Saint Georges Invitational
2018 — Spokane, WA/US
MacLean Andrews Paradigm
MacLean Andrews—Gonzaga Prep
I debated policy in high school and NPDA/NPTE parli at Point Loma. I then coached NPDA/NPTE at PLNU. I am now the Director of Forensics at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, WA. I mostly coach and judge high school CX and LD now. I see debate as an academic game and that’s how I will judge the round. Please feel free to ask me any questions before the round or email me if you have questions while filling out pref sheets (first initial last name at gprep.com)
- 28-29 usually.
- I think there are critical implications to every speech act. Affirmative cases, topicalities, procedurals, kritiks, and performances can all be critically analyzed if the teams take the debate there. I am more than willing to listen to any type/kind of arguments but nothing will make me cringe more than a bad K debate. In the end it is up to the debaters in the round to tell me what framework I am to use to evaluate the round.
- I tend to see T through a competing interpretations framework unless told so otherwise. I have a fairly high threshold for T but that doesn’t mean I won’t vote for it. If it is the best strategy you have to win the round go for it.
- I will assume the CP is unconditional unless I’m told it’s not in the 1NC. I am personally predisposed to think Condo bad in parli debate but I am more than willing to listen to Condo good. In policy I am ok with a conditional advocacy.
- I am willing to listen to all theory arguments as long as a team can give me a reason to vote on the position. Theory positions should have a framework/interp, arguments for your position, and voters/impacts. Simply stating fairness or education as voting issues usually isn’t enough to win. Impact out why fairness or education or (insert voter) is important.
- I will default to Net Bens…but if you want to use an alternative weighing mechanism please explain and provide justification for it.
- I appreciate it when weighing is done in the speeches. The last thing you want is for me to have to weigh your arguments for you.
- Speed is great if clear.
- The round is for the debaters, do what you have to do to win. I will try to adapt to you instead of you adapting to me.
- Debate should be fun.
Liam Donnelly Paradigm
4/22 update: two pre-TOC thoughts about the immigration topic:
1 - I don't think there's a great arg for not reading a plan specific to this topic.
2 - DAs on this topic have a bad rap. Sure, link evidence describing the aff is often non-existent. But there is a plethora of cards that could be read as pertaining to the aff, but for which the negative is unwilling to make those sorts of connections. I don't think you need a card saying everything. Reading a card about, say, a hypothetical immigration reform and then making a strong case for why that reform is not meaningfully different from the aff is sufficient to at least have a link argument.
/end of update
Email chain: email@example.com.
No tag team CX (see bottom). Prep ends when the flash drive leaves the computer or when you hit "send."
Coach at Ingraham. 4 years of policy in HS, 2 years of policy at the University of Puget Sound. The way I think about debate is largely influenced by my high school and college coaches: Danielle Jennings and Jame Stevenson. My favorite judges as a competitor were Ben Menzies and Geoff Lundeen. My least favorite judge was Brandon Silk.
I consider myself to be a critic of arguments. I don't adopt a single paradigm when judging debates. I try to tease-out the way that debaters would like me to evaluate certain arguments and the extent to which these evaluative directions are contested. I'm open to anything. What follows is a discussion of how I tend to consider arguments.
Claim + Warrant + Impact.
I’ve judged a lot of debaters who have been far too unclear for me to flow them effectively. I’ve even judged debaters this year that have been—gasp—too fast for me to flow. I’ll sometimes call clear, but even momentary lapses in clarity can alter the way I view a round.
I’m a technical judge and I try to protect later speeches. Arguments that are truly dropped are presumed true, at least insofar as they were initially made. A simple example: Dropping a warranted argument saying the CP would be delayed means I will assume it true for the purposes of the debate that the CP happens later than the aff would. Unless it was made clear why this matters, it won’t get the aff very far. If the 1AR then says something like “this means they don’t solve imminent nuclear threats identified in the 1AC” then, by default, I think the 2NR can respond to the claim that delaying implies anything about solving these nuclear threats but not to the claim that the CP is delayed.
I might read some evidence. How the evidence is debated frames the role the evidence plays in my decision.
"Clash of Civs" - Affs that aren't about the topic or don't have an advocacy statement? Affs without a plan that still discuss immigration policy? I’m a lot better for the latter. To me, T is a floor, FW is a ceiling. I care more that the aff is T than that it has a plan. And I think that what is topical can be informed by one’s relation to the topic. But I think Fairness is important and a terminal impact. In the hypothetical where one team has won a fairness argument, the other an exclusion argument, and there is zero comparison thereof, I’ll come down on the side of fairness every time. If you’re reading a K aff, you likely need defense against the theory part of the T debate.
I think you need an interp in Framework/T debates. I think the best strategy against Framework for an aff that is in the direction of the topic should include some interpretation of what the aff does defend - eg, the aff has to defend a restriction, not necessarily the usfg - coupled with some reasons wh what the aff doesn't have to defend is bad. I'm a stickler for you needing an interp in these sorts of debates.
"Egregious condo, terrible negative arguments" - 1NCs that read 2 bad CPs, a generic K, and 3 DAs that don't have uniqueness? You deserve to lose on condo. But the 2AC in most of these debates just needs to make a few analytics to effectively deal with over half the 1NC. In this sense, I do care about the truth value of your arguments; if you’re missing a bunch of internal links, not much ink needs to go on the flow to eliminate the DA.
Ks - "All our links are disadvantages to the perm" is sometimes intuitively true, but often cannot just be asserted. Links should have an impact and reason why the alt solves.
CPs - If I’m being honest, I think CPs should be both textually and functionally competitive, and that agent CPs are legitimate but process CPs are not competitive. Solvency deficits need to be impacted.
"Impact framing" - I’ll rarely vote on a big impact with significantly reduced risk just because it’s big. Significant differences in the plausibility of the DA usually proceed magnitude. But, “impact framing” debates aren’t doing much for me. In a lot of these debates, it seems like a lot of arguments assume that the risk of the big impact is low. But then “team structural impacts” ends up having bad defense and never backing this assumption up. Reading a bunch of abstract cards about probability should take the backseat to winning that the other team’s impact is low-probability.
Defaults (these hold unless otherwise debated): competing interpretations over reasonability. No judge-kick of arguments extended in the 2nr. It is possible for me to assign zero risk to an argument (but not likely enough for me to recommend as strategic not extending offense in your final rebuttal). Presumption flips aff when i'm comparing the aff to a world other than the status quo.
I think that debaters have a responsibility to make their arguments comprehensible to their opponents. This means that debaters can call "clear" or "slow" if need be, or teams can arrange another means of communicating this.
I give more points clustered around the median than other judges. If you’re clear and explain your arguments, expect 27.5-28. Organization, knowledge of arguments, CX quality, and strategic decision-making are important in how I give points.
Tag team: I think each debater needs to give and get a CX, and give a constructive and rebuttal. At times, it has felt like tag teaming has been a legitimized means for problematic power dynamics between partners to exist.
Clipping: loss and a zero. Intent is irrelevant. Making a false accusation hurts your points but doesn’t give you an auto-L. Usually you need a recording.
Don't say exclusionary things. Don't misgender your opponents. Let me know if you need accommodations or to take a moment for personal health.
Joe Leduc Paradigm
Short Answer: Debate is for the debaters and I mean that. Do what you want and I will do my best to evaluate the debate. I competed in policy debate for 8 years (2007-2015) and have coached many different teams at the high school and college level. I am well accustomed to the vocabulary, concepts, and debate application of a wide variety of schools of thought. I have judged very few rounds on this topic and I do not coach any HS teams so don't expect me to know a lot of the nuances or conversations about this topic. Debaters who explain those nuances and communicate those distinctions effectively will be rewarded.
Debate isn't one dimensional. I believe that people do debate for a plurality of reasons including but not limited to educational enrichment, competitive ambitions, activist commitments, useless expenditure, policy training, artistic expression, or the game itself. I believe that debaters, coaches, and community members ususally have a complicated relationship with debate, especially debating at this particular historical moment. Debaters who can execute positions that articulate not only the importance of the content they are presenting but also the manner in which they are presenting their content are ahead of the curve in my book. I invest a lot in questions not only of what we should advocate or what we learn but also what type of people debate is training us to be.
I tend to be expressive when I judge so debaters who are attuned to my reactions during the round will get a lot of valuable information and feedback about how I think the debate is going.
Clarity is a huge issue for me. I think that many debaters could benefit from slowing down in order to say more. I value depth in argument over a large volume of technical arguments or cards. I find myself reading less and less evidence as I judge more so if you want me to stack up the ev at the end of a debate, you're going to have to do the comparison in your speeches.
When it comes to issues of framework/topicality, I am much more persuaded by substantively answering the aff through a competing methodology or starting-point instead of as an issue of fairness or contestability. This means I don't find procedural fairness to be a persuasive impact in and of itself. I will not be persuaded by the argument that it is impossible to debate against the affirmative or characterizing the essence of an affirmative to the argument "X is bad." I am much more persuaded by theoretical arguments on framework that are internal links to substantive framework impacts. This doesn't mean that I won't listen to framework/T but you are much better off going for a competitive criticism to the aff.
For the left, although I am familiar with many of the concepts and traditions routinely executed in debate, I tend to have a higher threshold for explanation. Using buzzwords as replacement for indepth link analysis or the way the alternative is tailored to the aff will not be a winner. This threshold for explanation also applies to more traditional debates. Being able to assess and compare impacts is essential not only late in the debate but early on if you want to establish a framing for me to view the rest of the debate.
I'm not the judge for your trolling or gotcha backfile checks (nuclear malthus, wipeout etc.).
Mark Little Paradigm
Updated for TOC 2019 and early tournaments of 2019-2020
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current: OES (Oregon Episcopal School) 6 years
- Cornell assistant coach (pre-merger)
- UW debater (pre-merger)
- Interlake debater (long time ago)
1. Open to any argument. There are comments below about three substantive positions: T, PoMo Ks, and Identity Ks.
2. Debate is a game. You get to set the rules, except for speech times, speech order, and prep time.
3. Tech > truth. I am deeply suspicious of truth claims in debate. I endeavor to be flow centric in my judging.
4. Don't steal prep.
5. Debate is a scholarly activity. Sharp use of excellent ev is compelling to me.
6. If I seem grumpy, it just means I'm engaged and interested.
The general rule is that T is great, subject to the exceptions below in the "Substantive arguments" section. Innovative interps or well carded args on T are refreshing.
Theory other than T
Vote for and against theory args.
- Condo / dispo: make no assumptions about the number of neg positions a team gets. Default to dispo (its ok to kick). Need justification for condo (its ok to contradict). Willing to change these defaults.
- Framework / T USFG: sure, but you will be more successful if you also engage substantively with the aff even if you don't ultimately go for those args in the 2NR.
- ASPEC, OSPEC, etc: if they are meaningful arguments, no problem voting for them.
- Novel or resurrected theory: explain it, win it, and the ballot is yours.
Straight forward. A couple of pet peeves:
- "Perm do both" is not an argument. Perms need an explanation of how they function and why they disprove competition.
- "Perms are severance and VI" is not an argument. As a default, perms are a test of competition and not an advocacy, barring an actual shift by the aff.
Mild preference for Ks grounded in the topic or with meaningful links to the aff. Links of omission are usually not persuasive.
Substantive arguments: T, PoMo Ks, and Identity Ks
Normally, I don't have opinions on substantive arguments, but I have noticed two patterns in my judging which you might care about:
1. POMO positions with some relation to the topic win my ballot much more frequently than POMO with no relation to the topic.
2. Identity politics positions are challenging under two conditions:
(a) if the team running identity politics position cannot answer the question "How can the other team reasonably win the ballot?", then I will probably vote against the position, and
(b) arguments predicated on the other team's identity will get ignored. You are welcome to argue about your own identity or social position.
Molly Martin Paradigm
i'm molly, debated at c.k. mcclatchy for 4 years and i'm now in my second year debating for gonzaga university.
- assistant coach at lewis and clark high school (go tigerz), doin some work for ckm also (go lionz) (lions, tigers, no bears, oh damn)
1. the short and sweet version (longer explanations below):
- email chain: email@example.com
- i love this activity so much in every way it presents itself, so there's very little you can't run in front of me. i'm not well versed in high theory, but that doesn't mean i'm not down to listen - i've probably dabbled in most other forms of argumentation, though.
