Greenhill Fall Classic
2018 — Dallas, TX/US
David Arnett Paradigm
Director of Debate, University of Kentucky
21st year judging
Updated September 2017
Go ahead and put me on the doc chain email@example.com. Please be aware that I do not read along so clarity and explaining your evidence matters a lot. Many debates I will ask for a compiled document after the round. I reward clear line by line debating with mountains of points and wins.
Better team usually wins---X---------------------the rest of this
Team should adapt---------------X----------------judge should adapt
Hester-------------------------X---------------------Read all the cards
Conditionality bad-------------------------------X---debate should be hard
Nothing competes------------------------------X---counterplans are fun
States CP good--------X------------------------------States CP bad
UQ matters most----------------------X-------------Link matters most
Line by Line-X-----------------------------------------Flow Anarchy
Clarity-X------------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity
Lots of evidence--------------------------------------X-lots of really good evidence
29 is the new 28---X-----------------------------------grumpy old guy (true for other reasons but less so on this)
Civility-X-------------------------------------------------My Dean would cancel our program if they saw this
Shree Awsare Paradigm
Current School Affiliations: NoBro (2016-), Emory (2019-)
Previous School Affiliations: JMU (2011-2016), Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Fordham University (2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007).
HS Topic Knowledge: Slightly above average. Led lab at DDI & actively cut cards for NoBro.
College Topic Knowledge: Below Average. I occasionally cut K answers and that's the extent of research. I need the topic disambiguated - topicality and complex topic mechanism-based counterplans will need more pentime and clarification.
Email Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
No judge is tabula rasa, and I am no exception. My ideal debate involves two teams who read well-researched positions, engage in line-by-line refutation of their opponents’ arguments, and demonstrate strategic choice-making and vertical development of arguments. Not all debate is good debate. It is my firm belief that any model of debate (whatever the content) that disincentivizes any of the aforementioned qualities is an inferior product that is simultaneously less rigorous and less enjoyable. In the past, I have taken a more laissez-faire attitude towards judging rounds, but I’ve started to realize that I have been rewarding practices conducted by debaters on both sides of the artificial “traditional” and “critical” divide that are detrimental to the overall quality of debates – antics of which I was often guilty of pursuing as a competitor. As such, I will be making my biases transparent so that you can be more informed when you do your prefs. I’ve split this philosophy up into non-negotiables and preferences below.
(1) Only complete arguments will be evaluated. A complete argument consists of a claim, warrant, and data. This seems basic, but in the rush to construct 7+ off, scattershot 1NCs, some teams been encouraged to forward DA shells with poorly highlighted evidence without warrants, CP shells with just a text and no accompanying solvency cards, or cards tagged “extinction” (which is a word, not an argument) in hopes that they will get more words per minute out than the other team. You can miss me with that. Incomplete arguments will not be flowed, and in the event that an incomplete argument grows up to be a complete argument in a future speech, I will evaluate it as if you made the argument for the first time in that future speech, and I will give your opponents a new opportunity to respond with analytics and cards.
(2) You MUST be flowable. While I will try my best to keep up, I will feel zero remorse in the post-round if you tell me that I did not appropriately decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated about some vague "theory of power" in a 2NC overview. Not only should you limit your speed such that you maintain clarity at all times, but it would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbytes so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly instead of speaking in large paragraphs with run-on sentences.
(3) Topicality is a voting issue, and never a reverse voting issue. The affirmative must defend the whole resolution or an example of the resolution. Nothing about this requirement is “the logic of genocide,” “psychologically violent,” nor a “will to mastery” that can be analogized to violence in “Abu Ghraib” or “drone strikes.” Ultimately, debate is a voluntary activity that you have the choice to not partake in, and to the extent that you've chosen to participate, it is only valuable insofar as the negative has an opportunity to anticipate and clash with your claims. That being said, I believe that critical affirmative approaches to the topic that may stray from traditional plan texts have immense value, but only if they creatively affirm the resolution in some way rather than being a negative argument or atopical. Here are some thoughts if you have me in the back of a K Aff v T debate.
(A) 2ACs should counter-define or prove they meet the words in the resolution to prove that the 1AC as presented is an example of the resolution, or they will have an extremely uphill battle in the face of a competently extended fairness violation. I am not persuaded by vacuous CIs like “discussion of the topic,” “only our aff is topical,” and others that are unsubstantiated by evidence interpreting words in the topic statement. None of those CIs would be acceptable in any other T debate (imagine if a Landmines aff responded to T – "Single Weapons Aren't Substantial" with CI: discussion of the topic – L 27.5). That being said, I don’t think this forecloses critical approaches beyond traditional interpretations of fiat – I think there are plenty of ways to creatively define “USFG” as an agent outside the 3 branches in DC (see Burch’s Performative Revolutionary Fiat or “we demand” style affs) or “direct commercial sales” as exceeding AECA context that could posit a broader but better limit on the topic. 2ACs can also make criticisms of expert based definitions, suggesting alternate, non-traditional definitions that are grounded in lived experience or social location, and make the case for why their definitions should be preferred. But, no definition at all = no model of debate, which implies that there is no equitable role for the negative team to anticipate their opponents' arguments and critically engage their scholarship
(B) The "impact" debate should be focused on a particular set of limits – the negative should defend the benefits of narrowing deliberation over a topic, and the affirmative should point out the myopia of such a curriculum. I think there is a defensible case to be made that a curriculum where the affirmative is limited to the 3 branches as an agent or a narrow subset of what “direct commercial sales” means distorts the cross-disciplinary literature over arms sales and is exclusive of particular bodies of thought which may have an impact that outweighs the convenience of negative researchers, in the same way that a definition of DCS that limits out the CCL might arguably be contrived, uneducational, and have an impact. However, impact turns that suggest the reading of topicality itself is a violent form of conditioning or that the negative should not be able to anticipate and engage your argument are significantly less convincing and don't require much to be refuted.
(C) I am annoyed by negative arguments read on the affirmative side. Positions that are pessimistic about the possibility of improving the status quo are negative arguments… by definition... and are reasons to vote for the negative team. Turns out there is a vast body of defensible literature in your area of the library that is hopeful about the propensity for change. Please be willing to research and defend more than 1 theory of power.
(D) I am more in the "limits/fairness" camp than the "skills" camp. The latter opens the neg up arguments about why we should prefer aff impact claims that exceed the intrinsic competitive nature of debate, permutation arguments to teach different skills to different people through different genres of argument, and arguments about how the neg's skills cannot be universalized to all and can be used for evil. This is not to say that "skills" style impacts are unwinnable in front of me, but it is certainly more uphill.
(4) There are 2 speakers on each team who have an equal amount of time to speak, and I will cast a ballot in favor of one winning team. I don’t really care about ins and outs or alternative use prep time, but there should NOT be debates where students are “kicked out” or otherwise don’t participate in an entire debate. Calling for a double win, intentionally interrupting an opponent’s speech, soliciting outside participation in a speech or cross-x, breaking time limits, playing board games, or devolving the debate into a 2 hour long discussion is a recipe for a quick L for the team that initiates it.
(5) I do not feel comfortable making decisions in contest rounds about the unconfirmable personal behavior or character of minors or coaching staffs that occur outside of debates. That said, arguments about things that are observable within the debate are fair game, and I have no tolerance for racism, etc - which I think is prolific in debate despite its pretense of liberalism.
(6) Attempts to negotiate speaker points with me within a contest round (eg, "please give me a 30 because x") will backfire. The last time someone tried to negotiate speaker points, they received a 24. Would not recommend.
(1) I am not staunchly offense/defense, as I believe in the existence of terminal defense and believe presumption can decide debates. Much of this depends on the quality of debating, but I can be compelled that negligible solvency to an affirmative case should be treated as zero, or that there is no internal link to a DA, or that a K aff doesn't meet its role of the ballot and should lose on presumption.
(2) Line-By-Line > OV/Implicit Clash. My favorite debaters number arguments and reference those numbers as they debate, regardless of whether they are debating a DA, T, K or CP – but a “they say” approach that follows the arguments in the order that they are presented is also acceptable. Implicit clash would be okay if people flowed more carefully and answered arguments in the order that they were presented - oftentimes it is not. 1+ minute overviews frustrate me and said frustration will be taken out on your speaker points.
(3) Judge Instruction in DA/CP Debates = Key. Does UQ frame the link debate, or do the links frame a close UQ debate and why? Does the DA turns the case or the other way around, and why? Does the internal net benefit to a process CP outweigh the impact of a CP solvency deficit? None of these questions should be left up to me.
(4) I enjoy T and Theory Debates more than most, but you will need to slow down for your analytics and adequately impact your arguments. If you want to read new 2NC CPs to avoid impact turns, generic process CPs, etc, I'm all ears if you are proficient at debating theory and won't take it out on your speaker points. That being said, if you are a LD debater, most of the "theory arguments" you are making are disease inducing because they neither pass the make sense test, nor do they have complete claims with warrants. Please stop, and save yourself from receiving 26 speaker points.
(5) Plan (Aff) v K Debates Thoughts. These appear to be the majority of debates that I watch. For teams reading the K: My familiarity with your literature base will be above average, and I won't need long explanations of terminology to demystify concepts. I am more interested in you establishing specific links to the affirmative and concrete impacts that turn or outweigh it.
For teams debating against the K: I am more interested in arguments (analytics and cards) that substantively engage the K while having a robust defense of the case. The K's "greatest hits" are useful but at some point, you are going to have to answer their "K turns the case" and other tricks they may have by using your aff. I do not necessarily need carded evidence to overcome their characterizations, smart analytics are often enough to respond to contrived uniqueness, link, or case turn arguments. Debaters on the policy end of the spectrum that I've judged tend to say I evaluate K debates like a "checklist."
(6) I have little familiarity with economics. I understand economics at high speed even less. The last time I studied economics was AP Macro in high school, and I didn't do so well in that class. If you are committing to a strategy centered on business confidence, the economics of oil prices, etc, it would help if you slowed down and added more details about how the economy works than you might have otherwise - you probably don't want me to make guesses by reconstructing the debate from your evidence.
(7) New Affs Bad/Must Be Disclosed is not a compelling argument - I have never voted on this argument sans 1 or 2 times it was conceded by the affirmative team in 3 consecutive speeches. I think there is arguably a case to be made that new affs might justify leniency for negative conditionality or that new K affs prove debate is controlled more by competitive incentives than subject formation, but I am not as sold as some of my colleagues that new affs justify shenanigans across the board (I have no idea why a new affirmative makes process counterplans more competitive or theoretically legitimate, for example).
PF Paradigm: I am a policy critic who has a lot of strong, negative feelings about some of the pedagogical practices that plague this activity. While there are some exceptions, PF has a extremely low standard for responding to arguments in the order that they were presented, and has an even lower standard for evidence quality (bordering on academic dishonesty). For you to receive speaker points higher than a 27, all of the following will be required:
(1) Do not paraphrase evidence. I expect that you include the full paragraph to include the context that your author is speaking in. If you paraphrase evidence, I will evaluate your excerpt with the same force as an analytic or opinion asserted by a debater.
(2) I expect students to flash or email evidence read before the speech in which they read it. I will not allow you to take time to look at articles outside of your prep time. You can look at their evidence during your opponent's speeches, cross-fire, or prep time.
(3) Extensions of argument labels or claims without warrants will not be evaluated as arguments. If no one manages to make a complete argument, I will intervene when making a decision. You will not like that.
(4) I expect the second rebuttal to respond to every argument in the first rebuttal. I will not be extending arguments from your grand crossfire (or crossfires in general). I steadfastly believe it is the second team's obligation to address both sides of the flow in the second rebuttal. A second team that neglects to attack both the opposing case and rebuild against the prior rebuttal will have a very low chance of winning my ballot because they have conceded large swaths of argument. A team that ignores this bit of adaptation should expect to see speaker points that reflect a performance that I see as half-complete.
If you disagree, please strike me.
Bill Batterman Paradigm
Associate Director of Debate — Woodward Academy (2010-present)
Director of Debate — Marquette University High School (2006-2010)
Assistant Debate Coach — Marquette, Appleton East, Nicolet, etc. (2000-2006)
Last Updated 09/09/2019
Twitter version: Debate like an adult. Show me the evidence. Attend to the details. Don't dodge; clash. Great research and informed comparisons win debates.
My promise: I will pay close attention to every debate, carefully and completely scrutinize every argument, and provide honest feedback so that students are continuously challenged to improve as debaters.
Pre-round: Please add email@example.com to the email chain. Respect your opponents by sending the same documents to the email chain that you use to deliver your speeches. If you create separate versions of your speech documents (typically by deleting headings and analytical arguments) before sharing them, I will assume that you do not respect your opponents. I like debaters that respect their opponents.
1. I care most about clarity, clash, and argument comparison.
I will be more impressed by students that demonstrate topic knowledge, line-by-line organization skills (supported by careful flowing), and intelligent cross-examinations than by those that rely on superfast speaking, obfuscation, jargon, backfile recycling, and/or tricks. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I'm still not bored by strong fundamental skills and execution of basic, core-of-the-topic arguments.
To impress me, invite clash and show off what you have learned this season. I will want to vote for the team that (a) is more prepared and more knowledgeable about the assigned topic and that (b) better invites clash and provides their opponents with a productive opportunity for an in-depth debate.
Aff cases that lack solvency advocates and claim multiple contrived advantages do not invite a productive debate. Neither do whipsaw/scattershot 1NCs chock-full of incomplete, contradictory, and contrived off-case positions. Debates are best when the aff reads a plan with a high-quality solvency advocate and one or two well-supported advantages and the neg responds with a limited number of complete, consistent, and well-supported positions (including, usually, thorough case answers).
I would unapologetically prefer not to judge debates between students that do not want to invite a productive, clash-heavy debate.
2. I'm a critic of argument, not a blank slate.
My most important "judge preference" is that I value debating: "a direct and sustained confrontation of rival positions through the dialectic of assertion, critique, response and counter-critique" (Gutting 2013). I make decisions based on "the essential quality of debate: upon the strength of arguments" (Balthrop 1989).
Philosophically, I value "debate as argument-judgment" more than "debate as information production" (Cram 2012). That means that I want to hear debates between students that are invested in debating scholarly arguments based on rigorous preparation, expert evidence, deep content knowledge, and strategic thinking. While I will do my best to maintain fidelity to the debate that has taken place when forming my decision, I am more comfortable than most judges with evaluating and scrutinizing students' arguments. I care much more about evidence and argument quality and am far less tolerant of trickery and obfuscation than the median judge. This has two primary implications for students seeking to adapt to my judging:
a. What a card "says" is not as important as what a card proves. When deciding debates, I spend more time on questions like "what argument does this expert make and is the argument right?" than on questions like "what words has this debate team highlighted in this card and have these words been dropped by the other team?." As a critic of argument, I place "greater emphasis upon evaluating quality of argument" and assume "an active role in the debate process on the basis of [my] expertise, or knowledge of practices and standards within the community." Because I emphasize "the giving of reasons as the essential quality of argument, evidence which provides those reasons in support of claims will inevitably receive greater credibility than a number of pieces of evidence, each presenting only the conclusion of someone's reasoning process. It is, in crudest terms, a preference for quality of evidence over quantity" (Balthrop 1989).
b. The burden of proof precedes the burden of rejoinder. As presented, the risk of many advantages and disadvantages is zero because of missing internal links or a lack of grounding for important claims. "I know this argument doesn't make sense, but they dropped it!" will not convince me; reasons will.
When I disagree with other judges about the outcome of a debate, my most common criticism of their decision is that it gives too much credit to bad arguments or arguments that don't make sense. Their most common criticism of my decision is that it is "too interventionist" and that while they agree with my assessment of the arguments/evidence, they think that something else that happened in the debate (often a "technical concession") should be more determinative. I respect many judges that disagree with me in these situations; I'm glad there are both "tech-leaning" and "truth-leaning" judges in our activity. In the vast majority of debates, we come to the same conclusion. But at the margins, this is the major point of disagreement between us — it's much more important than any particular argument or theory preference.
3. I am most persuaded by arguments about the assigned topic.
One of the primary reasons I continue to love coaching debate is that "being a coach is to be enrolled in a continuing graduate course in public policy" (Fleissner 1995). Learning about a new topic area each year enriches my life in profound ways. After 20 years in "The Academy of Debate" (Fleissner 1995), I have developed a deep and enduring belief in the importance of public policy. It matters. This has two practical implications for how I tend to judge debates:
a. Kritiks that demonstrate concern for good policymaking can be very persuasive, but kritiks that ignore the topic or disavow policy analysis entirely will be tough to win. My self-perception is that I am much more receptive to well-developed kritiks than many "policy" judges, but I am as unpersuaded (if not more so) by kritiks that rely on tricks, obfuscation, and conditionality as I am by those styles of policy arguments.
b. I almost always find kritiks of topicality unpersuasive. An unlimited topic would not facilitate the in-depth clash over core-of-the-topic arguments that I most value about debate. The combination of "topical version of the aff" and "argue this kritik on the neg" is difficult to defeat when coupled with a fairness or topic education impact. Topical kritik affirmatives are much more likely to persuade me than kritiks of topicality.
