for 4 years and graduated in 2018- qualified to the NDT 4x, NDT octafinalist 2x, 1st round recipient, etc.
-LD skip down to the bottom.
-No judge will ever like all of the arguments you make, but I will always attempt to evaluate them fairly. I appreciate judges who are willing to listen to positions from every angle, so I try to be one of those judges. I have coached strictly policy teams, strictly K teams, and everything in between because I enjoy all aspects of the game. Debate should be fun and you should debate in the way that makes it valuable for you, not me. My predispositions about debate are not so much ideological as much as they are systematic, i.e. I don't care which set of arguments you go for, but I believe every argument must have a claim, warrant, impact, and a distinct application. I think "tech" matters. Dropping a bunch of arguments means your "truth" claims aren't so true anymore. Evidence quality matters a lot to me. Stop reading cards that don't have a complete sentence and get off my lawn. I strive to be as non-interventionist as possible. Impact framing/judge instruction will get you far. The predispositions I have listed below are my general heuristics I use when making a decision, but I will ultimately vote for the team who wins their argument, even if it strays from these conventions. I appreciate debaters who do their thing and do it well.
-Don't base your strategy off of your (probably incorrect) assumptions about my own debate career.
-For everyone: Stop being afraid of debate. Cowardice is annoying. Don't run away from controversy just because you don't like linking to things. If you don't like defending arguments, or explaining what your argument actually means, please consider joining the marching band.
-I am growing increasingly annoyed at teams who try to proliferate as many incomplete arguments as possible in the 1NC. If your strategy is to read 5 disads in the 1NC that are missing UQ, or internal links, I will give the aff almost infinite leeway in the 1AR to answer your inevitable sandbagging. I would much rather see well-highlighted, complete positions than the poor excuse of neg arguments that I'm seeing lately. No one likes cards that could be read as fortune cookies.
-I don't mind being post-rounded or being asked a lot of questions. I did plenty of post-rounding as a debater and I recognize that it doesn't always stem from anger or disrespect. That being said, don't be a butthead. I appreciate passionate debaters who care about their arguments and I am always willing to meet you halfway in the RFD.
-I'm grumpy, but I promise I care a lot.
Topicality: Everyone needs to have evidence that has the intent to define whatever word/phrase is being contested. Evidence that offhandedly mentions how one rando decided to define 'space cooperation' doesn't cut the mustard. *Predictable* limits outweighs limits merely for the sake of limits.
Framework: I vote for framework and I vote against it. I judge a lot of "clash" debates and I'm probably even in terms of my voting record. In my ideal world, affs would defend a clear, controversial advocacy that has predictable neg ground against it, but I understand that debate isn't about me. Affs should have a counter interpretation/model of debate that they think is desirable. I am less likely to vote aff solely on impact turns because I really need to know what the aff's 'vision of debate' looks like compared to the neg. I understand that going HAM on impact turns is sometimes more strategic, so if that's really your style you should stick to it, but you must contextualize those impact turns to whatever DAs the neg is going for and do comparative impact work. I find myself voting neg a lot just by virtue of the aff never doing impact calculus. Unpersuaded by the argument that topical versions should have to solve literally everything ever in a 9 minute speech. Judge instruction is extremely important- please tell me what to evaluate first. I'm fine with any 'flavor' of framework- procedural fairness, skillz, deliberative democracy, etc. Do your thing. The neg needs to explain how the TVAs access the aff's general theory/scholarship, what those affs look like, and how it (could) resolve the aff's impact turns.
Critical affirmatives (no plan): Beyond what I have said about framework, there are a couple things you can do to make sure we're on the same page. First, I need you to answer the question of "but what do you doooo tho?!" even though that question seems obsolete. I don't need a 5 minute overview explaining every part of the aff. I really just need to know what I am voting for and why that thing is good, which seems really simple, but in many debates I am left wondering what I'm supposed to vote for. Second, I am often persuaded by presumption if the neg invests a decent amount of time going for it properly. To counter this, make sure you do the minimum of answering the BWDYDT?! question above, and perhaps give me a different way of thinking about presumption as it applies to critical affirmatives. Third, you need to have a solid relationship to/critique of the resolution. If you read 9 minutes of structural claims about the world and say virtually nothing about the resolutional mechanism, we're not going to be on the same page.
