California Invitational Berkeley Debate
2023 — Berkeley, CA/US
Varsity Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
After reading paradigms over the years, I am not sure how helpful they really are. They seem to be mostly a chance to rant, a coping mechanism, a way to get debaters not to pref them and some who generally try but usually fail to explain how they judge debates. Regardless, my preferences are below, but feel free to ask me before the round if you have any questions.
Short paradigm. I am familiar with most arguments in debate. I am willing to listen to your argument. If it's an argument that challenges the parameters and scope of debate, I am open to the argument. Just be sure to justify it. Other than that, try to be friendly and don't cheat.
Evidence: This is an evidence based activity. I put great effort to listening, reading and understanding your evidence. If you have poor evidence, under highlight or misrepresent your evidence (intentional or unintentional) it makes it difficult for me to evaluate your arguments. Those who have solid evidence, are able to explain their evidence in a persuasive matter tend to get higher speaker points, win more rounds etc.
Overall: Debate how you like (with some constraints below). I will work hard to make the best decision I am capable of. Make debates clear for me, put significant effort in the final 2 rebuttals on the arguments you want me to evaluate and give me an approach to how I should evaluate the round.
Nontraditional Affs : I tend to enjoy reading the literature base for most nontraditional affirmatives. I'm not completely sold on the pedagogical value of these arguments at the high school level. I do believe that aff should have a stable stasis point in the direction of the resolution. The more persuasive affs tend to have a personal relationship with the arguments in the round and have an ability to apply their method and theory to personal experience.
Framework: I do appreciate the necessity of this argument. I am more persuaded by topical version arguments than the aff has no place in the debate. If there is no TVA then the aff need to win a strong justification for why their aff is necessary for the debate community. The affirmative cannot simply say that the TVA doesn't solve. Rather there can be no debate to be had with the TVA. Fairness in the abstract is an impact but not a persuasive one. The neg need to win specific reasons how the aff is unfair and and how that impacts the competitiveness and pedagogical value of debate. Agonism, decision making and education may be persuasive impacts if correctly done.
Counter plans: I attempt to be as impartial as I can concerning counter plan theory. I don’t exclude any CP’s on face. I do understand the necessity for affirmatives to go for theory on abusive counter plans or strategically when they do not have any other offense. Don’t hesitate to go for consult cp’s bad, process cps bad, condo, etc. For theory, in particular conditionality, the aff should provide an interpretation that protects the aff without over limiting the neg.
DA's : who doesn't love a good DA? I do not automatically give the neg a risk of the DA. Not really sure there is much else to say.
Kritiks- Although I enjoy a good K debate, good K debates at the high school level are hard to come by. Make sure you know your argument and have specific applications to the affirmative. My academic interests involve studying Foucault Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, , etc. So I am rather familiar with the literature. Just because I know the literature does not mean I am going to interpret your argument for you.
Overall, The key to get my ballot is to make sure its clear in the 2NR/2AR the arguments you want me to vote for and impact them out. That may seem simple, but many teams leave it up to the judge to determine how to prioritize and evaluate arguments.
Debate how you choose. I have judged plenty of LD debates over the years and I am familiar with contemporary practices. I am open to the version of debate you choose to engage, but you should justify it, especially if your opponent provides a competing view of debate. For argument specifics please read the Policy info. anything else, I am happy to answer before your debate.
Updated Feb 13, 2023
I debated in high school at Katy Taylor from 2011-2015 and in college I debated for UC Berkeley from 2015-2016.
I coached College Preparatory and BAUDL from 2016-2018 and with the NYUDL from 2019-2020.
I read a lot of Baudrillard back in the day and decently versed in most kritikal literature. I have also coached policy teams and love a good policy round.
Topicality / Theory / Affirmatives that do not fiat government action
Debate is an educational activity where participants engage each other to expand their knowledge on a topic and develop their argumentative skills. So I would rather see debates about the topic than a debate about debate unless it is absolutely neccessary.
Here's a little guide:
- Don't go for conditionality theory just because the other team undercovered it.
- Don't go for framework just because that's the only argument you prepared to read against an aff disclosed months ago.
- Don't go for T just because the affirmative read a bad counter-interpretation.
Feel free to ask for clarification before the round via email or in person
Winston Churchill '21
University of Texas '25
Timeliness = higher speaks.
Prep stops when email is sent.
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.
Do what you do well. i prefer good debating over anything else. My favorite debates to judge are ones where debaters look like they want to be there. 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.
"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 their judges." - Arnav Kashyap
Logical fallacies are called such for a reason.
i flow CX. It's obvious, but this is where you're winning and losing your speaker points. Debaters should act accordingly. One comment i find myself handing out most often is "you had a great CX moment on [thing], but it never made it into a speech."
Policy v K: The negative must have a link that is contextual to the aff. Examples will be rewarded highly. Impact calculus on framework is imperative on both sides. The affirmative should have link offense and/or defense, as well as explaining it in context of the permutation/why your args problematize the rest of the negative strategy. 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. 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. Examples, examples, examples.
v K Aff: You are well suited to go for framework in front of me. Negative teams are best served thoroughly explaining their impacts in context of the affirmative impacts/offense in favor of calling their impacts "intrinsic goods." You are also better suited to NOT rely solely on enthymematic posturing or fancy vocabulary to construct your arguments, as I am less inclined to fill in the blanks about "SSD/TVA solves the aff!" Whether each side needs to defend a model is up for debate. Point out contradictions and nonsense. If it's not great FW strat vs not great k aff, I will likely end up voting 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 have fun 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.
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.
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 = L 25. vast swaths = 30. i don't know you, so why should i have to decide if you're a good person or not for things done 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...
I am currently coaching 3 teams at lamdl (POLAHS, BRAVO, LAKE BALBOA) and have picked up an ld student or 2. I am pretty familiar with the fiscal redistribution topic and not very with the federal lands topic.
I do have a hearing problem in my right ear. If I've never heard you b4 or it's the first round of the day. PLEASE go about 80% of your normal spread for about 20 seconds so I can get acclimated to your voice. If you don't, I'm going to miss a good chunk of your first minute or so. I know people pref partly through speaker points. My default starts at 28.5 and goes up from there. If i think you get to an elim round, you'll prob get 29.0+
Evid sharing: use speechdrop or something of that nature. If you prefer to use the email chain and need my email, please ask me before the round.
What will I vote for? I'm mostly down for whatever you all wanna run. That being said no person is perfect and we all have our inherent biases. What are mine?
I think teams should be centered around the resolution. While I'll vote on completely non T aff's it's a much easier time for a neg to go for a middle of the road T/framework argument to get my ballot. I lean slightly neg on t/fw debates and that's it's mostly due to having to judge LD recently and the annoying 1ar time skew that makes it difficult to beat out a good t/fw shell. The more I judge debates the less I am convinced that procedural fairness is anything but people whining about why the way they play the game is okay even if there are effects on the people involved within said activity. I'm more inclined to vote for affs and negs that tell me things that debate fairness and education (including access) does for people in the long term and why it's important. Yes, debate is a game. But who, why, and how said game is played is also an important thing to consider.
As for K's you do you. the main one I have difficulty conceptualizing in round are pomo k vs pomo k. No one unpacks these rounds for me so all I usually have at the end of the round is word gibberish from both sides and me totally and utterly confused. If I can't give a team an rfd centered around a literature base I can process, I will likely not vote for it. update: I'm noticing a lack of plan action centric links to critiques. I'm going to be honest, if I can't find a link to the plan and the link is to the general idea of the resolution, I'm probably going to err on the side of the perm especially if the aff has specific method arguments why doing the aff would be able to challenge notions of whatever it is they want to spill over into.
I lean neg on condo. Counterplans are fun. Disads are fun. Perms are fun. clear net benefit story is great.
If you're in LD, don't worry about 1ar theory and no rvis in your 1ac. That is a given for me. If it's in your 1ac, that tops your speaks at 29.2 because it means you didn't read my paradigm.
Now are there any arguments I won't vote for? Sure. I think saying ethically questionable statements that make the debate space unsafe is grounds for me to end a round. I don't see many of these but it has happened and I want students and their coaches to know that the safety of the individuals in my rounds will always be paramount to anything else that goes on. I also won't vote for spark, trix, wipeout, nebel t, and death good stuff. ^_^ good luck and have fun debating
Email Chain: email@example.com
Affiliations: Archbishop Mitty High School, University of Southern California '26 (debating)
I generally don't have many strong argumentative predispositions, and any preferences I do have will not be the reason I vote a certain way. I will solely render a decision based on what's been said in the debate and the flow using an offense-defense paradigm, regardless of the objective 'truth' behind an argument.
That means that you can read what you want, and I will adapt. This is especially the case since I have experience with the critical and policy sides of debate. So long as your arguments have some level of depth, evolve over the course of the debate, and are clearly communicated---we're good. An exception to this is that I'm not the biggest fan of theory debates, and generally err towards conditionality being good---though I can be persuaded otherwise.
That applies to clash rounds as well. I've started to value these debates a lot more as I've personally started to think about what the role of debate ought to be. I will say that one preference I do have is that I've found that I find critical AFFs that recognize the unique value that debate has and question whether centering around a resolutional stasis point is the best way to use this space to be generally more persuasive to me than AFFs that are centered around debate itself being bad in some way. Meaning that with how I currently view framework, I'm more persuaded by the strategy of having some defense to the NEG offense and a reason why your form of debate is preferable, rather than wholly impact turning framework itself. But as stated, this is a preference and not a strong predisposition, so I'll still vote on strategies that mirror the latter.
In terms of how I'll evaluate the debate, I'll always vote in a way that requires the least intervention possible on my end. Because of this, I value judge instruction and framing of the debate extremely highly. The 2NR/2AR should always write my ballot at the top and on the line by line package certain parts of the debate and how I should view them. The debates that are most frustrating to decide are those where neither side does this and just shotguns arguments without contextualizing them to the other sides’ responses, and I’m forced to try to parse through it all without any guidance for how to do so.
Another note is that I will read cards after the round—but if you want me to do that, I need to have heard the name of the author you want me to read in the 2NR/2AR and a fleshed out extension of it. I may have a higher threshold for this than other judges—I will not read a card if I don’t hear the name of the author or at least a reference to which card it is, and I will also not extend it for you if you just quickly reference it. For example, saying “extend the link debate—the plan is unpopular” is not sufficient for me to consider the NEG link wall on politics extended or go back and read it for you after.
Debated at: College Prep, Wake Forest
Coaching at: George Mason (College Policy), Glenbrook South (HS Policy), & Harker (HS LD & PF)
Coached at: Minneapolis South (Policy), College Prep (Policy & PF), Bronx Science (Policy), Eagle (Policy)
2023 Summer Camps Taught/Judged Debates at: RKS
Please add me to the email chain -anadebate07 at gmail
Recently edited to say less because I think debaters define the parameters of the round. I also strongly believe that judges ought meet debaters where they are at & to give the most helpful and least interventionary decision possible. I will answer any and all questions & provide as much feedback as you so desire. I love debate more than most things and I think rounds should be fun and teach everyone something whenever possible.
I will always vote for the team that I determine to have won the debate with comparative impact calculus, offense, defense, and responses to their opponents' arguments.
I'll make my decision on the flow and will vote on dropped arguments I don't believe. Tech determines what is true given there is a claim, warrant, and impact.
I prefer to vote for teams with comparative impact calculus, judge instruction, and organized flows. I respect hard work and commitment to debate more than anything else - debate is a communicative research game and a community of people.
I do not believe there is one style or approach that debaters must take. As a debater, I read strategies across the political spectrum and appreciate strategic thinking over ideological bias. I will thoughtfully judge any and all kinds of debates - I truthfully just love debate regardless of the form it takes - from a policy throwdown to a rev v rev round to a 'clash' debate. I enjoy reading and try to be familiar with policy and kritikal approaches to the resolution - however, I would appreciate clarifications for acronyms / abbreviations. I will be transparent in my rfd if I did not understand an argument conceptually because to do otherwise would be a disservice to debaters and their time and efforts.
Assume I am familiar with what you are talking about, but never expect me to fill in the blanks for you.
I will auto-judge kick unless told otherwise.
It's your job to tell me if conditionality is good or bad. In policy debates, time skew is a fake impact. In LD, time skew is everything.
Theory interps must be explicated so as to solve AFF & NEG offense.
Extinction matters but so does quotidian violence - it's your job to tell me which I prioritize when writing my ballot. I need to be given an alternative to consequentialism because I am a better judge for you when asked to evaluate if the AFF is a good or bad idea. On the AFF, it's never enough to win that your opponents' impacts don't matter - you still need to extend why I should vote AFF.
Don't need a plan for me to vote AFF. I prefer debates when the AFF advocates and goes for in the 2AR arguments describing why and how we should change the status quo.
I understand most AFF & NEG strategies and approaches to framework / k-aff debates. I do not think there is an objectively good or right way to have these debates. My only preference in these rounds is that each side has external offense and impact calc. I struggle to see how 'clash' is an external impact unless you explain the specific kinds of and/or approaches to debates you include/exclude & why they're good/bad.
I want to hear about what you want to talk about. I don't love when I can hear your coaches' voices speaking through your blocks more than I can hear your own voice saying the words.
If you're asking if I am good for 'tricks, indexicals, or LD nonsense,' I will not know how to evaluate those arguments so I will almost certainly try to determine the debate on literally anything else in your speeches.
If you're wanting to know my thoughts on 'phil' I would rather not judge this because I just don't quite understand, but if you want to explain to me I will need you to explain why your arguments have warrants, impacts, and solvency.
I prefer to not judge a debate where I have to make a decision on an issue that probably would be best worked out when we do not have the time constraints of a competitive debate. I respect the hard work, effort, and energy that all debaters bring to the room. I also strongly hold the belief that debate should feel as safe as possible for all participants in the room.
I make quick decisions because I consider the debate as I judge, and I have a hard time sitting still for a long time. Do not take it personally or as a sign that there was poor debating - It's simply that I care about not wasting your time, minimizing opportunities for judge intervention, and leaving more time for questions / if there are delays in the round.
Speed is not the number of words per minute but arguments effectively communicated per minute. Flowability shapes my decision-making capabilities. I will say 'clear' if I can't write down the words you are saying. I will pause you if you cut out in a Zoom debate. I hate 'flow checks' but if you must, you have to do that during cross-ex or take prep.
The sending of marked doc phenomenon in debate makes me sad. I prefer debaters to respond to what their opponents say, as opposed to what is typed up in front of them. I am a judge, not a flowbot.
No I do not need a card doc - I believe the practice of & whole idea behind judge docs invite intervention & sus practices like strategically labeling cards in the document.
At least one team must read the re-highlighting out loud in the debate - either in cross-ex or in a speech.
30 = better have a real good reason why you feel entitled to one. // 29.5+ = this debate could have been in the quarters/semis+, these debaters embody hard work and care for their arguments // 29-29.4 = slaying it, some missed opportunities on the line by line and ethos, this is a octas/quarters level debate // 28.5-28.9 = great debate, solid performance, room to grow, will prob break // 28-28.4 = figuring out debate still, some great moments, really good effort and energy // 27.5-27.9 = quite a few things went wrong and there's room to grow // 27-27.4 = many things got messy and mixed up // 26.9 and below: everything went wrong.
I will flow as close to everything you say in your speeches & cross-ex as possible. I am down to judge a debate where you tell me flowing isn't how I make my decision, but you will need to tell me what to do instead and win why I should.
I will never vote for an argument that I could never justify ethically explaining back to you.
Dead on Arrival: author names as warrants, RVI's, being a butthead, & ad-homs.
Please refer to everyone involved in the round gender-neutrally unless otherwise stated by a participant or judge.
START THE EMAIL CHAIN AS SOON AS ALL DEBATERS ARE IN THE ROOM.
Yes, include me. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
high school debate: crenshaw high school ( policy )
college debate: st. john's university ( BP )
currently: i'm usually in someone's tab. as such, i'm not keeping up with current arguments, authors, strats etc. assume i'm used to your evidence at your own risk.
hi i'm amber (they/them) and i want you to have fun and learn new things. debates are for learning, not for whoever gets to nuclear war fastest. tech issues aren't considered prep, but do not abuse this.
I HAVE TINNITUS AND CANNOT HEAR MONOTONE READERS.
I HAVE TINNITUS AND CANNOT HEAR MONOTONE READERS.
I HAVE TINNITUS AND CANNOT HEAR MONOTONE READERS.
I HAVE TINNITUS AND CANNOT HEAR MONOTONE READERS.
I HAVE TINNITUS AND CANNOT HEAR MONOTONE READERS.
you have GOT to put inflections, emphasis etc in your speeches otherwise i WILL NOT be able to hear, understand, and flow you. if you pick up nothing else from this paradigm, absorb this and invest in practices that will allow you to be a clear and impactful reader.
you have one instance of me saying "Clear" in round before i stop flowing.
i flow args not authors most of the time. EXTEND YOUR ARGS. TELL ME WHAT THEY'RE REPLYING TO. "judge, extend our brooks '03" tells me nothing. where am i putting that? what is it answering? how is it relevant? if i have to answer those questions myself, there's an issue. you want me to do as little intervention in the back as possible-- tell me exactly where you want something flowed, that way at the end of the round we can be assured that my decision is based off of what you all debated for me, not my own opinions or biases.
1. I DO NOT FLOW FROM SPEECH DOCS. i flow what i hear, which means speak up, speak clearly, and if you're tempted to double breathe, don't. it's distracting and doesn't actually help you debate better or faster. if you go silent while you spread, don't. i have tinnitus in BOTH ears, i will stop flowing if you become unintelligible. you have one instance of me saying "Clear" in round before i stop flowing.
2. do not read theory at me. your speaks will reflect you reading theory at me poorly
3. keep your flows organized-- the easiest way to do that is by sign posting ("next", "and", "now onto" are perfect phrases for keeping the pace of a speech while still allowing the judge time to switch flows).
4. for neg teams in particular: do not prioritize reading a thousand args in the 1NC over 1-2 actual strategies. i will not reward you for wasting aff and MY time. do not play with me on this.
5. Do Not Read Theory At Me.
6. If you're nonblack and running Black args, 1) your reasoning had better be solid 2) i'm giving 24s and below to whoever does it poorly. using antiblackness, afropess and other Black args as "gotchas!" against teams in rounds IS in itself antiblack, and i'm not going to listen to the commodification of Blackness for a ballot. if your strategy needs to change because of this, you also need to be evaluating why you had those args in your arsenal in the first place.
- read clearly and loudly, or i will not flow your speech. don't read theory at me. don't read bad Ks at me. your speaks will reflect you reading things poorly at me. don't read Black args if you're not Black, as 'gotchas' against your opponents; i will break tabroom giving you the lowest possible speaks.
if you want to have an in depth, hardcore theory or k debate, i am not the judge for you. don't do it to yourself or to me. generally i'll evaluate most arguments fairly; if a team can explain and convince me to vote for them, and the flow matches, that's all i really need to give a ballot. that being said, i don't regularly judge LD so my ear is NOT trained to y'all's jargon and whatnot. in case you didn't read above, i have tinnitus in both ears and need you to SLOW DOWN THE BEGINNING OF YOUR SPEECH. enunciate anything of importance; no, that doesn't mean your whole speech lmao (unless you're going for high speaks, bc yes i will award higher speaks to whoever enunciates and emphasizes arguments in their speeches).
T: i don't like T debates, but i'll give them a fair evaluation!
larp v larp: sure, go for it
larp v k: i'll be honest, i'll probably lean larp here if the k team doesn't properly explain or defend themselves
k v k: please god do not do this to us. i mean it. it will be an unpleasant round for everyone involved.
disclosure: fairness is an impact but don't take this to an extreme.
no RVIs: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
friv. theory: if it's truly frivolous, no i'm not voting on it. i'll evaluate every argument given in the debate, but it NEEDS to have a basis in truth, or be proven not an absolute waste of debate time.
Bakersfield High School class of 2017
Cal State Fullerton Class of 2021
2x NDT Qualifier
NDT Quarterfinalist - 2021
CEDA Semifinalist - 2021
Cal State Fullerton Assistant Debate Coach Fall 2021-Present
Peninsula Assistant Coach Fall 2023-Present
Previously Coached by: Lee Thach, LaToya Green, Shanara Reid-Brinkley, Max Bugrov, Anthony Joseph, Parker Coon, Joel Salcedo, John Gillespie and Travis Cochran
Debate Influences: Jonathan (Leo) Meza, Vontrez White, David Dosch, Danielle Dosch, Gordon Krauss, Curtis Ortega, Jay-Z Flores, Rayeed Rahman, Beau Larsen, Brayan Loayza, Oscar Rosas, Deven Cooper, Scott Wheeler, Taylor Brough, Amber Kelsie, Iggy Evans, Azja Butler, Cameron Ward.
If there is an email chain I would like to be on it:
College: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions feel free to email me
Dont call me judge I feel weird about it, feel free to call me Jared
I did four years of policy debate in high school mostly debating on a regional circuit and did not compete nationally till my junior and senior year, debated at Cal State Fullerton (2017-2021)
New for 2023-2024:
Fiscal Redistribution: 8
Nukes : 0
LD Total: 32
There is not much new this year, I spent the summer doing a bunch of research with what should be the Jan/Feb topic for LD working at TDI and working closely with CSUF on producing things for them.
I think i will find myself judging LD more and a lot of the LD-esque things like RVIs and Tricks to me are not a thing so not trying to hear those things in a debate.
But I have gotten increasingly frustrated with the lack of explanatory power in K debates where there is not a sufficient link argument. I wouldn't say that I have a high threshold for the link debate but I genuinely think that this is the one part of the K that you cannot screw up. If you do well you will probably lose.
If your 2AC/1AR strategy when you are reading a K aff is to say that only this debater matters then you shouldn't pref me. This is not to say i don't enjoy critical affirmatives but I think that the aff needs to provide a model of debate (Counter interpretation), a role of the negative, and an impact turn to the negatives standards, absent those things in the 1AR/2AR strategy it becomes difficult for the affirmative to win.
I have gotten increasingly irritated of Ks not making a specific link because most 1NC cards yall read are ok and most 2NCs don't know how to make a link arg, so I have been defaulting aff more on a link level vs the K
As I am a full year removed from debating I have increasingly voted for fw more and more often and for me its just because the 2AC doesn't have the best answers and 1ARs miss important pieces of offense that are difficult to come back from, and most of the ground and clash args to me have some of the time just became true.
K: Love the K, this is where i spent more of the time in my debate and now coaching career, I think I have an understanding of generally every K, in college, I mostly read Afro-Pessimism/Gillespie, but other areas of literature I am familiar with cap, cybernetics, baudrillard, psychoanalysis, Moten/Afro-Optimism, Afro-Futurism, arguments in queer and gender studies, whatever the K is I should have somewhat a basic understanding of it. I think that to sufficiently win the K, I often think that it is won and lost on the link debate, because smart 2Ns that rehiglight 1AC cards and use their link to impact turn of internal link turn the aff will 9/10 win my ballot. Most def uping your speaker points if you rehighlight the other teams cards.
For Critical Affirmatives: I like them, in college and in high school I have read them if you're going to read them though I need a clear understanding of the method that is the most important to me. I find that most K affs lose their method throughout the debate and most times I usually end up voting on presumption because I am not sure what the aff does. I think as ive gotten older this is really true and I really hate it when the aff doesn't have any tangible examples of what their method looks like to hang my hat on which is how i feel that alt/aff methods are won.
K affs VS Framework: I think that the aff in these debates always needs to have a role of the negative, because a lot of you K affs out their solve all of these things and its written really well but you say something most times that is non-controversal and that gets you in trouble which means its tough for you to win a fw debate when there is no role for the negative. In terms of like counter interp vs impact turn style of 2AC vs fw I dont really have a preference but i think you at some point need to have a decent counter interp to solve your impact turns to fw. If you go for the like w/m kind of business i think you can def win this but i think fw teams are prepared for this debate more than the impact turn debate
Plan Based Affirmatives: For teams in HS, some of you are not reading a different aff against K teams and I think you should, it puts you in a good place to beat the K, I have seen some teams do it on the water topic but for the most part you are just reading your big stick policy aff against K teams. I enjoy judging the heg good aff vs 7 off debate, policy aff you do you.
Framework: Yall need to go for what is the role of the negative (RotN) to me I think this is more persuasive than like any type of fairness argument because really RotN is the internal link to any impact argument you are going to make and it means that all of their offense that they are going to go for about their education being better and why your model is bad its all internal link turned by making the arg that they dont have a role for the negative so their revolutionary testing doesnt matter with out a RotN
DA: 1NR on disads have become card dumps and i hate it, explanation is better than just reading a ton of cards like yes read your uq cards on politics but use your link evidence to have a deep explanation of the link. The more specific the disad the better which is not to say i hate the politics disad brovero was my lab leader and drilled me on the ptx disad but I do enjoy the politics throwdown
CP: kind of the same notes for disads the more specific the better, planks are not conditional, condo most of the times is probably good, unless is like 4 or more
1. Clash of Civs are my favorite type of debates.
2. Counterplan should not have conditional planks -theory debates are good when people are not just reading blocks - that being said - theory cheap shots are not always persuasive to me but given they are warranted and isolate a clear violation then it means you probably win the debate
3. Who controls uniqueness - that come 1st
4. on T most times default to reasonability
5. Clash of Civs - (K vs FW) - These are fun debates, 2ACs need the standard meta DAs to policy making and policy debate of course counter interpretations and other specific offense vs their standards. FW teams yall always have these long overviews at the top of the 2NC which I do enjoy but yall need to do more work on the line by line in some of these debates because simply cross-applying from the overview does not answer the 2ACs args.
6. No plan no perm is not an argument
7. FW teams need a TVA - this is not necessary but affs need to have some type of framing question on the TVA
8. Speaker Points: I try to stay in the 28-29.9 range, better debate obviously better speaker points.
Ideal 2NR strategies
1. Topic K Generic
2. Politics Process CP
3. Impact Trun all advantages
4. PIC w/ internal net beneift
5. Topic T argument
I expect to be judging LD a lot more this year with working most of the stuff applies above, but quick pref check.
1 - Larp/K
2. K affs
4-5. I do not like tricks or Phil
Most times i listen to music while writing my RFD and its most likely Drake --- +.1 if you make a Drake reference in your speech.
If you make a joke about Vontrez White +.1 speaker point.
If you have any more questions for me that I may have not answered on this page, please ask me before the round starts.
For email link chains: email@example.com
Current: Regional Coordinator for Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League (LAMDL)
Debated 4 years in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate league
Coach and Assistant Program Manager for Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League for 2 years
Currently attending CSULB (not actively debating)
- I don't appreciate being post rounded. If you don't agree with my RFD after multiple attempts of providing a sensible explanation, that's on you. I will tell you to be a better debater, gg. If you'd like, I'm open to exchanging emails so as to not stall future rounds.
- If you run a critical affirmative with multiple methods and theories that don't blend well together or create a performative contradiction, then expect some less than celebratory speaks.
- If neither the aff or neg have any clashing impacts in the round, then you're forcing me to vote aff because aff is a 'good idea'.
- If you're aff and you read multiple perms against a K and say "extend the perm/s" in the 2AC without further context, I'm going to be lost.
- I'm open to any argument so much as you can defend it and make a persuasive case to me. But really, just do what you do best. If you want to run a policy affirmative with heg good and nuclear war advantages, great! If you wanna run a critical affirmative that argues the topic is anti-black, heteronormative, colonialist, anthropoecentirc, capitalist, etc., that's cool too! Just have a fun debate!
- I'm pretty generous with speaker points, but that doesn't mean you don't have to earn them.
- If I feel I have to evaluate a piece of evidence, I'll call for it when the round ends.
- I don't count sending speech docs as prep time.
- I'm not typically persuaded by critical language critiques. Unless the neg has a very good impact analysis and comparison of what using certain phrases or words looks like compared to the aff's impacts, then it's not going to contribute to my decision calculus. However, I'll listen to your argument and flow it like I would any other.
For LD: I have a policy background, but these days I judge more LD rounds than I do policy. I'll pretty much treat your round as I would a policy round. The only thing I'll say is
1. Be clear - really slow your spreading down, especially your analytics
2. I don't like cheap tricks, but they do often win rounds if it is not contested by the opponent. However, just because I don't like it, this doesn't mean I won't vote for it.
I believe the case is important. That being said, if you don't have an impact, then why should i care about voting affirmative? Also, if you have nuclear scenarios in your affirmative, please don't just say "nuclear war is going to occur" and expect me to consider it as an argument. If you say exactly that, then you have a claim without a warrant. You have evidence, and you need to be able to explain those internal links. As for critical affirmatives, i believe the case should be able to respond to any or at least most off cases the negative presents which is to say it should have built-in answers. For example, if you have an affirmative that discusses anti-blackness, then your case should potentially be able to respond to many offs like FW, T, Cap, Anthro, Settlerism, or any other incantation of high theory, etc. Just make you use your case to its fullest is all i'm saying.
They're cool; the more specific of a link you have the better the round will go for you. Although, I might consider a DA that's obviously generic if the Aff doesn't respond properly. As for politics DA's, you better explain those internal links.
These are cool too; I've voted for CPs before and i'll probably vote on them again. I usually don't however, because they're used as a time skew and/or lack any substantive explanation.
Alright, so these arguments I'm not so thrilled about generally because when I see T being ran it's ran with generic blocks that don't really say anything, but just makes the neg sound like they're whining. So what if the aff is untopical? Why should I care if they explode the limits of the resolution? Why is this key to education? Why does that negatively impact the round? These are things that I hold a high threshold for and these are things that need to be explained in a way that will make me vote for you. But, I'm open to hearing it and considering it if you can run it persuasively. PLEASE slow down on your analytics a tiny bit.
Yeah, I'll consider it.
I'm down for a FW round. I like seeing a lot of clash between the typical standards offered by the neg vs those of critical affirmatives. So, do some comparison and impact analysis like what fairness means for the neg and what the terminal impact is for them and what fairness means for the affirmative and what the terminal impact might be for them. Compare impacts, weigh them against each other and convince me who has the better interpretation of debate. Also, if you're running FW don't just rely on overwhelming the affirmative with evidence. Remember, quality outweighs quantity and at the end of the round and that's what gets my ballot. Take the time to explain your evidence.
I love these arguments; I suppose my preference of style might favor you if you enjoy deploying Ks. My understanding of the philosophies and theories of authors read in debate travel beyond the bounds of this activity, but just make sure you are explaining your criticism coherently because I won't do the work for you, nor will I reward butchered arguments. So, to reiterate, if you read Baudrillard and you're talking about the seduction of the object or some other, explain it in a coherent manner. I don't care if you're running Bataille and you're trying to be unintelligible. Just remember, I have to understand what you're communicating to me (unless not knowing is a reason to vote you up lol) in order to evaluate your arguments. A good K debater will find killer links against the case and will use the case against itself to win the round.
*I personally shift back and forth on args focused on author indictments. For instance, I will agree on criticisms of high theory authors such as Heidegger, DnG, or Nietzsche. However, when I see these arguments deployed, it often sounds like the team that runs them is whining. SO, I will side with these ivory tower authors if you can convince me that even if Nietzsche is white and has never been oppressed, self-overcoming or whatever is probably a good idea and that not doing the aff is life affirming or whatever.
I love the creativity of these arguments, so if you run these go for it. However, don't just perform for the sake of performing or because 'it's cool'. Always use your performance as a way of turning your opponent's offensive arguments. Tell me how to evaluate the performance in contrast to the neg.
Let's have a good round.
I've coached LASA since 2005. I judge ~120 debates per season on the high school circuit.
If there’s an email chain, please add me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- If you think the 1AR is a constructive, you should strike me.
- 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.
- On balance, I am worse for 2ARs that impact turn framework than 2ARs that have a counter-interp. If left to my own devices, I believe in models and in the ballot's ability to, over the course of time, bring models into existence. I have trouble voting aff if I can't understand what future debates look like under the aff's model.
- 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.
- If left to my own devices, predictability > debatability.
- 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 often don't matter. For example, the neg extends a framework interp about reps, but only goes for links to plan implementation. Before your 2NR/2AR, ask yourself what winning framework gets you/them.
- 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.
- Uniqueness only "controls the direction of the link" if uniqueness can be determined with certainty (e.g. whip count on a bill, a specific interest rate level). On most disads where uniqueness is a probabilistic forecast (e.g. future recession, relations, elections), the uniqueness and link are equally important, which means I won't compartmentalize and decide them separately.
- 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.
Ways to Increase/Decrease Speaker Points:
- Look and sound like you want to be here. Judging can be spirit murder if you're disengaged and disinterested. By contrast, if you're engaged, I'll be more engaged and helpful with feedback.
- Argument resolution minimizes judge intervention. Most debaters answer opposing positions by staking out the extreme opposite position, which is generally unpersuasive. Instead, take the middle ground. Assume the best out of your opponents' arguments and use "even if" framing.
- I am usually unmoved by aggression, loud volume, rudeness, and other similar posturing. It's both dissuasive and distracting. By contrast, being unusually nice will always be rewarded with higher points and never be seen as weakness. This will be especially appreciated if you make the debate as welcoming as possible against less experienced opponents.
- Do not steal prep. Make it obvious that you are not prepping if there's not a timer running.
- Do not be the person who asks for a roadmap one second after the other team stops prep. Chill. I will monitor prep usage, not you. You're not saving us from them starting a speech without giving a roadmap.
- Stop asking for a marked doc when they've only skipped or marked one or two cards. It's much faster to ask where they marked that card, and then mark it on your copy. If you marked/skipped many cards, you should proactively offer to send a new doc before CX.
Thank you for considering me for your debate adjudication needs! Judging is one of my favorite things & I aspire to be the judge I wanted when I debated, namely one who was flexible and would judge the debate based on arguments made by debaters. To do that, I seek to be familiar with all debate arguments and literature bases such that my own ignorance will not be a barrier to judging the arguments you want to go for. This is an ongoing process and aspiration for me rather than an end point, but in general I would say you should probably pref me.
Sometimes I even have snacks.
