Alta Silver Black
2022 — Sandy, UT/US
Lincoln-Douglas Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
After reading paradigms over the years, I am not sure how helpful they really are. They seem to be mostly a chance to rant, a coping mechanism, a way to get debaters not to pref them and some who generally try but usually fail to explain how they judge debates. Regardless, my preferences are below, but feel free to ask me before the round if you have any questions.
Short paradigm. I am familiar with most arguments in debate. I am willing to listen to your argument. If it's an argument that challenges the parameters and scope of debate, I am open to the argument. Just be sure to justify it. Other than that, try to be friendly and don't cheat.
Evidence: This is an evidence based activity. I put great effort to listening, reading and understanding your evidence. If you have poor evidence, under highlight or misrepresent your evidence (intentional or unintentional) it makes it difficult for me to evaluate your arguments. Those who have solid evidence, are able to explain their evidence in a persuasive matter tend to get higher speaker points, win more rounds etc.
Overall: Debate how you like (with some constraints below). I will work hard to make the best decision I am capable of. Make debates clear for me, put significant effort in the final 2 rebuttals on the arguments you want me to evaluate and give me an approach to how I should evaluate the round.
Nontraditional Affs : I tend to enjoy reading the literature base for most nontraditional affirmatives. I'm not completely sold on the pedagogical value of these arguments at the high school level. I do believe that aff should have a stable stasis point in the direction of the resolution. The more persuasive affs tend to have a personal relationship with the arguments in the round and have an ability to apply their method and theory to personal experience.
Framework: I do appreciate the necessity of this argument. I am more persuaded by topical version arguments than the aff has no place in the debate. If there is no TVA then the aff need to win a strong justification for why their aff is necessary for the debate community. The affirmative cannot simply say that the TVA doesn't solve. Rather there can be no debate to be had with the TVA. Fairness in the abstract is an impact but not a persuasive one. The neg need to win specific reasons how the aff is unfair and and how that impacts the competitiveness and pedagogical value of debate. Agonism, decision making and education may be persuasive impacts if correctly done.
Counter plans: I attempt to be as impartial as I can concerning counter plan theory. I don’t exclude any CP’s on face. I do understand the necessity for affirmatives to go for theory on abusive counter plans or strategically when they do not have any other offense. Don’t hesitate to go for consult cp’s bad, process cps bad, condo, etc. For theory, in particular conditionality, the aff should provide an interpretation that protects the aff without over limiting the neg.
DA's : who doesn't love a good DA? I do not automatically give the neg a risk of the DA. Not really sure there is much else to say.
Kritiks- Although I enjoy a good K debate, good K debates at the high school level are hard to come by. Make sure you know your argument and have specific applications to the affirmative. My academic interests involve studying Foucault Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, , etc. So I am rather familiar with the literature. Just because I know the literature does not mean I am going to interpret your argument for you.
Overall, The key to get my ballot is to make sure its clear in the 2NR/2AR the arguments you want me to vote for and impact them out. That may seem simple, but many teams leave it up to the judge to determine how to prioritize and evaluate arguments.
Debate how you choose. I have judged plenty of LD debates over the years and I am familiar with contemporary practices. I am open to the version of debate you choose to engage, but you should justify it, especially if your opponent provides a competing view of debate. For argument specifics please read the Policy info. anything else, I am happy to answer before your debate.
Make your most compelling and coherent case. Less is more. Don't make a flurry of weak arguments just to suck time from your opponents and then drop them. Mostly this just sucks my motivation to vote for you.
Provide clear signposts, be articulate, and enunciate so I can easily flow your case. Pauses, emphasis, and eye contact on key points are powerful tools. I flow from your speech, not the email chain. Don't bet that I won't miss something; use your delivery to stack the odds in your favor.
I'm so old that I was around when spreading was spewing, and spewing was cool. I'm increasingly convinced that a monotone, hyperventilated list of bullet points and mumbled reading of evidence is the death of compelling, argumentation. Rather than throw out as many arguments as possible, find the weakest part of your opponent's argument, and put a big, persuasive hole in it.
Neg conditionality isn't a get out of jail free card. If you are making a bunch of arguments, I'll look at them together. For example, if you run a counterplan that violates your K, you are telling me not to vote for either.
Explain your arguments. Don't assume I understand the jargon or theory. Even if I do understand it, don't use jargon as a shorthand substitute for effectively explaining the substance your argument.
The starting point is a debate on the resolution. If you'd prefer to read poetry, discuss the pointlessness of existence, or posit that debating the topic is a bad idea, then you will have to be extra persuasive to win.
Frame the debate and justify your arguments. If you don't make it clear why an argument is worth voting for, then I probably won’t.
Respect your opponents and have fun - enjoy the experience, learn something new, and make friends!
Or, ignore all of this, and spend the next week complaining about your judge!
Background: I debated LD and policy. Currently coaching.
Paradigm: I don't have any strong preferences regarding style; I'll vote on any K, theory, or stock case if you're winning the flow. I think K's are fun to watch.
- Stock: I love a good policy debate. Weigh your impacts. Tech>truth.
- Critiques: Interesting K's will always have a special place in my heart. I'm happy to vote on any K you want to read although I might not be an expert on the lit base.
- T/Theory/Framework: My threshold is pretty reasonable; I will pull the trigger if you can prove in-round abuse or if you're clearly winning the flow. The more organized your speeches the easier it will be for me to tell if these conditions have been met.
Speaker Point Scale:
_28-29: Pretty good
_25-27: Needs work
- I default to the assumption that debate is a game and fairness is a voter. I can be convinced otherwise, but I think both sides should have a potential path to the ballot.
- I believe that disclosure is good for debate.
- Prep time should stop running when you are ready to speak (speech doc is uploaded, flash-drive has left your computer, email is sent, etc.) I'll trust the debaters to time each other.
- Flex prep is great.
- Far-fetched link chains do not always let you weigh high-magnitude impacts. If your internal links are flawed to the point of being meaningless the impact scenario is no longer offense for you.
- I'm a sucker for a good overview.
- The Speed K is a great argument whose time has not yet come. I'm down to vote for it if you do it well.
Debated Freshman-Junior year doing Policy debate and Senior year switched to LD, this shapes lots of my views on debate. After graduating I have been coaching for the past few years, coaching over a dozen bids and multiple deep TOC runs primarily coaching Policy and K.
email chain: Jacksonh428@gmail.com
Last update- Bronx 2022
This paradigm primarily applies to high level debates and Elims. if you are a younger debater don’t change your strategy for me I am here to provide feedback on whatever your style of debate. If you are in an Elim or frequently Make it to elims this paradigm should outline my full thoughts on debate for your prefing needs.
Important notes about my philosophy regarding debate you should read before having me as a judge
- If your strat relies on highly contextualized clash debate I am the correct judge for you, Whether you debate critical or policy I will be able to evaluate the debate from a very neutral and knowledge stance. If your strat relies on spreading out your opponent or going for small blips on flows I am not the judge for you.
- I will be more impressed by students that demonstrate topic knowledge, line-by-line organization skills (supported by careful flowing), and intelligent cross-examinations than by those that rely on superfast speaking, obfuscation, jargon, backfile recycling, and/or tricks.- Bill Batterman
- I have become a lot more ideological open to philosophy style arguments in the past year that being said, I have not worked within any of the literature bases for a substantive amount of time. Philosophy that is purely read to integrate trix will never win my ballot in a round. But I am open to well developed philosophy strategies. Because I have not judged these styles of debate for any amount of time you will need to make sure explanations are very clear and robust regarding how to evaluate your arguments. I am going to be more biased towards util which means it is going to require vast more explanation to overcome than the inverse.
- It is really hard for me to vote on terminal defense, I will almost always vote on risk of offense.
- I strongly Dislike Nebel and versus core affs that have been read a lot am very very hesitant to vote on it, this largely comes from the majority of my debate career being in policy but is a bias I hold.
- I Will not vote on evaluate the debate at any point but after the 2AR.
- If you are asking for a marked doc you need to run prep, I dont know why people are not flowing by ear anymore
- My standard for critical debate is college policy which entirely skews what a good K round is and lowers the argumentative burden to beat LD K affs. If you are reading affs that are innovative in some sense that shows you have really engaged within the literature I will be a great judge for this. I am starting to get upset at the level of recycling that is occurring within the LD K aff world. An additional point of gripe I am starting to have is combining theories of power that are entirely distinct into one affirmative or kritik, The most absolutely frustrating part about this is that when you do this versus a debater who is unaware of this contradiction justifiably given it not being a required aspect of the topic it becomes impossible for me to evaluate given there not being an arguement I will likely dock .5-1 speaks for theory of power contradictions. All of this being said if you read a K aff you have to understand that you should show extreme levels of mastery.
