WWU Viking Invitational
2019 — Bellingham, WA/US
Serena Fitzgerald Paradigm
Overview: I did LD in high school and debated for Western Washington in NPDA (graduated 2018).
TL;DR: Have fun and be yourself. I evaluate warrants over taglines. Please do warrant comparison and impact calculus. This shouldn’t be treated as a comprehensive guide to how I view debate; feel free to message me on facebook or email me with questions at email@example.com.
Speaker points – I raise them for technical proficiency, creativity, and reading particularly innovative arguments, even if they aren’t necessarily strategically flawless. It should go without saying, but I heavily deduct points for being racist/sexist/ableist etc or fueling systems of oppression in round.
Texts - I don't need you to hand me a copy of your text (unless you really want to), but please read interps and plan/cp/alt texts slow and twice. You are responsible for making sure that I get it on my flow somehow, and if I can't get it down because you don't slow down, you might be at a disadvantage.
Advantages/Disads – I have a soft spot for good econ debates. I evaluate probability as a question of the strength of the link chain, rather than a question of the probability of the impacts in a vacuum. Good link or internal link defense plus probability framing will definitely make it easy to outweigh a disad or advantage, but I am not very likely to vote on presumption - I will evaluate even marginal risks of offense.
CPs - Go ahead and be condo, read a PIC or a delay counterplan, or anything else as long as you feel like you can answer theory if they read it. In general I think textual competition doesn't make a lot of sense.
Theory – I probably have a comparatively low threshold for arguments that teams should be able to weigh their aff or K against theory, but I won't do the work to make cross applications and will default to treating procedurals as a priori absent arguments otherwise. This is mostly relevant when people are reading T against nontopical K affs; I recommend that if you decide to collapse to T you also answer aff solvency to stop them from leveraging it to impact turn T, because teams that concede case rarely win those debates in front of me. I default to competing interpretations, though a brief explanation of what reasonability means will make me much more likely to vote on it. While I typically don't vote on terminal defense, I will vote on a "we meet" as the only answer to a procedural - I think that a very marginal chance of a team violating an interp isn't sufficient to drop them.
Kritiks – Much of my career was spent going for the K. While I am more likely to be familiar with your lit, I am also likely to know if your K is bad. Framework debates on Ks often end up not mattering; I have a relatively high brightline for allowing one team to completely frame out the other's offense, and very few debaters do the warranted analysis necessary on K frameworks to actually frame out the aff. Framework debate is typically much more useful for weighing the links against the link turns and doing impact calculus. I would strongly prefer that the MO collapse to one link, and make internal link analysis about how that leads to their impact. For example, if your link to cap is individualism, explain how individualism specifically leads to ecological destruction (or whatever your impact to cap is). I'm actually pretty well disposed to arguments that the neg must specify the actor of the alt or other aspects of the solvency mechanism; K alts are often pretty OP in terms of their ability to fiat solvency.
AFF Ks - I'm a big fan of topical K affs. Untopical K affs are also fine; I went for them a lot in college. If you're going for truth over tech, I would appreciate a brief explanation of how I determine what is true.
Perms – In general, I’m more hesitant to vote on perms in K debates than many other judges seem to be; since the alternative only has to generate uniqueness, I don’t accept “the perm shields the links” as a one-shot kill to get out of the link debate. I need specific warrants for why the permutation would resolve the links the other team reads. Since the links are typically a question of the desirability of the permutation, rather than just its possibility, simply stating that the permutation could happen is not sufficient to win that it should.
High School LD:
I'm fine with speed, plans, counterplans, kritiks, performances, theory, etc. Debaters are the ones who decide what debate should look like. I disclose, I don't care if you stand or sit, and I'm fine if you use your cx as flex (as long as your opponent agrees). Cowardice is a voter.
I'm most familiar with K debate, but I'm an econ/polisci major with a soft spot for a good econ debate. I do a lot of K debate in college (mostly stuff like D&G, Jasbir Puar, Achille Mbembe, Jaques Derrida, and other dead french guys), but I did a lot of plan/policy style LD in high school. Mostly, just do what you're good at.
You get 30 speaker points for making a (good) reference to Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop or Tokyo Ghoul. However, being racist/ sexist/ pointlessly mean will hurt your speaks - I don't hesitate to give people 0 speaks (or as low as tab will let me go) if you're making a novice cry, advocating genocide, etc. Being entertaining/ not reading the same boring cost benefit analysis framework as everyone else/ having a specific and unique impact scenario will get you better speaker points.
Either give me a copy of your advocacy/plan/alt/CP/interpretation texts or slow down and read them twice. Just because you flashed it to your opponent doesn't mean I have it.
Theory: I default to competing interpretations absent arguments for reasonability/ an explanation of what reasonability means. I’m open to RVIs; theory shouldn't be a zero-risk strategy used to skew out the 1AR. I've read my fair share of what my opponents have called "dogsh*t theory" and I will vote on it (debate is a game, and if you drop a bad argument you should git good) but you may not get great speaks on a messy theory win (compared to winning on substance).
I don't think theory is inherently a priori, and I have a relatively low threshold for dismissing it in favor of substance if there's a critical framework in the round that says epistemology or ontology comes first, but I will default to that assumption absent cross-applications.
Plans/ Counterplans: I was a plan debater in high school, and I enjoy good policymaking debates. Read texts twice, do impact calc, etc - I feel like evaluating these debates is fairly straightforward so I'll add to this section as I see things I want to comment on.
