National Debate Coaches Association National Championship
2020 — Bloomington, IN/US
David Brown Paradigm
Christopher Bryant Paradigm
I believe that public forum was designed to have a "john or sally doe" off the street come in and be a judge. That means that speaking clearly is absolutely essential. If I cannot understand you, I cannot weigh what you say. I also believe that clarity is important. Finally, I am a firm believer in decorum, that is, showing respect to your opponent. In this age of political polarization and uncompromising politics, I believe listening to your opponent and showing a willingness to give credence to your opponents arguments is one of the best lessons of public forum debate.
Kegan Ferguson Paradigm
Put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Assistant Director of Debate at North Broward Prep.
Debated in Indiana/at Indiana University, and went to the NDT in '15/'16. Fifth year judging.
DA's: I prefer smart, clear policy debate over stringing together awful disadvantages. One of my least favorite things in debate is a DA that has entirely misconstrued evidence, no real internal links, and a nonsense impact card. I would much rather people stick to politics or well-researched DA's instead of trying to go shoddy but tricky (looking at you, Miller DA)
CP's: Delay CP's are bad, UQ CP's are meh, Conditions CP's are meh, Consult CP's are mediocre, Specific PICS are great. Go for theory against abusive stuff, but the threshold is higher for aff's outside of the core on arms sales.
Topicality: Nebulous 'it's the heart of the topic' claims do not make you topical. I default to competing interps and think that reasonability generally requires the aff to extend a counterinterp that is reasonable.
K's: Topic specifics are my fav, and always will be. Alt solvency is more important than most rounds treat it. Same goes for internal link turns to the aff. Policy aff's should focus on impact turns and alt answers instead of the perm (unless the aff is written to go for a perm)
Framework: Fairness can be an a-priori impact if you win it is one. I find it persuasive when fairness is also clearly explained as an internal link turn to aff impacts. Debate is an offense-defense activity and clearly explaining your offense matters a lot. FW is more of a question about whose interp cultivates education and good debates than it is a question of rules.
Theory: I don't particularly enjoy theory debates. I will vote on Condo bad if you win it/it's dropped, but I find most neg answers persuasive. Though the higher the number of conditional positions the more there's a debate to be had. Squo is not an option unless you say so. I won't kick the CP for you unless an argument is made for why I should.
Ethics: Don't be hateful or use bigoted language. Don't clip. Don't intentionally steal prep.
Disclosure = slight speaker point bump
I don't need to be there for the flip. I don't care what side of the room you sit on.
Feel free to go for K's or theory arguments, but I have a high standard for quality here. Most of the debates I've judged that attempt to run these arguments have resulted in very low speaks. Don't try to force them if you haven't practiced.
If you take minutes to bring up a card that was called for I will tank your speaks.
Impact calc is most important. Warrants always beat taglines. I prefer hearing smart arguments over a large quantity of them.
2nd rebuttal should answer the 1st, non-negotiable. First summary should extend defense, especially given the 3 minute change. Arguments in final need to be in the summary. Argument spin I could clearly see coming is not new.
Keep your evidence in cut card form, and don't just hand me an article if I call for evidence after the round. I will discount it. Don't misrepresent things and then get caught when I read evidence after the round - that's a quick way to a low speaks L.
29.6 -30: I think you are debating like a Top 5 debater at a national tournament.
29.3 – 29.5: I think you are debating like a Quarter-finalist at a national tournament
28.8 – 29.2: I think you are debating like a doubles or bubble team.
28.5 – 28.7: Debating like you should be .500
28 – 28.4: Debating on a very average level
27-27.9: lots of room for improvement
Below 27: You have used some hateful language, been excessively rude, or given up mid speech
Chad Meadows Paradigm
LD Update 10/31
1 - For the foreseeable future, I plan to flow on paper. I think it makes me a more engaged and better critic of argument. I can become too distracted on my computer, and in the last couple of tournaments I've been disappointed in my ability to track argument interactions and provide quality feedback on argument construction.
2 - I will limit the number of times that I reference the speech docs during the round. During CX when evidence is referenced, I will read along with the debaters. I might check the doc while you're speaking to check for cross-reading, or to remedy confusion that I think is my fault, but I'm not going to fix your inability to communicate by reading the doc. By all means go fast, but be clear and git gud at the line-by-line.
*public forum paradigm notes at the bottom.
Debate should reward hard work. Your strategies and in round execution should reflect intensive research and thought about the topic/your opponents arguments.
Truth over Tech - but you have to be prepared to debate. I have strong preferences against nonsense, but you must be skilled enough to meet a minimum threshold for responsiveness.
Things to not do
Read topicality without a definition.
Read procedurals without implications for topicality.
Read a bunch of old debate articles/textbooks without links topic specific evidence.