- I have absolutely zero poker face and will make a lot of non verbals. Please do not interpret these as concrete/100% definitive opinions of mine but rather as an expression of my initial attempts to place your argument within the particular context of the other arguments advanced in a debate.
- All arguments are evaluated within their particular context - Especially on the negative, as a debater in high school and college I went for and won a lot of debates on arguments which would be described, in a vacuum, as 'bad.' Sometimes, all you have to say is a turd and your rebuttal speeches will largely be what some of my judges described as 'turd-shinning.' This means (unless something extreme is happening which is unethical or triggering my mandatory reporter status as a public school employee) I generally prefer to let the arguments advanced in the debate dictate my view of what is and what isn't a 'good' argument.
- I am not a 'k' or 'policy' judge. I just like debate.
<*My Debate History*>
I am a 2a. This means, if left to my own devices and not instructed not to look for this, the thing that I will implicitly try to do is identify a way to leave stuff better than we found it.
- I debated at H-F HS, in Illinois, for my first two years of debate where I was coached by creeps.
- My junior & senior year in HS I transfered to Glenbrook South where I was coached most by Tara Tate (now retired from debate), Calum Matheson (now at Pitt), & Ravi Shankar (former NU debater).
My partner and I largely went for agenda politics da & process cps or impact turns. We were a bit k curious, but mostly read what would be described as 'policy' arguments.
- I debated in college for 4 years at Gonzaga where I was coached by Glen Frappier (still DoF at GU), Steve Pointer (now [mostly] retired from debate), Jeff Buntin (current DoD at NU), Iz-ak Dunn (currently at ASU), & Charles Olney (now [mostly] retired from debate).
My partner and I largely went for what is now be described as 'soft left' arguments on the affirmative and impact turns and unusual counterplans when we were negative.
- After graduating, I coached at Northwestern University for a year. My assignments were largely 2ac answers & stuff related to translating high theory arguments made by other teams into things our less k debaters could understand.
- I then moved to Lexington, Kentucky and coached at the University of Kentucky for two years. My assignments were largely aff & all things 2a & answering k stuff on the negative.
- I then coached/did comm graduate work at Wake Forest for two years.
- I then took a break from debate and worked as a paralegal at a law firm which was focused on civil lawsuits against police, prisons, whistleblower protections as well as doing FOIA requests for Buzzfeed.
- I then came back to debate, did some logistics for UK, then Mrs. Corrigan got the GBS job & the rest is history!
For email chains and any questions, my email is email@example.com
Speaking Style (Speed, Quantity) - I like fast debate. Speed is fine as long as you are clear and loud. I will be vocal if you are not. A large quantity of quality arguments is great. Supplementing a large number of quality arguments with efficient grouping and cross-application is even better.
Theory - Theory arguments should be well impacted/warranted. I treat blippy/non-warranted/3 second theory arguments as non-arguments. My threshold for voting on a punishment voter ("reject the team") is higher than a "reject the argument, not the team" impacted argument. I'm open to a wide variety of argument types as long as you can justify them as theoretically valuable.
Topicality - My topicality threshold is established by the combination of answers.
Good aff defense + no aff offense + solid defense of reasonability = higher threshold/harder to win for the neg.
Good aff defense + no aff offense + neg wins competing interps = low threshold/easy to win for the neg.
Counterplans - counterplan types (from more acceptable to more illegit): advantage CPs, textually/functionally competitive PICs, agent CPs, textually but not functionally competitive PICs (ex. most word pics), plan contingent counterplans (consult, quid pro quo, delay)
Disadvantages - Impact calculus is important. Especially comparison of different impact filters (ex. probability outweighs magnitude) and contextual warrants based on the specific scenarios in question. Not just advantage vs disadvantage but also weighing different sub-components of the debate is helpful (uniqueness vs direction of the link, our link turn outweighs their link, etc).
Kritiks - My default framework is to assess whether the aff has affirmed the desirability of a topical plan. If you want to set up an alternative framework, I'm open to it as long as you win it on the line-by-line. I most often vote aff vs a kritik on a combination of case leverage + perm. It is wise to spend time specifically describing the world of the permutation in a way that resolves possible negative offense while identifying/impacting the perm's net benefit.
I most often vote neg for a kritik when the neg has done three things:
1. effectively neutralized the aff's ability to weigh their case,
2. there is clear offense against the perm, and
3. the neg has done a great job of doing specific link/alternative work as well as contextualizing the impact debate to the aff they are debating against.
Performance/Projects - I’ve voted both for and against no plan affs. When I’ve voted against no plan affs on framework, the neg team won that theory outweighed education impacts and the neg neutralized the offense for the aff’s interpretation.
Things that can be a big deal/great tiebreaker for resolving high clash/card war areas of the flow:
- subpointing your warrants/tiebreaking arguments when you are extending,
- weighing qualifications (if you make it an explicit issue),
- comparing warrants/data/methodology,
- establishing criteria I should use to evaluate evidence quality,
- weighing the relative value of different criteria/arguments for evidence quality (ex. recency vs preponderance/quantity of evidence)
If you do none of the above and your opponent does not either, I will be reading lots of evidence and the losing team is going to think that my decision involved a high level of intervention. They will be correct.
2017-2019 LAMDL/ Bravo
2019- Present CSU Fullerton
Please add me to the email chain, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Disclose as soon as possible :)
- Don't be rude. Don't make the round deliberately confusing or inaccessible. Take time to articulate and explain your best arguments. If I can't make sense of the debate because of messy/ incomplete arguments, that's on you.
-Speed is fine but be loud AND clear. If I can’t understand you, I won’t flow your arguments. Don’t let speed trade-off with the quality of your argumentation. Above all, be persuasive.
-Sending evidence isn't prep, but don't take too long or I’ll resume the timer. (I’ll let you know before I do so).
Things to keep in mind
-Avoid using acronyms or topic-specific terminology without elaborating first.
-The quality of your arguments is more important than quantity of arguments. If your strategy relies on shallow, dropped arguments, I’ll be mildly annoyed.
-Extend your arguments, not authors. I will flow authors sometimes, but if you are referencing a specific card by name, I probably don’t remember what they said. Unless this specific author is being referenced a lot, you’re better off briefly reminding me than relying on me to guess what card you’re talking about.
-I don’t vote for dropped arguments because they’re dropped. I vote on dropped arguments when you make the effort to explain why the concession matters.
- I don’t really care what you read as long as you have good reasoning for reading it. (ie, you’re not spewing nonsense, your logic makes sense, and you’re not crossing ethical boundaries).
[AFFs] Win the likelihood of solvency + framing. You don't have to convince me you solve the entirety of your impact, but explain why the aff matters, how the aff is necessary to resolve an issue, and what impacts I should prioritize.
[Ks/K-affs] I like listening to kritiks. Not because I’ll instantly understand what you’re talking about, but I do like hearing things that are out of the box.
k on the neg: I love seeing teams go 1-off kritiks and go heavy on the substance for the link and framing arguments. I love seeing offense on case. Please impact your links and generate offense throughout the debate.
k on the aff: I like strategic k affs that make creative solvency arguments. Give me reasons to prefer your framing to evaluate your aff's impacts and solvency mechanism. The 2ar needs to be precise on why voting aff is good and overcomes any of the neg's offense.
[FW] Choose the right framework for the right aff. I am more persuaded by education & skills-based impacts. Justify the model of debate your interpretation advocates for and resolve major points of contestation. I really appreciate when teams introduce and go for the TVA. Talk about the external impacts of the model of debate you propose (impacts that happen outside of round).
[T/Theory] I have a higher threshold for voting on minor T/Theory violations when impacts are not contextualized. I could be persuaded to vote on a rebuttal FULLY committed to T/theory.
I am more persuaded by education and skills-based impacts as opposed to claims to procedural fairness. It’s not that I will never vote for procedural fairness, but I want you to contextualize what procedural fairness in debate would look like and why that’s a preferable world.
[CPs] CPs are cool as long as you have good mutual exclusivity evidence; otherwise, I am likely to be persuaded by a perm + net benefit arg. PICS are also cool if you have good answers to theory.
[DAs] I really like DAs. Opt for specific links. Do evidence comparison for me. Weigh your impacts and challenge the internal link story. Give your framing a net benefit.
I am more persuaded by impacts with good internal link evidence vs a long stretch big stick impact. Numbers are particularly persuasive here. Make me skeptical of your opponent’s impacts.
I believe that tech is the most important part of a debate personally but I am open to hearing any argument at all.
Some of my core beliefs are rooted in the tech portion of debate, I do not listen to new arguments in later speeches as long as you state which of your opponents arguments are new in your speech.
For Ks or related on both sides: I will always automatically believe that the affirmative needs to have a topical plan unless argued differently by either side.
I'll give good speaker points as long as you are respectful to the other team!
It's okay to not take prep for non-debate related issues as long as you do not take too much time! Please be reasonable.
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.
Hello, my name is Tamara Townsend Faucette. I am an energy and environmental attorney. I really enjoy judging and am so impressed with the intelligence and professionalism of the competitors. Things I look for:
1) Energy- whatever side you are arguing, step fully into that role and persuade me that it is your preferred position. Often the passion and energy of a competitor shows their preparation and enthusiasm for the topic. Persuade me that you should win.
2) Responsive- Show your flexibility and depth of knowledge by specifically attacking your opponents case with logic and evidence.
3) Respect- A vigorous debate is encouraged but please maintain the highest level of professionalism and respect.
I have judged a lot of debate events. I do not mind spreading as long as I have a copy of the brief. If you plan to spread put me on the email chain.
I appreciate off-time roadmaps. Please do not spread during off-time roadmaps--that is a chance for me to understand your organization. Use words not lingo in your roadmap--it does not count against your time.
I do not like a ton of lingo or abbreviations, especially in policy debate. I understand the lingo but I would rather hear your analysis in full words not abbreviations.
Your debate experience will serve you well and build resilience. I hope you enjoy the process! Thank you, Tamara Townsend Faucette
Graduated from CK McClatchy High School in 2020. Currently debate for UC Berkeley. Conflicts: CK McClatchy, West Campus, Harker.
yes email chain please -- email@example.com
I flow straight down on my laptop.
These things suck. Everybody lies and says they are agnostic but in my experience nobody but maybe 10 people really mean it. I am not going to pretend like I don't have preferences and won't internally eye-roll and react negatively to certain arguments, but I will try my absolute hardest to stick to my flow (with the exception of the arguments clearly identified in this paradigm as non-starters).
That in mind, here is my general approach to judging and some preferences:
I was largely a k debater in high school but I am exclusively a policy debater in college. I feel comfortable judging both sides of the spectrum. Regardless of the issue at hand, evidence quality matters a lot to me, and I will read every card mentioned by name in the final rebuttals before making my decision.
I think I care more than other judges about judge instruction. Telling me how to read/understand cards, how to frame warrants, etc. will be taken very seriously when the debate comes to an end. Smart, strategic judge instruction and framing will quickly earn speaker points (addendum: this does not mean I want you to give a 5 minute overview to "frame out" their offense - under no circumstances should judge instruction come before line by line.)
Most of my paradigm is about k debate because I have far less feelings about policy rounds. That is not to say I am not a good judge for them. My favorite debates to judge are big, in-depth policy rounds that are vertically oriented and have lots of good evidence. That being said, I have far less instruction to offer you because those rounds are more straight-forward to evaluate. I will reward smart turns case arguments and clever analytics above a wall of cards in these debates.
Non-resolutional debate -
I generally think that debates are better, more interesting, and more educational when the aff defends a topical plan based on the resolution.
I have been in many of these debates, mostly on the aff and always impact turning some part of T. I think that raises my threshold for the aff a bit because I have first hand experience with how easy it can be to beat framework with args that suck. If you are going for an impact turn to T without a counter-interpretation, you should probably win offense against model v model debates. If you do have a counter-interpretation, tell me why your offense doesn't link to that model and it resolves some predictability/limits/whatever.
- I like impact turns a lot. I am a good judge for heg/cap good, and a bad judge for affs that don't want to defend anything. In my opinion, if you have taken a radically leftist position and forwarded a structural kritik but are unwilling to debate the most surface level right-wing propaganda, you are both bastardizing the literature and being cowards. As someone that genuinely subscribes to a lot of leftist political ideals, I find this sort of revolting. I will not be convinced that your indictment of settler colonialism/some other superstructure is conviently okay with whatever the neg has impact turned. Inversely, if you are a k team that is ready to throw down on these questions, I will consider you strong-willed, brave, and smart.
- Skills/clash solve the case with a big external, a TVA, and a robust presumption push on case is the quickest way to my heart.
- Procedural fairness is not a silver bullet for aff offense. If this is your impact, a vague sentence about not weighing the aff is not sufficient for me to zero all of their stuff, especially if they have impact turns to your model. I have never heard the sentence "procedural fairness is the only impact your ballot can remedy," nor do I know what it means, please don't say it at me.
- Similarly, presumption pushes against affs that are just built to impact turn T are very persuasive.
- I don't like offense that hinges on the subject position of your opponent or me as a judge. I also very strongly prefer not to be in charge of your mental health, livelihood, or identity. EDIT 11/21: have received questions about this and would like to clarify -- args about value to life, ressentiment, etc. are totally fine. I don't want be in charge of you as an individual -- meaning your role in the community, your mental health, or your sense of self.
Neg - I consider myself fairly sufficient in most kritik literature and have researched extensively, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't explain your theory. I don't think its fair of me to just fill in gaps for you (for example, deciding in my own head what it means if you "win the ontology debate.") The best way to win in front of me is to have a unique link that turns the case and beats the aff without framework.
Aff - Impact turn things. Weigh the aff against the alt for more than just fairness -- see my framework thoughts for the neg above. If you are going soft left against the k that is also fine, but sounding nice and in the direction of whatever your opponents say doesn't tell me why the alt doesn't solve the aff.
Usually these debates are pretty bad to judge because people just spread through their blocks and don't do line by line. I tend to be lenient with all neg shenanigans. I will totally kick positions for you if you tell me to, but please remind me to do so -- I have no theoretical qualms with judge kick, but I sometimes forget to do it unless you tell me to in the 2NR.
I largely think if cps compete, they are legit. I can sometimes be convinced otherwise, but if your theory argument is just "this counterplan is bad," I am going to be convinced by neg arbitrariness arguments (with the exception of ConCon -- I think there is a case to be made that we should just arbitrarily exclude that counterplan because it is so clearly bad for debate.)
All of that being said, I also think most cheat-ey cps don't compete! So if you're aff, you're not tanked -- you are just better off going for the perm than, say, theory.
Please do not go for condo in front of me. I have no idea why the neg thinking they can kick a counterplan or an alternative is a voting issue -- simply saying conditionality is bad is not sufficient for me to nuke the other team from the debate. I have never participated in or seen a debate between competent opponents in which even the most egregious abuses of conditionality effected the decision. If the neg drops it twice, I guess you have to go for it. I can think of very few circumstances where it is a good idea otherwise. Slightly more sympathetic for LD because of 1AR time pressures, but still will lean heavily neg and will cap speaks at 29 for the aff.
If my camera is not on, please assume I am not ready for you to begin speaking.
I would very much appreciate if you could record your speeches in case there are internet issues while you are talking.
I am not comfortable evaluating arguments about debaters being in the same room together, "the COVID procedural," or anything else that has to do with out of round conduct. If you make the debate about this, I will be angry with you and likely vote you down.
Even the clearest debaters tend to be tougher to flow in an online format. I understand that this comes with some strategic cost, but I will reward you with speaks if you go a little slower than usual and make sure to be extra clear.
If you do not ask for a marked document in your debate, I will add .1 to your speaker points. Unless your opponent legitimately marked cards, your speaker points will be capped at 29 if you ask for one. Flow better. Asking about what was and wasn't read is CX time. Every time you ask "did you read x" that's minus .1 speaker points.
EDIT 4/10/22: adding this after judging ~120 LD debates:
1. There seem to be issues with clarity plaguing this activity. To try and discourage this, I will do the following things: a.) I will never open your documents during the debate. I will read cards after if you tell me too. b.) I will say clear 5 times, after that, I'm not flowing c.) If, on the other hand, you are clear, I will give way too high of speaks. Some of the best teams in this activity sound great -- its clearly possible to win without being unflowable.
As my record indicates, I overwhelmingly vote neg in LD debates. Usually, this is because the 1AR runs out of time and drops something important, and I feel like my hands are tied on new 2AR args. That in mind -- 1ARs that set up big framing issues, start doing impact calc, and cut out superfluous arguments in favor of barebones substance will be rewarded with speaker points and usually the ballot. Aff teams, the entire activity seems to be stacked against you -- so debate accordingly, and don't waste time on useless stuff like condo.
I am gettable on Nebel/whole rez, but don't usually find it particularly persuasive. Seems counter-intuitive.
Please go easy on the theory -- I get that its a big part of the activity, but if your plan going into the debate is to go for a theory arg, you shouldn't pref me. I am usually going to vote neg.
I am not 100% familiar with all of the LD nomenclature so I may need a little explanation of things like "upward entailment test" and other LD-specific vocab
No RVI's ever under any circumstances
- Consider me dead inside -- moralizing and tugging on my heart strings will only earn you negative speaks - debate is not about individual feelings, and I will not consider yours when deciding your round.
- I strongly believe that you should be allowed to insert rehighlightings of evidence that has already been read in the debate if you think it goes the other way/want to add context to an argument. Please do not abuse this by inserting a million rehighlightings, but I will be hard to convince that it is not okay to do so in moderation (especially in the 1AR.)
- There is nothing more off-putting to me than debaters who take themselves too seriously. Please stop acting like this is anything other than a silly game we all want to win at.
- In that same vein, being rude does not make you cool or interesting. Snarky CX comments, saying mean stuff in speeches, etc. will make me dislike you and actively hope that you lose the debate. If I think you are too rude, I will say something after the round and take pleasure in giving you bad speaks. If it gets to the point where I am saying something to you, you should assume I bombed your speaks. If you are a team that can't make your arguments without being mean to other debaters, strike me.
Public Forum (copied from Greg Achten)
Pretty much everything in the above paradigm is applicable here but there are two key additions. First, I strongly oppose the practice of paraphrasing evidence. If I am your judge I would strongly suggest reading only direct quotations in your speeches. My above stated opposition to the insertion of brackets is also relevant here. Words should never be inserted into or deleted from evidence.
Second, there is far too much untimed evidence exchange happening in debates. I will want all teams to set up an email chain to exchange cases in their entirety to forego the lost time of asking for specific pieces of evidence. You can add me to the email chain as well and that way after the debate I will not need to ask for evidence. This is not negotiable if I'm your judge - you should not fear your opponents having your evidence. Under no circumstances will there be untimed exchange of evidence during the debate. Any exchange of evidence that is not part of the email chain will come out of the prep time of the team asking for the evidence. The only exception to this is if one team chooses not to participate in the email thread and the other team does then all time used for evidence exchanges will be taken from the prep time of the team who does NOT email their cases.
running list of arguments that are simply too bad to be evaluated:
new affs bad
no neg fiat
plan focus allows you to say the n word in debates
my opponent did something outside the round that they should lose for
Please do not ask me for high speaks -- you lose half a point every time you bring it up
I will only flow the person who's speech it is (edit: Feel less strongly about this during the 1AC/1NC)
email me if you have questions -- I kind of suck at responding to email sometimes but I will get around to answering your questions.
LAMDL/Bravo HS '20, CSULB '24
currently coaching Huntington Park High School
ppl that i talk about debate a lot with and/or have influenced me heavily: Deven Cooper, Jaysyn Green, Geordano Liriano, Toya Green, Cameron Ward, C-meow Ortega, Andres Marquez, Isai Ortega, J-beatz, Elvis Pineda, Jared Burke, Khamani Griffin, Luis Andrade, Azja Butler
how i judge
- The 2NR/2AR should identify the biggest points of clash or the biggest arguments you are winning the debate and how they implicate every other part of the flow. Most debates boil down to 2-3 things, pls resolve them.
- If this judge instruction is absent, I do the job to identify the 2-3 most important arguments in the debate and attempt to resolve them to reach a decision. I write two RFD's and then decide which one I feel the most comfortable defending. pls don't make me do work
- Love techy debate, but I prefer you to prioritize direct engagement with your opponent's arguments even if it gets messy. Evidence/argument comparison is much appreciated as opposed to solely "they read x arg, ctrl+f block to x arg".
- Clarity > Speed. I can flow any speed, but I prefer that debaters go a at a pace where they know they are not mixing words together in an attempt to outcard their opponents, and I'm able to follow along the doc and hear every word said if I really wanted to tune in.
- I've debated, judged, and competed against every style of debate and am comfortable with writing a clear RFD for any of them. That being said, my feedback is probably better when I'm judging a K round than a policy v. policy one.
- For speaker points, I start at a 28.5 and move up or down depending on the execution of your strategy: identifying the biggest points of clash, an organized flow, setting the stakes, shutting doors, winning cross-ex moments, etc. It usually lines up with community consensus, might be a tad bit lower sometimes tho im ngl.
- obviously don't be a bad person to your opponents
- ONLY TO LAMDL/OTHER UDL KIDS: I am fully open to helping any team be better at debate. If you email me with docs, speech redos, questions about debate, etc. I will respond to them when I am free and try to give you advice about how to improve. Not having coaches and learning debate by yourself is hard, so please reach out. I can't guarantee I'll respond fast, but I will respond at some point.
- FLOW OR 28.5. I will cap speaks at 28.5 if i don't see yall actively note taking in some form during the debate, especially if you think you can stop flowing just because its the opponent's 2AR and you don't think you need to pay attention. i see so many teams not flowing and then get confused when i give an RFD that references the arguments made in the debate, and then the RFD turns into an inefficient post-round where nothing gets learned cus yall don't have a flow to use as a reference point.
- PLS STOP STEALING PREP OR 28.5: yall are not slick at all. the timer's off and yall are still writing stuff on your laptop, talking to your partner, putting things in the laptop, etc. yall will get like two warnings and if it continues happening im capping speaks at 28.5 cus it is ridiculous how common it is.
- WIKI RANT - if you don't have a wiki up by your second tournament, I'm going to cap speaker points at 29. I don't require an open source doc or nothing, but just the cites of the arguments you read. LAMDL teams not disclosing is such a huge issue: varsity teams who know better don't disclose because they think its a competitive advantage, when it really makes the quality of debates worse and it does nothing to alleviate the resource gaps that inherently exist from being a part of a small school with no coach and being from a UDL. debate is obviously a competitive activity and everybody's here to win, but i find it so frustrating as a judge when teams who are barely getting a start in varsity lose interest because the top teams do nothing to try and make the playing field just a little bit more leveled. If you don't know what the wiki is, please ask and I'll exempt you from this rule.
I have the most experience reading critical literature about Latine identity and migrants, settler colonialism, racial capitalism, antiblackness, and abolition. Good and technical debating always overrides my personal beliefs (i hate psychoanalysis and think capitalism is evil but I always vote on cap good and lacan its kinda concerning). These are some tho:
- K Affs v. Framework: I prefer that teams have a counter interpretation than just going for an impact turn. I extremely prefer that teams use a counter interp that is not self-serving; ie, tayloring your aff to DSRB's three tier model, Elijah Smith's KFM model, Amber Kelsie's Blackened Debate argument; I think there's enough debate people writing articles about debate that we can use those as CI's to framework and have a substantive discussion about the pros/cons of each style of debate.
- Framework v. K Affs: I am better for the clash/skills impact than just fairness by itself. I am also better for SSD than a TVA unless you have a card for it.
- K's v. Policy: I prefer alternatives that attempt to materially do stuff with framework interps that establish competition based on ideology over functional/textual exclusivity.
- Policy v. K: Soft left v. K debates are lowkey my favorite debates to judge, i prefer that if you're going for the "extinction outweighs" types of affs you impact turn the K immediately in the 2AC.
- Policy v. Policy: read all the off, no judge kick at all make ur own decisions, pretty neutral for each side about theory arguments, i weirdly like T debates more than most
- Highlight Color Rankings: Yellow > Blue > custom light pastel color > any other color is ew
- Water > Coffee > any energy drink like Red Bull, Monster, etc. is extremely ew
- Song Challenge: if time, give me a song to listen to while I write my rfd and if i like it i'll give you up to +.3. you only get one chance to give me a song, if i already know it then no song. I would prefer a rap, hip hop, rnb, corrido, cumbia, reggaeton, bachata, trap, or pop song.
- I'm really into pokemon showdown - if you give an actual good team for gen 9 OU, +.3 speaks.
- tagline quality. they're either unflowable (too long/wordy) or way too flowable (no warrant/2 words). the way people feel about highlighting trends is how i feel about tags. i hope for the perfect middle ground
- if you run critical arguments about a particular identity that you/your partnership does not identify as, i need you to explain what your and my role is in relation to that literature at some point in the debate, even if the other side never brings it up. I think its really valuable to understand that we all have different relationships to certain bodies of literature and its important to see how that affects our decisions to use it as an argument as well as develop ethical relationships to it.
Email chain --- firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be nice.
Don’t pref me if you don’t read a plan and care about winning.
If I judge a fairness bad arguement I will immediately vote for the opponents in the spirit of unfairness.
If I can't flow you I will stop paying attention.
I try to make my speaks normally distributed(u = 28.4, sd = 0.5).
Prep ends when email is sent.
Topicality is primarily a question of truth.
Debate is better when debaters are business professional (applies to online debate).
Everything is probablistic unless dropped (existential inherency is true).
Coach and Advisor to Westview HS in So Cal. I have never competed in Debate. I am all right with varied presentation speeds. Do what works best for you. I appreciate an organized and coherent argument. I am a fair and impartial judge adaptable to all debate styles. I will enter a low-point win if appropriate. If you feel your competitor is more eloquent than you are, do not worry, I will judge a debate on the content of your argument.
If email chains needed: forrestfulgenzi [at] gmail [dot] com, please format the subject as: "Tournament Name -- Round # -- Aff School AF vs Neg School NG"
Background: Debated policy debate for four years at Damien High School and currently the head coach over at OES. Have been involved in the debate community for 10+ years teaching LD and Policy Debate.
Tech before truth. It's human nature to have preferences toward certain arguments but I try my best to listen and judge objectively. All of the below can be changed by out-debating the other team through judge instruction and ballot writing. Unresolved debates are bad debates.
Speed is great, but clarity is even better. If I'm judging you online please go slightly slower, especially if you don't have a good mic. I find it increasingly hard to hear analytics in the online format.
Be smart. I rather hear great analytical arguments than terrible cards.
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.
Add me to the email chain: email@example.com
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.
Y'all know me, still the same O.G. but I been low-key
Hated on by most these nigg@s with no cheese, no deals and no G's
No wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis
Mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries
Got a crib with a studio and it's all full of tracks to add to the wall
Full of plaques, hanging up in the office in back of my house like trophies
Did y'all think I'mma let my dough freeze, ho please
You better bow down on both knees, who you think taught you to smoke trees
Who you think brought you the oldies
Eazy-E's, Ice Cubes, and D.O.C's
The Snoop D-O-double-G's
And the group that said motherduck the police
Gave you a tape full of dope beats
To bump when you stroll through in your hood
And when your album sales wasn't doing too good
Who's the Doctor they told you to go see
Y'all better listen up closely, all you nigg@s that said that I turned pop
Or The Firm flopped, y'all are the reason that Dre ain't been getting no sleep
So duck y'all, all of y'all, if y'all don't like me, blow me
Y'all are gonna keep ducking around with me and turn me back to the old me
Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say
But nothing comes out when they move their lips
Just a bunch of gibberish
And motherduckers act like they forgot about Dre
Semi-retired from the policy debate world few years back, but I am around for 4 years during my daughter’s high school policy debate career. Maybe another 4 after that for my son’s. Maybe even longer if they decide to debate in college. “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!”
Very experienced former circuit debater from the Bay Area. Previous coach in Sacramento for CK McClatchy, Rosemont, Davis Senior, and others. Also coached several Bay Area programs. I am the former Executive Director and founder of the Sacramento Urban Debate League (SUDL). I spent the better part of a decade running SUDL while personally coaching several schools. I've judged a ton of rounds on all levels of policy debate and feel in-depth and informative verbal RFD's are key to debate education.
I will adapt to you rather than you to me. It's not my place as a judge to exclude or marginalize any sort of argument or framework. On the neg, I will vote for K/K + case, T, CP + DA, DA + case, FW/FW + case, performance, theory.... whatever. I personally prefer hearing a good K or theory debate, not that I'm more inclined to vote on those genres of argumentation. I am down for the K, performance, or topical aff. Anything goes with me.
I'm big on organization. Hit the line by line hard. Don't just give me 3 min overviews or read a bunch of cards off the line, then expect me to conveniently find the best place on the flow for you. Do the work for me. I flow on paper OG style, so don't drop arguments. I don't flow off speech docs (neither should you), but put me on the email chain so I can read cards along with you and refer back to them. I can handle any level of speed, but please be as clear and loud as possible.
I will work hard to make the debate accessible and a safe place for you and your arguments. If you have access needs during a debate, wish to inform me of your preferred gender pronoun, or if there is anything you wish to communicate privately, please let me know or send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org
My judging philosophy is very short for a reason. Its your debate, not mine. Do you. Just stay organized and tell me where and why to vote. Write my ballot for me in your 2NR/2AR.
Caelen Hilty (he/him/his)
email@example.com -- please put me on the email chain
I debated policy in high school for four years, ending with the CJR topic. I'm currently an assistant coach for George Washington High School.
General Thoughts – I try to be as tab as possible, so debate how you debate best. I'll try to judge whatever kind of round you want to have as neutrally as possible, but here's some of my thoughts on specific arguments:
Case Debate – I think aff teams usually get away with more than they should be able to--I find specific on-case strategies very persuasive.
DA/CPs – The more specific the better, but I’ll vote on anything.
Critiques – I like the K as an argument, but please assume I don't know your literature at all--even if I do have some familiarity with your authors, I will try to evaluate their arguments purely based on your in-round explanation. In general, I think K's are at their most persuasive when they interact with the content of the 1AC/2AC as specifically as possible. Please structure your speeches however you want, but give me a heads up if your speech has a huge overview.
K Affs/Nontraditional Debate – As long as I’m provided with a standard for evaluation that I feel both teams can reasonably be expected to meet, you can do whatever you'd like. Critical affirmatives are definitely fine, just explain the significance of voting aff.
K Aff vs Framework – I don't have preferences about affirmative strategies against framework, if you're just going to impact turn everything, go for it, if you have a clever counter interpretation that's cool too. On both sides, but neg especially in these debates, be sure to articulate how I ought to compare types of impacts at the end of the round--how should I weigh something like procedural fairness against a substantive philosophical objection? Please maintain clean line-by-line as best you can, engage each others' arguments directly.
Topicality – My threshold for T is the same as any other type of argument. If neither team articulates a framework within which I can vote, then I’ll default to competing interpretations, but I’d much rather not have to default to anything. Assuming I’m voting in a competing interpretations framework, I think of standards as impacts to a vote for a given team’s interpretation. Same as my thoughts on framework, I need quality comparative impact calculus by the rebuttals at least. Explain to me what debate looks like if I vote for your interpretation and why that model should be preferred to one that would include/exclude cases like the affirmative.
Theory – Please engage the other team's arguments--don't just read blocks and talk past one another. If you expect to win on theory (independently), you should probably give me some kind of substantive reason why a given violation merits rejection of the team, and not just the argument.
Speed – As long as you’re clear, I’m fine with speed, but be mindful that clarity suffers online.
Speaker Points – 28.5 is average. I'll add points for things like clarity and efficiency, and I'll subtract points for particularly messy debating.
If you have any specific questions, please ask. Feel free to email me after round with questions.
Director of Debate at Alpharetta High School where I also teach AP US Government & Politics (2013- present)
Former grad assistant at Vanderbilt (2012-2013)
Debated at Emory (2007-2011).
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of the below notes are just some general predispositions/ thoughts. I firmly believe that debaters should control the debate space and will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me, regardless of if you adapt to these preferences or not.
I flow on paper and definitely need pen time; I've tried to flow on the computer and it just doesn't work for me.
Counterplans- I like a good counterplan debate. I generally think conditionality is good, and is more justified against new affirmatives. PICs, Process CPs, Uniqueness CPs, Multiplank CPs, Advantage CPs etc. are all fine. On consult counterplans, and other counterplans that are not textually and functionally competitive, I tend to lean aff on CP theory. All CPs are better with a solvency advocate. If the negative reads a CP, presumption shifts affirmative, and the negative needs to be winning a decent risk of the net benefit for me to vote negative. I am probably not the greatest person for counterplan competition debates.
Disads- The more specific, the better. Yes, you can read your generic DAs but I love when teams have specific politix scenarios or other specific DAs that show careful research and tournament prep. If there are a lot of links being read on a DA, I tend to default to the team that is controlling uniqueness.
Topicality- I find T debates sometimes difficult to evaluate because they sometimes seem to require a substantial amount of judge intervention. A tool that I think is really under utilized in T debates is the caselist/ discussion of what affs are/ are not allowed under your interpretation. Try hard to close the loop for me at the end of the 2nr/ 2ar about why your vision of the topic is preferable. Be sure to really discuss the impacts of your standards in a T debate.
Framework- Framework is a complicated question for me. On a truth level, I think people should read a plan text, and I exclusively read plan texts when I was a debater. However, I'll vote for whoever wins the debate, whether you read a topical plan text or not, and frequently vote for teams that don't read a plan text; in fact, my voting record is better for teams reading planless affirmatives than it is for teams going for FW. However, I also think this is because teams that don't defend a plan are typically much better at defending their advocacy than neg teams are at going for FW. I tend to think affs should at least be in the direction of the topic; I'm fairly sympathetic to the "you explode limits 2nr" if your aff is about something else. Put another way, if your aff is not at least somewhat related to the topic area it's going to be harder to get my ballot. I do think fairness is a terminal impact because I don't know what an alternative way to evaluate the debate would be but I can be persuaded otherwise.
Kritiks- I am more familiar with more common Ks such as security or cap than I am with high theory arguments like Baudrillard. You can still read less common or high theory Ks in front of me, but you should probably explain them more. I tend to think the alternative is one of the weakest parts of the Kritik and that most negative teams do not do enough work explaining how the Kritik functions.
