King Round Robin
2019 — Houston, TX/US
Clement Agho-Otoghile Paradigm
Forensics is a speaking competition in which the art of rhetoric is utilized - speaking effectively to persuade or influence [the judge].
I take Socrates's remarks in Plato's Apology as the basis of my judging: "...when I do not know, neither do I think I know...I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know when I do not know" (Ap. 21d-e).
My paradigm of any round is derived from: CLARITY!!!
All things said in the round need to be clear! Whatever it is you want me to comprehend, vote on, and so forth, needs to be clearly articulated, while one is speaking. This stipulation should not be interpreted as: I am ignorant about debate - I am simply placing the burden on the debater to debate; it is his or her responsibility to explain all the arguments presented. Furthermore, any argument has the same criteria; therefore, clash, at the substantive level, is a must!
First and foremost, I follow each debate league's constitution, per the tournament.
Secondly, general information, for all debate forms, is as follows:
1) Speed: As long as I can understand you well enough to flow the round, since I vote per the flow!, then you can speak as slow or fast as you deem necessary. I do not yell clear, for we are not in practice round, and that's judge interference. Also, unless there is "clear abuse," I do not call for cards, for then I am debating. One does not have to spread - especially in PF.
2) Case: I am a tab judge; I will vote the way in which you explain to me to do so; thus I do not have a preference, or any predispositions, to the arguments you run. It should be noted that in a PF round, non-traditional/abstract arguments should be expressed in terms of why they are being used, and how it relates to the round.
Set a metric in the round, then tell me why you/y'all have won your metric, while your opponent(s) has lost their metric and/or you/y'all have absorbed their metric.
The job of any debater is to persuade the judge, by way of logical reasoning, to vote in his or her favor, while maintaining one's position, and discrediting his or her opponent's position. So long as the round is such, I say good luck to all!
Ask any other clarification questions before the round!
Jonathan Alston Paradigm
I am a head coach at Newark Science and have coached there for years. I teach LD during the summer at the Global Debate Symposium. I formerly taught LD at University of North Texas and I previously taught at Stanford.
I like many types of arguments, but I like them to be smart.
I don't presume to any side. I listen to student arguments. I do believe that basic things are true, though. The Affirmative must present a problem with the way things are right now. Their advocacy must reasonably solve that problem. The advantages of doing the advocacy must outweigh the disadvantages of following the advocacy. You don't have to have a USFG plan, but you must advocate for something.
Be clear. Be very clear. If you are spreading politics or something that is easy to understand, then just be clear. I can understand very clear debaters at high speeds when what they are saying is easy to understand. Start off slower so I get used to your voice and I'll be fine.
Do not spread philosophy. If I have a hard time understanding it at conversational speeds I will not understand it at high speeds. (Don't spread Kant or Foucault.)
Slow down for analytics. If you are comparing or making analytical arguments that I need to understand, slow down for it.
I want to hear the warrants in the evidence. Be clear when reading evidence. I don't read cards after the round if I don't understand them during the round.
Make it make sense. I'll vote on it if it is reasonable. Please tell me how it functions and how I should evaluate it. The most important thing about theory for me is to make it make sense. I would like for the debates about the debate to be interesting. I am not into frivolous theory.
Every argument has a standard, even if it is pre the agreed upon standard in the round. Explain to me why it is important or makes sense. I like smart, substantive arguments.
Don't take it out of context. I do ask for cites. Cites should be readily available. Don't cut evidence in an unclear or sloppy manner. Cut evidence ethically. Do not take evidence out of context by cutting qualifiers like "might" or "maybe".
30 I learned something from the experience. I really enjoyed the thoughtful debate. I was moved. I give out 30's. It's not an impossible standard. I just consider it an extremely high, but achievable, standard of excellence. I haven't given out at least two years.
For policy Debate (And LD, because I judge them the same way).
Same as for LD. Make sense. Big picture is important. I can't understand spreading dense philosophy. Don't assume I am already familiar with what you are saying. Explain things to me. Starting in 2013 our LDers have been highly influenced by the growing similarity between policy and LD. We tested the similarity of the activities in 2014 - 2015 by having two of our LDers be the first two students in the history of the Tournament of Champions to qualify in policy and LD in the same year. They did this by only attending three policy tournaments (The Old Scranton Tournament and Emory) on the Oceans topic running Reparations and USFG funding of The Association of Black Scuba Divers.
We are also in the process of building our policy program. Our teams tend to debate the resolution with non-util impacts or engages in methods debates. Don't assume that I am familiar with the specifics of a lit base. Please break things down to me. I need to hear and understand warrants. Make it simple for me. The more simple the story, the more likely that I'll understand it.
I won't outright reject anything unless it is blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic.
Important: Don't curse in front of me. I don't like high school students cursing in front of me. Please don't do it. I may take off points because of it. If the curse is an essential part of the textual evidence, I am more lenient. But that would be the exception. Ultimately, I do not think that high school students are grown, and the language that is used should be consistent with my classroom standards.
Chris Castillo Paradigm
I am the LD coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Tx. I've been involved in debate since the year 2000. I judge a lot. Mostly on the national/toc circuit but also locally. Feel free to ask questions before the round. Add me to email chains. Jchriscastillo at gmail dot com.
I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. Be clear, both in delivery and argument function/interaction, weigh and develop a ballot story.
Theory: I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types. I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness. Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments. D
Non-T affs: These are fine just have a clear ballot story.
Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".
Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity.
Prep: 1. I prefer that you don't use cx as prep time. 2. It is ok to ask questions during cx. 3. Compiling a document counts as prep time. 4. Please write down how much time you have left.
Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. Don't manipulate evidence or clip.
Isaac Chao Paradigm
Last updated for Kandi King RR 2019
Coach at Heights High School (TX)
I debated LD for Timothy Christian School in New Jersey for four years. I graduated from Rice University, am currently a teacher at Heights, and predominately coach policy: my program competes through the Houston Urban Debate League and the Texas Forensic Association so I judge regularly. My ideas on debate are heavily influenced by Kris Wright via the Texas Debate Collective Teacher's Institute and I am largely in agreement with his philosophy. Most of the sections below are relevant for both policy and LD; see the very bottom for the policy-specific section.
I would prefer to be added to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
- LARP: 1
- T/Theory: 3
- Phil: 2*
- Kritiks: 3*
- Tricks: 4 or Strike
*Ratings vary as function of what you're reading and whether or not I'm familiar with it. Feel free to ask me before round about a specific author.
- I will try to be tab and dislike intervening so please weigh arguments and compare evidence. It is in your advantage to write my ballot for me by explaining why you win which layers and why those layers come first.
- I default to a competing worlds paradigm.
- Tech > Truth
- I'm colorblind so speech docs that are highlighted in blue/gray can be difficult for me to read; yellow would be ideal because it's easiest for me to see. Don't read theory on your opponent if they don't though. It's not that serious.
- I would prefer that weighing be done as often and as early as possible, especially in LD because there're so few speeches - as a rule of thumb you should weigh as soon as you have access to both impacts. For instance, disadvantages should be weighed against advantages in the 1NC and the offense of a counterinterp to T should be weighed in the 1AR (or 2AC in policy).
- Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves your computer or, if you're using an email chain, once you've finished compiling the document. I won't count emailing against you but please don't steal prep.
- Signpost please, including listing the flows in the 1NC (ex. T, K, Case); I prefer debaters to be explicit about where to flow things and I appreciate pen time. If you're giving a speech and I'm looking around the different sheets of paper instead of writing, I'm likely trying to find the argument and will probably miss something.
- Not fond of embedded clash; I feel like it's often a recipe for judge intervention. I'll flow overviews but in my experience it's often just a wasted sheet of paper and I would much rather you do the substantive line-by-line work. Overviews that are extensions/explanations of a position are fine though, and probably preferable compared to line-by-line extensions (especially in the time-crunched 1AR).
- I presume aff in LD: neg side bias exists so in the absence of offense from either side the aff did the better debating. It is unlikely, however, that I will try to justify a ballot in this way. While I believe that terminal defense exists, I generally err towards voting on risk of offense rather than presumption in the absence of presumption arguments made by debaters.
Framework (as distinct from T-FW):
- Paradigmatically, I believe that impacts are relevant insofar as they implicate to a framework, preferably one which is syllogistically warranted. My typical decision calculus, then, goes through the steps of a. determining which layer is the highest/most significant, b. identifying the framework through which offense is funneled through on that layer, and c. adjudicating the pieces of legitimate offense to that framework.
- You should assume if you're reading a philosophically dense position that I do not have a deep familiarity with your topic literature; as such, you should probably moderate your speed and over-explain rather than under. Especially if your framework is complex or obscure, a brief summary of how it functions (i.e. how it sifts between legitimate and illegitimate offense) would be helpful.
- Read them if you'd like; I've read almost none of the literature, however, so explain well. I especially appreciate kritikal debates which are heavy on case-specific link analysis paired with a comprehensive explanation of the alternative. Good K debates typically include quotes from lines in your opponent's evidence/advocacy with an explanation of why those are additional links.
- If your alternative is just a string of buzz words, I probably won't think it makes sense and will be receptive to responses from your opponent arguing the same.
- Perms are tests of competition, not shifts of advocacy.
- Never understood why perms are illegitimate in a methods debate so if you defend a counter method it should probably be competitive.
- I would prefer that the affirmative is at least tangentially related to the resolution. In my experience, most topics have space for critical, topical arguments and this is what I'd prefer to hear if you're a critical debater, although I won't hack against non-T AFFs. I am persuaded by the value of topical switch-side debate, however, so if non-T AFFs are your thing I am probably not the best judge for you.
- I am increasingly convinced that Role of the Ballot arguments (or oppression frameworks) are just self-serving impact-justified frameworks that don't adequately fulfill the central function of differentiating between legitimate and illegitimate offense. Although I am more than willing to assume that all ethical frameworks ought to condemn oppression and dehumanization, the question most of these frameworks don't answer is the strength of the link of those arguments back to the standard. Just defaulting to a utilitarian metric doesn't resolve the impact-justified issue either.
