Alta Silver Black
2022 — Sandy, UT/US
Policy Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
After reading paradigms over the years, I am not sure how helpful they really are. They seem to be mostly a chance to rant, a coping mechanism, a way to get debaters not to pref them and some who generally try but usually fail to explain how they judge debates. Regardless, my preferences are below, but feel free to ask me before the round if you have any questions.
Short paradigm. I am familiar with most arguments in debate. I am willing to listen to your argument. If it's an argument that challenges the parameters and scope of debate, I am open to the argument. Just be sure to justify it. Other than that, try to be friendly and don't cheat.
Evidence: This is an evidence based activity. I put great effort to listening, reading and understanding your evidence. If you have poor evidence, under highlight or misrepresent your evidence (intentional or unintentional) it makes it difficult for me to evaluate your arguments. Those who have solid evidence, are able to explain their evidence in a persuasive matter tend to get higher speaker points, win more rounds etc.
Overall: Debate how you like (with some constraints below). I will work hard to make the best decision I am capable of. Make debates clear for me, put significant effort in the final 2 rebuttals on the arguments you want me to evaluate and give me an approach to how I should evaluate the round.
Nontraditional Affs : I tend to enjoy reading the literature base for most nontraditional affirmatives. I'm not completely sold on the pedagogical value of these arguments at the high school level. I do believe that aff should have a stable stasis point in the direction of the resolution. The more persuasive affs tend to have a personal relationship with the arguments in the round and have an ability to apply their method and theory to personal experience.
Framework: I do appreciate the necessity of this argument. I am more persuaded by topical version arguments than the aff has no place in the debate. If there is no TVA then the aff need to win a strong justification for why their aff is necessary for the debate community. The affirmative cannot simply say that the TVA doesn't solve. Rather there can be no debate to be had with the TVA. Fairness in the abstract is an impact but not a persuasive one. The neg need to win specific reasons how the aff is unfair and and how that impacts the competitiveness and pedagogical value of debate. Agonism, decision making and education may be persuasive impacts if correctly done.
Counter plans: I attempt to be as impartial as I can concerning counter plan theory. I don’t exclude any CP’s on face. I do understand the necessity for affirmatives to go for theory on abusive counter plans or strategically when they do not have any other offense. Don’t hesitate to go for consult cp’s bad, process cps bad, condo, etc. For theory, in particular conditionality, the aff should provide an interpretation that protects the aff without over limiting the neg.
DA's : who doesn't love a good DA? I do not automatically give the neg a risk of the DA. Not really sure there is much else to say.
Kritiks- Although I enjoy a good K debate, good K debates at the high school level are hard to come by. Make sure you know your argument and have specific applications to the affirmative. My academic interests involve studying Foucault Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, , etc. So I am rather familiar with the literature. Just because I know the literature does not mean I am going to interpret your argument for you.
Overall, The key to get my ballot is to make sure its clear in the 2NR/2AR the arguments you want me to vote for and impact them out. That may seem simple, but many teams leave it up to the judge to determine how to prioritize and evaluate arguments.
Debate how you choose. I have judged plenty of LD debates over the years and I am familiar with contemporary practices. I am open to the version of debate you choose to engage, but you should justify it, especially if your opponent provides a competing view of debate. For argument specifics please read the Policy info. anything else, I am happy to answer before your debate.
**Online update: if my camera is off, i am not there**
I think debate is a game with educational benefits. I will listen to anything, but there are obviously some arguments that are more persuasive than others. i think this is most of what you're looking for:
1. arguments - For me to vote on an argument it must have a claim, warrant, and impact. A claim is an assertion of truth or opinion. A warrant is an analytical connection between data/grounds/evidence and your claim. An impact is the implication of that claim for how I should evaluate the debate. debate is competitive and adversarial, not cooperative. My bias is that debate strategies should be evidence-centric and, at a minimum, rooted in an academic discipline. My bias is that I do not want to consider anything prior to the reading of the 1AC when making my decision.
3. framework - arguments need to be impacted out beyond the word 'fairness' or 'education'. affirmatives do not need to read a plan to win in front of me. however, there should be some connection to the topic. fairness *can be* a terminal impact.
4. critiques - they should have links to the plan or have a coherent story in the context of the advantages. i am less inclined to vote neg for broad criticisms that arent contextualized to the affirmative. a link of omission is not a link. similarly, affirmatives lose debates a lot just because their 2ac is similarly generic and they have no defense of the actual assumptions of the affirmative.
5. counterplans - should likely have solvency advocates but its not a dealbreaker. slow down when explaining tricks in the 2nc.
6. theory - more teams should go for theory more often. negatives should be able to do whatever they want, but affirmatives need to be able to go for theory to keep them honest.
7. topicality - its an evidentiary issue that many people impact poorly. predictable limits, not ground, is the controlling internal link for most T-related impacts. saying 'we lose the [insert argument]' isnt really an impact without an explanation of why that argument is good. good debates make comparative claims between aff/neg opportunities to win relative to fairness.
8. clipping - i sometimes read along with speeches if i think that you are clipping. i will prompt you if i think you are clipping and if i think you are still clipping i will vote against you even if the other team doesnt issue an ethics challenge.
9. 2nr/2ar - there are lots of moving parts in debate. if you disagree with how i approach debate or think about debate differently, you should start your speech with judge instruction that provides an order of operations or helps construct that ballot. teams too often speak in absolute certainties and then presume the other team is winning no degree of offense. that is false and you will win more debates if you can account for that in your speech.
10. keep track of your own time.
unapologetically stolen from brendan bankey's judge philosophy as an addendum because there is no reason to rewrite it:
---"Perm do the counterplan" and "perm do the alt" are claims that are often unaccompanied by warrants. I will not vote for these statements unless the aff explains why they are theoretically legitimate BEFORE the 2AR. I am most likely to vote for these arguments when the aff has 1) a clear model of counterplan/alternative competition AND 2) an explanation for where the
I would prefer that debaters engage arguments instead of finesse their way out of links. This is especially awful when it takes place in clash debates. If you assert your opponent's offense does not apply when it does I will lower your speaker points.
In that vein, it is my bias that if an affirmative team chooses not to say "USFG Should" in the 1AC that they are doing it for competitive reasons. It is, definitionally, self-serving. Self-serving does not mean the aff should lose [or that its bad necessarily], just that they should be more realistic about the function of their 1AC in a competitive activity. If the aff does not say "USFG Should" they are deliberately shifting the point of stasis to other issues that they believe should take priority. It is reciprocal, therefore, for the negative to use any portion of the 1AC as it's jumping off point.
I think that limits, not ground, is the controlling internal link for most T-related impacts. Ground is an expression of the division of affirmative and negative strategies on any given topic. It is rarely an independent impact to T. I hate cross-examination questions about ground. I do not fault teams for being unhelpful to opponents that pose questions in cross-examination using the language of ground. People commonly ask questions about ground to demonstrate to the judge that the aff has not really thought out how their approach to the resolution fosters developed debates. A better, more precise question to ask would be: "What are the win conditions for the negative within your model of competition?"
Please add me to the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a second year policy debater for University of Wyoming and two time qualifier to the NDT.
Debate is fun, you should make it safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Good warrants beat out bad cards.
Impact and evidence comparison is great - write my ballot for me.
Be clear in transitioning from cards to tags to analytics - monotone makes it harder to flow and will hurt your speaks.
Cross-x is a speech, I flow the arguments made here. Prep time is not CX time - asking questions outside of small clarifications during prep time is not what prep time is for and I will not flow those arguments.
Please do not send cards in the body of the email chain. Please use an email chain instead of speech drop.
Don't need to call me judge - just Kaitlyn is fine.
Any theory but condo is a reason to reject the argument not the team. Infinite condo is probably good, but the aff can win condo bad. Best neg offense is neg flex, affs should point out specific conditionality abuse in round. Hard debate is good debate.
Case debate is great - people don't do it enough. Love creative turns, innovation is good.
Topicality is fun - make sure you contextualize impacts - offense is everything in these debates. Tell me why your vision for debate is best - don't just be a definition robot.
For clash debates, give me a reason the aff is bad. The cap K vs K affs is probably not a reason the aff is bad - it will lose to the perm unless you have a hyper specific link. Same is true for Ks v. policy affs - need a reason why the aff's scholarship, impact, ideas, etc. is bad - or it will lose to the perm.
Fairness is an internal link not an impact on framework. Clash, skills, etc. are impacts - and they are often good ones.
Not sold on out of round spillup for K affs - give me a reason why your aff is good besides more people will talk about it out of round.
I've only judged a few debates on this topic - don't assume I know what you're talking about or the acronyms used.
LARP > K > phil > tricks
Infinite condo is less good for LD - aff is still served well by pointing out specific time/strat skew that occurred in round.
Email chain/contact: email@example.com
About me - I am the DoF at Sonoma Academy. I debated at SVDP in Petaluma, CA under the guidance of Laila McClay and Orion Steele, and briefly at UC Berkeley. I spent some time working in intellectual property law before returning to coach debate.
General - My judging philosophy is pretty simple - you should ultimately do what you do best. I prioritize specificity, contextualization, and evidence quality over your style of debate. Really, I can't stress this enough. I don't judge many policy v. policy debates, but I am able to adjudicate them. I do, however, primarily judge K v. K/clash rounds.
Organization is very important. I flow on paper. I am not a fan of huge overviews and card dumps- please do the work for me and tell me where I should flow things. Explaining warrants is crucial. Empirics and examples are great. Impact analysis is critical. Tech should be truth.
Topicality - I will vote on topicality. The negative must win that their interpretation is good, predictable, and resolves their voters. You should be explaining why, as a whole, your vision of the topic is good, and have tangible impacts. Potential abuse isn't super compelling to me, but I'll vote on it if you tell me why I should. Ks of T are often pretty trifling and need to be explained in depth. "Community consensus" on T doesn't mean much to me and should not be taken for granted.
Theory - I have a high threshold for theory debates and find them to be blippy and frivolous most of the time. I default to rejecting the argument and not the team, but if there is a voting issue it must be thoroughly articulated and should have a very strong presence in the 2nr/2ar. Slow down, be clear, and do more than read the shell.
Framework - I mostly judge debates wherein affirmatives do not read a traditional plan text. I am fine with this. Should affirmatives at least be in the direction of the topic? Probably, but not necessarily. Framework read against a K/performance aff that does something concrete is typically not a good argument to read in front of me. You should be engaging in what they do and you should do more than say that they shouldn't be allowed to do it. Provide a creative topical version, and explain why fairness or education or whatever comes first (and why this means the aff can't access their own pedagogy). Do more than provide a case list, but explain why those cases are good for debate. I tend to think that fairness is more of an internal link and not a terminal impact, but if you're winning that I will vote for you.
The K - love it. I spend a lot of time reading critical theory and am probably familiar with your lit, but I will not do extra work for you, so the less jargon/more explanation, the better. Be specific and have contextualized links (the link should be to the aff and not the world). You should also answer all of the aff's impacts through turns, defense, etc. Framing is super important. The permutation is underutilized. Impact turns on the aff are cool, but not when it's something you shouldn't say pedagogically.
Disadvantages - Fine. Win your link, turn/outweigh the case, impact calc. Intrinsicness is silly and I'll probably not evaluate it much unless it's seriously mishandled (though it can be compelling against things like riders DAs, which are, in my opinion, a misinterpretation of fiat).
Counterplans - Great. I love a creative advantage CP. You should have a solvency advocate. I definitely lean neg on most theory arguments here, but that doesn't mean I won't vote on them.
Let me know if you have any questions. Shoot me an email before the round if you want me to be aware of access needs, pronouns, etc.
My name in Matheno. I have been a participant of this activity for about over 17 years. I started to debate in High School out of the DKC Urban Debate League. I emerged onto the national circuit my novice year in 2004. I have attended debate camps at University of Iowa, University of Missouri Kansas City as well as the University of Louisville. "Performance" debate is mostly how I approached debate as a framework. Do not call it Performance debate. Debate itself is a performance. I do understand what many call "traditional debate." It's how I got introduce to this activity. I just felt better equipped as a debater dozing into what felt more authentic for me. I judge my debates on what is on the flow sheets. If its not on the flow then I cannot evaluate it. Speed does not mean to forfeit persuasion. I will listen to mostly everything. I like new and different arguments. I was a big fan of K arguments and of course ran many Kritiks. I am now a staff member at the Bay Area Urban Debate League as a Program Manager. I have been a judge every single year since I left debate as a competitor. I love this activity! I have assisted BUDL, DKC and also Atlanta Urban Debate League. Write the ballot for me. If I have to do a lot of framing and impact calculus myself then I don't think you did much coverage of handling the flow. Write the RFD for the judge. Who knows what may happen if you leave it in my hands. I have a very queer mind.
Email thread: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, I'm Tessa -- I use she/them pronouns and will openly laugh if you call me "judge" at any point during the debate.
Don't feel the need to read this whole philosophy, I keep it long so those people who don't have access to a lot of national circuit debate and the intergenerational/institutional knowledge that comes with mentorship and coaching can know where to pref me.
Got a few First Rounds to the NDT at Wake Forest University, alongside a generally high level of competitive success writ large. My college career was spent reading critical arguments although I spent quite a lot of time as a policy debater in high school as well. Since leaving debate, I have spent time both in the cybersecurity and AI industries as well as the academy discussing AI and critical theory. I am heavily involved in grassroots organizing as well. Do with this information what you will.
Currently coaching for University of Iowa and Head-Royce Highschool.
Yes I want to be on the email chain -- ask for my email if you don't have it. (Don't put your emails online in searchable places like this, kids!) That said, I will probably not open speech docs much. See evaluation section.
Do what you love. If you have no passion in your heart, then do what you are good at. Debate is about scholarship, rhetoric, and competition, so do one or more of those well and you will probably have my ballot.