Misc-If both teams agree that topicality will not be read in the debate, and that is communicated to me prior to the start of the round, any mutually agreed previous year's topic is on the table. I will also bump speaks +0.5 for choosing this option as long as an effort is made by both teams. I am unlikely to vote on disclose your prefs, wipeout, spark, or anything else I would consider morally repugnant. I also don't think debate should be a question of who is a good person. While I think you should make good decisions out of round, I am not in the camp of "I will vote against you for bad decisions you made out of round" or allegations made in round about out of round behavior. But, I have voted against teams or substantially lowered speaks for making the round a hostile learning environment and think it is my job as a judge and educator to make the round a safe space.
I am strongly in the camp of tech over truth.
Coaching at Head Royce 2019-Present
Put me on the chain - email@example.com
Topicality - I have been in a lot of T debates this year - the only thing I want here is good line by line and impacted out standards in the 2nr/2ar (e.g. and aff ground o/ws neg ground -but why?) *** its not a reverse voter issue/its not genocide (dont annoy me)
T-USFG - I hate judging these now but I still have a conscience, I'm just hostile to them - couple things - make the 2ar responses to the 2nr on FW clear, the 1ar is make or break in FW debates for me so beware technical concessions. I don't really have a preference between prioritizing fairness vs education arguments. For the aff in these debates - dont drop SSD, TVA, or a truth testing claim on your scholarship - with minimal mitigation that's an easy neg ballot to write.
Disadvantages - They're lit - do turns case analysis and have a link story (even if its non specific), have an external impact and you're golden. Bad DAs are fine (ANWR, tradeoff etc), if they read a bad DA produce an amusing CX from it to showcase the contrived link chain, it'll up your ethos (and your speaks)
Counterplans - Have a competitive counterplan text with a net benefit. I will vote on a CP flaw/whether or not a CP is feasibly possible, I will not judgekick unless I am told to. Theoretically illegit CPs are fine and the theory debate should be done well if you really want me to reject them. Unorthodox CPs are also cool w me - anarchy for example.
Conditionality - Explain it, go for it if you want - I don't consider myself having a high threshold for judging theory, unless condo is dropped it should be at least 45 seconds of the 1ar (if extended) or else I will be less lenient in a 2ar on theory. In the 1ar, if condo is extended in 10 seconds as an afterthought (e.g. YEAH condo ummm its abusive next) that's annoying and I won't vote on that if the 2nr spends 8 seconds there and is marginally less coherent than you.
Kritiks v Policy Affs - - I have seen any K you're going to run in front of me and have a reasonable threshold for voting on K tricks. That being said - Reps are shaped by context - In round links/impacts are fine .
--------things that will annoy me in these debates
- Claiming that I should give you leeway because they read a "K trick" a. no BL for a K trick, b. unless you're going for condo with an impact of in round abuse/some other theory arg stop whining to me.
- unresponsive answers to FW that lead to an interventionist decision
- an incoherent link story/alt solvency
- not being able to explain your K in CX
-not Cross applying FW if they read more than one K and instead spending twenty seconds reading the same FW again
-Claiming the role of the aff in debates is to "stfu" - I don't like voting for this model of debate because it is one sided and in debate as a competitive activity engagement is critical - but I can't make that argument for you.
That being said - go read Khirn's reasoning for why he votes for Kritiks most of the time, and what his RFDs look like. I agree with him.
Ks I have written files on/answering/into the lit for - spanos, psycho, cap, communist horizon, security, fem, mao, death cult, berlant, scranton, queerness, set col, *the thing you'll really need to do in high theory debates is be responsive to 2ac answers and break your prewritten block dependency, show me you know what you're doing and I won't use my background knowledge to help you.
Kritiks v K affs - Usually interesting. the RFD will most like be they did/didnt win the perm (that's usually how it goes).
Death Good - I'll vote on it but I'll have a high threshold.
Ethics Violations - Dont clip. Ethics Violations as pertaining to evidence quality/evidence flaws are not usually a voter (these types of debates will also annoy me)- it is not your role to persuade me that it was particularly abusive - if you introduce one of these into the round a. it is make or break - if i determine you're wrong, you lose and that is a decision I will make myself without consideration from either team by reading the ev, b. these are usually accidents and stupid to waste time doing, c. the appropriate thing is to tell the team to correct it and not weaponize it for a strategy - that's a bad model of debate for several reasons and doing so makes you a living representation of a moral hazard.
Impact Turns - They're funny and usually have questionable evidence quality, I think that good impact turn debates are underused and very threatening to a stupid team that reads both an ineq and hard impact adv.
- don't shake my hand, don't try it's weird and i don't like it
- I'll vote on a floating PIK
- There's a brightline between being argumentative and being rude, everyone loses that line sometimes but it's important to be attentive and paying attention to the responses of your opponents.
- Ill be on the email chain but I usually won't be flowing off of it
- You get two clears - then I stop flowing
- Time your own prep
- do untopical policy things against K teams it is their fault they can't go for T
-counter-fiction/poetry is acceptable
Feel free to message me w questions about my RFDs/comments - take notes during the RFD
1. Conflicts [as of 10/04/2020]
- No Univ of Chicago Lab
- No Iowa City
2. Short Version
- tech over truth
- strong analytics/analysis can beat carded evidence
- prioritize your impacts
- have fun!
3. Pandemic Social Distancing Related Technology Notes
- Please slow down 5-10%. Emphasize your warrants. Without a microphone stem, your quality fluctuates. Keep in mind that I still flow on paper.
- Please get explicit visual or audio confirmation from everyone in the debate before beginning your speech. I may use a thumbs up to indicate I am ready.
- If my camera is off, unless I explicitly have told you otherwise, assume I'm not at the computer.
- If the current speaker has significant tech problems, I'll try to interrupt your speech and mark the last argument and timestamp.
4. Some Detail
I've been meaning to do this for a while, but have not really had the time. My hope is that I end up judging better debates as a result of this updated philosophy. I am now changing to a more linear philosophy, it is my hope that you read this in its entirety before choosing where to place me on the pref sheet. I debated for four years at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the south Chicago suburbs from 2007-2011. During that time I debated, Sub-Saharan Africa, Alternative Energy, Social services and substantial reductions in Military presence.
Nearing a decade ago, during would would have been the h.s. space topic. I started at the University of Northern Iowa, Where I debated NDT/CEDA Middle East/North Africa while judging a few debate rounds across the midwest. After my freshman year I transferred to the University of Iowa, where I started coaching at Iowa City High School. This year, I will continue to coach the City High Debate team.
Framing, Issue choice and impact calculus are in my opinion the most important aspects of argumentation, and you should make sure they are components in your speeches. Late rebuttals that lack this analysis are severely.
I preference tech over truth. Your in round performance is far more important to me, as it is what I hear. I greatly attempt to preference the speaking portion of the debate. Increasingly, I've found that my reading evidence is not necessarily an aspect of close debates, but rather results from poor argument explanation and clarification. The majority of 'close rounds' that I've judged fall into the category of closeness by lack of explanation. In some limited instances, I may call for evidence in order to satisfy my intellectual fascination with the activity. Anything other than that--which I will usually express during the RFD--probably falls upon inadequate explanation and should be treated as such.
I feel my role as a judge is split evenly between policymaker and 'referee' in that when called to resolve an issue of fairness. I will prioritize that first. Addressing inequities in side balance, ability to prepare and generate offense is something may at times find slightly more important than substance. In short, I consider myself a good judge for theory, THAT BEING SAID, rarely do I find theory debates resolved in a manner that satisfies my liking - I feel theoretical arguments should be challenged tantamount to their substance based counterparts. Simply reading the block isn't enough. Though I was a 2A[≈ High power LED current, peak 2.7 A] in high school I have since found myself sliding towards the negative on theoretical questions. I can be convinced, however, to limit the scope of negative offense quite easily, so long as the arguments are well explained and adjudicated.
I consider reasonability better than competing interpretations, with the caveat that I will vote on the best interpretation presented. But topicality questions shouldn't be a major concern if the team has answered.
I have a long and complicated relationship with the K. I have a level of familiarity with the mainstream literature, so go ahead and read Capitalism or Neolib. Less familiar arguments will require more depth/better explanation.
“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. Judging is about the debaters, not me. Within my own competitive career, I've seen careers ended and had tournaments end on decisions that repeatedly make 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 their judges.
1. I’m a third-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.
julian kuffour (any pronouns)
all i ask is that you go slow enough that a regular person could type what you're saying. won't clear you, won't flow until the 1nc on the case (reading the cards), won't cap and say i understood what you said if you're unclear (clarity + argumentative incoherence).
Trent Kuykendoll (he/him)
Bellingham High School/Sehome High School/Squalicum High School/Eastlake High School/etc. etc.
Add me to the chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m a TAB/flow judge. Tech > truth, however, will intervene (specifically in impact weighing) if those arguments go unaddressed by both teams. Also, I do judge kick if you're condo or uncontested. Anyone who needs you to spec judge kick is an LD nerd. Here is a pref cheat-sheet before we go into the weeds:
Speed Clarity ---------------------x------- Spread
Depth More args ---------------------X------- More development
Topicality Non-voter --------X-------------------- #1 Issue
Inherency Non-voter --X-------------------------- #1 Issue
K Debate Maybe Cap ------------------------X---- Try your craziest strat.
Impacts Magnitude -------------------X--------- Probability
K Affs Nah ----------------------X------ Yeehaw
Performance Nah ---------------------------X- Yeehaw
Fairness I/L ------X---------------------- Independent Voter
Education I/L ---------------------------X- Independent Voter
Theory Vios DTA --------X-------------------- DTD
Condo Bad -------------------X--------- Good
PICs Bad ---------X------------------- Good
Agent CPs Bad ----------------------X------ Good
Adv. CPs Bad ------X---------------------- Good
Int. Fiat Bad -------------------X--------- Good
I have no loyalties to stock issues and winning a stock issue on the neg will not win the round. I need a reason to vote against a team that is un-topical, has no inherency, etc. I often have a hard time buying half-baked T arguments. If you’re going for topicality, you should probably collapse to T in the 2NR. The other stock issue I have my gripes with is inherency. Full disclosure, I almost never buy that a lack of a barrier to the plan is coherent argument, (however if you can win a round on inherency alone for a plan that has not been implemented already, I’ll give that team perfect speaks… good luck). As far as other stocks go, explain why they’re relevant to the ballot and please, for my sanity, don’t say “harms”.
A 2-hour round is non-negotiable as are -isms. Outside of these, the rules are for you and your opponents to agree upon and if there is something in round that you don’t agree with, run theory on it (this includes Flex prep, tag-team, etc.). <-Read my paradigm on this portion and stop asking. If it does not require the round to be stopped, I will not intervene and I will tell you as much if asked (this means I don’t have any opinions on tag-teaming, flex prep, clipping, altered speech times, etc. unless brought up as a theory argument). I tend to be more willing to drop specific arguments or err one way on evidence or during ties. This being said, I am more likely to drop the team if the round is collapsed to that theory argument in rebuttal. I have no problem with Affs kicking case and going for theory.
I enjoy well developed (emphasis on well developed) theory rounds. I tend to skew condo good, unless the neg is running 3+ conditional counter-advocacies. I have a much lower threshold to buy DTA than DTD/DTT. If you go for drop the debater, I will expect the abuse, real and potential, to rise to the level at which only dropping the team is a sufficient sanction. For this reason, if you want me to buy a DTD argument, I would recommend going for that alone in the second rebuttal, regardless aff or neg.
If you have further questions, ask pre-round.
leland '22 | ucla '26 (computational and systems biology major)
yes, i would like to be on the email chain: email@example.com
idk if anyone reads paradigms nowadays...if you do, add me on the email chain without asking. thanks!
update for long beach:i have been meaning to leave the activity for a while now, so this will probably be the only tournament i will be judging throughout the entire year. i don't know the topic at all so when you are in front of me, i would expect you to not throw around acronyms around.
tech > truth - this should be the general philosophy of every judge but there is no such thing as tabula rasa
1. i thank Allen Kim, Young Park, Allison Harper, Caitlin Walrath, and Ms. Northrop for molding my views and perceptions on debate and how a debate should be held. that means that a lot of my preferences of what i would like to see in a round is a collaboration and hybrid of their amazing opinions on debate. so, if you are ever confused throughout my paradigm, their paradigms should be a lot more concise and straightforward and i wouldn't blame you if you defaulted to searching theirs up.
2. debate is a discussion between the debaters, i'm only an adjudicator of the round - do you what you do best, whether you are running wipeout to agenda ptx to baudrillard, my only job is to listen and flesh a clear ballot that gives me the easiest way to vote - any arguments that you can explain THOROUGHLY is on the table and it is your job by the rebuttals to write the ballot for me
3. BUT... i will not tolerate any arguments that pertain to sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, classism, etc. i will stop a round if i need to, if i find that the debaters are uncomfortable and will cap your speaks to the lowest it can possibly be. respect needs to be earned between the debaters; but, there is a fine line between aggressive and passionate debating and ad hominem incivility
4. speed is fine and be comfortable in the round - whether you spread at 450 wpm or you go at Cal MS's speed, i'll flow whatever claims, warrants, or evidence you are communicating to me - but if i yell clear once and i can understand a drunk donkey better than i can understand your speech, i'll give up flowing :)
5. tag team CX is fine, you don't need to ask me beforehand - but if your partner is clearly speaking for you in CX, i'll make sure to tank both of your speaker points so...¯\_(ツ)_/¯
6. as i might have sounded passive-aggressive in some parts, i'm usually (HOPEFULLY) not too mean unless you break one or more of the stuff listed here. i wish you the best of luck in your rounds and if you have me as a judge, have fun and touch some grass after the round please
7. pre-round disclosure is good...that's a nonnegotiable
1. t: usfg- i put this at the top because you probably ctrl+F'ed my paradigm for this so you're welcome - these are the best debates to see or the absolute worst debates to see - i have been on both sides of these debates debating for and against framework so i welcome K v FW debates openly
- for FW debaters, i see the utility of both fairness and education/clash but i believe fairness is an internal link for education and clash FOR STRATEGIC REASONS, NOT PERSONAL ONES. in all the FW debates i've been in, 99% of explanations of fairness impacts become tautological, repetitive, and defensive by the 2NR and there are no intrinsic or external benefits to having fairness ALONE being good for debate. Additionally, my pet peeves for FW debaters are that they throw out TVAs without explaining why their TVA resolves any literature provided by the 1AC. i view TVAs as crucial for evaluating the round but without any justification for your TVA, there is an extremely high threshold of winning on it
- for K debaters, it is your job to defend why your model of debate is a better alternative to normative debate practices and impact or internal link turn the FW impacts for offense. Also, explain your counter-interpretation and why that has a net benefit to the model of this round or model of debate as a whole.
2. k affirmatives - i love them a lot and i've experimented with them throughout my high school career - while i see the value of K affirmatives and i do not auto default to "defend a hypothetical implementation of a plan" - this does NOT mean i'll understand the nuances of your aff without explanation
- it is your responsibility to:
1. explain the thesis of the 1AC
2. warrant the method/solvency of the 1AC
3. justify my relationship as a judge to the ballot and the round
4. explain the 1AC's relationship to the resolution whether that be positive or negative.
Lack of sufficient explanation of these 4 things increases my chances of voting presumption and/or FW in the debate
3. k v k debates - one of the most underrated debates to have - for K affirmative, explaining the 1AC's theory of power, perm, root cause, and comparisons between the 1AC and alt will help me understand the interaction between the 1AC and the K - for K negative, explaining the link and its relationship to the 1AC and method v method will isolate the ballot for me
4. policy affs - case debate are great to see - whether that entails impact defense, impact turns, specific case defense or offense, every reason provided to the 2NR are reasons to lower the threshold of voting aff - presumption is a thing and i do vote on it
5. cp - i'll reward teams who read specific solvency evidence pertaining to the aff's plan while it is not a necessity - but, what is a necessity though, is internal and/or external net benefits to the CP and how it competes against the aff solvency - i like to see unique and strategic counterplans whether they are abusive or not - but, the more abusive a CP becomes, the more i'll grant aff leniency to theory, i.e. international actors or private actors
6. da - i believe that link portions in a disad are extremely underrated - more and more i see disad links become generic links to the plan and the internal link story of the disad becomes really sketch. in the end, it ends up being an impact framing debate by the 2NR and 2AR
- while i highly regard top-level impact framing and turns case arguments and i'll reward a team that does one well, i do believe that a disad should have a coherent link and i/l story to decrease my threshold on it - i would rather see an impact turn round than see a 1NR mindlessly read 10 UQ wall cards on Biden's midterms
7. k- this is the area where i have interacted the most in my junior and senior year - framework and link debates are the most important to me and this is where your debates should be focused on anyway - whether you read a 2 minute o/v on your K or do line-by-line, i want to learn about how your literature is affected by the 1AC, the 1AC's politics, or the 1AC's rhetoric. And, i want to know what is my relationship to the K and how i should evaluate my ballot.
- i do not want to listen to your prewritten blocks and overviews discussing the nuances of your literature; i could've spent my time better reading comments from 40-year-old moms on Goodreads about your book than you spreading to me 8 minutes in the 2NC about it.
- if you pull lines from the 1AC text contextualizing the aff to the link, i'll heavily boost your speaks - for the alternative, i expect you to tell me if you are judge kicking it or not. if you aren't, i hope listen to a coherent story on how the alt resolves the links and examples of the alt happening either within debate or in politics
- most importantly, explain your buzzwords because it becomes so easy to see when a debater is vomiting random words because they are unfamiliar with the literature. Remember, debate is a discussion between you and the opponent, and your speaks will reflect if you make the debate inaccessible to them.
8. t - i could care less if you read 4 T shells out of your 10 offs, but your decision to go for it in the neg block and the 2NR, purely relies upon your ability to articulate: 1. the warrants of your standards 2. the impact it has in-round and out-of-round and what their plan justifies 3. the credibility of your interpretation and why the aff violates it. When it comes to competing interps and reasonability, i default to competing interps unless given instruction and explanation why reasonability outweighs competing interps.
9. theory - my general ideology on theory or any miscellaneous theory args is: go big or go home - while it defers to a round-by-round basis, i want to hear a 5-minute theory speech than a shoddily extended 45-second theory shell in the 2NR or 2AR. it is your job to justify why the opponent provides an abusive world of debate and how that led to issues in-round. i have no biases in voting for quirky theory arguments (i refuse to call them frivolous bc that's what PF and LD call them and i don't want to associate myself with them). Theory debate legitimately makes my day and i love to see a round that invests their time in one.
my speaks start at 28 and will go up or down depending on how well u speak, coordinate w ur partner, being nice to ur opponents, etc. but here are some pet peeves...
1. pet peeves:
- stealing prep (DON'T U DARE TOUCH UR COMPUTER WHEN UR PARTNER IS GOING TO THE RESTROOM)
- taking a millennia to send out the doc (marked or not)
- speaking over each other in cx
- asking "did you read 'x' card" more than once in a cx
- calling me judge instead of yongjin or you
- card clipping results in max 20 speaks - but, card clipping accusations need to be debated in-round for me to assign a loss - however, i will only assign an auto-loss if it is a bubble round because i believe that those who card clip should not be in elim rounds
- not disclosing the aff and 2nr strats pre-round unless its new
Affiliations and History:
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) me all of the speeches before you begin.
I am the Director of Debate at Damien High School in La Verne, CA.
I was the Director of Debate for Hebron High School in Carrollton, TX from 2020-2021.
I was an Assistant Coach at Damien from 2017-2020.
I debated on the national circuit for Damien from 2009-2013.
I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice.
I completed my Master's degree in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration at The University of La Verne.
My academic work involves critical university studies, Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
Author of Suburba(in)e Surrealism (2021).
Yearly Round Numbers:
I try to judge a fair bit each year.
NATO Topic Round Count: 75
I have judged over 50 rounds on the Water Topic.
I judged around 40 rounds on the CJR topic.
I judged 29 rounds on the Arms topic (2019-2020) (not including practice rounds without a decision rendered).
I judged a bit of LD (32 debates) on the Jan-Feb Topic (nuke disarm) in '19/'20.
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.
LD Protocol:I have a 100% record voting against teams that only read Phil args/Phil v. Policy debates. Adapt or lose.
NDT Protocol: I will rarely have any familiarity with the current college topic and will usually only judge 12-15 rounds pre-NDT.
Please make your T and CP acronyms understandable.
Front Matter Elements:
If you need an accommodation of any kind, please email me before the round starts.
I want everyone to feel safe and able to debate- this is my number one priority as a judge.
I don't run prep time while you email the speech doc. Put the whole speech into one speech doc.
I flow 1AC impact framing, inherency, and solvency straight down on the same page nowadays.
Speed is not an issue for me, but I will ask you to slow down (CLEAR) if you are needlessly sacrificing clarity for quantity--especially if you are reading T or theory arguments.
I will not evaluate evidence identifiable as being produced by software, bots, algorithms etc. Human involvement in the card’s production must be evident unique to the team, individual, and card. This means that evidence you directly take from open source must be re-highlighted at a minimum. You should change the tags and underlining anyways to better fit with your argument’s coherency.
I privilege technical debating and the flow. I try to get as much down as I possibly can and the little that I miss usually is a result of a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker or because the actual causal chain of the idea does not make consistent sense for me (I usually express this on my face). Your technical skill should make me believe/be able to determine that your argument is the truth. That means warrants. Explain them, impact them, and don't make me fish for them in the un-underlined portion of the six paragraph card that your coach cut for you at a camp you weren't attending. I find myself more and more dissatisfied with debating that operates only on the link claim level. I tend to take a formal, academic approach to the evaluation of ideas, so discussions of source, author intentions and 'true' meaning, and citation are both important to me and something that I hope to see in more debates.
The best debates for me to judge are ones where the last few rebuttals focus on giving me instructions on what the core controversies of the round are, how to evaluate them, and what mode of thinking I should apply to the flow as a history of the round. This means that I'm not going to do things unless you tell me to do them on the flow (judge kick, theory 'traps' etc.). When instructions are not provided or articulated, I will tend to use (what I consider to be) basic, causal logic (i.e. judicial notice) to find connections, contradictions, and gaps/absences. Sometimes this happens on my face--you should be paying attention to the physical impact of the content of your speech act.
I believe in the importance of topicality and theory. No affs are topical until proven otherwise.
Non-impacted theory arguments don't go a long way for me; establish a warranted theory argument that when dropped will make me auto-vote for you. This is not an invitation for arbitrary and non-educational theory arguments being read in front of me, but if you are going to read no neg fiat (for example), then you better understand (and be able to explain to me) the history of the argument and why it is important for the debate and the community.
Reading evidence only happens if you do not make the debate legible and winnable at the level of argument (which is the only reason I would have to defer to evidentiary details).
I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument on both sides. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it (especially why your warrants matter!). I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. If you are conducting a performance in the round and/or debate space, you need to have specific, solvable, and demonstrable actions, results, and evidences of success. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge). I do not think the act of reading FW is necessarily constitutive of a violent act. You can try to convince me of this, but I do start from the position that FW is an argument about what the affirmative should do in the 1AC.
If you are going to go for Fairness, then you need a metric. Not just a caselist, not just a hypothetical ground dispensation, but a functional method to measure the idea of fairness in the round/outside the round i.e. why are the internal components (ground, caselist, etc.) a good representation of a team's burden and what do these components do for individuals/why does that matter. I am not sure what that metric/method is, but my job is not to create it for you. A framework debate that talks about competing theories for how fairness/education should be structured and analyzed will make me very happy i.e. engaging the warrants that constitute ideas of procedural/structural fairness and critical education. Subject formation has really come into vogue as a key element for teams and honestly rare is the debate where people engage the questions meaningfully--keep that in mind if you go for subject formation args in front of me.
In-round Performance and Speaker Points:
An easy way to get better speaker points in front of me is by showing me that you actually understand how the debate is going, the arguments involved, and the path to victory. Every debater has their own style of doing this (humor, time allocation, etc.), but I will not compromise detailed, content-based analysis for the ballot.
I believe that there is a case for in-round violence/damage winning the ballot. Folks need to be considerate of their behavior and language. You should be doing this all of the time anyways.
While I believe that high school students should not be held to a standard of intellectual purity with critical literature, I do expect you to know the body of scholarship that your K revolves around: For example, if you are reading a capitalism K, you should know who Marx, Engels, and Gramsci are; if you are reading a feminism k, you should know what school of feminism (second wave, psychoanalytic, WOC, etc.) your author belongs to. If you try and make things up about the historical aspects/philosophical links of your K, I will reflect my unhappiness in your speaker points and probably not give you much leeway on your link/alt analysis. I will often have a more in-depth discussion with you about the K after the round, so please understand that my post-round comments are designed to be educational and informative, instead of determining your quality/capability as a debater.
I am 100% DONE with teams not showing up on time to disclose. A handful of minutes or so late is different than showing up 3-5 min before the round begins. Punish these folks with disclosure theory and my ears will be open.
CX ends when the timer rings. I will put my fingers in my ears if you do not understand this. I deeply dislike the trend of debaters asking questions about 'did you read X card etc.' in cross-x and I believe this contributes to the decline of flowing skills in debate. While I have not established a metric for how many speaker points an individual will lose each time they say that phrase, know that it is something on my mind. I will not allow questions outside of cross-x outside of core procedural things ('can you give the order again?,' 'everyone ready?' etc.). Asking 'did you read X card' or 'theoretical reasons to reject the team' outside of CX are NOT 'core procedural things.'
Do not read these types of arguments in front of me:
Arguments that directly call an individual's humanity into account
Arguments based in directly insulting your opponents
Arguments that you do not understand
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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)
tldr do what you do best; i'll only vote for complete arguments that make sense; weighing & judge instruction tip the scales in your favor; disclosure is good; i care about argument engagement and i value flexibility; stay hydrated & be a good person.
policy coach @ damien: spring 2022 - present
ld coach @ loyola: fall 2023 - present
My strongest belief about argumentation is that argument engagement is good - I don't have a strong preference as to what styles of arguments teams read in front of me, but I'd prefer if both teams engaged with their opponents' arguments; I don't enjoy teams who avoid clash (regardless of the style of argument they are reading). I value ideological flexibility in judges and actively try not to be someone who will exclusively vote on only "policy" or only "k" arguments.
I am comfortable evaluating arguments that are commonplace in policy (cx) debate; less comfortable evaluating nonsense trick-blip-phil-paradox-skep-word-soup quirks of lincoln douglas. This means that any CX team that debates in a coherent and well-researched manner (whether policy or k) should be fine in front of me. LD teams that read real arguments should be fine in front of me. LD teams that read "eval after 1ar" should strike me before they strike a parent judge.
General note about reading my paradigm - most things are phrased in terms of policy debate structure & norms (2nr/2ar being 5 minutes, "team" instead of "debater," "planless aff" = "non-t k aff," etc). If I'm judging you in LD and you have questions about how something translates to LD, feel free to ask!
if you need to contact me directly about rfd questions, accessibility requests, or anything else, please email email@example.com (please don't email the teamail for these types of requests)!
flowing: it is good and teams should do it
stolen from alderete - if you show me a decent flow, you can get up to 1 extra speaker point. this can only help you - i won't deduct points for an atrocious flow. this is to encourage teams to actually flow. i recently witnessed a 2ac that answered a whole k that was not read in the 1nc. it nuked my value to life. this is my attempt at remedying it:)
All of my deal-breakers/hard and fast rules/moments of "I won't vote on this" are dependent on four things:
1 - protecting the safety of the participants in the round (no harrassment, no physical violence, etc).
2 - voting for things that meet the minimum standard to be considered an argument (it needs to have warrants & make some amount of logical sense).
3 - rules set forth by the tournament (speech times, one team wins and one team loses, I have to enter my own ballot, etc).
4 - i will only evaluate the debate after the end of the 2ar. this is 0% negotiable. i did not think i would have to say this, but i guess i do.
My voting record is roughly 50-50 on most major debate controversies (yes, even planless affs vs framework). As long as your argument doesn't violate the above four criteria, go for it!
I think that warrants are hard to come by in many debate rounds these days, even ones with “good” teams. Err on the side of a little too much explanation, because if your arg is warrantless, you will be ballotless. Extensions need to include warrants, not just taglines.
Independent voters need warrants and an articulation of why they should be evaluated before everything else. These debates could generally benefit from more judge instruction and weighing. Simply calling something an independent voter doesn’t mean I vote for you if you extend it.
Disclose or lose. Non-new affs should be on the wiki & should be disclosed to the neg team a minimum of 30 min before round. Neg offcase positions that have been read before should be on the wiki. Past 2nrs should be disclosed to the aff team a minimum of 30 min before round. New affs don't need to be disclosed pre-round. I am 1000000% done with teams that don't disclose. I have zero belief that there is any good reason for non-disclosure. If your opponent engages in any disclosure nonsense, read theory and there's a 95+% chance I vote for you, regardless of how good they are at the theory debate. Don't like disclosing? Pref someone who is willing to tolerate your nonsense (not me).
note: i am far more lenient on disclosure with novices/debaters who haven't debated at national-circuit tournaments before. the grumpiness of the above section is directed at people who know how to disclose and purposefully avoid it. you know who you are:)
Some general notes
Accessibility & content warnings: Email me if there is an accessibility request that I can help facilitate - I always want to do my part to make debates more accessible. I prefer not to judge debates that involve procedurals about accessibility and/or content warnings. I think it is more productive to have a pre-round discussion where both teams request any accommodation(s) necessary for them to engage in an equitable debate. I feel increasingly uncomfortable evaluating debates that come down to accessibility/cw procedurals, especially when the issue could have easily been resolved pre-round.
Speed/clarity – I will say clear up to two times per speech before just doing my best to flow you. I can handle a decent amount of speed. Going slower on analytics is a good idea. You should account for pen time/scroll time.
Online debate -- 1] please record your speeches, if there are tech issues, I'll listen to a recording of the speech, but not a re-do. 2] debate's still about communication - please watch for nonverbals, listen for people saying "clear," etc.
I am not comfortable evaluating out-of-round events. The only exception to this is disclosure. I will vote on reasonable and good faith disclosure theory (yeah you should probably disclose on opencaselist, no you probably shouldn't lose for forgetting one round report). I will not vote on arguments about random out-of-round events, things that happened in another round, things that happened on a team's pref sheet, or any other arguments of this nature.
Speaker points are dependent on strategy, execution, clarity, and overall engagement in the round and are scaled to adapt to the quality/difficulty/prestige of the tournament.
I try to give points as follows:
30: you're a strong contender to win the tournament & this round was genuinely impressive
29.5+: late elims, many moments of good decisionmaking & argumentative understanding, adapted well to in-round pivots
29+: you'll clear for sure, generally good strat & round vision, a few things could've been more refined
28.5+: likely to clear but not guaranteed, there are some key errors that you should fix
28+: even record, probably losing in the 3-2 round
27.5+: winning less than 50% of your rounds, key technical/strategic errors
27+: winning less than 50% of your rounds, multiple notable technical/strategic errors
26+: errors that indicated a fundamental lack of preparation for the rigor/style of this tournament
25-: you did something really bad/offensive/unsafe.
Extra speaks for flowing, being clear, kindness, adaptation, and good disclosure practices.
Minus speaks for discrimination of any sort, bad-faith disclosure practices, rudeness/unkindness, and attempts to avoid engagement/clash.
Opinions on Specific Positions (ctrl+f section):
I think that negatives that don't engage with the 1ac are putting themselves in a bad position. This is true for both K debates and policy debates.
Extensions should involve warrants, not just tagline extensions - I'm willing to give some amount of leeway for the 1ar/2ar extrapolating a warrant that wasn't the focal point of the 2ac, but I should be able to tell from your extensions what the scenario is, what the internal links are, and why you solve.
I've been on both sides of the planless aff debate, and my strongest opinion about planless affs is that you need to be able to explain what your aff does/why it's good.
I tend to dislike planless affs where the strategy is to make the aff seem like a word salad until after 2ac cx and then give the aff a bunch of new (and not super well-warranted) implications in the 1ar. I tend to be better for planless aff teams when they have a meaningful relationship to the topic, they are straight-up about what they do/don't defend, they use their aff strategically, engage with neg arguments, and make smart 1ar & 2ar decisions with good ballot analysis.
T/framework vs planless affs:
I'm roughly 50-50 in these debates. I don't have a strong preference for how framework teams engage in these debates other than that you should be respectful when discussing sensitive material.
I think that TVAs can be more helpful than teams realize. While having a TVA isn't always necessary, winning a TVA provides substantial defense on many of the aff's exclusion arguments.
I don't have a preference on whether your chosen 2nr is skills or fairness (or something else). I think that both options have strategic value based on the round you're in. Framework teams almost always get better points in front of me when they are able to contextualize their arguments to their opponents' strategy.
I also don't have a preference between the aff going for impact turns or going for a counterinterp. The strategic value of this is dependent on how topical/non-topical your aff is, in my opinion.
The less frivolous your theory argument, the better I am for it.
Please weigh! It's not nearly as intuitive to make a decision in theory debates - I can fill in the gaps for why extinction is more impactful than localized war more easily than I can fill in the gaps for why neg flex matters more/less than research burdens.
default to no rvis <3 medium uphill to change my mind on this one
Topicality (not framework):
I like T debates that have robust and contextualized definitions of the relevant words/phrases/entities in the resolution. Have a clear explanation of what your interpretation is/isn't; examples/caselists are your friend.
Grammar-based topicality arguments: I don't find most of the grammar arguments being made these days to be very intuitive. You should explain/warrant them more than you would in front of a judge who loves those arguments.
Tricks (this is mostly an LD thing):
I used to say that I would never vote on tricks. I've decided it's bad to exclude a style of argumentation just because I don't enjoy it. Here are some things to know if you're reading tricks in front of me:
1 - I won't flow off the doc (I never flow off the doc, but I won't be checking the doc to see if I missed any of your tricks/spikes)
2 - The argument has to have a warrant in the speech it is presented
3 - The reason I've been so opposed to voting on tricks in the past is that I've never heard a trick that met the minimum threshold to be considered an argument
I tend to like K teams that engage with the aff and have a clear analysis of what's wrong with the aff's model/framing/epistemology/etc. I tend to be a bit annoyed when judging K teams that read word-salad or author-salad Ks, refuse to engage with arguments, expect me to fill in massive gaps for them, don't do adequate weighing/ballot analysis/judge instruction, or are actively hostile toward their opponents. The more of the aforementioned things you do, the more annoyed I'll be. The inverse is also true - the more you actively work to ensure that you don't do these things, the happier I'll be!