- Given that I predominately coach policy, I am probably most comfortable adjudicating these debates, but this is your space so you should make the arguments that you want to make in the style that you prefer.
- You should have updated uniqueness cards and the more specific the links on the disad and the counterplan the happier I'll be.
- If you want to kick out of a conditional advocacy you need to tell me.
- I think impact turns (dedev, cap good/bad, heg good/bad, wipeout, etc.) are underutilized and can make for interesting strategies, although if you impact turn racism/sexism I'll be sad.
- Speed is generally fine. I'd place my threshold for speed at an 8.5 out of 10 where a 10 is the fastest debater on the circuit, although that varies depending on the type of argument being read.
- Slow down for and enunciate short analytics, taglines, and card authors; it would be especially helpful if you say "and" or "next" as you switch from one card to the next. I am not a particularly good flower so take that into account if you're reading a lot of analytical arguments. If you're reading at top-speed through a dump of blippy uncarded arguments I'll probably miss some.
- My flowing limitations are a contributing factor to why I'm probably not a great judge for you if tricks are your A-strat. If you're reading tricks one of three things is likely to happen: I'll miss it, I won't understand it, or I'll think it's stupid, so read at your own risk. Additionally, I won't hold your opponent to a higher standard than I hold myself to, so if I didn't understand the implication of an argument (especially a blippy/shady one) in a prior speech, I'll give them leeway on answering it in a later one.
- I'll yell "clear" or "slow" once but that means I already missed something.
- I default to competing interpretations and will assume that the counterinterp is the converse of the interpretation if no counterinterp is explicitly read. I'll evaluate shells via reasonability if you ask me to but I'd prefer an explicit brightline for determining what constitutes a reasonable vs. unreasonable practice rather than drawing upon my intuitions for debate. If you just ask me to intuitively evaluate the shell without an explanation of what that constitutes or how that works, my aversion to intervention will likely lead me to gut check to competing interpretations.
- I default to no RVIs (and that you need to win a counterinterp to win with an RVI).
- I am not willing to assume that a won shell justifying that your opponent is unfair or uneducational is sufficient to warrant voting against them. If you're reading theory you should be articulating an explicit implication to the shell, contextualized to the abuse story. Absent an impact/ballot story on theory I default to rejecting theory as floating offense and voting off of another layer. If your opponent reads a theory shell without an impact and you tell me I shouldn't do that work for them or allow them to fix that mistake in a later speech, I'll be sympathetic.
- I am not willing to assume that meta-theory comes before theory.
- Because I am not a particularly good flower, theory rounds in my experience are challenging to follow because of the quantity of blippy analytical arguments. Please slow down for these debates and clearly label the shell - the interp especially - and number the arguments to hedge against the possibility that I miss something.
- I would not recommend reading disclosure theory in front of me because while I will (grudgingly) vote on it, it will not be difficult to convince me to reject it. I believe that universal compulsory disclosure disproportionately disadvantages under-resourced debaters. Although I suppose this objection isn't relevant if you're reading it against a big school debater: in that situation, I guess I don't care anymore.
- I generally won't give below a 27; lower means I think you did something offensive. A 28.5 or above means I think you're good enough to clear.
- I won't disclose speaks so don't bother asking.
- As a teacher and coach, I am committed to the value of debate as an educational activity. Please don't be rude, particularly if you're clearly better than your opponent. I won't hack against you if you go 5-off against someone you're substantively better than, but I don't have any objections to tanking your speaks if you intentionally exclude your opponent in this way. As a former competitor from a school with very limited competitive infrastructure, most of what I know about debate I had to learn myself absent formal instruction. This makes me very sympathetic to debaters from small schools or under-resourced programs who might not be familiar with the technical jargon of the activity but who, nevertheless, make good arguments. It behooves you, if you've had access to more privileged instruction, to debate in a way that keeps the round accessible for everyone.
If Judging Policy:
- Please keep in mind that although I coach policy now, the entirety of my competitive experience and the bulk of my training, judging and thinking about debate has been funneled through the lens of LD.
- Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves your computer or, if you're using an email chain, once you've finished compiling the document. I won't count attaching and emailing as prep time, but please don't steal prep.
- CX is closed. Both debaters should be responsible for pulling their own weight and demonstrating mastery of their position(s).
- I presume neg in policy because in the absence of offense in either direction, I am compelled by the Change DA to the plan. However, presumption flips if the 2NR goes for a counter-advocacy that is a greater change from the status quo than the aff.
- I frequently see teams read half a T-shell in the 1NC (unwarranted standards/voters/implication/paradigm issues, or missing those pieces altogether) and then blow it up in the block. I think that if you read a disad in the 1NC it should probably contain the core parts (uniqueness/link/impact), even if you read additional evidence in the block, and I hold T to the same standard. Otherwise, I'm receptive to efficient 2AC responses along the lines of "that's not a complete argument; lack of warranted standards means there's no offense to the interp and you should reject the shell" and will allow new responses in the 1AR in response to developments in the block.
- Smart, analytical arguments (particularly as no-links on a kritik or an improbable impact chain) are heavily underutilized in policy. My ideal 1NCs/2ACs incorporate analytics as a component of a layered response strategy. I see too many policy debaters who are just card bots, including reading cards that don't actually contain warrants and reading additional cards in a later speech instead of going for preexisting evidence (which might actually require some evidence-comparison...).
- Politics disads are stupid, but you do you.
Courtney Coffman Paradigm
Berkeley 2019 Update: I haven't judge a lot of circuit LD rounds this year. I've been judging a lot of World Schools Debate. Please don't go your top speed and please slow down on tags & author names.
Background: I'm the Director of Debate at Northland Christian School in Houston, TX. I graduated in 2008 after debating for three years on the national and local circuits (TOC, NFL, TFA). I was a "traditional" debater whenever I competed (stock and policy arguments, etc). I have taught at Global Debate Symposium, Mean Green Workshops and Pinnacle.
Email Chain: Please add me to the email chain: email@example.com.
Judging Philosophy: I prefer a comparative worlds debate. When making my decisions, I rely heavily on good extensions and weighing. If you aren't telling me how arguments interact with each other, I have to decide how they do. If an argument is really important to you, make sure you're making solid extensions that link back to some standard in the round. I love counterplans, disads, plans, etc. I believe there needs to be some sort of standard in the round. Kritiks are fine, but I am not well-versed in dense K literature; please make sure you are explaining the links so it is easy for me to follow.
Theory: I think running theory is fine (and encouraged) if there is clear abuse.
Speaker Points: I give out speaker points based on a couple of things: clarity (both in speed and pronunciation), word economy, strategy and attitude. In saying attitude, I simply mean don't be rude. I think there's a fine line between being perceptually dominating in the round and being rude for the sake of being rude; so please, be polite to each other because that will make me happy. Being perceptually dominant is okay, but be respectful. If you give an overview in a round that is really fast with a lot of layers, I will want to give you better speaks. I will gauge my points based on what kind of tournament I'm at...getting a 30 at a Houston local is really easy, getting a 30 at a circuit tournament is much more difficult. If I think you should break, you'll get good speaks.
Speed: I'd prefer a more moderate/slower debate that talks about substance than a round that is crazy fast/not about the topic. I can keep up with a moderate speed; slow down on tag lines/author names. I'll put my pen down if you're going too fast. If I can't flow it, I won't vote on it. Also, if you are going fast, an overview/big picture discussion before you go line by line in rebuttals is appreciated. You can consider me a 7 out of 10 on the speed scale. I will say "clear" "slow" "louder", etc a few times throughout the round. If you don't change anything I will stop saying it.
Miscellaneous: I think permissibility and skep. arguments are defense and don't prefer to see them in a round. I default to comparative worlds.
1. Don't try to win on tricks...I will severely dock speaker points and just be generally sad when making a decision (aka don't mislabel arguments, give your opponent things out of order, or try to steal speech/prep time, etc). I am not going to vote on an extension of a one sentence "argument" that wasn't clear in the first speech that is extended to mean something very different.
2. Please don't run morally repugnant positions in front of me.
3. Have fun!
Bennett Eckert Paradigm
Updated for Greenhill 2019.
I coach Greenhill, and I'm conflicted from Harrison.
 Greenhill + the Greenhill RR are my first tournaments of the year. Please slow down in rounds earlier in the tournament/RR (especially if those rounds are before 10 am!!).
 I think that the most recent "Nebel T" article is really good. I'll judge debates about this argument like any other debate, but it seems like a lot of people have come to think that "Nebel T" is preposterous or can easily be brushed off in the 1AR, and I do not think that either of those things are true.
 I am not doing a lot of topic research for SepOct 2019, so you should not expect me to know acronyms/history of the topic/things like that. Err on the side of over-explaining arguments that are deep in the topic literature.
Things to know
 Last year I saw a lot of miscut evidence. I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. This year, if I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.
I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:
it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.
text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),
the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,
the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut],
the cite lists the wrong author or article title (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).
If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.
If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)
If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will make an effort to contact your coach/the adult with you at the tournament and let them know before I announce the decision.
I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.
Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.
 If a debater says that a piece of evidence is miscut in round and their opponent clarifies that they are making an "evidence ethics challenge" (and the former person confirms that they want to make a challenge), the debate ends. I will read all of the relevant stuff and then make a decision. Whoever is correct on the evidence ethics challenge wins the debate. The loser will get the lowest speaks I can give.
In lieu of an evidence ethics challenge, I am also ok with asking your opponent to just strike the cards from the doc/cross them off the flow in cx and have the rest of the debate but calling a challenge if they refuse to do so (this is noble but not required). You could also make arguments about why misquoting is bad, but I'm compelled by a response that basically says "call an ethics challenge or don't make the argument; we'll stake the debate on it." Indeed, I think that if you make an evidence ethics argument, you should be willing to stake the debate on it. If you don't stake the round on it, you'll still win (if they committed the evidence ethics violation), but your speaks will be worse than they otherwise would have been.
