2020 — Lebanon (online), IL/US
NPDA Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
You may know me previously as Caitlin Smith or Caitlin Addleman. She/her pronouns.
I coach with the University of Minnesota (fall 2017 - present). I debated 4 years (2013-2017) of NPDA/NPTE parli for Wheaton College and 4 years of LD in high school. I have also coached policy at the UMN and LD at Apple Valley High School.
I care deeply about debate, about equity in it, access to it, and very much believe in the power it has to change lives. I take my role as an educator seriously, which means I am always happy to chat about or answer any questions related to debate, from theory to substantive arguments. Additionally, I consider the moral/ethical questions of debate to be a constitutive feature of the activity. As such, I refuse to check my status as a moral agent at the door. I will, and have (albeit rarely), voted down arguments that I consider to be seriously morally problematic, regardless of what’s on the flow. While my standard for doing so is high, I take as axiomatic that every person has intrinsic and immutable worth - if I feel that your advocacy or representations seriously impinge on the worth of someone in the room, that will affect my decision. This does not mean that I won’t vote for arguments I don’t like or ethically agree with (I do that all the time); rather, I simply will not hold myself to voting on the flow if I feel someone in the room is being done violence. If you have any questions about my standards or threshold, please ask me.
A Note on Tech:
I believe that the technical aspects of debate are tools we use to allow us to understand and engage with the substance of arguments more deeply. I therefore do not think that tech is a substitute for substantive engagement. I value more highly arguments that engage with the opposing positions substantively than ones that merely do so technically (while to do both is truly masterful debate). Put simply, substance > tech > truth.
I’m fine with speed and will clear you if you pass my threshold (which is unlikely). Please be aware of how the online nature of debate constrains speed by paying attention to whatever chat feature we have available for people saying speed or clear - and please make accommodations as necessary. Please say all plans/CP’s/T-interps/alts/etc. slowly and twice.
Please do it. This will make my job a lot easier, and also make it a lot more likely that I see the round the way that you would like me to. I will evaluate the round as you tell me to, although in absence of any weighing arguments, I default to probability first and will have a substantially lower threshold than most parli judges to vote on systemic/materialized/highly probable impacts (given any arguments being made that I should prefer them). This does not mean I will not vote on nuclear, disaster, etc. scenarios, just that I will not accept prima facie an unwarranted claim that those impacts outweigh all other things if your opponents are making arguments to the contrary.
I have broad knowledge of economic and policy issues (my knowledge skews more heavily towards the K). Thus, I will be largely limited to my understanding of what you put out in a given round. If you’re clear, there shouldn’t be a problem, just don’t expect me to know what various terms or abbreviations mean off the bat or grant you internal warrants without clear explanations.
Win the debate on whatever layer you would like. My threshold to vote on theory is determined by the extent to which a clear impact on the shell is articulated and weighed. I also believe that standards should be contextualized to your opponents’ position. I find great problems in reading generic reasons why policy is good against non-T affs because I very much believe that theory should be about bringing questions of how debate ought function into the conversation, rather than forcing certain ideas out. This doesn’t mean don’t read theory in those situations, but that, if you’re going to, I will hold you to a high standard. Finally, I have a lower threshold than most parli judges for we-meets: if they meet the text of your interpretation, I do not consider a remaining violation to be a priori offense (as in, it’s still offense, but without an interpretation it does not function a priori, absent additional arguments that it should). If you have questions about what this means, let me know.
I debated lots of K’s and write lots of them with my team. I love them. I particularly love when they are clear on what the alt does and what a world of the alternative looks like. I really hate chicken-and-egg style root cause debates and would much prefer to hear substantive debate about the issues in the K. Please don’t assume I know your literature (just because I read K’s doesn’t mean I will understand your K) . I will vote on what is said in the round, not my prior knowledge of your particular author.
Debate is both a game and the real world. Bringing real world issues to the forefront within debate rounds is simultaneously extremely important and extremely difficult. It definitely creates change in our community and, as such, is something I take very seriously. I will attempt to evaluate every round as fairly as I can, while recognizing I do not check my status as a moral agent at the door. The one thing I like to be clear in these debates, therefore, is the role of the judge. I don’t mean that you have to include me in your movement, make me feel comfortable, or anything like that; I mean expecting me to evaluate what I’m supposed to do at the end of a debate round, with many moral issues on the table and no framework to deal with them, has the potential to give me a major panic attack. I don’t say this because I anticipate any such problem, but simply because it is a very real concern for my mental health and I want competitors to be aware.
26-30, unless you do something very rude or exclusionary.
- I competed in NPDA debate for 4 years at Cedarville University, I coached there for a year, an am now assisting the Appalachian State Debate team.
- I utilized kritikal and policy strategies roughly equally my junior and senior year.
- I like kritiks. I am familiar with most of the major literature bases for kritiks, however I do believe debate is an educational activity which requires inclusion, so it is important that your kritikal argument is clear to the opposing team even if they haven’t read your lit base.
- If you read a kritik, I prefer grounded impacts and concrete solvency over depictions of an ideal world or other abstract alternative solvency mechanisms for the kritik.
- The permutation is always a test of competition and not an advocacy.
- The affirmative should engage with the framework debate to gain access to their 1AC by either responding with a competing framework, or demonstrating how their 1AC operates within the Kritik framework.
- I like Capitalism critiques, I like arguments about ethics, and I like kritiks of debate itself. If you have a critique you want to try, I might be a good judge to try it in front of.
- I like policy affs with strong impacts. I like impact frameworks that explain why I should prefer your impacts. Magnitude is not necessarily where I will vote, if a compelling argument is presented to prefer another method of weighing the impacts.
- I like Advantage-Counterplans. I think advantage counterplans are a smart strategy for the negative team. I am open to condo bad and other counterplan theory arguments from the MG.
- I prefer speed debate, so long as both teams are able to participate in the round. If the other team asks you to slow down, you should. If continued exclusion on the basis of speeds occurs, I am willing to vote for an abuse procedural
- Debate is not a game, but we do play it like one more or less. I am a tabula rasa judge. I will judge the arguments as presented, it is the job of the debaters to present the necessary information and identify good arguments from bad arguments in the round.
- I think the affirmative should defend the resolution with an advocacy, however I do like affirmatives that are out of the ordinary, and am willing to entertain innovative frameworks and interpretations of the topic.
- I spent a lot of time reading procedurals as a debater. I think procedural debate can present some of the most technical and rewarding rounds, but it is important to articulate abuse or tell me why your procedural is a voting issue if you expect me to vote for it.
- Topicality bis a voting issue.
- Specs are not compelling unless you articulate abuse.
- I default to the competing interpretations in procedural and framework debates.
- Specific positions are generally more compelling to me than generic arguments. I will listen to your politics position, but I will not be happy about it and I might make unhappy faces.
- Policy arguments should include a specific interrogation of the uniqueness, this should not be blipped through, please read warrants with your claims. I would rather you read one good position with excellent warrants and analysis, than two meh positions.
- I generally think Identity/non-topical arguments should cede the ballot, unless there is a compelling reason why their performance must win to create the change they seek.
- Please do not read any advocacy which supports mass death or suffering as good. I don't like the advocacy of suicide, dehumanization, or justifying the reduction in the value of human life.
- Don't make stuff up, ethics are good.
I competed in Parli and IE’s for 4 years at Mckendree University and have now coached for 7 years.
I think this means that I have a diverse background of knowledge for most types of debate. I am comfortable in quick K debates and also comfortable in more traditional rounds. I have experience in high level college LD rounds and I also have lots of experience with first year novice rounds. While am I am competent in a K debate, I am most comfortable in a case/DA/CP debate. This means the K needs to be well explained. I tend to weigh Magnitude and Probability before timeframe until you tell me otherwise.
You should feel comfortable running any position in front of me! The most important thing is that it is well explained and well defended.
