West Point Debate Tournament
2018 — NY/US
Will Baker Paradigm
Updated 12/28/19 Please be mindful that you are an ambassador for your school and have a privilege to travel when others, perhaps even on your own squad, do not. Be worthy of that honor in your treatment of others and your partner.
General Approach: Debaters work hard so I will make every effort to be very thoughtful and conscientious as your judge. I strive for limited intervention. Whatever decision allows me to inject myself the least into the interpretations of issues is the one I will attempt to make. The ramifications are that a team should compare positions, evidence and tell a story in the 2NR and 2AR that puts the round together the way they want. Most debate rounds come down to impact assessment. While coaches remind debaters of this constantly, few realize it and fewer execute it effectively. If you are performing, make sure that the role of the ballot is articulated and extended and not a 2AR surprise (see below). You will get better points. Tech over truth is a myth not a value system. The specific application of each comes down to the skills of the debaters involved in the individual rounds. My voting record reflects more tech but that's more reflective of how truth is framed.
Email Chains: Don't follow them during the round, often do not choose to be on them except for scouting or competitive purposes. Reasons: 1) Causes judges to read ev in their own voice and often miss the inflections of the debaters in the round, or worse, inject their previous experience with the authors or the argument rather than the framing which was made in the debate 2) Increases inclination to read into the un-underlined portions when other team hasn't made an issue of it. 3) Reduces a sense of fiduciary obligation to listen to the actual debate because the speech docs serve as a crutch. Implications: 1) I don't evaluate inserted ev or re-highlightings of your opponent's ev unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. 2) I flow on paper so I often write down more than tag, date and source including warrants for evidence, lyrics of poems and songs, & some internal link claims when arguments are initially made. This also helps when I drift during the middle of the round as you are passionately repeating the same argument for a fourth time on a 3rd flow as if I didn't hear it the first three. 3) Wasted or incompetent cross-examinations followed by claims like "this is vague" or "we can't answer this" hurt my soul in open rounds.
Topic Specific Update: Besides working on the E-2C Hawkeye and F-14, my Dad worked on Apollo missions at Northrop Grumman [back when it was Grumman]. It means I know stuff about space and NASA history that I shouldn't. It hasn't been an issue except in one round where someone said, "Will, use your judgement you know that NASA can't do that." Avoid that approach and you should be safe. T-sub-areas has proven to be a pretty unpersuasive argument in front of me [2AC: yep, we don't meet arms control but we are STM and probably SSA which they didn't read interps for has generally been true]. However, the neg arg that they're entitled to know why your plan is an NSP and distinct from just another directive or one-shot policy is legit.
The Aff: Do what you want in terms of policy, critical or performance affirmatives, I'm game. Set up a framework for interpretation prior to the 2AR so there is some level of predictability and discussion for the negative. There need to be advantages to interpretations of topics (why is it or is it not productive) the same as with substantive arguments. The evaluation will come down to offense on the framework flow based on long-term impacts identified by the debaters explained below in the tips section. It will come down to competing interpretations I've voted for West Va, Wake and Baylor as often as I've pulled the trigger for GMU, Dartmouth and Kansas so do what you want.
The Neg: Have a clever, tight strategy. Don’t whine. If you want to defend your right to a politics link or a certain interpretation, go for it. I’ll vote on T if you win it. I’ve voted before that politics protects debate and would do so again if someone won the argument. Happy to vote on theory, critical positions or whatever other standard you advance. Tell me where you think the locus of presumption is and why, preferably before the last speech. If you like to read cplans with lots of conditional planks, I am not the right judge for you.
Evidence: An author’s name is not an argument. Please don’t confuse the two. Please indicate actual reasons why your evidence is better than theirs. If you spend 8-15 seconds on a card, don't expect me to consider it for much longer than that when I'm making my decision. The common post-round practice of debaters asking, “did you consider this piece of evidence?” or “how did you weigh that card?” should be considered in the light of the microscopic amount of time you spent explaining or highlighting the card during the debate round. I’ll vote where you tell me to but if you have six different stories, you should put them together and not simply rely on my post-round construction based on reading evidence.
Time Management: Be organized, Be ready. Be considerate. Don't waste my time or your opponents. Decision time limits mandate better time management. You KNOW you will need an email chain, the start time for the round & I generally don't want to be on the chain. That means the 1A should have the chain set up and ready to send when it's time to start the debate including a test send if preferred. If I want to be added, I will tell you. Additionally, stop stealing prep time. It’s a nasty habit. You are taking time from my life that I will never get back.
Suggestions for Folks Hitting Non-traditional debaters in front of me: Some coaches/teams are still praying not to hit performance/protest teams or hoping that they have a judge who buys FW (due to poor pref choices by their opponents). Even when the judge has little or no bias to either traditional vs. non-traditional debate, by virtue of their "getting it", the non-protest team needs to be clued in so here are some tips (again only for rounds vs. pure performance teams):
a) Focus on where you clash not where they didn't clash. While drops is how most of us hard core tech debaters were taught, this approach fails for policy teams in these rounds because a) they haven't been trained in collective argumentation so what their mind/flow dismisses as FYIs or random hip hop lyrics or poetic lines are often 4-6 args for their opponents that the judge flowed. You see a dropped flow. I see you dropped 4 turns and still don't get it. Focus on where you clash and why your strategies, approaches, methodologies, whatever are better than theirs;
b) Feel free to run FW and T in front of me along with whatever strat you try. While I have voted on defending the USFG is violent, it is not my predisposition and I think there are excellent answers to that argument. Be prepared with internal impacts (to the debate space) and external impacts (to the larger world) on T and framework debates so you can compete with the straight-turns on fairness and education
c) Know who are you excluding If you don't have empirics to back it up and don't understand why it potentially appears sexist or racist, please don't impact your T/FW with "people will leave the activity".
Protest/Performance Teams--You deserve a bone as well. If your opponents don't heed these tips, feel free to leverage that as offense in the round. Additionally, I understand the difference between a Role of the Ballot argument and the Role of the Judge argument and have voted on positioning as the implications of my ballot as a black man when mishandled by the opponents on multiple occasions.
Pet Peeves: 1--DON’T CURSE EXCESSIVELY in your speeches. If someone slips up but is making an earnest effort I won't punish them. Also, I've been forced to make a distinction between advocacies where external sources include curses (films, music, poetry. etc) and statements of the debaters themselves. Folks who curse for no reason [ex. this arg is sh*t] are still at risk of getting their points tanked but sadly the commonality of the practice have led to far less tanks. 2--My biggest pet peeve goes like this: In the speech: “Read the Jones 10 evidence after the round!” but when I call for the evidence it becomes “I meant to say Roberts, not Jones,” or “Here are those 3 pieces of Jones evidence I referenced in my speech.” Know which ONE card you are referring to, know your authors and don’t be sloppy. Sloppy debaters get lower points.
Alec Bellis Paradigm
Gig Harbor LD 2012 - 2016 with one year of toc competition, UW Policy 2016-18, JMU 2020
Update: LD TOC 2018.
I have been doing policy for 2 years but I judged some LD last year. DONT WORRY: This year I have done a lot of topic research coaching Gig Harbor KG, so odds are I'll be pretty abreast of what you want to say. All my thoughts on debate below apply, although ill add that I generally dont like the way theory is done in this event. It's probably a mistake to extend more than one "theory shell " in front of me. But as with everything else do your thing and I'll evaluate it.
T -- I prefer limits over ground arguments, and I like the interpretation to be discussed in terms of what debates look like under your interpretation vs theirs. That is to say that while what specific ground you lose is important to discuss, it is also very important to explain what debates look like under your interp vs theirs in terms of a case list. I like a good T debate.
Fw -- don't call your fw arg T please. I consider myself pretty middle of the road when it comes to Topicality. I go for it all the time against K/identity/non topical affs, but I wouldn't say that I'm predisposed to it. When going for FW fairness is more persuasive to me than education, but it's not such a strong preference that you should change up your wheelhouse. When answering FW I am not persuaded by the approach that lists innumerable DAs to T that are also blocks off your computer. Obviously you need offense, but concentrate it.
Ks -- I am interested by a lot of critical literature but have only been really systematically learning critical theories since I started college. Ks are functionally a DA + CP, and you should debate it as such. If the alt doesn't solve the aff you need good reasons for why it doesn't need to, or why the impact of your K o/w the solvency deficit. I probably have a higher threshold for alternative explanations than most judges. That means while I'll listen to your reject and utopia alts, they're not the most persuasive to me. That being said, I see the strategic utility of those arguments and have made them in my career. I dont like generic tags. Pull links from their ev, cx answers, etc.
Non-Topical AFFs -- vs k teams the permutation is your friend. I often do not see well articulated differences between a debate involving competing non resolutional Ks. That doesn't mean I'm opposed to those debates, it just means that you should explain the differences in concrete ways. Vs FW I tend to be bored by an endless list of DAs, and like thicker arguments attached to the content of the aff. Why is YOUR aff good? What does their intero exclude that is so important, and why does it outweigh their offense including the topical version of the aff? Answer those questions and you're looking pretty good. I think rhetorical power gets you far in these debates.
DAs -- I am probably more likely than an average judge to evaluate well warranted analytic arguments. this doesn't mean that you don't have to read carded impact defense, but it does mean that if you point out logical contradictions in their evidence, use historical examples you can get far efficiently. Uniqueness matters, but it is difficult to assess in absolute terms because there are many warrants for why, say, the economy is high low now. If your uniqueness ev kicks ass and you're up on it by a mile then the DA probably doesn't matter, but the direction of the link is more important in debates where uq is contested.
CPs -- I love them. Tricky/smart CPs can/should be the fulcrum of a policy based negative strategy. Again, don't change your wheelhouse for me. Textual and functional competition is important.
Theory -- Conditionality is good but not monolithically. That means that if you go hard for condo bad I'll listen to you, I just think it's an uphill battle. I can be persuaded by 50 states = reject the team, but that's also an uphill battle. More easily persuaded by states cps are illegit/ reject the arg. Process CPs are cheating, and I'm neutral on PICs.
Case -- nuanced case debate is the best. The coolest moments in debate I've seen were when Harvard waxed Gtown on the logical incoherence of their advantage in quarters of the NDT, and when Emory wrecked Kansas on some nuance about what trees they deforested in the 1ac in Doubles of Fullerton last year. Nuanced case debate = recipe for higher speaks. Defense wins championships but you obviously still need to score points.
CX -- please please please include the badass concessions your partner gets in CX in your next speech. I prefer cross x strategies centered around a few issues, and, unless you need clarification on what was read, you should only be asking questions that you already think you know the answer to. Tease out nuanced contradictions. Let your partners speak, jump in if they are obviously struggling or they ask you to, but the less someone talks during their own CX the worse the speaks will be.
Please include me in the email chain if this is Policy, Alecbellis8@gmail.com.
Feel free to ask me questions when I'm in the room before the round, I know judge philosophies can raise/not answer many of your questions. If you ask me if you can email me about the debate when it's over, make sure you do it.
Cedric Bonsol Paradigm
PLEASE READ (accessibility issue): For the love of God, if you want me to understand your analytics/tags(/card warrants), please slow down and be CLEAR on those parts. I can understand and flow speed for the "most" part, but keep in mind that just as debaters have different levels of accessibility/ability, so do judges. If you monotone spread at me paragraphs/lists of blocks/analytics, I do not consider it my fault if I find my physically unable to write/type it all down or mentally keep up with your extremely above average speed.
*Full disclosure/honesty: I am probably not the ideal judge for you, if your style of debating is extremely fast and technical*
Yes, please add me to email chain if possible: firstname.lastname@example.org
do whatever you want pls - I'm down with it all--policy, K, "performative" (everything is performative), etc. For me, the only rules to enforce are speech/prep times, but other than that, debate and what you do with those speech/prep times is what you make it. Debate is what you make it and can LITERALLY (please do not underestimate how much I really mean this) be whatever you want in my opinion. Just frame it well. Policy debate = da best db8? ok go for it and explain why. K/Performance/my-arbitrary-way-of-debate=better? pls go for it yes do whatever you want. fast (but not too fast/unclear) tich tech debate vs meta-framing debate? down, just explain why your side is better. pls do whatevs. Hell, fuck what I think even. Challenge my preferences--I will respect it. Just don't be unwarrantedly rude or blatantly offensive/violent--debate is a toxic enough space as it is.
I just graduated from University of Rochester, and have been involved in policy debate since summer after freshman year of high school at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School (although the past few semesters my debate involvement has been on and off). People seem to care about stuff like this, so I'll include this in my paradigm if it helps inform you of myself: my high school partner and I qualified to NAUDL nationals in our 2015 senior year and broke to Octofinals, and we later won the annual City Championship for our Urban Debate League, LAMDL (Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League). I have also had some experience judging and working with LD students.
"Tabula rasa": Tabula rasa is a lie. There is no such thing as an an objective blank slate (otherwise, why would we even need judge paradigms in the first place if it's not to communicate personal evaluation/argumentative styles/preferences?). Every debater, judge, coach, and just person really in general has biases formed by their own lived experience within their subject position in the world. With that being said, I will always try to be as "objective" as possible, and will try my best to put my own biases aside, as I agree with the normative judge that I will primarily consider and weigh your arguments in a debate round insofar that you have developed them in your speeches/CX.
Having established that no one is a blank slate, here are some features of my slate:
Stylistic Experience/Orientations: I am (at least a little) familiarized with debating or researching a variety of different arguments on the policy debate "spectrum" of style: traditional policy affs, hard left policy affs, soft left policy affs, non-traditional kritikal affs, traditional kritiks, high-theory Ks, performance debate, etc. Throughout high school, I almost always argued "policy", although later in college I began to lean toward a more kritikal, and then later even more non-traditional and performative orientation towards debate and what/how we discuss in it.
Creativity of arguments is a HUGE plus for me, and I would love to see a lot more of it in debate arguments, whether kritikal, non-traditional (even policy). How and why we do debate are such arbitrary things that can be changed and molded into whatever we make them or however we conceptualize them. I would love teams to really exploit this aspect of my paradigm.
As said before though, I will try my best to put biases aside and to only consider your arguments insofar that you have developed them in the round. So please, do not assume that because I think/like x, I will automatically vote for (or against) y. In the same way that "policy" debaters will be held to a certain standard of round-winning argumentation, "kritikal" or "performance" debaters should also meet a certain threshold for explaining their arguments and outframing the other team.
Framework/Framing (also: Ks, T, Traditional FW, impacts in general, etc.): This is huge for me, if not the most important thing. No, I do not mean having topical USFG policy debates is the most important thing to me--I mean that clearly communicating to me how I should prioritize and evaluate arguments and impacts in the debate is ultimately one of the most crucial factors for getting me to prefer your impacts to the other team. Is policy debate about becoming better political advocates to engage the State? I'm all ears. Is policy debate about ethical orientations? Is this a space of activism? Are we scholars/academics? Policymakers? Explain why that is preferable to the other team's framework. The importance of debate or of certain arguments, or what our roles are are really all up to you when you debate in front of me.
Just because I prefer a certain argument to be run or made doesn't mean that I will evaluate it any less heavily than an opposite argument--I will not lower speaks because you ran T/USFG, and you can still get high speaks and win in front of me if you explanation of why your prioritizations of fairness/education/political-engagement are more preferable to the other team's. Explain why this broader model of debate is better than the AFF's individual advocacy itself.
Whatever K you wanna run (ableism, antiblackness, settler colonialism, baudrillard, capitalism, queerness, etc. whatever), it is likely I'm familiar with it, have seen it, or have argued it (although I won't claim by any means to be an expert on all, even any, of them). The main point I want to get across is that you can run whatever you want in front of me, just be sure to explain it well and why your alternative or framework for how we respond to the AFF team is better to vote for.
DAs+CP Strategy: Go for them, yeah. Just please cross-apply what I've said above here, and explain why you outframe the other team here (all of debate is framework to me). why do your impacts outweigh the AFF? why does probability matter more than magnitude? why does your impact come before all others?
If you go too fast, I will call "clear". I also believe that debate is an activity of persuasion, and for me, it feels less persuasive to hear monotone, quiet "cheat" spreading of cards as opposed to a natural fluctuation of tone and emotion.
Being a fast, loud debater doesn't make a debater more persuasive to me than a quiet, slow, even speech-impeded debater who is ultimately making better arguments.
Cards and evidence are supplements in the end. Your explanation always comes first. If I have to read your evidence to understand your argument, you have not sufficiently explained it. Btw I don't limit evidence to traditional "cards". To be honest, traditional cards are not even crucial for me to evaluate an argument (assuming it it is explained well), 1ac, 1nc, etc. Do with this as you wish.
As vague as this sounds, if you do anything in the round that impresses me as significantly deconstructive or challenging of the ableist, antiblack, elitist, etc. toxic nature in debate (or even in just this very moment of debate) your speaks will likely go up.
Isaac Brown Paradigm
I'd never worship a god that didn't know how to dance
For the brave:
I am not the gambling type but I do love a good joke, and a good joke deserves a reward of .2 to a .5 speaker point boost to your total speaker points, but there are limits as to what I will dub as funny enough to avoid having to judge rounds of last comic standing. The jokes I will reward are as follows,
1. The "Lt. Louis Armstrong" voice - get it right and you get a .5 boost, get it wrong and you lose .1
2. Strong pun game - puns get a bad for a reason, they are often terrible. Although anyone who knows me well knows I love well timed, expertly executed puns. Here's your opportunity to prove your pun game is strong. .4 boost if you make a pun and I enjoy it, fail you lose .2
3. Use the phrase "Omae wa mou shinderiu" correctly in a debate you get a .3 boost. Get it wrong you lose .3
These are the jokes I will reward; may the odds forever be in your favor.
Things you need know:
Yes, I would like to be in the email chain, my email is email@example.com
No, I do not believe that novice should have to debate K affs until the tail end of the second semester, these debates are often anti-educational hurt novice development. Which is to say I believe you must first learn debate before you can debate about debate. This is not to say that I won't judge these debates fairly, but rather a warning that I am incredibly sympathetic to the otherside of the argument. Although once it is the 2nd half of the first second semester my sympathies die out.
I always flow on paper so give me pen time when you're blazing through your analytics
I will not vote on comparing arguments to sexual assault in anyway shape or form, I think those debates are violent, anti-educational and only risk net harm to everyone involved.
I debated a total of 7 years
2 years in the Chicago UDL
5 years at George Mason 1-year policy 1 year flex 3 years critical. I went to the NDT twice and I broke into elims of CEDA twice. I debated off of my flow and I judge the same way. It really doesn't matter what your argument is, if you can communicate it to me and the other team cannot then simply put, you are ahead. It is your responsibility to get your arguments onto my piece of paper and I will do everything that is in my power to get the ballot to tab with your name as the victor but that's only if your opponent doesn't beat you to the ballot. All of this is to say, read what you want in front of me, the flow is the deciding factor.
What I want to hear:
This should never be the question you ask when you get me in the back of the round, I want to judge you at your best so read whatever it is that is your best. Be fast, be strategic, be smart and be effective. These are the traits that I look for in a good debater, which is to say I don't place a limit on the style of debate you do, if the argument you like going for involves telling me that Russia has got it out for the US and the only thing that can solve that is a single-payer health care system then DO THAT. Or if your best is telling me the world as I know it writ large is founded on a set of principles that require investigation and or just blanket rejection DO THAT. My job is not to actively seek confirmation bias by judging every Baudrillard/Afro-pess debate ever, I am here to take really fast notes and tell you what I think the best argument was at the end of the debate. So, do you in whatever form that may look.
The ways I evaluate debates:
1. As mentioned above I follow the flow to the T, but even this is debatable although even in debates that critique flowing in a normative fashion, I will continue to flow unless explicitly asked not to (this is for my benefit as I like to have a point of reference when deciding things.)
2. In particularly messy debates I will be annoyed and you will lose points if my flow becomes a random assortment of words. Line arguments up as best as you can, this is for my benefit as well as yours, debate is a communication activity and good line by line while hard to come by is extremely important when the debate comes down to a degree of nuance. You don't want me to have to do work for you by having to decipher the entire debate. You want to be clear, concise and ready to go. Line by line then while not necessary is preferred.
3. Tell me a story, but make sure this story has a claim warrant and impact. Reel me in with whatever necessary just make sure you have a complete argument.
Stolen from Patrick McCleary
“I give speaker points based on how effectively students articulate their arguments, regardless of the type of argument. Above a 29.5 deserves to contend for top speaker, 29-29.5 is a speaker award, 28.5-29 is good/should be clearing, 28.1-28.5 is on the cusp of clearing, 28 is average, 27.5 is below average, 27 needs work. Any lower and you are probably either in the wrong division or did something offensive. Given what I've seen from people who compile the data on this stuff, this seems to be somewhat close to the community norm.”
"Debaters who have used the opportunity afforded by annual resolutions to learn about the topic and are able to apply that knowledge in the round will be in position to receive higher points than debaters whose speeches are lacking in this category. Debaters whose speeches reflect little to no effort at having learned about this season's topic may win the debate, but will not receive good points.
This does not mean the AFF must read a plan text...nor that the NEG can only debate the case (rarely a wise strategy). It simply means I am listening for proof that debaters are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about a different topic area each season."
Provide me an interpretation and defend it I’ll evaluate it.
Outside of what I read as a debater this is probably the argument I know the most about on both the AFF and NEG side of things and while I would impact turn this whenever I heard it that does not mean I am AFF leaning on FW. Simply put I will vote on what’s on my flow regardless of how I feel about it despite that I feel it necessary to disclose several arguments that I find more persuasive on both sides of the debate.