- i have accessibility issues - slow down for analytics, clarity over speed, signpost, speak loud. if you have music, please send me the lyrics of the song.
- write my ballot - frame the round, impact things out, have evidence comparison, and implicate your arguments and you should be set with me. this applies to any arg you'll read in front of me.
- clipping/being a bad community member will result in the lowest speaks i can give you and a loss. i'll almost definitely be talking to your coach(es) afterwards. you should know better not to use violent rhetoric, but that doesn't mean people don't do it.
((also stealing prep makes me unhappy))
- we are people before we are debaters, be nice and treat people with respect. if someone asks for accommodations, do your best to meet them.
2. full paradigm:
- line by line > your 4 minute long overview
- you need to extend and win an alternative unless you rlly impact out an independent DA to the aff
- contextualize your links; i know the state is bad, but if that's all you got, it probably won't go well for you.
- read a lot of queerness kritiks in high school, but just because i'm familiar with a kritik does not mean i'll do the work for you. :)
- i know a lil bit about the topic - judged at the GDI and what not, but if you introduce any nuanced concepts relevant to the topic, it'd be in your best interest to give a more in-depth explanation.
- 2ac args that are like "it was on the wiki" "we're t bc you had specific links" are a no-go with me
- t is fundamentally debate about what the topic should look like; i don't think the neg needs to win in-round abuse necessarily. show me what the rez looks like under your interp/counter-interp
case: love her! more of her!
- impact turn debates need qualified ev - i won't be happy listening to a warming good debate if your author is from 4chan and thinks the earth is flat
- good link stories are key. this means your links should be contextual, or you just need to do the work in terms of spin.
- make sure you’re making and engaging with turns case arguments.
- i'll vote on low risk if you win it (unpopular opinion? idk)
- specific net benefits are preferred; affs should have specific solvency deficits
- judge kick needs a justification
do your thing! i won't automatically vote against you if you're not in the direction of the topic, but i think being in the direction of the topic is a good thing.
- don’t be an a-hole answering k affs, especially those that center identity. you can be responsive without undermining your opponents personally.
identity affs: this space is what you make it. i understand debate as a survival strategy and i respect that, but you need to tell me why that’s a reason i should vote for your strategy.
- no pressing thoughts here. i'm totally fine if you read it!
- you need an interpretation and a substantive impact. how do you better access the internal link to insert impact here
- with that being said, there's certain theory violations that i don't feel like voting on ever (vague alts, no neg fiat). i will if i have to, so don't let me stop you from doing you!
- condo: i lean neg here, but my leanings will not determine my ballot. :)
satirical arguments - fine, good times, still need to be impacted out.
have fun! regardless of if you win or lose, there is something to be taken away from every debate; always strive to learn from debates, because your skills leave the round with you. as an ex-high school debater who tried really hard to be uber competitive, i can tell you now with full certainty - Bids Don't Actually Matter, and your bids or lack thereof do not determine your value and worth - debate is about what you bring to the debate community and what you can get out of it. make sure it's positive, both for yourself and for other people.
Jimi Morales Paradigm
hook me in the chain-
I like it when the 1AC is well researched and non-redundant.
I have a particular fondness for K's, mutually exclusive CP's, and all types of Theory but most of all I like it when arguments are performed consistently and with strong unique links to the 1AC explained thoroughly. I debated Policy and LD in Houston circa 2003-2006, so flashing is prep and you don't need to send an entire speech in order to get started, the first card will be enough and then send the rest as is possible.
A poorly constructed argument that allegedly explains why (your side prevents/the other side causes) a nuclear war probably isn't winning my ballot. Warrants and the news are your friend.
I have no threshold for speed when it's delivering actual analytics - if you are incoherently s(peed)reading I will more than likely not be able to follow and I'm not going to read along to a speech doc. I promise I'm flowing.
you can be funny without being rude.
One time an eventual TOC champion asked me "Do you understand how debate works?" after I downed them in a prelim round at a major national event. Then I was told he understood because "you don't know who we are". My response was "That probably made it easier to vote against you". Take from this what you will.
Andrew Myers Paradigm
Current Assistant Director of Debate for Gonzaga University and Former Assistant Head Coach at Mead HS.
BA- Phil/Poli-Sci GU '12, MA- Phil SUNY Buffalo '14
4 Years Debating for Mead HS, 3 Years for Gonzaga. 5 Years Assistant Coach Mead HS, 5 Years ADOD at GU.
Final NDT Update – Minnesota NDT 19 (3-19-19)
To paraphrase Ryan Wash, this shit here is like a novel – it’s long and a lot to read. Fair, so I stole the “philosophy for the Twitter generation” idea from Adam Symonds for those that don't want to read it all:
TLDR: I have voted for and against Framework, Antiblackness, ESR + Flex, Nuclear Deterrence, Storytelling, and the State. Boo untopical policy Affs and abusive ESR CPs. Hater's Guide: Strict about highlighting, thinks Logic is real, votes for caring about people, Education > Fairness, thinks Debate isn’t just a game, hates agenda politics disads, votes for identity arguments.
My Decision Making Process:
My Vote means I think Team A wins and Team B loses. The final rebuttals most likely to win my ballot are clear on why my vote should declare their Team the winner, but the final rebuttal isn’t the only thing I will consider.
The Process of deciding which Team wins
1. General Impression – What is my first intuition about which team won the debate and why?
2. Check the Record – Did I miss something? Did I undervalue an Argument? Is there a critical concession?
3. Casting a Vote –
A. What are the “voting” issues?
B. Which, if any, arguments were decisively won or lost?
C. How do those arguments relate to the voting issues raised?
4. Determination and Decision – How will I explain the decision? Why Do I accept one of Team A’s or Team B’s voting issues over the other, i.e. Why not vote the opposite way?
This, quite simply, is how I make a decision. For why I make my decision, the rest of my judging philosophy is committed to continued debates where the voting issues are familiar. Debate is more exciting when the ground is unfamiliar, but that doesn’t mean classic debates are not interesting. Note that what constitutes a “classic” debate has more to do with intensity than ideology.
I cannot express anymore so clearly than this: Debate should not be a violent exercise, but it should be competitive, performative, and reasoned activity.
Arguments I will not likely ever vote for
A. Make debate a violent activity
B. Refuse Competition, Performance, or Reasoning.
(See below: Ethos, Pathos, Logos)
Examples of Arguments I will likely not like voting for:
1. No K’s ever judge, philosophy is too hard! If making sure when we act we do the right thing is hard for you, I have no sympathy.
2. Debate is Bad because it’s competitive! If your argument is right that winning is bad, why should you win? Clearly debate can take the competitive spirit too far and into the realm of toxicity (see: Either, A.). That violence forgets that part of playing a game is that you play with others.
3. The Circular Logic of Intrinsicness – There is a difference between what I think is intrinsic to the activity, a.k.a. what is to be done while judging, and the assertion of something being intrinsically good. The remnants of theory debates recirculating invoke too fondly paramount truths that are evidently not so self-evident.
4. The Argument as You experienced it/know it – My role here is to consider how we experience you making that argument in relation to others.
Finally, Debating about a Topic is language gaming. There are various language games we play, but we do so competitively at the intersection of thought and performance.
The 2018-2019 CEDA-NDT Topic headache:
I’ll evaluate the debate in front of me. I don’t think this resolution makes sense, and worse, is the bad kind of language game. I miss resolutions that were a statement, not a matrix.
If y’all are intent on having an ESR/Flex debate, that’s fine. Aff’s should be able to answer those core generics, some CPs are more abusive than others. I just don’t find that debate interesting.
I don’t get why Framework teams read not-topical Affs and not-topical TVAs, but especially on this topic (where the floodgates are clearly open). Aim Higher! K teams should not be afraid to read T in front of me against policy Affs. Policy Negs should be ready to defend the topic if your Framework argument is that the topic is good.
No Exec Authority to First Use Nuclear Strike =/= No First Use
Affs should specify the restriction(s)
I don’t think the Act of students debating simultaneously does anything about Trump in the moment. I do think I have seen debating by students on this topic that could effectuate change out of the round. I don’t know if this means anything in regards to presidential power.
I’m really not cool with War Criminals or Fascists.
NDT 16 Judge Philosophy Update 3-25-16
This will by my second year judging and coaching at the NDT for Gonzaga, and I feel compelled to comment on my continually developing disposition(s) as a judge.
I’ve had 52 rounds on this topic, varying in all styles.
I implore you to read what I’ve written here. I take this part of my job seriously and want to demonstrate how my thinking (philosophy) changes and stays the same.
If you don’t read it, ask Michigan KM how that went.
I prefer my role as a judge to be a primarily nonverbal communicative partner – including me in the round, making eye contact (when appropriate), reacting to how I am understanding you, is not merely a narcissistic request: it’s a recognition of a preference for active learning and teaching, for all of us.
I have previously written here that I prefer to be an educator, but frankly that won’t be the case for certain content or experiences. I can, however, offer some academic advice on the structure of your arguments, rhetoric and speaking style. Thus, being an educator is a preference based on comfort, but my comfort isn’t my preference with exception to the following uncomfortable (enough to vote you down) scenarios:
- Making jokes about rape, or responding to issues of sexual violence with jokes. It’s not funny to me. You know who you are.
- Sex, Gender, Orientation, Race or Ability discrimination
- Being willfully ignorant about Race. Racial naiveté isn’t always a reason to lose a round, but being unwilling to admit fault, mistake or responsibility for certain behaviors is not, at the very least, a persuasive way to get my ballot.
As a quick aside on education, the question of what a university should be for often causes me consternation. After all, for someone who valued education as an excuse not to go home, my growing pessimism in the academy (whether from the expected bitterness of graduate school or from the contemporary conversations of the occupy and black lives matter generation) makes me receptive to some cynical positions. I’ve seen some pretty indefensible things condoned in the University. That said…I still believe this activity can be good for students and as such my responsibility is primarily to them. The second I don’t believe that, I won’t be here. Without students we coaches don’t have a job. See Below: Commitment to Educational Debate.
And so I return to my reason for posting: I felt compelled because of my position to comment on some topics pervading the debate community right now:
- If I’m on a panel and someone wants to replace me, I won’t be offended as long as I can cover the rounds I am obliged to so my students can debate.
- If there is a recording, I don’t really want to be on it… So I understand the concern with being recorded against your will. I know states differ on their local laws and the NDT Committee has put forth polices on it. If both teams have to be on video, then I will also have to be on video for the space to be fair(er). I think there are interesting privacy arguments in support of extending protections against being recorded in debates, but I also think accountability is important. In the end I just want to judge the debate.
- I think speech times have to be rigid. I am fine with flex prep, and am honestly lax about prep in general, but at some point fairness and timeliness is a concern.
- I once judged a debate where a Bifo team hit a Buddhist team and they deconstructed the round, reconstructed it, and gave final speeches after dialogue. It was different but not uncomfortable, on time, mutually agreed upon, and productive.
- The only things I will say about civility concerns: a) Before the debate starts I don’t expect much other than if I’m asked I’ll answer questions. b) When the timer starts for the 1AC it’s all performance – that’s a necessary space to express some seriously challenging thoughts c)When the timer stops I prefer some quiet to make a decision, but I often will go smoke or put my headphones in anyway d) At no point should you physically harass anyone. Consent for me applies equally well to unwanted intentional physical touching e) Other issues are probably not my fight and I don’t poke around in them unless beckoned to – either by the ballot or as a community member and academic employee.
As a child Hip Hop made me read books,
And Hip Hop made me wanna be a crook
And Hip Hop gave me the way and something to say
And all I took in return is a second look
- Slug, Party for the Fight to Write
An Admission of Hubris –
“I probably have read the primary sources your authors are talking about.”
Turns out I don’t know much about many contemporary primary source debate authors, even if many of them I do (Given my previous disclosures of my education, expected authors would include stuff like Foucault and Fanon, but exclude stuff like Berlant and Bifo). Either way, you could plausibly predict what I’ve read merely given the MA and BAs in Political Science and Philosophy from a Jesuit Liberal Arts School. Ah how the tables have turned!
To Finish, another nod to Z-Lowe..
Ten Things I Like and Dislike
1. Terrible highlighting -
Honestly a lot of the “evidence” students are reading into the round has become unrecognizable by academic standards of clarity and integrity. Examples of things that irk me: sentence fragments, highlighting parts of a word as a word (i.e., deforestation becomes “defo,” proliferation becomes “prolif,” nuclear weapons becomes "nucs" ). A good way to understand my expectation: highlight your evidence as if you were quoting your sources in an academic paper. Anything else is the privileging debate norms over educational standards of scholarship.