Kritiks: I am familiar with most K literature, or at least aware of it. I've spent most of my college career doing critical debate, and I'm probably much more open to "esoteric pomo nonsense" than the average judge. I have a pretty high threshold for dismissing things as "theoretical" or "ivory tower" absent a clear terminalized impact; debate is a game, and debating about our epistemic orientation towards the deterritorialization of semiotics (or whatever) is fun.
That said, my familiarity with K lit means that if you happen to read an author I know, I'll judge you more harshly if it misrepresents its author, is an amalgamation of a few authors that really just don't go together, or if you just clearly don't understand what your own file is saying.
High school PF:
I don't flow crossfire; if you want me to evaluate evidence, bring it up in a speech. One of my pet peeves is when students just argue with each other in crossfire instead of asking questions - I do not care what arguments you make during crossfire or if you bring up evidence, and it's not going on my flow, so you should ask questions that will actually help you understand your opponent's case better and save the arguing for your actual speech.
I prefer if you collapse to one issue in your final focus, with maybe some defense against your opponents main argument(s). If you bring up three reasons why the pro is bad, I expect you to only go for one in your final speech, and I won't penalize you for not talking about the other two in general.
I accept arguments that aren't explicitly extended in the summary to be brought up in the final focus (shadow extensions) if they were cold dropped in an earlier speech. However, if there are arguments against it that were conceded in earlier speeches, you can't address them.
The one-line, unwarranted claims that pass for frameworks in PF are probably not going to have a large influence on my decision unless you warrant your framework with cards or at least analytics. I will default to evaluating impacts that hurt all people according to a basic utilitarian calculus, and students typically have more success spending their time on impact calculus rather than framework debate.
Korry Harvey Paradigm
I debated a lot (CEDA, NDT), and have coached and judged even more (CEDA, NDT, NPDA, NPTE, Worlds). I teach courses in argument theory, diversity, and civil dialogue, and I am heavily involved in community service. While my debate background comes primarily from a “policy” paradigm, I have no problem with either good “critical” debates or “persuasive communication”, and am willing to listen to any framework a team feels is justifiably appropriate for the debate.
I think that debate is simultaneously a challenging educational exercise, a competitive game of strategy, and a wonderfully odd and unique community – all of which work together to make it fun. I think debaters, judges, and coaches, should actively try to actually enjoy the activity. Debate should be both fun and congenial. Finally, while a written ballot is informative, I feel that post-round oral critiques are one of the most valuable educational tools we as coaches and judges have to offer, and I will always be willing to disclose and discuss my decisions, even if that may involve walking and talking in order to help the tournament staff expedite an efficient schedule for all of us.
I am hearing impaired. No joke – I wear hearing aids in both ears, and am largely deaf without them. I think most would agree that I keep a pretty good flow, but I can only write down what I understand. I work as hard as just about any of your critics to understand and assess your arguments, and I appreciate it when you help me out a little. Unfortunately, a good deal of my hearing loss is in the range of the human voice – go figure. As such, clarity and a somewhat orderly structure are particularly important for me. For some, a notch or two up on the volume scale doesn’t hurt, either. However, please note that vocal projection is not the same as shouting-- which often just causes an echo effect, making it even harder for me to hear. Also, excessive chatter and knocking for your partner can make it difficult for me to hear the speaker. I really want to hear you, and I can only assume that you want to be heard as well. Thanks for working with me a little on this one.
Approach of the critic to decision-making (for example, adherence to the trichotomy, stock-issues, policymaker, tabula rasa, etc.)
Although I don't see absolute objectivity as easily attainable, I do try to let the debaters themselves determine what is and is not best for the debate process. Debaters should clarify what framework/criteria they are utilizing, and how things should be evaluated (a weighing mechanism or decision calculus). I see my role as a theoretically “neutral observer” evaluating and comparing the validity of your arguments according to their probability, significance, magnitude, etc. I very much like to hear warrants behind your claims, as too many debates in parli are based on unsubstantiated assertions. As such, while a “dropped argument” has considerable weight, it will be evaluated within the context of the overall debate and is not necessarily an automatic “round-winner”.
Relative importance of presentation/communication skills to the critic in decision-making
As noted, clarity and structure are very important to me. It should be clear to me where you are and what argument you are answering or extending. Bear in mind that what you address as “their next argument” may not necessarily be the same thing I identify as “their next argument”. I see the flow as a “map” of the debate round, and you provide the content for that map. I like my maps to make sense.
That said, good content still weighs more heavily to me than slick presentation. Have something good to say, rather than simply being good at saying things.
Additionally, 1) although I think most people speak better when standing, that’s your choice; 2) I won’t flow the things your partner says during your speech time; 3) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time.
Relative importance of on-case argumentation to the critic in decision-making
I find that good case debate is a very effective strategy. It usually provides the most direct and relevant clash. Unfortunately, it is rarely practiced. I can understand that at times counterplans and kritiks make a case debate irrelevant or even unhelpful. Nevertheless, I can't tell you the number of times I have seen an Opposition team get themselves in trouble because they failed to make some rather simple and intuitive arguments on the case.
Openness to critical/performative styles of debating
See above. No problem, as long as it is well executed – which really makes it no different than traditional "net-benefits" or "stock issues" debates. To me, no particular style of debating is inherently “bad”. I’d much rather hear “good” critical/performative debate than “bad” traditional/policy debate, and vice versa.
While I try to keep an open mind here, I must admit I’m not particularly fond of heavy theory debates. I think most debaters would be surprised by just how much less interesting they are as a judge than as a competitor. I realize they have their place and will vote on them if validated. However, screaming “abuse” or “unfair” is insufficient for me. I’m far more concerned about educational integrity, stable advocacy and an equitable division of ground. Just because a team doesn’t like their ground doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have any. Likewise, my threshold for “reverse voters” is also on the somewhat higher end – I will vote on them, but not without some consideration. Basically, I greatly prefer substantive debates over procedural ones. They seem to be both more educational and interesting.
