The Longhorn Classic
2022 — Austin, TX/US
Policy Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Pronouns: they/he | Email: ixdebate at gmail.com
Seven Lakes '21, University of Houston '25
Howdy! My name is Nine (pronounced like the number). Currently: Assistant coach for Seven Lakes, Policy debater/VP of the University of Houston team, private coaching. If you're interested in debating at UH, shoot me a message!
Order of paradigm sections: General, Policy, WSD, LD*, PF*, Speech/Interp.
*you should read the Policy section as well.
- please do not refer to me as ma'am, miss, etc. my pronouns are they/he. if you have questions about this, please ask!
- I do not tolerate racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, ableism, transphobia, etc. Please respect people's names, pronouns, and identities. Just be respectful, it's really not that hard.
- Debate should be a welcoming and accessible place. If you have concerns, please let me know and I will work with you to try to resolve them.
- Feel free to email me with questions! I love talking about speech/debate/interp and am more than happy to answer questions or have conversations about it. Even if you have questions about college, debating in college, etc., hit me up!
- If you don't have questions but have a pet, feel free to email me ur pet pics :-)
- Have a good debate! Have a good performance! Have a good attitude! And most importantly, have fun!!!
- Commonly asked info abt my debate involvement: In high school, I did WSD, OO, Poetry, and Extemp. Camps i've worked at: Texas Debate Collective, Space City Camp (x3), HUDL, Wyoming Forensics Institute. I coach PF, LD, CX, WSD, OO/Info, and Interp. Team USA for the NCA's CIDD 2023 Japan Debate Tour, where we debated LD, JBDF and HEnDA (Japanese formats similar to PF/CX), and Various Parli/Public Debate formats. If you want any more info, you can probably find it on my LinkedIn or Facebook --- feel free to add/connect with me on there. but u can also just ask me directly lol
tldr: Put me on the email chain. Set up the email chain even if I'm not in the room yet. I'll vote on almost any arg. Specificity, comparison, and contextualizing is important. Offense over defense. I'm more than fine with spreading, Ks, etc. Probably not going to vote on condo bad. I flow CX. Debate is for debaters! You do you and I will adapt accordingly! Also "Nine" > "Judge.” I will always try to disclose my decision and provide feedback if the tournament allows it. I will not disclose specific speaker points.
the longer version:
I can not express this enough: Debate is for debaters. I will adapt to your debating style accordingly. I don’t really have preferences about argument types when I’m judging. So again, you do you! I will evaluate based on what’s on my flow. And have fun :-) !
The rest is in no particular order.
- Tech >>> Truth. Exceptions are, of course, if you are being explicitly racist, homphobic, transphobic, ableist, etc. Everything else is fair game.
- Stealing prep is bad. I will doc speaker points if I catch you stealing prep and tell you to stop multiple times. Taking the time to take out analytics is using prep. Time your opponents' prep/speeches and hold them accountable.
- email chains > speech drop. add me to the email chain.
- card docs appreciated. i won't look at docs unless except to check i'm flowing author names correctly. i will look at ev at the end of round if there's a card doc and/or prompted by debaters.
- rehighlighting ev: i won't read/flow it if you just say "insert rehighlighting" -- you have to read your rehighlighting it for me to look at it.
- clipping cards: i will give a warning if I catch someone clipping cards. depending on how bad it is, i will either stop the round and/or dock speaker points
- ev ethics: missing paragraphs in between highlighted parts, misquoted/misattributed authors, cards starting in the middle of paragraphs, incorrect cites, etc. are reasons for teams to lose the round. if an ev ethics challenge is called, i will stop the round and evaluate the evidence unless tournament rules say otherwise (i.e. UIL tournaments)
- yes you can spread at top speed BUT slow down for tags, authors, and analytics.
- clarity > speed. i will yell "clear" if i can't hear you. if i yell it enough, i will stop flowing.
- i flow on paper, give me pen time when necessary.
- i flow CX. BUT it is up to you to make sure it gets applied to a speech.
- CX is so under-utilized. Debaters need to be making more arguments during CX and aligning it with your speeches. Please use CX to make arguments!
- i will boost speaker points for actually good CXs. how do you give a good CX?: Matt Liu's Cross Examination Lecture
- you should have an offensive reason to prefer your model of debate.
- specificity is best, reading generic framework blocks are unpersuasive to me. you need to apply it to the aff.
- tvas are nice to have but not necessary
- the best fw arguments implicate the aff's theory of power and/or describe why fw turns case. and have explicit offensive reasons to reject their fw interp.
- please give me judge instruction, framing points, etc.
- i really like implications to skills and iteration/testing. i think it might be slightly tougher to get my ballot on structural fairness alone (unless you've implicated it to their case/method), but i will vote on it
- fw offense is predicated on predictability. make sure to articulate how you lose predictability/are predictable or why it doesn't matter
- yes case turns, yes impact turns, yes case debate. i think there isn't enough case debate in most instances.
- i am comfortable on voting on presumption if there is enough defense and/or i could not tell you have the aff solves by the end of the round.
- more teams should read T
- T debate is best when the violation args are specific to the aff BUT don't miss the forest for the trees. you should still do comparison on the model/world of debate.
- yes, read the k if you want to.
- don't expect me to fill in gaps. don't rely on buzzwords and expect me to know them.
- if you're going for the alt, tell me what it looks like and how it applies to the aff. you can kick the alt if you don't think it's strategic, but you need to flag it and tell me how you win on everything else.
- link turns case args that are specific and contextualized to the aff are >>>>>>!!! please make more of these arguments!!!
- don't give me a contextless card dump, the more specific with how the DA interacts with the aff the better
- link/DA turns case is always nice
- hot take according to everyone i've talked to about this apparently: DAs should be read more often against K Affs. And K teams should be more willing to engage in DAs/not brush them off.
- i don't have strong opinions about any type of cp. go ahead and read any flavor of cp you like.
- uncarded and/or multiplank advantage cps are fine but generally require more explanation on how they solve. they should be relatively intuitive and/or based on aff warrants/cards. read as many planks as you want (read: condo thoughts in the thoery section).
- i default to judge kick, but this can be reversed in round as long as the aff does the work on it.
- condo is good. my threshold for answering condo bad is very low. i will vote on condo bad if it gets dropped.
- don't have strong thoughts on other theory issues.
- don't blitz thorugh pre-written blocks. again, i flow on paper. give me pen time to write down the analytics.
- yes, read the k aff
- i like the education/real-world implications of k affs
- i like negs that engage with k aff's theory of power, and am comfortable voting on presumption/framework
- if you're reading a performance aff and get pushed on why your performance is good, i expect robust answers
- you should have a good reason why the ballot is key, why debate is key, and why you should be rejecting topical debate.
- repeating here too because I would love to judge these debates: DAs should be read more often against K Affs. And K teams should be more willing to engage in DAs and not brush them off.
- i start at around 28.4 and go up or down from there. i try to adjust a bit based on tournament. i evaluate speaker points based on strategic choices and articulations.
- debate can get heated and i don't mind mild roasts or whatever, but if you are just being flat out insulting and making people feel uncomfortable, I will lower your speaks (and stop the round in extreme instances)
The following stuff on this part of my paradigm includes some of my most common pieces of feedback on my ballots. If you internalize these, it will be incredibly helpful for getting my ballot.
the short(ish) version:
– I flow and will vote based on what’s on my flow. I would rather vote on content, arguments, and warrants over speaking pretty.
– I value organized speeches!!! Messy speeches = sad Nine = sad ballot. Ways to make sure your speech is organized: 1) Enumerate your responses, 2) Signpost your arguments, and 3) Condense into clash.
– I would MUCH rather vote on offensive over defensive arguments. Different events define offense/defense differently sometimes so here’s what I mean: offense = a change to the squo, defense = no change to the squo. If you’re still confused about this, let me know after the round or send me an email. I've noticed worlds debaters are really really good at making defensive args, but not necessarily offensive ones. Please have offense. I want to vote on your argument's impact!!!
– The most judge intervention I will do in a WSD debate is deferring to what I think is the most reasonable interpretation of the motion. This happens ONLY IF debaters have competing definitions/characterizations/interps AND it has NOT been resolved by the end of the round. That motion interpretation is probably key to where most of your offense lies. To be very clear, I do not like adjudicating rounds based on what I think is most reasonable – I would much rather the debaters make those arguments in the round and on my flow.
the longer version:
– Format: Follow it. That means no spreading, no “off the clock roadmaps” (I start the clock as soon as you say "as an off the clock roadmap"), taking 1-2 POIs, etc. That also means no using heavy debate jargon (topicality, condo, etc.). You’re probably using those words in the wrong context anyway. “Fiat” is definitely a word/arg that exists in WSD, but make sure you’re using it correctly.
– Please actually debate. That means having impacts to your arguments, weighing those impacts, etc. That also means warranting out your arguments, explaining your world, etc. Everytime I walk into a debate round I'm beginning to feel more and more like a grumpy old man because teams are just not doing this. Please debate.
– Explain and characterize! The best debaters are the ones who can best explain their clash, how and why actors will act a certain way, etc.
– Word efficiency: there's a difference between explaining and repeating – word efficiency is extremely important to me. Spending 15 seconds to flag, cross apply, or group arguments (as long as you already did the work to explain them) is good enough for me to apply the same explanation to multiple things on my flow.
– Strategy and style are important! I highly value strategic debaters (ex: speech consistency, taking timed POIs, not being contradictory, etc.) and if you have style on top of that, you will get some great speaker points at the end of the round. BUT don’t sacrifice style for content. I'll always prefer analysis > speaking pretty. The best strategic choices debaters can make in WSD is being explicit and giving me some judge direction, telling me what arguments I should prioritize in the round, and *actually* attacking the other team on their highest ground. The best replies are embedded with good judge instruction.
– Issues about the debate can be resolved in-round. Ex: If there is a debate about whether the team gets fiat or not, make the arguments in round and don't rely on me to default to whatever opinion I have of fiat. Or, if you think the team isn't debating the heart of the motion, make those arguments in round. I expect a defense of what exactly the heart of the motion is from both sides in that instance. I'll evaluate those arguments based on what's on my flow.
– Replies: The replies should be holding my hand and telling me what happened in the debate. Tell me what I should be writing down in my ballot. Tell me what you're winning and what they're losing. Tell me how you've closed off the other team's path to ballot. Please please please give me some judge instruction here.
– Ideological lean: Just because I do policy debate does not mean I lean towards policy style arguments. I truly and genuinely don't care what kind of arguments you run or go for as long as you give me a reason to vote for it. Seriously, you do you. I'll vote on any kind of argument.
– Principle debates: If it becomes a practical v. principle debate, I'm expecting A LOT of weighing and why the principle outweighs practical or vice versa. I'm also in the camp that principle almost always needs some kind of impact (although it doesn't necessarily need to be utilitarian). For instance, if you're running a principle of democracy, your impact should be... democracy (surprise!). If you're running something about marginalized groups being harmed in some way, the impact could be structural violence or psychic violence to those people, which is on-face, bad and is probably overlooked. I love creative principles and creative impacts here.
– Model debates: Both models and countermodels need to be characterized. Teams should tell me how they're mechanized, what the incentives are for key actors, and how the model might interact with core stakeholders. Prop should fully articulate how they get offense from the model (this is where I usually see prop fail). Opp's countermodel should articulate how it's mutually exclusive from the prop model AND why it is preferable, i.e. net benefits or what the opp countermodel does better/how it avoids prop's model's harms (and this is where the opp team usually fails). I think model/countermodel debates are appropriate for a few policy leaning motions.
If the debate becomes when it is or isn't appropriate to have a model, teams need to establish 1) what in the wording of the motion grants you a model (usually the action verb and applying it to the context of the rest of the motion) and 2) why the model is goldilocks for grounds to debate (why it's not too specific/narrow of a model and why it's not too broad). Regardless of what my thoughts are for what's the most strategic way to interpret the motion, I will defer to the arguments made in-round on this question.
My policy paradigm largely applies to LD. I evaluate these debates like they are policy, i.e., I look to see who is winning the offense/defense.
- I’m probably not a great judge for you if you plan on going for tricks/blippy theory.
- If you're spreading and reading theory/analytics, SLOW DOWN. I flow on paper and need pen time.
- giving "off the clock roadmaps": If you're a prog debater and tell me the order is "the nc then the ac" I’ll be annoyed. If you're giving an order, tell me the order of the advantages and the order of the offs.
- trad LD value/criterion: I don't think the neg necessarily needs a value/criterion if they choose to concede the aff value/criterion and just win under the aff framing.
- trad/prog debates: I don't have a preference for either trad/prog. I tend to evaluate trad closer to how I evaluate WSD rounds and I tend to evaluate prog closer to how I evaluate Policy rounds. If it's trad v. prog, you should be telling me how to resolve that debate. That will probably look like impact weighing/framing. Regardless, I still look for who's winning the offense, what the judge instruction/framing points are, and who made the better articulation of arguments in both settings of debate.
My policy paradigm largely applies to PF. I evaluate these debates like they are policy, i.e., I look to see who is winning the offense/defense.
- if you do not send a speech doc with cards before your speech, i will start your speaker points at 27. if you send speech docs with cards before your speech, you will start at 29. please make everyone's life easier and just send your ev.
- being okay with speed =/= not sending your docs. also, me wanting cards to be sent =/= me needing them to flow. (but y'all definitely need to stop flowing off the docs!!!!)
- presumption flows negative. it does not flip affirmative based on the coin toss decisions. that is my default stance but you can convince me otherwise in the round.
- defense is not sticky.
- there should be tags on cards that describe the argument the quoted text is making.
- If you're spreading and reading theory/analytics, SLOW DOWN. I flow on paper and need pen time.
- Ks: I am generally more hesitant to vote on Ks in this event because there is just not enough speech time to fully flesh out most Ks. If you read something that is probably more intuitive or you are just that efficient, feel free to read Ks though.
- judge intervention/judge instruction: For the PF rounds that I have judged so far, I feel like I am doing the most judge intervention in this event simply because debaters are not resolving the debate by the 2 minute speeches. Please please please give me some kind of judge instruction or at least impact weighing and tell me what impact I vote for and WHY. It is perfectly okay to kick whatever you need to so that you can get the most explanation on the argument you plan to go for.
A Speech/Interp paradigm feels useless sometimes just because y'all have already memorized/blocked out your pieces and there's little my paradigm will inform you about how to better adapt to me as your judge. But I guess my brief thoughts are here in the off-chance someone reads this and gets something out of it:
You do you, just follow the format and perform the best you can!
For extemp, looking for format things (i.e. having a roadmap, using on-tops, following the speaker's triangle, etc.). I prefer content over speaking pretty most of the time, but since it's a speech event, I still take presentation seriously. I don't really care if you do a three or two point speech, but the content should still be in-depth and make sense.
For OO/Info, most of my ballots come down to the implications/why it matters portion. Humor (even attempts at humor) is always a plus.
For interp, I'm mainly looking for clarity of plot (also, if there is a plot to begin with), embodiment and distinctions between characters, and clear blocking/binder "mojo".
I am open to everything and I will not limit you on what you do. However, if you are spreading or you know that you talk quickly then please slow down during important information like tags, authors, plan text, and anything that you want me to consider heavily in the debate. I don’t mind a little bantering and tension because that’s what makes CX fun, but still be respectful to everyone in the debate. Arguments that the other teams text is outdated compared to yours and anything specific to the evidence is fine, but I will never base a win around that reason. I love topicality arguments not only because it introduces two different perspectives of the resolution, but also it proves that both teams understand what they are arguing and whether it is connected to the resolution. (You do not need to run a topicality argument just because I said this.) The most important thing to me is that both teams are able to improve their skills overall in debate regardless of the outcome. If you want me to choose your side to win you must convince me in your final rebuttal speeches and state every reason why you should win. It is up to you to convince me. If you want a bonus speaker point tell me a joke and if I laugh you’ll get it, and if at the end of your time for your final rebuttal if you say “we the (neg/aff)” slayed that” then you will get 2 extra speaker points.
Winston Churchill '21
University of Texas '25
tl;dr: I'll be down for whatever. Link/perm analysis is better for me than pure FW strat, not currently sufficiently convinced for the need for instrumental defense of the USFG, all of this should be treated as malleable, and do what you do best.
Timeliness = higher speaks.
Prep stops when email is sent.
Do what you do well: While I mostly read the kritik in HS (Cap, Wilderson, Joy James, Settler Colonialism, Spanos/Heidegger), I prefer good debating over anything else. Make the debate interesting and have fun. Those rounds are always better and usually get better response out of me for both teams. Have a strategy in mind and execute it. Debate is a communication activity with an emphasis on persuasion. If you are not clear or have not extended all components of an argument (claim/warrant/implication) it will not factor into my decision.
Policy v K: to win these debates, the negative must have a link that is contextual to the aff (either a link to the plan or recite portions of their scholarship) and must be a disadvantage to the aff. Cannot stress enough that the negative NEEDS examples of their link argument whether it has occurred in the past or it's an educated guess of what happens, it just needs to be there. Neg should probably have an alternative that does something to resolve the links or reasons why you don't need the alt in the debate. FW can be a wash most of the time so if you're going for it, explain it in terms of winning the debate, external impacts to scholarship, or why you don't need it at all. The affirmative must have link offense and/or defense and should prioritize this above FW (for me at least) as well as explaining it in context of the permutation/why your args problematize the rest of the negative strategy. Please don't just spew a bunch of nonsense on the framework portion because 9/10 times you get to weigh the plan but I'm often left with no impact to any of your 8 standards post 2AR. Also don't forget about the solvency portion of the aff and weigh it against the K. Very persuaded by aff is DA to K if you do it properly. Floating PIKs legit unless aff says otherwise. Zero percent risk of the K is possible.
K v K: both sides need to differentiate their theory of power and explain that theory in context of the opposing one. The negative needs to pull lines from the 1AC and apply their link analysis to that to sufficiently win the link debate. Make sure you're connecting the dots in terms of the permutation and why the alt or just voting negative can resolve some portion of your offense. Affs should get creative with their link turns and permutations and not be afraid to explain args in a new way than the ones we're used to in debate. Perms should be carded. If they're not, the threshold for 'good' explanation becomes very high. Make sure to answer the theory args on perms as when they're dropped it can pretty much be game over for you. Not super persuaded by 'no perms in a method debate' but still don't drop it. Examples, examples, examples please.
K aff v FW: simply not persuaded by fairness as an external impact. In order to force a more coherent FW strategy, negatives MUST explain their little 3 second quips about 'ssd solves the aff' etc. in order to make this a complete argument. I will not do that work for you. Likewise, both sides must have a defensible model of debate and be able to explain the division of ground, what debates will look like, and the role of the negative. Neither side should sound too defensive. Explain things as internal link turns, take-outs, or disads to the aff or their model. Point out their contradictions or their nonsense. Can't say whether I lean aff or neg on FW record-wise, but if it's not great FW strat vs not great k aff, I will likely end up voting aff. I also happen to think that the aff should go for the impact turn over middle of the road in most instances.
v K aff: go for presumption. Don't be afraid to take the aff up on their claims; I don't dislike negative shenanigans. If they say fairness bad, read a DA in the 2nc idk. Just play around with it.
**note to k affs: please do not just read a variation of a successful K aff from 2-3 years ago. Be original. If I see a 1AC that has a different team's initials/that was clearly stolen (especially if you run it horribly), you will get lower speaks than the other team, even if you win.
Counterplans: must be functionally and textually competitive.
Truth v Tech: I find myself frequently deciding close debates based on questions of truth/solid evidence rather than purely technical skills. This also bleeds into policy v policy debates; I find myself much more willing to vote on probability/link analysis than magnitude/timeframe; taking claims of "policy discussions good" seriously also means we need to give probability of impacts/solvency more weight.
Evidence v Spin: Good evidence trumps good spin. I will accept/treat as true a debater’s spin until it is contested by the other team. This is probably the biggest issue with with politics, internal link, and perm ev for kritiks.
Speed vs Clarity: Not flowing off the doc but I'll probably peruse the cards read in a given speech during prep. If I don't hear/can't understand the argument, it won't make it to my flow. I'll say 'clear' if I can't understand you for more than 2 seconds.
Permutation/Link Analysis: Permutations that lack any discussion of what the world of the perm would mean to be incredibly unpersuasive and you will have trouble winning a permutation unless the neg just concedes it outright. Reading a slew of permutations with no explanation as the debate progresses will not only cost you on my ballot, but the negative should capitalize with strategic cross applications or just group them.
Things that will Earn Speaker points: clarity, confidence, organization, well-placed humor, being nice, and well executed strategies/arguments.
Things that will lose you speaker points: arrogance, rudeness, bad jokes/poor timed humor, stealing prep, pointless cross examination, running things you don’t understand/just reading blocks
Misc: racism good/death good = Loss + <25 if possible. vast swaths = 30. Negs get links to unhighlighted portions of cards. Don't love debates about individual people/acts outside of the round. Mark your own cards and take it upon yourself to send them out later. Everything is up for debate. Joke args are fine unless executed poorly. Still waiting to judge a good baudrillard team...
Casady 2021 (debated)
University of Kansas 2025 (debating)
I want the ev. (also questions) pls- email@example.com
Conflict me if you know you're committed to debating at KU.
Follow speech times, don't clip/miscut ev, and don't be problematic.
Whoever does not send analytics first, -.3 speaks for both debaters, I won't be actively looking at the doc while you are speaking.
I'm big into cooking metaphors, analogues to famous cooking people etc...
Note: I probably would not give teams speaker points if they asked for it, but like I could see myself being compelled depending on the level of effort on the arg. I definitely will however if you make a cooking metaphor/joke (that's good), I will boost your speaks by .3 up until 29(like I would give you a 29 something before the point bonus) and then .2 after 29.
For example, debate arguments are very similar to food. A lot of people have different tastes in their argument and can be really dogmatic about the most random things. Good means either logical or funny, if you fail at it at least fail hard.
I've gone for a lot of positions throughout the spectrum of the debate library, with many oscillations throughout my debating career.
How I approach judging
I don't think judges take rendering accurate and meaningful decisions seriously enough. I will try my hardest to be accurate to my flow and to give my decision in a way that helps you improve. Don't read too long into how long I take for a decision. This reverses if your trolling, defeatist, and/or mean.
I try to write out or at least(decision time-dependent) think out the two best ballots for each team based on what(or what not) the 2NR/2AR tells me to and then decide between those with the flow and based on their development in earlier speeches.
Judge instruction is important, I'm not smart, tell me what you want me to do or else you may be annoyed at what I do with my own devices.
Impact framing is really important.
Presumption flips neg unless the 2NR goes for an advocacy; you have to tell me to judge kick(hopefully the aff will tell me not to).
There are risks of things, unless you tell me there isn't and tie it to a strong defensive argument or framing argument about how I should evaluate levels of risk.
Theory arguments without solvent interps are just complaining. Dispo is the best aff AT: condo interp.
If you read more than 3 conditional advocacies in the 1NC I will probably cry inside.
Ev quality matters a lot for me but it's debated less and less. Frame things so when I read the cards I read them through your lense.
Please do case debating(especially if you are negative)
This section is short because I don't think it's the primary decision factor in prefs, and I am agnostic on most issues because I have spent too much time thinking about them on both sides.
Counterplans are best when they compete both textually and functionally.
Turns case/DA arguments tend to be pretty important in my decisions.
I despise the sect of policy judges who have decided that topicality somehow eschews substantive debate. I hate bad T interps about as much as I hate bad counterplans. If you win you win. 2NR/2ARs that go for several standards each tend to confuse me.
You should tell me what I am voting for, I believe my ballot represents an affirmation/alignment with action(s) or interps you tell me should be adopted or a thought process I should adopt---I have a hard time understanding ballots that don't represent that(and aren't based around voting neg because the aff is bad).
Perms don't need net benefits(they need to deal with the negatives offense) but it is way way easier to win with a permutation that has a well-developed offensive net benefit because the former belies zeroing the link to the perm.
Plan v K
Teams talk way too much about "weighing the affirmative", I'm not sure what affirmatives weigh but both teams should talk about what constitutes the affirmative (it's scholarship, affective investment, representations, epistemology, consequences, etc...) and how that relates to what the neg needs to do to win that they negated the affirmative. I will only explicitly vote on interpretations presented in the debate but I do think strategically pivoting to middle-ground approaches in rebuttals presuming it's developed before the 2AR can be smart. If you're gonna do the plan focus only links to plan thing; I feel like you could win because the other team technically mishandles it, but tbh the argument absent being paired with a robust defense of legalism and/or consequentialism I tend to find it terminally unpersuasive in a like "I've never liked voting for this but..." sense.
Dropped impact framing arguments tend to lead to pretty quick decisions; I'm good for negative strategies premised around your impact outweighing extinction. 1AR/2AR extinction outweighs debating quality has gone down way too much.
Correlate your link arguments to your framework and/or alternative, are they material? are they epistemic? are they about subject formation?--- typically I get really confused when 2NRs go for material disads with non-material framework arguments or vice versa ie: going for "education-based" offense with an alternative which says we should materially do something.
Implicate your usage of theory; what does it mean to win ontology, what does it mean to win debate is or is not just a game, etc... Oftentimes I concur with a team on their top-level thesis but vote for the team whose arguments are more specific. By doing the above you resolve this issue because you make your theory arguments specific as well.
The T debate
I wholeheartedly prefer affirmative strategies centered around counter-defining words in the resolution even though there's no technical bias in my record judging these affs. (typically because negatives make the wrong arguments) I find these affirmative struggle against arguments that single debates have very little impact and ballots for either team aren't a form of violence.
TVA's overrated; SSD underrated.
I think planless affirmative should think more about defensive arguments against topicality, usually the offense is really clear but the brain-power to make a ballot significantly goes down when paired with smart defensive arguments ie: solvency advocates check, no uniqueness for limits/ground now, debaters don't use etc...
I am probably easily convinced that fairness is an independent impact but its relative strength will be based on your framing. If you go for fairness I should say these three conditions must be present for you to likely receive my ballot
- That my ballot can only resolve procedural fairness and that the affirmative's offense on topicality cannot be resolved by voting affirmative or their own interpretation.
- That fairness is an intrinsic impact---- (but saying "fairness is an intrinsic impact" isn't cutting, need warrants. (value system, examples of debaters investing in it, analogies to other impacts etc...))
- Winning uniqueness/uniqueness framing arguments for "fairness now" questions.
Truthfully, I tend to concur with all of the above but find I rarely vote for the fairness 2NR because of a lack of robust pushes on these arguments and a lack of skill at answering "fairness is not an impact" arguments. I don't think you can win fairness if you are making clash arguments; just pick one(fairness can be your internal link to clash).
Clash(whatever people call it)--- I think teams need to do alot of impact framing ie: access/education in debate vs skills/benefits in debate. I tend to struggle with clash 2NRs that fail to turn or win defensive arguments against aff offense. The more specific, the better; these debates often pan out to negative sermons on the skills we get to debate with no clear vision for what those are or how the negative thinks they will be actualized. This thought is why arguments like "movements T" are underrated in my opinion.
K v K
What standard I use for competition should be debated with clear implications for either team.
I have no idea what "no perms in a method debate means" but I have voted for arguments that the affirmative has to defend more than its advocacy text and therefore the permutation should be considered severance.
Each team should attempt to describe how they perceive the other team's arguments; often it feels like these debates quickly become two ships passing in the night because each team is arguing against something the other team thinks or claims they are not.
Some people I like to think I think similarly to/appreciated decisions from.
Especially for policy debates,
Especially for k debates,
Isha Bhasin (she/her)
James Logan '22
Please don't say anything racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. It will result in very low speaks.
Do what you do best, and I'll adapt to you. If you present a clear narrative and warrant out your impacts, I'll vote for you.
Tech > Truth. That being said, I'm not going to do the work for you. Dropped arguments are only as important as you make them to be.
Please (please) go slower, especially at the start of your speeches. If I don't hear it, I won't flow it.
I think T cards are pretty important, and I will reward good evidence comparison. I have no problem voting for T if the neg clearly outlines offense + does good impact calculus.
I usually default competing interpretations.
I went for the K during the majority of my debate career. That being said, I read variations of set col, cap and liberalism so I am not familiar with things like pomo (please over explain if you are reading in front of me). Links should be specific to the affs. I dislike 4 min 2nc overviews with shallow line by lines, so organize your arguments and directly clash with the 2ac. I love 2nrs that go for "links are das that turn case + alt solves the aff" as much as ones that go for framework. If you do the prior, your case debating should be solid.
Be specific on the aff. Explain how the perm solves the links. Explicitly answer the links. I think going for extinction o/w is a good strategy if done well.
I think debate is an educational game that is intrinsically valuable. That shouldn't sway a neg team against going for framework. Affs v framework should clearly explain the impact turn to the topic + have some sort of counter vision of debate.
I enjoy K v K debates. The negative should have an in depth explanation of links + against the permutation.
Good impact calc will take you far. I like turns case arguments, especially if you aren't going for a CP.
Neg teams get away with a lot of cheaty CPs and affs usually let them. Don't lol. I'm receptive to theory presses against cps that rely on immediacy/certainty.
It's fine and I will vote on it (but this means doing more than reading a condo bad block).
Winston Churchill ‘22
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cana is pronounced kay-nuh.
If we don’t know each other personally, you don’t have to make small talk with me. This will save us both time.
Don’t say death good. Don’t be racist, homophobic, sexist etc. I don’t care about things that happened outside of the debate and have no interest in adjudicating those issues.
LD Stuff for St Marks:
I haven't judged LD this year but all of the policy stuff should apply just as much. If my paradigm doesn't cover something, feel free to ask me.
Do what you do best- if you present a clear narrative and impact it out well, I should have no problem voting for you.
Tech>>Truth. Dropped arguments are only as important as you make them to be. You still have to impact them out and explain how they implicate the debate if you want them to matter.
I usually default competing interpretations.
Evidence quality matters- cards should have an intent to define and be contextual to the topic.
Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not the aff. The size of the link to the limits da is important if you are going for this- if the link is small there is a higher chance I conclude the counter-interp is reasonable.
Comparative impact calculus is often underutilized here- good impact calc is far more persuasive than just asserting that nuclear war is bad.
Turns case analysis and case solves the DA analysis are important, especially if the 2NR goes for a DA without a CP.
Neg teams try to get away with murder here and aff teams usually let them- smart arguments on both sides about enforcement, implementation, and evidence comparison matter.
I think aff solvency deficits need impacts to them, i.e., they need to be attached to some portion of the 1AC that is meaningful.
Neg– I am not super familiar with many lit bases besides Cap and Set col, so just assume you will have to over explain in these debates. The aff probably gets to weigh the plan and you should read specific links to it. Aff teams should pick the best strategy for their 1AC, whether that is a big case OW push or a link turn/perm approach.
Aff–These should have some sort of connection to the topic. I am usually on the FW side of these debates and will have a hard time voting for you if you haven’t proved why your model is good for debate. That being said, do impact comparison and the debate can go either way. K v K debates can be really interesting, but if you make them messy and complicated I won't be happy to be in the back. Love Cap vs K affs.
These debates are best when each team is actually engaging the other- don’t just read blocks back and forth. They don’t have to be boring unless you make them that way.
If you go for condo because you are afraid to go for substance you are my least favorite person, don't be a coward.
I have not judged any debates since 2018 and I am slightly hard of hearing. With that being said, it would make all our lives easier for you to be explicitly clear both in argument and in speaking.
I enjoy hearing all types of arguments, whether kritikal or policy. It only matters to me that it is well-explained. As a judge, I think it's my role to evaluate the debate that both teams wish to have. When I last debated, I did enjoy kritiks and I am generally knowledgeable of the various literature.
In the last two speeches, I prefer that both teams are writing my ballot for me.
My email address is email@example.com, please add me to the email chain.
Time your own prep!
- I debated for Niles West in high school and West Georgia in college.
- BA in Philosophy.
- Currently coaching at Niles West.
Top level things:
- If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is.
- If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
- Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low.
- I’m extremely hesitant to vote on arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.
- Absolutely no ties and the first team that asks for one will lose my ballot.
- Soliciting any outside assistance during a round will lose my ballot.
- Lack of clarity. Clarity > speed 100% of the time.
- The 1AC not being sent out by the time the debate is supposed to start.
- Email-sending related failures.
- Dead time.
- Stealing prep.
- Answering arguments in an order other than the one presented by the other team.
- Asserting things are dropped when they aren't.
- Asking the other team to send you a marked doc when they marked 1-3 cards.
- Marking almost every card in the doc.
- Disappearing after the round.
- Quoting my paradigm in your speeches.
- If you are caught clipping you will receive a loss and the lowest possible points.
- If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted the lowest possible points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted the lowest possible points.
- If you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me.
- Yes, I’m fine with tag-team cx. But dominating your partner’s cx will result in lower points for both of you.
- Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions, and I will run the timer accordingly.
- If you fail to ask the status of the off, I will be less inclined to vote for condo.
- If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.
Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate:
- I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting.
- I’m fine with plan or planless affirmatives. However, I believe all affirmatives should advocate for/defend something. What that something entails is up for debate, but I’m hesitant to vote for affirmatives that defend absolutely nothing.
- I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise.
- The most important thing for me in T debates is an in-depth explanation of the types of affs your interp would include/exclude and the impact that the inclusion/exclusion would have on debate.
- 5 second ASPEC shells/the like have become nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.
- For me counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.
- If you're reading a DA that isn't just a case turn, it should go on its own sheet. Failure to do so is super annoying because people end up extending/answering arguments on flows in different orders.
- The more specific the link the better. Even if your cards aren’t that specific, applying your evidence to the specifics of the affirmative through nuanced analysis is always preferable to a generic link extension.
- ‘You link you lose’ strategies are not my favorite. I’m willing to vote on them if the other team fails to respond properly, but I’m very sympathetic to aff arguments about it being a bad model for debate.
- I find many framework debates end up being two ships passing in the night. Line by line answers to the other team's framework standards goes a long way in helping win framework in front of me.
- Almost all theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, condo is usually the only exception.
- Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options).
- Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?
- I find impacts about debatability, clash, and iterative testing to be very persuasive.
- I am not really persuaded by fairness impacts, but will vote on it if mishandled.
- I am not really persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.
- I am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.
- I don't think debate is role-playing.
- The impact turn strategy can get my ballot, but I would prefer the aff explain what debate would look like under their model. This can be done through a counter-interpretation or other various means.
- If the aff drops SSD or the TVA and the 2NR extends it, I will most likely vote neg.
Associate Director of Debate @ Greenhill
Still helping KU in my free time
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I love debate and I will do my absolute best to make a decision that makes sense and give a helpful RFD.
Competing interpretations are easier to evaluate than reasonability. You need to explain to me how we determine what is reasonable if you are going for reasonability.
Having said that if your intep is so obscure that there isn't a logical CI to it, perhaps it is not a good interpretation.
T debates this year (water topic) have gotten too impact heavy for their own good. I've judged a number of rounds with long overviews about how hard it is to be negative that never get to explaining what affirmatives would be topical under their interp or why the aff interp links to a limits DA and that's hard for me because I think much more about the latter when I think about topicality.
Affirmatives should be about the topic. I will be fairly sympathetic to topicality arguments if I do not know what the aff means re: the topic after the 1AC.
I think teams are meming a bit on both sides of this debate. Phrases like "third and fourth level testing" and "rev v rev debates are better" are kind of meaningless absent robust explanation. Fairness is an impact that I will vote on. Like any other impact, it needs to be explained and compared to the other team's impact. I have also voted on arguments about ethics, education, and pedagogy. I will try my best to decide who wins an impact and which impact matters more based on the debate that happens.
I do not think the neg has to win a TVA to win topicality; it can be helpful if it happens to make a lot of sense but a forced TVA is generally a waste of time.
If the aff is going for an impact turn about debate, it would be helpful to have a CI that solves that impact.
I would love to see you go for a disad and case in the 2NR. I do not find it persuasive when an affirmative team's only answer to a DA is impact framing. Impact framing can be important but it is one of a number of arguments that should be made.
I am aware the DA's aren't all great lately. I don't think that's a reason to give up on them. It just means you need a CP or really good case arguments.
I really enjoy an old-fashioned k vs the aff debate. I think there are lots of interesting nuances available for the neg and the aff in this type of debate. Here are some specific thoughts that might be helpful when constructing your strategy:
1. Links of omission are not links. Links of “commission” will take a lot of explaining.
2. Debating the case matters unless there is a compelling framework argument for why I should not evaluate the case.
3. If you are reading a critique that pulls from a variety of literature bases, make sure I understand how they all tie to together. I am persuaded by aff arguments about how it's very difficult to answer the foundation of multiple bodies of critical literature because they often have different ontological, epistemological, psychoanalytic, etc assumptions. Also, how does one alt solve all of that??
4. Aff v. K: I have noticed affirmative teams saying "it's bad to die twice" on k's and I have no idea what that means. Aff framework arguments tend to be a statement that is said in the 2AC and repeated in the 1AR and 2AR - if you want fw to influence how I vote, you need to do more than this. Explain how it implicates how I assess the link and/or alternative solvency.
5. When ontology is relevant - I feel like these debates have devolved into lists of things (both sides do this) and that's tough because what if the things on the list don't resonate?
Generic counterplans are necessary and good. I think specific counterplans are even better. Counterplans that read evidence from the 1AC or an aff author - excellent! I don't have patience for overly convoluted counterplans supported by barely highlighted ev.
I do not subscribe to (often camp-driven) groupthink about which cp's "definitely solve" which aff's. I strongly disagree with this approach to debate and will think through the arguments on both sides of the debate because that is what debate is about.
Solvency deficits are a thing and will be accounted for and weighed along with the risk of a DA, the size of the DA impact, the size of the solvency deficit, and other relevant factors. If you are fiating through solvency deficits you should come prepared with a theoretical justification for that.
I am generally neg leaning on cp theory but if you want to make an argument about why a certain cp is illegitimate (cough, con con) I will do my best to objectively evaluate that argument.
Some people think it is auto-true that politics disads and certain cp's are terrible for debate. I don't agree with that. I think there are benefits/drawbacks to most arguments. This matters for framework debates. A plan-less aff saying "their model results in politics DA's which is obviously the worst" will not persuade absent a warrant for that claim.
Love a good case debate. It's super under-utilized. I think it's really impressive when a 2N knows more about the aff evidence than the aff does.
Please don't be nasty to each other; don't be surprised if I interrupt you if you are.
I don't flow the 1AC and 1NC because I am reading your evidence. I have to do this because if I don't I won't get to read the evidence before decision time in a close debate.
If the debate is happening later than 9PM you might consider slowing down and avoiding especially complicated arguments.
There was once a team who lost an "ethics challenge" because they capitalized a letter in a 1AC that had not been capitalized in the previous version of the 1AC -- that is not actually an ethics challenge. If you make a frivolous or convoluted ethics challenge in a debate that I judge I will ask you to move on and be annoyed for the rest of the round. Legitimate ethics challenges exist and should/will be taken seriously but ethics challenges are not something we should play fast and loose with.
For debating online:
-If you think clarity could even possibly be an issue, slow down a ton. More than ever clarity and quality are more important than quantity.
-If my camera is off, I am not there, I am not flowing your speech, I probably can't even hear you. If you give the 1AR and I'm not there, there is not a whole lot I can do for you.
I've coached LASA since 2005. I judge ~100 debates per season on the high school circuit.
If there’s an email chain, please add me: email@example.com.
If you’re using a flash drive, prep stops when you pull the flash drive out of your computer. If you’re using an email chain, I won’t count attaching and emailing as prep time. Please do not steal prep.
If you have little time before the debate, here’s all you need to know: do what you do best. I try to be as unbiased as possible and I will defer to your analysis. As long as you are clear, go as fast as you want.
Most judges give appalling decisions. Here's where I will try to be better than them:
- They intervene, even when they claim they won't. Perhaps "tech over truth" doesn't mean what it used to. I will attempt to adjudicate and reach a decision purely on only the words you say. If that's insufficient to reach a decision either way--and it often isn't--I will add the minimum work necessary to come to a decision. The more work I have to do, the wider the range of uncertainty for you and the lower your speaks go.
- They aren't listening carefully. They're mentally checked out, flowing off the speech doc, distracted by social media, or have half their headphones off and are taking selfies during the 1AR. I will attempt to flow every single detail of your speeches. I will probably take notes during CX if I think it could affect my decision. If you worked hard on debate, you deserve a judge who works hard as well.
- They give poorly-reasoned decisions that rely on gut instincts and ignore arguments made in the 2NR/2AR. I will probably take my sweet time making and writing my decision. I will try to be as thorough and transparent as possible. If I intervene anywhere, I will explain why I had to intervene and how you could've prevented that intervention. If I didn't catch or evaluate an argument, I will explain why you under-explained or failed to extend it. I will try to anticipate your questions and preemptively answer them in my decision.
- They reconstruct the debate and try to find the most creative and convoluted path to a ballot. I guess they're trying to prove they're smart? These decisions are detestable because they take the debate away from the hands of the debaters. If there are multiple paths to victory for both teams, I will take what I think is the shortest path and explain why I think it's the shortest path, and you can influence my decision by explaining why you control the shortest path. But, I'm not going to use my decision to attempt to prove I'm more clever than the participants of the debate.
- I’m not a professional debate coach or even a teacher. I work as a finance analyst in the IT sector and I volunteer as a debate coach on evenings and weekends. I don’t teach at debate camp and my topic knowledge comes primarily from judging debates. My finance background means that, when left to my own devices, I err towards precision, logic, data, and concrete examples. However, I can be convinced otherwise in any particular debate, especially when it’s not challenged by the other team.
- Tech over truth in most instances. I will stick to my flow and minimize intervention as much as possible. I firmly believe that debates should be left to the debaters. I rarely make facial expressions because I don’t want my personal reactions to affect how a debate plays out. I will maintain a flow, even if you ask me not to. However, tech over truth has its limits. An argument must have sufficient explanation for it to matter to me, even if it’s dropped. You need a warrant and impact, not just a claim.
- Evidence comparison is under-utilized and is very important to me in close debates. I often call for evidence, but I’m much more likely to call for a card if it’s extended by author or cite.
- I don’t judge or coach at the college level, which means I’m usually a year or two behind the latest argument trends that are first broken in college and eventually trickle down to high school. If you’re reading something that’s close to the cutting edge of debate arguments, you’ll need to explain it clearly. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear new arguments. On the contrary, a big reason why I continue coaching debate is because I enjoy listening to and learning about new arguments that challenge my existing ways of thinking.
- Please mark your own cards. No one is marking them for you.
- If I feel that you are deliberately evading answering a question or have straight up lied, and the question is important to the outcome of the debate, I will stop the timer and ask you to answer the question. Example: if you read condo bad, the neg asks in CX whether you read condo bad, and you say no, I’ll ask if you want me to cross-out condo on my flow.
- Don't over-adapt to me in these debates. If you are most comfortable going for procedural fairness, do that. If you like going for advocacy skills, you do you. Like any other debate, framework debates hinge on impact calculus and comparison.
- When I vote neg, it’s usually because the aff team missed the boat on topical version, has made insufficient inroads into the neg’s limits disad, and/or is winning some exclusion disad but is not doing comparative impact calculus against the neg’s offense. The neg win rate goes up if the 2NR can turn or access the aff's primary impact (e.g. clash and argument testing is vital to ethical subject formation).
- When I vote aff, it’s usually because the 2NR is disorganized and goes for too many different impacts, there’s no topical version or other way to access the aff’s offense, and/or concedes an exclusion disad that is then impacted out by the 2AR. Without a credible counter-interpretation that the aff meets and that establishes some sufficient limits on the scope of debates, I lean negative.
- Over the years, “tech over truth” has led me to vote neg on some untruthful T violations. If you’re neg and you’ve done a lot of research and are ready to throw down on a very technical and carded T debate, I’m a good judge for you.
- I'm a stickler for the quality of a definition, especially if it's from a source that's contextual to the topic, has some intent to define, is exclusive and not just inclusive, etc.
- Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff. The size of the link to the limits disad usually determines how sympathetic I am towards this argument, i.e. if the link is small, then I’m more likely to conclude the aff’s C/I is reasonable even without other aff offense.
- The kritik teams I've judged that have earned the highest speaker points give highly organized and structured speeches, are disciplined in line-by-line debating, and emphasize key moments in their speeches.
- Just like most judges, the more case-specific your link and the more comprehensive your alternative explanation, the more I’ll be persuaded by your kritik.
- I greatly prefer the 2NC structure where you have a short (or no) overview and do as much of your explanation on the line-by-line as possible. If your overview is 6 minutes, you make blippy cross-applications on the line-by-line, and then you drop the last three 2AC cards, I’m going to give the 1AR a lot of leeway on extending those concessions, even if they were somewhat implicitly answered in your overview.
- Framework debates on kritiks rarely factor into my decisions. Frequently, I conclude that there’s not a decisive win for either side here, or that it’s irrelevant because the neg is already allowing the aff to weigh their impacts. Usually, I find myself somewhere in the middle: the neg always has the right to read kritiks, but the aff should have the right to access their advantages. Kritiks that moot the entire 1AC are a tough sell.
- I’m not a good judge for “role of the ballot” arguments, as I usually find these to be self-serving for the team making them. I’m also not a good judge for “competing methods means the aff doesn’t have a right to a perm”. I think the aff always has a right to a perm, but the question is whether the perm is legitimate and desirable, which is a substantive issue to be debated out, not a gatekeeping issue for me to enforce.
- I’m an OK judge for K “tricks”. A conceded root cause explanation, value to life impact, or “alt solves the aff” claim is effective if it’s sufficiently explained. The floating PIK needs to be clearly made in the 2NC for me to evaluate it. If your K strategy hinges on hiding a floating PIK and suddenly busting it out in the 2NR, I’m not a good judge for you.
- Just like most judges, I prefer case-specific over generic counterplans, but we can’t always get what we want.
- I lean neg on PICs. I lean aff on international fiat, 50 state fiat, condition, and consult. These preferences can change based on evidence or lack thereof. For example, if the neg has a state counterplan solvency advocate in the context of the aff, I’m less sympathetic to theory.
- I will not judge kick the CP unless explicitly told to do so by the 2NR, and it would not take much for the 2AR to persuade me to ignore the 2NR’s instructions on that issue.
- Presumption is in the direction of less change. If left to my own devices, I will probably conclude that most counterplans that are not explicitly PICs are a larger change than the aff.
- I’m a sucker for specific and comparative impact calculus. For example, most nuclear war impacts are probably not global nuclear war but some kind of regional scenario. I want to know why your specific regional scenario is faster and/or more probable. Reasonable impact calculus is much more persuasive to me than grandiose impact claims.
- I believe that in most cases, the link is more important for determining the direction of risk than uniqueness. The exceptions are when the uniqueness can be definitively determined rather than probabilistic.
- Zero risk is possible but difficult to prove by the aff. However, a miniscule neg risk of the disad is probably background noise.
- I actually enjoy listening to a good theory debate, but these seem to be exceedingly rare. I think I can be persuaded that many theoretical objections require punishing the team and not simply rejecting the argument, but substantial work needs to be done on why setting a precedent on that particular issue is important. You're unlikely to win that a single intrinsic permutation is a round-winning voter, even if the other team drops it, unless you are investing significant time in explaining why it should be an independent voting issue.
- I think that I lean affirmative compared to the rest of the judging community on the legitimacy of counterplans. In my mind, a counterplan that is wholly plan-inclusive (consultation, condition, delay, etc.) is theoretically questionable. The legitimacy of agent counterplans, whether domestic or international, is also contestable. I think the negative has the right to read multiple planks to a counterplan, but reading each plank conditionally is theoretically suspect.
- I usually take a long time to decide, and give lengthy decisions. LASA debaters have benefitted from the generosity of judges, coaches, and lab leaders who used their decisions to teach and trade ideas, not just pick a winner and get a paycheck. Debaters from schools with limited/no coaching, the same schools needed to prevent the decline in policy debate numbers, greatly benefit from judging feedback. I encourage you to ask questions and engage in respectful dialogue with me. However, post-round hostility will be met with hostility. I've been providing free coaching and judging since before you were birthed into the world. If I think you're being rude or condescending to me or your opponents, I will enthusiastically knock you back down to Earth.
- I don't want a card doc. If you send one, I will ignore it. Card docs are an opportunity for debaters to insert cards they didn't read, didn't extend, or re-highlight. They're also an excuse for lazy judges to compensate for a poor flow by reconstructing the debate after the fact. If your debating was disorganized and you need a card doc to return some semblance of organization, I'd rather adjudicate the disorganized debate and then tell you it was disorganized.
Do what you do best and I will make a decision afterwards
How RyanMalone makes decisions
I hope Whitehead is right, that even dimwits can make good decisions if they follow an appropriate procedure. It’s only fair then for me to give a general sense of how I make decisions, with as few platitudes as possible, though most of them still apply.