I don't care what kind of argument you read, I just care that you read it well - I love nuanced K on K debates about how we as activists and scholars should respond to our fucked up world, but am always willing to listen to a case-specific counterplan/DA strategy if that floats your boat.
I enjoy daring, ambitious, and nuanced strategies and will reward debaters who put in the work to execute them, whether it is a hyperspecific PIK in a policy debate or taking a critical team up on the internal debates of their own literature base.
Explicit judge instruction is very important to me. Explicitly comparing and evaluating offense in the 2AR and 2NR will be the surest route to my ballot regardless of the content of the debate. Extending offense without instructing me on how to compare it to the other side will leave me in the unfortunately position of having to think too deeply about the debate, which neither of us want.
I allocate speaker points generously to debaters who are explicitly comparing offense and instructing me on how to evaluate it, extending smart defensive arguments, speaking passionately or persuasively, and articulating the utility of evidence and research comparisons deeper than the author's name and tag.
How I evaluate debates:
I try to evaluate arguments without prior assumptions about them. However, I'm a young judge and I don't think any judging philosophy is ever 100% true when it claims to be tabula rasa. But I believe that all of my assumptions and proclivities are endlessly negotiable and if a team makes an argument I will do my best to put that before my own thoughts on the matter.
To that end, judge instruction is the single most important aspect of the debate, especially the final rebuttals and how both teams frame and compare offense will massively influence how I approach my flow.
I will evaluate arguments by their execution on the line-by-line first unless told otherwise by debaters. That means dropped argument is a true argument, but not always a winning argument. You need to explain to me why whatever technical concessions that were made actually matter for the rest of the flow. Tech = truth does not mean that framing doesn't matter -- winning how I should evaluate arguments will always predetermine how I evaluate dropped arguments in the first place.
If you wish me to toss out the flow and can win that's good, I am down, but please give me a clear alternative way to adjudicate the debate.
Arguments > evidence. Debate is a communicative activity, and therefore how I evaluate evidence is filtered through what I am told about it, all else being equal. For me, reading evidence after the debate occurs when it is sufficiently flagged by one or both teams as central to a key issue in the debate. Good evidence is not an excuse for a bad articulation, but can be a net benefit to a good one.
That said, I care very, very much about research and will listen to evidence as it is being read and reward teams that can explain their research, its context, its warrants, etc. Quoting, rehighlighting, or otherwise engaging with both your own and opponents evidence will greatly influence the weight I assign to arguments and the speaker points I award.
0% risk is possible -- some arguments are just bad. Winning 0% risk is generally easier when making framing arguments about how I evaluate risk in the first place.
Okay, I know this is the only part of a paradigm anyone ever reads so...
- I judge *a lot* of these debates and, thus far, my voting record appears to be very evenly split, which I attribute primarily to execution and top level framing. Be on top of those two and you'll have a good shot at my ballot regardless of what you read.
- "Intrinsic goods" don't exist, but procedural impacts probably do. Make warrants for fairness as an impact and do impact calculus about why it outweighs. Saying "it comes first because debate is a game" will rarely get my ballot if given a similarly tagline aff response. I tend to vote for impacts other than fairness as it seems notably difficult for many debaters to articulate fairness beyond such tagline statements or tautological defenses of old school debate.
- Defense is underrated in these debates. Most of my decisions in these debates are heavily influenced by small, smart defensive arguments that break ties between well-crafted pieces of offense on both sides. For example, critical affs that extend an interp tend to have an easier time getting my ballot, even if that interp doesn't look like the kind of strict ground allocation that policy teams give. A 2AR that is impact turns alone without a vision for what we are doing in this activity or a given round will be much harder for me to vote for than a warranted vision for debate that tells me what debates look like and where clash is focused (or at least some defense/link turns to their standards). This doesn't require any interpretation of the resolution or universal mandate, just something I can vote for other than "not for framework."
Can't believe I have to say this but...
- Microaggressions such as anti-blackness and other forms of racism, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, etc. will be responded to with anything from an autoloss to zero speaks to a 27 depending on the severity of the issue. Impact > Intentions.
- clipping is an autoloss as well and results in the lowest possible speaks.
- I do not believe the other team has the burden to call these things out and will stop the round if I feel it is unsafe or un-educational for anyone involved.
Pet Peeves in no particular order...
Calling me "judge." Ever.
Being mean to younger debaters. This activity can be harsh and terrible, don't contribute to that.
Profoundly untopical policy affs written only to beat critical teams but never to be read against policy teams.
Overadaptation to what you think I want to hear.
Bastardizing revolutionary history.
Ignoring alternative forms of evidence such as music, poetry, etc.
Reading the cap K as the "root cause/state good" double whammy, rather than, ya know, a real argument.
Ericson 3. That's not interpretating anything lmao.
"Not my baudrillard!" Yes it is.
Asking for double wins.
Assuming I know things about you, high school debate, college debate, your fancy theory, or even what the topic is. I probably don't. I also probably don't care. Your debating matters infinitely more than whatever rep you think you have.
As I have had the opportunity to judge LD a few times now, here are some unedited comments:
1. Clarity and pen time are underrated -- if it is not on my flow, I will not evaluate it. If I can only understand every other word, I will not reconstruct the argument for you. I do not read docs during the round unless they are a dispute over what a specific piece of evidence says.
2. Substantive argumentation matters. I am not informed about most LD conventions that differ from CX/Policy, so explain how your argumentation impacts the flow and my ballot.
3. I have a high threshold for what I perceive as cheap-shot theory arguments. While I have voted multiple times on theory, I find that the more substantive and developed the theoretical objection, the more amenable I am to evaluating it. In that regard, I tend to view RVIs are contrived and I tend to have a low threshold for responses to them.
update for Alta 2022 - I have only judged one tournament on the NATO topic so far, so bare with me.
I've been in the policy debate community for 7+ years. I will evaluate any argument unless it is overtly racist/sexist/etc. I look for good clash, warrants, extensions, etc. I am pretty well versed in most forms of critical literature. When I debated I mostly went for the K, (usually Baudrillard), but I also yearn for a good DA/counterplan debate. Also - simply running Baudrillard in front of me will not get you higher speaks unless I can tell you actually know the literature, don't just repeat repeat jargon and expect to win. I can follow speed, but haven't actually competed in a few years, so slow down to about 75% on taglines and analytics. Judge instruction in the 2nr/2ar is VERY important for me.
I tend to lean on the side of conditionality good, tech over truth, and reasonability, but can always be persuaded otherwise. If you're going to read a K on the aff you should note that more often than not I vote for framework in these debates, for this reason I think its very important to have good, warranted offense against framework. For example, instead of spreading yourself thin by going for 3 pieces of offense, explain 1 or 2 very well.
If you have any further questions you may ask during round, or email me at email@example.com
DOD at Head Royce
20+ Years Judging/Coaching
I've been away from the game for the past four years. I still believe everything below because my paradigm is a statement on how I view and evaluate debate rounds rather than a commentary on how I want to see specific argument sets debated out.
Things you should be aware of:
- I missed the zoom debates of the past three years so I don't know what any of those norms are. If we end up in a hybrid debate situation where I'm having to judge online, know that I may need a little coaching on what the norms are for this format of delivery.
- I haven't flowed a debate in over four years at this point, so I'm certain my skills have atrophied in that time. So If I end up in the back of the room at some of these first tournaments of the season (New Trier, Notre Dame, etc..) know that you're gonna want to slow down on intricate but important parts of theory debates, perm debates, framework debates, etc..if you want to make sure I'm getting it all down.
Line-by-line debate is actually a thing. It's a skill not a referendum on you as a person or what I think about your arguments. It's a method of clash that allows judges to decide rounds with minimum intervention on their part. If your approach to debating line-by-line includes extensive overviews, "cloud clash," and requests for me to pull out new sheets of paper I am probably not a very good judge for you. I will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me, but if you chose to abandon the line by line please know that you have asked me to insert my subjective views of debate into the round and you are not likely to be happy with the outcome.
Standard philosophy begins here:
Rather than list off a series of personal beliefs about arguments, an explanation of how I decide debates seems more productive. Three keys to debating well in front of me:
1. Make Arguments. I tend to decide debates within 20 minutes of the end of the round. I will call for VERY few cards after the debate as I prefer to make my decision based upon what you argued in the last rebuttals rather than what I think about the quality of your cards. I will not re-read every card read in the debate. I will not read portions of evidence not read in the round by debaters. I will not read cards handed to me that were not extended in the last two rebuttals. I will resolve arguments consisting of disputes over interpretation of warrants in evidence by reading those cards. I will make sure arguments extended in the last two rebuttals can be traced back across the flow to the point they originated. I will make sure cards handed to me were extended properly during the debate before reading them. I will keep a careful flow of the debate and will do my best to vote based upon warranted arguments extended throughout the debate. Your job is to speak clearly and coherently and to dispute the warrants within your opponents’ arguments with analysis and evidence.
2. Make Choices. Most debates come down to a couple of key issues which need to be resolved by me; awareness of these nexus issues and the ability to clarify how they should be resolved is the key to your success. Does the perm on the CP avoid the links to the net-benefits? Does the solvency deficit to the counter-plan outweigh the net-benefits? Who controls the question of uniqueness (both at the link and impact level)? Can the alternative to the criticism function simultaneously with the plan? I prefer to intervene as little as humanly possible. Your ability to accurately frame the nexus issues of the debate for me will reduce the need for me to resolve these questions for you and make me a much happier judge.
3. Don’t be a Jerk. As Ed Lee of Emory says in his most recent Judge Philosophy--"Respect is non-negotiable for me". I work VERY HARD as a judge. I flow on paper, I generally keep my computer closed the entire debate and I try to pay very close attention to everything you say. I spend time constructing my post-round discussion to be clear, concise, and educational. I do not take kindly to debaters or coaches who wish to interrupt and argue with me before I've reached the conclusion of my RFD. I promise to give you plenty of time to ask productive follow-up questions. Lately, I've become even more concerned with in-round comity. Rudeness and snide remarks during cross-ex, insulting the intelligence and goodwill of the other team, and other derisive and insulting behavior towards opponents will not be tolerated. To once again quote Ed - "If you are engaging your opponent in a way that you would not if you were in front of one of your professors [teachers] or the president of your university [principal/head of school] then you should not do it in front of me." I love seeing passionate engagement with argument, but quickly become physically uncomfortable when passion turns into hostility. If you are confused as to where this line resides watch my non-verbals...it will be very obvious.
Finally, on the question of "What kinds of arguments do you prefer" I'll answer by agreeing with Jarrod Atchison on the importance of FLEXIBILITY as a debater. To quote his ballot from a recent NDT final round "Debater flex is the past, present, and the future":
Jarrod ATCHISON, Director of Debate and Assistant Professor of Speech and Drama at Trinity University (Incoming DOF at Wake Forrest), 2008
[Judge Ballot from the Final Round of the 2008 National Debate Tournament, Available Online at http://groups.wfu.edu/NDT/Results/JudgesBallots2008final.htm, Accessed 03-16-2010]
7. Debater Flex is the wave of the future: I would have loved to have been a part of the Dartmouth coaching staff and squad when they were brainstorming a negative strategy for this debate. Although they had an extremely limited amount of time, they had two fantastic debaters in Josh and Kade that could execute a wide range of arguments leaving no option unavailable. In this debate, they had two case specific counterplans, a well developed kritik, two topicality arguments, etc…This debate reminded me that debaters who self identify as “policy” or “kritik” are missing out on a wide range of ways to win. Forget the labels, just think of everything as an argument. Some arguments require more understanding than others, but they are just arguments. If you want to be able to take on a new high tech aff with less than 45 minutes of prep before the final round of the NDT, the last thing that you want to tell your coach/partner is “I can’t argue __.” Debater flex is the past, present, and the future and I hope that students will see Josh and Kade’s 1NC as an example of how important it is to be versatile.
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!! Thanks
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 and have cleared at majors this year including clearing at the NDT and making it to Octofinals of the CEDA. Don’t be worried to read any type of argument in front of me.
K- When they are explained well they are very great arguments. Even if I know what your K is, I will not vote on it if you don’t explain it. I am okay with any type of K and love performances. Perf con can be used against framework. My strat in high school was usually 8 minutes of the k in the 2nc if that helps you! Now Its the CP and case.
Fw- Could go either way -- 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.
Cp- I enjoy counterplans and believe that they should be used more than they currently are especially adv cp’s. These debates get messy fast so try to keep it organized.
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- always a valuable ballot in my mind but I would prefer substance !
Tech over truth :)
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.
Hey! My name is Adelle Levanger (she/her). Please include me on the email chain – email@example.com
Some background on me:
· I did policy (3 years) and LD (1 year) in highshcool
· I did mostly limited prep IEs in higschool
· I am competing in IPDA and several IEs in college right now
· I am big on tech>truth. I will come into the round a blank slate. What you tell me, I will believe (except for things like racism good or homophobia is justified- but that should be an obviously bad argument). If you tell me the sky is orange, I will buy it until it is disproven in the round. I have had so many rounds impacted by judge intervention and it is literally the worst- so i will do the best i can to keep my personal views on what is right/wrong out of things because this round is about your arguments, not what i think about things.
· However, because I am a blank slate you need to tell me how to vote. Give clear voters, impact calc, and framing. And be clear when you are kicking out of things.
· I am comfortable with speed. Please just be clear. I will flow whatever you say. I am confident I will be able to catch most of what you say, but if there is an email chain, I would like to be included so I don’t miss anything.
· Put offense on the flow! Having offense on the flow makes it much easier for you to win that argument.
· I like off time roadmaps and signposting. The more organization there is the more I can flow.
· Please have clash!
· I love debate, so just make it a fun round and enjoy yourself!