While I have no problem with them, I tend not to follow much of the traditional stylizations or formal elements of parliamentary practice: 1) I will likely just “take into consideration” points of order that identify “new” arguments in rebuttals, but you are more than welcome to make them if you feel they are warranted; 3) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesn’t mean I don’t like you or dig your arguments; 4) You don’t need to do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand or raise your hand; 5) I don’t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech; you know the order, go ahead and speak; 6) I will include “thank yous” in speech time, but I do appreciate a clear, concise and non-timed roadmap beforehand.
I lean toward thinking that “splitting the block”, while perhaps theoretically defensible, is somewhat problematic in an activity with only two rebuttals and often only makes a round more messy.
Sean McKean Paradigm
Experience: 4 years policy debate at Tualatin High School, 4 years NPDA/NPTE experience at the University of Oregon. 3 years high school coaching experience at Thurston High School. Current NPDA/NPTE coach at Oregon.
Quick in prep version: In general I am down with just about anything, however I would much rather hear a good disad than some only tag lines and a bad alternative kritik. Theory was my jam when I was debating, so if you want to read it go ahead, however, I’m not going to vote for you just because you read it, while my threshold is probably lower than most judges I like to pretend I’m not a hack .
Longer (probably unnecessary) version
My ideal debate is a strategic topical aff v some CPs and a DA or a topic K. That being said, I tend to be down with anything you want to read in front of me, I believe that it is my job to adapt to you and the arguments you want to read not your job to adapt to me. I am not going to tell you what to or not to read in front of me or reject your arguments on face. I tend to prefer more technical debates where you explain to me how all of the relevant arguments interact at the end of the round over just extending them and making me try to figure it out myself at the end. I want to be able to write my RFD at the end of the round by sticking as much as possible to the flow without having to insert my own analysis, this means I want you to write my RFD for me, tell me why I should vote a particular way at the end of the round.
Impact framing is a lost art, it’s not helpful to just inform me that both teams do, in fact, have impacts. I want to hear how I should evaluate those impacts against each other, ie. Do I care more about fairness or education on the theory flow, is timeframe or magnitude more important, can I even evaluate arguments rooted in some kind of epistemology?
More specific stuff:
Theory/ T : I read a lot of theory when I was debating so I am pretty much able to follow what is going on in complex theory debates, although I would prefer that you slow down a bit when spreading theory since it is more condensed and harder to flow. I evaluate theory just like any other argument, which means I am probably more likley to vote on it than most judges if you go for it correctly. In order to win theory in front of me you are going to need to impact it out and explain what it means for the round. (IE just because they dropped your Consult CP's are illegit argument doesn't mean you insta-win if you don't give me some reason why that theory argument results in a ballot, not just me dropping the CP). I find myself voting a lot this year on teams forgetting to read a counter interp. If I am judging in a competing interps paradigm, which is usually how these things shake out, and there is not either an interp or a counter-interp that you meet I will vote against you regardless of the rest of the flow, as there is not an interp for me to stick your offense to. I think that this is a pretty common way of evaluating theory but I feel it is worth flagging explicitly in my philosophy given that I find myself voting on this a lot.
Framework : Framework was my go-to when debating the K aff. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily shouldn’t or can’t read a K aff in front of me, just be aware than I’m not going to be one of those judges that just ignores the argument for some vague political reason.
K affs : I would prefer that if you are going to read an aff that isn’t topical that you have some good justification for doing so, I am not really interested in your “I read a cool book and here is my book report” project.
Ks : I am down with the K, however there are some recent trends in the kritik that I feel need some addressing here. First, Marx was my bread and butter and I am fairly deep in that literature, but outside of that and maybe Heidegger you should not assume that I am incredibly well read in your lit base. That doesn’t mean that you can’t read your K in front of me, it just means that you are going to need to do some more explaining. Second, there has been a tendency of K’s becoming just a list of tag lines, that then get extended as arguments later in the debate. If your K sounds like this I am probably going to give the other team a lot more leeway in reading new arguments when your K finally becomes something in the block.
CP/ DA : Ayyyyyyyyy
Mikay Parsons Paradigm
Kat Queirolo Paradigm
Kat Queirolo Judging Philosophy
Years in college debate: 5
Years in high school debate: 3
This is my first year out. I'll be updating this periodically as I work through my preferences, so consider this document a work in progress
I did policy debate at the University of Puget Sound. In school, I studied political theory and queer studies with a few encounters with philosophy.
I view debate as a competitive, educational and persuasive activity. More important than what I think is what you do.
I’m truly fine voting for any argument you want to make provided it is clearly articulated, performatively compelling, and robustly extended into the final rebuttals.
I enjoy a wide range of arguments. When I competed I most enjoyed debates about liberation, how can we make ourselves free in a world composed of systems of violence that impact us in the room, what freedom means, what debate can mean for freedom and how transformative politics can move us personally-politically to make the world otherwise. I am most persuaded by robust explanations of how you envision the world to be, how we ought to organize our political actions in order to accomplish the work of liberation. I like detailed explanation of link stories and alternatives, though I don't hold alternatives to a higher standard than I would a plan or a counterplan. Most important is that your alternative, counterplan, plan or advocacy solve the harms you isolate and tell me are important.
