Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament
2018 — Northbrook and Glenview, IL/US
Lillian Adeyemi Paradigm
I like to see direct clash (they say this, we say that), analysis with warrants (prefer our argument, because…), impact/implications (what the world looks like if we don’t do x), warrants for why your impact(s) hold(s) greater significance/is more likely/is the reason I should vote.
Make it clear to me, essentially writing the ballot for me will get you the win.
Ok with speed just be clear. Will put down my pen and stop flowing if you are going to fast.
Please be respectful during cross.
Christy Alagarsamy Paradigm
I appreciate a good joke, a strong argument, and respectfulness. Staying on topic is a bonus. A parent judge who appreciates speech events but loves diversity of topic & opinions thereof.
Ryan Andersen Paradigm
Raja Archie Paradigm
Hi! I'm Raja Archie (my preferred pronouns: she/her/hers)
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to be added to the email chain
Full Disclosure: This judge is black, disabled, and queer (be mindful of what you say around her and in her rounds)
My rounds are a safe places. Which means you are required to respect preferred pronouns. I encourage you to ask before the round starts and if you don’t get the chance to ask before the round avoid the use of gendered language. Homophobia, discrimination, racism, xenophobia, ableism, transphobia, sexism, and all other awful prejudices in any form is not tolerated in my rounds and I won’t hesitate to vote you down and end the round early if an unsafe environment is created. Just be a nice human :)
My Background: Former Policy and Congressional debate coach for ETHS. Former NatCirc + local circuit congress (1yr) and policy debater (5yrs) for 4yrs at ETHS (c/o 2016). Judging since 2015 and have experience in judging Congress, Policy, and LD.
My Philosophy: I don’t believe in telling debaters how they should debate, or what arguments they should read. As a judge I just decide who did the better debating at the end of the round.
A note for Congressional Debaters: Remember it's Congressional Debate, key word 'debate' that's the one really important aspect that separates this type of debate from a speech event so please please please remember to debate, clash really is critical. Also, try not to obsessively rehash which can be avoided by remembering to review your flow and trying to refute line by line. Lastly, the speakers who stick out to me the most aren't just the ones who sound good or present well they're the ones who can structure a speech and debate well on top of those things.
Important FYI! Please refrain from using gendered language in session, especially if everyone hasn't gone around and introduced themselves along with their preferred pronouns. Fortunately in Congress everyone has a title of either 'Rep. [insert last name]' or 'Sen. [insert last name]' which makes avoiding gendered language like 'she'/'he'/'her'/'miss'/etc. even easier :)
For Policy Debaters
- Read arguments that YOU think are rad. Just do you. If you have a plan text that’s cool..but like also no plan text no problem because framework makes the game work. I'm not going to evaluate problematic or offensive arguments (i.e. ‘racism good’, ‘heteronormativity good’, ‘patriarchy good’, etc.) because that not only requires my brain power as a judge but also emotional labor that I won't be compensated for so just no. Note that problematic or offensive arguments does not mean problematic or offensive execution of an argument. Everyone is ignorant about some thing at some point and I am willing to educate if you’re willing to take an L, respectfully listen to what I have to say, and learn.
- Speaking - When it comes to speaking speed is not an issue I can flow by ear exceptionally well but clarity is a must especially if you want high speaker points from me
- Debaters love to ask me before round, ‘What types of arguments do you like judge?’ So to answer that simply, I like good arguments. What I'm not going to do is list which arguments I read as a debater because I don’t want you to read my paradigm then poorly execute an argument in front of me as a desperate attempt to secure a W. I do understand the importance of prefs though so full disclosure I’m probably not the preferred judge for you if your neg strat doesn’t contain a K
- No matter what types of arguments you read, if I’ve judged you in the past, if I’m cool with your school or coach, what types of teams I’ve coached, what kind of debater I was or what lit I’ve read..I won’t do any of the work for you. That means don’t debate lazily. That means even if it’s the 6th prelim round give it your all still. That means clear breakdowns of arguments (i.e. solid overviews, answering those direct CX questions about your argument’s content, etc.). That also means crystal clear breakdowns of how your side has won the debate within rebuttal speeches is a necessity.
Remember, education comes first always, be kind to one another, spread positive vibes among your fellow debaters, and good luck!
Theresa Atkins Paradigm
Victoria Beard Paradigm
In Congressional Debate: Analysis is the most important factor. Sources are parmount. Clash is expected. Delivery is secondary.
Loretta Bernardi Paradigm
Cait Bliss Paradigm
Priya Bokil Paradigm
Terrick Brown Paradigm
In PF, I like to see the following things:
- Providing clash is of paramount importance. I prefer to hear offensive refutations over defensive ones. However, some defense can be effective. Although carded responses are great, I am not opposed to analytical responses as long as they are supported with sound logic and reasoning.
- The summary lays the foundation for the FF. Therefore, be strategic and extend the most important arguments, preferably the offense. DO NOT EXTEND THROUGH INK.
- Impacts matter—quantifiable and substantiated with evidence. Start the weighing analysis in the summary, and conclude in the FF.
Michael Bruce Paradigm
Michael Buck Paradigm
My name is Michael Buck and I am a Congressional and Lincoln-Douglas debate coach from Indiana. I have been a debate coach since 2015. I also have experience coaching public address speech events.
I am a traditional judge. I do not like spreading. Persuade me on the merits of your case and the classic elements of Congress and LD
Dave Burke Paradigm
Hannah Burmahl Paradigm
Stef Cambra Paradigm
I’m first and foremost an interp coach. Treat me like a lay judge who happens to know the rules (and yes- I know the rules). No spreading, clash is fine. If you really want to pick up my ballot, be professional- yes I like it when people stand for cross examination and are polite and supportive to their opponents before and after the round. I like it when I feel the teams are focused and paying attention not only to their opponents speeches but also to their team member's speeches. And the other way to pick up my ballot is to focus on cross examination. I find that a strong, quality CX can illustrate your ability to communicate, prove your points, illustrate your knowledge and understanding of the debate and show your best engaged debate skills. Anyone can read a prepared card. Show me you know what to do with it.
Please do not ask me what my qualifications are to judge.
I was a high school competitor all four years - competing in all Interp events (DI, HI, OO, prose, poetry, Duo, Duet) and Congressional Debate. I competed on the Texas and National Circuits. Here's the big thing to know - you should never change your style, material, or story to try to get my 1. I will always respect the stories you choose to tell, the performance you're developing, and your courage to be you and share messages important to you. I don't need trigger warnings, I don't need you to cater to me because that's not what speech is about. Just be you. My ballots may sound tough, but it comes out of a desire to help you improve. I've provided insight into what I'm looking for but none of it should force you to change your content.
For Interp Events, I'm looking for honest storytelling (talk to me like a person) and tech that helps enhance your story and not detract from it. I'm looking for clear, well-developed characters. I'm looking for an excellent intro that provides meaning and importance for your piece. I'm looking for excellent execution of pacing and incorporation of levels. Draw me into your story and leave me with something to take away. In addition, for all binder events, I'm a stickler for binder etiquette.
For Public Speaking Events (OO and INFO), I'm looking for topics that you are personally invested in. I'm looking for an engaging AGD, a clear vehicle, well-defined points supported with a balance of ethos, pathos, and logos. Share your heart story and be honest with it. Most importantly, these are two events where you can really be yourself. Be your best self, sure. But don't feel like you have to put on a whole song and dance to get my one. I'm looking for an inspirational, conversational tone. INFO - I'm looking for creative visuals that are well-executed and add value to your speech without being a distraction.