1. After the 2ar I review 2nr and 2ar arguments and their comportment with the block and 1ar. Unless there are arguments about how I should or should not flow, I appreciate when debaters are attentive to line-by-line, but I understand that strategy sometimes calls one to deviate from it. When that occurs, I am less likely to line up arguments in the same way as you may want me to.
2. While doing that I clarify shorthand and mark out errata and things that aren’t arguments. There is a difference between arguments and nascent things that purport to be arguments. We don’t need to talk about Toulmin; an argument is really anything that could inform a decision. This may seem arbitrary or kind of like question-begging, but I don’t think it’s capricious. I don’t do this because I have some ultra-strenuous “not buying it” threshold for what constitutes an argument. My concern is that there is a temptation to embellish not-quite-arguments, especially those that, if they had been full arguments, would be compelling, strategic, or make for an easy decision. Assessing, at the outset, what all on the flow are reasonably arguments is a way to ward off that temptation.
3. I then look to arguments the 2nr and 2ar say are the most important and other arguments that appear central to the debate or that may supplant opposing lines of reasoning. The last part may seem to imply a premium on the meta, but rarely are debates leveraged on Archimedean points.
4. If necessary, I read evidence. I don’t follow along in speech docs or look at speeches in more than a cursory way prior to the end of the debate, with perhaps the exception of interpretations and counterplan texts. I will read a piece of evidence if there is contestation about its quality, applicability, or illocution, if I am asked to compare two pieces of evidence or a piece of evidence and a countervailing explanation, or if some argument is dense and, despite good explanation, I’m just not following. My concern is that the more evidence a judge reads without specific reason, the more they reward good evidence read sloppily over clear, persuasive argumentation and are at risk of reconstructing the debate along those lines.
5. I hash out the above (it’s hard to adumbrate this process in a way that’s not super vague) and I get something resembling a decision. I run through a few even-if scenarios: what, if any, central arguments the losing team could have won, but still lose the debate, and what arguments the winning team would have had to lose or the losing team would have had to win for the losing team to win the debate. Finally, I review the flow again to make sure my decision is firmly based in the 2nr and 2ar and that there is nothing I’ve missed.
Note on Framework
Framework debates are better when both teams have some defense, in addition to offense.
Even if fairness is intrinsically value, by which I mean fairness is valuable regardless of relation, I’m unsure how valuable procedural fairness is, in and of itself. Because of that fairness arguments make more sense to me as internal links rather than impacts.
Similarly, impact turns to fairness are more persuasive when they are about the purported use of fairness as an impartial rule. Phrased differently, in explaining the way structural fairness informs procedural fairness as a difference in fairness-in-rule and fairness-in-practice, it may be worth thinking about fairness as the practice of appealing to rules.
Topical versions are under-utilized.
Things that do not concern how I usually make decisions
Some of the above is assiduously believed, but weakly held, however, the following points are immutable: I will comply with any tournament rules regarding speech and decision times, speaker points, etc. Any request not to be recorded or videotaped should be honored. If proven, clipping, cross-reading, or deceitfully manufacturing or altering evidence will result in a loss and zero speaker points. Unlike wit, sass, and tasteful self-effacement, bald-faced meanness will negatively affect speaker points.
My rfds are brief, which I’m working on. This reason for this is twofold. First, most of what I write down concerns how I make my decision, not how I intend to give it. Second, I don’t presume to act, even temporarily, as something like an arguments coach, nor as someone who can adroitly explain or find fault in an opposing team’s arguments. The last thing I want to do is say something that would lead you astray. At this point in my time judging I’m really just trying to be a good heuristic machine—anything more is just gravy. Obviously, to the degree to which I have insight I will give suggestions, clarifications, or share in your befuddlement.
Please feel free to email me if you have questions or concerns.
updated march ‘22
put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
experience: debated 7 years in middle/high school policy for crossings in oklahoma city
1. be nice
2. have fun
3. do what you want, just do it well
i’m okay with speed, however, i can’t hear as well over a speaker, so either slow down a little bit or make sure to enunciate- i don’t want to miss anything!
none of my preferences affect my decision. the categories below reflect what i am most experienced in/what arguments i would be best at evaluating.
K- Dislike -----------------------------------------X Like
CP- Dislike -------------------------------------X—-- Like
DA- Dislike -------------------------------------X--- Like
T- Dislike ------------------------------X----------- Like
FW- Dislike ------------------------------------X----- Like
Theory- Dislike -----------------------X------------------ Like
Case Neg- Dislike ---------------------------------X-------- Like
mostly ran antiblackness, settler colonialism, and deleuze/guattari, sometimes baudrillard, psychoanalysis, and cap.
i will look at the framework debate first. keep your arguments consistent and clear. i feel like it often gets muddled because both sides forget that they must impact out and do comparative analysis with their standards. if there's not a role of the judge i will default to... a judge at a debate tournament. (if you want me to be a policymaker you gotta tell me) the aff gets to weigh itself against the alternative. i default to choosing the best option (util if no impact framing)- how i frame the ballot is up to y’all. lots of clash on the flow is appreciated.
love a good link debate. be specific! if you have more than one, it helps my flow if you number them. evidence indicts are cool. i have high standards for any k link, generic "you talk about/don't talk about X so you're guilty of X" is not particularly convincing unless it's dropped or severely undercovered.
the impact debate is so important! probability matters. have a decent timeframe for terminal impacts. anything long-term not very convincing, especially if the aff wins timeframe arguments for their impact. use ptm. (probability, timeframe, magnitude)
tell the story of how the alternative functions, and pls explain how each perm is a worse option than the alt. idk how i feel about utopian alt arguments because technically the aff is also guilty of utopianism. most of the time nobody really sits on it anyway, so do what you will with that information.
i’m not really picky about them except don’t read more than one with the same impact. pls have solid uniqueness evidence, i will read it if there's unresolved uq stuff. high standard for the link debate, there must be a reasonable way for the aff to cause the impacts.
can’t go wrong with a solid advantage cp. have a clear net benefit (i default to best option) and explain mutual exclusivity.
t is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. impact comparison is super important. having da's on it is cool. engage the opponent's arguments.
i see it mishandled often. there has to be a tangible risk of abuse, a reasonable interpretation, and supporting examples for me to want to vote on it.
policy affs should have solid internal link chains, explain what the aff actually does, who does it, who it affects, etc. explain why your solution is the best solution.
k affs should have an advocacy statement. the aff position shouldn't change mid-round. i have very high expectations for the internal link and solvency. explain who the aff is good for, why its a good idea, etc. same as before, explain why your solution is the best solution.
tldr - i am a sophomore at baylor university -- second round qualified to the NDT -- my senior year of high school, i had 5 bids to the tournament of champions, was consistently a top 10 speaker as well as consistent appearances in late elims of national circuit tournaments if background/success matters at all to yall.
email chain -- email@example.com
- Tech > truth, BUT my inclination to vote on certain positions will increase/decrease depending on the level of extrapolation present i.e. arguments must be fully flushed out in order to be given any semblance of weight in my decision.
- The first 30 seconds of your rebuttal speeches should crystalize the debate and ideally mirror my potential RFD.
- My decision calculus first and foremost usually comes down to what arguments are tailored to the casting of my ballot.
- Presumption goes to the team that deviates from the squo the least.
- I am a performance debater -- I like cx sass and assertiveness but just make sure you dont confuse those things with disrespect and aggressiveness
- I default to judge kick absent being instructed no judge kick
- Link specificity is very important to me.
- Do not insert evidence.
- Speaker points rate individual performance, strategic/bold pivots, general rhetorical appeal etc. because of this I generally give out a lot of low point wins.
- My camera is usually on, if its off seek confirmation prior to starting your speech.
Arguments --- I am accustomed to and have taken exclusively left leaning critical positions throughout the second half of my career, despite this I have no biases and will strictly defer to my flow for any argumentative inconsistencies. I will not fill in holes for you and you should act as if I don't know what the literature says while showcasing a superior explanation of your arguments.
- Theory --- Condo is generally good but I've voted otherwise in the past. Dropping utopian alts bad isnt an auto dub same goes for most theory arguments. Rejecting the arg generally remedies any harms created, you're going to have to do some work to make me vote otherwise.
- Framework --- I have no biases here. Procedural fairness is both an internal link and an impact just depends on how you deploy it in round. Things you should do that should seem obvious but dont happen: Go for only one impact in the 2nr, do impact calculus/comparison, articulate solvency deficits to their model of debate, explain how your model solves and interacts with said deficits visa vie tva/ssd, link analysis (most of their offense probably just assumes debate or the state), actually answering the 2ac and getting off your blocks, predict/preempt 2ar shifts and compensate by doing judge instruction, ballot framing, and model comparison, answering the affirmative in the 2nr. I think that debate is a game but I also think it has the potential to influence different material outcomes. I view Tvas as impact filters that don't need to solve the affirmative but should include aff literature. SSD becomes very convincing to me if the affirmative answers to T devolve into state/state education bad. I am a sucker for smart presumption arguments and have a higher threshold for aff solvency explanation. Although I do not go for framework in college, as a 2a, I am constantly responding to the argument as well as coaching my debaters to go for it. I really enjoy good framework debates but the opposite is true as well. If the level of framework debating described above seems synonymous with your style of debating you should probs prefer me highly.
- The K --- Try not to go for a k that you are unfamiliar with; not to say I wont vote for you if you win, but rounds where you constantly evade questions during cx and provide me with shoddy explanations that dont do your literature base justice are agonizing. I strongly prefer substantive critical debating and am not a fan of spamming contradictory critical positions derived from different schools of thought. I don't care about how you go for the k or what you read just make sure you are telling me a story that I can retell to the affirmative in the rfd. I dont like implicit clash, you should be doing the line by line on the k proper. Link contextualization and drawing aff/topic specific historical examples separate good and great k debaters. I think framework is the most important part of the K but it can become ultimately irrelevant if the rest of the critique is winning that either the plan exacerbates the harms you've impacted out or the critique is winning an impact turn to the aff. I will default to judge kicking the alt if it was conditional but you need a reason why I should if the other team makes a judge kick argument. I am most comfortable with language/post-structuralist criticisms but am still somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to identity critiques.
- K Affs --- I have experience defending and debating these types of affs and I think that the closer you are to answering the resolutional question, the better. I think that uniqueness is extremely underutilized in these debates and usually helps me weigh a lot of these ballot and impact comparison questions in your favor. When answering topicality YOU WILL LOSE if you dont have a competing interpretation of debate that you can solve your impact turns through because then they're just non-unique. Thats why I stress the importance of ballot and impact uniqueness in these debates. You should probably have some sort of advocacy text/statement or at least make the solvency portion of the 1ac clear. If I am left without understanding what the role of the negative is under your model thats probably a disad to it. When debating framework leverage your case as much as possible - I see a lot of teams struggling to decide on whether to defend a middle ground or the impact turn, just make sure you pick one so that the story of the affirmative remains constant, inconsistency in the different affirmative speeches both argumentatively and strategically warrant my neg ballot a lot of the time. I think explaining how the affirmative solves the individual pieces of offense you are going for not only clarifies the messy portions of the round but also just makes it easier for you to cross apply/group arguments in the rebuttals. I also won’t vote on an impact turn your model can't resolve so you need to explain how you solve the offense you consolidated down to. The best 2a's pick and choose a few things to go for in the final speech and talk about how these arguments interact with both what the 2nr is going for and most importantly how that influences the casting of my ballot. I default to giving the affirmative the permutation but I can be convinced otherwise.
If you have any questions about anything that was/wasn’t mentioned above you can email me.
@dylan barsoumian -- my guy
Alum of Liberty University - Debated 2 years in college - qualified to NDT (2019-2020 season)
I debated 4 years in high school and 2 years in college.
Top Level Things
I am most familiar with policy arguments, and I like to see good strategy and evidence quality in these debates (Strategy + Quality Evidence = good speaker points).
Non-Traditional Teams - I am not the best for method v method debates, as I am not as familiar with most literature in these debates, but when it comes to clash debates, I voted for non-traditional aff's roughly 60% more than FW as I have a high standard for FW against most K aff's. (Policy teams if you warrant out your arguments in these debates, I am way more likely to vote for FW, but most teams do not do this).
View of Debate
I will judge anything and listen to anything as long as it is explained well. Debate is a game of constant clash and argumentation. I want to hear debates between students that are invested in debating one another's arguments based on rigorous preparation, scholarly evidence, deep content knowledge, and strategic thinking. I do like forms of strategy and trickery as long as they are executed well.
T - I tend to default to competing interpretations but will buy reasonability if it is explained well with reasons, it should be preferred over competing interpretations. I love a good T debate as long as there are clear standards in the end of the debate and reasons I should vote for a team on topicality.
Framework - I am a 2n in college and think that framework is a very viable option. There should be clear impacts in the rebuttals and treat the impacts just as you treat them on a DA.
DA - I like a good DA debate. At the end of the debate, there should be good link analysis and good impact calculus so that I don't have to insert myself into the debate. I think that all DA debates should have a focus on the IL to impacts of the affirmative – this means make arguments like we access, or we turn their impact.
CP - Love a good CP debate - the more specific the better - good CP's should have a good net-benefit. I tend to lean more towards the negative side when it comes to theory (conditionality). With that said if the neg reads 4 conditional advocacies I will lean towards the affirmative side as long as the standards are flushed out and explained.
K - I am well versed in most forms of K literature. I debated the K as a freshman and sophomore (psychoanalysis, Baudrillard, Settler Colonialism) and am a 2A so I know most K's. I also love a classic Cap K or security K as long as the links are contextualized to the aff. Debate like you know how!!!
~Inspired~ by Vikas Burugu
Top Level Thoughts
-- The first 20 seconds of the 2NR and 2AR should be the words that you hope I repeat back to you at the beginning of my decision. Holding my hand will be rewarded with higher speaker points, a quicker decision time, and a more favorable RFD.
-- I will rarely instantly decide the debate on a single dropped argument alone and will only consider that dropped argument in the broader scheme of what occurred. I will follow something resembling the following structure to make my decision:
A. List the arguments extended into the 2NR and the 2AR
B. Ask myself what, as per the 2NR and 2AR, winning these arguments will get for either the affirmative or the negative. The answer to this question will sometimes be “absolutely nothing” at which point I will cross these arguments off my flow.
C. Trace whether these points of disagreement were present previously in the debate. This will only include substantive argumentation, but will not include framing devices introduced in the 2NR and the 2AR.
D. Compare the negative and affirmative’s central issues by asking myself if losing a certain argument for a certain team will still allow for that team to win the debate.
-- Tech > truth in most instances. Unless I’m offered an alternative framework to judge debates, I will default to assuming that dropped arguments are true arguments. That being said, technical debating does not warrant an auto-win and the assumption that certain arguments are auto round winners when dropped leads to disastrous decisions. For instance, judges seem to automatically assume that “realism good” is an impact turn to every IR critical argument come 2020. While it would certainly be nice if the negative explained which portions of realism they agree/disagree with (e.g. rational actor model, the model of the nation state, etc.), it is not the burden of the 2NR to answer “realism good” in this hypothetical situation if the 1AC, 2AC, and 1AR choose not to explain why winning realism is good/true implicates the negative’s arguments.
-- Numbering, labeling, and compartmentalization are very important for me. Whenever possible, each argument in the 2AC should be numbered / labeled and those numbers / labels should be referenced for the rest of the debate. The 2NC and the 2NR’s responses to affirmative arguments should always be numbered.
-- Sound like you want to be here.
-- Regardless of your strategy, go for presumption against planless affs. Please.
-- One of four things must be true if a 2NR on framework is extending only “fairness” as the terminal impact —
A) The affirmative has entirely dropped that debate is a game/competition with absolutely no implications beyond this debate.
B) The TVA and/or SSD unquestionably solve the content of the 1AC and 2AC offense against framework.
C) The negative is winning arguments on another page that impact turn the 1AC and/or are offense independent of the framework debate.
D) The affirmative does not have a coherent impact turn to the negative’s model left by the end of the debate.
If one of these four things does not hold true and the only impact in the 2NR to framework is procedural fairness, it is highly unlikely that I will be able to construct a negative ballot because the 2AR’s “Exclusion DA” will inevitably outweigh a procedural violation. Too often, one of the above statements does not hold true and the 2NR loses the impact debate. This is not to discourage you entirely from going for a “fairness only” 2NR when the time is right — in fact, it makes sense if the 1AR has dropped a key component of the debate (see subpoints above).
-- A 2NR that has arguments about research, testing, etc. that internal link turn the affirmative’s offense and explains procedural fairness as an external impact only accessed by the negative will do far better in front of me.
-- Switch side debate is an underutilized and underrated tool in negative arsenals. Affirmative teams are typically substantially more prepared against the topical version of the aff in comparison to switch side debate for some reason.
-- If the 2NC and 2NR simply assert “switch side debate solves” -- they can read it on the negative,” I will most likely consider the 2AR saying “the negative hasn’t explained what part of our argument we can read on the negative or what we would criticize” a sufficient response.
-- Everyone seems to increasingly agree that debaters should either pick the “impact turn” or “middle ground,” only to reveal ideological predispositions that strongly favor one of said routes. While I agree with the general advice that debaters should pick one of the two, I do have specific thoughts regarding the benefits / drawbacks of both strategies.
A) Finding a middle ground
While this approach will be significantly harder to assemble / formulate, it gives affirmative teams the ability to impact turn both the content of debate’s that would occur under the negative’s interpretation AND the reading of framework with significantly less drawbacks than the impact turn approach. It will, however, require affirmative’s to wade through the traditional components of a topicality debate and will be subject to good negative teams closely scrutinizing affirmative counterinterpretations. An important question that not enough negative teams ask is if affirmative interpretations would allow for affs with plan texts.
B) Impact turning topicality
I tend to agree that it is impossible and even unstrategic to have a counterinterpretation for certain affirmatives. This opinion seems to be increasingly rare. However, I do find there are some drawbacks that affirmative teams will have to deal with in exchange for not having to provide a counterinterpretation. I instinctively tend to find certain negative pushes against impact turns to the “form” of framework persuasive, including that the reading of topicality is not intrinsically distinct from alternative forms of disagreement. Furthermore, affirmative teams are typically locked out of impact turns to the content of debates that would occur under the negative’s vision of debate as a product of not having any limit on the topic under the impact turn approach.
-- Counterplans that are not both textually and functionally competitive are most likely theoretically illegitimate.
-- Presumption flips affirmative if the counterplan is a larger change from the status quo than the 1AC.
-- Tend to think textual competition is a nonsensical standard for counterplan competition.
-- “Turns the case” is probably more important to me than some. That being said, affirmative teams should point out that a risk of “turns the case” does not auto warrant a negative ballot because there are, most than likely, substantive portions of the DA that are being contested and similarly mitigate the turns case argument(s).
-- Uniqueness controls the direction of the link / the link controls the direction of uniqueness has never made sense to me. At best, both arguments seem to be a tautological way of proving that different parts of a disadvantage don’t exist in a vacuum. Feel free to convince me otherwise though?
Kritiks v Plan
-- It seems that framework means a lot more to me than it does to some judges. A vast majority of judges seem to arbitrarily intervene and decide to take a middle stance on the framework debate and generate their own justifications for why this “middle stance” is preferable. I will avoid doing this at all costs and only decide between the interpretations present in the 2NR and the 2AR.
-- I tend to think most negative answers to fairness/predictability as a justification for weighing the aff are woefully insufficient, but that affirmative development of this justification is equally as egregious. Affirmative’s should borrow more from their negative framework arsenal against planless affirmatives and explain why a model of debate where the affirmative gets to weigh the plan is most reflective of the resolution and why debate over that predictable stasis point is important and internal link turns the negative’s justifications for not letting the aff weigh the plan.
Kritiks v No Plan
-- The capitalism kritik is a good and real strategy against most planless affs that I genuinely believe could sustain a year’s worth of debates against kritikal affs with a relatively high success rate.
Bad Cap K: focus on identity bad, cap is the root cause of everything, etc.
Good Cap K: materiality good, engaging the political good, organizing good, etc.
-- Examples will be rewarded.
-- Go for presumption. For the love of god.
-- Not sure how I feel about “no perms in a method debate.” A majority of debates between kritiks and planless affs are undeniably won or lost on the permutation and I do tend to agree with the sentiment that permutations in k v k debates tend to get a bit out of control. I’m not sure if entirely abandoning any standard for competition in k v k debates would be desirable (as implied by “no perms in a method debate”) -- letting the negative get away with not having link arguments to the aff seems is a little ridiculous.
-- “Reasonability” does not refer to whether the plan text reasonably ‘meets’ the negative’s interpretation, but whether the affirmative’s interpretation is sufficiently reasonable in comparison to the negative’s interpretation.
-- Clearly parsing out what debates under each interpretation marks the difference between shallow and rigorous topicality debates.
-- If you feel unsatisfied with my RFD, I encourage you to post-round me. I will not take any offense or make a determination on your personality on the basis of your reaction to my decision. I was always quick to disagree with judges as a debater and have always considered disagreement the highest forms of respect.
-- While this is arguably contingent on the framework debate, I seem to be one of the few who believes that in “kritik v plan” debates, negative’s should be able to garner link arguments from unhighlighted portions of aff evidence. However, this rarely, if ever, seems to come up / become a site of disagreement.
-- In the scenario that the 2AR goes for condo and the 2NR is going for a K, if the 2AR goes for ‘education’ standards and concedes a strong framework push (from the 2NR) regarding the rhetorical form of debate (fiat, plan debate, etc.) or the speech act of the 1AC, then I will find it very difficult to throw out the 2NR’s framework debate absent some sort of comparison from the 2AR.
-- I have come to the conclusion that facial expressions from judges are better avoided and will do my best to steer myself away from being overly expressive. Thus, I would encourage you to avoid reading into my reactions and facial expressions.
-- In a majority of debates, with the exception of the 2AR extending conditionality, my mind seems to see theory as a “last resort” and unconsciously evaluate “substantive” portions of the debate before assessing any theory argument.
-- Arguments about acts committed by certain debaters outside the realm of a given debate round are unpersuasive. I don’t want to spend an hour and a half determining whether an individual I just met is a good person or not. I would gladly listen to and be open to having a discussion about grievances against a team after the debate.
-- Dropped arguments are rarely as detrimental as most would believe for 2 reasons:
A) “Risk” rarely exists as an on / off switch, but rather a sliding scale. It is up for debate, however, how the “risk” of a certain argument should be calculated.
B) Many debates have so many moving parts that effective cross applications and re-packaging can make up for the 1AR dropping 2NC #4 answering 2AC #11 on the DA.
My email is ian.k.dill [at] gmail
I coach at Churchill High school and Trinity University. My coaching and research time is roughly a 50-50 split between HS and College. I debated at Trinity University for 4 years and at Highland Park in Minnesota for 4 years.
I strongly prefer more academically rigorous arguments. I will reward you for reading and leveraging qualified evidence (peer reviewed, written by people with relevant quals, from reputable sites, etc). When you are pointing me towards evidence to read you should compare qualifications and ev quality explicitly. Don't expect me to do that comparison for you when I am making the decision.
I will not vote for incomplete arguments (claim and warrant). "no perms its a method debate" or "da's not intrinsic" are not sufficient arguments on which I will decide a debate.
Topicality: I like T debates quite a lot, and have no qualms voting for T against any aff if the offense is clearly outlined by the neg, and impact calculus is done well. Caselists and topical versions are important. I also think T cards are important, and like good evidence comparison between interps.
Impact framing: While it would be hard to convince me that there is zero-risk of something, a strong press on the absurdity of hyperbolic impact/internal link claims can be very convincing. I am receptive to structural violence style impacts vs big impacts, but do not expect me to vote on your generic "big impacts are wrong" card if you do not read specific impact defense or apply the generic card to their impact scenario.
Kritiks: Specificity is the key. I am not a fan of K 2nc's which are a 5+ minute overview and shallow line-by-line. It is always best to more clearly organize and structure your argument in response to the 2ac. I most enjoy k debating that relies on da's to the plan as well as broader philosophical disagreements. I am happy to vote on "link is a da that turns case + try or die for alt" as well as "framework + link." I think the former is underutilized, but requires good case debating, evidence, and a well though out answer to perm double bind).
Specificity on the aff is also key. That means explaining how the perm solves the links. It also means explicitly answering links beginning in the 2ac. When I vote for the k, I find that it is often because the aff hasn't answered the thesis claim supporting the links, turns case, and framework arguments. Make sure you dedicate time to identifying and answering that thesis.
Counterplans: Counterplans should be both textually and functionally competitive. I will always reward the recutting of a cp from aff ev. I also think a lot of counterplans cheat, and will be receptive to theory presses against cp's that compete off of certainty or immediacy. However, I think solvency advocates are very important for the theoretical legitimacy of a cp. If a counterplan is in the literature, then the aff can be reasonably expected to have answers to it.
planless affs/framework: I think debate is inevitably competitive and intrinsically valuable. Affs answering framework should clearly outline what debates look like under their interpretation. If half of the 1ac is spent impact turning framework, the aff can't be indignant when a team asks about the alternative vision for how debates go down. I am a fan of non-fw strategies with well-researched, specific links. I tend to have a high threshold for voting on pessimism as a justification for rejecting all topical affs.
Theory: Offense-defense. Do not make weak theory arguments in the 2ac, add nuance to them for the given cp or k that you are debating. Also slow down when delivering them.
Random things: I won't flow things being said by anyone besides the person giving the speech. I default against judge kicking a cp, but I will do it if the neg makes a complete argument for why I should. The burdon on the aff to convince me not to judge kick is pretty low.
Coaching & Competitor History:
(2020-Present): Director of Debate & Speech, Melissa High School
(2019-2020): Assistant Director of Forensics & Head PF Coach, Delbarton School
(2019-2020): Policy Debate Coach, Princeton High School
(2017-2019): Policy Debate Coach, Melissa High School
(2017-2019): Graduate Parliamentary Debate Coach, University of North Texas
(2015-2017): Policy Debate Coach & PF Coach, Southlake High School
(2014-2016): Policy Debate Coach, Prosper High School
(2014-2015): Policy, LD, & PF Coach, Crandall High School
(2013-2014/15ish): Policy Debate competitor, University of North Texas
(2009-2013): Policy Debate competitor, Lampasas
Overview: I view the debate though an offense/defense paradigm. I think that this is the best way for me to grapple with the debate. Throughout my paradigm, I've tried to limit my regurgitation of knowledge or information about debate to you, and instead tell you how I view debate based on specific questions with the specific events. I think that there are some things that I will not change based on the nature of whatever event I'm judging. Theoretical disquisitions and procedural issues are ones in which I evaluate the same. Please see the theory section. If there's a question I do not have within here, please ask me. Finally, the questions that I am answering below are 1.) questions in which people have asked me before that I can remember and 2.) attempting to answer them as best as possible.
Reasons to Strike Me:
3NR's: After nationals in 2019, I have this to say. If you're going to be rude because you lost the debate, and attempt to get me to generate some sort of concession about why I messed up, I think that you're looking for the wrong judge. I make mistakes, but if I wanted to waste my time with some sort of asinine 3NR, I would have stayed home to waste my time doing nothing. If I feel it's going poorly, the 3NR, I'll shut my laptop and tell you the same thing I told the team at nationals in 2019. You should be ashamed of yourselves and your coach should be even more ashamed due to their inability to make you understand that that's not a healthy practice.
Clipping Cards: This is defined as "intentionally or unintentionally skipping over the parts of the evidence that is highlighted, bolded, and underlined." As Louie Petit says, do not be a Lance Armstrong (Petit, 2013).
Ideological Issues: Being racist, sexist, or a biggot is a great way to strike me.
Coaching: if I have coached you in the past 4 years, I will strike you. If I forget to, it is your obligation to strike me.
Cards: If you are paraphrasing and not cutting cards in PF, strike me.
Cards (PF): I'm so tired of people "calling for evidence" and it taking a majority of the round, while in the interim stealing prep. You should either 1.) send the case before you read or 2.) immediately after you're done before cross-fire or prep starts. I will start calling for prep when you call for evidence at a certain point, and if you do not like this, strike me please.
Dumb Theory Arguments: There's a national trend going on in LD indicating that we or judges should vote on frivolous argument (e.g. shoe theory, laptop theory, and so on). These are just absurdly, un-strategic, asinine arguments. Strike me please.
***Policy Debate Paradigm
What does extrapolation mean for you? For me, I think that the 2AR and the 2NR get extrapolation based on previous claims made within the debate. I think that, if this is based off of evidence, and your evidence has some sort of glaring issue that prevents you from generating access to said extrapolation, then I probably won't vote for you.
What do we have to do to flag evidence? Just say look at the evidence or make some sort of evidence contestation that necessitates that I look at your evidence. It just takes a couple seconds.
Extending is important: I think that, if you do not extend the aff or example within the 1AR, I may have a hard time giving the 2AR credit. Even if it is just a shadow extension, I think that that is better than nothing.
Is evidence comparison important? Yeah. I would say that that's probably a good way for me to reevaluate why I should prefer a particular argument over another. I think that engaging in some sort of substantive level (i.e. the warrants, author, and so on) make for good case debate (for example).
Email me: I think that this will help in case I have to go back and re-read a piece of evidence. I try not to waste people's time, thus, I do not want to have to ask if you can send me a specific piece of evidence. If you're looking to get documents from a previous debate, please see the above email.
Do you prefer a specific kind of aff? no. Read a method, soft left, or big stick aff. It's up to you. I grew up going for the big stick aff and coached that the first 2-3 years out of high school, while also coaching big stick 1AC's in PF at Delbarton. I coached pre dominantly soft left aff's at Melissa and Princeton. I coach a kid now in LD reading a historical geneology that discusses why debate is bad. I think that you should do whatever you want. I've judged some great [Coppell DR and Wylie QR] teams going for the method. I've judged some great teams [Greenhill & Jesuit] going for Soft left affs. I've judged some great teams like Highland Park and Jesuit go for some big stick affs. I think that you should be able to read what you want.
Are you okay with speed? Yes. The fastest team I ever saw was the Georgetown team that won nationals twice. Unless you're going faster, I may need you to slow down. If I cannot hear you, I will say clear.
Speaker Points: I generally do not give below a 28.5. I do not know what else to say here.
Does Competing Interpretations come before reasonability or vise versa? I think that it depends on the arguments made within the debate. Absent this sort of debate, I will default to competing interpretations within the grande scheme of this or other competitive venues of debate.
What's the biggest thing people do poorly (in your opinion) on T or any procedural issue? I think that impacting your disads or standards is important to me. For example, on the ground disad, make sure that you're indicating 1.) HOW you're losing the argument (i.e. the link) and 2.) WHAT those arguments generally look like or what they specifically are and 3.) WHY those arguments are important for either topic education and/or competitive equity.
What's generated more ballots for you on T: The limits disad or Ground disad? I think that, while not having any sort of verifiable data via my ballots, I couldn't tell you. However, I have a gut feeling that it is the ground disad. I think that people, whenever making a limits claim, are not contextualizing why a particular limit based on the interpretation or rule set in debate is a better thing or idea.
Is Framework inherently argumentatively racist? I think that it depends on the debate.
Can we impact turn competitive equity and/or topic education? Absolutely.
Does or can a theoretical argument (e.g. Condo, or some other theory argument) come before T? Sure. I've seen these debates, but I've never judged them.
Do I get broad level extrapolation for my interp? No. What do I mean by this? Well, if you just say in the 2NC "conditionality is bad", but then precede in the 2NR or 1NR to clarify this statement by saying "conditionality is bad BECAUSE they can only get dispositional counterplans or advocacies", I am not likely to give you that level of extrapolation. I think that that is too late for me.
Have you ever rejected a Framework claim to a K aff (i.e. you did not vote on framework)? Yes.
Have you voted on a framework claim against a K aff? Yes.
What are things not to do or recommend not to do on Framework? I think that you should attempt to separate the procedural issues from the aff itself. I understand that making state good or bad claims and having research burdens on Framework may come as a result of some sort of argument made on framework. however, if you can separate those two things instead of them bleeding over on the same flow, I would appreciate that. If not, that's not an issue.
If I do not have either a predictability, ground, and/or limits claims within the 2NR for T, are you likely to vote for me? probably not.
Impact turning the aff? Great. I love these debates.
Can I just go for defense, or what some people call the stock issues? No. The only time I have voted on defense was in 2015. The Role of the Ballot was quite literally to vote on defense or what I believe was solvency within that debate.
Can we win the disad absent case in the 2NR? Maybe, but I hope that you either are making claims that 1.) the disad turns the case and/or (depending on the disad) 2.) That you're making disad solves the aff's offense in some manner.
Can we win a link turn absent a uniqueness contestation made? Probably not. Right, if you do not prove why a problem is high now and are concluding that you substantially reduce that problem, absent the first sort of argument, I presume that the problem is not likely happening now (i.e. the uniqueness argument of the disad is true).
Do you prefer to hear disads? Read what you want.
Biggest issue on the disad? Same issue on an advantage; there needs to be a good explanation of the internal link or impact module that describes how we get to the impact.
Absent a disad, can we still win the counterplan? Sure, but you'll need to make either 1.) why the counterplan is just inherently mutually exclusive or 2.) Win some sort of internal net benefit to the counterplan.
What if the disad links to the plan AND counterplan? Making link differential arguments here and explaining why (whichever side's) level of "linking" (so to speak) is not enough to trigger the disad. I also then think that this is a question of the evidence, and how good or bad the evidence is. I think that this also a question of spin, so making sure that you spin the argument is important here (for me at least).
Thoughts on the Politics Disad? Fantastic.
Is conditionality fine? yes.
Are two conditional counterplans fine? I mean sure, i don't care.
What about 3? Look, I'm not the arbiter that determines the number of conditional counterplans or unconditional counterplans that you get to read. I think that at a certain time, there needs to be a limit set within the debate. If the affirmative proves why their limit on the certain number is good or better, then I am more likely to vote for them. I think that this ALSO means having a NON-blanket statement interpretation. Just saying that conditionality is bad is probably not a good interpretation for the debate. I think that there's a whole slew of disads and turns that the interp is going to generate. I think that parametrasizing your interp (i.e. the negative teams gets 1 conditional counterplan and a dispositional counterplan) is probably a better interpretation.
Would you vote on internal net benefits? I would yes. If you have a specific question here that I can better answer, please let me know.
What kind of counterplan do you prefer? I like PICS's. They're really cool. Read a counterplan; i don't know what else to say. Debate is cool. Counterplans are fine.
What are some dumb counterplans? Delay is probably dumb, but I've voted on it (yeah, make fun of me. It's fair). I think that consult counterplans on the wrong topic are dumb, but I've still voted for them on the topic in which they do not make sense argumentatively to be read on.
When's the last time you voted on condo? Plano West Finals, 2020. Before that, I think that it was in 2015. People do not read conditionality in front of me a lot.
What about sufficiency framing? Yeah I guess presumption would err in your direction even if there is not a net benefit or internal net benefit. I'll err this manner if the permutation cannot solve, or if the permutation is not made, or if the permutation argument is not sufficiently explained.
What's a poor permutation? One that is not explained. I also think that good permutations are one's that are thought out and take the part of the counterplan that resolves the disad and combines it with the plan. I think that teams that are strategic with these better forms of permutations are more likely to win.
Issues on permutation debates? If you're going to make assertions that the other team's permutation is either severance or intrinsic, I need some sort of warrant or violation explaining why the other side's permutation is intrinsic or severance. Absent this theorietical or structural argument in your theory argument, I'm willing to note vote on it even if you told me all day why severance or intrinsic permutations are bad. Also, if you want to impact turn severance, go ahead. Finally, explaining to me what the world of the permutation looks like and why it avoids the internal or external net benefit is going to be important to me.
Preferred strategy against a K aff? I don't have one. It depends on the aff.
Method vs. Method debate? Well yeah, I think that these are great debates to be had.
Do you have a preferred literature base of critical scholarship that you would like to see debated? No. I read a lot of gender studies scholarship, but I do not think that this should deter you from reading the arguments that you want to read within the debate. If you're looking to up someone based on the prerequisite knowledge of things like black feminism, islamic feminism, intersectional feminism, womanism, and various other derivatives, I guess I'm that person, but I would hesitate from deeming myself that person.
Is framework against a K aff fine? yeah, absolutely.
What's the biggest issue with the K or K Aff's? Explaining the alt and how it resolves the offense within the specific debate. I think that more tangible alternatives have a better time of operationalizing an explanation for this question. That's not to say that you can NOT read reject alts. I'm just letting you know based on things that I have been judging on the national and local circuits. I think that, like my friend Chris O'Brien, I start with the alternative, look there, and then go up.
Link argument issues? I think that you are better off with doing a couple things in front of me. First, I think that going for just one link (most likley the conceded link) within the 2NR is going to be helpful. I think that good K teams are doing this because it increases the time that they can spend on other things within the debate. Second, putting the evidence or having evidence in the context of the aff is going to get you much farther. I think that these generic state bad links are fine, but just be understanding that if the evidence after reading it is in the context of the status quo and not some new proposal, I think that I am likely to err aff on this question if said arguments are made. I think that kritikal affs to better win framework we/meet arguments should have a kritik that is in the direction (at the minimum) or at least about the topic in some sort of way. Debate bad affs for instance are nice, but if they have nothing to do with immigration, arms sales, or water, then I am more likely to vote on the argument.
Impact issues? I think that whenever judging a K vs. a Soft Left aff or a K vs. K aff, make sure that you are doing sequencing work if both teams have some sort of root cause argument. I think that this level of explanation is going to warrant higher speaker points while also generating a better ballot erred in your direction.
Would you be willing to vote on a K absent us winning the alt? I think that, like my friend Chris O'Brien, I start with the alternative, look there, and then go up. If you do not have some sort of tangible alt, then I am likley to not vote for you i if the other side then makes arguments about why these things are happening in the status quo and/or the offense is just a non-unique disad at this point.
Calling for evidence: please see the strike section above.
Is defense sticky? No. Absolutely not.
Do you have a preference of offense (i.e. scalar offense, or threshold offense)? No? I don't care. If you're reading your scalar offense, I'm not entirely sure why you're reading these uniqueness arguments above your scalar offense. Right, in policy this is just linear (or that is the synonymous term). I think that you are waisting your time for this.
Can I read multiple ethical positions within the pro and con cases? Sure, why not. If LD gets pre and post fiat, I don't understand why you can't read structural violence arguments and util arguments, and then collapse to one within the final focus.
If I don't frontline arguments within the rebuttal, are they dropped? Yeah. The way that I view the rebuttal is that is it similar or analogous to the 2AC in policy debate. Absent some sort of answer to the rebuttal's arguments that they are making probably means that you do not get to respond to them within the summary speech.
Can I shadow extend arguments in the summary and extrapolate in the final focus? Sure. I think that that is a smart move.
Can I read disclosure theory or paraphrasing theory? I'll answer both of these separately. First, I think that paraphrasing theory is inherently not something that I think that is substantive to vote on. Go look up in the theory section of my policy debate paradigm and int he overview. I think that theory here is treated the same in policy. In other words, I think that you need to win some sort of predictability, ground (or predictable ground), and/or limits (or predictable limits) claim for me to vote on your theory argument. If I do not know why paraphrasing destroys or erode one of those standards, I'm not voting voting for you.You can have as many bright line standards, contextual definition standards because you've read some sort of great (not really great) piece of evidence by some camp staffer who published an article, or whatever. That will not get you far enough in my book. Second, sure, read disclosure theory. Again, I think that the above arguments related to this applies here as well (the criticism about offensive vs. defensive standards).
What's your threshold for a warrant or an explanation to an argument within the final focus? Pretty high. Absent a warrant for an argument mean that I am going to discount that argument. It's pretty simple; I evaluate arguments in a vaccum, and just because you explained it in the summary does not mean that you necessarily get to just shadow extend arguments with the same or full weight.
What if we did not highlight our cards? I'm noticing that more and more teams are not highlighting their cards. I'm not sure if you're doing this on purpose, but I think that I will look to the analysis of the card's tag within the final focus, and adjudicate my decision from there. This is not on you. This is on the PF community to establish a set of card norms. In other words, I will hold you to your analysis, not what is on the evidence.
Can I take prep before cross or the opponent's speech? Sure.
Do you prefer Util or Structural Violence Framing? I think that these impact framing debates and risks analysis disquisitions are fun to have. No, it's not abusive for a team to read an alternative util calculus. I think that I am more adverse to giving higher speaker points to the team that goes outside the boundaries, and pushes them, by reading some sort of alternative ethical framework or calculus.
What does collapsing mean for you? I think, collapsing for me, means that you're going for less arguments but in a manner in which you extrapolate and interact those arguments in a manner that does more for you. Whenever I hear this answer, I see some sort of upside down triangle, whereby there's 2 levels (i.e. the aff case and the negative case). Going for all the arguments that you made within rebuttal within the final focus on the opponents case, while also going for all of your contentions, seems like a strategy or easy way to lose.
Why did you say that you recommend I have uniqueness for my warrants? Yeah, you have 3 different warrants (i.e. impact modules or scenarios) about why something is bad. Just asserting that X, Y, and Z will happen does not make a lot of sense absent some sort of uniqueness argument made that postulates that that issue is not happening now.
If I win a pre-req does that mean that I win the debate? Maybe? I think that it depends on the debate. I think that I would need some more context to this question, but you may be giving away some strategy to your opponents by adding context.
Can I read definitions or observations? Sure. Be my guest.
Can I read a kritik? I mean, there's a small amount of time to get through the K within the debate. If you think that you can do it, be my guest. If you don't have certain things, and are just certain you won the debate because you only read a link argument, don't be surprised when I tell you that you lose. I think that a better strategy you be just to read the link and the impact as a case turn, and then contextualize how the aff specifically increases. I think you should see some of the link sections within the kritik section in the policy section of my paradigm.
Does the new 3 minute (or relatively new) summary change how you judge? Not really. It's like going from high school policy debate to college police debate insofar as the time is concerned (i.e. everything increases by a minute). it doesn't change strategy, or largely I should say.
Speaker Point notes: I find that there is this assimilated, similar way of speaking in PF. It sounds great, but you repeating your claims over and over, and getting to the point 10 or 15 seconds in will not necessitate me giving you higher speaker points in PF. I traditionally give higher speaker points to teams that are warranting their arguments, have good word economy, and are efficient.
3NR's: I've noticed that PF has become way worse about 3NR's than even policy debate. While this hasn't happened to me in PF, or really in any event absent the 1 time at nationals, I do want to say this. You berating a parent judge is just absurd. You berating a coach who evaluates the debate differently is not going to help you win the debate back. Tack a breath, because we're all in this together. If you're doing a 3NR because someone said something egregious, I'll be there with your coach and tab to explain the situation. Absent some sort of issue like this, just don't do it in front of me. Why? The next time I see you I'm just going to think back to the unsavory moment of you berating a judge for no reason. If you want to make judges better, have a conversation with them. Ask questions. If you want judges to get better and stick around, talk to them. Also, the other person on the panel who may or may not have voted for you will also remember. Lastly, Yes, parent judges or inexperienced judges or traditional judges are people that you may not like, or would even conclude are not the ideal situation that any competitor would like. I'm probably in the same boat as you, but that doesn't justify asinine discourse.
Evidence indicts: I think that this is great, and becoming even more popular. I think that if you just assert that their evidence errs in your favor, have a compelling reason and a piece of evidence. This is really simple.
Concessions not warranted isn't a ballot: If you go for all the concessions in the final focus, but you have not warranted a SINGLE one of those arguments, I think that I am less likely to vote for you. In fact, I probably won't. Please make sure that you are explaining your arguments.
Presumption: I think that this errs a bit differently than the way that it does compared to traditional PF judges or people that have been brought up into the PF community. If there is an absence of offense from both sides in the debate, I will err aff because I presume that voting aff does something different and changes things nominally better. If you're a coach reading this and think that I need to start erring on the negative insofar as presumption is concerned, that's fine. Please explain it to me.
Can you read arguments attacking the other side's case in the 2nd speech or for the 2nd team during the constructive speech? Absolutely. I see no reason why. This is the equivalent to reading everything within the 1NC in policy debate.
Can I read theory? Sure. I think that you should reference my theory section above.
Can I go fast? I don't care. Go as fast as you want. If I cannot hear you, then I will say clear.
Can I impact turn in PF? Sure. If you. want to read dedev, give it your best. I think that, if you don't have the proper structural components, I'm probably less willing to vote for you.
Should I pref you because I am a Phil Debater? Probably not. I'm trying to get better at having a deeper understanding of phil, but this is not my strong suit. I'm learning more in the process and doing my due diligence to better understand different philosophy and philosophers arguments.
Will you vote on framework? Sure. I think that if you decide to go for framework, please make a mental note of several things. First, if you just want to weigh your framework above the opponent's, that is fine. I think that I need some sort of good reason about why your framework is better than your opponents. Second, I think that if you want to prove some sort of pre-condition argument or pre-req, then that is fine. Just make sure that you do this. However, if you are making these sorts of link turn arguments, and you are also impact turning their framework, just note that I am likely to not vote for you because you have functionally double turned yourself. Right, you are making an argument that your criterion better gets to their value, but that value is bad, well, that means that your framework leads to a bad thing. Just be mindful of this.
Can I go for a link turn on framework and an impact turn on the opposing value? Probably not because you have double turned yourself.
Is reading post fiat and pre fiat arguments in the 1AC Fine? For sure. I don't care or see a reason why you cannot. if the opposing team make theoretical dispositions to why you can't, then that is a different debate to be had.
Can I LARP in LD? For sure.
Can I read spikes and under-views? For sure. I think that these sort of blippy arguments or analytics made within the 1AC and the 1NC that then you extrapolate on latter within the debate, that is fine. However, be mindful that if you do not give me enough pen time to flow it and I miss it, that is not on me. That means that you should slow down.
Theory? In general? Cool. If you end up reading theory, that is fine. I want to make this as specific for LD as possible. I think that there is a difference of what offense looks like on Theory than it does for say in policy debate. If you go for a time skew argument or a bright line argument, that is not offensive. That is an internal link into some sort of offensive standard, which there's universally 3 (predictable, ground, and/or limits, or some sort of derivative [i.e. predictable ground and predictable limits---depending on who you talk to]). Moreover, if you are going to be reading a lot of frivolous theory, I think that’s you need to be discussing these arguments in one of those veins.
Updated - Fall 2020
Number of years judging: 12
For the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to be on the email chain, but I am not going to “read-along” during constructives. I may reference particular cards during cross-ex if they are being discussed, and I will probably read cards that are important or being contested in the final rebuttals. But it’s the job of the debaters to explain, contextualize, and impact the warrants in any piece of evidence. I will always try to frame my decision based on the explanations on the flow (or lack thereof).
Like every judge I look for smart, well-reasoned arguments. I’ll admit a certain proclivity for critical argumentation, but it isn’t an exclusive preference (I think there’s something valuable to be said about “policy as performance”). Most of what I have to say can be applied to whatever approach debaters choose to take in the round. Do what you’re good at, and I will do my best to render a careful, well thought-out decision.
I view every speech in the debate as a rhetorical artifact. Teams can generate clash over questions of an argument’s substance, its theoretical legitimacy, or its intrinsic philosophical or ideological commitments.
I think spin control is extremely important in debate rounds and compelling explanations will certainly be rewarded. And while quantity and quality are also not exclusive I would definitely prefer less cards and more story in any given debate as the round progresses. I also like seeing the major issues in the debate compartmentalized and key arguments flagged.
As for the standard array of arguments, there's nothing I can really say that you shouldn't already know. I like strong internal link stories and nuanced impact comparisons. I really don't care for "risk of link means you vote Aff/Neg" arguments on sketchy positions; if I don't get it I'm not voting for it. My standard for competition is that it’s the Negative’s job to prove why rejecting the Aff is necessary which means more than just presenting an alternative or methodology that solves better – I think this is the best way to preserve clash in these kinds of debates. Please be sure to explain your position and its relation to the other arguments in the round.
KRITIK LINKS ARE STILL IMPORTANT. Don’t assume you’ll always have one, and don’t over-rely on extending a “theory of power” at the top of the flow. Both of these are and should be mutually reinforcing. This is especially important for the way I evaluate permutations. Theories of power should also be explained deliberately and with an intent to persuade.
I think the topic is important and I appreciate teams that find new and creative approaches to the resolution, but that doesn’t mean you have to read a plan text or defend the USFG. Framework is debatable (my judging record on this question is probably 50/50). A lot of this depends on the skills of the debaters in the room. This should not come as a surprise, but the people who are better at debating tend to win my framework ballot. Take your arguments to the next level, and you'll be in a much stronger position.
