Pennsbury Falcon Invitational
2023 — Fairless Hills, PA/US
Varsity Policy Debate Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I am a high school graduate from Technology High School in Newark. I have also debated for a total of 5 years. I’ve debated at many tournaments (Yale, Harvard, Bronx, etc).
I am a Kritikal judge.
if there are any other questions feel free to email me at email@example.com
You need to make this the most important argument in the round. For me at least. You loss framework, than you have a really high chance of lossing the round (depends on how far you are on the framework flow)
Drop them properly. Don’t just stop talking about them. If your opponent does drop this argument then bring it up so you can reap the benefits of their mistake.
I fine with it. I just ask that you slow down on the tags and the main warrants of the arg. If I can’t hear after I say clear three times I will only flow what I hear.
I like it and I know about it, but I am not going to do the work for you. Just because you say theory and extend it doesn’t mean that you explained ite. There needs to be a clear explanation on the theory flow what is the abuse that happens in the round and why it is important. Theory for me out ranks all others (not because it is an easy way out) because I feel that this argument are the actual rules of the debate round on what can and can’t be done by each team.
It is open I don’t flow it, but I do listen to it, and it can change my decision.
I flow it, but I mostly like to listen to it. This is the crux of the round. I need you to tell me why you should win (by explaining your arguments in the most detail that you can in the time period) and what arguments that your opponent dropped. (the reason for this is that a lot of teams really don’t do this any more so better to feel safe then sorry).
I understand all of the debate jargon (since I did us most of them anyway) just that if there are any new ones that you think that I didn’t hear about then explain it to me.
Topical affs are great, but I really enjoy hearing a critical debate with a critical affs, but with these kinds aff’s come with great responsibility. There needs to be a lot of in-depth analysis onto why your aff solves for what it solves, how it is a prereq. To the k and other args. A lot of debaters really just read evidence after evidence, i instead like to hear how the aff actually interacts with other arguments what is the actual connection. The critical aff can be the most dangerous weapon in any debate round if used properly. Performance affs are fine just explain the framework in great detail and why I should reject the resolution (if that is the case) in your own words or how you are topical.
This can be a very powerful critical argument if used properly, but not many teams use this argument. I will vote on t if there is clear violation before the round is even finished (unless there is framework or theory). This is an argument that I like but not love like others
This is an argument that is very confusing for me, if you are going to run it explain what the plan does and how it doesn’t steal aff ground (unless theory is involved). If there is a critical counterplan involved explain how it is different from a k. other then that I don’t like counterplans too much, but I would vote on it.
This is really a straightforward argument; I really didn’t see any variations of this argument in my debating career. If there are then I welcome them, but I really don’t have anything else to say about them.
Finally to the one argument that all teams want to know about. I love this argument, however I find that a lot of teams really don’t explain this argument in great detail. They just leave the k up in the air for the judge to interpret it in there own way. I know enough about the most common k’s that I can understand them, but again if I need to decide what your k is talking about you may not like what I think. Some of the other arguments that I’m not to familiar with I will listen to but there needs to be more of a keen eye in the explanation for those kinds of arguments.
school affiliation: acorn community high school (Brooklyn NY), NYUDL (new york urban debate league), stuyversant high school (New york, NY)
years debating: 4 years of high school, starting college debate
in a debate round i have done everything from cp and politics to performance
my first highschool topic was aid to south Africa, last one was reduce military (if that matters)
I will vote on whatever arguments win, this means I may vote on anything, it could come down to Counterplan-Disad, Procedurals, Kritiks, Affs with no plan text, to even performance. tell me what your argument is and what the ballot signifies (if it has a meaning)...i.e. policy maker etc...(...)
speaker points: be persuasive and make it interesting thin line between funny and ass hole at times may it be in cross-x or your speech you decide *background music* ...analysis/argumentation (don't lie about reading a hole card if u didn't,don't just read cards and tag~line extend ~_~ ) i will call for evidence if needed and i will hit you wit the world famous "cum on son" lol
impact your arguments (duhh)
Topicality: i like a good t debate, their fun and at times educational, make sure you impact it, and give a correct abuse story...
counter plans: have a good net benefit prove how they solve the case
dis ads: you can run them i vote for anything and am familiar with most scenarios
k: i was a k db8er for the better half of my db8 career so i'm pretty familiar with most k~lit u will read unless its like some deep
nietzsche, zizek, lacan type ish but i get it...and if you explain it give a good story and show alternative solvency i will vote for it...it is also fine if you kick the alt and go for it as a case turn just debate it out...
preformance: i did this too...explain what the round comes down to...i.e. role of the judge/ballot/db8ers...and if their is a form of spill over what this is and means in real world and debate world... block framework lol...and show me why your/this performance is key...may it be a movement or just you expressing your self...i like methodology db8s so if it comes down to the aff and neg being both performance teams be clear on the framework for the round and how your methodology is better and how the other may recreate these forms of oppression you may be speaking about...may it be the deletion of identity or whiteness etc...same things apply if your running a counter~advocacy against a performance team...(*whispers* solvency)...k vs performance rounds same as methodology prove the link and as for the alt prove the solvency... framework vs performance rounds i had a lot of these, boring but fun to see the way they play out depending on interp, vio, impacts and stuff...
framework: any kind is fine...same justification as Topicality...depending on how your spinning framework within a round... *yells* education =)
short & sweet
#swag...have fun...do you...debate =)
currently the director of high school debate for McDonogh
formerly coached at the University of Louisville, duPont Manual High School (3X TOC qualifiers; Octofinalist team 2002) the head coach for Capitol Debate who won the TOC. McDonogh won the TOC in 2007. I have taught summer institutes at the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Emory, Iowa, Catholic University, and Towson University and Wake Forest as a lab leader.
I debated three years in high school on the kentucky and national circuit and debated five years at the University of Louisville.
I gave that little tidbit to say that I have been around debate for a while and have debated and coached at the most competitive levels with ample success. I pride myself in being committed to the activity and feel that everyone should have a voice and choice in their argument selection so I am pretty much open to everything that is in good taste as long as YOU are committed and passionate about the argument. The worst thing you can do in the back of the room is assume that you know what I want to hear and switch up your argument selection and style for me and give a substandard debate. Debate you and do it well and you will be find.
True things to know about me:
Did not flow debates while coaching at the University of Louisville for two years but am flowing again
Was a HUGE Topicality HACK in college and still feel that i am up on the argument. I consider this more than a time suck but a legitimate issue in the activity to discuss the merit of the debate at hand and future debates. I have come to evolve my thoughts on topicality as seeing a difference between a discussion of the topic and a topical discussion (the later representing traditional views of debate- division of ground, limits, predictability etc.) A discussion of the topic can be metaphorical, can be interpretive through performance or narratives and while a topical discussion needs a plan text, a discussion of the topic does not. Both I think can be defended and can be persuasive if debated out well. Again stick to what you do best. Critiquing topicality is legitimate to me if a reverse voting issue is truly an ISSUE and not just stated with unwarranted little As through little Gs. i.e. framework best arguments about reduction of language choices or criticism of language limitations in academic discussion can become ISSUES, voting issues in fact. The negative's charge that the Affirmative is not topical can easily be developed into an argument of exclusion begat from predictable limitations that should be rejected in debate.
It is difficult to label me traditional or non traditional but safer to assume that i can go either way and am partial to traditional performative debate which is the permutation of both genres. Teams that run cases with well developed advantages backed by a few quality pieces of evidence are just as powerful as teams that speak from their social location and incorporate aesthetics such as poetry and music. in other words if you just want to read cards, read them poetically and know your argument not just debate simply line by line to win cheap shots on the flow. "They dropped our simon evidence" is not enough of an argument for me to win a debate in front of me. If i am reading your evidence at the end of the debate that is not necessairly a good thing for you. I should know what a good piece of evidence is because you have articulated how good it was to me (relied on it, repeated it, used it to answer all the other arguments, related to it, revealed the author to me) this is a good strategic ploy for me in the back of the room.
Technique is all about you. I must understand what you are saying and that is it. I have judged at some of the highest levels in debate (late elims at the NDT and CEDA) and feel pretty confident in keeping up if you are clear.
Not a big fan of Malthus and Racism Good so run them at your own risk. Malthus is a legitimate theory but not to say that we should allow systematic targeted genocide of Black people because it limits the global population. I think i would be more persuaded by the argument that that is not a NATURAL death check but an IMMORAL act of genocide and is argumentatively irresponsible within the context of competitive debate. Also i am not inclined to believe you that Nietzsche would say that we should target Black people and exterminate them because death is good. Could be wrong but even if i am, that is not a persuasive argument to run with me in the back of the room. In case you didn't know, I AM A BLACK PERSON.
Bottom line, I can stomach almost any argument as long as you are willing to defend the argument in a passionate but respectful way. I believe that debate is inherently and unavoidable SUBJECTIVE so i will not pretend to judge the round OBJECTIVELY but i will promise to be as honest and consistent as possible in my ajudication. Any questions you have specifically I am more than happy to answer.
Open Cross X, weird use of prep time (before cross x, as a prolonging of cross x) all that stuff that formal judges don't like, i am probably ok with.
I prefer quality over quantity. Please do not spread too fast. Speak clearly and resolutely. I can flow at a medium pace if you are speaking so quickly that you’re gasping for air expect those cards, contentions, impacts to be dropped. Ask for my email to share evidence.
Former Debater (Middle and High School) under the Washington Urban Debate League (WUDL)
I’ve judged rounds for novice and JV and Varsity. I have also participated in national circuit tournaments. I see the primary role of a judge as giving you thoughtful and actionable feedback on your scholarship as presented to me in round.
My preferences (heavily influenced by David Trigaux):
Speed: I prefer a mix of good speed and clear argument(s).
Policy v Kritik: No preference
Theory: I often find these debates shallow/lacking details and trading-off with more educational, common-sense arguments. Use when needed and show me why you don't have other options.
- I usually do not vote on T.
Performance: Not something I favor, but still open to. Focus on why / what the net benefit is of the unique argument / argumentation style.
Shadow Extending: I don’t flow author’s names, so if you are trying to extend your "Smith" evidence, talk to me about the warrants or I won’t know what you are talking about and won't do the work for you.
Email Chains: I do look at email chains during the round. If I don’t hear it, I won’t flow it, but I do look to make sure both teams are sending the documents they said they would. I’ll look through the cards after the round if the substance of a card will impact my decision, or if I want to appropriate your citations.
Creativity + Scholarship: I look for creative thinking, and original research. I will give very high speaker points to folks who can demonstrate these criteria, even in defeat.
Don't / Pet Peeves
Don't attempt to try to get a reaction out of me in rounds by making jokes/being sarcastic.
Be disrespectful--I am very very willing to nuke your speaker points or stop the round if you are rude, demeaning, racist/sexist, etc.
Make Debate Less Accessible: This includes not having an effective way to share evidence with a team debating on paper (such as a 3rd, "viewing" laptop, or being willing to share one of your own) when in person.
Overviews: Keep them short.
Counterplans: Do run a Topic/Aff specific CP, with a detailed, well written/explained CP Texts and/or Topic nuance for Generics (like Courts).
Don’t forget to perm. As well as default to theory in the 2AC without at least trying to make substantive responses too.
Kritiks: I love K debates, but I am very picky about what I think a good K should look like. It should include aff specific links, the solvency needs to be thoroughly explained, and it should also be able to be explained in your own words.
Role of the Ballot: Surprise me.
Danielle Dupree - firstname.lastname@example.org - she/her
21 y/o DMV Debater at Howard University. 7 years of debate experience
Pretty go with the flow, any argument is on the table as long as its not racist, misogynistic, ableist, trans/homophobic, etc. My main concern is a fun, educational round.
The things you probably wanna know most....
Speed: I'm fine with clear spreading. Slow down on things that you need to stress, i trust my flow so what gets missed, doesn't exist.
Performance: I love an unconventional debate when its done well, meaning make it abundantly clear why your form of debate is necessary.
Theory: Well done theory thats not just a throw away that you ended up being stuck with makes my little heart sing.
K: I love them explained well and defended well.
Policy: Policy always has a place in my heart, as stated, as long as it's well explained, & well defended, game on.
Troll: I need to hear BOTH teams enthusiastically consenting to a troll round, otherwise at the end of the round you will lose. That is your warning.
The obvious/nitpicky reminders...
CP: NEED a net benny. And if you don't solve case tell me why that doesn't matter.
DA: Mostly useful in the 1NC
T: Violation & definition is never enough, no limits & grounds, no case. I appreciate creative violations, and T that is brought into the real world.
FW & ROB: I default the actor of policymaker unless directed otherwise. I need actual competitiveness on FW, not
"SV is most important"
"No extinction is"
"No SV is." give me a debate w/clash pls
All of that is to say, do whatever you want, just make sure you work hard on it and make it fun for all of us :)
Washington Urban Debate League '22 Yale '26
Add me to the email chain plz: email@example.com
I did policy debate from 7th grade through high school, double 2. Currently coach middle and high school UDL teams. Mostly read Ks—mainly set col, fem, racial cap—on both aff and neg, so it's what I am most adept at evaluating. That aside, read what you want, I’m cool with voting on most anything.
Do the work for me in deciding the debate. Particularly at the top of the 2ar/2nr, tell me how I should be filtering the round, what you are going for, and why that should win you the ballot. I'll go off the flow.
Intensity's great, but there’s an important line that separates it from hostility and disrespect, particularly when we consider our different positionalities within debate. I won't tolerate in-round hostility or violence.
Language matters. Genocide is not a buzzword; do not use it as such.
Do your best with whatever you argue and have fun! Let me know if you have specific qs before round.
My favorite. Be creative, do what you want, just justify why. I find Ks are strongest when they can couple their theory of power links with more specific links rooted in the 1AC (pull lines!) and historical/ social examples. Impact out the links and explain why they turn case. “State bad” alone won’t cut it and will make me sad...
I’m not picky on whether the alt is material or not, but I do want to hear some articulation of solvency beyond just making an “epistemological shift” or “insert x in debate”—that is to say that you should be taking it further and explaining the implications. Love examples here too—point me to instances that can help envision what the alt and alt solvency looks like.
If you’re doing your link debate properly the aff shouldn’t have a chance at winning the perm, although I do appreciate external, named DAs to the perm.
**see note below from k affs
When answering the k, no matter from what side or argument style, you NEED to engage their thesis or theory of the power. It becomes really hard to beat it when you concede their way of understanding the world and of the filtering debate.
If you are a non-Black team reading afro-pess, I will hold the opposing team to an extremely low-threshold to win.
K Affs v FW
Leverage your 1AC more. Yes, the blocks you prepped are probably great, but the purpose of crafting and refining kritical 1ACs is that they are meant to challenge dominant frames of the way we think/act; your theory should absolutely be your best offense against the neg.
Your model of debate should be very clear—what’s the role of the aff and negative, what does debate look like, etc. Do impact calc on the standards debate.