Disads: Love em. I will reiterate an important component: do not hand me a stack of cards at the end of a debate that do not have complete sentences. I would rather read 5, solid, well-highlighted UQ cards than 10 poopy cards that say "it'll pass but it's clooooose!" without ever highlighting anything beyond that sentence. Uniqueness controls the direction of uniqueness and the link controls the direction of the link- not sure why that's controversial.
Counterplans: Love em too. My only predisposition is that I tend to think conditionality is good, in most circumstances. Some teams try to get away with murder, though. I lean neg when the CP is based in the literature/there's a reasonable solvency advocate. I lean aff when the CP meets neither of those conditions. When the neg does not have a solvency advocate for their 567 analytic planks, I am persuaded by smart aff arguments about enforcement, implementation, circumvention, etc. Judge kick: will only judge kick if told to do so, assuming the aff hasn't made any theoretical objections.
Kritiks: For everyone, please focus on argument development and application in these debates rather than reading 15 poopy backfile cards that probably won't get you anything.
-Stop with the mega overviews. I am not one who will particularly like the style of 6 minute overviews, and then answering the line by line with "ya that was the overview"-- just say those things on the line by line!
-Framework: it's important- the most common mistake I see the aff make is failing to develop substantive framework arguments about legal/institutional/pragmatic engagement. I often see the 1AR get bogged down going for random blurbs about fairness, which ultimately ends up being a wash. You get to weigh your aff. Now explain why I should prioritize your form of political engagement to outweigh the neg's ethics/epistemology/ontology 1st argument(s).
-Impact framing: also important- for the aff, even if the neg does not read case defense, do not make the mistake in assuming that you auto-win. You have to win a subsequent impact framing argument that tells me why those impacts matter. For the neg, the inverse applies. If you do not read case defense, you obviously have to win your impact framing arguments.
-Roles of the ballot are usually arbitrary. My role is to tell tab who won. Just win your impact framing argument and stop telling me the ballot has a role. PLEASE.
-Really hate it when the first question of 1AC CX is, "why vote aff?"
-1 card Ks in the 1NC can sufficiently be responded to with a thumbs down + fart noise.
-If your strategy involves going for some version of "all debate is bad, this activity is meaningless and only produces bad people" please consider who your audience is. Of course you can make arguments about flaws in specific debate practices, but you should also recognize that the "debate is irredeemable" position is a tough sell to someone who has dedicated her life to the activity and tries to make it better.
-Floating PIKs: if the neg makes a PIK that clearly ~floats~ and it's flagged as such, it's up to the aff to call it out- I won't do the theory work for you. If you can't identify it/flush it out in CX, you deserve to lose.
-Examples are incredibly helpful in these debates, especially when making structural claims about the world.
Evidence: Evidence quality correlates with a higher chance of winning. Good evidence does not, however, substitute for good debating. You should be doing evidence comparison. Basic logic will always beat a terrible card without a warrant.
-If you clip, you will lose the round and receive 0 speaks. I will vote against you for clipping EVEN IF the other team does not call you on it. I know what clipping is and feel 100% comfortable calling it. Mark your ev and have a marked copy available.
-Shady disclosure practices result in you catching the L. Stop being a coward.
-If I say "clear" more than two times I will stop flowing. I say clear more than most judges because debaters are getting away with murder in terms of clarity.
-If you are a jerk to novices your max for speaker points is a 25.
-Biggest pet peeve: debaters being unnecessarily difficult in cross-ex. This includes asking absurdly vague/irrelevant questions and debaters refusing to answer questions. This also includes cutting people off, and giving excessively drawn out answers to questions that can be answered efficiently. Please recognize that cross-ex is a mutual part of the debate.