Background: I debated for four years on the NPDA/NPTE circuit with Rice University (2015-2019). Although I began my collegiate debate career by exclusively reading fiated/topical plans on the affirmative and counterplans/disadvantages on the negative, I ended my career reading critical arguments (on the affirmative and negative) inspired by Foucauldian genealogy, Heideggerian phenomenology, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. In other words, I am comfortable listening to a variety of traditional and critical positions. Currently, I am completing my PhD in Philosophy at the University of New Mexico, and I specialize in German Idealism, transcendental phenomenology, and psychoanalysis. My pronouns are he/him/his.
Crucial Points: I believe debate is fundamentally an educational space for discursive engagement. I want debate to be as non-violent as possible although I realize this becomes difficult given the nature of the activity. With that being said, please attempt to be as courteous to one another as possible. In terms of argumentation, I do not necessarily have a preference for which kinds of arguments you present (e.g., policy affirmative, DAs, CPs, Ks, Theory, etc.), but I would like them to be thoroughly explained, well-warranted, and impacted out (including weighing/impact calculus) throughout the debate. I have to say that my background in evaluating Theory is not as strong as I would like it to be, so please keep that in mind when presenting/responding to theoretical/meta-theoretical arguments.
Texts/Interpretations: Slow down when you read these, and please read them twice. Please have copies ready for me and your opponents before reading the various texts/interpretations. I realize that writing down interps/texts/counter-interps can become unwieldy during some rounds, but I think it's important that everyone has a copy for reference and consistency.
Theory: To be completely honest, I would prefer the round to not become a Theory debate, but I realize this cannot always be avoided. I think every Theory argument should have clearly marked interpretation(s), violation(s), standard(s), and voter(s). I find proven abuse arguments to be the most convincing, but I am willing to listen to potential abuse arguments as well. If you are collapsing to Theory, please try to collapse clearly/cleanly (instead of, for example, creating new standards in the block or avoiding a comparison of your standards with counter-standards, etc.).
CPs/Ks: I am unsure about conditionality, and thus, I am receptive to both condo good/bad arguments. I am also uncertain on the meaning of unconditionality (e.g., does it mean "must stick with position throughout the round" or "must answer offense before kicking?"). Some say the latter is dispositional, but I honestly don't know. I believe it's up for debate. On CPs and Ks themselves, I would prefer clearly marked solvency for both positions (I think CP/K solvency is pretty important - especially the question of "how do you solve the aff?" if this is an aspect of your position). I would like K links to be specific to the affirmative as opposed to more generic K links ("you use the state/capitalism/etc.") - if that's not the case, I am receptive to "no link" arguments from the affirmative. I think framework debates on Ks can be really interesting and educational, and I value framework pretty highly when considering which impacts matter in the round. I don't put much stock into root cause claims/debates.
DAs: I like DAs with precise/lucid uniqueness stories and specific links to the affirmative. I enjoy arguments from the affirmative about how the DA links to the CP/K. I think some valuable offense can be garnered from these.
Perms: I believe perms are a test of competition and not an advocacy, but I'm willing to evaluate the contrary. I don't need a perm text, but please say "perm: do both" or read the permutation completely if you are not endorsing the entirety of aff/neg advocacy (read it twice and slowly if it is lengthy). I believe permutations should have several net benefits in order to be evaluated against the criticism. Also, if the perm text doesn't make sense (e.g., "do both" when alt text says "reject aff"), I will consider this argument in relation to the viability of the permutation.
LD Paradigm for NSDA 2020
I competed in parliamentary debate and individual events from 1996 to 2000 for McKendree University. After three years studying political science at Syracuse University, I returned to coach at McKendree (NPDA, LD, and IEs) and have been doing so ever since. I semi-regularly judge high school Lincoln-Douglas debate (probably 20 rounds per year in Illinois - mostly in the south).
Here are some helpful things for you to know about me in terms of judging Lincoln-Douglas (in no particular order):
1. I have not coached a student (or specifically researched) the NSDA topic though I am broadly familiar with the issue.
2. I will carefully flow the debate. This means it is important for you to carefully answer your opponent's arguments as well as extend arguments in rebuttals that you want me to evaluate.
3. I view the value/value criterion portion of the debate as framing the rest of the debate. When the framing part of the debate is not clear, I generally default to a utilitarian approach to evaluating the substance part of the debate.
4. I don't have any particular expectations about rate of delivery - faster, slower, etc. is fine. I am slightly concerned about how a faster delivery may work with the online experience.
5. If you have other questions, feel free to peruse my more extensive parli philosophy below or ask before the debate.
I look forward to judging you - good luck at Nationals!
Parliamentary debate paradigm
Section 1: General Information
I competed in parliamentary debate and individual events from 1996 to 2000 for McKendree University. After three years studying political science at Syracuse University, I returned to coach at McKendree (NPDA, LD, and IEs) and have been doing so ever since.
In a typical policy debate, I tend to evaluate arguments in a comparative advantage framework (rather than stock issues). I am unlikely to vote on inherency or purely defensive arguments.
On trichotomy, I tend to think the government has the right to run what type of case they want as long as they can defend that their interpretation is topical. While I don’t see a lot of good fact/value debates, I am open to people choosing to do so. I’m also okay with people turning fact or value resolutions into policy debates. For me, these sorts of arguments are always better handled as questions of topicality.
If there are new arguments in rebuttals, I will discount them, even if no point of order is raised. The rules permit you to raise POOs, but you should use them with discretion. If you’re calling multiple irrelevant POOs, I will probably not be pleased.
I’m not a fan of making warrantless assertions in the LOC/MG and then explaining/warranting them in the MO/PMR. I tend to give the PMR a good deal of latitude in answering these ‘new’ arguments and tend to protect the opposition from these ‘new’ PMR arguments.
Section 2: Specific Inquiries
Speaker points (what is your typical speaker point range or average speaker points given).
Typically, my range of speaker points is 27-29, unless something extraordinary happens (good or bad).
How do you approach critically framed arguments? Can affirmatives run critical arguments? Can critical arguments be “contradictory” with other negative positions?
I’m open to Ks but I probably have a higher threshold for voting for them than your average judge. I approach the K as a sort of ideological counterplan. As a result, it’s important to me that you have a clear, competitive, and solvent alternative. I think critical affirmatives are fine so long as they are topical. If they are not topical, it’s likely to be an uphill battle. As for whether Ks can contradict other arguments in the round, it depends on the context/nature of the K.
Performance based arguments…
Same as above.
Topicality. What do you require to vote on topicality? Is in-round abuse necessary? Do you require competing interpretations?
Having a specific abuse story is important to winning topicality, but not always necessary. A specific abuse story does not necessarily mean linking out of a position that’s run; it means identifying a particular argument that the affirmative excludes AND why that argument should be negative ground. I view topicality through a competing interpretations framework – I’m not sure what a reasonable interpretation is. On topicality, I have an ‘average’ threshold. I don’t vote on RVIs. On spec/non-T theory, I have a ‘high’ threshold. Unless it is seriously mishandled, I’m probably not going to vote on these types of arguments.
Counterplans -- PICs good or bad? Should opp identify the status of the counterplan? Perms -- textual competition ok? Functional competition?
All things being equal, I have tended to err negative in most CP theory debates (except for delay). I think CPs should be functionally competitive. Unless specified otherwise, I understand counterplans to be conditional. I don’t have a particularly strong position on the legitimacy of conditionality. I think advantage CPs are smart and underutilized.
In the absence of debaters' clearly won arguments to the contrary, what is the order of evaluation that you will use in coming to a decision (e.g. do procedural issues like topicality precede kritiks which in turn precede cost-benefit analysis of advantages/disadvantages, or do you use some other ordering?)?
All things being equal, I evaluate procedural issues first. After that, I evaluate everything through a comparative advantage framework.
