Harvard Westlake Debates
2019 — Los Angeles, CA/US
Aron Berger Paradigm
Updated for October 2018.
Put me on the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
Note - I only check this email at debate tournaments, so if you are trying to contact me for some other reason, my response will be delayed.
I've started to question the utility of these paradigm things. In short, do whatever you want. Read whatever you want to read. All styles of debate can be done well or poorly. My decision in any particular debate does not reflect a judgement on those styles but instead on the aptitude with which they are deployed in the given debate. Content matters less than strategy, unless the content of your argument makes it a bad strategy. I tend to make decisions quickly. This should not indicate to you whether the debate was close or not. Just because I go for or have gone for certain arguments does not mean I will automatically understand your arguments or do work for you. Similarly, it doesn't mean I will automatically discount any particular argument. I like clash. I dislike attempts to avoid clash. Perm do the aff is not an argument.
One thing I have noticed about debate is the proliferation of "cut the card there." When you stop reading before what your evidence indicates what you will read, you or your partner must mark the card in the speech doc and have a copy of those marks ready for anyone who needs them. To quote Andy Montee,
"If you just yell out "Mark the card at bacon!" you have to physically mark the card on your computer. It is not the responsibility of the other team or myself to do so."
Not marking evidence, and relying "cut the card there" to indicate where you stopped reading, is a form of clipping cards, and I will treat it as such. Since this seems to be an acceptable thing in debate at the moment, at the first occurrence of "cut the card there" I will ask for the marks, and if I notice you going through the doc to mark your cards post-speech, I will warn you about basically everything above.
Background info on me: I'm a first year out of college debate. I debated at the college level for 4 years at the University of Southern California. Attended the NDT four times, making it to doubles twice and octas once. I debated at the high school level for 4 years at Notre Dame High School. Qualified to the TOC 3 times. I was both 2A and 2N during my debate career.
Debate is a rhetorical game where debaters use a set of (ostensibly) mutually agreed upon scripts to persuade a judge. Scripts are rhetorical conventions that have been constructed in order for the game to make sense to all involved - impact calculus, uniqueness, etc. are examples of these scripts, convenient ways of describing a world that make the complexity of that world reducible to a (hopefully) less than 2 hour conversation. Debaters who can control how these scripts operate within the debate, either by implicitly agreeing to them and winning their set of contentions, or through the use of competing framing arguments, generally seem to win more debates. For example, many debates occur in which the value of life is never questioned - that is a script implicitly accepted in those debates for the purpose of brevity. This is not to say that I want to judge a bunch of death good debates, though I won't say the opposite either. Regardless, controlling the framing of the debate will serve you well.
I seem to be judging a lot of framework/T-USFG debates. I think quite a few of the commonly held framework predispositions are arbitrary, so I'll just say this: yes, you can read your K aff in front of me. Yes, you can go for framework in front of me. I don't really care, just make it a good debate.
Here are some of my reflections about FW rounds that I have judged.
-I find myself voting affirmative when the negative fails to explain their impact beyond "limits are important for negative ground" or "we won't learn stuff about immigration" or "fairness is important because otherwise debate isn't fair."
-I find myself voting negative when the aff fails to provide a workable vision of what debate would/should look like. T/FW/whatever we call it is a question of models of debate. That the neg could have read a particular strategy against your particular aff is not a defense of your model. In other words, "potential abuse" is important. You need a defense of your model of debate.
-Almost all of the K affs that I saw on the education topic were basically little more than a criticism of education policy. I did not hear a persuasive response to "do it on the neg" in these contexts.
-Topical versions of the aff are not counter-plans. They don't have to be perfect. They should, however, be well researched (though not necessarily evidenced in the debate) and explained. I would prefer 1 good TVA over 5 asserted TVAs.
-Asserting that debate is a game is fair enough, but does not on its own provide a reason to discount any of the aff's impact turns. I do believe fairness is an impact. I don't think it is an impact that automatically trumps all other impacts. As with all other things, impact calculus on the parts of the debaters matters most.
I would prefer to adjudicate a debate in which the negative reads less than or equal to 4 well constructed offcase positions and invests a good deal of time in taking apart the aff instead of a debate in which throwaway offcase positions are used as a timeskew and the case is addressed sparsely and with only impact defense. A diverse 1NC that attacks advantages at every level is helpful regardless of your broader strategy. Most affs are terribly constructed and have awful chains of internal links. Most affs wont solve the things they say they solve. Point it out.