Two other things that are worth noting: 1) I flow on paper…probably doesn’t mean anything, but it might mean something to you. 2) There's a fine line between intensity and rudeness, so please be mindful of this.
Junior at the University of Texas at Austin '24
I used to debate for Hendrickson
Email chain: email@example.com
Please Add for CX debates only: firstname.lastname@example.org
– None of this applies to PF or other formats besides Policy/CX and LD.
– Tech over truth in most cases. I won't evaluate an argument without a warrant, even if it's completely unanswered. I will not evaluate arguments like racism good, ableism good, and any other wholly unethical and derogatory arguments. Additionally, arguments meant to be a meme or joke are inherently garbage. I will give you the lowest speaks for reading any of these arguments.
– I prefer contextualized arguments with specific warrants over anything else. Although I generally prefer high-quality evidence, issues from lack of evidence or poor-quality evidence can be resolved with good argumentation. I do normally read cards, but I leave explanations and comparison of evidence up to debaters. I mostly read cards to give comments/advice on how to better execute/answer a particular argument. I also don't want card docs. If you send a card doc, that email and doc will sadly be ignored and left unread in my inbox.
– Overviews, in general, are unnecessary. I would much rather here a speech that applies explanations of the aff or off-case position to the line-by-line. I often ignore overviews because they re-explain a simple and understandable argument already presented. Overviews are only needed when your opponents have mishandled or misunderstood your argument and to resolve any confusion. Too often this comment is said in the context of Kritiks, but the same is true for 2ACs on case and 2NCs/1NRs on other off-case positions.
– I’m not the best for teams reading Kritikal arguments. I didn’t read a lot of Kritikal arguments in high school, which means that I don’t understand your arguments as well as most judges. If you do want to read a kritik and pref me, then structural kritiks like capitalism, militarism, and security and identity kritiks like anti-blackness, feminism, and queer theory are fine. Post-modern kritiks are really pushing my boundaries. However, you shouldn't over-adapt. I would much prefer you read arguments you're familiar with and are able to clearly articulate over arguments I understand. I will be able to follow along with what you're saying so long as you're properly explaining key components of your argument.
– I don't often vote on 0% risk of anything. Although I have voted on 0% risk of impacts or solvency in the past, this was mostly because aff/neg teams provided insufficient responses, rather the other side being so good at beating an argument into the ground. In a debate where both sides are sufficiently responding to each other's arguments, I default to impact calculus more than anything else.
– "Soft-Left" affs have become increasing popular and common. I don't have an issue with these affs in general, but I do have an issue with 1ACs that have a short 3-4 card advantage with 5-minute-long framing contentions that include pre-empts like "no nuclear war", "[x] DA has [y]% risk", and "[z] thumped their DAs". Teams that read these 1ACs seem to have an aversion to debate. I have read these 1ACs in the past, so I understand the strategic utility of long framing contentions. However, I much prefer listening to 1ACs that have well-developed advantage and solvency contentions. I enjoy sifting through quality evidence that came from the topic literature base rather than evidence I can find in my backfiles.
– Unlike most judges, I flow cross-ex. This doesn't mean I consider cross-ex a speech, rather I am taking notes of cross-ex. You don't need to go into detail about what happened during cross-ex during your speech. I will understand the reference and evaluate your use of cross-ex accordingly.
– I generally default to competing interpretations over reasonability. I err towards reasonability when there isn't a coherent case list, a persuasive link to the limits disad, or high-quality evidence defending the interpretation. Reasonability is about the aff's counter-interpretation, not the aff.
– I'm not persuaded by "plan text in a vacuum". Just inserting the resolution into your plan text isn't enough to prove that the aff is topical. You have to prove your mechanism fits under the resolution.
– Comparative impact calculus matters more than winning in-roads to the other side's offense. I am more likely to vote on "procedural fairness outweighs maximizing revolutionary education" over "switch-side debate solves the aff's offense." Winning turns and access to the other side's offense increases your chance of winning, but they aren't necessary to winning the debate. These arguments are inherently defensive and, alone, are not enough to win the debate.
– Despite the above preference, I rarely vote aff when the 2AR impact turns topical, resolutional debates without a counter-interpretation. I don't find impact turns such as "framework is violent", "topical debate is bad", or "fiat is bad" persuasive. I am more likely to vote aff when there is a clear and coherent counter-interpretation paired with an argument about the skills and/or education gained from that model of debate. Winning some comparative advantage to your model is more convincing than going for an absolute disadvantage to the neg's model of debate. This doesn't mean I won't vote aff when the 2AR is just an impact turn.
– Recently, many negative teams have increasingly gone for clash and education as the impact in the 2NR. I find procedural fairness as a more persuasive impact than clash and education. Members of the debate community approach debate as if it were an academic game, which means the collapse of that game discourages further investment into the activity.
– Like most judges, I prefer case-specific links. Links frame the degree to which the neg gets all of their offense and K tricks on framework, the permutation, and the alternative. The more the link is about the broader structures that the aff engages in, the more likely I am to err aff on perm solvency of the links. I'm a sucker for 1AC quotes/re-highlights as proof of a link.
– Kritiks that push back on the aff's theory of the world require, at least in some part, case defense. Defense to the 1ACs impacts or solvency claims are useful to disprove the necessity of doing the aff. I'm more likely to be convinced that the aff has manufactured their threats and have engaged in militarist propaganda when you've proven the aff wrong about their scenarios. Absent sufficient case defense, extinction outweighs, and I vote aff.
– K tricks are fine. However, I won't give very high speaks if a debate is won or lost on them. I am not a fan of floating PIKs, especially if it's not clear until the 2NR.
– I absolutely love counterplans that come from re-cutting an internal link or solvency advocate of the 1AC. Even if your counterplan doesn’t come from their 1AC author, the more case specific it is, the more likely I am to reward you for it.
– Presumption flows towards the least change. I consider most CPs that are not PICs as a larger change than the aff.
– I will judge kick unless told otherwise. If I believe the CP links back to its net benefit or the permutation resolves the links to the net benefit, I will evaluate the net benefit independent of the CP.
– DAs that rely on poor-evidence can be easily beaten without the 2AC ever reading new evidence against it. I am much more comfortable voting aff on "your uniqueness evidence is horrible" than 1% risk of a poorly carded DA. I am also very sympathetic to the 1AR making new arguments when the block reads new evidence to defend parts the 1NC poorly defended.
– Most theory arguments are just reasons to reject the argument, except for condo. This is especially true when there isn’t any in-round abuse. Theory arguments that such as counterplans without solvency advocates, vague alts, etc. are reasons to be skeptical of the solvency of the counterplan or alt. They are rarely reasons to reject the team. Other theory arguments like PICs bad, floating PIKs bad, agent CPs bad, etc. are reasons to reject the counterplan or alt. These arguments can be reasons to reject the team, but only if the neg severely mishandles the theory debate and the 1AR and 2AR are really good on them. The same is true for theoretically suspect permutations.
– I think the most reasonable number of conditional worlds the neg should have is two. Three or four is pushing it. If the neg only reads advantage counterplans or kritiks specific to the 1ACs plan, then I lean neg on condo even if they counter-interpretation is an infinite number of worlds. So long as those worlds are both textually and functionally (or philosophically) competitive, then I’m good with it. Obviously, new affs also justify infinite conditionality.
– I don't vote on shotty theory arguments like ASPEC, Disclosure Theory, New Affs Bad, etc. unless they are dropped and well-impacted out.
– I will always disclose or give feedback after the round is over. Debaters will only improve if they are given proper feedback and the opportunity to ask questions about the round. I want to watch and enjoy good debates, but that can only happen when debaters improve and know how to effectively articulate their arguments.
– For UIL State, the above is not true.
– If the affirmative is going for an RVI, it needs to be the entirety of your last speech and you must prove in-round abuse. I won't reject arguments or the negative otherwise.
– Just because I judge CX doesn't mean I want to watch a CX debate. Debate as if I'm a parent judge with no knowledge about the topic. This means no spreading, theory, or Kritiks. If you debate like it's a CX debate, I will not give you speaks higher than 28.
– Please send cases/evidence through an email chain. My email is above.
Lindsay Jade (or LJ, whichever works!)
Greenhill '21 | UT Austin '26
assistant coaching for Greenhill
please put me on the email chain! email@example.com
-tldr: read whatever you're best at! I have preferences, but am generally open to hearing whatever you have to say.
-tech > truth
-numbering arguments = better speaks and better decisions!
-dropped arguments are true, but need to be fully extended along with an explanation of the implications you want them to have on my decision
-fully explaining/developing arguments and good line-by-line skills are important to me and will lead to higher speaker points than reading excessive overviews. If your answer to an argument is to cross-apply the overview, I tend to believe that the arguments in the overview should've just been on that part of the line-by-line. Similarly, I am much less likely to vote on "they dropped this line in my 2-minute long overview" than a more contextualized individual line-by line argument
-please be kind and respectful to each other!
-open cx is fine, but please don't excessively talk over each other/interrupt.
-framing contentions are fine when you contextualize them to your aff and the CP/DA
-my bias is generally to weigh consequences, but I can be persuaded as to which ones matter more and why
-smart analytics and/or internal link defense > generic impact defense card
K affs vs. framework:
-I am probably slightly better for the neg here, although I have some (very very limited) experience reading k affs
-I'm fine with both limits/fairness and idea testing/education style impacts (however, if your 2NR is the fun impact, the RFD probably won't be very fun for you).
-impact calculus and analysis, explaining how your interpretation best resolves that impact (and theirs can't access it), and how it interacts with the other team's impacts, will make it easier for me to evaluate the debate in your favor
-I have experience debating pretty much all the Ks you usually see every year, but you should still do your best not to assume knowledge
-2NC K overviews longer than 30 seconds seem excessive to me
-I probably care less about framework than most judges - framework determines which arguments I evaluate, but does not guarantee you win those arguments or the debate - if you want it to implicate any other part of the debate, you should explain that to me
-I think the aff gets to weigh the plan, but the negative can probably get most links to representations. Of course, this can be changed if the neg is just so far ahead on framework, but I tend to not consider "role of the ballot" arguments as much. Instead, substantive arguments about why representations/justifications outweigh material action or vice versa are more persuasive to me. I tend to think teams (especially if you aren't reading an extinction impact on the aff) invest too much time in framework that should be used on the link/perm/alt debate in most cases.
-floating PIKs are probably bad, but if you get away with it, good for you
Topicality vs. policy affs
-I am probably less willing than others to vote on "limits for the sake of limits" than most people just because the topic might be huge. Neg teams' limits arguments are more persuasive when they're explained in the context of those limits being predictable (accompanied by exactly how the aff interp explodes limits and examples of topical affs under their interpretation and the other affirmatives the aff allows and why they would make debates worse). Please impact out your argument and explain how it turns each others' impacts.
-aff teams: good impact analysis (why impacts outweigh and turn theirs), defense to neg impacts, and examples are the way to my ballot
-not a big fan of subsets/whatever the throwaway T argument becomes this year, but really enjoy aff-specific smart T arguments (I know this isn't always possible and will still vote on whatever you win)
-I think reasonability is underrated when explained without relying solely on buzz words
CPs and theory:
-aff teams: the permutation and links to the net benefit are your friend. I like 2ACs that consistently cover those arguments on each CP flow. If perm do both is a possible 2AR strategy, then explanations about how it shields the link starting in the 2AC is best if not necessary
-also, solvency deficits are best when they're clear and impacted out/explained
-neg teams: be sure to have a clear story/explanation for how the aff/perm links to the net benefit and the CP alone avoids it
-theory debates are probably some of my least favorite debates to judge, but if it becomes the debate I understand
-nothing except conditionality is a voting issue. my voting record has shown me that as a judge I tend to lean negative on conditionality, but I will do my best not to intervene
-the more any theory argument is specific to the debate, the more likely I am to buy it. If you want it to be a question of solely models rather than in-round abuse, giving and explaining examples are very helpful for me
-if I think you are partially right about a theory argument but can't fully reject the team or argument, I still might be more sympathetic to a permutation that might not have been a winner in a vacuum. I won't automatically do that cross-application for you, though, so you should tell me to!
-my initial bias is that most process CPs are fine (but can be persuaded otherwise)
-that being said, I like it better when net benefits are germane to the aff (more of a DA to the aff and not just an advantage to doing the CP)
-PICs out of words that aren't in the plan text are probably illegitimate
-judge kick: if the CP is conditional, if the neg tells me to and it's unanswered, or the neg is ahead on the question of whether I should, then I will. Neg teams, you should probably start telling me to do this in the block rather than the 2nr so I don't have to evaluate your 1 sentence against (rightfully) new 2ar arguments about it. If neg says the CP is conditional and/or "status quo is always an option" in 1NC CX, the 2AC should have the no judge kick argument if that's something you care about. Basically, the earlier in the debate you start making judge-kick related arguments, the less intervening I'll have to do.
-to quote Josh Leffler: "Having a specific solvency advocate makes most counterplans legitimate, but not having a solvency advocate doesn't automatically make a counterplan illegitimate."
-functionally intrinsic perms (that are limited to neg solvency advocates and only the plan and CP text) are my favorite!
-impact calc is very helpful and probably one of the best ways for you to influence my decision, especially with turns case arguments
-that being said, tech > truth, and I love (reasonably) creative spin on arguments and will reward you for it speaker point wise even if it doesn't work out for you
-politics is okay. Explaining differences between cards/warrants > reading 10 more uniqueness cards
Non-negotiables (stolen from holland bald)
- death good = L
- being racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. or making the debate unsafe for anyone involved (to be determined at my discretion) = L and the lowest speaks i can assign.
- no asking for better speaks
- i will flow a 2-hour long debate comprised of eight speeches. "Calling for a double win, intentionally interrupting an opponent’s speech, soliciting outside participation in a speech or cross-x, breaking time limits, playing board games, or devolving the debate into a 2 hour long discussion is a recipe for a quick L for the team that initiates it." -shree
- you have to read re-highlightings, you usually can't insert them unless it's just one word or something
-if you read this far... wow that's dedication, good for you :)
-my goal is to be a judge I would feel good about evaluating one of my debates. Feel free to ask questions after the round if any part of my decision doesn't make sense to you.
-if you have any questions, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
tl;dr - "negative terrorist, but very amenable to aff counterterror". primarily a K coach, but secretly cuts and likes policy stuff just as much. offense/defense, technical, but not to the point of stupidity, and doesn't flow off the doc. topic knowledge will be medium, reasonably adept at judging everything, would prefer an in-depth K v K or counterplan/disad/case debate, but I accept the nightmare of clash debates as penance for the sin of debate centrism. likes lots of evidence, likes lots of explanation, dislikes stupidity hiding behind abstractions and posturing. yes, you can read a planless aff, and yes, you can read framework. 2N, very expressive, generally grumpy about everything, but don't take it personally - i am not as much a hardass as i seem. if you can't be funny without being a dick, you aren't funny. please be funny. less posturing, more arguing. Please don't call me "judge", "Mr.", or "sir", pat or p.fox is fine.
the top-level stuff
Policy debate: University of Houston, Dulles High School, Sidwell Friends School (current), Westside High School (former). LD debate: all over the place. Lab leader: UTNIF (CX), TDI (LD).
email@example.com - I strongly prefer email chains to anything else (SpeechDrop, etc). Please have the doc sent at or before start time.
Format subject lines for email chains as "Tournament Round - Aff Entry vs Neg Entry" (e.g: "NDT 2019 Octos - Wake EF vs Bing AY")
I have hearing damage in my left ear, so try and position yourself to my right. I also sometimes get sensory overload, so I close my eyes during speeches/put my head down during prep/stare off into the distance - I promise I'm not sleeping or zoned out, I can literally flow with my eyes closed and without looking at my screen.
Debate is a competitive activity centered around research and persuasion. I adjudicate the competitive aspect to enable progression of students in research and persuasion.
The safety of students is my utmost concern above the content of any debate. Crossing this line is the only way you can legitimately piss me off. Avoid it. Racism, transphobia, misogyny, etc. will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and I am more willing to act on this on my own accord than most judges you have had.
Two teams are the only entities taking part in the debate. I will decide the debate based on arguments made within speech and prep times, and will submit a decision with one winner and loser (or a double-loss).
For high school students, I do not want to see or perceive anything that isn't PG-13.
If you try and tell me anything is "binding" on my "jurisdiction" as a judge, you are incorrect. Furthermore, I will resent you telling me how to do my job.
Condo is good, RVIs are bad. I put this in the non-negotiables section because they are far and away the convictions I will have the hardest time to be dissuaded of.
I try to be a good judge for any research-heavy strategy, and I think the best rounds are small debates over a stable controversy. I personally enjoy T throwdowns, impact turns and a CP/DA, framework vs K aff, policy vs K and rev v rev rounds basically equally, and I have coached all of them at high levels. Above everything else, I care that whatever you do, you defend it (and if it's indefensible, don't do it).
Do not make assumptions about your strategy's viability based on my record as a debater or coach. For what it's worth, I tend to spend more of my time thinking about K than policy strategies, but my voting record in clash debates has always been pretty even (probably policy leaning, actually), and the gap on pref sheets between where K and policy teams put me seems to have narrowed over the last two years. I used to say I had more practice judging K v policy and K v K rounds than policy/policy rounds - I no longer think this is true. If I were to personally curate the rounds I had to judge (what a dream), it'd be about an even mix of policy affs vs the K, policy affs vs a disad and counterplan, and K affs vs Ks.
I'm comically expressive. I shake my head and scowl at arguments I dislike, I grin and nod when I think you're doing the right thing, I make eye contact and raise my eyebrows if I am confused, and I will chuckle if you make reference to any of these reactions in the speech, which I am fine with, and actively encourage - I think if you have a read on me, it makes judge instruction easier, which makes everything better.
I was coached by JD Sanford and Aimun Khan in high school, and Ricky Garner, James Allan, Rob Glass and Michael Wimsatt in college. My favorite judges were Scott Harris, DML, DKP and Devane Murphy. Students, colleagues, or close friends of mine I noticeably overlap in my conception of debate with include Luna Schultz, David Bernstein, Ali Abdulla, Eric Schwerdtfeger, Sean Wallace, E Cook, and Avery Wilson.
Most judge paradigms are some variant of “Tech over truth, I swear I’m smart and cool, I definitely have no biases, I was very good at debate”. I found these useless as a debater for understanding how someone makes decisions and what they view as “good” debating. So, this paradigm is kind of long. That being said, it could be longer - if you want thoughts about specific args and not just my general thoughts on how judging works, click here for the purpose of more informed prefs.
Stolen from Jake Lee: "You have the doc in front and all you have to do is listen. If I can flow without looking at the doc, you can too!" I am increasingly appalled by the standard of flowing among high school debaters, and aside from asking for a marked doc, questions such as "did you read X card/arg in the doc" are for CX. If you ask this and you haven't started a timer for it yet, I will start one for you. If you ask "can you send a doc without all the cards you didn't read", the other team does not have to do that, because that is not what a marked doc is. The obvious exception to this is if you have some sort of hearing problem or a similar issue with audio processing that requires accommodation - feel free to tell me if that's the case.
here's what I think is most important to know about me as a judge:
- I judge a lot - on average, ~100 debates a season, more policy than LD rounds these days. This is because of three things:
- I think judging is a skill, and it is valuable for the community to have a surplus. You can't give a good 2NR if you haven't given a speech in three months, and I can't give a good RFD if I haven't judged all season. Many judges don't think about judging as a skill you can refine, so they never get good at judging. I try to think about this a lot.
- I think judging is interesting, because I like debate. Knowing what the best teams are going for both helps my own debaters and keeps me awake - the way the activity iterates and (mostly) improves over time, both in content and form, is the fun part.
- Rent isn't free, and judging pays bills. Coaching is the only consistent job I have had since graduating high school, so I am reasonably aware of community norms and have decent experience with the techne of judging, and I most enjoy debates at the bleeding edge - push boundaries or show me something new, and you'll be rewarded. Good renditions of classics also rock, though. Just focus on executing, and don't be afraid to take risks.
- Some judges admit they are not the best flows. I consider myself very good. You will likely not go too fast for me, but know that I do not open docs during speeches. I think debate is communicative, so my primary reference for the decision I make is what you tell me to do, not what your doc said or how good your cards are. If you want me to pay attention to those things, tell me to do it. This means regardless of content or style, I value debating who is organized and easy to follow - number arguments, give me "pen" time, slow down for emphasis, signpost. My ideal speech structure is minimal (zero, tbh) overview, with arguments answered in the order they were presented, and explaining the parts of your argument in the context of being responses to your opponents (i.e: putting the link debate on the permutation, extending the alt as an answer to the deficit). I am probably actually open to adopting alternative models of evaluating debate beyond technical refutation, but I don't wanna reject flowing outright without having a good idea what I should do instead.
- "Tech vs truth" is a false dichotomy. Better warranted arguments require less technical prowess to win, but technical execution improves your chances of beating a better arg. In a perfect truth stalemate, tech tiebreaks, and vice versa. Either can overcome the other, provided proper judge instruction and strategy. A better way to frame my philosophy here is that the burden of proof precedes the burden of rejoinder - if you have not warranted an argument to justify its truth, I do not care if it is technically mishandled, as there was never a full argument to handle. Example: I have given RFDs that say “the 2AR has X argument the 2NR did not answer, but the actual warrant for why the argument was true did not exist until the 2AR, so I consider the argument in its winning form ‘new’ and am very comfortable just not flowing it as such”. This is why I am sometimes persuaded to vote for the team that was being "out-teched" because I find the opposing team to be spamming ink with no strategic vision or judge instruction instead of actually debating the other team’s argument (this happens a lot in Framework debates I judge, and I find both sides equally often guilty). I guess I'm "tech over truth" in that techy arguments beat non-techy arguments, but techy non-arguments don't beat anything. Be wary of the distinction.
- I think that debate is best when debaters are comparative, and speak in relative risk rather than absolutes. Very few cards support clean cut yes/no conclusions, and recognizing that makes you much more persuasive. Example: "No China war now, but plan guarantees it - outweighs because zero impact to the prolif scenario" sets a very high threshold for me to vote neg. By contrast, "likelihood of US-China escalation is low now even with tensions, but the plan is a massive shift which incentivizes Xi to retaliate - it's significantly higher risk than the case because external factors check escalation from prolif, but their ev only assumes worst-case scenarios" is certainly a longer argument, but leaves more leeway for me to conclude in your favor even if I have some doubts. Debaters are never winning anything as decisively as they think they are, and so couching 2N/AR offense in this frame (i.e: "even if" statements) helps a lot.
- The best final rebuttals do the absolute bare minimum - if there are not fewer arguments in the 2N/AR than the 2A/NC on a particular page, we’ve lost the plot. Choice is the foundation of strategy, and final speeches that choose the exact smallest number of arguments they need to win maximize the relative time they can spend explaining and impacting each argument. Example: Final speeches say things like “we don’t need to win [xyz] to win, but I’ll do it anyways” - why? You’ve just actively told me this has nothing to do with you win-condition, so flowing this is now a waste of time. Either spend the time on things that matter or make this argument matter too. Example 2: The best 2ARs I judge usually begin with “there are only 3 arguments that matter for this debate: X, because… Y, because… and Z, because… - we’re going to win all three”. This reflects good strategic vision, and I’m inclined to reward that.
- Many judges give atrocious RFDs. I try not to. I'm definitely long-winded, but being thorough and going through every moving part of the debate is better than a 2 sentence non-decision that hand-waves details. I ask myself what would be most confusing about losing if I was the 2A/2N, and try to answer that question in advance. “Writing my ballot” should be taken literally - I coach my debaters to start the 2N/AR off with "your RFD is..." I have autism, I promise you cannot be "too direct" with me. Judge instruction is an essential skill that is deeply lacking from many debates. Weighing, impact calculus, argument resolution.
- I find strategies that attempt to avoid clash/engagement more annoying than amusing, and my threshold for answering nonsense is medium-low. You know who you are and you know what this means. Debate is valuable because it encourages content mastery, and I am most impressed by debaters who can show me they've done their homework. That means that I find arguments that attempt to circumvent this pretty clearly less valuable from a pedagogical standpoint, and will be loathe to reward them - the stupider or more in bad faith your argument is, the harder I will look for an excuse to not vote for it, and the lower my threshold for answering it will be.
COVID things: I am vaccinated and boosted, and I take COVID tests before traveling to any given tournament. "Post-pandemic" is an empty signifier. If anyone else in the room is wearing a mask, I will also be wearing a mask. If the tournament has a mask mandate, I will follow it. If anyone asks me to put on a mask, I will. I will hold all of you to the same standards. If you do not have a mask, I will have extra. If you refuse to abide by these very simple and reasonable standards, I will happily give you an L25. These are not negotiable standards of conduct.
Theoretical/procedural questions ("is there a violation", "does perm do the counterplan sever", etc) are resolved as yes/no, with the burden of proof on the "yes" side (i.e: neg has to prove the counterplan could/should definitely never be the aff - there is no "risk of competition/violation"). Everything else is offense/defense.
I like music and will listen to it during prep time. I enjoy most music - I almost went to school for jazz composition, and regularly listen to hip hop, punk, blues, and metal, as well as lots in between. Any debater can suggest a song for me to listen to during prep, and if I like it, I will bump everyone's speaks by 0.1 - this is a stackable bonus, and there's no penalty if I decide I dislike it.
Speaks start at 28.5 for a team I'd expect to go 3-3. I try and keep it relative to the pool - a 30 at TFA State is easier to get than a 30 at GBX (although I don't give out many 30s). Below 28 and I think you are legitimately in the wrong division i.e: go mess around in JV for a bit, below 27.5 and you have done something profoundly bad. I tend to reward well-organized speeches, smart and gutsy strategic choices, and debating with character. Not a big believer in low-point wins - if the 2NR makes a dumb decision, but the 2AR doesn't capitalize on it, the 2AR is probably dumber for fumbling a bag.
Debate should be a safe space for everyone. Respect pronouns, respect people's personhood, etc.
Taking it easy is fine and good, but wasting everyone's time is not. You should respect that your opponents and judges take both themselves and you seriously, and that there is value we get from being here. At the same time, games should be fun to play. Its the weekend. Show me you *want* to be here.
I will make minimal eye contact during any given debate. Don't worry about it.
I decide most debates very fast, even in close rounds. Don't take it personally.
When debating a novice/substantially less experienced debater, taking advantage of their inexperience (speeding through a ton of off knowing they can't keep up, going for weird counterplans or Ks knowing they won't get it, being obtuse in CX, etc) will be aggressively penalized with low speaks. Like, your cap is a 28. By contrast, giving them the dignity of a full debate without being a dick (slowing down, being nice in CX, making the debate smaller, etc) will be generously rewarded. Like, your floor for speaks is a 29. We aren't nice enough to novices and people from smaller, less circuit-y programs, but they are much more important to the long-term health of the activity than any of us.
Yao-Yao: "I believe judging debates is a privilege, not a paycheck." You work hard to debate, and I promise I will work hard to judge you and give a decision that respects the worth of that.
Good luck, and see you in round!
UK, Niles North
---I try and be as technical and non-interventionist as possible. technical concessions matter a lot to me, this is broader than just the argument, but also in the way that I am told to evaluate the argument compared to others. I will try and minimize intervention, in any regard, to as close to zero as possible, obviously, in some debates it is inevitable, and if that's the case, I'll let the debaters know, why and where, but will try and optimize intervention towards what I believe is most fair.
---as I judge more, here are the things I notice I value a lot when making decisions:
---1. judge instruction. this seems very self-explanatory, but in almost every debate, I end up voting for the team that better explains how to characterize and evaluate arguments.
---2. strategy. while I love debate, there are no arguments that I feel strongly enough to sway how I decide. the thing I do feel very strongly about though, is everything done in the round should be premised on winning. let any and every argument rip if you believe it best increases the chances of you winning the round, nothing is off the table. a quick addendum to this---something I've noticed I appreciate a lot is cards, evidence ends up altering how I fall on particular issues given even debating. I value and want to reward high-quality research, and feel less inclined to reward teams that do the opposite.
---please let me know if you are interested in debating in college, and want to know more about kentucky, don't hesitate to ask via email or at tournaments!! I almost always have kentucky debate stickers in my bag.
---opensource = +.3, need to tell me.
---I do not like dead time and will lower speaks and take prep if it gets egregious. for every minute the round starts after the posted start time -0.2 speaks to the team whose fault it is (obv accidents or whatever happened).
---you are welcome to 'post round'. debaters work hard and deserve to know why things were decided as they were. you are allowed to tell me you think I am wrong, and I will explain to you why I think that I am right.
The optimist boldly claims, "this is the best possible world". The pessimist retorts, "that is exactly the problem."
I'm a former varsity debater from Heights High School. I go by "Tavia" or "Via", and I use she/her pronouns. I'm a senior in college, and this is my tenth year in debate, consisting of two years in middle school, four years in high school with Heights, and four years occasionally judging debates in college. I debated exclusively Policy (CX) in high school, so I will likely recognize those arguments more often than those from other forms of debate. I have some knowledge of LD and can typically follow LD rounds well, but be careful with LD-specific arguments and shorthand, as I likely don't know them all. As long as you elaborate and explain well, you should be fine. The same goes for those debating PF. When it comes to worlds, I have very little experience. I've judged worlds before, but I likely won't know the topic.
I'm Tab. You can read just about anything. Non-traditional affs are fine. Explain Ks well and don't use buzzwords. DAs are fine. If you read T or Theory, have all parts of the shell, including the implication. I won't know LD-specific shorthand, including the common arguments in most RVI debates, but you can run RVIs as long as you explain well. CPs and alts should be competitive. PLEASE weigh and do the work on framing. Don't clip cards, I'll know, and be honest and consistent with your speech docs. For anything more specific look below.
Rounds you want me judging
- rounds with performative, narrative, and/or identity affs (including good, CLEAR K v K and K v T-FW debates)
- policy rounds
- clear/basic or well-explained K rounds
Rounds you probably don't want me judging
- heavy/incomprehensible/convoluted K lit without explanations and with a lot of buzzwords
- Mach 10 (faster than the speed of light) RVI heavy theory rounds
- K v K rounds that are dense and require extensive previous knowledge about the literature
- cybernetics, psychoanalysis, tricks
General Info (docs, prep, truth v tech, etc.)
Yes, I want to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speechdrop is fine too. I prefer these two methods to flash, but if all you have is a flash, then that's fine.
In a world where debate is virtual and technological discrepancies exist, having a speech doc is more important than usual. In a world where we have returned to in-person debates, accessibility remains important, and therefore so do speech docs. Please make your speech docs organized and easy to navigate. Don't forget to signpost either. Great docs + great signposting = anywhere from .2 to .5 extra speaks.
If you don't finish a card (i.e. you say "cut the card at -"), then expect to send an updated, marked doc after your speech is over. I pay attention, and I will notice if you clip cards.
I'm okay with both Open CX and Flex Prep, but if CX is open, I'd like to see everyone participate throughout all of the CXs. The 60-40 rule is probably a good threshold for the involvement of the assigned speaker. Both partners should ask and answer questions. Also, if you choose to use flex prep, the other team doesn't have to answer your question; it's up to that team or debater.
I don't count flashing (or emailing) as prep, but don't steal prep time by prepping while flashing. If you try to steal prep, I'll likely start running your time until you stop prepping. Also, if you're taking too long to email or flash a file (over 1-2 minutes) and you aren't having technical difficulties, I'll likely start prep until you finish.
I'm a tab judge. I won't hack against any arguments, and I don't really have any argument preferences. I can be either truth over tech or tech over truth, depending on the situation, but I tend to lean towards tech > truth, so be aware of that. Which one SHOULD I be? Idk. You tell me. With that said, analytics STILL have to be answered. They are arguments, though they should be warranted.
"My partner will answer that in the next speech" is NOT a CX answer, and if you use it I'll doc you .1 speaks.
Maybe let's try not to read difficult Ks against first-years/novices early in the season. If you do, explain it VERY well. If you're rude about it, I'll doc anywhere from .5 to 1 speaks.
My range is typically 27-30. Speaks in the 26-26.9 range will be awarded very rarely and only if the above standards are met. Anything below 26 means you did something problematic, and it's possible I will end the round there if it is extreme enough. I will not tolerate rhetoric that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, islamophobic, etc. If you justify racism good, sexism good, etc., your speaks will reflect that, and so will the ballot. So don't.
Speed is fine. My speed threshold is probably around 6/10. However, as I've not judged much this year, it might be smart to start at a 5 and work your way up. If you're spreading, SLOW DOWN AND ENUNCIATE FOR TAGS AND AUTHOR NAMES. You don't need to drop to a conversational speed, but I should have no trouble understanding either of these things. I will call clear, slow, or louder only if I think it's necessary, so don't ignore them if you hear them. I will only call them twice. I won't call them beyond that because you clearly aren't listening. Your response, or lack thereof, will be reflected in your speaks. If I can't hear or understand you, then your speaks will show that.
Signpost what flow you're on and where on the flow you are. Smart strategic choices and efficiency will be rewarded. Speed and efficiency are NOT the same thing, so be aware of that. If you choose to spread, don't use that as an excuse to sacrifice efficiency.
DAs- I have no problems with disadvantages, and I use them myself when I find them useful. It will help you if the DA has specific links and/or if the link is contextualized well. If you want to debate only disads as the neg, then you do you. But, please weigh and make impact calc arguments so I know why I should vote for the DA, and avoid DAs with unnecessarily long link chains because probability decreases as the link chain increases. Tell me why the DA is a voting issue, and why I vote neg.
CPs- Tell me why the CP is competitive (explain how the CP is better than the aff AND the perm). I have no reason to vote on a non-competitive CP. If a DA gives the CP a net benefit, then defend the DA. If you don't go for the DA but go for the CP, and the net benefit of the DA provides the CP competition, then the CP is no longer competitive. Be aware of whether or not your CP generates competition on its own. Know your CP well enough to know if it's competitive against the aff or not.
T- I'm okay with topicality. Please include all parts of the shell (interpretation, violation, standards, voters, and IMPLICATION). Why isn't the aff topical? What does an untopical aff mean for the round and/or for debate in general? (Why is topicality important?) Don't just read standards, justify them. What ground do you lose? How many possible affs are there in the world of the aff? All of these questions should be answered in your shell.
Theory- Most of this is the same as T, so look at that if what you need isn't here. I'm fine with theory, just make sure to include all parts of the shell (interpretation, violation, standards, voters, and IMPLICATION). If there's no implication, and it's pointed out, then I have no reason to vote on Theory. Tell me what the shell means and what effect it should have on the round. Is frivolous theory bad? Idk, you tell me.
To my LDers out there: RVIs are fine. I don't have a predisposition to vote for or against them. So, if you want to read an RVI, then go for it. Just make sure you warrant the arguments you're making. Also, be aware that I may not know the usual arguments surrounding an RVI debate, so warrants are probably more important than usual. If your RVI arguments aren't in the doc, then it would be useful to slow down when you get there on the flow.
Framework/T-Framework- This is useful when determining which types of offense I need to evaluate. Which model of debate is best? Why should I only evaluate the offense that fits under your framework? If using T-FW against a K aff, tell me WHY I care about the topic, your interp of the topic, or your interp of debate. If the K aff says they can't access the education under your interp, tell me why/how they can. TVAs or alternatives to the aff never hurt. Why does the TVA solve the aff?
Framing- Framing is helpful when evaluating offense and weighing arguments. Overall, just make sure to justify the arguments you make here, and tell me how I should use it in the round. Why should I evaluate structural violence over nuke war? Why is generational violence weighed over extinction? Is util good? I don't know, you tell me.
Kritiks- I typically enjoy Ks. I think they have the capacity to be a lot of fun and address new, abstract ideas. Here's the catch: if you don't understand a K, DON'T RUN IT. And on a general note, if a K is bad, it probably shouldn't be run either. If you're using a generic link, contextualize it and explain to me why it links to the plan. Always explain your Ks, especially the alt. How am I supposed to know what the alt does and vote on it if you don't? If you're running a K, you probably know the literature, but I may not. In fact, I likely don't. Assume when running a K that I've never read or discussed the literature you're mentioning. This will improve the discussion within the round. If you're running convoluted Ks with complicated literature, I'm probably not the best judge for you. Ks that address changes in how we interact in the debate space are Ks that I rather enjoy, especially those that address issues (such as sexism, racism, patriarchy, transphobia, etc.) that are not only visible in the "real world" but are visible in the debate space as well. It's both fun and important to interact with others in this way and exchange experiences. I default to thinking the aff probably gets to weigh case unless you can provide a really good reason why they can't.
K Affs- Go for it. I will say, however, that it would be useful to read the K section above for general notes and such. I'm telling you now, I probably won't know the lit, and buzzwords won't change that. Be prepared to answer T-FW and neg Ks. Why is the education of the aff more important than that of the topic or the K?
Performance Affs- Yes, run it. I read performance during my senior year in high school debate, and I loved it. I especially enjoy performance affs that address the debate space as a whole. Debate bad affs are fine, but you should probably tell me how you plan to make it better. Justify why the performance matters and be ready to answer T, FW, Theory, etc. Prove why your model of debate is better and tell me why and how to vote for you. Utilize and weaponize your performance.
Other Non-traditional Affs- Sure, you do you. Debate bad affs are fine, but you should probably tell me how you plan to make it better. Planless and untopical affs are fine, but be prepared to answer whatever T, FW, or Theory the neg runs. Aff probably has to win their version of debate is better.
Affiliation: University of Houston
I’ve been judging since 2011. As of January 2nd, 2022 I am the third most prolific college policy judge in the era of Tabroom. Ahead of me are Jackie Poapst and Armands Revelins, behind me are Kurt Fifelski and Becca Steiner. Take this how you will.
Yes, I want to be on the E-mail chain. Send docs to: robglassdebate [at] the google mail service . I don’t read the docs during the round except in unusual circumstances or when I think someone is clipping cards.
The short version of my philosophy, or “My Coach preffed this Rando, what do I need to know five minutes before the round starts?”:
1. Debate should be a welcoming and open space to all who would try to participate. If you are a debater with accessibility (or other) concerns please feel free to reach out to me ahead of the round and I will work with you to make the space as hospitable as possible.
2. Have a fundamental respect for the other team and the activity. Insulting either or both, or making a debater feel uncomfortable, is not acceptable.
3. Debate is for the debaters. My job, in total, is to watch what you do and act according to how y’all want me. So do you and I’ll follow along.
4. Respond to the other team. If you ignore the other team or try to set the bounds so that their thoughts and ideas can have no access to debate I will be very leery of endorsing you. Find an argument, be a better debater.
5. Offense over Defense. I tend to prefer substantive impacts. That said I will explicitly state here that I am more and more comfortable voting on terminal defense, especially complete solvency takeouts. If I am reasonably convinced your aff does nothing I'm not voting for it.
6. With full credit to Justin Green: When the debate is over I'm going to applaud. I love debate and I love debaters and I plan on enjoying the round.
Online Debate Update:
1. Please slow down a little. I will have high quality headsets, but microphone compression, online compression, and then decompression on my end will almost certainly effect just how much I hear of your speeches. I do not open speech docs and will not flow off of them which means I need to be able to understand what you’re saying, so please slow down. Not much, ~80% of top speed will probably be enough. If a team tries to outspread a team that has slowed down per this paradigm I will penalize the team that tried for said advantage.
1A. If you're going too fast and/or I cannot understand you due to microphone quality I will shout 'clear'. If after multiple calls of clear you do nothing I will simply stop flowing. If you try to adapt I will do the best I can to work with you to make sure I get every argument you're trying to make.
2. I come from the era of debate when we debated paper but flowed on computers, which means when I’m judging I will have the majority of my screen dominated by an excel sheet. If you need me to see a performance please flag it for me and I’ll rearrange my screen to account for your performance.
3. This is an echo of point 1, but it's touchy and I think bears repeating. The series of audio compressions (and decompressions) that online debate imposes on us has the consequence of distorting the high and low ends of human speech. This means that clarity will be lost for people with particularly high and low pitches when they spread. There is, realistically speaking, no way around this until we're all back in rooms with each other. I will work as hard as I can to infer and fill in the gaps to make it so that loss is minimized as much as possible, but there is a limit to what I can do. If you think this could affect you please make sure you are slowing down like I asked in point 1 or try to adapt in another way.
4. E-mail chains, please. Not only does this mean we don't have to delay by futzing around with other forms of technology but it also gives us a way to contact participants if (when) connections splutter out.
5. The Fluffy Tax. If during prep or time between speeches a non-human animal should make an appearance on your webcam and I see it, time will stop, they will be introduced to the debaters and myself, and we shall marvel at their existence and cuteness together. In the world of online debate we must find and make the joy that we can. Number of times the fluffy tax has been imposed: 3.
6. Be kind. This year is unbelievably tiring, and it is so easy to both get frustrated with opponents and lose an empathetic connection towards our peers when our only point of contact is a Brady Bunch screen of faces. All I ask is that you make a conscious effort to be kind to others in the activity. We are part of an odd, cloistered, community and in it all we have is our shared love of the activity. Love is an active process, we must choose to make it happen. Try to make it happen a little when you are in front of me.
Politics - If you're running politics in a post-January 6th world you better have a really good uniqueness and internal link story. Internal links should assume the direction of the impact.
Terminal Defense - Most Disads (FTC, DOJ, etc.) do not link. Most counter-plans on this topic are built around paper thin solvency claims that would be laughed out of real world discussions of antitrust and would not realistically avoid the tenuous link claims made by the net benefit. I am very comfortable looking at these arguments and declaring "No." if a 2A makes that push.
States Counterplan - Frankly speaking, the barriers to the States CP on this topic are overwhelming in my mind. I do not know how the States CP overcomes the commerce clause, the supremacy clause combined with the doctrine of preemption, or the dormant commerce clause. If you read a States CP without cards explicitly discussing this in the context of the 1AC plan my threshold for rejecting the CP for lacking solvency will be incredibly low. (The educationally bankrupt view of "fiat solves" will get no play unless you have cards that say A. overturning basic constitutional doctrine is good and B. that those actions overturning it will be enforced by the courts.) If you think you have the cards for this, run the counterplan. If you don't then maybe you should rethink whether or not this should be in any 1NC you run.
The standard argumentative thoughts list:
Debate is for the debaters - Everything below is up for debate, and I will adapt to what the debaters want me to do in the round.
Aff relationship to the topic - I think affirmatives should have a positive relationship to the topic. The topic remains a center point of debate, and I am disinclined to think it should be completely disregarded.
"USFG" framework: Is an argument I will vote on, but I am not inclined to think it is a model that best suits all debates, and I think overly rigid visions of debate are both ahistorical and unstrategic. I tend to think these arguments are better deployed as methodological case turns. TVAs are very helpful.
Counter-plan theory: Condo is like alcohol, alright if used in moderation but excess necessitates appropriate timing. Consultation is usually suspect in my book, alternative international actors more so, alternative USFG actors much less so. Beyond that, flesh out your vision of debate. My only particularly strong feeling about this is judge kick, which is explained at the bottom of this paradigm.
Disads: I have historically been loathe to ascribe 0% risk of a link, and tended to fall very hard into the cult of offense. I am self-consciously trying to check back more against this inclination. Impact comparison is a must.
PTX DAs: For years I beat my chest about my disdain for them, but I have softened since. I still don't like them, and think intrinsicness theory and basic questions of inherency loom large over their legitimacy as argumentation, but I also recognize the role they play in debate rounds and will shelve my personal beliefs on them when making my decision. That said, I do not think "we lose politics DAs" is a compelling ground argument on framework or T.
Critiques: I find myself yearning for more methodological explanation of alternatives these days. In a related thought, I also think Neg teams have been too shy about kicking alts and going for the "link" and "impact" (if that DA based terminology ought be applied one-to-one to the K) as independent reasons to reject the Affirmative advocacy. One of the most common ways that other judges and I dissent in round is that I tend to give more credit to perm solvency in a messy perm debate.
Case debate: Please. They are some of my favorite debates to watch, and I particularly enjoy when two teams go really deep on a nerdish question of either policy analysis or critical theory. If you're going down a particularly deep esoteric rabbit hole it is useful to slow down and explain the nuance to me, especially when using chains of acronyms that I may or may not have been exposed to.
Policy T: I spend a fair chunk of my free time thinking about T and the limits of the topic. I used to be very concerned with notions of lost ground, my views now are almost the opposite. Statistical analysis of round results leads me to believe that good negative teams will usually find someway to win on substance, and I think overly dramatic concerns about lost ground somewhat fly in the face of the cut-throat ethos of Policy Debate re: research, namely that innovative teams should be competitively rewarded. While framework debates are very much about visions of the debate world if both teams accept that debate rounds should be mediated through a relationship to policy action the more important questions for me is how well does debate actually embody and then educate students (and judges) about the real world questions of policy. Put differently, my impulse is that Framework debates should be inward facing whereas T debates should be outward facing. All of that should be taken with the gigantic caveat that is "you do you," whatever my beliefs I will still evaluate warranted ground arguments and Affirmative teams cannot simply point at this paradigm to get out of answering them.
Judge Kick: Judge kick is an abomination and forces 2ARs to debate multiple worlds based on their interpretation of how the judge will understand the 2NR and then intervene in the debate. It produces a dearth of depth, and makes all of the '70s-'80s hand-wringing about Condo come true. My compromise with judge kick is this: If the 2NR advocates for judge kick the 2A at the start of 2AR prep is allowed to call for a flip. I will then flip a coin. If it comes up heads the advocacy is kicked, if it comes up tails it isn't. I will announce the result of the flip and then 2AR prep will commence. If the 2A does this I will not vote on any theoretical issues regarding judge kick. If the 2A does not call for a flip I will listen and evaluate theory arguments about judge kick as is appropriate.
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I debate policy at the University of Houston!
I do not have strong preferences for any type of argument as long as you give me a good reason why you should get my ballot. I am far more likely to be persuaded when you clash over warrants rather than card names. Extensions should explain the claim + warrant + impact!
If you are going to spread, it's more important to be clear than fast! I am okay with speed but just understand that I am human and will probably only get about 70% (or less if you're unclear) of what you're saying.
- I like case debate.
- I think plan-specific internal links are very often shoddy. Nevertheless, debaters often ignore this and focus their attention on the impacts / internal links to the impacts. For instance, affs should be able to defend how their plan gets them to the same econ decline impacts read year over year, and negs should look to exploit the ambiguities in the aff's explanation.
- You should probably be going for T. I think topicality has fallen out of favor, such that most policy affs aren't even topical anymore. I think T is often a very smart argument if you can execute on it.
- T/FW is about competing visions of debate. It's not enough to be right about whether the other team violates your interp, you have to tell me why your interp makes debate better. I know this is basic, but I feel like a lot of the time T debates can get lost in the weeds. The big picture is important.
- Just like affs, I think the internal links in most disads are pretty bad. This should be a point of contestation.
- Disad debates can devolve into contextless card dumps. I am more persuaded by more direct clash.
- I won't judge kick for you if there's offense on the CP. Maybe you can persuade me to, but I think that it should be a strategic choice whether or not the take the CP into the 2nr.
- I think aff teams don't read theory enough against the counterplan. However, I struggle to find a situation where I would drop the team as opposed to the argument. I won't vote on condo bad.
- The best counterplans come from the aff's own solvency advocate. This is usually an easy way to win the round on top of being a big flex.
- I'm not as familiar with K debate but I'm not opposed to them. If you want me to vote on the alt, you have to explain to me what exactly that means for the round/world.
- Links are very important. Even independent of the alt, they can often be sufficient to win the round as a case turn. However, it is crucial that they are contextualized to what the aff actually does. Bad links are often shielded by the perm, while good links prove its inefficacy.
-I won't vote on theory unless I think it's important for the round.
-Condo bad isn’t a real argument unless completely dropped.
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Do whatever you do well! I will do my best to judge your argument fairly, and I am glad to answer any questions you have about the RFD.
Tech > Truth. Dropped arguments must have a claim, warrant, and impact to matter, and the implications of the argument should still be explained.
I give the highest speaks when debaters are clear, efficient, and resolve arguments in rebuttals. The most difficult debates to decide are ones where neither team identifies and prioritizes important arguments, or there is no comparative impact calculus.
Clarity > Speed. I am fine with spreading, but I would always prefer for you to slow down and speak clearly rather than go faster.
I am more familiar with neg arguments for framework than aff answers, but I am still happy to judge a K aff.
For me to vote neg, the 2NR should go for a well-articulated impact and ideally have some way to access the aff's primary offense. I am willing to hear any impact as long as it is explained, and I believe that fairness can be explained as either an impact or an internal link as the distinction is often not large in terms of impact calculus.
For me to vote aff, the strategy should center around either a reasonable counter-interpretation or an impact turn. The counter-interpretation should definitely solve the aff's own offense and likely access some amount of neg offense in order to be effective.I find it difficult to be persuaded by arguments about why debate in general is bad, and I think that the aff should be able to present a differing vision for why debate is valuable and how they access that.
