GBN Congress

2019 — Northbrook, IL/US

Clark Foster Paradigm

k: 1

theory: 3/4

tricks: don't

larp: 2

more than 3 offs: 4

if you read more than 3 offs I will have a hard time evaluating the substance of the arguments, I don’t think any argument should be undeveloped in the 1nr and then suddenly have tons of impacting in the 2nr.This is specific to short offs that get extrapolation in the 2nr. I think this is horrible for debate and have no problem voting against these if they are made into shells. However I will most likely doc speaks for this type of argumentation


I have been a coach at evanston for 3 years, and have been judging for them for 5+

please be clear if spreading, very important that you pause and sign post during argumentation. I will defer to what I hear in speeches and use the speech doc sparingly. It is importance to change cadence when spreading in order to emphasize warrants and impacts in order to differentiate. I don’t want to have to read the cards to figure out what you are saying in your speeches, you should be clear enough so I can flow

Tricks are pretty annoying and don't really help people learn how to debate, It is on a case to case basis on how I will weigh tricks (long story short, id recommend NOT reading them in front of me)

Theory: theory is fine, but it is alot clearer to me if the warranting isnt spread.

The most important thing in the round is that your arguments are accessible, and inclusive to everyone. That being said, be inclusive to your opponent inside the round. If your opponent doesn't understand speed, slow down. If an argument is not clear and is hard to understand, explain it. If you don't do these things, I will have a hard time voting for these arguments. That being said, I am pretty much open to any argument (regardless of event) as long as it is warranted, and impacted (as long as it is not exclusionary or violent). This includes critical arguments in public forum. Don't lie about evidence. This is a very good way to automatically lose the round with me, and more often than not almost any other judge, or judge panel.



If you tell me to look at a certain framework and it is fair and reasonable, then I will do so. If I don't think it is fair I probably wont evaluate under it, but I will tell you why I think it's unfair, and how to make it fair. For LD, it is more about warranted framing. I don’t like/understand phil framing when it’s spread, and I literally have no idea how to evaluate it when it’s read at 200+ wpm

K's are cool.

Decorum: You should do what makes you comfortable in round, if you want to sit down for cx cool, stand up, cool. Sit down for speech, yeee, stand on your head. Let people know if there is anything you need to make the round more accessible or more comfortable for you.

Speaker points: Being kind in round is the best way to get 30's with me. Also, if I learn something new or interesting, you will probably get good speaks, or if you are black

winners get probably 28-30, then the losing team .5 less

30: you were cool in round

29.8-29.9 how is anyone supposed to measure the difference between these two?

29.7-29.8 seriously who does this distinction help?

29.5-29.6 no for real, someone tell me the difference between this and 30

I don't always remember to time, so please be honest and hold yourselves accountable.

Jen Jun Paradigm

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Larry Magill Paradigm

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Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm

Updated 9-26-2013

Kevin McCaffrey

Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010

I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.

My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.

Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:

Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:

My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.

I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.

In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments don’t generally “jive” with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.

Value proof higher than rejoinder:

I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.

My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.

A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.

Incomprehensible value systems:

One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.

Email me:

I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.

Bianca Tomassetti Paradigm

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