4. I am looking forward to judging debates on the arms sales topic.
I've learned a lot about arms sales policy over the last six months. It's an interesting subject area with strong aff and neg ground. My opinions will change as the tournament season begins, but I have a few initial thoughts — some of which I shared at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVR8MFNxr94 — that seem important to share.
a. Topicality "substantially reduce" could be a winnable negative option in many circumstances. I do not (yet) have a strong opinion about the various interpretations (2.7%, Pearson, non-viable relationship, etc.), but I don't think the aff needs very small cases in order to win and I don't think the topic would be improved by their inclusion.
b. Delivery is part of Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales. Counterplans that claim to compete by ending "deliveries" but not "sales" do not make sense to me.
c. The way "durable" fiat and condition counterplans are typically understood doesn't contextualize well to the arms sales topic. Condition (leverage) counterplans might still make sense in some circumstances, but I don't think they are "core neg ground." Part of the problem is that arms embargoes are not permanent, but the negative will want them to be treated as such to generate counterplan competition. This can get very contrived very quickly, and I am unlikely to find those strategic maneuvers persuasive.
d. I remain mostly unpersuaded by "circumvention." The Trump-era topics have led to a series of negative arguments that transform inherency into a solvency takeout. I understand why the negative wants to make these arguments, but I am often left wondering what they then think the point of debate should be. The negative could persuade me that endorsing policy proposals that have no chance of being implemented is counterproductive, but they need to explicitly say so and provide reasons to support this claim. Most circumvention arguments fail to meet this burden.
Balthrop 1989 = V. William Balthrop, "The Debate Judge as 'Critic of Argument'," Advanced Debate: Readings in Theory Practice & Teaching (Third Edition).
Cram 2012 = http://cedadebate.org/CAD/index.php/CAD/article/view/295/259
Gutting 2013 = http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/a-great-debate/
Fleissner 1995 = https://the3nr.com/2010/05/20/chain-reaction-the-1995-barkley-forum-coaches-luncheon-keynote-speech/
Alexia Boulos Paradigm
Josh Clark Paradigm
Montgomery Bell Academy
University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks
Jordan (UT) 96-98
College of Eastern Utah 99
Cal St Fullerton 01-04
Points will generally stay between 27.5 and 29.9. It generally takes between a 28.6 and 28.7 to clear. I assign points with that in mind. Teams that average 28.65 or higher in a debate means that I thought your points were elimination round-level debates. While it's not an exact science, 28.8-28.9 mean you had a good chance advancing the elimination rounds, 29+ indicates excellence reserved for quarters+. I'm not stingy with these kinds of points and they have nothing to do with past successes. It has everything to do with your performance in THIS debate.
1. Jumping is no longer considered prep.
2. Please do your best to reserve restroom breaks before the opposing team's speeches and not right before your own.
3. Try to treat each other with mutual respect.
4. Cards MUST be marked during the speech. Please say "Mark the card" and please have you OR your partner physically mark the cards in the speech. It is not possible to remember where you've marked your cards after the speech. Saying "mark the card" is the only way to let your judge and competitors know that you are not intending to represent that you've read the entirety of the card. Physically marking the card in the speech is necessary to maintain an accurate account of what you did or didn't read.
My 20 years in the community has led me to have formulated some opinions about how the activity should be run. I'm not sharing these with you because I think this is the way you have to debate, but because you may get some insight about how to win and earn better speaker points in front of me.
1) Conceded claims without warrants - A conceded argument is only given as much weight as the warrant that supports it. You still must have a warrant to support your claim...even if the argument has been conceded. If no warrant has been provided, then it wasn't ever an argument to begin with. For theory arguments to rise to the level of an actual "argument", they have to be properly warranted. If your conditionality argument takes less than 5 seconds to read, it's probably not an argument. "Condo -strat skew, voter....I hope they drop it" very well might be dropped, and not voted on. Politics theory arguments and Permutations fall into this same category. A perm must describe how it resolves the link to the net benefit to be an argument. You can't win on "perm: do the cp" without a reason it resolves the aff and should be theoretically allowed. "Vote NO" and "Fiat solves the link" need to have warrants also. If you are the victim of a theory arg like this, vote no, or intrinsicness, or whatever short thought, do not give up on this argument. You should be honest about not having flowed the argument because of its absurd brevity. You should also make arguments about how the development of those arguments in the 1ar are all new and should be rejected and your new answers be allowed. Affirmatives should make complete theory args in front of me, and negatives shouldn't be afraid to point out that the argument lacked a credible warrant.
2) Voting issues are reasons to reject the argument. (Other than conditionality)
3) Don't make affirmative statements in CX to start your response to a CX question you disagree with. For example, if one is asked "Is your plan a bad idea?' You shouldn't start your response with "sure" or "right", and then go on to disagree with the question. If you need a filler word or phrase, find one that doesn't posit an affirming response.
4) Debate stays in the round -- Debate is a game of testing ideas and their counterparts. Those ideas presented inside of the debate will be the sole factor used in determining the winning team. Things said or done outside of this debate round will not be considered when determining a winning team.
Topicality vs Conventional Affs: I default to competing interpretations on topicality, but can be persuaded by reasonability. Jurisdiction means nothing to me because I see jurisdiction being shaped by the questions of predictability, limits, and fairness. Topicality is a voting issue.
Topicality vs Critical Affs: I generally think that policy debate is a good thing and that a team should both have a plan and defend it. Given that, I have no problem voting for "no plan" advocacies or "fiat-less" plans. I will be looking for you to win that your impact turns to topicality/framework outweigh the loss of education/fairness that would be given in a "fiated" plan debate. I generally think affirmative teams struggle with answering the argument that they could advocate the majority of their aff while defending a topical plan. I also think that teams who stress they are a pre-requisite to topical action have a more difficult time with topical version type arguments, then teams do who impact turn standards. If you win that the state is irredeemable at every level, you are much more likely to get me to vote against FW. The K aff teams who have had success in front of me have been very good at generating a reasonable list of arguments that negative teams could run against them in order to mitigate the fairness impact of the T/FW argument. This makes the impact turns of a stricter limit much more persuasive to me.
I'm also in the fairness camp as a terminal impact, as opposed to an emphasis on portable skills. I think you can win that T comes before substantive issues.
One note to teams that are neg against an aff that lacks stable advocacy: Make sure you adapt your framework arguments to fit the aff. Don't read..." you must have a plan" if they have a plan. If a team has a plan but doesn't defend fiat, and base your ground arguments on that violation.
Counterplans and Disads: The more specific to the aff, the better. There are few things better than a well-researched PIC that just blind sites a team. Objectively, I think counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy are not legitimate. However, I still coach teams to run these arguments, and I can still evaluate a theory debate about these different counterplans as objectively as possible. Again, the more specific the evidence is to the aff, the more legitimate it will appear.
The K: I was a k debater and a philosophy major in college and you are welcome to run a criticism in front of me. I prefer criticisms that are specific to the resolution. If your K links don't discuss arms sales this year, then it's unlikely to be very persuasive to me. I think that impact comparisons usually become the most important part of a kritik, and the excessive link list becomes the least of a team’s problems heading into the 2nr. You need to win that either a) you turn the case and have an external impact or b) you solve the case and have an external impact. Root cause arguments are good, but rarely address the timeframe issue of case impacts. If you are going to win your magnitude comparisons, then you better do a lot to mitigate the case impacts. I also find most framework arguments associated with a K near pointless. Most of them are impacted by the K proper and therefore depend on you winning the K in order to win the framework argument. Before devoting any more time to framework beyond getting your K evaluated, you should ask yourself and clearly state to me, what happens if you win your theory argument. You should craft your "role of the ballot" argument based on the answer to that question. I am willing to listen to sequencing arguments that EXPLAIN why discourse, epistemology, ontology, ect. come first.
Conclusion: I love debate...good luck if I'm judging you and please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.
In an effort to promote disclosure at the high school level, any team that practices near-universal "open source" will be awarded .2 extra per debater if you bring that to my attention prior to the RFD.
Mac Cronin Paradigm
For e-mail chains and any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
About me - I debated for 8 years competitively, starting at Douglas High School (Minden, NV) before transferring to Sage Ridge (Reno, NV) where I debated with the incredibly brilliant Kristen Lowe. We were the first team from Northern Nevada to qualify to the TOC and had a pretty consistent record of deep elim appearances. I went on to debate at Wake Forest University (class of '17) with varying amounts of success on a wide range of arguments, finishing my career with Varun Reddy in semis of CEDA. I currently work as a legal assistant and lobbyist in Reno/Carson City when I'm not out and about judging and coaching debate.
I have also been published a couple times. I don't think any of it applies, but please don't read my work in front of me. That's just awkward.
Minor update 9/18/19 - What ever happened to impact calc? Ya know, magnitude, timeframe, probability? I will actively reward, with speaker points, debaters that can show me this isn't a lost art... especially with DAs.
Generally - YOU DO YOU!!! I cannot stress that enough. Be aware of my general thoughts on debate, but I want to judge the debate that you want to have!! I have increasingly found that my role as an educator and adjudicator in debate prioritizes the debaters themselves, whatever argument that they want to make, and providing them with the advice and opportunities to be better that I can. It is extremely unlikely (but not impossible) that you read an argument that is entirely new to me.
Whether the 1AC has a plan, an advocacy text, or neither, truly makes no difference to me. It is up to you to explain to me why I should care. I have become increasingly frustrated with the people so quick to say "no plan, no chance at my ballot". This is a pedagogical question.
I consider myself a hard working judge. I will flow, I will read cards, and I will take the time to make the best decision I can.
That being said, the following are my thoughts on certain arguments and some pointers on how to win my ballot.
The kritik - Really dig K debates. I'm pretty well read in a lot of different theories and genuinely enjoy reading critical theory, but I still prefer clarity in explanation. The less jargon you use, the easier it will be to win a K in front of me. Overall, I find that framework args are increasingly irrelevant to the way that I evaluate these debates. Both teams will (hopefully) always win why their conversation is good, so just do the impact calc. But also answer critical framing args about ethics/reps/ontology/etc. For the aff - I find that permutations are pretty underutilized when it comes to mitigating links and find myself voting aff in policy v K debates on permutations more than I would have anticipated. Alternatives are usually the weakest part of a K IMO so leveraging bits and pieces that may not be mutually exclusive, in addition to winning some offense/defense, will go a long way. I also think impact turning is something that is truly underutilized by affirmatives that are facing off with a kritik. Digging in on certain points of neg offense can work wonders. DO NOT say things like anti-blackness, sexism, ableism, etc. are good though. PLEASE explain why your aff outweighs the K, especially if you have big stick impacts that are basically designed for some of these debates... For the neg - framing is absolutely essential. I like 2NRs on the K that guide me through my decision in a technical fashion. Links should obviously be as contextualized to the aff as possible. I am frequently persuaded by teams that realize the alt is a dumpster fire and shift to framework for the same effect. I am more likely to vote negative when there is case debating happening in line with the K, as well. Whether that is impact defense or some sort of "satellite" K, well, that's up to you.
The flourishing of performance debate has really effected the way that I think about form and content in the debate setting. I think these arguments are extremely valuable to the activity and I thoroughly enjoy debates about debate as well.
The DA - I think these debates are pretty straight forward. Do your impact calc, win your link, answer uniqueness overwhelms, etc. I like power plays where the aff straight turns a DA, especially if the 1NC was a lot of off case positions.
The CP - don't judge as many of these debates as I would like. A good counterplan with a specific solvency advocate will impress me. I think these arguments are relatively straight forward as well. In terms of theory issues like PICs bad, condo bad, etc., I truly don't have much of an opinion on these issues, but that doesn't mean I will let you get away with shenanigans. I would prefer arguments to be contextualized to in round abuse claims and how the role of the affirmative became structurally impossible. Rarely do I judge a theory debate, but I would be interested to hear more of them.
I do not default to kicking the CP for the negative. I think the 2NR needs to make that choice for themselves and stick with it. That doesn't necessarily mean I cannot be persuaded otherwise, however. This question should be raised before the 2NR for it to be persuasive to me.
Topicality - I like T debates. Limits isn't an impact in and of itself, I want to hear more explanation on how limits effects what should be your "vision of the topic" holistically, what affs and ground exist within it, and why those debates are good. Education impacts that are contextualized and specific will go a long way for me, whether it be in the context of the aff or the resolution.
I am increasingly persuaded by teams that give me a case list and explain what sort of ground exists within that limited topic.
Framework - I am an advocate for engaging with the affirmative and whatever it is that they have to say. I don't think framework should be taken off the table completely, though, and if you do plan to go for it just know that I require a lot more work on a topical version of the aff and some sort of in-road to how you resolve the claims of the 1AC. There are a lot of framework debates I have judged where I wish the 2NR did some work on the case flow -- ex: aff is about movements, 2NR makes arguments about why movements are coopted or repressed, therefore state engagement is essential.... whatever.
Procedural fairness is becoming less and less persuasive to me. I would vote on it if I have to, but I likely won't be happy.
I believe that debate is a game, but a game that has unique pedagogical benefits.
I may seem "K happy" but I promise my judging record proves that I am more than willing to vote on framework. But like I said, there needs to be more interaction between the affirmative and a limited vision of the topic. I have found that a lot of teams give case lists (both on the aff and the neg) but there is little to no clash over what those affirmatives are and why they are or are not good for debate. If you are trying to make arguments about why your vision of the topic provides a better set of affirmations, whether policy or critical, then there must be some comparison between the two. And those comparisons must have some sort of impact.
Other things - if there is anything else, please feel free to ask me. I know that some of this is vague, but my thoughts tend to change based off of the argument that is being presented and how exactly it is explained. I probably lean more on the side of truth over tech, but that doesn't mean I will make a decision wholly irrelevant to what is said in the debate unless I feel that it is absolutely necessary and something terrible happened. Plus I like to think I keep a clean flow so obvi tech still matters. I have absolutely no qualms checking debaters that are being rude or problematic. That being said, I look forward to judging you and happy prep!
Joshua Gonzalez Paradigm
Yes, add me to emails. gonza310 at gmail
New for 2018-2019:
High School Debates:
0. I will, at my own discretion, treat evidence that is highlighted such that the remaining words still follow basic grammatical rules as necessarily superior to evidence that is not. If I have to read and/or search unhighlighted parts of the evidence to make sense of the parts that you *did* read, then *your* version of that evidence isn't very good, even if the full, un0highlighted card is quite good...
Rando stuff that I've added:
1. I will not automatically judge-kick conditional CPs. 2NR must signal to me to do it, in which case (absent a compelling aff response) I'm happy to do it, but I don't remember to do it every single time unless signaled, and it isn't fair for me to do it inconsistently.
The majority of what I've written below is of a positive/empirical nature, rather than normative/ideal. I obviously have opinions about debate, arguments, etc., but who doesn't? Every time a debate happens, the activity changes a little bit, as do my thoughts and opinions about it. If anything, what is below describes how I have voted in the past more than I how I intend to vote in the future.
That being said, there are a number of practices that have developed various degrees of normative force over time in our activity. Arguers who seek to overturn norms (not universally, obvi) are necessarily dealing with a task of overcoming presumption. I don't think that this is a particularly high bar (certainly not high enough that it should discourage you from trying); I just think it's the best explanation for my past voting behavior.
Speaker Points: who even knows anymore. I'll assign some.
Newest Complaint: 2NC/1NR - please don't group disparate parts of a flow and call it "the link debate" or "the uniqueness debate." While there are def. parts of flows that deserve grouping, this is a technique that is over-used and isn't very smart. There's a good chance you'll drop something the other team said.
Paperless addendum: Mark your cards during your speech. Save the speech doc from which you spoke, with marks. Be prepared to send it out after the speech if the other team requests that you do so. Regardless, I will expect to receive a post-round doc of all relevant cards WITH MARKS CLEARLY NOTED. If I don't, I will not consider the cards as part of my decision. If this document includes evidence that was not read in full (all portions that are highlighted) but is not marked as such, I will definitely blow up your speaker points and will may just vote for the other team on the spot. If you discover, after sending the document to me, that it is missing a mark, don't hesitate to correct it. Honesty and transparency are what we're aiming for here.
Clipping: Auto-loss, auto zero points for the debater. This is obvious.
SWEAR LESS: I didn't care about this nearly as much when I was younger, but as I've become older, I've increasingly become of the belief that all of you kids need to stay off my lawn. Let's try and cut down on the swearing during actual debate speeches, it's just not particularly becoming and it gets us in trouble with the higher ups. I'm sure there's any number of things you can say about this, but honestly, I probably disagree and this is one of those spots where I assign the speaker points and you'll just have to adapt. If this is a non-negotiable item for you, I take no offense to you moving me down the pref sheet, as is your perogative.