2. Reading a Pile ‘O’ Cards -
In almost every entry here I bring this up. I still will read a bunch of evidence after the round given certain circumstances, but it’s my least favorite thing to do. Given the complexity of debate and the relative short times to make decisions, I don’t want to spend my time adjucating reading evidence I should have heard as part of your “speech.” Making a decision after re-reading read evidence in a debate distances judges from the performance of the speech and increases the likelihood of interpretive hubris. I don’t think either of those things are desirable characteristics of a decision. My novel idea for debate would be for judges to hear evidence read, the first time its read. I also think this is possibly a reason why I often find affective modes of communication persuasive – what they lack in depth they make up in clarity. I don’t think debate is a research competition.
A minor quip on the subject of speech documents: sending a speech doc for your opponents and judges that is 100 pages is both annoying and unrealistic. It makes it hard for everyone and borders on obfuscation. For my philosophy on obfuscation, See: Baudrillard.
3. Affs That Do Things –
I was more often a 2A than a 2N throughout my career. I loved the challenge of changing the status quo. Debate is one of the few spaces you can advocate things we would otherwise be shutdown for: ideas being politically unlikely, socially difficult or subject to academic inertia. If you aff decides to do nothing, I am very likely to buy presumption/pessimism arguments in response. If your aff does something, I am more likely to filter the debate through that proposed change. On a somewhat related note, my proclivity for opacity arguments is almost always as a neg strategy. I do think there are instances in which an opacity Aff makes sense, but given my biases here, it may be best to explain opacity as somehow a strategy to change the SQ, instead of merely retreat from it.
4. Violence, Nebulas… not Stirred
Too many debates I’ve seen have debaters using violence as an ultimate impact, without explaining intricacies or giving frameworks for understanding what violence means. How am I supposed to adjudicate different claims of violence against each other? Or what about violence against some tangible traditional impact (War, Environment, Disease)? Ethics can’t function if everything is axiologically leveled to “violence,” and thus questions of what I should vote for is very likely to be arbitrary in the minds of participants, even if inevitable given the level of analysis in the debate.
5. Demarcating Points of Contestation
Similar to my respect for taking on the challenge of the SQ, I reward debaters who clearly demarcate points of contestation in the round and focus on those matters of debate. Too often debaters run away from arguments rather than engage them. In the college policy debate community this can be discouraging, because we are supposedly a model for deliberation and dialogue. Those latter realities only exist if you’re willing to admit where the debate is, admit that you may not necessarily be right, but debate out the issues.
6. Lost Art of the Case Debate
I am by no means a stock issues judge, but I do think that every argument, every aff should be responsible for these questions. A lot of the time case debate devolves into alt causes and impact defense. While those are good arguments to have, especially in the 2nr, not debating the case is almost always an important forgone opportunity. This is particularly true for K affs – put up a fit and you will be in a much better position than simply ignoring the case. Because of my expectations of an affirmative, I can be persuaded to not vote for an aff based on solvency alone.
7. Joshua Greene on Deontology and Util –
I feel it’s important to disclose this bias, and I have to a few teams. Here’s the thing, when you spend a year on a masters thesis and one of the opponents of your thesis becomes a large focus of effort, time and intellectual investment…it’s nearly impossible to remove that bias. Joshua Greene’s arguments in favor of a moral realist/essentialist account of utilitarianism and deontology invariably raises my blood pressure and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Read a different defense of utilitarianism in front of me – I’m not persuaded FMRI’s prove how people think morally.
8. Flex Time –
I think there is enough to be gained in cross-examination, the most lively and engaging part of debate, that using prep time to ask and answer questions has almost no downside for me. That said, I think the other team has the right to not consent to questions of content (instead of clarification questions: theory, technical or flow) after the normal 3-minute cx period has expired.
9. Conflating Topicality and Framework –
The more persuasive arguments for me center on the content/object of the resolution (military presence) rather than on implementation/actor questions. For one, I think a resolution without “federal government” makes traditional Topicality arguments that turn into framework arguments very duplicitous. Framework should be the debate about what that Aff and Neg should have to do to meet a good interpretation of debate. If an aff makes an ethical statement that US Military Presence is bad, you have the grounds to say its good. You don’t need USFG action to do that. An Aff that doesn’t engage in the question of military presence, or some interpretation of that, isn’t being topical and I can find it a reason to vote Neg. I have voted on different conflations of Framework and T, but I increasingly find it important to delineate the two.
10. Being Big
I am still working on my pronoun usage and am myself unclear about my thoughts on many issues of identity, but I do think my persona in debate, while always authentic, is somewhat reserved. I am not particularly motivated to be extroverted in an activity that often reminds me how stuck up academics can be, and how they think that just because of my appearance they can crack jokes I find distasteful. As a result, I want to be known by who I am when I’m in the debate community. Calling me Andrew is a sign you haven’t given me the courtesy of reading this. Big is always the best way to refer to me.
2015-16 (Military Presence) Preseason Update:
I still endorse my philosophy as written below. Just a few quick updates as we begin this year:
- I am probably not the best judge for Baudrillard debates. Sue me. (Or Forget Baudrillard)
- I still like watching CPs and DAs, much to the dismay and/or shock of my fellow judges and coaches.
- I have a fairly low threshold for what is reasonably topical, but I prefer a reasonability argument on T to make an interpretation of the topic and give me a claim as to why the Aff (and other Affs) could engage the topic under that interpretation.
- Teams that escape jargonism, fashionable witticisms, and oversimplified argument explanation will do well in front of me. I like creative and unique debaters (which can be accomplished in any style - it's usually a matter of dedication, effort and presentation).
- Please explain Acronyms early in the year. Not everyone is going to get what your particular subdivision affirmative is on first hearing it.
- If you didn't read my judging philosophy before round, expect no pity for ignoring my preferences and/or committing offenses I find particularly blameworthy.
- If you can't debate technically, debate thuroughly. I am just flowing in excel columns anyway.
- Random but non-negligble pet peeve: students who start lists and never finish them (e.g., Debater says "There are Three Impacts to the K" then explains only two impacts).
- I value Cross-Examination like a speech. You can win and lose a round in one of those 3 min segments.
- Finally, I proscribe to this ridiculous notion that Debate is a Communicative Activity where Debaters try and Persuade me to Vote for them. See below for what persuades me and what doesn't.
2015 NDT Update:
I decided to post an update to my judging philosophy for the upcoming NDT (2015). Hopefully this is with enough time (a couple of weeks) for everyone to review it.
By far the most important thing: While I've judged 40-45 rounds on this topic, I have done so primary here out west. I don't think that disqualifies any of the debates I've watched - there were some terrific debates I had the privilege to judge this year. Still, full disclosure: I am more familiar with some teams than others, in the sense I've judged them debate before. Then again, with mutual pref judging, this seems like an inevitable outcome - you will always have seen certain parts of the debate community, hardly ever the whole field.
I decided to update what I've written so far for my judging philosophy primarily because I know the preceding to be compelling case for further disclosure of how I adjudicate debates. I stand by much of what I've already written. To expand, I decided to give a "Top Ten Things I Like and Don't like" (primarily an influence of reading Zach Lowe/Simmons Inc... also playing liberally with "Like" and "Don't Like," substitute "find persuasive" and "don't find persuasive" if you wish) in debate rounds.
Top Ten Things I Don't Like (In no particular Order):
My First round back in debate came down to a clipping call out. Where I come from this is a "no-brainer" ethics question, but I do feel strongly that some rules in debate are necessary. One of those is you must read what you submit as evidence in speeches, particularly when in the form of cards. You will lose if you clip in front of me, but I need video/audio evidence and speech docs to determine this. Please, for everyone involved, do a better job of digitally "marking" your cards - don't leave things to chance.
Because I view clipping this way, it's important to note that while I'm not willing to vote for a team that clipped evidence, not all infractions are alike. I will not always simultaneously reduce speaker points to zero, or some other tanking number, and vote a team down. I believe mistakes can be made, but I also believe people can be malevolent.
Just don't do it, slow down and you'll probably sound better anyway.
I mean this somewhat sarcastically, but nothing about you reading into a computer screen is persuasive to me. I will always believe in the value of files, evidence and research, but those are neither absolute ideals nor the only means to win a debate round. Arguments, for instance, are not something I'm willing to vote on because it was written somewhere - explanation of evidence is key. I feel the prevalence of paperless debating is a evil necessity, primarily because debaters lose something of their ability to speak otherwise. Look up at me occasionally?
Call this my inverse justification for Clash being a thing I like. Debaters who avoid issues in debate/debate rounds are usually being: (1)selfish, (2)cowardly, (3)strategic or (4) unknowing/naive/unwilling. Only two of those states become problematic for a debate round, for two produce clash and argumentation, and the other two make the debate messy and needlessly complicated. Don't avoid a point of contestation with me, but also don't feel like I have a preferred set of points from which all arguments should begin.
4. Reading Evidence After the Round
I still dislike this practice, and I wrote about it previously below. However, I should make something clear: I really, really dislike debates where reading a pile of cards is the way to come to a decision. This, I understand, can be the natural outcomes of both good and bad debates. However, I want to stand by my statement:
"I will check evidence for accuracy/truth in representation if another team claims it doesn't support its intended use (i.e. your card that says the sky is purple actually claims the sky is blue). If an argument wasn't clear to me, and you were supposed to win a round on it, you probably should have made it clearer than a mumbled 15 seconds."
I have read multiple pieces of evidence in the post-round this year. I will admit that evil necessity paperless debate has this charm, and having the evidence in an email chain seems like not only good academics, but also a modicum of professionalism. I can't say I haven't been more compelled to read because I can get entire speech docs. This is a particularly helpful part of adjudicating that I won't ignore. However, if I can't get what you want me to get out of evidence in the post round (particularly if it's under-highlighted, which happens too frequently and is frankly discouraging) you will likely have dissuaded me more than had I not, and that matters for close NDT Debates.
The easy way to avoid all of this is to read evidence clearly, and draw the necessary warrants out of it. I think it's lazy to collapse an evidenced argument into a Authors last name (excluding titling a flow). Yes, technically there could be a "line" there, but is a bad practice of rhetoric and I find it unpersuasive. I also am always willing to check on factuality rather than persuasion. If you provide reasons why the other team's evidence is misread/doesn't support their argument, I value that style of argumentation equally as much as I dislike having to interpret evidence for/against speeches. I do not have a problem reading evidence, especially at the NDT, on the basis of these arguments. Ultimately, I am not going to read every piece of evidence submitted for review like that was all you did in the debate round - submitting evidence for review. I have other portions of the debate to think about.
5. Victim Blaming
I have no desire to vote for any argument that implies this ethos. This is both an ethos and a logos question. For example, Psychoanalysis K's can run dangerously close to blaming rape victims. I am not cool with that frame of mind and will flush your expensive euro-trash with a L.
6. Rude Partners
This is the sneaky dark-horse for my ideal in debate: the best debate occurs when partners work together, not individually.
Crazy right? Those who chose 2 person CX debate at some point chose to work with others. I reward debaters who embrace that aspect more than the sound of their own voice. A smart team is almost always two individuals working hard for each other, rather than two smart debaters working for themselves.
Don't be destructive to each other. Agonistic partnerships can be very successful, but they can also hurt your chances at winning. By far the best indictment of your argument, in any round, comes from your partner. Don't belittle, unnecessarily interrupt, or look upset/uninterested during your partner's speech. I ultimately give my ballot to a team, not an individual.
There is also a way to be kind/authentic in criticizing the arguments of your opponents (if you need a primer, see Dennett's "How to compose a successful critical commentary" in Intuition Pumps. I am by no means a fan of Dennett, but that process is one every debater should think about). Make sure, as much as one can, to do this as a team.
7. Tagless Taglines
A bit of 4 and 2 in this one, but I am also old school in how evidence is tagged. I am fine with short tags for evidence that requires no explanation. "Extinction," however, is neither a claim nor statement of fact. In fact, many cards read and tagged in such a manner frequently have little to make me believe the argument is even that strong. On the opposite end of the spectrum are K teams who read 3-4 paragraphs and don't introduce the evidence, or make it clear what part of their argument is supported by some fragment of analysis. Taglines in K debates I have a higher threshold on, but those issues irk me as much as badly tagged evidence that is then read unclearly anyway. Make claims, support them with evidence (or as I told many of my students in the past: evidence is a tool, not an argument).