You do not need a card to make a smart case arguments. In fact, the desire for cards to make an argument can often work to limit the vectors of attack you have against the case. Example: you do not need a card to point out a missing internal link, or that the aff's internal link evidence is about X and their impact evidence is about Y.
CPs and DAs
Not much to say here. If you have them, read them. Specificity is your friend. "DA turns case" arguments are invaluable.
Teams have found it difficult to convince me that the reading of any particular counterplan makes being aff impossible and as such is a voting issue.
At the same time, I find myself increasingly annoyed at the "use fiat as a battering ram" approach to counter-plans. Indefinite parole that is immune from deportation or cancellation, has full work authorization, all the benefits of LPR, etc. is just not something that exists in the literature base and is a ridiculous interpretation of what scholars in the field are actually talking about. All that being said, it is up to the debaters to figure this stuff out in the round.
I have voted for conditionality bad only once, in a debate where the 2NR spent about 15 seconds on it.
"Judge kick" is an inevitable element of conditionality. If the status quo is always an option, then a 2NR that includes a counterplan is not always and forever bound to that counterplan. In other words, if the counerplan is described by the negative as conditional, then my default is to also consider the status quo, and not just the counterplan. I can be persuaded otherwise.
Sure, why not. I've read them, I've debated against them. Just be specific about what your alternative does. If it is a pic, say that it is and what your pic removes from the aff. If you are debating against a K, defend your aff. Generic K answers like the Boggs card are far less useful than justifying whatever assumption that the neg is critiquing.
Permutations are tricky. All too often, the aff just kinda extends "perm do both" and leaves it there. Explain what parts of the criticism you are permuting, how that interacts with the links, etc.
"No perms in a method debate" is a bad argument. You can wish away the form of "permutation," but you cannot do away with the logic of opportunity cost. If your K doesn't actually link, find a better argument.
As said above, "perm: do the aff" is not a thing.
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of severance permutations or intrinsic permutations. A permutation is legitimate only if it contains the entire aff plan and some to all of the negative counterplan/alternative. At the same time, many alternative texts are not representative of everything that an alternative would do - in my opinion, any evidence included by the negative as descriptive of the alternative is fair game for permutations. Example - many alt texts are written as "The alternative is to vote negative" - but the alt card says that "interrogating tropes of security" is important. A permutation that does the plan and interrogates tropes of security is not intrinsic.
If you have a theory of power, explain it and its implications for the aff. Meta arguments such as these have broad implications for both the link and the alternative.
Points are always arbitrary and I wont pretend that my personal scale is anything different. Average speakers get in the low to mid 28s. Good speakers get in the high 28s to low 29s. Mid to high 29s, good job. You wont get a 27 unless you consistently do something annoying, like telling your partner "faster!" over and over during their speech.
Other random thoughts.
--Puns translate directly to increased speaker points.
--Please don't call me judge.
--When reading evidence, I will only evaluate warrants that are highlighted.
--I hate word-salad cards.
--Arguments that are "new in the 2" - generally the bar for me is whether the opponent team could have expected this argument based on the content of the previous speech. This excludes new impact turns to a disad in the 2AR, but maintains the capacity for 2As to cross apply, say, an impact defense argument on the case in the 2NR (intervening actors check, for example) to a disad scenario. If an argument is made in the 2AC, conceded by the neg block, not mentioned in the 1AR (and thus not responded to by the 2NR), it would be 'new' for the 2AR to extend and elaborate on the argument. While this may seem arbitrary, and while dropped arguments are, in a provisional sense, true, it is the job of the debaters to jump on strategic mishaps, not me. However, if a completely new argument arises in the 2NR or 2AR, I am willing to strike it from my flow without a debater pointing out that it is, in fact new.
--Speed is good, clarity is better.
--Confidence in your arguments, your partner, and yourself is good, disrespecting your opponents is bad.
--Ethically repugnant arguments will not make me want to vote for you. At the same time, however, if you cannot defeat ostensibly "bad" arguments, then you are a bad advocate and you should lose.
--If a debate does not occur, I will either flip a coin or consult tab.
--Please, "settler colonialism", not "set col". similarly, "afro-pessimism" not "afro-pess" -- yeah, I'm grumpy.