How do you weight arguments when they are not explicitly weighed by the debaters or when weighting claims are diametrically opposed? How do you compare abstract impacts (i.e. "dehumanization") against concrete impacts (i.e. "one million deaths")?
I tend to prefer concrete impacts over abstract impacts absent a reason to do otherwise. If there are competing stories comparing impacts (and there probably should be), I accept the more warranted story. I also have a tendency to focus more heavily on probability than magnitude.
"I do not evaluate blippy claims that lack warrants or logical impact scenarios."
I repeat: "I do not evaluate blippy claims that lack warrants or logical impact scenarios."
This part pertains mostly to Parli and other argumentative debate formats.
Even if you practice an oration / persuasion-based format, you should probably read this since it represents what I believe about debate in general. See below for IPDA.
Me: Debated for A-State from 2007-2011; mostly Parli, but some LD, IPDA, and Worlds. Assistant coach for A-State from 2011-2013 and Director of Debate for A-State from 2016-present.
What is debate? By definition, competitive debate is a game of rhetoric and argument.
Why does access matter? The outcome of any game becomes suspect when certain players are denied access to the determining factors - the shared resources - within the game. For this reason, access must be a prior question to any format, any tournament, and, in fact, any particular round. A major avoidable barrier to access is speed reading (spreading). Because this is such an issue in debate, I prefer all participants to receive consent before doing this. Let me be clear... I do not believe "clear" or "slow" solves. You can argue about that in the round if you want, but without articulation on the flow, my default stance is that spreading is fair ONLY when all parties have consented to it.
Content: I'll listen to anything, but I do not evaluate blippy claims that lack warrants or logical impact scenarios. I also wish people would try to use more irony and satire in debate, so thank you in advance if you're funny.
Preferred Form/Style: I prefer listening to accessible, slightly elevated rates of speech. That's about it.
Speaker Points: These exist to reward good speakers. What is a good speaker? For me, a good speaker has little to do with who won the round. Speed doesn't make you a good speaker. Knowing lots of stuff doesn't make you a good speaker. Winning an argument doesn't make you a good speaker. It's that other thing that makes you good. Do that.
Case: By default, my stance is that the Aff has the burden of proof & the burden of rejoinder. It is your job to fairly limit the round and present a clear case that upholds the resolution. If you can convince me otherwise, do it.
I'll gladly vote on an aff K if it makes sense and wins. But listen... it is better when your opponent can engage. So, make your aff K clear and accessible. Save the ninja stuff for neg.
T: I love a well-run topicality argument. Or 2. Or 3. I am completely okay with collapsing to T. I actually think teams should do it more often. It's a lost art. I'll gladly listen to and enjoy an "oldschool" T shell, too. It's also a lost art.
Spec/Vagueness: Yes. But be reasonable with it. And don't take my use of the word "reasonable" as an indication that it's the only counter-standard you need when answering.
K: Yes, please. Avoid any blatant mis-readings and misapplications of theory. You will have a difficult time winning my ballot if you're (intentionally or not) misrepresenting the nature of another person's rhetoric or using well-established theory in a way that it was not intended. If you need to make an argument that you cannot find written in a tome somewhere, make the argument from your own brain... don't try to shove a square author into a round round.
DA/CP/Condi: structure, specificity, and clarity.
My default stance is that all Neg arguments are conditional. If, however, the debate turns to theory, Aff can win condi-bad. I'll listen. I need clear articulation of theory arguments, not just blippy responses that require me to intervene to fill in the blanks.
Speed and Speed K: I prefer upbeat debate and a good pace. If you've clocked yourself, I am totally comfortable with a clear rate of speech around 275-325wmp. I've rarely seen a need for anyone to argue that fast. In all honesty, parli is at its best when highly-trained, charismatic debaters engage in argumentation at about 200-250wpm. Anything faster and you're probably repeating yourself, skipping syllables, and missing good arguments for the sake saying more words. That said, if you're one of those super-clear talkers (you know who you are), I might be willing to tolerate your top speed for part of the debate. <--- maybe 1% to 5% of the field in parli can really do this well. Chances are, you are not in that 1% to 5%. In competition, go as fast as you need to go and can go without losing clarity... and go no faster. Please.
If I or your opponent calls clear and you do not respond appropriately, you will receive the lowest speaker points you've ever gotten. I promise. You may well win the round, but you will have done so unethically and I cannot award high speaks to unethical debaters who intentionally ignore a legit request for access. I really don't care how you feel about this. I will vote on a speed K... IF it is run correctly, makes sense, and defended appropriately. I will not vote on "they talk fast and it's not fair."
Rebuttals: By the time we get to the rebuttals, I've heard enough line-by-line. I'd appreciate a bit more here, but if your rebuttal sounds exactly like your previous speech (pay attention, Neg), I'm already bored. Come on, this is your chance to really secure those speaker points. Show me that you can tend to the line-by-line and cover the flow and still give me a clear summarization of advocacy and impact analysis at the bottom.
Time, Timers, & Beeps: Thanks and roadmaps off time; quickly. I prefer you time one another. If you are unable, I'll start my timer when you start debating. When my timer beeps, you get maybe 10 words before I stop flowing. I've had more sentence fragments at the bottom of a flow than I can count. Look... just time your arguments. It's not difficult to just be done talking 1 second before the timer goes... it's impressive and judges notice it. Be impressive.
At the end of the day, I believe that debate is an educational game and that education does not have to be at odds with gameplay. It's both, so do both. Make it interesting and competitive, play fair, and you'll receive what you earn.
There aren't a lot of specific argumentation-focused norms for this community, so I can't really speak to anything in particular. What I said up there ^ is what I believe about argument, so if you're relying on it heavily in IPDA, you'll want to read up there. A lot of what I said above applies to any format of debate.
Do your best to make your advocacy and burdens clear and I'll vote on who does the best at upholding their burdens.
I think IPDA debaters should all decide how they're going to handle/interpret article 1, section J of the constitution so that both aff and neg have fair and balanced ground. Too often, it seems that judges' thresholds for abuse are out of sync with the seriousness of fairness in debate. The IPDA constitution mentions fair/fairness and abuse a significant number of times compared to governing documents for other formats of debate; so... it seems like an important part of the format to me. I just don't know what to do with it because nobody ever really talks about it in specific, argumentative ways. Although it's not necessary to do this in IPDA, I really wish competitors would just choose to do it.
Regardless, I will offer you the respect of listening very closely to well-structured, well-thought-out articulations of abuse; I'll listen to vagueness presses; I'll listen to articulations of abuse at the level of definitions, as well as criteria/framing. If your opponent really has skewed ground in the round, then you have the right to ask for my ballot based on that alone - with or without a counter-definition
When in doubt, read the argument you believe in the most. Or a children's story.
I believe that well researched argumentation is one of the largest benefits of carded debate, likewise I am extremely willing to call for cards at the end of a round; if you ask me to read a card I will read it. Don't power cut evidence, don't misrepresent evidence, don't clip cards.
I judged a chess match once - I voted neg. It was pleasant. I think this says a lot about how I judge debate. More specific arguments are better than more general arguments - specificity wins debate rounds that come down to warrant comparison. Debate rounds should come down to warrant comparison. Therefore, please do not read arguments that rely on vague generalizations.
Regarding presumption: I am not Buridan's Ass.
The permutation is not offense. I will vote on offense if presented with the opportunity to.
"Max's brain is like a game of chutes and ladders" - Fiker Tesfaye
"When I was a freshman in high school Max was a senior and I was afraid of him. Now Max fears me." - Gabe Graville
“Hello, Max is a smart cookie who writes really fast and thinks pretty well. He will hear your words and think about them and maybe you'll win.” - Eliana Taylor
“The thing about a good recliner is that is has to both be firm enough for back support, but cushy enough for butt comfort. the ability to recline is a necessary component for any sustainable home living.” - Cody Gustafson
“Max's life goal is to eat every animal.” - Alex Li
"Max Groznik is an absurd bird. And I think birds are neat. Also do not feed him bread." - Adeja Powell
I competed in Parli so many years ago that it is pretty much irrelevant experience. More recently as the IE coach at McKendree I have watched, judged, and assisted with debate since 2012. While I am not a traditional lay judge, you should side closer to lay than experienced with me.