8. Speaker Point Inflation
Mostly because I couldn't avoid it and my judging philosophy no longer represents my scale well. For the NDT:
26 and Below - You were punishably rude.
26.5. Incomplete, your speech ended with large gaps, whole flows dropped, no persuasiveness
27. Poor, you made a crucial error, were completely disorganized or had gaps in your speeches
27.5 Below Average, you provided no momentum for the ballot
28 - Average, you proved you should be here
28.5 - Above Average, you have the power to win some more ballots here
29.0 - Excellent, you should break at the NDT.
29.5 - Elite, you will be debating on Monday.
30 - Asymptotic, per my experience, these are so infrequent you can't predict them happening.
9. Debaters who don't Check Themselves
It's important to know when you're crossing a line from competitive to exclusionary, confident to obtuse. It's also important to act in a manner that produces a meaningful debate experience (whatever that may be). If that becomes impossible because you're not willing to discuss things like privilege, it seems you've failed at a basic test of self-skepticism that makes arguing possible. When debaters know they can lose on things like "Your evidence doesn't say Econ declines" and don't agree with decisions made through that framing, that to me is on par with refusing to answer the claim that "Your experience should be recognized as privileged in this analysis" and losing because they weren't open to how experience can be interepreted. We can't have debates if we don't purport to have some level of skepticism, arguing would cease to function educationally. That said, these are questions that implicate arguments, and almost completely arguments, rather than individual debaters.
10. Coaches that Degrade, not Support, their Students
I can deal with coaches making fun of each other, but how you treat the students in debate tells me more about you than how you treat the your fellow coaches. I am very intolerant of this in all forms - the students are paying to do this, not us. Treating any student in a defamatory or rude manner, that's a major turn off and I would prefer we don't speak.
Top Ten Things I Like (In no particular Order):
1. Analytic Arguments
I don't know if this a function of my experience with speech and debate growing up, but debaters who can't make arguments without evidence almost certainly are at a disadvantage in front of me. I will not simply dismiss a logical argument because you have a piece of evidence that argues, rather than proves/demonstrates, the opposite. Analytic arguments quality check the cohesiveness of the debate, bring issues to light in the block often foregone, and demonstrate a level of understanding and willingness to argue. Analytic arguments in debate almost always function on an a-posteriori basis and rarely a-prior unless that "K-Word" comes back into play. You should be able to argue, for instance, about connections between evidence, without needing another piece of evidence. This demonstrates a higher level of skill in debate that I reward. I do this not only selfishly as a lover of argumentative analysis, but also as someone who knows this skill can be, and often is, rewarded by graduate school, job opportunities and other sectors of life.
2. Proof by Example(s)
Though I like analytic arguments, and find a-priori claims persuasive, most often the fruitful discussions in debate occur when teams give concrete examples to explain, (sometimes seemingly) abstract concepts, connections or arguments. This process of concretion demonstrates to me a level of sophistication and understanding, and also a tangible hook to hang my hat on during post-round decisions. Obviously metaphors, poems, scripted-performances, etc. could all be examples of proof by example, not just history. Consider my preference here to be a testing question:
Basic Argument Necessities:
1. Do you have a Claim?
2. How is that Claim supported?
3. Proof by example: how does your argument operrationalize in different parts of the debate? How might it explain other questions in the debate?
4. Impact in/for the Round
3. Confidence/Willingness to Make Mistakes
I believe the qualities we associate with great debaters usually include fearlessness, confidence, complete attention, etc. These can manifest in different ways, and those ways in different people. The confidence that impresses me is the willingness to try, and be willing to fail to win a debate round. I think sometimes debaters are too worried about losing to focus on winning. As long as that focus doesn't result in other harmful mannerisms, attitudes and actions, I reward debaters for trying to win the round with with a cool confidence.
4. Round Awareness
Somewhat piggybacking of of 3, Debaters who are aware of details during a debate round can always make more strategic persuasive connections. There is a difference, for instance, in debating in the out rounds of the NDT and the Prelims. The way you construct your speech should be wary of that. The composition(s) of the people in the round is not ignorable, the audience included. There is also an awareness of how arguments function, when to stop belaboring, and when to reword and reclarify those arguments. These skills develop with time, but they should be easier to excersise with me because I am a fairly expressive judge. I am no Dallas, alas, but I do nod my head, smile, frown, laugh...you know, those things that make most of us feel human. I find this to be the most honest practice. Mostly, however, I am just very bad at Poker...so I will not try to be a stone-faced judge.
Debaters should also be aware of time. I don't reward teams with more than completing a sentence when the timer ends. I don't reward desperate shadow extensions in the last few seconds. I do reward speeches that end on or before time, or speeches that properly allocate time. I do reward good use of prep and CX time. Speaking time is the most valuable aspect of debate you can somewhat control, and everyone has the same access to the same time. Utilizing time well is a very good indicator of in round awareness.
5. Commitment to Educational Debate
This is an academic community (it includes mostly people employed and/or enrolled in the academy) that should primarily be focused on the Students. As such, students who understand where the pedagogical value of their arguments lie have a greater chance of winning in front of me. This is partly a question of logos (what have you learned, how did you learn it, what are we to learn?) and commitment your fellow students. Granted: not all students are alike, nor do they have the same experience. These two facts should be treated as advantageous: because you all are not alike and share different experiences, a commitment to learning together is probably the best possible praxis for debate. How does the debate round, per your framework or role of the ballot, promote learning? If learning is not all that important to you, that's fine. But understand I value this part of debate more than fairness or love of the game. I refuse to believe that debate doesn't help students - if that's your explicit goal I will likely be dissuaded. If you don't think debate is important, don't be in debate.
Judging very stressful debates can build up a lot of pressure. Humor is a great release valve. That being said, it's not in everyone's repertoire. Do what makes you comfortable, self-depreciation is almost always humbling but also potentially lighthearted.
Debate can be frustrating when neither team argues about the other teams arguments. The worst debates to judge, for me, have been ones where the Aff only talks about aff evidence, the Neg about the neg evidence. I think this is primarily a function of three practices:
A. Horizontal proliferation of arguments. I am persuaded by claims about 4-5 conditional options as weighing heavily against in depth clash from the 2AC. Part of me believes that this is inevitable in a competitive activity, part of me believes that it is also a defensible tactic. That said, if a team is "pushing pieces" but not arguing well, I do value theoretical objections on the basis of what positons move away from clash and what positions move toward it.
B. Fear of Impact Turning arguments. Too many times arguments become needlessly unwound without a point of disagreement. Your solvency/framework/kritik cards may poke many a whole, but the best evidence takes a stance in the opposite direction. Do I believe all impact turns are the same, ethically speaking? No: see Victim Blaming, above. That being said, in front of me, you can "Impact Turn" a methodology as much as you can a value claim. Why teams don't do this more often is strategically puzzling. They said Science was Bad? Maybe there are arguments that Science can be Good, or Useful? "Impact Turn" strategies make an obvious point of contestation that makes creative clash possible. However, Impact turning is merely a sufficient but not necessary means achieve that clash.
C. Debaters hate being wrong. Probably for good reason - most have been trained not to argue wrong things. Still, without trying out different arguments that produce a response from your opponent, debate kind of becomes oratory research reports, rather than engaging discussion.
8. ROTB's that Both Teams can Access
I do not find a "Role of the Ballot" claim that is to "vote for us" to be persuasive. I think its dishonest and transparently one sided to interpret the role of a ballot through one team's participation. Strictly speaking I think the role of my ballot is always to vote for the team that did the best debating, but if you have an argument otherwise, I would be more persuaded by a functionality/interpretation of how my vote works if both teams get a chance of receiving that vote. Otherwise its a meaningless piece of debate jargon substituting comfortable rhetoric for good impact framing.
9. Balance of Pathos, Ethos, Logos
Old-School Comm in this sense. Good public speaking requires a balancing all three. Excelling in one or more is ideal, but an above average accounting for each aspect is more valuable than any one on its own.
You could be completely correct on a knowledge question, but did not impact that access to truth, nor argue for it with any passion. That is less persuasive than someone who may have lost a few questions of truth, but can still access impacts and passionately argue for them.
You could be full of passion, emotion and making an ethical case without an explanation of how your argument functions or why it should be believed (reasoning, logos).
Put another way:
If you are right on a question, that means you can win that part of the debate (Logos). You do not win for being right in places.
If you are passionate on a question, that means you can string together good arguments persuasively. Without arguments, you won't be persuasive, just passionate.
If you win an ethics question, that means you can frame the debate and win it. You could be right that violence is bad, but not provide a means to resolve it, analyze it or persuade me that its a reason to vote for you.
10. Round Framing in Final Rebuttals
Almost universally, this is what separates elite from above average debaters. Many of the Coachs and People Who Teach Labs I've talked to aree this is one of, if not the most important skill thats difficult to polish. The difficulty of the 1AR/2NR/2AR notwithstanding, the best speeches, and thus the easiest to vote for, frame how to make a decision regarding particular arguments and strategies as a whole. Not doing this puts it in my hands, which is not a bad thing per say, but it's always more strategic to tie together your arguments and show how they win the round. Old-school Voting Issues are important to me. What is most important, what could you do without? Even/if statements in the last rebuttals are supremely helpful.
Fall 2014 Judging Philosophy**
First, I should mention: I left College Debate before my senior year at Gonzaga. This did not play well with many in the community, after all I was abandoning an activity I had previously spent so much time on.
After graduating from Gonzaga, I enrolled SUNY at Buffalo's PhD in Philosophy program. I recently received my Masters and left UB to pursue other things in life.
I mention these things only to say, if I appear bitter, I really am not. But I do believe there are more important things than debate, and all of what I have been reading - on various media and social media platforms - about debate rings true about academia as a whole.
All of that said, I still think debate is an important activity, especially for students. As a judge, I have always preferred to act as an educator. This can include simply listening and giving the reflections of an average citizen - any debate is still ultimately a two-way street of communication for me. Thus, the primary importance of debate, for me, is that it is a speech activity emphasizing persuasion skills. I have no stylistic preferences, but I have been out of the game for about 3 years so I might be a bit rusty with speed, and might need some expanding of abbreviations, jargon and/or acronyms. Clarity and rhythm are crucial either way, and I'll announce "clear" several times before giving up flowing. Frankly, speed reading ultimately trades off with clarity, and I'd rather hear your argument than guess. Because I know I'm rusty I figured I should be clear with that warning - I'm not going to flow theory real well at 400wpm, let alone cards.
The other ultimate difference between myself and my peers: I detest reading a pile of evidence after a round. With few exceptions, most debates come down to a decision about a few issues. If this were quarters at the NDT, I would definitely join this practice insofar as my due diligence for the activity is concerned. If you think a piece of evidence is important, remember that I heard you read it once, and you have multiple opportunities to explain why the evidence is crucial. The obvious caveat to all of this is that I will check evidence for accuracy/truth in representation if another team claims it doesn't support its intended use (i.e. your card that says the sky is purple actually claims the sky is blue). If an argument wasn't clear to me, and you were supposed to win a round on it, you probably should have made it clearer than a mumbled 15 seconds.
I suppose in many ways my academic traits mirror that of my debate tastes. I tend to be a generalist - arguments of many shapes and varieties can peak my interest. In terms of my degree, my AOS is in metaphysics, and my AOCs are in Ethics, Ancient Philosophy and Continental/Social Philosophy. That being said, I spent the last few years being too weird for both the analytic and continental schools of philosophy - I find Baudrillard and Dennett equally intolerable. I probably have read the primary sources your authors are talking about. Just because you think repeating "Dasein" or some other term over and over is going to get a win, the reality of things often disagrees. Be clear and concise and don't rely on jargon to win your criticisms, make them apparent with evidence comparisons and concise link work. I love a good kritik debate, but despise a bad one. I debated all kinds of arguments in my career, and found many of those debates enjoyable for different reasons. I am comfortable with most anything, but don't tolerate any physical or mental abuse, discrimination or hate. Those are the easiest paths to make my ballot simple.
I'll accept any framework if it's argued for well. Performance, Identity etc. are all important elements in thinking about arguments. As I said, I like debate rounds that are aware of the activity as a communicative one. When I make expressions during your speeches, they usually are done intentionally. It's nice to be talked to as more than a transcriber.