· Debate is a Game (This can be debated and if you win it on the flow I am amendable to change but it is my default setting)
· AFF’s should have to defend something (this does not mean they must have a plan)
· AFF’s should be testable (this doesn’t mean that a generic counterplan/DA is the best method to test the AFF)
· If you can do it on the neg they should be prepared (In that scenario they get to weigh their aff, making this not an argument alone you have to impact this argument to make it more offensive)
· K-affs inevitable (Doesn’t make those affs predictable)
· Fairness is often times arbitrary (But winnable, I think the move to deliberation over procedural fairness is silly, just tell them to get out of your house)
I am tech over truth appeals to my emotions gets you speaker points not ballots. Simply put I will do no work for you and I will judge the flow and only the flow unless an argument is made telling me not to.
Timothy Byram Paradigm
First off, do you. If my judging philosophy meant that you were put at a disadvantage for any particular style of debate, that would be indicative of a larger problem.
I am a Junior at Liberty University. I have done traditional policy, critical, and performative debate, though recent experience has drifted heavily toward the latter end of the spectrum. I am decently well-versed in most forms of critical literature. However, my level of familiarity with a topic should be largely irrelevant to the way you debate. I view debate generally as a format established for the clash of pedagogies. This clash can take place on the macro level or the micro, and applies to both policy and critical debate. The key is to explain which premises of your opponent’s arguments are in contestation and why. In other words, it can be as broad as a discussion on the merits or demerits of proximate state action, or as specific as the effectiveness of China deterrence to maintain US hegemony. This principle can be applied to virtually all arguments:
Ks: Isolate what the affirmative has done, explain how their particular methodology/epistemology perpetuates structural violence, and give me a clear explanation of how to avoid those harms. In debate-speak, spell out the link/s, draw a story between that link and a particular impact, and explain to me how your alternative avoids said link/impact story. The debaters who do this best are the ones who can relate the structural to the specific (ie, the aff’s use of x term/methodology/analysis leads to y structural impact writ large through z process). K affs function similarly: Tell me what systems of behavior or thought are perpetuated in the status quo, how this is done, why it is bad, and what you do about it.
FW: Framework can be run in many different ways, and should be contested in accordance to the specific argument run. For the team running it: Tell me the specific violation of the affirmative, and give me palpable reasons why the aff perpetuates a model that is harmful for debate/why your model is relatively better. Central to this argument is an explanation of why your version of debate is good, or at least better than that of the affirmative. Contestability is important, but it must ultimately be tied to the specific impacts of the model you are offering. For the team answering it: tell me in what ways you meet their interpretation, or in what ways that interpretation is bad. On both sides of the debate, blanket statements are insufficient. Tell me specific reasons why your opponents’ framing is bad. This involves an interplay of tech vs. truth that I will attempt to balance depending on the arguments made in the particular round.
DAs & CPs: My assessment of the risk of the DA happening as a result of the aff is dependent on the specific details offered as part of the negative strategy. Give me a clear line of reasoning between that link and the impact. Specificity is also important for Counter Plans, in that you must show me how the Counter Plan is competitive with the aff. Don’t assume I am familiar with the jargon.
T: I like T but I am not particularly well versed in the area. Be creative, slow down a bit, and give me well-reasoned applications to the aff.
Vida Chiri Paradigm
I’m currently a junior at Liberty University and debated in high school at University High School (Jersey Urban Debate League). This is approximately my 7th year in debate and as such I have engaged in both 'traditional' and now 'performance' style debate. Ultimately, I have come to conclusion that debate is a game but this game also has real life effects on the people who choose to participate in it. Therefore, BE NICE, HAVE FUN, and DO YOU!!!
I have found in my time debating that there are a few things that debaters are looking for when they read judging philosophies (including myself) so I’ll get straight to the point:
K's: I’m fine with them and have run them for quite some time in my career. However, this does not mean run a K in front of me for the fun of it - rather it means that I expect you to be able to explain your link story and the way the alternative functions. I find that most teams just make the assumption that the Aff doesn’t get a perm because "it’s a methodology debate". That’s not an argument, give me warrants as to why this is true if this is the argument you are going to for. K Aff's are fine often times debaters lose sight of the strategic benefits of the Aff, So a simple advice I can give is DONT FORGET YOUR AFF!!
DA's: In general I like strong impact analysis and good link story. Make logical argument and be able to weigh the impact story against the Aff.
CP’s: I am open all types of CP’s you just have to prove the competitiveness of said CP and make sure it has a net benefit.
FW: Again….Debate is a game but this game has real life implications on those who choose to engage in it. I think FW can be strategic against some Aff’s but don’t use it as a reason to not engage the Aff. Win your interpretation and weigh your impacts. Aff’s: don’t blow off FW answer it and engage it or tell me why you are not engaging in it.
Theory: Not a big fan of it, but make sure you slow down as to ensure I get all the arguments you are making. But do you!
Cross X: I think this is the best part of debate and LOVE it. Don’t waste those 3 min, they serve a great purpose. I am ALWAYS paying attention to CX and may even flow it.
*** Please remember that I am not as familiar with the high school topic so don’t assume I know all the jargon ***
Last but not least, watch me!(take hints from the visual cues that I am sending)
Mackenzie Colella Paradigm
Roger Copenhaver Paradigm
This year will be my 12th year in the activity. I debated for 3 years in high school at Puyallup High School (2006-2009) and 4 in college at Idaho State University (2009-2013).
I have not been involved in college policy debate since the 2015 NDT. I am currently working with The University of Washington on a part-time basis. Gonzaga will be my first tournament, and I am a little bit behind on topic research as a result. This just means I may need a little time to catch up on key topic discussions and acronyms. As a judge, I think it is important to work hard to make the best possible decision in every debate I judge.
How I decide debates: I evaluate debates holistically, however I also try my best to keep a good flow of the debate, and use the flow for the basis for my decision. What does this mean for you? The best way to win my ballot is to frame the debate around central questions for the debate. I think both tech and truth is important, so winning larger thesis level claims , and then executing technically on the line-by-line are equally important.
Framework: While I used to have a higher threshold for framework, this is no longer the case. I think framework is an important tool for negative teams to use vs. non-topical/non traditional/non-fiat based affirmatives. If you have read this type of affirmative and don't have a good defense of it, you should lose. Reading an AFF just because it is important in the abstract is not a good enough reason to not talk about the topic. On the flip side, if you are going for framework, you should still be responsible for engaging the content of the affirmative. Also, having tangible impacts to your framework arguments is necessary to win these debates.
Counterplans: What is theoretically legitimate is open for debate. I try to enter the debate without any biases for what debaters should be allowed to talk about. With that being said, I probably still think that counterplans should have solvency advocates, compete in some capacity, and provide and opportunity cost to the affirmative. I think judge kick is stupid. I will do it if I am told to, but I am persuaded that 2N’s should have to think strategically and should be held accountable to their 2NR choice. AFF’s should exploit the difference between the CP and the AFF.
Disadvantages: I prefer to hear DA's that are specific to the AFF or that are a central to the topic. I think DA's paired with large case debates can be some of the most fascinating debates to watch. Controlling spin and having great evidence are two key factors to winning these debates in front of me.
K/Performance Debate: Controlling meta level questions for the debate is necessary. This is the type of debate that I have the most experience with. I rather see a debate where people are willing to defend something specific and generate offensive arguments from it rather then saying they are everything and nothing. You should be able to justify what you do. AFF’s should get permutations regardless of the type of debate that is happening (although like everything, I am open to hearing arguments on the other side. It just may require additional work to win this argument in front of me). Debate is a competition and negative teams have the burden of meeting some standard for competition. I don’t think the alt has to solve the AFF. I think the alt needs to at least resolve a substantial amount of the link to the AFF. I am less well read when it comes to high theory, especially psychoanalysis, so explanation is critical for me in these debates.
Other miscellaneous things:
- Flowing and good line by line debate is a lost art. You will be greatly rewarded if you do good line by line debate.
- Bad embedded clash is almost impossible to follow and I probably won't get arguments where they should be.
- Most of the time I keep a pretty good flow and I have typically found that my flow reflects the quality of the debate in terms of efficiency and debate technique.
- Framework vs. framing – to me, framework is what should be allowed in the debate, and framing is what impacts should come first. I think these two things often times become conflated. To me, unless otherwise stated, the role of the ballot, judge, etc.. are all just impact framing issues.
- Aff framework vs. the K is silly and neither team is going to generate traction in front of me spending substantial time here.
- I am a strong believer in high evidence quality. Research is one of the most important parts of debate. This is tricky for me because I don’t read a lot of evidence, however I do think that high evidence quality should be rewarded. If I happen to read some of your evidence or you are really trying to get evidence in my hand, you should make sure it is good.
- Debate is fun. I hope that you debate because you love this activity. I also like judging debates when debaters are intelligent, witty, funny, and engaged. I have zero tolerance for people that destroy the pedagogical values of this activity or that make this activity an unsafe, violent, or unpleasant space for other participants.
Leonora Crane Paradigm
Please add me to the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
Debated four years at Liberty University
Coaching at UF for three years
I did mostly policy in debate, but I read K's occasionally as well. I am most familiar with critical IR theory and cap.
I have my master's degree in Program Evaluation and Methodologies.
Impact calc is one of the most important things that you can do in front of me. The easier you make it for me to vote for you. The happier I will be. I try to limit the amount of judge intervention as much as possible, i.e., I will not be happy to make arguments for you.
I consider myself a tech over truth judge, but you need to impact arguments, e.g., I will not vote for a blippy theory arg with no impact.
Although I consider myself to be primarily a policy person, this should not deter you from reading your k args as well.
You win debates with warrant comparison. In a "Claim" v. "Claim with a bad warrant," the poorly warranted claim will always succeed. The alternative is arbitrary judge intervention.
Despite popular convention in debate, large magnitude impacts tend not to persuade me. I value probability over magnitude. This means that your structural violence or minor war claims are likely to be more persuasive to me than your nuke war scenario.
If you are bothering to say something, I will default to believing that it is a voter. This is most relevant in T or Theory debates. I will NEVER vote on "They did not say this was a voter in the 2NR or 1AR so you can't vote for them." Watch how fast I will vote for the other team.
Don't read the same card five times in a debate. If two cards have the same claim and warrants, your time is spent better elsewhere.
I rarely read evidence in an attempt to influence my decision.
Love theory debates, but unfortunately, the norm seems to be reading theory blocks as opposed to engaging with the opponent's arguments on the line by line. If you want to win a theory debate in front of me, you need to win that your interp is better for debate, e.g., fairness or education, as well as have DAs to your opponent's arguments.
Besides condo, theory is probably a reason to reject the arg and not the team. I am sympathetic to the arg that abusive cps/ ks justify cheater perms. So this should be said somewhere in the 2AC.
When reading t or theory in front of me, slow down. If I don't get it on my flow, I will not give it to you in the rebuttals. If you rush through theory blocs in front of me, I'll assume that its purpose is to function as a time skew for the negative rather than a potential round winner.
As a side note, if you read four conditional advocacies, you should spend a significant amount of time answering condo in the 2NC. I am not saying that four conditional advocacies are a threshold for me. Instead, if you plan on reading a strat that looks like a massive time skew for the 2AC, be prepared for me to be somewhat sympathetic to the aff.
Same as theory, win your interp, why the aff violates it, as well as an impact.
I will probably not be persuaded that affs that are in the novice packet are unpredictable. This applies to varsity, novice and jv. I don't really care if your program contains novices or not. Your program should be contributing to the novice packet anyhow if you believe that novices should be required to read from it.
If you are reading T to establish CP competition, I would rather listen to T as an answer to the perm rather than a separate off case position.
To win the K in front of me, you will need to be winning a link as well as an impact to that link. Please do not read your generic K blocks in front of me. Try to be making as nuanced of arguments as possible. You can choose to kick the alt if you want ( I can always be persuaded that the aff is worse than the squo), but if you go for the alt, make args as to why it resolves the impacts outlined in your overview (it's probs smart to have reasons as to why the alt solves the 1AC as well). If you are reading a high theory K, the best way to win my ballot is to have real-world examples of how the alt operates. I'm not super familiar with K lingo. I will need words defined early on to understand your arguments fully.
Smart theory arguments are always a good idea. Affs should use reject/ vague alts as reasons to justify slightly abusive perms. Saying "perm is severance" and moving on is not an argument, and I think that the aff is justified in getting up and saying "you are right means we win no link." Make sure to establish links to theory args as early as possible and reading an impact to it.
I went for these a lot in my debate career. Probs my fav debate is a good case v DA/CP debate. Please note that having one good card does not justify reading a DA. I value quality over quantity. Although I will vote for politics, I am not the greatest fan of this DA. I prefer listening to topic-specific DAs.
Note that if you have a really great, specific politics DA I will be more than willing to judge it. My problem with politics DAs is rooted in the issue of specificity. I think that politics DAs fall into a trap of being rather shallow debates with a lot of holes in it that some smart analytics could take out.
Slow down when reading your plan text. Spend time in the block explaining the mech as well as why it solves the case. If your cp has multiple planks, spend time developing all of the planks or don't waste your time reading them. I am generally unpersuaded by "perm do the 1AC and all possible combinations of the CP" unless the neg reads the planks conditionally.
Also, make sure that the CP has an nb. "CP solves better than the 1AC" is not an offensive reason to vote the aff down, and the permutation probably works best.
2As I don't think that "perm do both" is an arg, and I will not be happy if this is the perm that I have to work with at the end of the debate as "perm do both" is almost always a moving target that gets reclarified in the 1AR. But because no one reads this part of my paradigm (or decides to ignore it), I'm assuming that I'm doomed to judge this arg.
If a neg team is going for CP/DA, the affirmative generally need some form of offense on either flow to win the debate. I am very much persuaded by "vote neg on the risk of a net benefit."
This is somewhat implied throughout my paradigm, but I'll directly state it here. Contextualization matters. The more specific your arguments are. The better off you will be. Affirmative teams should be winning why their aff specifically is good for education/ predictable or why predictability is bad etc. Neg teams need to win why the aff is unpredictable/ bad for education as well as win DAs to the aff's interpretation such as what other affs does the opposing side justify.
Neg teams should also be prepared not to read traditional "you must defend USFG action" interpretations. If the aff does not defend anything related to the resolution, it will probably be easier for you to win "aff must be in the direction of the topic".
Please note that you do not have to win a TVA to win framework in front of me. I do not believe that it is the burden of the negative to figure out how to topically resolve your impacts. That being said, having a TVA makes framework much easier to win.
If you are aff and reading framework against a K, the most persuasive framework argument for me is that "links must be predicated off of plan action."
Best way to get extra speaker points in front of me is to be funny petty (note that I did not necessarily say rude petty)
I will be giving novice debates an average of 28.4.
I will read evidence during prep and cross-examination as a means of giving you better advice as to how the round should have gone down rather than to influence my decision.
Spin can get you pretty far in debate rounds
My beliefs about debate are significantly more developed than this paradigm outlines. I keep this paradigm short primarily because I find super long paradigms to be too long of a read before a debate round. If you have a question ask me or email me.
I don't give off too many nonverbal cues relating to my thoughts about the round, but if you notice me stop flowing that's a good indication that either 1) You have stopped making an argument or 2) You are repeating yourself.
You should not read my facial expressions as they actually don't mean anything.
My threshold for what I consider an "argument" in novice is lower than in other divisions. I will vote on dropped arguments as long as they have an impact even if that impact is "they are bad for education/ fairness" with no explanation beyond that. Generally, I vote for whichever side made the fewest mistakes.
If you want to get higher speaks from me, you should be flowing all speeches and not speaking from your laptop.
Some pet peeves
DON'T BE RUDE. Debate is a game, and I will call you out and tank your speaks if I catch you being rude. I don't care if being rude is part of your argument. I'm too old and cranky for that shit.
Don't extensively interrupt during cross x or your partner's speech. Chances are that you are about to tell them something that isn't very helpful. I will only flow the arguments being made by the person whose turn it is to speak.
John Dellamore Paradigm
Experience: I did policy debate at New Trier High School andnow debate for New York University as a Sophomore.
Overview: I am fine with anything you want to read. I did strictly policy (CPs/Das/T) at New Trier and then have leanedmore towards Ks at NYU. I have read every K from Security to DADA. Impacts need to be well extended and weighed and my role as the judge should be made clear by both team.
Most important thing for me: I love debate. I think the community has its flaws but is unique in the sense that there aren’t many places where a bunch of insanely smart students can come together and discuss anything from Chinese politics toDeleuze and Guattari. I understand if teams make arguments about the flaws in debate and more than often I believe they are true. I believe that personalizing and creating a hostile environment is one of the problems that exists in the debate community and should be addressed. Debate offers so many valuable skills, research being one of the most important, and should exist.
Framework (read on the neg, “you have to read a topical plan”): I really enjoy framework debates. I really go either way on these. For the past two years I have not defended a stable plan text and understand the merit in that. I also have read framework on the negative many times and understand that as well. I believe a good framework debate comes down to wellimpacted education arguments. I understand the merit in “but the state is bad” arguments made by performance/kritical affsbut I don’t believe that is enough, especially if the negative wins a topical version of your plan.
T: I am not that crazy about T but have run it and will vote on it. I believe competing interpretations are great because the negative can always find a definition that excludes the aff. Like framework, I believe a good debate comes down to the educational impact level. Simply extending “key to ground’isn’t enough. I am not totally sold on just fairness impacts. I believe fairness is just an internal link to participation and clash but is not an impact within itself. Finally, I really like affirmatives that address the topic through a tricky wording in the plan text. This creativity, I believe, is a great skill and leadsto creative debate that negate topic staleness.
DA: I really like DA debates and wish I could have more of them myself. The best DA debates are ones that come down to the pieces of evidence. As I said above, one of debates greatness merits is the research and there is nothing better than a DA debate to show off the amazing research you’ve done. I think the other really important part of a DA is explaining the story. Saying that “Immigration brings in more high skilled workers and that is key to heg which is key to preventing nuclear war” isn’t really enough.
CPs: I love topic specific, alternative solvency CPs. The affirmative reads a lot of evidence and more often than not the authors will come up with different solvency mechanisms. CPs that go off of this are awesome. Advantage CPs are cool too, especially when they are very specific and the negative can articulate the solvency on the CP better than the affirmative on their case. I have read Consults CPs, agents CPs…(anything that steals the plan) and I like them but also believe that they should be germane to the case. Reading Consult NATO against every Aff can lead to a very stale debate. I like theory on theseCPs, especially ones that make “stale education” arguments.
Theory: Condo is probably a good thing but if the aff wins theneg is being abusive with it I will vote on it. CP theory is good (As stated in the CP section). I will listen to whatever theory you want just make sure it is impacted well.
K: My favorite type of debate and the one I am most familiar with. I have read tons of Ks and heard even more. If you read a new K in front of me, even if you think it is stupid, I will consider voting on it and always LOVE HEARING NEW PHILOSOPHIES. I am most familiar with Nietzsche but don’t like it when teams read Nietzsche and just throw out words like “Ubermensch” or what not. Please show that you know the theory of whatever philosopher you are advancing. I will go into some specifics on each part of the K. The most important thing on a K is making it germane to the aff. Don’t just say “they conceded our warming link”. It is best when you use examples from history as to why the aff is just another example of x. I hate Holocaust references and hate it when Nazism comes into debate. If you have a good point I will understand but dropping Nazism and Holocaust references is pretty weak.
-Framework: I am open to both sides. Ks can lead to generic debates but the aff has to be held accountable for assumptions.
-Links: links that are articulated as turns case arguments or separate impacts are awesome. Shows you really know the philosophers. Use examples as I said above.
-Impacts: Just extended them and do impact calc.
-Perms: The aff has the potential to be abusive here. I believe that the aff should be held accountable for everything in the 1ac so “severing reps” arguments hold little weight with me. If the other team drops it I will vote on it but give me a reason to. Also, a good perm do both with net benefits to the perm is awesome. If you can articulate why the net benefits are good and outweigh any risk of the link I will be very impressed.
-K tricks (serial policy failure, reps first…): Love them. Just impact them well and give examples of how the aff leads to serial policy failure or what not.
Performance: I am very familiar with this style of debate. I have read literature concerning this area and feel that I have a solid foundation. I also read a structural violence affirmative for most of last year so I understand the framing questions. I always love learning new things so if I haven’t heard your style of argument I will listen with open ears and will most definitely vote on it.
-Identity Politics: At the top I went in depth about being nice to one another. I think this applies most here. I believe that framework is a viable strat against teams that read fem, race, classism and so one. I do believe that engaging in the literature and the affirmative project is much better. Teams that read identity politics bring an interesting and unique perspective to the table and should be listened to and understood. Though this burden does fall on the negative, I believe the affirmative should do their best to help the negative understand their “privilege” or how they contribute to dominate debate structures. Simply saying “well you are x[white, male, privileged] so all your arguments are wrong and bad” is not enough and kills effective debate which is so important. If you can explain how someone’s identity brings their argumentation into question I will be a lot happier. I LOVE TEAMS that K debate structures while simultaneously helping the negative understand what they are saying (help understand as I know privileged debaters will never truly totally understand forms of oppression in debate).