K v K:
I am least familiar with these debates, so explicit judge instruction and lots of comparative explanation will be the most beneficial.
K v Plan:
I believe that framework is very important to how these debates are evaluated and will prioritize it in my decision accordingly. The way that the K interacts with the aff should be clearly explained, whether that is impact calculus, link turns case, or something else.
Winning perm do both/most other perms must be the logical result of winning offense and link defense.
Evidence quality and author qualifications matter for the interpretation and counter-interpretation. Good interpretation cards should probably have an intent to define, and absent this, a strong aff push on reasonability and substance crowd-out is persuasive.
Counterplans should probably be functionally and textually competitive, but I am pretty willing to go with a different model of competition, if debated well. For theory, topic-specific arguments as to why certain CPs should be theoretically legitimate are the most persuasive.
I default to judge kick.
Sufficiency framing is often very beneficial to the neg because I find that affs set poorly defined internal link thresholds and struggle to outline an impact to solvency deficits. For the aff, this means that I should be able to explain the difference in solvency between the plan and CP and why that matters (i.e. impact). For the neg, you should explain sufficiency framing as specifically as possible – instead of making vague solvency claims, set a specific solvency threshold that the CP needs to meet to resolve a given advantage.
Turns case arguments are important to make and respond to. If turns case is dropped, it can shift disad calculus in favor of the negative even if there is well-explained defense on other parts of the flow. Higher level turns case arguments are usually more persuasive, and similarly, higher level defense to a DA (above impact defense) should be prioritized.
Good case debating is always a plus! Rehighlighting of 1AC evidence to support neg positions or case defense is especially great.
I lean neg on most questions, but am open to a debate.
Condo (within reason) is generally good, and it is probably the only theoretical reason to reject the team instead of the argument. Case-specific PICs are almost always good and will be rewarded.
Policy Debater at UT Austin
In HS, I competed in Policy, Extemp, and Congress.
Quick Notes: I am unlikely to vote on an RVI unless you do extremely well on it. I have a very strong typical policy background (ie topicality, policy affs, disads, cps). However, I now read a lot more kritikal arguments, so I'm good to flow with those too (and framework). There isn't anything I outwardly dislike in the context of K debate. My preferences tend to be disability literature, feminism, cap, and set col, just because that's what I'm the most familiar with. That definitely doesn't make me opposed to hear other K's, please read your K!
If you're looking for my paradigm in one word: tab.
The most important thing is that you give me the easiest path to the ballot. Tell me how to vote, on what, and why. Other than that, give me overviews, keep the debate organized, and please extend things correctly. Technical debating ability is important.
Don't be offensive, rude, homophobic, racist, ableist, derogatory, sexist etc.
Speed: Spreading is cool if that's your thing. I can keep up with speed, but you'll probably want to have more effective signposting to help me organize the flow. If you start to sound jumbled or you're going too fast, I'll say "clear."
I don't count flashing or attaching things to an email as prep. That being said, don't try and abuse this to steal prep.
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Framing: I think it's important. Framing gives a team a big advantage. ROB and ROJ are good because I want to understand how to evaluate the round. Debate shouldn't just be about who causes nuke war fastest, it should also be about whose model of debate is better for particular reasons and why certain arguments should be preferred. At the end of the debate, I hope that both teams will have done sufficient work on a framing/framework level where I now understand what each of their ideal debate models are.
Framework: Love it. I think that if your interp has USFG in it, you need to be very ready to defend your ground loss and why that o/w any of the affirmative offense. I find it persuasive when links and impacts are debated on two levels, meaning how it impacts future debates (ie spillover claims/models), but also in round links. Please include a TVA/SSD argument somewhere in the round. I think that these are not only strategic, but help to generate clash.
Disads: DA's are great. I prefer to hear impacts relating to IR, the economy, and human rights. Though, in all honestly, I'll listen to pretty much anything here including the typical war/extinction scenario. Just do the work that needs to be done and you'll be fine. And please, understand the argument that you're making. If you can't explain your argument thoroughly in either an overview or in cross, it won't do you any favors. You need to read all parts of a Disad (UQ, Link, Internal Link, Impact). I also think that specific internal link chains are quite useful. Generic links are obviously fine, but it's always useful to be able to out spec your opponent.
CPs: Yes!! I think it's important that you have an extremely clear net benefit and that you are very clear about mutual exclusivity. I personally really like listening to perm debates and how two arguments can/can't interact. The net benefit can be anything from a material impact to some arbitrary theory arg, but if it's missing, you won't win the argument. Additionally, I need to have ink on the flow regarding CP solvency. Don't expect me to do that work for you. I also think cross-applications/re-highlightings about how the aff is actually your solvency advocate are very strategic arguments. I'm cool with PICs, so if that's your thing, go for it. Also willing to hear and vote on theory on the CP/perm.
Ks: Probably my favorite argument style right now. Be smart about it. I love it when people make links out of cards that were read, performance, argument strategy, and answers (ie "if they didn't link before they do now"). Also make sure that your K and your performance are cohesive. I think too often I find people throwing around buzz words, so make sure that you do the work to explain what those buzz words mean. Give me an explanation of the ideology of the K, framework, policy vs ideology, and uniqueness. Organization on the K flow is extremely important to me, probably more than most. I think that "k turns the aff" or "k solves the aff" arguments are very strategic. If you're answering the K, I want to have specific perm cards about the two advocacies working together. Saying "links are disads to the perm" is not an argument, that is a claim. Make it an argument, I need a warrant and impact. Also a big fan of a good alt explanation. I think that I find "world of the alt" or "world of the perm" moments to be persuasive. Framing is incredibly important to me, I also think that kicking the alt and going for the linear disad can be strategic. In K v K rounds and Policy v K rounds, root cause arguments are useful.
T: Sure. I think that T debates can be very useful if done well. Make sure that if you're going for T, you're able to sit on it for the full five minutes. I like to see T used as a reason to vote for generic links on the disad. I tend to default to reasonability. I also think that pinning down examples of 2AC shifts is particularly useful, as I'm much less willing to vote on potential abuse vs. abuse. Be ready to answer "aff gets 2AC specifications."
Theory: Please don't just respond to a PIC w/ a generic PICs bad theory shell and then move on. Something I've noticed is a lot of teams just running super generic theory responses that aren't contextualized at all as a way to get out of engaging with their opponent's arguments. Theory is fine, but please be able to tell me why the theory is important in this specific round against these specific arguments. Theory won't weigh heavily on the ballot if you don't give me a framing arg to go along with it. Basically tell me why theory comes first. For preferences, I'm less willing to vote on condo when the team reads two condo advocacies as opposed to eight. I think that theory is a key part of answering the perm (severance/intrisicness). Also willing to listen to theory on fiat.
AFFs: I will listen to anything. I have noticed that I prefer either policy affs or K affs, but I will listen to a soft left aff. I think that I often find students dropping/not using their own aff. You got to read 8 minutes offense at the start of the debate, use it to make cross-applications. A case outweighs 2AR is always a good option when in doubt. I also really like to hear impact framing on the aff. IE if you have big stick impact, you're not going to have the highest probability, so tell me why I need to evaluate magnitude first. Impact preferences for policy affs include SV, economics, and IR stuff. K aff preferences are at the top.
Feel free to ask me stuff before round. Also feel free to reach out with questions after the round!
Email Chain or questions: email@example.com
Speed: Any speed fine. Any argument fine.
Experience: I debated for three years in high school policy debate and two years on the college NDT Circuit. I'm educated as a philosopher and am a criminal defense lawyer. My philosophical training means I really care about logical fallacies and how arguments are posed and answered. Also, I ponder and wonder about big questions so that translates into my debate thinking. I'm a theory hack. Professionally, I defend criminals so I've developed a very thick skin. My love is trying criminal cases so I'm very focused on how folks decide and why, and how to persuade and adapt--oh just like debate. I dislike dogma which is now shockingly rampant on both sides of our current political culture.
FLOW I flow the debate specifically on a sketch pad. Cross X too. If you do not take this into account I'll miss your arguments. That means give me time to turn the page when moving to new arguments and signpost clearly where you going next on the flow (e.g. "on the states counterplan" and give me time to get there.) Connecting arguments - the line-by-line - is essential you don't want me to put the debate together myself. 'I will feel zero remorse if you tell me that I did not decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated in a 2NC overview. ..It would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbites' (thanks Shree) and very clear signposting so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly. Long overviews are bad in this same way--put them in the line by line.
Judging Philosophy: Be yourself, because sincerity is transparent and convincing. No argument would cause me to automatically vote against any team, regardless of whether they are labeled politically incorrect, offensive or whatever (I hate dogma.) If a team thinks an argument is morally wrong tell me why I should not vote for it. I HAVE NO DEFAULT OR PREFERRED JUDGING PARADIGM. I'll follow what the round dictates. Nor have I any theory preferences that I apply to my evaluation. I like theory debates and listening to debate arguments about what debate or the theory should be and why. Alot. I expect the debaters to tell me how to decide the debate. I don't want to determine which interpretation is better or whether human rights trumps extinction. The best teams will compare evidence, indict arguments (qualifications or warrants), and resolve debate questions.
Online Debate: Online debate is terrible both as it deemphasizes persuasion intangibles and fails to replicate the community and support of an in-person tournament. But it is better than not debating. Judges should have their camera on during all speeches as debaters need to assess judge reactions and attention. Competitors should have their cameras on during their speeches and cross x so judges can see non-verbal cues to assign speaker points.
Both policy and kritik debates thrill me when there is clash and great intellectual battles. I'm current on most K literature but that is a double-edged sword. I'll probably understand your Kritik, but I have a higher threshold for what you must articulate. And I'll know when you superficially understand your authors or the literature base.
- - Poor DAs/Advantages/K links: More and more I see DAs and 1AC advantages with poor link evidence and then severe brink and obvious uniqueness issues. Often these go unchallenged by opposing teams in a rush to simply read their evidence blocks. A few analytics or even a well reasoned cross-ex questions could destroy some of these disadvantages. Solid analytics will be rewarded with higher speaker points.
- - Evidence Comparison: Great debaters evaluate, compare and attack evidence. There is good evidence and bad evidence; good sources and lousy sources. Quality of evidence is very important to me. I'll be reading along with your speech doc and reading evidence in your prep time.
- - Cross-x: It's not simply your partner's prep time or to get cards you missed. It's another opportunity to make your arguments. You are welcome to do cross x anyway you want but best speaker points are awarded to those who answer their own cross x. And when you find a soft spot in their answers go for the kill and savor it. It's a rare and beautiful thing...as close to a Perry Mason moment as you'll ever find because they don't happen in court, ever. In the 1994 CEDA finals, James Brian Johnston from UKMC as 2AC, questions 2NC Dave Devereux (KSU) and his questioning beginning around 51 minutes into the video is, for me, a perfectly executed aggressive and brilliant cross-examination. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7L5N3Jvg8A&feature=youtu.be
- - Speaker Points I won't give fewer than 26 for any reason. For me, 29 indicates a very good speech with few mistakes. Wake Forest University devised a speaker point scale to attempt to universalize speaker points and I tend to follow it: http://collegedebateratings.weebly.com/points-scale.html
The best debaters I see don't simply bury their heads in their laptop and spread; they actually look at the judge periodically and persuade, particularly in 2NR and 2ar. Watch the 2002 Ceda Finals and see Calum Matheson's 2nc or Jason Regnier's 2ac or 2ar for great examples. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpU21fxfAD4&feature=youtu.be .
Debate is about winning so be assertive even aggressive. Not rude or exclusive but go after your point with passion. We are in the persuasion business and enthusiasm is contagious. Have fun. A sense of humor is priceless (and rare) in a round.
email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Less familiar with these formats, just make sure everything is explained to me in the rebuttals for LD summaries/final focus for PF and I'm willing to vote for most anything. Judge instruction is great and you shouldn't expect me to do any of the work for you.
I'm willing to vote on most anything as long as it's explained well. This includes meme/satire arguments. I like K's but you should make sure every aspect of it is explained to me.
Willing to vote on K's without alts, but you're going to have an easier time if you do read an alt.
I think non-topical affs should probably interact with the topic in some way even if they don't support USFG action.
Framework should not be your only answer to a non-topical aff but that doesn't mean I'm unwilling to vote on it. You should have some argument against the idea the aff supports and not just their way of debating.
Any theory argument should have an example of in-round abuse.
I think aff teams can really benefit from a clever use of case cards against offcase, don't get too caught up in responding how the neg wants you to.
Speed is fine as long as you're clear. Be extra mindful of this debating online.
Updated - 7/29/2023
Coached debate at HAIS (1), Crosby (3.5), Dulles (3.5), and Niles West (1.)
Debated policy for 4 years at Crosby (2004-2008), In College at UMKC (Fall 2009), and Houston (Spring 2009, 2012-2015)
- If you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me.
- If you think the appropriate response to other people explaining how they need to be included in debate is to say "West is best" or "Violence towards people like you is good" please strike me.
- Purposeful or dismissive acts of misgendering will result in a full speaker point loss and if the other team makes it an argument the possible loss of a ballot.
What is Debate?
I think that we need to understand we are a community of people responsible for the activity, We are responsible for teaching and guiding students to make decisions that are descriptive of the community they wish to compete within.
Framework is very normally in high school debate used as a way of excluding debaters. Framework doesn't have to be this but unfortunately in the vast majority of HS debates it is used this way. The framing is an exclusionary one and doesn't have the nuance to get out of most of the aff offense.
If you read framework this way then I'm not the judge for you, not because I would be upset with you but rather because I will likely be very sympathetic to aff arguments about exclusion. If you think your TVA is a silver bullet it's not, and your SSD arguments a lot of time are overhyped. I think I agree fundamentally that most of these debates devolve into meaningless hyperbole on both sides. The aff is always debatable and somewhat predictable the question is how does the expansion of predictable limits make it so that the debate is worse and how that change is bad. In this way limits are generally an internal link to clash or fairness and I really think that a clear weighing and impacting out of these is of the utmost importance. I am substantially more likely to vote for clash if it is used as an impact filter/impact than I am persuaded by fairness.
Framework is best when it's simply a disagreement about the meaning of the topic/roles and the negative impact and weighing is about the relative change in the way that debate functions. The expansion of limits and the recognition of the affs value is important. Questions about the roles of the sides and preparedness for those roles. About the ground that the negative has under each interp and why one interp is better than the other. To me, the most important question the negative can push forward is "why negate?" a lot of the affs answers to this question seem problematic. This is not a question of value in fact it seems to assume if the affirmative is right about their normative claims about the resolution why should anyone have to affirm it and if that's the case how do we determine what we are debating about? Why is the negation of negation good? This puts a higher burden, in my mind, for the affirmative to win the framework debate. Most affs have great reasons why they are good but they do not tend to have good reasons why they should be negated.
Critical affirmatives should have a solid defense of both their importance but also the importance of debating it. There should be a clear area of debate that the negative can and should engage in. That being said I really enjoy watching good Kritikal affirmatives deploy the various ways of relooking at debate structures and topics. I find affirmatives that are either very small but willing to engage with whatever strategy the negative chooses, or conversely, very large structural affirmatives that will engage on a theory level with everything to be the best. Be ready to answer the core questions negation should ask you. Why this aff? Why this round? Why negate this? Why this ballot? If you think you have good answers to those then I'm likely going to enjoy watching the debate.
Kritiks need to have a clear link-impact scenario with a way of resolving those claims. That could be the framework Interp, or the alternative in most debates.
Framework debates can be very important. I think interps that ask me to wish away the affirmative impacts are lackluster. I'm more interested in how we should be weighing things than an argument that says we should artificially bracket off the affirmatives 8 minute speech. You can definitely win we must prioritize ontology, epistemology, or Ethics, or we should bracket off certain types of considerations if they are bad, however, I'm not generally willing to bracket off the aff's ability to advocate for their should statement but rather if their impacts are important or not.
I am way more willing to vote for specific instances of link-impact scenarios than I am for an uncontextualized larger theory of power claim. Specificity will almost always be important to win my ballot. I am a bit pessimistic about what we can achieve in debate rounds but also believe the entrance of different scholarships into debate can and do have value. It however is up to the debaters to make those arguments in a compelling way.
Theoretical rejections of the team have an incredibly high burden in my mind. Theoretical rejections of the argument have a much lower burden. For me to vote for a team entirely on theory they must prove that the debate was borderline impossible. Contrarily to win reject them argument you only have to prove the debate would be better without the argument. To me using theory to force a condensing of the round is a sound strategy. Also, generally, if you're conceding that conditionality is good then you're highly unlikely to get me to vote down the team on another theory argument.
Disadvantages are the core of all aspects of debating. Make sure you extend all three components when going for a DA. This includes when going for Disadvantages from any perspective.
Calling into question the legitimacy of many different types of counter-plans should be a portion of your strategy. Too many affirmatives allow the negative to get away with a lot of abuse on the counter-plan that they shouldn't. CP must have a text, a clear solvency mechanism and a net benefit. Please make sure you extend each if you go for the argument.
Coach for the University of Houston, Langham Creek High School, and Memorial High School
A couple of thoughts before I address specific arguments
for Wake/UT - I haven't judged very much this year and don't know what the norms/args are yet
If it’s important say it more than once, I don’t necessarily mean that you should just repeat yourself, but make the argument in more than one place with more than one application.
Highlighting should be able to be read - I think that your evidence should be highlighted in a way that makes at least some grammatical sense - this is kind of subjective but if its a true abomination of words slapped together I won't read around your highlighting to understand what you're trying to say.
please time yourselves
I would like to be on the email chain, email@example.com
T debates (and theory debates) are already very blippy, if you want me to evaluate it, slow down. I like it when teams use T strategically in other areas of the debate.
DA's: good spin > sepcific ev > generic ev. I like intuitive turns case arguments and I love when you can implicate the aff’s internal links and solvency using other parts of the disad. I think that
CP's: These are fine, if you want to know my thoughts on judge kick see Rob Glass's paradigm.
K’s: As long as you approach the debate assuming I won’t understand your version of baudrillard we’ll probably be fine. 2nr (and 2nc to some extent) explanation of what the alt world would look like, how the alt solves the links to the aff, and how the alt solves the impacts are important to me, I find myself to be much more persuaded by neg teams that can do this well.
K affs v fw: I think your aff should in some way be related to the topic, that's not to say that you have to be, just that it will make it easier for you to win those debates.
K affs v k's: this is by far the debate that I have the least experience with, something that's really important to me in these debates is clarity of how the alt/aff functions and how it interacts with the links to your opponent's argument, I tend to find myself being persuaded by detailed alt analysis.
if you’ve noticed a common theme here, it’s that I think the alt debate is important
Theory: Default neg and reject the argument, you should give me reasons to do otherwise, don't expect me to vote on it if you don't slow down and explain your argument, most debaters spread blippy blocks that make it difficult to flow and evaluate, if the 2nr or 2ar want to go for theory in some form or fashion you're going to have to do a modicum of work, saying severance perms bad for 10 seconds at the top of your 2nr is not enough to get me to vote on it as long as the 2ar makes any sort of response.
Counterplans bad is probably not a reason to vote aff
I don’t judge this event as often so I may lack a more nuanced understanding of how things function in LD compared to policy, but with that being said I’m open to however you want to do it, be it traditional or progressive. Your phil and theory debates are a little alien to me coming from how we approach similar arguments in policy, so if that’s what you think you’ll be going for in your 2ar or nr be super clear. Most of my thoughts about args in cx will color my analysis of the arguments you make in LD.
I dont consider the time it takes for your opponents to provide you their evidence as prep time, and I don't think you need to take cx time for it either. If you can’t tell, I am primarily a policy judge and as such I probably have a higher standard for evidence quality and access than your average judge.
other than that I don't have strong opinions when it comes to what arguments you want to read as long as you justify them (read: impacts matter!)
im not familiar with pf norms when it comes to whether you should or shouldn’t answer opponents args in summary or 2nd constructive. And sometimes I feel like I’m inconsistent in trying to figure out and apply what they are in my rounds judging it. As such I will treat it as I would a cx round unless you tell me otherwise - new args can be made in first two speeches, summary should not be new args (but can if they are answering a new argument, ie 1st speaking team makes an argument that directly answers a new arg made by 2nd speakers in the last constructive speech) in terms of extensions through to ff I don't think that saying something in grand is enough for me to weigh it at the end of the debate if you dont extend it through your last speech.
I will probably call for evidence. If you paraphrase, expect me to not treat your evidence with the same level of veracity as someone citing specific parts of their cards.
Include me in your email chains, please!! firstname.lastname@example.org
Debate is an educational activity in my opinion so I'm open to most of the things you can think of running. Typically, I dislike debates centered on Kritiks, especially at the novice level. It kinda kills the vibe of learning for everyone because the debate is no longer about actually solving something. Spreading is an excellent way to get a lot of info out there but there's a difference between that and just mashing all your words together. I spread a lot so if I can't understand what you're saying because you're fumbling with your words due to speed I'm not going to flow your arguments. l have a bias toward topicality debates because it tests whether or not both teams truly understand what they are debating. This leads me to this, DO NOT JUST READ CARDS. I have seen countless debaters just read through a million cards(impressive but useless) and not provide a single analytic. If you're giving me the information it should not be expected that I connect the dots for you in my head. Explain how the evidence you brought forth helps you. If you mischaracterize your evidence I won't care unless the other team points it out. Half the fun in a debate is trying to make things seem like they prove you right even though they don't. In my books, this isn't considered cheating but rather a strategy. It’s on your opponents to see and point this out. Just because the evidence is outdated does not mean you've 'won on that’. Tell me why this is significant and what impact it has on the debate. If you're counterplans are not textually or functionally competitive don't run them. CP's are great in debate but if your CP doesn't actually compete I will not vote on it.
Don't let anything I've said dissuade you! While I do have my obvious biases feel free to debate how you would like and feel comfortable. I will adapt to whatever is being used. In general, just try to have fun it's debate :)
Affiliations: Westwood (2023-), LASA (2021-23), Coppell (2021-22)
“Debate how you can, the best you can. Swag is good. Complexity. Concretization. Examples. Comparison” – Amber Kelsie.
“Above all, tech substantially outweighs truth. The below are preferences, not rules, and will easily be overturned by good debating. But, since nobody's a blank slate, treat the below as heuristics I use in thinking about debate. Incorporating some can explain my decision and help render one in your favor” – Debnil Sur.
Debate's a game of tradeoffs. Aside from technical evaluation and applying an offense-defense paradigm, my beliefs are malleable.
I decide debates quickly and find few debates "close." I will not read cards unless their interpretation is contested. I'm confident in both my flow and my decisions, focusing on intervening as little as possible. I consider no substantive argument off limits. My strongest preference is that debaters take the easiest route to victory.
By contrast, many judges give indefensible decisions which reflect nothing short of a lack of respect for the debaters they judge. My role in judging is not about me, it is about the debaters. Within my own competitive career, I've seen careers ended and had tournaments end on decisions that have repeatedly made me question my participation in this activity. Most judges render hundreds of decisions over their time judging. Debaters are not entitled to the same privilege. There are a finite, limited set of tournaments they can participate in during their careers. It is blatantly disrespectful to take a debater's participation at a tournament for granted. Each debate should be treated as a debater's last. Thus, unlike the many judges I've had, I do not care at all about "rep" or how my ballot will be perceived by others. I will not use my ballot to attempt to "teach" debaters anything and will always apply the same criteria of evaluation for both teams. My sole consideration is how well debaters technically execute arguments in their speeches. Other concerns will be addressed in the RFD following the decision. Debaters deserve no less from the judges they get.
1. I’m a second-year judge. I frequently judge and am reasonably familiar with the topic.
2. I’ve included sections from the paradigms of judges and debaters that have shaped my view of debate to provide a clearer picture. The strongest include Het Desai, Vikas Burugu, Adam Lipton, and Shreyas Rajagopal. All changes have been marked with brackets.
3. Debate is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. I loved this activity and hope you can as well. I have tremendous respect for the hard work you’ve done to come here and will try to reciprocate that in my decision. I will also be ready to defend my decision. “If you feel unsatisfied with my RFD, I encourage you to post-round me. I was/am always quick to disagree with judges as a debater and have always considered disagreement the highest form of respect.”– Vikas Burugu.
4. "I will only vote on an ethics violation about previously-read evidence (missing an author, missing a year, paragraph missing but no distortion, etc) if the team alleging the violation has evidence that they contacted the other team and told them about the issue. Clearly, you had the time to look up the article. As a community, we should assume good faith in citation, and let the other team know. And people should not be punished for cards they did not cut. But if they still are reading faulty evidence, even after being told, that's certainly academic malpractice."– Debnil Sur.
1. I’m likely better for policy v policy debates than you’d think. My voting records indicate an even record in the “clash.”
2. My speaker points seem to be lower than most. I have been disappointed in the quality of debates I've judged this year. When I do give higher speaks, it's to debaters that do the following:
A) Look like they want to be there! If debaters are having fun, judging is fun.
B) Narrate the debate's progression and prioritize argument resolution in their rebuttals. Final rebuttals should explain not how you could win, but why you have already won. Typically, this requires recounting an argument’s development in the debate’s prior speeches, explaining how you advanced the argument, and how your opponents failed to respond effectively.
For example, the phrase “No new 2AR arguments. I don't get a 3NR and 2NR strategy was based on 1AR errors” is commonly repeated in 2NRs. This is only relevant for instructing me to not evaluate “new 2AR arguments,” something I will already do. Instead, the 2NR should explicitly identify which arguments were new and/or are likely to be new and pre-emptively refute the 2AR justification for why they should be evaluated.
C) Efficiently and effectively translate their ideas into their speeches. This involves not only logical argumentation, but also presenting it in an organized and persuasive manner. Hard-numbering and clarity are extremely helpful. I am impressed by debaters that are both knowledgeable AND thoughtful in how they communicate their knowledge. Defining key terms, using meaningful labels and precise language, and emphasizing important phrases/varying speed of delivery are some effective tools for synthesizing complex information into a persuasive argument.
D) Accurately recognize and develop the core disagreements. Good debaters refute arguments from their opponents' previous speech. Great debaters prioritize refuting the arguments that will feature in their opponents' final rebuttal. Controlling narratives around the central questions of the debate is critical. I often find debaters are far too scattered. Most rebuttals should narrow the debate to definitively win their most compelling arguments.
1. “Tech over truth. But... Debate is subjective and arbitrary. I consider “dropped arguments are true” to be not particularly helpful” – Anirudh Prabhu. Every debate requires some level of intervention to decide, so you’re best served explaining both your argument and their implications. Specific and explicit judge instruction that demonstrates strong strategic vision will be strictly adhered to. Holding my hand will be rewarded with higher speaker points, a quicker decision time, and a more favorable RFD.
2. When evaluating debates, I often imagine myself debating/coaching the teams I am judging, asking myself how I would respond to the arguments being advanced and/or better articulate the same argument. If debaters make the arguments I brainstormed or present one more persuasive than the ones I considered, I am impressed. Arguments based in truth (often supported by strong evidence) are more capable of withstanding rigorous scrutiny. This is NOT to suggest that I will intervene. Debate rounds are limited and I will solely decide debates based on the debaters’ speeches. I am simply more impressed by debaters that reveal clever strategic thinking and/or deep knowledge about a topic.
Caddo Magnet ‘21
I want to be on the email chain, email@example.com.
The most important thing I have to say is that I will do my absolute best to judge every debate in the least interventionist way possible, besides a few non-negotiables I'll list below. I will vote on an argument that I profoundly disagree with if I think that it was won. However, evidence quality influences technical debating and I value good evidence highly, even though I don't usually read a ton of cards in high school debates because I don't feel like I need to.
I've found that even though I have a ton of opinions about what I think debate should look like, those preferences pretty much entirely go away when judging. I don't care much at all about what arguments debaters are making and really only care about how it's debated. I've been in a lot of debates and have seen many people go for many different arguments, so I should be able to understand yours. However, I will say that I have a fairly strong preference for organized, and technical debating, and not debating in this way will probably make it harder than you'd like for me to give a satisfying decision.
I'll do my best to default to as few things as possible and adapt to the debate at hand. If you want me to view the debate a certain way, tell me how I should so I don't have to substitute my preferences for your debating.
I judged a lot of debates on the topic as a lab leader in a Michigan Classic lab this summer, so I have a basic understanding of what the topic looks like, but I'm not super involved in researching the high school topic, so you may want to unpack some particularly technical topic concepts/acronyms.
I think of debate as a game, which filters a lot of these thoughts, but you can easily win that debate is not a game or is more than just a game. (Almost) everything is debatable.
It's generally better to make bold choices and only go for a few pieces of offense in the final rebuttals to explain them well than to go for a lot of things and not explain them as thoroughly.
I default to evaluating arguments probabilistically. That goes away if questioned.
Line by line is good.
Judge instruction is good.
Justify new arguments. Just because another team says you don't get new arguments doesn't mean it's true, especially if they're reading cards on an argument you dropped.
If you're going for a K of reps, you probably need case defense unless it was grossly mishandled. I see going for reps links while not answering the case as a bit like a link turn with no UQ. If you disagree, explain why and you'll be all good.
It'll help you to start the debate on judge kick early.
Good for T arguments with good evidence. I generally prefer predictability over debatability, but that's not absolute and shouldn't affect how I evaluate debates.
Good for competition debates. Send perm texts if it's anything besides do both, do the CP, or some variation of the plan and certain planks.
Good for politics. Read a lot of cards.
Good for impact turns and theory. Not because I think the arguments are true, I just think of them like any other argument and a lot of teams are bad at answering them. I don't really see why going for theory if you're winning is more "cowardly" than going for other arguments that you're winning that are technical TKOs, but that doesn't mean it's always or even often the best strategy.
Good for Ks that are impact turns/solvency takeouts to the case. Good for Ks that have alts that solve the case and links that are DAs to the plan. Probably best for Ks that are just Framework and say the aff shouldn't get to weigh the plan.
Good for extinction outweighs vs. the K. Also fine for the perm and link turns.
Good for clash and fairness. Fine for other impacts to FW. Good for a counter-interp or impact turn strategy against FW, just make sure you pick one.
Generally don't love K affs that identify truisms and say that's a reason to vote for them. Pointing out bad things does nothing for you if you don't have a means of solving them. Of course, you can also get unique offense based on what the neg says, but you need to explain what voting aff does, whether it changes debate practices, rejects unethical ones in just this debate, forwards a desirable political strategy, etc.
Fairly bad for frivolous theory arguments when they aren't based on resolutional language. For example, if the 2AC drops ASPEC, the neg often didn't have enough of an argument to extend it in the 2NC without making new arguments, so the 1AR gets to justify new arguments too. That doesn't mean I won't vote on bad theory arguments (I have), or that new 1AR arguments are automatically justified, but it does mean that I have a pretty high bar for winning them.
Bad for analogizing T to actual violence (genocide, drone strikes, etc.). That's not to say that you can't problematize reading T, but arguments comparing it to literal violence are wildly unpersuasive.
I think role of the ballot arguments are usually pretty silly.
Not the biggest fan of many soft left affs. I think lots of aff framing arguments are kinda silly but so are lots of other arguments, so I don’t actually care too much. I obviously prefer aff-specific framing arguments but if generic, I prefer risk assessment (existential risks overestimated, probability outweighs, conjunctive fallacy, butterfly effect, etc.) type aff framing arguments instead of "X comes first," "extinction is non-unique," and asserting that a DA is low risk without actual defense, but that seems to be out of vogue.
If you're going to say that plan text in a vacuum, functional and/or textual competition, utilitarianism, probability first, etc. are bad, you need to provide an alternative to those things. Otherwise, it's the equivalent of reading offense against a T interp when you don't have a counter-interp to solve any offense. The fact that those things have problems doesn't necessarily mean that alternatives are better.
I judge this a little bit and there's not much that I have to say about it specifically. All of the stuff above applies equally to LD. I've only ever debated in policy and usually only judge policy so I'm probably best for you if you just act like this is a one-person policy debate.
Never really had a debate where "value criterions" became important, but if you're gonna do that, just explain why offense in favor of yours outweighs offense in favor of theirs and you'll be fine.
Not a fan of frivolous theory arguments.
I've only judged this a few times. It would probably also help you to act like this was a policy debate because of my lack of familiarity with PF specifically. Really, you just need to win that your offense outweighs your opponent's.
Please don't paraphrase articles when first reading them. That's bordering on an academic integrity violation. Just read what your cards actually say, then you can obviously explain and paraphrase them in later speeches.
Both teams get 8 minutes for constructives, 5 minutes for rebuttals, and however many minutes of prep time the tournament invitation says/everyone in the round agrees to. I won't flow anything you say after the timer goes off.
CX is binding.
There is one winner and one loser.
I will flow both teams unless requested not to. If you request me not to flow and the other team would like me to, then I just won't flow you, which will almost certainly end up worse for you and make the debate harder for me to decide.
I won't vote on anything that did not occur in the round/I didn't see (personal attacks, prefs, disclosure, etc.). I think a judge's role is to determine who won the debate at hand, not who is a better person outside of it, and there's often no way to verify out-of-round claims. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, I will assist you in going to tab/whoever you'd feel most comfortable with so they can create a solution, but I don't view that as something that the judge should decide a debate upon, especially for high schoolers.
If a team initiates an ethics challenge, the debate stops and if it's found to be legitimate, the offending team will lose and will get the lowest speaks I can give. If it's not found to be legitimate, the team that initiated the challenge will lose.
It'll be hard to offend me but don't say any slurs or engage in harmful behavior against anyone else in the debate including racism, sexism, homophobia, intentionally misgendering someone, etc. I see pretty much all arguments as fair game but when that becomes personally harmful for other people in the debate, or is something indefensible like racism good, then it's crossed a line. I've thankfully never seen something like this happen in a debate that I've been in but it'd be naive to act like it's never happened. The line for what is and is not personally harmful to someone is obviously arbitrary but that applies to almost all things in debate, so I think it's fair to say that it's also up to the judge's discretion to determine when the line has been crossed.
I'm pretty expressive but I try not to be. I don't want to influence how the debate plays out but if I'm confused, think an argument is funny, or think an argument is bad, I might unintentionally show it.
I'll boost your speaks if you're reading a substantial number of cards that you cut if they're good. I've been seeing a lot of old, bad cards in docs that could very easily be replaced in an afternoon, so I'll reward people that I see putting in the work. I'll be ecstatic if most of your cards, especially in the 1AC and 1NC, are from 2021 or newer.
I've noticed lots of debaters being pretty quiet when they're speaking which has made it hard to understand and flow. It seems like a result of online debate, so I'll cut some slack, but it's generally better to be too loud than too quiet.
Call me Austin, not "judge."
I like when people are funny. Lighten up the debate and make some (good) jokes if that's your thing.
Feel free to post-round. You won't offend me.
Brian McBride. I love you so much, you will always be cherished in my memories. The impact you had on the community is immeasurable - thank you for being such a big part of why I love debate and am still involved today. If you haven't heard Stars of the Lid, give it a listen - I hope his music can bring all of us comfort when we need it.
I am a coach at Emory, Liberal Arts and Science Academy and The Harker School. Other conflicts: Texas, Westwood, St Vincent de Paul, Bakersfield High School
Email Chain: yes, firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm totally uninterested in adjudicating arguments that endorse self harm. I won't auto-vote against you but if someone you're debating asks me to stop the debate I will. If I end up voting for you, you will not like your points.
Things like wipeout/spark/other impact turns or like "death k" are a little different than this category for me and you can still read those types of hypothetical impact turns as they don't feel the same as [self harm good].
You will receive a speaker point bump if you give your final rebuttal without the use of a laptop. I will give higher points to speeches with errors/pauses/inconsistencies etc. where the speaker debates off their flows than speeches that sound crystal clear and perfect but are delivered without the speaker looking up from their computer screen.
Do what you do best. Giving speeches you're comfortable with is almost certainly a better path to victory than attempting to adapt to any of this stuff below.
Debate is an activity about persuasion and communication. If I can't understand your argument because what you are saying because you are unclear, haven't explained it, or developed it into a full argument-claim, warrant, impact, it likely won't factor in my decision.
The winner will nearly always be the team able to identify the central question of the debate first and most clearly trace how the development of their argument means they're ahead on that central question.
Virtually nothing you can possibly say or do will offend me [with the new above caveat] if you can't beat a terrible argument you probably deserve to lose.
Another new thing - my favorite debates are ones where the affirmative defends a topical example of the resolution (how you interpret the words in the resolution are up to you, but in this scenario you would defend a change from the status quo and defend the implications of your change w/either a traditionally topical plan or a well thought out and carded counter-interpretation) - the negative then criticizes the representations, justifications, philosophy, ethics, or method of the plan and make arguments about whether I should weigh the plan or prioritize something else first. Obviously you shouldn't try to over-adapt and do this if its not your thing, but well executed policy v K debates with lots of research, examples, and high quality evidence will be rewarded with extremely high points for all four participants.
newer - I don't judge many non-framework debates anymore. I tend to vote neg when the neg wins clash is the biggest/most portable impact + explanation for how it improves over the year as a result of their interp and access aff offense via TVA or SSD. I tend to vote AFF when they win an impact turn to the end result of clash alongside robust answers to the NEG ballot can't access that offense args. I think 2NCs that lack an explanation of how 2nd and 3rd level testing occurs under their interp and changes over the year, with examples, lacks credibility when going for only clash matters (you can maybe win the debate on a different terminal impact, but lately I haven't really voted on other ones). Fairness is both an internal link and an impact. Debate is a game but its also so much more. You can persuade me to think one way or the other in any given debate and I've learned to love judging these debates because I often learn new things about the activity and its potential.
older - but not un-true
I find myself voting negative a lot on procedural fairness a lot, even though I don't think this is the most persuasive version of T. The reason is that K affs seem to have a lot of trouble deciding if they want to go for the middle ground or just impact turn--pick a strategy and stick to it 1AC-2AR and you're more likely to be in a good place. The block is almost always great on T, the 2NR almost always forgets to do terminal impact calculus. Testing arguments become much more persuasive to me when you give specific examples for how those would occur. What neg args would you be able to read against a potential TVA? Why is it good for the 2AC to research those positions, how would you researching answers to their answers be beneficial? A lot of this stuff just gets assumed and I think that a lot of repetitiveness from most framework 2NCs can be substituted for this kind of depth early in the debate. 2NRs sometimes seem to spend so much time on why they access AFF lit base/impacts that they don't end up extending a terminal impact or external offense at all. I think it's difficult to win a debate when you basically go for a CP w/o a net benefit.
-spamming permutations, particular ones that are intrinsic, without a text and with no explanation isn't a complete argument. [insert perm text fine, insert counter plan text is not fine].
-if evenly debated, better for textual competition is silly
-instead of saying "logical limited intrinsicness," say what it is you mean by that specifically
-pretty neg on "if it competes, its legitimate." Aff can win these debates by explaining why theory and competition should be separated and then going for just one in the 2ar. the more muddled you make this, the better it usually is for the neg.
-non-resolutional theory is rarely if ever a reason to reject the team. Generally don't think its a reason to reject the argument either.
-I'm becoming increasingly poor for conditionality bad as a reason to reject the team. This doesn't mean you shouldn't say in the 2ac why its bad but I've yet to see a speech where the 2AR convinced me the debate has been made irredeemably unfair or un-educational due to the status of counter plans. I think its possible I'd be more convinced by the argument that winning condo is bad means that the neg is stuck with all their counter plans and therefore responsible for answering any aff offense to those positions. This can be difficult to execute/annoying to do, but do with that what you will.
-affs usually lose these by forgetting about the case, negs usually lose these when they don't contextualize links to the 1ac. If you're reading a policy aff that clearly links, I'll be pretty confused if you don't go impact turns/case outweighs.
-link specificity is important - I don't think this is necessarily an evidence thing, but an explanation thing - lines from 1AC, examples, specific scenarios are all things that will go a long way
-these are almost always just framework debates these days but debaters often forget to explain the implications winning their interpretation has on the scope of competition. framework is an attempt to assign roles for proof/rejoinder and while many of you implicitly make arguments about this, the more clear you can be about those roles, the better.
-i'm less likely to think "extinction outweighs, 1% risk" is as good as you think it is, most of the time the team reading the K gives up on this because they for some reason think this argument is unbeatable, so it ends up mattering in more rfds than it should
I have been judging LD for a year now. The policy section all applies here.
Tech over truth but, there's a limit - likely quite bad for tricks - arguments need a claim, warrant and impact to be complete. Dropped arguments are important if you explain how they implicate my decision. Dropped arguments are much less important when you fail to explain the impact/relevance of said argument.
RVIs - no, never, literally don't. 27 ceiling. Scenario: 1ar is 4 minutes of an RVI, nr drops the rvi, I will vote negative within seconds of the timer ending.
Policy/K - both great - see above for details.
Phil - haven't judged much of this yet, this seems interesting and fine, but again, arguments need a claim, warrant and impact to be complete arguments.
Arguments communicated and understood by the judge per minute>>>>words mumbled nearly incomprehensibly per minute.
Unlikely you'll convince me the aff doesn't get to read a plan for topicality reasons. K framework is a separate from this and open to debate, see policy section for details.
If you read cards they must be sent out via email chain with me attached or through file share prior to the speech. If you reference a piece of evidence that you haven't sent out prior to your speech, fine, but I won't count it as being evidence. You should never take time outside of your prep time to exchange evidence - it should already have been done.
"Paraphrasing" as a substitute for quotation or reading evidence is a bad norm. I won't vote on it as an ethics violation, but I will cap your speaker points at a 27.5.
I realize some of you have started going fast now, if everyone is doing that, fine. However, adapting to the norms of your opponents circuit - i.e. if they're debating slowly and traditionally and you do so as well, will be rewarded with much higher points then if you spread somebody out of the room, which will be awarded with very low points even if you win.
Debated 4 years at Desert Vista high school
Senior at Baylor
Although I don't really think paradigms are that useful, I'll try my best to summarize some of my thoughts about debate down below.
I was a K debater most of high school and all of college. While I pretty much read and am comfortable with a lot of literature my research practices tend to focus more towards Baudrillard, Bataille, Psychoanalysis, James, and a variety of other nonsensical positions. While I am more fluent in these positions know that just holds you a higher threshold of doing it well. While links to the plan are nice, I don't really think it is that necessary. Personally don't think you need to win an alt if there is sufficient framing.
K vs Policy
Judge instruction is def a necessity in these debates, in order for neg teams to win these debates usually need to win a turn to the scholarship presented by the affirmative, or winning that the plan worsens the impact that outweighs and turns aff. Affs def should be able to defend the ideological underpinnings of the affirmative so in these debates don't be afraid to read your 5000 heg good cards. I find these debates quite interesting.
K v K aff
These can easily be the best and the worst for me, make sure to spend time explaining your theory of power and how it interacts with your opponents. I think the biggest thing for Affs in these debates is being able to clearly explain "solvency" as well as your method/theoretical approach/alternative. I think presumption is often under utilized in these debates and affs often dismiss it too quickly.
K aff vs FW
Honestly indifferent and don't have too many predispositions towards these debates, so if this is your jam go for it. I find a lot of times in these debates both teams need more explanation of there model and how it would function in debate. I will vote on procedural fairness just know I am more persuaded by the skills/education side of impacts.
While I am most comfortable with K debate def fine with this as well just make sure to not use too many topic buzzwords as I haven't judged too many of these debates on this topic. Def fine with pretty much anything you want to read so go ahead and read your extremely contrived process CP just know I would prefer more judge instruction in final rebutalls.I like T and find those debates interesting as well.
Other Random Thoughts
Speaks: I find myself giving slightly higher speaks than average
I don't really take myself seriously so feel free not to take yourself that seriously either.
Been involved with the game in some way since 2008, do as you wish and I shall evaluate it in the way that I feel requires the least interference from myself.
Put me on the chain please: email@example.com, for the most part I do not look at the documents other than some cursory glances during prep time if a card intrigues me. I still may ask for specific cards at the end of the debate so I do not need to sort through each document, I appreciate it in advance.
I believe that debate is a communication activity with an emphasis on persuasion. If you are not clear or have not extended all components of an argument (claim/warrant/implication) it will not factor into my decision.
I flow on paper, it is how I was taught and I think it helps me retain more information and be more present in debates. Given that I would appreciate yall slowing down and giving me pen time on counterplan texts and theory arguments (as well as permutations).
The most important thing in debates for me is to establish a framework for how (and why) I should evaluate impacts. I am often left with two distinct impacts/scenarios at the end of the debate without any instruction on how to assess their validity vis-à-vis one another or which one to prioritize. The team that sets this up early in the debate and filtering the rebuttals through it often gets my ballot. I believe that this is not just true of “clash” debates but is (if not even more) an important component of debates where terminal impacts are the same but their scenarios are not (ie two different pathways to nuclear war/extinction).
While I think that debate is best when the affirmative is interacting with the resolution in some way I have no sentiment about how this interaction need to happen nor a dogmatic stance that 1AC’s have a relation to the resolution. I have voted for procedural fairness and have also voted for the impact turns. Despite finding myself voting more and more for procedural fairness I am much more persuaded by fairness as an internal link rather than terminal impact. Affirmative’s often beat around the bush and have trouble deciding if they want to go for the impact turn or the middle ground, I think picking a strategy and going for it will serve you best. A lot of 2NRs squander very good block arguments by not spending enough time (or any) at the terminal impact level, please don’t be those people. I also feel as if most negative teams spend much time reading definitions in the 1NC and do not utilize them later in the debate even absent aff counter definitions which seems like wasted 1NC time. While it does not impact how I evaluate the flow I do reward teams with better speaker points when they have unique and substantive framework takes beyond the prewritten impact turn or clash good blocks that have proliferated the game (this is also something you should be doing to counter the blocktastic nature of modern framework debates).
It would behove many teams and debaters to extend their evidence by author name in the 2NR/2AR. I tend to not read a large amount of evidence and think the trend of sending out half the 1AC/1NC in the card document is robbing teams of a fair decision, so narrowing in and extending the truly relevant pieces of evidence by author name increases both my willingness to read those cards and my confidence that you have a solid piece of evidence for a claim rather than me being asked to piece together an argument from a multitude of different cards.
Prep time ends when the email has been sent (if for some reason you still use flash drives then when the drive leaves the computer). In the past few years so much time is being spent saving documents, gathering flows, setting up a stand etc. that it has become egregious and ultimately feel limits both decision time and my ability to deliver criticism after the round. Limited prep is a huge part of what makes the activity both enjoyable and competitive. I said in my old philosophy that policing this is difficult and I would not go out of my way to do it, however I will now take the extra time beyond roadmaps/speech time into account when I determine speaker points.
I find myself frustrated in debates where the final rebuttals are only about theory. I do not judge many of these debates and the ones I have feel like there is an inevitable modicum of judge intervention. While I have voted for conditonality bad several times, personally my thought on condo is "don't care get better."
Plan-text writing has become a lost art and should invite negative advocacy attrition and/or substantive topicality debates.
Feel free to email or ask any questions before or after the debate. Above all else enjoy the game you get to play and have fun.
Competitor-- Winston Churchill (2008-2012)
Past: Jenks (2012-2015) Reagan (2015-2017) Winston Churchill (2018-2023)
Currently: Texas (2017-present)
Assistant Debate Coach Dripping Springs High School
2a/1n UH debate 2016-19
email chain- firstname.lastname@example.org
I do not watch the news.
I have infinite patience with novices. So just do your best to learn, and have fun; welcome to debate!
Hegel updates just dropped: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/29/manuscript-treasure-trove-may-offer-fresh-understanding-of-hegel
On T be persuasive, this will serve you well. Most important to me is how you frame the round. If structural violence outweighs make it clear. If ontology is a pre-requisite to topical discussion make it clear, and so on. I do not want to adjudicate a round where both sides "pass each other like two ships in the night." Weigh your arguments, compare evidence, indict the ideas and arguments your opponents put forth.
I am most comfortable judging kritikal debate. As a debater I have debated the kritik explicitly. I say this not to make anyone think I am biased, but because I think y'all deserve to know that the finer techne of policy throw-downs are not my strong suit. That being said in K Aff v. Framework debates I am about 50/50 regarding my voting record. Something, something, the duality of being ya know?
Slow down in rebuttals. If you are going blazing fast I will miss something and I will not do the work for you on the flow. If you are fast and clear you should be fine. I need a clear impact scenario in the 2nr/2ar. Tell me the story of your impact(s); whether it be nuclear war, limits/ground, education, or settler violence. Be sure to weigh it in comparison with the impact scenario(s) of your opponents. In short, do the work for me, do not make me intervene to reach a decision.