If you have questions about typical jargon stuff, ask before the round. Frankly you should be able to convince me of something regardless of my biases - though I admit that my worst bias is openness to arguments. So I'm probably not going to reject a team for reading a K. Sorry.
Other housecleaning: I'm always a fan of being included in the debate if I'm judging, thus if you are paperless and are emailing, include me (andrewrossmyers [at] gmail [dot] com). I'll time prep as finished when the email is sent or flash drive is ejected. My main mentors, though I have had many, were Steve Pointer and Izak Dunn.
Speaker Points - My speaker points for an "average" debater is a 27.5. If I ever give someone a 30, it's probably going to be the last time I do.
Crafty-ness and Tactics
Persuasion and Interpersonal Speaking
Clarity, Calmness, Confidence
Effective and Engaging CX's
Why you gott be so rude? Don't you know they're humans too? Actually, being a little bit rude is what makes the activity fun, but there's a difference between joking/confidence/pressure and being distracting/harmful/obtuse. Please respect the thin line.
** Weber Update: I will vote teams down for clipping. This includes skipping words. I will only do so with video evidence in combination with the speech doc. I don't think this is always malicious, so my reduced speaker points will vary with the severity of the offense. (For instance, if you skip entire lines, I will give you a zero).
Sam Normington Paradigm
Include me in the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated in the early 2000's, and have been coaching since 2003. I primarily coach novice and JV levels of policy, and all levels of LD and Public Forum. I'm some combo of a stock issues/policymaker/tab judge. I like real world impacts.
Speaking: I am okay with speed, but I don't judge a ton, so it takes me a little while in to a tournament to get back in to the swing of it. As such I prefer you to slow down on tags.
Prep: I'm fine with you asking more CX questions during your prep, but I'm also not going to force the other team to answer. I won't time flashing, but if it starts to get excessive I will begin timing it, it shouldn't take long to save a speech doc. I'll let you know if I think it's becoming excessive.
Evidence: I'm more than fine with you calling an author's credentials into question, or indicting the general level of evidence. The parts of a card read should include warrants to the argument being made, if it doesn't then you should call the other team out on it. The chances of me calling for evidence after a round are pretty slim, and will only occur if the teams are arguing about the actual content of a card. I'm not going to call for a card just because I want to make sure it says what the team claims, the opposition will have to make that claim before I'm willing to investigate.
Framework: I get not wanting to advocate USfg action, I'm willing to give a little bit on the topicality issue on that front, but I do think an affirmative needs to largely be rooted in the resolution. Truth time, I was a total T-hack when I debated. So while I appreciate topicality, actually I love it, I usually find that negative teams don't do enough work on the T flow anymore.
Counterplans: I'll vote for them. If there's going to be theory involved I want it clearly explained to me on both sides, not just giant blocks with a million different pre-written reasons why the CP is abusive. Stop, slow down, explain it to me.
On kritiks: I haven't kept the most up to date on kritiks, and have never been big into philosophy, so I prefer more work be done on kritiks, particularly a decent summation or story telling about the kritik, rather than just reading tags and cards at me. Just like theory, slow down and explain it to me, I'll probably vote for it if I understand it.
Feel free to ask any questions before the round.
Chris Paredes Paradigm
(Updated for Arms Sales Topic; see bottom of paradigm for LD)
E-Mail Chain: Add me (email@example.com). I do not flow off speech docs so I do not need to be on the chain if there's some reason you would prefer to limit the distribution of your docs but I will call for a card doc if I end up needing to analyze ev. I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.
Experience: I have been coaching for Damien since 2017. I debated four years of policy in high school (Damien; 2001-2005). I did not debate in college (Amherst College, MA; 2005 - 2009) but I coached HS briefly after college (2009-2010) and judged sporadically during law school (Emory Law, GA; 2010 - 2013) for the Atlanta Urban Debate League. I would consider myself fluent in debate, but since I'm a dinosaur my judging preferences may not align with current "meta" trends of the community that have developed in the past decade.
Debate: I view debate as a game where the rules of the game are mostly made up in round by the debaters. With a very few exceptions (the length of speeches, the order of the speeches, which side the teams are on, clipping, etc.) I think everything is fair game for the teams to establish during the round. That means that I am open to voting for almost any argument so long as I have an idea of how it functions within the round and it is appropriately impacted. My default view of my role as judge is a hypothetical policy maker evaluating whether I should pass the plan based on a util framework, but I can be persuaded on alternative roles of the ballot. CX is binding and I flow it.
Argumentative Weight: Technique trumps truth, but it is usually much easier to debate well when you are using true arguments. You simply are not going to be able to out-tech anyone on "GOP is the party of climate change." Being a good debater includes doing the research and preparation to come up with good arguments. That said, in-speech analysis goes a long way with me and I am very much more likely to side with the team that explains a warrant for their argument vs. the one that extends by tagline and/or author only. I will read cards as necessary, including explicit prompting, however when I start reading evidence I do so critically and will evaluate warrants for myself. Arguments are only as good as their warrants -- if a card does not have the necessary warrants underlined/highlighted then I will treat them as analytics. Well explained analytics can beat bad cards.
Topic Familiarity: I do not teach at a camp so beyond judging my exposure to the topic is limited to neg research done during the year. I have less familiarity with international topics than I do with domestic topics from an educational/professional perspective, but I understand high level international relation theory.
Argument Selection: You should run whatever you are most familiar and comfortable with. Almost all of my preferences on this paradigm can be overcome if you debate better than your opponents. However regardless of the style of debate you choose it is in your own interest to debate in a way where you do the work for me. Your goal in your final rebuttal is 1) establish what criterion the debate should be evaluated under and 2) demonstrate to me why you win under those criterion. I rarely give full weight to what I perceive as brand new arguments in either final rebuttal, but as a matter of practice the 2NR and 2AR should explicitly address newness of arguments. I do not believe it's necessary for 2NRs to say "No new args" for me to reject new 2AR arguments, but a good 2NR sets itself up as a filter through which I evaluate the 2AR.
If you still don't know how to pref. me, there is an extensive argument by argument breakdown below.
Debating T well is a question of engaging in responsive impact debate. You win my ballot if you are the team that best contextualizes how you provide the best internal links (ground, predictability, research burden, etc.) to terminal impacts (fairness and education). I appreciate a good T debate and I will reward teams with the ballot and with good speaker points for well thought-out interpretations (or counter-interps) with nuanced defenses.
I default to competing interpretations because it features a built-in weighing mechanism, but reasonability can be compelling to me if properly contextualized. I am generally receptive to arguments like "The aff interp only imposes a reasonable additional research burden of two more cases." I am generally not receptive to arguments like "They have case specific literature, proves we are reasonably predictable."
I feel that most debate topics are sufficiently aff-biased that preserving topicality as a viable negative strategy is important even against affs that are topical in a truth sense. I feel this topic is sufficiently large and poorly worded such that T-Subs is the only practical filter available and I will pull the trigger on it.
Fx/Xtra Topicality: Don't be afraid to go for Fx/Xtra with me in the back, but you should impact it. Especially when the T debate collapses to just a question of Fx/Xtra, there needs standards debate or an abuse story contextualized to the original interp.
Kritiks of Topicality / Topicality Silences Voices: I dislike this argument on principle because the resolution is one of the bare minimum rules of debate that I think I should enforce on the round. The resolution presumably exists for a reason. Moreover, the argument itself is just weak; there are lots of important and interesting problems in the world to discuss, so there is no unique impact to limiting the scope of discussion. Ultimately killing the neg's ability to check non-topical affs by kritiking topicality feels like a disingenuous way for the aff to re-orient the debate to their argumentative/topic preferences. However, as a rule, I punish incompetence over principle so I will vote on this if the negative mishandles it.
Framework / T-USFG
In line with my thoughts above on kritiks of topicality, I am very sympathetic to the negative on this argument. My predisposition is that affs avoid the resolution for competitive advantages rather than ideological devotion, and I do not believe there is educational value gained from the aff getting to avoid debating the topic.
However, I will vote aff if I think the aff debates better. For an aff to beat framework arguments in front of me, they need to articulate and defend specific and compelling reasons why they cannot and do not embed their personal advocacy into a topical policy and why resolutional debate is bad. I am not very keen on "The USFG/system sucks" as a justification for that -- I default to believing that this is probably an indication that your plan action is fundamentally flawed rather than the political system is bad and that you should go do more/better research.
For the neg, given that the affs in these debates almost always sit on education, you have the burden of proving either that fairness outweighs or that resolutional debate has better access to education or accesses a better type of education. I believe the negative is on the truth side of both of those arguments, but contextualization and specificity is important in this debate. I give great weight to arguments for why plan-based debate is a better internal link to positive real world change out of debate compared to personal advocacy: debate provides valuable portable skills, advocacy for a case is excellent training for advocacy of actual real world policies, etc.
Generally speaking I have much less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than other judges due to being raised in a different era of debate. That being said, I have rarely see theory deployed convincingly as most debaters have an inclination to use it as a mutual time sink even when it should be the clear default strat. If you're not putting in the time and work to make it a viable choice in your last speech, it probably isn't going to persuade me unless it was flat conceded.
My default view on various theory, all of which can be overcome by better debating, are as follows: Condo is good but should have limitations. PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are good, but are much better with solvency advocates that demonstrate real world competition and the lack of specific solvency evidence indicates a likelihood of a solvency deficit. Consult and Floating PIKs are bad. The level of cheating/utopianism of a CP/alt justifies equivalent levels of cheating with perms. Reject the arg not the team is overcome with instances of real abuse. Disclosure of previously run arguments is good. Breaking new shouldn't require disclosure. I don't care about what has happened previously outside the room/round, but I could be convinced care about real world impacts attached to the ballot (i.e. setting precedents).
I value nuance a lot more than many other judges because I think that debate's largest educational impact is training students in real world advocacy. Learning processes is important and the aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy to their case. Consequently I will absolutely pull the trigger on vagueness, plan flaws, or spec arguments as long as there is a coherent story about why the aff is bad for debate and a good answer to why cross doesn't check. A 1AC plan text that does not specify does not give the aff default access to all theoretical implementations of the plan. Meanwhile the neg has an equal burden to defend the coherence of a counter-advocacy or the model of debate implied by their negative strategy. I will reject a counterplan for a structural defect or because the aff has effectively convinced me that the neg is debating in a way that is not just strategic but also fundamentally unfair.
A special note on condo, I come from a time where condo was much less accepted. Part of that is because of an implicit understanding that the negative's entitlement to multiple worlds doesn't include severance of discourse/rhetoric pursuant to that world. It's one thing to test the aff from multiple perspectives, it's another to say you can run your Fear of Death K with a reps link along with a Hege Impact to your Politics DA and still access alt solvency just because you kicked out the DA. This is especially hypocritical if you claim there's no external impact to the ballot besides a rejection of a mindset. (That's not to say I think this is an automatic winning argument, I simply find it most logical to assume the negative is responsible for their discourse as much as the Aff is unless explicitly explained otherwise.)
TL;DR: If you actually are legitimately interested in philosophy and critical academic scholarship, have studied the literature seriously, and have a good contextualized argument for why that lens of that scholarship is relevant to the debate round, then I am a good judge for you. If you want to be lazy and avoid doing specific research so you can brute force a ballot against a team that knows K lit less than you, then I am a bad judge for you.
I enjoy critical literature, however I tend to dislike critical rounds because I question the pedagogical value of the scholarship in debate and, more importantly, the vast majority of teams are very bad at making critical arguments. Quintessential bad K debate is defined by shifting the debate to repetition of some generic talking points. The kritik is an academic argument, therefore having good familiarity with the literature is essential to debating the K well. It's poor scholarship for you to argue the other team should be rejected when you yourself do not truly understand the internal logic of argument and the necessary warrants because someone else cut the file for you. I find that the K evidence (on both sides) are the most likely to be power-tagged and under-highlighted (which is saying something given the ever descending bar for politics update cards).
A good kritik should be able to clash with the affirmative head-on. Give a good contextualized link with solid argumentation for why the alternative is a superior option to the plan under your model of debate. I do not have any biases or predispositions about what my ballot does or should do, but if you do not explain your alt and/or how my ballot interacts with the alt (or lack thereof) you will find that I have an extremely low threshold for treating the K as a non-unique disad. If the alt is some actual action which solves back for the implications of the kritik, in the fiat world or the real world, the solvency process of the alt should be explained. Alts like "Reject the aff" and "Vote neg" are fine as long as you actually give me a reason to do that besides saying that it's try or die because the aff links. Floating PIKs are generally bad. Links of omission are generally bad.
