Sedro Woolley Invitational

2018 — Sedro Woolley, WA/US

Michael Fitzgerald Paradigm

8 rounds,+Michael

LD Paradigm

Michael Fitzgerald
Kamiak High School 2007
University of WA BA Political Science 2011

UPDATED LD Paradigm for 2019-2020 Season.

I was 4A State Champion in LD(WA) in 2006 and a 4A Semi-finalist for LD at State 2007. Most of my experience as a competitor was with Lincoln Douglas debate although I did compete as a policy debater for a year and so I am familiar with policy debate jargon.

Summary of my paradigm:

Speaking quickly is fine, I will say clear if you are not clear to me.

Theory is fine, I default reasonability instead of competing interps. However, if I am given an articulated justification for why I should accept a competing interpretation that is insufficiently contested, then that increases the likelihood I will vote for a competing interpretation. Unique frameworks and cases are fine (policy maker, etc), debate is ultimately your game.

I default Affirmative framework for establishing ground, I default Kritiks if there are clear pre-fiat/post-fiat justifications for a K debate instead of on-case debate. Cross examination IS important, and I do reward concessions made in cross examination as arguments that a debater can't just avoid having said.

I disclose if the tournament says I have to, or if both debaters are fine with disclosure and the tournament allows disclosure. I generally do not disclose if the tournament asks judges not to disclose.

The key to my paradigm is that the more specific your questions about what my paradigm is, the better my answers that I can provide for how I'll adjudicate the round.

The longer version:

Speaking: Clarity over quantity. Quality over quantity. Speed is just fine if you are clear, but I reward debaters who try to focus on persuasive styles of speaking over debaters who speak at the same tone, pitch, etc the entire debate. Pitch matters, if I can't hear you I can't flow you. Excessive swearing will result in lower speaker points.

Theory debate:
Reasonability. I believe that theory is intervention and my threshold for voting on theory is pretty high. If I feel like a negative has spoken too quickly for an Affirmative to adequately respond during the round, or a Neg runs 3 independent disadvantages that are likely impossible for a team of people with PhD's to answer in a 4 minute 1AR, and the Affirmative runs abuse theory on it, I'll probably vote Affirmative.

Cross Examination:
I'm fine with flex prep. I think debaters should stand and actually make an effort to be respectful and polite, and to not look at each other. Cross examination should be fair. Cross examination concessions are binding, so own what you say in cross examination and play the game fairly.

--- Speaking: The same rules for clarity always apply- if I don’t understand what you are saying, don’t expect to receive anything higher than a 28.
You will lose speaker points if you:
1. Use an excess of swearing. If swearing is in a card, that’s allowed within reason. I understand some Kritiks require its use as a matter of discourse, but outside of carded evidence I absolutely do not condone the use of language that would be considered offensive speaking in public considering debate is an academic and public speaking competition.
2. Are found to be generally disrespectful to either myself as the judge or to your opponent. This will be very obvious, as I will tell you that you were extremely disrespectful after round.

You can generally run any type of argument you want in front of me. I generally believe that for traditional LD debate that all affirmatives should have some kind of standard that they try to win (value/criterion), and that the negative is not necessarily tied to the same obligation- the burden on either side is different. The affirmative generally has the obligation to state a case construction that generally affirms the truth of the resolution, and the negative can take whatever route they want to show how the affirmative is not doing that sufficiently. I’ll listen to a Kritik. The worse the Kritik, the more susceptible I’ll be to good theory on why Ks are bad for debate.

Kritiks that in some way are related to the resolution (instead of a kritik you could run on any topic) are definitely the kind I would be more sympathetic to listening to and potentially voting for.

When I see a good standards debate that clashes on fundamental issues involving framework, impacts, and what either side thinks really matters in my adjudication of the round, it makes deciding on who was the better debater during the round an easier process. I don’t like blippy debate. I like debate that gets to the substantive heart of whatever the issue is. In terms of priorities, there are very few arguments I would actually consider a priori. My favorite debates are the kind where one side clearly wins standards (whichever one they decide to go for), and has a compelling round story. Voters are crucial in rebuttals, and a clear link story, replete with warrants and weighted impacts, is the best route to take for my ballot.
I approach judging like a job, and to that end I am very thorough for how I will judge the debate round. I will flow everything that goes on in round, I make notations on my flows and I keep a very good record of rounds.

If something is just straight up factually untrue, and your opponent points it out, don’t expect to win it as an argument.

I'll clarify my paradigm upon request, my default this season has generally been tabula rasa. It's also important to have articulated voting issues during rebuttals.


Cross Examination Debate Paradigm

I'm a tabula rasa judge with respect to the arguments that I will listen to.

It is important to me that I see an obvious progression on the flow within the round given the arguments made during constructive speeches and questions asked and answers given during cross examination.

Having clear voting issues articulated during rebuttal speeches is more advantageous than not, and having clear ways to comparatively weigh various arguments within the round will help to narrow the bounds for how I arrive at my reason for decision.