Zero risk probably doesn't exist, but very-close-to-zero risk probably does. Teams that answer their opponents' warrants instead of reading generic defense tend to fare better in close rounds. Good evidence tends to matter more in these debates - I'd rather judge a round with 2 great cards + debaters explaining their cards than a round with 10 horrible cards + debaters asking me to interpret their dumpster-quality cards for them.
I don't have strong ideological biases about how many condo advocacies the neg gets or what kinds of counterplans are/aren't cheating. More egregious abuse = easier to persuade me on theory; the issue I usually see in theory debates is a lack of warranting for why the neg's model was uniquely abusive - specific analysis > generic args + no explanation.
Judge kick - you've gotta tell me to do it. I'm not opposed to it, but I won't assume that you want me to unless the 2nr tells me to. No strong opinions for/against judge kick.
currently no strong opinions on things like normal means or counterplan competition on the fiscal redistribution topic. this means you can probably get away with more in front of me as long as you warrant it/read good evidence.
Arguments I will NEVER vote for:
-arguments that are actively discriminatory or make the round unsafe ("misgendering good," "let's make the debate about a minor's personal life," other stuff of that nature).
-any argument that attempts to police what a debater wears or how they present (this includes shoes theory/formal clothes theory).
-any argument that denies the existence/badness of oppression (i don't mean i won't vote for "extinction outweighs." i mean i won't vote for "genocide good.")
if there's anything i didn't mention or you have any questions, feel free to email me! if there's anything i can do to make debate more accessible for you, let me know! i really love debate and i coach because i want to make debate/the community a better place; please don't hesitate to reach out if there's anything you need.
*wear a mask if you are any degree of ill*
neutral or they/them pronouns // firstname.lastname@example.org
me: 4 yrs TOC circuit policy @ Blue Valley West ('19, surveillance, china, education, immigration) // BA Political Science @ UC Berkeley ('22) // [Current] PhD student, Political Science @ Johns Hopkins. did not debate in college.
coaching/judging: college prep (2019-present), georgetown day (2023-present)
judging stats: aff-neg, 109-128 [46% aff, 54% neg], sat 4x????.
non-policy: dabbled but will evaluate like a policy judge.
[me] I debated in proximity to/am influenced primarily by KU-affiliated/Kansas debate diaspora (ian beier, allie chase, matt munday, jyleesa hampton, box, hegna, Q, countless others, peers I had the privilege to debate against). i read heg affs as a 2A. I went for the K, impact turn & adv cp, and T as a 2N. I do not care about respectability, but ego posturing/nastiness and confidence/good faith are distinct. non-debate (personal disputes go straight to tab, NOT me. I am a mandated reporter.
[rfd] I like an easy ballot - have not debated in 4+ years. I try to write an aff and neg ballot and resolve one of them with as little intervention as possible - read: judge instructions necessary. I only read cards *closely* if given a reason (debating from warrants, misrepresented ev, shrunken text, etc). Ev work, like Mac dre said, is not my job. framing the round through offensive/defense framing, presumption, models, etc. also helpful (if consistent). i flow on paper so slow down where it matters.
[online] do not start if my camera is off. SLOW DOWN; I will clear you once per speech.
[IRL] I'll clear u once per speech & stop flowing if i don't understand. my facial expressions reveal a lot about what I do/dont understand. track your own prep, but if you're bad at stealing prep (aka, I can tell), you will not like your speaks. cut my rfd short if you need to prep another round immediately.
[gen] debate is not debaters adjusting to the judge. do the type debate you are good at, not what you think I will like. I will meet you where you are, as long as you can explain your args. I like efficiency & will not punish a shortened speech unless its prematurely concluded. i do not read "inserts", teams are responsible for reading recuts or interpreting visuals/charts. I will not evaluate what I cannot flow. clarity > speed, tech > truth. content warnings/disability accommodations/etc should be made verbally before disclosure/round.
[ETHICS VIOLATIONS] Teams must call an ethics violation to stop the round. if verified, the violating team drops with lowest speaks. otherwise, the accusing team drops with lowest speaks. [clipping] clipping ballots usually necessitate recording, contingent on debaters consent & tournament rules. clipping includes being unclear to the point of being incomprehensible & not marking.**I am following the 1AC and 1NC - read every word of the card. seriously READ ALL THE WORDS!!!! if I notice clipping and no one else calls it out, I will not stop the round, but your speaks will reflect what I hear.
[case] yes. plan texts are my preference, but not a requirement. #1 fan of case debate. case turns too. does anyone go for dedev anymore?
[K-aff] okay, but not my neck of the woods. being germane to the resolution is good, or affs must resolve something or have a piece of offense. KvK debate is fine when i can keep up. don't miss the forest for the trees- ex: extremely thorough LBL responds to the 1AR but fails to contextualize to the rest of the debate. I find myself often w a lot of info but unclear reasons to vote. judge instruction prevents judge intervention.
[K-neg] sure. tell me what ur words mean. I'm familiar with most neolib/security/ontology-relevant K's. idk your white people (heidegger, bataille, schlag, baudrillard, wtv). K tricks r dope, if you can explain them
[disads] yes. impact turns are awesome. turns case analysis is also awesome. line by line? awesome
[cp] okay. slow down/signpost on deficits & impact out. "sufficiency framing" "perm do ____" are meaningless w/o explanation. I don't weigh the CP unless there's a risk of the net benefit. remember to actually "[insert aff]" in your cp text.
[T] yes, but no one is great at it. usually i am limits>ground in that the former does more to constitute the latter. default to competing interps. caselists are good. SIGNPOST. slow down, i need to hear every word. + speaks for T debate off the flow. Impress me, & your speaks will reflect it! [re: T vs. K-aff]: I admittedly lean neg for limits being good & personal familiarity of args. TVA's are persuasive. judge instruction is your friend!
[theory] rule of thumb: equal input, equal-ish output. aka, blipped theory warrants blipped answers. don't drop it. dropped theory (depending on how arbitrary the argument is) doesnt mean an auto ballot; if you want me to treat theory seriously enough to vote for you, YOU should too. do not expect a good rfd if you are speeding through theory blocks like you are reading the Cheesecake Factory menu. slow down,no i will not flow off the doc.
[speaker points] i am anti speaks inflation. everyone starts at 28. I drop speaks for the aforementioned, + disorganization, offensive/bad faith behavior. speaks are earned via efficient/effective speech construction, cx usage, succinctness, and strategy. 29.2+ reserved for exemplary debates. below 28 indicates more pre-tournament prep is needed.
2nd year out. Spent most of my time in policy debates going for impact turns and process counterplans.
I will vote for anything. I care about tech enough to vote for dropped aspec. K affs, T usfg, excessive negative fiat, and conditionality (condo bad, read by the aff) are all winnable in front of me. If I was a hack who only voted for arguments I agreed with I would be an excellent judge for infinite condo and extra topical aff plans.
For Pittsburgh locals: I flow. I don't want to hear "voting issues". I'd like it if your final speeches are ordered "my case your case". Do weighing at the top of your speech and then stick to line by line for the rest.
clash of civilizations
Best for framework 2nrs that go for clash and I think switch side is magic and solves all but the most well thought out framework impact turns.
In practice I vote against fairness only framework 2nrs a lot on a small risk of some external impact to the K teams framework DA outweighing. If you think you can win basically terminal defense to all the K team's offense I'll vote for you but that seems like a very high bar.
Generic "no subject formation" blocks are fine but I think framework teams would often be better playing internal link defense to the specific predictions about subject formation the K team has made.
There is a difference between "no subject formation" (ballots don't influence what debaters believe in real life) and "no norm setting" (ballots don't influence what debaters say in round).
K teams - I think your framework offense is usually weakest to switch side and your framework counter interps are weakest to concerns about arbitrariness. If you have something smart to say to both of those arguments I'll be a good judge for you. In practice framework teams don't execute switch side very well so you can probably win even if you don't have something smart to say.
Hi! My name is Aditya Madaraju. My email is email@example.com, please add me to the email chain. I debated LD/Policy for 3 years at Dougherty Valley during HS, and I am now a sophomore at Berkeley. This paradigm is for LD/Policy if I am judging you for PuFo or something go to the bottom of the paradigm.
Tech>Truth, but it’s easier to win more truthful arguments. I still won’t vote for tricks. Email me at the address listed above if you have any questions that aren’t answered in this paradigm.
I like these and went for them most of the time during my career. 2NRs on the DA should have an overview and good impact calculus at the top, which makes it far easier for me to decide debates. If you’re kicking out of these, make sure that you concede defense properly to make sure you don’t accidentally concede a straight turn, because that can be tragic. If you’re going for a DA without a CP make sure to spend enough time on case in the 2NR as well.
I like these, and think they are underutilized a lot in debates. The 1NC on the counterplan ideally should have some solvency mechanism, be it a carded solvency advocate or a sentence explaining how it solves, but it’s not something that I care too much about.
If you are going to read a kritik, please try to read ones that are somewhat relevant to the topic. Please don’t read identity Ks or pomo in front of me.
Going for the K--Links to the plan are more persuasive but if the aff has terrible scholarship go ahead and read reps links, I’ll vote for them. 2NRs going for the K should thoroughly explain the K and not rely on buzzwords.
Answering the K--I am persuaded by arguments like framework and particularity, which I will vote for most of the time. Impact turns vs perm+link turns should be utilized depending on how your aff is oriented.
Topicality--I like topicality debates and started going for this argument more during my senior year. These debates hinge on predictability; weighing is essential and evidence comparison is underutilized.
Theory--I won’t vote for frivolous theory. 3 condo or less is fine in policy, in LD I don’t really have a preference/default. PICs, advantage CPs, and some process CPs are probably good, while consult counterplans and some process CPs are bad.
Regarding disclosure, you should open source documents. Contact info being disclosed on the wiki and disclosing when asked is a bare minimum, but it’s better if you open source with cites on the wiki.
An evidence ethics violation (clipping, missing paragraphs/ellipses, starting or stopping in the middle of a paragraph, or mis-cited evidence) with proof is a stake the round issue and L 20 for whoever is wrong.
These are cheating and I will pretty much never vote for them. Framework is true.
I default util and modesty, and will have a hard time voting for anything other than these. However, if you are winning on the flow with another framework and have thoroughly explained your syllogism, I will still vote for you. No tricks.
Impact turns are highly underutilized, and good case debates are fun to watch. Spark is fine, but not wipeout.
My thoughts on this ld topic:
Pirates are evil? The Marines are righteous? These terms have always changed throughout the course of history! Kids who have never seen peace and kids who have never seen war have different values! Those who stand at the top determine what's wrong and what's right! This very place is neutral ground! Justice will prevail, you say? But of course it will! Whoever wins this war becomes justice!
Feel free to do with that information what you will...
idrc what u do just read directly from cards don't cite them and make up random stuff and send all your cards that you read. otherwise its def an ev ethics violation. SAVIT BHAT's paradigm more accurately sums up my...thoughts on this issue.
Affiliations: downtown magnets high school & Cal debate
For the most part I decide the debate through tech over truth. The baseline for speaker points is 28.5. Please don’t say anything racism, sexist, homophobic, ect…
Kaffs: I tend to think that having a strong link to the topic is better and more persuasive. If you want to run a kaff that doesn’t have a link then it would be best to give me reason for why that is important. Especially for the theory of power it is important to me that you explain the warrants behind the claims that you make.
Framework: You should definitely run it and I tend to think that whoever has a better articulation of their impacts tends to win the framework debate. I default that procedural fairness is an internal link to education but can be convinced otherwise. Giving examples when it comes to debating limits and grounds is especially key for me and for my emulation if the aff does explode limits. You should spend time and flush out your arguments beyond light extensions of the 1nc.
T: I tend to default to which interpretation creates better resolutional debates however can be convinced otherwise. An important note here is that a lot of teams should spend more time comparing impacts and giving me reasons why their model of debate is better than only focusing on standards.
DA/CP: Having great evidence is cool but you should spend more time impacting out why it matters. Oftentimes I think that there should be more work done on the internal links of your scenarios or explaining the process of the CP.
Have fun and do what you do best! :)
HS Debate: 18-22 (4 years) -- Walter Payton WM
College Debate: 23 (1 year) -- Michigan MS
Judging record is more informative than judging opinions.
How I Decide Rounds
I go through parts of the debate in this order, and stop at one if it is sufficient for me to not need to go further.
1. The flow.
This aspect is all tech, no truth. As far as I can tell, I am easily among the most tech-oriented debaters/judges in debate right now. I imagine I'd pull the trigger on a small technical concession much more readily than many other judges. Similarly, I think there are probably far more low point wins than are actually given out. The flow is where my analysis will end for almost all crushes and many debates that are semi-close but not that that close. I have switched to flowing on computer because back-to-back analytics were unflowable for me on paper. I still have no qualms voting you down on an argument I didn't flow in a speech because you were spreading through blocks even if it truly had been there, but hopefully flowing on computer will make this less of an issue.
Mixture of tech and truth (truer args have better ev, but better card cutters/researchers will put out better ev). I get to this level of analysis in two circumstances: either a) I'm told to read cards or evidence quality is centered in the debate or b) despite not being told to read ev, the flow is too close to vote on alone. This is where most good, close debates will end.
3. Minor Intervention
Tech guided by truth. If I still can't comfortably decide a round based on ev and flow, I'll do things like give more weight to evidence quality despite not being told to by the debaters, look for potential cross-apps, or try to find something like that to decide a round without having to fully insert my opinion. This is where most bad debates without enough judge instruction will end.
4. Major Intervention
All truth. This is where bad debates with no clash and no judge instruction will end.
I hope to use the above steps consistently irregardless of what args are in front of me, and I think judges who are ideologically predisposed for or against a certain argument or style are annoying. I hope these biases won't affect my decisions, but the way someone has debated/coached will inevitably affect their judging in some way, so following is a list of biases based on how I've debated:
1. Policy bias. I'm almost certainly better for the K than you think (especially Ks on the NEG), and certainly better for it than my debating record would suggest; cross-apply all the tech first stuff here -- more than happy to vote on some small conceded disad to a NEG framework model if competently extended. This bias is mainly limited to thinking about these debates differently from how primarily K debaters would since I've almost always been on the policy side of policy v K debates.
2. 2N bias. This is small and to be honest could help the AFF more than it helps the NEG because I'm somewhat lenient for 1ARs in terms of if I count an extension to be an argument. I think structural AFF side bias (first and last speech) is probably true in theory but tech determines if I think that's true when judging. Overall I don't expect this to affect my judging very much. Probably one of the most 50/50 judges on condo. Default to judge kick.
3. "Small School" bias. For the most part I think people complaining about being from a "small school" would be better off spending the time they spend talking about it cutting cards, and if you do that you'll be just as competitive as your peer from a big school. However, the one area where I think there is truly a difference in schools is that I think a sizeable majority of judges are likely to (obviously subconsciously) factor school's/team's rep into their decision in close debates. I hate this and have a bit of a chip on my shoulder because of it. If debate rounds could be judged blindly I'd be all for it. I obviously won't hack for "small schools" or against "big schools," but when I was doing prefs late in my career I frequently wondered if a judge who would be good for me in most debates might be bad for me in those few key debates where I was hitting a team with more rep. I am not one of those judges.
4. Good argument bias. This is maybe too obvious to warrant saying. I'll vote on tricks and dropped ASPEC or whatever (all the flow first stuff applies for annoying args as well) but obviously in a close debate find it easier to vote for an argument with good ev, deep defenses, well-explained warrants, etc., and will likely award higher speaks in those kinds of debates.
Stuff I Frequently Wondered About Judges
-- What framework impact? --
I almost always went for fairness and consider it the most strategic, however I know I was considerably worse going for non-fairness impacts when I tried to adapt to judges, so I would just do whatever you like best.
-- Can I go for the K/K AFF? --
-- How many condo? --
Don't care. If you lose condo you'll lose and if you win condo you'll win, the amount you read probably won't end up mattering past a good 2A contextualizing their interp to the round.
-- Do advantage counterplans need solvency advocates? --
-- 1NC construction/do they care about a ton of off? --
Don't care. Do whatever.
-- Insert rehighlightings? --
-- Plan text in a vacuum? --
-- Is going for theory hopeless? --
-- If they drop condo or aspec or it's a crush etc do I have to fill the whole 2NR/2AR? --
Mean speaks is 28.5, standard deviation is .4, so two-thirds of debaters will be from 28.1-28.9, 95% will be from 27.7 to 29.3, and essentially all will be from 27.3 to 29.7.
Last edit 02/18/23:
Add me to the chain! (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Downtown College Prep
Silicon Valley Urban Debate League
Just a few helpful FAQ's:
- Yes open cx is ok (unless it's a mav round or prohibited by the tourney)
- Yes email me your ev
- Yes I disclose (unless directly prohibited by the tournament)
- Yes you need to time your own prep/cx/speech
- Strike me if ur going to post round me, like you can def ask me questions regarding my decision but pls don't make it awkward, I'll slowly back out of the room to be real.
- Pronouns are (He/him)
- Also feel free to ask me questions/email me post round for clarifying Q's.
- Pls ask questions before the round so you have the best understanding of my judging philosophy.
- Please make me aware of any accommodations before the round.
I have a decent amount of policy experience (4yr), and have relatively well rounded knowledge of the lit base for higher level args such as K's. I've debated on the local, state and national circuits and have seen many types of args and styles. With this in mind I have little judging experience so forgive me if I get super into it lol, feel free to debate however you want as I feel like I've seen it all in terms of arg style. If you want to be a policy team, go for it, if you want to run a 1 off k , go for it. One thing I will say is that I tend to engage better with args that have good time allotment and nuance, thus you'll be rewarded for spending time building and executing an arg.
I like to keep these specifics short, let me know what you're doing, why and how. I like to think of the aff as a balloon, if you let someone poke a hole, the entire balloon pops. You have infinite time to get to know your aff, so know your aff. With this in mind I like to reward people who take risks in debate, so run a k or do a performance if you want. Whatever you do argue well and have fun with it! Also I understand this might be your first or second time running your case, if so now is the time to learn and take notes so you can build it further.
I don't have a ton of topic knowledge for this year, thus if you want to run a da/cp that isn't generic (think federalism and states cp) than you might have to put some work in letting me know what your trying to say. Also, I'm not gonna vote for it if I don't know the impact, don't make me assume the world ends let me know why and how. If you run a cp that's generic have good specifics, It pains me to vote for stale args :(. Also, if you run a pic, to be completely real I might get lost, good luck!!
K's are fun!! Just pls pls pls know the lit, obviously you don't have to be at a graduate level understanding buttttt I will probably know if you found it 15 min before the round (who knows though prove me wrong). I don't want to name authors I favor to avoid bias, just be aware of your arg and it's implications especially when running a K. My attention span is short but my tolerance for ignorant args is shorter. Also when running turns pls make me aware that you are making an offensive arg and don't just spread through them, that could be your winner. Racial args that are poorly executed by individuals that don't experience said impacts tends to sour the arg as a whole.
I <3 theory, but as the great Ryan Mills said "Theory is an uphill battle" be careful as theory is generally a last resort. You must prove In round abuse, which is a difficult task. It's a good idea to have me in the room for disclose to avoid theory issues.
Ok so, I have pretty low tolerance for spreading, I'll clear you once or twice but eventually I will put my pen down. Do what you want but beware and keep an ear out for my clear.
At the end of the day, I made some of my deepest connections through debate, our community is everything. My first and foremost role as a judge in your round is to make the debate space as safe and accessible as possible. Racism, xenophobia, homophobia or intolerance of any kind will not tolerated in my rounds. Pls respect your opponent during and after the round. As a debater I despise judge interference, however I will gladly interfere if a student is made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Make good args and have fun ya'll!!
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 email@example.com.
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.
Debated as a 2A for James Logan High School for 4 years. Went almost exclusively for K’s on the aff and the neg. Qualified and broke at the TOC and won a handful of circuit tournaments. Currently debating as a 2A for the University of California. I exclusively go for policy arguments now.
A majority of my debates have been one off/K Affs so do with that what you will. Im a sucker for a good Security/Cap/Settler Colonialism Kritik. However, this does not mean I wont vote for a policy argument. I love debate and do not have a predisposition to certain types of arguments. At the end of the day my rfd is a referendum on who debated better. That being said, do not try and over-correct for me. I think debate is a space for you to pursue whatever you want (as long as it’s not overtly violent like racism/sexism/discrimination good).
Don’t bomb through analytics its annoying to flow and you will lose speaks. The less you act like a jerk the better. Theres a time and place for everything.
Rebuttals are often the most frustrating part of debate. This is when people have to get off the blocks and start thinking big picture. I like debaters who write their ballot for me in the 2NR/2AR. More judge instruction will not only get you better speaker points but dramatically increase your chances of winning. Im more than likely not going to vote on ticky tacky arguments, but who has a better big picture analysis for why they’ve won the debate and can flush out the benefits to granting them a ballot. In close debates, impact calc goes a long way. I will read evidence at the end of the round, but that is not an excuse for lazy debating.
extra .1 speaks for making fun of a current cal debater
Debated for UWG ’15 – ’17; Coaching: Notre Dame – ’19 – Present; Baylor – ’17 – ’19
"Can I get a marked doc?" / "Can you list the cards you didn't read?" when one card was marked or just because some cards were skipped on case. Flow or take CX time for it.
I prefer K v K rounds, but I generally wind up in FW rounds.
K aff’s – 1) Generally have a high threshold for 1ar/2ar consistency. 2) Stop trying to solve stuff you could reasonably never affect. Often, teams want the entirety of X structure’s violence weighed yet resolve only a minimal portion of that violence. 3) v K’s, you are rarely always already a criticism of that same thing. Your articulation of the perm/link defense needs to demonstrate true interaction between literature bases. 4) Stop running from stuff. If you didn’t read the line/word in question, okay. But indicts of the author should be answered with more than “not our Baudrillard.”
K’s – 1) rarely win without substantial case debate. 2) ROJ arguments are generally underutilized. 3) I’m generally persuaded by aff answers that demonstrate certain people shouldn’t read certain lit bases, if warranted by that literature. 4) I have a higher threshold for generic “debate is bad, vote neg.” If debate is bad, how do you change those aspects of debate? 5) 2nr needs to make consistent choices re: FW + Link/Alt combinations. Find myself voting aff frequently, because the 2nr goes for two different strats/too much.
Special Note for Settler Colonialism: I simultaneously love these rounds and experience a lot of frustration when judging this argument. Often, debaters haven’t actually read the full text from which they are cutting cards and lack most of the historical knowledge to responsibly go for this argument. List of annoyances: there are 6 settler moves to innocence – you should know the differences/specifics rather than just reading pages 1-3 of Decol not a Metaphor; la paperson’s A Third University is Possible does not say “State reform good”; Reading “give back land” as an alt and then not defending against the impact turn is just lazy. Additionally, claiming “we don’t have to specify how this happens,” is only a viable answer for Indigenous debaters (the literature makes this fairly clear); Making a land acknowledgement in the first 5 seconds of the speech and then never mentioning it again is essentially worthless; Ethic of Incommensurability is not an alt, it’s an ideological frame for future alternative work (fight me JKS).
General: 1) Fairness is either an impact or an internal link 2) the TVA doesn’t have to solve the entirety of the aff. 3) Your Interp + our aff is just bad.
Aff v FW: 1) can win with just impact turns, though the threshold is higher than when winning a CI with viable NB’s. 2) More persuaded by defenses of education/advocacy skills/movement building. 3) Less random DA’s that are basically the same, and more internal links to fully developed DA’s. Most of the time your DA’s to the TVA are the same offense you’ve already read elsewhere.
Reading FW: 1) Respect teams that demonstrate why state engagement is better in terms of movement building. 2) “If we can’t test the aff, presume it’s false” – no 3) Have to answer case at some point (more than the 10 seconds after the timer has already gone off) 4) You almost never have time to fully develop the sabotage tva (UGA RS deserves more respect than that). 5) Impact turns to the CI are generally underutilized. You’ll almost always win the internal link to limits, so spending all your time here is a waste. 6) Should defend the TVA in 1nc cx if asked. You don’t have a right to hide it until the block.
Theory - 1) I generally lean neg on questions of Conditionality/Random CP theory. 2) No one ever explains why dispo solves their interp. 3) Won’t judge kick unless instructed to.
T – 1) I’m not your best judge. 2) Seems like no matter how much debating is done over CI v Reasonability, I still have to evaluate most of the offense based on CI’s.
DA/CP – 1) Prefer smart indicts of evidence as opposed to walls of cards (especially on ptx/agenda da's). Neg teams get away with murder re: "dropped ev" that says very little/creatively highlighted. 2) I'm probably more lenient with aff responses (solvency deficits/aff solves impact/intrinsic perm) to Process Cp's/Internal NB's that don't have solvency ev/any relation to aff.
Case - I miss in depth case debates. Re-highlightings don't have to be read. The worse your re-highlighting the lower the threshold for aff to ignore it.
All of my thoughts on policy apply, except for theory. More than 2 condo (or CP’s with different plank combinations) is probably abusive, but I can be convinced otherwise on a technical level.
Not voting on an RVI. I don’t care if it’s dropped.
Most LD theory is terrible Ex: Have to spec a ROB or I don’t know what I can read in the 1nc --- dumb argument.
Phil or Tricks (sp?) debating – I’m not your judge.
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)
Lincoln Douglas thoughts
I come from a policy debate background so I definitely feel the most comfortable judging debates where the negative utilizes things like CPs, DAs or Ks. However, I am totally game to judge a traditional value/value criterion debate.
1) Do not run a disclosure theory or any other argument based on pre-round norms unless it TRULY rises to the level of making the round IMPOSSIBLE to debate - 99% of rounds do not rise to this level and I am tired of judging rounds with constantly moving goalposts (wikis, 30 mins before round disclosure, full open source) for what constitutes "proper disclosure".
2) Have a plan before the debate for evidence sharing - I prefer an e-mail chain but SpeechDrop works too, but please do not wait until the end of the first speech to decide how this will be done.
3) I honestly lose respect for debaters who I feel are running identity based arguments for the sake of a ballot without either authentic personal connection to their scholarship or the ability to make authentic connections to the topic. If you are just running Race War because you saw some other team do it or you think it makes you a cooler debater, it doesn't and please stop. Racism doesn't exist for you to pick up debate ballots.
4) Not a pet peeve - but the debaters I enjoy watching the most are the ones who treat the debate like a game of chess in terms of setting up well-planned strategic moves through targeted cross-ex questions and well planned argumentation and blocks. The more strategic and prepared you seem in my eyes, the better your speaker points will be.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Hi! I graduated from UC Berkeley in May and I now work as a biologist for UC Berkeley and for the state of CA. As a high schooler I debated for Davis Senior and SUDL, qualifying to the TOC in my senior year. I debated on the China, education, and immigration topics. I've been coaching and judging throughout college a for SUDL, Folsom, CKM, Davis, and do some other coaching here and there.
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
I would appreciate it if you could include the tournament and the round in the email chain title in whatever way you like ("gonzaga round 6" etc) for organization purposes. Thanks!!
Feel free to contact me for anything before or after the debate.
Everything I have written here are opinions I have developed in my time coaching and debating. I am learning along with you.
***Pls do not read this whole paradigm, your time is more important than that. find what you need to know!
Update for Meadows 2023: I've judged zero rounds on this topic so far... take it easy on me when it comes to topic knowledge and acronyms!
My personal experience as a debater lies mostly in k debate (specifics below) but I have judged and coached the whole spectrum. Regardless of your style, impact calc and framing are going to determine how well you do in front of me. If it matters to you, I seem to mostly get preffed for K v K debates. Other things that might matter for your prefs: I avoid judge intervention. I flow CX. I value good organization. I love creativity but not at the expense of substance. Finally, and most importantly, I appreciate the enormous amount of work many students put into this activity, and I show my respect for that by making a very genuine effort to be the best judge that I can be. I believe that my job as a judge is to leave my personal beliefs and preferences at the door as much as possible--debate is about the debaters!
***Note on online debate: please please please slow down. Feel free to spread cards as fast as you like (while remaining clear) because I can read along with you, but when it comes to your analytics, please slow down slightly so I can get all of your wonderful arguments. MY SPEAKERS ARE BAD! The clarity is bad. My hearing is also bad. Keep in mind that I'm also having to flip between tabs to see you, your cards, and my flow as I type. I know it's not ideal, but it's even less ideal for me to get 50% of your arguments because I can't understand you. I will say clear three times and then I will give up and do my best.
Debate is an activity with an incredible amount of potential that probably has the ability to shape our perspectives to at least some small (but meaningful) degree. It definitely shaped me. It means many different things to many different people and I am not here to change that. Please run whatever arguments you want to (with the obvious exclusion of racist/queerphobic/xenophobic/misogynist/ableist args which are an immediate L0). It is my job to do my very best to arbitrate your round, not to decide how you should be operating within that round. That being said, no one is completely unbiased. It is also my job to make sure you're informed of biases and opinions that I might have.
The best way to win in front of me regardless of style is to filter arguments through impact framing. Why is your model/disadvantage/advocacy/etc important? Compare this importance to your opponent's arguments. What does it mean to mitigate/solve these impacts in the context of the debate? Why is the ballot important or not important? Even the most disastrous debates can often be cleaned up/won/saved through high-level framing. See the bigger picture and explain it to me in your favor for a clear ballot. This is, in my opinion, is the difference between “winning” debates on the meta level rather than “not losing” them on the line by line.
I am very expressive. My face will do a lot of things during the debate. This is not a judgement on you as a debater or person but it's probably a pretty good indication of how I think things are going!
Kritiks: If this is the only section of the paradigm that you're looking for, I'm probably a good judge for you. I ran almost exclusively kritikal arguments in my last 2 years of debate and the coaching I do now is largely k oriented.
I am very familiar with: settler colonialism, fem (particularly iterations fem IR and queerfem), puar, other queerness stuff, biopower, cap, security, and chow. These are the Ks I ran during my time in debate but it's by no means a comprehensive list of things I'm a good judge for. It's probably a safe bet that I'm at least somewhat familiar with whatever you're reading, but it's always a good practice to be clear and informative anyways.
Make your literature accessible for everyone in the room (by this, I mean understand if folks haven't read what you have, and avoid trying to obfuscate for a strategic advantage--it usually doesn't help you anyways). Not everyone has equivalent access to the time/resources necessary to invest in critical literature, and their perspectives are still valid. Be respectful. This is especially true for those of you reading pomo.
My experience with and love for Ks doesn't mean I hack for them--if anything, it raises my expectations for what a well-executed K strat looks like. Bad K debates may not be the worst debates but they are still very nasty.
If you're a traditional policy debater wondering how to best respond to Ks in front of me, I discourage you from reading "Ks are cheating" framework since it's typically not very compelling, but I think reading framework overall is a smart move and I can be persuaded by plenty of other interps. I find that the most convincing policy teams answering Ks do a great job of explaining their framework impacts beyond "realism good" or "fairness good" and end up more in "policy education good" or "engaging the state good" territory. Remember that impacts can function on a multitude of levels.
If you're looking to read a K in front of me, know that I am extremely open-minded about how you go for or read this argument. Do you need an alt? Up to you! Performance? By all means. Part of the beauty of kritikal debate is its flexibility. I encourage you to do you in these debates. I will flow performances unless told otherwise, just so I can be sure to remember clearly. Anything can be an argument. I don't particularly care what sort of links you go for so long as you can effectively defend why you're going for them.
I am NOT as familiar with bataille, baudrillard, psychoanalysis, or nietzsche, for example. I didn’t read any of this as a debater. Honestly, I'm just not a pomo hack. This doesn't mean I won't vote for these arguments or think they have no place in debate! This simply means more elaboration will probably be necessary. I was frequently exposed to these arguments as a debater and I still deal with this lit now as a coach. If I'm tilting my head at you in confusion, I probably don't know what you're talking about. It may pay for you to slow down and explain vocab/buzzwords. Please never assume I (or your opponents) know all of your lingo.
K Affs: Go wild. I was a 2A reading a kritikal aff throughout almost all of high school and I understand them strategically, practically, and structurally. Again, performance is great. Pessimism is great, optimism is great, anything in between is great. Anything that doesn't fit into these categories is great. Personally I don't care if you talk about the resolution, though I could be convinced otherwise if the neg takes a stance on it. I come into the round with 0 predispositions about the "role" of the aff because I think that doing so would be basically arbitrary. Tell me why what you're doing is important (or not important). Also, good case overviews are a thing. If you have one of these, preferably don't blast through it at a million wpm. There's valuable stuff in there.
K affs probably get a perm, but I can be convinced otherwise.
Neg: engage the case when possible! There are lots of K affs that don't really do anything and have trouble explaining defending their method under close scrutiny. Take some time to just think abt the aff straight up, your questions may also be my questions.
Framework: I understand the importance of framework and used it myself a few times in debate. That being said, be warned that I was a 2A responding to framework in most of my aff rounds. As a small school debater, I understand why it can be necessary, especially if you legitimately have nothing else to run and don't have coaches to prep you out against every aff. Structural fairness/education/subject formation etc impacts make WAY more sense to me than procedural fairness. I also think it can be extremely convincing to turn the aff with portable skills arguments, if you do it right. If you're from a huge school with 10 coaches and your main defense of framework is "we couldn't possibly prepare :(" then you're going to be facing an uphill battle on this argument if your opponent calls this out. Your interpretation should be clearly defined and should probably be more than one "words and phrases" card. TVA usually ends up being extremely key to resolving aff offense. Like I said about aff overviews, neither team should be blasting through your framework blocks so fast that I miss all of your warrants.