 Please do an email chain. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 I do not flow author names.
 I have no interest in judging debates about bad theory arguments. They are bad, boring, and pointless. If you make a theory argument so bad that it deserves to be laughed at, I just won't vote on it. This doesn't apply to many arguments. For example, arguments that are fair game are CP theory, plans good/bad, some spec args, AFC good/bad, etc. This is only meant to exclude really awful arguments like "neg may only make 2 arguments," "must spec CP status in speech," and "must spec what you meant when you said 'competing interps.'" Good theory debates are awesome and fun to judge and strategic theory is fine, but theory debates about arguments this bad are honestly just not worth my time.
 I value explanation a lot. I've found that I vote aff in a lot of debates in which the neg goes for a ton of arguments, each of which could be a winning 2NR but end up getting very under-explained. I have also voted for a lot of debaters whose evidence is not amazing but who give very good explanations/spin for that evidence. The best debaters I've seen collapse in rebuttals, give overviews, and weigh.
 I am unlikely to be convinced that something categorically outweighs something else (e.g. .01% risk of extinction outweighs, fairness outweighs everything no matter what, etc.). Your weighing arguments should be contextual/comparative.
 I have difficulty piecing together debates in which the 2NR reads a very long overview but doesn’t mention how arguments in the overview interact with 1AR arguments. To avoid me having difficulty, you should either do most of your work on the line-by-line or flag which parts of the overview answer which aff arguments.
 I often read a lot of cards after debates. When I look at cards after the debate, I am generally looking for a few things. [a] Does the card say what the tag says? How explicitly does it do so? Is the card specific to the claim being made in the tag? [b] Does the argument in the card match the explanation/extension of the card? [c] Is the argument in the card good?
 I really enjoy good T, policy-style, theory, and K v. policy aff debates. I’ve found that I normally do not like “philosophy”/ framework debates because they tend to involve bad mis-explanations of moral theories, cards cut out of context, and general trickery/tomfoolery. Paraphrasing Travis Fife: If you actually read moral/political philosophy and apply it to debate in a way that’s true to the literature, I might be a great judge for you. If you use moral theory as an excuse for engaging in trickery/obfuscation and making implausible normative claims, I am a very bad judge for you (and you should stop doing that).
 I have voted for T/framework against K affs more often than I have voted against it. When I vote neg in T/FW debates, I normally vote on skills-type impacts and topic education impacts, and I almost never vote on "fairness is an intrinsic good." When I vote aff in these debates, I normally think that the aff has done something to mitigate the neg's impact (e.g. a counter-interpretation that solves, link/impact defense) and won a good-size piece of offense for their counter-interpretation. I think the aff in these debates needs to have a counter-interpretation and should prove that that counter-interpretation is better than the neg interpretation.
 I have a poor understanding of high theory. I will of course vote on it, but I won't vote on something that I cannot coherently explain, so the bar for explanation is pretty high. In general, you should not assume I am well-read on the literature you’re reading unless it’s contemporary analytic ethics. I have found that slowing down, collapsing, and giving examples all enhance my understanding of arguments made in rounds.
 I am very unlikely to vote on a "risk of offense" argument on theory. I'm inclined to think that the debater initiating theory has to generate a real/substantial advantage to their interpretation that I could describe without using the term "risk of offense".
 “Reasonability” means to me that the person answering theory need only meet a “reasonable” interpretation, rather than the optimal interpretation. “Reasonability” does not mean to me: “evaluate just whether our particular aff should be allowed,” “only demonstrated/in-round/whatever-you-call-it abuse matters,” or “we may ‘reasonably meet their interpretation.’”
I think that reasonability is most persuasive against theory arguments with a very small impact. The best arguments for reasonability argue that requiring debaters’ practices to meet a certain (reasonable) standard, rather than requiring them to meet the optimal standard, produces the best debates. Generic “competing interps is bad” arguments are not great args for reasonability.
 Please slow down on theory arguments, especially if you don't put them on their own pages. If you read theory args at the same speed that you read cards, I almost certainly won't get down everything that you want me to.
 I'm not interested in listening to call-outs of or jabs at other schools, debaters, coaches, etc. E.g. I don't want to hear "[School X] always does this!" or "Of course [Debater Y] is going for [argument]!" Lines like these do not help illustrate your argument at all, make the debate uncomfortable to judge, and are often just mean/uncalled for.
Things I Won't Vote On
Oppression good (if you concede that your position entails that oppression is good, then your position is that oppression is good)
Awful theory args
I will give speaks based on how well I think you should do at the tournament. I also give higher speaks to reward strategies and arguments that I think are good/enjoyable to listen to/generally fun.
Here's a rough scale of how I'll give speaks:
30 = you should win everything. I've given one 30 and one 29.9.
29.5-29.9 = you should be in late elims
29-29.5 = you should clear
28.5-29 = you should be on the bubble
27.5-28.5 = average
26.5-27.5 = you made some important strategic errors/lacked a clear strategy
<26.5 = I found something about this debate very annoying
Just disclose, ok? If you don't meet some minimum threshold for disclosure (the Greenhill tournament disclosure policy requires what I consider the minimum acceptable disclosure) and your opponent reads disclosure theory, then you're going to lose.
The aff must tell the neg what aff they're going to read unless it's a new aff.
At the Greenhill RR/tournament I am going to adjudicate disputes about the disclosure policy exclusively on the basis of who I think is correct. Both debaters can say their piece/explain the situation but I will not decide these disputes "on the flow." To be clear, I'll still evaluate arguments like "must disclose full text/open source/etc." like other normal theory arguments. But I will decide disputes about the disclosure policy such as those about: lying about what the aff said, whether someone didn't disclose tags/cites/whatever, whether someone waited too long to disclose, etc. based on what I think about the disclosure policy. I will not listen to debates about whether the disclosure policy matters/how it's worded/whether your school doesn't have a wiki (you should have foreseen this problem)/how bad the wifi is/etc. If you have questions about how I interpret the disclosure policy, feel free to ask me whenever.
The wiki goes down during the Greenhill tournament. When it does, both debaters should make an effort to contact each other to disclose.
People that have influenced my views on debate
Ethan Eyre Paradigm
Last edited for King RR:
Experience: I do policy debate at the University of Houston, and competed in LD and extemp for all for years of high school. Went to VBI, TFA elims, NSDA nats, and UIL finals a few times.
General: Not a tab judge - I evaluate based on what issues become important in the round. Familiar with K and theory debate. No real preference as to what kind of argument you run, as long as you understand what you're saying. That said, please don't say things that are just blatantly not true. I try to intervene as little as possible, so I won't be making any assumptions for you, even if an argument isn't very convincing. No problem with non-T affs, just develop the ballot well.
Framework: In terms of the top layer of the debate, you have to tell me whether that's K or theory/T or else I weigh through the impact calc on your voters. I like pretty much any kind of framework debate as long as you give me a mechanism by which to evaluate the round. A good amount of my experience and knowledge is with semiotics and linguistics, but I'll also evaluate pretty much anything as long as you articulate how the ballot and weighing work.
Theory: I default to reasonability, so if you want competing interps, make that argument. Using theory as a strategy is okay, but if the argument is frivolous, I'll probably be a lot less responsive to it. Don't expect me to give a lot of weight to you extending a spike unless you flesh it out further.
CX: Don't make CX an attitude competition (please), you don't really gain anything from it and it just makes the debate less enjoyable. I'd prefer if you don't use cx as additional prep.
Speed: As far as speed goes, it shouldn't be an issue as long as you're clear. I'll say clear once and flow everything I can hear after that. Slow down on tags/authors and advocacy texts.
Speaker Points: I view speaker points as a mechanism for determining who should break, rather than just if you spoke well. Accordingly, if it's a high-level close round, points will be high and close, but if it's not a good round, points will be lower.
At the end of the day, clarity will be your best friend, both in terms of speed but also in terms of developing the ballot. If I don't understand an argument because you haven't explained it well or developed it, it's impossible for me to vote on it.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.
For email chains, use: email@example.com
Adegoke Fakorede Paradigm
I have debated in Lincoln-Douglas Debate for 4 years in Science park high school. I recently graduated and I am now on the Rutgers Newark debate team. I've qualified to the TOC in both Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate my senior Year.
I am ok with speed. I love k's and critical arguments when they are ran correctly.
Theory is fine with me as well as topicality but I need really good analysis on the violation and impacts back to standards.
Im really ok with any argument that isn't racist, sexist, or offensive in anyway.
I give high speaks if you are clear and really good in the big picture debate. I like a good story.
3 Rick and Morty references executed smoothly= 30 hands down
Nate Galang Paradigm
Put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conflicts: Klein HS, Seven Lakes HS, McMillen NG, Jack C. Hays HB, Village AI
K (high theory): 1
LARP: 1 or 2
K (identity politics): 3
5 minutes before the round
I will evaluate any argument that:
a. Has a warrant
b. Does not render debate unsafe
It would be helpful if you do these things:
1. Pop tags, author names, and pause at the end of cards or when switching between sheets. It makes speeches so much easier to follow.
2. Slow down on interps, standard/role of the ballot texts, and advocacy texts. I don't think anyone will but if you do I'll appreciate it a lot and might bump speaks a tiny bit.
3. Give me a ballot story at the end of the round.
I debated for Klein from 2014 to 2018, starting with PF in freshman year and switching to LD halfway through sophomore year. I qualified to the TOC my senior year and octofinaled at TFA.
I went for a few different styles of arguments, primarily high-theory kritiks, social contract theory, and soft-left policy affirmatives.
Explain and over-explain your arguments. If you give me contextual, comparative analysis and weighing, it'll make it easier for me to understand your arguments (and it will probably help your speaks).
If something doesn't make it onto my flow, I won't evaluate it. I don't look at speech docs during the round. This doesn't mean every word has to be crystal-clear or that you can't make fast arguments, it just means that if you are going to make blippy arguments, delineate between them well enough that I can catch a warrant in the few seconds you spend making each argument.