Nicholas Fiori Paradigm
Hunter College/The New School
Policy Debate Coach
Years judging: 13
Feel free to run whatever you want in front of me. I believe that judging is about evaluating the arguments made in the round while recognizing the impossibility of strict objectivity. Adjudication inevitably involves filtering the round through one's ethical lens and orientation towards debate and the world at large. Debate can only stay relevant and generative by responding to challenges leveraged against it by debaters and coaches. These challenges require my radical openness and fair, thoughtful consideration of the arguments made in the debate.
I will evaluate my flow and then call for relevant cards.
If you think an argument is a round winner it should be in your final rebuttal, do not assume I will evaluate an argument implicitly extended in a piece of evidence. Extension of specific warrants, not just tags and cites, is preferable. I am not the best at flowing author names so make sure evidence is referenced in some other way as well.
I will try to list my predispositions below. If you believe the debate or an argument should be evaluated differently make that part of the debate and I will adjust my calculus accordingly.
Framework: I enter the debate assuming that the affirmative should have a plan/advocacy/political position from which contestation can be grounded. I default to whatever framework is presented, explicitly or implicitly, by the affirmative. The negative gets whatever the aff doesn’t do and should argue why the aff is a bad idea and/or offer a competing policy/alternative advocacy/political program.
If you believe the debate should have an alternative framework, the outcome of the debate over that framework will ultimately determine my lens for evaluating the round.
Topicality: I will default to evaluate topicality based on competing interpretations if no other lens for evaluation is presented in the debate. Topicality arguments that are divorced from a discussion of the actual debate season are increasingly unpersuasive.
Theory: When logical, my default on theory is that it is a reason to reject the argument not the team. If you think it is a voting issue, say that and give me a good reason. Slow down on individual arguments. If a theory argument is dropped but he offending team, extended properly, and actually applies to something the other team has done in the debate, it will most likely determine the way I vote. However, dropped theory arguments that do not actually respond to something the other team has done in the round will automatically determine by ballot.
Impact Evaluation: I think offense/defense is mostly inevitable and that the arguments in the debate either fall into that matrix or change how they are evaluated. However, that does not mean I do not believe that a team cannot win zero risk of a scenario. My threshold is relatively high, but I find 100% defense argument increasingly persuasive.
If you disagree with any of my own pre-dispositions, you should make that part of the debate. The above is merely for you to understand where I start from as a judge, not where I end up when I go about deciding the round.
Brady Fletcher Paradigm
I don't think anything below is very provocative or counter-intuitive, but here it is:
I am open to any argument you want to make in the debate round. You need to thoroughly explain, justify, and impact the argument for me to seriously consider it. I can't stress this enough! If you've been articulate and you've provided strong analysis that contextualizes your arguments in the debate (and CLASHES with your opponents), you have probably won me over. It's your job to do the better job of debating, and to me that means real explanation and analysis - not just buzzwords and/or jargon. Slow down and thoughtfully explain arguments to me when it matters to the result of the debate.
I don't have that much to say about specific NEG arguments, other than this: as I said above, I like thorough impact analysis, and this goes especially for T and procedural arguments. If it's a voter, my pen doesn't touch paper until I know why it matters, specifically to the debate in question. The same goes for Kritiks: "no value to life" has little value to me. Concretize and contextualize your K link stories and impacts. Alternatives also need to be thoroughly defined and explained. If a DA/CP doesn't make sense to me, well, that's your problem! (I probably dislike shallow explanations of T/procedurals and DAs/CPs most of all).
I'm open to experimentation on the AFF. I need to know why you've made the choices you've made, and why they matter. I'm inclined to cut you slack on prodcedural/framework "violations" if you clearly justify the discussion you're trying to have, the relation to debate you're trying to articulate, etc. (You should be responsive to the procedural/framework claims too). I'm not going to do any of this work for you, at all, ever. That's your job!
Please feel free to approach me with questions any time. I'm always happy to clarify/specify/elaborate!
Robert Glass Paradigm
Affiliation: University of Houston
I’ve been judging since 2011. As of the start of the Space topic I had judged the second most College Policy rounds in the era of tabroom of any judge. Jackie Poapst was the only person ahead of me, close behind me were Armands Revelins and Daniel Stout. Take this how you will.
Yes, I want to be on the E-mail chain. Send docs to: robglassdebate [at] the google mail service . I don’t read the docs during the round except in unusual circumstances or when I think someone is clipping cards.
The short version of my philosophy, or “My Coach preffed this Rando, what do I need to know?”:
1. Debate should be a welcoming and open space to all who would try to participate. If you are a debater with accessibility (or other) concerns please feel free to reach out to me ahead of the round and I will work with you to make the space as hospitable as possible.
2. Have a fundamental respect for the other team and the activity. Insulting either or both, or making a debater feel uncomfortable, is not acceptable.
3. Debate is for the debaters. My job, in total, is to watch what you do and act according to how y’all want me. So do you and I’ll follow along.
4. Respond to the other team. If you ignore the other team or try to set the bounds so that their thoughts and ideas can have no access to debate I will be very leery of endorsing you. Find an argument, be a better debater.
5. Offense over Defense. I tend to prefer substantive impacts. That said I will explicitly state here that I am more and more comfortable voting on terminal defense, especially complete solvency takeouts. If I am reasonably convinced your aff does nothing I'm not voting for it.
6. With full credit to Justin Green: When the debate is over I'm going to applaud. I love debate and I love debaters and I plan on enjoying the round.
Empirically using prefs to fine-tune judge selection is a fool's errand. All evidence indicates that judge behaviour deciding rounds is effectively identical as long as strikes are in the mix. So, for your own sake you shouldn't spend too much time thinking about how to pref me. You probably have more important things to do in your life and more interesting things to read. If you want to talk to me about this please do, I'll gladly talk your ear off about the statistical work I've done with debate and what I think it reveals about the activity.
There's no kind of argument I find myself deeply opposed to*, and if won in round I'll vote on just about anything. I tend to lean 'left' on framework claims in K Aff vs. Policy debates and 'right' on substantive claims in round, including K Aff vs. Policy debates. I love in-depth debate and people who show genuine knowledge and passion for their args will be rewarded. While I view Politics DAs as being the educational ZP2theHC I have made my peace with their existence in this activity.
If you're still confused about this, you're overthinking this.
* PRE-UCO Update: I have started to see judge kick ooze its way out of High School debate and into College Debate. I think judge kick is an abomination and forces 2ARs to debate multiple worlds based on their interpretation of how the judge will understand the 2NR and then intervene in the debate. It produces a dearth of depth, and makes all of the '70s-'80s hand-wringing about Condo come true. My compromise with judge kick is this: If the 2NR advocates for judge kick the 2A at the start of 2AR prep is allowed to call for a flip. I will then flip a coin. If it comes up heads the advocacy is kicked, if it comes up tails it isn't. I will announce the result of the flip and then 2AR prep will commence. If the 2A does this I will not vote on any theoretical issues regarding judge kick. If the 2A does not call for a flip I will listen and evaluate theory arguments about judge kick as is appropriate.
Samantha Godbey Paradigm
Samantha Godbey, PhD
Director of Debate
West Virginia University
A note about my education-I started as a novice in 2004 (fossil fuels)- debated through college mostly in CEDA Northeast. My PhD is in Political Science, in particular my dissertatation is on the American public policy process in the area of human trafficking policy. I also have comped in International Relations and Comparative Politics- I have never taken a communications class in my life. All of that means literally nothing except that there are pretty good odds I have not read whatever it is you are reading (policy or k lit). It is your job to explain it to me and pursuade me, not assume that I already know what you are talking about.
How I feel about arguments
I want you all to do whatever it is you do best/ enjoy the most. There is nothing I won’t listen to/ vote on. I really like offense. It is very persuasive to me. I feel as if that is what I look for when I am making my decision at the end of the round, I also like when debaters tell me how they won. I don't like having to look for those reasons/ decide which is most important myself.
Im not crazy about judge intervention, I do my best to come in to every round as tabula rasa as possible. It is your responsibility to persuade me in one way or another to get my ballot.
I believe that I am extremely flow centric (unless you tell me not to be), also seems like I should note that I flow what you say not what is in your speech doc. I wont have your speech doc open at any time unless I am reading cards at the end of the debate. So, if its said in the round, it'll be on my paper. The round is therefore decided by my flow (again, unless told otherwise).
I vote for who wins the debate, I find all types of arguments persuasive from critical to straight up policy. I don't care what you do, just do what you do best (and impact it).
Cecilia Hagen Paradigm
What is important to me:
Clarity is important to me. If I cannot understand you I won't be able to flow you. Be knowledgeable about your arguments and be ready to defend your links and impacts.
Novices* Flow the debate so you don't drop important arguments or miss key details.
J.V. and Varsity* Please explain things for me, I am not always up to date on the topic and it is better to cover all your bases and have a nice clean and clear debate.
For Performance, critical teams and any others* In general I have voted for many arguments. The most important aspect of the debate for me are clarity- being clear and concise, also taking the time to explain arguments for me.
Feel free to ask me specifics before your round if you have any more questions.
Faizan Hussain Paradigm
Faizan Hussain NYU Class of 2020
Affiliation – Edgemont, Stuyvesant
Experience- 3.3 years debating in High School Policy Debate. 0.7 years debating in High School LD. Currently debating for NYU. Tangential experience in coaching Policy and Public Forum
TLDR: Fairly middle of the road coming from a kritikal background, but open to any arguments you make.
Rules that cannot be changed when I judge
1) No Transbigotry good, racism good, ableism good, other morally reprehensible arguments, etc.
2) The debate cannot go over time if the round is time pressured. Changes in time structure that have mutual consent can go through unless they conflict with my deadline to make a decision
3) Misrepresenting the record of your argument through unethical methods like card clipping, cross reading and other similar methods is prohibited. If a team challenges another team for such misrepresentation, the debate will be stopped and decided on the validity of the accusation. If the accusation is deemed true, the accused team will lose, and they will be docked speaker points. If the accusation has insufficient evidence to back it up or is deemed false, the accusing team will lose, and they will be docked speaker points.
4) I will not allow for alternative use time if the tournament doesn’t specify that cross examination time can be substituted for preparation
1) I am uncomfortable with arguments or debating styles that make the debate space inaccessible
2) A person’s request for an accommodation to ensure the fairness of the round or the health of the participant should be respected
3) Use gender neutral pronouns unless you know the pronouns of the person you are referring to.
4) I do not care whether or not you use the entirety of speech or prep time, and do not find it impressive to give a stand up rebuttal
5) I would prefer that you flash evidence and analytics to your opponents and me. I will delete the latter component after the round.
1) Prep ends when you’re done prepping, but time after prep should be devoted solely to flashing documents or starting the speech
2) I consider prep to be documenting arguments and organizing the speech, which includes copying and pasting.
3) Would prefer disclosure unless there’s a strong reason for it otherwise, including new affs
4) Don’t necessarily think that you have to mention an argument directly to answer it (i.e Saying that the aff and alt are mutually exlcusive attacks the perm), although your arguments still need to be specific to whatever nuanced critique the other team is making
5) If you’re unintelligible to me, I will exclaim clear, give you 2 more chances, then drop my pen
1) I’m not that stringent on requiring you to put most of arguments on the line by line. Overviews to me can be used for extending dropped arguments, but also answering arguments that you need to answer
2) Generally favor offense/defense paradigm
3) Impact Calc/ Role of the Ballot is nice when started early
4) You should strive to make me sign my ballot within the first 30 seconds of your 2NR/2AR and push me towards the path of least judge intervention
1) Generally a fan of the CP and DA strategy
2) I don’t believe that all CPs require a solvency advocate, although an advocate certainly helps and there are certain case impacts that need a solvency advocate.
3) That being said, a solvency advocate really helps on some of the more abusive CPs (Process, Delay, etc.). In these sorts of the debates, the aff and neg should tussle over whether or not the debate that the CP entails is germane to resolutional discussion
1) Make sure to explain the terminology and theory behind your criticism. There may assumptions behind your argument that you assume I will get, but I probably won’t, and I won’t do extra work for concepts that I could not reasonably expect your opponents to understand.
2) Specificity in the links is crucial, and generic links make me more likely to lean aff on the perm
3) Make sure to articulate how the alt resolves the links and their associated impacts when going for the alt
4) I slightly prefer kritikal debate
1) I do view the politics DA as legitimate, and I like this DA
2) Make sure to specify the direction of the Politics DA and who needs to be convinced.
3) I prefer Topic DAs over other DAs, although I do appreciate other DAs with specific links to the DA
4) Make sure to weigh the DA against the case , or vice versa
1) Don’t have a concrete definition of how I view these debates. On one hand I think that debate grows from the pedagogical diversity of these last few years, but on the other hand I find that people use generally abusive affs that don’t really promote an educational paradigm to debate
2) The Neg should articulate why their interpretation creates a model of debate that is pedagogically useful and preferably resolves the aff. The latter doesn’t need to happen all the time, because if some instances the aff may be something that cannot and should not be included in debate.
3) The aff should value a strong counter-interpretation, and link the framework to the criticism of the aff or go for the permutation.
4) Don’t necessarily believe that affs have to be tied to the resolution at all, but these affs should have better reason than the resolutional performance affs
5) Again, generally willing to vote on anything
1) I am biased towards to the aff on conditionality
2) Don’t be blippy on a violation, and make sure to clearly articulate the standards and voters
3) Love Topicality
1) I will try to ensure that I don’t discriminate against disabilities when using speaker points (i.e docking points for stuttering or giving points for a stand up 1AR).
2) References to pop culture, even if it’s a miss for me I’ll likely try to give some bump
3) I base speaker points on whether you adopted good strategies against your opponent and how good your responses were to the opponent.
Philosophies that I find similar to mind
Vikram Kohli, Matt Malia
May Adjust this paradigm later as I continue judging, but for now just make sure to have fun debating and learn
John Katsulas Paradigm
John Katsulas, Director of Debate, Boston College
30 years coaching
Here are the rules for debate:
1) The affirmative side must advocate a plan of action by the United States Federal Government. If you merely read poetry, dance, or play music, you will lose.
2) The negative side must defend a consistent policy position in the debate. The negative may choose to defend the status quo, or the negative may advocate an unconditional counterplan.
3) Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue.
4) Conditionality is prohibited.
5) The resolution is worded as a policy proposition, which means that policy making is the focus of debate.
6) Kritiques are not welcome.
7) Performance-style debate belongs in theatre productions.
Here are suggestions for debating in front of me:
1) The affirmative side has huge presumption on topicality if they can produce contextual evidence to prove their plan is topical.
2) Agent counterplans are fine. Don’t waste your time arguing PICS bad arguments against them. The legitimacy of international fiat is debatable, but I definitely believe there are far stronger arguments favoring limiting fiat to U.S. governmental actors.
3) Politics disadvantages are welcome. I like to hear them. Affirmatives should attack the internal link stories on many of these disadvantages. This is frequently a more viable strategy than just going for impact turns.
4) Both sides should argue solvency against affirmative plans and negative counterplans. Both sides should attack the links and internal links of impacts.
5) If you are incomprehensible, I won’t re-read all of your evidence after the debate to figure out your arguments.
6) Negative can win my ballot on zero risk of affirmative case solvency. Many affirmatives cases are so tragically flawed that they can be beaten by an effective cross-examination and/or analytical case presses.
7) I am very strict on 1ARs making new answers to fully developed disadvantages which don’t change from the 1NC.
8) Cross-examination answers are binding.
9) ASPEC: I won’t vote on it UNLESS you ask in cross-ex and they refuse to specify an agent.
10) Too late to add new links and impacts to your disadvantages during the first negative rebuttal.
I have a low threshold for dismissing non-real world arguments like nuclear war good and wipe-out.
V Keenan Paradigm
This is not a change in philosophy; it’s a clarification for those who lack the literary interpretation skills for the haikus and those who don’t quite feel I’ve written enough about my particular lens on debate.
I do not WANT to be on the email chain/what-not; however, I SHOULD* be on the chain/what-not. Note the critical ability to distinguish these two things, and the relevance of should to the fundamental nature of this activity. Email for this purpose: email@example.com .
(Do not try to actually contact me with this address - it’s just how I prevent the inevitable electronically transmitted cyber infection from affecting me down the road, because contrary to popular belief, I do understand disads, I just have actual probability/internal link threshold standards.)
Things I am cool with:
Tell met the story
Critical Lit (structural criticisms are more my jam)
CP fun times and clever intersections of theory
A text. Preferable a well written text. Unless there are no texts.
Not half-assing going for theory
So many things about SPACE!!!
You do you
Things that go over less well:
Accidentally sucking your own limited time by unstrategic or functionally silly theory
Critical lit (high theory … yes, I know I only have myself to blame, so no penalty if this is your jelly, just more explanation)
Multiple contradictory conditional neg args
A never ending series of non existent nuclear wars that I am supposed to determine the highest and fastest probability of happening (so many other people to blame)
Telling me a proper “international treaties” topic predicated on international law is not part of the “legal topic” rotation year and then making them a plank of something that doesn’t seem to be able to teach the basics of test cases in judicial restrictions.
Not having your damn tags with the ev in the speech doc. Seriously.
As a general note: Winning framework does not necessarily win you a debate - it merely prioritizes or determines the relevancy of arguments in rounds happening on different levels of debate. Which means, the distinction between policy or critical or performative is a false divide. If you are going to invoke a clash of civilizations mentality there should be a really cool video game analogy or at least someone saying “Release the Kraken”.
Don't make the debate harder for yourself.
Try to have fun and savor the moment.
*** *** ***
*Judges should be on the chain/what-not for two reasons: 1)as intelligence gathering for their own squad and 2) to expedite in round decision making. My decisions go faster than most panels I’m on when I am the one using prep time to read through the critical extended cards BEFORE the end of the debate. I almost never have the docs open AS the debaters are reading them because I limit my flow to what you SAY. (This also means I don’t read along for clipping … because I am far more interested in if you are a) comprehensible and b) have a grammatical sentence in some poor overhighlighted crap.) Most importantly, you should be doing the evidence comparisons verbally somehow, not relying on me to compare cards after the debate somehow. If I wanted to do any of that, I would have stayed a high school English teacher and assigned way more research papers.
I’m taking the time to explain this bit in detail because 1) I don’t have an actual team here and 2) I wrote some of this last year for the NDT**. SIGH**. That also ALL required hedging your bets competitively on a panel, so I recognize that I may not be the person your strat is ideally geared towards, which is fine, and can be a strategically smart choice. But that means understanding what I do and do not care about on the flow in that case will matter more. I’m old, so I really have no compunction identifying that I didn’t get something because you failed to flag it well, or yelling “clear” when you start to mumble through your 8th uniqueness card I don’t care about.
** Collins, Suzanne (2009-09-01). The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press. Kindle Edition
The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch — this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.” To make it humiliating as well as torturous, the Capitol requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others. The last tribute alive receives a life of ease back home, and their district will be showered with prizes, largely consisting of food. All year, the Capitol will show the winning district gifts of grain and oil and even delicacies like sugar while the rest of us battle starvation. “It is both a time for repentance and a time for thanks,” intones the mayor.
Adam R. Lee Paradigm
I debated at Texas in the late nineties/early aughts. I coach Boston College and am an attorney in Maine. I contain multitudes.
I'm here because I want to be here. I hope you want to be here as well. Debate should bring you joy. I flow well and on paper. I initially was against being on your email chain, but have now realized that as a matter of efficiency it's easier for me to aggregate the necessary evidence to make a decision at the end of the round. But I'm not going to look at it until the end of the round. That it exists in a document and on my laptop doesn't mean I will necessarily read it. My flow, not the speech document, will determine what arguments are in the debate.
Your evidence will only be given weight if it was sufficiently explained and debated. I enjoy debates that demonstrate to me that you are actually thinking rather than rotely reading your evidence or blocks. Please don't take this as an endorsement of one substantive type of debate over another. I have seen T debates, theory debates, K debates, C/P D/A Debates, and case debates I have loved. I have seen T debates, theory debates, K debates, C/P D/A debates, and case debates I have hated.
Accordingly, my preference is that you make no adjustments to your preferred method or choice of argument and that I adjudicate the round based on you justifying why that it is preferable to any other proposed by the other team. The key to this is that YOU MUST WIN, which is best done through impact analysis. Absent impact analysis, I will unfortunately be forced to see things my way. If your 2NR or 2AR lacks a moment (or many) in which you talk about why you win, you will likely lose. So, the remainder of this is my way of informing you about my defaults, all of which only come into play if you have not effectively done the above.
Topicality: Competing interpretations makes the most sense to me. However, interpretations that are not meaningfully grounded in the words of the resolution are not, to me, T interpretations. Your interpretation should have net benefits; I feel that the limits debate (either way) usually makes a pretty good one. My senior year (now 17 years ago, I am old) I went for T in about 50% of my 2NRs. I think that “kritikal affs” that say you don’t have to be topical are being lazy. (preface: this next sentence may come off with a certain “back in my day tone" because as we have established, I am old) My partner and I ran an ironic affirmative on the Africa Topic, of course many people went for T, we beat the vast majority of those teams because we had a smart counter-interpretation. The topic does not constrain creativity, being topical doesn’t either. If the neg’s interpretation precludes creativity, doesn’t that seem like an argument against their interpretation rather than the notion that one should be topical? To presume that your aff is already excluded by the resolution is silly. The resolution is a meaningless text only given meaning by being debated. Topicality debates are the opportunity to do that. Consider the rant over, but what you should take away is I love good T debates as rare as they are.
Theory: I’ll vote on it (see Topicality above to see how best to frame it), but would prefer not to. I tend to err negative on counterplan theory.