Make a bunch of underdeveloped defensive arguments and appeal to presumption.
Make a bunch of shallow offensive arguments and appeal to “try or die”.
Appeal to the rules as a primary strategy.
Argue that an argument type should be excluded from NFA-LD.
Rely on an RVI as a response to Topicality. I don’t even flow it.
Pretend that a stock issues paradigm is a reliably valuable approach to evaluate policy controversies.
Be an unreasonable awful person as you debate.
Trot out an obscenely outdated back-file that you are not prepared to defend or persuasively argue. I get that back-files are helpful, but preparation has to be more than Copy/Paste.
Things to do
Read about the topic. Anything about TOPIC. Gender/Security Rhetoric/Leadership/Drug Policy/Eco-Feminism / Post-Colonial Studies ….IT DOESN’T MATTER. Just read about the topic, or you missed the point. Nearly all question of argument preference could be filtered through the lens of topic relevance.
Demonstrate competency when selecting the arguments you advance in the debate. This includes collapsing in the 1NR.
Demonstrate a reasonable amount of preparation to discuss a diverse set of issues relevant to the resolution and in round performance.
Debate should be a referendum on the quality and quantity of research done first, and then a matter of execution later. I will reward debaters who do excellent and thorough research over debaters who have “slick tricks” to win debates. I think evidence is VERY important, its quality and qualifications should be debated. I will usually prefer excellent evidence to spin. When comparing a good card which was not well explained/had no spin vs. no card or a bad card with excellent spin I will typically prefer the good card. I will call for cards after the debate. I will generally only call for evidence which is referenced in the final two rebuttals. Refer to evidence by last name and date after it has been cited in the first instance. If you do not READILY share citations and evidence with your opponent in the round - I WILL be cranky, probably vote against you, or at the very least give you TERRIBLE speaker points.
If speaking at a more rapid rate is used to advance more scholarship in the round, I encourage debaters to speak quickly. If speaking quickly devolves into assaulting the round with a barrage of bad arguments in the hope that your opponent will not clash with them all, my ballot and speaker points will not encourage this practice. I keep an excellent and detailed flow. However, winning for me is more about establishing a coherent and researched explanation of the world rather than extending a specific argument. An argument is not “true” because it is extended on one sheet of paper if it is logically answered by evidence on another sheet of paper or later on the line by line. You can check your rhetorical bullying at the door. Posturing, repeating yourself (even loudly), insulting your opponents, or insisting that I will "ALWAYS vote here" are probably a waste of your time.
Any argument that advances argument on the desirability of the resolution through valid decision making is persuasive. The source of argumentation should be left up to the debaters. I am very unlikely to be persuaded that the source of evidence justifies its exclusion. In particular I am unconvinced the methodology, epistemology, ontology, and other indicts pertaining to the foundation of the affirmative are unjustified avenues of research to explore in debate. Above all else, the content of your argument should not be used to duck clash.
Strong Argument Preferences:
1 - Topicality is a voter and not a reverse voter. "Proving abuse" is irrelevant, well explained standards are not.
2 – The affirmative does not have to specify more than is required to affirm the resolution. I encourage Affirmatives to dismiss specs/vagueness and other procedurals without implications for the topicality of the affirmative with absolute disregard.
3 – Conditionality is logical, restraints on logical decision making are only justified in extreme circumstances.
4 – There is nothing implied in the plan. Consult, process, and other counterplans which include the entirety of the plan text are not competitive.
5 – I will decide if the counterplan is competitive by evaluating if the permutation is better than the counterplan alone or if the plan is better than counterplan. Ideological, philosophical, and redudancy standards for competiton are not persuasive and not useful for making decisions.
6 – I mediate my preferences for arguably silly counterplans like agent, international, and PICS/PECS primarily based upon the quality of the counterplan solvency evidence.
7 – Direction/Strength of link evidence is more important than “controlling uniqueness” This is PARTICULARLY true when BOTH sides have compelling and recent uniqueness evidence. Uniqueness is a strong factor in the relative probability of the direction of the link, if you don't have uniqueness evidence you are behind.
8 - I do not have a "threshold" on topicality. A vote for T is just as internally valid as a vote for a DA. I prefer topicality arguments with topic specific interpretation and violation evidence. I will CLOSELY evaluate your explanation on the link and impact of your standards.
9 - I am very unlikely to make a decision primarily based upon defensive arguments.
1 - First summary does not have to extend defense if it is not frontlined. If it is frontlined then you must extend it.
2 - 2nd rebuttal will get a major bonus in terms of speaker points and argument evaluation if they collapse and also frontline the argument you collapse to.
3 - Read real cards. Please please please read cards.