Tech > truth unless you say something that's outright false.
LARP/Policy arguments Plan + Advantage(s)
This was my a-strat most of senior year. I mostly read soft-left affs, but if you want to go for three extinction scenarios then do your thing.
Develop a ballot story for the plan. Explain how the plan resolves the specific harms raised in the advantage(s) and collapse to/expand upon specific warrants in later speeches.
Good solvency wins ballots. If you have good empirical solvency with well-explained reasons why your evidence is contextual to the topic and solves the advantage(s), you'll have a good time.
I'm good with this. Please don't go for everything in the 2NR. Give a good explanation of the overall DA story and how it turns/outweighs/interacts with the case. Similarly, give a good 2NR explanation of how the CP solves the case especially if the advocacy is some obscure policy.
Since my background is in LD, I will evaluate CP theory to a far greater degree than a lot of people with policy backgrounds. I'll evaluate things like one condo CP bad, one dispo CP bad, etc.
This is what I did most often in high school. I read mostly high-theory kritiks and also some stock kritiks like cap. The authors I'm most familiar with are Deleuze and Guattari, Baudrillard, Weheliye, and Bataille (a little bit). I'm not as fond of identity politics and it was never what I read during high school, but I think there can be excellent rounds on identity politics.
I like any and all K debate done well. By extension, bad K debate will make me really sad. Don't read a K just because it's what I like. I would much rather see you read something you like and read it well than read the K poorly.
If the 2NR has a really long overview with a ton of embedded clash, don't be surprised if you're not happy with how I resolve the debate. Do the work on the line-by-line and implicate arguments on specific sheets to resolve clash instead of reading a 4-minute overview that your coach wrote for you.
Explain what your author says. Don't rely on my prior knowledge of your author to substitute for your explanation. Don't expect me to examine speech docs to try and piece together what your argument was saying after the round. I need to understand your version of the argument.
I did a decent amount of this my senior year. Some phil debate, especially all-analytic frameworks, is really hard to flow. Try to delineate between arguments clearly and give me time to catch up when you're blazing through analytics.
Similar to what I wrote on K debate, don't assume I know what your author says and give your own explanation of the argument.
Theory is fine. I don't care whether you use theory to check abuse or if you just use it as a strategic tool.
Give a clear abuse story. Unified analysis in terms of how you approach answering the counter-interp and developing offense on the interp will make evaluating the round way easier.
I don't think I should ever have to have "defaults" on theory because you should be implicating everything in the shell. But I'll default to competing interps, no RVIs, and drop the debater.
Delineate between arguments to make them easier to follow. Theory debates are really fast so please try to minimize how blippy you are.
If you're extemping theory, you should pre-write your interp.
Weigh early with theory, especially since you often have fewer speeches on theory (i.e. if it gets introduced in the 1AR). Make them count and make sure that I know how different standards interact as quickly as possible.
I think that disclosure is probably good in general. If you're from a big school or you have bids, you basically have no excuse for not disclosing.
I'm sympathetic to small schools not disclosing. I was the only LDer from my school and I disclosed, but I get why not everyone would want to.
Be honest about your arguments. I don't like the sketchy kind of tricks debate that happens where people are super evasive in CX. If you want to go for presumption/permissibility triggers that's fine, but don't intentionally make arguments unclear in order to gain an advantage. If you do, you will probably be unhappy with how I render my decision.
If you make me laugh I'll probably bump your speaks. Don't be mean pls
Miguel Harvey Paradigm
I am a parent, and I am a judge. That makes me a parent judge. I have cranky dad energy. If you don't like parent judges, auto-strike.
You can call me Harvey or Miguel or whatever. I act in what limited capacity I can as the faculty debate sponsor for Anderson High School in Austin, TX. I'm still learning the ropes so bear with me. I went to law school, which probably makes me an expert in the Lincoln-Douglas. They were also debating in my home state! Big plus!
PF: skip to bottom
TLDR: If you or your coach are a person who post-rounds after losses, please know in advance that I am an extreme lay judge and strike/block me forever. I don't want to have fights with you or your insufferable 19 year-old coach. Also I'm fine with most (not all) things, including arguments that say the things I'm fine with *aren't* ok. I don't default one way or another on most arguments. Don't be argumentatively or personally abusive. Don't insult my (admittedly limited) intelligence. I will intervene against bigotry and disregard for others' physical and mental wellness. Tricks piss me off. For email chain email@example.com
Generally, I don't think it's my job to tell debaters what to do; rather, it's the job of the debaters to tell me why to vote a certain way.
Debaters shouldn't lie or act like jerks. While I get that debate is ostensibly a competitive activity and can get very intense, this is supposed to be educational, good-spirited, and fun. Personal abuse, harassment, or competitive dishonesty of any kind is strictly unacceptable. I don't like to intervene, but blatantly oppressive/bigoted speech or behavior will make me consider voting against a debater whether or not the issue is raised by their opponent. If a debater asks you to respect and use preferred pronouns/names, I will expect you to do so. If your argument contains graphic depictions of racial, sexual, or otherwise marginalizing violence, and there's even a slight question as to whether it might be a trigger, please notify your opponent. I consider bullying nontechnical debaters a violation of the "shouldn't act like jerks" maxim. Stop yelling at each other.
Our community and the individual people in it are deeply important to me. Please do your part to make debate safe and welcoming for competitors, judges, coaches, family members, and friends. I'm not so completely naive to think everything is fluffy bunnies and we'll all be best friends forever after every round, but I really do believe this activity can be a place where we lift each other up, learn from our experiences, and become better people. If you're reading this, I care about you. I hope your participation in debate reflects both self-care and care for others.
Mental and emotional well-being are at a crisis point in society, and particularly within our activity. We have all lost friends and colleagues to burnout, breakdown, and at worst, self-harm. If you are debating in front of me, and contribute to societal stigmas surrounding mental health or belittle/bully your opponent in any way that is related to their emotional state or personal struggles with mental wellness, you will lose with minimum speaks. I can't make that any more clear. If you are presenting arguments related to suicide, depression, or self-harm, you must give a content warning for my sake and for your opponent's. I am not flexible on this.
Speaks: You're probably not going to get a 30. I tend to start at 28 and work my way up or down. If it's a circuit round and you get a 30 from me, congratulations, I think you're an incredible debater who will get all the bids. If you get a 26 or below, you likely have either a very limited understanding of varsity debate or you did something bigoted/abusive. I usually range between 27 and the low 29s. I'm a little more generous at locals.
Speed: Fine. If you are not clear, I will say "clear" once. I like speed to be consistent between reading and extemping, but whatever you do you. If you won't flash or email docs, maybe slow down for tags for my sake and for your opponent's sake. But yeah, however fast you can go I can probably handle it fine.
Kritik: Fine. I have a basic understanding of most of the literature and a more advanced/nuanced understanding of critical legal frameworks. If you can understand it, I probably can as well. That doesn't excuse you from explaining why I should vote. Your arguments need to be coherent and well-reasoned.
Theory/T: Fine, including 1AR theory. I'll think you're mean and won't like you if you're reading 1AR theory strategically *just* because you know your opponent won't understand, but I'll still vote on it if you win it. Just like with any other winning argument, I tend to look for some sort of offense in order to vote on either side. I don't think this means the aff needs interp-specific offense in a collapsed T debate that they are definitively winning defensively (e.g. I meet), but if the round collapses to theory and I don't have a specific RVI or offensive justification for voting it's probably a good idea to at least give a cursory impact or framework extension somewhere else on the flow. I don't default to drop the debater or argument - I want to hear that debate (or not, if that's not your thing). I love a well thought-out, reasoned theory debate. I was a T debater in high school. I'll vote for a frivolous shell but I don't think it's particularly educational and my abuse threshold will likely be higher. The one exception to me voting on friv theory is that I will not vote for a shell that polices debaters' appearance, including their clothes, footwear, hair, presentation, or anything else you can think of (unless they're wearing a Nazi t-shirt or something). If you mention those kinds of things or the debaters that read them as an example of good norms, I will drop you and won't be sorry about it. I'll have a fairly high threshold on a strict "you don't meet" T argument against an extremely common aff. One more thing - all voters and standards should be warranted. I get annoyed by "T is a voter because fairness and education" without a reason why those two things make T a voter. I don't care if it's obvious.
Frameworks: Fine with traditional (stock or V/C), policy-oriented, phil, critical frameworks, performance, narratives. While I don't think you have to have your own framework per se, I find it pretty curious when a debater reads one and then just abandons it in favor of traditional util weighing. I am incredibly suspicious of framing that is abusive for abuse's sake, like "the aff/neg must win every round." I'm not the best person to pref if you are a tricks debater. I'll grudgingly listen to it, or whatever spikes you're into for that matter, but tricks/nailbombs piss me off and I'll glare at you.
LARP: Fine. Plans, counterplans, PICs, PIKs, disads, solvency dumps, whatever. Argue it well and it's fine. I don't think making something a floating PIK necessarily gets rid of competition problems; it has to be reasoned well. I'm skeptical of severance perms and will have to be convinced. To the extent that anyone prefs me, and you shouldn't, I don't understand why more LARPers don't pref me. Dude I like good LARP debate. It's often actual debate, which is getting more and more rare.
Condo: Fine, although I don't think all conceded offense on kicked arguments just goes away because the argument is conditional (especially stuff like oppression/discourse-related offense). Be really, really careful before you kick a K, especially if it is identity-related - I think reps matter.
Flashing/Email/Disclosure: YES. I will vote for disclosure theory, but have a higher threshold for punishing or making an example of novices or non-circuit debaters who don't know or use the wiki. Lying during disclosure will get you dropped. If you're super experienced, please consider not being shitty about disclosure to novice or small-school debaters who simply don't know any better. Educate them so that they'll be in a position to teach good practices in future rounds. My personal perspective on disclosure is informed by my background as a lawyer - I liken disclosure to the discovery process, and think debate is a lot better when we are informed. One caveat to prior disclosure is that I do conform to "breaking new" norms, though I suppose I'd listen to theory about it. For sharing, I prefer email. Please include me on email chains.