--Just because I go for certain arguments does not mean I will either automatically understand your argument or supplement your lack of analysis with my understanding of the literature.
--Random buzzwords are not arguments. I don't care until you impact a statement.
--There can always be 0 risk of something.
--Ad homs about the other teams authors aren't arguments.
--A claim without a warrant is just that.
--Theory and T debates are not my favorite.
--No insults or general shenanigans.
--Binding and prior consultation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is probably pedagogically relevant.
Sunil Gedela Paradigm
Updated 25 August 2019
TL;DR: Parent judge (arghh/ yipeee/ whatever-you-feel). I am able to flow most common types of args (but not dense phil/Ks) delivered at normal speed. I value logical args/ rebuttals, even if purely analytical.
Spreading: I will likely miss some args but will do my best to follow along with any speech docs you share. I strongly recommend you slow down for your tags and crucial points, especially if extemporaneous. Do signpost.
Case Debate: I expect a basic level of case debate in addition to whatever else you may choose to run.
Theory: I am unlikely to view it favorably unless you can show a timely pre-round good faith effort to avoid citing the violation in question. Unless it is a completely unexpected/ egregious in-round violation, the burden is on you to have engaged in pre-round communications if it could have voided the need for a theory debate.
Warrants: Incontrovertible, objective, data based cards are more potent than opinions/ claims. If I call for a card, I am also checking the text you minimized/ did not read.
ROB/ ROJ: Unless proven otherwise, all args will be viewed as a strategy to win a HS debate round and not as an altruistic endeavor to effect societal/ policy change.
Shania Hunt Paradigm
Start an email chain or whatever online portal is currently in use to create a “room” dropbox. My email is email@example.com. Flashing/emailing should take less than 30 seconds for each side during the entire debate. After those 30 seconds, it comes out of your prep time. I will end that time period once you can confirm the email was sent.
Read arguments that are good for debate. Read logical arguments, have some personality, weigh between arguments, and have good explanations. Be sure to slow down a lot on tags/author names/anything you really want me to get on my flow.
I loved debating in high school and believe it is a great activity for kids to explore new areas of education that they otherwise would never have access to, gain speaking skills, and skills on how to advocate for themselves on both sides of an issue. Regardless of my paradigm, I encourage that you approach debate with a similar mindset. It’s a privilege to be debating at any tournament, so you should appreciate that and respect others who might have had a more difficult time to get to that same tournament.
Background: I debated for Northland Christian School in high school. I did some debate at UCLA. I coached Northland Christian and Harvard-Westlake in the past, and I am currently the head coach for the middle school speech and debate program at The Harker School.
**Disclaimer: don’t read arguments that are bad for debate.
If you plan on reading/doing any of the following…
- permissibility/presumption or anything that triggers permissibility/presumption
- completely unnecessary theory
- cases with majority paragraph theory
- offensive arguments like racism/sexism good holocaust good (even if your case is supposed to be ironic—don’t do it)
- spreading someone out that is clearly very new to debate
..then stop reading my paradigm and don’t pref me. If you must debate in front of me and this is your normal strategy, just don’t read these arguments. I don’t want to devalue debate as an activity where you get to choose what you run so if you read them and make me vote off of them, your speaks will probably never breach a 25. If you read them in general, good luck breaching a 27. Read these arguments in front of other judges.. not me.
I’m just going to write down some general beliefs/preferences below I have for LD rounds.
Stylistic Preferences: Read tags, plan texts/cp texts, theory/t interps, etc at a snail’s speed. I don’t care if you read the rest fast. I won’t check speech docs for an argument that I miss because you are reading at an incomprehensible speed, are unclear, etc.
Expected Behavior: Be cordial and respect each other in round. Some debates get very passionate, and that’s ok. Debate should be a fun, enjoyable learning experience for all. Please do your best to make it that way.
Policy Arguments: Love plans, CPs, Das, Ks, etc. Have well-researched positions. I love a unique DA or strategic counterplans that respond to specific plans. These argument types / util is probably the most comfortable arguments I can judge.
Performance and/or Non-topical Cases: I am here for it. However, if there is theory or T read against the aff, you still need to win that your argument should be allowed in debate.
Heavy Phil/Super Critical Args: To be honest, beyond the basic common philosophies and common Ks (like cap, for example), you are going to have to do some extra legwork in the debate to make sure I understand your position. I need clear explanations on how the aff links, what the impacts are, and what the alt is. It’s on you to make sure that any judge understands your arguments. You should not presume that I know everything about your framework or K.