Noah Mengisteab Paradigm
Duchesne Academy (2017-Present)
Private Coach for Interlake (2018-present)
Marist '16// Rice University '20
Important for 2019-2020 Season:
Evidence - I HIGHLY recommend reading card text or at least referring to an accurately cut card in the constructive and rebuttal, not just hyperlinks. These are properly cut cards (Thank you Christian Vasquez for the link). If you don't cut cards then you might want to consider striking me.
There a few reasons why I'm going to be more strict about using cut cards. Cut cards promote better research and debate ethics. I understand trying to fit as many sources as possible into speeches, but lying about what your evidence says ruins the ethos of the round and cheats everyone of the educational and competitive components of this activity. And I'm tired of calling for evidence that contradicts the warrant read in round.
Disclosure -Disclosure can happen in two ways - either through the wiki or by emailing your opponents and myself prior to the round. While I won't penalize for nondisclosure, you will get +0.3 speaker points for disclosing or sending me case & speech docs and +0.5 for doing both. Misdisclosure is an auto-loss and lowest speaker points allowed.
Accommodations - I'm 100% fine with any accommodations debaters might need. Just communicate what you need before the round. Opponents will also receive the same benefits. If you are an opposing team that disagrees with reasonable accommodations, get over it and just debate.
My views on Public Forum evolved the past season based on observations of rounds and conversations I've had with debaters/coaches. Below are some general things I expect to see when I judge your round as well as my thoughts on progressive debate.
1.) I look at the round through an offense/defense paradigm - you have to adequately defend your offense and place defense on your opponents. To me, just having defense is not enough unless you warrant why your terminal defense should be preferred over any offense from the opposing team.
On my flow, offense requires a link/warrant, an impact, and frontlining. Miss one and it will be harder for me to flow your offense.
2.) Speeches must build off of each other. It’s not enough to just read some offense or defense in one speech and only extend it at the very end in the Final Focus. Rebuttals need to be line-by-line with 2nd rebuttals frontlining major turns for at least 30-60 seconds. Any offense or defense you want me to look at on my flow needs to be cleanly extended, especially in the Summary and the Final Focus.
3a.) The Summary and Final Focus MUST MIRROR EACH OTHER! Any OVs, observations, offense, and defense you want me to look at needs to be in BOTH SPEECHES! The burden to extend defense in the summary rests on both teams. I don't care about the 1st speaking team disadvantage in summary because there are other advantages in the round.
3b.) Defense and Offense Structure - Defense on "their case" doesn’t mean you extend every arg from the rebuttal, but extending the most important ones with good analysis (like turns). Offense is super simple - any offense you want me to consider at the end of the round must be in summary. Refer above for the requirements of a proper extension. Please also DO WARRANTED & COMPARATIVE WEIGHING! I have no problem dropping you because you didn’t do a good job extending or weighing in the round. Also, most teams are really bad at line by line. Save yourself and do VOTERS!!!
4.) Evidence – You can expect that I have done quite a bit of research on the topic and will understand most topic args. For the most part, I don’t interfere with the debate and will flow and vote on any arg presented (basically tech over truth). The only times I will interfere (and most likely vote you down) would be when the args/examples presented are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, anything ridiculous like "extinction/terrorism good," or when I know a piece of evidence being read is completely misrepresented. I will call for evidence if debaters ask me to or if I find it important in my decision. Cards should be properly cut (refer to the message at the top). And evidence exchange needs to be quick - I will give you 1 min to find evidence. If you go over it, I will start deducting prep time. We need to keep rounds on time. And when a team is finding evidence, no one should be prepping.
Also, it's up to the debaters in the round to call each other out and issue a formal evidence ethics challenge if I don't call for a card.
5.) Disclosure - Refer to the disclosure message above. You should disclose at national circuit tournaments/championships.
6.) Decisions - No matter the tournament (unless explicitly told not to like NSDAs), I will always give a decision and detailed RFD a few minutes after the round. I am constantly thinking about who is winning along with an RFD in my mind and on my flow after each speech. If for some reason you don’t want me to disclose who won, let me know. I'm also willing to answer more questions outside the round and email my flows for you to see how I evaluated the round.
Plans/CPs/DAs - I've always been okay with “specific” plans, “pseudo” CPs, and DAs because I used them during my debate career. Just make sure you "fit" them within PF and the resolution. Debaters who complain about the rules of PF debate when it comes to plans and CPs – get over it and debate.
Kritics - I'm okay with the generic K's people try to run (i.e. Feminism, Capitalism, Securitization, etc.) but I am not familiar with high theory (i.e. Baudrillard, Bataille, Nietzsche).