"Framework": I understand the strategic convenience of calling these arguments framework and dealing with them on one flow. Nevertheless, I find it remarkably sad that we are not (after several decades now) capable of recognizing that there is value in the discussion of what happens in the hypothetical circumstances that the Federal Government passes plan and value in the discussion that there are problematic presuppositions that may inform the formation of that plan. I can understand that there is no such thing as fiat, neither I nor anyone else is mistaking you for the President, Congress, or the Supreme Court; however, that does not mean that there is no reason to evaluate the consequences of what happens if the Federal Government does something. Conversely, this does not mean that the ethical ramifications of ideas or words should not also be discussed. In essence, these are Extra-Topicality arguments and/or a reason why your impacts outweigh the other team's.
Disads: Love em, Uniqueness is important, but not determinative. Yes, it’s hard to win zero risk of the disad, but propensity is as important (your job to debate this) if not more important (again, I’ll leave that to you all in the debate) than magnitude.
Counterplans: The most effective tools in the negative arsenal. Why don't you use them?
Kritiks: Went for them very frequently as a Debater and coached them frequently as well. That said, I think far too much time is spent discussing your high theory than is done applying it to what we're debating. At the end of the day, your self-satisfaction in being able to talk abstractly about what your authors say will be substantially less useful than the ability to apply what they say directly to the resolution or the aff. Accordingly, I prefer when you make your links specific to the aff (sometimes well done by making arguments on the case debate) and articulate more than just some ethereal concept as the alternative (however i will vote negative for a well articulated reason that the kritik argument turns case). When you do not do this, the Permutation often looks very attractive to me. In addition, it pays to read “disads” to the permutation and for the aff to read “disads” to the alt that do not link to the permutation. Kritikal affs should engage the resolution. My default is that they should be Topical. Again, I am quite open to compelling arguments to the contrary and as to what constitutes a topical engagement of the resolution.
Performance: Sure, but as with anything tell me why your ideas are better than the other team's. I'm not really cool with, I read a poem…it was about potato bugs of the East Antilles…poems are good…I win. I do not think that because you read something before the other team does, you win. Debate is about debating ideas; I do not care HOW you debate those ideas so long as you do so and do so better than the other team.
Case Debate: No excuse not to have something to say on case. Make what you say interact well with your off-case strategy. Be able to distinguish between the separate case arguments you make.
Do not be a jerk to the other team or your partner, I love a little well placed trash talk especially if it's funny, but don't be a jerk (it's your job to figure out where the line between these two is). Do not steal prep time. I'm pretty nice, so if you have any questions ask me.
Joe Leeson-Schatz Paradigm
Updated for 2014-2015 debate season.
I am no longer awarding points for people taking the veg pledge. However, I still strongly believe that if you care about the environment, racism, or injustice that you should register at tournaments vegetarian or vegan. Tournaments will provide for your nutiritional needs and you will have abstained from using your registration fees paying for the slaughter of sentient creatures whose death requires abhorent working conditions for people of color, massive greenhouse gas emissions, and the death of individuals.
What people decide to consume is a political act, not a personal one. Deciding to consume flesh at debate tournaments continues the pattern of accepting violence and discrimination. This happens for workers, for people living in food deserts, people living in countries across the world, and for the non/human animals sent to slaughter. Tournaments are not food deserts. Your choice to consume differently can make a tangible impact on debate as a community and beyond. Your choice has global and local ramifications. I urge you to make the correct choice in registering your dietary choice even if it has no impact on your speaker points. Several people said that they didn't want to be coerced into making the decision to go vegetarian or vegan at tournaments for speaker points. Now is your chance to make that choice without the impact of speaker points.
All that being said, how you choose to debate is a political choice as well. You can debate however you like but you should realize that the methodology and the content you put forth are not neutral choices. Whatever choices you make you should be ready to defend them in round. “As Stuart and Elizabeth Ewen emphasize in Channels of Desire: The politics of consumption must be understood as something more than what to buy, or even what to boycott. Consumption is a social relationship, the dominant relation-ship in our society – one that makes it harder and harder for people to hold together, to create community. At a time when for many of us the possibility of meaningful change seems to elude our grasp, it is a question of immense social and political proportions.” (hooks 376).
If it is not already clear, I will say it outright: I view debate as a space for education, activism, and social justice. This does not mean I won't vote on framework or counterplans. What it does mean is that the arguments that I will find most appealing are those arguments that speak to how traditional approaches to debate are beneficial to us as individuals to create a better world. It is not that fairness is irrelevant, but that fairness is relevant only to that extent. Fairness plays a part in constructing meaninful education and activism but is not the sole standard to enable good debate. Concepts of fairness are not value-neutral but it is a debate that can be defend and won in front of me since I do not think fairness is irrelevant either. For teams breaking down such structures, you still must win the debate that your approach to debate is better for advacing causes of social justice. If you like policymaking and are running counterplans you merely need to win that your counterplan is a better approach. The same applies for theory violations. I will vote on them if you win that the impact to the violation is important enough for me to pull the trigger. The same is also true for kritiks and other styles of debate. Win that your approach and your argument deserves to win because of the impact that it has.
Again, to be clear, this does not mean that I intend to abandon the flow or vote based upon my personal beliefs. My belief is that debate is more than a game and that the things we say and do in it are not neutral-choices. This does not necessarily mean that so-called traditional policy debate is bad but that the way it should be approached by those teams should not be assumed to be neutral.
Whether it is what you eat, or what you debate, your choice is political. Our world can change. It is up to all of us to make it happen. Movements are already happening all around us. Don't let the norms dictate what you debate or what you consume. Debate should be at the forefront of these initiatives. Use the education you gain in debate to say something and to do something meaningful both in round and beyond.
Patrick Linford Paradigm
I judge rounds based on the best debating in the round, not in favor of or opposition to any particular argument in the round. While rounds may have real impacts, the ballot goes to the winner of the debate (the team that does the best debating).
The best way to earn my ballot is with good argumentation, and analysis in the rebuttals. I expect the final two speeches to make it clear how to view the round position by position if necessary. I want you to explain the cross application, not hope that I can find it on my flow. I want you to explain how arguments interact and why they do so favorably for you. I don’t vote for the best evidence or even the best positions, but the better argumentation. That means explain your positions, and if I’m reading your evidence after the round, it is either for my own curiosity, or to verify that it says what you claimed it said. It is not to say, “This is the best card and explains the position.” I also have a preference for a few strategic arguments that interact well rather than many arguments that lack internal consistency, though I can vote on either.
On traditional ‘policy’ debates I am also more impressed with tight internal link stories rather than huge impacts on the probability x impacts calculus. A clear and more probable story will beat a muttled and improbable huge impact story, but I do require you to make this point in round. Please explain that the greater probability means more risk despite a lower impact (I do hold the bias that risk=probability x impact). I hold no inherent theory assumptions except that fairness and education are real (I think debate is an activity that is competitive and educational).
On traditional ‘K’ debates I prefer internal consistency. You will not lose my vote if you link to your own criticism, but I am unlikely to give it the same weight if you do. This is magnified for the affirmative, since negation theory grants the negative some leeway for internal inconsistency.
On more holistic and critical arguments, I tend to also widen my judging philosophy more holistically. I will not be offended or upset by any arguments on either side since debate is a competitive game. That being said, real world violence (verbal or otherwise) will not be tolerated (keep the debate about ideas, not about actors). That is not to say arguments about social position are not valid.
I have not preference on speaking style. I will flow what is clear. If not clear, I will say so, then put my pen down (if my pen is down, I'm not taking notes). Speaker points will be a function of quality of speech (regardless of speed) and quality of argumentation.
In conclusion, I will judge the debate in round. While I have been out of the activity for about a decade, I think you can trust me to be a fair critic. I hope you get as much out of the activity and the community as possible. I am certain you have and will put more into it than you expected initially. Good luck.
Zhane Lloyd Paradigm
Yes, include me on the email chain. firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooklyn Tech: 2011 - 2012 (those three novice UDL tournaments apparently count)
NYU: 2014 - 2018
I help coach for Brooklyn Tech and The New School.
Update 2019: I don't feel like deleting below the TL;DR because some things may still apply, but I'd like to add some new stuff that are probably most salient for debaters required to look at a paradigm 15 minutes before the round.
For monetary reasons primarily, I've begun judging PF. Points 2-5 below are probably most beneficial for looking at.
1). SPACE TOPIC SPECIFIC: I don't care whether or not you explicitly talk about China/Russia cooperation, but I think outer space itself is a cool topic and I do want to hear about it in round.
2). There is 75% chance I know something about what you're saying, but for debater's sake, I don't know anything and want it explained to me. Very well. I am a storyteller and I like storytelling. Tell me the story of your argument.
3). Impact framing matters SO much. I need the question "why should I care" to be answered by the debaters. The question "why should I care about your argument more than your opponents" should also be answered.
4). I don't have an argument or style preference. The creative in me loves a good performance though.
5). I can't believe I have to say this, but the 2NR and 2AR are the round winning speeches. This seems like a 'duh', but I've been questioned about arguments that were in the debate that I didn't evaluate and usually it's because it wasn't in the final two speeches. If debaters don't care enough to put an argument in their final speech, then I don't care enough to evaluate it.
TL;DR - Debating for NYU pretty much means I'll vote for anything argued reasonably well with very few exceptions.
Most of the affs I ran at NYU were soft left - government solvency w/structural violence impacts - so I think it makes me sympathetic towards most kinds of aff, irregardless of where they fall on the spectrum. Either that or my feeling that debate is a game so debaters are entitled to whatever argument they think is most strategic. Within reason of course.
My feelings on affs that do nothing is based on the topic. For something like education or immigration that effects the average person and not just fancy policymakers in $2,000 suits- I want an aff that interacts with those structures in some way (even if it's just an epistemic shift). If it's something like space exploration or executive authority - I'm less likely to care that the aff does nothing. Regardless of how I feel about the topic or the aff, I'll always vote for whichever team I think did the better debating.
I don’t mind speed, but when you read tags, slow down. I need to understand what you’re saying because it’s going on my flow. This is also true of analytics and theory arguments. If it’s not on my flow, I’m not going to evaluate it.
A White boy from Walter Payton joined the NYU team and read nothing but Baudrillard in his first year, so it's made me more sympathetic towards post-modernism (still doesn't rank high in my fave args though). With that being said, if you want a judge to help you argue it better, then I'm not the judge for you.
Yes, I will vote on T and Framework. I went for T a lot in my senior year and was also pretty sympathetic towards Framework. If the 2NR was popping or the 2AR was shit (or both), I will pull the trigger on Framework or T as I would a K, DA, or CP.
Even though I lean towards Ks (primarily ones centered around Blackness), I do not know all of the scholarship, so I expect that to be well explained in the debate. That should be a good rule of thumb regardless to be honest. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a traditional disad or counterplan – I am willing to vote on those as well.
Also, there's a 99% chance I will be wearing a WWE shirt. Make a reference and I'll give you higher speaks.
Most likely, if you've had me as a judge, then you know my timer. This is where I downloaded it from (and yes, it's wrestling-related): https://youtu.be/-TkA3ObTSLc
David Merkle Paradigm
General: Be sure to explain how specific args on the flow should affect my overall evaluation of the debate. In many debates, both teams have offense on different pages of the flow after the final speeches. When this occurs, comparing your impacts to those of your opponents is critical, as is explaining the relevance of these impacts to my decision. The 2NR/2AR should compare the world of the affirmative to the world of the negative.
Cross-X: I view answers in cross-X as binding unless told otherwise. Feel free to be funny if you can, but don’t be rude, and there is a fine line.
Topicality/Procedurals: Negatives going for topicality should provide specific examples of ground that they lose and why that ground is important. Generally, quality of ground (on both sides) is more important than quantity of ground.
“Nonpolicy” affirmatives: I am open to affs that do not defend a specific policy action; in fact I hear them quite frequently. Negatives going for framework need to impact their arguments beyond just “fairness” and “education.” As with any other debate, both sides should engage in impact comparison.
Counterplans: I’ll listen to just about any counterplan you want to run. I tend to lean negative on most counterplan theory questions, although I don’t find claims of “aff side bias” very persuasive. I can be swayed to vote aff on theory if the negative does not specifically justify their type of strategy. For example, if the negative reads a critique and a counterplan that links to the K, the affirmative can make arguments as to why contradictory positions are uniquely bad. In this case, the negative should justify not only conditional positions, but conditional args that link to each other. Teams should be clear on what the different CP statuses entail. Does conditionality mean that the status quo is always an option when I make my decision, or does the negative have to make a decision in the 2NR? If dispo means that the aff can make you go for the counterplan by straight turning it, then what constitutes a “straight turn?” I assume that permutations are tests of competition unless told otherwise.
Disads: The more case-specific the better. Direction of the link is key; if the aff wins the entirety of the link direction, I view this as at least terminal defense for the aff, even if the negative is winning the uniqueness question. If you’re going for a d/A in the 2NR, weighing is always important. While timeframe is still important, I view probability and magnitude as more essential factors in the decision calculus.
Kritiks: Impacts! Negatives running critiques often focus too heavily on the link level, forgetting why the K is important. That said, specificity of links to the aff is still key when answering permutations. Be sure to explain the way I should evaluate the implications of the K against the impacts of the aff. An analysis of the role of the ballot is helpful. It helps to have an alternative, but if you can win that the K functions as a case turn, you don’t necessarily need an alt. For affirmatives: don’t let your case go away when answering a critique; be sure to extend the 1AC. Aff framework args are more powerful as substantive rather than theoretical questions. That is, “critiques are cheating” is not a compelling claim, but the aff can use framework args to instruct the way I should evaluate different types of impacts. Oh, and please don’t make “aff choice” one of your framework args.
Good luck and have fun!
Isabella Minter Paradigm
I am an Army West Point Debater, 2016 JV/Novice National Champion, 2017 and 2018 NDT Participant, CEDA DoubleOcta Finalist, and Black Girl Magician.
This is my fourth year debating w/ Collegiate Policy Debate.
I will listen to Ks or Policy; just make sure it's warranted. Ultimately, my flow will determine who wins the round, so being efficient and orderly would be beneficial. I flow cross-ex. I enjoy, in the last rebuttals, each side telling me what to look for when determining who wins the round in the overview.
I enjoy good K debates, as I am a K debater! I am very familiar with black studies.
With that being said, whether or not it comes down to methodology or framework debates, it is up to the debaters to explain their evidence.
I won't connect the arguments for you and I expect to hear great articulations to win my ballot. Impact Calculus is always good.
I may or may not vote on T; depends on the answered and unanswered questions.
Speaker Points vary starting at 25. Not in favor of jerks, love comedy. PLEASE make me laugh :)
If you really want me to hear something you say, slow down and tell me so I can flow it. Remember, slow and steady can win races too.
ROB is crucial. It is a framing question of how I should view the round. Explain your link story, how it turns the aff, how your alt functions (EXPLAIN your alt-give me something to weigh with the aff and its impacts of the aff), and how it interacts with the aff. If not, i'll have to vote on "perm solves, case outweighs" and other aff solvency claims. For aff, explain what the perm is and what is wrong with framework or whatever. Both sides: Make sure to interact with the other team's evidence. NOT generic blocks.
Counterplans are okay. AFF should make any theory arguments that apply.
Disads should apply to the AFF. If it is a tricky disad, explain it. Trickiness does not win rounds if I don't understand. Always try to answer case.
You should explain why your performance is important, how it relates to debate, the resolution, the other team, and me. Don't just dance, sing, play tracks, or whatever and expect me to vote for you.
Make your arguments as needed.
Roberto Montero Paradigm
Roberto Montero, Bronx Science ’16, Binghamton ’20. I debated 4 years in high school and broke at the ToC if that means anything to you.
There are two types of arguments in debate (and their inverses): smart arguments and good arguments. Some arguments happen to be both but most of the time they are neither (thus either a bad argument or a not-so-intelligent argument). A smart argument is well-researched, nuanced, and interesting. Good arguments are strategic and effective at winning debates. For example, the politics disad is a ‘good argument’ in that it wins a lot of debates and can be executed and deployed to perfection in the correct hands. That doesn’t make it a smart argument because every novice can tell you that it doesn’t reflect real politics outside of a basic uniqueness claim (which half the time is cut out of context because news articles aren’t written as conclusive as cards are purported to be). A smart argument isn’t always good however. If you have a critique that you’ve put a grad thesis amount of work into, it might make some interesting observations about the world/aff but may not be the most strategic.
Understanding the distinction between these two types of arguments is a recipe for combining them and developing the most well rounded arguments and a higher quality of debates. However, it isn’t my job to sit behind my laptop and mock the quality of your arguments, rather it is up to you as debaters to develop and articulate your arguments as such. When judging I do my best to let debaters do the debating so regardless of what my opinions/thoughts on your arguments are, as long as they are warranted, impacted and clearly extended throughout the speeches. This is also important for understanding how I judge debates—framing your rebuttals with important technical concessions on the line by line is valuable in making my decision easier and not make me sift through dropped arguments on both sides.
The biggest problem in most debates starts with that whole line by line thing. Teddy Albiniak taught me that one of the ways that high schoolers develop bad habits is through imitating prominent college debaters. The thing that bothers me the most is the reliance on 7/8 minute overviews. While this may be something that works for some very talented college debaters, generally it shouldn’t be a tactic employed by most. There is a place for an overview, and it serves a valuable and strategic function but there is such a thing as excessive. This is one of the biggest tradeoffs with engaging in the line by line in general which is pretty important.
*This last portion, like most of my paradigm, assumes a basic model of debate. This means that if you present an alternative model of debate and a different metric for evaluating arguments I will accept that. To quote Alain Badiou It’s only a principle, it’s not a programme. Debate isn’t standard and that is one of the things that makes it such an enjoyable and valuable activity, so take this with a grain of salt.
The second biggest problem is case debating. ~~Newsflash~~ most affs are bad. Not even most, definitely all of the affirmatives are bad. One of the best way to satisfy judges (and me) is by exploiting that on the case page. The threshold for smart 1nc case analytics is a little high but by the block some smart engagement with the warrants and internal links of the 1ac, especially at a basic, logical level, can only help you in the long run. This is particularly important for me as a judge because I can easily justify pulling the trigger on a presumption/0 risk of the aff type argument if mishandled by the affirmative and well-articulated/nuanced by the negative. This is not to say it’s impossible to be aff or that even that the standard is higher but that you should be prepared to defend the 1ac against larger level solvency questions.
We also need to talk about presumption. It is important, especially versus critical affirmatives. If your aff cannot answer the question of why the ballot is key or implicate it in any sense, you have abdicated my role as an adjudicator. All I can really do is enter a team that is victorious on a ballot, just saying that this is obvious does not mean the issue goes away. Perhaps this contradiction is too much to overcome in 8 minutes of a 1ac, and maybe is a problem with how we construct affirmatives but something persuasive needs to be said that doesn't amount to "You're right nothing we said or do matters but you should vote for us anyways" in 1ac cross-x.
Tl;dr please debate the case. Just do it. Like cigarettes and overviews it’s not cool just because the big kids do it.
As for specific arguments I don’t have much to say on all the ~nuances~ of agent counter plans or the intricacies of politics disad theory. I think the go through every issue thing is cliché and generally just a waste of time. If you have any specific questions about my thoughts on some random thing I’d be happy to answer it but I won’t bother to write down an arbitrary opinion on the 7th subpoint of some condo block from 2006. The only issue worth addressing (and what I’m almost confident is the only thing people look at) is framework.
The biggest problem with framework is that a lot of 2nr’s seem to forget to extend an impact. And when they do remember to extend an impact it turns out to just be a really bad impact. Although I’m willing to vote on a dropped fairness argument I’m still skeptical that the age old phrase ‘Debate is a game so fairness you broke the rules you lose’ meets the necessary threshold of an argument. If you plan on going for this impact in front of me make sure it is clearly articulated and not the same circular claim without a warrant.
What I think the so called ‘intrinsic’ value of debate is can be loosely understood as clash. The ability for two teams to debate the merits of competing positions seems valuable not only for education but is just plain fun. Not to say that clash is an impact in it of itself because at some level it’s fundamentally inevitable, but it’s a question of what that clash looks like. This should structure how you articulate a framework impact (or answer one for that matter) most likely to get my ballot. If framework is a question of competing models or visions of debate then you just have to prove comparatively that your model produces better debates, skills or education.
The second biggest problem with framework debates is that negative teams let affs get away with too much. If the 2ar gets to stand up and weigh the entirety of the 1ac versus framework it puts you way behind. The easiest way for an affirmative to defeat framework is to complicate and problematize the way they have constructed the world. This means if you win some truth claims about your aff and the way the world operates through your theory or interpretation then it nullifies a lot of their arguments. For example if you read an affirmative that says the global system of capitalism is bad and the 2nr doesn’t answer the case debate, then what do their skills matter if they can only reproduce a system of capital you have critiqued. This, like any good framework rebuttal, requires a lot of framing and contextualizing the line by line through these bigger picture questions.
The best way for negative teams to check back against this is to just reduce the risk of the aff. You can look back up to that whole portion about case debating, it applies to K affs as well. The other necessary piece is a topical version of the aff. Obviously not helpful against an anti-topical aff but in a majority of framework debates a persuasive and nuanced topical version of the aff goes a long way in resolving a lot of their offense. It still requires a larger impact in conjunction because at the end of the day it is still a defensive argument.
Tl;dr don’t waste time, make good arguments, do line by line, debate the case, extend a framework impact, don’t say talks about how.
