Lake Highland 2019 LD Round Robin
2019 — Orlando, Florida, FL/US
Sam Azbel Paradigm
Ill keep this short:
This is my 11th year involved in LD. I qualled to the TOC, and have coached for the last 6 years as a private coach, assistant at a big program, head of LD at a program, and now run FlexDebate.
I believe that debate is a game and you should play it however you want. Im fine with really any argument so long as it is obviously not racist/sexist/homophobic etc. I have usually found that its better for debaters to read what they are most comfortable with in front of me.
The only thing that I genuinely find harder to judge than other things are full on util v. util card-fests because Im not the best at flowing.
Slow down on tags and standards texts plz.
EDIT: Tricks debate is super boring and non innovating these days, so I am usually less impressed by those debates and will usually point lower.
If you have anymore questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Got involved more seriously in PF these last few years-- currently coach Princeton along with a few other teams and am the Director of PF at NSD. I am a flow judge. Make sure to extend offense in the summary. The second rebuttal does not necessarily have to frontline, but obviously often times it is strategic to do so. I also do not think that the first summary necessarily has to make defense, but again, might be strategic in some instances to do so. Finally, please make sure to weigh in later speeches, otherwise it makes it tough for me. Overall, have fun and learn something while you are at it!
Ari Azbel Paradigm
Update for Harvard: the last time I judged was at camp this past summer. Given that, don't assume that I know anything about the topic and please try to be as clear as possible.
I’m Ari. I debated for Lake Highland for 5 years. I qualified to the TOC my sophomore, junior and senior year, reaching outrounds my senior year.
As a debater, I did not have a preference on a certain type of argument. I tried to read a little bit of everything (high theory, performance, policy args, other Ks, theory/T, tricks, framework, etc.). I believe the only essential feature of debate that I should uphold as a judge is that an argument is characterized by having a claim, warrant, and impact. You should read whatever style argument you're most comfortable and I'll try to adjudicate as best as possible. If you have any more specific questions, just ask.
Grant Brown Paradigm
Grant Brown (He/Him/His)
Millard North ’17, Swarthmore College ’21 (Studying Philosophy)
Director at the Virtual Debate Tutorial, Instructor at the National Symposium for Debate and the Texas Debate Collective
Assistant Lincoln-Douglas Coach at Lake Highland Preparatory
Conflicts: Millard North, Lake Highland Preparatory
A spreadsheet, for your reference, with my decisions can be found here.
Last Updates: Summer 2020
The Short Version
As a student when I considered a judge I usually looked for a few specific things, I will answer those here:
1. What are their qualifications?
I qualified three times to the TOC, cleared twice, and reached semifinals my senior year. I have taught many weeks of camp for four summers in a row and am going into my fourth year as an assistant coach at Lake Highland.
2. What will they listen to?
Anything - excluding discourses and practices which exclude other participants.
3. What are they experienced in?
I coach a wide variety of arguments and am fairly comfortable adjudicating any style of debate. I am most familiar with kritik based arguments, particularly those which are invested in critical-theory and continental philosophy. I find myself to generally be the least certain of my decisions in debates involving dense amounts of theory and tricks.
4. What do they like?
I don’t have any predetermined notion of what debate should look, act, feel, or sound like and I greatly enjoy when debaters experiment within the space of the activity. In general, if you communicate clearly, are well researched, show depth of understanding in the literature you are reading, and bring passion to the debate I will enjoy whatever you have to present.
5. How do they adjudicate debates?
I generally have a fairly systematic way of adjudicating debates. I begin by attempting to discern the priority of the various layers of arguments presented, examples include frameworks or weighing arguments which specify which types of impacts matter, a theory argument which contests the fairness or education of a position, a kritik which indicts the performance of the affirmative, etc. Once I have determined the priority of layers, I proceed to evaluating the different arguments on each layer, looking for an offensive reason to vote, accounting for defense, bringing in other necessary layers, and whatever else is necessary to find an adequate resolution to the debate.
General things to note:
I flow on a computer in an excel document.
Speed is great so long as you’re clear – I will call “clear” or “slow” a reasonable amount of times – I have a very high threshold for clarity.
I’ll do my best to be tabula rasa and be “tech over truth” but these concepts are vague at best. Smart technically work can make up for weaker truths and pinpointed truths can overwhelm technicalities.
I find the evaluation of embedded clash to be inevitable. This isn't to say I ignore the line-by-line of the flow, but that what I determine to be relevant parts of the flow for a particular portion of the debate - the pieces that make up the arguments I'm evaluating - tends to be based on a fairly holistic and interconnected view. This is not something I prefer, I'd rather not have to do any embedded evaluation, but I find it to be a necessity in many debates which have lackluster weighing and explanation by debaters.
There must be an explained and impacted warrant to an argument in order for me to vote on it. I have a high threshold for explanation. If they entirely concede a theory argument and you extend it with no warrants, I will happily refuse to vote on it. It is impossible to resolve a set of competing claims and I refuse to do that work for you – warrants are an unmovable threshold. I don’t care if the warrant is a misunderstanding or perhaps even false, for example: “Dogs can fly because they have legs which enable movement that could allow them to ascend vertically.” That is sufficient if it is conceded, but there must be some potential justification/reasoning for your claim.
I prefer not to have to use defaults to make important judgements about a debate, as hopefully they’ve been explained by the debaters, but in the cases where they are required, I’ve listed my general views here. I default to a comparative worlds paradigm in which I weigh the desirability of the affirmative versus the negative based on provided impact framing. I default to presuming negative, unless there is an alternative advocacy (counterplan, kritik) in the 2NR without the choice of the status-quo, in which case I presume affirmative. Furthermore, I presume that the status-quo is always an option for the negative, but I will only evaluate it as such if the 2NR explicitly does work on this question. Lastly, I default that layers can be weighed against each other on the same level (theory, topicality, kritiks).
I’ve decided that absent thorough explanation of what arguments such as “evaluate the theory debate after the 1AR/2NR” mean I am not going to evaluate them. If you can explain which layers and arguments in the debate this applies to when you extend it, feel free to go for it, but otherwise I’d recommend against it.
As my time in the activity steadily increases, I find myself more frequently compelled by arguments which are positionally defended, well researched, and grounded in educational content and less frequently compelled by arguments which are frivolous, poorly justified, and used entirely for technical advantage. This stands as a general rule of thumb, but in practice has led to a real distaste for cheap-shots, tricks, and frivolous theory arguments, as I find the ones that I frequently judge to be at least intuitively pointless, unnecessary, and unoffensive. After these types of debates, I almost always find myself asking “Why couldn’t they have just responded to the substance of their opponent’s argument?” Though I imagine I will still vote for those positions, this certainly effects my distribution of speaker points and threshold for responses to certain positions and is something to keep in mind. Practically, this just means that I’d prefer to see, regardless of your preferred style of debate, a few well-developed and defended positions, be it a theory interpretation, kritik, counterplan, or otherwise, rather than a random smattering of underdeveloped and unjustified ones.
I’m most familiar with this style of debating, usually from the poststructuralist and continental philosophy angle, and they are my favorite debates to judge when done well.
I really value clarity of explanation, especially in the context of dense philosophy. The most common concern I find myself raising to debaters is a lack of through development of a worldview. Working through the way that your understanding of the world operates, be it through the alternative resolving the links, your theory of violence explaining a root-cause, or otherwise is crucial to convey what I should be voting for at the end of the debate.
I find that a large number of alternatives are either not competitive or are poorly explained but the affirmative fails to articulate a solid permutation. Similarly, explain your permutations - one sentence in the 1AR and 3 minutes in the 2AR won't cut it.