Theory/T: Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of T and theory. This is because students read super-fast and the debate devolves down to a small argument that each side only made arguments about for 10 seconds of each speech. If you must read theory or T, I won’t be upset just debate T/theory a bit better.
Skep/Permissibility/etc: Hopefully these arguments have lost enough debates at this point to where students don’t find them strategic to read anymore. In case that’s not true, I will not vote for these arguments. I will not vote on skep triggers or permissibility claims; I will give you terrible speaks if you read these in front of me. I don’t like arguments that cheat out of content of the debate.
How to Get Better Speaker Points: they will be based on a combination of clarity, strategy, and arguments. I rarely go above a 29.5 or below a 26. I evaluate speaker points based off each round and do not compare you to the rest of the tournament or your past debates in front of me. Generally, this looks like the best debaters (who tend to be very clear, explain well, etc) get between a 29-30, debaters who are good but need to work on something 28-29, debaters who are learning and have a few things to work on, 27-28, etc. I will give you what you deserve, even if you think you are a fantastic debater. I will not tell you what your speaker points are after the round, mostly because I probably haven't determined them yet.
- explaining arguments. I never understood this well enough as a debater. The better your explanation of arguments, the better your speaker points.
- weigh between you and your opponent’s arguments. Trust me—you’d rather not have me weigh the arguments for you. So just tell me how I prioritize arguments and what arguments are better evidence wise.
- be clear – If I can’t understand you, I can’t get your arguments down, and that sucks for everyone because you don’t get to have arguments on the flow and your opponents miss out the opportunity on a good, educating debate round.
- have fun – if you are having fun, that will reflect on your in round persona and make the round more enjoyable and not a snooze fest for me. You also will get particularly good speaks if you are clever and interesting in CX.
Just because you read things I like doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily vote for you just as doing something I don’t like mean I necessarily vote against you.
And, while there are rare exceptions to the rules of paradigms, don’t hedge your bets on being the one exception.
If you have any other questions, ask them before the debate. If you have any general questions about why I feel so strongly on some arguments not being in the debate round, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ted Kim Paradigm
I have no speech and debate competition experience. My first foray into this world was in early 2014 as a judge; I have been involved ever since and have judged continuously at a rate of at least 30 tournaments per year. I am now involved in the debate program at my school as a public forum coach.
General Expectations of Me (Things for You to Consider)
While I do consider myself to be more experienced than any lay judge, I do not consider myself as knowledgable as a former competitor turned judge or coach. Here is a list of things not to expect from me:
- Do not expect me to know the things you know. I don’t. Simple as that. Always make the choice to explain things fully.
- Do not expect to change my mind after a debate is over in the hopes of changing a decision. That should be only done in the debate and if I didn’t catch it, that’s too bad.
- Do not expect me to disclose in prelims unless the tournament explicitly tells me to.
- I flow on paper, meaning I most likely won't be looking at either competitors too often during the round. Please don't take that as a discouraging signal, I'm simply trying to keep up. This also means that there may be occasions that I miss something if you speak too quickly.
- While I do attempt to keep my biases outside the round, there may be occasion where I will hear an argument and it will confuzzle my brain terribly. That doesn't mean I won't count it; it means that you will visibly see me look very confused. Take that as a sign that the argument needs to be thoroughly explained or re-explained. Failing to do so will more likely than not make me drop the argument regardless of whether your opponent dealt with it appropriately.
Should other things arise, I will add them to this list at that time.
Public Forum / Lincoln Douglas Paradigm
Regarding speaker points:
I judge on the standard tabroom scale. Everyone starts at a 27.5 and depending on how the round goes, that score will fluctuate. I expect clarity, fluidity, confidence and decorum in all speeches. Being able to convey those facets to me in your speech will boost your score; a lack in any will negatively affect speaker points. I judge harshly: 29+ scores are rare and 30 is a unicorn. DO NOT think you can eschew etiquette and good speaking ability simply due to the rationale that "this is debate and W's and L's are what matter."
Things I do not appreciate occurring in round and will be appropriately penalized:
- Do not lie in round. Or at the very least, do not get caught lying in round. This includes but is not limited to: cooked evidence; misrepresenting evidence; misrepresenting your opponents’ position; putting words in their mouths that they never said nor meant; and so on. Please refrain from such uncouth behavior. My reaction will be to give you a 0 and the L. Please remember that I have the power as a judge to call for evidence at the end of the round before my decision to verify any perceived indiscretion.