- T Framework falls under this discussion point. This is one of my favorite types of debate to watch and even as someone who read tons of K affs, Against K affs T was always my number one strategy. I think that most shells that are being read now days are very bad and generic. Good Framework debates need to have clash starting in the 1NC, Pulling lines from cards and referencing the 1AC is crucial to avoiding large 2AR spins. I believe that Fairness is a terminal impact but can be convinced otherwise, and believe that Going for fairness is probably a better strat versus Pomo and non Id-Pol K's and In round skills are better versus Id-pol. Teams that go for one standard in the 2NR with lots of impact weighing and comparison are going to win my ballot. I will shield the 2NR from more 2AR spin that most judges I believe. I really dislike the K aff meta of going for Impact turns or one dropped arg on framework in the 2AR and believe strongly that if you can beat back the framework flow you can also beat back the cap flow.
- All of this holds true reading a K on the negative with a few specific points to be had. First is that I believe that links should be contextual to the aff. This does not mean the links need to be predicated on the action of the plan, but if you are going to read reps links based on extinction or nuclear war I expect to see lines that are pulled from evidence and past speeches to build every link. If you are reading the same blocks every round when you read a Kritik I am not the judge for you but If you engage at a substantive level truly clashing with the aff whether that be on plan action or representations you will not only likely win more debates in front of me but you will definitely get higher speaker points. I also think in LD specifically framework is extremely underutilized by the negative, you can make lots of strategic decisions on the framework debate that implicate the rest of the debate and 2NRs that centralize around framework are usually my favorite, and should be a staple for any K debater given the current debate meta of every K 2AR being extinction o/w framework. Why does framework only need to be area you have to hedge back upon and not make that shift early in the 2NR given you anticipate a 2AR on Extinction o/w.
- I am a very good for any type of policy debate given you have read the important notes about my overall debate philosophy. Reading bad arguments is always going to lead to a major loss of speaks for me. Da's with no substantive internal links are my biggest pet peeve right now within policy debate. The first point of research past the link should be internal link. I find a lot of value in politics da debates, the college meta of uniqueness dumping is really enjoyable for some reason to me, the hyper contextualization required for evidence contextualization is unmatched in this style of debate. I feel that in most types of debate evidence comparison is really declining but politics requires you to put thought into evidence comparison.
- Counterplans that have robust solvency mechanisms will gain you a lot of speaks process counterplans that don't just consult are amazing, counterplans that have thought put into them are always going to be better than a counterplan that is used over and over. A counterplan that solves all of case such as a process counterplan should be its own 2nr, I don't think its smart to go for anything on case, if you choose to go for defense, a 2ar can spend like 10 seconds making superficial responses and then make the arg, we win the cp risk of aff means you vote aff. Obviously if you are reading an advantage counterplan that doesn't solve the whole aff you should have offense on the advantage not solved.
- Theory should only be used as a last resort, If a team is reading 2 or less condo It will be nearly impossible for me to vote on condo bad. I am fine for debates such as Pics Bad, Process Cps bad, Consult Bad. Do not plan on blowing up a 5-10 second shell in the 2ar for this, It should be a flushed out shell as I will draw lines from the 1ar to the 2ar. Theory that I am extremely unlikely to vote on include; Spec shells, Nebel. Theory that I will not vote on; Any clothes or clothing related theory, Friv theory.(The gut check for this is would you read this argument in from of a college policy judge if you wouldn't don't read it In front of me)
- Topicality that is grounded in actual literature based definitions are good. Shells such as Nebel, Leslie, and other extremely semantic based interps are not going to win in front of me. Examples of T arguments I am absolutely willing to vote on with 0 bias; T Medical Necessary(SepOct 22),T Lethal Autonomous Weapons(JF 2021), Most policy style interps if you look at the college wiki minus T SUBSTANTIAL. While I am harsh towards Theory in LD debate I think T is a great avenue for the negative to contest the aff and utilize time tradeoffs. I do not think that this should be done with generics or things such as Nebel.
- OPEN SOURCE IS AMAZING- I read it two off versus K teams my senior year with Cap or impact turns. I Think its just a very good model for debate and for that reason I am Extremely likely to vote on open source. The burden though is full open source, I don't really care if you have round reports of cites. I am only good for full open source or open source after 30 minutes for missed rounds or missed tournaments.
Policy/K with clash-1
Policy/k with no clash-4
Speaks- I rarely give below 28 speaks but rarely give higher than 29.2. Very good strategy execution and a very well thought out strategy combined will lead to the highest speaks.
Thoughts I’ve had about debate in 22 season- read if bored or want to know more about my judging style
- The person I have learned and look up to the most in regards to judging is Bill Batterman if for some reason you do want to read his paradigm I agree with every aspect of it. The only note I would add is I am 10000% more charitable to critical arguments and hold the same threshold as policy arguments to them and my thoughts on Critical debate are outlined above.
- Pessimism K’s have gone rampant, college policy only reads afropess, set col, and to a much smaller extent queer pess. Your job is to find out why college policy only reads a select few.
- Speaker points are super inflated right now, teams getting 30s every other round.
Please include me in the email chain: pauljohnston AT mail DOT weber DOT edu
Highland Highschool Pocatello ID 2007-2011
Idaho State University 2011-2012
Weber State 2022-present.
I've been away from the community for a couple years at this point, and that in turn impacts my judging in some specific ways.
My pen isnt the quickest, though Im working on getting it back up to speed. This means any analytics that you dont have in your speech doc should be clear and at a slower pace then your cards if you want it to make it on my flow. I dont mind speed when getting through evidence, but on tags and analytics please slow down. I'll give you one or two "clears" if Im struggling to keep up, but after that its on you.
I dont care as much for the "tricky" side of policy anymore. I dont love ridiculous arguments for their own sake. I think debate has good potential to teach us to engage difficult topics and come up with meaningful solutions, and as such I prefer debates that are less high-theory and more substantive engagement with real world questions. This isnt to say I dont like K's, I think they are a maintstay in debate for a reason. But Contextualization is extremely important for these debates, at least for me.
Theory isnt my favorite thing to vote on, but if you can prove their method is egregious or worse for debate as a whole I will vote on it. But it needs to be more than just blips on a flow, if you want me to vote on it, flush it out. Same goes for Topicality.
I dont have a lot of preference on other arguments. Do what you know best, and what you can debate well. If you have specific questions feel free to email me or ask before the round.
Alta will be my first tournament judging this year. Im not familiar with the high school topic, so make sure you give explanation if you're gonna be dropping acronyms or something else that someone who hasnt been doing research on this topic wouldnt be familiar with.
For LD I am a blank slate. I judged a very small amount of LD fresh out of high school, but that was in Idaho and I know this is not reflective of the current TOC community of LD. Tell me how to evaluate the round, give me the framework you think is best and why, and I will be happy. I dont have any preferences as far as technical aspects, except for what I said above about speed and making sure that I hear something if you think its of particular weight. Beyond that I dont have any preferences for how the round plays out. Do what you do best, just make sure you're explaining how I should be interpreting and filtering what is said in round.
I do have a decent amount of exposure to philosophy, however I've been out of the activity for the last ten years so my knowledge is not particularly detailed. That being said, just give some background or generalized explanations and I will be able to follow along with.
Alta 2022 Judging Philosophy
- DMA, University of Texas at Austin (2019)
- MM, University of Georgia (2013)
- BMus, University of Utah (2011)
- Harvard Westlake School––Upper School LD Assistant; Middle School Head Coach (2014–2016)
- DebateLA––MS Parli and LD Instructor (2014–2016)
- Weber State Debate Institute––Director of LD Debate (2014)
- Wasatch Mountain Debate––Founder and LD Instructor (2013–2014)
- Rowland Hall-St. Marks––LD Coach (2013–2014)
- Bingham High School––LD Coach (2007–2011)
- Sun Country Forensics Institute––LD Instructor (2010–2011)
- Debated for Cottonwood High School––4A Utah State Champion in LD (2004–2007)
Foreword: I have judged a lot of circuit debates, but it’s been six years since I judged my last round. I’m not up-to-date on trends or new jargon in the activity, and otherwise rusty on jargon I knew in the past. You should probably not read at your top speed. I have not seen any rounds on the topic, nor coached/researched it.
TL;DR philosophy: I have over a decade of experience in LD and should be able to handle any style or argument you throw at me. I view resolutions as normative statements that are tested through some kind of evaluative standard––straight-up util, more nuanced meta-ethical frameworks, etc.––and offense which funnels through that standard. The rest is up to you, with a few exceptions:
- I will not vote on moral skepticism.
- This is new for people who know my philosophy:
o I don’t think judges have jurisdiction to evaluate the out-of-round implications of what happens in the debate. My ballot has no role except to inform the tab room of the winner of the debate.
o I also don’t think judges have jurisdiction to make an in-round decision about anything that might occur/might have occurred out-of-round. I will not vote for positions that ask me to evaluate people and not arguments.
- I will not vote for arguments endorsing or justifying any pernicious “-isms” or “-phobias,” like racism, homophobia, etc.
More things consider:
- Policymaking: These tend to be my favorite debates. Plans are great. Counterplans must be competitive and should probably negate the resolution. PICs are okay but I think they are generally bad and/or poorly executed arguments.