Theory - Theory is the highest layer of debate. I am okay with just a paragraph or a full shell. For me to extend your theory argument, you need to read it as soon as the abuse occurs. For disclosure/misdisclosure, you need to read it in the constructive since it's essentially abuse before the round. Additionally, theory needs to be extended throughout the debate. Otherwise, it becomes disingenuous and your speaker points will suffer. Evidence of abuse is also needed for theory (especially disclosure related shells). Extending theory your opponents drop is a TKO (auto-win and +0.5 speaks). These theory preferences (except reading disclosure) applies to any tournament round I judge.
1.) Preflow before the round*** otherwise -0.3 speaker points.
2.) Crossfires - It's usually not important to my ballot and I don't flow them. I think it’s more for y'all to clarify your args to each other. If something significant is said in cross-fire, then bring up immediately in the next speech to make it binding. Also, be nice to each other.
3.) Speed - I am okay if you go fast (6-7/10), so long as you are clear. I reserve the right to ask for a speech doc if you went to fast.
[I used to say "micro" spreading but bc of the war against jargon by Jeff Miller & Lyndsey Oliver, I took it out...]
4.) Speaker points - For me, speaker points take into account analysis and persuasiveness. However, debate is an educational activity that requires good use of evidence, so I lean more towards analysis. Scale from 27-30 with everyone starting at a 27. If you get below a 25, you did something unethical in the round. Typically, speaks I give tournaments range from 27-29. Don't expect a 30 just because you won the round.
Yes, add me to your email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I didn't do LD in HS, but I've judged some LD rounds the past two years and coach it in a traditional circuit. My paradigm for LD is similar to PF in that I will still look at the round on an offense/defense paradigm. I'll flow any argument you want to present to me (Ks, CPs, DAs, Theory, etc.). Speed is the same as PF. Don't spread. If you have specific questions, ask me before the round. At national circuit tournaments, LD should always disclose positions on the wiki.
Questions? Ask before the round
Doug Miller Paradigm
Currently a law student + Assistant Coach for Washburn Rural (KS)
Formerly Assistant Coach at Lake Highland (FL), and Head Coach of Fairmont Prep (CA), Ransom Everglades (FL) & Pembroke Hill (MO)
Coached for 15 years – Have coached all events. Have coached both national circuit policy & PF.
Scroll down for Policy Paradigm
Public Forum Paradigm
- If you want me to evaluate anything in the final focus you MUST extend it in the summary.
- Absent any other framing arguments, I will default to an utilitarian offense/defense paradigm.
- Narrow the 2nd half of the round down to one key contention-level impact story and 1-2 key answers on your opponents’ case.
- No new cards in 2nd Summary. No new cards in 1st Summary unless directly in response to new 2nd Rebuttal arguments.
- Make sure you evidence really says what you say it does.
- 2nd Rebuttal should rebuild + extend any portions of case they want to go for in FF.
1. Summary extension
If you want me to evaluate anything in the final focus you MUST extend it in the summary. Yes, that includes defense & turns from the rebuttal. In fact, that especially includes defense & turns from the rebuttal. If you want to go for it in the FF, make sure your partner knows to extend it. Even if it is the best argument I’ve ever heard, failure to at least mention it in the summary will result in me giving the argument zero weight in my decision. Basically, too many 2nd speakers just ignore their partner’s summary speech. Attempting to extend things that were clearly dropped in the Summary will result in a lowering of speaker points for the 2nd speaker. This is # 1 on my list for a reason. It plays a major factor in more than half of my decisions. Ignore this advice at your own peril.
2. Offense defense
Absent any other framing arguments, I will default to an utilitarian offense/defense paradigm. Just going for defensive response to the the opposing case in FF won’t be persuasive in front of me. Additionally, I am open to non-traditional framing arguments (e.g. rights, ontology, etc), but you will need to have some pretty clear warrants as to why I should disregard a traditional net offensive advantage for the other team when making my decision.
3. Narrow the final focus
It would be in your best interest to narrow the 2nd half of the round down to one key contention-level impact story and 1-2 key turns on your opponents’ case, and then spend most of your time doing impact comparisons on those issues. Going for all 3 contentions and every turn you read in rebuttal is a great way to lose my ballot. If you just extend everything, you leave it up to me to evaluate the relative important of each of your arguments. This opens the door for judge intervention, and you may not like how I evaluate those impacts. I would much rather you do that thought process for me. I routinely find myself voting for the team that goes all in on EFFECTIVE impact framing on the issue or two they are winning over the team that tries to extend all of their offensive arguments (even if they are winning most of them) at the expense of doing effective impact framing. Strategic choices matter. Not making any choices is a choice in itself, and is usually a bad one.