- Do not yell at your opponents in cross. Avoid eye contact with them during cross as much as possible to keep the debate as civil as it can be. If it helps, look at me; at the very least, I won’t be antagonistic. I understand that debate can get heated and emotional; please utilize the appropriate coping mechanisms to ensure that proper decorum is upheld. Do not leave in the middle of round to go to the bathroom or any other reason outside of emergency, at which point alert me to that emergency.
Please signpost. I cannot stress this enough without using caps and larger font. If you do not signpost or provide some way for me to follow along your case/refutations, I will be lost and you will be in trouble. Not actual trouble, but debate trouble. You know what I mean.
In Public Forum, I default to Cost-Benefit Analysis unless a different FW is given. I don't require explanations of what your FWs are unless there are particularly unique.
In Lincoln Douglas, I need a Value and Value Criterion (or something equivalent to those two) in order to know how to weigh the round. Without them, I am unable to judge effectively because I have not been told what should be valued as most important. Please engage in Value Debates: FWs are the rules under which you win the debate, so make sure your rules and not your opponent's get used in order to swing the debate in your favor. Otherwise, find methods to win under your opponent's FW.
Do not take this to mean that if you win the FW debate, you win the round. That's the beauty of LD: there is no dominant value or value criterion, but there is persuasive interpretation and application of them.
Should other things arise, I will add them to this list at that time.
Regarding the decision (RFD):
I judge tabula rasa, or as close to it as possible. I walk in with no knowledge of the topic, just the basic learning I have gained through my public school education. I have a wide breadth of common knowledge, so I will not be requiring cards/evidence for things such as the strength of the US military or the percentage of volcanos that exist underwater. For matters that are strictly factual, I will rarely ask for evidence unless it is something I don’t know, in which case it may be presented in round regardless. What this means is that I am pledging to judge ONLY on what I hear in round. As difficult as this is, and as horrible as it feels to give W’s to teams whom I know didn’t deserve it based on my actual knowledge, that is the burden I uphold. This is the way I reduce my involvement in the round and is to me the best way for each team to have the greatest impact over their respective W or L.
A few exceptions to this rule:
- Regarding dropped points and extensions across flow: I flow ONLY what I hear; if points don’t get brought up, I don’t write them. A clear example would be a contention read in Constructive, having it dropped in Summary, and being revived in Final Focus. I will personally drop it should that occur; I will not need to be prompted to do so, although notification will give me a clearer picture on how well each team is paying attention. Therefore, it does not hurt to alert me. The reason why I do this is simple: if a point is important, it should be brought up consistently. If it is not discussed, I can only assume that it simply does not matter.
- Regarding extensions through ink: This phrase means that arguments were flowed through refutations without addressing the refutations or the full scope of the refutations. I imagine it being like words slamming into a brick wall, but one side thinks it's a fence with gaping holes and moves on with life. I will notice if this happens, especially if both sides are signposting. I will be more likely to drop the arguments if this is brought to my attention by your opponents. Never pretend an attack didn't happen. It will not go your way.
- Regarding links: I need things to just make sense. Do not use terrible links. If I’m listening to an argument and all I can think is “What?” then you have lost me. If using a link chain, link well with appropriate warrants. I will just not buy arguments at that point and this position will be further reinforced should an opposing team point out the lack of or poor quality of the link.
I do not flow cross-examination. It is your time for clarification and identifying clash. Should something arise from it, it is your job to bring it up in your/team’s next speech.
I'm not a big fan of theory/kritiks. If it comes up and it's warranted, make sure I know it. But most of the time, I won't be happy that it's happening. I advise against it.
Regarding RFD in Public Forum: I vote on well-defined and appropriately linked impacts. All impacts must be extended across the flow to be considered. If your Summary speaker drops an impact, I’m sorry but I will not consider it if brought up in Final Focus. What can influence which impacts I deem more important is Framework. I don’t vote off Framework, but it can determine key impacts which can force a decision.
Regarding RFD in Lincoln Douglas: FW is essential to help me determine which impacts weigh more heavily in the round. Once the FW is determined, the voters are how well each side fulfills the FW and various impacts extending from that. This is similar to how I vote in PF, but with greater emphasis on competing FWs.