· If you want to go fast, that is fine with me!
· Have clash and impacts and tell me which impacts to weigh first.
· Show me how you best meet the V/C.
· Aff doesn’t get inherent access to an advocacy, so if you read a counterplan you should prove why you deserve access to an advocacy.
· I have my background in mostly policy, LD, and ipda, so I am not as experienced with PF. That being said, I am still comfortable following arguments and general debate lingo so don’t feel like you need to treat this like a totally comms round and explain all of the lingo. But still explain and warrant out your arguments.
· Tag teaming is fine. Just do it within reason. It should be clear who's cross it is supposed to be. But policy is a partner event for a reason. so feel free to work and collaborate with your partner, but don't overshadow them when it is their time to question or speak.
· I always ran policy affs, so that is where I am most comfortable. That being said, I will flow whichever type of aff you read.
· I am moderately informed on the NATO security topic, but if there are really nuanced arguments that require a solid understanding of current legislation or something like that, be clear with your warrants and explanations so I can follow you 100%
· Give me impact framing!
· I give aff fiat. You get to claim that your plan will pass. But you don’t get to fiat your solvency. You must prove that you actually solve.
· Case debates are fun, just make sure there is clash. And neg – work to put offense on the flow.
· Again, I always ran policy affs, so that is where I am most comfortable. But I will still flow a k aff. But prove why your k is more important than the resolution!
· I am fairly comfortable with the general concepts of a lot of K authors (Baudrillard, Freud, Zizek, Foucault). But aside from Foucault, I haven’t read a ton of the actual literature, so be clear about your claims and warrants so I make sure I understand you correctly.
· There needs to be a way for all parties to engage with the kritik. Debate is a game we learn from. There are a lot of kritiks that center around identity and identity politics specifically. Someone in the round who does not fall under the identity in discussion should have the opportunity to engage in meaningful, educational, respectful, and constructive conversation surrounding the kritik. If someone is unable to engage because they are not personally impacted by the topic at hand, that is bad for debate and education. Discourse around someone's ability to engage with a topic surrounding identity can also lead to outing or disclosing information that someone doesn't feel comfortable sharing- which is never okay. so everyone in the room should be able to respectfully engage with the topic.
· I like disads! For my first two years of policy my neg strat was usually Disad and T.
· I am sympathetic to the fact that you have lost a lot of internal links over the past few years due to current events. But still work to have a clear and complete link chain.
· Have an impact and a link please. It is tricky to weigh a disad that has no impact or link.
· I got into K debate my last year of policy debate. I think Ks are really fun. I usually ran Biopower, Chaos/Entropy, and occasionally cap or disability.
· Just make sure you have a good link and an impact
· I ran a lot of T in policy. My affs were also a little on the untopical side of things, so I did a lot of T debate as aff too.
· Have impacts to your T shells
· I buy that T (and Kritiks) are A Priori voting issues.
· I never read a ton of counterplans, but I am comfortable enough with them to follow.
· Consider slowing down on your Text just a little bit so I make sure I get it all.
· You need to have a net benefit of some sort. A disad or even a turned advantage. But you need to be able to do something that the aff can’t do.
· I think Theory is fun. Just explain it and impact it out
tldr: I know this is a lot of information. But I think the most important thing you should know is the tech>truth thing. I really will do my best to be a blank slate. Tell me what to buy, what to evaluate, and how to vote. Feel free to ask me more specific questions before the round or email me with questions when you get ballots back. Have fun!!
Affiliations and History:
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) me all of the speeches before you begin.
I am the Director of Debate at Damien High School in La Verne, CA.
I was the Director of Debate for Hebron High School in Carrollton, TX from 2020-2021.
I was an Assistant Coach at Damien from 2017-2020.
I debated on the national circuit for Damien from 2009-2013.
I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice.
I completed my Master's degree in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration at The University of La Verne.
My academic work involves critical university studies, Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
Author of Suburba(in)e Surrealism (2021).
Yearly Round Numbers:
I try to judge a fair bit each year.
NATO Topic Round Count: 75
I have judged over 50 rounds on the Water Topic.
I judged around 40 rounds on the CJR topic.
I judged 29 rounds on the Arms topic (2019-2020) (not including practice rounds without a decision rendered).
I judged a bit of LD (32 debates) on the Jan-Feb Topic (nuke disarm) in '19/'20.
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.
LD Protocol:I have a 100% record voting against teams that only read Phil args/Phil v. Policy debates. Adapt or lose.
NDT Protocol: I will rarely have any familiarity with the current college topic and will usually only judge 12-15 rounds pre-NDT.
Please make your T and CP acronyms understandable.
Front Matter Elements:
If you need an accommodation of any kind, please email me before the round starts.
I want everyone to feel safe and able to debate- this is my number one priority as a judge.
I don't run prep time while you email the speech doc. Put the whole speech into one speech doc.
I flow 1AC impact framing, inherency, and solvency straight down on the same page nowadays.
Speed is not an issue for me, but I will ask you to slow down (CLEAR) if you are needlessly sacrificing clarity for quantity--especially if you are reading T or theory arguments.
I will not evaluate evidence identifiable as being produced by software, bots, algorithms etc. Human involvement in the card’s production must be evident unique to the team, individual, and card. This means that evidence you directly take from open source must be re-highlighted at a minimum. You should change the tags and underlining anyways to better fit with your argument’s coherency.
I privilege technical debating and the flow. I try to get as much down as I possibly can and the little that I miss usually is a result of a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker or because the actual causal chain of the idea does not make consistent sense for me (I usually express this on my face). Your technical skill should make me believe/be able to determine that your argument is the truth. That means warrants. Explain them, impact them, and don't make me fish for them in the un-underlined portion of the six paragraph card that your coach cut for you at a camp you weren't attending. I find myself more and more dissatisfied with debating that operates only on the link claim level. I tend to take a formal, academic approach to the evaluation of ideas, so discussions of source, author intentions and 'true' meaning, and citation are both important to me and something that I hope to see in more debates.
The best debates for me to judge are ones where the last few rebuttals focus on giving me instructions on what the core controversies of the round are, how to evaluate them, and what mode of thinking I should apply to the flow as a history of the round. This means that I'm not going to do things unless you tell me to do them on the flow (judge kick, theory 'traps' etc.). When instructions are not provided or articulated, I will tend to use (what I consider to be) basic, causal logic (i.e. judicial notice) to find connections, contradictions, and gaps/absences. Sometimes this happens on my face--you should be paying attention to the physical impact of the content of your speech act.
I believe in the importance of topicality and theory. No affs are topical until proven otherwise.
Non-impacted theory arguments don't go a long way for me; establish a warranted theory argument that when dropped will make me auto-vote for you. This is not an invitation for arbitrary and non-educational theory arguments being read in front of me, but if you are going to read no neg fiat (for example), then you better understand (and be able to explain to me) the history of the argument and why it is important for the debate and the community.
Reading evidence only happens if you do not make the debate legible and winnable at the level of argument (which is the only reason I would have to defer to evidentiary details).
I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument on both sides. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it (especially why your warrants matter!). I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. If you are conducting a performance in the round and/or debate space, you need to have specific, solvable, and demonstrable actions, results, and evidences of success. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge). I do not think the act of reading FW is necessarily constitutive of a violent act. You can try to convince me of this, but I do start from the position that FW is an argument about what the affirmative should do in the 1AC.
If you are going to go for Fairness, then you need a metric. Not just a caselist, not just a hypothetical ground dispensation, but a functional method to measure the idea of fairness in the round/outside the round i.e. why are the internal components (ground, caselist, etc.) a good representation of a team's burden and what do these components do for individuals/why does that matter. I am not sure what that metric/method is, but my job is not to create it for you. A framework debate that talks about competing theories for how fairness/education should be structured and analyzed will make me very happy i.e. engaging the warrants that constitute ideas of procedural/structural fairness and critical education. Subject formation has really come into vogue as a key element for teams and honestly rare is the debate where people engage the questions meaningfully--keep that in mind if you go for subject formation args in front of me.
In-round Performance and Speaker Points:
An easy way to get better speaker points in front of me is by showing me that you actually understand how the debate is going, the arguments involved, and the path to victory. Every debater has their own style of doing this (humor, time allocation, etc.), but I will not compromise detailed, content-based analysis for the ballot.
I believe that there is a case for in-round violence/damage winning the ballot. Folks need to be considerate of their behavior and language. You should be doing this all of the time anyways.
While I believe that high school students should not be held to a standard of intellectual purity with critical literature, I do expect you to know the body of scholarship that your K revolves around: For example, if you are reading a capitalism K, you should know who Marx, Engels, and Gramsci are; if you are reading a feminism k, you should know what school of feminism (second wave, psychoanalytic, WOC, etc.) your author belongs to. If you try and make things up about the historical aspects/philosophical links of your K, I will reflect my unhappiness in your speaker points and probably not give you much leeway on your link/alt analysis. I will often have a more in-depth discussion with you about the K after the round, so please understand that my post-round comments are designed to be educational and informative, instead of determining your quality/capability as a debater.
I am 100% DONE with teams not showing up on time to disclose. A handful of minutes or so late is different than showing up 3-5 min before the round begins. Punish these folks with disclosure theory and my ears will be open.
CX ends when the timer rings. I will put my fingers in my ears if you do not understand this. I deeply dislike the trend of debaters asking questions about 'did you read X card etc.' in cross-x and I believe this contributes to the decline of flowing skills in debate. While I have not established a metric for how many speaker points an individual will lose each time they say that phrase, know that it is something on my mind. I will not allow questions outside of cross-x outside of core procedural things ('can you give the order again?,' 'everyone ready?' etc.). Asking 'did you read X card' or 'theoretical reasons to reject the team' outside of CX are NOT 'core procedural things.'
Do not read these types of arguments in front of me:
Arguments that directly call an individual's humanity into account
Arguments based in directly insulting your opponents
Arguments that you do not understand
University of Wyoming
Last updated: 9-12-22
Email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb 2022 update: If your highlighting is incoherent gibberish, you will earn the speaker points of someone who said incoherent gibberish. The more of your highlighting that is incoherent, the more of your speech will be incoherent, and the less points you will earn. To earn speaker points, you must communicate coherent ideas.
If you want to read far more than necessary on my judging process: https://wyodebateroundup.weebly.com/blog/reflections-on-the-judging-process-inside-the-mind-of-a-judge
I put a pretty high premium on effective communication. Too many debaters do not do their evidence justice. You should not expect me to read your evidence after the round and realize it’s awesome. You should make sure I know it’s awesome while you read it. I find many debaters over-estimate the amount of ideas they believe they communicate to the judge. Debaters who concentrate on persuading the judge, not just entering arguments into the record, will control the narrative of the round and win my ballot far more often than those who don’t. I have tended to draw a harder line on comprehensibility than the average judge. I won’t evaluate evidence I couldn’t understand. I also don’t call clear: if you’re unclear, or not loud enough, I won’t intervene and warn you, just like I wouldn't intervene and warn you that you are spending time on a bad argument. Am I flowing? You're clear.
Potential biases on theory: I will of course attempt to evaluate only the arguments in the round, however, I'll be up front about my otherwise hidden biases. Conditionality- I rarely find that debaters are able to articulate a credible and significant impact. International actor fiat seems suspect. Uniform 50 state fiat seems illogical. Various process counterplans are most often won as legitimate when the neg presents a depth of evidence that they are germane to the topic/plan. Reject the arg not the teams seems true of nearly all objections other than conditionality. I will default to evaluating the status quo even if there is a CP in the 2NR. Non-traditional affirmatives- I'll evaluate like any other argument. If you win it, you win it. I have yet to hear an explanation of procedural fairness as an impact that makes sense to me (as an internal link, yes). None of these biases are locked in; in-round debating will be the ultimate determinant of an argument’s legitimacy.
Clock management: In practice I have let teams end prep when they begin the emailing/jumping process. Your general goal should be to be completely ready to talk when you say ‘end prep.’ No off-case counting, no flow shuffling, etc.
Cross-x is a speech. You get to try to make arguments (which I will flow) and set traps (which I will flow). Once cross-x is over I will stop listening. If you continue to try to ask questions it will annoy me- your speech time is up.
Pet-peeves: leaving the room while the other team is prepping for a final rebuttal, talking over your opponents. I get really annoyed at teams that talk loudly (I have a low threshold for what counts as loudly) during other teams speeches- especially when it’s derisive or mocking comments about the other team’s speech.
tldr do what you do best; i'll only vote for complete arguments that make sense; weighing & judge instruction tip the scales in your favor; disclosure is good; i care about argument engagement not argument style; stay hydrated & be a good person.
policy coach @ damien: spring 2022 - present
ld coach @ loyola: fall 2023 - present
debated ld in high school 2016-2020 @ the hill school; only did ld because there was nobody to do policy with. would have strongly preferred to do policy :,(
My strongest belief about argumentation is that argument engagement is good - I don't care what styles of arguments teams read in front of me, but I'd prefer if both teams engaged with their opponents' arguments; I don't enjoy teams who avoid clash (regardless of the style of argument they are reading). I would consider myself to be competent at evaluating whatever debate you want to have.
ideological flexibility is what i value most in a judge. i try to be someone who will vote on any argument as long as it meets the minimum standards to be considered a complete argument.
General note about reading my paradigm - most things are phrased in terms of policy debate structure & norms (2nr/2ar being 5 minutes, "team" instead of "debater," "planless aff" = "non-t k aff," etc). If I'm judging you in LD and you have questions about how something translates to LD, feel free to ask!
if you need to contact me directly about rfd questions, accessibility requests, or anything else, please email email@example.com (please don't email the teamail for these types of requests)!
All of my deal-breakers/hard and fast rules/moments of "I won't vote on this" are dependent on four things:
1 - protecting the safety of the participants in the round (no harrassment, no physical violence, etc).