**Make sure that you understand and articulate the relationship btwn your k in round and out of round ie the relationship between some performance of resistance within debate and the implications for the structures of power you claim to challenge as they exist out of round.
Need to engage the aff’s unique critique of your model; specifically, how the aff scholarship & advocacy, as well as their theory of power, exists under the neg’s model of debate. Put effort and time into the TVA; how does it provide an inroad to the aff’s scholarship? Impact calculus on standards is great.
P.S. If you’re going to run cap in addition to FW, try to have some more specific links + alt examples to at least pretend there’s a chance you’re going to go for it.
Specific links are ideal. Take time to explain out your internal link chain—too often they get superficially extended and muddled. Impact calc and framing are key.
Make sure to have a net benefit. Explain how you solve for the aff, and if not in its entirety, then why your net-benefit outweighs.
T v policy affs
Not my favorite debate but will vote on it. Make sure analytics are clear/ slow down a bit. Tell me what debate looks like under your competing models and why I should prefer yours.
I didn’t have these debates much. Well-warranted theory arguments that you spend a bit more time on are more compelling than second-long blips that get blown up and ironically feel like they get in the way of the educational value of debate.
While I’d say I’m tech > truth, in the end, I find that teams do theory better when the violation is an actually impactful abuse that harms the education, fairness, etc of the debate, rather than just generic blocks read every round.
You’re probably not going to convince me to vote on disclosure against a UDL team.
Princeton '26 Bronx Science '22
Affiliations- Assistant Coach at Berkeley Prep ('23-), Private Coach for Bronx Science teams ('23-)
I do prefs for some of my teams. I look for two things: first, are they pure tech over truth. I am, I will only evaluate the arguments on my flow and only intervene if neccesary. I will vote on dropped arguments and will scratch my head if you don't take the easy way out.
Second, what are their opinions on Framework Kritiks and K Affs.
I prefer to judge kritiks that invest most of their time in framework to moot the aff. I prefer the aff to go for fairness impacts. I prefer the negative to realize that 5 links in the block, specific or not, will not help you with mooting the aff. If mooting the aff is not a negative win condition, you will probably lose to the perm double bind or case outweighs if equally debated. I can judge negative kritiks that fiat big functionally competetive alternatives if the negative is losing framework that is treated as a DA/UQ CP. This likely requires a lot of cards and some way to capture aff offense. Less strategic, although its what I did senior year.
For K Affs, I prefer judging impact turn based strategies. The counter interpretation makes sense to me ONLY when winning some external offense about predictability or limits. Otherwise, in my mind, counter interp will always link to negative offense if predictability is articulated well. I prefer that the negative goes for fairness based impacts that explains the neccesity of fairness for both teams.
KvK debates - I prefer that the negative wins a reason the aff doesn't get a permutation or, a harder sell, that the permutation doesn't sheild the link.
Policy v Policy - I dont trust myself to judge decent policy debates. You likely dont want me in the back for this. You should pref me below the college debaters you're comfortable with taking, successful FYOs that still think about debate, and definitely below college and high school coaches who actively cut cards and think about policy arguments. Since I am not super well versed on the true arguments on things like counterplan competition and such, I will be heavily relying on my technical ability and evaluate drops highly. Going for less and collapsing on one or two pieces of offense decreases the chances of me making a bad decision because I'll need time to parse the card doc and think about how arguments interact. I think infinite condo is good (although I enjoyed going for condo a lot and felt judges sometimes did too much work).
--I went positive at TOCs my senior year if that matters to you
--Tldr: Do what you do best- I am a technical judge and will vote for the team who did better debating. All of my opinions can easily be overturned by out-debating your opponent. I want to judge high-level debates and recognize that you are giving up your precious time to research and compete. I will be invested in your debate, try my best to catch every argument, read cards during prep, etc out of respect for your preparation, genuine interest in high-level argumentative innovation, and appreciation for technical proficiency. Although I'm not going to lie, I may look bored watching some not high level/not competitive debates
--My favorite judges were clash judges who were flow-centric and did not bring personal opinions into the decision (unless it was necessary to do so). This was because I debated fast, reading 13 off and going for undercovered positions. What David Sposito says here resonates with me "Recently I've found myself advising losing teams in the post round that they should have gone for extremely bad, dropped blips. An argument being 'bad' ALONE does not mean that I will have a 'high threshold' for voting on it (again, these are weasel words that allow judges to get away w/ voting as is convenient for them, or as they please). Teams still must answer an argument satisfactorily. It is true that practically, 'bad' arguments should be unstrategic b/c they can swiftly be beaten w/ the right arguments, but the other team only benefits if they know the right answers (which they often do, but sometimes do not, especially for arguments w/ a bad reputation). But that's not about thresholds, exactly.... Ineffective arguments do not suddenly become better because I want one argument to win or lose--logically, that is bizarre, and practically, it is a violation of giving each team their due."
--So what do I believe are "truer" arguments and "faultier" arguments? Despite mostly going for the K in my career, I found myself voting for Policy teams more often in close clash debates when judging last year. However, I am only coaching K teams right now which shows that I recognize the K's strategic potential. This means that if you are a competent K team that utilizes speed to overwhelm your opponent with arguments that are hard to answer, shotgun extendable arguments against the policy team's "true" answers to your offense, isolate offense that is mishandled, impact out arguments and explain how they interact with your opponent's arguments, then you should not be worried. These are the K teams that end up succeeding anyways- most K teams that make it to deep elims of TOCs and other big high school tournaments pref college debaters that solely read policy arguments and college coaches that will vote strictly off of their flow but will vote for the policy team if equally debated. I will think about clash debates similar to these judges. This means I will moot the aff if you win its good to do so, and I will not evaluate reps links if you win reps links are bad.
--To be transparent, I'm confident I can follow a counterplan competition debate but am not as well versed as college policy debaters nor do I know enough dense critical theory to process blocks that use buzzwords every other sentence. I can handle speed, but I can't process insanely fast mumbling or flow as good as the college debaters and coaches who devote much more time to this activity than I currently do. However, I want to judge high-level debates and am confident I can keep up with skilled debaters that make arguments clear and explain how arguments interact with each other.
--I mostly agree with other community norms seen at high levels of debate: if the "truest" arguments on each side are forwarded, affs get perms in kvk debates, unlimited condo is justified, fairness is the most strategic impact, predictability outweighs limits for the sake of limits, dont default to squo unless its mentioned by the negative, etc. I understand these are not homogeneous views held by the community and are contestable, these views mostly stem from Brian Klarman and Mikaela Malsin along with discussions with other top-performing debaters.
--Send docs out quicker, prep ends when doc is sent, asking what cards were read is prep (asking for a marked copy is not)
--Format emails reasonably. If you need help, "Tournament X Round Y- AFF Your Team Code Vs NEG Other Team Code - Judge Alex Eum"
--If everyone in the round sends analytics and you remind me after the debate, I'll raise speaks, just remind me.
- Debated eight years in high school / college (Tampa Prep 2006-2010 and University of South Florida 2010-2014);
- I'm currently a Richmond-area attorney helping out the Washington Urban Debate League - I have coached debate irregularly for the past several years;
- As a debater, I was a counterplan/disad/case debater. I understand most basic kritiks. For more complex kritiks, explain them to me like I'm five years old;
- Consider me a tabula rasa judge that will listen to any argument and evaluate it based on the debate I observe. (N.B.: that said, everyone, including me, has internal biases and anyone who claims to be truly tabula rasa without any internal biases is definitely lying to you - for example, I have listed many of my internal biases below).
If you have questions, ask me before the round.
Some lengthier and more specific notes on theory/framework biases (all of these subject to in-round debate):
Condo: less than two conditional advocacies is normally fine (my barometer in this case is usually whether there is a performative contradiction between the conditional advocacy and the neg's defense of the status quo). More than two conditional advocacies is probably bad, but this is still debatable and dependent on the circumstances. Regardless, I'm always a fan of dispositional advocacies, defined as the neg agrees to advocate the position in the 2NR if there is offense on the flow that prevents the neg from "kicking out of" the position;
PICS: generic PICs are usually bad, but topic-specific or aff-specific PICs are usually good;
"reject the argument, not the team" is evaluated based on the in-round damage done;
framework = always up to hear both sides of this debate, but I find framework quibbles where all the teams do is exchange generic written blocks to be the most boring and monotonous part of modern debate - we're here to debate issues, not just ask the judge to pick a winner based on pre-determined biases;
plan-less/advocacy affs are bad if at the end of the debate I do not understand the nature of the advocacy;
Non-resolutional affirmatives: I care a lot about whether the affirmative is topic-specific in a clear way, and ideally framework issue would also be topic-specific. To explain this further: I think there are three critical components of the framework impact debate vis-a-vis topicality debates (1) the education provided by the affirmative and how it is beneficial to include the affirmative in the topic; (2) the fairness deficit (topic limits/predictability/ground) suffered by the negative from the affirmative moving away from the resolution as-written; (3) whether the affirmative's chosen topic and framework present an issue that can be debated by the negative; and (4) whether there are any quantifiable independent impacts relevant to the framework debate. It is really important to me that there is a strong internal link from the advocacy to the topic both because there will be a greater educational benefit as a result of debating the affirmative and because it reduces the affirmative's exclusionary effect on the negative's ability (and readiness) to debate the affirmative. This is not to say that an affirmative that completely avoids the topic (e.g. challenging the other team to a Taylor Swift dance-off contest) will always lose in front of me, but from an impact calculus perspective, a completely non-topical affirmative has a much higher hill to climb in proving that the educational benefits of the affirmative and the independent impact of voting affirmative outweigh the fairness deficit;
Disclosure theory = the availability of caselists has largely muted this issue, but some tournaments have very specific rules on what needs to be disclosed. If a tournament rule is broken, that theoretically justifies my vote, but I think an evaluation of what the rule-breaker did to fix the problem and how the opposing team was hurt by the rule violation (if at all) matters a lot more than just a rote application of the tournament rules;
Time limits on speeches and prep time (I write this because only because it has come up once to interesting effects): I generally think proposing to change time limits is a very bad idea and the team that intentionally takes the first extended speech more than ten seconds or so over time has likely committed in-round abuse. That said, I have an important message for any team trying (or defending against) this strategy in front of me: THE TAB ROOM'S SELECTED DEBATE END-TIME IS NOT UP FOR DEBATE AND MY BALLOT WILL BE SUBMITTED NO LATER THAN THE TIME REQUIRED BY TAB (this is true regardless of the outcome of any theory debate that may occur).
cool with anything just run it well especially if running k's, k-aff's and framework. no spreading
I am tabula rasa; did policy debate in HS and college. Fine with speed and K.
Sheryl Kaczmarek Lexington High School -- SherylKaz@gmail.com
I expect debaters to treat one another, their judges and any observers, with respect. If you plan to accuse your opponent(s) of being intellectually dishonest or of cheating, please be prepared to stake the round on that claim. Accusations of that sort are round ending claims for me, one way or the other. I believe debate is an oral and aural experience, which means that while I want to be included on the email chain, I will NOT be reading along with you, and I will not give you credit for arguments I cannot hear/understand, especially if you do not change your speaking after I shout clearer or louder, even in the virtual world. I take the flow very seriously and prior to the pandemic judged a lot, across the disciplines, but I still need ALL debaters to explain their arguments because I don't "know" the tiniest details for every topic in every event. I have not judged much during the pandemic so please start a little slower and work up to your top speed and please articulate. I am pretty open-minded about arguments, but I will NOT vote for arguments that are racist, sexist or in any other way biased against a group based on gender identity, religion or any other characteristic and I will NOT vote for suicide/self harm alternatives. None of those are things I can endorse as a long time high school teacher and decent human.
The Resolution -- I would prefer that debaters actually address the resolution, but I do vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often. That is because it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question, in the context of the rest of the round.
Framework -- I often find that these debates get messy fast. Debaters make too many arguments and fail to answer the arguments of the opposition directly. I would prefer more clash, and fewer arguments overall. While I don't think framework arguments are as interesting as some other arguments in debate, I will vote for the team that best promotes their vision of debate, or look at the rest of the arguments in the round through that lens.
Links -- I would really like to know what the affirmative has done to cause the impacts referenced in a Disad, and I think there has to be something the affirmative does (or thinks) which triggers a Kritik. I don't care how big the impact/implication is if the affirmative does not cause it in the first place.
Solvency -- I expect actual solvency advocates for both plans and counterplans. If you are going to have multi-plank plans or counterplans, make sure you have solvency advocates for those combinations of actions, and even if you are advocating a single action, I still expect some source that suggests this action as a solution for the problems you have identified with the Status Quo, or with the Affirmative.
Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part of the card you read needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards after a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot make enough sense of it to write it down, I will not be able to vote for it. If you don't have the time to explain a complicated argument to me, and to link it to the opposition, you might want to try a different strategy.
Old/Traditional Arguments -- I have been judging long enough that I have a full range of experiences with inherency, case specific disads, theoretical arguments against politics disads and many other arguments from policy debate's past, and I also understand the stock issues and traditional policy-making. If you really want to confuse your opponents, and amuse me, you'll kick it old school as opposed to going post-modern.
The Resolution -- The thing that originally attracted me to LD was that debaters actually addressed the whole resolution. These days, that happens far less often in LD than it used to. I like hearing the resolution debated, but I also vote for non-resolutional, non-topical or critical affirmatives fairly often in LD. That is because I believe it is up to the debaters in the round to resolve the issue of whether the affirmative ought to be endorsing the resolution, or not, and I will vote based on which side makes the better arguments on that question.
Framework -- I think LDers are better at framework debates than policy debaters, as a general rule, but I have noticed a trend to lazy framework debates in LD in recent years. How often should debaters recycle Winter and Leighton, for example, before looking for something new? If you want to stake the round on the framework you can, or you can allow it to be the lens through which I will look at the rest of the arguments.
Policy Arguments in LD -- I understand all of the policy arguments that have migrated to LD quite well, and I remember when many of them were first developed in Policy. The biggest mistake LDers make with policy arguments -- Counterplans, Perm Theory, Topicality, Disads, Solvency, etc. -- is making the assumption that your particular interpretation of any of those arguments is the same as mine. Don't do that! If you don't explain something, I have no choice but to default to my understanding of that thing. For example, if you say, "Perm do Both," with no other words, I will interpret that to mean, "let's see if it is possible to do the Aff Plan and the Neg Counterplan at the same time, and if it is, the Counterplan goes away." If you mean something different, you need to tell me. That is true for all judges, but especially true for someone with over 40 years of policy experience. I try to keep what I think out of the round, but absent your thoughts, I have no choice but to use my own.