I am a firm believer that my role as a judge is to be impartial and adjudicate fairly. I do not harbor ideological biases. I will flow what you say and weigh it in comparison with what your opponent says. Be polite, be friendly, don't waste anyone's time. Speaking honestly, these things are far more likely to influence my mood than whatever arguments you read.
Last but not least, have fun! Debate is a great place to express yourself and talk about really interesting and pertinent things; enjoy your time in debate because it is quite fleeting!
Public Forum (Updated for TFA State 2023)
TLDR: Tech>truth, I keep a rigorous flow, I appreciate good analytics, and I hate theory in PF. I do not care if you sit or stand. If you want to call for a card go for it; BUT PLEASE do this efficiently. Do not try to spread, but going quick is fine.
Long version: I have judged a lot of rounds in Public Forum this year. There are a few things that you need to know to win my ballot:
The teams who have routinely gotten my ballot have done a great job collapsing the debate down to a few key points. After this, they have compared specific warrants, evidence, and analytics and explained why their arguments are better, why their opponents arguments are worse, and why their arguments being better means they win the debate. This may sound easy, however, it is not. Trust your instincts, debate fearlessly, take chances, and do not worry about whatever facial expression I have. I promise you do not have any idea where my thoughts are.
Crossfires: Use this time wisely. Use it to clarify, use it to create ethos, use it to get concessions, use it to make their arguments look bad and yours good. But use it. I think answers given in crossfire are binding in the debate. If you get a big concession use it in your speeches.
Framework(s): I like these debates. Reading a framework IE structural violence or explaining via an observation how the debate should be framed is helpful because it clarifies for me how to evaluate the debate. I like this in debates, it makes things easier for me. If you are reading a framework be sure to extend it in every speech and use it as a lens to explain your impacts in the debate/weigh your impacts against your opponents.
Speed: I think PF should be more accessible to the general public than policy. With that being said I have not seen a team go too fast yet.
Theory: This is silly. Disclosure theory is silly. Do not read it in front of me. Do not read any theory arguments in front of me. I will not vote on them. With that being said arguing that your opponents are not fitting within the bounds of the resolution is a good argument to make if it applies. If you make this argument and have warrants and impacts do not be afraid to go for it in final focus.
Non-traditional stuff: I enjoy creative takes on the topic, unique cases, and smart argumentation. I do think that PF should always revolve around the topic, I also think the topic is broader than most do. That being said avoid jargon. You can make a lot of creative arguments in this event, do so while avoiding weird debate jargon. No this does not contradict the "theory" section above. I will weigh claims about someone not fitting within the bounds of the resolution vs explanations about why a team is satisfying the burden of the resolution. Whoever does the better debating will win this question in the debate.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: I am a firm believer that my role as a judge is to be impartial and adjudicate fairly. I do not harbor ideological biases. I will flow what you say and weigh it in comparison with what your opponent says. Be polite, be friendly, don't waste anyone's time. Speaking honestly, these things are far more likely to influence my mood than whatever arguments you read.
I was a finalist at the TOC in this event. This means I am looking for a lot of specific things to rank high on my ballot.
Clash over everything. If you rehash I am not ranking you.
Authors/sponsors: get into the specifics of the Bill: funding, implementation, agent of action, date of implementation. I appreciate a good authorship/sponsorship speech.
1st neg: Lay out the big neg args, also clash the author/sponsor.
Everyone else needs to clash, clash, clash. Specifically reference the Rep's you are refuting, and refute their specific arguments.
Leave debate jargon for other events.
Ask lots of questions. Good questions. No easy questions to help your side out.
This is as much a speaking event as it is a debate event. Do not over-read on your legal pad (do not use anything else to speak off of), fluency breaks/over gesturing/swaying are distracting, and be sure to use intros, transitions, and conclusions effectively.
I loath breaking cycle. If it happens those speaking on whatever side there are speeches on need to crystallize, clash, or make new arguments.
I appreciate decorum, role-playing as congress-people, and politicking.
1 good speech is better than 100 bad ones.
Wear a suit and tie/ power suit. Do not say "at the leisure of everyone above me" that's weird. My criticisms may seem harsh. I promise they are not intended to be mean. I just want to make you better.
Presiding Officer: To rank in my top 3 you need to be perfect. That being said as long as you do not catastrophically mess up precedence or something like that I will rank you top 8 (usually). The less I notice your presence in the round the better.
BOOMER thoughts (WIP):
Outside of policy/LD I think you should dress professionally.
In cross-x you should be looking at the judge not at your opponents. You are trying to convince the judge to vote for you not your opponents.
At the conclusion of a debate you should shake hands with your opponents and say good debate. If you are worried about COVID you can at least say good debate.
You should have your cases/blocks saved to your desktop in case the WIFI is bad. You should also have a flash drive just in case we have to go back to the stone age of debate.
"Is anyone not ready?" is not epic.
"Is everyone ready?" is epic.
The phrases "taking running prep" or "taking 'insert x seconds of prep'" should not exist.
"Taking prep" is all you need.
"Starting on my first word" umm duh that's when the speech starts. Just start after asking if everyone is ready.
email@example.com - Yes, I want to be on the email chain. -- please format the subject as "Tournament Name -- Round # -- Aff School AF vs. Neg School NG." Example: "TOC -- Finals -- MBA BM vs. WY MM."
If you have any questions before the round starts, please don't hesitate to ask.
LD specific stuff is at the very bottom.
Hebron '20. Did CX all 4 years. Read K affs/negs sophomore-senior year. 2A Soph, 2N Junior, 2A Senior.
UT Austin '24
Spreading - Yes
Open CX - Yes
No Plan Text (Varsity/JV)- Yes
No Plan Text (Novice) - No
Kritiks - Yes
Disclosure Theory -- Ideally, you'll have some proof of mis/lack of disclosure to make things easier, but I'm willing to vote on it.
Cards in Body of the Email - You get 1 per speech given. If there are more cards than that, then you put them in a document.
If you open-source and do round reports with the details of the 1AC, 1NC, and 2NR, tell me right when the round ends, and I'll increase your speaks by .2 after checking.
I do not keep track of your prep unless you explicitly ask me to and there's some reason you can't do it.
I conceptualize much of debate as who is winning the "framing issue." How do I evaluate offense, what do I prioritize, post fiat or pre-fiat? Answer this question of debate for me, and it'll give you a strong cushion to supercharge your line by line and gives me very simple ways to conceptualize my RFD.
I'll vote on anything, but some things I'm more comfortable evaluating than others. My debate history was entirely Ks, but don't over-adapt to me.
Reconcile what impacts come first or how to weigh them relative to your opponent's.
Speed: In online debate, I simply can not understand unclear spreading as I can in person. This is specifically towards all my 1As out there trying to blitz as much as possible. Sometimes my RFD will just be a very disappointing "sorry, I couldn't hear what was said in [insert speech] because it was too unclear, so I couldn't evaluate the next speech's central argument push" It sucks. I really hate giving that RFD. If you hate listening to it, then be more cognizant of your clarity and slow down before it's an issue. Better I hear a few clear arguments than almost none of a lot of arguments.
If you say something racist or sexist, I reserve the right to drop you and go on about my day.
Look, it's a DA; just extend it properly, please.
Ideally, do not read a soft left DA versus a plan text aff.
Clever counter-plans and PICS are fun. Generics are also fun if run well. I probably lean neg on most CP theory except for consult and solvency advocate.
If a CP text just has "do the aff" or something similar instead of explicitly saying the portion of the aff that the CP is doing, the Aff team can just say "They don't know how to write a plan text. They don't fiat an action - textuality matters so they don't get the part of the CP that claims to do the aff" and that will be sufficient for the aff to win that portion of the CP, or maybe all of it depending on the context.
4-minute overviews make me cry. Case-specific links are great. Generic links are fine and can definitely be won.
I have the most experience with Settler Colonialism, Afropess, Virilio, Heidegger, Cap, and Black Nihilism. However, I also have worked with Ks like Agamben, Baudrillard, Foucault, Security, Queer Theory, Psychoanalysis, etc. That does not mean I will do the work to fill in the analysis for you.
Unfortunately, most framework debates in the 2NR/2AR often become meaningless with a lack of clash. At that point, I functionally default to weigh the aff, but the K gets its links in whatever form they are. If this isn't strategic for you, put the work in and win FW by answering their stuff and not just extending yours.
I'll vote on all the cheaty K tricks like floating PIKS or all in on FW. Similarly, I'll vote on hard right approaches to answering Ks, whether that means going all-in on heg good/impact turning the K.
Root cause arguments are not links. If your only link is just a root cause, then I won't be voting negative.
I seem to judge a fair amount of Wilderson/Warren debates, so here are a few things.
On the state good side -- just winning a list of reforms isn't enough for me. I need to hear a clear counter-theorization of how the world operates and comparative claims to take out social death/equivalent claims. Reforms prove that counter-theorization but don't make a theory itself. This doesn't require reinventing the wheel. Think "progress is possible. institutions are malleable tools of humanity and biases can be overcome."
On the Wilderson/Warren side -- you need to justify your theory of the world rather than rehashing debate's greatest hits. Saying "Jim crow to prison industrial complex" repeatedly does not make a full argument. Ideally, I'll hear some thesis-level explanation, like a few seconds on social death or what the libidinal economy is, rather than just "extend the conceded libidinal economy." The "Jim Crow to PIC" explanation requires the thesis-level explanation to be true.
For both teams -- I've found that I decide most debates by who undercovers ontology/libidinal economy the most. Many arguments on the flow come secondary to winning this and applying it to those other things, so identify what you can afford to give up to make my decision easier. You can still win ontology/metaphysics and lose the debate, but there are fewer scenarios where that's true.
University K's that PIK out of the university or debate suck. Do with that information as you will.
For the negative - I am a bad judge for going for fairness as a terminal impact. So, I'll probably need some external benefit to fairness like clash. Don't read this as me being dogmatically against voting on fairness. Instead, I need an incredibly robust explanation of fairness with significant case mitigation to vote on it. A couple of conditions that the neg ideally meets at least one of for me to vote on fairness as the 2NR terminal impact include:
1. Dropped TVA/Neg is clearly ahead on TVA that solves all of the Aff's offense.
2. The aff has failed to explain a counter-model for what debate is/should be and concedes that debate is only a game with no implication past that.
3. Significant explanation for how fairness implicates and turns aff offense at the level of the aff's explanation, not just generic claims.
4. External offense not within that framework flow that impact turns the Aff's value claims and implicates the Aff's fw offense.
Independent of all that, fairness is a great controlling IL to filter things, so definitely leverage it as a part of other impacts if you go that route.
Ks vs the K aff are cool. A good debate here is realistically one of the top places I'll give high speaks along with impact turns. I default to the aff gets a perm, but feel free to win they don't. Just winning your theory of power isn't sufficient for me to vote negative, but it definitely supercharges link arguments.
Impact turns are great. Feel free just to drop 10 scenarios and challenge the fundamental assumptions of the 1AC.
DAs -- if a K team is trying to be tricky and give you topic DAs. Feel free to go for the DA and CP, but make sure you have case mitigation or some framing device.
For the aff -
You need to either win a) your model is better than theirs or b) their model is really, really bad if you don't have a c/i.
I find myself voting negative in these debates when the Aff fails to give me a framing argument to filter negative offense.
Be ready to defend your solvency mechanism if it is attacked. I need a coherent story about what my voting aff does. Do I signify a good political strategy, does my ballot literally break the system (lol), does it change mindsets, etc. Presumption is persuasive, so don't disrespect it by under-covering it.
I'm not the judge for rounds where you and the opponent agree to have a "discussion" and talk about important issues outside the traditional speech times of debate. These things are likely important, but I don't want to have to decide on something like that. It requires too much judge intervention for my liking. Strike me if this is something you plan on doing. If you do not strike me and this type of round happens, then I am flipping a coin. Heads for the aff. Tails for the neg.
I am not anywhere near the best judge for T. If your A strat is Topicality, then I'd recommend striking me or having me hover around a 4. If you are forced to go for T in the 2NR/answering it the 2AR, then hold my hand through the RFD and explain how things should interact.
If you're put in a position where T is your only option, don't worry and keep the things below in mind.
I default to competing interpretations.
Give me a case list, especially if it's a weirder interp.
Go slower than you would with a DA/K/CP. I find it harder to flow T than other off-cases at high speed.
Make sure you tell me why I should vote for you rather than just have floating offense.
Weird and Random Technical Things:
Speech times are a rule, while things like topicality are a norm. That means I'm willing to entertain a debate about the benefits of topicality/FW vs. a K aff. If you speak over the timer, I will not flow or evaluate what you are saying, even if it is a part of your argumentation.
No, the neg will never get a 3NR.
I greatly dislike completely new 1AR cards if the argument was made in the 1NC and dropped in the 2AC. There is a big gray area here for what it means to be "dropped," but you should be able to realize what is abusive or not.
Off-case positions should be clearly labeled in the 1NC.
I'll generally evaluate inserted rehighlighting of the opponent's evidence. There is obviously a point where a team could abuse this -- don't do that. But, I think that teams should be punished for under highlighting/mis highlighting their evidence. Due to time trade-offs/competitive incentives, I think that forcing you to verbally re-read the evidence punishes you more. Essentially, one or two key inserted rehighlightings is fine, but if you're inserting the entire 1ac re-highlighted, that's not ok.
Don't say "brief off-time roadmap." Just say roadmap, please.
The only thing I want to hear in your roadmap is the name of off-case positions and specific case pages. If there's a large overview, then maybe add that to the roadmap. "Impact calculus" happens within one of those flows, so just signpost in speech rather than making it a part of the roadmap.
Please don't send pdfs. Verbatim > Unverbatimized Word > Google Docs > Pdfs.
I am not evaluating tricks.
In order of args I'm best suited to judge (best to worst) -- K, LARP, Phil, Tricks.
Almost everything in the policy section applies to LD, so go for clarification there.
Debated for Winston Churchill High School in LD and some policy. Debate at UT Austin in policy. Camps worked at: VBI, Baylor, UTNIF.
Please have the email chain ready as soon as both opponents meet before the round.
I'm pretty open to whatever you want to do and am very open to questions considering my paradigm.
A few thoughts:
- I like debates that are about the topic. Even if it is slightly tangential to the topic, I'm open to it. Find debates filled with vacuous theory arguments or paragraphs of spikes/preempts are not in my interest.
- Don't look much at the doc unless necessary. I'm only flowing the words that you speak.
- Please slow down when reading analytics. Many speed through them and I am unable to catch every word.
- I'm pretty expressive. My face is probably a good indicator of where the debate is going.
- If I'm absolutely unsure of what is going on/no arguments have been made, I'm most likely going to err neg.
- It may not seem like it, but I pay close attention to CX and auto to CX being binding.
**2022 LONGHORN CLASSIC UPDATE**
Email please - firstname.lastname@example.org
I have now lived on a farming commune for the past two years. I have judged maybe 5 debates in that span, and zero debates on this topic. Do not expect me to know things about what is happening
I will not vote on things that happened outside of the debate I am judging.
Since I’ve been out of the activity, I think two main things have happened to my judging philosophy
- I have gotten worse for the neg in framework debates. I increasingly find the negs framework standards silly and am beginning to think more and more that framework is an argumentative crutch that prevents people from actually trying interesting and/or responsive strategies. Yes framework is often an impact turn to the 1AC which like, fine I guess. And yes, sometimes the aff doesn't defend anything at all, or sometimes is just “this is how I make a home in debate” which like, how do you negate that? But a shocking amount of the time, in front of me, you will be better off just debating the aff as it has presented itself in the 1AC. I do not want to watch you go for framework. I will still vote for neg in these debates, just not as easily as I did before.
- I have gotten worse for the aff in K v K debates. Your aff doesn't do anything? I'm excited to vote on presumption. Your aff plays some music and reads poems? I'm excited to vote for any of the thousands of impact turns to poetics, or a fun PIK out of the music. I think that the neg has a lower threshold for me in KvK debates than most people seem to think. I want to watch you go for something that is not framework. I will still vote aff in these debates, just not as easily as I did before.
"No mask, no win. You can only have your mask off when giving a speech. Masks should be on for CX, prep, and all other times we're in the same room. Otherwise, you will take a big L 25. Don't like it? Great, do your prefs." - Yao Yao Chen
I've been out of judging for a year as I have been living on a farming commune, and over that time a couple of things have happened
- I have gotten worse for the neg in framework debates. I increasingly find the negs framework standards silly and am beginning to think more and more that framework is an argumentative crutch that prevents people from actually trying interesting and/or responsive strategies. Yes sometimes framework is an impact turn to the 1AC which like, fine I guess. And yes, sometimes the aff doesn't defend anything at all in which case you need to force them to actually take a stance on something. But a shocking amount of the time, in front of me, you will be better off just debating the aff as it has presented itself in the 1AC. I do not want to watch you go for framework. I will still vote for neg in these debates, just not as easily as I did before.
- I have gotten worse for the aff in K v K debates. Your aff doesn't do anything? I'm excited to vote on presumption. Your aff plays some music and reads poems? I'm excited to vote for any of the thousands of impact turns to poetics, or a fun PIK out of the music. I think that the neg has a lower threshold for me in KvK debates than most people seem to think. I want to watch you go for something that is not framework. I will still vote aff in these debates, just not as easily as I did before. Just answer the aff. Seriously, have y'all heard of this thing called the cap K? Speaking of the cap K....
- There has been this trend to push beyond the whole "I will not vote on racism good" and say things like "I will not vote on climate change not real/good" Which I totally support. Now that we have opened up that gate, I am really tempted to say that "I will not vote on cap/heg good." I thought about this for a long time, and I'm not going to draw that line in the sand outright, but I am willing to say that it is going to be hard for you to win a cap good debate in front of me. I'm done trying to leave my very real political investments at the door for the sake of "the sanctity of the game" or whatever other nonsense.
Also, if you have (NON-DEBATE) questions or curiosities about any of the following feel free to reach out to me. I'd love to hear your thoughts and maybe share a few of my own, or at least help you find people more qualified to answer your questions.
Communism, prison and police abolition, pre-configurative politics, homesteading, private property, reparations, cooperative living, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, labor history, why crypto is bad, etc.
Yes I want to be on the email chain: email@example.com
**Please make the subject line of your email something that makes sense (ex: TFA State - Round 3 - Texas CM v MSU GS)**
All other things (questions, comments, speech doc requests, etc) should go to masonnmv[at]gmail[dot]com
[ONLINE DEBATE NOTES]
Please for the love of all that is good in this world update your wiki's. The community has paradoxically dramatically reduced it's wiki updating during a time of Zoom debate where it is more necessary than ever before. Seriously, what are you doing. Update your wiki. I will vote on disclosure theory.
Also please leave your camera on if possible. It's so awkward and alienating to stare at a blank screen for two hours by myself.
For other things see paradigm from last year below
[Pre-TFA State UPDATE - 2/25/2020]
Still judging only clash debates so here is a more complete framework rant
- Ideologically I slightly lean aff for reasonability reasons. In the real debate world we actual live in, (some) K affs are predictable, and (most) K affs that are in the direction of the resolution are not hard to engage with. Not only that, but ideally we all have case negs to the best teams at the tournament anyway. That being said, framework is still absolutely negative ground, and K affs are (often) impossible to pin down. Also a lot of K affs require you to spot them solvency before you can win offense which is probably not something we should have to do. Two things you should take away from that
- On the aff, defense goes a long way. The negatives fairness and limits offense is often blown way out of proportion and you should stop letting them get away with that
- On the neg, negative engagement is the easiest standard to convince me of. The 2AR will probably say "our aff is contestable because XYZ" but framework debates are questions of models not just about the aff.
- I vote aff in these debates when:
- The 2AR wins that impositions of limits are bad. I don't often find myself voting that "limits in the abstract are always terrible" but re-framing that same argument as "imposing X limit on debate is bad for Y reason" is something that I find a lot more compelling, especially when the 2NR doesn't do impact comparison and instead just asserts "but I promise limits are super great"
- The 2AR wins that their interpretation solves limits with even a small net benefit of some kind. Mostly this happens when the the aff spends a lot of time on defense (an under-utilized component of framework debates, see above), or when the 2NR rants about impacts for 5 minutes without talking about internal links.
- I vote neg in these debates when:
- The 2NR does great internal link work. I would love for the 2NR to include a section that says "their interp is A which allows for B because C which doesn't solve D because E" Doing so will force you to clearly articulate an internal link differential which is a thing I care about, while also dramatically raising the threshold the aff has to meet to win any of their defense (again, a thing I care about)
- There isn't a role for the negative under the affs interp. I believe clash is great, and the negative often gets away with telling me that they are the only ones that allow for clash to occur. Not only that but the negative often is better at telling me why the types of clash that we have under their interp is good for XYZ reason.
- I think debate is great, I wouldn't devote 100% of my non-schoolwork time to it if I didn't, so you will have a hard time convincing me that "debate is terrible, we shouldn't do it, clash is always bad in every instance" and the negative will have an easy time winning "debate can be good, you don't even have to read a plan just say something at all please"
- I find it really hard to explain why the act of reading framework in and of itself is violent or bad. Specifically, I will have a really hard time voting on "you read framework you should lose" if the 2NR doesn't go for it, and I really don't care about framework linking to X other position that you read. If you don't put framework in the 1NC the aff gets to run wild in the 2AC, and fallback positions are a thing. If you're neg you still need to answer it but don't think you have to go for framework or you're screwed because as long as you answer it I don't care that much at all.
[MID SEASON UPDATE - 12/11/2019]
- I increasingly find myself saying something like this in the RFDs "I have you saying quote: *reads exactly what I have written on my flow* in the 2NR/2AR, to me that is not a complete argument nor does it answer the explanation the other team is doing" - this might be me being picky, but just know that I have a slightly higher threshold than average for what qualifies as extending a complete argument
- I have also done this a couple of times "I have you saying quote: *reads from flow* in the 1AR/block, while the 2NR/2AR explanation is very good you have not made this into an actual argument until then"
- This is not a tech over truth claim. Truth does come before tech, but there is a minimum threshold that your truthful argument has to meet for me to feel comfortable evaluating it
- For framework, some new thoughts
- To quote Bankey: there are two framework 2ARs: 1) limits are bad, or 2) we solve limits. While there are a plethora of winning 2ARs on framework, if you don't do either of those things you are going to be in a rough spot
- If the aff is going for the "we solve limits" 2AR, the 2NR would be greatly served by having a section which says "their interp is A which allows for B because C which doesn't solve D because E" Doing so will force you to clearly articulate an internal link differential between your interp and their interp. If you can't do that in the 2NR then maybe go for a different standard.
- I still continue to only judge clash debates. I've accepted that fate by now, but know that if for some reason I'm in a policy debate I will probably not be as educated as I should be.
- Specifically, I seem to end up judging a lot of *different flavor of anti-blackness* vs *state engagement and fiat are good* debates. I can almost promise that I've heard someone make a much better version of the argument you're making and I can also promise that I'll just wish I was watching that person debate and not you when you're making that mediocre argument.
- I enjoy these debates when:
- There are examples from both sides on the ontology portion of the debate
- Each side answers the specifics of the others examples
- I hear an example I haven't heard before (examples are a trend here if that wasn't clear enough)
- You clearly know what you're talking about/look like you've actually read a book - if you know your stuff, make that clear, it makes me happy that students know things
- I DO NOT enjoy these debate when:
- You assume you're winning ontology true/not true without doing any explanation
- You sound like you're annoyed the other team exists/is making arguments (yes even if their arguments are bad you should still respect them)
- When there are only non-black people in the room and nobody talks about/seems to recognize/cares about that fact
- It's clear you are just reading blocks and don't actually know what your cards say - I will still vote for you, I'll just be upset about it and you're speaks will not be happy
[POST CAMP PARADIGM - SEPTEMBER-ISH 2019]
- Tell me how to vote and why, hold my hand as much as possible and you will be rewarded
- Your evidence quality matters a lot to me, but I won't read evidence unless I need to. Use that to your advantage, compelling and in depth evidence comparison goes a loooong way.
- If/when I call for cards I will ask for "whatever you think is important" That is NOT an invitation to send me everything you read, nor is it a promise to read everything you send me. Instead it's an opportunity to do what you should have done in the speech and tell me which cards you think I should read (that does include opponent evidence if you so choose).
- Truth over tech, you should have a warrant to prove why your truth claim is true
- Take risks and have fun. When you're engaged and having fun it makes my job more enjoyable and a happy me = better speaks
- Always happy to answer specific questions you have before the debate. The question "do you have any specific paradigms judge" (or anything along those lines) will be answered with "do whatever you want"
Framework - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:
- State good isn't offense for a framework argument, and state bad isn't offense against it - unlikely you will tell me otherwise
- Your interp isn't just a model that dictates the way debates go down, but also a research model that dictates the way we prepare for debates - you should have reasons why both in and out of round their interp is bad and yours is good
- If the aff says arms sales are bad I do not understand why winning arms sales are good is not a reason to vote neg. On the aff that should help you answer fairness/ground, on the neg that should give you another 2NR option if you so choose.
- I am more than willing to vote for intervention/heg/cap/arms sales are good. Often times I think the aff is too flippant about answering the impact turns that get read on case and the negative fails to capitalize on that.
- Increasingly I am becoming less and less of a fan of arguments that say "framework is policing/the prison/any other actually bad thing" In fact, I think that it is very dangerous to equivocate the violence that happens in a prison to the "violence" that happens when teams read framework.
- Answering the aff is not a microaggression. Neither is reading generic evidence. Debaters make bad/non-responsive arguments all the time, that's not a reason to vote them down, just a reason you don't have to spend as much time answering the argument.
Until I judge more rounds on this topic I won't have as many topic specific things to say. Please consult the previous seasons paradigm for any additional information
Yes I want to be on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tell me how to vote and why, not only will this help your chances of winning, it will also help your speaks
- I will read your evidence after the debate, not during, so the more you do the ev comparison for me during the debate the more likely I am to believe you - that being said, your evidence quality matters a lot to me, and I will read the evidence that I think is relevant while making my decision, so make sure to tell me which evidence matters
- Take risks. It makes my job a lot more fun and often pays off big. Your speaks will be rewarded for it.
- Truth over tech, and you should have a warrant to prove why your truth claim is true
- I increasingly keep judge clash debates, I have judged maybe two high level disad/cp debates since the Greenhill tournament, that means two things
- First, in clash debates I find myself leaning aff on the internal link level but neg on the impact level, I think the 2NR impact explanation sounds pretty but the internal link is dramatically under explained, and the 2AR can often be very compelling on a "you don't solve your own impact" level. The topical versions that teams are reading (mostly the generic open borders stuff) is also only really ever compelling to me in a world where the aff goes for "our discussion good" which is increasingly not the way the aff is answering framework. If your aff defends restrictions are bad and provides a mechanism for resolving (whatever that means) that then I am a fan. If your aff is just "debate is bad, fairness and clash are bad" then I am not a fan
- IF you do have me in a policy v policy debate, make sure you explain which part of the debate matters and why, and do a little bit more handle holding me through the debate in the 2NR and 2AR than you would in front of your regular policy judges as I will need to shake the rust off
Policy things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:
- Uniqueness controls the direction of the link, you will be hard pressed to persuade me otherwise
- Undecided on indefinite parole good/bad - probably lean neg on this question but haven't seen it really debated out enough yet
- The topic is LPR - way more thoughts on this later, but unlikely you convince me your non-LPR aff is T
- If your CP has a solvency advocate (each plank, together) I think it's almost impossible to lose to any theory argument
- Presumption flips aff if the CP is a larger change from the status quo than the aff is (fully explained in the CPs section at the bottom)
- The 1AR is a constructive, you should probably read some cards
Clash of civ things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:
- Fairness is an internal link, but negative engagement and clash are very compelling impacts
- State good isn't offense for a FW argument, and state bad isn't offense against it - unlikely you will tell me otherwise
- If the aff says and defends that restrictions on immigration are bad I find it harder to win a limits impact but a little easier to win a topical version
- Your interp isn't just a model that dictates the way debates go down, but also a research model that dictates the way we prepare for debates - you should have reasons why both in and out of round their interp is bad and yours is good
- Ericson is descriptive of debate 15 years ago, not prescriptive of what debate should be. I think this makes it a little difficult to win a predictability internal link, you still can just make sure you do slightly more work than you normally would here for me
- Negative engagement/clash is an impact but probably doesn't solve the affs education offense because the neg wants to be able to go for the temporary CP and base, instead it is good as a critical thinking model
K v K things - these are my initial thoughts, all of these (unless otherwise stated) are things I think are true but I can be convinced otherwise if you out debate someone on it:
- I don't judge a lot of these debates, but when these debates are good, I highly enjoy them. The more specific you get with your links/alt explanation/link turns/alt offense the happier I will be
- The aff gets a perm - "this is a method debate" is not a real world thing to do, only way I really change my mind here is if the aff drops this argument
- You are not responsible for other things your author wrote that you haven't read, but you are responsible for other things/theories that the parts you have read rely on for their theorization (your psychoanalysis aff probably has to defend the Lack even if you don't make any of your arguments about it)
- Examples are the key to winning the link v link turn debate for me
- Just because you read a Zizek card doesn't mean you can just make any argument you want - your theory should be consistent and you should tie your arguments back to your evidence, I will read your evidence after the debate while making my decision
Feel free to email me with any questions - masonnmv[at]gmail[dot]com - yes this is different from the email above, please use each for its intended purpose.
After that quick and dirty, here is my rant about the topic as I've seen it so far. Increasingly on this topic I find myself becoming more and more frustrated with the trajectory of affirmatives who have decided to read a plan. Two large complaints that I have:
- Your aff should be LPR
- You should specify which restrictions you reduce
Let me unpack those two things
First, LPR. I feel very strongly that the aff has to be for the purpose of LPR and only for the purpose of LPR. I know that generally the community is moving in this direction but I feel like it’s worthwhile for me to talk about this because I find myself more ideological about this than others I’ve talked to. I think that “legal immigration” most clearly means “admission to the United States for the purpose of long term permanent residence” and anything that isn’t that is fairly clearly negative ground. There are two versions of the refugee/asylum/T/U visas affs that are mainly being read now.
The first type just makes it easier to get those visas. This is the “determine that environmentally-displaced persons constitute ‘refugees’” aff’s. Or the “remove the requirement to cooperate with law enforcement” aff. These affs, for me, and almost impossibly defensible. Those people that enter under those new expanded rules are not permanent residents, nor are they guaranteed to be permanent residents. The most popular counter-interp for these affs, “legal immigration is path to lpr” to me is poor at best. It begs the question of what a “path” is, which I have yet to find a good definition of. For example, H1-B’s might be considered a path to LPR because the majority of people here on H1-Bs apply for transfer of status and become LPR. Without a good definition of what a “path to LPR” means I have no idea how that interp can set a limit on the topic that excludes non-immigrant and temporary visas. With these affs they all have the similar we meet/reasonability story that happens in the 2AR which goes something like “but our visas end up with LPR and aren’t temporary because they eventually become permanent so please don’t vote neg” But this we meet argument is not even close to compelling. In my mind this is the negatives argument, and at best for you is just the same as saying “we are effectually topical so don’t vote neg” The plan doesn’t immediately give people LPR, and I don’t think that our model of debate is defensible.
The second type of that aff changes those visas and makes them LPR. These are the “for the purpose of long term permanent residence” affs. These are think are more defensible than the type above, and end up raising a lot of interesting T questions, but I would prefer it if they weren’t topical. The problem that I have with these affs is that they just make any non-topical group topical. I have no idea why the plan can fiat that they give refugees immediate LPR and why they would not be able to fiat that H1-Bs are LPR (I keep using H1-Bs because I feel like everyone agrees that those are by definition not topical). The problem that I run into when thinking about these types of affs though is that I don’t think that there is a good interp that clearly limits these types of affs out. I think that there are two ways you can try and limit out these affs. The first, is a definition of restrictions that would say that making a new LPR isn’t reducing a restriction. But I think that a compelling answer to that is probably that the restriction that exists on getting LPR is the 1 year requirement which the plan would eliminate. I think that this could go either way, but that’s the point of debate. The second way you can limit this out is to say that a reduction has to be pre-existing. The aff increases the cap from 0 to 200 LPR refugee visas, which is technically a reduction of a cap but it doesn’t increase a currently existing cap. That coupled with a literature argument about there not being any lit to contest reducing restrictions that don’t officially exist to me feels weak but doable. In general this is the debate the aff wants to have in front of me, because despite the fact I don’t want these affs to be topical I don’t know how to safely limit them out without just arbitrarily deciding that they shouldn’t be topical.
Second, specification. This one really gets me going but comes up in debates less. The topic is not immigration good/bad. The topic is restrictions good/bad. The number of affs with plan texts that resemble “Plan: The USfg should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration for artificial intelligence professionals.” is sad but not surprising. Look I get it, you don’t want to debate PICs. But come on, you have to actually defend something. The best debates on this topic are not “should we let in AI professionals to the US?’ but instead centered around how we should do that. And unless you want every debate to be indefinite parole vs LPR then it would benefit everyone if you just specified. If you read a plan, and a solvency advocate that goes with it, that defends a specific restriction(s) then I am very comfortable inflating your speaks AND telling the neg that their generic CP/links don’t assume the specific mechanism of the aff. If you do not do that (read a real plan that is), I am very comfortable voting neg on a circumvention argument. Let’s be real, you are reading your plan like that because you think it has strategic value, and truthfully, it does. And with that in mind I think that there has to be some incentive for the aff to foster clash and read a real plan text so if you are aff in front of me and you don’t read a real plan, make sure you spend more time than you want to answering vagueness arguments/case circumvention arguments. I am also more comfortable with cheating CPs against affs with vague plans, and dramatically less comfortable with cheating CPs against affs that specify.
I understand that the two above statements might make you slightly uncomfortable but I feel like I should put that out there just so that everyone is on the same page.
I am a first year out. I debated for four years at the Liberal Arts and Science academy and currently attend the University of Texas in Austin. I have always been a 2A so that does actively shape the way that I think about/approach debate.
Short and sweet – Yes put me on the email chain - email@example.com. I lean more truth over tech in the sense that I will not vote on something that can't explain to the other team at the end of the debate, but that doesn’t mean you can just drop things and hope I ignore them. Do what you do best. Seriously. I would rather judge a good debate on something I am less familiar with than a bad debate any day. The more you can write my ballot in the 2NR/2AR, and tell me what I am voting on and why, the more likely you are to win but also the more likely I am to give you better speaks. Make my job easy and you will be rewarded. I will be somewhat/very expressive during the debate, and I will flow cross ex
Any specific questions feel free to email me: masonnmv [at] gmail [dot] com - yes I realize that this is a different email from the one above, please use each email for its intended purpose.
Now what you are probably here for:
K affs and Framework – I read mostly traditional affs throughout my career but I did read a variety of different K affs with moderate levels of success. I would like to think that I will do my very best to evaluate the debate in front of me but there are a couple of thoughts that I have about framework debates in general that will always be a part of my decision calculus no matter how hard I try and be objective.
First, my senior year my partner and I went for framework against every single K aff that we debated except for one, against which we went for the global/local K. I think that K affs tend to not meet their own interp more often than you would think, and get away with it, and in the instances in which they do meet their interp, it is often very easy to win a limits disad. I also think that a lot of the offense that K teams like to go for is often only a question of “our education is unique” which I feel is often resolved by switch side and maybe the topical version. Limits and clash are the negative standards that I find the most persuasive, and I most commonly went for clash as an impact that has intrinsic value. I am least persuaded by the topic education standards people like to go for, but I encourage you to do what you are the best at and if that’s topic education then go for it. I tend to think about switch side debate more than other people do when evaluating framework debates. I lean neg in general on framework that's for sure.
That being said, there is nothing intrinsic to me about debate that requires that you read a plan, nor do I think that not reading a plan means that no productive debate can occur. I think predictability is definitely a question of the lens through which you view the resolution (eg: on the China topic, even “policy” teams knew that people were going to read a Pan aff. Doing research in a particular area helps to guide what you and others are able to predict will be read during the year), which means that K on K debates can be highly productive/clash can occur. I think that the neg often gets away with way too much offense in terms of things like the limits disad etc as the aff often forgets to test the internal links of their impacts and instead just goes for the impact turn. To use the limits disad as an example, I think that the negs interp is not nearly as limiting as they often get to spin it as, and the world of the aff is often not as bad as the neg says it is. Don’t get me wrong, impact turning things is fantastic, but sometimes smart effective defense can be just as useful.
Other thoughts on framework debates
- One carded, smart, topical, topical version of the aff goes A LOT farther than 4 short generic ones. Specificity matters a lot in these topical version debates. Both the aff and the neg can exploit this to great effect
- If your aff has a solvency advocate that links your theory to the topic in the same way you claim to, you are in a MUCH better place. It cuts back against a lot of their offense and makes it substantially harder for them to win anything that isn’t limits
- I tend to think that both interps have some educational value, if you are winning reasons why the education that your interp provides is comparatively better than the education that their interp provides you are 75% of the way to winning these debates
- I think that debate is a game, but that doesn't mean that it can't have other intrinsic value, eg it can definitely be a home, or a place of individual expression, or even an academic space or educational training ground. I get this framing from my years playing soccer, which while being a game, also provides a lot of good to a lot of people. What that really means for y'all is that I am probably not the best judge for "it's a game cause some wins so vote neg because fairness"
- The more specific that each sides offense gets, the better. There is often a lot of offense happening on both sides of these debates so the more you are able to get ahead on the specifics of how your offense interacts with their offense the better.
I think it is very hard to win state good is a net benefit to framework, especially if you’re coupling it with a switch side debate argument.
Now the more specific things
Kritiks vs Plans –
- Buzzwords do NOT equal explanation. Just because I might be familiar with your author/argument doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explain it.
- Specificity matters. Feel free to read your generic link cards but be prepared to explain them in the specific context of the aff. On the aff, read your generic K answer cards if you have to/want to but again, be prepared to explain them in the specific context of the aff
- I am better for the negative than most for frameworks that do not let the aff leverage its advantages – I generally think that the aff just assumes that obviously they get the aff and don’t spend enough time here. Yes you can go for framework as the alt/without the alt/whatever you want to call it. Especially if you have a link specific to the aff/something the aff did and not just a link to the squo this can be a very effective strategy.
- Link turns and “the aff is a good idea”/”our reps are true” are sufficient offense to vote aff, but mostly only when coupled with a perm, and you have to explain to me why the aforementioned statement is true. You don’t always have to have external offense against the alt but it would greatly increase your chances of winning. If they kick the alt you can sometimes still get the perm, but you have to do the work to tell me why you should
- On the aff, you should defend the aff and you shouldn’t forget about the aff. Often people get caught up in going for “psychoanalysis bad” instead of actually just answering the links and defending the aff. You should still have specific K offense but seriously, if the K is competitive, then the aff is offense in and of itself. Unless you don’t get to weigh it. See above
Kritiks vs No Plans –
- Just because this is a “method debate” does not mean the aff does not get a permutation. I definitely think that it is actually most real world to combine different methods and see how they interact. Just because we are in debate doesn’t mean that that same standard should apply. Now you can win specific reasons why in the context of your theory the perm still fails, but the aff probably gets the perm.
- See K vs plans stuff as well – specificity matters a ton. Especially in the link vs link turn debate. The aff will almost always have some chance at a link turn, so whoever is ahead on the spin and explanation game will probably win that part of the debate. Historical/contextual examples are super useful and super underutilized. Don’t just assume your truth claim is true, say words and explain why.
- I have different thoughts about risk than most people do. Start at 0% risk and build up, NOT at 100% and work down. I think that it is the negatives burden to prove that their internal links are true and not necessarily the affs burden to disprove them. That being said, if the aff only reads a non-unique in the 2AC I think that the negative is going to have a very easy time proving that the rest of their disad is true. What this means is that I am a sucker for a 2AC that maybe reads one or two cards but mainly makes smart and true analytic arguments to answer the disad at each level. Especially if your disad is bad (if you have to ask then yes, yes it is), then I think that the 2AC probably doesn’t need to even read a card and can instead get away with talking about the disad in its entirety for about 45 seconds or less. This is the best example of where I am more truth over tech
- Yes disads can go away in cross ex if it is done correctly, but you still have to make those same arguments in your next speech. A well-executed cross ex on a disad in my opinion is more concerned about what the 1NC evidence says than what the 1N has to say about it.
- The 1AR is basically a constructive. Let’s be real, I got through A LOT of my high school career going for cards that were in the 1AR. As long as you have a similar analytic argument in the 2AC, you can often justify the card. I don’t think that it’s the 2A’s burden to start answering a disad before it becomes a real disad (see above about analytics being awesome). This does NOT mean you can just drop it. But I often don’t think that you need to read cards.
- I really enjoy a good impact turn debate. My senior year this was my bread and butter, and this is where I am more tech over truth. I think that sometimes the CP just solves the aff and so impact turning the net benefit is often an effective and useful answer to CPs. So on the negative just be prepared to defend your impact(s). This goes both ways, if you are ready to impact turn the aff then go for it. These debate are awesome and often involve a lot of strangely qualified evidence and if you do this well I can’t say that your speaker points wouldn’t see a small not-so-subconscious boost.
- On that note I should add: You will receive minimum speaker points and lose if you read racism good, sexism good, and a variety of other arguments where your moral compass should understand that thing is un-impact turn-able. If you have to ask, you shouldn’t go for it
- I have thoughts about presumption that I think are different from others when it comes to counterplans. Presumption flips affirmative when the counterplan is more change from the status quo than the aff
- For example: Plan: USfg should feed Africa and go to the moon, CP: USfg should feed Africa, Presumption stays negative.
- Example two: Plan: USfg should invest in renewables, CP: USfg should sign the Law of the Sea, iron fertilize the ocean, build CCS, and instate a carbon tax, Presumption flips aff.
- Obviously there are instances where this is not a perfect standard which is why I think it is up to the debaters to explain which way presumption flips and why. This doesn’t come up a ton but when it does it matters.
- On CP theory in general – I am a 2A. Always have been. That being said, I think that you are much better off going for perm do the counterplan/the counterplan isn’t competitive, instead of trying to go for “delay CPs are a voting issue”. I have a hard time believing that I should reject the team because they read a [insert process] counterplan, but I can be persuaded if you have to go for it.
- Also while I am on theory: I have a lot of thoughts about conditionality, but I try my best to judge the debate that happened in front of me. I try to view and evaluate the condo debate the same way someone would evaluate a T debate: which interp have the debaters proved to me is best for a model of debate. I do subconsciously lean aff on this question, but if it's a new aff, do whatever you want.
- 2NC CPs/amendments to CP texts: they justify new 1AR arguments (perms, offense, solvency deficits, links to the net benefit, etc), they are very rarely a reason to reject the team, I could be persuaded that it’s a reason to reject the argument
- The solvency deficit just has to outweigh the risk of the net benefit. Both sides should be doing this comparative work for me please.
Case debate –
- Please do it. I view this the same way that I view disads, it’s the affs burden to prove that their internal links are true and not the negs burden to disprove them. So just like with disads, a smart 1NC on case can be devastating and the less generic your case work is the 1NC the higher the threshold will be for 2AC answers. Basically just read the stuff about disads but switch the aff and the neg
- I am not a fan of the fast, blippy, 2AC case answers, nor am I a fan of your 45 second long block of text that you are going to spread through and call an overview. The 2AC should actually answer case args and the block and 2NR will be given a lot of leeway if you don’t. “Yes war – their evidence doesn’t assume miscalc” is not an answer.
- T is and always will be a question of competing models of debate. That might sound to you like "competing interps" but there is a distinction. Competing interps for me is much more a question of how I should evaluate offense in a topicality debate. Reasonability just means that your interpretation is reasonable (not that the aff is reasonable)/your interp is sufficient to resolve a risk of their offense, competing interps just means that it should only be a question of offense/defense. But in both worlds I am still evaluating different, comparable models of debate.
- I am less concerned about your ability to read your five sub-points ground and fairness block and more concerned with your ability to outline what the world of the other teams interp looks like. Why is it bad for debate (both aff and neg ground) etc.
- That being said, I went for T a lot in high school. T QPQ and framework were our two most common 2nrs. So do what you have to do. And yes, T is a topic generic.
- Topicality is about the model of debate that you endorse, so have a defense of that. Case lists, and why the affs on that list are bad or good, are a must.
- For reference from the China topic – on a scale of Yes T-QPQ We Meet/Counter Interp double bind to No T-QPQ We Meet/Counter Interp double bind I’m a firm “no”.
To close I would like to quote Ezra Serrins, my high school debate partner, "I appreciate it when debaters take arguments seriously but you shouldn't take yourself too seriously"
Debated at Lawrence Free State and the University of Kansas. Coach for Greenhill.
Decent to good amount of background knowledge on the economic inequality topic. I was a co-author of the resolution and helped lead a lab at the JDI.
Short: best and preferable for policy strategies, good for the K on the neg, worse but not disregarding of the K on the AFF. My beliefs are malleable in adjudication. While I have judging opinions (wait… what? he didn’t just write policy robot-brain ‘tech over truth’ and move on??) they can be overcome by better debating. So, here’s what you’re here for:
—You don’t have to read a plan. I have a near-even record in clash debates.
—Jump ball on fairness as an impact.
—Won’t ignore words debaters have said, including ‘voting issue,’ and even if lacking ‘warrants’ and ‘impacts.’ I’m not looking for cheap shots on hidden ASPEC, poorly developed arguments, or deciding which team LEAST fulfilled their burden of proof or rejoinder, but I think it’d be ingenuous to the debaters to rule it out.
—Flow? On computer. I type what I hear, otherwise it’s not on my flow. That means clarity is important. I read speech docs to check for clipping and evidence post-2AR.
—Cards or debating? Evidence is the tiebreaker for equal debating. Debating is rarely equal. This lends my belief that bad arguments (process CPs, post-2015 politics DAs, and dip cap) can be beaten analytically.
—Evidence insertion? Yes, when: the re-highlighted text is included in the original card or to show a previously read piece of evidence cites or footnotes another scholar or piece of evidence.
—Default? Judge kick and competing interpretations.
—Ad hominem? Logical fallacy. I won’t vote on events occurring outside of the debate.
—Ethics challenge? Inform the other team before the debate. Otherwise, debate is pedagogy. I’d prefer we resolve it in a way that allows the debate to continue, like scratching the card.
—New arguments? Are for the debaters to decide. I'll only intervene in the 2AR. But please, call them out.
—Conditionality? Treat others the way you want to be treated. Both in reading lots of advocacies and going for condo bad.
My ideal model of debate is generally contained in Jimin Park’s paradigm, a good place to get some speaker point boosts. In addition, for my own catharsis and not debate evaluation: it's near impossible to convince me the AFF should not be required to tax vis-a-vis 'fiscal redistribution.'
Debate Coach - University of Michigan
Debate Coach - New Trier High School
Michigan State University '13
Brookfield Central High School '09
I would like to be on the email chain - my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few top level things:
- If you engage in offensive acts (think racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), you will lose automatically and will be awarded whatever the minimum speaker points offered at that particular tournament is. This also includes forwarding the argument that death is good because suffering exists. I will not vote on it.
- If you make it so that the tags in your document maps are not navigable by taking the "tag" format off of them, I will actively dock your speaker points.
- Quality of argument means a lot to me. I am willing to hold my nose and vote for bad arguments if they're better debated but my threshold for answering those bad arguments is pretty low.
- I'm a very expressive judge. Look up at me every once in a while, you will probably be able to tell how I feel about your arguments.
- I don't think that arguments about things that have happened outside of a debate or in previous debates are at all relevant to my decision and I will not evaluate them. I can only be sure of what has happened in this particular debate and anything else is non-falsifiable.
- The 1AC not being sent out by the time the debate is supposed to start
- Asking if I am ready or saying you'll start if there are no objections, etc. in in-person debates - we're all in the same room, you can tell if we're ready!
- Email-sending related failures
- Dead time
- Stealing prep
- Answering arguments in an order other than the one presented by the other team
- Asserting things are dropped when they aren't
- Asking the other team to send you a marked doc when they marked 1-3 cards
- Asking me if I need a card doc - I will ask you if I want you to start putting a card doc together.
- Disappearing after the round
Online debate: My camera will always be on during the debate unless I have stepped away from my computer during prep or while deciding so you should always assume that if my camera is off, I am not there. I added this note because I've had people start speeches without me there.
Ethics: If you make an ethics challenge in a debate in front of me, you must stake the debate on it. If you make that challenge and are incorrect or cannot prove your claim, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points. If you are proven to have committed an ethics violation, you will lose and be granted zero speaker points.
*NOTE - if you use sexually explicit language or engage in sexually explicit performances in high school debates, you should strike me. If you think that what you're saying in the debate would not be acceptable to an administrator at a school to hear was said by a high school student to an adult, you should strike me.