- Kritiks: Ks are fine, but these debates tend to be at once dense and poorly explained, and thus require good storytelling and clarity.
- T/Theory: I default to competing interpretations but will hear arguments to the contrary. Topicality and theory debates are, to my mind, the most boring variety, and uniquely challenging to judge, so I may not be the best judge for complex theory debates. High threshold for RVIs, especially for T; having said that, if the shell is clearly ridiculous and merely designed to suck your time so it can be kicked in the 2N, feel free to go hard for the RVI.
- Speed: It’s not my job to tell you how fast you should talk, but I’ve been out of the activity for years, so anything close to your top speed isn’t advisable. You’re responsible for my understanding of your arguments; if I miss a game-changing argument, you weren’t clear enough. I’ll say “clear” or “slow” twice; after that, you’re on your own. Overviews are excellent. Please don’t speak at any speed at which your opponent can’t understand what you’re saying.
- Speaker points: 27.5 is my guidepost for the "average" debater at a given tournament and I go up/down from there. I rarely go lower than 26.5 unless you are disrespectful. You can earn higher speaks through clarity, savvy strategic execution, good management of the macro-level of the debate (i.e., good storytelling), and respectful conduct.
- Presumption: Neg gets presumption, though you can always argue why that shouldn’t be the case. Please don't make me vote on presumption.
- Odds and ends: I have heard there are new arguments floating around asking the judge to decide the round after a speech which is not the 2AR––I will not vote for these arguments. Suspected evidence ethics violations must be flagged immediately, clearly verifiable, and will be a win-lose issue for both parties.
-Questions are fine, but I am wholly uninterested in arguing with you (or your coach) after the round.
Feel free to ask any questions you have, or shoot me an email before the round.
My experience is pretty vast. I competed in all the standard debate events, along with Extemp in speech. Competed at NSDA’s in Congress, PF, and Extemp. (Broke in PF) Competed at NCFL’s and went to Semi’s in Congress. Competed at TOC in Congress.
I’m from a pretty small debate team originally that had no access to high end resources such as specific coaching, camps, briefs, etc. Because of this I’m mostly a traditional judge. While progressive arguments are fine, comprehension is sometimes difficult for myself.
I’m primarily a tech judge. While I wouldn’t believe the sky is red, claims that go uncontested and not clashed against, that get brought up in final speeches will be weighed.
K/T can be brought up, but for the most part goes way over my head. I’m fine listening to these arguments.
Signposting and roadmaps are really appreciated. Grouping together specific args, I.e. three turns on contention 1, would be more useful than reading 1 turn, then a disad, then attack the warrant, then bring up another turn.
Evidence quality matters, empirics and peer reviewed evidence is weighed more than simple news evidence.
I’m pretty much fine with students deciding how the round should go, just communicate it with me if you want to do anything outside the norm
I personally hate speaks, I think they are a bad tie breaker, and I never want to be the reason that students don’t break when they win debates, because of this, I give the highest points I can. The exception to this, is courtesy in cross. If you are being rude, I will give lower speaks. There’s no reason to be insulting for someone misunderstanding questions, arguments, etc.
I don’t flow cross, please bring up what’s said in cross in your speech, if you want it to be flowed
Speed is fine, although if I can't understand it I will say clear, this will only happen once. High pace conversation pace is best for me.
Have fun! I know that debate is highly competitive, but it should more fun than stress.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org please add me to the email chain! Don't be a terrible person!! Thank you
I am currently a college policy debater. This is my sixth year of debate. I debate on the NDT circuit at the University of Wyoming. Don’t be worried to read any type of argument in front of me.
K affs - should have a tie to the topic in some way, well explained affs are important - how do you solve x issue?
K - I think block dependency is high in these debates too - i want nuance arguments tell me why the aff is bad, on the aff side i want reasons the aff is good idea, other than that these debates are enjoyable to watch!!
Fw- Could go either way, i find myself in a bit of these debates where both sides just read their blocks at each other and don’t engage with the other person - i’ll reward someone who engages with the nuance of the arguments being made -- you can win a counter interp or an impact turn -- justify why you get to read FW - i’d rather vote for clash than fairness
Case- I love a good case debate. I think this part of debate is under utilized and can get good wins if you have a good case neg.
Da- Disad’s can take out an aff and I love turns case stuff. If you don’t know who switches their votes on a politics da that’s a little sad. you should explain the story of the da.
Cp- Counterplans are cool! Adv cp’s are not being used enough - a lot of people write affs that can be beat by a simple counter plan. Explain the process of the counter plan please :)
T- Im not a big fan of broad t definitions but I know they have to be used sometimes. T debates are also super messy so keep it clean. Tell me why them being untopical is bad.
Theory- a viable ballot if it makes sense is explained well and has impacts but I would prefer substance ! Condo is probably good but i could be persuaded especially because teams get away with a lot now
Tech over truth :)
Clipping - I want video or recording otherwise this can be hard to verify unless i already know it’s happening
Other events- I enjoy judging other events besides policy! Please don’t worry about me being your judge I love all events of speech and debate and would love to learn more about them.
My name is Ty, I use he/him pronouns.
I would like to be on the email chain. My email is email@example.com
I am currently a sophomore in college. I did policy debate for all 4 years of high school. I have judged mostly novice policy debate this year, so if there are any specific acronyms so I know what you're talking about. I am generally ok with speed, however, it has been a while, so please make sure that if you are speaking fast you are CLEAR.
As a debater, I mainly debated policy arguments rather than Kritiks, however, I will listen to your Ks if you choose to run them, I will need you to explain well why the K matters most in the round/why I should be voting for you based on the K. It will be more difficult to win on a K for me.
In order to convince me to vote for you please make sure you explain how I should evaluate the round, and why your team wins based on this framing. I don't want to have to extrapolate what matters most from vague comments that are not well explained. If you have questions about my opinions on specific types of arguments please ask before the round, but I will generally evaluate any argument as long as they are well-argued.
For LD: Keep in mind I did policy, but in general I will keep up with most differences quickly. Ask me any argument specific questions in room before the round starts.
Please do not be racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-semitic, or otherwise bigoted and discriminatory in round.
Hi! I'm Sam. Harvard Westlake '21, Vanderbilt '25. Email chain please: firstname.lastname@example.org. LD TOC qual 4x (octos soph year, skipped etoc junior year, quarters senior year), 20 bids, won some tournaments (Valley, Yale, Stanford, etc). I mostly read policy args, some basic T/theory, and some Ks/topical K affs (settler colonialism, fem IR, etc). I also coached for the past two years/am coaching this year, so I have some topic familiarity.
Everything in this paradigm (minus the hard and fast rules) is just a preference - my strongest belief about debate is that it should be a forum for ideological flexibility, creative thinking, and argumentative experimentation. I realized this paradigm was way too long so I tried to bold stuff for pre-round skimming.
Hard and Fast Rules--
If you are going too fast for me to tell if you are reading all the words in your cards, I will assume you're not. I will call clear and slow, please listen or we will all be sad.
Won't vote on any arg that makes debate unsafe. This includes any arg that denies the badness of racism/sexism/etc, or says death good (args like spark/wipeout = ok, cuz it doesn't deny the value of life, it's just fancy util maths that says extinction better preserves the value of life). If your opponent wins your argument is repugnant (absent any larger framing or judge instruction), I'll drop the argument, unless you presented your argument with the agreement that it was repugnant (ie, if you admit your position is racist, but attempt to say that doesn't matter), in which case I will consider your repugnance purposeful and drop you.
Ev ethics - stake the round on it (ie W30 to the person who is right and an L with the lowest possible speaks to the other) if evidence is misrepresented (an omitted section contradicts or meaningfully alters the meaning of the card). I think a good litmus test for misrepresentation is: does the article agree with the claims presented in the card? If it's missing a sentence or two at the beginning/end of a paragraph but it doesn't change the meaning of the card, you're better off reading it as theory. To make everyone's life easier, just cut ev well (this means full citations, full paragraphs, in alignment with the author's intent).
Clipping = an L with the lowest speaks I can give.
Speaks are my choice, not yours (put away 30 speaks theory).
For online debate, I expect that you record all your speeches in case you, your opponent, or I drops out.
Defaults: reasonability on theory, competing interps on t, drop the debater on t/theory, no RVIs, T>theory>everything else, comparative worlds, fairness + education are voters, policy presumption, epistemic confidence
^All those can be easily changed with a sentence.
K debate - Line by line >> long overviews. Winning overarching claims about the world is helpful, but you need to apply those claims to the specifics of your opponents arguments or else I will not do those interactions for you. Framework is important (honestly most of the times in K v policy debates, the person who wins fw wins the round). Links to the plan are preferred, but not necessary - the less specific your links, the more fw matters, and the more persuasive the permutation is. I also tend to think debate should be about arguments, not people, which means I'll likely be unpersuaded by personal attacks or "vote for me" arguments. I'm more persuaded by skills impacts on T Framework than fairness, and more persuaded by non topical affs that impact turn things than try to find a middle ground.