I am a paper flow judge; I do not flow on computer. I’m a dinosaur that way. This means if you go through points too quickly, there is a higher likelihood that I may miss things in my haste to write them down. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SPREAD OR SPEED READ. I do not care for it as I see it as a disrespectful form of communication, if even a form of communication at all. Nowhere in life, outside of progressive circuit debate and ad disclaimers, have I had to endure spreading. Regardless of its practical application within meta-debate, I believe it possesses little to no value elsewhere. If you see spreading as a means to an end, that end being recognized as a top debater, then you and I have very different perspectives regarding this activity. Communication is the one facet that will be constantly utilized in your life until the day you die. I would hope that one would train their abilities in a manner that best optimizes that skill for everyday use.
This section is meant for things that simply anger me beyond rational thought. Do not do them.
- No puns. No pun tagline, no pun arguments, no pun anything. No puns or I drop you.
Should other things arise, I will add them to this list at that time.
Aaron Marquette Paradigm
Donald Monson Paradigm
Christina Phillips Paradigm
Current Affiliation = Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Debates Judged on this topic: about 40 Rounds (UMich Debate Institute)
Prior Experience: Debated policy in HS at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, CA (1992-1995); Debated NDT/CEDA in college at USC (1995-1999); Assistant debate coach at Cal State Northridge 2003-2005; Assistant debate coach at Glenbrook South HS Spring of 2005; Director of Debate at Glenbrook North HS 2005-2009; Director of Debate at Notre Dame HS Fall of 2009-Present.
My defaults go into effect when left to my own devices. I will go against most of these defaults if a team technically persuades me to do so in any given debate.
If you start taking excessive time to flash your document, I will start instituting that "Prep time ends when the speaker's flash drive is removed from her/his computer."
I am familiar with the topic (4 weeks of teaching at Michigan at Classic and involved in argument coaching at Notre Dame).
Delivery rate should be governed by your clarity; WARRANTS in the evidence should be clear, not just the tagline.
Clarity is significantly assisted by organization - I flow as technically as possible and try to follow the 1NC structure on-case and 2AC structure off-case through the 1AR. 2NR and the 2AR should have some leeway to restructure the debate in important places to highlight their offense. However, line-by-line should be followed where re-structuring is not necessary.
Ideal 2AR Structure
Offense placed at the top (tell me how I should be framing the debate in the context of what you are winning), then move through the debate in a logical order.
2NR's Make Choices
Good 2NR strategies may be one of the following: (1) Functionally and/or textually competitive counterplan with an internal or external net benefit, (2) K with a good turns case/root cause arguments that are specific to each advantage, (3) Disadvantage with turns case arguments and any necessary case defense, (4) Topicality (make sure to cover any theory arguments that are offense for aff). My least favorite debates to resolve are large impact turn debates, not because I hate impact turns, but because I think that students lose sight of how to resolve and weigh the multiple impact scenarios that get interjected into the debate. Resolving these debates starts with a big picture impact comparison.
Reference evidence by warrant first and then add "That's [Author]." Warrant and author references are especially important on cards that you want me to read at the end of the debate. Also, evidence should reflect the arguments that you are making in the debate. I understand that resolving a debate requires spin, but that spin should be based in the facts presented in your evidence.
I have been getting copies of speech documents for many debates lately so I can read cards during prep time, etc. However, note that I will pay attention to what is said in the debate as much as possible - I would much rather resolve the debate on what the debaters say, not based on my assessment of the evidence.
Safer to go for offense, and then make an "even if" statement explaining offense as a 100% defensive takeout. I will vote on well-resolved defense against CP, DA's and case. This is especially true against process CP's (e.g., going for a well-resolved permutation doesn't require you to prove a net benefit to the permutation since these CP's are very difficult to get a solvency deficit to) and DA's with contrived internal link scenarios. Winning 100% defense does require clear evidence comparison to resolve.
I like a well-developed topicality debate. This should include cards to resolve important distinctions. Topical version of the aff and reasonable case lists are persuasive. Reasonability is persuasive when the affirmative has a TRUE "we meet" argument; it seems unnecessary to require the affirmative to have a counter-interpretation when they clearly meet the negative interpretation. Also, discussing standards with impacts as DA's to the counter-interpretation is very useful - definition is the uniqueness, violation is the link, standard is an internal link and education or fairness is the impact.