T/Framework/Etc. - I have rarely made the decision that topicality was not a voter. In all but the most extreme instances, I have typically decided that the affirmative should have to try and read a topical plan. I phrase this as an empirical statement rather than a normantive one, but I think it would be unfair of me to not let you know that I've been more likely than not to side with the negative when they make an argument to that effect. Here's the big catch: what the words that are configured into this “plan” (and the resolution) mean are significantly open to debate (or how they are best understood/interpreted) but it's plainly obvious what the directions of most topics are and what one would do to have some fidelity to that. I am inclined to think that people who claim that it is actually impossible to make arguments about social justice in the context of most any recent debate are, well, incorrect and really aren't trying very hard.
Theory – I don’t seem to vote on this much, but I’m probably just waiting to meet the right theory debater. I have an intuition that the multiplicity of worlds advanced in 1NCs these days are probably unfair, I just haven’t heard a team that has really made a good set of arguments as to why. Be careful with the words “logical policy maker”: logical policy makers might consider lots of different counterplans, but they probably think the politics disad is really, really stupid, too. I don’t have too much of a dog in the fight with regard to intrinsicness, etc. – I coach a lot of teams to go for politics, but I do also think that debate is probably worse off for it at the end of the day. I find most totalizing theories of CP competition pretty self-serving and stupid, particularly “textual competition.” I have not heard a compelling reason why it makes sense as a standard, rather than just something that conveniently excludes a number of undesirable counterplans. If those CPs are bad, there is likely plenty of good reasons to reject them on their own and we don’t need a counterintuitive competition standard to prevent them from being run.
ASPEC – this is my least favorite debate argument. New rule: 2ACs don’t have to spend any more time answering it than the 1NC spent reading it. If the block makes a big deal, I’m inclined to allow a TON of new 1AR argument—and you can still probably say “cross ex checks” and get out of Dodge. This is one of the only things I am actually willing to impose by judge fiat.
Consultation CPs – these are my second least favorite debate arguments. Any generic strategy that creates an incentive for the aff to read plans that would be vetoed by any relevant international actor is probably a bad argument. I still vote on them, just don’t expect great speaks, even if you think you gave the best speech of your life, which, by virtue of making it about a consultation CP, you have not.
Critiques – I used to be the guy that K teams struck. Now I seem to be a middle-of-the-road sort of fellow. Maybe even K-leaning. This is not because I think critiques are totally awesome and the past/present/future of debate. I actually think many, if not most of them are surprisingly shallow and silly, but most teams seem incapable of acquitting themselves as anything less than even more shallow and dumb. My research interests go vastly farther into the critical than do my debate interests, so there’s a good chance I know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to make arguments that have some theoretical depth, but in so doing, do not fail to make them relevant to the question of the debate (theorizing biopower is totally fascinating, but you need to make it into a reason to not do the plan).
Decorum/Attitude/Behavior – ethos matters in a persuasive setting. Become comfortable with the fact that debate judges (this one in particular) are not logical robots. We are big, jiggly masses of flesh. This means that you should make some attempt at being likeable in debate rounds. I rarely find myself voting for teams that I do not like and yet I feel as if I make decisions on the basis of relatively objective criteria. This does not make much sense unless one understands that how judges feel about you effects (affect?) how they understand and evaluate every other facet of the debate. I have spent more than 20 years of my life in this activity and rarely regretted it (until recently). I still love almost every person I've met through debate, but I am having an increasingly hard time coming to grips with how many of us are behaving (myself included, from time to time). Make it the sort of place that other people want to be and not only will judges reward you, but you will likely reap an enormous number of other intangible benefits as well. Only one team wins the tournament – everybody else should have a pretty good reason that they came. Year after year, I find that the only good reason (and the best reason that I could imagine) is “everybody else.”
Michael Greenstein Paradigm
Kevin Hamrick Paradigm
I've been judging debates for a long time. I prefer listening to debates wherein each team presents and executes a well-researched strategy for winning. The ideological flavor of your arguments matters less to me than how you establish clash with your opponents’ arguments. I am open to most anything, understanding that sometimes “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” to win the debate.
At the end of the debate, I vote for the team that defends the superior course of action. My ballot constitutes an endorsement of one course relative to another. To win the debate, the affirmative must prove their course is preferable when compared to the status quo or negative alternatives. That being said, I interpret broadly exactly what constitutes a plan/course of action. An alternative is proven a superior course of action when it is net beneficial compared to the entirety of the plan combined with part or parts of the alternative. Simply solving better than the affirmative is not enough: the alternative must force choice. Likewise, claiming a larger advantage than the affirmative is not enough to prove the alternative competitive. A legitimate permutation is defined as the entirety of the "plan" combined with parts or parts of the alternative. Mere avoidance of potential or "unknown" disadvantages, or a link of omission, is insufficient: the negative must read win a link and impact in order to evaluate the relative merits of the plan and the alternative. The 2AC saying something akin to "Perm - do the plan and all noncompetitive parts of the counterplan/alternative" is merely a template for generating permutation ideas, rather than a permutation in and of itself. It's your job to resolve the link, not mine.
I believe there is an inherent value to the topic/resolution, as the topic serves as the jumping off point for the year's discussion. The words of the topic should be examined as a whole. Ultimately, fairness and ground issues determine how strict an interpretation of the topic that I am willing to endorse. The most limiting interpretation of a topic rarely is the best interpretation of a topic for the purposes of our game. The topic is what it is: merely because the negative wishes the topic to be smaller (or the affirmative wishes it bigger, or worded a different way) does not mean that it should be so. An affirmative has to be at its most topical the first time it is run.
I don’t care about any of your SPEC arguments. The affirmative must use the agent specified in the topic wording; subsets are okay. Neither you nor your partner is the United States federal government. The affirmative is stuck with defending the resolutional statement, however I tend to give the affirmative significant leeway as to how they choose to define/defend it. The affirmative is unlikely to persuade me criticisms of advocacy of USFG action should be dismissed as irrelevant to an evaluation of policy efficacy. I believe that switch-side debating is good.
All theory arguments should be contextualized in terms of the topic and the resultant array of affirmative and negative strategies. Reciprocity is a big deal for me, i.e., more negative flex allows for more aff room to maneuver and vice versa). Conditional, topical, and plan inclusive alternatives are presumptively legitimate. A negative strategy reliant on a process counterplan, consultation counterplan, or a vague alternative produces an environment in which in which I am willing to allow greater maneuverability in terms of what I view as legitimate permutations for the affirmative. I’ve long been skeptical of the efficacy of fifty state uniform fiat. Not acting, i.e., the status quo, always remains an option.
Debate itself is up for interrogation within the confines of the round.
I tend to provide a lot of feedback while judging, verbal and otherwise. If you are not clear, I will not attempt to reconstruct what you said. I tend to privilege the cards identified in the last two rebuttals as establishing the critical nexus points of the debate and will read further for clarification and understanding when I feel it necessary. Reading qualifications for your evidence will be rewarded with more speaker points. Reading longer, more warranted evidence will be rewarded with significantly more consideration in the decision process. Clipping cards is cheating and cardclippers should lose.
I value clash and line-by-line debating. Rarely do I find the massive global last rebuttal overview appealing. Having your opponent's speech document doesn't alleviate the need for you to pay attention to what's actually been said in the debate. Flow and, for god's sake, learn how to efficiently save/jump/email/share your speech document. I generally don't follow the speech doc in real time.
"New affs bad" is dumb; don't waste your time or mine. When debating a new aff, the negative gets maximum flexibility.
I believe that both basic civil rights law as well as basic ethics requires that debaters and judges conduct themselves in rounds in a manner that protects the rights of all participants to an environment free of racial/sexual hostility or harassment.
Kevin Hirn Paradigm
Program Manager and Assistant Debate Coach, University of Michigan
Debate Coach, Whitney Young High School
Last updated: October, 2019 - before New Trier and Harvard (mainly new topic-specific stuff under the Topicality section, substantial revisions and additions to the Tech vs. Truth section, and some FW updates)
Philosophy: I attempt to judge rounds with the minimum amount of intervention required to answer the question, "Who has done the better debating?", using whatever rubrics for evaluating that question that debaters set up.
I work in debate full-time, so I attend a billion tournaments and judge a ton of debates, lead a seven week lab every summer, talk about debate virtually every day, and research fairly extensively. As a result, I'm familiar with the policy and critical literature bases on both the college space topic and the HS arms sales topic.
I’ve coached my teams to deploy a diverse array of argument types and styles. Currently, I coach teams at Michigan and Whitney Young that primarily read policy arguments. But I was also the primary argument coach for Michigan KM from 2014-16, I currently coach a team at Michigan that reads primarily "high theory" arguments, and I’ve coached many teams that focused primarily on critical theory and critical race literature (including multiple TOC qualifiers, TOC elims participants). I'm always excited to see debaters deploy new or innovative strategies across the argumentative spectrum.
Impact turns have a special place in my heart. There are few venues in academia or life where you will be as encouraged to challenge conventional wisdom as you are in policy debate, so please take this rare opportunity to persuasively defend the most counter-intuitive positions conceivable.
My philosophy is very long. I make no apology for it. In fact, I wish most philosophies were longer and more substantive. Frequently, judges espouse a series of platitudes, but I have no idea why they believe whatever it is they've said (which can frequently leave me confused, frustrated, and little closer to understanding how debaters could better persuade them).
What follows is a series of thoughts that mediate my process for making decisions. I've tried to be as honest as possible, and I frequently update my philosophy to reflect perceived trends in my judging. That being said, self-disclosure is inevitably incomplete or misleading; if you're curious about whether or not I'd be good for you, feel free to look at my voting record or email me a specific question (reach me at khirn (at) umich (dot) edu, although you may want to try in person because I'm not the greatest with quick responses).
1) Tech v. Truth
I attempt to be an extremely "technical" judge, although I am not sure that everyone means what everyone else means when they describe debating or judging as "technical." Here's what I mean by that: I attempt to flow everything that every speaker says in a speech. Even in extremely quick debates, I generally achieve this goal (although if a debater is going at max speed in a final rebuttal, it is virtually impossible to organize all of the words said by the rebuttalist into the argumentative structure they were intending). I will take Casey Harrigan up on his flowing gauntlet/challenge any day (he might be able to take me if we were both restricted to paper, but on laptop it's a wrap).
In addition, being "technical" means that I line up arguments on my flow, and expect debaters to, in general, organize their speeches by answering the other team's arguments in the order they were presented. All other things being equal, I will prioritize an argument presented such that it maximizes clear and direct engagement with its counter-argument over an argument that floats in space unmoored to an adversarial argument structure.
I do have one caveat that pertains to what I'll term "standalone" voting issues. I'm not likely to decide an entire debate based on standalone issues explained or extended in five seconds or less. For example, If you have a standard on conditionality that asserts "also, men with curly unkempt hair are underrepresented in debate, vote neg to incentivize our participation," and the 1ar drops it, you're not going to win the debate on that argument (although you will win my sympathies, fellow comb dissident). I'm willing to vote on basically anything that's well-developed, but if your strategy relies on tricking the other team into dropping random nonsense unrelated to the rest of the debate entirely, I'm not really about that. This caveat only pertains to standalone arguments that are dropped once: if you've dropped a standalone voting issue presented as such in two speeches, you've lost all my sympathies to your claim to a ballot.
In most debates, so many arguments are made that obvious cross-applications ensure precious few allegedly "dropped" arguments really are accurately described as such. Dropped arguments most frequently win debates in the form of little subpoints making granular distinctions on important arguments that both final rebuttals exert time and energy trying to win. Further murkiness emerges when one realizes that all thresholds for what constitutes a "warrant" (and subsequently an "argument") are somewhat arbitrary and interventionist. Hence the mantra: Dropped arguments are true, but they're only as true as the dropped argument. "Argument" means claim, warrant, and implication. "Severance is a voting issue" lacks a warrant. "Severance is a voting issue - neg ground" also arguably lacks a warrant, since it hasn't been explained how or why severance destroys negative ground or why neg ground is worth caring about.
That might sound interventionist, but consider: we would clearly assess the statement "Severance is a voting issue -- purple sideways" as a claim lacking a warrant. So why does "severence is a voting issue - neg ground" constitute a warranted claim? Some people would say that the former is valid but not sound while the latter is neither valid nor sound, but both fail a formal test of validity. In my assessment, any distinction is somewhat interventionist. In the interest of minimizing intervention, here is what that means for your debating: If the 1ar drops a blippy theory argument and the 2nr explains it further, the 2nr is likely making new arguments... which then justifies 2ar answers to those arguments. In general, justify why you get to say what you're saying, and you'll probably be in good shape. By the 2nr or 2ar, I would much rather that you acknowledge previously dropped arguments and suggest reasonable workaround solutions than continue to pretend they don't exist or lie about previous answers.
Arguments aren't presumptively offensive or too stupid to require an answer. Genocide good, OSPEC, rocks are people, etc. are all terribly stupid, but if you can't explain why they're wrong, you don't deserve to win. If an argument is really stupid or really bad, don't complain about how wrong they are. After all, if the argument's as bad as you say it is, it should be easy. And if you can't deconstruct a stupid argument, either 1) the argument may not be as stupid as you say it is, or 2) it may be worthwhile for you to develop a more efficient and effective way of responding to that argument.
If both sides seem to assume that an impact is desirable/undesirable, and frame their rebuttals exclusively toward avoiding/causing that impact, I will work under that assumption. If a team read a 1AC saying that they had several ways their plan caused extinction, and the 1NC responded with solvency defense and alternative ways the plan prevented extincton, I would vote neg if I thought the plan was more likely to avoid extinction than cause it.
2) General Philosophical Disposition
It is somewhat easy to persuade me that life is good, suffering is bad, and we should care about the consequences of our political strategies and advocacies. I would prefer that arguments to the contrary be grounded in specific articulations of alternative models of decision-making, not generalities, rhetoric, or metaphor. It's hard to convince me that extinction = nbd, and arguments like "the hypothetical consequences of your advocacy matter, and they would likely produce more suffering than our advocacy" are far more persuasive than "take a leap of faith" or "roll the dice" or "burn it down", because I can at least know what I'd be aligning myself with and why.
Important clarification: pragmatism is not synonymous with policymaking. On the contrary, one may argue that there is a more pragmatic way to frame judge decision-making in debates than traditional policymaking paradigms. Perhaps assessing debates about the outcome of hypothetical policies is useless, or worse, dangerous. Regardless of how you debate or what you debate about, you should be willing and able to mount a strong defense of why you're doing those things (which perhaps requires some thought about the overall purpose of this activity).
3) Topicality and Specification
Overall, I'm a decent judge for the neg, provided that they have solid evidence supporting their interpretation.
Limits are probably desirable in the abstract, but if your interpretation is composed of contrived stupidity, it will be hard to convince me that affs should have predicted it. Conversely, affs that are debating solid topicality evidence without well-researched evidence of their own are gonna have a bad time. Naturally, of these issues are up for debate, but I think it's relatively easy to win that research/literature guides preparation, and the chips frequently fall into place for the team accessing that argument.
Competing interpretations is potentially less subjective and arbitrary than a reasonability standard, although reasonability isn't as meaningless as many believe. Reasonability seems to be modeled after the "reasonable doubt" burden required to prove guilt in a criminal case (as opposed to the "preponderence of evidence" standard used in civil cases, which seems similar to competing interps as a model). Reasonability basically is the same as saying "to win the debate, the neg needs to win an 80% risk of their DA instead of a 50% risk." The percentages are arbitrary, but what makes determining that a disad's risk is higher or lower than the risk of an aff advantage (i.e. the model used to decide the majority of debates) any less arbitrary or subjective? It's all ballpark estimation determined by judges using whatever analysis debaters provides that persuades them. With reasonability-style arguments, aff can certainly win that they don't need to meet the best of all possible interpretations of the topic, assuming that they meet an interpretation capable of providing a sufficient baseline of neg ground/research ability. Describing what threshold of desirability their interpretation should meet, and then describing why that threshold is a better model for deciding topicality debates, is typically necessary to make this argument persuasive.
Arms sales: T - subs is persuasive if your argument is that "substantially" has to mean something, and the most reasonable assessment of what it should mean is the lowest contextual bound that either team can discover and use as a bulwark for guiding their preparation. If the aff can't produce a reasonably well-sourced card that says substantially = X amount of arms sales that their plan can feasibly meet, I think neg teams can win that it's more arbitrary to assume that substantially is in the topic for literally no reason than it is to assume the lowest plausible reading of what substantially could mean (especially given that every definition of substantially as a higher quantity would lead one to agree that substantially is at least as large as that lowest reading). If the aff can, however, produce this card, it will take a 2N's most stalwart defense of any one particular interpretation to push back against the most basic and intuitive accusations of arbitrariness/goalpost-shifting.