For Extemp, I'm looking for a clear understanding of the question and a definitive answer with supporting analysis (cite those sources guys). Two points or three points are fine, depending on the question and your approach to answering the question. I just want your speech to have a clear sense of structure and organization. I'm also looking for strong presentation skills. Have vocal variety, adopt a conversational tone, know how to present in a way that is approachable for all audience types and not just those well-versed in current events and extemp. Don't be afraid to crack a joke, but don't rely purely on humor. Fluency breaks, circular speech (rehashing points and repeating yourself), and poor time management could affect your rank in round.
Martene Campbell Paradigm
Robert Chen Paradigm
I am a parent that did LD and policy debate in high school and loved it.
For Congressional Debate, my focus is on logic. The better I can understand your arguments, the more it clashes with arguments made by previous debaters, and the better you can explain why those should be the reason to vote for the position you're advocating, the better the score will be. For the question of content vs presentation I try to follow the 70-30 rule -- the focus is mainly on the content, but great presentation is appreciated.
In a round with a lot of great speakers and strong arguments and clash, I will tend to rank higher those that "raise the room" more. All things being equal, the tiebreaker for me will be those that are friendlier to others and have a more civil / respectful tone in their speeches and questioning.
Abigail Condit Paradigm
Thomas Dainty Paradigm
Lauren Dale Paradigm
Nancy Dean Paradigm
Nancy Dean- Director of speech and debate at Western High School in south Florida. I have been the head coach for 19 years, main interest is Congress
Speak clearly, do NOT spread. I look for well thought out arguments, no canned speeches. There must be clash or there is no debate. I stop listening when there is one-sided debate.
I read the bills so make sure you are on point with your arguments, refute and extend. Rehash will not be cool. Where you get your sources is important to me.
The PO will most certainly be considered.
Do not be rude, but again, clash is important. Look and play the part of a representative/senator. You are not a kid in high school, be well polished. I'm good with NO handshakes. :)
Mary Helen Earle Paradigm
Ross Eichele Paradigm
I coach speech and debate at Eagan High School and am the librarian/media specialist there.
I enjoy debate, so I look forward to hearing your round!
In general you may want to know this about me:
I want to hear you debate about the resolution/legislation at hand. Theory is very rarely needed. I like to hear real world impacts, and I want to understand how your arguments will impact the lives of people. I have little interest in unique/trick/squirrel/non-topical arguments. Weighing is important...so give me a clear way to weigh a round. Delivery is important, so speak well and avoid speed at all costs. Speaking of speaking, there have been five times when I've given a 30 in my life, and the lowest end I've given was 10. In all situations the speaker points were earned. My typical range is 26-29. I rarely disclose and there will be no orals after the round. Finally and most importantly, have fun and debate with class.
Specifically, in terms of congressional debate: I'm probably going to vote for the best legislator. You should speak well...but not have canned speeches. You should show me you can speak in a variety of positions (author legislation, introduce arguments, refute arguments, and weigh/crystalize the round). You should advance your arguments through questions. You should use motions to advance/end debate when appropriate. You should play the role of a congressperson with the decorum it deserves. You are always on...even during recess. You should be a good person (don't be a jerk).
In terms of public forum: I'm probably going to vote for the team that does the best job of explaining the big picture of what happens in the pro and/or con world. Real world impacts are important. Weighing is important.
In terms of LD: I'm old school. I would gladly judge a value debate. I would gladly judge a round in which the criterions are debated.
In terms of policy: Good luck. Use everything written here to adapt your approach to me. I might not be the best judge for your typical approach. I do not want to have to vote on presumption.
Afnan Elsheikh Paradigm
Jackie Evrard-Vescio Paradigm
While I enjoy judging a variety of events and encourage students to have fun with competing, I do take judging events very seriously. I have been coaching a small, yet quickly growing team for almost three years and have been a middle and high school judge for almost six years. I judge consistently on both the local and national circuits, including the TOC and NSDA championships.
I strive to remain objective regardless of personal opinions and have often ranked students debating on the side of an argument I may not agree with personally because they were the most convincing or were able to poke holes in the arguments presented on other sides. I believe that as a coach and a judge it is my job to provide detailed critiques and solid feedback to all students, even those I rank highly, to best serve the hardworking students competing at these tournaments.
in general, my paradigms include strong evidence to back up claims, well-constructed and organized speeches and assertive, yet not too aggressive questioning. I expect courteous, respectful behavior at all times, both in and out of sessions, and frown upon negative facial expressions, comments, hand gestures and the like.
Specifically regarding Public Forum debate, I want the participants to be able to show me why the team won the round and each speech after the first constructive should have clash. That said, I am not a fan of spreading and look for a combination of persuasion, argumentation and reasoning in each round.
Regarding delivery, I will not mark down for speaking quickly, as long as I am able to follow what is being said. I look for debaters who make eye contact and are not simply reading a well-written speech. While voice projection and inflection are in no way valued over content and argumentation, they do go a long way with impact and keeping the attention of listeners.
Maxwell Fenton Paradigm
About me: I generally judge Congress, speech, and sometimes PF. In high school, I primarily did extemp (mostly international) and congress at the local, state, and national level.
I'm a political science/philosophy student. When they come up, I can handle more theoretical/philosophical arguments, especially if they're more in the domain of political theory or IR theory. That being said I do like debating the intricacies of policy as well. This paradigm is generally tailored to Congress (which I judge most of the time) but much of it can be applied to extemp and PF.
Things I like:
- Clash is great. Call people out! Don't be afraid to get a bit aggressive especially if someone tries to pull a stunt but don't veer over into sheer meanness. Direct refutation is especially preferred, particularly if you can point out how someone misread an article by telling me what it actually says. Civility is overrated and doesn't reflect the real Congress you're trying to emulate, IMHO. So be loud and angry!
- Sources sources sources. Especially interesting or underutilized sources like think tanks that aren't Brookings, AEI, CFR, etc. Or interesting news sites like The Intercept or foreign news like Rudaw. Or interesting journals. One time someone cited the American Journal of Potato Research in a round and I almost died from happiness. Doing some digging for something off the beaten path a) shows you care enough to do deep research and b) leads into my next point...
- ...interesting and unique points! Don't let debate get repetitious and show me some interesting and unique ways that a bill may affect something that is unexpected. An example: did you know that investing in infrastructure in Afghanistan like highways or public transit may actually let rural terrorism become more mobile and nationwide in urban areas? Or that Tibetan freedom activists are trying to improve their cybersecurity efforts to remove an epidemic of Chinese malware? Stuff like that is great.
- Extemporaneity is also really good. I hate canned speeches because they really reduce the possibilities of debate and the ability to directly refute arguments. And it allows you to be a more dynamic and engaging speaker. I prefer when people speak with notes in Congress and PF -- it's more natural than a memorized speech.
- Impacts!!!! Lots of Congress I have seen lacks direct impacts and linking sources/arguments to them. Tell me why something matters as well as how it matters. Ultimately this is a DEBATE event, and you should reflect that in your rhetoric.
- Enunciation. Don't slur your words together. I understand speaking fast but you can do that without letting speech get mushy. Be crisp.
- POs: I love when POs have personalities even if they are kind of supposed to fade into the background. Make some puns and some observations! This goes for everyone else. I love a good joke or witty statement.