Politics- I love a politics debate
K- I am down with good Ks. Explain it well, don’t assume I know about whatever philosopher you are talking about, but I love K debate- Neg or Aff
T- I think I’ve voted on T once in about 20 rounds of LD/Parli judged. It takes a lot to get me to vote on T. I won’t say I will never vote on it.
CP- I am fine with all types of CPs.
Procedurals: I would not recommend running non-topicality theory arguments in front of me. I don’t follow them well and it is probably not going to win you a vote.
Speed: I have gotten better and better with speed, I can handle a moderate amount. If I put my pen down and stop flowing you are going too fast. Don’t sacrifice understandable for speed.
Impact Calc: I give a lot of weight to probability. Then Magnitude, then time frame.
Performance: Not a lot of experience with it, I LOVE it theoretically, but I am not sure how to evaluate it. Tell me.
Final note: Debates a game. You can run some wild stuff. The game to me though has norms and I won’t abide racist/sexist/abelist arguments, debate should be a space for everyone. I will do my best not to intervene. But if you are arguing Malthus or some racist clap…
TL;DR: Do what you want, but I have a high threshold for theoretical defenses in favor of rejecting the topic (although I'm very in favor of creative ways to endorse the topic), and I tend to hold proximal impact framing/proximal solvency mechanisms to a pretty high standard as well.
While I'm open to arguments about debate being a "training ground" for personal advocacy and political change, I view debate itself as a game. This means that I view arguments very impersonally, and I care more for the strategic aspect of the game than the emotional or truth-based appeals. Those things are obviously still important, but that just means I will very likely vote for arguments that are "winning" even if I don't necessarily like them (just because of how I understand the utility of debate). For impact weighing, I probably default to magnitude>probability>timeframe unless told otherwise, so do in-depth impact comparison that includes weighing of the different metrics. I tend to hold proximal impact framing and solvency mechanisms to a pretty high standard, and while I'm down to vote on proximity you should just keep in mind that I think of all of these arguments as pieces to a game, so I'm not more persuaded by proximal impacts than magnitude-based impacts absent a clear reason.
I'm fine if you want to reject the topic on the Aff, but I'll be very sympathetic to the Neg's theoretical objection to that. You can win the theory debate, but I'll have a pretty high threshold for your theory answers so just be aware of that. Impact turning theory out of the aff is fine as well, but I've found that if the Neg team wins that you shouldn't get to leverage the Aff against theory if truth-testing the aff is impossible, I'll usually evaluate the theory prior to the PMCs reasons that fairness and education are bad or impossible to access. I'm pretty indifferent about conditionality also, but will vote on theory saying it shouldn't be allowed if you win that sheet.
Also on theory, this has only mattered a couple of times, but if I'm not given a paradigm by either team I have a tendency to default to reasonability instead of competing interpretations. This is largely because (absent being told otherwise/as a default) I tend to evaluate theory as a check against abuse (i.e., should I penalize a team for doing something unfair), rather than evaluating it as the endorsement of the "ideal model" of debate, which tends to make a difference regarding how I evaluate the impact framing on the theory, but this has only ever mattered when neither team makes any of the arguments that would give me a cohesive story on theory and I'm left pretty much evaluating a non-functional/unclear interp with no voters.
I love policy debate, but I was also super into reading Ks and I dig janky stuff from obscure philosophical sources. In my opinion, I'm able to understand and follow pretty much whatever you want to throw at your opponent. On the flip-side though, that also means that you probably won't get very far with super ambiguous solvency. You need to have some kind of solvency that is (at the very least) a clearly explained mechanism that is preferably drawn from the literature that the K is based on.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me in person! Good luck :)
I am a fairly straight-up critic. I view debate as a game, not a community, a training ground for a particular cause, or a place to air my own grievances. Don't worry about appealing to what you think my ideology is. I vote on the stupidest shit all the time, so just do what you think is strategic. That being said, tell me it is and why and I'll view it that way for the round. Tell me where to vote, win it, I'll vote on it. It's basically that simple.
- The K. I vote for it a lot because I don't particularly see my ballot as my own personal moral imprimatur. I enjoy good framework debate, most of it is relatively bad. Alt debate is better. While I am familiar with a lot general kritiks, please do not assume I care about your lit even 1/200th as much as you, so dropping a lot of references I should get will not work very well as an empiric or analytic for me.
Please be relevant. I don't mind a generic cap k for some godawful debate about the minutiae of financial regulation or something. But try to make it slightly connected to the topic beyond, "You reify the state by using the USFG as an actor. Next off, 8 minutes of state bad."
-Theory: Don't mind it. Pet peeve: counter interps should be actually counter to something. "The aff should be held to the resolution" is neither counter nor an interp.
-DAs. I'm a huge fan of good uniqueness debates. Bad uniqueness debates (oh here's 5 reasons why the econ is up, naw dawg here's 6 reasons why its down. 6> 5 duh.) make me sad. Personally how I decide on this will go a long way in how I decide the direction of the DA and its likelihood since it is a debate on what world the plan takes part in to begin with.
Major points: Internal link/impact defense. Does not happen enough. It sucks how much each sides just spots wild internal link scenarios with nothing filled in at all.
Counter plans/perm debate.
Competition is good. Personally, I prefer net benefits competition as I think it's the most educational. Mutual exclusivity is usually just a form of NB competition though I am open to arguments as to why it is not.
Impact Calc: If no one tells me how to judge impact debates then I revert to magnitude and probability. So if you just tell me your impact is bigger and they tell me that theirs is more probable, I will probably revert to the bigger magnitude impact (especially if its extinction vs. someone feels bad about themselves).
Give me reasons why prob > mag or vice versa. I do enjoy good defense debate on the probability level. Time frame isn't brought up enough. I'm also a big fan of the "Big mag impacts bad v. Big mag impacts good" debate. But if it doesn't happen, unfortunately, I'm a hack for the mag x prob (extinction x .000001 still pretty big risk) impact calc. Not totally against "key to value to life" args if they are decent internal links into what gives human life value. But baseless claims of, "And now there's no value to life!" claims are pretty easily beaten in front of me.
>Speed: Don't care one way or another. I will clear you if I can't understand. I can hang, though slightly less than when I was competing since my ego isn't in the round anymore. If your advocacy is long as hell please repeat it.
>Points of order: Call them. I can't guarantee me catching them cheating every time. So unless you want me letting it slide and someone throws a tantrum, call it. But if you're some senior team on the national circuit pummeling some freshman babies from a CC and you really feel the need to call 18 points of order this poor child's PMR, you should feel bad.
>Side note: Don't freak out if you get a 27 in speaker points. That's good from me. I've seen like, maybe 2-3, truly 30 point speeches in my life so idk why everyone expects it so much.
>Speaking personally due to my own history, I do not care for excessive shouting/cursing. I also really do not care for debate being made personal against the individual debaters. I will not vote on an argument that demands I adjudicate the intent of someone in the round (i.e the argument is wrong vs "the aff is lying"). Additionally for the record as this weirdly becomes an issue in debate lately, I am a white Hispanic. I find other white-passing individuals using similar stories to pull a functional Elizabeth Warren to answer identity oriented arguments extremely cringeworthy. Cringe = speaker points hit.
I don't vote on IVIs. Claims of "time suck" are just absurd, please do not run this.
I don't vote on procedurals or kritiks based on speed. The barest of defense on this will be seen as terminal by me.