T - reduce seems conceptually fraught in almost every iteration. Every Saudi aff conditions its cessation of arms sales on the continued existence of Saudi Arabia. If the Saudi military was so inept that the Houthis suddenly not only won the war against Saleh but actually captured Saudi Arabia and annexed it as part of a new Houthi Empire, the plan would not prevent the US from selling all sorts of exciting PGMs to Saudi Arabia's new Houthi overlords. Other than hard capping the overall quantity of arms sales and saying every aff that doesn't do that isn't topical, (which incidentally is not in any plausible reading a clearly forwarded interpretation of the topic in that poorly-written Pearson chapter), it's not clear to me what the distinction is between affs that condition and affs that don't are for the purposes of T - Reduce
Space cooperation: Topicality is making a big comeback in college policy debates this year. Kiinda overdue. But also kinda surprising because the T evidence isn't that high quality relative to its outsized presence in 2NRs, but hey, we all make choices.
STM T debates have been underwhelming in my assessment. T - No ADR... well at least is a valid argument consisting of a clear interp and a clear violation. It goes downhill from there. It's by no means unwinnable, but not a great bet in an evenly matched ebate. But you can't even say that for most of the other STM interps I've seen so far. Interps that are like "STM are these 9 things" are not only silly, they frequently have no clear way of clearly excluding their hypothesized limits explosion... or the plan. And I get it - STM affs are the worst (and we're only at the tip of the iceberg for zany STM aff prolif). Because STM proposals are confusing, different advocates use the terms in wildly different ways, the proposals are all in the direction of uniqueness and are difficult to distinguish from similar policy structures presently in place, and the area lacks comprehensive neg ground outside of "fuck those satellites, let em crash," STM affs producing annoying debates (which is why so many teams read STM). But find better and clearer T interps if you want to turn those complaints about topical affs into topicality arguments that exclude those affs. And I encourage you to do so quickly, as I will be the first to shamelessly steal them for my teams.
Ironically, the area of the topic that produces what seem to me the best debates (in terms of varied, high-quality, and evenly-matched argumentation) probably has the single highest-quality T angle for the neg to deploy against it. And that T angle just so happens to exclude nearly every arms control aff actually being ran. In my assessment, both the interp that "arms control = quantitative limit" and the interp that "arms control = militaries just like chilling with each other, hanging out, doing some casual TCBMs" are plausible readings of the resolution. The best aff predictability argument is clearly that arms control definitions established before the space age have some obvious difficulties remaining relevant in space. But it seems plausible that that's a reason the resolution should have been written differently, not that it should be read in an alternate way. That being said, the limits case seems weaker than usual for the neg (though not terrible) and in terms of defending an interp likely to result in high-quality debates, the aff has a better set of ground arguments at their disposal than usual.
4) Risk Assessment
In front of me, teams would be well-served to explain their impact scenarios less in terms of brinks, and more in terms of probabilistic truth claims. When pressed with robust case defense, "Our aff is the only potential solution to a US-China war that's coming in a few months, which is the only scenario for a nuclear war that causes extinction" is far less winnable than "our aff meaningfully improves the East Asian security environment through building trust between the two great military powers in the region, which statistically decreases the propensity for inevitable miscalculations or standoffs to escalate to armed conflict." It may not be as fun, but that framing can allow you to generate persuasive solvency deficits that aren't grounded in empty rhetoric and cliche, or to persuasively defeat typical alt cause arguments, etc. Given that you decrease the initial "risk" (i.e. probability times magnitude) of your impact with this framing, this approach obviously requires winning substantial defense against whatever DA the neg goes for, but when most DA's have outlandishly silly brink arguments themselves, this shouldn't be too taxing.
There are times where investing lots of time in impact calculus is worthwhile (for example, if winning your impact means that none of the aff's impact claims reach extinction, or that any of the actors in the aff's miscalc/brinkmanship scenarios will be deterred from escalating a crisis to nuclear use). Most of the time, however, teams waste precious minutes of their final rebuttal on mediocre impact calculus. The cult of "turns case" has much to do with this. It's worth remembering that accessing an extinction impact is far more important than whether or not your extinction impact happens three months faster than theirs (particularly when both sides' warrant for their timeframe claim is baseless conjecture and ad hoc assertion), and that, in most cases, you need to win the substance of your DA/advantage to win that it turns the case.
Incidentally, phrasing arguments more moderately and conditionally is helpful for every argument genre: "all predictions fail" is not persuasive; "some specific type of prediction relying on their model of IR forecasting has little to no practical utility" can be. The only person who's VTL is killed when I hear someone say "there is no value to life in the world of the plan" is mine.
At least for me, try-or-die is often bizarrely intuitive based on argument selection (i.e. if the neg spots the aff that "extinction is inevitable if the judge votes neg, even if it's questionable whether or not the aff solves it", rationalizing an aff ballot becomes rather alluring and shockingly persuasive). You should combat this innate intuition by ensuring that you either have impact defense of some sort (anything from DA solves the case to a counterplan/alt solves the case argument to status quo checks resolve the terminal impact to actual impact defense can work) or invest time in arguing against try-or-die decision-making.
Counterplan theory is a lost art. Affirmatives let negative teams get away with murder. And it's getting worse and worse every year. Investing time in theory is daunting... it requires answering lots of blippy arguments with substance and depth and speaking clearly, and probably more slowly than you're used to. But, if you invest time, effort, and thought in a well-grounded theoretical objection, I'll be a receptive critic.
The best theory interpretations are clear, elegant, and minimally arbitrary. Here are some examples of args that I would not anticipate many contemporary 2N's defeating:
--counterplans should be policies. Perhaps executive orders, perhaps guidence memos, perhaps lower court decisions, perhaps Congressional resolutions. But this would exclude such travesties as "The Executive Branch should always take international law into account when making their decisions. Such is closer to a counterplan that says "The Executive Branch should make good decisions forever" than it is to a useful policy recommendation.
--counterplans should not be able to fiat both the federal government and additional actors outside of the federal government. It's utopian enough to fiat that Courts, the President, and Congress all act in concert in perpetuity on a given subject. It's absurd to fiat additional actors as well.
There are other theoretical objections that I might take more seriously than other judges, although I recognize them as arguments on which reasonable minds may disagree. For example, I am partial to the argument that solvency advocates for counterplans should have a level of specificity that matches the aff. I feel like that standard would reward aff specificity and incentivize debates that reflect the literature base, while punishing affs that are contrived nonsense by making them debate contrived process nonsense. This certainly seems debateable, but it seems like an even debate on both sides (and a better argument than many of the contrived and desperate solvency deficits that flailing affs teams extend against counterplans).
Competition debates are a particularly lost art. I'm not a great judge for counterplans that compete off of certainty or immediacy based on "should"/"resolved" definitions. I'm somewhat easily persuaded that these interpretations lower the bar for how difficult it is to win a negative ballot to an undesirable degree. That being said, affs lose these debates all the time by failing to counter-define words or dropping stupid tricks, so make sure you invest the time you need in these debates to win them.
Offense-defense is intuitive to me, and so teams should always be advised to have offense even if their defense is very strong. If the aff says that the counterplan links to the net benefit but doesn't advance a solvency deficit or disadvantage to the CP, and the neg argues that the counterplan at least links less, I am not very likely to vote affirmative absent strong affirmative framing on this question (often the judge is left to their own devices on this question, or only given instruction in the 2AR, which is admittedly better than never but still often too late). At the end of the day I must reconcile these opposing claims, and if it's closely contested and at least somewhat logical, it's very difficult to win 100% of an argument. Even if I think the aff is generally correct, in a world where if I have literally any iota of doubt surrounding the aff position or am even remotely persuaded by the the negative's position, why would I remotely risk triggering the net benefit for the aff instead of just opting for the guaranteed safe choice of the counterplan?
Offense can come in multiple flavors: you can argue that the affirmative or perm is less likely to link to the net benefit than the counterplan, for example. You can also argue that the risk of a net benefit below a certain threshold is indistinguishable from statistical noise, and that the judge should reject to affirm a difference between the two options because it would encourage undesirable research practices and general decision-making. You can likely advance an analytic solvency deficit somewhat supported by one logical conjecture, and if you are generally winning the argument, have the risk of the impact to that outweigh the unique risk of aff triggering the DA relative to the counterplan. But in the absent of any offensive argument of any sort, the aff is facing an uphill battle. I have voted on "CP links to politics before" but typically that only happens if there is a severe flaw in negative execution (i.e. they drop it) or a significant skill descripancy between teams or a truly ill-conceived counterplan.
I'm a somewhat easy sell on conditionality good (at least 1 CP / 1 K is defensible), but I've probably voted aff slightly more frequently than not in conditionality debates. That's partly because of selection bias (affs go for it when they're winning it), but mainly because neg teams have gotten very sloppy in their defenses of conditionality, particularly in the 2NR. That being said, I've been growing more and more amenable to "conditionality bad" arguments over time.
However, large advantage counterplans with multiple planks, all of which can be kicked, are basically indefensible. Negative teams can fiat as many policies as it takes to solve whatever problems the aff has sought to tackle. It is unreasonable to the point of stupidity to expect the aff to contrive solvency deficits: the plan would literally have to be the only idea in the history of thought capable of solving a given problem. Every additional proposal introduced in the 1nc (in order to increase the chance of solving) can only be discouraged through the potential cost of a disad being read against it. In the old days, this is why counterplan files were hundreds of pages long and had answers to a wide variety of disads. But if you can kick the plank, what incentive does the aff have to even bother researching if the CP is a good idea? If they read a 2AC add-on, the neg gets as many no-risk 2NC counterplans to add to the fray as well (of course, they can also add unrelated 2nc counterplans for fun and profit). If you think you can defend the merit of that strategy vs. a "1 condo cp / 1 condo k" interp then you should pass debate and go directly to Trump's Department of Justice, because they have some legal puzzles for you to solve that desperately require your input.
I don't default to the status quo unless you explicitly flag it at some point during the debate (the cross-x or the 2nc is sufficient if the aff never contests it). I don't know why affs ask this question every cross-x and then never make a theory argument about it. It only hurts you, because it lets the neg get away with something they otherwise wouldn't have.
All that said, I don't have terribly strong convictions about any of these issues, and any theoretical predisposition is easily overcame by outdebating another team on the subject at hand.
Most theoretical objections to (and much sanctimonious indignation toward) the politics disadvantage have never made sense to me. Fiat is a convention about what it should be appropriate to assume for the sake of discussion, but there's no "logical" or "true" interpretation of what fiat descriptively means. It would be ludicrously unrealistic for basically any 1ac plan to pass immediately, with no prior discussion, in the contemporary political world. Any form of argument in which we imagine the consequences of passage is a fictive constraint on process argumentation. As a result, any normative justification for including the political process within the contours of permissible argument is a rational justification for a model of fiat that involves the politics DA (and a DA to a model of fiat that doesn't). Political salience is the reason most good ideas don't become policy, and it seems illogical for the negative to be robbed of this ground. The politics DA, then, represents the most pressing political cost caused by doing the plan in the contemporary political environment, which seems like a very reasonable for affs to have to defend against.
Obviously many politics DAs are contrived nonsense (especially during political periods during which there is no clear, top-level presidential priority). However, the reason that these DAs are bad isn't because they're theoretically illegitimate, and politics theory's blippiness and general underdevelopment further aggravate me (see the tech vs truth section).
Finally, re: intrinsicness, I don't understand why the judge should be the USFG. I typically assume the judge is just me, deciding which policy/proposal is the most desirable. I don't have control over the federal government, and no single entity does or ever will (barring that rights malthus transition). Maybe I'm missing something. If you think I am, feel free to try and be the first to show me the light...
All that being said - most political capital DAs are self-evidently nonsense in the Trump era. We no longer have a president that expends or exerts political capital as described by any of the canonical sources that theorized that term. Affs should be better at laundry listing thumpers and examples that empirically prove Trump's ability to shamelessly lie about whatever the aff does or why he supports the aff and have a conservative media environment that tirelessly promotes that lie as the new truth, but it's not hard to argue this point well. Sometimes, when there's an agenda (even if that agenda is just impeachment), focus links can be persuasive. I actually like the internal agency politics DA's more than others do, because they do seem to better analyze the present political situation. Our political agenda at the national level does seem driven at least as much by personality-driven palace intrigue as anything else; if we're going to assess the political consequences of our proposed policies, that seems as good a proxy for what's likely to happen as anything else.
7) Framework/Non-Traditional Affs
Despite some of the arguments I've read and coached, I'm sympathetic to the framework argument and fairness concerns (especially in high school). I don't think that topicality arguments are presumptively violent, and I think it's generally rather reasonable (and often strategic) to question the aff's relationship to the resolution. Although framework is often the best option, I would generally prefer to see a substantive strategy if one's available. This is merely because I have literally judged hundreds of framework debates and it has gotten mildly repetitive, to say the least (just scroll down if you think me guilty of hyperbole).
My voting record on framework is relatively even. In nearly every debate, I voted for the team I assessed as demonstrating superior technical debating in the final rebuttals, and that will continue in the future.
I typically think winning unique offense, in the rare scenario where a team invests substantial time in poking defensive holes in the other team's standards, is difficult for both sides in a framework debate. I think affs should think more about their answers to "switch side solves your offense" and "sufficient neg engagement key to meaningfully test the aff", while neg's should generally work harder to prepare persuasive and consistent impact explanations. The argument that "other policy debates solve your offense" can generally push back against skills claims, and the argument that "wiki/disclosure/contestable advocacy in the 1ac provides some degree of predictability/debateability" can often push back against "vote neg on presumption b/c truth-testing- we literally couldn't negate it" but for some reason in many debates neg's completely blow off these arguments.
I'm typically more persuaded by affirmative teams that answer framework by saying that the skills/methods inculcated by the 1ac produce more effective/ethical interactions with institutions than by teams that argue "all institutions are bad".
Fairness is not necessarily an impact; it certainly may implicate the education that the aff produces, but calling fairness "procedural" doesn't bestow upon it some mystical external impact without additional explanation (i.e. without an actual impact attached to that). Fairness is an abstract value. Like most values, it is difficult to explain beyond a certain point, and it can't be proven or disproven. It's hard to answer the question "why is fairness good?" for the same reason it's hard to answer the question "why is justice good?" It is pretty easy to demonstate why you should presume in favor of fairness in a debate context, given that everyone relies on essential fairness expectations in order to participate in the activity (for example, teams expect that I flow and give their arguments a fair hearing rather than voting against them because I don't like their choice in clothes). But as soon as neg teams start introducing additional standards to their framework argument that raise education concerns, they have said that the choice of framework has both fairness and education implications, and if it could change our educational experience, could the choice of framework change our social or intellectual experience in debate in other ways as well? Maybe not (I certainly think it's easy to win that an individual round's decision certainly couldn't be expected to) but if you said your FW is key to education it's easy to see how those kinds of questions come into play and now can potentially militate against fairness concerns.
I think it's perfectly reasonable to question the desirability of the activity (we should all ideally be self-reflexive and be able to articulate why it is we participate in the activities we participate in). After all, I think nearly everybody in the world does utterly indefensible things from time to time, and many people (billions) make completely indefensile decisions all the time. The reason why these arguments can be unpersuasive is typically because saying that debate is bad very well may link to the debate saying "debate bad" because they're, you know, debating, and no credible solvency mechanism for altering the activity has been presented.
I know I just explained a rationale for potentially restricting your framework impacts to fairness concerns. But still it's nice and often more fulfilling from a judge's perspective to hear a defense of debate rather than a droll recitation of "who knows why debate's good but we're both here... so like... it must be." If that means "procedural fairness" is de-emphasized in favor of an explanation for why the particular fairness norms established by your topicality interpretation are crucial to a particular vision of the activity and a defense of that vision's benefits, that would be a positive development.
If you're looking for an external impact, there are two impacts to framework that I have consistently found more persuasive than most attempts to articulate one for fairness/skills/deliberation, but they're not unassailable: "switch-side debate good" (forcing people to defend things they don't believe is the only vehicle for truly shattering dogmatic ideological predispositions and fostering a skeptical worldview capable of ensuring that its participants, over time, develop more ethical and effective ideas than they otherwise would) and "agonism" (making debaters defend stuff that the other side is prepared to attack rewards debaters for pursuing clash; running from engagement by lecturing the neg and judge on a random topic of your choosing is a cowardly flight from battle; instead, the affirmative team with a strong will to power should actively strive to beat the best, most well-prepared negative teams from the biggest schools on their terms, which in turn provides the ultimate triumph; the life-affirming worldview facilitated by this disposition is ultimately necessary for personal fulfillment, and also provides a more effective strategy with which to confront the inevitable hardships of life).