Policy - Yay! Zero risk not a thing but arguments still must be complete to be evaluated. Underdeveloping off in the 1nc = they get less weight in the 2nr. Rebuttal ev explanation > initial ev quality, but if your opponent's ev sucks and you point that out, that falls under the first category. Read your best evidence in the 1NC - I'll be persuaded by arguments that the 2NR doesn't get new evidence unless it's directly responsive to the 1AR. Big fan of creative counterplans <3.
Theory - PICs and condo are probably good. Cheating CPs (international fiat, agent, process etc) are a bit more suspicious. All of this is up for debate. Descriptions of side bias are not standards. The more frivolous the shell = the truer reasonability and DTA are, and the lower the bar for answers. On that note, reasonability and DTA are under-utilized.
Philosophy - Not the area i'm the most comfortable in, but I'll try my best. I'd love to see a well explained phil debate, but I will not enjoy a blippy phil round that borders closer to tricks debate. I'd rather you leverage your syllogism to exclude consequences rather than relying on calc indicts. Debaters should take advantage of nonsensical contention args.
Tricks - I don't think a model of debate predicated on the avoidance of clash (ie relying on concessions) is an educational model. My test for whether an argument falls under this model of debate is: ask yourself if you would be willing to go for an argument if it was responded to competently. The same idea also extends to the formatting of your argument (ie you should delineate + thoroughly explain all your arguments with clear implications). I won't purposefully insert my personal beliefs about the value of tricks debates into the round, but it does mean that I'll probably be more receptive to arguments that indict tricks debate as a model. Some arguments are truer than others, and it's easier to win true arguments in front of me than false ones. I also default comparative worlds, and have given more than one RFD that boils down to "X trick was won but there's no truth testing ROB under which it matters." Up-layering tricky affs with Ks or strategic theory is smart, and when leveraged correctly make claims of new 2NR responses more persuasive.
Lay - I have respect for good lay debaters since I know I could never be one. That said, I will definitely evaluate the debate on a technical level regardless of the style. Good lay debaters can beat circuit debaters by strategically isolating key arguments. Circuit debaters vs lay debaters don't need to modify their style of debate, but should do everything they can to be accessible (explain stuff in CX, send docs, etc) (same applies to debates where there is a large skill gap).
Misc - My threshold for independent voters is high. Emphasizing this after a couple rounds where it's been relevant.
Tech > truth, but separating the two is silly. The more counter-intuitive an argument, the higher the bar for winning it, and the lower the threshold for responses. Saying "nuclear war bad" probably requires less warranting than "nuclear war good" cuz the second one has the burden of proof to overcome the intuitive logical barrier to its truth value.
I'll deal with irresolvability using the "needs test" - the burden of proof falls on the side that "needs" to win the argument (ie the burden of proof is on the neg in the perm debate because the neg needs to beat the perm, but the aff doesn't need to win the perm).
I won't vote on arguments telling me to "evaluate the entire debate after X speech" that are introduced in X speech - it generates a contradiction. Also, the 2AR is after all the speeches before it - interpret this as you choose.
Likes: plans bad 2NR on semantics if you understand the grammar behind it and are not reading someone else's blocks, creative and non-offensive policy impact turns, creative process CPs (no this is not the ICJ CP or consult the WTO), plan affs (yes I realize this contradicts with my first like), multiple shells bad, Ks with links to the plan, presumption/case presses vs non T affs, topical K affs, reasonability/DTA on frivolous theory, collapsing, flashing analytics
Dislikes: the grammar DA, RVIs, plans bad 2NR on semantics when you don't understand the grammar behind it, plans bad 2NR that's just reading off someone else's doc with no topic specific analysis, standard spec, buffet 2NRs, hidden args, non T affs that are an FYI not an advocacy, combo shells that don't solve their offense, "strat skew", "this argument is bad" [then doesn't explain why the argument is bad], "that's an independent voting issue" [doesn't explain why it's a voting issue past just the label] (this also applies to 1AR arguments not labelled as voting issues that magically become voting issues in the 2AR), "what's a floating PIK" "what's an a priori", being rude or interrupting your opponent (especially if you're more experienced or in a position of power) (at best it adds nothing at worse it's unkind)
Add me to the chain: speechdrop[at]gmail.com
tldr: My name is Jonathan Meza and I believe that at the end of the day the debate space is yours and you should debate however you want this paradigm is just for you to get an insight on how I view debate. One thing is I won't allow any defense of offensive -isms, if you have to ask yourself "is this okay to run in front of them ?" the answer is probably no. I reserve the right to end the debate where I see fit, also don't call me judge I feel weird about it, feel free to call me Meza or Jonathan.
debate style tier list:
S Tier - Policy v k, Policy v Policy, Debates about Debate
A tier - K aff v Policy, K aff v Framework, Performance debate (either side)
B tier - K v K, Theory,
C tier - Phil
D tier - Trix
F tier - Meme/troll
about me: Assistant debate coach for Harvard Westlake (2022-). Debated policy since 2018 that is my main background even tho I almost only judge/coach LD now. Always reppin LAMDL. I don't like calling myself a "K debater" but I stopped reading plan affs since 2019 I still coach them tho and low key (policy v k > K v K). went 7 off with Qi bin my senior year of high school but not gonna lie 1-5 quality off case positions better than 7+ random shells.
inspirations: DSRB, LaToya,Travis, CSUF debate, Jared, Vontrez, Curtis, Diego, lamdl homies, Scott Philips.
theory: Theory page is the highest layer unless explained otherwise. Aff probably gets 1ar theory. Rvis are "real" arguments I guess. Warrant out reasonability. I am a good judge for theory, I am a bad judge for silly theory. Explain norm setting how it happens, why your norms create a net better model of debate. explain impacts, don't just be like "they didn't do XYZ voter for fairness because not doing XYZ is unfair." Why is it unfair, why does fairness matter I view theory a lot like framework, each theory shell is a model of debate you are defending why is not orientating towards your model a bad thing. Oh and if you go for theory, actually go for it do not just be like "they dropped xyz gg lol" and go on substance extend warrants and the story of abuse.
Topicality: The vibes are the same as above in the theory section. I think T is a good strategy, especially if the aff is blatantly not topical. If the aff seems topical, I will probably err aff on reasonability. Both sides should explain and compare interpretations and standards. Standards should be impacted out, basically explain why it's important that they aren't topical. The Aff needs a counter interpretation, without one I vote neg on T (unless it's kicked).
Larp: I appreciate creative internal link chains but prefer solid ones. Default util, I usually don't buy zero risk. For plan affirmative some of you are not reading a different affs against K teams and I think you should, it puts you in a good place to beat the K. as per disads specific disads are better than generics ones but poltics disads are lowkey broken if you can provide a good analysis of the scenario within the context of the affirmative. Uniqueness controls the link but I also believe that uniqueness can overwhelm the link. straight turning disads are a vibe especially when they read multiple offs.
K affirmatives: I appreciate affirmatives that are in the direction of the topic but feel free to do what you want with your 1ac speech, This does mean that their should be defense and/or offense on why you chose to engage in debate the way that you did. I think that at a minimum affirmatives must do something, "move from the status quo" (unless warranted for otherwise). Affirmatives must be written with purpose if you have music, pictures, poem, etc. in your 1ac use them as offense, what do they get you ? why are they there ? if not you are just opening yourself to a bunch of random piks. If you do have an audio performance I would appreciate captions/subtitles/transcript but it is at your discretion (won't frame my ballot unless warranted for otherwise). In Kvk debates I need clear judge instruction and link explanation perm debate I lean aff.
Framework: I lean framework in K aff v framework debates. These debate become about debate and models defend your models accordingly. I think that the aff in these debates always needs to have a role of the negative, because a lot of you K affs out their solve all of these things and its written really well but you say something most times that is non-controversal and that gets you in trouble which means its tough for you to win a fw debate when there is no role for the negative. In terms of like counter interp vs impact turn style of 2AC vs fw I dont really have a preference but i think you at some point need to have a decent counter interp to solve your impact turns to fw. If you go for the like w/m kind of business i think you can def win this but i think fw teams are prepared for this debate more than the impact turn debate. I think fairness is not an impact but you can go for it as one. Fairness is an internal link to bigger impacts to debate.
Kritiks: I am a big fan of one off K especially in a format such as LD that does not give you much time to explain things already reading other off case positions with the kritik is a disservice to yourself. I like seeing reps kritiks but you need to go hard on framing and explain why reps come first or else the match up becomes borderline unwinnable when policy teams can go for extinction outweighs reps in the late game speeches.
Generic links are fine but you need to contextualize in the NR/block. Lowkey in LD it is a waste of time to go for State links, the ontology debate is already making state bad claims and the affirmative is already ahead on a reason why their specific use of the state is good. Link contextualization is not just about explaining how the affirmatives use of the state is bad but how the underlining assumptions of the affirmative uniquely make the world worst this paired up with case take outs make for a real good NR Strategy.
speaker points: some judges have really weird standards of giving them out. if I you are clear enough for me to understand and show that you care you will get high speaks from me. I do reward strategic spins tho. I will do my best to be equitable with my speak distribution. at the end of the day im a speaker point fairy.