With all of that ranting aside said, if you are confident then by all means go critical. I have a high level of academic familiarity with basic critical lit, but only debate-level familiarity with higher level theory (Deleuze, Baudrilliard, etc.) However you should not rely on my familiarity with your argument and evidence; the onus is still on you to explain your argument to me because I will not make it coherent for myself. Even if I understand the lit, the kritik must be presented in an comprehensible fashion in round. Additionally, the quality of your literature does not matter if the kritik is functionally deficient as a call for the ballot.
Affs should not be afraid of going for straight impact turns behind a robust framework press. I'm more willing than most judges to consider the merit in challenging kritik ideology head on rather than labeling your discourse as a link. I won't necessarily vote for you, but I think it is a sign that debate ideology is becoming too one-sided when the only viable strategy against the K is link turns instead of impact turns.
The only relevant thing to know about my decision structure on DAs is that I don't think the aff needs offense to beat a disad -- that is to say, I'm more prone than most judges to assess minimal ("zero") risk based on defense. This is especially true when bad evidence is pointed out as bad. I can be convinced by analysis that there is always a risk of a DA in spite of a lost argument, but in the absence of that analysis I do not really care about how strong your link is if you straight up lost the no impact.
On the other side, I will absolutely vote SQ over plan if you can win the DA impacts are bigger, that the DA impacts turn case, or that in a world where both the DA and the aff impacts are inevitable that the SQ is even slightly better (less deaths, longer timeframe to extinction, etc.)
I think that research is a core part of debate as an activity, and good counterplan strategy goes hand-in-hand with that. I think the fact that counterplans are more straight forward than kritiks allows for more room for technical debate and fertile plan specific clash, which favors the better team because that is where you can leverage your skills as a debater.
The risk of the net benefit you must win is inversely proportional to how good your counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and carry a much higher threshhold burden on the net benefit, but PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research. Agent and process counterplans are also better when you can present a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan.
Superior solvency for aff impacts can be a sufficient net benefit for me to vote on the CP (either because of a conceded aff-only case take-out or turn, or because the CP solves better) so long as there's a reason to reject the perm.
I do not judge kick by default, but 2NRs can easily convince me to do it.
Speaker Points: I try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely if it's available. In the event that there is no scale my baseline is 27.5 and I distribute speaks as if I was grading debaters on a bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile and 25 being the 1st percentile. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since on a bell curve very few people are actually average but rather they are distributed around the average. Theoretically speaking teams that need high speaks to break should be speaking above average by definition. Points are rewarded for entertaining, organized, strategic, and clever speeches. I also listen closely to CX and include CX performance in speaks assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. Thanos jokes on a Malthus flow. You will get bonus speaker points as the aff if you demonstrate intricate knowledge of your case and put forth a compelling defense of your aff as a workable theoretical policy that achieves a minimally greater level of good than the negative's world. You will get bonus speaker points as the neg if your strategy demonstrates that you researched the plan thoroughly and understand the case better than the aff or that you understand why it does not belong in policy debate (i.e. hyper-specific counterplans or nuanced procedural objections).
Delivery: Your speed should be limited by clarity. You should be clear enough that I can flow without needing your speech doc. Additionally realize that even if I can hear and understand you, no one can flow a successive stream of quick analytics. Don't be afraid to lose time sign-posting the line-by-line; you will likely make it up in efficiency (besides your arguments won't mean much if I don't know where to flow them).
Organization: I believe good line-by-line is a fundamental of good debate that is becoming increasingly rare and is the number one way most debaters can improve. Proper sign-posting, or establishing/following a numbered 2AC line by line structure, is the bare minimum to get over a 28.5. Embedded clash soup is average.
Cross-X, Prep, and Tech: Tag-team CX is fine but it's part of your speaker point rating to give and answer most of your own cross. I think that finishing the final question in the first few seconds of prep is fine. Simple clarification and non-substantive questions during prep is also fine. I don't charge prep for tech time, but tech should be limited to emailing docs or flashing. When you end prep, you should be ready to distribute.
Accommodations: Feel free to ask for accommodations before or during round or email me ahead of time.
My school does not participate in LD and I do not hire myself out for LD, but I have found myself judging more of these rounds due to tournament request/need. As I understand it, the LD meta is approaching the era of policy that I actually debated in. Combined with the fact that the meta generally drifts down from policy, I am probably competent enough to listen to most anything you want to run. Given my policy background I have some preferences that will probably be harder for you to overcome with me in the back than with an actual LD judge. Notably, RVIs are a non-starter with me and plan based debate is better than value criterion debate (which is precisely why LD has ended up becoming plan-based over the last twenty years)
Coming from policy I have a few thoughts about how time works in the LD format that might be atypical. I think time constraints in LD mean that I have to give the aff a lot more leeway than I would give in policy. I am also a lot more receptive to arguments about why condo is bad in LD than I would be in policy. On a more substantive level I also think that the "outspread then kick" neg strategy is fundamentally weaker in LD than it is in policy. While the strategic goal of attaining a time trade-off is the same, the limitation on the number of speeches means that the neg must frontline more depth to the offcase earlier in order to develop the basic level of argumentative coherence necessary for something to be a reason to reject the aff. Therefore you're probably better off limiting the number of offcase regardless of condo theory.
Donny Peters Paradigm
Assistant Debate Coach
Damien High School
16 years coaching. Before Damien I have coached at; Cal State Fullerton, Santa Magarita High School, Fairmont HIgh School, Illinois State University, Ball State University, Wayne State University and West Virginia University.
I have been judging/coaching for 15 years, mostly college. After reading over paradigms for my entire adult life, I am not sure how helpful they really are. They seem to be mostly a chance to rant, a coping mechanism, a way to get debaters not to pref them and some who generually try but usually fail to explain how they judge debates. Regardless, my prferences are below, but feel free to ask me before the round if you have any questions.
Evidence: This is an evidence based activity. I put great effort to listening, reading and understanding your evidence. If you have poor evidence, under highlight or misrepresent your evidence (intentional or unintentional) it makes it difficult for me to evaluate your arguments. Those who have solid evidence, are able to explain their evidence in a persuasive matter tend to get higher speaker points, win more rounds etc.
Overall: Debate how you like (with some constraints below). I will work hard to make the best decision I am capable of. Make debates clear for me, put signfiicant effort in the final 2 rebuttals on the arguments you want me to evaluate and give me an approach to how I shold evaluate the round.
Nontraditional Affs : I tend to enjoy reading the literature base for most nontraditional affirmatives. I'm not completely sold on the pedagogcal value of these arguments at the high school level. I do believe that aff should have a stable stasis point in the direction of the resolution. The more persuasive affs tend to have a personal relationship with the arguments in the round and have an ability to apply their method and theory to personal experience.
Framework: I do appreciate the necessity of this argument. I am more persuaded by topical version arguments than the aff has no place in the debate. If there is no TVA then the aff need to win a strong justification for why their aff is necessary for the debate community. The affirmative cannot simply say that the TVA doesn't solve. Rather there can be no debate to be had with the TVA. Fairness in the abstract is an impact but not a persuasive one. The neg need to win specific reasons how the aff is unfair and and how that impacts the competitiveness and pedagogical value of debate. Agonism, decision making and education may be persuasive impacts if correctly done.
Counter plans: I attempt to be as impartial as I can concerning counterplan theory. I don’t exclude any CP’s on face. I do understand the necessity for affirmatives to go for theory on abusive counterplans or strategically when they do not have any other offense. Don’t hesitate to go for consult cp’s bad, process cps bad, condo, etc. For theory, in particular conditionality, the aff should provide an interpretation that protects the aff without overlimiting the neg.
DA's : who doesn't love a good DA? I do not automatically give the neg a risk of the DA. Not really sure there is much else to say.
Kritiks- Althoughout I enojy a good K debate, good K debates at the high school level are hard to come by. Make sure you know your argument and have specific applications to the affirmative.My academic interests involve studying Foucault Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, , etc. So I am rather familiar with the literature. Just because I know the literature does not mean I am going to interpret your argumetn for you.
Overall, The key to get my ballot is to make sure its clear in the 2NR/2AR the arguments you want me to vote for and impact them out. That may seem simple, but many teams leave it up to the judge to determine how to prioritize and evaluate arguments.
Katerina Ravasia Paradigm
Top level: List of arguments I literally won't vote for
Timecube and other arguments based on the unwarranted rambling of a single person with no credentials
Any argument that's never explained beyond a five second shell ("Severance is a VI for fairness and education")
Death good/suffering good arguments (see below)
Debate is a social, educational, and competitive space, and I'm not going to pretend I don't have biases as a judge or as an educator. The defaults laid out in this paradigm are for the most part debatable, but I also think adaptation is an important skill for debaters to develop, and I'm not going to think highly of your persuasive ability if it's evident you haven't given any thought to your audience.
Speed is fine. At the same time, ethos, pathos, and storytelling ability are important elements of communication, so if your speed is compromising your ability to provide emphasis or to coherently explain the structure of your arguments, I would consider slowing down (especially for the 2NR/2AR).
Violent language is not ok, it will hurt your speaker points, and depending on the severity and intentionality of the offense I may award you a loss regardless of whether or not the other team challenges your speech act. Please make the debate space safe and enjoyable for all participants.
On that note, please draw my attention to any unethical behavior you observe (clipping, hate speech, disclosure issues). When there is evidence to suggest that the debate was unfair to one side for ethical reasons, I will call the debate and award a loss and zero speaker points to the offending team. In the absence of concrete proof, I will do what I can to make sure the rest of the debate proceeds as fairly as possible.
You don't need evidence to make arguments. A smart, warranted analytic will beat a weak card with two lines highlighted all day, everyday, and I'm willing to accept statements of widely recognized fact without a card. If you wouldn't need to cite an expert in a research paper, you don't need to read a card.
Moreover, carded arguments aren't held to a different standard because they're carded. Expert opinion is a (generally weak) warrant in its own right, but to be really meaningful, a card has to provide facts and analysis that support the claim the author is attempting to make. (If you're running something like an epistemology K, the kind of analysis presented will probably be very different from the empirical claims that undergird classical policy debate, but there should still be some form of analysis in the card that I can weigh against the other team's arguments).
Any part of a card that isn't highlighted isn't a part of the round. New warrants from the unhighlighted part of a card are new arguments.
Conceded arguments are true arguments, but not every argument is sufficient to win the round on its own, and a lot of utterances debaters make don't rise to the level of arguments. I won't vote on a conceded assertion without a warrant, nor will I assign zero risk to an impact because you read a conceded impact defense card that says the impact is unlikely.
Don't waste your speech time telling me everything your opponents conceded, giving in-depth explanations of arguments you're clearly winning, or telling me that new arguments are illegitimate. Give me a quick explanation of why the conceded arguments matter for the debate as a whole and move on to the more contentious parts of the line-by-line.
I really like seeing aggressive, witty cross-x exchanges and rebuttals. That said, please contain your snark to the round and be nice to your opponents between speeches and between debates.
Tag team is fine.
I'm not extremely familiar with the topic, but I've judged a few rounds at camp and helped out with prep, so take that as you will.
This topic probably leans toward critical argumentation and structural violence impacts, and as a result I'm probably more inclined toward voting for nuanced arguments about colonialism and nationalism than I otherwise would be.
I default to competing interpretations but can be convinced otherwise. Similarly, I default to thinking about T as a procedural and prior issue, but in the context of certain Ks, especially those about the debate space or the nature of language, I can be convinced otherwise.
Fairness and education aren't standards. If you want to win a T debate, you need to provide warrants and impact comparisons much as you would on any other flow.
Again, I want to see a lot more warrant explanation and clash than I usually see in theory debates. Assuming that theory is more fleshed out than a ten second shell, I probably have a significantly lower threshold than average for voting on it.
Theory is usually a reason to reject the argument. Exceptions are conditionality, performative contradiction, no neg fiat, and other arguments about the basic structure of the other team's strategy.
If you go for a CP in the 2NR and I end up rejecting it for theoretical reasons, you're going to have a hard time winning the debate unless you extend substantial case arguments.