Many aff "impact turns" to topicality are often rendered incoherent when met with gentle pushback. It's difficult to say "predictability bad" if you have a model of debate that makes debate more predictable from the perspective of the affirmative team. Exclusion and judgment are inevitable structural components of any debate activity that I can conceive of: any DA excludes affs that link to it and don't have an advantage that outweighs it. The act of reading that DA can be understood as judging the debaters who proposed that aff as too dull to think of a better idea. Both teams are bound to say the other is wrong and only one can win. Many aff teams may protest that their impact turns are much more sophisticated than this, and are more specific to some element of the topicality/FW structure that wouldn't apply to other types of debate arguments. Whatever explanation you have for why that above sentence true should be emphasized throughout the debate if you want your impact turns or DA's to T to be persuasive. In other words, set up your explanation of impact turns/disads to T in a way that makes clear why they are specific to something about T and wouldn't apply to basic structural requirements of debate from the outset of the debate.
I'm a fairly good judge for the capitalism kritik. Among my most prized possessions are signed copies of Jodi Dean books that I received as a gift from my debaters. Capitalism is persuasive for two reasons, both of which can be defeated, and both of which can be applied to other kritiks. First, having solutions (even ones that seem impractical or radical) entails position-taking, with clear political objectives and blueprints, and I often find myself more persuaded by a presentation of macro-political problems when coupled with corresponding presentation of macro-political solutions. Communism, or another alternative to capitalism, frequently ends up being the only solution of that type in the room. Second, analytic salience: The materialist and class interest theories often relatively more explanatory power for oppression than any other individual factor because they entail a robust and logically consistent analysis of the incentives behind various actors committing various actions over time. I'm certainly not unwinnable for the aff in these debates, particularly if they strongly press the alt's feasibility and explain what they are able to solve in the context of the neg's turns case arguments, and I obviously will try my hardest to avoid letting any predisposition overwhelm my assessment of the debating.
8) Kritiks (vs policy affs)
I'm okay for 'old-school' kritik's (security/cap/etc), but I'm also okay for the aff. When I vote for kritiks, most of my RFD's look like one of the following:
1) The neg has won that the implementation of the plan is undesirable relative to the status quo;
2) The neg has explicitly argued (and won) that the framework of the debate should be something other than "weigh the plan vs squo/alt" and won within that framework.
If you don't do either of those things while going for a kritik, I am likely to be persuaded by traditional aff presses (case outweighs, try-or-die, perm double-bind, alt fails etc). Despite sympathies for much poststructural thought, it's often hard to divorce my thinking from utilitarian cost-benefit analysis.
Kritik alternatives typically make no sense. They often have no way to meaningfully compete with the plan, usually because of a scale problem. Either they are comparing what one person/a small group should do to what the government should do, or what massive and sweeping international movements should do vs what a government should do. Both comparisons seem like futile exercises for reasons I hope are self-evident.
There are theory arguments that affs could introduce against alternatives that exploit common design flaws in critical arguments. "Vague alts" is not really one of them (ironically because the argument itself is too vague). Some examples: "Alternatives should have texts; otherwise the alternative could shift into an unpredictable series of actions throughout the debate we can't develop reasonable responses against." "Alternatives should have actors; otherwise there is no difference between this and fiating 'everyone should be really nice to each other'." Permutations are easy to justify: the plan would have to be the best idea in the history of thought if all the neg had to do was think of something better.
Most kritik frameworks presented to respond to plan focus are not really even frameworks, but a series of vague assertions that the 2N is hoping that the judge will interpret in a way that's favorable for them (because they certainly don't know exactly what they're arguing for). Many judges continually interpret these confusing framework debates by settling on some middle-ground compromise that neither team actually presented. I prefer to choose between options that debaters actually present.
My ideal critical arguments would negate the aff. For example, against a heg aff, I could be persuaded by security K alts that advocate for a strategy of unilateral miltary withdrawal. Perhaps the permutation severs rhetoric and argumentation in the 1ac that, while not in the plan text, is both central enough to their advocacy and important enough (from a pedagogical perspective) that we should have the opportunity to focus the debate around the geopolitical position taken by the 1ac. The only implication to to a "framework" argument like this would be that, assuming the neg wins a link to something beyond the plan text, the judge should reject, on severence grounds, permutations against alts that actually make radical proposals. In the old days, this was called philosophical competition. How else could we have genuine debates about how to change society or grand strategy? There are good aff defenses of the plan focus model from a fairness and education perspective with which to respond to this, but this very much seems like a debate worth having.
All this might sound pretty harsh for neg's, but affs should be warned that I think I'm more willing than most judges to abandon policymaking paradigms based on technical debating. If the negative successfully presents and defends an alternative model of decisionmaking, I will decide the debate from within it. The ballot is clay; mold it for me and I'll do whatever you win I should.
9) Kritiks (vs K affs)
Seriously, I don't have strong presuppositions about what "new debate" is supposed to look like. For the most part, I'm happy to see any strategy that's well researched or well thought-out. Try something new! Even if it doesn't work out, it may lead to something that can radically innovate debate.
Most permutation/framework debates are really asking the question: "Is the part of the aff that the neg disagreed with important enough to decide an entire debate about?" (this is true in CP competition debates too, for what it's worth). Much of the substantive debating elsewhere subsequently determines the outcome of these sub-debates far more than debaters seem to assume.
Role of the ballot/judge claims are obviously somewhat self-serving, but in debates in which they're well-explained (or repeatedly dropped), they can be useful guidelines for crafting a reasonable decision (especially when the ballot theorizes a reasonable way for both teams to win if they successfully defend core thesis positions).
Yes, I am one of those people who reads critical theory for fun, although I also read about domestic politics, theoretical and applied IR, and economics for fun. Yes, I am a huge nerd, but who's the nerd that that just read the end of a far-too-long judge philosophy in preparation for a debate tournament? Thought so.
10) Addendum: Random Thoughts from Random Topics
In the spirit of Bill Batterman, I thought to myself: How could I make this philosophy even longer and less useable than it already was? So instead of deleting topic-relevent material from previous years that no longer really fit into the above sections, I decided to archive all of that at the bottom of the paradigm if I still agreed with what I said (there were some bad takes that got thrown into the memory hole).
ESR debates on the executive powers topic --- I think the best theory arguments against ESR are probably just solvency advocate arguments. Seems like a tough sell to tell the neg there’s no executive CP at all. I've heard varied definitions of “object fiat” over the years: fiating an actor that's a direct object/recipient of the plan/resolution; fiating an enduring negative action (i.e. The President should not use designated trade authority, The US should not retaliate to terrorist attacks with nukes etc); fiating an actor whose behavior is affected by a 1ac internal link chain. But none of these definitions seem particularly clear nor any of these objections particularly persuasive.
States CP on the education and health insurance topics --- States-and-politics debates are not the most meaningful reflection of the topic literature, especially given that the nature of 50 state fiat distorts the arguments of most state action advocates, and they can be stale (although honestly anything that isn't a K debate will not feel stale to me these days). But I'm sympathetic to the neg on these questions, especially if they have good solvency evidence. There are a slew of policy analysts that have recommended as-uniform-as-possible state action in the wake of federal dysfunction. With a Trump administration and a Republican Congress, is the prospect of uniform state action on an education or healthcare policy really that much more unrealistic than a massive liberal policy? There are literally dozens of uniform policies that have been independently adopted by all or nearly all states. I'm open to counter-arguments, but they should all be as contextualized to the specific evidence and counter-interpretation presented by the negative as they would be in a topicality debate (the same goes for the neg in terms of answering aff theory pushes). It's hard to defend a states CP without meaningful evidentiary support against general aff predictability pushes, but if the evidence is there, it doesn't seem to unreasonable to require affs to debate it. Additionally, there does seem to be a persuasive case for the limiting condition that a "federal-key warrant" places on affirmatives.
Topicality on executive power: This topic is so strangely worded and verbose that it is difficult to win almost any topicality argument against strong affirmative answers, as powerful as the limits case may be. ESR makes being aff hard enough that I’m not sure how necessary the negative needs assistance in limiting down the scope of viable affs, but I suppose we shall see as the year moves forward. I’m certainly open to voting on topicality violations that are supported by quality evidence. “Restrictions in the area of” = all of that area (despite the fact that two of the areas have “all or nearly all” in their wordings, which would seem to imply the other three are NOT “all or nearly all”) does not seem to meet that standard.
Topicality on immigration: This is one of the best topics for neg teams trying to go for topicality in a long time... maybe since alternative energy in 2008-9. “Legal immigration” clearly means LPR – affs will have a tough time winning otherwise against competent negative teams. I can’t get over my feeling that the “Passel and Fix” / “Murphy 91” “humanitarian” violations that exclude refugee, asylums, etc, are somewhat arbitrary, but the evidence is extremely good for the negative (probably slightly better than it is for the affirmative, but it’s close), and the limits case for excluding these affs is extremely persuasive. Affs debating this argument in front of me should make their case that legal immigration includes asylum, refugees, etc by reading similarly high-quality evidence that says as much.
Robert Holmes Paradigm
Flow and respond to what the other team says.
I don't have the speech doc open so do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking.
If I don't understand something, I will not vote on it even if it is conceded.
I am getting tired of multiple conditional cp's. Seriously, it is getting out of hand. The neg gets 1 conditional cp or Kritik.
Nikhil Jain Paradigm
The best overall way that you should think about me as a judge is somewhere between Tim "Clarity is King" Mahoney and Eric Forslund
Speed: go at 70%, clarity applies to tags and text of evidence-- think Tim standards.
Impact turn: yes
K’s: eh — security and cap bad type are ok, baudrillard/bataille/etc not so much
K affs: ok
No plan affs: auto loss
Debated for 6 years at St. Mark’s. During that time I won Greenhill, Grapevine, and Stanford; finals of MBA and NDCA; and semis of Cal & GBX. The vast majority of my 2NR’s were topicality, DA’s (esp ptx), Impact turns, case D, adv CPs. So I have a good sense of debate as an activity, the theory, and the technicalities; however my only involvement in the activity since high school was judging Greenhill this year-- so don't assume I know all the stuff discussed at camp, or that I have any background on a hypertechnical T argument or process aff/counter plan-- the most effective debaters will use Cross X to explain their arguments and catch me up to speed early on.
***Clarity Is King. Back when I debated, most kids seem to have a tendency of reading the tagline cards really clearly while blitzing through the body of their evidence unclearly. I will yell clear if I can’t understand, and if it continues, it will hurt your speaker points and I won’t call for any of your evidence that I can’t understand during the round. I would recommend you slow down to 70%. This is probably the most important part of this philosophy. I gave someone a 30 and was already psychologically inclined to vote for them from the outset because they had perfect 1AC clarity-- so I understood their arguments as they are being said, which matters for a judge who doesn't already have heavy background knowledge. Another team lost because they blitzed through extending a supposedly dropped argument so fast I couldn't understand what they said-- your clarity will win and lose you debates. This applies to more judges than me even if they may not say it it in their initial philosophy.
I’ll be a good judge for traditional policy arguments — counter plans, disads, impact turns, T etc. I will also do fine with theory such as conditionality. Process counterplans I'm not very good for unless there's a specific solvency advocate. If you have a big stick affirmative that defends the economy and American hegemony it will make me incredibly happy
Kritiks are very iffy — I usually beat back on these arguments by a combination of alt doesn’t solve+case outweighs/ impact turns the K and I would imagine I’d be quite persuaded by these today. I’ll be up front — if you have to run a K, it should probably be something based on security/IR studies or cap bad as those ones are most familiar with and able to judge more effectively and fairly. K affs fall under the same boat although these tend to be much better since they have a solvency mechanism.
No plan affs — an abomination. Don’t even try it. I believe that these affirmative’s are on the same level of rule breaking as ignoring speech times or tearing up your opponents flows. If the negative runs a framework argument and goes for it (thus stating that they do not find the no plan aff to be appropriate), the affirmative will lose. You also don't want to try to hide whether you're defending your plantext -- once you start being ambiguous on that, it won't be ambiguous who I'm voting for.
Dan Lingel Paradigm
Dan Lingel Jesuit College Prep—Dallas
email@example.com for email chain purposes
Updated for 2018-2019 topic
25 years of high school coaching
I will easily judge at 20+ tournaments this year
****read here first*****
I still really love to judge and I enjoy judging quick clear confident comparative passionate advocates that use qualified and structured argument and evidence to prove their arguments. I expect you to respect the game and the people that are playing it in every moment we are interacting.
***I believe that framing/labeling arguments and paper flowing is crucial to success in debate and maybe life so I will start your speaker points absurdly high and work my way up if you acknowledge and represent these elements: label your arguments (even use numbers and structure) and can demonstrate that you flowed the entire debate and that you used your flow to give your speeches and in particular demonstrate that you used your flow to actually clash with the other teams arguments directly.
Some things that influence my decision making process
1. Debate is first and foremost a persuasive activity that asks both teams to advocate something. Defend an advocacy/method and defend it with evidence and compare your advocacy/method to the advocacy of the other team. I understand that there are many ways to advocate and support your advocacy so be sure that you can defend your choices. I think that this years topic is very good and very real and personal to many of us so I do prefer that the topic is an access point for your advocacy.
2. The negative should always have the option of defending the status quo (in other words, I assume the existence of some conditionality) unless argued otherwise.
3. The net benefits to a counterplan must be a reason to reject the affirmative advocacy (plan, both the plan and counterplan together, and/or the perm) not just be an advantage to the counterplan.
4. I enjoy a good link narrative since it is a critical component of all arguments in the arsenal—everything starts with the link. Call me old fashion but I think the negative should mention the specifics of the affirmative plan in their link narratives. A good link narrative is a combination of evidence, analytical arguments, and narrative.
5. Be sure to assess the uniqueness of offensive arguments using the arguments in the debate and the status quo. This is an area that is often left for judge intervention and I will.
6. I am not the biggest fan of topicality debates unless the interpretation is grounded by clear evidence and provides a version of the topic that will produce the best debates—those interpretations definitely exist this year. Generally speaking, I can be persuaded by potential for abuse arguments on topicality as they relate to other standards because I think in round abuse can be manufactured by a strategic negative team.
7. I believe that the links to the plan, the impact narratives, the interaction between the alternative and the affirmative harm, and/or the role of the ballot should be discussed more in most kritik debates. The more case and topic specific your kritik the more I enjoy the debate.
8. There has been a proliferation of theory arguments and decision rules, which has diluted the value of each. The impact to theory is rarely debating beyond trite phrases and catch words. My default is to reject the argument not the team on theory issues unless it is argued otherwise.
9. I know that some of you may not prefer me because I still use a realistic speaker point scale. I think that is a poor choice especially because it is easy to get me to give very high points. Here is the method to my madness on this so do not be deterred just adapt. I award speaker points based on the following: strategic and argumentative decision-making, the challenge presented by the context of the debate, technical proficiency, persuasive personal and argumentative style, your use of the cross examination periods, and the overall enjoyment level of your speeches and the debate. If you devalue the nature of the game or its players or choose not to engage in either asking or answering questions, your speaker points will be impacted. If you turn me into a mere information processor then your points will be impacted. If you choose artificially created efficiency claims instead of making complete and persuasive arguments that relate to an actual victory path then your points will be impacted.
10. I believe in the value of debate as the greatest pedagogical tool on the planet. Reaching the highest levels of debate requires mastery of arguments from many disciplines including communication, argumentation, politics, philosophy, economics, and sociology to name a just a few. The organizational, research, persuasion and critical thinking skills are sought by every would-be admission counselor and employer. Throw in the competitive part and you have one wicked game. I have spent over twenty five years playing it at every level and from every angle and I try to make myself a better player everyday and through every interaction I have. I think that you can learn from everyone in the activity how to play the debate game better. The world needs debate and advocates/policymakers more now than at any other point in history. I believe that the debates that we have now can and will influence real people and institutions now and in the future—empirically it has happened. I believe that this passion influences how I coach and judge debates.
Note about paperless debating--I prefer an email chain with me included whenever possible. I feel that each team should have accurate and equal access to the evidence that is read in the debate. I have noticed several things that worry me in paperless debates. People have stopped flowing and paying attention to the flow and line-by-line which is really impacting my decision making; people are exchanging more evidence than is actually being read without concern for the other team, people are underhighlighting their evidence and "making cards" out of large amounts of text, and the amount of preptime taken exchanging the information is becoming excessive. For me, prep time is running until the flash drive is given to the other team and then it stops and becomes judge time. I reserve the right to request a copy of all things exchanged as verification. If three cards or less are being read in the speech then I prefer that the exchange in evidence occur after the speech. I don't understand why people exchange paperless speeches that do not contain evidence.
Tim Mahoney Paradigm
CXphilosophy = Years judging: 16 as a hs coach another 10 as a college coach
Rounds on this year’s high school topic: 30+
Rounds on this year’s college topic: 0
Teachers teach, coaches coach, judges judge.1
Clarity is king.2
I view my role as a judge in the frame of least intervention.3
China topic specific:
More and more I'm starting to think that it should all revolve around solvency advocates. Especially on a topic like this. Traditional notions of fiat and effects/extra T don't make real world sense with a phrase like "economic engagement".While I've probably had some tendencies toward that approach for a few years now it's even more prominent now. If a team is willing to read a plan and they have a card that says their plan is EE or DE with China then we should thank our lucky stars that they are willing to talk about the topic and try to give them a good debate. Having said that if they have a solvency advocate for their CP I think the neg should get a tremendous amount of leeway on theoretically legitimate questions. The test is "Is the cp solvency advocate at least as specific as the aff solvency advocate".