- Pronouns: This should definitely be a norm in speech and debate at this point. If you're in congress, give them while you're walking up to speak. If in PF/speech, give them to me/the team before round. I.e. "That's Representative Maxwell Fenton, school code JX. I use he/him/his pronouns."
Things I don't like:
- Don't be racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, classist etc. etc. Particularly avoid using slurs. If you get really offensive or get into a direct personal attack on someone I have no hesitation about ranking you the lowest possible score and if I know you, informing your coach of what you said.
- I hate when people judge or mention clothing on ballots and I won't dock you for not wearing a suit or whatever. I think people that do judge based on this are fundamentally classist (and maybe worse). That being said you should tuck in your shirt.
- If someone doesn't want to speak whatsoever don't push them to do it. They made the choice to show up and hang out for three hours while everyone else participated. Don't edit the docket because of this.
- Don't speak from your computer. Use a legal pad or notebook. It's super unwieldy and I'm always afraid someone will drop one.
- "Legislation" is a mass noun. There's no such thing as "a legislation," but there are such things as "pieces of legislation." Same with the word "economist" -- it's pronounced ee-KON-oh-mist, not the dreaded "eh-kon-OMM-ist." I have other word pet peeves like this but these are the big two I've seen in Congress/debate more generally.
- "Basic economics" is not evidence. Neither is "logic." Both of those things require sources and people disagree what they mean and how they matter.
- Repetition. One time I saw a Congress round where 10 people from the same school gave the same canned speeches on the No Child Left Behind Act with the same points, same sources, and same text. You will be ranked down if you rehash the same points over and over and over and over. See above for my love of interesting arguments and sources.
- Don't just sit there, particularly if you're in Congress. You're here for three hours. Give a speech or at least ask some questions.
- Disorganization. Give me a roadmap and an intro, and do the "walk" to split up your points visually as well as rhetorically.
- For intros, don't just say the subject and then move into the speech: i.e. "The national debt. I don't like it because...."
- If you're texting or Facebook messaging in round there's no way you're getting a decent rank. If you're using your phone to access sources because of a broken computer or something please tell me beforehand.
- "Are you aware...?" questions are loaded and stupid and demeans the intelligence of the speaker. Don't ask them. Same with questions that are essentially extended comments -- your statement should easily end in a question mark.
If you have any questions, just ask me when you get to round!
Last updated November 2018.
Ellen Glassman Paradigm
Kevin Gordon Paradigm
Consider me a lay judge. If you spread as fast as you possible you can expect me to miss warrants, claims, or fully grasp the point of your argument. My apologies to the professionals.
I expect serious impact calculus and clear explanation of what you think the voting issues are, and will not do the heavy lifting for you in deciding if your argument is more valid or important than the opposing teams (see above point about being a lay judge...).
Kritiks - theoretically fine, but in practice, even four full speeches on your k will not be sufficient for me to fully understand the argument on the level you want and expect. However, if you feel able to explain to a troglodyte non-expert a little of the jargon and buzzword filled monstrosities of many K tags, go for it.
Speaker points - Be able to explain things in your own words without just regurgitating tags. Make good strategic decisions. Speak persuasively in rebuttals. Do well in CX both asking and answering. Do not be hyper-aggressive. Do be funny, if possible.
I highly value clash (refutations), new arguments, and strong evidence and/or logical analytics from first principles. While speaking ability is important, Congress is firstly a debate event and only second a speech event - both are needed to be holistically successful.
I also suggest any experienced debater incorporate impact calculus, especially in later speeches.
Jacqueline Gray Paradigm
I enjoy working with students who display great energy and persuasion during their presentation. Listed below are a few additional items I look for in a speaker.
· Effective opening statements with solid reasoning
· Arguments that are clear and easy to follow
· Good eye contact and stage presence
· Ability to move the debate further
· Being respectful and an active participant
Allison Grimsted Paradigm
Dan Guinto Paradigm
Private Coach (2018-Current)
Klein HS Competitor [TFA, NSDA, TOC; Congress, Extemp, OO/Info, PF] (2014-2018)
I've attached the links below to my paradigms. Don't be afraid to ask me anything if you have any questions before the round begins, I won't bite unless I don't get my fix of coffee/green tea.
Lincoln Douglas / Cross Examination (Policy) Paradigm (If you have to read this then I'm VERY sorry. tl;dr default to my PF paradigm & ask before the round starts for specifics, i'm pretty amenable)
Now if you really do want brownie points from me, here's my Starbucks order:
Venti Blonde French Vanilla Latte w/ Toffee Nut & Whipped Cream
- OR -
Venti Hot Green Tea Latte w/ Whipped Cream
If I'm hangry, some salmon nigiri or a nice triple cheeseburger would calm me down. Even more bonus points for the stack shack from shake shack.
Amit Gupta Paradigm
I'm a parent judge and have been judging over the last 2 years. I have judged district level, regional and national level events. I judge both public forum and Congress.I will flow and am comfortable if you spread to an extent. Main considerations :
1. I don't mind if you sit or stand, I want you to be comfortable and enjoy the debate
2. I don't care if a coach, teammate, or family member observes the round, as long as other teams have no objections.
3. Tech over truth
4. I try to minimize intervening (unless necessary) and will not ask for evidences(even if you cite 'The Onion'). It is opposing teams job to do so.
5. You can assume that i have good understanding about the topic (not because i am super smart, but because my daughter debates :-)) but i try to be free of any prejudices about the topic and will let the opposing team verify any evidences.
6. Very important that you treat your opponents with respect! I dont mind people who are assertive or have voice modulation, but any kind of dis-respect towards opponents and it will likely affect your speak points and outcome.
Steve Harrop Paradigm
Steve Heller Paradigm
•Move debate forward--continue to examine impact (cause-effect relationships)
•Synthesis of prior speakers as debate rounds ensue
•Questions that probe for clarification of key terms and implications of key choices
Feng Hou Paradigm
Bernard Hui Paradigm
Thanks for reading. Parent Judge.
Please do not speak too fast. Be persuasive. Be clear. Sign posting is helpful.
Have a great round!
Christine Hunschofsky Paradigm
MJ Hurley Paradigm
Michelle Jiang Paradigm
Caitlin Johnson Paradigm
Nirmala Kakkuppi Paradigm
Frank Kernats Paradigm
Michael Knitter Paradigm
Rachael Krulewich Paradigm
I don't believe low point wins or speaker points are enough to deter truly rude and disrespectful behavior. As such, I reserve the right to only flow and evaluate arguments that are made and extended while maintaining the tone of a friendly academic discussion. Passion is encouraged, but ad hominem attacks, eye rolls, derision, and various "isms" are all very much discouraged. If I'm not happy with the tone of the debate, it will likely be pretty clear that I've stopped flowing you. At the end of the round I will then evaluate all arguments made and extended respectfully and I will consider all other arguments dropped. This is a policy that has impacted my judging in rounds before.
Other than that, I think I'm a fairly standard judge. Anything you want me to understand in your round, state explicitly. Do not imply links or impacts and expect me to infer them. Please fully explain your warrants and all hows and whys if you expect me to buy an argument. Please do not leave me to my own devices with weighing impacts. Tell me why you believe you won the debate.