I'm a fairly receptive judge to these positions. I don't really care if you defend the topic entirely, a little bit, or not at all. You should just advocate what you can justify and defend. It generally holds true that the further the affirmative is from the topic the more topicality’s concern for fairness becomes persuasive, but well developed arguments on either side can shift this greatly.
You should forefront an explanation of what you defend, be it a methodology, implementation of a plan, theory of approach or analysis, or otherwise. It is usually shiftiness in conjunction with a lack of clear story from the affirmative that results in sympathy for procedurals such as topicality and other negative objections in these debates in front of me.
I generally find negative tricks against these positions (switch-side debate, topical version, truth-testing, fairness first) to be fairly weak but I end up voting on them quite frequently due to lack of a forwarding of a different vision for the debate from affirmatives.
I am least comfortable adjudging intricate theory debates; however I enjoy these debates when there is a lot of clash and weighing on one or two shells. I do not enjoy these debates as much when there are multiple shells, meta-theory, or a lack of clash and weighing. A majority of my decisions on theory come down to either dropped arguments or weighing in an otherwise extremely messy debate.
I default to no RVI, drop the argument, and competing interpretations. I default to a pretty modest understanding of competing interpretations in which a risk of offense isn't "game over" - if you disagree you ought to explain your version.
I am profoundly unpersuaded by any claims that appeal to a constitutive nature of the activity/judge and jurisdiction claims. So unpersuaded that if it is anything less than dropped I'm unsure if I would vote for it. It seems logically incoherent.
The later in the round the shell is read the less likely I am going to feel comfortable voting on it. That's not to say I won't vote on 2NR or even 2AR theory, but I'd really prefer that I didn't have to, plus you're basically putting the debate in my hands in that point - it's a big risk.
I will vote on disclosure theory and brackets theory, though using either, especially increasingly specified interpretations, for purely technical gain is yucky.
I have a voting record that is fairly favorable towards theory, however I have become increasingly aware of my bias against theory "tricks". This includes things such as "must read a counter-interpretation," arbitrary independent voters (e.g. strategy skew, I'm fine with things such as resolvability), etc. These are usually extended without a warrant and are dependent on either intuition/prior interpretative beliefs about the nature of theory or a purely technical evaluation that will vote on mere claims - in these instances I am likely to refuse to vote on these arguments. I will however vote on these arguments when they actually have a warrant.
You should have a clear interpretation and violation that explains your vision of the topic. The affirmative should either defend the violation or have a counter-definition or competitive counter-interpretation.
You should isolate the ground that you lose, the limits that are broken - reference case-lists and be specific.
I enjoy T debates that include carded topic-lit evidence to support their impacts and interpretation.
Everything in the theory section applies here as well.
I enjoy these greatly and wish I judged them more.
Good analytics can be more effective than bad evidence - I'm a good judge for strong "spin" and extrapolation outside of the evidence itself.
Explain your scenarios in later speeches - advantage/disadvantage overviews are great.
I'm mostly neutral on multiple condo, though I suppose I slightly lean affirmative if its more than two or three.
I've gotten significantly better at judging these debates and I spend pretty much all my time in college reading, studying, and discussing philosophy.
I'd implore you to give overviews and slow down to explain the main points of clash in later speeches. These debates can get very messy with a variety of preclusion claims, hijacks, etc. and a clear explanation of the implications of your extensions and arguments can sway the debate in your favor.
I'm a fan of frameworks interacting with kritiks, theory, and otherwise.
I have voted on these arguments frequently when they are well explained in the context of the rest of the debate in terms of both their content (the claim and warrant) and function (their impact). You should therefore explain how your trick interacts with other layers and arguments in the debate if you want to go for it.
Being honest with your sketchiness is in your best interest - for both strategic reasons and for my own comprehension. I'm okay with voting for an argument I didn't see coming, but if I can't logically put together from the pieces you explain in the later speeches how the argument functions i.e. why it affirms, takes out theory, etc, I'm probably not going to vote on it.
If accusations of clipping/cross-reading are made I will a) stop the debate b) confirm the accuser wishes to stake the round on this question c) render a decision based on the guilt of the accused.
If I notice an ethics violation I will skip A and B and proceed unilaterally to C.
Questions of misrepresentation/miscutting should be addressed in the round - in whatever form you determine to be best.
I disclose speaks. I believe it helps students learn what they can do better and helps discourage bad practices.
A thirty requires an affective component – passion and exceptionality – that is what distinguishes it from a very high 29.
Here is a rough framework I will attempt to follow – I assign speaks relative to the pool so a 29.5 at a local tournament is different than a 29.5 at the TOC:
<25-26: Unethical; offensive, clipping of cards.
27-28: Significantly below average, unlikely to clear.
28-29: Slightly below, at, or slightly above average, potential to clear but won't make it far (I try to average a 28.5)
29-30: Significantly above average, most likely to clear and will be competitive in late elims.
Chris Castillo Paradigm
I am the LD coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Tx. I've been involved in debate since the year 2000. I judge a lot. Mostly on the national/toc circuit but also locally. Feel free to ask questions before the round. Add me to email chains. Jchriscastillo at gmail dot com.
I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. Be clear, both in delivery and argument function/interaction, weigh and develop a ballot story.
Theory: I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types. I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness. Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments. D
Non-T affs: These are fine just have a clear ballot story.
Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".
Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity.
Prep: 1. I prefer that you don't use cx as prep time. 2. It is ok to ask questions during cx. 3. Compiling a document counts as prep time. 4. Please write down how much time you have left.
Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. Don't manipulate evidence or clip.
Melissa Chau Paradigm
I debated for LHP and graduated in 2017.
I will evaluate the round as best as I can based off of the flow. My best advice to get my ballot is to tell me where to vote and weigh (the way to win is to weigh way more). I honestly just want the round explained well.
On another note, I think debate is whatever you make of it- if you want it to be a game, educational space, performance, whatever, it is up to you. Have fun, but please be kind to your opponent.
If you are spreading, please start off slowly, I haven't judged in a while so ease into your speed.
My level of comfort goes:
1. Ks (If you're reading high theory, you'll need to do explaining. I am not familiar with the literature base)
Don’t let what I put discourage you from doing what you like, just know that you’ll have to do more crystallization as you move down the list.
Matthew Chen Paradigm
put me on the email chain: email@example.com
University of Chicago '22
gbx 19 update --- I have not judged or listened to a round since TOC 2019. As such, I'm not very accustomed to spreading. You'll have to build up to your top speed and slow down on tags and analytics a LOT. I'll call clear and slow as much as necessary, but if I miss something because you were going too fast that's on you.
also, because of my time out of debate, I'm not up to date on the newest strategies and philosophies. No, I haven't read whatever new author top lab dug up. Feel free to read it if you can explain it, but please realize that I won't know how you expect me to evaluate offense or syllogism indicts unless you spell it out very clearly for me. The inverse implication of this is true though - if you can clearly explain to me how you think I should evaluate offense and what framework arguments matter with a dense philosophical or critical position, your speaks will almost certainly be among the best I've ever given.
In order of arg style, I will probably be best at judging policy v policy, T/theory, or policy v K debates. I'm fine judging other styles but they'll definitely require more explanation and less speed.
tl:dr; you do you. be respectful to each other and everyone watching. additionally, feel free to tell me if i'm doing something/acting in a way that makes you feel unwelcome, either during the rfd or during a round.