Framework: I'm over it. The aff gets to weigh their advantages (fiat) and the neg gets their K. The neg can't win fiat is an illusion but they can win it's a waste of time/bad idea to engage the state OR they can say "Our argument is that in the face of the aff Obama/Congress/Supreme Court/usfg should say 'no, we reject the securitization/racism/imperialism/capitalism/insert k lingo' of this idea the world would be better if we FILL IN WITH YOUR ALTERNATIVE". If you don't understand what I mean then feel free to ask questions about this.
If you say you are ready then say "Oh wait, I need another second." I will probably penalize you 15 seconds of prep. Don't say you are ready and ask me to stop prep time until you are ready.
Virtually everything else in this judging philosophy is about ways you can get better speaker points or some of my subjective biases I think you should be aware of. The reality is that most of my subjective preferences rarely matter in debates because the debates aren’t close enough to make it matter.
Want good speaker points? Impress me with arguments that prove you have done a substantial amount of research on the topic and that you can make smart arguments.5
New aff’s are intellectual terrorism – you ask for it you got it.6
Topicality is for the unresearched.7
Most theory debates are terrible.8
Evidence is a good thing. Read some cards, preferably some with warrants from people with expertise in the relevant area.9
Excessive arrogance is unacceptable.10
Take ownership of your arguments.11
Post round discussions are good.12
Notes on the use of computers in debate.13
Make complete arguments. "perm do both" and "voting issue fairness and education" are not complete arguments.
]1 While this may seem obvious it bears repeating. What I teach my students and what I coach my students, i.e. what I think about debate and how the game should be played, shouldn’t be relevant when I’m judging two teams that I don’t coach or teach.
2 I've decided that a part of my role as a judge is to ensure that all debaters speak clearly. It is unfair that some debaters are virtually incomprehensible forcing the other team to read over their shoulder or look at every card instead of just being able to flow. So I'm adding a deterrent to the unclear debater. I expect debaters to speak clearly at all times. That doesn't just mean the tags on your cards, it means all the words of your evidence, it means everything. When I say "clearer" what I'm saying is "you are so unclear I have virtually no idea what you are saying so please make a SIGNFICANT, MEANINGFUL change in your delivery". I don't mean make a .001 change. If I have to say clearer a second time you are well on the path to having a cranky judge.
3 As a judge I have two jobs 1) pick one winner in each debate 2) enforce time limits as set by the tournament. To some extent intervention may be inevitable, however, it is my job as a judge to pick a winner based on the arguments made in each debate. That includes being cognizant of my subjective biases and doing my best to keep those preferences from influencing my decision.
4 This should be self evident. See also, footnotes 10, 11 and 13.
5 If your strategy relies on your technical proficiency it probably won’t impress me. If your strategy relies on reading a host of confusing cards that you don’t really understand and you hope that the other team won’t understand them either then you probably won’t impress me. A 1ac with several advantages all with poor internal links probably won’t impress me. A 1nc with a clear coherent method of winning the debate based on good evidence probably will impress me. A 1ac with a solvency advocate and well evidenced advantages probably will impress me. I like it when the aff is kritikal and the neg beats them with a smart go farther left strategy.
6 If you really wanted to have an in depth educational debate you would have disclosed your plan and advantages and given the other team a chance to research it. Break a new aff and your chances of losing on T go up and your chances of winning that anything the neg did was an illegitimate voting issue go way down. Will I be really impressed if, in the face of a new aff, the neg provides a well researched coherent strategy? Yes. Will I understand if, in the face of a new aff, the 1NC is three conditaional cp’s and a K? Yes.
7 Limits usually wins topicality debates and that is unfortunate. Smart teams should make arguments not only about limits/ground but about the educational value of the topic envisioned by both sides. A narrow topic that excludes some of the core issues that would generate educational research probably isn’t as good as a broader topic that encourages students to research important issues.
8 I generally find theory debates to be the bastion of the weak. Your amazingly good ASPEC debate usually sounds like a 27 to me. Think of it this way…every time you say something besides topicality is a voting issue count on losing half a speaker point. Again, this will not affect who wins debates only speaker points. However, I can be persuaded that illegitimate counterplans have so skewed the playing field that reject the argument not the team is insufficient and they must be voting issues. There are probably a host of counterplans that fall within this category. Three that leap to mind are consult, delay, and states. Two exceptions to this rule to help the negative: If your counterplan is unconditional it will be pretty hard for the aff to convince me it has unfairly skewed the debate. Second, have a true solvency advocate for your counterplan. Just a hint, a card that says states have acted uniformly and another card that says the states have poverty programs doesn’t cut it. You need a card that is as specific as the aff solvency advocate. Of course, if the aff solvency advocate doesn’t really match up to the plan it will probably be difficult for the aff to convince me that the counterplan should be rejected for lack of an advocate.
It would help make theory/topicality debates better if you SLOW DOWN so I can flow your arguments. It’s not necessarily a clarity issue it’s just that it’s very difficult for judges to flow short analytical arguments as fast as you can spit them out.
“Voting issue – fairness and education” usually gets flowed as VI F@E and I presume that means it’s a voting issue if they go for whatever argument you have identified as a VI. If you expect it to be a voting issue if they don’t go for it then you need to give some type of warrant as to why the debate has been skewed by them merely making the argument.
9 One good card is better than three short bad ones. Qualifications should matter but debaters rarely take the time to explain what constitutes qualified evidence and what doesn’t. In front of me that would be time worth spending.
10 Confidence is good. It’s better when it’s backed up with smart arguments and good evidence. If you disrespect your opponents because of some inflated sense of your own importance be prepared for low speaker points.
11 If it sounds like you read the same argument every debate, your coach wrote all your blocks, and you have no idea how your arguments interact with your opponent’s arguments then your speaker points aren’t going to be very good. My argument preferences are way less important than your ability to explain arguments. When in doubt about what arguments to go for choose arguments you understand, you can answer cx questions about, and arguments you will be able explain in rebuttals.
12 If you have questions about the decision please ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. However, don’t become the debater who always whines about every decision as if they have never lost a debate. Word gets around.
13 I don’t penalize your time to jump/email material to your opponents but I’m a stickler for stolen prep so if I think you are abusing the privilege be prepared to be called out on it. You get ten minutes of “crash” time per debate. If you computer crashes and you need to restart I won’t penalize your prep time. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and if you can’t get your computer ready in 10 minutes you are going to have to start anyway. Most other issues related to this are covered under #4.
Brian Manuel Paradigm
Director of Policy Debate @ Stanford University; Director of Debate @ Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School
(High School Constraints - Edgemont)
(College Constraints - Stanford, Harvard, and a crew of exceptionally talented college debaters I've had the pleasure to coach)
2017-2018 PF TOC Update: April 23rd, 2018
As you can see I used to have a very strong leaning towards how evidence needs to be presented during a debate. I've backtracked pretty substantially on this point. Therefore, I won't ask for your case ahead of time. However, I do still prefer evidence that is directly quoted and cited according to the rules of the tournament we are at. I do not like paraphrasing and will only accept paraphrasing as a logical argument to be made in the round and will not credit you for reading a qualified author.
I know a lot about debate, arguments, and the topics you are debating. I have an extremely competitive set of students that are constantly talking about the topic, I tutor students around the world in PF, and I generally like to be educated on the things that students will debate in front of me.
Beyond what I've said above, I'll give you an additional piece of advice: If you would strike Stefan Bauschard or Amisha Mehta than you'd probably want to strike me. I tend to fall somewhere in between where they are at in their philosophies.
Last but not least, I don't intend to steal your cards...we have more than we can use...however if it means you'll throw me up on a Reddit post that can get over 100+ responses then maybe I'll have to start doing it!
**Disregard the section about asking me to conflict you if you feel uncomfortable debating in front of me since I've judged minimally and don't have any experience judging any of the teams in the field more than once therefore, it doesn't apply to you**
2016-2017 Season Update: September 11, 2016
HS Public Forum Update: This is my first year really becoming involved in Public Forum Debate. I have a lot of strong opinions as far as the activity goes. However, my strongest opinion centers on the way that evidence is used, mis-cited, paraphrased, and taken out of context during debates. Therefore, I will start by requiring that each student give me a a copy of their Pro/Con case prior to their speech and also provide me a copy of all qualified sources they'll cite throughout the debate prior to their introduction. I will proactively fact check all of your citations and quotations, as I feel it is needed. Furthermore, I'd strongly prefer that evidence be directly quoted from the original text or not presented at all. I feel that those are the only two presentable forms of argumentation in debate. I will not accept paraphrased evidence. If it is presented in a debate I will not give it any weight at all. Instead I will always defer to the team who presented evidence directly quoted from the original citation. I also believe that a debater who references no evidence at all, but rather just makes up arguments based on the knowledge they've gained from reading, is more acceptable than paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing to me is a shortcut for those debaters who are too lazy to directly quote a piece of text because they feel it is either too long or too cumbersome to include in their case. To me this is laziness and will not be rewarded.
Beyond that the debate is open for the debaters to interpret. I'd like if debaters focused on internal links, weighing impacts, and instructing me on how to write my ballot during the summary and final focus. Too many debaters allow the judge to make up their mind and intervene with their own personal inclinations without giving them any guidance on how to evaluate competing issues. Work Hard and I'll reward you. Be Lazy and it won't work out for you.
NDT/CEDA Update: I'm getting older and I'm spending increasingly more hours on debate (directing, coaching, and tabulating at the HS and College level) than I used to. I really love the activity of debate, and the argumentative creativity being developed, but I'm slowly starting to grow hatred toward many of the attitudes people are adopting toward one another, which in turn results in me hating the activity a little more each day. I believe the foundational element of this activity is a mutual respect amongst competitors and judges. Without this foundational element the activity is doomed for the future.
As a result, I don't want to be a part of a debate unless the four debaters in the room really want me to be there and feel I will benefit them by judging their debate. I feel debate should be an inclusive environment and each student in the debate should feel comfortable debating in front of the judge assigned to them.
I also don’t want people to think this has to do with any one set of arguments being run. I really enjoy academic debates centered on discussions of the topic and/or resolution. However, I don’t prefer disregarding or disrespectful attitudes toward one another. This includes judges toward students, students toward judges, students toward observers, observers toward students, and most importantly students toward students.
As I grow older my tolerance for listening to disparaging, disregarding, and disrespectful comments amongst participants has completely eroded. I'm not going to tolerate it anymore. I got way better things to do with my time than listen to someone talk down to me when I've not done the same to them. I treat everyone with respect and I demand the same in return. I think sometimes debaters, in the heat of competition, forget that even if a judge knows less about their lived/personal experience or hasn’t read as much of their literature as they have; that the judges, for the most part, understand how argumentation operates and how debates are evaluated. Too many debaters want to rely on the pref sheet and using it to get judges who will automatically check in, which is antithetical to debate education. Judges should and do vote for the "worse" or "less true" arguments in rounds when they were debated better. Debate is a performative/communicative activity. Its not about who wrote the best constructives only. Its about how teams clash throughout the debate.
Therefore, as a result I will allow any person or team to ask me to conflict them if they feel uncomfortable debating in front of me or feel that the current system of judge placement requires them to prefer me since I'm a better fit than the other judge(s). I won't ask you any questions and won't even respond to the request beyond replying "request honored". Upon receiving the request I will go into my tabroom.com account and make sure I conflict you from future events. I feel this way you'll have a better chance at reducing the size of the judge pool and you'll get to remove a judge that you don't feel comfortable debating in front of which will narrow the number of judges available to you and might allow you to get more preferable judges. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please direct all conflict requests to this email.
2014-2015 Season Update: September 2, 2014 (The gift that keeps on giving!!)
The following are not for the faint of heart!
Some days you just can't get ready in the morning without being bothered.Then you just need to be cheered up and it fails or someone threatens to eat your phone.
However, when it's all said and done you can at least sleep having sweet dreams.
**On a more serious note. Dylan Quigley raised a point on the College Policy Debate facebook group about what "competition" means when people are judging debates. Therefore, I'll go with this answer "Because this is an emerging debate with no clear consensus, I would encourage judges to let the debaters hash out a theory of competition instead of trying to create one for them. I think in an era were students are taking their power to mold the "world of debate" they debate in it is especially important for us judges to *listen* to their arguments and learn from their theories. No shade towards the original post, I just think it's worthwhile to emphasis the relationship between "new debate" (whatevs that is) and student's ability to create theories of debate on their own instead of choosing a theory that's imposed on them." However, in the absence of these debates happening in the round I will default to a traditional interpretation of "competition." This interpretation says the neg must proves their alternative method/advocacy is better than the affirmative method/advocacy or combination of the affirmatives method/advocacy and all or part of the negatives method/advocacy. Also in these situations I'll default to a general theory of opportunity cost which includes the negatives burden of proving the affirmative undesirable.
2013-2014 Season Update: December 25, 2013 (Yes, it's Christmas...so here are your presents!!)
If you love debate as much as Sukhi loves these cups, please let it show!!
If you can mimic this stunt, you'll thoroughly impress me and be well rewarded: Sukhi Dance
And you thought you had a sick blog!!
Also why cut cards when you can have sick Uke skills like these and these!!
To only be shown up by a 2 year old killing it to Adele
Finally, we need to rock out of 2013 with the Stanford version of the Harlem Shake by Suzuki and KJaggz
2012-2013 Season Update: August 22, 2012
Instead of forcing you to read long diatribes (see below) about my feelings on arguments and debate practices. I will instead generate a list of things I believe about debate and their current practices. You can read this list and I believe you'll be able to adequately figure out where to place me on your preference sheet. If you'd like to read more about my feelings on debate, then continue below the fold! Have a great season.
1. TKO is still in play, and will always be that way!
2. You must win a link to a DA - if you don't talk about it I'm willing to assign it zero risk. Uniqueness doesn't mean there is a risk of a link.
2a. "Issue Specific Uniqueness" IS NOT a utopian answer to all affirmative arguments.
3. You must defend something on the aff - by doing so it also implies you should be able to defend your epistemological assumptions underlying that advocacy.
4. T is about reasonability not competing interpretations. This doesn't mean every affirmative is reasonably topical.
5. Debate should be hard; its what makes it fun and keeps us interested.
6. Research is good - its rewarding, makes you smarter, and improves your arguments.
7. "Steal the entire affirmative" strategies are bad. However, affirmative teams are even worse at calling teams out on it. This mean they are still very much in play. Therefore, affirmatives should learn how to defeat them, instead of just believing they'll somehow go away.
8. There are other parts to an argument other than the impact. You should try talking about them, I heard they're pretty cool.
9. Your affirmative should have advantages that are intrinsic to the mechanism you choose to defend with the aff. Refer to #6, it helps solve this dilemma.
10. Have fun and smile! The debaters, judges, and coaches in this activity are your life long friends and colleagues. We are all rooting you on to succeed. We all love the activity or we wouldn't be here. If you don't like something, don't hate the player, hate the game!
Clipping/Cross-reading/Mis-marking: I hear that this is coming back. To prosecute cheating, the accusing team needs hard evidence. A time trial is not hard evidence. A recording of the speech must be presented. I will stop the debate, listen to the recording, and compare it to the evidence read. If cheating occurred, the offending debater and their partner will receive zero speaker points and a loss. I'd also encourage them to quit. I consider this offense to be more serious than fabricating evidence. It is an honor system that strikes at the very core of what we do here.
Additional caveat that was discussed with me at a previous tournament - I believe that the status quo is always a logical option for the negative unless it is explicitly stated and agreed to in CX or its won in a speech.
Newly Updated Philosophy - November 18, 2011
So after talking to Tim Aldrete at USC, he convinced me that I needed more carrots and less sticks in my philosophy. Therefore, I have a small carrot for those debaters who wish to invoke it. Its called a T.K.O (Technical Knockout). This basically means that at any point of the debate you believe you've solidly already won the debate, beyond a reasonable doubt, (dropped T argument, double turn, strategic miscue that is irreparable by the other team) you can invoke a TKO and immediately end the debate. If a team chooses this path and succeeds, I will give them 30 speaker points each and an immediate win. If the team chooses to invoke this but its unclear you've TKO'd the other team or in fact choose wrong, you obviously will lose and your points will be severely effected. Who dares to take the challenge?
Past Updated Philosophy - September 9, 2010
I am Currently the Assistant Coach @ Lakeland/Panas High School, College Prep School, and Harvard Debate. I’m also involved with Research & Marketing for Planet Debate. This topic will be my 14th in competitive debate and 10th as a full time coach. Debate is my full time job and I love this activity pretty much more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I enjoy the competition, the knowledge gained, and the people I’ve come to be friends with and likewise I really enjoy people who have the same passion I have for this activity.