Word PIC's, process, consult, and condition CP's are all ok. I have voted on theory against these CP's in the past because the teams that argued they were illegit were more technically saavy and made good education arguments about the nature of these CP's. The argument that they destroy topic-specific education is persuasive if you can prove why that is true. Separately, the starting point for answers to the permutation are the distinction(s) between the CP and plan. The starting point for answers to a solvency deficit are the similarities between the warrants of the aff advantage internal links and the CP solvency cards. Counterplans do not have to be both functionally and textually competitive, but it is better if you can make an argument as to why it is both.
All parts of the DA are important, meaning neither uniqueness nor links are more important than each other (unless otherwise effectively argued). I will vote on conceded or very well-resolved defense against a DA.
Good K debate should have applied links to the affirmative's or negative's language, assumptions, or methodology. This should include specific references to an opponent's cards. The 2NC/1NR should make sure to address all affirmative impacts through defense and/or turns. I think that making 1-2 carded externally impacted K's in the 2NC/1NR is the business of a good 2NC/1NR on the K. Make sure to capitalize on any of these external impacts in the 2NR if they are dropped in the 1AR. A team can go for the case turn arguments absent the alternative. Affirmative protection against a team going for case turns absent the alternative is to make inevitability (non-unique) claims.
Framework is applied in many ways now and the aff should think through why they are reading parts of their framework before reading it in the 2AC, i.e., is it an independent theoretical voting issue to reject the Alternative or the team based on fairness or education? or is it a defensive indite of focusing on language, representations, methodology, etc.?. Framework impacts should be framed explicitly in the 1AR and 2AR. I am partial to believing that representations and language inform the outcome of policymaking unless given well-warranted cards to respond to those claims (this assumes that negative is reading good cards to say rep's or language inform policymaking).
Neg framework is particularly persuasive against an affirmative that has an advocacy statement they don't stick to or an aff that doesn't follow the resolution at all. It is difficult for 2N's to have a coherent strategy against these affirmatives and so I am sympathetic to a framework argument that includes a topicality argument and warranted reasons to reject the team for fairness or education. If a K aff has a topical plan, then I think that framework only makes sense as a defensive indite their methodology; however, I think that putting these cards on-case is more effective than putting them on a framework page. Framework is a somewhat necessary tool given the proliferation of affirmatives that are tangentially related to the topic or not topical at all. I can be persuaded that non-topical affs should not get permutations - a couple primary reasons: (1) reciprocity - if aff doesn't have to be topical, then CP's/K's shouldn't need to be competitive and (2) Lack of predictability makes competition impossible and neg needs to be able to test the methodology of the aff.
I prefer substance, but I do understand the need for theory given I am open to voting on Word PIC's, consult, and condition CP's. If going for theory make sure to impact arguments in an organized manner. There are only two voting issues/impacts: fairness and education. All other arguments are merely internal links to these impacts - please explain how and why you control the best internal links to either of these impacts. If necessary, also explain why fairness outweighs education or vice-versa. If there are a host of defensive arguments that neutralize the fairness or education lost, please highlight these as side constraints on the the violation, then move to your offense.
Classic Battle Defaults
These are attempts to resolve places where I felt like I had to make random decisions in the past and had wished I put something in my judge philosophy to give debaters a fair warning. So here is my fair warning on my defaults and what it takes to overcome those defaults:
(1) Theory v. Topcality - Topcality comes before theory unless the 1AR makes arguments explaining why theory is first and the 2NR doesn't adequately respond and then the 2AR extends and elaborates on why theory is first sufficiently enough to win those arguments.
(2) Do I evaluate the aff v. the squo when the 2NR went for a CP? - No unless EXPLICITLY framed as a possibility in the 2NR. If the 2NR decides to extend the CP as an advocacy (in other words, they are not just extending some part of the CP as a case takeout, etc.), then I evaluate the aff versus the CP. What does this mean? If the aff wins a permutation, then the CP is rejected and the negative loses. I will not use the perm debate as a gateway argument to evaluating the aff vs. the DA. If the 2NR is going for two separate advocacies, then the two separate framings should be EXPLICIT, e.g., possible 2NR framing, "If we win the CP, then you weigh the risk of the net benefit versus the risk of the solvency deficit and, if they win the permutation, you should then just reject the CP and weigh the risk of the DA separately versus the affirmative" (this scenario assumes that the negative declared the CP conditional).