2 - voting for things that meet the minimum standard to be considered an argument (it needs to have warrants & make some amount of logical sense).
3 - rules set forth by the tournament (speech times, one team wins and one team loses, I have to enter my own ballot, etc).
4 - i will only evaluate the debate after the end of the 2ar. this is 0% negotiable. i did not think i would have to say this, but i guess i do.
I don't care what style of argument you read. My voting record is roughly 50-50 on most major debate controversies (yes, even planless affs vs framework). As long as your argument doesn't violate the above four criteria, go for it!
I think that warrants are hard to come by in many debate rounds these days, even ones with “good” teams. Err on the side of a little too much explanation, because if your arg is warrantless, you will be ballotless. Extensions need to include warrants, not just taglines.
Independent voters need warrants and an articulation of why they should be evaluated before everything else.These debates could generally benefit from more judge instruction and weighing. Simply calling something an independent voter doesn’t mean I vote for you if you extend it.
Disclose or lose. Non-new affs should be on the wiki & should be disclosed to the neg team a minimum of 30 min before round. Neg offcase positions that have been read before should be on the wiki. Past 2nrs should be disclosed to the aff team a minimum of 30 min before round. New affs don't need to be disclosed pre-round. I am 1000000% done with teams that don't disclose, teams that say "I don't have to disclose because I'm X identity," and any other nonsense variations of non-disclosure. I have zero belief that you have any good reason why you should be able to read your args in public but then not disclose them properly, so save your time and don't make the "it's unsafe for me to disclose" plea. If your opponent engages in any disclosure nonsense, read theory and there's a 95+% chance I vote for you, regardless of how good they are at the theory debate. Don't like disclosing? Pref someone who is willing to tolerate your nonsense (not me).
Some general notes
Accessibility/content warnings/etc: I would strongly prefer that accessibility issues are resolved pre-round so that everyone is able to engage in the debate. The current trend of accessibility-related procedurals being weaponized is getting uncomfortable to evaluate as a judge. Make a good-faith effort to discuss accessibility requests pre-round (and feel free to include me in the email exchange if needed).
Speed/clarity – I will say clear up to two times per speech before just doing my best to flow you. I can handle a decent amount of speed. Going slower on analytics is a good idea. You should account for pen time/scroll time - it takes time for me to find the place on the flow where you want me to flow a certain arg. It's generally more efficient to handle arguments in the order they were on the flow, or at least try to jump around as little as possible.
Coach-written evidence/articles - I'm increasingly unconvinced by cards cut from articles written by debate coaches. This is not directed at any one specific person or style of argument. I'm not saying you can't make certain arguments, but I am saying that you should probably find actual academic literature that is not written by a debate coach that makes the argument. If there is only one person you can find who says the thing you want them to say, and that person is a debate coach, you should think about why the only person saying what you need them to say is a person who has a vested competitive interest in the thing they're saying being perceived as true. Do with this info what you will.
Online debate -- 1] please record your speeches, if there are tech issues, I'll listen to a recording of the speech, but not a re-do. 2] debate's still about communication - please watch for nonverbals, listen for people saying "clear," etc.
Speaker points are dependent on strategy, execution, clarity, and overall engagement in the round and are scaled to adapt to the quality/difficulty/prestige of the tournament.
I try to give points as follows:
30: you're a strong contender to win the tournament & this round was genuinely impressive
29.5+: late elims, many moments of good decisionmaking & argumentative understanding, adapted well to in-round pivots
29+: you'll clear for sure, generally good strat & round vision, a few things could've been more refined
28.5+: likely to clear but not guaranteed, there are some key errors that you should fix
28+: even record, probably losing in the 3-2 round
27.5+: winning less than 50% of your rounds, key technical/strategic errors
27+: winning less than 50% of your rounds, multiple notable technical/strategic errors
26+: errors that indicated a fundamental lack of preparation for the rigor/style of this tournament
25-: you did something really bad/offensive/unsafe.
Things that you can do to improve your speaker points:
-debate well, be clear, and win decisively (this will always be the primary factor i consider when awarding points)
-be kind! make the round more enjoyable and be kind to your opponents, partner, and judges! i hate being in debate rounds that feel like divorce court!
-be accessible and accommodating. be nice about tech issues, be nice to newer teams, be considerate of accessibility requests, check tab postings/the wiki for pronouns, etc.
-adapt to things that happen in-round. adjust to judges saying "clear," watch for nonverbal reactions/visible confusion, and engage with args.
-disclose! go to the room after pairings to disclose the aff/past 2nrs. if you think you've disclosed particularly well, let me know, and if i agree that you've disclosed well, i'll boost your speaks a bit!
Things that will actively get you bad speaks:
-discrimination of any sort(I expect debaters to be kind and respectful to each other regardless of identity)
-disclosure practices that are clearly in bad faith or are meant to avoid argument engagement.
-unnecessarily rude/disruptive behavior during the other team's speeches.
-ad-homs & asking me to evaluate things that happened outside of the debate & making the debate about someone's personal life.
the notable exception to this is disclosure - this is pretty much the only out-of-round event that i'm comfortable evaluating debates about.
-attempts to avoid argument engagement/clash. examples include "you can't answer the k because you're not x identity," "neg must concede aff framing mechanism," "no neg fiat," and other similar strategies.
Opinions on Specific Positions (ctrl+f section):
I think that negatives that don't engage with the 1ac are putting themselves in a bad position. This is true for both K debates and policy debates.
Extensions should involve warrants, not just tagline extensions - I'm willing to give some amount of leeway for the 1ar/2ar extrapolating a warrant that wasn't the focal point of the 2ac, but I should be able to tell from your extensions what the scenario is, what the internal links are, and why you solve.
I've been on both sides of the planless aff debate, and my strongest opinion about planless affs is that you need to be able to explain what your aff does/why it's good.
I tend to dislike planless affs where the strategy is to make the aff seem like a word salad until after 2ac cx and then give the aff a bunch of new (and not super well-warranted) implications in the 1ar. I tend to be much better for planless aff teams when they're straight-up about what they do/don't defend, they use their aff strategically, engage with neg arguments, and make smart 1ar & 2ar decisions with good ballot analysis.
T/framework vs planless affs:
I'm roughly 50-50 in these debates. I don't have a strong preference for how framework teams engage in these debates other than that you should be respectful when discussing sensitive material.
I think that TVAs can be more helpful than teams realize. While having a TVA isn't always necessary, winning a TVA provides substantial defense on many of the aff's exclusion arguments.
I don't have a preference on whether your chosen 2nr is skills or fairness (or something else). I think that both options have strategic value based on the round you're in. Framework teams almost always get better points in front of me when they are able to contextualize their arguments to their opponents' strategy.
I also don't have a preference between the aff going for impact turns or going for a counterinterp. The strategic value of this is dependent on how topical/non-topical your aff is, in my opinion.
The less frivolous your theory argument, the better I am for it.
Please weigh! It's not nearly as intuitive to make a decision in theory debates - I can fill in the gaps for why extinction is more impactful than localized war more easily than I can fill in the gaps for why neg flex matters more/less than research burdens.
Topicality (not framework):
I like T debates that have robust and contextualized definitions of the relevant words/phrases/entities in the resolution. Have a clear explanation of what your interpretation is/isn't; examples/caselists are your friend.
Grammar-based topicality arguments: I don't find most of the grammar arguments being made these days to be very intuitive. You should explain/warrant them more than you would in front of a judge who loves those arguments.
Tricks (this is mostly an LD thing):
I used to say that I would never vote on tricks. I've decided it's bad to exclude a style of argumentation just because I don't enjoy it. Here are some things to know if you're reading tricks in front of me:
1 - I won't flow off the doc (I never flow off the doc, but I won't be checking the doc to see if I missed any of your tricks/spikes)
2 - The argument has to have a warrant in the speech it is presented
3 - The reason I've been so opposed to voting on tricks in the past is that I've never heard a trick that met the minimum threshold to be considered an argument
I tend to like K teams that engage with the aff and have a clear analysis of what's wrong with the aff's model/framing/epistemology/etc. I tend to be a bit annoyed when judging K teams that read word-salad or author-salad Ks, refuse to engage with arguments, expect me to fill in massive gaps for them, don't do adequate weighing/ballot analysis/judge instruction, or are actively hostile toward their opponents. The more of the aforementioned things you do, the more annoyed I'll be. The inverse is also true - the more you actively work to ensure that you don't do these things, the happier I'll be!
Zero risk probably doesn't exist, but very-close-to-zero risk probably does. Teams that answer their opponents' warrants instead of reading generic defense tend to fare better in close rounds. Good evidence tends to matter more in these debates - I'd rather judge a round with 2 great cards + debaters explaining their cards than a round with 10 horrible cards + debaters asking me to interpret their dumpster-quality cards for them.
I don't have strong ideological biases about how many condo advocacies the neg gets or what kinds of counterplans are/aren't cheating. More egregious abuse = easier to persuade me on theory; the issue I usually see in theory debates is a lack of warranting for why the neg's model was uniquely abusive - specific analysis > generic args + no explanation.
Judge kick - you've gotta tell me to do it. I'm not opposed to it, but I won't assume that you want me to unless the 2nr tells me to. No strong opinions for/against judge kick.
Arguments I will NEVER vote for:
-arguments that are actively discriminatory or make the round unsafe ("misgendering good," "let's make the debate about a minor's personal life," other stuff of that nature).
-any argument that attempts to police what a debater wears or how they present (this includes shoes theory/formal clothes theory).
-any argument that denies the existence/badness of oppression (i don't mean i won't vote for "extinction outweighs." i mean i won't vote for "genocide good.")
if there's anything i didn't mention or you have any questions, feel free to email me! if there's anything i can do to make debate more accessible for you, let me know! i really love debate and i coach because i want to make debate/the community a better place; please don't hesitate to reach out if there's anything you need.
My name is Ty, I use he/him pronouns.
I would like to be on the email chain. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
* if you're any degree of sick, covid or otherwise, wear a mask, my immune system sucks. I care about your safety, I hope you care about mine. I will personally find a mask for you if necessary. *
neutral or they/them pronouns // email@example.com
me: 4 yrs TOC circuit policy @ Blue Valley West ('19) // BA Political Science @ UC Berkeley ('22) // [Current] PhD student, Political Science @ Johns Hopkins. did not debate in college.
coaching/judging: college prep (2019-present), georgetown day (2023-present)
judging stats: aff-neg, 102-126 [44.7% aff, 55.3% neg], sat 4x????.
non-policy: dabbled but will evaluate like a policy judge.
***I do not know the topic this year, just chill out on the acronyms please***
[me] I debated in proximinty to/am influenced primarily by KU-affiliated/Kansas debate diaspora (ian beier, allie chase, matt munday, jyleesa hampton, box, hegna, Q, countless others, peers I had the privilege to debate against). i read heg affs as a 2A. I went for the K, impact turn & adv cp, and T as a 2N. K-affs r my gray area, more below. I do not care that much about respectability, but ego posturing/nastiness and confidence/good faith are distinct. non-debate (personal) disputes are not up to the ballot. I am a mandated reporter.
[rfd] I like an easy ballot - have not debated in 4+ years. I try to write an aff and neg ballot and resolve one of them with as little intervention as possible - read: judge instructions necessary. I only read cards *closely* if teams have explicitly extended it for the entire debate or given a reason I should read it (misrepresented warrants, shrunken text, etc). Ev work, like Mac dre said, is not my job. framing the round through offensive/defense framing, presumption, models, etc. also helpful (if consistent). i flow on paper so slow down where it matters.
[online] do not start if my camera is off. SLOW DOWN; I will clear you once per speech.
[IRL] I'll clear u once per speech & stop flowing if i don't understand. my facial expressions reveal a lot about what I do/dont understand. track your own prep, but if you're bad at stealing prep (aka, I can tell), you will not like your speaks. cut my rfd short if you need to prep another round immediately.
[gen] debate is not debaters adjusting to the judge. do the type debate you are good at, not what you think I will like. I will meet you where you are, as long as you can explain your args. I like efficiency & will not punish a shortened speech - if you can win in 3 mins, do it. i do not read "inserts", teams are responsible for reading recuts or interpreting visuals/charts. I will not evaluate what I cannot flow. clarity > speed, tech > truth. content warnings/disability accommodations/etc should be made verbally before disclosure/round.
[ETHICS VIOLATIONS] Teams must call an ethics violation to stop the round. if verified, the violating team drops with lowest speaks. otherwise, the accusing team drops with lowest speaks. [clipping] clipping ballots usually necessitate recording, contingent on debaters consent & tournament rules. clipping includes being unclear to the point of being incomprehensible & not marking.**I am following the 1AC and 1NC - read every word of the card. seriously READ ALL THE WORDS!!!! if I notice clipping and no one else calls it out, I will not stop the round, but your speaks will reflect what I hear.
[case] yes. plan texts are my preference, but not a requirement. #1 fan of case debate. case turns too. does anyone go for dedev anymore?
[K-aff] okay, but not my neck of the woods. being germane to the resolution is good, or affs should solve something/effect the squo. KvK debate is fine when i can keep up. don't miss the forest for the trees- ex: extremely thorough LBL responds to the 1AR but fails to contextualize to the rest of the debate. I find myself often w a lot of info but unclear reasons to vote. judge instruction prevents judge intervention.
[K-neg] sure. tell me what ur words mean. I'm familiar with most cap/security/ontology-relevant K's (or at least some of the lit bases). idk your white people (heidegger, bataille, schlag, wtv). K tricks r dope, if you can explain them
[disads] yes. impact turns are awesome. turns case analysis is also awesome. line by line? awesome
[cp] okay. slow down/signpost on deficits & impact out. blips like "sufficiency framing" are meaningless w/o explanation. I don't weigh the CP unless there's a risk of the net benefit. remember to actually "[insert aff]" in your cp text. challenge mode: explain your perms????