Evidence -- I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Highlighting random words which would be incoherent if read slowly annoys me and pretending your cards include warrants for the claims you make (when they do not) is more than annoying. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part if the card you read really needs to say extinction will be the result. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
New Arguments/Very Complicated Arguments -- Please do not expect me to do any work for you on arguments I do not understand. I judge based on the flow and if I do not understand what I have written down, or cannot understand enough to write it down, I won't vote for it. If you don't think you have the time to explain some complicated philosophical position to me, and to link it to the opposition, you should try a different strategy.
Traditional Arguments -- I would still be pleased to listen to cases with a Value Premise and a Criterion. I probably prefer traditional arguments to new arguments that are not explained.
Theory -- Theory arguments are not magical, and theory arguments which are not fully explained, as they are being presented, are unlikely to be persuasive, particularly if presented in a paragraph, or three word blips, since there is no way of knowing which ones I won't hear or write down, and no one can write down all of the arguments when each only merits a tiny handful of words. I also don't like theory arguments that are crafted for one particular debate, or theory arguments that lack even a tangential link to debate or the current topic. If it is not an argument that can be used in multiple debates (like topicality, conditionality, etc) then it probably ought not be run in front of me. New 1AR theory is risky, because the NR typically has more than enough time to answer it. I dislike disclosure theory arguments because I can't know what was done or said before a round, and because I don't think I ought to be voting on things that happened before the AC begins. All of that being said, I will vote on theory, even new 1AR theory, or disclosure theory, if a debater WINS that argument, but it does not make me smile.
The Resolution -- PFers should debate the resolution. It would be best if the Final Focus on each side attempted to guide me to either endorse or reject the resolution.
Framework -- Frameworks are OK in PF, although not required, but given the time limits, please keep your framework simple and focused, should you use one.
Policy or LD Behaviors/Arguments in PF -- I personally believe each form of debate ought to be its own thing. I DO NOT want you to talk quickly in PF, just because I also judge LD and Policy, and I really don't want to see theory arguments, plans, counterplans or kritiks in PF. I will definitely flow, and will judge the debate based on the flow, but I want PF to be PF. That being said, I will not automatically vote against a team that brings Policy/LD arguments/stylistic approaches into PF. It is still a debate and the opposition needs to answer the arguments that are presented in order to win my ballot, even if they are arguments I don't want to see in PF.
Paraphrasing -- I have a HUGE problem with inaccurate paraphrasing. I expect debaters to be able to IMMEDIATELY access the text of the cards they have paraphrased -- there should be NO NEED for an off time search for the article, or for the exact place in the article where an argument was made. Making a claim based on a 150 page article is NOT paraphrasing -- that is summarizing (and is not allowed). If you can't instantly point to the place your evidence came from, I am virtually certain NOT to consider that evidence in my decision.
Evidence -- If you are using evidence, I expect your evidence to be highlighted consistent with the intent of your authors, and I expect your tags to make claims that you will prove with the parts you read from your evidence. Pretending your cards include warrants (when they do not) is unacceptable. If your tag says "causes extinction," the text of of the part you card you read MUST say extinction will happen. Misrepresenting your evidence is a huge issue for me. More often then not, when I read cards in a round, it is because I fear misrepresentation.
Theory -- This has begun to be a thing in PF in some places, especially with respect to disclosure theory, and I am not a fan. As previously noted, I want PF to be PF. While I do think that PFers can be too secretive (Policy and LD both started that way), I don't think PFers ought to be expending their very limited time in rounds talking about whether they ought to have disclosed their case to their opponents before the round. Like everything else I would prefer were not true, I can see myself voting on theory in PF because I do vote based on the flow, but I'd prefer you debate the case in front of you, instead of inventing new arguments you don't really have time to discuss.
My name is WK (they/them).
I have 10 years of competitive and coaching experience. 3 years of mediocrity in novice/JV PF 2012-2015, and then as a senior in 2015-2016 I switched to Congress and got 1 bid (Penn), 2nd at NY States, and Semis at NCFLs. Did 2 years of APDA (American Parli) in college to minimal competitive success, but did attend 2018 WUDC (British Parli). I have coached pretty much all events since graduating HS in 2016, and have been a teacher since finishing undergrad in 2020. Currently, I teach debate full-time to grades 5-12. I am also pursuing an MA in political science.
I mostly judge PF and Congress these days, so extensive paradigms follow for those two events, respectively. If anything below, for either event, doesn't make sense, ask me before the round! We are all here to learn and grow together.
Equity: Read this article. After reading that article, you should feel compelled to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Though at this point it should go without saying, I will make myself clear: I have a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance. You are smart enough to find impacts for the most esoteric and outlandish of arguments, I am certain you are aware of the impact of your words and actions on other people. Simply put: respect each other. We are all here to learn and grow together.
Yes, please put me on the email chain (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Speed: speed is mostly fine but if I signal to slow down (either a hand wave or a verbal “clear”) then slow down. 2 signals and then I stop flowing. Share speech docs if you’re worried about how speedy you are (again, email@example.com).
Evidence: I know what cards are really garbage and/or dishonest since I am coaching every topic and judging most of the time (Example: Don't read O'Toole in the HSR topic, or Chinese state media about BRI). That said, I am as non-interventionist as possible. I am pretty straightforward and flow centric: if you say it, it’s on my flow, if you don’t say it, it doesn’t exist in the world of the debate. I will stop writing at the time limit of the speech, you will see me put my pen down and you should know to stop, in addition to the fact of your and, likely, your opponents' timers going off. Author or Publication and Date is sufficient in speeches (and is the bare minimum by NSDA rules), and just author and/or publication after the first mention (and year if the author/publication is a repeat). If your evidence sounds sus, I will make note of that, but won't drop you unless it's challenged. It will probably hurt your speaks, though. I expect honesty and integrity in rounds. Evidence ethics in PF is really really messy right now, so I'll appreciate well-cited cases (but cards are not the same as warrants. You should know that, but still).
Framework debate: Try your best to engage with the other side’s framework, as that to me is fundamental to any debate and I have decided many rounds on it: it frames the round for a reason. Don’t just say it because it’s traditional/you’re expected to and then not engage with it or believe in it. If both teams present framework, you have to tell me why to prefer yours; if you do and they don't extend it, and that can help me clarify voters later. If both sides read FW but then no one extends/interacts, I'm just not gonna consider it in my RFD. If you read framework, I better hear how your impacts specifically link to it; that should happen in case, but if you need to clean up your mess later that's possible. If you can win your case and link into your opponent's FW and then weigh, you've got a pretty good shot of picking up my ballot.
Rebuttals: Frontlining needs to happen in rebuttals. IMO Second Rebuttal is the hardest speech in a PF round, and so I need you to leave yourself time to frontline or else they're gonna kill you in Summary (or at least they should, and I probably won't look favorably upon lots of unresponded to ink on the flow coming out of Rebuttals). Any defense in rebuttal isn't sticky. I'm also a fan of concessions/self-kick-outs when done well, but use the extra time to start weighing early on top of dumping responses/frontlines on whatever you are covering. That said, you'll probably get higher speaks if you do all the things on all the points.
Summary: Any defense in rebuttal isn't sticky, extend it if you want me to adjudicate based on it. I like it when summaries give me a good notion of the voting issues in the round, ideally with a clear collapse on one or two key points of clash. If you can sufficiently tell me what the voting issues are and how you won them, you have a real strong chance of winning the round. In so doing, you should be weighing against your opponent’s voting issues/best case (see above) and extending frontlining if you can (hence why it has to happen). Suppose I have to figure out what the voting issues are and, in cases where teams present different voting issues, weigh each side's against the other's: in that case, I may have to intervene more in interpreting what the round was about rather than you defining what the round was about, which I don't want to do. Weigh for me, my intervening is bad. Comparative weighing, please. In both backhalf speeches, I want really good and clear analytics on top of techy structure and cards.
Final Focus: a reminder that defense isn't sticky so extend as much as you can when you need to. The Final Focus should then respond to anything new in summary (hopefully not too much) and then write my ballot for me based on the voters/collapses in Summary. I am going to ignore any new arguments in your Final Focus. You know what you should be doing in that speech: a solid crystallization of the round with deference to clearing up my ballot. Final Focuses have won rounds before, don't look at it like a throwaway.
Signposting/Flow: I can flow 250-300 WPM if you want me to, but for the love of all things holy, sign post, like slow down for the tag even. I write as much as I can hear and am adept at flowing, and I'll even look at the speech doc if you send it (and you probably should as a principle if you're speaking this quickly), but you should make my life as easy as possible so I can spend more time thinking about your arguments. Always make your judges' lives as easy as you can.
Speaker points: unless tab gives me a specific set of criteria to follow, I generally follow the traditional “30 means I think you’re the platonic ideal of the debater, 29 means you are one of the best debaters I have seen, etc…” In novice/JV rounds, this is a bit less true: I generally give speaks based on the round’s quality in the context of the level at which you’re competing. If you are an insolent jerk, I will drop your speaks no matter how good you are. Insolence runs the gamut from personal put-downs of your opponent(s) to outright bigotry. If I am ever allowed to do so again, I have no issue with low point wins. Sus-sounding evidence will also drop your speaks.
T/Theory/K/Prog: This is part of my paradigm that I rewrote at the start of the 2022 season (and have updated regularly since) after seeing some of the most egregious judging of my life at a regional tournament, where ostensible preferences for lay debate were used as an excuse for blatant judge intervention and dog whistling of problematic worldviews. Given this, I have recently become way more open to T/Theory/K/Prog than I was earlier in my debate career. Let me be specific: if you can run any T/theory/prog/Ks that sufficiently criticizes competitive debate as an institution (fem K, tournament K, team K, SV, etc.), I am more open to it than I am to other T/Theory/K/Prog (as long as you read/provide real warrants and not just pre-written docs you don't understand from camp/your expensive private coach). I do not like any T/Theory that is purposely run on debaters that don't know how to deal with it to try and pick up; I'll drop you with crappy speaks. Separately, I think paraphrasing is bad for debate (as it is practiced by many circuit teams) and am also very open to paraphrasing theory, but be specific when reading the violation: if you don't prove there was a violation (or worse, there isn't really one at all and the other side gets up and tells me that, as happened in a round I judged in 2023), then I can't vote for you on theory no matter how good of a shell you read. On a different note, if you read any theory that has anything to do with discourse, my threshold for voting against you drops a lot at the point at which your opponent says anything close to "running theory isn't good for discourse." These are the kinds of theory I am most open to/familiar with in either direction, though I can adjudicate other kinds decently enough. If you're not sure about what I might think about the theory you wanna run, feel free to ask me before the round. In short, as long as the theory/K is executed well, meaning you actually link in and your impacts are very very well warranted, you should be fine. Prog is not an excuse to be blippy.
If you have any questions that haven't been answered here, feel free to ask them before the start of the round.
Have fun, learn something, and respect one another. Good luck, and I look forward to your round!
A PRIORI: I WILL BUMP YOU UP AT LEAST ONE FULL RANK IF YOU DO NOT READ OFF OF A FULLY PRE-WRITTEN SPEECH
I am a bit old school insofar as I believe Congress is very much a hybrid between speech and debate events: of course I want the good arguments, but you should sound and act like a member of Congress. The performative element of the event matters very much to me. Be respectful of everyone in the room and be sure that your arguments are not predicated on the derogation or belittlement of others (see the last paragraph of this paradigm for more on respect and its impact on my judging).
Your speeches are obviously most important, assuming you're not POing. I'm looking for solid and logical warranting (cards are important but not a replacement for warranting, especially in a more rhetorically oriented event like Congress), unique impacts (especially to specific constituencies) and strong rhetoric. Your argumentation should leave no big gaps in the link chains, and should follow a clear structure. Arguments that are interdependent obviously need that linkage to be strong. Obviously, avoid rehash. Good extensions, meaning those that introduce meaningully new evidence/context or novel impacts, are some of my favorite speeches to hear. I also value a real strong crystal more than a lot of judges, so if you're good at it, do it.
I also give great weight to your legislative engagement. Ask questions, make motions, call points of order when appropriate. If you're good at this, I will remember it in your ranking. The same goes if you're not good at it. I have no bright-line for the right/wrong amount of this: engage appropriately and correctly and it will serve you well. Sitting there with your hands folded the entire session when you're not giving a speech will hurt you.
I highly value the role of the PO, which is to say that a great PO can and will get my 1. A great PO makes no procedural errors, provides coherent and correct explanations when wrongly challenged, runs a quick-moving and efficient chamber, and displays a command of decorum and proper etiquette. Short of greatness, any PO who falls anywhere on the spectrum of good to adequate will get a rank from me, commensurate with the quality of their performance. Like any other Congressperson, you will receive a detailed explanation for why you were ranked where you were based on your performance. While you may not get the 1 if you are perfect but also frequently turning to the Parli to confirm your decisions, I would rather you check in than get it wrong and be corrected; you'll still get ranked, but perhaps not as highly. The only way I do not rank a PO is if they make repeated, frequent mistakes in procedure: calling on the wrong speaker when recency is established, demonstrating a lack of procedural knowledge and/or lack of decorum, et cetera.
My standards are the same when I Parli as when i judge, the only difference being I will be comparing POs and speakers across the day, so POing one session does not guarantee a rank on my Parli sheet, since it is an evaluation of your performance across all sessions of the tournament. When I am Parli, I keep the tournament guidelines on me at all times, in case there are any regional/league-based disparities in our expectations of procedure/rules.
Above all else, everyone should respect one another. If you are an insolent jerk, I will not rank you no matter how good you are. Insolence runs the gamut from personal put-downs of your fellow Congressmembers to outright bigotry.Read this article. After reading that article, you should feel compelled to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Though at this point it should go without saying, I will make myself clear: I have a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance. You are smart enough to find impacts for the most esoteric and outlandish of arguments, I am certain you are aware of the impact of your words and actions on other people. Simply put: respect each other. We are all here to learn and grow together.
Have fun, learn something, and respect one another. Good luck, and I look forward to your round!
"And therefore, as when there is a controversy in an account, the parties must by their own accord, set up for right Reason, the Reason of some Arbitrator, or Judge, to whose sentence they will both stand, or their controversie must either come to blowes, or be undecided, for want of a right Reason constituted by Nature."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Pt. 1, Ch. 5, para. 3
I did LD debate for four years in high school, so I understand the event's jargon and how arguments interact with each other in terms of the framework and contention level. This means that I also flow the debate and will make note if a debater extends a conceded argument (so don't expect to win me over with a flowery 2AR if your 1AR was a dropfest). I am definitely tabula rasa, so I'll accept any arguments made in the round as long as they are either uncontested or better upheld in terms of clash, even if I personally disagree or know a given statistic is misleading. However, I will not accept any arguments that are blatantly offensive or abusive (ex: racism and ridiculous "observations" that make it impossible for your opponent to win the round). I cast my ballot by picking the superior framework and weighing who has the most offense under that framework in terms of cards and contentions.
I'm alright with a faster than normal pace, but please don't go full blast. If you feel the need to send me your speech doc via e-mail, then you're definitely going past the line.