To the extent that this is possible, I will try to keep my personal inclinations out of the debate. In the event that debaters fail to articulate standards of evaluation, I will default to my own interpretation.
Offense is important. Have reasons why you win the debate. Have reasons why they lose the debate. Tell me why you win--frame my ballot for me. How do I evaluate arguments in the context of other arguments, or in the context of framing questions. How do you want me to view your arguments--through the frame of a theme, through the line-by-line, some other system. I'm fine organizing my flowing around "non-traditional" frames of interpretation if you give me "alternative" standards to consider.
If someone wants to win on presumption, it needs to be explained as an argument.
Why is your model a good model of debate, what are the roles of the aff/neg. What is the role of the judge. What is the purpose of debate as an activity. Convince me of the urgency of supporting your model of debate. I don't think that what we do in debate is separate from the rest of the world; I am most convinced of framework arguments, either traditional or "non-traditional," that connect what we do in this activity to real things that are happening in the world; that said, if you win the argument that debate is just a game and that what we do here has no bearing elsewhere, then I will vote in favor of your interpretation. That said, I do think that framework is often an excuse to refuse to debate questions that are urgent in their own right; accordingly, I appreciate when your interpretation includes room for the substance of the other team's arguments to be discussed. A topical version of the affirmative supported by robust analysis of how this accomodates the other team's own urgent questions is therefore the best way to convince me that your model of debate is urgent, fair, and educational.
Please be clear on your model of competition and why what the other team did was bad, eg. have good links and robust impact comparison. Please explain to me how the alternative/what you did resolves the links to the affirmative. Permutations need to be explained operationally eg. how does the perm work and how is that different from the alt/counterplan and are best if coupled with a model of competition. I can be convinced that the permutation is just a test of competition or that it is an advocacy in its own right worth affirming. Once an alternative is introduced into the debate it is an invitation to further expand on the possibilities of advocacies introduced, ie the permutation is an opportunity to expand on the possibilities of political organizing or theoretical elaboration. I appreciate specific link analysis to permutations eg. why is the permutation something that your advocacy resolves better.
Framing debates: You should always control how the debate is framed. What arguments do you think are the most important. Why should I evaluate the debate through your perspective as opposed to the other team's. If the debate is about methods, what are the methods. How do I evaluate competition in a methods debate. What is the implication of their method, your method. Please tell me what your role is in a methods debate, their role, my role.
Lately, I've been encountering a lot of teams articulating competition and link storiess according to theories of power. I'm not sure if this is new or became more popular during my time out of the activity, but I hadn't encountered these arguments as frequently as I am now seeing them that I am judging. This is something I am still working out, but if you imagine that this framing of competition matters more than other frames, please tell me your theory of power and explain it to highlight the shortcomings of the other team's arguments and why your theory of power resolves the links, disads, or impacts you isolate. I am intrigued by the avenues opened up by these lines of argument. What alternatives does your theory of power elaborate, what modes of organizing does it make possible. How does your theory of power relate to what is happening in the debate round itself - are there opportunities for link analysis according to what previously might have been called a performative link. If your primary link story is your theory of power, please do not just assert a claim that power works in x way and that the other team thinks about power in y way. I will be more convinced by a theory of power that isolates specific shortcomings in the other team's advocacy that isolates links and impacts than I will be of a theory of power that works more as a solvency deficit and a link of omission.
I always like to hear new arguments. I am pretty theoretically unflappable. I will more likely than not understand the words you are saying. More important than using the right words is making those words mean something.
More generally, evidence is a starting point: take the research you have done and transform it into a complete argument.
Above all, find some way to enjoy the debate! I know that is not always possible. We come to this activity for different reasons. We should live out those reasons.
Dalton Richardson Paradigm
If you have questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find the Oregon prep room.
I’ve been involved in debate in some capacity, either as a competitor or a coach/critic, for the past eight years. Across my time with debate, I’ve read and judged nearly every genre of argument and feel comfortable evaluating any type or style of debate. I find tech to be the easiest mechanism through which I can evaluate arguments, but this does not mean that truth is absent from my decision calculus. Speed isn’t an issue, but clarity feels increasingly rare in debate. Furthermore, you shouldn’t make any assumptions about my personal knowledge – I won’t backfill warrants you don’t read nor will I automatically vote for you because you read an argument that stems from an ideology I occupy. Finally, I best understand debate as a game where arguments act as pieces with which debaters can make various moves in an attempt to capture my ballot.
I need pen time. Read texts/interps twice, and if you want me to get them down word for word then give me a copy. Just because we have flex time doesn’t absolve you from having to write texts/interps for your opponents – I’m tired of flex time starting after minutes of writing texts that could have easily been written prior to the round. Your perm should identify what the non-competitive portions of the counterplan/alternative are if the negative has failed to do so, and they are not advocacies.
Absent an alternative, I default to a net benefits framework operationalized under an offense/defense paradigm. Framing is particularly important as it helps me to better understand which impacts I should prioritize or resolve with my ballot; as a result, role of the ballot claims often feel unnecessary when they are just intertwined with framework. If you like going for role of the ballot arguments as part of your strategy then don’t let me stop you, but they rarely seem to develop into anything substantive beyond the constructives (but I’d love to be proven wrong about this, as I think there are interesting debates to be had about the purpose of the ballot). I have yet to see many debates that center on AFC, but my gut reaction is that being affirmative doesn’t mean your framework choice is incontestable.