[T] yes. default to competing interps. caselists are awesome. SIGNPOSTING is a huge issue here. I tend to miss stuff while flowing so slow down. ++ speaks for T debate that goes off the flow. the last proper policy T db8 I watched was in 2020. Impress me, & your speaks will reflect it! [re: T vs. K-aff]: I admittedly lean neg for limits & personal familiarity of args. judge instruction is your friend!
[theory] rule of thumb: equal input, equal-ish output. aka, blipped theory warrants blipped answers - just don't drop it. dropped theory (depending on how arbitrary the argument is) doesnt mean an auto ballot; if you want me to treat theory seriously enough to vote for you, YOU should too. do not expect a good rfd if you are speeding through theory blocks like you are reading the Cheesecake Factory menu. If you are going for it, I want to hear every word. and no i will not flow off the doc.
[speaker points] i am anti speaks inflation. everyone starts at 28. I drop speaks for the aforementioned, + disorganization, offensive/bad faith behavior. speaks are earned via efficient/effective speech construction, cx usage, succinctness, and strategy. 29.2+ reserved for exemplary debates. below 28 indicates more pre-tournament prep is needed.
Director of Debate at WSU
Yes I want to be on the speech doc. firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll talk about some more specific proclivities that may be useful for your strike-sheet since, if you are reading this, you’re probably filling it out.
Speaker points/CX: I believe that debaters give 4 “speeches” in a debate: C, R, CX, and Being CXed. My speaker points are based on all 4. If you don’t answer/ask a CX question, your speaker points will suffer dramatically. If you’re an jerk or don’t answer simple questions or are simply obstructionist, speaker points suffer. Don’t neglect CX. I will diligently flow cross-examination but if you take prep to ask questions, I consider it to not be part of the debate. Don't be offended if I leave while you go into overtime.
Know when its better to slow down
-- if I’ve never judged you before, give me time at the beginning of a constructive to get used to your voice.
-- complex/tricky CP texts – please slow down during these. I’m not going to look at the speech doc and CX won’t always clear it up. Clearly emphasize the differences (supreme court, different language pic, etc.)
-- Judge instruction helps me -- big picture moments in rebuttals -- "if we win this, we win the debate", etc. Crucial moments of impacts/evidence comparison.
Evidence: Quality over Quantity – I know this is almost a cliché in judging philosophies but I don’t just mean lots of bad cards are worse than 1 good card. That is obvious. I also mean that you should consider focusing on fewer cards in front of me than you might otherwise.
-- Indexing – judging debates where last rebuttals (more often 2NR’s) mention every name of every card and say how it interacts with an argument concept (“McCoy means we turn the link”, “Smith is the impact to that”) is very frustrating for me. I thrive on the big picture. I don’t view your evidence as that or even an argument unto itself – I view your evidence as a tool. You have to explain how it works and why.
-- highlighting – I find myself increasingly choosing to ignore or assign very little weight to evidence because scant highlighting leaves a lot to the imagination. In front of me, it might be wise to select a few important cards in the debate that you would read a longer version of (crucial internal link card for elections, link to the PIC’s net benefits, alt cards, etc.).
-- I read evidence after debates to confirm its function in your speeches, not so that it can “make an argument” to me in some disembodied fashion 15 minutes after the round ends.
I prefer narrower, deeper debates: Not going to lie, when debates get horizontally big and stay that way through rebuttals, I’m less comfortable making a decision. I think this has to do with how I read evidence (above) in that often times debates that stay horizontally big require the judge to do a lot of inference into conclusions made in cards they read as opposed to speeches they evaluate. I’m okay with debates on several sheets of paper but just make sure you are identifying what you think are the strategic bottlenecks of the debate and how you are winning them. “they can’t win X if we win Y because the following impact comparison wasn’t answered…”
Links/UQ: I think debaters too often think of link direction in purely binary terms. In addition to winning links, debaters need to explicitly create mechanisms for evaluating link direction. don’t just put “this thing key” cards in my hands and expect me to ref an ev fight. Tell me why this internal controls the other or vice versa.
Framework: I’ve voted for either side of this debate plenty of times. If it’s a choice between an engaging strategy against a critical aff and T, the former is a preferable strategy in front of me. I will vote on impact turns to topicality even if the negative doesn’t go for it (provided, of course, the affirmative makes a valid argument for why I should). I find myself often frustrated in debates that lack concrete nouns and instead choose arguments/strategies where abstractions are posited in relationship to one another, concretizing through examples helps a lot. I think 'fairness' is an internal link that, when well-developed with method for debate that is academically engaging and balanced, can have a large impact on my decision. By itself, a fair game is just stable, could be good or bad. I think negs running framework are best when talking about dynamics of the debate, not just complaining about how much/many affs there are. I'm not one who believes in the "procedural fairness or education" dilemma, good framework execution involves both I think. TVA's and SSD's are defense/counterplan type arguments that I think both sides are wise to not just address but frame in my decision.
Theory: Seems dead. Seemingly fewer and fewer affirmatives even make a meaningful press on theoretical objections to the CP. I still appreciate theory on the aff and not just as an “independent voter” but rather a good way to strategically dictate the landscape of the debate. This by no means implies that I’m a hack for any affirmative theory argument. But it does mean aff’s that hear a 3 cp’s in the 1NC and don’t make more than a 10 second conditionality block and don’t mention that there were 3 counterplans are giving up on some production. I think it goes without saying that very blippy theory debates are terrible. Slowing down and being more thematic and explanatory is almost always a better approach the theory execution in front of me. In the end, I'm pretty old school and think theory needs to make a comeback (mostly so aff's can not give their cases away to disposable 15-plank hydras every debate) but it seems perfunctory in execution anymore.
Finally, please make sure to mark evidence as you read it.
Did policy debate throughout high school, and am pretty well versed in most literature out there. I'll just go over some general preferences I have, with the caveat that no matter what I like/dislike I will vote on anything if it's argued well enough.
Administrative stuff: Tag-teaming in cross is fine, yes I want to be on the email chain (email@example.com) I'm generally a believer that disclosure is good for debate, please time yourselves, and yes spreading is fine.
My judging style is truth>tech, but "truth" is rather ambiguous. Just don't try to convince me the sky is green or that Mexico is a part of the United States (yes, this did happen) and I shouldn't have a problem voting for the args you put in front of me
T/Theory: I do believe that there is a place for topicality and theory in debate and can make a round interesting, but make sure you do more analysis outside of repeating the 1NC shell over and over again.
K/K affs: I really enjoy a good K, but framing and link work here is crucial to me. Don't be lazy and run a one-off K with a super general link, because I'll be really bored. If you're running a K aff, just make sure you explain really well why the resolution is bad for debate, and I shouldn't have a problem following you.
Framework: I love framework debates, and am all for whatever you have here.
Impacts: make sure you do a good analysis throughout each speech you give. Don't wait until the rebuttals to remind me of why I'm voting for you.
feel free to ask me questions before/after the round! I have a significant research background on NATO and would love to help you in any way I can.
Debated for UWG ’15 – ’17; Coaching: Notre Dame – ’19 – Present; Baylor – ’17 – ’19
"Can I get a marked doc?" / "Can you list the cards you didn't read?" when one card was marked or just because some cards were skipped on case. Flow or take CX time for it.
I prefer K v K rounds, but I generally wind up in FW rounds.
K aff’s – 1) Generally have a high threshold for 1ar/2ar consistency. 2) Stop trying to solve stuff you could reasonably never affect. Often, teams want the entirety of X structure’s violence weighed yet resolve only a minimal portion of that violence. 3) v K’s, you are rarely always already a criticism of that same thing. Your articulation of the perm/link defense needs to demonstrate true interaction between literature bases. 4) Stop running from stuff. If you didn’t read the line/word in question, okay. But indicts of the author should be answered with more than “not our Baudrillard.”
K’s – 1) rarely win without substantial case debate. 2) ROJ arguments are generally underutilized. 3) I’m generally persuaded by aff answers that demonstrate certain people shouldn’t read certain lit bases, if warranted by that literature. 4) I have a higher threshold for generic “debate is bad, vote neg.” If debate is bad, how do you change those aspects of debate? 5) 2nr needs to make consistent choices re: FW + Link/Alt combinations. Find myself voting aff frequently, because the 2nr goes for two different strats/too much.
Special Note for Settler Colonialism: I simultaneously love these rounds and experience a lot of frustration when judging this argument. Often, debaters haven’t actually read the full text from which they are cutting cards and lack most of the historical knowledge to responsibly go for this argument. List of annoyances: there are 6 settler moves to innocence – you should know the differences/specifics rather than just reading pages 1-3 of Decol not a Metaphor; la paperson’s A Third University is Possible does not say “State reform good”; Reading “give back land” as an alt and then not defending against the impact turn is just lazy. Additionally, claiming “we don’t have to specify how this happens,” is only a viable answer for Indigenous debaters (the literature makes this fairly clear); Making a land acknowledgement in the first 5 seconds of the speech and then never mentioning it again is essentially worthless; Ethic of Incommensurability is not an alt, it’s an ideological frame for future alternative work (fight me JKS).
General: 1) Fairness is either an impact or an internal link 2) the TVA doesn’t have to solve the entirety of the aff. 3) Your Interp + our aff is just bad.
Aff v FW: 1) can win with just impact turns, though the threshold is higher than when winning a CI with viable NB’s. 2) More persuaded by defenses of education/advocacy skills/movement building. 3) Less random DA’s that are basically the same, and more internal links to fully developed DA’s. Most of the time your DA’s to the TVA are the same offense you’ve already read elsewhere.
Reading FW: 1) Respect teams that demonstrate why state engagement is better in terms of movement building. 2) “If we can’t test the aff, presume it’s false” – no 3) Have to answer case at some point (more than the 10 seconds after the timer has already gone off) 4) You almost never have time to fully develop the sabotage tva (UGA RS deserves more respect than that). 5) Impact turns to the CI are generally underutilized. You’ll almost always win the internal link to limits, so spending all your time here is a waste. 6) Should defend the TVA in 1nc cx if asked. You don’t have a right to hide it until the block.
Theory - 1) I generally lean neg on questions of Conditionality/Random CP theory. 2) No one ever explains why dispo solves their interp. 3) Won’t judge kick unless instructed to.
T – 1) I’m not your best judge. 2) Seems like no matter how much debating is done over CI v Reasonability, I still have to evaluate most of the offense based on CI’s.
DA/CP – 1) Prefer smart indicts of evidence as opposed to walls of cards (especially on ptx/agenda da's). Neg teams get away with murder re: "dropped ev" that says very little/creatively highlighted. 2) I'm probably more lenient with aff responses (solvency deficits/aff solves impact/intrinsic perm) to Process Cp's/Internal NB's that don't have solvency ev/any relation to aff.
Case - I miss in depth case debates. Re-highlightings don't have to be read. The worse your re-highlighting the lower the threshold for aff to ignore it.
All of my thoughts on policy apply, except for theory. More than 2 condo (or CP’s with different plank combinations) is probably abusive, but I can be convinced otherwise on a technical level.
Not voting on an RVI. I don’t care if it’s dropped.
Most LD theory is terrible Ex: Have to spec a ROB or I don’t know what I can read in the 1nc --- dumb argument.
Phil or Tricks (sp?) debating – I’m not your judge.
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
Currently a senior at UC Berkeley studying Genetics and Plant Biology. As a high schooler I debated for Davis Senior and SUDL, qualifying to the TOC in my senior year. I debated on the China, education, and immigration topics. I've been coaching and judging throughout college and I'm now a coach for SUDL, Folsom, Davis, and do some other coaching here and there.
Please put me on the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would appreciate it if you could include the tournament and the round in the email chain title in whatever way you like ("gonzaga round 6" etc) for organization purposes. Thanks!!
Feel free to contact me for anything before or after the debate.
Everything I have written here are opinions I have developed in my time coaching and debating. I am learning along with you.
***Pls do not read this whole paradigm, your time is more important than that. find what you need to know!
Update for NATO topic: I've coached this topic since the summer, so my topic knowledge is decent, but I still encourage you to clarify your acronyms. My personal education/work in biotechnology probably makes me a well-informed judge for biotech affs :)
My personal experience as a debater lies mostly in k debate (specifics below) but I have judged and coached the whole spectrum. Regardless of your style, impact calc and framing are going to determine how well you do in front of me. If it matters to you, I seem to mostly get preffed for K v K debates. Other things that might matter for your prefs: I avoid judge intervention. I flow CX. I value good organization. I love creativity but not at the expense of substance. Finally, and most importantly, I appreciate the enormous amount of work many students put into this activity, and I show my respect for that by making a very genuine effort to be the best judge that I can be. I believe that my job as a judge is to leave my personal beliefs and preferences at the door as much as possible--debate is about the debaters!
***Note on online debate: please please please slow down. Feel free to spread cards as fast as you like (while remaining clear) because I can read along with you, but when it comes to your analytics, please slow down slightly so I can get all of your wonderful arguments. MY SPEAKERS ARE BAD! The clarity is bad. My hearing is also bad. Keep in mind that I'm also having to flip between tabs to see you, your cards, and my flow as I type. I know it's not ideal, but it's even less ideal for me to get 50% of your arguments because I can't understand you. I will say clear three times and then I will give up and do my best.
Debate is an activity with an incredible amount of potential that probably has the ability to shape our perspectives to at least some small (but meaningful) degree. It definitely shaped me. It means many different things to many different people and I am not here to change that. Please run whatever arguments you want to (with the obvious exclusion of racist/queerphobic/xenophobic/misogynist/ableist args which are an immediate L0). It is my job to do my very best to arbitrate your round, not to decide how you should be operating within that round. That being said, no one is completely unbiased. It is also my job to make sure you're informed of biases and opinions that I might have.