Sitting/Standing: Whatever. I have my own debaters stand if they can because it helps with volume and clarity. But do your thing, it won't affect speaks. Maybe look at me every once in a while, your call.
Flex prep: Fine. More clarity is good.
Performative issues: I am skeptical of white debaters running afropessimism or similar arguments, particularly against debaters of color, but will not tell someone they can't. That said, if you're a white person debating critical race issues against a person of color, or a man advocating feminism against a woman, or a cis/het person talking queer issues, etc., be sensitive, empathetic, and mindful. Also, I tend to notice performative contradiction and will vote on it if asked to. For example, running a language K and using the language you're critiquing (outside of argument setup/tags) is a really bad idea.
I do NOT default to util in the case of competing frameworks. You specifically need to tell me why your extinction scenario is more compelling than someone's dog achieving self-actualization. Say it with me: Harvey does not default to util.
Because it's useful to say it twice: I hate tricks debate. I'll generally vote on it if you win, but I am by default looking for performative contradiction and genuinely believe that reading tricks or excessive burden arguments is uneducational and prickish. I wont like you, I'll yell at you, and you won't get great speaks from me if you read tricks. Strike me if you have to. Seriously stop preffing me. Actually literally everyone stop preffing me; debate is gross. Do me a solid and don't pref me.
I tend to think plan flaw arguments are silly, especially if they're punctuation or capitalization-related.
Being a tabula rasa-ish judge, I will listen to arguments that any of the stuff I accept is not OK, albeit skeptically. I don't vote against a "traditional" value debater because they're "less progressive" or "less cool" or "memes" or whatever. Every person in our community has value. That's a pun, I like it.
Read cases that make sense and are internally consistent. I can't believe I have to say this, but such is life.
Special Edition update: I like dancing, including extended dance numbers. Dance makes me feel alive.
Most of this is LD-specific, because that's the pool to which I'll generally be assigned. Policy debaters, most of what is above applies to my policy paradigm. I was a decent policy debater, and I get how it goes. Critical/plan-less affs are fine. That said, just like in LD I like a good T debate. One minor thing is different from my LD paradigm: I conform a little bit more to policy norms in terms of granting RVIs less often in policy rounds, but that's about it. Obviously, framework debate is not usually as important in policy, but I'm totally down with it if that's how you debate. I guess a lot of policy debaters still default to util, so be careful if the other side isn't doing that but I guess it's fine if everyone does it.
PF people: If you're actually reading this, congratulations! Speed is fine. Framework is great. Nontraditional PF arguments are fine. I will listen to disclosure theory, though I am less likely to buy it if the offending case is straightforward/common. Offense is important. I'm surprised and impressed when PF debaters cut actual evidence rather than summarizing it, especially offense and uniqueness evidence. If you try to read a policy/critical argument you don't understand, I will flame you in the oral, so be ready for that.
All that said, I love that the format is sometimes still accessible to actual regular people. I believe PF debaters should be adaptable, like all-weather shrubbery.
More PF specifics:
Anything above regarding performative issues applies to PF, so please read carefully. I am primarily an LD judge on the Texas and national circuits. Take from that what you will, and assume I am fine with either a more progressive or traditional style of PF debate. "It's not allowed in PF" is not a warranted argument. Line by line debate is important, and as it's what I am used to, I am not likely to vote on new arguments (or arguments that weren't gone for in Summary) made in Final Focus. Weighing offense is important. Don't call something terminal without a warrant. Don't call link defense a turn. If you want me to use something from crossfire in my RFD, it needs to be in subsequent speeches. I have an extremely LOW tolerance for miscut or mischaracterized evidence.
Please ask questions if I can clarify anything, and don't be afraid to engage and ask questions after the debate. That doesn't mean I want to be post-rounded or harangued about my decision, but I'm happy to discuss stuff in a rational and collegial way. If you get aggressive after the round, expect the same from me and expect me to disengage with little to no warning. My wellness isn't worth your ego trip. I encourage pre-round questions. I might suggest you look over my paradigm, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't ask questions.
Finally, I find Cheetos really annoying in classrooms, especially when people are using keyboards. It's the dust. Don't test my Cheeto tolerance. I'm not joking, anything that has the dust triggers me hard. Cheetos, Takis, all that stuff. I get that it's delicious, but keep it the hell out of the academy.
Nats-specific PF update mid-day 1: OH MY GOD PLEASE WEIGH SOMETHING WE ARE NOT ON THE MOON
Update to update: nvm we might actually be on the moon I feel like there is no oxygen in this place
Update to last update: cold dark alone
PF Nats day 2 update: Trust no one. Become your surroundings. Survival only objective.
Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of si
10:45 spiral notebooks the universe is chaos
Update: they are coming
Chetan Hertzig Paradigm
EXPERIENCE: I'm the head coach at Harrison High School in New York; I was an assistant coach at Lexington from 1998-2004 (I debated there from 1994-1998), at Sacred Heart from 2004-2008, and at Scarsdale from 2007-2008. I'm not presently affiliated with these programs or their students.
If you're in high school, please just call me Hertzig.
Please include me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARITY in both delivery and substance is the most important thing for me. If you're clearer than your opponent, I'll probably vote for you.
PRACTICES I LIKE & WILL REWARD WITH HIGHER SPEAKS:
- Starting speeches slowly and building speed as you go (rather than starting at top speed)
- ENUNCIATING and INFLECTING throughout
- Speaking slower than average circuit speed
- Providing an explicit decision-calculus/voting issues
- Explicitly linking to a standard or ROB in speeches, especially rebuttals
- Telling a clear and coherent ballot story
- Weighing between your extensions and your opponent's (not just giving me two non-clashing sets of extensions)
- Reading a whole res aff that defends the topic as a principle
- Having a layered NC and responsive/specific turns off the aff
- Making topical critical arguments/reading Ks that are grounded in the topic lit
- Comparing evidence and weighing
- Giving structured speeches
- Using good word economy
PRACTICES I DISLIKE & FOR WHICH I MAY DECREASE SPEAKS:
- Using profanity in the round. I don't care what your purpose is; it's not necessary.
- Using ad homs of any kind against your opponent (e.g., commenting on their race, clothing, or practices as a debater). Find a non-personal way of making the argument.
- Reacting non-verbally when your opponent is speaking (e.g., violently shaking your head, making faces, waving your arms, etc.). It's rude, unpersuasive, and unnecessary.
- Indicting or insulting an opponent's team or coach in round (e.g., "It's no surprise [team name] is going for T this round")
- Sitting during CX and/or speeches unless you're physically unable to stand
For the most part, I want to see a substantive round about the topic. My conception of what counts as topical argumentation is based on what's in the topic literature.
If, after the round, I don't feel that I can articulate what you wanted me to vote for, I'm probably not going to vote for it.
Speed: Slow down, articulate/enunciate, and inflect - no monotone spreading, bizarre breathing patterns, or foot-stomping. I will say "slow" and/or "clear," but if I have to call out those words more than twice in a speech, your speaks are going to suffer. I'm fine with debaters slowing or clearing their opponents if necessary. I think this is an important check on ableism in rounds.
Theory: I don't view theory the way I view other arguments on the flow. I will intervene against theory that's clearly unnecessary/frivolous, even if you're winning the line-by-line on theory. I will vote on theory that is actually justified (as in, you couldn't have answered the position without it, or there was something about the opponent's strategy that made it impossible for you to win without theory). Is that subjective? You bet. Is there a brightline? Probably not. Don't like this view? Don't pref me.
Framework: If you and your opponent agree on a FW, great. If not, make the FW debate relatively short (i.e., not 4 minutes of a 7 minute speech). Also, please explain the philosophical concepts you're using instead of assuming that I know them. I probably don't.
Policy Arguments: I dislike generic politics DAs and extinction impacts on topics that clearly don't link to them. If you want to run those impacts on a topic about nuclear weapons, go for it. If the topic's about compulsory voting, I'll be very receptive to good defensive answers from the aff.
Ks and Non-T Arguments: I generally prefer TOPICAL critical arguments, but I'm okay with non-topical affs if you make it super-clear why you had to be non-topical to read them. Otherwise, I tend to think a TVA will solve.
Disclosure Theory: I'll vote for this if I think it's won on the flow, but I'm not a huge fan of rounds that come down to this.
Tricks: Shut the front door! Who are you?! (In other words, "no.")
Extensions: I need to hear the claim, warrant, and impact in an extension. Don't just extend names and claims.
"Flex Prep": Different people use these words to mean different things. I am fine with you asking clarification questions of your opponent during prep time. I am not okay with you ending CX early and taking the rest of the time as prep time.
Other Stuff: Link to a standard, burden, or clear role of the ballot. Signpost. Give me voting issues or a decision calculus of some kind. WEIGH. Be nice. And stand up.
To research more stuff about life career coaching then visit Life coach.
Clark Johnson Paradigm
A couple of thoughts before I address specific arguments
not a good idea to read disclosure theory in front of me unless some real shenanigans happened before the round that you can prove, I will vote on it, but it will not be an enjoyable round for me.
I tend to find myself defaulting to a policymaker more often than not, but mostly due to a lack of framing of the round, start weighing impacts and explaining to me how I should be looking at the round as early as you can.
I would like to be on the email chain, I usually only bring my iPad with me so flashing will just mean I'll be calling for evidence which just slows down the decision email@example.com
T debates (and theory debates) are already very blippy, and don't give much pen time, if you want me to evaluate it to the best of my ability slow down to 80% or so.
I like it when teams use T strategically in other areas of the debate.
DA: good spin > sepcific ev > generic ev. If the 2nr is da/case, spending a significant amount of time on the aff is probably necessary
CP: These are fine, I will only engage judge kick if you explicitly tell me to
K’s: Not as familiar with the more abstract K lit (i.e. dng etc). 2nr (and 2nc to some extent) explanation of what the alt world would look like, how the alt solves the links to the aff, and how the alt solves the impacts are important to me, I find myself to be much more persuaded by neg teams that can do this well.