John Nagy Paradigm
Please include me in your speech doc thread. My email is email@example.com
I enjoy coaching and judging novice debates. I think the novice division is the most important and representative of what is good in our community. That being said, I opposed and still oppose the ADA Novice Curriculum Packet. It's an attempt by some in the community, who don't even have novice programs, to use the novice division to further their vision of what debate "should" look like. I don't like that.
I really like judging debates where the debaters speak clearly, make topic specific arguments, make smart analytic arguments, attack their opponent’s evidence, and debate passionately. I cut a lot of cards so I know a lot about the topic. I don’t know much about critical literature.
Framework debates: I don’t enjoy judging them. Everyone claims their educational. Everyone claims their being excluded. It’s extremely difficult to make any sense of it. I would rather you find a reason why the 1AC is a bad idea. There’s got to be something. I can vote for a no plan-text 1AC, if you’re winning your arguments. With that being said, am not your ideal judge for such 1AC’s because I don’t think there’s any out of round spill-over or “solvency.”
Topicality: Am ok with topicality. Competing interpretations is my standard for evaluation. Proving in-round abuse is helpful but not a pre-requisite. If am judging in novice at an ADA packet tournament, it will be very difficult to convince me to vote on topicality. Because there are only 2-3 1AC's to begin with, there's no predictability or limits arguments that make any sense.
Disadvantages: Like them. The more topic specific the better.
Counterplans: Like them. The more specific to the 1AC the better. Please slow down a little for the CP text.
Kritiks: ok with them. I don’t know a lot about any critical literature, so know that.
Rate of Delivery: If I can’t flow the argument, then it’s not going on my flow. And please slow down a little bit for tags.
Likes: Ohio State, Soft Power DA’s, case debates
Dislikes: Michigan, debaters that are not comprehensible, District 7 schools that cut and paste evidence from other schools and present it as their own without alteration. Do that in front of me and I might vote against you automatically.
Joe Patrice Paradigm
Paperless Policy: I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or I can do the situational dropbox thing. Whatever. Regale me with your evidence. I don't read it during round, I just want it all for post-round evaluation and caselist obligations. I still flow based on what you SAY so don't cut corners on clarity just because I have your speech docs in my inbox.
Everything Else: I listen to everything, but I characterize myself as a critic of argument. Basically that’s a kind of pretentious way of saying that I listen to everything, but realistically note that in evaluation, all else equal, certain things are more compelling than others.
NOTE: Do not necessarily interpret any of my preferences as bans on any kind of arguments, or even guides to how to select down. It's a threshold of believability issue.
Policy Debates: Compare your impacts, weigh them, and tell me a story of the world of voting Aff vs. voting Neg.
I prefer fewer positions with longer evidence, clearer scenarios, and more analysis of impact probability rather than harping on the massive size of the impacts. If I hear that an increase in spending will collapse the world economy and trigger a nuclear war, you may as well tell me aliens are invading. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote on it, but I’ll die a little inside and there’s frighteningly little of my soul left to kill – I’m a lawyer.
Counterplans are cool. In the world of Agent CPs I prefer topic specific agent fights over broad generic agent shifts, but I’ll vote on them because, hey, it’s the world we live in. I’ve been more demanding of CP/Perm theory arguments. I think these arguments are akin to T, yet unlike T people don't feel compelled to explain the abuse story. I do not think "the Perm is severance" is a link...I need to know why it severs and preferably a reason why that is uniquely disadvantageous. That said, if that's in the debate I'm more than willing to vote on these args because people all too often don't answer them well enough, probably because they don't know how to flow anymore. But who am I to judge! Oh right... I'm the judge. Kinda my job.
In other words, if you're going the policy route, you’ll make me so happy teeing off with specific arguments tied to the real policy debate of the subject.
And if you’re reading this harsh criticism of policy debate with a smug look on your face, slow your roll there K debater...
Kritik Debates: Kritiks challenge the advocacy of the other team in salient ways that could be lost in a pure utilitarian analysis. Issues of exclusion and oppression ingrained in the heart of a policy proposal or the representations of the other team can be called out with kritiks ranging from simple “-ism” args to a postmodern cavalcade.
It is NOT an excuse to say random pomo garbage that sounds cool but doesn’t bear upon what’s happening in the round. Esoteric ramblings from some dead German can – and often do – have as little to do with the debate round as the hypothetical global nuclear wars that have killed us a million times over in this activity. Look, I actually KNOW what most of that garbage means, but that's not a reason for you to not make sense. Make the K relevant to the specific policy/issue discussion we’re supposed to be having and I’ll be very happy.
Again, I vote on this stuff, but see above about killing me inside.
When it comes to K/Performance Affs, I’m pretty open to however you justify the Aff (metaphorically, as activism, as some kind of parable), so long as deep down you’re advocating that all things equal, “current space policy bad.” Take whatever tack to get there you want, but basically be the direction of the topic, folks. With all these caveats, if you outright refuse to "affirm" anything in the "topic," that's all well and good, just be a really good T debater. I'll vote for a compelling justification — I’ve recently been told that according to Tabroom, I’m almost exactly .500 in these debates over the last few years. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds right. Frankly, I'd rather hear "we can't be Aff because the resolution is broken and we'll win the T/Framework debate" than some squirrely "we're not topical, but kind of topical, but really not" thing.
An honest pet peeve (that I can be talked out of, round-by-round) is that I don't think “performance” means doing this stuff in-round. For example, Dadaism is an argument, not a reason to answer every question with “Fishbulbs!"
Every time you steal prep time will also kill me a little more inside. But you’re going to do it anyway.
Joe Patten Paradigm
Joe Patten - I make it a point to judge the round based on the evidence provided by both teams, and do not make arguments for teams - in other words, I will vote for teams even if I don't personally agree with their arguments. I can judge speed, but tend to give higher speaks for debaters who speak clearly.
Moriah Rader Paradigm
I am a GSA for Liberty's debate team and debated for four years previously at Liberty. I primarily ran non-traditional affirmatives on the aff and k's on the neg, but I am not opposed to policy arguments when I judge. The most important thing for me is that you do you in debate rounds and have fun. I believe at the end of the day that debate is a game, but I also believe that the "game" is full of very real in-round and out-of-round implications for debaters and that those implications matter.
Don't read a k just because you read this and see that's what I read as a debater, read what you want to read/will enjoy and I will follow along.
Here are my notes on the things you're probably scanning this for :)
K's are fine with me, just be sure that your link story is strong, you weigh it against the aff's impacts (or explaining how you solve them) and the alternative is clearly explained. But don't assume I know what you're talking about just because I read k's often, I am likely not as familiar with your lit base as you are.
When you're aff debating a k, don't lose your aff!! It's probably your strongest offense and needs to be weighed against the k. Be careful not to get behind on the framework debate and please answer the k with more substance than just framework arguments and theory. I will need warrants and examples of how the perm could function, not just the word "perm."
CP's are neat - explain what parts of the aff they solve for and be clear about what it does. I think CP's can be a super smart option for negative teams, even against non-traditional affs. Also be sure to highlight any net-benefits at least by the block so I get a good picture of what you do.
DA's are fine, but not my favorite if there isn't a strong and well-articulated internal link story. Don't just blitz through blocks or card-dump, but explain your impact scenario clearly and how it out-weighs the aff. With a DA, the impact analysis is probably most important to me followed by the strength of the internal link chain.
Framework vs. Non-Traditional Affirmatives: I enjoy the discussion framework creates about why we debate, the purpose of debate, and whether or not its good. But I don't like framework when I get the sense that it is being used to control the conversation or to avoid the discussion the affirmative has proposed. Keep the flow organized for me, keep your impact scenarios in front of everything, and make smart arguments about a tva and/or ssd solving the aff's impacts.
Non-Traditional Affirmatives vs. Framework: Don't lose your aff! Framing is key throughout the 1ar/2ar. Do your best to explain to me via your counter-interpretation what your model of debate looks like in the debate community and weigh that against framework. Framework has a lot of moving parts, but make sure you're garnering strategic offense wherever you can to win.
This is not totally inclusive, but should give you a bit of an idea of how I think through debates. If you have any questions at any point feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com
Also, I'd appreciate being added to the email chain ahead of time at the same address that's above!
Lastly, I will dock speaker points for using hateful and oppressive speech in any form, even if the other team doesn't call you out on it, I will deduct speaker points as I see fit (max -30 if its seriously awful). I have no issue voting down a team on performance issues if that becomes part of the debate, but I think its up to the debaters in the round to make those arguments and let me know that's where you're taking the debate.
Armands Revelins Paradigm
my email for email chains is firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick update 2018 - some years ago I drafted the rubric for speaker points that you see below. Since then I have monitored developments in the debate community on typical speaker point distribution across all judges/tournaments, as discussed online by people who keep track of such things. I don't really dwell on this data much, but I do try to be mindful of community tendencies. Also, I notice how my own debaters read judge philosophies in crunch-time right before a round, and realize debaters reading this want a tl:dr.
Therefore, note that I probably now give speaker points that inch higher than what I initially suggested. This means in most cases I'm giving 28 and above, for debaters who seem to be doing elim-level debate it's usually 28.5 and above, and for especially impressive debate it's 29 and above. I do still dip into the mid-to-high 27's in occasional instances where I want to make it clear that I think the particular speeches really could use some work. At the time of writing (Jan 2018) my average speaker points are about a 28.5.
*******Paradigm Edited 11/10/13, prior to Wake Forest 2013 *******
** Scroll past speaker point scale to get a shorter philosophy explanation **
Speaker point scale:
0 = the debater committed some sort of ethics violation during the round (e.g. clipping cards)
26 to 26.9 = one or both of the following things happened: a) the debater made some kind of major tactical mistake in the debate, such as a completely dropped off-case position, without any attempt to address how they might still win the debate even if that argument is charitably given the full weight that the opposing team prefers. (more leeway on this is given to novice debates) b) the debater was hostile or rude towards competitors in the debate such that opportunities for respectful discourse concerning different ideas devolved into a breakdown of communication. Debaters have different personalities and approaches and I encourage you to explore ways of comporting yourself that express these personalities and approaches (be proud, indignant, cunning, provocative, etc), but please at all times also communicate with each other as students from different schools who respect each other for taking the time to have a lengthy debate round, in whatever part of the U.S. where you may presently have journeyed for such an encounter.
27 to 27.4 = the debater's overall strategy made sense, but various parts of the debate could have used more depth when instead those parts were fairly 'paint by numbers' (e.g. addressing certain arguments with generic/block answers instead of dealing with them more specifically). Evidence comparisons were fairly sparse, but the basic story on a given sheet of flow paper was clear enough.
27.5 to 27.9 = the debater did a solid job of debating. A coherent strategy was executed well. For certain key issues, initial clash advanced into higher forms of assessment, including a charitable understanding of why your opponent's arguments might be good yet your argument is ultimately more important/relevant.
28 to 28.4 = the debater did a solid job of debating across all the flows that were alive in the round. The debater focused on what mattered, was able to swiftly discount what did not ('closing doors' along the way), and took initial clash on key points to highly advanced levels. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this advanced to early elimination debates (e.g. double octo's)
28.5 to 28.9 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but was also able to do this with incredible organization: the most important things were in rank order, the crucial arguments were made without repetition/with cogent word economy, and I felt that the debater's communication seemed to guide my flow along with me. If cards/evidence are in question, you're able to speak of the overall ideologies or motivations driving a certain scholarship/movement, thus "getting behind" the card, in some sense. If a point is made without evidence or without a traditional claim/warrant structure, the debater does so in way that requires translation/interpretation on my part, yet the manner in which I should translate/interpret is also elicited from me/taught to me over the course of the debate. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this could advance past early elimination debates.
29.0 to 29.4 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but approached a sort of fluency that amazed me. The debater not only did what they needed to in order to match or outclass their opponents, but I furthermore felt that the debater was connecting with me in such a way where your arguments trigger understanding almost as a gestalt phenomenological experience. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if you did well in any of your other debates, prelim or elim.
29.5 to 30 = If memory serves, I have rarely if ever given speaker points that inch this close to 30. This is because 30 is perfection, without any umms, ahhs, odd turns of phrase, instances where you just lost me or where, given a rebuttal redo, you yourself would probably have done that part of your speech differently. If you are this close to 30 then you have perfect command of your opponent's position, of whatever gap you have to bridge in order for things to 'click' with me, and you are able to talk about your research and core arguments in a way where you yourself are clearly ready to push the scholarship/performance that you draw upon to its next heights, if you are not doing so already.
Objectivity and consistency is an elusive ideal: the reality is that subjectivity and some variability is inevitable. I think a good judge should be attentive in debates and vigiliant with self-assessments, not solipsistically but in light of evolving encounters with others. One of the biggest lessons I got out of my philosophy work was the extent to which all humans are prone to habits of self-deception, on many levels.
***** Debate experience
- Debated policy 4 years in high school (won the TOC)
- Debated policy 4 years at University of Southern California (4-time NDT qualifier, elims in my senior year)
- I was away from debate while in graduate school for philosophy
- I have coached Policy and PF debate at two high schools (Notre Dame and Millburn)
- I have coached Policy debate at two universities (Binghamton and Cornell)
- I am currently Assistant Director of Forensics/head debate coach at Cornell University
***** Some views on certain arguments
Any kind of argument is fine by me: I wait to see how debaters respond to what happens in the round and try not to import any predispositions concerning the default way that I should evaluate things. There are various harms/impacts that can orient a given side’s concern, plus various meta/framing/sequencing arguments that grant, reorient, or block my access to consideration of those harms/impacts, depending on how these issues play out in a debate.
Various kinds of challenges to the resolution and norms of the community are fine by me.
Kritiks: I ran them often in high school/college. I studied philosophy in graduate school.
Counterplans can take various forms: bring it on. See below about having full cp/permutation text for the entire round (to check against ‘morphing advocacies’).
Topicality debates: if an affirmative is trying to present a topical example of the resolution being true, but the negative thinks the aff is not topical then it is the negative’s right to go ‘all in’ on such an argument.
I debated policy advantage/da/impact debates almost as often as kritiks. Any politics link and link turn debates need to be laid out pretty clearly for me - mind your jargon please. The same goes for impact scenarios: who, what, against what country, etc.
For any asserted advocacy or test of competition, the plan text, permutation, etc needs to be clearly articulated in the round and written down so that it can be evaluated. For any card that you want me to read in last rebuttals, you should be telling me what I will find when I read that card and why it matters for the debate. I won't sift through a series of cards if you have just mentioned them/rattled off the citations without making use of them.
***** final notes
I have an aversion towards 'cloud clash', i.e. rattling off 2-3 minutes of overview and then basically hoping that the judge plucks out whatever applies towards some later part of the debate. Line-by-line debate and the elegance of organization that it offers is in decline lately. This has a lot to do with recent norms and computer-debating. This is at the cost of clash and direct refutation, and can come across as being aloof/wanting the judge to do the work for you. So, overviews should be short and then get on with actually responding to individual arguments.
I prefer the email chain over jumping flash drives, when possible. One click of ‘send’ and there is no longer the agonizing wait of flash drive driver installation, throwing jump drives around, etc.
Please communicate with each other, instead of yelling at each other (see my speaker point scale above for the under 27 range).
At the end of any round, I will vote for one team over the other and indicate this with my written ballot. This will be the case for any debate round that I can presently imagine.
That is all I can think of. Feel free to ask me more questions in person.
Kathryn Rubino Paradigm
Put me on the chain: email@example.com
I dislike intervening in debate rounds. I would much rather apply the criteria the debaters supply and work things out that way. As a result the final rebuttals should provide me with a clean story and a weighing mechanism. If only one side provides this I will default to their standards. If neither side does this, I’ll use my own opinions and evaluations of the round.
Simply put the debate is about impacts- weigh them, their likelihood and magnitude and we’re doing fine.
I think it is the debater’s responsibility to explain the analysis of their cards, particularly on complex positions. However, I recognize the time constraints in a round and will read cards that receive a prominent place in rebuttals. But I do not like to read piles of cards and being forced to apply my analysis to them. As a side note, I rarely flow author names so don’t just extend the author’s name- also be clear to which argument the card applies to.
I’ll listen to whatever people want to say- but you should probably know my dispositions ahead of time. Be warned however, I have voted against my preferences many times and anticipate doing it again in the future.
I like kritik/advocacy debate. That being said, I do not have a knee-jerk reaction when I hear them. Part of what makes kritiks interesting is the variety and depth of responses available. To get my vote here I generally need a clear story on the link and implication levels.
I enjoy framework debates- debating about debate is fun- and as a bonus I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers- just arguments that can be made.
I rejoice the return of topicality! And I have no problem voting on topicality, even if I don’t agree with a particular interpretation, but I do think a T story needs to be clear and technically proficient.
DAs are great, and the more case specific the better. Make sure you have a clear story and try to create distinctions between multiple end of the world scenarios if that's your thing.
I don’t mind listening to PICs or other interesting CPs, and I often feel they’re good way to test the validity of a plan. However, I am open to theoretical debate here and I’m willing to vote on it.
I will vote on the easy way out of a round- I don’t try to divine the ultimate truth of what the debaters are saying. I’m just adjudicating a game- a fun game that can teach stuff and be pretty sweet- but still a game. So enjoy your round, do your job and I will too.
Nick Ryan Paradigm
Philosophy Updated 9-5-17
Nick Ryan – Liberty Debate – 10th year coaching/Judging
Please label your email chains “Tournament – Rd “#” – AFF Team vs Neg Team” – or something close to that effect. I hate “No subject,” “Test,” “AFF.” I would like to be included “firstname.lastname@example.org”
Too often Philosophy’s are long and give you a bunch of irrelevant information. I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet.
1. I spend most of my time working with our “Policy teams,” I have a limited amount of working with our “K/Non traditional” debaters, but the bulk of my academic research base is with the “traditional” “policy teams;” don’t expect me to know the nuances of your specific argument, debate it and explain it.
2. Despite this I vote for the K a fair amount of time, particularly when the argument is contextualized in the context of the AFF and when teams aren’t reliant on me to unpack the meaning of “big words.” Don’t rely on me to find your “embedded clash” for you.
3. “Perm Do Both” is not a real argument, neg teams let AFFs get away with it way too often and it shifts in the 1AR. Perms and Advocacy/CP texts should be written out.
4. If neither team clarifies in the debate, then I default to the status quo is always an option.
5. These are things that can and probably will influence your speaker points: clarity, explanations, disrespectfulness to the other team, or your partner, stealing prep time, your use of your speech time (including cx), etc.
6. Prep time includes everything from the time the timer beeps at the end of the lasts speech/CX until the doc is sent out.
7. I think Poems/Lyrics/Narratives that you are reading written by someone else is evidence and should be in the speech document.
ADA Novice Packet Tournaments:
1. It is hard to convince me that AFFs aren’t reasonably topical when there are only two affs that you didn’t get to choose.
2. Evidence you use should be from the packet. If you read cards that weren’t in the packet more than once it’s hard to believe it was a “honest mistake.”
If you have any questions about things that are not listed here please ask, I would rather you be sure about my feelings, then deterred from running something because you are afraid I did not like it.
Sabrina Saenger Paradigm
- Please add me to the e-mail chain - email@example.com
- I'm open to hear and vote on any argument as long as it's presented clearly and carried throughout the round.
- Please speak clearly, clarity over speed.
- Impact Calc - tell me why you should win.
- Have fun!
Dhruv Sehgal Paradigm
Yes, I want to be in the e-mail chain:
I was a grad assistant/coach at UT Austin.
I debated 4 years in college and went to the NDT 3x.
I judged, coached and performed mostly critical arguments extensively throughout my time in debate.
I have an English degree, but a majority of my academic background is in Eastern and Continental philosophy.
I view debate as a testing ground for competing ideas and views of the world.
Regardless, there is zero excuse to berate or insult other people in debate. It doesn't make you cool or funny (to me, anyway), it just makes you unbearable to be around and I will dock your speaker points. I don't care how great you think you are.
Besides that I enjoy debates which focus on:
- EFFICIENCY/EFFECTIVENESS: being efficient and effective highlights to me a degree of professionalism and confidence in debate that I think is admirable. It makes the debate go smoother, and it moves towards clarity and elucidation versus confusion and deception, which I tend not to be a big fan of. Be clear about your arguments from the outset, and we will all have a much a better time in the debate
- IMPACTS (re: STAKES) THAT MATTER: prioritize what is the most important aspect of the round and be willing to sacrifice your life on it. when you raise the stakes of the debate not only does it tend to make you a better advocate for what you are talking about, it helps me as a judge figure out which impacts matter and which don't. doing impact framing/calc matters, especially in close debates.
- (AN ACTUAL?!) CASE DEBATE: this is more if you are neg in front of me. i tend to be more in favor of having specific and thorough case debates, as opposed to generic link stories that you could have read against any aff on the topic. moving towards specificity as opposed to generality is a major ðŸ”‘ for me if you are interested in being an effective/great/constantly winning 2N.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” - George Bernard Shaw
Lindsey Shook Paradigm
I have been coaching and judging for almost a decade primarily as a grad student at Kansas and now as a coach at James Madison (2 yrs in the middle at UCF). I have tried to mark any updates to this with a ***
Big Picture: How you debate is the most important thing to me. I will stick as close to what I have on the flow as I can. This means you can win meta-issues that influence other arguments on the flow. Or you can crush on the super technical line by line. Either way I attempt to evaluate debates based on what is said in the debate. I would rather you explain your arguments in depth than read a billion cards. That being said here are the things I would want my debaters to know:
***A note on this topic - I am more involved in all areas but I know substantially more about prostitution than any of the others because it is part of my academic research and the majority of what I do for JMU. That means if you are making arguments that require a high level of topic knowledge in one of the other areas you might want to give me some additional explanation.