Impact weighing is near the top of my priorities when making a decision it influences how i frame the rest of the debate and the offense/defense of the debate.
Kritiks - Fine by me but i prefer they have solid links to the opposing side and that they are based in the topic literature.
Theory. Fine as long as they have clear standards and a reject the team arg, i have a high threshold for reject the team args.
The looking at cards off of prep time is somewhat okay but don't use it super often it makes the round unnecessarily long
I think 2nd rebuttal should cover opponents case and offense but this isn't something i will vote on its just something to keep in mind.
Email for email chains - Joshuadalemitchell@gmail.com
Jeff City 16-20
Niles West 23-
*Tech over truth with the exception that I will never vote on arguments that say the suffering of a group of people or animals is a good thing. If i believe that an argument is inappropriate for high schoolers i will stop the round and let tab/coaches know.
Please re/highlight in green/yellow - i cannot read blue.
If you want to make an argument regarding out of round violations, I will stop the debate and talk to tab/coaches abt it. Being the judge, jury, and executioner is far above my pay grade.
I enjoy all forms of debate that rely upon substance and are executed properly. I’m neutral about the form and content* presented in debate, my paradigm revolves around what I personally like about debate.
I like teams that condense early and cut the chaf and center the debate on issues quickly. All of your 1nc offensive positions should be able to be a 2NR.
My decision will be whatever is the easiest path to the ballot - nothing more, nothing less.
I will not fill in any gaps of explanation left at the end of the round. I don’t plan on constructing an argument for you make if it did not make sense to me.
I do not care if you post round me. Many times post rounds could’ve been solved by saying the argument you think I missed in the actual debate!
I will clap after the round ends - debate is hard and u deserve recognition!
UPDATE: Huge fan of the soft left AFF trend e.g Tribal Jobs and Puerto Rico. Teams should read PIKs v K AFFs.
I like k debate. i get the gist of most Ks, but i am more deep in lit that is about: capitalism, security , critical debility studies, orientalism, animal studies, and Hawaiian sovereignty movements. My favorite authors are Jasbir Puar, Edward Said, and Haunani-Kay Trask.
I prefer fw as an alt as opposed to going for the alt. I think if a k team has won fw it becomes far easier for them win more parts of the flow.
I’ve become less opposed to a straight up alt debate. This might be more of an uphill battle with me but if it works it works.
I enjoy specific, well contextualized links to the AFF. Broad, overarching links are fairly hard to win, these links become more powerful when they are specifically applied to the AFF and teams show HOW the AFF makes the world worse.
Recently I’ve been a major fan of teams using in round actions + performative links in tandem with links to the AFF. I usually find these persuasive and extremely strategic to punish your opponents in rounds mistakes.
I think for AFF teams debating the K, they should invest in a perm and link turn strategy. I have found greater success reading AFFs that attempted to resolve some facet of an oppressive system while also being able to solve a defensible extinction impact. I think that this strategy is
A. more fun to watch/judge
B. far less ethically bankrupt than defending heg or capitalism
C. shields you from offense that would sugget plan focused debate is bad.
Despite what i said above I am not opposed to AFFs that will defend the worst excesses of American capitalism or military power. However I will be very very unlikely to vote on some level of permutation or no link. I think in this scenario the 2AR should collapse to a defense of their model of debate (FW) and impact o/w the K.
For K v K debates - establish a specific link to the AFF and explain why it makes the world worse and/or explain how ur alt/counter-method resolves both that violence and the case page.
intuitively it doesnt make sense as to why the AFF would not get perms.
I enjoy perm competition debates, cheating CPs, and internal net benefits.
Counterplan out of everything. This includes 2NC CPs out of thumpers and straight turns.
I enjoy politics debates which display a wealth of knowledge of both governmental function and debate technique.
Not knowing who vote switches on a politics DA is an abject failure.
The NEG team needs to provide me reasons as to why the AFF plan creates the worst model of debate. This looks like what AFFs are excluded vs included, what core negative ground is lost, and why I should default to competing interpretations.
The AFF needs to prove why the AFF is good for debate or why the NEG makes a worse model of debate. This looks like offensive reasons to why the NEG's interp is bad or offensive reasons as to why the AFF model is good.
FW is not violent nor analogous to mass atrocities.
I think that the AFF team should present a counter interp/model of what debate looks like with an offensive reason as to why that model is good. I also think the AFF should provide an offensive reason as to why the NEG's model of debate is bad.
Clash is the most persuasive and strategically smart impact to me. Fairness certainly could be an impact but it is least strategic in my opinion.
I think the NEG should provide reasons as to why their model of debate is good such as clash and skills. The NEG should also provide defense like TVAs or SSD to absorb the AFF's offense. I am very interested in carded specific TVAs to the AFF.
When you are debating K AFFs please have a robust case page throughout the debate round.
Get to case with 3:30 minutes or GET OUT.
Advantages have names, use them in the order.
I strongly dislike the trend of putting every case arg on one sheet. If an AFF has multiple sheets in the 1AC do the case debate on multiple sheets.
I like soft/hard left AFFs that have specific solvency ev + coupled with a strong framing page which solves an instantiation against some sort of violence.
2NRs on case will be rewarded with speaker boosts.
I 100 percent believe you can zero out a case, this is because solvency has become shambolic for affirmatives and negatives very rarely capitalize on this.
Circumvention is a powerful weapon that people often forget about.
I will vote on turns like spark, dedev, climate change good and the like.
Only condo is a reason to reject the team. Personally I think condo is good, but strong, technical debating moves the needle for me. I think AFF teams should forward an interp that either no condo is good or dispo is good. NEG teams should simply defend the whole of condo. I think interps that say x amount of condo is good tend to be arbitrary.
I will not judge kick unless instructed to do so, arguments regarding no judge kick should be set up in the 1AR at the latest.
Clipping requires a team to call out. i do not flow off the doc so i have no clue if clipping has occurred. A team will need to present some form of evidence (recording/audio proof) to substantiate the clipping accusation. If i verify that clipping has occured the round will end and the team that has lost the challenge will receive an L + 25 speaks.
If there is a challenge regarding evidence ethics i will stop the round and evaluate the challenge, the round will not continue if an ethics violation challenge has been made. I will independently verify if a team has violated some level of evidence ethics (miscitations of authors, dates, removal/addition of evidentiary text). The team that loses the challenge will receive an L + 25 speaks.
It is a speech!
With the state of case debating in 2023 i think that the NEG could disprove the AFF in 3 minutes of 1AC CX.
I will flow it and i believe it is binding.
Clarification questions signal to me that you do not flow.
Stop asking questions during prep.
It is an arbitrary metric.
Ethos, ethos, ethos.
Online debate has encouraged prep stealing at another level, i will ask you if you are taking prep and if i continue to see you steal prep it will reflect in your speaks.
I will not yell clear - i think it is judge intervention.
I did not do LD in high school nor was LD in my district similar to the national circuit, i will evaluate LD how i evaluate policy unless told otherwise by debaters.
I will make ratings towards my familiarity but i am open to all styles of LD that utilize substance over tricks.
I am more sympathetic to AFF claims that condo is bad in LD more than other debates..
K - 1
Policy - 1
Phil - 4
Trad - 2
unimportant theory arguments or “skep” - do not run.
I think this activity often lacks clash. Change my mind.
I will evaluate this as if it was a policy round.
Pls call me e.c. (it's my intitials if that helps with pronouciation) my real name and judge are just too formal for me.
I care a lot abt animals, arguments that say animals suffering does not matter will not fly with me.
I dont care if your camera is off.
Locally record your speeches. if you get booted from whatever online medium we are using i will not allow you to redo a speech.
Not a fan of inserting rehighlights - you should read them.
References about the immortal and legendary Arsenal Football Club will be rewarded with speaker point boosts (tottenham fans be warned).
Please add me to the chain, my email is email@example.com
Policy from 2014-2021 for Downtown Magnets High School/LAMDL and Cal State Fullerton.
general: I will listen to anything you have to say. I need you to control how I think about what is going on in the round. Framing weighing and comparing impacts is important. Extending and debating warrants as thoroughly as the debate allows is so important to me especially in the rebuttals . Also because I feel like tech and truth determine each other. You should be able to do a lot more with less. I flow on paper so I will miss quick, short, and intricate arguments. Tell me what it is I need to be voting on and why I should vote on that thing. I am very receptive to an rfd that is straight up given to me. My rfds are broad and I don't ever really get into specifics unless asked and rarely vote on a single argument.
specifics: I like k v k and k v policy debates the most. I have the most experience with arguments about the state, racial capitalism, and the intersection of race/gender/queerness/class. I need to feel like you are politically and/or socially motivated by the world to run the k you are running for me to really be persuaded by it. I need Ks to have a strong explanation of either the world or debate. Ks on the aff need a clear method and solvency. I don't mind if this isn't as strong on the neg unless the aff makes it a thing. In k v fw rounds I need both sides to have models of debate and comparison work being done on the offense. I lean towards skills, clash, tva for the neg. Generally I need links to be as specific as possible for any kind of offense or argument. I will consider any theory argument. But if you are going for them, be as contextual to the round as possible. Frankly, 4+ off is irritating to me no shade but I live for drama so go ahead but that raises the bar for you and lowers it for the aff.
other: sorry if I get sleepy, it's probably not because of the round
firstname.lastname@example.org (include on email chain please)
8 years and counting policy debate experience. Current University of Wyoming college debater.