4. No new cards in 2nd summary
I do not believe that if 2nd rebuttal fails to answer all the 1st rebuttal’s arguments, that they have dropped their case. Answering 1st rebuttal arguments for the first time in 2nd summary is fine, with one major exception. If you need to read new cards to answer the 1st rebuttal arguments, those new cards need to be read in 2nd rebuttal, not 2nd summary. New cross-applications of existing arguments are OK, but any new cards need to be read in rebuttal. Just like with extending things straight into FF & ignoring the summary, I won’t evaluate any of those new carded responses, and your speaker points will take a hit.
I will, and am often eager to, vote on debate theory arguments. That being said, debaters in PF rarely, if ever, know how to debate theory well enough to justify voting on it.
I believe that there are several highly abusive forms of advocacy that have appeared recently that are very bad for PF, and just bad debate in general. I welcome a discussion of those practices in round, and believe that the best way to stamp them out is for teams to make those abuses voting issues in rounds. I won’t vote on these issues unless the objections are raised and effectively argued in-round (e.g. impacted, extended in all the necessary speeches, etc). but I have strong leanings that make me VERY receptive to several theory arguments.
Fiat – Until the “no plans” rule is changed, PF is essentially a whole-resolution debate, no matter how much teams would like for it to be policy. Thus, if teams want to read a specific subset(s) of the resolution, they need to provide some warrants as to why their specific subset(s) of the resolution is the MOST LIKELY form the resolution would take if it were adopted. Trying to specify and only defend a hyper-specific example(s) of the resolution that are unlikely to occur without your fiat is ridiculously abusive without reading a plan text, and makes you a moving target – especially when you clarify your position later in the round to spike out of answers. Plan texts are necessary to fiat something that is unlikely to happen in order to create a stable advocacy. Basically, in my mind, “no plans” = “no fiat.”
Multiple conditional advocacies – Improbable fiated advocacies are bad enough, but when teams read multiple such advocacies and then decide “we’re not going for that one” when the opposing team puts offense on it is the zenith of in-round abuse. Teams debating in front of me should continue to go for their unanswered offensive turns against these “kicked” arguments – I will weigh them in the round, and am somewhat inclined to view such practices as a voter if substantial abuse is demonstrated by the offended team. If you start out with a 3-pronged fiated advocacy, then you darn well better end with it. Severance is bad. If teams are going to choose to kick out of part of their advocacy mid-round, they need to effectively answer any offense on the "to-be-kicked" parts first.
6. Arguments in Crossfire
If you want me to evaluate an argument or card, it needs to be in a speech. Just mentioning it in CF is not sufficient. You can refer to what was said in CF in the next speech, and that will be far more efficient, but it doesn’t exist in my mind until I hear it in a speech.
7. Evidence availability
If you read any evidence, have the card available to hand over. Immediately (within reason, of course). Constructives should have their cards ready to hand over, in order, (probably even in the same document) because you know someone is going to ask for them. And having a bunch of PDF’s that you have to Command-F is not having your cards available. That is just lazy debating. Cut a card like a real debater. If you don’t know what that means, look it up. If you are reading this deep into a judge paradigm, it means you’re a big kid now. Act like it. As far as time is concerned, taking 10 minutes to find a card is inexcusable. At some point, I will just say you can’t find it, and and tell you to move on. This is becoming enough of a problem that I’m considering starting a running clock for “evidence hunting time.” I’m not there yet, but this practice really annoys me (and ALL judges), and needs to be stopped. If you can’t find the card you read in a reasonable amount of time, “Just drop it off the flow,” is not a sufficient recourse. In my mind, that is tantamount to evidence fabrication. If it happens once, I will be annoyed and chastise you after the round, but I’ll likely grudgingly give you the benefit of the doubt. If it happens multiple times, I am likely to be persuaded should the opposing team make such offenses a well-warranted and properly extended theory voting issue in the round.
8. Evidence Quality
I will, on occasion, ask to see key pieces of evidence at the end of the round as I make my decision. If I do ask for cards, and the text of the evidence you provide me doesn't match up with the argument you make in-round (e.g. eggregious power-tagging, taking out of context, etc - basically, more than what I perceive to be an honest mistake), I reserve the right to penalize the team providing the evidence, even if the opposing team does not bring up the quality of the card in question as an issue in the round. Best case for the offending party: I will simply not evaluate the evidence in question and decide the round as though that card has been redacted from the debate, leaving the argument with the same functional weight as an unsupported analytic. Worst case: If I see multiple offenses in the round, see a particularly eggregious offense, or have seen and commented on the team committing the same kind of offense in previous rounds I've judged, I may choose to drop the team solely on evidence quality. This is the one and only form of judge intervention I will engage in, as I have increasingly seen far too many teams get by functionally fabricating evidence and getting away with it because there is simply not enough time for opponents to question each and every card. Someone needs to serve as a check on such practices, and I believe judges should have a hand in that service. Rest assured, I will not decide a round in such fashion often, or without serious cause. I understand the serious ramifications of judges deciding rounds arbitrarially. If I do have a serious enough issue with your evidence to warrant some sort of intervention (which, again, is still very rare for me), I will be very clear in my RFD what the issue was, and how it factored into my decision, so that students can learn to not make the same mistakes again.