In LD: Your framework is meant to be the standard by which we evaluate the resolution. As such, I believe it's vitally important. Please don't leave framework off in it's own world at the top of the flow. It should be clearly linked to each of your contentions and you should be impacting through your framework. Please make those links and impacts explicit. Don't leave me to infer them. You can win the debate without winning framework, provided that you successfully prove you better uphold your opponents' framework. I enjoy hearing the philosophy so I love when students take interesting case positions that fully incorporates neat framework. I'm okay with a quick-ish speed assuming you are articulating things in a clear way, but I'm not a fan of spreading for spreading's sake. It's worth saying the best debaters I've seen have never been the fastest. Fast often leads to inefficient and imprecise use of language and causes me to think more to process what you've said. In general, the more processing I have to do on my own, the worse for you.
In PF: Please clash. PF can be hard to judge because often the clash is underdeveloped. Please meaningfully engage with your opponents' arguments and then weigh your impacts against theirs. If your opponent provides a framework, I expect you to address it or else I consider it dropped and acceded to, just like any other part of debate; if you drop it, you concede it. It's worth repeating, please weigh your impacts against your opponents'. I strongly dislike spreading in PF and would prefer you don't use jargon. They are not appropriate for the format.
Congress: I expect congressional debate to be reactive to what has already happened in the chamber. Except for 1st pro, I expect that all speeches contain at least one refutation. Extensions are encouraged, but making the same point as if it's the first time it's come up in the chamber will not get you a good score. Please also explain all the mechanics of how and why in your speech. Clearly articulated hows, whys, and impacts, along with responsive debate, is the key to a high score. Also make sure links to the bill are made clear. I care a lot about how clean the internals of your contentions are in their organization. Tell me a story and inspire me. Please move the debate forward and cover new ground. No one enjoys listening to rehash. Clean presentation that inspires, quality questioning, and being a kind competitor are all valued.
Authorship and sponsorship speeches are very different from 2nd or 3rd pro speeches. Since you aren't being asked to refute, the expectation is that you frame the debate: set up the problem and how this bill addresses it. Your contentions should be the most important reasons for the bill, not necessarily unique arguments that no one else thought of. 1st con should similarly help frame the debate for the neg side.
All forms: Don't be afraid to be passionate or to be yourself. You've worked hard to prepare for the tournament and you deserve to be here. If you've put in the work, you've earned the right to be confident. Be proud of yourself and have some fun :)
Michele Laine Paradigm
Alec Lawlor Paradigm
Galina Lipkin Paradigm
Seeing as these tournaments are for the purpose of debate, I first and foremost look for refutations that have been thoughtfully and intentionally woven into the line of reasoning. I want see that debaters have been paying attention to their counterparts and using others' arguments to further their own.
Additionally, I look for:
-Purposeful questions that indicate attentiveness to debate
-Being able to respectfully defend one's opinion
-Advocating for the overall success of the chamber (ie being mindful of recesses vs getting in speeches for others)
-Having an overall good attitude
-Respectful and purposeful humor
-Evident knowledge and logic
-Enjoying debate even in the competitive environment
Kelly Lutgen Paradigm
I am Debate coach as well as a High School Social Studies teacher.
If you spread (i.e. speak very quickly), I will vote against you, no matter how convincing your arguments. The purpose of debating is to prepare students with speaking skills that will be useful in their adult lives. This is not speed chess.
I also find the use of debate lingo unconvincing. No presidential candidate ever referred to "cards" instead of the actual facts; nor did one ever talk about "extending the flow." Speak the substance of your argument; don't use code.
Shyam Mani Paradigm
If you have any additional questions about my judging style or experience I'm open to answering them before rounds start. This paradigm will be cleaned up later, but I hope this is enough information to use for prefs and strikes. If you're like me and wait until the last minute to finish strikes, feel free to jump to the bottom, I tried to summarize my entire paradigm in a couple sentences. For those of you that have time before round or strikes, I recommend reading the entire thing, It'll help you in round.
I have a Public Forum background. I debated PF for 4 years at Brookfield East High School in Wisconsin, and am currently a student at Northwestern University. In high school, I debated on the nat circuit between 3-4 times each year, so I have a decent understanding of how nat circuit tournaments and rounds work. In addition to the nat circuit and local WI circuit, I broke to late elims at NSDA multiple years. Essentially, treat me like any other college student ex-PFer.
My judging style is pretty standard for the nat circuit.
First, make extensions in summary, and those extensions should form the basis of the final focus (don't make new args in FF)
Second, this may just be a personal thing, but for rebuttal, I like to hear the second team come back and defend their own case. If nothing else, I expect the second rebuttal to respond to turns on their case. That's just something I did as a debater, and something I think makes a second rebuttal stronger.
Third, I can handle speed in PF. You can read semi-fast and I'll be able to follow, but obviously, don't spread or you'll lose me. If you ever get too fast for me, I'll look up at you and slow down my writing, and that should be your cue to slow down (I won't ever drop my pen and cross my arms though because I got really annoyed when judges did that to me). This sounds harsh, but it's your loss if I can't flow everything in your case and have trouble connecting the extensions, so keep that in mind when you speak fast. We all miss warrants and impacts occasionally, and I'll try my best to minimize that, but this is just something to consider.
Fourth, keep your speeches organized. I want to flow as much as I can so I have what I need to make an informed decision, but if your summary/rebuttal/FF is randomly jumping back and forth between arguments, it's hard for me to follow.
Fifth, during FF, please please give me voters, and usually just between 1-2. The worst final focuses are ones that turn into a 3rd rebuttal. I tend to vote on 1-2 issues in the round max so crystallize, consolidate, and PLEASE weigh the round in the last two speeches. It makes my job so much easier if you can execute a clean impact calculus for important args. Summaries and FF are meant to have arguments dropped; part of a good summary is knowing which arguments to drop and which to weigh, I won't hold it against you for dropping an arg in the round that neither team is going for. I can explain more about my FF philosophy before the round if you need more info.
Sixth, I don't really care what happens in cross-fire. I only feel the need to say that because I know horror stories of being dropped based on something that happens in cross. Unless your opponent literally concedes their entire position, I won't base my decision on that. Just don't personally attack your opponents during that time and we'll be good. I understand that cross can get heated, I got annoyed as a debater too, so your speaks won't take a big hit if I can tell you're frustrated. Just maintain some professionalism and you'll be fine.
On the topic of speaks, I'm pretty lenient. If you do a good job in the round you don't have to worry, you probably got decent speaks (I'm talking 28.5-29). The most frustrating moment in PF out rounds is to find out you didn't break because one shitty judge gave you awful speaks. I'll try not to be that person. I give 30s to debaters I think killed it and are probably going to do well.
Off-time roadmaps: A lot of judges hate these, but I'm totally cool with them as long as they are <10 secs. Just give me a quick summary of where you'll be going in the speech (i.e aff case then neg case, framework and then down the opponent's case, etc.). It helps me follow along on my flow.
Arguments: I will pretty much buy anything you explain well, extend well, and impact well. Don't make arguments that are logically flawed or impact to the zombie apocalypse (there's a reason you aren't in policy). Basically, don't unreasonably stretch the scope of the resolution and you'll be good.
Evidence: Use a good balance of evidence and logic in your arguments and I will buy it, don't rely too much on one or the other. I'll call for a card under any of these circumstances (if there aren't tournament rules regarding evidence)
1. I think you purposefully miscut a card or it sounds super sketchy.
2. The interpretation of the card changes as the round progresses. If I'm confused as to what the card actually says by the end, I will call for it.
3. The card gets muddled during the round and becomes important towards the end. If the two teams have different interpretations of the same card and it's important to either narrative, I'll call it.
4. There is an evidence challenge.
RFDs: I wasn't a fan of rounds where judges didn't disclose, so I'll at least let both teams know who won and lost. If we have some time, I'll go a bit more in-depth about why I voted the way I did, and answer any questions you may have.