Framework and topicality are most persuasive to me when they answer the question “Should this particular affirmative have been read?” rather than nebulous justifications for the way debates ought occur. Therefore, comparative analysis is necessary – compare the world of the negative’s interpretation with that of the affirmative’s interpretation with regard to the impacts of the position. Specifically, show me how the standards of your interpretation best resolve the impacts of fairness and/or education. On the flip side, conditionality bad and other forms of theory feel more designed to punish actions that have occurred in the round with the intent to stop those actions from occurring in the future. Overall, I don’t have any strong feelings regarding conditionality, so I can be equally persuaded to vote either way. I’m much more hesitant to vote on other types of theory, such as “you must give us your interp within X minutes” or “you cannot read two theory positions” as they often end up unnecessarily convoluted and seem to skirt the overall substance of debate.
Disads are great. I read them a lot as a debater, and I enjoy specific link level analysis as well as impact interaction that begins in the first neg speech. Tell me how your impact scenario complicates the aff’s scenarios and what that means for the progression of the debate. Offense is often underutilized on disadvantages, likely because it’s easier to think of defense rather than offense; as a result, accurate offense read on disads will be rewarded with higher speaker points.
I assume all counterplans to be conditional unless otherwise stated. I have a special place in my heart for advantage counterplans and PICs. I have a high threshold for "cheating" counterplans, such as delay, veto, plan is a secret, and other positions like that. I believe multiple contradictory counterplans to be abusive but I can be persuaded otherwise.
I enjoy good kritik debate, as those were the debates I most often found myself in as a debater. I also feel that these types of debates often suffer greatly from shadow extensions and a general lack of warrants, particularly when comparing the world of the alternative to the world of the aff's advocacy. Specific link analysis is your best friend in this debate, as I believe there are situations in which the link to the K is tenuous at best or nonexistent at worst. K vs K debates often come down to root cause claims, so ensure that you have a robust defense of your impact controlling the root cause debate and explain how your impacts frame other impacts. Finally, if you enjoy framing your opponent out, tell me why your framing means I don't even evaluate the aff/K beyond just mentioning that it does. I find that debaters often rely on claiming they've framed out their opponents without actually telling me how they do or what it means for my evaluation of the debate.
I am most familiar with Marx, CRT, queer theory, and anthro literature, but have some knowledge of postmodern theorists like Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, and others. I hate hate hate psychoanalysis for a litany of reasons. I enjoy innovate and non-traditional kritikal strategies and arguments. Even though I am open to arguments about the harmful nature of flow-centric debate, I find it hard to separate my decision from the flow and need very well impacted out justifications for ignoring the flow.
A Final Note
Debate has been incredibly important to me, and I take my job as a critic very seriously. I enjoy educating students and helping them become better debaters. If you have questions, ask and I will try my best to explain my response in a way that is accessible to you. Simultaneously, I do not respond well (read, at all) to abrasive or intentionally inflammatory communication post round.
If you made it this far in my philosophy, make a cool reference about sharks, Nintendo, or Pokémon and I'll add an extra point to your speaks.
Margaret Rockey Paradigm
Background: Parli coach at WWU for one year. Competed in parli at Whitman for three years and one year independently (sco Sweets!). I have no idea if I am or if people perceive me as a K- or policy-oriented judge. I guess I read a lot of disads, topical K affs, disads, and always read, but never went for politics, but I strongly preferred being a double member because I gave no shits about what our strategy was and would defend whatever. So I have no strong preferences regarding argumentative content.
I’ve tried writing a philosophy four or five times this year, and every attempt has ended with one sentence rejecting the proposition of writing in a philosophy in the first place. The short version, and what you probably want to know, is that you can read whatever you want, and should give me a reason why you win and a reason why the other team loses. In the event that the reason you win is also the reason they lose, you should explain how it is so. What follows is not a syncretic philosophy but a disorganized and unenclosed series of thoughts on debate, some arbitrary biases and thresholds, and judging tendencies I’ve noticed in myself. It may or may not be helpful.
I find I feel much less certain about my decisions as a judge than I did about my predictions as a competitor and observer. Actually doing the work of making and justifying a decision almost always necessitates getting my hands dirty in some form or other. Most of my decisions require intervention to vote for any one team, either because certain core questions have not been resolved, or some resolved questions have not been contextualized to one another, or some combination of the two. Recognizing the frequent inevitability of dirty hands in decision-making, I try to stick to both a general principle and practice when judging. In principle, I try to have a justification for every decision I make. In practice, I find I try to limit my intervention to extrapolating from arguments made to resolve unanswered issues; if a certain team is winning a certain part of the flow; what does that mean for this part where no one is clearly ahead but where someone must be to decide the round? This is also means that an easy way to get ahead is doing that work for me--provide the summary and application of an argument in addition to making it.
In general I think framework either tells me how to prioritize impacts or understand solvency, and in particular how to situate solvency in relation to debate as a practice. Most framework arguments I see in-round seem to be made out of a precautious fear of leaving the something crucial open on the line-by-line, but with little understanding of the argument’s application to interpreting the rest of the round. At least, that’s what I felt like when I extended framework arguments for awhile. I don’t understand the argument that fiat is illusory. The advocacy actually being implemented has never been a reason to vote aff, as far as I can tell. The purpose of fiat is to force a “should” and not “will” debate. Framework arguments that dictate and defend a certain standard for the negative’s burden to argue that the advocacy “should not” happen are ideal. I’m open to arguments proposing a different understanding of solvency than what a policymaking framework supplies.
My only other observation about framework debates is that every interpretation seems to get slotted into some “critical non fiat –ology” slot or “policy fiat roleplaying” slot. This is a false binary but its frequent assumption means many non-competitive framework (and advocacies!) are set against each other as if they’re competitive. Policymaking and roleplaying are not the same thing; epistemology and ontology being distinct doesn’t mean they’re inherently competitive, for a couple examples.
