Jesuit Debate Invitational

2019 — Dallas,TX, TX/US

Alfonso Correa Paradigm

Tabula Rasa - within reasonable limits (emphasis on reason and logic)

Bob Hearne Paradigm

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Derek Liles Paradigm

Hi! I'm Derek Liles, the Debate Coach at Law Magnet (2016-Present). I look forward to judging you.

Things I used to be: Director of Programs at Dallas Urban Debate (2012-2016), Debater at UTSA (2007-2012), Debater at Dallas Jesuit (2003-2007).

Please add me to the email chain: dzliles@gmail.com.

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Fall 2018 update: for St. Marks - I spent the past 2 years judging mostly national circuit LD, which changed very little about my philosophy except to make me grouchier about practices that are unique to LD. Most teams that pref’d me in LD were policy debaters in disguise, so I am very excited to formally be back in Policy. I debated the immigration topic in college, so I look forward to seeing how it evolves this year.

Reactive, mostly grouchy updates for Spring 2018:

1) Clash: Paperless prep is great, but...I feel like in-round clash and judge adaptation is subpar these days. Learn. To. Flow. On that note, you are under no obligation to send analytic arguments when I am judging.

2) Prep time: I think that any time that is not speech time is prep time (barring things like the time it takes your speech to travel through magic tubes and arrive in the other teams' computer). However, I can't be bothered to enforce a prep policy except in the worst cases, so I'll stick to using speaker points to incentivize best practice. Bonus points to people who run a tight ship when it comes to prep time use. Minus points for those who dilly dally. Generally speaking, prep stealing occurs when you use time from some cosmic bank of prep time beyond your allotted 4/8 minutes. Specific scenarios that irk me: (a) "pre cx" where you ask what evidence was read - that's CX time (b) adding ev mid speech and sending it without taking prep (c) organizing flows/blocks after prep has ceased...more may be added later.

3) Stop asking me if I disclose speaker points. More than half of you don't even disclose your 1NCs. I will subtract speaker points if you ask me and my ballot hasn't already been submitted.

4) Stop throwing all of your arguments at the wall and hoping I work it out for you. Thoughtfully select a strategic end game and present me with a definitive victory path - don't leave it up to me to find it amongst the weeds. Scott Deatherage, late director of Northwestern Debate, says it best:

"CHOOSE. Choose...The first most essential lesson of effective rebutting is choice making. No matter the speech; be it the 1NR or the 2AR or any point in between...Young debaters, so anxious, every argument they think to be important, especially in rebuttals...instead it is the best arguments and the strongest points that make the effective rebutalist the winning champion in the debate...You...must in the end decide on an effective strategy for the judge. Choose for them what is the best avenue to prove conclusively that the coherent set or complete package of arguments you present as a totality in the last speech constitutes a way, a road, an avenue by which they achieve the effective end of concluding for the [aff/neg]."

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General info about me and my feelings about debate:

Some overarching ideas will shape my answer to just about any question you could have about my predispositions: I've been around debate a long time and have judged/coached/debated from just about every angle. I debated at the national level in college (elims at CEDA/NDT). I have a background in policy argument from high school, but shifted very aggressively towards kritikal literature in college...that is to say, I'm receptive and fairly knowledgeable about most approaches to the topic at hand. Caveat: I am still learning to how "properly" evaluate techy phil debates in LD - I'm happy to vote on these arguments, but have so far been underwhelmed, mostly because practitioners of this style have done nothing to adapt / slow down / actually explain their argument in front of me.

I think debate is best when teams effectively clash with each other, so I like when teams prioritize depth over breadth in their strategies and take time to flow/directly engage each others' ideas. I think preparation makes for good debate, so I default to the belief that teams should engage in some form of disclosure (it helped me prep at my small college team, I'm biased). I believe the value of debate comes mostly from the form of analysis it teaches you to make - less so the content of what you are advocating (barring some extreme circumstances). Make your argument as best you can and I will be happy to judge you. I'm not here to tell you what arguments to read.

I tend to be unmotivated to vote on theory - debate should be hard and focused on substantive issues. It's easy to convince me to reject the argument, not the team - so in front of me, you will be better off using theory to close doors on key components of your opponents' strategies. If you plan to go for theory, develop your objection early, rather than starting with a 10 second blip. Theory seems like even more of a cheap shot when it becomes a serious issue only in the last speech.

Bad arguments: Some arguments - impact turns that have "jumped the shark," ASPEC, contrived scenarios, etc. - are just bad (at least I think so). I feel like we all know when it's a bad argument, and if you don't, my reactions will probably make it clear how I feel. I'm likely to intervene or allow a lot of flexibility for your opponents to add arguments in rebuttals against them. "It's not new if it's true!"

Speaker points: I generally range between 28-29.5. Some things (not described in update section) that affect my calculus:

  • Act like you want to be here - after judging several rounds, nothing is more refreshing than watching someone who is passionate, engaged, friendly, etc. I also appreciate humor, and unlike some people, respect the beauty of punny wordplay.
  • I think debate is a communication activity - lack of clarity in terms of speaking style or strategic endpoint will impact your speaker points and my ability to give your argument the consideration it's due. Concerning speed, start at 80% so I can warm up to your voice and ease into full tilt over 30 seconds.
  • I prefer strategic depth over breadth. See rant at top - but in more detail: if starting with several sheets of paper, I'd prefer you resolutely condense the debate to a handful of core issues by the end. Less moving parts = less for me to resolve after the round = less likely I'll have to resolve it for you = more likely you control my perception of what happened in the debate. This also means you need to actively close doors in the last speeches, and I reward debaters who find unique ways to cross-apply concessions to their advantage.
  • AFF side bias/musings of a slighted 2N - I think 2ARs get away with murder when it comes to resuscitating advantages that were completely absent or barely in the 2AC & 1AR. I will have no hesitation to entirely dismiss or assign overwhelmingly low risk to advantages that re-appear/weren't fully developed until the 2AR.
  • I am very open to the idea that there is zero risk of an argument/averse to the ".01% risk of extinction = extinction" form of impact calculus - sometimes, it only takes a smart analytic/CX question about an internal link to get me to reject a preposterous terminal impact. If I'm smirking while flowing, it means you're doing well and can probably expect me to back you up in the post-round.
  • Bad evidence - old man moment: there are so many terrible cards in debate. Speaker points to anyone who publicly shames bad ev & the people that read it.

Small soapbox moment: I try to be attentive to the ways in which normative structures of gender, sexuality, race (and so on) affect student participation in this activity. Debate should be fun, respectful and accessible. Our activity shouldn't lose voices out of a stubborn commitment to remaining aloof of these dynamics, so don't participate in those systems in round and we're good.

I look forward to judging you!
Questions? Email me: dzliles@gmail.com

Joseph Reyes Paradigm

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Stephanie Rodgers Paradigm

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