1] Don't cheat - miscutting, clipping, strawmanning etc. It's an auto-loss with 0 speaks if I catch you. Ev ethics claims aren't theory arguments - if you make an ev ethics challenge, you stake the round on it and the loser of the challenge gets an L0. (this only applies if you directly accuse your opponent of cheating though - if you read brackets with an ev ethics standard that's different).
2] I'm not going to follow the speech doc, so signpost and be clear. I'll look after the round to verify evidence claims though, but generally debating evidence well is more important than shitting cards out.
3] weigh as early as possible - i.e. disad outweighs case in 1nc, t standards weighing in 1ar. The later you weigh, the lower my credence in your claims is
4] I have found that many analytics get too short to qualify as arguments - especially on theory. At the point where your drop the debater arguments are literally "1) deterrence 2) rectify time lost on theory 3) sets good norms" and then nothing else, you haven't made an argument.
5] I will assume zero prior knowledge when going into a round on any subject, which means it's on you to make me understand your warrant purely from the speech itself. For example, even if I know what the warrant for something like gratuitous violence, if I don't think your explanation completes a logical warrant chain on why gratuitious is an accurate description of relationships, I won't vote for you.
6] then larger your claim is, the higher the threshold i have for a warrant. "there is no hope for progress ever" is a much larger, more broad claim than "this action can do something good", and as such, needs a stronger warrant to be won.
7] don't be offensive - going for "racism is ok", for example, is an easy way to lose
8] if you can't explain how your study was conducted/important control factors/etc. and your opponent calls you out on this, i'm probably not going to vote for said piece of evidence no matter how fantastic you insist it is or how qualified the author is. good ev matters, but being able to explain evidence matters more.
Michael Corder Paradigm
Hey, I’m Michael I did LD for four years at Lake Highland graduating in 2016. I qualled to the TOC twice with 6 career bids making it to octos my senior year. I have no real preference for one type of argument, just do whatever you’re best at. The only arguments I won’t vote for are ones that are blatantly offensive (i.e. racism good) and ones that lack a warrant entirely. Also if no arguments for presumption are made by either debater I'll default to presuming aff. This default can easily be changed with in round arguments it only exists if literally no arguments are made by either debater about presumption. One thing to note is that I’ve been out of the activity for a while so it would be best to start at half speed in front of me if you choose to spread and then work up to your top speed. Other than that if you have any questions feel free to ask me before the round or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffany Dacheux Paradigm
Forensics Team coach for Dallastown since 2014
Speed and Decorum:
Send me your case. My email is email@example.com I cannot overemphasize the necessity of doing this – it will help keep me focused, and generally just make me happier. (Please…and thank you!) If its an organized case, that’s just even better!
Spreading…I can follow it when I have the speech DOC, at least a skeletal outline (preferably written), or clear signposts which are different in emphasis/tone. Real talk time: this is key if you will be spreading in rebuttal.
I really do not care if you sit, stand, or perform yoga poses while you speak. I vaguely care that you remain in the room, and do not want you to touch me/your opponent but other than that pick your own position.
I don't time the debate or prep time, therefore you should. If need me to time, please tell me. Flex prep is fine if all debaters in the round agree.
I’d rather not touch…well…ANYONE, so can we NOT shake hands?
Arguments that are obviously racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, Anti-Semitic, etc. are not OK. (Read: you will lose if you run them.)
I do not like theory. I find it unnecessarily complicated and usually designed to make debate inaccessible (especially to those who are likely already crowded out of this forum in some other way). Please don't run it unless there you see literally NO OTHER WAY to respond to your opponent's arguments. Even then, I may not evaluate it the way you want or expect. If you planning to run dense or tricky theory, you should find a different judge.
You have an absolute obligation to articulate your arguments. Even if I’m familiar with the literature or whatever that you might be referencing I *try* to avoid filling in any gaps.
Signposting = GOOD! Flipping back and forth from AFF flow to NEG flow then back to AFF Flow to NEG Flow....BAD.... VERY, VERY, VERY BAD!
Tricks = no. Thanks.
Above all, strive to make sense. I do not prefer any “style” of debate or any particular kind of argument over another. Similarly, there isn’t much that is “off limits” (other than that which is listed above…pay attention to that). Regardless of what you run, if your case relies on me to connect the dots for you or if it is a literal mess of crappily cut and equally crappily organized evidence sans warrants, you probably be sad at the end of the round.
Tom Evnen Paradigm
Current affiliations (for TOC 2019): NSD, TDC, Lake Highland Prep, Westview's Rohith Sudhakar.
I have coached and judged for various schools on the national circuit more or less since 2003. I am fine with whatever kind of debate you would like to have; I am more attached to the idea that you have the kind of round you would like to have, than that you debate in the ways I find most interesting. So, if you have a vision for how you would like me to judge a debate, then just argue for that vision in the round, and I will adjudicate it on the flow.
I have thought most about ethical framework debate, K debate, theory debate, and tricks. I think less about LARP debate, though I'm fine judging LARP debates.
Jayanne Forrest Paradigm
I'm Jayanne. My name is pronounced “Jay-” (e.g. pay, hay, say) “-anne” ... if you can’t pronounce it, call me Jay
Hello! I debated for Fort Lauderdale High School in Florida for 4 years in LD and Policy. I graduated in 2018 and I am a sophomore at Columbia University if anyone is looking to hire judges in NY! I coach and teach at debate camps and do fun stuff outside of debate.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick updates: I don't disclose speaker points. I base speaks off the clarity of speech, the quality of arguments, and the strategic choices in the rebuttal. I don't flow off speech docs, I flow what you actually say, so speak clearly and slow down on author names (especially now that these debates are happening via Zoom). Explain your positions, be clear (pause between cards and slow down on tags), I will 9/10 understand and flow. Internet connections and computer breakdowns do not grant you extra prep time, if the doc isn't received by anyone within a few minutes you can flash, if no flashdrive: start the speech and flow by ear (no more delaying tournaments waiting 10-15 minutes for ONE speech document). I also get annoyed when people in LD say "we" all the time, especially in cross-ex -- who is we? this is not a partner event.... Lastly: please stop reading T and Framework shells without TVAs.... you need to have a "topical version of the AFF" when telling someone that they are not topical and don't meet your interp.........
** I get triggered by graphic depictions of anti-black violence (e.g. those very graphic examples of police brutality used to support Afropessimism).**
Read whatever but I'll note I'm not a big fan of very complex theory debates or skep or tricks or heavily pre-written stuff that you do not understand. If you read a unique position well that will benefit your speaker points. I love performance and identity politics, yet I encourage you to do whatever you are passionate about - do not read that stuff just because you think I will like it, do it because you want to.
I’ll note that I am not the judge for any complex LD theory debates because I find them boring, messy, and often hard to resolve but I really love GOOD T and T-framework debates (e.g. spicy TVAs, unique definitions and voters etc.). I am not going to put specific opinions on all arguments here, but you can ask before round if you want.
Last few things: if you say anything blatantly anti-black, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, anti-queer, ableist, etc. and your opponent calls you out for the attack on them, I will drop you. Debate should be a home space for everyone and you are responsible for the things you say because it is a speaking activity.
If you plan to read afro-pessimism, please read a trigger warning or simply take out those horrific examples of modern day gratuitous violence. Black violence as a spectacle should not be normalized in debate or ANYWHERE.