I don't have any strong thoughts one way or the other on T vs theory. Convince me.
Advantage counterplans are awesome. Specific mechanism counterplans and specific PICs are awesome. I don't usually think you need a solvency advocate for PICs.
Counterplans cut from aff ev are amazing and will almost always get you good speaks.
Agent counterplans aren't my favorite in general, but Courts and XO are probably core neg ground on this topic in particular.
Consult CPs without specific solvency advocates are illegitimate, and even when the neg has a solvency advocate I think the aff has a good theoretical argument.
Things like PICs out of United States federal government and PICs out of written language are obviously uneducational and maybe a reason to reject the team.
I love a good DA, but in all honesty, this is a really hard topic for traditional DA/case and DA/CP debate.
On politics, I need a good explanation of the uniqueness and link story, because as I'm sure you know, the government is a bit of a mess right now. I'll probably roll my eyes if you make a Trump political capital or Trump credibility link arg, but that doesn't necessarily mean I won't vote for it.
Meanwhile, if you think your topic DA might be racist, it probably is.
I'm fine with K debate on the aff and neg.
Framework can be a strong argument against K affs, but I'm unlikely to vote on procedural framework against teams that complicate traditional ideas of fairness and education. If you're looking to go for framework, you probably also need to present a substantive disadvantage to the aff's methodology, at which point framework can be conceptualized as a K with the alternative of resolutional debate.
The easiest way to improve the quality of your K debating is to make more specific link arguments. Generic links by nature implicate more policies and methodologies than the affirmative's, which makes it easier for the aff to defend their 1AC. More specific links, on the other hand, allow you to present palatable alternatives while indicting particular decisions that your opponents make. (For example, if your link arg is that the state is colonialist, the aff can attack your alt with CtP arguments, arguments in favor of reformism, and arguments about the necessity of strong state institutions. If your link arg is instead about the 1AC's investment in settler fantasies of belonging, suddenly none of those arguments apply because you aren't critiquing the state as such).
Settler colonialism, antiblackness, Butler, afrofuturism, and other postmodern identity Ks
I love listening to these debates, and they're almost always determined by the strength of the link argument.
On the neg, make as specific a link argument as possible, and be ready to explain your link(s) as an answer to the permutation.
On the aff, pay very close attention to what the neg is critiquing, and respond accordingly. If the neg is attacking your heg advantage, defend the importance of American hegemony. If the neg is attacking the state, defend the use of the state. If the neg is attacking specific rhetorical choices you made in the 1AC, defend those choices or present a framework argument about plan focus.
Nietzsche, D and G, Baudrillard, Derrida, and other Ks of structuralist rationality
These debates largely come down to the quality of explanation. A lot of these authors use arcane jargon and make generic, sweeping statements about ontology, epistemology, and language. This is both a strength and a weakness, because they'll apply to almost any aff but you have to do the work of unpacking your authors' arguments and applying them to your opponents' case.
I don't think these Ks are strategic on the aff, because the obsession these authors have with becoming, fluidity, and deconstruction makes it really hard to build a consistent 1AC and you'll probably lose a lot of debates on presumption, at least in front of me.
If you want to read white guy psychoanalysis and talk about the death drive or the language of the unconscious, don't pref me. I don't want to hear it. Yes, that also applies to Edelman. I will attempt to evaluate these arguments fairly if debaters present them, but I really don't want you to put me in that position.
If you want to read Ks that draw on psychoanalysis but are ultimately more about affective communities, on the other hand (Berlant, Irigaray, Anker, Sexton), I'm definitely willing to listen and familiar with the lit base. These debates generally end up resembling postmodern identity Ks or postmodern Ks of structuralist rationality, so see above for my thoughts on those Ks.
Death/Suffering Good Ks
Haha I love that these are still around. On the other hand, I don't want to listen to them, simply because I don't think the resulting debates can be evaluated with any pretense of objectivity. In order to have a debate, we have to at least agree that some things count as "terminal impacts" because otherwise there's no way for me as a judge to compare things that various people consider good or bad. As a result, I'm just going to put it right here in my paradigm that I consider it valuable to minimize suffering and death. Yes, that also means I don't want to listen to radical anthro Ks or wipeout. Sorry.
On the other hand, feel free to make arguments about how attempts to prevent suffering and death backfire. I don't think it's necessarily a good thing to imagine worlds in which suffering is reduced; I just think reducing suffering is valuable.
Also, if I'm part of a panel, I realize you might not have the ability to adapt to this part of my paradigm, so I'll do my best to evaluate these debates fairly. Just know that my decision will largely come down to my subjective evaluation of your storytelling, ethos-building, and general persuasiveness.
If you want to discuss capitalism/neoliberalism, you need to be more specific than "the aff is capitalist-capitalism is bad." In what ways does the plan action or the rhetoric of the 1AC expand class inequalities? Should capitalism be replaced with a new form of economic organization or can it be internally reformed? If you want it to be replaced, what system should be implemented in its place? If you can't answer these questions, I'm holding the aff to a very low standard in responding, because it's impossible to come up with disadvantages to "something other than capitalism" until the neg specifies what that something might be.
Similarly, the aff should be able to characterize its relationship to capitalism/globablization/neoliberalism. Not every policy that promotes economic growth necessarily prioritizes the demands and interests of the capitalist class, and if the aff is structured around wage increases, labor organization, or improvements in working conditions, the debate should be about reformism vs radicalism rather than the value of capitalism writ large.
"Legal" Rhetoric K
This is strategic as a PIC when the aff includes "legal" in their plan text, kind of boring but acceptable when the aff discusses legal immigration elsewhere in the 1AC, and a non-starter when the aff doesn't mention the word legal.
These Ks are clearly core neg ground on this topic and really fun to watch when they're debated well.
Please be as specific as possible about the type of biopolitics the aff employs and the implications of the aff's system of biopolitical control. Arguments about citizenship, national belonging, and comparative racialization are way more interesting than generic arguments about how "the government can control who lives and dies, man."
Chad Rigsby Paradigm
PARADIGM FOR CHAD RIGSBY
I'm the current Saint George's Debate Coach and a former Assistant Debate Coach at Gonzaga University. I've been judging on and off for 20 years.
I believe that debate is a combination of strategic game and storytelling. I consider the flow the game board and I pay attention to drops, but I expect that debaters will have a coherent story to explain their victory at the end of the round. Although I am comfortable with most sorts of arguments, I would say that I'm primarily interested in strategic decisionmaking and in an explanation of why a team should win.
I don't have many set preferences about arguments. I'm fine with critical/methodological arguments, though I do look closely at the Role of the Ballot in these situations; too often, these arguments devolve into discussion of methodologies that don't seem to really compete. I am willing to listen to most theory arguments and don't have particularly strong preconceptions about them, though I do look for theoretical consistency.
I understand that debate often requires people to speak fast. I'm fine with that. I will tell you if you're not clear enough.
Good Luck & Have Fun!
Joe Skoog Paradigm
I debated at Brophy College Prep and then debated at Gonzaga University.
I now coach at Gonzaga and for Ferris High School, both of which are in Spokane, WA.
Everything under this are my defaults but obviously any argument that is contrary to any of these override my presuppositions. I'll try not to intervene to the best of my ability.
Tech over truth
I'll call for ev, but only if it is a key part of the debate or I have been told to look at it. I put a lot of stock into the quality of evidence when deciding debates.
I default to reject the arg for everything except conditionality unless told otherwise.
Awesome strategic moves will be rewarded.
For the love of Przemek Karnowski, please don't cheat.
I'm not particularly expressive, but it doesn't mean I hate your argument, I'm just thinking to myself.
Keep your shoes on in the round.
Read warrants please. I will reward fantastic ev. Quality outweighs quantity. Use spin and compare your evidence to theirs.
I do tend to default to less change and think that there is such thing as zero risk of the aff. Using very smart case defense arguments is awesome. Internal link defense and solvency arguments are, in my opinion, underused. That makes me sad. So please use them.
I'm a huge theory nerd so I'm down with being convinced something is competitive. HOWEVER, I do think that a lot of counterplans that are commonly run are not competitive. Granted, I ran Reg Neg and Consult Russia a lot, and I understand why they are necessary sometimes, but I will reward case specific counterplans with net benefits that justify the status quo. To be clear: Artificial net benefits be dumb, yo. Counterplans should have solvency advocates--preferably normative one--which will go a long way in defending the theoretical legitimacy of the advocacy.
Against big stick affs, don't read stupid PICs like "the" or "should" because then I will cry. And I am an ugly crier.
I won't kick a conditional CP in the 2NR unless I'm explicitly told to in the debate.
For politics, gotta have the goods evidence-wise.
Political capital key cards should say that political capital is key.
I think that an aff shooting apart the internal link chain of a stupid scenario is sufficient.
I would really like it if your DA was an actual opportunity cost to the plan.
Link controls direction of uniqueness.
I exclusively went for the K my senior year, so I know a lot of the literature. I've read a lot of Foucault and Baudrillard but I won't pretend I know all K authors equally. Please explain it in relation to the aff, not just in high theory terms.
I don't think I'm the federal government. I am a sleepy college student judging a debate. However, I can be persuaded differently by args made in the debate.
Getting to weigh the aff is distinct from a "role of the ballot" argument because Role of the ballot determines how/what I am voting on or evaluating.
I love highly technical K debate ie. LINE BY LINE and clash.
Well researched and case specific Ks will make me smile.
I really do enjoy theory debates if it is delivered at a rate consistent with the arguments. For example, if you are saying conditionality is bad in the 1AR don't speed through it because it is difficult to flow in its entirety. I will vote on unconditionality good, or 5 conditional CPs good. Debate is debate. If a theory violation is well impacted and explained, I will vote on it.
I default to competing interpretations unless told to evaluate it differently. I love when people read a lot of cards on tea, or have a hyper specific topicality argument. I evaluate it like a DA, so impacting things such as limits and ground is important.
Framework vs K affs:
I'm down to listen to really anything, and I was usually on the side of the team answering framework for most of my career. That being said, I really really enjoy framework debates. I think that "no Ks" isn't very convincing, but there should probably some agreed upon stasis point. This doesn't mean you need to defend the hypothetical implementation of plan in front of me, but if the other team wins that fiat is a good model of education, I will vote on it.
Kylie Vera Paradigm
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint George's Class of 2018
Whitworth University (Not Debating)
Please avoid mentions of sexual assault, suicide, and self-harm. Thank you.
First year out debate, got 2 bids 2 different years, a state finalist both my junior and senior year. I debated mostly critical arguments throughout high school but I also occasionally read topical affs and cut politics updates. I will vote based off of what is on the flow.
Tech > Truth
I don't read cards unless deemed necessary.
Despite my debate experience, I actually think framework is a good argument. I read framework against critical affs and enjoy listening to good framework rounds.
I'm less of a fan of the "t not framework" argument but can be persuaded otherwise.
I will vote on any standard if you win it. I tend to incline that fairness is more of an internal link, not an impact but if you win the flow I will vote for it.
I don't think fun is an impact and have a high threshold to vote on it if it is your 2NR strategy.
I think you must have a TVA, preferably with carded evidence to support it. I believe it should be gone for in the 2NR to make my decision easier. If one is impossible though, you need to spend a substantial time on SSD.
I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise.
Slow down in the rebuttals so I can get all the nuances of your argument.
I don't like artificially competitive and contrived process counterplans. Otherwise, if you read any other counterplan and explains how it avoids the link to the DA I will vote for you.
I don't like PICS or contrived multiplank counterplans.
I don't really care if you read new planks on the 2NC but it does warrant new 1AR answers.
I think counterplans should have a solvency advocate that clearly describes the process of the CP.
I am very willing to pull the trigger on CP theory if explained and impacted out.
Love politics disads more than the average judge but I am willing to vote on any DA.
I love impact calc and please do it.
I will probably understand any critic if you explain it will but here are my current understandings
Very familiar with: Agamben, Irigaray, Baudrillard, Queer Theory, Afro-pessimism, Cybernetics, Setcol, Bifo, Marx, Security, and Bataille
Pretty familiar with: Fannon, Foucault, Psychoanalysis, Virilio, Deleuze, and Weheliye
Not super familiar with: Preciado, Negarestani, Maoism, and Derrida
I don't mind long overviews as long as they relate to the debate I'm judging.
PLEASE DO LINE BY LINE!