If you're responding to framework, you better have a pretty good block for it. Have defense on their standards but offense of your own on their model of debate. I also do not care if you go for a counter interpretation or if you go for just a turn on their model of debate. If you do the latter, you should probably impact that turn out in the context of the aff. Also feel free to do both or whatever else you feel like.
Both teams should have a role of the ballot. Tell me why yours matters in relation to the biggest impacts in the debate!
Policy Affs: there are some very interesting and educational policy affs on this topic. Just like a K aff, you should have a defense of your model of debate when pressed on it. You should probably also be able to defend your subject formation. I think this standard should be universal.
Love a good, well-warranted impact defense debate here from the neg. doesn't usually win on it's own but super helpful for mitigating offense and also just makes me happy.
Topicality: I like T a lot. I default to competing interpretations but can be convinced otherwise. Why do limits/ground/fairness/research matter? I am of the mind personally that fairness is less of an independent impact and more of an internal link to education but I will also evaluate fairness as an independent impact in the round if instructed to do so. Also, caselists are underutilized and are important, please have these early in the debate! And stop dropping reasonability yall.
To quote my old partner "I met the heart of the topic and it said yall are wack" --Jack Walsh esquire. pls explain what heart of the topic means. If you keep explaining this argument as vibes alone you are forcing me to judge on vibes alone.
Disadvantages: Do what you do here, DAs are straight forward for the most part. Topic DAs are super important for neg ground but I also really appreciate creative, unique DAs. That being said, quirkiness shouldn't trade off with a good link chain. Contextualize. Not enough teams tell good stories of the disadvantage: block extension is just as key as 2NR. I wanna hear specifics in the impact debates pls, that's where all the fun is usually.
Counterplans: Good solvency advocates can be killer here. Have a good understanding of your mechanism. These debates can be extremely interesting. I don't have any predetermined notions about what kinds of CPs are abusive or not. That's up to you to decide. For the aff: explain the world of the permutation--"perm do both" means nothing without an explanation. Paint a picture, worldbuild.
Theory: I love a good theory debate. By good, I mean really in depth discussion rather than a blippy "floating PICs bad" sentence in the 2AC that gets extended in the 1AR and then becomes 3 minutes of the 2AR. Why is your model of debate important? Why does it matter? How does it implicate this round specifically, and potentially all others? Theory can be really strategic and also pretty true in some instances. I don't come in with any predispositions about any particular theory argument here except probably for RVIs. Don't do that.
Misc: if you get caught cheating and the other team calls you out with proof, expect an autoloss and the lowest speaks possible. Clipping, falsifying cites, texting coaches, etc. If you suspect your opponent is clipping, pls record before you call them out, otherwise its a huge mess
Good luck and have fun prepping!
NOTE FOR CFL PF 2023:
I debated PF for two years and went to state in 2015. I'm moderately familiar with the activity even though my main background is in policy. Unless both teams ask for a fast debate I'm going to evaluate the round like a parent judge. So please don't spread or anything like that unless the other team is cool with it.
General Experience: I debated for Bellarmine College Prep on the national circuit for 4 years as a 1A/2N, graduated in 2016. During my senior year, I read a soft left affirmative (and for my other years read mostly big stick policy affirmatives), and went for anything ranging from Politics/CP to psychosecurity kritiks on the neg. My thoughts on debate are mostly aligned with Ani Prabhu so if you want more info you can check out his paradigm as well.
Relevant Stuff at the Top: I'm down with K affs/Kritiks, but I'm also willing to vote on framework. Tech > Truth. I'm decently familiar with most generic K's and DA's, but haven't had a bunch of experience on this topic, so just make sure you're slowing down and explaining to me all the different acronyms/etc.
T: I default to competing interpretations. Make sure you're weighing impacts, and not just leaving me to decide whether or not fairness matters more than education at the end of the debate.
Theory: I usually default to reject the argument not the team unless you tell me explicitly so. I'm all for you going for theory, just make sure you impact your voters and explain to me why it's a reason to reject the team. Make sure you're actually giving me an interpretation of what debate looks like, and why reading multiple conditional advocacies/whatever is a reason to vote neg/aff. I'm less sympathetic to 5 seconds of blippy theory blown up in the rebuttal speeches.
CP: I evaluate CP's through comparison of net benefits vs. solvency deficits. I usually lean neg on neg fiat, but I'll vote on any CP theory you throw at me. (50 State actor bad, etc, etc.) I'll judge kick at the end unless otherwise told to do so.
K: Read whatever you feel most comfortable with, I'm somewhat familiar with most of the generic K's that were read on the circuit during my time (Wilderson, Security, etc.) but I'm not as familiar with most of postmodern theory (Baudrillard, Deleuze, etc.) I usually evaluate K debates on framework first, then go to the rest of K proper, so make sure to be making clear your interpretation of what debates should be like, especially when you get into K vs. Plan Framework debates. (Do I weigh the plan vs. the real world representations?)
DA: I'm fine with all disads. Make sure you make your turns case/outweigh case stuff clear at the top, so that I know how to evaluate it at the end of the debate. I'm perfectly fine with analytics if a DA is particularly silly, or if you know their evidence doesn't say what you think it says. Link usually controls uniqueness.
If you have any further questions, feel free to ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org
**Updated October 31, 2023
My judging history will show that I’ve primarily tabbed at tournaments since the pandemic started. However, I’ve been keeping up with topic discussions across LD, PF, and Policy and am looking forward to judging you all!
I’ve been in the debate world for over a decade now, and have been coaching with Lexington since 2016. Starting this academic year, I also teach Varsity LD and Novice PF at LHS. I was trained in policy debate but have also judged mainly policy and LD since 2016. I also judge PF at some tournaments along with practice debates on every topic.
TLDR: I want you to debate what you’re best at unless it’s offensive or exclusionary. I try to have very limited intervention and rely on framing and weighing in the round to frame my ballot. Telling me how to vote and keeping my flow clean is the fastest way to my ballot. Please have fun and be kind to one another.
ONLINE DEBATE NOTES
In an online world, you should reduce your speed to about 75%-80%. It’s difficult for me to say clear in a way that doesn’t totally disrupt your speech and throw you off, so focusing on clarity and efficiency are especially important.
I usually use two monitors, with my flow on the second monitor, so when I’m looking to the side, I’m looking at the flow or my ballot.
MORE IN DEPTH GENERAL NOTES
If your argument isn’t on my flow, I can’t evaluate it. Keeping my flow clean, repeating important points, and being clear can decide the round. I flow by ear and have your speech doc primarily for author names, so make sure your tags/arguments/analytics are clear. I default to tech over truth and debate being a competitive and educational activity. That being said, how I evaluate a debate is up for debate. The threshold for answering arguments without warrants is low, and I don’t find blippy arguments to be particularly persuasive.
In general: Please also look at my policy paradigm for argument specific information! I take my flow seriously but am really not a fan of blippy arguments. I’m fine with speed and theoretical debates. I am not the best judge for affs with tricks. I don’t like when theory is spread through and need it to be well-articulated and impacted. I have a decent philosophy background, but please assume that I do not know and err on over-explaining your lit.
On Framework: In LD, I default to framework as a lens to evaluate impacts in the round. However, I am willing to (and will) evaluate framework as the only impact to the round. Framework debates tend to get really messy, so I ask that you try to go top-down when possible. Please try to collapse arguments when you can and get as much clash on the flow as possible.
A note on fairness as a voter: I am willing to vote on fairness, but I tend to think of fairness as more of an internal link to an impact.
On T: I default to competing interpretations. If you’re going for T, please make sure that you’re weighing your standards against your opponent’s. In evaluating debates, I default to T before theory.
On Theory: I lean towards granting 1AR theory for abusive strats. However, I am not a fan of frivolous theory and would prefer clash on substantive areas of the debate. In general, I do not feel that I can adjudicate something that happened outside of the round.
On RVIs: I think RVIs have morphed into a way of saying "I'm fair but having to prove that I'm being fair means that I should win", which I don't particularly enjoy. If you’re going for an RVI, make sure it’s convincing and reasonable. Further, please make sure that if you’re going for an RVI that you spend sufficient time on it.
On Ks: I think that the NR is a difficult speech - answering the first indicts on a K and then having to collapse and go for the K is tricky. Please make sure that you're using your time effectively - what is the world of the alt and why is my ballot key to resolving the impacts that you outline?
In general: I rely on my flow to decide the round. Keeping my flow clean is the best path to my ballot, so please make sure that your speeches are organized and weigh your arguments against your opponents.
On Paraphrasing: I would also prefer that you do not paraphrase evidence. However, if you must, please slow down on your analytical blocks so that I can effectively flow your arguments - if you read 25 words straight that you want on my flow, I can't type quickly enough to do that, even when I'm a pretty fast typer in general. Please also make sure that you take care to not misrepresent your evidence.
General Comments On LD/Policy Arguments: While I will evaluate the round based on my flow, I want PF to be PF. Please do not feel that you need to adapt to my LD/Policy background when I’m in the back of the room.
On PF Theory: It's a thing, now. I don't particularly love it, but I do judge based off of my flow, so I will vote on it. However, I really, really, really dislike frivolous theory (feel free to look at my LD and Policy paradigms on this subject), so please make sure that if you're reading theory in a round, you are making it relevant to the debate at hand.
On Framework: ROBs and ROJs should be extended and explained within the context of the round. Interpretations and framing how I need to evaluate the round are the easiest path to my ballot. Please weigh your standards against your opponent’s and tell me why your model of debate works best. While I will vote on fairness as a voter, I tend to default to it as an internal link to another impact, i.e. education.
One off FW: These rounds tend to get messy. Please slow down for the analytics. The best path to my ballot is creating fewer, well-articulated arguments that directly clash with your opponent’s.
On Theory and T: Make sure you make it a priority if you want me to vote on it. If you’re going for T, it should be the majority of your 2NR. Please have clearly articulated standards and voters. I typically default to competing interpretations, so make sure you clearly articulate why your interpretation is best for debate. In general, I do not feel that I can adjudicate something that happened outside of the round.
On DA/CP: Explain why your evidence outweighs their evidence and please use impact calc.
On K-Affs: Make sure you’re weighing the impacts of your aff against tech stuff the neg articulates. Coming from the 1AC, I need a clear articulation of your solvency mechanism and the role of ballot / judge.
Hitting K-Affs on neg: PLEASE give me clash on the aff flow
On Ks: Make sure that you’re winning framing for these arguments. I really enjoy well-articulated link walls and think that they can take you far. I’m maybe not the best judge for high theory debates, but I have some experience with most authors you will read in most cases and should be able to hold my own if it’s well articulated. I need to understand the world of the alt, how it outweighs case impacts, and what the ballot resolves.
One off Ks: These rounds tend to get very nuanced, especially if it’s a K v K debate. Please have me put framework on another flow and go line by line.
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com.
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.
HS: Damien HS '12
BA: Gonzaga University '16
I debated back between 2008-2016 in both high school and college at Damien and Gonzaga respectively. I am a Ph.D student in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, so when I say that I evaluate arguments, I mean it. Debate is about communication of arguments, meaning it’s about the arguments you articulate that I can understand.
You can do anything you want in a debate, but remember that I have to be able to recognize it as an argument for or against something. This means that, you should have some claim and some way to defend that claim. In terms of literature bases, I am familiar with both old school policy and K debate, as well as the more contemporary versions of each.
We all have some biases, so here is a few of the things that are generally true about me: I almost always default to evaluating if the Aff wins the case debate first. I think the negative can do anything that challenges the Aff as being a good idea, including the epistemic and ontological framework underlying it. I think conditionality is good. I think alternatives and CP’s should be functionally competitive not necessarily textually competitive. I am not white, and I do not have any white guilt. I think language and arguments are a tool to be used, and therefore have ascribed (not static) meaning. I think clash is good. I think fairness should be preserved. I think that perms can be more than tests of competition. I think that debate is about argument and communication. I think that it is your burden to make something understandable to me. I will vote on any argument, so long as I have a reason to do so, and it is your burden to give me an argument to vote for.
I try to mitigate my bias whenever I can, and try to ask myself if I am making a judgement based on what was said in the debate. So I try to be as objective as possible, and find that I tend to have this, if you want to call it, a bias towards fairness in-round and in competition.
Humanities and Arts Academy 22'
Head Coach @ IVA High
I currently am a policy debater for CSULB. They/He pronouns. I'm coming up on my 5th year of debate. The first 3 years of my debate career was spent in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League. (LAMDL) My senior year, I only read K-AFF's on the affirmative and FW on the negative. Take that as you will. That being said, I've competed and judged/watched most styles and types of policy debate, and feel very confident in my ability to deliver a coherent decision.
A couple of top level things:
CSULB Recruitment: Over the next couple of months, I will be doing a lot of recruitment for folks invested in debating at Cal State Long Beach. so if u are a junior/senior in the next upcoming season looking to continue debate in college while obtaining wildly affordable tuition and outstanding benefits please feel free to ask, I probably will ask regardless, so yeah go beach brah.
Debate Shoutouts: Deven Cooper, Dayvon Love, Diego Flores, Erika Linares, Rickelle Basillo, Geo Liriano, Jaysyn Green, Destiny Popoca, Lauren Willard, Cameron Ward, Gabriela Gonzalez, Elvis Pineda, J-Beatz, J-Burke, Von, Cameron Ward, Toya, Jorge Aguilar, Ryan Upston, Y'Mahnie Harvey, Max Wiessner, and all of #LAMDLGANG.
"IR topics are cool bc we learn abt the world and stuff" - E.C. Powers, Wyoming Debate 5/22/23.
Email Chains > Speechdrop. I do not like speech drop. Please don't make me use it.
I'm also a really huge hater when it comes to downtime/lallygagging during OR before a debate starts. Everyone who attends a tournament sacrifices an enormous amount of time to the activity, spending countless weekends studying, judges/coaches/parents sacrifice lots of their personal lives to helping kids compete, etc. Especially as a coach, I need to make sure I get out of rounds on time to prep/gather my debaters. That being said, please refrain from waisting time during a debate OR doing unnecessary actions that prolong the round. If you're moving gracefully, your speaks will be happy. If you are lallygagging, they will not be.
I usually am flowing on my laptop, but I will switch in-between paper and my Mac, depending on my mood/fatigue.
Also, I have auditory sensory issues when it comes to high-pitched scrapping noises. Please refrain from scrapping anything, you will visibly see me react.
I flow performance as evidence. So songs, art, performance that is central to your AFF are arguments.
I think that's it.
Debate is a competitive activity/ a game with epistemological and pedagogical backings that determine how we engage the game that is played. I evaluate debates through the flow based on the offense and defense that's in front of me. Pretty hard to win in front of me that debate isn't a game. But, I don't think K teams should shy away from the fact that debate is. But, that statement alone is an empty signifier. Teams should impact out their interpretation of debates and weigh the benefits/consequences of both team's interpretation of the game. I also don't think teams give explanations of what debates under their model looks like. I think that goes a long way and more teams should adapt strategic explanations of their models to garner a strategic advantage over their opponents. Dropped arguments are true arguments, but they still need to be impacted out. "They dropped this!" is not enough. You need to be able to implicated why that drop proves the argument you made, and you more importantly need to be able to explain why that argument wins you the round and how it affects other arguments on the flow, whether they are turns to your opponent's offense/defense or etc.
If you are looking to see if I'm a good judge for a particular style, you won't find it. I'm literally good for any strategic approach you want to take. I've read K AFF's a lot and I've read policy AFF's a lot. I've read Kritiks against K AFF's, I've also read one-off FW against a K AFF. So that being said, do what you want to do, and do what you do best. But, what I will say is that each team needs to pick a consolidated strategy, rather than wax poetic or get up and rant about the AFF/NEG. The worst speeches I've seen in the final speeches of a debate are ones that have no strategic utility, rants, and speeches given without prep time. Also, make it easy for me to decide debates. That usually means going for the path of least resistance. If you debate the block right, this shouldn't be hard. But, if I genuinely have no idea what you are saying, I'm more than okay voting for the option that makes the most sense. If you are confused about my decision, it probably means you didn't do a good job of putting those pieces together for me. Debate is a persuasive activity, which means you need to persuade your judges. You will persuade me by making arguments based on strategic advantages/errors on the flow. You can't do that, you have little to no chance to get my ballot. That was lowkey a lot of word vomit, but in short, just make good strategic decisions and win.
Also, I absolutely despise judge intervention. I cannot tell y'all how many debates I've seen where judges will make connections and arguments for debaters that were literally never uttered once. I read evidence when I'm confused about something, and I usually will do it to break the tie against arguments, or I will read ev if it's specifically judge instruction and something I should frame my ballot on. But, I will never ever make decisions for debates on arguments that have not been made. I notice now that lots of judges fill in the blanks for debaters to make themselves seem knowledgable, or to straight up hate on peoples. On panels, I will make it clear when I don't see a connection another judge made, or when something just straight up is wrong or doesn't make sense.
Again for argument preferences, I don't really have any. I like everything, but if it matters, I'm into K-Debate way more than policy. Prolly like a 70% K, 30% Policy. But, those don't affect the way I judge debates because again, I judge off the flow, not on what I like. Perform your method. Don't just affirm it. Both teams should be ready to prepare a model of debate and win that your model of debate is better. Extrapolate offense/defense based on those conceptualization of the model.
Here are things I don't like in debates.
1) Goes for theory in the last rebuttal, but extends 3 Shells instead of 1 or 2. If you go for more than 2 theory shells in the final speech, you're gonna have a bad time.
2) Reading Afro-Pessimism, when nobody in your debate partnership is Black. I agree with Zion when he says it's super weird when non-black people fantasize over reading Afro-Pessimism. You reading it as a strategic argument in debate is EXACTLY what Black Afro-Pess Debaters say is the issue. So, don't pref me because if someone makes it an argument ur probably done tbh.
3) Stealing prep. I will call you out.
4) Spreading just to read fast. I will yell clear in extreme circumstances. If it's not, I will flow what I can. If I don't catch it, that's a skill issue on YOUR end. Great debaters will slow down and emphasize important arguments that they are willing and frame/change the decision.
5) I'm a 2N. I lean heavy on NEG Condo good. Unless it's super abusive.
6) Underviews. Get out.
7) RVI's. No.
Now, here are things I do like.
1) KvK debates.
2) K-AFFs vs. FW debates.
3) Policy vs. the K debates.
4) Policy vs. DAs/CPs.
5) Case Defense. You need case defense. If you don't, you most likely will lose.
6) Jokes. Debate is fun remember!
7. Kindness. Debate is a community, and communities are always way better with your BFFs.
9. Nice strategic pivot bro.
10. I will vote on death good. But not in like a weird way.
11. I love food. So bring some snacks if u got any.
12. TVAs/advocacies/plan texts with solvency advocates. Don't just make stuff up.
Last 2 things:
I reserve the right to end or intervene during a round if I determine or suspect harmful events or actions have happened during a round I am judging. There is absolutely no room for hate speech, discrimination, sexual violence, or any form of bigoted behavior that can potentially be threatening to anyone in the room. I will especially call you out and make you feel like a jerk. I will also nuke your speaker points and report to tab/coaches depending on the severity. Debates should be an educational safe space for debaters and if you make it anything other than that there will be sever consequences.
On a softer note, I usually will listen to music while I write my RFD. Most times, I already have decided a winner after the 2AR has ended, but I always go over my flow/notes one last time before I write or submit my ballot. I love listening to new music, and I listen to every genre imaginable. That being said, I love to hear the tunes y'all have been jamming to recently. To encourage such behavior, debaters have an opportunity to garner extra speaks based on their music suggestions. Each team is allowed to give me one song to listen to while I write my RFD. It cannot be a song I've heard before. If I like the song, you will receive a +.1 to your speaker points. If I don't like it, you won't receive any extra, but I also won't redact any from your original score.
ELC '21-debated for 4 years (Policy Db8)
Add me to the email chain: Isaiortega28@gmail.com
Be clear when spreading
Tech>truth even tho truth frames how I should evaluate args
I'm open to any type of argument, as long as it isnt problematic, so go crazy lol. None of the preferences I'll list below will override what team did the better debating so do what you do best, I'm comfortable judging all types and styles of debate. BUT, if you do adjust your strat a bit based on my specific preferences, you'll likely have a better chance in winning my ballot and get better speaks.
As for a general preference (or what you might look for when ranking judges): I’m mostly a K debater but I’m also cool with judging any type of debate style.
Line by line is great.
Tag teaming is cool.
No new args in the rebuttal part of the debate will be evaluated.
Usually flow straight down so lmk if I need to switch something up when giving me the order of the speech.
If you display any form of racism, sexism, etc., I'll automatically vote you down so be respectful and if at some point you feel uncomfortable in the debate, lmk
lastly, have fun! Debate is a pretty cool activity (even tho its pretty stressful at times) so try to enjoy yourselves.
In high school, I was often reading soft left affs so I sorta prefer these debates. But don't let this stop you from running any big imp affs! As long as you debate it properly and handle the framing/imp framing, you should be good.
-If you're reading a K-Aff, give me a reasonable and good explanation of your solvency. Tell me what the ballot means and why it's important (and if you imp turn, tell me why your analysis comes first). I recommend imp turning fw even tho a counter interp can help limit or minimize neg offense. And if you're debating fw, I prefer imp turns bc its pretty clear that you're not debating according to the rez (depends on the k-aff)so you might as well tell me why your form of debate is better and list your standards and impacts well throughout the debate and why your analysis comes first.
Neg: Throughout high school, I usually read kritiks more than any other thing. I usually read a lot of Set col but I'm open to other Kritiks as well (Biopolitics is kinda cool ngl--read this a few times but didnt really add it to my strat) and I think I have a good understanding for most kritiks except maybe some high theory stuff (Deleuze, somewhat Baudrillard, etc.). However, you should assume I know nothing about your kritik and explain it in a good manner that doesnt lead me to assuming a ton of jargon and literature. I'm cool with voting for DA and CP's as long as you have a good Link/imp scenario and a good net benefit. But plz have a good Internal link...i get frustrated when the link is pretty dope but has no correlation to the imp so give me a good scenario
DA: Plz do impact calc. it does a lot for you and the debate and is a good way to evaluate args and impacts. Make sure to have a good Internal Link and do good on the link work. Also, make sure your evidence is pretty relevant to the DA so dont give me a politics disad with evidence from an year ago.
CP: Make sure the DA and the CP exist in the same world and explain the process of the cp. I won't judge kick cp, do it yourself. Make sure the cp has a net benefit and is actually competitive. And when answering perms, dont group em all together as one perm.
K: I think I've mentioned some stuff about the K already but when debating a kritik, explain it to me like I'm unfamiliar with the kritik and know nothing about it. Don't assume I'm familiar with the lit and impact your args out. Though I may know a lot of the jargon you're referencing, it's important that your ov and blocks arent heavy in terms of lit bc then its just rambling. Though ov's are great and whatnot, often times ppl are to block reliant so that eliminates any actual line by line debating so try to minimize being block reliant.
I love a good fw debate but I will say that I tend to allow the aff getting to weigh the aff.
As for the links, try to have as many case specific links as possible and make sure you carry the links throughout the debate. I also need you to impact out your links and explain to me why the aff's actions make the sq uniquely worse. With this link story, I also need a good alt debate and an analysis of why the alt solves for the issues of the K
T: T debates are pretty cool. I tend to like education impacts more so contextualizing and being specific are important for me. I also think that in order to win, your interp needs to show me a definition more predictable and that the literature (evidence of the interp) needs to be in context of the rez, not some simple webster def stuff.
Theory (procedural): I'm just eh about it tbh. It's not my strongest area but I understand some stuff. Make a good arg and do a lot of imp comparison and show how the other team essentially skews the round by going forward with their strat. Do this and you should be fine.
Stuff that might boost your speaks:
other stuff that'll boost your speaks
- if you bring me a snack or a drink (xxtra hot cheetos is the move, gatorade, idk something cool)
General Thoughts – I try to be as tab as possible. However, I think everyone inevitably comes in with some preconceived notions about debate. Don’t feel like you have to adapt to my preferences--you should do whatever you do best. But if what you do best happens to be judge adaptation, here are some of my thoughts:
Framework – All I ask is that you engage each other's interpretations and arguments--don’t just read and extend. Look to my comments on topicality if you're interested in how I try to evaluate standards-based debate.
Case Debate – I think case-specific strategies that integrate intelligent on-case arguments into the 1NC can be really compelling.
DA/CPs – The more specific the better, but I’ll vote on anything.
Critiques – Most persuasive when they interact explicitly with the 1AC/2AC. For example, I like specific 2NC link analysis (doesn’t necessarily need to be carded) that points to arguments being made in the 1AC/2AC, and I like 2NC attempts to gain in roads to the case by suggesting the alternative is a necessary precondition to case solvency. I'm fine with critical affirmatives so long as you explain the significance of voting affirmative. A general note: given that I'm trying to evaluate your arguments as though I'm hearing them for the first time, please operate under the assumption that I'm completely unfamiliar with the literature you're reading.
Topicality – My threshold for T is the same as any other type of argument, but like all other positions, there are central issues that the 2NR needs to resolve in order for me to vote on T. If neither team articulates a framework within which I can vote, then I’ll default to competing interpretations, but I’d much rather not have to default to anything. Assuming I’m voting in a competing interpretations framework, I think of standards as external impacts to a vote for a given team’s interpretation. That means comparative impact calculus has a huge place in a 2NR that’s going for T. Explain to me what debate looks like if I vote for your interpretation and why that vision should be preferred to one that would allow for cases like the affirmative.
Theory – Please engage the other team's arguments--don't just read blocks and talk past one another. If you expect to win on theory (independently), you should probably give me some kind of substantive reason why a given violation merits rejection of the team, and not just the argument.
Nontraditional Debate – As long as I’m provided with a standard for evaluation that I feel both teams can reasonably be expected to meet, you can do whatever you'd like.
In Round Decorum – Don’t be mean. Try to have fun.
Speed – As long as you’re clear, I’m fine with speed.
Speaker Points – 28.5 is average. I'll add points for things like clarity and efficiency, and I'll subtract points for particularly messy debating.
If you have any specific questions, please ask. Feel free to email me after round with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debated for bravo medical magnet high school.
The first few years I ran mainly policy affs and negs, then my last year I ran a k aff on chicana feminism, and set col/cap ks on the neg.
spreading is fine, just make sure you are very clear.
Disclose as soon as possible pls.
Debate should be fun so run what you like (however any hurtful arguments will not be tolerated).
Be respectful, nice and have fun!
add me to the email chain please: email@example.com.
I ran policy affs my first few years of debate. Make sure you’re winning your solvency and preferably a framing argument as to why the aff is important within this space.
For the neg, case turns ! also solvency deficits.
Ks & k affs
I like them. This however doesn’t mean I know all about them so make sure you really explain your theory of power and really flesh out your links. If you want to win the alt, make sure everyone knows what your alt actually does. Specific aff links> generic links, 1 off K with a lot of substance are probably some of the best debates. In terms of framework make sure its clear why your interp should be preferred,
Make sure your CP is competitive with the aff and you have a good net benefit.
I get easily persuaded by good permutations, so make them and also don't drop them (both sides).
Make sure to explain that your disads ow the aff. impact calc! On the aff, link turns!
education>fairness. Make sure you’re contextualizing your impacts to the round and the space.
Updated for Economic Inequality Topic
E-Mail Chain: Yes, add me (firstname.lastname@example.org) & email@example.com. I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.
Experience: Damien 05, Amherst College 09, Emory Law 13L. This will be my seventh year as the Assistant Director at Damien, and my second year as Director at St. Lucy's Priory. I consider myself fluent in debate, but my debate preferences (both ideology and mechanics) are influenced by debating in the 00s.
This Year's Topic: I generally believe that the point of the resolution is to force debaters to learn about a different topic each year. So I think that debaters who develop good topic knowledge -- i.e., debaters who understand economics as a complex field of academic study and can analyze how different policies would affect the economy at different levels -- will have a massive advantage on internal link debating.
Debate: I am open to voting for almost any argument or style so long as I have an idea of how it functions within the round and it is appropriately impacted. Debate is a game. Rules of the game (the length of speeches, the order of the speeches, which side the teams are on, clipping, etc.) are set by the tournament and left to me (and other judges) to enforce. Comparatively, standards of the game (condo, competition, limits of fiat) are determined in round by the debaters. Framework is a debate about whether the resolution should be a rule and/or what that rule looks like. Persuading me to favor your view/interpretation of debate is accomplished by convincing me that it is the method that promotes better debate, either more fair or more pedagogically valuable, compared to your opponent's. My ballot always is awarded to whoever debated better; I will not adjudicate a round based on any issues external to the round, whether that was at camp or a previous round.
I run a planess aff; should I strike you?: I have a ideological predisposition to the neg, but I try to leave bias at the door. I do end up voting aff about half the time. I will hold a planless aff to the same standard as a K alt; I absolutely must have an idea of what the aff (and my ballot) does and how/why that solves for an impact. If you do not explain this to me, I will "hack" out on presumption. Performances (music, poetry, narratives) are non-factors unless you contextualize and justify why they are solvency mechanisms for the aff in the debate space.
Evidence and Argumentative Weight: Tech over truth, but it is easier to debate well when using true arguments and better cards. In-speech analysis goes a long way with me; I am much more likely to side with a team that develops and compares warrants vs. a team that extends by tagline/author only. I will read cards as necessary, including explicit prompting, however I read critically. For me, cards are only as good as their highlighted warrants so you are better off with fewer well-highlighted cards than multiple under-highlighted cards. Well-explained logical analytics, especially if developed in CX, can beat bad/under-highlighted cards.
Debate Ideologies: I think that judges should reward good debating over ideology, so almost all of my personal preferences can be overcome if you debate better than your opponents. You can limit the chance that I intervene by 1) providing clear judge instruction and 2) justifications for those judge instructions; the 2NR and 2AR are competing pitches trying to sell me a ballot.
Accommodations: Please email me ahead of time if you believe you will need an accommodation that cannot be facilitated in round so that I can work with tab on your issue. Any accommodation that has any potential competitive implications (limiting content or speed, etc.) should be requested either with me CC'd or in my presence so that tournament ombuds mediation can be requested if necessary.
Argument by argument breakdown below.
Debating T well is a question of engaging in responsive impact debate. You win my ballot when you are the team that proves their interpretation is best for debate -- usually by proving that you have the best internal links (ground, predictability, legal precision, research burden, etc.) to a terminal impact (fairness and/or education). I love judging a good T round and I will reward teams with the ballot and with good speaker points for well thought-out interpretations (or counter-interps) with nuanced defenses. I would much rather hear a well-articulated 2NR on why I need to enforce a limited vision of the topic than a K with state/omission links or a Frankenstein process CP that results in the aff.
I default to competing interpretations, but reasonability can be compelling to me if properly contextualized. I am more receptive when affs can articulate why their specific counter-interp is reasonable (e.g., "The aff interp only imposes a reasonable additional research burden of two more cases") versus vague generalities ("Good is good enough").
I believe that many resolutions (especially domestic topics) are sufficiently aff-biased or poorly worded that preserving topicality as a viable generic negative strategy is important. I have no problem voting for the neg if I believe that they have done the better debating, even if I think that the aff is/should be topical in a truth sense. I am also a judge who will actually vote on T-Substantial (substantial as in size, not subsets) because I think there should be a mechanism to check small affs.
Fx/Xtra Topicality: I will vote on them independently if they are impacted as independent voters. However, I believe they are internal links to the original violation and standards (i.e. you don't meet if you only meet effectually). The neg is best off introducing Fx/Xtra early with me in the back; I give the 1ARs more leeway to answer new Fx/Xtra extrapolations than I will give the 2AC for undercovering Fx/Xtra.
Framework / T-USFG
For an aff to win framework they must articulate and defend specific reasons why they cannot and do not embed their advocacy into a topical policy as well as reasons why resolutional debate is a bad model. Procedural fairness starts as an impact by default and the aff must prove why it should not be. I can and will vote on education outweighs fairness, or that substantive fairness outweighs procedural fairness, but the aff must win these arguments. The TVA is an education argument and not a fairness argument; affs are not entitled to the best version of the case (policy affs do not get extra-topical solvency mechanisms), so I don't care if the TVA is worse than the planless version from a competitive standpoint.
For the neg, you have the burden of proving either that fairness outweighs the aff's education or that policy-centric debate has better access to education (or a better type of education). I am neutral regarding which impact to go for -- I firmly believe the negative is on the truth side on both -- it will be your execution of these arguments that decides the round. Contextualization and specificity are your friends. If you go with fairness, you should not only articulate specific ground loss in the round, but why neg ground loss under the aff's model is inevitable and uniquely worse. When going for education, deploy arguments for why plan-based debate is a better internal link to positive real world change: debate provides valuable portable skills, debate is training for advocacy outside of debate, etc. Empirical examples of how reform ameliorates harm for the most vulnerable, or how policy-focused debate scales up better than planless debate, are extremely persuasive in front of me.
I think that debate's largest educational impact is training students in real world advocacy, therefore I believe that the best iteration of debate is one that teaches people in the room something about the topic, including minutiae about process. I have MUCH less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than most judges. I think the aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy of their case and the negative is entitled to test that implementation strategy. I will absolutely pull the trigger on vagueness, plan flaws, or spec arguments as long as there is a coherent story about why the aff is bad for debate and a good answer to why cross doesn't check. Conversely, I will hold negatives to equally high standards to defend why their counterplans make sense and why they should be considered competitive with the aff.
That said, you should treat theory like topicality; there is a bare amount of time and development necessary to make it a viable choice in your last speech. Outside of cold concessions, you are probably not going to persuade me to vote for you unless you have done actual line-by-line refutation and you have formed a coherent abuse story that is solved by your interpretation.
Also, if you go for theory... SLOW. DOWN. You have to account for pen/keyboard time; you cannot spread a block of analytics at me like they were a card and expect me to catch everything. I will be very unapologetic in saying I didn't catch parts of the theory debate on my flow because you were spreading too fast.
My defaults that CAN be changed by better debating:
- Condo is good (but should have limitations, esp. to check perf cons and skew).
- PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are all legitimate if they prove competition; a specific solvency advocate proves competitiveness but the lack of specific solvency evidence indicates high risk of a solvency deficit and/or no competition.