(3) Are Floating PIK's legitimate? No unless the 1AR drops it. If the 1AR drops it, then it is open season on the affirmative. The 2NC/1NR must make the floating PIC explicit with one of the following phrases to give the 1AR a fair chance: "Alternative does not reject the plan," "Plan action doesn't necessitate . Also, 2NC/1NR must distinguish their floating PIK from the permutation; otherwise, affirmatives you should use any floating PIK analysis as a outright concession that the "permutation do both" or "permutation plan plus non-mutually exclusive parts" is TRUE.
(4) Will I vote on theory cheap shots? Yes, but I feel guilty voting for them. HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A REVERSE VOTING ISSUE EVEN IF IT WAS DROPPED.
Who is a Good Debater
Anna Dimitrijevic, Alex Pappas, Pablo Gannon, Stephanie Spies, Kathy Bowen, Edmund Zagorin, Matt Fisher, Dan Shalmon, Scott Phillips, Tristan Morales, Michael Klinger, Greta Stahl, George Kouros. There are many others - but this is a good list.
Your Opponents, Your Teammates, Your Coaches, Your Activity.
Extra Notes CP/Perm/Alt Texts
The texts of permutations, counterplans, and alternatives should be clear. I always go back and check the texts of these items if there is a question of a solvency deficit or competition. However, I do feel it is the burden of the opposing team to bring up such an argument for me to vote on it - i.e., unless it is a completely random round, the opposing team needs to make the argument that the text of the CP means there is a significant solvency deficit with the case, or the affirmative is overstating/misconstruing the solvency of a permutation because the text only dictates X, not Y, etc. I will decide that the aff does not get permutations in a debate where the affirmative is not topical.
I try to follow the flow the best I can - I do double check if 2AR is making arguments that are tied to the 1AR arguments. I think that 2AR's get significant leeway to weigh and frame their impacts once the 2NR has chosen what to go for; however, this does not mean totally new arguments to case arguments, etc. that were presented before the 2NR.
Frame claim in comparison to other team's response, extend important warrants, cite author for evidence, impact argument to ballot - all of these parts are necessary to resolve an argument fully. Since debate is a game of time management, this means going for fewer arguments with more thorough analysis is better than extending myriad of arguments with little analysis.
Complete disrespect toward anyone who is nice; no one ever has enough “credibility” in this community to justify such actions. If there is a disrespectful dynamic in a debate, I ALWAYS applaud (give higher speaker points to) the first person to step down and realize they are being a jerk. Such growth and self-awareness should rewarded.
Fear to Engage Bad
Win or lose, you are ultimately competing to have the best debate possible. Act like it and do not be afraid to engage in the tough debates. You obviously should make strategic choices, but do not runaway from in-depth arguments because you think another team will be better than you on that argument. Work harder and beat them on the argument on which she/he is supposedly an expert. Taking chances to win debates good.
And, as Lord Dark Helmet says, “evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb.”
Cindi Timmons Paradigm
Ask me a question and I'll tell you no lies.
colette faulkner Paradigm
I competed in World Schools Debate and Public Forum for 3 years with Kingwood High School and competed for the USA Debate team my junior and senior years. I now coach British Parliamentary debate at Pepperdine University.
This is my first time judging this form of debate so a few relevant things to consider:
In general, I would prefer that all debaters speak at a rate of speed that allows them to be understood fully not only by me but all other competitors in the room as well. Personally, I believe debate is something that ought to be accessible to all. Thus, I tend to view "spreading" as unnecessary and often unproductive in most forms of debate.
I do not have a problem with teams running Ks. However, like any other argument you choose to run in a debate, if you are running a K there should be a clear reason for why you are doing so and why it is relevant to the round. Often, I see debaters will run Ks without fully understanding the critical literature behind them. Thus, if you do to choose run Ks please make sure you are able to actually explain them in your own words, provide clear reasons/links for why it is relevant to the round and motion, and an actual alternative.
I am fine with CPs. I expect debaters should provide clear reasons for why their CPs are competitive and have comparative solvency arguments. I don't think you always need to have DA, but I think providing one often makes it easier to show why your world is better.
Honestly, I am not familiar with theory so I am probably not the best judge to run theory in front of.
If you have any other questions please let me know :)