Framework: ***Update - I can't remember the last time I voted aff on a Framework interpretation that said "the status quo or competitive policy option because fairness or whatever" Just make arguments about why policymaking in terms of your aff is a good thing.
Framework as a theoretical issue is unpersuasive. You are not likely to convince me that a K should not be allowed in debate. In my opinion to win this issue you have to win substantive reasons why your view of debate is good. Since that is true, you should just read the evidence and make arguments about why your view of how I should evaluate impacts is best. So if you are a policy team on the aff debating a K team do not expect me to vote on your interp that the neg must have a policy option or that they shouldn’t get to K representations. I will vote on impact turns to the K or to the framework (these are usually part of theoretical framework debates anyway). In front of me you are better served to substantively defend your view of debate then try and convince me any particular position should just be rejected. All of that being said I will and have voted for theoretical framework positions – so if it is what you need to do to win because it is either what you debate best or what you have then go for it.
Topicality: ***Update - I prefer affs that have some relationship to the topic. That relationship can be debated and I assume, if I am in the back, likely will be.
A couple of important notes I find myself thinking more and more:
1. I am unlikely to be persuaded that debating topicality is the worst kinds of violence. Someone reading topicality against you is NOT rape and NOT killing you. It might be a very serious problem. You might have a very serious problem with it. But I find myself unpersuaded that Topicality is "x really terrible act of violence." You can absolutely win your impact turns in front of me about why T is a problem I would just prefer you explain your metaphors and have depth and reasons and examples that contextualize how topicality mirrors or causes the problems you highlight. Nuance is very important for me in these debates and if you have nuanced reasons you are likely in good shape. The more broad and generic your claims are about ALL T or ALL K teams OR ALL policy teams the less persuaded I am. In the same way I am unlikely persuaded that all people quit when teams are untopical or all decision making improves because of plan focused policy debating.
2. That being said - inevitability and uniqueness matter in debates about the impacts to topicality and I take those questions seriously and find they are often where decisions begin for me.
3. I find that topical version of the aff and your argument is inaccessable tend to be the two arguments that I most often see winning these debates. Deal with those or wait for me to explain why you lost on them. If both of them exist - then having comparissons based on why T version overcomes that accessibility problem or fails to is important.
4. Critical teams in the past have been upset that I didn't vote on their T argument links to this K they read. You can win this argument if you PROVE not just say but have a serious reason that their K links to their T argument - many teams are taking care to craft their (almost always a cap K) arguments so that this isn't a problem. Given that I am a fan of nuance it is unlikely I will believe the generic "they said cap and T that means they lose." So these arguments are winnable I just think they need to have some specificity and account of what is happening in that debate in particular. If you make the argument generically I may or may not agree with you and that is generally what leads to people being upset.
This is old but still true---->I judge these debates as close to the flow as possible. I tend to believe that if you can have a plan you should defend it. If you are not topical you will be better off in front of me if you can prove that you provide unique insight about the topic that traditional policy affirmations miss.
PLAN IS IMPLEMENTED AND MATTERS DEBATES
Disads, Counterplans, kritiks, case debate - the more specific the better. If you are going for a super technical CP or obscure DA or K then you should probably take a second and slow down the explanation of why it applies to the aff. I find these debates are often lost when I (or any judge) is unclear about all the wonderful aspects of your argument and how it solves or outweighs or nullifies the aff. Given that I don't always know the TRUTH in these debates and that decision times means I can't read every card for you and put the whole debate together I find these debates are often won in front of me by the team that is controlling the WAY I read or interpret the evidence and examples/story of the arguments. You should take that as explain the argument instead of reading the 7th card on a topic. That is not always true - sometimes I know about the topic enough to know you are wrong, sometimes your evidence is too terrible to vote on, and sometimes you are persuasive but wrong about the flow math. Random notes about these debates:
1. I think teams with big policy impacts are often silly sounding when they go for perms since that is almost always illogical and they are basically just going for case outweighs anyway. Seriously just go for your aff is awesome and outweighs and its representations or assumpetions are good/justified. Perms are unnecessary in that world.
2. I am willing to vote on presumption.
3. I am not a believer in the offense/defense paradigm - you can win zero risk of links, impacts etc.
4. I don't mind theory debates (and think many affs have lost the skill of exposing competition problems with CPs) but and this is important - YOU MUST HAVE WELL EXPLAINED reasons. I have no interest in listening to your blippy block. The more specific it is to the debate the more examples you have about what they do and why its bad for debate the better. I would rather hear 2 well developed reasons something is bad or good then 7 meh sentence fragments about it.
5. Going for T against a plan that someone is defending the implementation of is also good in front of me. I think you need to win why the world of debate is made specifically worse by what they do and justify so impact level comparissons matter a lot in these debates. I can also be persuaded that cards and definitions are too bad to be considered in these debates if they are just random statements about what someone thinks a word means.
K vs. K DEBATES (method or not) - These debates are interesting and I see more and more of them. A couple of notes:
1. Someone at some point needs an external impact. I judge a lot of these that end up with everyone winning some risk that they solve some violence and oppression while the other team may cause some violence and oppression. These impacts don't have to be war - but they do need to make distinctions between what you solve or address and what they sovle or address. Otherwise you are really relying on me to be persuaded by one internal link/solvency story or the other and often that makes people unhappy.
2. I think what a perm means and whether or not they are always good is up for debate. I think you have to win a reason that SOMETHING the aff endorses or assumes or does is bad. So you should not expect to win that you just have another good idea. So the pure method v method means no perm arguments can persuade me but need to overcome the idea that you still have to prove something about the aff is problematic. Now that being said I am willing to entertain that there can be lots of problems with combining strategies or ideas that are not evidenced or that might be "it is bad for debate reasons." My opinion on this is evolving so I am definitely open to hearing more debates about what competition standards mean in a world where affs are not necessarily advocating for pragmatic or concrete shifts from the status quo policies.
3. Root cause debates - are almost impossible to resolve. You have to put in a lot of work or it has to actually be conceeded. I see a lot of the cap K vs. the aff that focuses on race or gender or sexuality or sorta class issues or some combination. I find that questions of sovlency for the alt and the aff are FAR more important than controlling the root cause. Talk more about HOW things work and WHAT they solve rather than saying the thing you hope you solve is the root cause of the thing they hope they solve.
RANDOM NOTES ABOUT ARGUMENT ETC.
Paperless: ***I strongly prefer email chains it seems much faster. Your prep time stops when the flash drive is ejected. I expect paperless teams to be courteous and helpful to non paperless teams.
Argument Standards: Complete arguments are necessary. For me to evaluate an argument it needs to have a claim and reasoning that proves that claim. Ideally it will also have an impact. Do not expect me to vote on an argument just because it is conceded if it is not complete.
I appreciate work done in the debate. I tend to reward debaters who do a lot of comparative work with the major issues in the debate. High levels of comparison and interaction between arguments and evidence makes my job more enjoyable and easier and I will reward with speaker points and when applicable the ballot. This means that if you are doing a good job indicting their evidence and comparing it to yours I am likely to read their evidence with your spin in mind.
Evidence should be worth reading. Good analytic arguments can beat bad evidence. This also means when you highlight your evidence it should make sense.
Defend things. This sounds simple but I really hate it when people are sketchy about what they will defend about their positions. If you will not defend your plan instrumentally then be clear about that as soon as you are asked. Likewise be clear about the perms you made and what they mean and the actions taken in the CP.
Specificity is good. The more specific you can make your negative strategies to the aff the happier I will be. Likewise in the 2ac I like to hear specific answers to positions (this goes both for K teams answering all DAs with the Dillon card and policy teams that think Realism answers all Ks). This does not mean I won’t vote on generics it just means your speaks may suffer.
Henry Smith Paradigm
I am a Senior at West Point. I debated four years of Policy in high school and two in college. My sophomore year of college I went to the NDT and elims of CEDA. I have no preference for what argument you read, just argue. I will monitor time during the debate but I expect you to keep your own. Don't steal prep or I will dock your speaker points. I don't need to be included on email chains or have the evidence flashed to me. If I have questions about cards, I will ask for those cards after the round. If you have questions about anything before the round, feel free to ask me. If you have questions about anything after the round, also let me know.
Please do not be disrespectful to your partner or your opponents during the round.
Key things to do are:
1) Speak clearly. Focus on clarity over speed.
2) Have coherent arguments. Every argument should explain exactly how you win the debate.
3) Have fun. If you are miserable, you won't argue well. Be willing to take risks and be confident.
Jason Smith Paradigm
All email chains are welcome.
I debated for four years in High School (2010-2013), and four years at Binghamton University (2013-2017).
Here's a list of preferences:
Plans must have texts.
Permutations are bad.
What's performativity? I prefer you to perform card reading...
Alternatives must solve the entirety of the AFF.
Counterplans > Kritiks
Zero speaker points for non topical plans.
Framework makes the game work.
Cap is not the root cause, the economy is.
Antiblackness is also not the root cause.
Meat is not murder.
Rules do exist.
More cards = better debating.
Love the RVI
Spending DAs are my favorite.
Congratulations, if you're reading this you have reached the undercommons. Everything written above is a lie. Please debate in whatever way you prefer! As long as there is clash, I'll think it's a good debate.
Also, my email and debate experience still stand...
Grace Song Paradigm
Hello, my name is Grace Song and I have done policy debate at the collegiate level for two years. I will be starting my second year of my MA in Historical Studies program. For my undergrad, I majored in History and double minored in Politics and Museum and Curatorial Studies. I have written my senior thesis on the history of the Columbus Monument in Columbus Circle, New York City. I like to see the intersection between art and politics within policy debate.
I like to have arguments explained to me clearly. I will probably not be reading your cards while I flow. I will first listen to what is being said in the blocks. Also meaning that I want to actually hear what you say instead of mumbles. (I am not a huge fan of spreading!!!) It will be helpful if you do not spread because I will be able to record your arguments on my flow. This does not mean you cannot talk fast, I just want you to be clear when you read your cards. Especially during rebuttals, there is no reason for anyone to "spread" through the arguments; it is very unnecessary.
Other than that, if you can make a case for your argument, logically and clearly, there should not be a problem. Obviously I have my beliefs and subjectivities, but I am persuadable.
I love having fun with debate and the creativity that comes with many teams, but that itself will not make me vote for your team.
I am here to learn as a judge and would also love to hear feedback from all debaters! I am always open for improvement and hope to continue on with the debate community!
Michael Souders Paradigm
James Madison University
17th years judging NDT/CEDA debate
*Lengthy note at end.
**Additional procedure note on evidence at end.
I believe that I’m out of step with contemporary debate. I feel it almost every time I judge. It’s not about the type of arguments that are made, it’s about how I judge them. I try to be even-handed and fair to both sides, but compared to most debaters’ expectations: I’m too opinionated about what constitutes adequate support, I’m too willing to dismiss badly supported arguments, I have too high of standards of engagement between two teams, I expect extra-ordinary claims to have at least decent proof, I don’t think repeating a prior block is a respectable extension of an argument even if the other team didn’t respond, I don’t think 2-3 sentences is usually enough to win a major argument. I do think you need to explain the claim, warrant, data for arguments in rebuttals, even when dropped. I don’t think a dropped assertion is necessarily true for the purposes of debate. I will ignore arguments I cannot understand and I have a coherence standards for positions and arguments. I think lots of ‘defensive’ arguments end up being terminal for positions.
Which is all to say that I am probably far too opinionated and interventionist for most debaters’ tastes. I like to think of it as being a principled critic of argumentation, but call it what you will. Does that make me a bad judge? Probably, if the concept of good/bad are culturally determined. But I certainly don’t think I’m what deabters want. I don’t know. But I am this way because I feel like these principles matter and I find them impossible to ignore.
My perspective on debate is grounded in the idea that debate is the kiln in which ideas and minds are fired and strengthened into ever better forms. The goal of each debate is not necessarily to find the right answer to a question, but an exploration of ideas and an experiment with concepts, enabled by the unique forum of debate that protects us from the full consequences of the ideas we advocate. It is the freedom of debate which enables it to be so effective. Hence, debate is a political project as well as an educational one. It is a democratic experiment, wherein we declare our freedom to advocate for idea—and to oppose them—in the spirit of putting our minds to work on a wide set of problems.
As a judge, I try to evaluate the quality of ideas and argumentation that debaters present. I do not have a preference for policy debate, critique debate, non-traditional debate or whatever any wishes to call their format. I do ask that ideas are presented coherently, cogently, and be well-supported by epistemologically-appropriate evidence.
I do have some argument biases (charted, per others):
Killing/letting die on purpose good--------------------------X--Killing/letting die on purpose bad.
Children are good-X--------------------------------Children are bad.
Ha funny debate only stupidity good!------------------------X-Ha funny debate only stupidity bad!
Topic ------X------------------No Topic.
ESR good for debate--------------------X---ESR is nonsense.
Offense/defense paradigm yes----------------X----no.
Alt-less Ks yes-----------------------X---no.
Stupid contrived fiat on CPs yes!-----------------------X--no.
Asserting another person has no role in debate: YES good strat-------------------------X---no.
Ok, I got bored of that. Here's that in another form.
I tend to dislike misanthropic arguments that ask me to kill people or increase suffering. If you read any argument says people dying is irrelevant, mass suffering is good for people or that children should not exist or be killed, you simply do not want me as a judge.
I tend to dislike arguments that rely on ideas almost everyone knows are wrong or originate out of dubious sources.
I tend to dislike arguments that attempt to stop rather than promote the development of ideas.
I tend to think the concept of a resolution is good and affirmatives should be topical, although I vote for non-topical affirmatives when it seems warranted by the debate (see note).
I tend to err negative on many theory questions, except when it comes to fiat.
In that, I believe that international fiat, state fiat, and object fiat are unfair to affirmatives. That does not mean I automatically vote on these issues. None of them seem like voting issues anyway.
I do not believe your assertion alone constitutes an argument that I am required to respect.
I tend to place great weight on cross-examination and I consider it roughly equivalent to a speech.
I tend to dislike arguments or positions that indicate that the other team may not speak or has no place in the conversation, although there are some exceptions.
I’ll limit how much I inject my own ideas into decisions but I will not prohibit my evaluative skills from the debate. I demand greater argumentative power from counterintuitive arguments. Yes, in debates I judge I do happen to be arbiter of what’s “counterintuitive.” I try to be reflective about my biases but I will not defer to other persons to make decisions for me—the freedom to choose is the essential human quality.
I fundamentally believe in standards of decency and respectful treatment of colleagues and a sporting attitude toward competition. I understand that debate is serious. And as a former political activist, I realize that civility is sometimes a policing standard and there are limits to its application. But I persist in believing debaters should be free to make their arguments free from undue personal insults, discriminatory remarks, interruption, intimidation, or slurs regarding their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sex, sexual behavior, religion or socioeconomic standing. I am quite willing to step in and object or refuse to continue to participate in debates in which such activity continues.
Speaker Point Scale (novice doesn't follow this scale):
29.5-29.9 Very to extremely high quality speeches that I would consider very good even for Copeland/Top 5 plaque competitors.
29-29.4 Excellent speeches that significantly advanced your team's chances of winning. Good to very good speeches for First Round-level competitors.
28.6-28.9 Above average speeches that I would expect to see out of clearing teams. Good to very good speeches for competitors at the NDT qualifier level.
28.1-28.5 Average to somewhat above average speeches that contributed to your team's chances of winning. Slightly above to somewhat below average speeches for the NDT qualifier level.
27.6-28 Mediocre to average speeches that only moderately advanced your team's position toward winning the debate.
27.1-27.5 Fairly poor speeches that did not significantly advance your teams position in the debate and likely did not sound good.
26.5-27 Poor speeches that had a negative impact on your team's chances of winning.
< 26.4 You did something very insulting and/or turned a near-certain win into a certain loss via your speech
**I am moderately hearing impaired. This should not affect you except that it helps if you enunciate clearly and project your voice. Rooms with echoes or ambient noise pose particular problems for me. If you see me moving around the room to hear, it's not necessarily you, it may be me trying to get a better angle to hear you.
*Lengthy Notes for Critical Identity Teams, originally written in 2014
I find it a nearly undeniable fact that the growth of critical identity arguments has dramatically increased the inclusiveness of our community in the past ten years. This is meaningful change. So I’m taking the time to write this extensive addendum to my judging philosophy because I think it’s important to recognize that there are terminological differences and stylistic differences in debate right now and I want to help the teams that are helping make our community more inclusive feel more comfortable in front of me.
Teams that make critical identity arguments are widely varied and so I’m reluctant to comment on them (or define them), except that I have noticed that those I think of *provisionally as critical identity teams are sometimes surprised by my decisions (for and against them). After some thought, I think it is because of a certain divergence in the judging pool. Critical identity teams, roughly speaking, share a common judging pool that emphasizes certain things, takes others for granted and has certain expectations. My background in traditional critique and policy debating has emphases and vocabularies different from this pool. In a few decisions that a few teams have not liked, I’ve explained my perspective and it’s sometimes been rejected or received push back and even dismissal. That’s regrettable. I want these teams (you, if you’re reading this) to see me as pointing them to the path to victory with me as the judge and I encourage these teams to see me as an opportunity rather than as a barrier.
So, rather than wait until a post-round to translate my views—which is too late—I’m going to post them here. It’s long, yes, but I put some effort and thought into this.
Overview over, here are my notes:
It’s probably true that it’s easier for you to win on the negative because there’s no topical barrier for you. There’s a huge exception to this, noted in the affirmative section. Here’s my hints:
-Argue the alternative. This is the number one point of difference between myself (and judges like me) and the pool of judges I’ve noted above. Winning a link and impact isn’t enough. You’re going to need to focus on extending, arguing, and explaining how your alternative solves your link arguments, how it solves the case and/or how it is the ‘better’ choice in the face of affirmative case arguments. If your alt solves the case, explain how. If it doesn’t solve the case, explain why that doesn’t matter. Your alternative needs to solve the link to the case, because if not, there’s simply no uniqueness to your arguments against the affirmative—they are true whether I vote affirmative or negative. That doesn’t mean that you need to solve the WHOLE link. For example, if the law is fundamentally anti-black, then even if the alternative doesn’t solve the law being anti-black it might provide us with a path to a non-law based perspective or something of that sort. When I’ve voted AFF against critical identity teams, there’s often been a post-round attempt at a gotcha question: “So, you just voted for a law you agree is anti-black/queer/ableist?” And I’ve answered: “No. Voting for an anti-black/queer/ableism law was inevitable because the alternative didn’t solve any bit of anti-blackness/queerness/ableism.” I will say that 90% of the time I’ve come to the conclusion NOT because I evaluated a contested debate about the alternative but because the negative barely extended the alternative or did not do so at all. I'm generally unpersuaded by "reject" arguments without some value to the rejection.
-Argue the case. Affirmatives often solve impacts—and those impacts can outweigh. If you don’t just let that slide, the fact that they CAUSE another impact cannot be easily dismissed. I watched a debate at the NDT where the critical race team just slayed the policy affirmative by reading phenomenal cards that indicating the structural, racist roots of climate change and consumption patterns. It was excellent. However, that doesn’t happen very often. Being anti-queer is bad…but so is climate change that kills millions, particularly vulnerable populations. It’s easier to pick which one I must address first if the chances of the cases chances of solving climate change are either mitigated or critiqued in a fashion that undermines its solvency.
-Frame the impact. A certain group of judges might think that if you win “social death now” that means basically all the impacts of the case are irrelevant. I don’t think it’s nearly that easy. Think of it this way—you, the debater, are often in the population that your argument says is socially dead. Yet I think that your life matters. And I want to stop bad things from happening to you despite your state of partial or total social death. So, you must say MORE than social death. You may explain, for example, that social death perpetually PERMITS radical violence at a constant or increasing rate; that massive real violence is a terminal and immutable consequence of social death. This does not, by the way, mute the entirety of offense gained by an opponent’s policy action, but in combination with a won alternative provides a nice pairing of a systemic impact with strong empirical grounding and very high future risk with a method of addressing that risk. Some framing evidence helps here.
-Fiat is illusory isn’t a real argument (nor is the affirmative argument that the “The plan REALLY happens!”). I get the plan doesn’t happen but it’s a worthwhile thought experiment that enables us to discuss the merits of the plan. I don’t AUTOMATICALLY assume this, but if the affirmative team frames their case as an representative anecdote of how we can learn to engage in politics, or how this kind of debate informs politics, either in general or in specific, I tend to agree that’s reasonable since that is the whole reason I think debate is educational. THUS! The KEY is is not to argue, “Fiat is illusory, they lose on presumption”—which is a bad argument—but to argue that given that they are teaching a BAD politics and that you present a better one. Your better framework may include arguing for the abandonment of plan-based politics.