This is also the major flaw of most non-topical K v. K debates I see—the advocacies are not competitive. They feel like I.E. speeches forced into the debate format when the content and structure of that content just don’t clash—I mean, it’s like the aff showing up and saying dogs are cool and the neg firing back that cats are cool. It’s just not quite debate as we’re used to, and demands reconceptualizing competition. This is also why I don’t think “no perms in a method debate” makes any sense but I agree with the object of that argument. The topic creates sides—you’re either for or against it. In rounds where each team is just going to propose distinct ways of apprehending the world, whatever that looks like, I see no reason to award noncompetitiveness to either team. (Oh, this should not be used as a justification for negative counterperms. How counterperms being leveraged against perms represents anything less than the death of debate is a mystery to me) I’m not saying don’t have nontopical KvK rounds, please do, just please also read offense against each other’s arguments (cats are cool and dogs are bad). In those rounds, your reason to win is not the same reason the other team loses, which is the case for advocacies which are opportunity costs to each other. For the record, I think critical literature is arguably the most important education debate offers. I just think debate is structured for competition oriented around policy advocacies and the ways that kritikal arguments tend to engage each other challenge that structure in ways we have yet to explore in parli (at least, writ large).
Don’t have anything in particular to say about this other than that I have a high threshold for evaluating anything other than plan text in a vacuum in determining interp violations. Everything else seems a solvency question to me, but make the arguments you want to and can defend.
I’ve noticed that I have a pretty high threshold on independent voters. I voted for an independent voter once when the block went for it. Arguments about discursive issues serve an important purpose. But for arguments read flippantly or as a gotcha or, more often, that lack any substantive impact, I always feel a little guilty voting there and jettisoning the rest of the debate, like feeling bad for picking one spoon over another when you’re a kid. I think a lot of judges want the simple way to vote but I don’t, as far as I can tell. They don’t necessarily have to be complicated, but I like thorough ways to vote, which do often involve a lot of nuance or at least word dancing (I believe debate is fundamentally competitive bullshitting, which I do not mean derisively in the slightest).
Lauran Schaefer Paradigm
Please begin by explaining what you think is the relevant information about your approach to judging that will best assist the debaters you are judge debate in front of you. Please be specific and clear.
Do what you do best.
Couple of side notes:
I likely have a higher threshold on theory debates than some judges, but that also doesn’t mean you should shy away from it. I will certainly vote on abuse. If you just really like going for theory, I will also vote on a position that doesn’t necessarily have proven abuse, but proves some sort of standard that would set a precedent that you argue is bad. Just remember, it will be harder to get my ballot on theory for theory’s sake.
Extinction probably won’t happen, so you need to have really good link stories if that’s your style. Probability > Magnitude.
Speaker points (what is your typical speaker point range or average speaker points given.
According to Rob Layne, I’m a point fairy. Basically, the way it shakes down is I give the top speaker in the round a 30/29 and then rank everyone. Don’t be an insufferable and rude human, I will dock your points.
How do you approach critically framed arguments? Can affirmatives run critical arguments? Can critical arguments be “contradictory” with other negative positions?
I’m sure I’ve been called a “K-hack” at some point, but this is false. While I ran a lot of critical arguments, they weren’t particularly good. With that being said, I’d prefer a straight up debate, but am by no means to opposed to good critical arguments. My advice for critical arguments.
1) Name dropping/jargon are not substitutes for an argument. Example- “That creates a simulacrum.” That’s a tagline. Tell me how / why.
2) Rejection doesn’t solve. I’ve been rejecting patriarchy for years, but that doesn’t mean sexist people in debate stopped saying I vote with my emotions, that I just don’t get their arguments, or I’m not very smart. It also hasn’t stopped them from interrupting me, or leaving during my RFDs but staying for men’s. Point being--Tell us how to reject. Do we burn the system down by creating chaos? What alternative system can we use? Are there organizations that seek to dismantle the same system you’re critiquing? How does this function within realism? Do you give people a language with which to discuss a system? Is there are a counterplan text that could solve your K?
4) Explain your solvency, and tell us what the world looks like in the post alternative world.
5) Your framework should do more than attempt to exclude your opponents from the round. It should also tell me how to evaluate your position.
Affirmatives can run critical arguments, but I think they need a clear framework with an interpretation and standards. Couch your argument in the topic someway, even if that means you explain why the topic is rooted in an ism, and justify why that is aff ground and not neg. No, the topic is not just a springboard for you to talk about whatever you want. The cool thing about debate is you get to develop an argument/justification for doing/saying what you want, so do that. Additionally, don’t exclude your opponents from going for a policy with your framework. If you’re really frustrated with the ism that is occurring in the topic, your goal should not be to prevent the neg from participating. As far as “projects” (I hesitate to call them that because of the negative connotations), I’m down, but again, please tell me why the topic shouldn’t be discussed. If your argument is that debate is ableist, sexist, racist, etc, if possible, explain why the topic is also rooted in that ism and then use that to discuss the debate space. That way your opponents may have some more ground.
Performance based arguments…
I’m fine with them, but I need to know how to evaluate them.
Topicality. What do you require to vote on topicality? Is in-round abuse necessary? Do you require competing interpretations?
Again, higher threshold. I prefer proven abuse. Competing interpretations is probably your best bet.
Counterplans -- PICs good or bad? Should opp identify the status of the counterplan? Perms -- textual competition ok? functional competition?