I also don’t think that non-black and ESPECIALLY white debaters should be reading radical black authors (e.g. afropessimism, Black Nationalism, etc.). Read your social and racial justice positions sure, but please leave the voices of our radical black authors/groups (e.g. Black militant groups, the Black Panthers) out of your advocacies. This "strategic" practice of reading Black narratives and fake-woke alliances really needs to stop in LD... so if you're not Black and you read aforementioned positions I will drop you. If you say any racial slur written by the author (or just on your own whim) I will drop you and give you zero speaker points. I think there are productive ways to engage in this pessimistic critical race theory but I haven't been in the back of a round like that yet.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Have fun, learn a lot, and be great!
Hi! I am new to coaching PF specifically, I never debated it in high school but I have been coaching PF for several months now and I am familiar with the charter schools topic. With that being said, my experience in debate is mostly LD and Policy so I love great strategic choices, solid evidence, and I am comfortable with speaking faster than conversational. You can read anything in front of me and I will understand, but the onus is still on you to explain your arguments! Lastly, if you say anything blatantly anti-black, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, anti-queer, ableist, etc. and your opponent calls you out for the attack on them, I will drop you. Debate should be a home space for everyone and you are responsible for the things you say because it is a speaking activity.
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.
Neal Kapoor Paradigm
Muhammad Khattak Paradigm
Lake Highland ’18
Hey! I'm Momo, I debated for Lake Highland for five years, where I qualified to the TOC my sophomore, junior, and senior year.
I believe the only essential feature of debate that I should uphold as a judge is that an argument is characterized by having a claim, warrant, and impact. You should read whatever style argument you’re most comfortable with and I’ll adjudicate the best I can. In that sense, I consider myself pretty tab, and I care about making the right decision. But for preffing reasons, here are some thoughts on evaluating specific debates:
Util (CP, DA, Plan, etc.):
- I read util args pretty often my sophomore and senior year, so I consider myself reasonably comfortable on assessing these debates.
- I believe in zero-risk of an impact occurring; if it is the case that an impact defense argument is conceded and other great defense is put on an advantage, a debater can’t stand up and claim some sort of “risk of offense.” 0.0001% risk is 0% risk.
- I'm pretty familiar with a lot of K lit. I was most well-read in a lot of high-theory / philosophically-grounded Ks (Wynter, Afro-pessimism, D&G, Baudi, Foucault, Derrida, etc.) but I'm open to whatever you wanna read.
- Performance is cool.
- I consider myself decently familiar in philosophy lit; I went for a lot of these positions as a debater so feel more than free to read them.
- I default to ethical confidence in framework comparison, but I’m more than open to hearing modesty arguments.
- I'm fine with tricks; just slow down on arguments you know are blippy because I don't feel comfortable voting on arguments I half-flowed.
- Some tricks can push the limits of coherence and my willingness to vote on them - particularly those that contradict my ability to procedurally evaluate every speech of the debate. I'm fine with stuff like "evaluate the theory debate after the 2nr", but stuff like "evaluate the debate (in its entirety) after the 1AC" like what?? should I just never judge?
- I feel pretty solid evaluating these debates, and I don't really have any bias on what's frivolous.
- Concerning T-Framework, I’m impartial on the issue of whether it’s true since I found myself on both sides of the debate. You don't necessarily need a TVA to win these debates.
- Please read a voter, otherwise I'll have to go to my defaults (fairness and education are voters, drop the debater, no RVI, competing interps), and I'll be sad.
- They’re just an in-the-moment type of deal; I’ll try to average a 28ish.
- Don’t be rude!
Hannah Koegler Paradigm
I did debate from freshman year to senior year. I mostly read K's and phil.
I have not judged since the Round Robin last year, and before that, hadn't done any debate related things since Harvard 2018.
Hypothetically, you can read anything in front of me as long as you explain it well. However, use your judgement pretty conservatively. If you're thinking of reading something that's pretty new in debate or you don't think you'd have enough time for the strat and to explain it clearly, then it probably wouldn't be the right move for me.
Signposting is mega appreciated as I have been out of the activity for quite some time, as well as voting issues (if your voting issues are clear and warranted, I will listen!!). I will say slow and clear as much as needed. I will probably need you to go slower than top speed as it's been a while since I've flowed.
My email is email@example.com - include me on the email chain!!
Most importantly, be kind to one another!!
Daiya Massac Paradigm
I competed for Bronx Science 2012-2014, coached Scarsdale 2014-2016, and am now entering my last year of being involved with this activity by coaching independently. Conflicts- Bronx Science, Scarsdale, Lake Travis, and a few others.
Go slower then your top speed, if I don't catch an argument I am not going to flow it. I honestly don't care what is run in front of me- just signpost well and explain your arguments. slow down on tags and analytics. I am cool with flex prep. flashing/emailing better not take over a minute or it eats your prep time. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (use email for your email chains.)
Edited for LHP RR and beyond: I honestly hate most of the arguments run this year. Don't get me wrong, I love this activity and think that it's awesome but it seems like a bunch of you on the national circuit have taken it upon yourselves to ruin this perfectly nice debate event to the point that I wish I could travel back in time and force myself to join Policy. I haven’t heard much that I thought was smart or creative aside for a few Ks, a couple plans, and a single framework shell. As I am forced to make a decision, I will do my best to adjudicate but I can’t promise you will like my speaker points nor my decision. I got a little better at flowing but being able to hear y’all’s arguments probably will just makes me dislike them a lot more. Best way to win my ballot is to establish a clear framing mechanism and offense back to it. The saving grace for your speaker points and my sanity is the way you present your arguments. Being funny, making gutsy strategic moves, reading interesting arguments, and/or being smart will be rewarded with really high speaker points. If you are a robot that just reads docs please strike me or just have your coach speak for you instead. If you have a coach that wants to waste my time please strike me. If you want to read a case full of analytic arguments that sounds like you are reciting the alphabet or practicing how to count please, for the love of god, strike me. If I judge you I apologize in advance cause if I do and you do not listen to my advice then chances are I am just going to be replaying an episode of "Entourage" in my head instead of paying attention to your boring/asinine arguments. If you want a free conflict, feel free to send me a couple bucks on Venmo and we can claim a financial relationship (just kidding). If you have any questions about my paradigm, feel free to ask me in person (please do not attempt to contact me) about my thoughts on debate.
My pronouns are He/him/his- let me know yours before the round to avoid any issue
Cameron McConway Paradigm
I did LD for three years at Cy-Fair HS outside of Houston, Texas, qualifying to the TOC and NSDA nationals, and finishing in semifinals at TFA state. I work for McNeil HS in Austin while attending the University of Texas, and I teach at NSD and TDC.
Conflicts: McNeil HS, Cy-Fair HS, Lovejoy KC, Pembroke Pines MC
I'd rather evaluate your style of debate than have you do things you're not comfortable with because you think it's what I want. My paradigm is here so you get an idea of how you want to pref me and how to debate in front of me, not to dissuade you from any particular type of debate.
Feel free to ask me questions at email@example.com.
If I am judging you at 8 am or late after a long day of rounds, please make an extra effort to be clear and organized. I'm tired and I want to make sure I can evaluate the debate as best as possible, so this is in your best interest!
The trend of taking forever to send speech docs (and then wait for everyone to download them) is extremely annoying. I haven't figured out the best way to check this, so for now I'm asking that you come to round with the aff ready to send, and have docs ready to send as soon as prep ends before the NC. If you think you might have wifi trouble or problems with your email, a flash drive would speed this process up.
I will vote on most arguments as long as they aren't morally objectionable or blatantly false. I will do my best to be tab, but I think there is a level of plausibility necessary for me to vote on an argument (for instance, I won't vote on an obviously false I-meet). It will be difficult to convince me to vote on a super blippy apriori or an argument that turned into a voting issue after being one line in the original speech.