Counterplans/kritiks/other policy stuff
I'm alright with you running these in the right context (i.e. it's pretty unfair to run a policy-esque plantext at a traditional tournament in which your opponent almost certainly has no familiarity with such arguments). However, I'm probably less likely to vote on these arguments compared to a traditional 1AC or 1NC, so run them at your own discretion. I'm most open to counterplans, as those are pretty intuitive and they already get run all the time in oblique fashion anyway.
Unfortunately, I am sometimes dragged into judging this event. I did policy a handful of times in high school, but I don't have the same level of familiarity with the event that I do with LD. Most of the stuff from above applies (i.e. no new arguments in your rebuttal speeches, an argument that's dropped and extended is considered true within the round).
I understand that you generally have to spread in order to read your 1AC or 1NC in time, so I simply ask you to slow down (relatively speaking) in your rebuttals and speak clearly when you spread.
Don't run ultra-esoteric kritiks. If your K asks me to do something like "embrace the queer suicide bomber," "embrace the death drive," or embrace whatever form of ______ futurism, I will probably be less likely to vote for it (to put it lightly). My paradigm is generally tabula rasa, but I'd rather be upfront about arguments I'm skeptical of and often don't follow. If you run these arguments, you will probably get killed by utopian fiat, or your opponent will respond at the level of the K and the round will essentially become a coin flip because I won't follow a lot of the clash.
Collapse and focus on a few key arguments if you're arguing over theory. The last thing I want is to have to vote based on some three second blip you made in one of your rebuttals and I didn't even have time to flow properly.
Director of Debate at Georgetown Day School.
Read what you want. Have fun. I know you all put a lot time into this activity, so I am excited to hear what you all bring!
Things I like:
- 2AR and 2NRs that tell me a story. I want to know why I am voting the way I am. I think debaters who take a step back, paint me the key points of clash, and explain why those points resolve for their win fare better than debaters who think every line by line argument is supposed to be stitched together to make the ballot.
- Warrants. A debater who can explain and impact a mediocre piece of evidence will fare much better than a fantastic card with no in-round explanation. What I want to avoid is reconstructing your argument based off my interpretation of a piece of evidence. I don't open speech docs to follow along, and I don't read evidence unless its contested in the round or pivotal to a point of clash.
- Simplicity. I am more impressed with a debater that can simplify a complex concept. Not overcomplicating your jargon (especially K's) is better for your speaker points.
- Topicality (against policy Aff's). This fiscal redistribution topic seems quite large so the better you represent your vision of the topic the better this will go for you. Please don't list out random Aff's without explaining them as a case list because I am not very knowledgeable on what they are.
- Case debates. I think a lot of cases have very incredulous internal links to their impacts. I think terminal defense can exist and then presumption stays with the Neg. I'm waiting for the day someone goes 8 minutes of case in the 1NC. That'd be fantastic, and if done well would be the first 30 I'd give. Just please do case debates.
- Advantage CP's and case turns. Process CP's are fine as well, but I much prefer a well researched debate on internal links than a debate about what the definition of "resolved" "the" and "should"" are. Don't get me wrong though, I am still impressed by well thought out CP competition.
- Debates, if both teams are ready to go, that start early. I also don't think speeches have to be full length, if you accomplished what you had to in your speech then you can end early. Novice debaters, this does not apply to you. Novices should try to fill up their speech time for the practice.
- Varsity debaters being nice to novices and not purposefully outspreading them or going for dropped arguments.
- K Affirmatives and Framework/T. I'm familiar and coached teams in a wide variety of strategies. Make your neg strategy whatever you're good at. Advice for the Aff: Answer all FW tricks so you have access to your case. Use your case as offense against the Neg's interpretation. You're probably not going to win that you do not link to the limits DA at least a little, so you should spend more time turning the Neg's version of limits in the context of your vision of debate and how the community has evolved. I believe well developed counter-interpretations and explanations how they resolve for the Neg's standards is the best defense you can play. Advice for the Neg: Read all the turns and solves case arguments. Soft left framework arguments never really work out in my opinion because it mitigates your own offense. Just go for limits and impact that out. Generally the winning 2NR is able to compartmentalize the case from the rest of the debate with some FW trick (TVA, SSD, presumption, etc.) and then outweigh on a standard. If you aren't using your standards to turn the case, or playing defense on the case flow, then you are probably not going to win.
- Role of the Ballot. I don't know why role of the ballot/judge arguments are distinct arguments from impact calculus or framework. It seems to me the reason the judge's role should change is always justified by the impacts in the round or the framework of the round. I'm pretty convinced by "who did the better debating." But that better debating may convince me that I should judge in a certain way. Hence why I think impact calculus or framework arguments are implicit ROB/ROJ arguments.
- Tech vs. truth. I'd probably say I am tech over truth. But truth makes it much easier for an argument to be technically won. For example, a dropped permutation is a dropped permutation. I will vote on that in an instant. But an illogical permutation can be answered very quickly and called out that there was no explanation for how the permutation works. Also the weaker the argument, the more likely it can be answered by cross applications and extrapolations from established arguments.
- Kritiks. I find that K turns case, specific case links, or generic case defense arguments are very important. Without them I feel it is easy for the Aff to win case outweighs and/or FW that debates become "you link, you lose." I think the best K debaters also have the best case negs or case links. In my opinion, I think K debaters get fixated on trying to get to extinction that they forget that real policies are rejected for moral objections that are much more grounded. For example, I don't need the security kritik to lead to endless war when you can provide evidence about how the security politics in Eastern Europe has eroded the rights and quality of life of people living there. This coupled with good case defense about the Aff's sensational plan is in my opinion more convincing.
Things I like less:
- Stealing prep. Prep time ends when the email is sent or the flash drive is removed. If you read extra cards during your speech, sending that over before cross-ex is also prep time. I'm a stickler for efficient rounds, dead time between speeches is my biggest pet peeve. When prep time is over, you should not be typing/writing or talking to your partner. If you want to talk to your partner about non-debate related topics, you should do so loud enough so that the other team can also tell you are not stealing prep. You cannot use remaining cross-ex time as prep.
- Debaters saying "skip that next card" or announcing to the other team that you did not read xyz cards. It is the other team's job to flow.
- Open cross. In my opinion it just hurts your prep time. There are obvious exceptions when partners beneficially tag team. But generally if you interrupt your partner in cross-ex or answer a question for them and especially ask a question for them, there better be a good reason for it because you should be prepping for your next speech
- 2NC K coverage that has a 6 min overview and reads paragraphs on the links, impacts, and alt that could have been extended on the line by line.
- 2NC T/FW coverage that has a 6 min overview and reads extensions on your standards when that could have been extended on the line by line.
- 10 off. That should be punished with conditionality or straight turning an argument. I think going for conditionality is not done enough by Affirmative teams.
- Card clipping is any misrepresentation of what was read in a speech including not marking properly, skipping lines, or not marking at all. Intent does not matter. A team may call a violation only with audio or video proof, and I will stop the round there to evaluate if an ethics violation has happened. If a team does not have audio or video proof they should not call an ethics violation. However, I listen to the text of the cards. If I suspect a debater is clipping cards, I will start following along in the document to confirm. If a tournament has specific rules or procedures regarding ethics violations, you may assume that their interpretations override mine.
- Second rebuttal must frontline, you can't wait till the second summary.
- If it takes you more than 1 minute to send a card, I will automatically strike it from my flow. This includes when I call for a card. I will also disregard evidence if all there is a website link. Cards must be properly cut and cited with the relevant continuous paragraphs. Cards without full paragraph text, a link, a title, author name, and date are not cards.
- You are only obligated to send over evidence. Analytics do not need to be sent, the other team should be flowing.
- Asking questions about cards or arguments made on the flow is prep time or crossfire time.
- If it isn't in the summary, it's new in the final focus.
- Kritiks in PF, go for it! Beware though that I'm used to CX and may not be hip on how PF debaters may run Kritiks.
**There are hidden money-related puns in this paradigm. Find them and tell me how many there are before the round. IF you are correct, a plus +.2 speaker points will be added on.
Jake Lee (He/Him)
Present and Past Affiliations:
Current High School Affiliation - Head Coach and Math Teacher at the Mamaroneck High School ('21-Now)
Former College Affiliation - Assistant Coach at the University of Michigan ('20-'21)
Former Assistant Coach - Pine Crest ('18-'21), Strath Haven ('19)
Former Debater - University of Pittsburgh ('16-'20), Qualified to NDT ('19) D7!
Former Debater - Glenbrook South ('12-'16)
My Email for the Chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
HS Debaters ALSO add: email@example.com
In-Depth Judging Record: View this Speadsheet
The state of flowing and line by line is very concerning. You all should be flowing. The amount of times the 2AC has answered a skipped offcase or a couple of skipped cards on case because you just did not listen is concerning. Same with the other speeches in the debate where a team is answering something that was not said at all because "iT wAs iN tHe DoC"!! Same thing with people just claiming everyone is dropping everything.
Hi! I am currently a math teacher and Director of Debate at Mamaroneck High School. I work debate pretty much full-time. I attend tournaments and work at summer camps to help out debate. I invest a lot of my time thinking about debate. This will be my 12th year in debate.
I debated four years at Glenbrook South. I mainly was a 2N my entire time there. I went for a variety of arguments such as the politics DA, the privatization CP, framework, the terrorism DA, various Process CPs, the Cap K and Security K. I debated three years at the University of Pittsburgh as both a 2N and 2A. I mainly wrote AFFs with plan text when I was a 2A, and as a 2N went for the Economy DA, Midterms DA, and Cap K during my time. I qualified to the NDT my junior year (2019).
I have been coaching debate for a while. I helped out GBS from 2016-2018 for a small bit just cutting small files. I worked with Pine Crest 2018-2021 doing research on a vast amount of areas. I focused on AFF writing mostly while researching the occasional topic DA/CPs to K literature for both the AFF/NEG. With Mamaroneck, I have just started the role of leading a large team. I have researched everything from primarily policy strategies to critical literature in high theory, critical race/identity literature.
**Before the start of every round: I want every person in the room to go around and state your name, pronouns and one fun fact about yourself. You all are way too stressed out before rounds and having this little icebreaker before the start of rounds promotes a safe, friendly space. It helps create a community in debate, and the teacher in me enjoys the idea of promoting community building.
I evaluate arguments on a Tech over Truth basis. A dropped argument is a true argument on the flow. However, the word "conceded" does not mean you get to skirt by with laziness on the flow. Implicating your argument/evidence/impact etc. as to how it relates to you winning the argument or the overall debate is something that I value. The only time tech over truth will not matter is on Death Good (Ligotti style), Racism Good, Sexism Good, etc. Reading these arguments at your own expense will lead to an inevitable L and 25's immediately. As an educator, it is my responsibility to make debate a safe space for everyone.
You cannot just "re-insert" highlighting into the round. I know this a judge dependent statement, but if you are going to talk about a re-highlighting, you MUST READ it. I am not going to evaluate the re-highlighting unless you re-read it. This is non-negotiable. This will cost you speaks.
I will not evaluate things that occur outside of the debate round. My role as a judge is to evaluate arguments relevant to flow. Ad Hominems are not arguments. I have no authority nor resources to launch an investigation about something that occurs outside of the debate.
No requesting "can you send a marked copy of the doc, and take out the cards that you did not read" before CX or speeches. If you ask, there are two options that can occur: a) the other team has the right to just say NO or b) if the other team says yes, I'm going to run YOUR prep time and the other team can stall as long as they want because you decided not to flow. I don't care if they purposely run your time to ZERO, you didn't FLOW! You all have the document in front of you. That is a privilege debaters about 15 years ago did not have. If I can flow the speech without looking at the doc, you can to.
Fiscal Redistribution Topic Thoughts:
This Topic is Great! Pretty limiting on AFF ground and there is good NEG ground. There is a topic DA now, please go for it!! It is a valuable asset. Seriously please go for DA's, it makes sense.
Topicality Debates are actually going to be good on this topic. The files and definitions that have been put out are quite interesting, and T seems like a great option. Now, there are some definitions that I am skeptical about such as "FR can be tax or transfer instead of tax and transfer". But I am happy to hear that T debate for sure. Limits may be very persuasive on this topic with the right interpretation. I think I am more lenient with Healthcare being topical under the Social Security area of the topic. I think healthcare is an important area regarding economic inequality. BUT if you are expanding outside OASDI and Healthcare, I am going to be less skeptical that you are topical.
Economy Advantage vs Economy Disadvantage: Having debated the health insurance topic a couple of years ago, this debate was the most prevalent on the topic. If you take this route, please make sure you isolate your offense on Economy. This is important since it helps me look on the flow how the AFF either solves the economy or crashes the economy. Highlighting key warrants and links reduces the messiness on the flow.
The Taxes/transfers PIC seems pretty OP. But there are a ton of reasons why Taxes are needed. Would love to hear this debate.
Recalling a very old thought I had on the CJR/Education/Immigration topic when I judged soft left AFFs. It feels really ironic that teams who have "framing contentions" do not do any framing at all. Both AFF and NEG are at fault for just reading cards and not "framing" anything. Please make some role of the ballot/judge or something to frame the debate if there is one. The spamming of Util Outweighs or Deontology First does nothing to help me evaluate the round.
Consider the Following:
1) Implicate Arguments:
Judge Instruction is pretty non-existent in 90% of debates. As a math person, I really care about how things are concluded. What implicating your argument is pretty much equivalent to showing your work to me on a test. Telling me how to vote prevents major judge intervention from me. Clash, compare, articulate, explain arguments and tell me how they relate to you winning the debate round. Arguments without warrants depreciate in value compared to arguments with warrants are appreciated.
Nothing frustrates me more when teams say their arguments but do not tell me how to evaluate them. If I cannot figure out what I am supposed to do with your argument at the end, I am pretty much going to ignore it or not evaluate it. It is pretty consuming to try to sort out a wad of arguments that have no value to them. It is equivalent as to you telling me that this shape is a rectangle, and you cannot tell me why it is a rectangle without the proof/work. Do not bank on me trying to figure out what you are trying to tell me if you do not provide judge instruction, otherwise your arguments get bogged down.
Please just stop reading pre-written blocks in these debates. I know you think you are "answering" the argument, but you are really not. Do Line-by-Line as you would normally do on any other flow. That is just so much better to listen to because it actually shows you are actively listening and thinking about your opponent's arguments in the round.
Conditionality is probably good. I have voted both ways when it comes down to conditionality. Impact calculus and counter-interpretation debating does matter. New AFFs justify condo and perf con.
I end up judging these debates a lot. In these debates, both in K AFF and K rounds, are often quite frustrating to resolve at the end of the day. To win Framework on either the AFF or NEG, you need to do impact calculus! Most debates tend to stagnate and never expand on their impacts. This gets really left out in these debates and ends up being two ships passing each other. Use the language of the other team to really help me guide the debate.