I last posted an update to my judge philosophy a number of years ago and think it is finally time I revisit it and make some changes.
First, I’ll be the first to admit that I probably haven’t been the best judge the last few years and I think a majority of that has come from pure exhaustion. I’ve been traveling upwards of 20+ weekends a year and am constantly working when I am home. I don’t get much time to re-charge my batteries before I’m off to another tournament. Then while at tournaments I’m usually putting in extremely late nights cutting cards and preparing my teams, which trades off with being adequately awake and tuned in. This year I’ve lessened my travel schedule and plan to be much better rested for debates than I was in previous years.
Second, since my earlier days of coaching/judging my ideology about debate has changed somewhat. This new ideology will tend to complement hard working teams and disadvantage lazy teams who try and get by with the same generics being ran every debate. Don’t let this frighten you, but rather encourage you to become more involved in developing positions and arguments. When this happens I’m overly delighted and reward you with higher speaker points and more than likely a victory.
Charlie Marshall Paradigm
I have no argument preferences, as long as you don't say anything offensive and you explain your arguments well. Just please be clear (including in the text of evidence) and interact with your opponents' arguments.
Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm
Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010
I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.
My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.
Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:
Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:
My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.
I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.
In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments don’t generally “jive” with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.
Value proof higher than rejoinder:
I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.
My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.
A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.
Incomprehensible value systems:
One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.
I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.
Aly Mithani Paradigm
Debate History: St. Mark's '10/Trinity University '14
Currently the head policy debate coach at Hendrickson HS
I treat each debate round as an academic exercise in decision making. I leave many questions of framework and impact calculus to the teams debating, however if not otherwise explicitly stated I will default to a policy making framework and utilitarianism, respectively.
I typically evaluate this from a competing interpretations standpoint and an offense/defense framework but can be persuaded otherwise. When making these kinds of arguments, negative teams typically forget that their interpretation is of how the debate space should operate and thus must defend it as so. Negative teams MUST explain why their interpretation is better for the overall debate space in order to get my ballot. In round abuse arguments are compelling, however, they are nearly impossible to prove and I have a high threshold for voting on them.
I am a fairly firm believer that debate is a game and that structural fairness is an impact. However, this also means that fairness should be utilized as a lens or impact filter for all the other impacts in the framework debate.
Many of my thoughts in the above section apply to my thoughts on counterplan theory. I feel that 2 conditional advocacies is the most that the negative should run, much to the chagrin of most folks (new affs are an exception). That being said, I won't default certain ways in theory debates. I will be considerably more compelled to deem that a counterplan solves an affirmative if it is a specific CP than if it is your typical agent CP. Specific PICs that have functional impacts on plan implementation are so much better than your generic process counterplan. So, so, so much better.
Many kritik teams tend to focus more on tricks than substance. The most important portion of this debate for me is the link debate and I expect a clear explanation of why the specific affirmative links. It is the negative's task to explain why the permutation cannot possibly solve back/overcome the links. I will default affirmative in many of these debates. I feel that the best kritik debaters are the ones who are willing to adapt their strategy and link debate to the specific affirmative that they are debating.
Links of omission are functionally spotting the aff a uniqueness overwhelms the link argument to the net benefit to a very vacuous alternative. Please have link specificity.
I didn't think I had thoughts on this until recently. There are very good disads and very bad disads. If you are aff against a very bad disad, don't be afraid to point this out! I feel like I am more likely than most to say there is zero risk of a disadvantage when the uniqueness very clearly overwhelms the link or there is zero link specificity.
-Yes email chain: email@example.com. Every time a varsity debater forgets to hit "reply all" on an email chain, a kitten cries and you will lose 0.5 speaker points.
-Do not clip cards! If there is an ethics challenge, I will stop the debate and have the accused debater re-read their speech with either their speech document on my computer or standing over their shoulder. That being said, ethics challenges are serious, if you are making one, then you are willing to lose the debate if you are wrong. Strategic ethics challenges will result in horrific speaker points from me.
-I will call you out if you are blatantly stealing prep and it will hurt your speaker points.
-For paperless teams, I do not run prep time for saving/flashing the speech unless this time starts to become excessive or it becomes evident that prep is being stolen.
-It drives me crazy when debaters are disrespectful to each other. There is no reason why competitiveness needs to turn into aggression. Treat the debate space like a classroom.
-Another pet peeve: debaters who do not seem to legitimately enjoy what they are doing. Debaters who go through the motions are usually the ones that end up with the lowest speaker points from me. Even if you are not keeping up with the technical aspects of the debate, if you remain engaged and committed throughout the debate, I will definitely feel more comfortable with giving you higher speaker points.
Read a topical plan--------------x-----------------------------say anything
Usually some risk--------------------------------x----------Zero Risk
Conditionality Good----------------------x--------------------Conditionality Bad
States CP Good-------x------------------------------------States CP Bad
Process CPs--------------x-------------------------------Ew Process CPs
Competing off immediacy/certainty--------------------x------------------------No
CP linking less matters-------------------x-----------------------links are yes/no
Read every card--------------------x-----------------------Read no cards
Judge Kick------------x-------------------------------Stuck with the CP
Reject the Team---------------------------x----------------Reject the Arg
CPs need cards-----------------------------------x-------Smart CPs can be cardless
Fiat solves circumvention---------------x---------------------------Trump's President
K links about the plan-----------x--------------------------------K links about a broad worldview
Cody Morrow Paradigm
I am willing to listen to most arguments. There are very few debates where one team wins all of the arguments so it is essential that each of you identify what you are winning and make the necessary comparisons between your arguments and the other teams arguments/positions. Speed is not a problem although clarity is essential. If I think that you are unclear I will say clearer and if you don't clear up I will assign speaker points accordingly. Try to be nice to each other and enjoy yourselves. Good cross-examinations are enjoyable and typically illuminates particular arguments that are relevant throughout the debate. Please, don't steal prep time. I do not consider e-mailing evidence as part of your prep time nonetheless use e-mailing time efficiently.
I enjoy substantive debates as well as debates of a critical tint. If you run a critical affirmative you should still be able to demonstrate that you are Topical/predictable. I hold Topicality debates to a high standard so please be aware that you need to isolate well developed reasons as to why you should win the debate (ground, education, predictability, fairness, etc.). If you are engaged in a substantive debate then well developed impact comparisons are exceptionally important (things like magnitude, time frame, probability, etc.). Also, identifying solvency deficits on counter-plans are typically very important.
Theory debates need to be well developed including numerous reasons a particular argument/position is illegitimate. I have judged a number of debates where the 2NR or 2AR are filled with new reasons an argument is illegitimate. I will do my best to protect teams from new arguments, however you can further insulate yourself from this risk by identifying the arguments extended/dropped in the 1AR or Negative Bloc.
GOOD LUCK! HAVE FUN!
Yes, I want to be on the email chain. Codymorrowtx1@gmail.com
Kush Patel Paradigm
A few “meta” thoughts:
- More than anything else...Smart arguments > evidence. Willing to assign almost 0 risk to monocultures resulting in extinction or economic collapse resulting in nuke war. That is not to say I do not appreciate well thought out arguments and strong evidence, but it comes secondary to one's ability to persuade me in the back of the room.
- I will vote on the K. I do not read a lot of critical literature. Given that, a couple years removed from the activity has given me perspective on the way I used to demand unreasonable risk evaluation of nuclear war from an economic collapse stemming from grain underproduction in China etc. There is probably something amiss if our activity engenders students to think about the policymaking process in a way that prioritizes an evaluation of these scenarios over systemic harms. Real world vs. debate world I guess.
- I was a 2N for the majority of my career and I feel a strong affinity for case specific strategies. 2A's step your game up. I loved the 1AR, there were tons of fun things you could do in this speech.
- Dropped arguments are not automatically true.
Feel free to ask questions before the debate.
Ammar Plumber Paradigm
Debated for 5 years thus far.
The arguments I've gone for most are Politics DA, Terror DA, Framework, Security K
I'm fine with the K but am not well-versed in a lot of the deep K literature, so if you're gonna read Baudrillard or something, be careful because you might lose if I don't understand it.
Read a plan in front of me, or lose to framework. Or, better yet, strike me.
I will not vote for an argument that I don't understand or doesn't make intuitive sense to me. For example, if you say "words don't mean anything" if you're aff to beat framework, I will not vote on that argument even if it is dropped because of how nonsensical it is.
I will NOT vote on arbitrary voting issues. Don't go for ASPEC. No matter how it's debated, I won't vote neg. Even if debate is about what both sides said, I can't pretend to be an idiot and vote for it. If you're curious to know my reasons, email me.
Clarity is king--applies to text of evidence as well as tags.
Colin Quinn Paradigm
University of North Texas
Highland Park High School (TX)
Please include me in email chains, thanks: firstname.lastname@example.org
Framing how I should evaluate things is the most important thing to do. When that doesn't happen I have to intervene more and rely more on my predispositions rather than the arguments made.
Topicality: I like T debates. I think that for the neg to win a T debate there needs to be a well established competing interpretations framework and a good limits or ground argument. Affs need to have a reasonability argument paired with a decent we meet or counter-interpretation.
Counterplans: The neg needs to establish competition and a clear net benefit. I think i'm generally aff biased although they need to focus on what they can win (Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument except conditionality bad, I think most condition/consult-esque counterplans are legitimate but not competitive, etc).
Disadvantages: Impact calculus should be a priority. I do not think that there's always a risk of anything and can be persuaded that there's zero risk.
Kritiks: Impact framing arguments are the most important thing to win. They filter how I evaluate the rest of the debate in terms of deciding what is important to win and what isn't. I think that negatives need to make definite choices in the 2NR in terms of how to frame the K and what to focus on otherwise the aff is in a strategic place.
Affs: I think that framework is useful and can be won but I am sympathetic to affs that are topical without maybe defending a resolutional agent. I think a winning framework argument should be centered around a method that encourages the best discussion about the topic rather than just the government. When negs lose framework debates they fail to win links to the aff c/i or role of the ballot arguments. Topical version arguments are useful but negs need to remember to explain the reason they solve the affs offense; "you can still talk about x" often doesn't cut it. I think that affs that don't defend a plan need to focus on framing the ballot because that's how I will filter all of their arguments. I think that it is difficult for aff's to win framework debates without a we meet or counter-interp that can frame any other offense you have in the debate.
I may not know the very specific part of the topic/argument you are going for so make sure it's explained. I'm pretty visible in terms of reactions to certain arguments and it will be obvious if i'm confused as to what is going on.
Dana Randall Paradigm
My name is Dana Randall (email@example.com) and I am the Director of Debate at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I have been an active member of the policy debate community since 1996.
As a competitor and coach of policy teams at regional and national levels I feel comfortable assessing debates that are quick and complex.
I have instructed novice, jv, and varsity teams who've enjoyed tremendous success. I credit that success to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with some of the brightest and most dedicated students in the activity. Witnessing their steadfast commitment inspires me to take my judging responsibilities very seriously. I will strive to keep a meticulous flow and render my decision based on what transpires in the debate round as opposed to my personal predispositions.
I will ask to be included on the speech thread. I do this to prevent teams from debating students that succumb to pressure of competition by representing that they have read words in a speech document which they have not audibly read. Debate is a very difficult activity without compelling students debating to also follow along with every word read by their opponent.
I believe that fairness is a terminal impact – that is why I flow both teams, listen to both teams, enforce reciprocal time limits, have teams affirm or negate the resolution based on the pairing provided by the tournament and I have no idea what an alternative metric for reaching a conclusion as to which team did the better debating.
Devon Reese Paradigm
High school and college policy debater. Coach now and lawyer by day. Also a Reno City Councilperson. I am a gay democrat with three children that debate. I have no axe to grind and am open minded about different styles of debate. I vote based on who did the best job of debating. My goal is to not have to intervene in the round.
-I vote for things that I don't like, the debate is yours to make what you will. That does not mean I have no opinions.
-T: Substantial means many things; compare evidence and impact T like a DA.
-I have a hard time understanding teams that run Neolib/Cap with a Spending DA (?). This does not make a lot of sense to me and I can be persuaded to vote on the performative contradiction (distinct from condo).
-Things I am unlikely to vote for: Inherency, "speed kills", claims without warrants, poorly debated T violations, "multiple perms are bad".
Read a topical plan----------------------X--------------------say anything
Usually some risk---------x---------------------------------Zero Risk
Conditionality Good--------------------X----------------------Conditionality Bad
States CP Good------X------------------------------------States CP Bad
Process CPs------------------X------------------------Ew Process CPs
Competing off immediacy/certainty---------------x---------------------------No
Politics DAs are a thing-------------------x-----------------------Good Politics DAs are a thing
Read every card----------x--------------------------------Read no cards
Lots of evidence--------------------------------------x----Lots of good evidence
Judge Kick---------------------x---------------------Stuck with the CP
Reject the Team--------------X----------------------------Reject the Arg
CPs need cards--------------------------------------x----Smart CPs can be cardless
Competition is based off the plan----x--------------------------------------Neg gets to define the plan
Fiat solves circumvention---------------x---------------------------Trump's President
K alts need to do something------------------X------------------------but you're asking the wrong question
K links about the plan---------------X---------------------------K links about a broad worldview
Not my Baudrillard-----------------------------------------X yes your Baudrillard
I will try to keep in these range for speaker points:
29.3+ — the top speaker at the tournament.
29.1-29.2 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.
28.8-29.0 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.
28.6-28.7 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.
28.4-28.5 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.
28.0-28.3 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
27.7-27.9 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.
Have fun and be kind.
Wayne Tang Paradigm
Name Wayne Tang School - Northside College Prep, Preclusions- Maine East, IL
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years. I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and am sometimes placed (for whatever reason) in upper end rounds at national tournaments. However, I am not a professional teacher/debate coach, I am a patent attorney in my real (non-debate) life and thus do not learn anything about the topic (other than institutes are overpriced) over the summer. I like to think I make up for that by being a quick study, being forced to look at the files produced by my teams, and through coaching and judging past topics, knowing many recycled arguments.
DISADS AND ADVANTAGES
Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.
I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the negative burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually this is a pretty deep hole for the aff. to dig out of. For example, if the aff. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote aff. As with most issues, in depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3 word tag lines.
Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further (sorry to my past assistants who have chosen this as their academic career), I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing both a dose of the real world (I was an engineer in undergrad, I guess I have been brainwashed in techno-strategic discourse/liking solutions that actually accomplish something) and a fundamentals of clear writing course. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the aff. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyperspeed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.
PERFORMANCE BASED ARGUMENTS
Also not a fan, but I have voted on these arguments in the past. I am generally not highly preferred by teams that run such arguments, so I don't see enough of these types of debates to be an expert. However, I judge a number of Chicago Debate League tournaments where teams run these arguments and also for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and thus have some background in such arguments from these rounds. I will try to evaluate the arguments in such rounds and will not hesitate to vote against framework arguments if the team advocating non-traditional debate wins sufficient warrants why I should reject the policy/topic framework. However, if a team engages the non-traditional positions, the team advocating such positions need to answer any such arguments in order to win. In other words, I will evaluate these debates like I try to evaluate any other issues, I will see what arguments clash and evaluate that clash, rewarding a team that can frame issues, compare and explain impacts. I have spent 20 plus years coaching a relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, so I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates. On the other hand I have also spent 20 plus years involved in non-debate activities and am not entirely convinced that the strategies urged by non-traditional debates work. Take both points for whatever you think they are worth in such debates.
Case specific CPs are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CPs to solve the Aff and use Aff solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the Aff on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The aff has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.
POINTS – In varsity debate, I believe you have to minimally be able to clash with the other teams arguments, if you can’t do this, you won’t get over a 27.3. Anything between 28.6 and 29 means you are probably among the top 5% of debaters I have seen. I will check my points periodically against tournament averages and have adjusted upward in the past to stay within community norms. Unfortunately for you, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me. Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen and Stephanie Spies didn’t get 30s from me (and they were among my favorites of all time), so don’t feel bad if you don’t either.
I dislike evaluating theory debates but if you make me I will do it and complain a lot about it later. No real predispositions on theory other than I would prefer to avoid dealing with it.
Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex.
I do not count flashing time (or general tech screw ups) as prep time and quite frankly am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.
Speed is fine (this is of course a danger sign because no one would admit that they can’t handle speed). If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, as with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it.
I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my semi-conscious (and probably apathetic) state, perceive is going on.
I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking espn.com on my laptop, throwing something at you, etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument. I will, and have, voted on many arguments I think are squarely in the realm of idiocy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), death good (more than I would like to admit), Sun-Ra, world government, etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter).
I will not hesitate to vote against teams and award zero points for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, threats of violence, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have only been faced with such issues twice in my 25 + years of judging.