Organization: I would strongly prefer that if you're reading a DA that isn't just a case turn that it go on its own page - its super annoying because people end up extending/answering arguments on flows in different orders. Ditto to reading advantage CPs on case - put it on its own sheet, please!
Cross-x: Questions like "what cards did you read?" are cross-x questions. If you don't start the timer before you start asking those questions, I will take whatever time I estimate you took to ask questions before the timer was started out of your prep. If the 1NC responds that "every DA is a NB to every CP" when asked about net benefits in the 1NC even if it makes no sense, I think the 1AR gets a lot of leeway to explain a 2AC "links to the net benefit argument" on any CP as it relates to the DAs.
Translated evidence: I am extremely skeptical of evidence translated by a debater or coach with a vested interest in that evidence being used in a debate. Lots of words or phrases have multiple meanings or potential translations and debaters/coaches have an incentive to choose the ones that make the most debate-friendly argument even if that's a stretch of what is in the original text. It is also completely impossible to verify if words or text was left out, if it is a strawperson, if it is cut out of context, etc. I won't immediately reject it on my own but I would say that I am very amenable to arguments that I should.
Inserting evidence or rehighlightings into the debate: I won't evaluate it unless you actually read the parts that you are inserting into the debate. If it's like a chart or a map or something like that, that's fine, I don't expect you to literally read that, but if you're rehighlighting some of the other team's evidence, you need to actually read the rehighlighting. This can also be accomplished by reading those lines in cross-x and then referencing them in a speech or just making analytics about their card(s) in your speech and then providing a rehighlighting to explain it.
Affirmatives should have a solvency advocate. What that looks like is up for debate. I think debates that stray too far from what a reasonable person would constitute an advocacy for a policy change distort the literature base in ways that make it impossible for the negative to respond to the aff. This is compounded by excruciatingly vague plan texts that enable the aff to "no link" out of what are obvious disads to the affirmative. If your style of debate is built around manipulating and bastardizing literature to create affs that say and defend nothing, I'm probably not the judge for you. I think this vision of debate disincentivizes in-depth negative research. If you refuse to specify what your aff does, I am probably not the judge for you. If you think that saying "a thing is bad" constitutes an aff without saying what your aff does about it, I am a bad judge for you.
Topicality: I enjoy judging topicality debates when they are in-depth and nuanced. Limits are an an important question but not the only important question - your limit should be tied to a particular piece of neg ground or a particular type of aff that would be excluded. I often find myself to be more aff leaning than neg leaning in T debates because I am often persuaded by the argument that negative interpretations are arbitrary or not based in predictable literature.
5 second ASPEC shells/the like that are not a complete argument are mostly nonstarters for me. If I reasonably think the other team could have missed the argument because I didn't think it was a clear argument, I think they probably get new answers. If you drop it twice, that's on you.
Counterplans: Counterplans are more about competition than theory. While I tend to lean more neg on questions of CP theory, I lean aff on a lot of questions of competition, especially in the cases of CPs that compete on the certainty of the plan, normal means cps, and agent cps.
I think that CPs should have to be policy actions. I think this is most fair and reciprocal with what the affirmative does. I think that fiating indefinite personal decisions or actions/non-actions by policymakers that are not enshrined in policy is an unfair abuse of fiat that I do not think the negative should get access to. For example: the CP to have Trump decide not to withdraw from NAFTA is not legitimate, while the CP to have Trump announce that a policy that he will not withdraw from NAFTA would be. The CP that has the US declare it will not go to war with China would be theoretically legitimate but the CP to have Trump personally decide not to go to war with China would not be.
Disads: I am not very sympathetic to politics theory arguments (except in the case of things like rider disads, which I might ban from debate if I got the choice to ban one argument and think are certainly illegitimate misinterpretations of fiat) and am unlikely to ever vote on them unless they're dropped and even then would be hard pressed. I'm incredibly knowledgeable about politics and enjoy it a lot when debated well but really dislike seeing it debated poorly.
Conditionality: Conditionality is often good. It can be not. I have found myself to be increasingly aff leaning on extreme conditionality (think many plank cps where all of the planks are conditional + 4-5 more conditional options). Conditionality is the ONLY argument I think is a reason to reject the team, every other argument I think is a reason to reject the argument alone. Tell me what my role is on the theory debate - am I determining in-round abuse or am I setting a precedent for the community?
Kritiks: I've gotten simultaneously more versed in critical literature and much worse for the kritik as a judge over the last few years. Take from that what you will.
Your K should ideally be a reason why the aff is bad, not just why the status quo is bad. If not, you're better off with it primarily being a framework argument.
Yes the aff gets a perm, no it doesn't need a net benefit.
Affs without a plan: I generally go into debates believing that the aff should defend a hypothetical policy enacted by the United States federal government. I think debate is a research game and I struggle with the idea that the ballot can do anything to remedy the impacts that many of these affs describe.
I certainly don't consider myself immovable on that question and my decision will be governed by what happens in any given debate; that being said, I don't like when judges pretend to be fully open to any argument in order to hide their true thoughts and feelings about them and so I would prefer to be honest that these are my predispositions about debate, which, while not determinate of how I judge debates, certainly informs and affects it.
I would describe myself as a good judge for T-USFG against affs that do not read a plan. I find impacts about debatability, clash, iterative testing and fairness to be very persuasive. I think fairness is an impact in and of itself. I am not very persuaded by impacts about skills/the ability for debate to change the world if we read plans - I think these are not very strategic and easily impact turned by the aff.
I generally am pretty sympathetic to negative presumption arguments because I often think the aff has not forwarded an explanation for what the aff does to resolve the impacts they've described.
I don't think debate is roleplaying.
I am uncomfortable making decisions in debates where people have posited that their survival hinges on my ballot.
Debate History: St. Mark's '10/Trinity University '14
Assistant Director of Speech and Debate - Hendrickson HS (2017-2023)
Director of Speech and Debate - Sandra Day O’Connor HS (2023-present)
Public Forum thoughts
Please for all that is holy - do not try to become a policy debater just because my background is predominantly in policy debate. I have judged and coached PF consistently for over 5 years at this point and recognize its value as an event that is distinct from policy. There is nothing worse than PF debaters who attempt to cosplay as CXers.
Going off of what is stated as above, there is no circumstance in which a lack of disclosure makes a PF round impossible to access/participate in. Therefore, there is no circumstance in which I will decide a PF round on disclosure theory - you only get a month to debate your topic, lets actually debate it please.
In terms of what I actively DO look for, impact calculus actually grounded in evidence and active analysis. I feel like "debater math" is often arbitrary and replaces actual contextual impact analysis.
Please don't skip crossfires or grand cross, these are the moments where clash often occurs - to me it is tantamount to skipping a speech and speaker points will reflect it.
Smart and strategic choices to invest or divest from flows/arguments reflect public forum debaters with great critical thinking skills and knowledge of their case/the topic at hand. Speaker points will be rewarded to those who make smart, necessary, strategic choices instead of collapsing/extending purely for the sake of it.
I treat each debate round as an academic exercise in decision making. I leave many questions of framework and impact calculus to the teams debating, however if not otherwise explicitly stated I will default to a policy making framework and utilitarianism, respectively.
I typically evaluate this from a competing interpretations standpoint and an offense/defense framework but can be persuaded otherwise. When making these kinds of arguments, negative teams typically forget that their interpretation is of how the debate space should operate and thus must defend it as so. Negative teams MUST explain why their interpretation is better for the overall debate space in order to get my ballot. In round abuse arguments are compelling, however, they are nearly impossible to prove and I have a high threshold for voting on them.
I am a fairly firm believer that debate is a game and that structural fairness is an impact. However, this also means that fairness should be utilized as a lens or impact filter for all the other impacts in the framework debate.
Many of my thoughts in the above section apply to my thoughts on counterplan theory. I feel that 2 conditional advocacies is the most that the negative should run, much to the chagrin of most folks (new affs are an exception). That being said, I won't default certain ways in theory debates. I will be considerably more compelled to deem that a counterplan solves an affirmative if it is a specific CP than if it is your typical agent CP. Specific PICs that have functional impacts on plan implementation are so much better than your generic process counterplan. So, so, so much better.
Many kritik teams tend to focus more on tricks than substance. The most important portion of this debate for me is the link debate and I expect a clear explanation of why the specific affirmative links. It is the negative's task to explain why the permutation cannot possibly solve back/overcome the links. I will default affirmative in many of these debates. I feel that the best kritik debaters are the ones who are willing to adapt their strategy and link debate to the specific affirmative that they are debating.
Links of omission are functionally spotting the aff a uniqueness overwhelms the link argument to the net benefit to a very vacuous alternative. Please have link specificity.
I didn't think I had thoughts on this until recently. There are very good disads and very bad disads. If you are aff against a very bad disad, don't be afraid to point this out! I feel like I am more likely than most to say there is zero risk of a disadvantage when the uniqueness very clearly overwhelms the link or there is zero link specificity.
-Yes email chain: email@example.com. Every time a varsity debater forgets to hit "reply all" on an email chain, a kitten cries and you will lose 0.5 speaker points.
-Do not clip cards! If there is an ethics challenge, I will stop the debate and have the accused debater re-read their speech with either their speech document on my computer or standing over their shoulder. That being said, ethics challenges are serious, if you are making one, then you are willing to lose the debate if you are wrong. Strategic ethics challenges will result in horrific speaker points from me.
-I will call you out if you are blatantly stealing prep and it will hurt your speaker points.
-For paperless teams, I do not run prep time for saving/flashing the speech unless this time starts to become excessive or it becomes evident that prep is being stolen.
-It drives me crazy when debaters are disrespectful to each other. There is no reason why competitiveness needs to turn into aggression. Treat the debate space like a classroom.
-Another pet peeve: debaters who do not seem to legitimately enjoy what they are doing. Debaters who go through the motions are usually the ones that end up with the lowest speaker points from me. Even if you are not keeping up with the technical aspects of the debate, if you remain engaged and committed throughout the debate, I will definitely feel more comfortable with giving you higher speaker points.
Read a topical plan--------------x-----------------------------say anything
Usually some risk--------------------------------x----------Zero Risk
Conditionality Good----------------------x--------------------Conditionality Bad
States CP Good-------x------------------------------------States CP Bad
Process CPs--------------x-------------------------------Ew Process CPs
Competing off immediacy/certainty--------------------x------------------------No
CP linking less matters-------------------x-----------------------links are yes/no
Read every card--------------------x-----------------------Read no cards
Judge Kick------------x-------------------------------Stuck with the CP
Reject the Team---------------------------x----------------Reject the Arg
CPs need cards-----------------------------------x-------Smart CPs can be cardless
Fiat solves circumvention---------------x---------------------------Trump's President
K links about the plan-----------x--------------------------------K links about a broad worldview
Affiliation: 4 years at Jesuit Dallas, currently at Trinity University
- Please send out the 1ac before start time, not after. The debate starts at start time.
- Send cards in a doc - not the body of the email
- Prep stops when docs are saved. Deleting Analytics is Prep. Don't send cards in the body of the email. If you do, I will make you take prep to put it in a document and send it.
- Respect your opponents and be nice to each other.
- Inserting Evidence: I'm conditionally fine with it. If it from a different part of the article that the other team hasn't cut, you must read it. If it's highlighting parts of the card that they just didn't underline or highlight, you don't have to read it IF you paraphrase or do the work to explain why the re-highlighting matters. BUT, if it's so important, you may as well read it because that's powerful
- Disclosure: new affs are good. Disclosure ought to happen, but it does not need to happen. Mis-disclosure is the only type of disclosure theory I will vote on and for that to happen I either need to have seen the mis-disclosure, which I probably won't OR both teams need to agree on what happened during CX or something.
- While I won't punish the lack of disclosure, I think generally keeping an updated wiki is good, so tell me if you have one and if you update it before my decision, I'll add a few points. If the wiki is down or some uncontrollable happens where that's not possible, I'll assume good faith.
- if my camera is not on, I'm not ready
- please slow down.
- I'd encourage cameras to be on the whole debate, but obviously understand that's not always possible
- please get confirmation everyone is ready.
How I Go About Judging Debates
- I take judging very seriously. This is my 9th year in the activity and recognize the hard work you all put into it. Debate is not easy and sometimes it is very difficult to even show up to a tournament, much less debate your best every round. I do my best to keep a positive attitude and facilitate learning. You get my full attention during the debate and in the post round. I appreciated the judges and coaches who helped me grow as a debater by not just deciding the round, but also give extensive feedback on how to improve. I strive to do the same
- a) medium: I flow on paper 99% of the time. For me, that means I flow the debate and track it by the line by line. Even if you just speak "straight down" in overview fashion, I will still try to line things up to where I think that goes on the flow. It would benefit you to tell me either directly where you are going on the line by line OR tell me a different way to flow and give me plenty of pen/organization time.
- b) instrument: I prefer pen. G2 .38 or .5. I write a lot so slowing down is good
- Reading Evidence: I don't read evidence during the debate. I do not have the speech docs open during your speeches. I look at cards during prep if they are being disputed.
- Speed: Go for it. Clarity, Organization, and Pen Time are all essential to effective speed.
- Tech/Truth: ??? I greatly appreciate the strategy game value of debate where you get to argue what you prep so long as it competes. But this activity is also about persuasion and I'm no logic computer machine. I try to approach the debate with as little prior assumptions as possible, but we all know that's impossible. While most of the time the line by line dictates my decision, I'd be lying to you if I said its the only thing that matters. This usually comes up in two context
a) content: It'll be impossible for you to win an impact turn to oppression or justify speech that presents harm to the debaters in the round.
This doesn't mean I won't vote on things that go against my beliefs like, rather the burden for answering them will be lower because truth appeals to me. With that said, I have voted on warming good, the worst process CPs, and the such mostly because the other team doesn't activate the truth appeal and tries to out-mechanic their opponents with other parts of the debate. The quality of some DAs and internal CP net benefits activates some of this bias more than anything.
b) concessions. Dropping an argument presumes there was a complete argument in the first place. I'm very sympathetic to new 1ar arguments if the initial 1nc argument was just an argument label. Bill Now, plan trades off, extinction isn't an argument and ranting about block strategy won't help you. The more complete your argument, the higher burden I have on the other team for responding to it. Going 10 off is pointless if I don't understand them.
- List of DEBATE arguments I have heard that I won't vote on: new affs bad
- Content: The debate is up to the debaters. Judge adaptation should primarily influence how you go for an argument not if you go for an argument.
- Evidence quality > quantity. Part of this includes highlighting sentences/making your cards comprehensible. If I look at cards, I only look at the highlighting you read.
- Decisions: I look at important issues from the round. Look for important frames and judge instructions given by the 2nr/ar. I think through different ballots that could be given, exploring all possible victories for each team. I pick the one I think is most supported by the round
- Post Round: ask me questions, post round me if you want
The rest of the philosophy is mostly me rambling and heavily influenced by the explanation in any given round.
- It's underutilized - specific internal link and solvency arguments go a long way in front of me. Strategically, a good case press in the block and 2nr makes all substantive arguments better
- The aff should use the case more. 1AC ev usually has a lot of answers to neg args that people often forget.
- I evaluate Topicality like a CP and DA. You ought do impact calc and have offense and defense to the other team’s stuff.
- I care about predictable limits, topic education, ground more than I care about , grammar (I never really got commas)
- I will vote on defense against a DA. There's probably always a risk, but that doesn't mean I care about such risk
- ev comparison or judge instruction about micro moments in the debate goes a long way for winning individual parts of a DA.
- Most politics DAs end up sounding more like the political capital K to me, meaning they lack any specific internal link from an unpopular plan to an agenda item. I really hope the economic inequality topic fixes this issue, but I doubt it.
- Competition questions are very complex, not set in stone, and very hard to flow when you read your blocks max speed. Clarity on the difference between the aff and the cp, what words if any are being defined, and an organized presentation of why your standard is better are crucial. It would also be helpful to slow down on texts, perms, theory, the usual stuff. Blippy cards and analytics mixed with speed are the enemy of the flow.
- Solvency advocates that compare the CP to topic or plan mechanisms greatly help in winning competition and theory
- I don't judge kick unless instructed to in the 2nr. Debate to me is about choices and persuasion. So unless your choice in the 2nr explicitly includes the fail safe of judge kick, I'm not going to do it for you.
- I don't think I lean heavily aff or neg.
- Conditionality is debatable. Quantitative interps don’t make sense to me.
- Slow down!!! I need pen time.
- I won’t vote on new affs bad
- My default is to reject the argument for all things except conditionality. This shouldn't deter you from going for theory given rejecting a CP usually means the neg has little defense left in a debate.
- Good K debating is good case debating. A good critique would explain why a core component of the 1ac is wrong or bad.
- The link is the most important part of the debate. Be specific, pull 1AC lines, give examples, etc. Explain why winning the thesis takes out specific parts of the solvency or internal link chain
- My background knowledge of critical arguments should mean nothing to you. Explain. Explain. Explain.
- If you are going for framework, make sure it has a purpose and that you are communicating that purpose to me. This is a comment for both teams. Often, aff's go for arguments about having links to the plan or weighing the impact, when the neg agrees. Make sure you explain how your fw arguments explain how I evaluate the link, impact, alt, solvency, whatever. It should just be explicit how winning framework changes the debate.
- Winning some theory of how the world operates doesn't mean anything unless you apply it to the aff. I don't care if somethings ontological if you don't have a link that outweighs or outframes the aff's offense.
- I don't think PIKs, as explained in most debates, exist. They're a fancy way of saying we aren't critiquing X part of the aff and used as an excuse for impact debating. To me these are framework questions and the aff rarely actually drops the "floating pik." If you are neg, you time and energy is better spent on a framework argument that says the consequences of the plan are secondary to your stuff. Aff teams will be better served by making their framework arguments more specific or answering the substance of the K than reading floating piks or vague alts bad. If you actually change the function of the PLAN and have a more critical net benefit, then I suppose it would be a PIK, but most of the time that is not what is happening.
- Defend things. The neg should have a clear disagreement with the aff. The aff should defend the core assumptions of the aff. If you're reading a aff that defends US hegemony, going for super specific internal literature indicts against a settler colonialism K won't help you. A defense of IR scholarship, realism, impact prioritization, and alt indicts might.
- Perms against pessimism Ks, absent some specific perm card, have generally been unpersuasive to me.
- Go for it. They should have some connection to the topic and some statement of advocacy. If you can read your aff on every topic without changing cards or tags, I’ll enjoy the debate less, but it's your debate, not mine.
- Role of the ballot means nothing to me and often a substitute for judge instruction
- Presumption questions are usually just questions of framework and the value the aff's model provides. I think most neg teams spend way too much time asking questions about ballot spill up or the debate round changing the world. We all agree fiat illusory is a bad argument in a policy prescription model of debate. Why is it all the sudden good now? Your time is much better served explaining how the aff's model of debate is counter productive to it's benefits. In other words, answer the should not would question.
- Framework debates are important because they force us to question fundamental assumptions and norms of the activity. It's about models of debate. Convince me yours is good and theirs is bad.
- I'm open to most impacts to framework. I judge them like most debates where I compare the aff's offense to the neg's offense, defense, and framing arguments from 2nr and 2ar. I have voted for and against all the common impacts for T-USFG/traditional FW (procedural fairness, clash, topic mechanism education, agonistic democracy, advocacy skills, etc).
- While the impact turn route is fine, I'd encourage you to explore possible different interpretations of the resolution words for counter interps. There are many ways to read "Resolved: the USfg should ... ", including ones that don't defend policy proposals or problem solving. IMO, neg teams internal links to predictable limits or clash looks really silly if you meet some definition of the resolution.
- I'm of the belief that the words resolved and should are the basis of framework, not USFG. Just throwing that out there
- a bit arbitrary, but I'll start at 28.5 and go up and down based on the round
- factors I consider: smart arguments, strategic choice, and organization are the biggest factors in determining speaker points
Read the bold stuff if you're in a hurry.
Logistics: 1) Add me to the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org, and 2)both teams can insert re-highlighting of the other teams' evidence if they give a brief explanation of what they think the evidence actually says.
SLC West '19
Affiliations: Glenbrook North High School, Casady High School
Background and Thoughts on Debate:
I endeavor to be maximally impartial in making decisions. If judges interjected their beliefs into my debates, I got quite annoyed. Consequently, I won't consciously interject my beliefs into debates, with two exceptions.
First, be nice: interpersonal hostility sucks, especially in debate. I won't hesitate to nuke your speaks if you're rude. Debaters should show each other mutual respect for the work they put into the activity. Conversely, making small chat before the round and during dead time in the debate will boost your speaks.
Second, I (and everyone) will inject their unconscious biases into debates. There's three you should be aware of:
First, I'm an economics and political science data nerd whose primary debate strategies were tiny aff's, the cap k, generic counterplans, politics, whatever the topic DA was, and impact turns. Consequently,
my knowledge of much critical literature - especially critical literature authored by old, white, French guys - is lacking. If I can't understand your argument, I can't vote on it. If I were a critical team, I would pref me above "no plan, no ballot" judges but below most clash judges.
Second, my primary skill in debate was evidence production, not speaking. Good cards will have an undue influence on how I see the debate. Nonetheless, I acknowledge this is a bias: I strive to focus on what debaters, not the cards, say.
Third, I take a more big picture/embedded clash view of debate than many critics. Debate is about telling compelling stories. Far more important than the fact that 2NC #3b was dropped is how 2NC #3b fits into the narrative you're weaving. This has two consequences for you. First, isolating, weighing, and explaining how your external offense turns your opponents' external offense is critical. Second, I'm much more willing to "zero" DAs or advantages than most judges. If an advantage or DA is bunk for a very specific reason, tell me. Even good analytics can zero a DA or advantage.
Besides that, I see debate as a game that I evaluate based on the flow. From planless affs to process CPs - I'll strive to ensure the win/loss evaluation is based on who debated the issue better.
However, my evaluation of speaker points will be quite subjective. In addition to rating debaters' speaking quality, I use points to reward strategies and practices which I believe make debate fun and educational. These strategies and practices include:
1. Novelty in general, but especially in clash/framework debates
2. Methodological indicts of your opponents evidence (minimal sample size, correlation vs causation, etc) and methodological prodicts of your evidence (explaining the specific methodology and why it's reliable, reading a meta analysis of studies)
3. Really good cards - on anything. Be loud about it if you believe your evidence meets this threshold.
4. Unique, specific variants of the cap k (not just reading the cap k - finding a specific, weird Marxist tradition/thesis that rebuts the aff)
5. Impact turns - I love dedev and war good debates.
6. Straight turning an advantage or DA
7. Tiny, clever aff's with tricks
8. Huge, whole-rez style aff's
Mercedes ISD (2013-2019) 2A/2N
UT Austin (2019-present) 1A/2N
Short Version: Tab
I'll vote on anything as long as its impacted and developed well. I think debate should be about the engagement between teams' arguments and what they ultimately mean for my ballot to endorse one side over the other.
Don't be racist, sexist, ableist etc...
email chain: email@example.com
1st year out, take that as you will…
People that influence the way I think about debates: Sammy Healey, Zach Watts, Pia Sen, Will Coltzer, Brendon Bankey, Azja Butler, Will Baker, Texas DK, Jose Alaniz, PJ Martinez
My own thoughts:
I think debate can be a lot of things, but at its core it’s a space for teams to have interesting and impactful discussions about differing perspectives. That being said, I believe that it’s important for teams to demonstrate their ability to explain a clear narrative and deploy that narrative to generate offensive arguments against their opponent’s position.
I think there are a few things that teams can do to grab my ballot:
1.) JUDGE INSTRUCTION: I think it’s to your benefit to explain to me what I'm supposed to do with the things you have said. There are questions that I need answers to (What does the aff do? What does alt/cp do/why is preferable? What is the role of ballot and how should I use my ballot? Etc.) I also think attaching offense to your judge instruction can be useful in swaying me a particular way, especially for K teams. Clearly define what action I should take given the comparison of impacts and offense in the round.
2.) FRAMEWORK: I was a big FW debater and think that winning the FW debate coupled with clearly articulated judge instruction is a slam dunk for me most of the time. Framework determines how I evaluate other portions of the debate, so even if I think your winning some compelling arguments, you need that FW push to justify prioritizing those arguments. A 2AR/2NR centered around what voting for your framework and evaluating the debate through that lens means in the broader sense paired with an offensive comparison of the arguments on the line by line proper will help me gravitate towards voting you up.
3.) OFFENSE: Forwarding a few key pieces of offense with a clear explanation of what they mean in terms of you're opponent’s arguments is necessary for me in terms of impact calculus. It’s also important for you to recognize and problematize your opponent’s arguments and not let this portion of the debate become two ships passing in the night.
4.) This is me (ask anyone) but BE PETTY: I am here for the spice, and you will be met with bonus speaks. You’re there to win, and you should let it be known. This is also super helpful because moments like these can open opportunities to exploit your opponent’s reactions and the way they articulate responses to these moments. Read my Wiki, you’ll see how out of pocket I was, there really is no limit to the things I will vote on.
Random things about me that may or may not be useful to you and your ability to adapt to me:
1. I was mainly a K debater, read policy in High school, went for Cap for like 9 years and was a Policy 1A for a little under 2 years in college…don’t really keep up with ‘TIX updates, read a lot more K lit.
2. Mainly went for Cap, Racial Cap, Disability, Frame Subtraction, Petty RVI’/IVI’s, and PIKs.
3. I flow on paper…’cause that matters to some people.
4. Truth over Tech
5. Once again, check my wiki – your judge’s wiki tells you a lot.
Random thoughts about certain positions:
Framework/T USFG – Been in this debate many times, and I think for me, it centers around a question of offense against your opponent’s model of debate. If at the end of the day your model of debate may have some imperfections, if you are able to problematize your opponent’s ability to resolve the offensive questions you have posed, and set up some defensive explanations about how maybe your model of debate could resolve to some extent the questions that may linger, even if only partially, I should default to your model of debate because of the risk you demonstrated is associated by voting the other way. I think big picture explanations are much more conducive to the way I think about these debates, however judge instruction and framing mean I’m pretty open.
K – Most familiar and preferred argument – lots of K tricks that can generate offense. Main questions I need answered are 1. What is the link? 2. How does the alt/permutation function? 3. How should I evaluate your arguments and what does it mean for my ballot to endorse one side over the other? You should articulate a clear link and impact story that allows you to generate a beneficial narrative to push in the final rebuttal. K debates can also be benefited by being observant and reading the room, generating performative links, taking note of people’s reactions to things that are said, or using what people say to demonstrate your link arguments allow you to take the debate to a different level or mitigate your opponent’s offense by demonstrating performative inconsistencies.
DA – Not too many thoughts – DA turns the case when your Neg, Case o/w when your aff. The Link/Uniqueness portion becomes super important and should be coupled with in depth impact calculus. For a CP/DA combo, demonstrating the magnitude of the DA allows you to sell the “any risk of the net benefit” line better.
CP – The permutation is my main area of focus when it comes to these kinds of debate, no functional or textual competition probably persuades me to vote aff…that being said “perm do the cp” is cheating and lame. Net benefit work also needs to be done to the extent that I am willing to dismiss any risk of the aff, otherwise the permutation probably resolves any residual offense.
T – Not my favorite debates, I think they become fairly generic by the final rebuttals. That being said, I have a couple thoughts:
1. Predictability is the internal link to all your terminal impacts, not a terminal impact in and of itself.
2. I am less persuaded by the Limits and Ground DAs as terminal impacts – I think limits controls portions of the internal link to ground and ultimately is a subjective notion…like is there really NO ground or just not the ground you want (Aff’s you can back file check and replace two or three cards).
3. I can be persuaded that risk of the case should come before T.
Random things that people may or may not like:
1. I’m totally cool with using CX as prep, it’s your time.
2. I default to Judge Kick unless instructed otherwise.
3. I think Condo is probably a good thing but that’s not a set-in stone notion.
4. Lowkey, think peeps are getting way to generous with speaks.
5. CX is binding – these are things you have said to explain and defend your position, they can and should be used against you if you open the door.
I have some other random thoughts so feel free to ask questions.
Updated Longhorn Classic '21
forever student at UT Austin
please put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I debated policy in high school all 4 years in Athens TX, and have been judging/coaching on the Austin circuit since 2013.
Also, if anything in this paradigm isn't clear enough, feel free to ask me before the round, I'd be more than happy to clarify.
I am tab but default to policymaker if not given a clear alternative evaluative framework.
The most important thing is that you give me the easiest path to the ballot. Tell me how to vote, on what, and why. Other than that, give me overviews, keep the debate organized, and please extend things correctly. Technical debating ability determines your speaker points in large part, unless there is reason to dock speaks for hate speech/immoral arguments.
I am generally more confident in my ability to evaluate policy v policy and policy v k debates, than k v k due to a literature knowledge deficiency, especially in high theory kritiks (read: Baudrillard, Heidegger, Deleuze/Guattari, etc.), so expect to explain the thesis of your critical position and how they interact with the topic thoroughly when reading those arguments.
Performance Affs are fine as long as you are very thorough in your explanation of what my role as a judge is and what the ballot does.
I will try to evaluate rounds to the best of my ability based on the information I am able to flow from your speech. That means despite what is in the speech doc, I will only be evaluating what you actually say in your analysis and a lot of close rounds are won or lost in the rebuttals over this issue. There should be clear extensions from the 2AC to the 1AR/Block to the 2NR and 2NRs/2ARs should be going for a specific strategy that is writing my ballot.
Tech over truth in most cases. If an argument is dropped, I still need a proper warrant extension and implication given for that drop to matter, unless given some other model of judging the round. I will rarely decide a round on a single drop and that argument must still be implicated in the broader aspects of the round.
I flow on paper despite the advances in technology since I first started debating. Speed is fine, but in a world of virtual debate please slow down. I expect any theory standards to be read at a pace that gives me adequate pen time, if not they should be in the speech doc.
I will always listen to CX - open CX is fine, but do not talk over each other. Flashing/Email doesn't count towards prep unless it is egregious.
Don't be offensive, rude, homophobic, racist, ableist, derogatory, sexist etc.
Always try to have fun - if you're not acting like you want to be there, it is a real drag to judge your round.
I default to debate is a game, and I think the k aff bad debate comes down to a question of fairness, whether used as an impact or an internal link by the neg. I am not usually persuaded by topic education vs critical lit education through an aff specific method since that doesn't interact with the fairness question a lot of the time, and the aff team usually has better evidence about the importance of their particular educational outlet anyway, especially given the fact that they know what it is and can adequately prepare for it. The most important way for the aff to get me to vote for a non-resolutional based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. However, I grant K affs a lot of grace if there are clear resolution-based links that are able to answer ground loss claims.
My threshold for granting neg offense on clash is directly determined by how abstract/immaterial the aff explanations of the k method are.
TVAs are under-utilized in my opinion as ways to take out Aff standard offense. SSD is a must-have argument to even compete on the education debate.
I default to k affs getting perms but have a pretty high threshold for these arguments in context to the ground/clash debate, if brought up.
I default to competing interpretations, but can be persuaded otherwise in round. Bad/unpredictable T interps are worse for debate than predictable ones, so I expect neg teams to read interps that are actually making an argument about what the literature base should be for the topic. Barring the block dropping reasonability, I will most always focus on the standards when evaluating the T debate, so teams that do the work on explaining how limits are improved/destroyed by the other team, what case lists/neg generics look like, and which interp provides the most sustainable form of debate for the year are most likely to win.
I typically don't vote on RVI's here unless there is a multitude of T's that the aff meets on face, which puts the neg more in the realm of reading frivolous theory, not just T args.
I really enjoy policy aff vs k debates, however I have very limited knowledge of critical literature outside of Cap/Neoliberalism, Abolition, SetCol, Security, Biopower (Foucault/Agamben), and small amounts of Ahmed. As said above in general thoughts, if you are reading a kritik you feel I may be unfamiliar with, or are pulling multiple theories from critical bodies of literature, I fully expect you to clearly explain the thesis of the criticism and how your method is able to possibly resolve the links you present.
I am very tech based in my evaluative approach to kritiks and hold a high standard for both teams in order to win the sheet. I evaluate the K sheet first by framework then K proper, where the line-by-line is very important - reading massive overviews that don't specifically interact with 2ac arguments hurt your chances of winning those parts of the K if the aff does the work you don't do in the 1ar. I believe the aff should be able to be weighed against the kritik, it is up to the neg to win why that is not the case in this round with a clear counter-interp.
Links are important and must be contextualized to the affirmative, but it is also just as important to be able to explain how the alt method is able to resolve those links. I hold alt solvency to a high regard, you must be able to explain what the alt does to create change in the world after I vote neg. I have found that there is big trend recently by neg teams to ignore solvency deficits/turns because they aren't specific to the (usually obscure) alt method the neg is choosing to read this round - you still need to interact with those arguments and disprove their warrants!
I think perf con is voter as long as there is a clear link in contradiction of advocacies - I believe the neg is able to spin out of this, but depending on the positions read that might be hard at times.
Floating PIKs are bad, but if you get away with it, I will still vote on it.
I would love to hear a good DA+Case collapse in the 2nr. I believe the top level of the disad should be thoroughly fleshed out in the block and there be clear turns case analysis given that is contextualized to the aff scenarios/solvency. Generic link walls are fine as long as you are doing that contextualization as well. I don't think winning case outweighs is all the aff needs to do when turns case analysis is competing against it, but I do think it is underutilized in the 1ar when paired with other arguments on the disad proper.
I really enjoy politics disads when their scenarios lean closer to plausible rather than just fiat spin +"and x is at the top of the docket now". I think warrant interaction on the uniqueness/link uniqueness question is where this sheet is usually won on either side. Generic pc is fake and winners win args aren't too persuasive unless contextualized to the current political climate.
I really love good counterplan debate. Generic counterplans are necessary and good. I think specific counterplans are even better. Counterplans that read evidence from the 1AC or an aff author are even better than that! I think process cp's are legitimate but prefer neg teams to explain how the net benefit is still a disad to the aff. Plan plus multi-plank advantage cp's are my new most hated CP on this topic - do with that info what you will.
Neg teams need to be sure to have a clear story/explanation for how the aff/perm links to the net benefit and the CP alone avoids it. I do not think the answer to solvency deficits is to go for "lens of sufficiency" or fiat, you need to explain how those deficits still allow the cp to solve the aff/avoid the net benefits. Severance/Intrinsic perm debates seem to be less common these days, but I still think they are important tools against "creative" aff perms.
I am okay with aff teams making multiple perms but those perms need to be explained and how they work before the 2ar is going for them. In that same regard, solvency deficits/perm shields the link analysis and implications must not be made for the first time in the 2ar either. Aff should be leveraging their "creative" permutation with their cp theory if the cp is even close to abusive, but I really don't like when rounds come down to just a theory question.
Theory that is more specific to the argument it is read against will typically have a higher chance of being viewed as a voter. I typically lean neg in most cases, except for bad PICs or convoluted process cp's. I think theory should also be used as a justification for other arguments you make in the round based on substance, not just a reason to reject the team.
My threshold for condo is very easily shifted by circumstances, but I generally believe it is a good idea for the aff to read condo in the 2ac if the neg is reading 3 or more counter-advocacies, though the likelihood of me voting on it largely depends on the amount of in-round abuse/sand-bagging strategy the neg is choosing to do. Aff needs to have a clear interpretation, and I find "no difference between 2/3/4 off" not very convincing by the neg, especially if the aff gives any type of intelligent analysis on time tradeoffs.
I believe frivolous theory bad is a voter, especially on procedural questions that the aff/neg themselves violate, but you need to do the work of showing how in round abuse is occurring and how the theory is frivolous.
On judge kick - if the neg tells me to and it's unanswered or the neg is ahead on the question of whether I should, then I will. Neg teams, you should tell me to do this in the block if you want it to be considered for the same reason 2ar condo strats are bad, you wouldn't want the aff to win on 5 minutes of judge kick bad in 2ar and it gives the aff plenty of time to respond/not respond to it by the 2nr.
Gordie O'Rorke (he/him)
--- Call me Gordie (gore-dee), not judge, not sir
University of Texas '26 -- not debating
Winston Churchill '22 -- policy debate
--- email@example.com for email chains
--- firstname.lastname@example.org for anything else
TLDR: I do not know this topic. Please explain acronyms, intricacies, etc. clearly. I am willing to listen to any arguments that aren't racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. Some arguments will obviously need more explanation than others. Write my ballot for me--the first part of your 2NR/2AR should be what I repeat back to you in the RFD. Don't sacrifice clarity for speed--I don't care how good your arguments are if I can't understand them.
Very much tech>truth. However, you need to extend an argument completely if you want me to evaluate it, even if it is dropped.
Other Relevent Things:
Please no small talk if I don't know you.
Speed up the debate. Have the email chain ready to go when the round is supposed to start. Don't just stand around before your speech.
If you send a google doc or pdf, I will take off .2 speaks and be very annoyed. (download verbatim, it's free)
Give an order before your speech. Example: "CP, DA, Case" not "Link, Line by Line, Impact"
Topicality: Competing interpretations is probably a better metric in determining T debates however I can be persuaded otherwise. Reasonability is a question of the counterinterpretation and the literature base. Please articulate an internal link/impact -- "they explode limits and ground" is not an argument.
Counterplans: I think that the phrase "see-pee" might be the thing I hate most in this world. Like it really bothers me. Wildly arbitrary process CPs aren't my favorite but if you read them well go for it. I won't default to judge kick or sufficiency framing unless you tell me to. Counterplan theory is probably underutilized in the 2AR but it needs to be a substantial part if not all of the 2AR. You need a net benefit or you will probably not get my ballot. Aff specific advantage counterplans are always better.
Disads: Zero risk is possible if debated well. Disads are generally bad and generic--please point out the logical flaws--this will go a long way even as analytics. Aff specific links are always better than generic ones but I understand disad ground is not always extensive. Turns case arguments can be very persuasive and should be at the top of your 2NR.
Kritiks: Slow down on overviews. These were a majority of my 2NRs my senior year and a majority of my partner's 2NRs my junior year. I am familiar with common kritiks like cap, antiblackness, set col, IR, but have almost no experience with high theory which means you'll likely need to overexplain. I default to weighing the aff. Links should also be articulated as reasons to turn the case. Often times the alt debate gets lost which I think is a detriment. Explaining the alt makes it a lot easier to get my ballot. Thus, I also find it difficult to vote for the K without an alternative.
K Affs: I like K Affs as long as they have a link to the topic. Taglines that say NATO, AI, Cybersecurity, with vague or no basis in their literature is not a link to the topic. I find it hard in those scenarios to believe that it is necessary to read this on the aff. I find TVAs and Switch-Side very persuasive therefore the aff needs to have a strong response and justification for their aff and model of debate. While I did mostly go for the K v K Affs, I find these rounds hard to adjudicate and will need more judge instruction if you want a helpful ballot.
Framework: I probably lean more towards voting for framework in K Aff v FW debates. Arguments about dismissing K Affs from debate, excluding literature bases, etc will likely result in a loss--these aren't persuasive. TVA/SSD is a good strategy and I find that Aff teams rarely have a good answer to strategic TVAs or a strong justification for why it's necessary to read their literature on the affirmative. Structure your debating around why your model is preferable, not whining about "cheating K-Affs".
Theory: Underutlized. I also have very little experience in these types of debates but good debating, and articulating clear in-round abuse, internal links, and impacts might make it a reason to reject an argument. Condo is the only reason to reject the team. Reading your 10 point theory blocks at each other without responding to the other teams 10 point theory block will lead to low speaker points.
LD/PF: I am unfamiliar with the intricacies of these events. I will probably judge these rounds like I would a policy round. This means backfile theory shells, RVIs, gotchya arguments, etc. will not be understood and likely not voted on. I don't know what "tricks" are and I don't care to learn. Please send your evidence---Disclosure is good. If you are unsure how to do this, please ask. Not sending evidence will result in lower speaker points.
I debated at Lake Travis High School for 4 years (2015-2019). I did mostly LD, but have some experience in PF, Policy, and even Congress. I debated TFA, UIL, NSDA, and TOC circuits. I ran a lot of queer theory, ableism, and LatCrit.
Put me on the email chain email@example.com
You can run whatever you want but don't think that because I'm an LD judge I will hack for theory or other progressive arguments. If anything it is a strong uphill battle because you will have so little time to flesh out a shell. If you think genuine abuse occurred you are better off just saying that on case than trying to read a full shell.
I need the summary and final focus to write my ballot for me. Tell me what you are winning and why it outweighs. If you don't do these things then I will have to try to figure it out myself and you are less likely to like my conclusion than if you just tell me how stuff breaks down.
You can go moderately fast but if you are just trying to go fast to scare/keep your opponent from engaging you won't get good speaks.
Refer to the speaker point scale and procedural things below, most of it still applies to PF.
Be nice and have fun!
I will vote on anything as long as I get a clear explanation of it, but frivolous theory/tricks will be a steep uphill battle for you. I did mostly K debate, but I am well experienced in LARP, Theory, and traditional stuff as well. I won’t hack for you just because you read a K. Impact everything to a framing mechanism. I like to have a very clear explanation of what argument operates on what layer of the debate. If you go over 350 wpm you run the risk of me missing arguments. I’ll say slow/clear/fast/loud twice before it affects your speaks. I give speaks based on strategy, but being polite is a side constraint. Be nice and have fun!
I did circuit debate, so I have a decent understanding of speed, that being said slow down on important texts, analytics, and dense T/Theory analysis. If you flash me evidence I don’t care how fast you read the evidence as long as you aren’t clipping. I probably cap out around 350-400 wpm, so I might miss things over that. If you make a winning argument at that speed and I miss it, that’s your fault, not mine.
Note: I’m ok with 1AR K’s, but for convenience I will use neg speech titles
This was my favorite kind of argument to read in high school, but for that reason it is wise to ensure you are familiar with any K lit before you read it in front of me. I will judge based on how you articulate the argument, but I might look frustrated when you say incorrect things. I have a MUCH better understanding of identity K’s than high theory stuff, but both need to be clearly explained by the end of the 2N. I feel iffy about PIKs in general, if you want to read a PIK in front of me make it clear why perm doesn’t solve in the NC. To vote on K’s I need a clear link, impact to a framing mechanism, and a thorough explanation of the alt. If you wind up kicking the alt and going for the K as a linear DA, I will hold the link explanation to a higher standard.
Note: I’m ok with 1AR theory, but for convenience I will use neg speech titles
I have a strong understanding of how T/Theory functions, but I didn’t read it much, so if you are going for nuanced/ specific offense make your analysis twice as clear as you normally would. I will definitely vote if I see clear abuse, but frivolous theory will likely get an eye roll and higher expectations of what your analysis has to accomplish. I think in-round abuse outweighs potential abuse. If you go for norm-setting arguments it will be harder or you to win the theory flow (You need to win why you winning this particular round will set a norm). I will always look to paradigm issues before I analyze what happened on the T/Theory flow proper, so don’t waste your time going for a shell if you are gonna concede drop the argument. I DO NOT like a 1AR collapse to RVIs. If this is your best option in a round, go for it but I will be bored and sad.
I have a complicated relationship with tricks. I guess I would vote for them if they are conceded, but you won’t get very high speaks because I don’t think that there is much educational value to debates that come down to “They conceded the B subpoint of the second justification of the 5th presumption spike.” That’s gross.
Basically if you want me to vote for tricks that are piffy and serve no purpose other than to confuse your opponent, I’m not down. If you supplement tricks with something more in depth go for it.
The only scenario in which I will drop you for tricks is if your opponent has a disability that is explained and you STILL go for tricks after that explanation is made.
If I am going to vote on a DA with no advocacy associated I need a strong explanation of a solid link and an impact to a framing mechanism with reasons why it outweighs. I don’t think there is much else to say here.
I like interesting counterplan debates, meaning that the more nuanced/fleshed out your CP the better. I think it is important that the CP text itself makes sense and isn’t a paragraph long. PICs are ok but please make them distinct enough from the affirmative to keep the debate interesting (like actor changes are fine but delay/consult Cps make me sad). I need a net benefit, solvency advocate, and an extended CP text to vote on it. A conceded perm is damning so don’t concede perms please.
My understanding of philosophical frameworks is pretty average. I have a good grasp on Kant, Hobbes, Butler, and other common stuff, but if you are going beyond the normal stuff, that’s fine but PLEASE explain it clearly. Regurgitating buzzwords will make me go “>:( .” As long as I can use your framework as an impact filter, you’re good. I do, however have an ethical problem with tricky framework for the sake of being tricky for the same reason I think Tricks debates aren’t educational. To clarify, if you can’t explain the framework to a fifth grader in the time of cx, it’s too tricky. Also, if your framework justifies morally reprehensible things and you defend those things, I won’t vote for you and your speaks will suffer.
Although I did a lot of circuit debate, I still really appreciate a good value/criterion traditional debate. Framework analysis is much more important in traditional debates, but I don’t think reading a counter framework is necessary. However, I want every impact to be contextualized in terms of some criterion/standard. If you don’t articulate why your impact outweighs your opponent, I will have to intervene and then no one will be happy.
30-29 Seriously impressed
29-28 Pretty good, you should break
27-28 Some glaring strategy issues
27-25 Your strat was DOA or you said something overtly problematic or mean
25-0 You were so rude/ problematic that it made the debate feel unsafe
- If you make me think about the debate space/society in a different/enlightening way I will slightly inflate your speaks
Here are my defaults, the lower on the list they are the less time it needs to change my mind
- Role of the ballot is the highest layer of framework
- Case can be cross applied to T/Theory
- No RVIs
- Drop the argument
I do NOT have a default for layering offs (K before T, etc) so you NEED to do this analysis in front of me
I am generally tech/truth unless you are just lying (like saying that global warming isn’t real)
I will be disappointed/drop speaks if you do this
- Not clearly answering cx questions (especially status of advocacies and what layer comes first)
- Are occasionally rude (sass is ok, but teasing is not)
- Not giving content warnings before possibly triggering arguments are made
I will drop you if you do this
- Say or do anything explicitly exclusionary
- Act egregiously rude or blatantly mean towards your opponent (if you don’t know if what you do is ‘egregious’ or not it probably is)
Please put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm currently an assistant debate coach for Niles North High School. I was the Head Debate Coach at Niles West High School for twelve years and an assistant debate coach at West for one year. I also work at the University of Michigan summer debate camps. I competed in policy debate at the high school level for six years at New Trier. #gotrevs (always already a preclusion...don't worry).
Master of Education in English-Language Learning & Special Education National Louis University (Expected Winter 2024)
Master of Arts in School Leadership Concordia University-Chicago
Master of Arts in Education Wake Forest University
Juris Doctor Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law
Bachelor of Arts University of California, Santa Barbara
I will vote on any type of debate argument so long as the team extends it throughout the entire round and explains why it is a voter. Thus, I will pull the trigger on theory, agent specification, and other arguments many judges are unwilling to vote on. Even though I am considered a “politics/counter plan” debater, I will vote on kritiks, but I am told I evaluate kritik debates in a “politics/counter plan” manner (I guess this is not exactly true anymore...and I tend to judge clash debates). I try not to intervene in rounds, and all I ask is that debaters respect each other throughout the competition.
The tournament and those judging you are not at your leisure. Please do your best to start the round promptly at the posted time on the pairing and when I'm ready to go (sometimes I do run a few minutes late to a round, not going to lie). Please do your best to: use prep ethically, attach speech documents quickly, ask to use bathroom at appropriate times (e.g. ideally not right before your or your partner's speech), and contribute to moving the debate along and help keep time. I will give grace to younger debaters on this issue, but varsity debaters should know how to do this effectively. This is an element of how I award speaker points. I'm a huge fan of efficient policy debate rounds. Thanks!
In my opinion, you cannot waive CX and bank it for prep time. Otherwise, the whole concept of cross examination in policy debate is undermined. I will not allow this unless the tournament rules explicitly tell me to do so.
If you use a poem, song, etc. in the 1AC, you should definitely talk about it after the 1AC. Especially against framework. Otherwise, what is the point? Your performative method should make sense as a praxis throughout the debate.
Do not post round me. I will lower your speaker points if you or one of your coaches acts disrespectful towards me or the opponents after the round. I have no problem answering any questions about the debate but it will be done in a respectful manner to all stakeholders in the room. If you have any issues with this, please don't pref me. I have seen, heard and experienced way too much disrespectful behavior by a few individuals in the debate community recently where, unfortunately, I feel compelled to include this in my paradigm.
I am a policy maker judge first and foremost but will appreciate stock issues and K merit if done exceptionally well. I will give the most value to pragmatic arguments with a real-world basis, be it historical or empirical evidence. That said, persuasive and strong arguments will win the round, regardless of truth, but it is best to keep things grounded in discussing the policy at hand.