I will not, under any circumstances, vote for advocacy that explicitly calls for categorical eliminationist violence against people, based on their membership in a particular group. I should not have to write this but it seems I do.
>For PSCFA circuit: I don't vote on "this should be a fact round." Don't be ridiculous. I don't care if they drop it I will literally not vote for it, it's my one thing I'm just not going to do. Do not cry about it because you didn't read this section.
-I am on a cop on the rules, sorry. This is due to the fact that the NFA authorizes tournament directors to levy fines on schools for judges not following the rules and that is a risk that I am not willing to take. I am very open to arguments based on what the rules actually say, which is often quite broad or vague (whatever "conversational" or "pleasant" or "area of further study" means).
-That being said, my threshold for terminal defense on alleged rules violations is extremely low in NFA-LD given that the cards are right there and there is nothing really being lost. Tbh I really don't know what conversational means either.
-I am fine with theory and Kritiks but naturally, I will listen to old school type arguments on why they do not indict whether or not the aff has fulfilled their stock issues burden or whether or not your particular kritik would be allowable by the rules.
Important note for 2021 Nationals: I've recently had a hand injury and can't flow anywhere near as quickly as I normally would. You would do well to slow down a bit in front of me so that I can keep my flow up to speed. I'll try my best to be vocal about my limitations, especially because I'm still finding them. I'll still do my best to flow, but if I can't keep up, I will have an incomplete flow.
**An argument consists of both a claim and a warrant. If you make claims without providing evidence which explains why that claim is true, I will not vote for that argument. Saying that a study concluded that your claim is true or that a news source claims it is not enough. You need to explain what that study did to conclude that or explain the reasoning of the news source which you reference.**
This philosophy should give you a look into the way I think, but I believe that it will be totally sufficient given my outlook on debate. In the past, I’ve tried to be comprehensive, but I think that that lead to folks misinterpreting my thoughts on debate. Do not take my brevity to mean that I don’t have thoughts about debate, but rather that I think my own opinions ought not matter to you as a debater – this is, after all, your activity.
My goal as a judge is to adapt to the round that the debaters have. This may seem to be empty to y’all, and that’s fine, but my goal as a coach and judge is to facilitate debate rounds that debaters want to have. I feel capable of judging any debate and would encourage you to do you when I am your judge.
With that said, you’ll probably want a few things that I start off with to keep in mind.
- I assume all negative advocacies are conditional unless stated otherwise.
- I think timeframe and probability are more important than magnitude, but no one ever does the work, so I end up voting for extinction impacts.
- Give your opponents’ arguments the benefit of the doubt. They’re probably better than you give them credit for and underestimating them will hurt your own chances of winning.
- Role of the ballot arguments do not make sense to me: if you have to win that the aff/neg does something good to meet the role of the ballot, it seems like you’ve already won the regular-old impact debate. Keep trying! But be aware that I was probably already voting for you if you won an impact.
- I really dislike spec, but read it if you must. Please don't collapse to spec unless you see no other outs.
- I generally dislike MG theory with the exception of CP theory and condo.
quick additions for 2020 NPTE/NPDA:
I really like conditionality. I have seen some pretty good PMRs on condo, and they have not persuaded me on this. You probably don't want to run the risk unless it's a particularly egregious case of condo.
I will almost never exclude the aff from a K debate based on "K comes first" type arguments or no fiat arguments. If you manage to win these arguments on the neg, I typically treat them as framing issues on the link page that improve my evaluation of your argument quality/probability.
If you're reading this, that's already a good start. You should continue to do so until there are no words left. I debated in parli for ~5 years at McKendree University, and did 4 years of high school LD before that. My partner and I won the 2020 NPDA. All of these things mostly tell you nothing about my thoughts on debate, but they should tell you that I have quite a lot of them. I'll do my best to keep it brief here.
Before I get into any specifics, I want to avoid what I assume most of your coaches or veteran debaters on your team will tell you about my time as a debater. Was I fond of the K? Yes. More accurately, I was fond of winning and a good chunk of the time, I found the K to be the best way to do so. With that being said, I would by no means describe my career as being a "K debater." I won just as many debates reading a topical policy aff as I did reading a K aff. In the same vein, our neg strat was a one off K just as often as it was a DA/CP combo or sometimes just straight up case turns against the aff. I did it all, and I consider myself to be a judge that can evaluate any kind of debate you put in front of me because, well, I used every tool at my disposable to win debates. I think you should as well. I pride myself on having been an incredibly versatile debater so please, for the love of god, do not high pref me for your "k teams" and low pref me for your "non-K teams" because you think that's the kind of debate I wanna hear/am best positioned to evaluate. I will get tired of hearing Ks every round very quickly, then I'll get annoyed, and then I won't be a good judge for anyone because I'll want to go home. Do not make me want to go home (chances are I already want to by no fault of yours so like, don't pile it on).
Max Groznik recommended I add these quotes from a conversation between the two of us. I don’t know why I am, but I’m not sure any of this means anything anyway:
”Ah, my life is a series of baubles that I must sort. Both real and fabricated for me to have something to do. C’est la vie.” - Me, 2020
”I think everyone is stupid except for me. It actually makes me care more. I’ll steer them in the right direction.” - also Me, 2020
In general, I think debate is a technical game and I evaluate it as such. I'm not easily swayed by positions that rely on some other metric that's not a net-benefits paradigm where my role is to weigh impacts and evaluate the arguments on the flow. That being said, I did dabble in this kind of non-traditional debate during my career. I think it's interesting, and I'm all for arguments that lightly poke and push at the limits of parli debate, I'm just not at all sure how I evaluate these arguments as a judge. If that's your thing, my advice is to proceed with caution and keep in mind that at my core, I'm a technical debater and that's where I'm comfortable. If you want me to throw tech out the window in favor of something else, you'll have to be fairly convincing and exceptionally clear on what exactly this means. This in no way means I'm unwilling to listen to a less technical argument. I definitely will, I just don't have a concrete framework for how I evaluate these arguments, so I think it's important that you make this clear for me so that I don't end up making a decision that misses the point entirely.
I also think I should address MG theory here. If you've read Alyson Escalante's philosophy, I pretty much agree 100% with her about the direction this activity is going and what's causing it. The proliferation of nonsense MG theory is definitely up there for me in terms of something that's threatening this activity, and you will be hard pressed to get me to vote on it. The only legitimate MG theory in my mind is CP theory (PiCs bad, multiple actor CPs bad, floating PiCs bad, Delay bad, for the most part) and Condo bad. These are debates that I will listen to, and that for the most part, I don't have a huge bias for voting one way or the other (maybe Condo, but read my later section on that). Any other silly MG theory about passing texts or reading the plan text in 30 seconds or whatever is becoming increasingly annoying to me. I don't even want to listen to these debates, so your speaker points will reflect my annoyance if these are even apart of the MG order. Beyond that, you likely will not get a ballot out of me that even references the MG theory as a part of my decision. My threshold for abuse on these sheets is very high, and absent an incredibly legitimate abuse claim, I will find any small defensive argument possible to make this sheet of paper go away, and your speaker points will suffer the more you press the issue. Please keep this in mind if you have me as a judge.
Read whatever you want on the aff. I truly don't care, and I'll evaluate the debate that happens in front of me. Just a few specifics though:
1. I need texts read twice and slowly.
2. Don't try to be faster than you are. It's probably my biggest pet peeve in this activity. Clarity is just as important as speed, and I won't be nice with your speaker points if your inability to be honest with yourself about your own skills means we all have to suffer through a speech that's unclear.
3. I love a non-topical aff - in theory. In practice, I find myself begging for just one or two arguments that clearly explain why you ought to be non-topical. If I get those, I'll be far more enthusiastic about whatever your k aff is. Also, referencing the topic on your link page and giving a lackluster warrant as to its connection to whatever your k aff is about does not make you "topical" and I will vote on framework 99% of the time in these cases.