Michelle Thomas Paradigm
names michelle. Asst coach at gmu, previously binghamton for 2 years. debated for 5 years at mason
fyi, im a trash person and am probably running late so please have the email chain ready. i will cut into ur prep if i determine ur using excessive time to email docs. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Do whatever you do best. I debated on both sides of the clash so I’ll hear just about any arg as long as it’s well warranted and you make it interesting. That said, I do have a few opinions. I have voted against these opinions tho so don’t think they’re set in stone. i still dont really know how to write a paradigm yet so hope this helps.
FW - fairness is probably just an internal link. i am not compelled if ur tva isnt actually responsive to the aff. even if ur going for fw, u still need to answer the aff.
for answering fw - if youre a team that does nothing in the 1ac and all of ur offense is based on just impact turning whatever the 1nc said, im probably not the judge for u. i like affs that defend things. i need a v clear explanation of wut ur interp is and wut it actually means in a competitive sense; debate is a pretty cool activity and if ur interp is just 'fuck debate' ill be sad.
t - default to competing interps. Unlike fw, I think fairness is an impact to t - if you’re reading a plan text, it should probably be topical. this topic is already galactic in size (heh) so im willing to take a stand.
disads - i think there can be zero risk of a link. if a k aff gives u a disad link, why arent you going for the disad against them?
Counterplans - condo is good up to about 3 conditional worlds. conditional planks are like never ok. 1nr counterplans r trash (the 1nr isnt a constructive and i will fight u).
case debate - dear god please #bringbackcasedebate I LOVE good impact turn debates and will reward you for going all in. seriously, give me ur best heg good or warming good speeches. first strike china. go for cap good against k teams. have fun! I’m slightly more likely to pull the trigger on presumption than a fair amount of other judges
K - I prefer specificity in the link story, but who doesn’t. i need a clear explanation of what my ballot does - this requires a decent level of framework debating.
some odds and ends -
im typically a big picture thinker, so meta level questions and framing args are critical to instructing my ballot.
if im in a straight up policy db8, i dont get these too terribly often, so id recommend not making it too big - id prefer depth over breadth. i do have some topic knowledge tho for a mostly k coach so i generally should not have too much trouble following along.
ive found im a pretty expressive judge, and if i am confused or cant understand u my face will make that clear.
That’s about it. Have fun, be clear, be clever. Don’t say fucked up shit.
the queen bee of db8 polls, becca steiner, also came up with some fun db8 polls so ill include my answers here
1. In roughly 6 days, 344 debaters (172 partnerships) from college debate programs in 26 different states across 3 divisions will begin an adventure that will forever change their lives… the season opener at GSU and a new year of college policy debate. In a debate featuring two teams of comparable skill, do you sense that Framework is still a winnable argument in 2018-2019?
- Fairness 4 whom cmon judge
2. If you’re having trouble researching for a topic DA, you are not alone according to David Cram Helwich and Justin Green. While you keep looking, does uniqueness control the direction of the link? Does link direction control uniqueness?
- All about the UQ
- Link controls cmon judge
3. Each debater should be assigned speaker points on a .1 scale with no ties between debaters.
- Obvi dot gov
- Allow ties, cmon judge!
4. Should the National Debate Tournament committee revise its rules regarding hybrid participation at the NDT? O:-)
- Time 4 change
- No hybrids cmon judge
5. You (the judge) are watching a 1nc this year at the season opener and the neg reads the Executive Self Restraint CP (The executive should restrict itself in a sub-area of the topic). As the 1nc is occurring, do you have any gut leanings regarding the theoretical legitimacy of the counter plan?
- Hella cheating
- Core ground, cmon judge!
6. Does file sharing (ex. speech documents) during debates enable more effective judging? Dr. Eric Morris has some thoughts. What about y'all?
- lol nah, cmon judge
7. Folks at the amazing Jayhawk Debate Institute run by Kansas Debate were wondering: "Is there ever a world in which presumption stays negative even when the 2NR goes for a CP?"
- No! cmon judge
8. You (the judge) are watching a 2ar going for a global warming impact. Existential risk, extinction first, try or die - Have these impact framing arguments run their course? Asking for a friend whose name rhymes with Pollen Fork. Feel free to make a case for either retaining these lenses, modifying them, or throwing them out altogether in favor of something new.
- New framing args needed
- Bostorm 2 cmon judge
9. If the negative team wins a DA to the aff but you (the judge) determine the CP the 2nr went for doesn’t solve the case, is it acceptable if you (as the judge) kick the CP for them and decide the negative wins the debate on the DA alone?
- meh sure
- no! cmon judge!
10. Alright u̶p̶p̶e̶r̶ ̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶s̶i̶d̶e̶r̶s̶, current paperless debaters and coaches: People have different visions of competition and "competitive game spirit." Deleting tags from the navigation pane is…
- For cowards
- alright with me cmon judge
11. When evaluating or cutting evidence: Should we (debate coaches, critics, and educators) count the qualifications of an author at the time they wrote the article, or their present-day qualifications? Asking for a friend whose name rhymes with Bryan Callaway.
- publish date quals
- current quals cmon judge
12. Is it okay to “insert” (not read) a re-highlighting of the other teams’ evidence into the debate?
- read it aloud cmon judge!
13. Good luck to those prepping to compete at NSDA Nationals later this week. As you are in debate mode prepping, help us settle a debate at the ENDI: Should the aff be allowed to impact turn and link turn the same position in a debate?
- no cmon judge
14. New summer, new kids to teach at the Emory National Debate Institute ! As I settle in to the dorms, here is an oldie but a goodie to ponder: Does the aff need to have a counter interpretation on T in order to win that they are "reasonable" ?
- nah cmon judge
15. You’re judging a policy debate. The 2ac is giving their road map. One of the off-case positions in the 1nc is not in the 2ac roadmap. Is it appropriate for you, as the judge, to intervene and ask the 2a about it? Perhaps to directly ask “what about the courts counterplan?” Or to ask them to re-give the order, in case it was just a mistake? Or should you wait and see what happens?
- im willing to intervene
- zip it, cmon judge!
16. Many colleges/universities have sports rivalries. Can you think of a current or historic debate program that your college/university was/is rivals with?
- not really
- of course, cmon judge!
17. When it comes to college policy debate tournaments over winter break, I would prefer 1. A more traditional “swing” with 2 separate tournaments or 2. 1 tournament only but with more preliminary rounds than the average tournament
- swing, swing
- more prelims, cmon judge!
18. As a debater, coach, judge, or scout, I would rather see policy debate tournaments operate with
- traditional cx and prep
- alt us time, cmon judge
19. “You must judge 12 debates this season prior to the NDT or you are a free strike” is
- too fast, too furious
- p reasonable, cmon judge
20. In 2012, the "going rate" to sell/hire 1 college policy debate was $25-30. In 2018, this rate went up to around $35-40 per debate. (Of course, certain tournaments may offer more such as the NDT). Overall, I think this amount of money is..
- reasonably good
- too little, cmon judge
21. On balance, college policy debate tournaments provide adequate (enough for all veg attendees, tasty) vegetarian and vegan options.
- lol, nah
- good enough, cmon judge
22. Many resolutions are “list topics” such as the 2018-2019 college policy topic which (in short) includes nukes, trade, treaties, deference, surveillance.
Imagine a hypothetical new season with a “list topic” as well. There is no novice packet. In lieu of that, would you support a fall novice tournament/s where the novice division would agree to debate only 1 of the “list” areas? For example, novices at this year’s GSU perhaps could have debated only the nukes area.
- packet or bust, cmon judge
23. On balance, I (a debater, judge, or coach) see more benefits to side equalization in elimination debates than harm.
*side equalization assigns sides based on seeds rather than using coin flips.
- let my ppl flip
- side equalization, cmon judge
24. A non-USFG resolutional actor could sustain an entire season’s worth of college policy debates.
- usfg or bust
- time 4 change, cmon judge
24. Speaker points accurately reflect debater performance in a given debate.
- speaker points r broken
- agreed, cmon judge
25. To apply for a first round at large bid to the National Debate Tournament (NDT) a team must have competed at at least 1 regional tournament.
- ya, regional db8 is good
- too taxing, cmon judge
26. It is acceptable if the negative team reads arguments that contradict each other in the 1nc.
- negation theory bb
- no perf con, cmon judge
27. Are disadvantages and other arguments that you are not bound to "conditional," or is that term exclusively reserved for conditional "worlds" like the Kritik or a counterplan/s? Asking for a friend - Craig Hennigan
- all args are condo
- only cps and ks r cmon judge
28. Maintaining brackets is educationally sound.
*The term “breaking brackets” refers to the practice of
re-seeding the elimination pairings to prevent competitors from the same school from debating. see more: https://debate.uvm.edu/…/rost…/luong-maintintegrityFeb99.pdf
- break brackets, cmon judge
Prelims are over. Overall, I see more benefit than harm in making 75% of the judging pool roughly equally “get-able” and essentially striking the other 25%.
-save db8, cmon judge!
30. Any prior affirmative case on this sub-area of the topic means this other one you're about to read can't be disclosed as "new"
- too limiting, cmon judge
David Weston Paradigm
Updated: December 2017
*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.*
I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL.
Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.
*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.
*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.
*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.
*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.
*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.
*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.
Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.
I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.
*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.
*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate.
*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."
*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot.
Toby Whisenhunt Paradigm
Fundamentally I see debate as a game. I think it is a valuable and potentially trans-formative game that can have real world implications, but a game none the less that requires me to choose a winner. Under that umbrella here are some specifics.
1. Comparative analysis is critical for me. You are responsible for it. I will refrain from reading every piece of evidence and reconstructing the round, but I will read relevant cards and expect the highlighting to construct actual sentences. Your words and spin matters, but this does not make your evidence immune to criticism.
2. The affirmative needs to engage the resolution.
3. Theory debates need to be clear. Might require you to down shift some on those flows. Any new, exciting theory args might need to be explained a bit for me. Impact your theory args.
4. I am not well versed in your lit. Just assume I am not a "____________" scholar. You don't need to treat me like a dullard, but you need to be prepared to explain your arg minus jargon. See comparative analysis requirement above.
Not answering questions in CX is not a sound strategy. I will give leeway to teams facing non responsive debaters.
Debaters should mention their opponents arguments in their speeches. Contextualize your arguments to your opponent. I am not persuaded by those reading a final rebuttal document the "answers everything" while not mentioning the aff / neg.
Civility and professionalism are expected and will be reciprocated.
aaron kall Paradigm
Director of Debate at The University of Michigan
General Judging Paradigm- I think debate is an educational game. Someone once told me
that there are three types of judges: big truth, middle truth, and little truth judges. I would
definitely fall into the latter category. I don’t think a two hour debate round is a search for
the truth, but rather a time period for debaters to persuade judges with the help of
evidence and analytical arguments. I have many personal biases and preferences, but I try
to compartmentalize them and allow the debate to be decided by the debaters. I abhor
judge intervention, but do realize it becomes inevitable when debaters fail to adequately
resolve the debate. I am a very technical and flow-oriented judge. I will not evaluate
arguments that were in the 2AR and 2AC, but not the 1AR. This is also true for
arguments that were in the 2NR and 1NC, but not in the negative block.
Counterplans/Theory- I would consider myself liberal on theory, especially regarding
plan-inclusive counterplans. Usually, the negative block will make ten arguments
theoretically defending their counterplan and the 1AR will only answer eight of them- the
2NR will extend the two arguments that were dropped, etc. and that’s usually good
enough for me. I have often voted on conditionality because the Aff. was technically
superior. If you’re Aff. and going for theory, make sure to answer each and every
negative argument. I am troubled by the recent emergence of theory and procedural
debates focusing on offense and defense. I don’t necessarily think the negative has to win
an offensive reason why their counterplan is theoretically legitimate- they just have to
win that their counterplan is legitimate. For the Aff., I believe that permutations must
include all of the plan and all or part of the counterplan. I think the do the counterplan
permutation is silly and don’t think it’s justified because the negative is conditional, etc. I
do realize this permutation wins rounds because it’s short and Neg. teams sometimes fail
to answer it. On the issue of presumption, a counterplan must provide a reason to reject
the Aff. Finally, I think it’s illegitimate when the Aff. refuses to commit to their agent for
the explicit purpose of ducking counterplans, especially when they read solvency
evidence that advocates a particular agent. This strategy relies on defending the theory of
textual competition, which I think is a bad way of determining whether counterplans
Topicality- When I debated, I commonly ran Affirmatives that were on the fringe of what
was considered topical. This was probably the reason I was not a great topicality judge
for the negative my first few years of judging college debate. Beginning this year, I have
noticed myself voting negative on topicality with greater frequency. In the abstract, I
would prefer a more limited topic as opposed to one where hundreds of cases could be
considered topical. That being said, I think topicality often seems like a strategy of
desperation for the negative, so if it’s not, make sure the violation is well developed in
the negative block. I resolve topicality debates in a very technical manner. Often it
seems like the best Affirmative answers are not made until the 2AR, which is probably
too late for me to consider them.
Kritiks- If I got to choose my ideal debate to judge, it would probably involve a politics
or other disadvantage and a case or counterplan debate. But, I do realize that debaters get
to run whatever arguments they want and strategy plays a large role in argument
selection. I have probably voted for a kritik about a half of dozen times this year. I never
ran kritiks when I debated and I do not read any philosophy in my free time. Kritik
rhetoric often involves long words, so please reduce your rate of speed slightly so I can
understand what you are saying. Kritiks as net-benefits to counterplans or alternatives
that have little or no solvency deficit are especially difficult for Affirmatives to handle.
Evidence Reading- I read a lot of evidence, unless I think the debate was so clear that it’s
not necessary. I won’t look at the un-underlined parts of cards- only what was read into
the round. I am pretty liberal about evidence and arguments in the 1AR. If a one card
argument in the 1NC gets extended and ten more pieces of evidence are read by the
negative block, the 1AR obviously gets to read cards. I think the quality of evidence is
important and feel that evidence that can only be found on the web is usually not credible
because it is not permanent nor subject to peer review. I wish there would be more time
spent in debates on the competing quality of evidence.
Cheap Shots/Voting Issues- These are usually bad arguments, but receive attention
because they are commonly dropped. For me to vote on these arguments, they must be
clearly articulated and have a competent warrant behind them. Just because the phrase
voting issue was made in the 1AR, not answered by the 2NR, and extended by the 2AR
doesn’t make it so. There has to be an articulated link/reason it’s a voting issue for it to
Pet Peeves- Inefficiency, being asked to flow overviews on separate pieces of paper, 2NRs that go for too much, etc.
Seasonal voting record:
arnav kejriwal Paradigm
I debated at Greenhill from 2007-2010. I did not debate in college but I have judged between 10-20 rounds every year. I have volunteered for Greenhill on and off during that time.
main take: I think debate teaches hard work. That hard work should either be in researching the heck out of a topic and developing cool strategies, or honing in on how to argue a few positions and tailor them to your opponents. If you’re reading a nifty PIC that you found based on a 1ac author, I understand it probably won’t be blocked out to the 2nr. I’ll reward your research by being much more forgiving in your articulation. If you’re 1ac doesn’t have a plan text, I assume you’ve spent most of your tournament prep honing in on that position. I’m open to voting for you, but I do have the expectation that you contextualize your evidence and not just regurgitate blocks.
- I appreciate smart, well impacted debates. This does not mean quickly re-reading impact scenarios, but rather fleshing out the story while preemptively answering key questions that I’ll have to decide. Types of questions that should factor in: What is the escalation story for a particular impact? How and when does it spread in the context of your link story? How does this round’s specific plan/CP interact with your narrative? In the presence of any countering defense/turns, how might the impact story still look? How might your impacts still be relevant even if uniqueness/solvency is incomplete? What preference should I give to certain link/impact scenarios, and why? Winning and speaker points are usually tied to whether I am the one answering these types of questions, or you are.
---- I also enjoy watching (and will reward) teams that smartly make concessions on other flows, such as when kicking advantages/DAs. If you're conceding global warming is inevitable, that would probably mean our extinction is inevitable - does that mean we should focus our efforts to impacts that occur sooner? If uniqueness overwhelms the link on a healthcare reform DA, maybe SQ can provide some solvency to economy impacts?
- I am open to any argument that does not attack the other debaters personally or any ethnic/religious group. I'm open to K's/identity debates but I come into debates with the presumption that you have probably debated this same argument dozens of times before. Thus I have a higher expectation for you to contextualize your position to the other team's specific arguments. I.e., link and alt specificity is central.
*Addition after Greenhill RR - most negatives I’ve watched have gone for generics that barely pertain to the aff. I see that other judges explicitly mention speaker point rewards in their bio’s, so I’ll do the same. I will reward any neg team with +1pt that reads a case specific strategy that is tailored to the aff they’re debating. I’ll also reiterate my point above. Depending on how “generic” your strategy is, I am less willing to do work for you.
I value smart arguments MILES above technical debate. I am sure it goes without saying, this is especially true for sophomores and younger. My tolerance for theory and dropped arguments changes for varsity vs novice debates.