K affs v fw: I think your aff should in some way be related to the topic, my threshold for framework/T arguments will go down if you can't defend how you are directionally related, that's not to say though that you have to be, just that it will make it easier for you to win those debates.
K affs v k's: this is by far the debate that I have the least experience with, something that's really important to me in these debates is clarity of how the alt/aff functions and how it interacts with the links to your opponents argument, I tend to find myself being persuaded by detailed alt analysis
if you’ve noticed a common theme here, it’s that I think the alt debate is important
Theory: Default neg and reject the argument, you should give me reasons to do otherwise, don't expect me to be willing to vote on it if you don't slow down and explain your objection, most debaters spread blippy blocks that make it difficult to flow and evaluate, if the 2nr or 2ar want to go for theory in some form or fashion you're going to have to do a modicum of work, saying they concede severance perms bad for 10 seconds at the top of your 2nr even if true is not enough to get me to vote on it. make sure to explain it in its proper form.
Counterplans bad is probably not a reason to vote aff
I don’t judge this event as often so I may lack a more nuanced understanding of how things function in LD compared to policy, but with that being said I’m open to however you want to do it, be it traditional or progressive. Most of my thoughts about args in cx will color my analysis of the arguments you make in LD. The only thing I’ve come to realize about progressive LD so far that I don’t like, or maybe just lack sufficient understanding of, are skep and nibs.
I dont consider the time it takes for your opponents to provide you their evidence as prep time, and I don't think you need to take cx time for it either.
other than that I don't have strong opinions when it comes to what arguments you want to read as long as you justify them, in terms of extensions I don't think that saying something in grand is enough for me to heavily weigh it at the end of the debate if you dont extend it through your last speech.
I will probably call for evidence.
Davis LaBarre Paradigm
I went to Northland Christian School, and have debated for 4 years. I qualified to the TOC the last 3 of the 4 years.
Paradigm: I default to truth testing, but comparative worlds, can be easily won.
Short Version: Debate is a game. Arguments that argue otherwise, i.e. (role of the ballot, specialized voters on t/theory shells,) are not as persuasive to me. That being said the easiest way to get my ballot is be strategic. Make good choices on the flow and grandstand at the right time. I’m not saying I won’t evaluate arguments like K’s or lengthy philosophical positions, but most of the time people reading them don’t layer the debate well and thus seem not as strategic to me. Surprise me by being unpredictable and you’ll get good speaks. Have fun, it is your debate round.
Speed: I’m fine with speed.
Theory/T: T is an issue of competing interps. Theory is reasonability. Both need an RVI to win a counter interp or I meet. Collapsing to theory in the 1ar is not strategic unless you have to, you shouldn’t. I think theory is drop the argument, while T is drop the debater if it is about their advocacy as a whole, if it is just about an advantage it is also drop the argument. I don’t believe in frivolous theory, I think every shell has a function, even if the function is to be a time suck, which is strategic. Debate is a game of seconds and every second sucked is probably good, especially if your negating. Offensive counter interps need an RVI they are not just offense.
K’s: You can run them if you like. Reading a 7 minute K and not answering or going to the aff is not going to get you great speaks. Also, I think role of the ballot arguments are not as persuasive as arguments that appeal to fairness, because how can I evaluate something that already skews your opponent’s chance of winning. I will still vote on these arguments.
Framework Debate: I don’t understand dense philosophy frameworks too well. Read them and then explain them well in the rebuttals. If you expect me to read evidence on the framework debate, I won’t.
Policy arguments: These are almost as fun as a good theory debate. Be strategic with the plans/counterplans or disads you read. I understand these arguments well and run these types of arguments frequently. I will read evidence on this debate if the debate is not clear or there is no weighing. WEIGH.
Extensions: If there is any ink what so ever on an argument it must require some response before or right after you extend an argument. If they concede an argument then just extend it quickly but spend more time on the implication.
Speaks: I will speaks based on strategy. I will disclose speaks.
-Spikes are fine, but know that they are not as persuasive if they are your strategy.
-Meta theory seems to be unpersuasive.
-I am not persuaded by “multiple shells bad theory” answer the shells.
-Don’t be a jerk it will harm your speaks.
-I won’t vote on things that are morally repugnant.
Rodrigo Paramo Paradigm
I debated ld and policy in high school, coach ld @ greenhill now.
toss me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
[current/past affiliations: woodlands ('14-'15), dulles ('15-'16), edgemont ('16-'18), westwood ('14-'18), greenhill ('18-now)]
This paradigm has been updated for Greenhill 2019.
I am most comfortable evaluating policy and kritik debates, but find myself enjoying 6 minutes of topicality or framework [like, T-framework against k affs, not kant] if it iss delivered at a speed i can flow. I will make it clear if you are going too fast. I am not a good judge for tricks debates, and am not a great judge for denser "phil" debates - i do not coach or think about analytic phil outside of debate tournaments, so need these debates to happen at a much slower pace in order to understand all the moving parts - notably, this is also true for whoever is answering these positions.
I am not particularly interested in frivolous theory debates, and am very sympathetic to semantic trickery in response to frivolous theory - not as interested in semantic tricks in other contexts but will always have a soft spot for textuality args when there is a typo or some other error in an interpretation, advocacy text, or some other similar thing.
Thoughts I have, and Updates on Nebel T & Evidence Ethics
0) Evidence Ethics Update: Last year I saw a lot of miscut evidence. I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. This year, if I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.
I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:
- it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.
- text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),
- the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,
- the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut],
- if a cite lists the wrong author, article title, etc. (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).
If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.
If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)
I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.
Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.
1) Evidence Ethics Procedures: the phrase "evidence ethics" means something - if someone says it and their opponent clarifies "is this an evidence ethics challenge," i understand this to mean that the debate ends - whoever has made the accusation wins if i believe the evidence ethics violation is correct, they lose if i believe the accused did not commit an evidence ethics violation - i will not independently end the round if the accused does not ask for this - if they do, i am happy to - words matter and evidence ethics matters - see the relevant section on bennett eckert's paradigm for more of my thoughts on this question. i also believe that debaters should think carefully before accusing their opponents of academic dishonesty, plagiarism, etc. - heavy claims.
2) Clipping: i have a good ear for when clipping is occurring - if i suspect it is, i will follow along in the speech doc - if i determine i am correct, the person clipping will lose. to be very clear, this does not necessitate the opponent making a clipping accusation - i feel very comfortable making this adjudication on my own.
3) Nebel T Update: in the past i have made clear that the nebel argument did not make a lot of sense to me. in many ways, i am still receptive to the "pragmatics first" school of thought. however i must admit that nebel 19 (the second one) appeals to me on a deep level. i intuitively believe that a world where debate has plans is a better one, but jake has convinced me that our topic wordings do not justify that world. i will obviously still judge these debates based only on what happens in the round, but i am newly receptive to the nebel argument (though portions of the grammar stuff still confuses me at the speed of a debate round, so keep that in mind)
4) Comparative Worlds/Truth-Testing:
- i will default to a comparative worlds paradigm unless the 1ac/nc justifies otherwise - later speeches cannot shift to truth-testing without an indication of that interpretive claim in the constructives.
5) Politics Disads:
- i follow domestic politics pretty closely. this means i will be thrilled to reward smart analytics made on politics scenario and will be impressed if you know your stuff bc i'll likely know when you actually do vs pretend to. that said, this means my bs meter is pretty high on some ptx scenarios - for instance, i am not going to vote on an impeachment impact unless you tell me how we get from a 53-47 gop senate to a successful vote to remove trump from office - absent that warrant, i will not grant you "impeachment proceedings remove trump from office" [of course, the opposing side must be able to explain why a 53-47 gop senate is unlikely to cast that vote]
- I wish I saw more good politics scenarios
6) miscellaneous thoughts on Theory:
- slow down on it - will say slow twice. after that, i will miss your arguments and that will be the RFD. this is similarly true for perm texts etc - dont super care what the doc said if i didnt flow the text near verbatim in the 1ar. if i say slow i have almost certainly already missed an argument - do with that what you will.
- one notable contradiction in my thinking - i am very receptive to semantics bad claims on t but also pretty receptive to text of the interp/text of the rotb/plan flaw args - i generally think that when issues arise in those 3 things, they are a result of students not giving much thought to them which is a shame bc all 3 are pretty important in my view - well crafted interps, as well as cxes that isolate plan flaws/interp issues will be rewarded (this doesnt mean i like /bad/ plan flaw args.............). i am also fairly willing to check in on semantic i meets against frivolous theory.
- you should always flash or have written down interp/counter-interp texts readily available for both your opponents and your judges
- i will likely be easily compelled by a "debaters should not bracket evidence" argument *if* you can execute it well - i have grown sympathetic to this argument as abuses become increasingly egregious
7) miscellaneous thoughts on T-Framework
- i have spent... a lot of time this summer thinking about framework against k affs - im into it if done well - im not as into the procedural fairness version of it - get creative.
- i do not think i have ever been convinced by the claim that judges have a jurisdictional constraint to only vote for topical affs - i do not foresee that changing [really, *any* jurisdictional constraint is unlikely to be compelling to me bc it is a claim that just kind of is incapable of a particularly good warrant]
- I think the best framework shells will be written to pre-empt semantic I meets, and will do more than just define three words in the resolution - they will provide a model for what topical offs must defend, they will have standards level offense that has explanatory power for why debate has rules, what the role of the ballot is, etc. - I suppose in short, the claim behind a good framework shell is stronger than just “the resolution determines the division of aff and neg ground.”
- your shell should define a word in the resolution besides just "Resolved:"
- the affirmative should answer the question of why it is good to read non-t affs on the aff.