9. Evidence citations
You should probably read the citations according to whatever the NSDA says, but I’m not likely to vote on any irregularities (e.g. no date of access) unless the abuses are proven to be especially egregious and substantive in the round.
10. Speaker points
My reference point for “average” is 27.5. That’s where most everyone starts. My default is to evaluate on a scale with steps of 0.1, as opposed to steps of 0.5. Below a 25 means you did something offensive. A true 30.0 in HS debate (on a 0.1 scale) doesn’t exist. It is literally perfect. I can only think of 3 times I have ever given out a 29.6 or higher, and each of them were because of this next thing. My points are almost exclusively based on what you say, not how you say it. I strongly value making good, strategic choices, and those few exceptional scores I’ve given were all because of knowing what was important and going for it / impact framing it, and dumping the unnecessary stuff in the last half of the round.
11. "What's your methodology?"
Asking “What’s the methodology of your study” is a huge pet peeve of mine. Nails on a chalkboard bad. It’s a lazy way of saying, “I don’t really have an answer to this, so I’m just going to ask a bunch of questions about it and hope that clouds the debate enough to make it go away.” Questions about a card / study without evidence/warrants supporting the opposite aren’t arguments against it. They are just tricks debaters who got out-researched use to cover up that they got out-researched. In short, they are defensive only, and are only offensive if there are warrants / evidence as to why the opposite conclusion is true.
12. Ask for additional thoughts on the topic
Even if you’ve read this whole thing, still ask me beforehand. I will probably have some specific thoughts relating to the topic at hand that may be useful.
Notice how I didn't say anything about that above, even though it's the first questions like half of kids ask? Yeah, that's intentional. If you can't fugure out the answer to that quesiton from the numerous comments above, then you really are beyond help. But basically, yes, I can handle your blazing speed, you debate god, you. But it would still probably be a good idea to slow it down there a little, Speed Racer. Quality > quantity.
14. Rebuttal Rebuild
I debated for 4 years in high school (super old-school, talk-pretty policy), didn't debate in college, and have coached at the HS level for 15+ years. I am currently a law student + Assistant Coach at Washburn Rural in KS, and previously was head coach at Fairmont Prep in Anaheim, CA, Ransom Everglades School, in FL, and The Pembroke Hill School in MO.
Generally, do what you do, as long as you do it well, and I'll be happy. I prefer big-picture impact framing where you do the comparative work for me. In general, I will tend to default to such analysis, because I want you to do the thinking in the round, not me. My better teams in the past read a great deal of ontology-based Ks (cap, Heidegger, etc), and they often make some level of sense to me, but I'm far from steeped in the literature. I'm happy to evaluate most of the normal disads & cps, but the three general classes of arguments that I usually find less persuasive are identity-based strategies that eschew the topic, politics disads, and to a lesser degree, performance-based arguments. But if any of those are your thing, I would in general prefer you do your thing well than try and do something else that you just aren't comfortable with. I'll go with the quality argument, even if it isn't my personal favorite. I'm not a fan of over-reliance on embedded clash, especially in overviews. I'd rather you put it on the line-by-line. I'm more likely to get it down on my flow and know how to apply it that way, and that's the type of debating I'll reward with higher speaks. Please be sure to be clear on your tags, cites, and theory/analytic blocks. Hard numbering/”And’s” are appreciated, and if you need to, go a little slower on those tags, cites, and theory/analytic blocks to be sure they are clear, distinct, and I get them. Again, effort to do so will be rewarded with higher speaks.
I generally think affs should have to defend the topic, and actually have some sort of plan text / identifiable statement of advocacy. There are very few "rules" of debate, thus allowing tons of leeway for debaters to choose arguments. But debating the topic is usually a pretty good idea in my mind, as most issues, even those relating to the practices and nature of our activity, can usually still be discussed in the context of the topic. I rather strongly default to competing interpretations. I like to see T debates come down to specific abuse stories, how expanding or contracting limits functionally impacts competitive equity, and exactly what types of ground/args are lost/gained by competing interps (case lists are good for this in front of me). I usually buy the most important impact to T as fairness. T is an a priori issue for me, and K-ing T is a less than ideal strategy with me as your judge.