For the Neg, I do not particularly prefer Ks to be run, but if you do, properly explain how the K links. I will have the inclination to vote aff if the K link is muddled. On-case arguments are the strongest. Provide quality clash and blow up important weaknesses in the aff. One good DA is better than three that barely link.
For the Aff, I will have more confidence voting aff if the case itself is carried through the round and you discuss your plan. Don't forget to talk about your plan after the 1AC. Plan texts that actually pass a policy measure are key; I do not like broad, squirrely plan texts without specific policies. Stress solvency.
In CX, I'm cool with some aggressive questioning, but make sure you're actually asking questions and not stating arguments as sentences. Keep it polite and fun.
I do not like obnoxiously fast spreading. I understand it can be important in time crunches, but if you have maximized jamming cards into an 8-minute 1AC or flooded the 1NC beyond readable comprehension, that's a bad idea. This is a speaking event, too, and I find better speakers more persuasive.
Above all, enjoy yourselves and have fun. Keep things chill, make smart moves, and we'll have a great round.
University of Kansas '23, Washburn Rural '19
Coaching for the Asian Debate League (TW)
Based in Taiwan, so the time difference could affect my judging
---Better for policy and AFF-specific Ks; not great for K AFFs, process counterplans, and technical T arguments
---Not the greatest flow, likes creativity, more likely to care about macro-issues than minor technical drops, avoid jargon/acronyms, will vote on args that promote sedition
---Fully-developed strategies that clash tend to perform better in front of me
---My debate beliefs are malleable. The opinions below might make me seem like a old person (true, though), but good debating can remedy my predispositions. Good ev helps too.
---Largely persuaded that:
(1) incomplete args in the 1NC justify new responses
(2) net benefits should be verbally stated in the 1NC
The justification for both of these will be below.
1---Respecting your opponents (CX, pronouns, don't mercilessly bludgeon less-experienced debaters), be ethical, etc.
2---Efficiency. In your speech, during prep, emailing, down-time. etc. If you don't need 10 minutes of prep for the 2NR/2AR, don't take it.
3---Taking debate seriously. Pay attention, flow, try. But also, have fun! We are all invested, so let's make our debates worthwhile. Ad-homs are bad and not arguments.
4---Research (evidence matters, but so could spin). Vertifical proliferation is better than horizontal proliferation of arguments. Also, likely won't vote for death good.
5---Ethos and Clarity. I am a bad judge for teams that just spit into their computer at 300 WPM at 65% clarity. Lowkey think that debaters that are slow (while being smart, technical, etc.) are *****chefs kiss***** I should hear every single word you say. Please enunciate and recognize that debate is also a communication activity instead of a block perfecting competition in the 2NR and 2AR. If you are a team that has rebuttals prescripted without any plans of contextualization (such as asserting things happened when they didn't), then please email me your 2NR/2AR blocks and I will just assign your speaker points during the 1AC and vote against you.
1---Lack of analysis. You should have framing arguments, judge instruction, contextualization, and argument development.
2---Debates that make me litigate things outside of the debate.
3---Vagueness. It should be clear what your AFF does, what the plan means, what the counterplan does, what your highlighting of evidence means, and what the tags of your cards are intended to communicate. I am likely more amenable to vagueness arguments than most-judges.
Topicality vs. Policy AFFs
T versus policy AFFs was one of my least favorite arguments. It isn't ideological, but I spent most of my debate career debating with 2Ns who were obsessed with it, so I just never really thought about it. I find most T debates dry but I understand the strategic necessity of them. I think my aversion stems from 1NCs that lack a violation and then debate becoming late-breaking.
To improve my VTL when going for T, internal link explanation is important. 2Ns have seemed to forget that there ought be a reasonable explanation about how we get from the violation to zero NEG ground ever. Both teams should have more debating about what the interp/counter-interp debates wouldlook like. Assertions of topic biases or quality of generics should be explained with warrants. I am not the ideal judge for a technical T argument.
For some reason, I find ground arguments more compelling than limits/precision. Not sure if this will affect my judging but I've always thought that limits arguments were hyperbolic. Big topics feel good as long as the NEG has robust strategies to counter them. When evenly debated, plan-text-in-a-vacuum is a tough sell for me.
The optimal 2NR is a DA and the case. Counterplans are for cowards. I'm not as big on the modern Politics DA as most Kansas debaters but it's fine. Would prefer not to judge debates about intrinsicness tests.
AFFs teams should have offense on the DA. NEG teams should try to have real "turns case" arguments outside of "nuke war is bad."
I'm mostly AFF-leaning on theory arguments. I'm not wedded to these beliefs but have some predispositions. Not a huge believer in conditionality. This is not a free invitation to go for condo in the 2AR, just merely an observation that in-depth debates are better.
My least favorite genre of argument as a debater was the process counterplan. Again, I understand its strategic utility and will judge the debate as neutrally as possible. I'd prefer a 2NR that is about why the AFF's bad. Competition debates are dry. Comparative evidence between the AFF and the counterplan's process that demonstrates functional competition could make me hate your counterplan a little less. I am also a less qualified judge for complex competition debates.
I am a good judge for presumption and giving a low weight to the AFF advantages. The 2AC and 1AR get away with murder on the case, so the NEG teams should use that to their advantage. This is an area where good debating will be rewarded with nice speaker points.
I enjoy soft left AFFs but framing contentions need to contain offense. ________________________________________________________________________________________
Ks vs. Policy AFFs
I'm better for Ks on the NEG. I will award specificity, especially backed with evidence. I will have a hard time voting on critiques that lack interactions with the scholarship and thesis of the 1AC. If the NEG reads a K impact turn to the AFF's advantage, that is likely the best strategy in front of me. Or, have a robust framework justification with turns case arguments. I seem to care a little bit more about performative contradictions/linking to your own K than some (not for theory reasons).
K AFF vs. T: USFG
I have voted both ways but am not a good judge for you. I am better than white-bro-card-cutting sweats but should still be taken below "clash judges." Explain what debates over the AFF interp would look like. I always thought framework debates were thought provoking and helped me think about debate. Explain what debates over the NEG interp/TVA would look like. I am open to voting for either fairness or education.
I am a believer in research about the topic, so the closer your AFF is to being about the topic, defending a theory of power, being a substantial shift from the status quo, and defending material action, the better. Any lit bases outside of bio power, colonialism, settler colonialism, capitalism, and IR need more explanation. ________________________________________________________________________________________
(1) Incomplete Arguments
I am mostly compelled that the 1AR should get whatever it wants in response to incomplete 1NCs. Debates are increasingly rewarding blippy 1NCs, causing debates that are worse to judge and I believe judges ought hold the line on what the debate community constitutes a complete argument. If a 1NC DA shell lacks uniqueness, then why should the 2AC be burdened to make link turn args as to how they reverse the deficiencies of the status quo. The logical conclusion of "you have to answer everything" would mean the AFF would have to read impact d to random floating impacts, which is absurd.
(2) Net Benefits
Whatever the net benefit of every advocacy is should be specified in the 1NC. This is low-cost for the NEG and would improve debates/AFF strategy. CX doesn't remedy this because NEG teams take forever to answer, which is unfair for the AFF because the 1A could be asking good, substantive questions. Instead, I have to listen to the 1N say "everything is a net benefit... wait... <>...then the 2N takes 15 seconds to decide and then lists net benefits to analytical con con, states, the one card security K, a card-less 15 plank advantage counterplan, and a process counterplan. This take might seem extreme, but I believe it is the least arbitrary and most efficient way to resolve net benefit shenanigans (a time limit feels weird). For most counterplans, they are only complete arguments if they have arguments about solvency AND competition in the 1NC. Counterplans that rely on DAs to beat the perm and complete, so it seems logical that the NEG should be responsible for this. Lastly, I want to award bold strategies. The clearer the net benefits are, the better AFFs will be at straight-turning and NEGs will read better DA + CP combinations.
People who have shaped the way I think about debate/inspire me include Cindy Burgett, Tim Ellis, Will Katz, Peg Wefald, Natalie Knez, Q Robinson, Jordan Foley, Brian Box, and the KU coaching staff (Rock Chalk!).
Hi! My name is George Psaras (he/him), and I debated from my sophomore to senior year of high school. I was a policy debater throughout my career. The type of debate that I really enjoy is a substantive one that remains topical. I am not a huge fan of wild Ks or theory, but I will accept them if the debate itself remains topical. I really would like to see some good counterplans and intense cross examination. The only things I will refuse to vote on are anything offensive, and anything from Kant. Other than that, I am just looking for good clash and good discussion about the topic.
carrollton sacred heart '17
university of michigan '21
yes, i want speech docs – email@example.com
I'm currently a grad student @UT-Austin; I sat down to try and revise this paradigm but to be quite honest I still think it sums up how I think about debate. I didn't work at a camp this summer so I'm not coming in with a bunch of topic knowledge. Proceed accordingly. I can probably figure out most acronyms but if you're going for a really topic-specific argument some more explanation might be helpful for me.
I lean neg ideologically, but I have in the past voted for affs without plan texts. The reason for this is because I think that affs that try to go for a more middle ground approach with a robustly defended counter-interp are strategic against the way that many debaters go for framework/T. I often think about "framework" debates the same way I think about topicality/competing interpretations: what does debate look like in a world of the aff vs the neg? I strongly dislike debates where the aff doesn't defend their own interpretation of what debate should look like but instead leverage 15 mini impact turns to T that might just be inevitable/not resolved by the aff's interp.
Please slow down
Evidence quality matters a lot to me in T debates, and the better your interp ev is the better your chances are
it's a voting issue, no RVIs, this isn't LD
I tend to be aff leaning with process CPs – If your CP tries to “compete” based on immediacy or certainty, it probably doesn’t compete. Additionally, if your CP leads to whatever the plan mandates, does it in some arbitrary way, or adds a part to the plan, I am likely to vote on the perm. If you are extending a permutation in the 1ar, it should be explained way beyond three words for me to evaluate it – what it does and how it shields the link, etc. Otherwise, I'll likely protect the 2nr from 2ar extrapolation.
If you have aff-specific or topic-specific ev to support the CP, I'll likely err neg on competition/theory.
Aff – winning a credible solvency deficit is important. Ideally, there should be evidentiary support or an internal link chain from which you can base the solvency deficit.
You read death good = you get 20-21 points (whoever said it first gets 20) and a fat L
Other than the death good stuff, I'm probably better for most K debates than people think. I am in grad school for English/Info studies and have a pretty decent understanding of most critical literature.
Identity args - I'm not the best for over-arching ontology arguments - I am particularly hesitant to assign a universal political and/or social identity to an entire population. I am particularly uncomfortable in debates where non-black debaters make Wilderson's argument about all black people experiencing social death or anything analogous to that.
Theory arguments vs the link are usually not winners for me
Block/2nr impact calc is one of the most important things that determine my decision. My decision will be the easiest if you win that the disadvantage outweighs and controls a larger internal link to solving the aff impacts/advantages than the aff actually does.
There can be 0% risk of an impact – don’t underestimate defense.
Might be an area of disagreement for some, but I think the politics link can be non-unique – it’s best if the 2ac reads a card on it.
Again, aff-specific ev is a gamechanger for competition and theory questions - but these are my defaults:
Condo – probably good ... within limits
PICs – good
Word PICs – depends on ev, but when the ev is decent these are awesome to judge
International / 50 state fiat – usually good
Agent CPs – good
Floating PIKs – bad
SPEC – set it up in cross-ex, or I won’t vote on these
If it’s not conditionality, I’ll probably default to rejecting the argument, not the team. But, that's just a default - I can be persuaded otherwise.
Best of luck and have fun!
I'm healed now run it all back
Please put me on the e-mail chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Highschool peeps: I've been told by my coach friends, my debaters, and students I've judged that I come off mean in RFDs because of how blunt I am. I don't mean to be rude or anything like that but if that seems like I am, it's most likely not you.
***Well done*** Naruto references get you speaker point boosts.
Greetings Comrades, I debated four years of varsity debate in high school at East Kentwood competing nationally and then debated for five years at Wayne State. Now I'm a grad assistant at Baylor. I have been almost exclusively a K debater. Some of the areas include anti-blackness, settler colonialism, cap, Edelman, and Chicanx arguments but I also have read and coached policy arguments so throw em at me. (Random impact turns like bootlicking China).
College: Oh wow nukes can't wait to hear all the same impacts from the last five years.
High School: BIG MOOONEY
Evidence sharing and disclosure is good. Do it.
Tag teaming is okay but I'd rather it kept to a minimum or zero.
Did you read a? Did you skip b? What cards did you read? Are cross ex questions I will enforce that time on a one judge panel. Don't like it? Get good at flowing, sorry but not sorry.
Don't be oppressive or violent in the round, I'll let the other team roast you in their speech if they want to dunk and gain speaker points, if they don't take the opportunity to do it I will do it post round including lower speaks and an L.
I've noticed now more that I am an expressive judge so you will often know how I feel about something in the debate. So do with that as you will.
I've started to hate large overviews because honestly most of that work can/should be done on the line by line portion of the debate. I am also personally fine with the 1AR or block foregoing and overview and just tear up the opponents arguments directly.
More hostility in debate. Like why are we treating bad or silly arguments and the people that run them as serious. This isn't like been mean and call people names, but like you just called their epistemology racist and you're friends or cordial with someone reading that racist stuff? That's weird... Enter the room with that mamba mentality, that's all.
***Online Debates. I would love and prefer your cameras on at all times as I think it checks back cheating, helps me see you and allows you to use non-verbal's to persuade me and absent that build a sense of community and friendship :). If you can't or it's important to your argument and/or have another reason for not using a camera I get it, just my preference.
If you have a fringe argument that some deem as silly, funny, goofy, weird, and/or obscure read that ish I like weird impact turns and all kinds of funky DAs. Spark, rouge AI, aliens, or whatever have fun.
I think post-rounding is silly because debate is communicative and if you failed to articulate your round winning argument then I’m sorry but I’m not going to go crying to tab changing the result. But waste our time if you really feel that way I won't think about the round ever again likely so no clue what you want to be the result of it. I've only had this problem
once twice so let's keep it that way.
Perms need a deeper explanation than you just rambling off four perms in hopes that the neg drops one it likely won't be developed enough by the 1AR/2AR to get my ballot
Aff has the burden of proof, prove a change is needed or what you do is the change + is good. Neg has the burden of rejoinder respond any way you want. Lots of times I feel that I vote neg because I lose sight of what the aff does as the 1AC slowly decomposes into nothing-ness at the end of the round. Explain what your aff does, why you are doing it, and how. Neg people don’t let affs shine light on their arguments and you have a hot shot at getting a win or a presumption ballot at the least.
First slow down on the violation, standards, and voters people blaze through it at top speed please relax let me flow it, damn. I feel like well done policy affs vs. T debates are some of my favorite but also could be really really generic and mid debates. So don't be boring. The impact level needs to come down to what specific abuse or education loss happened not something abstract.
Borrowing from Pirates of the Caribbean, "The [Resolution] is more what you call guidelines, than actual rules."
Aff teams should prove a reasonable way, form, and or model of engagement or have significant impact turns to the neg arguments, I'm not convinced by some generic bs like "policy bad" we can do better y'all. Neg teams not gonna hold you IDGAF about fairness in the abstract. You need to prove the specific abuse in the round not just some lofty fairness claims. You need to contextualize your offense to the specific aff you debate and if you can do that you'll most likely be good absent something external in the round.
Rez connection is appreciated and desired although not mandatory ig, please make sure you have thought through why you have completely rejected it. If you are just gonna say debate bad but have no other juice aside from that why we here?
So I've come around and like a good theory debate so go for it. I'm most open to disclosure theory, condo in a world of 4+ off (i.e. time skew claims and ability to generate offense on the net benefits). I also will flow on paper so like depth over breath for me. Y'all really need to levy perf-con against teams that read Ks and then have some policy defense/args. In a world of two perf con policy CPs I'll lean more neg flex but in a world of K v Policy stuff it shows bad K debating and I lean aff.
TBH not a fan of most politics DAs because they seem boring and repetitive. If I had a dollar for every time something was supposed to shift a vote or election I would have more money than Bezos so you either need really good specific link evidence or you should read something else. If you decide to read a new disad in the block make sure you have a warrant as to why you did.
Make sure you outline the net benefit pretty please? However, how much fiat the teams want to grant the CP will be up to y’all. I love a tricky PIC but don't love 4 plank long counterplans.
Real world impacts are good and are grounded in more reality thus I feel are easier to believe than most. In addition to the arguments I mentioned in my background I dappled with a broad range of other arguments but that does not mean I'm neck deep in all the literature of everything so explain. Going for alt? Explain how it solves the links. No alt? Fine K’s can also function as disads without alts and be a reason to not do the aff but you will have to win how the aff increases said bad thing not just they use the state. In general I think the state link is probably the weak “link” of k links, see what I did there ;). I’d rather you contextualize your argument to the aff. Or to win the K you need a good FW/epistemology connection so make sure to have that if you aren't going the material route.
Ummmm... why ain't we fiating alts around here we really letting the policy crew have a monopoly on the tools of imagination?
**HS in particular: Please don’t be like “He’s a K debater so reading the K is how we win” If you would like feedback I can probably provide that for you as an educational opportunity but don’t read it just for the sake of it. I don’t like buns K debates and if you think you have that FW or DA fire instead just read that.
I would like to be on the email chain: email@example.com
Director of Debate for Southern Nazarene University since 2021 and former coach of Crossings Christian School from 2011 to 2023.
Things you need to know for prefs:
Kritiks: Very familiar with kritiks and non-topical affs. I like kritiks and K affs and can vote for them.
Policy: I am familiar with policy debates and can judge those. My squad is designed to be flex so I am good with either.
Speed: I can handle any kind of speed as long as you are clear.
Theory/FW/T: I am not a fan of FW-only debates so if you are neg and hit a non-topical aff I will entertain FW but that shouldn't be your only off-case. Contesting theory of power is a good strat for me.
Performance/non-traditional debate: Despite what some would think coming from a Christian school, I actually like these kinds of debates and have voted up many teams.
I try to be a tab judge but I know I tend to vote on more technical prowess. I believe debate should be a fun and respectful activity and I try to have a good time judging the round. I think debaters are among the smartest students in the nation and I always find it a privilege to judge a round and give feedback.
Hi! I’m an assistant coach for Crossings Christian and Southern Nazarene University and have been since 2020/2021, respectively. I started debating in the sixth grade and debated at Crossings from 2013-2020. I competed at the national level since the eighth grade, broke at a couple TOCQs, and won two 5A state titles in Oklahoma.
I was a flex debater, which means I debated both policy and the K and am comfortable with either. I ran many different Ks during my seven years of debate, such as Agamben, Cap, Setcol, Afropess (with a black partner), Baudrillard, and Psychoanalysis. I don’t have anything against nontopical or performance affs, and I’m generally tech over truth.
There are a few things I’ll vote a team down for, no matter what’s happening in the rest of the round:
- Being rude, laughing at, or mocking the other team.
- Death good, suicide good, or advocating for killing people, especially if these arguments are contextualized to someone in the room.
Things I like:
- A nice joke in your speech, even if it’s corny. Have fun in the round!
- Being respectful to your opponents and your partner.
- Telling me what I should write for my RFD.
Things I dislike:
- Disclosure theory, perf con good theory, and multiple worlds good theory. I especially dislike multiple worlds good theory being used as a reason why your 2AC block doesn’t contradict itself.
- The phrase “This card/argument is trash” or similar phrases. Tell me why the argument’s bad instead of just insulting it.
- Ks without alts.
- Eugenics good
Director of Debate: Dulles High School (2022 - Present)
Formerly: Westside High School (2017 - 2022), Magnolia High School (2016 - 2017)
Every round I judge: esdebate93 [at] the google mail service
If I am judging you in Policy: dulles.policy.db8 [at] the google mail service
If I am judging you in LD: dulles.ld.db8 [at] the google mail service
I am a full time classroom teacher who oversees a large team and judges a lot. As a result, I can be a bit of a grumpy gus, but I promise that I care. I'm glad that you're choosing to be here and hope that you continue to make that choice. If you require accommodation or are uncomfortable with something that is happening and I'm not picking up on it, please let me know either verbally or by email. If you have any questions, just ask.
Non-Negotiables - The lightest consequence for a violation of these is me tanking your speaks. The harshest is stopping the round, reporting you to the tabroom, and contacting your coach. Anything between these two is on the table.
Safety, inclusivity, and accessibility are preconditions for us having an activity worth doing. Don’t be a bully, make threats, advocate/threaten self-harm, or engage in harassment. Don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or ableist. Respect people’s pronoun preferences, provide accommodation upon request, and be kind to novices. Wheaton's law is always in effect.
Content/trigger warnings should be given if you have reasonable suspicion that the material you are discussing could be triggering. The onus is on you to ask the room to read the position and give observers time to leave. Read something else if any of the people who have to be there (competitors or judges) objects.
Debate tournaments are long, difficult, and overstimulating for everyone involved, often due to factors beyond your control. That said, debaters regularly behave in ways contribute to delays and stress. Do your best not to do that. To elaborate: Get to round on time, have the email chain ready to go, clean up after yourself, and don't be obnoxiously loud and in the way of others.
- Do not clip cards (cutting them in such a way that omits/distorts the author's original meaning, such as omitting sentences where the author contradicts your tag; complete cards are comprised of whole paragraphs; bracketing out offensive language does not constitute clipping) or steal prep (preparing materials or strategizing with your partner outside of prep, speech, or CX time). If you decide to stake the round on ev ethics you will win if you are right and lose if you are wrong.
Two teams are the only entities taking part in the debate. I will decide the debate based on arguments made within tournament set speech times and will submit a decision with one winner and one loser. I will not be making decisions about behaviors that occurred outside of the round or prior disclosure period.
I try to be a good judge for research driven, content heavy strategies and find the best debates to be focused on central controversies rather than edge cases. I will privilege technical execution in most instances; however, in close debates, truth is usually the deciding factor. My threshold for answering nonsense is low. Judge instruction on central questions you want the ballot to consider is super important. I want you to explicitly tell me what is important and why it is more important than other issues, but you should also show me that it’s important via choice, sequencing, and time allocation.
Evidence quality matters a lot, but you need to be the one doing the comparison in your speeches. If the spin is good and you don't challenge it, I'm not going to be checking for you. Liberal use of rehilights are encouraged since they help to adjudicate between competing interpretations of what a piece of evidence says.
I am attentive to cross x but will not flow it. It is your job to incorporate cross x moments into your speeches if you want me to flow it.
Speaker points start at 28.5 and move up or down from there based on a subjective, holistic evaluation of your performance. Will not disclose speaks.
This is a research and communication activity, so you should be doing research and trying to communicate effectively. Too many debaters do neither, and I'm not a fan. Being well read, having a personality beyond doc botting debate bro, and trying to be persuasive will go a long way.
The documents you send during the debate are a reflection of how seriously you take your pre-tournament/round preparation. They should look good. Your cards should include author quals within the citation and you should highlight in comprehensible sentences.
I enjoy fast debates, but clarity, efficiency, and smart argument choices are way more important to me than speed. Please leave pen time when spreading, even if I am flowing on my laptop. If I can't understand or flow it, it won't factor into my decision.
Make complete arguments, meaning claim + warrant + implication. I would also suggest labeling, numbering, or otherwise compartmentalizing your arguments. Blippy and/or disorganized arguments are bad and I will not waste time or mental energy trying to parse them for you.
Have a strategy and execute it well. I love creative and innovative approaches, so don't be afraid to experiment; however, if your strategy is to bamboozle your opponent, you run the risk of bamboozling me too.
Gish-Galloping is bad. I will privilege quality and specificity of argument over quantity.
Clash is good. I am deeply unsympathetic to strategies that try to avoid engagement.
Line by line is preferable to long overviews. 30-45 seconds is the max overview l think has any sort of utility, provided that the focus is judge instruction or impact comparison. There has never been an instance where a separate sheet for an overview has been necessary or helpful.
Please, I am begging you, learn to flow. If you have to waste cx flow checking, speaks will drop.
Beyond these preferences, don’t overadapt. Debate is for debaters, so do your thing, do it well, and have fun.
You should have a clearly articulated relationship to the current topic, identify a significant harm or set of harms that is inherent to the status quo, and propose a method that solves or starts to solve the problem(s) you’ve identified. I am open to various approaches to satisfying these burdens but if I vote for you I should be able to explain my ballot in those terms.
Regardless of style, consistent and compelling narratives are key if you want to win while affirming.
Neg Case Debating
More case 2NRs, please. Your case pushes should include more than just impact turns/defense and cross applications from other pages. You should read cards/analytics that contest theoretical assumptions, claims of solvency, and causal claims. If the negative answers to the case are only cross applications from other sheets (I'm looking at you K debaters), I will be annoyed.
Both sides should have a clear model of debate (interpretation/counter interpretation) that they think is desirable. Creative approaches are welcome, but whatever you choose to do, you need to be prepared to defend your performance. Your model should account for the role of both the affirmative and the negative. Thinking about this through case lists that would be allowed for both sides under your model is a good practice.
I find the Limits + SSD + TVA = better clash/education/skills model of FW the most persuasive. Negative teams who make their explanation of this reasoning contextual to the outcomes the aff desires (better radicals, less gender/racial bias, etc.) will have an easier time than teams that go for fairness oriented models in most instances; however, I'm happy to vote for those as well. Again, do your thing and do it well.
Aff teams should be aware that I generally think that discussions about the object of the resolution are probably important. I do not think that USFG policy on that object is necessarily the best starting point. As such, you will have an easier time winning if you contextualize debates about the resolution within your theory of power and identify the better starting point prescribed by that theory. If I don't know how your model of debate solves/mitigates the impact turn to theirs, I'm probably not going to vote for it.
I am most excited to be in the back of debates featuring kritiks that are specific to the topic/aff you are challenging. I would prefer fewer offs so you have time to explain the K, as these arguments are often counterintuitive. Know the literature base well, explain it simply rather than using jargon as a crutch. Show me that you understand what you are talking about. If you're not winning your thesis, it is unlikely I will think that you are winning anything else on the K page absent really good arguments to the contrary.
Thesis arguments contextualize the link and link arguments support the thesis. They’re mutually reinforcing. When developing links, you should name them, theorize, link your theorization to the aff with a quote from the aff, and impact that out. Lazy link debating loses debates. If a link functions independently of your thesis, you should make that explicit. Don’t rely on me to implicitly follow your reasoning.
Examples are important at every level of these debates. Don’t just name check people, movements, and events. Explain their relationship to the argument. The earlier they show up the better.
Methods/Alternatives should do something that solves or starts to solve the impacts from the link debate. You should tell me what that something is and how it solves. I do not think this must necessarily be material change, a new paradigm or mode of relation is fine; however, it should make sense with regard to solvency claims.
The pre/post fiat distinction people try to draw is silly. Talk about your scholarship/research practices, their impacts, and weigh.
I default to competing interpretations because affirmative teams should have to justify their choices. Reasonability is an argument for the counter interpretation, not your aff. Your interpretations and counter interpretations should be topic specific rather than generic. They should intend to define and include/exclude a given aff or set of affs. T is fundamentally a question of limits; all other standards are secondary.
Disadvantages and Counterplans
Policy throwdowns are the kinds of debates where I am most likely to call for cards, as these quickly turn into card wars, and I am far from a topic expert. Please be ready to send a card doc including all evidence referenced in the 2NR/2AR. Know what you are talking about and explain your arguments simply.
Disads, ideally, are intrinsic to the action of the plan. Please have a cogent link story and do impact comparison. Uniqueness generally controls the direction of the link.
Case specific counterplans are better than generics. I lean aff on multi-actor fiat, consult, and condition. I lean neg on PICs. There is strategic utility to not including a solvency advocate, but literature should probably inform the ground for both sides.
Condo is good. You'll have to do a lot of work to get me to believe otherwise. Aff gets "unlimited" prep, permutations, and intrinsicness tests to balance against neg flex.
Counterplans v K affs don't make sense given my understanding of how counterplan competition works.
LD Specific Stuff
Everything above applies to LD. You should attempt to actually resolve arguments for me. Slow down on analytics, please.
Substantive phil debates are fun and I'd like to judge more of them. Syllogisms should be clear with an explicit relationship to how I weigh impacts.
I can't believe that I am giving this note to people outside a Debate 1 class, but plan texts must have actors.
Debates are evaluated at the conclusion of the 2AR or when I conclude that a winning NR/2AR is no longer possible.
Everything is open to contestation. I will not be evaluating AFC. If you want to include theoretical justifications for your framework, those are not good arguments, but they are acceptable since they don't insist that there exists an obligation to concede things. I think the distinction matters.
I will not evaluate theory of the frivolous variety. You will lose if you make theory arguments pertaining to your opponent’s appearance or mode of dress.
I’m agnostic on 1AR theory and RVIs.
IVIs are K links that function independently of the thesis being true because they also have procedural implications (ie use of exclusionary language). Anything else is just a lazy theory shell.
If you must read tricks, I am okay for substantive tricks with a developed ballot story; however, I would prefer not to judge these debates.
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Am I: I debated four years at Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville, KS, did not debate in college, and have been an assistant coach at Lawrence Free State High School in Lawrence, KS since 2013. I have a Master's degree in International Relations.
General Approach: Tell me what I should be voting on and why. If you want me to evaluate the round differently than they do, then you need to win a reason why your framework or paradigm is the one that I should use. If no one does that, then I'll default to a policymaker paradigm. I don't view offense and defense as an either/or proposition, but if you do then I prefer offense.
Standard Operating Procedure: (How I will evaluate the round unless one of the teams wins that I should do something different) The affirmative has a non-severable duty to advocate something resolutional, and that advocacy must be clear and stable. The goal of the negative is to prove that the affirmative's advocacy is undesirable, worse than a competitive alternative, or theoretically invalid. I default to evaluating all non-theory arguments on a single plane, am much more willing to reject an argument than a team, and will almost always treat dropped arguments as true.
Mechanics: (I'm not going to decide the round on these things by themselves, but they undeniably affect my ability to evaluate it)
- Signposting - Please do this as much as possible. I'm not just talking about giving a roadmap at the start of each speech or which piece of paper you're talking about during the speech, but where on the line-by-line you are and what you're doing (i.e. if you read a turn, call it a turn).
- Overviews - These are helpful for establishing your story on that argument, but generally tend to go on too long for me and seem to have become a substitute for specific line-by-line work, clash, and warrant extension. I view these other items as more productive/valuable ways to spend your time.
- Delivery - I care way more about clarity than speed; I have yet to hear anybody who I thought was clear enough and too fast. I'll say "clear" if you ask me to, but ultimately the burden is on you. Slowing down and enunciating for tags and analytics makes it more likely that I'll get everything.
- Cross Examination - Be polite. Make your point or get an answer, then move on. Don't use cross-ex to make arguments.
- Prep Time - I don't think prep should stop until the flash drive comes out of your computer or the email is sent, but I won't police prep as long as both teams are reasonable.
Argumentation: (I'll probably be fine with whatever you want to do, and you shouldn't feel the need to fundamentally change your strategy for me. These are preferences, not rules.)
- Case - I prefer that you do case work in general, and think that it's under-utilized for impact calc. Internal links matter.
- CPs/DAs - I prefer specific solvency and link cards (I'm sure you do, too), but generics are fine provided you do the work.
- Framework - I prefer that framework gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
- Kritiks - I prefer that there is an alternative, and that you either go for it or do the work to explain why you win anyway. "Reject the Aff." isn't an alternative, it's what I do if I agree with the alternative. I don't get real excited about links of omission, so some narrative work will help you here.
- Performance - I prefer that you identify the function of the ballot as clearly and as early as possible.
- Procedurals - I prefer that they be structured and that you identify how the round was affected or altered by what the other team did or didn't do.
- Theory - I prefer that theory gets its own page on the flow, and that it gets substantive development beyond each side reading frontlines at each other/me.
- Topicality - I prefer that teams articulate how/why their interpretation is better for debate from a holistic perspective. TVAs and/or case lists are good. My least favorite way to start an RFD is, "So, I think the Aff. is topical, but also you're losing topicality."
Miscellaneous: (These things matter enough that I made a specific section for them, and will definitely be on my mind during the round.)
- I'm not planning to judge kick for you, but have no problem doing so if that instruction is in the debate. The Aff. can object, of course.
- Anybody can read cards, good analysis and strategic decision-making are harder to do and frequently more valuable.
- Individual pages on the flow do not exist in a vacuum, and what is happening on one almost certainly affects what is happening on another.
- Comparative impact calculus. Again, comparative impact calculus.
- You may not actually be winning every argument in the round; acknowledging this in your analysis and telling me why you win anyway is a good thing.
- Winning an argument is not the same thing as winning the round on an argument. If you want to win the round on an argument you've won or are winning, take the time to win the round on it.
- The 2NR and 2AR are for making choices, you only have to win the round once.
- I will read along during speeches and will likely double back to look at cards again, but I don't like being asked to read evidence and decide for myself. If they're reading problematic evidence, yours is substantively better, etc., then do that work in the debate.
Zen: (Just my thoughts, they don't necessarily mean anything except that I thought them.)
- Debate is a speaking game, where teams must construct logically sound, valid arguments to defend, while challenging the same effort from their opponents.
- It's better to be more right than the other team than more clever.
- A round is just a collection of individual decisions. If you make the right decisions more often than not, then you'll win more times than you lose.
I'll be happy to answer any questions.
Glenbrook South '19 | University of Michigan '23
I've been both a 2A and 2N. I judged and led a lab at the University of Michigan camp this summer, and have researched on the topic.
Be organized. Do line-by-line, impact calc, judge instruction, and evidence comparison. Do not just read evidence in the 2AC/2NC/1NR. Smart analytics can overcome bad evidence.
Inserting rehighlightings is okay as long as the rehighlightings are short and the implication is explained in the speeches.
For everything below, I can be convinced otherwise through good debating. Feel free to ask clarification questions pre-round!
I love good case debating. No, this does not just mean yes/no impact. Yes, this means debating the internal link to advantages (and disadvantages). Debates can easily be won or lost here, and internal link comparison in the final rebuttals is underutilized.
Case-specific DAs are preferable, but politics can be good with decent evidence and persuasive spin.
Rider DAs are not DAs.
Advantage CPs are preferable to Agent CPs/Process CPs. PDCP definitions (from both sides) should have specific standards/theoretical justifications.
Condo is (probably) good, kicking planks is (probably) good, and judge kick is the default unless debated otherwise.
2NC CPs are good against new affirmatives, but against non-new affirmatives, the 2NC should justify their new planks. The 1AR can convince me this is abusive (especially if the 2NC is adding new planks to get out of a straight-turned DA).
Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument, not the team unless debated otherwise.
It is important for both sides to map out what topics look like under their interpretations, especially at the beginning of the season. What affirmatives are included? What negative argument are guaranteed? What does each interpretation exclude? Examples help frame the round!
Evidence quality matters much more in these rounds!
T vs K Affs
Debate is a game, and competition/winning drives our participation in debate. The strongest impacts to T are fairness and clash (iterative testing, testing etc). Negative teams have had success in front of me when they utilize clash to link turn affirmative offense.
Specific TVAs are good. You do not need evidence as long as you have a plan text and explain what debate rounds would look like under the TVAs.
I am most familiar with Anti-Blackness, Capitalism, and Settler Colonialism literature, and not as familiar with Baudrillard, Bataille etc.
Please do not give extremely long overviews. Root cause claims, impact comparisons at the top are smart and strategic, but the rest of the "overview" can be incorporated into the line-by-line later on the flow.
Impact out each link!
UT Austin 2026 | Shawnee Mission South 2022
*Glenbrooks: I don't have extensive topic knowledge this year (didn't work at camp last summer)- just make sure to explain acronyms; I'd appreciate a little more explanation with generics than other judges who've judged more on this topic*
- I'm primarily a policy oriented judge
- Don't steal prep and try to be quick about sending the doc
- Email chain is best
- Wiki/Disclosure is good
- Be organized with your flow
- Slow down in the rebuttals
- Existential impacts are fine, but I think that the aff can and should make a probability push
- Case turns and outweighs is good
- Affs should always read a perm, but you don't have to go for it
- Perms you go for should be functionally and textually competitive, but it's up to you to make that argument
- Internal net benefits are fun and good
- I like theory on CPs (50 state fiat, process CPs, etc.), but it probably won't write the ballot
- Tell me to judge kick things
- I like good T debates
- I feel like a lot of debaters lack offense when they go for T
- I think you should read it and it's a good strategy for K affs in front of me
- You should not make arguments that K affs don't belong in debate; I think it's more persuasive to read DAs on the T flow or argue that debate isn't a healthy space to discuss specific issues
- Read them, but make sure to explain anything that's uncommon
- A good alt explanation when compared to the aff plan is convincing- especially in the rebuttals
- The aff gets to weigh the plan
- I have no experience reading K affs and some experience answering them, but I'm normally just taking FW (on the negative)
- I can flow, but probably require more judge instruction when it comes to the rebuttals
- The aff should probably have some relation to the resolution; if it doesn't, I think there should be an explanation as to why
- I dislike evaluating theory debates
- I default that you should get to kick positions, but there is such thing as too many off case positions (9+?)
- I think that 6+ off- case positions justifies condo in the 2AR, but if it were impacted out I would vote for it either way
- 3 years of high school LD experience
- I did very traditional LD in high school
- I still think my policy experience makes me able to evaluate mostly all types of LD (just be sure to explain anything odd)
- Please don't do tricks. I will not like them or understand them
- You're welcome to read DAs, CPs, and Ks- explain anything that isn't common
Currently the Director of Debate at Casady School.
Competed at the University of Oklahoma and Owasso High School.
Put me on the e-mail chain: snidert [at] casady [dot] org
Evidence quality and consistency is very important to me. I can easily be convinced to disregard a piece of evidence because it lacks quality, is insufficiently highlighted, or is not qualified.
Author qualifications are under debated and if a piece of evidence lacks a qualification then that should definitely be used in debate.
K Things General
One line should dictate how you approach reading the K in front of me:
“You are a debater, not a philosopher.”
This should be your guiding principle when reading and answering a kritik in front of me. Debaters seem to rely more on jargon than actually doing the work of explaining and applying their argument. Unnecessarily complex kritiks won't get good speaker points (90% of the time you could have just read the cap k).
I will not flow overviews on a separate sheet of paper.
If you plan on reading the K
I've got good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad news: You are very unlikely to convince me not the weigh/evaluate the aff. I'm not persuaded much by self-serving counter interpretations on framework.
That said, the good news is that I think people give the aff too much credit and most of the reasons why I shouldn't evaluate the plan are typically offense against it. For example while I don't find the FW interpretation "Debate should be about epistemological assumptions" very convincing, I will definitely vote on "the affirmative's plan relies on a flawed epistemology that ensures serial policy failure, which turns case."
If you're answering the K
While the above may seem like good news for the aff answering the K, I tend to hold the aff to a higher threshold than most in K debates. I don't think "you need a specific link to the plan" is responsive to a K of the aff's epistemology. Likewise, aff framework interps that exclude Ks entirely are pretty much a non-starter.
Condo seems to be getting a bit excessive, but no one goes for condo anymore so I'm sort of stuck with it.
Tech vs Truth
I think of this as more of a continuum as opposed to a binary. I lean more towards tech than truth, but I'm not going to pretend that I evaluate all arguments with equal legitimacy. For example, I have a higher threshold for arguments like “climate change not real” than “plan doesn’t solve climate change.” I traditionally evaluate the debate in offense/defense paradigm, but there is a such thing as a 0% risk.
I enter every debate with the assumption that the resolution is going to play a role in the round. What role it plays, however, is up for debate. I don’t have a preference between skills or fairness standards.
Common reasons I vote aff on FW:
The neg goes for too many “standards”/"DAs"/whatever-youre-calling-them in the 2NR.
The neg doesn’t even try to engage the aff’s 2AC to FW.
Common reasons I vote neg on FW:
The aff doesn’t have an offensive reasons why the TVA is bad.
The aff doesn’t even try to engage the neg’s standards on FW.
I only flow what I hear, I won't use the doc to correct my flow. If I don't catch an argument/tag because you're too unclear then *insert shrug emoji*. That said, with online debate I will flow what I hear and use the doc to correct my flow after the speech. Including your analytics in the speech document will make correcting my flows much easier.
Guaranteed 30 if you’re paper debate team #PaperDebate
My facial reactions will probably tell you how I feel about your arg.
Hello! My name is Elle. I debated all four years of high school and formerly competed in Parliamentary Debate at The University of Texas at Tyler. If you are creating an email chain to send ev my email is email@example.com :) thanks!
- First and foremost I will not tolerate any racist/sexist/homophobic/derragatory comments or args in round. I believe everyone should be welcomed to the debate space and not feel as though they can't or don't belong here. Debate is about learning how we can better the world so we must be inviting to all margianalized groups. Thanks.
TLDR bc theres a lot. > Don't be offensive, any affs k or policy welcome w clear explanation, theory is fine, cp and da need clear cut link, no perm args (why aff can't perm), and impx outweigh args, t is cool and I will vote on who answers better, but please put all the voters on your T. I will ultimately vote for the team that has the best answers and arguments. Also I believe in quality over quantity, don't run six off case args unless they're all relevant and helpful to you. Running an abundance of off case args can be abusive and overwhelming to the aff. Of course run as many as you feel needed, however if I see it as an abuse I automatically down speaks and most likely not vote for the neg in the round.
I'm pretty laid back on most arguments. If you want to run a K Aff/Theory/Progressive arg thats good as long as it is well structured and makes sense. I don't typically enjoy game args (IE: Something like Shrek K or Aliens K) unless there is a true point to the arg. Don't run more complex args for just the sake of abuse, run them because they show a better change to the squo than the original resolution. Other than that I really just want to see a well executed round with clash. Tell me why the Aff/Neg doesn't solve better, tell me how your impacts out weigh, I need to know why I'm voting for you and how you want me to weigh the round.
I'm fine with both policy and K Affs so please run what you are most comfortable with. With your aff I need a clear cut reason on why your plan solves better and why you're more preferable. You must disprove/solve every aspect of the neg. Also please explain why your plan/K aff is better for the debate space / education. Other than that I don't really care what kind of aff you run.
I understand most Ks and have a good diagnosis of what they are in the sense of backbone, however: some Ks can be confusing not just to the competitors, but to the Judge. I have seen many people run Ks without knowing much about the actual argument they're making or what the Alt truly does. If you choose to run a K/K Aff PLEASE know about the philosphy behind it, you do not need to be an expert, but I believe a general background helps the arg run smoother. Also please do not forget your alt. I have seen so many people run well created Kritiks without supplying an Alt. If you do run a K please be clear with what your links and alt are. I am still learning the ropes on some Ks and I want you to have the best chance to win your argument and this relies on my understanding of your K.
When running both of these arguments be sure the CP doesn't link to the DAs. On CP a good Aff can't perm arg in the 1NC may be advantageous. If you are Aff perming the CP tell me how the perm works, and why it solves better. This will help you take down the CP and give the neg a harder time of dissing your perm. If you're neg put up as many wall's to the CP perm as possible. I'm fine if you kick CPs later if you don't have an answer to perm but please don't put them in as a time suck arg. On DA please have clear links to the aff and tell me why your impacts outweigh.
Please only run T if there is a good reason to. Don't run it as a time suck arg PLEASE. If you run T I will ultimately vote for the team with a better counter interpretation that proves why their interp is better for Fairness/Edu.
I'm fine for any questions before/after round or if you want to email me later on that's fine too. Everyone is always learning new things about debate so I can't promise I'm perfect, but I will try to weigh the round in the fairest way possible.
Extemporaneous Speaking/Original Oratory
I did not do Exempt in high school, but I did do OO. For both please ensure that you cite any sources used and tell me why this information is relevant to your speech. I don't wish for you to change your speech right before round of course, but this is good to have for future tournaments/general.
I like thought provoking speeches that are moving and creative. Show me why this issue is important and why we should work to fix it. I will ultimately score competitors off of well-spokeness, structure, and passion.
I did not do Extempt in HS, but my team did offer it and I have many friends who enjoyed this event. Just like OO I will ultimately score off of well-spokeness, structure, and passion, with an addition in Extempt to a well created argument for the topic you pulled.
Yes, put me on the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let me know if there are any accessibility requirements before the round so I can do my part.
Updated for 2023-24
I currently coach full-time for Michigan State University. Previously, I coached at Dartmouth for five years from 2018-2023. I debated at the University of Central Oklahoma for four years and graduated in 2018.
The 2023-24 season is the first time in a long time where I am not actively coaching a high school team. If you see me entered in the judge pool at a high school tournament this year, it's primarily for recruiting purposes (Go Green!). I am not an expert in the 23-24 high school topic, so please take this into account when using acronyms or making niche references.
LD skip down to the bottom.
No judge will ever like all of the arguments you make, but I will always attempt to evaluate them fairly. I appreciate judges who are willing to listen to positions from every angle, so I try to be one of those judges. I have coached strictly policy teams, strictly K teams, and everything in between because I love all aspects of the game. I would be profoundly bored if I only judged certain teams or arguments. At most tournaments I find myself judging a little bit of everything: a round where the 1NC is 10 off and the letter 'K' is never mentioned, a round where the affirmative does not read a plan and the neg suggests they should, a round where the neg impact turns everything under the sun, a round where the affirmative offers a robust defense of hegemony vs a critique, etc. I enjoy judging a variety of teams with different approaches to the topic.
Debate should be fun and you should debate in the way that makes it valuable for you, not me.
My predispositions about debate are not so much ideological as much as they are systematic, i.e. I don't care which set of arguments you go for, but I believe every argument must have a claim, warrant, impact, and a distinct application.
If I had to choose another judge I mostly closely identify with, it would be John Cameron Turner but without the legal pads.
I don't mind being post-rounded or asked a lot of questions. I did plenty of post-rounding as a debater and I recognize it doesn't always stem from anger or disrespect. That being said, don't be a butthead. I appreciate passionate debaters who care about their arguments and I am always willing to meet you halfway in the RFD.
I am excited to judge your debate. Even if I look tired or grumpy, I promise I care a lot and will always work hard to evaluate your arguments fairly and help you improve.
What really matters to me
Evidence quality matters a lot to me, probably more than other judges. Stop reading cards that don't have a complete sentence and get off my lawn. I can't emphasize enough how much I care about evidence comparison. This includes author quals, context, recency, (re)highlighting, data/statistics, concrete examples, empirics, etc. You are better off taking a 'less is more' approach when debating in front of me. For example, I much rather see you read five, high quality uniqueness cards that have actual warrants highlighted than ten 'just okay' cards that sound like word salad.
This also applies to your overall strategies. For example, I am growing increasingly annoyed at teams who try to proliferate as many incomplete arguments as possible in the 1NC. If your strategy is to read 5 disads in the 1NC that are missing uniqueness or internal links, I will give the aff almost infinite leeway in the 1AR to answer your inevitable sandbagging. I would much rather see well-highlighted, complete positions than the poor excuse of neg arguments that I'm seeing lately. To be clear, I am totally down with 'big 1NCs' -- but I get a little annoyed when teams proliferate incomplete positions.
I expect you to treat your partner and opponents with basic respect. This is non-negotiable. Some of y'all genuinely need to chill out. You can generate ethos without treating your opponents like your mortal enemy. Pettiness, sarcasm, and humor are all appreciated, but recognize there is a line and you shouldn't cross it. Punching down is cringe behavior. You should never, ever make any jokes about someone else's appearance or how they sound.
Impact framing and judge instruction will get you far. In nearly every RFD I give, I heavily emphasize judge instruction and often vote for the team who does superior judge instruction because I strive to be as non-interventionist as possible.
Cowardice is annoying. Stop running away from debate. Don't run away from controversy just because you don't like linking to things. This also applies to shady disclosure practices. If you don't like defending your arguments, or explaining what your argument actually means, please consider joining the marching band. Be clear and direct.
I appreciate and reward teams who make an effort to adapt.Unlike many judges, I am always open to being persuaded and am willing to change my mind. I am rigid about certain things, but am movable on many issues. This usually just requires meeting me in the middle; if you adapt to me in some way, I will make a reciprocal effort.
Camera policy: I would strongly prefer that we all keep our cameras on during the debate, but there are valid reasons for not having your camera on. I will never penalize you for turning your camera off, but if you can turn it on, let's try. I will always keep my camera on while judging.
Tech glitches: it is your responsibility to record your speeches as a failsafe. I encourage you to record your speeches on your phone/laptop in the event of a tech glitch. If a glitch happens, we will try to resolve it as quickly as possible, and I will follow the tournament's guidelines.
Slow down a bit in the era of e-sports debate. I'll reward you for it with points. No, you don't have to speak at a turtle's pace, but maybe we don't need to read 10-off?