The other thing that annoys me that teams do not do is explaining their interpretation of debate. Both sides just breeze through this when this actually matters to me a lot as to why you resolve your own offense and why they link to your own offense. Debating and refuting each other's interpretations matters a lot and gets you a lot farther in the debate.
Hey Jake, is Fairness an impact? Yes and No. I think Fairness is an internal impact that can produce a plethora of external impacts. Hence, I tend to think Fairness is more of an internal link. I prefer clash style impacts over fairness impacts, but fairness can be a powerful impact set up for a lot of framework offense if executed correctly. However, I am not the person debating, and if you make frame Fairness as an external on the flow, I will treat it as an impact on the flow. It is your job to implicate it. Yes, I have voted on Fairness being an impact in the past: Walter Payton SW, MBA BM, Whitney Young MM, and LFS MR are a few teams that I have voted on fairness for.
I prefer the AFF to have a counter-interpretation most of the time than just going for the impact turn strategy. Counter-interpretations help me get a perspective as to what I should think about debate and how I should come to the conclusion about debate. Most teams fail to provide also any UQ framing about debate.
TVAs are a great tool. A lot of NEG teams fail to understand the purpose of a TVA. A TVA does not need to solve the AFF. If the NEG can prove there is a TVA that can resolve a lot of offense from the AFF, the NEG is in a good spot. The AFF's best shot at beating TVAs is proving how silly sometimes these TVAs are. I am also shocked how AFF teams just let the NEG get away with blatantly untopical TVAs. There are so many times where I am just shocked that I end up voting for a TVA that just sounds very UNTOPICAL under the NEG's definitions.
Switch Side Debate is an under utilized argument that helps with most NEG teams. AFF teams can easily combat this by stating an AFF key warrant, which goes back to my thoughts about the counter-interpretation always being present in the 2AR.
I am always down for a counterplan debate. I did find the NATO topic last year a bit annoying with the amount of process CPs that came out of it, so let's try to avoid it this year since there are decent non-process CPs on this topic. Counterplans should be both "textually and functionally" competitive is the immoveable standard that I will stake in counterplan debates.
Not only this forces better counterplans writing, but better permutation writing. Limited intrinsic perms really are go-to strategy against counterplans such as Consult NATO or the Lopez CP when they really have no intrinsic purpose to the topic. But a very good counterplan that destroys the intrinsic perm is very much a power move. I am easily persuaded that the "other issues" perm should be abolished since it limits out NEG ground a ton. Debating out words, phrases, and reasons behind it will go a long way. Should/Resolved debates are pretty meh, but they have stuck with me for a long time given my time debating against GBN and hearing Forslund's thoughts about counterplan competition theory.
Permutation Do Both seems lost in most process CP debates. I sometime think that you can just do both. That places the burden a lot of the NEG to really explain any inherent trade-off between doing the plan and the counterplan, especially with garbage internal net benefits.
Permutations are not advocacies. They are tests of competition/trade-offs. That is it. Permutations also DO NOT have to be topical. What's up with this trend lately?
Text-Only Counterplans: This is might be a hot take. If the NEG team just reads a counterplan text in the 1NC and nothing else, the AFF can just say Perm Do Both and move on. Here's why: a) there is no claim of solvency established after the text. The Counterplan text explains what you are doing, not how it solves and b) you have not established the threshold of competition. Jimin Park and I had an interesting conversation about this.
Huge fan of disadvantages. However, this is a sliding scale. There are some DAs that are pretty heat, ie. Assurance DA on Alliances Topic, Econ DA on Health Insurance Topic, Russia Fill-In DA on Arms Sales topic. Then, there are some DAs that are absolute garbage, ie. Federalism DA on Education topic, DoD Trade-Off on the NATO topic.
Much prefer you focus on the link level of the DA. This is where a lot of DA debates are either won or lost. A lot of debaters really fail to explain or attack the link. I see the common tactic against DAs is just impact defense, when again link level debating helps. AFFs should link turn DAs when they have the opportunity. Straight turning stuff has become a lost art.
Politics DAs: Okay, I will admit these DAs are non-sensical. However, I love a good politics DA debate. It was my most common 2NR in high school. That being said, the politics DA is probably the hardest DA to both execute and answer. There are a ton of moving parts to it, that a lot of debaters end up getting lost in the sauce and just make this debate about who likes/hates the plan. Defenses of PC theory, UQ warrants, takes outs of the bill all have large implications on the DA. Winner's Win theory is a great debate to listen if the AFF decides to put offense against the DA. Rider DAs are bad (sorry Voss).
Critiques are an argument I hear a lot when I judge. I have voted both ways in Cap, Security, Psychoanalysis, Afropessmism, Settler Colonialism, Baudrillard, etc. debates.
Framework for me dictates how I evaluate the round. Both teams should have a comprehensive interpretation of what debates should look like and how I should evaluate it. Both teams should also impact out why their model of debate is better than their opponents. This is where a lot of debates just fall flat. AFF team says fairness and clash. NEG team says that's capitalist/anti-black and that's it. Lack of impact calculus just frustrates me a lot. Why should I have to "weigh the plan" or "prefer representations first prior to weighing the plan". Bronx Science BD was the only team that really impacted out framework and provided a clear lane for judges to evaluate rounds.
I prefer if the critique had links about the plan/topic rather than representations of the AFF's impacts. That is a preference, not a mandate. A lot of good executions of the link debate utilize re-highlightings and implicating the reason for a link. AFF's can easily combat this by just defending their threats are real. I am pretty good for AFF teams that just that their impact is true OR their AFF is just a good idea.
Extinction is First is a default for me, unless there is another Utilitarian thought process that is presented and articulated well to me to think otherwise.
I am probably not the best judge for topicality debates. I think it is definitely an important stock issue for sure. T debates are very hard to execute because majority of the time teams are just saying buzzwords without any real meaning to it. I will default to competing interpretations majority of the time.
What matters to me is counter-interpretation debating, and how you explain to me your view of the topic is better for debate. A lot debates end up messy for me to evaluate because there is no impacting out why limits outweighs ground or AFF ground better than NEG ground. I will always will try to figure out which topic is best for both the AFF and NEG.
Much prefer limits over ground, unless there is a clear linkage between the AFF's interpretation decking NEG ground.
Plan Text in a Vacuum is a questionable standard. NEG teams keep forgetting to answer it for some strange reason.
8) Case Debating:
Love a good case debate. Both sides will profit well from a good case debate. Making smart internal link/solvency takes outs really provide the NEG a lot of leverage. If going for a counterplan, still having case defense to the advantage that you think the CP solves the least forces me to drop you twice as I have to decide the CP doesn’t solve AND that the case impact outweighs your net-benefit. That seems like a pretty good spot to be in for NEG since I can judge kick the CP and weigh the net benefit. What most high school debaters end up doing is just spamming impact defense. Much prefer internal link/solvency take outs.
Majority of the time, a lot of 1ACs are hyperinflated, illogical and run into a ton of problems. If you tell me you cannot find an illogical flaw in an internal link chain that says, "plan's biofuel research promotes ag research, ag research promotes GMOs, GMOs help solve food shortage in Ukraine, lack of food in Ukraine causes NATO intervention, NATO scares Russia, NATO-Russia war goes nuclear", I will be shocked.
9) Ethics Violations:
Clipping: a team misrepresents how much evidence they have read in a debate, such as improperly highlighting their evidence, “clipping cards” (the team says they read more than they actually did by clipping a card short of the indicated end), or “cross reading” (the team skips words or sentences in the middle of the text but indicates that they read all the highlighted words).
Any use of AI or other services to generate random text and use the text as "evidence" is deemed a fabrication of evidence.
Any altering of the author's original text such as deleting/adding/re-arranging words/phrases/paragraphs is also deemed a fabrication of evidence. Proof of fraud is necessary.
Any ethics violation challenge, the other team must present evidence. Whoever wins the challenge gets the win and max speaker points. Whoever loses the challenge gets the lost and lowest speaker points possible (probably a 25).
High School Coaches I agree with - Jeremy Hammond, DB, Gabe Koo, Eric Forslund, Allie Chase, Tim Lewis, Peter Susko, Yao Yao Chen, Will Katz, and Maggie Berthiaume.
Schools I judge the most: Lexington (39), Berkeley Prep (31), GDS (29), GBN (23), Calvert Hall (21), New Trier (18), MBA (16)
I am a big fan of the Washington Urban Debate League! Appreciate all of the work David Trigaux does down there.
Top 5 Favorite Topics I debated/coached (top was favorite): Domestic Surveillance (HS 2016), Oceans (HS 2015), Fiscal Redistribution (HS 2024), Executive Authority (C 2019), Transportation Infrastructure (HS 2013),
Giving the final speeches (2NR/2AR) off the flow (ie paper) will boost speaker points!!!! Shows great ethos in round.
Brandon Reynolds is not funny.
Old Thoughts from Previous Topics
T-A5 is the worst argument on this topic. I just WON'T vote on IT. (NATO)
Why are people talking about Space Elevators on this topic? (CJR)
Assurance and Deterrence DAs are the best on this topic. Please put these DAs on case when relevant, just makes things flow easier. (Alliances)
Con-Con seems cheating. (CJR)
USMCA is not pronounced "You-Smack-A". Please stop trying to make Acronyms as words. (Arms Sales)
I do not have strong ideological preferences on content or form. I am more familiar with critical debate than traditional policy arguments. I am probably best at judging clash debates, then K v. K, then Policy v. Policy.
I really like well-researched, creative affs/neg strats and will reward debater’s speaks for taking innovative, personal spins on traditional arguments.
Debate is fundamentally a persuasive activity, and if I do not understand an argument or its significance then I am unlikely to vote on it. Simplify, summarize, and prescribe your ideal RFD to me and I will gladly give it to you.
Be kind and respectful. I will reward your speaks if you are and punish them if you are not.
I am a sophomore studying finance at Wharton. I debated for Little Rock Central for four years, qualifying to the TOC my junior and senior years and reaching finals of NDCA my senior year. I read 75/25 K/Policy arguments in high school and almost exclusively critical identity-based affirmatives.
Aff teams should consolidate offense and leverage the method/1AC. Do not read six DAs in the 2AC on FW, refuse to distinguish any of them, then flag them in the 1AR as dropped. Neg teams should engage the case page - a 2NR that concedes case solvency or the aff's theory of power is hard to win. I am much more persuaded by a models-based FW approach focused on the quality of debates and the importance of rejoinder for the negative than arguments about procedural fairness (although I’ll still gladly vote for them if won).
The most valuable thing neg teams can do is good link debating. To me, framework is a filter that lowers the link quality threshold necessary for the neg to win. Even if you win “you link you lose”, the neg still has to prove a link, and the link should preferably be un-terrible.
Aff teams should debate framework in a way that says “lowering the link quality threshold necessary for the neg to win is BAD”. Maybe this is due to fairness reasons, but the more persuasive answer seems to be that good debate is good and lowering quality thresholds rarely improves the quality of debates.
99% of theory is a reason to reject the argument, not the team.
Agnostic about conditionality in theory, lean against the way it gets put into practice. 4+ condo is probably abusive and 2As should strongly question the claim that it's necessary for the negative to stay competitive.
I am fine with these, but am inexperienced in judging debates that come down to counterplan competition or perm theory. If you make this the focal point of the 2NR/2AR you will probably be more frustrated with the RFD than I am.
Like these debates, much more confident in my ability to make a good decision here.
Before the beginning of a round, if both teams agree to it, I will make a decision based on whichever team wins a best of 10 rock-paper-scissors match (first to 6). I will give each debater the highest possible speaks (29.7-30), with the losing team receiving the higher speaks. Each team will get 30 seconds of prep between each round, up to 8 minutes cumulatively.
I am a new judge to this LD debate format.
I prefer debater not to use acronym that a typical person on the street does not know.
I prefer you speak at normal speed. Speaking too fast is useless because you goal is to pass your idea if you speak too fast, I will have trouble to understand you.
You want stress your key argument or resolution. This helps you to convince your listener. Do not speak like a computer with monotone.
I'm a versatile judge but also keeping in mind that this is policy debate, I intend on voting at least with the barest minimum required:
- Framework - what's yours, reasons to perfer, why is your opponents f/w undesirable, etc.
- Impacts - what is the urgency? In round impacts included. If going for theory, what's the terminal impact of that.
- Risks - what conquenses will be made from an opposing ballot?
- Solvency - evidence of proof
- Topicality/Theory - if there are no voters, I will not be voting on the argument. Independent voters need to be impacted out.
K affs have the burden of proof which means even if you don't claim fiat, solvency is still required. Evidence can be used as proof but there's going to be a deeper analysis needed to support your commitment and legitimacy of your advocacy if it is a performative style of debate especially. I still expect clash and line by line. You cannot get caught up in the argument that you refuse or forget to engage in actual debate. If by the end of debate I don't understand the solvency mechanism being used to solve the impacts of the aff and no analysis on reasons to perfer affs f/w I'm probably going to vote on persumption.
Lastly but should've been firstly, after years of debating and over a decade of judging, I have seen an upward trend in bad ethos in debate. Lets keep it respectful. If there are trigger warnings, they need to be addressed before the debate starts.
Open cross-x is fine.
I'm not going to evaluate any questions past cross x but if you want to ask simple questions during your prep during contructives, that's fine.
I think this is my one old man pet peeve: please don't call it "cross."
I debated from 2006-2010 at Loyola Blakefield HS, then from 2010-2013 at the University of Mary Washington. Coached at George Mason University from 2014-2017. I've been mostly out of debate since then aside from a handful of debates each year. The place where this probably impacts you most is in T debates (if you're shotgunning a case list at me, especially one full of topic acronyms, I may not know what you're talking about).
Short version - do what you do. I’m not here to tell you what debate is supposed to be about or what arguments are best, so I won’t judge in a fashion that assumes I know the answers to those questions. Do whatever you were going to do before you saw my name on the pairing. Treat the following as proclivities that break ties. In other words, if two sides debate an argument as perfectly (or as poorly?) as humanly possible, this is how I would probably err in a given situation.
Top level stuff:
I enjoy fast, clash-heavy, policy debate. I think there are benefits to all three of those descriptors (though I am open to well-argued critiques of “policy” – see below). That necessitates certain things about the way I judge:
- I like to flow. I will evaluate arguments that tell me not to flow in order to determine if not flowing is a better model for debate, but I need to flow the arguments to make that determination in the first place
- Line by line is important in my decision-making. I have a tendency to reward direct clash over embedded/holistic argumentation. That doesn't mean I adhere strictly to the line by line, but keep in mind that it can be a tiebreaker, and that good line by line debating can only help your points.
- Clarity is crucial. A lot of “bad judging decisions” are the result of miscommunications between judges and debaters
- An argument is a claim and a warrant. A good argument is a claim, a warrant, and an impact. Phrases such as “fiat solves the link” or “infinite regression” are not arguments. Teams are only responsible for responding to arguments.