If you are going to go for it, go for it. I am unlikely to vote either way on theory via a blippy cheap-shot, unless the entire argument was conceeded. But sometimes, for example, condo bad is the right strategic move for the 2AR, If it's done well, I won't hesitate to decide a round on it. Not a fan of multiple conditional worlds. With the notable exception of usually giving epistemology / ontology-based affs some flexibility on framework needing to come before particulars of implementation, I will vote Neg on reasonable SPEC arguments against policy affs. Affs should be able to articulate what their plan does, and how it works. For that reason, I also give Neg a fair amount of theoretical ground when it comes to process CPs against those affs. Severance is generally bad in my mind. Intrinsicness, less so.
Personally, I think a lot of the standard CPs are, in any type of real world sense, ridiculous. The 50 states have never worked together in the way envisioned by the CP. A constitutional convention to increase funding for whatever is laughable. An XO to create a major policy change is just silly. All that being said, these are all legit arguments in the debate world, and I evaluate and vote on them all the time. I guess I just wish Affs were smart enough to realize how dumb and unlikely these args actually are, and would make more legit arguments based on pointing that out. However, I do like PICs, and enjoy a well thought out and deployed advantage CP.
Most topic-related disads are fine with me. Pretty standard on that. Just be sure to not leave gaping holes / assumptions in your link chains, and I'm OK. However, I generally don't like the politics disad. I would much rather hear a good senator specific politics scenario instead of the standard “President needs pol cap, plan’s unpopular” stuff, but even then, I'm not a fan. I'll still vote for it if that's what is winning the round, but I may not enjoy doing so. Just as a hint, it would be very easy to convince me that fiat solves for most politics link stories (and, yes, I understand this places me in the minority of judges), and I don't see nearly as much quality ground lost from the intrinsic perm against politics as most. Elections disads, though, don't have those same fiat-related issues, and are totally OK by me.
I don’t read the lit much, but in spite of that, I really kind of like most of the more "traditional" ontological Ks (cap, security, Heidegger, etc). To me, Ks are about the idea behind the argument, as opposed to pure technical proficiency & card dumping. Thus, the big picture explanation of why the K is "true," even if that is at the expense of reading a few more cards, would be valuable. Bringing through case in the 2NR to directly mitigate some of the Aff advantages is probably pretty smart. I think Negs set an artificially high burden for themselves when they completely drop case and only go for the K in the 2NR, as this means that they have to win 100% access to their “Alt solves the case” or framework args in order for the K to outweigh some super-sketchy and ridiculous, but functionally conceded, extinction scenario from the 1AC. K's based in a framework strategy tend to be more compelling in front of me than K's that rely on the alt to actually solve something (because, let's be honest here - they rarely do). Identity-related arguments are usually not the most compelling in front of me, and I tend to buy strategic attacks against them from the left as more persuasive than attacks from the right.
I understand that some teams are unbalanced in terms of skill/experience, and that's just the way it goes sometimes. I've coached many teams like that. But I do like to see if both debaters actually know what they are talking about. Thus, your speaks will probably go down if your partner is answering all of your cross-ex questions for you. It won’t impact my decision (I just want to know the answers), but it will impact speaks. Same goes for oral prompting. That being said, I am inclined to give a moderate boost to the person doing the heavy lifting in those cases, as long as they do it respectfully.
Jeffrey Miller Paradigm
Director of Speech & Debate at Marist School in Atlanta, GA (2011-present)
Director of Debate/Asst Director of Debate, Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, GA (2006-2011)
Thoughts about the new PF rules:
1) 3 minute summaries don't change anything in the grand scheme of things. I still believe that a) teams should respond to the first rebuttal in the second rebuttal, b) everything in final focus needs to be in summary and c) there should be weighing throughout the round. What 3 minute summaries do effect is that they raise my standard for what is acceptable as an extension. Merely re-stating your claims is no longer enough to count as an extension - you have an extra minute - make actual arguments in the summary speeches.
2) The new paraphrasing rules indicate that you must have cut cards. Don't read that as you must read cards, but read it as I believe the new rules indicate that that for the protection of the debater you must have cut the card. I will not evaluate evidence that is not cut. I will not wait for you to cut a card in the post round if I need a piece of evidence. If I see you exchange evidence throughout the debate that is not cut, I will dock your speaker points.
Guide to Prefs Based Your Research Habits
If you cut cards & read cards in case & rebuttal -- I am probably a top 10 judge in your prefs. This is my ideal version of debate - I will flow the warrants of your cards and not just the taglines.
If you cut cards, read cards in case & paraphrase in rebuttal -- C'mon, its not that hard - just read cards in rebuttal. Believe me, the time you think are "wasting" by reading cards is worth it. But besides that, I'm probably a pretty good judge for you.
If you cut cards, but paraphrase throughout the debate -- I'm not your worst judge by far. I have a higher standard of holding arguments to their original context than others, but I won't vote you down just because you paraphrase. If this describes you, it is truly silly to strike me over someone who's never judged a debate before.