I care more about solvency advocates than most judges. This does not mean I automatically vote against a counterplan without a solvency advocate. Rather, this is a 'heads up' for neg teams so they're aware that I am generally persuaded by affirmative arguments in this area. It would behoove neg teams to read a solvency advocate of some kind, even if it's just a recutting of affirmative evidence.
I will only judge kick if told to do so,assuming the aff hasn't made any theoretical objections.
I treat certain arguments that are 'above the game board' differently.This includes callouts of many varieties, certain K procedurals, and arguments that are personal in nature. For example, I am not going to view an argument about someone's personal Twitter account through an offense/defense lens because that makes zero sense. The same is true for arguments that are a version of 'I know what you read last summer.' Not only are these arguments generally not super persuasive, but to me they are different category entirely. If you genuinely believe your opponent has made the round/community unsafe in some way, me voting against them doesn't solve much. When you introduce an argument of this variety, just know that you assume certain risks with the way I evaluate them.
If you clip, you will lose the round and receive 0 speaker points. I will vote against you for clipping EVEN IF the other team does not call you on it. I know what clipping is and feel 100% comfortable calling it. Mark your cards and have a marked copy available.
If you cite or cut a card improperly, I evaluate these issues on a sliding scale. For example, a novice accidentally reading a card that doesn't have a complete citation is obviously different from a senior varsity debater cutting a card in the middle of a sentence or paragraph. Unethical evidence practices can be reasons to reject the team and/or a reason to reject the evidence itself, depending on the unique situation.
At the college level, I expect ya'll to handle these issues like adults. If you make an evidence ethics accusation, I am going to ask if you want to stop the round to proceed with the challenge.
Updated September 2023 to reflect a few changes.
Tldr; I come from an exclusively policy background. I had zero experience in LD before I started coaching HW in 2018. This means everything you do is largely filtered through my experience in policy debate, and I have outlined my thoughts on those arguments in the above sections. This is why I am a horrible judge for LD shenanigans and will not tolerate them. I don't say this to disparage someone's preferred form of debate, but I really can't vote for arguments that do not pass the 'makes sense' test. I care deeply about the educational aspects of debate, and will always try to help you improve. However, I am going to hold the line when ridiculous arguments are involved. See the FAQ below to determine if you should pref me.
Q: I read a bunch of tricks/meta-theory/a prioris/paradoxes, should I pref you?
A: No thank you.
Q: I read phil, should I pref you?
A: I'm not ideologically opposed to phil arguments like I am with tricks. I do not judge many phil debates because most of the time tricks are involved, but I don't have anything against philosophical positions. I would be happy to judge a good phil debate.
Q: I really like Nebel T, should I pref you?
A: No, you shouldn't. I'm sure he's a nice and smart guy, but cutting evidence from debate blogs is such a meme. If you'd like to make a similar argument, just find non-Nebel articles and you'll be fine. This applies to most debate coach evidence read in LD. To be clear, you can read T:whole rez in front of me, just not Nebel cards.
Q: I like to make theory arguments like 'must spec status' or 'must include round reports for every debate' or 'new affs bad,' should I pref you?
A: Not if those arguments are your idea of a round-winning strategy. Can you throw them in the 1NC/1AR? Sure, that's fine. Will I be persuaded by new affs bad? No.
Q: Will you ever vote for an RVI?
A: Nope. Never. I don't flow them.
Q: Will you vote for any theory arguments?
A: Of course. I am good for more policy-oriented theory arguments like condo good/bad, PICs good/bad, process CPs good/bad, etc.
Q: Will you vote for Ks?
A: Of course. Love em. See policy section.
Any other questions can be asked before the round or email me.
Affiliation: Winston Churchill HS
*I don't look at docs during the debate, if it isn't on my flow, I'm not evaluating it*
**prep time stops when the email is sent, too many teams steal prep while 'saving the doc'**
FOR LD PREFS AT BERKELEY
All of the below thoughts are likely still true, but it should be noted that it has been about 5 years since I've regularly judged high-level LD debates and my thoughts on some things have likely changed a bit. The hope is that this gives you some insight into how I'm feeling during the round at hand.
1) Go slow. What I really mean is be clear, but everyone thinks they are much more clear than they are so I'll just say go 75% of what you normally would.
2) I do not open the speech doc during the debate. If I miss an argument/think I miss an argument then it just isn't on my flow. I won't be checking the doc to make sure I have everything, that is your job as debaters. This also means:
3) Pen time. If you're going to read 10 blippy theory arguments back-to-back or spit out 5 different perms in a row, I'm not going get them all on my flow, you have to give judges time between args to catch it all. I'll be honest, if you're going to read 10 blippy theory args/spikes, I'm already having a bad time
4) Inserting CP texts, Perm texts, evidence/re-highlighting is a no for me. If it is not read aloud, it isn't in the debate
5) If you're using your Phil/Value/Criterion as much more than a framing mechanism for impacts, I'm not the best judge for you (read phil tricks/justifications to not answer neg offense). I'll try my best, but I often find myself struggling to find a reason why the aff/neg case has offense to vote on
6) Same is true for debaters who rely on 'tricks'/bad theory arguments, but even more so. If you're asking yourself "is this a bad theory argument?" it probably is. Things such as "evaluate the debate after the 1AR" or "aff must read counter-solvency" can be answered with a vigorous thumbs down.
7) I think speaker point inflation has gotten out of control but for those who care, this is a rough guess at my speaker point range28.4-28.5average;28.6-28.7 should clear;28.8-28.9 pretty good but some strategic blunders; 29+you were very good, only minor mistakes
That being said, if you have me as a judge read below:
Do what you do well: I have no preference to any sort of specific types of arguments these days. The most enjoyable rounds to judge are ones where teams are good at what they do and they strategically execute a well planned strategy. You are likely better off doing what you do and making minor tweaks to sell it to me rather than making radical changes to your argumentation/strategy to do something you think I would enjoy.
-Clash Debates: No strong ideological debate dispositions, affs should probably be topical/in the direction of the topic but I'm less convinced of the need for instrumental defense of the USFG. I think there is value in K debate and think that value comes from expanding knowledge of literature bases and how they interact with the resolution. I generally find myself unpersuaded by affs that 'negate the resolution' and find them to not have the most persuasive answers to framework.
-Evidence v Spin: Ultimately good evidence trumps good spin. I will accept a debater’s spin until it is contested by the opposing team. I often find this to be the biggest issue with with politics, internal link, and permutation evidence for kritiks.
-Speed vs Clarity: I don't flow off the speech document, I don't even open them until either after the debate or if a particular piece of evidence is called into question. If I don't hear it/can't figure out the argument from the text of your cards, it probably won't make it to my flow/decision. This is almost always an issue of clarity and not speed and has only gotten worse during/post virtual debate.
-Permutation/Link Analysis: I am becoming increasingly bored in K debates where the negative neither has a specific link to the aff nor articulates/explains what the link to the aff is beyond a 3-year-old link block written by someone else. I think most K links in high school debate are more often links to the status quo/links of omission and I find affirmatives that push the kritik about lack of links/alts inability to solve set themselves up successfully to win the permutation. I find that permutations that lack any discussion of what the world of the permutation would mean to be incredibly unpersuasive and you will have trouble winning a permutation unless the negative just concedes the perm. Reading a slew of permutations with no explanation as the debate progresses is something that strategically helps the negative team when it comes to contextualizing what the aff is/does. I also see an increasingly high amount of negative kritiks that don't have a link to the aff plan/method and instead are just FYIs about XYZ thing. I think that affirmative teams are missing out by not challenging these links.
I believe debate is a unique opportunity to develop critical thinking skills, open-mindedness, and sharpen articulative and persuasive abilities. As such, I believe judges should serve as an example of open-mindedness and critical thinking ability as well. Its far more important to me that a position be won on the merits of persuasion and good argument, rather than that it appeal to my personal biases. I'm happy to listen to nearly any argument (with the exception of a few clearly, morally outrageous positions i.e. racism good, genocide good, things like that) as long as you can tell me why you win it. It should be noted, however, that certain argument styles are more persuasive in certain events.
I debated policy in high school, and policy and parliamentary in college. I have judged tournaments for the last two years in CX, LD, PF, and Extemp, and contributed to research and argument construction for central Texas schools in those areas as well.
I debated for 3 years @ Washburn Rural
I debated for 4 years @ Emporia State (NDT '08)
I am the Director of Debate at Lawrence Free State HS (4th year at FS, 12th year as a head coach, 20th year in Policy Debate)
*Please add me to the email chain if one exists: email@example.com
I will do my best to answer any questions that you have before the debate.
-I don't care how fast you talk, but I do care how clear you talk. I'm unlikely to clear you but it will be obvious if I can't understand you because I won't be flowing and I communicate non-verbally probably more than most other judges. This is particularly relevant in online debate.
-I don't care what arguments you read, but I do care whether you are making arguments, responding to opposition arguments, and engaging in impact calculus (your arg v their arg, not just your arg) throughout the debate.
-I don't care what aff you read, if you defend a plan, or if you debate on the margins of the topic, but I do care if you have offensive justifications for your decisions, and if you solve.
-If you're reading generic link arguments or CP solvency cards - it will matter a great deal how well you can contextual that generic evidence to the specific affirmative plan.
-I think teams should be willing to go for theory more.
Some top level thoughts:
1) "New in the 2" is bad for debate. Barring an affirmative theoretical objection - I'll evaluate you arguments and not intervene despite my bias. But, if the other team makes an argument about it - I will disregard all new positions read in the negative block.
2) Neg ground on this topic is not very good. I'm sympathetic to the negative on theoretical objections of counterplans as a result.
3) If you're flowing the speech doc and not the speech itself you deserve to be conned in to answering arguments that were never made in the debate, and to lose to analytic arguments (theory and otherwise) that were made while you were busy staring at your screen.
4) People should assume their opponent's are winning some arguments in the last rebuttals. A decision to assume you're winning everything nearly guarantees that you are incorrect and minimizes the likelihood that you're doing relevant impact calculus. I really think "even-if" statements are valuable for final rebutalists.
-My speaker point scale has tended to be:
29+ - you should be in elimination debates at this tournament, and probably win one or more of those rounds
28.5 - you are competing for a spot to clear but still making errors that may prevent you from doing so. Average for the division/tournament.
28 - you are slightly below average for the division/tournament and need to spend some time on the fundamentals. Hopefully, I've outlined in my notes what those are.
27.5 - there were serious fundamental errors that need to be corrected.
Topicality- I really enjoy T debates, I think competing interpretations is probably true and find reasonability arguments to be uncompelling almost always. If you're not topical you should have an offensive reason that you're not. If you are topical then you should win why your vision of the resolution is superior to the negatives.
Critiques- K debaters tend to spend an extraordinary amount of time on their link arguments, but no time on explaining how the alternative resolves them. Affirmatives tend to concede K tricks too often.
Counterplans - I like smart, aff specific counter plans more than generic, topic type counter plans. I understand the need for questions CPs on this topic.
Critical affs - I'm fine with K affs and deployed them often as a debater. I find it difficult to evaluate k affs with poorly developed "role of the ballot" args. I find "topical version of the aff" to be compelling regularly, because affs concede this argument. I have been more on the "defend topical action" side of the framework debate in the last two years or so. I'm not sure why, but poorly executed affirmative offense seems to be the primary cause.
Name : Lauren Velazquez
Affiliated School: Niles North
I debated competitively in high school in the 1990s for Maine East. I participated on the national circuit where counterplans and theory were common.
Director of Debate at Niles North
I competed in the 90s, helped around for a few years, took a bit of a break, have been back for about 7 years. My teams compete on the national circuit, I help heavily with my teams’ strategies, and am a lab leader at a University of Michigan. In recent years I have helped coach teams that cleared at the TOC, won state titles and consistently debated in late elim rounds at national tournaments. TL/DR--I am familiar with national circuit debate but I do not closely follow college debate so do not assume that I am attuned to the arguments that are currently cutting edge/new.
What this means for you---I lean tech over truth when it comes to execution, but truth controls the direction of tech, and some debate meta-arguments matter a lot less to me.
I am not ideological towards most arguments, I believe debate structurally is a game, but there are benefits to debate outside of it being just a game, give it your best shot and I will try my best to adapt to you.
The only caveat is do not read any arguments that you think would be inappropriate for me to teach in my classroom, if you are worried it might be inappropriate, you should stop yourself right there.
DISADS AND ADVANTAGES
When deciding to vote on disadvantages and affirmative advantages, I look for a combination of good story telling and evidence analysis. Strong teams are teams that frame impact calculations for me in their rebuttals (e.g. how do I decide between preventing a war or promoting human rights?). I should hear from teams how their internal links work and how their evidence and analysis refute indictments from their opponents. Affirmatives should have offense against disads (and Negs have offense against case). It is rare, in my mind, for a solvency argument or "non unique" argument to do enough damage to make the case/disad go away completely, at best, relying only on defensive arguments will diminish impacts and risks, but t is up to the teams to conduct a risk analysis telling me how to weigh risk of one scenario versus another.
I will vote on topicality if it is given time (more than 15 seconds in the 2NR) in the debate and the negative team is able to articulate the value of topicality as a debate “rule” and demonstrate that the affirmative has violated a clear and reasonable framework set by the negative. If the affirmative offers a counter interpretation, I will need someone to explain to me why their standards and definitions are best. Providing cases that meet your framework is always a good idea. I find the limits debate to be the crux generally of why I would vote for or against T so if you are neg you 100% should be articulating the limits implications of your interpretation.
Over the years, I have heard and voted on Kritiks, but I do offer a few honest caveats:
*Please dont read "death good"/nihilism/psychoanalysis in front of me. I mean honestly I will consider it but I know I am biased and I HATE nihilism, psychoanalysis debates. I will try to listen with an open mind but I really don't think these arguments are good for the activity or good for pedagogy--they alienate younger debaters who are learning the game and I don't think that genuine discussions of metaphysics lend themselves to speed reading and "voting" on right/wrong. If you run these I will listen and work actively to be open minded but know you are making an uphill battle for yourself running these. If these are your bread and butter args you should pref me low.
I read newspapers daily so I feel confident in my knowledge around global events. I do not regularly read philosophy or theory papers, there is a chance that I am unfamiliar with your argument or the underlying paradigms. I do believe that Kritik evidence is inherently dense and should be read a tad slower and have accompanying argument overviews in negative block. Impact analysis is vital. What is the role of the ballot? How do I evaluate things like discourse against policy implications (DAs etc)
Also, I’m going to need you to go a tad slower if you are busting out a new kritik, as it does take time to process philosophical writings.
If you are doing something that kritiks the overall debate round framework (like being an Aff who doesnt have a plan text), make sure you explain to me the purpose of your framework and why it is competitively fair and educationally valuable.
I am generally a fan of CPs as a neg strategy. I will vote for counterplans but I am open to theory arguments from the affirmative (PICs bad etc). Counterplans are most persuasive to me when the negative is able to clearly explain the net benifts and how (if at all) the counterplan captures affirmative solvency. For permutations to be convincing offense against CPs, Affs should explain how permutation works and what voting for perm means (does the DA go away, do I automatically vote against neg etc?)
Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex and dominating. You are part of a 2 person team for a reason.
Speed is ok as long as you are clear. If you have a ton of analytics in a row or are explaining a new/dense theory, you may want to slow down a little since processing time for flowing analytics or kritkits is a little slower than me just flowing the text of your evidence.
I listen to cross ex. I think teams come up with a lot of good arguments during this time. If you come up with an argument in cross ex-add it to the flow in your speech.
Northside College Prep
I coached high school policy debate full-time for 12 years, National Service through Legal Immigration. I've been around debate, first as a debater and then as a coach, since 02. I sat out Legal Immigration and Arms Sales, but I judged and researched some for the Criminal Justice Reform, the Water Resources, and NATO topics. Debate is not my full-time job – I work in higher education as a program/product manager – so I don't cut a ton of cards, I'm not really up on what teams are reading, I don't know what topicality norms were established over the summer, etc. I can still flow just as well as I used to, which is to say "deficiently."
Yes email chain: jvoss1223 AT gmail DOT com. I don't read along during the debate, I just like it so that I can ensure nobody's clipping cards and also so that I can begin my decision-making process immediately after the debate ends. This is important for how you debate -- using the speech doc instead of your flow as a guide is to your detriment.
-- fiscal redistribution topic - I heard a few debates on it before the season started but (as of the early season tournaments) you should consider my topic knowledge extremely limited, especially as it relates to topicality norms and complex explanations of fringe economic theories. I do have a basic understanding of the academic concepts that undergird the topic, however, and I will be somewhat involved in argument production this year.
-- Almost every debate I've seen so far this year has collapsed into a very-hard-to-resolve "growth good"/"degrowth good" debate. These have been late-breaking and I spent the bulk of my decision time wading through ev that didn't get me any closer to an answer I found satisfactory. In each instance, I was unhappy with amount of intervention and lack of depth involved in my decision. In that regard:
*if there's a winning final rebuttal that does not require you to wade into these waters, give that speech instead. I am willing (and maybe even eager) to grab onto something external and use that as a cudgel to decide that the growth debate was difficult to resolve and vote on <other thing>. I think I would be receptive, too, to arguments about how I should react in a debate that you think might be difficult to resolve, but this is just a hunch.
*you would almost certainly be better-served debating evidence that's already been read instead of reading more cards. This is especially true if the 1ac/1nc/both included a bunch of evidence on this issue...your fourth, "yes mindset shift" card is unlikely to win you the debate (or even the specific argument in question) but debating the issue in greater detail than the other team might.
*debated equally, I'm meaningfully better for the standard defenses of growth, especially as it relates to successfully achieving the changes that would be necessary to create a sustainable model of degrowth.
-- a note on plan texts: say what you mean, mean what you say, and have an advocate that supports it. If the AFF's plan is resolutional word salad, will be unapologetically rooting for NEG exploitation in the way of cplan competition, DA links, and/or presumption-style takeouts. I guess the flip side of this is that I have never heard a persuasive explanation of a way to evaluate topicality arguments outside of the words in the plan text, so as long as the AFF goes for some sort of "we meet" argument, I'm basically unwilling to vote NEG. "The plan text says most or all of the resolution (and another word or three) but their solvency evidence describes something very different," is an extremely persuasive negative line of argument, but I think it's a solvency argument.
-- Rehighlighting - you've gotta read itand explain what you believe to be the implication of whatever portion of their evidence you read. I'm somewhat sympathetic to allowing insertion as a check against (aggressively) declining evidence quality in debate, but debate is first and foremost a communicative activity.
-- I don't need nor want a card doc at the end of the debate. I have everything in my inbox already. I know what cards you did/didn't read because I was flowing. I'm honestly a little skeptical of debaters providing judges a lens through which to evaluate different controversies after the 2AR has ended. And to be frank, most of these debates aren't so close that judgement calls on ev are necessary to determine who won.
-- In favor of fewer, better-developed 1NC arguments. I don't have a specific number that I think is best: I've seen 1NC's that include three totally unwinnable offcase arguments and 1NC's that include six or seven viable ones. But generally I think the law of diminishing marginal returns applies. Burden of proof is a precondition of the requirement that the affirmative answer the argument, and less ev/fewer highlighted words in the name of more offcase positions seems to make it less likely that the neg will fulfill the aforementioned burden of proof.
-- Highlighting, or lack thereof, has completely jumped the shark. Read more words.
-- Clarity, or lack thereof, has been bad for awhile, but online debate really exacerbates the problem. I won't use the speech doc to bail you out. Just speak more slowly. You will debate better. I will understand your argument better. Judges who understand your argument with more clarity than your opponent's argument are likely to side with you.
-- I am generally bad for broad-strokes “framing” arguments that ask the judge to presume that the risk of <> is especially low. Indicts of mini-max risk assessment make sense in the abstract, but it is the affirmative’s responsibility to apply these broad theories to whatever objections the negative has advanced. “The aff said each link exponentially reduces the probability of the DA, and the DA has links, so you lose” is a weak ballot and one that I am unexcited to write.
-- I am generally better for a narrow solution that tackles an instance of oppression than an undefined/murky solution that aims to move the needle further than the pragmatic alternative. Some of this new stuff about philosophical competition and associated negative framework arguments that block the AFF from leveraging the 1ac as offense is wild.
-- I am often way less interested in "impact defense" than "link defense." This is equally true of my thoughts toward negative disadvantages and affirmative advantages. For example, if the aff wins with certainty that they stop a US-China war, I'm highly unlikely to vote neg and place my faith in our ability to the big red telephone at the White House to dampen the conflict. Similarly, if the neg wins that your plan absolutely crashes the economy by disrupting the market or causing some agenda item to fail, I will mostly be unconcerned that there are some other historical explanations for great power wars than "resource scarcity." The higher up the link "chain" you can indict your opponent's argument, the better.
-- Sort of a related point, but I thought it might be good to separate this out. I have found myself mentally exhausted at the end of almost every Zoom debate I've judged. There is something about flicking your eyes across three screens while transcribing an entire debate that's occurring in my headphones that is so much more draining than what debate looked like back in the day. I think this impacts how I judge. I certainly don't have any inclination to spend the decision time reading a bunch of evidence if I can avoid it. I don't think that's laziness (but maybe...) -- I'm just tired of staring at a screen. Anything the 2NR / 2AR can do to help craft a simple path to victory that allows me to minimize the number of "decision tree" questions I need to resolve is highly recommended.
-- Don't clip cards. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. Burden of proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction. If you advance any sort of ethics challenge, the debate ends and is decided on the grounds of that ethics challenge alone.
-- Yes judge kick unless one team explicitly makes an argument that convinces me to conceive differently of presumption. Speaking of, presumption is "least amount of change" no matter what. This could mean that presumption *still* lies with the neg even if the aff wins the status quo is no longer something the judge can endorse (but only if the CP is less change than the plan).
-- Fairly liberal with the appropriate scope of negative fiat as it relates to counterplans. Fairly aff-leaning regarding counterplan competition, at least in theory -- but evidence matters more than general pleas to protect affirmative competitive equity. I could be convinced otherwise, but my default has always been that the neg advocate must be as good as whatever the aff is working with. This could mean that an “advocate-less” counterplan that presses an internal link is fair game if the aff is unable to prove that they…uh…have an internal link.
-- T-USFG: Debate is no longer my full-time job, so I think I have a little less skin in the game on this issue. I also suspect the Trump presidency and the associated exposure of explicit racism within the United States may have made me a better judge for affirmatives that do not instrumentally defend the topic/federal government action. I'm not sure how much better, though, and I'm probably at best a risky bet for affirmatives hoping to beat a solid 2NR on T-USFG. If you do have me in this type of debate:
**Won't vote on any sort of argument that amounts to, "debate is bad, so we will concede their argument that we destroy debate/make people quit/exclude X population of student, that's good."
**Affirmatives would be well served to prioritize the link between defending a particular state action and broader observations about the flaws of the state.
**Procedural fairness is most important. The ballot can rectify fairness violations much more effectively than it can change anything else, and I am interested in endorsing a vision of debate that is procedurally fair. This is both the single strongest internal link to every other thing debate can do for a studeny and a standalone impact. I am worse for the “portable skills” impacts about information processing, decision-making, etc.
Enjia Wang (Eddie)
add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pref me policy > clash > kvk
Bread and butter of policy rounds. If the 2nr is all in on a disad, the team that weighs better wins.
Disads are the most convincing when they have a clear brink and specific links. Telling me how close the squo is to a crisis can do a lot to make up for a weaker explanation for your link.
On aff, thumpers and link turns are the most convincing for me. The more specific to neg's specific story, the better.
Love 1ar impact turns in response to add-ons in the neg block.
Will vote on process cps, but it's gonna be harder for me to buy perennial ones like con con or consult.
It's way too easy for 2ncs to swamp the 1ar, so hold the line on theory and use it as deterrence for the 2nr. That being said, I won't vote on theory unless the cp in question was in the 2nr strat.
pics are a great way to punish a poorly written plan.
Don't read cards for your cardless adv cp in the 2nc.
lean aff on--
private sector fiat, international fiat, process/consult
lean neg on--
process cps, condo, states fiat
T is a really strong argument, so don't be afraid to collapse on it in the 2nr. Sometimes I think neg goes for a weaker strat becaues they think that the aff is "fair enough," when T is still the strongest arg they have.
I'll default to competing interps--both sides should defend their idea of how the topic should be divided. Tell me a story for why I should prefer your interp.
Give examples of 1acs that wouldn't be topical and why it's a good (or bad) thing that they aren't. Give estimates for how wide aff ground really is, why it's a good (or bad) thing that it's that size.
Evidence quality is the golden standard when comparing definitions. The closer to the context of the topic area, the better.
Most affs are a really bad idea anywhere outside of debate, so a solid neg response goes a long way to pushing a weak disad across the finish line. Just don't extend taglines without warrants.
Having specific links and a clearly articulated theory of power is the best way to win me over. A solvent alt that identifies and resolves a root case behind the 1ac also helps a lot.
Generic links or links to the squo are gonna be an uphill battle. No link arguments are way too easy to make.
I'm reasonably familiar with setcol, cap, afropess, and some ks against empire. Anything else needs a longer overview.
I won't be the best at judging these rounds, but that doesn't mean I lean neg.
Aff fw args that are the most convincing for me are well-articulated counter interps of what debate should be, or disads and ks to neg fw.
The tried and true cap + framework combo will go a long way versus affs that are totally removed from the resolutional mechanism, but more specific responses would be nice for 1acs that are reasonably predictable.
Presumption is a pretty underrated neg strat. It's something I'll vote on if aff doesn't provide any warrants for why debate is key for their advocacy/their advocacy is good for the debate space.
Also, don't assume I have a good understanding of the 1ac if it's something relatively niche. You're gonna have to spend some time explaining it if neg has a specific response that isn't cap + framework.
Will try and evaluate it like a policy round. Thoughts from above still apply here.
Ks are fair game, but imo the format makes it impossible to run any of them well.
Please no phil or tricks.
Again, the closer to policy the better.
I want to be on the chain, ask me for my email.
2X NDT qualifier
2X CEDA Elimination rounds
5 years of policy in college
LD and PF in HS
I have ADHD which effects my brain processing sometimes so I will almost certainly miss something if you go your absolute top speed to get as many args out as possible. Spreading is obviously fine but clarity, transitions, and pen time are all very important for me to be able to both flow your argument but actually internalize it and understand it to vote on it.
TL;DR Do whatever you do best,
I have done almost every kind of debate and strategy possible at least once and will always be receptive to whatever your strategy is (barring it isn't inherently exclusive like racism good, patriarchy good etc.) I like some strategies more than others but that shouldn't dissuade anyone from reading their best stuff. However you like to debate is the debate that is going to happen and I'm perfectly fine with that.
I have some predispositions that effect how I view things when I am not told otherwise from the debaters in the round. Judge Instruction is the best way to eliminate bias because you are telling me exactly how I should vote. The more work I do the more my decision is up in the air for both teams. I really try and judge debates how the debaters tell me how I should judge the debate. Absent that judge instructions I will default to whatever little framing there is in the round and come up with a decision from there but you don't want this to happen because I might not see the debate in the exact same way as you so you should tell me why I should see things your way. If you want me or any judge to vote a specific way, then my RFD should line up a lot with your 2R. Also I'm more tech over truth but will only give dropped args a the full weight of the arg explained.
Below are random thoughts I default to when not told how to resolve different kinds of debates. I was mostly a 2N that went for the K a lot and I have a soft spot for impact turns and straight turns but I have experience as a 2A on plan and planless affs. So please just do what you do best and tell me why it's a reason the aff is bad or good.
K v Policy AFF: Love these debates. I'm down to vote either way but Framing is super important in these debates and so is judge instruction. Aff should say more than the aff OW and should read cards that actually answer the K rather than a bunch of cards you aren't gonna go for anyway. consolidate in the 2AR and use your explanation of your aff to disprove links. You read the aff for a reason. Neg should also consolidate around core pieces of offense/defense in the 2NR and think about how those args solve/ turn / whatever the aff- offnese could be alt solves case and avoids a risk of the link- link turns the case/link to the plan the alt solves- FW + link - Link + impact defense-- the more you think about how these line up and resolve other points of tension in the debate.
K v K aff: These are either really good or really bad. I love really good method debates but I don't think it's executed well a lot of the time. Framing is pretty important in these debates especially because the methods can look very different (PIKs, do nothing alts, do a lot of things alts whatever just explain it) . Saying "no perms in method debates" and "links are disads to the perm" are only one word different and only the second makes sense to me most of the time, win your links and contextualize it to the perm. Sometimes FW cap presumption is absolutely the right choice. Also please for the love of everything make standards for links competition clear
T: I'm probably not the best for this debate in techy policy debates so do the work for me on the impact framing and comparison of over under limiting.
FW/USFG: I'll vote either way on it. The neg should probably have a defense that solves a lot of the aff offense or at least incorporates similar scholarship/SSD/TVA some way to talk about the aff if it's a good thing to talk about/full of truisms. I think that debate is the most valuable games we can play because there are so many unique ways we engage debate and debate engages us as people. What you choose to research and educate about on the aff is your choice but if you want to say the res is bad then you should probably have specific links to the res to impact turn the education on FW and your CI needs to be inclusive of policy and critical affs and there are clever ways to do it that doesn't seem self serving and might actually limit the topic
DA's: I like a well researched DA specific to the aff. I'm not a fan of the politics DA but if you are good at running it then go for it. I think turns case args are important and I think you need smart case args to make the DA impact calc more in your favor (impact defense to help yours outweigh or internal link take outs on an advantage for probability) Also think about what the framing is the absolute best for your impact to make the other teams seem way less important
CP: Needs to have a net benefit. One line CP in the 1NC with no ev or other args don't make any sense to me unless you are re-highlighting their evidence in a way that substantiated the 1NC cp text. Theory is pretty up in the air but I will vote on it if there is a substantial arg to it. I will vote aff on theory so keep that in mind when you are answering the 2AC with your generic theory blocks (Side note: Conditions cp are def BS) ((I will vote neg on one but might you catch an eye roll during the 1NC))
PIC/PIK: I honestly think these are busted if the aff messes them up. If they do go for it. Generic PICs bad is kind of whiney and you should probably have a warrant for why X thing is key but the smaller the thing they PIC out of the more likely I am going to lean aff on theory
Theory: I'm fine with it just make interps, violations and impacts clear. I hate when people spread theory blocks that don't answer the opponents
Condo: I think conditionality is good unless the neg doesn't defend it properly. There should be a time tradeoff in the block being forced to answer theory if you want to spend the 1NC spamming CP's. I only went for condo once when the neg actually messed it up and it was the correct choice.
Presumption against K affs that don't do things can be really good but it should be paired with offense to supercharge your link argument (do nothing affs against an organizing link on the cap K) and can be a straight turn of the case by itself because they make the aff impact worse because they think they have done something about violence.
LD: I did this for three years and I really want to see the local circuit become more modern. I am a judge that will definitely vote on a K, is cool with speed IF it's clear, I'm definitely cool with the neg having multiple off case positions (condo is more of a voter esp. with shorter speeches but i also think reading a bunch of off is unstrategic when you have so much less time), I'm cool with CP's but I'd rather they be in the topic literature
PF: Haven't judged nat circ. ever but am receptive to whatever, just please don't be bad theory and tricks
Local/trad PF: I know the circuit is super lay friendly but you don't need to treat me like a parent. I think bc speaking is heavily emphasized I don't think fast spreading is good but I think that some speed is fine. I treat definition debates like T debates except, lack of plan focus means you might stick to a wholistic reading of the res to ensure clash, I think PF should be able to get specific advocacies on the but whatever it is it's unconditional (all this means is that if the con want's the status quo they have to go for it from the beginning or they can read an advocacy in that is different then the pros case) I also love K's but with the nature of PF the more specific it is to the topic or whatever the other team said the better
If you have any accessibility concerns for the round then I am happy to accommodate and I'm sure your opponents will be happy to oblige.
If you have questions about my paradigms or are looking for policy coaching/judging then feel free to e-mail me.
sophiewilczynski at gmail dot com for email chains & specific questions
I debated for UT austin from 2014-17 & have remained tangentially affiliated with the program since. I studied rhetoric, and as a debater I read a lot of big structural critiques and weird impact turns.
update for berkeley/tfa '22: respectfully, i am not the girl you want on your LD elims strike card
tldr: I have been doing this for a while. I don't really care what you say as long as you engage it well. Don't over-adapt, just do what you do best.
I do my absolute best to intervene as little as possible. this means that whatever you give me to work with is what I have to work with - I cannot make arguments or suss out contradictions for you. the better you are at making meaningful distinctions, the happier you will be with the outcome. evidence alone does not constitute an argument, and the quality of your explanation always, always supersedes that of the ev. use your head.
clarity matters, esp in the age of virtual debate. as long as I can understand what you are saying I shouldn’t have trouble getting it down - that being said, debaters have an unfortunate tendency to overestimate their own clarity, so just something to keep in mind. slowing down on procedurals, cp/alt texts, & author names is very much appreciated.
topicality - fun if you're willing to do the work to develop them properly. I think evidence comparison is a super under-utilized resource in T debates, and a lot of good teams lose to crappy interps for this reason. as with anything else, you need to establish & justify the evaluatory framework by which you would like me to assess your impacts. have a debate, don't just blast through ur blocks
theory - if you must
disads/CPs - fine & cool. i find that huge generic gnw/extinction scenarios often don't hold up to the scrutiny and rigor of more isolated regional scenarios. will vote on terminal defense if I have a good reason to do so. pics are usually good
K debates - make a decision about the level at which your impacts operate and stick to it. and talk about the aff. this applies to both sides. the neg should be critiquing the affirmative, not merely identifying a structure and breaking down the implications without thorough contextualization. the mechanics of the alternative & the context in which it operates have to be clearly articulated and comparatively contextualized to the mechanics of 1AC solvency. i think a lot of murky & convoluted perm debates could be avoided with greater consideration for this - impact heuristics matter a lot when establishing competition (or levels of competition). likewise, blasting through thousands of variants of "perm do x" with no warrants or comparative explanation does not mean you have made a permutation. will vote on links as case turns, but will be unhappy about it if it's done lazily.
framework - i think it's good when the aff engages the resolution, but i don't have any particularly strong feelings about how that should happen
case matters, use it effectively rather than reading your blocks in response to nothing
i find myself judging a lot of clash debates, which is fine
prep ends when doc is saved,
be nice & have fun
HHS 2020 - UT Austin 2024
I haven't judged anything in about a year, and am not familiar with the topic at all. If you want any sort of technical round, and especially a topicality round, do not pref me. I'm pretty rusty, and on top of that will not be familiar with the definitions. Realistically, if you're new, or otherwise inexperienced in debate, I'm probably a better judge. If you are more experienced, or want a faster, more technical round, then you should probably pref me lower.
This is my policy paradigm. If for some reason I'm not judging you in a policy round, you should still read this, as much of it may still be applicable. However, do not hesitate to ask me any clarification questions, I'll be more than happy to answer.
I'm fairly lenient on speaker points - I'll give a 30 if I think you debated to the best of your capacity, which requires that you make coherent arguments, and are not entirely reliant on premade evidence. I'll give a 28 if I think you did average. I generally won't go below that unless you really deserve it, which I define as: rudeness or condescension towards your opponent (or me somehow), if you were obviously bigoted in some way in a round, or you made some other major error.
Please put an overview, or some other way to framing the overall debate in your speeches. I try to be as tabula rasa as possible, and will listen to (almost) any argument.
On the Aff, I need to hear an overview of your plan at the beginning of every speech (except the 1AC ig). If an advantage is not mentioned in the overview, I will not flow it, unless you somehow completely cover the entire logic chain while defending case. If you are going for turns on a DA, then I would appreciate that being in the Aff overview as well, towards the end.
Neg, you need to make sure to clash with the aff. Cards are fine, but they are almost never contextualized, and if you aren't even going to say which part of the aff they apply to, then you probably shouldn't bother reading them. I honestly prefer analytics; read through their card and find what the actual evidence says, because it almost always isn't the tagline.
Disadvantages I'm a fan of. If you have a specific link that's great, and I will be more skeptical of generic links, but I will be more than happy to overlook evidential specificity if you have good contextualization skills. In fact, even if you have a specific link, you should contextualize it, because I guarantee that your link isn't as specific as you think it is. Otherwise, if you can deliver a coherent story with your disadvantage, I will assume tech over truth. I will vote off of any DA, but I really don't like DAs that occur before plan implementation (IE, a horsetrading DA), and will be very receptive to arguments as to why these DAs are illegitimate.
I'm also fine with Counterplans, as they're part and parcel with most good policy strats. I'm fine with conditional counterplans, but have no problem voting on condo bad either. If you want to run a dispositional counterplan, please make it intuitive. I don't want to think too hard on this sort of thing. The same goes for PICs.
Aff, please perm the counterplan, even if it's dumb. Put offense on it as well, but seeing the aff fail to perm is always painful, and it takes like 20 seconds. When you do perm, please make sure to state what the perm actually is. Don't just say "perm do both". I need to know exactly what you're doing. Otherwise, see what I said to neg on the Aff portion. Clash clash clash.
On Kritiks, I am pretty bad. I am not intimately familiar with most of the literature, and have no interest in becoming any more familiar with it. The only exception to this is a Cap K, which I am quite fond of, provided your alternative isn't performative. I don't think debate spills over into the real world in any meaningful way from these rounds, and will not vote for an alternative that tells me that voting negative will actually annihilate global capitalism or something.
Most policy Theory is stupid and frivolous; please don't have a theory debate. That being said, I am ok with the following theories -
- condo bad/good
- topicality (as a general rule, on specific topics I might be bad)
- something specific and egregious (ask me for clarification before round and I can elaborate)
If you don't see a theory you like up here, that doesn't necessarily mean I won't vote off of it. If you're a theory hack who somehow got me, ask before round and I can clarify.
More specifically on Topicality, I think these debates are a headache if done over the most nonsensical word definitions. You're gonna have to assume I have an 8th grade reading level when explaining your definitions. You also need to spell out the implication if your topicality shell is minute - I don't care about the definition of the word "The", and I won't auto drop someone for failing to adhere to this kind of argument. That being said, I don't have a problem adjudicating on T, and if the aff is flagrantly untopical, I see no reason as to not run it.
The only thing I hate more than (most) Ks is Performance. Please do not read performance. I honestly don't think anybody will if they've read my paradigm for even a moment, but if you do, and the opponent reads any sort of T Framework, I will likely vote for them. Otherwise, I will likely just lose interest. The only exception to this is a performative physical competition, like an arm-wrestling competition.
Some other notes
- I am very skeptical of new neg arguments in the block, and I include new links with this as well. If contested, I will only allow new links to DAs/Ks if they link to something said in the 2AC, not the 1AC. If you make a whole new offcase position, I will most likely disregard it. The same goes for case.
- Neg, please collapse effectively in the 2NR. I don't want to sift through like 6 different off for the RFD.
- I don't like profanity in rounds. I'm not a prude, and I won't dock speaker points, but I find it tacky and obnoxious.
- I also don't like Foucault. Please do not refer to people as bodies or the like. It's creepy.
- The secret word is X-Bow. If you mention the secret word before the round, I'll know you read my paradigm, although I'm not sure what that'll do. If you know what an X-Bow is, then congratulations. I honestly just wanted a secret word.
- One of my biggest pet peeves in debate is the commodification and infantilization of various minority groups, such as racial or sexual minorities. I really don't appreciate the way many in the debate community make arguments such as "black people can't be topical", and I will not consider these as valid arguments.
- Class>anything else. If I see a kid from a rich/wealth program telling me that they're institutionally disadvantaged against a kid from some UDL school, I will roll my eyes, and take it with the biggest grain of salt known to man.
- I will not vote on any argument that intends to exclude people from the round based on immutable traits like race/religion/sex/etc. I will exercise this prerogative impartially.
- If you dunk on kids who are clearly less experienced than you, I will dunk on your speaker points.
- Jokes in debate are almost never funny, and they are always never funny when you're trying to make me laugh. It's also almost always band kid humor. The only humor I like is super dry deadpan humor, and I won't give you anything for it, so don't try to shoehorn it in.
- Please clash, even terrible arguments are better than none. Clash is the most important part of the debate, and
- Don't hesitate to ask me any questions.
Yes, I wanna be on the email chain detren.wo3[at]gmail[dot]com
Who am I: Yo whats poppoin, I competed in speech and debate in high school (NSDA, UIL, and FFA). In debate I competed CX, Extemp. debate, and World Schools. In Speech I did Informative & Persuasive Speaking, Poetry, and Public Speaking. Now I compete in on the college level (NDT, CEDA ,and ADA).
I understand the debate space as an academic site centered on the development and dissemination of knowledge. I think of myself as a big picture judge; what is the role of the judge? How should I evaluate arguments? What about their plan, methodology, alt, etc. is bad or harmful? how do arguments interact with each other? I understand the debate as it is explained to me, and that is left in the hands of the competitor :)
Here's the stuff I think you're probably looking for:
- Policy v Policy: I will not flow more than 5 off for the environment and also for my own mental health. I'm not super hip on all the intricacies of the core topic args so break it down for me. When it comes to intricate T debates that are not T USFG I need you to explain it to me! I haven't played the game this way in awhile so just be specific and help me help you.
- K Affs: I think you're probably better off impact turning framework than going for the we meet, but do you! I'm all for creative performances--don't lose that as the debate goes on! Chances are there are more arguments in your 1AC than you remember in your 2AC
- Clash debates: Don't assume since I'm a performance/K debater that I won't vote on fw. I will--heavy on the impact level--I'm more sensitive to fairness and clash than I am to education impacts--TVAs are also your friends. If you can win that they can access their education/arguments under the topic, I'll vote on it.
- K on the neg: links need to be specific, I haven't read all of the things so break it down for me real good--I am a K debater which means I have a higher threshold for what makes these arguments effective.
-K v K : Debates are v fun and v educational--I think there is unbridled potential in these debates. Framing and judge instruction are your friends. Links need to be explained and specific. This is the part where we getto play the clash game, so let's play it!
- Policy Aff vs the K: FRAMING AND JUDGE INSTRUCTION!!! I'm down to weigh your Aff but if they tell me not to and you don't tell me why I should, you're in a really bad spot at the end of the debate. Answer the links specifically!
- BE KIND! Especially as younger ppl in this activity--we need you and you need each other in order to keep this activity going, so don't be a butthole to your opponents or your speaks will show my displeasure.
I will vote you down for being racist/sexist/homophobic/ableist/disrespectful, EVEN IF the other team doesn't call you out for it.
- Don't postround me: I promise I will talk to your coaches about it if you do. Feel free to ask questions though! and I'm always available via email if you have further questions after the round.
*** PF // LD ***
I'm not a picky judge: do you, have fun, be a good sport, and we will get along just fine!
I'm a BIG fan of impact calculus--if it's in the debate, that's usually what I vote on. Tell me what to do!
I will vote you down for being racist/sexist/homophobic/ableist/disrespectful, EVEN IF the other team doesn't call you out for it.
I don't think there is any one way to debate,I think of most arguments as valuable and deserving of attention. Come as you are and say what you gotta say :) Go ahead and speak at the speed you are most comfortable. I flow on a computer and if it dies ill flow on my phone. I also tend to flow CX paying attention to interesting moments or points made. I also pay heavy attention to the way power flows through the debate space and I am critical of the space people take up within round. With that said I like it when debates get heated and people get sassy but just make sure to be reasonable with one another.
Persuade me and you have my ballot.
If you have any questions feel free to ask but other thanthat, Happy Debating!
Kinkaid ’21. Four years of policy debate as the 2a/1n.
I am not debating in college. I am probably very out of practice. I have not judged this year.
Please put me on the email chain if there is one: email@example.com
Please ask questions before round if you have them. I’m probably forgetting something.
- Do what you do best. I would rather listen to you debating your strongest argument than you adapting to my preferences, that being said please read the following if you feel like it
-Little knowledge about the NATO topic
-You can run anything, but I’m not yet familiar with the super complex policy laws nor am I familiar with esoteric K theory beyond what a usual debater might know so you need to explain well and thoroughly
-Less is more—I’ll evaluate a lot of offcase arguments but I will be sad if i have to use a lot of sheets of paper that get tossed in the block
-Don't spread at full speed. My pen time sucks. Make sure you slow down for tage, authors, and analytics. Clarity > speed. If I don't understand you I cannot and will not flow ur args. I can still understand and hear you when you spread, but you might want to slow down if you’re giving me a lot of ideas really fast.
-I like offense/defense framing. Zero risk is possible but hard to win.
-Conditionality’s fine. 2 is probably a good limit, but I'm open to hearing both sides debate it out.
-Tech>truth, but if I can't explain the argument and its warrants it's not going into my consideration
-I don't take prep for flashing/emailing.
I understand the generic Ks okay, but you’ll have to spend more time on explanation for Ks like Baudrillard and Virillio. I have a fair understanding of pessimist kritiks, but not enough that I would feel comfortable going for one myself.
I have found that the weakest part of the kritik is usually the alternative. For that reason, I would prefer that you either: A) have a well established, concrete alternative that addresses the links and impacts, or B) forgo the alternative entirely and go for framework as the alternative. The “education comes first” aspect of K framework has always been more attractive to me than “No really we can actually do the revolution trust me bro.” Specifically, I think that arguing that "debate is about education and the processes of research, so framework comes first" is stronger than arguing that any individual round can cause some sort of debate revolution. In response, I think the affirmative should say “Actually the state is pretty cool and so is doing actual policy work.”
Responding to Ks:
In general, I have been more amenable to impact turns on the K than assurances that the K and aff are compatible. That does not mean that the aff should not attempt to permute the K, but it does mean that any links to the affirmative should either be no linked out of or impact turned. You use the state? Great, because the state is good (or at least good to solve your impacts). You use market logic? Awesome, because markets are efficient and good. Soft left affs should use these impact turns to their advantages as reasons why the permutation is a good idea.
A lot of K teams get away with spinning their theses as given. Affirmatives should challenge these theses. Say that capitalism is good. Say that the state policy making is good. Say that anti-blackness, anti-queerness, and other forms of bigotry have gotten better over time. You shouldn’t impact turn racism, but you can certainly say the state has become less racist.
In response to neg K teams attempting to take away the plan with framework, the affirmative should argue that the aff plan's ability to solve is proof that state policymaking is good and therefore the affirmative's framework should be preferred.
Running unconventionally topical affirmatives is completely acceptable. You should have a clear interpretation of the topic that defines what the affirmative is allowed to run, drawing a good line and making it clear that you aren’t destroying debate. Articulating why your vision of the topic has clear benefits is a good idea. Running impact turns without a clear counter interpretation is not persuasive to me.
When I say you should be unconventionally topical, I still want you to be topical. Your affirmative should clearly relate to the topic. The closer you are to resolutional action, the more leeway I’ll give you in my head. I am not interested in debate rounds centered around “debate good/bad,” resolutions other than the one given by the NSDA, or affirmatives that are about anything but the topic. For clarity, if your affirmative can be run in any topic by switching out one card, I am unlikely to view it very positively.
See below on what I think makes a good neg framework argument.
Sure. Make sure there’s a reason the performance was there. If I’m not hearing about it in every speech you give from there on out, it didn’t need to be there.
I prefer advantage counter plans and PICs that remove something from the plan. Agent counter plans are only acceptable if the aff or aff evidence defines one branch of the federal government they use. I don’t like word pics unless the result of the word pic is legally distinct legislation (no “The” pics, please).
I don’t default to judge kick, but I will if you tell me.
Judging DA and Case 2NRs is difficult when people don’t do impact calculus. Please do impact calculus.
I’m alright with generic politics DAs. I understand that you might not have a specific strategy for every affirmative. But please, try to get specific with the link if you can.
Cheap shots make me sad. If you want to go for one, shame me into voting for you because I will likely feel like I shouldn’t. I’ll default to reject the argument.
Predictability/precision standards are probably the most persuasive to me, followed by generic limits and generic ground. Remember to connect them to education (I mostly view fairness as an internal link to education) or I won’t know why to vote for it.
You can win reasonability, but I default to competing interps. Teams should both defend their own interp under an offense defense framework, but also make sure that if the aff wins reasonability that they can still win the round.
For the neg: I'm somewhat receptive to dubious T interps. Feel free to explain why your interpretation of the topic is so obviously true, even if the aff is also probably pretty easy to predict generally. It's about the interpretations, not the aff specifically.
I am most amenable to skills based/“State policymaking is really great actually” arguments than I am fairness based arguments.
I also think limits as necessary for effective topic education is a good argument. I like smaller topics.
I haven’t judged enough to say something concrete on this. Clarity, using specific strategies, kindness, and strength of analysis are all likely to increase points for me. I’ll probably be too kind with them. I will also attempt to adapt my speaker point scale to the relative skill level of the tournament. Don't be rude or cocky in round – I will be mad.