PICs are a good strategy. The opp should identify the status IF they are asked to, otherwise it’s fair game. Perms should be functional in my ideal debate world. If you’re going to go textual comp you’ll probably want to run more theory than you would with functional telling me why I should prefer it. I love CP theory so read it.
Is it acceptable for teams to share their flowed arguments with each other during the round (not just their plans)
I think as a courtesy, you should always give a copy of any plan text or counterplan text, especially if asked. I don’t care if teams want to share anything other than that.
In the absence of debaters' clearly won arguments to the contrary, what is the order of evaluation that you will use in coming to a decision (e.g. do procedural issues like topicality precede kritiks which in turn precede cost-benefit analysis of advantages/disadvantages, or do you use some other ordering?)?
Procedurals. Framework, if necessary. Then the substance. I default to the impact debate.
How do you weigh arguments when they are not explicitly weighed by the debaters or when weighting claims are diametrically opposed? How do you compare abstract impacts (i.e. "dehumanization") against concrete impacts (i.e. "one million deaths")?
I look to probability, first. Then magnitude. Finally, timeframe. If you want me to vote on huge impacts that are incredibly unrealistic, you should warrant exactly how these impacts will occur. Not some x country is pissed, the US gets involved, boom, big explosion because some random action causes a war in which rational actors would absolutely have to use nuclear weapons and it would cause a dust cloud that covers the sun. Although I did this, it’s because I had no idea if what I was saying was actually true.
Have fun, make me laugh, be nice. Care about what you do, your words matter. Feel free to pander to me with Tom Hanks references.
Ashley Tippins Paradigm
Ashley Tippins - they/them pronouns (she/her is not preferred but i'm not gonna correct you if you use it, just try to like not)
First a little about me as a debater: I debated in college parli debate for four years at Western Washington University off and on between 2010-2016 (yes i'm old, but hey at least i've seen a lot of rounds lmao). I coached high school policy debate for two years. In the three years since finishing my debate career, I judged and prepped for Western Washington all three, and UO at several local tournaments my first year.
How I evaluate a round: My evaluation of a round does not change based on the arguments presented in the round. The only exception being debate performances that present sufficient cause to abandon the guidelines I have listed below. Such performances are; arguments that have won on the flow but are morally reprehensible (i.e. arguments that advocate for transphobia, antiblackness, colonialism, misogyny, antifatness, ableism, etc.), ad hominin based arguments*, and arguments that preclude another debater's ability to compete (i.e. triggering arguments). My bright line for abandoning the evaluation method outlined below is; 1) the performance of one of the listed behaviors above being present within the debate round, and 2) the argument is made that the team must be voted against for their performance within the debate. I would prefer that teams collapse to the performative exclusion type arguments however, a collapse is not necessary for me to vote on the argument. I do not enjoy voting on these arguments and I prefer to default to my stated evaluation method; i do not think a minor performance of these listed behaviors will be enough for me to exclude an entire team rather than simply excluding the argument**. *Ad hominin based arguments about public figures, authors, or rapists are not performances I would include within this designation. **this does not apply to performance-based arguments, simply arguments concerning the performance of the debaters’ opponents in the round.
A Note About Misgendering Your Opponents: DON'T DO IT! You are not always gonna know ahead of time, so ASK and never assume. If your opponent lets you know that you have misgendered them and you do not stop misgendering them, I WILL VOTE YOU DOWN. This functions the same way that the performance-based reasons to evaluate the round differently function; the only differing factor is that I have a zero-tolerance policy for continued misgendering within the debate round.
1. FRAMEWORK: By the very nature of framework, it must come first in any evaluation. Many “straight up” governmental policy debaters do not present sufficient justifications for their framework, however. Comparison work must be done between competing framework interpretations; simply giving further examples of your own framework is not sufficient. Framework decides which impacts must be solved for and which types of arguments I should prefer when making my decision.
a. Specification Arguments: I have been around long enough that I've seen the community view these types of arguments as EXTREMELY strategic and popular, and EXTREMELY hated and intolerable pieces of garbage. They are en vogue now again, so I guess I'll vote on them but understand that I still have an expectation of internal link and solvency analysis within the theory argument to vote on it.
b. Because I came up at the end of the first golden era of Specification arguments, I understand theory. The way I debated isn't the same way I see the round, and some of the most interesting arguments can happen on a T shell or a Framework/Methods debate. So, if that's your jam, don't hesitate to run that in front of me.
2. INTERNAL LINKS/SOLVENCY: After determining which impacts must be solved (the point of framework debates), it is a question of who solves the impacts best. This is; CP solvency vs. Plan solvency – Alt Solvency vs. Plan solvency – Plan solvency vs. Status Quo Solvency – Standards internal link vs. counter standards internal link.
a. If the framework and uniqueness are agreed upon, then my decision will be for the team that best solves for the agreed upon impacts.
b. If the framework is won by either side, my decision will be for the team that best solves for the impacts that the winning interpretation prioritizes.
c. Under the winning framework, if solvency of the impacts is sufficiently contested and justified by each team, it is a question of uniqueness and the evaluation continues.