As far as negative strats go, I also pretty much think you should do whatever you want, but as for specific thoughts:
1. I assume all negative advocacies are conditional unless specified otherwise. As a person, I think you should say most things with your chest, which would naturally mean I think condo is bad. BUT, as someone that understands how the activity works and would like it to keep working that way, I think condo is good and I don't think there are many scenarios where I would vote for condo bad unless it's an egregious abuse of condo.
2. I love a T debate - in theory. I don't think many judges or debaters really agree on how a T debate ought to be evaluated, which is why most of the time every judge in the room ends up sighing, groaning, and shaking their heads through a T debate and then punishing debaters for committing any number of "sins" that are entirely based on their personal views on T and not some agreed upon community norm. So, here are my thoughts: I think of interps similarly to counterplans. It's a specific text (that defines a certain word in the resolution), with "net-benefits" (or standards) that resolve or cause certain negative or positive impacts (that discuss an effect on debate as an activity). Although the interp usually defines a singular word, it's defining that word in the context of the resolution, not in a vacuum. The violation describes this context. That's typically how words work, alongside other words or groups of words. I evaluate topicality in this way. If you don't win a standard on your interp, then there's not reason for me to vote for it instead defaulting to the PMC (just like there's no reason for me to vote for a counter-plan if it doesn't have a net benefit. I would just vote for the aff). If both interps win a standard, then I need impact weighing to compare offense and determine which interp solves the most. We-meets can be terminal defense, if they sufficiently resolve the offense gone for in the context of the violation. Just like in any other debate, if the defense isn't enough to outweigh the offense gone for in the MO, I can still vote on the offense. For example, if you read defense against one link on the disad but not the other, I can still vote on the offense triggered by the second link. This goes for T as well. These are just my thoughts, but if you keep them in mind, I will not groan through your MO/PMR on T. I think T is fun and more people should go for it.
3. Please...collapse...in the block...
4. Whatever your nonsense k is, please explain it to me as if I did not pay attention in my intro ethics class (I did not). This threshold is much higher for D&G (I just don't get it. I'm sorry).
Finally, I was pretty deep in the anti-blackness literature as a debater, I mostly debated pess, but I also dipped into futurism/nihilism/etc. I mean like, 5 years and lots of books and research and readings by lots of different authors deep. This is a topic area that I have a lot of knowledge on because I did a lot of work to accumulate this knowledge. I like these arguments, and I don't think parli has even scratched the surface of this lit base and the type of arguments that can come from it. That being said, I have zero respect for debaters that think they don't need to do any of this work and that they can formulate an argument based entirely on their own (albeit real and highly valuable) cultural knowledge. This isn't twitter, (although if you're funny and often talk about your cultural experiences as a Black there, I might follow you) but there's a reason tweets have a character limit, this activity does not. Luckily, there are a ton of Black authors that have just as much cultural knowledge, paired with years of academic research and writing that contains well thought out and explained theories regarding the Black experience and anti-Blackness generally. Please give them their clout, read their books/essays, and use them as at least the basis for your argument. Otherwise, you're not engaging in this activity in the way that it's designed to be engaged in and I won't be the judge that rewards you for it.
Also, I have opinions about speaker points. Mainly, that a 30 ought to be virtually unattainable and given only to those that are truly exceptional - not just in a given round, but compared to the rest of the field. I will almost never give one, and my average range is somewhere between a 27.7 and a 29.7. If you’re on either side of that range it means you were particularly impressive (either negatively or positively). Judges that give these out like candy or debaters that explicitly ask for them when they’ve not given a speech that constitutes a 30 generally tend to make speaker awards not reflective of the actual ranking of debaters at the tournament. I’m pretty committed to not contributing to that, so if you receive a 30 from me just know it was well deserved. If you ask for a 30, I probably will not respond nicely with how many speaker points I end up giving you. 30s ought to be earned; and, if the 2020 NPDA is any indication, when people explicitly ask for them and judges give them, people who actually earned their 30s end up not getting rewarded for it.
TLDR; say whatever you want, I'm a good judge for any of it. Condo is good. Books are fun and you should read them. There's someone out there that has spent years researching whatever thought you think you came up with all on your own, I promise.
The allegory of the cornbread:
Debate is like a delicately constructed thanksgiving dinner. Often, if you take time to make sure you don’t serve anyone anything they’re allergic to, we can all grit it and bear it even if we really didn’t want to have marshmallows on our sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes and gravy are just as good as cranberry relish if you make it right. Remember, If you’ve been invited to a thanksgiving dinner you should show up unconditionally unless you have a damn good excuse or your grandma got hit by a reindeer because we’re here to eat around a point of commonality unless your great uncle happens to be super racist. Then don’t go to thanksgiving. I’ll eat anything as long as you’re willing to tell me what’s in it and how to cook it. Remember, you don’t prepare stuffing by making stuffing, that’s not a recipe that’s a tautology. I eat a lot, I’m good at eating, and I’d love to help you learn how to eat and cook too.
PS: And why thanksgiving? Because you’re other options are Christmas featuring a man way too old to be doing that job asking if you’ve been naughty or nice at the hotel lobby, the Easter bunny which is just a man way older than you’d think he is in a suite offering kids his definitely-not-sketchy candy (who maybe aren’t really even old enough to be eating all that candy), or Labor Day where everyone realizes they can’t wear their hoods and be fashionable at the same time.
Hi! I’m Zach. I debated for 5 years of NPDA/NPTE parli (4 at Cedarville and 1 at SIU) and this is my 6th year coaching/judging. I've been coaching for McKendree since 2017. Here are some of my many thoughts about debate:
- I will flow the round and make a decision based on my flow. I will skip flowing your speech if you insist but I will not evaluate arguments that I don't flow.
- You won't get a 30 unless you give a perfect speech. My average is 28.1 with a standard deviation of 0.6. 27 is the floor unless you do something offensive.
- I've gone back and forth on this a few times and I've decided the best use of this space is just to tell you what I think I'm a good/bad judge for. Standard caveats apply, you should really just do what you do best, don't read something just because I listed it here, but this is what I've learned about myself to help you pref me. I also keep a Google doc with stats for every round I judge.
- Good judge for: topicality, big-stick affs, topic-specific disads, advantage counterplans, K affs that do the work on the flow, framework teams that do the work on the flow, Nietzsche, antiblackness arguments, conditionality, impact turns, pessimism based arguments, defense, creative interpretations of the topic, fast-paced debates, teams that stake out their ground and defend it
- Medium judge for: politics, process counterplans, soft left affs, Marx, Foucault, D&G/Bataille/most other Eurotrash, Buddhism (unfortunately), counterplan theory, novelty, teams that win by tricking the other team, probably anything else I didn't think to list above or below
- Bad judge for: K aff teams that think I'll autovote for them for ideological reasons, framework teams that think I'll autovote for them for ideological reasons, Lacan/psychoanalysis, Baudrillard, any argument that posits that rocks and/or animals are people, fact or value affs
- It will take a Herculean effort to make me vote for: spec, AFC, any other theory that makes me roll my eyes (e.g. must pass texts at X time), RVIs
- Will not vote for: negative kritiks that don't have a link to the aff, any theory if the other team wins a we meet, arguments about something that happened in another round/that I cannot verify
As a quick background, I did high school policy debate and college parli debate. I would like to think I was at least okay as a debater. I haven't really been involved in judging or coaching for about three years, so my ability to flow fast spreading has probably deteriorated. Although I'll probably still "get" any particularly debate-y arguments, I've probably become significantly more lay since I left the debate scene.
**IMPORTANT** If you are running a highly critical advocacy (e.g., something involving the word simulacrum), I will almost certainly need you to explain it to me like a five-year-old. While I will try to consider any advocacy you run, my ability to judge will be delimited by my ability to understand what I am judging. If that makes me a bad judge for you, that's my b (but also maybe your b).