I won't vote on k tricks if they're not impacts and explained
I think Ks need a clear link to some part of the aff.
If the neg team kicks the alt they need to win a strong link and impact.
Read and am comfortable with every type of critical aff.
I think critical affs need to be related to the topic in some way.
When debating framework you should go for a counter interp strategy or an impact turn but not both. They can both be in the 2AC but not the 2AR.
I think you need to answer every impact of framework individually.
30: Gosh darn I'm telling everyone about you
29.5 - 29.9: You should be in the top 5 speakers
29 - 29.5: You should break
28.5 - 29: You're pretty good, good at line-by-line!
28 - 28.5: You're good but have some work to do
< 28: You were openly racist, sexist, homophobic, or rude
Aidan Kane, Wayne Tang, Sarah Roberts
Chris Ward Paradigm
Hi I’m Chris. I debated for 4 years at Coeur d’Alene high school and have been judging for a few years now. I’m currently a student at the University of Idaho where I am a secondary education major with intent on also pursuing a master’s in political science.
ABOVE ALL ELSE do what you’re personally best at. I would much rather see a good debate where people know what they are talking about and confident than 4 people struggling to fit perfectly to my paradigm.
Please be able to tell the story of whatever it is that you are arguing, my job is not to connect the dots for you.
Ultimately, I will vote on just about anything as long as it is impacted, has good warrants, etc. I’m pretty easy going so as long as you win the argument, I’ll vote for you plain and simple as that.
Organization is something very important to me. Please make it clear to me when you are moving on to another argument because if you don’t, it might get put on the wrong piece of paper and that could be the piece of evidence that determines the outcome of the round.
If you give me a great line-by-line, you have a substantially greater chance of picking up my ballot.
If there is an email chain being used, please add me: email@example.com
Speed is fine, but do not sacrifice quality for speed. This means I want you to slow down on things like tags, overviews, and rebuttals. What’s the point of reading your extensive overview if I can’t make out what you’re saying clearly?
Please be considerate to one another, this helps the round be more productive and saves you from losing speaker points.
I will be more than willing to answer any questions that you have about specific arguments, decorum, etc. before the round begins.
I love case debate, please tell me why the impacts of the aff outweigh whatever the negative is running. I love hearing debates where whether the 1ac is a prerequisite to the K, disad, etc. due to moral obligation of helping [insert disenfranchised group here]. Side note: Please don't just abandon the 1ac after you read it. It's really annoying and makes the round way less interesting (in my opinion).
Totally fine with disads of any type and any topic. The politics disad as one of my personal favorites to read and go for, so I encourage you to run whatever it is you would like provided that you can explain the story of the link, internal link, and show me why your impact is worse than what your opponent is reading.
The more specific the link, the happier I will be. One good specific piece of evidence goes much farther with me than you reading 6 generic link cards in the 1nc.
Love these too. Many rounds I’ve judged have come down to whether case outweighs the cp. The more topic specific, the better. This doesn’t mean I won’t object to a generic cp as long as you tell me why it’s a good test of competitiveness to the aff and prove to me why the cp and the perm are mutually exclusive.
If I’m being honest here, I wasn’t a big K debater. THIS DOES NOT MEAN I DON’T WANT YOU TO RUN THEM IN FRONT OF ME! Many of the best rounds I’ve debated/judged in have had excellent and nuanced K debating so if that’s your jam, then go for it. I consider myself fairly competent in some of the literature out there however, this is not a free pass to use a bunch of big words in hopes of winning my ballot. (Spoiler: this decreases your chance of getting my ballot)
Like everyone else, do not assume I know who the author is or what their philosophy entails because I’m telling you right now, I don’t. I am not a philosophy student and I don’t have the time to read and comprehend every author so please put in the work in explaining it.
You will pick up my ballot if you have: specific links to the aff, don’t read a lazy generic alt, and extend the impact of the K. Who cares if the methodology of the aff is bad if there isn’t an impact to come because of that flawed methodology?
K’s that I am competent in: Capitalism, Security, Neoliberalism, Colonialism, Post Col, Set Col, Fem IR, Nietzsche, etc.
K’s that will definitely need more explanation: Baudrillard, D&G, Batille, Anti-Blackness, Afropessimism, Agamben, etc.
Floating PIKs are a conflicting area for me. I will probably tell you after the round that it might not have been the best strategic choice because my aff threshold isn't really all that high for it, but if the aff says nothing then there's nothing I can do. That being said, it's not that hard to figure out so I don't think this should be happening all that often.
Good T debates are also fun to listen to. My threshold on T is pretty high so I better hear more than just a simple extension of your standards and voting issues when you get to the rebuttals. As a result, I need you to impact T if you’re going for it and you feel the aff is abusive. I default to competing interpretations but have been persuaded otherwise during the round.
Theory was one of my favorite arguments to go for in rounds. Just like everyone else, I prefer you slow down during theory debates, especially during the rebuttals. Your theory argument becomes 1000% less persuasive when you vomit it out at 300+ words/min. Like T if this is your endgame, you’d better impact it out and tell me why voting neg will prevent this in future rounds. I really need you to sell me this argument if I’m going to vote on it.
I don’t have much experience with performance-based arguments however, I will still do my best to evaluate the argument to the best of my ability. I have had increasing experience with K Affs though. I don’t really have any predispositions to any of these arguments so run them, I enjoy listening to them and learning.
Couple things to keep in mind with me in the back of the room: I still like hearing some form of an advocacy statement in a K Aff, even if it means making it up in cx or something. If I don't know what the aff does, I'm not voting for it. You should also slow down when it comes to tag lines. Your paragraph-long tag doesn’t mean anything to me if I can’t understand what you’re saying.
Most importantly, have fun! At the end of the day, we do this because we enjoy it. Even in judging, I learn something knew at every tournament I go to and you should too. That’s what debate is all about win or lose. At the end of the day it’s all just part of the game we play :]
Galen Wright Paradigm
Competed in high-school, mid/late-2000s.
Judge/coach since 2015.
Professional background in security studies.
Default to policy-maker, balanced with games-player tendencies. This means I favor detailed debates about plan mechanisms (eg advantages/disads), but don't take the policy aspect too seriously (ie I enjoy quirky/tricky arguments for their own sake). This might be my starting position, but I have no problem changing how I view the round if alternative frameworks are presented.
I find evidence comparisons to be very persuasive, which includes unpacking warrants behind analytics.
I rarely flow overviews because - in my experience at least - teams tend to treat them as an excuse to read blocks instead of doing line-by-line. If you're going to be reading new impacts, tell me that's what you're doing. (this isn't to say that overviews aren't useful in helping me understand the broad outlines of an arg)
Flow management. Flow management. Flow management. Tell me whether you're on the link debate, the impact debate, etc. Tell me when you're moving from one flow to the next.
Topicality/Procedurals: I generally err towards not voting because (too often) they're blippy. Topicality, in particular, tends to be a waste of time that I loathe. If you want me to vote on these arguments, the key requirement is a tangible description of what rounds look like in the real world vis-a-vis Standards.
Critiques: OK (whether plan or performance based), but burden is typically higher than policy arguments. Winning generally comes down to who can reduce the jargon to a simple narrative plus a clear articulation of what actually happens, who does it, and why it's important. If there are terms that are specific to the K that aren't in general use - eg "Spectre", "Ontological Death", etc - please tell me what they mean. Overall, this tends to mean that a K can be most easily lost or won on the alt debate (eg you prolly can't fiat a global post-capitalist world without telling me how that happens).
Tax team CX ok.
Speed OK (will yell 'clear' if necessary), but a) I'm atrocious at flowing authors, and b) if I can't clearly - hear/identify the warrants of a piece of evidence, I tend to give it less weight than cards whose warrants I can identify.
Josh Yake Paradigm
The debate round exists for the participants, not the judge. The affirmative or negative strategy should be based on what YOU like to run, what YOU feel is important, substantial, or an issue of prima facie concern. I can be persuaded to vote on any type of argument (topicality, critiques, counterplan and net benefits VS the plan, even justification arguments) as long as clear voting issues and/or impact analysis is provided.
One of the best ways to win my ballot is to use “because-even if-because” argumentation. Here’s what I like to see in the last rebuttals:
“The affirmative/negative wins the round because Even if the other team wins their arguments, we still win because
Furthermore, I need to see issue selection in the final rebuttals. Very rarely will you be winning every argument. Winning one vital argument soundly is better than winning small risks of numerous different impacts or disadvantages. The ability to concede arguments and “collapse down” into the key issues is often the difference when making my decision.
When clear impact analysis or voting issues are not delivered, I often find myself “reading into” your evidence to base my decision. This may help or hinder your case depending on the quality of your evidence. In other words, if your evidence does not say what you claim it does then I may have difficulty voting on the issue. When I cannot come to a clear decision in my mind and “on the flow”, I often look into your evidence for further assistance. At this point I often base my decisions on verbatim text from evidence read, not just taglines. I typically call for many pieces of evidence to read at the conclusion of the round. Please make sure you are clear with the authors for each piece of key evidence so I know what to reference in my decision.
Finally, I like to see creativity in the debate round. I will vote as a policy maker when put into that paradigm. I have no qualms doing so. Again, the round is yours, not mine. However, I can also be persuaded to vote on “outside the box” types of arguments and usually enjoy those debates immensely.
Jason Young Paradigm
Experience/Background: I debated policy for 4 years in high school (Centerville High School, OH), I did not debate in college. I started a policy team at Garfield High School, WA in 2014, and have been coaching them since then. I judge ~50 rounds a year split between the local Washington and national circuits. I am a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual male that was educated and socialized within a Western context, which has likely produced certain subtle biases in terms of my epistemological view of the world.
Bottom Line: As a debater I pursued a mix of policy and critical positions, so I'm familiar and comfortable with a wide range of arguments. Because of the openness of my paradigm I tend to judge more K debates than policy debates, so that is where I tend to get the most judging experience. My PhD work was also fairly heavy on critical theory, so I have a good grasp of that lit base. At the end of the day, though, I believe that a debate should be about the debaters, not about me. I will therefore do my best to decide the round based on arguments made by the debaters, rather than based on my own beliefs. Be clear about how you think I should be judging, and there shouldn't be any big surprises.
Biases: Unless I am convinced to do something different, I will generally do/believe the following:
-I will flow the round, and will give weight to arguments that are not answered by the opposing team.
-I will protect the negative team from new arguments in the 2AR. This means that if I cannot connect an argument in the 2AR back to the 1AR, then I will likely give that argument less, or no, weight.
-Completely new arguments should not be made in the rebuttals. I also think that it is difficult - although not impossible - for the negative to introduce completely new off-case positions in the 2NC and then develop them completely.
-I will vote for one team or the other.
-I personally believe that the open source movement in the debate community too often takes an unnuanced approach, without considering how the open sourcing of knowledge reproduces new forms of inequalities (often along neoliberal/service economy lines, wherein better resourced schools are better able to take advantage of the open knowledge economy). Therefore, I rarely find 'non-disclosure' theory arguments to be persuasive.
-Don't ask me to 'judge kick' things for you.
-I will vote against you if I think you are clipping cards.
Speaking: Be clear! I like transition words between your arguments, and find that my ears pick up the word 'next' better than 'and'. Not a requirement by any means, but perhaps something you would want to know about me. Please slow down a tad in theory debates, I'll miss arguments if you pepper me with a ton of underwarranted standards.
I learned to flow in the paper era, and I continue to flow on paper. As a result, my flow tends to be much more orderly if you do your line-by-line straight down the sheet of paper rather than when jumping around. Generally, I think that this straight-down organization will help your line-by-line coverage anyway. If you choose not to organize your speech in this way, I will still flow it. But, my flow is likelier to be messier than I (or you) would like.
Finally, please feel free to ask me questions before the round! I'm happy to answer specific questions about my paradigm.
troy labriola Paradigm
So I'm pretty easy going when it comes to my judging preferences. I would generally call my self a tab judge, but that isnt always possible. Historically I would say I lean towards more critical arguements. I think I just lean towards more high probability lower magnitude impacts, not that I wont vote on high magnitude lower probability impacts just need to do more work on it. I will vote on any form of aff(policy, k, etc) but I will also vote on framework on those affs. I have a semi higher threshold on t but i will still vote on it. If your aff or k has any in depth literature to it, dont assume I know it make sure to take a little bit more time to make sure its understood
I know I dont have a ton to my paradigm but if you have any questions feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org