- The aff gets normal means or whatever they specify; they are not entitled to all theoretical implementations of the plan (i.e. perm do the CP) just because they do not specify.
- The neg is not entitled to intrinsic processes that result in the aff (i.e. ConCon, NGA, League of Democracies).
- Consult CPs and Floating PIKs are bad.
My defaults that are UNLIKELY to change or CANNOT be changed:
- CX is binding.
- Lit checks/justifies (debate is primarily a research and strategic activity).
- OSPEC is never a voter (except fiating something contradictory to ev or a contradiction between different authors).
- "Cheating" is reciprocal (utopian alts justify utopian perms, intrinsic CPs justify intrinsic perms, and so forth).
- Real instances of abuse justify rejecting the team and not just the arg.
- Teams should disclose previously run arguments; breaking new doesn't require disclosure.
- Real world impacts exist (i.e. setting precedents/norms), but specific instances of behavior outside the room/round that are not verifiable are not relevant in this round.
- Condo does not automatically allow severance of the discourse/rhetoric attached to the offcase. You can win severance of your reps, but it is not a default entitlement from condo. There is a difference between testing the aff from multiple perspectives, and severing your reps.
- ASPEC is checked by cross. The neg should ask and if the aff answers and doesn't spike, I will not vote on ASPEC. If the aff does not answer, the neg can win by proving abusive ground loss via moving target or spikes.
TL;DR: I would much rather hear a good K than a bad politics disad, so if you have a coherent and contextualized argument for why critical academic scholarship is relevant to the aff, I am fine for you. If you run Ks to avoid doing specific case research and brute force ballots with links of omission or reusing generic criticisms about the state/fiat, I am a bad judge for you. If I'm in the back for a planless aff vs. a K, reconsider your prefs/strategy.
A kritik must be presented as a comprehensible argument in round. To me, that means that a K must not only explain the scholarship and its relevance (links and impacts), but it must function as a coherent call for the ballot (through the alt). A link alone is insufficient without a reason to reject the aff and/or prefer the alt. I do not have any biases or predispositions about what my ballot does or should do, but if you cannot explain your alt and/or how my ballot interacts with the alt then I will have an extremely low threshold for treating the K as a non-unique disad. Alts like "Reject the aff" and "Vote neg" are fine so long as there is a coherent explanation for why I should do that beyond the mere fact the aff links (for example, if the K turns case). If the alt solves back for the implications of the K, whether it is a material alt or a debate space alt, the solvency process should be explained and contrasted with the plan/perm. Links of omission are very uncompelling. Links are not disads to the perm unless you have a (re-)contextualization to why the link implicates perm solvency. Ks can solve the aff, but the mechanism shouldn't be that the world of the alt results in the plan (i.e. floating PIK).
Affs should not be afraid of going for straight impact turns behind a robust framework press to evaluate the aff. I'm more willing than most judges to weigh the impacts vs. labeling your discourse as a link. Being extremely good at historical analysis is the best way to win a link turn or impact turn. I am also particularly receptive to arguments about pragmatism on the perm, especially if you have empirical examples of progress through state reform that relates directly to the impacts.
I think that research is a core part of debate as an activity, and good counterplan strategy goes hand-in-hand with that. The risk of your net benefit is evaluated inversely proportional to the quality of the counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and solvency deficits and carry much higher threshold burden on the net benefit. PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research and how debate equalizes aff side bias by rewarding negs who who diligent in research. Agent and process counterplans are similarly better when the neg has a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan.
- Process CPs: I am extremely unfriendly to process counterplans where the process is entirely intrinsic; I have a very low threshold for rejecting them theoretically or granting the aff an intrinsic perm to test opportunity cost. I am extremely friendly to process counterplans that test a distinct implementation method compared to the aff. Intentionally vague plan texts do not give the aff access to all theoretical implementations of the plan (Perm Do the CP). The neg can define normal means for the aff if the aff refuses to, but the neg has an equally high burden to defend the competitiveness of the CP process vs. normal means. There are differences in form and content between legislative statutes, administrative regulations, executive orders, and court cases; I will vote aff on CP flaws if the neg's attempt to hot-swap between these processes produces a structural defect.
I do not judge kick by default, but 2NRs can easily convince me to do so as an extension of condo. Superior solvency for the aff case alone is sufficient reason to vote for the CP in a debate that is purely between hypothetical policies (i.e. the aff has no competition arguments in the 2AR).
I am very likely to err neg on sufficiency framing; the aff absolutely needs either a solvency deficit or arguments about why an appeal to sufficiency framing itself means that the neg cannot capture the ethic of the affirmative (and why that outweighs).
I value defense more than most judges and am willing to assign minimal ("virtually zero") risk based on defense, especially when quality difference in evidence is high or the disad scenario is painfully artificial. Nuclear war probably outweighs the soft left impact in a vacuum, but not when you are relying on "infinite impact times small risk is still infinity" to mathematically brute force past near zero risk. I can be convinced by good analysis that there is always a risk of a DA in spite of defense.
Speaker Point Scale: I feel speaker points are arbitrary and the only way to fix this is standardization. Consequently I will try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely. In the event that there is no tournament scale, I grade speaks on bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile, 27.5 being as the median 50th percentile, and 25 being the 1st percentile. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since bell curves are distributed around the average. Elim teams should be scoring above average by definition. The scale is standardized; national circuit tournaments will have higher averages than local tournaments. Points are rewarded for both style (entertaining, organized, strong ethos) and substance (strategic decisions, quality analysis, obvious mastery of nuance/details). I listen closely to CX and include CX performance in my assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. make a Thanos snap joke on the Malthus flow.
Delivery and Organization: Your speed should be limited by clarity. I reference the speech doc during the debate to check clipping, not to flow. You should be clear enough that I can flow without needing your speech doc. Additionally, even if I can hear and understand you, I am not going to flow your twenty point theory block perfectly if you spit it out in ten seconds. Proper sign-posted line by line is the bare minimum to get over a 28.5 in speaks. I will only flow straight down as a last resort, so it is important to sign-post the line-by-line, otherwise I will lose some of your arguments while I jump around on my flow and I will dock your speaks. If online please keep in mind that you will, by default, be less clear through Zoom than in person.
Cross-X, Prep, and Tech: Tag-team CX is fine but it's part of your speaker point rating to give and answer most of your own cross. I think that finishing the answer to a final question during prep is fine and simple clarification and non-substantive questions during prep is fine, but prep should not be used as an eight minute time bank of extra cross-ex. I don't charge prep for tech time, but tech is limited to just the emailing or flashing of docs. When you end prep, you should be ready to distribute.
Strategy Points: I will reward good practices in research and preparation. On the aff, plan texts that have specific mandates backed by solvency authors get bonus speaks. I will also reward affs for running disads to negative advocacies (real disads, not solvency deficits masquerading as disads -- Hollow Hope or Court Capital on a courts counterplan is a disad but CP gets circumvented is not). Negative teams with case negs (i.e. hyper-specific counterplans or a nuanced T or procedural objection to the specific aff plan text) will get bonus speaks.
Updated 4/11/23* Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Me - I debated for Clovis North from 2012-2016. I debated for Cal from 2016-2018. Prior coach for Clovis North and BAUDL. Current coach for Leland High School.
Debate: Debate is a game, maybe it's more than just a game. I find myself adjudicating lots of these debates, and I find these discussions very interesting. Tell me what I should prefer. Some personal thoughts of mine for sake of transparency: I would like to believe that while we are all here to win, debate does have value to influence beliefs, inspire others, serve a platform for performances, and offer community for some. However, it is almost indisputable that competition, maybe for the sake of gamesmanship or maybe not, sustains the activity because it enables debaters to do what they need to do to win. Other side notes: I am indifferent to either a 9 off or 1 off strat, but what you decide to do might demonstrate some validity for conditionality arguments. Teams that treat their speeches as a story rather than a speech doc tend to be more engaging.
Topicality: The more you articulate your impacts or what the neg ground looks like in the world of the affirmative the better. If you want to run more than 3 T arguments, be my guest. Though when teams do this, explanations naturally tend to become repetitive. I will let the debaters choose if I will be weighing competing interpretations over reasonability or vice versa as long as you give a reason why one is better than the other.
Disads: Impact framing such as time frame and case turns are very persuasive arguments to me. External impacts also help me weigh the disad easily.
Counterplans: Do read solvency cards, or at least have a clear articulation of how the CP solves the aff. I don't necessarily need a specific solvency card if exploiting a plan flaw or reading a PIC. Net benefits to the CP vs external add-ons against the CP are often where I hang my decisions. Affirmatives should use their advantages as disads to the CP and pick out solvency deficits from the counterplan text.
Theory: It's a strategic procedural argument. I don't necessarily have strong feelings toward any theoretical positions. I am okay with teams reading 10 off or PICs that do the aff and spend 1 less dollar. However, this gives the other team more credibility if they read theory, but you could care less if you feel confident defending your position. I judge theory the same as I judge any other argument on the flow ie: impact calculus.
Framework/K Affs: - I've been on both sides of the argument, and I tend to judge these debates the majority of the time. For framework, offensive reasons why your interpretation matters in the debate and what the aff does to affect the general principles of the game. I am persuaded by arguments that list what specific affs under their counter-interp explode the limits of the topic. TVA's gain a large advantage over your opponents for strategic reasons. Both theoretical and substantive framework are great so long as you demonstrate your impacts whether that be fairness, movements, etc. Fairness can be a terminal impact. However, fairness can also not be an impact. Tell me what I should think of fairness and persuade me. Otherwise, movements/policy education are also great impacts. For K affirmatives, have some relationship to the topic whether that be negative or positive. Explain why you chose not to go through with traditional policy affirmatives and/or what model of debate you envision to be better. Impact turning framework or having internal link turns with residual offense are absolutely fine arguments.
Kritiks: Most of my experience lies here, but that doesn't mean i'll favor or give you leverage on your arguments in any way, it just means I know the literature enough to give better feedback and etc. High theory is strategic and fine but do be careful about buzzwords that aren't explained and assumed to be made true. Kritiks must be context specific to the aff. Just some of the authors I have knowledge of that might be useful: Marx, Wilderson, Lacan, Deleuze, Baudrillard, Moten, Kroker, Puar, etc.
Performance: Can be very strategic and enjoyable. However, you must have reasons why your performance was good and necessary. I will not allow speech times to be broken or interrupted, mid-round coach interventions, or anything silly of that sort - debate is an argumentative competition, just beat them at it.
Case: Probably one of the most underrated arguments people go for nowadays. I think case-turns, impact defense and solvency deficits are perfect. They lower the threshold of any risk to vote aff as well as give me reasons to weigh your other off-case positions more. I am willing to vote neg on presumption.
LD/Public Forum/Parli: I will likely view the debate from a policy perspective. This does not mean you have to change your style of debate. For example, this does not mean LD debaters need to change their value-value criterion structure and the same applies for public forum and parli. After all, you should do what you do best. However, because of my policy background, technicality and quality of evidence is super important to me. You may also decide to spread and/or read a plan, counterplans, disads, kritiks, and performative arguments. I will vote on these arguments even if unconventional in the practice. However, the other side may assert a theoretical argument that spreading has no place in a non-policy context. They could also assert a framework argument that policy and critical debates are bad alternative models of debate. If you do lean into a policy/K debate, then please feel free to read the rest of my paradigm above. In short, I am fair game and will evaluate such arguments as long as it is justified.
- Ask permission to record
- Don't clip cards
- Have fun! I recognize debate is competitive, but life is much more than debate. There is a clear line between passion and aggression. Give the proper respect to the other team and if for some reason this becomes a problem, it will be reflected in your speaker points.
When debaters walk in the room, they expect the judge to render a fair decision, not to rob them of years of hard work and dedication by substituting their personal biases for the arguments presented.
Email chain: rrn.debate [at] gmail [dot] com
Background: Mamaroneck High School, University of Southern California – Policy Debate
Tech over truth. Any biases and gaps in knowledge can be corrected for by good debating. I will minimize judge intervention. Good rebuttals include judge instruction, frame arguments, highlight a few core issues, and compare/maximize offense.
Be clear, don’t be surprised when an argument I can’t flow doesn’t make it into my decision. I do not look at docs during speeches, am slow at typing, and on average get down 60% of your speech down on my flow.
Don't clip, be rude, or lie.
Novices should endorse clash.
I agree with Ken Karas on most everything.
I debated for 4 years in policy at Head-Royce as a 1A/2N and went for the K on both the aff and the neg for my last 3 years. I now debate at UC Berkeley and go only for policy args.
Put me on the email chain rileyreichel[at]gmail.com and hrsdebatedocs[at]gmail.com. Please name the chain something reasonable.
Do what you do best. This paradigm is short because I will vote for almost any argument so long as it is won in debate. Below are predispositions but every single one can be overcome by debating well. I know everyone says this but I will try my hardest to stick to the flow and judge as objectively as I can.
I read all the evidence mentioned in the final rebuttals. I've realized a put a lot of weight in evidence quality and you should be very loud about telling me if your evidence is good, I'll reward it with high speaks.
K: Fairness is an impact but I usually prefer skills/clash. I do think that this activity has some effect on debaters and judges but to what extent is up to debate. While debate is a game, I think simply saying it's a game and therefore fairness is not only not a full argument but ignores other ways this space can be used. I have a pretty good understanding of most critical theory but have gone for more security/cap rather than identity args in the past.
K v K: Never heard a convincing arg for why K affs don't get perms. Most reasons are predicated off of winning T. I think these debates tend to devolve into perm vs link which seems hard to win for both sides. I like affs that stick to their theory and go for impact turns rather than just becoming whatever the neg read.
Theory: I fully believe in cheaty CPs and think the neg should do anything to win. I'm rarely persuaded by theory arguments and love creative neg strats.
- Won't vote on stuff that happened outside the round
- I will drop you and give 0s for anything blatantly offensive done in round and am willing to end debates early if I think something unsafe is happening.
- I only flow stuff that is said during the speech time and won't vote for arguments that literally break the format
- I think reading extinction arguments and not being able to defend against the death K is cowardice
- I have become increasingly annoyed with people acting like jerks in round. It's a communicative activity and everyone is spending their time here willingly, try to keep that in mind. I'm very willing to drop speaks.
Some people and paradigms to look at to better understand the way I view debate: Larry Dang, T Weddington, John hines, Nathan Fleming, Nick Fleming, Katie Wimsatt, Emilio Menotti
extra .1 speaks for references to old Head-Royce debaters or current cal debaters
UC Berkeley ’23
Email: email@example.com – Yes, put me on the email chain. Also, make a card doc for me at the end of the round.
Experience: I debated for four years at Bellarmine as a 2A. I qualified to the TOC my junior year and cleared my senior year. I also reached late elim rounds of the NSDA tournament. I read almost exclusively policy strategies (heg aff, soft left aff, politics DAs, topic CPs, etc.). I debated with Tyler Vergho and was coached by Anirudh Prabhu. They both have thoughts about debate that are extremely similar to mine in case I’m missing something in this paradigm.
I have not judged any rounds on this topic.
1) Assume I have zero knowledge of anything topic related. Explain especially important parts of your affirmative/CP like I walked into debate class for the first time as a novice.
2) If T plans on being a large part of your strategy, I have no idea what the community consensus is on the various words in the resolution. It would behoove you to explain what functional limits/aff ground actually exists on this topic.
Do what you do best. I honest to god don’t care whether you read a K aff, go for politics every 2NR, or think that Baudrillard speaks the truth. I hold myself to a rigorous standard of line by line technical adjudication. Frame debates in manners that serve you. I hate judges that inserted their biases into the debate, so I will attempt to keep my own biases in check. No arguments are too stupid to answer, if they are stupid, answer them well.
What wins debates:
1. Often times, out of the 5 minutes in a 2NR or 2AR, about 30-45 seconds become extremely relevant to any RFD. For this reason, it would behoove both teams to identify the big picture framing issues and explain why that means you deserve the ballot. The C subpoint answer to the one thumper they made is often significantly less relevant than framing through what lens I should view the 2NR or 2AR. This also means both teams could also go around 80% of the speed they normally go and be perfectly fine.
2. Sitting on a couple, well-carded, well-explained arguments. More often than not, this means skipping the fourth off you were going to extend in the block in favor of reading a few more cards, explaining a few more links, or doing more impact calculus on that DA.
3. Technical, line-by-line oriented debating. In practice, this means that K teams should skip that 5-minute-long overview and just embed links where they’re most appropriate on the flow. This also means that FW teams shouldn’t have their 4-minute-long overviews that just explain all their offense. Teams sometimes choose to exclude the nuance presented in the previous speech and instead answer the worst version of their argument. DON’T DO THAT. This makes it significantly easier for me to vote against you.
If you’re a K team you're probably best off prefing me below truly ideologically neutral judges, but above those who will auto-vote for policy teams. Teams in these debates are best served by doing lots of impact calculus, ballot writing, and argument explanation. Given that evidence is usually a secondary concern in clash debates, the extra “reps don’t shape reality” card is less of a concern to me than you providing me a clear and well-warranted reasons why that should be the case.
Just because this is a clash debate doesn't mean that line-by-line debating is dead. K teams often win big picture framing issues and policy teams often win a lot of the technical minutia. The team that does both often wins this debate.
FW/T-USFG: I do not immediately think procedural fairness is an impact nor that it precedes other impacts without some work by the neg. I think education-based offense that deploys fairness as an internal link is generally more persuasive. Policy teams complain about the 4 minute K overview then have a 4 minute framework overview in the block. Put that stuff on the line by line.
There is also this weird trend of policy teams that believe the TVA will solve everything. If the aff has offense against your performance, the TVA will not solve this. The TVA can, and often does, play an important role in a compelling 2NR, but it usually isn't all 5 minutes. You need to substantively respond to the rest of the aff.
K affs: Read what you want. Be prepared to defend your stuff. I find impact turning neg framework offense to be more persuasive to me than reading a counterinterpretation. If you choose to defend a counterinterpretation you should be prepared to answer questions about predictability and fairness.
Ks: Neg teams usually win in two ways: They either convince me that I should adopt some role of the judge that negates a lot of the affirmative’s offense (i.e. that I should be a educator evaluating the discourse of the 1AC before some hypothetical policy consequence), or win under the affirmative’s framework, (i.e. convincing me that the plan consequentially makes the world a worse place). The entirety of your 2NR should be focuses on accomplishing some combination of these two goals. I have passing familiarity with some critical literature by virtue of having to answer it, but I am now a couple years out from debate so any jargon would need to be explained. In general, the more sweeping the theory, the higher burden I have for proof.
I think teams go for both the alt and FW far too often. Choose your path to victory and commit. A good team will punish your lack of coverage. I will not middle ground some framework interpretation - I will almost certainly evaluate the debate based on either the one presented in the 2AC or block. On balance, I think most teams should go for a FW based strategy otherwise perms and theoretical objections to the alt are quite convincing.
Aff vs K: Similarly, aff teams win in two ways: They convince me of some role of the judge that negates a lot of the negative’s offense (i.e. that you should evaluate the hypothetical consequences of the plan), or you win under the negative’s framework (i.e. that your representations are good and outweigh the downsides). Everything you do in the 2AR should be in service of some combination of these two goals. Affirmative teams often lose by being too defensive. Link/impact turn when you can, stand your ground defending your affirmative, don’t be afraid to engage with the theory. (Note: I personally believe this trend of reading soft-left affs to link less to Ks falls into the trap of being too defensive which makes it easier for me to vote against you).
Excellent FW debating often makes being neg nearly impossible. If you are not focusing on this in the 1AR and 2AR you are setting yourself up to lose.
K v K Debates:
I don’t expect to be in very many of these. If by some strange turn of events, I do end up judging one of these, you all will definitely know more about the theory than I will so please explain any jargon. Both teams should establish what my role is as a judge very early and set up win conditions for both sides. I can go either way on whether the aff gets perms in these debates.
Affs: 2ARs should be writing the ballot for me. In about 98% of debates there is a winning 2AR and it usually doesn’t require the 2AR to be extremely efficient or fast to accomplish. It requires the 2AR to identify the 2-3 most important issues and thoroughly explain why the affirmative is winning. Resolve arguments instead of making new ones. 2As rarely think enough about their 2AC. Straight turning a DA or embedding offense on a counterplan can make a world of difference in making the block harder and the 1AR and 2AR easier.
I strongly believe that soft-left affs are less strategic than a 'traditional aff'. This has nothing to do with the content discussed and everything to do with their execution. I was going to evaluate the debate via probability times magnitude anyway, so you telling me that for another 2 minutes doesn’t make sense. Usually the debate ends up coming down to how much you reduce the risk of the DA anyway so it doesn’t really matter.
New affs justify neg terrorism.
DA: Topic DAs are preferred. Politics DAs are obviously fine. Explain the link always, it always makes your position seem more credible than it actually is. Long and well-highlighted cards are preferred to short blippy ones. While evidence is important to me, it is secondary to the debating. I will first look to my flow to see if I can resolve the argument via the debating in the round. If I cannot, I then look at the docs.
CP: By default, I will kick the counterplan unless someone tells me not to. Usually if there’s a topic counterplan, I’m fine with it. Your ability to run cheating counterplans is entirely dependent on your ability to defend the theoretical legitimacy of them. 2As don't go for theory enough against the most abusive counterplans. Process counterplans can convince me best of their theoretical legitimacy when they prove that something substantively different from the aff would happen.
Conditionality is probably good, although sometimes I do dream of a world with neg teams that are stuck to one counterplan.
Topicality: Negative teams going for topicality should have a precise definition backed by a literature consensus. Otherwise, I find myself asking the question “could the affirmative team have known that this was a reasonable vision of the topic going into the round?” Generally, most topicality violations are really bad.
Card clipping allegations need a recording, I won’t be following along to check clipping. Pedagogically, you should record your rounds if possible anyways. It often becomes clear how many strategic/technical mistakes you made in retrospect.
Seriously, make a card doc.
A 2NR/2AR given entirely off paper will get a 0.1 speaker point boost. Additionally for every minute of prep you do not use, I will award 0.1 speaker points. I round down (i.e. if you have 30 seconds left, you might as well use all of it).
I strongly consider giving 25s to people who ask for 30s.
If your computer crashes just let me know and we’ll stop the debate while you wait for it to load back up.
I have realized that I take an above average amount of time to decide close debates. This is not a statement about which way I will end up voting.
I think I make faces during rounds often. This is not an indictment of anything you're doing right or wrong. I just make faces when I'm trying to process new information.
Peninsula 22, UCLA 26 (not debating)
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
No rounds on topic, don't immediately jump into 3rd and 4th levels in cross-ex because I will need complete context to follow.
Tech>truth for arguments (claim, warrant, impact) that I flow. I won't look at the documents during your speech. I will only vote on arguments I've flowed in the final speeches that were extended in each previous speech since their introduction.
You can insert rehighlights for the portions that they read, but must read everything else. I won't vote on things that happened outside the round. If neither side says anything, I'll judgekick.
Nicholas Rosenbaum (email@example.com)
Stanford University '24
Lane Tech '20
order of contents: tldr (applies universally), policy by arg/debate type, LD
TLDR [updated and tightened for gbx]:
-- The platonic ideal of a judge is a valueless, disinterested critic of argument of maximal intellectual ability and openness. Teams who agree that all debaters ought to be entitled to this type of judge and judging (or as close as is humanly possible) should pref me. Good debaters— and honestly even more important to me and specific, smart/intellectual debaters— of all stripes of style and substance should pref me. I have no reason to believe my personal convictions about debate, the world, etc. should hold any significance to the round I am judging. (To heterdox teams of all variety,) I will vote for literally anything.
-- Relative to your average good judge in the pool at a nat circ tournament, I am most uniquely adept at evaluating clash debates and providing rich, creative, and actionable post-round feedback thereupon. Please note what I’m actually saying: These debates (policy aff vs k, k aff vs fw) are the ones where the quality of judging you’ll get from me has the greatest positive departure from the median. This in no way indicts my interest or ability in evaluating other debates; it just identifies my personal spike.
-- Unlike many in the debate community, I want to be judging you. I really enjoy judging debates and do so diligently and with critical attention. With that said, bad debates are just not where I want to be— pref accordingly.
-- More on clash debates:
My voting record proves that I am 100% agnostic in these debates. I am as apathetic voting on 'extinction outweighs' as I am 'extinction doesn't matter in the face of the revolution'.
I am well-versed in the k as a practice in debate, and I know quite a lot of lit quite well. I most frequently went for settler colonialism and, among debate applications, probably know the most about afropessimism, but I always enjoyed a high theory injection for what it let me do. I now study a lot of German thinkers & political philosphy at university, do scholarly work spec. on Nietzsche, etc.
Insert typical ‘my background does not mean I will hack for the k; on the contrary, I know when..’. Once again, this is good for those who want to go HAM on smart stuff (for you needn’t worry about leaving me behind) but bad for ill-concieved strategies, those hoping to gaslight judges into equating multisyllabic tropes with profundity, etc. I do actually appreciate informedly-used jargon (using one word to express an assemblage of ideas) and abstraction generally. The throughline, again: good debate is good before me, and vice versa.
My senior year at a very small program, I (2N) primarily went for kritikal arguments & t/fw on the negative and wrote kooky fringe policy affs.
-- how to win: win an argument (or set of arguments) and win why you winning said argument(s) means that you have won the round!
- I conceptualize debate as a deliberation-based intellectual competition where my ballot signifies an endorsement of one team's argument as true in the sense that it is proven preeminent over the opposing team's primary argument in the larger context of said round.
-- critical intellectualism and smart decision-making above all else! A 2ar that makes risky, bold decisions to hedge their bets versus an obviously lethal, winning 2nr is my favorite thing to watch. Even if it's not enough to win, ruthless strategy is the best internal link to higher speaker points.
-- flow and base your speeches around it.
-- I'm a good flow and am very comfortable with fast debate, but remember, fast =/= clear; I will only say clear twice per speech. I do not follow along in the speech doc.
-- even-if statements>>>
K vs Policy Affs:
Yes! Probably my favorite type of debate. The neg shouldn't be lazy with their links, and the aff should be smarter debating fiat arguments. I prioritize explanation and specificity above all else.
Please clash on the level of framework. This hugely important section often becomes ships passing in the night with the neg reading some epistemology DA and the aff talking about procedural things, neither side making inroads to other team's arguments. In many of these debates, whoever wins this section of the flow wins the debate, so invest!
I have read in debate (and actively research and read for pleasure) various flavors of settler colonialism and anti-Blackness, imperialism, capitalism, semiocapitalism, IR theories, Asian and Jewish identity, militarism, queerness, Berlant/affect theory, Baudrillard, Virilio, Kroker, Nietzsche, flavors of debate pomo, and many others. I read and think about critical theory a lot, so I likely have a working literacy in whatever body of literature you want to read.
You do not need an alternative if you are winning framework OR if your links are material DA's to the aff's implementation where the squo would be preferable OR if your theory of power overdetermines the aff's potential to be desirable OR if you can think of another reason you don't need an alt. With that said, I do like when alts are coherent to the strategy of the k or heavily influence framework.
"Critiques are not counterplans, nor are they plan focused. "Links must be to the plan" "Perm double bind" and "private actor fiat is a voting issue" are not persuasive unless dropped OR if the negative reads a K that ends up being explained as the world peace CP or movements CP." - shree
"Judges who say they won’t vote on death good are anti-K liberals who don’t know what the argument says." - eugene toth
Framework vs K Affs:
TLDR: I am agnostic in evaluating these debates, and I vote SOLELY off the flow. I am great for either side in these debates, see TLDR.
I have been on both sides of this debate. Purely theoretically— that is, in an equally matched round, not any real round— I lean negative, as I probably find the perfect framework + case/presumption strategy more convincing than general answers. Nonetheless, absolutely here for aff teams that disrupt the assumed terms of the debate to such an extent that probably true negative arguments lose their compelling power. Doing less than that can still result in an aff ballot, considering many neg teams will not be close to my above-described ideal. So the aff can and will win many of these debates, but disproving the neg's claims beyond asserting that the case is good is absolutely essential.
Assuming a smart negative, affs probably will need to prove why the process of resolutional debate the negative is demanding them to adhere to is bad or why the aff's model solves the neg's offense.
I think a we-meet stemming from the debaters 'doing'/discussing something related to [resolution topic] rarely passes the smell test. The words resolved, USFG, and [topic word] deserve attention, so (in order of preference) impact turn or we meet/counter-interp, but a strategy based just on being thematically germane to the resolution is probably quite vulnerable.
I can find TVAs that capture aff literature and read it on the neg arguments very convincing.
I am very open to 'debate bad' claims. I don't agree, but who cares? Even better for the aff are 'policy-centered discussions of this resolution are bad' claims.
Related to the above point, I am most persuaded by k aff answers to framework that take an extreme and unapologetic stance. Playing the middle ground is risky, because let's be honest, you almost definitely underlimit the topic etc., so just tell me why that doesn't matter.
Fairness can be an impact if articulated as one. Yes, it is an internal link to the positive benefits of debate, but I buy it if framed as as a prerequisite to anything good coming out of the activity.
I think it's fundamental for the negative to have a role in the debate. I think this need becomes especially magnified in debates where the aff proposes a method of self-care. I believe that the aff's strategy is probably good, but if it would be inappropriate for the negative to negate the value of the method and similarly violent for them to exclude the aff from debate, I don't see how a debate can occur, and I'll be very sympathetic to negative arguments about the inhibition of clash/fairness/any good byproduct of a debate happening.
Tell me whether I should be voting for a model of debate or just acting as a referee on this round. This frame of reference is something I utilized in every fw, t, and theory debate, and I think it is super valuable for judge instruction and helps clean up messy debates.
K vs K Affs:
Can be very interesting, and I'd love to hear it if you understand and can execute your argument. I am not interested in poorly executed k strats chosen because you think I'd prefer it or because they will confuse your opponents. This applies everywhere, but strategies premised upon confusing/annoying opponents are bad for debate, and I would rather not hear them; obviously, there are a few exceptions in the lit (we’ll always have the dada aff, keryk <3).
If either team wants this to be a "method debate," clearly delineate what that means, how I decide, etc. I view debates comparing method solvency alone as often missing the central component of winning links and other forms of offense, so tell me how to navigate the decision.
Word PIKs and other shenanigans - totally justified and a smart strategy. Truly no rules in these debates; the affirmative set the anarchic precedent, so I'll buy anything from anyone (again, just means no prejudices on my end; it's all always about what y'all debate out).
I think most politics DAs are garbage from the lens of political science, but debate =/= reality, and I really enjoy listening to an expertly debated politics DA. Read lots of cards and incorporate smart analytics/logic.
Receptive to aff ptx theory
Links exist on a spectrum; the "chance of a link" has to be qualified and then incorporated into the risk assessment component of impact calculus.
Expert turns case analysis is invaluable.
So as to incentivize contextual judge instruction, I’m not going to put fourth a rule on whether or not I’ll default to judge kick. Tell me what to do or face my discretionary decision.
I think lots of counterplans that steal much of the aff (interpret that as you wish) are bad for debate and unfair and the aff should hammer them. However, my personal opinion doesn't inform my voting; the aff still needs has to win theory or, even better, competion. As a judge, I kinda enjoy these debates cuz techy and words, but at the level of the activity, I beg for the aff to level the playing field with sense.
CPs should ideally have solvency advocates in the 1nc, but whatever. I do think CPs lacking solvency advocates magnifies the strategy skew of conditionality.
Sufficiency framing is ridiculous. Not that it's wrong, but it's just like eh, why even say this? Solvency deficits will always need to be weighed vs a risk of the net-benefit. I'll end up having to do this, so you're better off telling me how I ought to do it and net-out.
Yes please IF the debates will be techy, organized, and clash-filled; both or either team reading blocks through the rebuttals without refuting the other teams arguments in depth is very boring and not something I want to watch.
*I don't know community norms on the topic, so argue from first principles. Also slow/break down acronyms and other esoteric vernacular if you want me to render the most accurate possible decision.
As a 2n, I resent 2A's that explode theory arguments shadow-extended in the 1ar because they've lost everything else. Theory blips are probably bad for the community. With that said, I understand doing what you have to do to win, so I will vote for whatever, but I'd ideally prefer coherent strategies.
I have literally no predispositions on whether condo is good or bad. I tend to think the problem is the abusiveness of counterplans, not the number thereof (cuz let's be real, that's what aff teams are actually objecting to, albeit under a different name), but I enjoy a good condo debate from both sides.
I will vote on any theory argument if executed properly. I don't like how many judges will in practice only vote on condo, even if the usually throw-away arg was dropped or seriously won; this practice is sneaky and bad, and I promise not to replicate it. I literally will vote for anything. If you’re actually up for the task (ask yourself), please do convince me why 50 state fiat in a CP kicked in the 2nc is a reason to vote aff. Doing so requires great skill and risk (making it much of the final rebuttal), but if done well, speaker points will rain because I think good theory debate is cool. You have to be so thoughtful and clashing to do it, though.
I will not adjudicate on things that happened outside of the round. There is no way for me to make an accurate determination in these cases. My ballot does not endorse any debater's character.
Do not steal prep, even a little! It is so prolific. It is rude to me, your opponents, and will result in tanked speaks.
Do not clip cards.
My experience is in policy debate, so I am not familiar with trad or local LD, but I've judged a handful of nat circ LD rounds, including outrounds. My senior year, my partner and I were flex (mostly policy affs and k's on the neg). The policy community considers/prefs me as a flex individual. I am well-versed in all argument types, but I most enjoy clash (policy aff v k or k aff v t/fw) debates. I also enjoy and am very comfortable judging straight policy/LARP debates.
any other (lay) stuff i wouldn't know about
I am very competent at judging fast, techy debates; debaters that embody this or otherwise want to be judged by someone with extensive experience in policy debate across the ideological spectrum should pref me. I am most qualified to judge TOC style and tier LD debates (ie those closest to circuit policy). These are also the LD debates I most enjoy being in.
Tricks: I will vote on them, and I have no preconceived ‘this is too stupid to vote on’ threshold, but I still would prefer not to be in these debates. Impacting beyond “they dropped this” is absolutely essential, and I won’t vote on any trick I don’t have flowed. As I said above, I was/am a very fast debater and want to judge fast debates, but if I miss #7 of 30 one-line analytic voting issues, sorry.