SUMMARY: Ok, if you are reading this part it's probably because you need to make a quick decision on who to strike. Basically, I'm an ex-PFer and college student from Wisconsin, I debated on the nat circuit all 4 years of high school, so I know what nat circuit PF looks like. Make good extensions in summary, use those in FF. I can handle PF speed, but obviously, don't abuse that. Stay organized and give me voters in FF. Treat me as you would pretty much any other ex-PFer.
At the end of the day, just have fun with rounds. This is an activity you chose to do, and you should enjoy the time you have with it.
Becca Marks Paradigm
Updated for Emory 2020
If you have questions about anything here, just ask!
-I don't have a preference between early/mid/late round speeches - just give the best speech. I evaluate each speech for the role it needs to serve in the round. So, if you're sitting on a neg and we go to a 2-minute recess because you're insistent on doing a crystallization speech and no one else has a neg, I'll be annoyed. If you're able to show me multiple types of speeches throughout the session (especially if I'm the parli), that's great.
-Expectations for authorship/sponsorship/1st aff: problem/solution; identify a framework/burden/scope to evaluate debate; have a central narrative
-Expectations for mid-round speech: Refute; have a central narrative
-Expectations for late speech: Refute & boil the debate down to a main issue or 2; have a central narrative
-Have a clear, specific, and offensive thesis coming out of the introduction.
-Have clear warrants; if they stem from the legislation directly, even better. Particularly in mid/late speeches, weighing/clash is super important.
-Neg speeches can't say the leg is bad because it doesn't do something unless that thing is mutually exclusive with the action of the legislation; if the leg is that we should all eat more bananas and your neg is no we should eat more apples, unless you can prove that we can't eat apples AND bananas the point doesn't work. I also don't love points about complacency - they generally feel stock to me. Both of these types of points (do x not y; complacency) feel like avoidance of engaging with the actual legislation - neg speeches must demonstrate the inherent harm(s) of passing.
-No stock intros/conclusions. I like an attention-grabbing intro of some kind and when the conclusion ties a bow with the opening.
-I don't have a preference for being in the simulation or avoiding it. If you start talking about your constituents and your office in D.C., I will likely roll my eyes. On the other hand, talking about your current high school Bio class doesn't work either.
-Stay involved throughout the entire session. If you give an A+ speech but ask zero questions, you'll get ranked below an A- speech and strong, well-spaced questions.
-I will rank you as the PO if you're a strong PO (fast & efficient, knowledgeable about RR, clear command of chamber). Being the PO is neither a guarantee of a rank nor of a drop for me - if you do an A job as the PO, it'll be ranked the same as if you did an A job as a speaker.
-I don't flow cross; if you want me to evaluate something out of CX, you need to mention it in a later speech.
-If you want me to evaluate something from FF, it also needs to appear in the summary.
-Make sure to identify moments of clash. Don't let the two ships just pass in the night; tell me where the boats crash and why yours stays afloat.
-Make sure to weigh arguments. Tell me what the key points of the debate are so that I don't have to determine them myself.
-I won't make a decision based on politeness, but being excessively rude/abrasive in cross annoys me and will negatively impact your speaker points.
-Unless there's true abuse in the round, I won't vote on theory.
David Matley Paradigm
Shawn Matson Paradigm
Haven't gotten around to building my new paradigm yet as my old judge philosophy got lost in Al Gore's internet.
For now, a few things:
--Truth over tech.
--I am a debate coach. I am also a professional educator. I care about education, not just the game of debate.
--I flow. I have been in grad school recently and not judging much so I may be a bit rusty.
--Signpost the flow religiously.
--Framework is just another argument. You don't just auto win the round because they dropped framework arguments.
--I do not hear well. Be loud and clear as much as you can.
--Feel free to ask my any questions before the round other than, "Do you have any preferences?" Specific questions are better!
Ashley May Paradigm
John Morton Paradigm
My name is John Morton and I have been a speech and debate coach for the several years. I like good jokes/humor. I don’t reward shallow arguments, and I don’t disclose. Email for any additional questions.
Currently, I coach Lincoln-Douglas and Congressional Debate at Success Academy High School in New York. I have coached Congressional Debate and Lincoln-Douglas while in college. I began my coaching career as a speech coach, working mainly with students in public address events. I’m currently a Junior student at NYU.
I prefer slow and clear presentation in debate rounds and congressional debates. Second speaking teams should rebut the first speakers and tell me why their case is superior.
I’m not too familiar with any topic literature right now.
Linda O'Connor Paradigm
Pramesh Patel Paradigm
Vikram Patel Paradigm
Peter Rehani Paradigm
UPDATED 11/15/19: Clarified evidence policy and paradigm comprehension reward.
UPDATED 5/25/19 for NCFL NATIONALS SPECIFICALLY: Regarding prep time, I will allow 10 seconds for teams to find cards under the requester’s prep time; after that, I will consider it an abuse of prep time and therefore it will not count.
PF TLDR: Heavily flow based judge. My biggest voters rely on extensions and clash in the round. Weigh and define the voters in the final focus. If you have a framework, I expect you to explain why you win under that framework (similarly, if your opponent's provide a framework, weigh under that too). Signpost. Signpost. Signpost.
Congress TLDR: I try to weigh speaking style equally for debate--for debate, I look for clash, extension, and clear reference back to previous speakers. Avoid rehash at all costs, else you will end up on the bottom of my ballot. Speak clearly and ensure that your speeches are clear and well structured.
I strongly encourage you to read this thoroughly. PLEASE ASK ME BEFORE THE ROUND IF SOMETHING IS UNCLEAR TO YOU. I will gladly answer any questions before the round (or after the round). I will try my absolute best to justify my decisions to you (debaters!) during PF disclosure, and if I'm not communicating in a way that you understand, it is YOUR responsibility speak up and let me know.
- If the tournament doesn't explicitly disallow plans and both teams agree before the round to allow plans, feel free to run a plan-based debate if the topic calls for it. I find it more educational.
- In the case of an evidence question being called, I default to tournament rules; barring specific guidelines from the tournament (if tournaments require prep to be run), my policy is to begin prep as soon as the opposing team provides the exact location of the reference. All citations should include dates. Paraphrasing is a realistic way to get more evidence on the flow, but you shouldn't be using evidence as your argument -- they are there to supplement and support your arguments. Otherwise I default to not running prep for evidence exchange.
- If it's not in the final focus, it's not a voter.
- I appreciate effective crossfire, however I don't flow it unless you explicitly tell me to write something down, like a specific concession (hint: you should do this, explicitly say "write that down").
- I am inclined to reward good communication with speaker points and a mind more receptive to your arguments.
- Outside of the fact that the 2nd overall speech is allowed to just read case, I expect FULL case/off-case coverage in EVERY speech starting with the 2nd rebuttal (4th overall speech) -- i.e. extend everything that you want weighed. The 1st rebuttal (3rd overall speech) doesn't need to extend case -- they just need to refute the opposing case.
- Exception to the above: Framework. If you're speaking second, don't wait until 15 minutes into the round to tell me your framework. You're obligated to make those arguments in case. I vastly prefer to see framework at the top of all speeches, as it provides structure and a lens to understand your arguments--if you wait 1:30 into summary to discuss framework, it's likely that I'll lose it on the flow.