1. I appreciate having a written version of all texts, advocacies, etc. The language we use matters.
2. I appreciate teams that are respectful and courteous (not to me, but to their opponents and partners).
3. I appreciate when teams are creative. Boring debate is bad debate.
4. I appreciate clash. Offense wins rounds.
5. I appreciate well warranted and clear arguments, with an emphasis on presenting tangible or real-world examples. Explanations should come in constructive speeches, I should not be waiting until the end of the round to understand the argument.
6. I appreciate debaters who ask good (or strategic) questions.
7. I appreciate debaters who have good round vision and collapse only to the round’s most essential arguments.
8. I will always evaluate “stupid” arguments (RVIs, etc.) if given a good reason. I will listen to all arguments barring dangerous or violent ones. (This means I do not have a high threshold for theory, etc.)
9. I will do my best to not involve myself in the round and rely heavily on the flow (unless told otherwise). In instances where I do not understand something (e.g. one is speaking too quickly), I will make this clear.
10. I dislike when debaters deliberately exclude their opponents (by using speed, unnecessary jargon, etc.).
11. I dislike debaters who lie and cheat.
12. I dislike debaters who are rude, make the debate space more inhospitable than it already is, etc. Debate is best served when we all are (or aim to be) safe, kind, and having a good time.
13. I dislike having to do work. I will always prefer debaters who weigh arguments early and often, who explain the relationships between pages, and who have a clear narrative at the end of the round.
14. I dislike having one partner excessively use their other partner as a puppet or mouthpiece.
15. I am (currently) not well versed in argument theory. You should not assume I understand the complex relationships between the two-plank dispositional CP and x, y, or z argument. Explain your arguments well.
16. I think rebuttals should be a much slower-paced speech than the others and provide the judge with the most persuasive version of your argument. I won't dock you if they don't sound pretty, but these should be where you try and sound the least like you're trying to cram in every possible argument.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me before the round!
Please, I beg, read the things I write here. I didn't write it for no reason.
I'm Fiker (pronounced like snicker). She/her/hers. I debated a bit in high school which is mostly unimportant, and then did four years (2015-2019) at Texas Tech University. I (and my partner) won the NRR and I won all 3 national top speaker awards in 2019. Now I judge and coach for TTU. So it goes.
I generally think debate is a game, but a useful and important one. It may not be "fiat" but it does influence the real world by how we exist inside of it. Let's not forget we're human beings. Read what you want, I certainly did. However, I do not intend on imposing my own ideals onto debaters, so please have whatever round you want so long as we respect one another as humans. Speed isn't usually an issue but if we're blazing, let me know so I can use paper and not my laptop.
Things to keep in mind: My favorite arguments are well warranted critical arguments that I can actually learn and grow from; also, Japan re-arm. I like to do as little work as possible when it comes to making decisions on the flow so please be incredibly explicit when making claims as I will not fill in arguments not being made in the round. Impact calculus is essential. However many warrants you have, double it. Condo is good, but don't test the decently sturdy limits. I don't really get presumption and may not be in your best interest to stake the round on it. Thought experiments aren't real. Jokes are fun. 9/10 the MG theory is not worth it.
Affs: Read them and be very well warranted within them. Pull from the aff throughout the debate as I feel this is one of the least utilized forms of offense in the round. K affs are fine (I'm a big fan) just make sure the things you say make sense and do something. I think because I have read a lot of Ks in my time that people think I will vote them up regardless, which is not true. I like offense and warrants and I like not doing work so whoever allows the most of that will be in the better spot regardless. Read case against the aff. Be clear and read texts twice.
DA/CP: Also read these. They need to be complete and fleshed out with good warrants and net benefits where they need to be. Warrant explicitness are your best friend. CPs should come with written texts, imo. I would say I have a slightly higher than average threshold for CP theory but that doesn't mean I won't evaluate it if it is read and defended well (just remember MG theory isn't always worth it if you can just win the substantive).
Theory: I like this and my threshold is pretty equal to substance if run well, but I needneedneed good structure. Interpretations are key, please slow down and repeat them. Now, I don't need several sheets of theory, MG theory, overly high-level theory, and certainly not MO and later theory. Keep it at home. Have voters. Defend them. Competing interpretations is based on the way that the interpretations are being upheld through the resolution of the standards but standards alone do not win without a competitive interpretation.
Ks: I love them, but I don't vote on nothing. Framework needs to be strong or it needs to not bog down the real parts of the argument. Links need to link..... please (generics won't save you)......Alt needs to make sense, repeat them twice for me, and if they're long, I'd like to be told in flex or given a copy. Even if I know your literature, I am not debating. Please do the work for me in round. Identity arguments are fine, do as you please just don't be offensive or overly satirical about real violence. You must still win the actual debate and make the actual arguments for me to vote. This runs both ways, so anyone reading the K should do so if you want but if this is your winning strategy then make sure I know why and am not filling anything in for you where you believe I should be able to.
Any other questions about my paradigm or my opinions/feelings about debate can be directed to me on social media (probably facebook most easily) or you can email me at email@example.com
Have your debate. Live your life. Yee, and dare I say it, haw.
My background as a competitor involved a couple years reading primarily policy strategies and a couple years reading primarily old-white-man criticisms (Baudrillard, Marx, Lacan, etc). As a coach, my teams have dipped their toes into nearly every kind of argument. I love it all, when it is done well. I can hate it all, when it ain't.
I feel comfortable judging any “genre” of argument and have no real argument preference beyond the desire to see clash.
I coached for three years at Lewis & Clark College; this is my fourth year as Director of Forensics at TTU.
Parliamentary debate is the most fun and the most educational when a variety of argumentative styles, people, knowledge bases, and strategies are given room to thrive. I feel lucky to have judged a vast array of different arguments in my judging career. One of my main goals as a judge is to allow teams to run the arguments they feel are most compelling in front of me. I’ve picked up teams reading structural indictments of debate about as many times as I’ve picked up teams reading policy affirmatives and defending incrementalism.
It is my goal to involve myself in the debate round as little as possible. I have no preference for any particular kind of argument and generally feel that almost every debate issue can be resolved in the round. I will vote for arguments with warrants. I will try my best to synthesize your arguments, but I also believe that to be a central skill of effective debaters.
Parli debates should be slower than policy debates. Your theoretical top speed is too fast for parli, in my opinion (we don't flash documents, and we don't have enough predictable CX time to clarify key issues). I don't think I've been unable to keep up with even the fastest parli debaters the past several years, however, when in doubt... slow down just a bit.
I will vote for arguments I think are stupid 10 out of 10 times if they are won in the round.
I rely on my flow to decide the round. I attempt to flow performances and I do my best to write down what you’re saying as close to verbatim as my fingers allow me. If there is an expectation that I not decide the round based on the way I understand argument interaction on my flow, that should be stated explicitly and it would be a good idea to tell me how I am intended to evaluate the debate round.
Emphasize explanation early… don’t let your argument make sense for the first time in the LOR or PMR etc.
All constructive speeches should take a question if asked, and it’s strategic to ask questions (unless there is flex, then I'm agnostic on this question).
Theory interpretations and advocacy statements should be read slowly and read twice.
Points of Order should be called, but I will also do my best to protect new arguments… don’t be excessive with them though [I’ll be vague about what that means, but be an adult]
RVI’s have never been good arguments, read them at your own risk.
I cut my teeth on procedural arguments in college, and I am still a huge fan. To vote on a procedural, I need an interpretation explaining how the debate should be evaluated, a violation detailing specifically why the other team does not fit within that interpretation, standards that explain why the interpretation is good, and a voter that outlines why I should vote on the argument. PLEASE read your interpretation/definition slowly and probably repeat it. It is good to have an interpretation that makes some sense.