Phil: I study quite a bit of continental philosophy at uni lol
See the rest of my paradigm for my more developed thoughts. Both the TLDR and argument-specific policy sections apply to LD.
Lowell '20 l UCLA '24
Yes, email chain: zoerosenberg [at] gmail [dot] com AND firstname.lastname@example.org,please format the subject as: "Tournament Name -- Round # -- Aff School AF vs Neg School NG"
Background: I was a 2N for four years at Lowell, I qualified to the TOC my senior year and was in late elims of NSDA. I don't debate in college due to a lack of policy infrastructure. I now help out at Damien and judge frequently on the west coast so I have a good sense of arguments being read on the circuit.
GGSA/State Qualifier: I will still judge rounds technically, as one does for circuit debate. However, I believe adaptation is one of the most important skills one can get out of debate so I encourage you to speak slowly, especially with parents on the panel.
Tech before truth. It's human nature to have preferences toward certain arguments but I try my best to listen and judge objectively. All of the below can be changed by out-debating the other team through judge instruction and ballot writing. Unresolved debates are bad debates.
Speed is great, but clarity is even better. If I'm judging you online please go slightly slower, especially if you don't have a good mic. I find it increasingly hard to hear analytics in the online format.
Be smart. I rather hear great analytical arguments than terrible cards. I generally think in-round explanation is more important than evidence quality.
I'm very expressive, look at me if you want to know if I'm digging your argument!
Call me by my name, not "judge".
Debnil Sur taught me everything I know about debate so check: https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?search_first=debnil&search_last= for a better explanation of anything I have to say here.
What arguments does she prefer? I went for mostly policy arguments and feel more in my comfort zone judging these debates. That being said, I moved more to the left as my years in high school came to a close and am down to judge a well-defended kritikal affirmative. I think debate is a game but it's a game that can certainly can influence subjectivity development. Note: I would still prefer to judge a bad policy debate, over a bad kritikal debate.
Online Debate Adaptions
Here are some things you can do to make the terribleness of online tournaments a little less terrible.
1 - I really would like your camera to be on, wifi permitting. Debate is a communicative activity and your persuasion increases by tenfold if you are communicating with me face to face.
2 - Please use some form of microphone or slow down by 20%. It is really hard to catch analytics with poor audio quality.
3 - The benefits of sending analytics vastly outweigh the cons of someone having your blocks to a random argument.
4 - If it takes you more than a minute to send out an email chain I will start running prep. I genuinely don't understand how it can take up to five minutes to attach a document to an email chain lmao
K Affs: I read a kritikal affirmative all of senior year but on the negative went for framework against most K affs. I don't have a definite bias toward either side. However, kritikal affirmatives that defend a direction of the topic and allow the negative to access core topic generics jive with me much more than simply impact turning fairness and skirting the resolution.
Framework: Fairness is an impact. By the 2NR please don't go for more than two impacts. Having a superior explanation why the TVA resolves their offense and doing impact comparison will put you in a good spot. Switch-side debate is a silly argument, but feel free to convince me otherwise.
Neg: I know the lit behind security, neolib, psychoanalysis, and necropolitics. Make of that which you will. I'm not going to be happy listening to your 7 minute overview. Explain the thesis of the kritik and contextualize the link debate to the aff and I will be quite happy. Winning framework means you probably win the ballot. And as Debnil puts it, "I believe I'm more of an educator than policymaker, which means representational critiques or critiques of debate's educational incentive structure will land better for me than most judges."
Competing interps or reasonability? Competing interps. Asserting a standard like limits needs to be warranted out, explain why your impacts matters. Have a clear vision of the topic under your interp, things like case-lists and a solid understanding of arguments being read on the circuit are important. T before theory. Also a good topicality debate is my favorite thing ever.
Is condo good? Yes, most of the time. Things like amending stuff in the block, kicking planks, fiating out of straight turns are sketchy. But in most debates, unless it's dropped or severely mishandled I lean neg. To win condo the affirmative must have a superior explanation why multiple advocacies made that debate unrecoverable. Going for condo only because you're losing on substance is not the move. Hard debate is good debate. Other theory preferences (I-Fiat, Process CPs, etc.) are likely determined by the topic. However, they're almost always reasons to reject the argument not the team.
Policy stuff? I like it. Link centered debate matters the most, so focus on uniqueness and link framing. Do comparative analysis of the warrants in your evidence. I really dislike bad turns case analysis, link turns case arguments will sit better with me. I think most types of counterplans are legitimate if the neg wins they are competitive. I'll judge kick if you tell me to do it.
Make a funny joke about anyone on the Lowell squad, Lisa Kopelnik, Brendan Tremblay, or Debnil Sur and I'll boost you +.1 speaks
If you have any questions about these points, please do not hesitate to ask me before the round!
My email: email@example.com
I was involved in speech and debate since I was in middle school and throughout my four years of high school. I attended Los Alamos High School in New Mexico and graduated in 2017. I competed in several national circuit tournaments in Arizona, Texas, and National Speech and Debate tournament in 2017. My events included PF debate, LD debate, Original Oratory, and USX/IX. I graduated from UCLA in 2021 and I am currently a PhD student in Statistics at UC Berkeley.
My judging philosophy
1. (esp for CX) DO NOT SPREAD. I understand that you have a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time, so speaking quickly is fine. However, there is a difference between speaking quickly and spreading. Trying to talk at lightning speed will impact your speaker points and in turn the ballot because I cannot understand you. If you are speaking too fast, I will verbally tell you to slow down. Please do not make me tell you more than twice. Speech and debate is about effective and clear communication and spreading detracts from that.
2. Be polite. If you encounter a debater less experienced than you, let them down easy and politely. I will not accept any rude or demeaning behavior. Being rude or patronizing discourages new competitors from staying in the speech and debate community. I am not afraid to punish you with the ballot if you are disrespectful to your opponent.
3. Statistics as evidence. I am a statistician, so I am particularly intrigued by anything involving statistics or data. That being said, I reserve the right to view any and all cards and their corresponding sources upon request. To avoid this, please avoid making statistically incorrect conclusions based on data. I will not consider your contention/subpoint in my RFD if an incorrect statistical conclusion is made. The most common being "X causes Y" when in reality it is "X is associated with Y". In other words, report the results as they are and don't try to oversell them to me.
4. Impacts matter! Make these clear! I care a lot about end-of-round crystallization. Voting issues are a must.
5. Being Progressive (K's, T Shells, Counterplans). You should explain why these are important because I have no idea what they are. It is fine if you want to run this stuff but you should explain the argument to me like you would to your grandmother.
If you search up my debating record, you will probably see that I have a roughly even win/loss record was never a national/state champion or even a tournament finalist. I think I might have made it to semifinals during one year, but I honestly cannot remember (I promise in 4 years you will not remember either).
However, I found speech and debate to be a rewarding time in my high school career, where I learned the importance of effective communication and advocacy on behalf of others. Win or lose, please do not forget about the skills you gain from each round and each tournament you compete in. Good luck!
Leland '22 Michigan '26
Judging should be all tech, no truth. The only thing that factors into my decision is what has been said by the debaters. That means 'I don't care what arguments you go for or how many off you read in the 1NC.'
K in high school, policy in college. Everything below are merely preferences that are overcome by good debating. Judging record is a better indicator of preferences than a paradigm so looking at that is usually more helpful.
You can insert rehighlightings as long as its implication is explained. Recuttings of parts of the article not originally present in the card should be read.
Aff v K
Links should be to the aff but what the 'aff' constitutes is up to the winning framework. I'm increasingly better for interpretations that are more exclusive (don't weigh the aff, no k's). That's why 'middle ground' frameworks rarely make sense---I'm either voting for the aff's interpretation or the neg's. However, teams can often win the debate under the other teams interpretation.
The alternative is usually nonsense and a good cx can essentially zero it. The inverse is the alternative does too much which affs should get better at answering by winning theoretical objections or the perm double bind.
Most of my 2NRs were IR, Cap, or Set Col. Never read high theory and don't understand it but if you explain it well, go for it.
Planless Affs v T
I only read planless affs in high school but also exclusively went for framework against them.
Fairness is an impact and often the easier one to win. Inversely, impact turns are good and often easier to win compared to a CI.
Defining the ballot is particularly important in these debates as they are decisive for the rest of the flow, ie. 'if the aff wins the ballot can't enforce models of nuanced clash but it remedies in-round violence,' I'm most likely voting aff even if the neg wins clash is important.
TVA/SSD are strategic but not always necessary.
Predictable limits are probably the 'gold-standard.' That being said limits outweigh everything is also perfectly viable.
Competing Interpretations seems more logical than reasonability.
PTIV is good.
Negs should have a caselist for what their model includes/excludes.
No preferences for what CPs you read. Multiplank advantage CPs are just as strategic as Sunsets and Courts.
Competition debates are good and oftentimes hard and I'll reward teams that do it well.
Defer to judgekick.
DA / Case
Read good internal links, do turns case. Link uniqueness is important.
Smart analytics often trump bad cards. Exploit impact cards that lack warrants.
Condo is usually the only reason to reject the team. Condo is generally good.
Hi, I'm Allyson Spurlock (people also call me Bunny)
I did policy debate for 4 years at CK McClatchy High School in Sacramento, CA where I qualified to the TOC three times and was a Quarterfinalist. I am currently a debater at Georgetown.
I will diligently flow the debate, read the relevant evidence flagged by the final rebuttals, and assign relative weight to arguments (which originate completely/clearly from the constructives) in accordance with depth of explanation, explicit response to refutations, and instruction in how I should evaluate them.
I have few non-obvious preferences or opinions (obviously, be a respectful and kind person, read qualified/well-cut + highlighted evidence, make smart strategic choices, etc).
I have thought a lot about both critical and policy arguments and honestly do not think you should pref me a certain way because of the kinds of arguments you make (HOW you make them is pretty much all I care about). Judge instruction is paramount; tell me how to read evidence, frame warrants, compare impacts, etc.
Evidence quality matters a lot to me, but your speeches need to do the work of extending/applying specific warrants. Condo is probably good, but many CPs I think can be won are theoretically illegitimate/easily go away with smart perms. Debating the risks of internal links of Advs and DAs is much more useful than reading generic impact defense.
Different approaches (on both sides) are all fine, as long as you answer the important questions. Does debate change our subjectivity? What is the role of negation and rejoinder? What does the ballot do? Fairness can be an impact but the 2NR still needs to do good impact calculus/comparison.
Policy Aff v K:
FW debates are often frustratingly unresolved; the final rebuttal should synthesize arguments and explain their implications. Because of this, it is often a cleaner ballot for the 2NR to have a unique link that turns the case and beats the aff without winning framework. 2ACs should spend more time on the alt; most are bad and it is very important to decisively win that the Neg cannot access your offense.
Would prefer not to judge debates about silly theory arguments, RVIs, T arguments written by coaches, or other tricks. Err on the side of extra explanation for LD-specific things.
+0.2 speaker points if you don't ask for a marked doc after the speech
Please add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
If it's more than 2 short cards or if the card is long, put it in a doc.
You can insert rehighlightings, but explain the argument you're making.
I'm tech>truth, but complete arguments need claim(s), warrants, and impact(s). "They dropped the impact" is not an argument or something I can vote on alone.
Speed is okay but you need to be clear.
I will probably protect the 2NR from new 2AR arguments; there should be a version of the argument you are extending in the 1AR unless it is a new 2NR argument.
Cross-ex is important.
Please do impact calc/argument comparison.
Theory: I will vote on dropped theory, if explained, and I think condo is good but can be persuaded otherwise.
CPs: I will judgekick counterplans if there are no arguments about it, and the 2AR can have new judgekick bad args.
T: Fairness is a impact and fairness>skills/education. Reasonability is a question of how I evaluate the interpretation debate, not the we meet.
Disads: I don't think a disad can have zero risk (including when the aff makes framing arguments) (unless it's already happened) so you should debate as though the disad has a sizeable risk. Specific cards and arguments are best -- use evidence quality, if you have it, to your advantage.
Ks: I think the advantages of the hypothetical implementation of the plan should be weighed against the impacts to the links. I can be persuaded by framework arguments, but as with T, I think fairness>skills/education. Please do impact calc and make the links specific to the aff/case. I am very unlikely to vote for fiat is illusory type arguments or similar tricks.
K Affs: On framework, fairness>skills/education. I generally think that the aff should defend a hypothetical action of the United States federal government, but can be persuaded otherwise. Assume I do not know your theory, so you should make sure to explain your arguments clearly--I won't vote for you if I don't know what I'm voting for. For K v K, I am probably not the best, but if this debate happens, both sides should make the distinctions between the two Ks clear. I think the aff gets perms.
Definitely ask any questions you have before the round.
Be nice and good luck!
Yes, put me on the chain: email@example.com
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. I also used to coach at Harvard-Westlake, Kinkaid, and Heritage Hall.
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.
October 2023 Musings
I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon, but what happened to flowing and line-by-line? Stop. flowing. off the doc. Flowing is fundamental and you need to actually do it. Please stop over-scripting your speeches. I promise you will sound so much better when you debate off the flow.
I could not agree more with Tracy McFarland here: 'Clash - it's good - which means you need to flow and not script your speeches. LBL with some clear references to where you're at = good. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.'
In most of the college rounds I've judged so far this year, I have noticed that debaters are overly reliant on reading a wall of cards to substitute for actual debating. I don't know who hurt you, but you don't need to read 10 cards in the 1AR. Reading cards is easy and anyone can do it. I want to see you debate.
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 answering 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.
Case debate matters oh so much to me.Please, please debate the case, like a lot. It does not matter what kind of round it is -- I want to see detailed, in-depth case debate. A 2NC that is just case? Be still, my heart. Your speaker points will get a significant boost if you dedicate significant time to debating the case in the neg block. By "debating the case" I do not mean just reading a wall of cards and calling it a day -- that's not case debate, it's just reading.
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 shy 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.
Plan texts matter. Most plan texts nowadays are written in a way that avoids clash and specificity. Affirmative teams should know that I am not going to give you much leeway when it comes to recharacterizing what the plan text actually means. If the plan says virtually nothing because you're scared of linking to negative arguments, just know that I will hold you to the words in the plan and won't automatically grant the most generous interpretation. You do not get infinite spin here. Ideally, the affirmative will read a plan text that accurately reflects a specific solvency advocate.
I am not a fan of extreme or reductionist characterizations of different approaches to debate. For example, it will be difficult to persuade me that all policy arguments are evil, worthless, or violent. Critical teams should not go for 'policy debate=Karl Rove' because this is simply a bad, reductionist argument. On the flip side, it would be unpersuasive to argue that all critiques are stupid or meaningless.
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 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 am not interested in judging or evaluating call-outs, or adjacent arguments of this variety. I care deeply about safety and inclusion in this activity and I will do everything I can to support you. But, I do not believe that a round should be staked on these issues and I am not comfortable giving any judge that kind of power.
Please do not waste your breath asking for a 30. I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen.
Generally speaking, profanity should be avoided. In most cases, it does not make your arguments or performance more persuasive. Excessive profanity is extremely annoying and may result in lower speaks. If you are in high school, I absolutely do not want to hear you swear in your speeches. I am an adult, and you are a teenager -- I know it feels like you're having a big ethos moment when you drop an F-bomb in the 2NC but I promise it is just awkward/cringe.
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.
Conflicts: Harvard-Westlake (assistant director of debate 2018-2022), and Strake Jesuit.
My background is in policy debate, but I am very fluent in LD. I do not actively coach LD beyond occasionally helping the Strake kids, though I am familiar with the RTH housing topic.
If you are asking questions about what was read or skipped in the speechdoc, that counts as CX time. If you are simply asking where a specific card was marked, that is okay and does not count as CX time. If you want your opponent to send out a speechdoc that includes only the things they read, that counts as your CX time or prep time -- it is your responsibility to flow.
You need to be on time. I cannot stress this enough. LDers consistently run late and it drives me bonkers. Your speaks will be impacted if you are excessively late without a reasonable excuse.
Q:I primarily read policy (or LARP) arguments, should I pref you?
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. You may need to do some policy translation so I understand exactly what you're saying.
Q: I really like Nebel T, should I pref you?
A: No, you shouldn't. He's a very 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 blog 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.
Any other questions can be asked before the round or email me.
For Policy I am largely a policy and stock issues judge. While I am not an absolutist (meaning if you're not 100% on these I reject your case) I do largely want your case to fulfill the burdens of the topic within a reasonable plausibility or ability. This means I want clear eloquent presentations and do not like arguments that are NOT related to the actual topic.
I then focus on the policy itself looking at the advantages and disadvantages of a case. This means that if you like to throw in "game theories" those will be entertained if they accept and help argue the topic and the team can prove that "blowing up the moon" will have a net positive impact on the case.
If you are going to spread, then you should email be a copy of your case so that I can look for the issues you are arguing.
1. Yes, include me on the doc chain – firstname.lastname@example.org
2. No, I am not ok with you just putting the card in the text of the email. Even if it’s just one card
3. Idk if the aff has to read a plan. I would obviously prefer it because I'm used to it, but I also would prefer if I were in for zero rounds, so…
4. No, you should not try to read Baudrillard or other post-modern theories against me. (Yes. Against me.) This is not a challenge. It's not a threat, it's a warning. I am admitting insurmountable bias.
5. Yes, you should (please) slow down while debating if you are online. There are glitches in streaming and it’s hard enough to understand you. For a while, I tried following along with the docs when I missed something, but we all know that just leads to more errors. This is your warning: if you are not clear enough to flow I will not try to flow it. I will give two warnings to be clear (and one after your speech in case you didn’t hear me). If you choose to keep doing you, don’t expect to win or for me to know what you said. On the flip side, if you are actively slowing down to make the debate comprehensible, you will be rewarded with a speaker point bump.
6. JESUS CHRIST PLEASE stop trying to debate how you think I want you to. It's never a good look to over-adapt. The only exception isis you want to go for Baudrillard and somehow ended up with me as a judge. Then please over-adapt. I cannot stress enough the importance of adaptation if you are trying to tell me post-modern theory or that death is cool.
- I am chronically ill. If you pref me, there is a chance I have a flare up while judging you. This means I will finish the debate with my camera off but am still there. I just want some privacy while sick/you really don't want to see my face if I turn my camera off.
- I am a blunt judge. If you choose to pref me, that’s on you. Blow me up and I might say some harsh things. I wont call you out of your name, but I will be very clear about your skills (or lack thereof) in the debate.
- I also might cry...I'm clinically hypersensitive from PTSD. If I cry and you weren't being a total jerk, don't over-apologize and make the RFD about me, lets just plan on a written RFD in that case.
The longer version:
I've been told you need to average a 29.2 to clear nowadays. Because of that:
-a learning speech will be 28.4-28.7,
-an average speech will be 28.8-29.1,
-a clearing level speech will be 29.2-29.5,
-a top ten speaker will be 29.6-29.9.
I'm not giving 30s. Ya gotta be perfect to get a 30, and Hannah Montana taught me that nobody's perfect.
If you get below a 28.4 you probably severely annoyed me.
If you get below a 28, you were probably a problem in the debate, ethically.
-I’ve rarely judged a planless debate where the neg has not gone for framework. In instances where I have, the neg was policy style impact turning a concept of the aff, not going for a K based on a different theory of the world.
-I generally went for framework against planless affirmatives when I debated, and therefore am a bit deeper on the neg side of things. That being said, I also have a standard for what the neg needs to do to make a complete argument.
-I don’t think topicality, or adhering to a resolution, is analogous to rape, slavery, or other atrocities. That doesn't mean arguments about misogynoir, pornotroping, or other arguments of that nature don't work with me. I understand the logic of something being problematic. It's just the oversimplification of theory into false comparisons I take issue with.
-I don’t think that not being topical will cause everyone to quit, lose all ability to navigate existential crises, or other tedious internal link chains. That being said, I love an external impact to framework that defends the politics of government action.
-I would really prefer if people had reasonable arguments on topicality for why or why they don’t need to read a plan, rather than explaining to me their existential impact to voting aff or neg. In the same way that I'm not persuaded the neg will quit or extinction will happen if you don't read a plan, I also don't think extinction will happen if you lose to topicality. Focus instead on the real debate impacts at hand. Though, as said above, I love a good defense of your politics, and if that has a silly extinction impact that's fine.
-I find myself persuaded that the case can not outweigh topicality. Arguments from the case can be used to impact turn topicality, but that is distinct from “case outweighs limits” in my mind. T is a gateway issue. If the neg goes for T, that's what the debate is about. This is why I think many planless 1ACs are best when they have a built-in angle against framework.
-indicts to procedural fairness impacts are persuasive to me.
-modern concrete examples of incrementalism failing or working help
-aff teams need to explain how their counter interpretation solves the neg impacts as well as your impact turns.
-neg teams need to turn the aff impacts and have external offense of their own teams frequently do one or the other
Neg K v plans:
-Generally, the alt won’t solve when the aff does a serious push, but the aff will let the neg get away with murder on alt solvency.
-Generally, the alt doing the plan is a reason to reject the alt/team absent a framework debate, which is fine.
-Generally, contradictions justify severance
-Generally, the neg is allowed to read Ks
-I'm getting more and more persuaded the neg needs a big push on framework to beat the perm. If the alt is fiated and not mutually exclusive with the plan, there is almost no way to convince me that the perm won't solve.
-Framework debates are won by engaging the theory aspect and is pragmatism/action desirable, not just one. Typically the neg spends a bunch of time winning the aff is an unethical method, while the aff is talking about fairness and limits.
-please slow down on framework blocks!
K v K debate:
I tend to find myself thinking of things in terms of causality, so if that’s not your jam you gotta tell me not to think in that way. I have *technically* judged a K v K debate, but I'm pretty sure it was a cap debate that was more impact turn-y than theory of power-y.
I'm interested in seeing debates like this despite my lack of experience.
K stuff in general:
-My degree is in math. While y’all were reading a lot of background lit, I was doing abstract algebra. You might have to break it down a bit. I'm reading a bit more of the stuff y'all debate from in grad school, but it's still safe to eli5.
-I am more persuaded by identity or constructivism than post-modernism.
-I DO NOT recommend reading Baudrillard, Bataille, etc. You might think "but I'm the one that will change her mind;" you aren't. I will be annoyed for having to judge the debate tbh. You have free will to read it if you want, but I have free will to tank your points with ZERO remorse. If this third warning doesn't do it for you, you are responsible for your speaker points.
General: I don't like to read cards as a default because decision time is 20 minutes assuming there were no delays in the round. If a card is called into question or my BS meter is going off, I will read the card. Absent that, I'm mostly about the flow and ethos. Tell me what warrants in your card you want me to know about. Point out the parts in the other team's evidence that are bad for them. That makes my judging job easier, causes me to read the card, AND gives you a sick speaker point boost.
-Tell me if I can (or can’t!) kick it for you. I may or may not remember to if you don’t. I may or may not feel like you are allowed to if you don’t.
-Reading definitions of should means the perm or theory is in tough shape. It's not unwinnable, but I was a 2A… Tricky process counterplans that argue to result in the aff by means of solvency, but are *actually* competitive (more than just should and resolved definitions), game on. If that means you have to define some topic words in an interesting way, I'm fine with that. Also, despite being a classic 2A, I find myself holding the aff to a higher standard sometimes. Maybe it's because I went to MSU, but a lot of times I find myself thinking "this CP obviously doesn't solve. why doesn't the aff just say that or try to cut a card about it???"
-Make the intrinsic perm great again!
-Links to the net benefit is usually a sliding scale. But sometimes links have a certain threshold where it doesn’t matter which links less. Please consider this nuance when debating.
-TBH – y’all blaze through theory blocks with no clarity and then get confused when I have no standards written down. These debates are bad. Be more clear. Speak at a flowable pace. Maybe make your own arguments. Idk.
-It is debatable whether an argument is a reason to reject the argument or team.
-2ACs that spend 15-plus seconds on the theory shell will see a lot more mileage and viability for the 2AR. One-sentence blips with no warrants and flow checks will be treated as such.
-impact comparison and turns case are lost arts in theory debates.
-Yes, there can be zero DA. No, it’s not as common as you think.
-answer turns case!!!
Debate is a research game. Demonstrate topic knowledge, and you'll earn high speaker points. Isolate one or two questions to hinge the debate on, and you'll have an easier path to victory.
You don't have to read a plan. Just impact turn framework. Don't need an elaborate explanation of your vision of debate.
Fairness is an impact.
Evidence quality matters a little more than in-round strategy. That being said, dropped arguments are true (though it'll be hard to convince me that a 1NC DA shell with 50 words highlighted is a "complete" argument).
Conditionality is good. Unlikely to vote on cheap-shot theory arguments unless dropped.
Topicality usually comes down to evidence quality. If you're decidedly right about the meaning of a word, then you'll probably win. If there's some ambiguity in this, then case-lists help your case better than a generic under/over-limiting block.
Critiques should dispute the reasons to vote affirmative. In other words, not a fan of negative strategies that consist entirely of frivolous pre-requisite questions and framework interpretations. The K should make sense in a world where the plan happens.
Counterplans that compete off of certainty/immediacy are not ideal.
Feel free to post-round.
Send out the 1AC before the speech.
On Evidence Ethics
I have judged a handful of high stakes debates this year that were decided on evidence ethics. I’ve found that these decisions are inevitably unsatisfying as they will rely on my own subjective assessment of the argument in question.
I can safely say that I am completely unqualified to judge these debates. I am not on Twitter or Facebook, and I do not interact with debate people regularly outside of tournaments. I do not know what the community consensus is on certain authors, and I will feel uncomfortable rendering a personal judgement an author’s character after hearing 10 minutes of spreading on the subject.
In hopes of giving debaters some foresight, I would like to clarify my perspective on this genre of theory argument. High stakes evidence ethics challenges (e.g. “reject the team because they included the wrong author qualifications”, “reject the team because [author] is problematic”) will require a high burden of proof and an egregious violation. I have a strong predisposition against positioning these ethics challenges as reasons to fully disregard the rest of your opponents arguments, and I would prefer to just reject the argument in question rather than to hinge my decision on it.
In these circumstances, I would suggest clearly explaining which of your opponents arguments I should throw out if I resolve this challenge in your favor.
Would rejecting this author evaporate your opponent’s framework argument? Should the negative even be allowed to substitute this author with another that makes a similar argument? You’re likely to get further with me by detailing the implications of this ethics challenge in terms of the rest of the debate rather than relying on me to assume that I should automatically make it a gateway issue.
I would suggest finding other ways outside of a competitive debate argument to navigate this ethical challenge rather than placing it in my hands as a judge.
Pronounced phonetically as DEB-nil. Not pronounced "judge", "Mister Sur", or "deb-NEIL".
Policy Coach at Lowell High School, San Francisco
Email: lowelldebatedocs [at] gmail.com for email chains. If you have my personal email, don't put it on the email chain. Sensible subject please.
Lay Debate: If we are in a primarily lay setting (really just at GGSA or CHSSA), I'll evaluate the debate as a lay judge unless both teams ask for a fast debate. Some degree of technical evaluation is inevitable, but please don't spread. In a split setting, please adapt to the most lay judge in your speed and explanation. I won't penalize you for making debate accessible.
Resolving Debates: 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.
I believe debate is a strategy game, in which debaters must communicate research to persuade judges. I'll almost certainly endorse better judge instruction over higher quality yet under-explained evidence. I flow on my laptop, but I only look at the speech doc when online. I will only read a card in deciding if that card was contested by both teams or I was told explicitly to and the evidence was actually explained in debate.
I take an above-average time to decide debates. My decision time has little relationship with the debate's closeness, and more with the time of day and my sleep deprivation. I usually start 5-10 minutes after the 2AR, so I can stretch my legs and let the debate marinate in my head. Debaters work hard, and I reciprocate that effort in making decisions. My decisions themselves are quite short. Most debates come down to 2-4 arguments, and I will identify those and explain my resolution. You're welcome to post-round. It can't change my decision, but I want to learn and improve as a judge and thinker too.
General Background: I work full-time in tech as a software engineer. In my spare time, I have coached policy debate at Lowell in San Francisco since 2018. I am involved in strategy and research and have coached both policy and K debaters to the TOC. I am, quite literally, a "framer", as a member of the national topic wording committee. Before that, I read policy arguments as a 2N at Bellarmine and did youth debate outreach (e.g., SVUDL) as a student at Stanford.
I've judged many excellent debates. Ideologically, I would say I'm 60/40 policy-leaning. I think my voting records don't reflect this, because K debaters tend to see the bigger picture in clash rounds.
Topic Background: I judge and coach regularly and am fully aware of national circuit trends. I'm less in the weeds as many other coaches. I don't cut as many cards as I did in the pandemic years, and I don't work at debate camp.
If you're reading the web3 UBI affirmative, I implemented one of the first CBDC pilots back in 2018/19. If you know what you're talking about, I'm the best possible judge. But if you don't, I'll be much more easily persuaded by the negative, especially on the case debate.
Voting Splits: As of the end of the water topic, I have judged 304 rounds of VCX at invitationals over 9 years. 75 of these were during college; 74 during immigration and arms sales at West Coast invitationals; and 155 on CJR and water, predominantly at octafinals bid tournaments.
Below are my voting splits across the (synthetic) policy-K divide, where the left team represents the affirmative, as best as I could classify debates. Paradigm text can be inaccurate self-psychoanalysis, so I hope the data helps.
I became an aff hack on water. Far too often, the 2AR was the first speech doing comparative analysis instead of reading blocks. I hope this changes as we return to in-person debate.
Policy v. Policy - 18-13: 58% aff over 31 rounds
Policy v. K - 20-18: 56% aff over 38 rounds
K v. Policy - 13-8: 62% aff over 21 rounds
K v. K - 1-1, 50% aff over 2 rounds
Policy v. Policy - 67-56: 55% for the aff over 123 rounds
Policy v. K - 47-52: 47% for the aff over 99 rounds
K v. Policy - 36-34: 51% for the aff over 70 rounds
K v. K - 4-4: 50% for the aff over 8 rounds
1. I'd prefer your camera on, but won't make a fuss.
2. Please check verbally and/or visually with all judges and debaters before starting your speech.
3. If my camera's off, I'm away, unless I told you otherwise.
Speaker Points: I flow on my computer, but I do not use the speech doc. I want every word said, even in card text and especially in your 2NC topicality blocks, to be clear. I will shout clear twice in a speech. After that, it's your problem.
Note that this assessment is done per-tournament: for calibration, I think a 29.3-29.4 at a finals bid is roughly equivalent to a 28.8-28.9 at an octos bid.
29.5+ — the top speaker at the tournament.
29.3-29.4 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.
29.1-29.2 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.
28.9-29 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.
28.7-28.8 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.
28.3-28.6 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.
28-28.2 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.
K Affs and Framework:
1. I have coached all sides of this debate.
2. I will vote for the team whose impact comparison most clearly answers the debate's central question. This typically comes down to the affirmative making negative engagement more difficult versus the neg forcing problematic affirmative positions. You are best served developing 1-2 pieces of offense well, playing defense to the other team's, and telling a condensed story in the final rebuttals.
3. Anything can be an impact---do what you do best. My teams typically read a limits/fairness impact and a procedural clash impact. From Dhruv Sudesh: "I don't have a preference for hearing a skills or fairness argument, but I think the latter requires you to win a higher level of defense to aff arguments."
4. Each team should discuss what a year of debate looks like under their models in concrete terms. Arguments like "TVA", "switch-side debate", and "some neg ground exists" are just subsets of this discussion. It is easy to be hyperbolic and discuss the plethora of random affirmatives, but realistic examples are especially persuasive and important. What would your favorite policy demon (MBA, GBN, etc.) do without an agential constraint? How does critiquing specific policy reforms in a debate improve critical education? Why does negative policy ground not center the affirmative's substantive conversation?
5. As the negative, recognize if this is an impact turn debate or one of competing models early on (as in, during the 2AC). When the negative sees where the 2AR will go and adjusts accordingly, I have found that I am very good for the negative. But when they fail to understand the debate's strategic direction, I almost always vote affirmative. This especially happens when impact turning topicality---negatives do not seem to catch on yet.
6. I quite enjoy leveraging normative positions from 1AC cards for substantive disadvantages or impact turns. This requires careful link explanation by the negative but can be incredibly strategic. Critical affirmatives claim to access broad impacts based on shaky normative claims and the broad endorsement of a worldview, rather than a causal method; they should incur the strategic cost.
7. I am a better judge for presumption and case defense than most. It is often unclear to me how affirmatives solve their impacts or access their impact turns on topicality. The negative should leverage this more.
8. I occasionally judge K v K debates. I do not have especially developed opinions on these debates. Debate math often relies on causality, opportunity cost, and similar concepts rooted in policymaking analysis. These do not translate well to K v K debates, and the team that does the clearest link explanation and impact calculus typically wins. While the notion of "opportunity cost" to a method is still mostly nonsensical to me, I can be convinced either way on permutations' legitimacy.
1. I do not often coach K teams but have familiarity with basically all critical arguments.
2. Framework almost always decides this debate. While I have voted for many middle-ground frameworks, they make very little strategic sense to me. The affirmative saying that I should "weigh the links against the plan" provides no instruction regarding the central question: how does the judge actually compare the educational implications of the 1AC's representations to the consequences of plan implementation? As a result, I am much better for "hard-line" frameworks that exclude the case or the kritik.
3. I will decide the framework debate in favor of one side's interpretation. I will not resolve some arbitrary middle road that neither side presented.
4. If the kritik is causal to the plan, a well-executing affirmative should almost always win my ballot. The permutation double-bind, uniqueness presses on the link and impact, and a solvency deficit to the alternative will be more than sufficient for the affirmative. The neg will have to win significant turns case arguments, an external impact, and amazing case debating if framework is lost. At this point, you are better served going for a proper counterplan and disadvantage.
5. I will not evaluate non-falsifiable statements about events outside the current debate. Such an evaluation of minors grossly misuses the ballot. Strike me if this is a core part of your strategy.
1. This is about the plan text, not other parts of the 1AC. If you think the plan text is contrived to be topical, beat them on the PIC out of the topic and your topic DA of choice.