High School specific thoughts for your pref sheets:
1. Yes Speed
2. Yes theory
3. Yes K's
4. Yes evidence sharing
5. No judge intervention
6. Tech over Truth (unless in extreme circumstances as outlined below in point 1)
Some thoughts and useful insights for all debaters (an ever growing list):
1. Familiar with mostly all types of argumentation, I'm down with reading whatever argument suits you, just defend it well. There are very few args I will not vote on. If you say racism/sexism/transphobia/ableism are good you will lose. Everything else is up for debate. I am particularly partial to clever impact turns that catch opponents off guard.
2. I'm becoming increasingly familiar with K literature, I debated as a flex K debater my senior year of college reading args about Queerness and Feminism. Although I assume I'll understand what you are talking about, you should probably not trust me. Thus, if you are going to be relying on some super complex K terms, I would appreciate a well explained extension just to ensure we are all on the same page. I do my best to keep up, but there will always be something that I didn't have time to learn.
3. I like clever counterplans that use the aff against itself (within reason of course, I'm not afraid to vote on theory so be careful with your "creativity"), unless you have really good evidence, I'm not likely to vote on generic CP's that copy and paste the plan text from every round. If the CP is unique to the aff or a small section of affs, that's ideal.
4. 2AC addons are underrated.
5. Nothing in your speeches should go unjustified, every piece of evidence and every analytic you forward needs to exist for a strategic reason. Chess players (who want to win) don't just move random pieces. Everything is purposeful, strategic, and thoughtful. Your speeches are a piece of art and you should treat them with that respect!
6. Cross-ex is a speech
7. Be kind, prep well, debate smart, have fun, good luck.
Affiliation: Marlborough (CA), Apple Valley (MN)
Past: Peninsula (CA), Lexington (MA)
I like substantive and engaging debates focused on the topic's core controversies. While I greatly appreciate creative strategy, I prefer deeply warranted arguments backed by solid evidence to absurd arguments made for purely tactical reasons.
I find the tech or truth construction to be reductive — both matter. I will try to evaluate claims through a more-or-less Bayesian lens. This means my knowledge of the world establishes a baseline for the plausibility of claims, and those priors are updated by the arguments made in a debate. This doesn’t mean I’ll intervene based on my preexisting beliefs; instead, it will take much more to win that 2+2=5 than to prove that grass is green.
I default to viewing resolutions as normative statements that divide ground, but I’m open to arguments in favor of alternative paradigms. In general, I believe the affirmative should defend a topical policy action that's a shift from the status quo. The negative burden is generally to defend the desirability of the status quo or competitive advocacy.
Affirmatives should advocate a clearly delineated plan or advocacy, which can be the resolution itself. The aff's advocacy text is the basis for negative competition and links, and as such, it must contain any information the aff feels is relevant to those discussions. Affs cannot refuse to specify or answer questions regarding elements of their advocacy and then later make permutations or no-link arguments that depend on those elements. "Normal means" claims can be an exception but require evidence that the feature in question is assumed. Proof that some possible version of the aff could include such a feature is insufficient. Refusal to answer direct questions about a particular element of the advocacy will likely take "normal means" claims off the table.
I prefer policy/stock arguments, but I’m certainly open to critical or philosophical positions and vote for them often.
If you refer to your arguments as “tricks,” it’s a good sign that I’m not the best judge for you. Debaters should, whenever possible, advance the best arguments at their disposal. Calling your argument a "trick" implies its value lies in surprise or deception, not quality.
Note: an odd topic construction could alter these priors, but I'll do my best to make that known here if that's the case.
Generally, affirmatives should be topical. I have and will vote for non-topical positions, but the burden is on the aff to justify why the topicality constraint shouldn't apply to them.
Topicality is a question of whether the features of the plan/advocacy itself being a good idea proves the resolution. This means I will look unfavorably on a position that is effects topical, extra-topical, or related to the topic but doesn't in and of itself prove the resolution.
In topicality debates, both semantics and pragmatic justifications are essential. However, interpretations must be "semantically eligible" before I evaluate pragmatic advantages. Pragmatic advantages are relevant in deciding between plausible interpretations of the words in the resolution; pragmatics can't make those words mean something they don't. I will err aff if topicality is a close call.
Affs nearly always must disclose 30 min before start time, and both debaters should disclose which AC they will read before elim flips.
Affirmatives should usually be topical.
Plans are good, but they need to be consistent with the wording of the topic.
Extra T is probably bad
Severance is bad
Intrinsicness is usually bad, but I'm open to intrinsic perms in response to process cps
Conditionality is OK
PICs are OK
Alt agent fiat is probably bad
Competing interpretations>reasonability, usually
Probably no RVIs
Almost certainly no RVIs on Topicality
I don't like arguments that place artificial constraints on paradigm issues based on the speech in which they are presented.
No inserting evidence. Re-highlights should be read aloud.
I am open to Ks and vote on them frequently. That said, I’m not intimately familiar with every critical literature base. So, clear explanation, framing, and argument interaction are essential. Likewise, the more material your impacts and alternative are, the better. Again, the more unlikely the claim, the higher the burden of proof. It will take more to convince me of the strongest claims of psychoanalysis than that capitalism results in exploitation.
Establishing clear links that generate offense is necessary. Too often, Ks try to turn fundamentally defensive claims into offense via jargon and obfuscation. A claim that the aff can’t or doesn't solve some impact is not necessarily a claim the aff is a bad idea.
It's essential that I understand the alternative and how it resolves the harms of the Kritik. I won't vote for an advocacy that I can't confidently articulate.
Arguments I will not vote for
An argument that has no normative implications, except in situations where the debater develops and wins an argument that changes my default assumptions.
A strategy that purposely attempts to wash the debate to trigger permissibility/presumption.
A contingent framework/advocacy that is "triggered" in a later speech.
Any argument that asks me to evaluate the debate after a speech that isn't the 2AR.
Arguments/Practices I will immediately drop you for
Any argument that concludes that every action is permissible.
Any argument that creates a hostile environment for either myself, the other debater, or anyone watching the debate.
Any argument that explicitly argues that something we all agree is awful (genocide, rape, etc.) is a good thing. This must be an argument THAT THE DEBATER AGREES implies horrible things are ok. If the other debater wins an argument that your framework justifies something terrible, but it is contested, then it may count as a reason not to accept your framework, but it will not be a reason to drop you on its own.
I only judge PF a few times a year, mostly at camp. Arguments are arguments regardless of the format, so most of my typical paradigm applies. The big caveat is that I strongly prefer teams read actual cards instead of paraphrasing evidence. I understand that there are differences of opinion, so I won't discount paraphrasing entirely, but I'll have a lower bar for indicts. Also, I'm not reading ten full articles at the end of the debate, so I'd appreciate it if you could prepare the paraphrased portions in advance.
Assistant coach at Rowland Hall.
2023-2024 Update 1: I think topic education good arguments are very good on this topic and you should go for them in front of me.
I am currently a student at the University of Utah majoring in both classical philology and German. I love language, both as a heuristic tool and as a vehicle for persuasion. I debated at Weber State University (2017-2019) for Ryan Wash (whom I can only aspire to imitate as an adjudicator in each and every debate I judge) and at Copper Hills High School (2014-2017) for Scott Odekirk.
I will for nearly no reason insert anything I think independent of the debate round into my decision or evaluation of said round. I don't care if you think something is a bad argument or morally suspect, if either of these things are true in context of the round it should simply be easy to beat. This applies to most all things, illogical or not. This also means I have a low threshold for what needs to be said to beat a bad argument.
Tech > Truth ... BUT it will be nigh impossible to convince me to vote for a factually untrue argument.
I strongly believe that debate is a game which you can choose to approach however you would like. Because of this, you should attempt to win in any way possible. PIK's, theory, cheating CP's are all fair game if you can defend them (some are easier to defend than others of course).
Framework when not contextualized to the AFF being read in the round is pretty much never going to persuade me. Framework debate has become too formulaic and repetitive resulting in facsimiles of prior debates playing out against different AFF's sometimes three times a tournament. Some blocks and card extensions are obviously universally applicable, but they still need some case specific analysis done for the round that is happening. The ability to make unique arguments on the spot is a sign of a good debater. This all goes doubly so for K's. I read mostly Cap and Baudrillard in college and high school and the failure to contextualize your links and alternative to the round at hand is a strategy destined for defeat.