The best way to win in front of me regardless of style is to filter arguments through impact framing. Why is your model/disadvantage/advocacy/etc important? Compare this importance to your opponent's arguments. What does it mean to mitigate/solve these impacts in the context of the debate? Why is the ballot important or not important? Even the most disastrous debates can often be cleaned up/won/saved through high-level framing. See the bigger picture and explain it to me in your favor for a clear ballot. This is, in my opinion, is the difference between “winning” debates on the meta level rather than “not losing” them on the line by line.
I am very expressive. My face will do a lot of things during the debate. This is not a judgement on you as a debater or person but it's probably a pretty good indication of how I think things are going!
Kritiks: If this is the only section of the paradigm that you're looking for, I'm probably a good judge for you. I ran almost exclusively kritikal arguments in my last 2 years of debate and the coaching I do now is largely k oriented.
I am very familiar with: settler colonialism, fem (particularly iterations fem IR and queerfem), puar, other queerness stuff, biopower, cap, security, and chow. These are the Ks I ran during my time in debate but it's by no means a comprehensive list of things I'm a good judge for. It's probably a safe bet that I'm at least somewhat familiar with whatever you're reading, but it's always a good practice to be clear and informative anyways.
Make your literature accessible for everyone in the room (by this, I mean understand if folks haven't read what you have, and avoid trying to obfuscate for a strategic advantage--it usually doesn't help you anyways). Not everyone has equivalent access to the time/resources necessary to invest in critical literature, and their perspectives are still valid. Be respectful. This is especially true for those of you reading pomo.
My experience with and love for Ks doesn't mean I hack for them--if anything, it raises my expectations for what a well-executed K strat looks like. Bad K debates may not be the worst debates but they are still very nasty.
If you're a traditional policy debater wondering how to best respond to Ks in front of me, I discourage you from reading "Ks are cheating" framework since it's typically not very compelling, but I think reading framework overall is a smart move and I can be persuaded by plenty of other interps. I find that the most convincing policy teams answering Ks do a great job of explaining their framework impacts beyond "realism good" or "fairness good" and end up more in "policy education good" or "engaging the state good" territory. Remember that impacts can function on a multitude of levels.
If you're looking to read a K in front of me, know that I am extremely open-minded about how you go for or read this argument. Do you need an alt? Up to you! Performance? By all means. Part of the beauty of kritikal debate is its flexibility. I encourage you to do you in these debates. I will flow performances unless told otherwise, just so I can be sure to remember clearly. Anything can be an argument. I don't particularly care what sort of links you go for so long as you can effectively defend why you're going for them.
I am NOT as familiar with bataille, baudrillard, psychoanalysis, or nietzsche, for example. I didn’t read any of this as a debater. Honestly, I'm just not a pomo hack. This doesn't mean I won't vote for these arguments or think they have no place in debate! This simply means more elaboration will probably be necessary. I was frequently exposed to these arguments as a debater and I still deal with this lit now as a coach. If I'm tilting my head at you in confusion, I probably don't know what you're talking about. It may pay for you to slow down and explain vocab/buzzwords. Please never assume I (or your opponents) know all of your lingo.
K Affs: Go wild. I was a 2A reading a kritikal aff throughout almost all of high school and I understand them strategically, practically, and structurally. Again, performance is great. Pessimism is great, optimism is great, anything in between is great. Anything that doesn't fit into these categories is great. Personally I don't care if you talk about the resolution, though I could be convinced otherwise if the neg takes a stance on it. I come into the round with 0 predispositions about the "role" of the aff because I think that doing so would be basically arbitrary. Tell me why what you're doing is important (or not important). Also, good case overviews are a thing. If you have one of these, preferably don't blast through it at a million wpm. There's valuable stuff in there.
K affs probably get a perm, but I can be convinced otherwise.
Neg: engage the case when possible! There are lots of K affs that don't really do anything and have trouble explaining defending their method under close scrutiny. Take some time to just think abt the aff straight up, your questions may also be my questions.
Framework: I understand the importance of framework and used it myself a few times in debate. That being said, be warned that I was a 2A responding to framework in most of my aff rounds. As a small school debater, I understand why it can be necessary, especially if you legitimately have nothing else to run and don't have coaches to prep you out against every aff. Structural fairness/education/subject formation etc impacts make WAY more sense to me than procedural fairness. I also think it can be extremely convincing to turn the aff with portable skills arguments, if you do it right. If you're from a huge school with 10 coaches and your main defense of framework is "we couldn't possibly prepare :(" then you're going to be facing an uphill battle on this argument if your opponent calls this out. Your interpretation should be clearly defined and should probably be more than one "words and phrases" card. TVA usually ends up being extremely key to resolving aff offense. Like I said about aff overviews, neither team should be blasting through your framework blocks so fast that I miss all of your warrants.
If you're responding to framework, you better have a pretty good block for it. Have defense on their standards but offense of your own on their model of debate. I also do not care if you go for a counter interpretation or if you go for just a turn on their model of debate. If you do the latter, you should probably impact that turn out in the context of the aff. Also feel free to do both or whatever else you feel like.
Both teams should have a role of the ballot. Tell me why yours matters in relation to the biggest impacts in the debate!
Policy Affs: there are some very interesting and educational policy affs on this topic. Just like a K aff, you should have a defense of your model of debate when pressed on it. You should probably also be able to defend your subject formation. I think this standard should be universal.
Love a good, well-warranted impact defense debate here from the neg. doesn't usually win on it's own but super helpful for mitigating offense and also just makes me happy.
Topicality: I like T a lot. I default to competing interpretations but can be convinced otherwise. Why do limits/ground/fairness/research matter? I am of the mind personally that fairness is less of an independent impact and more of an internal link to education but I will also evaluate fairness as an independent impact in the round if instructed to do so. Also, caselists are underutilized and are important, please have these early in the debate! And stop dropping reasonability yall.
To quote my old partner "I met the heart of the topic and it said yall are wack" --Jack Walsh esquire. pls explain what heart of the topic means. If you keep explaining this argument as vibes alone you are forcing me to judge on vibes alone.
Disadvantages: Do what you do here, DAs are straight forward for the most part. Topic DAs are super important for neg ground but I also really appreciate creative, unique DAs. That being said, quirkiness shouldn't trade off with a good link chain. Contextualize. Not enough teams tell good stories of the disadvantage: block extension is just as key as 2NR. I wanna hear specifics in the impact debates pls, that's where all the fun is usually.
Counterplans: Good solvency advocates can be killer here. Have a good understanding of your mechanism. These debates can be extremely interesting. I don't have any predetermined notions about what kinds of CPs are abusive or not. That's up to you to decide. For the aff: explain the world of the permutation--"perm do both" means nothing without an explanation. Paint a picture, worldbuild.
Theory: I love a good theory debate. By good, I mean really in depth discussion rather than a blippy "floating PICs bad" sentence in the 2AC that gets extended in the 1AR and then becomes 3 minutes of the 2AR. Why is your model of debate important? Why does it matter? How does it implicate this round specifically, and potentially all others? Theory can be really strategic and also pretty true in some instances. I don't come in with any predispositions about any particular theory argument here except probably for RVIs. Don't do that.
Misc: if you get caught cheating and the other team calls you out with proof, expect an autoloss and the lowest speaks possible. Clipping, falsifying cites, texting coaches, etc. If you suspect your opponent is clipping, pls record before you call them out, otherwise its a huge mess
Good luck and have fun prepping!
West High 2020'
University of Utah 2024'
B.S Political Science
One of my core principles about debate is accepting a variety of arguments, so I encourage that students have in their strategy whatever they are comfortable running and won't let any of my predispositions or bias of an argument affect my views of the debate, so I default to tech > truth unless told otherwise.
BUT over the few years I have encountered two positions that seem to be an uphill battle for me.
1) Conditionality -- I have a firm belief that conditionality is vital for negative teams to have an effective strategy in any debate. Please posit a reason why
2 Ks without ANY case defense -- Unless you are making you link you lose arguments on framework. I have a hard time evaluating the K when there is a huge risk of the aff.
Debate is a game at its core but can be easily convinced otherwise. I have run primarily k affs during my junior and sophomore year and only well versed in cap and security. I typically went for policy arguments and framework as a 2N. I enjoy watching the affirmative make clever counter interpretations to eliminate or at least minimize offense on framework, coupled with link or impact turns to the negative model of debate.
Labeling of arguments has become increasingly important to me. It is the clearest way to communicate what argument you are extending for me.
I try to follow this rubric for deciding speakers.
Specifically, I look for line by line clarity and organization, overall argument deliberation, and awareness in the debate, in that order. I also reward good disclosure practices on your caselist and in round, so let me know if you believe you meet those criteria, so I can reward you. :)
I have not debated in three years, and judge on and off, but I try my hardest, and I am not Michael Wimsatt BUT I do take Judge instruction VERY seriously.
Washburn Rural '22
Assistant coach for Washburn Rural
I will judge solely on the technical debating done and will avoid intervening. As I judge more debates, I continue to vote on arguments I vehemently disagree, but were executed well on a technical level. The only requirement for all debaters is that argument has a claim and a warrant. This means a few things:
- I will decide debates based on my flow, but do not care whether you go for the fiat K, politics, or warming good. The main caveat is because my bar for an argument is claim and warrant, the absence of the latter will make it easier to discount or refute. I would prefer strategies reflective of the literature with good evidence, but debate is a game so you do you.
- I will read evidence out of interest during the debate, but it will not influence my decision until the debaters make it matter. This can be through establishing a metric for how I should evaluate and elevate certain types of evidence and then naming certain authors/relevant cards for my decision. If a metric is never set, I favor better highlighted evidence, complete warrants, and conclusiveness. Argument made analytically can hold similar weight to evidence if warranted and smart.
- The last thing that will boost you chances of winning is clear judge instruction. Flag your clear pieces of offense, dropped concessions, and say where I should start my decision. This also means when extending a claim and a warrant, explain the implication of winning an argument.
- I will not vote on anything external to the debate such as personal attacks, receipts, prefs, or ad-homs. Ethical/external issues should be settled outside of the debate.
- The only caveat to me deciding technically and offense-defense is cowardice and cheap-shots. I will not vote on hidden-SPEC and am very willing to give new answers. Similar ones like floating PIKs also probably don't meet the bar of a complete argument. If there is uncertainty make it a real argument...
That said here are some of my debate thoughts that could shape your strategy...
- For K-AFFs, it makes far more sense to go for a form based impact turn, rather than a content one or a counter-interpretation.
- For framework, contextualize your offense and defense to the debate/case you are debating or just go for fairness.
- Performative contradictions, when going for the K/the 1NC is multiple worlds, matter a lot to me and probably implicate your framework arguments.
- The fiat K/interpretations that zero the 1AC make more sense to me than trying to make causal links to the plan and huge alternatives because the perm double bind becomes truer.
- I have never seen an AFF reasonability argument on T that I found persuasive, I can obviously convinced otherwise, but it seems like an uphill battle.
- My default is no judge kick/I will not do it, unless explicitly told to.
- Non-condo theory is almost always a reason to reject the argument not the team.
- Absolute defense, zero-risk, and presumption are most definitely a thing.
- AFF intrinsicness arguments have rarely made sense to me.
Things that will boost your speaks...
- Debating off paper and being less laptop dependent such as giving the final rebuttals with only paper.
- Having fun, debates are more fun when they are light hearted and you seem like you're enjoying it.
- Fewer off and a more cohesive strategy.
- Strategic and funny cross-exes. Most cross-exes are FYIs and reminders, don't do that.
- Down-time moving faster such as sending speeches out, starting cross-ex, etc. Asking for a marked doc when it was only two cards marked will annoy me and marked docs don't include cards not read. Just flow pls...
Miscellaneous things include:
- Keeping your camera on during online debates makes them more bearable.
- I will clear you twice and after that I will vote against you for clipping/stop flowing your speech, but for educational purposes I won't halt the debate.
Current Affiliation = Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Debates Judged on this topic: about 40 Rounds (UMich Debate Institute)
Prior Experience: Debated policy in HS at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, CA (1992-1995); Debated NDT/CEDA in college at USC (1995-1999); Assistant debate coach at Cal State Northridge 2003-2005; Assistant debate coach at Glenbrook South HS Spring of 2005; Director of Debate at Glenbrook North HS 2005-2009; Director of Debate at Notre Dame HS Fall of 2009-Present.
My defaults go into effect when left to my own devices. I will go against most of these defaults if a team technically persuades me to do so in any given debate.
If you start taking excessive time to flash your document, I will start instituting that "Prep time ends when the speaker's flash drive is removed from her/his computer."
I am familiar with the topic (4 weeks of teaching at Michigan at Classic and involved in argument coaching at Notre Dame).
Delivery rate should be governed by your clarity; WARRANTS in the evidence should be clear, not just the tagline.
Clarity is significantly assisted by organization - I flow as technically as possible and try to follow the 1NC structure on-case and 2AC structure off-case through the 1AR. 2NR and the 2AR should have some leeway to restructure the debate in important places to highlight their offense. However, line-by-line should be followed where re-structuring is not necessary.
Ideal 2AR Structure
Offense placed at the top (tell me how I should be framing the debate in the context of what you are winning), then move through the debate in a logical order.
2NR's Make Choices
Good 2NR strategies may be one of the following: (1) Functionally and/or textually competitive counterplan with an internal or external net benefit, (2) K with a good turns case/root cause arguments that are specific to each advantage, (3) Disadvantage with turns case arguments and any necessary case defense, (4) Topicality (make sure to cover any theory arguments that are offense for aff). My least favorite debates to resolve are large impact turn debates, not because I hate impact turns, but because I think that students lose sight of how to resolve and weigh the multiple impact scenarios that get interjected into the debate. Resolving these debates starts with a big picture impact comparison.