-Be respectful to each other, which includes your partner. Pettiness/sarcasm is appreciated, but recognize that there is a line and you shouldn't cross it. You should never, ever make any jokes about someone else's appearance or how they sound.
-If there are any access requirements, just let me know.
-At no point will I allow outside participation in the round.
-Hot take: I strongly believe that the community is beginning to use arguments about trigger warnings in counterproductive ways. Trigger warnings are not designed to be used whenever someone says the words "gender violence" or when a team describes some form of structural violence. I find deployments of trigger warnings in these situations to be disingenuous and harmful. This is not to say that you can never make arguments about trigger/content warnings (sometimes they definitely make sense), but I urge you to consider whether or not the content in question actually requires such warning.
Updated October 2019 to reflect efficiency and a few changes.
Tldr; I come from an exclusively policy background. I had zero experience in LD before I started coaching HW last year. That means everything you do is largely filtered through my experience in policy debate, and I have outlined my thoughts on those specific arguments in the above sections. This is why I am a horrible judge for LD shenanigans and will not tolerate them. So many acceptable LD arguments would be nonstarters in policy, and I will not vote for incomprehensible arguments just because other judges will. I don't say this to disparage someone's preferred form of debate, but I really can't vote for arguments that do not pass the 'makes sense' test. I care deeply about the educational aspects of debate, and will always try to help you improve. However, I am going to hold the line when ridiculous arguments are involved. See the FAQ below to determine if you should pref me.
Q: I read a bunch of tricks/meta-theory/a prioris/paradoxes, should I pref you?
A: Absolutely not.
Q: I read phil, should I pref you?
A: I'm not ideologically opposed to phil arguments like I am with tricks. I do not judge many phil debates because most of the time tricks are involved.
Q: I really like Nebel T, should I pref you?
A: No, you shouldn't. I'm sure he's a nice and smart guy, but cutting evidence from debate blogs is such a meme. If you'd like to make a similar argument, just find non-Nebel articles and I'll be fine. This applies to most debate coach ev. To be clear, you can read T:whole rez in front of me- just not Nebel cards.
Q: I like to make theory arguments like 'must spec status' or 'must include round reports for every debate' or 'new affs bad,' should I pref you?
A: Absolutely not.
Q: Will you ever vote for an RVI?
A: Nope. Never.
Q: Will you vote for any theory arguments?
A: Of course. I am good for more policy-oriented theory arguments like condo good/bad, PICs good/bad, process CPs good/bad, etc.
Q: Will you vote for Ks?
A: Of course. Love em. See policy section.
Any other questions can be asked before the round or email me.
Conal Thomas-McGinnis Paradigm
If I am, by some miracle, judging policy. Go for the RVI. I beg of thee.
I was told to revise my paradigm by my father. The jokes were apparently too much. To see my old paradigm, visit this link: https://tinyurl.com/yyhknlsn
I know it's nice to get to hide tricks in the walls of text but if you want to maximize the chances that I notice something extra special you should like slightly change the tone or speed of delivery on it or something.
If you have something extremely important for me to pay attention to in CX please say "Yo judge this is important" or something because I'm probably prepping or playing some dumbass game.
"Evaluate after" arguments: If there are arguments that in order for me to evaluate after a certain speech I must intervene, I will do so. For example, if there is a 1N shell and a 1AR I-meet, I will have to intervene to see if the I-meet actually meets the shell.
"Independent voters" are not independent - they are dependent entirely on what is almost always a new framework that involves some impact that is presumed to be preclusive. I expect independent voter arguments to have strong warrants as to why their micro-frameworks actually come first. Just saying "this is morally repugnant so it's an independent voter" is not a sufficient warrant.
Also - independent voters that come in the form of construing a framework to an implication requires that you actually demonstrate that it is correct that that implication is true. For example, if you say "Kant justifies racism" and your opponent warrants why their reading of the Kantian ethical theory doesn't justify racism, then you can't win the independent voter just because it is independent.