- pretty close to 50/50 voting record in clash debates
8) miscellaneous thoughts on permutations:
- i do not understand why the aff wouldnt get perms in a method debate - never seen a compelling warrant - default assumption on my part is that the aff does and it is a fairly uphill battle to convince me otherwise
- will not grant you the perm if i am uncertain about the perm text bc the articulation between 1ar and 2ar was different
- perm texts should be more than "perm do both" - *especially* in the 2ar
- you should always flash or have written down perm texts readily available for both your opponents and your judges
9) miscellaneous thoughts on the Kritik
- i am so deeply deeply unreceptive to and uninterested in this trend of explaining new identity categories with the same form and language of antiblackness literature. if you do not have a psychoanalytic warrant, dont claim you do! if you do not have evidence identifying a structural antagonism, i do not know why you are using that language! sigh.
- i really enjoy a good performance debate
- kritiks i have spent a lot of time thinking about: deleuzean scholarship, queer theory (a lot of authors fall under this second category), borderlands
- kritiks I judge a lot: afropessimism, settler colonialism
- kritiks I don't really get: baudrillard [i am far far more receptive to baudrillard on the negative than on the affirmative.]
10) miscellaneous thoughts (other):
- Evidence quality is directly correlated to the amount of credibility I will grant an argument - if the card is very underhighlighted, the claim is likely underwarranted. The 1ac/nc should have evidence of high quality, and the 1ar/2nr/2ar should have explanation of that evidence of a similarly high quality
- if the 2nr is split that is rarely a great sign for speaker points - it also is liable to implicate your ability to win the debate!
- i will not vote for a position i do not understand - this includes poorly explained kritiks, incoherent link scenarios on a disad, dense ncs that i probably just wont get, and theory shells whose abuse story i can not adequately explain back to the debaters.
- I'll say clear or slow twice - speaks will be deducted after that
- given how clear it is to me that no one could flow a debate round as it is delivered, i am cool w debaters tossing out a "slow" at their opponents if they can't flow them at top speed
- flex prep means asking questions during prep time - in no world does unused CX time become prep time
- speech times dont change presumption how wild - people should deploy presumption more against affirmatives that do not defend anything!
- clarity is important for high speaks but more important than how you sound is making strategic decisions in the 2AR/NR
- give a strategic and efficient 1ar; collapse in the 2nr/2ar
- I love a robust debate on the case line by line - I do not love a case debate that is just three disads read on the case page, or that dumps generic
- my average speaks so far this year:
- grapevine: 28.32
- greenhill rr: 28.63
Claudia Ribera Paradigm
Katy Taylor 2017
Hello, I’m a junior at Texas and coach CX and LD. I was coached by Elijah Smith (Emporia SW) in high school and he taught me everything I know about debate. This means I've had my fair share of reading and/or coaching teams reading very policy arguments to very critical arguments. I debated nationally in high school and have coached kids in both events to deep elims of tournaments, round robins, and accumulate bids to the TOC.
2019-2020 Conflicts: Alief Kerr EG (CX), Katy Taylor AP (LD), Guyer CM (LD), and Ann/Queen (CX).
Previous Conflicts: Katy Taylor HS, Cy-Fair TW, and Woodlands MR
Overall, I think it's important to be consistent on explicit labeling, generating offense, and having a clear impact framing because this is what ultimately frames my ballot. Debate is place for you to do you. Just like everyone, I have my own predispositions (see further explanation below). However, I make my decisions on what was presented to me in a debate and what was on my flow. I am unlikely to decide debates based on my personal feelings about content/style of argument than the quality of execution and in-round performance. Have fun and best of luck!
PLEASE put me on the email chain -- if you ask what my email is, I'll assume you didn't read this and be sort of disappointed. email@example.com
Theory: I will default to “competing interps” and “No RVIs” unless told otherwise. I will not make any presumptions on the voter level of the debate. This includes the voter (fairness/education/etc.) and the implication (drop debater/argument). Failure to present arguments in favor of a voter and its implication is to present an unwarranted argument. I will not evaluate the argument, and I will default to truth testing if the debate is a policy oriented debate. This also means you should be extending your voter and its implication properly and in every speech. Blippy theory arguments are dumb if not extended well so I won't vote on it. Just slow down on interps on shells. Weigh standards!
Frivolous theory/tricks: I don't typically judge these debates and I really don't like this style in LD debate. A prioris, skep triggers, and other arguments similar to these should be left back in 2012.
- Voting Neg on Presumption
- No RVI
Kritiks: I went for kritiks almost every 2NR the second half of my senior year. I’m the most familiar with antiblackness, necropolitics, set col, and quare/queer theory kritiks. I am cool with most kritiks but if it's high theory i.e. post-modernism, I am not the most well versed. This means, if you are reading this specific type of literature base, your argument must have contextualized links to the aff. This means not blazing through the intricate details of your arguments. You really don't want me to not know what you're talking about because that means I will lower your speaker points without hesitation. Read specific links not just state bad links. EXPLAIN THE JARGON. Give examples on the link level (super important) and have impact framing because it is incredibly important for you to do that in order to get my ballot. Please include some type of framing so I know what you are talking about. This can be in value/standard, ROB/ROJ, or any other framing you can think of. This also means your impacts have to link into a framework. I don't mind PIKs, but make it clear ballot in the 2NR. Read impact defense against the 1AC in the 1NC or make indicts to the affirmative substance/framing level claims, otherwise the aff debater will just go for case outweighs every single time.
Performance Debate: I'm always down to listen/watch. You must have a methodology and defend an advocacy. Explain how your performance (aff or neg) does something whether that be within debate or this round etc.
Topicality: Same rules apply with theory except I don't vote for RVI's on T because that doesn't make sense. DON'T FORGET TO WEIGH AGAINST THE CI/STANDARDS. You must have offense under T to win so do that. I also think this is a legitimate strategy against non-topical affs and can be a means of pointing out the flaws of their affirmative. You must have specific TVA(s) against K affs and have clear justifications as to why your model of debate is good/better.
Framework: I read a lot of policy positions in high school so I'm comfortable with util debate of course. I am not very good at evaluating dense fw, so If you choose to read a dense framework just give me a decent overview of the FW and how offense operates under it i.e. what do I evaluate, how it affirms or negates, how it/if it precludes your opponents argument and offense. I don't typically see a lot of these types of debates when I judge, so pref accordingly if you only like reading phil positions.
Policy args (LARP): Go for it. I usually read a plan aff if I didn't read a K/critical aff. Counterplans are cool and you must have net benefits on it. Be ready to have the textual/functional competition debate. I don't care for condo bad/good debate unless multiple offs that are conditional. PICs are cool. Disads are always a good strat as well and even better if it is impacted as a net benefit to the cp. Make sure to generate offense and you must have impact calculus.
General: Clarity is important and debaters forget to slow down on long blocks of analytics (especially for T/theory) and pls try to follow the line by line as best you can.
Case: Case is incredibly underutilized and should be an essential part to every negative strategy. You need to have some sort of mechanism that generates offense/defense for you.
Policy Affs: if you have a traditional policy aff just slow down on the plan text pls and have some sort of impact calc in the 2AR. I think these are fine.
CP/DA: Go for it. Don't forget to ask the status and PICs are fine. Test the competition of the cp(s) and make impact turns/defense. Explain why the perm(s) won't solve.
K Affs: I'm all for it. There are couple things you need to do to win: you need to explain the method of your aff, the nuanced framing of the aff, and the impacts that you claim to solve. You should have some sort of an advocacy statement or a role of the ballot for me to evaluate your impacts because this indicates how it links into your fw of the aff. If you’re going to read high theory affs, explain because all I hear is buzzwords that these authors use. Don’t assume I am an expert in this type of literature because I am not and I just have a basic understanding of it. If you don’t do any of these things, I have the right to vote neg on presumption.
Theory: Go for it I guess. I'm more persuaded more by competing interps than reasonability.
Kritiks: I like them. However, it is important to note I have a reasonable, but sort of high threshold for each debater's explanation of whatever theory they present within the round, extensions of links, and impact framing. I need to understand what you are saying in order for me to vote for your criticism. You should have specific links to affirmatives because without it you will probably lose to "these are links to the squo" unless the other team doesn't answer it well. Link debate is a place where you can make strategic turns case/impact analysis. Make sure you have good impact comparison and weighing mechanisms and always have an external impact. The alt debate seems to be one of the most overlooked parts of the K and is usually never explained well enough. This means always explain the alt thoroughly and how it interacts with the aff. This is important time that the 2NR needs to dedicate time allocation for if you go for the alternative. If you choose not to go for the alternative and go for presumption, make sure you are actually wining an impact framing claim. Please include some type of framing so I know what you are talking about. This can be a ROB/ROJ or any other framing you can think of. This also means your impacts have to link into a framework. I don't mind PIKs.
Framework: I think K affs vs T debates are interesting. I like fw debates a lot more when they're developed in the 1NC/block, as opposed to being super blippy in constructives and then the entire 2NR. I lean more to competing interps than reasonability and believe that the neg should make sure to fully flesh out the link and internal link to your impact and actually make offensive arguments against fairness/education voters. TVA are my go to so if they concede it, I expect the neg to blow it up. If the neg has an advocate for it, I will be happy. Aff teams need to answer TVA well, not just say it "won't solve". Framework is about the model of debate the aff justifies, it’s not an argument why K affs are bad or the aff team are cheaters. If you’re going for framework as a way to exclude entire critical lit bases/structural inequalities/content areas from debate then we are not going to get along. Aff teams this means: 1) You need a counter interp or counter model of debate and what debate looks like under this model, and then go for your impact turns or disads as net benefits to this. Going for only the net benefits/offense without explaining what your interpretation of what debate should look like will be difficult. 2) The 2AC strategy of saying as many ‘disads’ to framework as possible without explaining or warranting any of them out is likely not going to be successful. 3) Leveraging your aff as an impact turn to framework is always good. The more effectively voting aff can resolve the impact turn the easier it will be to get my ballot.
Miscellaneous for both CX/LD:
- I don’t count flashing as prep time unless you're taking too long.