I'd like to be on the email chain in case I need to look at a card, but I will flow you not the speech doc.
I'm fine with speed, just slow down on tags/author names and interps/advocacy texts. I will yell clear/slow/louder but I will give up if there is no change.
I am comfortable evaluating theory under whichever paradigm you prefer, so long as you justify it. I have found that I enjoy a good theory debate where there is a lot of weighing and internal links.
I am not a fan of disclosure debates, especially when the violation is unverifiable or the wiki was down. That said, there is a difference between a debate about disclosure vs a debate over open source or round reports, and I would much prefer the former.
I read both high theory and identity politics. I feel comfortable evaluating most K debates but I strongly prefer debaters err on the side of overexplaining/not relying on jargon rather than assuming that I am familiar with the literature they are reading. These debates tend to either be excellent or my least favorite.
I enjoy K affs, but I do think if you are nontopical you need to a) win that being nontopical is legitimate b) have an evaluative mechanism and c) have offense under that mechanism. I am happy to listen to unique/innovative K affs regardless of their topicality, though I am also happy to listen to T debates against them. I think these can be interesting debates.
Recent observation: I find positions that rely on premises like "performative contradictions good" or "debate itself bad" to be unpersuasive. Not positions that criticize the current iteration of competitive debate (I am fine with that), but rather I think there is inherent value to the act of debating. This doesn't mean I won't vote on high theory authors like Baudrillard, because I will and I have, but I do think your interpretation of these authors should be compatible with your performance.
I think that high level LARP debates tend to be more difficult to evaluate because a lot of debaters do not do sufficient weighing or impact calc. I enjoy well done LARP debates, just please do good weighing.
I enjoy framework debate more the longer I judge. Slow down a bit on long analytic dumps and err towards overexplaining the dense philosophical warrants, because these things are difficult to flow at your top speed.
I start around a 28.5 and go up or down depending on in-round strategy and skill relative to the tournament. Speaks tend to be over-inflated and relatively arbitrary, so I try to give speaks with influencing who clears in mind. I like speaks as a way to reward well-executed or particularly clever strategies.
David McGinnis Paradigm
I spent a bunch of time before New Trier 19 writing a policy paradigm and in the one round I got the aff read "queer eroticism" so I am done trying to explain to policy teams how to adapt to me. Those of you who would strike or otherwise depref me because I am an LD coach: good call. Those of you who would refrain from striking me and then read "queer eroticism": please reconsider.
I am the head coach at Valley High School and have been coaching LD debate since 1996.
I coach students on both the local and national circuits.
I can flow speed reasonably well, particularly if you speak clearly. If I can't flow you I will say "clear" or "slow" a couple of times before I give up and begin playing Pac Man.
I'm most familiar with philosophical framework debating, but you can debate however you like in front of me, as well as you explain your arguments clearly and do a good job of extending and weighing.
UPDATE JUNE 2019: AND IMPACTING!
Nelson Okunlola Paradigm
*Glenbrooks Update - I’ll probably be flowing on paper - do with this what you wish*
I still know nothing about the topic.
Earl Warren '17
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org [Add me to the chain]
I did LD and Policy in high school and was a 2N at Northwestern
I haven't read the topic lit. Don't assume I know the acronyms or that I know what's "common sense" in the literature
I generally evaluate LD and Policy the same, correcting for obvious activity discrepancies. If something is specific to one event, ill label it as such.
Do what YOU want and do it well. If something isn't clear here, contact me or ask before the round
- Tech > Truth
- Add me to the chain. Prep time ends when the doc has been saved and is ready to be sent. If you "cease prep" and aren't ready to give your speech within 30 seconds, I'm starting the time again. Get better at compiling docs.
- Ill vote on pretty much anything that's warranted and impacted both generally and to my ballot. I don't give credence to one lit base over another. Reading something just because you think i'd like it is probably not the way to go but do you I guess.
- Debate can be whatever you want it to be, whether that's a game, a liberation strategy, or an activity you do just cause.
- Decision Calculus = "who's winning framing" "who's winning offense under that framing". I’ll evaluate “layers” and all that jazz but thats work you have to do. If your strategy requires a different evaluative mechanism just make that clear
- Absent framing I'll presume util=trutil
- Don't assume I've read your lit
- I'll call for evidence judiciously
- Don't do it, if you do its an L0
- If you make a false accusation, its an L0
- I think brackets are only germane for questionable language, given that the word or phrase you change is not omitted from the text.
- Speed is chill but keep in mind I've never been the best at flowing
- Do not start at full speed, 8/10 times I'll miss the first 3 words
- ******Slow down considerably on tags/texts/analytics. You can speed through anything else
- Some speeds are just incomprehensible for me to flow so I will yell slow and/or clear. I won't dock speaks if you're too fast for me because that's not your fault, but if you are unclear it is my jurisdiction to dock speaks.
- The longer you take to adapt the angrier I get and that affects speaks
[LD] Pref shortcuts
- Tell me how to evaluate the round. Absent framing, I'll assume util is true and adjudicate accordingly. You don't want me to do that.
- I'm not an analytic/dense phil guy. If this is what you do thats fine just please don't assume I've read your lit.
- CP theory is fair game
- Competition should be clear
- Impact framing and weighing is important and the lack thereof make these debates hard to evaluate
- I need to know what your alt and my ballot means/does
- Don't assume I've read your lit
- Make framing arguments, I don't like intervening
- Go all out, but warrant your arguments/practices
Kritikal Affs/Performance/Micropolitical/T - Resolution
- Warrant and defend your practice/speech act/performance
- Been on both sides of this debate, enjoy both sides of this debate. I'm just as willing to vote on T as I am to vote aff in these debates
- The negative could usually benefit from saying something about the case proper in these debates
- Do it well
- I need to hear your interpretation
- Slow down on the standard/impact names (Limits, Ground etc)
- Ngl I enjoy a good topicality debate
[LD] this isn't policy and there are no stock issues. T is probably not an intrinsic affirmative burden. You probably need a voter.
- I would much rather evaluate substance but theory is fair game. However, just like every other argument, the more bullshit it is, the lower my threshold for responses are but at the same time I won't make those responses for you
- Slow down on the interpretation and the standard/impact names (Predictability, Time Skew etc)
- Reasonability is very underutilized and can be compelling but deploy it effectively
[LD] If theory is your pre-meditated A strat, don't pref me. No one likes frivolous theory, it will make me sad and you'll be sad when you see your speaks
[LD] I shouldn't have to default on any theory paradigms, it's your job to have that debate but without contestation, I'll default competing interpretations and no RVI's. All this means is that if these aren't contested in the round, that's how i'm evaluating theory.
[LD] Theory does not have to be in "shell" format
- It's an argument. It can be worthwhile if read well, therefore if you plan on reading this do it well and defend your practice.
- 1 off skep probably won't get you too far but I'll evaluate it I guess
- If your A-strat are tricks then I'm not the judge for you. I honestly don't really know how most of the shits function so you probably dont want me judging you anyways
- Ill still evaluate it, just err on the side of explanation of the utility of your argument.
- This changes depending on the caliber of the tournament
- I see speaks as a tiebreaker for seeding and I evaluate it accordingly
- General criteria: should you clear? strategy, in round persona, "are you good or bad at debate"
- Speech impediments won't factor into my evaluation of speaks
- I'll reward innovation by giving more speaks to debaters that teach me something new
- 29.6-30: You can win this tournament or be in late elims
- 29-29.5: Better than the majority of the pool
- 28-29: You'll probably clear
- 27-28: You'll probably not clear
- 26-27: Lots of room for improvement
- < 26: .........