I will no longer field arguments that attempt to increase speaker points. I think they are enjoyable and fun but they likely are not good long term for the activity, given that when taken to their logical conclusion, each debater could allocate a small amount of time to a warranted argument for giving them a 30, and then simply concede each others argument to guarantee they both get maximal speaks (and at that point speaker points no longer serve a purpose).
Also, I have a lot of the same grievances and annoyances at some of the silly debate minutiae that Will Golay gripes about in his paradigm.
*WHEN YOU READ TRICKS: I PREFER BEING UP FRONT ABOUT THEM. Pretending you don't know what an a priori is is annoying. Honestly, just highlight every a priori and tell your opponent: "here are all the a prioris".
Robert Thorstad Paradigm
About me: Former high school LD debater. Also did some parliamentary in college and coached some public forum. I judge infrequently these days so assume this is the first time I have heard or thought about the resolution.
Think of me as halfway between traditional and progressive. I've had a reasonable amount of exposure to national circuit debate and the major thing you can take from that is that you will win or lose on the flow. But I strongly prefer debates at a reasonable speed where both sides are making reasonable arguments. I am very unlikely to vote on theory or kritik. If I cannot understand an argument because of speed or jargon, I will not vote on it. Additionally if speed or jargon are used as a tactic to make arguments you could reasonably expect your opponent cannot understand given their experience level, I reserve the right to not vote on them.
Other miscellaneous points:
- Be nice to your opponent. I will dock a lot of speaker points for rude behavior, especially towards less experienced opponents.
- No preferences about sitting, standing, etc., good speaking to me is about clear, organized argumentation not your posture. Do whatever is comfortable for you and it doesn't have to be the same as your opponent. On a related note, the room is yours to organize. If you'd rather set up tables, etc. differently than I have it, feel free to do so.
- I strongly prefer that you time yourselves. This makes it easier for me to concentrate on the round.
- Disclosure. I follow the tournament policy but where allowed I'm happy to disclose. It usually takes me at least several minutes after a round to write an RFD, sometimes more. Don't read anything into that length of time. If you would like to wait and the tournament is running on time, I'm happy to disclose after that. I'm also willing for you to find me in the hallway and ask for RFD. Just give me some context to remember the round, since we judge quite a few rounds.
Finally have FUN. This is your (and my) weekend after all!
John Torbert Paradigm
First, a little about me. I have been judging public forum debate for about 10 years (does that seem possible). I am pretty straightforward in terms of what I look for in judging a pf round. Do you clearly state what your contentions are? Are the contentions directly related to the question that is being debated (this sounds elemental but I can remember a number of times that teams tried to bring up arguments with no direct link to the resolution.) I am judging public forum (not policy) so you don't have to try and impress me with how fast you can talk. As a matter of fact, excessive speed will work against you on my ballot.
Do you provide good blocks to your opponent's contentions or did you ignore or drop them? Do you make good use of the time you have available or do you leave time "sitting on the table." I do not do the elaborate flows that some judges do. My theory is that the more time you spend writing the less time you spend listening.
All contentions must be backed by evidence. You should always be able to produce your evidence for your opponent or me if it is requested in a reasonable amount of time. Inability to locate evidence will lower your chance of winning the round. Falsifying or misstating evidence will lose you the round.
I listen VERY closely to cross fire rounds. This is really the only unscripted part of the debate and I have seen many a close debate that was won - or lost - due to crossfire.
Finally, be professional in how you handle your round and treat your opponent. Facial expressions while your opponent is debating, rolling of the eyes, arrogance, being condescending etc. do not sit well with me.
Maggie Wells Paradigm
Edina HS 2014-2017
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't have any strong predispositions about how you should debate and will evaluate whichever arguments you choose present to me. That being said, please tell me how I should evaluate arguments in the final rebuttals so I'm not left to figure things out on my own.