- For rebuttal, my general preference for the sake of sanity in organization is concise, top down, line by line responses. I feel that this is often the best way to ensure that you get through everything in the case. Rebuttal does not have to repeat everything, but should provide organized responses. Please signpost.
- I am very likely not the judge you want if you're running a non-canonical strategy, like a "kritik". I am an engineer and I have a fairly rigid policymaker paradigm.
- I don't flow anything called an "overview". Overviews are heuristic explanations to help me make sense of the round. Please don't expect to generate offense off of an overview.
- I'm fine if you'd like to time yourselves with an alarm; however, for the sake of common courtesy, please turn this off if you plan to time your opponents.
- I am inclined to give bonus speaker points if I see an effort to "read me" as a judge, even if you read me wrong. Cite my paradigm if you need to. Learning to figure out your audience is a crucial life skill. On a related note: if you use the secret word 'lobster' in your speech, I will give you and your partner a metaphorical 0.5 extra speaker points, since it means you read my philosophy thoroughly. This applies to LD too.
- I generally prefer debates I'd be able to show to a school administrator and have them be impressed by the activity rather than offended or scared.
- Please give me voter issues in the final focus. Weigh if at all possible. When I weigh for you, hell breaks loose. I cannot stress this enough.
- I try to judge congressional debate through as balanced a lens as possible--this means I tend to value speaking quality equally to the quality of your debate abilities.
- Typically, the biggest reason that I knock speakers down comes from non-original arguments/causing rehash in the debate. I feel that this decreases the quality of the debate and fundamentally mitigates the educational benefits of congressional debate.
- Regarding roleplay of a true Congress, I think it adds a bit of humor to the debate and leads to more engaged speakers.
- On the note of questioning, I prefer when students keep questions as concise as possible to avoid burying the speaker in a mountain of jargon.
- Clash and extension (similar to my PF paradigm) are my biggest factors on the debate side--please please please introduce clash and cite the speaker that you are extending or clashing. It helps to follow the flow of the argument as you speak, and it demonstrates you're actually paying attention.
- The later you speak in cycle, the more clash I expect to see and I judge on that metric. Similarly, I strongly dislike having 2 speeches on the same side, as it often leads to rehash. If you are speaking for the second time on the same bill, I look more closely for unique arguments and extended clash, and tend to judge these speeches slightly more harshly.
- Extension of questioning time often leads to less speeches getting in, and ultimately means that less people get a chance to speak. For this reason, I'm typically opposed to having students extend their questioning periods.
- For later cycle, I don't mind crystallization speeches but I do expect to see weighing and clear reference back to previous speakers.
- As stated above, your evidence is not your argument--It serves to support your argument.
- Speaking: gestures and clear movements add to structure and to the quality of your speech. Gesturing for the sake of gesturing, and non directed movements do not. I tend to prefer when speakers keep it simple with the style instead of over-complicating everything.
- For authorships, sponsorships, and first negs, I tend to look at fluency breaks and time more critically, as these are speeches that should be well rehearsed ahead of time.
- I view a logical argument that flows well to be on par with literal evidence from a perspective of supporting your arguments. This means that 1-you shouldn't be afraid to use logic in your speeches and 2-evidence debates will not hold up for me.
Bre Roberts Paradigm
Mark Royal Paradigm
Aarushi Sahejpal Paradigm
I am the Congressional Debate Coach at the Harker School.
I debated in Public Forum, Extemp, and most prolifically, Congressional Debate for Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. I am now a first year at the School of International Service at American University in D.C studying International Development, Education, and Theology/Philosophy.
I ended my senior year with almost a dozen bids to the TOC, 9th at Nats 2017, Leadership Bowl at Nats 2018, 6th at TOC, and 2nd at Stanford and Berkeley.
What I like to see in rounds in simple:
It is very important that you interact with the round around you. If you are giving a rebuttal or crystallization speech, I need to hear you reference other speakers and engage in clash. It will be very hard for you to get my rank if this doesn't happen.
2. Impact Analysis
Later on in the round, tell me why each sides' impacts matter more than the other.
3. Args Matter
I think that Congress is a very happen medium for a NSDA event, representing both Speech and Debate, but it is very important that we do not forget the debate aspect of this event. I care more about argumentation than your speaking, but both still matter!
Subramanian Sankaran Paradigm
I've judged for 3 years on the national circuit and have judged important rounds like TOC and Harvard Semifinals.
You should have logically built arguments, reliable sources, and a clear concise delivery. Do not rehash. Arguments should be relevant to contemporary issues.
Gary Schumacher Paradigm
Carl Schwartz Paradigm
I judge and coach LD, PF, and Congress.
Picking a Winner
When deciding the winner of a debate, I resolve the decision-making standards layer of the debate first and then use that standard to weigh impacts. If there is no standards debate or if I can't make sense of it, I use a cost/benefit analysis.
During the final speeches, the debaters should be explaining how I ought to write the "Reasons For Decision" part of my ballot.
I am most persuaded by debaters who make purposeful arguments. You should be able to answer the question: "Why does this argument matter?"
Lacking purpose is a big problem in a lot of the LD rounds I judge. The value and criterion aren't independent reasons to negate or affirm. They just set up a decision-making standard I can use to weigh arguments.
The debaters need to respond to each others' arguments. I'm not impressed by clever methods for avoiding clash. Sometimes, agreeing to framework issues like definitions and standards creates better and more substantive clash.
Since each side is going to have costs and benefits, debaters need to do impact comparison/weighing.
A lack of clash is a common problem in Congress. Needless clash over similar values/criteria is a problem in LD.
I just won't evaluate arguments that I didn't understand. Debaters should speak at a conversational pace and make clear arguments.
The intended audience for PF Debate is the public, and debaters should present arguments as if they are attempting to persuade an informed and interested audience, not a Debate specialist.
Congressional Debaters should play the role of an adult legislator.
LD and PF Debaters are relying too much on "cards" and flow technique in rebuttal speeches. I want to hear arguments, not references to arguments. For example, "Cross-apply the X card" is not an argument.
I'm most persuaded by arguments that reflect a thorough knowledge of the topic and its related literature.
Prep Time and Evidence Exchange
No cross-examination during prep time.
Debaters are responsible for the validity of the evidence they read and should have it available for review by their opponents and me. Evidence usage should comply with NSDA standards.
Debate should be a civil exchange of ideas.
Meghan Shreeve Paradigm
Quality over quantity. This not only applies to the number of speeches you give but also the amount of evidence you have and refutations you give. I would prefer deeply thought out refutation and clash rather than naming everyone who spoke before you. In so far as presentation I do not care about how you look or how your voice sounds, I care about mindful pacing and thoughtful presentation.
Eric Skoglund Paradigm
Updated November 2019. Yes email chain - eskoglund AT gmail.com
What's Bothering Me Lately (aka "old man yells at cloud")
People steal way too much prep time. We just gave y'all 3 more minutes (in Kansas) and it doesn't seem to matter. I will be keeping the official prep time for both teams. If we are flashing/email chaining before speeches (and please, we should be doing that), prep runs until the document is saved to the flash drive or the email is sent. I will ignore other requests to "stop prep time." Every instance of "oh wait, start prep again" will cost you a considerable deduction in quality points. Prepping while prep is not running will at a minimum earn you cranky sounds from the back of the room. If your prep expires and you are not ready to speak, then I will (with warning) start your speech time.
I debated in high school at Olathe South, briefly in college at the University of Kansas, and am currently the Director of Debate at Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas where I am in my 14th year of coaching high school debate, primarily on a local circuit.