-Frame the meaning of winning a key premise. To some extent, I find that to be true of anti-blackness or anti-queerness or anti-intersex, etc. If you win that blackness is an ontology and anti-blackness is a political ontology (although, to be honest, I’m not sure I understand what a political ontology is) you’ve won a premise that gets you a long way in the debate. However, you haven’t WON the debate, per se (nor does losing this premise necessarily lose you the debate). If society is anti-black, does that means politics is irrelevant? My presumption is NO. If you are black and live in anti-black civil society, I still presume that it would be better to do things that blunt the force of anti-blackness with ‘liberal’ policies. Now, you have a huge advantage if you win your premise because in a larger sense you’re winning that liberalism is doomed—but you need to make that clear. Finally, you should work at backstopping this argument. I’ve seen teams go all-in on winning queer is ontological without looking at how they could win if they did not win this premise. I saw a team at the NDT nicely win a debate where they lost that blackness is ontological by arguing that even if its socially constructed, its so deeply embedded that it can’t be extracted and that the alternative resolved it best. Well done.
Most of this is about topicality because once you’re beyond that barrier you’re just in regular debateland and the above guidelines apply.
First hint with me on this overall—persuade your opponent not to go for topicality. When negative teams don’t go for topicality against blatantly non-topical teams, I have a ridiculous affirmative voting record. The reasons are obvious: Links and competition are hard to generate when you’re not topical. That’s why topicality is vital for those teams. But let’s ignore that for a moment.
-Topicality: First hint: Be topical. I think it’s possible. I particularly think it’s possible to defend the topic from the outside—I think it’s possible for queer victims of police violence to argue police who harass queers should be arrested by the state without being or endorsing the state. I think you can be topical and argue that you shouldn’t need to answer process arguments. As the coach of repeated, successful topical K teams I don’t think topicality automatically means role-playing in the strong sense. I also think these debates are essential. Surely it can’t be the case that all critical identity positions of value require non-topicality and I’m very interested to hear the ways critical queer, race, gender, intersex values can be met with a topical plan. ***HOWEVER, if you have me as a judge and you’re NEVER topical, it’s probably a bad idea to just toss a plan in. It’s bad because you haven’t thought through how to defend yourself against arguments.
-Ok, so you’re not topical. Let’s talk about my presumptions on that. The main barrier for you here is that I don’t believe that any state action 100% pollutes any action. That doesn’t mean the state is good. Far from it. But considering the fact that many of the teams that refuse to ever agree with the topic attend STATE UNIVERSITIES with coaches receiving paychecks from THE STATE it’s hard for me to understand why talking about state action is impossible. That’s not a killer argument, but it does seem to hint that SOME state actions are not entirely poisonous. This is my own view and while it does color my T arguments, it’s not insurmountable. Here’s how you overcome that.
-Don’t be anti-topical. It’s a lot easier for me to vote for you if you’re not anti-topical. If you are anti-topical, say, your affirmative says (last year’s topic) that prostitution is bad (and implies shouldn’t be legal) then it’s going to be much harder for you to win in front of me. The reason is simply that you’ve staked out negative ground. You’ve admitted there’s a debate to be had on something and chosen NOT to take your assigned side. You refuse to take up the affirmative side yet you functionally attempt to force the other team to do just that.
- Being PRO-TOPICAL still requires you to be smart. The problem is that the other team will ask, “Why NOT be topical?” You need an answer to that question that isn’t just “State messed up, yo.” You CAN argue that. You CAN win that argument. But I’m going to want nuanced reasons that are specific to a particular to a place and time. Saying, “The US government is messed up and did bad things” seems to me to beg the question of what it SHOULD do to change. So, to overcome that you’ll need to explain why it’s better to debate about your adjacent discussion of topical things rather that government action AND you’ll need to explain why that’s an AFFIRMATIVE argument and not a negative argument.
-Answer their offensive arguments on T. Limits, ground, fairness, predictability, education—these are real things in debate and they matter. You will do well to answer these arguments with both offense and defense. I often see all offense (limits debate protect white folks) without any defense. PARTICULARLY answer their arguments about why topical/legal debating is good, in addition to the regular T argument set. These cards tend to be pretty good so your responses need to be good as well. “Fairness for who?” is a good question—but it needs to be answered rather than just leaving it open ended. On your education arguments you need to move beyond “All our arguments are educational” to explaining why you lead to good, predictable debates that are relatively fair and deeply educational. I am in agreement with the point that critical identity arguments are intrinsically educational (see my intro to this whole thing) but the bigger question is how do they create good debates where both sides explore issues in depth? There are really good reasons that this is the case—you need to make those arguments.
-Address topical version of the affirmative and understand that the legal debates good is a net benefit to this argument. A good team T will argue that you do not have a right to the perfect affirmative, just one that lets you discuss similar key issues. Also understand that “State bad” isn’t necessarily an answer. If can be, but even the anti-statist needs to understand the state. As a former anti-capitalist advocate, I still needed lawyers to get me out of jail and I still needed knowledge of the law to protect myself from the police as much as could be managed..
-Realize that “No Topical Version” is a trap. If you say no topical version, you are setting yourself up to link to the “this is anti-topical” argument, i.e., that your aff is wholly unpredictable and in the reverse direction of all of the regular topic negative arguments. The “no topical version of the aff” made by the 2AC sounds like, “Our whole affirmative advantage is illegitimate.” If you say “yes, topical version” then obviously you’ve also set yourself up. At the very least, so don't assert the 'no topical version' and set yourself up for this debate intentionally.
-Have an answer for the topical research burden argument. Critical identity teams are fond of arguing that there are many different versions of their arguments—TRUE! Which for teams going for T just shows how large the research burden becomes to prep for every single iteration—every different case is its own topic area. You need offensive and defense arguments. The argument that “You just don’t want to answer/research queer/black/feminist/trans/ableism arguments” is a good starting point but it’s not enough (and solved by topical version of the affirmative). “Case list” is also not answer to this argument, because research burden isn’t a question of predictability. Don’t fall into the trap of listing off a bunch of crappy positions you refuse to defend (state good, cap K) as neg ground.
-Find A CERTAIN TOPICALITY. Optimally, a strategic team will find a way to be topical, yet not defend the state. FYI, I absolutely do not think that having a plan that mentions what the US or USFG should do obligates you to defend “the State”. I think it obligates you to defend that particular state action. However, I think you can go beyond that. I think you can defend the plan as a critical intervention, as an imaginative starting point, as epistemological experiment etc. without defending state action in other ways. Now, you’ll have to defend your plan (or a topical advocacy statement—you need not have a PLAN, per se) in SOME ways but probably not a lot of different things.
-Impact turn topicality. If all else fails, impact turn and be extremely offensive against it. Disallow me from voting for T—you can complete this tactic by providing defense against their impact arguments while working on your own. Defense wins championships.
Hints not related to topicality
Once you’re past the topicality gate, you’re in the realm of normal non-procedural arguments and I have few suggestions in this area to avoid common errors (certainly not universal errors) I see in debates in front of me:
-Back up outrage with arguments. Excellent critical identity teams do this…but younger/lesser teams seem to struggle with this. Don’t get so wound up in your position that it stops you from making your argument.
-Antagonizing your opponent won’t sway me. There are reasons that you may choose to antagonize your opponent, some of which may be strategic, some not, some both. But as for how I view the debate, it will not contribute to me voting for you. See note in original philosophy about respectful behavior toward colleagues.
-Make the history lesson pay. Sometimes these debates collapse into scattered historical anecdotes that are only lightly tied together—get full credit for your analysis of history by investing time in explaining its application in this case.
-Don’t rely too heavily on enthymeme (don’t rely on me filling in the blanks for you). Too often, I hear judges (on MANY sides) say, “I guess I just know what they’re talking about.” No. You have an explanatory burden to help me cognitively grasp the situation. I grasp the frustration that comes with my lack of cultural connection to your argument, but I’m doing my best. If you think, “I’m tired of explaining myself to straight people, white people, cis gender people, able-bodied people, etc” and then don’t explain, it becomes really hard for me to vote for you (as well as making a bunch of assumptions that may or may not be accurate, depending on your judge). I won’t vote on what I can’t explain.
FINAL NOTE: You might be thinking, after reading this, ‘WOW, we’re NEVER preferring him. Look all the things he wants us to do—his presumptions are just too high. What a T hack.’
Maybe. But what I’ve tried to do is review almost every argument I find persuasive on T and flag it for you and send you in the right direction in answering it. In REAL DEBATES, teams won’t make all these arguments and they won’t always make them well. I ALWAYS evaluate the debate in front of me. But I wanted to flag all these so you could think through your answers and win my ballot. I wanted to flag these because winning my ballot is possible, not impossible.
I also think this can serve as a primer for winning in front of judges that are like me. To succeed in the big picture, you need to expand your judging pool. At the NDT and in national circuit elimination debates, you can’t hide from all the judges who think topicality is a thing or who have a grounding in traditional critique or policy debate. In my ideal world, you’d see me (or someone like me) on a panel against a non-critical identity team and think, “Good. Mick is a fair judge who sees the value of our arguments. He cares about our role in debateland and the world and even though he might not be our wheelhouse judge, we know the route to win with him.”
And, in the ideal world, your opponent would think the exact same thing.
1. I am worn out of looking through 6 different speech documents for cards. I am implementing a policy of asking that cards on positions that have been gone for in the 2NR/2AR be conslidated and sent to me). You don't need to sort out WHICH cards you went for, it's easier if I pick through what matters. Just consolidate them, organized by SUBJECT and SPEECH and send them to me. If you are paper team, you're are a cruel person who wants trees to die, but, on the other hand you make judging much easier :).
2. Most CX answers that given outside the 3 minutes of designated CX are not relevant to my decision. You want to get your argumentative question in? Fit it and the opportunity to answer into the CX time. You don't get to use some prep time to cover the argument you dropped, so you don't get to used prep time to ask the questions you forgot. Exception A: Filibustering to run out the clock will cause me to ignore this rule. CXer, you'll know you are free to keep asking because I will keep paying attention instead of getting up or walking away. Exception B: While answers might be non-binding, deception is misconduct foul, auto-loss. If the Cx-ee answers a clarifying question in prep like, "What's the status of the counterplan?" and then CHANGES it and thinks that's a clever trick, I see that as misconduct. Exception C: I think clarifying questions are fine in CX. Examples: What was your third argument on the DA? What's the status of the CP? Which card did you read? Answering these questions are matters of courtesy and fair play. Of course, they might just answer: "We didn't take a position on CP rules in the 1NC." And you'll be out of luck in arguing with them.
Nikolas Swihart Paradigm
I'm a master's student in historical studies. I've debated for five full semesters at the New School. I've mostly done critical args with some performative stuff. Not an experienced judge but I look forward to hearing novice debate, becuase it is the area of debate I see the most growth.
Because I am not very experienced I prefer slower speech. I don't really like having to stare at my computer to keep up with what is happening. I really prefer to hear evidence heavy constructive and well articulated rebuttals. That sounds generic but what I mean is that the constructive should be treated as an opportunity to construct a story or world and the rebuttal should be a way of comparing and challenging each others worlds. That is essentially what I think I'll be voting on, what world do I want to be living in when the round ends.
Don't really have a preference for argument types, the only thing I know I don't like is topicality. Of course I'd vote on if it was well articulated and impacted, but I prefer that teams just engage with what the other team is trying to say. We only have so long in debate, and so many opportunities to talk about the things we enjoy. That shouldn't be limited in totality by the resolution.
One last thing to stress again, I am not super experienced, I have not heard everything before, and some things will be new to me. Please keep this in mind when I am judging.
Erin Szczechowski Paradigm
I recently graduated from NYU after three years debating for the policy team, and am now sticking around to help coach NYU as well as Mamaroneck high school. I am open to most arguments - I tend to kind of adopt the style of my partner, so while I was running performance my last year, I still jive with straight policy.
I'm sure I make the wrong decision some times, but I do care about debate, and I do care about people, and I'll try my hardest to be as fair as I can.
Like to be added to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Affirmative:
Give me what you got. Like I said, I've run both performance and policy affirmatives before, and see the value in each kind of debate. For performance debates, at least have some sort of relation to the topic, even if you don't endorse a plan. Other than that, go wild. Woo.
For the Negative:
Enjoy them. Make sure the link story is clear. When I debate on negative, I often run Ks, but if you're not winning the link then you're not going to win the round. I prefer links that are actually contextualized to the affirmative, and not just links of omission. Make the alternative clear and consistent throughout the round. While I'm familiar with the basic Ks - biopower, cap, security, etc - if you're reading more obscure kritiks or high theory Baudrillard-type stuff then do yourself a favor and make sure that I understand what you're talking about.
Despite not always being the most topical, I also tend to enjoy T debates (when against non-topical teams, that is,...when you run T against a policy affirmative I'll begrudgingly vote on it if the other team terribly mishandles it, but I'll hate myself a little bit). I am willing to vote about equally for either affirmative or negative in performance rounds: just comes down to who is winning on the flow. In general, I think education slightly outweighs fairness, but you can convince me otherwise. A well-thought out TVA will make me much more likely to pull the trigger for you.
I enjoy zany DAs that aren't just the same boring politics DA. That said, I will vote for that same boring politics DA. Make sure impact calc is tight, and good evidence comparison will notch up your speaker points.
I really enjoy a smart CP! Pair it with a clear net-benefit (not just oooooh we solve the aff better) and I'll be intrigued.
Agent CPs and Consult CPs tend to make me sad.
I think PICs can be both really cool and really abusive. Figure it out for me on the PICs Bad/PICs good debate.
Hmm. Don't spend most of my nights analyzing my views on various theory arguments, so not too much to say here. Conditionality is the first one that springs to mind. In general I think condo is good for a couple positions, but if we're getting to 3 and above then I'll be more receptive to your condo bad claims, even if it physically pains me to vote for conditionality (although if the neg drops conditionality bad even when they're running 1 or 2 positions, I'll still vote on it if you blow it up in the 2AR, and will likely laugh about it later). If you plan on going for condo bad in the 2AR then make sure the 1AR is already fleshing out the proper arguments.
Listen to your opponents arguments, and make sure you are responding to them, and not just re-establishing your own positions (although you should do that too). I'm a pretty easy-going person, and I stop prep time before you send out the email. If you offer me gifts of caffeine, I will not be anymore likely to vote for you, but I will like you as a person. Sometimes, those long debate tournaments with 3 hours of sleep can get exhausting, so if you're sassy without crossing over to asshole territory it might entertain me and boost your speaks.
Patrick Waldinger Paradigm
Assistant Director of Debate at the University of Miami
Assistant Debate Coach at the Pine Crest School
10+ years judging
Yes, please put me on the speech doc: dinger AT gmail
Here are the two things you care about when you are looking to do the prefs so I’ll get right to them:
1. Conditionality: I think rampant conditionality is destroying the educational aspects of debate slowly but surely. You should not run more than one conditional argument in front of me.
Reading a K without an alternative and claiming it is a “gateway” issue doesn’t count. First, it likely contradicts with your CP, which is a reason that conditionality is both not educational and unfair. Second, there are no arbitrary “gateway” issues – there are the stock issues but methodology, for example, is not one of them the last time I read Steinberg’s book.
I also think there is a big difference between saying the CP is “conditional” versus “the status quo is always an option for the judge”. Conditional implies you can kick it at any time, however, if you choose not to kick it in the 2NR then that was your choice. You are stuck with that world. If the “status quo is always an option” for me, then the negative is saying that I, as the judge, have the option to kick the CP for them. You may think this is a mere semantic difference. That’s fine – but I DON’T. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
The notion that I (or any judge) can just kick the CP for the negative team seems absurd in the vein of extreme judge intervention. Can I make permutation arguments for the aff too? That being said, if the affirmative lets the negative have their cake and eat it too, then I’ll kick CPs left and right. However, it seems extremely silly to let the negative argue that the judge has the ability to kick the CP. In addition, if the negative never explicitly states that I can kick the CP in the 2NR then don’t be surprised when I do not kick it post-round (3NR?).
Finally, I want to note the sad irony when I read judge philosophies of some young coaches. Phrases similar to “conditionality is probably getting out of hand”, while true, show the sad state of affairs where the same people who benefited from the terrible practice of rampant conditionality are the same ones who realize how bad it is when they are on the other side.
2. Kritiks: In many respects going for a kritik is an uphill battle with me as the judge. I don’t read the literature and I’m not well versed in it. I view myself as a policymaker and thus I am interested in pragmatics. That being said, I think it is silly to dismiss entirely philosophical underpinnings of any policy.
Sometimes I really enjoy topic specific kritiks, for example, on the immigration topic I found the idea about whether or not the US should have any limits on migration a fascinating debate. However, kritiks that are not specific to the topic I will view with much more skepticism. In particular, kritiks that have no relation to pragmatic policymaking will have slim chance when I am judging (think Baudrillard).
If you are going for a K, you need to explain why the PLAN is bad. It’s good that you talk about the impact of your kritik but you need to explain why the plan’s assumptions justify that impact. Framing the debate is important and the frame that I am evaluating is surrounding the plan.
I am not a fan of kritiks that are based off of advantages rather than the plan, however, if you run them please don’t contradict yourself. If you say rhetoric is important and then use that same bad rhetoric, it will almost be impossible for you to win. If the 1AC is a speech act then the 1NC is one too.
I believe that the affirmative should defend a plan that is an example of the current high school or CEDA debate resolution. I believe that the affirmative should defend the consequences of their plan as if the United States or United States federal government were to actually enact your proposal.
“Truth over tech”? I mull this over a lot. This issue is probably the area that most judges grapple with, even if they seem confident on which side they take. I err of the side of "truth over tech" but that being said, debate is a game and how you perform matter for the outcome. While it is obviously true that in debate an argument that goes unanswered is considered “true”, that doesn’t mean there doesn’t have to be a logical reason behind the argument to begin with. That being said, I will be sensitive to new 2AR arguments as I think the argument, if logical, should have been in the debate earlier.
Topicality: Topicality is always a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. I default to reasonability on topicality. It makes no sense to me that I should vote for the best interpretation, when the affirmative’s burden is only to be good. The affirmative would never lose if the negative said there is better solvency evidence the affirmative should have read. That being said, I understand that what “good’ means differs for people but that’s also true for what “better” is: both are subjective. I will vote on competing interpretations if the negative wins that is the best way to frame the debate (usually because the affirmative doesn’t defend reasonability).
The affirmative side has huge presumption on topicality if they can produce contextual evidence to prove their plan is topical. Specific examples of what cases would be/won’t be allowed under an interpretation are important.
People think “topical version of the aff” is the be all end all of topicality, however, it begs the question: is the aff topical? If the aff is topical then just saying “topical version of the aff” means nothing – you have presented A topical version of the aff in which the affirmative plan is also one.
Basically I look at the debate from the perspective of a policy debate coach from a medium sized school: is this something my team should be prepared to debate?
As a side note – often times the shell for topicality is read so quickly that it is very unclear exactly what your interpretation of the topic is. Given that, there are many times going into the block (and sometimes afterwards) that I don’t understand what argument you are making as to why the affirmative is not topical. It will be hard for me to embrace your argument if I don’t know what it is.
Counterplans: It is a lot easier to win that your counterplan is theoretically legitimate if you have a piece of evidence that is specific to the plan. And I mean SPECIFIC to the plan, not “NATO likes to talk about energy stuff” or the “50 states did this thing about energy one time”. Counterplans that include all of the plan are the most theoretically dubious. If your counterplan competes based on fiat, such as certainty or timeframe, that is also theoretically dubious. Agent counterplans and PICS (yes, I believe they are distinct) are in a grey area. The bottom line: the counterplan should not be treated as some throw away argument – if you are going to read one then you should defend it.
Theory: I already talked a lot about it above but I wanted to mention that the only theoretical arguments that I believe are “voting issues” are conditionality and topicality. The rest are just reasons to reject the argument and/or allow the other side to advocate similar shenanigans. This is true even if the other side drops the argument in a speech.
Other stuff you may care about if you are still reading:
Aspec: If you don’t ask then cross-examination then I’ll assume that it wasn’t critical to your strategy. I understand “pre-round prep” and all but I’m not sure that’s enough of a reason to vote the affirmative down. If the affirmative fails to specify in cross-examination then you may have an argument. I'm not a huge fan of Agent CPs so if this is your reasong to vote against the aff, then you're probably barking up the wrong tree.
**Addendum to ASPEC for "United States"**: I do think it is important for the aff to specify in cross-ex what "United States" means on the college topic. The nature of disads and solvency arguments (and potentially topicality) depend on what the aff means by "United States". I understand these are similiar arguments made by teams reading ASPEC on USFG but I feel that "United States" is so unique and can mean so many different things that a negative team should be able to know what the affirmative is advocating for.
Evidence: I put a large emphasis on evidence quality. I read a lot of evidence at the end of the debate. I believe that you have to have evidence that actually says what you claim it says. Not just hint at it. Not just imply it. Not just infer it. You should just read good evidence. Also, you should default to reading more of the evidence in a debate. Not more evidence. More OF THE evidence. Don't give me a fortune cookie and expect me to give the full credit for the card's warrants. Bad, one sentence evidence is a symptom of rampant conditionality and antithetical to good policy making.
Paperless: I only ask that you don’t take too much time and have integrity with the process, e.g., don’t steal prep, don’t give the other team egregious amounts of evidence you don’t intend to read, maintain your computers and jump drives so they are easy to use and don’t have viruses, etc.
Integrity: Read good arguments, make honest arguments, be nice and don’t cheat. Win because you are better and not because you resort to cheap tricks.
Civility: Be nice. Debate is supposed to be fun. You should be someone that people enjoy debating with and against – win or lose. Bad language is not necessary to convey an argument.