- Content warnings are valuable
- Lay debate is chill, but I prefer faster debates over slower ones.
PF Paradigms Update 3/27 for TOC
- Everything in the Policy/LD section generally apply, I suggest reading that especially the TLDR/General section
- I prefer faster debates over slower ones
- The only hard and fast/objective rules that constrain me are those of the tournaments/whatever rule guidelines said the tournament is following. Everything else is up for debate (i.e theoretical arguments)
- I don't care what you read/how you read it (see note above)
- Don't assume I've read the topic lit
- I'm fine with "progressive" style arguments but if your opponents ask for clarification you better do some explaining.
Stephen Scopa Paradigm
I debated at Pines Charter on both the local and national circuit and went to TOC my senior year. My email for speech docs is: Stevescopa23@gmail.com
General: I am very much a tech > truth person who will vote for any argument you make no matter how seemingly ridiculous or bizarre, all I need is a warrant. I also have a low threshold for extensions of conceded arguments but they need to be extended in each speech. My goal is to evaluate rounds with as little intervention as possible. Judges have become too dogmatic in my opinion, so everything that follows is merely a preference or a default, nothing but the arguments you make will factor into my decision.
- I default to truth testing if no other RoB is read in the round.
- I am not exactly the best at flowing, so when you are making analytic arguments you should label them and sign post as clear as possible. Also maybe take half a second after author names.
- I don’t evaluate embedded clash unless there is an argument as to why I should or the round is irresolvable without it.
- I do not believe you get new 2n responses to AC arguments unless an argument is made for why you get those arguments in the NC- making an argument in the 2n that says something like “this was just a dumb blippy argument” is not sufficient. This goes for 2ar responses to NC arguments as well.
- Believe it or not, I will vote on disclosure theory. I’m more open to it these days than I have been in the past, but I still think frivolous disclosure theory is super annoying. Not disclosing period is one thing, not cohering to every aspect of whatever you think is good is another. Also don’t read it against novices or people who clearly don’t know what it is. I also won’t evaluate it if it becomes clear/verifiable the debater’s team won’t allow it or other similar circumstances.
- Don’t need to flash analytics to your opponent but I would like them
- Even if something is labeled an independent voter, if there is no warrant for why it is one, I won’t evaluate it as such. This is becoming slightly annoying norm. I also don’t really think “x author is sexist/racist/etc so you should lose” makes much sense. I’ll vote on it if you win it but it’s an uphill battle.
- I consider myself pretty much agnostic in terms of arguments, obviously every judge has their preferences but content has 0 effect on my decision.
- I don’t mind you “grilling” me, I think judges learn sometimes too and it can be good to keep judges accountable. Just be aware that if you are aggressive I will be sassy too.
- If your offense is conceded but you don’t extend it, it doesn’t exist. Too many affs take for granted the offense is conceded and don’t even mention it in the 2ar. Literally all you have to do is say “extend the offense, it was conceded” but apparently that is even too much for some people.
- Explaining why a card doesn’t have a warrant is terminal defense if you can’t answer with a clear articulation of a warrant.
- Saying “the aff is a good idea” doesn’t mean anything. You have to win arguments to prove this.
- I really like a good CX. People trying to be edgy without the personality for it is cringe, but people with the personality for it can be dominant. I won’t vote on arguments made it in CX, but I getting concessions or making people look silly will boost your speaks.
- This is just a preference but like... Reading T probably isn't violence. False equivalencies from K debaters are kinda whack and I'll vote on conceded arguments but if it's pointed out that it's a false equivalency I probably won't.
- If an independent voter doesn't have a warrant in the first speech I won't vote on it regardless of how long you spend going for it and explaining it in the last speech.
- If an argument is conceded it's conceded. Too often I feel like the 2ar is treating me like a lay judge over-explaining things. Be tech, I know what arguments are conceded. Obviously you should still weigh and implicate the argument if that's crucial to the 2ar/2nr strategy, but often that's not what is happening.
Theory: Go for it - this is probably one of the easier things for me to judge, and I really enjoy judging nuanced theory debates. Slow down on the interpretation a bit if it’s something more nuanced. I don’t “gut check” frivolous shells but obviously if you are winning reasonability then I will evaluate through whatever your brightline is. If neither debater makes arguments I default to the following:
- There is no impact to a shell without drop the arg or drop the debater warrants so I will just eval substance
- Competing interps
- Norms creation model
- RVIs good
- Fairness is a voter
- Education not a voter
Also, for counter interps “converse of the interp” is not sufficient, if your opponent says “idk what the converse is so I can’t be held to the norm” I will buy that argument, just actually come up with a counter interp.
I also hate the spamming of affirming/negating is harder and will probably hurt your speaks a lil for it.
I really like RVIs and think they are underutilized so if you successfully go for one I will be happy.
T: I don’t like it quite as much as theory but it’s still fun to judge. T debates weren’t nearly as nuanced when I debated so you may have to explain some of the particulars more than you may be used to. I am also a sucker for semantics.
T “framework”: To be honest I am sort of agnostic as to whether affs should be T. I probably lean yes, but I also find non-T affs pretty interesting and fun to judge. I don’t consider an aff that doesn’t defend fiat but does defend the principle of the resolution non-T, and I am less persuaded by T in that sense. Seems like you get access to literally everything but util which is plenty of ground, and I think most topics don’t semantically require implementation, and in fact, usually do the opposite. That being said, I would consider myself someone both debaters wouldn’t mind having in a clash of civs debate.
Tricks: This was my favorite style of debate when I competed and clever tricks are entertaining but that doesn’t mean I will instantly vote for you if you read them without winning why they are relevant (aka you are winning truth testing). The more clever your arguments are, the higher your speaks will be. Despite my old love for them, I usually have a low threshold for responses since the arguments are usually fairly weak. If you obviously just included an a priori because I am judging you and don’t extend a conceded one, your speaks will probably suffer. I also prefer you be more up front with them in CX if your opponent catches them, I have a lot more respect for people who are straight up about their sketchiness. If you are not the best at answering these arguments I wouldn’t worry too much, I will be more than happy to disregard them if you are winning a role of the ballot that excludes them or a shell that indicts them. Also, calling something a trick doesn’t mean anything to me -- tell me what the implication of the argument is. It also bothers me how tricks debaters have become reliant on the same resolved a priori every debate - I'd much rather listen to an interesting phil or K round than watch u extend the same a priori people have been reading for years. Think of new and clever arguments. Also, reading 16 spikes with a Kant framework isn’t a tricks aff and I really don’t like it. I judge these constantly cause I’m probably one of the few that will listen, and that hasn’t changed but don’t expect high speaks or for me to be impressed.
Ks: I feel like this is the section that needs the most updating because I do a lot of reading and coaching for the K these days. I really enjoy a good K debate. Despite my reputation, I’m a big fan of K’s and am fairly well versed in the literature. I really enjoy high theory and find good K affs super fun. I have read Deleuze, Butler, Wilderson/Warren, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, Edelman, etc so I definitely think Ks like these are interesting and strategic. I occasionally enjoy judging these debates the most because of how interesting and unique the arguments are. However, I cannot stand unwarranted “this is just another link” arguments, you need to explain or give a warrant as to why what you say is a link actually is one. I also am not a huge fan of identity K's, and I may vote on some responses you disagree with, just as a fair warning. Additionally, I prefer to see line by line debate, and it seems as though a lot of Ks begin/consist of long overviews without much specific reference to arguments in previous speeches, which can be difficult to flow, so you may want to consider this when going for the K in the 2n/1ar/2ar. I also am very open to you kicking the alt and going for disads, and would almost advise this in front of me cause winning the alt can be a pain. The one K I am really not liking these days is set col, cause I think almost every response is just true and most debaters I’ve seen aren’t the best at handling them, but obviously I’ll still vote on it if you win it. Ultimately if this is your favorite/ best style of debate, you should go for it.