Reference evidence by warrant first and then add "That's [Author]." Warrant and author references are especially important on cards that you want me to read at the end of the debate. Also, evidence should reflect the arguments that you are making in the debate. I understand that resolving a debate requires spin, but that spin should be based in the facts presented in your evidence.
I have been getting copies of speech documents for many debates lately so I can read cards during prep time, etc. However, note that I will pay attention to what is said in the debate as much as possible - I would much rather resolve the debate on what the debaters say, not based on my assessment of the evidence.
Safer to go for offense, and then make an "even if" statement explaining offense as a 100% defensive takeout. I will vote on well-resolved defense against CP, DA's and case. This is especially true against process CP's (e.g., going for a well-resolved permutation doesn't require you to prove a net benefit to the permutation since these CP's are very difficult to get a solvency deficit to) and DA's with contrived internal link scenarios. Winning 100% defense does require clear evidence comparison to resolve.
I like a well-developed topicality debate. This should include cards to resolve important distinctions. Topical version of the aff and reasonable case lists are persuasive. Reasonability is persuasive when the affirmative has a TRUE "we meet" argument; it seems unnecessary to require the affirmative to have a counter-interpretation when they clearly meet the negative interpretation. Also, discussing standards with impacts as DA's to the counter-interpretation is very useful - definition is the uniqueness, violation is the link, standard is an internal link and education or fairness is the impact.
Word PIC's, process, consult, and condition CP's are all ok. I have voted on theory against these CP's in the past because the teams that argued they were illegit were more technically saavy and made good education arguments about the nature of these CP's. The argument that they destroy topic-specific education is persuasive if you can prove why that is true. Separately, the starting point for answers to the permutation are the distinction(s) between the CP and plan. The starting point for answers to a solvency deficit are the similarities between the warrants of the aff advantage internal links and the CP solvency cards. Counterplans do not have to be both functionally and textually competitive, but it is better if you can make an argument as to why it is both.
All parts of the DA are important, meaning neither uniqueness nor links are more important than each other (unless otherwise effectively argued). I will vote on conceded or very well-resolved defense against a DA.
Good K debate should have applied links to the affirmative's or negative's language, assumptions, or methodology. This should include specific references to an opponent's cards. The 2NC/1NR should make sure to address all affirmative impacts through defense and/or turns. I think that making 1-2 carded externally impacted K's in the 2NC/1NR is the business of a good 2NC/1NR on the K. Make sure to capitalize on any of these external impacts in the 2NR if they are dropped in the 1AR. A team can go for the case turn arguments absent the alternative. Affirmative protection against a team going for case turns absent the alternative is to make inevitability (non-unique) claims.
Framework is applied in many ways now and the aff should think through why they are reading parts of their framework before reading it in the 2AC, i.e., is it an independent theoretical voting issue to reject the Alternative or the team based on fairness or education? or is it a defensive indite of focusing on language, representations, methodology, etc.?. Framework impacts should be framed explicitly in the 1AR and 2AR. I am partial to believing that representations and language inform the outcome of policymaking unless given well-warranted cards to respond to those claims (this assumes that negative is reading good cards to say rep's or language inform policymaking).
Neg framework is particularly persuasive against an affirmative that has an advocacy statement they don't stick to or an aff that doesn't follow the resolution at all. It is difficult for 2N's to have a coherent strategy against these affirmatives and so I am sympathetic to a framework argument that includes a topicality argument and warranted reasons to reject the team for fairness or education. If a K aff has a topical plan, then I think that framework only makes sense as a defensive indite their methodology; however, I think that putting these cards on-case is more effective than putting them on a framework page. Framework is a somewhat necessary tool given the proliferation of affirmatives that are tangentially related to the topic or not topical at all. I can be persuaded that non-topical affs should not get permutations - a couple primary reasons: (1) reciprocity - if aff doesn't have to be topical, then CP's/K's shouldn't need to be competitive and (2) Lack of predictability makes competition impossible and neg needs to be able to test the methodology of the aff.
I prefer substance, but I do understand the need for theory given I am open to voting on Word PIC's, consult, and condition CP's. If going for theory make sure to impact arguments in an organized manner. There are only two voting issues/impacts: fairness and education. All other arguments are merely internal links to these impacts - please explain how and why you control the best internal links to either of these impacts. If necessary, also explain why fairness outweighs education or vice-versa. If there are a host of defensive arguments that neutralize the fairness or education lost, please highlight these as side constraints on the the violation, then move to your offense.
Classic Battle Defaults
These are attempts to resolve places where I felt like I had to make random decisions in the past and had wished I put something in my judge philosophy to give debaters a fair warning. So here is my fair warning on my defaults and what it takes to overcome those defaults:
(1) Theory v. Topcality - Topcality comes before theory unless the 1AR makes arguments explaining why theory is first and the 2NR doesn't adequately respond and then the 2AR extends and elaborates on why theory is first sufficiently enough to win those arguments.
(2) Do I evaluate the aff v. the squo when the 2NR went for a CP? - No unless EXPLICITLY framed as a possibility in the 2NR. If the 2NR decides to extend the CP as an advocacy (in other words, they are not just extending some part of the CP as a case takeout, etc.), then I evaluate the aff versus the CP. What does this mean? If the aff wins a permutation, then the CP is rejected and the negative loses. I will not use the perm debate as a gateway argument to evaluating the aff vs. the DA. If the 2NR is going for two separate advocacies, then the two separate framings should be EXPLICIT, e.g., possible 2NR framing, "If we win the CP, then you weigh the risk of the net benefit versus the risk of the solvency deficit and, if they win the permutation, you should then just reject the CP and weigh the risk of the DA separately versus the affirmative" (this scenario assumes that the negative declared the CP conditional).
(3) Are Floating PIK's legitimate? No unless the 1AR drops it. If the 1AR drops it, then it is open season on the affirmative. The 2NC/1NR must make the floating PIC explicit with one of the following phrases to give the 1AR a fair chance: "Alternative does not reject the plan," "Plan action doesn't necessitate . Also, 2NC/1NR must distinguish their floating PIK from the permutation; otherwise, affirmatives you should use any floating PIK analysis as a outright concession that the "permutation do both" or "permutation plan plus non-mutually exclusive parts" is TRUE.
(4) Will I vote on theory cheap shots? Yes, but I feel guilty voting for them. HOWEVER, I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A REVERSE VOTING ISSUE EVEN IF IT WAS DROPPED.
Who is a Good Debater
Anna Dimitrijevic, Alex Pappas, Pablo Gannon, Stephanie Spies, Kathy Bowen, Edmund Zagorin, Matt Fisher, Dan Shalmon, Scott Phillips, Tristan Morales, Michael Klinger, Greta Stahl, George Kouros. There are many others - but this is a good list.
Your Opponents, Your Teammates, Your Coaches, Your Activity.
Extra Notes CP/Perm/Alt Texts
The texts of permutations, counterplans, and alternatives should be clear. I always go back and check the texts of these items if there is a question of a solvency deficit or competition. However, I do feel it is the burden of the opposing team to bring up such an argument for me to vote on it - i.e., unless it is a completely random round, the opposing team needs to make the argument that the text of the CP means there is a significant solvency deficit with the case, or the affirmative is overstating/misconstruing the solvency of a permutation because the text only dictates X, not Y, etc. I will decide that the aff does not get permutations in a debate where the affirmative is not topical.
I try to follow the flow the best I can - I do double check if 2AR is making arguments that are tied to the 1AR arguments. I think that 2AR's get significant leeway to weigh and frame their impacts once the 2NR has chosen what to go for; however, this does not mean totally new arguments to case arguments, etc. that were presented before the 2NR.
Frame claim in comparison to other team's response, extend important warrants, cite author for evidence, impact argument to ballot - all of these parts are necessary to resolve an argument fully. Since debate is a game of time management, this means going for fewer arguments with more thorough analysis is better than extending myriad of arguments with little analysis.
Complete disrespect toward anyone who is nice; no one ever has enough “credibility” in this community to justify such actions. If there is a disrespectful dynamic in a debate, I ALWAYS applaud (give higher speaker points to) the first person to step down and realize they are being a jerk. Such growth and self-awareness should rewarded.
Fear to Engage Bad
Win or lose, you are ultimately competing to have the best debate possible. Act like it and do not be afraid to engage in the tough debates. You obviously should make strategic choices, but do not runaway from in-depth arguments because you think another team will be better than you on that argument. Work harder and beat them on the argument on which she/he is supposedly an expert. Taking chances to win debates good.
And, as Lord Dark Helmet says, “evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb.”
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!
Largely think states is unbeatable on this topic. Fan of taxes good AFFs tho!
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.
Turns case is my tiebreaker and an easy way to raise your speaks. I think it can be one of the most creative aspects of debate.
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 analagous to mass atrocities.
fairness is an impact but i think it is an uphill battle for the negative team. Impacts like clash or skills are far more persuasive to me.
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.
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.
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 have been coming around to "hard-left" AFFs that have a very strong link/internal link story that solves some instantiation of racism, gendered violence, or ableism and indicts util impact framing.
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.
Every argument except condo is a reason to reject the arg. i tend to not judge many theory debates. if a team goes for condo i will determine it very similar to how i view t debates. I will decide which team creates a better model of debate and vote for that team.
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 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 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).
Current affiliation: director at Purdue & assistant at Head Royce.
Did you know Purdue is a public University with over 40,000 undergraduate students? Despite our excellent reputation for our engineering and computer science programs, as well as our success in the NCAA basketball tournament, we are in fact a public land-grant university in West Lafayette, IN. Tuition is less at Purdue than it is at Indiana University.
Past affiliations: Weber State, Wake Forest, Loyola Marymount, Idaho State, West Georgia, as well as College Prep, Georgetown Day, Bishop Guertin, Chattahoochee, and many other high school programs.
I love debate. I chose to return to debate after spending a few years working at a consulting firm. I make less money now, but enjoy the work much more. I appreciate your participation in the activity and will do my best to determine a winner, as well as help you improve in the time I spend judging your round.
I will default to flowing on paper. I appreciate efforts to be organized and go line-by-line; I will reward speakers that make flowing easier.
I will not read along with the speech doc. I believe debate should be a persuasive activity. I think following along with the speech doc is a poor practice, and I feel some type of way about it. I would like to be on the doc chain; email@example.com& firstname.lastname@example.org
If the round has started and there is no timer going, please don’t prep. I’ll kindly ask you to stop prepping if I notice you prepping while no timer is running. I think remote debate may have contributed to lax prep time standards, and I feel some type of way about it.
I’m a fan of multiple flavors of debate. I’m somewhat of a dinosaur at this point, but I still appreciate attempts at innovation. I’ve voted for and against all sorts of arguments. I’ve coached teams on various flavors of arguments. I’m generally agnostic. My best piece of advice for debating in front of me, or any other judge; debate powerfully, make the judge adapt to you.
I love cross ex! It’s generally my favorite part of the round. I usually flow it. I always pay attention to it. If you make gains in cross ex, please leverage those gains in your speeches. I will reward speakers for a well executed cross ex. I prefer you don’t treat prep time as cross ex time, I frequently leave the room during prep time and appreciate these opportunities.
I will reward speakers that focus on clarity over speed. If I ask you to be clear, please make an effort to adjust.
I start the process of deciding who won by establishing the most important issue(s) in the debate and determining who won the core controversies. I ask myself who won the round if both teams win their package of arguments. I frequently write a rough draft of a ballot and then try to argue against that decision to check against overlooking something. I try to edit my many thoughts to keep things more brief in delivering my RFD, particularly when on a panel. Sometimes when I sit I ask to give my RFD last - sometimes this is so I can get a sense of where the other judges are at, sometimes it’s to circumvent judges from editing their decisions when I’m confident in my RFD.
Head Coach of Rowland Hall
Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible.
Key Preferences & Beliefs
Debate is a game.
Literature determines fairness.
It’s better to engage than exclude.
Critique is a verb.
Defense is undervalued.
I flow on my computer. If you want a copy of my flow, just ask.
I think CX is very important.
I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions.
Add me to the email chain: mikeshackelford(at)rowlandhall(dot)org
Feel free to ask.
Want something more specific? More absurd?
Debate in front of me as if this was your 9 judge panel:
Andre Washington, Ian Beier, Shunta Jordan, Maggie Berthiaume, Daryl Burch, Yao Yao Chen, Nicholas Miller, Christina Philips, jon sharp
If both teams agree, I will adopt the philosophy and personally impersonate any of my former students:
Ben Amiel, Andrew Arsht, David Bernstein, Madeline Brague, Julia Goldman, Emily Gordon, Adrian Gushin, Elliot Kovnick, Will Matheson, Ben McGraw, Corinne Sugino, Caitlin Walrath, Sydney Young (these are the former debaters with paradigms... you can also throw it back to any of my old school students).
Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of my expectations and preferences. I spend most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I do teach LD and judge practice debates in class. I try to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.
Theory: I'm unlikely to vote here. Most theory debates aren't impacted well and often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.
Speed: Clarity > Speed. That should be a no-brainer. That being said, I'm sure I can flow you at whatever speed you feel is appropriate to convey your arguments.
Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.
*Briefly updated before 2022 season
Debaters should have the ability to argue about what the terms of the debate are and how that relates to my decision. I prefer judging debates where the competitors are invested in their arguments, whatever those might be.
It is very rare in the debates I’ve judged that one team loses every argument on the flow. Consequently, it often seems going for a few less arguments improves the quality of the debating for both sides. Most debates tend to be decided in terms of how well either team characterizes each other’s options and framing what matters. At the top of your final rebuttal, please clearly prioritize how I should evaluate the debate. I love when debaters give me a roadmap of what's going to happen and then make it happen.