Julonni Washington Paradigm
Bio - Former CUNY Debater (2013-14) and current high school coach
For the e-mail chain: email@example.com
For PF: You're getting a judge with some policy background and policy (let's just face it) is a more rigorous form of debate. This means you have liberty to run more than the CBI and debate blog vetted positions in front of me. You will be better off taking advantage of that. However, I don't appreciate the mental gymnastics it takes to understand many policy positions and you folks get less speech time to spin arguments so please keep it relatively simple.
For Policy: I'll try my best to be a fair judge and vote based on the merit of the arguments presented in a given round. That being said, I think that debate (at least the way it's done at tournaments) is a game and thus do not appreciate teams who try to avoid being topical or enjoy running far left identity arguments. Beyond that, what you would deem as wise strategy and advice from most circuit judges applies for me as well. Some side notes though....
- I lean generally on the side on Condo good in theory debates.
- Any type of competition works for a counterplan. Explain the net benefit clearly if you plan to go for a CP
- Affirmative teams should spend as much time as possible on the case debate explaining why the aff is a good idea and outweighs the negative
- Good impact calc is necessary to resolve close debates and can clean up messy link clash on the off case flows.
- Politics DA >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nearly every K
Tommye Weddington Paradigm
Hey, so apparently sending evidence without tags is a thing now. Don't do it in front of me. I'll cap your speaks at 28.
I don't want to be on the email chain. If I want to, I'll ask. You should debate as if I'm not reading a speech doc.
I'm currently a phd candidate and I view debate as an educator and also activist/organizer. This is to say that I ground much of what I think is important in debate in terms of how skills critical thinking in debate rounds adds into a larger goal of pursuing knowledge and external decisionmaking.
i've been in debate since fall 2008. at this point i'm simultaneously more invested and less invested in the activity. i'm more invested in what students get out of debate, and how I can be more useful in my post-round criticism. I'm less invested in personalities/teams/rep/ideological battles in debate. it's entirely possible that I have never heard of you before, and that's fine.
you should run what will win you the round. you should run what makes you happy. don't run what you think I want to hear.
Impact scenarios are where I vote - Even if you win uniqueness/link questions, if I don't know who's going to initiate a war, how an instance of oppression would occur, etc. by the end of the round, I'll probably go looking elsewhere to decide the round. The same thing goes for the aff - if I can't say what the aff solves and why that's important, I am easily persuaded by marginal negative offense.
Prep time ends when you email the file to the other team. It's 2019, you've likely got years of experience using a computer for academic/personal work, my expectations of your email prowess are very high.
Competing methods debates don't mean no permutation, for me at least. probably means that we should rethink how permutations function. people/activists/organizers combine methods all the time.
I don't think I've ever voted a team down b/c theory. an arg yes, but not a team:
I've found myself especially unwilling to vote on theory that's on face not true - for example: if you say floating PICs bad, and the alternative isn't articulated as a floating PIC in the debate, I won't vote on it. I don't care if it's conceded.
I think fairness is an independent impact, but also that non-topical affs can be fair. A concession doesn't mean an argument is made. your only job is to make arguments, i don't care if the other team has conceded anything, you still have to make the argument in the last speech.
Affs I don't like:
I've found myself increasingly frustrated with non-topical affs that run philosophically/critically negative stances on the aff side. The same is true for non-topical affs that just say that propose a framework for analysis without praxis. I'm super open to presumption/switch-side arguments against these kinds of affs.
I've also become frustrated with non-topical affs that do not have any sort of advocacy statement/plan text. If you're going to read a bunch of evidence and I have to wait until CX or the 2AC to know what I'm voting for, I'll have a lower threshold to vote on fw/t/the other team.
Finally, I have limited belief in the transformative power of speech/performance. Especially beyond the round. I tend to think that power/violence is materially structured and that the best advocacies can tell me how to change the status quo in those terms.
Negs I don't like:
Framework 2nr's that act as if the affirmative isn't dynamic and did not develop between the 2ac and the 1ar. Most affs that you're inclined to run framework against will prove "abuse" for you in the course of the debate.
Stale politics disadvantages. Change your shells between tournaments if necessary, please.
Theoretically inconsistent/conflicting K strats.
I don't believe in judge kicking. Your job is to make the strategic decisions as the debate continues, not mine.
if you have questions about me or my judge philosophy, ask them before the round!
Rob Wimberly Paradigm
Debated for 4 years at Dominion High School, 2 years at the University of Mary Washington, 2 years judging/coaching
I would like to be on the email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If I had to direct you to my paradigm to get my email and you're just now reading this, know that I'm disappointed that you didn't read my philosophy before the round.
Please label the subject of the email chain with both team names, the tournament, and the round
Debate is a communicative activity, and it's your job to make sure that I understand the arguments that you're making. I'm a pretty expressive judge, so if I'm not understanding your argument, I will probably give you a weird look. If clarity is a problem I won't yell clear, but my face will show it - it's your and your partners' job to make sure that you are communicating clearly. I don't like trying to put together poorly explained arguments at the end of the debate, and in the post-round I'm more than willing to tell you that I didn't understand your argument based on how it was presented in the round.
Beyond building communication skills, I think debate's other big benefit is exposure to a wide variety of literature bases (international relations, critical theory, public policy, economics, etc.). I like it when teams are experts on the research they're presenting, and if I feel like I've learned something new, it will show in your points.
Organization: Line by line matters. I'm happy when my flow is kept clean. I reward efforts to help me keep my flow clean with speaker points. Please name your flows in the 1NC. I'm not a huge fan of overviews. Debate like this and I'll reward you with points http://vimeo.com/5464508
Quals matter. I would prefer it if you read the qualifications to enter them into the debate before you argue that your author's qualifications are better than your opponent's. Remember that qualifications aren't necessarily based on education alone - relevance of experience to the substantive argument in question is also a factor.
Truth matters. "Alternative facts" are not facts. I reserve the right reject evidence that is blatantly out of context or arguments that are particularly morally repugnant (i.e. "racism good"). I will read the unhighlighted part of your evidence to assess "truth," but I do my best to separate that from how your argument was explained in the debate. Ev comparison is welcome.
Prep starts at the end of speech time and ends once the email is sent/the document is saved.
T - I'm not really sure where reasonability begins and ends, so I tend to favor competing interpretations. I think vagueness and specification arguments are important and worth evaluating, but this should begin in cross-ex
Advantage/Disadvantage debate - Impact comparison is important and necessary. I am frustrated by
Uniqueness shapes the direction of the link. If you're hoping to go for link shapes uniqueness, refer me to parts of the uniqueness debate that you think proves that uniqueness is close.
Counterplans - 2nr should be explicit in weighing the risk of a solvency deficit against the risk of the net benefit. Affs should be specific when making permutations. Most counterplan theory is a reason to allow cheaty perms or reject a counterplan altogether rather than a reason to reject the team.
Conditionality - I'm OK with the community consensus of 1 CP 1 K, but that can be changed by good debating. Convince me that your interpretation is better for accomplishing the big picture issues I noted at the top, and you'll do well. Affs should capitalize on strategies that are abusive for a combination of reasons (floating piks with a conditional alternative for instance).
Critiques (and critical affirmatives) - I'm open to them. I'm not super familiar with all but the most basic parts of the lit base. I tend to be much better at concrete (rather than abstract) thought, so use lots of examples. Long overviews should be discouraged (see above). Root cause arguments don't make a ton of sense to me logically - if a carbon tax solves global warming by making renewable energy comparatively more economical than fossil fuels, why does it matter that capitalism caused global warming? Likewise, "alt solves case" arguments tend to fall victim to timeframe problems. The best way to win in front of me is to go for scholarship related arguments - if you prove that the scholarship of the 1ac leads to faulty conclusions that implicate solvency/the 1ac scenarios.
Case - Presumption is a thing. Most 2nrs should address the case
Feel free to email me with questions!
Tyler Wiseman Paradigm
Debated at and now coach for George Mason.
Please put me on the email chain! email@example.com
- This is a communication activity. Please be clear. You're probably going much faster than you need to be.
- The aff should defend an unconditional change from the status quo.
- Tech (usually) comes before truth.
- Presumption is a thing. I default to the least change.
- Please debate the case. Terribly constructed affs too often get away with it.
- The only types of CPs I feel any particular bias against are uniqueness CPs and new 2NC CPs. As with all things, this is a threshold/preference thing; if you win the theory debate, you're good.
- There can be zero risk of a DA.
- I did very little K debating, but am familiar with the more popular/classic lit. Historical examples and analogies are much more helpful in explaining your arguments than just dropping buzz words or author names.
- I'll vote on non-topical affirmatives. The aff probably does need to do something, though.
- Fairness is an impact, but not always the most strategic one.
- More than two conditional advocacies puts you in the danger zone.
- Contradictory conditional advocacies are probably bad for debate.
- Condo doesn't outweigh T, but I guess a fire 1AR could change my mind on this.
- Cross-ex ends after 3 minutes. Anything after that is not "on the record" but still binding when it comes to things like if the CP is conditional.
- Don't clip cards. A team that calls for an ethics challenge against a team clipping needs to provide proof in the form of an audio recording. If I agree that the team did indeed clip, they'll lose the round and get 0 speaker points. If I decide that the team did not clip, the challenging team will lose the round and get 0 speaker points. This being said, if a tournament has a different procedure for this, I'll obviously adhere to it.
- Mark your cards during the speech. If you can't provide accurately marked cards to your opponents, it makes sense to me that I should disregard that evidence.
David Michael Woodward Paradigm
***Short Version + General Notes***
I debated for five years for George Mason University, 5th year judging
I do want to be included on e-mail chains if they happen, my e-mail is dwoodward92@gmail
More tech over truth, biases are below but unless you say something offensive good debating > my preferences. Read what you're best at.
Have questions? read specific sections below or feel free to ask/email me.
*** Post-Bing Update: Don't troll in debates.*** IF you want to forfeit just tell me. Doesn't preclude off the wall strategies versus affs- if there's good faith involved points will be normalized. IF it's an obvious joke/waste of time then you + partner get a 15/15.1: If you make me laugh enough even after wasting that time then you'll get a 25/25.1 instead.
***End Short Version + General Notes***
***Novice Division Specifics***
Still not fan of packet but since GMU's following it yall should too (when the tournament mandates it)
Still want people to be nice/friendly in debates
Still am ok with non topical affs in novice but again keep them simple/to the point. general brightline for framework is MUCH lower than what it is in JV/Open debates.
Still giving full attention in novice debates
Still think it's the division that deserves a the largest amount of investment and support in college debate
Always a voting issue- can't change this
T comes first. Aff could win theory/other arg comes first but unlikely
Competing interpretations generally better than Reasonability
Affs should have a counterinterp
***Executive Authority After Wake Note***
Topic's in a good place
I reward negative teams who correctly punish aff teams for lack of defenses to portions of their aff, or topic literature of alternatives to the aff, so things like "x portion of your plan is actually good/bad so do the rest of it other than the good/bad part." OR "the main author for your solvency advocate says do x thing instead, so do x".
I respect the hustle but do not reward teams who interpret this as "the aff doesn't have a congress/federal/immediate action key card" in the 1AC.
I don't kick the counterplan for the negative if extended in the 2nr
I believe in you can do what you can justify. Theory is easily the most common place where good debating will beat my preferences. At the same time I think a lot of counterplan things that exist are more likely cheating than not. I don't think permutation theory is a reason to reject the team, but all other theoretical reasons are. Also NDT/New Aff/GSU etc. isn't an excuse to read ridiculous CP things. As for conditionality, 2 IF old aff, 3 if new is where i'd give the 50/50 odds for both teams. Obviously fewer/more would shift my aff/neg bias there.
I think the ESR counterplan in certain forms is cheating on the current topic, though the fewer planks and fewer unrealistic hoops you have trump jumping through the better. Used to be far more it's unacceptable other than being a generic but between judging and wiki searches i've found there's both ok versions and ones that are very theoretically illegitimate.
Also borrowed this scale because i've seen many other people do this and it draws lines a lot better than I explain them.
Conditionality Bad------X-------------------------Negs can read as much/whatever they want
PICs Good-X------------------------PICs Bad
Condo Planks Magnify Abuse-X----------------------Condo Planks Are Fine
50 State Fiat Good------------------------------X---States CP is Awful
ESR Good --------------------X------ESR Cheat
Read above. I want you to go for theory to punish the neg for questionable CP practices. This does not mean I want you to go for theory IF you are winning on substance, but it's an option.
Solvency deficits go a long way as does good permutations
CP specific offense definitely gets you some speaker point boost.
Not much to say, turns case args are good.
Midterms/Politics: I will vote on it. At the same times these DA's have made very little sense/haven't been a thing since 2010 except maybe SKFTA/sometimes debt ceiling. Logical arguments based on current events are super persuasive in front of me. I'm not saying don't read midterms/politics in front of me but analytics about gridlock/current congressional problems (they're in a recess currently, etc.) are more persuasive than you'd think.
I'm fine with them, read what you're best at. All I ask is that you explain things to me.
***Issues that apply to both the aff/neg***
Explanation is incredibly important. As I said above I mostly work with JV/Novice kids. Sometimes I cut cards/read critical lit but this is far and inbetween. I have general knowledge based on rounds i've judged and conversations but I don't read a lot of it in free time even though I find it interesting. I won't put things together for you at the end of a debate so don't assume I will.
I'm more familiar with identity based args than dense philosophy, still needs a lot of explanation though
Defend something. This matters more to the aff than the neg but the main point of the argument should be doing something. Doing nothing to do nothing doesn't read as an argument.
Specificity is better than generics- contextualizing your links/solvency to the topic/aff is fantastic- the more you are able to articulate how the aff causes/the aff fixes the problem in society makes things MUCH easier for you.
Tricks are encouraged but don't hide them from the judge as well. Pretty much if there's a trick to the aff/neg spring it early. In fact 2AC/2NC reveals or explanations are far better for you and me voting on it than 2NR/1AR tricks.
Defend what you say, don't be vague/shifty for no reason. Like IF the other team lets you get away with being shifty then exploit that but don't do it just to do it- i still need to know what to do at the end of the debate.
***Critical Affs w. Plan/Defending Implementation***
Do it or don't. 2AC's who shift one way or another irratate me. Makes winning against T/Framework arguments much harder. Best example, IF you say if the 1NC reads x DA and it links and the neg takes you up on that you should have that debate. If you spike out then T is much harder for you to beat.
Make sure I understand how the aff solves + use the aff to your advantage to get around CP's, DA's, etc. Offense is very important
Framing also important- easiest way to help me figure out who should win.
***Critical Affs w/o Plan/Defending Implementation***
Do it or don't- see above
Defend the topic
make sure you can explain/defend why your aff solves whatever you try to solve
specificity towards framework/critique/DA answers goes a long way.
specifics are good when it comes to dealing with framework/critiques/case args - not a fan of "not our x" to get out of case args.
***Aff vs. Critiques***
Defend your aff
Fine with either perm strat or case OW's
Alts very susceptible to whether it matters or not- needs to solve something
Perm should be specific but also if the neg lets you you can do what is needed.
***Neg vs. Critical Affs***
Limits/Fairness more persuasive than Delib/Portable Skills
T version can be very persuasive
Answer the specifics of the aff- the more specific your framework is to the aff the better.
take a hardline stance- either be very left wing framework or right wing. toeing the line doesn't help you.
Framework is a T arg- I don't count it as a conditional world
try and be specific to the aff, don't let perm cheat, explanation key
***Neg vs. Policy Affs***
Specific Links to the aff = good
K tricks encouraged
Links of Omission = not real args
Framing arguments help a lot
IF alt is relevant to winning the debate/solving your impacts then this should be made clear + explain how alt resolves your links/impacts
Don't let the aff cheat with the perm but also IF they let you get away with weird alt stuff then do it. But keep it stable.
All parts of the K should be in the 2nr and very extensive/understandable.
I dislike embedded clash
Clarity over speed
Don't clip- if you think someone is clipping/cheating, have audio evidence. Round will stop. if accused is guilty, they get a 0, the loss and everyone else gets average points. If accused is innocent, team who made the challenge gets a 0 + loss, others get averaged speaks.
Be nice, we have to see each other for 4-5 years, being nice is not being a doormat, similarly, being sassy is not the same as being hostile.
I don't take time for prep unless it's blatantly being stolen. And at that point i'll start running the clock without telling you. so don't steal prep.
I like spin over evidence dumps. explaining your evidence and the warrants clearly and in a way where it sticks with me helps. Spin will beat a card unless the quality difference is massive.
I don't read cards unless necessary. It makes me question my decisions/RFD's in ways that I later question how I determine debates. I feel more secure when debaters take the time to not only explain the warrants and arguments within the evidence to persuade me why I should prefer them. If the debaters make it part of the debate with a warrant larger than just "read the cards at the end judge", I'll happily read them or if it is a vital point to determine the debate. I am less happy if I am forced to read cards because the original presentation was not clear or comprehensible.
Jefferson Yahom Paradigm
I did LD for 4 years, then I did college policy for 4 years. Now I'm the assistant director of debate at the University of Rochester. Now I've been coaching debate at the University of Rochester for 5 years. I like critical theory, especially the works of Sylvia Wynter.
A few things I think are generally good:
- I don't like disclosure theory.
- I don't like it when people ask for high speaker points.
- Plans, no plans, there are good reasons to have them and good reasons to not have them. Policy debate existed before plan focus debate, policy will continue even without the plan.
- If you see me flowing on a computer, hand me paper and a pen and you'll get my full attention.
- Neg flex is theoretically justifiable, but I value smaller debates because I like it when people paint me a picture of the debate and their scenarios. Go 7 off at your own risk because those sorts of debates get in the way of storytelling. (I get it someone broke new and you gotta go do what you gotta do)
I'm still trying to figure these out. I think I'm closer to what they should be than I was in the Fall.
Debaters that I would consider giving a 30 to with how I think about points now:
Rashid Campbell, John Spurlock, Gabby Knight, Brad Bolman, Kaine Cherry, Quaram Robinson
Types of debates I'm in and my thoughts:
K v K: in these a lot. Please don't assume I've read everything or agree with your interpretation of texts. I'm not always up-to-date on the coolest in the K, a lot of K arguments that are new are really just repetitions of previous types of debates, please flag it as a newer version of that type of debate so that I'm thinking about it in that manner.
A lot of folks don't really properly frame arguments so I'm not sure which arguments do and don't matter. The newer your argument is, and less framing I'm given, the more arbitrary my decision will sound.
Clash: in these a lot. Clash and debatability are pretty persuasive impacts to me since, I, like many coaches love debate and the process of going through tournaments, going to the lab afterwards to tweak and repair blocks/constructive speeches.
That said, I do think some K teams shoot themselves in the foot for trying to meet teams in the center. Y'all should be theoretically consistent at the risk of harming clash and debateability that disavow elements of structural violence. If that sounds like buzzwords, I'm saying that if you're telling me we gotta have an ontological that says we're on turtle island, T USFG should be grounds for you to want to throw ideological hands.
Policy v Policy: in these occasionally. A clever PIC/disads with uniqueness, and I'll be swooning. But please don't assume I know all the foreign policy shorthand and buzzwords, I may have cut a card about A2AD/BMDs in the past, but I don't honestly know what that means, so you gotta walk me through that or else I'm gonna get lost.
Also, I strongly suggest y'all check out Keiko Takemiya's To Terra. It's really good. Especially for this year's space topic.
jorman antigua Paradigm
school affiliation: acorn community high school (Brooklyn NY), NYUDL (new york urban debate league), stuyversant high school (New york, NY)
years debating: 4 years of high school, starting college debate
in a debate round i have done everything from cp and politics to performance
my first highschool topic was aid to south Africa, last one was reduce military (if that matters)
I will vote on whatever arguments win, this means I may vote on anything, it could come down to Counterplan-Disad, Procedurals, Kritiks, Affs with no plan text, to even performance. tell me what your argument is and what the ballot signifies (if it has a meaning)...i.e. policy maker etc...(...)
speaker points: be persuasive and make it interesting thin line between funny and ass hole at times may it be in cross-x or your speech you decide *background music* ...analysis/argumentation (don't lie about reading a hole card if u didn't,don't just read cards and tag~line extend ~_~ ) i will call for evidence if needed and i will hit you wit the world famous "cum on son" lol
impact your arguments (duhh)
Topicality: i like a good t debate, their fun and at times educational, make sure you impact it, and give a correct abuse story...
counter plans: have a good net benefit prove how they solve the case
dis ads: you can run them i vote for anything and am familiar with most scenarios
k: i was a k db8er for the better half of my db8 career so i'm pretty familiar with most k~lit u will read unless its like some deep
nietzsche, zizek, lacan type ish but i get it...and if you explain it give a good story and show alternative solvency i will vote for it...it is also fine if you kick the alt and go for it as a case turn just debate it out...
preformance: i did this too...explain what the round comes down to...i.e. role of the judge/ballot/db8ers...and if their is a form of spill over what this is and means in real world and debate world... block framework lol...and show me why your/this performance is key...may it be a movement or just you expressing your self...i like methodology db8s so if it comes down to the aff and neg being both performance teams be clear on the framework for the round and how your methodology is better and how the other may recreate these forms of oppression you may be speaking about...may it be the deletion of identity or whiteness etc...same things apply if your running a counter~advocacy against a performance team...(*whispers* solvency)...k vs performance rounds same as methodology prove the link and as for the alt prove the solvency... framework vs performance rounds i had a lot of these, boring but fun to see the way they play out depending on interp, vio, impacts and stuff...
framework: any kind is fine...same justification as Topicality...depending on how your spinning framework within a round... *yells* education =)
short & sweet
#swag...have fun...do you...debate =)