K AFF specifics: 1. I need to know what it means to vote AFF before the end of the 2AR. 2. Impact turns to framework are good and your best way to winning my ballot. 3. There must be a role for the negative which you have clearly outlined at some point in the round (the negative can argue that it is bad, but it must exist). [EXCEPTION: If your argument is that the negative should not exist at all (hard to convince me this is good)].
Framework specifics: 1. Fairness is an impact, but you still have to weigh it. 2. I think the argument that clash makes us better advocates for our causes is the best framework argument. 3. Good TVA's need evidence.
Framework update (11/16/2022): I have found myself voting neg in framework debates far more than I used to. I think that this is due to a combination of K AFF's being more unfair to debate against on the NATO topic as well as negative teams doing a better job explaining the particular in-round impacts of topicality to me. Do with this information what you will, but the voting record tab should capture my voting trends at each tournament and if this trend has shifted for some reason.
- The 1AR is allowed new responses if the 1NC reads an embedded ASPEC sentence on a topicality shell and it is NOT flagged. Stop doing this.
- 50 state fiat is a reason to reject the argument not the team.
- No inserting re-highlightings, you MUST read them or they DO NOT exist.
1 CARD MAXIMUM IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL!!!! DO NOT ASK.
My speaker points scale, while fairly average (majority 28's), can easily be increased with humour. What ever happened to debaters being funny and persuasive in round, and why are these two things not more intricately connected with one another? Also, don't go faster than you know you should, slurring your speech at 400WPM will not help you win a round, focus on making good concise arguments with less filler and you won't need to force yourself to talk at Mach 10.
1998-2003: Competed at Fargo South HS (ND)
2003-2004: Assistant Debate Coach, Hopkins High School (MN)
2004-2010: Director of Debate, Hopkins High School (MN)
2010-2012: Assistant Debate Coach, Harvard-Westlake Upper School (CA)
2012-Present: Debate Program Head, Marlborough School (CA)
General Preferences and Decision Calculus
I no longer handle top speed very well, so it would be better if you went at about 70% of your fastest.
I like substantive and interesting debate. I like to see good strategic choices as long as they do not undermine the substantive component of the debate. I strongly dislike the intentional use of bad arguments to secure a strategic advantage; for example making an incomplete argument just to get it on the flow. I tend to be most impressed by debaters who adopt strategies that are positional, advancing a coherent advocacy rather than a scatter-shot of disconnected arguments, and those debaters are rewarded with higher speaker points.
I view debate resolutions as normative. I default to the assumption that the Affirmative has a burden to advocate a topical change in the status quo, and that the Negative has a burden to defend either the status quo or a competitive counter-plan or kritik alternative. I will vote for the debater with the greatest net risk of offense. Offense is a reason to adopt your advocacy; defense is a reason to doubt your opponent's argument. I virtually never vote on presumption or permissibility, because there is virtually always a risk of offense.
Moral Skepticism is not normative (it does not recommend a course of action), and so I will not vote for an entirely skeptical position. Morally skeptical arguments may be relevant in determining the relative weight or significance of an offensive argument compared to other offense in the debate.
I am skeptical of impact exclusion. Debaters have a high bar to prove that I should categorically disregard an impact which an ordinary decision-maker would regard as relevant. I think that normative ethics are more helpfully and authentically deployed as a mode of argument comparison rather than argument exclusion. I will default to the assumption of a wide framework and epistemic modesty. I do not require a debater to provide or prove a comprehensive moral theory to regard impacts as relevant, though such theories may be a powerful form of impact comparison.
Arguments that deny the wrongness of atrocities like rape, genocide, and slavery, or that deny the badness of suffering or oppression more generally, are a steeply uphill climb in front of me. If a moral theory says that something we all agree is bad is not bad, that is evidence against the plausibility of the theory, not evidence that the bad thing is in fact good.
I default to evaluating theory as a matter of competing interpretations.
I am skeptical of RVIs in general and on topicality in particular.
I will apply a higher threshold to random theory interpretations that do not reflect existing community norms and am particularly unlikely to drop the debater on them. Because your opponent could always have been marginally more fair and because debating irrelevant theory questions is not a good model of debate, I am likely to intervene against theoretical arguments which I deem to be frivolous.
Tricks and Triggers
Your goal should be to win by advancing substantive arguments that would decisively persuade a reasonable decision-maker, rather than on surprises or contrived manipulations of debate conventions. I am unlikely to vote on tricks, triggers, or other hidden arguments, and will apply a low threshold for answering them. You will score more highly and earn more sympathy the more your arguments resemble genuine academic work product.
Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs
The affirmative has the obligation to ask about the status of a counterplan or kritik alternative in cross-examination. If they do not, the advocacy may be conditional in the NR.
I default to the view that the Negative has to pick an advocacy to go for in the NR. If you do not explicitly kick a conditional counterplan or kritik alternative, then that is your advocacy. If you lose a permutation read against that advocacy, you lose the debate. I will not kick the advocacy for you and default to the status quo unless you win an argument for judge kick in the debate.
I default to the presumption that floating PIKs must be articulated as such in the NC. If it is not apparent that the kritik alternative allows you to also enact the affirmative advocacy, then I will regard this argument as a change of advocacy in the NR and disregard it as a new argument.
To the extent possible I will resolve the debate as though I were a reasonable decision-maker considering only the arguments advanced by the debaters in making my decision. On any issues not adequately resolved in this way, I will make reasonable assumptions about the relative persuasiveness of the arguments presented.
The speed at which you choose to speak will not affect my evaluation of your arguments, save for if that speed impairs your clarity and I cannot understand the argument. I prefer debate at a faster than conversational pace, provided that it is used to develop arguments well and not as a tactic to prevent your opponent from engaging your arguments. There is some speed at which I have a hard time following arguments, but I don't know how to describe it, so I will say "clear," though I prefer not to because the threshold for adequate clarity is very difficult to identify in the middle of a speech and it is hard to apply a standard consistently. For reasons surpassing understanding, most debaters don't respond when I say clear, but I strongly recommend that you do so. Also, when I say clear it means that I didn't understand the last thing you said, so if you want that argument to be evaluated I suggest repeating it. A good benchmark is to feel like you are going at 90% of your top speed; I am likely a significantly better judge at that pace.
My threshold for sufficient extensions will vary based on the circumstances, e.g. if an argument has been conceded a somewhat shorter extension is generally appropriate.
It is primarily the responsibility of debaters to engage in meaningful evidence comparison and analysis and to red flag evidence ethics issues. However, I will review speech documents and evaluate detailed disputes about evidence raised in the debate. I prefer to be included on an email chain or pocket box that includes the speech documents. If I have a substantial suspicion of an ethics violation (i.e. you have badly misrepresented the author, edited the card so as to blatantly change it's meaning, etc.), I will evaluate the full text of the card (not just the portion that was read in the round) to determine whether it was cut in context, etc.
I use speaker points to evaluate your performance in relation to the rest of the field in a given round. At tournaments which have a more difficult pool of debaters, the same performance which may be above average on most weekends may well be average at that tournament. I am strongly disinclined to give debaters a score that they specifically ask for in the debate round, because I utilize points to evaluate debaters in relation to the rest of the field who do not have a voice in the round. I elect not to disclose speaker points, save where cases is doing so is necessary to explain the RFD. My range is approximately as follows:
30: Your performance in the round is likely to beat any debater in the field.
29: Your performance is substantially better than average - likely to beat most debaters in the field and competitive with students in the top tier.
28: Your performance is above average - likely to beat the majority of debaters in the field but unlikely to beat debaters in the top tier.
27.5: Your performance is approximately average - you are likely to have an equal number of wins and losses at the end of the tournament.
26: Your performance is below average - you are likely to beat the bottom 25% of competitors but unlikely to beat the average debater.
25: Your performance is substantially below average - you are competitive among the bottom 25% but likely to lose to other competitors
Below 25: I tend to reserve scores below 25 for penalizing debaters as explained below.
Rude or Unethical Actions
I will severely penalize debaters who are rude, offensive, or otherwise disrespectful during a round. I will severely penalize debaters who distort, miscut, misrepresent, or otherwise utilize evidence unethically.
A debater has clipped a card when she does not read portions of evidence that are highlighted or bolded in the speech document so as to indicate that they were read, and does not verbally mark the card during the speech. Clipping is an unethical practice because you have misrepresented which arguments you made to both your opponent and to me. If I determine that a debater has clipped cards, then that debater will lose.
To determine that clipping has occurred, the accusation needs to be verified by my own sensory observations to a high degree of certainty, a recording that verifies the clipping, or the debaters admission that s/he has clipped. If you believe that your opponent has clipped, you should raise your concern immediately after the speech in which it was read, and I will proceed to investigate. False accusations of clipping is a serious ethical violation as well. *If you accuse your opponent of clipping and that accusation is disconfirmed by the evidence, you will lose the debate.* You should only make this accusation if you are willing to stake the round on it.