If you do not cut cards and you paraphrase -- strike me. please.
3) "Progressive" Argumentation, lol. I don't think there is enough time in a PF speech to warrant clearly most kritiks - that doesn't mean I won't vote for them, but it does mean that you're starting from a disadvantage because I don't think you can fully articulate why they should be voted on. For theory, there needs to be actual abuse and it needs to be used sparingly. Disclosure Theory is dumb, but sometimes necessary - I think misdisclosure is way worse than not disclosing. Paraphrasing Theory is also kind of dumb based on my previous statement of there needs to be actual abuse. If a team is paraphrasing a card poorly, you don't need theory to beat them - just beat their argument and call them out. Every other theory arg I've judged honestly doesn't have its place in the debate. Theory is not a way to win rounds, its a way to check bad behaviors.
Debate is hard. I expect every debater to work hard before, during and after each tournament. Working hard means cutting cards and doing research on the topic. I expect debaters to not search for shortcuts to make this easier - doing your own research and cutting your own cards will pay dividends in all of your debates. In debates I judge you, you should expect I work hard to evaluate the debate and make the best decision possible. That's my guarantee to you.
Since Public Forum is a research based activity, I expect debates to be more about evidence usage and execution than persuasive speaking. If I expect debates to be about evidence usage, the prerequisite to this is having evidence and using it. I expect all five participants in the round (myself and the four debaters) to be well read on the topic and flow the debate. You should expect me to give you constructive feedback on the ballot as well as in round after the debate.
In debates, speeches build off of each other. It would be weird if we engaged in a communication activity where we ignored what the other person did right before our speech - that's why the second rebuttal must respond to the first rebuttal and so forth. Consistency is vital in debate therefore this expectation continues into the second half. Arguments that you extend in the final focus must be in the summary.
How do I define good evidence ethics?
Every card you read within a debate should be cited (by author, not institution) and be available (almost immediately) within context for your opponent to read. Within context does not mean full text, but the full paragraph of the cited line. (Asking for the full text of the study is dumb/waste 96% of the time, because you have 3 minutes of prep and I'm sorry you don't have enough time to read the full text. I understand sometimes you want to read the conclusion, but you still can't do that within the time limits of this event for more than 1 card usually.)
Teams who cannot quickly exchange evidence should not pref me - please strike me.
Don't lie or blatantly misrepresent about your evidence, I will drop you whether or not the argument is made in the round. I define lying or blatantly misrepresenting evidence as excluding key phrases that are in the text of the document that contradict your point, using portions of evidence to make arguments the authors do not intend, etc. Indicts are not lies or misrepresentations, they're arguments. Cards that are poorly cut/don't make a good argument are just not persuasive. Don't ruin the game, it's really fun when done correctly.
Come to the debate prepared and you won't have a problem.
What is my speaker point scale?
Speaker points are earned for the arguments you make in the debate. Every debater in every round starts at a 28.0. I will move up/down on a scale with steps of 0.1 and not 0.5. You're probably not going to get a 30 from me as that means you were truly perfect. Making smart, strategic arguments is going to maximize your points from me.
Gavin Serr Paradigm
Director of Speech and Debate at Park City (UT)
If you're the type of person who think this matters (it doesn't), I qualified to the TOC in PF during high school.
It's not an argument without a warrant.
Critical arguments are underused and generally mishandled.
Weighing is super important, but it's a waste of time if it isn't comparative and contextualized to your opponents' offense.
Second rebuttal should frontline.
Defense is sticky if second rebuttal doesn't frontline; it isn't if it does.
Your speaks will be dramatically higher if you send speech docs.
'Evidence' only counts if it's a cut card.
Crossfire is the worst part of PF. You will be rewarded for making it productive/not annoying.
Be warned: I have aged several decades since graduating high school. I am now grumpy. I will casually give you 26s for irritating me, even if you probably deserve 29s.
I usually vote for the team that is less annoying.
Send me a Facebook message if you have specific questions. You can also peruse the following paradigms for more examples of judges/coaches that have influenced my thinking:
Anna Williams Paradigm
- Though I flow, I cannot keep up with spreading. Please keep it to a traditional speed in PF.
- Please signpost — it makes it much easier to flow
- I’m not opposed to critical arguments, but keep them accessible to people who aren’t terribly familiar with K debate or literature
- Please be consistent with your warranting.
- Offense must be in summary and final focus.
- Do not say racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist things. Pay attention to the language you use, and know that I will, too.
- I don't like crossfire. I won’t flow, and you shouldn’t go over time.
- Do not steal prep time.
- Persuade me that you deserve the ballot.
Make it the best debate possible. I look forward to judging, and hope you share the same enthusiasm for competing.