The first rule of paradigms is that we, no matter how much we judge and coach, do not know ourselves as fully as we would like to. I am always learning more about this game, as I hope you are. Because of this, everything you read here is a default position, and I can be argued out of nearly anything you see below. Like many of my peers, as I get older, I find I have become more concerned with the truth value of the claims you're making. Your evidence and spin are obviously major components of shaping my understanding of the truth in the round.
I think the aff has a burden to relate to the resolution. The easiest way to achieve that is to propose a plan for policy action. Whatever your advocacy, all affirmatives obviously need to be prepared to defend why their approach is best for debate. Even absent specific negative argumentation, if I end the debate unclear about the meaning of an affirmative ballot, I am likely to negate on presumption.
By default my negative ballot will stand for supporting whatever is advocated in the 2NR. I will not judge kick without a bit of theoretical reasoning as to why that's appropriate for me to do. I tend to think of K alts in much the same way I think of counterplans. If your strategy relies on your alt being viewed in a different way, you will need to do a lot of work to help me get there.
Don't clip cards. If you can't read at the speed you want without clipping, then read slower. I will probably ask for your speech docs and will only be using those to monitor clipping and to evaluate evidence quality when it's in question, NOT to fill in my flow.
I won't say "clear" but will give you obvious nonverbal communication if I'm not with you.
Theory, overviews, and other things where you want me to listen to every word you are saying should be presented more slowly than reading evidence. Failure to do this will probably result in you asking me questions after the RFD such as "how did you evaluate this argument" and my answer being "I didn't because I didn't hear you make it". That's a frustrating time. Try to avoid it. I'm a pretty good flow but I can't transcribe full text at 350 wpm.
I like kritiks better than my reputation would probably tell you. I'm not very well read in the literature base as most of my teams tend towards the policy side of the Great Divide. I am more likely to comprehend your alternative if it literally functions within the debate space (as in a reps type situation) or if it can be imagined as some kind of a policy choice. If your A strat is to read a high theory K that relies upon me knowing Baudrillard as well as or better than you, then well I hope you have a B strat because that will be really hard for you.
I will vote on topicality and tend to prefer a competing interpretations framework. I will generally evaluate "reasonability" as the idea that there can be multiple acceptable interpretations. If you don't meet any interp in the round, you probably aren't "reasonably topical". I am extremely unlikely to be persuaded that topicality ought not be a prior question to my decision, but you're certainly welcome to try.
In order to be a viable argument, theory needs to be contextualized to the round in front of you. If you're just reading robot blocks back and forth, I'm not likely to do a whole lot of work to try to help you.
I don't think that you need to necessarily spend all 5 minutes of your final rebuttal on T or theory in order to win my ballot, but this is definitely dependent on how the argumentation has developed throughout the round.
Fundamentally, too many teams assume they're winning every argument and so they don't frame arguments in the "even if" layers that are so important to accessing your judge's understanding of what's happened in the round. The more you can break free of this, the better you will be.
Current Events in Debate
I will not lie to your coach about the argumentation that is presented in the round. I will not tolerate the debate space being used to bully, insult, or harass fellow competitors. I will not evaluate personal disputes between debaters.
I think disclosure probably ought to be reciprocal. If you mined the aff's case from the wiki then I certainly hope you are disclosing negative positions. However, I am generally unconvinced by disclosure theory as an argument in the round, especially if you rely on first establishing that X level of disclosure is the correct level.
A lot of you aren't flowing. Or you flow from the speech doc. That's a bad idea. Your speaker points will suffer mightily if you respond to arguments that were not presented - and even worse if you answer an argument the other team explicitly conceded.
The current trend of massive pre-written overviews doesn't work well for persuading me. Overviews are good but I would prefer they simply be a summary of the arguments you're extending in the context of the current round, then more line by line as you move down the flow. I think you usually shouldn't be reading a bunch of cards in an overview. I know this is a dinosaur thing to say but it's how I understand the round so there it is.
I very strongly prefer line-by-line argumentation to "whole sheet of paper" approaches to a debate. Through the choices you make, I want to see interaction with THIS round and THIS debate. A pre-written 1AR/2NR/2AR overview will usually nuke your speaker points, doubly so if I identify the same text between the 1AR and 2AR.
I can handle speed and policy-style argumentation, but I may be a bit cranky about them. I do believe that LD is a distinct event from policy debate and should be treated as such. In this limited time frame, you will do best to focus on a clear thesis that you can demonstrate to me that you understand.
My default way of evaluating an LD round is to compare the impacts presented by both sides through the lens of each side's value and criterion, if presented. If you want me to do something different please run a clear role of the ballot or framework argument and proactively defend why your approach is predictable enough to create fair debate.
Your last 1-2 minutes, at least, should be spent on the big picture writing my reason for decision. Typically the debater who does this more clearly and effectively will win my ballot.
Alex Smith Paradigm
I was a congressional debater with some experience on the national circuit. I study political science and am an avid follower of global affairs. Regardless of the bill, I will know what you're saying, I will know if your evidence is appropriate, and I will know if your argument makes sense. This said, what I'm paying most attention to is your argument, so I'm about 70/30 between content and delivery.
1. Refute often and well. Don't straw-man. Steel-man instead. The better the argument is that you are refuting, the better it reflects on you.
2. Have unique and interesting arguments. No one wants to hear the same argument multiple times. Show me you have a strong grasp of the bill, both in its context and implications. I can follow complicated arguments, but it's up to you to present it so that it makes sense.
3. Your presentation of your source should be such that I can easily look it up. Stats are preferred. Exemplary logical analysis from first principles can substitute for a source in some instances.
4. CX is great. Ask good questions that further debate and show both you and the speaker know your stuff. Keep questions to the point; it is the speaker's time.
5. Be a respectful and active member of the chamber. Pretty basic, just remember that it reflects poorly on you if you come across as a jerk.
6. Have fun!
Amanda Soczynski Paradigm
Amanda Soczynski’s Judge Philosophy
A little about myself; I have been involved with forensics for 15 years as a student, judge and coach. I am currently in my the congressional debate coach & Assistant Director of Speech and Debate at Edina High School. My background was originally in speech where I competed and coached. In High School, I learned policy debate as a class rather than competition on a local level. I have been judging debate for the last 10 years, in all categories. I primarily judged CX for the beginning years and the last 5 in LD, PF and Congress. I graduated with a Mass Comm degree from University of Minnesota and a J.D. graduate from William Mitchell College of law. I work at Thomson Reuters on legal software & research as a content expert.
I have a congress paradigm and CX,LD,PF one included in here.
One thing to remember - judging congress is hard! It's just as exhausting for us as it is for you. We're trying really hard to compare a lot of people who have vastly different styles! I try to write as much as I can, but I spend a lot of time listening, so sometimes my comments can be lite at times. I'm working on that, the three mins go so fast. I'm hoping this will help shed some light on how I evaluate debaters.
When it comes to national level tournaments, at this point, almost everyone is a proficient speaker, so I really focus on the quality of arguments. I really am looking for Clash - probably more than anything. There is a reason this is a debate category and not a speech event. Make sure you are listening and not rehashing, if you're doing a rebuttal make sure you are extending or further attacking an argument.
I REALLY APPRECIATE A GOOD AUTHORSHIP OR SPONSORSHIP. Nothing is worse than judging or watching a semi-final round where there is no first aff, and having to take an in house recess immediately. Come prepared, have one. Spend the rest of your time doing great questions and defending your position there. I feel like people don't like to do this because they feel like they will be dropped. Rebuttals and Crystals are great, but there's a lot of them. If you can do this well, we'll know. It comes with the most amount of questioning time that if you know a lot about the topic you can show boat.