3. UNIQUENESS: There is all types of uniqueness – link turn uniqueness, uniqueness overwhelms the link, disad uniqueness, internal link turn uniqueness, etc. – and justifying sufficient uniqueness for your offense is the way to edge your way out of a close debate in front of me.
a. If the team wins that their instance of solvency is unique in some way - i.e. there's an opportunity cost or solving for a problem now allows future problems to have greater solvency - then the team that has the most unique solvency will have my ballot.
b. Conversely, if a team wins that there is no uniqueness for the other teams solvency - i.e. the problem could be solved later or will be solved by enacting some alternative to the presented advocacy - then the question becomes what percentage of the impact did each team win and which type of solvency should be preferred. This is where impact calculus comes in - magnitude, probability, reversibility, and timeframe. Realistically these are just impact framework arguments however, if there is no uncontested or cleanly won uniqueness for either sides impact solvency and there is nearly equal claim to solvency then it is ONLY a question of what type of solvency is best. These questions are answered by impact calculus and impact comparison. Too many times debaters leave this last question to the judge - which results in unhappy debaters and judges - if you want to be in control of the decision in front of me - then simply tell me how to vote and i'll follow you like jazz.
Duy Tran Paradigm
baker weilert Paradigm
I re-wrote this paradigm because I realized that my previous one was rather generic, and people likely assume I don’t know anything because I debated in Arkansas. Take what you will from the comments below, and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
Procedurals/Theory: I am a big fan T/Specs/Theory type arguments, but rarely see teams collapsing to these positions (which I think is a necessary strategic decision to win these types of arguments in front of me). As for types of specs I’m less/more sympathetic to: I don’t find over-spec or under-spec particularly compelling arguments, although I am willing to listen/vote on them. I do really like topicality (as long as you aren’t running 5 of them and simply just cross-applying the standards and voters without new articulation of how those standards/voters function in conjunction with your different interpretations). I also think that conditionality is a great/true argument, but only in particular scenarios. I am far more sympathetic to conditionality arguments if there are multiple advocacies that cause the affirmative to double-turn themselves (meaning don’t run condo just to run condo, run it because you think there is actually a strategic advantage being leveraged by the other team). I prefer articulated abuse, although I will vote on potential abuse, and I default competing interpretations unless otherwise told.
Kritik: I am fine with critical debate on either side of the resolution, although I prefer the K Aff to be rooted in the substance of the resolutions, that being said, I will listen to any justification as to why you should have access to non-topical versions of the affirmative. The framework should be informed by your methodology (meaning your framework should not just function as a way of excluding other positions, but actually inform how to evaluate your advocacy), your links contextualized to your indictments (some generics are fine, but it should include a breakdown of how the other teams position/mindset perpetuates the system), and an alternative that can actually resolve the harms of the K (meaning there needs to be very clear solvency that articulates how the alternative solves/functions in the real world). I don’t think rejection alts get us anywhere in the debate space, unless it is rejection on word choice/language (in which case I think those grievances are better articulated in the form of a procedural) or you clearly explain what that rejection looks like (in which case you should probably just use that explanation as your alternative in the first place). Permutation of the K alternative is perfectly fine, but I think on critical debates I need substantially more work on how the perm functions (especially in a world where the links haven’t been resolved). I am rather familiar with most of the K literature bases, but still think it is important for debaters to do the work of explaining the method/functionality of the K, and not rely on my previous knowledge of the literature base.
Disadvantages: I like a good DA/CP strategy, with a couple of caveats. The first is that the disadvantage needs to have specific links to the affirmative (generics just don’t do it for me), I am far more likely to vote on a unique disadvantage with smaller impacts, than a generic disadvantage with high magnitude impacts (although I will obviously weigh high magnitude impacts if you are winning probability). I have a rather high threshold for politics disadvantages, but if you can tell me which senator/representative will vote for which policy and why, I am far more likely to buy into the scenario (specifics are your friend on ptix).
Counter-Plans: I am fine with almost all types of counterplans (+1, pics, timeframe, etc.) but think they often need to be accompanied by theory arguments justifying their strategic legitimacy. I also think that mutual exclusivity competitiveness should always be preferred over simply having a net benefit/disadvantage that makes the position functionally competitive. I am fine with all types of permutations with justification (again often needs to be accompanied by theory). My threshold on perms are sometimes low, but I think that is because they are often under-covered, so knowing that you should be spending a great deal of time answering/going for the permutation if you want to win/not lose there.
1. Status of arguments: It is your responsibility to ask, and for the other team to answer (don’t give them the run-around, and if you aren’t sure just say dispo).
2. ALL “Text/ROB/Thesis” should be read twice, and made available for the other team.
3. The order you give at the beginning of your speech is actually important. I flow exclusively on paper, so switching between sheets/having them in the correct order helps me follow along. I completely understand that you have to switch up the flow mid speech sometimes, but you need to clearly signpost where you are (especially if you deviate from the order given).
4. Speed: You can go as fast as you want in front of me, that being said, I’m not sure if going fast for the sake of going fast is always the best strategic choice, as your word count probably isn’t much higher even if you think you sound faster.
5. I will listen to literally any argument (heady, aliens, personal narrative of a farmer from Wisconsin), doesn’t really matter to me, but please don’t put me in a situation in which I have to evaluate/endorse advocacies of mass death of people (like genocide good). Also, as far as identity politics go (this maybe should have gone in the K section) I think that debate is a great platform to talk about your own person experiences, but I think it’s important to note that oppression is often intersectional and is articulated/experienced in different ways. I think forced disclosure of experience/identity in order to interact with your position can be potentially harmful to others, and “trigger warnings” only work if you give people time to exit the room.
6. DO NOT BE MEAN, I will tank speaks. Totally fine to being witty, and slightly confrontational, but avoid personal attacks, I would much rather listen to you actually debate. Overall I believe debate is a creative space, so feel free to run literally anything you want.
4 years policy debate in Kansas, 4 years parliamentary debate at Louisiana Tech University, and Arkansas State University. 2 years Assistant Debate Coach at Arkansas State University. Currently Assistant Director of Debate at Whitman College.