I flow the round the best I can, if the speaking is unclear then I will say clear. If I have to say clear a second time speaks will be reduced by a half point. If I have to say clear a third time (this is very rare) then I will grant one less speaker point.

If you have any questions for further clarification of my paradigm it's important that you ask those questions prior to the beginning of the first constructive speech. After that point it is unlikely that I will answer any further questions with respect to my paradigm.

Anything that I do not understand with respect to clarity will not count as an argument on my flow, so it is advantageous to consider slowing down to such a degree that it is clear to me should I state the word clear during a speech.


Kelley Kirkpatrick Paradigm

I am the head coach of the Mount Vernon High School Debate Team.

I feel that this gentleman is my soulmate. This is the perfect paradigm:

I like critical argumentation but don't enjoy hearing the Cap K round after round after round AND, if you choose to run an alt of "embrace poetry" or "reject all written text", you had better fully embrace it. I love a well-developed T battle but rarely hear one AND I don't like reasonability as a standard. I love it when debaters run unique arguments that they truly believe and offer really high speaker points for this (I'm not inclined to give high speaks though. Someone like Kai might get a 29 on a good day.) Coke Zero is my beverage of choice. I believe that everything is debatable and hope to someday here a perm on T. Speed hasn't been a problem (until third round Berkeley this year) but I don't tell you if I need you to be more clear-- I feel it's your job to adapt. If you don't see me typing, you probably want to slow down. I like sassy, aggressive debaters who enjoy what they do but dislike sullen, mean students who don't really care-- an unpleasant attitude will damage your speaker points. I am willing to answer any other questions you may have.

Sure! Add me to the email chain:

PSA--- My debater Ausha is my favorite fave : ) but I probably shouldn't given her my tabroom info

Laura Livingston Paradigm


I like Policy debate because there's a structure of sorts and because I believe that resolving problems requires an imposable solution. For me, that means stock issues and some kind of resolution of the harms the Aff delineates. You can rarely, if ever, go wrong, by arguing appropriate stock issues. For me, the three primary stock issues are solvency, which is key to evaluating the effectiveness of a policy; inherency, which few teams understand or argue effectively, but, which real, live, adult policy makers use every day to determine responses to problems, or, presumption, which is a default policy-maker position and to which few people today appeal. I like a good T debate, but, not on cases when virtually any rational person would agree that a case is topical. It's simply abusive and I will cheerfully agree w/the Aff that calls foul on this. I like cases that are at least minimally topical. For example, if the topic this year calls for substantially reducing the restrictions on legal immigration to the U.S., the case should be at least dimly related to finding some restriction on legal immigration to the U.S. and then reducing that limitation.

I am also a policy judge; after over 25 years as a Foreign Service Officer in the United States Department of State, I know what a coherent policy looks like and how, in the real world, policies are developed and implemented. Cases that don't offer a real policy with at least some nebulous solution to the problem, i.e. cases that offer some ephemeral philosophy that a judge is supposed to implement through "in-round solvency ballot-signing" are relatively unattractive to me. That doesn't mean I won't vote for them, but only when the Neg won't make the most minimal effort to argue the case in context of stock issues or policy-making. Sadly, some Negs don't do this. If only they realized how easy it would be to get my ballot!

But, after having said that, I also look at who won which issues: who won the most important stock issues and which policy solved the problem more effectively and made the better sense, so, ultimately, it's about persuasion as well. I will vote for cases I don't like and don't think are topical or inherent, for example, if the Neg either fails to respond effectively or simply can't win the argument. I will not make your arguments for you or infer what you meant to say. I like CPs, but, as an elderly person who has been doing this since 1968, I think they should be untopical. If not, then, we have two affirmatives arguing for the resolution and presumption shifts to the Aff. I do wish someone would call out teams on this! Also, having a net benefit that is more than just avoiding some stock DA is a plus. That's because if you lose the DA, then, whoosh! Your NB is gone, too. Feel free to run a NB w/in the CP and a DA outside of it. If you want to run a K, feel free to do so, but, since most of them are non-unique, have no link to the Aff, no threshold and don't provide, in most instances, a viable policy option to the Aff, it's pretty easy for the Aff to beat a K. I have voted for Ks before, but, only when the Aff failed to win the argument.

THINGS THAT LESSEN YOUR CHANCES OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND AN L3 BALLOT: Really long, long, long taglines, especially ones that contain large amounts of philo/psychobabble gobbledegook. Debaters who don't pause between taglines and the evidence. Stock DAs with no unique link to the current Aff being debated. Poor refutation organization - if you don't tell me where you're going, it's hard to follow you and you significantly decrease your chances of me putting the argument where YOU want it. Debates that become more about the theory of how we're debating the issue than about the issue itself.

In terms of speed, less is more. I like to be persuaded and if I can't understand what you're saying, then, you're not very persuasive. Actually, it's not so much speed being the problem as clarity; some people can speak incredibly fast, be amazingly clear and a pleasure to follow. Others, not so much. If you tend to be a mush-mouth, you're better off slowing down.