Linking: This is a debate skill you should have, you should able to link your impacts with others, link arguments together for rebuttal. Most national level congress debaters are great at linking within their own argument, but make sure you link and contextualize to the round. I want to see that they go together rather be a stand alone. That being said, contextualizing by, I want to separate myself from the other AFF or NEG arguments, that's okay because you are still contextualizing within the round. Do not operate as an island in the debate, it's a good way to be dropped by me. Also remember, you can have great speeches, but if you don't ask questions, you're going to find your way to the middle of my ballot. It's a crucial part of debate.
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. Again, at the national level, most people can impact to lives or economy etc. But what I find people aren't as good, is contextualizing the impact. Example: You tell me that thousands of lives are being lost in Yemen, take it one step further tell me what percentage of that population is being killed, or how that compares to another genocide for context. Make it hit home for all of us. Just giving generic #'s, sure it's the impact, but it doesn't show me the impact. Make sense? Remember I come from a policy background where pretty much everything leads to nuclear war.
Direct questioning is great, but make sure you're not too long winded or too brief, there's a nice sweet spot, where you have maybe a sentence or two question and answer. I've seen people basically run out the time by doing a really long answer, and I've also seen debaters ask such long questions that there's no way the opponent can answer. You only have 30 seconds, make it count.
Participation in Round:
Leadership is important. Remember, I'm comparing a lot of kids, participation with motioning and making sure that all students get to talk is important. This can help make up for bad presidency etc.
I almost always P.O.s in the top 5. It's a hard job, and as a parli, we appreciate good POs. A good way to get to the top 1/2 of my ballot as a PO. The round runs so smoothly I barely know your there. You are able to solve issues of people not being prepared / docket issues. (This happens so often, time restrictions make things complicated. Especially since lots of tournaments have their own rules).
Mistakes happen, one mistake is not going to tank you. Continuous mistakes, or failing to help chamber resolve issues. This makes it harder.
Inclusiveness - especially on the local circuit. I don't like parliamentary procedure used to limit people talking. It is also important to encourage those who haven't talked to go. Do your best to make sure the chamber isn't inclusive.
DON'T ALWAYS PICK YOUR FRIENDS FIRST. I know this happens. And it's easier to pick up than you think it is. Presidency means a lot in congress. Make it fair.
There's a reason I love coaching congress, it's a fun event!CX/LD Paradigm
General: As I’ve previously mentioned I come from a legal background. I am a “big picture” judge. I do appreciate the attention to detail, however, I don't like when it devolves into a debate that’s myopically focused on one thing. Make sure you take the time, especially in rebuttals to do a “birds eye view” of the debate. Remember, the rebuttal is the last time I hear from you before I make a decision, make it count. I appreciate good crossfire, and cross ex, specifically using information obtained in these for an argument.
Topicality: I like topicality, especially in varsity level debate. I think it makes a for a boring debate to have a non-topical aff. So it’s a pretty garden variety argument for the neg to make.
Critical Arguments: As I wasn’t a debater in high school, I don’t have the technical experience dealing with these arguments, however, I don’t mind critical affs on-face. Since I don’t have the technical experience, I appreciate all critical arguments to be understandable and explained properly. I catch on to arguments quickly, however I loathe having to have to fill in the gaps of an argument because its poorly argued. Make it logical, make it understandable. I generally dislike affs that are anti-topical or affs that critique the topic. I’m not saying I’ll never vote for a critical aff, whiteness aff, performance aff’s, etc, but its the one area where an affirmative is asking the most out of me as a judge. Again, I have less experience with these types of aff’s so extra explanation of sources and philosophies. For kritiks from the negative, I prefer ones that are topic-specific rather than K’s that are broad or philosophical. I’m pretty familiar at this point with cap k, neolib, fem, eco-k, anything outside of these again you’ll have to communicate more effectively as it is a bigger burden for me to decipher.
Theory: I don’t have the background in this, so this won’t be very successful with me as a judge. I overall prefer substantive arguments over theoretical or procedural arguments. My training in law, and my work, deals almost exclusively with substantive arguments, so I tend to prefer and understand those better. If you do decide to go this route, it must be very well done. My flow can’t be muddy, and the explanation must be very logical and understandable.
Speed: I have no problem with speed. I do ask two things. 1. Slow down enough on the tags so that I can understand them 2. Make your tags count. I dislike deciphering poor tags that do not tell me anything about the evidence. Keep tags like 5-8 words, long tags suck.
Post Round Discussion: Please be respectful, I don’t appreciate a “shake down” when I’m explaining my decision. I don’t do speaker points till after the round is over and all the debaters have left the room and I take decorum into account. I am a bit of a non-traditional judge and I do make a concerted effort to bring up constructive criticism and positive comments. Please take these comments as an opportunity to learn!
Chris Sprouse Paradigm
* Intros that are actually directly about the topic always beat generic intros.
* Quotations always beat paraphrase.
* Fully-cited evidence I can hunt down always beats "The New York Times tells us that . . ." (Remember: NSDA-minimum is name or publication and year. That's a ridiculously low standard many Congress debaters still fail to meet.)
* Giving the right kind of speech (constructive, rebuttal, summative/"crystallization") at the right time always beats giving the kind of speech you're best at without thinking about what the debate needs
* Rehash is a venial, not a mortal, sin. And if you're a novice, just give the speech.
* POs start at 1 on my ballot and lose ranks from errors. They can be pushed further down the ballot by truly excellent speakers. (The more people run for PO, the faster the winning PO loses ranks from errors, because you're claiming you're better than everyone else who wanted it.) The PO starts at 1 because the PO is the only indispensable contestant in the round. Can't have a round without the PO.
* Congress is speech *and* debate, so be sure you're listening and responding (debate) and keeping me focused on what you're saying (speech). The event is getting too fast and too laden with jargon.
Way, way more than anyone could want to know at thechairhighlyfrowns.blogspot.com
Ben Steiner Paradigm
for PF/LD: PLEASE weigh your impacts! It's never done enough and it's the most important part of any debate.
for congress: PLEASE weigh your impacts! It's never done enough, ESPECIALLY in Congress, and it's the most important part of any debate. I youralso wants to reflect your speaking position. If it's early in the round, constructive is great. But after a few cycles, you must have clash. By the end of the debate, I want to see summarization and crystalization.
It's your job as a speaker to be engaging. I will be ranking based on both delivery and speech content. So please slow down, speak fluently, and have fun!
Nitin Subramanian Paradigm
I was a past competitor on the national circuit, so don't worry, I'm not a lay judge. I do flow, and that's my primary metric for judging so I'm definitely about 75/25 on the content/delivery split.
Other than that, I have a pretty simple paradigm:
1. Refute (a lot and well) without resorting to straw-manning.
2. Have unique arguments and analyze them well.
3. Please source well (as in the quality of your source and your citation). "Harvard in 2016" is not a citation. Make it so that I would be able to look up your source and find it with minimal effort.
4. I love CX. I probably shouldn't weigh it so heavily in ranking, but I do. If you're the best questioner in the round, you'll probably get ranked (regardless of speeches).
5. Have fun. Judges and competitors both hate sitting through 3 hours without any comedy or roasts or emotion of some sort. Keeping the round entertaining makes it tolerable for both me and you.