My favorite K’s: Baudrillard, Nietzsche, Psychoanalysis
Larp: I was never a larper, never judged a high level larp round, and am probably not qualified to judge a really good DA v Util AC debate. I don’t particularly enjoy these debates, and you most likely will not enjoy me judging you but I will do my best to evaluate the round. If you can’t defend util against a dump or well justified framework you shouldn’t pref me, because “the aff is a good idea” will not get my ballot. (Update: For some reason people still stand up and larp and read disads in front of me so PLS don’t pref me or change up the strat, trust me it is best for both of us). (Update for JF20: I find this topic pretty interesting and am more open to listening to some cool plans/advantages. I would also really enjoy some larp innovation like rule util or some other more nuanced framework/new util warrants).
Fwk: This is my favorite type of debate and really want it to make a comeback. I enjoy a good framework debate, and it is probably my favorite thing to judge, but it can become fairly difficult to follow at times. As long as you clearly label arguments and make sure to weigh I feel very comfortable evaluating these rounds. However, these debates can often become muddled and devolve into a chicken and egg debate, which makes it near impossible to resolve so be careful of that. My major has given me a new passion for interesting frameworks so I would love to hear whatever unique positions you got. Also extra speaks for meta-ethics that aren’t practical reason – let’s be creative people.
Favorite phil positions: Existentialism, Levinas, any interesting meta-ethic
Speaks: I average probably a 28.5. I assign them based on mostly strategy/execution with a little bit of content, but content can only improve your speaks not make them worse really (with the exception of disclosure probably). I like unique and clever arguments and well executed strategy - I would not advise you to go for a tricks aff if you are a larp debater just because I am judging you, do what you do well to get good speaks. I am also somewhat expressive when I think about how arguments interact so don’t mind my face. Also, if I can tell your 1ar/2n/2ar is pre-written your speaks will probably suffer.
How do I get a 30?
I won’t guarantee a 30 based on these strategies but it will definitely increase your chances of getting one if you can successfully pull off any of the following:
1) Going NC, AC really well with a phil NC
2) A trick I haven’t heard before (THAT IS NOT TERRIBLE)
3) A good analytic PIC
4) Any unique fwk/K/RoB that I haven’t heard before or think is really interesting
5) A true theory shell or one I haven’t heard before
6) Execute a Skep trigger/contingent standard well
7) Really good CX
8) Successfully going for an RVI
9) Making the round super clear
Lay debates: If you are clearly better than your opponent and it is obvious that you are winning the round, please, dear lord, do not use all of your speech time just because you have the time- win the round and sit down so we can have a discussion and make it more educational than just you repeating conceded arguments for 13 minutes.
Rikhav Shah Paradigm
I debated for Lake Highland for four years qualifying to the TOC my senior year.
Ultra-short version: I’m comfortable evaluating rounds that are K, framework, or theory heavy. I’m fine listening to util/LARP rounds, but I might not be the best judge to adjudicate them. Don’t forget about Hume.
Warrants: Unless you justify why I should accept something without a warrant (for example, oppression is wrong), arguments must have warrants. Fancy rhetoric != a warrant. Repeating the claim twice != a warrant. “My author says so” != a warrant (unless there’s a reason the author is an authority and is making a descriptive claim they are qualified to make). Arguments without warrants are just claims, as a result I will not vote on something that does not have a warrant. I will, however, vote on arguments with warrants that are clearly false and essentially nonsense so long as your opponent doesn’t point out the nonsense.
Ks: I'm familiar with a lot of K lit ranging from Wilderson to Heidegger so feel free to run whatever you have in front of me.
Theory: Offensive counter-interps are great. I might be a bit annoyed if you run a clearly absurd and obscure shell, but I’m fine evaluating theory rounds. I think education and fairness aren’t voters arguments are underutilized. I default CI until/unless reasonability is justified.
Extensions: If and only if the claim is uncontested, you don’t have to extend the warrant. I’ll be pretty lenient on 2ar extensions. You don’t have to extend theory interps or violations if no I-meets are made (still extend counter-interps).
Speaker points: Here is a list of things I think are awesome and will earn great speaks:
- Science or mathematics used to justify positions (automatic 30 if original/unique/uncommon)
- Hume’s inductive fallacy
- Condo logic
- Original/uncommon positions
- Impact turns
- Cleverly triggered permissibility
Speed: Start slow then ramp up speed. Your speed should be inversely proportional to the blipy-ness of your speech. If you want to emphasize something specific, slow down slightly for it.
If you have any questions, ask me before the round.
Martin Sigalow Paradigm
Email chain: email@example.com
I'm out of debate and unwise to pref!
Conflicts: Lake Highland.
- No new arguments or arguments that are the exact opposites of a previously made argument.
- Severely mislabeling arguments is extremely bad.
- No arguments contingent on the identity of the other debater will be evaluated.
- I will not evaluate the debate at any point before its end.
- I default to offense-defense, competing interps, durable fiat, perms test competition, and that the aff defends implementation.
Becca Traber Paradigm
My email is beccatraber (at) gmail (dot) com. I want to be on the email chain. I don't disclose speaks.
I debated on the national circuit for the Kinkaid School, graduated 2008. I've been coaching and teaching on the national circuit since. I am finishing my dissertation at Yale University in Political Theory and continuing to help coach Lake Highland Prep and Success when I can.
I try to be as tab as possible, but we all know, a truly tabula rasa judge is impossible. Just know that everything I'm about to say is simply a preference and not a rule; given a warranted argument, I will shift off of just about any position that I already have or that your opponent gave me. The following are thoughts on specific issues of interest to many debaters, in only the vaguest order.
Speed: I have no problem with spreading -- all I ask is that you are still clear enough to follow. What this means is that you need to have vocal variation and emphasis on important parts of your case, like card names and key arguments.
Threshold for Extensions: If I am able to understand the argument and the function of it in the context of the individual speech, it is extended. I do appreciate explicit citation of card names, for flowing purposes.
ROB/LD FW: I prefer an explicit ROB and/or standard defended as a framework for evaluating the round. I do not have a preference as to what the ROB is, as long as it capable of filtering offense. I am willing and able to judge tricks debate or k debate. When civilizations clash, I regularly vote in both directions.
Policy FW/T-Must-Be-Topical: I regularly vote both that affs must be topical and that they don't have to be. I regularly coach in both directions. I think the question is very interesting and honestly one of my favorite parts of debate--when done interestingly and with specific interaction with the content of the aff.
Disclosure: Is by now a pretty solid norm and I recognize that. I have voted many times on particular disclosure interps, but in my heart of hearts think the ways that most people handle disclosure competing interps tends to lead to regress.
CX: CX is really important to me, please use it. You have very little chance of fantastic speaker points without a really good cross-x. I would prefer if y'all don't use CX as prep, although I have no problems with questions being asked during prep time (Talk for at least three minutes: feel free to talk the rest of the time, too). If you are getting a concession you want to make absolutely sure that I write down, get eye-contact and repeat to me what you view the concession as.