2. This is a question of which team's vision of the topic maximizes its benefits for debaters. I compare each team's interpretation of the topic through an offense/defense lens.
3. Reasonability is about the affirmative interpretation, not the affirmative case itself. In its most persuasive form, this means that the substance crowdout caused by topicality debates plus the affirmative's offense on topicality outweighs the offense claimed by the negative. This is an especially useful frame in debates that discuss topic education, precision, and similar arguments.
4. Any standards are fine. I used to be a precision stickler. This changed after attending topic meetings and realizing how arbitrarily wording is chosen.
5. From Anirudh Prabhu: "T is a negative burden which means it is the neg’s job to prove that a violation exists. In a T debate where the 2AR extends we meet, every RFD should start by stating clearly what word or phrase in the resolution the aff violated and why. If you don’t give me the language to do that in your 2NR, I will vote aff on we meet." Topicality 101---the violation is a negative burden. If there's some uncertainty, I almost certainly vote aff with a decent "we meet" explanation.
1. As with other arguments, I will resolve this fully technically. Unlike many judges, my argumentative preferences will not implicate how I vote. I will gladly vote on a dropped theory argument---if it was clearly extended as a reason to reject the team---with no regrets.
2. I'm generally in favor of limitless conditionality. But because I adjudicate these debates fully technically, I think I vote affirmative on "conditionality bad" more than most.
3. From Rafael Pierry: "most theoretical objections to CPs are better expressed through competition. ... Against these and similar interpretations, I find neg appeals to arbitrariness difficult to overcome." For me, this is especially true with counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy. While I do not love the delay counterplan, I think it is much more easily beaten through competition arguments than theoretical ones.
4. If a counterplan has specific literature to the affirmative plan, I will be extremely receptive to its theoretical legitimacy and want to grant competition. But of course, the counterplan text must be written strategically, and the negative must still win competition.
1. I'm better for strategies that depend on process and competition than most. These represent one of my favorite aspects of debate---they combine theory and substance in fun and creative ways---and I've found that researching and strategizing against them generates huge educational benefits for debaters, certainly on par with more conventionally popular political process arguments like politics and case.
2. I have no disposition between "textual and functional competition" and "only functional competition". Textual alone is pretty bad. Positional competition is similarly tough, unless the affirmative grants it. Think about how a model of competition justifies certain permutations---drawing these connections intelligently helps resolve the theoretical portion of permutations.
3. Similarly, I am agnostic regarding limited intrinsicness, either functional or textual. While it helps check against the truly artificial CPs, it justifies bad practices that hurt the negative. It's certainly a debate that you should take on. That said, if everyone is just spreading blocks, I usually end up negative on the ink. Block to 2NR is easier to trace than 1AR to 2AR.
4. People need to think about deficits to counterplans. If you can't impact deficits to said counterplans, write better advantages. The negative almost definitely does not have evidence contextualizing their solvency mechanism to your internal links---explain why that matters!
5. Presumption goes to less change---debate what this means in round. Absent this instruction, if there is an advocacy in the 2NR and I do not judge kick it when deciding, I'm probably not voting on presumption.
6. Decide in-round if I should kick the CP. I'll likely kick it if left to my own devices. The affirmative should be better than the status quo. (To be honest, this has never mattered in a debate I've judged, and it amuses me that judge kick is such a common paradigm section.)
1. There is not always a risk. A small enough signal is overwhelmed by noise, and we cannot determine its sign or magnitude.
2. I do not think you need evidence to make an argument. Many bad advantages can be reduced to noise through smart analytics. Doing so will improve your speaker points. Better evidence will require your own.
3. Shorten overviews, and make sure turns case arguments actually implicate the aff's internal links.
4. Will vote on any and all theoretical arguments---intrinsicness, politics theory, etc. Again, arguments are arguments, debate them out.
1. Cheating means you will get the lowest possible points.
2. You need a recording to prove the other team is clipping. If I am judging and think you are clipping, I will record it and check the recording before I stop the debate. Any other method deprives you of proof.
3. If you mark a card, say where you’re marking it, actually mark it, and offer a marked copy before CX in constructives or the other's team prep time in a rebuttal. You do not need to remove cards you did not read in the marked copy, unless you skipped a truly ridiculous amount. This practice is inane and justifies debaters doc-flowing.
4. Emailing isn’t prep. If you take too long, I'll tell you I'm starting your prep again.
5. If there is a different alleged ethics violation, I will ask the team alleging the violation if they want to stop the debate. If so, I will ask the accused team to provide written defense; check the tournament's citation rules; and decide. I will then decide the debate based on that violation and the tournament policy---I will not restart the debate---this makes cite-checking a no-risk option as a negative strategy, which seems really bad.
IMPORTANT: 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.
Note that if the ethics violation is made as an argument during the debate and advanced in multiple speeches as a theoretical argument, you cannot just decide it is a separate ethics violation later in the debate. I will NOT vote on it, I will be very annoyed with you, and you will probably lose and get 27s if you are resorting to these tactics.
6. The closer a re-highlighting comes to being a new argument, the more likely you should be reading it instead of inserting. If you are point out blatant mis-highlighting in a card, typically in a defensive fashion on case, then insertion is fine. I will readily scratch excessive insertion with clear instruction.
1. I'll only evaluate highlighted warrants in evidence.
2. Dropped arguments should be flagged clearly. If you say that clearly answered arguments were dropped, you're hurting your own persuasion.
3. Please send cards in a Word doc. Body is fine if it's just 1-3 cards. I don't care if you send analytics, though it can help online.
4. Unless the final rebuttals are strictly theoretical, the negative should compile a card doc post 2NR and have it sent soon after the 2AR. The affirmative should start compiling their document promptly after the 2AR. Card docs should only include evidence referenced in the final rebuttals (and the 1NC shell, for the negative)---certainly NOT the entire 1AC.
5. As a judge, I can stop the debate at any point. The above should make it clear that I am very much an argumentative nihilist---in hundreds of debates, I have not come close to stopping one. So if I do, you really messed up, and you probably know it.
6. I am open to a Technical Knockout. This means that the debate is unwinnable for one team. If you think this is the case, say "TKO" (probably after your opponents' speech, not yours) and explain why it is unwinnable. If I agree, I will give you 30s and a W. If I disagree and think they can still win the debate, you'll get 25s and an L. Examples include: dropped T argument, dropped conditionality, double turn on the only relevant pieces of offense, dropped CP + DA without any theoretical out.
Be mindful of context: calling this against sophomores in presets looks worse than against an older team in a later prelim. But sometimes, debates are just slaughters, nobody is learning anything, and there will be nothing to judge. I am open to giving you some time back, and to adding a carrot to spice up debate.
7. Not about deciding debates, but a general offer to debate folk reading this. As someone who works in tech, I think it is a really enjoyable career path and quite similar to policy debate in many ways. If you would like to learn more about tech careers, please feel free to email me. As a high school student, it was very hard to learn about careers not done by my parents or their friends (part of why I'm in tech now!). I am happy to pass on what knowledge I have.
8. RIP Brian McBride. An icon of West Coast debate. In addition to all of his argumentative innovation, he created some truly beautiful music -- check out Stars of the Lid for a calming and introspective break from the craziness of this activity.
Above all, be kind to each other, and have fun!
Updated - 11/17/20
Background: I debated in high school at Minneapolis South and in college at the University of Minnesota '17. I've coached policy debate for 6 years, and am currently the Head Coach of Minneapolis South high school.
If you have any questions about my paradigm/rfd/comments, feel free to email me at: email@example.com & also use this to put me on email chains, please and thank you.
I will enforce the tournament rules (speech times/prep/winner and loser, etc.), but the content of the round as well as how I evaluate the content is up to the debaters. Judge instruction is important -- my role is to decide who did the better debating, what determines that is up to you.
Water Topic Thoughts:
All of this is as of Glenbrooks, and subject to change.
1) Extra points if your aff is a big change from the squo - but probably a higher chance of winning if it's not...
1) Thought T-Cessation was bad at Greenhill - still think it's bad, but haven't seen a good definition and there needs to be a limit to the topic so I'm persuadable on debateability o/w predictability (or anything else you can come up with for why your Neg T-interp sets a good limit)
1) Biz Con is a bad DA - sympathetic that there's not good core generics but I'm going to be rolling my eyes during your 2NR
2) Will appreciate creative Ptx DAs
1) Nothing really of note on this topic
2) I dislike adv cps with a ton of planks, and con con
1) Love 'em, do you
1) Judge kick the alt/cp, unless instructed otherwise
2) Condo is good, but there's a limit (i.e. kicking planks probably bad)
3) 2ar only gets args made in the 1ar, but gets to respond to 2nr spin
1) Sending a marked copy does not constitute prep, but requesting a doc where "unread cards are deleted" constitutes prep and will also lower your speaks...just flow the debate
Assistant coach at Rowland Hall.
2023-2024 Update 1: I think topic education good arguments are very good on this topic and you should go for them in front of me.
I am currently a student at the University of Utah majoring in both classical philology and German. I love language, both as a heuristic tool and as a vehicle for persuasion. I debated at Weber State University (2017-2019) for Ryan Wash (whom I can only aspire to imitate as an adjudicator in each and every debate I judge) and at Copper Hills High School (2014-2017) for Scott Odekirk.
I will for nearly no reason insert anything I think independent of the debate round into my decision or evaluation of said round. I don't care if you think something is a bad argument or morally suspect, if either of these things are true in context of the round it should simply be easy to beat. This applies to most all things, illogical or not. This also means I have a low threshold for what needs to be said to beat a bad argument.
Tech > Truth ... BUT it will be nigh impossible to convince me to vote for a factually untrue argument.
I strongly believe that debate is a game which you can choose to approach however you would like. Because of this, you should attempt to win in any way possible. PIK's, theory, cheating CP's are all fair game if you can defend them (some are easier to defend than others of course).
Framework when not contextualized to the AFF being read in the round is pretty much never going to persuade me. Framework debate has become too formulaic and repetitive resulting in facsimiles of prior debates playing out against different AFF's sometimes three times a tournament. Some blocks and card extensions are obviously universally applicable, but they still need some case specific analysis done for the round that is happening. The ability to make unique arguments on the spot is a sign of a good debater. This all goes doubly so for K's. I read mostly Cap and Baudrillard in college and high school and the failure to contextualize your links and alternative to the round at hand is a strategy destined for defeat.
K AFF specifics: 1. I need to know what it means to vote AFF before the end of the 2AR. 2. Impact turns to framework are good and your best way to winning my ballot. 3. There must be a role for the negative which you have clearly outlined at some point in the round (the negative can argue that it is bad, but it must exist). [EXCEPTION: If your argument is that the negative should not exist at all (hard to convince me this is good)].
Framework specifics: 1. Fairness is an impact, but you still have to weigh it. 2. I think the argument that clash makes us better advocates for our causes is the best framework argument. 3. Good TVA's need evidence.
Framework update (11/16/2022): I have found myself voting neg in framework debates far more than I used to. I think that this is due to a combination of K AFF's being more unfair to debate against on the NATO topic as well as negative teams doing a better job explaining the particular in-round impacts of topicality to me. Do with this information what you will, but the voting record tab should capture my voting trends at each tournament and if this trend has shifted for some reason.
- The 1AR is allowed new responses if the 1NC reads an embedded ASPEC sentence on a topicality shell and it is NOT flagged. Stop doing this.
- 50 state fiat is a reason to reject the argument not the team.
- No inserting re-highlightings, you MUST read them or they DO NOT exist.
1 CARD MAXIMUM IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL!!!! DO NOT ASK.
My speaker points scale, while fairly average (majority 28's), can easily be increased with humour. What ever happened to debaters being funny and persuasive in round, and why are these two things not more intricately connected with one another? Also, don't go faster than you know you should, slurring your speech at 400WPM will not help you win a round, focus on making good concise arguments with less filler and you won't need to force yourself to talk at Mach 10.
For PF: Speaks capped at 27.5 if you don't read cut cards (with tags) and send speech docs via email chain prior to your speech of cards to be read (in constructives, rebuttal, summary, or any speech where you have a new card to read). I'm done with paraphrasing and pf rounds taking almost as long as my policy rounds to complete. Speaks will start at 28.5 for teams that do read cut cards and do send speech docs via email chain prior to speech. In elims, since I can't give points, it will be a overall tiebreaker.
For Policy: Speaks capped at 28 if I don't understand each and every word you say while spreading (including cards read). I will not follow along on the speech doc, I will not read cards after the debate (unless contested or required to render a decision), and, thus, I will not reconstruct the debate for you but will just go off my flow. I can handle speed, but I need clarity not a speechdoc to understand warrants. Speaks will start at 28.5 for teams that are completely flowable. I'd say about 85% of debaters have been able to meet this paradigm.
I'd also mostly focus on the style section and bold parts of other sections.
2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).
It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.
I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.
After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.
I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.
When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.
Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).
I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.
Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.
I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).
- Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.
You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.
By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.
I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.
Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).
Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.
For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.
The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).
If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.
“We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.
For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.
Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.
Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.
I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.
Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.
From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.
A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.
I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.
Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.
Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).
Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.
I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.
Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.
Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.
I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.
For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.
Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.
Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.
Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.
Performance (the other critique):
Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.
However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.
If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.
Hi, I competed for about three years at Mountain House High & graduated in 2020. While I erred towards speech/interp, I have some experience in PF and LD(rudimentary at most). Please consider me lay! I’ll try my best to adapt to progressive debate and keep an open eye on things.
Most of what I know about debate is from my
Iron 3 Silver 1Fade Main, 30% HS Rate, God-Tier, Util Slinging, Gunfight Taking, coach & friend Arshita Sandhiparthi.
Add me to the chain! Gmail @ elligenetolentino
I’d like to preface that I have a learning disorder. As someone in the midst of comprehending what I couldn’t before diagnosis & treatment, I’m able to flow, but I will have a tough time keeping up.
Signposting, reading the tagline & card name slowly, & summarizing points can make or break whether I’m able to follow.
If you’re referencing/cross-applying cards during neg block, 1AR(at any point for that matter, really), it would be nice to point out which speech it came from.
- I use cross to read in between the lines, especially when I can't keep up with my flow.
If you use jargon, don’t assume I know or can infer what it means. Err on the side of caution.
TL;DR: I have a very bad short-term memory. Do anything that helps me understand the topography of the debate. (i.e.: Don’t shadow-extend because I’ll probably miss it)
General Debate Paradigm:
I’m cool with spreading, but I find that spreading makes the debate inaccessible to newer competitors(and me). So...
Keep it at a minimum if you choose to. I'll lyk if the speed you're going is A-OK.
Inevitably, I’ll miss a thing or two. I’ll say “clear” if I need you to slow down.
I’d like to emphasize that clear link chains and impacts matter more to me. Articulate, clarify, and make understanding your warrants easier so I can get a better read on where the debate’s headed. That being said, I attempt to be tech but end up erring truth in-round*.
This article best explicates my thought process on judge impartiality. “To all truth judges I ask you to consider this: Is my decision based on a specific articulation of a clearly marked argument made by a debater, or am I drawing information and inferences from my own knowledge?” TL;DR: I will objectively retain more salient, intuitive arguments, but I’ll try my best to override this.
Warrant debate is great, just don't use it as a cop-out.
Norms(specifically on disclosure & open source theory)
From my friend Vishnu’s paradigm:
“Breaking norms in most cases is not abuse. I'll go by what is in the explicit CHSSA/NSDA rules. Besides, how do you expect a debater to know about these norms at their first invitational?”
I’m certainly not absolute on this, so if you prove to me why certain norms must be abided by for newer competitors alike, I’m more than happy to hear.
I think I enjoy it?
I don’t fully understand framework debate, but here’s what I can say.
If possible, weigh between links to fairness & education
I’m more convinced that fairness is an internal link vs. an impact, but that doesn’t necessarily delineate it as bad/less preferable than an impact(nuclear war can be an internal link to anything)
I’m unfamiliar with competing interps vs. reasonability. Explain as best as you can!
AFAIK condo is bad, but I like the idea of it. As with all things, just be chill, don't hard abuse, blah blah
I’m cool with Ks, but I’d like an explanation/a short thesis on what you’re running if it’s super niche.
Please establish the solvency mechanism for your K. +1 if it's topical, but by all means go wild if you're feeling it.
My threshold for (most) Planless Affs is high.
Please eventually crystallize/give me a big picture. Line by line makes my life easy, but following it pedantically only serves to muddy the debate for me.
I plead that you write my ballot by summary & from what you’ve collapsed(and do collapse), reiterate what you find most valuable in FF.
I will not keep time; I expect the debaters to do that. I’m usually chill on this, but I'll drop an auto-loss for any clear abuse.
*note: I believe this to be an unintentional byproduct of my disability.
Yes here's my card brah, I’m linking a research article:
“To save mental effort, individuals with ADHD might not base their decisions on a comparison of EVs but use easier decision-making heuristics instead. Using heuristics, parts of information are ignored to increase efficiency (Gigerenzer & Gaissmaier, 2011).” The cognitive load of weighing can be intrinsically complex for me(too much maths), so just know that how you outweigh may not supersede how you clash.
I debated in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League (LAMDL) in high school, made the Urban Debate National Championship twice, competed in Parliamentary (NPDA) for Tulane University and made it to Quarters at the NDPA National Championships. I've coached for Isidore Newman School (LA) and Stern MASS. I've been active in debate for about 10 years.
You can't argue racism / homophobia / sexism / transphobia / ableism good arguments in front of me. Ever.
As a competitor I started with plan texts, Econ advantages, and running 7 offcase. I finished with a poetry aff, PICs, and committed to Foucault. I know what’s going on and want to offer a safe space for you to read your arguments.
Debate is a game, but the game can be changed.
Kritiks need to have links and some type of explanation of the alternative. Please don’t assume I know which privileged and old philosopher your K is based on—explanations are key!
Disadvantages need to have specific internal links and impact scenarios.
As long as you are contextualizing your scenarios, and the functionality of your scenarios compared to the other team, we should be good to go. You are entitled to read 1 off, or 2, or 3, or even 7, but I hope you’re ready to defend your model of debate and why the education you are advocating for is a good one.
I love a good T debate; and have voted aff on Condo before. Theory/T arguments should be well contextualized. As long as your providing specific reasons why procedural issues take precedent in the debate, we should be good to go.
At the end of the day, I need you to explain what my role in the debate is, why I should vote for you, and why the arguments your opponents made are insufficient for the ballot. Please make sure you are explaining/extending the actual warrants of the evidence you’re reading.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me or ask in person before the round.
PS, you matter.
2023 NDT Champion; 2023 CEDA Champion - Wake Forest
I believe all debates are performances and you are responsible for what you say/do in round.
I answer respectful questions, do not post round me rudely or I will respond accordingly.
I do not flow docs - I flow what you are saying in the speech. Be clear.
Do what you want! I've done Black Feminism, Pessimism, Afro-Futurism, Framework, Racial Capitalism, Eroticism, RSPEC, Counter Performances, Body Politics, Critical IR Theory, Academy K etc.
I stop listening after 5 off.
Economic Inequality: I don't know anything about the topic, so please err towards over-explaining/avoid topic-specific acronyms.
Lay Debate: I'll evaluate the debate as a slow round unless both teams agree to go fast. Adapt to the rest of the panel before me.
Topicality: It's the negative's burden to prove a violation - if I can't clearly explain why the aff doesn't meet, I can't vote for you. I think debate is both an educational space and a competitive game, so I will be more persuaded by the model that maximizes its benefits for debaters and creates the most level playing field for both sides.
Counterplans: I think unlimited condo is good. I'm better for the aff in competition/theory debates where the counterplan competes off of certainty/immediacy, forwards a process and net benefit that aren't intrinsic to the aff, or fiats a bunch of large-scale planks without evidentiary basis. Deficits should be clearly impacted out from the 2AC to the 2AR for me to vote on them.
Disads: Turns case arguments, aff-specific link explanations, and ev comparison matter most for me. I think logical, smart analytics can do just as much damage as ev.
Ks: Most familiar with cap/setcol/security/IR or law bad stuff. I look at framework first to frame the rest of my flow. I think I have a higher threshold for links - so contextualization, turns case analysis, pulling lines from the 1AC, etc. are really important.
K-Affs/KvK: I have the least experience judging these debates. "As the negative, recognize if this is an impact turn debate or one of competing models early on (as in, during the 2AC). When the negative sees where the 2AR will go and adjusts accordingly, I have found that I am very good for the negative. But when they fail to understand the debate's strategic direction, I almost always vote aff." - Mr. Sur
I mostly judge LD now, but I've never competed in the activity and I'm not familiar with most of the specific theory/tricks/jargon. Explicit judge instruction and impact calc will go a long way for me, especially in the final rebuttals.
Correct me before the round if this is just a different community norm and I might re-evaluate, but prep time stops when you're done creating your speech doc, not before you even begin assembling it.
There's a less-than-1% chance I vote for an RVI (sorry).
I won't read evidence at the end of the debate unless you explicitly tell me to and send a compiled card doc.
Read whatever you want - if an argument is truly so bad that it shouldn't be debated, you should be able to beat it with zero cards. With that said, there is a clear difference between going for certain args and being actively violent in round, and I have zero tolerance for the latter.
+0.1 speaks if you make fun of a current cal debater/anyone on the lowell team and i laugh
Be nice, don't cheat, and have fun!
First things first: I haven't judged a policy debate round in more than 10 years. So be warned, slow down, be clear and explain your arguments. I haven't done the reading, I am not familiar with the literature and I don't know the most recent debate thinking.
That being said, I do like organized speeches that actually address the points being made in the debate.
If forced, I would probably say that I judge rounds as a policymaker. That doesn't mean I can't or won't evaluate critiques or procedural arguments. Just make the case as to why they need to be evaluated.
If you have specific questions, ask me.
Peninsula '21, Cal '25
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
For online debate: if I'm not in frame of the camera, don't start your speech.
Top level, these preferences are a set of ideologies that I abide by, but can be reversed through technical debating. However, even though I firmly believe in tech > truth, every argument needs to be complete for me to vote on it. A 5 second ASPEC argument is probably not complete.
T/CP/DA: I find that evidence quality is quintessential - I slightly lean towards a legally precise definition that reflects consensus rather than a debateability push. But, can be swayed for either side. Actually debate the DA if you read a soft left aff. Riders are probably not legitimate. Lean neg on CP theory, unless it's an instance of extreme abuse. Solvency advocates aren't necessary, but coherent explanations of solvency are. I will default to kicking the CP for the neg if there's nothing said.
K: Good if they disprove why I should vote affirmative, but if they're something like the fiat makes me sad K, I will almost certainly vote against you. Will usually let the aff weigh the material consequences of the aff if framework is debated out equally by both teams.
Non-traditional affs: Fairness is an impact, you can also go for others. Probably not the best judge for the aff teams. A lot of the time, I find it difficult to see how the ballot resolves aff impacts.
Theory: Condo is generally good.
Other things -
Card quality matters, I will always value smart analytics over terrible evidence - although a claim has much more significance/credibility when tied to an academic work.
If I can't understand you, I won't flow.
Don't egregiously re-highlight then "re-insert" an entire card, read it.
top level predispositions (Update 2023 TOC):
I don't like generic neg strategies, if you're going to do this don't pref me please - - this means nonspecific process counterplans, disads, CPs with only internal net benefits, etc.
No, CX can't be used for prep lol.
I'm not going to judge kick. You make a decision about the world you'll defend in the 2nr and I'll follow accordingly.
For many of you reading this, speaker point inflation is the probably norm. I think the standard for what makes a good speech is a. too low and b. disconnected from strategy. My average speaker point range is 27.9-28.5, average meaning you're not doing any work between flows, not making the debate smaller for the sake of comparative analysis, not reading especially responsive strategies, not punishing generic strategies with pointed responses. On the other hand, I reward teams that have ostensibly done the reading and research to give me concrete analysis.
Plan texts nowadays aren't really descriptive of what the aff will defend and I think negative teams don't take advantage of that enough.
Given the above (and oodles of macrohistorical reasons), we probably are already in the world that the PRL warned us about. I'm more persuaded by empirical analysis of models of debate than the abstract nowadays.
I won't be reading along with you, and won't spot either team args from pieces of evidence that weren't made in speeches. I'll resolve comparative evidentiary claims, if necessary, after the round.
Longer meditations below:
I've found that the integrity in which some high school debaters are interacting with evidence is declining. Two things:
1. Critical affirmatives that misrepresent critical theory literature or misrepresent their affirmative in the 1ac. I'm very inclined to vote against a team that does this on either side of the debate, with the latter only being limited to the affirmative side. Especially in terms of the affirmative side, I believe that a floor level minimum prep for critical affs should be that the affirmative clearly has a statement of what they will defend in the 1ac and also that they stick to that stasis point throughout the debate. If a critical aff shifts drastically between speeches I will be *very* inclined toward to any procedural/case neg arguments.
2. Policy affs that have weak internal links. I understand that a nuclear war scenario is the most far fetched portion of any advantage, but I've been seeing a lot of international relations scenarios that don't really take into account the politics of really any other countries. If your international conflict, spillover, modeling, etc. scenario doesn't have a semblance of the inner workings of another party to the conflict, I'll be *very* inclined to solvency presses and presumption arguments by the negative in that scenario.
I don't want to be on the email chain. If I want to, I'll ask. You should debate as if I'm not reading a speech doc.
I almost exclusively view debate as an educational / democratic training activity. I think rules are important to that end, however. This is to say that I ground much of what I think is important in debate in terms of how skills critical thinking in debate rounds adds into a larger goal of pursuing knowledge and external decisionmaking.
i've been in debate since 2008. at this point i'm simultaneously more invested and less invested in the activity. i'm more invested in what students get out of debate, and how I can be more useful in my post-round criticism. I'm less invested in personalities/teams/rep/ideological battles in debate. it's entirely possible that I have never heard of you before, and that's fine.
you should run what will win you the round. you should run what makes you happy.
Impact scenarios are where I vote - Even if you win uniqueness/link questions, if I don't know who's going to initiate a war, how an instance of oppression would occur, etc. by the end of the round, I'll probably go looking elsewhere to decide the round. The same thing goes for the aff - if I can't say what the aff solves and why that's important, I am easily persuaded by marginal negative offense.
Prep time ends when you email the file to the other team. It's 2023, you've likely got years of experience using a computer for academic/personal work, my expectations of your email prowess are very high.
Competing methods debates don't mean no permutation, for me at least. probably means that we should rethink how permutations function. people/activists/organizers combine methods all the time.
I've found myself especially unwilling to vote on theory that's on face not true - for example: if you say floating PICs bad, and the alternative isn't articulated as a floating PIC in the debate, I won't vote on it. I don't care if it's conceded.
I think fairness is an independent impact, but also that non-topical affs can be fair. A concession doesn't mean an argument is made. your only job is to make arguments, i don't care if the other team has conceded anything, you still have to make the argument in the last speech.
Affs I don't like:
I've found myself increasingly frustrated with non-topical affs that run philosophically/critically negative stances on the aff side. The same is true for non-topical affs that just say that propose a framework for analysis without praxis. I'm super open to presumption/switch-side arguments against these kinds of affs.
I'm frustrated by non-topical affs that do not have any sort of advocacy statement/plan text. If you're going to read a bunch of evidence and I have to wait until CX or the 2AC to know what I'm voting for, I'll have a lower threshold to vote on fw/t/the other team.
Finally, I have limited belief in the transformative power of speech/performance. Especially beyond the round. I tend to think that power/violence is materially structured and that the best advocacies can tell me how to change the status quo in those terms.
Negs I don't like:
Framework 2nr's that act as if the affirmative isn't dynamic and did not develop between the 2ac and the 1ar. Most affs that you're inclined to run framework against will prove "abuse" for you in the course of the debate.
Stale politics disadvantages. Change your shells between tournaments if necessary, please.
Theoretically inconsistent/conflicting K strats.
I don't believe in judge kicking. Your job is to make the strategic decisions as the debate continues, not mine.
if you have questions about me or my judge philosophy, ask them before the round!
1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption.
2. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate.
3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."
1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.
2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.
1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to "win" uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.
2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches). Note: this doesn't apply to riders or horsetrading or other disads that assume voting aff means voting for something beyond the aff plan. Then it's winnable.
1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.
2. I think I'm less technical than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.
3. If it's a critique of "fiat" and not the aff, read something else. If it's not clear from #1, I'm looking at the link first. Please--link work not framework. K debating is case debating.
1. I'm *slightly* better for the aff now that aff teams are generally impact-turning the neg's model of debate. I almost always voted neg when they instead went for talking about their aff is important and thought their counter-interp somehow solved anything. Of course, there's now only like 3-4 schools that take me and don't read a plan. So I'm spared the debates where it's done particularly poorly.
2. A lot of things can be impacts to T, but fairness is probably best.
3. It would be nice if people read K affs with plans more, but I guess there's always LD. Honestly debating politics and util isn't that hard--bad disads are easier to criticize than fairness and truth.
Versus the K:
1. If it's a team's generic K against K teams, the aff is in pretty great shape here unless they forget to perm. I've yet to see a K aff that wasn't also a critique of cap, etc. If it's an on-point critique of the aff, then that's a beautiful thing only made beautiful because it's so rare. If the neg concedes everything the aff says and argues their methodology is better and no perms, they can probably predict how that's going to go. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.
Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.
2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp. The reasonability debate does seem slightly more important on CJR given that the neg's interp often doesn't solve for much. But the aff is still better off developing offense in the 1AR.
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.
2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.
3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.
4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.
LASA Debate '22 || Macalester Debate '26 (follow us @macalesterdebate on insta!!)
Please do not read any arguments about suicide/death good.
I will not vote for toxic masculinity. If you are toxically masculine, strike me.
I'm 6'2", if that matters to you...
----- Policy -----
I spent my first two and a half years at LASA reading plans on the aff and policy strats on the neg. I spent the two and a half reading Ks on the aff and neg. In college, I've read both policy and K things. No preference for what you read in front of me, I'm about equal in my understanding of all types of args.
Be entertaining, but be nice.
----- PF -----
I've started coaching PF at Edina (2023).
Since I'm coming from policy, I'm a tech judge who will keep a detailed flow of all arguments in the round. I am very willing to discuss arguments presented in the debate at length and give detailed speech-by-speech feedback to all debaters after the round.
In policy, I read both policy and kritik arguments, I am willing to adjudicate both in PF as well.
Speed is fine, but respect your opponent's level of understanding as well. A fast debate won't be a good debate if one team wins due to the others' lack of understanding and speaks will reflect that.
Debate is supposed to be fun! Be entertaining and enjoy the round, but be nice.
I have coached policy at Garfield High School since 2014. I have yet to encounter an argument I'm not OK with in a round; it's really about you and how well you explain your arguments and why they should win you the round. I think it's important to be responsive to the specific arguments in the round - don't just read your prewritten overview and assume it works for every debate. I enjoy both policy and critical arguments and have some background knowledge in theory, but don't assume I know your literature. In my opinion, it's your job to tell me how to vote in the round and why. If you leave it up to me, I tend to buy the argument that moral thinking is a prereq to policy making (but I can be convinced otherwise).
I am generally ok with most speed, but make sure I'm flowing if you're blazing through a bunch of analytics you don't want me to miss.
I don't know what "judge kicking" means - are you asking me to decide your strategy for you? I won't do that. Either go for the argument, or don't.
Bottom line: I'm a tabula rasa judge. Run whatever you would like to run, and tell me how you would like me to evaluate the round.
I debated CX on the national circuit for 4 years in high school, did not debate in college. I've been coaching CX at Garfield HS since 2014. I judge ~50 rounds a year, split between the local and national circuit. We took a team to the TOC in 2021. My day job is as a social science researcher who does a lot of applied research with Indigenous, Black, and BIPOC communities. This keeps me pretty engaged with philosophical and critical theoretical literature, and very attendant to questions of power and equity. I am a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual male who was educated and socialized within a Western context, which undoubtedly shapes my epistemic view of the world.
Feelings about specific things:
T/FW: Excellent. Specific and creative violations are more fun to judge than generic ones
CP: Awesome. Highly specific CP strategies (such as PICs) tend to produce more interesting debates than generic CPs, but they certainly both have their place.
Ks: Excellent. Especially if you can articulate specific links to the aff
Policy affs: Great
K affs: Awesome. I find that K vs K debates are often more interesting than K vs FW debates, but that isn't always the case
Theory: Good. If you want to win on theory, make it more substantive than a few warrantless blips
Disclosure Theory: Not very convincing for me. I think that the open source/disclosure movement within debate has been somewhat uncritically embraced in a way that doesn't fully consider how the open sourcing of knowledge reproduces new forms of inequity (often along neoliberal/service economy lines, wherein better resourced teams are better able to take advantage of the open knowledge economy).
New arguments in the rebuttals: Generally not a good idea. Completely new arguments should not be made in the rebuttals. I will strongly protect the negative team from new arguments in the 2AR.
Judge Kicking: Nope. Don't expect me to judge kick things for you. Make a strategic choice for yourself.
Overviews and impact calculus: Yes, please. Clearly frame my choice for me at the end of the round, and you are much more likely to get my ballot. Also, 'even if' statements can be super persuasive in the final rebuttals.
Backing up Claims with Warrants: Super important.
Impact Calculus and Overviews: Also super important - I like being told how I should vote, and why you think I should vote that way.
Clipping: Don't do it, I will vote you down for cheating.
Speaking: Please be clear! If you're clear, then I am fine with speed. Clarity is especially important in the online debate format.
Dropped arguments: These flow through as 'true' for the team making them.
Voting: I will vote for one team over the other. Don't ask for a double win (or loss).
At the end of the day, I believe that debate should be about the debaters and not about me. My job is to create a safe and educational space, and to do my best to decide the round based on the arguments rather than on my own beliefs. If you clearly tell me how you think I should be judging, then there shouldn't be any big surprises.
I am a parent.
Please speak slowly and clearly, English is not my first language but I will try my best.
I am very interested in debate. If you are able to clearly explain your argument to me, I will vote for you.
If I cannot understand you, then you are most likely not gonna win.
One argument I can understand is probably more important than 10 arguments you think you are winning on.