Prep time only goes until you’re done prepping your speech, which means email time doesn't count against you. Please always include me on your email chain. Sometimes in cross-x when people are asking questions about evidence, I like to be able to look at the cards as well.
I'm pretty sympathetic that the transition to online debate is hard for many people and not the same as doing it in person. I'll try to do my best to make sure the rounds go smoothly.
I am better at flowing if I can maintain eye-contact with the person speaking. If you need to have your camera off for connection issues / personal reasons, I totally understand.
I spend most of my time at the end of the debate trying to decide who won and what I would have needed from the other team to win the debate or general commentary about the debate. While I’m filling out the ballot, I spend a few seconds trying to decide speaker points. I don’t have a static starting point for assigning or categorizing speakers, but try to decide how well the speakers used / responded during cross-x, whether a decision made by one of the speakers uniquely helped improve/hurt the teams chances of winning and how well the speakers brought together the debate in their final rebuttals.
I take notes during cross-x and enjoy when debaters get strategic concessions that are used in their speeches.
Argument related comments:
- Counterplans generally require a solvency advocate. This can be aff evidence or neg evidence.
- Critiques may not need to have an alternative to be competitive with the aff, but I will not judge kick an alt (or counterplan) for you unless the framing in the 2NR justifies that option.
- I often find it insufficient to read a hodgepodge of cards or arguments that “critique the squo” and call it an affirmative. Good affs have compelling methods, approaches to the space, or defenses of the resolution.
- In all debates but especially K aff verse K debates, links need impacts / clear internal links. The negative can win a link and still lose the debate if it’s unclear why that link “matters”.
- Competing methodologies is too often left as a buzz phrase that does not establish why the aff should not have a permutation. Similarly, asserting there is a permutation that is advantageous, does not explain why I should allow the aff to access that option. In either case, having a bit of depth goes a long way to win whether the aff should or should not have a perm.
Part of my responsibility as the judge is to make the debate accessible. If there is something I can do to help with that – please let me know. If you don’t feel like disclosing then you’re welcome to email me (address above).
1- Clipping cards is punishable with a loss and 0 speaker points. I do not feel that I need a debater to initiate a clipping challenge, as an educator I feel I have a responsibility to monitor against cheating.
2- I value very highly the safety for ALL competitors to engage in this activity, so please be considerate of others. Making arguments with sexist, racist, ableist, and other exclusionary language can be especially harmful for people in the activity.
3- Please make sure you ask your opponents what pronouns they use. Misgendering is a serious issue.
4- Stealing prep time
5- Reading conditional arguments that clearly and unquestionably contradict
6- Repeating that an argument was conceded- especially if it clearly was not
7- Asking cross-x questions that go nowhere in developing the strategy or understanding of the debate.
8- Don’t be disrespectful to the people who host tournaments.
I studied philosophy and sociology as an undergraduate, communication at UNLV for an MA, and now communication at U-Iowa for a PhD.
3 years of debate at Millard South High School
4 years of debate at Concordia College – Moorhead
2 years coaching at University of Nevada- Las Vegas
5 years as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Iowa and 1st year as the Debate Coach at Iowa
email@example.com (include on email chain please)
6 years and counting policy debate experience. Current UW college debater.
Some thoughts and useful insights for 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 not as familiar with the K literature, so if that's your jam, you should be extra coherent with your args and line by line work. Don't drop some super complex K terms and expect me to know what they mean please, 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, see the HS impact article "2AC add ons" written by Scott Phillips to understand why.
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
Be kind, prep well, debate smart, have fun, good luck.
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.
- I will not default to judge kicking a losing page, debate it better.
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.
add me to the email chain - firstname.lastname@example.org
Notre Dame high school - 2018
more school - 2022
Clear, both argumentatively and speaking wise, debates are good. Unclear and not ideologically consistent arguments are not as good. Teams that tell good stories, see how arguments interact with each other and contextualize warrants to the round are winning more debates. These are largely macro level skills built by being in lots of debates and thinking about how arguments work outside of debates. Debaters that are having fun are also probably happier and gaining more from the activity.
There is an inherent risk in presenting arguments, that is a good thing. Taking these types of intellectual risks helps you grow both in what you know, how you have come to know it, and in presenting knowledge into a community. Leaving your argumentative comfort zone is the only way to improve these skills, wether you are reading the new argument or a new argument is presented to you in round.
debate is an intellectual free for all, debate however you feel the most confident and comfortable.
I am not a stone tablet, i have my preconceptions on how the world works and arguments that surround the nature of our reality formulated by experiences both in and out of debate. I do think the threshold for proving subject formation through debate is maybe lower for me, but I find teams saying alt causes "school, family, work etc." are not giving warrants as to why those are larger internal links than debate to formulating world views.
I think framework is a question of competing visions/models of debate and how to operate within intellectual spaces/what types of scholarship is produced. Usually procedural fairness is an internal link that needs to be impacted - on its own saying "but fairness" is not responsive to teams who are going for subject/clash/in round impacts. I do think that the impact turn debate on fw is good and usually better than the counter interp and redefining words. Same with material alt action vs just 'scholarship' debates.
I find the internal link debate to be the most important in most of these rounds, the aff normally is better at identifying the application and relevancy of these in roads to education impacts. Not enough negative teams are defending why their model of debate is good, actually good, not just being the norm -- why are debates good under a resolutional question if the ground you claim to lose in cross ex is the process counterplan and politics disad? Why is that ground better than the education produced by the aff's ground/theory? I do think framework is a good argument and that policy debate has solid merits, but it is important to actually defend those skills.
The best arguments and debates I hear are happen when all parties are familiar with the ideas being discussed, that creates a depth based environment which is both more interesting to judge and more stimulating for debaters. Metabolization of information takes time and energy, probably why people learn so much from this activity. I think debates in which debaters have not read/understood the context in which their cards have been written, create much worse speeches and cross ex's than they realize.
If your opponents don't know why they are losing the round you aren't debating well. If you're well read on the lit base you are debating you should be able to explain it to them during your speech while still making convincing arguments that i could vote on. I would rather hear less arguments when they are explained, contextualized into some type of narrative or string of thoughts, than droning on in an overview about a theory of power with an omission link.
I do not care which team has flipped neg stop asking this question in cx, your examples and cx matter so much more than you think it does. I witness ethos fall apart so quickly through many things, not limited too: pepsi challenges, "look me in my eyes and tell me you voted on [x]", poor examples, wearing headphones during the debate, going on your phone, not flowing. All are horrible for your ethos, detrimental to your speaks, and make me SAD.
I think debate is fun, people do silly things, people make even sillier arguments. It is good to laugh about these things.
If I have judged you before the odds I remember who you are high and remember the RFD's I've given so making the same repeated errors is saddening. On the flipside seeing debaters improve across the season and years is awesome. I am rooting for you to get smarter, stronger and faster.
impact turns, evidence call outs, author quals, re-highlights, authors calling out other authors, all good things
multi plank counter plans are as many conditional worlds as there are planks unless you group them all together and say no plank kicking.
Judge kick: advocate for your position or don't. Every time i hear "judge kick the CP if we aren't winning it." I hear scared. I'll do it, but I will be unhappy.
not a fan of 'insert ev' just read it, if it is actually that good of an argument you should be reading it anyway.
- 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
top level predispositions (Update 2023 TOC):
I don't like generic neg strategies, if you're going to do this don't pref me please - - this means nonspecific process counterplans, disads, CPs with only internal net benefits, etc.
No, CX can't be used for prep lol.
I'm not going to judge kick. You make a decision about the world you'll defend in the 2nr and I'll follow accordingly.
For many of you reading this, speaker point inflation is the probably norm. I think the standard for what makes a good speech is a. too low and b. disconnected from strategy. My average speaker point range is 27.9-28.5, average meaning you're not doing any work between flows, not making the debate smaller for the sake of comparative analysis, not reading especially responsive strategies, not punishing generic strategies with pointed responses. On the other hand, I reward teams that have ostensibly done the reading and research to give me concrete analysis.
Plan texts nowadays aren't really descriptive of what the aff will defend and I think negative teams don't take advantage of that enough.
Given the above (and oodles of macrohistorical reasons), we probably are already in the world that the PRL warned us about. I'm more persuaded by empirical analysis of models of debate than the abstract nowadays.
I won't be reading along with you, and won't spot either team args from pieces of evidence that weren't made in speeches. I'll resolve comparative evidentiary claims, if necessary, after the round.
Longer meditations below:
I've found that the integrity in which some high school debaters are interacting with evidence is declining. Two things:
1. Critical affirmatives that misrepresent critical theory literature or misrepresent their affirmative in the 1ac. I'm very inclined to vote against a team that does this on either side of the debate, with the latter only being limited to the affirmative side. Especially in terms of the affirmative side, I believe that a floor level minimum prep for critical affs should be that the affirmative clearly has a statement of what they will defend in the 1ac and also that they stick to that stasis point throughout the debate. If a critical aff shifts drastically between speeches I will be *very* inclined toward to any procedural/case neg arguments.
2. Policy affs that have weak internal links. I understand that a nuclear war scenario is the most far fetched portion of any advantage, but I've been seeing a lot of international relations scenarios that don't really take into account the politics of really any other countries. If your international conflict, spillover, modeling, etc. scenario doesn't have a semblance of the inner workings of another party to the conflict, I'll be *very* inclined to solvency presses and presumption arguments by the negative in that scenario.
I don't want to be on the email chain. If I want to, I'll ask. You should debate as if I'm not reading a speech doc.
I almost exclusively view debate as an educational / democratic training activity. I think rules are important to that end, however. This is to say that I ground much of what I think is important in debate in terms of how skills critical thinking in debate rounds adds into a larger goal of pursuing knowledge and external decisionmaking.
i've been in debate since fall 2008. at this point i'm simultaneously more invested and less invested in the activity. i'm more invested in what students get out of debate, and how I can be more useful in my post-round criticism. I'm less invested in personalities/teams/rep/ideological battles in debate. it's entirely possible that I have never heard of you before, and that's fine.
you should run what will win you the round. you should run what makes you happy.
Impact scenarios are where I vote - Even if you win uniqueness/link questions, if I don't know who's going to initiate a war, how an instance of oppression would occur, etc. by the end of the round, I'll probably go looking elsewhere to decide the round. The same thing goes for the aff - if I can't say what the aff solves and why that's important, I am easily persuaded by marginal negative offense.
Prep time ends when you email the file to the other team. It's 2023, you've likely got years of experience using a computer for academic/personal work, my expectations of your email prowess are very high.
Competing methods debates don't mean no permutation, for me at least. probably means that we should rethink how permutations function. people/activists/organizers combine methods all the time.
I've found myself especially unwilling to vote on theory that's on face not true - for example: if you say floating PICs bad, and the alternative isn't articulated as a floating PIC in the debate, I won't vote on it. I don't care if it's conceded.
I think fairness is an independent impact, but also that non-topical affs can be fair. A concession doesn't mean an argument is made. your only job is to make arguments, i don't care if the other team has conceded anything, you still have to make the argument in the last speech.
Affs I don't like:
I've found myself increasingly frustrated with non-topical affs that run philosophically/critically negative stances on the aff side. The same is true for non-topical affs that just say that propose a framework for analysis without praxis. I'm super open to presumption/switch-side arguments against these kinds of affs.
I'm frustrated by non-topical affs that do not have any sort of advocacy statement/plan text. If you're going to read a bunch of evidence and I have to wait until CX or the 2AC to know what I'm voting for, I'll have a lower threshold to vote on fw/t/the other team.
Finally, I have limited belief in the transformative power of speech/performance. Especially beyond the round. I tend to think that power/violence is materially structured and that the best advocacies can tell me how to change the status quo in those terms.
Negs I don't like:
Framework 2nr's that act as if the affirmative isn't dynamic and did not develop between the 2ac and the 1ar. Most affs that you're inclined to run framework against will prove "abuse" for you in the course of the debate.
Stale politics disadvantages. Change your shells between tournaments if necessary, please.
Theoretically inconsistent/conflicting K strats.
I don't believe in judge kicking. Your job is to make the strategic decisions as the debate continues, not mine.
if you have questions about me or my judge philosophy, ask them before the round!
My email is email@example.com please include me on the email chain. I graduated from The Meadows and I debated since freshman year.
Topicality is fine as long as your interp is not arbitrary and you have tangible impacts.
I'm good with theory but again make sure you are impacting it out. It's pretty hard to convince me args like condo bad unless it is VERY clear that you won.
I don't like cheaty counterplans so if you're aff don't hesitate to go for theory. I think cps should be textually and functionally competitive.
I think probability is most compelling because everyone's impacts are probably extinction by the end of the round anyway. Please explain why your impact matters.
I've almost always run ks on the neg so I'm pretty comfortable with them.
For the aff, I don't like only running framework against a K especially just "ks are cheating". Perms are good as long as you take the time to explain them- one well explained perm is better than 4 bad ones. Cross ex should be focused on the alt and links- this is probably where you will mess up the neg the most
For the neg, I think most ks should have an alternative that resolves link arguments. You're alt needs to resolve the impacts for me to weigh them. PLEASE KNOW WHAT YOUR K IS and I don't like one card ks in the 1nc as a time skew.
I have mostly run affs with structural violence impacts. I'm good with k affs as long as you know what you're talking about. You should be impacting everything out and explaining why your education is better for debate. If you're running a hard right aff you need to be able to explain a coherent story with clear internal links- if you're neg and the aff can't call them out on it. Make sure you're doing impact calc- explain why I should prioritize your impact over theirs.
Case debate is always good. I think solvency deficit and internal link answers are most compelling.
Be nice and have fun!