- Always be ready even if I am not present in the round yet.
- Tech > truth. the more you're proficient in the debate, the better your speaks will be.
- Respect your opponent's pronouns.
- Everything must be together in one speech doc before you stop prep to flash.
- Time yourselves.
- Flex prep is cool if your opponent is cool with it.
- Higher speaks will be rewarded with strategic cross-ex.
Here is a list of some people (in addition to Elijah) who are some of my favorite judges and/or have influenced the way I view debate:
Dr. Shanara Reid-Brinkley
Don't be rude and don't make arguments that are bigoted, racist, homophobic, etc. because I will dock your speaks.
email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or fb message me
Aaron Timmons Paradigm
Director of Debate – Greenhill School
Updated – April 2019
Please put me on the email chain – email@example.com
New for the TOC 2019 – I am the Director of the Global Debate Symposium and for this summer I have hired Spencer Paul and Vishan Chaudhary from Harvard Westlake, and Ishan Bhatt from St. Andrews of the list of competitors that will be in the 2019 TOC competing in Lincoln Douglas.
Lincoln - Douglas Philosophy
I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people. That said, at some point, most of the adults have left the building as it relates to national circuit Lincoln Douglas debate. I find many of the things that are now commonplace, are antithetical to the things that I love about debate. In fact, many of these practices are not educational, but also make the activity unsustainable in any meaningful way to sell to administrators, parents, new coaches, or even a new generation of debaters.
I have taken some time to reflect on how I judge debates, and have revised my paradigm. It would behoove you to read it if I have the potential to judge you. If you do not like what you read, strike me.
Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. At this stage in my career, I have no interest in being the “most preferred” judge in the pool. In fact, what I see is that many in the Lincoln Douglas community (as opposed to policy debate); make preferences more based on personal relationships, than the relative experience/paradigmatic perspective of the critic. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. At this point, I am also not shy to share those thoughts and expectations. I see myself as a critic of argument if I had to pigeonhole myself with a paradigmatic label. Unlike many claim to be, I am not a blank slate. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene. I WILL do my best to be an objective evaluator of your argument but the idea that my social location is not a relevant consideration of how I view/decode arguments is just not true (nor do I personally think it is true for anyone).
Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.
1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the Lincoln Douglas I judge, clarity IS a problem. I judge high level policy debates quite a bit and while they are quiet fast, I don’t see clarity as much of an issue with the top teams. Please understand that unstructured paragraphs that are slurred together does not allow the pen time necessary to write things down in the detail you think it might. I reserve the right to yell “clearer” once or twice. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable.
2. I feel theory is debated far too much in Lincoln – Douglas, and is debated poorly. I am strongly opposed to that practice. My preference is NOT to hear a bad theory debate. I believe the negative does get some “flex”, that said it can’t be unlimited. The idea of reading a “counter shell” against a theory argument is one of the silliest practices I see in contemporary debate. Before the proliferation of theory in Lincoln Douglas I thought RVI’s were silly. They have a place in contemporary LD. I DO NOT think jettisoning the case and going all in on the RVI should be the A strategy in the 1ar. While I like competing interpretations, in the end, I feel even that view is filtered through my perspective of reason/what is reasonable/the best lens for debate. Some intervention is inevitable as we judge.
3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.
4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a duel function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well.
5. Words matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated.
6. I am not a fan of random; multiple sentence fragments that claim to “spike” out of all of the other teams arguments. At its foundation, debate should be about argument ENGAGEMENT, not evasion.
7. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex.
8. Although I know you have figured it out, Lincoln Douglas does not have a 2AC in the same way that policy does. 1AR’s that advance lots of offense on many negative positions will be rewarded with high points.
9. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:
A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.
B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.
C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc.
10. Many debaters have been instructed, or watched others run, “metaethics” with some success. My experience is that many debaters have a very superficial grasp of what this even means. Make sure to explain, and compare your position against the position of your opponent. A good rule of thumb is to assume you don’t win every argument and frame things in an even /if perspective.
11. I do not like skepticism as an argument. It would be in your best interest to not run it in front of me. While perhaps interesting in a philosophy class in college, training young advocates to feel that “morality doesn’t exist” etc. is educationally irresponsible.
12. I do not disclose speaker points. That seems silly to me.
13. Dropped arguments and the “auto-win” seems silly to me. Just because a debater drops a card doesn’t mean you win the debate. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument.
14. I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments.
15. Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.
Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.
Andrew Whitaker Paradigm
Background/experience: I debated for 3 years at Montgomery High school competing two years in policy and my senior year in ld. As far as other events go, I competed in extemp, congress, and even World Schools on occasion. I qualified to TFA state every year in policy and ld respectively. I also qualified to the TOC my senior year in ld.
General Paradigm: I really think debate has become an activity involving strategy over anything else in policy and ld especially. Therefore, I will tend to be more perceptive to strategy over grandstanding on your critiques. Additionally, I felt like during my career that judges tended to put their own personal beliefs about debate and the issues being debated on a pedastool making them biased toward certain arguments like Ks over theory or theory over Ks. My goal is to be a complete blank slate as far as that goes. I believe things like frivolous theory can be a strategy even though some judges are biased against it. That's not to say I'm a theory hack because I'm probably the opposite, but I am receptive to it just as I am to a DA or K. Also don't say racist stuff or I probably won't like you.
K: I read Ks throughout most of high school and am well read in most of the literature. That being said, I am not a K hack. I am probably going to know if you don't understand what you're reading or talking about. Most of the critiques I read were high theory involving authors such as baudrillard, deleuze, bataille, Heidegger, etc. I'm not going to grandstand about how you have to explain Ks thoroughly. They should have some explanation in the 2nr but some of this stuff can't be simplified down to a third grade level so I don't expect that to occur. I feel like the debate community has allowed some kids to get away with little explanation and say they are a great debater while other times judges use it as a cop out to not give an RFD. Just know what you're talking about and I'm cool with it. Also k affs are great and strategic.
LARP: I read policy affs and DAs throughout my policy career and somewhat as an LDer. I really like these arguments because they allow debaters to be strategic with turns and usually allow me to learn some cool stuff too. Have fun! I love DAs, CPs, plans, etc.
Theory: I never really read theory unless I was forced to. That's not because I didn't like it but I thought some judges would hesitate to vote on frivilous theory. I am happy to say that I am not one of those judges. Read frivilous theory all you want. Just remember that usually there are simple intuitive responses that are effective. Also I default competing interns but I don't have a specific leaning toward reasonability or competing interps one way or another. And yes! Reasonability is something I will vote on if you are winning that I should use it. I also don't have any presuppositions as far as rvis and drop the debater vs drop the argument. Tell me which I should use and if you don't I'll probably default to drop the argument if applicable and no rvis. Lastly, definitely weigh standards and impacts or you won't like my decision.
Phil: I didn't read Phil whatsoever until my senior year. I still am not read on the literature. That being said, I think Phil arguments are great and I will do my best to evaluate them just as I would a k. Just be prepared to explain it to me and how it interacts with offense in the round. If you like reading Phil, go for it.
I will say clear twice, then deduct speaks. If you are clear, then the main thing that I use to evaluate them is strategy. I will also adjust my speaks depending on the caliber of tournament. I will give a regular debater around a 28.8, a poor debater 28.5 and a good debater 29+
My goal is to be the most tab judge you have ever had, so read anything you want, be strategic, and have fun.
Maggie Zollo Paradigm
I currently coach LD, PF, and CX at A&M Consolidated, and did LD at Northland Christian in high school. If you're here for PF, skip to the third paragraph.
As a debater, I read a lot of plans, DAs, and CPs and so I like listening to them, but I'm cool with other off case positions, too. When it comes to Ks, I would really appreciate it if the position was clearly explained (especially in terms of ROB/ROJ and the layer of the debate it functions on) and cleanly extended throughout the round, since I may not be as familiar with some of the literature (especially if you're reading pomo type stuff). I won't vote on any argument that tries to justify unjustifiable things (the Holocaust, slavery, other forms of oppression). If you need clarification on what that means, feel free to ask. If you're reading a process CP I'll be more receptive to perms/theory against it.
I would prefer that you don't read frivolous theory in front of me, it bums me out. I know my definition of that is different than others, so feel free to ask for clarification before the round. I'm open to listening to T, but I'd honestly prefer to not have it become the only layer in the round/the only thing I have to vote off of. Same with RVIs. Also, I find myself voting for K's a lot more often in TvsK debates, so my threshold for "non-topical" affs is probably more forgiving than some. I default to reasonability if it's a situation of potential or frivolous theory but will go with competing interps if you justify it, which isn't hard to do, so please take the extra 15 or so seconds to do so if that's what you want to go with. Also, extend voters and drop the debater arguments please. Condo is fine when limited to one (or two in CX) positions, but feel free to take the time to explain otherwise in either direction. I think conditional K's can be kind of bad perceptually depending on what the pre-fiat impact is if there is one, or if there's a performative/different method-based aspect to it.
You'll get high speaker points if you speak clearly, extend arguments, and weigh, and you'll get low speaker points if you're rude and/or offensive to anyone in the room (I listen to CX, too, so be civil during that), especially if you're debating someone clearly out of their depth and you're obviously winning but you decide to go about it obnoxiously, or if you speak particularly unclearly. In more competitive rounds aka at bid tournaments, speaks will be more likely to be based off of strategy. If you go all in on T or theory when you don't need to, for example, there's a chance I'll dock speaks. You can read as fast as you want, please just be clear. I'll ask you to be clearer a few times, but eventually I'll just have to try my best with guessing if you don't listen, and that isn't good for anyone. Also, for PF, the 2nd speaking team should cover part of the case in the rebuttal speech, terminal defense is fine to extend, and line by line is alright up until the summary, arguably the final focus. Don't go for everything, have solid issue selection since y'all don't get the best time constraints.
Feel free to ask for clarification on any of these points before the round, or ask any more questions that you think could apply to the debate. Thanks for reading this!
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to be added to the email chain.