I am happy to answer any questions on preferences or paradigm before the round. After the round I am happy to answer respectfully posed questions to clarify my reason for decision or offer advice on how to improve (subject to the time constraints of the tournament). Within the limits of reason, you may press points you don't understand or with which you disagree (though I will of course not change the ballot after a decision has been made). I am sympathetic to the fact that debaters are emotionally invested in the outcomes of debate rounds, but this does not justify haranguing judges or otherwise being rude. For that reason, failure to maintain the same level of respectfulness after the round that is generally expected during the round will result in severe penalization of speaker points.
- Soft Left AFFs
- Framework debates
- Pre-fiat solvency
- When you use your 1AC/1NC cards throughout the whole debate
- Theory debates
- No organization
- When you don't interact with their specific arguments
- Being rude
- 3 years at Salem Hills High School
- Now studying communications at BYU
Add me to the chain, (email@example.com), or use SpeechDrop.
1. Background: Three or so years between Policy and Lincoln Douglas (LD) debate in high school, three years on the NFA LD circuit in college (UT 22'), a little bit of coaching here and there (CCHS and Harker), and am currently a (1L) law student at Duq Kline Schol of Law (Duq Law 26').
2. At a high level: I generally view myself as prioritizing technical concessions over truth. At the same time, for me to vote on an argument, the Toulmin model must be present. Claim, grounds, and warrant. The fewer implicit assumptions I have to make, the better odds you have of winning.
3. My position on "unconventional cases": Arguments are arguments ... performance, advocacy, non-traditional, soft left, etc. are all arguments. Questions such as "Does policymaking outweigh individual resistance?" or "Does activism come before ground?" are questions that are usually answered on a round-to-round basis.
1. Extending arguments: I will not extend a conceded argument for you if you do not extend and explain its importance in the latter part of the debate. I will presume you do not want that particular argument evaluated.
2. New arguments: I am willing to reject new arguments. I probably won't reject the debater but I will disregard the argument. I only will do so if a team brings up the specific argument that was new and why that new argument is bad/should be disregarded
3. When the timer goes off: I stop listening, flowing, and evaluating any argument made the moment the timer goes off.
4. Typing during cross-examination: If you see me typing during cross-examination I am probably tidying up my flow or typing out feedback.
1. Topicality, theory, and abuse: Ever since I entered law school, I've warmed up to T debates. An a prior issue for me is you actually have to prove abuse. For example, when you say negative ground, the negative team must actually be suffering from a lack of readiness, and explicitly explain why that is. Or, if you say fairness, why is it unfair and why should I be willing to vote a team down for being unfair? With that said, I will tend to apply either 1) the most widely accepted reasonable interpretation of the word in question (community reasons) or 2) the most legally and academically sound definition.
2. Kritiks: I enjoy the K. When judging the K, I view the debate through the lens of the framework. You have to have offensive reasons why your viewpoint and framing of the world come first. This includes going for policymaking good in answering the K, epistemology first in running the K, or anything in between. I also find I place more emphasis than some judges on "why my ballot matters", perhaps I've enjoyed the normativity K too much, but, I digress.
3. Permutations: They are a right the affirmative has as advocacy to check negative abuse. I defer to perms being an advocacy over a test of competition. In general, conditionality is good up to two advocacies, after that theory could start becoming a VI/cross applicable piece of the offense. Like T however, I need you to prove abuse.
4. DAs/CPs: I tend to avoid voting on a 1% risk of the disadvantage means a neg ballot argument. I find that debaters generally lack the warrant development and explanation as to why their disadvantage matters and I won't do the work for them. If you're going for a disadvantage, timeframe and likelihood matter. Actor, consult, etc. CPs are fair game. Well-developed net-benefit debates are always a great strategy.
LD & PF - my take on speed:
1. LD Speed: The inclusivity of LD debate means that speed must be agreed upon between debaters. If you ignore the accessible standard of speed that your opponent has set up for you, I have no problem dropping you off of a ten-second speed theory shell.
2. PF Speed: PF calls for an accessible and public-based style of communication. This means eloquence, persuasion, and easy-to-flow argumentation will be rewarded far more than tech and speed. Of course, this does not mean discounting the role of warrants in your argumentation.
Bolded for TLDR
SLC West '22
University of Utah '26
Hi! I'm Henry - I did debate all four years of high school for West High, did half a year of PF then switched to LD. If you have any questions about the way I voted or just want to ask me any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 801-674-1898 (preferably text).
Fine with speed, slow down on tags and analytics.
Tech > Truth
- 1 - LARP, Trad
- 2 - K and Phil lit bases that I know (see below)
- 3 - T
- 4 - K and Phil lit bases I don't know (see below)
- 5/Strike - Trix / Theory
I do not flow cross, bring it up in a speech to get it flowed.
Don't be abusive. I think inclusion in the debate space is good and comes before substance, so I will drop you if you are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic.
Please please please make your 2NRs/2ARs easy to evaluate. Ideally, my RFD should sound exactly like the first 30 seconds of either speech.
I like speech docs, I normally use speechdrop.net or email.
Go for it! I debated exclusively trad for 2 years, although it may be an uphill battle against progressive arguments. If you're a trad debater, chances are I will be able to understand the flow and your round pretty well. Most of the time (in my opinion) the value/criterion debate ends up as a wash, 99 percent of my value debates come down to "X value is a prereq to Y value" and "Y value includes X value" which is literally the same argument but framed as offense for a particular side. If you want to go for framework, please have a clear relation from your impacts to your framing. If you're running something that can be won on either framework equally well, just kick it (I will not be docking speaks if you collapse as long as you can still explain why what you have wins the round). Weigh in your 2NR/2AR - write my ballot for me. You can try to go for the emotional appeal in front of me but most of the time I'll just evaluate what is said, not how it is said. That being said, if you're more comfortable with a ton of pathos, you don't need to change that for me.
I debated a lot of LARP my junior year, and still ran the occasional DA/CP combo senior year. Please weigh in your 2NR/2AR. Give the kind of speech in which I can immediately write my ballot 5 seconds after the debate because of how clear the voters are. If your 2AR is just a 3 minute 1AR (no weighing, just line by line) I will be annoyed and your speaks will suffer. Generally, I won't be super well-versed on topic lit - explain buzzwords, acronyms, etc.
K debate is really fun, probably the style of debate I like the most, although I'm worse at judging it than LARP because of how differently final speeches are normally structured.
Lit bases I understand: Deleuze, Afropess, baedan, Wynter, Fem, Marx, Cap, Security, Foucault, Psycho, Agamben, Stryker
Lit bases I sort of understand: Baudrillard, Model Minority Myth, Mollow, Setcol, Moten, Weheliye, Yancy, Mills, Edelman, Russell, Federici
Lit bases I don't get at all: Beller, Bataille, Preciado, Puar, Cybernetics (or really any Heidegger stuff), Derrida, Glissant, Halberstam, Munoz, Hardt + Negri, Haraway, Chandler, Ahmed, Berlant, Bey (if your lit base is not listed here, assume I am unfamiliar with it)
I ran phil a lot my senior year. I will understand most basic frameworks, but if your framework is listed as one of the ones I don't understand, do extra explanation in the 2NR/2AR.
Lit bases I understand: Kant, Hobbes, Locke, Rawls
Lit bases I sort of understand: Butler, Contractarianism, Existentialism, Nozick, Pettit, Plato (Virtue Ethics type beat)
Lit bases I don't understand: Levinas, Hegel, Jaeggi, Pragmatism, probably most forms of skep
Being honest, this is the worst thing you could probably run in front of me. I'm terrible at flowing and I will not catch most of your arguments. No ideological bias against theory, I just suck at evaluating it.
T-FW: Framework is fine. You can debate about whether it's policing. I'm kind of bored of framework because it's very generic against affs and I feel like it doesn't really incentivize going into and learning about literature bases, but that's just a personal pet peeve that won't affect the way I judge your round.
Nebel T: Tbh Nebel is probably a true arg. Semantics aren't really a voter for me but I'll evaluate it if you say it. I'm prob more persuaded by pragmatics on Nebel (small school prep burden is real).
Trix are for kids
Probably ideological bias, I try to keep tech > truth but trix annoyed me as a debater which probably influences how I feel judging them.
No, but honestly, these are pretty annoying to evaluate. I did collapse to presumption/permissibility triggers a lot my senior year, but most of the time, trix debates end up in random minutae that I'm not a huge fan of.
(This is just the default, I can be persuaded to change the layering if arguments are made)
- Make good arguments in round. That's the main point
- Good weighing in the 2AR/2NR and clear voters
- Good logic (looking at you, trix debaters)
- Do anything abusive
- Be blatantly violent in round
- Read complex args / spread on novices
Speaker Points Guide:
30 - Will win the tournament
29 - Above Average
28 - Moderate
27 - Below Average
26 - Needs quite a bit of work
20-25 - Made the round unsafe or acted in a way that was exclusionary in round