Paperless prep - I took a decent amount, so I'm pretty lenient about it. I also think that the whole "when the email is sent/when the jump drive is out" standard reduces the quality of debates by forcing debaters to take prep when they aren't actually prepping. I think prep time stops when you are no longer prepping your speech. But you should know that the more prep you take means the less time I have to decide the debate. There's also a limit to the dead time I can allow because I do like having time to decide.
I give speaker points based on how effectively students articulate their arguments, regardless of the type of argument. Above a 29.5 deserves to contend for top speaker, 29.3-29.5 is a speaker award, 29-29.2 is good/should be clearing, 28.5-28.9 is on the cusp of clearing, 28-28.4 is average, 27.5-27.9 is below average, 27 and up needs work or might be in the wrong division. Any lower and you probably did something unethical or offensive. I try to roughly keep up with community norms here.
One more note on speaks - borrowed from Hester's philosophy:
"Debaters who have used the opportunity afforded by annual resolutions to learn about the topic and are able to apply that knowledge in the round will be in position to receive higher points than debaters whose speeches are lacking in this category. Debaters whose speeches reflect little to no effort at having learned about this season's topic may win the debate, but will not receive good points.
This does not mean the AFF must read a plan text...nor that the NEG can only debate the case (rarely a wise strategy). It simply means i am listening for proof that debaters are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about a different topic area each season."
I think it’s one of the most underutilized tools in the neg arsenal. I also think 1ARs don’t give it enough credibility. It’s a voter and never a reverse voter. Limits determines everything. I view topicality as a battle between functional limits for the aff and predictable limits for the neg. That’s also what determines whether or not an aff is “reasonable” or not. I frequently find myself caring very little about what government definitions or topic framers think, especially compared to arguments about debatability (for either side).
ASpec is a nonstarter unless you ask in c/x, and even then it’s probably an uphill battle. As a 2A, I respect the aff’s choice to refuse to give PIC ground in 1AC c/x, but affs need to understand that a mishandled vagueness argument can lead to an outcome, however unlikely, that they don’t want. Effects and extra T could just be reasons to reject the nontopical parts of the aff (I could be persuaded otherwise), but negative teams would be wise to point out the ways that the aff fails to solve/function logically without those parts.
I’m most familiar with these kinds of debates. Here’s a laundry list of random advice and thoughts.
- I think DAs can have a tendency to be a series of strung together cards – it’s important to articulate a story to the DA that makes sense. Note - this is also an opportunity for you politics 1NRs out there to prove to me that you have some topic/current events knowledge and to get a nice boost in speaker points.
- I think there can be zero risk of a link, especially if your DA is one of the ones described above. That being said, going for a link turn can still be more strategic than terminal defense because controlling the direction arrow of the link/internal link chain necessarily zeroes the link.
- Link precedes uniqueness.
- Start impact calculus as early as possible.
- Cards should never be tagged “more ev.”
- Just respond to arguments instead of saying “uniqueness (or link) debate – group it.”
- In many instances (especially picking apart opponents’ cards), smart analytics are just as effective, if not more so, than cards.
The absolute best thing the last rebuttals can do in a CP debate (and pretty much all debates) is to assume that the other side is going to win some part of their argument - whether that be case defense or a solvency deficit. That means you need to quantify the risk of the solvency deficit versus the risk of the DA/case. Affs should be smart and creative with permutations and explanations of the perm. Negs should lock down what the perm is early to avoid aff shiftiness.
If nobody says anything about it, I’m willing to kick the CP for the neg because of implicit assumptions of it being conditional. But I could definitely be persuaded that presumption flips aff/the neg should get one world in the 2NR. Caveat - if the block says "2NR choice checks" when answering conditionality in the block, I will almost definitely hold the neg to one world in the 2NR. Another caveat - if the 1NC response to the status question is "status quo is always a logical option" (or some functional equivalent) AND the block rearticulates that the judge can kick the CP for the neg, it would be too late for the 2AR to make an argument about sticking the neg with the CP.
***ADA/NDT 2015 Edit***
I think I'm more in the 1%/any risk camp than I initially thought I was. This is especially true with a 2NR that includes a CP that solves the case. A tiny net benefit lowers the bar for a perm/solvency deficit, but it seems logical to me that there needs to be a perm/solvency deficit to beat a CP.
Again – these are inclinations. Nothing is set in stone and I can be persuaded either way.
Conditionality – fine within reason. I personally believe more strongly in the justifications for 1 CP, 1 K as opposed to 2 CPs or 2 Ks. Neg debaters would be well-served making arguments that reflect that distinction.
Dispositionality – I would be surprised if I voted against a team on it
CPs that do the whole aff (consult, condition, etc) – probably not reasons to reject the team. Perm do the CP is probably a winner though.
PICs – probably good, especially the more aff specific and germane they are.
As a rule of thumb, smarter arguments like “conditional PICs bad” are generally better than reading your “conditionality bad” and “PICs bad" blocks.
Not the most familiar with all of the lit here, but probably not the least familiar either. Persuasive aff arguments revolve around justifying that you get the aff, then using the aff as a way to defend your scholarship, method, and way of understanding the world. The best neg arguments make the case irrelevant, either through framework arguments, root cause/terminal solvency takeout-type args, or establishing a different paradigm through which I assess impacts.
I’m more familiar with the standard –ism Ks: capitalism, feminism, imperialism, etc., but I’m willing to hear whatever K you’ve got if you do it well. But if you think there’s a chance that your K might be over my head, please label and describe it by the argument as opposed to just the random author.
Planless Affs/Framework Debates
I’m open to hearing types of affirmatives that criticize the topic or norms/structures/discrimination within the community. I have voted for these in the past, though more often than not this is due to poor execution by the neg. Some things about me that I think can influence my decisions in a “clash of civilizations” style debate:
- Debate is a game. It is highly unlikely that you will change my mind on this point.
- The more related the aff is to the topic, the less uphill the framework battle is for the aff - see above. For certain affs, I definitely understand that it's more strategic to run from the topic and/or be about debate. I'm not bad for these affs. It just raises the bar for both teams to make sure you're clashing in a framework debate rooted in impact turns
- Nebulous terms like fairness, education, and x-ology are not impacts in and of themselves
- I am more likely to reward teams who do line by line analysis than those who operate more holistically. This is both because I believe in the value of direct clash (see above) and because it seems to disincentivize that sort of clash if I reward embedding clash when the other team is doing the work to create clash directly.
[Post Coast 2015]
- I'm starting to realize that I think I'm better for the neg on theoretical framework than substantive framework, but I think this is a divergence from most judges who see clash debates as often as I do. I think aff teams in clash debates have way better answers to a 2NR that focuses on substantive framework args, whereas it is less likely I will be compelled by their answers to theoretical framework args. Neg teams would probably be best served using substantive args to limit aff offense, but get most of their offense from theoretical args.
This is obviously the most controversial area when it comes to preffing judges. So if you read a planless aff or are facing one with me in the back and you have questions, please ask them.
Almost every single 2NR should address the case. Case debates are awesome. Please do them and do them well.
Hey, please add me to the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org.If you really don't want to read this I'm tech > truth, Warranted Card Extension > Card Spam and really only dislike hearing meme arguments which are not intended to win the round.
PF and LD specific stuff at the bottom. All the argument specific stuff still applies to both activities.
How to win in front of me:
Explain to me why I should vote for you and don't make me do work. I've noticed that I take "the path of least resistance" when voting; this means 9/10 I will make the decision that requires no work from me. You can do this by signposting and roadmapping so that my flow stays as clean as possible. You can also do this by actually flowing the other team and not just their speech doc. Too often debaters will scream for 5 minutes about a dropped perm when the other team answered it with analytics and those were not flown. Please don't be this team.
Online Debate Update
If you know you have connection/tech problems, then please record your speeches so that if you disconnect or experience poor internet the speech does not need to be stopped. Also please go a bit slower than your max speed on analytics because between mic quality and internet quality it can be tough to hear+flow everything if you go the same speed as cards on analytics.
By default theory and topicality are voters and come aprior unless there is no offense on the flow. Should be clear what the interpretation, violation, voter, and impact are. I generally love theory debates but like with any judge you have to dedicate the time into it if you would like to win. Lastly you don't need to prove in round abuse to win but it REALLY helps and you probably won't win unless you can do this.
I feel framework should be argued in almost any debate as I will not do work for a team. Unless the debate is policy aff v da+cp then you should probably be reading framework. I default to utilitarianism and will view myself as a policy maker unless told otherwise. This is not to say I lean toward these arguments (in fact I think util is weak and policy maker framing is weaker than that) but unless I explicitly hear "interpretation", "role of the judge", or "role of the ballot," I have to default to something. Now here I would like to note that Theory, Topicality, and Framework all interact with each other and you as the debater should see these interactions and use them to win. Please view these flows wholistically.
I am comfortable voting on these as I believe every judge is but I beg you (unless it's a politics debate) please do not just read more cards but explain why you're authors disprove thier's. Not much else to say here besides impact calc please.
I am a philosophy and political science major graduate so please read whatever you would like as far as literature goes; I have probably read it or debated it at some point so seriously don't be afraid. Now my openness also leaves you with a burden of really understanding the argument you are reading. Please leave the cards and explain the thought process, while I have voted on poorly run K's before those teams never do get high speaker points.
Look above for maybe a bit more, but I will always be open to voting and have voted on K affs of all kinds. I tend to think the neg has a difficult time winning policy framework against K affs for two reasons; first they debate framework/topicality most every round and will be better versed, and second framework/topicality tends to get turned rather heavily and costs teams rounds. With that said I have voted on framework/topicality it just tends to be the only argument the neg goes for in these cases.
Perms are a test of competition unless I am told otherwise and 3+ perms is probably abusive but that's for theory.
So I will only intervene if the 2AR makes new arguments I will ignore them as there is no 3NR. Ethics and evidence violations should be handled by tab or tournament procedures.
- What gets you good speaks:
- Making it easier for me to flow
- Demonstrate that you are flowing by ear and not off the doc.
- Making things interesting
- Clear spreading
- Productive CX
- What hurts your speaks:
- Wasting CX, Speech or Prep Time
- Showing up later than check-in time (I would even vote on a well run theory argument - timeless is important)
- Being really boring
- Being rude
- I am much more lenient about dropped arguments than in any other form of debate. Rebuttals should acknowledge each link chain if they want to have answers in the summary. By the end of summary no new arguments should made. 1st and 2nd crossfire are binding speeches, but grand crossfire cannot be used to make new arguments. *these are just my defaults and in round you can argue to have me evaluate differently
- If you want me to vote on theory I need a Voting Issue and Impact - also probably best you spend the full of Final Focus on it.
- Make clear in final focus which authors have made the arguments you expect me to vote on - not necessary, but will help you win more rounds in front of me.
- In out-rounds where you have me and 2 lay judges on the panel I understand you will adapt down. To still be able to judge fairly I will resolve disputes still being had in final focus and assume impacts exist even where there are only internal links if both teams are debating like the impacts exist.
- Please share all evidence you plan to read in a speech with me your opponents before you give the speech. I understand it is not the norm in PF, but teams who do this will receive bonus speaker points from me for reading this far and making my life easier.
- 2AR should extend anything from the 1AR that they want me to vote on. I will try and make decisions using only the content extended into or made in the NR and 2AR.
- Don't just read theory because you think I want to hear it. Do read theory because your opponent has done or could do something that triggers in round abuse.
- Dropped arguments are true arguments, but my flow dictates what true means for my ballot - say things more than once if you think they could win/lose you the round if they are not flown.
I did 3 years of policy debate in the RI Urban Debate League. Been judging since 2014. As a debater I typically ran policy affs and went for K's on the neg (Cap and Nietzsche mostly) but I also really enjoyed splitting the block CP/DA for the 2NC and K/Case for the 1NR. Despite all of this I had to have gone for theory in 40% of my rounds, mostly condo bad.
please put me on email chain
former 2A/1N for Mamaroneck BO (2018-2022); UPenn Class of 2026
Not very familiar with this year's topic discourse, but I have a basic understanding of social programs and advanced sense of the current political system.
I have a policy slant and am definitely tech>truth (TO AN EXTENT)
Don't change your strat because I am judging, I will vote on anything reasonable
dropped arguments aren't true if they are ridiculous and/or illogical
tell me the implications of arguments, I get mad when judges over reward teams for vagueness because of past experience
I am good with speed but please say "And" or "Next" so I can flow without following the card doc
Clarity on analytics will earn higher speaks and probably allow you to win the round
Please don't be racist, homophobic, offensive in round
Explain your Theory of Power in some way in the 2ar if you want my ballot
I probably lean neg on t-usfg, but creative debating by aff will compensate
procedural fairness is an impact.
The offense-defense paradigm will apply unless I'm given a reason to reject it
durable fiat solves circumvention unless fiat as a concept is argued against
impact turns are dope, but no racism good
love a good heg good/bad debate, impact level debates in general are enjoyable to me
If your A-strat is going for T or theory violations I am probably not your judge; I will do my best to evaluate the debate fairly but tech-y T debates are not my specialty
should be 3-5 cards at most, or else aff conjunctive fallacy arguments become persuasive
conjunctive fallacy is not enough to answer a disad, not very strategic
I love a creative disad, but make sure it makes sense
Dispositionality means you can kick it if they read perms
PICs are great if they're creative. Depending on the aff, case probably o/ws word PICs
x counterplans bad need specific reasons to reject the team not the argument, or I will probably err neg if they kick the counterplan
Please explain and impact out theory arguments on counterplans
I find Ks very interesting but I will probably lean aff on framework - tell me not to weigh the aff and I will consider not weighing it
Perfcon allows the aff to sever out of reps links, convince me otherwise if you want to go for reps links after reading other worlds in the 1nc
overviews shouldn't take up most of your speeches. Just explain your Theory of Power, the parts of the K and get on your merry way
Email: email@example.com; also on debatedocs if that matters.
***2019 NDT/TOC Update***
A) College- I have judged fewer than 15 college debates on the executive powers topic. I have done some research on it.
B) High school- I have judged fewer than 20 high school debates on the immigration topic. I have done significant research on it.
C) I have legal knowledge as a background. Rarely has it made any difference in a debate. It has helped in cutting cards in providing a context I would not otherwise have regarding legal processes.
2) Debaters should be better at resolving debates and providing relative comparisons at a meta-level. Tell me why you have won a particular portion of a debate AND why that matters relative to the remainder of the debate.
3) Specificity matters to me. I have found over the course of judging that debates in the abstract are the most difficult to judge. Whether it is the specificity of a disad link or an explanation of limits on T, specificity to the context of a particular debate is critical in terms of how you contextualize your arguments.