I will reward in-depth research, clash, and evidence comparison. I care about evidence quality and will probably ask you for a card doc after the debate is over.
If you decide to go for a K in front of me, please explain the relationship between your K and the outcome of the plan.
I generally believe that the aff should defend hypothetical USFG action. Debate is a valuable communicative activity and fiat is a good mechanism for generating clash.
I believe that fairness is an impact. If you are aff, please connect the dots between your offense on t and how you solve it via your method or your aff.
I place a high burden on the affirmative proving an internal link to their impacts on case - if you are negative, please make arguments about this, it is so frustrating to watch neg teams just auto grant the aff solvency.
If you’re looking for a sign not to go for T-subs in front of me, this is it.
Please don't subject me to a shallow topicality debate. If you would like to go for this argument, do a lot of impact calculus in the 2NR/2AR. It is essential to compare evidence in topicality debates, if you do not I will be forced to make a decision based on how I interpret the evidence myself.
If you are a 2N trying to go for T, consider where your ev comes from and what it says. Is it an arbitrary defense of whatever word you are suggesting the aff violates? Is your evidence only tangentially related to the topic? Does it provide a good metric for predictable limits? If the answer is no, I most likely will not be persuaded. I will not vote for limits for the sake of limits unless the aff drops T.
Conditionality is probably good, that doesn't mean I cannot be compelled otherwise.
Other CP theory stuff is open for debate, probably only a reason to reject the team.
... but don't be a bad person, I will give you low speaker points and will be persuaded by arguments to vote against you if you are
Julia Wu Paradigm
Lake Highland Prep ’19
I debated for Lake Highland for five years and went to the TOC my sophomore, junior, and senior year.
I don’t really have a preference towards judging any particular type of argument. As a debater, I read a lot of high theory, phil, theory/T, Ks, and sometimes I read tricks. You should read arguments in whatever style you are most comfortable with and I will do my best to evaluate the round. I'll always try to take the route of least intervention when I'm judging. As long as an argument has a claim, warrant, impact, I will vote on it. However, I will drop you for reading anything blatantly racist, misogynistic, ableist, anti-queer, etc.
If you're reading a confusing or dense position, make sure that you explain it well. Don't assume that I'll fill in the blanks for you if you make half-baked arguments just because I read something in that literature base as a debater. Also if you are reading blippy tricks just make sure you slow down enough that I can flow a warrant for all of them.
1. I will no longer evaluate "give me a 30" arguments unless you have an exceptionally good reason for why I should give you a 30. I will just give speaks based on how well I think you debated.
2. I will not vote on "evaluate the theory debate after the [insert speech] if the argument is made in the speech mentioned in the spike. For example, I won't vote on "evaluate the theory debate after the 2nr" if it's made in the 2nr. This is because any answer to the spike is technically a theory argument, making it unclear if even evaluating answers to the argument are legitimate. I will also not vote on this argument in any speech absent a clear articulation of what constitutes the theory debate and just generally have a low threshold for responses.
3. If you are debating someone who is obviously a novice or significantly less experienced, try to win in a way that still allows them to engage with the round. Those rounds should not become an opportunity for you to win on cheap shots.
Here are my defaults (I will only use these if there is literally nothing said about these issues by either side):
- truth testing (what it means for something to be "true" or "false" can be determined through a rob or framework)
- my presumption default works the same as Grant Brown’s: “I default presume negative, unless there is an alternative advocacy (counterplan, kritik) in the 2NR without the choice of the status-quo, in which case I presume affirmative.”
- permissibility negates
- layers (theory, t, rob) can be weighed against each other
You'll get higher speaks for good strategic decisions, smart args, and knowing your positions well. You'll get lower speaks for being rude or patronizing to your opponent.
Here are some judges that I aspire to be like: Tom Evnen, Becca Traber, Grant Brown, John Staunton, Madi Crowley, and Vishaal Kunta.
If you have any specific questions, email me, facebook message me, or ask me before the round starts and I’ll be happy to answer them!