DAs and Advs. require uniqueness arguments that explain why the situation the affirmative causes is not happening in the status quo. Defensive arguments are useful, but they often serve to make offensive arguments more impactful or serve as risk mitigation, as opposed to terminal takeouts.
I ran politics in a majority of my negative rounds and I coach my teams to read the position as well. So, I will totally vote on politics every time it is won. That being said, I’m finding the position to be one my least favorite and least compelling these days. The obscene nature of congress make the position even more laughable than it was in the past [and it’s always been sketchy at best, without cards (and with?)]. Read the DA if you’re a politics team, but there are almost always better arguments out there.
Critique debates can be fun to watch, but only when the position is clear at the thesis level. If your shell argues that the K is a prior question or something like that, spend some meaningful time explaining why that’s the case instead of “shadow” extending an argument from the shell. I am familiar with a lot of the literature, but you should argue the position as if I am not. Critiques are totally dope, but only because they have the potential to advance compelling arguments… not because they are obtuse.
Framework debates (on the top of critique... i.e.: epistemology comes first) are a waste of time a vast majority of the time. I do not understand why teams spend any substantive amount of time on framework. The question of whether the affirmative methodology/epistemology/whatever vague term you want to use, is good or bad should be determined in the links and impacts of the criticism. I see almost no world where framework matters independent of the rest of the shell. So… the only K framework questions that tend to make sense to me are arguments about why it is a prior question. It makes sense that if the critique wins that the affirmative impacts are threat constructions that I’m not going to weigh the affirmative impacts against the position. That’s not a framework debate though, that’s a question determined by winning the thesis of the position.
Critical affirmatives can be cool, but they also put me in a weird position as a judge sometimes. If your affirmative is positioned to critique DAs, then I still want to see specific applications of those arguments to the DAs. I need to see how the DA demonstrates your argument to be true in some specific way. By that I mean, if the negative outright wins a DA, I would need to see why that would mean the affirmative shouldn’t lose early, often, and specifically. The same is true of any set/genre of negative positions.
Performance/Non-Topical Affirmatives/Alternative Approaches to Debate
I tend to not have super strong feelings in favor or in opposition to “performance” style arguments. Several of the teams I have coached have run non-traditional arguments and I have seen those be incredibly beneficial for the debaters and have a positive effect on education garnered from their rounds. I have also seen people really struggle with performance-style arguments on an interpersonal level, in both advocating their positions and responding to others doing so. I defer to the debaters to wade through the various issues related to alternative approaches to debate.
I will vote for framework as answer to these arguments if the other team “wins” the position. However, I also think most non-topical affirmatives are written with 5 minutes of impact turns to framework. Affirmatives must explicitly extend those kinds of arguments to answer framework (don't assume I understand how that's happening just by you extending the affirmative) and teams going for framework should not assume the "a priori" nature of theory means I reject the aff out-of-hand.
I tend to think arguments about the collapse of debate due to alternative approaches to debate, are frequently poorly warranted. Which doesn't mean those warrants don't exist... I just need them to be made explicitly. Debate can look like many things, and still be interesting/educational/productive, in my mind. However, I also believe compelling arguments about "topical versions of the affirmative" can be very compelling. If there is a way to read your criticism as a nuanced way to affirm the resolution, you've probably landed close to my ideal version of critically framed affirmatives. Affirmatives seeking to indict structural conditions of debate can also be very compelling, too. I hope to put my personal desires for a particular model/instantiation of debate to the side in any particular round I'm judging.
In general, the CP/DA debate is probably what I feel most comfortable judging accurately and I think CPs that solve the affirmative are very strategic. There are probably enough arguments on both sides to justify different interpretations of how permutation or CP theory in general should go down, that I don’t have strong opinions about many CP related issues.
I tend to think objections to conditionality are rooted in some very valid arguments, however I find myself concluding conditionality is probably more good than bad in my mind. That only means the conditionality debate is totally fair game and I probably have voted conditionality bad as many times as I have voted it is good.
Cheater CPs are cool with me, so feel free to deploy delay, conditions, consult, whatever. I tend to think the theory arguments read in answer to those positions are more persuasive than the answers when argued perfectly, but that in no way makes me more predisposed to reject any kind of CP strategy.
General: I debated at Lewis and Clark from 2012-2015, was MG/LO and come from the Adam Testerman/Joe Provencher school of learning. I also did four years of policy debate in high school. What should be taken from my philosophy is that while I have preferences y'all should just do you. I would rather see the debate that you are best at/most excited about rather than an attempt at catering to me. Also, if it helps my style of judging is very techy and flow based.
I am most knowledgeable about international politics, the environment and issues concerning animal rights (anthropocentrism).I also spent a significant portion of my debate career reading Baudrillard and Lacan. Outside of these areas it would be wise to assume that I have not read your literature base.
Topicality: I LOVE T and am such a T hack. Weird, wonky T's are highly encouraged. I will always evaluate a T and feel very comfortable judging this debate. In order for me to vote on T it needs to have all of the proper components ie interp, violation, standards, voters and an evaluation mechanism. Violations need to be articulated saying that the aff violates is insufficient (explain how they violate). Also I think limits is the best standard and ground is the worst (but do you). I tend to default to competing interpretations unless given a mechanism to evaluate what "reasonable" is and a reason to prefer it as such. Additionally, I do not need proven in round abuse to vote on topicality though proving abuse will certainly strengthen your case. Also say the interp twice please. Oh and if you're the aff and plan was rez unless the words extra of effects topicality are in the LOC shell feel free to spend very little time on the topicality as long as you say point out both of these things. However, I will vote on a T even if plan is rez if the aff does not use this argument to get out of a topicality. I will not vote on rvis.
Theory: I'll listen to it, do you but I won't love listening to disclosure or no neg fiat. However, I will still vote on both of those things if that's what you're into saying. I will default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise.
Counterplans: Don't have a lot of strong opinions on CPs. Down to hear theory both ways but generally tend to think that condo is good and cheater cps are bad but again I will still evaluate why delay is good or condo is bad.
Advantages/Disads: Please say them I love a good policy debate.
The K: I am not well versed in K literature which means at some point you should explain the thesis of your K, preferably as if I was five. In terms of running the K links should be specific and there should be a clear framework or role of the ballot argument so I understand how you would like me to evaluate the K against the aff and the text of the alt should be said twice. When answering the K I prefer to hear link or impact turns but am willing to vote on theory that the neg shouldn't be allowed to read a K. I'm also down to hear the K aff just make it clear whether or not you are defending fiat and have a clear advocacy text.
PLEASE, please, please repeat all texts twice and/or provide me with a written copy.
My name is David Vasquez, I competed with Concordia University Irvine for four years in Parliamentary Debate, and I finished my fourth year ranked #1 on NPTE rankings. My paradigm is fairly straight-forward, I have two rules I abide by no matter what, so please caution yourself to not make these mistakes which should be easy to avoid.
1. Racial slurs are an auto-drop, no exceptions.
2. Slow and clear for your opponents should they ask. This online format is new and difficulties are still being processed and worked through. If a competitor asks you to slow or clear, please do so for their sake. This is not an auto drop argument, but if I notice no attempt to change in your speed/clarity, I am more sympathetic to vote for procedurals, regardless of how well you can theoretically debate your way out of the theory. Damage done is damage that cannot be reversed, so please, be considerate.
In terms of everything else, I am game for any argument you throw my way, though I do air towards arguments I believe to be true (Condo is bad, for example). You should validate and warrant your arguments in a substantive manner. If I have competed against you/we know each other however, please do not expect me to give you any ground whatsoever on arguments I am familiar with/have argued myself. Your warrants are not floating around in my head, they should and must be on my flow after you've told me where/what they are and how I should evaluate them.
If you have more specific questions, feel free to ask me; if not, read the arguments you wish to read, and I will evaluate the round based on who wins the flow.