So I thought about my previous philosophy, and I didn’t think I would like it if I were a debater and read it. So I will try to provide (hopefully) more useful insight into what I think about debate. I have no idea what situations will occur and what defaults I may have given my limited amount of judging, but I think explaining what I thought about debate as a debater will help.
I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington.
The way to get me to vote for you is to tell me what to vote on and how to evaluate it. Force my hand, think about the debate from a holistic perspective. Compare arguments. Make even if statements.
What did I really value that I got out of debate?
Fun- I thought debate was a ton of fun. Thinking quickly on my feet, trying to predict what people would say, cutting a ton of cards. I loved debate.
Critical thinking- I do not think anything ever made me think as hard and as complexly as debate. Limited prep time, strategic decisions needing to be made. Thinking about the best arguments to be made against a certain team or with a certain judge. Thinking the way debate teaches has helped me in undergrad, law school, and in life. It teaches a certain way of thinking that is invaluable.
Advocacy- debate taught me how to make an argument, and how to win it in front of anyone. Strip debate of the jargon, and you know how to make an argument in any context. It enhanced my paper writing and has helped me in a lot of situations I think.
How did I get this out of debate?
Rigorous testing. Equitably difficult debate where both teams rigorously test each other’s arguments produces an activity that I found fun, helped me to think critically in quick and strategic ways, and taught me how to make arguments efficiently. I fundamentally think that debate is about rigorously testing positions. You can have debates about anything, but I think this is how I would describe it to people outside of debate and is what debate should be in my normative world.
Why does this matter?
It shapes what I think about debate positions, or is my default for evaluation. This is one of many possible frames I could use. But this is where I start, and it shapes my perception of topicality, to CP competition, to Ks, to theory, to speaker points.
I do think I am open to listening to alternative constructions of debate, but what that is and looks like needs to be tangible to me for me. The team that answers the question- what world of debate is most equitably rigorous wins. My presumption about rigorous testing can be challenged, and I do not know what I will think once I start judging. It is my default though. I think the topic has value insofar as it sets a stasis for argumentation from which rigorous testing commences. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.
Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates because they determine whether the neg has the opportunity to rigorously test the aff. Caselists are useful for either side.
I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.
For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. I do think there are arguments that can be made that bad CPs are a reason to reject the team, but it is not my default presumption. There are two questions that I think are important to answer- does the CP rigorously test the aff AND how critical is the CP in the literature? I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes evaluating them difficult.
Conditionality does not differ for me from other CP theory in that the question is about rigorous testing. I do think conditionality is rampant. I think contradicting positions are bad, but can also have different implications in debates- does using the same reps you k’ed mean that perm- do the alt is legit, or that the alt fails? Probably. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.
My presumption is against intervening to kick the CP for the 2nr. If I am told to do it, I might if the aff drops the argument. If they don’t, I probably won’t.
College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even if the resolution tries to write this out of debates.
I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting because they rigorously test the aff. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins, and neg teams should invest more if the role of the ballot is distinct from my presumption of testing. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args. Generalizations do not test the aff. Dropping the 1ac does not test the aff.
I think try or die is how I think about ks. Ks that are the strongest in persuading me control the impact uniqueness of the debate. I find aff arguments about trends in the status quo more important than other people because of that (for example, if the environment is sustainable, winning a consumption k becomes much harder). Affs should focus on alt solvency and how to evaluate impacts.
I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.
I think zero risk is possible.
I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.
You will receive a bump in speaker points if you read quals.
I flow cross-x.
Demonstrate topic knowledge.
I like specific arguments better than general ones.
I think long overviews are overrated and are a way to avoid clash.
Start impact calculus early.
Indict specific evidence- the quals and the warrants.
Explain to me why I should prefer your evidence over your opponents.
Tell me when an argument is new or dropped.
2as should not blow off arguments on the case.
Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete. An argument is a claim and warrant.
Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.
Be organized- with yourself in the debate as well as your arguments.
Do not steal prep.
Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.
I just graduated from college, having debated for 4 years in high school at Loyola Blakefield and 4 years in college at the University of Mary Washington. I have not judged so much that there is a predisposition that is so strong not to be able to be overcome. You do you, most things are up for debate. I prefer specific strategies over general strategies regardless of what those strategies deploy. I prefer CP/Politics or Politics/Case debates. I think the real way to being happy with a decision from me is to tell me what to do and how to assess arguments in the debate. The team that tells me what to do at the end of the debate and has the best reasoning for it will win.
I like hard work. Debaters that work will hard will be rewarded for doing so. I will also work my hardest to give every debater the credit they deserve while I am making a decision.
Coaches who have had a formative impact on me – Adrienne Brovero, Daryl Burch, Tom Durkin.
Judges I liked that I would like to be like – Lawrence Granpre, Scott Harris, Fernando Kirkman, Sarah Sanchez, Patrick Waldinger. I promise I will not be as good as these people, but I use them as a model for how I want to judge.
I was a 2a and a politics debater in college, and a 2n that relied on the cap k and topicality in high school. I have done significant research on the oceans topic, and a little on the college topic.
I default policymaker. I think the topic is set up to be instrumentally affirmed. Again, not so much so that I will not listen to other arguments or perspectives. For the neg, I am strong believer in fairness as well as the skills that debate teaches. I think predictability is necessary for debates to happen. Topical version of the aff arguments are good, but not necessary for the neg. For the aff (saying debate bad), I think uniqueness arguments about exclusion are persuasive. I think the closer the aff is to the topic, the more persuasive reasonability becomes.
Topicality debates should be grounded in the literature. I tend to think limits are a controlling issue in T debates. Caselists are useful for either side.
I think arguments contextual to the topic are useful. I think T is important on the oceans topic given its enormity and the lack of unified negative ground. For the aff, I am compelled by aff flex arguments like its and generic CPs make the topic awful.
For most CPs, I probably default to reject the argument not the team. That does not mean that I think that all CPs are good OR that I would be unwilling to vote on a cheating CP. I do think that most CP theory debates are invariably shallow which makes voting on them difficult. Most teams get away with bad/illegitimate CPs because the aff is terrible at executing, or the neg has some trick. I also think the more contextual a CP is within a set of literature, the harder it is to beat on theory questions. I have no predispositions on CP theory – I am willing to listen to it.
Conditionality is different than other CP theory args for me. It is certainly excessive most of the time. It gets egregious when positions contradict. Contextualizing conditionality to the specific practices done in the debate makes the argument very persuasive.
College teams – Pics- I am not completely sold that all/nearly all is the death knell for pics on the college topic. My presumption for pics being good makes me think this is a debatable question, even the resolution tries to write this out of debates. I think what is “nearly all” is what the literature says it is. I am also compelled that maybe the topic is so bad that these pics are important for the neg.
I think topic-specific critiques can be interesting. The more specific to the topic, and the more specific to the aff, the better. Whichever team controls the role of the ballot typically wins. I also do not think it is strategic for K teams to not answer the aff explicitly – dropping the 1ac usually means I vote aff – meaning my bar is higher on voting for “x comes first”/ “x means the whole aff is wrong” args.
I tend to think the link controls the direction of the DA, but can be persuaded that uniqueness does.
I think zero risk is possible.
I think turns case arguments really help the neg. I think unanswered turns case arguments by the block in the 1ar are difficult for the aff to come back from.
I think long overviews are overrated.
Start impact calculus early.
Smart arguments matter, as long as they are complete.
Clipping is a problem in the activity. Don’t do it. Don’t allege that someone else has done it without evidence via recording – you will not win otherwise. The debate community relies on shared trust. Breaking that trust or accusing someone of doing this is of the utmost seriousness.
Do not steal prep.
Minimize the amount of time paperless debate causes.
Have fun – that’s why I do this.
Centennial (MD) Class of 2016
Conflicts: Centennial, McDonogh, Atholton, River Hill, Reservoir, Capitol Debate, Georgetown Day
- For all rounds I have judged so far, I decided within 5 minutes after the final speech. The biggest factors are the lack of embedded clash and extensions of arguments without an articulation of the warrant. Take that however you may.
- The final 2 rebuttal speeches, ESPECIALLY, need to be able to write the ballot for me.
- PLEASE make paperless/electronic/online debate run SMOOTHLY. This is on the debaters in the room. Prep time ends when you SEND the speech doc. Unless prep time is being used, both sides should be ready for CX as soon as the constructive speech ends etc.
- Communication between partners outside of the speeches, CX, and prep is PROHIBITED because it is considered stealing prep. I WILL dock speaker points and call you out.
- Please remember to be competitive, and more importantly, have fun!
- Debated all 4 years of high school. Few of my accomplishments were: 2015 TOC Semi-Finalist, 2015 Harvard Invitational Champion, 2015 Harvard RR Finalist, 2014 Greenhill RR Champion
- I never loved judges that had paradigms that said anything along the lines of "if you read <<>> I won't vote for you/like it." Judge adaptation is important, but it should never be to the degree where you take a whole 180 degree turn. Do what you're good at and comfortable with.
- Don’t clip/cross-read/cheat in any way
- Everything I say below can be persuaded the other way
- Tech > Truth
- Presumption goes towards less change
- Debate is a communication activity. If you aren't communicating with me in your speeches, you're not doing your job. In other words, be clear and confident. Gabe Koo said it best "...If I hear you muttering how awful your 2AR is right as it ends, why do you think I would want to vote for you? If you don't think you won, why should I convince myself you won?" Even if your argument is a flat out lie, if you sound badass/persuasive/intelligent in your speeches/CX going for those arguments, it makes me want to give you good speaks at the very least.
- You don't need impact defense to beat a disad/advantage if you explain how the internal link(s) = illogical (but who actually does this more often that not anyways?)
- Framing is important – the line by line is obviously important too but I like it even more when there’s a meta level framing argument that changes the way I should view the arguments in the line by line
- Been both a 2A and 2N so no huge bias on each other side
My view of Framework could not be summed up better than what Gabe Koo said in his judge philosophy – see below, slightly edited
- I read an Aff with no plan my junior year. I think there is high value in these Affs, just ask my coach DB. Where I see people going wrong when answering framework is just repeating the same old "fairness for whom" with no explanation. That is a good first line of offense but there are more arguments than that. I think the smartest way to answer framework excluding your turns is 1. clown the internal links 2. generate external offense 3. consider the uniqueness and the relevance of their scenarios too. If you do this successfully their impacts are low, and now your impact turns have much more weight.
- The best no-plan affs in my opinion are ones that are built to beat "do it on the neg" and "topical version of the aff" arguments. If your aff isn't that, I don't know why you're reading it vs. a team you know that is going for Framework.
- There are two routes. 1. Liberal 2. Hard-core Right. I personally think the hard core right is better because if you go the Liberal route, the Aff is able to either include themselves in your interpretation and your internal link thresholds are a lot weaker, or the Aff can solve for your terminal impacts a lot easier. I think the most persuasive way to go for Framework is to go for limits/clash as an internal link to fairness and advocacy skills/decision making. Make a bunch of turns case/solves case arguments as well.
- I do think the Liberal version of Framework can be persuasive when there is a good link argument to the aff that proves a trade-off. However, given the way people read no-plan affs now-a-days, that is hard to win. When the Liberal version of Framework is executed correctly, it is devastating.
- Please make the case debate relevant and jive with your Framework argument.
- the 2NR has to explicitly say the judge has to kick the CP
- Solvency advocates are necessary
- Slow down on the CP text
- Acronyms should be explained
- Advantage CPs are awesome. It really exposes how bad teams are at defending their internal links
- Well-researched process-based CPs/PICs are my favorite
Theory and where I lean
- Conditions CPs/Word PICs/Process CPs/Object Fiat/Contradictions Bad – Aff
- Topical CPs/Unconditionality/Intrinsic & Severance Perms – Neg
- International Fiat/50 State Fiat/Agent CPs/Conditionality/Floating PIKs – Middle
- Smart analytical turns case arguments are underrated
- Zero risk is more than possible for me
- Politics is awesome
- Smart, well-researched specific disads = better
- I don’t have much to say here other than jargon like “uniqueness controls the direction of the link” or vice versa is meaningless
- Mostly aff leaning on reasonability vs. competing interpretation questions but can be persuaded otherwise
- Generic fairness/education impact calc is boring. That should all be contextualized to the aff/what the aff justifies
- I give the 1AR leeway when T is extended for like1:30or 2 minutes in the block. Because if it is only1:30~2:00of the block, it was probably super blippy and in most cases, awful
- Link/impact contextualization to the aff’s plan mechanism/internal link triumphs contextualization to the aff saying "USfg" in the plan/the impact card the aff reads
- I really don't have a huge problem with high theory stuff as many other judges do. However, I will say you are put at a higher threshold to explain your stuff, not because these arguments are ALL “bad” per say, but my knowledge on this stuff will be low
- Role of the ballot/judge arguments getting thrown around a lot but never being implicated is my biggest pet peeve. Given that, I think it is kinda ridiculous how some K debates go down vs. policy affs. Obviously debate isn't ONLY be about the plan vs. squo/competitive policy option and obviously debate isn't ONLY about whether the aff's reps/epistemology/ontology/other are ok. If the 1AR drops a K bomb, that's a different story but there needs to be some sort of middle ground established.
- In addition to what is said above, I find "reps don't shape reality" type arguments super unpersuasive. These arguments are usually only won by the aff when the neg totally forgets to answer it. There are a lot of really good hardcore right-leaning teams that only lose to the K because they don't engage the substance of the K i.e. "our reps are key to solve X Y Z," which I find a ton more persuasive.
- 2ACs impact turning the K is an underrated strategy. I don't know why people don't go for imperialism/capitalism/biopolitics good as much as people used to. If you’re going to defend the hard right, might as well stick to it.
Left on Left
- Most of “The K” section stuff apply here too
- Should the aff get a perm? After thinking and long and hard about this, I am super 50:50 about it because being Neg against K affs that are a walking permutation is very frustrating. However, on the flip side, is the aff getting the permutation a better way to facilitate clash and opportunity cost education? It is up in the air and being technical on this part of the debate is crucial for both sides.
Ways to get good speaks in front of me (in no particular order)
- Badass strategies: 1AR kicking the aff and impact turning a disad, whole constructive on impact turn(s), no prep speeches (your speech gotta be good because if it’s not, you epically failed)
- Ethos. You’re not a total jerk but have swagger while being sassy.