Do not be unnecessarily mean. It is not very persuasive. It will drop your speaks. Be mindful of various power-dynamics at play in the room. Something I am particularly bothered by is the insistence that a marginalized debater does not understand their case, particularly when it is framed like: [male coach] wrote this for you, right [female debater]? Or isn't there a TVA, [Black debater], you could have used [white debater's] advocacy. Feel free to mention specific cases that are topical, best not to name drop. I can't think of an occasion when it is appropriate to explicitly challenge the authorship or understanding of a particular argument.
When debating someone significantly less experienced: your speaks will benefit from explaining your arguments as straightforwardly as you can. I won't penalize you for the first speeches, but in whatever speech happens after the differences in experience level becomes clear, you should treat them almost as a pedagogical exercise. Win the round, but do so in a way where you aren't only trying to tell me why you win the round, but you're trying to make sure your opponent also understands what is happening.
Theory: I'm willing to listen to either reasonability or competing interpretations. I don't assume either fairness or jurisdiction as axiomatic voting issues, so feel free to engage on that level of the theory debate. I do really enjoy a well-developed theory argument, just make sure you are holding to the same standards of warranting here that I demand anywhere. Internal links between the standards and the interpretation, and the standards and the voter, are both key. Make sure you have a robust interpretation that isn't simply the same thing as the violation, particularly if you are going under competing interpretations paradigm. I love a good counter interp that is more than defending the violation--those result in strategic and fun rounds.
"Don't Evaluate After The 1ar": Feel free to run these arguments if you want, but know that my threshold is extremely high for "evaluate debate after [speech that is not the 2ar]." It is very difficult to persuade me to meaningfully do this. A better way to make this argument would be to tell me what sort of responses I shouldn't permit and why. For instance, new paradigm issues bad, cross-apps bad, no embedded clash, no new reasons for [specific argument] -- all fine and plausible. I just don't know what it means to actually stop evaluating later speeches. Paradigmatically, speech times are speech times and it makes no sense to me why I should obviate some of your opponent's time for any in round reason. If you have a specific version of this argument you want to check with me, feel free to do so before round.
K&Phil Debate: Kritikal debate, phil/framework debate, and high theory debate are all my favorites. I don't see them as different as all that, on the whole, and enjoy judging them all. I am familiar with a wide variety of critical literature.
Accessibility note for performances: If you don't flash the exact text of your speech, please do not play any additional sounds underneath your speaking. If there is sound underneath your speaking, please flash the exact text of what you are reading. I do not want to undermine the performance you want to engage in and whichever option you prefer is fine for me. It is fine to have part of your speech be on paper with music underneath and then turn the music off when you go off paper. I struggle to understand what is being said over noise and I'm uncomfortable being unable to know what is being said with precision.
Presumption: I don't default any particular way. I am willing to listen to presumption arguments which would then make me default, given the particular way the round shakes down, but my normal response to a round where no one meets their burden is to lower my standards until one person does meet their burden. Now, I hate doing this and it makes me grumpy, so expect lower speaker points in a situation where nobody meets their burden and nobody makes an argument about why I should presume any which way. This just points to the need to clearly outline my role and the role of my ballot, and be precise as to how you are meeting it.
Reed Weiler Paradigm
*NOTE FOR E-TOC: Please make an effort to adapt to the online platform -- that means go SLOW and focus on CLARITY -- I'll do my best to flow everything but we all know technology isn't perfect, so I wouldn't recommend staking the round on something blippy or easy to miss
Hey, I'm Reed. I did LD for four years at Lexington High School ('14-'18), went to TOC my junior and senior years, and reached elims at a bunch of bid tournaments & round robins along the way. I taught at NSD flagship over the summer and currently attend American University, studying public affairs and philosophy.
I don't want to waste your time with a huge, comprehensive explanation of every opinion I have regarding debate rounds, so if it helps, I try to model my judging after people like Sam Azbel, Jack Wareham, and Kaushal Balagurusamy.
I'll try my best to be objective and will evaluate pretty much any argument as long as it is properly warranted and implicated, with the exception of arguments that are actively exclusionary/racist/homophobic/ableist/etc.
I read mostly policy, philosophy, and theory my senior year, but have experience with and am totally comfortable voting on Ks and tricks. I don't think my preferences as a debater carry over a ton into how I evaluate rounds. I'll be just as happy watching a dense deleuze v. kant debate as I will be judging plan v. counterplan debates. Regardless of the content of your positions, all I really care about is whether you can execute your arguments well, demonstrate strategic vision, and explain things in a clear & understandable way.
Things that will get you higher speaker points:
-persuasive abuse stories on theory
-good ev comparison
-genuine clash in framework debates
-smart/tricky LARP strategies
-demonstration of topic knowledge
*I will not make a decision that procedurally excludes any of the 5 LD speeches. What this means is if you ask me to "evaluate the debate after the 1ac/1nc/1ar/2nr", i will most likely ignore it, as I've found that doing so would create an incredibly arbitrary decision procedure that I don't feel would benefit anyone in the way they are hoping.
Do your best, have fun, and please ask questions if you have them. I am always willing to discuss my reason for decision/give comments after the round. If you feel the need to ask me anything before the round, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawrence Zhou Paradigm
Last updated for VBI Debate Camp
Do whatever you want, it's camp... Put me on the chain, email below.
I am the Director of Publishing and Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the Victory Briefs Institute and Debate League Director of the National High School Debate League of China. I have been involved with debate since 2010, having won NSDA Nationals in LD in 2014 and clearing at CEDA in 2016 and 2018. I coach The Harker School in LD and ideologically align with the vast majority of their preferences.
Email for the chain: lwzhou10 at gmail.com (Yes, I want to be on the chain, if you don't put me on the chain, I just assume you haven't read the paradigm)
If it is right before the round, just look at the "Answers to Common Questions" section. If you are doing prefs before the tournament or have more time before the round, you should begin at the "Prefs Overview" section in my paradigm in full paradigm linked below.
Full Paradigm here.
Answers to Common Questions
Q: Should I shake your hand?
A: NO (esp. nowadays...)
Q: What's your paradigm?
A: ... the way I evaluate rounds? More specifically?
Q: Are you okay with speed?
A: If I wasn't, do you think anyone would hire me?
Q: What experience do you have as a judge?
A: Too much.
Q: Do you care if we stand/sit?
A: Nope, but it's better for you if you can stand.
Q: Preference of seating?
Q: Will you yell clear/speed?
A: Yes, 2 times.
Q: Are you okay with theory?
A: I suppose.
Q: What do you default on theory?
A: Competing interps, drop the arg, RVIs fine, but need to be justified.
Q: How about policy arguments?
A: I suppose.
Q: What about kritiks?
A: I suppose.
Q: What about performance?
A: I suppose (see below)
Q: What if I read a blatantly non-topical aff?
A: Meh (see below)
Q: Are there any arguments you don't want me to make?
A: Yes, bad arguments. Again, I'll vote on them, but I'd rather not.
Q: Do you disclose speaks?
A: Not anymore.
Q: What does it take to get the 30?
A: You probably won't get one, but knock my socks off and you'll get close.
Q: Should I pref this guy?
A: Good question.
Paul Zhou Paradigm
Can't Judge: Stuyvesant, Lexington
Background: I debated for 4 years at Lexington and competed almost exclusively on the national circuit.
I coached for Stuyvesant from 2014-2017 and also helped out some former students for TOC 2018. I haven't judged since that tournament and have 0 content knowledge about the topic.
I think part of what makes debate great is its incredible openness. Given that fact, I am fine with speed, theory, policy-style argumentation, dense framework arguments, kritiks, performance, tricks, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Debate is your game. Play it how you want to.
Feel free to message me with any questions at email@example.com
Some judges that influenced me: Sam Azbel