- Good execution of arguments/shifting/framing
- “This basically means that at any point of the debate you believe you've solidly already won the debate, beyond a reasonable doubt, (dropped T argument, double turn, strategic miscue that is irreparable by the other team) you can invoke a TKO and immediately end the debate. If a team chooses this path and succeeds, I will give them 30 speaker points each and an immediate win. If the team chooses to invoke this but its unclear you've TKO'd the other team or in fact choose wrong, you obviously will lose and your points will be severely effected. Who dares to take the challenge?” – Brian Manuel
Hello. My name is Akil Patel. I am a beginner parent lay judge. Please slow down when you are speaking. My understanding of debate jargon is limited. My winning decision will be based on presenting the more convincing argument in an organized effective manner. Constantly using judge direction will not help your cause. Just stick to presenting your case. Good luck!
im kailey. igo by any pronouns so call me anything tbh
please add me to the email chain firstname.lastname@example.org
pref black judges
i think to sum up all the specifics just do your best and flesh out your arguments :0
Policy Maker is my paradigm. As such, I regularly vote negative on counterplans and am not biased against a team that goes for it in the 2NR. I like all kinds of counterplans and the key in my paradigm is a net benefit that would outweigh affirmative advantages. I will vote negative on topicality especially if the negative clearly has won the line by line debate on it. Clarity on the line by line is essential for an argument to be won. I enjoy fast debates and can keep up with most clear debaters. You should know at what speed your speech becomes unintelligible and adjust so clarity is maximized. Tech over truth as the line by line debate needs to be won and clearly won for my ballot.
The only type of arguments that I do not like are Kritiks where the team running them does not actually know them or assumes that I will do work for them. HS debaters doing K often devolve a policy debate round into a philosophical mash with little clarity. As an alternative to a Kritik, I would suggest a counterplan which would demonstrate a policy that would create whatever "alternative" you want thus allowing this policy making judge the ability to select the best policy available in the round. I have been judging policy debate rounds for over 30 years and been involved in the activity since 1984 so while I might not like certain arguments, like Kritiks; this is a game of logic and speed in which the round most often goes to the most strategic thinking team. If you run Kritik with framework and actually demonstrate your competence, then you will still win my ballot.
Wooster High School Policy Debate Coach (since Fall of 2020)
Previous Policy Debate Background:
Debated 4 years of Policy in High School (St. Edward, Ohio)
Debated 3 years of Policy in College (John Carroll University CEDA)
Coached 1 year of Policy at Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan)
Coached 2 years of Policy at Queens' College (NY, NY)
Judged Policy Debate for over 30 years
Please put me on the email chain: email@example.com
Yes, you can spread, but PLEASE BE CLEAR.
Yes, it can be open CX.
Any type of argument is fine with me. But keep a SAFE SPACE for EVERYONE!!!
Offense is very important (Winning=Offense).
- DO NOT say anything racist/homophobic/transphobic. If you think your opponent has said something that could be one of these just make the argument and impact it out (it'll take like 30 seconds).
- I debated for Newark Science for 4 years (doing both Policy and LD) and was primarily a K debater (this does not mean I will vote on one just because it's read) but I've a lot of different arguments.
- Impact out all of your arguments!
- Truth over tech until tech overwhelms truth (probably because you were inefficient). As in, you should be grouping arguments and working to boil the debate down yourself. Yes, I love big pictures but there needs to be some actual substance too like you can't just read a 4-minute overview in the 1AR over multiple flows that don't engage anything and expect a ballot.
CPs are fine, just prove mutual exclusivity (b/c I am likely to buy a perm with a good net benefit). A clever PIC is always good and fun but be ready to defend why you get to steal most or certain parts of the aff, especially against a K or Non-T aff.
DAs are good too, but generic links are ineffective, and if the aff proves that to be true I am less likely to vote on it.
- I'm also not as persuaded by nuclear war impacts. You can try, just have a good internal link story (this is very important, make it logical and easy to follow).
Ks are my favorite! BUT I will not pretend to understand "gobbledygook" or really high theory that is not properly explained, so err on the side of over-explanation (esp. if you're reading the philosophy of a long-dead French white dude). Have specific links to the AFF, point out specific warrants and give analysis on how the world of the alt vs. the world of the aff functions, and you got my ballot!
FW shells are interesting as I do not have a bias on it, so do whatever you want. Just prove why I should adopt your FW shell and compare it to the aff's.
I have a HIGH threshold for voting on T/Theory especially if the violation is unreasonable.
But just try to have fun and learn lots in the round!!!
Former (HS + College) debater, 15+ years experienced coach / increasingly old
Director, Washington Urban Debate League (WUDL)
10 Sec Summary:
I judge 30 rounds at national circuit tournaments each year, cut A LOT of cards on each topic, and am somewhere in the middle of the argumentation spectrum. I often judge clash debates. I have some slight preferences (see below), but do your best, be creative, and I am excited to hear whatever style/substance of argumentation you'd like to make.
I run an Urban Debate League; debate is my full-time job. I work with 650+ students per season, ranging from brand new MS students refining their literacy skills and speaking in front of someone else for the first time to national circuit teams looking to innovate and reach the TOC. Both debaters are equally valuable members of the community and accessibility is a big issue for me. I see the primary role of a judge as giving you thoughtful and actionable feedback on your scholarship and strategies as presented to me in round.
5 Min Before Round Notes:
- Speed: I can handle whatever you throw at me (debate used to be faster than it is now). 75% Speed + emotive is always better than squeezing in that last card or two. Make me want to give you high speaks.
- Policy v Kritik: I was a flex debater and generally coach the same way, though I have run/coached 1 off K and 1 off policy strategies. Teams that adapt and have a specific strategy against the other team almost always do better than those that try to just do one thing and hope it matches up well.
- Theory: I often find these debates shallow/lacking details and trading-off with more educational, common-sense arguments. Use when needed and show me why you don't have other options.
- Creativity + Scholarship: *Moving up for emphasis* I heartily reward hard work, creative thinking, and original research. Be clever, do something I haven't heard before. I will give very high speaker points to folks who can demonstrate these criteria, even in defeat. (Read: Don't barf Open Ev Downloads you can't contextualize) Go do some research!
- Performance: “Back in my day….” Performance Affs were just being invented, and they had a lot more actual “performance” to them (music, costume, choreography, etc.). Spreading 3 lines of poetry and never talking about it again doesn't disrupt any existing epistemologies, etc. I have coached a few performative teams and find myself more and more excited about them....when there is a point to the performance. Focus on why / what the net benefit is of the unique argument / argumentation style.
- Shadow Extending: I intentionally don’t flow author’s names in Varsity rounds, so if you are trying to extend your "Smith" evidence, talk to me about the warrants or I won’t know what you are talking about and won't do the work for you. Novices get a lot of latitude here; I am always down to help folks develop the fundamentals. Try extending things even if it isn't perfect.
- Email Chains: This is a persuasive activity. If I don’t hear it/flow it, you didn't do enough to win the point and I’m not going to read along and do work for you. I’ll look through the cards after the round if the substance of a card will impact my decision, or if I want to appropriate your evidence.
- About "the State": I was born and current live in Washington D.C., have a graduate degree in Political Science, and worked in electoral politics and on public policy issues outside debate. This has shaped a pre-disposition that "governance" is inevitable. The US government has a poor track-record on many issues, but I find generic "state bad" links unpersuasive, historically untrue, and/or insufficiently nuanced. I think you are better than that, and I challenge you to make nuanced, well researched claims instead. Teams that do usually win and get exceedingly high speaker points, while those that don't usually lose badly. This background also makes me more interested in implementation and methodology of change (government, social movement, or otherwise) than the average judge, so specific and beyond-the-buzzword contextualization on plan/alt, etc. solvency are great.
- Artificial Intelligence: I am going to flesh out these thoughts as the season goes, and as I talk to the great, thoughtful peers in the community, but initially, reading rebuttals written by generative AI seems to be cheating, and actively anti-educational, so if you are doing that, don't, and if you suspect the other team is, raise it as an issue.
Ways to Lose Rounds / Speaker Points:
- Being Mean -- I am very flexible with speaker points, heavily rewarding good research, wit, and humor, and am very willing to nuke your speaker points or stop the round if you are rude, demeaning, racist/sexist, etc.
- Leave D.C. Out: Don't leave D.C. out of your States CP Text or other relevant advocacy statements. Its bad policy writing, and continues a racialized history of erasure and abuse of the 750,000 + majority black residents who live here and experience taxation without representation. Don't perpetuate it.
- Make Debate Less Accessible: I run an Urban Debate League; it is my professional responsibility to make debate more accessible.
- If you erect a barrier to accessing this activity for someone else, I will vote you down, give you the lowest possible speaker points, report you to TAB, complain to your coach, and anything else I can think of to make your time at this tournament less enjoyable and successful.
- This includes not having an effective way to share evidence with a team debating on paper (such as a 3rd, "viewing" laptop, or being willing to share one of your own) when in person. This is a big accessibility question for the activity that gets overlooked a lot especially post pandemic, many of our debaters still use paper files.
- Rude Post-Rounding (especially if it is by someone who didn't watch the round): I will contact tab and vigorously reduce speaker points for your team after submission.
- Multi-Minute Overviews: Enough Said
- Extinction Good: This is school of argumentation usually has some nasty racial undertones. Don't be a troll, get a better strategy, or tell me why they don't give you another choice.
- Intentionally Trolly or Technobabble Arguments: If you just want to demonstrate how good you are that you can make up nonsense and win anyway, strike me. There should be a point to what you say which contributes to our understanding of the world.
- Highly Inaccurate Email Chains: Unfortunately, some folks put a giant pile of cards they couldn’t possibly get through in the email chain, and skip around to the point of confusion, making refutation (and flowing) difficult. It’s lazy at best and a cheap move at worst and will impact your speaks if I feel like it is intentional.
In the Weeds on Specific Argument Structures:
Do: Better Speaks, increase likelihood of winning the round
Don’t: Worse speaks, decrease likelihood of winning the round
· I like DAs. Too many debates lack a DA of some kind in the 1NC.
§ Research! Cut Updates! Quote a card from this week! I am a huge sucker for new evidence and post-dating, and will make it rain speaker points. Have some creative/Topic/Aff specific DAs.
§ Read an Elections DA after the election / not know when an election is, or be wrong about what the bill you are talking about does on Agenda Politics DAs. I wouldn't have to put it here if it didn't keep happening folks....
o Politics DA: Given my background in professional politics, I am a big fan of a well-run/researched politics DA. I read Politico and The Hill daily, enjoy C-SPAN, and many of my best friends work for Congress -- I nerd out for this stuff. I also know that there just isn't a logical scenario some weekends. Do your research, I’ll know if you haven’t.
· I like a substantive counterplan debate.
§ Run a Topic/Aff specific CP, with a detailed, well written/explained CP Texts and/or have some topic specific nuance for Generics (like Courts).
§ Use questionably competitive counterplans (consult, PIC, condition, etc.) that are supported by strong, real world solvency advocates.
§ Substantive, non-theoretical responses (even if uncarded) to CPs.
§ Forget to perm.
§ Fake a net benefit
§ Default to theory in the 2AC without at least trying to make substantive responses too.
· Can be a strong strategy if used appropriately/creatively. If you go into the average round hoping to win on Condo, strike me.
§ Prove harm
§ Have qualified evidence and intent to define
§ Slow down. Less jargon, more examples
§ Creative Violations
§ Use procedurals just to out-tech your opponents, especially if this isn't Varsity.
· More folks should debate the case, cards or not. Do your homework pre-tournament!
§ Have specific attacks on the mechanism or advantage scenarios of the Aff, even if just smart analytics.
§ Make fun impact and link turns that aren't arguing that racism / sexism, etc. is good.
§ Concede the case for no reason
§ Spend a lot of time reading arguments you can’t go for later or reading new cards that have the same warrants already in the 1AC
· I started my debate career as a 1 off K Debater and grew to see it as part of a balanced strategy, a good strategy against some affs and not others.
§ Read a K that fits the Aff. Reading the same K against every Aff on a topic isn't often the most strategic thing to do.
§ Read Aff specific links. Identifying evidence, actions, rhetoric, representations, etc. in the 1AC that are links.
§ Have coherent Alt solvency with real world examples that a non-debater can understand without having read your solvency author.
§ Tell a non-jargony story in your overview and tags
§ Read hybrid Ks whose authors wouldn't agree with one another.
§ Read a K you can’t explain in your own words or one that you can’t articulate why it is being discussing a competitive forum or what my role listening to your words is.
o Literature: I have read a lot of K literature (Security, Cap, Fem, Anti-Blackness, etc.) but nobody is well versed in all literature bases. Explain your theory as if I haven't read the book.
o Role of the Ballot: I default to serving as a policymaker but will embrace alternative roles if you are clear what I should do instead in your first speech.
· Update: I find myself judging a lot of psychoanalysis arguments, which I find frustratingly unfalsifiable or just hard to believe or follow. I'd love to be proven wrong, but run at your own risk.
Public Forum: (Inspired by Sim Low, couldn't have said it better)
I'm sorry that you're unlucky enough to get me as a judge. Something went wrong in tournament admin, and they made me feel guilty enough that I haven't found a way to get out of the obligation.
I did enough congress and LD in high school to assure you I am not a policy debate supremacist from a lack of exposure to other formats, but because peer reviewed research says that it is the most educational and rigorous format. I also find the growing popularity of a format that is proud of its anti-intellectualism and that research shows is discriminatory against women and minorities reprehensible.
As a judge, I'll be grumpy and tell you how PF was created as a result of white flight and the American pursuit of Anti-Intellectualism far more than you want to hear (but less than you need, if you are still doing PF). If you do not have cards with proper citations, you paraphrase, and/or you don't have full text evidence ready to share with the other team pre-round, I will immediately vote for your opponents. If both of you happen to ignore academic integrity, I will put my feet up, not flow, and vote based on.....whatever vibes come to me, or who I agree with more. I also might extend my RFD to the length of a policy round to actually develop some of the possibilities of your arguments. Without academic integrity, this is a Speech event and will be judged accordingly.
Messai Yigletu: Head Debate Coach at BASIS DC
4 years experience as a debater in high school, LD.
4 years experience as a coach for policy debaters, middle & high school. (presently coaching.)
I currently coach the policy debate team at BASIS DC.
would like to be on email chains for case files: firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are reading this, that means I will be hearing you debate pretty soon! good luck and take a minute to read a few important points that will help you in this debate.
not usually a fan of spread/speed but can keep up if I have case files & you read taglines.
would like to hear roadmaps at the beginning of every speech
fine with K as long as it is clearly explained and set out in the speech. not guaranteed that I will have prior knowledge, so make sure to give a detailed/clear explanation.
impact calculus & addressing all arguments are key winning points for me.
do not assume I will automatically indicate drops in your favor, if opp drops any arg/does not address, you as the debater are responsible to mention that in a speech. similar expectations for extending arg., all args should be extended throughout the debate by both sides.
speaker points are awarded basis on quality of speeches, time usage, and clarity.
keep it respectful, especially during CX. intensity and passion are fine and even encouraged, but never make it personal/attempt to take it to a point of disrespect.
Strath Haven '22, Penn '26
Did policy debate in high school.
I do not debate in college and I do not know much about the topic, so bear with my lack of topic knowledge.
Line by Line preferred.
I will be voting based on the flow.
Big fan of counterplans, disads, impact turns.
I'm not great for the K.
Please have debate etiquette, be respectful.